In Inversion, New York Times Admits “The Truth is Hard to Find”

Ever since politics introduced the concept of “Alternative Facts” and “Fake News” some months ago, the mainstream media has been fighting back that it is the real authority on the truth. The New York Times has sought to portray itself as the media source that uncovers the truth and has pushed the tagline of “the Truth is Hard to Find,” as it features its journalists in large promotional advertisements.


Double page advertisement in The New York Times about Jodi Ruduren
April 23, 2017

On April 23, 2017, the Times featured an enormous spread to convey how its Middle East reporter, Jodi Roduren, went deep into a hidden Hamas tunnel to tell a story behind the Gaza War in 2014. The caption in the advertisement read: “Forty-six feet underground, Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief, ventured into a secret tunnel used by Hamas insurgents to launch surprise attacks from Gaza into Israel.”

If only the New York Times actually reported such events during the war in 2014.

As detailed in “The New York Times’ Buried Pictures” about Rudoren’s story when it was written on July 28, 2014, Rudoren mischaracterized the entirety of the story about the terror tunnels:

  • It took three weeks for the NYT to post a single picture of the terror tunnels, even though they were the root cause of the war;
  • On the day that the paper finally showed a picture of the tunnels, it only placed a small black-and-white photograph on page A6, even while it posted a large color picture on the front page of Palestinians mourning, and a large black-and-white picture of Palestinians mourning above the picture of the tunnel;
  • Rudoren’s article made light of Israeli concerns about the tunnels, referring to the Israeli invitation to tour the tunnels as a “propaganda push,” rather than a chance to report on the nature of the battle from a first-hand encounter;
  • Roduren wrote that “Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies” about the tunnels, as if the threat was simply imagined.
  • Compare Rudoren’s late and under-emphasized report during the 2014 war, with the front page story on May 21, 2016 that Palestinian Arabs are scared about the tunnels (because Israel will destroy them).

Yet the Times describes itself as the discoverer of “truth,” even while it misleads readers.

Consider two stories on the next day, July 30, 2014, when the Times repeatedly blamed Israel for bombing a power plant even though there was no proof that it was not done by Hamas, either intentionally or not. The two articles also did not mention the dozens of rockets that Hamas fired into Israel, nor that Hamas refused to accept a ceasefire.

Just two days before Rudoren’s article about the Hamas tunnels, she wrote that anti-Israel riots in Europe had an “anti-Semitic tinge,” belittling the thousands of people storming streets in Paris yelling “Hitler was right” and attacking Jews and Jewish stores.

Roduren was a key player in the New York Times’ biased and terrible coverage of Israel:

  • In October 2012, Roduren wrote an article about “honor killings” in Gaza and the West Bank. Rather than point the finger squarely at the disgraceful Islamic practice performed by Palestinian Arabs on their own family members, Rudoren repeatedly blamed Israel. How? Read the fact-altering “news” for yourself.
  • Rudoren’s May 2014 coverage of the Pope’s visit to Israel was disgraceful in repeatedly stretching facts to fit a narrative that Palestinian Arabs are victims of racist Israeli policies
  • On July 6, 2014, Rudoren wrote about the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, making it sound like an ancient Arab neighborhood rather than an ancient Jewish neighborhood
  • In September 2014, when Palestinian Arabs were firebombing Jewish homes and a gas station in an attempt to create a large explosion, Roduren minimized the riots and that Israeli soldiers over-reacted to the Arabs’ “crude gestures toward Israeli soldiers.”
  • Her front page article on March 13, 2015, “As Israeli Settlements Take Root, So Do Complications,” repeated Palestinian propaganda as fact when she claimed that a few thousand Jews living in the West Bank threatened the “viability” of a Palestinian State.

The examples of Roduren’s anti-Israel bias and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts were present in almost every article that she wrote for the Times. Her bias was so intense, that when Foreign Press Association wrote about threats its journalists received from Hamas about its reporting on the war, Roduren took to Twitter to defend Hamas. Yes, that same anti-Semitic terrorist group that dug terror tunnels into Israel.


On September 17, 1993, A.M. Rosenthal wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the Oslo Accords. He concluded with a prescient comment about the news media confusing their biased narrative and hope for the future with actual facts: “[There] is the tendency to confuse hope for the future with present reality….Pray for peace but add another prayer for truth upon which it depends.”

The New York Times may write that the “Truth is Hard to Find.” In truth, for the liberal paper, the facts are difficult to print.


Related First.One.Through articles:

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Educating the New York Times: Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood

The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Social Media’s “Fake News” and Mainstream Media’s Half-Truths

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Is Hillary Clinton as Pro-Israel as George W Bush?

Pro-Israel Democrats have loudly proclaimed that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a strong supporter of Israel. They have even stated that her pro-Israel positions are really not that dissimilar to the Republican President George W. Bush.

Really?

“Settlements” and Berating Israel

A new batch of emails from Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State reveals some of her positions related to Israel and her approach to dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Consider the email exchange between Hillary Clinton and Sandy Berger on September 19 & 22, 2009.

“ironically, his [Netanyahu’s] intransigence over 67 borders may offer us [the Clinton’s State Department] that possibility – to turn his position against him… Sending [Middle East Peace Envoy George] Mitchell back to try to get the parties to agree on a common basis to relaunch negotiations. This includes: an end to the occupation that began in 1967. –– This 67 formulation was used in the Road Map, by Bush, Sharon and Olmert. Assuming Bibi will accept no formulation that includes 67 borders, it suggests that Bibi is the obstacle to progress and backtracking on his part on an issue that previous Israeli governments have accepted.”

The Clinton/Berger plot was clearly to undermine Netanyahu to punish him for disagreeing to set the borders that existed in 1967 as the permanent borders. They viewed those borders as concessions that had been previously agreed to.

sandy-berger-and-hillary-clinton
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, 2009

But look at what President George W. Bush and the US Congress actually stated five years earlier on June 23, 2004.

“Whereas in the April 14, 2004, letter the President stated that in light of new realities on the ground in Israel, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, but realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities;”

This House of Representatives motion, H. Con.Res 460, was passed in a landslide roll call vote 407-9.

Note that Bush clearly stated the opposite of what Clinton and Berger contended: prior agreements and assurances that the borders would NOT be along the Green Line which existed until 1967.

Further, the April letter from Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underscored that the pathway to peace and a two-state future was the cessation of all Palestinian incitement to, and acts of violence.

The United States appreciates the risks such an undertaking [Israeli withdrawal from Gaza] represents. I [President George W Bush] therefore want to reassure you on several points.

First, the United States remains committed to my vision and to its implementation as described in the roadmap. The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan. Under the roadmap, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel. The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Palestinians must undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that includes a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.

Second, there will be no security for Israelis or Palestinians until they and all states, in the region and beyond, join together to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations. The United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.

Third, Israel will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations. The United States will lead efforts, working together with Jordan, Egypt, and others in the international community, to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism, dismantle terrorist organizations, and prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat that would have to be addressed by any other means. The United States understands that after Israel withdraws from Gaza and/or parts of the West Bank, and pending agreements on other arrangements, existing arrangements regarding control of airspace, territorial waters, and land passages of the West Bank and Gaza will continue. The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state. It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel. “

Bush focused on the cessation of Palestinian Arab terrorism and incitement, as he underscored that Israel would NOT return to the 1967 borders.

What happened between the 2004 Bush/Sharon letter and the 2009 Clinton/Berger email?

  • In 2005, Israel withdrew every Israeli civilian and soldier from Gaza
  • In 2006, Hamas, the anti-Semitic terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction swept legislative elections, gaining 58% of the seats in the Palestinian Authority
  • In 2007, Hamas routed the competing political party Fatah, and seized total control of Gaza
  • In 2008/9, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead to stop the incessant missile fire into Israel from Gaza
  • And in September 2009, as Clinton and Berger exchanged emails, the United Nations was preparing to release the Goldstone Report, a 452-page report where the world body would demonize Israel for committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead

It was in that environment, where Israel was feeling the condemnation of the world, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to add fuel to the fire by berating Benjamin Netanyahu as an “obstacle to progress.” Not a single criticism of Palestinian Arab terror, which WAS the focus of the assurances between the US and Israel.

At best, pro-Israel Clinton supporters may claim that she was simply following the direction of President Barack Obama to rewrite facts and history in the hope that no one would notice.

Democrats can claim that there was no malice in rewriting the long-standing Democratic platform in 2012, removing the historic clause that had been the party’s approach for years, “All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”  The entire language that was lifted verbatim from the 2004 Bush/Sharon letter was deleted in its entirety. It was as if it never existed.

Democrats comfortably pretend that Israel moved to the right, rather than the party’s positions that moved counter to facts and history, because they BELIEVE their cause to be just. They believe that the settlements are the primary obstacle to peace because they get terrible advice from left-wing groups like J Street that claim to be pro-Israel and pro-peace. (J Street just released a foolish video making fun of Donald Trump’s ties to the settlements, in time for the elections.)

The reality, is that the Democratic party under Obama’s leadership moved sharply away from Israel and the truth.  And Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State followed that caustic approach to attack Israel while it was vulnerable on the world stage.


Related First.One.Through articles:

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

On Accepting Invitations, Part 2

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The UN’s Ban Ki Moon Ignores Civilians Killed by the US and KSA

There are no shortages of wars in the Middle East; just a selective application of sympathy and condemnation.

US-Syria July 2016

On July 20, 2016, U.S.-led forces killed dozens of civilians, including children who were in their homes.  That strike brought the total Syrian civilians killed by U.S.-led forces to over 100 people in July.

The story was barely covered in mainstream media like the New York Times, where one would have to dig inside the paper for reports of the killings.  The liberal paper continued to protect its liberal president, especially as his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaigned to become the next U.S. president.

The United Nations, whose headquarters is hosted in the United States, also remained almost completely silent on the mass murder of civilians.

The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-Moon did not utter a word.

Instead, his deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, spoke about the civilian deaths in passing, the middle of various other reports.  He never mentioned that the killings were committed by U.S.-led forces.

The approach of the UN could not be more different than its approach to Israel two summers earlier.

Israel – Gaza July 2014

On July 22, 2014, the UNSG flew into Ramallah where he reported to the United Nations Security Council.  While he condemned Hamas’s firing of rockets into Israel, he only spoke of Palestinian Arab civilians who were impacted by the fighting:

I have also discussed Israel’s legitimate security concerns with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon, and I am going to continue my meetings with President Peres as well as other Ministers.

I once again strongly condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza into Israel. I am also alarmed by Israel’s heavy response and the corresponding high civilian death toll.

Since this Council was briefed on Sunday the violence has reached even more alarming levels.

Yet again, too many civilians, including many children, are paying the price for this latest escalation

I want to stress how deeply proud I am of our many UN colleagues, with UNRWA in the lead, courageously assisting the people of Gaza under such difficult circumstances.

They are providing crucial relief and shelter to civilians in imminent danger. The escalation of violence is now acutely affecting UNRWA’s regular operations.

A total of 23 UNRWA installations are closed as a result of the conflict. A total of 77 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June as a result of the conflict.

The premises have been used to store weapons. This is unacceptable.

Today, about 100,000 people – more than 5 percent of the population of Gaza – are seeking shelter with UNRWA.

In the past, our premises in Southern Lebanon and Gaza have been hit with serious loss of life. I call on Israel to exercise particular care to avoid another unfortunate incident….

This is the third time as Secretary-General that I have had to come on an emergency mission to the region to help end a crisis.

That means the children of Gaza are now living through the third major assault in the last five years of their young lives.

The horror and upheaval is beyond imagination.

The cycle of suffering must end.

The parties must seize the opportunity to not only renew a ceasefire but also support durable political, security, institutional and socioeconomic progress that stabilizes Gaza.”

Ban Ki-Moon never recognized that almost 80% of Israelis were being fired upon by Hamas rockets. He did not recognize the Israeli civilians hiding in shelters.  He did not remember the children of Israel “living through the third major assault in the last five years of their young lives,” but only the Palestinian Arabs. He did not seek global support for the security and stability of Israel.

Why is the UNSG’s so deeply engaged on behalf of Palestinian Arabs?  Why does Ban Ki Moon continue to call out Israelis?  In comparison, why doesn’t he even mention the United States’ killing of 100 civilians?

UNRWA and Money

As detailed in “The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables it to Only Find Fault with Israel,” the UN has a unique relationship with Palestinian Arabs.  The UN has become the guardians to these stateless Arab wards. As the UN has set up unique institutions just for this group of Arabs, the UN is put in the position of always defending them.

The UN shelters and protects the Palestinian Arabs, so attacks on them result in attacks on the UN.  The voices that the UN hears each day are of Palestinian Arabs, not Israelis.  As such, The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists.

This is in sharp contrast to every other conflict in the world, where the UN can act as an unbiased neutral party.

The comparison becomes more dramatic when the UNSG deals with permanent members of the UN Security Council, or other countries where the UN seeks to gain influence and money.  Such as Saudi Arabia.

On June 9, 2016, the UNSG made a rare public admission that he dropped listing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as a country that has killed many civilians, during KSA’s airstrikes in Yemen.  In defending his removal of KSA, Ban Ki-Moon saidI also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many U.N. programs.

In other words, the UN is not an arbiter of right-and-wrong. It is a political beast that must move towards money and power.

ban ki moon2
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

US and Afghanistan, The Obama War

To further underscore the point, the United Nations reported on the state of war in Afghanistan on July 25, 2016. The first half of 2016 saw the greatest number of civilian casualties – including 1,509 children – since US President Obama took office in January 2009. The total number of civilian casualties since 2009 stood at 63,934, a number that the report claimed was very conservative.

The US-led war broke apart a country.  The US’s pro-government forces were responsible for 40% of the civilian casualties – and growing.  The first six months of 2016 saw a startling increase of 47% more civilian casualties from pro-government forces, even while casualties from the anti-government forces saw a decline.

But the UN report never called out the United States publicly.  It never suggested that the US attacked civilians intentionally, as the UN does for Israel.  Just consider this language from the report:

“While noting international military forces’ efforts to minimize civilian casualties during aerial operations, UNAMA encourages the NATO/Resolute Support to increase the level of transparency during investigations into civilian casualties and provide adequate and timely redress for civilians impacted by their operations.

Did the UN ever highlight the phone calls, leaflets dropped, “knock on the roof” ordinances that Israel deployed in Gaza? A door-to-door effort without aerial bombardment to minimize civilian casualties at great risk to the lives of Israeli soldiers?

Nope.


That is the sorry state of the United Nations.  Rich and powerful countries, and those with large voting blocks (like the block of Islamic countries) get to dictate the agendas and avoid condemnation, while small countries with a fraction of the budget get picked on.  In the case of Israel, the dynamic is compounded by a biased judge.

Yet remarkably, a call that should be easy for progressives – fighting back against power and money – is lacking.  US progressives should rally to Israel and against the UN.  Instead, they united with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

It is well past time for an overhaul of the United Nations. It is also time for progressives to rethink their anti-Israel attitudes.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Ban Ki Moon Has No Solidarity with Israel

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The United Nation’s Ban Ki Moon is Unqualified to Discuss the Question of Palestine

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

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Sanders Accuses Israel of Deliberately Killing Palestinians

In April 2016, Democratic candidates for president Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated before the primary contest in New York.  During the debate, Sanders described Israel’s fight against Palestinians in Gaza were “disproportionate.”  In actuality, it was Sanders’ discussion of the war that was disproportionate.

Sanders 3
Sanders talking to the New York Daily News April 2016
(photo: Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News)

Discussion of 2014 Hamas War

Disproportionate Attack  Sanders said that Israel’s actions were a disproportionate attack.  Calling the operation an “attack” made it seem that Israel was on the offensive, rather than the defensive. It was Hamas that kidnapped and murdered three teenagers.  It was Hamas that dug dozens of tunnels into Israel to abduct more Israelis.  It was Hamas that fired thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian towns. Israel reacted to Hamas in a defensive battle.

Over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza.”  Many people reacted strongly to Sanders’ gross overestimation of the number of Palestinians killed.  That is only half of the problem.  While the number of killed was closer to 1,500, half of those killed were terrorists firing into Israeli civilian areas, not “innocent people.”

The attacks against Gaza were indiscriminate and that a lot of innocent people were killed.”   Sanders said that Israel’s action showed a willful disregard for life by firing against Palestinians in an indiscriminate manner.  He made no mention of Israel’s dropping leaflets on neighborhoods and calling people to evacuate areas that were going to be fired upon.  Such selectivity of memory underlines a bias in approach.

Discussion of America’s War on Terror

Sanders supporters think that he is against all war, and Sanders likes to repeat often that he voted against the war in Iraq to underscore that image.  To view Sanders views more broadly and compare those comments to Israel’s war on terror shows deeper flaws in Sanders thinking.  In truth, Sanders was in favor of bombing Kosovo, supports destroying ISIS, and voted to fund America’s war in Afghanistan.

Regarding America’s killing of civilians in those wars, Sanders said the following:

“When bombing wedding parties of innocent people and killing dozens of them, that is, needless to say, not effective and enormously counterproductive.”

Sanders comment that America’s bombing of a wedding party (done several times in the War on Terror) is “not effective” and “counterproductive” falls pretty short of the condemnation that he used for Israel’s “indiscriminate” “attacks” against “innocent civilians.”  Why doesn’t Sanders similarly say that when Israel kills bystanders it is “not effective?”

 

Sanders clearly declared that Israel has every right to defend itself and combat terrorism when he stated that “I believe 100% not only in Israel’s right to exist, a right to exist in peace and security without having to face terrorist attacks.”  He further feels that Hamas is wrong in its approach to Israel and should be condemned “I strongly object to Hamas’ long held position that Israel does not have the right to exist – that is unacceptable. Of course, I strongly condemn indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israeli territory, and Hamas’ use of civilian neighborhoods to launch those attacks.

So are his arguments only meant that Israel should be more targeted in killing terrorists?

No.  If that were the case, he would use language that is more similar to how he described America’s killing of innocents.  His language of “disproportionate” and “indiscriminate” is meant to convey that Israel DELIBERATELY used too much force against Hamas.

Sanders does not believe that Israel is just defending itself from terrorism, he believes that Israel is deliberately trying to kill Palestinians.

Disproportionate Defense and Equivalence of Intent

As detailed in “The Disproportionate Defenses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” the disproportionate figure in the number of Palestinians and Israelis killed in the 2014 Gaza War had to do with the disproportionate DEFENSES of the two parties.  Israel used its Iron Dome defensive shield and bomb shelters throughout the country to minimize casualties on the Israeli side.  Without those defenses, the number of casualties on both sides would have been much closer.

Further, as described in “Pray for a Lack of “Proportionately” in Numbers. There will never be an Equivalence of Intent” the Hamas Charter, leaders and actions make abundantly clear their desire to kill Jews and destroy Israel.  Israel has no such desires to attack Arabs.  It accepted every ceasefire during the Gaza War while Hamas refused.

The objections of Israeli supporters about the comments of Bernie Sanders have little to do with his uninformed comments about the tally of dead in the Gaza War.  It has everything to do with Sanders’ gross mischaracterization of the Israeli Defense Force as indiscriminate killers.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

Missing Netanyahu’s Speech: Those not Listening and Those Not Speaking

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza

Opinion: Remove the Causefire before a Ceasefire

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Oxfam and Gaza

Oxfam seems like such a nice charity.  It’s slogan is “The power of people against poverty.” What can be controversial about that?

Much of the organization’s work is focused on providing aid and services to poor communities around the world.  Work includes bringing clean water, food and basic services to people in need.

However, the organization also goes beyond a core mission of charity to other rights-based work including human rights and women’s rights.  The charity claims that “when people have the power to claim their basic human rights, they can escape poverty – permanently” and “the right to gender justice underpins all of our work.” Such activity leads Oxfam to get involved in politics and to advocate for particular actions by governments.

Oxfam produces reports and details its assessments of certain regions and their treatment of people.  Consider the report which warns about a potential slide in the treatment of women in Afghanistan.  Oxfam clearly “called on world leaders to ensure that any peace deal includes benchmarks to guarantee women’s rights” and highlighted the terrible crimes of “honor killings” in which wives and daughters are killed by family members if they engaged in something considered impure, like dressing inappropriately or turning down a male suitor.

Oxfam also puts feet on the ground to encourage peace in places such as South Sudan where “Oxfam has been working closely with communities and their leaders in Rumbek to establish peace committees that are now avenues for different clans to meet on a regular basis to discuss issues, mediate conflicts and encourage peaceful co-existence.” Such activity is obviously well beyond delivering humanitarian aid.

Consider Oxfam’s approach to Gaza.

Gaza

Oxfam has repeatedly called for “world leaders to press the Israeli government to lift the blockade on Gaza which Israel put in place in June 2007 to prevent arms smuggling after the terrorist group Hamas took over Gaza.  Hamas has used its weapons to fire over 10,000 rockets into Israel since then.

Legality: Oxfam called the blockade “illegal,” even though the United Nations Palmer Report of 2011 clearly stated “that Israel’s naval blockade was legal… Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza.  The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.

Ignoring the ruling authority of the terrorist group, Hamas: Oxfam stated that “The government of Israel holds the primary responsibility to lift the blockade, although agencies signing on to the campaign also recognize that reconstruction is hindered by the failure of Palestinian political parties to reconcile and prioritize reconstruction, and by Egypt’s closure of its border with Gaza.”

An amazing gloss over the facts.  Not only does Israel have “primary responsibility” for the situation, but the failure to alleviate the plight of ordinary people in Gaza according to Oxfam is also “the failure of Palestinian political parties to reconcile.” Hamas is a terrorist organization sworn to destroy Israel that repeatedly attacks Israelis. Until it relinquishes control of Gaza, the blockade will stay in place. It is not a matter that there is an internal division between Palestinian leaderships, as Oxfam states.

Collective Punishment:  Oxfam continued: “The government of Israel justifies the restrictions on security grounds. However, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross have repeatedly asserted that the blockade is a violation of international law. Indeed, there can never be justification for collective punishment of an entire population and leaving tens of thousands of families homeless and hundreds of thousands of children without a school or health centers.

Not only did the UN report specifically state that the blockade is legal as noted above, it also disputed the nature of “collective punishment” when it concluded that “although a blockade by definition imposes a restriction on all maritime traffic, given the relatively small size of the blockade zone and the practical difficulties associated with other methods of monitoring vessels (such as by search and visit), the Panel is not persuaded that the naval blockade was a disproportionate measure for Israel to have taken in response to the threat it faced.

Blame: Further, the phrasing of the Oxfam article put the blame for homeless families and “children without a school or health centers” on Israel, instead of the terrorist group Hamas that continues its war to destroy Israel.

Women’s Rights and Co-Existence:  Interestingly, for an organization that claims that “gender justice underpins all of our work,” it never once mentions in any of its numerous articles about Gaza, that Gaza now leads the world in the number of “honor killings” of women per capita.  It also doesn’t seem as keen to promote co-existence between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs as it does in South Sudan.


Oxfam is not simply a charitable organization, but a political one as well. It goes beyond important work of helping the poor, to a mission-based action group influencing governments.

When it comes to Gaza, it has turned a blind eye to an anti-Semitic terrorist government and focuses instead on demonizing a democracy that is protecting its citizens. It has produced articles with misinformation and circulated petitions to open Israel to attacks.

Consider that when you see an Oxfam volunteer walk up to you on the street.

oxfam


Related First.One.Through articles:

UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza

Honor Killings in Gaza

Gaza Blockade versus Cuban Blockade

Save the Children

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John Kerry’s Hypocrisy: “Can You Deliver?”

Listening to US Secretary of State John Kerry try to explain and defend the P5+1 Iranian nuclear deal to various audiences is a spectacle to behold, regardless of one’s position on the best course of action.  One of the people who might want to watch the sessions and learn something from John Kerry is John Kerry.

Kerry CFR
John Kerry speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations
July 2015

Secretary Kerry argued at the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) that Congress must support the deal or it would undermine his ability to negotiate any treaty with any government in the future. At 29:55 of the CFR talk, Kerry said: “Other people in the world are going to sit there and say ‘hey, let’s negotiate with the United States, they have 535 Secretaries of State. I mean, please! I would be embarrassed to try to go out… I mean, what am I going to say to people after this as Secretary of State? ‘Come negotiate with us?’ ‘Can you deliver?’ Please!

Kerry made the point that when two parties sit down to negotiate, it is critical for the sides to know that the negotiating parties are both authorized to negotiate and have the ability to fulfill their sides of the deal. If no such authority or ability exists, the discussions are an irrelevant waste of time.

Despite Kerry being quite clear about his logic, he has nevertheless insisted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sit down and negotiate with Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, even though it is clearly understood that Abbas can deliver nothing.

  • No Mandate: Abbas’s four-year term as president ran out in 2009. No presidential elections have been held since then.
  • No Authority: Abbas’s Fatah party lost legislative elections in 2006, winning only 33% of the parliament. No legislative elections have been held since then.
  • No Support: Abbas lags in every Palestinian poll held since 2006.
  • No Control: Abbas has no control of Gaza since his Fatah party was kicked out in 2007.
  • No Track Record: Abbas has shown zero credibility in being able to strike compromises to govern his own people, let alone deliver compromises with Israel.

Despite the glaringly obvious impotence of Abbas, the Obama administration continued to pressure Israel to negotiate with this straw man.

The Obama administration publicly acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority has absolutely no ability to deliver peace a few years ago. During the Gaza war on Israel in 2012, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to broker a cease-fire. She made a dozen calls to various world leaders to halt the war- but not ONCE called the Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Compounding the inherent flaws in Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is Abbas’s insistence on bringing terms of any deal with Israel to a referendum. Abbas stated that he cannot decide on the “Right of Return” for all Palestinians, but that each of the 5 million Palestinian Arab “refugees” must make a decision for themselves. Hey Kerry- 535 “second-guessers” looks pretty good compared to 5 million! In terms of the rest of the components of a final agreement, Abbas stated that he “would go to a referendum everywhere because the agreement represents Palestinians everywhere.”  That’s impressive – he seeks the approval of 11 million “Palestinian” Arabs from all around the world!


Kerry’s comments regarding Iran are both on- and off-the-mark.  Iran and all of the parties in the negotiations know that the United States is a democracy and the political process must run its course.  Once the American people’s representatives in Congress make a decision, the government will deliver on its commitments.

However, Abbas – a complete straw man if ever there was one – with no authority or control whatsoever, openly states that millions of individuals will ultimately not only decide the fate of an Israeli-PA deal overall, but even on certain components on an individual basis.

 

Kerry fully appreciates that before negotiators start a process that they want to know the answer to the fundamental question: “Can you deliver“? However, he doesn’t care when he forces Israel to do exactly that with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.


Related FirstOneThrough video and articles:

Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

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UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

In June 2015, the United Nations issued a report highly critical of Israel’s handling of its war against Palestinian attacks. Throughout the report, the committee suggested that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was a major cause for suffering of Palestinians, rather than a result of Palestinian actions, and helped precipitate the war.

Member of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict Doudou Diene (L) gestures next to Chairperson of the Commission Mary McGowan Davis during a press conference to present their report on June 22, 2015 at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Both Israel and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes during last year's Gaza war, a widely anticipated United Nations report said on June 22, decrying "unprecedented" devastation and human suffering.   AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Member of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict Doudou Diene (L) gestures next to Chairperson of the Commission Mary McGowan Davis during a press conference to present their report on June 22, 2015 at the United Nations Office in Geneva.  AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

2015 UN Assertion that
Blockade was Cause for Conflict

In the section of the report that reviewed the background to the 2014 conflict, the report stated that “In the preceding months, there were few, if any, political prospects for reaching a solution to the conflict that would achieve peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis and realize the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The blockade of Gaza by Israel, fully implemented since 2007 and described by the Secretary-General as “a continuing collective penalty against the population in Gaza” (A/HRC/28/45, para. 70), was strangling the economy in Gaza and imposed severe restrictions on the rights of the Palestinians.” By way of correction and education to the reader, the naval blockade of Gaza only began in January 2009 (not 2007). The land blockade of Gaza began in 2007 after Hamas routed Fatah from Gaza and took complete control of the region.

It is important and significant to point out that this 2015 report suggested that there were “few POLITICAL PROSPECTS for reaching a solution” and that the “blockade of Gaza.. was strangling the economy” and “imposed severe restrictions” on Palestinians. This directly implied that the Palestinians were seeking a political solution and rightfully frustrated with a blockade that was imposed on them (presumably for no reason).  Therefore, since a political solution was not available, they were forced to pursue a military response.

That is outrageous on many levels.

  1. Hamas has stated clearly in its charter and in addresses by its leaders that it seeks the complete destruction of Israel and that it will never enter peace negotiations. (A fact that was never mentioned in the UN report)
  2. Hamas clearly stated that it would not pursue any “peaceful solutions and international conferences” as seen in its charter, below.
  3. Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 2007 is never mentioned in the UN report.

Hamas Charter Article 13: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters… There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

The UN report inverted reality and ignored that the blockade of Gaza was in response to Hamas’s taking over of Gaza and firing thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians.

 2015 UN Report
Call to Remove the Blockade

The UN report concluded with several suggestions which clearly placed the blame for the conflict on Israel’s actions: “The commission calls upon the Government of Israel… to address structural issues that fuel the conflict and have a negative impact on a wide range of human rights, including the right to self-determination; in particular, to lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza.

This conclusion and suggestion are in stark contrast to the September 2011 UN “Palmer Commission Report” which clearly spoke of the legal nature of Israel’s blockade of Gaza and spoke to the harm and evil intent of Hamas which necessitated the blockade.

 

2011 UN Report
on LEGAL NATURE of Blockade of Gaza

To start, the Palmer Report correctly identified the different blockades of Gaza and the reason for them: “the tightening of border controls between Gaza and Israel came about after the take-over of Hamas in Gaza in June 2007.  On the other hand, the naval blockade was imposed more than a year later, in January 2009.”

The report continued that “the naval blockade as a distinct legal measure was imposed primarily to enable a legally sound basis for Israel to exert control over ships attempting to reach Gaza with weapons and related goods.  This was in reaction to certain incidents when vessels had reached Gaza via sea.”

The report then continued in greater detail on the “structural issues that fuel the conflict” with specific history (as opposed to simply echoing the Palestinian narrative as it did in the 2015 report): “Israel has faced and continues to face a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza.  Rockets, missiles and mortar bombs have been launched from Gaza towards Israel since 2001.  More than 5,000 were fired between 2005 and January 2009, when the naval blockade was imposed.  Hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians live in the range of these attacks.  As their effectiveness has increased some rockets are now capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Since 2001 such attacks have caused more than 25 deaths and hundreds of injuries.  The enormity of the psychological toll on the affected population cannot be underestimated.  In addition, there have been substantial material losses.  The purpose of these acts of violence, which have been repeatedly condemned by the international community, has been to do damage to the population of Israel.  It seems obvious enough that stopping these violent acts was a necessary step for Israel to take in order to protect its people and to defend itself.

In regard for using a naval blockade to prevent the assault from Gaza on Israel, the report stated “The Israeli report to the Panel makes it clear that the naval blockade as a measure of the use of force was adopted for the purpose of defending its territory and population, and the Panel accepts that was the case.  It was designed as one way to prevent weapons reaching Gaza by sea and to prevent such attacks to be launched from the sea.  Indeed there have been various incidents in which ships carrying weapons were intercepted by the Israeli authorities on their way to Gaza.”

In sharp contrast to the 2015 report which cited the UN Secretary General’s comment that the blockade was a “collective penalty against the population in Gaza“, the 2011 Palmer Report concluded that “Although a blockade by definition imposes a restriction on all maritime traffic, given the relatively small size of the blockade zone and the practical difficulties associated with other methods of monitoring vessels (such as by search and visit), the Panel is not persuaded that the naval blockade was a disproportionate measure for Israel to have taken in response to the threat it faced.

The report concluded with clarity: “Israel was entitled to take reasonable steps to prevent the influx of weapons into Gaza.  With that objective, Israel established a series of restrictions on vessels entering the waters of Gaza.  These measures culminated in the declaration of the naval blockade on 3 January 2009… There is nothing before the Panel that would suggest that Israel did not maintain an effective and impartial blockade….  it is evident that Israel had a military objective.  The stated primary objective of the naval blockade was for security.  It was to prevent weapons, ammunition, military supplies and people from entering Gaza and to stop Hamas operatives sailing away from Gaza with vessels filled with explosives… It is also noteworthy that the earliest maritime interception operations to prevent weapons smuggling to Gaza predated the 2007 take-over of Hamas in Gaza.  The actual naval blockade was imposed more than one year after that event. These factors alone indicate it was not imposed to punish its citizens for the election of Hamas….  As this report has already indicated, we are satisfied that the naval blockade was based on the need to preserve Israel’s security.  Stopping the importation of rockets and other weapons to Gaza by sea helps alleviate Israel’s situation as it finds itself the target of countless attacks, which at the time of writing have once again become more extensive and intensive…  We have reached the view that the naval blockade was proportionate in the circumstances… The Panel therefore concludes that Israel’s naval blockade was legal… Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza.  The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.

Quite a different narrative and conclusion than the UN wrote up in 2015.


Related FirstOneThrough article:

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza

Gaza Blockade versus Cuban Blockade

Considering a Failed Palestinian State

Failed Countries

On July 9, 2011, the world welcomed a new country, South Sudan, which separated from Sudan. South Sudan rapidly became a failed state, one in which the central government lost the ability to control the security and economy of the country.

Failed states suffer from many terrible and unstable features: lack of governmental control; factional militias and armies; lack of border integrity and gross poverty. These societies often see rampant human rights abuses as various parties assert control over parts of the country and seek vengeance and control over minorities and local populations.

Consider some reports from South Sudan over the past year:

According to Business Insider, the worst failed states include: South Sudan; Sudan; Somalia; Congo; Chad and Yemen. The populations of these countries are forced to flee, suffer or die.

south sudan
South Sudanese refugees wait to be registered at a crossing into Ethiopia earlier in 2015. (Photo: UNHCR/R. Riek)

Considering a Palestinian State

Many countries in the United Nations would like to see the Palestinian Arabs gain self-determination and have their own country.  However, many of the ingredients for a failed state currently reside in the political structure of the Palestinian Authority:

  • The Palestinian territories have various stand-alone armies and militias including Hamas and Islamic Jihad
  • No central government, as the west bank of the Jordan River and Gaza strip are administered independently
  • Internal fighting as witnessed in the 2007 rout of Fatah by Hamas forces in Gaza, and various extrajudicial killings between those parties that continued since then
  • No border integrity as bedlam prevails in Gaza, Sinai and Israeli towns near the border of Gaza
  • Lack of functioning economy and widespread unemployment due: to the extremely high percentage of people under 25 years old; and constant war to destroy Israel
  • No presidential or legislative elections, as they were suspended due to the splits mentioned above. The presidential election was last held in 2005 and the president’s term expired a long time ago.

A country built on this framework would likely deteriorate.  Factional fighting to dictate the future of the country would exacerbate. Unemployment would further skyrocket.  Cross-border battles with Israel would escalate and also include the area east of the Green Line, EGL/ west bank of the Jordan River. This region, which already leads the world in the “honor killings” of women, would likely continue to see such murders increase.

It would be a country built in chaos, with people’s dreams dying alongside their lives.

Concrete Steps to Avoid a Failed Palestinian State

Should the Palestinian Arabs hope to achieve a functioning state after self-determination, important steps need to be instituted before the state is formed:

  1. Remove all weaponry from Hamas and other groups. A functioning government must only have a single army. There cannot be a society in which various entities wage internal and external wars.
  2. Ban Hamas. No entity which advocates for murder of minorities should be allowed to sit in any elected office, and no country should have any dealings with any country that seeks destruction of another country. As Hamas advocates for the killing of Jews and calls for the complete destruction of Israel, the party should be banned in its entirety until it renounces both positions completely.
  3. Form new Political Parties and Hold Elections. The Palestinian Arabs have not held presidential elections since 2005 and legislative elections since 2006. As Hamas won legislative elections in 2006 and have polled to win future elections, new parties should be organized that can compete in new elections.

These are the basic steps that must occur for the Palestinian Authority to have a functioning government. Once the central authority rests in a representative body, that entity can negotiate a final status agreement with Israel to create a new state. To minimize the chances that it slip into a failed state, the Palestinian government should further consider the following:

  1. Peace Agreement with Israel. A viable government should have a strong economy, including a flow of people and goods. Due to the separation of the Palestinian territories, it would be most efficient for the government to have a good working relationship with Israel to facilitate commerce.
  2. Minimize Incoming Youth. A Palestinian state would likely want to welcome Arabs whose families once lived in the region. As a large population below age 25 often leads to rampant unemployment and instability, the emphasis on incoming people should be on professionally-trained adults.
  3. Transitional control from UNRWA. UNRWA has kept infant mortality, immunizations, life expectancy and literacy of Palestinian Arabs at among the best rates in the world. Over a period of years, the UN should cede control of the schools and hospitals to Palestinian control.

While the world celebrated the founding of a new country four years ago in South Sudan, the declaration proved a hollow victory for the people. It would be a mistake to push forward another declaration for Palestinian Arabs at this time which would lead ultimately lead to further suffering.  Mayhem with a flag benefits no one.


Related First.One.Through article:

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Disproportionate Defenses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) produced a report in the spring of 2015 about the war between Israel and the Palestinians in the summer of 2014. The UNHRC continued with a debate in June 2015 in which several “delegations strongly condemned Israel’s excessive and disproportionate military aggression against the Palestinians” including from: Egypt; Tunisia; Maldives; Iraq; South Africa; Indonesia; Ireland and Cuba.

This analysis does not directly review “disproportionate force” but disproportionate defense employed by the two sides.

Obligation to Defend

The foremost responsibility of any governmental leadership is to protect its population.  Such defense can be implemented in a variety of ways: a police force or army to maintain order; infrastructure to ensure safety; and intelligence which can guide the appropriate use of manpower and equipment.  The United Nations has been developing a framework for “The Responsibility to Protect” over the past several years.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, only one side proactively protects its citizens, while the other side uses reactive defenses. One side assumes responsibility via using its own resources and capabilities, while the other side relies completely on outside agents.

 

ISRAEL – ACTIVE DEFENSE

Protecting Against Incoming Missiles and Armaments

Bunkers and Bomb Shelters: Israel is unique in the Middle East in establishing a policy of bomb shelters throughout the country. In response to being surrounded to hostile neighbors that have attacked and shelled its people and lands since its inception, houses, schools, hotels, hospitals and even playgrounds are built with bomb shelters.

The Palestinians have not built shelters. Instead, they used their cement to build tunnels with which to attack Israel.

Israel_-_shelter_by_kate_simmons
Playground shelter in Israel
(photo: Kate Simmons)

Iron Dome. Israel developed a new missile defense system called the Iron Dome, and continues to build new air defense systems to protect the country from incoming missiles.

The Palestinians have neither developed nor imported defensive systems. They have only imported offensive weaponry.

irondome
Israeli developed “Iron Dome” Defense System

Blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed a naval blockade around Gaza after the terrorist group Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, seized the land. The blockade has successfully kept out many missiles and other arms from reaching Hamas and ultimately causing death and destruction in Israel.

Protection Against Killers

Security Barrier. In September 2000, the Palestinians began multi-year riots which killed over a thousand Israelis through hundreds of attacks. In response, the Israeli government began to construct a security barrier in 2002 to keep out terrorists who mostly emanated from cities in Judea and Samaria/ east of the Green Line (EGL).

The Palestinians have not built any security barriers from the Israelis. There have been no suicide bombers going from Israel into Gaza or EGL blowing up civilians.

IMG_1805
Stretch of Security Barrier along highway
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Airport Security. Well before the world became attuned to airport security after the attacks on the United States on 9/11/01, Israel established an extensive airport security system. The screening of passengers, x-rays of baggage and other methods were in response to a series of airplane hijackings in the 1970s (a method of terrorism created by the Palestinian Arabs).

The Palestinians do not have an airport and therefore no such security concerns.

plane blowup 1970
Palestinians blow up plane, 1970

Protection Against Lethal Plans

Intelligence. Israelis utilize a wide variety of information sources to uncover plans to attack its country. Whether through a network of Israeli spies, Palestinian informants, money tracking, wiretapping and other means, the Israelis gather information and make assessments on potential Palestinian Arab attacks. It is then able to take preventative action before such attacks occur.

 

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND HAMAS – REACTIVE DEFENSE

Relying on Israeli Sensitivities and Sensibilities

Civilians. As detailed above, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have not instituted proactive tangible means of defending its people. One of the ways it attempts to defend the population is by making it nearly impossible to distinguish between fighters and civilians.

  • The fighters do not typically wear uniforms and can therefore not be distinguished from civilians
  • Men, women and children are all enlisted in the war against Israel
  • Militants fire at Israel from mosques, schools and civilian neighborhoods

Palestinian Arabs hope that Israel will not indiscriminately fire upon everyone. By forcing Israel to take time and extra precautions to target the right attackers, it slows down Israeli defenses during battles.

humanshieldsgaza

Destroying its Own Infrastructure. Hamas built an extensive offensive network of tunnels into Israel which originated in many private homes. By relying on Israelis sensitivities to minimize destruction in civilian neighborhoods, Hamas was able to protect many tunnel openings.

Further, Hamas and other Palestinian Arab groups often booby-trapped homes from which they attacked Israel. While the Palestinian Arabs destroyed their own infrastructure, they slowed down and killed many Israelis who looked to root out the attackers.

Relying on Global Bodies like the United Nations

United Nations. One of the principal methods that the Palestinian Authority uses to defend its population is through global bodies AFTER a war. The United Nations includes 57 Islamic countries (in the OIC) and 22 Arab countries (in the Arab League) which align themselves with the Palestinian Arab cause. Many of those countries do not even recognize the State of Israel. They were instrumental in passing the “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1975 and creating several committees devoted only to Palestinian causes.

The Palestinians turn to the UN to highlight the damage that Israel inflicts on its intentionally defenseless population. It uses deliberate attacks on Israel to provoke premeditated casualties to show the world.

This same UN has not condemned the Palestinian Authority for not properly defending its population. Instead, it recommended the incredulous idea that Israel must give the Arabs the defensive systems like Iron Dome that it developed.

The latest forum that the Palestinian Authority has pursued is the International Criminal Court, the ICC. While it is evident that the Palestinians Arabs definitely committed war crimes in the 2014 War against Israel, it would still sue Israel in the hopes that such action will hurt Israel, further its cause and protect the Palestinian Arabs.


 

As detailed above the two sides in the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict have disproportionate defenses.

  • The Israelis use several proactive approaches; the Palestinians use reactive methods
  • The Israelis rely upon ingenuity and preparedness; the Palestinians rely on Israeli sensitivities and global sympathy
  • The Israelis principally depend on themselves; the Palestinians depend on the world

A discussion of “disproportionate force” cannot be made in a vacuum without discussing “disproportionate defenses”. The global community cannot continue to sanction the acts of a leadership that deliberately deals in its own premeditated casualties.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Israel: Security in a Small Country

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The International Criminal Court for Palestinians and Israelis

The United Nations Audit of Israel

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Summary: Almost every major media outlet refers to the Gaza Strip and the west bank of the Jordan River as “Palestinian Territories”, when in fact, those areas are actually “Israeli territories” and “Palestinian Authority Territories.”

Most places in the world are part-and-parcel of a country.  However, there are situations when a place is administered by a government which has not incorporated the land and assumed full sovereignty.

The United States of America historically had several large territories as the country expanded, including Alaska and Hawaii.  Today, the USA continues to have several territories including:

  • Puerto Rico
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • American Samoa

These territories have some rights and protections of the US government, but not others such as the right to vote.

Israeli Territories and
Palestinian Authority Territories
1995 to Present

It is easy and obvious to understand that there are no “Palestinian Territories”, because there is no such thing as the State of Palestine (as of this writing, in any event).  Most of the area east of the Green Line (EGL/ west bank of the Jordan River, WBJR), is controlled and administered by Israel.

Under the Oslo Accords, EGL was divided into three parts: Areas A, B and C. Area A was handed over to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and it has complete control of that land.  Area C is “Israeli Territory” and is completely controlled by Israel. Area B is a hybrid, which is under the civil administration of the Palestinian Authority, but security control of Israel.

Areas ABC
Breakdown of Areas A, B and C
on the west bank of the Jordan River

Gaza would ostensibly be called “Palestinian Authority Territory”, however, the PA has no control in the area.  The governing party is Hamas, which won elections in 2006 and routed any PA personnel from the region in 2007.  Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Israeli Territories
1967 to 1995

The Oslo Accords between the State of Israel and the PLO started the process of breaking the Israeli territories into areas with local Palestinian Arab control.  Before the Oslo Accords, all of Gaza and EGL/ west bank of the Jordan River (WBJR) were only Israeli territories.

Israel took control of Gaza from Egypt in June 1967 during the Six Day War.  Egypt had amassed a large army and announced its intention of attacking Israel, so Israel preemptively attacked Egypt and seized Gaza.  In response to Israel’s preemptive attack on Egypt, Jordan attacked Israel from the EGL/WBJR. Jordan lost the region and gave up all claims to the land in 1988.

Jordan and Egyptian Territory
1949 to 1967

In May 1948, the Palestinian Arabs and five Arabs armies attacked Israel as it declared independence from Great Britain. At the end of the war in 1949, Jordan assumed control of much of Judea and Samaria in an area which became known as the “west bank of the Jordan River (WBJR)” in the United Nations, ultimately shortened to the “West Bank”.  Jordan annexed that area in 1950, gave all Arabs living there citizenship and expelled all of the Jews from the area, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Egypt assumed control of the Gaza Strip, but did not annex the area.

British Territory 1922 to 1948
Ottoman Territory 1517 to 1922

At the end of World War I, the defeated Ottoman Empire was carved up into several areas (including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan) which were administered by the French and British.  The lands currently known as WBJR and Gaza were part-and-parcel of the British Mandate and had no unique laws or characteristics.  Similarly under Ottoman rule for hundreds of years before the British, those areas were neither divided nor distinct.

As detailed above, there are not, nor have there ever been “Palestinian Territories”. Such terminology inherently upgrades the status of the Palestinian Authority and eliminates the legal role and status that Israel has in Areas B and C.


Related First.One.Through articles

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

The Subtle Discoloration of History: Shuafat

The Legal Israeli Settlements