March 25, 2013 Leave a comment
This is a brilliant and so true video by the Jerusalem Institute for Justice – released coincidentally during President Obama’s visit to Israel!
News, comments, analysis from Christian Middle East Watch
March 22, 2013 Leave a comment
It seems that the whole world knows about and acknowledges that the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs do and say some very bad things. They claim they want peace with Israel while telling their people to hate Jews and glorify terrorists; they clamour for the release of convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons while paying them salaries for being locked up; they persecute their Christian minority and drive them out of the land; they lock up journalists for daring to criticise the regime; they suppress any free speech that is not in line with the “resistance” mantra. The whole world knows this – except for the British Government, who continue to turn a blind eye and pay out millions of pounds to a corrupt, violent and deceitful PA leadership.
When the Department for International Development (DfID) first launched its current aid plan to the PA in 2011, they clearly stated on their website that,
Our partnership [with the PA] is set out in a Memorandum of Understanding. This sets out mutual commitments around shared principles (poverty reduction, human rights, sound financial management and accountability). It also emphasises the importance of Palestinian adherence to a political programme that uphold principles of non-violence, seeks a negotiated two state solution and respects international law, relevant resolutions, previous agreements and obligations.
After the then minister, Andrew Mitchell, was challenged to uphold this condition on UK Aid, the website mysteriously changed and much of the above was deleted to become…
Our partnership is set out in a Memorandum of Understanding. This sets out mutual commitments around shared principles (poverty reduction, human rights, sound financial management and accountability). Our State-building Grant will help them to deliver…
DfID knows it should be holding the PA to account for its abuse of the memorandum it signed to receive our money, yet refuses to do so.
Palestinian Media Watch, in a report on PA salaries aid to prisoners, quotes the very wording of the PA resolution setting out the terms of these salaries,
“The minimum salary for a prisoner, to be paid to him from the beginning of his detention and for up to 3 years, is 1,400 shekels. Prisoners who have been imprisoned between 3 and 5 years will receive 2,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 5 and 10 years will receive 4,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 10 and 15 years will receive 6,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 15 and 20 years will receive 7,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 20 and 25 years will receive 8,000 shekels. Those imprisoned between 25 and 30 years will receive 10,000 shekels. Those who have been imprisoned 30 years or more will receive 12,000 shekels.” [Government resolution # 23 of 2010, Al- Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011]
So, not only are these figures far higher than social assistance payments to families and not only are the payment clearly stated to be salaries, but the salary increase the longer the prisoner is incarcerated. In other words, the more Israelis you kill, the more you get paid!
Paying terrorists salaries from aid money is just one of the bad things the PA leadership does. Here are one or two more which, were they taking place elsewhere, would bring sharp rebukes all round.
Suppression of free speech
There have been a number of recent court cases in the PA, where individuals have been charged and punished for criticising the regime. Some Palestinian journalists, for example the high profile Khaled Abu Toameh, have been forced to live in Israel because they cannot publish anything in the PA media that could be construed as critical of the PA or its leaders.
Abu Toameh, in an article in the Jewish Press on 4th November 2012, states,
“Any Palestinian writer or journalist who dares to criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies or demand an end to corruption will be accused of “belittling the dignity of the state.”
The same applies to Joe public in the West Bank as well.
Restriction of human rights
In its annual report to the World, Freedom House continues to rate the disputed Palestinian territories as “Not Free” – that is, “…basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied” (selected data version, p4) and again rates the area on very low scales for both political and civil rights (p.19). Anecdotal evidence points to persecution of the Christian minority at local levels by ordinary Palestinians. Christians are afraid to report or talk about this, for fear of retribution later.
Perhaps the most recent example of rights abuse is the suspicious death of a Palestinian prisoner in the Palestinian prison in Jericho. Ayman Samara died mysteriously in February of this year after being found talking through the prison fence to a reporter (who was himself detained for several hours).
Incitement to violence
One of the first stipulations in the 1993 Oslo accords was that both sides should prevent any incitement of their populations to violence or hatred towards the other side. Not only did the PA ignore this condition from the start, but 20 years on they continue to provoke and encourage incitement to violence and hatred against Israel and teach their children the same. This is clearly a major obstacle to any hope of a future peace agreement and the British Government should insist on cessation of incitement and hate education as a condition of receiving British aid.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights and Democracy Report update for December 2012, p.2, admits that, “The British Consulate General are investigating reports of a song alleged to have been played on PA radio praising suicide bombings in Israel on 1 December.” On the same page, Alistair Burt restates that “…the UK is against any comments that could stir up hatred and prejudice in a region that needs a culture of peace and mutual respect.”
The PA-controlled media continually flout the Oslo prohibition on inciting hatred and violence against Israel. Besides some Conservative MPs, a number of excellent and well-researched reports have also highlighted this issue but DfID has so far chosen to ignore them. If the Government is committed to a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict then the PA must be pressured to cease this incitement.
CMEW has recently raised all these issues with Justine Greening, the present Minister for International Development. We await her response with bated breath! You know what they say, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
December 11, 2012 Leave a comment
The cabinet of Bibi Netanyahu was recently (Dec 2nd) presented with a detailed report on PA incitement against Israel and Israelis in the form of a Powerpoint presentation. This was released and we are pleased to be able to show it to you here. It demonstrates that the PA as an official policy is teaching its people three things:
The international community expects Israel’s government to make concessions and talk peace to the PA, who are clearly demonstrating that they do not want peace. The international community should instead be pressuring and penalising the PA for refusing to sit down and negotiate with Israel without pre-conditions. Anyway, enough already! On to the show…
December 9, 2012 Leave a comment
So the dust is beginning to settle on the UN vote to give a non-existent state the status of a state (if you get me). Maybe this is a good time to work out what is myth and what is reality in the new “peace paradigm” that the UN has created. Let’s make no mistake about this; things cannot remain the same, if only because the breakdown of the Oslo process from the nineties is now complete and probably irreversible. In this new reality, let’s list a few truths…
1. The 29th November UN General Assembly vote did not create a state of Palestine. For all the celebrations in Ramallah on Mr Abbas’ return, the UN cannot create a state, it can only recognise one that already exists. The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of a State (December 1933), which predates the creation of the UN, states as its first article,
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”
The Palestinian Authority is a temporary administrative instrument, not a proper government; its population is not permanent as long as there is a claimed “right of return” to lands in the state of Israel; it has no properly defined borders; it does not and cannot enter into meaningful relations with other states, since the PA is itself only an arm of the PLO. Read more of this post
December 5, 2012 Leave a comment
As exposed by one of the most virulently anti-Israel groups out there…
Within the last couple of days, Israel appears to have changed their passport entry stamp for people entering the “West Bank”. Under Oslo, the entry stamp says that the person is restricted to “Palestinian Authority Only”. The entry stamp now apparently says, “Judea and Samaria Only”! Well, the Palestinian Authority was a construct of the Oslo Accords of the mid-90s and since Mahmoud Abbas has clearly broken the Accords by applying to the UN for “Observer State” status (and getting it), Israel is entitled to revert to pre-Oslo things – like more settlements, reviving the controversial E1 planning zone etc (see other blog posts about this).
Here are images of the old and new passport stamps, as published by “Electronic Intifada” (name of passport holder removed)..
November 27, 2012 2 Comments
This week, in the space of three days, the chances of a two-state peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians have drifted apart to an extent that may well prove unredeemable. Last night (Tuesday 27th), the Likud party primaries in Israel moved the party firmly in a right-ward (ie non-two-state) direction, epitomised by the long-awaited electoral success of Moshe Feiglin. Feiglin, a settler who carries a support base within Likud of 12-15,000, is firmly on the religious right in Israeli politics and wants to offer an alterative to Oslo and the two-state solution. Feiglin is just one of the candidates on the right of the party to have taken Likud even more right-wing than they already were as the nations main right-wing party!
Meanwhile, in New York, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is preparing to speak to the General Assembly of the UN on Thursday and ask for Observer status for a Palestinian state that doesn’t exist! He already has at least 150 of the available 193 votes committed to him, so acceptance of his nonsensical application is assured.
So what do these two events mean for peace? Read more of this post
November 14, 2012 Leave a comment
Fatah loses out in West Bank elections; thousands of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israeli citizens and Palestinians would rather spend their money (and earn it) on Israel’s side of the security barrier! Are we seeing the collapse of the Palestinian Authority along with the two-state solution it was supposed to be promoting?
On October 20th, the PA held its first major round of elections since 2006 when Hamas came out on top in a surprise result. In a shock to the restrictive policies of Fatah, a number of candidates rebelled and stood in opposition to their old party. Unfortunately for Fatah, many of them won as well! There were local municipal elections in 93 areas of the PA and voters were faced with a mix of candidates from Fatah, Fatah rebels and various left-wing parties (no Hamas candidates, since Hamas boycotted the elections). As reported on BBC News, Fatah only won in around 40% of the municipalities and four major towns and cities are now run by non-Fatah mayors and councils (including Ramallah, seat of PA government)!. This is a massive vote of no confidence in the corruption-ridden and oppressive PA regime – and there will be another round of elections in the remaining 82 municipal areas currently under Fatah control. Potentially, by Christmas Fatah could find themselves with hardly anyone in the many towns and villages of the West Bank to govern!
Rubbing salt in the wound of chaotic election results came the news, released by Fatah’s official with the “Jerusalem Portfolio”, that more than 10,000 Jerusalem Arabs had been granted Israeli citizenship. Since Jerusalem is being claimed by the PA for the capital of a Palestinian state, there may not be too many Palestinians left there to be its citizens! This exodus from PA control, against warnings and threats from both Fatah and Hamas, started in 1993 with the Oslo Accords as Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants realised what they would lose if the city came under Palestinian government. Gone would be the top quality health care, access to good jobs and a standard of living unequalled in all the surrounding nations. Add to this the benefits of being part of a democracy and free access through Ben Gurion airport to the rest of the world and you can well understand the eagerness of many Palestinians to get the dark blue passport of Israeli citizenship. The applications have increased in recent years with fears of losing Israeli residence and coming back under PA control.
Just a week before the municipal elections and with unemployment in the PA area running at 17%, Israel increased the number of work permits for Palestinians by 10,000 to 40,000. That’s official permits – it’s believed that up to another 60,000 Palestinians are working in Israel illegally. And many Palestinians work in the “illegal” Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well; an arrangement forbidden by the PA but profitable for both Palestinian workers and settlement employers (but that’s a whole other blog post by itself)!
There are other indications of the impending collapse of the PA, adding to the futility of Mahmoud Abbas’ attempts to move towards a UN-recognised state. For one, the PA is bankrupt. Its Arab donors are letting it down and not paying up. Western donor nations are being pushed to increase donations, yet the PA still pours money into paying imprisoned terrorists salaries instead of its own officials and corruption is as rife as ever. Donors to the PA are pouring their dollars into a big black hole.
After years of rampant corruption, violent gagging of independent Palestinian media outlets and only a chaotic appearance of democracy, the “old guard” PA has lost all credibility on the Palestinian street. This was clearly indicated by the rebellion of so many Fatah candidates in the municipal elections, standing (and winning) as independents against their own political leaaders. Abbas may go back to the UN again this year to apply for an upgrade to his current observer status. But since he has little political credit among his own people, no money to boost his economy and not even agreed borders for his dream state, an independent Palestine remains just that – a dream.
Watch the remaining municipal elections in November carefully. We may well see the practical breakup of the PA regime into semi-autonomous local councils defying edicts from Fatah Central in Ramallah. This could prove beneficial to local citizens as their towns decide their own economic relations with Israel, but fatal to the overall aims of Fatah and the PLO and a total waste of nearly twenty years of “two state” diplomacy.
September 25, 2012 Leave a comment
Over the weekend, as Egypt’s President Morsi prepared to fly to New York for the new UN session, the New York Times published a 90 minute interview with the democratically elected Islamist premier. Mohamed Morsi took the opportunity to lecture America on her Middle East policy and to set out his own parameters for how relations can be improved.
The interview was picked up by the Telegraph, which majored on US-Middle East relations and Egypt’s slow response to attacks on the US’ Cairo embassy. Morsi, however, also raised issues which bode ill for continued peace with embattled Israel.
Firstly, although Egypt has not had diplomatic relations with Iran for several decades, Morsi said that it was important to have a “strong relationship” with the Shia state. While, so far, the new Egyptian administration has indicated it will maintain the peace treaty with Israel, renewed ties to Iran could change that. A strong link between the two countries could leave Israel sandwiched between Iranian missiles and a long and difficult to defend border with Egypt (not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood’s aggressive offspring, Hamas). Read more of this post
April 18, 2012 1 Comment
“Palestinians hand Netanyahu letter, Fayyad absent” – I think this was the Reuters headline, but whoever composed it had it retweeted solid for over two hours this evening (and possibly for the rest of the night) on the “Twitsphere” (or is it “Tweetiverse”?).
So Mahmoud Abbas is sending Bibi love-letters and Fayyad is jealous – no, I don’t think so somehow. But we do know, because the letter was conveniently “leaked” earlier today, that much of the content is the same old same old. Just a week ago, the Quartet (see here) encouraged both the Israelis and the Palestinians to sit down again without preconditions (something Bibi has said so often that maybe we should believe him) – and now the long-awaited letter is sent, containing the same old preconditions (settlements, Jerusalem, ’67 borders, return of refugees…). The Daily Beast summarised the alleged contents of Abbas’ letter to Netanyahu here.
This time, the threat if these preconditions are ignored is that the PLO will return to the UN and seek recognition for a state from the General Assembly; something they would almost certainly get but which would mean little in reality from the point of view of seeing a real nation state come into being. What it would do is give the PA some leverage in using UN agencies and bodies in their ongoing political campaigns against Israel.
You may have missed it, but the PA suffered a setback Read more of this post
April 4, 2012 1 Comment
Migron, a few miles East of Ramallah in the “West Bank” is officially an illegal outpost built on land owned by Palestinian Arabs from two nearby villages. Several Israeli administrations have promised to demolish it, but Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has tried to offer the settlers a compromise that would resettle them in a legal and permanent location nearby over a three year period. Israel’s Supreme Court, however, has decreed that Migron must be destroyed forthwith – in fact it should have happened by March 31st! The settlers claim that the land is abandoned, that no-one has offered sufficient proof of an existing owner and that therefore they are entitled to lay claim to this isolated hilltop themselves. So who is right?
There are and have been many illegal hilltop outposts since 1967. Accurate statistics are hard to come by and many are several years old, but there are probably more than 100 in existence today. Of all these, Migron is the “flagship” (“flag-caravan” might be a better title) of the settler movement, having grown from a mobile phone mast and five caravans to a present population of forty five families living mainly in temporary trailer-type housing and with only five permanent buildings on the site. In common with other emerging settlements, a high priority has been put on community facilities and Migron has a kindergarten, synagogue and other communal facilities.
A series of unfulfilled commitments by Israeli governments to carry out demolition threats, culminating in a decision by the Supreme Court in August 2011 that Migron must be demolished by the end of March (it hasn’t been!) have made the Migron issue into a “perfect storm” that highlights the tensions in Israeli society over settlements generally and the hilltop outposts in particular. It is not widely recognised that the settlement programme was initiated in order to give Israel post-1967 a strategic depth that the 1948 armistice lines had denied her. Since then, the whole concept of settling on unoccupied land in Judea and Samaria / the West Bank (according to your stance on the issue) has given rise to major societal tensions that just about everyone in the nation has an opinion on.
These issues and tensions crystalise down into four areas and understanding these will give a better understanding of why a total land area of less than 1% of the disputed West bank manages to dominate both national and international attitudes. Read more of this post