zaterdag 5 juli 2008

VN Mensenrechtenraad verbiedt islamkritiek

De "Mensenrechtenraad" van de Verenigde Naties was al een aanfluiting met Orwelliaanse naam; dit kan er ook nog wel bij. (Is "Verenigde Naties" niet zelf Orwelliaans..?)

June 19, 2008

UN Human Rights Council: Any mention of the word "sharia" is now taboo

UNHRC Titanic hits an Islamic iceberg at the Palais des Nations: Any mention of the word "sharia" is now taboo at the Council

The UN Human Rights Council is not allowed to judge religions, according to president Doru Romulus Costea of Romania. Criticism of Sharia or fatwas in particular is now forbidden.

This ruling follows attempts by the Egyptian and Pakistani delegates at the Council to silence criticism of human rights abuse in the Islamic world.

The representative of the Association for World Education, in a joint statement with the International Humanist and Ethical Union, had denounced the stoning to death of women accused of adultery and of girls being married at the age of nine years old in countries where Sharia law applies.

The speaker, David Littman, was interrupted by no fewer than 16 points of order and the proceedings of the Council were suspended for over half an hour. After this, the Egyptian delegate intervened again to proclaim that "My point is that Islam will not be crucified in this Council" and he raised the spectre of a strong OIC reaction after the result of a vote on whether the speaker should be allowed to continue. The German delegate then asked the Egyptian delegate whether he had correctly heard the term used and, if so, he then asked the president whether this term was "appropriate with regard to the question of mentioning religion and its symbols." He received no answer from either.

On giving his ruling after the break Council President Costea said that the Council is not prepared to discuss religious questions and we don't have to do so: Declarations must avoid judgments or evaluation about religion. We've heard that the fatwa is ambiguous. This is a judgement. This is an evaluation … I promise that next time a speaker judges a religion or a religious law or document, I will interrupt him and pass on to the next speaker, he said.

Littman, who is also a representative for the World Union of Progressive Judaism in Geneva, had been threatened before, following a statement he made on January 24 in which he had begun by mentioning the UN Commemoration of Holocaust Day four days later, and analysing the self-inflicted tragedy in the Gaza Strip, whose origins were to be found in the 1988 genocidal Hamas Charter. This was deemed irrelevant by the Council in the debate to adopt an unbalanced resolution concerning Israeli incursions into Gaza, without any mention of the constant firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza.

When stopped twice by the president, Littman had opined that: "There is a general malaise in the air, a feeling that: Something rotten in the State of …. this Council". For this, the WUPJ had been threatened four months later by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of 134 Member and Observer States with expulsion form the UN and its president summoned to appear before the NGO Committee in New York in early June where the charges were finally dropped after a written apology was made regretting if anyone had been offended by the Shakespearean pun.

The following comments on the "Sharia Affair" of June 16 at the 8th Session of the Human Rights Council have been prepared by David G. Littman, NGO Representative of Association for World Education (AWE) and Roy W. Brown, Representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

The affair has resulted in lengthy UN stories from AFP and ATS on 17 June, and again on 18 June from AFP, ATS, AP, Reuters, with quotes from President Costea and the departing HCHR Louise Arbour, American Ambassador Warren Tichenor and Amnesty International.

Shipwreck of the Human Rights Council

At 4:40 pm on June 16, David G. Littman was given the floor by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, to deliver a joint statement for the AWE and IHEU under agenda item 8: Integrating the Human Rights of Women throughout the United Nations system.

Within 22 seconds he was stopped on a 'point of order' by the delegate of Egypt. The verbatim transcript has been left exactly as spoken (less the 40 minute break) and can be seen and heard on the UN archive webcast here by scrolling down to item 8 and the presentation by AWE at the very end, with all the others.


At the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit held in Mecca on December 5-7 2006, the OIC decided to adopt a policy of zero tolerance against any perceived insults to Islam as part of their overall strategy of advancing the cause of Islam worldwide. The measures agreed upon included creating an "Observatory" to monitor all reports of "Islamophobia". Muslims throughout the world were to be encouraged to report to it any cases of perceived Islamophobia, however trivial. Cases submitted so far, for example, have included Muslims who have received "hostile glances".

At that summit, two imams from Denmark presented the Danish cartoons (including some they had added themselves) and the protests were then organised throughout the Middle East and elsewhere leading to a number of deaths and the burning of the Danish embassy in Beirut.

Plans were also put in place to seek changes in national and international law to provide additional "protection" for Islam. The battlegrounds would include the European and national parliaments, and the UN, including the Human Rights Council. It was also proposed to move towards the creation of a new Charter of Human Rights in Islam, and the setting up of an Islamic Council of Human Rights, to be based not on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but on Sharia law – exactly as the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

Fast forward: 16 June 2008. The Egyptian delegate Amr Roshdy Hassan saw an opportunity to wrong-foot the Council by attacking the statement by AWE/IHEU. They had prepared their ground carefully, breaking protocol by arranging to get an advanced copy of our statement, and finding in our statement on violence against women exactly what they were looking for: David Littman, with whom they had quarrelled in the past, was to be the speaker, and the statement made explicit reference to Sharia law, and the Egyptian complaint was likely to be seen by Western delegates as a further attempt to silence a particularly vocal critic. The OIC however would present the statement as a clear attack on Islam, and by forcing a vote would, in the eyes of the Islamic world, have exposed those who voted in favour of the statement being allowed to continue, as being "anti-Islamic". In the words of Amr Roshdy Hassan, they "will have to face the consequences". In making his case however, Hassan stretched the truth almost beyond breaking point. He claimed that in the first paragraph, the speaker would talk about Egypt and the Sharia law. In fact it makes no mention of Sharia law other than in a note.
However, it does speak about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which, according to UNICEF figures, is still at about 96%, despite State legislation condemning it. He claimed that the second paragraph on "Honour Killings" talks about Sudan, Pakistan and Sharia law. It does not – it quotes President Musharraf as refuting this idea.

Unfortunately, none of the other delegates had copies of the statement and were therefore unable to give the lie to these claims. The third and fourth paragraphs do however speak about the marriage of girls as young as nine years of age in Iran, and the stoning of women to death for adultery in States that apply Sharia law. This truth was what the Egyptian delegate hoped to suppress -- as well as the FGM syndrome in Egypt and in 29 OIC Member States (out of 32 countries where it is common).

The temperature was raided even further when the Pakistani delegate Imran Ahmed Siddiqui speaking for Pakistan said the statement "will amount to spreading hatred against certain members of the Council".

When Hassan, called for a vote, saying: "My point is that Islam will not be crucified in the Council", the President wisely called for another brief break to consult "what the [NGO] speaker had read." After the first break that lasted nearly forty minutes, there had already been a complete capitulation to the Egyptian demands that "this Council is not prepared to discuss matters religious matters in depth. Consequently, we should not do it." And that declarations must avoid judgments or evaluation about religion. And Hassan had achieved part of his objective. His second objective to be able to present Canada, the EU and other Western States as anti-Islamic, will have to wait for another day.


Geen kans op vrede volgens Shimon Peres

Dit klinkt naar een privé diner waarvan niets had horen uit te lekken naar de pers. Peres is ceremonieel staatshoofd, meer nog dan koningin Beatrix bij ons. Stel je voor dat naar buiten kwam hoe Beatrix zich tijdens een etentje -wellicht met een paar glaasjes wijn achter de koninklijke kiezen- uitlaat over de staat van ons land?

Peres: No chance of peace with Palestinians
By Yossi Verter - Haaretz
Last update - 08:09 04/07/2008

President Shimon Peres believes there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Peres, the one-time proponent of a "new Middle East" made this statement last Saturday at a dinner with the Jordanian and French ambassadors in Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv apartment.

At the end of the meal an argument erupted between the Jordanian envoy, Ali Ayed, and a well-known "dovish" attorney, who said Israel had no chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas' leadership. Barak supported his guest's hawkish stance.

At a certain point, Peres intervened, surprising the participants by joining the attorney's prediction. "It would be very hard to reach an agreement," Peres said, due to the Hamas-Fatah split.

He said Abbas had no support among his people, no power to carry out security agreements and that any agreement Israel and the PA made crumbled a day later due to the PA's weakness. Therefore there is no chance of agreement, he summed.

Fayyad presenteert verzoeningsplan voor Fatah en Hamas

Egyptische veiligheidstroepen in Gaza om een nieuw akkoord tussen Fatah en Hamas te overzien, het lijkt ietwat onwaarschijnlijk, gezien het feit dat Israël geen toestemming heeft gegeven voor de meeste Egyptische verzoeken om meer troepen in de Sinai te stationeren, een gebied dat volgens het vredesverdrag uit 1979 gedemilitarisserd moet zijn. Egypte doet niet erg zijn best om vertrouwen te wekken in Israël. Onlangs nog heeft men bij de EU gelobbied om de relaties met Israël niet te verbeteren, en werden Israëlische Joden van Egyptische komaf, die in Egypte vroegere Joodse plaatsen wilden bezoeken, ervan beschuldigd hun vroegere bezittingen terug te willen eisen, en hun reis werd daarom geannuleerd. De lijst met boycotinitiatieven, ophitsing, absurde beschuldigingen is oneindig lang. Daarnaast zijn er diverse berichten van de Israëlische veiligheidsdiensten over de toegenomen wapensmokkel sinds het staakt-het-vuren, en lijkt Egypte ook niet erg veel druk uit te oefenen op Hamas om zich wat flexibeler op te stellen wat betreft een gevangenenruil. Dus waarom zou Israël Egypte vertrouwen??
Wat betreft een verzoening tussen Hamas en Fatah lijkt het Fayyad ook niet te deren dat dit mogelijk negatieve consequenties heeft voor de vredesbesprekingen met Israël. Deze worden gehouden omdat Abbas, althans pro-forma, Israëls bestaansrecht erkent en het geweld tegen Israël veroordeelt, maar Hamas is daar onder geen voorwaarde toe bereid.

Fayyad presents Fatah, Hamas reconciliation plan
By Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz - 4 July 2008

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently presented a national reconciliation plan for rival groups Fatah and Hamas. At the crux of the plan is an initiative to deploy an Egyptian security delegation to the Gaza Strip; it will act as an arbitrator between the opposing sides and supervise the disarmament of Palestinian groups and unification of security organizations.

A source privy to the details of the proposal said Fayyad believes the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip is the right time to push for such a move.

The same source added that Fayyad considers the cease-fire fragile; therefore the speedy adoption of a reconciliation plan is imperative.

Fayyad's plan comprises three elements: an internal Palestinian security agreement, a transition government and a date for new parliamentary and presidential elections.

By signing an internal Palestinian security agreement, an important condition that was missing in the Mecca Accords (signed between Fatah and Hamas several weeks prior to Hamas' takeover of the Strip) will be fulfilled. Under this deal, the Palestinian Authority will ask Egypt to dispatch a security delegation to the Strip, and possibly even a military force to oversee the implementation of the security.

This agreement will also include a process for disarming Palestinian groups. Initially there will be no attempt to require Hamas or the other factions to surrender their arms, but they will have to promise not to make use of them.

Secondly, a transition government will be set up, which will be responsible for both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and which will comprise officials unaffiliated with any party and acceptable to both Fatah and Hamas.

Third, Hamas and Fatah will agree on a date for presidential and parliamentary elections, in order to resolve the current political deadlock.

Presidential elections are currently scheduled to take place in January, and parliamentary elections are due in two years.

Palestinian sources said that no real reconciliation talks will take place in the near future, despite the fact that parts of the proposed agreement are acceptable to both sides.

The same sources said that Fayyad suffers from tensions in his relationship with Fatah and Hamas' distrust; Hamas considers him a Fatah stooge.

Hamas verandert Gazastrook in fort tijdens staakt-het-vuren

Dit is niet het eerste bericht met een dergelijke onheilspellende strekking, en zal ook het laatste niet zijn, maar tot de Nederlandse media willen dergelijke zaken maar niet doordringen. Men heeft het nog steeds slechts over 'primitieve' Qassam raketten die zelden slachtoffers maken. En dan lijken Israëls zorgen en Israëls reactie op aanvallen vanuit Gaza al snel lichtelijk overdreven.
Als Hamas straks in staat blijkt om relatief veel slachtoffers te maken tijdens een Israëlische operatie in Gaza, zullen de media verwonderd berichten dat Hamas sterker en taaier is dan gedacht, en dit een tegenvaller voor Israël is, al weet Israël dit in feite dus al. Wat er uiteraard niet bij wordt vermeld, is dat de constante druk op Israël om 'terughoudend' te zijn en niet op die 'paar Qassams' te reageren, er in belangrijke mate doe heeft bijgedragen dat Hamas zo sterk kon worden.


Analysis: Fortress Gaza
Jul. 2, 2008

Since the agreement on the tahadiyeh (lull) was reached between Hamas and Israel on June 19, the border crossings between Israel and Gaza have already been closed six times in response to Palestinian rocket fire. Israeli officials acknowledge that none of these attacks was carried out by Hamas. Hamas, nevertheless, is keeping itself busy.

The organization's military wing is putting in place preparations based on a comprehensive strategy for facing an expected eventual large IDF operation into Gaza. Hamas gunmen are training extensively to play their allotted roles within this strategy.

The model for Hamas is Hizbullah's preparations for and conduct of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The evidence suggests that Hamas is using its uncontested control in Gaza to effect a qualitative change in its abilities and ambitions.

Hamas's strategy derives at the highest level from the group's muqawama (resistance) doctrine. According to this view, Israel's Achilles' heel is its inability to absorb large numbers of military and civilian casualties. Hamas believes Israel's will can be broken through attrition and a steady toll of unexpectedly high numbers of both military and civilian casualties.

In the event of a major IDF incursion into Gaza, Hamas would seek to maintain a steady rain of rockets on Israeli communities around the Strip and to break the sense of armored and air invulnerability hitherto enjoyed by Israeli forces engaging with its fighters. Hamas would of course also try to inflict steady losses of 4 to 10 casualties per day on IDF's ground forces during the fighting. Looking to the 2006 model, the movement's planners believe that achieving these goals could be sufficient to break Israel's will.

To make this possible, Hamas is feverishly training as well as acquiring relevant weapons systems - of a type far superior in quality to those previously associated with the organization.

The weapons systems on which Hamas is thought to be currently training in the Gaza Strip include a wire-guided anti-tank missile, probably the AT-3 Sagger, and additional anti-tank guided missiles: the AT-4 Spigot, the tripod-fired AT-5 Spandrel and the shoulder-fired AT-14 Spriggan - all useful against armor. All these systems have ranges of several kilometers.

In addition, Hamas is thought to have brought into Gaza large numbers of RPG-29 Vampir handheld anti-tank grenade launchers with a range of 500 meters, which are capable of penetrating reactive armor and are considered far superior to the RPG 7 systems used by the movement in the past.

Hamas is also developing improvised explosive devices, i.e. bombs. The organization possesses an Iranian-developed, locally-produced system known as the Shawaz explosively-formed penetrator that it says can penetrate 20 cm. of steel. Hamas also claims to possess air defense missiles, though no information could be obtained on their nature or the veracity of the claim. Imports from Iran and Syria and local production are all playing a role in the movement's development of its arsenal.

In addition to arming Gaza to the teeth, Hamas is recruiting fresh fighters. Once again, the model is Hizbullah, and the intention appears to be to develop a force part-way between a regular army and a guerrilla force, of the type developed under Iranian tutelage by the Shi'ite Lebanese group. Extensive recruitment has been taking place in the past month. New fighters have been accepted to both the Izzadin Kassam Brigades - Hamas's long-standing military wing, and to the Executive Force - the newer group created since Hamas's election victory in January 2006.

The latter force played the key role in Hamas's rout of Fatah in its 2007 coup. Hamas claims to have around 20,000 men under arms, though some sources suggest that the number may be higher. Again, both Iran and Syria are thought to be playing a role in providing advanced training to cadres from both of these organizations: around 1,000 Hamas men are thought to have trained in one of these countries in the last months.

What does Hamas's attempt to create "Fortress Gaza" mean? Its political leaders have consolidated their rule internally vis-à-vis other Palestinian forces. They are thought to face a certain problem from yet more radical Sunni Islamist currents among both the rank and file fighters and commanders of their own military organizations. But for the moment, with no serious internal challenge, Hamas is digging in.

The Hamas rulers believe that Israelis want only peace and quiet, which makes them both vulnerable and deterrable. Thus, Hamas is seeking to create a solid shield around its Gaza fiefdom that can be turned into a weapon of attack at a time and situation of its choosing.

vrijdag 4 juli 2008

Duitsland in haar maag met antisemitische uitspraken op Berlijnse conferentie

Duitse regeringsinstanties zijn druk aan het schuiven met de hete aardappel van wie verantwoordelijk is voor de conferentie vorige week, waarin de Iraanse vertegenwoordiging traditiegetrouw opriep tot de vernietiging van Israël. En dat nog wel op Duitse bodem...
De te verwachten gang van zaken zou zijn dat de Israëlische regering zich officieel beklaagt bij de Duitse regering, en Angela Merkel zelf vervolgens verontschuldigingen zou aanbieden. Vanwege de goede betrekkingen heeft Israël een protest blijkbaar achterwege gelaten?
Als je Iran uitnodigt op een conferentie over het Midden-Oosten, zijn dergelijke opmerkingen natuurlijk te verwachten, en Duitsland had zich deze pijnlijke zaak dus kunnen besparen. Larijani, de vertegenwoordiger van Iran, trapte nog meer tegen het zere been van Duitsland:
Larijani, whose brother Ali was Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator and its current parliament speaker, said "denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to do with anti-Semitism."
Maar hoewel Holocaust ontkenning in Duitsland is verboden, wordt Larijani niet vervolgd. Waarom een scherpe veroordeling van Larijani's uitspraken tijdens de conferentie achterwege bleef is een raadsel. Overigens heeft de Friedrich Ebert Stiftung vaker anti-Israëlische evenementen en conferenties gesteund, zoals een conferentie over Europa en de Islamitische wereld in Beiroet in 2004, waar zowel Hezbollah als Hamas goed vertegenwoordigd waren.   
Jerusalem Post / Jun 29, 2008 1:10 | Updated Jun 29, 2008 22:12
Berlin forum calls for Israel's destruction
Representatives of Germany's foreign and economics ministries are fumbling the hot potato of who, exactly, backed a conference in Berlin last week that became a mouthpiece for anti-Semitic Iranian propaganda and a call for Israel's destruction.

Iran's former deputy minister of foreign Affairs, Dr. Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani, told the Third Transatlantic Conference - whose stated purpose was to address "common solutions" in the Middle East - that "the Zionist project" should be "cancelled" and "has failed miserably and has only caused terrible damage to the region."

Representatives from Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia also attended the conference and voiced brazen anti-Israeli statements.

The conference was a source of great embarrassment for the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose ministry served as one of its main sponsors. Critics argue that Steinmeier's Iran policy is ignoring Israel's security interests at a crucial period in German-Israeli relations.

"That neither the Foreign Office, nor Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier personally, forcefully contradicted Larijani's crude comparisons shows the double standards and complacency in dealing with the mullah regime," said Stephan J. Kramer, the General Secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

In an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post, a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry wrote that "the Foreign Ministry did not financially support the event." However, she did not respond to a query by the Post last Thursday as to why the ministry had supported the conference.

Kramer said "the fact that Larijani, an accomplice in the mullah regime, was invited at the suggestion of the Foreign office is bad enough."

The Foreign Ministry scrambled to contain the damage and, according to a German Financial Times report, stated that the Federal Ministry of Economics funded the anti-Israeli conference. Anne-Kathrin Röthemeyer, a spokeswoman for the Economics Ministry, told the Post by phone on Saturday that the circumstances could not be clarified because it was a weekend. She said she would speak to the appropriate people on Monday. Röthemeyer did say she had spoken with the Foreign Ministry, and its spokesperson had declined to offer further information regarding the financing of the event.

On Saturday, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman did not deny that her ministry had played a role in supporting the conference.

Additional German sponsors of the event were Peace Research Institute Frankfurt; the Berlin representative of the State of Hessen; the German Protestant Church (EKD); and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) - a think tank with close ties to the Social Democratic Party (SPD). "It is nothing new that the FES is dealing with very weird anti-Israeli organizations and people," Middle East expert Thomas Von der Osten-Sacken told the Post. Von der Osten-Sacken, who heads the non-profit relief organization Wadi in northern Iraq, blew the whistle on the FES's joint Beirut International Conference on the The Islamic World and Europe with the Hizbullah in 2004.

In addition to Hizbullah, Hamas was heavily represented at the FES-sponsored conference in 2004. The conduct of the Social Democratic aligned foundation FES prompted the Simon Wiesenthal Center to urge the Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to publicly condemn the conference. Steinmeier was then-chancellor Gerhard Schröder's chief of staff during the FES-Hizbullah conference in Beirut. "It is scandalous," said Von der Osten-Sacken about the government providing a platform in Berlin for Iranian officials to demand "the extinction of Israel."

The conference's location - close to both the Holocaust memorial and the former Nazi center of power - carries great weight in Germany because of its history. While visiting Israel in March, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared the security of Israel to be part of Germany's overall national interests.

Kramer said that "anti-Israel statements and the renewed denial of the Holocaust at a conference supported by German tax money, by the FES, the Foreign Office, the SPD and EKD, and held in Berlin on the 70th anniversary of the Reich Pogrom Night call into question the official government expression of solidarity with Israel."

Larijani, whose brother Ali was Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator and its current parliament speaker, said "denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to do with anti-Semitism." Although Holocaust denial is unlawful in Germany, German officials have not commenced a criminal prosecution against Larijani. Meanwhile, the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt has written that the organization "endorses the criticism" of Germans and Israelis who objected to the "anti-Israeli remarks made by Mr. Larijani."

Vice premier Ramon pleit voor afsplitsen Arabische delen van Oost-Jeruzalem

De aanslag in Jeruzalem van gisteren, net als die in een religieuze school in Jeruzalem een paar maanden geleden, werd uitgevoerd door een Arabische inwoner van Oost-Jeruzalem. Deze mensen kunnen, in tegenstelling tot Palestijnen van de Westoever, vrij door Jeruzalem en Israël reizen. Maar wat is eigenlijk het verschil tussen Arabische wijken of zelfs dorpen ver buiten de eigenlijke stad Jeruzalem, en de plaatsen een paar kilometer verderop die niet onder de gemeente Jeruzalem vallen?
Israël heeft de gemeentegrenzen zodanig opgerekt dat er zelfs een Palestijnse vluchtelingenkamp onder valt. Vandaar het pleidooi van vice premier Haim Ramon om deze plaatsen van Jeruzalem af te scheiden.

"One of the main reasons that the attack was carried out yesterday with such ease was because there are Palestinian villages that for some reason are called Jerusalem - Jabel Mukaber and Zur Baher. They need to be treated as we treat Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin and Nablus," Ramon told Army Radio.

"These are Palestinian villages that were never part of Jerusalem, they were annexed to the city in 1967. No Israeli has ever been there, and doesn't go near there," Ramon added, continuing, "If the separation fence was west of the two villages, which we all call Jerusalem, it would have been a lot harder to carry out these kinds of attacks. It's forbidden for [residents of the neighborhoods] to have Israeli identification cards. How many more Israelis will have to pay with their lives until this is carried out?"

De vraag bij dit pleidooi om de gemeentegrenzen te herzien, is natuurlijk waar je de grens trekt. In de meeste wijken in Arabisch Jeruzalem komen zelden Joodse Israëli's, als dat het criterium wordt dan zullen ook wijken dicht bij de stad met een Joodse geschiedenis van de stad moeten worden afgescheiden. Ik denk niet dat Ramon daarvoor wil pleiten. Bovendien zijn de Arabische inwoners ertegen om van de stad afgescheiden te worden, en - al mag het opportunistisch overkomen dat zij hun 'residentiestatus' in Israël niet willen opgeven terwijl zij de terroristen van gisteren en eerder dit jaar veelal als helden zien -, men kan iemand niet zomaar bestaande 'privileges' afnemen.


Last update - 12:40 03/07/2008

Vice Premier: Parts of East Jerusalem should be severed from capital
By Haaretz Service

Vice Premier Haim Ramon (Kadima) told Army Radio on Thursday morning that Israel should treat the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Jabel Mukaber and Zur Baher as Palestinian villages, and revoke the permanent residency status of their residents.

Ramon spoke the day after a resident of Zur Baher took a bulldozer on a rampage in downtown Jerusalem, ramming into a bus, cars and pedestrians, killing three and wounding dozens.

In March, a resident of Jabel Mukaber gunned down eight people at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. In the aftermath of both attacks, Ramon called for the two neighborhoods to be entirely cut off from Jerusalem.

"One of the main reasons that the attack was carried out yesterday with such ease was because there are Palestinian villages that for some reason are called Jerusalem - Jabel Mukaber and Zur Baher. They need to be treated as we treat Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin and Nablus," Ramon told Army Radio.

"These are Palestinian villages that were never part of Jerusalem, they were annexed to the city in 1967. No Israeli has ever been there, and doesn't go near there," Ramon added, continuing, "If the separation fence was west of the two villages, which we all call Jerusalem, it would have been a lot harder to carry out these kinds of attacks. It's forbidden for [residents of the neighborhoods] to have Israeli identification cards. How many more Israelis will have to pay with their lives until this is carried out?"

Ramon also told Army Radio that he felt, as opposed to the prime minister and his fellow ministers, that demolishing the home of the terrorist's family would not prevent the next terror attack. However, he said that the house should be demolished anyway, if the law allows it.

"I doubt that demolishing the house will achieve what it aims to achieve, though if possible, the house must be razed. The laws must be made to fit the policy and we mustn't give up," Ramon said. "What we are allowed to do, we must do as soon as possible."

The attorney general was set to meet with representatives of the defense establishment on Thursday to discuss the legality of demolishing the home of the perpetrator of Wednesday's killing spree. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for the home to be razed, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak echoed this sentiment. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski also voiced support for the move.

Hamas onderhandelt niet over vrijlating Shalit tot Israël aan alle voorwaarden heeft voldaan

Dat krijg je als je een deal sluit met een terroristische groepering, die bovendien niet schriftelijk is vastgelegd. Volgens Israël was de vrijlating van Shalit onderdeel van het staakt-het-vuren, volgens Hamas stond het er los van.
Israël heeft inmiddels grote hoeveelheden goederen doorgelaten, zowel voedsel als diesel als cement, maar voor Hamas is het pas goed genoeg als via Rafah haar mensen en wapens vrijelijk de grens kunnen paseren. Overigens is een einde aan de wapensmokkel volgens Israël onderdeel van het staakt-het-vuren, maar deze is volgens veiligheidsbronnen juist toegenomen.

In tegenstelling tot wat veel bronnen beweren, eist Hamas duizend gevangenen (en niet 450 of 'honderden') voor Shalit, waaronder velen met bloed aan hun handen. Uiteraard is het niet aan Hamas om te bepalen waar Israël wel of geen bezwaar tegen mag maken, en hopelijk gaat de hele deal vanwege de obstructieve houding van Hamas niet door. Triest voor Shalit en zijn familie, maar zo wordt Hamas een overwinning ontzegd, evenals de gevangenen die Israëlische burgers hebben gedood, en wordt het ontvoeren van soldaten niet beloond...


Al-Mzeiny: Hamas movement won't start Shalit talks till Zionist entity follows out all truce items
Website of  Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades - the armed branch of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).
3 July 2008
www.alqassam .ps/english/?action=showdetail&fid=1068

Hamas senior leader, Osama Al-Mzeiny said on Thursday that Hamas movement will not resume talks about the Zionist abducted soldier Gilad Shalit till the Zionist entity implement all items of truce.

Al-Mzeiny stressed that Hamas movement will monitor the Zionist practices on the crossings for the upcoming two days then it will decide to start negotiations or not.

"We received an invitation from Egypt late on Tuesday to head to Cairo in order to start negotiations, but we apologized to them," Al-Mzeiny said.

Hamas senior leader stressed that Hamas movement will not accept less than releasing 450 Palestinian prisoners as a first stage and 550 as a second stage of swap deal. He confirmed that they gave Egypt a list of prisoners' names to be released.

He added that Zionist entity has the right to object the release of maximum 10 prisoners, but he refused to mention any of the names in the list.

Nasrallah draagt gevangenenruil met Israël op aan 'alle Lebanezen'

Nasrallah emphasized that the prisoner exchange was a "victory" that could be claimed by all Lebanese.
"I congratulate all Lebanese on this achievement and I hope that all the Lebanese consider it their achievement," Nasrallah said, adding that "We will deal with it just as we dealt with the 2000 victory and we will not use this new achievement for internal ends."
The Hizbullah leader also said he hoped the Lebanese "appreciate" that if the deal is carried out, "Lebanon will be the first Arab country in the Arab-Israeli struggle to close the detainee file."
He also said he hoped that the return of the bodies would inspire a sense of solidarity among Lebanese. "Our national and ethical responsibility is to maintain what these martyrs sacrificed and died for, and their funerals should be a national, unified event, a chance for the Lebanese to meet again," Nasrallah said.
Wat een eer om een man die de schedel van een vierjarig meisje insloeg als nationale held te vieren! Hoe diep moet je gezonken zijn? Het vreemde is, dat weinig mensen lijken te zien dat er iets fundamenteel niet klopt als je zulke mensen als helden ziet, en dat een bezetting of oorlog zulke daden nooit rechtvaardigt. Een organisatie die zulke mensen als helden ziet, neemt het ook met andere menselijke waarden niet zo nauw, en deinst er niet voor terug smerige trucs en bruut geweld te gebruiken om zijn macht te vergroten, zoals Hezbollah in Libanon de afgelopen jaren heeft gedaan.

Nasrallah dedicates prisoner swap with Israel to 'all Lebanese'
Hizbullah leader also pledges willingness to discuss arsenal
Daily Star staff
Thursday, July 03, 2008

 Nasrallah dedicates prisoner swap with Israel to 'all Lebanese'
BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed on Wednesday that his group had agreed to a UN-mediated deal to exchange prisoners with Israel, adding that the swap was expected to take place within the next two weeks. "I officially announce that we accept the agreement," he told a news conference held by video-link from a secure location.

During the course of the news conference, Nasrallah also made his clearest indication yet that his party is willing to discuss the issue of its weapons within the context of a national defense strategy.

"We are always ready to discuss the defense strategy. We are not afraid of discussion," Nasrallah said. "Anyone afraid of discussion is weak and has done something wrong. We have a comprehensive defense strategy and we are ready to discuss it at all times."

Nasrallah added that the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hizbullah had formally "concretized" Lebanon's defense strategy for the first time.

Discussing the expected prisoner exchange with Israel, Nasrallah said he would not "set an exact date" for the swap.

"The sooner it takes place the better," he added.

"I expect that in a week or two it will be implemented ... July 15 is the most probable, a bit before or a bit after," he said, adding that "If I specify a date, the Israelis will only change it."

Under the deal, which was approved by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, Israel will release five Lebanese prisoners, including Samir Qontar, and hand over the remains of Hizbullah members in exchange for two captured Israeli soldiers and the bodies of Israeli troops slain in Lebanon during the 2006 war.

The two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were captured by Hizbullah in a deadly cross-border raid on July 12, 2006. Israel responded to the border incident by launching a devastating 34-day war on Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Israeli cabinet on Sunday that the two Israeli solders were dead, but Nasrallah refused to give any additional information about their fate, calling the Israeli reports on the matter "speculation ... not based on anything tangible."

"Israel has no clue as to whether the soldiers are alive," Nasrallah added.

Hizbullah has always said that it seized the two soldiers to use them to negotiate a prisoner exchange.

"We have completed the whole mission," Nasrallah said, in reference to the group's aim of securing the release of all Lebanese held by Israel.

Nasrallah also said the resistance would hand over in a day or two a thorough report on the fate of Israeli airman Ron Arad, who has been missing since he ejected from his plane during a raid in South Lebanon in 1986.

Hizbullah had reached "absolute conclusions" about what happened to him after four years of investigation, Nasrallah said, without elaborating.

The report will be handed over to a United Nations-appointed German mediator who will arrive in Lebanon within two days, Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah described in detail the "hard and long negotiations" over the prisoner exchange, stressing that the talks were conducted through the  German mediator appointed by the UN secretary general and that therefore "the mediation is international, not German as the media has reported."

Nasrallah said that as part of the negotiations, Hizbullah sought information on the fate of four Iranian diplomats who were abducted by Christian militiamen during Israel's 1982 invasion. He added that the German mediator would soon receive a report from Israel on their fate. The Iranian Embassy in Beirut said in a statement released on Wednesday that Tehran believes that the four are alive and being held in Israeli prisons.

Nasrallah emphasized that the prisoner exchange was a "victory" that could be claimed by all Lebanese.

"I congratulate all Lebanese on this achievement and I hope that all the Lebanese consider it their achievement," Nasrallah said, adding that "We will deal with it just as we dealt with the 2000 victory and we will not use this new achievement for internal ends."

The Hizbullah leader also said he hoped the Lebanese "appreciate" that if the deal is carried out, "Lebanon will be the first Arab country in the Arab-Israeli struggle to close the detainee file."

He also said he hoped that the return of the bodies would inspire a sense of solidarity among Lebanese. "Our national and ethical responsibility is to maintain what these martyrs sacrificed and died for, and their funerals should be a national, unified event, a chance for the Lebanese to meet again," Nasrallah said.

"I personally announce Hizbullah's absolute openness to any political meeting under any title and in any context if it helps in uniting Lebanon, preserving civil peace and overcoming the previous phase in Lebanon," he said, in reference to armed clashes between opposition and pro-government gunmen in May in which at least 65 people were killed

"I urge all popular powers to distance themselves from any provocation so that we can make good and civilized use of the sacred blood in bridging the gaps between the Lebanese," the Hizbullah leader said.

Turning to the issue of celebratory gunfire, Nasrallah said that "this is a very dangerous matter" since "people are falling victim to this kind of gunfire."

"We can no longer tolerate this. Anyone who fires a gun to celebrate is firing that gun at me, at my head, at my heart and my turban," Nasrallah said.

Asked about the issue of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba Hills, Nasrallah said his party welcomed efforts to liberate the Israeli-occupied territories through negotiations.

He added, however, that Israel's withdrawal from all Lebanese territory "would not be a complete liberation" if the land were placed under UN control, and not under Lebanese sovereignty.

Turning to the region, Nasrallah said he does not think that Israel will attack Iran's nuclear facilities, calling the Jewish state "too weak to carry out such a major step."

"Israel is not capable of attacking Iran if the United States does not approve of the move," he added.


The Daily Star, with agencies

British terror stigma 'is an honor'


BEIRUT: Hizbullah secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday that Britain's decision to blacklist the Lebanese resistance group's military wing as a terrorist ogranization was an "honor" but questioned the timing of the move.

"Each time there is such a decision by the colonialists, we consider it a medal, an honor which attests that we are on the right path for our people," Nasrallah said in a press conference.

"But the timing is suspect because it coincides with a prisoner swap," he said, referring to an agreement that will involve Israel releasing five Lebanese and the remains of Hizbullah members in exchange for two Israeli soldiers captured in a cross-border raid two years ago - or their bodies.

Britain moved to ban the entire military wing of the resistance movement, adding it to its blacklist of terrorist groups, making it a criminal offense to belong to, raise funds or encourage support for the group's military wing.

The Interior Ministry said it took the action because Hizbullah's military branch was supporting Palestinian and Iraqi militants.

London has already banned Hizbullah's "external security organization," which it considers the group's "terrorist wing."

Nasrallah said the timing of the latest British ban was aimed at damaging "the human and civilized image that the exchange of prisoners gives to the resistance." The move was also "not a surprise ... since it comes from a founding state of the Zionist entity," he said, referring to the British-mandated Palestine where Israel was established in 1948. - AFP

woensdag 2 juli 2008

Rellen bij Rafah grens tussen Gaza en Egypte

Ondanks Israëlische protesten heeft Egypte de grens met de Gazastrook bij Rafah tijdelijk geopend. Volgens het staakt-het-vuren zou dit echter pas gebeuren nadat Shalit in Israël is. Dat dit een rare constructie is als je niet bepaalt wat de prijs is die Israël voor hem moet betalen, is een ander verhaal.

Egypt plans on letting additional Palestinians cross from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday. Since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, the Rafah crossing has been opened - according to observations by the security establishment - at least 50 times, despite Israel's demand that the crossing remain closed until kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released by Gaza militants.


Haaretz / Last update - 13:54 02/07/2008
Gazans clash with Egypt police, try to storm Rafah border
By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies

Palestinian witnesses said an angry crowd of people from the Gaza Strip tried to storm the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Wednesday, while throwing rocks at Egyptian troops.

The witnesses said Egypt was repelling the crowd with water cannons, and no one has made it across the border.

Live television footage showed Egyptian forces responding with water cannon and sealing the gates to the crossing point.

The Egyptians promised to open the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, but only a small number of Palestinians have been allowed through.

Egypt has kept the crossing sealed since Hamas militants seized control of Gaza more than a year ago.

Rafah is the main gateway for Palestinians to the outside world. In January, Hamas militants blew open the border, allowing thousands of people to cross through until it was resealed about two weeks later.

Also Wednesday, Israel reopened crossings on the Gaza Strip border, and for the first time in a year, allowed the transfer of construction material into the coastal territory.

Four crossings between Israel and Gaza reopened on schedule, Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza said. The Hamas Interior Ministry said Israel was to allow in fuel, wheat and animal feed, in addition to five trucks of dry cement for the first time in a year. About 26 sick Palestinians were also to enter Israel to receive treatment.

Since a truce with Gaza militants began on June 19, Israel has closed the passages a total of six times in retaliation for the firing of rockets on its population centers. But the Israel Defense Forces said that a lull in rocket strikes Tuesday led to the decision to open the crossings.

"After evaluating the situation where we had a couple of days where rockets were fired, no rockets were fired yesterday and this has enabled us to reopen the crossings," IDF spokesman Major Peter Lerner said.

On Tuesday, Cairo ordered the opening of the Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border Tuesday, allowing more than 100 people to cross the border. Among them were roughly 50 who needed medical care and another 67 Egyptian citizens who were stranded in the Strip after the closing of the border a few weeks after it was breached by Hamas in January.

Egypt plans on letting additional Palestinians cross from Egypt into Gaza on Wednesday. Since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, the Rafah crossing has been opened - according to observations by the security establishment - at least 50 times, despite Israel's demand that the crossing remain closed until kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is released by Gaza militants.

Senior Palestinian and Israeli officials said they doubt Egypt intends to open the Rafah crossing completely, even after Shalit is released, out of concern that Palestinians would stream into Egypt. It appears that Egypt prefers at this stage to open the crossing intermittently rather than permanently.

A Hamas leader, Ismail Radwan, castigated Egypt on Tuesday for preventing Hamas activists from returning to Gaza. Radwan said it was illogical to be conducting negotiations with the "Zionist enemy" for the release of Palestinian prisoners while Egypt held them.

He also said that Hamas would not retract its demand to include those serving life terms in Israeli jails on its list of prisoners to be exchanged for Shalit.

In response to Israeli objections, Egypt told Israel Tuesday that the opening of the Rafah crossing did not necessarily breach its obligations with regard to the truce it brokered between Israel and Hamas. A senior government official said senior Egyptian officials had told their Israeli counterparts that "the opening of the crossing was done to let off steam that built up over weeks, as is done from time to time."

The Prime Minister's Bureau only comment on the opening of the crossing was to refer the matter to the Defense Ministry.

Abbas urges self-restraint to preserve Gaza cease-fire

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged self-restraint Tuesday from both sides to preserve the shaky, Egyptian-brokered truce in the Gaza Strip, "despite the fact that there are those who are trying to destroy it."

Abbas was speaking after he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met briefly Tuesday during a Socialist International parley in Athens, and both indicated their support for peace talks.

The truce was under strain on Tuesday as Israel re-sealed its border crossings with the Gaza Strip after militants fired rockes on the western Negev. Israel closed its crossings into the Strip in response to the fire, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Palestinian militants that Israel would respond if attacks from the Gaza Strip persisted.

Meanwhile, Noam Shalit, the father of kidnapped soldier, took Olmert and the military and political establishment to task for failing to secure the release of his son after two years. "Conducting successful negotiations over the cost of returning prisoners is a result of the skill of the leader in being creative, determined, effective and experienced in this area, and his willingness to consult with others on the matter. Unfortunately, I did not see that the prime minister had this effectiveness."

Speaking at a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the moral and legal implications of a prisoner swap, Shalit said "Olmert asked Hamas to prepare a list of prisoners to release. Whoever heard of such a thing? It took them nine months to put together the list, which was 'heavy.' Nine months of Gilad's life lost forever."

Shalit was responding to remarks by law professor Yedidiah Stern, who argued that "it is inconceivable for the families of the kidnapped soldiers to play an integral part in determining the price-tag for returning the boys."

Stern called the families' part in the discourse "humiliating," saying that "the State of Israel must determine clear rules on the matter, because now we have paid a high price and in the future it will be higher. Captivity is worse than death. It is a black hole that everything around it is pulled into, but that cannot be what dictates the nation's actions."

Tzvi Regev, the father of kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev, who also took part in the conference, said every soldier has to know that the nation and the flag are behind him. "Despite the reports released about our sons, we have not lost hope," Regev also said.

(Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury contributed to this report)

UNESCO laat zich misbruiken voor anti-Israël conferenties

Salman Abu-Sitta, former member of the Palestine National Council, defamed Israel by comparing people in the Gaza Strip to the victims of the Nazis: "1.5 million people live in… the new Auschwitz, deprived of food, medicine and fuel and subject to daily slaughter… Those who were silent because they did not know about Nazi atrocities in World War II have no excuse today".
In de gebouwen van de VN is dergelijke taal helaas niet uitzonderlijk, en zijn er evenmin protesten tegen te horen.
In the hall next to the Conference room, organizations, including BADIL, put their anti-Israeli propaganda materials on a table. The main messages were firstly that illegitimate Israel has occupied Palestinian land, secondly drastic pressures have to be put on Israel to "free Palestine", and finally that the Palestinian right of return will lead to such a scale of Palestinian Arab immigration to Israel that the Jewish state will inevitably come to and end.
Niet alle Palestijnse organisaties geven openlijk toe dat dat een doel is van het zogenaamde 'recht op terugkeer'. Waarom protesteert niemand bij de VN tegen een dergelijke oproep tot vernietiging van een VN lidstaat? Op dezelfde conferentie werd ook de VN resolutie die in deling van het mandaatgebied Palestina voorzag betreurd.
Hoe kan een organisatie die zo eenzijdig is, en zich zo laat leiden door de propaganda van de Palestijnen, tegelijkertijd een rol als neutrale bemiddelaar spelen???

UNESCO Headquarters hosted an anti-Israel United Nations International Conference on Palestine Refugees
By Ray Archeld for Guysen International News
Lundi 16 juin 2008 à 21:51

The United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People organized a conference on "the present situation of Palestine refugees" at the UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Headquarters in Paris (France) on April 29 and 30, 2008.

It was the second such conference on Palestine refugees held at UNESCO Headquarters under the Committee's auspices following one in April 2000.

On July 12 and 13, 2005, UNESCO also had offered its premises for a "UN International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace" convened by the Committee.

That conference had adopted an "Action Plan" calling for "a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end the occupation and to comply with international law".

On July 15, 2005, the outraged Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had called for the abolition of that "anti-Israel UN committee".

The two-day April 2008 meeting's stated purpose was to "examine efforts at finding an agreed, just and fair solution to the refugee issue in keeping with relevant UN resolutions as a prerequisite for resolving the question of Palestine and achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East".

About 180 participants representing States (except Israel), international organizations, pro-Palestinian civil society organizations and a few media attended the Conference.

Its speakers, by and large, vilified and de-legitimized Israel, accusing it of violating international and humanitarian law. The documentary La terre parle arabe (The Land speaks Arabic) by Maryse Gargour focused on "cleansing and spoliation of Palestinian land by Zionists" (1).

In a message, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, noted: "This year marks the 60th year of Palestinian dispossession".

A "just compensation for the losses of Palestinian homes and properties and suffering and the fulfilment of right of return, both an individual and collective right" were demanded by speakers.

Various evaluations of the assets lost by the "750 000 Palestinian refugees" in 1948 were cited. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, considered Palestinian Arabs would not have to prove their ownership of their lost properties in order to reclaim them.
Ban Ki-moon also called for "the end of rocket fire and other attacks against Israeli targets and an end of Israeli incursions and military actions in Gaza". Most participants neglected to mention Hamas or Islamic terrorism.

Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee, judged "unacceptable and unjust that the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip is enduring a collective punishment and is subjected to a suffocating blockade for the actions of a few militant groups".

Outside the conference, Badji met French parliamentarians and invited participants of the conference to a cocktail reception.

Marcio N. Barbosa, UNESCO Deputy Director-General, described the Organization's support for the Palestinian Arabs, in particular via the UNESCO/Palestinian Authority Committee and a new program of fellowships to Palestinian students thanks to a contribution from the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People.

Elias Sanbar, Permanent Observer of Palestine to UNESCO and well-known intellectual (2), thanked Adrien Pirelli, the representative of France at the meeting (3), and the Government of France, "a constant and consistent friend of Palestine".

He deplored "the adoption of the [UN] resolution 181 in 1947 which partitioned historic Palestine and led to the injustice and tragedy that the Palestinian people continue to endure today".

Sanbar added in "the Al-Nakba Palestinian [Arabs were] dispersed from their homeland of Palestine by forced expulsion". Like most speakers, he concealed the Arab leaders' call for Palestinian Arabs to flee their home and the Jewish exodus from Arab countries.

Salman Abu-Sitta, former member of the Palestine National Council, defamed Israel by comparing people in the Gaza Strip to the victims of the Nazis: "1.5 million people live in… the new Auschwitz, deprived of food, medicine and fuel and subject to daily slaughter… Those who were silent because they did not know about Nazi atrocities in World War II have no excuse today".

On April 23, 2008, the United States, Britain, France and other states left a UN Security Council meeting when Libya made a similar comparison. On April 29, no country reacted.

Abu-Sitta asserted too that "the Palestinian will always be a majority… unless Israelis commit another Nakba or a "bigger holocaust". That false "demographic bomb"(4) argument has been promoted to induce "painful Israeli territorial concessions"(5).

Susan Akram, Professor at the Boston University School of Law, asserted: "It's extremely difficult to argue that Jews possess a right to 'return' to Palestine after 2,000 years while Palestinians cannot exercise such a right after approximately 60 years".

In order to pressure Israel, Mazen Masri and Terry Rempel, Ph.D. candidates, called for a BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) campaign, similar to the one against apartheid South Africa.
Terry Rempel was a founding member of BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. According to NGO Monitor, BADIL "is one of the most active NGOs in promoting extremist Palestinian political positions in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"(6).

As the only Israeli present, Professor Menahem Klein, Senior Lecturer of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University and member of B'etselem, warned the conference attendees that he did not in any way represent the Israeli Government and hence they should not direct their complaints to him. He spoke of an "asymmetrical conflict" and negotiations opposing the "strong Israel" to the "weak" Palestinian Arabs basing their demands on law.

The Non-Aligned Movement and the African Union expressed their support for the Palestinian cause.

The final resolution affirmed support for "the Israeli-Palestinian political process" in view of "concluding an agreement by the end of 2008" and stressed the "inalienable right of return of refugees".
It encouraged contributors to support controversial UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) which registered "over 4.5 millions refugees" .

The report of that conference will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the UN Secretariat.

In the hall next to the Conference room, organizations, including BADIL, put their anti-Israeli propaganda materials on a table. The main messages were firstly that illegitimate Israel has occupied Palestinian land, secondly drastic pressures have to be put on Israel to "free Palestine", and finally that the Palestinian right of return will lead to such a scale of Palestinian Arab immigration to Israel that the Jewish state will inevitably come to and end.

A television monitor also transmitted in a continuous loop a documentary on "undocumented massacres" of Palestinian Arabs during the "Nakba".
The documentation and television were strategically located at a UNESCO entrance to catch the eye of passers-by.

The Committee will convene two other conferences in Europe, on Jerusalem and settlements mistranslated in French as "colonies".

On May 15, 2008, Ambassador of Israel to UNESCO David Kornbluth commented: "UNESCO hosted that Conference after the UN New York headquarters had asked for it. Unfortunately, the ideas expressed during that conference do not contribute to peace. Israel didn't participate".

It might seem contradictory that UNESCO hosts an anti-Israeli conference while it has taken recent steps to improve its frequently biased relations with Israel by supporting a high-level visit to the country and adopted a resolution on Holocaust Remembrance in November 2007.

(1) That film was screened at the Arab World Institute (IMA) in Paris, on May 15, 2008 - -, during Palestine in Paris (May-July 2008) - - which is a "cultural event" organized by the City of Paris, whose Mayor is Mr Bertrand Delanoë, with Mrs Hind Khoury's support. Mrs Hind Khoury is the General Delegate for the Palestinian Authority in France. The IMA is "a foundation aiming at making known the Arab culture with public French and Europeans". It is "the fruit of a partnership between France and 22 Arabic States".

(2) Intellectual Elias Sanbar is also the editor in chief of quarterly French magazine Revue d'études palestiniennes he founded in 1981, in Paris, with the support of philosopher Gilles Deleuze and famous Jewish French publisher Jérôme Lindon of the prestigious Editions de Minuit.

(3) Adrien Pinelli serves as a counsellor at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: he is in charge of Palestinian Territories, Jerusalem and the Peace Process in the Egypt-Levant-Peace Process Division (ANMO/EL). He also teaches Foreign Relations at the prestigious Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po).

(4) In an article published in inFocus (Spring 2008), Bennett Zimmerman and Michael L. Wise wrote 2.7 million Palestinians live in the disputed territories, and not 3.71 million as the 2007 Palestinian Census stated. They stressed Israel benefits from a "strategic demographic advantage". Bennett Zimmerman et Michael Wise, Defusing the Demographic Time Bomb, inFocus, Spring 2008, volume II: n° 1,

(5) The Israelis are indeed concerned by the false "demographic time bomb". That argument influenced the "land for peace" negotiations, in particular the "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip.

(6) Badil's Radical Motto – European Tax Dollars at Work, October11, 2007,

(7) Barry Rubin, Asaf Romirowsky et Jonathan Spyer, UNRWA: Refuge Of Rejectionism, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, May 8, 2008,
Asaf Romirowsky, Defund UNRWA, May19, 2008,

Google Earth ingezet voor Palestijnse propaganda

Terwijl pro-Palestijnen klagen over de zogenaamde macht van het CIDI of van matig georganiseerde brievenschrijfclubs als Take a Pen, houden zij zich bezig met het echte werk, zoals propaganda activiteiten op Google Earth, Facebook, Wikipedia, U-Tube en Diggit. En met succes, helaas.

The Jerusalem Post Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Jul 1, 2008 21:42 | Updated Jul 1, 2008 22:27

Google Earth highlights the Nakba

Anti-Israel activity on the Google Earth application has been stepped up this week, with the message "Nakba - The Palestinian Catastrophe" now appearing when users scroll over the orange dots that speckle locations across the entire map of Israel.

Google spokesperson Jessica Powell said on Tuesday that Google has no plans to restrict the application's content, despite claims that Israel is being uniquely and malevolently targeted.

"Israel is being specifically targeted. No one else is running a campaign against a country like this," said Andre Oboler, a post-doctoral fellow in the political science department at Bar-Ilan University and Legacy Heritage Fellow at the NGO Monitor watchdog group.

Some posts on the map of Israel incorrectly state that various cities are Palestinian towns destroyed during the 1948 War of Independence, Oboler said. He added that after searching through Google's world map, he had not found a similar situation in any other country.

Jenin resident Thameen Darby is posting these notes on the application, as well as links to a Palestinian propaganda site, Palestine Remembered, which offers more layers of misinformation for the map of Israel, Oboler said.

When Google Earth is first downloaded, the application's core system allows for various layers to be available to users. The content found within the core includes overlays, created by both organizations and individuals, allowing more detailed perspectives on certain areas.

The orange dots posted by Darby can be immediately found on the map, while other pro-Israel and corrected postings have to be downloaded separately, according to Oboler. A user has to actively seek for another perspective on the map, he said.

"The core layer is what people get when they download and install Google Earth," Oboler said. "It is there by default. The problem we have here is that the core layer is being used to promote propaganda, and this is being done openly and without penalty. If we treat Google Earth as the primary geographic information tool in the world, having such propaganda included becomes a problem."

Oboler added that application users should generate truthful content about Israel, in order to counteract the misinformation and stop the site from becoming a "pile of spam."

"Google needs to review their policy for the community content layer, perhaps dividing it up or further restricting it to content about current significant locations and landmarks," Oboler said.

"Information can also be about the past or the future, for advocacy or for education. These things are valuable, but belong in separate layers, preferably ones that are fine-tuned to specific topics. This would prevent the abuse of the platform, the problem we have now, and avoid the problem of clutter in the future as the earth is overpopulated with user content."

Google is aware of the user-generated content and said that the company is dedicated to free speech and believes that the "debate is healthy," Google spokesperson Jessica Powell said.

The user-generated commentary from the Google Earth Community is automatically turned on in order to make information more readily available to users, she added.

Both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives are posted on the map of Israel, and there are other places of controversy in the world map besides the Middle East, she said.

"This layer reflects what people contribute, not what Google believes to be true," Powell said.

Kiryat Yam is suing Google for libel because the map application falsely lists the city as being built on the remains of an Arab settlement, Ghawarina, after the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, said the city's spokesman Naty Key Zilberman.

Google has not been in contact with the city over the claims, leaving Kiryat Yam with no choice but to sue, he said, adding that the case should be ready to submit to the court system in the United States within a few months.

"[Google Earth] is part of propaganda war, which [Israel] is losing," said Gerald Steinberg, political science professor at Bar-Ilan University and the head of NGO Monitor.

"While we recognize that some may find the user-generated content objectionable, we are careful to balance the integrity of an open forum with the legal requirements of local governments," Powell said.

Google removes only features that violate its terms and conditions. This, she said, is not the case with the posts on the map of Israel. The company would rather have a healthy amount of debate than place a limit on the application's content, said Powell.

"At the end of the day, individuals know more about the environment than Google ever will," she added.

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Arabische zangers boycotten Jordaans muziekfestival wegens vermeende link Israël

De Peace Loving Arabs, aanhangers van de religie van vrede, zien niets liever dan normalisatie van kontakten met hun Israëlische buren. Het zijn de agressieve kolonialistische oorlogszuchtige Zionistische bezetters die de boel verpesten, de Arabieren willen alleen maar vrede.
Het is dus precies onderstaande mentaliteit die vrede in de weg staat. Alles wat met Israël te maken heeft is slecht, en de Arabieren zelf treft uiteraard geen enkele blaam. Wat zou het mooi zijn als Arabische zangers/musici, zoals Israëlische, zouden oproepen tot vrede en verzoening en zich kritisch over de eigen kant zouden uitlaten. Waar blijft de Arabische Daniel Barenboim??

Arab singers to boycott Jordan festival over Israel

AMMAN (AFP) - Arab singers will boycott a music festival in Jordan next month over claims it is being set up by the same company which organised Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations in May, a union leader said on Monday.

The month-long Jordan Festival, due to open on July 8, will feature local and international artists including tenor Placido Domingo and jazz vocalist Diana Krall.

But several Arab singers will boycott it after calls by Jordan's Islamist-dominated 14 professional trade unions, said Shaher Hadid, president of the Jordan Artists Association.

Jordan's tourism board, however, denies that the company involved in the Israeli festivities is involved in the festival.

"Publicis Groupe has nothing to do with Jordan Festival. Another French company, Les Visiteurs du Soir, is organising the event and it has been contracted by the tourism ministry," Tourism Board chief Nayef Fayez told AFP.

Publicis has organised several events in Jordan, including the annual meeting of Nobel laureates which was held in June in the ancient city of Petra.

Hadid said that Jordanian popular singer Omar Abdallat and Egyptian crooner Amr Diab are among Arab singers "who have announced their boycott of the event in line with decisions by their unions."

The union of Lebanese artists also decided to stay away from the event and urged "Lebanese artists to boycott the festival or any event that is linked to Israel," a statement said.

Jordanian trade unions maintain that the event is being organised by Publicis which orchestrated events for the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

For Arabs the creation of Israel consecrated the occupation of Palestine.

"It's unimaginable that Arab singers take part in such a suspicious event... (meant) to open the door to normalisation with the enemy (Israel)," the unions said in a statement.

Although Jordan and Israel are bound by a 1994 peace treaty, many Jordanians are opposed to normalisation of ties with the Jewish state.

VN-rapport negeert overtredingen resolutie 1701 door Hezbollah

De VN (en de Arabische staten, en Frankrijk) laat liever Hezbollah Libanon opslokken dan de stabiliteit in gevaar te brengen. Vanuit deze positie wil men Hezbollah niet te fel bekritiseren wat betreft haar schendingen van VN resolutie 1701, waarmee de VN zich als neutrale bemiddelaar diskwalificeert. Het is een laffe positie, waar de Libanezen ook niet mee geholpen zijn. Hezbollah maakt zich niet alleen op voor een mogelijke nieuwe confrontatie met Israel, maar ook met de anti-Syrische groepen in Libanon. Een door Hezbollah en haar bondgenoten gedomineerd Libanon zal desastreus zijn voor de regionale stabiliteit.  

'UN report ignores Hizbullah violations'
Jul. 1, 2008

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to submit on Tuesday morning the quarterly report on the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1701, which cemented the end of the Second Lebanon War. According to reports, the document does not accuse Hizbullah of violating the terms of the cease-fire, despite Israeli allegations that the Shi'ite militia has retaken its border positions and continues to amass rockets and other arms banned under 1701.

Diplomatic sources quoted by Army Radio assessed that the conciliatory tone of the report stemmed from the UN's desire to maintain political stability in Lebanon.
The report also states that both Israel and Syria have yet to address maps of the contested Sheba Farms area drawn up by a UN representative and submitted to the two countries over six months ago.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that "United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 is not being implemented. Rockets continue to be moved into Lebanon, Hizbullah is becoming more powerful, and I think it is the Security Council's duty to convene and decide how to ensure that this resolution is indeed being enforced and carried out."

According to Army Radio, the report only mentions kidnapped IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser to say that "This subject is also sensitive and there have been developments in recent days, which is why we cannot report on the matter to the Security Council."

Meanwhile, Lebanese sources quoted by Israel Radio Tuesday morning said that the swap deal between Israel and Hizbullah is expected to take place in the coming week.

According to the sources, who spoke to a Kuwaiti news agency, the deal will be completed in two phases, the first of which will last two days. On the first day, Hizbullah will transfer to Israel remains of soldiers killed during the Second Lebanon War in exchange for the bodies of dozens of Hizbullah fighters and terrorists buried in Israel. On the second day Israel will receive captured reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and will transfer Samir Kuntar and four additional Lebanese prisoners to Hizbullah.

The second phase of the deal, the release of Palestinian prisoners, will only take place after 30 days. Israel, according to the sources, will probably release only women, children and sick inmates.

The Jerusalem Post could not confirm the reports.

Meanwhile, Army Radio reported that German mediator Gerhard Konrad was set to meet Hizbullah representatives in the coming days and peruse a dossier compiled by the organization on the subject of missing IAF navigator Ron Arad. According to the report, the deal will only be officially signed if Konrad confirms the seriousness of the Hizbullah dossier.

PA leiders noemen moordenaar Samir Quntar een held

Hoe diep moet je gezonken zijn om deze man een held te noemen? Je hoeft toch geen Zionist te zijn om te snappen dat het walgelijk is om een vierjarig kind met de loop van je geweer de schedel in te slaan nadat je haar vader voor haar ogen hebt vermoord? Waarom wordt deze man een held genoemd door Palestijnse media en Palestijnse leiders? De Palestijnen leven onder een bezetting, maar dat betekent niet dat je geen enkele moraal meer kunt hebben.
Palestinian Media Watch - Bulletin June 29, 2008
PA leaders: Quntar a hero
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
According to the Palestinian Authority leadership, Samir Quntar epitomizes the ideal Palestinian prisoner. Quntar, who crushed the head of four-year-old Eynat Haran with his rifle, is serving four life sentences for murder in an Israeli prison, but is almost certain to be freed in a prisoner swap with Hizbullah this week.

On one hand, Quntar embodies what the PA considers the "heroism" of terrorists fighting Israel. On the other hand, he's the ultimate symbol of all terrorist prisoners who have murdered Israelis and will eventually be freed as a result of future kidnappings or through some other means. 

PA TV, controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast the following picture honoring Quntar. He is depicted beside a map of Israel completely covered by the Palestinian flag.
[PATV, 23-25 June 2008]
Following are several recent quotes from PA leaders since April 2008, describing Quntar:  
"Samir Quntar, the warrior from Lebanon."
"The brave warrior, Samir Quntar."
"The Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership are standing behind you (Quntar)."
"You (Quntar) are an inseparable part of the action to free our homeland."
"Your (Quntar) patience and strength are a lesson for us."

Besides bludgeoning Eynat Haran to death with rocks and his rifle, Quntar killed her father and was responsible for the death of her infant sister. He also killed two policemen in the 1979 attack in Naharia.  The Israeli cabinet today approved a prisoner exchange that would free Quntar and several other prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah in 2006. The exchange could happen within the next few days.

PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel

Internationale enquete: meeste mensen tegen partij kiezen in Israëlisch-Palestijns conflict

Daarnaast is een meerderheid voor een grote rol van de Verenigde Naties, in de vorm van een vredesmacht nadat Israël en de Palestijnen een vredesverdrag hebben getekend, en veiligheidsgaranties aan Israël en de Arabische staten. Daarbij zijn meer mensen voor bescherming van de Arabische staten dan voor Israël, zoals ook wat betreft partij kiezen in geen enkel land een meerderheid vond dat zijn regering voor Israël moest kiezen, maar wel een meerderheid in drie landen voor de Palestijnen koos. Ook werden de Israëlische politici het slechtst beoordeeld van alle spelers in het conflict.
Naast 18 landen werd ook de Palestijnen over sommige zaken om hun mening gevraagd, maar dat werd niet in de (meeste) resultaten meegenomen. Om de een of andere reden vond men het niet interessant ook de Israëli's om hun mening te vragen, wat een verdenking van onevenwichtigheid achter laat. Desondanks zijn de resultaten veelzeggend en zou het onverstandig zijn als Israëli's die, onder het mom van 'iedereen is tegen ons', ter zijde schuiven. De internationele gemeenschap heeft de macht een oplossing op te leggen, en veel mensen hebben vooralsnog geen sterke voorkeur voor een van beiden.
Een sterke rol voor de VN klinkt mooi, en meer dan afzonderlijke landen heeft de VN het imago objectief te zijn en niet voor één partij op te komen. Probleem is echter dat de VN allesbehalve neutraal is. De VN vredesmacht in Zuid-Libanon kijkt toe terwijl Hezbollah wapens uit Syrië krijgt en bunkers bouwt, terwijl zij helemaal niet aanwezig dient te zijn in dat gebied. De VN vredesmacht in de Sinai vertrok destijds meteen toen Egypte daarom verzocht, wat mede tot de Zesdaagse Oorlog heeft geleid. De VN heeft de PLO in 1974 waarnemersstatus gegeven, en sindsdien zijn onder VN vlag een batterij aan anti-Israël organisaties gecreëerd die allerhande anti-Israël activiteiten organiseren, zoals conferenties over de 'rechten van de Palestijnen' en Nakba herdenkingen. In de Algemene Vergadering en de Mensenrechtenraad wordt Israël door dictatoriale regimes continu aan de schandpaal genageld terwijl de echte schurkenstaten de dans ontspringen. De VN zou een mooie bemiddelaar kunnen zijn, indien zij zich daadwerkelijk neutraal zou opstellen, en de invloed van de Organisatie van de Islamitische Conferentie aan banden wordt gelegd. Daartoe moet ook de Divisie voor Palestijnse Rechten, een van de zeven regionale divisies met een volkomen eenzijdig karakter, worden opgeheven.

International Poll: Most Publics--including Americans--Oppose Taking Sides in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
July 1, 2008

Israeli, Palestinian, American and Arab Leaders All Get Low Marks On Efforts to Resolve Conflict
Most Favor UN Playing Robust Role in Peace Enforcement


A new poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.

Asked to evaluate how well a number of key actors are doing their part to resolve the conflict, none of them get good grades, including Israel, the Palestinians, the United States, and the Arab countries. On average across all the countries polled, none of the actors receives good grades from more than 3 in 10. Interestingly, Americans are divided as to whether the United States is doing its part.

Publics in most countries favor the United Nations offering to play a robust role in support of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nearly all publics would favor the UN saying that, if the parties come to a peace agreement, the UN would send a peacekeeping force to enforce it. Most publics would also favor the UN offering to provide security guarantees to both Israel and the Arab countries should a peace agreement be reached.

"Publics around the world are not cheering for either side and want their governments to take an even-handed approach," said Steven Kull, director of "All of the key actors are seen as failing to do their part to break the impasse and most want the UN Security Council to step in and offer peacekeeping forces and even security guarantees to help resolve the conflict."

The poll of 18,792 respondents was conducted by, a collaborative research project involving research centers from around the world and managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. Interviews were conducted in 18 countries, including most of the largest nations -China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Russia--as well as Mexico, Peru, Britain, France, Spain, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea. Not all questions were asked in all countries. In addition, most of the questions were asked in the Palestinian Territories. The nations included represent 59 percent of the world population.

Publics Support Even-Handed Approach to Conflict

Asked how their country should approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 14 out of 18 publics preferred taking neither side. On average, 58 percent say that their country should not take either side, while just 20 percent favor siding with the Palestinians and 7 percent say that their country should take Israel's side.
In eight of the countries this was a large majority--seven in 10 or more--including Mexicans (88%), South Koreans (82%), Britons (79%), the French (79%), Peruvians (76%), the Chinese (74%), Americans (71%), and Ukrainians (69%).

Only in a few predominantly Muslim countries do most favor taking the side of the Palestinians. Robust majorities take this position in Egypt (86%) and Iran (63%), as does a modest plurality in Turkey (42% Palestinians' side, 38% neither side). However two other predominantly Muslim countries primarily favor taking neither side--Azerbaijan (54%) and Indonesia (43%).

In no country does a majority favor taking Israel's side. The largest percentages favoring taking Israel's side are Indians (24%), Americans (21%), and Nigerians (15%).

Negative Reviews of Israel, Palestinians, US, Arab Countries, Quartet

World publics give low marks to all the various parties who play a major role in trying to resolve the conflict. Respondents were asked to evaluate how well each party is "doing its part," in "the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." In nearly all cases publics give poor grades to Israel, the Palestinians, the United States, or the Arab countries.


Israel receives the worst ratings, with most saying they are not doing their part very well in 13 out of 15 countries asked. On average, 54 percent say it is not doing its part well (31% not very, 23% not at all) while just 22 percent say it is (5% very, 17% somewhat).

Negative ratings of Israel are not confined to predominantly Muslim publics--the largest majorities saying Israel is not doing its part well include Egypt (88%), South Korea (69%), Indonesia (66%), France (64%), the United States (59%), Azerbaijan (59%), Mexico (57%), and Great Britain (57%).

Only in India do more say that Israel is doing its part than do not (35% to 25%), while the Chinese are divided (41% to 39%).
In addition, the Palestinians were asked to evaluate Israel (though they are not included in the averages). Not surprisingly, 81 percent say that Israel is not doing its part well (61%, not at all well). Just 13 percent say that it is (4% very well).


Ratings of the Palestinians are not much better than those of Israel. In ten out of 15 countries most say they are not doing their part well to resolve the conflict. An average of 47 percent says they are not doing their part well, while just 28 percent say they are.

The largest majorities critical of Palestinian efforts are Americans (75%), South Koreans (74%), the French (66%), Mexicans (61%) and British (57%). Pluralities in Turkey (42%) and Azerbaijan (50%) also rate the Palestinians' efforts poorly, as do pluralities of Russians (41%), Ukrainians (34%), and Thais (33%), though many decline to offer an opinion.

Palestinians receive the most positive ratings from Egyptians (63%) and Nigerians (46%), though a significant number of Nigerians is also critical (43%) making the overall public divided. Pluralities in Indonesia (49%), China (40%), and India (34%) all say the Palestinians are doing their part at least somewhat well.

The Palestinians give themselves quite good ratings (again, they were excluded from the averages). Seventy-five percent say they are doing their part well (40%, very). However, 15 percent give them poor ratings (5%, not well at all).

United States

Asked to rate how well the United States is doing its part to resolve the conflict, 12 out of 15 nations say the United States is not doing its part well (excluding Americans but including Palestinians). On average, 59 percent rate US efforts poorly, while just 20 percent give positive ratings.

US efforts receive the most negative evaluations from Egyptians (86%), Mexicans (77%), the Palestinians (77%), the French (71%), South Koreans (70%), the Chinese (69%), and Turks (64%).

A majority of Nigerians (53%) says that the US is doing its part at least somewhat well. Indians are divided (33% well, 34% not well), as are Thais (27% well, 26% not well).

Interestingly, Americans themselves are divided. Only 44 percent say the United States is doing its part well (7%, very), while 46 percent say it is not (15%, not at all).

Arab Countries

Evaluations of the Arab countries are somewhat less negative than those of Israel or the US, with most in 11 out of 15 publics rating their efforts negatively (excluding the Egyptians). On average, a plurality among the nations polled (48%) says they are not doing their part well, while just 23 percent say they are.
Americans (78%) and South Koreans (76%) rate the Arab countries most negatively, followed by the French (69%). Majorities of the Palestinians (57%) and Turks (58%) also rate them negatively.

In just two countries a plurality gives a positive rating--Indonesia (50%) and China (40%). Two publics are divided: Nigeria and India.

The one Arab nation (other than the Palestinians) polled--Egypt--gives the Arab countries a positive evaluation. Seventy-one percent say the Arab countries are doing their part well (9%, very well), while just 29 percent say they are not.

The Quartet

The countries that are part of the "Quartet" were also polled on the performance of their country and of the European Union. The Quartet consists of the US, Russia, the UN, and the European Union.

The European Union's efforts were evaluated by France and Britain. The EU receives negative ratings from pluralities in both countries (France 48%, Britain 45%), and in both countries those giving positive ratings does not exceed one third (France 33%, Britain 31%).

The British also give their own country poor ratings. A plurality of 47 percent gives their government an unfavorable review while 33 percent give a positive review.
Russians are a bit more upbeat about their country's performance. While many do not provide an answer, a plurality of 36 percent give a positive evaluation while 17 percent give a negative one.

Widespread Support for Robust UN Role

Overall, there is strong support for the United Nations playing a robust role in the effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Very large numbers favor the United Nations contributing a peacekeeping force to enforce a peace agreement and substantial numbers favor the UN Security Council offering to provide security guarantees to Israel and the Arab countries.

Enforcement of Peace Agreement

In 16 of 17 countries polled, majorities or pluralities favor the UN Security Council offering--if Israel and the Palestinians come to a peace agreement--to send a peacekeeping force to enforce the agreement. On average, 67 percent favor such an approach, while just 20 percent oppose the idea.

Among all of the permanent members of the UN Security Council publics are supportive. In four countries this is by a robust majority--China (81%), France (74%), Great Britain (67%), and the United States (61%). Only in Russia is support limited to a plurality (47%), though few are opposed (25%).

Palestinians are strongly in favor of such an idea (63%), as are those in other predominantly Muslim countries--Turkey (65%), and Egypt (64%).

In addition, large majorities also favor this idea in Nigeria (89%), Indonesia (88%), South Korea (83%), Mexico (82%), and Azerbaijan (74%). Only Ukrainians are not in favor, but rather are divided (35% favor, 32% oppose) with a large number uncertain.
Providing Security Guarantees

Respondents were also asked about a much stronger possible commitment by the UN Security Council in the event of a peace agreement--committing to protect Israel if attacked by its Arab neighbors, and to protect Arab countries if attacked by Israel. Though such a commitment could prove costly, support was surprisingly high. Out of 16 nations, 11 favor such a UNSC commitment to protect Israel and 13 favor a commitment to protect Arab countries.

On average, 45 percent favor providing security guarantees to Israel (36% opposed), while 55 percent favor providing guarantees to Arab countries (24% opposed).

Ten countries favor the UN Security Council providing security guarantees to both Arab countries and Israel. This includes three of the permanent members of the Security Council. Very large majorities are supportive in China (84% for Arab countries, 80% for Israel), with more modest majorities in France (61% for Arab countries, 65% for Israel) and Great Britain (54% for Arab countries, 51% for Israel).

Other countries include Mexico (66% for Arab countries, 57% for Israel), Nigeria (67% for Arab countries, 61% for Israel), Azerbaijan (63% for Arab countries, 57% for Israel), and Turkey (50% for Arab countries, 43% for Israel). South Koreans support both proposed commitments equally (63% for the Arab countries, 65% for Israel), Indonesia has a large majority favoring protection of the Arab countries (71%), while a much smaller plurality (48%) favors the UNSC protecting Israel as well. Pluralities in Thailand are also favorable, though many appear to have an unformed opinion on the issue (for Arab countries 32% favor, 14% oppose; for Israel 31% favor, 16% oppose).

The other two permanent members of the UN Security Council--the United States and Russia--have less robust public support. A majority of Americans favor making a commitment to protect Israel (53% favor), but a plurality opposes protecting Arab countries (38% favor, 50% oppose). Russians oppose protecting Israel from an attack by its Arab neighbors by a slight margin (36% oppose, 28% favor) while a similar number oppose protecting Israel (34% to 27%). But large numbers of Russians do not take a position.

Only two publics where a majority favors protection of Arab countries do not also favor protecting Israel: Egyptians (82% Arab countries, 16% Israel) and the Palestinians themselves (75% Arab countries, 12% Israel).

Among Indians, a plurality favors protecting Arab countries (28% favor, 19% oppose), but they are divided on whether Israel should also receive protection from the UNSC (34% favor, 34% oppose).

Ukrainians, like Russians, have pluralities opposed to protecting Israel (39% oppose, 15% favor) and Arab countries (38% to 15%), with large numbers undecided.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis