Thursday, December 29, 2011

Human Wrongs: The Worst of Amnesty, HRW, and others in 2011

As 2011 concludes, NGO Monitor released a list (below) of the most outrageous and absurd NGO actions from the past year, demonstrating the political nature of NGOs involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. NGO Monitor also published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on the NGOs' lack of preparedness in 2011 during the Arab Springs. Another op-ed appeared in JTA as a letter to Tom Friedman and Hillary Clinton, facetiously discussing the state of American democracy.

The list:
1. Amnesty International's new Israel Researcher, Deborah Hyams, has a history of radical
anti-Israel activism.

2. HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson
race-baited American Jews and ignored the embarrassment of having praised Saif-Islam Qaddafi as a human rights reformer.

3. German NGO
"Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ)" exploited government funding designated for Holocaust reparations and education in order to join the delegitimization campaign against Israel and added to new antisemitism.

4. Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
condemned as "war crimes" the IDF response to the terror attack in Eilat.

5. A number of
NGOs attacked Judge Richard Goldstone after he honestly admitted the need to "reconsider" his UN report.

6. HRW appointed Shawan Jabarin to its Middle East Advisory Board, an alleged senior activist in the PFLP terrorist organization, and head of Al-Haq.

7. Members of Machsom Watch supported and
hugged relatives of the murderers of the Fogel family killers.

8. Amnesty International
defended Ittijah head Ameer Makhoul, a convicted Hezbollah spy.

9. Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP)
accused the New Israel Fund (NIF) of being an "ally" of NGO Monitor, after NIF was forced to finally end funding to the pro-BDS group.

Wikileaks revealed that NIF Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radanovitz believed that "the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic."

11. Itamar Shapira of Breaking the Silence
claimed "we are creating the terror against us, basically."
12, Kathleen Peratis, co-chair of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Advisory Committee, held
meetings with Hamas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Panetta Shows How the Obama Administration is Selling Out Israel

Secretary of Defense Panetta Shows How the Obama Administration is Selling Out Israel and US Interests
By Barry Rubin December 4, 2011

In a major address on U S. Middle East policy U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave us a clear picture of the Obama Administration’s view of the region. With Hillary Clinton’s recent speech, we know the following of Obama’s policy:

It is dangerously and absurdly wrong. This administration totally misunderstands the Middle East. They are heading in the opposite direction of safety.

Despite good relations on a purely military level, the Obama Administration is not a friend of Israel, even to the extent that it was arguably so in the first two years of this presidency.
It is now an enemy; it is on the other side. Again, the issue is not mainly bilateral relations but the administration’s help and encouragement to those forces that are Israel’s biggest enemies, that want to rekindle war, and that are 100 percent against a two-state solution. And I don’t mean the Palestinian Authority, I mean the Islamists.

And the Obama Administration is also a strategic enemy of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco, and Jordan. It is also a strategic enemy to the democratic opposition forces in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, and Egypt.

In his speech, Panetta has bashed Israel based on a ridiculously false premise. Here it is: “I understand the view that this is not the time to pursue peace, and that the Arab awakening further imperils the dream of a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic Israel. But I disagree with that view.” Nevertheless, Israel needs to take risks and particularly, “The problem right now is we can’t get them to the damn table, to at least sit down and begin to discuss their differences.”

First, there is a phrase not seen used even once to describe the Middle East events of 2011, “Arab awakening” instead of “Arab Spring.” This from a new book about these events.
But what is the origin of this phrase? The Arab Awakening was the famous book written by George Antonius (subsidized by a U.S foundation to do so, by the way) advocating Arab nationalism and opposition to Zionism in 1938. The Arab Awakening began a half-century pan-Arab struggle against Israel’s creation or existence might this not give us a hint of what the new “Arab Awakening” is going to do? Oh, and 1938 marks the year when Great Britain desperately tried to sell out the Jews in order to gain Arab support (for the coming war with Germany and Italy).

Interesting parallels.
But there are three other major questions raised in Panetta’s statement.

a) does the current “Arab Awakening” imperil Israel? Yes, of course it does. By changing a reasonably friendly Egyptian government into a totally hostile Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi dominated political system closely allied with Hamas and by helping establish Islamist regimes in Tunisia and Libya allied with this Muslim Brotherhood International; this creates a 4-member group intent on wiping Israel off the map.

Add to that, Islamist domination of Lebanon by Hizballah, an Islamist regime in Turkey, and the continuing threat from Iran and you’ve got quite a regional situation.

b) Second, and more interestingly, why is the above true?
- Democracy in theory is admirable but when you have masses imbued with very radical views, strong Islamist movements, and weak moderate ones, the election winners will be extremely radical Islamists. By winning massive victories, facing a weak United States, and more extreme forces becoming so popular (the Salafists in Egypt) the Islamists are emboldened to be even more radical in their behavior. We are thus not facing a springtime of democracy but a springtime of extremism

- The Islamists don’t want peace with Israel on any terms. They want its destruction. They will not be dissuaded by a peace agreement. They will do anything possible–starting with demagoguery and ending with terrorism or even war–to block a peace
The following are governed or will soon be governed by Islamists who want Israel’s destruction and genocide against the Jews there: Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. The following are governed by those who want peace with Israel: Jordan.
Not only is the United States not opposing this development it is supporting it. In other words, U.S. policy is intensifying the threat to Israel, not helping Israel.

c) Why are there no negotiations? As the history of the issue since January 2009 shows, it is the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel. If Panetta and the Obama Administration were either wise or honest they would acknowledge this fact. Instead, they blame Israel. Once again, U.S. policy is not helping Israel.

Consequently, Panetta’s statement that Israel has a responsibility to build regional support for Israeli and United States’ security objectives is nonsense. Let me put it in the form of a lesson in logic:
· Israeli security objectives and the U.S. national interest are consistent.
· Israeli security objectives and Obama administration objectives are not consistent.
· Obama administration objectives and the U.S. national interest are not consistent.

Consider Panetta’s statement:
“I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow.”

But why has it grown? Because of the advance of Islamist radical regimes and movements which are not tolerant of Israel’s security needs or in fact of Israel’s existence. This is the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain making the same statement in 1938 regarding Czechoslovakia

Panetta’s suggestion is that Israel should reach out and mend fences with those who share an interest in regional stability – countries like Turkey and Egypt, as well as Jordan,”
That statement is false. Israel can’t reach out and mend fences with Turkey and Egypt because they do not share an interest in regional stability. They are no longer status quo powers; they are countries that want revolutionary change in the Middle East.

Turkey today is not the Turkey of the past. Israel had good relations with Turkey when it was governed by center-right or social democratic parties. Today Turkey is governed by Islamists who hate Israel. Doesn’t Panetta understand the difference? No! Now that’s scary.

Here’s the truth: The Islamist regime in Turkey has replaced Israel as the number-one Middle East friend and advisor. And this is a government about which a half-dozen years ago Israel’s ambassador told an American counterpart (as we see on Wikileaks) that this regime hates Israel and hates Jews. That message is in a State Department cable.

What about Egypt? Well, the Obama Administration helped get rid of that security partner. And as for Jordan, it is understandably scared stiff. In the environment of Islamist advance it is trying to appease its own Islamists and is moving closer to Hamas as a way of surviving. And last month the king of Jordan said in a Washington Post interview that nobody could depend on America any more.

Panetta said, “It is in Israel’s interest, Turkey’s interest, and US interest for Israel to reconcile with Turkey, and both Turkey and Israel need to do more to put their relationship back on track,” But it is not—repeat not—in the interest of the current government of Turkey to reconcile with Israel. We saw this in the Israel-Turkey negotiations over the flotilla in which the Turkish prime minister wanted to ensure there would be no deal.

There are two more shockingly absurd pieces of advice Panetta has for Israel.
“This is not impossible [for Israel to try to mend fences]. If the gestures are rebuked, the world will see those rebukes for what they are. And that is exactly why Israel should pursue them.”
What does an Israeli audience think of when it reads this? Of the same old message from the West to Israel: make gestures, give concessions, take risks, and when they are rebuked “the world will see.” This is precisely the same advice given regarding the 1990s’ peace process, the freeze of construction on settlements, and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. And every time the world doesn’t see. After the risk is taken (and Israel’s security suffers), and the concessions are made (and Israelis die), the world is even more critical of Israel and repeats, as Panetta does, that Israel has done nothing for peace.

These are harsh words about the Obama Administration and for those who don’t understand the current situation in the Middle East they will no doubt seem partisan, extreme, and alarmist. This is the worst tragedy of all: sadly and regrettably they are quite true.

Son of Hamas Supports Israel

In a departure of our usual format we are recommending that you view the attached video.

Although Mosab Hassan Yousef Khalil, now known as ' Joseph', is the son of senior Hamas leader, Sheikh Hassan Yousef Khalil, he became one of the most important agents ever to have worked in Israel's Shin Bet, where he was known by the nickname, "Green Prince." Green for the colour of the Islamist group's flag, Prince, because he was the son of a senior Hamas leader.

His story can be read in his book, "Son of Hamas," published in 2010. The book, originally written in English, has been translated into several languages, including Hebrew.

From Israeli Soldier on Egyptian border

From Israeli Soldier on Egyptian border

I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.

15-20 days out of every year, I’m called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.

This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., – this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur.

What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event.

For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.

The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It’s just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe.Even though I live Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself.

In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much. At 9:00 PM last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men – cold, barefoot, dehydrated – some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don’t speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.

During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old.
The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic, and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense. There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its’ sensitive social, economic, and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.

I don’t have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I’m not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue.

I am writing to tell you and the entire world what’s really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world.

Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels. Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.


NGO Monitor November 15, 2011

The Israeli public, media, government and Knesset (legislature) are conducting an intense debate on massive foreign government funding for highly political non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Important concerns about the manipulation of Israeli democracy by foreign governments through NGO funding, and on influence of these groups, triggered this debate.

The media coverage of these issues, both in Israel and outside, is often distorted and confused. Basic questions about NGOs, NGO funding, and proposed Knesset legislation, need to be addressed.

Following are FAQs which address the core questions and present the basic facts, to promote a more informed and substantive discussion on these complex issues.

What is an NGO?

In theory, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are autonomous, non-profit and politically unaffiliated groups that claim to promote an agenda based on universal moral values, such as human rights, democracy, the environment, etc. NGOs can contribute to civil society and democracy by using their soft power to challenge governments and promote social interests, but they themselves are not necessarily democratic institutions. NGOs lack a system of checks and balances, and their powerful officials generally only provide accountability to their funders and activist members, and not to the citizens or societies whose lives are directly impacted by their activities.

Can an NGO receive sizable portions of its budget from governments and still qualify as a “non-governmental” organization?
No. As noted above, NGOs are meant to represent civil society, not the interests of foreign governments. Israeli NGOs that receive foreign government funding benefit from the misleading image of being “non-governmental,” non-political, and based in “civil society.” The government funders also use this framework to justify their use of NGOs as a policy instrument, and on a scale which is unique to Israel.

How many NGOs funded by foreign governments operate in Israel?
While the level of European and other foreign government funding for Israeli political advocacy NGOs is very large, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive accounting because, for many years, this funding was mostly done in secret. In addition, many Israeli non-profits, in violation of Israeli law, do not submit annual reports to the Registrar of Non-Profits (Rasham Amutot). However, as more information becomes available, particularly after the NGO Transparency Law (February 2011), additional and verifiable information will become available.

As of November 2011, NGO Monitor’s research reports list 23 Israeli political advocacy NGOs funded by foreign governments, all of which actively oppose, in varying degrees, the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel. A number of powerful groups receive more than 70% of their annual donations from foreign governments. (See Appendix 1)
How do these NGOs contribute to political campaigning and advocacy outside of Israel?
Although most of the foreign government funding is formally designated for “educating the Israeli public” and “changing public opinion” (both in violation of the norms on non-interference in other democracies), these Israeli NGOs are very active externally, in the delegitmization and political warfare against Israel.

Many of these Israeli NGOs, (including B’tselem, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel) have lobbyists in foreign capitals, who seek additional funding and promote the private political agendas of the NGOs. The use of government funding for such lobbying is incompatible with good governance principles.
Why do foreign governments provide so much money to Israeli political advocacy NGOs?
European and other governments use direct funding for Israeli NGOs in order to promote their own views and interests, regardless and often in opposition to the policies of the democratically elected representatives of the Israeli public. The NGOs that receive such funding promote opposition policies on highly complex and sensitive issues such as Jerusalem, the future of the West Bank, responses to terror in Gaza, and other core issues which are central to the lives of Israeli citizens. As opposed to presenting their views in public via standard diplomatic practices, foreign governments manipulate Israeli democracy through massive funding of an ideologically narrow spectrum of the Israeli political map.

Which governments are primarily involved?
The major government funders to Israeli NGOs are the European Union and individual European states including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain Finland, Belgium, and France.

Most of these governments fund Israeli NGOs both via multiple frameworks, including national ministries of foreign affairs and through EU-membership.

Additionally, many governments outsource foreign aid – including support for NGOs – to local and international humanitarian organizations that distribute funds within Israel. This means that Israeli NGOs often receive both direct and indirect funding from a given government. For example, funding from ICCO (Netherlands), Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), Diakonia (Sweden), DanChurchAid (Denmark), and Trocaire (Ireland) – to list a few – originates with foreign governments.

Is it true that much of this European government funding for political NGOs in Israel is not transparent, in violation of basic democratic norms?

Yes. While some governments, notably the UK, have increased transparency, and others provide substantive responses to NGO Monitor research requests, most of the decisions in this area violate transparency norms. There is little information on how funding decisions are made, and who makes them; project evaluations (if they exist) are not made public, and often the amounts and other details are tightly held secrets, and if released, are in a highly confusing and incoherent format. The lack of parliamentary oversight in most countries and the EU adds to the consequences of the secrecy.

Within Israel, many NGOs do not submit the requisite annual reports to the Registrar of Non-Profits (Rasham Amutot). This situation has persisted for years due to lax enforcement and limited consequences for violators.

In other instances, the funding decisions are secretly made by unknown individuals chosen by embassies in Tel Aviv, representative offices in Ramallah and other regional frameworks, using processes that are hidden from top officials and ministerial oversight.

Due to this secrecy, conflicts of interest and other violations of due process cannot be prevented or exposed.

How much money is involved?
Due to a lack of transparency on the part of European funders and Israeli NGOs, and major indirect funding via aid organizations, no accurate number is available. We know that over 27 million NIS annually is provided to Israeli political advocacy NGOs by foreign governments. (Additional foreign government funding goes to Palestinian and international NGOs active in delegitimization campaigns.)

What is the NGO “halo effect”?
Statements made by self-proclaimed human rights NGOs are routinely accepted at face value by journalists, diplomats, academics, UN representatives, etc. Instead of viewing these political advocacy organizations as such, important audiences often perceive these NGOs to be morally objective arbiters. This “halo effect” provides immunity from scrutiny and criticism, and greatly increases NGO power.

Is the role of NGOs funded by foreign governments in Israel unique?
Both the amount of money given to NGOs and the quantity of these types of NGOs is not found elsewhere. Only Israel has dozens of NGOs operating under a façade of human rights whose credibility and impact are artificially amplified by massive foreign funding.
What can be done to offset the artificial influence of foreign-government funded NGOs in Israel and their role in political warfare?

Transparency and informed public debate, both in Europe and Israel, are vital. It is entirely appropriate for democratically elected representatives to introduce legislation that seeks to address this problematic funding. Committees debate the legislation, amendments are offered, and rigorous debates takes place – all reflecting a vibrant democratic system.

To address the root of the problem, European governments must enforce transparency, facilitate informed public debate, and hold themselves accountable for their NGO funding.
On the proposed Knesset legislation
What do the proposed bills say?

Two different bills have been proposed and approved for further consideration by the Ministerial Legislative Committee:

1. Proposed Bill for the amendment of the Income Tax Order (Taxation of public institutions that receive donations from a Foreign State Entity), 2011 (Fania Kirshenbaum – Israel Beiteinu

2. Proposed bill The “Amutot Law” [Non Profit Society] (Amendment – Banning Support by a Foreign State Entity), 2011 (Ofir Akunis and Tzipy Hotovely – Likud
For complete translations, see Appendix 2.

Has Israel already banned all government funding for political NGOs?
No. The proposed bills are in the earliest stages of the legislative process. As demonstrated by the NGO Transparency Law and many other examples, a bill can change dramatically from its initial introduction until it finally becomes Israeli law, if in fact it does.
NGOs and officials of European governments involved in funding them have campaigned against all regulation proposals, condemning them as “anti-democratic” or “fascist.” Are these descriptions accurate?

Unfortunately, NGO officials who fear that they will lose their political power and influence have labeled all critics “McCarthyites,” and all attempts to increase transparency regarding their funding and activities as “anti-democratic.”

By blurring the lines between valuable contributions to democracy and truly problematic bills, and greatly over-exaggerating the faults in those proposals, NGOs muddy a very important public conversation taking place.

Experience has shown that, as in most liberal democracies, the robust Israeli legislative process serves as a corrective mechanism, ensuring a proper balance of democratic values and societal concerns.

Anti-Israeli networks and activists to initiate propaganda events to challenge Israel.

Anti-Israeli networks and activists to initiate propaganda events to challenge Israel.
From the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

They are planning, among other events, an Islamic gathering near the Israeli-Jordanian border, dispatching more boats to the Gaza Strip, and a protest "fly-in" to Ben-Gurion International Airport.

1. Regardless of the last flotilla's failure to reach the Gaza Strip, anti-Israeli organizations and activists intend to continue challenging Israel with "awareness-raising" events, including flotillas, convoys and fly-ins. In some instances, the behind-the-scenes presence of international networks promoting the de legitimization of Israel can be felt, while in other instances local activists organize on their own to conduct ad hoc events. There is nothing new in the tactics they plan to use, however, in some of the events the organizers are planning to apply the lessons they learned from previous failures.

2. The following is an initial report of the main events planned for the near future:
1) An Islamic display called the "Million Man Worldwide Caravan" to be held near the Israeli-Jordanian border is planned for November 25, 2011: The participants will gather in the Jordanian valley north of the Dead Sea. They are liable to try to march to the Israeli border, even though in such a case they may be halted by the Jordanian security forces. Their main stated goal is to emphasize the Islamic nature of Jerusalem. In addition, towards the end of November, close to the 29th (the day the UN voted in favor of the Partition Plan), there may be rallies, demonstrations and other events in various locations in the Middle East and around the globe.
2) Sending isolated vessels to the Gaza Strip (no specific date known as yet): Applying the lessons learned from the failure of the July 2011 flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip, the flotilla organizers have announced that they plan to use a new strategy of sending isolated vessels from various ports instead of large flotillas with extensive media coverage, like the two vessels which set sail on November 2 and approached the Gaza Strip on November 4. Their objective is to exhaust Israel and exert continuous media and operative pressure. In addition, convoys routinely enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing after coordinating with the Egyptian authorities.
3) In April 2012 protest fly-in of pro-Palestinian activists is scheduled to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, who will proceed to the Palestinian Authority territories: The objective of the fly-in, according to its website, is to "again challenge the Israeli policy of isolating the West Bank." The activists will reenact their (unsuccessful) July 2011 arrival by air. It can be assumed that this time the organizers will attempt to bring a larger number of activists and will apply the lessons learned from the previous fly-in in an attempt to overcome the preventive steps taken by Israel, other countries and international airlines.
4) Plans made by various anti-Israeli networks around the globe whose objective is to breach the borders of the State of Israel in March 2012 to reach Jerusalem: Anti-Israeli activists plan to arrive in the Arab states bordering on Israel in convoys from countries in Asia, North Africa and Europe. Such events can take place only if the governments of the relevant Arab countries agree, which at this stage is not entirely certain.

3. Some of the events involve networks and activists familiar from their participation in previous anti-Israeli events. In general, in planning the events they are torn between their desire for broad media coverage to recruit as many activists as possible for impact, and the need for secrecy and keeping a low profile (as manifested by the last flotilla) to make it difficult for Israel to deploy and prevent them.

4. The fact that Israel prevented the last flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip and the number of flotilla failures during 2011 notwithstanding,1 the organizers do not intend to resign themselves to failure and are planning to continue their efforts to challenge Israel in various ways, including flotillas, convoys and fly-ins. As in the past, there may be a discrepancy between the intentions of organizers and their realization. Their main weak points are raising money (especially for purchasing ships), the international acceptance of Israel's closure of the Gaza Strip as legal (The Palmer Report), international reservations concerning the flotillas, the objections of the Arab states to potentially violent activities along their borders and Israel's early deployment. However, in our assessment, the networks and activists are implementing the lessons learned from previous failures and are looking for ways to overcome the weak points.
1 For further information see the September 14, 2011 bulletin "Analysis of four propaganda displays in May – July 2011: background, analysis and conclusions" at
2 For further information see the November 4, 2011 bulletin "Another Flotilla to the Gaza Strip" at
4 For further information see the August 3, 2011 bulletin "Senior [figure]s in Interpal, a British fund that supports Hamas, play a major role in sending aid convoys to Gaza. South African organizations belonging to the Union of Good are also involved. It is our assessment that convoys portrayed as a humanitarian project are also a means of transferring money to Hamas" at

Friday, September 9, 2011

What Are the Saudi Journalists Saying?

On June 7, 2011, two Saudi columnists - the liberal, Khalaf Al-Harbi, of the Saudi daily 'Okaz’, and Fawaz Al-'Ilmi, of the Saudi daily ‘Al-Watan’ - published articles comparing Israel's situation to that of the Arab countries

It should be noted that these articles are a rare phenomenon in the Saudi government press; however it is interesting to note that their thoughts have actually been published. We believe our readers should be aware of these articles.

Following are excerpts of both articles:

Al-Harbi: Do We Really Still Believe that Israel Is a Temporary Entity Bound to Disappear? Al-Harbi wrote: When we were young, the teachers exhausted us by reiterating that Israel is, without question, a temporary and transient country. When we got old enough to read, newspapers and books filled our heads with reasons why Israel could not [continue to] exist in its Arab surroundings.

For years, we waited for the moment when Israel would disappear, and here we are [today, witnessing] the moment when the Arab countries are beginning to topple, one after the other.

A few days ago was the 44th anniversary of the nakba [i.e., the defeat in the 1967 war], when Israel swallowed up Arab lands...

A week or more ago, [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu delivered a brilliant speech before the American Congress in which he emphasized that Israel would not return to the 1967 borders.

This statement means that Israel has achieved such a degree of complacency and tranquility that it is no longer willing to negotiate even over those lands it has admitted to occupying [in 1967], much less... over the lands it occupied in 1948. Do we really still believe that Israel is a temporary entity bound to disappear? " Perhaps Israel will disappear in another 100 or 200 years, as no one can foresee what will happen in the future.

However, looking at the current state of its Arab neighbors, I see addled countries, political entities that lack the ability to maintain their national unity, and armies that are not trying to wipe out Israel so much as to wipe out their own peoples....

The secret to Israel's survival, despite all the great challenges it has faced, lies in democracy and respect for the worth of the [Israeli] individual, regardless of [Israel's] racism and brutality vis-à-vis its Arab enemies.

The secret to the collapse of the Arab countries, one after another, lies in dictatorship and in the oppression of the individual... It is impossible for an Arab country, a neighbor of Israel, to succeed in liberating Palestine while denying dignity to individuals [within its own borders]. Israel won war after war, and scooped up Arab lands larger than [Israel itself] in both size and population. It then went on [to develop] manufacturing, industry, and invention.

The [average] income there is double [the average income] in the neighboring Arab countries. [Israel] has rendered itself an inescapable fact. Throughout all stages [of its development], it drew its power from the honor it granted to its citizens, while its Arab neighbors trampled the [poor] creatures known as their citizens under military boots.

"If only we could get in touch with our teachers to let them know that Israel still exists, while the Arabs are headed for destruction. In order to know who will remain and who will perish, one must always check who has democracy, human rights, and social justice." [1]

In the second article, Al-'Ilmi: Israel Is at the Pinnacle of Scientific Research, the Arabs at Its Nadir Al-'Ilmi wrote: "... [2] is the official website of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and, unlike Arab websites, it updates its entries every 12 minutes around the clock and offers them in Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, English, French, and Russian. On January 20, the website published a report which revealed that the only registry in the world for Arab bone marrow donors is located in the Hadassah Medical Center, associated with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

It should be noted that the Arabs living in Israel constitute no more than 1.2 million of the world's Arabs, who number upwards of 400 million. "The report, prepared by Avigayil Kadesh, notes that Dr. Amal Bishara, who oversees organ donations at the Hadassah Medical Center - an Arab woman with a doctorate in life sciences and immunology - has single-mindedly visited more than 60 Arab villages and cities since the bone marrow registry was founded in 2008. [She did so] to further her own research and to supplement the Jewish registry, which has been active at the hospital for 22 years.

Through lectures and social networking, the Arab doctor added 9,000 [Arab] donors, thereby enabling six [transplants] of donated bone marrow... It should be noted that 60% of Arabs [in need of such transplants] find donors within their families, and 90% of the requests for bone marrow transplants are for Arab children suffering from hereditary diseases due to consanguineous marriages. Thanks to the Arab doctor, perceptions have changed, and Arabs and Jews are willing to donate bone marrow [to one another] in order to save the life of someone they don't even know.

"This year, Israel published numerous scientific studies that put it in first place worldwide in terms of the number of studies [published] per capita - 12 studies to every 10,000 people. America is in second place, with 10 studies [to every 10,000 people], followed by Britain, with nine. As for the Arab countries, they are all at the bottom end of these statistics.

"Reports show that the annual education expenses of the [average] Arab citizen has dropped to $340, while in Israel it is more than $2,500. Indices... that measure income, education, and health levels place Israel at 23rd place worldwide, while Egypt has dropped to 199th place, Syria to 111th, Jordan to 99th, and Lebanon to 82nd. As for the number of scientists engaged in research per one million citizens, Israel has 1,395, versus 136 in the Arab world...

UNESCO's statistics indicate that, on average, scientific research expenses in the Arab countries do not exceed 0.2% of the annual budget, whereas in Israel the figure is 4.7%, placing it in first place worldwide... "For ten years now, Israel has been forming strategic ties with scientifically advanced countries in order to merge [its research] with their research centers, and in order to encourage its scientists to take part in international development programs. Today, there are 21 international science companies in Israel... It knows before everyone else the results of [these companies'] studies, reaping their fruits and using their scientific expertise to advance Israeli inventions. "The Israeli strategy in science and technology is based on finding new approaches in scientific research and technological invention by training new generations of scientists - especially in physics, chemistry, and the natural and social sciences, as [Israel] is convinced that these sciences will allow it to control the world and direct its course.

"Since 1949, Israel has established marine geology and nuclear physics institutes, as well as [institutes] for the study of desert regions and information technology. Israel makes use of scientific research and technological development to secure its coasts and meet its [other] strategic defense and security needs, and in order to protect the environment, discover and develop natural resources and use them before others, produce electricity, communications, and information technology, and research [alternative] energy..." [3]

End notes:
[1] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), June 7, 2011.
[3] Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), June 7, 2011.

Palestine - 'Occupation Incorporated'

Tim Marshall July 18, 2011

An African UN worker in the West Bank recently remarked to a mutual friend 'When people see me coming they see a walking ATM machine'.

Driving through Ramallah, and then Jericho, the other day I was reminded of that quip as I looked at the smart restaurants, sparkling new hotels, and the scale of building work.

The Palestinian Authority likes to boast about the West Bank' s 8% economic growth, so does the Israeli government, which uses it to suggest that a prosperous Palestine would make an easier negotiating partner. They also know the Palestinians have more to lose if a 3rd Intifada breaks out.

What they fail to remind us is that there are well over 200 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza, and 30% of the GDP here comes from international aid. Palestinians are among the most foreign aid funded people in the world and the place is awash with money.

This underlying economic problem is further complicated by the fact that UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees stipulates that not only are the Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948 refugees, but so are their sons and daughters grandsons and granddaughters, great grandsons and granddaughters and so on into the future. In Palestine many people are born refugees. There are people who have a vested interest in this continuing. In 1950 there were 750,000 Palestinians in the Middle East, now there are 4.8 million. UNWRA is considered a 'temporary agency'.

Even if the Palestinians declare full statehood in September they would not be truly independent, not only because of the continuing Israeli occupation, checkpoints, lack of freedom of movement of goods etc, but also because Palestine is addicted to aid and as long as you are addicted you are in thrall to your supplier.

The billions that pour in here mean the Palestinian Authority does not need to try very hard to deliver the services expected by voters, it also stifles the private sector, inflates wages and causes an internal 'brain drain'.

The restaurant I went to in Ramallah had a line of expensive cars outside and ranks of NGO workers picking their way through an expensive menu inside. The NGOs do fine work alleviating suffering, helping projects with expertise etc, but they also recruit the best of the local talent and take advantage of their charitable status to get tax breaks.

No Palestinian business can compete with NGOs which routinely triple what a local firm would pay. Many NGOs fork out 'danger money' and even 'hardship payments' to both local and international staff which further undermines the local private businesses. So the NGOs get the brightest and the highest paid, and the private firms get the rest but without the tax exemptions.

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry,” a medical NGO worker recently told This Week In Palestine, “People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want'

Of course that could change. At any moment the West Bank could explode, indeed there are scenarios you can paint which suggest violence this September after the declaration, or non declaration, of statehood. But Palestine remains a friendly place, welcoming, hospitable, full of air con, hi-fi, Wi-Fi and wine. Journalists also take advantage of this state of affairs, writing of the poverty and suffering of Gaza for example, before retiring to very expensive sea front hotels after an excellent dinner in one of the expensive fish restaurants.

This is not to argue that NGOs are not required, many are, but they distort the situation and fundamentally the Palestinians cannot have properly functioning businesses, nor be fully independent until their leaders are partially weaned off their addiction to other people’s money.

The dangers in premature recognition of a “Palestinian state”!

By Abdallah al-Hadlaq, 22nd June 2011
(Translated from Arabic newspaper “Al Watan” in Kuwait)

International agreements dealing with peace in the Middle East must be respected

The Palestinian side is flaunting UNSC Resolutions 242, 338 and 1850 and the Road Map to Peace, all of which call for agreed solutions for disputes to be reached by direct talks, rejecting unilateral acts that undermine internationally accepted parameters for reaching peace, and defining basic principles for bilateral peace-making.

The Palestinians strive to obtain premature recognition for a “Palestinian State” this September despite the danger of derailing the peace talks, which is implicit in a unilateral declaration.

International agreements dealing with peace in the Middle East must be respected.

Israel indeed upholds them, as well as the principle of direct negotiations as being the only way to solve the dispute, while the Palestinians have long since abandoned direct peace talks, and now act unilaterally, trying to impose a fait accompli on Israel, using international pressure.

The Palestinians want to realize their dream of obtaining international legitimacy (which should be based on finding the agreed solution so necessary for peace) through the forcible imposition of an international diktat on Israel . A unilateral declaration will not conclude the conflict but only make matters worse, making it more intense instead of ending it. The Palestinians seem to have lost their keen interest in negotiation aimed at a reaching a deal, and now only want to act unilaterally in ways that will never solve key problems in the current impasse - which can only be tackled through direct talks between the parties concerned. Continued Palestinian obstinacy just complicates the conflict.

As the Palestinians press on unilaterally for premature recognition of their ”State”, they ignore Israel’s right to exist peacefully as the state of the Jewish people, recognized and living within its borders. The division of the Palestinians themselves between the Palestinian Authority that controls only parts of the West Bank, and the terrorist Hamas movement (loyal to the Persians of Iran) that holds the Gaza Strip negates legal criteria for the establishment of a state in form and character. Added to which, the Palestinian Authority has no authority over the Gaza Strip (which as noted is dominated by Hamas), the recent conciliation agreement between the warring factions notwithstanding.

Premature recognition of a Palestinian State means recognition of a terrorist entity - because Hamas openly intends to destroy Israel and wipe it off the map. Hamas rejects the terms of the international community for its own recognition that would make Hamas into a legal and accepted player in the region. These terms are: recognizing the right of Israel to exist, acceptance of existing international agreements, and an end to violence.

We must not forget that the international community still defines Hamas as a terrorist organization which is banned in Europe and the USA. How then can a terrorist body become the model for a Palestinian state?

Israel has for a long time made strategic concessions for peace, proving her desire for peaceful negotiations. She gave up Sinai in exchange for a peace treaty with Egypt, and withdrew from Gaza and South Lebanon. But the response she earned in the latter cases of Gaza and South Lebanon was a hail of rockets and barrages of artillery. Her towns and villages in the north and south of the country were attacked and many civilians were killed.

That should serve to warn of the dangers she faces from the terrorists of Hizballah and Hamas, and underlines the need for peace through solutions that will answer the needs and interests of all parties to the conflict.

Clearly, a premature recognition of a Palestinian state will negate the negotiating process and shatter the lofty idea of a modus vivendi attained through dialogue.

All those who hope for real peace in the region must reject these reckless unilateral Palestinian moves that block the negotiation process. The Palestinians must be made to understand that the only way to a permanent peace treaty will be through direct talks.

Families of suicide bombers given £5m in British aid cash

With the riots in the UK costing the country millions at a time of great austerity and the blame being put on lack of employment opportunities, it is interesting that the UK sees fit to honour suicide bombers.

By Matthew Kalman 8th August 2011

British aid cash is being given to the families of suicide bombers, it was claimed last night.

The Palestinian Authority, which gets £86million of British aid a year, has authorised payments of almost £5million to the families of ‘martyrs’.
Another £3million has been given to 5,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. The payments, using taxpayers’ cash donated from Britain and the European Union, have been described as ‘ludicrous’ by one Tory MP.

The Palestinian Authority, which oversees the West Bank, has introduced a new law which pays the families of suicide bombers out of its civil service budget.
According to the official Palestinian daily newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, payments to the families of ‘martyrs’ – those killed fighting Israel, including suicide bombers – totalled 3.5 per cent of the budget.

‘Every terrorist in prison, including those whose acts led to the deaths of Israeli civilians, are on the PA payroll,’ said Itamar Marcus, of Palestinian Media Watch.
‘The salary goes directly to the terrorist or the terrorist’s family, and prisoners receive their salaries from the day of arrest.’

Tory MP Philip Davies said the payments were ‘ludicrous’. He added: ‘People think overseas aid is to try to alleviate terrible poverty in places where they can’t afford to look after themselves. But it’s being put to these kind of purposes.

‘It would be bad enough at the best of times, but at a time when we have got no money, it is utterly inexcusable.’

Last month, Britain committed to giving £86million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority until 2015
The payments to families and prisoners are on a sliding scale, from £250 a month for prisoners sentenced to less than three years, to a maximum of £2,140 a month for anyone serving more than 30 years.

The payments compare with salaries of £515 for a regular Palestinian civil servant and £480 for officers in the Palestinian security forces.

Minister of State Alan Duncan said in February: ‘We are very careful how we spend our money in the occupied Palestinian territories. We would abhor any money falling into the hands of extremists.'

The Government is under pressure for the amount of aid it is handing out at a time of austerity. It plans to increase foreign aid payments by 35 per cent to £11.4billion by 2015
This comes despite several scandals involving aid. Last week, it was revealed that money to Ethiopia was being used as a political tool and those who oppose the government do not receive handouts.

David Cameron has admitted that the controversial pledge to spend billions more on international aid was a ‘difficult commitment’ at a time when spending programmes were being slashed at home.

The Prime Minister admitted that some aid had been ‘wasted’, but continued to dismiss ‘aid sceptics’
Read more:

UK Minister Plays Propagandist for Palestinians

The UK Minister for Overseas development aid DfiD has produced a video in which his bias against Israel comes across in a very blatant way. See and judge for yourselves

There are numerous allegations that he has made without checking for accuracy. We should write to the members of parliament below USING YOUR OWN WORDS but including the points

He claims that the security barrier is a land grab of land, land which “belongs to the Palestinian Authority. There is no reference in it as to why Israel has had to build a the barrier in order to protect its citizens, no reference to the oft repeated government statement that if the PA stop the terror, the barrier can come down and the land returned to its legal owners. Yes, there are still regular instances of terror attacks and attempted attacks, though these are never reported in the international media.

RE the remarks about Israel deliberately depriving the Palestinians of water, these are TOTALLY unsubstantiated. Until 1967, the Jordanians had done NOTHING to provide any water infrastructure for the area. After 1967 took it upon itself to provide the necessary infrastructure so that for the first time, the VAST majority of Palestinians had access to running water. No comment is made of the amount of water stolen and not paid for full details of which can be provided by the Water Commissioner’s Office. No comment is made on a number of projects agreed to be carried out by the Palestinians for the Palestinians and which have never been completed – again full details can be obtained from the same office.

In fact the whole clip seems to have been made with the intention of damaging Israel's reputation. No doubt this was made with the help and advice of the many anti-Israel N.G.O.s operating in Judea and Samaria but it is surprising that a member of Her Majesty's Government would Issue such biased and ill-informed statements without validating his “ facts” from the Israeli side which it is obvious that he didn't.


Please write to the UK members of Parliament below IN YOUR OWN WORDS

Alan Duncan also for attention of his assistants Rob Flint and Frazer Raleigh at the same address,

Send copy to

David Cameron
William Hague
Diane Abbott
Theresa May

This video is irresponsible on behalf a senior member of the ruling Conservative party.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Syria's True Objectives - Not in your papers!!

Why have the media ignored the following report by RPS (The Syrian Reform Party)?
Whether or not the opinion makers agree with RPS, its existence and activities are highly relevant to understanding the news.

RPS reports that the Assad regime has paid hundreds of farmers $1,000 each to show-up in the attempts to breach the Israel border and $10,000 to their families should any of them succumb to Israeli fire.

RPS states that it "strongly believes in ownership and title of the Golan Heights. But unlike a regime bred on the use of violence, the Syrian people, demonstrating how peaceful they are as they endure one massacre after another, believe in peaceful negotiations to repatriate our land"

Who and what is RPS? Their mission statement includes inter alia the following worthy objectives

a) to build a true democracy in a New Syria where multiple parties are represented and elections are held free from fear, intimidation, and repressive measures.

b) to help pass laws to prohibit the establishments, in a New Syria, of any political parties whose charter calls for violence against other countries or people and to disassociate itself from any other group whose aim, through violence or otherwise, is to impose their ideologies unto others.

c) moderate, in the “New Syria”, our armed forces to protect rather than threaten and to educate our internal police force to safeguard human rights and to respect human dignity.

to vacate from Lebanon and repair the damage done from years of occupation by supporting and helping all Lebanese willing to espouse transparency and accountability and to do so in an environment free from pressure.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Here are some contrasting opinions by leaders of the UN, EU, Britain, France, Norway, the Vatican, Japan and elsewhere, following Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin, the leader of the Hamas terrorist organization in 2004 and the killing of Osama bin Laden last week.

Yassin, of course, was proportionately responsible for far more deaths of Israelis than bin Laden was of Americans, particularly the deaths of Israeli children. Yassin had ordered the bombing of school buses, children's birthday parties and so on, and was continuing to order more attacks at the time of his death. Soon after Yassin and his deputy Abdel Aziz Rantissi were killed, there was a sharp decrease in the number of suicide bombings against Israel.

(Among past dispatches on this, please see: "A minute's silence by British MPs for Sheikh Yassin" (April 19, 2004) )

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "I condemn the targeted assassination of Ahmed Yassin. Such actions are not only contrary to international law but they do not help the search for a peaceful solution."

Killing Bin Laden:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed Osama bin Laden's death as a key turning point in the struggle against terrorism.

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, described the assassination as "very, very bad news".

Killing Bin Laden:

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: "I would like to congratulate the U.S., pay tribute to its determination and efficiency in reducing the threat posed by terrorists and underline the close cooperation between the EU and U.S. in the fight against terrorism."

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "Israel is not entitled to go in for this kind of unlawful killing and we condemn it. It is unacceptable, it is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objectives."

Killing Bin Laden:

Prime Minister David Cameron said that bin Laden's death would "bring great relief" around the world.

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

French President Jacques Chirac "unreservedly condemned" Israel's assassination of Hamas terror leader Yassin. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous also said: "France condemns the action taken against Sheikh Yassin, just as it has always condemned the principle of any extra-judicial execution as contrary to international law."

Killing Bin Laden:

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said on that bin Laden's death is a "victory for all democracies fighting the abominable scourge of terrorism. France, the United States and European states work closely together to fight terrorism, so I'm overjoyed at the news."

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen: "This act will contribute to increased tensions in the area and will make it more difficult to implement an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza."

Killing Bin Laden:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre called the death of bin Laden "a break-through in the fight against terror".

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

"The Holy See unites with the international community in deploring this act of violence that cannot be justified in any state of law. Lasting peace cannot come from a show of force."

Killing Bin Laden:

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that while Christians "do not rejoice" over a death, bin Laden's death serves to remind them of "each person's responsibility before God and men" and "bin Laden must answer to God for having killed an innumerable number of people and exploiting religion".

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Israel's actions were "thoughtless and reckless, and cannot be justified."

Killing Bin Laden:

Japan's Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said today that the country welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden as "significant progress of counter-terrorism measures. I pay respect to the US officials concerned."

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

The Brazilian government said it "deplored the murder of Sheik Ahmed Yassin."

Killing Bin Laden:

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said the death of Al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden is "important and positive".

Israel's killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Malaysia strongly condemned the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: saying the action was a manifestation of terrorism.

Killing Bin Laden:

Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he hopes that the death of bin Laden would help bring universal peace and harmony.

***This list could go on and on...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Targeting Killing Vindicated

The killing of Osama Bin Laden has really brought to the forefront, the rampant hypocrisy of the world at large. The words of Obama seem to reflect the same words that could have been used when Israel managed to eliminate the senior Hamas leaders.

"We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Al-Qaeda - an organisation headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against Al-Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.”

And yet, the world at large does not seem to accept that Israel also needs to protect its citizens.

Our article of the week by Alan Dershowitz seems so relevant to the on-going war against Hamas and Hizbollah in this region. We hope you agree.

Jewish World Review May 4, 2011 / 30 Nisan, 5771

Targeted Killing Vindicated

By Alan M. Dershowitz

The decision to target and kill Osama Bin Laden is being applauded by all decent people. Approval to capture or kill this mass-murdering terrorist leader was given by Presidents Obama and Bush. It was the right decision, both morally and legally.

Although Bin Laden wore no military uniform and held no official military rank, he was an appropriate military target. As the titular and spiritual head of Al Qaeda, he was the functional equivalent of a head of state or commander in chief of a terrorist army. From the beginning of recorded history, killing the king was the legitimate object of military action. The very phrase "check mate" means "the king is dead, "signifying the successful end of the battle.

Yet there are those who claim that all targeted killings are immoral and illegal. These critics characterize such actions as "extrajudicial executions" and demand that terrorist leaders and functionaries be treated as common criminals who must be arrested and brought to trial.

The operation that resulted in Bin Laden's death was a military action calculated to kill rather than to "arrest" him. It is possible, though highly unlikely, that he could have been captured alive and brought to trial. The decision to employ military personnel with guns, rather than a drone firing rockets, was probably made by generals rather than lawyers.

Had it been militarily preferable to fire a rocket, that option would almost certainly have been selected--as it was by the NATO forces that rocketed Ghadafy's compound. A rocket attack would have been a pure targeted killing with no possibility of live capture. The operation directed against Bin Laden may have been designed, in part, to have preserved the theoretical option of "arrest", though the likelihood of a live capture was virtually impossible under the circumstances. Indeed it is likely that Bin Laden's death was deemed preferential to his capture and trial, because the latter would have raised the probability that Al Qaeda would take hostages and try to exchange them for Bin Laden.

Indeed, a US national security official has confirmed to Reuters that "this was a kill operation" and there was no desire to capture Bin Laden alive. This was a targeted kill appropriate for a military combatant but not for an ordinary (or even extraordinary) criminal.

Nonetheless, our government felt it necessary to announce that Bin Laden was shot after he allegedly resisted thus suggesting he was not killed in cold blood. But it is clear that he would have been killed whether or not he resisted, since this was a kill operation from the outset and it is unlikely he was ever given the opportunity to surrender an opportunity not required under the laws of war.

Accordingly, those who have opposed the very concept of targeted killings should be railing against the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

Among others, these critics include officials in Britain, France, Italy, Russia, the EU, Jordan, and the United Nations. Former British Foreign Secretary once said, "The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive." The French foreign ministry has declared "that extrajudicial executions contravene international law and are unacceptable." The Italian Foreign Minister has said, "Italy, like the whole of the European Union, has always condemned the practice of targeted assassinations." The Russians have asserted that "Russia has repeatedly stressed the unacceptability of extrajudicial settling of scores and 'targeted killings.'" Javier Solana has noted that the "European Union has consistently condemned extrajudicial killings." The Jordanians have said, "Jordan has always denounced this policy of assassination and its position on this has always been clear." And Kofi Annan has declared "that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law."

Yet none of these nations, groups or individuals have criticized the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US. The reason is obvious. All the condemnations against targeted killing was directed at one country. Guess which one? Israel, of course.

Israel developed the concept of targeted killings and used it effectively against the "Osama Bin Laden's" of Hamas, who directed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, killing and wounding more Israelis, as a percentage of its population, than the number killed by Bin Laden. It was when Israel managed to kill the head of Hamas, that the international community, with the striking exception of the United States, decided that targeted killing was illegal and immoral.

But now that it has been used against an enemy of Britain, France, Italy and other European nations, the tune has changed. Suddenly targeted killing is not only legal and moral, it is praiseworthy (except, of course, to Hamas, which immediately condemned the US killing of Bin Laden).

Well the truth is that when used properly, targeted killing has always been deserving of approval—even when employed by Israel, a nation against which a double standard always seems to be applied.

Indeed, in Israel, the use of targeted killings has been closely regulated by its Supreme Court and permitted only against terrorists who are actively engaged in ongoing acts of terrorism. In the United States, on the other hand, the decisions to use this tactic is made by the President alone, without any form of judicial review. So let the world stop applying a double standard to Israel and let it start judging the merits and demerits of military tactics such as targeted killing. On balance, targeted killing, when used prudently against proper military targets, can be an effective, lawful, and moral tool in the war against terrorism.

Help Us to Help You

By HASAN AFZAL 04/27/2011

It’s time for a hasbara rethink, says the director of British Muslims for Israel.

In Europe, hasbara is nothing more than a theory that friends of
Israel allude to at interfaith events, and the occasional objection to a boycott motion through the student union. Yet among the countless threats with which the Jewish state must deal, it is indisputable that one of them is perpetual delegitimization, to the point where the state’s very existence is now up for debate.

It is not easy to fight this phenomenon when grassroots hasbara in the UK is almost solely a Jewish endeavor. If a non-Jewish student on campus wishes to campaign against Hezbollah, oppose a university’s attempt to twin with a Hamas-controlled university or run an event with a pro-Israeli speaker, who does he turn to? He certainly can’t go to the “human rights” societies that work with Islamist speakers. Nor can he turn to the somewhat exclusive Jewish society which is entrusted as the sole steward of hasbara on campus.

The pro-Palestinian movements are successful because they are diverse. Islamists, socialists and middle-class white women all wave the Hamas flag quite happily at anti- Israel protests .It is imperative that those of us who are Christian, Muslim or Hindu be given a chance to help.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. It guarantees minority rights and political pluralism, holds its politicians to account both in and out of office, and is the only country in the Middle East that provides equality under the law for homosexuals and women. Despite these trophies of liberty, the state is relentlessly demonized by the Western world using the language of human rights.

Sadly, too few people in the
United Kingdom are aware of the facts. When well-meaning Europeans are informed of the realities in Israel and the neighboring states, their reaction is often complimentary. With the right kind of advocacy, those who consider themselves pro-Palestinian can be persuaded to rethink their position.

“The only democracy? The only place with legal equality for homosexuals and women?” they query. With the right sort of advocacy from the right sort of person, self-styled Palestinian activists can be encouraged to confront the increasingly extreme “student leaders” and radical Islamists that manage and exploit the Palestinian solidarity movements. Those who become aware that they have been ill-informed are, of course, left wanting answers.

Recently, I was invited to give an interview to Israel’s Channel 10, and I highlighted this exact point. When one moves Israeli advocacy from a reactionary approach to proactively focusing on the human rights situation in the Middle East, it immediately invites people to reconsider their position. Islamists can no longer shroud themselves in the sanitizing perspective that Israel is an “oppressor” - an excuse that legitimizes the Islamists’ real agenda. Rightfully reclaiming the human rights agenda is the type of hasbara we assume is happening, but shockingly, in reality it is rarely practiced in Europe.

No rational observer doubts that Israel has an excellent army, but now the Jewish state must beef up its public diplomacy to defend its image. Israel must hold those to account who, in the Western media, academia and political sphere, attempt to rationalize the terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas by calling them “strikes” – painting them as somehow morally acceptable. We must challenge those who consistently demonize Israel, and expose their visceral hatred and double standards.

Urgent action is required. People in Europe are no longer thinking about how a two-state solution may be implemented, but have begun asking nonsense questions such as, “Should Israel exist?” The faculty and student societies in universities regularly invite speakers who offer a one-sided, anti-Israel point of view. Islamist groups frequently parade openly anti-Semitic speakers, who enjoy the very freedom of expression they seek to destroy. Hasbara cannot be merely reactive – a manifestly failed method still employed by a large majority of British Jewish leadership. It must be proactive. It is all very well to splutter that boycotts are bad, but what use is that when there is no one to say Israel is good?

Wherever Hamas apologists lurk in the media, a carefully chosen story with selective quotes and violent pictures will do their cause wonders. In other words, the other side realizes that though it can never defeat Israel militarily, if it can define the conflict, rewrite its history and put up a convincing story, then although Israel may have won the military battle, it will lose the real war – the war of ideas.

Even more scandalous is the state of affairs in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian nationhood is increasingly being defined by extreme violence and a culture of victimization. Gaza is now a breeding ground for Islamists willing to kill their own people as Gaza descends into a culture of wanton violence far more terrifying than under the Arab nationalism of the PLO. We should be asking the world, how can you stand by and allow the Palestinian people to be represented like this? We must ask how the world, in all seriousness, can attack the way Israel defends its peoples and their democratic values against the tyranny of Islamism, especially while Islamists perpetually and overtly demonstrate that when their ideology is left to reach its logical conclusion, the effects are always violent and fatal.

Israel must empower and equip its friends in Europe to rightfully reclaim the human rights agenda from the anti-Israel mobs.It must ensure that hasbara activists can make the case that Israel is under attack from an enemy that wishes to replace our civilization with a society run by clerical fascists. The conflict is not solely taking place in the Middle East, but in Western television studios, radio stations, blogs and social media. As religious and community institutions, whether intentionally or not, finance the murderous ideals of Palestinian terror groups, we need your support – help us help you.

The writer is director of British Muslims for Israel, a pro-Israeli advocacy group fighting the delegitimization of Israel in the British Muslim community and beyond. British Muslims for Israel is under the umbrella of The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where is the outcry against Arab Apartheid?

By Khaled Abu Toameh

Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment.

The tragic case of Taha highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in impoverished refugee camps in Lebanon and who are the victims of an Apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care.

Ironically, the boy's death at the entrance to the hospital coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the US, Canada and other countries.

It is highly unlikely that the folks behind the festival have heard about the case of Taha. Judging from past experiences, it is also highly unlikely that they would publicize the case after they heard about it.

Why should anyone care about a Palestinian boy who is denied medical treatment by an Arab hospital? This is a story that does not have an anti-Israel angle to it.

Can anyone imagine what would have happened if an Israeli hospital had abandoned a boy to die in its parking lot because his father did not have $1,500 to pay for his treatment?

The UN Security Council would hold an emergency session and Israel would be strongly condemned and held responsible for the death of the boy.

All this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatments in Israeli hospitals.

Last year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip entered Israel to receive medical treatment. Many were treated despite the fact that they did not have enough money to cover the bill. In Israel, even a suicide bomber who is -- only! -- wounded while trying to kill Jews is entitled to the finest medical treatment. And there have been many instances where Palestinians who were injured in attacks on Israel later ended up in some of Israel's best hospitals.

Lebanon, by the way, is not the only Arab country that officially applies Apartheid laws against Palestinians, denying them the right to receive proper medical treatment and own property.

Just last week it was announced that a medical center in Jordan has decided to stop treating Palestinian cancer patients because the Palestinian Authority has failed to pay its debts to the center.

Other Arab countries have also been giving the Palestinians a very hard time when it comes to receiving medical treatment.

It is disgraceful that while Israel admits Palestinian patients to its hospitals, Arab hospitals are denying them medical treatment for various reasons, including money. But then one is reminded that Arab dictators do not care about their own people, so why should they pay attention to an 11-year-old boy who is dying at the entrance to a hospital because his father was not carrying $1,500?

But as the death took place in an Arab country – and as the victim is an Arab – why should anyone care about him? Where is the outcry against Arab Apartheid?

Khaled Abu Tomeh is an award-winning Israeli Arab journalist and documentary film-maker. He was born in the West Bank city of Tulkarem in 1963 to an Israeli Arab father and a Palestinian Arab mother. He studied at Hebrew University from where he received a B.A. in English Literature and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children. He refers to himself as an “Israeli-Arab-Muslim-Palestinian.”

Goldstone Analysis

Nearly all the newspapers around the world are analyzing the effect of the letter by Richard Goldstone in the Washington Post “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes”. It is clear that through the efforts of so many individuals Goldstone has had second thoughts on the basis on which his report was written.

However, even as Goldstone himself says “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document”, it appears that once again, facts seem to confuse the British government who are pledging continued support for the report – see first article below.

It seems to us at BIG, this requires EVERYONE living in the UK to write to their MP demanding a retraction of support for the report.

Below this first article is an interesting letter which we feel very relevant to the subject being reviewed.

Britain pledges continued support for Goldstone report against Israel, even as Goldstone retracts allegations

April 5, 2011 in Robin Shepherd’s new online magazine, The Commentator,

For complete article click on

The British Government is standing by the United Nations Goldstone Report alleging that Israel committed “war crimes” in its Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 even though Justice Richard Goldstone has now distanced himself from his report’s most controversial conclusions.

On Friday, Goldstone wrote a piece in the Washington Post in which he stunned diplomats, politicians and analysts by withdrawing the allegation that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict. He said: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

The Foreign Office, however, confirmed its continued support for investigations into Cast Lead and said it did not want to see the withdrawal of the Goldstone Report from the United Nations.

“Justice Goldstone has not made such a call, and he has not elaborated on his views surrounding the various other allegations contained in the report, allegations which we firmly believe require serious follow-up by the parties to the conflict,” a Foreign Office spokesman told the Commentator on Monday evening.

In his piece, entitled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes”, Goldstone admitted that it was now clear that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”. With reference to evidence provided by Israel, he added: “…I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes”.

Dear Mr. Goldstone: Six months until Kol Nidre
By David Suissa April 4th 2011

For full article click on

Dear Mr. Goldstone:

You really screwed up. You screwed up so badly that Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic says you contributed, more than any other individual, to the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state.

The deliberate killing of innocent civilians is the equivalent of murder. As far as accusations go, that’s about as low as you can go. Your report accused Israel of a lot of things, but that accusation was the most lethal: targeting innocent civilians.

Now you write that you were wrong. Israel is not the war criminal she was made out to be. It was Hamas that targeted innocent civilians, not Israel. Well, like Goldberg says, “It is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.”

Remember, this was no ordinary blood libel. This was an official indictment bearing the stamp of approval of the closest thing we have to a global legislative body — the United Nations. Thanks to this stamp of approval, Israel’s enemies have feasted on Israel’s good name like vultures on a carcass.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the global campaign to delegitimize Israel, as well as the flourishing BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement that is turning Israel into a pariah state. Sadly, much of the ammunition for these movements has come from the Goldstone report — the same report you now have repudiated with a phrase that might go down in Jewish infamy: “Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

I wonder what went through your mind as you wrote those words: “Why did I rush to judgment? Should I have paid more attention to the hundreds of thousands of Israeli leaflets and phone calls that warned civilians, and to the preliminary Israel Defense Forces reports and other publicly available information that contradicted our conclusions? Should I have put Israel’s behavior in the proper context of defending its people after years of Hamas rockets? Should I have been more skeptical of sources I knew were unreliable?”

While you can never undo that damage, there is still something you can undo: the report itself. Given your deep knowledge of international law, with all its arcane rules and procedures, if anyone can formally retract the report or officially amend it, it is you.

It won’t be easy. You will be going up against the many enemies of Israel, those who dream of turning the Jewish state into an illegal enterprise, those for whom the Goldstone report is the gift that keeps on giving — their little gold mine rich with never-ending ammunition against the hated Zionist entity. They won’t let you take away their gold mine that easily.

But I have confidence you can do it. I have seen how you can be dogged and relentless in front of intense opposition. I have seen how when you put your mind to something, nothing can stop you, not even your own people. I have seen you go the distance.

Now go the distance on this one, Mr. Goldstone. Make this your cause. Put the Goldstone report where it belongs, in the delete button of history. You can replace it, amend it, retract it or do whatever you feel will correct it. You will not undo the damage, but you might at least stanch some of the bleeding — not just in Israel’s name, but perhaps in yours, as well.

Kol Nidre is still six months away, but you don’t have to wait that long.