Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Definition of Occupation - an Interview with Atty Harel Arnon

by Shimon Cohen

The following is an interview with Attorney Harel Arnon for Women in Green. It was written by Shimon Cohen and translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav. Originally published in the Sovereignty Journal, issue IV.

For many years, too many years, the legal-diplomatic arena has been surrendered to the Israeli Left, which exerted more than a small effort to fix in the Israeli and international consciousness that the communities in Judea and Samaria are against international law. A moment before the Israeli public accepted this determination as absolute truth, Attorney Harel Arnon and Dr. Hagay Vinizki took a stand, and a few months ago slipped a book into this legal vacuum, which is a collection of articles written by senior jurists who prove that the judicial truth is far from what had been implanted in our minds.

At the very beginning of the discussion with Attorney Arnon we asked how it could be that the report of the committee led by Judge Edmond Levy (obm) asserts that according to international law there is nothing that restricts Israel from holding the territories of Judea and Samaria, and despite this, leftist jurists proudly carry the banner of international law and scornfully reject any finding such as that of the Levy committee. Where does this confidence come from, we asked, is there something that they see and others don’t?

“The core problem is that ultimately, even from a formal point of view, it is not occupation.  It resembles occupation because there is a reality here of people who, according to your view have no citizenship”, says Att. Arnon, despite being a jurist who is careful to distinguish between the judicial arena and determining the truth and the commitment that stem from this. “If someone looks at things from a humanist point of view without knowing the history of the conflict he could say that even if you didn’t conquer the area from a sovereign state and therefore it is not occupation, nevertheless if it is as terrible as occupation and sounds like occupation then it is occupation. There is a population here that does not have equal rights and is under military control so in general, it is occupation. This is the strongest claim that, in my opinion, most of the world accepts and the claim that we are occupiers is based on this”.

Arnon does not minimize this claim despite the fact that it is not purely legal. “It is not only semantics because there is no doubt that one of the indications of occupation is that there is a population that is under your control but are not citizens of your country. This is not the only characteristic and the fact that not all of the other necessary characteristics of occupation exist, makes this reality, from a formal point of view, not occupation”.

Atty. Arnon continues and emphasizes the principle that this thing will not rise or fall based only on legality. There are another few important and influential parameters. “The legal angle is one angle but it is not the most significant one. If we assume that the State of Israel is occupying Judea and Samaria, a person could come and say that even if legally, Israel is an occupier, in his opinion, Israel need not withdraw from there because the place belongs to her from the point of view of history and religion, etc. Despite this, there could be a contrary reality in which it is said that even if Israel is not an occupier she may not be in this area. There are many times when we look at the actions not only according to the legal dimension but also according to the ethical and other dimensions”, he says and simplifies things with an analogy from everyday life: “Just as a person might go through a red light in order to bring a wounded person to the hospital. This is indeed against the law but from the ethical point of view it is justified”. 

Arnon says all of this as a sort of prolog to the legal opinion that there is nothing in international law that prohibits Israel from holding and controlling territories in Judea and Samaria. “When we investigate the question of Judea and Samaria we must remember that we are dealing only with the legal issue, an issue that is important but not the whole picture. In the legal prism, things are examined with legal tools and according to legal standards; and the conclusion is that Israel is not an occupier from this point of view. From this legal point of view the conclusion is correct in my opinion”.

“A person could come and tell me that even if Israel is not an occupier it must withdraw from there because it is similar to an occupier. This position is legitimate but is not correct legally”, states Arnon.

International law is not black or white. The Left chooses the legal stand that suits it

So what does international law say? Is it occupation or not? Is it permitted or prohibited? From Arnon’s words it is clear that nothing is as firm as the Left perhaps would like it to be. “In international law it is not black and white. Things are given to interpretation and subjectivity and since most of the world is against us politically it is no wonder that it also adopts a hostile legal position. Politics influences and permeates society. It is legitimate for my political position to also have an influence on my legal position. This is legitimate. What is not legitimate and not fair is to present their legal position as absolute truth and something that is not influenced by a political stance”.

And if it seems for a moment that the position that absolves Israel from the guilt of occupation comes from right wing jurists, then that is a mistake on our part. “The position that I present is acceptable to leading jurists in international law and even back in ’67 and the seventies, they determined that Israel’s position is just. Among the jurists is Prof. Eugene Rostow, dean of Yale University, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel – head of the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and others. There are a number of jurists who side with Israel’s position”.

Arnon takes pains not to dismiss the Left’s position but he also demands that the Left do the same for him and others who hold a position similar to his. “The other opinion is not unfounded but it is influenced by a political stance and I have the right not to adopt it but to adopt a legal position that supports my opinion”.

“Regarding occupied territory, there is no formal definition that defines what occupied territory is. There are attempts to investigate what the characteristics of occupied territory are and to come to a specific definition and as a result, there is a disagreement. The Israeli claim is very well based. There are other opinions but Israel need not accept them”. International law, which is anchored in covenants such as the Geneva Convention, in regulations, in books and scholarly articles, still has not really determined the definition of the term ‘occupied territory’. There are many commentators and each side chooses what is convenient for him.”

There is no precedence for Judea and Samaria in the world – territory that had no sovereign

And now we come to the core issue - is it occupation or not, from the legal standpoint. Arnon explains things and they sound totally simple. “In order for occupation to be occupation from a judicial point of view, a state must take territory from another state illegally. If, let’s assume, Mexico attacked the US and then the US conquered parts of Mexico, the fact that Mexico attacked illegally allows the US, according to some legal opinions, to hold this territory, since Mexico’s attack on the US was illegal”.

It seems that the legal status of Judea and Samaria is unique and unprecedented in legal history. It is easy for a person of faith to attribute this reality to the hand of Providence, which preserved this Land without a sovereign until its true sovereigns came. Arnon explains: “In Judea and Samaria, Israeli rule is in areas that belonged to no one and there is no disagreement about this. The Jordanians did not rule here, and certainly not the Palestinians. This means that from a legal point of view, this is not occupation. Another argument is that the Six Day War was a war of defense that was forced upon us. Meaning both that we entered Judea and Samaria legally and also that this is a territory that did not belong to any state. This is so unprecedented that jurists coined a Latin term (terra nulius) whose meaning is ‘territory with no sovereign’. There is no precedent for this in the world”. 
Regarding this precedence he mentions some instances from the past: “In ’48 when the British withdrew, they released the territory that was their mandate. We established a state on the Land that we held in ’48 and it was recognized by most of the world and Jordan entered Judea and Samaria without a claim. The significance is that Jordan undoubtedly occupied Judea and Samaria and when we entered there in ’67 we ousted the Jordanians who were there illegally and this is how we acquired the territory that was not under Jordanian, British or Turkish sovereignty.”

Arnon is asked whether especially Britain, who abandoned her mandate in the Land Israel, and recognized the Jordanian annexation, does not have any more weight compared to other states. It seems that Britain, in this regard, has an equal claim to that of any other state. “The borders of a state or annexation must be recognized by most of the world within a significant amount of time” Arnon says.

If so, we press him, then even if Israel decides to annex Judea and Samaria it will have to wait for the world’s recognition, which, apparently would not come. Atty. Arnon does not dismiss this but he also reminds us of another small detail. “The world also did not recognize the annexation of East and West Jerusalem. Jerusalem was supposed to be a demilitarized territory under international authority and Israel took control of this territory. This is the reason that most of the countries do not maintain embassies in Jerusalem. They do not recognize Israeli sovereignty even over West Jerusalem. This objection has eroded over the years and they are becoming used to this but the formal situation is that they do not recognize Jerusalem as Israeli. It is true that if we annex Judea and Samaria, the world will apparently not recognize this, but such a course is first of all correct and good for us regardless of international recognition, and moreover, perhaps in another hundred or hundred and fifty years the world will become used to the idea”.

Arnon finds the most significant advantage in application of sovereignty in a variety of matters that touch on daily life in the state that values life. He brings up a number of examples of the various sorts of matters: “Annexation will allow us to apply elementary laws like laws to protect the environment; it will enable us to give the Arabs equal rights and obligations and in this way we soften the sting of occupation. The claim of occupation will lose its power when the have such a package of rights”.

Shimon Cohen


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

Compelling Israel to go Nuclear: Another Obama Triumph - James Lewis

by James Lewis

Don’t look now, but the Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has just dumped its sixty-year anti-nuclear policy. The reason is simple: the United States’s nuclear defense guarantee protecting Japan can no longer be believed.

We have done nothing about China’s vast grab of mineral-rich maritime territories claimed by Japan and the Philippines. We have done nothing about Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine and the Crimea. Poland and the Baltics have been openly threatened by Putin, and NATO is doing a lot of talking. The Ukraine gave up its own Soviet-era nuclear weapons, assured that NATO would protect it from Russian aggression. Today the Ukrainians may regret giving up those nukes.

As always, appeasement makes the world much more vulnerable to aggression. Our abandoned allies see the handwriting on the wall, and they are arming up, going for their own nukes.

Israel is a silent nuclear power with an estimated 200 bombs. Even in the face of massive Arab assaults, it has never used those weapons -- not even in underground test explosions, like the ones India and Pakistan carried out in the 1970s. But with Obama conniving against Israel, together with neo-Ottoman Turkey, Islamist Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Israel’s incentives to remain non-nuclear are fast disappearing. Obama believes in pieces of paper with the mullahs’ signatures scrawled on them. Sane nations do not.

When Iran gets a bomb, Israel is likely to go nuclear very fast in a very public way. So are other countries that will have to defend themselves without our help. After the mullahs get theirs, the Saudis and Egypt will form a joint nuclear command -- the Saudis because they have already paid Pakistan to develop nuclear weapons, and Egypt, because it has the large army and a technical elite to run a nuclear industry. The Saudi-Egyptians don’t fear of Israeli aggression, because they know that Israel has nothing to gain. That is why Israel gave back all of the Sinai Desert to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty forty years ago. The Saudis have been leaking public peace proposals with Israel, to make common cause against Iranian aggression. The Saudis may publicly claim to hate Israel, but in fact their real fear is an aggressive Iran.

The two biggest dangers are Iranian (Shia) fanaticism, and equally suicidal Sunni fanaticism, the most ancient fissure in the Muslim world. The war in Syria is the first Shia-Sunni war of recent times, and it has killed some 200,000 (mostly) Arabs so far. In the 1980s the Iran-Iraq War killed a million people, pitting Saddam Hussein (Sunni fascist) against Ayatollah Khomeini (war-making Shi’ite). Many of the truck bombings of Shi’a pilgrims in Iraq are committed by Sunnis. ISIS kills Sunni tribal leaders, but its real theological enemies are Shi’ite Muslims.

This week we found out that Al Qaida and ISIS have formed an alliance. ISIS-AQ has also targeted Saudi Arabia and Iran. Already ISIS has captured poison gas supplies, and Israel has just assassinated five nuclear scientists in Iran, suggesting that ISIS wants to equip its suiciders with Armageddon weapons.

This is the worst international news since Nazi and Imperial Japanese Axis, which were defeated just before nuclear weapons were invented. Had Hitler possessed nukes in that last bunker, he would have used them. Had Japan owned nuclear weapons at the time of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they would have used them. The Nazis and Imperial Japanese were suicidal toward the end of the war. They would not have hesitated to pull the trigger.

Iran has boasted about its martyrdom theology since Jimmy Carter made the biggest strategic blunder of the 20th century by allowing Ayatollah Khomeini to establish the first Islamist totalitarian regime since the Ottoman Turks. The lethal weakness of the West has now enabled new Islamofascist powers in Turkey, ISIS-Al Qaeda, and Iran.

Islamist infiltration of Western politics is now beyond serious dispute. We have Islamists agents in our government -- possibly Valerie Jarrett, probably Huma Abedin -- and our top politicians, like Obama himself, have sworn to advance the Islamist agenda.

You may not recognize Obama’s way of publicly supporting Islamic imperialism, but every Muslim in the world does.

In the English town of Rotherham, a Pakistani gang of pedophiles sexually abused an estimated 1400 children over more than a decade. They prevented public exposure using the massive propaganda scare campaign for “multiculturalism.” The British Establishment was also infiltrated by pedophiles at the same time, notably at the top of the BBC, where child program star Jimmy Savile has now been exposed as a mass child abuser. While the “multicultural” delusion dominated the media in Europe (and the United States), the Pakistani “cultural custom” of adult male abuse of young children covered up thousands of crimes. In the UK many are still being uncovered now -- but you can’t have pedophile gangs victimizing thousands of children if the police and media are not tacitly cooperating.

We now know that the UK cops and media knew all along -- but the “multicultural” political machine was too powerful to allow epidemic pedophile crime to be exposed and prosecuted. In its usual fashion the BBC covered up its own top-level corruption, and in towns like Rotherham, parents, teachers, social workers, cops, and prosecutors did nothing.

Other European countries are surely covering up similar “cultural” crimes. In the European Union the ruling class is no longer under electoral control. They have become like the ancient aristocracy, corrupt, self-serving, reckless, and exploitive. Half of Europe has been impoverished, because the Germans insist on keeping the euro a hard currency like the Deutschmark. Since poor nations like Italy cannot float their currencies against the Euro-Deutschmark, they are at a constant disadvantage, and their economies have been in recession for almost a decade. This is a new kind of German economic imperialism, using the European Union as a front. The damage in the weaker countries is immense.

As a result, neo-fascist parties are emerging. Italy’s neofascist Giuseppe Grillo now controls 29% of the votes in Parliament, more than Il Duce himself ever did. In Hungary a frankly neonazi racist party, the Jobbiks, have emerged. Islamist forces have penetrated European politics since the OPEC oil monopoly arose forty years ago, and the Grillo neofascist party, for example, directly echoes Iran’s party line.

The biggest sign of Europe’s surrender to Islamist imperialism is its unstoppable immigration flow from the primitive areas of nations like Pakistan. Today more than 40 million Muslims populate Europe’s major capitals, establishing Shari’a zones wherever possible, such as in the City of London. Public critics of Islamist fascism require police protection in Denmark and the Netherlands.

If only 1 percent of Europe’s 40 million Muslims were radicalized, there would be 40,000 potential suicide-killers wandering the streets. And modern Europe is utterly unable to stem the tide -- stopping Islamist immigration is not even open for public discussion. Instead, like the U.S., Europe has resorted to massive electronic espionage of all its citizens, not bothering to distinguish between peaceful people and radicalist followers of an open war theology. Any “profiling” would be “racist,” you see.

In these circumstances of suicidal public policies, people like Vladimir Putin begin to sound very sensible. Under Obama the United States will not protect Europe from Islamist invasion -- just the opposite. Europe has rendered itself helpless except for the new parties and, oddly enough, the biker gangs in Germany and the Netherlands. Islam hates Christians as well as Jews, and ISIS kills any infidels in the areas it conquers. Pacifist Europe keeps shutting its eyes to the obvious, but in the end, their only salvation is Vladimir Putin, who openly threatens Muslim terrorists with castration.

Social-democratic Europe has lost the ability to defend itself. The United States is not as far gone (yet), but Obamanism will help us to catch up soon. Twenty years after the West showed itself to be more productive and tolerant than the Soviet Empire, those lessons have been lost due to Western suicidal weaknesses.

That’s the state of play. Nothing is inevitable in politics, but the threatening clouds of regional and maybe global war are clear enough. We can either do nothing, or make things worse, as this administration has been doing. Or we can take effective action, and hope it is not too late.

James Lewis


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

Islamic Terrorists are not 'Lone Wolves' - Yoram Ettinger

by Yoram Ettinger

The intra-Arab and intra-Muslim terrorism plaguing the Arab street has been a Middle East fixture since the seventh century emergence of Islam, driven by religious, political, tribal and ethnic megalomaniac aspirations and violent intolerance. 

Terrorism dominated the Middle East long before the onset of the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, the re-establishment of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the controversy over Jerusalem, and the reconstruction of the Jewish state. 

Against the backdrop of ruthless and persistent terrorism targeting fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims, one would expect the Arab/Muslim terrorism against the "infidel" Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Jew to be at least as ferocious. The U.S. in particular is considered the chief threat to terrorist regimes, morally and militarily. Hence it has been termed "the Great Satan" and the lead target for Islamic terrorism. 

The perpetrators of Arab/Muslim terrorism, and Palestinian terrorism in particular, are never lone wolves, as they are sometimes described. They are the byproducts of a centuries-old intolerant ideology, supported by educational and religious indoctrination and incitement, operating systematically in kindergartens, schools, universities, mosques and regime-controlled media. 

Arab/Muslim terrorists are not driven by social, economic and human rights grievances, but by an intense, fanatical worldview, which loathes civil liberties and considers freedoms of religion, press, association and movement, as well as women's rights, an abomination. In fact, oppressed groups in the non-Muslim world rarely resort to terrorism.

Arab/Muslim terrorists are motivated by the conviction that their actions bestow upon them the honorific title of "shahid" -- a martyr on the altar of Islam -- fulfilling a Muslim mission, and advancing the commandment of jihad (Islamic struggle, resistance, war, expansion) against the "infidel" or the "apostate." They expect to be rewarded by eternal glory, including the company of 72 pretty virgins in a sensual paradise, while women are, supposedly, rewarded with only one man.

The most effective production line of shahids was established by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993, compliments of the Oslo Accords, through the Palestinian education system. For example, the seventh grade textbook "Our Beautiful Language" states: "We shall sow Palestine with [martyrs'] skeletons and skulls; we shall paint the face of Palestine with blood. ... We are returning home to the plains and mountains [of pre-1967 Israel], led by jihad flags, by bloody struggles and by the willingness to sacrifice ourselves as martyrs." 

Another textbook, the eighth grade "Islamic Studies," says, "Jihad reserves a key role for youngsters, just like those who sought martyrdom during the days of the Prophet Muhammad." 

Many graduates of this education system are potential terrorists, who, unlike freedom fighters, target civilians deliberately and systematically. Their aim is to erode Israelis' confidence in their government's ability to protect them, frightening them into reckless concessions. 

While Abbas does not voice the same message when speaking with Western, Israeli and Arab interlocutors, the message that he teaches his children reflects his true worldview, as do the monthly allowances paid to relatives of suicide bombers and the naming of streets, squares, summer camps and sports tournaments after terrorists. As a result, Palestinian youth idolize shahids, jihad, bloodshed and families of suicide bombers, while delegitimizing the Jewish state as an immoral entity deserving annihilation.

Palestinian terrorism has been driven not by the size but by the very existence of the Jewish state, as evidenced by the waves of anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism before Israel's establishment, before the 1967 resumption of Jewish control of Judea and Samaria, and following a series of Israeli concessions, such as the 2005 uprooting of all Jewish communities from Gaza, the 2000 offer by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, and the 1993 import of the PLO from Tunisia to Ramallah.

The battle against Palestinian terrorism is undermined by the futile focus on the symptoms (individual terrorists) rather than the root cause (hate education). In other words, let us not chase individual mosquitoes; let us instead drain the swamp. 

Counterterrorism is further undermined by the immoral-moral equivalence applied to Palestinian perpetrators and their Israeli victims; by the knee-jerk pressure of Israel urging sweeping concessions and restraint, thereby emboldening terrorists; ignoring Abbas' terrorist/subversive track record in order to promote wishful-thinking; and extending counterproductive financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which bankrolls hate education.

For instance, the annual $400 million the U.S. gives to Abbas -- which is more than the combined aid from all the Arab oil producers -- has not reduced terrorism and non-compliance, has not shifted Palestinians toward peaceful coexistence, and has not eliminated hate education.

Congress would not support hate education within the U.S., but supports hate education in the Palestinian Authority, thereby undermining the civil liberties of most Palestinians. The Palestinians, in turn, abhor the corrupt, oppressive, terroristic "Tunisian Gang" of Abbas and his associates, which was imposed on them by the Oslo Accords. 

The suspension of foreign aid to, and all communications with, Abbas, the hate educator, would communicate the message that hate education is the antithesis of core U.S. values; that hate educators should not benefit from the largesse of the U.S. taxpayer; and that hate educators on the one hand, and compliance with agreements and peaceful coexistence on the other, constitutes a scandalous oxymoron.

Yoram Ettinger


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

Blaming Israel - Hal R. Crane

by Hal R. Crane

There are voices in the media blaming Israel's prime minister for the deteriorating relationship between the United States and Israel and for the failure of the “peace process.” These critics miss the mark completely. President Obama and other members of his administration have regularly insulted and vilified Israel and its leaders. They appear to treat Israel as an enemy of the United States, instead of a longstanding ally. From the suspect vote at the 2012 Democratic National Convention concerning Jerusalem to the support given to Israel's mortal adversaries, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, this administration has proven it can't be relied upon and must be viewed by Israel and other American allies with extreme circumspection. The Obama administration has established an abysmal foreign policy record. A few examples - the failed Russian "reset," turning Libya into a lawless disaster zone, abandoning Iraq to chaos and bloodshed, Obama's quickly surrendered Syrian "red line," canceling the planned missile defense system for Europe, and appeasing Iran. Obama’s pre- election promise to keep Jerusalem undivided lasted less than one day. There is little reason for any ally to trust this administration. Examining how Israel has been treated should make any sane Israeli leader wary of relying on this president.

The Obama administration's deplorable actions toward Israel reveal the true source of the problems in the U.S. –Israel relationship. Earlier this year Obama sought to cut funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. During the most recent Gaza war while thousands of rockets were targeting Israeli civilians the Obama administration condemned Israel for the deaths of Arabs used by Hamas as human shields. It withheld shipments of Iron Dome replacement missiles and apparently instituted a full-fledged arms embargo against Israel at a time when it was fighting to protect its civilians from Hamas's terrorist attacks from the sky, land, and beneath the earth. 

Flights to Israel from the U.S. were halted and Israelis couldn't obtain visas to enter the U.S. Since then an Israeli professional basketball player was denied a routine visa extension while concurrently the president promised to unilaterally ignore our immigration laws for millions here illegally. Israeli cabinet members were denied meetings with their U.S. counterparts. Last week the State Department refused to consider an Arab American teen who threw a Molotov cocktail at Israelis a terrorist.

Mocking Israel for adhering to Obama's demands to refrain from taking action against Iran is hardly an act of friendship. The Obama administration repeatedly chastised Israel for defending itself against barbaric terrorists. While the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff praised Israel for its extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties during the Gaza War and seeks advice from Israel on how the U.S. military can attempt to achieve Israel’s high standards, Obama's State Department continues to condemn Israel for the very same actions. The Obama administration seems to believe a Jewish house is a greater threat to world peace than is an Iranian nuclear bomb or a Hamas missile launched from a UN schoolyard.

The Egyptian cease-fire initiative during Operation Protective Edge was undermined when the Obama administration sought to utilize both Qatar and Turkey as supposed neutral mediators. While Obama considers Qatar as an ally of the U.S., it is hostile to Israel and a principal source of funds for both Hamas and ISIS. Turkey’s prime minister is an avowed and vocal anti-Semite, encouraged the Gaza flotilla against Israel, and has opened his country's borders to allow jihadis to travel to fight for ISIS. Israel should not have been expected to be beholden to these countries which openly support her enemies.

Furthermore, Obama continues to blame Israel for the failure to obtain a peace deal with President Abbas. Once again Abbas has reconciled with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. Abbas and the PA’s controlled media outlets regularly incite violence against Israelis which resulted in tragic consequences for many Israelis and Americans who have been killed or wounded in response to these exhortations. Washington's' silence concerning Abbas's incitement for the killing and maiming of Jews tells us exactly where Obama stands. The PA indoctrinates its children to hate and destroy all Jews. It considers all of Israel, not just the West Bank, as part of the future Palestinian state. Murderers of Israelis are lauded by the PA as heroes and martyrs and it subsidizes terrorists and their families. Both Abbas's Fatah and Hamas are committed to Israel's destruction, yet Obama continues to blame Israel.

Congress blocked U.S. funding of the PA in 2012 but President Obama consistently waived the legal restrictions of the Palestinian Accountability Act prohibiting U.S. funding. Since then under Obama’s direction more than a billion U.S. tax dollars were transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Why won’t our president follow the law as it was intended? How is the security of the United States enhanced by providing U.S. funds to be used for Palestinian terrorism? 

The Netanyahu government is certainly cognizant that Obama will be president for two more years.  Netanyahu has vigorously challenged any deal with Iran that brings it even closer to building nuclear weapons. These weapons might even be used against what Iran calls the "Great Satan" -- the U.S., as well as Israel. Egypt's current leaders understand the threats Israel and some Arab countries face -- why doesn't the Obama administration?   Obama’s' actions raise serious questions about  whether the Democratic party is still a friend of Israel, given most of party's acquiescence in Obama's mistreatment of Israel. One notable exception is NJ's Senator Robert Menendez who has forcefully spoken out and proposed legislative steps against these injustices.

We should be praising Prime Minster Netanyahu for standing firm against Obama's unrelenting pressure against Israel; even more so in the upcoming months when Obama's policies will not face the voters again and his actions may very well reveal the full extent of his apparent antipathy towards Israel. Israel should not be forced to accede to Obama's oft-stated call that it return to the 1949 armistice lines (which Abba Eban described as "the Auschwitz borders") that have never been legally accepted international borders. Israel should have the United States' complete moral, diplomatic, military, and political support in the myriad of battles it faces. It should not be expected to meekly submit to Obama's risky propositions. Undoubtedly Prime Minister Netanyahu understands the immense power and reach of the U.S. Presidency and its implications for Israel during Obama's remaining time in office. Netanyahu should not be criticized for vigorously defending his country’s right to live in peace. Nor should he be blamed for refusing to cave into demands that could have catastrophic results for Israel.

Hal R. Crane


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

Will the newly elected Congress push Obama into being tougher on Iran's nuclear weapons program? - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Now that both Houses of Congress are under the control of Republicans, will President Obama have as free a hand in making a deal with the Iranian mullahs regarding their nuclear weapons program?

Many members of Congress, in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle, believe that President Obama is willing to allow Iran to become a threshold nuclear weapons power, as long as they don't actually develop a nuclear bomb during his watch.  Israeli leaders, both in the majority and in opposition fear the same thing.  Nobody wants to see a nuclear armed Iran, and few want to see a military attack on Iran's nuclear weapons program, except as an absolute last resort.  Everyone would like to see a good deal that assures the world that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons, and in return for that assurance ends the crippling sanctions against the Iranian people.  The questions are what sort of a deal will bring us closer to this desirable outcome, and are the United States and its European allies demanding enough from Iran to assure compliance with a commitment not to weaponize its "civilian" program.

The newly elected Congress would like to play a role in addressing these questions, but the White House insists that the constitution empowers the executive branch alone—the president, his cabinet and his staff—to conduct the foreign policy of the United States.  The White House is wrong.

The constitution divides the conduct of foreign policy between the executive and legislative branches, depending on the issue.  For example, Article I expressly empowers Congress to "regulate commerce with foreign nations"; to "define and punish" crimes committed "on the high seas" and "against the law of nations"; to declare war; and to make rules governing "land and naval forces."

Even when it comes to making treaties, the senate must approve presidential decisions by a two thirds vote, and it must approve the appointment of ambassadors by a majority vote.

The framers intended this division of authority as part of its insistence on checks and balances, to assure that important decisions—including those affecting foreign policy—had to achieve the support of both the executive and legislative branches.

Its purpose was not to assure gridlock, but neither was it to allow one branch alone to make all important foreign policy decisions.  Its purpose was to try to achieve a modicum of agreement, through negotiation and compromise, between the branches.

How does this constitutional division of power impact the current negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, especially in light of the current partisan division between a Democratic president and a Republican-controlled Senate and House?

The answer depends on whether Congress chooses to assert its constitutional power to participate in foreign policy decisions. It is arguable that any deal with Iran will be enough like a treaty to warrant Senate approval, but even if that were not the case, any deal would necessarily require the removal of sanctions enacted by Congress.  And Congress plainly has the power to refuse to reduce sanctions and indeed to strengthen them.

So President Obama will not have a completely free hand in making a deal with Iran.  Nor should he.  A president's term is fixed by the constitution, and there is a danger that a president may be somewhat shortsighted in his view of foreign policy, and willing to kick the can down the road in order to preserve his legacy.  Congress, on the other hand, is a continuing institution with overlapping terms and significant responsibility in assuring that the short term interests of any given administration do not endanger the long term interests of the country.  That is why Congress should demand a role in the ongoing negotiations with Iran.

The president may, however, insist that he and he alone has the authority to make a deal with Iran.  This may create a constitutional conflict between the popular branches that may have to be resolved by the third branch of our government, namely judges appointed for life.  It is unclear how the Supreme Court would resolve such a conflict.  Indeed a case currently pending before the justices poses the issue of which branch gets to make foreign policy decisions in the context of a dispute between the executive and the legislature over whether Jerusalem is part of Israel for purposes of the passport of an American child born in Jerusalem.  Although this issue is both narrow and highly technical and involves passports which are administered by the executive branch, the High Court may render a decision using broad language that implicates the Iranian negotiations.  So we have to wait and see what the Supreme Court does and says.  In the meantime Congress should not abdicate its responsibility to advise the president on this important foreign policy issue.

Alan M. Dershowitz


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

A Quiet Clash at the Swedish Foreign Ministry - Daniel Pipes

by Daniel Pipes

Washington Times title: "Sweden's wishful thinking on the Mideast: Naive notions about Iran and 'Palestine' smell like nonsense"

Sweden is arguably the most "European" of European countries by virtue of its historically cohesive nationhood ("one big family"), militaristic and socialist legacies, untrammeled immigration, unmatched political correctness, and a supercilious claim to the status of a "moral superpower." These features also make it perhaps the most alien of European countries to an American conservative.

In this context, I offer a summary and paraphrase of my discussion with two senior members of the permanent bureaucracy in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) held during a recent visit to Stockholm. Our affable but pointed discussion focused on the Middle East, on which we agreed on almost nothing; I might as well have been in Sudan's or Syria's MFA.

Arvfurstens Palats, an eighteenth century royal palace occupied since 1906 by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
The following contains the seemingly sober officials' more colorful statements, then my responses. First, we discussed the Iranian nuclear program:
  1. The IAEA inspection regime in Iran is the most intense ever mounted anywhere; it includes cameras that watch the Iranian installations around the clock, so we definitely know what's going on there. My response: How does the Swedish MFA know that those cameras cover every last nuclear installation? In fact, neither Stockholm nor any other capital has any idea what's going on. The Iranians' program could be far more advanced than is known; indeed, Tehran could have even purchased nuclear weapons from North Korea or Pakistan.
  2. The Islamic Republic of Iran abandoned its program to build nuclear bombs in 2003. My response: The Iranian government, as its president, Hassan Rouhani himself has indicated, never for a moment stopped its nuclear program.
  3. If an outside power attacked the Iranian nuclear sites, this would counterproductively cause Tehran to get really angry and decide to build The Bomb. My response: The notion that striking the installations would inspire the Iranians to proceed is precisely backward. Also, recall that both the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear programs collapsed after being struck by Israeli jets.

Iran's centrifuges, as shown by the government news agency.
We also discussed the Arab-Israeli conflict in the context of the Swedish government's very recent decision to recognize a state of "Palestine":
  1. This move is aimed, I was told, not to punish Israel but to give heart to those Palestinians despairing of the two-state solution, consisting of an Israel next to a Palestine. As such, it is not hostile to Israel (where government and population back the two-state solution) but hostile to Hamas (which rejects this outcome). My response: The Israeli government and population reacted very negatively to the Swedish decision and will, no doubt, be annoyed to learn that it was patronizingly intended for their own good. Conversely, Hamas has hailed this move and called on other governments to follow Stockholm, in order to isolate Israel.
  2. Israeli "settlements" on the West Bank (which I prefer to call "towns") render impossible the two-state solution, making it urgently imperative to prevent their further expansion. My response: I flip this around and see Israeli building as constructive pressure on the Palestinians to get serious about ending the conflict. The longer Palestinians procrastinate, the less land remains.
  3. The many statements and posters in which Fatah endorses "car jihad" are unimportant because Fatah is not the official Palestinian "government." So, the Swedish MFA does not concern itself with this homicidal incitement. My response: Fatah, the PLO, ad the Palestinian Authority are three names for the same entity. Making a legalistic distinction among them permits Mahmoud Abbas, the head of all three, to get away with murder.
  4. The demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is a trap for Abbas, who cannot do so because of the many Arabs living within Israel. My response: Not to accept Israel as the Jewish state means rejecting the entire Zionist enterprise. Nor is this demand a trap; rather, it responds to changes on the Israeli Arab side in 2006. Why else would Ehud Olmert, then Israel's prime minister – who displayed a Swedish-like fervor for an accord with Abbas – have initiated this demand?

Fatah endorsed Palestinian car jihad in a cartoon showing an Aqsa-like car and the words "The killing of Israelis by running-over operations in Jerusalem."
This complete disagreement on facts, interpretations, and predictions points to an enormous and ever-widening gap between countries and governments founded on like values. At a time when the ranks of enemies are proliferating, that those who should be realistic and friendly prefer instead fumes of fantasy leaves me discouraged about the future of Europe. What disaster will it take to awaken the Swedes -- starting with their estimable foreign policy functionaries?

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


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The Church of England Chooses Extremist Islam - Samuel Westrop

by Samuel Westrop

It is troubling that the first non-Christian to address the Church of England synod can be linked to extreme Islamist networks. By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam. What hope, then, for those genuine moderates within Britain's Muslim community?

A British Muslim activist is to speak before the Church of England's general synod on November 18 -- the first time a non-Christian has addressed the assembly.

Counter-extremism campaigners, however, have expressed disappointment that the Church would choose an activist accused of connections with extremist groups.

Fuad Nahdi, director of the British Islamic organization Radical Middle Way [RMW], has a long history of working with activists and groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, described by the former head of the MI6 as being, "at heart, a terrorist organization;" and Jamaat-e-Islami, the Brotherhood's South Asian cousin, responsible for acts of genocide during Bangladesh's 1971 Independence war.

Fuad Nahdi, director of the British Islamic organization Radical Middle Way. (Image source: RMW video screenshot)
Nahdi established Radical Middle Way in the wake of the 7/7 tube bombings in London, in order to "provide powerful, faith-inspired guidance that gives our audiences the tools to combat exclusion and violence." RMW became a key component of the British Labour government's counter-extremism program, named "PREVENT," and received over £1.2 million of taxpayers' money between 2006 and 2009.

The Labour government's counter-extremism program included a policy of partnering with "non-violent" extremists to temper the threat of "violent" extremists. This approach offered legitimacy and public funds to anti-Semitic, anti-gay and misogynist groups, and was later deemed disastrous.

From the perspective of the Labour government, after the 7/7 bombings, Fuad Nahdi's RMW seemed to offer the perfect example of this "moderate" Islamism with which politicians could work.

In 2006, however, the journalist Martin Bright reported that the initial government-funded events organized by RMW were conducted in collaboration with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies and the Young Muslim Organization -- groups that Bright described as "heavily influenced by the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group... which is committed to establishing Islamic rule under sharia law."

In 2008, while still receiving government funds, speakers at RMW's events included an outspoken supporter of Osama Bin Laden, Kemal el-Helbawy, who founded a number of Muslim Brotherhood institutions in the UK. El-Helbawy has said, "[The Palestinian cause] is an absolute clash of civilizations: a satanic program led by the Jews and those who support them, and a divine program carried by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in particular and the Islamic peoples in general."

The same year, counter-terrorism expert Shiraz Maher revealed that RMW appeared to be supporting a campaign run by the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global network dedicated to imposing sharia law through armed jihad. Hizb ut-Tahrir publications sanction the killing of Jewish "women, children and elderly"; describe human rights as the "trumpets of the Kuffar [derogatory term for non-Muslims]";[1] and label Muslims who oppose their agenda as apostates who should be killed.[2]

Today, speakers listed on the RMW's website include preachers such as Jamal Badawi, Muslim Belal and Suhaib Webb.
  • Badawi, a Muslim Brotherhood cleric, has described suicide bombers and Hamas terrorists as "freedom fighters" and "martyrs," and advocates for the right of men to beat their wives.
  • Muslim Belal is a "performance poet" who composes nasheeds (Islamic songs without instruments) that promote fundamentalist Islam. One of his nasheeds expresses support for the Al Qaeda operative and convicted murderer, Aafia Siddiqui.
  • Suhaib Webb is an Islamic preacher who, according to FBI surveillance documents, spoke at a dinner in 2001 alongside Al Qaeda operative, Anwar Al-Awlaki, in order to raise £100,000 for the legal defense of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (aka H. Rap Brown), an Islamic fundamentalist who murdered two American police officers.
Even without RMW, Nahdi's connections are troubling. In 1992, Nahdi founded Q News, an Islamist youth magazine that promoted Jamaat-e-Islami ideology. Nahdi's colleagues at Q News included Fareena Alam, who would later also be involved with RMW while simultaneously working for Press TV, the Iranian regime's propaganda outlet.

In 1997, Nahdi wrote an obituary for The Guardian of an Islamic scholar who was once a contributor to Nahdi's Q News publication, Sayed Mutawalli ad-Darsh. Nahdi described ad-Darsh as "respectable, approachable and sensitive -- he was the peoples' Imam."[3] The "people's Imam," however, called for the killing of homosexuals and adulterers, and expressed justification for suicide bombings. He also denied that there was such a thing as rape within marriage, because, he ruled, a wife may not refuse her husband sex.

Fuad Nahdi's speech before the synod on November 18 is not the first time the Church has sought his support. In 2009, Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, organized a joint event with Radical Middle Way. Nahdi spoke alongside the Jamaat-e-Islami activist Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a British Islamist leader who has since been convicted by a War Crimes tribunal for his role in the mass-murder of innocents during the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.

That a Christian institution has invited a speaker with extremist connections is not particularly surprising. This sort of collaboration has been occurring for years, particularly within the interfaith dialogue industry. Britain's "non-violent" extremists realized long ago that by conducting perfunctory charity events and attending interfaith meetings, they could distract the public from their radicalism while burrowing ever deeper into the British establishment.

What is most troubling is that the first non-Christian to address the Church of England synod can be linked to extreme Islamist networks. By inviting Fuad Nahdi, the Church is lending credence to the notion that only radical Islamism can represent British Islam.

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hussaini, an Islamic scholar and interfaith advocate, told the Gatestone Institute:
"For far too long, Lambeth Palace and the Anglican interfaith establishment have colluded with and promoted Muslim public relations actors with Islamist connections and a history of double discourse, like Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin of the Muslim Council of Britain and Fuad Nahdi of Radical Middle Way."
"In the context of the heinous persecution of Christian minorities in the Muslim world, the Lambeth Palace-sponsored political spectacle of showcasing Muslims who routinely condemn ISIS, but themselves have Islamist associations with Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim Brotherhood or other groups and individuals, is a dismal exercise in hypocrisy to the suffering of those non-white and non-Western Christian people who have so badly been let down by the liberal Western Church of England."
The Church is deliberately legitimizing extremist ideology. What hope, then, is there for those lonely, genuine moderates within Britain's Muslim community?

[1] Hizb ut-Tahrir, The American Campaign to Suppress Islam, p. 21
[2] Zallum, How the Khilafah was Destroyed, p. 193
[3] 'Imam who guided his people', Fuad Nahdi, The Guardian, October 4, 1997.

Samuel Westrop


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