December 23, 2011
Newt Gingrich says Palestinians are an “invented people.”
No one denies that the Palestinians are a “people.” The Israeli government, the United Nations, and the European Union have all recognized the Palestinians as a people with national aspirations.
The question is whether these aspirations evolved organically, or else they were inspired by greater influence from the former Soviet Union and late Arab republics.
Forty years ago, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded, the original charter made no claims to the lands of Israel. The Palestinian leadership emphasized its status as part of the greater Arab struggle against Israel, and any spoils acquired from a conquered Israel would be given to Jordan and Egypt.
Later decades saw several break-ups of the original Palestinian founders. Many joined Baathist Syria, a government that claims all of Israel — and Jordan — as part of Greater Syria. Never has a Syrian leader recognized a Palestinian nation independent of Syria. Others disappeared, fled to Israel, or completely abandoned the Palestinian government. The civil war in Lebanon decimated the PLO and forced Arafat into exile in Africa.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian government remained firm in its position toward Palestine. For nearly thirty years, the West Bank was considered sovereign Jordanian territory. Jordan unilaterally annexed the land, granted all Arab residents citizenship, and conquered East Jerusalem. Unrecognized by the international community, but not challenged. Not the Arab League, the U.N., Israel, nor the Palestinians themselves considered the land “occupied” Palestinian territory. The Palestinian movement delegated all authority to the reigning Arab nations.
Beginning in the 1970s, the Palestinian leadership initiated a campaign to reframe the conflict and invent a local narrative. Riding on the coattails of globalized media, the Palestinians became a post-Soviet Union third-world victim. The alliances the Palestinians made with nations not interested in the creation of a unique Palestinian state were washed from history. Within the halls of the United Nations General Assembly, inflammatory rhetoric comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and South Africa became a defining activity of the organization. The U.N. General Assembly has since passed more resolutions against Israel than all other nations combined.
Though the Palestinian Authority no longer has to smuggle drugs, extort businesses, and engage in blatant theft to support their leaders’ wealthy lifestyle, the manners remain the same. The Palestinians of the 1970s are still the Palestinians of 2012. The Palestinians who siphoned humanitarian aid and sold it on the black market; the Palestinians who engineered the hijacking of over a hundred aircraft; the Palestinians who were responsible for the mass murder of Israelis, Europeans, and Americans — all remain in power.
And this is the problem. It is easy to simply write off the Palestinians as an invented people, because as far as the facts are considered, their singular purpose is to act as force against Israel. There is no evidence to suggest that the Palestinian government is making meaningful, good-faith attempts to negotiate a state according to realistic conditions. And assuming that they actually did, the Palestinian Authority is so dysfunctional and fractured that any agreement with Israel could not possibly be enforced. In Gaza, the Palestinian government has grown exponentially more belligerent. Currently, the Hamas government is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in replacement of Israel. This is unacceptable. Every month, missiles are fired at Israeli cities, forcing millions of citizens into bomb shelters. Does anyone seriously believe that granting the Palestinians more power will bring an end to this unwarranted aggression?
For those who have a vested, honest interest in normalizing relations between Arabs and Israelis, the best course of action is to accept and acknowledge the realities of the situation. For far too long the peace process has been premised on the assumption that the Palestinians want a state truly divorced from Israel. No doubt some Palestinians support such an idea. Many have been killed, most jailed or imprisoned — not by Israel, but by the Palestinian government. Why is this?
Considering these facts on the ground, the growing settlement programs in the West Bank, the shrinking Palestinian Authority, and Iran’s domination of Palestinian politics, it is hard to a define a uniform Palestinian identity — an identity independent of Israel. We know that the Arab governments care very little about the Palestinian people. We know that the European Union’s presence in the Middle East peace process has nothing to do with securing peace and normalizing relations between all involved parties. We know that Iran exploits the Palestinian people to fight Israel and, to a greater extent, challenge America’s defense umbrella over the region.
The argument should not be if the Palestinians are an “invented” people. The reality is that their representatives are descendants of terrorists, gangsters, and warlords. The Palestinians of today were never invented. Their identity has yet to be defined. The only defining feature of the Palestinian people is their singular purpose to destroy Israel.
Newt Gingrich should have clarified his views. He should have explained why the Palestinians are an “invented people.” The image of the Palestinians is invented. It has been shaped, written, and carved by foreign benefactors. The Jews of Israel do not base their identity on opposition to non-Jewish self-determination. Place the state of Israel anywhere on planet Earth, and it would remain the same. But in the absence of Israel, the Palestinian identity would fall apart.
The author wishes to remain anonymous for personal reasons. He or she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 25, 2011
On Friday afternoon, Abbas said he was adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.
“They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,” Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
That having been made absolutely clear, there is no place to go — certainly not to further concessions, nor to useless negotiations. There simply cannot be a “two-state solution” unless Israel is one of those two and recognized for what it is, a Jewish state.
I think Israel better get its PR machine in gear and get the word out to the Western world (many of whom won’t give a damn anyway); and I certainly wouldn’t blame Israel for annexing all of the West Bank that it recaptured in the 1967 war and allowing the Arab residents to live there without Israeli citizenship or voting rights and that includes their descendants. If they don’t like it, they can always go back to Jordan, where they really belong, or to any brother Arab country that will have them (none will, of course).
The charade of pretending that any solution is possible without acceptance of Israel as Jewish has gone on long enough, and policy should no longer make even a pretense of a “negotiated” solution in these circumstances. The peacenik Jews who need their heads examined should be ignored entirely.
When in history does the loser of a war (especially one it started in the first place) get to dictate the terms of peace?
September 20, 2011
The Palestinians are scurrying around the U.N. this week attempting to elevate their status to statehood in an historic move to establish the first openly and unashamedly racist and intolerant nation. Of course there are other countries where life for minorities is living hell, but up to now there has been an effort to cover up such moral decrepitude. The Palestinians are forging new ground in letting the world know that their state will hang a sign for all to see “No Jews and no gays allowed.”
While over a million Arabs live in Israel, the Palestinian Authority has made it perfectly clear that as in Gaza right now, not a single Jew will be permitted to live in the new “Palestine.” Lest we in the democratic West not get the point, PA President Mahmoud Abbas repeated his mantra “No Jews in a future Palestinian state.” On Dec. 25, 2010 in Ramallah and on May 28, 2011 at the Arab League meeting in Qatar. The “No Jews Allowed” founding principle was reinforced on September 14, 2011 by Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States. He did not elaborate on how half a million Jews were to be disposed.
In the same interview, Maen Areikat was asked whether homosexuals could live in a future Palestine. Dodging the question he said, “Ah, this is an issue that’s beyond my [authority].” The answer can certainly be taken as a “no” since the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have formed a unity government and in Gaza homosexuality is a capital crime. The frightening future for gays in the new “Palestine” leaves little room for doubt.
It would be a comfort to believe that such vile intolerance is limited to the leadership and does not reflect the will of the Palestinian people. Unfortunately a steady diet of hate education has been very effective. In a recent poll, 73% of Palestinians agree with the Hamas Charter article mandating the murder of Jews, all Jews. Since 93% of Palestinian people think Israel does not have right exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv must also be ethnically cleansed.
The Palestinian people are no more ready to accept homosexuals than they are Jews. An overwhelming majority (82 %) feel that homosexuality should be punishable by law.
Currently Palestinian gays who fear being exposed run to Israel for safe haven.
In the new “Palestine,” there will be no refuge.
This week, the world’s democracies face a vote not for a Palestinian state (which was offered numerous times through negotiations) but for upgrading the status of racism and intolerance.
September 4, 2011
Whether or not a Palestinian state is unilaterally declared in the future, crucial differences between Israel and any Palestinian authority remain. The most controversial of these is the refugee question, which has political and legal as well as humanitarian dimensions, not to mention touches on collective guilt feelings. The controversy over Palestinian refugees is the longest, most deliberately protracted, and most discussed of refugee problems in the world. After sixty years, it remains unresolved.
World War II ended with some 40 million refugees in Europe. Central Europe was a site of “displaced persons” (DPs) — those forced to flee their homeland, prisoners of war, individuals who had been deported or had been in forced labor camps, and Jews who had survived the Holocaust. In 1947, about nine hundred camps of DPs were administered by the Allied occupation forces, by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation (UNRRA), and then by the international organization for refugees (UNHCR), originally set up in December 1950 for three years, to protect and assist refugees.
These refugees were settled in various countries. Germany and Poland exchanged millions. Similar relocations, involving 14 million, took place between the countries of India and Pakistan in 1947; less than two percent of these returned to their original home or recovered their property. Solutions were found for others who were dislocated: Hungarians in 1956; Czechs in 1968; Cubans from the 1960s; Algerians and French pieds-noirs after the French-Algerian war; the million and a half “boat people” persecuted by Vietnamese communists; those fleeing the Balkan war, 1991-95; the three million fleeing the Rwanda genocide in 1994; the Afghans escaping from the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979.
However, as a result of the Cold War and recent wars, over 15 million are now refugees, and another 27 million are internally displaced all over the world. Over half are in Asia, and about a quarter are in Africa. But the international community still focuses more on Palestinians than it has on others who were displaced.
Wherefore are Palestinian refugees different from all other refugees, and why have they drawn so much attention and comment compared with others? First is the problem of definition. In the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of July 1951 (Article 1A), a refugee is one who, for various reasons, “is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to avail himself of the protection of that country … or is unwilling to return to it.” In 2011, 147 states are parties to the Convention. But this definition does not apply to Palestinian refugees. Article I(D) states that the Convention “shall not apply to persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance.”
The United Nations set up the UNHCR to deal with refugees throughout the world, but it also established a special unit, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on December 8, 1949, whose mandate was to provide relief and assistance only to Palestinian refugees in what is now the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Its mandate did not define a “refugee,” but in practice, UNRWA uses a broad definition: those who resided in Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, those who lost home and property because of the 1948 war, and the descendants of such persons.
Over 70 percent of those regarded by UNRWA as Palestinian refugees reside in the areas in which UNRWA operates. With a local staff of over 23,000, most of whom are Palestinians, working in its camps, UNWRA is clearly political in its support for the Arab cause. The essential question is why those camps still exist. The Arab states have not contributed any significant amount to the operation of UNRWA. (Most of the funding comes from the United States and the member-states of the European Union.) They have done little to solve the refugee problem.
Who is to be considered a refugee? Logically, only first-generation refugees — those resulting from the 1948 and 1967 wars — should be so considered. Palestinians insist on a more extensive definition, including spouses, children, and grandchildren of refugees, even though Israel is not the state of origin of the vast majority of these refugees.
Differences arise over the numbers of those displaced in 1948 — either several hundred thousand, as Israel suggests, or a million in the Palestinian formula — and in 1967, either 100,000 (Israeli view) or 300,000 (Palestinian). There is thus legitimate skepticism over the meaningfulness of the figures of 4.25 million Palestinian refugees given by UNRWA. These include 1.7 million in Jordan, 1 million in Gaza, 0.6 million in the West Bank, 0.4 million in Syria, and 0.4 million in Lebanon.
The crucial issue centers on the Palestinian demand for the right of return for those who claim they would be returning to their homes that they left sixty years ago. The demographic figures consequent on any large-scale entry of Palestinians into Israel show clearly that such an event would be a threat to the nature of the Jewish state. The right of return is argued on the basis of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 11, 1948, but this Resolution does not state there is an unconditional right for Palestinians to enter Israel. Ironically, it was the Arab states — Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen — which voted against 194. Moreover, any such claim for return does not rest on any accepted principle of international law.
The Palestinian demand for the right of return is a political maneuver rather than a genuine humanitarian concern. This interpretation is substantiated by the reluctance of Arab states to aid their fellow Arabs in any meaningful way. Most significant has been their general refusal to grant citizenship to refugees except in two instances. Lebanon did grant citizenship to some Christian Palestinians, and Jordan granted citizenship to Palestinians living in the area of the West Bank after it unilaterally annexed the area in 1950.
At best, the Arab states have paid scant attention to the League of Arab States Casablanca Protocol of September 1965 that agreed on the right of Palestinian refugees to work, to have freedom of movement, and full residency rights. These rights have often not been observed, and indeed to some extent have been revoked. The conclusion is justified that the Arab states have wanted to maintain the separate status of Palestinians to use as a weapon, a political football, against Israel.
An issue that will never be conclusively resolved to the satisfaction of all parties is responsibility for the existence of the Palestinian refugee problem in the first place. Yet the answer is at the heart of the moral issue concerning the refugees. Their displacement largely stems from the consequences of the war started by Arab leaders who refused to accept the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of November 29, 1947, which called for the creation of two states, one Jewish, the other Arab. Instead, these leaders attacked the newly created state of Israel and lost the consequent war.
The historical evidence is that, while Israeli forces committed some blunders in the heat of war, Palestinians fled from their homes in 1948-9 mostly on orders from their own military and civilian leaders and as a result of fear and panic, hoping to return when the Arabs had won the war. The Palestinian narrative, viewing the establishment of Israel and the 1948-9 war as the Nakba or catastrophe, lacks veracity in arguing that Israeli military or officials deliberately planned to expel the Palestinian population. The instructions by the Arab Higher Committee and Arab community leaders in ordering Palestinians to leave Haifa, Tiberias, Jaffa, and Jerusalem, and other places, are thoroughly recorded.
What is to be done? According to the Oslo Accords, the refugee issue would be resolved through the final status negotiations. Palestinians have options: resettlement in a country other than Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza; integration into the country in which they are living; or voluntary repatriation. A logical conclusion is for the Arab states to absorb and grant citizenship to a considerable number of the refugees in their midst, but in view of the past and present discord in the Arab world, this solution is hardly likely to be implemented. Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait in 1991 and from Libya in 1995. Israel might take a small number of those prepared to live in peace. The most likely outcome would be payment of reparations for lost property and damages. Yet fairness suggests that such a solution should be paralleled by similar payments for those Jews forced to leave the Arab countries after 1948, an episode that has received less attention than the fate of the Palestinians.
Michael Curtis is a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University.
Hamas is reporting record turnouts for its summer camps for children in 2011.
The ‘summer camps,’ combining Islamic indoctrination, paramilitary training, and social activities are set to begin again this year as United Nation’s summer camps, considered competition by Hamas, are being openly denigrated by jihadists.
Children and adolescents are an important target demographic for Hamas, from which its future army of terrorists will be recruited. Summer camps are an important means for indoctrinating Gaza’s youth with Hamas’ jihadist ideology.
In 2010 Hamas ran camps for an estimated 100,000 campers, a number similar to 2009. The Islamic Jihad terror group ran 51 camps with 10,000 participating boys and girls.
Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan reported the objectives of the camps were to raise a generation of children with ‘genuine Islamic values.’
“Children working for the interests of their homeland and to educate them to the culture of the Islamic faith so they will remember their goals, including Jerusalem and the prisoners,” Radwan said
In addition to indoctrination, Hamas terrorists give children paramilitary training. Banners are hung on the walls with slogans extolling jihad and ‘death for the sake of Allah.’
Other prominent motifs for this year are solidarity with Turkey in connection with the Mavi Marmara flotilla, a call for the release of Hamas prisoners (campers carried posters with their pictures) and organized expressions of hatred for Israel and the Jewish people.
UNRWA Programs Attacked
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency summer camp system hosted 250,000 children and adolescents in 2010. This year, as with previous years, the UN camps were harassed by jihadist terrorists.
On May 23, 2010 a group of 30 armed, masked men broke into an UNRWA summer camp site and burned it to the ground. On the night of June 28, 2010 armed, masked men broke into another UNRWA camp site in the Al-Zuweida region in central Gaza and set it on fire. In both incidents the arsonists were not identified.
A UNRWA spokesman called on the security services of the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip to investigate and determine who was behind the attacks.
But the groups of armed men who attack the UNRWA summer camps every year receive are inspired by, and probably supported by, Hamas and other terror networks networks operating in Gaza who say the UNRWA camps are ‘undermining Palestinian values.’
– Prophecy News Watch
he Palestinian Authority has carried out Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map” and literally has done so by displaying maps of “Palestine” covering all of Israel at the same time its leaders talk about “two states for two people.”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Fatah movement that controls the PA in Judea and Samaria, has in effect established a “one-state” solution in Fatah offices and in Palestinian Authority schools and offices.
The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has documented that professional unions and private PA groups display maps showing a rifle and a quill over “Palestine,” from the Lebanese border in the north to Eilat in the south and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
The maps have been circulated at the same time Abbas campaigns for international recognition of the Palestinian Authority based on the borders of Israel as they existed between 1949 and 1967, during which time Jordan, which had been mandated by the United Nations to rule part of Judea and Samaria, took over and occupied the entire region, including large swaths of Jerusalem, after the War of Independence in 1948.
Jordan surrendered the areas in the Six-Day War in 1967, later relinquishing all claim to it, and Egypt and Syria did the same in Gaza and the Golan Heights respectively.
The maps declare Abbas’ intentions of making what is often termed the “1967 borders” (actually armistice lines that were never recognized) the temporary outline of a would-be Palestinian Authority country, even though – as PMW noted – U.S. President Barack Obama has criticized such maps as a security threat to Israel, in the same category as the threat from terrorist groups who want to destroy Israel.
“I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2008. “Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust. Not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel’s destruction. Not when there are maps across the Middle East that don’t even acknowledge Israel’s existence.”
Nevertheless, the PA’s version “Palestine,” as illustrated on the map with a rifle and quill, was displayed last week at a meeting of the General Union of Palestinian Writers, PMW reported.
The Palestinian Authority has embedded in its school system the ”one-state” idea of a Palestine – without Israel – for years. As far back as 2003, school posters have displayed the Palestinian flag over a map erasing Israel.
The policy has continued unchanged despite statements by Abbas to President Obama that the PA has ceased anti-Israel incitement. Earlier this year, a map was hung in the principal’s office in a PA school which erased Israel and replaced it with “Palestine”, with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag flying over Israel.
- Prophecy News Watch
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today began an historic Middle East tour. He is meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. Then he will meet with King Abdullah and other Jordanian leaders in Amman. While he canceled his scheduled visit to Israel, Medvedev did speak by phone with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday. The two are taking steps to deepen the alliance between their two countries and coordinate their Mideast policies. “Russia is ready for all cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Medvedev. Israeli officials, reportedly, are particularly concerned that Russian leaders may unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, as a series of Latin American countries have recently done.
Are recent trendlines — including the latest news reports out of Moscow and Tehran — consistent with the Bible prophecies found in Ezekiel 36-39 and the coming “War of Gog and Magog”? We will examine this question in detail at the 2011 Epicenter Conference and during The Joshua Fund Prayer & Vision tour of Israel in May. Please come with us and study these prophecies and current events for yourself. For now, consider the following:
· According to the Hebrew Prophet Ezekiel, writing more than 2,500 years ago, Israel will be reborn as a country in “the last days.” Jews will return to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, and the Jews will rebuild the “ancient ruins” and make the deserts bloom. This, of course, has already happened, beginning in the late 19th century, accelerating on May 14, 1948, and continuing to the present.
· The prophecy then indicates that Israel will become prosperous in the last days, before the “War of Gog and Magog.” Interestingly, in 2010, Israel’s economy grew 4.5% and is the fastest growing economy in the industrialized world at the moment. What’s more, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is at record heights. Now massive amounts of natural gas have been discovered, potentially making Israel even more prosperous over the next few years.
· The prophecy also indicates that Israelis will be “living securely in the land,” even as new, existential threats rise over the horizon. Last November, Israel’s outgoing military intelligence chief, Major General Amos Yadlin, indicated that Israel was more secure than at any other time in its modern history. “The recent security calm is unprecedented,” Yadlin told a parliamentary committee. Despite emerging and serious threats from Iran and her Radical Islamic allies, for the moment Israel is enjoying a period of remarkable calm in light of the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, almost no terrorism emanating out of the West Bank, relative calm in Gaza in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, relatively calm borders for the last four years with Lebanon and Syria, and a regime change in Iraq that led to a nascent but improving democracy. “Israel’s deterrence is very strong but the lull [in regional violence] shouldn’t mislead anyone, the opposite is true. Our enemies are strengthening and arming,” Yadlin added.
· Then the prophecy says a dictator (described in the prophecy as “Gog”) will rise in Russia (described in the prophecy as “Magog”) in the “last days” and will form an alliance Iran (“Persia”). This Russian-Iranian alliance will then form alliances with Turkey (“Gomer”), Libya (“Put”), Sudan (“Cush”) and a group of other Middle Eastern countries to attack and takeover Israel. That’s what makes today’s reports particularly interesting. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to boost ties between their countries, in a a telephone conversation, state media reported on Monday,” according to Agence France Presse. “The call came after Russia snubbed Iran’s invitation to visit two atomic sites in the Islamic republic that were thrown open to a group of foreign diplomats on Saturday and Sunday. Iran and Russia must always be “friends and colleagues,” state television quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Medvedev. ‘The Islamic republic of Iran welcomes an increase of ties in all areas between the two countries.’ Its website said Medvedev echoed the Iranian hardliner’s views….”
· As the Russian-Iranian-led alliance comes against Israel, the Jewish State will find herself internationally isolated. The prophecy indicates that not a single country will come to Israel’s defense. Sadly, this is precisely where the trend lines are now heading. U.S.-Israeli relations are at their weakest point in 62 years. Meanwhile, most of the nations of the world are turning against Israel, or at least showing little interest. There are notable exceptions, of course. Canada and Greece are particularly warm allies of Israel right now. But consider these facts from an article in the Jerusalem Post this morning: “80 percent of all 2010 General Assembly resolutions criticizing specific countries for human rights violations were directed at the Jewish state. Only six of the remaining 191 UN member states faced human rights criticism at all, one of which was the US. And now half of the country-specific condemnatory resolutions and decisions ever adopted by the UN Human Rights Council target Israel.”
· Ezekiel indicates that at the last moment, when it seems all hope is lost, the God of Israel will supernaturally intervene and rescue Israel. A terrible judgment will come upon Israel’s enemies at that time. Fire will fall from heaven. A giant earthquake and terrible diseases will also ravage Israel’s enemies. The Lord says that He will then pour out His Spirit on the house of Israel and not hide His face from His people or the world any longer. In other words, not only will Israel be physically rescued but spiritually blessed beyond measure as well. The eyes of many in the epicenter will be supernaturally opened to the Lord’s love, His grace, His mercy, His power, and many will enter a personal relationship with Him.
We cannot say definitively that the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 are coming to fulfillment right away, or even that the “War of Gog and Magog” will happen in our lifetime. But there is no question that events and trends in the Middle East are strikingly consistent with the prophecies, and suggest that it is possible that these events could be closer at hand than most people realize. This week’s developments certainly underscore that assessment.
· Come to Israel with The Joshua Fund in May 2011, walk where Jesus walked, pray for the peace of Jerusalem, visit our warehouse, participate in a humanitarian relief project, worship with fellow believers, study the Word of God, and be a blessing to the nation of Israel at this critical time!
· Purchase a copy of The Twelfth Imam, the New York Times best-selling thriller about a CIA operative sent into Iran to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program
· Visit The Joshua Fund’s new website — www.joshuafund.net – and make a contribution to help us educate Christians about God’s love for Israel and help us bless the poor and needy in the epicenter in the name of Jesus.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, incoming chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted the Obama administration on Wednesday for giving the Palestinian Authority a “blank check” while pressuring Israel, signaling that a Republican-led House would complicate one of the major prongs of the White House’s emerging strategy for moving forward with the peace process.
With direct talks between the two sides stalled, the administration announced last week it planned to intensify Palestinian state-building as a means of making progress on the ground toward a peace agreement for a two-state solution. The US has supplied hundreds of millions of dollars toward this end, with the expectation that it would now, if anything, be increasing its assistance.
But Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who will become the chairwoman of the influential committee in January, criticized the current approach to US funding for the PA in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“It’s a bailout for them which provides no incentives for them to reform. So they know they don’t have to do a darn thing – with this administration they will get a blank check and they will always get helped out,” she said of over $200 million in American funds the Palestinians received this past year alone.
“I think that’s the wrong approach, when we’re forcing the Israelis to make concessions and we’re giving the Palestinians anything they want,” she said.
Though many in the US administration and even some in Israel’s government have praised the work of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who under President Mahmoud Abbas oversees the institution-building and training of Palestinian security forces facilitated by the United States, Ros- Lehtinen urged close scrutiny of their activities.
“This feeling that Abbas and Fayyad are the good guys – if they’re the good guys, then we should start praying for Israel’s safety right now, because these are folks who have not wanted to be true partners for peace,” she said. “These guys are moderate when you consider that they’re not as extreme as [Hamas], but they’re not the epitome of democratic governance or openness or transparency.”
She also denounced the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, including its focus on settlements.
“I believe we have had the wrong approach in the Obama administration of pressuring Israel to make concessions and appeasing enemies like Iran and Syria,” she said. “It’s shameful to make public statements about Israel as if a housing complex is an impediment to peace while the Palestinians’ so-called leaders get away with murder.”
Ros-Lehtinen said that support and aid for Israel – which is currently around $3 billion a year – would remain strong even under the budget-conscious GOP, but that the amount it received could be reduced if there were wideranging cuts, as the party has promised.
“I don’t know what the leadership wants to do in terms of levels of funding. If they say 5 percent across the board for everybody, then that’s the way it is,” she explained, but added that she supported an idea floated by incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) to consider aid to Israel separately from other countries.
“What we would like to see is that countries that have been hard hit by natural disasters or hard-hit by thugs that surround them, that those countries will be in a special category,” she said, giving Israel and Haiti as examples.
Ros-Lehtinen also criticized any implication that Israel should be the state to confront Iran should military action be necessary.
“I don’t like the fact that our options are always, well, let Israel take care of it. It seems to be that that’s what we’re saying all the time,” she said. “Our message should be that all options are on the table and that we say it and convince people that we mean it, because we should be meaning it.”
Ros-Lehtinen said she intended to introduce legislation in the coming session to close loopholes in the Iran sanctions act passed this summer and push the State Department to do more to punish Russian and Chinese companies that continue to do business with Teheran. She also plans to refile a bill on UN reform, which includes provisions to push for changes at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and to remove the US from the Human Rights Council.
“UNWRA has been a tool used by the extremists of the Palestinian groups to bash Israel,” she said. “And a lot of the taxpayer dollars that go to the UN Human Rights Council – I believe in zapping those tax dollars. We can put that money to better uses.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Ros- Lehtinen joined the rest of the House in passing a non-binding resolution calling on US President Barack Obama to veto any attempt by the Palestinians to have the UN Security Council unilaterally declare statehood.
The resolution, sponsored by current House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman (D-California) as well as Ros-Lehtinen, also lends “strong support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states, a democratic, Jewish State of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition.”
Passage of the resolution was welcomed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which said in a statement that the organization “supports the House’s call for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its strong opposition to efforts to seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.”
The PLO’s Washington delegation, however, expressed its “deep disappointment” in the vote.
“A declaration of statehood that is coordinated with organizations like the United Nations and members of the international community would not be a ‘unilateral’ step. This was, in fact, how the State of Israel came into being in 1948,” the PLO mission said in a statement.
“Members of Congress who are truly concerned about the safety and security of Israelis should recognize that they will never be safeguarded until Palestinians gain their freedom and legal rights,” it continued. “They should work to support the efforts of President Obama and his administration to bring peace to the region, rather than obstructing them and passing resolutions that hinder that effort.”
– Prophecy News Watch
Sunday, December 19, 2010
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By Barry Rubin
The French news agency AFP is reporting that France is giving the Lebanese army 100 anti-tank HOT missiles in February to be used by the military’s Gazelle helicopters. There are no conditions attached to their use.
Israel is concerned about the deal. In November, the U.S. government lifted a freeze on $100 million in aid to Lebanon when that government—which is basically though not completely controlled by Iran, Syria, and Hizballah—promised that it would not give arms to Hizballah and would try to keep that group from controlling the border and attacking Israel.
Of course, the Lebanese government and army will do nothing of the kind, both because much of it sides with Hizballah and the rest is afraid of Hizballah. Hizballah has accumulated an arsenal estimated at about 40,000 rockets with no interference at all by the Lebanese government, Western countries, or the UNIFIL force that was set up in 2006 to…stop the import of such weapons.
Now let’s see, what country has tanks and might use them against somebody in Lebanon during a future war? Turkey? No. Iran? No. Syria? No. Jordan? No. Al-Qaida? No. See if you can guess.
If you guessed Hizballah, remember, they don’t have tanks.
Of course, the positive side here is that Hizballah doesn’t want the French anti-tank missiles because it has better Soviet-made ones supplied by Syria and paid for by Iran. Moreover, the Gazelle helicopters wouldn’t be effective against Israel since they would easily and quickly be shot down.
This is what comes, however, of pretending that Lebanon is still an independent country opposed to being taken over by Iran, Syria, and Hizballah. That used to be true but since the United States and France didn’t help Lebanon back then, the country is now close to being a possession of the Iran-Syria bloc.
Unless Western countries face the reality of the situation in the Middle East they will continue to do things that are (or should be), in strategic terms, certifiably insane.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.
Well over half of the Palestinian Authority budget is spent in Hamas-run Gaza, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the Algerian paper Al-Shuruk in an interview printed Wednesday. The PA budget is supplied mainly by the European Union and the United States, both of which refuse to fund Hamas because it is a terrorist group.
For one thing, the PA continues to pay a monthly salary to 77,000 Gaza residents who used to work for the Fatah-led PA that was overturned in a bloody Hamas coup in 2007.
PA money also covers the cost of fuel for the Gaza power plant, the district’s water, many of the medicines in Gaza hospitals, and more, said Abbas. A total of 58% of the PA’s funds go to Gaza.
Residents of Gaza also receive support from the United Nations, which provides food aid for most Gaza Arabs and primary education to many of the area’s children. In addition, many countries have sent aid to Gaza through international organizations in an attempt to bypass Hamas.
Abbas mentioned PA aid to Gaza in the context of reconciliation talks between Hamas and his own Fatah party. He blamed Hamas for the talks having stalled. The head of Abbas’ negotiating team for the Fatah-Hamas talks accused Hamas of delaying talks on Tuesday, and accused the terrorist group’s leaders of “talking like the Israelis.”
Abbas also discussed, in the interview, the stalled Israel-PA negotiations. He again rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request that the PA recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, claiming that by doing so, he would open the door for Israel to discriminate against Israeli-Arabs and other non-Jews. (Polls show that many PA Arabs would prefer to live under Israeli control than under PA rule.)
Meanwhile, Abbas plans to define a PA state in Judea and Samaria as “Palestinian,” and has stated that no Jews will remain in any territory under PA control.
He expressed satisfaction with the Obama administration’s stance on Israel, saying that the United States has come closer to supporting the PA position. The PA and the Arab world should continue to focus on de-legitimizing Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, instead of putting its efforts into terrorism, he said.
– Prophecy News Watch