Monthly Archives: December 2016

Joining the Jackals

In the wake of a political UNSC resolution on December 23rd 2016 which ruled the Western Wall and other Israeli sites and settlements legally invalid Israeli territory (FWIW, legally the UNSC hasn’t a leg to stand on…) and which exhorts other nations to boycott any and all commerce with Israeli products produced east of the 1949 Green Line, it is important for Israelis and their supporters to cut to the chase.

In the first instance it is important to recognize that though the U.N. Charter is considered a “law-making treaty”, the United Nations itself is not an international legislature that can make laws or pass legislations.

With that out of the way, and in relation to 2334’s ruling that Israeli settlements east of the green Line are legally invalid (they’re not…), legal scholars state: “Because of the ex iniuria principle [unjust acts cannot create law], Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title.”

To this I add United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine which aimed to establish two states within Mandate Palestine.

The Resolution designated the territory described as “the hill country of Samaria and Judea” (including what is now known as the “West Bank”) as part of the proposed ARAB state.

But, aware of Arabs’ past aggressions, Resolution 181, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

“Determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.”

And so, the following progressions come into play:

  1. Clearly, with the Jordanian invasion and occupation of “Arab” Judea and Samaria in flagrant disregard of Article 39 of the UN Charter, the ones who sought to alter the settlement envisioned in Resolution 181 by force, were the Arabs who threatened bloodshed if the United Nations was to adopt the Resolution.
  2. Judea and Samaria were NEVER intended to be part of Jordan which invaded it in 1948.
  3. Until the second military defeat of Arab armies by a numerically inferior Israel in 1967, no Arab nation or group recognized or claimed the existence of an independent Palestinian nationality or ethnicity.
  4. Resolution 181 itself, which partitioned what was left of the mandate into an Arab and a Jewish state, was declared dead by the UN in July 30, 1949 when it stated that:

“The Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan so that any comment of theirs did not specifically concern the status of the Arab  section of Palestine under partition but rather rejected the scheme in its entirety.”

By the time armistice agreements were reached in 1949 between Israel and its  immediate Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Trans-Jordan) Resolution 181 had become irrelevant, and the armistice agreements needed to address new realities created by the war.

  1. This meant that when, in the late 1990s, more than 50 years after Resolution 181 was rejected by the Arab world, Arab leaders suddenly recommended to the General Assembly that UN Resolution 181 be resurrected as the basis for a peace agreement, there was no foundation for such a notion because even the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) uses the term “unbalanced” in describing the reason for Arab rejectionism of Resolution 181. This despite the fact that 77% of the area of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) Arab state –Trans-Jordan (today Jordan)….
  2. In stating, on 23rd December 2106, and in invoking Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, that Israeli settlement east of the Green Line was “legally invalid” the UNSC was in contradiction of that same Article which stated:

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive. Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.”           [emphasis mine]

Article 49 is thus simply not applicable. Even if it were, it may be added that the facts of recent voluntary settlements seem not to be caught by the intent of Article 49, which was, rather, directed at the forced transfer of the belligerent’s inhabitants to the occupied territory, or the displacement of the local inhabitants for other than security reasons. This has implications for the legal challenge to UNSC if Bensouda of the ICJ decides to instigate a full investigation where Israel is charged with war crimes under the aegis of this Article.

Further, the UNSC Resolution 2334 ignores the fact that Israel and the Arabs agreed in the 1995 Interim Agreement, signed and witnessed by the U.S., the EU, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Norway, on a division of their respective jurisdictions in the West Bank into areas A and B (Palestinian jurisdiction) and area C (Israeli jurisdiction). They defined the respective powers and responsibilities of each side in the areas they control.

Israel’s powers and responsibilities in Area C include all aspects regarding its settlements – all this pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations per 242.

This division was accepted and agreed upon by the Palestinians, who cannot now invoke the Geneva Convention regime in order to bypass their acceptance of the Interim Agreement or their and the international community’s acknowledgement of that agreement’s relevance and continued validity.

For what it’s worth, where the decision was taken (and agreed to by the “Palestinians”) to break west bank into areas A, B and C, the breakdown was effected thus:

92% of Palestinians live in PA administered Areas A and B. Less than 2% live in Israeli administered Area C. That is, Palestinians have communities on 40% of the west bank; while 60% of the west bank is virtually empty.

As the Washington Post put it at the time:

 “Following the 1993 Oslo accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, like several before it, limited building almost entirely to areas that both sides expect Israel to annex through territorial swaps in an eventual settlement per Resolution 242. Almost all of the Jewish settlers live on only four percent of the West Bank,  the sector that Israel has been seeking to annex as part of a peace plan that was first presented twelve years ago.”

To return, there is only one International law concerning Israeli settlement that is binding and has never been superseded. The League of Nations, on July 24th, 1922, established the Mandate for Palestine, by unanimous vote, which included two Islamic states, Persia and Albania. Ratifying the 1922 agreement which has never been legally altered or abrogated, and which thus makes made it legally binding under international law it states:

‘Under this settlement, the whole of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan was reserved exclusively for the Jewish People as the Jewish National Home, in recognition of their historical connection with that country, dating from the Patriarchal Period … The Palestine aspect of the global settlement [is] recorded in three basic documents that led to the founding of the modern State of Israel: …’

In other words, recognition was “… given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country….”

That the British then unilaterally detached three fourths of the Palestine Mandate and created Trans Jordan, which was only for Arabs and banned to Jews is the subject of a whole different story.

In light of this, anyone who sees Israel as an occupier of foreign land has to argue either that the League of Nations Mandate was illegal or that Jewish settlement became illegal when Jordan invaded and occupied it. No one ever argued for the former, the illegality of the Mandate, and the latter is legally absurd and morally dubious.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 got it wrong historically, legally and morally.

The Land of Israel, in its entirety, is NOT, to my thinking, an eternal gift from this or that god.

The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation through historical reference to international law codified in the UN Charter and two international treaties.

Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated through uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward in the Land of Israel in the area known as Judea (aka the West Bank of the River Jordan…).

It was validated by three ancient Biblical [historicoreligious] texts; by the Balfour Declaration of 1917; by the San Remo Resolution of 1920; by the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

UNSC Resolution 2334 is not the end-point of the deliberations of a peak peace-seeking body professing protection of human rights of a “disposessed” “people”.

Rather, it is just the beginning of a process which will now scrutinize the mandate of the United Nations and its legitimacy.

This because UNSC 2334 remains testament to an Islamic cartel, to anti-Israel NGO’s, a petulant, ill-educated American administration and a profoundly biased mainstream media.

The Green Line of 1949 was never an internationally recognised border, but rather a cease fire line.

The core principle of Resolution 242 of 1967 that state borders between the Jews and the Arabs were to be agreed upon thru negotiations, has never been abrogated.

Professor Julius Stone put it best when he stated:

“Israel’s legitimacy or the legal foundation for its birth does not reside with the United Nations’ Partition Plan, which as a consequence of Arab actions became a dead issue. The State of Israel rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control.”

History will record that President Obama’s risible abstention per UNSC Resolution 2334 will have counted, in the long run, for nothing.

After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does that paper honor today.

“It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.”

That editorial was titled “Joining the Jackals.”


From Chicago to Turtle Bay – journey of a pro-Palestinian

As the dust begins to settle from the furore created by UNSC Resolution 2334, and as legal, less emotionally involved minds begin to look at the ramifications of the resolution, I print below, Elena Chachko’s take on the impact of 2334 on Israel.

After that, I will go back a little and show how Obama December 23, 2016 was but the culmination of Obama as lecturer at University of Chicago, his friendship with Rashid Khalidi and how, back in 2008, Martin Kramer predicted then exactly what Obama would do on finishing his term as President in 2016-17.


UNSC 2334 is the first Security Council resolution since 1980 (resolution 465) that focuses on settlements. It also demands an immediate cessation of all settlement activity.
However, the resolution does not invoke Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which governs the Security Council’s authority to take enforcement measures in response to a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace or acts of aggression.”
Its operative paragraphs do not include binding language, for the most part using the non-binding “calls upon” formulation.
Resolution 2334 therefore does not have immediate and direct implications in the form of sanctions or other measures with practical significance.
This means that while 2334 does not provide, say, ICJ prosecutor Bensouda with new legal arguments, it could affect her decision-making if ever there was a full investigation into “Israeli war crimes”.
In sum, in and of itself, Resolution 2334’s immediate practical significance is limited.

But what of Obama himself? How did long-time adviser Power’s explanation gell with the Obama we don’t talk much about?

In December 2016, Stanley Kurtz statesd that despite arguments to and fro regarding Obama’s pro-Muslim/Palestinian proclivities and how “moderate” Obama was as President, Obama’s long-held pro-Palestinian sentiments were sincere, while his post-2004 pro-Israel stance was dictated by political necessity.

He added that Obama’s abstention on the December 23, 2016 U.N. resolution condemning Israel could have had no practical political motive. The only plausible remaining explanations were “accumulated frustration” over Israel’s settlement policy, pure personal pique at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for past differences.

Thus, Obama’s decision to abstain from yesterday’s U.N. condemnation of Israel was increasingly problematic for advocates of the “moderate Obama” hypothesis and was something that would taint any legacy he might leave behind.

To support this view, Kurtz identifies Obama’s long and still poorly-known history of support for the most radical and committed Palestinian activists in the United States. Years of committed activism, personal friendship and study courses under Edward Said were always going to be lot tougher to fake than the pro-Israel policy positioning Obama adopted after his breakthrough at the 2004 Democratic Convention gave him a shot at the presidency.

Back in May 26, 2011 Kurtz wrote:

“The continuing influence of Obama’s pro-Palestinian sentiments is the best way to make sense of the president’s recent tilt away from Israel. This is why supporters of Israel should fear Obama’s reelection. In 2013, with his political vulnerability a thing of the past, Obama’s pro-Palestinian sympathies would be released from hibernation, leaving Israel without support from its indispensable American defender.

“Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments…Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences. The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.”

Prescient? Perhaps. But not as prescient as Martin Kramer’s address to the Shalem Center’s Manhattan Seminar on October 28, 2008.

I excerpt relevant selections below:

Regarding Iran:

The ultimate question isn’t whether Obama will unlearn what he learned at Columbia, Harvard, and Chicago. Should he actually initiate unconditional talks with Iran, it will dawn on him at some point that this was a mistake—that it legitimated the Iranian regime without receiving any concession in return, especially regarding Iranian conduct in Iraq and Lebanon; that it undermined the already fragile coalition of Arab states build so painstakingly by the Bush administration to contain Iran; and that it gave Iran an opportunity to continue its nuclear program under the cover of negotiations, perhaps buying enough time to bring it to completion.”
When Obama realizes this, he will face the very same narrow choice of options he wishes now to avoid: that is, either acquiescence in a nuclear Iran, or a military strike. Of course, when “engagement” fails, there will still be a sizable body of Muslim, European, and American opinion which will hold the United States to blame, for not going the extra mile. And even though Obama will have gone the extra mile, he’ll be criticized for not going yet another.
This is the relentless logic of appeasement.
But when “engagement” finally fails, Iran’s programs will be still further advanced, making the military option even less appealing than it is today. So “engagement” is not so much a third alternative between a nuclear Iran and a military strike, as it is a likely prelude to American acquiescence in a nuclear Iran. This would constitute one of the greatest failures of American foreign policy ever.”

Regarding Arab-Israeli conflict Kramer identifies Obama’s radicalization at Columbia through courses taken as a student and thru friendships forged at the University of Chicago in the early 90s, once he started to build a base in preparation for his 2008 election:

“But the University of Chicago is another story. His stay there, as a lecturer and senior lecturer, coincided with the meteoric rise of Rashid Khalidi. It’s here that Obama appeared in 1991, and for the first time we can link him to the Edward Said-Rashid Khalidi nexus. It would appear that Obama received his first primer on the Middle East from Rashid Khalidi.
…One can only hope that Obama realizes sooner rather than later that he too will not be able to draw the sword from the stone and bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace in our time. But lots of time and energy will be wasted in this learning process, it will put tremendous strain on the triangular relationship among the United States, Israel, and America’s Arab allies, and it will distract everyone from what has to be done to address the other pressing problems in the Middle East, all of which will be neglected on the erroneous assumption that America can’t do anything productive until it creates some sort of Palestine.”

As December 23 2016 shows, Barak Hussein Obama never unlearned his first Middle East primer.

The Balfour Circus is Coming to Town – or why the Abbas legal initiative will fail

November 2nd 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. 2017 is also slated to be the year when the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas intends to litigate against Britain and sue her for creating the State of Israel; an action he deems a “crime” against a “people”.

Abbas’ intended action is futile and a waste of time and resources, because threatening legal action over what will be a 100-year-old document is a stretch, attracting more ridicule than serious analysis. In any event, the Declaration has in any case long been superseded by other decisions including UN resolutions.

For example, the Palestinian claim that they have a right to establish a sovereign state in the territories of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza rests on two legs:

(1) UN Assembly Resolution 181, concerning the partition of the western Land of Israel and the establishment of an Arab state alongside a Jewish state; and

(2) Resolution 242, concerning Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders.

Every single historical legal narrative will show that this claim can be dismissed outright, without considering it in detail, on the grounds that the “Palestinians” themselves rejected these resolutions at the time, and did all they could to foil them by force.

Not only that, but the Palestinian right to a state in addition to the one across the Jordan (which received indepen­dence in 1946), as recognized in UN Resolution 181, was controversial in itself, since it was bestowed on the Palestinians in contradiction to Article 5 of the original Mandate of 1922 (The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power), which the UN had undertaken to fulfill in Article 80 of its Charter.

That is to say, from the moment that the “Palestinians” rejected Resolution 181 and chose to attack Israel, aided by Arab states, with the intent to destroy it, they lost this right — on the basis of the general principle of “Right cannot grow from injustice.”

Furthermore, Abbas’ intended initiative has ignored the fact that in 1921, Mandatory Palestine was already partitioned in two, and in its eastern part, what was called “the Emirate of Transjordan” was set up.

This was designed not only to fulfill the commit­ments Britain had made to Emir Abdullah during the First World War but also to allocate land for the Palestine Arabs across the Jordan River.

Likewise, the Palestinians tend to forget the fact that in 1949 Transjordan annexed the territories of Judea and Samaria, and even changed its name to “the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” so as to emphasize that both banks of the Jordan were now included in its territory.

This gung-ho move proved to have long lasting legal implications which Israel has exploited to its fullest legal extent.

But, because I want to delineate some of the myriad reasons why Abbas’ efforts are a waste of time, I will look at discrete sections of the Mandate for Palestine, the 1939 White Paper, Abbas’ allegations of “illegality” and how, at every twist and turn, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are in disrespect of international law, its organisations and the very core of the UN Charter; the right to peace.

Sir Vincent Fean, former British consul-general in Jerusalem [glibly] argued that “…there is a moral responsibility on our government to complete the work that it started when Britain was the world power,” and that “It should work to deliver an outcome which respects the rights both of Israelis and Palestinians. That is two states – and on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Everything Fean says is contra-indicated by Palestinian behavior from 1948 in flagrant contravention of the UN Charter. And this is not to point out to Fean’s unconcern that the 1967 borders would mean retreat from East Jerusalem, and would take away Jewish sovereignty in the very parts of Israel’s capital and Judea and Samaria that most define the re-constituted Jewish state.

One of the things central to the UN Charter is the right to peace, a right which is conferred by the fact of membership in the UN, and which is absolute and inviolate.

With the crimina­lization of war/violence between groups in international law, and in the UN Charter, and the criminalization of denial of right to peace, Abbas and the Palestinians are in flagrant disregard of the rules of the very international organisations they now want to intercede on their behalf in their favour.

This blatant disregard and delegitimisation of Jewish right to a homeland is witnessed in an embarrassment of quotes. I will table but three of them.

The PLO Charter for its part still states that “claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah.

In November 2014 Abbas stated in an emergency session of the Arab League with foreign ministers from around the Arab world in Cairo that “We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel,”

Abbas has also famously said in Ramallah, “We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”

Thus, Abbas’ rather bizarre July 2016 statement of intent to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration itself demonstrates yet again, not only disregard of the very UN Charter he now wants to grant him statehood, but verification of the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, alongside the recognition the Palestinians seek for their own rights.

Not only that, but Mr Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is even seeking international recognition for the “right” to kill Israelis. Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, reports that the PA asserts “it has the right to kill Israeli civilians, and they quote UN resolution 3236 of 1974 which ‘recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means.’ The PA interprets ‘all means’ as including violence and killing of civilians.”

Marcus points out the PA deliberately ignores the rest of the resolution that declares “the use of ‘all means’ should be ‘in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations…’ The UN Charter forbids targeting civilians, even in war.

Elon Yarden explains this Muslim Arab phenomenon best. He says that  Islamic law is monistic rather than pluralistic in essence, and only recognizes the legitimacy of a single all­-embracing state — the caliphate — that is based on a single, all-embracing religion — Islam.

International relations, according to this conception, are not relations of equality, but of subjugation between the caliphate and all other entities, to which a certain degree of autonomy is permitted, but not sovereignty.

Because of the lack of legitimacy in Islam for political pluralism and the between pluralism and monism, and the disparity between pluralism and monism, even today, after more than fifty years of political independence, the Arabs have trouble defining themselves in terms of bounded territorial nationalism, and prefer to think of themselves as part of the “great Arab nation” and even as part of the still greater Islamic nation.

Thus, Yarden continues, the crimina­lization of war in international law, by the UN Charter, is foreign to Arab understanding because it contradicts basic conceptions of Islamic law, first and foremost the institution of jihad. The Charter put an end to the older international law, in which war was legal so long as its purpose was “just”.

In the legal regime that the Charter has established, there is no longer any validity to the traditional distinction between a “just” war and an “unjust” war — instead, only a distinction between an “aggressive war”, which is prohibited by law, and a “defensive war”, which is permitted by it per the right to self-defense (Article 51) and in the authorization to enforce collective security.

Yarden posits that the Muslim Arab world has not succeeded in internalizing the revolution that the UN Charter has wrought, just as it has difficulty internalizing constitutional law and other Western norms.

Hence, despite the fact that the Arab states owe their independence to international law, it is difficult for them to adopt its principles, especially the more powerful states among them. That explains why the Arab states fail to recognize not only Israel’s legitimacy but even that of other Arab states; why the strong states among them seek to conquer the weak ones, with the goal of reestablishing the vanished caliphate.

The lack of peace between Israel and the Arab states does not stem, therefore, from the existence of conflicts between the sides, but from the Arab states’ refusal to recognize the legal regime that international law has established, since it runs counter to Muslim law. Hence their war against Israel is also perceived as normative, even if it contradicts their obligations according to the UN Charter. That is also why they ascribe no importance to the series of agreements they have signed with Israel since its establishment.

In legal terms, because, according to international law, the State of Israel is the legal sovereign over the entire territory of Mandatory Palestine west of the Jordan River, the Palestinians have no right except to autonomy, with the extent of its authority to be determined in negotia­tions between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas cannot even retreat into the Oslo accords in pursuit of his lawsuit. In light of the sweeping prohibi­tion of the use of force or even the threat of it in international law, the traditional peace arrangements for bringing an end to war, including peace treaties, are no longer valid because they result from the prior use of force.

This would make the Oslo agreements which tried to remediate what the Arabs vetoed in 1948, invalid because they were obtained as a result of the ongoing use of terrorism over many years, in Israel and outside of it, as well as the resort to “intifada when things didn’t go their way.

Any additional Abbas appeal to Oslo is also invalid because, according to the language of the Palestinian Covenant and other basic documents, the Palestinians have not relinquished the use of armed force as a means of destroying the State of Israel even subsequent to the signing of the Oslo agreements.

I have mentioned above that according to the UN Charter the right to peace, conferral of peace on a member state of the UN cannot be made dependent on any additional conditions.

Thus, after having vetoed Resolution 181, Resolu­tion 242, which makes Israel’s right to peace conditional on the handing over of territories to the Arabs, has no legal validity per the cornerstone of modern international law, whose constitution is the UN Charter.

This absolute right to peace poses the following conundrum for Abbas and the PLO: if the Arabs wish to belong to the international community that the Charter has established, they must clearly declare that they repudiate war unconditionally and unequivocally. They must declare that they recognize Israel’s right to exist in secure and recognized borders, without making this conditional on the handing over of any territories. And if Abbas refuses to do so, then he has clearly removed those he represents from the fold of the international community, and thus no longer entitled to any assistance that that community is authorized to provide.

Writing in HuffPo in 2013, Avi Ben Hur stated that in 1939 the British understood that they would not be able to resolve the conflict between the sides. On the eve of WWII, the British issued a “White Paper” – a declaration of policy — in which they claimed to have fulfilled their commitments undertaken in the Balfour Declaration.

This Paper put in writing the failure of Great Britain to further dance between the raindrops, having twice promised parts of the Mandate to Hussein of Mecca AND the Jews. To that end, tucked away in the middle of its three sections it stated its interpretation that

“His Majesty’s Government believe that the framers of the Mandate  in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country.

And so, having done the colonial thing and secured Iraq’s oilfields for Britain after the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire, It was now leaving the mess it created to be sorted out between essentially westernized Jews who believed in a pluralistic international law with a body of Muslims who believed in monistic Islamic law. So, while the Levantine Arabs may in fact harbor some grievances about a nationalism, indigeneity, culture or history they had no concerns about till 1967, the illegality of Israel and the “criminal” nature of the 1917 Declaration has absolutely no legal bearing on legal creation of the State of Israel.

And it is not as if those who penned the 1939 White Paper were unaware of the impact of the words they were committing to paper.

Section III of that Paper (Land) puts it all front and centre [emphasis mine]:

The vagueness of the phrases employed in some instances to describe these obligations has led to controversy and has made the task of interpretation difficult. His Majesty’s Government cannot hope to satisfy the partisans of one party or the other in such controversy as the Mandate has aroused. Their purpose is to be just as between the two people in Palestine whose destinies in that country have been affected by the great events of recent years, and who, since they live side by side, must learn to practice mutual tolerance, goodwill and co-operation. In looking to the future, His Majesty’s Government are not blind to the fact that some events of the past make the task of creating these relations difficult; but they are encouraged by the knowledge that as many times and in many places in Palestine during recent years the Arab and Jewish inhabitants have lived in friendship together.

Now go sort it out…………….

In 2016, the existence of the modern State of Israel is a fact and the Balfour Declaration was one of the important milestones in enabling the Zionist movement to realize its dream of Jewish national independence in the Land of Israel.

As Avi Ben Hur puts it: “Despite all of the arguments surrounding the Balfour Declaration, Israel’s legitimacy does not rest on it or even on the 1947 UN Resolution 181 to partition the country to two states: one Jewish and the other Arab. It rests (legally) on the fact of its existence, the continuity of its existence, its assertion of independence by its people, its vindication of it independence by force of arms, its having an organized government within territory under its control and its recognition by the generality of nations.”

Seventy seven years ago, the 1939 White Paper recognized that groups of people need to “…live side by side…[and] practice mutual tolerance, goodwill and co-operation…”

Further, it stipulated that was essential to be known that Jews were entitled to be in Palestine “…as of right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognised to rest upon ancient historic connection.”

Abbas will be wasting everybody’s time in 2017 with a frivolous lawsuit.

Indeed, the essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (nee Arab-Israeli conflict) until today has been the systematic and total rejection by the Palestinian leadership of the Jewish people’s legitimate national rights in the Land of Israel.

Abbas’ attempt to undermine the Balfour Declaration is part and parcel of his “moderate” campaign to undermine the basic rights of Jewish peoplehood and the legitimacy of the State of Israel. As I have stated above, rejecting the Balfour Declaration is tantamount to rejecting the internationally-recognized natural rights of the Jewish people to a national home in the Land of Israel and runs counter to the very core of the UN Charter.

Abbas’ attempt proves yet again that he is less interested in establishing his own state alongside Israel than he is in forging it instead of Israel. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the recent historical denial of internationally-recognized Jewish rights by the Palestinian leadership, reflected in the recent attempts in UNESCO to erase the Jewish and Christian heritage of Jerusalem.

Amongst other firsts, Israel is the world’s first modern indigenous state: the creation and declaration of the sovereign nation of Israel marks the first time in history that an indigenous people has managed to legally regain control of its ancestral lands and re-constitute a nation state.

The importance of both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision lays in the legal international recognition of preexisting natural, historical, and legal rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, in which there had been a continuous Jewish presence throughout the centuries.

This is further emphasized by the language used in the League’s Mandate decision. The Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate specifically calls to “reconstitute” the national home of the Jewish people, not to constitute anything new.

This was done. Israel exists.







“Celebrating” Orientalism – Richard Landes

This article is here reprinted with permission of the author. Edward Said was himself a classic example of the honour-shame culture he succeeded in white-washing.

Whether one views the impact of Edward Said (1935-2003) on academia as a brilliant triumph or a catastrophic tragedy, few can question the astonishing scope and penetration of his magnum opus, Orientalism. In one generation, a radical transformation overcame Middle Eastern studsaid-1ies: A new breed of “post- colonial” academics, boasting a liberating, anti-imperialist perspective, replaced a generation of scholars disparaged by Said as “Orientalists.” Nor was this transformation limited to Middle Eastern studies: Said and hispost-colonial paradigm assembled a wide range of acolytes in many fields in the social sciences and humanities.

And yet, when one surveys the past two decades alone, Said’s academic progeny have been spectacularly off the mark in their analyses of and prescriptions for action in the Middle East; and nowhere has this been more apparent than in the misreading of the disastrous Israeli-Palestinian Oslo “peace process” and the “Arab spring,” with its rapid deterioration into a welter of tribal and sectarian wars that have, among other things, created millions of refugees, many of whom have literally washed up on Europe’s unhappy shores.


Much of this failure can be attributed to the strictures placed by post-colonial thought on the ability to discuss the Middle East’s social and political dynamics:If scholars and journalists were mesmerized by the prospects of Arab-Israeli peace and the mirage of a wave of Arab democratization, it was partly because they had systematically underplayed the role of honor-shame cultures in Arab and Muslim societies, and its impact on Islamic religiosity, all of which Said had tarred with the derogatory brush of “Orientalism.”


Honor-Shame Dynamics: Political and Religious



The term honor-shame designates cultures where the acquisition, maintenance, and restoration of public honor trump all other concerns. While everyone cares what others think and wants to save face even if it means lying, in honor-shame cultures, such concerns dominate public discourse: There is no price too high to pay—including one’s life—to preserve honor. In such political cultures, public opinion accepts, expects, even requires that blood be shed for the sake of honor. In such societies, when people voice public criticism of those in power—those with honor—they attack their very being; were the latter not to respond —preferably through violence—they would lose face. Authoritarian societies accordingly enable their alpha males to suppress violently those whose language offends them. Hence, honor-shame cultures have immense difficulty tolerating freedom of speech, of religion, of press, and an equally hard time dealing with societies that do.

In self-help justice cultures, this insistence on honor can mean killing someone who killed a relative, and in Japanese culture, honor can mean killing oneself. However, in some honor cultures, this concern means killing a family member for the sake of the family’s honor. And driving the performances, motivating the need to save face, and defining the ways to do so is “public judgment,” whose verdict decides one’s fate in the community. The Arabic term for gossip is kalam an-nas (talk of the people), which is often harsh in its judgment of others. Psychologist Talib Kafaji writes,

Arab culture is a judgmental culture, and anything a person does is subject to judgment … induc[ing] many fears… with serious consequences on individual lives. Avoiding such judgment can be the constant preoccupation of people, almost as if the entire culture is paralyzed by Kalam [an]-nas. In other words, all of the people in Arab society are hostages of each other.

Despite sounding “Orientalist,” this attention to a crippling and pervasive judgmentalism provides important insights into the dysfunctions of the Arab world today.


Jerusalem. The honor-shame dynamic explains much of the Arab and Muslim hostility to Israel. A state of free Jews (i.e., non-dhimmi infidels), living inside the historic Arab Dar al-Islam, constitutes blasphemy. Israel’s ability to survive repeated Arab efforts to destroy it constitutes a permanent state of Arab shame before the entire global community.

Honor-shame cultures tend to be zero-sum: Men of honor jealously guard their honor and view others’ rise as a threat to self.In zero-sum cultures of “limited good,” honor for one person means shame for others. If the other side wins, you lose; in order to win, the other side must lose. Those just below continuously challenge those just above, and ascent comes through aggression. You’re not a man until you’ve killed another man. Taking from another—theft, plunder—is superior to producing. Rule or be ruled. One washes a blackened face in blood.

The same hard zero-sum, rule-or-be-ruled, mentality that dominates most interactions in the politics of honor-shame cultures, has its analog in the religiosity of triumphalism, or the belief that the dominance of one’s religion over others proves the truth of that religion.  In the same way that triumphalist Christians took the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity as proof of their supersessionist claims about the Jews, triumphalist Muslims, in a supreme expression of honor-driven religiosity, believe that Islam is a religion of dominance destined to rule the world.

This honor-shame dynamic explains much of the Arab and Muslim hostility to Israel, as well as to the West. Israel, a state of free Jews (i.e., non-dhimmi infidels), living inside the historic Dar al-Islam (realm of submission), constitutes a living blasphemy; and Israel’s ability to survive repeated Arab efforts to destroy it constitutes a permanent state of Arab shame before the entire global community. This in turn makes triumphalist Muslim hostility to Israel a particularly severe case of a much broader hostility toward infidels and “moderate” Muslims.

Any effort to understand what is happening in the Arab world today needs to take into account this religio-cultural dynamic. And yet, by and large, this dynamic is not only ignored but those underscoring it are rebuked for (supposedly) contributing to worsening the conflict rather than understanding it. Much of this ignorance (both active and intransitive) can be traced back to Said, who made “honor-shame” analysis an especially egregious “Orientalist” sin. Even before his work anthropology had moved away from such analysis, he made it dogma. So much so, that in the last third of the twentieth century, it became paradoxically shameful—indeed racist—for an anthropologist to discuss Arab or Muslim “honor-shame.”

 Said’s Shame and the Disorientation of the West

Said’s Orientalism exploited a Western proclivity for moral self-criticism over criticism of other cultures to shield his people from shame. For him, criticism of Arabs or Muslims reflected the West’s ethnocentric prejudices and its discriminatory, cultural map for imperial dominion. It was not what the Orientalists pretended they were doing, namely, offering accurate observations on the characteristics and conditions of another culture and its history. Rather, any contrasts between the cultures of the democratic West and those of Arabs and Muslims—certainly any that put the latter in a poor light—were ugly examples of invidious xenophobia directed at an inferior “them,” not a reflection on a social reality. Speaking of the nineteenth century, Said wrote: “[E]very European in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.” He  issued a plea for an alternative:

At all costs, the goal of Orientalizing the Orient again and again is to be avoided … Without “the Orient” there would be scholars, critics, intellectuals, human beings, for whom the racial, ethnic, and national distinctions were less important than the common enterprise in promoting human community.

Unpacked, this appeal asks scholars not to talk about ethnic, racial, or religious differences—what most Middle Easterners will say are very important cultural issues for them. Hence, in his 1994 “Afterward” to a new edition of Orientalism, Said complained about the growing Western focus on Islam as a danger: “both the electronic and print media have been awash with demeaning stereotypes that lump together Islam and terrorism, or Arabs and violence, or the Orient and tyranny.”  Such phenomena, Said insisted, were “not part of the whole picture” and focusing on them “demeans and dehumanizes lesser people … [and] denies, suppresses, distorts.” In essence, Said enjoined fellow non-Muslims to ignore the very issues they most needed to understand in order to follow the developments of the twenty-first century.

Hence, the very factors now dominant in Arab and Muslim political culture—religious zealotry, violence, terrorism, unbridled authoritarianism, and exploitation of the weak, including women, refugees, and, of course, the perennial victims of Arab political culture, the Palestinians, are not to be mentioned because doing so belittles Arabs and Muslims and hurts their feelings. Those who violate these new, anti-Orientalist directives elicit predictable anger from those they criticize, and equally vehement, if less violent, protests from fellow Westerners, accusing the Islamic critics of racism and of blaming the victim. Those who criticize Muslim hate speech are accused of aggravating the conflict.

So even as the traits that Said branded racist stereotypes grsaid-3ew in strength in the “Orient,” the mandarins of Middle East studies and post-colonial academics discussed them only reluctantly, and when pushed to do so, primarily to play them down. As a result, Western audiences remain to this day misinformed about Arabs and Muslims.

 Israeli troops during the 1967 Six-Day War. Said experienced thecatastrophic Arab defeat during the war as a “punishing destiny.” As a “Palestinian,” he lost face in this catastrophe, and his honor response was anger at those who thought badly of Arabs and who claimed to hold the moral high ground

While Said framed his critique of the West in post-modern, humanistic terms, it may well be framed in terms of the cultural dynamics of honor- shame. Kalam an-nas—the public opinion whose disapproval is so painful—helps to explain the direction of Said’s thought leading up to Orientalism. As an Arab who had great success playing by Western rules, surrounded by admiring colleagues (his “honor world” to that point), Said experienced the catastrophic Arab defeat of the 1967 Six-Day War as a “punishing destiny”:

The web of racism, cultural stereotypes, political imperialism, dehumanizing ideology holding in the Arab or the Muslim is very strong indeed, and it is this web which every Palestinian has come to feel as his uniquely punishing destiny. No [American academic] culturally and politically ever identified wholeheartedly with the Arabs; certainly there have been identifications on some level, but they have never taken an “acceptable” form as has liberal American identification with Zionism.


As a “Palestinian,” Said had lost face in this catastrophe, and his honor response was not a self-critical look at the Arab attitudes and actors that had contributed to both the unnecessary war and catastrophic defeat,

but rather, anger at those who thought badly of Arabs and who claimed to hold the moral high ground. Accordingly, he showed no concern for whether or not the Palestinian cause, whose “wholehearted” support he endorsed and wished others to share, reflected (or disdained) the liberal values to which he appealed. For the honor driven, championing a side in a conflict is not about integrity or liberal values, but about honor, about how one looks, about “face.”

Not surprisingly, few topics so incensed Said as the discussion of the role in Arab culture of seeking, maintaining, and regaining honor, and avoiding and eliminating shame. Given that such cultural traits as misogynistic patriarchy, honor-killings, blood feuds, slavery, civilian massacres, etc., did not look very good to Western liberals, Said had to save Arab face by averting that hostile occidental gaze. In a brilliant move, by labeling it racist, he managed to make it shameful for Western academics even to refer to these matters in discussing the Arab world.

His Orientalist playbook, by contrast, demanded a moral and cultural affirmative action. Accordingly, Said and his acolytes rebuked anyone who dared explain the perduring Arab Muslim obsession with destroying Israel in terms of their cultural issues: “How dare you treat them like they’re a bunch of savage, irredentist, superstitious yahoos, who feed on fantasies of genocidal revenge to restore honor lost and to retake dominion?!” On the contrary, Said insisted, “the connection between Arabs, Muslims, and terrorism” that so many “Orientalists” make was “entirely factitious.” For any outsider to suspect Palestinian (or Arab or Muslim) leaders of culturally-embedded, belligerent behavior, constituted, for post-colonials, an unacceptable aggression, a form of racism. For them, the conflict is about Israeli imperialism and the natural resistance it provokes.

With this brilliant defense of Arab face, of dealing with kalam an-nas, Said’s Orientalism flipped the vectors of the paralyzing negative judgment. On the one hand, it shielded Arabs from public criticism, on the other, it made the “imperialist” West (and its supposed outpost, “colonial Israel”), the object of relentless criticism. His success in this regard, gave rise to a generation of Middle East specialists, including academics, who described the Arab and Muslim worlds as “thriving civil societies,” imminently “democracies,” even as they berated the democratic West as a racist, imperialist culture badly in need of deconstruction, theoretically and practically. Such a move may have flattered Arab and Western (progressive) self-images, but it came at the cost of ignoring the darker realities on the ground.

And yet, to many, that ignorance seemed like a small price to pay. After all, Said’s framework offered conflict-averse progressives a way to avoid a clash of civilizations. Give Arabs and Muslims the benefit of the doubt, treat them with honor rather than gratuitously incensing them with criticism. That is the way to solve conflicts and bring peace. Educated Western adopters of Said’s discourse saw it as a kind of therapeutic narrative, which, by accentuating the positive and glossing over the negative, encouraged, rather than alienated, the “other.” It meant, among other things, treating Arabs and Muslims as if their political culture had already reached modern levels of societal commitment to universal human rights, to peace through toleration, to egalitarianism, to favoring positive-sum relations—when in reality, such an assessment was not only not objective (as in the post-modern world it cannot be), but also very far from any accurate assessment (which presumably it claims to be).

 From Oslo “Peace” to Jihad

Few debacles better illustrate the folly of ignoring honor-shame dynamics than the Oslo “peace process,” which based its logic on the principle of an exchange of “land for peace”: Israel cedes land to the Palestinians (most of the West Bank and Gaza) to create an independent state; the Palestinians bury the hatchet of war since they’re getting what they allegedly want, without the need for war.



PLO chairman Yasser Arafat accepts the Nobel Peace Prize, December 10, 1994, Oslo. After the signing of the Oslo peace deal and the granting of the Nobel prize, Arafat found himself the target of immense hostility from his Arab and Muslim honor-group for having brought shame upon himself, his people, upon all Arabs and all Muslims.

Thus the accords banked on a Palestinian shift from their charter- defined commitment to regaining Arab and Muslim honor by wiping out the shame that is Israel, to a readiness to accept Israel’s legitimate existence. Such a shift depended on their understanding that this promissory concession to Israel would bring what Palestinians “yearn for,” namely the freedom to govern themselves in peace and dignity. A win-win so obvious, that, as Gavin Esler of the BBC opined, “it could be solved with an email.”

What the Oslo architects and their Western supporters so completely underestimated was the hold that his native honor-world held over Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasser Arafat. This lack of insight not only dominated thinking in Western circles (not put at risk by such a gamble), but even Israeli political and intelligence circles, who had much to lose:

[I]t is clear that it was not only Israel’s political leadership that was held hostage by the chimerical conception that an era of peace with the Palestinian Authority had begun: M[ilitary] I[ntelligence] and the Shin Bet security service had trouble liberating themselves from the same feeling. The intelligence officials were not always willing to let facts disturb a rosy perception of reality.

Just because Western and Israeli analysts failed to pay attention, however, does not mean the laws of honor-shame ceased to operate. After the ceremonious signing of the deal on the White House lawn, PLO chairman Arafat found himself the target of immense hostility from his Arab and Muslim honor-group for having brought shame upon himself, his people, upon all Arabs and all Muslims. When he arrived in Gaza in July 1994, Hamas denounced him roundly: “His visit is shameful and humiliating, as it occurs in the shadow of occupation and in the shadow of Arafat’s humiliating submission before the enemy government and its will. It is impossible to present a defeat as victory.” Edward Said, proud member of the Palestinian National Council, the PLO’s semi-parliament, echoed the language of Hamas: the compromises involved a humiliating and “degrading … act of obeisance … a capitulation” that produced a state of “supine abjectness … submitting shamefully to Israel.” Thus did the “post-colonial” intellectual speak the zero-sum, tribal language of Arab and Muslim honor-shame, attacking negotiation as dishonorable; this was the very language Westerners avoided discussing lest they “Orientalize the Orient.”


And yet Arafat used the same honor-shame language in Arabic, from the moment the accords were signed and the Nobel Prize granted. Six months after returning from Tunisia in July 1994, to what had, as a result of the accords, become Palestinian-controlled


To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a humiliating concession.

territory, Arafat defended his policy to fellow Muslims in South Africa, not by speaking of the “peace of the brave,”  but rather by invoking Muhammad’s Treaty of Hudaybiya, signed in weakness, broken in strength. To the extent that Arabs were sold on the Oslo process, it was as a Trojan horse, not as a (necessarily) humiliating concession; a plan for honorable war not for ignominious peace. In cultures where, for honor’s sake, “what was taken by force must be retaken by force,” any negotiations are shameful and cowardly.


By and large, Western journalists and policymakers, including the “peace camp” in Israel, and even intelligence services, ignored Arafat’s repeated invocations of Hudaybiya. Advocates of peace viewed them as antics designed to appease public opinion (itself a thing worth pondering) and remained confident that, in the end, the more mature call of the international community would sway Arafat to the side of positive-sum reason. Practitioners of “peace journalism” in Israel, for example, consciously avoided such discouraging news items in general and the meaning of Hudaybiya in particular. In his 800-page memoir on the Oslo failure, Dennis Ross, the U.S. Middle East envoy most deeply involved in negotiations with the Palestinian leadership, has not a word to say about the Hudaybiya controversy, despite how consistent it was with his own assessment of Arafat’s problematic behavior, his “failure to prepare his people for the compromises necessary for peace.” Worse. Arafat’s sin was not of omission, but of commission: He systematically prepared his people for war right under the noses of the Israelis and the West.

Rather than consider the implications of this counter-evidence, those supporting the process attacked anyone who drew attention to them. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a so-called Muslim civil rights organization with ties to the same Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is a branch, led the attack in the name of protecting the Prophet Muhammad’s reputation. Daniel Pipes wrote repeatedly about the Johannesburg mosque speech, the meaning of the Treaty of Hudaybiya, and the trouble Westerners found themselves in when they brought up the subject. Despite being studiously fair to the Muslim prophet on historical grounds, Pipes provoked furious condemnation and an early accusation of “Islamophobia.”

The outcry essentially forbade critics from examining evidence relevant to their pressing concerns. Instead, peace enthusiasts viewed Arafat and the Palestinian leadership as full-fledged modern players who wanted their own nation and their freedom, and whom one could trust to keep commitments. Most thought that Arafat would, when the opportunity presented itself, choose the imperfect, positive-sum, win-win, over the zero-sum, all-or-nothing, win-lose. They “believed” in the Palestinian leadership and shamed anyone who dared to suggest the Palestinians still clung tightly to atavistic revenge. Thus, even as Jerusalem and Washington prepared for a grand finale to the peace process at Camp David in the summer of 2000; even as Israel’s media prepared their people for peace, Arafat’s media prepared Palestinians for war. And none of the key decision-makers paid any attention.


In the aftermath of Arafat’s terror war (the “al-Aqsa Intifada”) in 2000, apologists made heroic efforts to interpret his behavior as rational, to ignore his deliberate planning of the terror war, and instead to blame Israel. Criticism of Arafat, especially for behavior characteristic of honor-shame cultures, elicited shouts of racism.

The inability to understand the dynamics of maintaining honor (through fighting Israel) and avoiding shame (brought on by compromising with Israel) doomed Oslo to failure from the start. People involved, who thought that they were “so close” and that if only Israel had given more, it would have worked, got played.[45] For the Palestinian decision-makers, it was never close. Even a successful deal would have led to more war. Indeed, according to that logic, the better the deal for the Palestinians—i.e., the “weaker” the Israelis—the more aggression will accompany its implementation.

Once Oslo exploded, Westerners who clung to their fantasies continued to misunderstand subsequent events. In the aftermath of Arafat’s resounding but predictable “no” at Camp David in July2000, and on several other occasions after the outbreak of his terror war (euph emized as the “al-Aqsa Intifada”) in late September, apologists made heroic efforts to interpret his behavior as rational, to ignore his deliberate planning of the terror war, and instead to blame Israel.


As part of the counter-attack, criticism of Arafat, especially for behavior characteristic of honor-shame cultures, elicited shouts of racism. In an interview with Israeli academic Benny Morris, for example, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak complained about systematic lying on Arafat’s part, which made every discussion a calculus between calling out lies or ignoring them and moving on at a disadvantage.


These remarks incensed Middle East observers Hussein Agha and Robert Malley:



[Barak’s] words in the initial interview were unequivocal. “They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie … creates no dissonance,” he pronounced. “They don’t suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo- Christian culture. Truth is seen as irrelevant.” And so on. But, plainly, factual accuracy and logical consistency are not what Morris and Barak are after. What matters is self-justification by someone who has chosen to make a career—and perhaps a comeback—through the vilification of an entire people.[49]


This is classic Edward Said: Attack the motives of your critics (often projection); claim moral injury at the insult, and in the process, distract attention from the accuracy of the Orientalist remarks. Though backed by hard evidence of extensive and fluent Palestinian use of open lies in the negotiations, Barak’s charge becomes, in the hands of Arafat’s apologists, the “vilification of an entire people.”


The success of this ready use of what one might call the “racist card” has meant that the academic literature on lying in Arab culture, which should cover walls of bookshelves (at least in the libraries of our intelligence services), is seriously underdeveloped.

If Oslo failed, it was primarily because the Israelis and the Americans refused to believe that the Palestinians were lying to them—across the boards.


Ignoring the Ongoing Quest for the Caliphate



For this and many similar reasons, when the jihadists came out of the belly of the Oslo Horse in late September 2000, too many Westerners, eager to interpret the violence as the “desperation” of freedom fighters denied their rights, ignored the evidence that Arafat planned the war,  and instead, blamed Israel. As a result, many journalists and scholars who told their Western audiences that the “al-Aqsa Intifada” was a national-liberation uprising against occupation seemed to have had no idea, or if they did, chose not to speak of how, in the minds of many of these fighters, the “al-Aqsa intifada” launched a new phase of an apocalyptic global jihad, whose messianic goal was a worldwide caliphate, and for whom suicide terror was its newest and most potent weapon.The  indifferent, if not negative, response of the scholarly community to early studies in Hamas’s apocalyptic thought in the 1990s meant that the Western public sphere needed to wait until the second decade of the twenty-first century to find out that the global jihad that created a caliphate in substantial parts of Syria and Iraq and targeted infidels in their own countries, was driven by the same apocalyptic visions. Indeed, it is still not clear to most observers how global jihadists exploited the “al-Aqsa Intifada” to fuel their own campaigns and recruitment.

So, instead of being wary of this new and violent religious imperialism and condemning jihad’s savage martyrdom operations, European journalists spread its anti-Zionist war propaganda as news while European progressives welcomed and cheered it on. Misinformed by media reports in

April 2002 of the Israel Defense Forces’ supposed massacre in Jenin, Western protesters marched in the streets wearing mock suicide belts to show solidarity with Hamas “martyrs.”


said6Recruits line up at a Hamas training camp. In the wake of the Lebanon war in 2006, scholars such as pacifist Judith Butler, welcomed Hamas and Hezbollah into the “global progressive left” as “comrades in the anti-imperialist struggle”.























In the wake of the Lebanon war in 2006, scholars such as the pacifist Judith Butler welcomed Hamas and Hezbollah into the “global progressive left” as “comrades in the anti-imperialist struggle.” Thus did progressives, woefully uninformed, enthusiastically welcome a jihad that then struck at Israel, but now haunts the entire world, especially the Muslim world.

So blinded were Western information professionals—journalists, scholars, policy analysts, even translators—by their own post-colonial rhetoric, that they proved incapable of identifying the triumphalist Islam that gained steady momentum in its drive for a global caliphate in this generation and century. Or, if they did realize the presence of such imperialist Muslims, they refused to discuss them and attacked anyone who did. This prevailing attitude seriously damaged the West’s ability to distinguish between false moderates who want to reduce infidels the world over to dhimmitude and  moderates who truly want to live at peace with non-Muslims.



















The difference between radical and “moderate” Islamists is less a matter of differing goals than of differing tactics.



Almost everyone will agree that those jihadists who resort to the sword, such as al-Qaeda or ISIS (Islamic State), are not moderates. But what about those who stick to da’wa (summons to conversion), who work in nonviolent ways for the same ultimate goal of reestablishing the caliphate? When the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf Qaradawi says that the “United States and Europe will be conquered not by jihad, but by da’wa,” does that make him a moderate? What if the da’wa preacher is just playing the good cop to the jihadist bad cop? From the perspective of the millennial goal of a global caliphate, the difference between radical and “moderate” Islamists is less a matter of vision than timing, less a matter of differing goals than of differing tactics. Such connections, however, do not register on the radar screens of information professionals who observe Said’s anti-Orientalist strictures. Rather they urge us to see the two as clearly distinct.

Such an approach, however, falls into a classic jihadist trap. When da’wa proponents of caliphate denounce al-Qaeda or ISIS for their violence, insisting that these jihadists have nothing to do with Islam, they do so as a deceptive cognitive war tactic. They know full well that the Islam they embrace is a religion of conquest. They just do not want the Western “infidels,” their sworn enemies and targets, to acknowledge that implacable, imperialist hostility, at least as long as global jihad is militarily weak. Rather they want Western policymakers to renounce “Islamophobic” talk of world domination and, instead, appease Muslim grievances.

And far too many Westerners have complied—from George W. Bush’s “Islam, religion of Peace” speech right after the 9/11 terror attacks, to the Obama administration’s great efforts to ignore, deny, and euphemize anything redolent of Islamic violence, to a long string of academics who should have hastened to correct the record after Bush’s rhetorical concession and instead went out of their way to underscore Islam’s peaceful nature.

And things get progressively worse. The insistence on the basic sameness (the “common humanity”) of Arab/Muslim culture and Western culture (the “vast majority” of peaceful Muslims, the “vibrant civil societies” in Syria and Iraq) has gone from therapeutic experiment to dogmatic formula: To question it is racist and “Islamophobic.” Violators who discuss unpleasant things are punished, excluded, exiled. Indeed, so strong is the fear of the “Islamophobic” accusation that it has come to play the role of the sea serpents that strangled Laocoön when he tried to warn his fellow Trojans against the Greeks’ wooden horse. British politicians, police, and journalists, for example, did nothing to protect thousands of girls from sexual exploitation for over a decade, in order to avoid being branded “Islamophobic.

Few incidents better illustrate this self-induced blindness and incompetence than the way Western information professionals handled the Arab uprisings of 2010-11. In a radical misreading of the popular and social-media empowered protests that drove some Arab dictators from their perches, scholars interpreted the uprisings in light of European democratic revolutions: the “Spring of Nations” of 1848 and the liberation of Eastern Europe and Russia in 1989. Systematically dismissing the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood taking power in democratic elections, commentators and policymakers urged support for the Islamist movement, seen by post-colonial information professionals as their mirror image, their comrade in arms. If pre-Said, “Orientalists” had (supposedly) seen only the bad they projected, then after him, post-Orientalists could see only the good they projected.

This politically correct approach even infected U.S. intelligence services. In February 2011, just when the Obama administration was making crucial (and misguided) decisions on how to deal with the Egyptian crisis, James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, testified with the following astonishing assessment to Congress (which he quickly walked back): 

The term “Muslim Brotherhood” … is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.

It is hard to catalogue the misconceptions involved in this astonishingly foolish statement. It bespeaks a lack of understanding of triumphalist religious behavior and a superficial application of inappropriate terminology that leaves the observer wondering whether this was a deliberate act of misinformation or a genuine product of U.S. intelligence gathering and assessment.

It is also hard to separate this utterly disoriented operative assessment from the academic discussion underpinning it, largely influenced by the penitential paradigm Said urged on the West. Here Western dupes are to interpret nonviolence as a sign of Muslim moderation and attribute Muslim violence to Western provocation; here we are to assume that when Muslims denounce violence, then they are with “us” and not with “them,” that they do not share the jihadist goal of a worldwide caliphate. Rather than carry on about an enemy aspiring to world dominion, Islamists urge the West to address Muslims’ sense of powerlessness by empowering them.

The results of this blind disregard for the reality on the ground—’the power of honor-driven religious movements; the variable calculus of violence when feeling weak or strong; the responses to perceived weakness and lack of resolve on the enemies’ part _ meant that what Western thought leaders believed to be a democratic spring, which they eagerly welcomed, was actually springtime for tribal and apocalyptic warfare: Oslo jihad redux, on a massive scale.[73] A generational, cataclysmic, “thirty-year war” that is just beginning. Where the West intervened (Libya, Egypt), it backfired, and where it did not (Syria), it exploded. And as millions of refugees are thrown up on the shores of Europe by these upheavals, Western policymakers remain captive to suicidal memes (“we can’t just refuse them entry”) that bespeak a profound ignorance of Arab and Muslim culture—those fleeing, those making them flee, and those with the power but not the desire to address this meltdown of their societies under the blows of the caliphate.


Through the backdoor of an unreciprocated concern for the “other,” educated Westerners have allowed a hostile, bullying, honor-shame discourse to take over much of their public space: “Islamophobia,” not Islamism, is the problem;[74] Palestinians continue to save face and regain public honor by besmirching Israel, which, by its very existence and success, shames them; while so many social justice warriors, consumed with post-colonial guilt and fearful of the “Islamophobic” label, join forces with the “honor- brigade” in driving Israel beyond the pale.


In the larger picture of civilizational development, this is lamentable. It took a millennium of constant and painful efforts for Western culture to learn how to sublimate man’s libido dominandi to the point of creating a society tolerant of diversity, one that resolved disputes with a discourse of fairness rather than violence, and one where positive-sum encounters are a desired norm. To insist, as many liberals do, that this exceptional achievement be considered the default mode for mankind regardless of how far the “other” is from this cherished goal, and to exempt enemies of democracy from the civic responsibility of self-criticism even while redoubling its burden on oneself, is to undermine the freedoms Western civilization has built up over centuries.

Unless and until academics and information professionals reclaim and till fields like honor-shame dynamics and Islamist triumphalism, Westerners will not be able to understand Arab and Islamic societies and will continue to indict the critic, not the legitimate target of criticism, at great peril to their democratic values and national interests. The inability to engage in self-criticism is the greatest weakness of honor-shame cultures, and the ability to do so is the greatest strength of those committed to integrity. Yet, now, astonishingly, the inability is strength, and our over-eagerness to compensate, our weakness.

Richard Landes is a medieval historian currently writing a book provisionally entitled, They’re So Smart Cause We’re So Stupid: A Medievalist Guide to the 21st Century. He lives in Jerusalem and blogs at The Augean Stables.




























Balfour 2017: Abbas and the Andromeda Strain

Everything in this short piece is the curated intellectual property of Eugene Kontorovich, Howard Grief, Eli Hertz, Julius Stone, Elihu Lauterpacht, website of First One Through, David Collier @Beyond the Great Divide and a position paper from Europeans for Israel.
I also owe Wikipedia a nod for my inspiration for the first four paragraphs of this piece


Back in 1917, a political satellite landed in the Middle East. Politicians believed that the political satellite was designed to capture and soothe earth-level atmospheric hatreds in a discrete area of the Middle East after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

However, what actually landed was a political microbe with a deadly micro-organism that killed by periodic blood-letting or extravascular dissolution. Further investigation revealed that the microbe, code-named the Andromeda Mandate for Palestine, mutated with each growth cycle changing its political properties.

Jews living in the area discovered that the strain grew only within a narrow political pH range: in a too truthful or too factual growth medium common to the rest of the western world, it would not multiply. Andromeda’s typical pH range was Muslim Arab supremacism, intolerance of other and historical revisionism, properties found in abundance in an Islamicised Middle East which had invaded and ethnically cleansed indigenous Jews of the region.

By the time the world’s politicians realized this, the Andromeda Mandate for Palestine had mutated into a form that degraded western democracy’s social and ethical shields in its own heartland as it escaped its containment.

If we fast forward to 2017, we find that in 2017, current curator and defender of the Andromeda Strain, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, intends to sue makers of the original satellite 100 years ago when he announced his intention to sue the British Government over a 1917 declaration that paved the way for the creation of Israel.

Mr Abbas accused Britain of supporting “Israeli crimes” since the end of the Mandate for Palestine and claimed the country was among the parties responsible for the exodus of Palestinian refugees: “Nearly a century has passed since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917,” his statement said. “And based on this ill-omened promise, hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland.”

Mr Abbas thus characterised the Balfour Declaration as a “fateful promise from those who do not own to those who do not deserve”.

In addition, he demanded that Britain apologize for its 1917 declaration endorsing the founding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, that it should recognize Palestine as a state and that it should help put an end to illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, the Muslim heartland of Palestine popularly known as the West Bank.

Abbas raised the 1917 declaration – named for Arthur Balfour, then the British foreign secretary – in the context of other milestones, including the 1948 U.N. General Assembly resolution partitioning Palestine into two states and the 1967 war when Israel allegedly occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

And, framed within a context of Islamic antisemitism, it is these two facets, the claimed illegally of the founding of the State of Israel and the claimed illegality of Israeli occupation and settlement of the “West Bank” that I would like to briefly touch on here in preparation for a promising 2017.

There is no shortage of antisemitism in the world. And Islamic countries are by far the most anti-Semitic. Consider the following table (h/t First One Through{FOT}):

  • West Bank & Gaza: 93% of the areas are anti-Semites
  • Iraq: 92%
  • Yemen: 88%
  • Libya: 87%
  • Algeria: 87%
  • Tunisia: 86%
  • Kuwait: 82%
  • Bahrain 81%
  • Jordan: 81%
  • Qatar: 80%
  • Morocco: 80%
  • UAE: 80%

To paraphrase FOT here: “There are fewer Jews in Iraq, Yemen and Libya COMBINED than there are in two Melbourne tram cars…..”

In this, they are supported by various agencies such as the UN and the EU which frame and nurture the arguably racist terminology used to castigate Israel through the use of the term Anti-Zionism instead of antisemitism.

However, as Michael Gove pointed out, “Antisemitism has moved from hatred of Jews on religious or racial grounds to hostility towards the proudest expression of Jewish identity we now have — the Jewish state.”

Following this paradigm, Gove goes on to say that “Antizionism is not a brave anti-colonial and anti-racist stance, it is simply antisemitism minding its manners so it can sit in a seminar room.”

Cycling the sentiments of Abbas, Gove finishes with a call for the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration — in which Britain announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” — by moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and have the Queen open the new premises in a show of solidarity with the Jewish state. In this he echoes the sentiments of the President Elect of America, Donald Trump.

But I digress. What of Abbas’ first claim that Balfour was a promise from those who did not own to those who did not deserve? As is the case with all of the “Palestinian” claim to a state, there are a multitude of arguments which give the lie to the sentiment.

Julius Stone states unequivocally that the basic precept of international law concerning the rights of a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state’s territory in the course of self-defence is that a lawful occupant such as Israel is entitled to remain in control of the territory involved pending negotiation of a treaty of peace.

As far as Israel is concerned and in accordance with international law, nothing has changed in 68 years. Moreover, it remains international law after the Charter,
which gave to the UN General Assembly no power to amend this law. Both UNSC (binding) Resolution 242 (1967) and Resolution 338 (1973), adopted by the Security Council after respective wars of those years, expressed this requirement for settlement by negotiations between the parties. For its part, the non-binding UNGA Resolution 181 (1947) known also as the 1947 Partition Plan, hinged on acceptance by both parties – Arabs and Jews to accede to the terms of the resolution.

The resolution recognized the need for immediate Jewish statehood [and a parallel Arab state], but the blueprint for peace became a moot issue when the Arabs refused to accept it.

Aware of the Arabs’ past aggressions, Resolution 181, in paragraph C, called on the Security Council to: “Determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.” [emphasis added]

The [British] Government of Palestine feared that strife in Palestine would be greatly intensified when the Mandate was terminated, and that the international status of the United Nations Commission would mean little or nothing to the Arabs in Palestine, to whom the killing of Jews now transcended all other considerations.

Sixty years later, that analysis has remained as accurate and relevant today as it was when first made in 1947. Only, of course, in the interim, after three failed military attempts to wipe out Israel through force as promised, in the late 1990s, more than 50 years after Resolution 181 was rejected by the Arab world, Arab leaders suddenly recommended to the General Assembly that UN Resolution 181 be resurrected as the basis for a peace agreement.

In doing this, the Arab world espoused again the Doctrine of Limited Liability. In this Doctrine, an aggressor may reject a compromise settlement and gamble on war to win everything in the comfortable knowledge that, even if he fails, he may insist on reinstating the status quo ante.

For Israel’s part, a return to Resolution 181 was never on the cards for a number of reasons. Firstly, Arabs not only rejected the terms of the resolution and took action to prevent establishment of a Jewish state, but also blocked establishment of an Arab state under the partition plan not just before the Israel War of Independence, but also after the war when they themselves controlled the “West Bank” (1948-1967).

Secondly, the UN itself recognized that Resolution 181 was a dead issue with the UN Palestine Commission’s February 16, 1948 report noting that Arab-led hostilities were an effort “To prevent the implementation of the [General] Assembly plan of partition, and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including armed incursions into Palestinian [Jewish designated!!] territory.”

When Israel emerged victorious after the War of Independence, Resolution 181 had become a moot issue as realities on the ground made the establishment of an armistice-line [the “Green Line”] – a temporary ceasefire line expected to be followed by peace treaties – the most constructive path to solving the conflict.

In practical terms this meant that by the time armistice agreements were reached in 1949 between Israel and its immediate Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Trans-Jordan) Resolution 181 had become irrelevant, and the armistice agreements addressed new realities created by the war [Eli Hertz].

Both Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice, a renowned expert on international law and Professor Stone lacerated the 1981 Arab suggestion for a return to 181 as if nothing had happened. Lauterpacht added that, with particular regard to the status of Jerusalem as an internationally administered city, any binding force the Partition Plan would have had to arise from the principle pacta sunt servanda, [treaties must be honored – the first principle of international law] that is, from agreement of the parties at variance to the proposed plan. As mentioned above the Arabs actively refused the plan and so had no say in anything that resulted on that score post the 1949 armistice lines…

Professor Stone added that Israel’s “legitimacy” or the “legal foundation” for its birth did not reside with the United Nations’ Partition Plan, which as a consequence of Arab actions became a dead issue. He therefore concluded: “The State of Israel is thus not legally derived from the partition plan, but rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control.”

Mahmoud Abbas’ “Palestine” does not fulfil those criteria even today.

Additionally, Abbas’ “Palestine” does not fulfil the spirit and intent of the San Remo Conference of 1920 which recognized, under modern international law, the legal title of the Jewish People to the mandated territory of Palestine.

The territory known as “Palestine” was still part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, with which Britain and her allies were at war. Although the British forces entered Jerusalem in December 1917, the war with Turkey in Palestine continued into 1918. Once Britain liberated Palestine from Turkish rule in 1918, it was in a position to implement its policy.

For his part, on Jan 8, 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson stated that the “Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development” [European Council for Israel]

This informed certain principles embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations making it effectively a direct result of the First World War, and where its Covenant or Articles of Organization were incorporated in the Treaty of Versailles, which entered into effect in January 1920.

The San Remo Conference was convened for the purpose of dealing with, amongst other things, claims that the Zionist Organization had submitted in February 1919 at the Peace Conference in Paris, while also taking into consideration the submissions of the Arab delegation. (The Arab and Zionist delegations had pledged to support each other’s claims.)

The Zionist Organization had requested the appointment of Great Britain as Mandatory (or Trustee) of the League in respect of the Mandate over Palestine. with the clear understanding “that nothing must be done that might prejudice the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish communities at present established in Palestine, nor the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in all other countries”.

The claims of the Zionist Organization included a demand for the recognition of “the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine and the rights of the Jews to reconstitute their National Home in Palestine” on territories west and east of the Jordan River.

San Remo thus legally created 3 mandates: Syria/Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine. In Palestine, a Jewish agency would liaise with the British Administration thus legally vesting the political authority explicitly in the Jewish people, with the ultimate objective of the establishment of the Jewish national home.

Further, the language of the Mandate persistently referred specifically to the reconstituted “national home” for the Jewish people while safeguarding all civil and religious rights of Arab and other inhabitants [Grief 2008]

It should be noted that the Mandate did not distinguish these non-Jewish inhabitants similarly as “a people” or as lacking a “national home” in contrast to the other former Ottoman Asiatic territories which became Syria, Lebanon and Iraq [and Jordan].

Abbas does not appear to see fit to mention this in his intended submission as indeed he ignores Article 5 of the Mandate: [N]o Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the government of any foreign Power.

So, while content with the parties to the San Remo Conference producing, in conformity with the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, binding resolutions relating to the recognition of claims to the Ottoman territories presented in Paris with regards to the newly formed Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, his only beef with the accord is that a Jewish state will also be legally re-constituted.

How denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist is anything but an anti-Semitic expression of a supremacist ideology will be tested in the courts if Abbas goes through with the lawsuit.

And so we move on to Abbas’ second claim: “…hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland.”

In this, Abbas indirectly invokes Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention,
which provides that an “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its
own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” This provision is a staple of
legal and diplomatic international discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and
serves as the basis for criticism of Israeli settlement policy.

Despite its frequent invocation in the Israeli context, what Abbas either doesn’t know or care about is how the norm has been interpreted and applied in any other occupation context in the post-WWII era.

For example, the International Committee of the Red Cross’s (ICRC) influential Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law lists 107 instances of national practice and UN practice applying or interpreting the prohibition, and all but two relate to Israel. In other words there is a dissonance between what Article 49(6) would enforce on Israel as opposed to belligerent occupations where it doesn’t involve Israel. Thus, a different standard is applied to several ongoing occupations, from Western Sahara and Northern Cyprus, to the Russian occupations of Ukraine and Georgia, China/Tibet, Nagorno/Karabach (Armenia-Azerbaijan) Syria/Lebanon and Turkey/Kurdistan. Practise of principles of Article 49(6) was also lacking for decades in the case of East Timor and Vietnam/Cambodia [Eugene Kontorovich, Sept. 2016].

In all the cases outlined above, no occupying power has ever taken any steps to discourage or obstruct migration into occupied territory. In no occupation has any occupying power – even those generally concerned with adherence to international humanitarian law – taken any action that would suggest it understands the Geneva Convention as creating any obligation to obstruct, discourage or deny facilities to settlement efforts [Kontorovich]

Two issues arise immediately. The first is that the migration of people into occupied territories is overwhelmingly the rule rather than the exception where such territories are geographically adjacent. However, apart from identifying Israel, the ICRC, the Conventions’ watchdog, has never identified any problem with systematic worldwide disrespect for Article 49(6).

The second issue that arises is the silence of third countries in the instances above to describe the settlement activity as violations of Art. 49(6). Except in the case of Israel. While silence is not the same as a legal opinion condemning settlement, it implies acquiescence or the assumption that such behavior is accepted as legitimate
In the instances of the examples of belligerent occupation and settlement as tabulated above, the failure by international organizations and groups the U.N., UN Human Rights Commission, the ICRC, and humanitarian NGOs like HRW, to raise legal objections, stands in stark contrast to the alertness and alacrity of those same groups in the case of Israel and land captured in defensive actions.

It is not as if, in most of these contexts, the international community has not
condemned the underlying occupation or aggression, and in most if not all cases, it has not criticized the occupying power for violations of IHL and human rights norms. However, when the international community has asked the UN, the EU Parliament, PACE, and other bodies to denounce these activities as illegal and to take court action, they have refused.
Even where some of these settlement situations fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (Cyprus, Ukraine, and Georgia) the Prosecutor has not taken any steps to investigate the settlement activities in those contexts, where it has not dragged its feet in the hunt for Israel.

Such omission speaks loudly.

And it is omissions such as these that will yet again relegate Abbas’ antics to the level of time and money wasting farce.

Abbas’ invocation of Article 49(6) is pure “Palestinian” penchant for theatre and bombast.

This because no international actor or body has ever described any of
this activity in the situations included above as a violation of Article 49(6) and there has never been a suggestion that the occupying power in those instances has ever been obligated to remove such settlers {with the partial exception of Northern Cyprus [Kontorovich]}.

In the original story, the Andromeda strain was inoculated against and, after sucking almost the air out of the Wildfire complex (in the story), was believed to have migrated to the upper atmosphere, where the oxygen content was lower, better suiting its existence.

In 2017, with BDS on the ropes courtesy of pushback, increasing investment in Israel and mounting legal challenges to BDS across European and American states and jurisdictions, where a US government appears to rally to the cause of survival of the sole Jewish democracy in the world, where hitherto unheard of alliances have been forged between Israel and several powerful Muslim Arab states and many new African ones, where Palestinians have exported a viral model of car rammings, axe attacks and suicide bombings across a stunned and paralysed Europe and where international NGO funding to subversive, violent ME elements is increasingly cut back AND scrutinised,  the Andromeda Strain in Palestine may finally begin to feel the effects of that reduction in oxygen which will lead to its reduced ability to infect others and cannibalise decency.

Chag Hanukkah Sameach.