Category Archives: Palestinians

International Court of Criminals politicizes itself

International Court of Criminals politicizes itself by accepting the legal fiction of Palestinian statehood

The Lawfare Project is deeply concerned with the recent decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open a preliminary examination into the “situation in Palestine,” which follows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s signing of the ICC’s Rome Statute earlier this month.

During the inquiry, the Prosecutor will evaluate “issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice” in determining whether to launch an investigation into alleged crimes committed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Because Abbas recognized the ICC’s jurisdiction retroactively, the Prosecutor could investigate last summer’s conflict between Israel and designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas (see The Lawfare Project’s analysis of war crimes and other violations of international law committed by Hamas).

Regardless of the examination’s outcome, this initial move directly undermines the ICC’s legitimacy, revealing politicization rather than legal competence. Because statehood is a condition of jurisdiction under the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor’s decision involved her finding that a “Palestinian state” actually exists. She did so based on the fact that the U.N. General Assembly voted in 2012 to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state.” This maneuver, which followed unsuccessful attempts to achieve legally recognizable statehood via the U.N. Security Council, received widespread criticism because the Palestinians did not at the time meet the requirements for statehood under well-established international law, as was discussed in The Lawfare Project’s article on the legal fiction of Palestinian statehood. Nor do they meet those requirements today.

Not only does the General Assembly lack authority to create states (and its resolutions are not legally binding), but nothing in international law suggests that the General Assembly’s vote to upgrade the Palestinians’ status should have any bearing on the jurisdiction of the ICC, an entity independent of the United Nations. The Prosecutor’s willingness to expand ICC jurisdiction beyond the confines of the Rome Statute is of great concern, and her substitution of politics for law is indeed the epitome of lawfare.

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Proportionality in Gaza 2014

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. “

                         Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations

 

The July 2014 Gaza conflict finally separated the moral wheat from the anti-semitic chaff.

Scenes of unbelievable vitriol directed against Jews exploded in many cities. In Belgium, a café owner welcomed dogs but refused Jews entry. In Morocco, a rabbi was beaten up because he was a Jew. In Sweden, a man displaying an Israeli flag had his windows smashed. In Paris, a mob of Muslim supporters barricaded Jews in their synagogue while trying to break down the entrance gate to get at them. All in the name of a “free “Palestine”…..

Whereas all these centres of demonstrated anti-semitic hate were quiet when Hamas rained down rockets on civilian centres in Israel, people with barely concealed hate for Jews went into paroxysms of anti-semitic speech and actions as Israel began to defend herself.

As in 2008-09 and in 2012, the chorus of anti-semities masquerading as anti-zionists chanted in unison about Israeli war crimes against “Palestinian” civilians and how the Israeli response was disproportionate. In England, while Sayeeda Warsi resigned her position in Parliament in protest against what she considered a soft British stand against a disproportionate Israeli response in Gaza, in Turkey, Erdogan declared that what the Jews were doing in Gaza was worse than the atrocities carried out by Hitler.

It would appear that almost everybody seemed to have ideas and suggestions as to how to augment the humanitarian component in the law of international armed conflict. This is all great stuff and thoroughly commendable. However, it is important to keep in mind the thought that wars are actually fought to be won. In war, people die.

Just wanting to see zero-casualty warfare is a contradiction in terms, no matter how many UN bodies and/or NGOs would like to say differently. War, almost by definition, entails human losses, suffering and pain. As long as it is waged, humanitarian considerations cannot be the sole legal arbiters of the conduct of hostilities.

This is not to be taken as an apology for war. Rather it is to be taken as a basis for examining the conduct of parties in armed conflict, where that basis and framework in law is applied equally to both sides.

In the case of Gaza 2014, the overt support provided Hamas by the media cover up of the activities of this terror group, is slowly beginning to unravel.

For the fools’ chorus banging on about Israeli war crimes and Israeli crimes against humanity, information is now getting out from Gazan journos free of retribution from Hamas, on just how cynical the terror group has been in manipulating the media and the jaundiced classes.

Two days ago, NDTV from India, visually documented a Hamas rocket set up and launch from a teeming civilian centre, metres from their hotel.

France 24’s Gallagher Fenwick live TV coverage from Gaza had to take an unscheduled break during a live cross to Paris as a rocket was fired overhead from just behind him. The next day he re-visits the site to show a wider angle shot of the launch site metres away from a 7 storey building flying the UN flag…..

Reporter Peter Stefanovic, of Australia’s own Nine Network’s news, stationed in Gaza, received a surge of abuse and threats when he tweeted that he had seen rockets fired into Israel from near his hotel, in a civilian area.

The Wall Street Journal’s reporter Nick Casey fell foul of Hamas by reporting that Shifa hospital was Hamas’s control centre.

French-Palestinian journalist Radjaa Abu Dagga wrote that he was forcibly blocked from leaving Gaza and detained and interrogated by members of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigade at a room in Shifa hospital next to the emergency room.

A Finnish TV reporter who did not feel safe to give her name on TV for fear of repercussion verified that Hamas was indeed launching rockets from the car park of the al-Shifa hospital.

And, of course, Italian reporter Gabriele Barbati (now) famously tweeted: “Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired (Hamas) rocket killed children today in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared ­debris.”

All this may help explain the PA’s new-found reluctance to pursue action against Israel in the ICC despite the urging of “Palestinian” “chief negotiator” Saeb Erekat and HRW chief, Kenneth Roth.

It could also be a result of a bleak warning by Shurat HaDin that in doing so, the “unity” government would itself face a “…tsunami of charges for human rights violations and war crimes…” if it cared to go down that path.

But rhetoric and threat aside, what is Israel’s position legally when it comes to possibly being arraigned for war crimes over use of disproportionate force against Hamas in Gaza?

The short answer is, it’s pretty good.

The law of international armed conflict (LOIAC ) can and does forbid some modes of behaviour, with a view to minimizing the losses, the suffering and the pain. But it can do so only when there are realistic alternatives to achieving the military goal of victory in war.

Not many would realistically refute the suggestion that, from the Hamas coup in 2007 to June 2014, Hamas rockets at civilian concentrations were ongoing provocation of the highest order. That much is clear.

Thus, in interpreting the law of international armed conflict, Israel’s efforts to avoid war were numerous and ongoing. In the end, on paper, Israel went to war because there were no longer any realistic alternatives to achieving safety for its citizens apart from a determined military response.

But what of the charge of disproportionate response?

In this case, people not sympathetic to the Israeli cause happily conflate some ideas, or outright make up others which complement their preferred narrative. It is true that many more Gazans (but not armed males??!!) than Israelis died in the conflict so far. Each Israeli death is unbearably painful, and the loss is lasting.

However, the doctrine of proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower.

Recently retired Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, defined it thus:

“Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime…. even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur.

A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality).”

In this he is backed up by Professor Horst Fischer, Academic Director of the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict in Germany who adds that:

“… attacks are prohibited if they cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects that is excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage of the attack. This creates a permanent obligation for military commanders to consider the results of the attack compared to the advantage anticipated.” (emphasis mine)


The Council on Foreign Relations notes that according to the doctrine of proportionality, “…a state is legally allowed to unilaterally defend itself …provided the response is proportional to the injury suffered. The response must also be immediate and necessary, refrain from targeting civilians, and require only enough force to reinstate the status quo ante.

Today, Israel has quickly reinstated the status quo ante to the extent that it has pulled out of Gaza once it destroyed the terror tunnels and severely incapacitated Hamas’ long range rocket launching capabilities. It has redeployed to the territorial border prior to the ground offensive and it has taken up defensive positions along the eastern border as a possible ceasefire is hammered out.

Its response to the rain of rockets was immediate and a necessary defensive measure in order to fulfill its obligations to its own citizens.

And unambiguously, Israel’s use of telephone calls and mass leaflet drops to civilians in combat areas to evacuate because of impending attack, its creation and use of the technique of the “roof knock” to warn civilians away from targeted military assets on the ground, and its ongoing demonstrated commitment to aborting attack missions after finding civilians used as human shields on rooftops, all stand up to any legal scrutiny in the ICC.

The same cannot be said of Hamas, nor does it exonerate the supportive actions of the PA in Ramallah who are part of the “unity government”.

In sum, proportionality weighs the military necessity of an action against the suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

Israel has coordinated its documented air and artillery strikes with legal advice prior to each attack in accordance with the spirit and letter of international law and common understandings.

It will be difficult/impossible to prove otherwise in court.

And it will be difficult for Hamas/PA to deflect charges of gross misconduct and war crimes, by that same token.

By any reasonable definition/interpretation of international law, Israel remains legally within its rights in its adherence to principles central to jus ad bellum of right authority, right intention, reasonable hope, proportionality, and last resort.

NB I would add that with regards to the principle of “distinction”, where it is incumbent on belligerents to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Article 8(2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which prohibits attack directed against civilians may not necessarily be proved against Israel in the tragedy of the boys on the beach in Gaza, as it is difficult to ascribe intention; and particularly in light of the fact that Israel has more than amply consistently demonstrated, throughout the conflict, intent  to avoid civilian casualties by all available means.

Shalom Dublin?? – viewing Irish anti-Israeli sentiment through the lens of the IRA’s former Nazi collaboration

I write this blog to layout for myself, the antecedents to what many puzzled Israelis and Jews see as an uncalled-for Irish antipathy to the Jewish state, and to say again that peace will only come when the current pro-Palestinian orthodoxy and exhortation to violence and martyrdom is challenged everywhere and always. I hope you find it of interest.                   (h/t: @clairefinn54)

Israel has been demonized by an Irish media slavishly dancing to the Palestinian drumbeat for decades… – [yet] Israel has a far better and more progressive record on human rights than any of its neighbors…The truth must be told.” Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan., 2014.

In his article “Why Are the Irish Increasingly Siding With Palestine Over Israel?” written for the New Republic in May 2014, Jason Walsh recounts the time he wrote a feature article for the Irish Times on Ireland’s Jewry. He interviewed retired Belfast businessman Adrian Levey, who is Jewish. Levey was “…keen to point out that anti-Semitism as such is not a problem, even on the divided streets of Belfast.
“Northern Protestants support Israel and Catholics support Palestine, it doesn’t really play out on the streets,” he said.
When you understand that Protestant and Catholic are not actually religious terms, but stand-ins for pro-British unionists and pro-Irish republicans the statement makes perfect sense. For Irish republicans have long felt they were, as much as Palestinians, living in occupied territory. Hearing Northern Ireland described as the “Occupied Six Counties” was not uncommon in my youth during the 1990s. “

What Walsh is saying is embedded in an Irish take on the colonial antecedents of Ireland, Israel, and a would-be “Palestinian” Muslim state.

He explains that Israel’s struggle against the British during the Mandate years resonated with an Irish (Roman Catholic) public subjugated for centuries by brutal British domination of their national aspirations and what they called “colonisation” and “occupation” of the six Counties which make up (Protestant) Northern Ireland today.

But as Israel became more successful, the Irish psyche projected its experience of (essentially Protestant) Britain onto Israel’s failure to decide the “Palestinian” question definitively, and the narrative of a “dispossessed” and “disenfranchised” “Palestinian” struggle for “freedom” blossomed. Israel thus began to function as a surrogate for Britain because it was too “imperial, imperious and, above all, modern.” This view, together with Brian Hanley’s exploration of the IRA’s collaboration with Nazi Germany in the Republic’s struggles against Britain form the core of this piece.

The ongoing support and collaboration between Hamas and Sinn Fein, Irish Republic politicians and the Palestinian Authority, and historical ideological and notional links between the PLO, Arafat and the Republic of Ireland are well documented, if not always in the public eye.

Certainly the links between the IRA and Arafat’s PLO have been well documented. This connection is due to historic circumstance, where the British were wrongly perceived as pro-Jewish. And this affinity went north of the border with Northern Ireland and infused the culture and politics of both the Republic of Ireland and the positions held by the IRA in Northern Ireland and its political wing Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing, which has elected representatives in the Irish and British parliaments and shares power in Northern Ireland, has continued to be a virulent critic of Israel. In 2006, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, then the party’s international affairs and human rights spokesperson in the Dublin parliament, described Israel as “one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” In May 2014, he was one of three Irish politicians prevented by authorities from leaving Cyprus to join the Gaza-bound flotilla headed by the Mavi Marmara….

Arthur Griffith, who founded the original Sinn Fein movement in 1905, used the pages of his newspaper to rail against “Jew Swindledom” (9/10ths of all Jews were, he proclaimed, “usurers and parasites“) and the Dreyfusards.

There were similar prejudices commonplace in all the political parties which broke off from his organization, but only the eponymous rump which remained after the splits of 1921 and 1926 habitually preached Jew-hatred, culminating in a demand for an Irish-German alliance in 1939.

The newly formed “new” IRA, itself soaked in anti-Semitism, took a similar view and attempted to forge, as we will see, a working relationship with the Germans.

As noted in the republican newspaper The United Irishman of October 1951, Seán Russell, the then IRA chief of staff and a registered representative of the Irish Republic, spent the summer of 1940 in a ‘very large’ villa in the leafy Grunewald, near Berlin, surrounded by extensive grounds and parks, enjoying all the privileges of a diplomat with regard to access to food, petrol and other rationed goods.

Russell met leading Nazis such as Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. Following the fall of France, Russell urged that the German high command make use of the IRA to strike at British forces in Northern Ireland as part of a general attack on Britain. His plans were accepted and incorporated into Operation Sealion (the plan for the invasion of Britain) as a mark of the ‘respect and esteem’ in which Russell was held by the German military leadership.

The IRA’s main publication, War News, became increasingly pro-Nazi in tone, but more worryingly, it began to ape anti-Semitic arguments. The paper expressed satisfaction that the ‘cleansing fire’ of the German armies was driving the Jews from Europe. British war minister Hore Belisha was described as a ‘wealthy Jew’ only interested in ‘profits’. War News condemned the arrival in Ireland of ‘so-called Jewish refugees’.

Even though pre-war Ireland was united in its dislike of the British, there were at least four discernible factions in the IRA.

The majority leadership grouping was sympathetic to social radicalism but primarily concerned with developing the IRA as a military force. An important section of the leadership was socialist, while a third section—of which Russell was probably the best example—were committed entirely to armed force and uninterested in political debate.

A fourth smaller group was attracted to Sinn Féin’s espousal of right-wing ‘Christian social’ policies even as further differences existed over the relationship between the IRA in Northern Ireland and its much larger and more influential southern counterpart.

Much of the northern IRA together with Sinn Fein, their political arm, were attracted to Russell’s position, because they felt marginalised and ignored by their southern comrades, even as Russell’s own isolation in, and disillusionment with, the Republic led him to forge now-embarrassing ties with the Nazis.

Putting the efforts of IRA leaders like Russell into context, Brian Hanley notes that “…the IRA in 1940 was under severe pressure and in decline. Hundreds of its members were jailed or interned in the Curragh camp. Undoubtedly a measure of desperation contributed to its thinking. Similarly, …much of what was written in the [War News] was fantasy, especially the claims that the IRA was playing a major role in the German war effort….Furthermore, War News was illegal and therefore written and distributed surreptitiously. [Only a] small number of people were responsible for its content and only a few IRA members could have had any input into it. Despite the violence of some of the anti-Jewish rhetoric in War News the IRA did not attempt to physically attack Irish Jews.”

Even so, with the partition of Ireland by the British into the (Catholic) Republic of Ireland and (largely Protestant Ulster ‘Loyalist’) Northern Ireland in 1921, the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland imported a deep hostility towards partition as a solution to territorial conflict.

This in turn led to consistent support for the Palestinian cause some fifty years later. The “Provos” received weapons and training from Arafat’s PLO around the early 1970s; today, the IRA allegedly provides sophisticated bomb-making materials and know-how to terror group Hamas in war-ravaged Gaza.

And so, because the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein made common anti-colonialist cause with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with the PLO allegedly providing arms and training for the IRA as early as the 1970s, Irish Protestant leaders, for their part, allied themselves with the Israelis and their struggle against a genocidal Muslim enemy.

Ironically, in March 1945, a correspondent for The Bell, a leading Irish magazine, raged about current events in Mandated Palestine: “Never let it be forgotten that the Irish people … have experienced all that the Jewish people in Palestine are suffering from the trained ‘thugs’ ‘gunning tarzans’ and British ‘terrorists’ that the Mandatory power have imposed upon the country.

But once the Zionist movement accepted the partition of Palestine, the Irish began to draw unflattering parallels between Israeli policies and their own divided existence.

To many, the Jewish state now looked less like a besieged religious-national community struggling valiantly for its natural rights and more like a colony illegitimately established by British force of arms and intent on imposing itself on an “indigenous” population.

As a result, Ireland only extended de jure recognition to Israel in 1963, 15 years after its declaration of independence.

After Ireland joined the European Union in 1973, successive governments in Dublin took the lead in championing the Palestinian cause within Europe.

In February 1980, Ireland was the first EU member to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It was also the last to allow Israel to open a residential embassy, in December 1993.

Throughout the Oslo Accords era and the post-Oslo era a decade later, Irish governments continued to provide the Palestinian cause with valuable, if not unlimited, support.

Thus, in June 2003, Brian Cowen, then Ireland’s foreign minister, visited Yasir Arafat during the height of the Second Intifada.

It was during the Second Intifada that 887 (78%) of the 1,137 Israelis killed in Arab terrorist attacks from September 2000 – 2005 were civilian casualties. Another 8,341 Israelis were wounded during this period, of which 5,676 were civilians while 2,665 were security forces.

The majority of Jewish casualties during Cowen’s visit and lauding of Arafat were caused by suicide bombings, bombs, shootings, stonings, stabbings, lynchings, rockets on civilian population centres, and other methods of attack.

And, inexplicably, Cowen spoke for many in Ireland when he described Arafat as “the symbol of the hope of self-determination of the Palestinian people” and praised him for his “outstanding work … tenacity, and persistence.”

This feting and legitimising of terror and destruction still continues in an unbroken line and the words of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who, in 1983, laid down a blueprint which remains the playbook for the PA and Hamas in the international arena.

Back in a May 1983 interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, Adams’ stated aim was “…to confront the British with an ongoing armed struggle which is enjoying popular support and a principled political party which refuses to compromise on the basic issue of British involvement in Northern Ireland.”

The aim of such a policy of confrontation, he added, was so that the British “…would be unable to govern.”

Thus, as Adams put it, the political role of Sinn Fein was merely to “broaden and popularise the struggle. For in the end the movement will have to depend on whatever armed pressure the IRA can bring.

If that sounds eerily familiar today, it is only because, if Hamas/PA is substituted for IRA, we have a copybook re-enactment of Sinn Fein strategy being perniciously played out by Hamas against Israel forty years later.

The parallels with the actions of Hamas are too striking to be ignored: continued confrontation, no negotiations, active endangering of civilian populations, an internationally supported political wing in Ramallah and no compromise on borders or choice of capital.

This ongoing tacit Irish apologism for Palestinian wrongdoing, together with a disdainful disregard of the Jews’ unbroken connection with the country going back to one thousand years before the Arab conquest of an indigenous Jewish peoples and land, is an inversion of Orwellian proportions, the scale of which the British author himself did not envision.

It is, therefore, this peculiar Irish post-colonialist pathology which continues to nurture to a recurrent Arab psychology of intransigence, intolerance and a refusal to take responsibility for actions, which lethally endanger a new generation of Jew and Arab alike.

And, as with all dictatorships of the mind, distrust and fear of other feed periodic outbursts of pointless, near gratuitous, violence.

In Belfast in 2014, upon his arrest for alleged involvement in the grisly 1972 IRA murder of widowed mother of ten, Jean McConville, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said “….I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will…”

In Israel in 2014, Jews today continue to pay the price, through murder and wanton destruction, for a frightening foreign ideology of hate and segregation whose time we thought had long passed.

Hamas for Dummies

The article below was written by a Swedish blogger who has been blogging for over 11 years on stealth islamisation in Scandinavia. While written before the sad news of the boys’ murder, and before the release of the harrowing 2 minute phone call to Israel Police, the piece is instructive because it itemises the ways the kidnapping has served Hamas less well than it hoped.

Hamas for Dummies

June 18th, 2014 by Ilya Meyer

Truth be told, the title of this piece should instead be “Hamas are Dummies”.

Here’s why.

All the intel indicates that the three Israeli Jewish schoolboys kidnapped on June 12 were abducted by Hamas.

Almost a week later, their whereabouts are still not known. Palestinian Arab society erupted into paroxysms of joy, public celebration and calls for more kidnappings. And who can blame them – for so many decades now their leaders have assiduously taught them to rely on crime, murder, theft, lies, indoctrination, racism and genocide as noble tools for achieving an even nobler goal: the extinction of Jews from the region.

The Palestinian Arabs even enlisted their own youngest schoolchildren in their propaganda, proudly showing young kids flashing three fingers in celebration of the “victory” of having kidnapped three Jewish schoolchildren. Read that again: Palestinian Arab society has so brainwashed its own children that they celebrate the kidnapping of other children. It speaks volumes of that society – and neatly addresses the non-issue of the chances for peace in the future. What peace with a society whose future leaders are today being taught (at UN, EU and US taxpayer-funded expense) that kidnapping children is a cause for celebration? The world is noting this with revulsion, and the backlash is already on the way.

Because when all is said and done, what has the “success” of the kidnapping given Hamas?

Yes, they are still holding three Jewish schoolchildren whose sole crime is that they are Jewish. But here are just some of the costs to Hamas and the other Palestinian Arab terrorist groups and indeed the general Palestinian Arab populace:

1. Day after day, night after night, Israel is identifying, locating, rounding up and destroying illegal weapons caches. That’s hundreds of thousands of shekels worth of smuggled weapons crushed to dust. Weapons belonging not just to Hamas, but to all Palestinian Arab gangs. When the first round is over, the search will proceed deeper: water wells will be excavated in the hunt for concealed weapons, apartment building foundations will be dug up, warehouses will be torn apart. Oh, it will all be put back together, but the price to the general populace in the meantime will be uncountable. And it’s all down to Hamas.

2. Soon the only place to safely store weapons will be in mosques, a common Palestinian Arab tactic, but as the Israeli surveillance drones continue their untiring unmanned missions, that is where the weapons will be forced to remain. Hidden and useless. Your planning is impeccable, Hamas.

3. Night after night, more and more Hamas operatives, terrorists and leaders are being rounded up by the IDF. But these searches also disrupt the operations of the other terrorist gangs, those that had nothing to do with the kidnappings. Fatah is already gunning for Hamas because of the resultant loss of its freedom of movement and its resultant inability to continue its targeting of Israeli children. Jihad Islami and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade are also being severely curtailed in their ongoing activities. So they all have Hamas in their cross-hairs – anything to get the IDF off their backs and restore calm.

4. With the kidnappings, Hamas has succeeded in doing something that not even Israel’s own politicians have achieved: they have welded together ALL of Israeli society in the face of this terrible predicament. Israeli society is 100 percent behind the country’s political and military leaders. Not even Benjamin Netanyahu managed to do that in all his years in power. Now the Prime Minister has the whole nation behind him. Thanks Hamas.

5. Even the traditionally anti-Israel UN and EU, two organisations that are firmly antagonistic to the Jewish state, have come out in support of Israel over the kidnapping of the three schoolboys. Never could Israel have dreamed of getting both the UN and the EU firmly behind the Jewish state. Seriously, big thanks Hamas.

6. Even overseas Jewish groups not always comfortable about supporting Israel have come out in full support of the Jewish state following the kidnapping. Hamas has succeeded in bringing together world Jewry where even the Jewish Agency failed – and the effect will last. Many thanks, Hamas.

7. Almost the best bit of all: following the kidnappings, Norway has indefinitely postponed a long-scheduled international donors’ meeting for financial aid to the Palestinian Arabs. Following the “unity government” that brought together the two main Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, Fatah and Hamas, it now transpires that not only Hamas but also Fatah will suffer the financial consequences of cancelled aid. Seriously Hamas, you should candidate for a position in the Israeli Knesset because you are doing more for Israel in its ongoing battle against Palestinian Arab extremism – including curtailing international funding – than the Jewish state has ever managed on its own. Keep up the good work.

8. Convicted Palestinian Arab terrorists already in Israeli jails are now having all their privileges withdrawn. Including Israeli taxpayer-funded university education – so Israeli taxpayers are overjoyed.

9. Already freed Palestinian Arab mass-murderers, 1000 of whom were released in exchange for one (1) Israeli abductee Gilad Schalit a couple of years ago, are now being rearrested by Israel. So Hamas are not exactly their flavour of the month there either…

10. And finally, that perpetual thorn in Israel’s side, that fifth-columnist and traitor guilty of multiple treason against the country in which she serves as a Member of Knesset (parliament), Arab MK Hanin Zoabi, has at last overplayed her hand, joyfully proclaiming her support for the kidnapping of the citizens of her own country by agents of an enemy entity. Calls to expel her from the Knesset are now gathering broad support all across the Israeli political spectrum. When she went so far as to condemn Mohammed Zoabi, a teenage member of her own family, simply because he as an Israeli citizen expressed support for the three teenage Israelis kidnapped by Hamas, his lawmaker relative Ms Hanin Zoabi publicly abused and threatened him. Her extremist family took their cue from her – resulting in Israel Police arresting three members of her family for threatening the life of the teenage Mohammed. The whole of Israel is caught up in the drama of the three kidnapped Jewish Israeli schoolboys – and equally in their fervent support of Arab Israeli schoolboy Mohammed Zoabi whose crime was to express dismay at the kidnapping and empathy with the victims.

So all told, Hamas, you’ve done a great job: united all of Israel, ensured international backing for the Jewish state, cut off funding to your own people, seen masses of Palestinian Arab terrorists arrested and rearrested, and finally outed Hanin Zoabi, a treacherous fifth columnist within Israel. Tactically, strategically, short-term and long-term, you’ve done a brilliant job.

Really, Hamas, you’re giving us everything we ever wanted.

Now keep looking over your shoulders. Not for the Israeli army, who as you know will always treat you humanely.

But for your very own Palestinian Arab comrades-in-arms. You’ve cost them a whole lot.

Once again, thanks.

Signed: the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, who have come together as never before.

Palestine and Jerusalem are Occupied

Muslim and other pro- “Palestinian” interest groups have fired the first public shots in the latest round of the anti-Israel campaign down-under.

Apart from the silly and pointless noisy demonstrations outside perceived and real Jewish-owned stores and Israeli products in the major cities, the anti-Israel movement is building steam in the media and in Federal government.

On 1st May 2014, former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr, published his memoirs where he caused a media sensation when he publicly made claims about the impact of the “the Israel lobby” in Canberra.

Approximately a week after that, two South Australian public personalities. A journalist and a former state (now federal independent) senator, visited Judea and Samaria for a few days with the Adelaide Friends of Palestine. It was their first trip to Israel.

On May 10th 2014, the Middle East correspondent in Jerusalem for the national daily The Australian , John Lyons, reported on the visit of the Adelaide Friends of Palestine and the Australian independent Federal senator Nick Xenophon. Reporting from “…deep in the heart of the Palestinian territories…” (sic), Lyons quotes Xenophon who tells him “’What I saw in Hebron was heartbreaking – the division, the segregation, the palpable fear in the community.”

On May 17th 2014, the recently returned and enervated journalist, Peter Goers, wrote a puff-piece which lionised the ‘tragic life of Hebron Arabs’ and slammed what he called the “shame of Israeli apartheid.”

He also drew a startling analogy between himself and that other Jew, Jesus: “JESUS wept. In Palestine, Jesus wept and so did I. I weep for the Palestinians living under the Israeli apartheid…” Goers writes for the sole South Australian daily, The Advertiser.

On June 5th 2014, Liberal Party Attorney General George Brandeis was heckled by a former Australian Communist party member, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, about his dropping the use of the term “occupied” in relation to East Jerusalem.

Brandeis was quickly reminded that he was still just a politician at the behest of his donors. Eighteen Arab and Muslim diplomats wrote a strongly worded letter of protest to him, and there were noises made about how Australian wheat exports and the live meat trade to the Middle East could suffer.

A few days later, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Abbott both began walking back the Brandeis statement, but clarifying that their policy vis a vis Jerusalem and the “territories” had not really changed, just the terminology.

On 25th June 2014, Senator Xenophon, recently back from Hebron, deep in the heart of the Palestinian territories, requested that the matter of Mr Brandeis’ dropping of the term “Occupied” when he referred to East Jerusalem be brought to the Australian people as an item of “public importance. He stated he would provide irrefutable legal evidence which showed the stance of the Liberal Australian government of Tony Abbot regarding the terminology used by people like Attorney General Brandeis to be “…factually untrue…[and] legally ignorant. Mr Xenophon then uploaded his speech to YouTube.

On 26th June 2014, a small, niche leftist newspaper crowed that in Parliament, Mr Xenophon “Smashe[d] [Abbott Liberal government] spin on Occupied Territories”. Nobody much noticed.

And so, we come to the subject of this blog: have Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem been “occupied” by a belligerent army of Jews?

Have the Israelis taken away land that rightfully belong to the “Palestinian people”?

Have the Jews denied the “Palestinian nation” their birthright and are crushing crushed their immutable cultural, spiritual and religious connection to a land rooted in the annals of time?

Is Israel’s current presence in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in flagrant violation of international law, and does that make the League of Nations Mandate which eventually made for a Jewish and an Arab state itself illegal?

That is to say, if anybody international legal body, which today represents 193 members, shall make a finding which occludes the wishes of the new Muslim ummah, should the decisions of that body be annulled?

The phrase ‘occupied territories’ has come to mean only one particular place in the entire world — namely Judea/Samaria (i.e. the West Bank). That phrase is the battle cry in a rising tide of global anger directed against Israel. Gaza too was once “occupied” by Israel, but that line of delegitimization died with the Israeli pull-out in 2005. Today, Gaza, for the ummah and its western backers, is merely under “siege”.

But Judea and Samaria still remain “occupied”; as is East Jerusalem…….

For the intellectually curious, even a cursory overview of the non-legal antecedents to this conflict will show the facts of the Muslim claim on East Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the land of Israel.

Consider two questions: What entitles any group of people to possess any particular tract of land? How can we decide whether Jews or Arabs have the true rights to possess the ‘occupied territories’?

In the absence of any universally accepted rules, and in general practice among the nations, it usually boils down to who was there first and also right by conquest, especially if the conquest occurred long ago.

Today, there are 193 member nations in the U.N. with several having major territorial conflicts of their own, such as India and Pakistan regarding Kashmir.

Also, within nations there are separatist groups that seek independence, such as Basques in Spain, the Kurds in Turkey and what’s left of Iraq, and the Chechens in Russia. China’s woes with the Muslim Uyghur have only just begun in earnest.

An added facet is the appearance and disappearance over time of peoples and of nations. Many peoples of antiquity have long ceased to exist. Also, nations and even empires, come and go over the centuries.

But Jews and Arabs are still around and trace their origins back to Abraham of the Bible.

Jews descended through Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Jacob (who was later renamed Israel).

Arabs descended through Abraham and Hagar the Egyptian, and through their son Ishmael whose daughter Mahalath also married Esau, the brother of Jacob.

Thus Jews and Arabs are actually two branches of the same family which have diverged over the centuries and Jews and Arabs come to pray at the tomb of Abraham and Sara.

The Bible, in the book of Genesis, clearly states that descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will eventually receive their inheritance in the form of the Promised Land, which is later identified to include the general location of present day Israel.

But Ishmael and his descendants ere also promised an inheritance,
‘…for I will make a great nation of him [i.e. Ishmael]’ Gen. 21:18.

In the Bible, the Jews are assigned only a modest portion of the land in the Middle East, with remaining lands distributed among the other nations.

Unlike certain other empires and religions throughout history, the Jews are not promised, nor commanded to seize, all of the lands in the world, nor to convert all others to their beliefs.

This promise was made at the time of Abraham, about 4,000 years ago (some 2,300 years before the birth of Muhammad) and takes further shape in the time of Moses, about 3,300 years ago (some 1,600 years before advent of Mohammedanism), where the Jewish People became irrevocably linked to the land of Israel, the “Promised Land.”

The Bible assigns this one people to this one specific land and does not do this for any other people.

Over two billion Christians, plus 18 million Jews, accept the Five Books of Moses as a pillar of their religion. They all embrace a religion which clearly defines that land as belonging to the Jewish People in perpetuity.

Those who deny the validity of this Biblical assignment must then fall back on man-made rules which are subject to constant alteration, disagreement, and conflict.

At the time of Mohammed, about 1,400 years ago (some 2,600 after Abraham’s covenant), the Arabs, along with Jews, Christians, and others, lived in the Arabian Peninsula.

Before being forced to convert to the teachings of Allah by Muhammad in the 7th C.E., Arabs had deep-rooted love for the tribe to which they belonged.

This belief in the greatness and excellence of their tribe led them to carve a deity of their own and they sang hymns in its praise in order to win its favour. Thus the tribe called Kalb worshipped Wadd, the Hudhayl worshipped Suwa. The tribe of Madh’hij as well as the people of Quraysh worshipped Yaghuth, the Khaywan worshipped Ya’uq. Similarly the tribe of Himyar adopted Nasr as their god and worshipped it in a place called Balkha. The Himyar had also another temple (bayt) in San’a. It was called Ri’am, the people venerated it and offered sacrifices to it.

The most ancient of all these idols was Manah. The Arabs named their children after them as ‘Abd Manah and Zayd Manah. Manah was erected on the seashore in the vicinity of Mushallal in Qudayd, between Medina and Mecca and all the Arabs used to venerate her and offer sacrifices to her.

Another goddess which was ardently worshipped by the Arabs was known as al-Lat. “She was a cubic rock beside which a certain Jew used to prepare his barley porridge (Sawiq). Her custody was in the hands of Banu Attab Ibn Malik of the Thaqif who had raised an edifice over her. She was venerated by the Quraysh and almost all the tribes of Arabia and they named their children after her, e.g., Zayd al-Lat and Taym al_Lat.

So, prior to the arrival of Mohammad in the polytheistic Arab Peninsula, only two, monotheistic Abrahamic faiths existed: long-established Judaism following the word of the omnipotent Yahweh, and early Christianity which believed in the Trinity.

The Arabs of the Peninsula were pagan worshippers who practised polytheism.

Not then, and not at any time after that, have the teachings of Muhammad as encoded in the Qu’ran, ever considered either Judea or Samaria or Jerusalem as significant in the new, nascent Muslim faith. Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria simply figured little in Islam.

The table below shows the frequency with which key words to the three faiths are a signifier of their importance to the three Abrahamic faiths:

Book                         Subject                        Number of times mentioned
Jewish Bible              Jerusalem                                669
Jewish Bible             Zion (i.e. Jerusalem                  154
or the land)
Christian Bible           Jerusalem                                 154
Christian Bible               Zion                                         7
Both Jewish and
Christian Bibles       Judah or Judea                          877
Both Bibles                 Samaria                                  123
The Qu’ran            Israel or Israelites                          47
The Qu’ran             Jew or Jewish                               26
The Qu’ran            Christian or Christians                  15
The Qu’ran            Mecca and Medina                         8
The Qu’ran                Jerusalem                                Zero!
(not mentioned)

We are sophisticated readers, all of us, and we are all familiar with the urban myth that numbers can be made to tell any story one chooses to.

What, however, is incontrovertible from the numbers above, is just how many references in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles testify to the integral historic connections between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel and also to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Judaism and of the Jewish People.

It is also incontrovertible that that same Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, of which “Palestinians” (sic) are allegedly “disposessed”, are of no historical, spiritual or even religious significance to Muslims in any way. The Qu’ran shows that this is so.

Jerusalem was the capital of Israel 3,000 years ago under King David.

The Qu’ran was written about 1,600 years later. An the focus of the nascent Muslim faith was always Mecca.

Together with that, the Qu’ran has more references to things Jewish and Christian than to their own two holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

This indicates their keen awareness of Jewish roots in that region.

And, of course, most remarkable statistic is that the Qu’ran fails to mention Jerusalem even once.

Thus, with Muslims facing towards Mecca while praying, while Jews have turned to Jerusalem since antiquity, it is clear that Islam has no Qu’ranic connection to either Jerusalem or to the land of Israel, and therefore no spiritual, religious or cultural claim to either.

The Qu’ran simply confirms that this is so.

Islamic scholars themselves, such as Khaleel Mohammed, state that the Qu’ran actually supports the right of Jews to the land of Israel. He cites Sura 5:20, 5:21 in the Qu’ran which are translated as follows:
5:20. Remember Moses said to his people: ‘O my People ! call in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples.
5:21. ‘O my people ! enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned to you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.’ (The Meaning of the Illustrious Qur’an by A. Yusuf Ali)

Further, the Qur’an explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment – where it says: “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.'” [Qur’an 17:104]

The messages in the Islamic Qu’ran are therefore very similar to that in the Jewish Bible which preceded it by one and a half millennia.

But this Qu’ranic message is not taught, or is conveniently forgotten by those radical Muslims and their European enablers and financial backers who would de-legitmise and wish for the demise of the Jewish state.

The Qu’ran also never mentions Palestine or Palestinians because there was such a nation, a people, or a political entity never existed.

We now have the holy books of Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam, recognizing the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel. Those three religious represent half of all humanity.

And lest anti-semitic zeal conflate fact with myth, we should remember that two thousand years ago, before the birth of Muhammad, Rome ruled much of the known world.

The Jews in the land of Israel (called Judea at that time) were a colony of Rome with their capital in Jerusalem. The Jews revolted against harsh Roman rule and were defeated after a long and brutal war.

As punishment the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and renamed that city Aelia Capilolina and renamed the geographical location from Provincia Judea to Provincia Philistia/Palaistina in an attempt to totally erase Jewish history and prevent another uprising.

No Arabs were involved in this action.

And it is this Roman nomenclature used to put down a Jewish revolt, with no input from Arabs who were not actors in this episode of history, which has been commandeered by the terror leader Yasser Arafat after the second defeat of monumentally large Arab Muslim armies by the numerically insignificant Jews in 1967.

The foundations of the chimera of a “Palestinian” ‘people’ and a “Palestinian nation” with Jerusalem as its capital, was laid progressively by an Arab Muslim leadership, furious at a second resounding physical defeat by a numerically weaker opponent.

With the exception of the Arab fight-back and subsequent defeat in yet a third war in 1973 , the delegtimisation and attempted destruction of Israel by law-fare rather than full-frontal violence, had begun.

The name Aelia Capilolina later reverted back to the ancient word Jerusalem after the Romans and their empire disappeared. The name Philistia/Palaistina evolved into Palestine and came to designate a region, but never a country or a people.

Thus the ongoing enthusiasm of the Muslim world to destroy a Jewish state is not only not based on any Arabic name for any Arab land, nor even any city held sacred by Muslims and/or Arabs, but rather on the Roman term ‘Palestine’ which was historically used by a now-vanished Roman people and empire to describe an area inhabited by the indigenous Jewish inhabitants of antiquity.

So much for the historical ‘first-dibs’ Abrahamic narrative.

The legal narrative why, in international law, Israel does not occupy East Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria may be the focus of a later blog.

In his May 10th, 2014 article for The Australian, correspondent John Lyons said that Mr Xenophon had a message for Australian politicians. It was this: “I would urge Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to have a good look at the International Court of Justice’s statement on Israeli settlements,” he said. “The ICJ statement is crystal clear…”

I believe the Senator and those like him who may not have the time  (or inclination) to fully study the issue, would be  surprised by just how crystal clear international law really was, and is, in relation to Israeli settlement in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria………

Meanwhile, the push-back against bias and demonisation of a legitimate legal entity by those publicly committed to its demise, will continue.

Sooner rather than later, the persistent presentation of truth  and fact, backed by law, will expose the true face and motives of  a rejectionist and revisionist Arab political culture which has historically been intolerant of “other”.

Jerusalem – Confusing Fact and Fiction

Confusing fact and fiction – Gerard Henderson, The Sydney Institute
Is Jerusalem occupied by Israel? The answer is: “not under international law”. Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute explains why

[Since the 6 Day War in 1967] there have been…references to the occupied territories [in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict].

This description [“occupied”] was once used by some to refer to areas such as the Sinai, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, which is now ruled by the terrorist Hamas organisation. The Golan Heights still remains disputed between Israel and Syria. The Palestinian Authority, which recently included Hamas in its government, presides over much of the West Bank, with the obvious exception of the Israeli settlements.

Following its defensive war in 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which had been occupied by Jordan for some two decades.

Jordan never created a Palestinian state and no such nation has ever existed.

Clearly in 1967 Israel did not conquer and occupy any territory ruled over by a Palestinian nation.

Any successful Middle East peace process will almost certainly involve the withdrawal of Israel from nearly all areas of the West Bank and, possibly, a part of East Jerusalem. Also, it is likely that there would be land swaps between Israel and what would become the nation of Palestine in a two-state solution.

This would be consistent with the UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in November 1967, which called on Israel to withdraw from “territories”, not all territories, as part of what would now be called a land-for-peace deal. In such an eventuality, it is likely that Israel would swap some land within its borders since the creation of the state in 1948 for some of the land that it took from Jordan (not Palestine) in 1967.

Anyone familiar with the topography of Jerusalem would be aware that Israel is not defendable on its 1967 borders.

Former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr is a critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. Yet even Carr concedes in Diary of a Foreign Minister that Israel’s security concerns are real. Carr relates a conversation at the Knesset in Jerusalem when he asked the Israeli Prime Minister to explain his security concerns. An aide pulled aside the curtains and Netanyahu declared: “I don’t want Iran on that hill.”

If the [Australian Senator and member of the communist movement that supported the Soviet Union right up until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989] Rhiannon line [in the Australian Parliament] prevails, there will be no peace process at all. And no Palestinian nation.

Even beyond the obvious security concerns, East Jerusalem includes the Jewish quarter of the Old City including the Wailing Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.

It is doubtful whether any democratically elected Israeli government would willingly facilitate a pre-1967 situation occurring again whereby Jews are driven out of East Jerusalem and prevented from praying at or visiting the Wailing Wall.

At the Senate hearings, Rhiannon…declared she had been insulted when [Attorney General] Brandeis commented on her longstanding membership of that part of the Australian communist movement that supported the Soviet Union right up until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Rhiannon’s past association with communism is a matter of public record.

Interviewed on Radio National on December 6 last year, she even admitted to having studied at the Lenin International School in Moscow in 1977, at the height of Leonid Brezhnev’s brutal totalitarian dictatorship.

A two-state solution may take place in the Middle East. Even if it does, this will not suddenly bring peace and stability to the region. The Israel-Palestine dispute is but a sideshow in the looming battle between the Shia and Sunni brands of Islam.

Sunni Saudi Arabia is much more concerned with Shia Iran than with Israel. And, right now, the Sunni terrorist movement the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham seems more interested in murdering Shia Muslims than Jews or Christians.

On ABC’s Insiders last Sunday, David Marr suggested “there is a very real possibility that the Arab world is going to respond to Australia’s unique stand on East Jerusalem by saying: ‘Well, we won’t buy your wheat.’ ”

Similar views have been expressed by Suzannah Moss-Wright of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce.

This seems unduly pessimistic. The Arab world, plus Iran, appears to be involved in a religious civil war of disturbing ferocity.

In such a reality, Australia’s position concerning the appropriate terminology on East Jerusalem is of scant importance. Despite Rhiannon’s Green-left advocacy.

Note: It is worthy of note that Rhiannon has the vocal support of independent Senator Nick Xenophon in Parliament  on whose selective xenophobia I have written in a previous post (http://bit.ly/1q07S1G )