Monday, October 22, 2018

  • Monday, October 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Palestinian Media Watch:

A preacher on official PA TV taught that Hitler was one of a series of people sent by Allah throughout history to punish the Jews because of their evil behavior, and to teach them a lesson. However, the preacher taught in Friday's sermon, in spite of all these punishments the Jews "have not learned from the events of history," and continue their evil ways.

The Jews deserve their punishment, he assured his listeners. Their mentality is one of "arrogance... superiority over other people... seclusion." Jews are "planning and systematically working to incite wars and strife in the entire world." Because of this behavior the Jews have been punished. First Allah sent the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the First Temple, then he sent the Roman Titus to destroy the Second Temple, and then Hitler and the kings of Europe, and still the Jews did not learn their lesson:

"They didn't learn from what Hitler did to them, and the kings of Europe, and Spain - they didn't learn."
[Official PA TV, Oct. 19, 2018]

Seven times in this short excerpt (see below) the unidentified preacher repeated and emphasized his antisemitic message that Jews refuse to learn from Allah's punishments:

"They didn't learn. They have continued to behave the same way... Those [Jews] have not learned from the events of history."

The preacher opened his condemnation of the Jews citing a verse from the Quran to prove his point that the Jews' suffering is not coincidental but is a punishment from Allah because of their bad behavior. He quoted a verse saying that Allah's punishment can be seen "throughout the earth":

"Proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied." [Quran 3:137, Sahih International]
Let's follow this logic.

If this is true, then Allah must really hate Palestinians and Arabs. After all, he punished the Palestinians with the "Nakba" which we are told is as bad as the Holocaust. By their own account, they live in open-air prisons, or as third and fourth generation refugees, in a stateless limbo.

And yet they haven't learned their lesson.

On the other hand, Jordan and Egypt, who both lost wars to Israel thanks to Allah, did learn their lesson and now they have peace treaties. Allah has rewarded them with no more wars, and Israel even assists them with getting gas and water.

Also, Allah has rewarded the Jews with a state of their own. He rewarded the Jews with victories in 1948, 1967 and (yes, Egypt) 1973. The borders with Egypt and Lebanon and Syria are much quieter than they were in decades past.

That seems to indicate that Allah rather likes the Jews and dislikes Palestinians and others who try to destroy the Jewish state, doesn't it?

Yet, somehow, Israel's enemies don't usually learn their lesson.

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  • Monday, October 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
A prominent Islamic Jihad activist has been on his third hunger strike for the past 50 days. On Sunday he is said to have vomited up blood.

Even Palestinian media is downplaying this story.

It was only a couple of years ago that hunger strikes by prisoners were huge, front page news in Palestinian media for weeks at a time.

Khader Adnan is an Islamic Jihad leader whose 2012 hunger strike was a cause celebre, with his face plastered over posters and his "heroic" story published in pan-Arab and Western media. People made political cartoons about him. Masses rallied for him.

His 2014 hunger strike did not receive nearly as much publicity.

Adnan's current hunger strike is so under the radar that no one has even updated his Wikipedia page. Islamic Jihad publications will put in an article about him pretty often but Palestinian media as a whole and Arab media altogether are all but ignoring this hunger strike.

The Arab world, and even Palestinians, are getting sick and tired of publicity stunts that give them nothing.

Maybe one day someone will have the bright idea that perhaps negotiating with Israel and being willing to give concessions for peace might be the best thing for Palestinian Arabs.

That day is still very far away.

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  • Monday, October 22, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Palestine Times reports that a car owned by a Jew who lives in the Kfar HaShiloah (Silwan) neighborhood was attacked by Arab youths with a Molotov cocktail last night.

These sorts of attacks happen literally every day, and they are so prevalent that no one reports them.

The latest Shin Bet statistics shows that in September there were 61 firebomb attacks, eight IEDs (including improvised grenades and pipe bombs), three stabbings, one shooting and seven cases of  arson in Jerusalem and the territories.

It is a little insane that 80 major attacks a month, all with deadly potential, get so little media coverage.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

  • Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Egypt Independent:

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will no longer be honoring French film director Claude Lelouch during the festival’s 40th edition, which runs from November 20 to 29.

The CIFF came under harsh criticism by artists and intellectuals who rejected the festival’s recognition of Lelouch, as said he had cooperated with the Israeli army during its occupation to Lebanon.

They also said that the director was previously honored by an Israeli university.

Around 150 people signed a document demanding the CIFF to back down on its plan to award Lelouch, threatening to boycott the festival in case the CIFF didn’t respond to their demands, which comes in support for the Palestinian case and a rejection to celebrating artists who cooperated with Israel.

President of CIFF Mohamed Hefzy told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he would issue an official statement clarifying the reasons behind the decision in canceling Lelouch’s honoring.
Arabic media shows what happened behind the scenes, and it is clear that Lelouch was criticized by being Jewish as much as being pro-Israel.

Immediately after the announcement of the honor to Lelouch, a number of filmmakers objected to the presence of the French director in Cairo and to celebrate it, saying that not only is he a Jew, but also a supporter of Israel's political positions. He said he loved Israel.

Festival president Mohamed Hafez defended Lelouche in a statement last Tuesday. he noted hat many of the world's filmmakers are Jews, many are sympathetic to Israel. He said that Lelouch he did not have a hostile attitude to Arabs or peace. "Not every director or artist who has visited Israel considers himself an enemy of the Arabs. If we acted in this way, we would end up in isolation and only addressing ourselves, especially since Claude Lelouche loves Egypt and welcomed the honor and wants to attend the Cairo Festival," Hafez said.

The pressure mounted though and very quickly the Supreme Advisory Committee of the Cairo International Film Festival issued a statement on Wednesday urging anyone to provide any proof whatspever that would prove that Lelouch was a Zionist or was against Palestinian or Arab rights. They pretty much begged for a reason to turn down the honor, knowing that they didn't have enough, and the prestige of the festival was on the line.

Meanwhile the antisemitic filmmakers and "intellectuals" issued another statement Wednesday evening, announcing their objection to this honor. They also declared their rejection of all forms of "normalization" with Israel "or support for anyone who supports the brutal Zionist enemy until the Arab lands are liberated."

The film festival organizers, meanwhile, found the "smoking gun" evidence that they were seeking giving them cover for rescinding the honor. In 1990, Lelouche visited Israel along with 250 Russian Jewish immigrants and 250 French donors to the Keren Or organization that helps kids with multiple disabilities. During that visit he, along with violinist Ivry Gitlis did "parachute training" with the IDF, and were captured in this picture while clowning around.

That was the excuse that the festival organizers were looking for. On Thursday night, the news was leaked that the honor was canceled.

It is clear that Lelouche's Judaism was the main reason for the initial complaints. After all, Sylvester Stallone - who is a supporter of Israel - was honored at a different Egyptian film festival recently without any objection.

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From Ian:

Farrakhan’s termite problem
How long, we wonder, did it take for Farrakhan to come up with that quip, about his not being an anti-Semite, but rather “anti-termite.”

Words to choke on, you would think.

Lucky for him, had he indeed choked, the Heimlich Maneuver would have saved him, as it has already saved millions around the world, thanks to Jewish scientist Henry Heimlich.

But no thanks from Farrakhan and the multitudes who think like Farrakhan…and who know not the debt they owe to such “termites” for their longevity.

Or maybe we can chalk it up to willful ignorance. They know, but would rather ignore the laboratory work that keeps them ticking.

Asking them to appreciate the enormous Jewish contribution to medical science, why that would be asking for an end to the disease of anti-Semitism.

As we can see, for that, even our finest minds have yet to find a cure.

Doctors for mind and body, Freud and Salk, never asked for gratitude. Jewish scientists just get back to work.

It is the kind of work that surely keeps Farrakhan going. He is 85 years-old, this leader of the Nation of Islam, and he seems healthy enough. Quite vigorous, in fact.

We wonder what ailments and diseases would have cut him short, if not for medicines that were developed by Jewish doctors against syphilis, polio, cholera, diphtheria and smallpox.
PMW: PA TV: Israel stole the Palestinian falafel and hummus along with the rest of the Palestinian heritage
One of the more flavorful accusations against Israel by the Palestinian Authority is that Israel has "stolen the falafel and the hummus." This "theft," according to official PA TV, is part of a "brutal attack" against the entire "Palestinian heritage":
Official PA TV reporter: "We are talking about a brutal attack against the Palestinian heritage in general, including Palestinian foods. There has been theft of the Palestinian falafel, the Palestinian hummus, and some popular foods by the occupation. Holding [food] festivals like these is essential in order to preserve the heritage and also the Palestinian foods." [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Oct. 3, 2018]

This particular accusation is part of the overall PA lie that there is no Jewish history anywhere in the Land of Israel in general and in Jerusalem in particular. The PA falsely claims that everything in the land testifies to a "Palestinian history," and to justify this goes to great lengths to falsify such a Palestinian history. The accusation that Israel has "stolen" the falafel and the hummus, which is Middle Eastern in its origin, is part of the PA's denial of the existence of anything that can be associated with Jewish or Israeli history, and at the same time presenting everything as part of "Palestinian history."

Hamas rejects Egyptian demand to stop Gaza border protests
Hamas has rejected an Egyptian request to halt the weekly demonstrations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, Palestinian sources said on Saturday.

The sources said the Egyptian intelligence officials who met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City last Thursday also demanded that the protesters stay at least 500 meters away from the border. However, Hamas also rejected this demand, the sources told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

But it did appear to have called for restrained action at Friday’s weekly demonstration, which left the IDF and Hamas in a tense standoff, but failed to ignite a major escalation.

The weekend events were expected to have a significant impact on whether Israel would launch a military operation in Gaza. But the low level of activity kept the situation’s status quo.

On Friday, 10,000 Palestinians again demonstrated near the border, burning tires and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at IDF troops. There were three attempted infiltrations, in which Palestinians crossed into Israel and then went back to Gaza, the IDF said.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said approximately 130 Palestinians were injured by gunfire and tear-gas inhalation.

  • Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
I mentioned last week that today was the deadline for Jordan to decide not to renew Israel's 25 year rights to land in the Naharayim (Baquoura) and Zofar (Ghamar) areas as stipulated in the 1994 peace treaty.

Jordan's King Abdullah announced on Twitter that he will seek not to renew the agreement.

“Baqoura and Ghumar were at the top of our priorities,” the King tweeted. “Our decision is to terminate the Baquoura and Ghamar annexes from the (1994 Jordan-Israel) peace treaty out of our keenness to take all decisions that would serve Jordan and Jordanians,” said the King in his tweet.

There may be a legal wrinkle in the case of Naharayim, however.

The peace treaty explicitly recognizes that this area is privately owned by Jews:

For the purpose of this Annex the area is detailed in Appendix IV,  Recognizing that in the area which is under Jordan's sovereignty with Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests ("Land Owners") in the land comprising the area ("the land").
If Jordan wants the land, it will have to pay. The fee will have to have an amount acceptable to the heirs of the owner.

Netanyahu said that he will renegotiate the agreement. This will get more interesting.

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  • Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon
I haven't looked at idiot academic Juan Cole for a while, but here's his blog headline for a Ma'an story:

Ma'an's headline also called it a "BDS victory" but Cole rewrote it - and he still considers this a "win" for BDS even though the BDS movement is explicitly against students coming to Israel to study.

To think that Cole still tries to pass himself off as a Middle East expert....

(h/t Dan)

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  • Sunday, October 21, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Official PA news agency Wafa reports on an "intellectual seminar" in Tunisia where "experts" discussed Israel's nation-state law.

The seminar apparently called the law "racist" before the meeting occurred.

One of the "experts" who spoke at the seminar shows how "intellectual" the event was.

The President of the Solidarity Society of the Palestinian community in Tunisia said that the main aim of the law was to expel one and a half million Muslim and Christian Arabs to the West Bank. Phase 2 is to expand the border of Israel to reach from the Nile to the Euphrates.

It's a good thing we have Arab experts to explain things for us.

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

From Ian:

Ben-Dror Yemini: An unreasonable ruling
It is possible, it is definitely possible, that the State of Israel should've allowed Lara Alqasem to enter the country from the outset. The damage that may have been done to Israel by denying her entry, as quite a few articles argued, sometimes exceeds the benefits of enforcing the law.

But with all due respect to the writers of these articles, article D(2) of the Entry Into Israel Law clearly states that: an entry permit will not be granted to someone who is not an Israeli national "if he, the organization or the body he acts on behalf of knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel."

Alqasem headed a local chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine, the body that leads the boycott against the State of Israel, and whose heads reject the very existence of the State of Israel.

There is no argument that the government's ministers acted in accordance with their authority. But the Supreme Court reversed the decision on Thursday because, in the opinion of the honorable justices, it is unreasonable: "Alqasem's desire to study in Israel is in contradiction with the idea of boycotting Israel." Excuse me?! Do these judges live in Israel? After all, Israel's universities have both lecturers and students who support the boycott movement. And the boycott movement's most prominent leader, Omar Barghouti, was, and perhaps still is, a student at Tel Aviv University. He's travelling around the world and preaching for the eradication of Israel. Is his or Alqasem's insistence to study at an Israeli university an indication of anything?

I could go on with more and more arguments mentioned in the decision, but there is not enough space to cover all of them. Because the problem with the ruling was and remains in the determination that the decision to deny Alqasem entry was unreasonable.

The range of reasonable responses is supposed to be broad. Very broad. Otherwise, the executive branch's discretion should be revoked and transferred to the jurists. Some citizens would disapprove of the decisions made under the executive branch's discretion. But if everything citizens—mostly if they belong to the media and academic elite—disapprove of becomes unreasonable, we could declare democracy dead. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Is Canada Knowingly Funding Extremism and Terrorism — Including Through UNRWA?
Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a known and documented terrorist group. The Criminal Code of Canada forbids funding terrorism, as well as the facilitation of those funding terrorism.

But last Friday, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would send $50 million in the next two years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This is in addition to the $110 million that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to UNRWA since 2016. UNRWA has been repeatedly accused of supporting extremism, promoting violence, and not checking beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists provided by the police.

The Canadian announcement made no reference to UNRWA’s alleged connections, and said the money is meant to help provide education and health services to Palestinians.

Funding UNWRA is not illegal in Canada, although given the agency’s reputation, it is a questionable use of taxpayer money. For instance, in August President Donald Trump withdrew $300 million in UNRWA funding. The US government would no longer “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs,” a US State Department press release said, calling it an “irredeemably flawed operation.”

In addition to funding UNRWA, the Trudeau government gave millions of taxpayers’ dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is forwarded to Islamic Relief Worldwide (UK), which has been repeatedly linked to Hamas.
UK: Anjem Choudary Released from Prison
"I believe we are underestimating the potency and danger of the radicalizers who don't carry knives, guns and overtly plot terrorist attacks but who pollute the minds of young Muslim men." — Richard Walton, former head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command.

"I asked the guy who spoke to him if the de-radicalization program had worked and he said, 'No, he's got worse. He's hardened. He speaks in the mind-set of the victim. He sees himself as a martyr the state tried to silence.'" — Fiyaz Mughal, head of the anti-extremist group Faith Matters.

Choudary is now considering mounting a legal challenge to the strict conditions of his release, according to the Telegraph. It reported that he has applied for legal aid funding, at taxpayer expense, to bring his action against government ministers, and arguing the parole conditions breach his human rights.

Friday, October 19, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss, Lara Alqasem's Enablers
Israel’s big mistake was letting Alqasem land at the airport. It tried to correct its mistake when authorities apprehended Alqasem at the border. But as events show, it was too late. As should have been predicted, as soon as she landed at the airport, Alqasem immediately began carrying out her propaganda stunt. In doing so, she demonstrated how important it is for Israeli authorities to properly enforce the entry ban on BDS operatives.

But the incompetence of Israeli immigration officials aside, they aren’t they real culprits in the Alqasem affair.

The culprits in this sordid story are Alqasem and her comrades in her racist movement — as well as their self-serving enablers on the Israeli Left; the American Jewish Left; and, perhaps most critically, Stephens and Weiss.

All of them viewed joining the BDS pile-on over Alqasem as a way to buy credibility — at Israel’s expense.

Media pundits are always quick to proclaim that they are not responsible for anything that happens subsequent to their writing. “We aren’t the decision-makers,” they bleat, as if they are convinced that all of their harping is utterly inconsequential.

These protestations are absurd, however. Pundits chose their profession to influence policymakers and the public. If they didn’t recognize their importance, they would have chosen a different profession. The Stephens-Weiss column was decisive in this absurd anti-Israel propaganda play.

Now that Israel’s Supreme Court has permitted Alqasem to spend a year in Israel, given what we know about the BDS campaign, and what we have observed about her over the past two weeks, we can be certain she will use her time, and her newfound celebrity to harm Israel far more.

She and the bigoted BDS movement she serves have her many enablers — including, and perhaps especially, “unhinged Zionists” Stephens and Weiss — to thank for the opportunity.
Seth Mandel: The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League
The integration of the two into mainstream Democratic Party politics is not a theoretical matter—refer back to the aforementioned Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Democrats’ praise of Corbyn, etc. Or watch the fusion in action: The confirmation of the judge Greenblatt came out so hard against, Brett Kavanaugh, saw a protest in Washington at which Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was introduced glowingly by Linda Sarsour. It’s a mutual-admiration society: Last year in Time magazine, the senator extolled the “courage” of “extraordinary women”—Sarsour, Mallory, and two of their colleagues.

If this is Greenblatt’s idea of “branding,” it’s understandable that those who want to fight anti-Semitism but who have been abandoned by Greenblatt—college students, political conservatives, strident pro-Israel advocates—would look to fill the gap. And it’s certainly reasonable for the existing Jewish establishment to be alarmed at the wrecking-ball revolutionary who wants to replace it with one that finds the very idea of criticizing anti-Semitism outrageous.

Greenblatt appears to see himself as a “disruptor,” the Silicon Valley self-designation that supposed rebels wear with pride. At a speech on philanthropy in Israel in 2017, he boasted of his work at the Obama White House, where he led the Office of Social Innovation and instituted “outcome-based payments, civic hackathons, and hybrid value chains.” His efforts “catalyzed new public-private partnerships that facilitated the flow of large-scale capital on long-standing problems.”

When he segued into his new responsibilities as head of the Anti-Defamation League, he didn’t leave his inner Elon Musk behind: “The question that animates me every day is, How can I apply what I learned in business and government to the social sector, how can I infuse our work with innovation and impact?”

He warned: “We have crossed a threshold that is less about the micro-economics of individual labor markets and more about the meta-economics of our common humanity. Facing planetary challenges like accelerating climate change, shrinking water and food access, and widening income gaps, we urgently need new response strategies.”

You almost expect Greenblatt to announce how to prevent cemetery vandalism using blockchain. Good luck solving climate change by catalyzing partnerships of civic hackathons that address the meta-economics of our common humanity, I guess. But the Anti-Defamation League isn’t the vehicle for it.

And it is apparently the vehicle for the study of anti-Semitic outburst against journalists only when the journalists share Greenblatt’s ideological presumptions. During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, a combination of alt-right agitators and Russian trolls began making life online hellish for conservative opponents of Trump. Writers and pundits would be tweeted pictures of their faces imposed on a Jew locked in a gas chamber with Donald Trump about to push the button, or some other explicit Nazi threat. Soon the harassment moved off Twitter. My family was doxxed by a neo-Nazi site. My wife, Bethany Mandel, started getting phone calls of recordings of Hitler speeches. This became a common occurrence, but groups like the ADL seemed to notice only when Trump won the nomination and the harassers turned their attention to liberal journalists like Julia Ioffe. Then, and only then, was the anti-Semitic social-media wave treated as a new and terrifying crisis.

The ADL, which boasts that it “has been a pioneer in confronting cyberhate” since 1985, was revealed to be living in a partisan bubble. It convened a study, released in October 2016, to get to the bottom of the anti-Semitic cyber targeting. It turned out that my wife was one of the 10 most-harassed Jewish journalists during the election. Significantly, the top target—by a mile—was the conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, who received nearly 40 percent of the hate tweets. Conservative Jewish journalists were the ones most in need of a group like the ADL—and they continue to be least served by it.
Louis Farrakhan Uses CNN's Marc Lamont Hill to Promote $260 Music Box Set
Louis Farrakhan is using a photo with CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill to promote a $260 box set of music on his Nation of Islam website, TheWrap has learned.

Hill, a political commentator for CNN touted on the site as “one of the leading intellectual voices in the country,” told TheWrap that he was not aware his image was being used for commercial purposes and will ask for its removal.

“I don’t want to be used to promote anybody’s materials,” he said. “I am going to ask for it to be taken down as I don’t think it’s consistent with my values and my professional standards.”

Hill said the photo was taken sometime in the autumn of 2016 after the minister invited a number of people to a Wyoming farm to listen to the new album. “It wasn’t like one big event it was just people, cycling in and out,” he said. “It was good music actually.”

If you worry that people might look at history and see that Jews are indigenous to Israel, flipping the script of who is a colonialist and who is native, we have "scholars" who are ready to say that the ancient Israelites were also settler colonialists:

This essay looks at ancient Israel as a settler colonial society. After an introductory paragraph that describes the significance of the study of ancient Israel for the study of settler colonialism, it summarises various approaches to the study of the history of ancient Israel. It then presents evidence for seeing the Israelite documents and early history in settler colonial terms. Finally, it looks at some aspects of decolonisation of the biblical narrative based on acknowledging at least the very possibility of a settler colonial nature of early Israel.
The same author seems a little obsessed with looking at Jews, and only Jews, in settler colonialist terms. He has also written

 Ancient Israelite population economy: ger, toshav, nakhri and karat as settler colonial categories

A Commentary on Numbers: Narrative, Ritual, and Colonialism

Pitkänen, Pekka M A (2016) The ecological-evolutionary theory, migration, settler colonialism, sociology of violence and the origins of ancient Israel. Cogent Social Sciences, 2 (1). pp. 1-23. ISSN 2331-1886

Pitkänen, Pekka M A (2015) Ancient Israel and Philistia: Settler Colonialism and Ethnocultural Interaction. Ugarit Forschungen, 45. pp. 233-263. ISSN 978-3-86835-137-8

Pitkänen, Pekka M A (2015) Reading Genesis–Joshua as a Unified Document from an Early Date: A Settler Colonial Perspective. Biblical Theology Bulletin: Journal of Bible and Culture, 45 (1). pp. 3-31. ISSN 0146-1079

Pitkänen, Pekka M A (2014) Pentateuch–Joshua: a settler-colonial document of a supplanting society. Settler Colonial Studies, 4 (3). pp. 245-276. ISSN 2201-473X

A quick look at indexes of scholarly literature does not find any articles on Arab colonialism in the Middle East.

Think about that.

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Mowing the lawn in Gaza
According to media reports, the cabinet decided Wednesday night to “change the rules of the game” in relation to Hamas, and particularly in relation to its riots along the border every Friday afternoon. What this means remains to be seen.

Perhaps the IDF will assert control over the security perimeter it controlled on the Gaza side of the border until the end of 2012. Israel abandoned its security perimeter, which was 300 meters wide, and permitted Gazans to farm along the border fence, (and so set the conditions for Hamas’s current border aggression) in the framework of cease-fire talks at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense – the mini-war it fought against Hamas in 2012. Such a move would certainly constitute a significant improvement over the current situation.

Perhaps Israel will carry out major air assaults that could destroy a significant number of Hamas’s missile and mortar stocks. Perhaps Israel could retaliate for Wednesday’s missile strike by destroying the homes of Hamas leaders.

Whatever it does, and whatever military moves Israel makes, the fact is that Israel cannot end the menace it faces from Hamas. It can and should weaken Hamas’s war-fighting capability and perhaps intimidate Hamas leaders into cooling their jets for a few months or a year or two. But the next round will come whenever Hamas decides to open one and Israel will be forced to respond again.

As for Judea and Samaria, Israel has no reason to be concerned about who is in charge and to what degree they are in charge in the Palestinian population centers so long as Israel retains overall security control of the area. We don’t have a dog in the fight. None of the possible successors to Mahmoud Abbas or to his kleptocratic PA are any better than he is. And none of them are significantly worse.

The main strategic takeaway from Gaza and from Judea and Samaria is that there is no solution, military or otherwise to the Palestinians’ never-ending war against the Jewish state.

All Israel can do is secure its control over what it already controls by, among other things, applying its law to Area C, and use military force to limit the Palestinians’ ability to attack its civilians and its territory.

The coming days and weeks may and should see a significant escalation in IDF offensive strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. But no matter how successful they may or may not be, they shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a military version of mowing the lawn. And just as grass grows back, so Hamas will rebuild its strength. Israel’s challenge is not to uproot the grass, but to maintain the capability to keep it as short as possible.

Who knows? Maybe one day the Palestinians will get tired of fighting and there will be peace.
Dueling Op Eds in the Australian press
Colin Rubenstein: Jerusalem embassy is logical step in Australia-Israel relationship
However, an examination of trade data between the US and Arab and Muslim states since President Donald Trump’s announcement in December 2017 of his decision on this issue and subsequent move of the US embassy to Jerusalem shows no evidence that the announcement had any negative effect on US trade with most Arab and Muslim countries.

As federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham argued regarding the resilience of Australia’s trade ties with Indonesia: you “don't … expect that two nations will always agree in terms of foreign policy positions as they relate to a third nation. But that shouldn't get in the way of a strong bilateral relationship".

Similarly, claims that there is something diplomatically improper about recognising Israel’s sovereignty in west Jerusalem or moving our embassy there has no historical basis. In 1966, 20 countries, including the Netherlands, located their embassies to Israel in Jerusalem. The Arab oil embargo of the 1970s and feeble defence by the US Carter administration against Palestinian pressure at the UN on this issue in 1980 eventually led to an embassy flight. Since 1995 it has been US law to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy to Jerusalem, mandates that the Trump administration has boldly implemented.

Moreover, there is a strong case to be made that an embassy move may help unlock the peace-process deadlock. The US embassy move has been part of a range of measures under a strategy by the Trump administration to break through the current impasse by signalling to the Palestinian leadership that time is not on their side. Australia’s bipartisan policy of supporting a negotiated two-state peace would be best served by doing what we can to assist these efforts to encourage a return to direct negotiations.

It should be further recognised that the PM's reviews of both the Iran and Jerusalem issues will also be well received by our most important strategic ally in Washington – a critical national interest consideration at a time when Australian security and economic concerns vis-a-vis North Korea and China loom larger than ever.

Scott Morrison, who has reaffirmed his decision to evaluate the potential policy shifts in the face of misplaced criticisms and intense pressure, should be commended for his tenacity and his unwillingness to buckle under threats both foreign and domestic.

Colin Rubenstein is executive director of The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.
Izzat Abdulhadi: What Australian embassy move would really mean
In consideration of all this, one thing should be exceedingly clear: successive Israeli governments have not distinguished between East and West Jerusalem. Why then, do the supporters of unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital insist that such a move would be confined to only the western part of the city when Israel itself has and continues to ignore this crucial distinction?

Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would mean, in practical terms, legitimising the de facto realities (which are clear for all to see), and affirming Israel’s ultimate vision for the city. If Israel considers Jerusalem one and the same city, then it will similarly consider Australia’s recognition and embassy relocation as affirmation of this, regardless of whether our diplomatic presence would be physically located in the west.

Morrison is right on one point, though. His assertion that “you don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results” is sage advice. If Australia, as a so-called “middle power”, seeks to use what leverage it has to push both parties closer to a two-state peace – and to prevent the toxic and unsustainable status quo from continuing unaddressed – then the most sensible course of action would be to restore legitimacy to the weaker and exploited side by recognising a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. And to not embolden Netanyahu’s government in ignoring legitimate Palestinian claims in its pursuit of an exclusive and “greater Israel”.

Izzat Abdulhadi is Palestinian envoy to Canberra. Co-written with Cam Brady.

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