Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Farce that is the United Nations "Human Rights" Council

by Denis MacEoin

When anyone tries to take the floor of the United Nations Human Rights Council and reveal the truth about abusive states, watch the abusers press their buzzers and demand that the truth-teller be stopped from speaking. Expecting the UNHRC to carry out a fair, balanced or accurate investigation of anything involving the State of Israel is rather like expecting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to carry out investigations into persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.
The impact of the OIC and its many backers in Africa and elsewhere has led to a cynical failure on the part of the UN, the world leading human rights body, to address the greatest rights abuses of the modern age. North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Cuba, Nigeria or other of the world's great tyrannies…are never criticized.

The United Nations Human Rights Council [UNHRC] convened an emergency session on July 23, 2014, to consider the plight of Palestinians in Gaza during the war between Israel and the terrorist organization, Hamas. The session was held at the request of the coordinators of the Group of Arab States, the Group of African States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the "state of Palestine," in a letter, dated July 18, to the UNHRC President. At that session, 29 out of 47 member states voted (1 against — USA — and 17 abstentions) to dispatch urgently "an independent, international commission of inquiry" to investigate "all violations of international human rights laws and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory [sic], including East Jerusalem, particularly in the Gaza Strip."

This may have seemed a reasonable thing to ask in a time of war, and no doubt gentlefolk around the world deem it a suitable and necessary thing to do, given the very high numbers of casualties and fatalities clocked up by that day. But expecting the UNHRC to carry out a fair, balanced or accurate investigation of anything involving the State of Israel is rather like asking the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] to carry out investigations into the persecution of Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, or Baha'is in Muslim countries.

Before the emergency session ended, Navi Pillay, the South African UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has her own office in New York, but supervises the Geneva-based UNHRC, warned the world that Israel may have committed war crimes by not doing enough to protect civilians. Pillay, however, has a long track record of demonizing Israel; it was she who was behind the infamous and totally discredited Goldstone Report of 2009, which accused Israel of deliberately targeting Gazan civilians — a finding that the report's author, Richard Goldstone, later retracted, although Pillay did not.

(Image source: UN Watch)

Our lives are filled with contradictions and deceitful words. We may be wise to politicians, but terribly naïve when it comes to others. Politicians, churchmen and journalists proclaim that "Islam is a religion of peace," while Islamists rampage across the globe, bringing "unpeace" everywhere. Which of us can forget George Orwell's 1984, in which the Ministry of Truth is really concerned with lies, the Ministry of Peace is devoted to war, the Ministry of Love is dedicated to torture, and the Ministry of Plenty occupies itself with starvation?

We are still living in 1984. The UNHRC works to defend and even promote countries that abuse those rights, and to condemn one of the most rights-observant countries in the world — Israel. When anyone tries to take the floor at the UNHRC and reveal the truth about abusive states, watch the abusers press their buzzers and demand that the truth-teller be stopped from speaking. How many times have the vigilant and dedicated human rights activists Anne Bayefsky of Human Rights Voices or Hillel Neuer of UN Watch been attacked for speaking truth?

The UNHRC was created in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights, which had been widely condemned for its bias, especially towards Israel. Ironically, the United Nations had created the state of Israel in 1947 to implement the purposes of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. But rapidly, and increasingly as more non-Western states joined the UN, the UN became viciously anti-Israel, despising what it had itself brought into being; and nowhere is that hatred for Israel more deeply underscored than it was by the Commission and is now by the UNHRC. On its creation, the UNHRC resolved to make Israel the chief focus of its investigations, thereby subjecting one of the world's few democracies to more intense criticism than any of the world's most lawless dictatorships. At its first meeting in June 2006, the Council made a review of Israeli human rights abuses a permanent feature of every session in future. A Special Rapporteur was appointed to cover this conflict — the only expert mandate without a year of expiry.

John Dugard, the notorious "Special Rapporteur" on Israel and the Palestinian territories, who worked for the Commission from 2001 to 2008, was given a mandate "to investigate human rights violations by Israel only, not by Palestinians." It should have been obvious that something was out of kilter. Human Rights Watch, seldom the friend of Israel, saw the imbalance and asked the UNHRC to cover Palestinian abuses as well; the request was ignored. The agenda had been set.

Dugard's successor, the hardly impartial Richard Falk, took an even harder line against Israel, comparing Israelis to Nazis; justifying suicide bombings as a proper last resort for the Palestinians; calling Israel's 2008 response to Hamas attacks "war crimes of the greatest magnitude,"[1] (as if he had never heard of the Nazis or the Japanese forces in World War II), and claiming that Israel practiced apartheid in the West Bank. Earlier, however, Falk had defended violence by anti-Vietnam War protesters; resisted U.S. action everywhere, and in 2013 blamed the Boston Marathon bombings on the U.S. and Israel. According to UN Watch, Falk "had endorsed the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the US government and not by al-Qaida terrorists." Even the Palestinian Authority called for his resignation because he sided so strongly with Hamas. For all that, he has exercised a powerful influence on the UNHRC's policy towards Israel.

Between 2006 and 2014, the UNHRC had condemned Israel in 50 resolutions — more than the rest of the entire world. In twenty-one Special Sessions, resolutions have been made on the human rights situation in seven countries: Syria, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Congo, Myanmar, and Sudan (relating to Darfur) — eleven resolutions in all, five on Syria. None on Iran, Saudi Arabia, China or any other rights-abusing states. In those same sessions, a total of eight resolutions have been adopted against Israel.[2]

According to Freedom House, there are 88 free countries in the world, 59 partly free, and 48 not free. Israel is one of the free countries in respect of political, religious, and personal freedoms. The ten "worst of the worst" states are: Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The UNHRC has adopted resolutions against only two of those, Syria and Sudan, yet focuses in every session on one of the world's freest states.

On a planet packed with countries that abuse human rights daily, and that execute, persecute, imprison and torture with impunity, if we are to talk of disproportion — as so many do when talking of Israel's defensive measures against Hamas — then here is the real thing, paraded in public, packaged for media consumption, and sequestered behind a grinning mask of neutrality, non-partisanship, and self-congratulatory "justice."

In 2001, UNESCO organized the third World Conference Against Racism. Held in Durban (and often labeled the "Durban Conference"), it became a platform for incendiary attacks on Israel, anti-Semitic demonstrations, and accusations that Zionism is a form of racism. A subsequent conference held in Geneva (the Durban Review Conference) featured a deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ten countries boycotted it, and twenty-three EU countries sent only low-level delegations. Yet at its eleventh Special Session, the UNHRC passed resolution 11/12, which included the following decision:
Acknowledging with appreciation the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, held in the framework of the General Assembly from 20 to 24 April 2009, including paragraph 124 thereof
1. Decides to extend the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action for a period of three years
Over the years, it has become clear that the UNHRC is controlled by African and Middle Eastern countries, and is supported by China, Russia and Cuba. Currently, members include (each with a three-year term) 13 African states, 13 Asia-Pacific states, 8 Latin American and Caribbean states, and 8 Western European and other states (the "other" being the United States). Of the thirteen African states, two (Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone) have large majority Muslim populations, and two (Côte d'Ivoire and Ethiopia) have large Muslim minorities. Of the thirteen Asia-Pacific states, seven are fully Muslim entities.

When I was growing up, the UN looked as if it were the best thing to come out of the Second World War, a restoration of dignity to the human race after the enormities of the short-lived but destructive Nazi empire, and a guarantor of peace in the future. Then the Cold War set in hard with the specter of nuclear war. The Cuba crisis brought the West close to annihilation and the UN was powerless to do much more than watch as the drama unfolded.

But by then the UN itself had started to change. When it was founded in 1945, it had 51 members. Only ten were non-Western states, and the UN was driven by Western values. Now, there are 193 member states. 72 of those are (in rough terms) non-Western, and 56 of those are member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has 57 members in all). All of the OIC states are vehemently anti-Israel, and more than one has, at some point, actually engaged in wars with Israel, or supplied money and arms to Israel's terrorist enemies, or advanced media lies against Israel and the West, or taught its populations hatred for Jews and Israel, or opposed democratic rights for its citizens.

The UNHRC is the successor to the discredited UN Commission on Human Rights, which started life well by creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. As we all know, the Declaration is the ideal of human rights values throughout the world, and even though it is more often observed in the breach than in practice, it constitutes a bulwark against infringements and a core text for the values it has introduced to the universal consciousness. But the Declaration is founded on Western values, most of them derived from Judaeo-Christian ethics, the standards developed during and after the Enlightenment, the Jewish Haskalah [Enlightenment] and the virtues promoted by secular humanism — and that does not go down well with countries that cling to other value systems. Thus, the Declaration, which most of us thought beyond reproach, has been much criticized exactly because it was inspired by Western points of view. Nowhere is this criticism more pronounced than in the Islamic world, a concatenation of some 1.6 billion people.

In 2013, in Conakry, the capital of the African state of Guinea, the OIC stated that Muslim foreign ministers should cut ties with any state that dared to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And many countries follow its lead and refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel's ancient, modern and indivisible capital. Of all the UN member states, only two — Guatemala and El Salvador — have been willing to extend recognition to a city that has been the focus of Jewish prayers for thousands of years. Not even the U.S., Canada, Australia, or the EU -- possibly out of fear of offending the majority countries at the UN, most of which not only fail to share Western values but are only hostile to them — recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Such is the influence Muslim states and anti-democratic states exert even on the liberal democracies.

The introduction of so many Muslim states from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East has warped the manner in which the United Nations reaches its decisions and conducts its affairs. There is now a broad swathe of states that push an agenda of "post-colonialism," "anti-Western-'imperialism,'" and hostility to liberal democracies and the original human rights agenda of the UN. Many of these countries are dictatorships like Iran, Syria, China, or Sudan, and many that are not are far from being democracies in any sense of the word. The OIC has not only attacked the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for being too Western.[3] In 1990, it helped create the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, a revolutionary challenge to human rights standards everywhere and an ideological counterweight to the UN's Universal Declaration.[4]

Are not human rights indivisible, constant, and beyond reproach? Not according to the OIC and its supporters round the world. Here is a statement from Article 24 of the Cairo Declaration: "[All] the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subjected to the Islamic shari'a" [Islamic religious law].

And here is a passage from Article 25 of that same document: "The Islamic shari'a is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration."

This is the same shari'a that sanctions jihad against non-Muslims and regulates the Islamic version of international law, which sanctions attacks on Israel and the killing of Jews. It is the same shari'a that calls for amputation as a punishment for often minor crimes; stoning to death for alleged adultery; the subordination of women; execution for apostasy; capital punishment for homosexuality; the treatment of Jews and Christians as second-class citizens who must pay protection money to stay alive; that permits slavery; punishes, often with death, speech and writing it deems "blasphemous" — and more, until there seems to be not a single human right it does not contradict. According to the Cairo Declaration, whatever is inside shari'a law is a human right, whatever is outside shari'a law is not.

The OIC has made efforts to have the Cairo Declaration (and, through it, shari'a law) be officially adopted by the UNHRC.[5]

In particular, the United Nation Human Rights Council has introduced a resolution to "combat defamation of religions" -- meaning internationally to criminalize, with punishment, all forms of speech regarding religion; chiefly any perceived criticism of Islam. It has been adopted by the UNHRC every year since 1999, and as Resolution 16/18, and promoted for three years in a row, in three-day closed-door meetings in Washington and London, by the United States under the leadership of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And within the UNHRC, OIC members, supported by dictatorships and politically radical countries, fight to shield themselves and their allied states from criticism. But never Israel, the only country they condemn at every opportunity. North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Cuba, Nigeria or other of the world's great tyrannies which have appointed themselves to leadership positions in the UNHRC — the better to embody Orwell's inversions — are never criticized.[6]

Israel has suffered in another Orwellian demarche of the OIC, namely its 1999 Convention on "Combating International Terrorism." Claiming to base this document on all the principles of the UN, international law, etc., etc., the Convention is really intended to do quite the opposite. Here are two passages that rip off the veil of doublespeak:
Being committed to combating all forms and manifestations of terrorism and eliminating its objectives and causes which target the lives and properties of people;
Confirming the legitimacy of the right of peoples to struggle against foreign occupation and colonialist and racist regimes by all means, including armed struggle to liberate their territories and attain their rights to self-determination and independence in compliance with the purposes and principles of the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations.
This echoes a paragraph in the earlier (1998) League of Arab States Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, which begins by
Affirming the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, in order to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination, and independence and to do so in such a manner as to preserve the territorial integrity of each Arab country, of the foregoing being in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the Organization's resolutions.
Human Rights Voices argues that the reason the UN itself does not have a proper definition of terrorism is because of a standoff between it and the OIC over the OIC and Arab League exclusions that have a single purpose: to justify attacks by terrorists on Israel and its citizens.

The impact of the OIC and its many backers in Africa and elsewhere has led to a cynical failure on the part of the UN, the world's leading human rights body, to address the greatest rights abuses of the current age. More disturbingly, despite efforts from Western states to issue condemnations of serious abuses in Iran, China, Syria, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Zimbabwe, and many other countries, the UN network of brutal and dictatorial states has for the most part succeeded in neutralizing resolutions against them based on the Universal Declaration, in particular, in violation of the UN Charter, the continual genocidal calls from Iran to eradicate a fellow member-nation, Israel.

Most disturbingly, both the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, while pussy-footing with the world's most ostentatious human rights violators, cannot get savage enough with one of the world's most tolerant and free countries, Israel. Between its formation in 1947 and 1991, the UN General Assembly has adopted 300 resolutions against Israel. In the year 2006-7, it issued 22 such resolutions — but not one about the Sudanese genocide then continuing in Darfur. The year before, Israel had pulled out of Gaza entirely in an effort to make peace. Yet the General Assembly passes 19 resolutions per year against Israel and almost none on any other state.

No fewer than three UN entities exist that are dedicated to furtherance of the Palestinian cause (which is, in its simplest form, dedicated to destroying Israel). There are no UN entities to advance the Israeli cause, which has always been to make peace with its neighbors and to help its citizens — mainly Christians, Muslims and Jews — build good lives for themselves. Never in history has a human institution for goodwill and peace among men been so betrayed by those who seek to use it for their own ends.

[1] Richard Falk, "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust," Transnational Institute, June 29, 2007. "UN expert stands by Nazi comments", BBC, April 8, 2008.
[2] Full list of resolutions and access to related documents, UNHRC website.
[3] See Michael Curtis, "Islam and Free Speech: OIC vs. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", Gatestone Institute, February 8, 2012.
[4] For a detailed and incisive analysis of the Cairo Declaration, see Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Islam and Human Rights, 4th ed., Cambridge MA, 2007.
[5] Anyone wanting to learn more about the UNHRC from a solid academic point of view can do no better than to read the considerable work of Dr. Rosa Freedman of Birmingham University (UK), who has researched extensively in this field. Her second full-length book on the subject is the recently published Failing to Protect: the UN and the politicisation of Human Rights. She previously wrote The United Nations Human Rights Council: A Critique and Early Assessment.
[6] For a lengthy and detailed critical analysis of the Declaration, the OIC and the UNHRC, see the 2008 Briefing of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

Denis MacEoin


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

Caroline Glick: Obama’s New Plan for Hamas

by Caroline Glick

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post
President Barack Obama has a plan.

He wants to use the cease-fire talks in Cairo to strengthen Fatah.

In remarks Wednesday, Obama said, “I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for some of the work that has been done in cooperation with Israel and the international community by the Palestinian Authority. And they’ve shown themselves to be responsible. They have recognized Israel. They are prepared to move forward to arrive at a two-state solution. I think [PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a.] Abu Mazen is sincere in his desire for peace.”

Obama’s plans for the cease-fire were spelled out in detail the day before in a column by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. There Ignatius claimed that Secretary of State John Kerry has abandoned his previous position on the cease-fire. That position was harshly criticized by Israeli leaders and US media heavyweights, including Ignatius himself, for its clear bias in favor of Hamas.

In contrast to Kerry’s previous adoption of all of Hamas’s demands as official US positions, Ignatius wrote that “over the past week, [Kerry] has been crafting a cease-fire plan that seeks to stabilize Gaza under the leadership of Abbas and the moderate Palestinian Authority…. [The PA] (with the support of the international community) would have overall responsibility for the rehabilitation of Gaza.”

Ignatius continued, “The thrust of Kerry’s new plan is to leverage Hamas’s unity pact with Fatah and its pledge to transfer authority in Gaza to the [PA]. As a first step, the Palestinian Authority and its US-trained security service would assume responsibility for policing the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, as well as the passages into Israel.”

Fatah, Ignatius said, “would begin paying the salaries of Palestinian civil servants in Gaza, assuming that the details could be worked out. The agreement might also move toward disarmament of all terrorist groups in Gaza.”

By empowering Fatah in this way, Ignatius explained, Kerry – and Obama – are “now headed in the right direction – away from strengthening Hamas and toward empowering the moderates on whom hopes for a more stable and secure Gaza depend.”

Ignatius then turned to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and challenged him to join with Kerry and agree “to truly open Gaza to the free flow of people and goods in return for disarming the terrorist groups.”

While the administration’s new plan sounds nice in theory, it has one basic problem.

Hamas and Fatah are partners. Hamas’s demands are Fatah’s demands. Hamas’s goals are Fatah’s goals. Giving Fatah control of the borders means giving Hamas control of the borders.

Abbas said himself in a speech broadcast on the PA’s official station in December 2009, as he was trying to form the sort of Fatah-Hamas unity government that he established in April, “There is no disagreement between us [Fatah and Hamas]: About belief? None! About policy? None! About resistance? None!” Earlier this week The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh explained that almost from the outset of the war, Hamas and Fatah have been working in perfect harmony.

Fatah officials have served as Hamas’s spokesmen to the Western media.

As Hamas conducted its terrorist war against Israel, Abbas led the diplomatic war against Israel.

Moreover, Abu Toameh reported that during the course of the hostilities, Fatah paid the salaries of Hamas members.

Due to Hamas’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization, continued funding of the PA is illegal under US counterterror statutes. Fearing that Congress would move to enforce the law and end US aid to the PA, before the war Fatah refused to pay Hamas’s membership.

For whatever reason, Abbas and his comrades are no longer concerned that financing their terrorist partners from their donor-financed budget will endanger the US’s annual gift of $440 million.

From the outset of Hamas’s campaign against Israel, Fatah militias in Gaza participated in the mortar and rocket attacks against Israel. And far from trying to hide this fact, Fatah’s leadership reveled in it. They posted news of Fatah’s mortar attacks on Israel on their official social media sites.

Fatah published a poster on its official Fatah Facebook page on July 9 under the title “Brothers in Arms.” The poster depicted terrorists from Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and read, “One God, on homeland, one enemy, one goal.”

As for the cease-fire talks, last month Abbas traveled to Qatar where he met with Hamas terror master Khaled Mashaal. The result of the meeting was a coordinated Palestinian position regarding cease-fire demands. Those demands, which require Israel and Egypt to open the borders, are silent on the issue of demilitarizing Gaza. This is the unified position of the Palestinian delegation to the ceasefire talks in Cairo which Obama noted hopefully, is being led by Fatah.

In other words, Obama’s new position on the cease-fire terms is the same position he has held from the outset. He supports Hamas’s extortionist demands from Israel and Egypt to open Gaza’s borders in order to enable the terror group to resupply and rebuild its terror infrastructure.

The only thing that is new about his current stand is that now he supports bringing Hamas’s supposedly moderate partners in Fatah in as window dressing.

For those who have been willing to pay attention to Abbas’s actions and those of his Fatah comrades, nothing in their behavior during the war has been remotely surprising.

Since the PA was established in 1994, Fatah and Hamas have had a cooperative relationship. The only times that Fatah has fought Hamas have been when Fatah felt directly threatened by Hamas. And the moment that perceived threat abated, Fatah ended its operations and restored its cooperation with Hamas.

Abu Toameh reported that in the latest war, Abbas instructed his security commanders to suspend their operations against Hamas in Judea and Samaria. After all, they are his partners, not his rivals.

Beyond that, Fatah supports weapons smuggling across the Egyptian border. Having Fatah in charge of the border crossings would not prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad from replenishing their arsenals and rebuilding their tunnels of death. It will enable them to do so.

And again, we know this from the PA/Fatah’s track record.

From the start of the Palestinian terror war in September 2000 until Hamas ejected Fatah from Gaza in June 2007, Fatah was in control of the borders with Israel and Egypt. During this period, it engineered the weapons smuggling operations into Gaza. The Iranian weapons ship Karine-A that Israeli naval commandos intercepted in the Red Sea en route to Gaza in January 2003 was commanded by the deputy head of the PA’s naval force, a member of Fatah. The weapons deal was negotiated with Yasser Arafat’s paymaster Fuad Shubaki.

Tunnel building began during Fatah’s period of control over Gaza. When then Cpl. Gilad Schalit was abducted from Israel to Gaza in June 2006 by terrorists who entered his base from an underground tunnel that traversed the border, Fatah, led by Abbas, still controlled Gaza.

As for those Fatah military forces trained by the US military, they are no better than the Iraqi military forces the Americans trained.

When Hamas threw Fatah out of Gaza in 2007, Fatah’s US-trained troops and officers were the first to flee.

The counterterror training US military trainers lavished on them had no impact on their willingness to stand their ground against Hamas. They didn’t even try to fight.

And yet, Obama’s plan is to bring these same Fatah forces back to Gaza. He and Kerry (and Ignatius), want Israel to believe that these Fatah forces will demilitarize Hamas in exchange for open borders, which they will secure and prevent Hamas from using as a means to rebuild its arsenals and replenish its financing.

Not that they weren’t clear before, but two things became blindingly obvious during the war.

First, Hamas is very bad. It really and truly is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. It is willing to engage in Palestinian child sacrifice in order to kill Jews. It used all the aid it received, all the money, all the concrete to build a terror infrastructure and missile arsenal dedicated to killing Jews.

Nothing else matters to Hamas leaders, not Gaza, not Palestine, not their mothers and children.

There is no way for Israel to reach a long term non-aggression pact with Hamas. It can only be defeated through direct military operations and attrition.

The other thing we learned was that Israel simply cannot, under any circumstances, consider withdrawing from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. Netanyahu made this point explicitly in his press conference at the outset of the war. He explained, “If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria like they tell us to there’d be a possibility of thousands of tunnels” being dug to attack Israel.

Netanyahu noted that the Palestinians dug 1,200 tunnels under Gaza’s 14-kilometer-long border with Egypt.

Judea and Samaria, he continued, are 20 times the size of Gaza, and Israel is not prepared “to create another 20 Gazas.”

As soon as the cease-fire began, the Israeli Left reverted to type. The media began pillorying Netanyahu for not viewing the war with Hamas as an opportunity for a diplomatic breakthrough with Abbas and Fatah.

Netanyahu, they accuse, tricked them. He wasn’t weakening Hamas to strengthen Abbas.

He was simply weakening Hamas so that it couldn’t harm Israel.

Netanyahu’s erred during the fighting when he made the demilitarization of Gaza a declared war aim. By doing so he opened the door for the Left, the White House and the EU to begin spewing their absurd lies about Fatah as a credible, moderate force that can be depended on – with their taxpayer dollars and euros – to demilitarize Gaza.

In his remarks, Obama indicated that the world – that is the US and Europe – must be involved in any cease-fire deal related to Gaza. And for the privilege of having them on board, Israel needs to accept Hamas-Fatah’s demand for open borders.

But the truth is that the US and the EU are completely unnecessary. Israel and Egypt can secure the borders. And if the Americans and Europeans are concerned for the welfare of the people of Gaza, they can transfer their aid to Israel, which can distribute it to those who need assistance rather than handing it over to Hamas.

The reason Netanyahu isn’t trying to use the war in Gaza to promote a wider peace with Fatah is because Fatah is not interested in peace with Israel. As it showed again during the war, Fatah is Hamas’s partner, not Israel’s. And any deal with Fatah is a deal that strengthens Hamas.

Ignatius is wrong. The administration still backs Hamas’s demands against Israel. It just updated the talking points to align with Ignatius’s entirely incorrect preconceived notions about the nature of Fatah.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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

Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas Executes One of Its Leaders - Then Blames Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Sources in the Gaza Strip said on Thursday that Taha was executed because Hamas feared he might implicate some of its leaders in many corruption scandals. "The man knew too much about the senior leaders of Hamas."
The international media, for its part, will simply endorse the Hamas story because it is more convenient to blame Israel than to get into trouble with a radical Islamist movement that carries out extra-judicial executions.

Militiamen on Thursday dumped the bullet-riddled body of Ayman Taha, a former prominent Hamas figure, outside Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.

The body remained on the ground for nearly an hour before other militiamen came back and took it to an unknown destination.

Palestinians who were at the hospital were too afraid to remove the body.

A few hours later, Taha's body was handed over to Shifa Hospital by a number of Hamas militiamen.

Palestinian journalists said that Taha had been executed for spying on behalf of an Arab intelligence service and involvement in financial corruption.

Prominent Hamas leader Ayman Taha during a November 2012 television interview. (Image source: photo credit: YouTube video screenshot)

According to the journalists, Taha was executed by a firing squad three days ago. They said that he died instantly of gunshots to the head and chest.

Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, arrested Taha in 2013 on suspicion that he had served as an informant for the Egyptian General Intelligence Service.

Hamas sources said then that, in addition to the espionage charges, Taha was also suspected of involvement in a "big corruption scandal," but did not elaborate.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said on Thursday that Taha was executed because Hamas feared he might implicate some of its leaders in many corruption scandals. "The man knew too much about the senior leaders of Hamas," said a veteran journalist living in Gaza City who had close ties with Taha. "Hamas leaders used to take him with them on their visits to different countries."

Hamas has never denied that Taha was being held in custody.

Shortly after his arrest, Hamas announced that Taha was being interrogated over his "behavior and exploitation of his influence to gain illegal profit."

Although Hamas never named the Arab intelligence party to which Taha was allegedly linked, Palestinians familiar with the case have pointed at Egypt's General Intelligence Service as being responsible for the recruitment of the slain Hamas figure.

The Taha affair has seriously embarrassed the Hamas leadership. His arrest last year came as a shock to Hamas leaders and followers, who noted that this was the first case of its kind since the Islamist movement was founded in 1988.

What was even more embarrassing was that the slain man was the son of Mohammed Taha, one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas and former director of the Islamic University in Gaza City.

Interestingly, Taha was executed for collaboration with the Egyptians exactly at the same time that senior representatives of Hamas were negotiating in Cairo with the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service about ways of achieving a permanent cease-fire with Israel.

The execution is apparently aimed at sending a message to the Egyptians that Hamas would not tolerate Cairo's attempt to meddle in the internal affairs of the Islamist movement. A Hamas source said that the arrest of Taha was a "severe blow" to the Egyptians because they had lost one of their most important informants inside the movement.

The execution of Taha is likely to aggravate tensions between Hamas and the Egyptian authorities. Needless to say, the new regime of President Abdel Fattah Sisi already considers Hamas a hostile party and threat to Egypt's national security.

But what is even more interesting – although not surprising – about the Taha affair is Hamas's attempt to distance itself from any responsibility for his death.

In fact, some Hamas officials are now seeking to shift the blame toward Israel.

Shortly after Palestinian journalists reported the execution, Hamas published a brief statement "mourning" the death of Taha, who it claimed was "martyred" during an Israeli air strike on an apartment in Gaza City.

Hamas had no explanation, of course, as to why the man had been hit in the head and chest by bullets that were apparently fired from close range.

The attempt to blame Israel is seen in the context of the movement's effort to prevent retaliatory attacks by Taha's powerful clan. The family had previously denounced the arrest of its son and called for his immediate release.

Taha is not the only Palestinian to be killed by Hamas in the past few weeks. According to various reports, Hamas has executed several Palestinians on suspicion of "collaboration" with Israel since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Yet Hamas has not officially admitted that it carried out these executions, as is the case with its former top representative, Ayman Taha. Hamas is also unlikely to ever admit that its men killed any Palestinian during the past few weeks. Instead, Hamas will add the people it has murdered to the list of "casualties of Israeli aggression."

The international media, for its part, will simply endorse the Hamas story because it is more convenient to blame Israel than to get into trouble with a radical Islamist movement that carries out extra-judicial executions.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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Mordechai Kedar: Where will the Conflict with Gaza Lead?

by Mordechai Kedar

translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Pipe-dreams that have no connection with reality are not going to come true.

What is going to happen in Gaza?

The question worrying everyone who has an interest in Israel's security is how Operation Protective Edge will end and what the near and distant future of Gaza will be. The media are filled with Israeli and foreign speakers who know what should happen to Gaza, each according to his own mindset. In this article we will attempt to evaluate the predictions according to the way Hamas sees things. Let us enumerate some of them:

1.Hamas will need outside help on a massive scale to rebuild its ruins.
The "proof" of this claim is Hamas' turning to the nations of the world for aid in reconstruction. Except that the real truth is that the Hamas leadership does not want to rebuild the ruins, it wants to use them for many years to milk the world for funds. Leaving things the way they are is in Hamas' interests, rebuilding is not. They will bring journalists, politicians, human right activists and ordinary tourists to look, get them to open their hearts and wallets and pour billions into the hands of Hamas. This money is needed to reconstruct their military infrastructure, to dig tunnels leading to Israel, to manufacture arms, rebuild the rocket-manufacturing sites and continue building underground Gaza.

2. Gaza must be demilitarized
Demilitarizing Gaza is a pipe-dream, which a few people in Israel and the world believe can come true, even though demilitarization on such a large scale has never succeeded when there is local resistance to it. There isn't an army in the world that is willing to come to Gaza to battle Hamas, Palestinain Islamic Jihad and other organizations who refuse to give up their weapons. This mission will lead to widescale bloodshed of the force that tries to take away large and varied amount of arms from a terrorist group. And even if some armed force manages to take some of the weapons of a few groups, they will buy new weapons with Qatar funding and from other countries who do not check what the Palestinians did with the money they received before the Operation.

3. Hamas will have to change for the sake of the Gazan civilian population
That, too, is a pipe-dream. Jihadist movements listen only  to Allah and the commandment to do Jihad for him, not to the needs of any man woman or child. Allah and Jihad are way above any human needs, and the welfare of Gazans doesn't interest the Jihadists any more than did the lives of the Gazans who were their human shields. On the contrary, the more the people suffer the easier it is to bring the media and politicians to see them and thereby squeeze some more international funds for "humanitarian purposes" – like digging tunnels and acquiring more rockets.

4. Gazans will rebel against Hamas rule
The probability that the people of Gaza will protest against Hamas rule or act against the organization is very low, because Hamas rule is no different from any Islamic State: the terrorists have no problem killing, torturing and humiliating anyone who acts against them or even demonstrates against them. The rule of fear and terror that Hamas has built in Gaza since its 2007 takeover is still going strong and will continue in the future, in the name of Allah and the Palestinian people, of course.

5. Hamas' demand to lift the sea blockade is sensible and justified 
There are people in the world, some even in Israel, who think that the people of Gaza have the right to have access to the sea, to import and export merchandise freely, as do most of the nations that  border the sea. Hamas also thinks it has this right, but for a totally different reason: the terrorists must get their "irrigation pipes" from Iran, cement from Turkey, and raw materials for manufacturing "humanitarian goods" from North Korea. Those tired souls who believe in removing the siege are acting  as if they don't know just why Hamas wants the blockade lifted.

Worst of all, Israel has several organizations, most of them funded by the New Israel Fund, that used legal and public measures to make it easier for Hamas to prepare its military infrastructure. For example:

a. The Organization for Civil Rights published a document entitled: "A Year Since Cast Lead: A Siege Meant to Hurt a Civilian Population and that Prevents Reconstruction".

b. A suit filed was at the Supreme Court in defense of free transfer of goods to Gaza by that same organization and Doctors for Human Rights, The Center for the Defense of the Individual founded by Dr. Lota Zalzberger, Betselem – The Israeli Center for Information on Human Rights in the Territories, The Public Commission against Torture in Israel and The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

c. Gisha turned to the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Miniser of Justice and the Attorney General with a Hebrew document entitled "Lowering the level of transfer of goods to Gaza as  political pressure is a form of illegal collective punishment".

d. Doctors for Human Rights-Israel, Adallah, Yesh Din, The Center for the Defense of the Individual, Gisha and The Committee against Torture in Israel drafted and submitted a document for the infamous UN Goldstone Commission.

e. How long will it take for these organizations and others of their type to go back to working on the legal, political and public level in Israel and abroad, trying to "ease the life of the residents of Gaza" by removing the siege on importing "humanitarian goods" for the peaceful army of Hamas? Someone will say that instead of cement, one can allow boards and sheets of hammered metal, so that houses can be built. It is worthwhile remembering that a terror tunnel can be built  with a ceiling supported by metal sheets held up by vertical boards. That is how the IDF once built fortifications, and Hamas is capable of doing that in the future.

6. We must bring the PA to Gaza to replace Hamas' rule.
That, perhaps, is the most egregious statement of all. As opposed to the mantra repeated by Oslo Accord supporters, that "Arafat will deal with terror without having to worry  about Betselem (see above organizations, ed.) or the Supreme Court", the PA led by Mahmoud Abbas has never had to commit itself to eliminating terror organizations. The PA has labored throughout to "calm" the terror organizations, which used the period to get stronger and better armed. There were those in Israel and the world who knew the truth, who read the books by Ronen Bergman and Kenneth Levine.

Israelis and others deluded themselves and the world into thinking that the PA is on the right path. Meanwhile Hamas won a majority of the seats in the PA legislature in January 2006, and forcibly – and bloodily - gained control of Gaza in June 2007, establishing a terror state there.

Will the PA agree to get Gaza back? Very possibly it will, but not so as to demilitarize Hamas. It will do so to be on the receiving end of the money sent to rebuild Gaza from Europe, America, Qatar, the UN and private donors. What these donors do not know is that the PA's leaders will siphon off, as they have done in the past, a good part of the money for their private bank accounts before they buy one brick for Gaza. There are those who will say that they can be supervised in order to prevent that, as if past supervision ever did any good.

It is possible that if the PA gets to Gaza, the Dayton Force that the US established will battle the Jihadists in the tunnels? Will the PA "Security Forces" discover the tunnels and destroy them? Will they take on the terror organization fighters who refuse to give up their rockets and arms? Will Abbas close the rocket factories? The answer to these questions is as clear and bright as the August noon sun: NO and once again, NO. The opposite will occur: the PA presence in Gaza will make it harder for Israel to act against terror and will add another "mediating" factor which will soon become a terror-masking entity whose actions vis a vis Israel will be chosen with a Hamas gun to its head. Is there someone in Israel who can promise that this is not what will happen?

7. The "secure passage" from Gaza to Judea and Samaria must be opened.
This, too, is an idiotic idea that is meant – either on purpose or through utter naivete – to allow Hamas and the other terrorist organizations to establish Hamastan in Judea and Samaria, a terror state that will be able to look over the entire length and  breadth of Israel from Beer Sheva and Dimona in the south to Afula and Beit Shean in the north and including the coastal plain from Ashkelon to Haifa, Tel Aviv and its suburbs.

No airline, Israeli or international, will agree to put its airplanes and passengers in danger during landing and takeoff in Ben Gurion Airport when Jihadists are perched on the hills of Beit Aryeh setting their light weaponry's sights (the ones given to them by Israel) on those airplanes.
Opening the "secure passage" will allow the transferring weapons of war and the practical knowledge needed to manufacture them from Gaza to Judea and Samaria and will allow all the enemies of Israel, whenever they wish, to aim at Tel Aviv, Dimona and Afula - and paralyze Israel's economy. What will those tired souls say then, when Hamas deals with the PA without worrying about Betselem and the High Court? Is there anyone in Israel and the world that can give their word that this scenario won't be played out? Can anyone prevent Hamas from, once again, winning most of the seats in the legislature democratically? And what will the countries of Europe, America or the UN do when Hamas controls Judea and Samaria the way they control Gaza?

Three main conclusions can be reached from the above:
The first is that we must not reach any agreement with Gaza. What can bring quiet to Gaza is only fear based on the sure knowledge that any provocation – and it doesn't matter which organization does that provocation – will be answered with a non-proportionate response. The idea of removing the sea blockade should not even be broached and certainly not the thought of an airport. Israel can continue to sell Gaza food, water, medicines, gasoline and electricity to prevent a humanitarian tragedy there.

The second is that it is important to start moving towards the only solution that can result in security, stability and quiet in Judea and Samaria, and it is establishing seven Emirates for the "hamulot" (family tribes) living in the Arab cities of Ramallah, Jericho, Kalkilya, Tul-Karem, Shechem (Nablus), Jenin and Arab Hevron. Israel must remain in the village areas while offering Israeli citizenship to the residents of those villages. The program is described in full here.

Under no circumstances can Israel allow another Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, as within a short time it will become a Hamastan. Israel and the world must take apart the PA and on its ruins establish the 8 Emirates, which include Gaza - which can stay under Hamas rule, just as long as it is deterred from hostile actions against Israel.

The third is that Israel and the world must understand that in the Middle East one only achieves peace through victory. He who manages to convince his neighbors to leave him alone for their own good can enjoy tranquillity. There are no kisses and hugs in the Middle East, just disputes and struggles, look at what's going on in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and wherever. In the Middle East there is one rule, that phrased by Helene Ensign Maw: Freedom is for those willing to defend it".

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Mordechai Kedar


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Lessons of the War in Gaza

by Daniel Pipes

[Editor: The article was apparently written during the three day cease-fire, which, unfortunately, turned out to be temporary. Although it is not clear that the conflict is indeed cooling down, the insights contained in the article are valid nevertheless.]

As Israeli operations against Hamas wind down, here are seven insights into the month-long conflict:

Missile shield: The superb performance of Iron Dome, the protective system that shot down nearly every Hamas rocket threatening life or property, has major military implications for Israel and the world. Its success signals that "Star Wars" (as opponents maliciously dubbed it upon introduction in 1983) can indeed provide protection from short-range and also presumably from long-range rockets and missiles, potentially changing the future of warfare.

Iron Dome in action, protecting Israelis.

Tunnels: Tunneling behind enemy lines is hardly a new tactic; historically, it has had success, such as the 1917 Battle of Messines, when British mines killed 10,000 German soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) knew of Hamas' tunnels before hostilities began on July 8 but failed to appreciate their numbers, length, depth, quality of construction, and electronic sophistication. Jerusalem quickly realized, as the Times of Israel wrote, that "Israel's air, sea and land supremacy is not mirrored underground." The IDF thus requires additional time to achieve subterranean dominance.

Consensus in Israel: Hamas' unrelenting barbarism created a rare consensus among Jewish Israelis in favor of victory. This near unanimity both strengthens the government's hand in dealing with outside powers (Prime Minister Netanyahu admonished the U.S. administration never again to second-guess him) and is likely to move Israeli domestic politics decisively to the right into the nationalist camp.

Middle Eastern response: With the exception of Hamas' state patrons (Turkey, Qatar, Iran), the Islamist terrorists found almost no governmental support in the region. In one striking example, Saudi king Abdullah said of Hamas killing Gazans, "It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists are [mutilating the bodies of innocents and proudly publicizing their actions] in the name of religion." How well he knows his mortal enemy.

Better times: Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Khaled Meshaal (center) of Hamas in Jeddah with Saudi king Abdullah in 2007.

Rising antisemitism: Especially in Europe but also in Canada and Australia, antisemitism came to the fore, mainly from Palestinians and Islamists as well as from their far-left allies. This response will, in all probability, increase immigration to the two havens of Jewish life, Israel and the United States. By contrast, Middle East Muslims kept quiet, with the exception of Turks and those Arabs living under Israeli control.

Elite vs. popular responses: It's not every day that the secretary-general of the United Nations and all 28 foreign ministers of the European Union side with Israel against an Arab enemy, but that did occur. In the U.S. congress, the Senate unanimously approved and the House voted 395-8 in favor of an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome program. In contrast, among the wider public, pro-Israel sentiment declined almost everywhere (although not in the United States). How to explain this disparity? My hunch: Leaders imagine what they would do if faced with enemy rockets and tunnels, while the public focuses on photographs of dead babies in Gaza.

Dead babies: Which brings us to the most complex, counterintuitive, and strange aspect of the entire conflict. Because the IDF enjoys a crushing advantage over Hamas on the battlefield, their confrontation resembled a police operation more than a war. Thus, Israelis were judged primarily by the clarity of their leaders' public statements, the judicious use of force, and the handling of evidence. Accordingly, media attention invariably drifted from the military sphere to questions of proportionality, morality, and politics. Hamas' greatest strategic weapon in its effort to damage Israel's reputation and ostracize it was neither rockets nor tunnels but wrenching photographs of dead civilians purportedly killed by the IDF.

This leads to the bizarre situation in which Hamas seeks the destruction of Palestinian property, compels civilians to sustain injuries and death, inflates casualty figures, and may even intentionally attack its own territory – while the IDF takes gratuitous fatalities to spare harm to Palestinians. The Israeli government goes further, providing medical care and food and sending technicians into harm's way to make sure that Gazans continue to enjoy free electricity.

Trucks with food, medicines, and other provisions going from Israel to Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing during the hostilities.

It's a curious war in which Hamas celebrates Palestinian misery and Israel does its best to keep life normal for its enemy. Strange, indeed, but this is the nature of modern warfare, where opeds often count for more than bullets. In Clausewitzian terms, war's center of gravity has moved from the battlefield to public relations.

In all, the civilized and moral forces of Israel came off well in this face-off with barbarism. But not well enough to forestall, for too long, yet another assault.

Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


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