Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arlene Kushner On Delegitimization--By #Flotilla2, UNESCO And The PA


From Arlene Kushner


June 29, 2011
"Delegitimization"
It's a constant battle, and one we must continue to fight with vigor.  Here, a couple of examples:
Six Democrats in the House of Representatives have written a letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to "do everything in [her] power" to "ensure the safety of all American citizens on board 'The Audacity of Hope (a ship that will participate in the Flotilla, carrying 36 Americans and flying the US flag).'" 
Cute, no? The letter was initiated by Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, not exactly a friend of Israel.
The implication here is that innocent people on board, who have no intention of provoking violence, are at risk from the IDF.  Such, of course, is not the case at all.  
The letter stated that the organizers of the ship "are fully committed to international law."  And that is not true either, for international law gives us the right to maintain the naval blockade on Gaza.
From this it was a hop, skip and jump to the statement of someone involved with the Flotilla, that, "We hope Secretary Clinton heeds this request from Congress (sic) and speaks out against threats from the Israeli authorities to attack us in our effort to  break the illegal blockage of the Gaza Strip."    
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I'll come back to the Flotilla in a moment, but first a look at another attempt at delegitimization:
A few years ago, a bridge near the women's side of the Kotel that led from the Western Wall Plaza up to the Mughrabi Gate into the Temple Mount collapsed in harsh weather.  This gate is the one used for entry to the Mount by non-Muslim visitors, and by our security forces.
In 2007, there were fights over construction of a new permanent bridge, with (fallacious) charges leveled that the construction would destroy archeological ruins. The plans, which were controversial, were discontinued.  At present, there is temporary wooden bridge in use.
Plans to finally do a permanent renovation were in place by this spring, with approval having been cleared with all appropriate authorities -- the Jerusalem municipality, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, etc. 
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Among those with whom it was cleared was Jordan, which has considerable influence within the Wakf, the Islamic trust that administers day to day affairs on the Mount. It had been agreed mutually between Israel and Jordan that the temporary bridge was not secure and had to come down; it was scheduled to be torn down last week.
But Jordan then turned around and participated with Egypt, Iraq, and Bahrain in filing a complaint against Israel with UNESCO, with regard to the renovations. 
Make no mistake about this: The issue is not really the nature of the bridge itself, but the fact that Israel is acting as sovereign authority in the matter.  A spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Minister spoke about UNESCO's "deep concern" regarding, among other things, the "failure of the Israeli side to provide the World Heritage Center [with] information..."
And so, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee -- the committee that has determined that Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb, is a mosque -- has unanimously censured Israel and called on her to cease all plans to renovate the bridge.
Israel has observer status at UNESCO, and our ambassador there, Nimrod Barkan asked to address the committee, but was blocked by Egypt. Another piece of the delegitimization. 
Barkan said Israel is "shocked" and "furious" with Jordan for its role in these proceedings.
The committee also called for a UNESCO mission to visit the site and make sure that the project was halted.  But Israel said, nothing doing.
While there is a delay, fervently do I hope it is very temporary, and that we will proceed with construction of that bridge.
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Back to the Flotilla:
Israel, having garnered considerable intelligence on the plans for the Flotilla, has learned that it is likely that terrorists will be planted among the participants on the various ships.  This presents a different scenario from
what happened last time, when all of the other ships were peaceful and only participants on the Mavi Marmara -- which included a significant number of terrorists from the Turkish IHH -- responded with violence.  In fact, while there is no ship coming out of Turkey this time and the IHH ostensibly is not involved, it seems to be the case that members of the IHH will be among those terrorists scattered among the other participants. 
(For the record: While most of the far left participants are severely deluded with regard to the situation in Gaza, they are not likely to be violent.  Blithely ignoring all information about Hamas activities, they actually imagine that they are participating in a noble effort to help a people that is suffering because of Israel.)
There are intelligence reports of intentions to try to kill Israeli soldiers boarding the ships. This has been confirmed by Minister of Security Affairs Moshe Ya'alon. The most serious report indicates plans to do lethal damage to IDF troops via use of sulfur, which is flammable.
That the IDF has this knowledge now means it has -- please G-d! -- the time and ability to prepare.
According to latest reports, foreign journalists will be permitted aboard the Israeli ships that will contend with the Flotilla, thus affording them an opportunity to see for themselves and report first-hand. Hi tech equipment on the Israeli ships will allow almost instantaneous transmission of pictures and news reports by these various journalists.
Looks like we're doing it right this time, praise be!
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The PA is seeking support from the Arab League for its bid for statehood via the UN. But PA prime minister Salam Fayyad, in a statement to AP today, has thrown cold water on the whole venture.
It would be “something in the nature of a declarative victory,” he declared, but unless Israel is part of the consensus, it won't change facts on the ground.
"It is not going to be a dramatic result,” he said, “and I do not believe it will be right to continue, for there to be preoccupation about something dramatic happening.” 
He's quite right. Talk of statehood achieved via the UN will raise expectations within the population.  Almost invariably, when there are unreasonably heightened expectations among the Palestinian Arabs that are then dashed against the rock of reality, increased violence ensues.
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But Abbas may yet be stopped in his tracks:
The Senate today unanimously approved a bill that may have serious repercussions for the PA.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, received the approval of all 89 Senators present.  It stipulated that the Senate opposes "any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between leaders in Israel and the Palestinians."
And it "urges the President to consider suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority pending a review of the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas...United States law precludes assistance to a Palestinian Authority that shares power with Hamas unless that Authority and all its ministers publicly accept the right of Israel to exist and all prior agreements and understandings with the Governments of the United States and Israel."  
A similar version of the bill will soon come before the House, where it is anticipated that it will pass without problems.
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Commented a "senior Israeli source":
"Without the American money there's no Palestine. The Palestinians know it, and therefore they're at odds over what would be the right move for them."
The PA's response -- "We cannot sacrifice freedom for financial aid" -- is a bit disingenuous coming from the political entity that receives more aid per capita than any other group, and which forever has its collective hand out.
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At the same time, according to a newspaper in UAE, Jordan intends to vote against a Palestinian state in the General Assembly in September.
"Jordan's top national interests will be in danger if the Palestinian Authority declares statehood unilaterally – especially in everything related to the issue of refugees, water, Jerusalem, and the borders," a top Jordan official was quoted as saying.
Abdullah perceives quite well that if the PA takes the unilateral step, Israel will then move unilaterally as well.   Certainly Abdullah fears any move that would tend towards Jordan as the Palestinian state.  And so this is the explanation given.
But it's also the fact that there has been a cooling of the relationship between the PA and Jordan (with Jordan reportedly now preparing to cancel identification papers for Palestinian Arab leaders).  And the Jordanian monarch has hardly been an advocate of a Palestinian state at his border, with the specter looming of a Hamas takeover in time.
It's often tough to comprehend where Abdullah, who is feeling very squeezed, is coming from, and which side he'll stand with on any particular issue.
King Abdullah of Jordan
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© Arlene KushnerThis material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced onlywith proper attribution.Technorati Tag: and and and .
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