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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Israel now more allied with Egypt than America is

From Times of Israel:
Israel has been giving the Egyptian military a free hand to operate in northern Sinai against local jihadist groups, voluntarily ignoring an annex to the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords banning the presence of significant Egyptian forces in the area, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

According to the military annex of the Camp David accords, Egypt is allowed to maintain a civilian police force only in the eastern strip of the Sinai Peninsula, where the majority of local jihadists are currently located. Following Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Egyptian army was allowed to deploy a border patrol battalion along the border with Gaza.

An official told The Times of Israel in 2014 that due to the challenges facing the Egyptian military in the northern Sinai, “In practice, the military annex is nonexistent.”

With fighting between the Egyptian army and jihadists pledging allegiance to the Islamic State intensified this week following a coordinated attack against army positions in northern Sinai Wednesday, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that Israel has maintained its policy of ignoring the peace treaty’s military annex for the benefit of Egypt’s war on terror.

Unlike the United States, which continues to place immense hurdles on the Egyptian army before authorizing the delivery of “a few crummy F-16s” — the official quoted his disgruntled Egyptian counterparts as saying — Israel has allowed the Egyptian army to do as it pleases in northern Sinai without hesitation, realizing the common interest in its fight on terror.

“It took one phone call from Cairo to Jerusalem to authorize whatever Egypt wants in Sinai, counter to the military annex,” he said.

“Israel understands the challenge facing Egypt. We face the same challenge,” he added. “We aren’t worried that Egypt may attack Israel, nor are they worried that Israel will attack them… it is clear to the [Egyptian] leadership that not only is Israel not an enemy, it’s an ally.”
The most populous Arab nation is now a de facto ally of the Jewish state.

This doesn't mean that there will ever be normalization between the two countries, but this is the best Israel can hope for with all its neighbors.

Haaretz goes further, but this report seems too far-fetched unless Egypt's army is really against the wall:
An Egyptian source familiar with Egypt’s decision-making process told Haaretz that if Islamic State comes near Gaza, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi may “invite” the Israel Defense Forces to act against it. This will not be seen as an Israeli breach of Egypt’s sovereignty, because Gaza falls under Israel’s responsibility.

“The two armies may already be coordinating in preparation for such a possibility,” the source said. “The Egyptian problem is that a military campaign inside Gaza could lead to breaking down the fences and a mass flight of civilians from Gaza to Sinai.”
(h/t Paul H)

07/02 Links Pt2: Haaretz Editor Urges Boycott of all of Israel; Flotilla 'aid' only two cardboard boxes

From Ian:

Haaretz Editor Urges Boycott, Collective Punishment of Israelis
Not satisfied with demanding that the world boycott goods from Judea and Samaria, Ha'aretz op-ed writer Roy Isacowitz is now asking the world to boycott Israeli goods – all of them – as well as companies that do business here.
In an op-ed piece titled “Target me with your boycott, please,” Isacowitz bemoans the fact that the “limited” boycott of goods for Judea and Samaria is not working. Instead, he writes, more aggressive action is needed – and that would include a boycott of all Israeli products.
“After almost 50 years of Israeli defiance and evasion, there is little prospect of diplomatic change. The prime goal of the boycott against Israel, therefore, is to persuade the bulk of Israelis that the occupation is not in their interests,” writes Isacowitz. “And the way to do that is by focusing their attention sharply on what those interests are and how much they have to lose.
“It follows that boycotting only the settlements and their commerce, as many on the Israeli left suggest, makes no sense. They are not ideologically inclined to force the government out of the occupied territories and their numbers are insufficient. It is precisely those of us who have – or perceive ourselves to have – little personal investment in the occupation who should be targeted. For the occupation to end, Israel’s self-indulgent, apathetic and blinkered middle class needs a profound wake-up call – courtesy of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement,” Isacowitz says.
This is not the first time that Ha'aretz writers have adopted the language and tactics of radical anti-Israel groups.
Hevron Jew's Showdown with Ultra-Leftist Activist Goes Viral
A video that has received more than 90,000 views since being uploaded to Facebook Tuesday shows the face of Israel's radical Left, in a way that is both entertaining and disturbing.
The video is a verbal showdown between Ofer Ohana, a Jewish resident of Hevron, and Leah Shakdiel, a member of the ultra-leftist women's group Machsom Watch (“machsom” means checkpoint in Hebrew), whose members routinely harass IDF soldiers at checkpoints in Judea and Samaria.
Most intriguingly, however, is the dynamic between Shakdiel and the local Arabs she is ostensibly there to help.
At one point she attempts to shame an Arab man who appears to be on good terms with Ohana.
Shakdiel's insistence that Ohana is “violent” whereas Hevron's Arabs are “peace seekers” is a high point of the video, but perhaps the most dramatic - and cringeworthy - point comes immediately after.
Once again displaying her surprising disrespect for the (mainly Muslim) Arab residents she claims to help, the supposedly liberal Shakdiel proceeds to openly drink water in front of them during Ramadan. When Ohana challenges her for doing so, several local Arabs take his side and rebuke Shakdiel for her insensitivity, provoking a groveling apology. (h/t Jewess)


The ‘humanitarian aid’ aboard a recent flotilla to Gaza fit in two cardboard boxes
Members of the Gaza flotilla organization -- which sent four boats, three of which turned around before arriving in the vicinity of Israel -- have repeatedly said the vessel that was stopped, Marianne, was carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Asked to provide some evidence of the humanitarian aid, Ann Ighe, a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition sent this photograph:
The Gaza activitists said the larger cardboard box contains a solar panel, donated by a Swedish magazine, ETC, which also runs an “environmentally-friendly electricity company.” The panel was bound for Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
Ighe said the Swedish Association of Midwives also donated a nebulizer, a machine used to inhale medicines, often used to calm asthma attacks. That is the small cardboard box.
“Last but not least,” Ighe said, “the boat is cargo in herself, bound to be donated to a fishermen’s organization in Gaza.”
“We bring means of production, not means of destruction,” she added. (h/t Yenta Press)
IsraellyCool: Mocking The Flotilla-holes: Herman Reksten


"Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip"

I missed this Al Monitor story from a few months ago:

Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the increasing demand on dietitians. Ata Qaisi, health care consultant and owner of Gaza City's Diet Center, said obesity can have negative repercussions on a person's life, making him or her more vulnerable to hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Obese women are also more susceptible to pregnancy complications and miscarriages, according to Qaisi.

Qaisi told Al-Monitor that there is a large demand in Gaza for weight-loss programs. “The comfort is in the improvement of the figure and this is what we seek through our programs, which are supposed to be followed through diets and not only by relying on weight loss. When the person finds that the weight has been reduced and the shape has been improved, his or her entire life completely changes. This is how people find comfort in their hearts and minds,” he said.

In the Gaza Strip, a high proportion of people suffer from obesity. “Only 18% to 25% of the Strip’s residents have a normal weight," he said. "The rest are suffering from obesity because of the nature of our life pattern, in addition to the unbalanced social lifestyle, bad eating habits, food traditions and dessert consumption.”

He added, “Such a large proportion is the result of common diseases such as diabetes, stress, cancer and rheumatism. If, for example, the proportion of patients with high blood pressure is 30% of the population, know that 97% of them are due to obesity and the rest are due to accidental causes.”

Just like concentration camps!

(h/t OBoZ)

Michael Oren is tired of American Jews, and so am I (Vic Rosenthal)


Vic Rosenthal's weekly column:


Rabbi Eric Yoffie is offended by Michael Oren, on behalf of (non-Orthodox) American Jews. These Jews, like America’s “first Jewish president,” turn out to be very easy to offend, if you think Israelis are best qualified to run the country they live in.

Oren’s new book has offended both Yoffie and the Obama Administration, which has launched an all-out media blitz against him (as far as I know, Obama spokespeople haven’t called him a ‘chickenshit’ yet, but give them time).

Obama is angry because Oren has exposed the fact (which Obama believes he had managed to hide) that despite his words to the contrary, he could not care less about Israel’s security; the empowerment of Iran and the partition of Israel to create a ‘Palestinian’ state take priority over our survival. And I might add that it doesn’t help Obama’s case when Oren describes the way he and his surrogates have treated our country and our Prime Minister with contempt since day one back in 2009.

But what about the liberal Jews that Yoffie represents? He explains:
What actually happened, according to the book, is that Michael Oren came to see American Jews as unreliable in their support of Israel, quick to criticize the Jewish state, and unable to appreciate Israel’s vulnerabilities. In his eyes, they were unsure of their own position in America. This made them incurable do-gooders, forever babbling about Tikkun Olam, and more inclined to help others than their own. To Oren’s dismay, the harder he worked, the more critical of Israel the community became. …

“I could not help questioning whether American Jews really felt as secure as they claimed [Oren writes]. Perhaps persistent fears of anti-Semitism impelled them to distance themselves from Israel and its often controversial policies. Maybe that was why so many of them supported Obama, with his preference for soft power, his universalist White House seders, and aversion to tribes.”

This, then, is Michael Oren’s message: American Jews flee from commitment to Israel and the controversies that Israel provokes. They prefer weakness to strength, the universal to the particular, and the weak-willed Democrats to the stand-tall Republicans. And the reason for all of this is not conviction but fear — fear for their well-being in America and fear of the anti-Semitism that lurks beneath the surface.
He continues,
Oren’s words here say nothing about the pride, power, and toughness of the American Jewish community. They say nothing about how indispensable American Jews remain to Israel’s standing in America. They say nothing about the relative cohesion of American Jews at times of war and crisis in Israel. And they say nothing about the obvious fact that disagreements between American Jews and Israel are natural and flow mostly from the same questions of politics and values that divide Israelis from one another. … [H]e gave us a book dripping with contempt.
I must say that I can feel for Michael Oren, because I was in almost the same position in my last few years in the US. No, I wasn’t the ambassador, but I was deeply involved in pro-Israel activism and the Jewish community. I was the treasurer of our local Jewish Federation, and my wife was the president of the Hadassah chapter (more than once). We stood on street corners in small groups facing huge anti-Israel demonstrations every time Israel was forced to defend herself. We went to meetings, lectures and films put on by the well-organized anti-Israel groups and distributed our material. We obtained speakers, showed films, and held panel discussions. We thought it was important for American Jews to support Israel, because if we didn’t, who would?

We tried to bring the local Jewish community – the organizations, the synagogues and individual Jews – along with us. With a few exceptions, mostly people like us who had lived in Israel or had relatives there, we had to drag them kicking and screaming. Most of our pro-Israel events drew the same few supporters.

The local Reform temple was probably the most frustrating. A film critical of J Street, followed by a discussion? Absolutely not, it would be ‘divisive’! The Jewish Federation and Hadassah were better, but it was always easier to organize an event about Jewish culture than Israel.

Is Oren right that American Jews are more interested in helping others than their own? Certainly they were far more upset about terrorism in Charleston than Jerusalem, and far more ready to criticize our Prime Minister than their own administration. The Reform rabbi threw himself into activities to help the poor and homeless. He is seen on TV on panels with the Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center. He is an outspoken advocate of liberal causes, but he did not give a sermon in favor of PM Netanyahu’s speech about Iran before the Congress.

Is it because of fear of anti-Semitism? I can’t say, and Oren exposes himself to quibbles when he speculates about motives. But the sheer obtuseness of Jews who insist on calling for an utterly impossible “two-state solution” despite the other side’s willingness to kill and die to prevent our keeping a state within any borders, and the ones that supported and still continue to support the administration’s Iran policy (which even Yoffie calls “profoundly mistaken and dangerous”) despite overwhelming evidence against it make me wonder. What drives their irrational attitudes?

Why was it that even after we showed them that J Street was funded by the anti-Zionist George Soros and received contributions from people associated with Saudi Arabia and Iran, they continued to support J Street? Why was it that they continued to contribute to the New Israel Fund after we showed them that some of its grantees advocated BDS and some called for the “de-Zionisation” of Israel?

Oren admits that he despaired of trying to win over US Jews. Just this week I heard a veteran American pro-Israel activist say that she was going to concentrate on building non-Jewish support, because working with people who can’t be persuaded by facts is a waste of time.

Yoffie is wrong about the “cohesion of American Jews at times of war and crisis in Israel.” They didn’t cohere when we needed them for counter-demonstrations during Cast Lead, and they haven’t cohered against Obama’s plan to empower Iran with nuclear weapons. If not now, when?

And he is wrong when he says that the disagreements about Israel in the US are similar to those among Israelis: in Israel, the great majority of Israelis agree that negotiations with the PLO are fruitless, that Gaza must continue to be blockaded, and that the US-Iran deal is a disaster. Yes, there are sharp political disagreements, but except for the extremists (the small academic/media/artistic Left) the disagreements are about personalities, style and domestic economic issues.

In a recent interview, Oren repeated the joke about two Jews who are about to be murdered by the SS. When one of them refuses to be blindfolded, the other tells him “don’t make trouble.”

American Jews don’t want to make trouble. They want to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends, with whom they complain about those troublesome settlements and that stubborn, ungrateful Netanyahu. They get a warm feeling from saying that they support “their” president. It makes them feel good about themselves to say that “Palestinians have rights, too.”

And if the war that results from Obama's destabilizing policy ends up killing a lot of us, they will be sorry it happened, but they will read with approval in the NY Times that it was our fault for not “making peace” when we had the chance.

07/02 Links Pt1: Nicholas Winton, savior of Jewish children, dies at 106; Ramadan Terror

From Ian:

Nicholas Winton, savior of Jewish children, dies at 106
Dubbed "Britain's Schindler," Winton almost single-handedly saved more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, and kept quiet about his role • "The world lost a great man," says British PM • "He valued human life above all," says Israeli president.
He was just a 29-year-old clerk at the London Stock Exchange when he faced the challenge of a lifetime. Traveling with a friend to Czechoslovakia in 1938, as the drums of impending war echoed around Europe, Nicholas Winton was hit by a key realization: The country was in danger and no one was saving its Jewish children.
Winton would almost single-handedly save more than 650 Jewish children from the Holocaust, earning himself the label "Britain's Schindler." He died Wednesday at age 106 in a hospital near Maidenhead, his hometown west of London, his family said.
Winton arranged trains to carry children from Nazi-occupied Prague to Britain, battling bureaucracy at both ends and saving them from almost certain death. He then kept quiet about his exploits for a half-century.
His daughter, Barbara, said she hoped her father would be remembered for his wicked sense of humor and charity work as well as his wartime heroism. And she hoped his legacy would be inspiring people to believe that even difficult things were possible.
"He believed that if there was something that needed to be done you should do it," she said. "Let's not spend too long agonizing about stuff. Let's get it done."
Netanyahu: The Jews owe an eternal debt of gratitude to the 'British Schindler'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday mourned the loss of Nicholas Winton, the man who became known as the "British Schindler" for saving hundreds of Czech children from Nazi persecution in the run-up to World War Two. Winton died at the age of 106 on Wednesday.
"The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis," Netanyahu stated.
"In a world plagued by evil and indifference, Winton dedicated himself to saving the innocent and the helpless," the prime minister added. "His extraordinary moral leadership serves as an example to all of humanity."
Netanyahu sent his condolences to Winton's surviving family.
Phyllis Chesler: Sir Nicholas Winton: One Daring Act of Kindness Can Change the World
A great soul has just gone on to his Creator: Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 mainly Jewish children from Prague in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, died today. He was 106 years old.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "The world has lost a great man. We must never forget Sir Nicholas Winton's humanity in saving so many children from the Holocaust." Home Secretary Theresa May, called Sir Nicholas "a hero of the 20th century." He set an "enduring example of the difference that good people can make even in the darkest of times."
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, described him as "one of the greatest people I have ever met."
Sir Nicholas was a British-Jewish stockbroker. He gave up a 1938 skiing holiday to help Jewish refugees in flight. He organized foster families for these Jewish children in Britain by placing ads in the newspaper. He persuaded a reluctant bureaucracy "to allow all the children in despite incomplete documentation."
Menemsha Films, an extraordinary distribution company which is devoted to high quality, Jewish-themed films, has an enthralling documentary about him: Nicky's Family—narrated by the Canadian journalist, Joe Schlesinger, who was one of the 669.
In 1988, on a BBC talk show, "That's Life," the host invited Sir Winton to sit in the front row of the studio audience. He discovers, teary-eyed, that everyone in that audience—all the adults—had been saved by him.
Sir Nicholas Winton - BBC Programme "That's Life" aired in 1988
Sir Nicholas Winton who organised the rescue and passage to Britain of about 669 mostly Jewish Czechoslovakian children destined for the Nazi death camps before World War II in an operation known as the Czech Kindertransport. This video is the BBC Programme "That's Life" aired in 1988. The most touching video ever.


Multinational Sinai forces silent on the chaos around them


The Multinational Force and Observers group is tasked with keeping the peace between Israel and Egypt after the Camp David accords.

As the Sinai explodes around them, they have been curiously silent.

Over a hundred people were killed yesterday in attacks in the Sinai, so this silence is a bit jarring.

The latest news from their website is from April 1:
On 23 March 2015, a change of command ceremony was held at the MFO’s North Camp in el Gorah to mark the assumption of Force military police duties by Canada, taking over this important role from Hungary.

The Facebok page of the MFO's Task Force Sinai group has this important item on May 8:
Today, Task Force sinai Soldiers as well as members of the MFO, gathered around the New Zealand Patio here on North Camp to watch a tribal war dance also known as a HAKA performed by their New Zealand counterparts. The traditional ceremony is one of the true cultural events that demonstrates the diversity shared here in the MFO. This event was held today to welcome the new rotation of NZ Soldiers.
You know that they are going to get attacked sooner or later.

In contrast, the UNDOF forces meant to keep a cease fire between Syria and Israel have been giving quarterly reports to the UN that provide more detail on the situation in Syria (the "Bravo side.") The last edition of their Golan Journal was published over a year ago, and it only mentioned the Syria civil war that surrounds them in passing.

Interesting Gaza fact hidden in a tragedy

Yesterday, 4-year old Hadeel Abu Salem Sbejh and her 3-year old sister Jana Omar Abu Sbejh drowned in a tragic accident in a swimming pool in the Maghazi "refugee" camp in the Gaza Strip.

In other news - Gaza "refugee camps" have swimming pools.

Back in 2010, when an Olympic-sized pool was opened in Gaza, I wrote "Let's hope that the Free Gaza flotilla is bringing in some much-needed goggles."

2010 image of Gaza water park

UNRWA releases new Gaza Pallywood propaganda film

Here is a brand new propaganda film from UNRWA:


Why is it propaganda? Because every scene is staged not to reflect reality but to maximize fundraising.



Gaza kids don't spontaneously gather to dance to a kid who created makeshift drums. Pre-teens don't say "I want to see my society progress, and I want to have a hand in that progress." Boys and girls generally don't play together anywhere, let alone in a Muslim sector like Gaza. They certainly don't put their hands together to celebrate the wonderful idea of throwing a hard-to-find bottle into the sea with their hopes and dreams written in a note.

There is at least one bottling plant in Gaza. I don't think that bottles are that valuable a commodity that they have to wonder where to find one. (Where they found a cork in alcohol-free Gaza is an entirely different issue.)

The words are scripted. The scenes are rehearsed. The subjects are acting. And the camerawork, from the first shot to the last, is expensive. (The film  theme seems to have been chosen to tie the Police song "Message in a Bottle" to the UNRWA "#SOS4Gaza" campaign.)

This film was written and directed to show the world that Gaza kids are just like Westerners. Because the last thing UNRWA wants you to know is that it teaches hate and antisemitism and extols the virtues of martyrdom, or that its "human rights" curriculum teaches hate,  or that its teachers support terror.

This video is not meant to tell the truth. On the contrary - UNRWA spent tens of thousands of dollars on this film to hide the truth.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

07/01 Links Pt2: Abbas Admits "Palestinian People" Don't Exist; Obama’s Unicorn Deal With Iran

From Ian:

Palestinian Authority Head Admits "Palestinian People" Don't Exist
The Palestinians are one of the more ridiculous historical hoaxes. If you believe the media, they're an ancient distinct people with a historical claim on the land of Israel.
In reality they're a collection of invaders, colonists and migrants. A sizable group among them, the Afro-Palestinians, are African Muslims who arrived there in the 20th century to fight against Israel.
Many other Arab Muslims came to work in industries created by the British Mandate. The entire thing became more convoluted when Jordan was split off under one of the Hashemite kings creating a country full of the same Arab Muslims, but who are deemed not to be Palestinians, even though Jordan is in fact full of "Palestinians". It got sillier when Jordan seized parts of Israel and annexed them, at which point the "Palestinians" there ceased to be "Palestinians" who needed national rights, but became "Palestinians" again once Israel liberated the area.
But this has to be denied because otherwise the mandate for a "Palestinian State" collapses. Sometimes though the truth slips out.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has described Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs as "one people living in two states," during a meeting with the head of the Jordan Football Association on Tuesday. Bethlehem-based Maan News cited the Jordanian al-Ghad newspaper as saying that Abbas arrived in Jordan from Doha along with several other senior PA officials, including its intelligence chief Majid Faraj. The Arabic-language Al-Quds news outlet directly quoted Abbas, who it said "stressed that the relationship between Jordan and Palestine is the relationship of 'one people living in two states,' adding that this relationship will not be affected by anything."
The Pope, the Queen, and why we didn't bomb Auschwitz
It was an important, meaningful gesture that a ceremonial visit on June 26, 2015 was made to Belsen by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. She laid a wreath on the monument there and stopped at the stone honoring Anne Frank.
The Queen did not speak at the place, resembling the behavior of General Eisenhower, unable to describe the horrors he was witnessing when he visited the liberated Ohrdurf camp on April 12, 1945.
The queen’s visit is symbolically important not only in itself, but also implicitly to refute and rebuke the atrocious fabrications of Holocaust deniers, such as Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, who have argued that the image of Belsen is essentially a product of hateful wartime propaganda.
The remarks made and the question posed by Pope Francis, and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Belsen, remind the world today of the hatred and intolerance of extremist forces in the past.
Today, there are echoes of the past Nazi brutalities in the actions and rhetoric of Islamist terrorists. The pattern in past and present is similar: mass graves, indiscriminate murders, villages and towns burned, historic sites destroyed, barbarism at the gates of civilization, the misuse of children to commit war crimes, the extent of human evil and depravity.
In his speech on June 4, 2009 at the camp of Buchenwald, where 56,000 had been murdered, President Barack Obama was conscious of the Nazi crimes and of the need to be vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time.
At a moment when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is expanding its control of territory and when European and American youngsters are joining IS and becoming jihadists, the Western world must recall the results of evil.
The lesson must be learned. The Western democracies must act decisively to counter Islamist terrorism and overcome those who exhibit and are eager to implement their capacity for evil and anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Unicorn Deal With Iran
What’s curious is that the deal that the Obama Administration now celebrates is based on the same principles that the White House now derides as fairy tales. Like parents putting their children to bed, the White House once sang lullabies to congress and U.S. allies to quiet their concerns about the administration’s diplomatic approach to the Iranian nuclear program. Comparing the administration’s past public statements about the deal with its current positions is a lesson in the political uses of fairy tales:
There was a time when the administration was intent on dismantling the Iranian nuclear program. As John Kerry said in December 2013, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran “because we knew that it would hopefully help Iran dismantle its nuclear program. That was the whole point of the regime.”
Today, the administration is not talking about dismantling anything. The whole point of the deal, as the White House sees it, is simply to extend Iran’s break-out time to a year, which won’t really be a year, according to the administration, but is still somehow a useful round number.
It used to be that the White House wasn’t going to let Iran enrich any uranium at all. As former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in April 2012, “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”
However the Joint Plan of Action in November 2013 acknowledged Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

UNHRC report tried to justify Hamas firing rockets from civilian areas

The UNHRC Davis report wrote:

473.    International humanitarian law prescribes that parties to the conflict should take all feasible precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects under their control from the effects of attacks and to the maximum extent feasible avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.[1] The commission notes that this obligation is not absolute and that even if there are areas that are not residential, Gaza’s small size and its population density makes it particularly difficult for armed groups always to comply with these requirements. The ICRC Commentary on Additional Protocol I notes that several delegations of the Diplomatic Conference commented that for densely populated countries, the requirement to avoid locating military objectives within densely populated areas would be difficult to apply.[2]

But when the ICRC said that, they were referring to normal countries who cared about their civilian population!

This sub-paragraph covers both permanent and mobile objectives. As regards permanent objectives, governments should endeavour to find places away from densely populated areas to site them. These concerns should already be taken into consideration in peacetime. For example, a barracks or a store of military equipment or ammunition should not be built in the middle of a town.

As regards mobile objectives, care should be taken in particular during the conflict to avoid placing troops, equipment or transports in densely populated areas.

In both cases it is likely that governments are sufficiently concerned with sparing their own population and that they will therefore act in the best interests of that population.
[...]
Several delegates at the Diplomatic Conference stressed the fact that for densely populated countries this provision was difficult to apply.
When the government is manifestly not concerned with the safety of its population, these caveats do not apply.

And the UNHRC report goes on to note that this is indeed the case::

[I]n a number of instances, Palestinian armed groups appear to have conducted military operations within or in close proximity to sites benefiting from special protection under international humanitarian law, such as hospitals, shelters and places dedicated to religion and education. The United Nations Board of Inquiry into specific incidents that occurred in the Gaza Strip between 8 July and 26 August 2014 found that in some cases Palestinian armed groups conducted military operations in the vicinity of UNRWA schools. In one case, it noted military activity by both Palestinian armed groups and the IDF in the vicinity of Beit Hanoun Elementary Co-educational “A” and “B” school, which was being used as an UNRWA designated emergency shelter. In the case of the Jabaliya Elementary “C” and Ayyobiya Boys School, an area adjacent to the school was reportedly used by Palestinian armed groups to fire projectiles. In the case of the Nuseirat Preparatory School Co-educational “B” School, the “presence of weapons and other evidence” indicates that Palestinian armed groups may have fired 120 mm mortars from the premises of the school. In another case, media reports quoted the Greek Orthodox Archbishop in Gaza as stating that the church compound, in which approximately 2,000 civilians took refuge, was used by Palestinian armed groups to fire rockets.

In the end the UNHRC concludes in a wishy-washy manner:
Given the number of cases in which Palestinian armed groups are alleged to have carried out military operations within or in the immediate vicinity of civilian objects and specifically protected objects, it does not appear that this behaviour was simply a consequence of the normal course of military operations. Therefore the obligation to avoid to the maximum extent possible locating military objectives within densely populated areas was not always complied with.
The UNHRC's quote of what a minority of delegates to the ICRC conference thought is utterly irrelevant to the situation of an armed group that deliberately and provably chose to embed its arsenal among the civilian population. Its conclusion is close to correct, but its decision to quote a contrary opinion that doesn't apply to Gaza and Hamas is an indication of how much the commission tried to justify Hamas actions that endangered civilians.

Study: In Theory, Arab MKs Able To Represent Israeli Arabs, Not Palestinians (PreOccupied Territory)

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.



Umm El-Fahm, July 1 - A team of researchers at Tel Aviv University say they have proven that at least theoretically, it is possible for elected representatives of Israel's Arab political parties to work to better the lives of their constituencies, as opposed to their current focus on furthering the interests of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its subsidiary, the Palestinian National Authority. Results of the study, with some analysis, will be published in the July issue of the journal Political Science, due out next week.

The researchers studied the voting patterns and relevant legal and cultural principles that govern parliamentarian behavior in Israel and elsewhere, and found reason to conclude that while the current group of 12 Arab MKs has shown no desire, ability, or need to represent the people who actually elected them, and to make the lives of those people better instead of holding them and their quality of life hostage to a dream of negating Israel as a Jewish state, it nevertheless remains in the realm of human possibility that those elected officials might choose to perform what elected officials are supposed to do, specifically, working to improve, in measurable ways, the lives of the constituencies who elected them.

Lead study author Professor Albert Facepalm of Tel Aviv University explained in a telephone interview that his team of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers looked for all known impediments to an MKs' involvement in the pursuit of the actual welfare for Arab citizens of Israel, and found none. "We made a thorough examination of the circumstances of each of the twelve Arab MKs. That included an analysis of their access to information and their ability to comprehend it, as well as the availability of data indicating the most pressing needs of Israel's Arab citizens," he said. "But there was nothing to explain why the most they have done for those citizens is to denounce the system that employs those selfsame politicians as inherently racist and to declare that it has no right to continue existing."

Facepalm said the team was similarly unable to find an explanation for why those MKs appear not to focus on genuine issues within the Arab community in Israel that do not require an impassioned litany of real or imagined Zionist offenses. "Underage marriage, domestic violence, lack of women's empowerment, honor killings - the only context in which you can count on an Arab MK to mention these ills plaguing Israeli Arab society is if the issues can be framed as the fault of Israeli policy," he noted. "We are at a loss as to a scientific basis for explaining that phenomenon, because, at least theoretically, there's nothing preventing these political figures from trying to accomplish something constructive."

The study also found that MK Basel Ghattas had a sick tan for someone who is supposed to be a legislator in the Knesset, a mostly indoor facility.

07/01 Links Pt1: Lawless Administration Won’t Enforce Law Against Israel Boycotts

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: New federal law fights European boycotts of Israel
In plain English, this means U.S. courts cannot enforce judgements that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law, or particular European rules. There are not as of yet any such foreign judgements to speak of; indeed, legal challenges to business activities across the Green Line have consistently been rejected by European national courts. The real importance of the foreign judgements provision is establishing and strengthening U.S. state practice on this international legal issue.
That is, one underlying purpose behind the series of relatively minor EU restrictions on business across the Green Line is to establish an entirely novel principle of international law (applicable only to Israel): that these areas are for completely off limits for Israelis. The Europeans claim the mere presence (forget habitation) of Israelis in these areas can be a crime under international law. The new law rejects this contention, event to point that it will not recognize foreign judgements arising from it. This would include, for example, the purchase of property in the West Bank by Americans.
Finally, another under-appreciated provision states that boycotts and divestment of Israel by governments violates the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, the cornerstone of international trade law. Such a finding by a major third-parrty state should make the EU quite worried about the possibility of Israel challenging their impending restrictions in the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution mechanism.
More broadly, the law – and the state laws it will spawn – represents a major refutation of the conventional wisdom that boycott pressure on Israel is growing irreversibly and ineluctably. In this account, it is Israel’s policies, rather than the single-minded animosity of its opponents, that fuels boycott efforts, and nothing short and changing those policies will help. In short, in this view, the boycott pressure is at least in part legitimate. This view was championed by the left-wing J-Street group, which opposed the Roskam Amendment. They did not manage to convince a single congressman. Despite the efforts of such ostensibly pro-Israel groups, Americans understand that the movement to single out Israel for economic punishment is unreasonable, discriminatory, dangerous to Israel’s security, and contrary to long-standing U.S. policy.
State Department backs away from anti-BDS law’s language
The US State Department backed away Tuesday from controversial language included in the anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama a day earlier, indicating official discomfort with a clause that critics say intentionally blurs the lines between Israel and the West Bank.
“By conflating Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories,” a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding US policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” State Department Spokesman Jack Kirby wrote in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “Every US administration since 1967 – Democrat and Republican alike – has opposed Israeli settlement activity beyond the 1967 lines. This administration is no different. The US government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”
Kirby’s comments referred to the part of the Trade Promotion Authority law which sponsors said were designed to discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the US.
The provisions require US trade negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the European Union, instructing them to discourage “politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel and to seek the elimination of politically motivated non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on the State of Israel.”
Lawless Administration Won’t Enforce Law Against Israel Boycotts
Kirby is right that the U.S. government has never formally recognized the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank. But he’s wrong to assert that President Obama’s policies are entirely consistent with that of his predecessors. This administration has made an issue of the existence of 40-year-old neighborhoods in Jerusalem in a way that is unprecedented since it treats the presence of Jews in parts of Israel’s capital as being just as illegitimate as the most remote West Bank settlement. Moreover, no previous administration has ever considered boycotts of Israel, whether of the entire country or of the half million Jews who live on the other side of the 1967 lines as legitimate. Kirby’s statement is an implicit endorsement of some Israel boycotts while opposing others.
Nor does the focus on settlements aid the cause of peace as the administration claims. Israel has already made far-reaching offers of withdrawal from the West Bank including statehood that has been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinians. The refusal to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn is the obstacle to peace, not the presence of Jews in Jerusalem or the West Bank.
As I have written previously, the notion that it is okay to boycott some Jews but not others is one that sends a dangerous signal to Israel’s enemies. Once it is deemed lawful to anathematize parts of the Israeli economy, it is a slippery slope to treating all such boycotts as legitimate. Since the original Arab boycott that sought to strangle the Israeli economy was only broken by U.S. efforts to ban trade with those who enforced the boycott, a Congressional effort to move against BDS now was entirely in keeping with longstanding U.S. policy. But since this administration is obsessed with the idea of banning settlements, it is prepared to let a Europe in which a rising tide of anti-Semitism has fueled support for BDS activity get away with such boycotts.
This is a disgrace, but any thought of a legal challenge to the decision is a waste of time. Since the U.S. Supreme Court gave President Obama the right to invalidate laws about Israeli rights to Jerusalem in a decision handed down earlier this month, he can be confident that he will be granted similar latitude to ignore anti-BDS law.
But it isn’t just friends of Israel who should be outraged about this decision. This is an administration that views law enforcement as an option, not an imperative. Just as he did on immigration, where he ignored the will of Congress and used executive orders to effectively annul legislation by not enforcing those concerning illegal immigrants, President Obama regards his personal opinion as being above the law. That is a dangerous tendency to substitute his preferences for the rule of law ought to scare all Americans, regardless of their views about trade or Israel.