Archive for July, 2012

Israel can take care of herself. Can we?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve written about this myself. But you can’t emphasize too often the craven, and ultimately destructive, cowardice displayed by our American leadership (Europe is long gone).

Israel can take care of herself. Can we?

Diana West writes,

The Washington Free Beacon reported this week on the continuing omission of Israel from a U.S.-sponsored organization called the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). At a recent forum meeting in Spain, Maria Otero, U.S. undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights, delivered a speech titled “Victims of Terrorism,” but, in her roll call of victims, she didn’t mention Israel. The conference at which she spoke was described as a “high-level conference on the victims of terrorism,” but Israel wasn’t a participant.

It bears repeating because it is so fantastic: At an international conference devoted to victims of terrorism, the world’s leading victim or, better, leading target of terrorism — Israel — was nowhere in sight, or mind.

Welcome to the GCTF — U.S. counterterrorism’s new “normal.” This 30-member organization got its official start last September as a “major initiative” of the Obama administration when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced its launch in New York.

It was quite an occasion; Hillary curled her hair. Seated next to her Turkish co-chairman, ensconced amid ministers from Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and 18 other miscellaneous member-states plus the European Union, she then said the magic words: “From London to Lahore, from Madrid to Mumbai, from Kabul to Kampala, it’s innocent civilians who have been targeted …”

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon? Poof, gone. And that’s the point: This new counterterrorism organization, with its related counterterrorism center coming soon to Abu Dhabi, is Judenfrei. Not coincidentally, it is also heavily Islamic. Eleven member-states — slightly more than one-third of the organization’s membership — also belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc of 56 Islamic countries working to impose Islamic law (Shariah) on the world. Six of those 11 members additionally belong to the Arab League. Both groups have defined “terrorism” to exclude Israeli victims (sometimes U.S. soldiers), and “terrorists” to exclude groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah. It is no wonder the Arab-Islamic members would now unite in “counterterrorism” without Israel.

What is both shocking and shameful, however, is that the U.S. would, too. It shows that the U.S. has implicitly but clearly accepted the Arab League/OIC definitions of terrorism and terrorists…

I would like to say this is all something President Barack Obama initiated, but such appeasement goes back a long way. If we look to the Gulf War in 1990-1991, we see this same denial of Israel’s existence take shape in the makeup of President George H.W. Bush’s “international coalition” — sans Israel. The same is true in 2003 with the formation of President George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” in Iraq (also Afghanistan) — sans Israel.

These omissions were in no way due to Israel’s unwillingness to join the “war on terror.” They were due to the same Islamic pressure in force today. Both Bushes bowed to it, accepting a state of dhimmitude (inferiority of non-Muslims under Islam) for the high privilege of spilling American blood and treasure into the ungrateful desert. Israel, both Bushes agreed with their Islamic “allies,” just wasn’t fit to fight on Islamic sand. Thus, Israel was excluded from these wartime alliances.

Such dhimmitude only intensifies, as the latest developments show. Under the Bushes, after all, while Israel was not permitted to fight alongside coalition forces, at least it was still recognized for withstanding more than 60 years of Islamic terrorist attacks. Today, under the auspices of the Obama administration, Israel no longer rates mention even as a victim. “Big Satan” has thrown “Little Satan” to the sharks. Which says two things about Big Satan. Our institutions now see the world from the Islamic perspective, and, as far as the sharks go, we’re next.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Times to Israel: don’t anger the Goyim!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy. Unlike the NY Times, no ghetto mentality.

Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy. Unlike the NY Times, no ghetto mentality.

Yesterday I explained why a New York Times editorial was wrong when it said that the decision of Israel’s Levy Commission that Israel had a legal right to build settlements in Judea and Samaria was “bad law.” Today I want to take on the accusations that it is “bad policy” and “bad politics.”

The Times writes,

The recommendations would annul a number of past Israeli Supreme Court rulings and orders, including a 1979 decision forbidding the expropriation of land for “military needs” when the real goal is settlement construction. It is alarming to see this latest attack on the court, which has tried to temper government excesses, ruling that several outposts and buildings constructed on private Palestinian land should be dismantled. Thirty families were evicted from five such buildings last month.

The implication here is that Israel is going around condemning Palestinian property and handing it over to ‘settlers’.

This is untrue and disingenuous. The commission did not rule that Israeli Jews had a right to take “private Palestinian land.” If anything, it called for additional safeguards to ensure that ownership of land is clarified before it is built on by anyone, Jew or Arab. Unlike in the US, questions of land ownership in the territories are often very complicated and unclear, with missing documentation the rule rather than the exception, and various systems of law involved, including those in force in the Jordanian, Mandate and Ottoman periods.

It doesn’t help that the Palestinian Authority has decreed a penalty of death for an Arab who sells land to a Jew. Nor does it help that European and New Israel Fund financed lawyers and NGOs are seeking out Arabs to file claims against settlements, and that in some cases the government has ordered demolition of structures after receiving complaints, without waiting to establish the actual ownership of the property (see link to Ulpana below).

The commission also recommended the option of compensating owners when encroachment was established after construction rather than eviction and demolition, such as in the recent case of Ulpana (you will have to read the details; it’s too bizarre for me to summarize).

Bad policy? It seems to me that it is a much better policy than before.

In the vein of “bad politics”, the Times continues,

The commission, led by Edmund Levy, a former Supreme Court justice, was established in January under pressure from settlement leaders. If its conclusions are not firmly rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there is likely to be new international anger at Israel. That could divert attention from Iran just when the world is bearing down with sanctions and negotiations to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

This is absolutely delicious: the Times warns the Jewish state against provoking “international anger,” as if absolutely anything Israel does that is not a concession doesn’t provoke “anger,” and as if concessions aren’t always pocketed and immediately followed by new demands.

The Times’ idea of ‘good politics’ is that Israel should not assert its legitimate rights under international law because that will anger the Goyim, who then won’t protect Israel against the Iranian pogromists!

Does the Times hire its editorial writers straight out of medieval ghettos? Because this is the mentality they display.

We know and they know that the “international community” is not going to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

We know, and they are either too stupid or too dishonest to admit, that in order to survive Israel must deter aggression or preempt it. Appeasement, so consistently recommended by the Times and its columnists, is precisely the wrong way to bolster deterrence.

Let me point out a final bit of dishonesty:

[if the report is accepted by the government] It would also draw attention to a dispiriting anomaly: that a state founded as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people is determined to continue ruling 2.5 million Palestinians under an unequal system of laws and rights.

Perhaps the Times has failed to notice that something like 97% of the approximately 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria are under the administration of the Palestinian authority (I have no idea where they get the 2.5 million figure). But Israel is not ‘ruling’ them except insofar as it is not permitting their terrorist gangs to operate.

The commission did not, as this paragraph suggests, decide that the entire area of Judea and Samaria was a permanent part of Israel, but only that settlements there are not illegal. The eastern border of the state of Israel remains undefined, as it has been since the war of independence. Israel is still waiting, as it has for 64 years, for serious negotiations with the Arab nations and the Palestinians.

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NY Times: Stupid and biased again

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

The decision by a commission of legal scholars, led by retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, that Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria is legal created a storm of protest from the usual quarters.

Today I’m going to dissect one paragraph that epitomizes the misconceptions surrounding Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria. It happens to appear in a New York Times editorial, but that’s really not important (unless you are still awed by the ignorance or malice of the editors of that newspaper).

Here is the paragraph:

Most of the world views the West Bank, which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004. The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

Most of the world

This can’t mean most of the world’s 6.9 billion people, most of whom don’t give a rat’s posterior about Israel. It probably refers to most of the members of the UN General Assembly, where there has been an automatic majority against Israel on every imaginable subject since the 1970s. Is this supposed to add authority to their argument?

view the West Bank

“West Bank” is a term applied to what had previously been called by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria, by Jordan in 1950. Using this expression obscures the historical Jewish connection and suggests that Jordanian control of the area, which lasted only 19 years, was somehow ‘normal’.

which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war

This continues the theme that the normal situation was usurped by Israel in 1967. But when Jordanian troops marched into the area in 1948, killing and driving out the Jewish population, they violated the provision of the Mandate that set aside the area of ‘Palestine’ for “close Jewish settlement,” and the one that called for the civil rights of all existing residents — Jewish or Arab — to be respected. It also violated the UN charter which forbids the acquisition of territory by force. Only Pakistan and the UK recognized the annexation of the area (even the Arab League opposed it).

The Jordanian invasion and annexation of Judea and Samaria was, in fact, illegal under international law. Israel’s conquest in 1967, on the other hand, can be seen as a realization of the terms of the Mandate.

as occupied territory

As I wrote yesterday, the concept of a ‘belligerent occupation’ does not apply here. What country owned the territory that Israel ‘occupied’? Not Jordan, which was there illegally, nor Britain, whose Mandate had ended, nor the Ottoman Empire, which no longer existed. The nation with the best claim was Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who were the intended beneficiaries of the Mandate. Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, and the Jewish people have a prima facie claim based on the Mandate.

and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004.

This refers to the advisory opinion against the security fence issued by the International Court of Justice. The opinion refers to Israel as an “occupying power” and says that the fence is built on “occupied Palestinian land,” despite the fact that there is no legally delimited border between Israeli and ‘Palestinian’ land.

The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

Since the land is not ‘occupied’, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply. And even if it were occupied, legal scholars (including the Levy commission) have made excellent arguments that the Convention was not intended to apply to voluntary ‘transfers’ of population like settlements, but to forced deportations like the Nazi transfer of German Jews into occupied Poland.

According to its drafters, UNSC 242 does not call for the withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967, leaving room for the states involved to negotiate secure borders as part of a peace agreement:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

Of course no such boundaries have been agreed upon. And if you think any Arab countries or the PLO are interested in terminating claims on Israel regardless of borders, I have a bridge you may be interested in.

So much for the international law experts on the Times editorial board and their statement that the decision was “bad law.” I’ll leave their arguments that it is “bad policy” and “bad politics” for another time.

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After 45 years, Judea and Samaria are not ‘occupied’

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

News item:

Retired Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, who heads a committee tasked with examining the legality of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, declared on Tuesday that Israelis have a legal right to settle the region.

“According to international law, Israelis have a legal right to settle all of Judea and Samaria, at the very least the lands that Israel controls under agreements with the Palestinian Authority,” Levy stated. “Therefore, the establishment of Jewish settlements [in Judea and Samaria] is, in itself, not illegal.”

The committee was established by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in efforts to determine and cement the legal status of the outposts in Judea and Samaria, with an emphasis on communities that were not built on privately owned Palestinian land but their status was still in doubt due to legal bureaucracy.

The committee issued its report on Tuesday, which was subsequently handed over to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein. In the report, Levy wrote that “upon completing the committee’s tasks, and considering the testimonies heard, the basic conclusion is that from an international law perspective, the laws of ‘occupation’ do not apply to the unique historic and legal circumstances surrounding Israel’s decades-long presence in Judea and Samaria.”

“Likewise,” the report said, “the Fourth Geneva Convention [relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War] on the transfer of populations does not apply, and wasn’t intended to apply to communities such as those established by Israel in Judea and Samaria.”

None of this is actually ‘news’. Legal scholars like Eugene Rostow and others have argued for years that the proper status of Judea and Samaria is as disputed territory, to which Israel has a prima facie claim.

Unfortunately, the official Israeli position has been that it is a ‘belligerent occupation‘. Such an occupation is defined as temporary, arising from a war between nations, one of which occupies the territory of another. It must be ended by a peace treaty between the parties, since acquisition of land by conquest is forbidden by the UN charter.

This position never made a lick of sense. In addition to ignoring the rights accruing to the Jewish people under the Mandate, it could not explain how Israel could be ‘occupying’ something whose last owner was the Ottoman Empire.

Not only did it not make sense, it provided a door through which Israel’s enemies have entered. For one thing, it means that Israel can’t annex any of it without a peace treaty. But with whom could such a treaty be concluded — the Ottomans, who don’t exist; the Jordanians, who illegally invaded it in 1948; or the PLO, which never ruled the area?

If the Israeli conquest of Judea and Samaria in 1967 and its expulsion of the Jordanian Army did represent an ‘occupation’, then that implies that the Jordanian presence was legitimate, and that the heirs of the Jordanians, the ‘Palestinians’ — represented by the PLO, a terrorist gang that should have zero legitimacy — now have some kind of ‘right’ to the area.

This is too incoherent to be even half-convincing. But what happened is that the PLO conflated the idea of rights granted by international law, which it did not have, with political claims — Palestinians are ‘indigenous’, theirs is a struggle for ‘national liberation’ against an ‘oppressor’, it’s ‘Arab land’, etc.

Those who would prefer that there be no Jewish state found these ideas congenial, and soon accepted the idea of a Palestinian ‘right’ to Judea and Samaria. They began to say “settlements are illegal under international law,” and that they are on “Palestinian land,” despite the fact that this is nonsense.

Unfortunately, Israeli governments did not take the correct line from the beginning. By not vehemently opposing Arab claims, insisting that the territory was disputed rather than occupied, and asserting Israel’s own rights under the Mandate, they allowed the PLO — with the willing connivance of anti-Zionist forces throughout the world — to make its point of view part of the conventional wisdom.

So we have statements like this one, from US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell:

…the U.S. position on settlements is clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli Government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.

It may be too late to change worldwide perceptions, but I hope Netanyahu’s government will adopt the report and realign its policy — not just about settlements, but its overall position regarding the ‘peace process’ and the Palestinians in keeping with the findings of the committee.

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Obama invites Islamist Egyptian president to US

Monday, July 9th, 2012

News item:

“President Obama extended an invitation to President Mursi to visit the United States when he attends the U.N. General Assembly in September,” Egyptian aide Yasser Ali said after Mursi met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Cairo…

“We have taken careful note and appreciated President Mursi’s public statements about a commitment to international obligations and we certainly attach great importance to Egypt’s continuing role as a force for peace,” Burns said.

Mursi (often spelled ‘Morsi’) is the political face of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. His comments about the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel have been ambiguous, but it is unlikely — at least in the near term — that he will stand up and announce that he is calling everything off and returning to a state of war with Israel. That would be counterproductive, since the US might cut off the $1.3 billion dollars in military aid it sends to Egypt each year (one wonders exactly what all those tanks that they buy with it are needed for).

But he could certainly make things hot for Israel by supporting Hamas — the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood — by failing to control terrorist groups operating in the Sinai, etc. It’s even imaginable that he could allow Egyptian ‘volunteers’ to fight alongside Hamas while the peace treaty technically remains in force.

Why might he do this?

The Islamist ideology of the Brotherhood is, like that of its Hamas branch, uncompromisingly opposed to the continued existence of a Jewish state. If you think that this is not a problem, that even Islamist politicians are pragmatists for whom development is more important than ideology, remember that in an Islamist state the temporal authorities are subordinate to the religious leadership (Iran, where the Supreme Leader dictates to the President, is an example).

Let’s look at what the “General Guide” of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi, had to say in a recent sermon (spotted by Raymond Ibrahim):

According to last Thursday’s edition of Al Wafd, during his weekly sermon, “Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, confirmed the necessity for every Muslim to strive to save al-Quds [Jerusalem] from the hands of the rapists [Israelis] and to cleanse Palestine from the clutches of the occupation, deeming this an individual duty for all Muslims.”

More specifically, he “called on all Muslims to wage jihad with their money and their selves to free al-Quds”—the same exact language one finds in al-Qaeda’s tracts.

Here is a short video with translation by MEMRI in which Badi explains the need for jihad against the “Zionists:”

But perhaps President Obama is thinking, “well, sure they want to destroy Israel, but that isn’t a reason that the US shouldn’t engage with them.”

Guess what, Mr. President: they have plans for us, too. Thanks to to the perspicacious Raymond Ibrahim, we have this from January 2012:

Dr. Muhammad Badi, supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said: “The Brotherhood is getting closer to achieving its greatest goal as envisioned by its founder, Imam Hassan al-Banna. This will be accomplished by establishing a righteous and fair ruling system [based on Islamic sharia], with all its institutions and associations, including a government evolving into a rightly guided caliphate and mastership of the world.”

The leader of the Brotherhood continued: “The Imam [Banna] delineated transitional goals and detailed methods to achieve this greatest objective, starting by reforming the individual, followed by building the family, the society, the government, and then a rightly guided caliphate and finally mastership of the world.” [emphasis added by Ibrahim].

Raymond Ibrahim is a Coptic Christian and certainly has reason to oppose Badi and his functionary Morsi. But the links to the Arabic text are there, and Google Translate is close enough to verify that this is what they said.

Morsi himself has not always been careful of what he says. On May 30, Ibrahim reported,

According to the popular Egyptian website, El Bashayer, Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate, just declared that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest (fath) of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam, or else pay the jizya,” the traditional Islamic tax, or financial tribute, required of non-Muslim “dhimmis.” …

When asked what he thought about many Christian Copts coming out to vote for his secular opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, Morsi reportedly said, “They need to know that conquest is coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and that they must pay jizya or emigrate.” [my emphasis]

Did Mr. Burns of the State Department check out this public statement as well? What message does it send to American non-Muslims — Christians, Jews and all the rest —  that this person will be an honored guest in our country?

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