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Monday, September 30, 2013

9/30 Links Pt1: Arab Colonialism, ICJ Bias, The Phantom Fatwa, 5 Star Hotel Opens in Ramallah.

From Ian:

Israel, Colonialism, and the Arab World
Moroccan-born Bensoussan, who made his name as a Holocaust historian, argues that the Jews have been colonised thrice over.
The first wave of colonisation was Arab-Muslim. By the time the Arab conquerors had swept over the Middle East and North Africa, the Jews had been living in the region for 1,000 years.
Under Islam, according to the eighth-century Pact of Omar, indigenous Jews and Christians were permitted to practise as long as they acquiesced to the ‘dhimmi’ condition of inferiority and institutionalised humiliation. Dhimmis were exploited for specific talents and skills.
Bensoussan observes that the Islamic order was built on a ‘colonial’ notion – submission. The Muslim submits to Allah, the Muslim woman submits to her husband, the non-Muslim dhimmi submits to the Muslim. At the very bottom of the pile is the slave. Women, minorities and slaves are curiously absent from Edward Said’s postcolonial ‘bible’, “Orientalism”, Bensoussan notes.
Oslo Accords Debated at Los Angeles Conference
Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes said at the “Oslo @ Twenty” conference, organized by the American Freedom Alliance, that Israel’s key mistake is indicated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s statement, “One does not make peace with one’s friends. One makes peace with one’s enemy.”
“One cannot ‘make peace with one’s enemy,’” Pipes said. “Rather, one makes peace with one’s former enemy.” The Palestinians “were never defeated,” and if both sides in a conflict have aspirations to win, the conflict continues, he explained.
Israel “owns peace” as the party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that can both control its army and deliver peace, yet acted as the buyer in the Oslo Accords even though the Palestinians had no peace to sell, said David Suissa, president of the Tribe Media Corporation. Suissa’s take differed from the one offered by Bret Stephens, deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, who said peace “is in the hands of the Arab world to give.”
Grand Park Hotel Celebrates Being First Five-Star Hotel in Palestine
The headquarters of the Grand Park hotel in Ramallah celebrated its coronation as the first "Five-Star" hotel in Palestine. The celebration was attended by Rula Maay’a, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Musa Hadid, the Mayor of Ramallah, the hotel’s Chairman Loay Qawas, and its General Director, Mohammad Zamlat. There was also a crowd of businessmen and representatives from many institutions.
‘ICJ treatment of Israel biased, as seen in Syria’
The American attorney had previously voiced his opinion that Syrian President Bashar Assad should be taken to court. He said actions carried out by Assad over the past two years “are war crimes and crimes against humanity and the Syrian regime must be held accountable.”
“The fact that the General Assembly referred the matter of the terror prevention fence to the ICJ so quickly… but after more than two years and 100,000 people killed,” has yet to prosecute Assad or Syria shows the system is extremely flawed, he says. “The legal system is biased against Israel, and the Syrian example proves it.”
Israel is Invited To Help Destroy WMD In Syria
However - one of Syria's most immediate neighbours - Israel - is not a member of the London Eleven and is vitally interested in the Security Council taking steps to collect and destroy such weapons.
Resolution 2118 requires Israel to disclose to the Security Council any information it holds on chemical weapons acquired by any anti- Assad forces in Syria. Israel is widely assumed to have extensive knowledge of the existence of such chemical weapons in Syria.
Israel can deny it has any information - but risks being in breach of Resolution 2118 if information in its possession is subsequently revealed.
Russia has cleverly forced the Security Council to determine the truth of Russia's claim - whilst any evidence supplied by Russia and Israel will be critical in collecting and destroying those chemical weapons.
Peres: I Doubt Assad Ever Read Anne Frank's Diary
President Shimon Peres, on a visit to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam, compared on Sunday the gassing of millions of Jews during the Holocaust to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"I doubt that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad read the Diary of Anne Frank, since he did not hesitate to use chemical weapons and kill innocent children and women,” said Peres, adding, “Same goes for Iran which develops nuclear weapons of mass destruction.”
MEMRI: The U.S. Administration Swallows The Lie About Khamenei's 'Fatwa' Against Nuclear Arms
In his address to the U.N. General Assembly (September 24, 2013), U.S. President Barack Obama stated: "The Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons." In fact, such a fatwa was never issued by Supreme Leader Khamenei and does not exist; neither the Iranian regime nor anybody else can present it.
The deception regarding "Khamenei's fatwa" has been promoted by the Iranian regime and its spokesmen for several years. Each time it was mentioned, the "fatwa" was given a different year of issue – for example, 2005, 2007, or 2012 – but the text of the "fatwa" was never presented.
MEMRI has conducted in-depth research with regard to this "fatwa" and has published reports demonstrating that it is a fiction.
Isi Leibler: President Obama and Israel: Looming confrontations
The US and Europe are desperate for a face-saving situation to avoid confrontation with the Iranians.
They ignore the ultimate result of the buildup of underground nuclear facilities and ballistic missiles.
Furthermore, the bitter reality is that after Obama’s inept zigzagging in relation to Syria, his threat that the US is “determined to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb” and will if necessary “use all elements of our power, including military force,” rings hollow and is unlikely to be taken seriously by the Iranians – or anyone else.
It must be deeply frustrating for Netanyahu to see the rogue state of Iran courted by the US and Europe, while Israel, a democracy and genuine ally of the US, is treated so shabbily. The chilling parallels with the betrayal of Czechoslovakia and Chamberlain’s policies of appeasement and “peace in our time” during the late 1930s will prey on our minds in the months to come.
Iran Knows What the West Forgot: Charm is Cheap
In this way, Ahmadinejad’s revolting persona and style made it that much easier for his successor to succeed at playing the “good cop” in any negotiations. And it is actually Iran’s hardline supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on Iranian policy, so the Rouhani theatrics are ultimately meaningless anyway. While the country’s dictator recently said that Iran can show “heroic flexibility,” he’s not actually beholden to anyone, so he can easily change his mind after buying another 6-12 months of nuclear enrichment time by “negotiating” with the West through Rouhani. To resolve a crisis that could otherwise end up as a massive regional war in the near future, Iran must: 1) stop all nuclear enrichment, 2) dismantle the illicit underground nuclear facility near Qom and the second-generation centrifuges in Natanz, 3) remove all enriched material from Iranian territory, and 4) stop the construction of the heavy water reactor in Arak.
If the international community hopes to stop Iran’s nuclear program before it’s too late, any deal with Iran must ensure that the above four steps are verifiably taken. Any lesser deal would allow Iran to continue developing nuclear weapons capabilities behind a smokescreen of promises, as the North Koreans have done. Will the West be charmed all the way to Armageddon?
Anne Bayefsky: Rouhani Gives Obama Cover to Delay and Dither
Notwithstanding years of stymieing International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, and lying about the existence of nuclear facilities, he assured his audience: “Iran’s nuclear program… pursue[s] exclusively peaceful purposes.” The proof? “Nuclear weapons…contradict our religious and ethical convictions.” “Ethical” convictions like sponsoring terrorism, training chemical weapons enthusiasts, and questioning the Holocaust.
When the farcical spectacle was all over, Rouhani had succeeded in providing the Obama administration and the European Union with enough cover to buy into a catastrophic delay. Israel will now face an even more hostile American president, should it decide to go it alone.
‘Trust, but verify’ in Persian
Under the circumstances, before agreeing to lessen economic sanctions, the US and other nations must insist on verifiable, concrete steps that do not just delay Iran’s breakout date by a few months or a year but that effectively shut down the nuclear weapon program.
“Trust, but verify” helped end the Cold War between the US and the USSR. We should not rule out the outside chance that the same combination of openness to diplomacy and dialogue and strict adherence to due diligence will pay off in negotiations with Tehran. But while Gorbachev was presiding over a USSR on the verge of collapse, the mullahs running the Islamic Republic, though smarting from economic sanctions, have too many reasons to press ahead with their drive for nuclear weapons capability.
Rice: Sanctions stay until Iran proves it isn’t seeking a bomb
“Obviously, we and others in the international community have every reason to be skeptical of that and we need to test it, and any agreement must be fully verifiable and enforceable,” said Rice in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
She said it had been clear to Iran that it “had to meet its international obligations under Security Council resolutions and that the sanctions would remain until those obligations were satisfied.”
Israel and Others in Mideast View Overtures of U.S. and Iran With Suspicion
Saudi Arabia and other gulf states view Iran as a regional nemesis whose nuclear program is only one element of a broader effort to project power. The rivalry is made more bitter by the sectarian dimension and competition over supplying oil to the world. The Saudi leadership has long been uneasy with Mr. Obama’s handling of the Arab uprisings that began in 2011, which it sees as a threat to the regional order. The president’s overtures to Iran add to a growing impatience and exasperation among Arabs in the gulf over Washington’s retreat from threats to strike Syria, whose civil war is viewed as a proxy for the larger sectarian and strategic battle unfolding across the region.
UAE Condemning Iranian Occupation of its Territories
While the United Arab Emirates has welcomed the refreshing stance of Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani, it has called upon the international community to urge Iran to respond to repeated calls for a just settlement of the islands dispute between the two countries, either through direct, serious negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice.
In 1971, after the British finally left the Middle East, Iranian forces occupied the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb, located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf between Iran and the UAE. Iran continues to occupy the islands, which the UAE has been contesting to no avail.
Palestinian students riot at Gaza border crossing
Hundreds of agitated Palestinian students set to study abroad stormed a barrier gate at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Sunday after being denied entry to the Sinai Peninsula and forced to wait at the border terminal for several days.
On Saturday, the Egyptian army reopened the Rafah border crossing, after shutting it last week due to security threats along the border with the Hamas-controlled territory. Hamas officials said that 300 Palestinians were expected to enter Egypt daily until further notice.
Gunman kill 3 Egyptian officers in Sinai, militants post video
The Egyptian army says Gaza-based militants take part in attacks over the border and accuses Hamas of doing too little to secure the area, allegations it denies.
In the latest attacks, gunmen opened fire on a police station in the city of El-Arish in North Sinai, killing two policemen as they were eating breakfast outside the building. In a separate incident, a police officer walking in the city was shot in the head and chest and killed.
Lebanon Encroaches on Israel's Offshore Border
Official Israeli sources told the newspaper that Lebanon is about to award offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in areas that encroach on Israel's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Lebanon published tenders for offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in early September, in five blocks in its EEZ.
It is a highly provocative act which has the potential to greatly inflame hostilities between the two nations.