We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Friday, 31 October 2014

David Singer: Palestine Wallows With Sweden In Ikea La-La-Land

Here's the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.

He writes:

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s announcement on 30 October that Sweden has recognised the State of Palestine elicited a response from Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman that will surely go down as one of the most memorable diplomatic quotes of 2014:

"It is too bad that the government of Sweden has chosen to adopt the measure that does a lot of damage and has no benefits. Sweden must understand that relations in the Middle East are much more complicated than self-assembly furniture at Ikea"
Ms Wallstrom’s reasons for justifying Sweden’s incredible decision were:
“The Government considers that the international law criteria for the recognition of the State of Palestine have been satisfied. 
There is a territory, albeit with non-defined borders. There is also a population. And there is a government with the capacity for internal and external control…. 
The Government's assessment that the international law criteria have been fulfilled is shared by international law experts, including Professor Ove Bring, Professor Said Mahmoudi and Professor PĂ„l Wrange, who recently wrote an opinion piece on this subject in Dagens Nyheter (20 October).”
It seems inconceivable that Professor Bring, Professor Mahmoudi and Professor Wrange could have reached the conclusions attributed to them by Ms Wallstroms.

Hopefully someone conversant in the Swedish language might be kind enough to post a translation in English to verify what they actually wrote.

Certainly Ms Wallstrom’s assertion that the international criteria for recognition of the State of Palestine have been satisfied – are rebutted by the clear terms of Article 1 the Montevideo Convention 1934 – which expressly provide:

“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: 

a) a permanent population; 

b) a defined territory;

 c) government; and 

d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

 Failure to even mention that there must be a permanent population before Sweden can possibly begin the diplomatic process of recognising the State of Palestine indicates the incredulity that Ms Wallstrom’s announcement has produced.

 Sweden is sending a clear signal that masks an underlying  and sinister racist and apartheid attitude – that Jews presently living in the West Bank have no right to expect to continue living there as part of the State of Palestine’s permanent population.

 The fact that Jews have lived, died and been buried in the West Bank since Biblical times with the exception of a 19 year period between 1948-1967 seems to be strangely absent from Sweden’s current thinking.

The fact that international law – Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter – authorises and legalises close settlement by Jews on West Bank land – including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes – while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced – seems to have passed under Sweden’s radar and that of the panel of its international law experts.

 Equally as incredible is the fact that Sweden considers that the legal requirements for a State can be met in an undefined area with non-defined boundaries.

 Effective control of territory is required – boundaries are not and have never been a necessary legal pre-requisite. 

 Sweden is of course entitled to do whatever it likes in pursuit of its perceived national interests – no matter how inept and incompetent its decisions might be.

 However having apparently done so on its total misconception and misinterpretation of international law surely should give Sweden cause for second thought.

 Ironically any such reconsideration now has its own problems in international law – since Article 6 of the Montevideo Convention further provides:
“The recognition of a state merely signifies that the state which recognizes it accepts the personality of the other with all the rights and duties determined by international law. Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable.”
Among Sweden’s well-known exports are the “do-it yourself” furniture and home product construction kits emanating from Ikea – which proudly states on its website:
We want to have a positive impact on people and the planet.”
If the Swedish Government thought its decision to recognise the State of Palestine would have a similar effect – then it has been gravely mistaken. 

How Sweden builds relations with the State of Palestine - whilst missing pieces integral to its construction prevent it becoming a functioning entity Sweden can conduct meaningful diplomatic relations with - remains to be seen.

Perhaps Sweden should have heeded another successful Swedish export – Abba - whose “Waterloo” lyrics will surely resonate to Sweden’s future embarrassment: 

“My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself”

Ignoring history by attempting to unilaterally recognize a second Arab State in former Palestine for the first time ever in recorded history – in addition to Jordan – whilst 

    the PLO Covenant  

    the Hamas Charter and 

    the declared intentions of the Islamic State

 oppose that solution – is a certain recipe for disaster.

 Ms Wallstroms further declared:
 “In 2009 EU Member States reiterated their readiness to recognise a Palestinian State, when appropriate. We are now ready to lead the way. “
 EU member States tempted to follow Sweden into this political quagmire based on a reading of international law lacking any credibility whatsoever will only exacerbate the Arab-Jewish conflict – not resolve it.  

Sweden has now become stuck with a fictitious and non-existent State of Palestine wallowing in an Ikea la-la-land.

I'm Ha'aretz. Fly Me.

What a despicable rag Ha'aretz is, giving aid and comfort to Israel's enemies the world over.

The rag might have a derisory circulation in Israel, but it's read enthusiastically by Israel's enemies, including the anti-Zionist propagandists, whose ranks comprise a nasty little bunch of renegade Jews, who gleefully link to its articles on social media.

 And it's clearly the newspaper of choice of BBC correspondents including the oh-so-prejudiced-against-Israel Jeremy Bowen, Paul Danahar, and Jon Donnison, who not infrequently cite it and link to it in posts and tweets.

The Guardian, Al Beeb's ideological twin, is equally besotted with it.

Regarding this cartoon in Ha'aretz yesterday, retired USN officer J.E  Dyer's blog tells why it's an obscenity.

Read her relevant post here

Thursday, 30 October 2014

"Stop Those Who Want To Destroy The Only Free Jewish State In The [Middle East] Region": A Christian priest 's plea (video)

No prizes for guessing that the speaker in this newly uploaded video is not our old mate Reverend Stephen Sizer, who's just taken leave of Bethlehem where he has been participating in the groundwork of the next "Christ at the Checkpoint" Conference (scheduled for March 2016).

This priest is Father Gabriel Naddaf of Nazareth, who told the UN Human Rights Council last month
what the Israel-demonisers don't want to acknowledge: that there is only one country in the Middle East where Christians are not being persecuted, and that country is Israel,


He says, inter alia:  
'While I stand before you today, the earth of the Middle East is soaked with the blood of Christians being killed daily.
Do you know that at the start of the 20th century, Christians comprised 20 per cent of the population of the Middle East?
Today they comprise only 4 per cent.
Do you know that over the past years some 100,000 Christians have been killed annually? And why? Not for a crime they’ve committed, but only for believing in Christ.
In Iraq alone, more than 77 per cent of the Christians have fled during the year 2000, in addition to thousands killed and expelled.
Some two million Christians lived in Syria, but today, they are less than 250,000.
Christians in these countries are treated as second-class citizens; facing racial, religious, economic and social discrimination.
Why is this happening? Only due to their religion, a religion that advocates love and peace between mankind.
Christians in the Middle East are marginalized; their rights denied, their property stolen, their honor violated, their men killed, and their children displaced.
Where will they go? Who will defend them? And who will guard their property?
If we look at the Middle East ... we realize there’s only one safe place where Christians are not persecuted.
One place where they are protected, enjoying freedom of worship and expression, living in peace and not subjected to killing and genocide.
It is Israel, the country I live in....
Christians and Jews live in Israel not only because Christ was originally Jewish, born in Jewish Bethlehem, but because they share a common destiny, and a true hope to coexist in peace.
Does the world acknowledge Israel for protecting its Christians? Many in the international community have chosen to criticize Israel.
This, in my mind, is a double crime: because by doing so, the international community helps those striving to annihilate the Jews, the Christians, the Druze and the Yazidis for political ends.
By doing so, the international community unfortunately contributes to exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
It causes Christians to leave the land of Christ searching for a safe haven across the world.
It is time for the world to awaken and realize the truth of those striving to destroy the Jewish State.
They are hastening the death sentence of Christians in the Middle East.and the Holy Land ...
 O world leaders and supporters of peace, stop those who want to destroy the only free Jewish state in the region.
It is the only refuge welcoming and protecting all of its citizens. It is the only place that does not attempt to push out Christians, forcing them to leave their land in search of security.
I implore you from the bottom of my heart to hear the cry of the Christians of the Middle East before it is too late, and you may read about them only in the history books..."
Full transcript here

Maureen's Message To Miliband

What a great lady British actress Maureen Lipman is.  Known for her gifts as an actress and writer, the widow of much-acclaimed playwright Jack Rosenthal well deserves her epithet "a British national treasure".

While a bevy of other star thespians, including Miriam Margolyes, Juliet Stephenson, Emma Thompson, and Harriet Walter, to note only examples from the pro-cultural boycott distaff side of Britain's theatreland, are among Israel's trenchant critics, Ms Lipman outdazzles them all with her steadfast support of the beleaguered, traduced, and heroic little country.

Now, writing in the conservative intellectual monthly Standpoint, she tells Labour leader "Red Ed" Milibank, who placed a three-line whip on his members during the recent Commons debate and vote on whether Britain should recognise a Palestinian state, why she's abandoning, at least for the foreseeable future, her decades-long attachment to the Labour Party.

She writes in part:
'Just when ... anti-Semitism ... is mounting savagely...  Just when the virulence against a country defending itself, against 4,000 rockets and 32 tunnels inside its borders, as it has every right to do under the Geneva Convention, had been swept aside by the real pestilence of IS, in steps Mr Miliband to demand that the government recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.  
.... Many people on the Left and the Right would like to see a two-state solution if it means peace and mutual respect. I am one of them. Any future Palestinian state will be entirely free of Jews, of course. Yet the Jewish state is labelled "apartheid" with 1.7 million Arabs in residence and represented in parliament.
(1) It is a historical fact that the Arab states refused such an offer in 1937, 1948, 2000 and 2008. They have yet to accept Israel's right to exist and their constitutions and broadcasts to this day extol its destruction. 
(2) How can you recognise a state until its borders are decided?
(3) If you recognise a state you can officially arm that state. Already billions of pounds have been allotted to rebuild Gaza. Ha! Rebuild the tunnels and reequip the arsenal. Oh, how the propaganda has worked on these clever, concerned people again and again and again. If Hamas and Fatah cared one iota for the Palestinians, might they not have built schools and hospitals and streets for their people the first time the billions poured in and were converted into weaponry and hotel suites in Paris and citizens were used as human shields?...
....May I remind you that no one is tunnelling into Dover or sending rockets into Coventry, yet we seem to have every right to bomb the living daylights out of Iraq. Again. Conclusion: one law for the Israelis, another law for the rest of the world. ....'
Read the entire piece here

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Old "Israel Looted Palestinian Books" Canard Rears Its Ugly Head Again

I see that no less a personage than Dr Nabil Al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, has claimed at an Arab League function in Cairo attended by representatives of the International Council on Archives as well as by the Palestinian and Egyptian ministers of culture and an array of Arab intellectuals and officials, that "Israel has stolen 80,000 Palestinian books and manuscripts and kept them in its national libraries since 1948".

It's reported that
"Al-Arabi called for efforts to be made to regain archives stolen by imperialist powers with the aim of hiding the Arabic identity and forging its history, mainly the Palestinian history. He stressed the importance of maintaining the Palestinian identity and its manuscripts
He added that some Arab countries, including Algeria, Libya and Iraq are working to regain their archives, which also contains its histories. The Arab League is working on this in cooperation with the ICA.
 Abu Amr [Palestinian Minister of Culture Mr Ziad Abu Amr]said: "The occupation's measures, which have been taking place since the Nakba in 1948 to damage Palestinian culture, information centres, universities and archives of Palestinian institutions, are part of the efforts to hide the Arabic identity of Palestine."...'
As I noted in a couple of years ago, the canard that Israel deliberately misappropriated books belonging to the Palestinian Arabs has been a weapon in the Israel-haters' cachement for some considerable time.

It has gone the rounds of the Israel-demonising propaganda network, appearing, for instance,  here / and here and here

But as that 2012 post of mine declares, in 1948, in an article entitled "Arabs in Israel," Norman Bentwich, Professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, noted in regards to the work of the Ministry of Minorities, set up to safeguard the welfare of Arabs (and other non-Jews) in the newly-proclaimed Jewish State:
 'Perhaps the most striking work in the Ministry is its effort to develop cultural life, in the midst of the uneasy truce, for the Arab population. It has already established some fifty primary schools in the towns and villages, with free education. A former Jewish Inspector of the Mandatory Education Department is in charge of the schools; another, an Oriental Jew, with a thorough knowledge of Arabic, assists him. The Ministry has also established one or two Arab clubs for reading and recreation, and has promoted a daily Arabic newspaper, El Yom (The Day). This is the first Arabic daily to appear in Israel. Several of the staff are Arabs, who have full freedom of expression; and some educated Arabs write to the Palestine Post, the English[-language] daily, voicing grievances about rent and employment, and the like.
 A remarkable cultural enterprise is the establishment in Jaffa of an Arab library, which includes close on 100,000 books and periodicals salvaged from private houses that were deserted and broken into during the fighting. It includes, too, some Arab manuscripts from the ninth and tenth centuries, which may have value for scholars. The books and manuscripts are being catalogued by a Jewish scholar of Baghdad. The library is housed in a private mansion of one of the richer Arabs of Jaffa, and there is a project of making it a cultural centre. The whole cost to the Government so far has been only a few hundred pounds.
In Jerusalem 30,000 books were similarly salvaged and handed over for safe-keeping to the [Hebrew] University of Jerusalem. It is likely that the owners of the books will come to identify their property and collect it back; but the action of the Ministry will have prevented looting and destruction, and it has received the appreciation of the Arab population.'
Does that look like deliberate plunder to you?  No, not to me, either.
Read more of the Bentwich article here

Since this looted books story is already being used as anti-Israel propaganda by the usual suspects, it's as well to be reminded that in Hebron in 1929 Jewish manuscripts, including notable ancient documents, were looted from Jewish homes and synagogues. It's possible that some of this loot surfaced among  Jewish manuscripts shown by Arab dealers to the Rockefeller Museum.  Furthermore Jewish homes and synagogues/yeshivot were looted in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1929 and 1936-38; during the latter period, there was a pogrom in the south Jerusalem neighbourhood of Talpiyot, and at least one important Hebrew writer residing there had his books vandalised and looted. (Hat tip: E.)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The (Other) Biased BBC, & Iran's Barbarity Towards Religious Minorities

While our old mate the vicar of Virginia Water and his equally anti-Israel Christian assoiciates gather at the Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) to plan the next "Christ at the Checkpoint Conference", scheduled for 2016 (see my penultimate post) there's a timely reminder by Tricia Miller in the Jerusalem Post of that BBC's bias against Israel.

Inter alia, we are told:
'According to its website, Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) is a Christian college founded for the purpose of training leaders to serve local Arab churches and communities.
BBC affirms the National Association of Evangelicals’ Statement of Faith and believes the Bible to be the authoritative word of God.
But there is another side to BBC not evident on their website. The school has a deeply entrenched anti-Israel position, demonstrated through statements and publications of leaders associated with the school, and the biennial “Christ at the Checkpoint” conferences it sponsors. Most recently, its media center produced a video that employs numerous errors and false accusations in a blatant attempt to demonize Israel.
The video, Bethlehem Voices on Gaza ... purports to “interview people on the streets of Bethlehem regarding the war in Gaza.”
All of the interviewees are unidentified, except for Rev. Alex Awad, dean of students and full-time instructor at BBC, charter member of the BBC board of directors, and senior pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church ....
One of the false accusations made [in the video]against Israel employs oft-repeated Hamas propaganda that says Israel targeted civilians in Gaza....
The allegation that Israel targets civilians is closely related to another recurrent piece of Hamas propaganda – that Israel is committing “genocide” against the Palestinians in Gaza. The man who made this statement declared he was sure Israel was not “touching Hamas or the fighters over there.” ....
[O]ne of the interviewees made an outrageous statement when he said, “As you know, we have been under occupation for 65 years.” [I]t is important to note that Gaza is not “under occupation.” There have not been any Jews in Gaza, much less any IDF forces, since Israel withdrew unilaterally in 2005.
Furthermore, the West Bank is not  “under occupation” either, and certainly has not been for “65 years.” Prior to Israel gaining this territory after the 1967 war, Jordan occupied it illegally. Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan after it won a defensive war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, all of whom attacked with the goal of destroying the Jewish state.
Following the 1967 war, the UN passed Resolution 242, which identifies the West Bank as administered territory, whose ownership is disputed. The final status of this territory is supposed to be determined in some future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. But until then, the West Bank is disputed, not occupied territory....'
For Tricia Miller's entire piece see here

Meanwhile, while our old mate the vicar happily continues to denounce Israel and Zionism on Iran's Press TV, and to spruik Iran's cause on social media, and while anti-Israel nutjobs like those in the picture condemn the Jewish State but turn a blind eye to Iran's crimes against humanity, Iran's terrible persecution of Christians and other religious minorities is the focus of a new UN report, as reported by Benjamin Weinthal:.
'While persecution of religious minorities is nothing new in the Islamic Republic, the 28-page catalog of horrors compiled by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran, undermines the claim that President Hassan Rouhani has ushered in a new era of tolerance.
“At least 49 Protestant Christians are currently detained, many for involvement in informal house churches,” the report states. “In April 2014, security forces reportedly raided an Easter service in a private home in southern Tehran and detained six individuals.”
“The state of freedom of religion and belief in Iran is not improving, It is deteriorating,” Dwight Bashir, deputy director of policy and research at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
The UN report chronicles the closure of churches and the arrests of “their pastors for holding services in Persian or for allegedly ministering to Iranians from Muslim backgrounds.” Tehran has also cracked down on Christian community websites, including blocking their reception and Christian converts have been expelled from Iranian universities.
Shaheed’s report documents the lack of due process afforded religious and ethnic minorities across the spectrum in Iran, ranging from Jews to Baha’is to Sunni Arabs to Armenians and Kurds....
Rouhani lacks the power and possibly the will to bring meaningful human rights reform to Iran, said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst. The religious leaders who carry more clout than he see the attraction to Christianity as a “threat and could undermine the revolution which is based on the promotion of Islamic values,” he said....'
See more here

Incidentally, for a most illuminating interview with hard-headed Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon regarding Hamas, Abbas, Iran, and much more, see here

Monday, 27 October 2014

"Allah Willing, Jerusalem Will Not Only Be The Capital Of The Palestinian State, But Also The Capital Of The Coming Islamic Caliphate" (video)

That's the chilling boast of Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, who's seen here in an interview on 17 October on Palestinian Authority TV.

PA TV brought the interview to an abrupt end ...