Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why the status quo is the least bad option for Palestinians

Video Of The Week - Israel Is Not an “Occupier” -

Even among people who recognize that Israeli-Palestinian peace is currently impossible, a growing number think that Israel must nevertheless quit the West Bank. Israel has a right to defend itself, their argument goes, but not by controlling another people for decades. Instead, it should withdraw to the “internationally recognized border” and protect itself from there, like other countries do.
Forget for a moment that the “internationally recognized border” is an arrant fiction. Forget as well that Israel remains in the West Bank precisely because defending itself from the 1949 armistice lines (the above mentioned fictional border) hasn’t worked very well in either the West Bank—from which Israel partially withdrew in the 1990s before returning the following decade—or the Gaza Strip.
That still leaves another uncomfortable fact: As long as genuine peace remains impossible, Israeli control of the West Bank, despite the undeniable hardships it causes Palestinians, remains the least bad alternative for the Palestinians themselves. As evidence, just compare the Israeli-controlled West Bank to Gaza, which has been free of both settlers and soldiers since August 2005. By almost any parameter, life in the former is far better.
Take, for instance, casualties. According to B’Tselem’s statistics, Israeli security forces killed 5,706 Palestinians in Gaza from September 2005 through August 2019. That’s almost eight times the 756 killed by Israeli security personnel and settlers combined in the West Bank during this period (no Gazans were killed by settlers since there are no settlers there).
Nor is this surprising. Israel’s control of the West Bank means that suspected terrorists can often be arrested rather than killed, though shootouts (with attendant collateral damage) do occur. But in Gaza, where Israel has no troops, it can’t arrest terrorists. Thus the only way to fight terror is through military action, which naturally produces many more casualties among both combatants and civilians.
Seemingly more surprising is that the number of Palestinians killed by other Palestinians is also much higher in Gaza. According to B’Tselem, there have been 520 such deaths in Gaza since September 2005, more than 20 times the number in the West Bank (25). But this isn’t surprising either because the same terrorists who kill Israelis often turn on Palestinians from rival organizations. Thus Israel’s arrest of terrorists in the West Bank has the side effect of reducing internecine Palestinian violence there.
No less dramatic is the economic difference between the territories. The first-quarter unemployment rate in Gaza was 46 percent, almost triple the West Bank’s rate of 16 percent. One contributing factor is that while one-sixth of employed West Bankers work in Israel or the settlements, almost no Gazans do. Moreover, Gaza’s median daily wage was just 42 shekels ($12), less than half the West Bank median of 100 shekels ($28) and less than a fifth of the median earned by Palestinians in Israel and the settlements at 250 shekels ($71.50). Thus it’s no surprise that fully three-quarters of Gazans wish Israel would provide them with more jobs.
These two factors, combined with fewer wars and greater access to the Israeli market, have also helped boost the West Bank’s per capita gross domestic product to three times Gaza’s ($1,025 versus $343 in the second quarter). And, of course, Gaza has astronomically higher poverty rates: In 2017, the last year for which the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics published poverty data, Gaza’s poverty rate of 53 percent was more than triple the West Bank’s 14 percent.
But while Israel is a major cause of these differences, it isn’t the only one. So would its departure really turn the West Bank into another Gaza? Unfortunately, the answer is yes—for many of the same reasons that Gaza looks like it does today.
First, the most likely scenario is that Hamas would take over the West Bank just as it took over Gaza. That’s the Israeli defense establishment’s assessment, and it’s also Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s assessment, which is precisely why he has continued security cooperation with Israel despite its unpopularity among the Palestinian public. Ever since Hamas ousted him from Gaza in a one-week civil war in 2007, Abbas has recognized both that the Islamist organization is the greatest threat to his rule and that the Israel Defense Forces are his main protection against it.
Yet even if Hamas didn’t take power, an Israeli pullout would almost certainly produce a significant upsurge of terror from the West Bank. First, as noted, the IDF does most of the counterterrorism work, and there’s no evidence that P.A. forces would be capable of suppressing Hamas without Israel’s help.
Second, while Abbas does fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he has shown little interest in fighting non-Islamist terrorists, including elements of his own Fatah party and smaller groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Moreover, many of his likely successors in Fatah are even more supportive of terror than the 83-year-old Abbas (who both funds and incites it). Thus without the IDF, terror from non-Islamist groups would also rise.
Israel would obviously treat escalating terror from the West Bank no differently than it treats terror from Gaza. That means periodic military operations, with all the attendant casualties. It also means restrictions on dual-use imports, exports to Israel, Palestinians working in Israel, use of Israeli ports and airports, etc., which would have the same devastating effect on the West Bank’s economy as they have had on Gaza.
Granted, a post-pullout West Bank could presumably develop greater economic ties with other countries. But its only other neighbor, Jordan, is a poor substitute for Israel, which currently buys 80 percent of the P.A.’s exports. With an economy one-ninth the size of Israel’s and an unemployment rate of 19 percent, Jordan simply lacks the capacity to absorb the quantity of Palestinian exports and workers that Israel does.
In short, an Israeli pullout from the West Bank under current conditions would lead to much higher Palestinian casualties and a devastated Palestinian economy, just as the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza did. As unsatisfying as the status quo is, it’s hard to see how turning the West Bank into a second Gaza would be an improvement.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

This Will Never Be On The News

Video Of The Week-Israeli Team Donates shoes to Kenya’s Lacrosse Team-

 Israel’s Women’s Lacrosse Team recently gave the world an inspiring lesson in sportsmanship.

The team recently competed in the 2019 Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championship in Peterborough, Canada. In the playoffs against Kenya’s national team, Israel won handily, 13-4. But instead of rejoicing in their victory, the Israeli players left the game disturbed. They realized that they’d enjoyed an unfair advantage: while the Israeli players wore state of the art sports shoes with cleats, their Kenyan opponents wore plain old gym shoes.

After the game, three of the young Israeli players called their parents asking if they could help pay for new shoes for the Kenyan players. Without proper cleats, the Kenyan players found themselves sliding in the muddy parts of the field. One Israeli player, Ella Duvdevani, in particular was in a position to help. Her father Michael owns a ped-orthic clinic in the US. He was concerned about long-lasting damage the Kenyan players might be doing to their feet by playing in improper shoes.

That night, Michael Duvdevani called the team’s coaches, committee members and some other parents, and soon the parents of the Israeli players were all pitching in to buy new shoes for the Kenyan team. They asked the Kenyan coach for a list of each player’s shoe size and asked them to keep the gesture secret overnight.

It wasn’t easy to find so many specialty shoes at such short notice. The Israeli team turned to a specialty store which stayed open much of the night in order to source the shoes and fill the order quickly. By the following morning, the Israelis had bought shoes for each member of the Kenyan team. The next day, the Israeli team surprised their Kenyan friends on the field; each team member gave a bag containing a brand new pair of shoes to their Kenyan counterparts. It was an emotional moment, with the Israeli and Kenyan players hugging and crying together.

The bond they formed was lasting. Lielle Assayag, Israel’s goalie, said, “This is what I’ll remember in 20 years: my friends. My old ones and my new ones.”

The athletes didn’t seek publicity but Kenya Lacrosse posted a video on Twitter of the Israeli women delivering the new shoes to the Kenyan team on the field the day after they played. “Yesterday we played @Israel_Lacrosse and had no cleats...after supporting their game today, Israel surprised the whole Team on the sideline with brand new cleats!” Kenya’s team announced.

Even though Kenya’s Women’s Lacrosse Team only has a few hundred followers, the moving video went viral. Within days, hundreds of thousands of people had watched it.

After donning their new cleats, Kenya went on to win their second game in the championship, beating Belgium 16-9. “1 came in cleats today = 1 win!” they Tweeted, adding “You can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.”

That comment resonates with Hillel's statement in Ethics of the Fathers, “In a place where there are no leaders, strive to be a leader” (Pirkei Avot 2:6). We each have to make a difference wherever we find ourselves. As the Israeli Women’s Lacrosse Team just showed, sometimes even a small gesture can make a huge difference in the lives of others.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

“Islamic Jihad Leader Ticking Time Bomb”

Video Of The Week - Ashkelon Hospital Evacuates Neonatal Intensive Care
 From Israelunwired-By Avi Abelow

Abu Al-Ata, a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group since 1990, has been very active recent years, directly ordering attacks on Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, including rocket attacks, mortar bombs, sniper attacks and other means. He was the major force in trying to disrupt the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza.
Baha Abu al-Ata, the senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, was killed in a targeted attack by the IDF in Gaza in the early morning (November 12).
Abu Al-Ata reported to Palestinian Islamic Jihad by Secretary-General Ziad al-Nahala, who operates out of Beirut. Nahala is linked to the leadership of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.
Abu al-Ata instigated most of the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip this year, including:
• the massive rocket attack in which 690 rockets were fired at Israel between May 3-6, 2019 (between Holocaust Remembrance Day to Memorial Day);
• the rocket attack on Sderot during the Sderot Festival, an outdoor event with hundreds in attendance, on August 25, 2019;
• the most recent rocket barrage at the city of Sderot and the surrounding communities, on November 1, 2019.
Abu al-Ata was currently planning imminent attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. These planned attacks included preparing squads for infiltration of Israel, sniper attacks, booby-trapped drones, and rocket fire at various range. As such, he had become a “ticking bomb” and a legitimate target.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Israel Blocks Terrorists, Palestinians Block Critics

Video Of The Week - False Charges that Israel Is Racist -

From “Gatestone Institute” -by Bassam Tawil 30-10-2019
For the full Article go to -

On the one hand, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemn Facebook for "surrendering to Israeli pressure" and taking action against those who incite terrorism and hate speech. On the other hand, the same PA leaders keep pressuring Facebook to silence Palestinians who demand an end to financial and administrative corruption in the PA.

"[E]very time Fatah posts a new terror message on Facebook encouraging violence or presenting murderers as role models, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are given more motivation to kill Israelis. Facebook still chooses to do nothing to stop it." — Itamar Marcus, Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2019.

What Abbas and his senior officials apparently fear is that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon and other Arab countries may reach the West Bank. They appear nervous that their critics and political rivals will use social media to encourage Palestinians to revolt against corruption and tyranny.

For these leaders, when they turn to Facebook to clamp down on criticism and voices calling for reform and democracy, that is good government. However, when Israel tries to silence those who seek to spill more Jewish blood -- well, that is criminal.
While Facebook has been deleting pages of individuals and groups promoting terrorism, violence and hate speech, particularly against Israel, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are now seeking to block dozens of websites and social media pages for a different reason: to prevent them from criticizing and exposing corruption cases related to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his senior officials in the West Bank.