Zionism is the belief that Jews have the right to self-determination in their own sovereign state on some part of their historic homeland. Zionism comprises a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to the same self-determination that all other nations are. To oppose Zionism is to refuse to accept its political manifestation, Israel, as a legitimate entity. Anti-Zionism denies the Jewish people what it readily bestows other nations (most emphatically to the Palestinians) - the right to nationhood, self-determination and legitimate coexistence with other members of the family of nations. This is inherently anti-Semitic.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Andrea Levin of Camera responds to Jimmy Carter's attempt to apologise "for any words or deeds that may have upset the Jewish community". Carter said he was offering an Al Het, a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement which signifies a plea for forgiveness. This is a response from Andrea Levin Executive Director of CAMERA
Dear President Carter:
We at CAMERA have been outspoken in our criticism of the many factual errors and distortions about Israel in your book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, as well as in various Op-Eds and media appearances. We've been greatly concerned that false allegations you've made damage Israel, promoting misunderstanding, enmity and prejudice against that nation and its people.
It is against this backdrop that we sincerely welcome your recent letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which you ask forgiveness from the Jewish community for statements that may have stigmatized Israel. As you may know, in Judaism the process of repentance also entails action to reverse any harm caused.
In this spirit, we urge you to join your promising words with concrete actions to redress troubling false statements you have made only recently about the Jewish state. In a Nov. 6, 2009 Op-Ed in the International Herald Tribune entitled "Goldstone and Gaza" you made false and exaggerated charges concerning the UN's Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict. You referred erroneously to the "destruction" of 40,000 homes in Gaza and claimed "several hundred thousand homeless people suffered through last winter." You refer to the "destruction of hospitals" and claim the Gaza Strip is "surrounded by an impenetrable wall." You claim "the Goldstone committee examined closely the cause of deaths of 1,387 Palestinians who perished. . . "
All these statements are factually false and contribute to inflaming negative perceptions of Israel. Efforts to redress the errors via communication with IHT editors failed with their saying you have refused to correct the false statements. We do hope you'll set the record straight and affirm your commitment to undo any wrongful stigmatizing of Israel. Below is the factual detail corroborating our concerns
about the errors made:
• Israel did not destroy 40,000 Palestinian homes.
Al Mazen Center for Human Rights, a pro-Palestinian NGO, recently issued a report called "Cast Lead Offensive in Numbers" in which it found that 2,632 houses were destroyed beyond repair and 8,522 were assessed as repairable. The latest UN figures are 3,600 homes beyond repair and 2,700 homes that sustained major damages. The Goldstone Report provides additional sources including the Palestinian NGO, Al-Dameer-Gaza, that cites 2,011 civilian and cultural premises as destroyed, of which 1,404 were houses that were completely demolished and 453 partially destroyed or damaged. Even the Arab League's report on Cast Lead states: "Over 3,000 homes were destroyed and over 11,000 damaged." There is no credible report that comes near your charges.
•There was no "destruction of hospitals."
Along with the World Health Organization and the Arab League, other international and Palestinian sources confirm that while there were hospitals damaged in the Gaza Strip, none were destroyed. The January 22-23 report by the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that four days after the cease-fire, hospitals were running at full capacity to treat the wounded. The report states:
Hospitals continue to function at full capacity as many injured patients remain hospitalized, with the result that hospitals have been unable to resume regular services such as elective surgery. Post-surgical physiotherapy is provided in Shifa hospital. Most repair work to the Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City, which was shelled on 15 January, has been completed and the facility is now functioning again.
• "Several hundred thousand" people were not made homeless, spending the winter in tents and caves and under plastic sheets.
A January 21-27, 2009 report by the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, issued just days after the end of the Gaza fighting found that
"Tens of thousands of Gazans remain homeless, with most staying with relatives or other host families." A Jan. 16-20, 2009 report, also by OCHA, stated: "As of late 20 January, 18,035 people remained in 30 shelters, down from 29,421 people on 19 January." Thus, the U.N.'s figure for those displaced last winter is one-tenth or less of the number you posit. Of those displaced, most stayed with relatives and not in tents, caves or plastic sheets.
• Gaza is not "surrounded by an impenetrable wall."
While a concrete and steel wall does separate Gaza from Egypt, a fence made of metal wire, posts and sensors separates Israel from the Gaza Strip. The fence has been penetrated many times, including when Palestinian gunmen crossed into Israel and kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit and killed two of his comrades.
• The Goldstone Report did not examine "closely the cause of deaths of 1,387 Palestinians."
The report identified by name only a small fraction of the 1,387 reported fatalities, and certainly did not "closely" examine the "cause of deaths" of that total. Again, we hope your conciliatory words are indicative of a true change of heart in which Israel is no longer subjected to unwarranted and false criticism. We urge you to take the concrete step of correcting the wrong and distorted statements about Israel in your recent column in the IHT.
Thank you for considering this request and, perhaps, setting the stage for a new beginning.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
This fascinating Jerusalem Post article "Hubs of deligitimization" by Amir Mizroch sums up the "new battlefield" into which Israel has been thown by malevolent groups bent on attacking Israel's very legitimacy. The groups include Muslim and anti-Zionist Jewish organisations and their message is not unlike the classic anti-Semitic mantras starting with accusations of poisoning the wells. This time however, the target is the Jewish State rather than individual Jews but the rest has a familiar tone.
Which strip of Palestine is under Israeli rule?
My son who is a genius at crosswords figured out that the the answer was "G _ Z _" but had trouble beyond that because, since 2005, when they moved out lock, stock and barrel, the Israelis haven't ruled in Gaza. For the most part, the place is ruled by a bunch of thugs from Hamas but don't tell the boffins at the Age.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Don't tell anyone but I believe it was swine flu (which will probably limit my chances of visiting Saudi Arabia any time soon).
Anyhow, will be back from time to time till after New Year and then I'm back with a vengance.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Islamic University of Gaza’s Rector of Advanced Studies has said:
"The Jews are the Jews…. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed…. It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land, make war on them anywhere that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them, kill themThe Jews are the Jews…. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed…"
Imagine if an LSE professor had said that of Palestinians or Muslims.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Not built by Jews so it doesn't qualify as an apartheid wall.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
This attitude is of course, light years away from the thugs who tried to bash their way into the Australia Israel Leadership Forum dinner on Sunday night chanting "Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea" (but which Age journalist Andra Jackson, not for the first time conveniently shortened to "Free Palestine" in her piece on the rioting in yesterday's Age or perhaps she's just partly deaf in the ear that was closest to the chanting). Miles away also from the Loewenstein crowd and Australians for Palestine whose is existence is based entirely on honing its Israel bashing skills and doing nothing to help the Palestinians or bring about peace with their Jewish neighbours.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Nor do we see images such as the one above which is one of many from Gaza depicted on the PalToday website that carry captions reading "Despite the blockade, Gazans go shopping for clothes for their children" and "Making cakes and buying sweets in preparation for the feast".
The Age and many others are either happy for their readers to believe that the Gazans are living in poverty and deprivation as a result of the "evil" Israeli blockade or totally ignorant of the true facts on the ground. Makes you wonder whether it's worth paying good money to have journalists swanning around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and where they get their ideas from.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Lerner, who has been critical of Israeli policies in the past, has been used by this crowd to push their cause of dehumanising and deligitimising the Jewish State at every opportunity.
Of course, the Loewenstein camp and the oddly named Australians for Palestine (oddly named because they exist only to denigrate the Jewish State and are, in fact, more dangerous to the Palestinians than the Israelis) have actually been exposed by Rabbi Lerner who preached a different message to theirs during his visit.
You see, Lerner says:
'The first step towards peace is for both sides to stop saying 'We're the innocent victims and the other guys are evil' - which is the discourse which predominates both in the Arab world and the Jewish world. We have to transcend the blame game and move to a discourse of mutual compassion'."
This was like waving a red rag to bulls like the blogger who runs Middle East Reality Check (MERC).
Middle East Reality Check is a misnomer if there ever was one because a cursory examination of the blog only demonstrates that its author is far removed from reality.
Of Lerner, MERC goes straight into attack mode and questions his consistency (Lerner was at the forefront of the anti Vietnam movement in the 60s.
One should ask how on earth MERC thinks peace can be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians? By the annihilation of the entire Israeli population as advocated by MERC's mates in Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups?
If not, why not? Because the NLF never had a written down aim to destroy the United States or to exterminated its entire population. That's why not.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Some people truly suck and Barghouti and his followers are among them.
Friday, December 04, 2009
BEFORE Steve Brook and Tom Walkenberg get on their high horse over the Swiss referendum banning minarets (Letters, 2/12), they might like to consider trying to erect the cross of Jesus or the Star of David in Saudi Arabia.
David Rosner, South Yarra
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Palestinians do not need students and professors on university campuses to tell them that Israel is bad. They have already had enough of this incitement from Hamas, Fatah and other Arab media outlets and leaders.
It is time for the “pro-Palestinian” camp in the West to reconsider its policies and tactics. It is time for this camp to listen to the authentic voices of the Palestinians – those that are shouting day and night that the Palestinians want good leaders and an end to lawlessness, anarchy and financial corruption.
Monday, November 23, 2009
HAMAS says it has reached an agreement with other militant groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets at southern Israeli towns, to prevent retaliatory attacks.
And there you have it. Thanks to the corrupt minds of once respected human rights organisations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and those that brought you the Goldstone Report, Hamas is so emboldened as to tell the world that it is ceasing rocket attacks not because they are heinous criminal acts against a neighbouring civilian population but in order "to prevent retaliatory attacks".
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Pilar Rahola is a Spanish politician, journalist and activist. She is a passionate defender of the United States and Israel and an indefatigable fighter against anti-Semitism. All these despite being ideologically from the left. Her articles are published in Spain and throughout some of the most important newspapers in Latin America. She is the recipient of major awards by Jewish organizations.
Why don't we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris, Barcelona? Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship? Why aren't there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection? Why aren't there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism? Why don't they defend Israel's right to exist? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism? And finally, the million dollar question:Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn't care.
And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: "We want freedom for the people!" Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hammas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.
The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don't inform, they propagandize. When reporting about Israel the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel, that there aren't any accusations left to level against her. At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel; the indoctrination of children and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.
And let me add on the topic of the Spanish left. Many are the examples that illustrate the anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments that define the Spanish left. For example, one of the leftist parties in Spain has just expelled one of its members for creating a pro-Israel website. I quote from the expulsion document: "Our friends are the people of Iran, Libya and Venezuela, oppressed by imperialism, and not a Nazi state like Israel."
In another example, the socialist mayor of Campozuelos changed Shoah Day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, with Palestinian Nabka Day, which mourns the establishment of the State of Israel, thus showing contempt for the six million European Jews murdered in the Holocaust. Or in my native city of Barcelona, the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Thus, they invited Leila Khaled, a noted terrorist from the 70's and current leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization so described by the European Union, which promotes the use of bombs against Israel. And so on and so on.
This politically correct way of thinking has even polluted the speeches of president Zapatero. His foreign policy falls within the lunatic left, and on issues of the Middle East he is unequivocally pro Arab. I can assure you that in private, Zapatero places on Israel the blame for the conflict in the Middle East, and the policies of foreign minister Moratinos reflect this. The fact that Zapatero chose to wear a kafiah in the midst of the Lebanon conflict is no coincidence; it's a symbol.
Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization. As I wrote before, they kill us will cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages. An yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.
And then it says it is anti Israeli because of solidarity. This is the madness I want to denounce in this conference.
I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not as anti Israeli as my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.
As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.
The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn't want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
The government has imposed a partial arms embargo on Israel and failed to vote against the Goldstone report in the U.N . The charities War on Want and Amnesty International U.K. have both promoted a book by the anti-Israeli firebrand Ben White, tellingly called "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide." The Trades Union Congress at its annual conference has called for boycotts of Israeli products as well as a total arms embargo.
In the media, the Guardian newspaper has stepped up its already obsessive campaign against the Jewish state to the extent that the paper's flagship Comment is Free Web site frequently features two anti-Israeli polemics on one and the same day. The BBC continues to use its enormous influence over British public opinion to whitewash anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East. Its Web site, for example, features a profile of Hamas that makes no mention of the group's virulent hatred of Jews or its adherence to a "Protocols of Zion"-style belief in world-wide Jewish conspiracies.
Yet, despite all that "the British media and political establishment is apparently cowering under the sway of a secretive cabal of Zionist lobbyists who have all but extinguished critical opinions of Israel from the public domain."
How does that work?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Compounding the hartred was this letter
Context would give a more balanced view
November 18, 2009
Peter Hartcher's reflection on the Goldstone report fails on a number of counts (''Israel feels tarnished as critics apply apartheid tag'', November 17).
Hartcher repeats the spin of the Israeli Government that vilifies the United Nations, calling it an "international resolution factory". Second, he fails to give any context for why the rockets were fired. He does not mention the decades-long struggle of the Palestinian people; the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails or who have lost loved ones due to 60 years of war; or the lack of resolution for the refugees of the 1948 and 1967 wars.
Hartcher fails to acknowledge Richard Goldstone's personal journey of discovery during his fact-finding mission. Goldstone cannot be faulted for his unquestioning support for Israel's security and legitimate right (and moral obligation) to self-defence.
But by visiting Gaza and interviewing Israelis by phone and in Geneva (he was denied permission to enter Israel) he concluded each of the 36 incidents they identified demanded formal investigation by Israel and Hamas.
They included an attack on a mosque that killed 21 people, the demolition of the American School in Gaza (a centre of anti-Hamas teaching) and the attack on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency with white phosphorus. He concluded that the collective punishment of Palestinians by bulldozing greenhouses, farms and destroying sewage treatment works had no military advantage - it was purely punitive.
Hartcher also misrepresents Izzat Abdulhadi, the head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia. Such was my disbelief at what Hartcher said that I called the Palestinian delegation to find out for myself. Mr Abdulhadi told me the Palestinian delegation was disappointed with Australia's stance on Israel and its rejection of the Goldstone report (not satisfied, as Hartcher says).
Let's hope Herald journalists can go on trips to Gaza and the West Bank as well as Israel in future, to help present a balanced perspective of this conflict.
Apart from being a mischievous peddler of untruths, this cold hearted bastard found a way to justify the firing of rockets at schools and kindergartens - at children in the context of a letter purportedly about human rights.
How low can you get?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I write in connection to a series of articles published in The New York Times in recent weeks regarding the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, colloquially referred to as the GoldstoneReport. I am deeply concerned by the subjective and often damning language that The New York Times uses towards Israel as it fails to accurately reflectthe nature and scope of the report.
Over and over, The New York Times’ articles on this matter employ languagethat easily leads the reader to believe that the Goldstone Report foundconclusive evidence that Israel committed war crimes. In Neil MacFarquhar’s“U.N. Council Endorses Gaza Report” (Oct. 16), the article statesthat the Goldstone Report “details evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli Army...” In Sharon Otterman’s “Gaza Report Author Asks U.S. to Clarify Concerns” (Oct. 22), the Goldstone Report is describedas having “found evidence of war crimes committed by Israel...” In yetanother example --MacFarquhar and Otterman’s “Palestinians, in Reversal, Press U.N. Gaza Report” (Oct. 14) -- the Goldstone Report is once againdescribed as having “found evidence of Israeli war crimes...” These articles reflect only a sample of the many that discuss Israel vis-à-visthe Goldstone Report in conclusive and condemnatory terms.
In stark contrast, a Reuters article carried by The New York Times on Oct. 14,“Israel Urged to Investigate Gaza War Crimes Charges,” describes theGoldstone Report as reflecting “U.N. allegations of possible war crimes.”The description offered by the Reuters piece is a critical component of anyfactually accurate discussion of the Goldstone Report. In sharp contrast,the aforementioned Times articles fail to reflect this vital distinctionas readers will falsely assume that the Goldstone Report found conclusiveevidence of Israeli war crimes.I wish to reiterate Israel’s position that the Goldstone Report is deeply flawed and one-sided as it offers legitimacy to Hamas terrorism and its deliberate strategy to launch attacks, store weapons and use as shieldsthe civilian population and infrastructure of Gaza. At the same time, the report’s mandate predetermined its findings that wrongly condemned Israel’s legitimate exercise of its right to self-defense. The tendency of The New York Times to gloss over such realities must be rectified andI sincerely hope that paper will use accurate and appropriate language toensure that its coverage of the Goldstone Report and the wide Middle Eastis fair and honest.
I remain at your disposal if you would like to further discuss this matter.
Mirit Cohen, Spokesperson, Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"The higher the tide of violence perpetrated by the Palestinians, the greater the fury and blame directed at the Israeli victims. The March 2002 attacks provoked the Israeli invasion of the leading West Bank cities in an attempt to destroy the terror networks, and stop the carnage. Yet the first Australian petition for an academic boycott of Israel initiated by a small clique of Australian academics after this invasion in May 2002 was directed at the victims of terror."Today, even as Hamas and Hizbullah continue to make warlike pronouncements their puppy dogs in the west try to project themselves as part of the peace camp. Hamas has endorsed the Goldstone Report but of course wipes its hands of the necessity to investigate the meagre allegations against it that it committed war crimes (Goldstone turned a blind eye to most of Hamas' war crimes but in an attempt to appear even handed or to salve his conscience he threw in a couple), the likes of Pilger win "peace prizes".
Ridiculous, isn't it.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The one depicted above which has been placed in Ramallah and Al Bireh apparently suggests that an Israeli businessman has been offered half of the shares in Al Jazeera. The media outlet's chief editor has slammed the billboards claiming that it's all "lies and nonsense". Which just about sums up 50% of the rubbish that comes from Al Jazeera so I suppose everybody's even.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The remaining concerts are at Brisbane's Conservatorium Theatre (Wed 11 Nov at 7:00pm), Adelaide's Town Hall (Fri 13 Nov at 8:00pm), Sydney's City Recital Hall Angel Place (Sat 14 Nov at 8:00pm), Hobart Town Hall (Sat 16 Nov at 8:00pm) Canberra's Llewellyn Hall (Thurs 19 Nov at 7:00pm) and Melbourne's Recital Centre (Tue 17 Nov at 7:00pm and Sat 21 Nov at 8:00pm).
I'm not into their music to tell the truth but I'm going to show my solidarity with these musicians. Australians must not allow these thugs and bullies who stand against peaceful co-existence to triumph.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Calling Sir. Richard Goldstone.
Your bosses at the the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Conference have another job for you.
This woman (The mother who brought down the Fort Hood killer) must be brought before a war crimes tribunal for depriving Major Nidal Malik Hasan of his basic human right to have a fair trial (I know he's not dead yet but what sort of a fair trial would he get from the infidels anyway)?
Where is the justice?
PS: If Goldstone's not available, there are many other impartial people who can do the job - peace prize winer, John Pilger perhaps?
Saturday, November 07, 2009
The Goldstone Illusion - What the U.N. report gets wrong about Gaza--and war
Friday, November 06, 2009
In the same article by the Australian's Middle East correspondent John Lyons, Palestinan negotiator Saeb Erekat, who once looked straight at a BBC World news camera and lied that "thousands of Palestinians were massacred in Jenin", told another whopper and that is that the PA is thinking of discarding the two-state solution in favour of a one-state solution.
As if his PA ever supported a two-state solution in the form in which it was intended from UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 to Oslo to the present day. The 1947 resolution specified a Jewish State and an Arab State and yet, the PA has steadfastly refused to recognise Israel as a Jewish State.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
But how is this possible when the leader of the mission that carried out the investigation and the author of the very same report Sir Richard Goldstone recently told the Jewish Daily Forward that "If This Was a Court Of Law, There Would Have Been Nothing Proven."
How is this so Sir Richard?
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
An election in Palestine usually means some sort of debate on the issue of making peace with Israel and establishing an independent Palestinian nation and which ends in an exhibition of mud slinging against Israel and the United States by all sides of the Palestinian political sphere because it's important to demonstrate to the Palestinian street that the other side is softer than theirs.
Judging from this offering from the official Palestinian Authority daily accusing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of taking bribes from Israel and wallowing in "a swamp of lies," the election campaign has begun - Palestinian Authority calls Clinton a corrupt liar.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
In Israel if you want to do something with Palestinians you can do it, but if you are in the Palestinian community, even in London, pressure is put on you not to do it. I want to believe there are people on the Palestinian side who want to have normal relations with Jews and Israelis. There are, but they are pressured not to. We want to support the message that it is possible to do things together.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Taking on water
AMNESTY International's report on Israeli water use on the West Bank (The Age, 28/10) is yet another example of a non-government organisation disregarding Israeli material and relying solely on Palestinian allegations to condemn Israel. Amnesty refused to hear from Israel's Water Authority. Israeli-Palestinian water policy is based on an interim agreement between the two sides, which allocates a set amount of water to the Palestinians. Israel has not only kept its side of the agreement, but has given the Palestinians more water than it is obliged to. By contrast, the Palestinians have breached their obligations by, for example, drilling illegal wells and failing to build sewage treatment plants that would make water available for agriculture, and for which they have received funding. Palestinian water consumption has, in fact, significantly increased since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967.
Israel has also frequently offered to provide the Palestinians with desalinated water. This offer is always rejected. Israelis living in the West Bank do, however, receive this water, which may help account for the discrepancies found by Amnesty.
Jamie Hyams, Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, South Melbourne
The problem is of course much more than water. It's all about politics and how to justify recalcitance on the part of one side that refuses to accept the other. Below is a letter writer seeking to justify violence because of the lies that enabled the report to see the the light of day. Another instance of theft of the truth which ultimately deprives people on both sides of their lives, which deprives children of their rights to a father or a mother. This is the sin and here is the lie -
SO ISRAEL takes most of the water now? Even in the Palestinian occupied territories. President Abbas is fed up because the US gives him and the Palestinians nothing, while Obama acquiesces to Israel's demands on settlement activity and probably the Goldstone report too. I think we are beginning to see why some people resort to futile violence and resistance. Futility breeds futility, and the blood is more and more on the international community's hands (that includes us).
Hisham Moustafa, Sandringham
* both letters can be found in the Age letters section here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Patrick Seale in a few short paragraphs manages to present practically all the well worn anti-Zionist allegations and critiques ("Mideast stalemate dooms Palestinians", 27.10.09)
Even the most cursory reading of his article throws up internal contradictions. He writes, for example, that "Cut off from the world by Israel, Gaza is increasingly integrated into the Egyptian economy.
It depends for its survival on goods smuggled in from Egypt through hundreds of cross border tunnels." Seale here firstly blames Israel for cutting off Gaza and then notes that the border between Gaza and Egypt is controlled by Egypt. How then can he hold Israel solely responsible for what he choses to call "The cruel siege of Gaza"?
Seale would do well to reflect on why both nations which share a border with Gaza feel it necessary to adopt such stringent border security measures.
Seale writes that nine tenths of the people in Gaza live below the poverty line, given the immense sums of money that the UN and other many organisations have been pouring into Palestine for decades he might have produced a useful contribution to understanding the present situation in Gaza if he investigated what happened to all this money - clearly it hasn't reached the people it was intended to help.
Seale's whole article is replete with nonsense, half-truths and one-eyed analysis. If his article reflects the standard of analysis of "a leading British writer on the Middle East" one shudders to think what sort of nonsense lesser British writers on the Middle East are churning out.
Dr Bill Anderson
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Why did the Arabs run? Their mass flight from Tiberias, Haifa, Safed, Jerusalem, Jaffa and from the village in those areas, seemed to have little to do with the fighting itself. Anyhow, down the ages civilians have traditionally stuck to their homes and their land, through wars and alien occupations, surviving as best they could, waiting for the end of their troubles. Why should the Arabs have behaved differently, even those who had been on good terms with the Jews? Some blame it on the Mufti. Arabs told their Jewish neighbors that agents of the Mufti said they should go or they'd get their throats slit by the Israelis. Some professed not to believe this, but thought they'd better do as they were told. Other Arabs thought Jewish control would be temporary, a matter of weeks, and that their safest bet was to get out until the Arab forces came back; otherwise they might be regarded as collaborators and suffer at the hands of their own bosses. Others may have been merely defeatist, assuming Jewish victory and preferring to live under Arab rule: the sense of national boundaries is not strong in most of the Arab world. Another likely cause was the example of the wealthy Arabs. When the poor worker in the town or on the land saw his betters disappear with their belongings, he was likely to conclude that the same danger existed for him, too. A dozen reasons probably combined to create the vast epidemic of fear that drove some 500,000 Arabs out of Jewish Palestine into the already overcrowded ranks of homeless, penniless "displaced persons." Should Israel take them back if they want to come? No one I talked to believed they should be readmitted -- any of them -- before the war ends. Aside from those who are hostile and potentially under the orders of Fawzi el Kaukji or the Mufti, they would be an intolerable burden on the new state's already staggering economy. Besides, the Jews feel no responsibility for their flight and, consequently, little obligation to help them return. After the war the question of the refugees can be discussed on its long-range merits.
Six decades later, the discussion continues.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bernstein put in the hard yards in the late 1970's and 1980's when human rights organisations really looked after the human rights of oppressed people around the world, rather than serve the interests of terror groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah.
Last week members of his former organisation were swanning around in a five star hotel in India - so much for caring for the poor and oppressed people of the world.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Unfortunately, perception and reality are poles apart in Palestinian politics and since the promises made have not included the destruction of the Jewish State, the honeymoon is now over.
Marty Peretz puts it nicely in his New Republic blog - Not Since Never Have the Palestinians Had a More Sympathetic American President.
Sometimes, it's not enough to have a sympathetic American President!
Friday, October 16, 2009
In an interview with Jewish Forward, Goldstone denied that his group had conducted “an investigation.” Instead, it was what he called a “fact-finding mission” based largely on the limited “material we had.” Since this “material” was cherry-picked by Hamas guides and spokesmen, Goldstone acknowledged that “if this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.” He emphasized to the Forward that the report was no more than “a road map” for real investigators and that it contained no actual “evidence,” of wrongdoing by Israel.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The fund will work to practically support Israeli and Palestinian Trade Unions undertaking projects of mutual interest, that foster peace and hope in the region.
Chairing the Inaugural meeting of the TULIP Executive, Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union said:
"The opportunity to provide practical support to working people in Israel and Palestine should not be missed. We aim to support projects developed by Israeli and Palestinian trade unions to bring progress to a region in need of more action rather than words."
Deatils on the TULIP website
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
One of my favourite television programmes was Drop the Dead Donkey, a situation comedy, that ran on Channel 4 in the UK in the 1990's. Set in the offices of "Globelink News", a fictional TV news company the series highlighted some of the worst characteristics of news presentation which, at its extremes includes the making of stories as sensational as possible, even where doing so requires the use of exaggeration or misrepresentation. In the programme, stories were sometimes invented or exaggerated and others suppressed. The title came from a decision to drop a mundane story about a dead donkey in favour of something else of a more newsworthy nature.
The story does highlight how adept some of the Gazans have become at lying, not only to their own people but also to the rest of the world. After all, if a so-called eminent jurist such as Sir Richard Goldstone could fall for the crock of lies he accepted during his recent so-called investigation into the Gaza war, then turning a donkey into a zebra has to be a cinch.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
It starts thus:
Ever since his June speech at Bar-Ilan University, Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that peace with the Palestinians is conditioned on
the latter accepting Israel as a Jewish state. During his much-lauded address at the United Nations, Netanyahu reiterated his position:
"We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state. As simple, as clear, as elementary as that. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people."
The Palestinians, for their part, have rejected Netanyahu's position. Their claim rests on three assertions: It is not the business of Palestinians to recognize the Jewish nature of Israel. Such recognition would endanger the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Acknowledging the Jewish state would negate the Palestinian right of return. So, should the Palestinians accept a Jewish State?
Israeli and Palestinian writers Roi Ben-Yehuda and Aziz Abu Sarah got together to explore the topic.
Then follows an interesting exchange.
Monday, October 12, 2009
WHEN awarded to terrorist Yasser Arafat in 1994, the Nobel peace prize was devalued in the eyes of many. When awarded in 2007 to a political body (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and a failed politician (Al Gore), who are dedicated to a problem that we can't control and that may not even exist, it became a joke.
With its awarding this year to Barack Obama, it has become a prize for hope over substance, rhetoric over action. No one who has read the resumes of other nominees could still think that Obama is a worthy winner. Why the selection committee overlooked nominees such as Sima Samar, an Afghan women's rights activist, or Dr Denis Mukwege, founder and head of the Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is hard to fathom. Especially when you bear in mind that Obama was in office for just 12 days when nominations closed.
One day, if his lofty ideals and ambitions materialise and the world does become a safer place, he may merit a peace prize. Until then, shouldn't we reward people who are actually doing something now?
Robbie Gore, McKinnon
Saturday, October 10, 2009
FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA WON WHAT? (Washington Post)
In a stunning development, Millard Fillmore Senior High School announced today that it had chosen Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year's valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of "Mr. Rabinowitz's intention to ace every course and graduate number one in his class." In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award "[expletive]ing awesome."
At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention "to read a book someday." The former Alaska governor was described as "floored" by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow. "You'll see," she said from her winter home in San Diego.
And in an astonishing coincidence, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar for best picture will be given this year to the Vince Vaughn vehicle "Guys Weekend to Burp," which is being story-boarded at the moment but looks very good indeed. Mr. Vaughn, speaking through his publicist, said he was "touched and moved" by the award and would do everything in his power to see that the picture lives up to expectation and opens big next March.
At the same news conferences, the Academy announced that the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award would go this year to Britney Spears for her intention to "spend whatever it takes to save the whales." The Academy recognized that Spears had not yet saved a single whale, but it felt strongly that it was the intention that counted most. Spears, who was leaving a club at the time, told People magazine that she would not want to live in "a world without whales." People put it on the cover.
The sudden spate of awards based on intentions or plans or aspirations was attributed to the decision by the Nobel Committee to award the peace prize to Barack Obama for his efforts in nuclear disarmament and his outreach to the Muslim world. (The committee said next year it will honor a Muslim who reaches out to the non-Muslim world.) Some cynics suggested that Obama's award was a bit premature since, among other things, a Middle East peace was as far away as ever and the world had yet to fully disarm. Nonetheless, the president seemed humbled by the news and the Norwegian committee packed for its trip to the United States, where it will appear on "Dancing With the Stars."
Friday, October 09, 2009
Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on Al-Quds Day: 'Israel Must Be Wiped Out Of Existence'
There are of course, many apologists in the West who give their full support and even tell lies for the Islamist terrorist organisations Hizbullah and Hamas and some even describe themselves as Jews (Loewenstein and his dodgy little wanna be mate Brull) or peace activists.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The institution of the UN is vital. The extent to which it has been hijacked has reached crisis point, however. The imperative to tackle human rights issues is thus subsumed by anti-democratic agendas. It falls to the democracies among us to haul this once-august body back on track.
Monday, October 05, 2009
To: Judge Richard Goldstone
From: Barbara Press
Subject: Hello Richard... It's been a while...
Our paths have crossed many times compelling me to correspond directly with you. I pray your indulgence that you hear me out by reading to the end of my missive. In fact I ask you to share my letter with Noleen from beginning to end and to respond with your thoughts.
It has been a while since (inspired by you as head of ORT South Africa) I, together with Rabbi Bernard at Oxford Shule, established a school to teach the Killarney-Houghton Black domestic workers how to write, read, sew, cook and drive. It has been a while since you praised my father, Hubert Press, as one of the finest business brains you had ever encountered. It was been a while since I dined with you, Noleen, David and Marilyn Rivkin, discussing opera.
Jewish life has been crying out for a man of the stature of Adolph Cremieux, of Justice Louis Brandeis, of Sir Moses Montefiore, people of the highest integrity and purpose. For those who champion their own people are remembered forever in the annals of history. But those who are self-serving are lost in a trail of ignominy.
South African Jewry stand tall and your efforts in championing Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa were applauded and earned you a reputation as a man of stature.
I am bewildered by the direction you have taken as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council. This rogue Council has been tainted by a membership that does not condemn Iranian tyranny, Chinese oppression, African despotism but spends their time condemning one country unjustly, Israel.
The Goldstone Commission bears your name. One would expect the mandate of any report to be objective so that your name could be respected and a legacy ensured. Instead your committee ignored the facts, embraced bias and rendered the report bearing your name, illegitimate.
You tried to defend yourself in the New York Times but it was transparent and not effective. You could have resigned from the commission and retained your integrity. You knew that Israel faced 12000 Grads and Kassams from its Iran backed terror base of Gaza, 8000 irreversibly traumatizing the families and children of Sderot. You knew that the U.N. never passed one resolution condemning these deadly missiles. You knew that before and during Operation Cast Lead Israel made thousands of cell phone calls to warn civilians. You knew that Israel sent housands of texts to warn civilians. You knew that Israel dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets in Arabic (I managed to obtain one of these as evidence) to warn civilians. You knew that Israel aborted operations to avoid civilian deaths. You knew that Israel set up medical facilities on the edge of Gaza to treat civilians. You knew that Israel dropped supplies of food into Gaza to feed civilians.
You also knew that Hamas operatives are not "civilians". You knew that not only were they not civilians but that they hid behind their own civilians to fire on Israeli civilians. You knew that they misused ambulances for military purposes. You knew that mosques and schools were used for Hamas depots and launching pads. You knew that Hamas operatives kill or shoot at the legs of any Gazans refusing to target Israel.
The video footage and U-tube sequences are still available for any and all of us to witness.
You clearly knew that one of your team members had condemned Israel in a published letter even before the conclusion of the incursion or the beginning of your investigation. But you did not resign or distance yourself from the hypocrisy of this illegitimate report. Instead a tedious 500-page report of the 3 week battle was padded with pages from the tainted U.N. mockery of Israel's security barrier (misnamed the "wall"). What a sad indictment of the charter of the United Nations.
Richard, you were indeed a respected legal giant in Johannesburg. This report did not arise from ignorance or naivete. I am trying so hard to resist the conclusion that your role and report might represent a self-serving desire to ingratiate yourself for a more senior position in the kangaroo court called the United Nations. But if true - and one hopes that this is not the case - at what price? Association with the infamous U.N. garners no respect in the USA so why would anyone seek to be head inmate at the U.N. Asylum?
I have been very direct as South Africans are want to be. But many of us South Africans have been tainted by the perfidy of the Goldstone report. This is the Jewish time of Judgment when the scales of fate are entered in the book of life and we all need to look into our souls. I am not sure how you could comfortably extricate yourself. Perhaps we could discuss this face to face.
Good Yomtov to you, Noleen and your family.
Barbara Press Fix
Sunday, October 04, 2009
IS AHMADINEJAD TRYING TO HIDE HIS JEWISH ROOTS BY BASHING ISRAEL?
Then again I simply can't picture Mahmoud asking Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to pass the gefilte fish at the dinner table.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
MOST TALKED ABOUT
IRAN V ISRAEL
GIVEN his at times somewhat clownish and outlandish behaviour, some people find it difficult to take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats seriously ("Iran in deadly warning to Israel”, 30/9). This is a grave mistake.
Adolf Hitler, another leader who many people found it difficult to take seriously until it was too late, in an address to the German Reichstag on January 30, 1939 stated that “I have often been a prophet in my life and was generally laughed at ... Today I will be a prophet again: If international finance Jewry within Europe and abroad should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequences will not be the Bolshevisation of the world and therewith a victory of Jewry, but on the contrary, the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.”
History tells us that we must take threats from egomaniacal, hate-filled political leaders seriously. It’s a matter of great urgency that something be done to stop the Iranian regime developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons. Israel would, I fear, be very mistaken if it were to place any faith in either the UN or the US taking effective action to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Surrey Hills, Vic
On the other hand, see if you can pick out how many errors, omissions and distortions of fact there are contained in Ann Faran's pithy generalisation and whitewash of a Holocaust denying regime which constantly threatens to wipe Israel off the map.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
29 September 2009 Transcript:
Yesterday, on Yom Kippur, Jews all over the world - in Jerusalem, Sderot, here in Geneva - commemorated Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish calendar. It is the day when, according to Jewish tradition, our fate is determined for the coming year: "Who will live and who will die, who will be raised up and who brought low". Not only for individuals but also for States, this is a decisive time. In the words of our prayers: "Which for war and which for peace, which for famine and which for plenty".
For the States in this Council this is indeed a fateful time. Today's debate is a real test of the integrity and purpose of this body. But more than that, the response to the challenge presented today will have a clear effect on our ability - collectively and individually - to face some of the greatest challenges in the year ahead.
Five years ago, in a remarkable gesture reaching out for peace, Israel removed every one of its soldiers and over 8000 civilians from the Gaza Strip. We withdrew hospitals and kindergartens, synagogues and cemeteries, leaving only the greenhouses we had struggled to build in the hope that these would be the start of a productive Palestinian society. And you, the States of this Council, applauded this unprecedented measure. You told us in no uncertain terms that in the nightmare scenario that terror would take root, you would back us in our inherent right to self-defense.
Five years later, the greenhouses had been ransacked by Hamas thugs, over 8000 rockets and mortars had been fired on schools and kindergartens in Sderot and other Israeli towns, and an unceasing supply of weaponry was being smuggled through tunnels into Gaza from terror-sponsoring states like Iran. Israel's urgent appeals to the international community were to no avail, and our attempts to extend a fragile cease-fire were met with new, increased barrages of missiles from Hamas. And all the while the range of the attacks was increasing. Now Ashkelon and Beer Sheva were within reach. One million Israeli children, women and men had to live every moment of their lives within seconds of a bomb shelter.
The decision to launch a military operation is never an easy one. It is even more challenging when we have to face an enemy that intentionally deploys its forces in densely populated areas, stores its explosives in private homes, and launches rockets from crowded school yards and mosques. These are new and horrendous challenges, and we sought to deal with them responsibly and with humanity. Yet when we dropped millions of leaflets and made tens of thousands of phone calls to warn civilians in advance of operations, we were witness to the callous and deliberate Hamas tactic of sending women and children onto the roofs of terrorist headquarters and weapons factories. In such cases, again and again missions were aborted, letting the Hamas terrorists escape, Israel protected Palestinian civilians that Hamas had put at risk.
In grappling with these dilemmas we seek the guidance of other states. We may not have all the right answers but we struggle to ask the right questions. And in discussions between officials charged with securing the lives of their civilians we hear genuine admiration for our restraint. For example, when Colonel Richard Kemp, Commander of British forces in Afghanistan was asked about Israel's conduct in Gaza, he replied: "I don't think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF in Gaza."
In complex urban warfare, though, civilian casualties are tragically inevitable. There also may have been incidents in which soldiers did not always maintain the standards that we expected of them. The true test of a genuine democracy is how it deals with such cases, and how it examines its own failings. Following the Gaza Operation, Israel has opened over 100 separate investigations into fundamental operational questions, like damage to UN centers and medical facilities, as well as specific allegations of misconduct. Of these investigations 23 have already resulted in criminal proceedings. And this process continues. Any decision regarding whether to open criminal proceedings can be appealed by any Israeli or Palestinian to Israel's Supreme Court - a court which has been cited with respect and admiration throughout the democratic world.
Israel struggles to deal with these tough questions, raised by terrorists acting within civilian centers. Sadly, these are questions which also occupy many other democratic countries and which they and we will have to continue to grapple with. But these questions, apparently, do not occupy the authors of the shameful Report which has been presented to this Council.
Like many of the States in this Council, we could not support a resolution which only addressed one side of the conflict, and which established four separate mechanisms to condemn Israel and not even one to examine Hamas.
Like many of the distinguished individuals who rejected invitations to head the fact finding mission with its one-sided mandate, we objected to a mission which, in the words of Mary Robinson, was "guided by politics not human rights". While Israel has cooperated with dozens of inquiries and investigations from international organizations and NGO's into the events in Gaza it refused to cooperate with this Mission. And the Report presented today fully justifies that decision.
Even prior to the start of any investigation one member of the Mission went on public record stating that Israel's defense of its civilians against Hamas' attacks was "aggression not self-defense". The document submitted today simply reiterates that prejudice. Mr. President
This is a report - 575 pages - in which the right of self defense is not mentioned, in which the smuggling of weapons into Gaza through hundreds of tunnels deserves not a word.A report based on pre-screened Palestinian witnesses, not one of whom was asked about Hamas terrorist activity or the abuse of civilians, hospitals and mosques for terrorist attacks. A report which is based on carefully selected incidents, cherry picked for political effect. As Justice Goldstone revealed in an open correspondence: "We did not deal with the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas. We avoided having to do so in the incidents we decided to investigate." A report which gives credibility to every allegation or hearsay against Israel, and none to even direct admissions of guilt by Hamas leaders. Indeed which sometimes accepts the same source as authoritative as against Israel, but somehow unreliable vis-à-vis Hamas.
Mr. PresidentThe authors of this "Fact-finding Report" had little concern with finding facts. The Report was instigated as part of a political campaign, and it represents a political assault directed against Israel and against every state forced to confront terrorist threats. Its recommendations are fully in line with its one-sided agenda and seek to harness the Security Council, the General Assembly the International Criminal Court, the Human Rights Council, and the entire international community in its political campaign. In so doing it seeks to inject these bodies with the same political poison that has so undermined the integrity of this Council.
M. President, Unlike the Hamas terrorists who rejoice with every civilian death, Israel regards every civilian casualty as a tragedy, Israel is committed to fully examining every allegation of wrongdoing. Not because of this Report but despite it.
For let there be no doubt. This Report will do nothing to ease the lives of those in Sderot and Gaza City, Kiryat Shemona and Jenin. In providing support and vindication for terrorist tactics, it is a betrayal of Israelis and moderate Paelstinians alike.
In the final analysis, the true test of such a Report can only be whether in future armed conflicts it will have the effect of increasing or decreasing respect for the rule of law by the parties. Regrettably this one-sided report, claiming to represent international law but in fact perverting it to serve a political agenda, can only weaken the standing of international law in future conflicts. This report broadcasts a troubling - and legally unfounded - message to States everywhere confronting terrorist threats, that international law has no effective response to offer them, and so serves to undermine willingness to comply with its provisions. At the same time, it signals an even more troubling message to terrorist groups, wherever they are, that the cynical tactics of seeking to exploit civilian suffering for political ends actually pays dividends.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we want to find a way to live in peace with our neighbors. This is the ultimate question that Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the General Assembly in New York last week:"The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us ... of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense? [...] Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
Thank you very much.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
inspecting a Muslim SS parade in 1944.
An exhibition currently at Museum Victoria is entitled "Handing on the Key". It's about the supposed dispossession of the Palestinians.
While I have not yet been for a view, I understand that the Museum has produced a very slick brochure which containing a great deal of Palestinian mythology and propaganda (at taxpayer's expense).
There's no sign there of the century long history by Palestinian Arabs of bloodshed and hatred against the Jews of the region. Nothing about the attacks on Jews in the 1920's culminating in the Hebron Massacre of 1929 when 69 Jews were murdered, raped and run out of town, nor of the Arab riots of the 1930's, nor of the constant attacks and massacres of Jews of the 1940's, nor of the threat by the Arab League and invading armies in 1948, the fedayeen murderers in the 50s and 60s, the murderous terrorist attacks of the 70's and 80s, the intifadas and treachery of Arafat after the Oslo Accords.
In particular, there is nothing about Arab-Nazi collaboration in Germany's attempt to bring about a final solution to its Jewish problem headed by the Palestinian Mufti of Berlin. The Museum must believe that this extraordinary collaboration is also a taboo topic.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians by Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi
Was the UN commission's approach one-sided against Israel, or unbiased and objective as commission chairman Richard Goldstone contended? Statements of Palestinians recorded by the commission and posted on the UN website provide authentic evidence of the commission's methodology and raise serious questions about its intentions to discover the truth.
Commission members did not ask the interviewed Palestinians questions about the activities of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip which could be classified as war crimes or that were potentially dangerous to innocent Palestinians. Furthermore, there was no serious consideration of Palestinian "friendly fire" incidents, and we can only guess how many Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded by Palestinian fire.
Reports issued by the Palestinian terrorist organizations themselves detailed the fighting in a way that often contradicted the Palestinian witnesses. In addition, the witnesses hid vital information from the commission regarding the presence of armed terrorists or exchanges of fire in their vicinity.
On June 28 and 29, 2009, the Goldstone Commission recorded Palestinian statements at the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City. The following is an analysis of the four main statements, the way the commission interpreted them, and reports from other Palestinian sources which contradict the testimony presented to the commission.
On September 15, 2009, the UN investigating commission known as the Goldstone Commission published its conclusions regarding Israel's Gaza operation (December 27, 2008-January 18, 2009), accusing Israel of violating both international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, and committing war crimes.
In response, the Israel Foreign Ministry issued an official statement accusing the commission of bias and one-sidedness, and of ignoring the thousands of Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians which, Israel claimed, made the military operation an absolute necessity. "The one-sided mandate of the Gaza Fact-Finding Mission, and the resolution that established it, gave serious reasons for concern....At the same time the report all but ignores the deliberate strategy of Hamas of operating within and behind the civilian population and turning densely populated areas into an arena of battle," said the ministry.
The Goldstone Commission Never Asked About Palestinian War Crimes
Was the UN commission's approach one-sided against Israel, or unbiased and objective as commission chairman Richard Goldstone contended? Statements of Palestinians recorded by the commission and posted on the UN website provide authentic evidence of the commission's methodology and raise serious questions about its intentions to discover the truth. Commission members did not ask the interviewed Palestinians questions about the activities of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip which could be classified as war crimes or that were potentially dangerous to innocent Palestinians. They never asked about:
Launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages from within residential dwellings;
Firing mortar shells into Palestinian neighborhoods when IDF forces were operating in or near the area;
Firing anti-tank missiles, rifles, and machine guns at Palestinian buildings in Gaza suspected of having been entered by IDF forces despite the presence of Palestinian civilians in the area;
Seizing private homes from which to ambush IDF forces;
Booby-trapping houses before and during the war and detonating the bombs;
Planting various types of anti-personnel and anti-vehicle IEDs near houses and detonating them;
Sniping and firing heavy machine guns at IDF forces within Palestinian residential areas.
None of the statements taken by the commission (as posted on the UN website) reported even one single instance of the presence of armed Palestinians, or of armed Palestinians firing rockets at Israel or shooting at IDF forces operating in the Gaza Strip. There was no serious consideration of Palestinian "friendly fire" incidents, which occurs with the most disciplined armies, but is not adequately examined as an explanation for Palestinian losses, and we can only guess how many Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded by Palestinian fire. In fact, they reported that throughout the entire three weeks of fighting there was no significant Palestinian resistance.
The commission did not press the witnesses in order to elicit more information and did not confront them with the reports issued by the Palestinian terrorist organizations themselves, which detailed the fighting in a way that often contradicted the Palestinian witnesses. It did not adequately examine Palestinian rules of engagement - or the lack of any such rules. In addition, the witnesses hid vital information from the commission regarding the presence of armed terrorists or exchanges of fire in their vicinity, casting doubt on their reliability.
Case Studies: Analysis of Palestinian Testimony to the Goldstone Commission
On June 28 and 29, 2009, the Goldstone Commission recorded Palestinian statements at the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, and posted the questions and answers on the commission's website.1 The following is an analysis of the four main statements, the way the commission interpreted them, and reports from other Palestinian sources which contradict the testimony presented to the commission:
Statements from the al-Silawi Family
Three members of the al-Silawi family were interviewed by the commission: Moussa al-Silawi (91, blind), Sabah al-Silawi (Moussa's wife), and Mouteeh al-Silawi, a Hamas official.2 The most detailed statement was that of Mouteeh al-Silawi, deputy director of the Hamas administration's Muslim religious endowments ministry for the northern Gaza Strip, who said he was giving a sermon when the mosque was attacked. He claimed that there was no military activity in the Ibrahim al-Maqadma mosque or around it during the attack. Worshippers came to the mosque seeking a safe haven on the assumption that it was a secure place. The evening and night prayers were said one after another to prevent unnecessary movement of worshippers outside the mosque. Israel committed a war crime in violation of international law by attacking civilians in a mosque.
The commission members asked: What is the name of the mosque and where is it located? What was the date of the event? Was a warning given before the attack? When was the mosque built? Were the people killed the supporters of families? Was there a noise before the explosion and what damage did it do? How many people were killed and wounded in the attack? How many people were in the mosque when it was attacked? How far is the mosque from the nearest hospital? Does the hospital have a sufficient quantity of medical equipment and are its services sufficient?
They also asked: Under what conditions are the two prayers [evening and night) joined? Do more people come when prayers are joined? Was this the first time the prayers were joined? When does the evening prayer begin and when does it end? When prayers are joined, exactly how much time elapses between them? When, during the confrontation, did the mosque begin joining the prayers? Was January 3 the first day the prayers were joined?
Many of the questions were irrelevant and unconnected to the circumstances of the event. The commission members did not ask about armed men in the mosque, whether it was used for military purposes or incited worshippers to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. They did not ask if there were weapons in the mosque, if armed men were operating near the mosque, whether Hamas and its Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades controlled the mosque and used it to recruit operatives, or the identity of the casualties and their organizational affiliation (including members of the al-Silawi family).
An examination of freely accessible Palestinian sources shows that the casualties in this incident were terrorist operatives and included members of the al-Silawi family, who were represented to the commission as innocent civilians.
The terrorists killed in the attack included:
Ibrahim Moussa Issa al-Silawi, an operative in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing. Born December 1, 1946, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website, Ibrahim "received his love of jihad and hatred for the Zionist enemy with his mother's milk." In 1984 he joined the Islamic Movement (which later became Hamas) and was a Muslim Brotherhood operative. He had close relations with Nizar Riyyan, a senior Hamas terrorist operative, and joined the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in 2003, at the age of 38. He was posted to the northern Gaza Strip brigade and participated in military missions: manning front-line positions in Jabaliya, fighting IDF forces, and digging and preparing tunnels for Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades use.3
Omar Abd al-Hafez Moussa al-Silawi (Abu Souheib), an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative. Born in Saudi Arabia on September 29, 1981, and joined Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2004 he joined the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and was posted to front-line positions on the eastern border of Jabaliya. He also prepared and planted IEDs, participated in fighting the IDF, and launched mortar shells and Kassam rockets at Israeli towns and villages.4
Sayid Salah Sayid Batah, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative. Born on April 7, 1986, in Jabaliya. A Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood operative, he joined the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and was deployed in the northern Gaza Strip brigade. He was posted to front-line positions in Jabaliya, prepared and planted IEDs, and dug and prepared tunnels for Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades use.5
Ahmed Hamad Hassan Abu Ita, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative. Born in Saudi Arabia on February 15, 1984. A Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood operative, he joined the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in 2006 and was posted to front-line positions. He fought the IDF in the Jabaliya, al-Salatin and al-Atatra regions, prepared and planted IEDs, was deployed in the suicide bombers' unit, and regularly participated in ambushes against IDF soldiers. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website reported that he was one of the operatives who received instructions, after the initial Israeli air attack on December 27, to deploy in accordance with previous instructions. According to the website report, on January 3 he went to the Ibrahim al-Maqadma mosque to meet "young people" and was killed in the IDF attack there.6 [Note: The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades version clearly shows that Hamas uses mosques as meeting places for its operatives to coordinate their fighting against the IDF.] His father said that during the first week of the fighting his son launched rockets into Israeli territory every day.7
Muhanad Ibrahim al-Tanani (Abu Islam), an operative in the Al-Quds Battalions, the military-terrorist wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, born April 23, 1988. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad website reported that his parents brought him up to love jihad. When the Second Intifada broke out he was 12, and often went to the Erez crossing with other children to throw rocks at the IDF post and confront the soldiers. In 2002 he joined the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and later its military-terrorist wing. He underwent military training and was posted to front-line positions on the northern border of the Gaza Strip. In addition to his military activities he participated in Palestinian Islamic Jihad meetings and events, and led the organization's Internet forums.8
Rajah Nahad Rajah Ziyyada, 18, an Al-Quds Battalions operative.9
Ahmed Assad Diyab Tabil, 16, a Hamas operative, was a member of the Hamas student organization, which recruited him into the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.10
Statement of Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar
Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar represented himself to the commission as the director-general of Hamas' ministry of Muslim religious endowments.11 He said he had been detained in Israel in 1992 for belonging to Hamas. He told the commission that his house was "unjustly" blown up by the IDF. He said he had received a telephone call warning him to evacuate the house from someone who identified himself as an IDF representative and that twenty minutes later his house was struck from the air.
Askar said a short time later the area around the Al-Fakhura school was also bombed. The school served as a shelter for many Palestinians from Beit Lahiya, Al-Salatin and Al-Atatra, who regarded it as a safe haven because it was located in the middle of the refugee camp and it was flying the UNRWA flag. He said he saw three bombs hit the school region and he heard more. Two hit the house of the Diyab family, killing 11 people. Dozens of people were killed near the school and most of the casualties were children. There were no armed men in the area, as opposed to Israeli claims. Two of his children, Khaled and Imad, were killed, as was his bother Raafat, all of them, according to Askar, innocent civilians.
The commission members asked: Was the telephone warning you received a recorded announcement and what did you do following it? Did you receive the call via a land line or cell phone? Where did you go when you left the house? How much time passed between the attack on the Al-Fakhura school and the attack on the Diyab family house? Did you or any of your family visit the Diyabs' house after the attack on yours?
Although Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar admitted being a Hamas operative and having been detained by Israel, the commission did not think to ask whether he was connected with the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. They did not ask him whether those killed near the school belonged to any organization or were military-terrorist operatives.
An examination of freely accessible Palestinian sources shows that contrary to his claims, he and his sons were directly and closely linked to the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, a connection which included providing terrorist operatives with weapons and ammunition, and that there were a number of Palestinian terrorist operatives in the Al-Fakhura school area, as follows:
Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar himself plays a key role in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.12 Some of his sons also belonged to the Brigades, among them Khaled (killed in the attack), Ahmed (killed on July 7, 2006, when he tried to launch an anti-tank missile against an IDF force),13 and Osama (critically wounded fighting the IDF on October 13, 2004).14
Khaled Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar (Abu al-‘Izz), Mohammed's son, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, was born on December 12, 1989, in Jabaliya. At the age of 15 he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and was active in the Hamas student organization, which serves as a recruiting agency for the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. In 2006 he was accepted into fighting groups posted in front-line positions. He underwent an advanced military training course and was posted to a special unit of the north Gaza battalion where he participated in dozens of ambushes and fought against IDF forces. He served as a military instructor in the Imad Aqel battalion and supervised the ambush and suicide unit.
He was supposed to be the third member of a Hamas squad in a suicide bombing attack on October 26, 2007, but an operative named Ghassan al-Ela was sent in his place. Khaled was offended and demanded to be sent on a suicide bombing mission. In March 2008 he was sent to ambush IDF forces operating in the northern Gaza Strip, but because of conditions on the ground the attack was aborted. He again demanded to be put at the top of the suicide bomber list. On June 4, 2008, he and four other Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives prepared a suicide bombing attack, but a technical error caused the bomb to explode and he was the only one who survived. He again demanded to be sent on a suicide bombing mission, although he had gotten married on December 12, 2008.
He was killed in January 2009 in the attack in the region of the Al-Fakhura school. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website reported that during the last months of his life he worked for the military supply unit and provided operatives with weapons, missiles, and military equipment. This information is particularly important because it supports IDF intelligence that the house of Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar, where his son Khaled lived, served as an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades weapons storehouse.15
Others terrorist operatives killed in the same incident included:
Bilal Hamzah Obeid, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, who was killed along with Khaled Abu Askar in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.16
Raafat Abu Askar, a military-terrorist operative in the security services with the rank of warrant officer, killed in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.
Osama Jemal Obeid, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, killed in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.17
Iyad Jaber Aman, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative, killed in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.18
Abd Muhammad Abd Qudas, a Fatah operative active in Palestinian Military Intelligence, killed in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.19
Atia Hassan al-Madhoun and his son, Ziyad al-Madhoun, operatives in the Brigades of National Resistance, the military-terrorist wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Atia was regional commander for Jabaliya. The two were the father and brother of Hassan al-Madhoun, one of the senior commanders of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was lynched by Hamas in the summer of 2006. The two were killed in the attack near the Al-Fakhura school.20
Statements of Wail and Salah al-Samouni
Wail and Salah al-Samouni described the shelling of Wail's house, where the extended al-Samouni family had sought shelter and where more than 20 people were killed.21 They told the commission: At about 5:30 a.m. on the morning of January 5 Wail left the house with some other men to bring wood for a fire. As soon as they left the house a helicopter filed a missile at them and then a number of missiles as the house. After the house was hit the wounded proceeded toward Salah a-Din Street and were refused medical attention by the IDF soldiers. Salah claimed that the soldiers fired shots over their heads to frighten them and make them leave more quickly. They said there was no activity of armed Palestinians around the house where the family members had sought shelter. Salah al-Samouni said that "everyone is a farmer, I swear to Allah that everyone is a farmer," and rejected the possibility that they were armed or wanted.
The commission members asked: Can Wail describe the soldiers and identify them according to their voices and uniforms? How did the IDF forces destroy the agricultural land near the house? How large was the agricultural area destroyed by the IDF? Was the witness treated at the Shifa Hospital?
The commission did not ask about the identity of the dead Palestinians and about the possibility that some of them were terrorist operatives. It did not challenge their claim that there were no armed Palestinians in the area, despite reports by both Palestinian terrorist organizations and the IDF about exchanges of fire in the area. In addition, the commission did not press the witness about his claim that the soldiers did not provide medical attention, in contradiction of a statement given by a female member of the family who told the NGO B'tselem that the soldiers had given them medical aid.
An examination of freely accessible Palestinian sources shows that Wail and Salah al-Samouni hid important details from the commission which could shed light on the event. An examination of their statements and the statements of other members of the al-Samouni family to human rights organizations and published in Palestinian newspapers raises questions as to the veracity of their version of what actually happened on January 5.22
Members of the family repeatedly claimed that all the people in the house were ordinary civilians. However, at least three were affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Meisa al-Samouni did not tell B'tselem that her husband, Tawfiq Rashad Hilmi al-Samouni, who was killed on January 5, was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operative. She and the other members of the extended family, including Wail and Salah (who gave statements to the Goldstone Commission), never mentioned or hinted that other family members in the house at the time were Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives, among them Muhammad Ibrahim Hilmi al-Samouni and Walid Rahad Hilmi al-Samouni. A Palestinian Islamic Jihad flyer noted that Muhammad and Walid al-Samouni were active in fighting against the IDF in the Zeitun neighborhood.
The al-Samouni family members firmly adhere to the version that there was no Palestinian military activity near the house and that the nearest military activity was at least a mile away, and that, they claimed, was limited to firing rockets into Israeli territory, not close fighting.
However, the official Palestinian Islamic Jihad version is completely different. In a statement issued on January 5, Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that on the evening of January 4 its fighters had fired an RGP from the Zeitun neighborhood at an Israeli tank and had opened fire at IDF soldiers. At 1:20 a.m. on January 5, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad engineering unit detonated a 50-kg. bomb near an Israeli tank not far from the Al-Tawhid mosque near the house of Wail al-Samouni. At 6:30 a.m., the engineering unit detonated a bomb near an IDF infantry unit operating near the Al-Tawhid mosque in the Zeitun neighborhood.23 According to another official Palestinian Islamic Jihad statement, one of its operatives was killed in fighting nearby. His name was Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni.
The significance of the foregoing is that the four men who left the al-Samouni house in the early hours of the morning, among them Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni, did not necessarily do so for the innocent reasons given by their family. They might have gone out for a reason connected to the military activities taking place in the same area between Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist operatives and IDF forces. Palestinian Islamic Jihad reported that operatives of its military-terrorist wing, the Al-Quds Battalions, "surprised the occupation forces and attacked them from behind their lines, and there was a fierce battle in the southern part of the Zeitun neighborhood." Another report, given "exclusively to the Muslim Brotherhood website," detailed Palestinian Islamic Jihad activities in the Zeitun neighborhood on January 5: "According to eye-witnesses, the fighters of the resistance waited and barricaded themselves in secure locations, remaining in places inhabited by civilians, from which they left to carry out planned attacks against the forces of the Zionist occupier."
Statement of Khaled Muhammad Abd Rabbo
Khaled Abd Rabbo reported on the deaths of two of his children on January 7, 2009.25 Khaled lives in Jabaliya near the Israeli border in a four-story house. He and his family did not leave it even when the land battles began. He claimed he saw no activity of armed Palestinians in the area. He said that on January 7 an IDF force entered the area around his house and positioned tanks nearby. The soldiers used a megaphone to call the residents out of the house. They came out holding a white flag, and one of the soldiers got out of a tank and shot at his children for no reason. He said two of his daughters were killed, another was seriously wounded, and his wife was also wounded.
No questions were asked by the members of the commission, not about the events, or whether there was fighting in the area, or whether there were armed Palestinians.
Contrary to the claims made by Khaled Abd Rabbo, Palestinian sources reported on armed Palestinian activity in the area near the incident and on exchanges of fire between Palestinians and IDF forces. At the time Khaled claimed his daughters were shot by IDF soldiers, four other Palestinians were killed nearby: Ibrahim Abd al-Rahim Suleiman, 19, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative; Shadi Issam Hamad, 33, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (George Habash) operative; Muhammad Ali al-Sultan, 55, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative; and Ahmad Adib Faraj Juneid, 26, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative.26
The circumstances of Ahmed Juneid's death shed light on the event: Ahmed Juneid joined Hamas in 2003 and later joined the Muslim Brotherhood and also became an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operative. He was posted to the front-line positions in Jabaliya, joined the Brigades' sabotage and suicide bomber unit, and participated in ambushes and fighting with IDF forces. According to the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website, Ahmed Juneid was another one of its operatives who, after the IDF attack on December 27, 2008, was ordered to take up a position at the front according to previous instructions. According to the website report, on January 7 he participated in an ambush of IDF soldiers in one of the houses in the eastern part of Jabaliya along with other Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives. The Hamas squad was identified by the IDF and an exchange of fire ensued. The IDF force was forced to withdraw and armed vehicles were brought in, forcing Juneid to leave the house he was in and go elsewhere. A surveillance plane located him and fired a rocket, killing him.27
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades report reveals information about the exchange of fire between the IDF and armed Palestinians in the area where Khaled Abu Rabbo's daughters were killed, and its closeness in time to the events he reported. His version and the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades website provided similar descriptions of the advance of IDF armored vehicles into the area at the same time. However, Khaled Abu Rabbo did not tell the UN commission about the exchanges of fire between IDF forces and Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives. The possibility cannot be ruled out that his children were caught in the crossfire and may have been killed by Palestinians.
As we can see from a detailed analysis of freely accessible Palestinian sources (in Arabic), competing explanations exist that counter the claims of the Palestinian witnesses who testified before the Goldstone Commission. At the same time, questioning by the members of the commission proved to be superficial and was ill-suited to elicit the truth about events in Gaza.
22. The full investigation of the events at the al-Samouni house, including references, can be found at http://www.jcpa.org.il/Templates/showpage.asp?FID=586&DBID=1&LNGID=2&TMID=99&IID=22500
Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi is the research director for the Orient Research Group and a research fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Halevi previously served as a senior adviser for political planning in Israel's Foreign Ministry