Eugene Kontorovich: “Resolution 242 Revisited”: new research on Security Council’s approach to Israel-Arab conflict
My new article, “Resolution 242 Revisited: New Evidence on the Required Scope of Israeli Withdrawal” has just been published in volume 16 of the Chicago Journal of International Law, and is available here. 242 may be the Security Council’s most famous resolution, yet amazingly, there are entire veins of evidence about its meaning that have remained untapped.Lawfare bulwark: Israel has become a convenient target
The article happens, fortuitously, to be quite relevant to the drama that will likely unfold in the Security Council this fall. So let me say a few words here about what the evidence developed in the paper suggests about these developments. (When I began working on the article last year, I did not know anything about a potential new Council resolution.)
France will reportedly soon introduce a new proposed resolution about the Israeli-Arab conflict in the Council. President Obama has repeatedly hinted that he might not veto such a resolution.
One thing the paper makes clear is that Res. 242 represented a territorial compromise, with accommodations to Arab and Israel positions. The French resolution – which mandates a withdrawal to the 1949 Armistice Lines – would specifically undo the parts of that compromise that were in Israel’s favor, and essentially “reverse” 242, replacing it with the resolution demanded by the U.S.S.R and Arab states in 1967. If the U.S. allows this to happen, it would be a fundamental reversal of 50 years of Middle East diplomacy.
About two months ago, Professor Eugene Kontorovich stood before a special US congressional committee and laid out what he sees as the irrationality of boycotting Israel.Are Abbas’s threats to quit part of a ploy to embarrass Israel?
Kontorovich, 40, is considered a world-class expert in constitutional and international law, and deals mainly with the issue of international boycotts. Kontorovich said the committee members sought deeper understanding of boycotts against Israel and so invited him to speak.
The professor delivered a comprehensive overview: Among other things, Kontorovich detailed a series of laws legislated in the US in the 1970s, which stated that Arab League pressure to boycott Israel should be rejected. At the end of the meeting, says Professor Kontorovich, the committee expressed unequivocal opposition to boycotts of Israel.
“The problem is that now the boycott is not led by Arab countries, but by the European Union,” he explains. “Still, the Americans listened carefully, and I am convinced that my words convinced them that boycotting Israeli companies’ goods is a move that is dangerous for the free world no less than for Israel.
Is that also an empty threat? Possibly. If Abbas were to declare Palestine an occupied state, ties between Israel and the PA wouldn’t end that very day. But the move would undoubtedly embarrass Israel in the international arena and beyond, and raise serious doubts about the Netanyahu government’s continued cooperation with the PA. It’s also possible that the declaration would lead to a resolution echoing the same content in the Security Council, seriously complicating things for Israel.Israel unfazed by PA threat to end Oslo accords, declare Palestine occupied state
In the meantime, senior PLO and Fatah officials are gearing up for the Palestinian National Council. Senior members of Fatah are competing for three spots reserved for the movement in the PLO Executive Committee — including one for Abbas if he ultimately decides to run.
Another three spots are reserved for independent contenders who are also likely to be close to the PA president.
After all is said and done, his position will only be strengthened after the elections.
And who is running for the rest of the seats? As one senior member of the Executive Committee, Tawfil Tirawi, put it, “Who isn’t?”
Everyone, it seems, wants a seat at the table of what is considered, at least symbolically, as the international Palestinian leadership.
“It’s an empty statement,” said Alan Baker, a retired Israeli diplomat and former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry. “I don’t think it has any significance whatsoever. Nothing Abbas says, no declaration he makes at the UN, will change anything on the ground.”
The only thing it would achieve, Baker said, is to invalidate his status as president of the PA, as well as the legitimacy of the Palestinian parliament and courts. “It would also open up the opportunity for Israel to do whatever it deems necessary to protect its security and political interest, and could even cause possible termination of security and economic cooperation and other measures that are intended for the benefit of the Palestinian people.”
Is it even possible for Palestine to become a “state under occupation”? In his speech in New York later this month, Abbas will point to the General Assembly’s 2012 decision to accept “Palestine” as a non-member observer state and argue that Israel refuses to end the occupation of his state.
However, some argue that only existing states can be considered occupied, such as France during World War II or, more recently, Ukraine’s Crimea, which was occupied by Russia. But “Palestine” seeks to achieve statehood while under occupation, a situation without historical precedent. A state can only become “occupied” if parts or all of the territory it controlled is in effective control of another power, some legal scholars argue. That would not be the case here.
The Palestinians, however, are likely to argue that a sovereign “Palestine” existed before the 1967 Six Day War, when Israeli captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip, even though that appears to be a difficult position to defend among international law scholars.
Abbas set to annul Oslo accords, declare Palestine a state under occupation
The fog created by the ostensibly impending resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to clear Monday, as details emerged indicating that the resignation threats were a diversion ahead of a dramatic move planned by the Palestinians: declaring Palestine a state under occupation and reneging on their obligations as detailed in the Oslo Accords.France and PA to hold peace summit in Paris
The move was apparently decided on several months ago by Saeb Erekat, the acting head of the Palestinian negotiating team and the secretary general of the PLO’s executive committee, who was the man behind a document setting out the Palestinians’ diplomatic moves against Israel during the month of September.
Erekat, who is expected to be elected as a full member of the PLO Executive Committee at the organization’s next meeting, is already emerging as one of the most powerful men in Abbas’s circle and a potential successor to the 80-year-old PA president. Erekat was also the brains behind the Palestinian plan to ramp up pressure on Israel by joining institutions and organizations like the International Criminal Court at The Hague and others.
One senior PLO official, Ahmed Majdalani, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Sunday that the central committee would discuss the above-mentioned resolutions in its coming session. After voting on the decisions, the Palestinians are expected to announce the annulment of all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, and to declare a new relationship with the Jewish state. Majdalani added that an announcement has already been drafted by the preparatory committee of the Palestinian National Council.
French and Palestinian government officials are set to meet in Paris later this week to discuss ways of restarting peace talks with Israel, and may also review preliminary steps towards French recognition of a Palestinian state.PA official: Obama should recognize Palestinian state in his UN speech
The meeting was scheduled to take place in another five days, Israel Radio reported Sunday. The report did not say which officials would participate in the event.
The talks are to focus on agreeing terms acceptable to the Palestinians for reopening talks with Israel. The proposal would then be submitted to the United Nations Security Council.
While the get-together is billed as being about breathing life into the moribund negotiations with Israel, in diplomatic circles the meetings is seen as the first move toward an eventual French recognition of a Palestinian state, Israel Radio said.
The Palestinians are demanding that US President Barack Obama recognize the Palestinian state during the upcoming session of the United Nations general assembly in New York, a senior Fatah official said on Sunday.Erekat: Not Interested in Abbas's Job
Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, told the Jordanian Al-Ghad newspaper that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the session to discuss efforts to revive the stalled peace process and the situation in the Palestinian territories.
Shtayyeh said Abbas was planning to address the General Assembly “in his capacity as the president of the state of Palestine, unless he decides not to seek reelection as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee.”
The PLO’s parliament-in-exile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), is scheduled to meet in Ramallah ahead of the General Assembly to discuss electing new members of the Executive Committee. It’s not clear at this stage whether Abbas will seek reelection during the PNC session.
With Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas adamant about retiring, he is said to be looking for a successor – and if that is the case, he should be looking elsewhere if he is considering Saeb Erekat, the PA's top negotiator with Israel, Erekat said in an interview Sunday.
Speaking to the London-based Al Araby Al-Jadid newspaper, Erekat said that “if the situation remains the same, the Israeli occupation will succeed Abbas.” Erekat was hinting to the possibility that the PA would resign and shut itself down, demanding a single state merger in which Palestinians would become Israeli citizens.
Erekat has said on previous occasions that if progress is not made on establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, he would advocate for the “one state solution.”
MK Abbas Wants to Cancel Oslo? Let Him Give Back His Guns
Jewish Home Knesset Faction Chairman, MK Yinon Magal, welcomed reports Monday that Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) intends to declare the Oslo Accords null and void in his upcoming speech at the UN General Assembly.Alan Dershowitz on Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘I’m Furious With President Obama’
"I congratulate Abu Mazen for his declaration that he intends to cancel the Oslo Accords, which he and his partners from Hamas have violated anyway, on a daily basis, in the last 22 years,” stated Magal.
"On this occasion, I call upon him to give back the guns that the Palestinian Authority received as part of the agreement, and which served to murder Jews.”
Long-time Democrat, Israel defender and famed law professor Alan Dershowitz told a synagogue audience on Saturday night that he was “furious” with President Obama over the Iran nuclear deal.Nuclear Jihad
Speaking at Manhattan’s illustrious Park East Synagogue on the Upper East Side to a crowd gathered for the pre-high-holiday Selichot prayer service, Dershowitz implied he had been betrayed by the president he had formerly championed.
He recounted being invited to the Oval Office before Obama’s reelection in 2012, where the president had committed to being vigilant on the Iranian nuclear issue. Obama has now crossed many of his own red lines, said Dershowitz, who backed Obama in two elections.
The international law expert, who just published The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes? –– a book he completed in 11 days — went on to point out that not a single senator who announced support for the deal was of the opinion that it was a good agreement.
He also asserted that the P5+1 powers have entered into an as yet unseen secret side deal with Iran, which negates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s central premise: that “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”
The former Harvard scholar said the deal was worse than Russian roulette, because there is a “more than a one-in-six chance under this deal that Iran will develop nuclear weapons.”
In the year 628, Muhammad, now ruling in Medina, signed the ten-year Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with his long-time enemies, the tribal confederacy of Quraysh, who ruled Mecca. Twenty-two months later, under the pretext that a clan from a tribe allied with the Quraysh had squabbled with a tribe allied to the Muslims, Muhammad broke the treaty and attacked Mecca, conquering it. It is as certain as day follows night, that the Iranian regime will find a pretext to break the deal. Already, on September 3, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene'i made it clear that he would back out of the deal if sanctions were not completely removed at once.British MP Accuses UK of Supporting Iran ‘at Expense of Long-Term Allies’
The Iranian regime not only despises democracy; it considers all Western law, including international law, invalid.
The Shi'a consider themselves underdogs, who are willing to sacrifice all to establish the rights of their imams and their successors. That was what the 1979 revolution was all about, and it is what present the Iranian regime still insists on as the justification for its opposition to Western intrusion, democracy, women's rights and all the rest, which are deemed by Iran's leadership as part of a plot to undermine and control the expansion of the Shi'i faith on the global stage. These are not Anglican vicars.
The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps "have responsibility... for a religious mission, which is Holy War (Jihad) in the path of God and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God's law in the world." — Iran's Constitution, Article "The Religious Army".
Following the U.K.’s reopening of its embassy in Tehran, a British MP has accused his government of supporting an “aggressive” Iranian regime instead of its true friends. Conservative MP Guto Bebb also criticized the British government for supporting the Iranian nuclear deal “at the expense of our long-term allies in the region.”Joel Pollak: Colin Powell Backs Iran Deal as ‘Israel Lobby’ Crumbles
In an interview with Tazpit, Bebb described U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond’s hopes for Iran’s becoming a reformable regime as “misguided.”
The Aberconwy MP, who called for a parliamentary debate in June to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal then under discussion, added that the latitude given to the Iranian government would have been unacceptable to the U.K. government a year ago.
Bebb said he advocated for the continuation of sanctions, which he claimed were proving to be effective measures against Iranian aggression.
Rejecting Hammond’s parliamentary remarks that the deal represented a victory for diplomacy, and Hammond’s assurances to Prime Minister Netanyahu in July that it removes the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon, Bebb told Tazpit he is amazed “that the foreign secretary seems to consider this a success story; his predecessor, Liam Fox, considers this to be completely unacceptable.”
Powell made his announcements on NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday. “My judgment…is that it’s a pretty good deal.” Powell said that while Iran could continue working toward a nuclear weapon when the deal expires, the agreement would at least slow that down. “We have stopped this highway race that they were going down.” Powell added that “they get nothing” in terms of sanctions relief “until they show compliance,” which repeats a White House talking point, but ignores the fact that sanctions will be lifted when Iran has only begun to show compliance.Debbie Wasserman Schultz asked to resign by constituents over Iran decision
In his speech at American University last month, President Obama said that “many of the same people who argued for the war in Iraq are now making the case against the Iran nuclear deal.” The implication was that support for the Iraq war ought to disqualify those same people from opining on the Iran deal. That rule only appears to apply in one direction: Powell’s role in the Iraq War did not prevent the White House from touting his support for the Iran deal.
Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-CA) literally cried on CNN’s State of the Union as she spoke about her “Jewish heart” and rejected the idea that she “sold out Israel.”
And Jonathan Chait of New York magazine gloated over the collapse of the “Israel lobby” in Washington, DC.
Seething from her announcement in support of the Iran nuclear deal, constituents from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's district have called for her to resign her office immediately for having betrayed the will of her voters. Schultz, who had delayed announcing her position on the deal and under severe pressure from many of her constituents to renounce the deal, on Sunday, Sept. 6 said she would support the Iran nuclear agreement.Wounded Vets Rally Against Obama's Iran Nuke Deal
In a five-and-half-page statement released to The Miami Herald on Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz outlined her reasoning for supporting the agreement.
“I have subsequently come to the conclusion that the agreement promotes the national security interests of the United States and our allies and merits my vote of support ...” she wrote. “This agreement is not perfect. But I join many in the belief that with complex, multilateral, nuclear non-proliferation negotiations with inherent geopolitical implications for the entire world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ deal.”
It didn’t take long for thousands of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s constituents to call for her “immediate resignation for having betrayed the trust of those who voted for her” and for “going against the will of the majority of her constituents.” An August Quinnipiac poll showed Florida voters oppose the pact 61 percent to 25 percent.
Just last week, hundreds of protestors gathered outside of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Aventura, Florida office to urge her to vote against the Iran nuclear agreement. (h/t Jewess)
The newly-organized anti-Iran nuclear deal group, Veterans Against the Deal, held a 300+ person rally last week outside the Aventura, Florida, congressional office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)in hopes to pressure her to vote against President Obama’s controversial and highly-unpopular Iran nuclear deal.Iranian defense minister: US still 'Great Satan'
Two of the keynote speakers of the event were wounded combat veterans Sgt. Robert Bartlett, and SSgt. Brian Mast, who is also running for the U.S. Congress is Florida’s 18th congressional district.
Brian Mast had some choice things to say about the elected officials who have stayed silent on the Iran deal:
Our elected officials are looking on to the evil that Iran has posed to the rest of the world and they are doing nothing about it…
We need to tell Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we need to tell Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), we need to tell Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), that if they vote “yes” on this deal, that they will have the blood of U.S. service members on their hands.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan has declared that despite having signed a nuclear agreement with the United States in July, Iran still views the U.S. as the "Great Satan," and now it is the U.S., rather than Iran, that faces global isolation.MEMRI: Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan: The U.S. Is Still the "Great Satan" after the Nuclear Deal
Speaking to Mayadeen TV in Lebanon last week, Dehghan said: "Ayatollah Ali Khomeini called the U.S. the Great Satan and there is nothing strange about it. This name was given on the basis of the principles of the holy Quran, which clearly points to Satanic characteristics, conduct and goals.
"Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has dedicated itself to a policy of instigating strife, discord and wars between the world's nations. They have occupied countries and carried out conspiracies all over. They have meddled in the affairs of others, and have toppled independent regimes. The U.S. did not hesitate to perpetrate the most abominable crimes against the Vietnamese and Korean people, as well as many other countries, because they refused to serve as its lackeys.
"When the U.S. administrations insist on a policy of arrogance toward others, it is only natural that the Iranian regime continues to view the U.S. as the Great Satan," he concluded.
Dehghan added that Iran does not trust the U.S.
Israel unmoved by EU proposal to expand Arab role in peace talks
An EU proposal to expand the Quartet as a way of jump-starting the stymied Israel-Palestinian diplomatic track elicited shrugs in Jerusalem on Sunday, with officials saying that what is needed is a Palestinian desire to hold talks, not “bureaucratic creativity.”Senior Hamas Official Denies Talks with Israel
“From our perspective, the problem is that the Palestinians have no desire to conduct serious negotiations, and no amount of bureaucratic creativity can help that,” one official said.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Friday that Jordanian, Saudi and Egyptian representatives would take part in an expanded meeting of the Quartet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month in the hopes of jump-starting some sort of diplomatic process. The US, EU, Russia and the UN currently make up the Quartet.
“We hope that this restart of the process can lead to improvements on the ground and also to re-open prospective and political horizons to the talks,” she said.
Hamas has denied allegations by other Palestinian factions – notably the rival movement Fatah – that it is seeking to establish a separate state in Gaza in return for a long-term truce with Israel, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported Sunday.Hamas could be removed in next conflict with Israel, general says
In a statement posted late Saturday on his Facebook page, Moussa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said his group had no intention of “accepting the separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank in return for concessions [from Israel].”
“We have repeated it many times,” he added. “Any consolidation of the truce [with Israel] that we, along with other Palestinian factions, signed in Cairo during last year’s war on Gaza must come in return for opening Gaza’s borders; the unimpeded delivery of building materials into Gaza; lifting the [Israeli-Egyptian] siege on Gaza; allowing Gaza’s airport to operate; and allowing construction of a Gaza seaport.”
Several reports have surfaced in recent weeks that Israel and Hamas have been working on a long-term arrangement through international mediators, specifically the UN, since the end of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer.
Hamas could be toppled in a future confrontation with Israel, a senior Israeli officer said on Monday, attempting to counter the impression that Israel would maintain Hamas in power at all costs.Don't lecture Israel about aiding needy Syrians, defiant Netanyahu says
Speaking at an international conference organized by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, outgoing IDF Southern Command chief Sami Turgeman indicated that Israel has changed its view of Hamas as an irreplaceable fixture of the Gaza Strip.
“We don’t see Hamas as something that has to remain forever,” Turgeman said. “Hamas would like to replace the State of Israel with an Islamic state, and we would like to replace it as well.”
Those comments were a dramatic change of position for Turgeman, who said earlier this year that the IDF sees no viable alternative to Hamas in Gaza.
While Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of refugees from Syria and Africa, it is a small country that cannot throw its doors open to receive them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.Likud Reveals Labor Leader Herzog’s Phone Number to Refugees, Promising ‘Comfortable Lodging’
Netanyahu’s comments, made at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, came a day after opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) called on the government to absorb refugees from Syria.
“We have conscientiously treated over a thousand wounded from the fighting in Syria, and we have helped them rebuild their lives,” Netanyahu said. “But Israel is a very small country, with neither demographic nor geographic depth and, therefore, we must control our borders.”
Netanyahu said it must secure the borders both against illegal migrants looking for work, as well as from terrorists.
Likud ministers on Sunday responded critically to Knesset opposition leader, Zionist Camp (Labor) chairman Isaac Herzog, who stated Israel was obligated to take in refugees from Syria and Iraq. Minister of Transport and intelligence, Israel Katz, wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning: ” Herzog calls on the government of Israel to take in Syrian refugees. What lack of political wisdom and of national responsibility. He should have at least suggested, as the Prime Minister of Finland has done, to take them into his own home.”100,000 Palestinians have fled Syria to Europe, official says
And MK Nava Boker (Likud) did one better, urging the refugees to contact Herzog directly, writing on her Facebook page: “Dear Syrian refugee, upon your arrival in Israel, please contact MK Isaac Herzog, phone number 02-640-8533 for sleeping accommodation. You will be transported to a comfortable home in the [prestigious] Tzahala neighborhood of Tel Aviv.”
Nearly 100,000 Palestinians have fled Syria to Europe and are living in harsh conditions, Ziad al-Aloul, head of the Palestinian Forum in Europe, revealed on Sunday.Israel bolsters Jordan border to keep out terrorists, refugees
Aloul told the Al-Resalah online newspaper that some 500,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria.
Only 200,000 of them have remained inside Syria, while the rest have found shelter in a number of Arab countries.
He also revealed that about 1,000 Palestinians have drowned in the sea while they were on their way to Europe, and that 100 of them were still missing.
About 430 Palestinians and Syrians went missing while they were on their way to Italy, and another 2,300 drowned as they tried to reach Greece, he said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority announced that it was following “with great interest” the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Syria.
Work on a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) fence along a southern stretch of Israel’s border with Jordan has begun amid efforts to protect Israel against security threats and to keep migrants and asylum seekers from entering the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday.Syrian Druse stand between ISIS and Israeli border, Druse sheikh warns
The barrier will run along the country’s eastern border — from Eilat northwards to the Samar sand dunes — and will join a series of other fences Israel has along other borders, including one recently completed on the Egyptian frontier.
The prime minister — during a visit to the planned route of the border fence in the south with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz — said that Israel was not able to take in refugees. He pointed to the European refugee crisis as proof of why Israel needs the barrier.
Israeli Druse leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the southern Syrian Druse city of Sweida serves as the last barrier separating Islamic State from Israeli territory on the Golan Heights.IDF to unveil new radar system for mortar shells
If Islamic State gets past Sweida, it puts Jordan and the Israeli border areas at risk, Israeli Druse spiritual leader Sheikh Maufak Tarif told the Post.
The Druse in Sweida are preparing for war and will fight if they have to, he said.
“The situation there is not easy and Islamic State is on the east side,” he explained, adding that it seems that Islamic State is preparing to attack the city.
Asked about his meetings with Israeli officials and foreign governments regarding the Syrian Druse situation, Tarif replied that he is in contact with both Israeli and foreign officials all the time.
“It is a very stressed situation,” he added, urging the US to attack the Islamists in Syria.
The Israel Defense Forces is set to unveil a new radar system developed by the army that would improve warning time for southern residents in cases of incoming short-range rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.Palestinian man gets threats for saving US Jewish students
The system will be operational next month in communities surrounding the Palestinian enclave, which are vulnerable to rocket attacks.
The new technology is expected to allow an extra seven to eight seconds for residents to seek shelter between the time the projectile is launched and the siren sounds.
More importantly, the system will allow for sirens to be triggered early enough in areas in which previous warning times were insufficient — or even nonexistent. Some communities only have up to five seconds of warning time to run for shelter.
Despite being threatened with decapitation, Faiz Abu Hamadiah says rescuing youths from Hebron mob was the right thing to doPalestinians call day of rage after firebombing victim dies
Hamadiah showed the interviewer a machete that he “keeps by the door,” and said he was prepared to use it against anyone who attempted to enter his home to harm the students, even at the risk of endangering his own life, he said.
“I was afraid… that men in ski masks would come and give us trouble. [But I knew I would defend them], even if it risked my life and the lives of my children,” Hamadiah said.
“This is my worldview,” he explained. “Either you are human, or you don’t do it and then you aren’t human.”
Hebron is divided between a small population of settlers and a larger population of Palestinians, who control most of the city.
Hamadiah had initially dismissed concerns that he would be branded a “collaborator” by his neighbors. “I did the right thing,” he said on Thursday. “We need to live here together.”
Palestinians called for a “day of rage” throughout the West Bank in response to the death of Riham Dawabsha, who succumbed overnight to wounds she suffered in a firebomb attack on her home on July 31.Egyptian Authorities to Open Rafah Crossing for Three Days
Dawabsha died at the Tel Hashomer hospital, near Tel Aviv, where she was treated for burns to 90 percent of her body, inflicted in the attack on her family home in the West Bank village of Duma. It was her 27th birthday.
Palestinian protests were called for Tuesday and Israeli security forces were placed on alert after news of Dawabsha’s death was released by the hospital.
Her body was to be taken to the pathology institute in An-Najah National University for an autopsy. From there, the deceased mother was to be moved to the mosque in Duma, where she was to be buried after the midday prayers. Thousands were expected to take part in her funeral ceremony.
Riham’s grieving father Hussein complained bitterly of the apparent lack of progress in efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack, which police suspect was carried out by Jewish Israeli extremists.
Egyptian authorities on Sunday notified the Gaza Ministry of Interior that the Rafah border crossing would be open for three days starting Monday to allow Gazans to leave for the holy Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia's Mecca, Gazan officials said, according to the Ma’an news agency.JCPA: The Disintegration of Syria and Its Impact on Israel
The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the Egyptian authorities would only allow pilgrims access through the terminal.
Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times.
Last month Egyptian authorities opened the crossing for four days, allowing 2,579 humanitarian cases to leave Gaza while 3,178 people were permitted entry to the coastal enclave.
In late June, Egyptian authorities agreed to keep the crossing open for a week, the longest period so far this year.
Syria’s fragmentation into separate, battling enclaves is intensifying. The two main enclaves are “central Syria,” controlled by the Assad regime, and the Islamic State. Other enclaves are controlled by the communities that populate them (the Kurdish region in the north and the Druze Mountain in the south) or by Sunni opposition elements (part of Aleppo, Idlib, the southern Golan, and numerous rural areas around the main cities, including Damascus). All factions are fighting to expand their spheres of control or prevent gains by their enemies; and while each of these factions is pursuing local offensives and succeeding, the Islamic State is expanding its control in a way that could have strategic ramifications.Analysis: Russia taking advantage of West’s inaction to keep Assad in power
The fear of the Islamic State will probably lead external actors to boost their involvement in the fighting, thereby lessening the centrality of the regime’s struggle against the other insurgent groups. Against the backdrop of the nuclear deal, there are increasing chances of cooperation between the United States, Iran, and Assad, and possibly also Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in the campaign against the Islamic State. This situation, apparently, forms the background for initiatives to bring the war to an end that have led to the new UN Security Council resolution.
Gains by the Assad regime, Iran, and Hizbullah in the crucial area of the Syrian-Lebanese border are likely, under these circumstances, to lead to intensified efforts by Iran and Hizbullah, as a secondary theater, to build capabilities for attacking Israel in the northern Golan.
In light of all these factors, and given the ongoing human distress, Israel may have no choice but to reconsider its policy toward the developments in Syria.
Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria has sparked concern in Western capitals as Vladimir Putin again appears to be shrewdly calculating that the West will not significantly counter his moves.IS forces Syrian Christians to pledge to abide by Islamic rules, pay special tax
The Russian president’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year was not strongly resisted by the Europeans or Americans, and the Kremlin likely expects even less resistance to its involvement a half-world away.
Russia’s efforts to maintain its Syrian ally and build inroads with Egypt and elsewhere represent its contest with the US for power and influence in the region.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart on Saturday the United States was deeply concerned about reports that Moscow was moving toward a major military build-up in Syria widely seen as aimed at bolstering President Bashar Assad.
US authorities have detected “worrisome preparatory steps,” including the transport of prefabricated housing units for hundreds of people to a Syrian airfield, which could signal that Russia is readying deployment of heavy military assets there, a senior US official told Reuters.
The Islamic State group is forcing Christians in the Syrian territory it controls to sign a contract for dhimma (non-Muslims), restricting external expressions of their faith and agreeing to pay a jizya tax levied on those who do not follow Islam.
The Islamist organization controls swathes of Iraq and Syria, where some 10 million people live, according to a March 2015 assessment by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors the Arab media, says that the Islamic State’s media office in the Damascus province on Thursday published a photo report showing Christians in the town of Al-Qaryatayn in central Syria signing the contract, which it says requires signatories “to pay the jizya poll tax, abide by Islamic rules and refrain from certain activities.”
In exchange, MEMRI says, the contract offers certain protections for Christians, including a guarantee that they will come to no harm and will not be forced to convert. The contract adds that anyone found to be in violation of any of the articles in the 11-point contract will be “treated as a combatant.”