31 August 2017

It’s time our embassy was relocated to Jerusalem

A message from Bridges for Peace, Christians for Israel and ICEJ, and Christian Friends of Israel Communities, 20 July 2017:

Over the last twelve months a series of meetings has been held at which Australian pro-Israel Christians have focused on the important ways in which we can express pro-actively our support of Israel, especially in these days when there is virulent international condemnation of a nation that is so tiny, yet huge in the heart and purposes of God. 

As the United Nations continues to demonstrate its at times bizarre irrelevance and hostility in matters relating to Israel, 2017 is shaping to be a critical, historic and indeed prophetic year for Australia - and Aussies - to be seen as strong and dependable in standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel.
This year is significant for its many anniversaries for the Jewish world: 120 years since the first Zionist Congress; 100 years since the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade in Be’er-sheva; 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN partition vote; and 50 years since the miraculous Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem.

Those of us who are Christian supporters of Israel now have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to stand with Israel and the Jewish people, building on the first ever visit - yes, in 2017 - by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Australia, when Benjamin Netanyahu came to Sydney in February.

A smaller core group of leaders has met twice this year, and not surprisingly our focus has been on Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.  Sadly, Australia’s official position on the status of Jerusalem has been in keeping with that of the rest of the world, which is overwhelmingly anti-Israel and continues to withhold recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  It is time to end the double standard where Israel is the only country that does not get to choose its own capital. 

The prophecies of Zechariah were written around 2500 years ago, predicting a future day when the world’s focus would be on Jerusalem, when “all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3) - as we consistently see whenever the United Nations meets.  The warning to the nations in verse 9 is equally clear.  As we consider the geo-political and spiritual aspects of current ongoing Middle East hostilities, I have no doubt that the time-frame of this prophecy is upon us.

As I write, the battle is being joined over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the right of Jews even to pray at their holiest site.  The recent UNESCO resolutions denying the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem and Hebron, the burial ground of Israel’s “fathers and mothers”, have found a deeply troubling echo in former Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s obsessive and incomprehensible slamming of Israel for, amongst other things, "Judaising" the "great Arab city" of Jerusalem.

I encourage you to pray
Psalm 55:9 over this situation and any others that would speak and murmur against Israel from our cities, especially Canberra: Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city.”  And praise God for the motion from the Victorian Liberal State Council with a sheer absolute majority to strongly support the relocation of our Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

I want now to focus on the recently raised petition to the Australian Senate requesting our Parliament to do just that - to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem, thereby demonstrating our 100 years of mateship with Israel.  This is a bold and exciting initiative that we strongly believe is of the Lord.  We are receiving growing endorsement for this endeavour from Jewish organisations in Australia and are delighted with their positive and affirming response.

The relocation of embassies to their capital city Jerusalem is a paramount matter for the government of Israel - an issue all of Israel, and Jews everywhere, long to see addressed.  Should the Australian government initiate such a move for its own embassy rather than in response to an Israeli request, it would reinforce immeasurably the existing strong friendship between the two nations and be an unmistakable demonstration of  Australia’s standing before God as a “sheep nation” (Matthew 25:31-46).

You are urged to read carefully both the petition covering letter and the petition itself, and if you agree with it add your name, address and signature.  You can then play your part in helping others to sign by downloading multiple copies of the blank petition and seeking many, many other signatures so that we have a real impact upon our parliament and our nation.  And don’t forget to write individually to your local Senator and local Member of the Federal House of Representatives in support of the petition. 
Please also send the covering letter and the petition on to your own contacts and networks, encouraging everyone to do just what you have done.  Those of us who will be in Beer-sheva on the very significant date of 31 October 2017 will also seek signatures from the thousands of Australians who will be gathering there for the commemorative events associated with the 100th anniversary of the Light Horse charge.  The latest date for the petitions to be received is 11 November, which being Armistice Day will surely resonate well with many folk.

The petition responses will be carefully reviewed and collated before being taken to Canberra for presentation in Parliament around the beginning of December.  How very timely that would be if on 1 December President Donald Trump chose not to sign the waiver delaying for another six months the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.  Something to pray into, for sure!

As Christian supporters of Israel, may we never forget what God has said in 1 Samuel 2:30 - “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.”  May we all be among those whom God will indeed honour and bless as we stand with and bless Israel, and in so doing honour our God who declared in Genesis 12:3 that He will bless those who bless Abraham and his offspring through Isaac, the Jewish people.

Keith Buxton
Principal Petitioner

29 August 2017

UK Labour set to ditch call to recognise Palestinian state and criticism of "illegal" settlements

From the Jewish Chronicle, August 25, 2017, by Lee Harpin:

The [UK] Labour party is set to ditch demands for the “immediate” recognition of a Palestinian state along with any criticism of “illegal” Israeli settlements in policies due to be debated at its annual conference next month.

Draft text to be put before the party’s national policy forum in Brighton reiterates support for a two-state solution in the region and avoids any direct criticism of Israel.

...The policy, which is expected to be heavily criticised by anti-Zionist groups within the party, reads:
“In Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution: a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.”
...Despite attempts by supporters of the hard-left Momentum group to establish explicit anti-Israel policies in Labour branches across the country, party leaders have largely devoted their attention to domestic issues.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, delivered a carefully worded speech during a Commons debate on Israel and the Palestinians last month, which seemed to suggest a new desire for the party to take a more balanced position.

Ahead of the general election, Labour faced criticism over its biased draft manifesto stance on Israel and the Palestinians. The initial version, focusing on Israeli actions and making no mention of Palestinian terrorism, led to a row in the Shadow Cabinet and the final manifesto made clear the party would call for “an end to rocket and terror attacks”. But it also pledged a Labour government would “immediately recognise the state of Palestine”.

Video: Dr. Eran Lerman at the Sydney Institute

29 August 2017

Israeli strategic analyst Dr. Eran Lerman's recent talk at the Sydney Institute was broadcast on Sky News' A-PAC channel.

He discusses Israel's situation in an ever-changing Middle East.
Click here to view (58 minutes)

28 August 2017

WA Labor votes to back Palestinian state

From The Australian, 29 August 2017, by Troy Bramston:

Federal Labor’s current position reiterates support for a ‘two-state solution’ for Israel and Palestine.
West Australian Labor has ­become the fifth branch of the party to support recognition of a Palestinian state without con­ditions, caveats or qualifications.
This all but ensures the next ­national conference will urge a Labor government to recognise such a state. The motion, adopted by the state conference on Sunday, “supported the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist within secure and recognised borders” but added unequivocally that it “urges the next Labor government to recognise Palestine”.
The resolution, initially moved by senator Sue Lines but amended by state MP Stephen Price, mirrored that adopted by the NSW Labor conference last month.
It represents a different position to Labor leader Bill Shorten, and his Victorian Labor right faction, who are likely to have to ­accept a significant change in Labor’s position in support of a Palestinian state without stating that recognition should be part of a two-state peace process.
Federal Labor’s current position reiterates support for a “two-state solution” and states that a future government is ­required only to consult with “like-minded” nations before taking the step of formally recognising a Palestinian state. That position will be ­challenged at next year’s national conference.
Former Queensland Labor vice-president Wendy Turner told The Australian that the West Australian conference was another “strong signal” to federal Labor, following the NSW, Queensland and ACT conferences last month, and Tasmania earlier this year. “It now means that we are hopeful of getting a new resolution nat­ionally that recognises Palestine and will be acted upon by a Shorten government,” she said.
...Steve Lieblich of the Jewish Community Council of Western Australia said support for a non-viable state was effectively rewarding terrorism.
“The whole concept of recognising Palestine is part of a global campaign trying to destroy Israel,” he said. “It will only prolong the conflict. I don’t believe Labor is ­really thinking this through.”...

27 August 2017

The moron fringe of Labor sticks its ill-informed nose in, again

The WA State Labor resolution today, on the prospective recognition of a new Arab Palestinian state, like similar State Labor resolutions before it, is an ill-informed, irrelevant, ignorable intrusion into the politics of the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Thankfully, the well-informed, principled members of the Party, like Senator Glenn Sterle, Tim Hammond, Simon Millman, and others, persuaded the conference to reject a virulently anti-Israel resolution proposed by the wackos - one which would have served no-one's interests but the terrorists of the region (especially not those of the Palestinian Arabs)

There, we have a region aflame with murderous conflict: 
  • 700,00 Syrians have been slaughtered by their own government in a disintegrated Syria; 
  • Libya and Iraq have also disintegrated; Turkey and Qatar spread poisonous Muslim-Brotherhood ideology through the media and the barrels of guns; 
  • Iran pursues its genocidal, hegemonic agenda, with the threat of nuclear arms, from the Gulf to the Mediterranean
... and the moron fringe of WA Labor, against the interests of the hapless, impoverished Arabs of Palestine, choose to exacerbate and prolong their unnecessary conflict by toying with the possibility of rewarding terrorism and Islamist totalitarianism with the recognition of the Australian Labor Party.... it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad....

22 August 2017

Deconstructing a fake "Friend of Palestine"

Mike Khizam op-ed in Adelaide Advertiser: A Deconstruction

Gareth Narunsky

Tuesday 22 August 2017
In an online op-ed for the Adelaide Advertiser on Friday 11 August, AIJAC guest Dr Eran Lerman congratulated the South Australian Legislative Council for rightly calling for a negotiated outcome between Israel and the Palestinian Authority prior to a Palestinian state being recognised.
Presumably in response to this, Australian Friends of Palestine Association executive officer Mike Khizam had his own piece published on the Advertiser's website on Monday 14 August.
While Dr Lerman used nuance and reason to make his point, Khizam relied on anti-Israel canards, missing context and blatant mistruths to press his own misinformed views.
There is much wrong with the piece, but I will focus on a few key issues:
The new motion effectively supports business as usual for Israel and its fifty year occupation of the Palestinian territories. It only supports recognition at the end of negotiations; at the end of a currently non-existent peace process.
The peace process at the moment is most definitely stalled, but whose fault is this? Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu frequently repeats an open invitation for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the negotiating table without preconditions.
In 2008, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud made Abbas an unprecedented final status offer, which gave Palestinians land equivalent to all of the West Bank and Gaza after land swaps and included the painful concession of giving up Jerusalem's Old City to international control. He told Abbas, "it will be 50 years before there will be another Israeli prime minister that will offer you what I am offering you now. Don't miss this opportunity". Abbas never responded. Recently, Abbas described his response to that offer in an interview with the following words, "I rejected it out of hand."
In 2010, the United States requested a 10-month settlement construction freeze to coax Abbas to the table; he waited nine months before entering negotiations, and even then only wanted to discuss extending the freeze.
Martin Indyk, Chief US negotiator during the 2014 negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, told The Atlantic in July 2014: "I saw him [Netanyahu] sweating bullets to find a way to reach an agreement." But Abbas simply walked away.
Hence it is Abbas who refuses to negotiate in good faith, and it is Abbas who walked away from negotiations in 2008, 2010 and 2014. Similarly, his predecessor Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's offers in 2000 and 2001. So if the peace process is stalled, it certainly isn't Israel's fault. Yet Mike Khizam wants to reward the Palestinian Authority for its consistent intransigence and refusal to negotiate in good faith.
Recognition is designed to help force the Israelis to engage in genuine negotiations and to stop activities, like settlement building on Palestinian land, that undermine the possibility of peace.
The Israelis are not shunning negotiations and as for settlement building undermining the possibility of peace, as we have demonstrated here, settlements take up 2% of the West Bank's land no new settlements have been built since 1999. Furthermore, construction that has occurred In the last eight years under the Netanyahu government, always within existing settlement boundaries, has in fact barely kept up with natural population growth.
Regarding "settlement building on Palestinian land", under the Oslo Accords, there are no restrictions on Israel building in Area C of the West Bank. Article 5, Section 3 of the Accords, which specifies what will be discussed during permanent status negotiations, makes it clear that the future of the settlements would be resolved only through direct negotiations between the two parties. Furthermore, it is generally accepted - even by the Palestinians - that under a future agreement, Israel would retain the main settlement blocs of Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel, compensating the Palestinians with land swaps.
Even Peace Watch's Lior Amihai said in a 2014 interview that despite settlements, "if the parties were to reach an agreement today then the two-state solution is very possible."
Our recognition of Palestine does not impose peace on Israel.
It is hard to disagree, recognising Palestine doesn't impose peace on anyone. On the contrary, it attempts to give the Palestinians statehood without any obligation to make peace. With no expectations placed upon the Palestinians, it leaves Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority thinking they are free to continue on a path of intransigence, rejectionism and incitement against Israel. We have seen the results of such a path, most recently in Halamish where three members of the Salomon family were brutally murdered in their home by a Palestinian terrorist whose actions were a direct result of such incitement. Furthermore, this murderer will now receive a US $3120 monthly salary as a reward from the Palestinian Authority.
Mike, you're right. Recognising Palestine certainly doesn't impose peace.
[Israel] has been doing this for fifty years.
Khizam would have readers believe it's all Israel's fault that there has been no solution to the conflict over the last 50 years. Never mind that Israel tried to return Gaza and the West Bank to the Arab world immediately after capturing them in 1967, only to be met with the infamous "three no's" from the Arab World - no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.
Time and time again since the Oslo Accords, Israel has sought to settle the dispute once and for all. Arafat rejected offers in 2000 and 2001, Abbas rejected the offer in 2008, refused to negotiate in 2010 and the 2014 negotiations were shuttered before there was a chance for real progress. Israel's total unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was met with rockets and terror tunnels rather than peace.
It is only when the Palestinians own up to their own failings, renounce incitement and terror, accept that Israel is here to stay and return to negotiations in good faith, that there can be progress towards real peace.
Palestinians are desperate for peace, for normality, for security, and for a future for their children.
I don't doubt everyday Palestinians are indeed desperate for these things. But their leadership clearly is not. This is a leadership that spreads incitement and rejectionism among its people, through PA-controlled media, children's television programs and in schools. As above, it is a leadership that pays salaries to terrorists and their families. The same leadership recently named a children's camp after a terrorist who murdered 37 people.
And this is a leadership who, when offered in 2008 a peace deal giving them everything they claim to desire, reacted by, in the words of PA President Abbas, rejecting it "out of hand."
If the Palestinian Authority truly wanted a future for its people, it would have long ago turned its efforts towards building a state for them instead of extending every effort to delegitimise, incite against and demonise the Jewish one.
In 1948 they lost 78 per cent of their country to the new state of Israel...
Palestine was not and has never been a country. The name "Palestine" is not Arabic; it was given to the area by Hadrian in 135 AD after the conquest of Judea. Over the centuries various foreign empires - from the Byzantines to the Umayyads to the Crusaders to the Mamaluks - claimed control over the geographical area that was only occasionally known as Palestine, but never anything resembling a state or other autonomous entity.
After it was liberated from Ottoman rule, the British ruled over what they called the Palestine Mandate (which also included what is now Jordan) from 1920 until 1948. During this time there were two competing national movements - the Zionist movement of the Palestinian Jews (who were then known merely as "Palestinians") and that of the Arabs (now known as "Palestinians"), but it belonged to neither.
Palestinians could have had most of the good land from that area if they agreed to partition in 1947 (the Jewish state was given slightly more territory under than plane but most of it was in the almost uninhabited Negev desert) and created a Palestinian state for the first time in history. Instead they rejected it. Now, Khazim implies, they only want the remaining 22% - but they were offered the equivalent of that in 2008 and couldn't bring themselves to say yes.
... and were denied self- determination in their own homeland because they were Muslims and Christians.
This is possibly the most vile canard of all, with not a shred of truth to it. The Palestinian Arabs were not denied self-determination "because they were Muslims and Christians". On the contrary, they rejected self-determination for themselves if it meant having to accept self-determination for the Jews.
United Nations Resolution 181, also known as the partition plan, proposed to divide what was left of the Palestine Mandate into separate states for the Jews and Arabs. Though it was far less than what they had been hoping for, the Jews agreed. The Arabs rejected it, and upon the declaration of the Jewish state, five Arab armies launched a war aimed at annihilating it. These are facts of history which even Israel's harshest critics accept.
For Mike Khizam to instead allege that the Palestinians were denied self-determination "because they were Muslims and Christians" is a complete and utter fiction and a vicious calumny. It takes a mere five-second google search to expose this libel for what it is.
Around 750,000 people, then half of the Palestinian population were ethnically cleansed.
Another slanderous fabrication. There was an attempt to ethnically cleanse a people from the land, however it was the Arabs trying to ethnically cleanse the Jews. But according to Khizam's version of events, the 1948 War of Independence, in which Israel fought for its very survival, never happened. It is true that up to 750,000 Palestinian Arabs left their homes during that war, for a variety of reasons - so did many Jewish residents. But to completely leave out any mention of the defensive war the fledgling State of Israel was fighting, and to say the Palestinians were "ethnically cleansed", is intentionally misleading.
Khizam also seems to choose which refugees he shows concern for. There is no mention of the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled or forced to flee from Arab nations in the decades following Israel's establishment.
Over twenty years ago the Palestinian leadership made peace with Israel and accepted the loss of 78 per cent of their country.
Despite signing the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have neither made peace with Israel nor accepted its existence within its internationally recognised borders (what he calls "78 per cent of their country", a country which I've already pointed out never existed).
The very Palestinian leader who put pen to paper on the Accords, then Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, commanded the Second Intifada, in which over a thousand Israeli civilians lost their lives in suicide bombings and other terror attacks - not something you do to people you've made peace with.
As for recognising Israel, political expediency may have seen the PLO "talk the talk" prior to the Oslo Accords, but the Palestinian leadership in practice does not "walk the walk" and continues to act contrary to this recognition. Official PA maps regularly omit any reference to Israel, the PA continues to deny Jewish history in Jerusalem and Palestinian school textbooks demonise Israel as "an evil entity that should be annihilated".
And they keep saying no to offers that would give them their state.
All the while Israel takes more and more of Palestine...
We've already pointed out earlier in this document that no new settlements have been built since 1999; nor have the geographical boundaries of existing settlements expanded. It is simply untrue that the settlement footprint in the West Bank is expanding.
Israel must either give the Palestinians their freedom or give them the vote.
If Khizam is genuinely concerned about Palestinian freedom and voting rights, his anger is being seriously misdirected. Around 98 per cent of Palestinians live under either Palestinian Authority or Hamas rule. Their freedoms are indeed severely restricted - by their own leaders.
Mahmoud Abbas is now in his 12th year of a four year term and no parliamentary elections have been held since 2006. In the Palestinian Authority, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are virtually non-existent. Palestinians living in Gaza face a similar or worse situation under Hamas. So Palestinians should indeed be given a vote - by their own leaders.
Even if Israel withdrew tomorrow to the 1967 borders, turning over the entire West Bank to the PA (presumably what Khizam means by giving Palestinians "their freedom"), Palestinians would not have their freedom. In fact, the 300,000-odd Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who currently enjoy residency of Israel, would experience a severe drop in their freedoms.
Israel is on the wrong side of history in so far as it pursues colonial expansion and constructs a new apartheid state in the occupied territories.
"Colonial" and "apartheid" seem to be two popular buzzwords used by anti-Israel activists. The former is used to suggest a foreign people came to a land in which they had no ties and displaced the local people - a gross fallacy. The ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel can be proven beyond doubt. Or Avi-Guy says it best:
"Once Israel is falsely depicted as a ‘colonial enterprise,' instead of the result of long struggle for self-determination for the Jewish people (who came not just from Europe, but rather from all over the world - including many who are indigenous to the Middle East region), one can pretty much be certain that we are not talking about settlements, human rights or peace anymore ... too often the settlements are merely a distraction, when the real objection is to ‘Zionist national identity,' and its political manifestation - Israel - alone of all the national identities in the world."
As for the "apartheid" allegation, this too is patently false. Justice Richard Goldstone, who wrote and then retracted the infamous Goldstone Report after Operation Cast Lead in 2009, wrote in a New York Times op-ed:
"The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.
"The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain ‘an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.' This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa's enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.
"But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel's citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defence, even as Palestinians feel oppressed."
Israel has successfully pursued a strategy of sidelining the UN, international law and its obligations under agreements it has signed.
First to the UN. The Palestinians, along with many of Israel's detractors, have pursued a strategy of demonising and delegitimising Israel at the UN, which seems all too happy to accommodate their behaviour. The Palestinians have pursued a unilateral strategy at the UN to avoid negotiations with Israel and more recently within UNESCO to see absurd resolutions spirited through denying Jewish history and legitimacy at some of Judaism's holiest sites.
As for international law, no official legal body has made a definitive ruling on its application in the West Bank. Even the highly politicised and flawed UNSC Resolution 2334, which calls settlements a flagrant violation of international law, according to UN Watch, is lawless "because it purports to state a legal conclusion which it is unqualified to do and which is incorrect".
In fact, as Ambassador Alan Baker - who participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords - argues, Israel is well within its rights under international law to have a presence in the lands it took from Jordan in 1967 and even the settlements which are on state land (not the illegal outposts) are legitimate under international law. This is not to say the Palestinians have no right to a negotiated sovereignty over parts of the West Bank in the future, but as Amb Baker quite correctly points out:
"Even the Palestinians themselves, in the Oslo agreement that they signed with Israel, acknowledge the fact that the ultimate permanent status of the territory is to be determined by negotiations. Therefore, even the Palestinians accept the fact that this is not Palestinian territory, it's disputed territory whose status is yet to be settled."
Which segues us nicely to the point of who is actually sticking to the agreements they have signed - hint: it's not the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority is obligated under the accords to recognise Israel, and while it did this in English to the world, it tells its population something very different in Arabic and in the maps schoolchildren study in PA schools. It is obligated not to incite against Israel yet as discussed earlier in this piece incitement, including by PA President Mahmoud Abbas himself, is rife, not to mention the financial rewards the PA dishes out to terrorists and their families. The Palestinian Authority is obligated not to seek unilateral actions, yet this has been its sole strategy for the past five years as it continues to avoid negotiations.
[Israel] continues to fight any sign of support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people...
Israel does not fight "any sign of support for the legitimate rights of Palestinians". Israel does fight demonisation and delegitimisation, such as that promoted by the anti-Israel boycott movement. Sadly, the purveyors of this hate like to package it as support for Palestinian rights, but you never hear them speaking up for the rights of Palestinians in Lebanon, Jordan or Syria. Nor do they bring up the autocratic PA or brutal Hamas regime who curb Palestinian rights in the West Bank and Gaza respectively.
Only when Israel can be blamed, demonised or delegitimised are the rights of the Palestinian people suddenly important.
The problem is that views such as Mike Khizam's are one of the reasons the Palestinian Authority continues its intransigence, rejectionism and incitement. It is only when the Palestinians own up to their own failings, renounce incitement and terror, accept that Israel is here to stay and return to negotiations in good faith, that there can be progress towards real two-state peace.

21 August 2017

BDS camapigners show their colours

Last Sunday afternoon, the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and the United Israel Appeal (UIA) held a public event at a local Jewish School hall

Rabbi Shalom White, from Perth's Chabad congregation, attended the AIJAC/UIA event, together with his children.

As they approached the venue and saw about ten protesters at a Boycott ("BDS") rally, chanting “free, free Palestine…” and holding placards reading “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea”. They stopped to take a selfie with the rally as background.

When the Rabbi and his children arrived at the entrance to the venue, with the BDS rally on the opposite side of the street, the BDS rallyists shouted “Shame on you: child murderers!”

The Rabbi responded: “My children go to this school. They must be protected by these same guards you see here, because of the possibility of a terrorist attack targeting Jewish children. Are their lives worth less than Arab children’s lives?” 

BDS rally: “YES! You brought it on yourselves…” 

Rabbi White: “Are you saying that my child's life is not worth anything?”

BDS: “Shame on you, child murderers!”

Rabbi White posted this selfie on his Facebook account with the caption: “Got a selfie with my kids, they called me and my kids child murderers and said that is justified for my children to be killed by terrorists.”

13 August 2017

Our ABC is sleeping with our enemies

From The Australian, August 14, 2017, by Jennifer Oriel:

Imagine waking up in Afghanistan this morning. You are in a foreign country fighting a long war against international jihad. You joined the Australian army because you love your country. You love your country so much that you are prepared to sacrifice your life to keep Australians safe from terror. You serve because the war for freedom and democracy, global peace and safety is a war worth fighting. Every house surrendered to the Taliban is a girl who will never know freedom.

But the human face of war is lost in the slow grind of nation-building for a country that isn’t yours. Maybe troops feel they are fighting someone else’s war and it erodes morale. There will be no heroes’ welcome when they return home. Instead, there will be Al Jazeera on the ABC and political correctness from Canberra.

The ABC’s deal with Al Jazeera compromises the credibility of the national broadcaster. The Al Jazeera network is owned by Qatar’s ruling family. Qatar harbours Taliban leaders and reportedly supports other Islamist interests that Australian troops are fighting in the region. David Kirkpatrick wrote in The New York Times: 
“Qatar has for many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups around the region by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.” The Egyptian media reports that: “Qatar is using groups such as the Taliban, Islamic State … for its own protection.”
Since 2001, Australia has fought its longest war to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban. By May this year, 42 Australian personnel had died. The US Department of Defence reports that 2216 American lives have been lost in the struggle to free Afghanistan from jihadism. Among them 1833 were killed in action. And the Taliban hasn’t stopped killing our allies. This month, US troops were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber attacking a convoy. Islamic State has emerged in the country also. When Western forces retreat, jihadis strike. The US and Australia have sent additional troops to consolidate democratic nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, taking the number of our personnel to 300.

We might expect Australia’s publicly-funded media to ride with us in the war on international jihad. Yet the ABC’s Al Jazeera coverage of the Western war on terror often seems to align with Qatari foreign policy. It promotes porous Western borders and mass migration from Islamist states to the West while casting our military action to prevent Islamist incursion in a negative light. It frequently plays down the risk that the movement for international jihad poses to the free world. Israel is commonly demonised while some of the Islamic world’s worst violators of human rights are liberated from sustained scrutiny.

Qatar’s relationship to the Taliban is highly problematic. In 2013, the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office was opened in Doha. Qatar’s assistant foreign minister cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of what has become known as the Taliban embassy. Obama administration officials supported its establishment. Under a subsequent prisoner swap deal between the US and Qatar, the administration freed five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a US soldier being held by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl. He was feted by Democrats despite allegations that he might have deserted his post in Afghanistan before being taken by the Taliban. Bergdahl will stand trial in October for desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy.

Republican senator John McCain described the “Taliban five” freed by the Obama administration as “the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest high-risk people.” Notably, the UAE rejected the administration’s proposal to take the Taliban five because the Taliban would not agree to three conditions stipulated by the US. In a letter to The New York Times, UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba listed the conditions as, “the Taliban must denounce al-Qa’ida and its founder, Osama bin Laden … recognise the Afghan constitution … renounce violence and lay down their weapons”. Qatar reportedly accepted the jihadis without requiring the Taliban to observe any of the conditions.

The relationship between Qatar and the Taliban raises the question of credibility and bias in regard to the Al Jazeera network. Last month, Jewish leaders raised specific concerns in News Corp papers about the ABC’s coverage of Israeli affairs. Executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein wrote in this paper: 
“Qatar’s ruling family, the owner of Al Jazeera, is one of the main supporters of Hamas — a terror group committed to Israel’s destruction.”
In June, Lateline host Emma Alberici interviewed Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi after jihadis attacked the Iranian parliament. Despite Islamic State taking responsibility for the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shifted the blame to Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump. Half-way through the interview, Marandi hadn’t mentioned Trump. Alberici prompted him twice. After her second prompt (where she called Trump’s condolences to Iran “provocative”), Marandi unleashed a tirade against the West. He said: “The United States is the country that created this whole mess. They helped create the extremists in Afghanistan with the Saudis. 9/11 was blowback … the whole region is collapsing and this is largely due to American policies … if there’s one country in the world that’s responsible for … the export of terrorism across the world, it is the United States. It chooses Israel which is an apartheid regime.” Alberici didn’t correct him.

It is unclear why the government is not addressing potential political bias produced by Al Jazeera’s partnership with the ABC. Perhaps the matter is complicated by the government’s reluctance to list the Taliban as a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is clearly dishonourable to make Australians pay for the distribution of news financed by a state that backs our military enemies. Under conditions of war, such material might be called propaganda.

10 August 2017

Recognizing a Palestinian State before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law

From the JCPA, Vol. 17, No. 22, August 7, 2017, by Peter Wertheim:

The following is a brief overview only. Follow the link to the full article.

  • Among those who advocate immediate recognition of a Palestinian state, without a peace agreement with Israel, there is a striking irony in the contrast between the legalistic approach they purportedly adopt on one question, namely settlements, and their cavalier disregard for well-established legal principles on another, namely the creation of states and their recognition. One either supports the international rule of law as a general principle or not at all. One does not get to pick and choose.
  • The four criteria of statehood set out in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, 1933, are widely accepted as the minimum required by customary international law for the creation of a new state. Two of the criteria – a single, centralized government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states – are manifestly not satisfied by any Palestinian entity.
  • The internal divide between the secular nationalist movement among Palestinians, represented by the PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) which controls parts of the West Bank, and the theocratic movement, represented by Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, has resulted in internecine violence on many occasions. All attempts at internal reconciliation have failed and appear to be intractable. They are at loggerheads on the most basic questions, not only concerning peace with Israel and other issues of foreign and domestic policy but also on the essential nature of a future Palestinian State. Thus, for reasons which are entirely internal to Palestinian society, there is no reasonable prospect for the foreseeable future of any government being formed which would exercise effective control over both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and would have the capacity to give effect to any agreements purportedly entered into by “Palestine.”
  • Although recognition is a political act and a matter of discretion, it is “subject to compliance with the imperatives of general international law.” Given that the criteria of government and the capacity to enter into relations with other States are at present not satisfied by any Palestinian entity, recognition of any such entity as a State would be to affirm a fiction, contrary to the imperatives of general international law. Recognition by even a large number of other States cannot overcome clear and compelling objective evidence indicating that the mandatory legal criteria of statehood have not been met. An exception would be admission of the entity as a member State of the UN. If, notwithstanding its admission to the UN as a member State, the entity does not, in fact, meet the customary law criteria of statehood, at law it is still a State, albeit a failed State.
  • Applying the additional requirements for recognition contained in the European Community Declaration and Guidelines (1991), the Palestinians have failed, and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future to be unwilling to make commitments to respect the inviolability of the frontiers with Israel, to repudiate all territorial claims by Palestine against Israel and to settle all disputes with Israel by peaceful means.
  • Recognition of a Palestinian State at the present time would not only be contrary to the well-established requirements for statehood stipulated by customary international law and the additional requirements mandated by the European Community Declaration and Guidelines in 1991. It would also contravene the internationally recognized and witnessed Oslo Accords between the Palestinians and Israel and lay the foundations for opening a new phase of the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel, rather than for resolving the conflict. Recognition would, therefore, undermine the primary purposes of the UN Charter and the current international rules-based order, which is to maintain international peace and security.
This is a brief overview only. Follow the link to the full article.