Friday, July 29, 2016

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Time to walk away from US aid
Today, both economics and strategic arguments indicate that the opposite is the case, even if walking away involves ending US military aid.
If Israel cuts its losses and begins to develop a fifth generation jet fighter that meets its own specific needs, rather than one designed by a committee to meet other countries’ needs poorly, it will end up both far safer and far more prosperous than if it goes ahead with the F-35 project. It will produce a better plane, better suited for Israeli defense needs, and simultaneously stimulate the growth of Israeli military industries, providing jobs for thousands of Israelis.
If Israel walks away from the military assistance package currently under discussion, it will be in a position to sign joint development deals with the US and other governments on a project by project basis and so ensure that we develop the weapons systems we need, not the ones the US thinks we should have, as we need them. Just as India is investing billions of dollars in joint projects with Israel, so will the US in the future.
It is far from clear that the US can afford its $400b. white elephant. It is abundantly clear that Israel cannot afford it.
Whether or not a Trump or Clinton administration will be more forthcoming is really beside the point. The point is that the US aid deal is really a deal for Lockheed Martin, not for Israel. And we need to say no.
Elliott Abrams: The New State Department Assault on Israel
Why is this approach stupid? For two reasons. First, it’s false: construction in outlying areas of the West Bank may indeed appear to be a problem in creating a Palestinian state, but construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem is not, nor is construction in major blocs Israel will keep. Second, this failure to make distinctions means Israelis will disregard U.S. complaints instead of listening to them. If the State Department criticized construction by settler groups in remote West Bank areas, it would actually have most Israelis on its side. But when it treats Jerusalem neighborhoods and a place like Maale Adumim as indistinguishable from any and every settler activity no matter how remote, Israelis will mostly shrug and wonder why the Americans are so dumb.
And that’s actually a good question. Why are we, or rather why is the State Department? I suppose State is just following orders from the White House, but that only raises the stakes; it does not answer the question. Who is the intended audience for this attack on Israel? If the answer is Israelis and their government, it will fail due to its continuing refusal to make logical distinctions. If the answer is Americans, including members of Congress, then this attack–launched by a lame duck administration during this convention week– will have zero effect.
So here’s a theory: the intended audience is European governments, and others around the world. This kind of assault makes their own assaults on Israel easier: they can see us and raise us in the level of criticism of Israel. They can be encouraged in planning attacks on Israel in the UN General Assembly in September. They can offer six-paragraph screeds where they explain how these new housing units threaten peace, security, and the two-state solution.
The State Department statement came the same week that the Palestinian Authority announced it would sue the British government over the Balfour declaration. It is true that this was in many ways a comic announcement, but it displayed a complete lack of serious intent to move forward toward peace or peace negotiations. In that sense it is completely consistent with the way the Palestinian Authority and the PLO have behaved throughout the Obama years.
With all the misery and bloodshed in the Middle East; with all the terrorist attacks Israel must face; with chaos in Iraq and Syria; with a PLO thinking not about talks but about lawsuits against the UK, it’s remarkable that housing construction strikes State as the critical problem we face. Meanwhile, also this week, a Saudi delegation visited Jerusalem. As The Times of Israel reported, “a retired Saudi general visited Israel this week, heading a delegation of academics and businessmen seeking to encourage discussion of the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative.”
When the Saudis have a more realistic approach to Israel than the State Department, American policy is far out of whack.

  • Friday, July 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Office of the EU Representative to the West Bank and Gaza proudly showed photos of the International Palestine Festival that it sponsored:
The ‪#‎EU‬ is among the main supporters of the Palestine International Festival as part of the support to the ‪#‎Palestinian‬ cultural sector and organizations and as part of the ''Palestinian festivals towards cooperation and community inclusion'' EU funded project.

There is nothing wrong with the EU sponsoring such a festival, although some might wonder why money is being spent on something like that.

However, the actual Facebook page of the festival itself mentions one of the events that occurred last night:

Fans of revolutionary songs... Tonight at the Cultural Palace in Ramallah at 8:00

Here are the videos they showed as examples of "revolutionary songs"

The EU is also sponsoring the promotion of violence and terror at this festival.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, July 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Yesterday, Islamic Jihad held a festival in Gaza called "Bond of Blood."


The terror group unveiled a long-range rocket whose capabilities it has kept secret, putting three question marks on the rockets instead of a name:

The missiles are of course meant to perform war crimes, since they cannot be aimed at anything but large population centers.

Other photos from the festival show that it was meant to be a family-friendly event:

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Law professor Peter Margulies has written a detailed explanation, based on his own interviews with relevant Israeli officials, on the quality of IDF investigations of incidents that occur during war. He concludes that the IDF is doing quite a good job at maintaining the independence and quality of investigations, which is opposite of the constant charges hurled at Israel by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

It is a long and somewhat technical paper, but it is instructive to compare the quality and detail of his observations with the amateurish and simplistic attacks by Amnesty and other NGOs on Israel's military judicial process.

Critics of state investigations of alleged violations of the law of armed conflict (LOAC) often accuse those inquiries of being insufficiently independent from the chain of command. Medicins Sans (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders) raised this argument about the recently completed—and exhaustive—U.S. investigation into the October 2015 bombing of a MSF facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan. And earlier in July, Amnesty International leveled a similar charge against Israel’s efforts to investigate LOAC violations during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. But a careful review of LOAC suggests that the situation is more complex than Amnesty’s rhetoric reveals.

Israel has taken substantial structural steps toward independence in LOAC investigations. Independence in investigations is not an end itself—its primary purpose under LOAC is the promotion of effective, timely, and accurate investigation of war crimes allegations.

To assess the independence of an investigation, it is necessary to define independence. Mike Schmitt has suggested that, under LOAC, independence is narrowly defined as standing outside a particular operation’s chain of command. The principle of independence under LOAC does not disqualify a state from reviewing allegations about the misconduct of that state’s forces. In the Kunduz case, MSF argued that the U.S. should have relinquished control to a little-known, never used transnational mechanism, the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. However, international law assumes that states are competent to investigate alleged abuses involving their own forces. The principle of complementarity holds that states, which after all make international law, should have the authority to address their own LOAC violations unless such states default in their duties. That authority is an incident of state sovereignty. Moreover, a contrary view would let states off the hook, inhibiting the development of robust state investigatory capabilities. The world has turned to ad hoc tribunals like the Nuremberg Tribunals and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) when the volume and scale of widely acknowledged atrocities and the absence of a state response called out for such a forum. And the International Criminal Court (ICC) can step in today to prosecute matters when a state brought within the ambit of the ICC’s governing Rome Statute has failed to fulfill its own responsibilities. However, state investigations are the default setting for LOAC violations.

As Schmitt observes, the LOAC principle of independence also does not require civilian investigations of alleged military abuses. Civilian conduct of investigations may hinder their efficiency and accuracy, since civilians lack a firm background in tactics, munitions, personnel, and the exigencies of combat. Rather, LOAC merely requires that an investigative team is free from the operational chain of command for the action at issue.

Contrary to the recent Amnesty International report, Israel reinforces independence far more concretely than most other states. Israel has repeatedly welcomed outside scrutiny, including the Turkel Commission, a group of prominent Israeli jurists and scholars including a former Supreme Court justice, aided by international experts such as Australia’s Tim McCormack and Canada’s Ken Watkin. Israel invited this group to study its investigative process after the ill-fated Gaza flotilla raid of 2010. The Turkel Commission found that in most material respects, Israel’s process met the independence criterion. For example, as Israel’s 2014 report indicated, the investigative decisions made by the IDF’s Military Advocate General (MAG) are reviewable by the Attorney General (AG), a cabinet official outside the chain of command. Moreover, the AG’s decisions are in turn reviewable by the Israeli Supreme Court, a vigorous body that has forthrightly stated that “the combat operations of the IDF do not take place in a normative vacuum.” (Physicians for Human Rights v. Prime Minister, Para. 11 (2009)). Israel’s Supreme Court has followed up on this observation with concrete interventions that would be unthinkable under the U.S. Supreme Court’s far more deferential regime. For example, Israel’s Supreme Court has imposed constraints on the IDF’s criteria for targeting suspected terrorists (see Schmitt and John Merriam on IDF extensive targeting protocols). The prospect of the Israeli Supreme Court’s robust review, facilitated by the Court’s broad grants of standing to residents of the West Bank or Gaza as well as Israel proper, acts as an additional ex ante check on military discretion.

Following publication of the Turkel Report, an Israeli interagency team, headed by Dr. Joseph Ciechanover (who had served as General Counsel to the Ministry of Defense and Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and comprised of representatives from the IDF and Ministry of Justice, recommended further safeguards. All of the Ciechanover team’s recommendations were approved by Israel’s cabinet earlier in July. A central change was provision for a Fact-Finding Assessment (FFA) of “exceptional incidents” involving alleged loss of civilian life. (See the interagency report here.) The IDF started using the FFA Mechanism during the 2014 Gaza campaign, before issuance of the Ciechanover report. Teams of active duty and reserve military personnel from a variety of disciplines, including law, conduct the FFA. Each FFA works outside the chain of command for the operation under review.

Critics of military LOAC investigations seriously underestimate the difficulties inherent in investigating alleged war crimes. Preserving evidence under battlefield conditions is an arduous task, while witnesses in locations such as Gaza may be subject to intimidation by Hamas and other terrorist groups. Outside observers have a troubled track record when it comes to Israel’s Gaza campaigns. For example, the notoriously flawed Goldstone Commission investigation has drawn much critical commentary. All too often, these outside reports, such as the McGowan Davis report for the U.N. Human Rights Council, have failed to adequately acknowledge the challenges that Israel faces in fighting terrorist entities such as Hamas.

Israel’s critics are right on one point. Given the sheer number of military decisions in the 2014 Gaza campaign, common sense strongly suggests that the IDF’s performance was not perfect. As human beings, IDF personnel are not immune from the pull of anger, fear, and haste.

However, neither imperfections nor grievous mistakes such as the U.S. Kunduz attack necessarily translate into war crimes. For commission of a war crime, a culpable state of mind is an essential element. Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute requires a showing of either intent to harm civilians or recklessness: ordering an attack with the knowledge that the resulting harm to civilians would be “clearly excessive in relation to the … military advantage anticipated.” The high threshold for proof of a culpable state of mind is no accident. Rather, it is a recognition that a less demanding test would not adequately acknowledge the risk of harm that inevitably flows from the fog of war.

Because of the exigencies of armed conflict, assessing the adequacy of a state’s efforts to investigate alleged LOAC violations cannot be reduced to a mere statistical compilation of indictments. A responsible, professional military organization such as the IDF has a range of remedies available for its soldiers’ mistakes, including the promulgation of “lessons learned” from wartime tragedies. A case in point: the MAG’s acknowledgment of the need to improve technological and intelligence capabilities to avoid a repetition of the deaths of four boys on the beach during the 2014 Gaza campaign. One hopes that the U.S. will similarly refine its own systems to avoid a recurrence of the catastrophic Kunduz attack. Any balanced assessment of Israel’s compliance with its international obligations should also take into account its readiness to prosecute IDF personnel serving in the West Bank (for example in this manslaughter prosecution based on killing of a wounded Palestinian). That willingness and reforms such as the FFA process that safeguard the MAG’s independence furnish strong evidence of Israel’s adherence to LOAC norms.

One of the referenced articles is a hugely detailed overview by two American military law experts on Israel's targeting practices in law. Again, the quality of this paper is in marked contrast to NGOs' simplistic and ignorant attacks on the IDF based on nothing more than a predetermined verdict.

Here are excerpts of the conclusion from that paper:

The central finding of this project is that the unique Israeli operational context described in Part I exerts an almost tyrannical influence over the IDF’s legal organization and Israel’s understanding and application of the LOAC. The driving forces in this context are 1) the risk of direct attack faced by the Israeli civilian population due to geography and enemy strategy and 2) the extremely high value Israel places on the safety of its soldiers. Israel’s enemies clearly understand the extent to which these two factors loom large for Israel and exploit them to offset the qualitative and technical advantages that Israel enjoys in conventional warfare. They do this by directly targeting the Israeli population, seeking to capture individual Israeli soldiers and engaging in lawfare tactics. IDF operations are clearly well-regulated and subject to the rule of law. The IDF has extremely robust systems of examination and investigation of operational incidents, and there is significant civilian oversight, both by the Attorney General and the Supreme Court. With respect to the MAG Corps, the Authors found its officers to be exceptionally competent, highly professional, and well-trained. The extent to which MAG officers are independent of commanders, especially when providing legal advice during ongoing operations, is striking.

The operational context in which Israel finds itself also drives the IDF's approach to targeting. Given the geography of Israel and the multiple potential enemies it faces, centralizing air targeting and decentralizing ground attacks makes sense. Moreover, the operational tempo of the operations merits close legal supervision, which the Operational Law Apparatus is designed to provide. It is clear that the deliberate targeting cycle process employed by the Israeli Air Force is constructed so as to identify legal issues as they crop up and to facilitate compliance with LOAC as operations are being planned, approved and executed. Doing so is, as discussed, essential to countering the specific tactics employed by Israel's opponents.

Although the Israeli positions on the LOAC principles and rules governing targeting are rather orthodox, the unique operational environment in which Israel finds itself clearly affects interpretation and application. As an example, given the propensity of Israel’s enemies to use human shields, it is unsurprising that Israel has taken the position that individuals voluntarily acting in this manner are to be treated as direct participants in hostilities. In light of its enemies’ frequent failure to distinguish itself from the civilian population, it is equally unsurprising that Israel has embraced the principle of reasonableness with respect to target identification. Perhaps most noteworthy is the high value Israel places on the safety of its soldiers and its civilian population. Although impossible to quantify, both Authors were convinced these concerns significantly influenced the value judgments made by Israeli commanders as they plan and execute military operations, value judgments that often come into play in the application of such LOAC concepts as proportionality.

In the Authors’ opinion, use of lawfare by Israel’s enemies likewise shapes, whether consciously or not, Israel’s interpretation and application of the LOAC. In particular, Israel has adopted an inclusive approach to the entitlement to protected status, particularly civilian status. Examples include Israel’s positions on doubt, its treatment of involuntary shields as civilians who are not directly participating and its view that individuals who ignore warnings retain their civilian status. Although these positions might seem counterintuitive for a State that faces foes who exploit protected status for military and other gain, such positions are well suited to counter the enemy’s reliance on lawfare. In this regard, Israel’s LOAC interpretations actually enhance its operational and strategic level position despite any tactical loss. Along the same lines, in many cases, the IDF imposes policy restrictions that go above and beyond the requirements of LOAC.
Actual military law experts agree that Israel is meeting and exceeding its legal requirements in how it conducts war. The disagreements that these authors show to specific IDF operational details proves that these papers aren't cheerleading, but sober and detailed analyses based on the specific military (and political) environment that Israel finds itself in. The contrast in quality between these papers written by experts and the armchair pseudo-analysis in NGO reports is obvious to anyone who cares to look.

Predictably, Amnesty's Jacob Burns responded to Peter Margulies' paper on Twitter with its characteristic inability to counter any specific point but rather to engage in handwaving and pointing out that the research trip was sponsored by Israel (which Margulies freely admitted in his disclaimer):

That is Amnesty's argument in a nutshell. We can't find anything wrong with what Israel is doing but we feel that it is wrong because there are relatively few successful prosecutions. The actual reason is because most IDF soldiers know the laws of armed conflict far better than Amnesty's "experts."

Jacob Burns makes one good point, that indirectly damns his own organization:

He didn't ask that Margulies talk to Amnesty's own "experts" on the laws of armed conflict, because he knows quite well that a real law expert would expose Amnesty as hopelessly naive in its analysis.

And I, for one, would welcome legal experts like Margulies to interview B'Tselem experts about their opinion of the deficiencies of Israel's military justice system. In the end, the IDF must adhere to the laws of war, and if B'Tselem knows something that the IDF doesn't about those laws, then by all means, enlighten us.

In the end, it would expose the truth that the arguments from Amnesty and B'Tselem and HRW are not based on international law but on a different, unstated standard that is not reproducible in other contexts and designed to damn Israel ab initio and only then try to justify it.  The laws of armed conflict are meant not only to protect civilians on the opposing side but also soldiers and civilians on the same side. That means that there is far more latitude in interpretation than these NGOs are willing to admit.

In many ways these NGOs are trying to rip apart international law in order to give the side that employs human shields a military advantage. That is neither international law, nor is it even "human rights."

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Unreal and totally expected:
No one who follows the Palestinian issue will be very surprised to hear of the call by Mahmoud Abbas to sue the British government over the Balfour declaration of November 1917. That was the famous letter which pledged to support the establishment of a “national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine and is seen as a key milestone for the Zionist movement.

The promise by Arthur Balfour, then foreign secretary, led to the British mandate, mass Jewish immigration and eventually to the creation of Israel in the wake of the second world war and the Holocaust, and to the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe).
All roads lead to 'nakba."

Not that while the Guardian is careful to note that the Holocaust was a factor in the creation of Israel, it wouldn't say that Arab rejectionism, antisemitism and the desire to throw the Jews into the sea along with Arab leaders' using Palestinians as pawns were factors  to the "nakba."

Threatening legal action over a 99-year-old document is certainly a stretch, and it attracted more ridicule than serious analysis. It has in any case long been superseded by other decisions including UN resolutions. Still, the statement may be seen as a symptom of desperation about the Palestinian cause at a time when the peace process is non-existent and hopes for an end to occupation and a two-state solution to the conflict appear moribund.

“I regard what Abbas said as as a cry of anger and despair rather than a statement of intent,” said Sir Vincent Fean, former British consul-general in Jerusalem and effectively ambassador to the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. “I don’t see how he can do what he has undertaken to do. But the problem is that the two-state solution that he has advocated and argued for for so long is rapidly drifting away.”

UPDATE: Very similar language from Haaretz:
The Palestinian gambit is clearly a symbolic PR move calculated to remind the world of the plight of the Palestinians. But it is also a cry of despair. It is no surprise that Abbas made his move at the Arab League Summit. The Palestinians are clearly worried about an apparent warming of ties between the moderate Arab states and Israel, and they do not want to be abandoned. Malki called on the Arab states not to normalize relations with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian State.
Yes, it is despair. Not despair to create a Palestinian state, but despair at finding allies to help destroy Israel using the fiction of wanting a Palestinian state.

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From Ian:

The ‘Termite’ Infamy and the Jews
Johnson, of course, is a Democrat representing Georgia’s 4th district. Greenblatt, to his credit, retweeted Johnson’s “apology” with the heading, “yes there was an apology, but no ‘point’ justifies referring to human beings in such an abhorrent, inappropriate manner.” The ADL retweeted Greenblatt’s personal tweet, but has yet to issue an actual statement on the controversy. In an election cycle that has enlivened anti-Semitism on both the far right and the far left, the ADL should have treated this moment with the gravity it deserved, responded in a professional and substantive manner, and used Johnson’s crude remarks as an opportunity to educate the electorate on anti-Semitism in all its iterations.
Another organization that has failed spectacularly this week? J Street. It is overtly anti-settlement, and, in striving to achieve its political aims, J Street makes rating and endorsing candidates a core part of its mission. Hank Johnson has been the beneficiary of both J Street’s endorsement and its fundraising. Thus in the wake of his remarks, the organization had an opportunity to demonstrate true leadership.
But how did it respond to this vile imprecation? The J Street statement incoherently contended both that “there is no place…. For personal insults or slurs against whole groups of people including settlers in the West Bank,” and that “the Congressman was clearly referring to the corrosive impact of the settlement enterprise… and not to individuals.” Indeed, the organization delivered a sharper rebuke to the media for breaking the story than to Johnson himself.
For Jews around the world, the three week period of mourning leading up to the fast of Tisha Ba’av has just started. The Talmud explains that the destruction of the Second Temple—one of the tragedies Jews mourn during the fast—happened as a result of Sinat Chinam, which is usually translated as “baseless hatred” within the nation. The phrase is often invoked to demonstrate how division renders the Jewish people weak and ripe for targeting. The responses from the ADL and J Street are distressing indicators of the condition of American Jewry as our mourning begins.
The ADL Should Not Accept Congressman Hank Johnson’s Phony Apology for Calling Jews ‘Termites’
It’s wrong for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to have failed to condemn as blatant antisemitism Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA)’s “termites” label for Jews living in Judea/Samaria.
It’s also wrong for the ADL to have accepted Johnson’s phony apology “tweet,” which read: “Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution.”
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is not alone in feeling this way.
Prominent Las Angeles Rabbi David Wolpe wrote: “That is not an apology. ‘I am sorry I said something stupid and anti-Semitic’ — that would have been a fitting apology. These are not trivial issues. . . . To call Jews ‘termites’ is base and vile.”
Commentary editor John Podhoretz tweeted: “How about using the term “anti-Semitic,” you cowards? He compared Jews to TERMITES, for f —‘s sake.”

  • Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Gideon Levy is outraged at Israelis:
One hundred and eighty babies and children up to the age of 5. One hundred and eighty helpless babies and toddlers that the Israel Defense Forces killed in Gaza in the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. In their sleep, in their play, as they fled; in their beds or in their parents’ arms.
Try to imagine – the army killed 546 children in the course of 50 days. More than 10 children a day, a classroom every three days. Try to imagine.
But these updated, verified figures, released by the B’Tselem NGO on the second anniversary of the killing, are hard to imagine. It’s easier to dismiss them with a shrug, a look in the other direction or the lame excuses of Israeli propaganda.
The figures that should have haunted Israeli society and keep it awake at night – that should have sparked a stormy public debate and shaken it– are of no interest at all. Any natural disaster at the end of the world would have evoked more human feelings here than this slaughter, which Israel committed an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.
As usual, Levy is only telling a small part of the story.

Because most of these innocent children were human shields. It is Palestinian society which is so sick as to willingly put their own children (and many other family members) at risk in the hopes that Israel would not attack their terrorist relatives.

Here is a very partial list of children killed in Gaza who happened to be killed along with their terrorist relatives.

Hussein Yusef Kaware’, 13
Bassem Salem Kaware’, 10
Muhammad ‘Ali Kaware’, 13
‘Abdallah Muhammad Kaware’, 12
Siraj Iyad ‘Abd al-‘Al, 8
Qassem Jaber ‘Adwan Kaware’, 12
Protecting Odeh Kaware, Hamas

Dunia Mahdi Hamad, 16
Protecting Hafez Hamad, Islamic Jihad

Asil al-Masri, 15
Muhammad al-Masri, 14
Protecting Amjad Hamdan

Nidal Nawasrah, 4
Muhammad Nawasrah, 2
Protecting Salah Nawasrah, 24

Sa'ed al-Haj, 16
Fatmeh al-Haj, 14
Protecting Omar al-Haj, Hamas

Muhammad al-Batsh, 17
Manar al-Batsh, 13
Qusai al-Batsh, 12
Anas al-Batsh, 10
Amal Bahaa al-Batsh, 2
Protecting Yazif al-Batsh

Ru'ya a-Zweidi, 5
Nagham Mahmoud a-Zweidi, 2
Protecting Mohammad Khaled Jamil al Zweidi, 20, PIJ

Umamah al-Hayah, 8
Khalil al-Hayah, 5
Hamzah al-Hayah, 4
Protecting Usama al-Hayah, Hamas

Hiba a-Sha'er, 15
Muhammad a-Sha'er, 5
Protecting Salah a-Sha'er

Sha'ban Ziyadah, 12
Protecting Muhammad al-Maqadmeh

Razan Abu Jame', 14
Jawdat Abu Jame', 13
Aya Abu Jame', 12
Fatmeh Taysir Abu Jame', 12
Ayub Abu Jame', 10
Haifaa Abu Jame', 9
Ahmad Abu Jame', 8
Maysaa Abu Jame', 7
Sajidah Abu Jame', 7
Husam Abu Jame', 7
Rayan Abu Jame', 5
Tawfiq Abu Jame', 4
Bitul Abu Jame', 4
Siraj Abu Jame', 4
Soheila Abu Jame', 3
Rinat Abu Jame', 2
Nur Abu Jame', 2
Bisan Abu Jame', 6 months
Nujud Abu Jame', 4 months
Protecting Ahmad Sahmoud, 34

Najiyah al-Hilu, 15
Maram al-Hilu, 2
Karim al-Hilu, 5 months
Karam al-Hilu, 5 months
Protecting Muhammad al-Hilu, 29

Nariman Daher, 13
Shaymaa Daher, 10
Dana Daher, 1
Protecting Muhammed Daher, Hamas

Amin Siyam, 17
Ahmad Siyam, 15
Mustafa Siyam, 9
Ghidaa Siyam, 7
Mu'in Siyam, 5
Bader Siyam, 4
Dalal Siyam, 9 months
Protecting Muhammad Mahrus Siyam, 27

Nabil al-Astal, 13
Protecting Ashraf al-Astal, 28

Nada al-Astal, 5
Amin al-Astal, 4
Protecting Muhammad Al Astal

Abed Abu Hasanein, 14
Hadi Abu Hasanein, 12
Protecting Salah Abu Hasanein

Muhammad Abu Dabagh, 12
Ahmad Abu Qadus, 13
Abd al-Karim a-Darazin, 5
Muhammad a-Darazin, 3
Protecting Ghassan Yusef Salem Abu Dabagh. 25, Popular Front

Shamma Abu Zeid, 16
Bisan Abu Zeid, 12
Abdallah Abu Zeid, 5
Protecting Ahmed AbuZeid (apparently)

Arwa Dheir, 16
Omar 'Omar Dheir, 12
Salameh Dheir, 12
Mariyah Dheir, 12
Muamen Dheir, 9
Tasnim Dheir, 8
Muhammad Dheir, 7
Ghidaa Dheir, 7
Yamen Dheir, 6
Protecting 'Izat Salameh Mahmoud Dheir.

Nidal al-Agha, 17
Daliya al-Agha, 17
Iyad al-Agha, 16
Dina al-Agha, 14
Fadel al-Agha, 11
Protecting 'Abd and 'Ata al-Agha

Hala Abu Jaber, 9
Muhammad Abu Jaber, 3
Lin Abu Jaber, 2.5
Salma Abu Jaber, 1.5
Sama Abu Jaber, 1.5
Tuqa Abu 'Issa, 1
Protecting Ahmad Hamdan Muhammad Abu Jaber and Jaber Hamdan Muhammad Abu Jaber.

Liali a-Najar, 2
Aya a-Ramlawi, 9
Ousamah Breikeh, 16
Jana Breikeh, 3
Lama Breikeh, 1
Yazan Mu'ammar, 3
Hala Mu'ammar, 1
Omar Abu 'Amer, 12
Muhammad Ahmad Abu 'Amer, 12
Abd al-Ghani Abu 'Amer, 11
Imad Abu 'Amer, 10
Marah Abu 'Amer, 10
Yasser Abu 'Amer, 9
Issa Abu 'Amer, 8
Marwa Abu 'Amer, 5
Iz a-Din Abu 'Amer, 4
Suliman Abu 'Amer, 2
Protecting Muhammad Zaki Hassan a-Najar. 29

This does not cover all the houses bombed in Gaza - I stopped doing this exercise after identifying these 108 human shield children. There are definitely more.

Sometimes, the target escaped alive. I cannot verify those cases.

Sometimes, the target was a command and control center or a weapons cache or a tunnel opening under the houses where children lived. I cannot verify those cases.

Sometimes, the target was erroneously identified as a civilian by my sources.

So there are a lot more kids who were killed while being forced to defend terrorist targets.

What becomes clear when looking at so many examples of Israel hitting homes that we know did have terrorists inside is that the IDF was not randomly firing at every building. These were valid targets. Considering that there are 1.8 million people in Gaza, the chances that so many children killed would coincidentally be in homes of terrorists is too tiny to consider.

The fact that children died is not proof of any immorality on Israel's part. That can only be proven if it can be shown that there was no valid military target and Israel knew that and attacked anyway.

What this list does prove is that Hamas and Islamic Jihad and other Gaza groups knowingly placed military targets among their own family members.

Gideon Levy isn't crying about what sort of society would do such a monstrous thing. Because he doesn't really care about the dead children. He wants to do what Hamas does - use them as a weapon against Israel. Just like B'Tselem. Just like Amnesty. Just like Human Rights Watch.

Which means that it is Gideon Levy and these NGOs who are the real monsters for not saying a word about - or worse, exonerating - Hamas and other Gaza armed groups for literally using their children as weapons in war.

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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I like to say that I’m a tribalist. Imagine my surprise to find out that this really means Jewish conspirator aspiring to world domination!

Even if it isn’t used as a stick to beat Jews with, tribalism has a terribly bad name. Law professor Glenn Reynolds defines it as “The tendency to defend our own tribe even when we think it's wrong, and to attack other tribes even when they're right, just because they're other,” and blames it for escalating violence between police and blacks in the US. Economist Barry Brownstein calls it “the worst idea in history.” His definition is “the belief in the supremacy of one’s group identity over the rights of individual human beings.”

Have you met my superhero friend, Straw Man? These professors are well acquainted with him. In order to attack an idea, they first define it as something between torturing puppies and murdering old ladies. Then, surprise, they show how it is horrible, dangerous and evil. They would define a tree as a piece of wood growing out of the ground used to lynch people on.

The fact is that tribalism is a natural human characteristic, which has developed over hundreds of thousands of years of biological and social evolution, that simply means the propensity to prioritize the good of members of one’s own group over others.

It doesn’t mean one has to hate outsiders or refuse to help them if they need help. It doesn’t mean that one is obligated to defend one’s own no matter what they do. It doesn’t mean that non-group members are inferior beings, or don’t have rights. It most assuredly doesn’t mean that outsiders should automatically be treated as enemies.

Tribal feelings apply to all sizes of groups, from the nuclear family to extended families and clans, to regional groupings and to nations. In particular, there is the idea of a people: a group whose members self-identify as belonging to it and who may share a unique language, religion, origin, ancestry, folklore, place of residence, or even certain physical features.

The paradigm case of a people is, of course, the Jewish people. This is the model that the ‘Palestinians’ would like to adopt, although they lack the language, religion, origin, or physical features. Yes, they live here now and have plenty of folklore, although it’s considerably more modern than ours. They’ve been self-identifying as ‘Palestinians’ since the 1960s.

When a people has a sovereign state, it is called a nation-state. A people can exist before the state and create it, as in the case of the modern state of Israel, or the state can be formed by diverse peoples who then grow together to become one people. This is the much-maligned “melting pot” model of the United States: Americans of diverse origins became unified as a people as a result of their experience building and defending their country. Today many Americans, under the influence of universalist ideas, are uncomfortable with this conception, seeing the demand that immigrants learn English as an excess of tribalism or even “cultural genocide.”

In any event, the tribal feelings of a people for their nation-state is called ‘nationalism’, something which is almost as strongly derided lately as tribalism in general. Nationalism is blamed for wars and genocides and almost every form of collective human bad behavior.

The position opposing tribalism is universalism, the belief that one should treat all humans exactly alike, regardless of their relationship. The corresponding antithesis to nationalism is, naturally, internationalism.

In an attempt to improve human behavior after the horrors of the first half of the 20th century, the victorious elites decided to engineer tribalism out of humans and impose an internationalist world order. Not everyone agreed with them, but those who didn’t and wanted a piece of the action pretended to do so. Thus arose the internationalist United Nations and European Union.

The failure of the UN to achieve its primary goal of ending war is due to the fact that no rational national government was prepared to give up its freedom of action while others kept theirs. In hindsight, this isn’t surprising. But as a result the UN has become a huge boondoggle, supporting countless bureaucrats and agencies. The only area in which it has been even slightly successful is in providing a way for relatively weak nations that want to gang up on Israel to do so. Even that has been unsuccessful so far, as Israel continues to thrive.

The European Union is failing today for several reasons; its aspirations to become a super-state clashed with the unquenchable nationalism of its members, and its decision to try to maintain a unitary currency for countries with totally different economic cultures was a mistake. One of the major reasons for the British vote to leave the union was the feeling that they ought not to outsource control of anything, particularly anything related to security, to outsiders, who – in tribalist manner – might put their own interests first. Universalism and internationalism (and socialism!) only work when everyone cooperates, and of course they never do.

Nationalism and, more fundamentally, tribalism, could not be suppressed, and are popping up all over, even in places like Europe where they are still strongly opposed by the elites. In America, minority groups paradoxically behave in a strongly tribal way, while at the same time they appeal to universalist ideals to justify their tribal demands. There is also the explicitly tribal (although to a great extent incoherent) Trumpist movement challenging the official universalist dogmas of the establishment.

Zionism is Jewish nationalism, and in Israel it is experiencing a political and cultural resurgence. The founding generation, which dominated the country’s early days and was strongly Zionist, was replaced by a new leadership which allowed its desire for peace to override rational constraints – the fact that Israel was opposed by strongly tribalist enemies – and adopted a universalist “solution,” the Oslo Accords. The Arabs responded rationally and tribally, grabbing as much strategic advantage as possible and stepping up the terrorism which they saw as responsible for their partial success. 

The pendulum is now swinging in the opposite direction, with Israeli voters rejecting politicians who espouse universalist ideas. There is also a growing cultural backlash against the universalist elites who still dominate many areas of Israeli society, which is exemplified by the strong popular support for a soldier who (probably) violated military protocols by killing a wounded Arab terrorist after the Arab had tried to kill his comrade in arms. The fact that this places the general population in opposition to the elite army brass is significant.

It is not a surprise that tribalism, which after all developed over many millennia, can’t easily be snuffed out – especially when people who are being told to adopt more universalist views are facing enemies that are as tribal as ever. But I believe that this is not a bad development.

Tribalism and nationalism per se should not blamed for the disasters of the 20th century. It is not the idea, for example, that Germans should look out for Germans first that gave birth to the Holocaust – it is the myth of “Aryan superiority” and the ethically unwarranted belief that there is no obligation to treat outsiders humanely. Most people care more about their families than they do about their neighbors. But this does not give them the right to murder or enslave those neighbors. The fact that you care more about your country than the one next door is not a green light to invade it.

On the one hand, tribalism can become dangerous when pushed to extremes. But it is not the tribalism that is the problem, it’s the extremism. On the other hand, attempting to apply universalist beliefs as guides to action often results in worse outcomes. For example, the Oslo accords attempted to break down the barriers of suspicion between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. But the process was not successful, primarily because the Arabs were not prepared to give up their goal of total victory. Thousands of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs died as a result.

A healthy nationalism which creates national pride will have a beneficial effect on the life of a nation, by promoting cooperation, enterprise and obedience to laws. It will also encourage individuals to sacrifice personal benefits for the good of the nation, such as by doing military or other national service. 

Rather than struggling against the result of evolutionary development and trying to remake mankind according to an (inconsistent) universalist ideal, why not work with it? Why not accept the positive aspects of tribalism while opposing extremism? 

Personally, I prefer Naomi Shemer to Kumbaya.

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From Ian:

Douglas Murray: When will our politicians accept the reality of Islamic terrorism?
How is your Merkelsommer going? For now, Britain seems to be missing the worst. True, a couple of men of Middle Eastern appearance tried to abduct a soldier near his base in Norfolk for what was unlikely to have been an interfaith dialogue session. But Britain’s geographical good fortune, relative success in limiting weapons and our justified scepticism of the undiscriminating ‘open borders’ brigade mean that we have so far been spared the delights of what Angela Merkel’s growing army of critics refer to as her summer of terror.
It is now a fortnight since Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ploughed a truck along the Nice seafront, killing 84 people. The following Monday Mohammed Riyad, who said he was from Afghanistan but almost certainly came from Pakistan, screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ while hacking with an axe at his fellow passengers on a Bavarian train. The next day another Mohammed, this time Mohamed Boufarkouch, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and stabbed a Frenchwoman and her three daughters (aged eight, 12 and 14) near Montpelier. Mixing things up a little, that Friday’s shooter in Munich was a child of Iranians called Ali David Sonboly. Skip forward a couple of days and a ‘-Syrian asylum seeker’ with a machete was hacking a pregnant woman to death in Stuttgart. The next day another ‘Syrian asylum seeker’, Mohammad Daleel, carried out a suicide bombing outside a bar in Ansbach, Bavaria. And a little over 24 hours later two men shouting the name of Isis entered a church in Rouen during Mass, took the nuns and congregation hostage and slaughtered the priest with a knife.
Although the public know what is going on, the media seems loath to find any connection between these events. Indeed, the same papers that blame an exaggerated spike in ‘hate crime’ on everyone who voted for Brexit seem unwilling to put the blame for these real and violent attacks on the individuals carrying them out. ‘Syrian man denied asylum killed in German blast’ was the Reuters headline on the Ansbach story, neatly turning the suicide bomber into the victim and the German asylum system into the perpetrator. As Reuters went on: ‘A 27-year-old Syrian man who had been denied asylum in Germany a year ago died on Sunday when a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a music festival.’ How terrible for him to lose his bomb in such a way.

The Spectator Podcast: Summer of terror
In a week in which both Germany and France have suffered terror attacks, the question of the relationship between Islamic terrorism and Europe’s refugee crisis is once again rearing its head. In his Spectator cover piece, Douglas Murray argues that whilst the public knows that ‘Islamism comes from Islam’, Europe’s political classes are still refusing to tackle the problem at its core. So how can we bridge this gap between what politicians are saying and what the public are thinking? And does Europe have to come to terms with a new reality of domestic terrorism? On this week’s podcast, Douglas Murray speaks to Lara Prendergast. Joining them both to discuss Europe’s summer of terror is Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank.
NGO Monitor: The Message Behind B’Tselem’s Fatally Flawed Statistics on the 2014 Gaza War
Rather, as noted in its press release and in social media posts, B’Tselem is pushing the line that its research “casts doubt on Israel’s claim that all the targets were legitimate and that the military adhered to the principle of proportionality during the attacks and took precautions to reduce harm to civilians.” B’Tselem’s campaign asserts that “The Israeli government almost totally shirked its responsibility for the massive harm to civilians in the operation,” and that “the moral and legal responsibility for this massive harm to civilians lies with” Israeli decision makers.
These blatant political statements and the related goals of demonizing Israel and bolstering international investigations are among the main reasons that B’Tselem publishes statistics that are fundamentally flawed and meaningless. The number of civilians allegedly killed has no relevance to war crimes allegations.
In order to evaluate whether a particular IDF strike was a war crime, we must first know the intended target. Was it a combatant, a weapons storage facility, a tunnel, or a military command center? Or was a civilian targeted? B’Tselem cannot possibly know this crucial piece of information. They have no idea (in most cases) of the nature of the target, so it is impossible for them to make judgements on the legitimacy of any attack. Perhaps the civilian casualties, when these occurred, were a result of an errant Hamas missile or secondary explosions from munitions on the ground.
Moreover, B’Tselem does not have access to Israeli military operational and intelligence documents that would provide a more definitive answer to some of these central elements.
Next, B’Tselem identifies Palestinians who “were taking part in the hostilities at the time of their death, or held a continuous combat function in an armed group in the Gaza Strip,” and labels all others civilians.
This is problematic in two respects. One, as already noted by the blogger Elder of Ziyon, B’Tselem ignores evidence of the militant affiliations of some individuals it labels as “civilian.”

  • Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

I had the opportunity to speak with acclaimed film maker Pierre Rehov in a French cafe in Tel Aviv. He is a very colorful character, and prone to lots of expletives.

Rehov described how his family was chased out of Algeria when he was a child. He knew nothing about Judaism and didn't even understand that he was Jewish, but antisemitism was growing there. One night  a Muslim man who was a patient of Rehov's dentist father knocked on his door. The father thought it was a dental emergency, but the man said, no, he had come to buy the apartment. He warned him that in the coming week his cousins were planning to come, rape his wife, kill his children and they will take the apartment. So it was better to sell it to the man now and flee for their lives.

Pierre described how he started getting into creating films after seeing how antisemitism in France was being increased by incidents like the Al Dura hoax.

Rehov is very angry at official French anti-Israelism. After he achieved some level of fame, Rehov says, the French government went after him. The French IRS auditors disallowed every deduction from expenses that he spent in Israel. In the end, he had to declare bankruptcy.

Rehov says that once in Gaza, around 2003, he saw people selling figurine ashtrays. The top seller was Osama bin Laden, and the second best seller was Saddam Hussein. he said that you would expect the third best seller to be Yasir Arafat, but no - it was Jacques Chirac.

At the same time, Rehov says, "When I went to visit the headquarters of Hamas in Gaza City, on the same floor - here you have a door, a small corridor, and here you have another door - the other floor was the AFP,  Agence France-Presse. In the middle, [between the two offices,] was a water cooler, and they were sharing the same water cooler. So you had the journalists of fucking AFP drinking the same water as the fucking terrorists from Hamas. And this is how information would go to France from Gaza."

"When I was doing my investigation in Jenin, I was obviously posing as a French journalist, because when you are a French journalist, they love you. So with my French passport I could see everything I wanted.

"[Using a hidden camera] I was able to record an amazing scene of Palestinian doctors, Palestinian journalists, around a woman who they claimed that she had given birth at a checkpoint because the Israelis wouldn't let her through. The woman said, 'No! It didn't happen like that! The ambulance was late...' But they told her, "No. You have to say that the tanks were pointing their cannons to you.' The guy who was with her, the poor husband, who was also trying to play the game, says, 'Yeah, and I helped her give birth while I was driving...'

"This guy was my fixer, He thought I was a French journalist... I was giving compliments to Talal Abu Rahma, who was the guy who filmed the story of Mohammed al-Dura. I was saying how it was so great for Palestine what he did, and also for himself, 'Everybody's talking about him, he's so famous, and he got awards...' My fixer said 'Are you interested?' I  said 'What do you mean? Am I interested in what?' He said, "The easiest thing is to kill a kid. That's so simple. ' I asked 'What do you mean?' He said, 'Listen. Every family has some kid that they are ready to sacrifice. Are you ready to pay $10,000?'"

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  • Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday, Palestinian Media Watch released a comprehensive dossier of terror-supporting statements by Jibril Rajoub, Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee.

For example, on January 2, Rajoub said on PA TV:

“Yesterday in Hebron, they escorted 17 Martyrs, (among them murderers of civilians –Ed.) to burial. This is of course a source of pride for all of us. I say that whoever carried out individual acts of heroism, we in the Fatah movement bless and encourage them. We consider them heroes and a crown on the head of every Palestinian. At this point, when there is weakening and frustration, there is a group of people, beginning with our brother Muhannad Halabi (who murdered 2 – Ed.) and ending with the last Martyr... There is a competition between individuals. This is one of the issues we need to address - are we for or against it? I say that we in the [Fatah] Central Committee have discussed this matter, and we are in favor."
[Official PA TV, Jan. 2, 2016]

This is only one of many statements officially supporting and promoting terror documented by PMW.

In addition, Rajoub is also explicitly against competing against or working with Israeli sports:

The response by the IOC to these complaints shows that they have no intention to take any of this seriously.

From: Pâquerette Girard Zappelli
Date: 2016-05-31
Subject: RE: Complaint – Ethics in the matter of Jibril Rajoub
Dear Mr Applebaum,
After a thorough read of all the documents you provided, it clearly appears that the words of Mr Jibril Rajoub are not recent (2012 and 2014) and were spoken in his political capacity and not as an NOC official.

Our understanding is that the two National Olympic Committees are doing their best to improve relations between the two countries through sport. Owing to this, the competitors of the two organisations will together participate peacefully in the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Your sincerely,
Pâquerette Girard Zappelli
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
International Olympic Committee

These are miserable excuses for explicit support of terror by the PA's top Olympic official. And they directly contradict the Olympic Committee's own Code of Ethics.

The first three paragraphs of the Code say:
1.1 Respect for the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play;
1.2 Respect of the principle of the universality and political neutrality of the Olympic Movement;
1.3 Maintaining harmonious relations with state authorities, while respecting the principle of autonomy as set out in the Olympic Charter;

And it doesn't apply only to when officials are acting in their official capacity. The code explicitly applies to "the International Olympic Committee (IOC), each of its members and its administration, and the National Olympic Committees (NOC) and their officials, at all times and in all circumstances.

Zappelli is ignoring her own organization's published standards to allow a terror supporter and antithesis to Olympics ideals to keep his job.

She is the only person who can refer cases to the Ethics Commission, so by her ignoring the evidence she is personally subverting the entire ethics complaint process and making it clear that the supposed Olympics dedication to ethics is a joke.

If the IOC does not suspend Jibril Rajoub based on the copious evidence of his explicit support for terror and his attempts to stop any sports cooperation with Israel, it proves that the IOC is a corrupt institution.

(h/t Josh)

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  • Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

The 27th Arab League summit just ended in Nouakchott and the final statement reflected a far smaller focus on the Palestinian issue than in years past.

As summarized at the conference website, "The Declaration emphasized the centrality of the Palestinian issue in the joint Arab action. In this regard, the Arab leaders commended, in their declaration, the recent Egyptian efforts to push the peace process and welcomed the French Initiative that calls for the convening of an international peace conference." The specific statement mentioned "supporting the Palestinian people's steadfastness in the face of systematic Israeli aggression" and called on Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines with the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon and an end to settlement activity in the context of an international conference.

What is more interesting is what was not said.

Comparing this year's statement with the 2012 Arab League statement in Baghdad, the differences in emphasis are striking. The 2012 conference included six paragraphs dedicated to the Palestinian issue, including condemning "continuous Israeli aggression on them, their lands, sacred places, and heritage...and the continuation of Israeli settlement activities," "reaching a just and agreed-upon solution for the problem of Palestinian refugees including the Right of Return","expressing our solidarity with the prisoners detained in the jails of the Israeli occupation" and calling for an international conference to release them.

Earlier summits included other resolutions that have disappeared over time, such as supporting the Palestinian Authority, lifting the blockade on Gaza, calling on the UN to send observers to "protect" the Palestinians.

In short, previous Arab League conferences rubber stamped whatever the PLO told them to say.  This year those demands were largely ignored. Nothing about prisoners, nothing about "Right of Return," nothing about protecting holy places from supposed Israeli aggression, nothing about the "blockade" of Gaza. Asserting the "centrality" of the Palestinian issue is understood to be window dressing for the fact that the issue has gone way down in the priorities of the Arab world.

These omissions are a stunning loss of prestige for the Palestinian Arab leadership.

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