Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How UNRWA Keeps Remaking Itself: Defining, Re-Defining and Re-Re-Defining Who Is a Palestinian Refugee

The Report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in 2007 indicates that
...The mission of UNRWA is to contribute to the human development of Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic until a durable and just solution is found to the refugee issue. The Agency fulfills this purpose by providing a variety of essential services within the framework of international standards...

The Agency’s vision is for every Palestine refugee to enjoy the best possible standards of human development, including attaining his or her full potential individually and as a family and community member; being an active and productive participant in socio-economic and cultural life; and feeling assured that his or her rights are being defended, protected and preserved.

UNRWA is a global advocate for the protection and care of Palestine refugees. In humanitarian crisis and armed conflict, the Agency’s emergency interventions, and its presence, serve as tangible symbols of the international community’s concern and ultimately contribute to a stable environment.
This is UNRWA?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On The Palestinian "Option" -- Not The Right -- Of Return

There are many aspects to the issue of Palestinian Arab refugees, a problem that persists nearly 70 years after the 1948 War that created the current situation. One question is whether Israel is actually obligated to allow those Arabs back in.

In other words, do the Palestinian Arabs have a legal "Right of Return"?

That is the argument made by pro-Arab advocate Hussein Ibish and Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah in The Palestinian Right of Return, an article they wrote together in 2001, using many of the basic arguments still being used to make the case.

They start with establishing a right according to international law -- and immediately run into a problem.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem Has Never Been An Easy Issue -- For Israel



It is 1967. What would become known as the Six Day War has begun and Menachem Begin, invited by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to join an expanded emergency cabinet, has an idea.

There is a meeting in the basement shelter of the Knesset and the news is announced that Jordan has decided to join Egypt and Syria in battle. Begin and Labor Minister Yigal Allon suggest that the reaction to Jordan's shelling of Israel should be the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem, lost in the 1948 War following a UN ceasefire. Begin urges quick action before a similar ceasefire again leave the city divided.

Moshe Dayan opposes the idea based on the human cost of expected house-to-house fighting in addition to the potential damage to Christian and Muslim holy places -- leading to a world-wide outcry against Israel and opposition to Israeli control over Christian and Muslim holy places. Instead, Dayan suggests it would be enough to just surround the Old City and wait for it to fall.

Friday, February 03, 2017

What Is It About "Israeli Settlements Are Not An Impedimet To Peace" That The Media Can't Understand?

It did seem like a straightforward statement by Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Israeli settlements:
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

As Trump Takes Office, A Last Look At Obama and Bush

As of Friday, January 20, we have a new president -- President Donald Trump.

Comparisons have been made between Trump and Obama, and we can expect many more comparisons to be made over the next four years. One of those comparisons is in connection with Israel.

Obama allowed passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, calling the settlements illegal and putting renewed pressure on Israel. Now along comes Trump, who has promised -- and has reiterated his intention to keep that promise -- to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Yet both claim to be friends of Israel.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

If Israel Has Not Been Building Settlements, Why Are the White House and Media Claiming It Is?


"[T]housands of new settlements are being constructed...you saw tens of thousands of settlements being constructed"
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, December 23, 2016


On December 23rd, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2344 was passed 14-0 with one abstension --  the United States. One of the key points of that resolution was the clear declaration that Israeli settlements are illegal. Not "illegitimate", as per US policy in the past, but "illegal". The settlements were described as an impediment to peace that must be removed.

Are There Tens of Thousands of Israeli Settlements... Or 228?


That same day, Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy security advisor, gave an interview to Judy Woodruff.

Recall that Rhodes is noted for having bragged about his manipulation of the media in creating the narrative that made the Iran deal possible, despite both popular and congressional opposition. He boasted at the time about the media's lack of knowledge of world events:
Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing...We created an echo chamber...They [the seemingly independent experts] were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

8 Reasons Why Friday's UN Resolution 2334 Is Counterproductive and Just Plain Wrong

In the aftermath of Obama's support for UN Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli, reactions have not been short in coming -- and there are cogent arguments against the resolution.

Beyond what is being said about Obama and his motives or against the United Nations itself and the way the resolution was carried out, the fact remains there are reasons why the UN resolution may have many results -- but none of the ones it claims to support.

Here are some of those arguments being made:

Friday, December 16, 2016

How Long Should Arab Anger Be A Deterrent To Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

The messages the West sends to the Middle East matter.

Just ask President Obama -- or better, ask Jackson Diehl, Deputy Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Post. Back in 2010, Diehl described How Obama sabotaged Middle East peace talks:
So why does Abbas stubbornly persist in his self-defeating position? In an interview with Israeli television Sunday night, he offered a remarkably candid explanation: "When Obama came to power, he is the one who announced that settlement activity must be stopped," he said. "If America says it and Europe says it and the whole world says it, you want me not to say it?"

The statement confirmed something that many Mideast watchers have suspected for a long time: that the settlement impasse originated not with Netanyahu or Abbas, but with Obama -- who by insisting on an Israeli freeze has created a near-insuperable obstacle to the peace process he is trying to promote. [emphasis added]

Monday, December 12, 2016

Why Would Any Arab Country Buy A Rocket From Hamas?

That is the question that arises based on a post by Elder of Ziyon that Hamas offers to export Qassam rockets to any Arabs willing to shoot them at Israel:
Hamas official Fathi Hammad said that the terror group is s ready to export Qassam rockets to Arab armies in order "to fight the Zionist entity."

Hammad said that the rocket is comparable in quality to those produced by other international military rocket factories.
Speaking of quality, just what kind of quality do these Arab customers of Hamas have a right to expect?

Thursday, December 08, 2016

How The J Street Grinch Stole Hanukkah

It looks like J Street is at it again.

You really have to admire how a group that claims to be dedicated to Israel can find the time to involve itself in petty politics.

This time, J Street is taking a stand on where the Conference of Presidents can celebrate Hanukkah:
TELL CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS: DON'T CELEBRATE HANUKKAH AT TRUMP HOTEL.

The Conference of Presidents purports to speak for the American Jewish community. Tell its member organizations: Speak out and make it clear that the Trump Hotel is an inappropriate place to celebrate Hanukkah.

It’s almost too outrageous to believe: An umbrella group that claims to represent the American Jewish community plans to host its 2016 Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel.

Trump's campaign rhetoric and policy positions are an affront to some of the most core values of American Jews. To hold a Hanukkah party under the Trump banner is shocking in its wrong-headedness.