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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PLEASE SIGN: Petition for the annexation of Judea and Samaria

Homes in Judea and Samaria

Petition for the annexation of Judea and Samaria by the State of Israel

The text of the petition is the following (English translation):

The fact that the Palestinian Authority refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, the decision for recognition of the Republic of Palestine by the United Nations, next September, violates due recognition of the Jewish state's existence.

This right is defined in Resolution 181 adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization, in 1947.  The proposal involves accepting a new resolution by the UN and denying the essence of the national rights of the people of Israel in Israel.  And this would be in the absence of a peace agreement between the PA and Israel, as a Jewish state.

It is incumbent on the Israeli government, with the approval of the Israeli Knesset, to annex Judea and Samaria  immediately, to prevent the transformation of Israel into an illegitimate state, after the decision of UN recognition of an Arab country to Israel - Israel, instead of an Arab state in the Land of Israel.  Such a declaration is, in fact, a resolution abolishing the principle of two states for two peoples, given that the constitution of the "Republic of Palestine" explicitly states Arab sovereignty over the entire western Land of Israel.

You must fill in:

First row: Full name

Second row: Age

Third Row: City

Forth row: email address (which will not be publicized)

and any remarks you may want to make.

Twelve Palestinian Jihad Militants Arrested in Jenin Area

Twelve Palestinian Islamic Jihad-associated militants were arrested in a joint activity of the IDF and ISA (Shin-Bet) which took place in the Jenin area last night. The activity was coordinated with the Civil Administration.

The suspects are senior activists in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Judea and Samaria Region and are suspected of providing guidance in planning terror activities as well as transferring finances and taking an active part in the rebuilding of terror networks in the region. This is part of a continuing IDF-ISA campaign to prevent theinfrastructure of terror gaining hold in the Judea and Samaria region.

In addition, GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, ordered to close the offices of the "El Bara'a" association in Jenin and its possessions were confiscated. These actions took place due to its associations with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Gaza-based organization "The Soul of Jerusalem", both of which were declared illegal organizations as they operate constantly in order to harm the security of Israel's citizens and security forces.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization threatens openly to attack 'everywhere in Israel,'  and “applauds all efforts to respond to the crimes committed daily against our people," including the recent Jerusalem terror attack at the main bus station, which it applauded.

'Navy on June flotilla: 'Marmara' lessons learned'

Naval forces bracing for upcoming flotilla to Gaza that is expected to include 13 or 14 ships, Israel Radio repots; Canadian organization says it will send ship to Gaza despite warnings by Canada's foreign ministry.

The navy is preparing for a flotilla set to make its way toward Gaza in three weeks, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, naval forces were examining lessons learned by the Mavi Marmara flotilla.

A Canadian organization on Tuesday announced that it will send a ship to Gaza as part of the flotilla, despite the Canadian Foreign Ministry's warning against participation in theflotilla, Israel Radio reported.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird "strongly" urged activists seeking to bring humanitarian aid to residents in the Gaza Strip to do so through "established channels," AFP reported Monday.

The top Canadian diplomat called attempts to breach the blockade the IDF maintains on the strip "provocative" and not helpful to the "people of Gaza."

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday that he hopes Israel will avoid a confrontation when the new flotilla approaches Gaza in June, AP reported.

Davutoglu said in a televised interview that Israel "has gained sufficient experience" after last year's incident.

The assumption within the IDF is that a majority of the passengers will engage in passive resistance but that there will likely be a group who will employ violence similar to the Turkish mercenaries who last year attacked navy commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara.

The next flotilla will include 13 or 14 ships and will include 1,500 passengers, Hussain Orach, the vice president of the IHH internationa lrelief organization, told Channel 2 on Sunday night. Orach invited Israel to choose any international body it wants to perform checks on the passengers and vessels involved in the flotilla.

Hamas-Gaza's missile stock passes 10,000, and going up - Cairo opens Gaza crossing, prepares to halt gas to Israel

According to updates reaching DEBKAfile's military sources, the number of missiles Hamas has managed to stockpile in Gaza passed the 10,000 mark in early May – despite Israel's partial blockade of the Gaza Strip. It is growing at the rate of some 30 new projectiles of many types smuggled in every two weeks. On April 9, the Palestinian fundamentalists shot 133 rockets at seven Israeli cities before Israel granted a ceasefire in lieu of an operation for smashing this arsenal.

Firing at the rate of 150 missiles a day, Hamas is currently capable of keeping southern Israel under constant attack for 66 days running.

When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee May 30 about the Palestinian Hamas's expanding control of Egyptian Sinai, he omitted to mention the arms smuggling tunnels which openly flout Israel's blockade. The interaction between the Gaza Strip and Sinai and the effect it has of undermining Egypt's sovereign control of the strategic peninsula, which he also mentioned, is an old story going back years.

What has changed since Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas have both gained traction in Egypt proper.

But Israel and its military continue to hold back from stemming the arms flow, now including anti-tank and anti-air missiles, into the Gaza Strip, just as they never interfered with Hizballah's acquisition of thousands of advanced rockets from Iran and Syria.

Before the current ceasefire, Hamas demonstrated in a single day, Saturday, April 9, that its improved missiles could hit the fringes of Kiryat Gat 21 kilometers from Gaza and Rishon Lezion, double that distance.

The country, all parts of which are covered by the two Hamas-Hizballah missile arsenals, was not informed by the prime minister, Defense Minister Ehud Barak or Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz about the deal which induced Hamas to hold its fire for now.

While Hamas was presented simply as scared off by the threat of a major IDF operation,DEBKAfile's intelligence sources disclose that it was the consequence of a quiet deal offered Jerusalem by Egypt's military rulers at a time that scores of rockets were raining down.

Those rulers asked the Netanyahu government if they could assure Hamas there would be no big Israeli operation as a means of persuading them to accept a ceasefire: A four-point plan for the Gaza Strip's immediate future was attached to the  Egyptian proposition:

1. Egypt would broker a reconciliation pact between the warring Palestinian factions, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and the extremist Hamas. And indeed this pact was signed a month later on May 4;

2.  Egypt would gradually relieve Israel of responsibility for keeping the enclave supplied with fuel, foodstuffs, medicines and other essentials. This contradicts the official claim that the opening of the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Sinai Saturday, May 28, is to be restricted to persons not goods.

3.  Egypt will maintain a large intelligence center inside the Strip. This means Cairo is going back to controlling security in and for the Gaza Strip, a function which lapsed under Hosni Mubarak. Hamas will therefore profit twice: once from an Egyptian-guaranteed Israeli pledge to refrain from attacking the Gaza Strip plus an Egyptian military shield for the territory.

4.  Cairo will tell Hamas that its handling of intra-Palestinian affairs is contingent on two Hamas commitments: a total stoppage of missile fire on Israel and the restart of negotiations for the release of Gilead Shalit, the Israeli soldier it has held captive for five years.

The Netanyahu government was assured that the ceasefire would go into effect the instant this deal was accepted. The prime minister decided to accept the Egyptian package, thereby initiating a period of calm for the eight-day Passover festival and his four-day trip to Washington – even though Hamas had never directly undertaken any commitment toward Israel and Cairo alone was party to the truce.

The upshot of this deal is that, after firing an anti-tank missile April 7 at an Israeli school bus – and so causing the death of a 16-year old Israeli boy - and terrorizing a million civilians in their homes week after week, Hamas comes out clean as a whistle and safe from Israeli retribution. It can also keep on smuggling arms to the Gaza Strip through its Sinai tunnels because the military rulers in Cairo avoided any commitment to combat this illegal flow.

All in all, Hamas' prospects in Egypt are bright. The Muslim Brotherhood has every chance of rising to power in the parliamentary and presidential elections taking place in three months. Israel has no guarantee that the new rulers will honor the April 2011 commitments offered Israel by the provisional military rulers.

The only fly in Hamas's ointment is internal: Its unity accord with Fatah is stalled for now by a huge row between Hamas-Gaza and Hamas-Damascus over who gives the orders. This dispute is also a function of the Gaza faction's growing assertiveness under Cairo's protection and the Muslim Brotherhood's wing.

And if letting Hamas off the hook were not enough, Brinks vans continue to carry roughly $13 million in cash from Israel into the Gaza Strip every month to avoid censure for starving the Gazan economy of cash, even though the money besides lining the pockets of its rulers finances the smuggling tunnels through which arms reach the enclave and which also provide them with a second source of profit.
Hamas is not just gaining momentum in Egypt but most of all in the Gaza Strip itself.

Rafah border crossing

Egyptian authorities plan to follow up on the permanent opening of the Gaza Strip Rafah crossing - so ending its four-year siege - by liquidating EMG (the East Mediterranean Gas Company which is under contract to deliver Egyptian gas to Israel and supplied 40 percent of its needs in 2010.

DEBKAfile's Cairo sources report that Egypt's Oil Minister Abdallah Ghorab is taking advice from the ministry's legal advisers on ways to break the 2009 contract on order to halt gas deliveries to Israel.

This move is consistent with the policy of the military junta now ruling Egypt to distance themselves from Israel with all its ramifications. The Netanyahu government has not addressed this radical policy shift in the four months since Cairo ignored Israel's request to deny two Iranian freighters permission to sail through the  through the Suez Canal on Feb. 22 although the ships were laden with arms and could have been legally stopped.

Saturday, May 28, Cairo opened the Rafah crossing to the transit to Sinai of Gaza Strip persons – though not yet goods - without coordinating this step with Israel, although this violated the 2005 Egyptian-Israeli accords for the Gaza crossings to be manned with European monitors and supervised by Israel which were signed just before Israel completed its withdrawal from the Palestinian enclave.

An Egyptian passport control station which will be open daily catered to hundreds of Palestinians passing through on the first day.

Cairo chose the same day to cut off natural gas supplies to Israel in response to pressure from Gaza's Hamas rulers. The pipeline, built by EMG from El Arish in Sinai to Ashkelon at a cost of $460 million, was blow up near El Arish up twice this year by Hamas activists.

Officials in Cairo claimed that shutting EMG down is predicated by the corruption probe underway against the deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gemal and Alaa who, say those officials, had confessed to taking a regular commission on Egyptian gas sales and sold it at below-market prices.

Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, a stockholder in EMG, is to file for its liquidation and ask for information on the funds allegedly transferred to the Mubaraks. Those officials declined to say whether EMG faced charges.

Cairo sources reported that efforts had been stepped up to detain the Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem who was close to the ruling family and suspected by the Egyptian prosecutor general of managing transactions for lining their pockets including the gas deal with Israel. He is reported hiding in Switzerland or Israel. Interpol has not caught up with him. Salem is said to have sold his holdings as an EMG stockholder o Jewish-American financial interests, while continuing to act as the middleman between the Israeli and American group of investors and the Mubaraks.

Last week, DEBKAfile's sources report, Cairo informed Israel that although the damage caused the gas pipeline by the April 27 explosion had been repaired, deliveries would not resume because EMG had refused to renegotiate prices with the Egyptian suppliers.

EMG accuses Cairo of breaking an international contract to maintain the current price level until 2013. The Egyptian side replies that investigations against the former president provide grounds for renegotiating the contracts immediately and adjusting prices sharply upward.

Cairo may be using the EMG liquidation threat and a total halt on gas supplies to Israel as leverage for getting a better price for Egyptian gas.

However, DEBKAfile's sources report that, as the affair drags on and meshes with the probes against the Mubaraks, the military junta appears to be maneuvering itself into a corner from which it cannot avoid sustaining the stoppage as an integral part of its campaign to prove to the Egyptian street how seriously it is fighting the former regime and its web of corruption.

Saturday, the Cairo court fined Hosni Mubarak the equivalent of $33 million for cutting off telephone and internet connections during protest rallies against his regime. That is only the first count of the massive case the prosecution is building up against the former president which includes opening fire on those protesters.

In Cairo's overheated climate, the decline of Egyptian-Israeli relations - or even pressure from Washington on behalf of American businessmen involved in the gas deal with Israel – are unlikely to influence Cairo's new rulers who are bent anyway on cooling Egypt's peace ties with Israel.

Although they pledged to honor all of Egypt's international contacts and treaties they are now backing out of two commitments – posting a third-nation party to monitor the Gaza crossings against terrorist traffic and the commercial gas transaction with Israel.

Jerusalem Arabs to Israel: Don't Give Away Your Sovereignty


The Knesset Interior Committee will hear today from Jerusalem Arabs who do not want to come under control of the Palestinian Authority.

The committee is holding a special session this morning regarding Israeli policy in the neighborhoods of eastern and northern Jerusalem.

Several MKs called for the Knesset to deal with the matter, in light of the creeping control that Israel is apparently allowing the PA to take over parts of the capital.

“Signs of Israeli sovereignty are disappearing in parts of Jerusalem that are behind the partition fence,” say MKs Aryeh Eldad, Uri Ariel and others, “and their place is being taken by hostile elements. This, despite the lack of any decision by the Knesset or the government on the matter.”

“This purposeful impotence leads to the de facto division of Jerusalem,” the MKs continue, “which stands in direct contrast to the official policy of the Government of Israel – and is against the will of most of the Israeli citizens in these neighborhoods.”

Jerusalem lands activists Aryeh King said before the session that he plans to present photographs of PA policemen directing traffic in Jerusalem neighborhoods, PLO flags waving on porches, signs of official PA government offices sponsoring public works in the capital, and more.

King also said that many Arabs in Jerusalem look very askance at the government of Israel for giving up its sovereignty over their homes - and some of them have been invited to speak at the Knesset session. “This is the first time they’re coming out publicly in this way,” King said. “Yes, it’s dangerous for them, but they see that what’s happening will lead directly to their children and grandchildren growing up in a terrorist hothouse. They have been placed in a walled ghetto, and then a terrorist regime will control them. Who would ever agree to live like that?”

An Anti-Israel President

The president's peace proposal is a formula for war.


    Say what you will about President Obama's approach to Israel or of his relationship with American Jews, he sure has mastered the concept of chutzpah.

    On Thursday at the State Department, the president gave his big speech on the Middle East, in which he invoked the claims of friendship to tell Israelis "the truth," which to his mind was that "the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace." On Friday in the Oval Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his version of the truth, which was that the 1967 border proposed by Mr. Obama as a basis for negotiating the outlines of a Palestinian state was a nonstarter.

    Administration reaction to this reciprocal act of friendly truth-telling? "That was Bibi over the top," the New York Times quoted one senior U.S. official, using the prime minister's nickname. "That's not how you address the president of the United States."

    Maybe so. Then again, it isn't often that this or any other U.S. president welcomes a foreign leader by sandbagging him with an adversarial policy speech a day before the visit. Remember when the Dalai Lama visited Mr. Obama last year? As a courtesy to Beijing, the president made sure to have the Tibetan spiritual leader exit by the door where the White House trash was piled up. And that was 11 monthsbefore Hu Jintao's state visit to the U.S.

    When this president wants to make a show of his exquisite diplomatic sensitivity burgers with Medvedev, bows to Abdullah, New Year's greetings to the mullahs he knows how. And when he wants to show his contempt, he knows how, too.

    The contempt was again on display Sunday, when Mr. Obama spoke to the Aipac policy conference in Washington. The speech was stocked with the perennial bromides about U.S.-Israeli friendship, which brought an anxious crowd to its feet a few times. As for the rest, it was a thin tissue of falsehoods, rhetorical legerdemain, telling omissions and self-contradictions. Let's count the ways.

    For starters, it would be nice if the president could come clean about whether his line about the 1967 line "mutually agreed swaps" and all was path breaking and controversial, or no big deal. On Sunday, Mr. Obama congratulated himself for choosing the hard road to Mideast peace as he prepares for re-election, only to offer a few minutes later that "there was nothing particularly original in my proposal."

    President Barack Obama arrives to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention.

    Yet assuming Mr. Obama knows what he's talking about, he knows that's untrue: No U.S. president has explicitly endorsed the '67 lines as the basis for negotiating a final border, which is why the University of Michigan's Juan Cole, not exactly a shill for the Israel lobby, called it "a major turning point."

    Mr. Obama would also know that in 2009 Hillary Clinton had described this formula as "the Palestinian goal." Now it's Mr. Obama's goal as well, even as he insists that "no peace can be imposed."

    Then there was Mr. Obama's use of his favorite professorial trope: "Let me repeat what I actually said." What followed was a rehearsal of what he supposedly said on Thursday.

    But Mr. Obama's problem isn't, as he supposes, that people aren't paying close enough attention to him. On the contrary, they've noticed that on Thursday Mr. Obama called for Israel to make territorial concessions to some approximation of the '67 lines before an agreement is reached on the existential issues of refugees and Jerusalem. "Moving forward now on the basis of territory and security," he said, "provides a foundation to resolve these two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians."

    Mr. Obama neglected to mention these points on Sunday, hence the telling omission. But the essence of his proposal is that Israel should cede territory, put itself into a weaker position, and then hope for the best. This doesn't even amount to a land-for-peace formula.

    That's not all. Mr. Obama got some applause Sunday by calling for a "non-militarized" Palestinian state. But how does that square with his comment, presumably applicable to a future Palestine, that "every state has a right to self-defense"? Mr. Obama was also cheered for his references to Israel as a "Jewish state." But why then obfuscate on the question of Palestinian refugees, whose political purpose over 63 years has been to destroy Israel as a Jewish state?

    And then there was that line that "we will hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions and their rhetoric." Applause! But can Mr. Obama offer a single example of having done that as president, except perhaps at the level of a State Department press release?

    What, then, would a pro-Israel president do? He would tell Palestinians that there is no right of return. He would make the reform of the Arab mindset toward Israel the centerpiece of his peace efforts. He would outline hard and specific consequences should Hamas join the government.

    Such a vision could lay the groundwork for peace. What Mr. Obama offered is a formula for war, one that he will pursue in a second term. Assuming, of course, that he gets one. 

Netanyahu: Borders Must Reflect 'Dramatic' Changes From 1967

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress on Tuesday last week that Israel cannot return to the "indefensible" borders of 1967, but must include the "dramatic demographic changes" that have occurred since then.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Police preparing for wide-scale rioting in September

Please forgive the staff of the Jerusalem post for still referring to regional Arabs as "Palestinians." 

- Michelle


Danino says forces readying for possibility of civil struggle as Palestinians expected to unilaterally declare statehood.

The Israel Police is preparing for the possibility of major riots in September, when Palestinians are expected to unilaterally declare statehood, Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said in a speech to the Israel Bar Association in Eilat on Sunday.

“The Israel Police is currently preparing for September, and for the possibility that various declarations regarding a nonviolent-civil struggle against the background of a declaration of a Palestinian state will end up becoming a violent conflict, and turn into wide-scale rioting,” Danino said.

The police commissioner added that his forces faced a “new reality” due to areas of friction between populations, attempts to infiltrate the borders, and “calls on Internet sites and Facebook to violate Israel’s sovereignty, as well as the the situation that the whole of the Middle East is experiencing during these days.”

Intelligence officers have been working together with operational 
planners at police headquarters in Jerusalem, including the Border Police, the Jerusalem police district, and the northern district, to draw up the plans.

“In this reality, we are obligated, as a security force, to expect all possibilities and various scenarios, and prepare accordingly. This is a 
national mission and a nationalchallenge,” Danino said.

“The key to success for the State of Israel in containing these expected incidents, at least from the security standpoint, is to have cooperation between the security forces, with a wide national perspective on the threats, potential scenarios, and the responses to them,” he said.

Free Gaza Movement Response to UN: Flotilla On As Planned - Canada Advises Citizens Against Taking Part in Gaza Flotillas

Self-hating Jew, Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf from
the Free Gaza Movement during their visit to Dubai.
The Free Gaza movement welcomed on Sunday a call from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging Israel to end its blockade on Gaza, but responded to his call on world nations to stop the Gaza aid flotillas by insisting the mission would go ahead as planned.

“We are not engaged in illegal activity in the in the Mediterranean; it is Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians that is illegal,” the group said in a statement which was quoted by the Palestinian Authority-based Ma’annews agency.

On Friday, Ban called through his spokesperson “on all governments” in the region to use to their influence to push against the new flotilla of ships expected to try to break Israel’s continued blockade on Gaza, meant to prevent heavy arms from reaching terrorists who have rained missiles on southern Israel since the IDF left Gaza unilaterally in 2005.

Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky was quoted byMa’an as having said the secretary general was “following with concern media reports of potential flotillas to Gaza.”

The lawyer for the Free Gaza Movement responded to Ban’s concerns by saying that “as head of the United Nations, [Ban] knows that the UN High Commission for Human Rights produced a report that identified the blockade of Gaza as collective punishment and a war crime. We would remind the Secretary-General that the flotilla violates no international laws or laws of the sea and so an outright ban on our sailing to Gaza is essentially a statement against the rights of the Palestinian people to control their own ports, and lives.” Israel has the legal right to intercept the ships.

Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza Movement was quoted by Ma’an as saying, “We do not sail just to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Palestinians don’t want humanitarian aid, they want the right to trade and have open borders and come in and out of their territory without walls and gunboats and snipers shooting at them” He did not mention that the Gazans elected a terrorist group, Hamas, or the missiles raining on Israeli children, one of which killed a 16 year old boy on a schoolbus just weeks ago.

Free Gaza Movement was founded by four activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which studies have shown is an organization which supports terrorism.

The movement promotes flotillas to Gaza and has done so since 2008. It was a main participant in the 2010 IHH flotilla which attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade on Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. It now plans on participating in the Freedom Flotilla 2, set to sail in June.

The comments by the heads of the Free Gaza Movement are in line withcomments made on Sunday by IHH head Bülent Yıldırım, who clarified that despite the fact that Egypt had opened its border crossing with Gaza, an act which constitutes the end of the so-called siege on Gaza, as well as the beginning of the opportunity to transfer arms to the Gaza strip, his group would go ahead as planned with the new flotilla.

Several weeks ago, the IDF intercepted a Malaysian ship allegedly also carrying “aid for Palestine” as it attempted to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza. The aid is unnecessary, Israel claims, and the flotilla goals are for publicity, not humanitarian aid. Photos of overflowing stalls in markets and opulent malls in Gaza seem to bear this out.

IDF soldiers attempted to persuade the activists on the vessel, sent by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), to return to Egypt where the boat had been docked, but when the vessel disregarded their efforts, IDF soldiers fired warning shots to underscore the message. At that point, the vessel changed course, returning to Egypt. There were no injuries.


Canada advised its citizens on Sunday against participating in flotillas to Gaza.

In a statement released in advance of the one-year anniversary of the May 31, 2010 flotilla to Gaza, and in advance of the planned ‘Freedom Flotilla 2,’Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said: “I strongly urge those wishing to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip to do so through established channels. Unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza.”

Baird added that “Canada recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.”
He also noted that “there are legitimate and constructive ways to help the people of Gaza. One way is to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent. The organization has people on the ground in Gaza to help deliver, among other things, clean water and health care.”

Canada is a staunch supporter of Israel. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harperblocked an initiative at the G8 summit to force Israel into final status talks based on accepting the 1949-1967 Armistice lines, with land swaps.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman later thanked Baird for Canada’s support, saying that Canada is a “true friend of Israel.”

In his statement on Sunday, Baird also mentioned kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
“I would note that Canada continues to call for the immediate return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas for almost five years, to his family in Israel,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish IHH group, which stood behind last year’s flotilla to Gaza, said on Sunday that the opening of the Rafiah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza over the weekend would not stop the new flotilla from sailing.

“In the past, we went there for Gaza, but now we are going for humanity and the law,” IHH Head Bülent Yıldırım told the Turkish daily Hürriyet.

A UN Resolution to Recognize a Palestinian State within "1967 Borders" Would Be Illegal


    The following is a letter drafted jointly by lawyers of the Legal Forum for Israel and by Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The letter is directed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and signed by jurists and international lawyers from around the world. The letter cautions the Secretary General as to the inherent illegality and harm to the UN and to the Middle East peace process which would be caused by the adoption of a resolution declaring a Palestinian state and determining its borders.
May 25, 2011

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon,
Secretary-General of the United Nations,
1st Avenue & 44th St.
New York, NY 10017


Re: The Proposed General Assembly Resolution to Recognize a Palestinian State "within 1967 Borders" - An Illegal Action
We, the undersigned, attorneys from across the world who are involved in general matters of international law, as well as being closely concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, appeal to you to use your influence and authority among the member states of the UN, with a view to preventing the adoption of the resolution that the Palestinian delegation intends to table at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly, to recognize a Palestinian state "within the 1967 borders."
By all standards and criteria, such a resolution, if adopted, would be in stark violation of all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as contravening UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and those other resolutions based thereon.

Our reasoning is as follows:
    The legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed by both houses of the U.S. Congress. Article 80 of the UN Charter determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations). Accordingly, the above-noted League resolution remains valid, and the 650,000 Jews presently resident in the areas of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem reside there legitimately. "The 1967 borders" do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 Armistice Agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbors, establishing the Armistice Demarcation Lines, clearly stated that these lines "are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto." Accordingly, they cannot be accepted or declared to be the international boundaries of a Palestinian state. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) called upon the parties to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and specifically stressed the need to negotiate in order to achieve "secure and recognized boundaries." The Palestinian proposal, in attempting to unilaterally change the status of the territory and determine the "1967 borders" as its recognized borders, in addition to running squarely against Resolutions 242 and 338, would be a fundamental breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in which the parties undertook to negotiate the issue of borders and not act to change the status of the territories pending outcome of the permanent status negotiations. The Palestinians entered into the various agreements constituting what is known as the "Oslo Accords" in the full knowledge that Israel's settlements existed in the areas, and that settlements would be one of the issues to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. Furthermore, the Oslo Accords impose no limitation on Israel's settlement activity in those areas that the Palestinians agreed would continue to be under Israel's jurisdiction and control pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. While the Interim Agreement was signed by Israel and the PLO, it was witnessed by the UN together with the EU, the Russian Federation, the U.S., Egypt, and Norway. It is thus inconceivable that such witnesses, including first and foremost the UN, would now give license to a measure in the UN aimed at violating this agreement and undermining major resolutions of the Security Council. While the UN has maintained a persistent policy of non-recognition of Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a negotiated solution, despite Israel's historic rights to the city, it is inconceivable that the UN would now recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, the borders of which would include eastern Jerusalem. This would represent the ultimate in hypocrisy, double standards, and discrimination, as well as an utter disregard of the rights of Israel and the Jewish People. Such unilateral action by the Palestinians could give rise to reciprocal initiatives in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) which could include proposed legislation to declare Israel's sovereignty over extensive parts of Judea and Samaria, if and when the Palestinians carry out their unilateral action.

It appears to be patently clear to all that the Palestinian exercise, aimed at advancing their political claims, represents a cynical abuse of the UN Organization and of the members of the General Assembly. Its aim is to bypass the negotiation process called for by the Security Council.

Regrettably, this abuse of the UN and its integrity, in addition to undermining international law, has the potential to derail the Middle East peace process.

We trust that you will use your authority to protect the UN and its integrity from this abuse, and act to prevent any affirmation or recognition of this dangerous Palestinian initiative.

Signed by jurists and international lawyers 

Are Settlements Illegal?

Guess who are the construction
workers on "illegal settlements"?

by Jerold Auerbach

With the recent election of a liberal American president and a conservative Israeli prime minister, pressure on Israel to reach a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority is likely to intensify. According to the conventional political wisdom, peace will require substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority regarding the status of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and the future of Jewish settlements. But the problem that has eluded resolution for sixty years remains: demarcating the permanent, recognized borders of the Jewish state.

Settlements have been a deeply polarizing issue, in Israel and elsewhere, ever since the Israel Defense Forces swept triumphantly through the West Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan in June 1967. Before long, clusters of religious Zionists returned to the once inhabited, then tragically decimated, sites of Gush Etzion and Hebron, south of Jerusalem. They were the vanguard of a growing movement to restore a Jewish presence throughout Judea and Samaria, the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people.

Settlement of the Land of Israel, after all, had defined Zionism ever since the founding of Rishon l’Tzion, the first settlement, in 1882. The “tower and stockade” settlements built overnight by kibbutzniks under British Mandatory rule remained legendary achievements in Zionist annals. With its stunning victory in the Six-Day War, Israel unexpectedly confronted new possibilities to fulfill ancient dreams and, it is seldom recognized long-deferred international commitments.

Now, four decades after the first settlers blazed the trail of return, nearly 300,000 Israelis live in more than one hundred settlement communities amid 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs. No Jews anywhere in the world have been as persistently maligned indeed, as maliciously vilified as these Jewish settlers. Everyone from Yasir Arafat to Jimmy Carter (who has made a new career of hectoring Israel) has condemned them for occupying Palestinian land and violating fundamental principles of international law, to say nothing of impeding peace efforts.

This allegation has been incessantly propagated by Israeli critics of settlement and by enraged Palestinians who claim that Jewish settlers have stolen “their” land. In Lords of the Land (2007), the first comprehensive survey of the Jewish settlement movement, Israeli historian Idith Zertal and Ha’aretz journalist Akiva Eldar lacerated settlers for their illegal occupation, plunder, destruction, and lawlessness. The “malignancy of occupation,” they wrote, “in contravention of international law,” has “brought Israel’s democracy . . . to the brink of an abyss.” By now, The New York Times has reported, “Much of the world” regards “all Israeli settlements in land occupied in the 1967 war to be illegal under international law.”

At the core of the settlement critique is the incessant allegation, rarely scrutinized or challenged, that Israeli settlements established in “occupied” territory since 1967 are illegal under international law. It surfaced within Israeli government circles three months after the Six-Day War when Theodor Meron, legal counsel for the Foreign Ministry, sent a memo to Foreign Minister Abba Eban, a copy of which he forwarded to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. “My conclusion,” Meron wrote, “is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

The Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949 in the shadow of World War II atrocities, declared that an “occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” According to Meron, this provision (Article 49) was intended to forever prevent repetition of the notorious Nazi forced transfers of civilian populations for “political and racial reasons” from conquered territory to slave labor and extermination camps. As a youthful prisoner in a Nazi labor camp, Meron had painful personal memories of such population transfers, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported from their homes and replaced by foreign nationals. He insisted that the Geneva prohibition was “categorical and is not conditioned on the motives or purposes of the transfer.”

Meron’s legal opinion, recently rediscovered by journalist Gershom Gorenberg during his research for a critical study of the early years of Jewish settlement, was filed and forgotten for good reason. It was neither persuasive to his superiors nor an accurate appraisal of the applicability of the Geneva Convention to new Israeli settlements in the former West Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan. Military Advocate General Meir Shamgar, who subsequently became attorney general and then chief judge of the Supreme Court, asserted, “The legal applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to these territories is in doubt.” For legitimate legal reasons, no government of Israel has ever accepted the validity of Meron’s argument.

To the contrary: Israeli settlement throughout the West Bank is explicitly protected by international agreements dating from the World War I era, subsequently reaffirmed after World War II, and never revoked since. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” was endorsed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, drafted at the San Remo Conference in 1920, and adopted unanimously two years later. The mandate recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Jews were guaranteed the right of “close settlement” throughout “Palestine,” geographically defined by the mandate as comprising land both east and west of the Jordan River (which ultimately became Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel). This was not framed as a gift to the Jewish people; rather, based on recognition of historical rights reaching back into antiquity, it was their entitlement.

Jewish settlement throughout Palestine was limited by the mandate in only one respect: Great Britain, the Mandatory Trustee, acting in conjunction with the League of Nations Council, retained the discretion to “postpone” or “withhold” the right of Jews to settle east  but not west of the Jordan River. Consistent with that solitary exception, and to placate the ambitions of the Hashemite Sheikh Abdullah for his own territory to rule, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill removed the land east of the river from the borders of Palestine.

Churchill anticipated that the newly demarcated territory, comprising three-quarters of Mandatory Palestine, would become a future Arab state. With the establishment of Transjordan in 1922, the British prohibited Jewish settlement there. But the status of Jewish settlement west of the Jordan River remained unchanged. Under the terms of the mandate, the internationally guaranteed legal right of Jews to settle anywhere in this truncated quarter of Palestine and build their national home there remained in force.

Never further modified, abridged, or terminated, the Mandate for Palestine outlived the League of Nations. In the Charter of the United Nations, drafted in 1945, Article 80 explicitly protected the rights of “any peoples” and “the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.” Drafted at the founding conference of the United Nations by Jewish legal representatives including liberal American Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Peter Bergson from the right-wing Irgun, and Ben-Zion Netanyahu (father of the future prime minister) Article 80 became known as “the Palestine clause.”

It preserved the rights of the Jewish people to “close settlement” throughout the remaining portion of their Palestinian homeland west of the Jordan River, precisely as the mandate had affirmed. But those settlement rights were flagrantly violated when Jordan invaded Israel in 1948. The military aggression of the Hashemite kingdom effectively obliterated U.N. Resolution 181, adopted the preceding year, which had called for the partition of (western) Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Jordan’s claim to the West Bank, recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan, had no international legal standing.

Contrary to Theodor Meron’s citation of Article 49, the Geneva Convention did not restrict Jewish settlement in the West Bank, acquired by Israel during the Six-Day War. As Eugene V. Rostow, formerly dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969, noted, the government of Israel neither “deported” Palestinians nor “transferred” Israelis during or after 1967. (Indeed, beginning with the return of Jews to Hebron the following year, settlers invariably acted on their own volition without government authorization.) Furthermore, Rostow noted, the Geneva Convention applied only to acts by one signatory “carried out on the territory of another.” The West Bank, however, did not belong to any signatory power, for Jordan had no sovereign rights or legal claims there. Its legal status was defined as “an unallocated part of the British Mandate.”

With Jordan’s defeat in 1967, a “vacuum in sovereignty” existed on the West Bank. Under international law, the Israeli military administration became the custodian of territories until their return to the original sovereign­according to the League of Nations mandate, reinforced by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter the Jewish people for their “national home in Palestine.” Israeli settlement was not prohibited; indeed, under the terms of the mandate, it was explicitly protected. Jews retained the same legal right to settle in the West Bank that they enjoyed in Tel Aviv, Haifa, or the Galilee.

After the Six-Day War, a new UN resolution which Rostow was instrumental in drafting specifically applied to the territory acquired by Israel. According to Security Council Resolution 242 (superseding Resolution 181 from 1947), Israel was permitted to administer the land until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” was achieved. Even then, Israel would be required to withdraw its armed forces only “from territories” not from “the territories” or “all the territories” that it administered.

The absence of “the,” the famous missing definite article, was neither an accident nor an afterthought; it resulted from what Rostow described as more than five months of “vehement public diplomacy” to clarify the meaning of Resolution 242. Israel would not be required to withdraw from all the territory that it had acquired during the Six-Day War; indeed, precisely such proposals were defeated in both the Security Council and the General Assembly. No prohibition on Jewish settlement, wherever it had been guaranteed by the Mandate for Palestine forty-five years earlier, was adopted.

“The Jewish right of settlement in the area,” Rostow concluded, “is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing [Palestinian] population to live there.” Furthermore, as Stephen Schwebel, a judge on the International Court of Justice between 1981 and 2000, explicitly noted, territory acquired in a war of self-defense (waged by Israel in 1967) must be distinguished from territory acquired through “aggressive conquest” (waged by Germany during World War II). Consequently, the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine, allocating all the land west of the Jordan River to the Jewish people for their national home, remained in force until sovereignty was finally determined by a peace treaty between the contending parties now Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the disputed West Bank, claimed by two peoples, remained open to Jewish settlement.

In sum, the right of the Jewish people to “close settlement” throughout Mandatory Palestine, except for the land siphoned off as Transjordan in 1922, has never been abrogated. Nor has the legal right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, indisputably part of western “Palestine,” ever been relinquished. The persistent effort to undermine the legitimacy of Israeli settlements, according to international law expert Julius Stone, has been nothing less than a “subversion . . . of basic international law principles,” in which the government of Israel, at best ambivalent about the settlements, has often been a willing accomplice. In the continuing absence of a “just and lasting peace,” with an accompanying determination of the scope of Israeli withdrawal from “territories,” Israel is under no legal obligation to limit settlement.

World opinion, of course, is another matter. (In his uncritical embrace of Meron’s flawed conclusion, Gorenberg cited “the court of world diplomacy” as “the court that mattered.”) Ever since the Six-Day war, settlements have provoked unrelenting international hostility toward Israel. A triumphant Jewish state could hardly be expected to win approval from intractable Arab neighbors who had not recognized Israel even before settlements. An international community that in 1975 perceived Zionism as “racism” continues to see Palestinians only as “victims” of Jewish “conquest” and “occupation.” Secular Zionists on the political left long the ruling elite in Israeli intellectual, academic and media circles are hardly receptive to challenges to their own cultural hegemony from religious nationalist settlers.

So, ever since 1967, Jewish settlements have been widely and loudly and erroneously trumpeted as the major obstacle to Middle Eastern peace. They are convenient surrogates for the deep and enduring hostility to the very existence of a Jewish state. That hostility long antedated 1967 and, as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and President Ahmadinajad of Iran endlessly reiterate, it is likely to endure for as long as Israel exists within any boundaries. But neither in the court of world opinion, nor in the State of Israel, are settlement critics entitled to ignore the firm protection for Jewish settlements afforded by international legal guarantees extending back nearly a century, frequently affirmed ever since, and never rescinded. •
About the authorJerold S. Auerbach, professor of history at Wellesley College, is a frequent contributor to Midstream. He is the author of Hebron Jews, to be published by Rowman & Littlefield in July, from which this essay is excerpted. 

Midstream- A Monthly Jewish Review

What Obama Did To Israel

Every Arab-Israeli negotiation contains a fundamental asymmetry: Israel gives up land, which is tangible; the Arabs make promises, which are ephemeral. The long-standing American solution has been to nonetheless urge Israel to take risks for peace while America balances things by giving assurances of U.S. support for Israel’s security and diplomatic needs.
It’s on the basis of such solemn assurances that Israel undertook, for example, the Gaza withdrawal. In order to mitigate this risk, President George W. Bush gave a written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel.
For 2 1/years, the Obama administration has refused to recognize and reaffirm these assurances. Then last week in his State Department speech, President Obama definitively trashed them. He declared that the Arab-Israeli conflict should indeed be resolved along “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
Nothing new here, said Obama three days later. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different” from 1967.
It means nothing of the sort. “Mutually” means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn’t? Then, by definition, you’re back to the 1967 lines.
Nor is this merely a theoretical proposition. Three times the Palestinians have been offered exactly that formula, 1967 plus swaps — at Camp David 2000, Taba 2001, and the 2008 Olmert-Abbas negotiations. Every time, the Palestinians said no and walked away.
And that remains their position today: The 1967 lines. Period. Indeed, in September thePalestinians are going to the United Nationsto get the world to ratify precisely that — a Palestinian state on the ’67 lines. No swaps.
Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.
The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully or historically or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.
Obama didn’t just move the goal posts on borders. He also did so on the so-called right of return. Flooding Israel with millions of Arabs would destroy the world’s only Jewish state while creating a 23rd Arab state and a second Palestinian state — not exactly what we mean when we speak of a “two-state solution.” That’s why it has been the policy of the United States to adamantly oppose this “right.”
Yet in his State Department speech, Obama refused to simply restate this position — and refused again in a supposedly corrective speech three days later. Instead, he told Israel it must negotiate the right of return with the Palestinians after having given every inch of territory. Bargaining with what, pray tell?
No matter. “The status quo is unsustainable,” declared Obama, “and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.”
Israel too ? Exactly what bold steps for peace have the Palestinians taken? Israel made three radically conciliatory offers to establish a Palestinian state, withdrew from Gaza and has been trying to renew negotiations for more than two years. Meanwhile, the Gaza Palestinians have been firing rockets at Israeli towns and villages. And on the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turns down then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer, walks out of negotiations with Binyamin Netanyahu and now defies the United States by seeking not peace talks but instant statehood — without peace, without recognizing Israel — at the United Nations. And to make unmistakable this spurning of any peace process, Abbas agrees to join the openly genocidal Hamas in a unity government, which even Obama acknowledges makes negotiations impossible.
Obama’s response to this relentless Palestinian intransigence? To reward it — by abandoning the Bush assurances, legitimizing the ’67 borders and refusing to reaffirm America’s rejection of the right of return.
The only remaining question is whether this perverse and ultimately self-defeating policy is born of genuine antipathy toward Israel or of the arrogance of a blundering amateur who refuses to see that he is undermining not just peace but the very possibility of negotiations.

Every Arab-Israeli negotiation contains a fundamental asymmetry: Israel gives up land, which is tangible; the Arabs make promises, which are ephemeral. The long-standing American solution has been to nonetheless urge Israel to take risks for peace while America balances things by giving assurances of U.S. support for Israel’s security and diplomatic needs.

It’s on the basis of such solemn assurances that Israel undertook, for example, the Gaza withdrawal. In order to mitigate this risk, President George W. Bush gave a written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel.