zaterdag 29 november 2008

Zionisme en het Arabische Vredesinitiatief

Israel krijgt geregeld het verwijt dat het geen vrede wil, waarbij vaak naar het Arabische vredesinitiatief wordt verwezen dat Israel zou hebben afgewezen. Dat is niet helemaal waar, Israel heeft dit een goede basis voor verdere onderhandelingen genoemd ondanks haar twijfels over onderdelen ervan. Deze problemen wijzen niet zozeer op een Israelische weigering tot vrede, maar bewuste ambivalentie in het plan. Daardoor is het een handig propaganda instrument, aldus Ami Isseroff:
It is also useful as a weapon in the "peace wars." In this conflict, whoever can show that they are in favor of peace, wins an advantage, even if their proposals are hollow. The principle involved is to make a plan that looks quite a lot like a peace plan, but is certainly going to be rejected by the other side, so that the other side will be embarrassed and shown up as an "obstacle to peace."
Dat is precies wat er de afgelopen tijd is gebeurd. Toch moet het plan niet als zijnde een propagandastunt worden afgewezen: 
Those tempted to "just say no" should think again. There might be an opportunity to change hearts and minds here - a long shot. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's peace initiative was incredible as well, but it turned out to be fairly real, though defective in implementation. Even on the supposition that the Arab peace initiative is a total fraud, it has achieved such prominence that it cannot be ignored. Peace with our Arab neighbors has always been a number one goal of Zionism and the hope for peace must not be abandoned. Without peace, there is no long term future for Israel in the Middle East. Perhaps Israel should accept the spirit of the initiative and ask for clarifications.

The Arab Peace Initiative is being touted as a wonder working panacea for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. It is at the center of a campaign by the Palestinian Authority and by various US peace activists and Palestinian sympathizers.

The good news about this plan is that for the first time in history, the states of the Arab League indicated a willingness to have "normal" relations with Israel. This was a tremendous psychological breakthrough, especially considering that the plan originated with the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Consider these remarks by King ibn Saud in 1937:

'Our hatred for the Jews dates from God's condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa (Jesus Christ), and their subsequent rejection later of His chosen Prophet. It is beyond our understanding how your Government, representing the first Christian power in the world today, can wish to assist and reward these very same Jews who maltreated your Isa (Jesus).

''We Arabs have been the traditional friends of Great Britain for many years, and I, Bin Sa'ud, in particular have been your Government's firm friend all my life, what madness then is this which is leading on our Government to destroy this friendship of centuries, all for the sake of an accursed and stiffnecked race which has always bitten the hand of everyone who has helped it since the world began.

Some Israeli officials have expressed cautious support for the plan recently, but in the past, attempts to make concrete progress with this plan have ended in nothing, indicating the major weaknesses of the plan. Israeli officials who wanted to discuss the plan were told by Arab representatives that there is nothing to discuss. Israel must accept the plan first, even without understanding it, and then there could be talks: Unconditional surrender. Moreover, there is no guarantee that even after Israel completes all that is required of the plan, it will be granted recognition by any Arab state. This was made abundantly clear at a press conference by Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia with Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League. According to the statement, as released by the Saudi Press Agency:



In those circumstances, Israel would have to "leave it." In return for peace, the plan states for example for the following:

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

Resolution 194 states that all refugees willing to live in peace with their neighbors should be able to return. There is no evidence that the Arab Palestinian refugees in Lebanon or those in the Gaza strip are willing to leave in peace with anybody, leave alone Jews. According to the Arab interpretation of the resolution however, the resolution confers on every Arab Palestinian refugee, their descendants, their foreign spouses and anyone who claims to have been a refugee or descendant thereof, the right to "return" to "Palestine" even if they never lived in Palestine. The Palestinian Arab refugees are the only class of refugees in the world to which the UN grants refugee status to children of refugees, or to refugees who were enemy belligerents and their descendants who remain so.

Return of refugees would destroy Israel as a Jewish state, since there are potentially an unlimited number of claimants to refugee status, and since in the best case, it would introduced a highly belligerent population into the state, bent on its destruction.

No place in the Arab Peace Plan does it state that the Arabs countries would undertake to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or to recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, or even to admit that there is such a thing as a Jewish people.

( Continued on our website here. )

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

Geweld van extremistische kolonisten op de Westoever

Hoewel onderstaand artikel terecht opmerkt dat maar een heel klein deel van de kolonistenbeweging gewelddadig is, en Palestijns terrorisme veel meer doden heeft gekost en ook meer steun geniet binnen de Palestijnse gemeenschap, moeten we het kolonistengeweld zeker niet bagatelliseren. Zoals Ami Isseroff terecht opmerkt is Rabin vermoord door een rechts-extremist en is een andere aanslag op het laatst verijdeld. Dan hebben we het nog niet over de slachting die Baruch Goldstein in Hebron in een moskee aanrichtte. Vergeleken bij de honderden Palestijnse aanslagen is het niet veel, maar doden zijn er wel degelijk gevallen.

Settler violence

The article states:

In relative terms, the violence perpetrated by radical elements among the Jewish settler movement pales in comparison to the well-orchestrated, highly public, popularly supported lethal attacks of radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This fringe group of Jewish extremists has so far not carried out a fatal terrorist attack, while Islamist groups have killed hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians.
I am not sure it is so. Settlers killed a Prime Minister. That is pretty serious even compared to some of the things that the Palestinians do. Settlers carried out several fatal attacks and were convicted for doing them as I remember. They also tried to bomb a Palestinian girls' school. They got caught that time, but give them an "E" for effort. Moreover, each time they beat a Palestinian or level an olive grove or stone Palestinian kids on the way to school, they are doing far more damage to the state of Israel than a suicide bomber, for they are ruining our good name and turning us into a chaotic state of hoodlums.
Nor is it any use explaining that these people are "just a fringe." After all, that is the same excuse used by every violent movement, including the Palestinians. "We don't believe that. We don't support violence. They are just a fringe - outside agitators. Of course, we can understand their point of view." The same excuses were used for Ku Klux Klan violence in the United States. The fact is, no Kach people, State of Judea, Hamas, KKK or any other extremists could exist for long if others in their society did not support them and give them shelter and funds.
These people are an embarrassment to Zionism and a blot on the image and good name of the Jewish people. They are not serving any positive purpose and what they do is inexcusable. Anyone who cooperates with such people, gives them shelter or fails to report them is a traitor to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
Ami Isseroff  

Violence by Extremists in the Jewish Settler Movement: A Rising Challenge

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
November 24, 2008

Thirteen years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli security officials are expressing heightened concern that a new wave of violent extremism among fringe elements in the Jewish settler movement threatens not only Palestinian civilians, but also Israeli national security and the future of any potential peace diplomacy.

Recent Trends in Violence by a Settler Fringe

The vast majority of the approximately 300,000 Israelis living in West Bank settlements are law-abiding citizens. An extremist fringe element within the settler movement, however, has been responsible for a substantial increase in violent incidents. According to a November 2008 report by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, security officials recorded 675 cases of violent activity perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and Israeli security forces from January to November 2008. These incidents include assault, causing damage to property, trespassing, violating orders, using a weapon, and "causing death."

Prosecutors opened 515 of these criminal cases so far this year, an increase of 11 percent from 2007. Of these, 13 involved what the newspaper termed "left wing anarchists," while 502 involved "right wing radicals." The majority of alleged perpetrators were adults with no prior criminal record and were not, as widely assumed, teenagers. Of these, 197 people were jailed and 105 indictments filed, compared to 61 in 2007. Israeli officials are disturbed by the focus on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel involved in dismantling settlement outposts; at times, they are being attacked or held at knifepoint.

This violence appears to be part of a deliberate campaign by a committed core of fringe settlers to prevent the dismantlement of settlements and outposts. They are using a strategy called the "price tag," which is a retaliation for government efforts challenging the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. Largely perpetrated by members of the "hilltop youth" -- a loosely organized group of belligerent young settlers -- this tactic attempts to pin down troops in various locations by blocking traffic, setting fields on fire, throwing rocks, and other acts of small-scale violence against local Palestinians and members of the Israeli security forces.

The price-tag strategy concerns Israeli authorities, since it encourages the radical fringe to take the law into its own hands, as demonstrated by the reprisal on the Palestinian village of Asira al-Qibliya on September 13. Riled by the stabbing of a young boy during a botched robbery in their settlement, about 150 Jewish settlers from Yitzhar stormed the village, damaged and set fire to property, and shot Palestinian residents. The raid's violence and lawlessness shocked Israeli leaders; Prime Minister Ehud Olmert condemned the attack as a "pogrom." More ominously, Israeli Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin has warned the cabinet that the radical fringe perceives the price-tag policy as successful and that the group is threatening to expand the use of violence outside the West Bank.

Pipe Bomb Attack

The September 25 pipe bomb attack on Israeli professor and prominent peace activist Zeev Sternhell outside his Jerusalem home suggests that some extremists may already be engaging in price-tag attacks in Israel proper. Although Rabin's assassin was a lone gunman acting on the extremist ideology of unorganized fellow travelers, the Sternhell attack appears to have been the result of an organized group of right-wing extremists seeking to incite like-minded individuals to action.

According to Israeli public security minister Avi Dichter, the bombing was believed to be an ideologically motivated terrorist act perpetrated by radical Jewish extremists intent on killing Sternhell. In Sternhell's neighborhood, investigators found pamphlets, signed the "Army of Liberators," offering 1.1 million shekels (roughly $320,000) to anyone who kills a member of Peace Now, a left-wing Israeli group. The pamphlet stated, "The State of Israel, our 2000-year-old dream, has become a nightmare. This country is ruled by a mob of wicked people, haters of the Torah who want to erase the laws of God. . . The state of Israel has become our enemy. . . The time has come to set up a state of Jewish law in Judea and Samaria. The time has come for the Kingdom of Judea."

The pamphlet echoes long-stated fringe propaganda, but Israeli security officials fear it represents an extremist threat that has evolved since the days of the Temple Mount Underground (a Jewish terrorist group that plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock mosque in the early 1980s). Although the perpetrators of this attack have not been identified, security forces state that a new, organized Jewish underground may be responsible for the bombing and could be planning additional strikes.

A Rising Threat

The threat of violent extremism among the fringes of the settler movement tends to be cyclical, based closely on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and unilateral Israeli government efforts to dismantle settlements and outposts. For example, the Yediot Aharonot article noted that the ISA recorded 300 strands of intelligence relating to extremist threats on people or public institutions during the July 2000 peace talks at Camp David, when Jerusalem was a centerpiece of negotiations. The number of such threats fell to 100 in the year after the Camp David talks, but in 2005, with the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza looming, the number rose again to 150. Authorities have not indicated how many possible threats they face today, but Diskin has assessed that the fringe elements are "preparing for war."

While violent extremism among the fringe of the settler movement is not a new phenomenon (see PolicyWatch # 470), Israeli authorities state that the most recent threat represents a new dynamic. According to Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, head of the IDF Central Command, the number of settlers willing to use violence against the state has grown exponentially, from a handful to hundreds. According to General Shamni, "In the past, only a few dozen individuals were implicated in [attacks against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers]. Today, we are talking about several hundred people -- a very significant change." General Shamni warns that "an extreme incident could happen at any time. These people are conspiring against the Palestinians and against the [Israeli] security forces."

Following the experience of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip -- Hamas's subsequent electoral victory, its military takeover of Gaza, and its use of northern Gaza as a launchpad for mortar and rocket attacks against southern Israel -- Israeli officials fear that the lesson learned by these fringe extremists in the settler movement is that withdrawal from any West Bank hilltop or community must bear a significant cost, or price tag, for Israeli security forces, decisionmakers, and those, like Sternhell, who support such policies. Shamni, for example, cited recent cases in which the radicals sicced a dog on an Israeli reserve commander, broke a deputy battalion commander's arm, and slashed the tires of reservist vehicles.

The outgoing Israeli government has recently spoken out against the rising violence, with Olmert stating, "An evil wind of extremism, of hate, of maliciousness, of violence, of losing control, of lawbreaking, of contempt for the institutions of state, is passing through certain sections of the Israeli public." Although the extent to which this violence represents the beginning of a new Jewish extremist underground is uncertain, the Shin Bet found "a very high willingness [among radicals]. . . to use violence -- not just stones, but live weapons -- in order to prevent or halt a diplomatic process."


In relative terms, the violence perpetrated by radical elements among the Jewish settler movement pales in comparison to the well-orchestrated, highly public, popularly supported lethal attacks of radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This fringe group of Jewish extremists has so far not carried out a fatal terrorist attack, while Islamist groups have killed hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians. Perhaps most importantly, the leaders of Israel's government and society repudiate these Jewish extremists, whereas Islamist groups are celebrated in popular media, supported by official institutions, and funded by governments throughout the Middle East.

This sense of proportionality, however, does not obscure the fact that Israeli security officials are increasingly concerned about the trajectory of recent events. This concern points to the substantial increase in the organization of the extremist elements within the settler movement and their willingness to use force to advance their goals. With the likelihood of Israeli-Palestinian reengagement in early 2009, Israeli security officials will surely devote additional attention and much-needed manpower to this potential threat.


vrijdag 28 november 2008

Verenigde Naties bagatelliseert bewapening Hezbollah

Resolutie 1701 werkt niet omdat Hezbollah deel van de Libanese regering is geworden, die de ontwapening van Hezbollah en andere milities zou moeten regelen, en Hezbollah daarin zelfs de facto vetorecht heeft. De VN heeft het Doha akkoord, dat deze politieke veranderingen (eenheidsregering, nieuwe president) regelde, goedgekeurd. Natuurlijk wordt er op deze manier geen vooruitgang geboekt tussen Israel en Libanon, gaat de wapensmokkel door en is de kans reëel dat het vroeg of laat tot een nieuwe confrontatie komt.

Israel: UN downplaying Hizbullah buildup
The UN has an interest in downplaying Hizbullah's rearmament and activities in southern Lebanon because it wants "industrial quiet" in Lebanon, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Wednesday.

"The UN is denying any Hizbullah activity south of the Litani, even though Hizbullah admits to it," the official said.

The official's comment came on the day that the UN Security Council was expected to discuss Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's periodic report on the implementation of Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.

The resolution calls for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, bans weapons transfers to any group except the Lebanese armed forces, and urges the Lebanese government to secure its borders to prevent arms smuggling.

It also calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution based on full respect for the UN-drawn Blue Line along their border and security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities.

In his report, Ban said the Israeli government continued to report "that it has detailed information regarding significant breaches of the arms embargo across the Lebanese-Syrian border."

However, he said that while the United Nations "takes these claims seriously, it is not in a position to verify this information independently."

Still, Ban said he remained concerned about "the porous nature" of Lebanon's border with Syria, noting that a team of independent border security experts sent to assess the situation in late August found the border as penetrable as it had been the previous year.

"I reiterate the need for the immediate and unconditional respect of the arms embargo on Lebanon," the secretary-general said. "It must be observed fully and without exception. Regional parties, particularly those that maintain ties with Hizbullah and other groups in Lebanon, are obliged to abide fully by the arms embargo."

Ban again called on Israel to immediately halt all overflights of Lebanon and reiterated "with the utmost urgency" his call to Israel to provide data on cluster bombs fired during the 2006 war.

The secretary-general urged Israel and Lebanon to "seize the moment" of relative calm and move closer to a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution to the issues that sparked the war.

Ban said the election of Michel Suleiman as president of Lebanon, the formation of a national unity government and the launching of a national dialogue "have led to a greater degree of stability in the country."

"The general improvement of the situation in Lebanon, together with the continued stability in the area of operations and encouraging prospects in the region create a potential momentum that both Lebanon and Israel must seize to make bold strides toward a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution," he said.

The secretary-general said he was "disturbed by the repeated exchange of threats between Israel and Hizbullah, in particular when apparently directed against civilians." He reiterated his call on both sides "to refrain from statements and actions that could serve to increase tension."

He also welcomed the decision by Syria and Lebanon to establish diplomatic relations, a decision that "heralds potential future progress on a number of issues of common interest."

He added that he was pleased that the issue of abducted IDF soldiers and Lebanese prisoners in Israel had been fully resolved.

"In the coming months, Israel and Lebanon have an opportunity to move away from confrontation by making further progress in the implementation of Resolution 1701," Ban said. "I call upon their leaders to seize the moment that is afforded to them, for the good of their peoples and for the stability of the region."

IDF beschermt op de Westoever Israels smalle taille

Checkpoints zijn niet gemaakt om Palestijnen te pesten en Israelische soldaten hebben niet als hobby Palestijnen in elkaar te slaan. Onderstaande reportage laat een ander beeld zien van het leger.

Guarding Israel's narrow waist
From a hilltop on the outskirts of Kalkilya, the soldiers of the 55th Artillery Battalion can see the lights of Tel Aviv shimmer in the distance. It is a constant reminder to them of the importance of their mission.

Just 12 kilometers separate Kalkilya from the Mediterranean Sea. In between lie the cities of Kfar Saba, Ra'anana and Herzliya. Netanya and Hadera aren't far off. This is Israel's narrow waist, hemmed in by the sea and the West Bank.

It was once afflicted by continuous terrorist infiltrations but has enjoyed years of relative calm. The quiet is deceptive, though, and the threat of terrorism has not dissipated. In the Palestinian border areas adjacent to the Sharon district, right under the nose of the IDF, Hamas seeks to establish a foothold, and with it the potential for renewed attacks.

Crossing into the West Bank from central Israel involves a dramatic change in scenery as one leaves the Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6) and climbs to the Tzofim checkpoint in the rugged, rustic hills of the West Bank, east of Kfar Saba.

With another day of work in Israel behind them, Palestinian farmers on donkey-drawn carts join a stream of vehicles from the Palestinian Authority at the Eliyahu vehicle crossing, where they must cross back into the West Bank. A number of smaller checkpoints for pedestrians dot the security fence around the crossing.

The military says the security fence has greatly helped in stopping terrorist raids from the West Bank. If touched, electronic sensors on the fence will sound an alert, and army vehicles will arrive in minutes.

Footprints in the sand deliberately placed alongside the fence help lead trackers in the infiltrators' direction. A month ago, soldiers spent the entire night looking for two infiltrators who had wised up and covered their tracks after crossing into Israel.

"They usually infiltrate for work purposes, but the fact is we never know why they've crossed until we capture them," a military source told The Jerusalem Post during a tour of the area.

"We have a double challenge here: to secure Israeli residents while ensuring swift passage for Palestinian workers without impinging on their dignity," he added, as he stopped his jeep to let a group of young Palestinian men cross the street. One of the men waved his thanks.

Still, local youths often "test" the troops, the source said, citing attempts to cross illegally, as well as rock throwing incidents. To counter this, the army conducts a dialogue with Palestinian community elders, asking their help in keeping the youths under control.

As we drove deeper into the Palestinian territories, a large roadside poster advertised the newly-launched Al-Quds satellite television channel, Hamas's second TV station.

"Hamas operates here," the source acknowledged. "Three days ago, an Israeli man came here to purchase something in a Palestinian store and was shot in the chest and leg," he added, without directly tying the shooting to a specific terror organization. The man is recovering from his wounds at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.

Soldiers from the 55th Battalion, which has been in charge of the area for five months, helped capture the gunman.

"We close off the house, surrounding it quietly," the source said of the method. "The family is woken up and asked to bring the suspect to the door. Suspects usually comply; they know they're surrounded and they prefer to get out alive."

The army aims to make the movement of ordinary Palestinian workers as smooth and swift as possible, according to the source. No more than a few minutes' delay at the checkpoint is the goal.

"We want to achieve a minimal level of friction between Palestinians and soldiers," he said.

To achieve this, the crossing points have been equipped with a computer system that automatically grants or denies entry to Palestinians based on their ID numbers.

"The soldiers know they don't have to make a decision on entry," the source explained. "It's not up to them."

Instead of being frisked, Palestinian pedestrians walk through a weapon detector similar to that at an airport. Next, their ID cards are dropped through a slot and picked up on the other side of a glass divider by a soldier, who runs the ID numbers through a computer hooked up to the IDF's network.

Unless the computer shows that he is barred from crossing into Israel, the pedestrian should be on the other side within about two minutes.

At the larger Eliyahu crossing, vehicles are stopped and searched by Military Police officers, who are guarded by the men from the 55th Battalion. The army does not want drivers to have to wait more than five minutes, the source said.

"Look over there," he said, pointing to Palestinians walking into the West Bank and passing by Israeli hitchhikers. The hitchhikers were heading back to their homes in the settlements of Karnei Shomron and Sha'arei Shomron.

"If the settlements weren't there, this border would be like any international border, like with Egypt or Jordan," the source said. "[But] we must protect the settlements [too]."

The Sharon District has been spared the rockets that have terrorized Sderot and Ashkelon, he said, because, unlike in Gaza, the IDF was on the ground in the West Bank, constantly keeping watch and moving in when necessary.

In between their duties of securing the Sharon district, the men of the 55th Battalion must also find time to train for their wartime role, which is manning canons and artillery guns. The battalion, which took part in the Second Lebanon War, regularly trains to "keep their skills honed," the source explained. "We have to be ready for every eventuality."

donderdag 27 november 2008

IDF weerspreekt rapport mensenrechtengroep

Er zijn helaas verhalen bekend waarbij soldaten die zich misdragen hebben vrijuit gaan, doordat ze door hun maten en zelfs hun commandant worden gedekt. Zulke misstanden komen in elk leger voor, en een langdurige bezetting van een ander volk is desastreus voor de moraal en discipline. Hoe sneller aan de bezetting een einde komt, hoe beter, en tot dan dient de legerleiding hard en doortastend op te treden tegen misstanden.
The Jerusalem Post
Nov 26, 2008 8:12 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 17:55
IDF dismisses human rights group report

The IDF on Wednesday dismissed a report by the human rights group Yesh Din, which claimed that the army, by and large, fails to prosecute soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against Palestinian civilians.

"In 2008 alone," the IDF said in a statement, "170 Military Police investigations were initiated... and since October of 2007, 30 indictments were filed against 39 defendants."

The decision to launch an investigation, the statement said "is based upon the circumstances of the incident and the existing evidence. Every case is examined in itself without taking into consideration statistical scales and quotas. One must not infer from a statistical analysis... and draw conclusions regarding the IDF's treatment of unacceptable behavior on the part of soldiers."

The statement said that it was "difficult" to conduct investigations in the Palestinian areas due to the fact that many Palestinians choose not to file a complaint or, if they ultimately do press charges, often retract their complaints. Often, the army said, the complaints turn out to have been false.

The army also slammed Yesh Din for publishing its report without first allowing the army sufficient time to respond to the allegations. "The IDF spokesman laments the fact that Yesh Din does not uphold the basic ethical and professional rule, according to which a criticized institution is given ample time to examine the allegations raised in a report."

Released earlier Wednesday, the Yesh Din report revealed that only four soldiers were convicted in cases dealing with the death of Palestinian civilians throughout the second Intifada.

Called "Exceptions", the report is the first time that rulings in 78 different criminal cases in which indictments were filed against soldiers were released to the public.

In the report, Yesh Din argued that the "exceptions" were actually those cases in which soldiers and officers who allegedly commit crimes against Palestinian civilians were investigated and prosecuted. Even more exceptional, the group claimed, were the cases in which heavy sentences were imposed on the perpetrators for their crimes.

Yesh Din's report displays for the first time the results of the legal proceedings in each of the 78 incidents following which soldiers stood trial for committing criminal offenses against Palestinians or their property from the beginning of the Second Intifada until the end of 2007.

The report, which is approximately one hundred pages long, is based on empirical data, indictments and rulings given to Yesh Din by IDF. From 1,246 investigation files opened by the MPCID (Military Police Criminal Investigations Department) from the start of the Second Intifada in 2000 until the end of 2007, only 78 (6%) led to indictments against one or more soldiers.

According to the report, sentences that were given to convicted soldiers were far from the maximum sentence permitted by law. In the report, Yesh Din showed that soldiers convicted of looting - whose maximum sentence is ten years imprisonment - were sentenced to between 40 days and six months. Four soldiers that were convicted of abuse under aggravated circumstances - a crime whose maximum sentence is seven years - were never sentenced to more than six months.

"A soldier who chooses to beat a prisoner or shoot an unarmed civilian without cause knows that the chance that he will stand trial or undergo investigation is minimal," said Lior Yavne, Research Director for Yesh Din and report author. "The report illustrates how the IDF abandons the population in the Occupied Territories to the whims of its soldiers."

In its response, however, the army cited data released in the Yesh Din report, which stated that only four soldiers of 132 indicted had been acquitted, while legal proceedings against 10 were still underway. This, the army said, "testifies to the efficiency and professionalism of the system."

Hooggerechtshof ontevreden over uitblijven ontruiming Migron

Deze zaak is een goed voorbeeld van hoe radikale kolonisten de boel vaak steeds weer weten te rekken en te traineren, en hoe slap de Israelische regering daarop reageert. De bewoners van Migron hadden daar nooit mogen gaan wonen en de staat had ze al lang moeten verwijderen, maar stelde dat steeds weer uit.

The Jerusalem Post
Nov 26, 2008 12:38 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 18:14
Court queries state's Migron position

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday asked the government to explain within 45 days why it shouldn't use all means necessary to remove the unauthorized Migron outpost in the West Bank.

The court was responding to an appeal by Peace Now and the Palestinian land owners, who asked for an immediate eviction of the Migron settlers. An attorney for the land owners said the temporary ruling paved the way for an eviction order.

On Monday, the state informed the High Court that it planned to move the 46 families living in Migron to the nearby settlement of Adam in an area designated for residential housing. But it also made clear that it would take years before the occupants of the outpost, located a short distance north of Jerusalem, actually move.

"It must be stressed," the state's representative, attorney Aner Hellman, wrote in a brief to the court, "that we are not talking about moving Migron in the near future, considering that we must first implement planning procedures and then carry out the actual building at the new site."

In its brief, the state included a letter from Danny Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, agreeing to the government's proposal. Hellman wrote that the state had offered the council three options, but the council preferred to leave the decision to the state.

In a letter dated November 10, Dayan wrote that the council accepted the Adam site and "would act, to the extent that it depends on us, to advance the plan in order to implement it without delay."

For more than two years, settlement representatives and the state have been negotiating a deal that would prevent forced evacuations among the 101 unauthorized outposts in the West Bank. Migron, which is one of the largest of these outposts, is often seen as an acid test for such a deal, in which some of the outposts would be legalized and others moved to a nearby location.

Peace Now has in the past attacked the deal, which it said rewards settlers for breaking the law and contradicts international pledges that Israel has made to take down the outposts.

Migron was established in 2001, when settlers asked for permission to build a cellular antenna on a hill overlooking Highway 60, near the settlement of Kochav Ya'acov. The following year, settlers began moving mobile homes to the site without permission. By 2006, some 46 families were living there.

The state agreed with the petitioners that the outpost was illegal and must be removed. However, it repeatedly sought to postpone a hearing, either on the grounds that a new defense minister (first Amir Peretz, then Ehud Barak) had taken office and had to become acquainted with the issue, or because the state wished to reach an agreement with the settlers regarding the evacuation.

In January 2008, the state informed the court it would evacuate Migron in August if it could reach an agreement with the settlers by that time. In August, it informed the court that the settlers had agreed to move to one of three sites. It then asked for three more months to complete negotiations with settlement leaders.

IDF overtrad richtlijn Hooggerechtshof voor uitschakelen terroristen

Haaretz stelt dat het leger een uitspraak van het hooggerechtshof heeft geschonden, maar zo eenduidig is dat niet, zoals verderop in het artikel blijkt. Arresteren brengt meer risico met zich mee voor de betrokken soldaten, en wanneer is een liquidatie 'buitenproportioneel'? Moet het zeker zijn dat er niemand anders bij omkomt? Hoeveel aanslagen moet de terrorist op zijn geweten hebben, hoe belangrijk zijn rol in de betreffende organisatie, hoe zeker dat hij een aanslag aan het voorbereiden is? Bovendien blijkt dat in onderstaand geval meerdere IDF leidinggevenden betrokken waren bij de beslissing om een terrorist te doden, en dat meerdere bijeenkomsten werden gehouden voordat een besluit werd genomen.
Eén argument tegen arresteren in plaats van doden wordt hier niet genoemd, en dat is dat bij arrestatie er een reële kans is dat de terrorist na een paar jaar weer vrij komt in een gevangenendeal. Bovendien kunnen ze vanuit de gevangenis soms nog veel invloed uitoefenen op hun organisatie en zelfs helpen met de planning van nieuwe aanslagen.

Last update - 10:18 26/11/2008       
Documents show IDF killed wanted men against court guidelines
By Uri Blau, Haaretz Correspondent
The Israel Defense Forces has assassinated wanted men in apparent defiance of High Court of Justice guidelines for such operations, according to operational briefings obtained by Haaretz.
The documents reveal that the IDF approved assassinations in the West Bank even when it could have been possible to arrest the targets instead, and that top-ranking army officers authorized the killings in advance, in writing, even if innocent bystanders would be killed as well.
Moreover, the assassination of at least one member of a so-called "ticking infrastructure" was postponed due to an impending visit by a senior U.S. official.
Finally, Haaretz discovered that contrary to what the state told the High Court, assassinations were subject to only minimal restrictions prior to the court's ruling.
One case analyzed in Haaretz's investigation, whose findings will be published in full in Friday's magazine, is that of Ziad Malaisha, who was killed on June 20, 2007 in Kafr Dan, near Jenin.
On March 28, 2007, a meeting was called by then-GOC Central Command Yair Naveh to discuss Operation Two Towers. "The mission" said Naveh, "is arrest," but "in case identification is made of one of the leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad - Walid Obeidi, Ziad Malaisha, Adham Yunis the force has permission to kill them, according to the situation assessment while carrying out the mission."
On April 12, Naveh convened another meeting on the subject. This time, he approved killing Malaisha and "another two people at most."
That same day, two other discussions took place on the subject. One was led by Brig. Gen. Sami Turjeman, then head of the Operations Unit, who said that the operation must kill no more than five people in total, including the car's driver. The second was led by then-head of the Operations Directorate, Tal Russo, who approved carrying out the assassination even if there was one unidentified person in the car.
The next day, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi convened a few top officers to approve the mission. These included his deputy, the head of the Operations Directorate, the military advocate general and representatives of Central Command and the Shin Bet security service. Minutes of that meeting show that Ashkenazi forbade the assassination if "more than one unidentified passenger" was in the car. Moreover, he said, "in light of the diplomatic meetings anticipated during the course of the week, the date of implementation should be reconsidered."
Leading jurists who were asked for comment said these documents show that the IDF is violating the High Court's ruling of December 2006, which held that assassinations are permissible only if the target cannot be arrested instead, and that "harm to innocent civilians will be legal only if it meets the demands of proportionality."
In a conversation with Haaretz, Naveh confirmed that sometimes no real effort is made to arrest a target. "If the guy doesn't put his hands up we don't ask questions, we immediately establish contact," he said. "I don't want to have people hurt for no reason. If I know that the guy is armed and is a ticking bomb, then I want him to be hit immediately without fooling around."
The IDF Spokesman's Office said in response that Malaisha, a senior Islamic Jihad operative who was planning terror attacks, was an approved target for assassination, but that during the operational planning, "all the ranks involved decided that if there was an opportunity to arrest the subjects, that alternative is preferable."
However, because the planning also revealed that arrest might be impossible without excess risk to the soldiers involved, "the option of striking the wanted men with the intent to kill was also planned. This part of the operation was planned as a 'targeted preemption' in every respect, in accordance with the restrictions and the conditions laid down by the Supreme Court. The planning was accompanied by legal advice, as in the case of other 'targeted preemption' operations."
"The option of arresting the targets was examined, and only when it became apparent that this was impracticable was the decision made to strike them," the statement continued.
Finally, it said, the timing of all security operations depends on diplomatic as well as security considerations, and sometimes these factors necessitate delay. However, "this does not detract from the operation's urgency or necessity."

Het recht op terugkeer van Syrische vluchtelingen

Syrische dissidenten roepen op tot 'recht op terugkeer'.


RPS Statement on the Palestinian Right of Return Conference Held in Damascus
Reform Party of Syria - 24 November 2008
For Immediate Release
Washington DC - Nov. 24, 2008 -- The Government of Syria is sponsoring a large conference in Damascus in which two thousand participants from around the Middle East will call for the undeniable right of the Palestinians to return to Gaza and the West Bank.
There are up to 16 million Syrians who live outside Syria and the great majority cannot return because of political and economic oppression. There are less than 1 million Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon seeking to return to Gaza and the West Bank.
RPS supports the Right of Return of all Arab refugees, including the millions living in foreign countries unable to return because of oppressive rulers.
Moreover, RPS condemns the Palestinian voices expressing outrage at the notion they cannot return to their homeland from a pulpit in Damascus where millions of Syrians in exile have no right to return to their homeland partially because of Palestinian support for our oppressors. If Meshaal wants to return as an elected official, so does Homsy as a Member of the Syrian Parliament. If Meshaal wants Syrian support for his Right of Return to a free homeland, Meshaal better support the Syrian cause for our Right of Return to a free homeland.

RPS encourages the US and the European community to define the Right of Return as a universal right for all the people of the Middle East by seeking a UN Resolution in which Palestinians can return if Arabs and Iranians, who have left their country because of lack of opportunities and oppression, can also return safely to similar conditions the Palestinians will find: Free elections.

RPS also encourages the new US Congress to tie the Right of Return of Palestinians to the Right of Return of all Arabs, living in the US, to their homeland under the very same conditions Palestinians who wish to return will find in terms of free elections and freedom of expression.

RPS calls on all Arab and Iranian dissidents to rally behind our Right of Return to our own homeland occupied by violent dictators. We also call on all Palestinians to halt their double-standards and to advance the notion of the Right of Return for ALL the Arabs and not the Palestinians ONLY.


Hoofd Yeshiva op Westoever gearresteerd wegens opruiing

Een goed begin. Hopelijk maakt men eindelijk een einde aan de wetteloosheid in Hebron en andere nederzettingen. Waarom geen arrestaties zijn verricht bij het laatste incident, dinsdagnacht, is niet duidelijk. Ook is het de vraag hoe serieus we de waarschuwing van Barak aan het adres van de kolonisten in het gebouw genoemd 'Beit Hashalom' (huis van de vrede) moeten nemen, die daar volgens een uitspraak van het hooggerechtshof vorige week, illegaal zitten.
The Jerusalem Post
Nov 26, 2008 12:31 | Updated Nov 26, 2008 18:35
Yeshiva head arrested for 'incitement'

Rabbi Yigal Shandrapi, the head of Yeshuat Mordechai Yeshiva, is expected to be brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday for a remand hearing, after police from the Judea and Samaria Division arrested him on Tuesday on suspicion of inciting Jewish youth to riot.

According to the allegations, Shandrapi incited the teenagers two separate cases, the most recent of which occurred two months ago at the Yad Yair outpost, in the West Bank. During that incident, soldiers described being attacked and said that their vehicles were damaged.

Meanwhile, nearly 40 Jewish youth reportedly rampaged through the streets of a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron overnight Tuesday, puncturing car tires and shattering windows in Arab homes.

The youths were also suspected of spray-painting a Star of David on one of the houses in the area.

While no arrests had been made, police were investigating the incident.

Responding to the latest developments, the chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee, MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor), called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to clamp down on the offenders.

"This is an additional crossing of a red line by organized, dangerous thugs, and it must be responded to with the utmost seriousness and gravity," Paz-Pines said. "The police must immediately initiate a thorough investigation and start a series of arrests in order to put an end to the 'Wild West' in Hebron, and to establish, without hesitation, the rule of law."

Meanwhile, Barak warned on Wednesday that if settlers do not voluntarily evacuate the dispute four-story building in Hebron, known as Beit Hashalom, the defense ministry will evacuate them by force.

Speaking during a tour of the IDF's Hebron brigade, Barak stressed that the evacuation would be carried out by police and that the IDF would provide surrounding support.

Barak also harshly criticized the recent violence and said that any harm inflicted on a soldier or policeman or anyone who represented the state of Israel was a "grave incident which expands the rift which is already harming the gentle fabric of democracy in Israel."

Barak said Israel must "arrest these attackers, punish them with all the severity of the law, since their actions are aimed at undermining the authority of the State."

The defense minister, toured the area with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni.

woensdag 26 november 2008

Obama's vredesplan voor het Midden-Oosten

Er is de afgelopen weken al flink gespeculeerd over Obama's voorstelling van vrede in het Midden-Oosten. Deze zou neerkomen op een tweestatenoplossing met een gedeeld Jeruzalem, compensatie voor de vluchtelingen en een internationale troepenmacht die het Israelische leger vervangt zolang de Palestijnse Autoriteit nog niet in staat is zelf de orde te handhaven en aanslagen op Israel te voorkomen. Zoiets als UNIFIL in Zuid-Libanon dus, dat daar toe moet zien op de ontwapening van Hezbollah en wapensmokkel moet voorkomen.
Ook de kandidaat voor U.S. security adviser, generaal James Jones, heeft voorgesteld dat op de Westoever een NAVO troepenmacht wordt gestationeerd. Ami Isseroff stelt voor dat UNIFIL eerst eens haar effectiviteit laat zien, of we even afwachten totdat Irak of Afghanistan een succes zijn, voordat we ons in een nieuw avontuur storten. Het is ook niet zo dat landen in de rij staan om de Nederlandse rol in Afghanistan over te nemen na 2010, dus waarom zouden landen wel bereid zijn om hun troepen naar de Westoever te sturen? Zie ook: Gedemilitariseerde Palestijnse staat onhaalbaar?
Ami Isseroff
He might be right. According to Oren, citing the Op-Ed article by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, the essential features of the plan are this:
  • An Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, with slight alterations that are to be mutually agreed upon.
  • Compensation for Palestinian refugees in lieu of exercising the right of return to pre-1948 Israel.
  • Jerusalem as a "real home" to two capitals.
  • A demilitarized Palestinian state.
In order to allay Israel's security concerns over handing over territory to a Palestinian government that is incapable of combating terrorism, the two former national security advisers recommend stationing an international force, perhaps that of NATO, for peacekeeping purposes, securing Israel, and training Palestinian forces.
As I remarked previously (Keeping up with Jones in West Bank - An Idea Whose Time has Come?), a NATO force is a great proposition for Americans. If they liked Lebanon and Iraq, they'll LOVE Filasteen. Baghdad may be fun city, but Jenin is a blast.
Here's the real joke in Oren's article, and the Scowcroft-Brzezinsky-Jones initiative:
The former NSC chiefs - who represent a wide, bipartisan consensus by dint of their service to Democratic and Republican presidents - praise President Bush's peace efforts over the last year and call upon Obama to lend "priority attention" to the Israeli-Arab peace process. Even though they do not name names, one can clearly notice an effort to influence on the election results in Israel so as to favor moderate candidates - Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak - over Benjamin Netanyahu.
It is typical of people who do not understand the Middle East or any part of it. A proposal of American pressure to divide Jerusalem and create a Palestinian state to be policed by incompetents like UNIFIL in Lebanon, will guarantee the election of Benjamin Nethanyahu or anyone else who is outspoken in opposing it, because the whole idea is childish and dangerous. It shows that these people are not serious Middle East operators, but amateurs.

Israel onder druk VS om geen militaire aktie tegen Iran of Gaza te ondernemen

Premier Olmert ontkende gisteren dat president Bush Israel had gevraagd "to restrain itself from taking any action it deemed necessary against Iran's nuclear program.", maar uitte verder geen dreigende taal.

US Puts Pressure on Israel to Refrain from Attacks
By Tim McGirk / Jerusalem - TIME
U.S. officials have asked Israel to refrain from launching any major military action in the region during the waning days of the Bush presidency, Israeli sources have told TIME. Previously, some Israeli military officials had hinted to the media that if Israel were to carry out its threats to strike at Iranian nuclear installations, it might do so before Barack Obama enters the White House in January. But now a Defense Ministry official says, "We have been warned off."

The call for restraint was relayed to Israeli officials by senior U.S. counterparts, TIME's sources say, and it is likely to be reinforced during Monday's valedictory meeting in Washington between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George W. Bush.

Washington's concerns are not limited to the possibility of Israel attacking Iran, the sources say; U.S. officials have also cautioned Israelis against launching a ground assault inside the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza in a bid to stop militants there from firing rockets into southern Israel. Bush Administration officials warn that such an attack could cost many lives and jeopardize the painstaking, thus far futile efforts of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

To strengthen the case against Israel invading Gaza, U.S. officials turned to Jordan's King Abdullah for help in stemming the rocket attacks from Gaza, according to knowledgeable Palestinian and Jordanian officials. Because the U.S. has avoided direct talks with the militant Hamas movement, which runs Gaza but which the U.S. deems a terrorist organization, Abdullah was approached to act as a go-between, these sources told TIME. The Jordanian monarch complied with the U.S. request and last week dispatched a senior intelligence officer to Damascus to warn exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Gaza was in danger of an Israeli attack unless the rocket fire was immediately stopped.

Rocket fire from Gaza had largely stopped during a five-month cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that was brokered by Egypt, but that unraveled on Nov. 4, when Israel raided Gaza to destroy a tunnel it accused Hamas of digging to conduct cross-border raids. Since then, dozens of rockets have been fired at Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have responded with land and air attacks and by halting supplies that were to enter Gaza. Israel has hoped to tighten the screws on Hamas by blocking all but a trickle of aid from reaching Gaza's 1.5 million stricken inhabitants, leading to what U.N. officials describe as a humanitarian crisis. For the past two weeks, the Israeli military has barred foreign journalists from entering the Palestinian territory to report on the siege.

Israeli officials told TIME that Israeli forces have no immediate plans to mount a ground assault on Gaza, and that the division commander in charge of the area had recently been transferred out. Israel faces a general election in February, and the current Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak, who is far behind in the polls, is unlikely to risk sending troops on a hazardous foray into Gaza.

In Damascus, Hamas leader Mashaal reportedly agreed to the request to halt rocket attacks and relayed orders to Gaza, Jordanian sources say. On Wednesday, according to sources in Gaza, senior Hamas military commanders met with leaders of Islamic Jihad and other smaller militant bands and ordered them to stop firing rockets.

Once Abdullah secured a promise from Hamas to halt the rocket fire, he summoned Olmert and Barak for an urgent meeting at his palace in Amman on Tuesday night, where he relayed the news of Hamas' willingness to curb the rocket fire. He also warned the two Israelis that an assault on Gaza would destroy any chance of an Arab peace initiative and would jeopardize Israel's ties with its moderate Arab neighbors, Jordan and Egypt.

"Olmert and Barak listened carefully but pointed out that Israel cannot stand idle while the rockets are falling," said one Jordanian official who requested anonymity. Abdullah, says this official, was angered when Olmert's advisers told the Israeli media after the meeting that Abdullah's intervention was driven by concern over the fate of his monarchy. On the contrary, says this Jordanian official. "We warned Israel that they were making matters worse with Jordan and Egypt. But they chose not to see it that way," said the official. But even if the interventions of the U.S. and its Arab allies have succeeded in averting a full-scale confrontation on the eve of the Obama Inauguration, the resulting calm will be tense and quite possibly temporary. The new President and his Secretary of State will clearly have their work cut out for them.

- With reporting by Massimo Calabresi / Washington; Jamil Hamad / Ramallah; and Aaron J. Klein / Jerusalem

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Israel bereid meer Palestijnse gevangenen vrij te laten voor Shalit

Als dit waar is, is het slecht nieuws. Het lijkt erop dat Israel steeds verder opschuift om aan Hamas' eisen tegemoet te komen, terwijl Hamas haar eisen steeds verder aanscherpt. Misschien kan Israel gelijk alle Hamas gevangenen vrijlaten, dan hoeft er niet nog een tweede soldaat te worden ontvoerd voor de andere helft. Als Israel zulke gigantische aantallen vrijlaat, waarvan honderden lange straffen uitzitten voor zware zaken als dodelijke aanslagen, dan wordt het ontvoeren van soldaten wel heel erg aantrekkelijk. En men geeft bovendien het signaal af dat het gevangen houden van die mensen blijkbaar toch niet zo heel erg nodig is voor de veiligheid, anders zou Israel ze immers niet vrijlaten? Helaas zijn na eerdere gevangenendeals tientallen gevangenen weer in het 'gewapende verzet' gegaan en sommige hebben daadwerkelijk nieuwe dodelijke aanslagen gepleegd. Het lijkt er dan ook op dat de regering niet tegen de druk van de familie en andere sympathisanten bestand is en zij hoopt wellicht met een gevangenendeal tenminste nog een wapenfeit te kunnen realiseren voor haar aftreden in februari. De volgende regering, waarschijnlijk onder leiding van Likoed, mag de bovengenoemde langere termijn problemen oplossen.

Report: Israel willing to release more prisoners for Shalit
By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents Last
update - 01:10 25/11/2008

Israel has recently agreed to release 220 of the 350 prisoners convicted of serious crimes whose freedom Hamas is demanding in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

This represents a significant moderation of Israel's position, as it had previously agreed to release only 150 of these prisoners. Nevertheless, the gap between the parties remains wide.

Altogether, Hamas is demanding the release of 1,400 prisoners in exchange for Shalit, of which it insists that about 450 be people convicted of serious crimes. Of these, it has specified 350 by name; the rest would be at Israel's discretion.

Initially, Israel had refused to release more than 450 prisoners in total, but it has now apparently acceded to Hamas' demand on the overall number. However, it is still arguing with the Islamic organization over which prisoners will be released.

Its latest offer, containing 220 of the names Hamas requested, was sent to the organization only recently and a response is expected soon, possibly even in the next few days. This offer was prepared by a special ministerial committee on the issue, which has met repeatedly in recent months to revise the rules governing prisoner releases in order to enable more people on Hamas' list to be freed.

On Tuesday, another demonstration for Shalit's release is due to take place opposite the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. The demonstrators will urge Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to obtain the soldier's return before leaving office in February. Organizers expect thousands of people to attend. Shalit's father, Noam, is scheduled to address the gathering.

Gedemilitariseerde Palestijnse staat onhaalbaar?

Een van de problemen met een tweestatenoplossing, waar zelden over wordt gesproken, is hoe de Palestijnse staat gedemilitariseerd te houden, hoe te voorkomen dat de Palestijnen daar een stapel wapens a la Hezbollah neerzetten, of erger, om toch op een dag, eventueel in samenwerking met Hezbollah, hun droom te vervullen om 'geheel Palestina te bevrijden'. Jeruzalem, Tel Aviv, het vliegveld, de grote industrieën, bijna alles ligt op slechts enkele kilometers afstand van ofwel de Gazastrook ofwel de Westelijke Jordaanoever ofwel Libanon.
De oplossing waarover momenteel in de VS hardop wordt nagedacht, is om een internationale troepenmacht langs de Jordaan te stationeren, maar wie wil daar dienen, en wat voor garantie is er dat die effectiever wordt dan het totaal tandenloze UNIFIL in Zuid-Libanon, dat toekijkt hoe Hezbollah zich bewapent?

A disarmed Palestinian state?
During an off-the-record meeting in Washington, DC on November 10, one of Obama's senior foreign policy advisers stated that pushing a two-state solution on Israel and the Palestinians had to take place with great urgency, as it was the best way to turn around the Middle East (which he defined as including Afghanistan and Pakistan). Three elements of the plan the United States is to push are well known (no refugee return, a divided Jerusalem, and redrawn 1967 borders), but the fourth is much less often explored. Namely that the Palestinian state be disarmed and that US or NATO troops be stationed along the Jordan River.

I suggest that this fourth condition is a dangerous trap, despite the fact that such troops played a very salutary role in the DMZ in Korean and - during the Cold War - in Germany. Before I proceed I should note that I am free to quote what was said at the meeting, but not to mention who said what or the name of the organization that hosted the meeting. I should also note that the same ideas are found in a new book America and the World, wholly composed of interviews with Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, conducted by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. In the book, both interviewees agreed that "They [Israel and the Palestinians] need a heavier hand by the United States than we have traditionally practiced." Brzezinski suggests "an American line along the Jordan River," and Scowcroft favors putting a "NATO peacekeeping force" on the West Bank.

HOW CAN I count the ways the fourth condition is a dangerous trap? First of all, while the first three conditions are almost impossible to reverse once in place, the fourth one can be changed by a simple act of Congress or an order by a future American president, or - the current one. Abba Eban once compared a United Nations force stationed on the Israeli-Egyptian border, which was removed just before Nasser attacked Israel, as an umbrella that is folded when it rains. The new umbrella is not much more reliable.

Second, the American troops in Iraq, and the NATO ones in Afghanistan, are unable to stop terrorist bombs and rocket attacks in those parts. There is no reason to hold that they would do better in the West Bank. Third, there are very few precedents for demilitarized states - by force.

A two-state solution means to practically everyone involved, except a few foreign policy mavens, two sovereign states. A sovereign state is free to import all the arms and troops it wants. One second after the Palestinian state is declared, many in the Arab world, Iran, and surely in Europe, not to mention Russia and China, will hold that "obviously" the new free state cannot be prevented from arming itself, whatever it says on some parchment or treaty. And if this not allowed, whatever therapeutic effects the creation of a Palestinian state may engender will be about the same size as the ending of the Israeli occupation of Gaza had - either too small to measure or a negative one.

A strong case for a two-state solution has been made, but it better be based on the Palestinians developing their own effective forces and an Israeli presence on the Jordan River. Neither can rely on the United States, beleaguered as it is, or conflict- and casualty-averse NATO to show the staying power for peacekeeping which neither mustered in Kosovo, Bosnia, or Haiti, and which they have never provided in Sudan and the Congo.

There is a new dawn in America, but when the sun rises in Washington, it is often close to sunset in the Middle East.

The writer is Professor of International Relations at The George Washington University. For more discussion, see his book: Security First (Yale, 2007) or /

Voorzitter VN-vergadering vergelijkt Israel met Apartheid

Gisteren was de tweede dag van de jaarlijkse speciale anti-Israel zitting van de VN, afgesloten met 20 resoluties tegen Israel.
Waarom de VN deze speciale zitting houdt, normaliter op 29 november, om de delingsresolutie uit 1947 te betreuren, is me een raadsel. Ja, vanwege de automatische meerderheid in de algemene vergadering voor iedere anti-Israel resolutie, maatregel of activiteit. Maar waarom doen de EU, de VS, Canada, Australië en andere landen met goede betrekkingen met Israel, daaraan mee? Waarom protesteren ze niet? Waarom eisen ze geen andere tentoonstelling en film, waarom dienen ze geen resoluties in tegen het terrorisme, waarom stellen ze niet voor met dit hele circus op kosten van de lidstaten te stoppen, en te gaan zoeken naar een oplossing voor brandhaarden als Soedan en Congo?

Last update - 12:56 25/11/2008    
Top UN official: Israel's policies are like apartheid of bygone era
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann on Monday likened Israel's policies toward the Palestinians to South Africa's treatment of blacks under apartheid.
Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were like "the apartheid of an earlier era," said Brockmann, of Nicaragua, speaking at the annual debate marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
He added: "We must not be afraid to call something what it is."
Brockmann stressed that it was important for the United Nations to use the heavily-charged term since it was the institution itself that had passed the International Convention against the crime of apartheid.
Israeli ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev in September called Brockmann an "Israel hater" for having hugged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a vocal enemy of Israel.
Meanwhile, other diplomatic attacks against Israel were expected Tuesday on the second day of the annual debate.
The event is usually observed on November 29, to coincide with the UN's resolution in 1947 to establish a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine.
The Palestinians, along with a group of Arab states, intend to use Tuesday's debate, entitled "the Palestinian question and the situation in the Middle East," for a public campaign directed at the international community about the the suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. They will also denounce Israel as responsible for the lack of a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Speakers at the debate are expected to harshly criticize Israel for its policy in the territories, especially following UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's complaint that Israel refused his request to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Shalev will ask in her address Tuesday why the UN has turned November 29 into a day of mourning, but does not mention that on this day a resolution to establish two states was adopted with Israel's consent.
"The UN must adopt new content and no longer accept the agenda foisted on it by the automatic majority, which sabotages the peace process' progress in the region," Shalev will say.
The two-day event includes several events and ceremonies at the UN headquarters, including movies and photography exhibitions showing alleged Palestinian hardships under Israeli occupation.
The debate is expected to end with the adoption of some 20 anti-Israel resolutions. In the past, these included denouncing Israel for annexing East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in separate resolutions.

dinsdag 25 november 2008

Vroege Zionisten en de Arabieren in Palestina

Chaim Weizmann (L), wearing Arab dress as a sign of friendship, and Emir Faisal I signed what became known as the Faisal Weizmann Agreement in 1919, which called for an Arab and a Jewish state to exist side-by-side.

Onterecht wordt vaak  beweerd dat de zionisten vanaf het begin uit waren op de verdrijving van de Arabieren in Palestina, en slechts een geschikt moment afwachtten om dit daadwerkelijk uit te voeren. Onderstaande citaten laten een ander beeld zien. Ben-Goerion en Weizmann bepleitten het Arabische recht op zelfbeschikking, ook in Palestina. Jabotinski, door antizionisten onterecht neergezet als extremist en fascist, toont er daarentegen begrip voor dat zelfs als de Arabieren zouden geloven in de goede bedoelingen van de zionisten, zij deze nationale beweging niet konden accepteren omdat die hun tot een minderheid zou maken. 
Overigens begon het nationale bewustzijn van de Arabieren in Palestina in de decennia voor de stichting van Israel pas te ontwaken, en voelden velen zich meer verbonden met hun woonplaats en clan dan met een land.
Early Zionists and Arabs

by Judea Pearl
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2008, pp. 67-71


Many Arab officials and Israeli "New Historians" describe early Zionist attitudes toward the Arab population of Palestine as dismissive or arrogant. Books and pamphlets from the time tell a different story.

Ben-Gurion: Our Arab Brethren

During World War I, Israel's future first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, spent three years in New York, exiled from Palestine "for conspiring against Ottoman rule." He devoted most of his time to organizing the He-Halutz youth movement with Yitzhak Ben Zvi, but he also published, a few months before issuance of the Balfour Declaration, an interesting treatise: "On the Origin of the Falahin," [1] the Arab peasants in Palestine. In this work, Ben-Gurion, the scholar and historian, argued that the falahin are descendants of Jews who remained in Palestine after the Roman expulsion and who later converted to Islam:

The logical, self-evident conclusion of all the above is as follows: The agricultural community that the Arabs found in Eretz Israel in the 7th century was none other than the Hebrew farmers that remained on their land despite all the persecution and oppression of the Roman and Byzantine emperors. Some of them accepted Christianity, at least on the surface, but many held on to their ancestral faith and occasionally revolted against their Christian oppressors. After the Arab conquest, the Arabic language and Muslim religion spread gradually among the countrymen. In his essay "Ancient Names in Palestine and Syria in Our Times," Dr. George Kampmeyer proves, based on historico-linguistic analysis, that for a certain period of time, both Aramaic and Arabic were in use and only slowly did the former give way to the latter.
The greater majority and main structures of the Muslim falahin in western Eretz Israel present to us one racial strand and a whole ethnic unit, and there is no doubt that much Jewish blood flows in their veins—the blood of those Jewish farmers, "lay persons," who chose in the travesty of times to abandon their faith in order to remain on their land.

Ben-Gurion's theory may not withstand modern DNA analysis, but his essay reveals a genuine attempt to establish an ancestral kinship with the Arab population and to bridge cultural and religious divides.

Ben-Gurion: Palestinian Arab Rights

In 1918, Israel Zangwill, an on-again, off-again member of the Zionist movement and author of the influential novel Children of the Ghetto,[2] wrote an article suggesting that the Arabs should be persuaded to "trek" from Palestine.[3] Ben-Gurion was quick to distance the Zionist movement from any such notion. In an article published that year in the Yiddish-language newspaper Yiddishe Kemper, Ben-Gurion ridiculed Zangwill:

Eretz Israel is not an empty country ... West of Jordan alone houses three quarter of a million people. On no account must we injure the rights of the inhabitants. Only "Ghetto Dreamers" like Zangwill can imagine that Eretz Israel will be given to the Jews with the added right of dispossessing the current inhabitants of the country. This is not the mission of Zionism. Had Zionism to aspire to inherit the place of these inhabitants—it would be nothing but a dangerous utopia and an empty, damaging and reactionary dream … Not to take from others—but to build the ruins. [We claim] no rights on our past—but on our future. Not the preservation of historic inheritance—but the creation of new national assets—this is the core claim and right of the Hebrew nation in its country. [4]

Weizmann: Arab Glory and Arab Rights

In 1918, the British government sent Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952), the future first president of Israel and a key player behind the Balfour Declaration, to Palestine to advise on the future development of the country. There, he met with Arab and Armenian representatives and delivered the following speech in the house of the High Commissioner in Jerusalem:

With heartfelt admiration and great interest we are viewing today the current war of liberation conducted by the ancient Arabic nation. We see how the scattered Arab forces are being united under the good will of Western governments and other peace-loving nations, and how, from the mist of war there emerge new and immense political possibilities. We see again the formation of a strong and united Arab political body, freshly renovated and aiming to renovate the great tradition of Arab science and literature that are so close to our heart. This kinship found its glorious expression particularly in the Spanish period of the Hebrew-Arabic development when our greatest authors wrote and thought in the Arabic language, as well as in Hebrew.[5]

Perhaps anticipating future criticism that Zionism, while promising Palestinians human and civil rights, denied them national rights, Weizmann wrote in the newspaper Ha'aretz:

If indeed there is among the Arabs a national movement, we must relate to it with the utmost seriousness ... The Arabs are concerned about two issues: 1. The Jews will soon come in their millions and conquer the country and chase out the Arabs ... Responsible Zionists never said and never wished such things. 2. There is no place in Eretz Israel for a large number of inhabitants. This is total ignorance. It is enough to notice what is happening now in Tunis, Tangier, and California to realize that there is a vast space here for a great work of many Jews, without touching even one Arab.[6]

Ben-Gurion: Palestinian Self-Determination

In November 1930, about a year after the Arab riots that led to the Hebron massacre, Ben-Gurion addressed the First Congress of Hebrew Workers and delivered a lecture entitled "The Foreign Policy of the Hebrew Nation." In this lecture, later published in Ben-Gurion's first book, We and Our Neighbors,[7] he not only acknowledged the national aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs but also recognized Arab self-determination as an inalienable right, regardless of its impact on the Zionist plan.

There is in the world a principle called "the right for self-determination." We have always and everywhere been its worshipers and champions. We have defended that right for every nation, every part of a nation, and every collective of people. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Arab people in Eretz Israel have this right. And this right is not limited by or conditional upon the result of its influence on us and our interests. We ought not to diminish the Arabs' freedom for self-determination for fear that it would present difficulties to our own mission. The entire moral core encapsulated in the Zionist idea is the notion that a nation—every nation—is its own purpose and not a tool for the purposes of other nations. And in the same way that we want the Jewish people to be master of its own affairs, capable of determining its historical destiny without being dependent on the will—even good will—of other nations, so, too, we must seek for the Arabs…

The characteristic feature of a political movement is its ability to rally the masses behind it. In this sense, there is no doubt that we are witnessing a political movement. And we should not dismiss it, our way should not be through the [British] government …

We should not attempt to turn the Arabs into Zionists. I do not see why an Arab need be a Zionist. But we must explain to him what Zionism is, what it aspires to achieve, on what it rests, what its power and promises are and what its attitude is toward the Arabs in this land and the Arab nation in our neighborhood. It is imperative that the Arab knows that we have not come here to dispossess him, to subjugate him, or to worsen his condition. The Arab must know that Zionism is not an accidental, temporary phenomenon but a historical imperative, that it relies on the needs and strength of the entire Jewish nation, and that it is impossible to dismiss or silence it …

In much the same way that we need to educate the Arab public to understand our interest, so also we need to educate our public to understand the Arabs and work toward decent neighborly relations ... mutual recognition is prerequisite to mutual understanding.

The total Arab rejection of his overtures, followed by the bloody riots of 1936-39, eroded Ben-Gurion's confidence in achieving Arab understanding through education and cooperation. It remains an interesting exercise, though, to imagine what the Middle East would be like today had Arab leadership reciprocated with some recognition, however mild, of the Jewish right to self-determination.

Jabotinsky before the Holocaust

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion's rival, garnered a reputation as an advocate of an "iron wall" approach toward the Arabs. Yet, even he expressed respect for Arab nationalism and explained Arab fears of reciprocating Ben-Gurion's offer. Not only does Jabotinsky's article "The Arabs of Eretz Israel"[8] dispel the myth of Zionist denial and naïveté, but it also disproves the popular notion that Arabs feared dispossession by Jewish immigrants:

There is no point talking about the possibility that the Arabs in Eretz Israel would consent to the Zionist plan while we are a minority here. I express it with such confidence not because I enjoy disappointing decent people but, simply, to save them disappointments: All these decent people, except those blind from birth, have understood already that this is something that is utterly illogical—to obtain the Arabs' consent and goodwill to turn Eretz Israel from an Arabic country to a country with Jewish majority.

Every indigenous people, regardless of whether it is primitive or advanced, views its country as a national home and aspires to be and remain its sole and eternal landlord; it does not voluntarily agree to accommodate, not only new landlords, but even new partners or new participants. And our most misleading argument would be if we rely on the fact that our agricultural settlements bring them economical advantages; though this is an undisputed truth, there is no nation in the world that sold its national aspirations for bread and butter.[9]

Many of us still think in full honesty that a terrible misunderstanding has occurred, that the Arabs did not understand us, and that this is the reason why they oppose us; but if only we could explain to them how benevolent our intentions, they would stretch their hands back to us. This is a mistake that has been proven so again and again. I will bring one such incident. Several years ago, when the late Nahum Sokolov visited Eretz Israel, and he was one of the most moderate and diplomatic Zionists at that time, he delivered an elaborate speech on this misunderstanding. He explained clearly how mistaken Arabs are in thinking that we wish to steal their property or dispossess them or oppress them. "We do not even want to have a Jewish government; we want merely a government representing the League of Nations." Sokolov's speech received an immediate response in the main editorial of the Arab newspaper Carmel, the content of which I convey here from memory:

"The Zionists—so wrote the Arab editor—are tormenting their nerves unnecessarily. There is no misunderstanding here whatsoever. The Arabs never doubted that the potential absorption capacity of Eretz Israel is enormous and, therefore, that it is possible to settle here enough Jews without dispossessing or constraining even a single Arab. It is obvious that 'this is all' the Zionists want. But it is also obvious that this is precisely what the Arabs do not want; for, then, the Jews will turn into a majority and, from the nature of things, a Jewish government will be established and the fate of the Arab minority will depend on Jewish good will; Jews know perfectly well what minority existence is like. There is no misunderstanding here whatsoever."

The Arab editor's argument is rather compelling, but Jabotinsky confronts it with a moral dilemma that is no less compelling:

Whoever thinks that our arguments [for Jewish immigration] are immoral, I would beg him to address the following question: If this [Jewish immigration] is immoral, what should the Jewish people do …?

Our planet is no longer blessed with uninhabited islands. Take any oasis in any desert, it is already taken by the native who inhabits that place from time immemorial and rejects the coming of new settlers that will become a majority, or just come in great numbers. In short—if there is a homeless nation in the world, its very yearning for a homeland is immoral. The homeless must forever remain homeless; all the land in the universe has already been divided—that's it. These are the conclusions of "morality." …

This sort of morality has a place among cannibals, not in the civilized world. The land belongs not to those who have too much land but to those who have none. If we appropriate one parcel of land from the owners of mega-estates and give it to an exiled nation—it is a just deed.

New Historians often cite anecdotal and secondhand evidence or diary entries lacking in context that depict an exaggerated, hostile attitude of early Zionist leaders toward the Arabs. In contrast, the quotations cited above were articulated in prominent and open public forums and published widely for Hebrew readers in Palestine and the Diaspora. It is these quotations, therefore, that are true representations of the dominant attitude of the Yishuv, the pre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine. They were annunciated broadly with the aim of shaping public opinion, educational norms, and cultural molds, which no doubt contributed to the culture of accommodation that governs the Israeli mindset today.


Judea Pearl is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, named after his son. With his wife, Ruth, he co-edited, I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl (Woodstock, Vt.: Jewish Light, 2004), winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

[1] "Leverur Motsa Ha'Falahim," Luach Achiezer, New York, 1917, pp. 118-27, reprinted in Anachnu U'Shcheneinu (Tel Aviv: Davar. 1931), pp. 13-25.
[2] Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1892.
[3] Diana Muir, "A Land without a People for a People without a Land," Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2008, pp. 55-62.
[4] "Zechuyot Ha'Yehudim Ve'Zulatam B'Eretz Yisrael," reprinted in Anachnu U'Shcheneinu, p. 31. For more on Zangwill, see Muir, "A Land without a People."
[5] Chaim Weizmann, Devarim, vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Mizpah Publishers, 1936), p. 99.
[6] Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), Dec. 15, 1919, as reprinted in Devarim, vol. 1, p. 129.
[7] Anachnu U'Shcheneinu, p. 257.
[8] "Arviyey Eretz Yisrael," in Medina Ivrit (Tel Aviv: T. Kopp, 1937).
[9] Ibid., pp. 73-4.