What Nakba Day Celebrations Really Say About the Palestinians

Nakba bad

On May 15, Palestinians and their supporters, as they have done increasingly over recent years, marked the nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) –– the day 68 years ago that Israel came into existence upon the expiry of British rule under a League of Nations mandate.

That juxtaposition of Israel and nakba isn’t accidental. We’re meant to understand that Israel’s creation caused the displacement of hundreds of thousand of Palestinian Arabs.

But the truth is different. A British document from the scene in early 1948, declassified in 2013, tells the story: “Ihe Arabs have suffered … overwhelming defeats … Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands.”

In other words, Jew and Arabs, including irregular foreign militias from neighboring states, were already at war and Arabs were fleeing even before Israel came into sovereign existence on May 15, 1948.

Neighboring Arab armies and internal Palestinian militias responded to Israel’s declaration of independence with full-scale hostilities. In fact, the headline for the New York Times’ famous report on that day includes the words, “Tel Aviv Is Bombed, Egypt Orders Invasion.” And, indeed, the head of Israel’s provisional government, David Ben-Gurion, delivered his first radio address to the nation from an air-raid shelter.

Israel successfully resisted invasion and dismemberment –– the universally affirmed objective of the Arab belligerents –– and Palestinians came off worst of all from the whole venture. At war’s end, over 600,000 Palestinians were living as refugees under neighboring Arab regimes.

As Saudi columnist Abdulateef Al-Mulhim observed on a previous anniversary, “It was a defeat, but the Arabs chose to call it a catastrophe.” In fact, the Syrian, Qustantin Zuraiq, in his 1948 pamphlet, Ma’an al-Nakba (“The Meaning of the Catastrophe”), first used the term nakba in this context, and the catastrophe of his description was not an Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but their flight in anticipation of an Arab invasion and destruction of Israel.

Accordingly, the term nakba, as used today, smacks of falsehood, inasmuch as it implies a tragedy inflicted by Israel. The “tragedy,” of course, was self-inflicted.

As Israel’s UN ambassador Abba Eban was to put it some years later, “Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.”

However, the Palestinians do not mourn today the ill-conceived choice of going to war to abort Israel. They mourn only that they failed.

This is contrary to historical experience of disastrous defeat. The Germans today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their invasion of Poland and justifying their attempt to subjugate Europe. They do not glorify Nazi aggression.

The Japanese today mourn their losses in World War Two –– but not by lauding their assault on Pearl Harbor and their attempt to subjugate southeast Asia. They do not glorify Japanese imperialism.

Nakba commemoration is therefore instructive in a way few realize.

It informs us that Palestinians have not admitted or assimilated the fact –– as Germans and Japanese have done in varying degrees –– that they became victims as a direct result of their efforts to be perpetrators.

It also informs us that Palestinians would still like to succeed today at what they miserably failed to achieve then.

And it informs us that they take no responsibility for their own predicament, which is uniquely maintained to this day at their own insistence.

If readers doubt my word, consider the following vignette: in January 2001, John Manley, then-Foreign Minister in Jean Chretien’s Canadian Government, offered to welcome Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Canada. The Palestinian response? Mr. Manley was burned in effigy by Palestinian rioters in Nablus and Palestinian legislator Hussam Khader declared, “If Canada is serious about resettlement, you could expect military attacks in Ottawa or Montreal.”

Why this astounding response by a Palestinian official to an offer of refugee relief?

Because establishing a Palestinian state and resettling the refugees and their descendants inside it or abroad would remove any internationally-accepted ground for conflict. That’s why helping to solve the Palestinian refugee problem is regarded as a hostile act –– by Palestinians.

Nakba commemorations disclose that the conflict is about Israel’s existence –– not about territory, borders, holy places, refugees or any other bill of particulars.

When Palestinians accept that Israel is here to stay, the possibility of the conflict’s end will come into view. In the meantime, responsible governments can repudiate nakba commemorations –– rather than treat them as benign expressions of national loss or grief –– as a small but important step towards bringing that day closer.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Methodist church meeting votes down BDS resolutions

Methodist with Israel

The United Methodist Church has rejected several resolutions calling for the 12-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Church committees over the weekend voted down four Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions resolutions brought to a vote at the church’s quadrennial United Methodist Church General Conference in Portland, Oregon, taking place this week.

The resolutions “pretty much went down in flames,” UMC delegate and BDS opponent John Lomperis told Religion News Service on Sunday.

The resolutions would have seen UMC divestment from three companies that pro-Palestinian activists have accused of working with Israeli security forces to sustain Israel’s West Bank settlement enterprise: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.

Instead, the Finance Committee opted to favor a petition that had been amended into a general commitment to responsible investment of church funds.

A number of groups, including one called United Methodist Kairos Response, who prepared the resolutions for this year’s conference, had lobbied for the divestment measures at the 10-day church policy-making forum.

The group’s co-chair Susanne Hoder told Religion News that while the amended proposal was a reasonable compromise among delegates, positive investments were not a substitute for divestment.

“Where we see opportunities to move forward together, we’re going to seize them,” she said.

Similar BDS petitions in the UMC failed in both 2008 and 2012.

The defeat comes on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s May 9 letter to Jewish leaders reasserting her position that BDS campaigns are counterproductive to Mideast peace and calling for the reversal of the trend of increasing “attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.”

Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was raised and remains a practicing Methodist.

“I believe that BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict,” she wrote in response to an appeal from the Israel Action Network, an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America to respond to the church’s BDS resolutions.

“When anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people,” Clinton said. “We must never tire in defending Israel’s legitimacy, expanding security and economic ties, and taking our alliance to the next level.”

In January, the United Methodist Church’s US pension fund removed five Israeli banks from its investment portfolio, saying the investments were counter to its policies against investing in “high risk countries” and to remain committed to human rights.

BDS activists have scored a series of successes in recent years in advancing similar resolutions, most prominently the United Church of Christ in 2015 and the Presbyterian Church (USA) a year earlier.

Original Article: The Times of Israel

Palestinians want French initiative to set timetable for Israeli West Bank withdrawal

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“A peaceful settlement in Palestine can transform Palestine into a gate for democracy,” says Hamdallah.

The new French peace initiative should set a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told reporters during an English language press conference in Ramallah on Monday afternoon.

“We hope that the peace conference … can set new parameters for peaceful settlement between us and Israel, in which all countries, at least the major countries can participate,” Hamdallah said.

“And maybe we can set a time limit for the withdrawal of the Israeli troops and a time limit for the establishment of the Palestinian sovereign independent state over the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as our capital,” he said.

He spoke at the event sponsored by the Foreign Press Association, just one day after French Foreign Minister Jean Marc Aryault visited Israel and the Palestinian territories to brief Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on the initiative.

Netanyahu told Aryault that he opposes the two phase initiative that involves a Paris meeting at the end of the month, in which high level ministers from some 20 countries would plan an international peace conference in the fall.

Such a conference would only embolden Abbas to refuse to hold direct talks with Israel, Netanyahu said. He added that such face-to-face negotiations were the only way to resolve the conflict.

Netanyahu stressed the same points on Monday when he met in his Jerusalem office with Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz.

While in Israel on Sunday Aryault told reporters that the French initiative also called for direct talks but only after conditions have been set to ensure their success.

In Ramallah on Monday, Hamdallah said that past negotiations have not resolved the conflict.

“Our previous experiences directly negotiating with the current Israeli government were ineffective,” Hamdallah said.

“We have been talking with the Israelis for 22 years and nothing has been achieved,” said Hamdallah, adding that he hoped the French initiative would lead to more positive results.

He would like to see it based on the model of what the international community did to arrive at a peace deal with Iran.

“We look at the Iranian precedence as a model which could bear fruit,” he said.

Hamdallah said he appreciated the past efforts by the United States to broker a peace deal, particularly the nine-month process that fell apart in April of 2014.

“We must thank Kerry for his tireless support in 2013 and 2014, but unfortunately nothing was achieved,” Hamdallah said.

Resolving the Palestinian conflict with Israel is important, because it is the root “for all conflicts in the region,” Hamdallah said.

“Without finding a settlement for this conflict we will never find a solution for others conflicts, this is the root of all conflicts in the region,” Hamdallah said. He added that this included the battle against ISIS.

The PA prime minister ducked questions about his government’s support for last month’s UNESCO resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, which Palestinians call Al-Haram/Al-Sharif.

“We do not like to transform the conflict between us and Israel into a religious conflict,” said Hamdallah as he explained that his government believed in tolerance and co-existence for all religions.

“A peaceful settlement in Palestine can transform Palestine into a gate for democracy,” he said.

On the issue of Palestinian incitement to violence against Israelis, he said, “the biggest incitement factor is the occupation and the second one is the settlers.”

On the issue of security cooperation with Israel, Hamdallah said that a Palestinian Central Council decision had been in place since March 2015 to halt such activity, but that no timetable had been set for when that would occur. The PLO has taken a similar decision, he said.

Area A of the West Bank should be fully under Palestinian control, but instead, the IDF has made incursions into it on almost a daily basis since 2002, Hamdallah said.

Recently there has been six meetings between Israel and Palestinian security chiefs about halting those incursions, but so far Israel has refused to do so, Hamdallah said.

He added that he believed the PLO might soon meet to talk about creating a mechanism for stopping the security cooperation with Israel.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

British Labour Party Engulfed by Convergence of the Far Left and Antisemitism

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Jewish leaders in the United Kingdom have voiced their displeasure with the Labour Party in the wake of a scandal on antisemitism within its ranks continuing to engulf the country’s second-largest party. With the reported suspension of at least 50 Labour members for antisemitic comments over the past two months, British-Jewish voters are also indicating that the scandal may have damaged their perception of the liberal party.

Although the Labour Party’s candidate for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, defeated Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith in the city’s May 5 election, results from other local and regional elections around the UK on the same day showed losses for the Labour Party among Jewish voters, including in Manchester, home to the country’s second-largest Jewish community. Officials in other regions with major Jewish communities — such as Glasgow, Scotland — indicated similar results.

In the aftermath of the antisemitism scandal, a poll conducted by Survation and published May 4 in the London Jewish Chronicle showed that 38.5 percent of British-Jewish respondents believe there are high levels of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and only 8.5 percent of Jewish voters polled said they would vote for Labour if there were a general election held at this time. Just 20 percent of respondents said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s effort to address the problem has been “good.”

Some skeptics, however, have described the antisemitism accusations as a witch-hunt instigated to damage Khan, who will now become London’s first Muslim mayor.

“There could be a political element linked to the election — on the other hand, it was also an excellent moment to raise the issue to the public’s attention,” Jonathan Walker, president of the UK-based Anglo-Jewish Association, told JNS.org. “The underlying exposure of disgraceful behavior has not been manufactured.”

The antisemitism scandal first came to light when the Guido Fawkes website reported about a social media post made by Labour MP Naz Shah suggesting that Israel be relocated to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Shah apologized for the remark, but was subsequently suspended by the Labour Party.

In an attempt to defend Shah, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone told BBC Radio that Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.” Livingstone later claimed he was simply quoting historical facts, but he was also suspended.

“During the 1930s — before the Holocaust — Hitler’s policy was to put severe economic and social pressure on German Jews to leave the country. The fact that some of those Jews went to British Mandatory Palestine did not mean Hitler was a ‘Zionist,’ and the fact that some of them went to the United States or England did not mean Hitler was pro-American or pro-British,” Dr. Rafael Medoff, founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, told JNS.org.

A YouGov survey conducted in the wake of Livingstone’s initial controversial remark showed that while not all British respondents believe Livingstone is antisemitic, 45 percent said the Labour Party made the right move by suspending him. While some defenders of Livingstone have said that he had simply made a clumsily worded point, James Sorene — chief executive of the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM), focused on Israel and the Middle East that supports a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — told JNS.org he believes Livingstone ”knew exactly what he was doing.”

Sorene explained that Zionism is the movement for “the national liberation of the Jewish people…from hundreds of years of persecution,” whereas Livingstone’s remark was intended to twist the definition on its head by claiming, “the Zionists were so bad that Hitler even worked with them.”

Livingstone then gave an interview on May 3 to an Arabic language TV station based in London, revealed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), in which he repeated similar claims and blamed terrorism by the Islamic State on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In an interview with the BBC TWO on May 6, Livingstone called the controversy over his views “antisemitism nonsense.”

Meanwhile, the suspensions of Shah and Livingstone have been followed by additional suspensions of many other Labour MPs and local councillors for similar remarks — with a significant portion of them being Muslims.

“It is a matter of record, which some commentators have said, that there is a problem of anti-Semitism in the [UK’s] Muslim community, that it isn’t challenged enough [and is] too freely expressed,” Sorene said. Additionally, there has been “a long process” on the far left in British society that has isolated Israel as “a unique evil in the world” due to a perspective that divides the world between imperialists/colonialists and the oppressed, he explained. Those who espouse this view cannot “believe that Jews could ever have been the victims, either throughout history or in the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he added.

Ever since the 9/11 terror attacks and the West’s subsequent wars on terror in the Middle East, many people on the British political left — who are opposed to those wars and believed in liberal values such as freedom from what they consider to be oppression and racism — have found themselves in the company of Islamic extremists on those issues. This trend has been exacerbated by escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years.

Mike Katz, a Labour candidate for the London Assembly and national vice chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, told JNS.org that the recent discourse over antisemitism could be traced to the party’s internal elections in September 2015, which along with the election of Corbyn as party leader brought in many new activists into the party from the far left. As a result, “statistically speaking there are bound to be more obnoxious views,” said Katz. Corbyn has controversially called the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups “friends,” and has admitted to attending “two or three” events hosted by a Holocaust denier.

On May 4 in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister David Cameron asked Corbyn on three separate occasions to say Hamas and Hezbollah are “not his friends,” but Corbyn refused.

“He just said any racist or antisemitic group are not [friends], but couldn’t speak their names in this context,” the Anglo-Jewish Association’s Walker told JNS.org.

While Khan, London’s mayor-elect, has been vocally critical of the antisemitism scandal, he was also forced to defend his track record this week as a moderate Muslim candidate due to the surfacing of a remark he made in a video interview calling moderate Muslims “uncle Toms.”

Critics of the outrage over Labour antisemitism have said the comments by Labour members were intended as legitimate criticism of Israeli policies, a view that BICOM’s Sorene sees as “the biggest misconception of the entire issue.”

“You can criticize Israel and the Israeli government, you can talk about what the Israeli army might or might not be doing, but from our perspective once you start trying to portray the existence of Israel as a crime, once you start blanket denial of the Jewish people’s right to self determination, and [espouse] dangerous fantasies about Israel no longer existing….then that does become antisemitism,” he said.

The same YouGov poll that examined public perception of Livingstone following his comment on Hitler and Zionism also found that 53 percent of British respondents believe that hating Israel and questioning its right to exist is antisemitic.

Sorene said that “in refuting the antisemitism of some of these [Labour] individuals, [those who dismiss the scandal] then echo the worst kind of Jewish conspiracy theories of historical antisemitism” by saying that the controversy was “cooked up behind the scenes by the all-powerful Jewish, Zionist, Israel lobby that controls everything.” Such critics of the outrage have “so little sense of self-criticism or self-awareness” that they “prove the point that the rest of society is trying to make about them,” he added.

Katz agreed, calling the widespread outrage on Livingstone’s comments “heartening” and praising the “clarity” among most of the British public “that he shouldn’t have said what he said and that he had gone too far.” In particular, Katz noted the role of Jon Lansman, a Jewish Labour activist and a close ally of Corbyn, who recently told The Guardian that Livingstone should leave politics “altogether.”

Simon Johnson, leader of the Jewish Leadership Council — a British umbrella group for Jewish organizations, charities, and religious groups — told JNS.org that despite the “unsettling” existence of individuals with antisemitic views in the Labour Party, he does not believe the party itself is “institutionally racist or antisemitic.”

“It is wrong to assume that these views are only held within one political party. This terrible issue is a poison throughout our wider society and sadly transcends all class, social, and political boundaries,” Johnson said.

“We need to make sure that antisemitism is rooted out wherever it is found,” he said, adding that the UK’s Jewish community “will be watching very carefully the outcomes” of the various inquiries that have been set up to tackle the issue in the Labour Party.

Despite some disappointing results for the Labour Party among Jewish voters, the Jewish Labour Movement’s Katz dismissed the notion that “you can’t possibly be Jewish and be involved in Labour now.”

“Of course you can,” he said, “because you need to support friends and colleagues within Labour who are supportive of Israel and the Jews.”

Source Article: Algemeiner

Netanyahu: ‘We will not give up our hope to achieve peace with our enemies’

bibi make peace

Tuesday’s events will conclude on Wednesday evening with a candle-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl and will kick off the 68th Israeli Independence Day festivities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “We will not give up our hope to achieve peace with our enemies- But first we will achieve peace with ourselves” in a speech in Jerusalem on Tuesday memorializing fallen soldiers.

The ceremony was attended by Netanyahu, the head of the Ministry of Defense, the chief Rabbis, the Speaker of the Knesset Yoel Edelstein and the head of the Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Tuesday’s events will conclude on Wednesday evening with a candle-lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl and will kick off the 68th Israeli Independence Day festivities.

Netanyahu spoke of the grief that accompanies Israel’s Memorial Day and commented that “this day is the nation’s chance to honor those who have fallen and acknowledge their sacrifice.”

“Jews, Druze, Muslims, Christians, Circassians, men and women– all share one fate” Netanyahu said.

The Prime Minister, who lost his brother Yoni Netanyahu during Operation Antebbe, shared his personal feelings on being part of a bereaved family, and spoke to families who had also lost loved ones in the service of Israel, “When my parents and I received the news of what had happened to my brother, my whole world fell apart. This is what has happened to you. For the remainder of our lives we will fight to come out of the destruction, ” Netanyahu said. “We will never completely escape it, but there is always new beginnings.”

The ceremony in which Netanyahu spoke started at 4:30 p.m.

At 8 p.m., at the Western Wall, President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will lead the lighting of the memorial candle ceremony.

A two-minute siren will wail nationwide at 11 a.m. Wednesday, marking the start of memorial ceremonies at the country’s 52 military cemeteries.

The official state memorial ceremony will be held begin at that hour at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, led by Rivlin, Netanyahu and Eisenkot. At the same time, the Kiryat Shaul military ceremony in Tel Aviv will host a memorial event led by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

At 1 p.m., Rivlin and Eisenkot will lead a memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl honoring the victims of terrorism.

The Defense Ministry expects some 1.5 million Israelis to visit military cemeteries across the country throughout Wednesday.

Magen David Adom will station 132 ambulances at the graveyards.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Victim of Mengele Experiments to IDF Deputy Chief: Israel Nothing Like 1930s Germany; Jewish Doctors Treat Everybody Humanely, Even Arab Terrorists

mengele survivor

A 94-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor sent a harsh letter to the IDF deputy chief of staff contesting the controversial speech he delivered on Wednesday evening in honor of Holocaust Memorial Day, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.

“I was filled with great sorrow to hear your pronouncements,” wrote Rachel Zeini to Maj. General Yair Golan, referring to the high-ranking officer’s assertion — during an address at Israel’s official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem — that Israelis have to guard against becoming like the Nazis. “The comparison you made between pre-war Germany and Israel today is utterly baseless, and likely the result of a lack of familiarity of the period that preceded your birth.”

According to nrg, Zeini decided to write the letter following an interview she gave to the French-language Israeli paper, Le P’tit Hebdo. She wrote the letter in French, and it was translated by staff at the publication, who helped her send it to Golan.

“My father graduated from law school in Berlin in 1916, as the numerus clausus restricting the number of Jews prevented him from studying in Budapest, the closest place to his home,” said Zeini, who defined herself in the letter as a refugee of Auschwitz. “At the University of Berlin, he saw the buds of Nazism, as students, with the support of the professors, would discriminate against Jewish students. In the state of Israel, Arab students can study anywhere they like, and in addition, they are given preferential treatment, otherwise known as ‘affirmative action.’”

Continuing with what she called her “own comparisons” between pre-Holocaust Europe and Israel, she wrote: “I was a victim of the cruelty of doctors in Germany, among them [Josef] Mengele,” the notorious SS officer and physician at Auschwitz who committed gruesome medical experiments on Jews. “This winter, I was hospitalized at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and witnessed the unwavering and humane attitude of Jewish doctors towards everyone, including a [Palestinian] terrorist who lay in the bed next to mine.”

Golan, to whom Zeini wrote these words, has come under fire from a large segment of the Israeli population, mainly on the political right, for warning against dangerous trends in Israeli society that could lead to its resembling Europe just before WWII.

“If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance, it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then — 70, 80 and 90 years ago — and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016,” he said. “There is nothing easier than to behave like an animal and to act sanctimoniously. On Holocaust Remembrance Day we ought to discuss our ability to uproot the seeds of intolerance, violence, self-destruction and moral deterioration.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog immediately came to Golan’s defense, calling him a “courageous commander, and saying, “The crazies who will now start screaming against him should know: this is what morality and responsibility sound like.”

On Thursday, Golan claimed he had “had no intention of making that comparison.”

During his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised Golan’s comments, saying, “They cause harm to Israel and cheapen the Holocaust.”

By Monday afternoon, however, Netanyahu had to decided to forgive and forget, according to nrg. During a toast with the IDF General Staff Forum, he said, “The issue of [Golan’s] speech is behind us. I consider it a one-off incident, and from now on, we can all move forward together.”

Original Article: Algemeiner

PJTN IN THE NEWS: UN envoy calls on Christians to condemn UNESCO resolution that ignores Jewish connection to Temple Mount and Western Wall

envoy to un

The United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization has adopted a resolution in April that apparently ignores Jewish claim to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. In response, a Christian representative to the United Nations is asking Christians to condemn the resolution.

“By deliberately ignoring the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO violates the human rights of Jews everywhere, as well as those of Christianity, whose beliefs and heritage include the spiritual and historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and all of Israel,” U.N. special envoy Laurie Cardoza-Moore said Thursday, as quoted by Breaking Israel News. “UNESCO is also obligated to promote and educate about religious tolerance.”

The resolution, explained BIN, refers to the Temple Mount as Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Western Wall as Al-Buraq Plaza, which is taken as deliberately disregarding Israel’s ties to the holy places. It also repeatedly calls Israel as “the Occupying Power.”

“The Executive Board … Calls on Israel, the Occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic Status Quo, that prevailed until September 2000, under which the Jordanian Awqaf (Religious Foundation) Department exercised exclusive authority on Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and its mandate extended to all affairs relating to the unimpeded administration of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, including maintenance, restoration, and regulating access,” the resolution reads in part.

The board also “Strongly condemns the Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif, and requests Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect the historic Status Quo and to immediately stop these measures.”

Cardoza-Moore, the UN Special Envoy for the World Council of Independent Christian Churches and President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, said that UNESCO “vicariously supports a radical ideology that denies the Jewish connection to the land of Israel and its holy sites.” She said that any prospect of peace is harmed by this resolution.

She acknowledged that Christians recognize this Jewish connection to Biblical sites in Israel, including Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and if this connection is not defended, Christians, too, will lose their historic connection.

“We are calling on all Christians to contact UNESCO and condemn this attempt to re-write biblical history and replace it with political propaganda,” she said.

Original article: Christian Times

On 2nd Israel visit, Kevin Costner dismisses BDS whiner Roger Waters

KC israel

At the Israel premiere of a film in which he stars, actor Kevin Costner said he does not care whether anti-Israel activists, including Roger Waters, disapprove of his visit to the Jewish state.

“I don’t ask anyone’s permission to travel,” Costner said in an interview Tuesday at a news conference at the Cinema City multiplex near the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya.

Asked by a reporter whether Roger Waters, a British musician known for his role as former Pink Floyd frontman and for promoting boycotts on Israel, Costner said: “Who? I haven’t heard of it,” adding: “I’ve received lots of love here. I wouldn’t have missed that.”

Costner, who in 1991 won two Academy Awards for directing and acting in “Dances with Wolves,” was in Israel for a screening of the upcoming action film “Criminal,” in which he stars alongside Ryan Reynolds, Gary Oldman and Israeli actress Gal Gadot.

But he told reporters at the cinema that he came to support the film’s Israeli director, Ariel Vromen.

“This is his country, his parents are here, and I’m very proud of him. He’s a young man who is truly doing well,” Costner said.

Speaking of Gadot, Costner said she was “lovely” to work with and “a wonderful partner.”

He also said that he met Gadot for the first time ahead of a scene in which his character assaulted hers in a bedroom.

“I shook her hand, said: ‘Hi, Gal, I’m Kevin, and we immediately started acting out the scene.”

“Criminal” tells the story of Jericho Stewart (Costner), a death-row inmate working to complete a deceased CIA agent’s last mission to save many lives. In addition to having an Israeli director and a co-star, the film has an Israeli producer, Avi Lerner.

Costner, 61, said he had visited Israel once before, approximately four decades ago.

Original Article: Jewish Telegraph Agency

California: Stanford University Excludes Demonization of Israel From Resolution Against Antisemitism

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A recent Stanford Undergraduate Student Senate resolution condemning antisemitism excluded any clause against the demonization of Israel, a Jewish student senator told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

“It was a long process of writing the resolution and editing it into a version that would likely pass,” Molly Horwitz, who authored and introduced the bill, said. “I was extremely frustrated when the senate voted to remove the State Department 3Ds definition of antisemitism [delegitimization, demonization and double standards]. For me, that is a very strong definition, and the version that passed did not include a clause regarding the demonization of Israel, because of its Jewish nature, or the use of antisemitic tropes in the demonization of Israel.”

According to the text of the resolution, “Criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as inherently antisemitic.” The motion states that it “does not represent any political position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and its sole purpose “is to define the line between civil, academic debate and hate speech.”

According to a JTA report, last week’s unanimous decision by the undergraduate senate to pass the resolution came two weeks after a similar bill was declared pointless when opponents were allowed to add additional amendments that watered down its meaning. The motion was debated four times before passing. Gabriel Knight, a Stanford junior on the senate, said at the April 5 debate that it was not antisemitic to say Jews control the media, government, economy and social institutions. Knight later apologized for his comments.

“I’m happy that at least some form of the resolution passed in the undergraduate senate. Any version of the resolution is better than not having one,” Horwitz told The Algemeiner. “Senator Gabriel Knight’s comments during the debate on the resolution clearly signal the necessity of increased antisemitism education.” The student senator added that she will be working with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to plan “teach-ins,” for the purpose of educating people on the root causes and effects of antisemitism.

Major Jewish groups at Stanford, including Chabad at Stanford, Cardinal for Israel, Jewish Students Association, J Street U Stanford and Alpha Epsilon Pi, co-sponsored the bill.

Original Article: Algemeiner

Palestinians are victims of their Palestinian Authority

Bassem Eid

Bassem Eid, born in the Jordanian-occupied Old City in Jerusalem who currently resides in Jericho, is the founder and executive director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group established in 1996 during the Oslo process to monitor human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority against its Palestinian citizens.

Bassem is a harsh critic of the Palestinian Authority and a leading voice against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement who is not afraid to speak the truth about Israel or the conflict in the Middle East. For his refusal to blame Israel as the sole source of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he has been called a “traitor”, his talks have been disrupted, and his most recent lecture at the University of Chicago was shut down by a mob of anti-Israel activists, forcing him to be escorted out by police for his own safety.

Bassem spoke in Toronto on March 11, 2016.

Bassem started the talk by saying that contrary to popular opinion, the biggest conflict is not between Israel and the Palestinians, but between two Palestinian factions – Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. Since the Palestinians became divided in 2007 when Hamas violently took over the Gaza Strip, they have been unable to reach any kind of unity, in spite of several previous attempts. Unlike Israel, which is interested in reconstructing Gaza after the 2014 war, he explained that neither the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah nor Egypt are willing to do so.

“When you look at the Middle East today, you will find that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the least significant conflict in the Middle East. As a Palestinian, I don’t want to live in Syria, or Iraq or Libya or Yemen. It’s much better for me and for my children to live under the Israelis. It’s the safest place in the Middle East”.
The Egyptian government and the Palestinian Authority are not interested in reconstructing Gaza because of Hamas. For the last several years Hamas – which was designated by the Egyptian government as a terrorist organization in 2015 – has been waging a terror campaign in the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas also offers terrorists from other groups who are fighting in the Sinai a kind of shelter inside the Gaza Strip. As a result, Egypt has been applying pressure on the Gazans to get rid of Hamas, which included flooding terror tunnels, bulldozing neighbourhoods in order to expand the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, building an underground barrier to prevent tunnelling by Gazan smugglers and by keeping the Rafah border crossing shut most of the time, keeping Gazans trapped in the enclave. Palestinian Authority is not interested in reconstructing Gaza because Mahmoud Abbas believes that putting pressure on Gaza will pave the way for Abbas’ Fatah faction to take back control over the Gaza Strip which it lost after the Hamas takeover in 2007.

Israel, according to Bassem, wants to help with the Gaza reconstruction efforts, but is very concerned that the money and building materials will be used for terror infrastructure instead of civil infrastructure, which was damaged during Israel’s defensive war against Hamas in the summer of 2014.

According to Bassem, Hamas-controlled Gaza is one of the major obstacles to peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

His harshest criticism is reserved for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. “I believe that Abbas only represents his two sons and his wife. Nobody believes that Abbas is going to build any future Palestinian state. If you ask Palestinians what is the most important thing for them today, most of them will say jobs. To secure the education system and future for my children. Nobody is talking about settlements or war or foundation of the Palestinians, which means that the majority of people these days want economic prosperity, not a state”, he said.

Bassem is certain that only economic prosperity can lead to the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the Oslo Accord was signed, Palestinians received billions of dollars in aid. “Did these billions succeed in creating even one job for the Palestinians? Palestinian Authority doesn’t care about the economy.

The only ones who care about the Palestinian economy are the Israelis.” In addition to 92,000 existing work permits which enable Palestinians to work in Israel, in February the Israeli security cabinet has approved a new plan which would see 30,000 additional Palestinian workers employed in construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and other areas.

“Egypt and Jordan occupied us for 19 years and never offered us a state. Why should Israel offer us a state?”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer a priority for the international community which is trying to manage the growing Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and its spillover into Europe. As a result, the Palestinian Authority’s anger is growing, and to raise the international community’s awareness, it resorts to terrorism. Bassem believes the catalyst for the most recent wave of Palestinian terrorism was Abbas’ speech at the UN last September. Shortly after the speech, Palestinians unleashed the still ongoing so-called Knife Intifada during which dozens of Israelis were murdered and hundreds injured. “Violence attracts the eyes of the international community which will, in turn, pushes for resuming negotiations. The only ones who benefit from the storm of violence is only the Palestinian Authority”.

Abbas keeps the cycle of terror going by honouring the terrorists as “martyrs” and by meeting with the terrorists’ families and paying them $2,000-$3,000.

“When you have a President who is trying to sacrifice his people, I don’t think the people should have to have any expectation that this person is going to solve our problems. Ordinary Palestinians are fed up not only with the international community or the UN, they are primarily fed up with the Palestinian leaders. While people lose their trust in the leadership, I don’t think we should have any kind of expectation in the near future of a resolution to the conflict.”
“When will the Palestinians wake up? When will the international community wake up? When will they start recognizing the Palestinians are not victims of the occupation but the victims of their own leadership?”

“The international community wants to impose more and more pressure on Israel and ignore the internal conflict among the Palestinians. My message today is to point out the sickness of the Palestinian society. We must start to realize that we are a part of the conflict that we are responsible on our daily lives and not only blame Israel.”

The current violence taking place right now might seem like the majority of Palestinians are supporting it because they are silent. They do not. They are scared of speaking out and stand up and criticize and protest the so-called establishment. The stabbings will never bring any independence and will not solve our problems.

Bassem also slammed the international community for threatening to recognize the Palestinian state. “Which state are you going to recognize? How can you recognize a state when there is no infrastructure, no economy, when over 52% of the people are living in refugee camps? Show me one Arab country whose politicians are going to recognize the Palestinian state. I doubt there is even one Arab country right now that is interested in it.”

Between 1948 to 1967 Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank was ruled by Jordan, neither of which want to take the territories back. He finds it hypocritical that the Egyptians and Jordanians call on Israel to recognize the Palestinian state. “Egypt and Jordan occupied us for 19 years and never offered us a state. Why should Israel offer us a state?”

Bassem offers a creative solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by dividing the West Bank and Gaza among Palestinian tribes. “We have famous tribes in Nablus, Hebron and Gaza. They can rule different cities and their own areas and their own people. This is what’s going to happen in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, which will be divided between tribes. Palestinians, who are Arabs from Arab nations, can also be based on tribes. Let us have this solution – to divide the territories among tribes. It’s probably the only solution to the conflict.”

Original Article: CIJ News

Netanyahu rejects French peace plan for ‘distancing’ Palestinians from direct talks

bibi UNSC

PM says Israel is prepared to begin direct bilateral talks with the Palestinians “immediately, without preconditions,” but states that all other initiatives undermine that prospect.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday officially rejected a French initiative aimed at relaunching peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, saying the plan undermines the process by “distancing” the prospect of direct talks between the two sides.

However, the premier pledged that Israel is prepared to begin direct bilateral talks with the Palestinians “immediately, without preconditions.”

“Israel adheres to the position that the best way to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is direct, bilateral negotiations,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“All other political initiatives distance the Palestinians from the negotiating table,” he added.

Last Thursday, France announced that it will convene a summit on May 30 to discuss the parameters for an international peace conference to be held in the French capital in the second part of the year.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be invited to the summit that is due to include some 30 countries and international organizations, though the two sides will be asked to join the peace conference. The last attempt at Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014.

In response to the prime minister’s rejection of the French plan, opposition lawmaker MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) accused the Netanyahu government of “inviting a political winter” that would isolate Israel from international diplomacy.

“The government is investing in diplomatic isolation and forced settlement against Israel’s will – without a future and without hope,” he said.

Later on Thursday, Saeb Erekat, who served as the Palestinian’s chief negotiator in peace talks, issued a fiery retort to Israel’s rejection of the French-proposed initiative.

“The Israeli government’s call for “bilateral negotiations” is not a call for the achievement of the two-state solution, but an attempt at legitimizing its settlement enterprise and the imposition of an Apartheid regime,” he said in a statement.

Erekat, who now serves as the PLO’s secretary-general, called on Paris and the international community to “take immediate steps in order to give peace a chance” He added that the Palestinians would continue efforts in support of the forum.

The senior Palestinian Authority official also urged world players to acknowledge the “overdue” recognition of a Palestinian state, ban products made in Israel settlements and issue overarching condemnation of Israeli policies that he charged were “systematic violations of international law and UN resolutions.”

The French initiative is one of at least two that are currently under the pen related to the decades-old conflict. Another is being spearheaded by the Palestinian Authority.

The Paris-led initiative would have the Security Council outline parameters of a two-state solution. US Democrats and Republicans alike, including Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, oppose this approach and warn that imposing solutions would prove counterproductive.

The Palestinian draft would have the Security Council state it’s opposition to Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank— a position held by each individual permanent members of the Council.

On Wednesday, PLO Ambassador to the UN in New York Riyad Mansour said the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is set to discuss providing international protection for Palestinians during an informal May 6 meeting.

“We would like to see an international force to separate between us and the Israeli occupying authorities,” Mansour said.

Such a step is not feasible at this time, so it is possible for the UNSC to take a smaller step to help the Palestinians, he said.

In the interim, the Palestinians are already discussing the matter with the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to see if there are steps that can be taken to protect the Palestinians even without a new UNSC resolution, he said.

Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Italy Uncovers Plot to Attack Israeli Embassy, Vatican

italy thwart attack

Italian police arrest four suspected of conspiring to join ISIS, believe some have sought to obtain weapons to perpetrate attacks in the coming months.
Italian police issued arrest warrants on Thursday for six people suspected of conspiring to join Islamic State, and court documents said three of them had been discussing possible attacks on the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome.
Four of the suspects – a couple living near Lake Como, a 23-year-old-man and a woman, all of them Moroccans – were detained in Italy on Thursday, Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told a news conference.
The other two – a Moroccan man and his Italian wife – left Italy last year, travelled to Iraq and Syria and are still on the loose, Romanelli added.
Italy has not suffered the kind of deadly Islamist attacks that hit France and Belgium, but authorities have arrested a number of people suspected of planning assaults.
Transcripts of wire-tapped phone conversations between three of the suspects, contained in the arrest warrant and seen by Reuters, mentioned the possibility of an attack against the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in the Italian capital.

“I swear I will be the first to attack them in this Italy of crusaders, I swear I’ll attack it, in the Vatican God willing,” one of the arrested men is quoted as telling the man on the run in the transcript.
In a separate conversation with another of the suspects arrested on Thursday, the same man said he wanted to hit the Israeli embassy in Rome and had contacted an Albanian man to get a gun.
Reports in Italy said that the suspects were plotting to carry out these attacks in the coming months, and then flee to Syria.
“The new aspect here is that we are not talking about a generic indication (of an attack) but a specific person being appointed to act on Italian soil,” Romanelli said.
“Rome attracts attention because it is a destination for Christian pilgrims,” the prosecutor added.
A lawyer appointed to represent two of the suspects declined to comment, saying he was waiting for court papers.
A 22-year-old Somali asylum seeker who worked as an imam was detained in southern Italy last month on suspicion of planning an attack in Rome.
Original Article: HAARETZ