Tuesday, December 06, 2016

From Ian:

David Horovitz: Wrong from the start: Why John Kerry failed to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace
Watching John Kerry deliver his indictment of Israel’s settlement enterprise at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, on Sunday, my strongest feeling was one of sorrow — sorrow for him, but mainly for us, at the wasted time and the wrongheaded approach that doomed the indefatigable, well-intentioned secretary of state’s approach to peacemaking.
Kerry calculated that he has spent 130 hours in formal discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his near four years as secretary of state, and visited Israel a staggering 40-plus times.
And yet for all that time and effort, as his valedictory jeremiad again made plain, he never internalized why he was unable to clear the obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. And in the one key area where Sunday’s presentation showed a belated appreciation of where he had gone wrong, clarity has arrived long after the damage was done.
The first, foundational mistake was to believe, like a long line of global statespeople before him, that he could succeed where others had failed in trying to strong-arm the two sides into an accord on a rapid timetable, when it is tragically and undeniably obvious that the deadline-based approach cannot work.
Many, perhaps most, Israelis recognize an imperative to separate from the Palestinians in order to maintain a state that is both Jewish and democratic. But In today’s treacherous Middle East, they need more persuasion than ever that relinquishing territory will bring guaranteed tranquility, rather than escalated terrorism and new efforts to paralyze, and ultimately destroy, the country.
Ruthie Blum: Good Riddance, John Kerry
He continued by lambasting settlements, while claiming he understands that they are not the root cause of the conflict, saying he “cannot accept the notion that they do not affect the peace process — that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.”
And here was the clincher. He said he knows this, because “the Left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace and the Right that supports it, openly supports it, because they don’t want peace.”
And there you have it. Kerry’s utter gall. His accusation that most Israelis oppose peace. Not that we long to live without fear of being stabbed, car-rammed, torched, blown up by bombs and hit by rocket-fire by hate-filled terrorists bent on our annihilation. Not that we have relinquished most of the West Bank and all of Gaza to those killers. Not that every territorial withdrawal has been accompanied by an escalation in violence against us.
Netanyahu also addressed the Saban Forum, via video feed. His remarks were decidedly different from Kerry’s. He stressed the danger of the Iran nuclear deal; reminded everyone that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964, three years before the Six-Day War, which led to Israel’s taking control of the territories it is accused of “illegally occupying.” He also pointed out that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about settlements or Palestinian statehood, but rather part of the “battle between modernity and medievalism.”
If Netanyahu is waiting with bated breath for Trump’s inauguration in January, it is with good reason – if only never to have to hear from the insufferable Kerry, who quipped that his wife complained over the years about his spending more time conversing with the Israeli prime minister than with her.
Kerry’s Bitter Alternative Reality
To Kerry, none of that matters because of the settlements. The secretary refuses to understand that building a few more houses in existing communities doesn’t mean that Israel wouldn’t or couldn’t give up territory if Abbas were ever to take yes for an answer. He ignores the fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to accept Israeli offers of statehood. The focus on settlements is a flimsy Palestinian excuse for not making peace–not the substantive obstacle Kerry falsely claims it to be.
Kerry was also right when he said the Arab states wouldn’t make formal peace with Israel without an agreement with the Palestinians. But Netanyahu’s assertion that the Arabs are far more worried about an Iran that has been empowered and appeased by Obama and Kerry than they are about the Palestinians is also correct. Formal relations may have to wait, but, despite Kerry’s warnings, Israel’s diplomatic position is not as weak as he claims.
From Obama’s first moments in office, his administration has been committed to the idea that more “daylight” between Israel and the United States would provide a path to peace. Eight years of ginned up fights with Netanyahu and tilting the diplomatic playing field in their direction has only encouraged the Palestinians to be more intransigent. More daylight has been an abysmal failure, and, in characteristic fashion, Kerry would rather double down on this disaster than admit he’s been wrong.
Stabbing Israel in the back at the UN won’t bring peace any closer either, but Kerry prefers to leave the State Department with a gesture that would damage Israel and hamstring his successor rather than simply go home. It can only be hoped that Obama will listen to the better angels of his nature and to those who tell him that acting in this manner will only provoke President-elect Trump to embrace Israel even more closely rather than Kerry’s bitter and foolish advice.

  • Tuesday, December 06, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Another day, another "martyr."

Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades issued a statement saying that Ahmad Atiya Ibrahim Mansour, 30, died when his grenade blew up unexpectedly.

"He has been elevated to the path of Jihad and resistance in the Honor and Glory in the field of Mujahideen al-Qassam Brigades heroesm" the statement said.

Let's look back at the highlights of this man's life so we can appreciate exactly what has been lost:

May the ranks of holy martyrs of Hamas increase exponentially. Ameen.

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  • Tuesday, December 06, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
As we've mentioned before, most recently in August, during the 1970s Israel tried to build permanent, modern homes for Palestinians in Gaza so they wouldn't have to live in decrepit "refugee camps" and would have a chance to build normal lives.

Over 2000 Gaza families moved into the new homes.

The PLO and the UN were dead-set against this. With a mixture of intimidation against those who wanted to move into the new homes and the UN passing two resolutions (31/15E and 34/52F) condemning Israel for trying to improve the lives of the Gazans, the plan fizzled.

The first UN resolution against Israel's attempts to improve Palestinians' lives was passed almost exactly 40 years ago.

Lets go back another 11 years.

Here's how UNRWA describes the history of the Shuafat camp:
Shu'fat camp is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. ..The camp was established by UNRWA in 1965 in order to provide improved housing for the roughly 500 refugee families living in Mu'askar camp in the Old City of Jerusalem.
UNRWA, in this case, wanted to provide improved housing. The Mu'askar camp was in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and Jordan provided the space to UNRWA, but the homes were in bad shape and UNRWA wanted to move the residents.

Against their will.

The residents lived near the Al Aqsa Mosque and many worked in the Old City souks. They preferred to live in the old Jewish homes, as bad as they were.

But UNRWA wanted them to move.

So it forced them to move, and with the help of the Jordanian army, all the residents were forced to move to Shuafat.

This is all detailed in this book:

Actually, hundreds of families were forcibly moved into Shuafat as late as July 1966 according to UNRWA documents (which didn't mention the Jordanian army's role, and didn't mention that most residents refused to move.)

Gazans moving voluntarily into new homes was condemned as illegal by the UN in 1976, but the forcible removal of Palestinians from their (stolen) homes into another neighborhood (that was also stolen from Jews) did not elicit a single peep from the world. In fact, this episode has been entirely whitewashed by UNRWA and forgotten by nearly everyone else.

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  • Tuesday, December 06, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
According to Palestinian Media Watch, this music video extolling Fatah violence was broadcast 11 times on official Palestinian Authority TV during the Fatah conference this past weekend:

The Fatah song emphasizes that Fatah’s “oath” is to destroy Israel, saying “free the state from the hands of the Zionists,” and that this will be done through violence, terror and killing:
“Slice open the enemy’s chest, slice it”
“Shoot the Dashka (machine gun) and the cannon”
“The Fatah man... fires the mortar and the machine gun”
“Strike, mortar, strike!”

The song applauds that it was Fatah who committed what it considers to be the first Palestinian terror attack against Israel - the attempted bombing of Israel’s main water carrier in 1965.
“Eilabun [in 1965] was the first shot [at Israel] and Fatah was responsible”


"Long Live Fatah Men,” sung by the ‎Al-Asifa band: "Shoot the Dashka (machine gun) and the cannon
Let the whole world hear:
The Palestinian will never bow other than to the Lord of the universe…
Eilabun [in 1965] was the first shot [at Israel] and Fatah was responsible
The oath is to free the state from the hands of the Zionists
Long live all the Fatah men
No one prevailed over us
We burst over the borders...
The Fatah man does not take things lightly…
He fires the mortar and the machine gun...
Strike, mortar, strike!
Slice open the enemy’s chest, slice it
I’m a Palestinian and I want my right
My full right...
The difficult way is our way
Bullets! Sing for us!
The sound of the rifles gives us joy
Fatah taught me, thank you, Fatah
I have no love other than the love of the rifle." 
The full video is here. Assuming that this is the original, it has surprisingly few views - less than 2,000 - indicating that Fatah's popularity among the people is pretty low.

But if that is right, it means that official PA TV is going out of its way to push a video not for its popularity but for its propaganda value. It is trying to position Fatah not as a moderate group promoting peace and a two-state solution but as a violent "resistance" group dedicated to destroying Israel.

This is the  message being given to Palestinians, day in and day out. It has been 23 years since Oslo and an entire new generation has been raised on hate while Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi tell the world that it is Israel that is not interested in peace.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

  • Monday, December 05, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

John Kerry, speaking at the Saban Forum this past weekend, said:

When Oslo was signed in 1993, the vision was that with the signing of Oslo, Area C – everybody knows there’s Area A, B, C – Area A is Palestinian security and administrative control, Area B is a split between administrative and security control, and Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank, is just Israel security and administrative still. But the deal of Oslo in 1993 was over the next year and a half Area C would be transferred to the Palestinian control administratively. Well, it didn’t happen for a number of different reasons. We won’t go into that now. 

Kerry had good reason not to go into it - because it is a complete fiction.

The original 1993 Oslo Accords did not divide the territories into Areas A, B and C. That was Oslo II, in 1995, not 1993.

Oslo II mentioned very little about redeploying Israeli control.

The Wye River Agreement of 1998 did say Israel was to withdraw from a percentage of Area C, but the bulk was going to remain under Israeli control. It was never implemented after Netanyahu, who opposed it, lost a vote of no-confidence. But there were a whole lot of terror attacks in the md-90s that would seem to be a violation of Oslo.

Kerry didn't mention Hamas or suicide bombings or terror. 

Kerry is completely wrong in his history. I find it very hard to believe that he doesn't know the intricacies of the peace process history in detail - he could never have negotiated anything if he hadn't known what happened in the recent past.

Why should Israel have ever trusted someone who cannot tell the truth about the basics of the peace process - and who lies about it to make Israel look bad?

(h/t Irene)

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From Ian:

I’m a South African Activist Who Used to Fight Against Israel—Until I Went There
Tshediso Mangope grew up under apartheid and believed that Israel had the same policies. But seeing the country for himself changed his perspective.
As a black South African and member of the African National Congress (ANC), I have often heard the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state—and therefore a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to be based on a single state of Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. I recently made a trip to Israel and the West Bank in order to understand the issues and the prospects for resolving the conflict.
Traveling through the country encouraged me to reflect upon the suggestions by some sections of the Palestine solidarity movement—particularly those advocating for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel—that it is possible to establish one country between Israel and Palestine based on a “one-state” solution, like the one we established here in South Africa. Though supporters of this solution claim it is democratic, the rejection of a Jewish state is in fact a modern way of institutionalizing anti-Semitic posturing.
First and foremost, my visit to the region confirmed for me that there is no meaningful comparison between the State of Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa.
I grew up under apartheid. I saw my parents being humiliated under apartheid. The scars of apartheid still live with us to this day and are strongly embedded in the psychology of my people. Therefore, in considering what a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves, I reject both the analysis that Israel practices apartheid and the demand that Israel should be dismantled and replaced with a single state of Palestine.
It appears that those who compare the State of Israel to apartheid South Africa do not understand the fundamentals of apartheid, nor have they experienced it. Let me explain.
The Holocaust as a Weapon Against Jews
What remains of Holocaust memory is now poisoned with even greater ill will and bad faith. Hijacked once again, in the same lifetime, by a sinister movement that trivializes and falsifies the Holocaust even further. On campuses, for example, Students for Justice in Palestine has disrupted Yom HaShoah commemorations, hosted events and rallies that equate Zionism with Nazism, charged Israelis with committing genocide against the Palestinian people, and proclaimed that Israel has turned Gaza into Auschwitz. On both sides of the Atlantic, such twisted, abhorrent thinking is fashionable on university campuses, despite the fact that many of SJP’s intersectional partners would be stoned, beheaded, or burned alive if they lived in Gaza. Israel, meanwhile, remains the only nation in the region that functions as a liberal democracy where an open, pluralistic society enjoys rights nowhere else seen in the Middle East.
In so many pernicious ways, this latest misappropriation, this vulgar corruption, is worse than conventional Holocaust denial. The existence of the Holocaust—the reality of its moral indictment of humanity—is not a difficult argument to win. Such claims were mercifully confined to crackpot conventions. They were in the same category as having to prove that there was once an African slave trade, or that the world is round. In such low-budget intellectual battles, the deniers revealed themselves to be nothing but barbarians and baboons.
When it comes to anti-Semitism cloaked in the smug smock of human rights, however, the toxic atmosphere against Zionism makes even the exploitation of the Holocaust fair game so long as it is being directed at delegitimizing the State of Israel—an especially favorite pastime of university and Leftist communities in the West. In such dizzying games of three-card monte, the Holocaust is not a myth, but an operating manual that Israelis are following, with great precision, in their “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians. The fact that the Palestinian population has more than doubled since the Six-Day War becomes only an inconvenient and easily ignorable truth. After all, genocide requires subtraction in the census, not multiplication.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Fighting anti-Semitism while demonizing Israel?
Op-ed: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which backs organizations supporting the BDS campaign, is paying the New Israel Fund to research the growth of anti-Semitism on US campuses. This absurdity needs no explanation.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has allotted a special grant to the New Israel Fund (NIF) for “research and report on anti-Semitism on US campuses.” I read it and couldn’t believe my eyes.
Let’s put the NIF aside for a moment. The RBF funds bodies that support the BDS campaign, which is at the spearhead of the demonization propaganda against the State of Israel. The style, the lies, the preaching and the brainwashing are similar to the patterns of action of the anti-Jewish campaigns in the 1930s.
There is no need for any research on anyone’s behalf, including the NIF, to know that whoever is exposed to these bodies’ propaganda quickly reaches the conclusion that Israel is a monster which has no right to exist. The heads of the BDS campaign are not trying to be self-righteous. They are saying these things out loud. They are against a two-state solution and in favor of Israel’s destruction. These are the bodies funded by the RBF.
Are these bodies’ activities anti-Semitic? Let’s put the Israeli definitions aside and refer to the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism. Well, BDS activists seem to fit almost every segment in that document. It includes, by the way, not just demonization but also double standards, comparing Israel to the Nazis and denying Israel’s right to exist or the Jews’ right for self-determination.

  • Monday, December 05, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
In his statement on the death of Fidel Castro, Mahmoud Abbas sent a telegram of condolence to Cuba.

In the telegram, Abbas wrote, "Cuba was the only Latin American nation that voted against the decision for the partition of Palestine in 1947, and since that time and it was as a champion for each national liberation movement in the world, especially the Palestinian revolution that it stood with in all international forums, did a lot to support the Palestinian people and the revolution, including Fidel Castro's statement dated 09/09/1973 during the fourth Summit of the non-aligned Movement meeting in Algeria [where he] cut diplomatic relations with Israel, and recognized the PLO."

Of course, the annual UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is specifically done on the anniversary of the partition resolution that the Arabs (and Cuba) were against. Yet even today, Mahmoud Abbas considers the resolution that would have given the Palestinians an independent state to be illegitimate, while at the same time claiming that it gives Palestinians the legal right to a state.

And the reason is because the resolution also included the creation of a Jewish state.

That is what makes it unacceptable to Mahmoud Abbas, then - and now.

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If you are lucky enough to never have heard of Martin Lejeune, you can read a sympathetic article about this German “journalist” at Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada (EI). It was exactly a year ago that the EI denounced Lejeune’s deportation from Israel, concluding that “he was denied entry because he has reported things that the powerful in Israel do not want us to know.”

Of course…

Well, one of the “things” Lejeune “reported” long before the EI spoke up for him was that the public executions of accused “collaborators” by Hamas in August 2014 were completely “legal” and that Hamas really truly treated the families of the executed with a praiseworthy sense of “social” responsibility. For the EI, this was no doubt an entirely acceptable point of view – after all, Abunimah as well as several EI contributors also justified the executions. But while Abunimah pontificated that “[in] every society wartime collaboration is seen as the most heinous crime and mortal threat to resistance,” Amnesty International eventually condemned the executions, concluding that Hamas had been eager to “‘settle scores’ against opponents under the pretext they were ‘collaborators with Israel’.”

For Lejeune, his defense of Hamas doomed his pretensions of being a “journalist” just when his “career” started to take off: claiming (falsely) to be the only German “journalist” in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Lejeune’s “reporting” was eagerly picked up and published by German language mainstream media (and even the BBC) until his defense of the executions set off some rather belated alarm bells. 

As a critical Facebook post on Lejeune and his credulous promoters pointed out in late August 2014, it shouldn’t have been hard to find out that Lejeune’s social media activities included being “friends” with people endorsing far-right views, conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial, as well as participation in groups cheering Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and advocating BDS against Israel. On the site of Mena Watch, Lejeune was identified as a Hamas apologist already in early August 2014.
A recent Mena Watch post on Lejeune highlights the vicious remarks he made during the fires in Israel at the end of November. In this context, one needs to know that in July, Lejeune converted to Islam – an event that was reportedly celebrated by Islamists and Salafists in Germany, and according to Lejeune, his embrace of Islam was not unconnected to his knowledge about the evils of Zionism. If Lejeune craved attention, his conversion certainly got him some: an article on the website About Islam under the title “German Journalist Reverts to Islam on `Eid” described him as a “famous German journalist,” duly noting that he “is known for his criticism of Israel;” the article garnered an astonishing 32.7K Facebook shares. [The embedded video doesn’t work, but the clip of the ceremony can be viewed here.]

With the recent fires raging in Israel, Lejeune happily joined those of his fellow-believers who took to social media to cheer the fires: like so many others, Lejeune opined that the fires were God’s punishment for Israel’s prohibition of the Muslim call to prayer (which wasn’t prohibited). It is noteworthy that an Israeli Muslim responded to him in no uncertain terms, rejecting what he called “the disgusting hatred” expressed by his “putative brethren in faith” and wondering when Lejeune would finally join the terror group ISIS.

But as documented by a German blog, Lejeune then went further and made a video where he professed doubts about the Holocaust, asserting that if it really happened as claimed, Jews would have learned a lesson and would surely not be so “inhumane” to Palestinians. Lejeune then emphasized that he was really hoping the fires would spare “Palestinians”, i.e. “Christians and Muslims,” but regretted being unable to wish the same for the Jews “because they treat the Palestinians so inhumanely.” To sum up Lejeune’s “philosophy”: since the Jews don’t behave as they should if the Holocaust really happened, let’s hope a lot of them will burn to death now.

Perhaps fearing that this wasn’t the best PR for his supposed status as a new “ambassador” for Islam and his “work” for Islamist groups, Lejeune soon decided to delete the clip and issue an apology of sorts. No prize for guessing who’s to blame for Lejeune’s supposedly temporary doubts about the Holocaust: naturally, the “Zionists” made him do it… But now, Martin Lejeune realizes that not all Jews are evil Zionists torturing and massacring Palestinians: there are also good anti-Zionist Jews – and Herr Lejeune stands ready to work with all good Jews “against Jew-hatred, against antisemitism, and against Zionism.”

Unsurprisingly, Lejeune’s “pledge” echoes Ali Abunimah’s Orwellian definition of antisemitism, which is based on his obscene claim that Zionism is “one of the worst forms of anti-Semitism in existence today.” Equally unsurprisingly, Lejeune’s “career” as an ardent Hamas apologist and Israel-hater also included collaborations with Max Blumenthal and David Sheen. Alongside Blumenthal and Sheen, Lejeune appeared in September 2014 at the “Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” i.e. an outfit whose members like to imagine themselves holding a kangaroo court to pronounce the world’s only Jewish state too evil to exist. Not long afterwards, in November 2014, Lejeune joined Blumenthal and Sheen for their infamous “Toiletgate” performance in Berlin, which both Lejeune and Blumenthal later defended passionately on the German channel of Russia’s propaganda outlet RT.
Lejeune’s website is appropriately named FlyingStone and it prominently displays a Palestinian flag, which links to his relevant posts. Though the site is updated only occasionally, the material that is posted is largely identical to the kind of content available on countless other sites run by anti-Israel activists and BDS campaigners. Lejeune’s eagerness to help promote the agenda that is so tirelessly touted by anti-Israel activists like Abunimah and Blumenthal is also evident from a speech he gave at the annual “Al Quds Day” rally last year in London, where he talked about “the catastrophe [i.e. Israel’s establishment] that started in 1948 and is still taking place right now.”

In short, one can be quite confident that Lejeune’s recent pledge to fight “against Jew-hatred, against antisemitism, and against Zionism” is sincere only regarding the dreadful evil he mentions last.

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From Ian:

Israel/Spain WC qualifier to be played in city boycotting Israel
The decision to hold a World Cup qualifying game between Spain and Israel in the city of Gijon has raised ire among officials in Israel due to the city passing a boycott resolution last January; 'It is unclear to us why out of all places, Spain chose the hold the game in this city.'
The Israel national team's World Cup qualifying game against Spain in Gijon has angered state officials because the city hosting the game has declared a boycott against Israel. Officials are also concerned that protests will accompany the game, which will be held on the 24th of March.
The Spanish national team holds games in many cities, so residents across the country have the opportunity to see the games.
In January 2016, the city council approved a boycott on Israel, which was initiated by extreme left-wing and socialist parties. Gijon Mayor Carmen Moriyón was opposed to the boycott, but her party and other centrist parties abstained and failed to overturn the decision.
Pro-Israel activists appealed the decision to the Administrative Court, but the judge rejected the appeal on the grounds that the action had no real practical significance, but was only a political statement.
The Real Illegal Settlements
While construction in Jewish settlements of the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem has long been carried out within the frame of the law and in accordance with proper licenses issued by the relevant authorities, the Palestinian construction is illegal in every respect.
The Palestinian goal is to create irreversible facts on the ground. The sheer enormity of the project raises the question: Who has been funding these massive cities-within-cities? And why? There is good reason to believe that the PLO and some Arabs and Muslims, and especially the European Union, are behind the Palestinian initiative.
The Jewish outpost of Amona, home to 42 families, is currently the subject of fiery controversy both in Israel and in the international arena. Apparently, settlements are only a "major obstacle to peace" when they are constructed by Jews.
The EU and some Islamic governments and organizations are paying for the construction of illegal Palestinian settlements, while demanding that Israel halt building new homes for Jewish families in Jerusalem neighborhoods or existing settlements in the West Bank.
The hypocrisy and raw malice of the EU and the rest of the international community toward the issue of Israeli settlements is blindingly transparent. Yet we are also witnessing the hypocrisy of many in the Western mainstream media, who see with their own eyes the Palestinian settlements rising on every side of Jerusalem, but choose to report only about Jewish building.
Who Keeps Shuafat Orphaned?
Israel may be accused of lacking sympathy for the refugees, but it lacks the power to improve conditions in Shuafat or other camps in the West Bank, let alone Hamas-run Gaza. The responsibility belongs solely to UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership, both of which remain content to continue the same cynical policies.
It also bears noting that Kushner’s article was published only a few days after Israel’s annual commemoration of the more than 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced to flee their homes in the Arab and Muslim world during the same time that the Palestinian refugee problem was born. Of course, none of those refugees or their descendants are still living in camps. They found new homes and lives in Israel or the West and did so without the assistance of the United Nations, instead relying on Jewish philanthropy.
The people of Shuafat may indeed be orphans. But if they remain in squalor and hopelessness, the fault lies with an Arab world that refused to do as the Jews did because they hoped to destroy Israel and with Palestinian leaders that feed the refugees hate instead of hope. The only real solution to this toxic mix is a peace that will end the century-old war against Zionism. But, like a rational resettlement plan, that is one solution the refugees and those who continue to exploit them seem unable to embrace. When a biased media ignores this fact, the biggest losers are the refugees.

  • Monday, December 05, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

I was curious why there was no news about a new, updated Fatah platform as a result of the Seventh Fatah Conference, and the first one since 2009.

It turns out that Fatah is still using the 2009 platform.

So we still have a Fatah that explicitly supports keeping its own people in "refugee camps" for political purposes:

Fatah Movement is committed to ..working hard to achieve the right of refugees for return, compensation and restitution of properties while maintaining the unity of the refugees’ cause regardless of their locations, including the refugees inside the green line..Fatah supports the need to preserve the refugee camps as a political witness to the  plight of the refugees who have been deprived of returning to their homes  pending the resolution of their cause.

Fatah will strive to preserve UNRWA as an international address for the rights of the refugees until their return to their homes and country.

Fatah even refers to Israeli Arabs as "refugees", let alone "refugees" living in camps in land under PLO control - it is a fundamental part of Fatah's platform to perpetuate the "refugee" issue forever, in concert with UNRWA. (The platform is also explicitly against Palestinians becoming citizens in Lebanon and remaining citizens in Jordan indefinitely.)

We still have a Fatah that refuses to sign a peace treaty unless every terrorist is released:

We commit ourselves to strive to liberate all Palestinian prisoners and never to sign any final peace agreement without the freedom of every one of them

Finally, we still have a Fatah that reserves the "right" to use terrorism:

Fatah adheres to the right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation by all legitimate means, including the right to use armed struggle. Such a right is guaranteed by international law as long as the occupation, settlement, and the denial of our inalienable rights continue

The Fatah platform is out there, in English. I am convinced that not one member of the Obama administration ever read it, nor has any New York Times columnist that pretends to be an expert on the Middle East.

Hopefully, with the new administration, the truth about how Fatah's ideals are nearly interchangeable with those of Hamas will be noticed by more people.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Monday, December 05, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

+972 magazine says:
The number of Americans who support imposing sanctions on Israel over its defiant settlement policies has shot up to 46 percent, the same percentage of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election.

That number has shot up nearly 10 percentage points over the past year, according to a national poll published by the Brookings Institute on Friday, on the sidelines of this week’s Saban Forum, “an annual dialogue between American and Israeli leaders.”

Among Democrats, a 60-percent majority “supported imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action” in response to Israeli settlements, the poll found. A much smaller number of Republican respondents (31 percent) support sanctions.

Now, look at how the question was worded:

One of the issues of tension between the United States and Israel has been its construction of Israeli settlements in the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. These settlements are considered illegal by most of the international community and have been opposed by every U.S. administration, both Republican and Democratic. The Israeli government has continued to build settlements arguing that they have the right to do so, or that these are not obstacles to peace.
How do you believe the U.S. should react to new settlements? 

The question starts off by priming the target with "Settlements are a source of tension between the US and the Israelis," "Settlements are illegal," and " The US has consistently opposed them." The Israeli viewpoint is presented as "Israelis have no good or valid arguments to support settlements but they build them anyway."

It is no surprise that the poll was created by Shibley Telhami, the  Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, and author of "The World Through Arab Eyes."

Pollsters should always check their questions for unintentional bias. It is hard to believe that the bias in this question was not intentional.

What if the question was worded:
The Jewish people have lived in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years, and it is the central part of their history. The international community supports a Palestinian state in those areas where the Jews who live in their ancestral homeland would not be allowed to stay in their homes. Should the US support the right of Jews to continue to live  in the land of their ancestors, or not?
How would people answer that question?

Or perhaps:
The vast majority of Israeli settlers live on land that would become part of Israel in any conceivable peace plan. How should the US react when Israel allows new houses on land that does not impact any Palestinians whatsoever and will become part of Israel anyway?

The poll had other leading questions. For example:
As you may know, there have been suggestions that the UN Security Council should endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state. This idea has received some support in Europe, but opposition in Israel. If the UN Security Council considers such a plan, what do you think the U.S. should do as a member of the UN Security Council? 
How about adding "Israel and the US have supported a Palestinian state but have insisted that it only come about from negotiations, not from  unilateral action by the UN, which has been consistently historically biased against Israel"?

The question also doesn't describe the differences if the US votes no or abstains, which most respondents wouldn't necessarily know.

The rest of the poll has similar issues.

A hilarious but very accurate description of how pollsters can lead a respondent to the answers they want comes from the British comedy Yes Prime Minister:

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  • Monday, December 05, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

On multiple occasions, Mahmoud Abbas has warned the world that Israel is turning the conflict into a religious conflict.

He said it to the UN Human Rights Council in October 2015.   He said it in a statement in November 2015. He said it in November 2014 and in October 2014, when he said, "The world know the dangers of using religion in political conflicts; we must all see what goes around us and Israel must pay attention and understand that such steps are dangerous to both Israel and others."

This is what Abbas said at the end of the Fatah conference Sunday:
When you return to your cities and villages and camps and fields tomorrow or the day after tomorrow remember every moment that what you have accomplished during this conference is the smaller Jihad; and the task before us now is to go onto greater jihad.
It is Abbas who chooses to frame the conflict in religious terms, not Israel.

And while he didn't call explicitly for a violent jihad, his closing remarks made it clear that violence will be condoned, as he praised the terrorists of the past and the present:

Congratulations to all of us have gathered here from all generations and all actors in the march of the Palestinian national struggle: pioneer guerrilla heroes from the beginning, and the brave revolution fighters in defense of Palestine...and the brave resistance fighters against the occupation in the occupied territory, and the courageous fighters for the intifada in Jerusalem and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the epic steadfastness  of our hero prisoners in Israeli jails.
Abbas praises violence and calls for jihad. This is not the Mahmoud Abbas that the Western media will ever mention.

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