Talking to Hamas

Today, there appears to be a “kindler”, “gentler” but error based approach on how to deal with Hamas in Gaza. A few influential Israelis seem to think that “talking to Hamas” should be the order of the day instead of subduing them financially as well as thru a decisive military campaign.

Since 1967, Israel has striven to return the situation in the Strip to a status quo it could tolerate. While periodic “mowing the law” prevents fire from the Gaza Strip, sooner or later the shooting from Gaza resumes, and even if it was on a small scale and without causing many casualties for Israel, it is still an ongoing problem. Life is not normal if at any time a rocket or a mortar shell might fall on one’s home, working place, during walking or driving outside and so on.

However, this 2018 about-face to “talk” to Hamas instead of warring against it to crush it is not new. It is merely a regurgitation of an approach 11 years previous that demonstrably failed.

Specifically, back in 2007, no sooner had ex-prez Jimmy Carter met in Damascus with Khaled Mashaal to declare Hamas’ readiness to accept the Jewish state as a “neighbor next door”,  than the radical Islamist group demonstrated its vision of peaceful coexistence by making the most ambitious attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers and detonate two car bombs at a border crossing used for the introduction of vital foodstuffs and humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip (Karsh, 2008).

The notion that Hamas’ co-option into a political process aimed at stifling its overriding goal of destroying Israel would make it more hopeful and less despairing was always framed as a contradiction in terms.

Yet, former U.S. officials, led by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, like some in Israel 11 years later, had previously called for “a genuine dialogue” with Hamas in the hope that Hamas could somehow be lured away from its genocidal agenda. Even Former Secretary of State Colin Powell told National Public Radio in 2007 that some way must be found to talk to Hamas.

Other Israelis joined the chorus calling for talks with Hamas. “Before we are dragged into Gaza, we must exhaust the other possibility,” wrote journalist Ari Shavit. “We should offer Hamas a deal: an Islamic republic in Gaza in exchange for full demilitarization. A full and fulfilling life for a Muslim community of brothers, in exchange for giving up violence and arms altogether.”

Events of 2008-9, 2012 and 2014 in the Gaza Strip showed just how much dialogue with Hamas was worth, and why that same errant approach is flawed today.

Hamas is demonstrably not interested in “talks”. Nothing in its history from 2005 to the present has ever indicated they intend to waver from their publicly stated charter which promises that “Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it.”

In the next war, Hamas, like Hezballah, must lose decisively and be seen to have lost. Decisively.

I have written on social media and on my blog that “talking” to Hamas will provide it a bastardised legitimacy. Back in 2008 Karsh put it much more eloquently:

Legitimizing a jihadi group of this sort would undoubtedly undermine the broader struggle against Islamism, and deepen the doubts of many people in the Middle East and South Asia about the determination of the West to neutralize the current threat they all face at present.

Hamas is plainly not an organization whose ideology can be integrated into any political process without undermining democracy and poisoning the norms of civil society. Hamas is not interested in peace with Israel; indeed, Mashaal has plainly stated that any tahdiye, or state of calm, is really “a tactic in conducting the struggle.”4 Unfortunately for Israelis and Palestinians alike, that is not something the wishful thinking of well-meaning pundits and even former U.S. presidents can change.

The portrayal of Palestinians as innocent victims in distress has been the key to Palestinian propaganda’s popular success. Through the mass-production of heartrending imagery centered on children, women medics, staged “news,” manipulative rhetoric, and rigid censorship, Palestinian propaganda has successfully used the media to recast Palestinians as entirely blameless victims.

Clearly, this has also worked on certain elements within and without Israel’s military think tanks. There is no doubt that the humanitarian situation in Gaza today under Hamas is diabolical. However, violence against Israel has nothing to do with the socioeconomic despair of Arabs living next to a prosperous Jewish nation. No, it is, rather, total rejection by Hamas in Gaza of Israel’s right to exist that fuels the ongoing conflict.

It is clear that this fuel-load needs to be removed.

Under international law, customary and humanitarian, non-state actors are bound by customary IHL norms when they become a party to an armed conflict.  Hamas, however, continues to operate on the principle of the doctrine of a limited-liability war. Under this theory, 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. And co-opted, formerly altruistic NGOs like UNRWA enable and extend this deception.

“Talking with Hamas” is not a solution no matter the laudable humanitarian intent because the negotiations fallacy is especially evident in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The solution is clear, even in our “gentler” and “more caring” times: For most of human history, military victories end wars. This is not the forum to explicate this further. Thus, in order for there to be peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours, Israel must win and the “Palestinians” (and, eventually, Hizballah) must lose. Decisively. Modern Israel’s short history is littered with military offensives which support this thesis.

Till now, it has generally been the policy of Israel’s main military backe, America, to prevent Israel from achieving a decisive military victory over its adversaries. Most recently, one needs no reminder of how the Obama administration pressured Israel to limit its objectives in its 2014 war with Hamas….

Such limitations of Israel encourages its enemies to take risks because Israel’s adversaries need not fret over irrevocable loss because they know the international community will do as much as it can to reverse those losses.

With the auspicious winds of change currently blowing through Israeli-Arab relations, now is the time to put an end to the violent Sunni Muslim organisation that is Hamas. While not intended as a zero-sum game for ordinary rank and file Gazans, Israel can only win the fight against Hamas if Hamas loses, and is seen to lose.  Decisively. This would additionally put an end to the current Gazan Arab delusion of a one-state solution, free of Jews.

Then, and only then, can/should Israel “talk to Hamas”.


2018: The 100 Year spin on a century-old story

The current media support of something called a “return march” and the alleged genocidal attacks of the Zionist state against Arabs from Gaza who want to push down an Israeli border fence in order to massacre Jewish inhabitants on the other side is generating a lot of interest.

Leading the chorus of outrage and indignation in Europe is the EU which include quotes like this one: “We strongly condemn Israel´s flagrant violations of the human rights of Palestinians. We call for an end to Israel´s criminal behaviour and for the respect of the decisions of the international community and of UN resolutions.”

Of course, the EU may have forgotten that Israel exists BECAUSE of decisions of the international community and international law back in 1947-48. This however does not dissuade suitably blinkered others from stating that Israel is “…responsible for “calculated” killings of unarmed civilians in violation of international law, the human rights group states, warning that Israeli leaders could face prosecution abroad.”

Others like Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch reaches two key conclusions: the Israeli violence against Palestinians was premeditated, illegal under international law.

In similar high dudgeon HRW states, “While some protesters near the border fence burned tires and threw rocks, Human Rights Watch could find no evidence of any protester using firearms or any IDF [Israeli army] claim of threatened firearm use at the demonstrations,” the group’s report states.”

This short exploration uses ideas and words by Martin Sherman and Kenneth Stein writing about 2018 and 1918 respectively. The reader will draw her/his own conclusions.

The Zionist intention at the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919 was to give statutory effect to the implications of the Balfour Declaration. Zionists wanted a trusteeship or mandate system for Palestine that would protect and enhance the rights of the Jewish minority. The wording of the British Mandate’s articles reflected the Zionists’ success.

British policy objectives, however, were more encompassing: they wanted to
strengthen their strategic presence in the Middle East while finding compromise solutions to Arab aspirations for independence in the Levant and in the Arabian peninsula.

Having courted Sharif Husayn during World War I, the British maintained their relationships with him and his son Faysal, who emerged as the diplomatic spokesman of Arab independence at the conclusion of the war.

In Jan 1918 the British reaffirmed their intent to see the formation of an independent Arab nation.  However, to make things worse, where the British had been vague about the inclusion of Palestine in the Husayn-McMahon correspondences of 1915 and 1916 , now the British and French failed to mention Palestine specifically as a geographic area where indigenous governments would be encouraged.

Since the French made no secret of their aim to control all of Syria, Husayn and Faysal had little choice but to cast their lot with the British. But in so doing, they reluctantly but tacitly accepted the attendant political ramifications of Britain’s Zionist entente.

Additionally, Arabs of British Mandate Palestine lacked a distinctive and cohesive nationalist movement at this time. In stark contrast, the Zionist movement was extremely clear in its focus on transforming policy into reality. Thus, it sought amicable relationships with the British military administration and the Arab community in Palestine. However, the individuals who staffed the British military administration did little to foster cordial Arab-Jewish understanding, let alone amiable intercommunal relations.

Together with this, during the Ottoman period, and during the Mandate, Jews and committed Zionists clearly realized that restrictions and regulations placed by the Ottomans and, later, the British, could be circumvented, in that, despite vocal protests, Arab sellers were willing and even eager to sell their land, and that therefore political opposition to the Zionist enterprise was insincere and artificial.

So much so that when Arab public condemnation of land sales to Jews rose in crescendo, and in 1940, when the Land Transfer Regulations were enacted, Zionists continuously received offers to purchase from large and small landowning Arabs and landlords in absentia who were glad to be paid so handsomely for plots of stone and thorns.

That was in 1918.

In 2018, the myth of the “Palestinian” ‘Indigeneity’ and “march of return” is also insincere. It is a (very successful) part of that same Arab strategy over a 100 years ago of speaking out of both sides one’s mouth.

It is what Martin Sherman alludes to when he quotes T.E. Lawrence in his latest article, Palestine – failing the test of history: “Freedom is enjoyed when you are so well armed, or so turbulent, or inhabit a country so thorny that the expense of your neighbour’s occupying you is greater than the profit. –From  a letter by T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”) published July 22, 1920, in The Times of London setting out a case for the political independence for the Arabs (from the Ottomans) in the Middle East.

Even Lawrence had never heard of the Palestinians.

Lest you forgot.


Proportionality and the “Palestinian” pirouette

The ongoing deliberate confrontations at the Gaza fence by Hamas have nothing to do with peace or rights. The weekly border riots and the daily dispatch of kites designed to burn sovereign Israeli land are acts of war and, as such, fall under a host of rules and regulations which apply to all warring parties, states or their organs.

Specifically, Hamas is in flagrant and ongoing breach of the 4th Geneva Convention in several chapters of that document and continues to breach its responsibilities under a self-styled Doctrine of Limited Liability war.

The Doctrine of Limited Liability per Hamas demonstrably allows an aggressor to 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.

It is time to stop this travesty which has been a core Arab strategy against the existence of a Jewish state since 1948. This for several pertinent reasons in international law.

On page 31 of its Preliminary Remarks on the 1949 4th Geneva Convention, it is  stated that the content therein was inspired by the 1907 Hague Conventions which govern the laws of war, and was later codified in Article 49 of the International Law Commission’s 1980 Draft Articles on State Responsibility.

This stated that the “eternal principles of the Laws and Customs of War on Land are the foundation and the safeguard of civilization “, and was designed to “ensure the respect of human personality and dignity by putting beyond reach of attack those rights and liberties which are the essence of its existence”.

Of particular relevance to the thesis of this short exploratory paper, it prohibits in particular:

  1. a) Violence to life and person………
  2. d) Outrages upon personal dignity…..founded on differences of race… nationality [and] religion….

Hamas should have absolutely no truck with Israel. It rules Gaza which is bounded by a land fence on its eastern limit. Attacking sovereign Israeli territory both on land and through the air is in breach of the letter and spirit of the Convention.

Hamas attacks Israel because Israel is a Jewish state. And Israeli nationals are Jews.  It attacks Israel because the State of Israel practises Judaism as a majority religion.

Hamas has repeatedly called for the destruction and murder of all Jews east of the fence in often gory purple prose. Hamas calls for the eradication of an ancient indigenous race and people because those people are not Muslim.

These are wrongful acts.

Hamas is quick to tell its enablers that it is a legal governing entity voted in through the ballot box. On the bare face of it, let us accept this premise. In that case, the elected government of the Gaza strip has responsibilities in international law and is accountable to international courts for its actions if it is in breach of those laws. After all, the “Palestinians” boast of (observer) member State status of the United Nations…..

Article 28 of the International Law Commission’s 1980 Draft Articles on State Responsibility stated that “The international responsibility of a State which is entailed by an internationally wrongful act in accordance with the provisions of Part One involves legal consequences as set out in this Part.”

This “Part” was then explicated and codified in Article 49 of the International Law Commission’s 1980 Draft Articles on State Responsibility Article 29

Continued Duty of Performance which stated “The legal consequences of an internationally wrongful act under this Part do not affect the continued duty of the responsible State to perform the obligation breached.”

In other words, regardless of whether states are party to the treaties above, experts say the principle is part of what is known as customary international law. And, in other words, no governing entity gets a free ride where it can flout international law and then ask for a return to the status quo ante…….

In its defence, Hamas also argues that Gaza is not a State and that therefore the above rules and regulations do not apply to it. Following this line of reasoning, it would then make Hamas’ actions against the sovereign State of Israel acts of terror across an international border. Hamas does not accept this designation either.

However, in the chapter entitled Attribution of conduct to a State. Article 4 of the 1980 Draft Articles on State Responsibility is as clear as can be on this: “The conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central government or of a territorial unit of the State (all emphases mine)”.

Hamas really has nowhere to hide. It is either a pariah “state” in flagrant and continual breach of international law, or it is a terror organisation which deserves the impositions place on it. Hamas’ actions in the international arena drip entitlement when in fact there are no moral, or legal reasons to grant it exception.

The international community needs to put an end to Hamas and their fiscal enablers pirouetting between the raindrops: if they are a legal government, then they are bound by international law. If they are a terror organisation then they need to be proscribed as such by the international community and disarmed.

With regard to Hamas’ claims of Israel’s use of excessive force, here again they are in error according to that same customary international law which applies to all governments.

According to the doctrine of customary international law, a state is legally allowed to unilaterally defend itself and right a wrong provided the response is proportional to the injury suffered (emphasis added).

Armed Hamas combatants approached a designated international border fence with hostile intention to overrun it and physically harm civilians and others on the other side. Israel defended itself and righted a wrong.

Israel targeted known and active Hamas terrorists in the process of trying to breach a security barrier in order to kill Jews. According to Hamas’ own reckoning, 85% of those killed in the weeks of staged hostile attacks were registered members of the terror organisation. Thus, the response was proportional to the injury threatened given the potential for an extended bloodbath had the terrorists succeeded in entering Israel.

Then too, in accordance with international law as explicated in the International Law Commission (2001), response in defending oneself must also be immediate and necessary, refrain from targeting civilians, and require only enough force to reinstate the status quo ante.

Nobody would refute the fact that this, Israel did.

Again, referring to international law, Article 3 of the 1907 Hague Convention on the Laws of War states that “A belligerent party which violates the provisions of the said Regulations shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation. It shall be responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces.”

Israel should now legally prosecute its rights to demand that Hamas cease and desist from engaging on a war footing with Israel according to Article 30 of the Legal Consequences of an Internationally Wrongful Act.

Together with this, Israel should additionally prosecute Hamas and its fiscal enablers through the courts to demand Hamas’ sponsors/enablers pay for physical damages to the border fence in line with Article 31 of the same Act:

  1. The responsible State is under an obligation to make full reparation for the injury caused by the internationally wrongful act.
  2. Injury includes any damage, whether material or moral, caused by the internationally wrongful act of a State.

Hamas and the “Palestinian” charade has wasted untold wealth both fiscal and moral for decades. It is time to call their bluff and make them responsible for their actions in line with that same international law they are so fond of quoting.

Finally, in case the reader wonders why I consistently put the word “Palestinian” in inverted commas, the reason is this: you do not become a nation, a state or a “people” just because you hate Jews.

The continuing forbearance of the State of Israel in the face of continuous wrongful acts is astonishing.

It has never happened in the recorded history of ANY conflict.

It should never be permitted to happen again.

The EU or eeeeu!!

Frederica Mogherini’s and the EU’s determination to uphold the 2015 JCPOA with Iran has to be seen within the framework of the EU’s confidence in and practice of the peace-through-trade policy. This policy originates from the theory that an increase in trade leads to universal benefits (which expands to include peace).

This idea was first mentioned at around AD 100, when Plutarch wrote about how sea trade allowed man to cooperate and “redress defects” in their relationship with one another through mutual exchange. In the 1700s other theorists like Montesquieu specified that peace is a “natural” consequence of trade, it then gained momentum into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This Liberal IR thought assumes a positive trade-peace correlation in that “whatever benefits the individual, will benefit the state” and therefore determines that trade promotes peace.

However, there is an explicit and cynical contradiction involved when EU-Iranian arms trade was at its height in the disastrous eight-year Iran-Iraq war, given that the EU sold arms to Iraq AND Iran during the time frame concerned.
In fact, this same EU exported arms to the countries before, during, and after they were involved in conflicts. Therefore, the trade of arms was seen as a means to gain influence over the two countries and to serve the EU’s own commercial interests.

In other words, the trade of arms showed how the EU was happy to marginalise its political peace goals in favour of its commercial interests, thus demonstrating how the peace-through-trade policy could be conveniently ignored where making money was concerned.

Thirty seven years after the Iran-Iraq fiasco, the EU is doing exactly the same thing again; only, this time, the stakes are chillingly higher.

In resisting Trump’s new push for Iran sanctions in light of Iran’s refusal to comply with terms of the JCPOA in either spirit or word, the EU is chasing the money again in Iran.

The United Kingdom, America, the French, the Germans and the EU hared into Teheran to sign lucrative trade deals with Tehran the minute the deal was signed back in July, 2015. Neither Obama’s administration nor the Europeans including Britain (sorry guys…) cared to think beyond the trade potential of a huge and lucrative market for increased tonnage of Western goods.

What was at stake though, for nations and countries not connected to the Iranian gold rush was the safety, autonomy and independence of several Middle Eastern countries and the declared intention about the annihilation and demise of a further country on the basis of its religion and ethnicity.

For apart from religion, Iran has absolutely no political or cultural issue with Jerusalem. Nor does the EU. If not for the fact that significant sums of money are involved in the new and burgeoning trade deals with Iran, the EU itself has no compelling reason to resist Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA deal signed in 2015.

Joanna Spear at the George Washington University explains the EU’s reluctance to get behind America and Israel thus: First, Europeans do not feel so threatened by Iran to believe they would use weapons of mass destruction against them. Second, Europeans see Iran as an important trading partner and are especially connected to Iran’s petroleum. Iran’s current demands last week for the terms of the JCPOA re-negotiation point to just that….In this regard, for the EU, cooperation (capitulation?) is always more beneficial than confrontation. Third, European Union security planners view proliferation, as did Obama, through eight long years of disengagement, through the context of regional power balances and therefore do not single out weapons of mass destruction as a point of concern. For Israel, this is a non-starter as the Iranian Islamists have often declared their intention to wipe out the Jewish state. And finally, says Spear, European intelligence agencies are often unable to independently verify intelligence claims by their U.S. and Israeli counterparts because of their inherent weaknesses in this arena and this often breeds a certain amount of scepticism. It is however, a scepticism that has deadly consequences for Israel.

So, Iran understands clearly what it is doing in the Middle East. It also understands clearly what it is doing in Latin America.

Iran’s strategic penetration into Latin America has received much less attention in the world press because of the all the noise it is making in the Middle East. However, from the 1980s, through its proxy Hezballah, Iran has been extremely active in the so-called “Triple Frontier” where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. In no small part, Venezuela’s outsized role in providing a gateway to Iran into the region, complete with arms deals, military transfers, and clandestine intelligence cooperation contributed greatly while Chavez’s friendship with ex prez Ahmadinejad laid the foundation of the many commercial, political, and military ties which still flourish between the two countries. So much so, that in 2018, Venezuela is considered the hub for Iran’s military ambitions in the region in the opinion of Latin American analysts.

But what is the prize for Iran in the Middle East and the United States of America? If nothing else, this resurgent Islamist Iran is a timely reminder that the threat posed by the Islamic Republic is not confined to Israel, or even to the United States. Rather, it is global in nature, and requires a global response.

With regards to America specifically, Iran’s ongoing successes in Venezuela and Bolivia (Bolivia and Colombia now interested in achieving nuclear parity; Iran very interested in “helping” them…) are part of a long-term strategy of the Islamic Republic: the intrusion of the Islamic Republic into the Western Hemisphere. And here, directly threatening America through its proxies and/or IRGC boots-on-the-ground would prove to the world the superiority of Shia Islam and the followers of Ali and that the world’s support for the Caliphs after Mohammad including Abu Bakr in 632 was as wrong then as it is in 2018……. Of all the nations in the west, the jewel in the crown of resurgent Islamism is America and its long-game plan and documented south of the American border moves Iran out of an “axis of annoyance” to a very real threat to the American way of life.

Mogherini and the EU  may say they support peace-through-trade rather than peace-through-strength. In over 2000 years of recorded history this has never worked. While the EU may parrot a liberal international relations strategy of democracy, international organizations, and interdependence, its unwillingness to empathise with Israel’s position vis a vis Iran as a nuclear power, Iran in Syria and Iran in Lebanon will only ensure the proliferation of an unstable Middle East for the next two or three generations.

And frankly, that stinks.

70 Years Of Israeli Independence and the Gaza crapshoot

A strategically important coastal region, throughout history the Gaza Strip fell under
the successive rule of various nations, including but not limited to the Philistines,
Babylonians, Greeks, Israelites, Romans, Mamluks, and Ottomans under whose sway Gaza remained for four centuries until the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following World War I.

Gaza itself was a settlement about three miles from the Mediterranean c oast, marking the southern border of ancient, Biblical, Canaan. Its original inhabitants were a group of people known as the Avvites.

It was the only city in its area to oppose Alexander the Great during 332 BCE. Later on, it was an outpost of the Ptolemies, who were the ruling power in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. The city was subsequently attacked and reconquered by Jonathan the Hasmonean, brother of Judah the Maccabee, during 145 BCE. During the time of Hasmonean rule, Jews enjoyed sovereignty over the area Gaza, and the land, conquered by the men of the tribe of Judah, was included in the allotment given to that tribe (Josh. 15:47). It remained in their possession until the beginning of the 12th century BCE, when it became occupied by the Philistines.

Gaza became part of the Philistine Pentapolis, the southern-most city in a league of
five cities. stretching to Atlit. As part of the Philistine Pentapolis, Gaza played an important role in the story of Samson and his miraculous feats of strength.  Samson perished in the Temple of Dagon while slaughtering his enemies.

However, with the weakening of Egyptian support for the Philistines, the enemy finally submitted to David, who knocked off the giant Goliath in battle.

King Herod the Great held the city for a short time, but after his death, it came under
the authority of the Roman proconsul of Syria. It flourished as a Roman city and
remained a center for the Jewish community and the emerging Christian community
throughout the Roman era  for close to 1500 years (963 BCE through 324 CE), and continued into the Byzantine period, 324 CE through 1453 CE.

According to histrorical records of the time, Gaza, Tiberias and Zoar were the three centers of pilgrimages in Eretz Yisrael during the Byzantine period.

A large Jewish community lived in Gaza when Muslims invaded the region
some NINE HUNDRED YEARS later in the 7th century, and Spanish and Portuguese Jews were known to have fled to Gaza after the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.

Later still, Gaza and other areas of the Levant came under Turkish occupation for the next 400 years until the advent of WWI by which time it was clear that the Ottomans were no longer able to hold onto their vast conquered territories any longer.

In accordance with the Sykes-Picot agreement, which dismembered the Ottoman Empire
at the end of the war into areas to be administered by Britain and France, the Gaza Strip was placed under British rule.

In 1922, Gaza was incorporated into the Mandate for Palestine under Britain’s tutelage by the authority of the League of Nations.

According to the Mandate, Britain recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and acknowledged that it would “secure the establishment of the Jewish national home” there.

By end 1945, with the end of the First Aliyah as well as the end of the Second World War, the UN Charter of the same year which replaced the League of Nations, formulated Article 80.

Known unofficially as the Jewish People’s clause, Article 80 preserved intact all the rights granted to Jews under the Mandate for Palestine, even after the Mandate’s expiry on May 14-15, 1948.

Under this provision of international law Jewish rights to Palestine and the Land of Israel
were not to be altered in any way unless there had been an intervening trusteeship agreement between the states or parties concerned, which would have converted the Mandate into a trusteeshipor trust territory.

The only period of time such an agreement could have been concluded
under Chapter 12 of the UN Charter was during the three-year period from October 24, 1945, the date the Charter entered into force after appropriate ratifications, until May 14-15, 1948, the date the Mandate expired and the State of Israel was proclaimed.

Since no agreement of this type was made during this relevant three-year period, in which Jewish rights to all of Palestine may conceivably have been altered had Palestine been converted into a trust territory, those Jewish rights that had existed under the Mandate remained in full force and effect, to which the UN was still committed by Article 80 to uphold, or was prohibited from altering.

As a direct result of Article 80, the UN could not transfer these rights over any part of Palestine, vested as they were in the Jewish People, to any non-Jewish entity, such as the “Palestinian Authority.”

Among the most important of these Jewish rights are those contained in Article 6 of the Mandate which recognized the right of Jews to immigrate freely to the Land of Israel
and to establish settlements thereon, rights which are fully protected by Article 80 of the UN Charter.

In other words, the Mandate of 1922 included both Gaza AND the West Bank as Jewish territory. That same Mandate ALSO provided for the establishment of a Palestinian State. It’s name is Jordan today.

It is equally important to note that coming out of the San Remo Peace Conference in April 1920, no part of Palestine was allotted for an Arab National Home or state, since Arab self-determination was being generously granted elsewhere – in Syria, Iraq, Arabia, Egypt and North Africa – which led to the establishment of the 21 Arab states of today, over a vast land mass from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1947, with the British Mandate coming to a close, and under tremendous violent pressure from Levantine Arabs,  the United Nations created a  further partition plan in which present-day Israel was separated into two countries—one for Arabs and one for Jews.

The plan designated Gaza as Arab territory upon the creation of such a state. The Jews accepted even this double-cross.

While the Jewish authorities accepted the (changed) UN’s partition plan, the Arab representatives and states rejected it, deciding to fight for the entire landmass of Israel instead.

The day before the Mandate’s end, on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence.

Israel’s neighbors responded by attacking the nascent state and a war ensued. Egyptian forces entered the new state of Israel on May 15 and 16 through the Gaza Strip.

During that defensive War of Independence, when five Arab armies invaded the re-established Jewish homeland with the intent of its annihilation, the invading Egyptian army attacked, conquered and occupied Gaza.

The town, together with the newly created Gaza Strip, was put under Egyptian
administration by the armistice agreement of 1949.

The influx of Arab refugees, who were told by the Arab aggressors that they could soon return after the Jews “were driven into the sea,” later swelled the city’s population at least fourfold.

Bear in mind that most of the Arabs living in what became the modern State of Israel only arrived in the middle to late 1920s to escape economic hardship and sundry political persecutions by their own people.

In 1946, Gaza’s population was estimated at 19,500, all Muslim except for 720 Christians.

The 1967 census showed that 87,793 Arab inhabitants lived in Gaza City proper, while only 30,479 lived in the refugee camp created by the Arabs’ call for the annihilation of the Jewish nation-state.

In 2018, while there are now 2 million Arabs living in Gaza, the number of refugees in the refugee camp created by the Arab’s 1948 call for the annihilation of the Jewish state has risen to 5000,000 souls spread over EIGHT refugee camps (sic).

The reader may form her/his own conclusions.

Also in 2018, Gaza is still home to the still-active Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius established in 5CE (200 years BEFORE the Islamic invasion of the Levant) and known to the Christian world by the journey St. Philip made there after baptising the Ethiopian eunuchs. For their part, while the number of Muslim “refugees has increased by 1,566 PERCENT, the number of Christians in Gaza increased by 544 individuals.

No jews live in Gaza any longer.

But, back to the history: during the war, all of Gaza’s Jews were forced from their homes but much to the world’s surprise and the Arabs’ dismay, Israel came out of the war victorious.

The Gaza Strip’s borderline today is the LEGAL product of the 1949 Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement, which ended hostilities and created an interim border between the two neighbors.

On 6th April 2018, Christopher Caldwell published an article in The Weekly Standard purportedly discussing the legitimacy of Israel’s Gaza border. While he raised the issue, he did not unequivocally say whether the border was legitimate or not but rather that both the “Palestinians” and the Israelis were doing what they thought was right: “The Palestinians are not out protesting because…they’re bad people. They are protesting because the believe the land behind the border they are facing has been stolen. They are making the case the only way they can. The IDF is rebutting it the only way it can.”

From what I have set out above, the reader will see that the thesis of a mythical Arab “Palestine” as far as the Gazans and Hamas are concerned are not now, nor have they ever been, either truthful OR accurate. Then there is the claim of “Palestine” from Arabs in Judea and Samaria which could also bear further scrutiny in a future article.

Suffice it to say that what a gullible west wants to believe about a “Paelstinian” cause is nothing more than the cynical application of The Doctrine of Limited Liability whereby an aggressor may reject a compromise settlement and gamble on war to wineverything in the comfortable knowledge that, even if he fails, he may insist on reinstating the status quo ante.

This is changing.

Today, as Israel celebrates 70 years of independence, I believe that that doctrine is being increasingly challenged by increasing numbers of sovereign states hithertho politically supportive only of the “Palestinian” “cause”.

Yom Ha’atzmaut sameach le koolanu!!

Ruthlessness and Peace in the Middle East

Not a week ago, Saeb Erekat, a career activist for a “Palestinian” cause, told Niki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, to shut up. A few days later, Hamas announced that “…the Palestinians won’t accept the US administration’s yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan.”  Their spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, was quite clear, “The American announcement about a plan that would be presented soon is worthless.” Putative leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, declared that Trump’s peace plan was the “slap of the century.”

Posturing for public consumption and the demonstrated Arab penchant for theatrics aside, the west is not hearing correctly what the Levantine Muslim Arabs are saying: “We know who our enemy is. You don’t.”

For this reason, the west has, for 60 years, tried to placate Arab demands the world over without realising what exactly it is they are actually doing.

Writing for Arutz 7, Prof. Paul Eidelberg  states that Muslim physical and economic terrorism arising from an intractable intransigence and antipathy towards Jews  is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. Not for nothing does Sura 9:111 praise the Muslim who “slays and is slain for Allah.”

This applies to non-Jews as well.

Citing Lee Harris, Eidelberg writes that civilised people today seem to have forgotten that “… there has ever been a category of human experience called “the enemy”…someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason and not ours. He does not hate us for our faults any more than for our virtues.”

In other words, with an increasingly widespread and erroneous Western trend of a refusal to kill or destroy your enemy before he kills or destroys you, Western leaders today refuse to recognise that those who would destroy their way of life as an implacable enemy. Other more recent world leaders like Carter and Obama, and demonstrably misguided leftist-liberal Western democracies like in Sweden have even refused to NAME the enemy in the mistaken hope that by pretending that the enemy is merely misguided or misunderstood, he will cease to be an implacable enemy.

Embedded in these (failed) leftist-liberal utopian ideals which are appropriate for a world in which everyone plays by the same rules, and accepts the same standards, of rational cooperation; they are fatally unrealistic in a world in which the enemy acknowledges no rule accept that of ruthlessness.

Russia has been ruthless with its Muslim insurgents. China too been ruthless with its Chinese Muslim Uyghur insurgency. Japan does allow mosques within its borders and Burma has expelled tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya who were beginning to do what Muslim “minorities” the world over do as they grow in numbers in a host society: demand concessions antithetical to the culture, value and traditions of their hosts (I’m thinking, for example, of French Muslim street prayer and street Dawa here….).

The core issue here is that while the Islamic Muslim enemy acknowledges no rule except that of ruthlessness, Western governments are applying theories of cultural relativism to a 1400 year old mindset of Islam drilled into the Muslim psyche from birth. The problem is that Islam’s world view does not “do” compromise. It never has. You either live in the Domain of Peace (with Islam) or in the Domain of War, Dar al-Harb.

This mindset would explain the antagonistic statements made by sundry “Palestinian” spokesmen documented earlier in this piece: the notions of reciprocity and compromise are foreign to the 1400 year old mindset of Islam in addition to it being anathema in the Quran itself.

Being the word of Islam’s deity as revealed to Mohammad and set in the Quran, Allah is pure will and absolute transcendence with no possibility of human free will or choice. This meshes perfectly with the original ethos of jihad for Allah which is a denial of the sanctity of human life for any and everybody who is not in the Dar al-Islam (Domain of Peace)….

In the light of these basic understandings, it is now much easier to understand where the “Palestinian” leadership stands in a western-style process it does not respect and which western do-gooders comprehensively fail to acknowledge.

Any peace process with Islamists in this final phase of the 70 years Arab-Israeli war (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the PA) must take into account that it is only through ruthlessness, where the victor will be SEEN to have won, will there be a deterrent peace between Israel and a deeply antagonistic Islamic world. Ruthlessness in the napalming of Dresden and the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki determined the outcome of six years of a terrible conflict.

In the recent military escalations by Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria and Iran against Israel, part of the ongoing 70 year Arab Israeli war predicated on a hate “other”, and sanctified by the Islamic concept of Dar al-Harb, it is clear that any intended “peace negotiation” by the Trump administration will encounter incredible opposition as it faces a 1400 year old mindset of doing things differently….

For this reason too, while an autonomous region called Palestine (or anything els) may at some time in the future be formed, a “Palestinian” state can now no longer be created. With the entry of Iran into the immediate Middle East arena, and with the understandings I have enumerated above, it is clear that Israel can longer afford to vacate the Jordan Valley to a lethal cocktail of avowedly genocidal jihadists.

Even without the intended Iranian expansion and land-bridge to the Mediterranean via Lebanon and Syria, the refusal by Yasser Arafat of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of 95% of Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount together with an “initial” return of 100,000 Arab “refugees”, it is has become increasingly clear to all except the increasingly ineffectual vestiges of Israel’s elitist left of centre groups, that Hamas and the PA were never ever really interested in statehood.

For Jews (and Christians, Bahai and Druze) in Israel and the coming conflict, the cost of “ruthlessness” will be excruciatingly painful.

Its alternative simply does not bear thinking about.

Much Ado About Nothing

Much has been written and spoken about US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Even though the international community has, since 1948, held that Jerusalem is too important to be placed in the hands of the Jews it despised, Israel has always made access to all three so-named Abrahamic faiths (Islam isn’t…) available to everyone.  This is in strict adherence to the core principles of the Balfour Declaration which stated that “…nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”

However, the so-called “Trump Declaration”, like the Balfour Declaration before it which was an opinion of the majority of the British cabinet, was less an article of law than a statement of the opinion of a majority of Trump’s administration. However, both friends and enemies of the Jewish state understood, then and now, its significance. (after Abu Yehuda blog).

Learned tomes have been written on why Jerusalem is central to the cultural, spiritual, political and religious aspirations of the world’s only Jewish state. Statistics have been provided that show populations shifts this way and that under the Ottomans and during the time the Ottomans were actually pushed out of Palestine by the British (with Hejazi Arab help in the Arabian peninsular…). UN rulings have chronicled who is and who isn’t a refugee and what, in the international arena, should happen to Jerusalem as a focus for three major religions. The purpose of this piece is to pick apart some of the significant but lesser known developments that took place 100 years ago which show that the “Trump Declaration” was just one of a string of similar such moves, albeit from highly unlikely sources.

With regard to the Ottomans, on August 12, 1918, one year after the Balfour Declaration, Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha in Istanbul ordered the co-triumvir in Palestine to officially declare, in the name of the Ottoman government, abolition of the extremely repressive sanctions placed on Jews through the wars years 19414-1918 aimed at wiping out the Jews in the Levant. Further, the Grand Vizier expressed sympathy “for the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine by well-organized immigration and colonization.”

Specifically, Talaat Pasha stated, “Regarding my invitation to several Jewish organizations, I declare once again, as I already did to the Jewish delegation, my sympathies for the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine by well-organized immigration and settlement, for I am convinced of the importance and benefits of the settlement of Jews in Palestine for the Ottoman Empire.”

It is probable that Talaat knew full well that he would never have to implement the declaration given the outcome of the efforts of the Triple Alliance on the Eastern Front.

Nevertheless, the significance of the Turkish declaration cannot be overstated because, apart from ensuring the safety of Jewish communities in those parts of the empire still in Ottoman hands, it provided Istanbul with a potentially valuable card for the postwar peace talks. And, much like the bi-lateral Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian rapprochement and alignment in 2017, the 1918 Turkish Declaration flagged a significant break with Islamic and Ottoman taboos, by putting the Jews on a par with their Muslim counterparts and viewing them as a nation deserving of self-determination.

For their part, the Germans under Kaiser Wilhelm II were well disposed to Zionism. Wilhelm considered Zionism “a question of huge importance.” He favored its main goal—the revival of the Holy Land by the “capital mighty and industrious Israel”—and tried to impart his enthusiasm to Sultan Abdulhamid II during his visit to Istanbul in 1898 without much luck.

After the outbreak of WWI, the Kaiser had to strike a balance between this general sympathy  for Jews and Zionism and the need to avoid antagonizing the Ottoman leadership or the Triple Alliance,  even though the Ottomans treated its national minorities with outright repression.

Thus, for example, his order to the German consuls throughout the empire to protect the Yishuv, including the new Jewish immigrants arriving from enemy states (notably Russia), was presented as being in Istanbul’s best interest.

In December 1914 when the Jaffa governor ordered the deportation of all Jews who had not become Ottoman subjects, the German Ambassador Hans von Wangenheim approached Talaat Pasha himself with the request that the deportations be halted. The Ottoman leadership complied.

In April 1917 Djemal Pasha, the co-triumvir in the Levant, ordered the expulsion of the 9,000-strong Jewish community of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, as well as that of Jerusalem, for “military reasons,” chief of staff, Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein, persuaded Djemal to abandon the Jerusalem plan, but did not succeed in doing so for the Yafo deportees (after Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2018).

In a great historical irony, ninety-nine years after the Ottoman Empire, the then-temporal and religious leader of the world’s Muslim community and Palestine’s longtime imperial master, voiced support for “the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine,” the Palestinian leadership  [in Ramallah. Parenthesis mine…] demanded an official apology from Britain for endorsing the same idea at about the same time.” (Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2018).

In 2017, the “Trump Declaration” is additionally criticised as being dismissive of “Palestinian” Arab refugee rights of return to Jerusalem (as well as the area between the river and the sea…). In line with international law though, the UN stated clearly that it viewed these refugees “…Persons whose normal place of residence was (British Mandate of) Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

Throughout the history of the world populations have transferred during times of war. In no other corner of the world, and in no other recorded conflict in history, have people been granted refugee status in perpetuity. Created in December 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after the stunning defeat of 5 Arab armies in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, UNRWA has no parallel in any other conflict zone in the world. Not in Burma, not in Tibet, not in Cyprus, not in the Maghreb, not in the Ukraine, not in South Sudan, not in the Central African Republic to name but seven hotspots. And not even in Syria………

The implication is clear.

The “Trump Declaration” is political hay-making by an intransigent Arab voting bloc unable to defeat Israel in war, and a self-interested but miffed EU volubly supported by America’s Liberal Democrats who still cannot get over the win of a real estate tycoon over a well established political dynasty.

As I said, precedent has been established. The current howlings and swirling around are, indeed, much ado about nothing. Of substance.