Whilst the UK is about to find out who killed Archie Mitchell in EastEnders, the rest of the world already seems to know who killed Hamas arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai: Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
Israel will not confirm or deny that it forged the passports of UK-born Israeli dual passport holders to get a hit team into Dubai.
For most of the world it’s a done deal, even in Israel Mossad are already guilty and Hamas have vowed to avenge.
Maybe Israel did do it, but a BBC article is refreshingly even-handed about who may have done it.
The BBC note that al-Mabhouh arrived in Dubai alone without his usual bodyguard who were due in the next day because they couldn’t tickets on the same plane. Hmm. That’s sounds a little fishy.
And what about two Palestinians who were arrested in Jordan and another in Syria? This seems to point to Fatah, not Mossad and how convenient it would then be to have used Israelis with non-Israeli names to point a finger at Israel. It all seems a bit too clumsy for Mossad. Do Mossad need 12 or 17 people to eliminate one Hamas member? Why did they need to go in mob-handed?
And then al-Mabhouh’s trip was made at such short notice how could such a plot be assembled so quickly?
Maybe Hamas bumped him off to get a t Israel.
There’s even a suggestion that MI6 knew about it and were forewarned by Israel. So all this bluster may be a smokescreen.
But it is the immediate assumption of Israeli guilt that is so telling.
Let’s see what happens. Maybe we’ll never know.
During and after Operation Cast Lead the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was vilified for ‘war crimes’ and the notorious Goldstone Report which concluded that Israel had a deliberate policy to kill civilians and destroy property has become a major vehicle for attacks on Israel.
Israel always maintained that in war mistakes are made but it was never its policy to target civilians. The IDF has conducted and continues to conduct its own investigations and has rebutted many of the specific accusations in the report.
As is the nature of attacks on Israel, the mud always sticks and anything ranging from truth to downright lies will pass as truth as long as it carries a negative image of the State of Israel with which its enemies can beat it.
Now there is an ironic echo of how Israel characterised its campaign in December 2008 to January 2009 and how NATO is conducting its ‘surge’, Operation Moshtarak, against the Taliban. There is an uncanny similarity in the language and also the situations that NATO has confronted.
Let’s draw one important distinction between Cast Lead and Moshtarak; Gaza is a heavily populated, built-up, narrow strip of land which is very difficult terrain in which to carry out a military campaign; Helmand is open country with relatively sparsely populated villages and towns.
Both Israel and NATO have stated that they have no argument with civilians. Israel went to extraordinary lengths to warn civilians of impending strikes by leafleting, mobile phone calls and even dropping special munitions on houses which sounded as if they were explosive devices but were only designed to warn those inside to get out.
NATO are fighting an extremist Islamist group who have repeatedly targeted NATO forces with IED’s; Hamas was rocketing Israeli civilians for several years sending over thousands of rockets into southern Israel.
No NATO country is directly threatened by the Taliban; Israel is not only directly threatened but Hamas have stated in their own charter that their goal is to destroy Israel and kill Jews.
Yet look at the different way the world’s press and especially the UN responds and reacts to operation Moshtarak:
the BBC reports :
Taliban militants are increasingly using civilians as “human shields” as they battle against a joint Afghan-Nato offensive, an Afghan general has said.
Gen Mohiudin Ghori said his soldiers had seen Taliban fighters placing women and children on the roofs of buildings and firing from behind them….
It is difficult for the Afghan army and Nato to storm Taliban-held areas because to do so may inflict heavy civilian casualties and there are still a lot of civilians in Marjah.
“Whenever they launch an attack, the Taliban take refuge in civilians’ homes.
Now isn’t that exactly what the IDF claimed Hamas were doing in Gaza and Goldstone found no evidence of this, or more specifically Fact-finding mission member Colonel Travers could find no evidence?
And then this in the same report:
US Marines fighting to take the Taliban haven of Marjah have had to call in air support as they come under heavy fire.
They have faced sustained machine-gun fire from fighters hiding in bunkers and in buildings including homes and mosques.
Now hang on, this is what the Israelis said Hamas were doing but not only did Hamas deny it but Goldstone again found little evidence and our friend Travers could find no evidence of mosques being used despite Israeli videos which conclusively proved the opposite and also an important independent witness Col. Tim Collins.
And then there was the incident where NATO said twelve civilians had been killed by a missile that had malfunctioned only later to correct this by saying that the intended target was hit but thy didn’t realise civilians were in the building.
Gen Carter confirmed on Tuesday a missile that struck a house outside Marjah on Sunday killing 12 people, including six children, had hit its intended target.
Gen Carter said the rocket had not malfunctioned and the US system responsible for firing it was back in use. Officials say three Taliban, as well as civilians, were in the house but the Nato soldiers did not know the civilians were there.
Initial Nato reports said the missile had landed about 300m (984ft) off its intended target. Gen Carter blamed these “conflicting” reports on “the fog of war”.
Now I urge you to cast your mind back to Operation Cast Lead where Israel was saying very similar things and the result was a UNHRC investigation, war crimes accusations and a threat that figures in the IDF and government would become international criminals – indeed some have already decided this is the case.
So where are the calls from the UNHCR now? How soon will Judge Goldstone regather is little band of men and women and go straight to the Taliban and ask then if they committed any war crimes (answer will be ‘No’) and give evidence of the many crimes of NATO. Will he then come up with a 500 page report recommending senior NATO commanders and politicians in NATO countries be taken to The Hague on charges of war crimes? Will Brown and Miliband, Obama and Clinton, Sarkozy and the rest be hauled before a tribunal? Will the US, UK and other NATO countries become international pariahs? And look at the difference: they were fighting far from home an enemy they claim is a threat to their national security. Did any UN body ever dispute this? Israel was fighting an enemy on its doorstep that was killing its civilians and targeting them on a daily basis for years and years before it took any action.
Now I know what you are thinking: in Gaza hundreds of civilians were killed; what about white phosphorus, white flags etc. Now just compare the terrains in Gaza and Afghanistan as I have already pointed out.
Israel has admitted mistakes; it may be that its interpretation of international law in respect of some of its actions differs from others; it may be that some of its soldiers acted disgracefully writing graffiti and trashing property. They should be disciplined. Are these war crimes? If so NATO is certainly guilty. And what about the Iraqi who was beaten up by British soldiers and died of his injuries? Is that not a war crime? Where is the UN on that? Where is the UN on Abu Ghraib? Where is the UN on Guantanamo Bay? Will the UN regard the Taliban as a legitimate military in the same way Goldstone and the UN regard Hamas?
What’s the difference?
I’ll tell you in case you didn’t already guess: Israel. Always Israel. They are not considered to be capable of regulating or examining their own conduct like the US or the UK or any European country or any great power such as China or Russia. Where are the resolutions on Chechnya? South Ossetia? Where Tibet?
The UN acts like a bully; pushing around small countries, especially Israel is fine but the big boys are exempt.
The UN is no longer fit for purpose because it is run supposedly along democratic lines but is numerically dominated by countries which are not. This same bunch of tyrants and dictators have a natural antipathy to Israel, not least that most of them are Muslim states. This means that whenever Israel tries to defend itself it will always be vilified and demonized. America can kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Sunnis can kill tens of thousands of Shia and vice versa. They can attack the others’ holy shrines and you just hear the odd ‘tut tut’. All Hamas have to do is show a dead baby and the entire world is calling for Israel’s destruction.
Isn’t that called anti-Semitism? Used to be. Doesn’t get Israel off the hook for real crimes or human rights violations but if there is never any differentiation or fairness with regard Israel’s actions then any genuine criticism which every country should be subject to, will be dismissed as vilification. If genuine criminals like Mugabe or Bashir are not pursued with the same vigour as legitimate Israeli politicians, if George W Bush and Tony Blair aren’t guilty but Tzipi Livni is then where is the justice? Think extraordinary rendition. Think torture. So why is Israel always the bogeyman?
Today, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Mr Leshno-Yaar, explained to the UNHRC who the real criminals were and how it is failing in its duty towards countries where the built-in bias against Israel and for Islamic countries is a total disgrace and discredits the UNHRC and by association, the UN itself.
One can only imagine the glee with which the statement was delivered. You can find it here.
But it is so good I cannot resist reprinting the whole thing.
Statement by H.E. Aharon Leshno Yaar
Permanent Representative of Israel
Statement on the 7th Session
Universal Periodic Review on the Islamic Republic of Iran
Human Rights Council
Iran’s wide-scale and escalating attacks on its own citizens is the type of matter that this body was designed to address. As documented most recently by UN General Assembly Resolution 64/176, of 18 December 2009, Iranians are prevented from realizing their most basic human rights and freedoms. Women, minorities – Arabs, Azeris, Baha’ais, Christians, Sunni Muslims, Jews and their defenders — are all discriminated against. There is no freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion. This is not a matter of regional politics or looking for another opportunity to remind all of us of the dangers that Iran’s leaders seek to bring upon its neighbors. Instead, today’s meeting in Geneva is about the threats that Iran’s rulers make, day after day, upon their own people.
The work of this Council on the human rights situations in Iran needs to go far beyond today’s periodic review.
The State of Israel recommends to the Islamic Republic of Iran:
1. End incitement to hatred, including statements that show contempt for General Assembly Resolution 60/7 (2005) and 61/255 (2007), on Holocaust remembrance and Holocaust denial, respectively;
2. Cease all actions as a third state proxy and refrain from financing, organizing, training, supplying, and equipping non-state actors committing acts in violation of international law;
3. Commute all death sentences, in particular all executions of political prisoners, and abolish, in practice, public executions by hanging and stoning;
4. Comply with its obligations under article 37 of the CRC and article 6 of the ICCPR and prohibit executions of persons who at the time of their offence were under the age of 18;
5. Eradicate in national legislation, and in practice, torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment;
6. Repeal or amend all discriminatory provisions against women and girls in national legislation; and,
7. Eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities, and also LGBT.
In other words: you are a bunch of cowardly, double-standard peddling, biased, self-righteous bigots, unworthy of the exalted name you give yourself. The UNHRC is really the UNCDI: the United Nations Council for the Destruction of Israel.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has recently released information which casts serious doubt on the bona fides of one of the members of the Fact Finding Mission led by Judge Goldstone and which led to the production of the Report which accused Israel of directly targeting civilians and deliberately destroying civil infrastructures contrary to the rules of war.
The member in question is Colonel (ret.) Desmond Travers. As the JCPA tells us:
Travers joined the Irish Defense Forces in 1961 and retired after forty years. As the only former officer who belonged to Justice Richard Goldstone’s team, he was the senior figure responsible for the military analysis that provided the basis for condemning Israel for war crimes.
The JCPA report slams Travers’s methodology and accuses him of bias.
During the Mission’s collection of testimonies from Palestinian psychologists in the Gaza Strip, Travers asked them straight out to explain how Israeli soldiers could kill Palestinian children in front of their parents. In an interview with Middle East Monitor, on February 2, 2010, he asserted that in the past Israeli soldiers had “taken out and deliberately shot” Irish peacekeeping forces in Southern Lebanon. Both of these statements by Travers are completely false. It should be stressed that one of the most vicious and unsubstantiated conclusions in the Goldstone Report is the suggestion that Israel deliberately killed Palestinian civilians.
This is rather like the ‘when did you start beating your wife’ question which bases the question on an assumption that assumes the guilt of the defendant.
When he was asked about Hamas intimidation that affected the Mission’s inquiries, he replied that that there was “none whatsoever.” Yet the Goldstone Report itself noted in Paragraph 440 that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of Palestinian armed groups because of a “fear of reprisals.” He rejects the notion that Hamas shielded its forces in the civilian population and does not accept the idea that Israel faced asymmetric warfare.
Only a craven idiot could come to the conclusion there was no Hamas intimidation or that civilians were not used as human shields or that the warfare was not asymmetric. A craven idiot or someone so biased that his place in the mission not acceptable.
The report continues:
Travers comes up with a story that the IDF had unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) that could obtain a “thermal signature” on a Gaza house and detect that there were large numbers of people inside. Incredibly, he then suggests that with this information that certain houses were “packed with people,” the Israeli military would then deliberately order a missile strike on these populated homes. The primary technical problem with his theory is that Israel does not have UAV’s that can see though houses and pick up a thermal signature. More importantly, Israel used UAV’s to monitor that Palestinian civilians left houses that had received multiple warnings, precisely because Israel sought to minimize civilian casualties, a fact that Travers could not fathom, because of his own clear biases.
The case against Travers appears to be growing. The entire JCPA report is well worth a read. It highlights inaccuracies in data and lack of professional conduct.
The clincher :
In an interview with Harpers, published on October 29, 2009, Travers makes a sweeping generalization: “We found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions.” He then dismissed those who suggested that was the case by saying: “Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion.” How many mosques did Travers investigate? He admits that the Mission only checked two mosques.
Of course, Israel produced photographic proof that large amounts of weapons were stored in mosques, like the Zaytun Mosque. In a subsequent interview, Travers rejected the Israeli proof: “I do not believe the photographs.” He described the photographs as “spurious.” Travers appears to be bothered by proof that contradicts the conclusions he reaches on the basis of a very limited investigation. In early 2010, Colonel Tim Collins, a British veteran of the Iraq War, visited Gaza for BBC Newsnight (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/ 8470100 .stm, 20 January 2010) and inspected the ruins of a mosque that Israel had destroyed because it had been a weapons depot. He found that there was evidence of secondary explosions cause by explosives stored in the mosque cellar. Travers clearly did not make the effort that Collins made.
And now the punchline:
Travers most recent interview also had a disturbing additional element. When addressing the role of British officers in defending Israel’s claims, Travers suddenly adds: “Britain’s foreign policy interests in the Middle East seem to be influenced strongly by Jewish lobbyists.
So the UN chose someone who believes the Jewish lobby conspiracy theory and that a cabal of Jews is directing UK foreign policy in the same way that Channel 4 came to a similar conclusion with no evidence whatsoever.
The UN Human Rights Commission chose their four mission members very well because the UNHRC is front-loaded with countries that seek to demonise and delegitimise Israel and then to cover their tracks by choosing ostensibly impeccable mission members to do a hatchet job on Israel. When the names were first put forward Israel could see that the mission would be biased and its conclusions were foregone. But now the document is out there to add to the litany of lies, half-truths, prejudice and propaganda that passes for justified criticism of Israel.
Two recent incidents, one at Oxford University and one at the University of California, Irvine demonstrate a trend amongst pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel activists to silence the voice of Israel on University campuses.
In the UK a recent case sought to issue an arrest warrant for war crimes against Tzipi Livni, Foreign Minister of Israel during Operation Cast Lead, in expectation of her visiting the UK. The visit never materialised and the Israeli government issued a strong condemnation of the law which allows such warrants to be issued. The UK government then gave Israel assurances that the law would be changed (which it hasn’t) and that it would ensure Israeli politicians could come to the UK without fear of arrest.
Whilst a lot of Human Rights people and Muslim organisations became agitated that the UK government was interfering in the judiciary to provide cover for ‘war criminals’, it was revealed that Hamas was behind the warrants
Hamas admitted to masterminding the campaign to pursue war crimes cases against Israeli politicians and military officials in Britain and other European countries.
The group, considered to be a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom and the European Union, says it has been working with lawyers to get the Israelis charged with war crimes in connection with Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.
This fact doesn’t seem to bother the anti-Israel, pro-Human Rights interests. It’s rather like Hitler trying to get Churchill prosecuted at Nuremburg for bombing Dresden.
But this is just one way of trying to silence Israeli politicians.
Meanwhile back at the Uni’s.
At the University of California, Irvine, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was prevented from completing his address about progress in the Middle East. Having been invited by the Jewish Federation of Orange County the event was open to all students. A number of students, many clearly Muslim, stood up one after another to interrupt in a co-ordinated and very effective, and it should be said, peaceable demonstration. Each was escorted out of the building but Oren eventually gave up the losing battle. Oren was accused, inter alia, of being a killer. The students were not available to comment on Hamas’s or Fatah’s track record.
Now this does bring up an interesting problem for democracies and Free Speech; lets say this was David Irving or Robert Mugabe. Would I object to attempts to stop him speaking? Ahmadinejad was heckled in New York, for example. Just because we don’t agree with a heckler or an orchestrated demonstration doesn’t mean that the demonstrators have no right to do so. What are the limits for such demonstrations? When Ahmadinejad has been heckled in the West he has never been stopped; the protesters made their point and were arrested or made to leave.
In Irvine, according to Press TV, an Iranian-funded TV network, ‘at least eleven students have been arrested’ as a result of this protest for disturbing a public event. The students could also be disciplined and suspended or worse. Is it right that students should lose their University places and opportunity for education because of their political beliefs? Surely it’s for the law to decide if there was a misdemeanour. However objectionable I or other supporters of Israel feel their actions were, they were not violent, there were no anti-Semitic slogans.
The issue is: does everyone have a right to free speech and what are the limits of protest? Each country will have an answer to these questions. Iran has an answer and we know what that is. The irony is that these protestors prevented free speech from someone of a country where free speech is alive and kicking, but the countries these same protestors would, presumably, support, have no such freedoms. If you do not even want to hear what your opponent has to say and you want to stifle debate then it surely means that you have little confidence in your own arguments.
Debate is at the very heart of the Oxford Union. This week Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, was invited to speak. What then took place went beyond protest. As Ayalon began to speak various members of the audience began to shout at him. The whole sad story is related by his press office:
On Monday night, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was invited by the Oxford Union to speak at an event at the university. During the speech one student shouted extreme abuse at the Deputy Foreign Minister including Itbach Al-Yahud (Slaughter the Jews). The event was caught on camera and subsequently shown on Israeli television Channel Ten. The Deputy Foreign Minister is looking into the possibility of pressing charges against the student for what is tantamount to a call for genocide.
“This demonstrates our new policy on hatred and racism and we will have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, something that should have happened a long time ago,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon.
Another protestor carrying a Palestinian flag started walking towards Ayalon before security intervened and he was ejected from the hall. Another student shouted at the Deputy Foreign Minister that “we will do to you what we did to Milosevic”. Other students shouted, both inside and outside the hall, “Palestine will be free, from the River to the Sea”, which by its meaning, calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. After the event several students attempted to physically assault the Deputy Foreign Minister but were prevented from doing so by security.
Speaking to the students, Ayalon was able to relate Israel’s point of view on many issues that many felt had rarely been heard in such a setting. Ayalon received applause at the end after taking extremely hostile and abusive questions and patiently dissecting and answering them one by one. After the event, several students approached the Deputy Foreign Minister and thanked him for giving a narrative that they felt they had never heard before.
Ayalon corrected many students’ assertions on history, international law and United Nations resolutions and told them that: “If I manage to convince you to go and learn the truth from the history books then this will have been a successful event.” During his speech, Ayalon called for historic reconciliation between all of the peoples in the Middle East.
It is interesting that some students would thank Ayalon for explaining a point of view they had not heard before. That says a lot about the way the Israeli point of view is being stifled and misrepresented in the UK media and the disgraceful demonstrators are part of that attempt to suppress Israel’s point of view and spit hatred.
How different from Irvine. In the UK any Israeli politician has to be subject to blatant anti-Semitism and calls for genocide of the Israelis (Jews only, of course) from those accusing them of the very crimes they wish to perpetrate themselves.
And now these accusations of war crimes are fuelled by the egregious Goldstone Report which is a badly flawed and thoroughly scurrilous document which over time will be dissected, rebutted and discredited. But as it is out there and carries what passes for the authority of the UN itself, it can now be used by the Israel delegitimisers to throw rocks at Israeli politicians and provide cover for the suppression of free speech and calls for genocide.
The irredeemably flawed Goldstone Report, which was produced at the behest of UN Human Rights Council, came to the conclusion that both Israel and Hamas probably committed war crimes during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009.
Both Israel and Hamas were charged with responding to the allegations in the report and conducting their own investigations into it to be presented to the UN Security Council.
The very idea of asking an organisation such has Hamas (which not only brutally represses its own people and murders its political opponents, but is also intent on the genocide of the Jewish people and the destruction of Israel as is written into its own charter and its many public broadcasts), to present a response to the UN is as mind-boggling as it would be for the UN to ask the Taliban to present a report on its actions in Afghanistan.
Whereas Hamas boasts of its war crimes and comes up with a ludicrous response to the UN, Israel, at least, has spent thousands of hours, conducted hundreds of interviews, brought dozens of indictments against its own soldiers and is still in the process of producing a 1000 page response to the Goldstone report.
This is what Hamas has to say, as reported by Ha’aretz, and so condemns itself from its own mouth:
The Hamas report will be submitted to the UN later this week, said the official, Mohammed al-Ghoul. Its argument is that rockets fired from Gaza were meant to hit military targets, but because they are unguided, they hit civilians by mistake. (My emphasis)
Anyone with even a minimal smattering of law and logic can see not only the contradictions in this last statement but must also see that this lie is so patent and so crass that were Mr al-Ghoul (and what an appropriate name that is!) a wooden puppet his nose would stretch from Gaza City to al Quds!
IT IS A WAR CRIME TO FIRE MUNITIONS WHICH CANNOT BE GUIDED TOWARDS AREAS OF POPULATION. PERIOD.
And if they are unguided, how can they possibly be meant to hit military targets!? This is the organisation and these are the people who are being legitimised by the UN just by treating them on an equal footing with a member of the UN. This is moral equivalence of the most pernicious and degrading kind. But Ban says, according to the Jerusalem Post,
he was uncertain whether Israel or the Palestinians had met UN demands to undertake “credible” investigations into allegations that they deliberately targeted civilians during last year’s Gaza offensive….
He said he hoped the assembly’s resolution will, in fact, result in probes “that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards.”
But, he added that “no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned.
Eh? He may be uncertain about Israel but he must surely be god-damned bloody positive that Hamas targeted civilians because, apart from the overwhelming evidence AND their ongoing operations (e.g. barrel bombs along Israel’s coastline this week), THEY ADMITTED IT AND BOAST ABOUT IT. What the hell does he mean ‘he’s uncertain’? He’ll be wanting an investigation into Copernican heliocentricity soon.
The Ha’aretz article quotes al Ghoul as saying:
Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly confirmed that they abide by international humanitarian law, through broadcasting in different media that they intended to hit military targets and to avoid targeting civilians,” the Hamas report stated, citing casualties from “incorrect (or imprecise) fire.
What planet, indeed, what specie are these people from? The only media broadcasts I know about are vicious, Jew-hating, genocidal, blood-libelling filth.
This is what Israel has done according to the Jerusalem Post:
Israel released a 46-page paper last Friday documenting the steps it had taken to investigate IDF actions during Operation Cast Lead, stressing that its military judicial system was independent and came under civilian review, and dismissing four of the 36 allegations of war crimes found in the Goldstone Report.
The document also revealed that disciplinary action had been taken against two top officers – a brigadier-general and a colonel – for permitting artillery fire near a UN compound in a neighborhood in Gaza City…
The IDF, meanwhile, is continuing preparation of an in-depth, point-by-point rebuttal of the Goldstone report, which is expected to number over 1,000 pages and be ready within a number of weeks.
A subtly different response to Hamas.
It is true that Israel neither co-operated with the Fact Finding Mission led by Goldstone nor does it appear to be intending to have an independent judicial enquiry. Ban appears to be saying that such an enquiry may not be necessary because he has not dismissed the Israeli army enquiry as being an inadequate response; all he says is that response is incomplete, which is self-evident since they have not yet delivered the 1000 page document. Hamas’s report is incomplete because it is a risible heap of bovine excrement and the Palestinian Authority which decided it should have a report to (it can’t let its rival Hamas have all the glory) only began at the end of January!
It’s not the credibility of Israel that’s is being highlighted here but the credibility of the UN itself and its ridiculous playing out of the farce of a ‘credible’ report from Hamas and giving them the respectability of playing out that farce as if they were a responsible national entity and not a bunch of murderous genocides intent on spreading their obnoxious, pathological hatred of Jews.
Ban ki-moon? Ban ki-rupt more likely.
A propos of my last post where I mentioned that Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon said at Strasbourg to the Council of Europe that the PA should stop incitement and start to negotiate, a typical but particularly nasty example has been reported by Palestinian Media Watch.
On Jan 26, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon attended a debate in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe on the Middle East situation. The debate was also attended by Mohammed Ashtiyeh, the Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing.
Ayalon, as reported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wanted to stress that Israeli has been willing to negotiate for some time but the Palestinians won’t come to the table:
We have been alone sitting at the negotiating table for nine months, since the creation of this government, but we are still waiting for the Palestinians to take their seat,” Ayalon continued. “There is absolutely no reason to place more obstacles than were placed before, we once again reiterate our call for the Palestinians to meet with us without preconditions from either side.
The PA has been consistent in demanding all settlement activity including East Jerusalem cease before it comes to the table. It should be noted, however, that the settlements as an excuse for not negotiating can be placed fairly and squarely at the door of President Obama. If he hadn’t insisted that Israel stop activity as part of his personal outreach programme to the Muslim world then the PA would not had fastened on to it as a prerequisite. It should be noted that in all the previous negotiations settlements were never a prerequisite.
Ayalon went on to remind the Council and Mr Ashtiyeh that previous Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert had both offered the Palestinians over 95% of the West Bank and Gaza but these offers had been rejected.
We are only here participating in this debate because these overly generous offers were rejected, concessions are required of both sides
In 2000 Yasser Arafat rejected the offer without a counter offer and walked out much to the consternation of the Saudi intermediary, So what did Mr Ashtiyeh have to say? All he could come up with is that the Palestinians are foregoing 78% of historic Palestine but as Minister Ayalon pointed out:
there has never been a Palestinian state in history and the word Palestine is Roman in origin and not Arabic. The purpose of giving this name was to erase the connection between the Jewish People and their land
This is the crux of the Palestinian tragedy: in 1947 the Arab League tried to destroy the nascent Israel, legally constituted by vote of the same UN that the same Arabs including the Palestinians now want to use to accuse Israel of war crimes in Gaza. They didn’t accept the Jewish presence then and they still don’t over 60 years later. They avoid negotiation or walk out even when they get more than 95% of what they are asking for because they don’t actually want a solution that will accept Israel and define permanent borders. What they want, both the PA/Fatah and Hamas is the total destruction of Israel. Whereas Hamas has a more Islamist, ideological reason (they hate Jews, basically and consider all of Israel occupied Palestine) the PA pretend that they want to negotiate but ultimately they too want to destroy Israel and this has never changed.
You can criticise Israel’s policies all you want, but if for the Palestinians ‘peace’ means the destruction of Israel then how to you go about negotiating? How do you trust?
One of Israel’s tactics is to pretend that the PA doesn’t want to destroy Israel; they co-operate on security matters, they remove two-thirds of all roadblocks that were and remain such a burden on normalcy in the West Bank. There is technological and medical co-operation. There is a kind of political stasis on the West Bank which suits the PA. Life is improving, the economy is booming, violence is reduced, the Israeli presence is reduced. There are tensions with settlers, there is still fear on both sides but it’s a whole lot better than it once was. Meanwhile the PA continues to use incitement in its schools and seeks to deny and obliterate Jews and Jewish history and its associations with the Land in its schools and in its media. This is their road to peace. They are prepared for the long haul. A hundred years or so and counting.
Danny Ayalon, like Tony Blair in London this week, seems to have gone to Strasbourg with a particular message and warning about Iran.
Ayalon also noted that he was addressing the plenum the day before the international community commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz 65 years ago on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. “Tomorrow, decent people will commemorate this day. However, certain nations like Iran will not commemorate this occasion and will continue to deny the Holocaust while seeking to the means to perpetuate another one. We must remove the Iranian threat. Just as Hamas and Hizbullah can reach all of Israel with their rockets, so Iran can reach into the heart of Europe with theirs,”
Israel’s strategy vis-a-vis Iran is becoming clear: they don’t want to go it alone. They want to alert the West to the Iranian threat and for the US and Europe to take the initiative in removing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.