Israel Lends a Hand, Again

Summary: The Israeli military and civilians come to the aid of people around the world in times of need – even to countries that do not recognize its right to exist.

On April 25, 2015, an enormous earthquake shook Nepal, killing over 5,000 people. Within 48 hours, Israel sent a delegation of medical personnel to help aid in the recovery efforts and treating survivors.

By April 28, Israel had deployed 260 people to Nepal. The entire rest of the world deployed 276 people.

ShaareZedek Nepal
Israelis embark to aid victims of Nepal earthquake,
April 2015

The Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem is playing a leading role as it has on various emergency missions such as in the Philippines (2009), Haiti (2010) and Japan (2011).  The personnel include:

  • Prof. Jonathan Halevy- Director General, Expert in Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Ofer Merin – Deputy Director General and Director of Trauma Services
  • Dr. Tamar Lachish  – Director of Infectious Diseases Unit
  • Dr. Sefi Mendelowitz – Department of Pediatrics
  • Dr. Avi Alpert – Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Prof. Amos Peyser – Director, Department of Orthopedics
  • Dr. Giora Weiser – Pediatric Emergency Department
  • Dr. Harel Arzi – Spine Unit
  • Deganit Kovliner – Nurse, Department of Emergency Medicine

These efforts are a continuation of the emergency medicine that was spear-headed by Dr. David Applebaum.  Dr. Applebaum ran the Shaare Zedek emergency room for many years introducing new methods of managing crises, an expertise developed during the Second Intifada. On the second anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks, Dr. Applebaum came to New York City to help train American doctors in large scale emergency response. He then flew home to Jerusalem for his daughter’s wedding the next day.  That night, as the two of them had dinner together at a cafe, they were both killed in a terrorist bombing.

There is a famous saying that many Christians use from the book of Mark “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  The original text is actually from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18):

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

A musical tribute to the volunteers in Israel who even come to the aid of countries which do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and the memory of Dr. David Applebaum:

“In the many decades that I have been privileged to serve as a physician as well as an IDF officer, I can honestly say that I have never felt this degree of anticipation as for what awaits us in Nepal. While I know it will be a challenging professional and personal experience, we hope it will bring significant relief to those in need and offer a sense of pride for the important role that the IDF and the State of Israel can offer others in this time of need.”

-Professor Jonathan Halevy,
as he awaited the team’s departure from Ben Gurion Airport

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From Promised Land to Promised Home

Summary: God is the original Zionist.

Judaism is a unique religion in many respects:

  • Every other religion is based primarily on faith. Judaism is based primarily on lineage.
  • Every other religion is based on belief. Judaism is based on action.
  • Every other religion is not geographically-bound. Judaism is tied to the land of Israel.

The Old Testament has 613 commandments for Jews to observe. Many of those can only be kept inside the land of Israel. Those commandments relate to the sanctity of the land, as God promised the land to Abraham and the generations after him.

shmita
Observing “Shmita” only in Israel
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Promised Land

The Bible has three sets of promises of the land of Israel for the Jewish people. The first set is God’s original promise to Abraham:

  • “The Lord appeared to Abram and said ‘To your descendants I will give this land’” (Genesis 12:7)

The book of Genesis repeats the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob several times where the land is presented as “an everlasting possession” for the generations to come. (Genesis 17:8).

DSC_0258
The Western Galilee
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Promised Return to the Land

The second set of promises related to the return to Israel from slavery in Egypt. That promise is slightly different than the original promise to the Jewish forefathers:

  • The land is described as being a good land “flowing with milk and honey
  • The land is occupied by others, by the “Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.” (Genesis 3:8)

Hundreds of years earlier, God just told Abraham to go “to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1) without any description of the location or nature of the land.  At the point of the exodus from Egypt, God promised not only freedom from slavery, but to a land of great quality.  Presumably, the land was so good, that others had now moved there while the Jews were trapped in Egypt.  However, God promised to “drive them [the others] out” (Exodus 23:30) and that the Jews will ultimately possess it.

cows
Cows in the Golan
 
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

 Promised Home

The Old Testament ends with yet a third promise: a return from the diaspora to the land of Israel, to their home.

  • The promise includes an ingathering of exiles from “the four quarters of the Earth” (Isaiah 11:12)
  • Israel is no longer only described as simply being a good land, an inhabited land or the land of the Jewish forebears. The land is described as belonging to the people of Israel. The prophets repeatedly describe that God will “bring you home again to your own land” (Jeremiah 29:14)

Home. A place that is established and well-known. That doesn’t require a list of directions of how to get there, nor many adjectives.

It is a place where a people grows up and lives. It is a place of life events, both happy and sad. Where families celebrate, quarrel and mourn. A place with family history and history to be made.

Home is where “house rules” apply; where the house decides what is allowed and denied. It decides what is in the best interest of its inhabitants. It is the safe space where a family comes to find sanctuary from the world at large.

Home is always home, even when people have been away. But especially when they come back.

 DSC_1067
Jerusalem’s Old City
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

A music video about God’s promises of the land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to become a home for the Jewish people.

The Churlish Turkish Leadership

Under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has continued to slide further and further into the extreme right towards militant Islam. It has (coincidentally?) also pushed the country closer to US President Obama and further from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

erdogan hitler

Turkish leader Erdogan on magazine cover

In terms, of the continued suppression of freedom and liberty in Turkey:

The Turkish leader has also led his country into repeated confrontations with Israel due to his adamant support for the terrorist group Hamas, a group sworn to the destruction of Israel:

erodgan netanyahu

The strong rightward shift has not changed the relationship between Erdogan and Obama.

obama erdogan

  • Obama considered Erdogan in his top five friends among international heads of state (January 2012)
  • Obama used his relationship to coerce an apology from Netanyahu to Erdogan for the assailants killed on the flotilla (March 2013)
  • US continued to contort itself to make Turkey happy as the US tried to help Kurdish fighters against ISIS, while Turkey did almost nothing in the fight, as it despised the Kurds (October 2014)

As described above, the Netanyahu apology to Erdogan did nothing to repair relations between Israel and Turkey and nothing slowed Erdogan’s crackdown on freedom in Turkey.  The Obama administration twisted itself every-which-way to excuse terrible Turkish policies (whether its treatment of the Kurds, failure to support war on ISIS, suppression of freedoms at home…) while it picks on Israel for matters of protocol.

To listen to liberal media and democrats these days, you would think that it was Israel that was acting “churlish” for matters of protocol as opposed to specific attacks on Israel.

Here is the satirical music video by First.One.Through about the sad state of the world, where victims must apologize to the aggressors (music by Joe Cocker):


Related First.One.Through articles:

NY Times support of Erdogan over Netanyahu: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/new-york-times-talking-turkey/

 

Israel, Mother Nature’s Son

Judaism is celebrating its New Year’s tonight – for trees.

DSC_0878

Almond trees blooming in the Galilee

You will not find Jews sticking candles into tree bark, or trees pounding piñatas held aloft by tall people. But the holiday exists as a milestone, typically with people eating various fruits which were grown in Israel.

Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz wrote an article about how the New Year for Trees – Tu b’Shvat – evolved over the centuries. It began as a note on the calendar and became more significant as Jews were evicted from the holy land. People made a deliberate effort to connect with the land of Israel, so the holiday grew into a minor festival.

Today, we have a have a more environmentally-aware conception of the day. Rabbi Steinsaltz writes that we acknowledge “that all living creatures — plants included — have a connection with the human spirit, a common bond of life. It means that all the forms of life around us are not only meant to furnish us with materials for our subsistence. They actually share a definition of life with us, of growth, or bearing fruit.”

The modern country of Israel has been deeply connected to the land since the early pioneers tilled the land and fought off malaria in the swamps in the north.  Today the country stands as a leader in environmentally-friendly projects:

Here is the celebratory First-One-Through music video with music by the Beatles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7-HFK5KTDQ

It is remarkable to consider that this same land went through so many cycles in its history. The bible often referred to the land as “flowing with milk and honey”. The biblical commentator Ramban taught that that expression referred to the nectar in the fruit that was so rich and over-flowing, due to an extremely fertile land.

However, just 150 years ago, the land was in serious neglect under the Ottomans. In 1867, Mark Twain remarked while he visited that the holy land was “A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.

The modern state of Israel can be proud and reflect on its accomplishments during the New Year for Trees.

Enjoy the holiday.

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

Summary: In their eagerness to give Palestinian Arabs self-determination, Europeans have begun to symbolically recognize Palestine as a country.  However, the Europeans have failed to recognize that Palestinian actions are against the law and vision for peace.

During the months of October and November 2014, a number of European countries took symbolic steps to recognize Palestine as a distinct independent country. What do they really recognize and how does it fit with their world vision and laws?

 Holocaust Denial

Holocaust denial and its trivialization is part of the Palestinian culture, starting with its acting president, Mahmoud Abbas.

  • Abbas spent several years writing his doctorate research on Holocaust denial; that phd paper is taught at the Palestinian Authority.
  • In April 2014, Abbas continued his pattern of belittling the Holocaust by stating that the Palestinians can appreciate the Holocaust because they suffer from similar “ethnic discrimination and racism” from Israel.
  • In September 2014 Abbas said Israel was engaged in a “war of genocide” against the Palestinians,
  • The major political party for the Palestinians, Hamas, which runs Gaza, prohibits the teaching of Holocaust studies in its schools, even though it is a standard part of the UNRWA school program.

This denial of the Holocaust is considered illegal in many European countries including: Austria; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Hungary; Israel; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Spain; and Switzerland.

abbas holocaust book
Mahmoud Abbas’ Holocaust Denial book, available on Palestinian Authority website

 Anti-Semitism

The Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic group on the planet.

  • A poll published by the Anti Defamation League in April 2014 found that almost every single Palestinian Arab- 93% – harbor anti-Semitic views.
  • The Hamas charter is the most anti-Semitic and racist charter on earth. It reads like a combination of Hitler’s Mein Kamf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a Jihadist Manifesto. It openly calls for the killing of all Jews and the destruction of the Jewish State.
  • The Palestinians support Hamas with this charter, electing them to 58% of the parliament in 2006 and backing the party in every poll since that time.
  • Palestinian leadership and clergy often call Jews names (like “sons of pigs and apes”) on state run television.
  • Palestinian law prohibits Jews from stepping onto college campuses in the West Bank.
  • Palestinian law and Abbas have made it a crime to sell land to Jews.
  • Abbas has stated he will not permit a single Israeli to live in a new state of Palestine.

The United Nations ran its first ever discussion about the growing problem of anti-Semitism in January 2015. Several countries have laws specifically banning anti-Semitism (beyond general laws against hate speech) including: Austria; France; Mexico; Romania; Spain; Sweden and Switzerland.

Pal nazi2
Palestinians Hoist Nazi Swastika

 Terrorism

Attacking Israeli civilians has been a fundamental charge of the Palestinians.

Many countries label Hamas a terrorist organization including: the US; Canada; Australia; Israel; Japan; the United Kingdom; Egypt and Jordan. The European Union also categorized Hamas as a terrorist organization until December 2014, when it decided to reconsider the designation. The United Nations has also created task forces to deal with terrorism that are intended to cut off all support.

dalal_popular_inauguration
Square named after Murderer


To summarize the state of the Palestinians in 2015: it is run by a Holocaust denier who has suspended elections while he instigates violence; the ruling party in parliament is more openly anti-Semitic and genocidal than the Nazis when they were elected in 1933, and has called for the complete destruction of a member state of the United Nations; and the populace is the most anti-Semitic in the world.

It is one thing to wish for a group of people to have self-determination. But does such a hateful, violent jihadist group which seeks the destruction of a member state of the United Nations deserve recognition?

If Europe and the world truly care about Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism and terrorism as current laws declare, they must confront the reality of the current state of Palestinian Arabs and demand fundamental changes before it can be given any recognition on the world stage.



Sources:

Abbas Holocaust denial paper: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143752#.VMuN-ps5BTw

Holocaust denial criminal offense: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial

Abbas calling a “genocide” by Israel: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/09/abbas-israel-waging-war-genocide-gaza-201492616952287680.html

Palestinian law banning the sale of land to Jews:

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-affirms-death-penalty-for-land-sales-to-Israelis

Left-wing article on left-wing journalist barred from Bir Zeit University: http://jfjfp.com/?p=65375

Birzeit University bans Jews: http://www.timesofisrael.com/haaretz-writer-booted-from-palestinian-school-because-shes-israeli/

Calling Jews “sons of pigs and apes” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHhG1IyfqXg#t=13

Hamas charter: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

Palestinian poll September 2014: http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/496

  • If presidential elections, Hamas would win and Abbas would place third in a three-person race
  • 81% Hamas’s “way of resisting occupation”

Palestinian terrorists attack Jews all over world: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/israel-news/timeline-attacks-synagogues

United Nations task force on terrorism: http://www.un.org/en/terrorism/

ADL anti-Semitism report: http://global100.adl.org/public/ADL-Global-100-Executive-Summary.pdf

Laws against anti-Semitism: http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/Legislation%20Against%20Antisemitism%20and%20Denial%20of%20the%20Holocaust

UN discussion on anti-Semitism: http://hosted2.ap.org/ORBEN/*/Article_2015-01-22-UN–United%20Nations-Combatting%20Anti-Semitism/id-358f417966bc4fb5abfc89d95535fc39#.VMhQASyVnEY

EU reverses on Hamas terrorist label: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/world/europe/hamas-palestinian-statehood-vote-european-parliament.html?_r=0

Related First One Through articles:

Europe punishing Israel instead of Palestinians to advance peace process: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/european-narrative-over-facts/

Failure of Europe in the peace process: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/failing-negotiation-102-europe/

Abbas knows Racism: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/abbas-knows-racism/

Palestinians are not “resorting” to violence: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/the-palestinians-arent-resorting-to-violence-they-are-murdering-and-waging-war/

Abbas shift on the Holocaust: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/frightening-new-york-times-42714-article-on-mahmoud-abbas-shifts-on-holocaust/

Hamas is more extreme than the Nazis: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/extreme-and-mainstream-germany-1933-west-bank-gaza-2014/

Music video on Hamas (music by CSNY):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF2fcaSPB6M

Mad World of Palestinian Quality of Life Statistics

The United Nations had another productive year in 2014, condemning Israel 20 times compared to the rest of the world 4 times in total. This was on the heels of 2013 when it condemned Israel 21 times and the rest of the world only four times in total.

One would imagine that the quality of life of Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank was the worst on the planet by a far margin. Not only does the UN censure Israel multiples of the rest of the world, but it has put into place permanent structures to protect the Palestinians:

  • The only people to get a designated committee in the General Assembly, Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
  • The only people with a special Ad Hoc committee, Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
  • The only people with a designated Special Committee, Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

These unique committees and agencies further managed to create new definitions to advance the Palestinian cause such as a redefinition of “refugee” only for Arabs pre-1948, to mean people who left a land instead of a country.  They compound the absurdity by enabling these “refugees” and their children, grandchildren and additional generations to obtain benefits courtesy of the world.

With all of the unique concerns of the world for the Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza, it is amazing how well these Arabs are doing compared to the other countries in the world by various measures. Here are some rankings and statistics from the CIA World Fact book comparing 229 countries and territories:

  • Population Growth rate: Gaza (#13) and the West Bank (52) have among the highest population growth rates in the world. Compare them to Jordan (#4), Yemen (20), Turkey (108) and Tunisia (126)
  • Birth rate: Gaza (#35) and West Bank (67) are much higher than many Arab and Muslim countries: Yemen (#39), Jordan (53), Tunisia (112) and Turkey (114)
  • Death rate: Palestinians have the lowest death rates in the world Gaza (#220) and West Bank (#215). Jordan ranks 212, Tunisia 167, Turkey 162 and Yemen 153.
  • Net Migration: Compared to the world and the volatile Middle East, West Bank (#84) and Gaza (#108) are fairly stable, compared to Jordan (5), Yemen (37), Turkey (71) and Tunisia (161).
  • Life expectancy at birth: West Bank (#91) and Gaza (#109) have higher life expectancies than Jordan (#117), Turkey (124) and Yemen (175) and about the same as Tunisia (92).
  • Infant Mortality: Palestinian Arabs have much lower infant mortality rates with Gaza (#105) and West Bank (#117) much lower than Yemen (38), Tunisia (78), Turkey (84) and Jordan (104).
  • Unemployment: the Arabs in West Bank (#169) and Gaza (170) have high unemployment for people aged 15-24, as it has one of the highest percentages of its population under 20 years old, like Yemen. Turkey ranks #101, Jordan 133, Tunisia 151 and Yemen ranks 188.
  • Literacy rate: Gaza (96.4%) and the West Bank (95.6%) compare very favorably to other countries including Jordan (93.4%), Tunisia (88.3%) and Yemen (63.9%), while lower than Turkey (98.8%).

How do the 100+ countries who fair much worse than Gaza and West Bank feel about the unique attention that the Palestinians get? Countries like Tunisia and Yemen probably don’t mind, if the attention comes at the expense of Israel.

 

The First One Through political music video with music by Tears for Fears:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I943cOvrvm4

 


Sources:

CIA Fact Book: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2002rank.html

Literacy rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

UN condemns Israel 20 times in 2014: http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/12/17/2014-at-the-un-20-resolutions-against-israel-3-on-rest-of-the-world/

United Nations committees: http://www.un.org/en/ga/about/subsidiary/committees.shtml

Failing Negotiation 101: The United States

One Party that can deliver

US Secretary of State John Kerry invested heavily in Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks from July 2013 to March 2014. In the wake of the failure, many people looked to blame one of the two parties for the talks’ failure. A recent New York Times article quoted Israeli left-wing politician Tzipi Livni as blaming the Palestinians for the collapsed negotiations (a surprising statement, as in Israeli election season she only criticizes her political opponent Benjamin Netanyahu.)

In reality, it was the US that was to blame.

The US did not fail for lack of effort. It did not fail in trying to find creative solutions. It failed because the entire basis of having negotiations in the current format was a fool’s errand.

The process was doomed from the outset because Secretary Kerry deliberately ignored Negotiation Rule 101: negotiations between parties that can deliver. A negotiation between parties without authority is meaningless. A person without authority or control could theoretically promise anything – but deliver nothing. That was precisely what Secretary Kerry insisted upon when he pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with a straw man named Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas has no mandate. Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four year term as president of the Palestinian Authority in January 2005. After his term expired in January 2009, no new elections were held. He no longer has a mandate.

Abbas has no backing. The reason that no new elections for the PA have been held is that everyone knows that Abbas and his Fatah party would lose. One year after Abbas won the presidency, his Fatah party was trounced in legislative elections. Hamas won 58% of the parliament. Every poll taken since then has shown that Abbas would lose in a presidential election.

Abbas has no control. Gaza, with its population of 1.7 million people, is under complete control of Hamas. Hamas routed all PA forces in 2007 and Abbas has no ability to control any activities from the region. Hamas controls thousands of missiles which it fires at Israeli population centers with or without Abbas approval. Therefore, what “peace” can Abbas deliver?

Despite these enormous glaring flaws, the US pushed forward a peace process that was doomed from the start because of the very essence of one of the negotiating parties. Netanyahu was forced to sit across from a counter-party who could not deliver any compromise that he may have offered. As Netanyahu’s authority was clear, any negotiating point that he made was secure; Abbas could “bank” every concession. However, any compromise that Abbas would theoretically offer, could be negated by the Palestinians. Just as the Palestinians complained that they were never asked about the British Mandate in 1922, they could once again complain that the public was never consulted about the peace process, as a mothballed politician without backing negotiated the agreement.

Further, Abbas’ lack of control meant that he had no means of enforcing the agreement. Israel would be left (at best) with making peace with those parties that accepted the peace agreement, but still be at war with those that rejected the agreement. With Abbas unable to enforce the compromises and the peace, it would continue to fall on Israel to confront those Palestinians that were still at war with the country. Noting how the world reacted to Israel’s defensive operation against Gaza in 2014, could Israel have any sense of security that it could effectively counter-act Palestinian aggression post a mock peace deal?

Secretary Kerry compounded the mistake of the bogus negotiation by building up expectations. His earnest and persistent involvement aggravated the talk’s failure. By investing so heavily in the process, Kerry made the failure that much more pronounced. While there was no direct line linking the talk’s collapse to the July-August battles with Hamas, the environment was poisoned.

 

Abbas gets no R-E-S-P-E-C-T music video (music by Aretha Franklin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LipAKFsUNq8

 


Sources:

NY Times on Tzipi Livni impression on talks failure: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/opinion/roger-cohen-why-israeli-palestinian-peace-failed.html?_r=0

Related First One Through articles:

Abbas 10-year anniversary for a 4 year term: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/the-disappointing-46-anniversary/

 

 

The Green Line

Much of the ongoing debate about the Israeli-Arab conflict surrounds Israel’s borders. The Arabs seek the creation of  a new state of Palestine, up to the “1967 borders.”  That term has also been used by US President Obama as a basis for a peace formula.  However, the term and plan are flawed at its core, as the “1967 borders” were deliberately and specifically never declared borders by the warring parties in 1948-9, for different reasons.

In 1922, the predecessor to the United Nations declared in the British Mandate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people“.  Because of the 1936-9 Arab riots, the British back-tracked from the original international plan and began to devise a solution that created only small enclaves for Jews within an Arab state.  By 1947, their actions set in motion a compromise plan by the United Nations that would have created distinct Jewish and Arab states.  That plan was rejected by the Arabs. When the British withdrew from Palestine in May 1948, the Jews declared an independent state and five Arab countries went to war against Israel to destroy the nascent Jewish state.

The end of the war in 1949 did not fix borders, but established armistice lines where the fighting concluded. No peace deals were signed between the warring parties as each sought ultimately different borders: the Arabs still sought the complete destruction of the Jewish state; the Israelis wanted borders that were more defensible.

The 1949 Egyptian Armistice Agreement stated clearly that: “The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary,…The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Line is to delineate the line beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move.”  The Jordanian Agreement had similar language.

From Israel’s perspective, as it was subject to constant attacks, riots, wars and blockades to destroy the country, it viewed the 1949 Armistice lines as insufficient to provide it effective security.  The sentiment was best summarized by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eben to the UN Security Council in 1967, after the Arab armies once again set out to destroy Israel.

Why does accuracy matter?  How would a Palestinian call for the establishment of a new state of Palestine along the “1949 Armistice Lines” or the “Green Line” be any different than calling for such action along fictitious “1967 Borders”? Because the 1949 Armistice Lines underscores fundamental truths:

  • that Palestine never existed as a distinct country
  • that Palestine was not ruled by Arabs, but by the British and Ottomans before 1948
  • that five Arab armies from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq attacked Israel in 1948 in an attempt to destroy it
  • the “West Bank” is a newly defined term on newly conquered territory
  • highlights that the “Palestine Question” has always been a civil war- about the allocation of land between Jews and Arabs in an area that was once part of the Ottoman Empire
  • the “armistice lines” were never a border and never intended to be a border

The deliberate use of the term “1967 borders” gives a false impression that those lines were at any time approved and permanent. Further, using the term “West Bank” for the area east of the Green Line, makes that area appear to have been an actual Palestinian Arab entity, and as such, implies that the “occupied territory” is occupied Palestinian Arab land. Those conclusions are all false, and all fall away by using the proper Green Line/Armistice Lines terminology.


Sources:

Palestinian call for 1967 borders: http://palestinianmissionuk.com/news/president-abbas-calls-on-quartet-to-recognize-1967-borders/

Obama call for 1967 borders: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/middleeast/20speech.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

1922 UN British Mandate: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/2FCA2C68106F11AB05256BCF007BF3CB

1939 British White Paper: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/brwh1939.asp

1947 UN partition plan: http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/7F0AF2BD897689B785256C330061D253

1949 Egypt-Israel Armistice agreement: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm01.asp

1949 Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm03.asp

1967 Abba Eben to UN Security Council on constant threat of Arab states: http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/mfadocuments/yearbook1/pages/19%20statement%20to%20the%20security%20council%20by%20foreign%20mi.aspx

1969 Abba Eben Auschwitz borders: http://www.mefacts.com/outgoing.asp?x_id=10191

2002 Arab peace initiative does not use the term “1967 borders”: http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm

FirstOneThrough article on “West Bank” and “Judea and Samaria”: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/names-and-narrative-the-green-line-west-bank-judea-and-samaria/

Changing the Israeli Knesset

The Israeli government is heading for another change. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the firing of two cabinet members and lawmakers voted for the effective dissolution of the current legislature.

The last Israeli elections held in January 2013 brought several changes to Israeli politics:

  • Likud combined with the Yisrael Beitenu party to win a collective 31 seats (21 for Likud and 11 for Israel Bietenu)
  • A new party, Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid won 19 seats
  • Bayit Yehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, continued to grow in strength, up to 12 seats
  • The Shas party was excluded from the government for the first time since 2006
  • The ruling coalition deliberately excluded the ultra-orthodox (Haredi) parties as they attempted to force changes in their participation in community service or military draft

The main factors that motivated the Israeli public was the economy, which was viewed as leaving too many people behind. As such, it was the first election in Israeli history that did not focus on security or a peace process. The Arab Spring enveloping the Middle East, and the inability of acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to reign in Hamas and manage Gaza, made the possibility of a resolution with Palestinian Arabs seem remote.

 

The new elections are called for March 17, 2015. Current polls suggest that Likud would win 22 seats (up from 20), Yesh Atid winning 9 seats (down from 19), Jewish Home would win 17 seats (up from 12), making for a more-right leaning coalition.

Enjoy the FirstOneThrough music video with music by David Bowie: The Changed Israeli Knesset.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMPQqkR_D04


Sources:

Netanyahu poll: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-02/netanyahu-to-call-early-israel-vote-fire-ministers.html

 

An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/Palestine

The questions of word choice and chosen narrative dominates much of the discourse around the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, simple statistics do not suffer and sit in the same simmering pot as poisoned positions.

Below is a music video with music by Seal with a basic question: “Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

  1. Under the Ottomans, the Muslim population in Palestine barely grew from 1800 to 1922. The rate of growth was effectively births minus deaths (meaning no Muslims moved to Palestine).
  2. Jewish population growth in Palestine BEFORE THE BRITISH MANDATE took effect was twice the Muslim population growth (meaning Jews were the only people who moved to Palestine, well before the mandate).
  3. The expanding Jewish aliyahs to Israel after the mandate came from countries OTHER THAN ENGLAND (meaning that the “creation of a Jewish homeland” as dictated under the San Remo agreement, was NOT a colonization effort, as the Jews did NOT come from England).
  4. Jews did not come to Israel as a reaction to the Holocaust- they already constituted 31% of the country in 1945.
  5. By the time World War II was over, the growth of Jews in Israel was equally from NATURAL population growth, as from aliyah (further undermining the claim that the Holocaust had anything to do with the creation of Israel).
  6. The population growth of Muslims in the region, ONLY started under Israeli rule in 1967 (the claims of ethnic cleansing are not only insulting but completely opposite the actual population statistics).
  7. Jerusalem has had a majority of Jews since 1866 (the claim that Israel is “Judaizing” the city is not simply insulting about their holiest city, it has no merit on the basis of simple numbers).
  8. The only time the Christian population in Jerusalem declined over the past century, was during the period of Jordanian/Palestinian rule 1949-1967.
  9. The Muslim population in Jerusalem exploded since Israel reunified the city in 1967. Their growth far surpasses the growth of Jews or Christians (not only has there been no “ethnic cleansing” in Israel, there has been none in Jerusalem).
  10. Compared to all of the surrounding countries which house Palestinians, the Palestinian population is not only growing faster in Israel/WB/Gaza than in any other region, it is the only place where they are growing faster than the host country.

The music video with music by Seal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI5l9V0uLEc


Sources:

FirstOneThrough article on “Who’s New?”: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/whos-new-everybody/

aliyah1918