An open letter to the Muslim world

By Melanie Phillips, April 20, 2018:

Dear Muslim world,

The State of Israel is 70 years old today and I am writing from its capital city, Jerusalem.

I realize that for most of you, the words I have just written will cause your gorge to rise. In Israel, they are a source of jubilation.

Israel’s rebirth as the Jewish national homeland out of the ashes of the Holocaust was in itself an astonishing achievement, unique in the annals of the world.

For it to have survived the unparalleled attempts to destroy it ever since is regarded by many as nothing short of miraculous.

Yesterday was Israel’s annual remembrance day. When the sirens sounded, the country paused and bowed its head. It’s the day when Israel mourns the price in blood it has had to pay for existing at all: 23,646 fallen Israeli soldiers and 3,134 Israeli civilians murdered through terrorism.

More than 26,000 dead—with most of the military casualties consisting of Israel’s precious young who must be conscripted to defend their country—purely because there are people determined to prevent the Jews from living in their own ancestral homeland.

But you know all about that because you are the people killing them.

You are the people who have been trying to destroy the Jewish homeland for the better part of a century. Look how hard you’ve tried. You’ve used war. You’ve used terrorism. You’ve used the Palestinian Arabs as pawns. You’ve used the diplomatic game. You’ve used economic boycotts.

Despite all this, you have been forced to watch as Israel has not only survived but become the strongest state in the region, stronger even than many countries in the developed world.

While your economies are one giant basket-case disguised only by the now fast-disappearing oil weapon, Israel has become the “start-up nation” with its economy booming.

While your birth rate is falling off the edge of a cliff, Israel’s average of three births per woman is nearly double the fertility rate for other industrialized countries in the OECD.

Your one undoubted success has been to get the Europeans on your side in your campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel. Well, good luck with that one.

European culture is itself in danger of going down the tubes as the result of uncontrolled migration. The Europeans may think they support you against Israel, but the harsh reality—which is about to get a whole lot harsher for them—is that they will increasingly need Israel’s support against you.

We understand why you hate Israel. Paranoid hatred of the Jews is embedded in your religious texts. Moreover, since you believe that any land ever occupied by Muslims becomes Muslim land in perpetuity—and since the very idea of the Jews being your equals in ruling their own land is anathema to you—your culture of honor and shame means that you cannot accept a Jewish state in a region you claim as your own.

So we know you will never accept that Israel is entitled to exist. Nevertheless, you are actually fighting a much bigger enemy than the Jews—an enemy to which you are losing hands down. That enemy is modernity.

For all the terrible violence and mayhem you have unleashed in the cause of Islamic holy war, your purpose is ultimately defensive. You realize that, in its freedom for the individual and particularly for women, modernity poses a mortal threat to Islam.

Unlike the ignorant west, you know that Islam does not mean peace. It means submission. Modernity means submission can no longer be enforced. Which is why, in its seventh-century form at least, Islam is on the way out.

Which is why you believe you have to stop modernity. Which is why you are at war with the west. And which is also why you see the Jews as your enemy of enemies because you believe they are behind absolutely everything to do with modernity. Destroy the Jews, you imagine, and you will defeat modernity.

Too late: the genie is out of the bottle. In Iran, women are throwing off their hijabs; as a result, the clerical regime terrorizing the Iranian people is trembling. The Iranian people are refusing to submit; and if enough of them rise up, the Islamist regime will be toppled and modernity will have won.

In Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince has realized that unless the country modernizes, it will die. Accordingly, some repressive social rules have been relaxed with more reforms promised.

Yes, these are only small steps. But the Crown Prince, who also needs western backing to fight the Iranian regime, has come to understand that rather than fighting modernity he needs to make some kind of accommodation with it. And he seems to have concluded something similar about Israel.

And look at the Palestinian Arabs. In Gaza, Hamas is having to force them through threats and violence to rush the border fence with Israel. More and more Israeli Arabs want to be known just as Israelis. Arabs living in the disputed territories by and large don’t want to live in a despotic and corrupt Palestine state. They want Israeli passports and to live in Israel, under the rule of law and guarantees of human rights.

An increasing number of the Arab young, who are on Twitter and Facebook and all the rest of it, don’t want to fight the unending battles of the seventh century.

Of course, none of this means the Palestinian Arabs are about to abandon their war to destroy Israel; opinion polls suggest widespread continuing rejectionism. But the unstoppable force of modernity is meeting the immoveable object of Islam, and modernity will win.

Dear Muslim world, we Jews are fated always to be yoked to you. How could it be otherwise? We are stepbrothers and sisters, sharing the same father although we have different mothers (and we didn’t treat yours very well). Like it or not, we are part of the same extended family.

We know that families, especially stepfamilies, can be arenas of resentment and hatred. Despite the murderous hatred you have shown us over the last 70 years and previously, we Jews don’t hate you. Nor do we need you to love us. We just want you to get over yourselves and collectively grow up.

If you finally were to decide to end your war against us in Israel, finally decide that you love your children more than you hate us, finally decide that instead of trying to destroy Israel you want it to help you accommodate to modernity, you will find our hands extended in friendship. But if you try to remove us from the earth, we will destroy you.

Dear Muslim world, wake up and smell the coffee. The Jewish people has defied all the odds over and over again and will continue to do so. You may break our hearts by killing our loved ones but you won’t break us. Progress and modernity will destroy you instead.

Jewish News Syndicate

The urgent need for the detection of mettle

By Melanie Phillips, July 25, 2017:

The Israeli government has removed the metal detectors, or magnometers, that it installed at the entrance to Temple Mount to prevent further Arab terrorist attacks.

This is a bad move. Even worse is how the government explained it – in terms of total capitulation. This morning Yoav Galant, Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction, said at a meeting I attended that the metal detectors were a “mistake”. He told IDF Radio:

“It is clear that from the absorption point of view that it is impossible to transfer tens of thousands of people who are unwilling to cooperate through magnometers. It was clear from the beginning. Mistakes were made. What is important is that we bear collective responsibility.”

Let’s recap. Ten days ago three Arab terrorists burst out of the al Aqsa mosque, where they had stored weapons, and murdered two Israeli Druze police officers stationed just outside the compound. To prevent any further such violence, Israeli put up the metal detectors. The Jordanian Waqf which administers Temple Mount threw a hissy fit and told Muslims not to go through the metal detectors but to pray in the street outside. Which they did.

It is therefore absurd to say Israel’s mistake was to think it could move onto Temple Mount tens of thousands of people who were refusing to go. If they choose not to go there, well, that’s their choice. Obviously.

Israeli says it will now install instead high resolution cameras with facial recognition software and thermal systems capable of detecting bombs. Guess what! The Waqf is still telling Muslims to keep away.

The issue is not, of course, the metal detectors themselves (which are to be seen at religious shrines in the Islamic world) but the fact that they were installed by Israel. This is because Arabs falsely deny the existence of the ancient Jewish Temples and deny the unique entitlement of Israel to its own ancient capital city of Jersualem. The issue is not devices but sovereignty.

The Palestinian Authority, which has been claiming falsely for months that Israel intends to take over/remove Muslims from/destroy al Aqsa and thus has been inciting Arabs to repeated rock-throwing and other acts of violence from Temple Mount, has in typical fashion inverted cause and effect over the metal detectors in order to ramp up the incitement still further. Thus the metal detectors were an act of aggression/keeping Muslims out of Temple Mount/changing the status quo on the compound.

As a direct result of these murderous lies and incitement, an Arab slaughtered three members of the Salomon family in their settlement home last Friday evening.

This atrocity was widely presented by the western media as being part of the “clashes” resulting from the metal detectors. This is demonstrably untrue. The slaughter of the Salomon family was the result of incitement and lies – the same incitement and lies which provoked the murder of the two Druze police officers, which was in turn the only reason the metal detectors were erected in the first place.

“Clashes” inescapably entail acts of violent aggression between different groups. There have been no “clashes” over the metal detectors because Israel has committed no acts of violent aggression. The only such acts have been committed by the Arabs against their Israeli victims. The western media has, as usual, embraced, internalised and faithfully reproduced the inversion of reality being promulgated by the Arabs in order to incite further acts of violence and murder.

The hysteria being whipped up by the Palestinian Authority was amplified by the Palestinians within Jordan, which regards itself as the guardian of Temple Mount as a result of its illegal occupation of east Jerusalem until 1967. Jordan was the first to condemn Israel for closing Temple Mount to Friday worshippers immediately after the murder of the policemen in order to search it for weapons. The Jordanian Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh called the Israeli Arab terrorists who carried out that attack “martyrs who sowed and watered the pure land.”

On Friday, thousands of Jordanians protested in Amman over the metal detectors. On Sunday, a Jordanian attacked an Israel embassy security guard with a screwdriver. The guard shot him dead and another Jordanian was inadvertently killed in the crossfire. This resulted in a diplomatic stand-off between Israel and Jordan, which effectively held the security guard hostage by refusing to allow him to leave the country and demanding to interrogate him. After intensive negotiations, the guard and Israel’s entire diplomatic team have now returned to Jerusalem for their own safety.

In further Jordanian harassment over the last couple of days a group of Israeli tourists visiting the supposed tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses and who according to tradition is buried in Jordan near Petra, were threatened with jail by Jordanian police if they prayed or displayed any religious symbols.

At the same time Israel, Jordan and the US have been engaged in urgent talks to resolve the Temple Mount security issue. It is notable that the Palestinians have been excluded from these talks. It is also notable that Saudi Arabia was insisting that the metal detectors should be removed.

The new Trump-led strategy in the Middle East is to marginalise the Palestinians and get Saudi Arabia on board in the battle against Iran and al Qaeda/Isis. Saudi Arabia (whose clerics might be assumed to believe that using al Aqsa as a weapons store and theatre of war was an unpardonable act of sacrilege) needs both Israel and the US as strategic allies against Iran. Both the US and Israel are anxious to prop up Jordan’s fragile King Abdullah for fear of an Islamist takeover of Jordan should he fall. The hysteria being whipped up over those metal detectors threatens the King even more.

It seems most likely that they were removed as a quid pro quo for the return of Israel’s security guard. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a point of thanking President Trump “for instructing his adviser Jared Kushner and dispatching his envoy Jason Greenblatt to the region in order to aid our efforts to bring back the embassy team quickly”.

This would seem to suggest that the Americans put pressure on Netanyahu to dismantle the metal detectors – two days after he declared they would stay put. If so, the Trump team has just forced Israel to hand its enemies yet another victory.

Israel further compounded this error by saying the metal detectors were a mistake – thus loudly proclaiming weakness, which in the Arab and Muslim world is always an incentive for further attack.

In any event, the problem is not at root the terrorist violence around Temple Mount, nor is its solution the metal detectors. The problem is the charade of Temple Mount itself: the fact that Jordan, which has no legitimate title on Temple Mount whatsoever, is allowed not only to administer it but to prevent Jews from free access to Judaism’s own holy of holies.

This ridiculous and unjust status quo has been allowed to continue for one reason only: fear that the Muslim world will ignite if it is altered in any way. This was first displayed 50 years ago by Moshe Dayan, the general who liberated Temple Mount from its illegal Jordanian occupiers – only to hand its administration back to Jordan for fear of Islamic holy war.

Temple Mount is a symbol therefore of the enduring timidity of Israel and its consequent belief that it can only ever seek to manage, make deals with and calm down its mortal enemies rather than defeat them. It is also a symbol of Israel’s refusal to acknowledge that the violence against it is not the result of a land boundary dispute, nor a clash of rival nationalisms. It is, far more terrifyingly, the product of Islamic holy war.

Displays of weakness such as the metal detector debacle encourage these jihadi enemies to screw the vice ever tighter. But the regional situation has now dramatically changed. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the other Gulf states (except rogue Qatar) all desperately need the support of Israel and America.

This is surely the time for the US to use that leverage to start addressing the real issues behind this flare-up. What’s needed is not metal detectors but the detection of long-absent mettle.

***

California Imam Urges Killing of Jews: “Annihilate Them Down to the Very Last One”

[Photo: MEMRI / YouTube ]

The Tower, July 25, 2017:

In a Friday sermon at the Islamic Center of Davis in California, an imam called on Allah to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” and to “annihilate them down to the very last one.” His sermon was translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Imam Ammar Shahin’s sermon was initially posted to the YouTube account of the Islamic Center of Davis. Shahin was born in Egypt and received a B.A. in Islamic studies there before immigrating to the United States and obtaining a degree in computer engineering.

Shahin quoted a hadith—a saying attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad—that claims, “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah.”

Discussing this hadith, Shahin observed, “The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews.”

“We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place,” he added. “It will say: Oh Muslim … It will not say: Oh Palestinian, oh Egyptian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani, oh Indian … No, it will say: Oh Muslim. Muslim.”

Shahin continued by calling on Allah to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews …. count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them.”

“Oh Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this,” he added.

Palestinian leaders in Fatah—the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority, which is sometimes described as “moderate”—and the Islamist terrorist group Hamas have adopted similarly incendiary language.

Shahin’s call to “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews” echoes the sentiment of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who said in 2015, “The al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”

Omar el-Abed, a Palestinian terrorist who murdered three members of an Israeli family on Friday, similarly wrote on Facebook before the attack that one of his motivations was that “They desecrate the al-Aqsa mosque and we are asleep, it’s a disgrace that we sit idly by.”

The hadith cited by Shahim is also included in the Hamas covenant that was adopted in 1988 and remains in force for the terrorist group.

The Temple Mount—the holiest site in Judaism and the home of the al-Aqsa Mosque—has long been used as a subject of incitement against Jews. A teacher at the al-Aqsa Mosque school once described Jews who visit the area “monkeys and pigs,” while numerous hate preachers have called “to annihilate the Jews” and implored their followers to “slaughter Jews.”

Palestinian leaders often declare that al-Aqsa is in danger, an accusation that predates the founding of Israel.

In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy distinguished fellow David Makovsky explained:

Sadly, the charge that Israel is out to destroy the mosque is not new. This claim was made in 1929, resulting in riots in Hebron that killed 63 people. More recently, fatal violence surrounding the Temple Mount occurred in 1991 (20 killed), 1996 (87 killed), 2000 (153 killed within the first month of violence), and 2014 (9 killed).

Also see:

State Dept blames Israel for causing Palestinian violence

SHOCKING NEW REPORT SAYS “LACK OF HOPE” IS A CAUSE OF PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, July 19, 2017:

Rex Tillerson’s State Department added blistering anti-Israel language to this year’s “Country Reports on Terrorism,” adopting a tone not seen even during the hostile Obama era.

On Wednesday, Tillerson submitted the annual report to Congress. This year’s report may come as a shock to the overwhelmingly pro-Israel majority that elected Donald Trump president.

The report appears to blame Israel for the lack of peace between the two sides, pointing to a “lack of hope” as a “driver” for Palestinian violence.

Tillerson’s State Department concluded that Palestinian terrorism is motivated by “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”

Continuing its pro-Palestinian posture, the next paragraph of the State Department memo commends the Palestinian Authority chairman for condemning acts of violence.

“Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the PA of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it,” the memo states.

The aforementioned statement is simply not true. Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party have a long history of promoting violence against Israel, and using inciting language to fan the flames of terror against its Jewish population.

In fact, organizations like Palestinian Media Watch and the Middle East Media Research Institute find almost daily examples of Palestinian state media waging incitement campaigns.

The State Department report does label Israel a “committed counterterrorism partner.” However, the sometimes-positive language toward America’s closest Middle East ally does not excuse the morally reprehensible act of sanctioning Palestinian violence against innocents.

By excusing Palestinian terrorism as motivated by a “lack of hope,” the State Department is helping to create a morally paradoxical environment in which the Israeli victim becomes the perpetrator and the Palestinian perpetrator becomes the victim.

Conservative Review looked through the Obama-era State Department country reports on terrorism and found that the Tillerson-led assessment added the aforementioned anti-Israel language.

Last year’s report under Obama said the Palestinians argued that terrorism is sometimes caused by frustration over “occupation.” But that report was much less accusatory because it makes clear that the position is reflecting the views of Palestinian officials, and not the U.S. government.

Tillerson continues to shock supporters of Israel with his pro-Palestinian policy promotion.

In May, the embattled secretary of state blackmailed Israel, using the debate over its embassy move as a bargaining chip for Palestinian statehood. That same month, he described Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem, as the “home of Judaism.”

Unlike U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Tillerson refuses to recognize that the Western Wall is in Israel. Moreover, his State Department continues to reject Israeli claims over the city of Jerusalem.

Funding Terrorism to Fight Terrorism

Why are we funding Islamic terror in Israel?

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, July 18, 2017:

Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, the father of a newborn baby, and Kamil Shnaan, who was newly engaged, were murdered in an Islamic terrorist attack in Jerusalem. The two Israeli police officers were members of the Druze community in Israel. The terrorists who shot them were killed by other police officers.

While Israel will compensate the families of the dead police officers, the Palestinian Authority will compensate the families of the terrorists. And American taxpayers will compensate both.

This is typical of a foreign policy in which we fund both the terrorists and the terrorized.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to choose a side.

This mad policy is facing its biggest threat with the Taylor Force Act. The bill, named after a murdered Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran stabbed to death in Tel Aviv, would strip funding from the Palestinian Authority unless the terror state stops giving money to terrorists and their families for their crimes.

The Taylor Force Act has plenty of support in Congress. But the Palestinian Authority has made it abundantly clear that it will not stop paying terrorists to kill Israelis. PA terror boss Abbas is gambling that our politicians will blink first rather than stop sending him hundreds of millions of dollars.

And the tragedy of it is that he appears to be right.

Everyone condemns the Palestinian Authority’s policy of funding terrorists. Typical adjectives include “abhorrent” and “abominable”. But don’t expect them to actually cut off the cash.

Senators are scurrying to neuter the Taylor Force Act. There are dire warnings that if we stop funding the biggest Islamic terrorist group in Israel, it will collapse and make way for more terrorism.

If we don’t stop giving Islamic terrorists money to commit terrorism… the terrorists will win.

This sums up the insanity of our foreign policy in which we fund terrorism to fight terrorism, and in which the “moderate” Islamic terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim Brotherhood are our best hope for restraining the really scary “extremist” Islamic terrorists of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Senators have been complaining about the act’s “All or nothing” approach. All or nothing means that the Palestinian Authority would have to stop funding terror or lose funding. And since the Palestinian Authority won’t stop funding terror and they don’t want to cut its funding, they hate all or nothing.

AIPAC hasn’t gotten behind the Taylor Force Act. Instead it’s holding out for some “revised” version that would make it meaningless while attracting bipartisan support. Meaningless pro-Israel measures that pass with huge majorities are AIPAC’s bread and butter. They’re its political Potemkin villages.

The ideal Taylor Force Act, according to AIPAC, most Democrats and some Republicans, would condemn terrorism without cutting a cent in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. It would contain a national security waiver and plenty of gimmicks that would actually increase funding for terror.

Instead of the Taylor Force Act, the call is on for a “Taylor Force like” bill that would be like it the way that a $25 Rolex being peddled from a wheelbarrow outside Central Park is like a real Rolex.

There are calls for a more “targeted” bill that would go after some, but not all of the PA’s funding.

But what would a targeted bill actually target? There are calls to exempt humanitarian aid. Never mind that much of the humanitarian aid really finds its way into the pockets of PA and Hamas leaders. Then there is the “security assistance” that enables the terrorists to pretend to fight terrorism.

And then there’s all the institutional support to maintain the corrupt authoritarian institutions of the PA while still providing all of the social services that the PA is supposed to provide, but doesn’t. We have to build roads and schools, and provide electricity and fund hospitals for our worst enemies.

If we can’t cut social services to the biggest terrorist welfare state in the world or security assistance to its terrorist armies, what can we cut?

You guessed it. Nothing.

Cut social services and we’ll just “radicalize” and “embitter” them further. Cut security assistance and they’ll have no choice but to resort to more terrorism. What can we do except give them more money?

A Taylor Force like bill will just move money around. And nothing will change. Senators will pat themselves on the back. And the State Department will see to it that the terror funding continues.

Just to make a madly irrational policy even more absurdly insane, critics of the Taylor Force Act claim that ending funding for terror will undermine Israeli security. The basis for this claim comes from what is usually described in umpteen news stories as a coalition of retired Israeli military officers.

But Caroline Glick has already exposed Commanders for Israel’s Security as a left-wing group with links toObama and Soros. CIS holds positions that undermine Israeli security. And it’s part of a pattern of recruiting retired Israeli security personnel and military people as fronts for anti-Israel agendas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu supports the Taylor Force Act. As do top former military officials. The first name on the list belonged to former Defense Minister Ya’alon; no friend of Netanyahu. The letter concludes by noting that, “The Knesset is considering passage of a law calling for deducting the amount the PA pays terrorists from the money Israel transfers to the PA. It is legislation sponsored by members of all parties, except the far-left Meretz and the Joint Arab List.”

And yet we have politicians and pundits who insist that “we should listen to the Israelis” and keep on funding the PLO. The “Israelis” they want us to listen to are not the country’s elected government and its voters, but a fake organization with an agenda and links to Israel’s opponents.

And so here we are funding terrorism to fight terrorism and listening to Israelis by ignoring them.

Sarah Yerkes of the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that threatening to defund the PA unless it stops funding terrorism could lead to it refusing to change its policy of funding terrorism. If the PA doesn’t stop financing terror out of the goodness of its heart, we’re utterly helpless to do anything except keep shoving more money into its dirty and bloody hands.

The consequences of not funding terrorism are too terrifying to contemplate. What else can we possibly do except nothing?

Cutting off money to the terrorists would just lead to more terrorism. That’s the sum of all the arguments. And there’s a word for it. Blackmail.

We can’t figure out how to stop paying blackmail money to Islamic terrorists. The most powerful nation on earth can’t stop writing big checks to one of the oldest active Islamic terror groups on the planet.

But it’s easy. You just stop sending the checks.

You stop worrying about stability, further radicalization and an imaginary peace process. You can’t buy stability by paying the biggest terrorist group to keep the smaller ones down. If you’re going to do that, you might as well start subsidizing the mafia to keep other criminals in line.

The PA, Fatah and the PLO constantly promote and celebrate Islamic terrorism. They’re not as bad as ISIS, but does that mean we should be funding every Islamic terrorist group less terrible than ISIS?

Finally, if the PA won’t stop funding Islamic terrorists who kill Israelis decades after signing what was supposed to be a peace accord with Israel, talk of a peace process is hollow nonsense.

The United States shouldn’t need a special bill to defund an Islamic terrorist group that has murdered many Americans over the years. We can’t end terrorism tomorrow. But we can at least stop funding it.

If only we can figure out how to stop writing the checks.

 

UN Report Places Some Blame on Palestinian Leaders for Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, July 12, 2017:

The United Nations has just issued a report entitled “GAZA TEN YEARS LATER – United Nations Country Team in the occupied Palestinian.” It was written from the false perspective that Gaza is still part of the so-called Palestinian territory “occupied” by Israel, which represents the official position of the United Nations as a whole. However, the report also contains some insights into the destructive pattern of conduct by the Palestinian leadership, contributing significantly to the misery of the people of Gaza.

If Israel were truly the “occupier” of Gaza, 12 years after its unilateral withdrawal and 10 years after Hamas’s violent takeover of Gaza from Palestinian Authority control, Hamas would not be ruling Gaza, let alone remaining free to use the territory as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Israel. Indeed, the UN report itself demonstrated some cognitive dissonance on the question regarding who actually runs Gaza. In one breath the report asserted that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza because of “the control that Israel retained on Gaza’s air space, sea space and external borders continuously.” However, the report also noted the “exercise of government-like functions and territorial control” by the “de facto authorities in Gaza” – i.e., Hamas. The report described how “Hamas has increasingly tightened its grip on power” since seizing control and “was able to sustain its de facto authority and build up its military strength.”

Moreover, the UN report effectively undercut the premise that the Palestinians have achieved the prerequisites for recognition as a legitimate state, regardless of its authors’ intentions. There are severe unresolved divisions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, leading to separate and competing governing authorities and sets of laws within the territories that the Palestinians claim as the basis for their state. Consider the following verbatim quote from the UN report:

“The Hamas takeover of Gaza has had a significant impact on the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The fact that no presidential or legislative elections have been held in Palestine since 2006 has also created a democratic deficit that undermines the legitimacy of state institutions and their actions on both sides of the divide… The division has resulted in the establishment of two different lawmaking processes and the enactment of diverging laws in Gaza and the West Bank, further eroding the unity and coherence of the future state of Palestine.”

There is no harmonization of the legal frameworks applied by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority respectively within areas under their control, due to the division of basic government authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is “the establishment of a parallel justice system in the Gaza Strip,” according to the UN report. “In addition,” the report concluded, “the lack of a harmonized legal framework and judiciary has at times created situations whereby courts in the West Bank have refused to implement verdicts issued by Gaza courts and vice versa, to the great detriment of the individuals and families involved.”

Moreover, the UN report found that the division of authority has “caused a split of the Palestinian civil service, impacting the delivery of basic services such as education and health care.”

Whenever Palestinian UN delegates participate in UN meetings, representing the “non-member observer state” of Palestine, a title bestowed by the UN General Assembly several years ago, they proudly display their name plate saying “State of Palestine.” However, while the moniker that appears on the nameplate used to describe the Palestinians’ status at the UN may make the Palestinians feel good about themselves, it is meaningless in practical terms.

The United Nations Gaza report called into question the “legitimacy” of the Palestinians’ self-proclaimed “state institutions.” It found no coherent set of laws governing the Palestinian people as a whole. It found an utter lack of government capacity to provide basic public services. All this was not Israel’s fault.  It was due instead to the fundamental, unresolved division of authority between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The result is felt directly by the people of Gaza.

As the UN report stated:

“The Hamas coup in Gaza in June 2007 and the administrative division that followed between the PA and Hamas has had a significant impact on administration and public services in Gaza…Ten years later, the Palestinian divide shows no sign of narrowing. The divisiveness and mistrust between Fatah and Hamas poses significant challenges to the development of the Strip.”

To be sure, the UN Gaza report sharply criticized Israel for contributing to the dire conditions in Gaza. It said that Israel’s “restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land” violated international law. The report accused Israel of carrying out a blockade that “constitutes a form of collective punishment on the civilian population in Gaza contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, applicable to the occupied Territory.”

Aside from the fact that Israel no longer “occupies” Gaza, as discussed earlier, Israel’s self-defense measures in the face of Hamas’s rocket and terror tunnel attacks from Gaza are in accord with international law. Indeed, the UN report itself referred to what it described as “the military build-up in Gaza by Hamas and other militant groups, which continued and intensified over the past decade, including the development, stockpiling and firing of rockets capable of reaching deep into Israel and the construction of sophisticated tunnels used for kidnappings and terrorist attacks in Israel.” The UN report documented how Israel’s restrictions on movements of people and goods into and out of Gaza increased only after “significant military escalation and rocket attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israel.”

Moreover, Israel has not imposed anything near what could be considered a complete blockade. Far from it, Israel has taken substantial national security risks in allowing into Gaza all manner of humanitarian aid and commercial products. Exports out of Gaza have also been liberalized.

As usual, the UN report on Gaza was unfairly critical of Israel. That’s known as “a dog biting a man” story. However, the fact that this UN report finally sheds some light specifically on the responsibility the Palestinian leaders themselves bear for the present plight of the people living in Gaza is “a man bites dog” story as far as the UN is concerned.

Also see:

UNESCO’s perpetration of violence and antisemitism

AFP

Center for Security Policy, by Alex VanNess, July 11, 2017:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) just guaranteed further violence between Israel and Palestinians.  On Friday, the United Nations’ cultural organization declared an ancient shrine in the city of Hebron a “Palestinian World Heritage Site in Danger,” erasing any acknowledgment of Jews from their history in the city.

Jews have lived in Hebron since its antiquity, disrupted only by Arab riots and a massacre of the cities Jewish residents in 1929.  The Jewish connection to Hebron transcends the modern politics of the State of Israel, but instead of highlighting this connection, UNESCO attempts to erase it.

UNESCO makes no distinction as to the significance of Hebron to Judaism. As Solon Solomon notes in Haaretz:

[T]he historical identity of a building or a site is something that goes beyond current political realities.

Indeed, in other cases, UNESCO has made such a distinction … Things would be different if UNESCO recognized the old city of Hebron comprising the Cave of the Patriarchs as a Jewish site, inter alia, lying in the territory of the future State of Palestine.

UNESCO made no attempt at creating any distinctions regarding the significance of Hebron to Judaism. Rather, it attempts to diminish Jewish history in favor of the Palestinians’ political narrative, a decision which further entangles the city into modern conflict.

UNESCO has a history of taking anti-Israel and anti-Semitic measures.  In October 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution denying Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount. In May, it voted to deny Israel’s claim to any part of Jerusalem.  In addition, just days before the Hebron vote, UNESCO further denied Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem and called Israel an “occupying” power.  In 2011, the U.S. cut funds to UNESCO after it accepted the “State of Palestine” as a member state.

The only real result of UNESCO’s decisions seems to have been the escalation of tensions.  The Jerusalem Post reported that following UNESCO’s recent decision on Jerusalem, PA spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud called on the international community to “enforce these decisions on the ground in order to lift injustice, oppression and domination practiced by the occupying power against our steadfast people in the city of Jerusalem and against its Islamic and Christian holy places.”

The wrongheaded action towards Hebron is another act by UNESCO will only serve to embolden those sworn to Israel’s destruction. The terrorist group Hamas has released a statement that highlights this:

The spokesperson of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Hazem Qassem has stated the following:

The UNESCO’s voting that included the Palestinian city of Hebron on the world’s heritage sites list is a new evidence which asserts our right in the city as well as all the Palestinian land.

The voting process reveals the counterfeited and twisted Israeli version surrounding the old city. It also demonstrates that all the Israeli attempts to distort reality have failed in the face of the Palestinian people’s steadfastness on their land and the increasing world support for the Palestinians’ right in their land and holy shrines.

While UNESCO claims to seek the advancement of “international peace and of the common welfare of mankind,” it has shown itself to be nothing more than a group willing to sacrifice peace in order to spite Israel and the Jewish people.

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