It is time to break up the Quartet
For different reasons, each of the four Quartet members is unqualified to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
• The EU: when not involved in promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, attempting to sanction Israeli citizens, or labeling food from Israel (all the easier to boycott), the European Union (an increasingly oxymoronic term) is busy negotiating its own continued existence. It has never been a neutral arbiter in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Jennifer Rubin noted three years ago that the EU “strives for relevance but its anti-Israeli tendencies make it particularly unsuited to play any constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The EU was also instrumental in the UN’s International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) denunciation as illegal Israel’s wall that ended the wave of successful Palestinian suicide bombers. Its statement on November 18, 2003, declared that: “Palestinian land has been confiscated to build the wall.” Fortunately the ICJ’s rulings are non-binding, including the order for Israel to compensate the Palestinian people for inconveniences the wall had caused.
• The UN: like the EU, the UN has been reliably in favor of the Palestinians and opposed to Israel ever since it voted to divide the former British Mandate into two nations. Since then it has denounced Israeli “occupation” 2,342 times and “settlements” 256 times, as compiled by Eugene Kontorovich and Penny Grunseid.
Meanwhile, it ignores or rationalizes Palestinian terrorism. In January of this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon excused Palestinian terrorism by noting that “it is human nature to react to occupation.”
• Russia: the nation that in the past decade has invaded Ukraine and Georgia, and annexed Crimea, has no moral standing in negotiations over which territories will comprise a Palestinian state. Historically, Russia has supported Palestinian terrorism. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earned his PhD in Holocaust denial at a Russian university. And Russia is an avowed ally of Israel’s enemies – Iran and Syria especially.
• The US: once upon a time the fourth member of the Quartet could be relied upon to defend Israel from attacks at the UN, but not under this president. Obama feigned outrage over the Russians interfering in the US election, but did little to conceal his interference in the Israeli election, sending his own campaign pros and spending American taxpayer funds in an attempt to ensure the defeat of Benjamin Netanyahu. Many interpreted the line about “building a wall” in Obama’s final speech to the UN as a shot at Trump, but it seems more likely a shot at Israel.
According to its mandate, the Quartet was created “to help mediate Middle East peace negotiations and to support Palestinian economic development and institution-building in preparation for eventual statehood.”
The problem is that the Palestinians have refused statehood repeatedly for one reason: it could not coexist with a State of Israel. Yasser Arafat’s insistence on a “right of return” that would flood a nation of eight million Jews with twice as many Muslims ended the 2000 Camp David talks. The stated purpose of the Quartet is untenable until the Palestinians change. As Golda Meir purportedly said: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
The only redeeming value of the Quartet (and the real miracle of the past eight years) is that Obama didn’t turn it into a Quintet by installing Iran as the fifth member.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Europe’s “Good Terrorists”: Because They Might Destroy Israel?
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri would like the Europeans to understand that they need not worry about terrorism by the Islamist movement because the attacks will be directed only against Israel.
The European Court of Justice (EJC) is sending the message to Hamas that Europeans see no problem with Hamas’s desire to destroy Israel and continue to launch terrorist attacks against Jews. This message also undermines those Palestinians who still believe in a peace with Israel.
The EJC recommendation to remove Hamas from the EU’s terrorism blacklist comes at a time when countries such as Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and even Saudi Arabia, as well as the Palestinian Authority, are doing their utmost to weaken Hamas.
Appeasing terrorists is a dangerous game: it has already backfired on its foolhardy players and will continue to do so. This is exactly how Muslims conquered Iran, Turkey, North Africa and much of Europe, including Hungary, Greece, Poland, Romania, and the Balkans — countries that still recall a real “occupation,” an Islamist one, and abundantly want none of it.
The EU and the ECJ need to be stopped before they do any more harm to Palestinians, Christians and Jews — or to Europe.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, the author of the Eight State Solution has based this concept on a sociological and historical analysis of Arab tribes and the consequent concept of Arab tribal city-states. Dr. Kedar proposes the creation of no less than eight independent and separate Arab city-states within the “West Bank,” in addition to Gaza. Of course, Israel would comprise the ninth. He writes: “There is no reason to assume that a Palestinian state will not become another failing Arab state, due to the fragmented society in the “West Bank” and Gaza, tribalism and lack of awareness of nationhood as demonstrated by the failed performance of the Palestinian Authority since its establishment in 1994…Social stability is the key for political stability…the only successful model for an Arab state is the one which is based on a single consolidated traditional group such as each of the individual Arab Gulf Emirates.”
There is much logic in what Dr. Kedar describes about Arab societies. The Arab Middle East has always been composed of many tribes, religions, sects, and ethnic groups, all at war with each other and with their government. The colonial imposition of a central, western-style nation-state based on arbitrarily drawn border demarcations has not served the interests of the many indigenous people but rather the interests of dictators and corporate interests. Thus, according to Dr. Kedar, there is essentially one tribe that “governs” in Ramallah, another tribe entirely which does so in Nablus, yet another which presides over Jenin, etc. A small city-state might be able to become productive and join a confederation of similar city-states. After all, size alone does not determine the success or failure of a state. For example, Monaco, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg are small states with a high quality of life, while Algeria, Libya, and Sudan are large states with poor quality of life. According to Dr. Kedar: “The towns that will receive independence (from both the Palestinian Authority and Israel) are Hevron (the Arab part), Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tul-karem and Qalqilya…Bethlehem will require further consideration.”
Approaching fast is the day when the Palestinian Authority we have known for the past 22 years will cease to exist. The Oslo Agreement that begat the fiction of the two-state solution is about to be shattered once and for all. The only relevant question today, is what does Israel intend to do next?
The Eight State Solution can be a practical solution for the Palestinian Arab local leadership who are unable and unwilling to accept Israel’s right to exist. Israel has extended out her hand for peace many times yet a real peace process is far from sight. As long as the Palestinian Arabs desire to replace us, rather than to live alongside us, we should adopt the Eight State Solution as the only realistic and practical solution possible in the coming years
JPost Editorial: JPost Editorial: Recognizing Jerusalem
Truly touching gestures of international proportions can be eclipsed by obsessive adherence to the minutiae of diplomatic protocol.
That’s what happened when someone in the White House insisted on bringing attention to the US’s anachronistic and unjust stand on the status of Jerusalem just hours after US President Barack Obama traveled halfway across the world to pay his respects to Shimon Peres and reiterate his strong affinity with the Jewish state.
The official transcript of Obama’s eulogy originally listed the ceremony as being held in “Jerusalem, Israel.” Six hours later, the White House sent out a corrected version of the transcript with the word “Israel” crossed out of the header. The White House did not even bother to reprint the eulogy without the word “Israel” so as to downplay the correction.
This refusal to recognize Jerusalem within any boundaries as the capital of Israel is in keeping with the official US position that has remained unchanged for nearly seven decades. Since the 1947 partition plan which established Jerusalem as a “corpus separatum” under a special international regime administered by the UN, the US has refused to acknowledge that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Consecutive US administrations chose to ignore the fact that the Arab nations and the Palestinians rejected the partition plan and instead made the historic mistake of attempting to snuff out the fledgling Jewish state at birth. Thankfully, they failed and Israel ended the War of Independence with large sections of Jerusalem under its control.
A delegation from the world’s only permanent war crimes court is visiting Israel and the West Bank this week to “promote better understanding” about its work, the chief prosecutor said Wednesday.
The trip, from Wednesday until next Monday, is the first to the region by officials from the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Court since the 2014 Gaza war.
The ICC team will travel to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement, for “meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials at the working levels.”
But she made no mention of whether the delegation would travel to the Gaza Strip and stressed the visit was not aimed at investigating any allegations.
At the request of the Palestinians, Bensouda’s office has opened an initial probe into alleged war crimes by both sides during the July-August 2014 conflict.
She said the visit was “not linked” to her preliminary investigation, which she said “is ongoing and is following its normal course.”
“The purpose of this visit will be to undertake outreach and education activities with a view to raising awareness about the ICC and in particular, about the work of the office,” Bensouda said.
Alongside the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, alternative ideas are sometimes proposed, such as one-state solutions or a return to the Jordanian option, which involves a political connection between Jordan and a Palestinian entity, for example in the form of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation. The stance of the Palestinian and Jordanian leaderships on this option has long been that a confederation would only become possible following the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and that any discussion of the matter at an earlier stage is harmful for the Palestinian cause.
Lately, the Jordanian option has once again become a topic of public debate in both the PA and Jordan, after Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh mentioned it in a March 27, 2016 interview with the Palestinian online daily Dunya Al- Watan. Furthermore, in meetings held recently between Palestinian and Jordanian figures in the PA and Jordan, these figures express support for the confederation option: former Jordanian prime minister ‘Abd Al-Salam Al-Majali referred to the Jordanian option as “ideal,” though he later clarified that he had only been voicing his private opinion. Jordanian MP Muhammad Al-Dawaimeh arranged for a delegation of Palestinians from Hebron to visit Jordan to discuss a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation.
It should be noted, however, that with the exception of Nusseibeh, the figures discussing the notion of a confederation seem to be seeking publicity or have stressed that their statements represent only their private position.
Reactions to these statements in the PA and Jordan were not long in coming, most of them rejecting the idea of confederation at the present stage. Many regarded the renewed interest in this option as indicating disillusionment with the Palestinian leadership and despair of achieving the two-state solution. Both Jordanians and Palestinians argued that any discussion of this option before a Palestinian state has been established serves only Israel and harms the rights of the Palestinians and their hope for a state. They stressed that Israel, which has thwarted the two-state solution, must not be presented with alternatives that are less desirable for the Palestinians. Even those who expressed support for confederation stressed that it could only be implemented after a Palestinian state has been established and the issues of the permanent settlement have been resolved.
Last Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas requested and was granted permission from the Israeli government to travel to Jerusalem to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres.
This gesture on Abbas’ part should make perfect sense to all who knew and loved Peres, much of whose illustrious history was spent singing literal and figurative songs of peace. Indeed, the former president, prime minister and defense minister, who was honored the world over for his self-proclaimed “dreams” of a new Middle East, had spent decades sympathizing with what he considered to be the plight of the Palestinian people, ostensibly longing for independent statehood.
Peres also shared a Nobel Peace Prize with the late Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the signing of the Oslo Accords. Though these agreements were revealed to be an unmitigated disaster for Israel – leading to heightened waves of Palestinian terrorism – Peres never faltered. If anything, his fantasies of friendly economic and cultural ties between Israel and the PA grew with each suicide bombing perpetrated against innocent Jews.
Abbas has always known this about Peres, despite his own and other Palestinian officials’ public pronouncements over the years that the long-time Labor Party leader was, like all Jews, a liar and a war criminal.
Abbas was also keenly aware that leaders from countries around the world had begun landing in Israel to pay their last respects to the Israel’s most famous peace-monger. And he didn’t want to be left out, particularly since he has been trying to persuade all of them, individually and collectively, that all he wants is a state he can call his own.
Of course, he always fails to acknowledge that he already possesses sovereignty over most of the West Bank, while Hamas rules supreme in Gaza, and that Israel is not to blame for the ills suffered by his people.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to attend former Israeli President Shimon Peres’ funeral on Friday has divided the Palestinians.
Mahmoud Alhabash, an advisor to Abbas and the head of the Palestinian Authority Sharia Courts, came under fire for saying that the decision demonstrated political savvy, because Abbas pre-empted international criticism of the Palestinians had he chosen to shun the event.
But most controversial was Alhabash’s declaration that “Prophet Mohammed would have attended Peres’ funeral. Whether you like it or not, Peres is a neighbor, and Prophet Mohammed attended the funeral of a Jewish neighbor.”
Habash quoted a scene from the Quran, in which the Prophet saw a funeral procession passing by. “They told the Prophet, ‘it is a Jew.’ And the Prophet answered, ‘was he not a soul created by Allah?’” Habash said, causing a social media storm.
Hamas leader Dr. Mahmoud A-Zahar, for his part, claimed that by attending the funeral Abbas was tantamount to a Jew, with the anti-Semitic al-Zahar clearly meaning that at an insult.
He paraphrased a Quranic verse, saying: “You believers do not take the Jews and the Christians as friends and partners, because if you do, you will become one of them.”
Israeli tanks fired on Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to a rocket that landed in southern Israel earlier in the day, the army said.
According to Palestinian reports, the IDF tanks struck sites in Beit Hanoun, on the northeastern corner of the coastal enclave. The army would not immediately confirm those reports to The Times of Israel.
There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.
The rocket, which was fired from the Gaza Strip, struck a street in the city of Sderot — a few miles from Beit Hanoun — just before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police said, causing damage and sending three people to the hospital suffering from anxiety attacks.
The Islamic State-affiliated Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist group took responsibility for the rocket launch in statements released in both Arabic and Hebrew.
“Oh you cowardly Jews: You don’t have safety in our land. [Former defense minister Moshe] Ya’alon, the failure at giving security. [Defense Minister Avigdor] Liberman to fail will be a certainty,” the Salafist group said in its statement, in poorly translated Hebrew.
The attack against Israel was apparently a response to the Strip’s Hamas rulers arresting several members of the Salafist organization, according to the group’s statement.
The IDF was preparing to escort the Gaza-bound all- female flotilla ship the “Zaytouna” to the Ashdod Port as the vessel was expected to attempt to illegally breach Israel’s maritime blockade of the Strip on Wednesday afternoon.
The Israeli security establishment was not expecting any irregular activity with the procedural maneuver of the 14-member flotilla crew .
On Tuesday night, the ship “Zaytouna” was apparently located approximately 100 nautical miles from Israel’s coastline between Cyprus and the Egyptian port city of Alexandria. The ship was allegedly picking up speed in order to arrive at Gaza’s coastline.
Israeli security estimates deduct that similar to previous flotilla attempts, the all-female ship is trying to generate publicity. Israel does not permit unauthorized breaches of the naval blockade off of the Gaza coastline, and Israel was yet to confirm whether the flotilla was transporting humanitarian aid.
A security source said on Tuesday “there is no siege on Gaza. Israel sends between 800-1000 trucks with goods everyday. Anyone can send goods to the Gaza Strip on the condition that they pass a regulated check, therefore claims of a siege are baseless from the beginning.”
The source added that “media ‘shows’ like this will not help the Gaza Strip to recover.”
The Palestinian Authority transferred NIS 590 million ($156 million) to the Israel Electric Corporation to cover part of a longstanding debt.
The IEC reported that it received the money on Sunday, as part of a deal signed last month to resolve the Palestinians’ outstanding debt to the IEC of almost NIS 2 billion ($530 million).
That agreement was signed by the head of the IDF’s coordinator of activities in the territories, COGAT, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Treasury Director-General Shai Babad.
The agreement provides for further payments to be made in installments, with a portion of the debt — possibly interest accrued over the years — likely to be waived.
Tension between the US and Russia over recent events in Syria have escalated rapidly in recent days, casting a new shadow over regional, and to some extent, global security.
A Fox News report on Tuesday cited American officials as saying that Russia deployed its advanced S-300VM surface-to- air missile system to Syria.
The deployment appears to be a clear signal to Washington, aimed at dissuading it from taking military action against the Assad regime.
Since entering the Syrian conflict, Russia’s goal has been to preserve the existence of its ally, the Alawite Assad government, and assist it in fighting a myriad of Sunni rebels. The US-led coalition’s goal has, until now, been aimed at targeting the jihadists of ISIS and the Nusra Front. For a while, these two coalitions were able to pursue their goals in the crowded Syrian arena and prevent conflict between them.
Now, things may be changing, and as a result, tensions between the two global powers are on the rise.
In recent days, the US walked away from cease-fire attempts with Russia, after watching with despair the carnage and misery inflicted on Aleppo by Syrian and Russian warplanes.
Would the White House knowingly transfer tens of billions of dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah in Lebanon to finance the slaughter of Syrians or the next war against Israel? In theory, the Iran nuclear deal wasn’t supposed to fuel Iran’s imperialism and its ardent anti-Semitism. And yet President Barack Obama appears to have done exactly what he and Secretary of State John Kerry promised not to do: They are directly financing the Syrian horror show and terrorists on America’s watch lists.
During the nuclear negotiations and since reaching the agreement with Iran, the administration has strenuously rejected congressional concerns that sanctions relief would fund the mullahs’ malign activities. CIA Director John Brennan said again this July that Iran has used much of the sanctions relief for development projects: “The money, the revenue that’s flowing into Iran is being used to support its currency, to provide monies to the departments and agencies, build up its infrastructure.”
The administration’s assurances are undercut by Iran’s own behavior since July 2015. Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said that Iran has become “more aggressive in the days since the [nuclear] agreement.” The regime is keeping Bashar al-Assad afloat in Syria and actively supports Lebanese Hezbollah, which has a 150,000 rocket stockpile with only one target: Israel. Tehran has expanded its efforts to create Shiite militias in the Middle East and has continued to send aid, including weaponry, to radical Palestinian groups.
For all of these endeavors, the regime needs money — liquid, untraceable, convertible, and easy to transfer. According to the global anti-money laundering Financial Action Task Force, cross-border cash transfers are “one of the main methods used to move illicit funds … and finance terrorism.” The mullahs have been hungry for cash after American and European sanctions drastically curtailed the regime’s access to hard currency.
Iran’s foreign minister and parliament speaker called off meetings with Germany’s vice chancellor over his demand that the Islamic Republic recognize Israel as a precondition for full normalization of ties between Berlin and Tehran, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Sigmar Gabriel, who also serves as economy minister, arrived in Tehran on Sunday as part of Germany’s efforts to renew business ties with the Islamic Republic following the last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that eased international sanctions in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program.
Ahead of the visit, Gabriel told Der Spiegel that Germany could not move ahead with full normalization of ties until the Iranian regime accepted Israel’s right to exist.
According to the Fars News Agency, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani subsequently snubbed Gabriel, who was in the Islamic Republic for two days with some 120 business representatives and dozens of journalists. Meetings between the Iranian politicians and Gabriel were canceled, the report said.
Gabriel met with other senior Iranian officials during his two-day trip, including the economy minister.
The Obama administration misled journalists and lawmakers for more than nine months about a secret agreement to lift international sanctions on a critical funding node of Iran’s ballistic missile program, as part of a broader “ransom” package earlier this year that involved Iran freeing several U.S. hostages, according to U.S. officials and congressional sources apprised of the situation.
The administration agreed to immediately lift global restrictions on Iran’s Bank Sepah—a bank the Treasury Department described in 2007 as the “linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement”–eight years before they were to be lifted under last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement. U.S. officials initially described the move as a “goodwill gesture” to Iran.
The United States also agreed to provide Iran $1.7 billion in cash to release or drop charges against 21 Iranians indicted for illegally assisting Tehran. Full details of this secret agreement were kept hidden from Congress and journalists for more than nine months, multiple sources told the Washington Free Beacon.
State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon now say the United States “already made” the decision to drop U.S. sanctions, but declined to address multiple questions aimed at clarifying the discrepancy between past and current explanations for dropping international sanctions.
The Free Beacon first reported on these terms in January, including the dropping of international sanctions on Bank Sepah.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mossad Engineering Disasters So Israeli Relief Efforts Can Look Good (satire)
Ali Abunimah has been documenting cases of what he has come to call “aid-washing.”
Hurricane Matthew swept through this impoverished nation yesterday, leaving behind devastation and yet another humanitarian crisis – a breach into which a well-practiced, efficient operation of Israeli medical and other assistance will soon step, highlighting the concern the Jewish State shows for victims of natural disasters throughout the world, and forming another instance of the Israeli secret service manufacturing such a disaster for purposes of providing such aid and burnishing the country’s image internationally.
Long on the receiving end of criticism for its treatment of the Palestinians, Israel has embarked on a multi-pronged effort to showcase its humane side and soften such charges. Many in the international community, however, especially Israel’s detractors, dismiss Israel’s flourishing democracy, acceptance of LGBTs, disaster relief, and free medical assistance to Syrians wounded in that country’s ongoing civil war as mere window-dressing to obscure the human right s violations inherent in Israeli rule over the Palestinians. The policy has now advanced further, with the Mossad engineering various catastrophes, to the sites of which Israeli relief volunteers can be whisked within hours, with the effect of intensified appreciation for Israel that could offset other, more diplomatically challenging, policies.
International relations specialist Ali Abunimah has been documenting cases of what he has come to call “aid-washing,” in the manner of “pinkwashing,” the accusation that Israeli acceptance of LGBTs is only intended to deflect criticism of other policies, and does not indicate that Israeli society is actually welcoming of LGBTs.
“It’s suspicious that Israel is always one of the first relief missions to arrive anywhere,” noted Abunimah. “It only looks as if they have their operation so well-oiled that they can always be out there helping before anyone else, but in fact that’s only because they know it’s coming. Their people are behind the earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and what have you, so of course they’re poised to make it look good.”
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