Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Eradicating Ebola Outbreak And Islamic State Scourge Require Same Prescription

[Published 12 October 2014]

Ebola has now claimed over 4000 lives mainly in Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The United Nations Security Council response to eradicating this deadly virus and prevent it spreading world-wide stands in marked contrast to its ineffectual resolutions seeking to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that has emerged in Syria and Iraq over the past five months.

A flurry of diplomatic activity to halt the Ebola outbreak resulted in Security Council Resolution 2177 being passed on 18 September calling on:
“Member States to provide urgent resources and assistance, including deployable medical capabilities such as field hospitals with qualified and sufficient expertise, staff and supplies, laboratory services, logistical, transport and construction support capabilities, airlift and other aviation support and aeromedical services and dedicated clinical services in Ebola Treatment Units and isolation units, to support the affected countries in intensifying preventive and response activities and strengthening national capacities in response to the Ebola outbreak and to allot adequate capacity to prevent future outbreaks;”

On 29 September the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) was established in Ghana — whose Minister for Communications expressed the Government of Ghana’s profound support to the United Nations.
“Ebola is a global problem that knows no boundaries. Ghana is happy to host the UNMEER as we work together to contain and prevent further spread of the disease”

On 10 October UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the following remarks at a special meeting focusing on the Ebola virus held at the World Bank in Washington, D.C:
“The best antidote to fear is an effective and urgent response. We need a 20-fold resource mobilization,” Mr. Ban told those gathered, as he called for more mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel and medevac capacities to be provided in order to stay Ebola’s advance.”

The World Health Agency has reportedly noted that:
“375 health care workers are known to have developed Ebola (67 in Guinea, 184 in Liberia, 11 in Nigeria, and 113 in Sierra Leone), and 211 of them have died as a result (35 in Guinea, 89 in Liberia, five in Nigeria, and 82 in Sierra Leone).”

The lives of many more health care workers and those fighting the Ebola virus seem destined to be increased before its threat is eradicated.

The Security Council’s pathetic response to the Islamic State scourge pales by comparison.

The Islamic State — since its declaration in June - has spread its tentacles in occupying more territory, engaged in evil and barbaric beheadings designed to engender fear, committed carnage and caused intolerable suffering for those being increasingly caught up in its horrific path.

Security Council Resolution 2170 passed on 15 August 2014 highlighted the danger of the threat to world peace and security posed by Islamic State - but did precious little to halt its spread:
“deploring and condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist acts of ISIL and its violent extremist ideology, and its continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law;

“strongly condemning the indiscriminate killing and deliberate targeting of civilians, numerous atrocities, mass executions and extrajudicial killings, including of soldiers, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their religion or belief, kidnapping of civilians, forced displacement of members of minority groups, killing and maiming of children, recruitment and use of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detention, attacks on schools and hospitals, destruction of cultural and religious sites and obstructing the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education…

“demanding that ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and disarm and disband with immediate effect;”

Surprise, surprise - six weeks later the Secretary General reported that:
"...more than 13,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 80 Member States of the UN had joined ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front as a consequence of the conflict in Syria - citing the estimate of the United Nations Al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team.

Such terrorism must be defeated, but in a way that avoided further radicalization and civilian deaths. That should be done through a multilateral, multifaceted strategy beyond the immediate security approach. “Over the long term, the biggest threat to terrorists in not the power of missiles — it is the politics of inclusion,” he said.

Ban Ki-moon’s limp wristed conclusions have seen yet another inconsequential Security Council Chapter VII Resolution 2178 passed on 24 September — calling on member states to prevent the flow of money, resources and fighters into Syria and Iraq to bolster Islamic State.

This Resolution completely overlooks those civilians and fighters in other terrorist groups already living in Syria and Iraq defecting or joining the Islamic State juggernaut.

Aerial bombardment of Islamic State forces by America and its coalition allies - without the authority of a Security Council Resolution backed by America and Russia — coupled with vainly attempting to stem the flow of fighters flocking to Islamic State - can only disrupt but never degrade and destroy Islamic State.

Ending the Islamic State rampage requires the Security Council to prescribe the same medicine thought essential for eradicating the Ebola virus — a seasoned, well-armed and supplied United Nations fighting force to comprehensively defeat and eliminate Islamic State.

The sooner the Security Council so acts — the sooner this blight on humanity will be contained and ultimately eradicated.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Unscrambling Mandates Omelette Guarantees More Egg on Obama's Face

[Published 5 October 2014]

President Obama’s mission to degrade and destroy Islamic State (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq has been seriously undermined by these poor political judgment calls:
1. Claiming that ISIL is not “Islamic”

2. Arguing that ISIL is not a State because no other Government recognises it

3. Intruding upon Syrian sovereign territory in breach of international law before first procuring the passage of a Chapter VII Security Council Resolution authorising military action

4. Threatening to use his intervention in Syria as an excuse to also remove Syria’s President Assad

5. Grossly underestimating the ISIL threat

His latest gaffe involves a dispute with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu - who told the United Nations this week:
... everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam.

Typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one. Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Kurds — no creed, no faith, no ethnic group is beyond its sights. And it’s rapidly spreading in every part of the world.”

Netanyahu further warned:
“To protect the peace and security of the world, we must remove this cancer before it’s too late. Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, the same countries that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.”

State Department spokesperson - Jen Psaki - chose to take issue with Netanyahu — claiming:
“Obviously, we’ve designated both as terrorist organizations, but ISIL poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States,”

However ISIL and Hamas — and the PLO — all pose identical threats to western interests and the United States — as they attempt to unscramble the three Mandates for Syria / Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine legally sanctioned by the League of Nations more than 90 years ago after the territories comprised in these Mandates were liberated from 400 years of Ottoman Empire rule following Turkey’s defeat in World War I.

The independent Arab and Jewish States that subsequently emerged from these Mandates are now being directly threatened with elimination.

ISIL has already declared an Islamic State in large parts of Syria and Iraq exceeding the area of Great Britain - expelling or butchering Christian and other religious communities who have lived there for centuries. ISIL has been repelled in Lebanon and also threatens Jordan.

Hamas—pursuant to Article 11 of its 1988 Charter — militarily seeks to reverse the Jewish National Home objectives of the Mandate for Palestine:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.”

The PLO — pursuant to Article 20 of its 1968 Covenant - has never accepted the legal validity of the Mandate for Palestine — nor Great Britain’s 1923 decision that ultimately created today’s independent Arab state of Jordan in 78% of Mandatory Palestine:
”The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

Obama has wasted his political energy and Presidential prestige fruitlessly promoting negotiations designed to create a second Arab State in Mandatory Palestine — in addition to Jordan — for the first time ever in recorded history.

The Mandates system created the legal foundations for both Arabs and Jews to gain self-determination and political independence.

Obama needs to focus on this bigger picture - so eloquently elaborated by David Ben-Gurion to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in July 1947:
“It is wrong to regard the problem of Jewish-Arab relations only in the framework of this little country. The statesmen who were responsible for the Balfour Declaration did not merely envisage the restoration of the Jewish nation alone. At the same time they provided for the liberation of the Arab people, and they achieved this on a much larger scale and in a more effective way. The Arabs gained their freedom in an area of 1,250,000 square miles, 125 times as large as the area of Western Palestine with a population of some 15 to 16 million Arabs; about the number of Jews living then in the world…

... This was the real twofold arrangement made with the Arabs and the Jews. The freedom of the Arab people in their countries the restoration of Palestine to the Jewish people…

Netanyahu’s address pointed Obama in Ben-Gurion’s direction:
”... a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And, therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah, but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere.”

Allowing any unscrambling of the three Mandates omelette is assuredly going to leave Obama with even more egg on his face.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Obama, Putin And Rouhani Can Do Deal On Destroying ISIL

[Published 26 September 2014]

President Obama’s sudden about face in deciding to attack ISIL in Syria on 21 September - without express approval of Syria or a resolution of the United Nations Security Council - has provoked a strong response from Russia and Iran - President Assad’s main supporters in his three years struggle to remain in power in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 23 September:
“Such actions must be carried out exclusively within the boundaries of international law. That means not formal unilateral ‘notification’ of strikes but the clearly expressed approval of the government of Syria or the passage of a decision by the United Nations Security Council.”

Iranian President - Hassan Rouhani - reportedly said the U.S-led airstrikes were illegal and constituted an attack on Syria - while also condemning Islamic State militants as “barbarians.”

Their strictures were issued following the admission made to Chuck Todd on Meet The Press by America’s ambassador to the United Nations - Samantha Power - on 19 September - that training of moderate rebels in Syria would help both U.S. efforts to destroy ISIL as well as the rebels’ ongoing struggle against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad:
“But may I add, the training also will service these troops in the same struggle that they’ve been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime,”

Putin and Rouhani would have been very concerned that the US led attacks on ISIL in Syria were undertaken with the active support of Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — all members of the “London 11” — whose communique released on 22 October 2013 had declared:
“We agree that when the TGB {Transitional Governing Body--ed] is established, Assad and his close associates with blood on their hands will have no role in Syria. There must be accountability for acts committed during the present conflict."

It is clear Assad will not be inviting anyone into Syria if there is any suspicion that they are there to preside over his demise. It is equally clear that when someone like the Iranian President calls ISIL "barbarians" - that international action must be taken to eliminate ISIL at the earliest possible opportunity.

Rouhani did not directly condemn the US-led air strikes against ISIL in Syria when addressing the United Nations on 25 September - but issued the following warning:
“I believe if countries claiming leadership of the coalition are seeking to perpetuate their hegemony in the region, they’d be making a strategic mistake. Democracy can’t be delivered in a backpack. It’s not a commodity to be exported from west to east. It needs a foundation”

Rouhani offered this sage advice:
“Obviously, since the pain is better known by the countries in the region, better they can form coalition, and accept to shoulder the responsibility of leadership to counter violence and terrorism. And if other nations wish to take action against terrorism, they must come to their support.

I warn that if we do not muster all our strengths against extremism and violence today, and fail to entrust the job to the people in the region who can deliver, tomorrow the world will be safe for no one.”

Boris Kalyagin - international journalist and professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics - told Pravda.Ru on 23 September:
“We believe that no decision related to such major international questions as the struggle against aggressors, particularly terrorist regimes, can be taken without a UN resolution. The United States has repeatedly demonstrated that it takes actions bypassing UN decisions, that’s why they want to deprive us of our voice, to feel like masters at the Security Council.”

Russia and Iran’s ground rules are very clear - if Obama wants to degrade and destroy ISIL he needs to act under the authority of a Security Council Resolution passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

America and Russia dealt with the issue of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile by navigating Resolution 2118 through the UN Security Council — preventing threatened air strikes by America on Syria to degrade its chemical weapons.

That resolution weakened Assad’s position — but nevertheless Assad understood that was the price he had to pay for Russia and Iran’s continuing support.

Two Security Council Resolutions condemning some activities of ISIL - 2170 and 2178 - have already received American and Russian backing.

They have been inadequate however to stop ISIL and the Al-Nusrah Front in their tracks.

Withdrawal of American plans to train moderate rebels to destroy ISIL in Syria whilst assisting them to overthrow Assad - at best a mindless pipe dream — can be ended by America and Russia jointly procuring the passage of a Security Council resolution:
1. Deploring the illegal acquisition by ISIL and the Al-Nusrah Front of parts of the sovereign territory of Syria and Iraq.

2. Condemning their cruel and inhumane conduct in murdering civilians and displacing entire communities in Syria and Iraq

3. Calling on them to surrender control over those parts of Syria and Iraq occupied by them to a duly constituted United Nations Force within 72 hours.

4. Reserving the right to take such further action as it considers fit in the event of non-compliance

Obama, Putin and Rouhani have their problems with other pressing issues — Ukraine and nuclear weapons.

On ISIL and Al-Nusrah Front their national interests are identical.

The UN Security Council stands ready to help them cut a deal.

Palestine - Goodbye Land Swaps - Hello Land Grants

[Published 12 September 2014]

The two-state solution has suddenly come back to life.

Thought dead and buried after Hamas had shown that it could indiscriminately fire rockets from Gaza into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over a 50 day period — even forcing international carriers to cancel flights into Ben-Gurion International Airport for 24 hours—Caroline Glick reported on its amazing resurrection:
“Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas’s claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] ‘Let’s end the refugee story.’” “But,” he insisted, “It’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.”

Secretary-General of Abbas’ office - al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim - said the reports were “fabricated”.

Arutz Sheva reported:
“Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday denied reports that he had offered to establish a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula - the website of Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

In a speech to mark national teachers’ day and which mostly dealt with education Sisi stressed that no one can make such promises and that there is no room for talk about the matter.”

Amidst these claims and denials - the idea of land grants by Egypt - and also Jordan — now remain the last route to peacefully creating the two-state solution so earnestly sought by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

President Obama’s policy for bringing such a state to fruition was expressed in his State Department speech on 19 May 2011 — which has now been well and truly trashed as a result of the latest Israel-Hamas War:
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks at a joint press conference with President Obama in London on 25 May 2011 now sound equally as ludicrous in 2014:
... the Palestinians need to know that we understand their need for dignity and for a Palestinian state, using the ‘67 borders as land swaps as the start point. That is I think what is so key to the speech that’s been made. So neither side now has I believe the excuse to stand aside from talks."

At the time I wrote the following:
“Now in 2011 — apparently to satisfy the Palestinians “need for dignity “— Israel is being asked by America and Britain to consider transferring sovereignty of Israeli land to a sovereign Palestine to compensate that State for the loss of any areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Israel seeks to retain.

This is a request that is doomed to failure in the light of Israel’s escalating security and national interests — particularly in the face of the dramatic developments that have taken place in Egypt and Jordan in recent months and the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

... To believe Israel should now offer additional Israeli territory to bring the border between it and a sovereign Palestine closer to the heartland of Israel is irrational and absurd.

For Obama and Cameron to espouse such a policy seems the height of folly and farce.”

I also pointed out at the time:
“If Arab dignity is the key — then there is another policy that should be explored — the grant of sovereign Jordanian land to the Palestinian Authority equivalent to the area of the West Bank land retained by Israel.

The area of Jordanian land required to satisfy such Palestinian dignity is extremely small. The entire area of the West Bank is only 5640 km2. Assuming Israel’s security needs necessitated it to acquire sovereignty in 20% of the West Bank — Jordan would be required to make a land grant of about 1130 km2 to a sovereign Palestine. Given Jordan’s area is 92300 km2 — compared to Israel’s 22070 sq km2 — Jordan’s security and national interests would hardly be affected."

Obama’s land swap proposals — enthusiastically backed by Cameron - have now become the latest in a long line of lost opportunities presented in 1937, 1947, 1948-1967, 2000, 2008 and 2014 to create a second Arab State in Mandatory Palestine — in addition to Jordan.

Land grants by Egypt and Jordan are lifelines desperately needed by Obama now — if the two-state solution is ever to eventuate.

As Obama signs up Egypt and Jordan to join his coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State — he might just be whispering this politically savvy message in their ears.

Israel - Media Imbalance Incites Jew-hatred

[Published 5 September 2014]

The incessant media focus on Israel - compounded by misleading and factually incorrect reporting - has materially contributed to inciting the growth of Jew-hatred world-wide.

Organisations such as HonestReporting and CAMERA expose inaccurate reports appearing daily in the most widely read and supposedly reputable international newspapers, television stations, radio networks and on-line publications.

Corrections eventually made usually come too late to remedy the initial sensationalist reporting.

Matti Friedman sums up this phenomenon:
“Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazed genocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article — 30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza.”

This pre-occupation with Israel at the expense of covering far more serious conflicts in the region prompted one concerned person to ask Professor Richard Falk - the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” — the following questions:
“Nowhere on the face of the earth will you find a country that has been unremittingly attacked in the language used to attack Israel, or at all — not truly genocidal nations like Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Serbia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Turkey; not the world’s worst violators of human rights like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Somalia, Russia, China, North Korea and Cuba; not seizers and occupiers of land like Russia, Armenia, Turkey (Northern Cyprus), Morocco and Azerbaizhan. Where are the BDS movements, Prof. Falk? Where are the blogs? Where are the armies of blog crawlers? Where are the videos? Where are the links? What do you think it is that draws all these “critics” to Israel and nowhere else?”

Falk’s reply - designating Israel as a “special case” - is very disturbing.
“Israel is a special case for at least three reasons:
— its legitimacy was established by UN and League initiatives without any effort to take into account the views of the population physically present in the country;

— the US as the world’s self-appointed global leader has singled out Israel for the most massive financial assistance over a period of many years, and has lent controversial support to Israel to shield it from censure by the UN;

— Israel itself claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East and otherwise posits itself as a shining example even extending to the boast that the IDF is the most moral army in the world.

These three reasons explain and justify the attention given to Israel’s alleged wrongdoing. Beyond this, the fact that worse offenders are not scrutinized to the same extent as Israel is more an argument for according more attention to such offenders. It is not excuse for Israel’s behavior. Whether we like it or not the Israel-Palestine conflict has become the litmus test of international morality ever since the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.”

Falk’s reasons for assigning only Israel and none of the other nominated states “special case” status are outrageous and can be dismissed on the following grounds:
1. The “League initiatives” to which Falk refers is the Mandate for Palestine unanimously endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922. Syria, Lebanon and Iraq - products of the same Mandates system - are currently humanitarian and politically dysfunctional disaster areas. Yet Falk does not regard them as “special cases”.

2. The views of “the population physically present” were taken into account - being both politically and violently expressed from the moment Britain assumed its role as Mandatory. Arab riots in 1920, 1929 and between 1936-1939 expressed opposition to the Jewish National Home. The 1922 decision on Transjordan, the 1937 Peel Commission, the 1939 White Paper restricting Jewish emigration to Palestine, and the 1947 United Nations Special Committee on Palestine all recommended changes to the Mandate’s stated policy to the detriment of the Jewish people.

3. Israel’s legitimacy was not established by the United Nations — but by the League of Nations, seven decades of State building and defeating six invading Arab armies in 1948.

4. Since when did financial aid received from another country qualify the recipient to be classed as a “special case” because other countries received lesser aid or no aid from the same donor country?

5. America has not always vetoed resolutions against Israel in the Security Council. America has also vetoed resolutions affecting countries including Panama, Nicaragua, Namibia and South Africa — but never have they been regarded as “special cases”

6. Israel is indeed the only democracy in the Middle East and its army is certainly one of the most moral armies in the world — yet Falk has long advocated support for the PLO and Hamas whose stated objectives are to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Falk’s discredited assertion that Israel is a “special case” setting it apart from the world community for special treatment encourages
1. the media to keep focusing disproportionately on Israel

2. Arab and Islamic countries justifying their continuing non-recognition of Israel

3. Jew-haters and self-hating Jews world-wide maintaining their campaigns denigrating and delegitimising Israel.

“Jews are always good for news” needs an urgent media rethink and policy overhaul — if increasing Jew-hatred world-wide is to be effectively silenced.

Palestine - Unearthing Past Remains Key To Resolving Future

[Published 29 August 2014]

The cease fire agreement ending hostilities in the Fifty Day War between Israel and Hamas marks yet another milestone attesting to the failure of Jews and Arabs to peacefully resolve their claims to sovereignty and self-determination in the territory once called “Palestine”.

Amazingly - the continuing inability of the parties - and the international community — to reach consensus on identifying when this long running conflict actually commenced —ensures it will continue to remain unresolved.

Emeritus Professor Richard Falk — formerly United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank — still claims in his latest article that the conflict started in 1947.
“Israel was born in 1948. Resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly [dated 29 November 1947 — Ed] is widely regarded as the most convincing legal basis for founding the State of Israel.”

Falk gave the following reasons for his viewpoint on 1 August 2012:
“I regard the Balfour Declaration and the mandatory system as classic colonial moves that have lost whatever legitimacy that they possessed at the time of their utterance, and prefer to view the competing claims to land and rights on the basis either of the 1948 partition proposal or the 1967 boundaries, although if there was diplomatic parity, I would respect whatever accommodation the parties reached, but without such parity, it seems necessary to invoke the allocation of rights as per settled international law.”

Falk’s opinion mirrors article 20 of the Palestine Liberation Organization Charter:
”The Balfour Declaration [1917], the Mandate for Palestine [1922], and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

Falk’s opinion is not shared by Matti Friedman — who in his latest article identifies the starting date as being much earlier than 1947:
“The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s — the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls — 0.2 percent of the Arab world — in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab” — that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

The “Israeli-Palestinian” framing allows the Jews, a tiny minority in the Middle East, to be depicted as the stronger party. It also includes the implicit assumption that if the Palestinian problem is somehow solved the conflict will be over, though no informed person today believes this to be true. This definition also allows the Israeli settlement project, which I believe is a serious moral and strategic error on Israel’s part, to be described not as what it is — one more destructive symptom of the conflict — Sanbut rather as its cause.”

Adopting Friedman’s viewpoint over Falk’s - one can confidently nominate the 1920 San Remo Conference as the legal basis for founding the State of Israel — when England, France, Italy, and Japan agreed to divide the areas of the 400 years old Ottoman Empire conquered by them in World War 1 into three mandates — Mesopotamia (now Iraq), Syria/Lebanon and Palestine.

This carve up was intended to see Arab self-determination eventually achieved in 99.99% of the conquered Ottoman territory and Jewish self-determination in the remaining 0.01%.

These proposals were unanimously endorsed by all 51 member States of the League of Nations in 1922.

But they proved to be temporary only in relation to Palestine—because three months later the provisions of Article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine enabled Great Britain to restrict the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home to within 23% of the tiny area of land originally set aside to achieve that objective at San Remo — with the remaining 77% of Mandatory Palestine eventually becoming an independent Palestinian Arab state in 1946 — that is today called Jordan.

The period 1920-1947 without doubt covers a host of critically important legal and historical signposts that cannot be forgotten or buried.

Whilst the two-state solution ultimately created between 1946-1948 as a result of the San Remo Conference is ignored - attempts to resolve sovereignty in today’s highly volatile West Bank and Gaza are destined to certain failure and renewed conflict.

The two-state solution posited by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap creating a 22nd independent sovereign Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history has failed to materialize - despite twenty years of intensive political and diplomatic efforts by the international community.

The PLO (founded in 1964) and Hamas (founded in 1987) both seek to unravel the decisions made at San Remo in 1920.

They need to be replaced as Israel’s Arab negotiating partners by the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine - Jordan and Israel - and possibly Egypt — to determine and allocate sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza between their respective States.

Unearthing the past still remains the key to peacefully resolving the future.

Gaza - Australian Politicians Duped By Dud Declaration

[Published 22 August 2014]

The Canberra Declaration on Gaza signed by 76 current and former Federal and State parliamentarians in Australia displays their total factual ignorance and political naieveté concerning the war raging between Hamas and Israel for the last six weeks.

The Declaration has been “Published courtesy of Kohram”

Kohram is a 24/7 online Hindi and English News and Views website based in Delhi, India. It offers real information relating News Analysis, World Wide News, Politics, Entertainment, Technology, Sports, Industry and Feature Articles on Education.

Australian politicians acknowledging assistance from an Indian media website seems a strange circumstance indeed.

The Declaration was created by Maiy Azize -a Canberra based health and social policy analyst. She is a parliamentary advisor in health and community services and campaigner for @GreensMPs. 21 of the Declaration’s signatories are parliamentarians representing the Greens Party.

The header image is attributed to Nakshab Khan and was featured in an article written by him for Kohram on 13 July headlined “Will Israeli Offensive Achieve Anything In Gaza?”

Khan wrote:
“Israel always justifies its aggression on the Gaza strip by blaming Hamas militants for firing crude rockets on the Jewish nation’s southern territories.”

Khan was apparently unaware that in the five weeks preceding 8 July - 234 rockets had been launched from Gaza into Israel reaching as far as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Hadera - sending hundreds of thousands of civilians scurrying into air raid shelters and disrupting normal life in Israel as well as threatening its tourist industry in the peak summer season.

Long range rockets such as the M-302 were employed‚ the same missiles confiscated from the KLOS-C weapons seizure.

Israel’s inherent entitlement to self-defence under article 51 of the United Nations Charter to prevent the indiscriminate firing of these rockets into Israeli population centres — each rocket an internationally acknowledged war crime — was not worth a mention in Khan’s article.

Australian politicians need to be very careful about their names being identified with a document whose origins are so murky — a Declaration that itself is deceptive and misleading in the following respects:
1. It claims to bear the signatures of members of Australian federal and state Parliaments — yet 5 of the 76 signatories are former members of those parliaments.

2. Although titled “Canberra Declaration on Gaza” and updated to 4 August it supports:
“an immediate cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire deal which includes an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and to the blockade of Gaza”
The Declaration ignores any reference to Hamas having rejected a cease fire deal proposed by Egypt on 16 July and accepted by Israel - and to a number of ceasefire agreements broken by Hamas since then.

The Declaration ignored the findings of the 2011 United Nations Palmer Report which found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza complied with the requirements of international law and recommended that Israel should continue with its efforts to ease its restrictions on movement of goods and persons to and from Gaza in accordance with Security Council resolution 1860 - all aspects of which should be implemented.

The Declaration omitted to include the following underlined words:
“We call on all Australian politicians to also support the United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision to launch an independent inquiry into purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014”

The Declaration alleged that the rockets fired into Israel were:
“imprecise” and “cannot be compared with the broad-scale bombing of Gaza by Israel”

A grossly misleading allegation indeed — echoing Nakshab Khan’s spurious claim—considering Hamas rockets were landing all over Israel — whilst Israel’s response was limited to specific targeted areas within Gaza.

The Declaration asserted that:
“Collective punishment is not permitted under the Geneva conventions and is a war crime”.

Whilst not specifically accusing Israel of perpetrating this crime — it is clear that the entire civilian population of Israel was being targeted by the broad-scale Hamas barrage of rockets — whilst large parts of Gaza’s civilian population were not being affected by Israel’s actions.

The Declaration claimed that hospitals and places of worship were among the Israeli military’s targets—but ignored mentioning that such places were used to conceal underground tunnels and weapons and their use as command centres by Hamas.

The Declaration concluded:
“The international community including Australia has a vital responsibility to put pressure on Israel to end its current military attack on Gaza and broker a solution of justice and peace.”
Why no pressure on Hamas — especially as Israel had agreed to end its military attack on Gaza three weeks previously and subsequently on a number of other occasions — only to see them broken by Hamas.

The Declaration — like Khan’s article - makes no mention of Israel’s inherent right of self defence.

Those parliamentarians who signed this Declaration have some explaining to do to their constituents.

I wrote to Senator Lee Rhiannon - one of two named parliamentarians to contact about signing this Declaration — requesting she comment on my criticisms of the Declaration.

Regrettably at the time of writing this article — no response has been received.

71 out of a possible 598 Federal and State politicians have signed — which attests to the savvy political acumen of those 527 who have refused to be duped by this dud Declaration.

Gaza - Hamas Humiliates And Manipulates World Media

[Published 15 August 2014]

A family of 11 previously reported dead in an Israeli air strike in Gaza has turned out to be false — further fuelling the unprecedented furor caused by the Tel Aviv based Foreign Press Association (FPA) issuing the following statement on 11 August slamming Hamas for its treatment of journalists during the current conflict:
“The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.

In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.

We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA."

The FPA has also been mildly critical of Israel as this release on 23 July indicated:
“The FPA strongly condemns deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists working to cover the current warfare under very difficult circumstances as well as forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments. While we do not condone the use of invective by any side, outright attacks on journalists are absolutely unacceptable.

On Tuesday, IDF forces aimed live fire at the Al Jazeera offices in Gaza City. The offices are on the 11th floor of a known commercial centre. The IDF apologised claiming it was in error and said they would investigate the incident.

Also Tuesday, FPA member Firas Khatib of BBC Arabic was physically attacked and abused in the midst of a live feed on the Israeli side of the border.”
The FPA numbers some 480 members representing TV, radio, photojournalists and print media from 32 countries including Australia, Qatar, Brazil, Norway, China , USA. Austria, Dubai, Russia, Japan, Finland, South Africa, Denmark and Germany, Turkey, the UAE and the United Kingdom.

It represents amongst others Le Monde, The New York Times, Reuters, the Guangming Daily, CBS Television, the Associated Press, Der Spiegel, the BBC, Danish Broadcasting Corp. and Bloomberg News. On its website, the FPA lists Australian journalists Matt Brown (ABC) and John Lyons (The Australian) as members.

Paul T. Jørgensen of Norway’s TV2 states that:
“several foreign journalists have been kicked out of Gaza because Hamas does not like what they wrote or said. We have received strict orders that if we record that Hamas fires rockets or that they shoot, we will face serious problems and be expelled from Gaza,”

Alan Johnson reported in the Telegraph:
The Wall Street Journal’s Nick Casey posted a photo of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed from a room in the hospital along with this tweet: “You have to wonder (with) the shelling how patients at Shifa hospital feel as Hamas uses it as a safe place to see media.” After “a flood of online threats”, the tweet was deleted.

John Reed of The Financial Times was reportedly threatened after he tweeted about rockets being fired from the same hospital.”

Yet Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times — who was not in Gaza - tweeted:
“Every reporter I’ve met who was in Gaza during war says this Israeli/now FPA narrative of Hamas harassment is nonsense,”

It was a strange remark to make considering the above claims — and having regard to the following comment reportedly made by New York Times vice president for corporate communications Eileen Murphy that the newspaper’s team in Gaza did not photograph any rocket launches, sent only:
“two very distant, poor quality images that were captioned Hamas fighters” and “hasn’t even seen anyone carrying a gun.”

Even more intriguing - Rudoren’s deputy at the NYT - Isabel Kershner - was one of the FPA board members who approved the condemnatory statement. How could two colleagues from the same newspaper observing the same sequence of events come to such different conclusions?

British freelancer Harry Fear said he was asked to leave Gaza by three plainclothes Hamas officials at Al-Shifa Hospital - apparently for referring to rocket launches near his hotel. He reportedly said he did not feel any intimidation or interference.

Some reporters however reportedly received death threats. Sometimes, cameras were smashed. Reporters were prevented from filming anti-Hamas demonstrations where more than 20 Palestinians were shot dead by Hamas gunmen.

Evidence of Hamas controlling the flow of news is obvious in its failure to allow the media to:
1. independently determine, separate and verify the number of civilian and Hamas deaths

2. photograph any Hamas forces launching rockets from residential areas or civilians being used as human shields.
A BBC investigation has uncovered photos of dead children from earlier conflicts being passed off as casualties in the current conflict — being fed to gullible reporters to send around the World to even more gullible target audiences.

Why would reporters keep going back into Gaza to be so humiliated by Hamas?

They are certainly not reporting what is actually happening.

Maybe they should stay out of Gaza and let Hamas do its own media releases.

The media barons would certainly save a lot of money.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gaza - Hamas Evil Must Be Confronted And Defeated

[Published 10 August 2014]

One month of fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas has resulted in an enormous propaganda victory for Hamas as horrific pictures of dead and wounded Gazan children and civilians, their destroyed homes and other buildings have appeared daily in social media and newspapers around the world.

Why these tragedies need never have occurred has been lost - as racial incitement is fuelled by articles sensationally headlined:
1. “South Africa Compares Gaza Operation to Nazis’ Actions”,

2. "The Nazis Are in Gaza",

3. "Turkey’s Erdogan Compares Israel Gaza Offensive to Hitler" and

4. "Letter from America: Israel’s Nazi-like criminal campaign in Gaza."

Israelis have been represented as Nazis inflicting war crimes on Gazan Arabs - just as war crimes were inflicted on Jews by the Nazis.

Jews have been attacked in Paris, London, Sydney, Rome, Frankfurt and Austria.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies has been told by a leading trade union official:
“If the Jewish Board of Deputies wants to advance a Zionist agenda, they should leave South Africa and go advance their agenda elsewhere”

Hamas is attempting to gain continuing success in its campaign to denigrate and demonize Israel.

Hamas rejected the continuation of a 72-hour ceasefire that ended at 8.00 am on 8 August — hoping to again induce Israel into retaliating against Hamas and the myriad other terrorist groups embedded in Gaza as they continue their indiscriminate firing of more than 3300 rockets so far into Israeli population centers from rocket launchers positioned in Gazan civilian population centers.

Gazan civilians have unwillingly become the sacrificial lambs in Hamas’s evil objective of eliminating the only Jewish State in the world.

Gregory Baskin summarises how the propaganda war is so far removed from the reality:
“In the current foray into the Gaza Strip, Israelis have killed approximately 1,200 Palestinians. To be clear, Hitler and his army of hypnotized worshippers not only killed millions of people but murdered them, meaning that lives were terminated and family lines severed on purpose. Anyone not consumed with their own anti-Semitism understands the distinction

Many Arab civilians have died in the Gaza Strip. At the least, Israel has made attempts to avoid this by warning civilians ahead of its bombing strikes with the use of dummy bombs, text messages and telephone calls. (Perhaps it is true, as has been reported, that the human shields Hamas puts in harm’s way are not allowed freedom of movement, thus generously contributing to the death toll.) Even the United States and Commander-In-Chief President Obama do less than this when U.S. drones kill terrorists in far off lands. Like so many guerrilla armies before it, Hamas fighters hide amongst the people it purports to protect and represent.

Again, yes, the deaths in the Gaza Strip have been undeniable and horrific. But by no means is what has, and is happening, there a Holocaust. What it is, most unfortunately, is a moment for anti-Semites to express their hatred. Logic is pushed aside as bigotry converts to delirium and then inevitably inflates in magnitude. Again: 1,200killed compared with 6 million-plus murdered.”

Hamas is openly honest about its intentions — as these three extracts from its Covenant make very clear:
1. “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.”

2. “The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship, - “I have created the jinn and humans only for the purpose of worshipping” - who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils.”

3. “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that.”

The London Times has refused to run an advertisement featuring Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel speaking out against Hamas’ use of children as human shields — because:
“the opinion being expressed is too strong and too forcefully made and will cause concern amongst a significant number of Times readers,”
This advertisement has run in The New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, among other U.S. newspapers

Wiesel’s message is clear and unequivocal:
“What we are suffering through today is not a battle of Jew versus Arab or Israeli versus Palestinian. Rather, it is a battle between those who celebrate life and those who champion death. It is a battle of civilization versus barbarism.”

The events in Gaza over the past month would have been avoided if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire proposed by Egypt on 16 July.

Hamas is evil — it must be confronted, and defeated.

Jews Condemned Whilst Christians Are Decimated And Dispersed

[Published 1 August 2014]

As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its fourth week - the frenzied condemnation of Israel for exercising its inherent right of self-defence continues to dominate the media coverage of the conflict.

Ishaan Tharoor writing in the Washington Post wonders why:
“The world is transfixed by the conflict in Gaza, as the death tolls of both Palestinians and Israelis killed in the fighting continue to rise. It has animated global public opinion and sparked protests in myriad far-flung cities.

But as the rockets and bombs fall, a deadlier war next door rolls on. The Syrian civil war has claimed 170,000 lives in three years; this past weekend’s death toll in Syria was greater than what took place in Gaza. By some accounts, the past week may have been the deadliest in the conflict’s grim history. Meanwhile, the extremist insurgents of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), have continued their ravages over a swath of territory stretching from eastern Syria to the environs of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital; the spike in violence in Iraq has led to more than 5,500 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year.”

M D Harmon writing in the Portland Herald criticises this media blockout:
“Why should it matter if a nearly 2,000-year-old way of life practiced by millions is being exterminated and no one will do anything to halt it?

Perhaps because it teaches a wider lesson about what the civilized world faces when it confronts rampant Islamic extremism.

In much of Iraq and Syria today, millions of Christians, whose ancestral presence there predates current Muslim majorities by centuries, are being scrubbed out of their homes.

But, while some in the wider church and the media are paying attention, getting war-weary Western nations to take effective action seems impossible. Even humanitarian aid isn’t being widely discussed.”

The newly-declared Islamic State (IS) - which includes Mosul - Iraq’s second largest city - already exceeds the area of Great Britain.

Sharia law has been imposed in Mosul - where Christians have lived since shortly after the death of Christ.

Christians were given 24 hours to leave Mosul or convert to Islam and pay a tax - or die.

The letter “N” (for “Nazarene”) has been daubed on Christian homes to denote they are available for looting or destruction.

BBC News reported on 28 July:
“A senior Christian cleric in Iraq, Patriarch Louis Sako, estimated that before the advance of IS, Mosul had a Christian community of 35,000 - compared with 60,000 prior to 2003.

According to the UN, just 20 families from the ancient Christian minority now remain in the city, which Isis has taken as the capital of its Islamic state.”

Harmon poses this question:
“Across the Middle East, a long history of hard-won co-existence faces extinction from a belief system devoted to domination, and this time in control of an “Islamic state.” Will it again strike us directly, as it did 13 years ago this Sept. 11?”

Nuri Kino - reported on Fox News - confirms the tragic situation in Syria and identifies those engaged in persecuting these ancient Christian communities:
“Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, also has been nearly emptied of Assyrians, Armenians and other non-Muslims…

... The prideful tone in which the perpetrators speak whenever I have interviewed them — both Al Qaeda and IS——is equally shocking. These are mostly disgruntled young men who were teetering on the edges of society in their own homelands, often in European suburbs, and now believe they have the power to do whatever they want in the name of Islam. They can claim any house in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria as their own, and tell the owners to either leave or risk being killed. They can take any woman as their wife…

... At least 700, 000 non-Muslims — Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis and others—have left Iraq by now. No one knows how many have left Syria.”

Nina Shea reports in Fox News:
“ISIS has set out to erase every Christian trace. All 30 churches were seized and their crosses stripped away. Some have been permanently turned into mosques. One is the Mar (Saint) Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, newly outfitted with loudspeakers that now call Muslims to prayer. The 4th century Mar Behnam, a Syriac Catholic monastery outside Mosul, was captured and its monks expelled, leaving behind a library of early Christian manuscripts and wall inscriptions by 13th-century Mongol pilgrims.

Christian and Shiite gravesites, deemed idolatrous by ISIS, are being deliberately blown up and destroyed, including on July 24, the tomb of the 8th-century B.C. Old Testament Prophet Jonah, and the Muslim shrine that enclosed it.”

Patrick Coburn does not mince his words in The Independent:
“It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.”

Yet the media shows little interest in exposing the decimation and dispersal of the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.

Google reports on the Israel-Gaza war outnumber reports on the ISIS-Christian conflict by about 20:1.

The West is equally as disinterested at this appalling ethnic and religious cleansing and forced transfer of Christians.

An impotent United Nations shows its unwillingness to intervene.

Israel meanwhile ensures that Jews will never find themselves in the same boat as the abandoned and hapless Christians.

Gaza - Hamas Exploits Death Over Life

[Published 26 July 2014]

The failure of many Gazans to leave their homes and seek safer shelter after ignoring Israeli leaflet drops, mobile phone calls and even the firing of harmless warning shots as a last resort - has been a major contributor to the increasing number of civilian deaths and casualties in Gaza.

This phenomenon has presented a perplexing problem for Israel as it continues its determined drive to destroy the Hamas arsenal of rockets, rocket launchers, weapons caches and extensive network of tunnels located in, under or in the vicinity of densely populated housing areas of Gaza.

Former US President Bill Clinton hit the nail squarely on the head with this prescient statement on 17 July:
“Hamas was perfectly well aware what would happen if they started raining rockets on Israel. They fired a thousand of them, and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them…

... In the short to medium term, Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas.”

The strategy was given expression by Hamas MP Fathi Hammad in 2008:
“[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: “We desire death like you desire life.”

The execution of the strategy rests on two platforms — the religious and the psychological.

The religious platform has been articulated by Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs - Mahmoud Al-Habbash—who declared in his televised Friday sermon from the Al-Yarmouk Mosque in Ramallah on 20 December 2013:
“Pay attention, it is Allah who says: ‘They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance’ (Quran, Sura 3:111, translation Sahih International)—it is possible that they will harm you. I say to you, it is possible that they will kill us, it is possible that Allah will sentence us to Martyrdom. It is possible that we will be wounded, it is possible that terrorism will be laid on us—‘They will not harm you except for [some] annoyance’—but in the end, ‘and if they fight you, they will show you their backs’ and the conclusion—‘then they will not be aided’ (Quran, Sura, 3:111, translation, Sahih International). We ask for victory more than we ask for life. We ask for the strengthening of our people in this good and blessed land.”

Shlomi Eldar summarises this exhortation to martyrdom:
“The entire Hamas system worked to promote and advance the theme of martyrdom. It emerged as its greatest weapon and, unfortunately, the most effective and destructive weapon that the movement had, too. Preachers in mosques used their sermons to speak about the importance of martyrdom (fi sabil Allah, “in accordance with Allah’s will”), until many people throughout the West Bank and Gaza sincerely believed that Allah wanted to be sanctified through the sacrifice of believers’ lives, and that only through martyrdom could they prove their loyalty and their faith.”

Risking death for the sake of martyrdom — rather than leaving a declared danger zone for safer waters - has become a religious obligation for many Gazans.

The psychological platform is evidenced by Hamas’s Ministry of Interior spokesman Iyad Al-Buzum calling on its civilian population on 12 July to ignore Israel’s warnings and remain in their homes in spite of the danger:
“The [Hamas] Ministry of the Interior and National Security calls on our honorable people in all parts of the [Gaza] Strip to ignore the warnings [to vacate areas near rocket launching sites before Israel bombs them] that are being disseminated by the Israeli occupation through manifestos and phone messages, as these are part of a psychological war meant to sow confusion on the [Palestinian] home front, in light of the [Israeli] enemy’s security failure and its confusion and bewilderment.”

One day later the same spokesman issued another similar warning:
“Answering the occupation’s calls will merely aid it in carrying out its plans to weaken the [Palestinian] home front and to destroy property and homes as soon as you leave them. We call on all our people who have left their homes to return to them immediately.”

Kim Sengupta concludes:
“Hamas can, however, be accused of making people complacent, repeatedly stating in the media that the Israeli warnings were psychological games and asking the population to ignore them. Some mentioned this as a reason for staying behind; returning home having initially left.”

The counter-argument to that was the need to prevent panic spreading.

The discovery of the extensive network of cement strengthened tunnels throughout Gaza - with many already located snaking into Israel and in and under thousands of residential dwellings—has posed a major problem for Israel in completing its military objectives.

Staying in their homes risking possible death to achieve martyrdom or alternatively succumbing to propaganda falsely promoting a fools paradise on earth has been spectacularly exploited by Hamas.

Respect for life has become the real victim.

Palestine - Israel Takes Off The Gloves

[Published 19 July 2014]

Israel’s disastrous unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005 faces possible reversal with the Israeli army’s re-entry into Gaza in July 2014.

Israel’s decision to take the gloves off came after 1381 rockets had been indiscriminately fired from Gaza into Israeli population centres over a period of ten days with Hamas then rejecting a ceasefire proposed by Egypt — but accepted by Israel.

An attempted Hamas raid from the sea - caught on video [] during this criminal rocket bombardment - had reached Israel’s Zikim Beach - culminating in five Hamas terrorists being killed and one Israeli soldier wounded.

However Israel’s military spokesman described the final tipping point - again captured on video [] :

“Earlier today, the IDF identified around 13 Palestinians who had infiltrated Israel through a tunnel dug from Gaza. The tunnel began in the southern Gaza Strip and its exit was near Kibbutz Sufa in Israel. The terrorists were heavily armed with RPGs and assault rifles and were prepared to carry out a massacre. The IDF foiled their attack, saving countless Israeli lives.”

Until a cease fire is inevitably declared - Israel is now proceeding to destroy the network of tunnels running under Gaza — capturing or immobilizing the large number of rockets and armaments stored in Gaza - and killing any terrorists attacking them from the myriad number of terrorist groups operating in Gaza.

What will happen when the hostilities cease?

Israel cannot possibly return to the situation that has prevailed since Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza — that has seen 11000 rockets and missiles indiscriminately fired into Israeli civilian areas and triggered two Israeli incursions into Gaza in 2008 and 2012.

Amid the current turmoil enveloping Gaza - one pertinent question from the 2005 disengagement remains unanswered:
Were the 8000 Jews “expelled” or were they “evacuated” from Gaza and Northern Samaria as a result of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal?
The answer has a vital bearing on determining who gets sovereignty of those areas.

The language used by Israel’s government in 2004/2005 spoke of “evacuation” and “disengagement” - whilst an outraged opposition spoke of

“Evacuation” and “disengagement” indicate a temporary uprooting with the intention of returning when the emergency giving rise to the evacuation has subsided.

“Expulsion” on the other hand indicates a situation of permanent and irreversible departure.

Prime Minister Sharon addressing the nation said on 15 August 2005:

“The day has arrived. We are beginning the most difficult and painful step of all — evacuating our communities from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria.”

But he also said in the same breath:

“Gaza cannot be held onto forever. Over one million Palestinians live there, and they double their numbers with every generation. They live in incredibly cramped refugee camps, in poverty and squalor, in hotbeds of ever-increasing hatred, with no hope whatsoever on the horizon.

It is out of strength and not weakness that we are taking this step. We tried to reach agreements with the Palestinians which would move the two peoples towards the path of peace. These were crushed against a wall of hatred and fanaticism.

The unilateral Disengagement Plan, which I announced approximately two years ago, is the Israeli answer to this reality. This Plan is good for Israel in any future scenario. We are reducing the day-to-day friction and its victims on both sides. The IDF will redeploy on defensive lines behind the Security Fence. Those who continue to fight us will meet the full force of the IDF and the security forces.

Now the Palestinians bear the burden of proof. They must fight terror organizations, dismantle its infrastructure and show sincere intentions of peace in order to sit with us at the negotiating table.

The world awaits the Palestinian response — a hand offered in peace or continued terrorist fire. To a hand offered in peace, we will respond with an olive branch. But if they choose fire, we will respond with fire, more severe than ever.”

Sharon never expressly articulated whether Israel still maintained its claim to sovereignty in those areas from which it was withdrawing Jewish communities.

Based on the use of the words “evacuation” and “Disengagement Plan” - it would appear that Sharon was not ceding Israel’s claims to sovereignty in international law under the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

As I wrote in August 2005 []:
“One can envisage an Israeli return to Gaza and northern Samaria, should the Palestinians carry out their threats to continue the armed struggle all the way to Jerusalem. Israel’s response could be disastrous for the Palestinians and wipe out whatever political or territorial gains they may make as a result of Israel’s initial withdrawal…

By continuing to use the word “evacuation” to describe its actions, Israel seems to be making it very clear that if the Palestinians don’t embark on the Road Map, and instead continue to use violence and incitement to achieve their goal of an independent state, the removal of the Jewish communities will be only temporary. Israel will return in force and claim sovereignty of such parts of the areas vacated as it deems in its national interest.”

Jews expelled from the West Bank in 1948 by six invading Arab armies returned there in 1967. Jews withdrawn from Gaza in 2005 may well seek to return there in 2014.

The current war of rockets and tunnels seems set to be replaced with an equally confrontational labyrinthine war of words.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Palestine - Abbas Facing Prosecution For Aiding And Abetting War Crimes

[Published 13 July 2014]

Mahmoud Abbas — Head of the Government of National Consensus in Gaza since 2 June — faces prosecution in the international criminal justice system for aiding and abetting war crimes involving the indiscriminate firing of 384 rockets and missiles from Gaza into Israeli population centres reaching as far away as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over the past four days.

This latest barrage — which sees no signs of ending—comes after more than 10000 similar rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from Gaza - then governed by Hamas - following Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Abbas and his Government now however bear primary responsibility for preventing war crimes emanating from Gazan soil.

In a prerecorded message aired on Palestine TV - Abbas said the new government was transitional. This lame excuse cannot enable Abbas to abdicate his responsibility to prevent war crimes being committed in Gaza.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch stated in December 2012:
“There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”

Human Rights Watch makes it clear that under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, civilians and civilian structures may not be subject to deliberate attacks or attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets. Anyone who commits serious laws-of-war violations intentionally or recklessly is responsible for war crimes.

Locating rocket launchers within or near densely populated civilian areas is also a war crime.

There is abundant evidence that this is occurring in Gaza right now.

Belligerents are also prohibited from using civilians to shield military objectives or operations from attack. “Shielding” refers to purposefully using the presence of civilians to render military forces or areas immune from attack.

This too is occurring in Gaza under the watchful gaze of Abbas’s Government.

Abbas as head of the ruling Government in Gaza, is obligated to uphold the laws of war and should appropriately punish those responsible for these serious violations.

Abbas is making no effort to restrain or end the commission of these war crimes.

There appears to have been no effort by Abbas or the security or police forces that he now controls in Gaza to take action to prevent the further commission of these war crimes.

Abbas has not attempted to travel to Gaza to take control of the rapidly deteriorating position Gaza finds itself in as rockets continue to be fired indiscriminately into Israeli population centres with what appears to be ever increasing intensity — inviting retaliation by Israel to defend its civilian population under article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

Abbas was clearly aware of the danger of provoking such an Israeli response to rockets being launched into Israel - as this report on 6 July made clear:
“Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the chairman of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, on Sunday, and asked him to calm the situation in Gaza. Abbas asked Meshaal to avoid escalation of the situation, which would give Israel an excuse to launch an operation in Gaza.

Meshaal reportedly told Abbas that he would not act to stop the rocket fire unless the PA met its financial obligations to Hamas, including paying the overdue salaries of several Hamas officials.

The PA is currently embroiled in a conflict over wages with Hamas; some 40,000 Hamas employees are not being paid backlogged wages by the newly established unity government, even while the PA’s 70,000 employees in Gaza continue to be paid.”

Abbas’s plea was made after Hamas ignored Israel’s ultimatum - made on 3 July - which called for the rocket fire to stop within 48 hours or face war.

At least fifteen rockets were fired on Israel in a 12-hour period on 5 July including two at Be’er Sheva.

Abbas clearly exercises control over the public servants in Gaza. He must immediately assert control over those presently in Gaza committing these heinous war crimes.

Abbas’s inaction in using his security and police forces to forcibly intervene to:
1. Remove rocket launchers from populated civilian areas

2. Destroy supplies of rockets

3. Prevent the manufacture of rockets

4. Prevent the importation of rockets

5. Confront, arrest and try those found launching rockets into Israel

6. End the use of “human shields”

- could result in Abbas and his Government colleagues having to face charges before the International Criminal Courts including:
1. Committing war crimes by omission

2. Aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes

3. Substantial contribution to the commission of war crimes

4. Tacit approval and encouragement of war crimes

5. Aiding and abetting war crimes by omission

6. Ending the use of “human shields”

Abbas could well follow in the footsteps of former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was found guilty on 26 April 2012 on 11 counts including aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Taylor’s appeal was dismissed by the Court of The Hague on 26 September 2013.

Taylor’s case was the first concluded by an international court against a head of state since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946 convicted Admiral Karl Doenitz - who became President of Germany briefly after Adolf Hitler’s suicide.

Will the international community end its love affair with Abbas by calling for his prosecution for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes being perpetrated in Gaza at this very moment?

The silence presently coming from the United Nations condemning Abbas is deafening.

Justice will hopefully prevail.

Palestine - PLO And Hamas Threaten Split Over Islamic State

[Published 6 July 2014]

The declaration of the Islamic State on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan threatens once again to embroil the recently reconciled PLO and Hamas in renewed and violent confrontation after just ending their seven year internecine feud - destroying any hope of ever achieving a Palestinian Arab State between Jordan and Israel.

The Islamic State is a self styled Caliphate - a system of rule that ended in 1924 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The statement declaring its establishment reads:
“Here the flag of the Islamic State ... rises and flutters. Its shade covers land from Aleppo [Syria] and Diyala [Iraq]. The infidels are disgraced. The Sunnis are masters and are esteemed. The people of heresy are humiliated. The Sharia penalties are implemented, all of them. The front lines are defended, crosses and graves demolished. Governors and judges have been appointed, a tax has been enforced and courts will resolve disputes and complaints.”

The Islamic State already controls large swathes of northern Iraq after a sustained assault which began with the overthrow of Iraqi control of the country’s second largest city of Mosul, near the Syrian border, on June 9.

Over the last two years it has established a strong presence in parts of Syria, controlling key oil fields in eastern Syria in the area bordering Iraq, levying taxes and other penalties and implementing strict Sharia law on besieged communities.

At its head as Caliph - the self-proclaimed successor to the Prophet Mohammed - is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - whose spokesman has made his intentions clear:
“The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect—the time has come for them to rise,”

Will Hamas rise and throw its weight behind this new Caliph - given the following provisions of Article 11 of the Hamas Charter:
“... Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection. Who can presume to speak for all Islamic Generations to the Day of Resurrection? This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a, and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This [norm] has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and they asked the Caliph of Muslims, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, for his view of the conquered land, whether it should be partitioned between the troops or left in the possession of its population, or otherwise. Following discussions and consultations between the Caliph of Islam, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, be peace and prayer upon him, they decided that the land should remain in the hands of its owners to benefit from it and from its wealth; but the control of the land and the land itself ought to be endowed as a Waqf [in perpetuity] for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.”

Hamas has reserved the right to resist the temptation to blindly pledge its allegiance to this newly declared Caliph and the Islamic State under article 23 of the Hamas Charter:
“The Hamas views the other Islamic movements with respect and appreciation. Even when it differs from them in one aspect or another or on one concept or another, it agrees with them in other aspects and concepts. It reads those movements as included in the framework of striving [for the sake of Allah], as long as they hold sound intentions and abide by their devotion to Allah, and as along as their conduct remains within the perimeter of the Islamic circle.”

The PLO also needs to reassess its recently established symbiotic relationship with Hamas given that there appears to be far more common ground in the stated aims and objectives of Hamas and the Islamic State than exists between Hamas and the PLO.

This view is reinforced by Article 27 of the Hamas Charter:
” Under the influence of the circumstances which surrounded the founding of the PLO, and the ideological invasion which has swept the Arab world since the rout of the Crusades, and which has been reinforced by Orientalism and the Christian Mission, the PLO has adopted the idea of a Secular State, and so we think of it. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought. Thought is the basis for positions, for modes of conduct and for resolutions. Therefore, in spite of our appreciation for the PLO and its possible transformation in the future, and despite the fact that we do not denigrate its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine by adopting secular thought.”
Hamas and the PLO have always been perfectly up front and transparent in their declared aims and objectives. The problem has always been the inability of the West to believe them.

Maybe they now will.

God help them if they don’t.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Palestine - Jordan Faces Looming Crisis With ISIS

[Published 30 June 2014]

Jordan has mobilized its military forces along Jordan’s 180 kilometre border with Iraq - deploying rocket launchers, armored personnel carriers and tanks following the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) reportedly taking control of the Trebil crossing between Iraq and Jordan on 23 June.

Other reports said members of this Salafist jihadist group took over a number of Iraqi towns in Anbar - including al-Rutba - 40 kilometres from the Jordan-Iraq border.

Osama Al Sharif reports:
"Jordan maintains close ties with the Sunni tribes of Iraq, especially in Anbar. But these tribes provided sanctuary to ISIS founder, Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. It is believed that Jordanian intelligence and an anti-terrorist squad helped the Americans locate and liquidate Zarqawi. The spread of ISIS in Anbar will raise red flags in Amman."

Taylor Luck - Amman-based political analyst specialized in jihadist movements - opines:
“Jordan’s greatest national security threat currently is neither the Syrian regime or the potential use of chemical weapons - it is the spread of the Islamic State’s ideology and the spillover of the jihadist civil war into Jordan.”

Al-Monitor confirms these assessments:
“The quick takeover by ISIS and Sunni rebels of at least three Iraqi governorates in the past two weeks, including the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, has created unease in Jordan for a number of reasons. ISIS has in the past threatened the regime and video clips on YouTube by Jordanian members of the organization, vowing to march on the kingdom and burning their passports, have generated concern. No one really knows how many Jordanians have joined this radical Islamist group, but there are estimates that at least 2,000 jihadists have joined Jabhat al-Nusra, which is associated with al-Qaeda, and ISIS to fight in Syria.”

These developments followed Jordan’s King Abdullah’s surprise meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya last week.

Europe Online magazine explains:
“Jordan has a significant community of ethnic Chechens stemming from 19th century emigration from the Russian empire, while Chechens are thought to make up a significant proportion of Islamic State fighters, who are currently spreading unrest in Iraq.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - currently waging offensives in Syria and Iraq - claims that up to 2,000 fighters in both regions are from the Caucasus.

Kadyrov, who has been battling Islamist insurgents in Chechnya and neighbouring regions, has in the past vehemently denounced Chechen jihadists in the Middle East.”

Abdullah was obviously concerned about the extent to which Chechens already in Jordan might make common cause with ISIS Chechen militants outside it.

Paul Saunders assesses the help Kadyrov could give Jordan:
“While he likely has extremely limited influence over the extremists fighting in the Middle East, he does have a variety of tools at his disposal that go beyond those normally employed by states. One example has been Kadyrov’s apparent deployment of his pro-Russian Chechen fighters in eastern and southern Ukraine to support pro-Russian forces there; Crimea’s new leaders went so far as to award him a medal “For the Liberation of Crimea,” a fact proudly reported on Chechnya’s official news website. In explaining the award, a Crimean official said that “at the request of Chechnya’s leader, the Chechen diaspora supported Crimeans in a difficult time.” Kadyrov may well have very useful channels into Jordan’s Chechen diaspora too.”

Abdullah’s visit to Kazyrov — his “brother and friend” - will not have earned him any brownie points with America or the West.

The US Department of State has described Kazyrov’s rule as “corrupt and brutal” and Western human rights organizations frequently condemn his government’s conduct.

Abdullah is desperately seeking to strengthen the protective umbrella afforded by Israel and the West that has shielded its Hashemite rulers against past PLO, Hamas and Moslem Brotherhood attempts to destabilize Jordan and overthrow the Monarchy.

The Hashemites are long time survivors - having astutely managed to retain 78% of Mandatory Palestine under exclusive Arab sovereignty for the last 92 years.

Jordan has been a safe haven for millions of refugees from past conflicts in Kuwait and Iraq. It currently hosts 599461 registered Syrian refugees — of whom approximately 27% are aged between 0-17.

Osama Al Sharif warns:
“The possible collapse and partition of Iraq will also have grave geopolitical repercussions on Jordan. The creation of a Sunni enclave along Jordan’s eastern borders will have political, economic and social effects on the kingdom. Israel, too, is worried about such a possibility since Jordan has acted as a buffer zone between the Jewish state and Arab heartland. Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on June 23 that Jordan and Israel have increased their security consultations to deal with the latest ISIS advances in Iraq.”

Jordan badly blundered in ignoring Israel’s warning to stay out of the 1967 Six Day War — resulting in Israel capturing the West Bank and East Jerusalem — ending Jordan’s 19 years of uninterrupted occupation since 1948.

Direct negotiations with Israel to redress that fatal decision by redrawing the boundaries between Israel and Jordan within the framework of their 1994 Peace Treaty should now become an increasingly attractive proposition for King Abdullah to seriously consider. Article 4.5 provides for co-operation in combating terrorism of all kinds

Jordan—facing its looming crisis with ISIS - risks suffering the same political and humanitarian disasters currently embroiling Syria and Iraq.

Israel could be Jordan’s lifeline in preventing this happening.

Palestine - Islamic And Arab Countries Fiddle While Syria Burns

[Published 23 June 2014]

Australia’s decision on 5 June to no longer refer to East Jerusalem and the West Bank as “occupied territory” but rather “disputed territory” has provoked outrage among Islamic and Arab countries accredited in Australia.

They sought and received an urgent meeting with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on 19 June — following a letter sent to Ms Bishop on 12 June by Moroccan Ambassador HE Mohamed Mael-Ainin on behalf of the Heads of Mission of this powerful Islamic lobby.

The Ambassador’s letter has not been released by the Foreign Affairs Department as it:
“does not publicly release correspondence to the Foreign Minister from representatives of foreign countries.”

Yet - in a media release issued after the meeting - Ms Bishop attached her written response to the Moroccan Ambassador — in which she stated:
“I emphasise that there has been no change in the Australian Government’s position on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Our position is consistent with relevant UN resolutions on the issue, adopted over many years, starting with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Senator Brandis’ statement was about nomenclature, and was not a comment on the legal status of the Palestinian Territories.

Australia continues to be a strong supporter of a just and lasting two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders. To this end, we are urging both sides to resume direct negotiations. We do not consider it helpful to engage in debates over legal issues, nor to prejudge any final status issues that are the subject of these negotiations.”

Creating a second Arab State in Mandatory Palestine — in addition to Jordan - for the first time ever in recorded history - remains an illusion after fruitless negotiations spanning the last 20 years.

Legal issues will determine final status issues — one essential legal prerequisite being secure and recognized borders for Israel demanded by Resolutions 242 and 338

The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s acceptance of the League of Nations and United Nations decisions recognising the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Mandatory Palestine remains another legal lynch pin to achieving Australia’s desired two-state solution.

Refusal to recognise the State of Israel by all 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has materially contributed to the 130 years old Jewish-Arab conflict remaining unresolved.

Jordan’s Ambassador Rima Ahmad Alaadeen after meeting Ms Bishop reportedly made the OIC’s potential hostility towards Australia very clear:
“Alaadeen said she could not say whether there would be trade sanctions against Australia. The controversy was on the agenda of the 57-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit of foreign ministers in Jeddah this week.

“There is a clause or a paragraph… on the recent events in Australian policy regarding East Jerusalem, so we have to wait and see what transpires,” she said.

Iraq’s Ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh, who also attended the meeting, similarly said he could not rule out trade sanctions.”

In pursuing this diplomatic dressing down of Australia including threats of sanctions for having the temerity to pursue its own independent foreign policy - these Islamic and Arab States missed a golden opportunity to raise with Ms Bishop a shocking Report released on 16 June by the Human Rights Council received from its “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic” - a fellow Arab and Islamic State.

The Report—detailing developments in the ongoing conflict between 15 March and 15 June - states:
“In three years of conflict, millions of Syrians have suffered the loss of relatives to attacks, to violence in detention facilities, to disappearances and to starvation. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives. The failure to protect civilians, both from the conduct of the Syrian Government forces and non-State armed groups unaligned with the Government (NSAGs), has led to unspeakable suffering. An estimated 9.3 million Syrians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, with 4.25 million IDPs and 2.8 million refugees in neighbouring countries. The vast majority are women and children.

In the course of the conflict, the infrastructure that constitutes civilian life has been targeted and misused. Schools have been reduced to rubble or occupied by armed forces, hospitals have come under attack, and entire residential neighbourhoods have been destroyed.”

Horrors being currently perpetrated include:
1. Extra-judicial killings, sexual assaults, beatings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests

2. Reports of deaths in custody, particularly in detention centres in Damascus city, rising dramatically. Former detainees described being held in cells with corpses of cellmates who had been tortured or died as a result of untreated medical conditions.

3. Persistent reports of the use of torture—including beating, electrocution and hanging from walls.

4. Increasing attacks by Government forces and the armed opposition targeting civilians.

Australia is presently a member of the UN Security Council.

The Report states that through UN inaction:
“a space has been created for the worst of humanity to express itself.”

Those Islamic and Arab diplomats meeting Ms Bishop should have been urging Australia to sponsor a Security Council resolution demanding that an armed UN force be sent to Syria to implement an imposed cease fire to end this mayhem and slaughter.

Regrettably - imposing bully boy tactics on Australia was obviously considered far more important than trying to end the interminable suffering of millions of their Syrian Arab brethren and sisters.

Palestine - Negotiating Semantic Minefield Becomes Pressing Necessity

[Published 14 June 2014]

Two former Australian Foreign Ministers—Bob Carr (2012-2013) and Gareth Evans (1988-1996)—have published an article this past week engaging in a semantic tug of war with Australia’s current Foreign Minister—Julie Bishop - over Australia’s recently declared policy of refusing to describe East Jerusalem as “occupied territory”.

East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria were conquered in 1948 by Transjordan and illegally annexed in 1950 - when Transjordan then changed its name to “Jordan” and the 3000 years old geographic designation of “Judea and Samaria” to the “West Bank”.

East Jerusalem and the West Bank were lost by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

In 1980, the Israeli Knesset passed a Basic Law declaring reunified Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel, while providing for freedom of access to each religion’s holy sites—a decision not sanctioned by the United Nations.

“Occupied territory” carries the clear connotation that such territory indisputably belongs to someone else. Yet East Jerusalem and the West Bank have not been under any internationally recognised sovereignty or control since Great Britain handed back its administration of the Mandate for Palestine to the United Nations in 1948.

Israel refers to the West Bank as “disputed territory”:
“The West Bank and Gaza Strip are disputed territories whose status can only be determined through negotiations. Occupied territories are territories captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign. As the West Bank and Gaza Strip were not under the legitimate and recognized sovereignty of any state prior to the Six Day War, they should not be considered occupied territories.

The people of Israel have ancient ties to the territories, as well as a continuous centuries-old presence there. These areas were the cradle of Jewish civilization. Israel has rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rights that the Palestinians deliberately disregard.”

Australia’s Prime Minister - Tony Abbott - agrees:
“It is important, as far as you can, not to use loaded terms, not to use pejorative terms, not to use terms which suggest that matters have been prejudged and that is a freighted term.

The truth is they’re disputed territories.”

Carr and Evans conveniently overlook mentioning or rebutting Israel’s position—indicating a level of intellectual dishonesty which is disappointing coming from persons with such distinguished backgrounds.

Instead - Carr and Evans ring the alarm bells - attempting to incite a state of international hysteria when claiming:
“If East Jerusalem is not to be referred to as “occupied”, why not Nablus or Bethlehem? If the Australian government can say “occupied East Jerusalem” is fraught with “pejorative implications” what is to stop Ms Bishop applying this to the occupied West Bank as a whole? It is a short step away for the Coalition government to declare that all the West Bank, with its population of more than 2 million Arabs, is no more than a “disputed” territory."

Are they really unaware that 40% of the West Bank—including Nablus and Bethlehem - contains 96% of the West Bank Arab population—and has been under the total administrative control of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 1995?

Have they forgotten that Israel offered to cede its claims to sovereignty in more than 90% of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority in 2000/2001 and 2008—and that both offers were rejected.

Carr and Evans aren’t averse in misleading their readership when they assert:
“The International Court of Justice in 2004 declared not only that the West Bank was occupied but that this was illegal.”
It is unseemly that they forget to mention that this decision was an Advisory Opinion only and has no binding legal effect.

What is completely inexcusable is that Carr and Evans relied only on this International Court of Justice decision—whilst apparently failing to consider the following established international law with specific application to the West Bank—namely:
1. The Mandate for Palestine 1922 - especially article 6 - and article 80 of the United Nations Charter and

2. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338

These provisions provide the legal basis for Israel using the term “disputed territory” and Australia rejecting the pejorative term “occupied territory” used in countless UN Resolutions - misleadingly suggesting an Arab entitlement to 100% exclusive sovereignty.

The Arab-Jewish conflict has been an ongoing battle of words as much as a series of real live battles fought by the Jews against its Palestinian Arab neighbours, the armies of six Arab States and a myriad number of terrorist groups over the last 130 years.

Notable semantic battles that have influenced the political debate include:
1. Do the words “in Palestine” as used in the Mandate for Palestine mean “all of Palestine”?

2. Do the words “Withdraw from territories” used in Security Council Resolution 242 mean “all the territories”?

3. Are there “1967 borders” or only “1967 armistice lines”?

4. Did the words “Reconstitute the Jewish National Home” as used in the Mandate for Palestine preclude the creation of a Jewish State?

5. Does “Palestine” include what is today called “Jordan”?

Whilst one side talks “occupied territory” and the other “disputed territory”—negotiations will continue to go nowhere.

A pathway through this semantic minefield needs to be found which leads to the parties using commonly agreed and understood language.

If not—this minefield could blow up with disastrous consequences for everyone—not just the disputants.

Another Syria or Iraq is the last thing the world needs now.