Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Wall Street Journal - By Richard Goldberg and Jonathan Schanzer
For the full article go to https://tinyurl.com/y7g2dmqt
If President Trump wants to promote peace in the Middle East, his first step should be to declassify a key State Department report that would end the myth of Palestinian “refugees.”
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is singularly devoted to the Palestinian refugee issue. Unrwa labels more than five million Palestinians “refugees”—an impossible figure. The first Arab-Israeli war, in 1948, yielded roughly 800,000 Palestinian Arab refugees.
Perhaps 30,000 remain alive today, but Unrwa has kept the refugee issue alive by labeling their descendants—in some cases great-great-grandchildren—as “refugees,” who insist on the “right of return” to their ancestors’ homes. Israel categorically rejects this demand.
Unrwa’s operations run counter to the broader mission of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which is to resettle those displaced by war. Unrwa’s mission, on the other hand, keeps the conflict’s embers glowing by refusing to resettle Palestinians in neighboring countries or even in the Palestinian territories.
If Mr. Trump wants his peace plan to have a chance, he has to challenge false Palestinian narratives. He did this by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. Embassy there. For decades, Palestinian leaders issued maximalist claims on Jerusalem. Mr. Trump’s move sent the message that making peace requires accepting reality.
Mr. Trump can send the same message by declassifying one document. In 2012 Congress ordered the State Department to disclose how many Palestinians currently served by Unrwa fled the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and how many are merely their descendants. The Obama administration classified the report, citing national security—as if revealing foreign census data were a threat to America.
A year and half into office, Mr. Trump hasn’t reversed this policy, but momentum is building against it. In April more than 50 House members urged State to declassify the report. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has done the same.
Removing the label of “refugee” from millions of Palestinians wouldn’t hurt them. Instead, it would unlock their economic potential and create an opportunity for lasting peace. Perhaps that’s why the Palestinian leadership is fighting it. Once the refugee issue is exposed as a scam, Palestinian leaders would have to learn how to govern, not merely stir up antagonism with Israel.
The inability of Palestinian leaders to detach from this 70-year-old story raises real concerns about whether peace is possible. But if Mr. Trump is committed, he can send a clear message to the millions living in Unrwa camps: Your leaders want to keep you in squalor, while America wants you to prosper. It’s the most pro-Palestinian step an American president could take.
Mr. Goldberg is a senior adviser and Mr. Schanzer senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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Friday, July 6, 2018
Video Of The Week - Pay for Slay: The Palestinian Leadership's Terrorist Policy - https://tinyurl.com/yb3z32zs
By Alex Truman, from JNS – July 3rd 2018
The passage of an Israeli law to withhold funds that the Palestinian Authority uses to pay murderers for killing Jews is the correction of an unconscionable injustice. That a democratic country with a High Court of Justice has allowed itself to transfer funds month after month to a murder-sponsoring entity within its midst is not just bad policy, it is completely illegal and utterly immoral.
Israeli parliamentarians finally awoke to the reality that the P.A. pays more than $360 million a year to terrorists serving prison sentences in Israeli jails and to the families of terrorists killed while in the act of attempted murder. The payment scheme—on the law books of the P.A. from as early as 2011—bases amounts to each terrorist or family on the severity of the jail term, with additional incentives for terrorists holding Israeli identification cards.
Israel was not the first country to legislate against the “pay to slay” practice. In March, the United States passed the Taylor Force Act, which prohibits the U.S. from sending foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority as long as the payment scheme remains in place.
The bill was named after Taylor Force, a 26-year-old American West Point graduate who had served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Taylor was visiting Israel as part of an entrepreneurial seminar connected to an MBA program at Vanderbilt University when he was stabbed to death on a popular Tel Aviv promenade by a terrorist from the Palestinian city of Kalqilya.
The terrorist was killed by police responding to the attack. To add insult to injury, Palestinians celebrated Taylor’s death, and soon afterwards, the terrorist’s family began receiving large monthly stipends—well in excess of average Palestinian salaries.
Several months later, Sander Gerber, a private New York financial executive and former board member of AIPAC, reached out to Taylor’s parents, Stuart and Robbi Force.
Gerber had recently been made aware of the payment scheme, and was shocked to learn that most Israeli and American politicians were clueless that terrorists were being paid to kill in accordance with Palestinian law.
No longer was the P.A. simply guilty of incitement to murder through school textbooks, television stations, social-media avenues and frequent speeches by Palestinian leaders, including P.A. head Mahmoud Abbas calling for the blood of Jews; the P.A. was proven to be an official terror-sponsoring entity.
Worse yet, most of the funds utilized to secure its budget and make the terror payments came either by way of foreign aid provided by the United States and others, or through a tariff agreement with Israel whereby funds are collected on behalf of the P.A. at ports of entry and then passed monthly by Israel to the Palestinian entity.
With this information in hand, Gerber enlisted Taylor’s parents in a campaign to educate lawmakers. Together, they demanded that both the United States and Israel stop sending funds that now could be proven were going into the hands of murderers.
For the United States, the issue was simple: The foreign aid that America provides is voluntary and can be withheld if it is deemed to not be serving America’s interests. For Israel, there were additional legal questions, as the funds are collected by Israel on behalf of the P.A. as part of the Oslo Accords. Yet once it was clearly established that the sponsorship of terror was a direct violation of the Oslo Accords, legal concerns were eased.
The U.S. Taylor Force Act was signed into law in March; it took several more months for Israel to follow suit. Despite calls by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for funds to be withheld from the P.A. from as early as 2015—coupled with his expressed support for the passage of the Taylor Force Act—the government sought to insert a waiver provision into the Israeli law.
Recently, the United States rejected an argument by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Trump administration was warned that the move would spark widespread unrest and destabilize the region. While protests ensued on the Gaza border, little violence was recorded in the West Bank and virtually none of the 250,000 Arabs living in Jerusalem—some just several hundred meters from the embassy—protested a move that did little to impact their day-to-day lives.
The passage of both the U.S. and Israeli versions of the laws to withhold funding is a testament to the relentless pursuit of Gerber and Force (who were both present for the Knesset vote). At an Israeli event in celebrating the outcome, Force noted that because they weren’t government officials, it might have been easier to push for the two laws’ passage.
Other countries are now taking notice. On the same day as the vote in Israel, Australia also announced it would withhold funds from the P.A. European nations may soon do the same.
According to the Israeli law, a review of the Palestinian budget line items and payment scheme must take place at the end of each calendar year. According to this provision—unless a stricter interpretation of the law is demanded—Israel will continue to send the monthly payments until the start of 2019, when a presentation will be made as to whether the payments have halted or not. If not, funds can be withheld in February.
Gerber, Force and the backers of the Israeli law are pushing for any funds withheld to be paid out to the victims of Palestinian terror who have secured judgements against the P.A. in court. This represents the truest form of justice: to take the funds once designated for the murderers and to provide them instead to the victims.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Video Of The Week – What is holding the Arab World back? - https://tinyurl.com/ya5jj3ha
Israel Today - June 21, 2018 | Ryan Jones
For full article and video go to: https://tinyurl.com/ycoh8hzj
Remember that baby girl who died in Gaza last month allegedly after inhaling teargas fired by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian protestors?
Well–surprise, surprise–it turns out 9-month-old Layla Ghandour wasn't the victim of heartless Israeli brutality after all. At least not according to her cousin.
Twenty-year-old Mohammed Omar was captured by Israeli forces late last month while taking part in a three-man infiltration of southern Israel. The Fatah-affiliated activists managed to cut through the Gaza security fence and tried to set fire to an unmanned IDF post. Omar and one other cell member were nabbed, while the third managed to escape back into Gaza.
During his interrogation, Omar detailed the planned attack, and also volunteered that he was related to Layla Ghandour.
According to his indictment filed by the Southern District Attorney on Thursday, Omar told investigators that he was present at the mass Gaza border demonstration on May 14, the day Layla died.
Omar reported receiving a phone call from his mother informing him that his baby cousin had passed away. When he arrived home, Omar was told that Layla had succumbed to the same blood disease that had killed her brother less than a year earlier.
It was at that point, Omar recounted, that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar got in touch with the family and offered them NIS 8,000 ($2,200) to tell reporters that Layla had died from inhaling Israeli teargas.
This type of deception is not uncommon in the Palestinians' portrayal of Israeli defensive and counter-terrorism measures. Nor is the mainstream international media's willingness to publish each and every unsubstantiated Palestinian claim against Israel absent even the most rudimentary fact-checking.
As the above video notes, Hamas had already removed Layla from the official Gaza border death toll at the end of last month, but not until longer after the damage to Israel's reputation had been done.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Video Of The Week - Female Arab Soldier in the IDF - https://tinyurl.com/y9kps4tw
The IDF has created a unique unit so that Israeli-Arab Christians can fulfill their ambition to overcome the language barrier and serve their country.
By: United with Israel Staff
The IDF has launched a unique program for Israeli-Arab Christianswhich enables them to integrate into the army and serve their country.
The Nachshon Platoon consists of 24 Arabic-speaking Christians who volunteered to join the IDF based on one motivation: to contribute to the State of Israel.
After years of low draft percentages among the Arabic-speaking Christian community in Israel, no more than a dozen draftees a year, things have now changed. In the latest draft class, 24 soldiers of the Arabic-speaking Christian community volunteered to serve in the IDF.
The motivated soldiers began their military service with a three-week preparatory program at the Michve Alon training base in Israel’s north to overcome their biggest challenge: Hebrew.
The Nachshon Platoon was established especially for the Arabic-speaking Christian population in Israel. It’s a place of education with a familial atmosphere.
“The preparations for the culminating ceremony make me very emotional,” said Lt. Sapir, commander of the Eyal Company, where the soldiers were first taken in.
“They’re amazing soldiers and their Hebrew has improved unbelievably. I’m sure they will go far in their service,” she added. “Our goal was to improve their Hebrew level with the understanding that they’re aiming for significant positions that require a proficient level of Hebrew.”
The course mostly consists of Hebrew lessons, along with lessons about heritage and connection to Israel, and additional subjects related to the soldiers’ unique identities.
“The fact that Arabic-speaking Christians have a course and a platoon of their own strengthens the idea that the IDF is a place that does, and always will, care for them,” explained Nachshon Platoon Commander Lt. Shlomit, who accompanied the soldiers throughout their training.
“The platoon is going to open a door for the whole Arabic-speaking Christian community,” Lt. Gardi, the course commander said.
‘Contributing to My Country’
Pvt. Assad, one of the course graduates, expresses pride in successfully completing the course, and his satisfaction is evident in every word he says.
“I used to not speak Hebrew at all. I knew almost nothing, but the course has made me comfortable with the language and I’ve tremendously improved,” he shared.
“The platoon is like a family, like brothers- far more than friends,” he said emotionally. “Everyone helps one another. We’re a team, something larger together.”
Assad grew up in an Arabic-speaking Christian family in northern Israel. His desire to volunteer in the IDF comes from a surprising place.
“My father is a truck driver. I wanted to be like him, to make him proud of me but it was important for me to contribute to my country as I am a part of it,” he explained.
As he had hoped, Pvt. Assad will soon begin his service as a cargo truck driver. “The course has provided me with the integration that I wanted and I am very pleased.”
Pvt. Tazmuz’s favorite word in Hebrew is self-confidence. “It’s what has improved the most in me,” he shares. “I have a good feeling about the job I’m going to be doing, but it’s not enough for me. I want to be an officer- that’s the largest contribution I can give.”
“Since its establishment, the IDF has been the people’s army, serving as a way to bring together all the different communities in Israel to meet,” concluded Lt. Col. Dorit Maoz, the Michve Alon Base commander. “We all have a common house within the IDF, with mutual values, responsibility, and caring for each other.”
Approximately 20 percent of Israel’s eight million citizens are Arabs. According to the Israeli Democracy Index, a public opinion survey conducted last year by the Israeli Democratic Institute and the Guttman Center for Surveys, 65% of Israeli-Arabs are proud to be Israeli.
Israel is the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, while their numbers diminish as a result of Muslim persecution in all other areas of the region.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
… the western media continue in their hostile questioning of the Israeli prime minister.
Here, for example, from BBC Newsnight:
The BBC presenter (Evan Davis) interrupts Netanyahu by claiming a dozen of those who died on May 14 were civilians. He doesn’t give Netanyahu a chance to say that (in addition to the 50 Hamas members) some of these were Islamic Jihad terrorists (see below).
It is once again apparent in this interview that this leading BBC journalist, like many other journalists and their chosen studio experts, don’t seem to understand that being tough against Iran, just as Donald Trump was tough and threatening against North Korea, has a better chance of yielding peace than appeasing the Iranian regime as the European leaders and the Obama administration did, which merely emboldened it to be more aggressive across the Middle East in recent years.
No doubt fearful that the North Korean regime may no longer be their ally, an Iranian government spokesperson, as well as Hamas, have denounced the North Korea talks.
The Iranian regime are also worried that the North Koreans will provide details of their past nuclear cooperation with Iran and Syria.https://twitter.com/HeshmatAlavi/status/1006190793336516609
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Video Of The Week - Kuwaiti Writer: Israel Is a Legitimate State, Not an Occupier- https://tinyurl.com/y75flb3l
For the full article from JPost go to - https://tinyurl.com/ya45yekt
No cliché has dominated the discourse on the Gaza situation more than the perception of Palestinian violence as a corollary of the Strip’s dire economic condition. No sooner had Hamas and Israel been locked in yet another armed confrontation over the past weeks than the media, foreign policy experts and politicians throughout the world urged the immediate rehabilitation of Gaza as panacea to its endemic propensity for violence. Even senior members of the Israel Defense Forces opined that a “nonmilitary process” of humanitarian aid could produce a major change in the Gaza situation.
It is not Gaza’s economic malaise that has precipitated Palestinian violence; rather, it is the endemic violence that has caused the Strip’s humanitarian crisis.
Yasser Arafat, was an engineer, and his fellow arch terrorist George Habash – the pioneer of aircraft hijacking – a physician. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was a schoolteacher, while his erstwhile successor, Sayyid Qutb, whose zealous brand of Islam fired generations of terrorists, including the group behind the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, was a literary critic and essayist.
Nor has Hamas been an exception to this rule. Not only has its leadership been highly educated, but it has gone to great lengths to educate its followers, notably through the takeover of the Islamic University in Gaza and its transformation into a hothouse for indoctrinating generations of militants and terrorists.
Hamas founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, studied at the al-Azhar University in Cairo, probably the Islamic world’s most prestigious institution of higher religious learning, while his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, was a physician, as is Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar. The group’s current leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and Muhammad Def, head of Hamas’s military wing, are graduates of the Islamic University of Gaza, while Khaled Mashaal studied physics in Kuwait, where he resided until 1990. Hardly the products of deprivation and despair.
This propensity for violence among the educated and moneyed classes of Palestinian society was starkly reflected in the identity of the 156 men and eight women who detonated themselves in Israel’s towns and cities during the first five years of the “al-Aqsa Intifada,” murdering 525 people, the overwhelming majority of them civilians. A mere 9% of the perpetrators had basic education, while 22% were university graduates and 34% were high school graduates.
Likewise, a comprehensive study of Hamas and Islamic Jihad suicide terrorists from the late 1980s to 2003 found that only 13% came from a poor background, compared with 32% of the Palestinian population in general. More than half of suicide bombers had entered further education, compared with just 15% of the general population.
By contrast, successive public opinion polls among the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1990s revealed far stronger support for the nascent peace process with Israel, and opposition to terrorism, among the poorer and less educated parts of society – representing the vast majority of the population.
In short, it is not socioeconomic despair but the total rejection of Israel’s right to exist, inculcated by the PLO and Hamas in their hapless West Bank and Gaza subjects over the past 25 years, which underlies the relentless anti-Israel violence emanating from these territories and its attendant economic stagnation and decline.
At the time of the September 1993 signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles, conditions in the territories were far better than in most Arab states – despite the steep economic decline caused by the intifada of 1987-93. But within six months of Arafat’s arrival in Gaza (in July 1994), the standard of living in the Strip fell by 25%, and more than half of the area’s residents claimed to have been happier under Israel. Even so, at the time Arafat launched his war of terrorism in September 2000, Palestinian income per capita was nearly double Syria’s, more than four times Yemen’s, and 10% higher than Jordan’s – one of the better-off Arab states. Only the oilrich Gulf states and Lebanon were more affluent.
By the time of Arafat’s death, in November 2004, his terrorism war had slashed this income to a fraction of its earlier levels, with real GDP per capita some 35% below the pre-September 2000 level, unemployment more than doubling, and numerous Palestinians reduced to poverty and despondency.
This means that so long as Gaza continues to be governed by Hamas’s rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can develop. Just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated a comprehensive sociopolitical and educational transformation, so, too, it is only when the local population sweeps its oppressive rulers from power, eradicates the endemic violence from political and social life, and teaches the virtues of coexistence with Israel that Gaza can look forward to a better future.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Video Of The Week- Why Israel Uses Lethal Force During Mass Gaza Protests- https://tinyurl.com/yah7hclf
By Mark Humphrys
Sunday Times (London)
Books of condolence have opened in Ireland for some hideous people, such as Fidel Castro in 2016 and Yasser Arafat in 2004. But the opening in Dublin of a book of condolence on May 16 for the Hamas rioters in Gaza takes the biscuit. More than 100 rioters have been killed attacking the border with Israel over the past two months, and the reaction in Ireland has been hysterical. There were calls to expel the Israeli ambassador and boycott Israeli goods. The Hezbollah flag flew at an Ireland-Palestine Solidarity protest in Derry. One popular Irish Twitter account even called for a terrorist attack on the Israeli embassy.
What happened in Gaza this month was that 50,000 rioters tried to break through the border and storm into Israel to kill Jewish families in houses nearby. They were open about that. Social media in Gaza was full of calls to attack and kill local Jews. One post said: “Kibbutz Kerem Abu Salem is . . . 200 meters from the fence . . . and only 15 families live there. Attack them with knives!”
One video showed a group breaking through the fence. They shout: “Allah Akbar. Remember Khaybar. Oh Jews, we’re coming to slaughter you.” Khaybar was the battle where Muhammad slaughtered the Jews and took their women as war booty.
Now you may say we don’t know that the rioters wanted to lynch Jewish families. But that doesn’t matter. The Israel Defense Forces believed the mobs wanted to lynch Jewish families, so it used force to stop them. And if tear gas and live fire are not enough, it will use helicopters and fighter jets. The military would never let 50,000 jihadis raid a Jewish village to see what happened. The only logical thing for Gazans to do is steer clear of the fence.
Could the Israeli army have stopped them with less bloodshed? Claims were made that soldiers were shooting indiscriminately. This was rather disproved by the emergence of photographs of military funerals for about half of those killed. A Hamas official said most of the dead killed in riots on May 14 were Hamas: “Sixty-two people were martyred; 50 of them are from Hamas and 12 from the people.” If Israel’s forces were shooting at random, then they had the luckiest shooting day of any army in history.
Gazans would clearly be safe if they left Israel alone. On May 14, huge mobs attacked the fence and 60 died. The next day, a few people attacked it and two died. The following day the rioters stayed away. This may indicate a way to keep Gazans safe. All they have to do is stay away from the fence. We heard the claim that they were driven by “despair”. What they were driven by is hatred, anti-semitism, jihad and the excitement of a march on Israel to cleanse the land of the Jews. They were driven by hope, not despair.
The tragedy of Gaza is that, ever since the Jews left, a new life has been there for the taking. All they have to do is ignore Israel, stop terrorism, stop thinking about the Jews, and build a state in Gaza. They should abandon “the struggle” and pursue money and life. If they did so, and if they were serious, Israel would drop the security barriers and partner with them to pump money into Gaza. They could become some of the richest and happiest Arabs in the Middle East.
But Gazans do not want to be rich and happy. They want other things: honour, blood, soil, revenge and jihad. These things will not make them happy, but that is what they want, so their misery will continue. They do not need books of condolence. They need someone to talk sense to them.