Monday, November 30, 2009

Go Figure: Arab Boycott--Good For Israel, Bad For Palestinians

Back in June, I wrote about how Obama's plan to have Israel freeze building in the settlement was actually hurting Palestinian Arabs, quoting from an article in The Jerusalem Post:

The phenomenon of Palestinians building new homes for Jewish settlers is not new. In fact, Palestinian laborers have been working in the construction business from the first day the settlements began in the West Bank.

Today, Palestinian Authority officials estimate, more than 12,000 Palestinians are employed by both Jewish and Arab contractors building new homes in the settlements.

...He said that he and his colleagues working for Israelis earn almost three times what they would receive doing the same work for Palestinian construction companies.

"The Palestinian employers pay us NIS 100 to NIS 150 a day," Uwaisat said. "The Israeli companies, by contrast, pay NIS 350 to NIS 450 a day. That's why many of us prefer to work for Israeli companies, even if the construction is in the settlements."

Noteworthy is that these Palestinian Arabs who earn their livelihood by helping to build in the settlements are not being prevented by the same Palestinian leaders who kill 'collaborators':

"In the beginning there were threats and physical assaults on some workers," he noted. "But the leaders of the intifada later realized that depriving the laborers of their livelihood would have a boomerang effect on the Palestinians. That's why they allowed the workers to go to the settlements."

And speaking of boomerang effects--that seems to be the result of the Arab boycotts. In fact, it seems to be more of a double boomerang.

Elder of Zion quotes

Shaher Saeed, general secretary of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), told representatives of seven unions that the organisation had so little interest in the subject [of general boycotts against Israel] it had never discussed boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and therefore had no policy on the subject.

“The only area where the PGFTU did have a boycott policy was with regard to produce from West Bank settlements. Even then, there was concern about whether that boycott could do more harm than good for the 30,000 Palestinians employed there,” said Steve Scott, director of Trade Union Friends of Israel (Tufi), who was with the delegation that met Mr Saeed.

...“Listening to people from both communities on the subject of the proposed international trade union boycott, it is evident that all parties oppose this action. In a meeting with the Jerusalem municipality workers, one view from the Palestinian contingent was that a boycott would be more detrimental to the Arab workforce than any other.

“The reason was that in the event of economic sanctions, it would cause a detrimental impact on the employment levels of their community.”

On another day, Mike Dixon wrote: “There was a discussion about the boycott and it is clear that Palestinians don’t want it — all they want is equal pay and a living.”

This is reminiscent of Khaled Abu Toameh's What Does "Pro-Palestinian" Really Mean? where he writes about self-proclaimed Pro-Palestinian 'activists' who believe that

inciting against Israel on a university campus or publishing “anti-Zionist” material on the Internet is sufficient to earn them the title of “pro-Palestinian.” But what these folks have not realized is that their actions and words often do little to advance the interests of the Palestinians. In some instances, these actions and words are even counterproductive.
The double boomerang effect of the boycott is revealed by Meryl Yourish, who writes about the benefits to Israel because of the Arab boycott. Meryl writes:

The Arab boycott has actually protected most Israelis from losing any money over Dubai’s credit implosion.

Thanks to the Arab boycott of Israel, which partially included Dubai, few Israelis have been exposed to the country’s financial crisis. Few Israelis export to Dubai, and it seems very few have business connections with the government’s Dubai World development arm, which has asked for a six-month moratorium on interest payments on its $59 billion in debt.

That does not mean that many Israelis did not try to do business in Dubai. Many made all sorts of connections and investment plans, but almost none of these joint ventures worked out.

There are a few Israelis who have significant financial stakes in Dubai, but for the most part, Israel’s economy continues to grow, even in the current worldwide recession.

And you can thank the Arab boycott for the minor impact on Israel.
Maybe it's time for those 'Pro-Palestinian activists' and other friends of the Palestinian Arabs to start living up to the titles they have assumed for themselves.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Forget About That Freeze On Israeli Settlements--How About That Freeze On Minarets In Switzerland? (Updated)

This freeze is arguably going to have a much broader impact in Europe--and beyond.

The BBC reports:

Swiss voters back ban on minarets

Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets, official results show.

More than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban.

The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation.

The government opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland's image, particularly in the Muslim world. [emphasis added]

In other words, the government is opposed to the measure out of fear of 'The Arab Street'. But the voters apparently are afraid of the immigration of Muslims and the Islamization of Switzerland.

Although there are only 4 minarets in Switzerland, there are 400,000 Muslims--and Islam is the most widespread religion there after Christianity.

Yet, in spite of the passing of the referendum, the BBC reports that Amnesty International says this is a violation of freedom of religion, and they expected that either the Swiss Supreme Court of the European Court of Human Rights will overturn the vote. Apparently no one is too upset that in Saudi Arabia only one religion is recognized...

But what I thought was interesting is what was posted on Joshuapundit about minarets in general:

A ban on minarets is very different than a ban on mosques. Minarets, which Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan aptly referred to as 'Muslim Bayonets' are designed expressly to show Islamic dominance and have a quite different effect from the ringing of church bells on Sunday. The minarets are designed to tower over most buildings in a neighborhood, and the muzzeins use highly amplified loud speakers to blast out the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer five times daily. And the wording of the Adhan trumpets the superiority of Islam over all other religions:

Read the whole thing.

Keep in mind that according to The Times, there are noise regulations in Switzerland that prevent the minarets from being used for its traditional function of calling the faithful to prayer. The same article also notes that Switzerland is not alone:

A similar battle has been raging in Germany over plans to build one of Europe’s biggest mosques in the shadow of Cologne cathedral. The Danes are also locked in debate over plans for two grand mosques in Copenhagen.

In an initiative that would please Switzerland’s antiminaret campaigners, an Italian town seized the headlines last week by putting up signs banning women from wearing the burqa in public.

In any case, this issue should make for an interesting discussion on drawing the line between freedom of religion and preserving ethnic identity. Hisham Maizer, the president of the Swiss Federation of Islamic Organisations, is quoted as saying “the debate about Islam is only just beginning.”

Many would say it is long overdue.

UPDATE: Daniel Pipes writes that

the 57.5 to 42.5 percent vote represents a possible turning point for European Islam, one comparable to the Rushdie affair of 1989. That a large majority of those Swiss who voted on Sunday explicitly expressed anti-Islamic sentiments potentially legitimates such sentiments across Europe and opens the way for others to follow suit. That it was the usually quiet, low-profile, un-newsworthy, politically boring, neutral Swiss who suddenly roared their fears about Islam only enhances their votes' impact.

I'm assuming the turning point Pipes is referring to is when the pendulum swung towards accommodation of 'Muslim sensitivities--a process that 20 years later has reached it's zenith and is now in the process of reversing direction.

Even so, the impact of the last 20 years will not be undone, and the consequences are barely being discussed.

UPDATE2: Robin Shepard writes:

The move is likely to provoke the kind of mass confrontation that followed the publication of a series of cartoons in Denmark in 2005 which linked the Prophet Mohammed to terrorism. In the months that followed, more than 100 people died in unrest across the Muslim world, Danish embassies and shops were burned to the ground and protests erupted by Muslim groups in Europe calling for the censorship of opinions considered insulting to Islam.

It is far too early to draw conclusions about today’s unfolding events in Switzerland and I will comment later when the situation becomes clearer. But it looks as though a backlash against Islam in Europe by nationalist forces energised by the failures of multiculturalist orthodoxies is now really starting to take hold.

It is just such an implosion of the centre-ground in favour of polarising groups on either side that has long been predicted by critics of politically correct, multiculturalist ideology. In other words, if mainstream parties refused to deal with the problem of intolerance and bigotry inside Muslim groups in a civilised manner, it was inevitable that fringe groups would deal with the problem in an uncivilised manner, all the while garnering ever greater support from a wider public disillusioned by the way things have been going. There’s more of this to come. You can rely on it.

Germany, Denmark, and Italy are mentioned as countries where similar steps are being taken--when we hear news like this from Great Britain, then I'll be impressed.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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If You're Going To Equate Global Warming With Belief In G_d...

During "The McLaughlin Group" on Sunday, host John McLaughlin asked about the upcoming Copenhagen climate change treaty and the possible effect on the US economy...

Later in the show, Buchanan reiterated his point that global warming wasn't going on and said there was no proof that any of the warming that has occurred in recent history was caused by man.

"It was warming, John," Buchanan said. "It's not been warming since '98. Secondly, there's no known proof it's because of man and there's no known proof it's a great danger."

However, Clift felt inclined to responded, rather emphatically. She said she believes U.S. policy should be proactive toward the issue. Her view is arguably indicative of the mainstream media's sentiment on the debate, and she equated it to blind faith when she told Buchanan there's no proof there's a God either, which didn't mean global warming wasn't a danger.

"It's no known proof there's God, either. How much proof do you need, Pat?" Clift replied. "Oh, it is a danger. It's a danger in many places."

Here's the video:

So according to Eleanor Clift's formulation, reliance on science is no 'better' than faith in religion?

Still, it's a lot better than those who refer to the critics of Global Warming as 'Denialists'--comparing questioning Global Warming with denying the Holocaust.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Friends Obama Has Denied Knowing: Rashid Khalidi, Willima Ayers--And Now Tareq Salahi (Updated)

In a post from last year, Ayers Is Not The Only Friendship Obama Denies, I noted that back in Chicago, the Obamas were friendly with the Khalidis and the Ayers'--one with ties to Palestinian terrorists, the others wanted in the US for domestic terrorism.

We also know that Obama made a point of downplaying as coincidental this ongoing friendship.

And that brings us to the Salahis--who seem to have crashed Obama's State Dinner.

But, according to the Canada Free Press:

“Party Crashers” had five-year relationship with Obama before state dinner

While the big gun media and American Secret Service are out there investigating “party crashers” Tareq and Michaele Salahi, no one’s telling the truth: Obama knew the Salahis when he was still an Illinois senator.

Polo Contacts Worldwide could make it easy for the investigating Secret Service by brown-enveloping them this picture:

The picture is from Polo Contacts Worldwide, which ran the picture on November 26, 2008 under the headline:
Americas Polo Cup Pre-Event - Invite Only - with President Elect Obama and Black Eyed Peas
According to Canada Free Press, this picture was taken while Obama was still just Senator--back in June 2005. So how does CFP know that the Polo Contacts site has it wrong?

This is where reading The Da Vinci Code comes in handy--if you go to that page on PCW and right-click on the image and save the image to your desktop, the name of the image is: ROCKTHEVOTEJune82005014.jpg

And yes, Obama and The Black Eyed Peas--with whom he is pictured above--were at the Rock The Vote Awards that year.

So why should Tareq Salahi rate along with Rashid Khalidi, Willima Ayers?
Just check out The American Task Force On Palestine:

click image to enlarge

OOPS! That's what it looks like now.
But if you look at the cache of that page in Google:

click image to enlarge

(Hat tip: Canada Free Press)

As Boker Tov, Boulder points out--this is not the first time the ATFP has felt the need to airbrush their website.

And yes, this more than just a question of:
Mr. Salahi travels the world as the Team Captain for the United States Polo Team and represents both the United States and Palestine on his diplomatic polo tours.
According to the blog, American Power, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) is:

a pro-Palestine lobby demanding the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The “right of return” has long been considered the backdoor to Israel’s destruction. But not only that: ATFP President Ziad Asali is an America-basher who blamed 9/11 on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Asali was a lead U.S. official to PLO terrorist Yassir Arafat’s funeral in 2004. And in a position paper in 2007, the ATFP called for a power-sharing agreement at the Palestinian Authority, which would have included the State Department’s designated-terrorist group, Hamas.

The same blog found notes that Obama's friend Rashid Khalidi also has ties to the ATFP:
According to Discover the Networks, ATFP’s former vice president is Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia University Middle East Studies professor and militant Palestinian rights activist. Khalidi cites the late Edward Said as his major influence, and according to the entry cited, “As with Said before him, Khalidi’s involvement with the Palestinian cause goes beyond mere support.” And, “Khalidi so strongly identified with the aims of the PLO, which was designated as a terrorist group by the State Department during Khalidi’s affiliation with it in the 1980s, that he repeatedly referred to himself as ‘we’ when expounding on the PLO’s agenda.” Also, according to Campus Watch, ATFP remains in full support Kahlidi, for example, during charges of academic misconduct in 2005, at the time of Senator Barack Obama’s meeting with Tareq Salahi. See, “ATFP EXPRESSES FULL SUPPORT FOR COLUMBIA PROFESSOR RASHID KHALIDI.
(Hat tip: Gateway Pundit)

The question is not how the the Salahi's crashed the party.
The question is just how friendly the Salahis and Obamas actually are.

UPDATE: A cached copy of the Board of the ATFP shows that Tareq Salahi was a member:

As opposed to now:

(Hat tip: Kabobfest)

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Is The US Using Israel To Pull China's Leg?

In an article for Foreign Policy, Steven A. Cook--a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations--writes that when all is said and done: Israel is not going to attack Iran to stop its nuclear program.

According to Cook:
A recent poll designed to gauge prevailing Israeli views of the United States demonstrated that large majorities had strong positive views of the United States and regarded Washington as a staunch ally. Yet, the April poll, conducted for the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University and the Anti-Defamation League by the Israeli firm Maagar Mochot, found that 49.5 percent of Israelis believed that Israel should defy the United States on Iran, but at the same time 91 percent said that the relationship with the United States is vital to Israel's security.

There is no way of knowing for sure what the Israelis will do, but the Maagar Mochot study holds some clues. Iran and its nuclear program remain a threat to Israel, and nearly half of all Israelis would choose to bomb Iran even if the Obama administration did not approve. It seems like an opportune moment for Israel's leaders to order up the airstrikes. Yet, observers need to ask why the Israelis are waiting. If the Iranians actually managed to build a nuclear weapon, that would be a major and alarming step, but the Israelis have long maintained that the mere fact that the Iranians are enriching uranium is a grave danger. Under these circumstances, Israel's patience -- despite the tough rhetoric -- suggests that Israeli leaders do not believe that the political environment is ripe to go it alone. The historical record, combined with the 91 percent of Israelis who believe the relationship between Israel and the United States is "vital," and the slightly more than half of Israeli Jews who remain reluctant to defy the United States, strongly implies that when push comes to shove, Jerusalem will defer to Washington. As a result, all those indicators portending an Israeli attack -- the strike against Syria in September 2007, the large air exercises over the Mediterranean in the summer of 2008, and the recent countrywide drills that the IDF's Home Front Command conducted -- might actually indicate that Israel is trying to figure out how to deter Iran, rather than attack it. An Israeli strike does not seem to be in the cards, so the finance guys in New York can relax for now. They can be sure, however, that if Israel decides to act, they will not hear about it first on CNBC. [emphasis added]
Yet it appears that in contrast to Cook's theory of how the US is holding Israel back from attacking Iran, there does seem to be at least one country that is pretty sure that Israel is ready to do just that: the US.

According to The Washington Post, the US used the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran--and the chaos that would result--in order to convince China to support a condemnation of Iran for flouting UN resolutions regarding its development of nuclear power:
Two weeks before President Obama visited China, two senior White House officials traveled to Beijing on a "special mission" to try to persuade China to pressure Iran to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.

If Beijing did not help the United States on this issue, the consequences could be severe, the visitors, Dennis Ross and Jeffrey Bader, both senior officials in the National Security Council, informed the Chinese.

The Chinese were told that Israel regards Iran's nuclear program as an "existential issue and that countries that have an existential issue don't listen to other countries," according to a senior administration official. The implication was clear: Israel could bomb Iran, leading to a crisis in the Persian Gulf region and almost inevitably problems over the very oil China needs to fuel its economic juggernaut, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. [emphasis added]
That is some juggling that the Obama administration is doing. After all, the US has no problem telling Israel that its efforts against Iran are linked to the progress made on talks with Abbas. As ZOA notes:
· President Obama: “… there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process … To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians -- between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with the potential Iranian threat” (‘Transcript of press conference with President Obama and PM Netanyahu,’ Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2009).

· Secretary Clinton: “For Israel to get the kind of strong support it’s looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can’t stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand …[every Arab official she has met] wants very much to support the strongest possible policy toward Iran [but] they believe that Israel’s willingness to reenter into discussions with the Palestinian Authority strengthens them in being able to deal with Iran” (Glenn Kessler, ‘Clinton counters Israeli stance on Palestinians and Iran,’ Washington Post, April 24, 2009).

· Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: ‘“Relations between Israel and the U.S. are unbreakable,” Emanuel said before a gathering of 350 AIPAC donors, adding that “this is the moment of truth for Israel and the Palestinians.” He also declared that “Iran is the number-one threat to the Middle East,” and noted that it is hard to make progress wherever Tehran is involved in the Middle East. Emanuel called for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation if Iran is to be countered effectively.’ (Barak Ravid and Natasha Mosgovaya, ‘Obama gets tougher with Israel on Palestinians, Iran,’ Haaretz, May 5, 2009).
If anything, Netanyahu's agreement to a 10-month freeze on building in the settlements indicates the power the US holds over Israel by using the threat of a nuclear Iran against it.

Granted that China went ahead and agreed to the condemnation of Iran, but in light of Netanyahu's concession to the US--China might not be so easy to scare next time.

And others might also see through the charade as well.

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Old MacNasrallah Had A Farm...

Or so he claims--and now he and Hizbollah have the backing of the Lebanese government:
Lebanon’s new cabinet has agreed on a policy statement that recognises Hizbollah’s right to use arms against Israel, despite reservations from the Western-backed ruling majority.

The cabinet had already met eight times in an attempt to iron out the clause which refers to the party’s substantial arsenal, with some ministers arguing it undermines the authority of the state.

The clause in question states the right of “Lebanon, its government, its people, its army and its resistance” to liberate all Lebanese territory.

Hizbollah is commonly referred to as the resistance in Lebanon.
Meryl Yourish refers to this article as Israel's justification in the inevitable next war with Hizbollah, noting the UN's current inability to take a stand on events in Lebanon.

And yet, strange as it may seem, in determining the status of that disputed territory that Lebanon claims Hizbollah has a right to liberate--Shaba Farms--the UN did its homework when it decided that Lebanon in fact did not have a right to that farmland area.

In July 2000, the UN Security Council made a point of
Recalling also the statements of its President of 20 April 2000 (S/PRST/2000/13), 23 May 2000 (S/PRST/2000/18) and 18 June (S/PRST/2000/21) on the situation in Lebanon, in particular its endorsement of the work done by the United Nations as mandated by the Security Council, including the Secretary-General's conclusion that as of 16 June 2000 Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with resolution 425 (1978) and met the requirements defined in the Secretary-General's report of 22 May 2000 (S/2000/460),
In Secretary General Kofi Anan's May report to the Security Council he noted:
14. Concerning that portion of Lebanon’s border that it shares with the Syrian Arab Republic relevant to the Israeli withdrawal, there seems to be no official record of a formal international boundary agreement between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic that could easily establish the line for the purpose of confirming the withdrawal. On 4 May 2000, the Government of Lebanon informed my Special Envoy that certain farmlands in the Shab’a area located outside the area of operations of UNIFIL as defined since 1978 would be claimed by Lebanon in the context of the requirement under resolution 425 (1978) that Israel withdraw from Lebanon.

15. Once the Government of Lebanon informed the United Nations of its new position regarding the definition of its territory, the United Nations requested the Governments of Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as other Member States in possession of pertinent information, to provide the United Nations with documentation related to the Lebanese-Syrian border.

16. The Government of Lebanon subsequently provided the United Nations with title deeds of Lebanese ownership of farmlands in this area, as well as with documentation indicating that Lebanese governmental and religious institutions had enjoyed, at various points in time, jurisdiction over those farmlands. The Government of Lebanon informed the United Nations of a joint understanding between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic that the farmlands were Lebanese, including a decision of a joint Lebanese-Syrian border committee that concluded in 1964 that the area was Lebanese and that the international border should be redefined consistent with that conclusion. In a telephone conversation with me on 16 May 2000, the Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Al-Shara’, stated that the Syrian Arab Republic supported Lebanon’s claim.

17. On 15 May 2000, the United Nations received a map, dated 1966, from the Government of Lebanon which reflected the Government’s position that these farmlands were located in Lebanon. However, the United Nations is in possession of 10 other maps issued after 1966 by various Lebanese government institutions, including the Ministry of Defence and the army, all of which place the farmlands inside the Syrian Arab Republic. The United Nations has also examined six maps issued by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, including three maps since 1966, which place the farmlands inside the Syrian Arab Republic. On the basis of the Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces of 31 May 1974 and its Protocol concerning the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which included maps initialled by Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic, the Shab’a farmlands fall within the scope of the area of operations of UNDOF. The area coming under the mandate of UNDOF has remained unchanged until the present time. It follows that in adopting resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), the Security Council could not have included as part of the UNIFIL area of operations an area which had already formed part of the UNDOF area of operations. It is worth noting that, notwithstanding the conflicting evidence to which I have alluded, and whatever the present understanding between Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic, these farmlands lie in an area occupied by Israel since 1967 and are therefore subject to Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) calling for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory. (A total of 81 maps were available to the United Nations from various sources dating from before and after 1966; 25 of these were issued by the Governments of Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.) [emphasis added]
So in keeping with UN Resolution 242, Israel is holding onto that area until a properly negotiated secure borders can be agreed upon with Syria.

In the meantime, Syria finds itself in something of a quandary:
At the time of the 2000 Israeli withdrawal the UN asked Syria about its position on the issue. Damascus was in a quandary: On the one hand, this was obviously Syrian territory; on the other, if Syria conceded that the farms belong to Lebanon, there might be a chance of getting one more sliver of Arab territory out of Israeli hands.

Syria thus responded that whatever its former claims to the Shaba Farms, it now agreed to cede them to Lebanon.

But when the UN asked Damascus for a formal document stating that the area had indeed been legally transferred to Lebanon, Syria balked - and it has still not supplied such a document. [emphasis added]
Bottom line, that farmland is nothing more than a pretext to allow Hizbollah to apply pressure on Israel on behalf of its masters in Iran.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

ACLU: Students Can Wear Shirts That Read "Islam is of the Devil" (Updated)

Wow: would you ever have expected to see the ACLU take a stand for free speech that demonizes Islam?
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued a north Florida school district, claiming that the Alachua County School District violated students' rights by not allowing them to wear T-shirts with an anti-Islamic message.

The civil rights organization says that while it doesn't agree with the "Islam is of the Devil" message printed on T-shirts distributed by the Dove World Outreach Center, it does support the students' constitutional right to freedom of speech.

A school dress code prohibits clothing that school officials conclude would "disrupt the learning process" or cause other students to be "offended or distracted." The students were sent home for violation of the code after declining to change out of the shirts.

The church was the target of protests after it posted a sign with the same message on its property in July.

In a letter to the ACLU the school board's law firm said that "a school may regulate a student's free speech rights if the exercise of those rights materially and substantially interferes with maintaining appropriate discipline at school, or if the conduct impinges on the rights of other students."
Stranger is the fact that the school policy is correct and even by the ACLU's own defense, what the school did appears completely justified.

If I were a cynic, I would be inclined to agree with the comment left by Photoonist, who linked to this article on
Of course the ACLU doesn't support the message. Their real concern is that if this one is stopped then anti-Christian messages will be blocked as well.
By the way, is it only coincidence that it was a Florida school where they had Kick A Jew Day?

UPDATE: I noticed that Blazing Cat Fur linked to this post. In the comments, Xanthippa's Chamberpot writes:

Well - this issue has been decided by the US supreme court, back in the 60's in he [sic] 'Tinker' trial (it involved an anti-Vietnam protest) [see here DA].

A public school does not have the right to limit a student's political or other speech on school property, as the US supreme court ruled this to be an unreasonable limitation on the student's First Amendment rights.

The only 'word/messages' the school board may censor AND against which it is permitted to have a policy are profanity or sexually explicit speech/material and anything that promotes the use of illegal drugs.

Any schoolboard policy which attempts to limit a student's freedom of expression beyond these two (sex/profanity, promoting drugs) is unconstitutional - at least, in the US.

(I looked it up recently, when a high school near Salem, MA, banned the word 'meep' from its property: both spoken and written/worn, because students were saying it 'at' a teacher....) [see here and here DA]
Based on this, what I concluded about the ACLU's defense is wrong, in that the shirts--while potentially a distraction--would not "materially and substantially" interfere with the running of the school.

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The Banality of Evil, Terrorism--and Self-Preservation

Doug Bandow--Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute--has a piece about Marc Garlasco in the Huffington Post on The Politics of Collecting:
I have a confession to make. I recently bid on a bronze bust of Lavrenti Beria on eBay. He was Joseph Stalin's last secret police chief. Alas, someone outbid me.
But at a Chelsea flea market in New York City last weekend I did purchase a World War I German military cigarette case.

Despite what you might think, I'm really not a communist-sympathizer. Nor a fan of the Kaiser. Just a collector. Collecting might be a form of mental illness, but it's not the same as endorsing mass murder.

I'm thinking a bit more about my collecting these days after the controversy that erupted over Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch, who collects World War II German militaria. It is the most popular military genre, but Garlasco was attacked as a Nazi-sympathizer by people who don't like his analytical work critical of Israel.

Garlasco--whom I have never met--seems to have survived the kerfuffle, but the controversy demonstrated not only Washington's tendency toward the ad hominem but also a more general failure to understand collectors. Collectors collect. The doing often is as important as the what. Few collectors collect because they identify with the politics behind the items they are accumulating. In fact, many can't even explain why they like what they like. [emphasis added]
Let's put aside for the moment Bandow's simplistic explanation for the 'attack' on Garlasco's work, which is more related to the actual quality of the work done by Garlasco--whom Kenneth Timmerman notes is "a self-styled 'military expert' for Human Rights Watch...who has no artillery experience or forensics training"

Instead, let's take a look at how Bandow explains his own fascination with collecting:
Despite appearances, I really do not admire one of Stalin's chief henchman, a person responsible for the murder and imprisonment of millions of people. Rather, I'm fascinated with what amounts to a celebration of the banality of evil. A bust of this unprepossessing figure, bald head highlighted by pince-nez glasses, actually sat on someone's desk a half century ago (he was arrested and shot shortly after Stalin's death in 1953). [emphasis added]
Keeping in mind that this is Bandow's--not Garlasco's--reason for collecting, I wonder what someone who can consider evil to be banal, thinks about the 'banality' of self-preservation?

On the one hand, evil is still not considered so banal as to be ignored:
The popular social-networking Web site Facebook has removed a page that called for the murder of Jews, after receiving a query on the matter from The Jerusalem Post.

The page, which belonged to a group that called itself "anti-semitism," listed dozens of members under a tagline that said, "We hate Jews so we must kill them."

It also contained a photo album labeled "we must kill the Jews" which contained numerous anti-Semitic images.

Contacted by the Post on Monday, Facebook took down the page within hours of receiving the inquiry.
and quick action was taken last week against Kick A Jew Day at a school.

On the other hand, there is a column by Seth Frantzman in The Jerusalem Post (Where is the banality of the Jews?)
The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall reminds us once again of the theory of the "banality of evil." It is important to explore the way in which contemporary thought views the actions of the East Germans and their Nazi forebears as "banal" and yet many of those who see their actions as dull, tend to judge the IDF harshly.
The banality of evil is associated with a controversial interpretation of the Nazis:
[Hannah] Arendt blamed the Jews for their deaths, claiming that the Judenrat and their part in Nazi bureaucracy was a driver of the Holocaust. For Arendt, the culprits were the far-from-banal Jewish collaborators, not the Nazis who ran the thing.
For [filmaker Eyal] Sivan, the Nazis are also colorless banal fools, the Jews are the culprits, in this case the Zionist regime for daring to memorialize the Holocaust and for supposedly erasing the Palestinian memory of the "nakba" of 1948 and continuing to suppress Palestine.
With this in mind, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall brings Frantzman to consider a more fruitful, if not more provocative, comparison of Israel with Germany:
Many who write about the East German regime and its Stasi secret police tend to portray the soldiers who manned its wall as banal. When they obeyed the "shoot to kill" orders against those trying to flee the East, they are inevitably excused.

A program on the National Geographic channel claimed they had to 'wrestle with demons' and it must have been "terrible" for them to shoot their own people. One feels the shooter was as much the victim as those he shot.

But for all the wrestling and inner struggle of the East German border guards, one might have forgotten that they carried out criminal orders. And yet with the fall of the Berlin Wall, none of the leaders of the Stasi were put on trial. Banality triumphed. The system in East Germany was bad; no individual had committed any crimes.

The reunification of Europe was replete with such amnesties for murderers. With the exception of a few cases, most of the Communist criminals were forgotten. The idea was, as in South Africa, Spain after Franco and Northern Ireland, that bygones should be bygones. No show trials. No revenge.

And yet the same European judicial system that forgets the Communist and Franco past is the one, in Belgium, Spain and the UK, that allows itself to investigate IDF "war crimes" in Gaza.

How did it come to be that a judicial system in the UK that can't investigate Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, when the British paratroops shot 14 people dead in 1972, can investigate far-away Israel? England waited 30 years to convene an inquiry into Bloody Sunday; Israel is expected to do so tomorrow morning.

The central theme that runs all the way through is that the Jews, as a people, are not perceived as banal. As such they are perceived as individually evil when they do things that are perceived as wrong.

A Jewish IDF soldier who commits a crime while on duty is not having some sort of internal moral wrestling match; he is especially inclined to do bad. His crime is part of a system that is portrayed as uniquely evil.
Nowhere else does one see such a thoroughgoing condemnation of an entire group or country.

Islamist extremists are considered exactly that, as extremists, and not as typical adherents of Islam--which is only fair.

However, Palestinian terrorism has every excuse offered on its behalf: from a selective and tendentious interpretation of history to difficult economic conditions to categorizing killers of civilians as 'militants' and political organizations.

Terrorists have become mere criminals--and we are lectured, as was Officer Krupke in "West Side Story": I'm depraved on account I'm deprived.

And as a result:
  • Hamas leaders are free to write what they like in op-eds in respected newspapers without fear of correction or contradiction from the editor, and their talk-show-style interviews appear on YouTube

  • International Humanitarian Law is invoked with righteous indignation after 8 years and thousands of rockets and mortars with nary a peep and none of the invective heaped on Israel

  • The Israeli victims of terrorism are accused of war crimes--wary of traveling to countries where terrorists and their leaders freely tread.

  • The only recourse allowed to Israel in the face of attacks from the proxies of Iran is negotiation--which means compromise: the one-sided kind which is a more palatable term for appeasement.
Self-preservation in the face of terrorism has become very dull and banal indeed.
Especially in the case of Israel.

But never fear, Mr. Bandow: think of the collectibles if Israel loses.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hamas Brand Of 'Children's Television' Comes To Europe

I suppose it was only a question of time before we saw this:
Hamas site encourages Europe attacks

The educational content of the Hamas children's Web site Al-Fateh (The Conqueror) is not a form of pedagogy, but an "indoctrination to suicide bombing," said David Oman, the director of communications for the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE) on Tuesday at a press conference at the Regent Hotel.

Gert Weisskirchen, a former Social Democratic Party MP and chairman of the OSCE on combating anti-Semitism between 2004-2008, introduced the IMPACT-SE study, and said that "there is a chance to prevent the indoctrination of children and youngsters in Germany and all over Europe."

The study "Al-Fateh - The Hamas Web Magazine for Children: Indoctrination to Jihad, Annihilation and Self-Destruction" took place from September 2002 to April of this year.

Oman cited the "friends of Al-Fateh" entry of the young German-Palestinian child Muhammad Warad as growing evidence of the spread of radical, anti-Western Hamas ideology. [emphasis added]
To get an idea of how the Hamas website works, take a look at Hate on the net: extremist sites, neo-fascism on-line, electronic jihad By Antonio Roversi.

In the excerpt from the book, embedded below, starting on page 110 ("Al Fateh and the Pedagogy of War"), Roversi describes how similar the site is to other sites for children.

Then on page 112, he describes the darker side of the site, in the section of the site called "Friends of Al Fateh."

On page 113, Roversi describes 3 other sections of the site that continue with the theme of martyrdom--this on a website that Hamas intends for children.

Page 114 is skipped, but page 115 has the conclusion of what apparently is a letter of a child ready to be a suicide bomber.

Remember, we are no longer talking about the TV shows that Hamas produces to brainwash their own children in Gaza. Now we are talking about Hamas exporting their brand of indoctrination to Europe, and the Muslim populations there.

The study referred to above states the obvious:
The educational material on the site contravenes "all of the International Educational Standards based on UNESCO Resolutions," noted the study. Moreover, the authors of the study wrote that the site violates the International Convention on the Rights of the Child affirming that "every child has the inherent right to life," by inciting children to commit suicide bombings.

The pro-violence ideology of Hamas will have "implications for the West and Israel," said Oman.
What is not so obvious is what the UN--or anyone else, for that matter--is going to do about it.

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"Kick A Jew Day"

There are disturbing accusations of anti-Semitism at a Collier County school. Ten students are serving suspensions for their roles in what was called "Kick a Jew Day" at North Naples Middle.

We talked to one student Monday who said this was happening all over school. We also talked to several parents who are flat-out furious.

"Oh, I think it's horrible. I don't understand why they would do that," said parent Jodie Hovland.

According to the Collier County School District, 10 students were suspended for their roles in "Kick a Jew Day" last week.

Word had spread around school that if you saw a Jewish student on Thursday, you were supposed to kick them, as was first reported by our news gathering partners at the Naples Daily News
Reaction from the Jewish community was not long in coming:
David Barkey, south area council for the Florida Anti-Definmation League, said the organization had been made aware of the incident.

“You are talking about an incident that has anti-Jewish bias if not anti-Semitism. You have Jewish students being singled out, harassed and assaulted,” he said. “If the allegations are true, it is possible these students violated Florida’s new anti-bullying law. And, if students were physically assaulted, it could rise to the level of criminal conduct.”

Rabbi James Perman, of Temple Shalom in North Naples, called the situation “alarming.”

“I can tell you this: I haven’t seen anything like it in my 17 years in Naples. No child deserves this kind of treatment,” he wrote in an e-mail Monday. “Their parents are understandably outraged. So far it seems that the school system has taken appropriate measures and we applaud their efforts. At this point, teaching sensitive awareness is more important than punishing anyone.”
As far as the punishment goes, the children involved were suspended in-school for one day, the parents of the children were called into school for a meeting and until further notice, the first 20 minutes of the school day, which is normally used for reading and tutoring, will instead be used for stressing character traits such as respect and kindness.

The new anti-bullying law referred to by Barkey is fairly clear:
The Collier County School District has a policy on bullying and harassment. It defines bullying as “systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees.”

Harassment is defined as “any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property,” among other things.

The students were disciplined in accordance with the bullying and harassment policy, which can range from “positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct,” according to the district’s policy.
Not bad.
Now if only the UN can get their act together and define 'terrorism,' especially in the Middle East, where the stakes are a good deal higher.

Note: There is absolutely no indication that this was something done or instigated by Muslim students.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It Has To Be Asked: Can Israel Trust The UN?

In my post UN Cannot Unilaterally Declare A Palestinian State Because Of--The UN, I concluded that
We still have to wait and see if the UN Security Council will uphold Resolution 242 in accordance with its actual intent.
Evelyn Gordon is also not entirely certain that the UN can be counted on, noting that using the 1967 borders as the PA is seeking to do
would radically alter the existing international position, prejudice the outcome of negotiations, and probably spark an escalating war of unilateral moves and countermoves. But it would also have another deleterious effect: it would provide further proof that international guarantees to Israel are worthless. And because reliable international guarantees will be a necessary part of any Israeli-Palestinian agreement, this would make a deal significantly less likely. [emphasis added]
And that is part of the issue, isn't it--whether international guarantees in general and the UN in particular can be relied upon. Gordon believes that
In truth, the Security Council has already made this pretty clear, via its treatment of Resolution 1310, which certified Israel’s unilateral pullout from Lebanon in 2000 as complete to the last inch. Almost immediately after that resolution passed, Hezbollah began insisting that the pullout was not complete because Israel still occupied the “Lebanese territory” of Shaba Farms. Yet UN experts had previously determined that Shaba was Syrian, not Lebanese, and that determination served as the basis for both Israel’s pullout and the subsequent Security Council endorsement.

But instead of sticking by this endorsement, the international community quickly backtracked: in 2006, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1701, which ordered the UN to delineate “the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area.” The UN subsequently set up a new mapping commission to do so. And while the commission has yet to submit its final conclusions, the Israeli press reported two years ago already that it intends to declare Shaba Lebanese

This sends a pretty clear message: there’s no such thing as a “final” border for Israel; anytime an Arab state demands additional territory, the UN will happily scrap its own previous determination of the “final” border and favorably consider the new Arab request.
Of course, the UN is not alone in having proved in the past as having been less than a reliable friend of Israel. Caroline Glick provides a list of US strongarm tactics used on Israel:

So it was in 1956, when Eisenhower forced David Ben-Gurion to beat a speedy retreat from the Sinai and Gaza at the end of the Suez campaign. The president justified the uncompromising demand by promising Israel that if the Egyptians were again to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, the US would send its navy to reopen the waterway by force. In 1967, when Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the straits, president Lyndon Johnson begged off, forcing Israel to stand alone.

After the Six Day War, which should have led to a complete political reshuffling of the region, the US again protected Israel’s neighbors.

In 1973, the US administration was again on hand, wresting the Egyptians from the jowls of defeat. Henry Kissinger prevented Israel from destroying Egypt’s Third Army, allowed the Egyptians to escape with honor and thus enabled the creation of the current Egyptian myth – that Israel lost that war.

The Ford and Carter administrations strongly pressured Israel to sign away the Sinai in exchange for peaceful ties with Egypt, which after 23 years have yet to materialize, although Egypt, rearmed with American assistance, now poses a military threat unimaginable in the past.

In Lebanon in 1982, the Reagan administration stepped in to save a routed Arafat. The Americans paved the way for his escape with his troops from Beirut to Tunis, free to fight another day. In the meantime, the US forced Israel to withdraw from much of Lebanon and allowed the Syrian army to remain.

And in the Gulf war, the first Bush administration not only prevented Israel from achieving political advantage, it prohibited Israel even from defending itself against unprovoked Iraqi ballistic missile attacks. After isolating Israel from the coalition, the administration proceeded to force its democratic ally to the negotiating table to discuss the transfer territory to the Arabs. When the negotiations failed to bear fruit, the administration meddled in the 1992 elections to assist in the victory of the more forthcoming Labor Party.

Although the Clinton administration served in a decade unscathed by large-scale war, but marked by an increase in rogue states’ audacity and terrorist attacks on US targets, Clinton consistently urged Israel to accept Palestinian terrorism and insisted on turning a blind eye to blatant PA breaches of its commitments to Israel. The Clinton administration’s addiction to pressuring Israel to accept Arab aggression under the guise of peacemaking led to unprecedented meddling in Israel’s internal politics. The end result could be seen in the twin pictures of Clinton impertinently announcing his peace plan after his successor had already been elected, and Madeleine Albright chasing after Arafat outside the US Embassy in Paris in a vain attempt to get him to return to the negotiating table he had just overturned.

The Obama administration's claim that the US had no formal understanding with Israel regarding settlements is only the latest example of the vagaries of the guarantees made to Israel over the years.

The question now is whether the UN will stand by its own resolutions.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Nidal Hasan Was NOT An Advisor To Obama's Homeland Security Team--But These Men Are...

I read this on Arlene Kushner's blog:
I would like to thank those readers who shared with me information on Muslims of dubious or clearly inappropriate background who have been given positions in Homeland Security in the US. There are two of particular note:

Arif Alikhan was appointed by Obama several months ago to be Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Homeland Security. Responsible for developing policy to secure the nation against terrorism, he killed an LA Police project for monitoring terrorist activities in local radical mosques. He has also referred to Hezbollah as a "liberation movement."

Kareem Shora was appointed by Obama to Homeland Security's advisory council, which directly provides advice and recommendations to the Homeland Security Secretary. He was formerly executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which refers to jihadists as "heroes."

This is from and checked out.

A similar item sent to me with regard to Fort Hood terrorist Hasan turned out to not be quite accurate: According to Snopes [read here], he attended one or more meetings organized by George Washington University's Homeland Security policy institute, but was never actually an advisor to Obama's Homeland Security Team. [emphasis added]
It's important to make clear what information is verifiable and which is just plain inaccurate. According to an update on Gawker:
Daniel Kaniewski, the institute's deputy director, confirms that Hasan attended task force meetings as an audience member, and stresses that he was not a member of the task force. "All of our events are open to the public," Kaniewski says, "and when someone RSVPs we put their name in the [report] so everyone knows who was in the room." He says institute staffers recall Hasan attending at least one task force event, and that he RSVP'd for several. "We do recall him speaking at one of our events as an audience member," he says, "but none of us recall what he actually said. Generally, our events are attended by people in the homeland security community, and Hasan had a very legitimate reason to be there. He was a fellow at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences."
So the concern about Obama's advisers continues--and extends to more than just whether they have paid their taxes.

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Gilo--History And International Law Back Israel

In an article in the Jerusalem Post, Maurice Ostroff writes about the status of Gilo--where plans to build 900 houses have caused a new uproar and claims that Israel is once again expanding settlements.

However, as Ostroff points out, the emotional reaction ignores the facts--both historical and legal.


THE REALITY is that Gilo is very different than the outposts in the West Bank. It is not in east Jerusalem as widely reported. It is a Jerusalem neighborhood with a population of around 40,000. The ground was bought by Jews before WWII and settled in 1971 in south west Jerusalem opposite Mount Gilo within the municipal borders. There is no inference whatsoever that it rests on Arab land.

The current building approval was not a deliberately provocative political decision by Binyamin Netanyahu as reported in some media. The plan was initiated a long time ago by the Israel Land Administration. Since Gilo is an integral part of the city, the approval was given by Jerusalem's Construction and Planning Committee and, as Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement released by his office, "Israeli law does not discriminate between Arabs and Jews, or between east and west of the city. The demand to cease construction just for Jews is illegal, as in the US and any other enlightened place in the world. The Jerusalem Municipality will continue to enable construction in every part of the city for Jews and Arabs alike."

...In his video message to the November 8 Rabin Rally in Tel Aviv, US President Barack Obama urged Israel to pursue Rabin's legacy. It is therefore relevant to recall that Rabin had no intention of returning to the 1967 lines. In his last speech [view here] to the Knesset on October 5, 1995, Rabin said "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines....First and foremost, united Jerusalem - which will include both Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev - as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths...."

No less supportive of Israel's right to build the houses is Internaational Law, which is often misquoted in an effort to condemn Israel:

AS THE Western Wall, Ramat Eshkol, French Hill, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Mount Scopus are all beyond the Green Line, it important to consider its significance realistically. The Green line is not an international border. It refers only to the 1949 Armistice lines established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its name is derived from the green ink used to draw the line on the map. Nor is it fixed, as explained by Justice Stephen M. Schwebel, who spent 19 years as a judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, including three years as President. He wrote "...modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful (if not necessarily desirable), whether those modifications are, in Secretary Rogers's words, "insubstantial alterations required for mutual security" or more substantial alterations - such as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem.." And in a footnote he added "It should be added that the armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them".

The Palestinians never had sovereignty over the West Bank nor east Jerusalem and Justice Schwebel concluded that since Jordan, the prior holder of these territories had seized that territory unlawfully in 1948, Israel which subsequently took that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense in 1967, has better title to it. Jordan's illegal annexation of the West bank and east Jerusalem in 1948 was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan and Jordan now makes no claim to it.

In terms of international law, between 1948 and 1967 this territory was terra nullius, or "land belonging to no one" over which sovereignty may be acquired through occupation. The concept of terra nullius is well recognized in international law. For example it has been a major issue in Australian politics and Norway occupied parts of uninhabited Eastern Greenland in the 1920s on the grounds of terra nullius.

As east Jerusalem came into Israel's possession in the course of a defensive war, Israel was entitled to annex it and create a united Jerusalem. Consequently, the Jerusalem City Council has jurisdiction over building approvals for Jewish and Arab residence in any part of the city.

It is highly relevant that the Oslo Accords do not require any freeze of building activity and even the road map which was never formally ratified, speaks only of dismantling "outposts" erected since March 2001, a far cry from Gilo, that has been a residential suburb of Jerusalem since 1971.

Ostroff concludes:

In proposing solutions towards achieving two states, co-existing in peace and security, impractical slogans like 'evacuate the settlements' should be discarded because of their vagueness and replaced by a pragmatic call for territorial compromise taking the above realities into account.

But don't bet on the loaded terms 'settlement' and 'occupation' falling into disuse any time soon. Rhetoric has long served pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel apologists far too well--and far better than the historical record and accurate interpretations of International Law.

Besides, rhetoric beats the facts--hands down.
And both the Palestinian Arabs and their allies know this very well.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

UN Cannot Unilaterally Declare A Palestinian State Because Of--The UN (Updated)

I have written before about the issues standing in the way of the PA going ahead with their threat to go to the UN and unilaterally declare a Palestinian state.

Arlene Kushner has written about another angle altogether, where she describes how one of the things standing in the way of the UN recognizing a Palestinian state may be the UN itself. First she clarifies just what it is involved in the UN recognizing a new country:
I've been doing some checking with regard to the Palestinians taking their theoretical state-in-the-making to the UN. It is a complicated business, and the complications are compounded by the fact that within the international arena theoretical rules are one thing, while in reality states often act as they damn please, in accordance not with law but political whim-- as we well know.

What is basic fact is that the Security Council does not "endorse" states, or -- whatever the term -- bring them into being by virtue of a resolution: there is no mechanism for this within international law via any agency. The PA would have to declare a state first. (And if this declaration is unilateral it would render Oslo null and void.)
So let's assume that the PA declares a Palestinian state--apparently there are certain basic requirements:
According to the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States of 1933, there is a basic “definition” of a state, which has been adopted by the international community. In order to qualify as a state, an entity must:

[] have a permanent population
[] have a defined territory
[] be under the control of its own government
[] have the capacity to enter into relations with other states

Does the PA qualify? No way. Consider, just for one example, that the PA seems bent on declaring a state that includes Gaza, where its government would have no control. Would it (wink wink) be considered to have met the required criteria in the course of its declaration, or be laughed out of the international arena?

As to whether to recognize this new state once it is declared, each nation would make its own decision. Recognition of a nascent state by other nations does seem to be an important part of creating the legal reality.

This new state would then apply to the Security Council for UN membership. This membership does not create the state, but simply accords the state, which already exists, the rights and protections conferred upon member states.

What's important here, is this, from the International Judicial Monitor (as of this summer):

"...the Security Council must decide to submit a state’s application for admission to the General Assembly for a two-thirds majority vote. The two-thirds requirement means that a state may not be granted admission to the UN if it is not recognized by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly. This is the case for Kosovo which will likely not be able to join the UN in the near future because it is only recognized by sixty-two UN members."

And so this new Palestinian state, were it to be declared, might be stopped right there. Which would render moot the entire discussion about Resolution 242.

Granted that there are number of countries in the UN who are in a hurry to see a Palestinian state established, there is still more to take into account:
This is not what analysts are looking at, however. For them the real sticking point has to do with borders, which the PA quite obviously intends to set as the Green Line (everything that was not under Israeli control before the Six Day War of 1967).

If the SC were to accept "Palestine" as a member state, does this mean it would be sanctioning or endorsing those borders as unilaterally claimed?

If the answer is yes, this would mean setting up a conflict with SC Resolution 242, which, basically, says that Israel does not have to withdraw from all territories acquired in 1967, and is entitled to safe and recognized borders that are arrived at via negotiations. And Israel does not have to pull out of any territory until this negotiation occurs. The Green Line is not considered a safe border -- strategic depth is required. (This sets foolish Obama's statement about settlements not bringing security into conflict with this resolution as well.)

The concern is that the PA is seeking to overturn or override this resolution.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs held a conference on 242 a couple of years ago (I was in attendance and learned a great deal). For detailed information from that conference see:

True, the Arab has always claimed that UN Resolution requires Israel to withdraw from all of that territory, but there is abundant proof that is not the case--including what the authors of the resolution themselves have written.

Meanwhile, the PA has already backtracked on the idea of a unilateral declaration of a state:
The Palestinians will not unilaterally declare an independent state, but rather seek a UN Security Council resolution endorsing a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines, Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Israeli officials said Erekat was backtracking on earlier statements calling for a unilateral declaration of independence, even as he said that Israel was "twisting his words."

The Palestinians want the Security Council to set the borders of their future state and those of Israel along the pre-1967 lines, Erekat said.

"What we are seeking is to preserve the two-state solution," he said. "One state is not an option."
However, even just asking the UN to set the borders of a Palestinian state to the pre-1967 lines comes into the same problem: those border lines must be negotiated with Israel and cannot be unilaterally declared.

We still have to wait and see if the UN Security Council will uphold Resolution 242 in accordance with its actual intent.

UPDATE: Evelyn Gordon expands on the actual meaning of Resolution 242:
While most of the world already believes the 1967 lines should be the final border, the formal basis for the talks remains Security Council Resolution 242, which says no such thing. This resolution purposefully required an Israeli withdrawal only from “territories” captured in 1967, not “the territories” or “all the territories.” As Lord Caradon, the British UN ambassador who drafted 242, explained, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.” America’s then UN ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, similarly said the two omitted words “were not accidental …. the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal.” This was equally clear to the Soviet Union and Arab states, which is why they unsuccessfully pushed to include those extra words.

Formally, therefore, the final border is subject to negotiations: The Palestinians can seek the 1967 lines, but Israel is free to seek to retain parts of the territories. However, should the council endorse “a two-state solution based on the June 4, 1967 borders,” this would no longer be true: Instead, the world would have formally adopted the Palestinian position in a binding resolution — thereby blatantly prejudicing the outcome of the talks.
Rick Richman documents that historically, neither the Roadmap nor the US have considered the 1967 borders to be the defining boundary for a second Palestinian state:
The Roadmap calls for final-status negotiations in Phase III “based on UNSCR 242.” It does not mention the June 4, 1967, lines, much less endorse them as “borders.” The U.S. has at least three times formally assured Israel of “defensible borders” as the outcome of the peace process: (1) in the January 16, 1997, letter from Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; (2) in the April 14, 2004, letter from President George W. Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; and (3) in theJanuary 16, 2009, Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. and Israel. Only such borders meet the Resolution 242 requirement that Israel’s borders be not only recognized but also secure.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Goldstone Report: It's A Missile! No, It's A Mortar! No, It's An Air To Ground Rocket!!

The blog Harris ad hoc addresses the issues surrounding the attack on the al-Maqadmah mosque, 3 January 2009: in this case the changing story between the Goldstone Report and Judge Goldstone himself, about what actually happened.

After laying out and analyzing the various relevant paragraphs from the report--and Judge Goldstone's different version presented at the Brandeis debate--Harris summarizes how the telling of the story of the al-Maqadmah mosque has changed:
The written report claims that it had been an isolated air strike unrelated to any ground operations and fire fights and explicitly claims that apparently no ground forces were in that area during that incident. Lateron [sic] the air-to-ground missile has turned into a mortar shell which does not contain any tungsten and can not be fired precisely at a mosque door and would not have allowed to make such a case of an Israeli strike because the origin of such a mortar shell would remain unclear. Now this mortar shell has turned back into a missile which is claimed to be - with certainty - a ground-to-ground missile fired by ground troops who - which is implied in it - would had been operating in the closest proximity of that mosque not mentioned by anyone in the testemonies or by the written report. And suddenly - for countering Gold's claims that the mosque had not been attacked by the IDF - Goldstone adds some tungsten shrapnels which are not mentioned in the written report with regard to this incident.

Read the whole thing.

Apparently no one really cares how the mosque was destroyed--as long as it can be blamed on Israel.

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A Myth In The Making: Israel Broke The Cease-Fire On November 4, 2008

In conjunction with the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes, there has been a move to blame Israel for breaking the truce which led to the commencement of the war itself.
Typical is this opinion piece from The Irish Times by David Morrison of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
IN JUNE, Israel agreed a six-month ceasefire with Hamas. Until December 27th, no Israeli, civilian or military, was killed as a result of rocket or mortar fire from Gaza.
None. Not one. And there was very little rocket or mortar fire out of Gaza until Israel broke the ceasefire in early November.
Those key facts have been missing from most of the reporting of Israel's slaughter of nearly 300 Palestinians in Gaza, which began on December 27th.
Israel's claim that it had to act in order to protect Israeli civilians from being killed by rocket or mortar fire from Gaza is bogus.
Let's put aside Morrison's odd notion that firing rockets at a Jewish town is OK as long as no one gets hurt. Continuing along this fanciful line of thought Morrisson claims:
From the point of view of protecting Israeli citizens, the ceasefire was a success. If the Israeli government had the protection of Israeli civilians as its first priority, it would have done its best to have the ceasefire continued indefinitely.
But it didn't. On the contrary, it broke the ceasefire by killing six Palestinians in Gaza on the night of November 4th, while the world was watching the election of Barack Obama.
Only in the Middle East can one not only claim a ceasefire allowing the continued one-sided firing of rockets at a civilian (not military) target is acceptable--but also that it is something that should continue indefinitely.
Here is an idea of the kind of status quo Morrisson condemns Israel for refusing to accept:
From the start of the ceasefire at 6 AM on June 19 till the incident on November 4th cited by CNN, the following attacks were launched against Israel from Gaza in direct violation of the agreement:
  • 18 mortars were fired at Israel in this period, beginning on the night of June 23.
  • 20 rockets were fired, beginning on June 24, when 3 rockets hit the Israeli town of Sderot.
  • On July 6 farmers working in the fields of Nahal Oz were attacked by light arms fire from Gaza.
  • On the night of August 15 Palestinians fired across the border at Israeli soldiers near the Karni crossing.
  • On October 31 an IDF patrol spotted Palestinians planting an explosive device near the security fence in the area of the Sufa crossing. As the patrol approached the fence the Palestinians fired two anti-tank missiles.
However, Morrisson's account--typical of the pro-Palestinian apologists--not only lacks common sense. It is also lacking in truth. Morrisson forgets to mention what other activities Hamas was engaged in: for all the talk about how Israel took advantage of the November 4th election night to hide what it was doing, just what was Hamas doing then? Hamas was making another attempt to kidnap Israeli soldiers. From CAMERA:

The first came to light on Sept. 28, when Israeli personnel arrested Jamal Atallah Sabah Abu Duabe. The 21-year-old Rafah resident had used a tunnel to enter Egypt and from there planned to slip across the border into Israel. Investigation revealed that Abu Duabe was a member of Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and that he planned to lure Israeli soldiers near the border by pretending to be a drug smuggler, capture them, and then sedate them with sleeping pills in order to abduct them directly into Gaza through a preexisting tunnel. For more details click here and here.
• The second abduction plan was aborted on the night of Nov 4, thanks to a warning from Israeli Intelligence. Hamas had dug another tunnel into Israel and was apparently about to execute an abduction plan when IDF soldiers penetrated about 250 meters into Gaza to the entrance of the tunnel, hidden under a house. Inside the house were a number of armed Hamas members, who opened fire. The Israelis fired back and the house exploded – in total 6 or 7 Hamas operatives were killed and several were wounded. Among those killed were Mazen Sa’adeh, a Hamas brigade commander, and Mazen Nazimi Abbas, a commander in the Hamas special forces unit. For more details click here.
It was when Israel aborted this imminent Hamas attack that the group and other Palestinian groups in Gaza escalated their violations of the ceasefire by beginning to once again barrage Israel with rockets and mortars.
Now it is of course possible that Morrisson considers the Hamas policy of kidnapping Israeli soldiers to be acceptable--along with the threat of rockets at civilian targets. Then again, the fact that Morrisson does not make mention of those attacks indicates he knows full well that his argument can go only so far.
The real question is how far the media is willing to go to present an accurate picture of what the terrorist group Hamas is really up to.
In the meantime, the myths continue.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Goldstone Reports's Col. Desmond Travers: 'Hey, They Never Laid A Glove On Me!'

But not a glove has been landed on the report itself … It cannot and will not be buried. It will not go away.
Col. Desmond Travers, participant in the Goldstone fact-finding mission

And neither will the analyzes, criticisms and refutations of that very same Goldstone Report--critiques that Col. Travers claims do not exist.

Among the sources of analysis online is Understanding The Goldstone Report, which has a section featuring Open Letters To Judge Goldstone, including:
And that is not even including Israel's in-depth response.

If Col. Travers cannot even recognize the fact that in-depth, critiques of the Report exist that deal with the actual facts, what are we to think of the Goldstone Report in which he participated?

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