The Failure of Palestinian Nationalism
At last month’s American-backed Middle East summit in Warsaw, the Palestinian issue remained conspicuously absent as Arab leaders appeared side-by-side with Benjamin Netanyahu. Alex Joffe explains why, after a century of agitation, Palestinian nationalism has hit a dead end:
On the one hand, [Palestinian nationalism] relies on romantic visions of an imaginary past, the myth of ancestors sitting beneath their lemon trees. These and other supposedly timeless essences are at odds with the hardscrabble reality of pre-modern Palestine, which was controlled by the Ottoman empire, dominated by its leading families, and beset by endemic poverty and disease. As in all national visions, these unhappy memories are mostly edited out.
On the other hand, Palestinian nationalism is [itself] resolutely negative, in that it relies on the existential evils of “settler-colonialist” Zionism and ever-perfidious Jews. Consider the essential symbols of Palestine: a fighter holding a rifle and a map that erases Israel completely. It is a nationalism—and thus an identity—based in large part on negation of [another nation], preferably through violence. [These symbols] also imply that Palestinian identity exists only through struggle. . . .
In terms of creating an actual state, the Palestinian problem is one that is also endemic to Arab and Islamic states. Because the state is fundamentally an extension or tool of the ruling tribe, sect, or ideology, the state’s security institutions are exceptionally strong but its social institutions are weak, both by default and by design. In Palestinian society, the proliferation of security organizations maps onto tribal and clan groups. But, as in many Arab and Islamic states, health, education, and welfare services are either neglected or (just as often) funded by external sources. . . . For the Palestinians, it is foreign aid, nongovernmental organizations, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Joffe concludes that until Palestinian leaders reject their traditional tools of “threats, shaming, and blackmail” and accept that Israel isn’t going anywhere—both of which he deems unlikely in the foreseeable future—the failure will continue.
Where the UN Human Rights Council is concerned, there can be no such thing as an “independent” commission of inquiry. The outcome of the commission’s inquiry was determined in advance by its mandating resolution, which condemned in its first paragraph “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians…in the context of peaceful protests.”
The commission uses the term “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in the title of the report, which wrongfully assumes and determines that the territory is Palestinian, despite the fact that its status remains in dispute pending a negotiated settlement between Israel and the PLO pursuant to the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords.
Even more absurd is the fact that the commission’s report determined that the Gaza Strip is part of the territories occupied by Israel, even though Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the report acknowledges that the Gaza Strip is governed by “de facto authorities in Gaza.”
To accept that the protests are “non-violent” and “fully peaceful” shows a lack of awareness of the extent of the violence of the demonstrations and public statements by senior Hamas operatives and demonstration organizers inciting violence, assaulting the separation fence, infiltrating into Israeli territory, and seeking to kill Israelis.
MEMRI quotes Emad ‘Aql, of Gaza, who tweeted: “[The Israeli town of] Sderot is only 700 meters east of [the Palestinian town of] Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza….[The town] can be reached in two minutes on motorcycles or in 5-8 minutes at a brisk run.” He urged: “Murder, slaughter, burn and never show them any mercy.”
An extensive professional analysis of the identities of those Palestinians killed during the protests found that 80% were terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organizations, mostly from Hamas. This demonstrates that the marches were not “popular” events but rather a Hamas strategic move accompanied by preplanned violence.
JPost Editorial: Break the loop
This cycle has repeated itself so many times, it’s like we are stuck in a loop that no one knows how to break.
In theory, with 29 days to an election, we should be hearing creative ideas of how to change the paradigm, bust the loop open and end these weekly attacks – for the good of the residents of the Gaza envelope and all of Israel. It would also be good for Gazans to not have weekly demonstrations with senseless violence, considering that the border protests have yet to change their dire reality.
This is a constant drain on Israeli security and resources, putting our civilians and soldiers in danger. Our leaders – and those who would like to be – should be telling us how they plan to deal with it.
The Blue and White Party– whose leader, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, is a candidate for prime minister – does have ideas about how to proceed, which have been laid out in its platform, though in vague terms. For example: “a strong response to any provocation and use of violence against our territory,” while working with regional partners to give Gazans a better life and erode their support for Hamas.
The Likud still does not have a platform, so we don’t know what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggests, or even if he thinks there needs to be a change. When his government didn’t respond to the hundreds of rockets in November, his explanation was that there are greater security challenges, which ended up being the operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels in the South.
What is his explanation for the past few months? How does he plan to go forward? These are important issues for Israelis to have answers to before they head to the polls on April 9. In fact, smaller parties on the Right, like Yisrael Beytenu and the New Right, have repeatedly attacked him on this point in their election campaigns.
With neither Netanyahu nor Gantz submitting themselves to interviews by journalists, it’s hard to get a clear view on where they stand, even if Blue and White has made more headway towards addressing the point.
Whoever ends up being prime minister after the upcoming election will have a lot on his plate and many issues to address, from US President Donald Trump’s peace plan to the growing deficit. But putting an end to our weekly national déjà vu should be at the top of his list.
Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer who served as former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), urged BDS to “pick up, move forward, and push ahead,” calling Israel an “apartheid state.”
It seems that the Palestinians have spent the past 71 years victimizing themselves. They’ve fallen in love with it. So they bequeath it to their children, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren. You know, the Jews had the greatest tragedy in world history, the Shoah [Holocaust], but we didn’t whine for 70 years. We built an amazing and remarkable country.
Now you can go ahead and BDS us — you just won’t be able to wake up in the morning, because the chip is built in Intel in Israel, and on your way to work you’ll get lost because of Waze, and the tomato you’ll try and use is a cherry tomato invented in Israel. What did you bring to the world beyond suicide terrorists? What’s your invention?
Buttu had no response to that question, but said: “You know, I think that it’s very important for you to recognize one thing: the land that you’re sitting on, the place that that you claim that all these wonderful things … was built on my land, on Palestinian land.”
Bennett replied that the Palestinian people itself was an invention: “There was no Palestinian people. It’s a new invention.”
The key part of the exchange begins at 36:30, below:
During a visit to Israel in 2017 by Germany’s then-foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, the depths of Germany’s commitment to these groups was laid bare. Parallel to scheduling a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gabriel ostentatiously announced his plan to meet with two radical anti-Israel propaganda groups funded by Germany, Breaking the Silence and B’tselem. Breaking the Silence members travel around Europe and slander the Israel Defense Forces and its soldiers, making baseless accusations of “war crimes.” (Notably, the group refuses to share any of its testimony with Israeli officials to enable them to investigate the allegations.)
In 2016, an Israeli investigative group called Ad Kan surreptitiously filmed Breaking the Silence members probing reserve soldiers about operational details related to what was then a still-secret new Israeli unmanned combat vehicle. As Avi Dichter, the head of Israel’s Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the former commander of Israel’s Security Agency, said at the time, the line of questioning indicated that beyond its dedication to slandering the IDF, Breaking the Silence was apparently engaging in an “intelligence collection operation.”
Ad Kan also filmed B’tselem employee Nasser Nawaja apparently plotting to turn a Palestinian interested in selling his land to Jews over to Palestinian security services with the full knowledge that they would torture and murder him.
When Netanyahu heard about Gabriel’s plan to meet with Breaking the Silence, he informed Gabriel that he had to choose between meeting with Breaking the Silence and B’tselem and meeting with Netanyahu. Gabriel insisted on meeting with the German-funded NGOs. So Netanyahu canceled their meeting.
When seen in the context of Germany’s extensive funding for political groups whose goal is to criminalize Israel and delegitimize its right to exist, Germany’s enthusiastic, warm, and supportive ties to the genocidally anti-Jewish Iranian regime seem to point to motivations far more sinister than mere greed.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s drive to reshape global trade could lead to lower dairy and fruit prices in Israel.
U.S. trade negotiators will travel to Israel this week for advanced talks to rework the countries’ 1985 free-trade accord, upgrade their agricultural trade pact and reduce barriers for American farm exports to the Jewish state, Bloomberg reported.
The Americans want Israel to remove import taxes on American products, including pears, apples and cheeses with long shelf lives.
If a new deal reduces protectionism and opens the local market to more competition, it could have the support of some in Israel, where high consumer costs are a frequent source of frustration.
Ever since the countries signed the free-trade accord over three decades ago, Israeli economic output has expanded about 13 times, while in recent years the U.S. trade deficit with Israel has reached $14 billion. The United States is Israel’s largest trade partner, and annual trade between the two countries is upward of $30 billion. Agricultural trade stood at less than $1 billion in 2017, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s website.
Israel’s key exports to the U.S. are precious stones, pharmaceuticals and electrical machinery.
US President Donald Trump reportedly told a crowd full of Republican donors on Friday night that “the Democrats hate Jewish people.”
After freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s comments that pro-Israel activists were pressuring her to show “allegiance” to Israel, the president told Republican National Committee donors that “he didn’t understand how any Jew could vote for a Democrat these days,” according to the Axios news site.
Quoting three people who attended the address to a room full of funders at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the report said that Trump also boasted about his popularity in Israel, based off his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
If he could run for prime minister of Israel, Trump said, he would be polling at 98 percent, the three confidential sources told Axios.
Responding to Trump’s reported claims of anti-Semitism, Jewish Democrats immediately disputed the charge, citing wide-spread support for the party within America’s Jewish population.
JFK was staunchly anti-Communist (Vietnam; “ich bin ien Berliner”). He would be revolted by progressives Soviet/Maduro flirtations. He warmed relations with Israel; his brother was even more pro-Israel and was assassinated by Palestinian terrorist. cc @Jeff_Jacoby https://t.co/BfxaFJMjaY
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) March 10, 2019
Prosecutors on Monday demanded that a French jihadist found guilty of shooting dead four people in a terrorist attack at Brussels’ Jewish museum in 2014 be jailed for life.
A jury last week convicted 33-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche of “terrorist murder” for the anti-Semitic gun rampage in the Belgian capital on May 24, 2014, a crime committed following his return from Syria’s battlefields.
“What we ask, without the slightest hesitation, is that you sentence Mehdi Nemmouche to life in prison,” prosecutor Yves Moreau told a Brussels court, condemning him as “cowardly” and a “psychopath.”
After closing statements from prosecution and defense lawyers, the 12 jurors and three judges will retire again on Monday to consider sentence, with an announcement expected by the evening.
Nemmouche was found to have killed the four victims in less than 90 seconds, coldly shooting them with a handgun and a Kalashnikov rifle with what one paramedic who attended the scene called “surgical” precision.
Prosecutors also demanded a minimum 30-year prison sentence for Nacer Bendrer, 30, who was found guilty of being the co-author of the attack because he supplied the weapons Nemmouche used.
“Mr. Nemmouche, you are just a coward, you kill people by shooting them from behind, you kill old women by shooting them with an assault rifle, you kill because it gives you pleasure to kill,” Moreau said.
The High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected a petition submitted by Jews who were impacted by the 1941 Farhud Pogrom in Iraq that sought compensation from the State of Israel. The petitioners were asking to be compensated for their suffering and economic losses under a 1957 law designed for that purpose for Jewish victims of the Nazis.
Two Iraqi-Israeli Jews demanded compensation under the 1957 law on behalf of around 2,000 Iraqi Jews. The state had denied their claims, saying the compensation law only applied to those directly impacted by the Nazis.
The High Court expressed horror at the 179 Jews who were killed, and the thousands injured in the anti-Jewish pogrom in Iraq in 1941. It also agreed that the pogrom was partially caused by the antisemitic tone set by Germany and Iraqis aligned with the Germans. However, it said the 1957 law simply did not recognize them.
Rather, the High Court endorsed the state’s narrow interpretation of who can be compensated under the 1957 law.
The High Court implied that the Knesset could still compensate the Iraqi Jews for the 1941 pogrom, but that it would need to pass a new law.
The Farhud Pogrom followed a temporary power vacuum created following a British victory over a pro-Nazi Iraqi regime.
Support remains high for Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt, almost 40 years after it was signed on March 26, 1979, according to a new poll by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Truman Research Institute.
An Internet poll conducted among 400 Jewish Israelis and 100 Arab Israelis found that 82% of respondents held that the peace treaty was essential for Israel’s security.
Some 56% said the return of the Sinai Desert to Egypt as part of that agreement was not a mistake. Another 30% said it was a mistake, and 14% said they did not know.
Some 65% said they would not trust Egyptian security forces on the other side of the border to protect Israel from a terrorist attack.
But a majority of Israelis, 71%, said they trusted Egypt to be a broker to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israeli support for the deal did not include an understanding that Egypt was Israel’s friend, or that the two countries enjoyed a warm peace. Some 66% of those polled said they believed it was a cold peace, and 64% said that Egypt was neither Israel’s friend nor foe.
A majority of Israelis, 54%, said they did not believe the situation would improve in the future. Some 12% said they thought ties would strengthen, 15% thought relations would weak, and 5% believed the deal would fall apart.
Only 16% of those polled had visited Egypt, and only 22% said they wanted to go. The majority, 64%, said they had not gone and were not interested in going.
Egyptian security forces have killed 46 “very dangerous” Islamist militants in shootouts in northern Sinai, the military said on Monday.
The armed forces say several hundred militants have been killed since it launched a major campaign in February 2018 aimed at vanquishing Islamic State or related jihadist groups in Sinai.
“Over the last period” the campaign had resulted in “the elimination of 46 very dangerous members of terrorist elements during exchanges of fire in the north and central Sinai,” the armed forces said in a video recording, without specifying dates or locations of the security operations.
About 100 suspects were arrested, more than 200 explosive devices found, and over 30 cars and scooters confiscated or destroyed, it said. The statement did not give the identity of suspects or their affiliation.
A national framework agreement was signed on Monday afternoon at Jerusalem’s City Hall, stating that 23,000 new housing units will be developed in the coming five years in the city. The strategic agreement was made between the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry of Finance and the Israel Land Authority.
The signing ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, and the Construction and Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, among others.
According to the agreements, 8,000 of the newly-built apartments will be in the framework of urban renewal, with 3 million square meters of office space and a NIS 1.4 billion investment in infrastructure in old and new Jerusalem neighborhoods.
“Jews built in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and Jews are building in Jerusalem today,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the agreement-signing ceremony. “Jerusalem is not a settlement, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel forever, 3,000 years is a part of eternity.”
“We want to give recognition to the IDF and therefore, in the past few days, I requested to move the IDF exhibition,” Netanyahu continued. “It was packed up and stored in the lowlands and we decided to move it. I spoke with the IDF Chief of Staff, I spoke with the Defense Minister. That’s just me, and we reached an agreement to move the IDF exhibition to Jerusalem.”
The family of Israel’s ninth president Shimon Peres and his wife Sonia is experiencing yet another tragedy, with the passing on Sunday of one their grandsons, Assaf Walden, at age 35.
Walden, who was the son of Professors Zvia and Rafi Walden and was a popular teacher, was the family member who discovered the body of Sonia Peres, who had died in her sleep in January 2011. The security guard at the Tel Aviv apartment block where she was living was concerned that she had not emerged from the building throughout the morning. Her grandchildren were frequent visitors, and on that particular day, when Assaf showed up at lunch time, the security guard shared his concerns with him and asked him to open the door of her apartment.
Assaf’s father was the personal physician of Shimon Peres, and accompanied him on his trips abroad. It wasn’t a case of nepotism, but more in the nature of having a physician who was totally familiar with the president’s state of health and the medications which he could or could not take, because the two men were together much more than would have been the case with a physician who did not have a family or social relationship with the president.
One of Assaf’s sisters, satirist Mika Almog, wrote on her Facebook account, “With indescribable pain, I [say] farewell to my little brother. Twenty years of an incomparable stubborn and courageous struggle have come to an end. He was 35, and he was fabulous. I loved him so much.”
Professor Zvia Walden, who was the first-born of the three Peres siblings, is a noted philologist. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
A Palestinian man was charged with three murder counts Monday over a pair of December terror attacks that led to the deaths of two soldiers and an unborn baby, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Asem Barghouti was arrested in January and accused of carrying out a shooting attack on a bus stop near the outpost of Givat Assaf on December 13 and of assisting his brother Salih in a shooting attack on a bus stop near the Ofra settlement on December 9.
Two soldiers, Sgt. Yosef Cohen and Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, were killed in the Givat Assaf attack. Another soldier, Israeli-American Netanel Felber, was seriously injured and Shira Sabag, a civilian woman, was also hurt in the shooting.
Seven people were injured in the Ofra attack, including a seven-months pregnant woman who was seriously wounded. Doctors delivered her baby boy in an emergency operation, but he died days later despite intensive efforts to save him.
The charge sheet, filed at the Judea Military Court in the West Bank, accuses Barghouti of various grave offenses, including three counts of intentionally causing death — the military court’s equivalent of murder — and several counts of attempts to intentionally cause death.
Two years after an Israeli man was wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank, the Shin Bet has arrested the Palestinian suspect.
Ayman Muhammad ‘Ali Fughara, a 27-year-old resident of the village of Jorat a-Shama and a Hamas supporter, was arrested in a joint Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF and Israel police operation.
According to the Shin Bet investigation, Fughara purchased the knife and infiltrated into the settlement of Efrat in December 2016 “in order to murder Israelis,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
There he snuck up behind a couple walking on King David street, and stabbed the husband, Rafi Lisker, multiple times in the upper body before he fled.
The man was taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem light to medium condition before being released the following night.
Two suspicious packages attached to balloons, at least one of of which was reportedly an explosive device, were found Monday at different locations in a southern community near the Gaza Strip.
Police sappers were called in to deal with the devices, which landed in areas of the Eshkol Regional Council.
Early in the morning one device, attached to a bunch of balloons, was found in an open area. A couple of hours later, a similar balloon-borne package was found in an agricultural area and was found to contain explosives, officials said.
The incidents came amid rising tensions and clashes along the Israel-Gaza border.
In recent days, Gazans have launched balloon-borne bombs at Israel and fired small arms across the border, along with near-daily protests at the fence, in which fire bombs have been thrown at troops and Palestinians have attempted to damage the barriers, according to the army.
Israel has carried out perfunctory air raids after each balloon or mortar attack, usually hitting empty military posts maintained by the Hamas terror group, which is the de facto ruler in the Strip.
Staff at a manufacturer of synthetic rubber festive accessories in this Chinese port city voiced frustration with the Palestinian militant movement Hamas today at having to retool their facility’s production process to include a warning not to use the otherwise harmless items for the conveyance of firebombs, rocket-propelled grenades, and other incendiary devices into Israeli communities.
Management and line workers at Zhou Enterprises began the tedious task this morning of disassembling pallets of merchandise slated for shipment to the Gaza Strip, in preparation for repackaging the contents in new bags that feature a new line of cautionary text advising the customer that safe use of the product does not include attaching explosive devices to bunches of helium-filled balloons and sending them into the wind and over the border to kill Jews. The new procedure disrupted an otherwise efficient run of production and packaging, causing no small amount of annoyance.
“It was all set to go and then the new instructions came in,” recalled Floor Manager Li Zhiang. “We lost almost an entire day’s work having to redo everything. That’s not going to look good on the monthly efficiency report, and we’re working the floor personnel hard enough as it is. I’m in no position to question management’s decision on this, because as I understand this could be a real safety liability for the end user, but between you and me, that’s got to be one imbecile of an end user. Are they American? Australian?” She shook her head in disbelief at the answer.
American Muslims for Palestine Official: Jews Who Participate in Birthright Engage in Ethnic Cleansing
On February 25, 2019, the Al-Jazeera English live streamed an episode of a show called “The Stream” on its YouTube channel that featured a debate about the Birthright Israel program. Taher Herzallah, American Muslims for Palestine’s Associate Director of Outreach and Grassroots Organizing, said that young Jews who participate in Birthright Israel are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and the erasure of their history, and that it’s “ludicrous” that young American Jews can claim citizenship in a land to which their only connection is a religious one. Rami Allan, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance of Hunter College, called on young Jews to boycott Birthright Israel and it denies the Palestinian right of return, and he said that young Jews should be on the “right side of history” rather than partake in a trip funded by Netanyahu government. American-Jewish filmmaker and writer Ariel Sobel argued that members of Jewish organizations that attend Birthright and stage walkouts are taking money away from low-income people who couldn’t otherwise attend the trip, and Herzallah responded: “Painting this a class thing is absolutely ridiculous considering that Sheldon Adelson, one of the richest billionaires in America, is the funder of the Taglit Birthright program.” He added that Birthright Israel is “a problem” because it whitewashes Israel’s crimes and strives to “establish a politic” in the minds of young Jews. According to AMP’s website, Taher Herzallah studied Political Science and International Affair at UC Riverside and has been arrested for protesting.
Iranian Filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh: 9/11 Is a Big Lie, Fabricated Crime; Explosives Were Planted
Iranian filmmaker and TV host Nader Talebzadeh said in a February 27, 2019 interview on Ofogh TV (Iran) that people in America have no right to ask questions about the “fabricated crime” of 9/11. Talebzadeh referenced theories that the collapse of the Twin Towers had been a planned detonation and that 3,000 Jews had been warned to stay away from the area the day before the attack. He said that Iranian officials who want to sign the FATF’s Combating Financing of Terrorism treaty should be warned of the “links” between FATF and 9/11, where he claimed FATF was “born.” Talebzadeh, who is the organizer of Iran’s New Horizon conference, was recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury. For more about Nader Talebzadeh, see MEMRI TV. Clips No. 7065, No. 1735, No. 945, No. 881, No. 127.
Tunisian Minority Rights Activist Yamina Thabet Criticizes Tunisian Constitution, Education System for Ignoring Jews and Christians, Says Homosexuals Are Imprisoned, Tortured pic.twitter.com/K6hpok2ikq
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) March 10, 2019
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