Saturday, May 05, 2012

How The Palestinian Authority Fights Corruption

Khaled Abu Toameh

Demanding reform and democracy has become a crime in the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority. Direct and indirect criticism of Palestinian Authority leaders has also become a crime that can land journalists, bloggers, cartoonists and political opponents in prison.
Instead of going after top officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers, the Palestinian Authority government has chosen to wage an unprecedented clampdown on those who dare to raise their voices in support of transparency and freedom of speech.

Abu Rihan's anti-corruption group on Facebook has won the backing of more than 6000 followers. These people clicked "like" and joined the group within days of its launching. Some of the followers, especially those living under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, now fear being thrown into prison for committing the crime of demanding an end to corruption.

The arrest of Abu Rihan and others is aimed at sending a warning to Palestinians against criticizing their government and leaders.

The Palestinian Authority government has also warned Palestinian journalists against reporting about the crackdown or helping Western correspondents cover the crackdown on journalists and bloggers.
In the past few weeks, Palestinian security forces summoned a number of Palestinian journalists for questioning about their ties with Western journalists and media outlets.

Palestinians say that the campaign of intimidation and harassment against the media is designed to prevent "negative reporting" about the Palestinian Authority government. The Palestinian Authority does not want anyone to report about corruption and abuse of power out of fear that this would affect financial aid from the US, EU and other countries.

The clampdown has thus been successful and most Palestinian and international journalists seem to have understood the warning. That is why the case of Abu Rihan, for example, has received almost no attention in the Palestinian and Western media.

If Abu Rihan were a Chinese dissident imprisoned by the authorities in Beijing, his case would have been endorsed by human rights groups around the world and the mainstream media in the West. Had Abu Rihan been arrested by the Israeli authorities for such a crime, his story would have most likely made it to the front page of many respected newspapers.

But when it comes to violations of freedom of expression in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority is given a pass by many Americans and Europeans. By arresting reformists and critics, the Palestinian Authority is once again proving that it is not serious about combating corruption and reforming its institutions.

The crackdown on journalists, bloggers and political activists also serves as a reminder that the Palestinian Authority government is not different than most of the dictatorships in the Arab world.

Friday, May 04, 2012

More shameful BBC propaganda against Israel

The BBC has now sunk to pinning its stories against Israel on people who refer to the Jewish state in terms of Nazism and Apartheid
By Robin Shepherd, The Commentator
    “A UN expert has said he is appalled by the “continuing human rights violations in Israeli prisons”, as Palestinian inmates continue a mass hunger strike.“Special Rapporteur Robert [sic] Falk said Israel had to treat hunger strikers in line with international standards.“
Oh dear, oh dear. The BBC is pinning its stories on the words of Robert Falk. Or rather, that’s Richard Falk – the BBC was obviously so excited at the prospect of a piece of Israel bashing that in the news room’s heightened state of euphoria nobody bothered to check out the man’s name. (I have remarked before that the hysteria which usually drives anti-Zionism frequently results in an abandonment of basic standards of normal behaviour and practice.)
Now, Richard Falk is actually rather well known, and here’s why.
Most bizzarely, perhaps, he’s a high profile “truther“ about the events of September 11, 2001. In other words he thinks the attacks may all have been cooked up in the White House, quite possibly by the dreaded neo-Cons.

It was another one of those do-I-laugh-or-do-I-cry moments as I came across the latest piece of flagrant anti-Israeli propaganda on the BBC‘s website.

It started off badly enough with the headline – UN “appalled“ by Israel treatment of hunger strikers. Sorry, that’s just not a story. The UN is always “appalled“ by something to do with the Jewish state, and that’s because its members are overwhelmingly in thrall to an obsessive anti-Zionist bigotry which appears to know no bounds.

So, it was clear from the outset that this was going to be something of a gratuitous hatchet job. Then again this is the BBC, so no surprises there. But even I have to admit to having been surprised about just how gratuitous it was going to be. Here are the first two paragraphs from Yolande Knell’s story:
    “A UN expert has said he is appalled by the “continuing human rights violations in Israeli prisons”, as Palestinian inmates continue a mass hunger strike.“Special Rapporteur Robert [sic] Falk said Israel had to treat hunger strikers in line with international standards.“
Oh dear, oh dear. The BBC is pinning its stories on the words of Robert Falk. Or rather, that’s Richard Falk – the BBC was obviously so excited at the prospect of a piece of Israel bashing that in the news room’s heightened state of euphoria nobody bothered to check out the man’s name. (I have remarked before that the hysteria which usually drives anti-Zionism frequently results in an abandonment of basic standards of normal behaviour and practice.)
Now, Richard Falk is actually rather well known, and here’s why.

Most bizzarely, perhaps, he’s a high profile “truther“ about the events of September 11, 2001. In other words he thinks the attacks may all have been cooked up in the White House, quite possibly by the dreaded neo-Cons.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

"Regarding Those Elections"

May 3, 2012
"Regarding Those Elections"
First, an update on little Zakkai, for whom the prognosis is excellent, but who is having a very hard time -- as are his parents.  At this point he's cranky and miserable.  And who can blame him? There's only so much, if anything, that you can explain to a toddler about how it will get better and how the nasty procedures he's enduring are necessary. 
Valium works - but who got it?
I believe he's past the very worst of the post-surgical pain, which required a host of medications including morphine. And he no longer has to tolerate multiple IVs.  So, even though he doesn't realize it, he's getting there.  The main problem now has to do with the fact that the surgery punctured the barrier protecting the thoracic cavity, which houses the lungs.  This has caused "pneumothorax" -- air in the space between the lungs and the chest wall, which creates pressure on the lungs so they cannot expand fully.  The solution is a very uncomfortable suction tube that draws out the air.  Tests so far have indicated it must still be used.  But hopefully not for much longer...

Ben Zion Netanyahu protected the right of the Jews to settle J&S but his son Bibi is abandoning the right

Benzion Netanyahu, who died Monday in Jerusalem at the age of 102, has been widely scrutinzed this week for his myriad contributions to the history of Zionism in Israel and the United States. Yet arguably the most important one has been overlooked. After World War II, Benzion Netanyahu, along with Irgun activist Peter Bergson, nephew of Mandatory Palestine Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and liberal American Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, drafted an article for inclusion in the United Nations Charter that could yet save the Jewish state.
The article became known as the “Palestine clause” for the protection it afforded to the right of Jewish settlement throughout the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River. Article 80 extended the guarantees to Jews afforded by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine following World War I. The Mandate had recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the legitimacy of grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Jews were guaranteed “the right of close settlement” throughout Palestine.

 But where was “Palestine”? According to the Mandate, it comprised the land east and west of the Jordan River, stretching from Iraq to the Mediterranean. Jewish settlement rights in Palestine were limited only in one respect: Great Britain, the Mandatory Trustee, was empowered to “postpone” or “withhold” the right of Jews to settle east — but not west — of the Jordan River. To reward the Hashemite sheikh, Abdullah, for his wartime assistance, the British colonial secretary, Winston Churchill, removed the land east of the river, comprising three-quarters of Mandatory Palestine, to create the kingdom of Trans-Jordan.

No Jews would be permitted to settle there, but the internationally guaranteed right of Jewish settlement throughout truncated Palestine west of the river was preserved. It was that right that Article 80 secured after the expiration of the League of Nations. It 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.” The “Palestine clause” thereby guaranteed to Jews the right of “close settlement” throughout their remaining land west of the Jordan River, as the League Mandate had done. 

With their careful draftsmanship Benzion Netanyahu, Peter Bergson, and Rabbi Wise extended League of Nations guarantees and secured United Nations authorization for Jewish settlement throughout the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. The legal right of Jewish settlement, except in the land siphoned off from Palestine as Trans-Jordan in 1922, has never been abrogated. Persistent efforts to undermine the legitimacy of settlements, according to international legal expert Julius Stone, have been nothing less than the “subversion . . . of basic international law principles.”
Article 80 was unaffected by the Six-Day War, which obliterated Jordanian control over Judea and Samaria (its “West Bank”). According to Security Council Resolution 242, Israel was permitted to administer that land until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East was secured.” That has not yet happened, to be sure, but even then, Israel would only be required, under its carefully drafted language, to withdraw its armed forces — civilians were not mentioned — from “territories,” not from “the territories” or “all the territories.”

The “Jewish right of settlement,” according to Eugene V. Rostow, then America’s state undersecretary political affairs, “is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing [Palestinian] population to live there.”

Article 80 has never been repealed. But Benzion Netanyahu’s son, Prime Minister Netanyahu, seems inclined to disregard it. During his first term he signed the Hebron Protocol, confining 600 Jewish residents to a tiny ghetto in their ancient holy city. His critics may insist that he remains under the influence of his father’s right-wing dogmatism. But abundant evidence suggests otherwise, which is no doubt why his father often expressed concern that he son wasn’t tough enough to serve as prime minister.

Benzion Netanyahu helped to write the fundamental principle of Zionism, the right of Jewish settlement throughout the Land of Israel, into the United Nations Charter. How sadly ironic it would be if Benjamin Netanyahu, whose graveside eulogy paid loving tribute to his father’s great gift to his sons of “a sense of responsibility to our nation,” surrenders the land that his father tried with passionate determination and perseverance to preserve for the Jewish people.
Mr. Auerbach, professor emeritus of history at Wellesley College, is the author of “Hebron Jews, Brothers at War” and, just published, “Against the Grain: A Historian’s Journey” (Quid Pro Books).

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

'Life and Death"

Arlene Kushner

We begin with life.  Most specifically that of little Zakkai, who has now successfully come through the surgery to remove that tumor from his thoracic cavity.  The surgeons are saying they removed all of it.  What is more, the aorta turned out not to be involved, which was a huge thing -- although a couple of lesser blood vessels were affected.  This little boy is now recovering from an extensive procedure that involved such things as cutting the muscles of his chest.  The first update from his parents indicated that he was in pain, and having trouble breathing because of those chest muscles.  There is, however, considerable reason to believe that he will bounce back readily after an initial difficult period.  Please G-d!  Keep praying until he's all the way recovered.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A Timeline of Terror: 2001 to 2012


Exactly 11 years ago on April 16, 2001 the then Saudi Arabian-backed Hamas terrorist organization launched its first rocket into Israel. Hamas is the ruling entity of the Gaza Strip and recognized as a terrorist group by the US, European Union, Canada, Japan and Israel. (Read more about Hamas.)

This single rocket launch was just the beginning, and to date, more than 12,700 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel endangering the lives of more than 1,000,000 civilians. Those civilians living in the danger zone have learned to be acutely aware of the location of the closest bomb shelter at any given moment, because they never know when the siren will go off next.
Faced with this relentless barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, Israel developed a variety of defense measures ranging from measures to identify and precisely target rocket launch sites–sometimes even just seconds before a launch attempt–to sophisticated missile defense systems.
Despite the constant threat aimed at civilians, the IDF strives to keep the casualty count to a minimum. Whether it’s the instructors of the IDF Home Front Command who visit schools and teach children how to act when the warning sirens go off, or the Iron Dome system intercepting and destroying rockets headed for population centers, the IDF works hard to protect Israel and its citizens.
Read more about the rocket attacks from Gaza: First rocket fired from Gaza at Israel exactly 11 years ago
Hamas Rocket Infographic
Ranges and types of rockets in Hamas

Ben White proves the hypocrisy of the anti-Israel crowd

Elder of Ziyon

Ben White, who is apparently a writer specializing in hating Israel, wrote an article in Electronic Intifada criticizing my post pointing out the hypocrisy of the British Co-op boycott of Agrexco, which I noted also effectively hurts the livelihood of most Palestinian Arab farmers. In his critique, White unwittingly shows exactly the hypocrisy that I am talking about.

Following the decision of major UK supermaket chain the Co-op to boycott four Israeli suppliers, Israel’s apologists have responded with an ‘argument’ of unintentional hilarity: that BDS harms the Palestinians it claims to help.

One would be forgiven for viewing this newly discovered concern for Palestinian farmers living under Israel’s colonial occupation with scepticism, given that the same folks downplay, deny, or whitewash the routine apartheid policies enforced by Israel’s military.

Monday, April 30, 2012

"A Start"

Arlene Kushner

In the interests of accuracy, an addition to the information I provided last week on the excellent video "Israel Inside":  Tal Ben-Shahar did not generate the original idea for this film -- although he did run with it once he was approached.  The producer of the film, Rafael Shore, conceptualized it and came to Tal with the idea.
As to that "start," I am referring to a delay that was requested by the government on the demolition of Givat Ha'Ulpana:
On instructions from the government, the attorney general went to the High Court on Friday and requested that the Court release the government from its pledge to demolish housing in Ulpana this very week.
Before I proceed further, I want to point out what we are seeing here:  Just days ago, I was reading, from multiple sources, that it would be impossible, or near-impossible, to stop the demolition, because the Court had ordered it on the pledge of the government.  That was nonsense, as many of us understood.  And what we see now is how politicized this process is -- how much it is a question of political will.   

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"A firm grasp of the land, settling it, that is our future –it is the revival of the Jewish people and the essence of Zionism."

A second consecutive independence day in Netzer
Hundreds of visitors to the hill, arriving by car or foot, the nation's flags waving in the Gush Etzion winds – Eretz Israel air. Jeep tours drive by the smoothly worked fiels adjacent to the roads to the hill, almost every meter fought over with Arabs. Here a plot planted two years ago in honor of Jonathan Pollard, there a plot planted a year back by Suseya graduates; a field planted a year and a half ago by an Efrat family celebrating a daughter's bat-mitzvah. Here a field redeemed by the youth of Gush-Etzion, there a plot in memory of Deborah Frank z"l, resident of Bat-Yam and a fighter for the Land of Israel, and many more 
Stubbornness – a needed trait in Netzer. Without the perseverance of tens of activists and supporters, all the hills between Alon Shevut and Elazar would have been in Arab hands a long time ago.

The Obama Watch The List Could Be Longer

Gary Shapiro on 4.27.12 @ 6:08AM 
Obama Administration has hurt the economy and job creation.
President Obama has been the worst president for business in my lifetime. The result: a stagnant economy where some half of American adults do not pay federal income taxes and almost half live in a household that received benefits from the U.S. government.
The President's rhetoric demonizing business and dividing the country, and the Administration's actions hurting the business environment or specific industries have dampened business hiring.

To be fair, President Obama has taken some actions that have been helpful: Pushing through the Bush trade deals, opposing Internet restrictions, shepherding the recent JOBS Act that removed government barriers to capital formation and obtaining additional spectrum for broadband. These have been positive, pro-innovation and pro-business measures -- but they have not been enough.

Talking points concerning Obama's anti-Israel policies

Obama's 20+ year membership in rev. jeremiah wright's jew-hating united trinity church of christ in chicago. would anyone ever think of voting for a KKK member of 20 years?

His closeness to Louis Farrakhan, Father Pfleger, Bernadine Dohrn, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Rashid Klhalidi, Edward Said, Robert Malley and his funding for the "Arab American Action Nework" in Chicago have never been adequately explained.

 According to Koranic law, having a muslim father , automatically makes the offspring Muslim, as well. why no outcry from Muslims calling for his death, as decreed n Koranic law for his conversion to Christianity?

 In 2008, in a broadcast on NYTimes' columnist Nicholas Kristof's show, Obama recited, by heart, in perfect Arabic, a Koranic prayer and stated it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music he had ever heard. Obama's first international phone call from the white house was to the terrorist leader of the PLO, Mahmoud Abbas.

 His speeches in Cairo and in Turkey glorified Islam, never calling for an end to Muslim terror.

 Obama's speech to the UN in 2010 promised a Palestinian state in a year. He encouraged Palestinians to fight for statehood and to refuse to negotiate with Israel unless "settlements" were removed.

Obama joined the Organization of Islamic Conference by appointing a radical Islamist to represent us. Hillary spoke before this group in DC. recently.
 Susan Rice's veto of  Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its settlements  was preceded and followed by her statements supporting such a motion.

Hillary Clinton also shrilly and vehemently voiced opposition to settlements;

Obama urged Israel to apologize to turkey for its prevention of flotilla to reach Gaza

 After Gaza war, begun by Hamas, Hillary promised 1.5 billion aid to Gaza (Hamas)

Obama joined the UN's Human Rights committee which GWB refused to do because of its Anti-Israel stance

 Obama joined UNRSCO, which recognized Palestine which was against Congress' will.

 Obama demands Israel return to '48 borders before negotiations begin.

 Obama is silent on Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PLO) reconciliation.

 Obama has made no demands on the PA to remove Israel/Jew hating from its textbooks, yet does not hesitate to demand Israeli concessions to Palestinians

 Obama's poor treatment, dislike and "open mic" demeaning of Netanyahu is legendary

 Obama has ordered the removal of all terms in government statements, when discussing acts of terror, the words, "Islamic terror," "Muslim," or "Koran." the Pentagon investigation of Major Hasan's shooting of fellow troops at Ft. Hood, decided this act of terror was a "workplace shooting  incidence."

Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin's mother is leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's group for women in Arabia and her brother is MB leader in Oxford, England. Her late father founded the MB unit in Western Michigan University. She has top security clearance. She is the wife of former demised Dem Congressman, Anthony Weiner.

 Obama supported Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Libya and Egypt and still funds Egypt.

James Clapper, the "Director of National Intelligence" stated publicly, that the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular."

 Obama is silent as Egypt's new MB rulers threaten to break 1979, Sadat' Peace Treaty with Israel.

Obama is silent as Grand Mufti of Palestinian Authority calls for slaughter of Jews.

 Head of FBI, Robert Mueller, met secretly with members of CAIR, MSA, NAIT, ISNA and other domestic members of MB in order to get their views on terrorism.

Obama winked and nodded at Iran's scrambling for nuclear weapons.

Obama will permit them to acquire "peaceful nuclear facilities"

 Joint Israel/US. military exercises canceled so as not to "offend" Iran.

Israel has ceased sharing intelligence with US  on Iran.

Obama warns Israel not to attack Iran.

Obama has leaked Israel's intentions and plans to attack Iran and sends military and political officials to Israel to warn them not to attack.

The "Bunker Buster" bombs recently sent by US to Israel were ordered by GWB in 2007 which are now obsolete and Israel is building its own weapons to penetrate

Iranian caves, hundreds of feet beneath granite. Obama will not supply Israel with our latest weapons to bomb Iran.

Obama's budgets for the last three years have reduced funding for Israel's Anti Missile Systems. Israel is producing its own arsenal of such weapons. Congress is seeing to it that we still fund Israel's defenses, Not Obama 

 If Obama wins a second term, all bets are off as to Israel. as he told Russian President Medvedev, "when I win my next term, I'll be able to be flexible!"
 How long can Jews stay in denial?