Month: November 2012

LE CONFLIT ENTRE LE HAMAS ET ISRAËL : L’OCCIDENT SE SOUMET À L’ISLAM RADICAL

 

 

 

 

LE TOURNANT ISLAMISTE DE LA TURQUIE, 10 ANS PLUS TARD
Daniel Pipes
The Wall Street Journal, 13 novembre 2012
Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert

 
La Turquie est-elle – en raison de sa taille, de son emplacement, de son économie et de son idéologie islamiste sophistiquée, en passe de devenir le plus grand problème de l'Occident au Moyen-Orient?
 
Une décennie tumultueuse s'est écoulée depuis que le Parti Justice et Développement a d'abord été élu au pouvoir le 3 novembre 2002. De façon presque inaperçue, le pays est sorti de l'ère pro-occidentale commencée par Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) et est entré dans l'ère anti-occidentale de Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (né en 1954).

Les élections de 2002 ont suivi 10 ans de va-et-vient entre des gouvernements faibles de centre-droit et de centre-gauche. Les années 1990 ont aussi vu d'abord le Premier ministre islamiste , Necmettin Erbakan, au pouvoir, pendant un an avant son éviction par un "soft" coup d'Etat militaire en 1997. Rétrospectivement, cette période a marqué l'intervalle entre la mort en avril 1993 de Turgut Özal, l'imposant ancien premier ministre et président, et Mr. Erdoğan devenant premier ministre en 2003.
 
Ce fut un temps d'occasions politiques manquées, de mauvaise gestion économique et de corruption endémique. La période fut marquée par le scandale de Susurluk de 1996-dans lequel l'enquête sur un banal accident de la route provincial conduit à des révélations de liens du gouvernement avec la mafia et les assassinats parrainés par l'État – et de réponse inepte du gouvernement à un séisme de 1999, dévoilant des profondeurs jusque-là inconnues d'incompétence et d'insensibilité.
 
De telles failles ont incité les électeurs à se tourner vers le parti Justice et Développement fraîchement formé, connu sous le nom de l'AKP, moins pour sa politique islamiste que pour ses promesses d'adhésion à l'Union européenne, de meilleure démocratie et de plus de libertés. Aidé par un système politique original obligeant les partis à obtenir 10% des voix pour entrer au Parlement, l'AKP a remporté 34% des voix et contrôlé 66% des sièges en 2002.
 
L'électorat a apparemment été encouragé par les résultats – en particulier des réformes de style européen et la Chine -comme croissance économique- et l'AKP a été récompensé avec 47% des voix en 2007 et 50% en 2011. La popularité a permis à Mr. Erdoğan d'enraciner lui-même, son parti et son idéologie
 
Plus important encore, Mr. Erdoğan a mis à l'écart l'establishment militaire (Ultime autorité politique de la Turquie depuis l'époque d'Atatürk) et le reste de son état profond -les services de renseignement, la magistrature, la police et leurs alliés criminels. Le gouvernement de l'AKP a également infirmé l'héritage d'Atatürk de recherche en Occident de l'inspiration et du leadership.
 
L'effondrement quasi total des forces anti-islamistes-Atatürkistes, socialistes, occidentalisation, armée et autres, est le développement le plus surprenant de la dernière décennie. Les dirigeants de l'opposition ont fait guère plus que dire «non» aux initiatives de l'AKP, offrant peu de programmes positifs et souvent adoptant des positions encore pires que celles de l'AKP (comme la promotion des politiques pro-Damas et pro-Téhéran). De même, des intellectuels, des journalistes, des artistes et des militants critiquèrent et se plaignirent, mais ils n'ont pas réussi à proposer une vision alternative, non-islamiste.
 
Aussi l'AKP entame sa deuxième décennie au pouvoir avec Mr. Erdoğan chantant victoire à une réunion du parti à propos d' "un début historique" et dominant le pays comme aucun autre politicien turc n'a fait depuis Atatürk.
 
Le principal défi qui se pose à lui est de se restreindre et de ne pas se précipiter. Pourtant, il y a des signes qui montrent qu'il fait justement cela – s'aliénant les non sunnites, les minorités non turcophones; empruntant trop; introduisant la charia dans la pratique trop vite; modifiant la constitution, et sapant l'armée en emprisonnant son ancienne direction. Sur le plan international, il flirte avec une impopulaire guerre avec la Syrie et préside toujours des relations tendues avec l'Iran, l'Irak et Chypre. Une alliance avec Israël, autrefois florissante, s'est évanouie.
 
Si la Turquie il y a un an semblait à Newsweek et à d'autres la «nouvelle superpuissance» du Moyen-Orient, l'ambition, excessive de Mr. Erdoğan – souvent attribuée à un rêve de reprendre le pouvoir et le prestige de l'Empire ottoman (1200-1923)- pourrait être en train de montrer les limites de l'influence turque. Se distanciant de l'OTAN, entourée d'Etats de plus en plus antagonistes, secouée par des crises internes, Ankara se trouve de plus en plus isolée et plus éloignée du statut de grande puissance.

Erdoğan devrait perdre l'approbation électorale, s'il cherche à adopter des moyens non démocratiques pour rester au pouvoir. Il a exposé cette trajectoire avant même de devenir premier ministre, en faisant cette célèbre déclaration que «la démocratie est comme un tramway. Lorsque vous arrivez à votre arrêt, vous descendez.» Sa mentalité proto-dictatoriale peut déjà être vue dans les mesures contestant le pouvoir judiciaire indépendant, entretenant des théories du complot absurdes pour mettre prison ses opposants, emprisonnant d'innombrables journalistes et distribuant des amendes ridicules aux sociétés de médias hostiles. Ces manières autocratiques grossissent de plus en plus au fil du temps.
 
Après une décennie de pouvoir relativement démocratique, des crises menaçantes- économique, syrienne, et avec la minorité kurde de Turquie- peuvent signaler le moment pour M. Erdoğan de sauter du tramway de la démocratie. Comme l'AKP sort ses crocs, on peut s'attendre à ce que la République de Turquie continue à rejeter au loin l'Occident et vienne à ressembler de plus en plus à ces régimes répressifs, stagnants et hostiles qui caractérisent le Moyen-Orient musulman. Et c'est là qu'il faudra bien regarder pour voir si les dirigeants occidentaux perçoivent les changements et agissent en conséquence, ou s'ils continuent à s'accrocher à une vision du pays d'Atatürk qui n'est plus.

L’OCCIDENT SE SOUMET AU HAMAS ET À L’ISLAM RADICAL
Guy Millière
dreuz.info, 21 novembre 2012

 

La façon dont les grands médias européens rendent compte de la réaction d’Israël à l’agression lancée par le Hamas n’est pas surprenante. Elle est imprégnée du relativisme moral qui imprègne l’atmosphère : l’agresseur et l’agressé sont placés sur un plan d’équivalence.

 

Le fait qu’il y ait, d’un côté, un pays démocratique qui entend vivre en paix et de l’autre une entité totalitaire imprégnée de haine destructrice, d’antisémitisme et de volonté de tuer n’importe pas une seule seconde. C’est à peine s’il est dit qu’Israël n’a fait que riposter à des tirs de roquettes et de missiles incessants depuis trois ans et qui se sont accélérés au cours des jours qui ont suivi la réélection de Barack Obama.
 
L’attitude des dirigeants politiques européens n’a pas été surprenante, elle non plus. Après avoir approuvé la volonté israélienne de se défendre face au Hamas, ils ont mis en garde Israël, chacun à leur manière, contre le risque d’une riposte « disproportionnée », puis ils se sont agités pour trouver une possibilité de trêve et de retour aux négociations. Comme ils se refusent à dialoguer directement avec le Hamas, ils sont passés par l’intermédiaire de Mahmoud Abbas, qui n’a aucune prise sur la situation, et du gouvernement égyptien. Nul ne peut douter que derrière les apparences, des pressions ont été exercées sur le gouvernement israélien. Les signes d’amitié de dirigeants européens envers Israël sont, en général, aussi sincères que les baisers de la mort donnés par des dirigeants mafieux à ceux qu’ils veulent assassiner ou faire assassiner.
 
L’attitude de l’administration Obama a été, tout bien pesé, du même ordre que celle des dirigeants européens, et si elle a pu sembler un peu plus chaleureuse que celle des dirigeants européens, c’est que le peuple américain reste plus favorable à Israël que les peuples européens. Obama ne pouvait faire autrement que soutenir Israël: imaginez, un Président des Etats Unis soutenant le Hamas !
 
Obama, à la différence des dirigeants européens, n’a pas parlé de risque de riposte « disproportionnée », mais c’est tout comme : il a déclaré qu’une action militaire au sol serait sans doute malencontreuse et malvenue. Il n’a, comme les dirigeants européens, pas entamé de dialogue direct avec le Hamas, mais il est passé par les mêmes intermédiaires qu’eux. Avec une différence : il a derrière lui ce qui reste du poids des Etats-Unis. Et nul ne peut douter qu’il a lui-même exercé des pressions sur le gouvernement israélien. Avec une différence là encore : les Etats-Unis étaient jusqu’à une période récente le principal allié d’Israël, et ces pressions sont dès lors de l’ordre d’un lâchage. L’armée israélienne peut avoir besoin de pièces de rechange pour le matériel militaire d’origine américaine dont elle dispose, et il suffit que ces pièces de rechange ne soient pas fournies, ou pas fournies à temps, pour que les conséquences soient préoccupantes.
 
Avec Barack Obama, les Etats-Unis rejoignent le relativisme moral à l’européenne, les Etats-Unis, comme les Européens, ne font plus vraiment la différence entre Israël et ses ennemis, tout comme ils ne font plus vraiment la différence entre démocratie et totalitarisme.
 
Hillary Clinton vient d’être dépêchée par Barack Obama au Proche-Orient, sans aucun doute pour accentuer les pressions américaines et pour obtenir une « trêve ».
 
Cela doit être dit : une « trêve » dans la situation présente serait un moment de répit très provisoire pour Israël. Le Hamas considérerait qu’il a obtenu une victoire, car il aura montré avoir disposé de capacités de tirer en direction de Tel Aviv et de Jérusalem. Il aura montré aussi qu’il est devenu un interlocuteur avec lequel on parle, même indirectement. Il gardera le pouvoir sur Gaza, malgré les destructions. Il pourra se réapprovisionner en armes dès lors que la frontière avec l’Egypte restera sous contrôle égyptien, donc sous le contrôle des Frères musulmans dont le Hamas est la branche « palestinienne ». Il pourra se préparer pour la prochaine guerre. Il aura affirmé son ascendant sur le « mouvement palestinien », et d’ailleurs, très significativement, des dirigeants du Fatah, principale composante de l’Autorité palestinienne n’ont pas manqué d’affirmer leur soutien aux actions du Hamas ces derniers jours.
 
La seule issue favorable pour Israël serait celle venant après une défaite sans appel du Hamas, ce qui impliquerait bien davantage de destructions à Gaza.
 
Elle serait aussi celle impliquant une reprise de contrôle par Israël de la frontière entre Gaza et l’Egypte.
 
Une prise de contrôle de Gaza par Israël serait une entreprise complexe et coûteuse financièrement et en vies de soldats israéliens.
 
L’idée, évoquée ici ou là, d’une prise de contrôle de Gaza par Israël aux fins de remettre le pouvoir à Gaza à Mahmoud Abbas me semble absolument absurde : Mahmoud Abbas est aussi crapuleux et sanguinaire que les dirigeants du Hamas, et il a infiniment moins de crédibilité qu’eux aux yeux de la population arabe.
 
Je crains qu’Israël soit acculé à une issue défavorable. Israël est présentement entouré d’ennemis. Les deux seuls pays ayant des frontières avec Israël n’ayant pas été pris en main par l’islam radical sont la Syrie ou le combat se mène entre islamistes chiites et islamistes sunnites, et la Jordanie, où les Frères musulmans sont aux portes des palais gouvernementaux.
 
La façon dont les grands médias européens rend compte de la situation n’est pas surprenante, non. Elle n’en est pas moins absolument indigne.
 
Quand on place l’agresseur et l’agressé sur un plan d’équivalence, on collabore avec la main de l’agresseur contre l’agressé. Et en l’occurrence, les grands médias européens collaborent. Ils sont complices des tirs contre Israël, des assassinats d’Israéliens et des destructions en Israël, tout comme ils sont complices de la mort de ceux que le Hamas utilise comme boucliers humains.
 
Quand on ne rappelle pas que le Hamas est une organisation terroriste, génocidaire, totalitaire imprégnée de haine, d’antisémitisme et de volonté de tuer, on ment sur ce qu’est le Hamas et on contribue à lui donner une légitimité qu’il ne mérite en rien. On aveugle les populations sur le danger incarné par le Hamas, et on ne permet pas de comprendre la nécessité d’en finir avec celui-ci.
 
La façon dont les dirigeants européens parlent de riposte « disproportionnée », font pression pour une « trêve », parlent de « négociations » fait d’eux aussi des complices du Hamas, du terrorisme, des intentions génocidaires contre Israël, du totalitarisme et de l’antisémitisme qui règnent à Gaza, de la volonté de tuer qu’on injecte dans la tête des Arabes de Gaza et dans celle des Arabes de Judée-Samarie.
 
La façon dont l’administration Obama et Obama lui-même se comportent constitue un reniement de toutes les valeurs éthiques qui ont été au cœur des valeurs américaines est une trahison de ce qui a pu souder l’alliance entre les Etats-Unis et Israël. Le fait que les deux interlocuteurs primordiaux de l’administration Obama et d’Obama lui-même aient été, en cette période, Mohamed Morsi et Recep Tayyip Erdogan, deux islamistes aussi haineux que le Hamas, est significatif.
 
C’est, ces derniers jours, tout le monde occidental qui a volé au secours du Hamas et qui est venu agir pour préserver les positions de celui-ci et de ses alliés.
 
C’est, ces derniers jours, tout le monde occidental qui s’est soumis au Hamas et à ses alliés.
 
Préserver les positions du Hamas et de ses alliés, et ainsi se soumettre, c’est se placer au service d’un projet de destruction d’Israël et d’extermination du peuple israélien. C’est se mettre au service, bien au delà du Hamas, de l’islam radical qui est en train de broyer le monde musulman et qui contamine peu à peu le reste du monde.
 
L’Europe, elle, est déjà tombée, et les artisans de sa déchéance sont aux postes de commande, entraînant les populations vers un suicide collectif qui vient peu à peu.
 
Les Etats-Unis sont-ils tombés ? Ils sont, en tout cas, entre de très mauvaises mains et, dès lors, en une très dangereuse posture.
 
Hitler, Staline, Mao, Ben Laden, si l’enfer existe, ont toutes les raisons de se réjouir. Leurs disciples au présent, chez les Frères musulmans et à al Qaida, au Hamas ou au Hezbollah, dans l’Autorité Palestinienne ou en Iran, ailleurs encore, ont toutes les raisons de se réjouir aussi.
 
Les femmes et les hommes qui savent encore la différence entre le bien et le mal se battent en Israël ou se battent au côté d’Israël, car ils savent où se situe le bien, et où se situe le mal.

LE CONFLIT ENTRE LE HAMAS ET ISRAËL
Johnathan D. Halevi
Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 26 novembre 2012

 

•Le conflit entre Israël et le Hamas n’a pas commencé avec des tirs de roquettes mais avec une activité terroriste constante  le long de la frontière. Depuis le déclenchement du « Printemps arabe » le Hamas estime que l’équilibre des forces entre le monde arabo-musulman et Israël a bien changé.

 

 •L’Egypte dirigé par la confrérie des Frères musulmans considère le Hamas comme partenaire stratégique. Ainsi, c’est par le biais du régime égyptien que le Hamas est sorti de son isolement et pourra bénéficier un jour d’un dialogue direct avec les Etats-Unis et l’Europe.

 

 •Libérer la Palestine « du fleuve à la mer » est selon le Hamas un objectif réaliste à atteindre puisque le “Printemps islamiste” a redécoupé la carte géopolitique du Moyen-Orient. Dans ce nouveau contexte, il estime que l’Etat juif est en détresse et encore plus isolé, alors que la Turquie et l’Egypte progressent au sein du monde arabe sunnite.

 

 •Le Hamas considère que les cycles de violence ne sont qu’une  étape dans une longue guerre d’usure. Les dirigeants à Gaza  espèrent ainsi éroder la dissuasion israélienne et préparer  les masses populaires arabes à un front militaire commun  pour libérer toute la Palestine.

 

 •Malgré les frappes  militaires de Tsahal, le Hamas sort renforcer après la trêve car il a réussi a lancé des missiles vers Tel Aviv et Jérusalem. Ses nouvelles capacités offrent au Hamas un soutien unanime dans le monde arabe. L’aide financière pour la reconstruction de Gaza permettrait au Hamas de reconstruire les dégâts mais aussi développer davantage son infrastructure militaire et se préparer au prochain round.
 
L’Egypte, naguère, alliée proche des Etats-Unis et favorable à l’Autorité palestinienne à Ramallah est devenue islamiste et dirigée par les Frères musulmans, proches du Hamas.
 
Le Hamas a réussi également sur le plan politique interarabe. Son Premier ministre, Ismail Haniyeh, a été reçu tel un chef d’Etat  dans les principales capitales arabes et à Téhéran. L’émir du Qatar vient d’achever une visite historique en confirmant la légitimité au gouvernement Hamas.
 
Bien que le Hamas ait tenté de dissimuler le rôle de l’Iran dans la construction de l’infrastructure militaire à Gaza, ce rôle a été confirmé et reconnu officiellement par le Djihad islamique. Les missiles Fajr-5 et d’autres armes sophistiquées ont été acheminées par  l’Iran et le Hezbollah.
 
Le rôle iranien révèle aussi  le dénominateur commun qui existe entre l’islam shiite radical et l’islam sunnite extrémiste. Les deux courants  sont capables de surmonter leurs divergences profondes et coopérer sur la base d’intérêts communs, à savoir la lutte contre Israël, le prolongement du “Printemps islamiste”, et la chasse contre l’influence occidentale dans toute la région.
 
Face à cette nouvelle donne inquiétante, et devant  la transformation de la bande de Gaza en une entité terroriste équipée d’une vaste infrastructure militaire  et des armes sophistiquées, la nécessité vitale de l’Etat juif  à des frontières défendables et son besoin  vital, même à l’ère des missiles, pour un contrôle permanent de certaines zones clé en Cisjordanie se confirme. Il est évident qu’un retrait aux frontières d’avant juin 1967 entraînerait l’Etat juif à affronter un autre front  terroriste qui pourrait avec l’aide de l’Iran et du Hezbollah et peut-être aussi de l’Egypte menacer gravement l’existence d’Israël.
 
Enfin, nous constatons que la communauté internationale  évitant à tout prix une opération militaire israélienne de grande envergure a en réalité accordé une certaine immunité au Hamas.

 

ISRAEL PROUD & STRONG, DESPITE IRRELEVANT GA RESOLUTION¬—COLOMBIANS CONVERT AND TIFERET ISRAEL SHUL RISES AGAIN IN OLD JERUSALEM

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Contents:                          

 

 

‘Setback for Peace’: Israeli Envoy: Ron Prosor, National Post, Nov. 29, 2012In a speech to the General Assembly before the vote, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, ron Prosor, said granting non-member observer status to the Palestinians would be a setback for peace.

 

UQAM Professor Office Door Vandalized With Anti-Semitic Slogans: Montreal Gazette,  Nov. 21, 2012—Political-science professor Julien Bauer at the Université du Québec à Montréal  had the door of his office vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans recently, during the Gaza/Israel flare-up…

 

What Your Son Did to Deserve This: Nathan Elberg, National Post (letters), Nov. 16, 2012—I would like to respond to the question posed by Jihad Misharwi in your article today regarding Israel’s Gaza response.  He asks what his son did to deserve death at the hands of an Israeli shell.  The answer is in the old adage, “every people has the government it deserves.”  

 

The Palestinians at the UN and the International Criminal Court: Allan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 15, 2012—It is incorrect to assume that by upgrading their status in the UN to a non-member state, the Palestinians would necessarily be able to refer complaints against Israeli leaders to the International Criminal Court.

 

Jerusalem to Rebuild Iconic Synagogue Destroyed in 1948: Melanie Lidman, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012—The Jerusalem Municipality awarded initial approval to a plan to rebuild the iconic Tifereth Israel synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, a magnificent domed synagogue from the 19th century which was destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence.

 

Colombian Evangelical Christians Convert to Judaism, Embracing Hidden Past: Juan Forero, Washington Post, Nov. 24, 2012—They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ. But what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Israel’s UN  Ambassador: Speech at the UN: Ron Prosor, Elder of Ziyon (text), UN WebTV,  Nov. 29, 2012

Canada, Question of Palestine, UN General Assembly: H.E. Mr. John Bair, UN Web TV, Nov. 29, 2012

Palestinian Search for UN Status Will Undermine Hopes of Statehood: Irwin Cotler, National Post, Nov 29, 2012

Ant-Jewish Apartheid at the UN: Joel B. Pollak, Breibart, Nov 29, 2012
Thoughts on a Visit to Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 13, 2012

Touch Judaic History at Penn’s Herbert D. Katz Center: Jacquie Posey, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Oct. 12, 2012

 

 

 

‘SETBACK FOR PEACE’: ISRAELI ENVOY
Ron Prosor
National Post, November 29, 2012

 

The Vote: 
In favour: 138;  Abstensions: 41

Voting against: Canada, Israel, USA, Czech Republic, Panama &
Pacific Island states: Nauru, Palau & Micronesia

 

In a speech to the General Assembly before the vote, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, ron Prosor, said granting non-member observer status to the Palestinians would be a setback for peace.

“For as long as President Abbas prefers symbolism over reality, as long as he prefers to travel to New York for UN resolutions, rather than travel to Jerusalem for genuine dialogue, any hope of peace will be out of reach,: he said.

 

“The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples. Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the ‘Jews into the sea.’”

 

Mr. Prosor said Mr. Abbas had “asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state.”

 

Mr. Prosor said, “The UN was founded to advance the cause of peace. Today the Palestinians are turning their back on peace. Don’t let history record today the UN helped them along their march of folly.”

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN decision would not “change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.

 

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UQAM PROFESSOR’S OFFICE DOOR
VANDALIZED WITH ANTI-SEMITIC SLOGANS

Montreal Gazette,  November 21, 2012
 

[P]olitical-science professor Julien Bauer at the Université du Québec à Montréal  had the door of his office vandalized [recently, during the Gaza/Israel flare-up] with anti-Semitic slogans. The professor said he had an email from the [political science] department head saying it was “unacceptable.” …[T]he door has been cleaned and, Bauer said, while such incidents are upsetting, “I’m not afraid.”…

 

[Prof. Bauer is a long-standing member of the CIJR executive and one of its early co-founders. We at CIJR roundly condemn this act of intolerance and wish the Professor continued success, in peace and safety, at UQAM.  – Ed.]

 

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WHAT YOUR SON DID TO DESERVE THIS

Nathan Elberg

National Post (letters), November 16, 2012

 

I would like to respond to the question posed by Jihad Misharwi in your [N.P.] article today regarding Israel’s Gaza response.  He asks what his son did to deserve death at the hands of an Israeli shell.  The answer is in the old adage, “every people has the government it deserves.”   Misharwi, his family, friends and neighbors support a government sworn to the destruction of Israel through the instrument of terrorism.  They allowed Hamas to place rocket launchers and munitions depots in densely populated areas, in order to use those populations as human shields.  They schooled their children in the value of violence, the beauty of martyrdom, the greatness of killing Israeli civilians.  So while it is highly unlikely that Misharwi’s eleven-month-old baby did anything to “deserve” his death, his blood is on the hands of his father, his family, his community.  It’s on the hands of all Gazans who rejoice in the spilling of Israeli blood, whether that of a student at his books, a soldier at his post, or a baby in its father’s arms.

 

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THE PALESTINIANS AT THE UN AND
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

Allan Baker

JCPA, Nov. 15, 2012

 

It is incorrect to assume that by upgrading their status in the UN to a non-member state, the Palestinians would necessarily be able to refer complaints against Israeli leaders to the International Criminal Court.

 

The politically-driven General Assembly resolution that would presumably be adopted by automatic majority would not create a Palestinian state, and would not turn the Palestinian delegation into that of a state, except for the purpose of seating in the General Assembly hall, between Panama and Pakistan, rather than among the observers.

 

The UN General Assembly does not have the power or the authority to establish states. Any such General Assembly resolution upgrading the Palestinian delegation would be no different from any other non-binding, recommendatory resolution of the General Assembly, and would have no legally binding status.

 

The 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) enables only states – genuine states that are party to the Statute – to refer complaints to the court (in addition to the Security Council and the ICC Prosecutor). In the same way Palestinians failed in 2011 to prove statehood when they attempted to attain membership in the UN, in light of the clear lack of national unity and capability of governance and inability to fulfill international obligations of a state, so now in 2012 it would be highly unlikely, even after an upgrade-resolution, that they will be able to prove to the ICC that they are a genuine state entitled to initiate complaints against Israeli officials and officers.

 

In 2011, after conducting an in-depth examination and consulting with experts, the Prosecutor rejected the Palestinian attempt to instigate complaints against Israeli officials and officers, and referred their request to the Assembly of States Party to the ICC Statute and to the UN Secretary-General.

 

While the Palestinians will doubtless attempt to utilize their upgraded status in order to achieve political advantages in various UN bodies such as the Specialized Agencies (which are in any event urged to act pursuant to General Assembly resolutions), this would not necessarily be applicable to the ICC, which is an independent organization, not part of the UN System.

 

But even if, as a result of political pressures and manipulation of the automatic majority, they do succeed in persuading the ICC Prosecutor to consider them as if they are a state, for the purpose of initiating a complaint, there is no guarantee that such complaints would be accepted by the court, which, since its establishment in 1998, has barely dealt with two complaints against Ugandan and Sudanese officials….

 

Clearly we should not underestimate the Palestinian upgrade exercise, as a blatant political PR exercise to enhance the reputation of Abu Mazen in light of his clear lack of any political achievements, especially prior to his ending his term of office. But it is highly unlikely that this exercise will have any legal or serious political consequences.

 

Thus, it appears to be absurd to claim, as several Palestinian leaders have recently been claiming, that the upgrade of their UN status would alter the status of the territories, that the Oslo Accords would no longer be relevant, that the 1967 lines would become the recognized border and that Jerusalem would be re-divided, etc.

 

In my opinion, nothing will change unless Israel decides to view this exercise as a fundamental breach of Article 31 of the 1995 interim Agreement (1995) and declare the Oslo Accords no longer valid, with all that that would imply, but this would be very doubtful in view of the upcoming elections. Ultimately the Palestinians and the Israelis will have no choice but to return to negotiations in order to determine mutually their common border and to solve all the other issues between them, all of which cannot be dictated by a UN General Assembly resolution.

 

(Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, CIJR’s Israeli associate,  is former Legal Adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada)

 

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JERUSALEM TO REBUILD ICONIC
SYNAGOGUE DESTROYED IN 1948

Melanie Lidman

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012

 

The Jerusalem Municipality awarded initial approval to a plan to rebuild the iconic Tifereth Israel synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, a magnificent domed synagogue from the 19th century which was destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence.

 

The project will recreate the three-story-tall synagogue as well as the iconic dome on the top, with only minor changes to the original, such as the introduction of an elevator to make the building more accessible. On Tuesday, the municipality’s Local Planning and Building Committee approved the plan for the next step of the process, where it must receive the approval of the Interior Ministry. An anonymous donor who has been active in previous rebuilding projects in the Old City donated nearly NIS 50 million needed for reconstruction…

 

Ashkenazi hassidim bought the land for Tifereth Israel Synagogue in 1843, though the building wasn’t inaugurated until 1872. The synagogue is also known as the Nissan Bek synagogue, after its founder. The prominent white dome on top of the building was informally known as “Franz Joseph’s cap,” after the Austrian emperor who visited Jerusalem in 1869. On a tour of Jewish sites, Franz Joseph inquired as to why the unfinished synagogue had no dome, to which one quick-thinking rabbi replied, ''Your majesty the Emperor, the synagogue has doffed its hat for you!'' The emperor donated the sum needed to finish the roof.

 

During the Independence War in 1948, the building was used as a Haganah defense position, similar to the nearby Hurva synagogue. Arab League forces demolished the synagogue with explosives at 1 a.m. on May 21, just a few days before the Hurva met the same fate. Following the Six Day War, the city decided to leave the ruins of the synagogue as they were….

 

The Jerusalem Post first reported plans to rebuild the Tifereth Israel Synagogue in June. A UNESCO report expressed apprehension over the project due to the possibility of wide-spread rioting. In March 2010, riots broke out across east Jerusalem and the Old City with the dedication of the Hurva Synagogue, located in the same plaza.

 

The Hurva synagogue, which stood since the early 18th century, was also destroyed in the 1948 Independence War. As the dedication neared, Palestinians called for a “day of rage,” stoked by Muslim extremists who said the rededication was the first step towards building the Third Temple and destroying the Dome of the Rock. Police arrested sixty people, and more than 100 protesters were injured, as well as 15 policemen.

 

A municipality spokeswoman said the city is unconcerned about the possibility of a resurgence in violence sparked by the reconstruction project. “The synagogue is a symbol of the Jewish Quarter and is not controversial,” she said.

 

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COLOMBIAN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS
CONVERT TO JUDAISM, EMBRACING HIDDEN PAST

Juan Forero

Washington Post, November 24

 

They were committed evangelicals, devoted to Jesus Christ. But what some here called a spark, an inescapable pull of their ancestors, led them in a different direction, to Judaism. There were the grandparents who wouldn’t eat pork, the fragments of a Jewish tongue from medieval Spain that spiced up the language, and puzzling family rituals such as the lighting of candles on Friday nights.

 

So, after a spiritual journey that began a decade ago, dozens of families that had once belonged to a fire-and-brimstone church became Jews, converting with the help of rabbis from Miami and Jerusalem. Though unusual in one of the most Catholic of nations, the small community in Bello joined a worldwide movement in which the descendants of Jews forced from Spain more than 500 years ago are discovering and embracing their Jewish heritage.

 

They have emerged in places as divergent as the American Southwest, Brazil and even India. In these mostly remote outposts, the so-called Anusim or Marranos, Jews from Spain who fled the Inquisition and converted to Christianity, had found refuge.

 

“There’s a real awakening that’s taking place,” said Michael Freund, who directs Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group that helps new Jewish communities such as Bello’s. “The Jewish spark was never quenched, and these Anusim are really fulfilling the dreams of their ancestors in that they are taking back the Jewish identity that was so brutally stolen from their forefathers.”

 

This northwest state of Antioquia, with its high purple mountains, picturesque pueblos and fervent, almost mystical Catholicism, is surely one of the most unusual corners of the world for such Jewish stirrings. For the families of Bello, the journey to Judaism began after the minister of a 3,000-member evangelical church, the Center for Integral Family Therapy, visited Israel in 1998 and 2003 and began to feel the pull of Judaism.

 

Juan Carlos Villegas, who has taken on the Hebrew name Elad, then told his flock that he planned to convert. Dozens joined him.“These people had the capacity to say, yes, I’m open to finding the roots of my family,” said Villegas, 36, speaking in the community’s synagogue, a white-washed, two-story building on a street of rowhouses.

 

Villegas and the others said they felt history coursing through their veins as they explored the past and put together pieces of a puzzle that pointed to a Jewish ancestry.“It was like our souls had memory,” he said. “It awakened in us a desire to learn more — who were we? Where were we from? Where are the roots of our families?”…

 

At the University of Antioquia, geneticist Gabriel Bedoya and his team of scientists found in a 2000 study that 14 percent of the men in Antioquia are genetically related to the Kohanim, a priestly Jewish cast that is traced back three millennia to Moses’s brother, Aaron.

 

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Israel’s Ambassador to the UN: Speech at the UN: Ron Prosor, Elder of Ziyon (text), UN WebTV, Nov. 29, 2012—Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world’s one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people’s ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.  We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future.

 

Canada, Question of Palestine, UN General Assembly: H.E. Mr. John Bair, UN Web TV, Nov. 29, 2012—Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada on the Question of Palestine at the 44th plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

 

Palestinian Search for UN Status Will Undermine Hopes of Statehood: Irwin Cotler, National Post, Nov 29, 2012—…declarations opposing the Palestinian unilateral bid for observer-state status can be said to be anchored in a series of foundational principles and related precedents of international law….

 

Anti-Jewish Apartheid at the UN: Joel B. Pollak, Breibart, Nov 29, 2012—Today, for the first time, the United Nations will name Palestine a (non-member) “observer state” by first engaging in exactly the charge that they press against Israel: apartheid…[T]he UN Division for Palestinian Rights sent a letter to the UN pass office to insist that they step in to deny invitees of the UN-accredited Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust…

 

Thoughts on a Visit to Warsaw: Dr. Catherine Chatterley, Winnipeg Jewish Review, Nov. 13, 2012 —The ghetto was completely destroyed by the Germans in May 1943 after the uprising so everything in the Muranow district with the exception of two buildings is postwar construction.

 

Touch Judaic History at Penn’s Herbert D. Katz Center: Jacquie Posey, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Oct. 12, 2012—At the University of Pennsylvania’s Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, you can touch some of the oldest tomes in the history of Judaism… Approximately 200,000 volumes, including 17 Hebrew and 15 Latin incunabula and more than 8,000 rare printed works, in Hebrew, English, German, French, Yiddish, Arabic, Latin and Ladino are at the Library at the Katz Center.

 

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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: ABBAS, IN 95TH MONTH OF 4-YEAR TERM, GOES TO UN FOR NON-STATE “STATE”

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf      

 

Contents:          

 

Netanyahy: UN Can't Force Israel To Compromise On Security: Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2012— “…there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands-year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,"

 

UN: Palestine is Now a Non-Member State; Reality: Palestine Will Continue to be a Non-Existent State: Barry Rubin, PJMedia, Nov. 29, 2012—The Palestinians’ leaders have long believed that an intransigent strategy coupled with some outside force—Nazi Germany, the USSR, weaning the West away from Israel—will miraculously grant them total victory. They aren’t going to change course now but that route leads not forward but in circles.

 

Round 2 of ‘Israel, Palestine at the ICC’: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, Nov.15, 2012— Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, so it could be difficult or impossible to actually conduct a case against Israel’s citizens without its government’s cooperation….It is far from clear that the ICC would make a final decision to indict any Israelis, in light of the fact that Israel has completed a process of investigations of its soldiers’ actions in Operation Cast Lead.

 

"Palestine” Does Not Qualify as a “State": Rick Richman, Commentary, Nov.13, 2012— Under the Montevideo Convention (1933), a state “should possess the following qualifications”: (1) a defined territory; (2) a government; (3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and (4) a permanent population.

 

Two Palestinian Goals At UN: Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, Nov. 29, 2012 — First, all lands that are disputed and whose future must be negotiated according to the Oslo Accords, the PA wants declared Palestinian "occupied territory." Second, they claim that UN recognition would change the status of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons to legitimate freedom fighters and prisoners of war.

 

On Topic Links

 

Misguided UN Bid: JPost Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2012

Accomplices in a Campaign to Annihilate A UN Member: Shlomo Slonim, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012

European Votes on PA Statehood Bid Fall Into Place: Jerusalem Post, Reuters, Nov. 28, 2012

Palestine’s Muddled Statehood Strategy: Robert M. Danin, Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 28, 2012

The UN Vote, the ICC and the Riddle of Palestinian Intentions: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, Nov. 29, 2012

Who Wants a Palestinian State?: Moshe Dann, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2012

 

 

NETANYAHU: UN CAN'T FORCE ISRAEL TO COMPROMISE ON SECURITY

Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 29, 2012

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Israel's hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.

 

    "I remember the international community's applause that the government of Israel received when it decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon.

 

    "It does not matter how many will vote against us, there is no force in the world that will cause me to compromise on Israeli security and there is no force in the world able to sever the thousands-year connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,"

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UN: PALESTINE NOW  NON-MEMBER STATE; 

REALITY: PALESTINE STILL A NON-EXISTENT STATE

Barry Rubin

PJMedia, November 29, 2012

Twenty-four years ago, almost to the day, in 1988, I stood in a large hall in Algeria and saw Yasir Arafat declare the independence of a Palestinian state. It was forty-one years, almost to the day in 1947, when the UN offered a Palestinian state. Twelve years ago Israel and the United States officially offered a Palestinian state as part of a compromise deal in the Camp David summit of 2000….

 

Now the UN will probably give Palestine the status of a non-member state….There are two ways to respond to the General Assembly’s likely vote to so designate a state of Palestine. One of them is outrage at the absurdity of how the international system behaves. The other would be to dismiss the gesture as meaningless, even more than that, as something that will even further delay the day that a real, functioning state comes into existence….

 

In 1993, the PLO made an agreement whose very basis was that a Palestinian state would only come into existence as a result of a deal made with Israel. Instead, the Palestinian side refused to make such a compromise and broke its commitments repeatedly. The ultimate result was Yasir Arafat’s refusal to accept a Palestinian state with its capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem both at the 2000 Camp David meeting and a few months later when President Bill Clinton made a better, and final, offer….

 

So despite Israel taking risks and making concessions, the Palestinian Authority rejected peace. Today the same group is going to be recognized by the UN as a regime governing a state. Moreover, this is a body that is relentlessly begging Hamas, a group that openly calls for genocide against both Israel and Jews, to join it….

 

The second issue is whether it will really matter. Yes it entails symbolism, yes it will convince the Palestinians they are getting something when the course they have followed ensures they get pretty close to nothing….To the extent that “President” Mahmoud Abbas convinced West Bank Palestinians that they have achieved some great victory it takes off the pressure for violent action or support for Hamas there. Of course, there is no popular pressure for a negotiated solution. Indeed, I’m not aware of a single Palestinian Authority official who has even claimed for cosmetic purposes that the reason for this move at the UN is to press Israel to compromise or a deal. Its purpose is to make Abbas’s regime look good and be a step forward toward total victory, a Palestinian state unbound by commitments that could be used as a base for wiping out Israel.

 

But that doesn’t mean it will work. The next morning, the residents of the Palestinian Authority will still be exactly where they are now….You should also understand that in Israel there are no illusions about this whole charade. Few think that a real deal is possible with either of the current Palestinian leaderships…and the UN action will make the public even more opposed to concessions….

 

At any rate, the UN General Assembly’s action neither contributes to peace nor is it a just decision. Nevertheless, once again we have a case of symbolism over substance.  This is the same General Assembly that received Yasir Arafat as a man of peace in 1974 at the very moment he was masterminding terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and the following year voted for a resolution that Zionism was racism. Can one really say things have gotten worse?

 

During the period since then, Israel has survived and prospered. Its enemies in the Middle East have undergone constant instability and economic stagnation (except for those small in population and large in oilfields). The supposed springtime of democracy has quickly turned into just another authoritarian era of repression and disastrous policies that ultimately weaken those countries and make their people poor and miserable. What else is new?

 

Ignoring that history and the contemporary reality, some Western countries are voting for this resolution or abstaining for a variety of reasons: cheap public relations’ gain among Arabs and Muslims; a belief that this will shore up the Palestinian “moderates” against the radicals, or that it will encourage the non-existent peace process.

 

What it will do, however, is to sink the Palestinian leadership even deeper into an obsession with intransigence in practice and paper victories that mean nothing in the real world. And, yes, that’s what the result of this UN vote will be. And of course no matter what is said publicly about unity between the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip there will be no change on that front either.

 

In 1939, the British offered the Arab states and Palestinian leadership a deal in which they would be handed all of the Palestine mandate as an Arab state if they accepted a few simple conditions, including a ten year transition period. Despite the pleas of some Arab rulers, the Palestinians said no, believing a German victory would give them everything soon. Almost precisely 65 years ago the UN endorsed the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. The Palestinians said, no believing that the military efforts of themselves and their allies would give them everything soon.

 

The Palestinians’ leaders have long believed that an intransigent strategy coupled with some outside force—Nazi Germany, the USSR, weaning the West away from Israel—will miraculously grant them total victory. They aren’t going to change course now but that route leads not forward but in circles.

 

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ROUND 2 OF ‘ISRAEL, PALESTINE AT THE ICC’

Yonah Jeremy Bob

Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2012

 

On April 3, 2012, Israel won round one of a crucial legal battle with the Palestinians, slamming the door shut on their attempt to bring Israeli soldiers and leaders before the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges. The Palestinian Authority first filed a declaration attempting to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction, after which it intended to file war crimes cases against Israeli soldiers and leaders relating to Operation Cast Lead, on January 22, 2009. Israel’s win was on a technicality, though not a small one.

 

According to the Rome Statute governing the ICC, cases can only be filed with the court by referral from the UN Security Council or by a “state.”…The technical problem the Palestinians had…is that Israel argued the Palestinians were not a “state.” Therefore, Israel argued the Palestinians did not have standing or authority to file a case with the ICC. In other words, the ICC could not even start looking into the merits of individual cases.

 

After more than three years debating the issue, including soliciting around a dozen legal opinions from governments, academics and interested parties across the spectrum, the ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno- Ocampo, took Israel’s side and said that the PA could not file cases with him because, at the time, there was no state called “Palestine.”…The Rome Statute gives jurisdiction to hear cases from states who join the ICC, even ad hoc and retroactively, as long as the cases arose after July 1, 2002, when the statute took effect.

 

In the media, the decision was reported as an unequivocal win for Israel, and the Palestinians were openly disappointed, having thought from the three-year process, their success in gaining membership in UNESCO and the solicitations of legal briefs on the issue, that they had a solid chance of winning…

 

Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s reaction was unexpectedly muted, merely “noting” (as opposed to at least “noting with satisfaction”) Moreno-Ocampo’s decision, and expressed, in diplomatic- speak, disagreement with part of it, saying Israel had “reservations regarding some of the legal pronouncements and assumptions.”

 

Why would Israel have reservations about a decision closing the door to PA war crimes cases? It turns out that Moreno-Ocampo closed the door, but left it ajar for a “Round 2.” First, in most of his decision, he focused on the UN General Assembly as the decisive organization for defining who is a “state” for the purposes of filing a case with the ICC. This is crucial, because he could have focused on the Security Council, the body that must approve any country to become a member of the UN.

 

The US has pledged to veto any vote in the UN Security Council declaring Palestine a member state, making that a dead end. Thus, Moreno-Ocampo’s focus on the General Assembly gave the PA a future opening for an end-run on being able to file war crimes cases with the ICC by getting recognized as a non-member state, without Security Council recognition, but with General Assembly recognition.

 

Moreno-Ocampo even almost told the Palestinians what road to go down to beat the jurisdictional problem, remarking that Palestine’s status was only as an “observer,” and not a “non-member state,” as if to suggest to the PA that if they had been a non-member state already, his decision might have been different.

 

Finally, Moreno-Ocampo said that his office could reconsider the “allegations of crimes” in Palestine in the future should competent organs of the UN give him direction that the statehood problem was resolved….In essence, Moreno-Ocampo said that if the PA gets voted as a non-member state by the UN General Assembly in two weeks, it can try again to re-file the war crimes cases.

 

Some commentators have said that Moreno-Ocampo’s “advice” to the Palestinians was non-binding, that the only relevant part of his decision was his ruling that the PA was not a state and that without UN Security Council approval, a “political” vote alone from the UN General Assembly will leave the PA at the same dead end of still not being seen as a state by the ICC.

 

Besides statehood, there are still plenty of question marks and other obstacles. In June 2012, Moreno-Ocampo finished his term as the first ICC prosecutor, replaced by Fatou Bensouda of Gambia, who was elected to a nine-year term. While some felt that Moreno- Ocampo would have liked to have filed cases against Israel if his hands had not been tied, there is less known about Bensouda, and whether she would take the same stance as her predecessor in a relatively new office with little precedent for how to operate….

 

[I]n theory, if the Palestinians risk filing with the ICC, Israel (though currently not a party to the ICC) and others might also file against them for human rights violations. Also, as a new institution, diplomatic pressure from the US (though not a party to the Rome Statute) and from some European states could delay or stop a case from moving forward, even if the initial jurisdictional problem was cured.

 

Further, Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, so it could be difficult or impossible to actually conduct a case against Israel’s citizens without its government’s cooperation. Finally, it is far from clear that the ICC would make a final decision to indict any Israelis, in light of the fact that Israel has completed a process of investigations – including some prosecutions – of its soldiers’ actions in Operation Cast Lead.

 

Generally speaking, the ICC is only supposed to make a final decision to file indictments if the state of the accused citizens has done nothing to investigate the allegations. Many argue that only credible investigations are required, not convictions. Despite all of these question marks, there is no question that a vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state would start a “Round 2” on the war crimes allegations relating to Operation Cast Lead.

 

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PALESTINE” DOES NOT QUALIFY AS A “STATE

Rick Richman

Commentary, November 13, 2012

 

Back in 2005, after Israel removed every soldier and settler from Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that “from this day forward, there will be no security turmoil and weapons chaos and abductions, which are not characteristic of our culture.” He proved a poor prognosticator regarding Palestinian culture: given the chance to live “side by side in peace and security” with Israel, the Palestinians demonstrated they could not do so even with themselves.

 

Abbas was expelled from Gaza in 2007; there have been no parliamentary or presidential elections since 2006; no functioning Palestinian legislature exists; Abbas is entering the 95th month of his 48-month term; he cannot set foot in half of his purported state (in the words of Israel’s UN ambassador, he cannot even see it with binoculars); he has refused to negotiate with Israel for more than four years; he demands recognition of a Palestinian state while refusing to recognize a Jewish one; and he now seeks admission to the UN as a non-member state even though “Palestine” meets none of the four requirements under international law for a state.

 

Under the Montevideo Convention (1933), a state “should possess the following qualifications”: (1) a defined territory; (2) a government; (3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and (4) a permanent population.  “Palestine” lacks a “defined territory.” A “defined territory” cannot include an area whose status and borders can only be defined, under longstanding international agreements, by negotiations….

 

“Palestine” lacks a “government.” It is ruled half by a terrorist group and half by an unelected administrative entity. Its last election occurred nearly seven years ago, and it has no capacity (much less inclination) to hold a new one. The government of each half considers the government of the other half illegitimate, and both are correct: one regime took power by a coup, and the other remains in power four years after its term expired….

 

“Palestine” lacks the “capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Abbas has no capacity to bind the rulers of Gaza, nor even to implement his own commitments in the area in which he can at least set foot. While in office, he failed to implement his prior obligations, including Phase I of the Roadmap (which mandated the dismantling of Hamas and other terrorist groups), and he is currently an unelected official, unrecognized by half his putative state, with no capacity to bind “Palestine” to anything.

 

“Palestine” lacks a “permanent population.” Most of the population considers themselves not putative citizens of a new state but perennial “refugees”…who reject any suggestion they should form the permanent population of a new state. They consider themselves instead to be temporary residents (and UNRWA, the UN agency devoted to caring for them, is legally a “temporary” UN body) who seek to “return” to a different state, not to be permanent residents where they currently live.

 

When you refuse to negotiate a defined territory;… when you lack a government that controls your purported territory;…when you lack the capacity to enter into relations with other states;…when you have residents who reject permanent residence and assert instead a “right” to “return” to another state, you meet none of the requirements for a state.

 

The irony is that between 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians received three formal offers of a state, and rejected them all…. Now one group of Palestinians seeks UN recognition as a “non-member state,” when they fail to qualify as a state at all, and they ignore the fact they could already have been a member-state three times over (or more), had they simply said yes….

 

Once again, “Palestine” is all set to be a failed state, no more ready for statehood than it was a year ago. Article 10 of the Montevideo Convention provides that the “primary interests of states is the conservation of peace.” The Palestinian gambit at the UN is not intended to produce peace, but to provide a platform for law-fare. It will do nothing to bring the Palestinians closer to the state they could have had long ago, if a state were really what they wanted, and it will in fact put peace further away.

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TWO PALESTINIAN GOALS AT UN

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Palestinian Media Watch, Nov. 29, 2012

 

The Palestinian Authority wishes to achieve a number of political gains by having the UN vote today [Nov. 29], recognizing "Palestine" as a non-member observer state. First, all lands that are disputed and whose future must be negotiated according to the Oslo Accords, the PA wants declared Palestinian "occupied territory." Second, they claim that UN recognition would change the status of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons to legitimate freedom fighters and prisoners of war.

 

1- Changing the status of land under Israeli administration since 1967 to "occupied territory"

 

PA Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki: "If Palestine receives status of a non-member state in the General Assembly, there will be positive effects on all levels in the future… Israel will no longer be able to define the occupied territories as disputed lands. They will become lands of a separate, occupied state."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 24, 2012]

 

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "During a speech at a meeting of the Arab League Ministerial Council, President Abbas said: … 'We will hand in the application and request that it be voted on this November 29… We want to establish that the Palestinian territories that were [taken] in 1967 including Jerusalem [are occupied], since Israel has a different approach. It says that the territories occupied in 1967 are disputed territories. In other words, up for negotiations'" [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 13, 2012]

 

2- Changing the status of Palestinian terrorists who have targeted civilians into legitimate fighters and prisoners of war

 

"Minister of Prisoners, Issa Karake said that the [PA] leadership's application to the UN to wrest [from it] international recognition of a Palestinian state, which is not a member of the UN, will raise the legal status of the prisoners and will offer international protection of their rights and their honor… the prisoners will become captives of a state (i.e., Palestine), hostages and detainees in another state (i.e., Israel). The state's (Palestine's) legal status will turn them into prisoners of war who are detained illegally in the prisons inside Israel." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 13, 2012]…

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Misguided UN Bid: JPost Editorial, Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2012—The PLO’s UN bid is misguided and wrongheaded and will do nothing but add to the long list of historic mistakes made by Palestinian leadership which date back at least to November 29, 1947 when Palestinians failed to grab their chance for nationhood and self-determination.

 

Accomplices in a Campaign to Annihilate A UN Member: Shlomo Slonim, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 28, 2012—Israelis are frequently asked: Why is Israel opposed to recognizing a Palestinian state? Detach yourselves from the Palestinians like the French detached themselves from Algeria and the two states will live in peace with each other as was originally envisaged under the 1947 Partition Resolution….

 

European Votes on PA Statehood Bid Fall Into Place: Jerusalem Post, Reuters, Nov. 28, 2012—Lines were drawn in Europe…as the Union failed to agree on a unified approach to a Palestinian bid for a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations. Germany declared that it would not back the PA's unilateral bid, while Switzerland and Denmark joined a growing list of European countries that do support it.

 

Palestine’s Muddled Statehood Strategy: Robert M. Danin, Council on Foreign Relations, Nov. 28, 2012—If all goes according to plan, the UN General Assembly will vote on Thursday or soon after to accord Palestine “non-member observer state status” in the United Nations.

 

The UN Vote, The International Criminal Court and the Riddle of Palestinian IntentionsHaviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, Nov. 29, 2012—The Palestinian Authority will seek, and likely win, recognition as a nonmember observer state on Thursday from the 193-member United Nations General Assembly. The move will have little effect on the ground, changing neither Israel’s security calculus nor the internal divisions of Palestinian politics.

 

Who Wants a Palestinian State?: Moshe Dann, Jerusalem Post, November 26, 2012—Accepting Israel means ending the Palestinian revolution, a national betrayal and an Islamic heresy. In this context, for Palestinians and their supporters, the “peace process” is a metaphor for defeat.

 

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

Prof. Frederick Krantz: AFTER GAZA, IRAN

 

AFTER GAZA, IRAN

Frederick Krantz

 

Israel’s brief, intense war with Hamas in Gaza, initiated by the terrorist movement’s renewed rocketing, is over.  A shaky truce, negotiated through a U.S.-pressured and Moslem Brotherhood-affiliated Egyptian President Morsi, is, so far, holding.

 

   While the Gaza leadership has emerged from its hiding-holes to claim “victory”, it’s clear that–thanks in large part to powerful pin-point counter-bombing of the IDF and the remarkable, over-80% effectiveness of the new “Iron Dome” anti-missile batteries—Israel came off well in the exchange.   (Hamas claims over 160 fatalities, while Israel suffered five dead.)

 

   Several leading Hamas terrorist figures were killed in carefully targeted strikes. And Hamas’ Iran-supplied stock of new, long-range Fajr-5 missiles, several of which reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, has been destroyed, along with other rocket caches and many of the supply-tunnels from contiguous Egyptian territory.

 

   Some Israelis (particularly in the South, most subject to Hamas’ attacks) would have preferred a ground invasion to, finally, wipe out the Hamas leadership and all the hidden (among civilian schools, hospitals, and houses) rocket bases.  Such a move may yet be necessary, either because the current truce breaks down, or because, after an interval, as after Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, Hamas will resume its missile terrorism.

 

   But for now, with a January 22, 2013 Israeli election looming, and the far more serious Iranian problem on the near horizon, a solid defeat of Hamas and a truce  backed by Egypt’s commitment to prevent further rocketing, is sufficient.

 

   Israel’s fundamental, over-riding concern must now be the immanent Iranian nuclear capacity. A recent IAEA report indicates that a multiplying number if centrifuges means Iran can generate sufficient uranium to arm a bomb in about three months—that is, by late spring (March-April) 2013, shortly after the Israeli election.

 

   That election must be seen as a referendum on Netanyahu’s Iran policy, which very clearly states that Israel will not allow the Iranians to reach nuclear capability. The U.S. position, different, and fuzzier, emphasizes the actual building of a nuclear weapon; it gives U.S. policy makers more time, perhaps up to a year, before having to act.

 

   But Israel’s “red line” is more concrete, and cogent: the time-lag between achieving “capability”, and actually building a bomb-tipped missile, may well be quite short; and in any case, achieved capability alone will greatly enhance Iran’s power in the region.  And waiting until Teheran actually has a verifiable weapon may well be too late.

 

   This is a chance Israel cannot take; for Israel, the issue is existential, and a mistake on here is irreversible and potentially fatal. The US, not the focus of initial attack and infinitely larger and more powerful, can afford to be more patient. 

 

   For the Jewish state, one bomb exploded over Tel Aviv will mean what the Iranians have consistently been threatening, genocide. Israel’s existence, as the legatee of the Jewish People, and the realization of Zionism’s vision of Jewish sovereignty and national independence, is neither negotiable nor, finally, answerable to the vagaries of world “opinion”. 

 

   Hence we should be ready for an Israeli attack—led by a reinforced post-election Likud government–on Iran’s nuclear installations sometime in or after late spring, 2013. And we must anticipate the criticism and hostility of the “international community” and, perhaps, of the newly re-elected President Obama.

 

   The testing time of Israel and the Jewish People is fast approaching; it, and we, have not asked for this, but ein brera, there is no alternative.  And we must all be ready to pass the arduous, and imminent, test being prepared for us.

 

(Dr. Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research,

and Editor of its Israfax magazine. He is Professor (History), 

Liberal Arts College, Concordia University, Montreal)

 

Wednesday’s “News in Review” Round-Up

 

Contents: Weekly Quotes Short Takes|On Topic

 

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Israel’s Levy Report –
Clarifying the Misconceptions

 

 

Weekly Quotes

 

 

"The PLO’s UN bid [for unofficial statehood] is misguided and wrongheaded and will do nothing but add to the long list of historic mistakes made by Palestinian leadership which date back at least to November 29, 1947 when Palestinians failed to grab their chance for nationhood and self-determination."Jerusalem Post editorial. (Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2012)

 

“It won’t lastI don’t believe in it at all,” —Gavriel Yacobovich, a 22-year-old Israel reservist called to the Gaza border in anticipation of a possible ground invasion during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. “I’m not sure we should have undertaken a ground invasion but we should have kept fighting until we were sure that our citizens in the south can sleep quietly without rocket fire. Of course, it is up to the political side to decide, but there was a sense [among the soldiers called up] that we didn’t do enough in Gaza. We should have finished the job.” (National Post, November 23, 2012)

 

“I know there are citizens expecting a more severe military action, and perhaps we shall need to do so.” —Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing to a cease-fire with Hamas after 8 days of fighting. He said he had agreed to “exhaust this opportunity for an extended truce.” (Canada.com, November 22, 2012)

 

 “What Qatar is trying to do is change the reality. They are trying to blaze a trail that will weaken the international isolation of [Hamas in] Gaza from the Israeli blockade.” —Slaman Shaikh, director of The Brookings Doha Centre in Qatar.

 

“[T]he Verfassungschutz, [domestic intelligence agency] whether in Germany or Austria, has to make the analytical leap in treating the Trotskyite/jihadist movements as they did regarding Nazi and Communist espionage or terrorism. These provide cover for a fifth column of sleeper [cells] and lone-wolf recruits that endanger the host societies as much as, if not more than, their Jewish citizens. Jews have somewhere to go. Germans and Austrians do not.”—Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations. “The Holocaust began with the word and brought the world to the abyss. The alarms in Israel under Hamas rockets should reverberate in Vienna and Berlin, for the indifferent and exposed Austrians and Germans who do not realize that they have no Iron Dome.” (Jerusalem Post, November 26, 2012)

 

“If democracy means that people decide who leads them, then [we] accept it; if it means that people can change the laws of Allah and follow what they wish to follow, then it is not acceptable.”—Muslim Brotherhood website, 2005. (The New Republic, November 26, 2012)

 

“The constitutional declaration announced by Morsy is a way of raping the country, and wholly abrogates the role of all judicial authorities,” —Wahid Abdel Meguid, a former Constituent Assembly speaker who withdrew last week. “No leader confident in his popular support would go as far as to abolish the very idea of the state in order to protect himself.”  

   "People have lost faith in him. Anyone who takes such immature decisions can do anything to us, like establish a religious state similar to the dark ages in Europe,"—a  protester in Cairo's Tahrir Square. (Egypt Independent, November 23, 2012)

 

“We are in a state of revolution. He is crazy if he [Mohammed Morsi] thinks we can go back to one-man rule. If the Brotherhood’s slogan is ‘Islam is the solution’ ours is ‘submission is not the solution. God does not call for submission to another man’s will.”—Sara Khalili, a mass communications professor at the American University in Cairo, demonstrating in Tahrir Square against President Morsi’s recent power grab. ((Associate Press, November 24, 2012)

 

“We are honoured to announce that we gave them [Palestinian terrorists] the technology of how to make Fajr-5 missiles and now they have their hands on plenty of them.” —Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. “[T]he weapons that are being used today to resist this Israeli aggression and arrogance…come mainly from Iran,”  —Islamic Jihad commander [in Gaza] Ramadan Abdullah Shallah to Al-Jazeera TV (National Post, November 24, 2012)

 

“You know that here, in this democratic country [Canada], one can never say anything offensive against the Israelis, because it can be costly, you know….[M]adam, in this beautiful country we have freedom of expression, but one can never make negative comments, whatever their nature, against the Jewish people. Otherwise, there will be consequences.”  —Jacques Fabi, Quebec radio station 98.5FM’s nighttime talk show host to Maria, a caller describing herself as being of Arab descent, who said on air, without any challenge from Mr. Fabi, that the Holocaust was “For me…the most beautiful thing that could happen in history.” (National Post, November 28, 2012)

 

“We were trying to live through the war, the hard times, in the ways which were known to us before the war,”  —Vladka Meed, a Warsaw Ghetto courier who posed as gentile during World War II, to the Jewish newspaper Forward in1995. Meed, born Feigel Peltel in Warsaw, smuggled weapons and documents into the ghetto and found hiding places for children outside. “Nobody imagined any gas chambers. Jewish resistance took different forms and shapes under Nazi occupation. Our defiance of the Germans, who wanted to dehumanize us, expressed itself in varied ways. To remain a human being in the ghetto, one had to live in constant defiance, to act illegally. We had illegal synagogues, illegal classes, illegal meetings and illegal publications." Vladka Meed died last week at the age of  90. (Ynet, November 28, 2012)

 

"[Oh] lovers of the trigger: Killing the occupiers [Israelis] is worship that Allah made into law…Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah. Arise, oh determined men. The color of [the Martyr's] blood protects the land. Oh masked one wearing a keffiyeh, terrifying the Jews… call out in Zionism's face: 'Muhammad's army has begun to return.'"—video aired on Hamas TV during the 8-day conflict with Israel. (Palestine Media Watch, November 28, 2012)

 

“I think such a conflict [in Gaza] makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who pose a national security risk to Hungary.” —Hungarian political leader Marton Gyongyosi who is deputy leader of the far-right Jobbik party, the third-largest party in the Hungarian parliament.  In response, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the SWC in Israel, said, “The fact that after making such a demand in the Hungarian Parliament, Gyongyosi has not been forced to resign, is a sad commentary on the current rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary, which is being propagated primarily by the Jobbik party, the heirs of the fascist Arrow Cross,” referring to the Hungarian Nazi party during World War II. (Jerusalem Post, November 27, 2012)

 

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RULES OF ENGAGEMENT CHANGED: IDF MAY NOT SHOOT BACK IN GAZA(Tel Aviv) One week after the conclusion of operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza the rules of engagement have been altered radically. [T]he IDF has been instructed to show restraint [and] farmers on both sides are permitted to stretch their tilled lands all the way to the border fence… If [a Palestinian] approaching the [Gaza border fence] engages in sabotaging the security fence…the IDF must treat them now as suspects to be arrested and shooting at those suspects is limited to the legs and not beyond. [The changes also apply to] terrorist cells in the process of launching a rocket. In the past, the IAF would be alerted and a plane would be sent directly to attack the target. Now the attack may take place only should the terrorist cell actually initiate the process of launching.(Jewish Press, November 28th, 2012)

 

 

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT GIVES HIMSELF NEW POWERS(Cairo) President Mohamed Morsy issued a new constitutional declaration on Thursday [Nov. 22] to acquire more more power for the President. The seven-article declaration renders the President's decrees and laws immune from appeal or cancellation. It also protects both the Shura Council and the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly from dissolution by any judicial authority, and further protects the Assembly by extending its mandate to draft the constitution to eight months instead of six, as stipulated in an earlier constitutional declaration. (Egypt Independent, November 23, 2012)

 

FRANCE TO BACK PALESTINIAN BID FOR UN OBSERVER STATUS(Paris) France will vote in favour of the Palestinians’ request to heighten their profile at the United Nations, the French foreign minister told Parliament on Tuesday, embracing a move that Israel and the United States oppose. The support of France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is the most significant boost to date for the Palestinians’ hopes to be granted non-member observer status and thus greater international recognition. Russia and China, two other permanent members, have also thrown their support behind the Palestinian bid. (National Post, November 28, 2012)

 

JERUSLAEM TO REBUILD OLD CITY SYNAGOGUE DESTROYED IN 1948(Jerusalem) The Jerusalem Municipality awarded initial approval to a plan to rebuild the iconic Tifereth Israel synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, a magnificent domed synagogue from the 19th century which was destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence. The project will recreate the three-story-tall synagogue as well as the iconic dome on the top. Ashkenazi hassidim bought the land for Tifereth Israel Synagogue in 1843, though the building wasn’t inaugurated until 1872. (Jerusalem Post, November 28, 2012)

 

ISRAEL SUCCESSFULLY TESTS ‘DAVID'S SLING’ INTERCEPTOR(Tel Aviv)

Israel and the US successfully tested the David’s Sling defense system, designed to stop medium-range rockets and cruise missiles, bringing the country a step closer to having an active defense shield against Hezbollah’s arsenal of projectiles. The system would defend against Iranian missiles such as the M600, the Zelzal, Fajr and Fateh 110 deployed heavily in Hezbollah hands in Lebanon as well as other missiles with a range between 70 and 300 kilometers. It is slated to become operational in 2014. (Jerusalem Post, November 25, 2012)

 

ISRAEL SPOTS IRANIAN SHIP BEING LOADED WITH ROCKETS FOR GAZA(Tel Aviv) Israeli spy satellites have spotted an Iranian ship being loaded with missiles that analysts say may be headed for Gaza….According to the report, the cargo may include Fajr-5 rockets, in addition to Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which could be stationed in Sudan to pose a direct threat to Israel. The cargo would travel via the Red Sea, Sudan and Egypt, following a well-established route used by Iran to smuggle arms into Gaza…“With a lot of effort, Iran has skillfully built a strategic arm pointing at Israel from the south,” an Israeli source was quoted as saying. “We believe that Iranian warships anchored in Eritrea will accompany the weapons ship as soon as it enters the Red Sea,” an Israeli source told the Times. (Ha’aretz, November 25, 2012)

 

EGYPT: COPTS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ANTI-ISLAM FILM—(Cairo) A Cairo court on Wednesday [Nov. 28} sentenced to death seven Egyptian Christians tried in absentia for participating in an anti-Islam video, "Innocence of Muslims", that…had prompted violent protests in many Muslim countries. "The seven accused persons were convicted of insulting the Islamic religion through participating in producing and offering a movie that insults Islam and its prophet," Judge Saif al-Nasr Soliman said. In his first public statements about the video, the creator, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, said he had no regrets about his negative portrayal of Islam, as he wanted to reveal what he called "the actual truth" about Mohammad and raise awareness of the violence committed "under the sign of Allah." (Jerusalem Post, November 28, 2012)

 

IRAN BLASTS CANADA AS ‘RACIST’ AND ‘SELF-CENTRED’(New York) Iran called Canada “racist” and “self-centred” at a UN meeting on Tuesday [Nov. 26], where it balked at a Canadian-led resolution condemning Iranian abuses. In a statement before the humanitarian affairs committee, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, said Canada had “a long list of human rights violations” against immigrants, Muslims, aboriginals and “Afro-Canadian women,” and accused Ottawa of “abusing human rights mechanisms to advance its self-centred political interests. In fact, if any country had to get a resolution, [Canada] would have deserved it more than others because of their unsparing support of a regime [Israel] that has frequently committed genocide in the Palestinian Occupied Territories,” (National Post Nov 28, 2012)

 

CANADIAN PM PERSONALLY INTERVENED TO STOP PA STATEHOOD BID AT UN(Ottawa) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper personally intervened to pressure Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to drop his bid for upgraded status at the United Nations. Harper…told Mr. Abbas: If you keep doing what you're doing 'there will be consequences.'" Effectively, the Canadian government has warned the Palestinian Authority’s representatives that their ‘embassy’ in Ottawa – in fact a delegation office, because Palestine isn’t a state – might be closed, and the Palestinian envoy, Said Hamad, sent home.” (Israel National News, November 27, 2012)

 

EGYPT KIDNAP GANGS BURN ERITREAN CAPTIVES ALIVE(Sinai) More than 10,000 refugees from Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in Africa, have been abducted and held to ransom by Bedouin gangs in the Egyptian desert in the past four years…[M]ore than 2,000 have been murdered as impoverished families were unable to pay sums of up to £25,000 demanded for their return. Others may have had hearts, lungs or kidneys removed and sold to the illegal organ trade. A leading authority on the region said eight people, including a 22-year-old woman, had been burnt to death, after being dowsed with gasoline, in the past fortnight after relatives failed to pay ransoms. (Sunday Times of London, November 25, 2012)

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

Arab Columnists Criticize Firing of Rockets from Gaza: MEMRI, Nov. 21, 2012—Alongside the official Arab condemnations of Israel's attack on Gaza, and the popular protests against it in some of the Arab countries, there has also been criticism against Hamas.

 

Will the Arab Spring Deliver for Hamas?: Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20, 2012

Mr. Morsi didn't rise to power to carry the burden of the Palestinian question. Egyptians could rightly claim that they had paid their dues for Palestine. Enough was enough…

 

A Cease-Fire Named Iran? : Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, November 28, 2012 — Last week’s cease-fire agreement is a terrible deal for Israel. Yet even so, the government wasn’t necessarily wrong to accept it. The crucial question is whether it caved because it got cold feet, or whether it sensibly sacrificed a lesser gain now for a greater one later. The truce with Hamas is a lousy deal. But it’s justified if it facilitates IDF action against Iran. 

 

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine (current issue: “Israel’s Levy Report”:  ISRAZINE.

 

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by fax and e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends and family to visit our website for more information on our Briefing series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, contact us at http://www.isranet.org/.

 

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible membership contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address or “Donate” button on Website)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s Briefing series attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Institute.

 

 

Ber Lazarus
Publications Editor
Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme   www.isranet.org  Tel: (514) 486-5544 Fax:(514) 486-8284

“MORSILINI”, THE NEW DICTATOR, MOVES AGAINST THE “REVOLUTION” — SO MUCH FOR “MORSI THE MODERATE”

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BREAKING NEWS:Masses Clash With Police in Egypt, Call for Morsi's OusterJerusalem PostNovember 27, 2012—"We don't want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom," 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini said in Cairo.

 

Morsy and the “Nationalization” of the Revolution: Hesham Sallam, Egyptian Independent, Nov. 22, 2012— President Mohamed Morsy’s recent decisions to prop up presidential powers and shield the constituent assembly from legal challenges, among other controversial steps, have raised the question of where Egyptian politics is heading today.

 

The Islamist Regime’s Game Plan for Egypt: Barry Rubin, PJMedia, Nov. 26, 2012—What’s been happening in Egypt this week is as important as the revolution that overthrew the old regime almost two years ago. A new dictator has arrived and while the Muslim Brotherhood’s overturning of democracy was totally predictable, Western policymakers walked right into the trap. They even helped build it.

 

The Threat to the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Nov. 15, 2012—Given the brazen nature of Hamas’s decision to provoke the latest round of fighting in and around Gaza, it’s difficult for Israel’s critics to claim that it was not justified in seeking to halt a barrage that sent more than 150 missiles into the south of the country.

 

Shame on Anyone Who Thought Morsi a Moderate: Eric Trager, The New Republic, Nov. 26, 2012—Nobody should have been surprised when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a “constitutional declaration” on Thursday asserting total political power. This was, after all, the former Muslim Brotherhood leader’s second power grab since he took office in June

 

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Brotherly Love: Eric Trager, Weekly Standard, Nov 12, 2012

Morsi Tries to Calm Egypt After His Edict: Sam Dagher & Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 26, 2012

Egypt's Morsi is Hamas' New Best Friend: Joel Brinkley, Baltimore Sun, Nov. 23, 2012

Egypt Erupts as Muslim Brotherhood Seizes Power: P. David Hornik , Front Page Magazine, Nov. 26, 2012

The Hushed Dispute Over Nile Waters: Emanuel Mfoukou, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2012

Egypt's Islamist Autocrat: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Spectator, Nov. 26, 2012

"Obey The Prophet, Even if He Tells You To Kill": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 26, 2012

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS
Masses Clash With Police in Egypt, Call for Morsi's Ouster
Jerusalem PostNovember 27, 2012

 

Opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed with Cairo police on Tuesday as thousands of protesters around the nation stepped up pressure on the Islamist leader to scrap a decree they say threatens Egypt with a new era of autocracy.

Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths in streets off the capital's Tahrir Square, heart of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year. Protesters also turned out in Alexandria, Suez, Minya and cities in the Nile Delta.

"We don't want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom," 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini said in Cairo. More

 

 

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MORSY AND THE “NATIONALIZATION” OF THE REVOLUTION

Hesham Sallam

Egyptian Independent, November 22, 2012

 

President Mohamed Morsy’s recent decisions to prop up presidential powers and shield the constituent assembly from legal challenges, among other controversial steps, have raised the question of where Egyptian politics is heading today.

 

At first glance these developments seem to hold the promise of vengeance for the revolution’s martyrs, whose families were granted an increase in their state pensions. Upon closer examination, however, these decisions are clearly aimed at appropriating revolutionary legitimacy and using it to strengthen the position of the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled presidency….The decrees effectively render the presidential decisions final and not subject to the review of judicial authorities, which may mark the return to Mubarak-style presidency, without even the legal cosmetics that the previous regime employed to justify its authoritarian ways….

 

While the failure to bring to justice former and current security officials suspected of wrong-doing during and since the eighteen-day uprising can partly be blamed on the incompetence of prosecutors, the major hurdle to this process is essentially the absence of any meaningful reform inside military and civilian security agencies—something that Morsy’s decisions have failed to address.

 

In light of the fact that these agencies have been shielded from transformative institutional reforms even under Morsy’s leadership, it is anything but surprising that they continue to undermine ongoing investigations of current and former security officials. It is also no surprise that they persist in repeatedly employing deadly violence against peaceful protesters, as evidenced by a number of recent incidents. By overlooking the absence of legal and institutional reforms to rectify the conduct of the policing establishment and its relationship with society, Morsy has left the core of the problem at hand unresolved.

 

The timing of these decisions is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the replacement of the prosecutor general speaks to a fear that the Muslim Brotherhood has regarding the influx of complaints filed questioning the legal standing of the group. A prosecutor general who is not politically loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood makes both current and future challenges to the legality of the Brotherhood extremely threatening. Secondly, the consolidation of presidential authority underscores the fact that the Egyptian government, after reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund over the terms of a $4.8 billion loan, is preparing to go down a path of economic liberalization that will likely result in social unrest and a great deal of dissent that demands an imperial presidency with minimal accountability.

 

Thirdly, the decision that neither the Constituent Assembly nor the Shura Council can be legally dissolved comes at a time when the court is reviewing thorny legal challenges that could result in rendering these bodies unconstitutional. Fourthly, it is also likely that the president made these decisions after sensing that Washington would be reluctant to express serious concern over the non-democratic nature of these decrees now that he has proven that, like Mubarak, he has something useful to offer on the Palestinian-Israeli track and, accordingly, should be granted some leeway in how he deals with domestic dissent.

 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that what is most striking about the declaration is not what it contained, but rather what was omitted. In light of police brutality against protesters…and mass withdrawals of non-Islamist figures from the Constituent Assembly due to serious disagreements over the draft constitution, several people expected that the president would announce something quite different. They expected the replacement of the Hesham Qandil Cabinet, a plan to reform the Ministry of Interior and the policing establishment, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the formation of a more credible and representative constitution drafting body. Instead, the president sent the message that his decisions are supreme, the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Constituent Assembly cannot be dissolved, and that his government and the country’s repressive security agencies inherited from the Mubarak era are untouchable. Morsy has clearly taken sides, and it is not the side of the revolution.

 

(Hesham Sallam is co-editor of Jadaliyya and a PhD candidate in government at Georgetown University.)

 

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THE ISLAMIST REGIME’S GAME PLAN FOR EGYPT

Barry Rubin

PJMedia, November 26, 2012

 

What’s been happening in Egypt this week is as important as the revolution that overthrew the old regime almost two years ago. A new dictator has arrived and while the Muslim Brotherhood’s overturning of democracy was totally predictable, Western policymakers walked right into the trap. They even helped build it.

 

President Mursi has now declared his ability to rule by decree. The key concept is that he can do everything to protect the revolution. In doing so, he is defining the revolution…as an Islamist revolution. One could call the Islamist strategy a short march through the institutions. Once Islamists take power—in Iran, the Gaza Strip, and Turkey, perhaps, too Syria—that is only the beginning of the story. They systematically do a fundamental transformation of them….

 

At a November 18 press conference, a few days before Mursi issued his decree, the leading secular-oriented representatives in the constitution-writing constituent assembly resigned, charging the new document would enshrine Sharia law. The problem was not the statement in Article 2 about Sharia being the main source of Egyptian legislation but rather later provisions making it clear that Islamist-controlled institutions would interpret precisely what that meant. Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and Arab League secretary-general, said the new constitution would bring disaster for Egypt….

 

Of critical importance for Egypt is control over the religious infrastructure: the ministry of Waqf that supervises huge amounts of money in Islamic foundations; the office of qadi, the chief Islamist jurist; al-Azhar University, the most important institution defining Islam in the Muslim world…

 

While the judges are still holding out bravely only the army has real power to counter the Islamist revolution transforming the most important country in the Arabic-speaking world into the instrument of the leading international anti-Western, anti-American, and antisemitic organization….What is going on inside Egypt’s army, the last remaining institution that could offer resistance? We don’t really know but there are certainly some important indications. In theory, the army is the only force that can challenge the Muslim Brotherhood’s drive to transform Egypt into an Islamist state. But why should we believe the officers want to engage in such a battle?…

 

During the more recent revolution, the army’s main concern was its own corporate interests—especially control over the military budget, the choice of its leaders, and those business activities. Over and over again the Western mass media and governments spoke as if they were dealing with a South American army that wanted to rule the country. It was portrayed as repressive and potentially tyrannical. By definition, all civilians—especially the Muslim Brotherhood—were good guys against the supposed military would-be dictators.

 

This was far from the truth. The military was eager to get out of power as long as its narrow interests were preserved. One of its biggest fears was becoming unpopular. That’s why it didn’t crack down in 2011 on behalf of the Mubarak regime and didn’t do so very much when it was in the transitional military council. To put it bluntly, the army wasn’t the bad guys but, relatively speaking, among the good guys.

 

Now, however, that moment is past. Partly under international pressure, it gave power to an elected president without securing a single one of its demands. So much for the tyrannical generals. Scores of top officers resigned and they are now being replaced by the choices of one man, the president….

 

Lacking any ideological orientation against revolutionary Islamism; without charismatic leadership, not at all united, and in a sense fat and greedy, without any foreign encouragement, and not wanting to shoot down its own people and set off a civil war, the Egyptian army is not a bulwark against the country becoming an Islamist dictatorship….

 

What are the red lines for the army? First and foremost, that nobody touch their economic empire and cuts their budget. Mursi isn’t stupid enough to get into trouble on that issue. Second, those who attack the military with guns must be dealt with harshly. Mursi is willing to crack down on those extremely radical Salafist groups—notably in the Sinai—who shoot Egyptian soldiers rather than just restricting themselves to attacks on Israel.

 

Third, the preservation of U.S. military aid. No worries though, there, it would take a lot for the Obama Administration to cut off this assistance. The regime can go far toward suppressing women and Christians, making clear it is helping the forces seeking to wipe Israel off the map, subvert other Arabic-speaking countries, and setting up a dictatorship without having to worry about losing the aid.

 

Finally, will the Egyptian military constantly refuse to take steps that might entangle it in a war with Israel? Here is the most likely hope of restraint though Mursi isn’t eager for such a direct conflict either. The danger, however, is not so much an executive decision to go to war but a slow slide into conflict. Along the way, Egypt can be permissive toward those staging cross-border attacks on Israel; allow Egyptian volunteers in large numbers to go to the Gaza Strip to fight; and allow lots of weapons into the Gaza Strip. Small-scale border clashes or a future Israel-Hamas war could move things in that direction.

 

For the time being, however, as indicated by the ceasefire, Egypt’s new regime doesn’t want a conflict either. After all consolidating its power within the country and creating a new order that will last for decades is a big task. All the institutions must be transformed, a constitution finalized and adopted, billions of dollars of foreign aid begged, oppositions tamed…Patience and a practical sense of how to proceed to accomplish radical objectives should not be mistaken for moderation. The Middle East will still be there to Islamize, Israel to destroy, and American influence to eliminate when Mursi is ready.

 

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THE THREAT TO THE ISRAEL-EGYPT PEACE TREATY

 

Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary, November 15, 2012

 

Given the brazen nature of Hamas’s decision to provoke the latest round of fighting in and around Gaza, it’s difficult for Israel’s critics to claim that it was not justified in seeking to halt a barrage that sent more than 150 missiles into the south of the country….But the naysayers are claiming that in opting to defend Israeli citizens and hopefully making it more difficult for Hamas to resume its terrorist offensive, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is effectively destroying his nation’s peace treaty with Egypt.

 

That’s the conceit of this New York Times article that depicts Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as being forced into a difficult position by Israel. He is, we are told, trying to maintain the peace treaty in order to appease Western aid donors like the United States, but is still obligated by Egyptian public opinion to denounce Israel. The implication of all this is that if the treaty, which is despised by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and extremely unpopular with the Egyptian public, is scrapped, it will be because Netanyahu has chosen to be provocative.

 

While it is true that the treaty is in peril, placing the blame for this on Israel is so divorced from reality it’s hard to know where to start to debunk this idea. Morsi is no victim in this scenario. If Egypt’s people are clamoring for the spilling of Israeli blood, it is, in no small measure, because his Islamist party has done its best to promote hatred of Israel and Jews to an extent that few in the West appreciate….

 

The idea that Israel should refrain from defending its citizens against indiscriminate missile attacks across an internationally recognized border in order to appease Egyptian public opinion is so morally corrupt that it is barely worth spending the time to refute it. But the main point to take away from this discussion is that Egyptian attitudes toward Israel stem from that country’s deep-seated prejudices, not a rational evaluation of Netanyahu’s policies.

 

The notion that the treaty’s survival depends on Israel’s quiet acceptance of a steady diet of terror attacks is pure fiction. The Egypt-Israel peace treaty was not a gift from Egypt to Israel. If anything, it was gift to Egypt from Israel and the United States in that it allowed Cairo to opt out of a costly conflict that it had tired of and rewarded it with an annual bribe in the form of billions of dollars of American taxpayer cash. For decades the Mubarak regime profited from the treaty, but compensated for its heresy against Arab nationalist ideology by allowing anti-Semitism to thrive in the country’s media and popular culture….

 

If the day comes when Morsi decides he doesn’t need American money anymore, you can bet he may cancel the treaty with Israel even if his country’s military is petrified at the thought of being forced to face off against the IDF. Which is why the preservation of a treaty whose main contemporary purpose is to serve as a rationale for U.S. aid to Egypt isn’t likely to be affected by anything Israel does in Gaza. The real threat to the treaty comes from a culture of Jew hatred, not Israeli self-defense.

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SHAME ON ANYONE WHO EVER THOUGHT

MOHAMMAD MORSI WAS A MODERATE

Eric Trager

The New Republic, November 26, 2012

 

Nobody should have been surprised when Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a “constitutional declaration” on Thursday [Nov. 22] asserting total political power. This was, after all, the former Muslim Brotherhood leader’s second power grab since he took office in June, complementing his earlier seizure of legislative and constitution-writing authorities by now insulating himself from judicial oversight. Yet Washington was caught entirely off-guard: Morsi’s power play was at odds with the administration’s view that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “democratic party,” and his impressive handling of last week’s Gaza ceasefire created a modicum of trust between him and President Obama. So the State Department released a predictably confused statement, urging “all Egyptians to resolve their differences … peacefully and through democratic dialogue.”

 

Washington ought to have known by now that “democratic dialogue” is virtually impossible with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now mobilizing throughout Egypt to defend Morsi’s edict. The reason is that it is not a “democratic party” at all. Rather, it is a cultish organization that was never likely to moderate once it had grasped power.

 

That’s because the very process through which one becomes a Muslim Brother is designed to weed out moderates. It begins when specially designated Brotherhood recruiters, who work at mosques and universities across Egypt, identify pious young men and begin engaging them in social activities to assess their suitability for the organization. The Brotherhood’s ideological brainwashing begins a few months later, as new recruits are incorporated into Brotherhood cells (known as “families”) and introduced to the organization’s curriculum, which emphasizes Qur’anic memorization and the writings of founder Hassan al-Banna, among others. Then, over a five-to-eight-year period, a team of three senior Muslim Brothers monitors each recruit as he advances through five different ranks of Brotherhood membership—muhib, muayyad, muntasib, muntazim, and finally ach amal, or “active brother.” …

 

As a result, Muslim Brothers come to see themselves as foot soldiers in service of the organization’s theocratic credo: “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” Meanwhile, those dissenting with the organization’s aims or tactics are eliminated at various stages during the five-to-eight-year vetting period.

 

The Brotherhood, in other words, does not tolerate pluralism—it methodically works to extinguish it. In this vein, when a number of its most prominent youth activists— including organizers of the January 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising—disagreed with the Brotherhood’s decision to form a single political party after last year’s revolution, they were banished. Similarly, when long-time Brotherhood leader Abdel Monem Abouel Fotouh decided to run for president at a time when the organization had decided against fielding a candidate, he was banished. And when some Brotherhood youths supported Abouel Fotouh’s campaign, they were banished as well….

 

Despite the brazenness of the Brotherhood’s undemocratic practices and outlook, however, many within the American policy community gave the Brotherhood the benefit of the doubt. This was particularly the case following Mubarak’s ouster, when Arab Spring optimism dissuaded too many analysts from taking a discerning look at Egypt’s newly emerging leaders….

 

Morsi’s second power-grab in five months, however, has laid bare the mutual exclusivity between the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy. Indeed, as the first protests mounted against his edict, Morsi responded by encouraging confrontation rather than compromise, declaring his opponents “weevils eating away at the nation of Egypt.” Brotherhood youths echoed Morsi, calling for “cleansing” the country of Morsi’s top critics, including Nobel Laureate Mohamed El Baradei and former presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi.

 

Meanwhile, prominent Muslim Brothers have advocated violence to defend their president. In this vein, senior Brotherhood adviser Gehad El-Haddad tweeted on Saturday that, “When future of Egypt is in balance, … we are more than wiling to pay for it with our lives not votes

 

Given the surprising strength of the anti-Morsi protests, it is too soon to know how this episode will end. But within the American policy community, Morsi’s edict has catalyzed a new consensus regarding the Brotherhood’s undemocratic nature. Indeed, even the Brotherhood’s most consistent American defenders are suddenly reversing course, openly calling for using economic aid as leverage for compelling Morsi to change his behavior.…And thanks to Morsi’s recklessly autocratic constitutional declaration, calls for applying international pressure are growing rapidly.

 

(Eric Trager is the Next Generation Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.)

 

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Brotherly Love: Eric Trager, Weekly Standard, Nov. 12, 2012—There is one curious beneficiary of the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that cost four American lives: Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood government

 

Morsi Tries to Calm Egypt After His Edict: Sam Dagher & Matt Bradley, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 26, 2012—Egypt's leader tried to contain the fallout from his decision last week to neutralize the judiciary and bestow nearly absolute powers upon himself, meeting with the country's top judges Monday and emphasizing that his edict was a temporary measure with limited scope.

 

Egypt's Morsi is Hamas' New Best Friend: Joel Brinkley, Baltimore Sun, Nov. 23, 2012—Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's not-so-new president, has been equivocating, trying to balance Egypt's longstanding diplomatic and financial relationship with the West with his true self: a Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalist who is contemptuous of the West, hates Israel and wants to turn Egypt into a fully Islamic state.

 

Egypt Erupts as Muslim Brotherhood Seizes Power: P. David Hornik , Front Page Magazine, November 26, 2012— Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi can at least get a prize for brazenness. Just last Wednesday he was being praised by the Obama administration for his “practical” role in working out a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. “This was somebody focused on solving problems,” a “senior administration official” admiringly told the New York Times.

 

The Hushed Dispute Over Nile Waters: Emanuel Mfoukou, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2012—Egypt’s attention may soon be drawn in another direction – to the south and the headwaters of the mighty Nile River, where a pair of dams are being built that could diminish the supply of Nile waters so critical to sustaining Egypt’s mushrooming population.

 

Egypt's Islamist Autocrat: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Spectator, Nov. 26, 2012—When Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) first became president of Egypt, many commentators imagined that power in Egypt was still firmly in the hands of the military and the then head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

 

"Obey The Prophet, Even if He Tells You To Kill": Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 26, 2012—Just as, in the West, a general's orders – including to kill – are not to be questioned, so in Islam, according to Qaradawi, the "Godfather" of the Muslim Brotherhood, are Mohammed's orders not open to question by 1.5 billion soldiers, Islam's "soldiers."

 

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The Hushed Dispute Over Nile Waters

 

The Hushed Dispute Over Nile Waters

Of the many turmoils in the Middle East, the issue of water allocation could lead to reasons for war.

nile waterfall 521
Photo by: wikimedia.com

The Arab Spring is rearranging the political landscape of the Middle East, and many have been wondering whether the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover in Cairo would mark the end of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

But one Israeli official recently suggested to The Christian Edition that Egypt’s attention may soon be drawn in another direction – to the south and the headwaters of the mighty Nile River, where a pair of dams are being built that could diminish the supply of Nile waters so critical to sustaining Egypt’s mushrooming population.

In the desert regions of the Middle East, battles over water are not a new phenomenon, as the Bible records struggles over wells all the way back in the book of Genesis. But Egypt’s limited water resources and its swelling population over recent decades, now topping 80 million, have left it notoriously on the brink of a Malthusian nightmare.

This predicament has not been lost on Egyptian leaders. When President Anwar Sadat signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, he assured that “Egypt will never go to war again, except to protect its water resources.”

Egyptian diplomat Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who rose to become Secretary General of the United Nations, also famously predicted that the next major war in the region would be over water.

Yet little attention has been paid to recent reports and rumors, some traced to WikiLeaks, that Egyptian authorities have threatened Ethiopia and Uganda over their plans to build dams on their respective tributaries of the Nile.

The Nile is considered the world’s longest river and draws its waters from two main sources, the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The latter tributary originates in Rwanda and Burundi and then flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and meanders northwest into Sudan, joining up with the White Nile at Khartoum and surging northward as one into Egypt before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt has historically asserted a natural right to the Nile waters, and its riparian claims were eventually enshrined in a series of agreements orchestrated by Great Britain during the colonial era, when it had military control over much of east Africa.

However, these Nile accords, which gave Egypt control of 90 percent of the Nile waters and a stake in any dams built all along the river, were never ratified by several upstream African countries, including Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile rises and supplies 80% of the Nile’s volume.

These colonial-era treaties were renegotiated when the nations of the region gained their independence, but Egypt still enjoyed too much leverage, especially after threatening war on Ethiopia, Tanzania and other states to maintain its dominance over the Nile waters.

The late Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, who passed away last August, had expressed dissatisfaction for years with the colonialist agreements which granted his nation control over only 3% of the Blue Nile.

So he decided to construct a dam on the river to boost development in his country, a project known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The Italian company Salini began work on the Renaissance Dam in April 2011, while Egypt was preoccupied with its internal revolution sparked by the Arab Spring. The dam is going up only 25 miles from its border with Sudan and will power the largest hydroelectric generator plant in Africa.

The project promises to transform Ethiopia, allowing it to finally feed its people. This, after all, is the country where droughts and famines claimed more than one million lives from 1983-85, prompting massive famine relief efforts and the pop-driven “We are the World” video. Yet few realized in those days that the water resources which could have prevented all that suffering and starvation in parched areas of Ethiopia were located right there in Lake Tana and the Blue Nile – if only Ethiopia could have been free to use it.

In a recent interview with The Christian Edition, Ethiopia’s minister for federal affairs, Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam, proudly defended the dam project and lauded the contributions it can make to all of East Africa when finished.

“We started to build the Renaissance Dam about a year ago, and we feel that we are in an era of agricultural growth and soon even industrial development,” he said. “Power is the major triggering factor for any industrialization project, be it manufacturing, agricultural and so forth.”

Teklemariam explained that the Renaissance Dam is being constructed to address the root problems of poverty and under-development.

“We are engaged in a number of power projects, and the Ethiopian Renaissance is one of them, a dam that will contribute some 6,000 megawatts on its own. But we have to remember that the very intention of this mega-dam is not only to contribute to Ethiopia and its people, but it is also meant to contribute to our neighboring countries, be it Sudan, Egypt or Kenya,” he stated.

“This means that not only Ethiopia, but also our neighbors will be able to gain advantage from the dam in the form of power sharing or power contribution from one another. It’s hence a project that ties together the neighboring countries and benefits all people in multiple countries.”

As the dam has been going up, Egyptian engineers and experts have been trying to assess how the dam will affect their country. The initial reactions were troubling.

According to a report released by WikiLeaks, dating to the time when President Hosni Mubarak was still in power, military strategies aimed at sabotaging the dam were discussed with Sudan. One leaked document read as follows: “If it comes to a crisis, we will send a jet to bomb the dam and come back in one day, simple as that. Or we can send our special forces in to sabotage the dam. But we aren’t going for the military option now. This is just contingency planning. Look back to a cooperation Egypt did in the mid-late 1970’s, I think 1976, when Ethiopia was trying to build a large dam. We blew up the equipment while it was traveling by sea to Ethiopia.”

The same source further claimed that Egypt had received a green light to build an air base in Sudan, to be used as a base to launch attacks against the Ethiopian dam.

When asked about the reports, Teklemariam said he was familiar with the claims but did not believe they were accurate.

“For me it is a fabrication that Egypt would attack the dam, a fabrication created by some people who do not want to see the people-to-people or government – to – government collaboration between the people of Ethiopia and Egypt. These are fictions which just create their own mind-set here and there,” he said.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi also recently told an Egyptian paper that the leaks were “designed to disturb Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.”

Teklemariam insisted the dam will bring cooperation rather than conflict.

“The Renaissance Dam has nothing to do with Egypt loosing anything. In fact it is rather the opposite, as it will benefit Egypt. It controls the flooding, it maintains the natural sustained flow of water in both Sudan and Egypt, and so in the end they will actually benefit more from this dam,” he assured.

“During the rainy season the flooding is a real challenge. During the drought season, the shortage of water is another challenge. So the building of the Renaissance Dam itself is going to resolve those real problems that Sudan as well as Egypt are facing. So there is nothing strange that will bring people into conflict. It’s a common project for a common benefit.”

Teklemariam was not only optimistic about collaboration with Egypt, Sudan and other neighboring countries, he was in Tel Aviv at a conference last month to explore ways to cooperate with Israel about development in Ethiopia. After all, Israel is a world leader in the fields of desalination, drip irrigation, wastewater management and other water conservation techniques.

Meantime, Teklemariam remains confident Ethiopia’s new dam will bring peace and prosperity, not war and destruction.

“The Renaissance Dam is a wellstudied, well-explored and a wellinvestigated dam. Ethiopia has no intention to build a dam that will hurt someone else somewhere else,” he said. “I believe that the Renaissance Dam is opening a new chapter of collaboration and joint development as well as a new chapter of one supporting the other; a new chapter not to see each other as enemies but as friends, as sisters and brothers. And that is where we are today.”

Posted in Uncategorized

A COMPLEX, UNSTABLE REGION: EGYPT AND TURKEY ARE RIVALS, BOTH FEAR A NUCLEAR IRAN & SYRIA IS THE WILD CARD

Contents:                          

 

Download Today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf 

 

Growing Ties Between Egypt, Turkey: New Regional Order?: Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, Nov.13, 2012—Egypt and Turkey are forging an alliance that showcases two Islamist leaders maneuvering to reshape a Middle East gripped by political upheaval and passionate battles over how deeply the Koran should penetrate public life.

 

Why Turkey Should Be Tough On Iran: Can Kasapoglu, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 6, 2012—A nuclear Iran will be tantamount to the collapse of the over five-century-old balance of power between Turkey and Iran, which was first created by the Battle of Chaldiran between the Ottoman and Safavid empires in 1514.

 

Turkey in the Syrian Crisis: What Next?: Veli Sirin, Gatestone Institute, Oct.26, 2012—Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad treats Turkish military reprisals as pin-pricks. Nonetheless, while massacres continue inside Syria, confrontations and counterblows proliferate along the country's border with Turkey, including exchanges of mortar-shell fire. But how long will this stalemate continue?

 

On Topic Links

 

 

The Kurds’ Evolving Strategy: The Struggle Goes Political in Turkey: Aliza Marcus, World Affairs Journal, Nov./Dec. 2012

A Kurdish Wedge Between Iraq, Turkey: Joost Hiltermann, Real Clear World, Oct. 24, 2012

Erdogan Pays for His Foreign Policy: Halil Karaveli, National Interest, Nov.12, 2012

 

 

 

GROWING TIES BETWEEN EGYPT, TURKEY:
A NEW REGIONAL ORDER?

Jeffrey Fleishman

Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2012—

 

Egypt and Turkey are forging an alliance that showcases two Islamist leaders maneuvering to reshape a Middle East gripped by political upheaval and passionate battles over how deeply the Koran should penetrate public life. The relationship may foreshadow an emerging regional order in which the sway of the United States gradually fades against Islamist voices no longer contained by militaries and pro-Western autocrats.

 

Each country has a distinct vision of political Islam, but Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, and Egypt, the traditional heart of the Arab world, complement each other for now. Turkey's strong economy may help rescue Egypt from financial crisis, while Cairo may further Ankara's ambition to rise as a force among Islamic-backed governments.

 

What bonds and rivalries may ensue is unclear, but they are likely to affect what rises from the bloodshed in Syria, the influence of oil nations in the Persian Gulf, future policies toward Israel and the volatile divide between moderate and ultraconservative Islamists. The nations offer competing story lines playing out between the traditional and the contemporary.

 

"Turkey has done a good job so far of balancing the relationship between the religion and state. It is secular," said Ahmed Abou Hussein, a Middle East affairs analyst in Cairo. "This is not the case in Egypt. We haven't found the balance between religion and state yet. We're all confused, not only the Islamists."

 

The two countries recently conducted naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi visited Ankara in September and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to arrive in Cairo this month with promises of closer cooperation and a financial aid package that may reach $2 billion….The nations' deepening ties come amid international and domestic pressure emanating from revolutions that are recasting political rhythms in the Middle East and North Africa.

 

Erdogan is moving to fashion Turkey's democracy into a model for Arab governments even as he has been criticized by human rights groups for the arrest [and deaths – Ed.] of thousands of Kurdish activists. Morsi is seeking to restore Egypt's global stature after years of diminishment under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.

 

Turkey's diplomatic finesse and economic allure have allowed it to deftly exert its regional influence. But the civil war in Syria has shredded relations between Ankara and Damascus and left Erdogan, who has threatened Syrian President Bashar Assad with wider military action, searching for a plan to end the conflict on his border.

 

Turkey has also drawn the ire of Iran, a Syrian ally, for signing on to a U.S.-backed missile shield. And Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki this year called Turkey a "hostile state" and accused it of agitating sectarian tension in his country….

 

Egypt's deeper problems bristle on the home front, including unemployment, poverty, crime and decrepit state institutions that became more glaring after last year's overthrow of Mubarak. Both Morsi and Erdogan, who rose to power nearly a decade ago, curtailed the political influence of their nations' generals, but each has been accused by secularists as having authoritarian streaks tinged with Islam. The countries have a tendency to harass and arrest dissidents and journalists.

 

A closer fusion of Cairo and Ankara stems in part from the influence Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood had on Islamist organizations across the region, including Erdogan's Justice and Development Party. While the Brotherhood was being persecuted by Mubarak, a brash Erdogan riveted the "Arab street" with his populism and chiding of leaders, such as Mubarak, for their compliance toward the West.

 

The question is, how will Erdogan and Morsi maneuver the politics of a Middle East that both want to influence, and which Egypt regards as its historic and strategic territory? "I don't think Egypt even under the Muslim Brotherhood would appreciate a Turkey that would nose around on Egypt's political turf," said Kemal Kirisci, a professor of political science and international relations at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

 

But Turkey offers Egypt a pragmatic — some analysts suggest modern — approach to the West, the global economy and stability…."What is interesting about Turkey's success is its commitment to practical visions and plans," said Seif Allah el Khawanky, a political analyst. "Morsi's administration doesn't have this." Both countries are working toward new constitutions. Turkey's politics spring from a secular democracy and a history of defined political parties that have tempered the influence of Islam. Turkish women who wear hijabs are banned from political office. Egypt's Islamist-dominated government, however, is pushing for a constitution firmly rooted in sharia, or Islamic law, and there is little inclination among conservatives to import the Turkish model…..

 

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WHY TURKEY SHOULD BE TOUGH ON IRAN
Can Kasapoglu

Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2012

 

A nuclear Iran will be tantamount to the collapse of the over five-century-old balance of power between Turkey and Iran which was first created by the Battle of Chaldiran between the Ottoman and Safavid empires in 1514.

 

Only after Selim the 1st (or Yavuz Sultan Selim Khan – the first Sultan of the empire who claimed the caliphate) overcame the Safavid Empire of Persia was Istanbul able to exert full control and authority over eastern Anatolia and Northern Iraq. However, for some time now Ankara’s sovereignty in eastern Anatolia and vital national security interests in Northern Iraq have been under significant Iranian threat via proxy war, subversive activities, and political and military machinations. Iran also stands in the way of Turkey’s regional hegemonic agenda, especially in Syria, and in a greater sense in the Levant region.

 

Throughout history, this corridor has always been a natural route for Turkish expansions into the region we call Greater Middle East today. As a matter of fact, just a couple of years after Sultan Selim Khan vanquished the Safavid Empire in Chaldiran he fought another regional power, the Mamluk Sultanate, at the Battle of Merj Dabik, and conquered Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, or in other words a large portion of the Levant.

 

At this juncture, understanding the geopolitical mentality of the Ottoman expansion and its correlation with Iran is of crucial importance. In order to project power in the Levant, Turkey has to be safe from the Iranian threat. And vice versa: Iran, whether the Safavids or the contemporary Islamic Republic, must keep Turkey under constant threat to secure the Levant and/or avert Turkish expansion. Thus, Turkish decision-makers should well understand the geopolitical logic of Selim Khan’s perception of Iran as the rock [standing] between Turkey being caged into Anatolia or being a real regional power (which is definitely not same thing as being popular in the region).

 

Iran’s desire to keep Turkey constantly under threat resurfaced in the 1990s and 2000s via Tehran’s proxy war attempts. Be it the Kurdish Hezbollah or PKK terrorism, Tehran will do its utmost to keep Ankara in trouble with constant low-intensity conflicts.

 

Put simply, if the whole Turkish 2nd Army, which is responsible for the Iraqi, Syrian and Iranian borders, was not dealing with the terrorism threat, it would probably be occupied with power projection activities beyond its field of responsibility. Iranian strategists are aware of this fact. Turkey overcame Damascus when it was harboring PKK in the 1990s through an escalation strategy and gunboat diplomacy. Can those measures be taken against a nuclear Iran? This is just a hypothetical question for now, however, in the near future it could be a very real scenario facing the Turkish security establishment.

 

To counterbalance a nuclear threat from Iran, Turkish leaders will have only two options. The first is to pursue mass conventional military modernization and procurement, and an aggressive shift in military doctrine. This means an additional burden on Turkish taxpayers and a great cost in terms of investments in social improvement and economic development.

 

The second option is to pursue its own military nuclear program. Technically, however, this would be almost impossible to accomplish due to Turkey’s ties with the Western security system and commitment to the NPT regime….

 

After the Cold War, there is no US tactical nuclear capability left on Turkish soil. It is known that there are nuclear warheads at the Incirlik base, but Turkey does not hold the trigger mechanism. Briefly, a nuclear Iran cannot be, or only at a very steep cost, deterred by Ankara. This reality probably spells the end for Turkey’s historical imperial character….

 

Moreover, within the sectarian fragmentation of the region, a nuclear Iran will most likely spearhead the Shi’ite bloc against Turkey more aggressively. Thus, Ankara either gets tough with Iran now, or lets a nuclear Iran get tough with Turkey in the near future.

 

In summary, Turkish decision makers should simulate the first day of Iran’s nuclear breakthrough, and count down to the present day. Then they can clearly see that every single day counts, and that Tehran’s nuclear breakthrough has to be prevented at all costs. Turkish mass media keeps voicing the opinion that the military option would be a nightmare for the region, and defends muddle-through efforts that can do nothing but buy time for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

They are correct in saying that the military option would be a nightmare – but on the other hand, it would also be a nightmare to allow a tyranny which is also Turkey’s historical geopolitical rival in the region to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

 

We will soon see whether anyone in Turkey today clearly perceives the Iranian threat as did Sultan Selim Khan, or whether “sober and wise” intellectuals, seeing the mushroom cloud over Istanbul, keep repeating that “the military option against Iran would be a nightmare for the region” – probably from the safety of an NBC shelter.

 

(The author, who served as a post-doctoral fellow for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, holds a PhD from the Turkish War College, and a Master’s degree from the Turkish Military Academy.)

 

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TURKEY IN THE SYRIAN CRISIS: WHAT NEXT?

Veli Sirin

Gatestone Institute, October 26, 2012 at 3:15 am

 

Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad treats Turkish military reprisals as pin-pricks. Nonetheless, while massacres continue inside Syria, confrontations and counterblows proliferate along the country's border with Turkey, including exchanges of mortar-shell fire. But how long will this stalemate continue?

 

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his public comments, is addicted to candor, if not bluster. He condemns the weakness of the United Nations in the face of the Syrian bloodletting, yet is even more dismayed, it seems, to realize that Turkey cannot wage war on the Al-Assad regime. Turkey cannot save Syria; it cannot march to Damascus; it cannot remove the Al-Assad state apparatus, and it cannot reconstruct Syria as a Turkish protectorate.

The Syrian Army is a significant military force, and would respond with a wholesale offensive, devastating poor Turkish villages. The Syrian war is spreading into Lebanon; its extension northward could produce a general conflagration in the area.

 

For these reasons, and not out of sympathy for the Syrian tyrant, the overwhelming majority of Turks oppose a military campaign against Damascus. The Turkish political opposition calls on Erdogan to renounce his bellicose rhetoric. Turkey will, it is hoped, avoid a war with Syria, even as Erdogan postures as a great military figure and proposes a "vision" for resolution of the crisis.

 

Erdogan tours the Middle East and in many places is applauded. This, of course, increases his popularity at home. Arab sympathy for Erdogan most likely reflects his adoption of an anti-Israeli stance. He has also called for Islamic unity. "Brotherhood" and "community" are the pillars on which Erdogan has constructed his project for a Muslim-dominated Mediterranean.

 

Turkish "neo-Ottomanism," combining Islamist supremacy with patriotic fervor, is not limited to Ankara's initiatives in foreign policy. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has made Ottoman nostalgia a central feature of Turkish cultural life.

 

Examples of this attitude are plentiful. With an AKP municipal government, Istanbul every year now celebrates May 29, commemorating the conquest of the city by Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. In 2010, Istanbul considered itself the "European Capital of Culture," and the budget for the program emphasized renovation of Ottoman architectural sites. Istanbul no longer projects itself only as a bridge between east and west, but as the center of Ottoman civilization. None of these developments is reassuring.

 

NATO, in an urgent meeting on the Syrian disaster in June, declared clear support for Turkey. The hurriedly-assembled NATO ambassadors described Syrian attacks on the Turkish frontier as a breach of international law and a menace to regional security. But NATO concluded diffidently, "As indicated on June 26, the alliance is monitoring closely the Syrian situation."

 

The U.S. promised to support Turkey. Tommy Vietor, National Security Council spokesperson, said late last year, "We continue to call on other governments to join the chorus of condemnation and pressure against the Assad regime so that the peaceful and democratic aspirations of the Syrian people can be realized. President Obama has coordinated closely with Prime Minister Erdogan throughout the crisis in Syria and will continue to do so going forward." The U.S. appealed to Al-Assad to step down from power, agree to an armistice in the fighting, and initiate a political transition.

 

After Turkey forced a Syrian passenger aircraft to land in Ankara on October 10, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle visited his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in Istanbul. Westerwelle placed his country unambiguously on the side of Turkey. The German representative declared, "Under international law, Turkey must not tolerate transport through their airspace of weapons or military supplies to Syria." In a similar case, with a violation of German airspace, [he] said his government would have done the same thing. "Turkey is our partner," Westerwelle added, "and they can count on our solidarity."

 

The German foreign minister, however, distanced Germany from Erdogan's harsh criticism of the UN Security Council, which Erdogan has said should be reformed, as at present two permanent members, Russia and China, possess veto power over any action on Syria.

 

Erdogan repeats to the world that a humanitarian disaster is taking place in Syria. "If we wait for one or two of the [UN Security Council's] permanent members… then the future of Syria will be in danger," he insists. But his opinion is not supported by most of the rest of the world. Erdogan, in an October 13 speech in Istanbul, invoked the Balkan tragedy that occurred two decades ago. "How sad is," he said, "that the UN is as helpless today as it was 20 years ago, when it watched the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans."

 

No one can predict where all this oratory will end up. It is only certain that there are victims on both sides of the Turkish-Syrian border, and in the conflict inside Syria. Since the beginning of October, the Turkish army has directed fire at 87 locations inside Syria, and has killed at least 12 Syrian soldiers, according to a report based on Turkish military sources, and published in the Turkish daily Milliyet on October 20. The paper stated that Syria had launched mortar rounds or other shells across the border 27 times, and that in the Turkish response, five Syrian tanks, three armored vehicles, one mortar, one ammunition transporter and two anti-aircraft guns were destroyed, with many more military vehicles damaged.

 

The Europeans tend to their own affairs, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council negotiate among themselves, Turkey claims it is considering unilateral action against Syria. But Erdogan is, to many, no more than an impotent, tantrum-prone, and dangerous demagogue – which the Obama administration and other "concerned powers" will not publicly admit. Some say that notwithstanding a possible Erdogan strategy for the establishment of Syria as a Sunni Islamist ally – or vassal – of an AKP-led Turkey, he and his party are needed for any positive action by NATO against Al-Assad. But presumptions that he can act consequently to rescue the Syrian people are mistaken. And the rest of us can only wait and hope for the best.

 

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The Kurds’ Evolving Strategy: The Struggle Goes Political in Turkey: Aliza Marcus, World Affairs Journal, Nov./Dec. 2012—The new face of the Kurdish rebel fight in Turkey could easily be Zeynep, a thirty-year-old university graduate with a full-time management job in Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of the Kurdish southeast.

 

A Kurdish Wedge Between Iraq, Turkey: Joost Hiltermann, Real Clear World, Oct. 24, 2012—The mood in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk – the three largest cities in Iraqi Kurdistan – is newly buoyant these days, and with good reason. Iraq's Kurds, who occupy the semiautonomous

 

Erdogan Pays for His Foreign Policy: Halil Karaveli, National Interest, Nov. 12, 2012—Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is used to prevailing over his foes. The once all-powerful Turkish generals who defied him now linger in prison. By all accounts, Erdogan is the most powerful leader of the Turkish republic

 

 

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