zaterdag 11 september 2010

Time Magazine: geeft Israel nog om vrede?

Een foto kan beter liegen dan 1.000 woorden. Daarvoor hoeft hij zelfs niet gemanipuleerd te worden. Je drukt wat foto's af van zonnende Israeli's op het strand om te onderstrepen dat vrede met de Arabieren - of de Palestijnse onderdrukking en bezetting überhaupt - ze koud laat. Je kunt even makkelijk foto's plaatsen van zonnende Palestijnen in Gaza (al gaat zonnen lastig met een burka) en zwemmende en vliegerende kinderen in Ramallah, om aan te duiden dat het best prettig verpozen is onder de Israelische bezetting c.q. blokkade en onder het islamitische Hamas- c.q. corrupte Fatah-bewind, en dat de vredesbesprekingen ook de Palestijnen koud laat.
Citaat via Elder of Zyon: Meanwhile, Abbas himself said "[i]n the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Time cover story claims decadent Israelis no longer care about peace.

As Israel launches a new round of peace talks with the Palestinians, media outlets are bending over backwards to find a new angle on the peace process. One of the most shocking comes from Time magazine, whose cover story "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace" suggests that Israelis no longer see peace as a priority because the economy is strong and the country has largely been free of terror inside the green line.

(An excerpt from the story can be read online here. The whole story appears in the print edition and on the magazine's iPad application.)

Polls repeatedly show that Israelis strongly support a two-state solution to the conflict. But it may, indeed, be true that Israelis have grown skeptical of any breakthroughs with the Palestinian leadership now divided between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in control of Gaza. Israelis have seen that new peace talks are usually accompanied by new terror attacks.

The Time article, written by Karl Vick, however, glosses over any legitimate reasons why Israelis may have lost interest in the details of the peace process, instead presenting Israelis as callous, insensitive, and decadently more concerned with beaches, water sports, and Tel Aviv's cafe culture than with matters of real substance.

Vick writes:

In the week that three Presidents, a King and their own Prime Minister gather at the White House to begin a fresh round of talks on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They're otherwise engaged; they're making money; they're enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.

The reference to the "blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land" is particularly telling. Vick appears to subtly reject Israel's historic claims to the land and to imply that Israelis are at fault in the conflict, since the land really belongs to the Arabs.

The print edition's accompanying photos reinforce Vick's contention that Israelis are preoccupied with leisure. The images feature Israelis lying on the beach, chatting at a cafe, or sitting on park benches. The implication is obvious: Israelis don't care about peace because they are doing fine without it.

Thus, Time distorts Israeli resilience in the face of a decade of rocket attacks and terrorism into an image of decadence.

Perhaps the real reason Israelis have become apathetic to the peace process (not peace itself, as the cover suggests), is because of the way the world quickly forgets Israel's numerous peace moves – Ehud Barak's offer of a state at Camp David, Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza, Binyamin Netanyahu's settlement freeze. Yet the media blames Israel for years of stalemate.

While there have been no parallel moves from the Palestinians to advance the peace process, only ever-increasing demands on Israel, Vick gives the impression that the Palestinians have been doing everything they can to make peace possible.

In the West Bank, the territory administered by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, technocratic Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is taking a serious stab at governance, starting by professionalizing security forces. Even before the shooting deaths of four Jewish settlers by Hamas operatives on Aug. 31, the worst such incident since March 2008, Fayyad's security forces had arrested more than 300 Hamas supporters in dread of an attack like that.

"Jewish settlers" - not Talya and Yitzchak Imes, Kochava Even-Haim, and Avishai Shendler, not civilians, not even "Israelis" - were killed by people Time labels as "Hamas operatives" while Fayyad sat "in dread" of such activity.

If Fayyad's dread is what demonstrates Palestinian concern for peace after one year of rejecting Israeli offers for peace talks, what does Time have to say about Palestinian leaders beyond Fayyad?

A few days before leaving for Washington, chief Palestinian negotiator looked into a camera. "Shalom to you in Israel," he said. "I know we have disappointed you." In a bold, not to say desperate, bid to rouse ordinary Israelis, seven senior Palestinian officials addressed themselves to Israel directly in online videos. Each clip concludes with the words "I am your partner. Are you mine?"

While some may see Erekat's comments and the Palestinian videos as political propaganda that gives no insight into the minds of the Palestinian people, for Vick it serves as a counterpoint to Israel's apparent apathy. Of course, he has to bend over backwards to make the point.

As a result, we have another cover story on newsstands worldwide accusing Israel of not caring about peace. What we really learn, however, is that Time magazine doesn't care about Israel.


Britse regering eist vrijlating Gilad Shalit

Al van eind augustus, maar toch opmerkelijk. Dat er geen sancties aan de Britse eis werden verbonden is echter niet vreemd, wat Groot-Brittannië boycot het Hamas regime al, dus wat kunnen ze meer doen? Gaza bombarderen laten ze liever aan de Israëli's over. Misschien kan Cameron de schoonzus van Blair laten arresteren, een warm supporter van de Hamas-terroristen en doorbreekster van de legitieme Israelische blokkade, en pas vrijlaten als Shalit vrij is?
GB eist vrijlating Gilad Shalit
zaterdag 28 augustus 2010
Het Engelse ministerie van BuZa eiste zaterdag de vrijlating van de ontvoerde Israelische soldaat Gilad Shalit. Het was Gilads 24e verjaardag, de vijfde die hij doorbrengt in handen van Hamas. In strijd met alle internationale wetten wordt hij sinds zijn ontvoering op 25 juni 2006 in volkomen afzondering gevangen gehouden ergens in de Gazastgrook. Hij mag geen post ontvangen en al helemaal geen bezoek, zelfs niet van het Internationale Rode Kruis. Onderhandelingen over zijn vrijlating stranden steeds weer op exhorbitante eisen van Hamas, dat in ruil voor hem vrijlating eist van een groot aantal terroristen zonder controle van Israel op wie wordt vrijgelaten en wat hun bestemming zal zijn. In oktober vorig jaar werd een video gepubliceerd waarop te zien was dat Gilad in elk geval eind september van dat jaar nog leefde: hij werd gefilmd met een krant van die datum.

De EU, zoals Frankrijk deze week nog opmerkte de grootste geldschieter van de Palestijnen, heeft al die tijd geen noemenswaardige druk uitgeoefend om de vrijlating van Shalit te bewerkstelligen.

Zover bekend was de verklaring van Engeland de eerste maal dat dit land zijn vrijlating eiste. Mogelijk was dit bedoeld als goedmakertje voor de buitenissige uitspraken die de Britse premier David Cameron eerder deze maand deed tijdens een bezoek aan Turkije. Hij noemde Gaza toen een groot gevangenkamp.

"De gedachten van veel Britten zijn bij Gilad Shalit en zijn familie", verklaarde het Britse ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken. "Zijn gevangenschap valt niet te rechtvaardigen en is onaanvaardbaar. De Britse regering eist zijn onmiddelijke en onvoorwaardelijke vrijlating."
Jammer dat er geen sancties verbonden werden aan die eis.

Terra Incognita: de mythe van een "land zonder volk"

Het is al lang bekend dat de bewering dat "een land zonder volk voor een volk zonder land" een zionistische leus was, gelogen is; een verzinsel van de anti-zionisten om het zionisme in discrediet te brengen. Toch kom je deze 'mythe' nog geregeld tegen, vaak in reacties op fora en onder krantenartikelen op internet. Hoog tijd dus dat we deze ook ontkrachten in ons mythen-artikel.
The Jerusalem Post
Terra Incognita: Anti-Zionism's straw man
09/01/2010 00:39

The Western champions of a return of the Jews to Israel are said to have ignored the local inhabitants.

The bookstores are adorned with new titles seeking to address the "origins" of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Amy Marcus is one and Ronald Florence's Lawrence and Aaronsohn: The Seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict is another. The newest edition is The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Jonathan Schneer.

In a review of it, the prolific Israeli author/journalist Tom Segev writes "the Arabs were as invisible to the early Zionists as Africans had been to Boers in South Africa, or Indians to the French and English colonists in North America."

The idea that Zionists viewed the Land of Israel as a "land without a people" has been described as one of Zionism's "foundation myths." The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and numerous others frequently refer to this notion to falsify and simplify the origins of Zionism.

Edward Said infamously shortened the phrase to "a land without people" to imply that Zionists actually believed there were no people in Ottoman Palestine.

Rashid Khalidi, who inherited Said's imprimatur as the American-Palestinian scholar who explains the conflict to the West, wrote: "In the early days of the Zionist movement, many of its European supporters – and others – believed that Palestine was empty and sparsely cultivated."

However it has now been realized that the Zionists themselves almost never used the term "land without a people."

Ze'ev Sternhell, a critic of Israel, wrote "contrary to the claim that is often made, Zionism was not blind to the presence of Arabs in Palestine."

Diana Muir, in an expert essay in Middle East Quarterly, fully examined "one of the most oft-cited phrases in the literature of Zionism – and perhaps also the most problematic. Anti-Zionists cite the phrase as a perfect encapsulation of the fundamental injustice of Zionism."

She showed that it was first coined by Church of Scotland clergyman Alexander Kieth. The notion that the phrase was often used by Christian "restorationists" and rarely if ever by Jews has now morphed into a new myth.

The best evidence for the new thinking is a recent column by James Carroll in the Boston Globe and The New York Times. He writes that "the Holy Land was to be the place of a dream rescue from the horror of the trenches. That the dream was unreal, of course, is why it did not include the Arabs who already lived in Palestine. It was a 19th century British Christian restorationist who coined the mistaken and still fateful phrase 'a land without a people for a people without a land.'"
THAT ZIONISM is now turned into a British-American-Christian plot is no surprise. It is part of the larger process by which everything Israeli and Jewish is turned into something Western, at a time when everything Western and Christian is considered particularly heinous. The Western champions of a return of the Jews to Israel are said to have ignored the local inhabitants.

But there seems little evidence for this.

Laurence Oliphant, a Christian Zionist and member of Parliament was also a resident of Haifa in the 1880s and a keen observer of the local geography, which included the few Arabs then living in Haifa and the surrounding coastal areas. It is true he had little concern for the local population, proposing at one point a canal to link Aqaba to Haifa via the Dead Sea that would, according to his calculations, submerge Tiberias, Jericho, Beit She'an and "a few small villages." He wrote in Haifa or Life in Modern Palestine that "Tiberias contains a population of over three thousand, chiefly Jews, and a Latin and Greek monastery."

He was not ignorant of the local Arabs, but noted "the villages here are small, few and far between, and there is room for a large population; but the most tempting land of all is the tract between Umm el-Fahm and the sea." He was critical of the Arab gentry "who are the bloodsuckers of the fellahin."

William E. Blackstone, America's foremost Christian Zionist at the turn of the century, came as a pilgrim to Palestine in 1888. He did not keep a diary but later wrote: "It is a territory of at least 10,000 square miles, with only 600,000 population. There is room there for two or three million people."

The earl of Shaftesbury, a British Christian Zionist of the 19th century, was involved with numerous like-minded others in creating the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1865. This organization was singlehandedly responsible for producing the first truly accurate maps of the country and extensive multivolume memoirs which recorded hundreds of villages in Palestine's rural hinterland. Far from creating the image of a country without people, it provides the most important source from the 19th century on rural Arab life. Their work, however, also shows the degree to which some of the country was sparsely populated, barren and desolate.

There is an attempt today to create a straw man of Zionism where Zionists and their Christian European backers are said to have created a mythological Palestine free of people to justify imperialism and expulsion of the local inhabitants. That claim is then easily challenged by the anti-Zionist saying "there were Arabs and they were ignored."

When it was shown that Zionists themselves didn't think this way the claim was more easily placed on the shoulders of "nefarious Christian Zionists and imperial powers."

In fact, all the parties concerned were aware of the Arabs; they simply felt there was room for other cultural groups. Oddly, the same people in the West who have such a hatred for Zionism and its Jewish immigrants are all champions of immigration and multiculturalism in their home countries. By stealing Zion from the Zionists and claiming only a Christian pedigree for it, they not only rely on a false argument but deprive Zionism of its genuine character expressed by Theodor Herzl's injunction: "the Promised Land, where it is right for us to have hooked noses, black or red beards and bandy legs without being despised."
The writer is a PhD researcher at Hebrew University and a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies.

Palestijnse Autoriteit houdt vluchtelingen in Balata arm en miserabel

Ik wist dat Palestijnen in Libanese vluchtelingenkampen in miserabele omstandigheden moeten leven, en van alles niet mogen dat gewone Libanezen wel mogen, maar naar blijkt houdt ook de Palestijnse Autoriteit de vluchtelingen arm en miserabel:
The PA does not permit the children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the people of Balata to build outside the one square kilometer. The people of Balata are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp - including sewers and roads.
Ondertussen draait UNRWA op voor de kosten van dit vluchtelingenkamp, en is dus medeplichtig aan de instandhouding ervan. Ik vermoed dat het er in andere vluchtelingenkampen op de Westoever niet veel beter aan toe gaat.
Where are the flotillas protesting the PA's version of apartheid?
Enforced Misery: The PA and the Balata 'Refugee' Camp
August 31, 2010 - by Abraham H. Miller
The conventional wisdom is that the Middle East peace talks between Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas will go nowhere, as each side is engaged in an elaborate charade to please the Obama administration.

Netanyahu cannot move one hundred thousand Israelis off the West Bank, nor can he give up the strategic high ground in the Judean desert. Abbas cannot speak for the majority of the Palestinians, and his lack of legitimacy is underscored by his currently serving the sixth year of a four-year term. Like Yasser Arafat, Abbas has shown no desire to go down in history as the Palestinian who gave up the refugees' "right of return."

The refugee problem is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to peace. And it has taken on a life of its own, as the refugees have become a useful gimmick in the peace charade.

Depending upon whose estimate you read, there are some twenty or thirty thousand "refugees" in the Balata refugee camp outside of Nablus. Balata is simultaneously the most populous and smallest of the Palestinian refugee camps — its growing population is confined to one square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated and miserable places on the planet.

Any regime with an ounce of compassion would have shut Balata down and integrated its people into the surrounding community. Balata is a place without hope, a quagmire of despair, where the day-to-day misery of its inhabitants is partially ameliorated by Western charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), while inadvertently building a culture of dependence.

Balata's creation could ostensibly be laid at Israel's doorstep, but its perpetuation cannot. The current residents of Balata are only refugees by a crude reworking of the meaning of the term. They themselves have fled from nothing, and sought refuge from nothing. They are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the people who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war.

If you want to use the term "apartheid" to characterize some aspect of Middle East politics, then Balata is a good place to apply it. It is the Palestinian Authority's answer to Soweto.

The PA does not permit the children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the people of Balata to build outside the one square kilometer. The people of Balata are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp — including sewers and roads.

Balata and the other refugee camps are showcases of contrived misery. They are Potemkin villages in reverse. Naïve peace activists and unsophisticated Western clergy are led through such camps to witness the refugee drama, with Israel conveniently and prominently cast in the role of villain.

Originally, there were about 700,000 Palestinian refugees. Because the Palestinians have rewritten the meaning of the term "refugee," creating refugees that transcend generations; there are now 4.5 million Palestinian refugees.

The original number of Palestinian refugees is roughly equivalent to the number of Mizrahi Jews that were forcibly evicted from the Arab and Islamic world after the establishment of the state of Israel. Israel, and to a lesser degree the West, absorbed these refugees. Within three years, they ceased being refugees. Today, neither they nor their descendants inhabit dismal, overcrowded camps, living as a people apart and without hope.

The Arab world supposedly cares about the plight of the Palestinians. But the Arabs have done little to transform Palestinian refugees into citizens. With the exception of Jordan, Palestinian refugees have been treated throughout the Arab world as a people apart — people to be showcased, but not to be extended a modicum of civility and compassion.

In 2007, Amnesty International issued a report decrying the conditions of the Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps. Yet there were no flotillas, no campus protests, and no UN resolutions condemning the role of Arab nations or the Palestinian Authority for bottling up Palestinians in refugee camps and condemning them to a life of despair.

In recent days, the Lebanese parliament — after six decades — finally passed legislation opening up to Palestinians those occupations that are permitted to other foreigners. The decision, upon closer inspection, falls short of its publicity value. In Lebanon, foreigners are barred from a long list of major professions. The amelioration of Palestinian suffering is limited, and the camps are still Casabas, self-governing enclaves, generally off-limits to Lebanese police and law.

As the latest round of peace talks inevitably moves in a continuous circle, here is an obstacle to peace that the Arabs themselves could eliminate within years, if not months, by shutting down the refugee camps and integrating their inhabitants into the surrounding communities. This would mean, of course, an end to the demand for Israel's demographic destruction and an end to the culture of dependence created by UNRWA.

When the Palestinians and the Arab states solve their refugee problem as the Jews solved theirs, then the world will know that the Arabs are truly interested in achieving peace and that they have removed one of the most formidable impediments to its achievement.

vrijdag 10 september 2010

De tegenstrijdige boodschappen van de PA over vredesbesprekingen

In de Nederlandse media werd Netanjahoe verweten een andere boodschap te hebben voor het Israelische als voor het internationale publiek, terwijl de doublespeak van Abbas en andere PA functionarissen wijselijk werd genegeerd.
Zie hier meer info over Erekats dubbele gezicht: Saeb Erekat op video in zijn eigen woorden...
Making statements and denying them, often within hours, has become almost a daily event in the politics of the PA. The latest example was that of Fatah's Muhammad Dahlan, who, in an interview with an Arab newspaper on Sunday, denounced Netanyahu as a "swindler."
After his remarks were published in Israel, the former security commander rushed to issue a denial, claiming that his words had been taken out of context.
Analysis: The PA's mixed messages about peace talks
A state on confusion: Different officials, sometimes the same officials, are issuing contradictory messages,
It's hard these days to tell exactly what the Palestinian Authority wants or thinks. For the past few days and weeks, it has been speaking with more than one voice, sometimes sending contradictory messages.
The state of confusion, some Palestinians in Ramallah explained, is directly linked to the direct negotiations that were launched last week in Washington between the PA leadership and the Israeli government.
But the confusion began even before the launch of the direct talks.
Following a recent visit to Ramallah by US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, one Palestinian official told reporters in Arabic that the prospects of reaching an agreement on the proposed direct talks were slim. The official claimed that Mitchell's mission had ended in failure and that the talks would not be launched in the near future.
One hour later, another senior official in Ramallah gave a briefing to journalists, but this time in English and with a message that completely contradicted his colleague's earlier statement. This time the message was that a breakthrough had been achieved and that the direct talks would be launched very soon.
Since then, Palestinians have become used to hearing such contradictory messages on an almost daily basis, sometimes from the same official.
Following last week's ceremony in Washington, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, gave a series of interviews to various media outlets.
In one interview, he was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not serious about reaching peace with the Palestinians and that his only goal was to waste time. Erekat later issued a denial, saying his words had been taken out of context.
In another interview, Erekat was quoted as saying that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed in Washington on the core issues that would be discussed during the direct talks. Later that day he was quoted by a different newspaper as saying that the two sides had yet to agree on the agenda of the negotiations.
Another Palestinian official who attended the talks was quoted by a number of Arab media outlets as voicing pessimism regarding the prospects of reaching a deal with the Netanyahu government. However, another official appeared on Arab TV networks with an "optimistic tone."
The Palestinians have also been issuing contradictory assessments regarding the position of the US administration. While some officials talked about a "positive" change in the position of Washington in favor of the Palestinians, others expressed skepticism about the US administration's mediation efforts. Some even went as far as accusing the administration of President Barack Obama of endorsing the stance of the Israeli government on the peace process.
These conflicting messages, which are being relayed by both Palestinian officials and media organizations in the West Bank, have left the Palestinians in a state of confusion.
Palestinians are no longer sure whether Israel wants peace or not. One PA official is telling them that there's a chance for peace, while another is trying to convince the Palestinian public that there is no partner for peace on the Israeli side.
Palestinians who watch some of their representatives on Arab TV networks such as Al-Jazeera are left with the impression that the Israeli government does not want peace and that its only goal is to confiscate land and kill Palestinians. However, Palestinians who watch their representatives on Western TV stations get a slightly more moderate message.
Some PA officials sound more like their Hamas counterparts when they are interviewed in the Arab media.
Making statements and denying them, often within hours, has become almost a daily event in the politics of the PA. The latest example was that of Fatah's Muhammad Dahlan, who, in an interview with an Arab newspaper on Sunday, denounced Netanyahu as a "swindler."
After his remarks were published in Israel, the former security commander rushed to issue a denial, claiming that his words had been taken out of context.
Last week, a senior aide to Abbas said that the PA would soon launch a campaign to "persuade" Palestinians to support the renewed peace talks with Israel. The official said that the US-funded campaign would be similar to the one that has been launched to persuade the Israeli public that the Jibril Rajoub, Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo are partners for peace.
But instead of addressing the Palestinian public with a message of peace, the PA leadership is adding to the confusion that is already prevalent in the West Bank.
Palestinian analysts said that the PA's conflicting messages are a sign of the state uncertainty among the top leaders in Ramallah. These leaders are facing difficulties in explaining to their people why they agreed to drop all their previous preconditions and launch direct talks with Israel.
For months, Abbas and his senior aides had been telling the Palestinians that they would never negotiate directly with Israel unless it halted all settlement construction and accepted the concept of a twostate solution on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines.
Then one morning Palestinians woke up to hear that their leaders had abandoned all their conditions.

Palestijnse tragedie redt Israelische levens - waargebeurd nieuwsjaarsverhaal

Abdul-Hayy Salhout [courtesy Ynet]

Ondanks het conflict is er op individueel niveau samenwerking, compassie en zelfs opoffering. Dat is altijd weer mooi om te zien. Israelische doctoren die alles doen om doodzieke Palestijnse kinderen te genezen, geheel los van de vraag of de vader misschien een Hamas aanhanger is die zijn kinderen leert over het 'heldhaftige verzet', en Palestijnen die hun organen afstaan zonder zich af te vragen of de Israeli's die zo gered worden straks op Palestijnen gaan schieten. Het lost het conflict niet op, maar laat zien dat er hoop is, dat er altijd hoop is.
Een gelukkig nieuwjaar voor al onze Joodse lezers!  
Palestinian family's tragedy saves 3 dying Israelis
Published Monday 06/09/2010 (updated) 08/09/2010 09:32
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – On 27 August, a Palestinian four-year-old, Abdul-Hayy Salhout, fell from a balcony at his family's home in the Jabal Al-Mukabbir village in occupied East Jerusalem.

Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center spent eight hours trying to revive the toddler in the intensive care unit, where he died six days later. Abdul-Hayy's parents decided at the time to donate his organs.

According to the Israeli news site Ynet, the boy's liver has since been successfully transplanted to a critically ill seven-year-old Israeli boy. A kidney was given to an eight-year-old girl, also Israeli, whose body has accepted it. The other kidney went to a 55-year-old Israeli man, and he is in good condition too despite concerns of rejection due to the age difference.

"My son arrived at the hospital in very serious condition, and it was impossible to save his life. But we're so happy to see him alive inside other people," Abdul-Hayy's father told Ynet. "It makes no difference to us whether the recipients speak Arabic or Hebrew, because saving a human life is the same."

donderdag 9 september 2010

Erekat ontkent excuses aan Israel in videoclip Geneefs Initiatief

Erekat verontschuldigde zich niet echt in die video, wel sprak hij verzoenende woorden en de wens tot vrede. Het zou mij niet verbazen als hij hierop in zijn eigen partij fel is aangevallen en daarom nu met dit verhaal komt. Hier kun je horen wat hij daadwerkelijk zei in de video (de tekst eronder is, zoals duidelijk mag zijn, niet van hem). Hij zegt dat hij weet dat 'we disappointed you' en dat 'we have been unable te deliver peace in the last nineteen years'. Ware woorden natuurlijk, die overigens nog genoeg ruimte laten voor interpretatie.
Op de campagne is ook kritiek van rechts, zoals ook uit de hierboven gelinkte video blijkt. Niet alleen kun je je afvragen hoe eerlijk de Palestijnse vredespartners in die videoboodschappen zijn, ook is het vreemd dat er geen boodschappen van Israelische leiders op de Westoever worden uitgezonden. Immers, daar zien velen Netanjahoe als de duivel in eigen persoon en kan zo'n boodschap dus geen kwaad.

The Jerusalem Post
Erekat denies apology to Israel in Geneva Initiative clip
09/09/2010 15:17

Palestinian chief negotiator tells Ma'an news agency his comments were "altered," complete opposite to what he actually said; "I never intended to apologize, Israel are the ones who should apologize."

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat released a statement on Wednesday alleging that his televised address to Israelis asking that they be his "peace partner" was altered, according to a Palestinian news agency Ma'an report.

"Unfortunately, my statements were altered and interpreted as if I were apologizing to the Israeli nation. This is the opposite to what I said. I was speaking as a negotiator and I mean that as Palestinian and Israeli negotiators we had been unable to come up with a solution after many years," Erekat said about the video promoting the Geneva Initiative.

He continued, "I never intended to apologize to the Israeli nation, they are the ones who should apologize for what they have done to the Palestinians and all the actions that have humiliated our nation. Palestinians are the nation who deserve an apology."

On Wednesday Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad decided to remove his pictures from the campaign website, explaining that his permission had not been asked to use them.

Director-General of the Palestinian Geneva Initiative Nidal Foqaha told the Ma'an agency that "the video was intended to create a consensus with the Israeli public and then mobilize the leadership and create a real peace partner."

woensdag 8 september 2010

Stop de Bezetting verspreidt misleidende informatie over "Made in Israel"

We kennen "Stop de Bezetting" inmiddels als een organisatie die het met de waarheid niet bepaald nauw neemt, maar het is altijd weer fascinerend om te zien hoe ver ze daarin bereid zijn te gaan. In onderstaand artikel wordt hun propaganda heel helder ontrafeld. Dank, Israned, voor dit uitzoekwerk en het doorprikken van deze propaganda. Jammer dat Phon van den Biezen, die jarenlang voor het blad van Milieudefensie heeft geschreven, aan deze onzin meedoet.

Misleidende informatie over "Made in Israel"

SDB neemt weer een artikel over van de "Electronic Intifada", geschreven door een Nederlandse jurist en een Nederlandse "mensenrechten aktivist" wat bol staat van de onzin.

De inleiding van het artikel vermeldt het volgende:

"On 25 February, the European Court of Justice ruled that imports manufactured in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank shouldn't benefit from a trade agreement between Israel and the European Union. The ruling follows protests of Israel's export of products from the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to the EU and Switzerland labeled as "Made in Israel." Products labeled as such benefit from favorable import taxes under the EU-Israel Association Agreement of 2000."

Even ontrafelen levert op:

1. Het ECJ heeft op 25 Februari uitspraak gedaan dat goederen die geproduceerd worden in de bezette gebieden, géén aanspraak kunnen maken op verlaagde invoerrechten bij invoer in de EU.

2. Deze uitspraak is een reactie op de protesten tegen het labelen van Israelische exportproducten naar de EU en Zwitserland als "Made in Israel".

3. Producten die gelabeld zijn als "Made in Israel" profiteren van verlaagde invoerheffingen onder het Associatieverdrag tussen de EU en Israel.

Punt 1 is helemaal waar (de zaak "Brita") maar 2 en 3 zijn gefantaseerde onzin. Wat is er aan de hand?

Laten we eens beginnen met het label "Made in Israel". Noch de EU, noch Zwitserland kennen wetgeving over het labellen van producten met het land van oorsprong, het z.g. COO (Country of Origin) of "Made in XXX" label, behalve voor sommige voedingsproducten. Industriele producten hoeven helemaal niet gelabelled te worden, binnen Europa doen we dat zelf ook niet en gebruiken vaak "Made in EU" of "Assembled in EU" of vermelden slechts naam en adres van de importeur of fabrikant.

Dan het statement dat producten met het label "Made in Israel" profiteren van verlaagde invoerheffingen onder het Associatieverdrag tussen de EU en Israel. Ook dat is nonsens. Het Associatieverdrag kent verlaagde invoerrechten toe op basis van de z.g. "Rules of Preferential Origin", ongeacht wat er op het label staat. De verificatie van deze "Rules of Origin" hangt niet alleen af van de plaats van fabrikage, maar ook van de oorspong van de componenten van een industrieel proces.

De verlaagde invoerrechten worden niet toegekend op vertoon van een label, maar op basis van een Oorsprongcertificaat EUR1 wat afgegeven wordt door de autoriteiten van het exporterende land of op basis van een vergunningstempel op de handelsfaktuur.

Dan naar het eerste punt, tevens het enige correcte punt: de uitspraak staat en is m.i. niet onverwacht, zelfs niet onterecht. Voor de meeste producten zal dit weinig invloed hebben aangezien de Europese invoerrechten al zeer laag zijn en steeds lager worden waardoor voor veel industriele producten de regels uit het Associatieverdrag al géén voordeel meer bieden boven een gewone import. Zeker aangezien Israel nogal wat high-tech producten exporteert die onder de ITA vallen waarmee de autonome rechten reeds to 0 zijn teruggebracht.

Conclusie? Mix één deel waarheid met twee delen leugen en je krijgt een explosief en makkelijk te consumeren product wat blijkbaar bij velen onder de radar door slipt.


De strijd tegen een boycot van Israël op de Universiteit van Californië in Berkeley

Een verslag van de pogingen om op de Universiteit van Californië in Berkeley een boycot tegen Israel in te voeren en de strijd daartegen. Ook in Nederland proberen radikale aktiegroepen steeds vaker om een dergelijke boycot van de grond te krijgen. Tot nu toe gelukkig meestal zonder succes.

The BDS Movement at UC Berkeley: How It Failed and Lessons Learned (Part 1)
posted by DrMike at

BlueTruth is proud to publish this report from the front lines of the divestment battle at the University of California at Berkeley (known locally as "Cal"). Ariel Kaplan, who graduated from Cal this past spring, is one of the founders of Tikvah: Students for Israel, the pro-Israel student group at Cal. This is his analysis of what happened this spring when the BDS movement unsuccessfully attempted to get the ASUC (the student government at Cal) to endorse a one sided anti-Israel resolution. We hope this will be useful for students at other campuses, and community members who support them, in resisting attempts by the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement to hijack student government organizations in support of their agenda of unending war against the existence of Israel.

Some of you may ask why we would want to openly publish a document that will include strategic advice for students. The answer is that once the situation is described, the strategies are relatively obvious and in large part simply utilize the same methods that the other side already uses. This story will also expose some of the vulnerabilites of the BDS advocates on campus-- but as those are an integral part of who they are and what they stand for, they will not be able to remedy them. Having this story openly available ensures that all those who need to see it will be able to access it easily.

What was initially going to be a short writeup became a 20 page paper. Therefore, we are posting this in several parts over the next few days.

Ariel's opinions and suggestions are his own. There are many approaches to such situations, but few have been written by someone who has as been personally involved as Ariel.
The Story of the Divestment Resolution

In the Spring of 2010, anti-Israel activists nearly managed to get an anti-Israel bill passed in UC Berkeley's student government. This bill, if passed, would have given anti-Israel activists worldwide the opportunity to claim that Berkeley's student body is in support of divestment from Israel. The story of how this bill came about, what the battle over it was like, and how I and my colleagues in the pro-Israel community managed to see the bill defeated is an important one, and I'd like to explain this story. I also would like to offer commentary and advice to current and future college students on how to fight and defeat anti-Israel measures in their own student governments.

It began when I heard through the grapevine that a divestment bill was being proposed in Berkeley's student government, the ASUC (Associated Students of the University of California).

My student group, Tikvah: Students for Israel (I was an executive member of the group in Spring 2010, and had been one of the group's first members, helping shape the group's ideology and methods, during the group's inception back in the Fall of 2007), only heard about this at the last minute, and so several of us went to the Senate committee meetings which would determine whether this divestment bill would make it on to the general floor, with the intent of trying to stop that from happening.

It was useless; as a friend of mine in the ASUC, a Jewish student senator, told us: "There's nothing we can really do to stop this from getting through and on to the general floor." People's – the Senators' (or those Senators who were in the relevant committees) – minds had already been made up by the time we got to the committee meetings. I write "meetings" plural: Students for Justice in Palestine, the notorious, vehement anti-Israel group on campus, had actually written up two bills of nearly identical text in order that if one failed (didn't get through the Senate committee it was being brought up at), the other, proposed at a different committee, might yet pass and get on to the general floor. As it would turn out, one of these bills did make it through.

The bills had both been written by two particularly inflammatory members of the Berkeley chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine: one, Tom Pessah, is an Israeli expatriate who seemingly has made it his personal mission to spread hatred for his own state as wide as possible in Northern California; the other, Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, was a newcomer to Berkeley, a new graduate student who had a track record of stirring up anti-Israel sentiment abroad at the London School of Economics and attempting (once successfully) to pass divestment there. (Huet-Vaughn's past was even more sinister than that, I would soon find.) These two Berkeley graduate students had done 'meticulous research' and written up the two essentially identical bills, both extended diatribes against the state of Israel tossing in all the language typical of rejectionist anti-Israel propaganda ('illegal occupation', 'war crimes', 'disregard for human rights', 'laying siege to the citizens of Gaza', etc.). Their bill was loaded with citations from organizations which Israel advocates know to be either horrendously biased, or simply hateful and generally not credible: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, in particular, belonging to the former category. (Concerning the latter group: It is worth noting that Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, had only recently publicly disowned his own organization, on the basis of its having become obsessively anti-Israel. His opinion piece in the New York Times can be found here)

The bill which ended up making it to the general floor (and which I will henceforth refer to as the 'divestment bill') was voted on very promptly and passed. This led to a flood of over ten thousand emails sent from around the world to ASUC members and officials, as well as to campus officials, variously praising and disapproving of the passage of the bill. Anti-Israel partisans, unsurprisingly, wrote of the 'moral fortitude' and 'courage' expressed by the Senate for approving divestment; pro-Israel individuals wrote of their shock and disgust that the only even reasonably moral state in the Middle East was being singled out for criticism and was publicly being tried and convicted, in the absence of any clear evidence, of all manner of atrocities.

Read the whole story here:
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at

De 3 nee's van Abbas: geen compromis over Jeruzalem, grenzen of vluchtelingen

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's talk about an "historic compromise" and said there would be no compromises on core issues such as Jerusalem and borders.
Abbas also reiterated his rejection of Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "We're not talking about a Jewish state and we won't talk about one," Abbas said in an interview with the semi-official Al-Quds newspaper. "For us, there is the state of Israel and we won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state."
Abbas said that in recent meetings with leaders of the Jewish community in the US, he made it clear that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "I told them that this is their business and that they are free to call themselves whatever they want," Abbas said. "But [I told them] you can't expect us to accept this."
Abbas said that by raising the issue of Israel's right to be a Jewish state, Netanyahu was seeking to "strip" Israeli-Arabs of their rights and turn them into illegal citizens. He said that Netanyahu's goal was also to block any chance of Palestinian "refugees" from returning to their original homes inside Israel.
Als er volgens Abbas geen compromissen mogelijk zijn, wat voor nut hebben de onderhandelingen dan nog? Of denkt hij dat Israel alle Palestijnse eisen een voor een zal slikken en zo de facto zichzelf zal opheffen? Natuurlijk wil Netanjahoe voorkomen dat de Palestijnse vluchtelingen en vooral hun miljoenen nakomelingen naar Israel kunnen 'terug'keren. Hij is wellicht best bereid tot een compromis waarbij een deel van de oorspronkelijke vluchtelingen terug mogen, maar de Palestijnse vluchtelingen zijn de enigen waarbij de vluchtelingenstatus erfelijk is, en Israel gaat er niet in mee dat Palestijnen die hun hele leven in Jordanië of op de Westoever hebben geleefd, op het moment dat er een Palestijnse staat komt opeens naar Israel moeten kunnen immigreren. De Palestijnse staat is dan immers het 'nationale thuis' van het Palestijnse volk, zoals Israel dat is voor de Joden. Dat is de kern van een tweestatenoplossing. Zolang Abbas dat niet begrijpt en accepteert, lijkt vrede een onhaalbare kaart.

The Jerusalem Post
Abbas: No 'historic compromise' on Jerusalem, borders
09/07/2010 13:35

PLO wil geen vredesakkoord zonder Gazastrook

Nog een obstakel dat de Palestijnen volgens dit artikel in het Palestijnse Maan nieuws opwerpen, is de eis dat een vredesverdrag ook de Gazastrook moet omvatten. Dat lijkt onmogelijk zolang Hamas daar aan de macht is, dat ieder akkoord natuurlijk zal verhinderen. Voor Hamas is ieder compromis onbespreekbaar en zij is hooguit bereid tot een langdurig staakt het vuren in ruil voor de Israelische terugtrekking uit de Westoever en Oost Jeruzalem en het recht onbeperkt wapens de Gazastrook in te mogen smokkelen. Soms eist men ook nog de terugkeer van alle vluchtelingen en de vrijlating van alle gevangenen. Hoe de PLO en PA denken dit probleem op te lossen wordt niet duidelijk. Of zou men in feite niet veel van de positie van Hamas verschillen?
( article summarized)
PLO envoy: No peace deal without Gaza
Published today (updated) 05/09/2010 14:45
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian negotiators will not sign a peace deal with Israel unless it includes the Gaza Strip, the PLO envoy to the United States reiterated ahead of the first round of negotiations in Washington.
Ambassador Maen Areikat was playing down concerns at home that Gaza, ruled by the PLO's rival Hamas movement since 2007, was being overlooked in the talks that began 2 September in the US capital.
While recent attention has centered on claims to Jerusalem and a 2-day flare-up of violence in the occupied West Bank, "Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state," Areikat insists.
"When we talk about a solution or resolution to the conflict, of course we are including Gaza and including the people of Gaza," Areikat says citing certain US "assurances" that the talks will lead to a future state that will be contiguous.
Even officials who support the talks have avoided addressing how an agreement would be implemented in Gaza. Local elections scheduled for July, for example, were cancelled at the last minute apparently due to concerns that Fatah could lose. This was despite that Hamas never agreed to participate, saying a long-stalled inter-Palestinian reconciliation agreement would have to come first.
Still, Areikat says Palestinians in Gaza will agree to join the hypothetical future state if the negotiations conclude successfully.
"If we can manage to reach an agreement that can end the occupation, lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, deal with all the core issues, a just and agreed-upon resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem, of course, why not? Why wouldn't the Palestinian people support such an agreement?" he says. "Nobody neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank will object to such an agreement."
The PLO's chief negotiator on Sunday also said Gaza could be brought into the fold. Speaking with Israel's Army Radio, Erekat explained that if the two sides "sign an endgame agreement on all core issues I believe we will bring Gaza back."

Abbas en Netanjahoe samen aan tafel: concessies op het menu? (IMO)


Abbas en Netanjahoe samen aan tafel: concessies op het menu?

IMO Blog, 2010

Na de eerste ontmoeting tussen Abbas en Netanjahoe afgelopen week in Washington is het 'blame gamen' al losgebarsten, en vallen de doemscenario's over ons heen. Het eerste en grootste obstakel lijkt de bouw in de nederzettingen te zijn. Abbas heeft aangekondigd met de onderhandelingen te zullen stoppen als Israël op 26 september de bouwstop niet voortzet, en het is waarschijnlijk dat Israël weer beperkt gaat bouwen. Volgens de meeste analisten zal er in de blokken weer gebouwd gaan worden maar niet in de geïsoleerde nederzettingen, en Abbas heeft al gezegd daar niet mee te kunnen instemmen. Een obstakel dat de media doorgaans ontgaat, is dat Abbas wederom geen enkele concessie wil doen. Zo zei hij onlangs:

"I will not give up on any of the constants and if they ask me to make concessions on the right of refugees or the 1967 borders, I will leave. I will not accept it on myself to sign on one single concession," he concluded.

En bij het begin van de vredesbesprekingen zei hij:

The Palestine Liberation Organization is taking part in these negotiations... We will not relinquish our rights and claims... and we will continue to insist on a just solution for Palestinian refugees in accordance with international law.

De Palestijnse ambassadeur in Teheran maakte het helemaal bont:

"With reliance upon Grace of Almighty God and through solidarity of world Muslims, we hope to witness complete eradication of the fabricated regime in due course," Zawawi said.

Deze man is door de Palestijnse Autoriteit aangesteld, die overigens is opgezet tijdens het Oslo vredesproces om vrede met Israël te sluiten. Een ambassadeur spreekt altijd namens zijn land en regering. Helaas halen deze woorden de voorpagina van de NRC niet, zoals die van rabbi Ovadia Yosef, die overigens op eigen naam sprak.

Ook wordt onterecht beweerd, bijvoorbeeld in het NOS journaal van vorige week, dat zowel Abbas als Netanjahoe er met de haren bij zijn gesleept en eigenlijk geen zin hadden in de onderhandelingen. In werkelijkheid roept Netanjahoe als vanaf het begin van zijn ambtstermijn als premier op tot directe onderhandelingen en is het Abbas die dat weigerde en met steeds weer nieuwe voorwaarden kwam. Acceptatie van een tweestatenoplossing, een bouwstop op de Westoever, een bouwstop ook voor Oost Jeruzalem, de pre-1967 wapenstilstandslijnen erkennen als basis voor de toekomstige grenzen, etc. etc. De indirecte besprekingen kwamen er omdat Abbas geen directe onderhandelingen wilde. Israël heeft aan een aantal voorwaarden van Abbas voldaan, en bovendien de bewegingsvrijheid van Palestijnen aanzienlijk vergroot. Israëlische Arabieren mogen ook weer naar de Westoever reizen. Het is natuurlijk allemaal niet genoeg, en Abbas heeft de bouwstop, die in feite ook geldt voor Oost Jeruzalem, dan ook niet gebruikt om te gaan onderhandelen, maar daarmee gewacht totdat die bijna afgelopen is. Je gaat haast denken dat hij het expres doet om dadelijk een goed excuus te hebben om uit de onderhandelingen te stappen.

Een van de grootste obstakels die ik zie is het feit dat de PA regering op de Westoever geweld blijft verheerlijken, en heel Israël als bezet Palestina voorstelt. Kinderen wordt geleerd dat Jaffa en Haifa bezette steden zijn die in de toekomst hopelijk weer onder Palestijns gezag komen. Ook uit opmerkingen van Fatah en PA functionarissen blijkt dat men Israël helemaal niet erkent, en niet bereid is tot vrede met Israël. Deze uitspraken komen nooit in onze kranten en wanneer je ze daarop wijst, beweert men dat dat niet ter zake doet.

Elder of Ziyon wijst op het opportunisme van Saeb Erekat, en maakt hem zelfs uit voor leugenaar omdat hij geregeld andere dingen zegt voor zijn eigen publiek dan voor de internationale gemeenschap, zoals uit dit filmpje blijkt.

Ook in de Jerusalem Post wordt gewezen op de tegenstrijdige berichten die Palestijnse onderhandelaars afgeven:

Following last week's ceremony in Washington, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, gave a series of interviews to various media outlets.

In one interview, he was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not serious about reaching peace with the Palestinians and that his only goal was to waste time. Erekat later issued a denial, saying his words had been taken out of context.

In another interview, Erekat was quoted as saying that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed in Washington on the core issues that would be discussed during the direct talks. Later that day he was quoted by a different newspaper as saying that the two sides had yet to agree on the agenda of the negotiations.

Dagblad De Pers zwijgt natuurlijk over dergelijke zaken, maar hekelt naar goed anti-Israël gebruik wel uitgebreid het opportunisme van Netanjahoe, die voor eigen publiek gezegd zou hebben dat hij vrolijk doorgaat met bouwen en voor internationaal publiek dat alles op tafel ligt tijdens de besprekingen. Ook zou hij voor eigen publiek Jeruzalem ondeelbaar hebben genoemd ('de stad is en blijft van Israël') en men vindt het tegenstrijdig dat hij voor eigen publiek vrede definieert als een 'veilige Israëlische staat en een stuk land voor de Palestijnen waarover Israël de controle houdt' terwijl hij voor internationaal zei: "Ik ben hier gekomen om een historisch compromis te vinden, opdat beide volken vrede, veiligheid en waardigheid kennen". Er staat geen bron bij, dus het is niet na te zoeken wat hij wanneer of waar precies heeft gezegd, wat ik nogal onprofessioneel vind voor een krant. De grote vraag is natuurlijk wat je onder 'controle' verstaat. Netanjahoe zal bedoelen dat in ieder geval voorkomen moet worden dat er een 'Hamasstan' wordt gebouwd en tjokvol wapens gestopt die gericht zijn op Israël. Israëlische controle op veiligheidsgebied vindt hij denk ik geen tegenstelling met een waardig en vredig leven voor de Palestijnen, en dit is ook niet perse tegenstrijdig. Ik zou graag de originele tekst zien wat betreft die controle om te kunnen beoordelen in hoeverre dit een inbreuk maakt op Palestijnse soevereiniteit. Ik ben de quote zelf niet in Israëlische kranten tegengekomen, ook niet in Haaretz. Ik kan mij wel erg goed voorstellen dat de Palestijnen niet erg gecharmeerd zijn van het idee dat ze onder Israëlische controle blijven.

Wat betreft de bouwstop: wanneer de Palestijnen met een serieuze concessie over de brug zouden komen, zoals erkenning van Israël als Joodse staat, of erkenning dat de vluchtelingen en hun nakomelingen niet in grote getale naar Israël kunnen terugkeren, of erkenning van Joodse rechten in Jeruzalem, dan is zo'n verlenging zeker bespreekbaar en kan Netanjahoe dat ook verkopen in zijn coalitie. Maar een beperkte hervatting in de blokken lijkt me ook te verdedigen. Immers, Israël zet er op in om die te kunnen houden en eerdere vredesvoorstellen zoals de Clinton parameters en het Geneefse Akkoord voorzien daar ook (gedeeltelijk) in.

Dit is wat een commentator in Haaretz schreef:

The prime minister is entering negotiations with two primary demands: Palestinian recognition of Israel as the "state of the Jewish people"; and the stationing of the Israeli army in the Jordan Valley, along the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, as a buffer against the smuggling of rockets and other heavy weapons.

He also wants Jewish settlements in the Etzion Bloc to remain in Israel, as well as Ma'aleh Adumim and Ariel, and he is committed to the unity of Jerusalem. These principles are no different from what Barak and Olmert proposed to the Palestinians at Camp David and Annapolis, respectively.

Since resuming the post of prime minister, Netanyahu has not set foot anywhere beyond the so-called Olmert map - which roughly follows the route of the security barrier, with lands swaps. More importantly, he has not said that the settlements are important for Israel's security.

This is not to say he has decided to evacuate settlements beyond the settlement blocs and hand them to the Palestinian state. It does, however, mean that his opening position provides room for compromise with the Palestinians as long as they don't take an "all or nothing" stance.

In eerdere akkoorden was Israël bereid om minstens 95% van de Westoever aan de Palestijnen over te dragen, en dat lijkt me lastig als men zowel Maaleh Adumim, Ariel als Gush Etzion wil houden. Ook waren Olmert en Barak bereid om de nederzettingenblokken in ieder geval gedeeltelijk te compenseren door een landruil (in het voorstel van Olmert zelfs geheel), en zij waren eveneens bereid tot een vorm van deling van Jeruzalem. Dat laat onverlet dat de positie van Netanjahoe niet principieel verschilt van die van Barak en Olmert, en deze posities vrij goed de Israëlische consensus weerspiegelen. Hierbij moet worden opgemerkt dat het bij bovenstaande beschrijving om de 'opening position' van Netanjahoe gaat, niet het eindcompromis waartoe hij mogelijk bereid zal zijn. Netanjahoe is geen vredesduif, maar is ook niet de hardliner die veel media ervan maken. Hij is een pragmaticus, die net als Abbas met tegenstand binnen een deel van zijn eigen partij en kabinet heeft te maken, en anderzijds met druk vanuit Amerika. Beiden hebben ook met (religieuze) extremisten te maken die de vredesonderhandelingen graag zien mislukken en God daar graag een handje bij helpen. In tegenstelling tot Abbas heeft Netanjahoe echter met een publiek te maken dat voor het merendeel achter een tweestatenoplossing staat en de noodzaak inziet van compromissen. En in tegenstelling tot Abbas is zijn termijn als premier nog niet verlopen en wordt hij door het merendeel van het publiek gesteund in de onderhandelingen met de Palestijnen. Maar in tegenstelling tot Abbas wordt hij door veel Westerse commentatoren al als de schuldige van het waarschijnlijke mislukken van de onderhandelingen aangewezen.

Wordt vervolgd.

Ratna Pelle



dinsdag 7 september 2010

Saeb Erekat op video in zijn eigen woorden...

In Israel is er een campagne van een groep die zich het Geneefse Initiatief noemt, naar het gelijknamige vredesplan dat in 2004 is opgesteld door politici uit de oppositie in Israel en de Palestijnse Autoriteit. In de filmpjes van deze groep spreken Palestijnse leiders het Israelische publiek toe en en vragen hen om hun vertrouwen. Uit de Jerusalem Post:
The Geneva Initiative unveiled a campaign partially funded by the USAID in which Palestinian leaders speak to the Israeli public in video clips, telling Israelis that there is a Palestinian partner for an agreement.

Thus far, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo and Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub have recorded short messages, all of which begin with a personal address to the Israeli public which includes the word "shalom" in Hebrew and conclude with "I am your partner. Are you my partner?"

Gadi Baltiansky, Geneva Initiative Israel director, explained that the campaign aims to counter the myth that there is no partner on the Palestinian side and to stir a debate as to whether the Netanyahu administration represents a partner for a two-state solution.
Dat betekent dat de GI niet alleen tot vrede oproept, maar ook een politiek standpunt inneemt wat betreft welke partij vrede wil en welke niet. Andere uitspraken van GI zijn nog explicieter. Het is verder opvallend dat men wel zulke advertenties in Israel heeft, maar niet in de Palestijnse gebieden. Elder of Ziyon hekelt de hypocrisie van deze campagne en haar eenzijdigheid en heeft een tegenvideo gemaakt. De uitspraken zijn werkelijk gedaan door Erekat, en hier geeft hij meer voorbeelden van leugens van deze man. Een en ander wil wat mij betreft niet zeggen dat de vredesbesprekingen een slecht idee zijn, wel dat de campagne van GI eenzijdig en misleidend is en er een gigantische taak ligt om juist het Palestijnse publiek ervan te overtuigen dat vrede mogelijk en wenselijk is en er een partner aan de andere kant is.

Saeb Erekat: "I am a liar" (video)

Over the past few days, Israelis have been inundated with a slick advertising campaign, financed by the US and created by the left wing "Geneva Initiative," to convince them that the current government does not want peace and that Palestinian Arabs do.

Here is my take on one of the commercials, starring everyone's favorite liar, Saeb Erekat.


Israel bereidt zich voor op nog groter konvooi naar Gazastrook

Ik heb weinig goede woorden over voor de aktivisten die weer een vloot naar Gaza willen leiden om de blokkade van de door Hamas bestuurde Gazastrook te doorbreken. Het lijkt hen geheel niet te interesseren dat ze daarmee de moslimextremisten in de kaart spelen tegen wie de Israelische blokkade is gericht. Door de blokkade ligt de economie van Gaza vrijwel op haar gat en moeten veel inwoners rondkomen van het bestaansminimum of nog minder, maar er zijn tal van gebieden in de wereld waar honger wordt geleden en mensen omkomen in ellende, en Gaza hoort daar niet bij. De burgers van de Gazastrook zuchten minstens zozeer onder de door hen democratisch gekozen 'islamitische verzetsbeweging' Hamas als onder de blokkade, maar de 'Free Gaza' aktivisten zullen deze fanatische terreurgroep die alle Joden de zee in wil drijven en vrouwen wil verbieden op een brommer te rijden (om maar iets te noemen) straks weer vriendelijk de hand schudden en met hen op de foto gaan.

The Jerusalem Post
Israel gearing up for 'mother of all flotillas'
09/07/2010 05:35

NGOs planning to sail up to 20 ships to Gaza in coming months; IDF closely tracking planned flotilla, preparing for wide-range of scenarios.

Israel is preparing for what is being described in the IDF as the "mother of all flotillas," which could include up to 20 different ships planning to set sail for the Gaza Strip in the coming months.

The flotilla is being organized by a coalition of NGOs from Europe and the United States, including a group calling itself European Jews for a Just Peace.

"We hope to have a broad coalition from European countries, and also maybe the United States," Dror Feiler, an Israeli-Swedish musician and artist who lives in Stockholm – and one of the organizers behind the flotilla – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "We would like it to be double the size of the last flotilla, with at least a dozen ships and more than thousand people."

The IDF is closely tracking the planned flotilla and is preparing for a wide-range of scenarios, including the possibility that due the large number of ships, it will need to stop the flotilla far from Israel's shores. Feiler said the large number of ships was due to the unprecedented number of people who wanted to sail to Gaza.

"The Israeli army can stop 12 or 50 ships if it wants," he said. "There are so many ships since so many people want to get together to stop the siege, which is a collective punishment of the people of Gaza and is unacceptable."

The last flotilla to Gaza was stopped by the navy at the end of May. During the operation, nine Turkish passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara passenger ship were killed in clashes with commandos from the navy's Flotilla 13.

The coalition behind the new blockade-busting effort includes the Turkish IHH and the Free Gaza Movement, both of which were involved in the May flotilla. It is demanding "an immediate and complete lifting of the closure, including a lifting of the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza."

Simulatie van vredesonderhandelingen tussen Israel en Palestijnen

De Council for Security and Peace, die medewerking verleende aan ondergenoemde simulatie-onderhandelingen, is een goede organisatie. De vele erbij betrokken Israelische deskundigen, waaronder oudgedienden op veiligheidsgebied, maken het tot een (particulier) adviesorgaan dat door de Israelische regering serieus wordt genomen en geregeld om advies wordt gevraagd, al wordt dat advies helaas niet altijd gevolgd. Zoals ook uit hun website blijkt, staan ze zeker niet kritiekloos tegenover het regeringsbeleid. We hebben de in november vorig jaar overleden Joe Jaffe een paar jaar terug opgezocht in zijn woning aan de haven van Jaffa, en hij liet zich behoorlijk kritisch uit over onder meer de route van de afscheidingsbarriere en de checkpoints op de Westelijke Jordaanoever.
Het wederzijdse wantrouwen waar de simulatie tegenaan liep, wordt mede gevoed door de voortdurende Palestijnse opruiing en verering van terorristen en de hardnekkige weigering Israel als Joodse staat te erkennen, alsmede het vasthouden aan het 'onvervreemdbare recht op terugkeer van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen', terwijl de Palestijnen zich op hun beurt kunnen afvragen waarom Israel zo graag wil doorbouwen in nederzettingen die het grotendeels bereid zou zijn te ontruimen bij een vredesakkoord. Dat lijkt op kapitaalvernietiging, alleen om de druk op de Palestijnen te houden in de onderhandelingen?

Simulators try to gauge peace talks

Role-playing ex-generals agree Obama is key.

How will the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, slated to kick off at a festive summit in Washington on Wednesday, end?

If a simulation game played on Sunday by a group of former IDF brass is any guide, the chances for success are not great and the key ultimately rests in the hands of one man – US
President Barack Obama.

The Jerusalem Post convened on Sunday a group of former top IDF officers currently affiliated with the Council for Security and Peace, an association of national security experts, to play the roles of key players in the peace process and examine what the chances are for success or failure.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brom, a former deputy head of the National Security Council, played the role of Obama; the council president, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Nati Sharoni, played Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu; retired Col. Shaul Arieli, head of the peace administration (its mandate was to produce working papers on permanent-status issues and act as something of a database for the negotiators) under Ehud Barak during the Camp David talks in 2000, played the role of PA President Mahmoud Abbas; and Brig.- Gen. (res.) Gadi Zohar, former head of the IDF's civil administration in the West Bank, played the Arab world, primarily Egypt and Jordan, whose leaders will be present at Wednesday's summit.

The two main conclusions from the simulation were first, that the level of mistrust between Israel and the PA is deep and profound, serving as an obstacle in and of itself without even considering the domestic political challenges each side faces.

Second, the player with the most influence on the outcome of the talks is the United States, which will need to decide, sooner rather than later, how aggressive it wants to be in keeping the sides at the negotiating table and enforcing a peace treaty.

Each player framed his strategies realistically. Obama, according to Brom, is bringing the sides together in an effort to reach an agreement for two primary reasons: first, since in his world view the Israel- PA conflict has a "negative effect on overall stability in the Middle East, from Morocco to Afghanistan" and second as a way to increase the chance of a Democratic victory at the polls in November.

The obstacles to the success of the talks were presented to all of the sides: what Israel will decide regarding the pending expiration of the freeze on settlement construction; Hamas's potential destabilizing role in Gaza; and Iran's reaction to success, including the possibility that it will advance with its nuclear program and put Israel before a difficult decision – either attack Iran and knowingly torpedo the talks or continue the talks and allow Iran to go nuclear.

Obama will demand as early as their meeting on Wednesday, according to Brom, that Netanyahu extend the freeze on construction in the West Bank.

Sharoni, a former head of the IDF Planning Branch, who was playing Israel, said that Netanyahu was likely to agree to a continuation of the freeze within the isolated settlements but to lift it within the settlement blocs, in places like Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion.

A continuation of the talks, Netanyahu will also likely argue, will enable him to make greater concessions and minimize domestic political risks that could affect his coalition.

The PA and Abbas – played by Arieli – said they would not accept any continuation of building, even within the settlement blocs or east Jerusalem.

"This is not something we will be able to live with," he said.

As for the crisis that will come up as early as September 26, when the freeze ends, all sides looked to the US for direction.

Brom, playing Obama, stepped up to the task and did his best to convince Abbas to stay at the negotiation table, pointing out that the US's original moratorium proposal was for Israel to freeze construction only in isolated settlements and not in the blocs. Netanyahu was the one who had rejected this idea, not wanting to seemingly make a distinction at the time between types of settlements.

In addition, Obama will be able to promise Abbas that he will firstly hold Netanyahu to a strict timetable for the talks – around a year – and will also, if the talks falter, be prepared to make his own recommendations and proposals to solve disagreements that will naturally be closer to the Palestinian position.

"We will promise real US involvement, including proposing ideas how to bridge gaps," Obama will say.

Even with such aggressive US intervention in the talks, it is not clear that Abbas will be able to deliver, due to his weak political standing in the PA. Last week, for example, Abbas failed to convene the PLO executive committee and has weak support within his own Fatah party. As a result, part of Abbas's strategy, as presented by Arieli, will be to show Netanyahu's true face as the side unwilling to abide by international agreements and guidelines, and then call upon the UN Security Council to take up the Israel- Palestinian issue.

Assuming the sides are able to overcome the moratorium obstacle, other challenges that awaits them are the right of return, Jerusalem, final borders and of course, the Gaza Strip and Hamas's control over the territory.

Regarding Gaza, Egypt and Jordan, played by Zohar, both expressed willingness to accept a recommendation made by the US player and establish a pan-Arab military force that will deploy in Gaza and the West Bank to firstly provide Israel with a sense of security and secondly to enforce PA rule in the territories.

"This is possible for Egypt if we receive assurances that Gaza will not become part of Egypt," Zohar said in his role as President Hosni Mubarak.

Hamas, however, will not agree to such a deployment and will challenge the force, understanding that it could lead to the end of its rule over Gaza. At the same time, though, Hamas will be reluctant to launch a large-scale offensive against Israel, so as not to be blamed for derailing the talks by forcing Israel's hand.

Iran will likely behave the same way, but could decide to activate its proxies – Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza – if it feels that a deal is in the works that would strengthen the Sunni and moderate alliance that it is challenging for regional dominance.

Netanyahu could also find himself in a dilemma if intelligence assessments change and indicate that Iran has gone for the breakout stage and is enriching uranium to military-grade levels.

Will he order an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, which will likely lead to a collapse in talks, or will he continue talking and count on the US to deal with Iran, as Obama has assured Israel it will do? Neither player could provide a clear answer as to what Netanyahu would do in such a case.

An observer would have dully noted that the simulation could have carried on for hours, as each member of the council played his role impressively, at times even using rhetoric similar to that used by the leaders scheduled to meet in Washington on Wednesday.

Ultimately, however, the question of sincerity is something that cannot be simulated. Questions such as "Has Netanyahu crossed the Rubicon?" and "Is Abbas capable of implementing a deal?" could not be easily answered by the players.

With talks scheduled to begin Wednesday, the answers will likely be provided soon.