Forgotten Court Rule: Israel Is The Legal Occupant Of Judea And Samaria

February 8, 2017

usrael-palestine conflictISRAELI so-called settlements in West Bank – Judea and Samaria – are a complex issue. As a rule the news and newscasts claim that Israeli construction activities beyond 1967 line will destroy the Two-State idea. During last five decades there has been a continuous flow of statements from sc. international community that West Bank settlements are against sc. International Law.

But besides statements there is actually one trial – which escaped the media’s awareness – and which ruled the opposite: the 3rd  Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles declared in 2013 that Israel is the legal occupant of Judea and Samaria.

 

New level of West Bank construction

World Israel News reports that Israel announced on Tuesday 31st Jan. 2017 the construction of 3,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria. This announcement, made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, follows last week’s statement regarding the construction of 2,500 housing units in various locations in Judea and Samaria and the municipality of Jerusalem’s approval of the construction of 566 new homes in the city. The back-to-back announcements of a total of 6,000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria within a single week is almost unprecedented. The statement comes as 42 Israeli families in the community of Amona in Samaria are being removed from their homes because it was allegedly built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

For example the New York Times was using distorted facts on issue as follows: Israel approved 3,000 more housing units in the occupied West Bank late Tuesday, the largest number in a wave of new construction plans that defy the international community and that open a forceful phase in the country’s expansion into land the Palestinians claim for a future state. However to build housing units both within existing settlements and in existing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, is not an expansion as the area of land for settlements is not expanding even if the number of houses and Jews living in them is increasing.

On 6th Feb. 2017 the Israeli Knesset passed the controversial Regulation Law by 60 votes to 52. The Regulation Law retroactively gives residents of up to 4,000 housing units in West Bank settlements the right to live in their homes which were built – some accidentally – on private Palestinian land, in return providing the landowner with an annual usage payment of 125 per cent of the land’s rental value. However the Law might be overturned by the Supreme Court. (Source: BICOM , more in BICOM briefing: Download PDF)

 

Israel as legal occupant of the West Bank

Israel’s claim in West bank is based e.g. on the following earlier acts of International Law: The Jan Smuts Resolution of January 30, 1919, Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, including the Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1919, The legal title of the Jewish People to the mandated territory of Palestine in all of its historical parts was first recognized on April 24, 1920 when the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council (Britain, France, Italy and Japan), meeting in San Remo, Italy, converted the 1917 ‘Balfour Declaration’ into a binding legal document. This was confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and Lausanne. All these recognized the historical connection of the Jewish People with the Land of Israel.

Sure local Arabs have also historical connections between Mediterranean and Jordan river but they have already received their lands under the Mandate system as (Trans-)Jordania was separated from Palestine during the British Mandate. So Jordan is the Arab Muslim state (kingdom) on 77% of old Palestine made legal 1946-League of Nations. They wanted more and made a war and annexed West bank 1950 which then was reclaimed by Israel 1967. According negotiated Oslo agreements (1995) for administration of West bank there are three areas C=Israel state, B=shared by Israel and Palestinian authority (PA) and A=PLO/PA/Fatah but Jerusalem is not Jordans or anyone elses.

Israel made peace treaty with Jordan – occupant of the West Bank from 1948 to 1967 – in 1994 and Jordan does not have any territorial claims in West Bank.

A trial which escaped the media’s awareness

logo3-dreuzIn a historical trial, the 3rd Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Versailles declared in 2013 that Israel is the legal occupant of Judea and Samaria. As this groundbreaking ruling escaped the media’s awareness, a pro Israel activist – Jean-Patrick Grumberg – has worked to bring this “old news” to light. “I decided to put to work my years of Law Studies in France, and I meticulously analyzed the Court ruling,” Jean-Patrick Grumberg wrote and continued

To make sure I did not overestimate my legal abilities and that I wasn’t over optimistic – as usual-, I submitted my analysis and the Court papers to one of the most prominent French lawyer, Gilles-William Goldnadel, President of Lawyers without borders, to receive his legal opinion. He indeed validated my finding. Then I decided to translate it to English, and it will soon be submitted to Benjamin Netanyahu thru a mutual friend.

The main source of following description is the article in Dreuz.info –  Israël est l’occupant légal de la Cisjordanie, dit la Cour d’appel de Versailles , Publié par Jean-Patrick Grumberg le 25 décembre 2016 – with help of the report by United with Israel about the case.

The story goes back to the ’90s, when Israel began work for for the construction of the Jerusalem light rail. The tender was won by French companies Veolia and Alstom. The light rail was completed in 2011, and it crosses Jerusalem all the way through the city. Following this, the PLO/ the Palestinian Authority and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), filed a complaint with the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Versailles France, against Alstom and Veolia, because according to PLO, the construction of the tram was illegal since the United Nations (UN0, the European Union (EU) and other governments consider Israel’s presence there illegal. The Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is unequivocally legal under international law, dismissing a suit brought by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Jerusalem’s light rail built by French companies Alstom and Veolia. To rule on the suit, the Court of Appeals had to determine the legal rights of Palestinians and Israelis in the region. Their conclusion was that the Palestinians have no right – in the international legal sense – to the region, unlike Israel, who is legitimately entitled to all land beyond the 67 line.

british-mandate-for-palestine-1921

It is said that the court decision is only marginally significant for a debate about the legality of Israel’s actions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as it’s only talking about transport infrastructure, not e.g. about settlements. However in trial the PLO, explaining that the occupation is illegal, claimed that Israel is violating: Articles 49-6 and 53 of the Geneva Convention, Articles 23, 27 and 46 of the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, Article 4 of the Hague Convention of 14 May 1954. Article 27 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, Article 5 of the Convention IX of the 1907 Hague. and Article 53 of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions.

So in order to rule whether the light rail’s construction was legal or not, the court had to review the texts of international law and examine international treaties in order to establish the respective legal rights of the Palestinians and the Israelis.

The Versailles Court of Appeal rejected all the Palestinian arguments. Referring to the texts on which the PLO claim is based, the Court of Appeal considers that Israel is entitled to ensure order and public life in the region, and therefore Israel has the right to build a light rail, infrastructure and dwellings. All the international instruments put forward by the PLO were acts signed between states, and the obligations or prohibitions contained therein are relevant to states. Neither the PA nor the PLO are states, and therefore, none of these legal documents apply to them.

The Court of Appeal therefore sentenced the PLO and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS), who was co-appellant, to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) to Alstom, 30,000 euros to Alstom Transport and 30,000 euros to Veolia Transport. Neither the PLO nor the Palestinian Authority nor the AFPS appealed to the Supreme Court, and therefore the judgment became final. This is the first time that a Court has legally destroyed all Palestinian legal claim that Israel’s occupation is illegal.

napoleon


Article first appeared in Conflicts By Ari Rusila – site


Trump Presidency Brings Realpolitik Back To Mid-East

November 19, 2016

 

“We just had an election and most journalists were shocked! Why? Because they had been reporting from their own bias instead of from reality, and some journalists even said so. But this isn’t just about elections: it happens in many areas, including Israel and the Palestinians.” (HonestReporting)

dt-101Trump presidency means new better era in U.S.-Israel relations as well new scenarios in Mid East conflicts. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, his transition team and his advisors are already planning new U.S. foreign policy approach which probably will include new visio(s) for solutions and new roadmap towards them. Same time the main players, especially Israel, are preparing their answer to this new ‘Trumpoportunity’.

There has been discussions whether U.S. President Obama will make a final intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office. This could include giving a speech on parameters for a peace agreement between Israeli and the Palestinians, or by the U.S. supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Trump team warned Obama not to make any Lame-Duck major moves on foreign policy, such as a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace push based on U.S. drafted parameters.

New developments in Israeli-Palestinian conflict will probably been supported via wider geopolitical shift during Trump presidency. Especially one can wait more pragmatic approach in U.S.-Russia relations. While United States has been gradually retreating from the Middle East and Russia has been filling this vacuum a new deal is possible which of course can have its political spin-offs or even spill-over effects besides Mid-East also in Europe.

 

Trump & Israel

“Israel is the one true democracy and defender of human rights in the Middle East and a beacon of hope to countless people,” (Donald Trump)

Already in 2013, before becoming a politician, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stated support for Israel and admiration for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Then famous as a billionaire and entrepreneur, Trump took part in a video showing his support for Netanyahu and the Likud party ahead of Israel’s 2013 general election. In an unprecedented move, the U.S. billionaire and world-renowned entrepreneur, Mr. Donald Trump, took part in a video showing his support for the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and The Likud Party in general elections in Israel next week: “Vote for Benjamin, terrific guy, terrific leader, great for Israel.”

Donald Trump has been investing flamboyantly also in the Arab world, but he’s never done a deal in Israel. In 2006 the deal was close as land on the border of Tel Aviv really had been bought for a Trump Tower in Israel.. The plan was to build a 70-story skyscraper bearing the Trump brand, it was to have been the tallest building in Israel. By 2007, the project was dead. Lesser-known stabs at business in Israel that went nowhere include the Trump Hotel extravaganza in Netanya and the Trump Golf Course in Ashkelon.

Trump, for one, has made it very clear he will support Israel and its preferences. A post-election statement by Trump’s advisers on Israel said, “A two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians appears impossible as long as the Palestinians are unwilling to renounce violence against Israel or recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.” Israel staunchly opposes any move by Obama to secure a U.N. Security Council resolution seen as hostile to Israeli interests — especially if he asked other world powers to embrace U.S.-drafted parameters for a two-state solution. Trump team warned Obama not to make any Lame-Duck major moves on foreign policy, such as a potential Israeli-Palestinian peace push based on US drafted parameters. Source: The Politico

Israel and the US recently signed a new ten-year Memorandum of Understanding on defence aid which constitutes a renewal of America’s commitment to Israel’s security and a further fortification of Israel’s qualitative military edge.

During election campaign there was charges that Trump – or his some of his supporters – is flirting with Jew-hatred. However New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman felt compelled to note that, “Trump has a son-in-law who is an Orthodox Jew, and a daughter [Ivanka] who converted to her husband’s religion. Mr. Trump has bragged about his Jewish grandchildren.” One could add that son-in-law Jared Kushner might be the real ‘grey eminence’ during Trump’s presidency.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict would be “the ultimate deal,” US President-elect Donald Trump told Wall Street Journal, adding that, as a master dealmaker, he relishes the challenge. “I’d like to do…the deal that can’t be made. And do it for humanity’s sake,” Source: Behindthenews

 

Israel’s aims with Trump

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already been invited by Trump to the White House at the earliest opportunity. Netanyahu called Trump “a true friend of the State of Israel. We will work together to advance the security, stability and peace in our region.”

PM Netanyahu has already started preparing his first meeting with President-elect Donald Trump – . a meeting that could take place at the end of March 2017 when the prime minister speaks at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

According Al-Monitor a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official dealing with Israel-US relations on condition of anonymity that Netanyahu is expected to raise three major issues in his first meeting with Trump:

First, Netanyahu wishes to remove the resolution of the Palestinian issue from the list of elements necessary for regional stability and convince the new president that fundamentalist terror is the root problem of the region. Netanyahu will argue that the Islamic State, Hezbollah and Hamas are the real enemies of both Israel and pragmatic Arab countries. Thus, the region should align around the battle against Iranian-sponsored terror, not the Palestinian statehood issue.

The second topic for Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump would be, according to the Israeli side, the Iran deal. The prime minister intends to persuade the new president to cooperate closely with Israel on Iranian compliance with the agreement.

Netanyahu’s third issue would be preventing American and international pressure on Israel on settlement construction, public assurances that the United States will veto any U.N. Security Council resolution critical of Israel and the prime minister wants the new administration to foil any EU member state initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as the French initiative on a two-state solution.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman made on 16th Nov. 2016 a statement, suggesting Israel must cool its heels over Trump’s election and approach him with modest proposals regarding settlement construction. Speaking to political reporters Liberman said, “If we receive confirmation of the Bush-Sharon understandings, we should grab it with both hands.” The Bush-Sharon understandings recognized the need for construction to support the growth of the existing population in Judea and Samaria inside the settlement blocks — but no launching of new settlements.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer told media in New York City on 17th Nov. 2016 that there’s “no doubt” President-elect Donald Trump is a “true friend of Israel.” He added that also “Vice-President-elect Mike Pence was one of Israel’s “greatest friends” during his decade in Congress, and “one of the most pro-Israel governors in the country.” Dermer said Israel looks forward to “working with the Trump administration, with all of the members of the Trump administration, including Steve Bannon, and making the U.S.-Israel alliance stronger than ever.” [Bannon, Trump’s special adviser, the former CEO of Breitbart News, who gave considerable website space to the alt-right, is claimed to be anti-Semite, Bannon himself says he is a Zionist].

Israel Foreign ministry’s secret memo “The Trump Administration — Preliminary Comments” attempts to determine the future president’s foreign policy, with special attention to China, Russia and Europe, and domestic policies. The main message of the paper, which represents the position of the ministry’s professional echelons, is that the Trump administration is expected to conduct an isolationist policy. The researchers say that at the start of his term, Trump will try to differentiate himself from the foreign policy of President Barack Obama, but he could be expected subsequently to adopt Obama’s belief that the United States must stop trying to be the world’s policeman. The report concludes that: “Trump does not consider the Middle East to be a ‘wise investment,’ and is likely to strive to limit his involvement in the region. The peace process is not a top priority for the new administration.” (Source e.g: Forward )

 

A Murky Picture in the Middle East by Stratfor

Stratfor has published its view about possible developments in Israel’s neighbourhood during Trump presidency. Following an abstract:

Trump promised throughout his campaign a tough fight against Islamist extremism at home and abroad — and a harder stance on combating the Islamic State in particular. When Trump takes over as commander-in-chief in January, military operations in Iraq and Syria to combat the Islamic State core will be well underway, particularly in Iraq. U.S. support for Kurdish militias will likely continue, pushing Turkey further away from the United States, but Turkey is already on a unilateral path to deepen its footprint in northern Syria and Iraq.

The biggest shift on the battlefield would stem from a U.S.-Russia negotiation where the United States agrees to reduce aid for Syrian rebels. (Trump has already expressed doubts on the policy of supporting rebels who could be characterized as Islamist extremists.) This would bolster the positions of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Iran, which would greatly unnerve the Sunni bloc led by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. A pullback of U.S. support for Syrian rebels would spur Turkey and Saudi Arabia to step up their involvement, thereby intensifying the broader ethno-sectarian struggle with Iran.

Trump’s victory also raises questions about Iran’s own presidential election next May and the fate of the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump is unlikely to throw out the deal outright. Iran, despite its political divisions, broadly agrees on the need to avoid an escalation with the United States and bring in much-needed investment while it deals with its other proxy wars in the region. Tehran will continue to telegraph to the international community how it is fully adhering to the International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines. It will also appeal to European signatories to the nuclear deal to try to ensure that the United States does not pull out of the agreement or attempt to revive sanctions.

Hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rouhani have used ballistic missile testing and harassment of U.S. vessels to assert Iran’s military power and differentiate their camp from the moderates. But under a Trump presidency and Republican Congress, any infraction of the JCPOA or aggression outside of the nuclear deal has the potential to lead to additional sanctions. Iran would interpret this as a violation of its overall understanding with the United States on backing off sanctions, applying heavy stress to the deal. Even if the United States does not immediately jeopardize the JCPOA, it is likely that European investors will move cautiously forward with investments into Iran’s financial system because a Trump-led administration will be far less accommodative to Iran’s concerns or potential infractions.

Trump’s new foreign policy approach could be described as “U.S. Interests First Approach” which is based on the United States making ‘good deals’ and getting “paid back” for protection or intervention abroad. This would end the U.S. role as world’s policeman, a step away from the familiar American liberal interventionist policy. As Trump has regularly called for letting Putin, Assad and ISIS fight it out in Syria some even claim that Trump will outsource Middle East policy to Putin.

Trump has been roundly criticized for his lack of foreign policy knowhow. Trump regularly cites Israeli policies which could be replicable for the United States; such as “the [security/separation] wall” in Israel as an example of why the United States should build a wall with Mexico, or “taking out the families of terrorists,” one long step further from the Israeli policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes.

 

Jason Greenblatt-adviser with kippah at work

One of President-elect Donald Trump’s senior level advisors is Jason Dov Greenblatt, who will most likely be appointed as the US envoy to the Middle East; he probably will rewrite a foreign policy differing from that of U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Greenblatt, currently works for Trump as a real estate attorney. Trump has identified Greenblatt as one of two Jewish lawyers who would be his top Israel advisers; the other is bankruptcy expert David M. Friedman of the Kasowitz law firm.

Greenblatt, 49, has an unusual resume for a prospective presidential adviser on Middle East affairs. An Orthodox Jew has worked for Trump for the last 19 years dealing exclusively with real estate and company matters. His titles are executive vice president and chief legal officer. He has self-published three travel books, one about a family trip to Israel, and runs a parenting blog, InspireConversation.com.

Greenblatt was interviewed e.g. in IDF Radio explaining Trump’s stances here some key notes (Source: BICOM ):

Trump believes that “peace must come from the parties” and if the US dictates an agreement it might be one that “breaks apart the next day.” “He is not going to impose any solution on Israel.”

Mr. Trump does not view the settlements [Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria] as being an obstacle for peace. The two sides are going to have to decide how to deal with that region, but it’s certainly not Mr. Trump’s view that settlement activity should be condemned and that it’s an obstacle for peace – because it is not the obstacle for peace. I think he would show Gaza as proof of that. In an interview with The Associated Press in December 2015, Trump was asked whether Israel should stop building in Judea and Samaria, Trump responded, “No… I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.”

Trump will follow through on his pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would mark a departure from Washington’s long-term policy.

 

David Friedman, Walid Phares and Michael Flynn reverse the negative policy trends

“Mike Flynn is a straight shooter and a no-bullshit kind of guy. And that’s exactly what we need in terms of senior leaders giving advice to the national leadership.” (David Deptula)

Senior Trump adviser David Friedman said a Trump administration would not “put its finger on the scale and try to force Israel into a particular outcome, but rather will support Israel in reaching its own conclusion about how to best achieve peace with its neighbors.” According The Algemeiner Friedman stated e.g. following:

We trust Israel. We think it is doing an excellent job of balancing its respect for human rights and its security needs in a very difficult neighborhood. Israel is a partner with the US in the global war against terrorism. And we want our partner to be attendant to that task and not distracted by foreign countries telling it what to do. That’s really the overall premise of the policy — to respect Israel as a partner, and not to unduly influence its decisions.

Walid Phares, a Trump top foreign policy adviser, told BBC Radio on Thursday [10th Nov. 2016] that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is a Trump top agenda item. “He is ready and he will immediately move to try and solve the problem between Palestinian and Israelis,” Phares said. “He told me personally that, as the author of ‘The Art of the Deal,’ it’s not going to be impossible for him to broker a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. At least he’s going to go in that direction and not waste eight years — four years for now — not doing something for the Palestinians and Israelis.” According to an interview with the pro-Egyptian government news website, Youm7, Walid Phares said on 9th Nov. 2016 that Trump would pass legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist group”. The US House Judiciary Committee in February approved legislation calling on the State Department to designate the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a foreign terrorist organisation. The Senate has referred a partner bill to its foreign relations committee.

Trump’s new security advisor is retired a three-star General Michael Flynn. Flynn deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from spring 2012 to fall 2014 to where he was named and sacked by Obama administration. Having been a lifelong Democrat, he anyway was at Donald Trump’s side for months during the presidential campaign. Flynn built a reputation in the Army as an astute intelligence professional and a straight talker. He retired in 2014 and has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s White House and Pentagon, taking issue with the administration’s approach to global affairs and fighting Islamic State militants. Flynn, described also as a Zionist Christian, is a harsh critic of Muslim extremism and the religion itself and a staunch ally of the Zionist entity. He is an active member of several Israeli advocacy groups such as CFR, ADL, AIPAC, WINEP, etc.

 

Palestinian reactions

nimeton-106The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has made their first analysis about initial Palestinian reactions; here some highlights:

  • The remarks of senior figures in the Palestinian Authority (PA), hinted at concern over a greater pro-Israeli bias in the new American administration, based on statements made by Trump during the campaign. Their worst to concerns are that the new president will abandon the two state solution, support construction in the settlements, and move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv Jerusalem.
  • Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said that if Hillary Clinton had been elected she would have been no better than Trump because the Palestinians’ bitter experience had shown that when she was secretary of state no progress had been made in the Palestinian cause
  • Riyad Mansour, permanent Palestinian observer to the U.N. He threatened president-elect Trump, saying the Palestinians had an arsenal of diplomatic weapons in the UN. He warned that if Trump moved the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Palestinians would “make his life miserable” in the UN agencies.
  • Hamas spokesmen, in the meantime, were skeptical about the chances for a change in the United States’ traditional tendency towards pro-Israeli policies in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior leader in Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling party, attacked both Trump and Obama as Zionists and racists, but with different tactics.

 

My conclusions: Trumportunity

The cases of Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict indicate that the United States could be gradually retreating from the Middle East, Russia is now filling this vacuum. In Syria Moscow and Jerusalem have agreed to coordinate their actions in Syria as well as share intelligence. Intelligence-sharing also greatly benefits Moscow, which receives more balanced intelligence, allowing it to put into perspective the kind of information provided by its allies from the Baghdad coordination center. With Israeli-Palestinian conflict Kremlin is ready to meditiate and has proposed to host Netanyahu and Abbas in Moscow for direct talks, to which both reportedly have agreed.

Based on main issues during U.S. elections – e.g. have strong isolationist tendencies – it could be predicting the President-elect Donald Trump will watch the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the sidelines. Based on latest statements of his advisers I conclude that the opposite scenario is more realistic.

The imaginable terms of a settlement with Two-state solution were embodied in the 2000 ‘Clinton Parameters’ or the deal proposed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by then-prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. The current Israeli government is unlikely to offer as much (for example, shared sovereignty over Jerusalem) and in any event, Abbas spurned Olmert’s offer. It is of significance to note that Trump’s policy is diametrically opposed to the one adopted by President Barack Obama and his administration, which has for example repeatedly condemned Israel for its presence in Judea and Samaria and even for its approval of plans for further building. Based on these factors the Trump’s new foreign policy approach might in my opinion have i.a. following outcome:

 

  1. Trump and his top Mid-East advisors have good personal relationship with Israel and pro-Israel attitude which will develop US-Israel relationship further and sure to better level than during Obama administration
  2. Trump probably will develop pragmatic relationship with Russia and even make a deal with Putin to stabilize the (Great) Middle East and so there is no need to increase US ‘boots on the ground’ in region
  3. Israel will be the main stabilizing actor in Mid-East so blocking Islamist Jihad as well decreasing refugee crisis which both factors serve Trump’s election campaign goals.
  4. Trump is ready to find solutions ‘outside of the box’ which means new approach towards ‘Two-State-Solution’ and its roadmap – or better to say dumping them .
  5. As pragmatic politician Trump might well understand possible Israeli unilateral solutions.
  6. Israeli border security systems – especially the new ones on Gaza border – are second to no one and U.S. might use this experience on Mexican border if Trump implements his promises to block illegal immigration.
  7. Extend and expand defence cooperation. “Enhance Israel’s sense of security and confidence in the United States by committing to expanded missile defense, anti-tunnel, and cybersecurity cooperation under the terms of the September 2016 long-term defense assistance Memorandum of Understanding.”

My bottom line: Trump’s presidency will usher in a new, better era in US-Israel relations – Tr(i)ump(h) for Israel!

imagesr6pka3qu


UNESCO: The Temple Mount Is Sacred Only To Muslims

October 21, 2016

img585890BICOM reports that the executive board of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) officially on 18th Oct. 2016 approved a controversial motion which  failed to recognise any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The executive board ratified the resolution, which was approved last Thursday by member states in Paris. The vote was 24 in favor (including Iran and Sudan), 6 against (including USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands), 26 abstaining, and 2 absent.

The original resolution, which six countries including the UK opposed, was submitted by the Palestinian delegation with the support of Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan. It alleges “Israeli escalating aggressions and illegal measures… against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif”.

Although the motion acknowledges that Jerusalem is holy to the three monotheistic religions, the section dealing specifically with the Temple Mount says the site is sacred only to Muslims, failing to acknowledge its significance to Jews. It refers to the Western Wall, the world’s most significant Jewish prayer site, by the Arabic term Buraq Plaza, while quotation marks pointedly accompany the phrase “Western Wall”, the Jewish name for the site.

Following Thursday’s vote, the motion was condemned by leaders across Israel’s political spectrum, who often accuse the UN of an institutional bias against Israel. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova also signalled her disappointment at Thursday’s vote, saying: “The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history.”

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said: “We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.”

nimeton-105UN Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter. UN Watch condemned UNESCO’s “historical revisionism” which erases Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and casts doubt on the connection between Judaism and the ancient city’s Temple Mount and Western Wall. At the same time, UN Watch said the inflammatory text’s failure to obtain a majority was a moral victory. The amount of countries abstaining increased by seven from the 17 who supported a similar text in April, with France, India, Argentina, Spain, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Guinea and Togo shifting their votes from yes to abstain.

 

The resolution

The resolution was drafted by the Palestinians but officially submitted by Sudan’s genocidal regime together with human rights abusers Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, and Qatar.

Notable features of the text according UN Watch :

  • The resolution “decries,” “condemns,” “deplores” and “deprecates” a long list of alleged Israeli infringements of Palestinian rights. The text calls Israel “the Occupying Power.”

  • The text omits any mention of the hundreds of violent Palestinian attacks against Jews in Jerusalem, organized Palestinian attempts to terrorize Jews visiting Jewish holy sites in the city, or incitement to such attacks by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas

  • The decision “strongly condemns” the alleged “escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures” against “the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif”

  • The text “firmly deplores” the “continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces,” and calls on Israel to stop “provocative abuses”malaysia

  • The resolution refers to the Temple Mount only with the Islamic and Arabic names of “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.”

  • The Western Wall is described using scare quotes as “Western Wall Plaza”, to denote disbelief (Arts.16, 18); other Israeli sites are described as the “so called Liba” and “so called Kedem Center.” (Art. 16)

  • The resolution describes the sacred Jewish sites of the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem and Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs (revered as the burial place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) as “two Palestinian sites.” The text “deeply regrets” Israel’s refusal to remove these sites from its national heritage list.

  • The resolution removes the April text’s wild conspiracy charge that Israel was “planting Jewish fake graves” (Art. 14 of April 2016 resolution) in Muslim cemeteries.

  • A major story today is the decision of France to abstain. With UNESCO based in Paris, the French government’s strategy has traditionally been to distinguish itself as a leading figure in the Arab-led anti-Israel bloc. In 2011, France aggressively lobbied against the U.S. and Israel for UNESCO to admit “Palestine” as a member, a catastrophic decision that crippled UNESCO’s finances as Washington cut funding. In 2012, French voting was more anti-Israel than even the regimes of Syria, Russia and Venezuela. It would seem, however, that the outrage generated from its April support for such a rabid text prompted French leaders to express regret, influencing today’s policy virage.

 

“It was a victory for terrorism.”

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, on the #UNESCO #Jerusalem vote | TV interview on i24News:

and more

 

UN bias

“The Arab States do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” – Alexander Galloway, director of UNRWA in Jordan, 1952

Unfortunately UNESCO is only the latest example about UN bias against Israel. Despite being the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel routinely faces more criticism and condemnation at the United Nations than any other country, including those that systematically kill their citizens or deny them the most basic of human rights. Even today, both the General Assembly and Security Council continue to pass one-sided resolutions that single out and condemn the Jewish State. Additionally, an overwhelmingly powerful bloc led by the Arab nations promotes a narrow and slanderous agenda meant to isolate Israel that has met little resistance.

emergencyssxfoiIsrael was the only country in the world singled out as a violator of “health rights” during the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly in May 2015. Although Israeli hospitals provide health care for injured Syrians and Palestinians daily, the WHO decided to turn a blind eye to health crises in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, or North Korea, and instead single out Israel as a major violator of health rights.

The UNHRC (UN Human rights agency) closed their month-long session on March 24, 2016, by proclaiming Israel the most egregious violator of human rights in the world: issuing five council resolutions on Israel and only one each on the human rights situations in Syria, North Korea, and Iran. Frequent human rights violators such as Saudi Arabia and China were not mentioned in a single resolution. The most egregious example of anti-Israel bias at the UNHRC is the yearly discussion of agenda item 7. Agenda item 7 mandates that at each UNHRC session, Israel’s record of human rights must be debated. No other country in the world has a yearly reoccuring agenda item dedicated to it.

The best example about UN bias might be UNRWA;  some background about this in appendix below.

In his speech to open the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2006, then-Secretary General Kofi Anan admitted that Israel is often unfairly judged by the international body and its various organizations. “On one side, supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged by standards that are not applied to its enemies,” Annan said. “And too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies.” (Source: Jewish Virtual Library )

14520623_10153783355346561_7679985798303229245_n


Appendix: UNRWA – the never-ending mission

 

At least two aspects explain why there are still Palestinian refugees after more than six decades:

  • First is Arab leaders’ recalcitrance to accept their brethren and refusing to absorb the Palestinian refugees.
  • Second the United Nations created a separate agency – UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – with unique principles and criteria.

Between 1930 to today, we probably have 60 million+ people around the world that have seen forced transfer from their homes as a result of conflict, many of these at the hands of terribly egregious aggressors. One agency, the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) has handled nearly all of these refugees. Its goal is to as quickly as possible resettle these refugees in new places, and move on to the next disaster unfolding.

IsrRef912a__md07b28b

Related to the Israeli-Arab conflict. Between 1948 and 1967, some 800,000 Palestinian Arabs displaced and 800,000 Jews displaced out of Arab countries. From the start, the Palestinians were dealt with differently than all other refugees. While all others came under the administration of a series of global organizations that eventually became the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Palestinians received their own relief organization: the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). The entire set of criteria for qualifying as a Palestinian refugee was (and still is) significantly different than the criteria applicable to all others. While the UNHCR worked to provide durable solutions for refugees under its administration, Arab leaders intentionally kept the Palestinians in stateless limbo by refusing to accept any solution that did not involve than the complete destruction of the State of Israel.

According UNRWA criteria the refugee status is given not only to the original refugees whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost their homes as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict AND their descendants in the male line. So it isn’t just the first generation that is entitled to this aid, as is the norm for all other refugees the United Nations helps, now the fifth generation is also entitled.

In 2014, the U.S. State Department gave UNRWA $400 million, the European Union gave $139 million, and the United Kingdom gave $95 million. The agency’s teachers, principals and other staff are spreading racial hatred, anti-Semitism and support for terrorism, as documented in three recent reports by UN Watch, the latest on Nov. 30, 2015, which have identified more than 30 individual perpetrators. While UNRWA claims to have temporarily suspended employees — whom it refuses to name — minimal accountability requires that those who poison the minds of children be permanently removed from their posts. UNRWA has also failed to even condemn any of the perpetrators, and has been completely silent on the matter in its media statements and on its website.

Although UNRWA was established in 1948 as a temporary institution, more than six decades on it still exists, larger than eve. Indeed UNRWA is now the UN’s largest entity with over 30,000 employees, it makes UNRWA “too big to fail,”. Through November 2003, 101 of the 681 UN resolutions on the Middle East conflict referred directly to Palestinian refugees. Not one mentioned the Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

One motivation to agency’s refugee definations might be economic aspect. An article ”Palestinians Refugees Forever” in Haaretz gives following background:

UNRWA states that the Palestinians are occupied – indefinitely. UNRWA has financial and political interests in maintaining this fiction: as long as the Palestinians are refugees, UNRWA is in business. Of the 30,000 people that UNRWA employs, the vast majority are Palestinian: UNRWA is the largest single employer of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Contrast this to the UN High Commission for Refugees, that only employs 5-6,000 people globally, and which focuses far more clearly on resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and building new lives, and not on maintaining services that prop up the status quo. (Source Haaretz )

coexist


Herzog’s Plan: Security Barrier Around the Major Settlement Blocs of West Bank

January 26, 2016

‘I wish to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.’ (Isaac Herzog )

Nimetön (81)The failure to reach an agreement to Israel-Palestine conflict during last two decades has destroyed the belief within the respective societies that an agreement is possible in the foreseeable future. With this history the only conclusion to solve Israel-Palestine conflict is to find a new approach to the peace process. Recently Israeli Left has done exactly that.

On January 2016, at the annual Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, the leader of Israel’s opposition and head of the Zionist Union party [a centre-left political alliance in Israel, established in December 2014 by the Israeli Labor Party and Hatnuah], Isaac Herzog, unveiled an alternative approach to the issue of Israel’s nearly 49-year old presence in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The main points of Herzog’s plan, as reported in the Israeli media, are these:

  • While there is no current possibility for a two-state solution, Israel will not annul the possibility either diplomatically or geographically for the future
  • Hamas will face “harsh” measures for any attacks from Gaza, including targeting their leaders, and eliminating their ability to communicate over television and internet.
  • Israel will complete the security barrier around the major settlement blocs. “We will be here and you, Palestinians, will be there,” Herzog said. “Live your lives, improve your economy, create employment. The blocs under Israeli sovereignty will be part of the permanent solution. They will serve as recipients of settlers from outside the major blocs.”
  • The barrier through Jerusalem will cut off Palestinian villages from the city. The Defense Ministry would be charged with granting permits to Palestinians who wish to enter the city to work.
  • Palestinians would have full civil authority, but not security authority in the West Bank. This would, presumably, remove the regime of building permits in many Palestinian areas, but the Israeli military will remain present throughout the entire West Bank.
  • Finally, Israel would help convene a regional security conference with “moderate” Arab states (like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for example) to deal with ISIL and other regional security issues, presumably including Iran.

The opposition leader noted that he had warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that a third intifada was imminent.

“I did not find Netanyahu to be a partner to my demands, nor was Abbas a partner. This is how we got to the state of insecurity in which Israel’s residents now find themselves. Both leaders don’t have the leadership skills, the power or courage to make painful compromises…. It’s a mirror image of two leaders on either side of a barrier, two frightened and panicking leaders who only want to remain in power, two leaders who are paralyzed by fear.”

Source: Haaretz

Politically, the idea “us here, them there” harkens back to Yitzhak Rabin, who used that as a campaign slogan in 1992. Later former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed a similar unilateral separation in the West Bank. Herzog’s plan seems likely to garner support among the centrist, center-left and even parts of the center-right Israeli voter base. However there is also opposing voices in Labor party. According The Jerusalem Post Labor’s secretary-general, MK Hilik Bar, issued surprisingly fierce criticism of his party head, Isaac Herzog, in an audio tape revealed Tuesday evening [26th Jan 2016] by Channel 2. Bar condemns Herzog for telling French President Francois Hollande last week that attempts to broker a two-state solution were currently unrealistic. He told that if he was not secretary-general of the party, he would have attacked Herzog “10 times as hard” as MK Shelly Yacimovich earlier – and less politely. “What is this unnecessary, dangerous and delusional statement?” asks Bar. From her part Yacimovich criticizes Herzog for abandoning diplomacy with the Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict roadmaps to peace

From my perspective a new framework is needed, even if some apparent negotiations start the outcome probably will be a placebo to status quo.  Before Herzog’s plan I referred two new leftist initiatives in my article Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict  – ‘it’s in our hands’ by Omer Bar-Lev, an MK for the Zionist Union and ‘Constructive unilateralism’ by Blue White Future, leftist think tank – which both in my opinion are steps forward and also to the right direction as well including required new roadmap for better future. A quote from Omer Bar-Lev, an MK for the Zionist Union. He concludes:

If Israel wants to be a democratic state, which it does, then it has to either grant them full citizenship rights, which will subsequently destroy Zionism (one state for two nations) or separate from the Palestinians (two states for two nations). In that case, Israel can keep the Zionist spirit. Then, it is for the Palestinians to decide to create their Palestinian State, which is in their interests and they will make their own decisions.

If peace negotiations don’t start, they fail again or regional solutions can’t be realized this time so from my viewpoint Israel could independently implement what I have called a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, where Israel would annex main settlements from West-bank inside the security fence and return to negotiations about other than so solved border issue when both parties feel need to make a long term deal. This solution in my opinion is the best way forward and it even might be possible to implement. If unilateral solutions are made in the framework of constructive unilateralism so this approach might be the right roadmap towards more permanent two-state solution. Not so bad option compared status quo anyway from my perspective.  ( More in Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict )

Jerusalem-map-march-2010-copy-784x1024un%20ocha%20barrier%20map2

 

 


How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

December 3, 2015

enLogoOil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it reach Israel? 

See more at:

How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

By Al-Araby al-Jadeed staff

Date of publication: 26 November, 2015 

 

c79f308b-7a1f-4e1d-88d5-0f3ce1654949

 


War of Maps: Israel vs Palestine

November 3, 2015

ISRvsPAL Maps can be a powerful tool in geopolitics and information war for example by de-legitimising some country or even wiping its existence from schoolbooks; at least conflicting maps can lead to confusion about situation on the ground, mistaken map can even create a security risk.

Few opposite examples related to Israeli-Palestinian conflict may clarify this “map-war”.

School-atlas

HarperCollins, the world’s leading book publisher produced and sold maps of the Middle east intentionally omitting Israel. The Tablet’s story about the the Middle East Atlas, which shows Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, was widely reported and caused an international outcry. Collins Middle East Atlases were sold to English-speaking schools in the Muslim-majority Gulf, and publicity about their existence has embarrassed the publishing giant. After the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said it was harmful to peace efforts in the Middle East, HarperCollins withdrew their atlas from sale. Earler, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, had told The Tablet that including Israel in the Middle East Atlas would have been “unacceptable” to its customers in the Gulf and that the amendment incorporated “local preferences”. At the time, Bishop Declan Lang, chairman of the Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, told The Tablet: “The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence.” (Source: The Tablet )

atlasIn a statement on its Facebook page, HarperCollins said: “HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused.”

 

Flight maps

Air France has apologized for failing to include Israel or its major cities on its in-flight map. According Arutz Sheva Russia Today reported on Summer 2015 that Israeli activists had pointed out that Air France failed to include Israel while marking Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The issue with the map, which passengers of Air France flights can use to track progress or just check geography, was noticed by pro-Israel group Stand With Us. “Apparently, Air France removed Israel/Tel Aviv from their flight tracker map, despite the fact Tel Aviv is one of their official destinations. Additionally, they now note ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’ despite the fact neither of these are destinations of Air France,” the group said in a Facebook post, according to the Russia Today report. (Source: Arutz Sheva )

ShowImage (4)

In a letter to Air France chairman and CEO, Frédéric Gagey, the Simon Wiesenthal Center director for international Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, “French members of our center have sent us reportedly captured shots from the English and French language of an Air France flight-path, taken last week between New York and Paris, and the locations ‘Israel’ and ‘Tel Aviv’ are glaringly absent.”The letter noted that, “We are asked whether Air France has succumbed to the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State by literally wiping it off the map?” Air France issued an apology, saying they “deeply regret this incident, due to a map scale and display problem which is currently being resolved.” (Source: JPost )

raj2 (2)According The Times of Israel [August 19, 2015] Israel is not on Royal Jordanian’s map, Photo below was taken of the on-board map on a Royal Jordanian flight from New York to Amman in the past week. Royal Jordanian, the country’s national carrier, flies a regular route from Tel Aviv to Amman, a particularly popular option for Israelis wishing to connect with RJ flights to the USA and elsewhere. 

Since 1994, Jordan has had a peace treaty with Israel. While the peace has been somewhat cool on raj1a people-to-people level, Israel maintains a high degree of quiet co-operation with the Hashemite monarchy and its security services. Indeed, Israel has always considered Jordan to be a strategic buffer zone on its eastern flank and its stability is of vital strategic importance. Emails to both Royal Jordanian’s public relations department and the press office of One World have, as yet, gone unanswered so finding out if there is an official policy on this has proven difficult. (Source: The Times of Israel )

In 2009, British Midland International Airlines, a subset of British Airways, apologized for omitting Israel from their in-flight maps, also attributed to a technical error.

Related to travel but not exactly to maps The US Department of Transportation was preparing in January 2015 legal action against Kuwait Airways should it refuse to end its practice of discriminating against Israeli passengers flying to and from the United States (e.g. one Israeli-American was denied by the airline a ticket from New York to London in 2013).

Culinary map

Dutch restaurant owners cited their gastronomical focus in explaining why they had replaced Israel with Palestine in a map of the Middle East they had printed. The owners of Le Souq, a restaurant based in Rotterdam that specializes in food from the Middle East, offered the explanation after a local politician criticized their removal of Israel and replacement with Palestine in the restaurant’s signature place mat, which features a map of the Middle East. “A new country in the Middle East? In Rotterdam’s market hall they are straightforward about Israel’s position. Bizarre,” Jan Hutten, a regional chairman of the center-right Christian Democratic Appeal party, wrote on Twitter earlier this week. He also included a picture of the controversial place mat.

In response, the owners of the Le Souq restaurant that had the place mat printed, wrote in a statement that they “only deal with the tastes of the Middle East.” Among those tastes, owner Nadia Afkir told the Algemeen Dagblad daily Wednesday, “is the ancient Palestinian kitchen, the producer of the delicious maglubi and the kunefe dishes that we are passionate about.” The place mat, she added, “names countries producing the dishes and products (Source: JPost )

Maps in news

In 17th Oct., 2015 MSNBC aired following program using false maps:

1946 map is lie: By the early 1940s Jews owned about one third of private land in Palestine and Arabs about two-thirds. The vast majority of the total land, however, belonged to the government, meaning that when the state of Israel was established, it became legally Israel’s. Of course, before 1948 the word “Palestinian” more often than not referred to Palestinian Jews, not Palestinian Arabs. For example, the Palestine exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair was entirely Jewish, the Palestine Orchestra was entirely Jewish, the Palestine soccer team was almost entirely Jewish, and so forth. This map is not the territories … the map fails to distinguish between land that is owned by Jews or Palestinians, and land that is controlled by Jewish or Palestinian political entities. Take the vast triangular tract of land at the south of the map. That’s the Negev desert. Apart from a few small oases, kibbutzes and towns, it’s empty wasteland; it isn’t owned by anyone. It represents almost half of the territory of Israel/Palestine.

Map-That-Lies-Annotated-e14451953083881947-1967 maps: Israel accepted the partition plan 1947 and the Arabs did not, so as a result Israel in 1949 looked like it does in map 3. Map 3 is still a lie, however, because in no way was the green land “Palestinian” at that time. Gaza was administered by Egypt and the West Bank annexed by Jordan. The map needs to distinguish four categories of land: land owned by Jews under Israeli political control; land owned by Jews but under Palestinian political control; land owned by Palestinians but under Israeli political control; and land owned by Palestinians under Palestinian political control. (More at: Newsbusters )

On 19th Oct. 2015 MSNBC apologized for using “not factually accurate” maps in a segment discussing the violence that has erupted across Israel.

Tourism map

discover-palestine-map-ad-tourismIn 2011 British advertising authorities banned the Palestinian Mission to the U.K. from showing a map of Israel on its website that implies the entire country is Palestine. The ban came from Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates ads for taste and prohibits misleading promotions. The map in question was part of the Palestinian tourism outreach campaign. Titled “Discover Palestine,” it showed the red, green and black Palestinian national colors covering the entire area of Israel, Gaza and the Occupied Territories. Clicking on the map linked visitors to tourist information about various cities:

The other side

DSCN0379On the other side some maps from Israel are not factually accurate either or at least they give the wrong impression about situation on the ground.

During my last visit in Israel on Summer 2015 I got ‘official’ touring map of Israel. The map is quite good detailed but one hardly can see any boundaries in Judea & Samaria (aka West-Bank). Especially during clashes and violence I think that it would be appropriate to show clearly A, B and C Zone boundaries for security reasons as different authorities are responsible about security in different zones.

One other example from Israel: One of the leading global luxery travel operators Travcoa – part of TUI Group – is selling its “Mystical Israel” 12 days luxery tour with map below where one can not find Palestine or even Gaza.

LARGE

One more example from Sweden, a country wich decided to regognize Palestinian state. In Swedish based Railway bulletin I saw following map included to news related to new railway in Israel.

88109_15photoplannedrailroadtoeilat

Bottom line

One can understand that maps can be used as part of propaganda by different interest groups. Maps can be printed to t-shirts, posters, mugs etc to express strong provocative view of one party, they can be modified to send clear message and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with that.  

Palestinian terrorist group symbols that have a map of Israel in their logo.

Palestinian terrorist group symbols that have a map of Israel in their logo.

However examples earlier in this article are implemented by normal private companies or public organizations which primary aim is to provide profits to owners so the unintended consequences of their maps can be propagandist too.

disappearing_palestine
[Article War of Maps: Israel vs Palestine first appeared in Conflicts By Ari Rusila]


Netanyahu, Mufti and Holocaust

October 25, 2015

In October 20th 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dropped a clanger in his speech to delegates at the 37th World Zionist Congress. According to Netanyahu, the Fuhrer changed his mind at the insistence of the Palestinian Arab leader at the time, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who argued that the expulsion of the Jews would result in their arrival en masse to Palestine, which at the time was under British Mandatory rule; instead, according to Netanyahu, al-Husseini told Hitler to “burn them.”

Hitler-hosts-the-Mufti-792x543

Hitler hosts the Mufti on Nov. 1941 in Berlin

The statement of PM Netanyahu controversially embraced the theory that al-Husseini bore responsibility for the Holocaust as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem inspired Hitler to initiate the “final solution” to murder the Jews of Europe while Hitler’s original intentions were solely to expel the Jews. PM Netanyahu’s statement seems not be based on facts. Sure the meeting between Adolf Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, took place on November 28, 1941, at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin; however in official German record of that meeting the text that Netanyahu speaks of does not appear. (Source: Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, Series D, Vol XIII, London, 1964.) A quote:

The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English, the Jews and the Communists.

The Fuhrer replied that Germany’s fundamental attitude on these questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests. Germany was resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time to direct a similar appeal to non-European nations as well.

Anyway in the entire text there is not a single reference to ‘Jew burning’ as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in his speech on 20th Oct. 2015.

From expelling to Holocaust

HaavaraThere is some evidence that the first plan of Hitler and Nazi regime was expulsion of the Jews from Germany and not to execute them. The transfer agreement in 1933 (“Ha’avara Agreement” in Hebrew) between Zionist organizations and Nazi Germany was a pact for the transfer of some 60,000 Jews and their assets to Palestine. So Nazi regime promoted the emigration of German Jews to Palestine, especially in 1933–1935. The deal with the Jewish Agency for Palestine that allowed it to confiscate the property of Jewish emigrants, but partially compensate them from the proceeds of additional German goods exported to Palestine. Among the benefits for Nazi Germany were ridding itself of some it considered dangerous enemies and increasing export. Indeed ‘The Transfer Agreement’ was the most far-reaching example of cooperation between Hitler’s Germany and international Zionism. Through this pact, Hitler’s Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine. The Mufti would begin diplomatic contacts with the Nazis in the middle of 1937, four years after the Nazi-ZIonist co-operation had started.

One example of previous policy before ‘Final Solution’ was sc. ‘Madagascar Plan’ (drafted from May to August 1940) – Hitler’s intention to expel the European Jews to Madagascar, the plan was predicated upon the defeat of Great Britain, for without open seaways and the British merchant marine available for transport, it was obviously unwork.

Nimetön (53)Haj Amin al-Husseini (who initially opposed the Palestinian peasant revolt of 1936 against Zionist colonization) sought relations with the Nazis to convince them to halt their support for Jewish immigration to Palestine, which they had promoted through the Transfer Agreement with the Zionists in 1933. His ties with the Nazis became the subject of worldwide publicity after the Israeli capture of Adolf Eichmann and during the latter’s trial in Israel. One of Eichmann’s subordinates, Dieter Wisliceny, gave evidence that Haj Amin had used his influence in Berlin to block German consideration of certain proposed exchanges and ransom deals that would have allowed groups of Jews to leave Axis territory and reach Palestine.

Final Solution?

Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, forged a pact with Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941, one week before the Wannasee conference, originally scheduled for December 7, 1941, yet was postponed by one month, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor on that very day. However it is the general view among historians that decisions or at least preparations related to ‘Final Solution’ were going on well before meeting between Mufti and Hitler. The chief historian of the Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation, Education and Commemoration in Jerusalem, Dina Porat, told the Israeli news Web site Ynet that Netanyahu’s statements were factually incorrect the idea .You cannot say that it was the mufti who gave Hitler to kill or burn Jews,” she said. “It’s not true. Their meeting occurred after a series of events that point to this.”

By the time al-Husseini met with Hitler the extermination was under way. The Einsatzgruppen were in operation and extermination camps were under construction. Also in the summer of 1941, the construction of the Vernichtungslager – the annihilation camp, was launched. Two civilians from Hamburg came to Auschwitz that summer to teach the staff how to handle Zyklon B, and in September, in the Block 11, the first gassings were carried out on 250 patients from the hospital and on 600 Russian prisoners of war, probably ‘Communists’ and Jews. In Babi Yar in September 1941, two months before the Mufti and Hitler met,. 33,771 Jews were murdered. Babi Yar was the ravine outside the Ukrainian capital of Kiev where the mass killing of Jews by German troops and local collaborators took place Sometime during that eventful summer of 1941, perhaps even as early as May, Himmler in privacy had informed his inside circle, ‘that the Führer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish Question,’ and that ‘we, the SS, must carry out the order.’ Also In the late summer of 1941, addressing the assembled men of the Einsatzkommandos at Nikolayev, Himmler ‘repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his alone, and the Führer’s.’

Christopher Browning, an eminent Holocaust historian at the University of North Carolina, wrote in a 2003 essay – “Initiating the Final Solution: The Fateful Months of September–October 1941” . According Browning the Final Solution was made even months before Hitler’s November 28 meeting with al-Husseini. A quote:

In the fateful months of September/October 1941, the goal of Nazi Jewish policy fundamentally changed from a vision of expulsion and decimation to one of total and systematic extermination. Many decisions were still to be taken concerning how, when, at what rate, in what sequence, and with what temporary exemptions. But the “basic decisions” and “total clarity” sought by Höppner [Rolf-Heinz Höppner, the chief ethnic-cleanser in the Warthegau, expressed his frustration in his memorandum] in early September were now there. Those working on the Jewish question were no longer in doubt about what “working toward the Führer” meant and what was expected of them. This new vision of total eradication—to be carried out in “reception camps in the east” through “special measures” such as Brack’s “gassing apparatuses” and encompassing even the Jewish women and children of Belgrade and the Spanish Jews in France—differed fundamentally from the old vision. Among the many decisions taken in the course of the evolution of Nazi Jewish policy, in my opinion, this was the single most important one. The watershed between previous policies and the Final Solution had been crossed.

Handschar-13th-SS-Division-EmblemDuring WWII there was for murderous foreign antisemites, such as the dictatorial Croat Ante Pavelic, The Pope or the Romanian Ion Antonescu, as well as the Mufti, in Europe, however no serious historian would claim any of them influenced Hitler’s decision to murder Europe’s Jews as these men were remote from the decision-making inner circles of the Third Reich. Nazi murderousness towards the Jews burst onto German and Austrian streets during Kristallnacht in November 1938, while its keener SS Jew-killers got ahead of themselves from day one of the September 1939 invasion of Poland. Well before Mufti-Hitler meeting November 1941 and Wannasee December 1941 there had been Hitler’s “prophetic” speech on January 30 of that year when he said that the outbreak of a world war would result “in the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe”.

The view of Netanyahu might be supported by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz and Barry Rubin two scholars at an Israeli research center, in their book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East:

After the meeting… Hitler made a fifth decision that would end millions of lives. He ordered [SS second-in-command Reinhard] Heydrich to organize a conference within ten days to prepare the “final solution to the Jewish question.” Thus, Hitler made his key decision to start the genocide with al-Husseini’s anti-Jewish rhetoric and insistence on wiping out the Jews fresh in his ears.

The evidence for this theory is however almost non-existing. Even if the mufti wanted the Final Solution to be expanded, he wasn’t the one who came up with the idea.

The role of Mufti

Appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British in 1921, Haj Amin al-Husseini (1893 – 1974) was the most prominent Arab figure in Palestine during the Mandatory period. Fearful that increased Jewish immigration to Palestine would damage Arab standing in the area, the mufti engineered the bloody riots against Jewish settlement in 1929 and 1936. There is broad agreement that the Mufti, who helped instigate Arab pogroms against Jews in the holy land in the 1920s, collaborated with the Nazis as part of his virulent opposition to Zionism. Historians differ, however, on the significance of his relationships with Nazi leaders and the meeting with Hitler that Mr. Netanyahu described. The mufti’s promotion of genocide over mass deportation of Europe’s Jews was discussed in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, but he was never prosecuted and died in 1974.

bec76459b7593f3463098dd99391cc7a

A quote from Wikipedia:

His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. During World War II he collaborated with both Italy and Germany by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At war’s end, he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution. In 1933, within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the German Consul-General in Palestine, Heinrich Wolff, sent a telegram to Berlin reporting al-Husseini’s belief that Palestinian Muslims were enthusiastic about the new regime and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region.

The affidavit of one of Eichmann’s subordinates, SS Hampsturmfuerer Dieter Wisliceny, who appeared as a witness for the Nuremberg prosecution, speaks for itself (Source: Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd ):

The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan…According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded, He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with who had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures…

David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research and Israel Resource News Agency, in Jerusalem circulated his 2012 speech on the Mufti’s WW II activities:

“No one denies the Mufti’s Arabic language radio broadcasts, his recruitment of the Islamic SS unit, and his active involvement in SS round ups of Jews in Yugosolvia. And there is no doubt that Mufti was aware of the Final Solution, fully supported it, and sought to extend it to the Arab world. In 1961, when Eichmann was brought to justice in Jerusalem, Israel’s then foreign minister, Golda Meir, called for the Mossad to apprehend the Mufti and to sit him alongside Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem.”

Nimetön (51)Related to Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini’s role in the extermination of European Jewry, veteran journalist Haviv Kanaan has reviewed the senior Muslim clergyman’s actions in 1942, when the Jewish community in then-British Mandate Palestine was preparing for the possibility of a Nazi invasion. Kanaan said that in 1968 he met with Faiz Bay Idrisi, a senior Arab officer in the Mandate Police, who spoke of al-Husseini’s intention to build a crematorium in the northwest Samarian hills. Idrisi told Kanaan at the time, recalling how in case of a German invasion “Haj Amin Husseini was gearing to enter Jerusalem at the head of the Muslim Arab Legion squadron he’d created for the Third Reich. The mufti’s plan was to build a huge Auschwitz-like crematorium in the Dotan Valley, near Nablus, to which Jews from Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and North Africa would be imprisoned and exterminated, just like the Jews in the death camps in Europe.” (Source: Israel Hayom )

Bottom line

After PM Netanyahu’s speech the condemnations have come fast and furious for reasons large and small, from trivializing the Holocaust and giving succor to Holocaust deniers, to absolving Hitler from even a single ounce of the blame that he deserves, to distorting history by overstating the Mufti’s role (even if he would have carried out the Holocaust if given the chance).

Probably it was not Netanyahu’s intention in his poorly conceived speech to trivialize the Holocaust or take the blame for it away from Hitler, but that was anyway the outcome. In getting his history wrong – compared to widely accepted facts – and overstating the role of the Mufti and linking Palestinian accusations about the Temple Mount to the Holocaust, Netanyahu makes it seem as if his grip on reality is lost. Sure there is no doubt that Mufti was aware of the Final Solution, fully supported it, and sought to extend it to the Arab world, sure al-Husseini was a supporter of the Holocaust. But he did not instigate it? No, it was Adolf Hitler.

Related articles:

Vatican’s role in holocaust in my earlier articles

 


%d bloggers like this: