Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Mufti of Berlin.

by Daniel Schwamenthal

 

Arab-Nazi collaboration is a taboo topic in the West.

 

One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany's sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the "second victims" of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators' German apologists.

 

Karl Rössel's exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the "Werkstatt der Kulturen," a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin's heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition's small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn't want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader "was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites," as Mr. Rössel put it to me.

The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding—as did Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood—for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler's personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel's defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans.

 

After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a "non-white" person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn't have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, "white," Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs.

Berlin's integration commissioner, Günter Piening, initially seemed to defend her. "We need, in a community like Neukölln, a differentiated presentation of the involvement of the Arabic world in the Second World War," Der Tagesspiegel quoted him as saying. He later said he was misquoted and following media criticism allowed a smaller version of the exhibit to be shown.

 

Mr. Rössel says this episode is typical of how German historians, Arabists and Islam scholars deny or downplay Arab-Nazi collaboration. What Mr. Rössel says about Germany applies to most of the Western world, where it is often claimed that the mufti's Hitler alliance later discredited him in the region. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Mideast, Nazis were not only popular during but also after the war—scores of them found refuge in the Arab world, including Eichman's deputy, Alois Brunner, who escaped to Damascus. The German war criminals became trusted military and security advisers in the region, particularly of Nazi sympathizer Gamal Nasser, then Egypt's president. The mufti himself escaped to Egypt in 1946. Far from being shunned for his Nazi past, he was elected president of the National Palestinian Council. The mufti was at the forefront of pushing the Arabs to reject the 1948 United Nations partition plan and to wage a "war of destruction" against the fledgling Jewish state. His great admirer, Yasser Arafat, would later succeed him as Palestinian leader.

The other line of defense is that Arab collaboration with the Nazis supposedly wasn't ideological but pragmatic, following the old dictum that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This "excuse" not only fails to consider what would have happened to the Jews and British in the Mideast had the Arabs' German friends won. It also overlooks the mufti's and his followers' virulent anti-Semitism, which continues to poison the minds of many Muslims even today.

The mufti "invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mold," according to German scholar Matthias Küntzel. The mufti's fusion of European anti-Semtism—particularly the genocidal variety—with Koranic views of Jewish wickedness has become the hallmark of Islamists world-wide, from al Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. During his time in Berlin, the mufti ran the Nazis' Arab-language propaganda radio program, which incited Muslims in the Mideast to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." Among the many listeners was also the man later known as Ayatollah Khomeini, who used to tune in to Radio Berlin every evening, according to Amir Taheri's biography of the Iranian leader. Khomeini's disciple Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still spews the same venom pioneered by the mufti as do Islamic hate preachers around the world.

Muslim Judeophobia is not—as is commonly claimed—a reaction to the Mideast conflict but one of its main "root causes." It has been fueling Arab rejection of a Jewish state long before Israel's creation.

"I am not a Mideast expert," Mr. Rössel told me, but "I wonder why the people who so one-sidedly regard Israel as the region's main problem never consider how the Mideast conflict would have developed had it not been influenced by fascists, anti-Semites and people who had just returned from their Nazi exile."

Mr. Rössel may not be a "Mideast expert" but he raises much more pertinent questions about the conflict than many of those who claim that title.

 

Mr. Schwammenthal is an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israel has to stop apologizing and take the offensive.

 

by Isi Leibler

The non-Jewish seer Balaam is quoted in the Torah describing Jews as the "the people that dwells apart and is not reckoned amongst the nations." Recent events, climaxing with the UN Goldstone report, have certainly borne this out.

The maliciously biased report alleged that the Israelis deliberately targeted civilians and accused them of crimes against humanity. We should not have been surprised. It was a logical extension from the anti-Israeli NGO reports which have been publishing similar "findings" over the past year.

Besides, what could one expect from a committee created by the ineptly titled UN Human Rights Council, which is dominated by rogue regimes like Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Cuba and Liberia? Some of the leaders of the member-states would qualify as candidates for prosecution as war criminals. The council's principal common denominator remains an obsessive hatred of Israel, which they condemn more frequently than all the other 191 member-states combined.

In fact, since its inception in 2006, 26 of the 32 resolutions condemning human rights violations passed by the council were directed against Israel. It should also be noted that this UN "human rights" body declined to investigate the monstrous brutalities inflicted on civilian populations in Chechnya, Sri Lanka and Sudan. Indeed it went so far as to bizarrely thank the Sudanese government, the perpetrators of the Darfur massacres, for its "cooperation."

Likewise, the far more numerous civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan never appeared on the council's agenda. When the commission was being created, even Mary Robinson, the former head of the UN Durban hate fest, declined an invitation to head the inquiry because it was too "one-sided."

The UN Human Rights Council machers then recruited Richard Goldstone, a vain South African Jewish judge, who despite being aware from the outset of the biased composition of the panel, permitted himself to be used as a fig leaf to provide credibility to the Israel-bashers. He did not even have second thoughts after one of his panelists, Christine Chinkin, refused to disqualify herself after having previously denied that Hamas rockets provided Israel justification for invading Gaza and condemned Israel for "prima facie war crimes."

The depths to which Goldstone, who purports to be a long-standing "Zionist," totally identified himself with this crude anti-Israeli exercise, was exemplified in his recentNew York Times op-ed, in which he had the gall to compare Israel's defense against Hamas to the atrocities committed in Darfur, where millions were displaced and over 200,000 civilians were raped and butchered.

The report could have been drafted by Hamas operatives. It represents a lengthy compendium of lies primarily appropriated from Hamas-orchestrated Arab testimony and anti-Israeli NGOs. On the basis of "evidence" from these rabidly hostile sources, the tribunal defamed as war criminals the nation which undoubtedly displays greater concern over civilian casualties than any other country in the world.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is now urging the United States and other democratic countries to speak up and condemn the abominable report, which effectively challenges the right of nations to defend their civilian population centers from global terrorist onslaughts.

The response will be a litmus test for the Obama administration, which so far has been disappointingly tepid in its reaction. We should certainly not be holding our breath over the European response. Their track record of appeasing Arab extremists is appalling. One can also predict an escalation in anti-Israeli libels at forthcoming sessions of the UN General Assembly, which will now be presided over by a new president, Ali Treki, the former foreign minister of that bastion of human rights, Libya.

It is thus essential that we now get our act together. We must pay more attention to the threat from within. Today, self-loathing Jews (including Israelis) are at the forefront of almost every campaign to denigrate and defame Israel and the Jewish people. Such "Jews" are not a new phenomenon. They maintain the tradition of their predecessors during the Middle Ages who allowed themselves to be used as instruments of the most venomous Christian anti-Semitic campaigns, and more recently of the Jewish communists who applauded the murderous policies of Stalin and justified Soviet state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

There is no doubt that the vile rumors concerning supposed IDF atrocities initiated some months ago by Israelis which were subsequently proven to be utterly false, published by the daily Ha'aretz and emblazoned on the front pages of the world media, added fuel to the climate of hostility against Israel that gave birth to the Goldstone report.

That was followed by blood libels and the greatest global manifestations of anti-Semitism seen since the Nazi era, with Israel assuming the traditional role of Jews, once again accused of representing the source of all the woes and plagues of mankind.

It is thus surely time to stop ignoring the self-loathing Jews and Israelis who now occupy key roles in the campaigns to delegitimize and demonize our people. Freedom of expression enables them to continue articulating their vile attacks on their own people, but it is high time that they be exposed and marginalized from mainstream Jewish life. It is an absolute scandal that some of the worst culprits, including those calling for boycotts of their own country, retain tenure in Israeli universities funded by Israeli taxpayers and Diaspora Zionist philanthropists.

We must also provide our children, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, with greater awareness of the hypocrisy, double standards and extreme bias which are being applied against their people. We must ensure that despite the global campaign to defame and demonize Israel and the Jewish people, our youth retain pride and dignity and are conscious that when it comes to respecting the sanctity of life and upholding human rights, the Jewish state, despite all its faults and weaknesses, remains a role model in this area.

They must understand that the tiny State of Israel is being demonized because it will not stand by with folded arms and enable the barbarians at their gates to spill innocent Jewish blood. We must stop continuously explaining or apologizing, and take the offensive.

These past few months we should have been concentrating on exposing the evil nature and crude bias of the Human Rights Council before it released its "findings." We should have more vigorously exposed the prejudice and double standards of the despicable NGO human rights bodies that have adopted Israel-bashing as a vocation. At the cost of being unkind, I would also strongly recommend our government replace our current UN ambassador with a more charismatic personality along the lines of our previous envoy, Dan Gillerman.

The government should also immediately create an international task force of the best Israeli and Diaspora jurists to confront this new effort to undermine our legitimacy.

 

Isi Leibler
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

The History Behind Netanyahu's History.


by Rick Richman

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations was steeped in history–history denied by some members of the UN, and lessons of history ignored by others. He ended by stating that peace would ultimately depend on whether the international community confronted, or accommodated, the forces led by Iran. His concluding paragraphs offered a quotation from Churchill:

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind,” the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the “want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the “unteachability of mankind” is for once proven wrong.

There is a history behind the Churchill quotation, unspoken by Netanyahu, that is necessary to recount in order to appreciate its full import.

The quotation came from Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on May 2, 1935, on German rearmament, which had proceeded much more rapidly than the government’s intelligence had indicated and had already reached a stage that was beyond the power of “engagement” to reverse. It caused Churchill to ask why steps had not been taken two or three years before, when “alarm bells [had been] set ringing, and even jangling:”

It is possible that the dangers into which we are steadily advancing would never have arisen. . . . [But] when the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure.

Then Churchill provided his own answer to why England had allowed the situation to reach the point where the Germans, through rearmament, would shortly be able “if they chose — and why should they not choose? — to reverse the results of the Great War:”

There is nothing new to the story. It is as old as [Rome]. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong — these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.

Netanyahu left out Churchill’s references to “the fruitlessness of experience” and the “endless repetition of history.” The omission was undoubtedly intentional, reflecting Netanyahu’s concluding hope that the history he had recounted would be a teachable moment, not another instance of the “unteachability of mankind,” and that the world would not be condemned to repeat that history.

His history lesson was reinforced by the speech from the same podium by the president of Iran–who has repeatedly expressed intentions at least as clear as those Churchill discerned in 1935 and who presides over an armament program even clearer and more dangerous than Germany’s at that time.

But Netanyahu was also preceded by the president of the United States, who delivered an extraordinarily self-referential speech, with no sense of either history or the storm gathering before him. Obama’s speech may someday stun historians–except, perhaps, for those aware he began his term by packing up the bust of Churchill and writing on it “Return to Sender.”

 

Rick Richman
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What are "the legitimate rights of the Palestinians"?


by Ted Belman

 

Yesterday Pres Obama addressed the UNGA on the subject of the conflict between Arabs and Jews conflict and had this to say;

…I will also continue to seek a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the Arab world.

What is noteworthy here, is that he referred to “Palestine” like it was a state already. Is that not pre-judging the outcome? He also wants there to be peace with the “Arab world” which means more pressure on Israel to cave to the demands of Syria.

Palestinians have strengthened their efforts on security. Israelis have facilitated greater freedom of movement for the Palestinians. As a result of these efforts on both sides, the economy in the West Bank has begun to grow. But more progress is needed. We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.


He appears to be signing on to Netanyahu’s ideas regarding building the economy as a means to peace. But to my mind by rejecting the “legitimacy of the settlements”, he is declaring war on Israel.

The settlements are legitimate and legal. By taking such a position on no or spurious legal reasoning he is no better than Goldstone who took the position that Israel was guilty of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. Nether of the positions of Obama or Goldstone have any legitimacy. They are imposing on Israel an interpretation of law which favours the outcome they desire. Once again Obama has prejudged the outcome of negotiations. If the settlements are illegal as he says, then Israel Israel must agree to withdraw from all lands east of the green line. He made no distinction with respect to Jerusalem. But the US has long maintained the position that no one should do anything to prejudge the outcome.

Most presidents have shied away from saying that the settlements were illegal and contented themselves with declaring them “obstacles to peace”. This, also, is a debatable issue.

The time has come — the time has come to re-launch negotiations without preconditions that address the permanent status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. And the goal is clear: Two states living side by side in peace and security — a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and realizes the potential of the Palestinian people. (Applause.)

Obama is misleading the world to say that negotiations should start “without preconditions” when he doesn’t mean it. The negotiations will be fraught with preconditions. He names a few such as that Palestine must be “independent”, “viable” and “contiguous”. But there are others such as the need to “end the occupation that began in 1967″. This implies full withdrawal rather than partial withdrawal as provided for in Res 242. Then there is the matter of whether the negotiations are starting fresh, which would be without preconditions, or whether the negotiations must pick up where they left off. Obama has been pressing for the latter.

As we pursue this goal, we will also pursue peace between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and a broader peace between Israel and its many neighbors. In pursuit of that goal, we will develop regional initiatives with multilateral participation, alongside bilateral negotiations.

To break the old patterns, to break the cycle of insecurity and despair, all of us must say publicly what we would acknowledge in private.

On the contrary, when is he going to say privately what he says publically. Once again he wants to be “honest” with us.

The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians. (Applause.) And — and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over constructive willingness to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security. (Applause.)

Now here is the bottom line, what are “the legitimate rights of the Palestinians”?

Refugees There is no legitimate right of return, There is only a right to receive compensation for the property owned by them and left behind when they evacuated. The Jewish refugees have a similar right for property they left behind in Arab countries when they were expelled.

Land. The land lying east of the armistice line, which the Arabs refer to as the West Bank and the Jews refer to as Judea and Samaria, can in no way be Palestinian land as claimed. The Palestinians never had sovereignty over it. Having lived there or even owned small parcels of land there, never confers sovereignty. There is absolutely no way they can establish a “legitimate right” to these lands. According to international law,The Jews were given these lands, as their national homeland over which they had political rights. These rights have never been forfeited.

Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a Jewish concept, not an Islamic one. Jerusalem, as a city means nothing to Islam. Jerusalem means everything to Judaism. It is at the core of it. I have no idea why anyone would consider that the Arabs have legitimate rights over Jerusalem but am sure that Obama includes a share of Jerusalem as a legitimate Palestinian right.

“Legitimate rights” are important in a court of law. They have no place in negotiations. Negotiations are essentially a power play whether between Management and Labour in labour disputes or between countries in negotiating treaties. Obama is supporting the Palestinians to strengthen their negotiating position. He is attempting to influence the outcome while at the same time he says that no one should do anything to prejudge the outcome.

It amounts to an imposed solution. Obama leaves little to be negotiated. He has predetermined all. In fact, has he not publically embraced the Saudi Plan.

 

Ted Belman

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Obama and the Middle East

 

by Efraim Inbar

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US President Barack Obama has adopted an activist foreign policy, attempting to engage the Muslim world and signaling his expectation that an end the Israel-Palestinian conflict can be negotiated within two years. This ambitious agenda has so far produced meager results. Many regional players are primarily concerned about Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, and are not easily amenable to American overtures.

US President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas in New York this week was a good thing, but it amounted to little more than a photo opportunity. The impatient Obama demanded that the parties seriously discuss peace now. Obama appeared to be on the verge of enunciating his own peace plan in order to restart peace negotiations and to eventually end the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict – all within two years!

It is worth reminding the president that the many past US peace plans for the Middle East failed to bring the anticipated results. Moreover, the recent meeting in New York only reinforces the evaluation that after eight months in office, the record of Obama’s policy toward the Middle East is far from impressive.

Obama’s much heralded speech to the Muslim world in Cairo failed to make a dent in Middle Eastern realities and attitudes. His belief in the power of words to change people is naive when it comes to well-rooted attitudes or entrenched interests of nations. In instances where the US sided with Muslims when in conflict with non-Muslims, such as in Pakistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, there was little impact on Muslim dispositions. The anti-American rage among Muslims, primarily Arabs, is a result of a concatenation of factors: frustration originating from past grandeur, current poverty, backwardness, and a dark future; a cultural difficulty to accept responsibility; and a preference to blame others for failures to modernize and democratize. While words have great importance in Muslim culture, even the best of speeches cannot change the tide of history. Obama’s words are unlikely to have long-term positive effects for the US, which in final analysis is seen as foreign and domineering.

The “soft power” that this administration extols has its limitations, particular in a region where the use of force is part and parcel of the rules of the game and fear is a better political currency than empathy or love.

So far the “engagement” policy toward Iran, which is part of the new approach to the Muslim world, has produced no results. The nuclear program of Iran continues, and its new proposal to the West did not provide any opening for negotiations on the nuclear issue.

Similarly, the engagement of radical Syria hardly changed Syrian policies. Damascus still supports Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza; allows insurgents to infiltrate Iraq in order to destabilize the current regime; refuses to enter peace negotiations with Israel without preconditions; and above all continues its alliance with Iran. Why should Assad change Syrian foreign policy if he fears no American wrath? As a matter of fact, Iran, Syria, as well as the rest of the Middle East, see “engagement” primarily as an American weakness.

Obama’s Washington does not get anywhere even with its friends. The leaders in all Arab countries know that the American “engagement” of Iran is hopeless in stopping the nuclearization of Iran. During his August trip to Washington, Mubarak of Egypt tried to inject sense into the young American president. Moreover, Mubarak rejected Obama's offer for a nuclear umbrella. So did other pro-American Arab states. American promises to defend them are simply not credible if the US is reluctant to use military force to stop the Iranian nuclear threat.

The impending American withdrawal from Iraq and the difficulties in “fixing” Afghanistan contribute to the general sense of a decline in American influence in the Middle East. Indeed, as regional politics take their toll, a Pax Americana in the Middle East is no longer seen as a viable option for providing progress and prosperity. It is not only the Palestinians that have failed to develop a capacity to govern, with institutions that respond to the needs of the people. The political malaise of the Palestinians is not unique. We see several additional failed states in the Arab world: Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and even Iraq. Pakistan, a Muslim state, is in danger of collapsing. Even American conquests, such as in Iraq and in Afghanistan, coupled with generous international aid, are not enough to transform these countries. Neither American speeches, nor American “soft power” are able to reform societies deep in crisis. Only a modernizing local leadership can do the trick.

Ignoring the harsh realities of Palestinian domestic politics, Obama is now trying to restart the bogged-down Israel-Palestinian peace track. Yet the Arabs have rejected American demands for gestures toward Israel in order to facilitate a settlement freeze (the latter curiously seen as a panacea for peace between Israelis and Palestinians). Moreover, Washington fails to understand that as long as the Palestinians are deeply divided and Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamist organization dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, there is no available partner for peace talks. Nevertheless, Obama is committed to push forward on the peace process.

Unfortunately, the gap between Israelis and Palestinians is too large to bridge, while the two societies still have enormous amounts of energy to fight for what is important to them. This situation requires conflict management, rather than ambitious and misguided peace plans.

What is missing in Washington is healthy skepticism and a realistic foreign policy based upon the premises that not all problems are soluble and that foreigners have limited capacity to induce change. Finally, Obama’s Washington seems unaware of the fact that the regional parties have great obstructive power. Only when they are ready there will be peace.

 

Efraim Inbar is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

The Only Feasible Basis for Arab-Israeli Peace.

 

By Daniel Mandel

One of the responses I sometimes receive after publishing articles and delivering speeches pouring cold water on the prospects of current diplomatic efforts to achieve an Arab-Israeli peace is: ‘What should Israel/the West be doing instead?’

 

As it happens, there is an alternative, but it will convince no one unless the prohibitive costs of the present policy of diplomatic engagement with and funding of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are understood – which, largely, they are not. For even among those not deluded about peace prospects, there are some who believe that diplomatic shadow-boxing brings benefits.

 

Accordingly, what are these alleged benefits?

 

·       Politicians buy time claiming to be working for peace, even if it never arrives. Yet deception via dissemination of spurious good news simply lulls the public to sleep. That might suit incumbents, who often manage to leave office before the consequences of their temporizing boomerang on their countrymen: Britain’s Stanley Baldwin, retiring in 1937, two years before the consequences of his appeasement policy and lack of rearmament helped to produce a long and bitter World War Two; or Bill Clinton’s inertia in dealing with Al Qaeda, leading to 9/11 early on his successor’s watch, come to mind.

 

·       Negotiations defuse tensions and prevent full-scale hostilities. The absence of hostilities is often meaningless if aggressors patiently utilize truces to prepare for war. Just consider Yasser Arafat’s resort to war in 2000, after seven years of diplomatic “progress”; or Hizballah using the illusory calm of 2000-06 to dig in and plot further aggressions from southern Lebanon, leading to a costly, inconclusive war for Israel.

 

·       Negotiations benefit Israel by warding off even stronger pressures. The Oslo negotiations tell otherwise: where Palestinians prove unwilling, the only remaining room for maneuver lies in pressuring Israel, which Bill Clinton duly did. He even threatened Israel with negative UN votes if Israel didn’t deliver concessions. Under both Clinton and Bush, the State Department refused declaring Palestinian violations by promoting terrorism and incitement to hatred. Chief U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross told me personally that “we … became so preoccupied with this process that the process took on a life of its own …Every time there was a [Palestinian] behavior, or an incident or an event that was inconsistent with the process … the impulse was to rationalize it, finesse it, find a way around it and not allow it to break the process.”

 

Is anything different today?

 

Fatah, which controls the PA, can hold a conference reasserting its refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state while glorifying terrorists and rejecting an end of claims in any future peace agreement with Israel and yet the Obama Administration acts as though the key to the problem is to stop Jews moving into eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank. This is how shadow-boxing and process takes on a life of its own.

 

There is a better way, but it requires something politicians innately suspect: honesty with regard to unpleasant truths and a corresponding policy shift. Israeli and Western leaders would have to declare candidly that Palestinians do not accept Israel and support terrorism against her and that they will not deal with or support the PA under these conditions.

 

This option carries short-term costs, most likely manifested in even more anti-Western propaganda and even less co-operation against Islamist groups from Arab regimes.

 

In the longer term, however, the West would benefit from ending its participation in the self-defeating fraud that the ball lies in Israel’s court.

 

After all, why should Western governments stir up anti-Western sentiment among Arab publics by continually promising something that Arabs won’t deliver? Who exactly wins doing things this way, other than autocrats in Riyadh, fascists in Damascus and irredentists in Ramallah?

 

The onus would also be thereby placed on Palestinians to verifiably change their behavior. The present system of unconditional Palestinian entitlement to everyone else’s largesse ($900 million from the U.S. taxpayer this year alone) would be replaced by a requirement to earn financial and diplomatic support at each step of the way.

 

Thus, Western funding to the PA would continue, but only subject to the PA verifiably meeting its signed obligations to end terrorism and ghoulish incitement – sacking perfervid, hate-filled clerics; ending glorification of terror on its airwaves; renaming the streets and schools named in honor of suicide bombers; revising its irredentist, jihad-supporting curricula; and above all, jailing terrorists, dismantling their militias and confiscating their weapons.

 

Such change, in addition to furnishing the only feasible basis for peace, would disabuse people of the fallacy that peace depends upon unilateral Israeli concessions. It would also serve to lower the temperature of the Western lynch mob, which has fixated on Israel in proportion to the magnitude of its unreciprocated concessions.

 

But none of this can happen if we persist with shadow-boxing

 

 

Daniel Mandel
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Goldstone, an objectionable report.

 

by Marc Cogen

 

Not that long ago any war between two hostile populations was fought at the battlefield, which was a real field or meadow. Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo on a piece of land which is now a protected natural site in Belgium. Tourists visit it by busloads. One has a view of the open landscape and a few original farms which were used during that battle in the memorable days from 16 to 19 June 1815. The ‘collateral damage’ during the battle of Waterloo were two farms and a herd of cattle. A few decades later the so-called laws of armed conflicts or laws of war started to be codified with the ‘General Order n°100’ (1863) of US President Lincoln as a notable step during the American civil war. From then onwards we witnessed the ‘Oxford Manual on the Laws of War (1880), the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907), which were replaced by the four Geneva conventions of 1949 and additional Protocol I of 1977. Not to mention here are the numerous individual conventions regulating or prohibiting certain acts of war and war materiel. All conventions are open to state parties only. It means that statehood is the prerequisite for their adoption and accession.

Today the nature of war has changed dramatically. The battlefield has become a virtual reality, without physical demarcations, and the enemy can be anyone, everywhere. Needless to say that society and lawyers find it increasingly difficult to apply the four Geneva conventions and additional protocol in a meaningful way. If we can point to one major legal difficulty, it certainly relates to the distinction between combatants and civilians, one of the few fundamental criteria of the laws of armed conflicts. Suicide bombers, armed civilians forming a band or cell, armed militants who live with their families in a war zone, children enlisted to fight, supply or spy, we can go on to demonstrate that the Geneva rules are surpassed by events on the ground. Since responsibility in international law is defined in terms of state responsibility, it is no surprise that states find themselves more and more in the role of accused violator. On the other hand, non-state, elusive entities, constantly changing and operating undercover easily fall outside the radar of the laws of war as codified today. It results all too often in exemption from punishment for those acting outside statehood. Adding to this already perplexing situation, the inconsiderate application of human rights increases confusion in the virtual battlefield by protecting individuals regardless of their capacity, function or any other characteristic. Human rights are based on the principle of non-discrimination, whereas international humanitarian law is inherently based on the principle of discrimination between combatants and civilians. These are two different legal methods. But there is more.

Let me say a few words on human rights and war. The body of human rights is applicable when a state is not at war or applicable outside any zone of combat. In such a situation – a normal civil life – the full range of human rights is applied within the country. As soon as military operations are launched – when a state is at war, whether declared or not – the full body of international humanitarian law applies as an alternative legal norm within the zone of combat or in the theatre of operations. International humanitarian law always makes a balance between protection of victims and military necessity. Now, the application of military necessity necessarily implies that civil freedoms and the degree of protection afforded to both civilians and combatants is relative and in proportion to the dangers of the war zone and the military operations themselves. It is a mistake to apply human rights as such within a war zone, because it will ultimately deny the rules of international humanitarian law. Moreover, the full application of human rights in a war zone would automatically result in the illegality of the military operations themselves which always have the potential to endanger life and property. The humanitarian law conventions have not outlawed military operations. For example, the activation of the right to self-defense, one of the fundamental rights of any state, requires the use of force. Consequently, human rights law is not the appropriate legal framework to evaluate military operations in a war zone. This is a major shortcoming emanating from the UN Human Rights Council which is only mandated to deal with human rights. Only a handful of human rights remain operational in a war zone, whereas all other human rights may be temporarily suspended as long as the war continues. Here are the limited number of human rights also applicable in times of war: prohibition of death penalty without a sentence of a court; prohibition of torture; prohibition to hold someone in slavery; prohibition of punishment without the law; prohibition of corporal punishment; prohibition of mutilation; prohibition of outrages on the personal dignity such as enforced prostitution; prohibition of the taking of hostages; prohibition of collective punishments; and, prohibition to threat to commit any of the foregoing acts: - see: Coard v. United States of America’ case of September 29, 1999 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Article 15 of the ‘European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’ (‘derogation in time of emergency’) and related case law.

 Now the mission statement of the ‘UN fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ or ‘Goldstone Commission’, appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council on April 3, 2009, was “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.” The report of the fact finding mission was already delivered on September 15, 2009 and counts not less than 575 pages, a remarkable fact given the very short period during which the report was drafted concerning a very complex theatre of war. The language of the report is the language used by a prosecutor, and not surprisingly the report recommends that the report should be formally submitted to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ‘Goldstone Commission’ acted as a prosecutor, framing the report as an indictment, and demanding the Prosecutor of the ICC to carry out its recommendations which the Prosecutor’s office of the ICC already begun. This is really the rule of lawyers instead of the rule of law. In a democracy, there is no government of judges and judges have their own well-defined place in the constitutional order and within the rule of law. If we would follow the ‘Goldstone Report’ we would abide by a government of judges in the so-called international community. No support can be found in the development of democracies to support the ‘Goldstone approach’ or the ‘UN Human Rights Council’ approach. Even in case of war, judges do not become the supreme leaders of their country or of the international community. I only know one case of such an attempt today: the ‘Union of Islamic Judges’ (or ‘Makaham al Islamya’) in Somalia, which is connected to Al Qaida. This union of judges was formed out of a group of Sharia courts who united themselves to form a rival government.

The ‘Goldstone commission’ has been appointed by a UN human rights body, which has no authority to deal with matters of war and peace, or with international humanitarian law; if so, it violates its own legal basis and therefore any transgression of its competence results in actions and reports which are null and void according to international law. No legal foundation can be found in the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council regarding war and peace. If we tolerate such transgression of competences, the UN Human Rights Council would replace the UN Security Council within a few years.

For these reasons I do not comment on the 575 pages of the ‘Goldstone Report’ which is an illegal report under UN law and general international law. I only want to refer to the  ‘detailed legal findings by the Mission’. The Goldstone report claims that it made ‘an objective assessment of the events it investigated’ (paragraph 1671). Can we take this for granted? The appointing body, i.e. the UN Human Rights Council, has been watched for its ‘objectivity’ and the facts speak for themselves: in the first year since its establishment in 2006 74 percent of the UN Human Rights Council’s moves against an individual state have been directed against Israel, 21 percent against Sudan, 5 percent against Myanmar, and the rest of the world has been given a free pass – see Anne Bayefsky in ‘National Review of September 28, 2007.

The inconsiderate action of the UN Human Rights Council is a serious threat to the United Nations system, international law, and finally, the rule of law itself. It should be rejected by governments and by the UN Security Council.

 

Marc Cogen is professor of International Law.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Regarding That "Boy in Gaza": Obama Overlooks Genocidal Regime and Real Barriers to Peace.


by Barry Rubin

We've seen transcripts of numerous Hamas children's shows but this one, for example, is a clear and open call to genocide. When will there be some international reaction to this kind of thing? There's Pallywood and then there's the reality show: the real Hamas.

Here’s a debate on a Hamas children’s show, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” aired on al-Aqsa television, September 22. Should all the Jews in Israel be wiped out or merely expelled and their society destroyed?

The bear puppet Nassur makes the following statements.

The Jews must be “erased from our land.”

"We want to slaughter them, Saraa, so they will be expelled from our land….We'll have to [do it] by slaughter."

"There won't be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They'll be erased."

The young girl who is hosting the show says:

"They'll be slaughtered." But at another point says: “Just expel them from our land."

Then they reach a true dialectical resolution:

Nassur: "We want to slaughter them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?"

Saraa: "Yes. That's right. We will expel them from our land using all means."

Nassur: "And if they don't want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we'll have to [do it] by slaughter."

This is an open call for genocide, worse yet is teaching children this is what they must do. One of Obama's closest advisors in the White House, Samantha Powers, is an alleged expert on genocide yet she's totally unconcerned with this issue. Guess she's only an "expert" on genocides after they happen.

It has become a cliché that those who would commit genocide announce it beforehand, as Germany’s dictator once did in his book or as happened in Rwanda in radio broadcasts before the mass murders. Supposedly, the world is united in opposing such a horrendous policy.

Yet while there are sanctions against Hamas, there is no concerted effort to overthrow the regime, even by those who claim to be in favor of Israel-Palestinian peace as a high priority. But as long as Hamas is in power there can be no such peace. Indeed, the main international attempt was to restrain Israel in its war in Gaza and then to criticize it afterward in a way that positively benefits Hamas.

How can this be reconciled with the fact that on a daily basis Hamas is seeking to carry out genocide clearly in terms of all the standard international legal and moral definitions?

Here is Obama’s only mention of Gaza in his speech to the UN:

“We must remember that the greatest price of this conflict is not paid by us. It is paid by the Israeli girl in Sderot who closes her eyes in fear that a rocket will take her life in the night. It is paid by the Palestinian boy in Gaza who has no clean water and no country to call his own. These are God’s children. And after all of the politics and all of the posturing, this is about the right of every human being to live with dignity and security.”

This is meant to be one of those even-handed throwaway lines about how everyone is suffering. But let’s examine it more closely.

First, I can’t help but remark as a tiny example of the sloppy way American policy is conducted nowadays that rockets are never fired from the Gaza Strip at night.

More importantly, what about the alleged lack of clean water and actual lack of a country by the Palestinian boy in Gaza?

If he has no clean water—which more than likely isn’t true—it’s because the Palestinian Authority didn’t build the proper facilities during the dozen years it governed the Gaza Strip even though U.S. aid money was given for the project! And because since then Hamas prefers to sustain a war against Israel and use its income for military goals.

What about the fact that the Palestinian boy—and why not Palestinian girl, who faces a whole range of oppression—will not enjoy freedom because he is living under a repressive dictatorship which will force him to fight for decades. That boy is being taught by Hamas television to believe that Jews are subhumans and that his duty to wipe them out--child, woman, man--one way or another. Isn’t that significant?

Yet this is the president of the United States speaking and one should expect some basic logic. Let’s assume that he gets the Palestinian Authority and Israel to make peace (of course this isn’t going to happen). A Palestinian state is created on the basis of this agreement. That agreement would have no effect whatsoever on the little boy in Gaza! He’d still be living under Hamas rule.

Hamas would try to wreck the agreement, perhaps using that boy as a suicide bomber. It would plow every penny it could get on weapons; it would provoke wars leading to more damage on the infrastructure and casualties.

Isn’t that worth pointing out? So to help the boy, the United States would have to call for and help bring about the overthrow of Hamas.

Obama could have done so in his own way, drawing a contrast between what he might call the wonderful, peace-loving, moderate Palestinian Authority and the evil repressive Islamists of Hamas. But that would be defining enemies, taking sides, showing leadership.

Instead, in his UN speech, Obama never mentioned Hamas—not once—and did not condemn it. Yet what is a bigger barrier to peace: the building of apartments on existing Israeli settlements or the fact that almost as many Palestinians and almost as much land is governed by Hamas as by the Palestinian Authority?

[Note: I also can’t help but adding that if he wanted to discuss genocide he might also have said something about Sudan—I don’t know if the term is appropriate for what’s going on in Sudan but many observers say it is. That, however, would have been embarrassing since the Sudanese government leads the “nonaligned” movement, the most powerful bloc in the UN, which is his supposed mechanism for solving world problems!]

 

 

Barry Rubin
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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