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In the Shadow of a Young Corporal’s Death, Canada’s Greatness Shines Through: Rex Murphy, National Post, Oct. 25, 2014 — Out of this dark week there has come very much that is good.
Under Siege, Egypt Looks For Allies: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014— Over the weekend, 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed and 31 wounded in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the past year in northern Sinai.
Parliamentary Recognition of Palestine – Legally, Historically and Politically Questionable : Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Oct. 27, 2014 —
‘Ehr Daw’ — They’re Here: Rabbi Shalom Lewis, Frontpage, Oct. 7, 2014 — I thought that maybe I’d start with a rendition of Paul McCartney’s plaintive masterpiece “Yesterday”…
Terrorism Defies Definition: Daniel Pipes and Teri Blumenfeld, Washington Times, Oct. 23, 2014
Egypt Cancels Israel-Hamas Talks, Shutters Rafah, Plans Anti-Smuggling Wall After Mass Car Bombing: Dave Bender, Algemeiner, Oct. 26, 2014
The Role of Hamas and Fatah in the Jerusalem Disturbances: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Oct. 26, 2014
MPs 'Encouraged Hamas Terrorism' by Voting for Palestinian State Says Israel: David Blair, Telegraph, Oct. 24, 2014
National Post, Oct. 25, 2014
Out of this dark week there has come very much that is good. And I am not just pointing to the very welcome spirit of concord the three political parties have, up to now, manifested in the Commons and outside. Nor the address of our three main political leaders, though again, their talks both in tone and content offered much to be regarded. Rather I am thinking of the unofficial moments, captured on video or in photographs, showing people acting so well, in moments of great distress or at some levels of real peril to themselves. Even after three days, the very early scene of passersby, earnestly trying to care for Corporal Nathan Cirillo — this was but mere instants after his being shot — shimmers in the mind.
Everyone has seen that image, the huddle of people bent over him, and, as we have learned from news stories, even to his last breath assuring him that “he was loved.” It was very much the parable of the Good Samaritan in real and present time, only in Ottawa Wednesday morning, it wasn’t one Samaritan. There were at least four. Such loving attention, at a time when the scene was still in chaos and it was unknown how many shooters there might be, said so much more than the thousands of words we have heard. Even in the shadow of the young corporal’s death, it is not too much to say that this was a very gratifying moment — a tragic moment, but one worth honouring. All Canadians immediately recognized the actions of the corporal’s final companions as an example of how people should act at such a time, how we would wish to have acted. And how, heaven forbid, we may wish to be treated if it was us laying on that sacred ground, breathing our last breaths. We are, in part, very much the people we choose to admire, and our national character can, in some measure, be limned by the actions we choose to esteem. Our age, hag-ridden by the tinsel fame of hollow celebrity, calls for the counterbalance of real worth and real achievement being given deeper regard, of holding up those who neither have fame nor are seeking it, acting in casual nobility and with real care.
Canadians light on special people from everyday life who act with selflessness, or associate themselves with issues of genuine need, and place them in a kind of unofficial pantheon. They are our moral heroes. The most vivid example is perhaps that of Terry Fox, who Canadians still hold fresh and high in their regard even 30 years after his magnificent odyssey in rain, snow and glorious sunlight across the country. The country took to him, not only because of his mighty endurance at the very crest of his illness — which was a blazon all its own — but just as much so because of the utter selflessness with which he spent his last days.
I see very much of the same thing in how swiftly and intensely the modest and unassuming person of Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers has found immediate home in the hearts and minds of everyone across the country. Of his pure bravery, most of us stand in awe. Bravery, or courage, as was said of old, is the cardinal virtue, as without it none of the other virtues can or will be exercised. Canadians took to Kevin Vickers, however, for reasons beyond even his courage. It was so much his manner. Here is a man to whom duty — a word I feel sometimes has slipped out of the vocabulary of our glib days — was as his life. His self-possession in the heat of an absolutely sudden crisis, his instantaneous response in a time of danger, and his visible awkwardness the next day when he was showered by the thunder of applause and tribute, left us gaping with admiration and affection.
We are always wondering if the days of sacrifice and full generosity are behind us. Every generation sees the one previous as somehow more stern and stoic, less caught by the trivia of position or wealth or power, than our own. We yearn for purpose and examples of those who live by codes of honour and duty. But, as we have seen, great men and women, in the sense of great I am underlining here, are still with us. And they carry the same mien, speak in the same un-self-regarding accents, as the men and women of yesterday. I think of Captain Sullenberger, who landed an Airbus loaded with passengers on the flowing waters of the Hudson River. Of how even after that unbelievable, harrowing descent and landing, he was reported as going through the cabin of the plane making sure everyone had gotten safely off, before he left the jet. He was another of those quiet, unassuming gentlemen who so quietly perform with a self-possession that takes our breath away, and who is almost surprised — and certainly uncomfortable — when half the world takes him in their hearts as special. Our man Vickers is such a fellow, a gentleman, a man of duty. He makes us proud as Canadians that he is one of ours. And that is a good thing for this country, for we are all, in part, who we choose to admire.
Then, of course, there are the two soldiers, Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was murdered in Quebec on Monday. Among our military their deaths have of course had special impact. And Canadians hold their military in a very special place. They are the institution we have chosen to admire. Cpl. Cirillo’s death, because of the whole drama of the day, and most particularly because of the symbolism of his place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, has been the larger story. His youth, vitality and friendliness — which we see so vibrantly in the many online, newspaper and broadcast pictures of him — summoned the deepest response from all the country. One picture alone of his forlorn dogs, vainly awaiting his return, had more pathos than a thousand pages of Dickens. Cpl. Cirillo is now another enrolee in this country’s unofficial pantheon, the gallery of those very special individuals, we have chosen to stand as representatives of what, in an ideal world, we would all choose to be. To the most enduring question of ours — what does it mean to be Canadian? — the passersby who tended the soldier, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the young solider at the tomb, and WO Vincent, the career military man going about his business in the uniform he earned the right to wear, gives us the answer we need. It was a dark week, but one too that had more than its share of special light. We will remember our fallen, and the light that they shone.
Jerusalem Post, Oct. 27, 2014
Over the weekend, 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed and 31 wounded in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the past year in northern Sinai. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reacted with a stark declaration, saying terrorism was an existential threat and that Egypt will fight it till it is eradicated. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is at the forefront of Jihadi groups grimly determined to throw the country into chaos. The army is making an all-out effort to eliminate all Islamist terrorist movements, and claims to have killed some 600 insurgents and to have destroyed many of their strongholds, seizing huge amounts of arms and explosives – last week it estimated the number of underground tunnels blown up or closed at 1,875.
Those were heavy blows to the terrorists, but they are securely entrenched among the population in the north of the peninsula, and they can depend on their extensive networks of Beduin in the area. Furthermore, they are being reinforced by a steady stream of men and material coming through all Egypt’s borders. It can be said that to a certain extent, Egypt is under siege, with the Gaza Strip functioning as the logistic hub. Gaza has the capacity to develop and produce weapons, to package explosives and to train terrorists before infiltrating them to the peninsula through the tunnels, of which there are always enough left for that purpose.
However, an ever-growing number of fighters and ammunition are coming in through the borders with Libya and Sudan. The border between Egypt and Libya runs across 1,200 km. of deserts and mountains, making monitoring near impossible, the more so since strife-torn Libya is no longer functioning as a sovereign state. Its capital city has been partially taken over by Islamic and tribal militias, its parliament and its government have fled to Tobruk, not far from the Egyptian border. Many jihadi terrorists, among them some who came from Syria and Iraq, can be found all along that border. Dozens of Egyptians soldiers have been killed in recent months in a number of clashes with insurgents infiltrating from Libya. And if that was not enough, more arms and more rebels are coming in from Sudan, through its 400-km.- long border with Libya.
There could also be Iranian weapons still reaching the Sinai Peninsula. Iran is intent on destabilizing Egypt, even if it entails aiding extremist Sunni movements as it did with al-Qaida in the past. During the Mubarak era, extensive smuggling networks were left to grow in Egypt as a whole and in the Sinai Peninsula, in the mistaken belief that it was a problem for Israel alone. It was a costly mistake, for which Egypt is paying dearly. Sisi was confident he could depend on America’s assistance to fight the threat of terror. However, instead of cooperating with Cairo, the White House, still smarting over the ouster of former president Muhammad Morsi and of the Muslim Brothers, declared an embargo on arms for Egypt. The recent visit of the Egyptian president to Washington and his meeting with his American counterpart did not bring a thaw. Obama allegedly quizzed Sisi over human rights in Egypt. The Egyptian president retaliated by saying he would join the coalition against Islamic State but would not send troops, since they were badly needed to defend his country against terror. Relations between the two countries are still fraught, though America is now grudgingly dispatching ten Apache helicopters that were meant to have been delivered a year ago.
Deprived of the support of his country’s former staunchest ally, Sisi had to look elsewhere. He is in the process of setting up his own coalition with North African countries facing the threat coming from Libya, such as Sudan and Algeria. He is in close contact with the legal government of Libya, whose prime minister, Abdullah al-Thani came to Cairo in mid-October and signed a cooperation agreement between the two armies. Egypt will help train Libyan security forces and police, there will be joint border control, and cooperation will extend to exchange of intelligence. This was followed by steps on the ground. “Unidentified” planes bombed Tripoli airfield, held by Islamic and tribal militias. Various groups accused Egypt, and the White House was prompt to condemn the raids. Cairo denied that its forces intervened beyond its borders. It appears likely that the attack was not carried out by the Egyptian army, but probably by Libyan pilots taking off from Egyptian air fields flying Egyptians planes and planes from the Emirates. The Libyan army has now launched an all-out offensive against the Islamists with the help of former renegade general Khalifa Haftar and has retaken Benghazi – it is moving to reconquer Tripoli and restore order…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Amb. Alan Baker,
JCPA, Oct. 27, 2014
On October 13, 2014, the British Parliament, in its House of Commons, adopted a resolution by a majority of 274 votes, with 12 opposing votes, that states: “That this House believes that the government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” Proponents of this curious resolution claimed that “recognizing Palestine as a state would be a symbolically important step towards peace.” The Labour Party shadow foreign secretary Ian Lucas even opined that the resolution would “strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians who want to pursue the path of politics, not the path of violence.” He went on to claim that “this is not an alternative to negotiations. It is a bridge for beginning them.”
However, former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind disagreed and suggested such a move should not be adopted because it would be purely symbolic: “For me the most important question is what practical benefit would passing this resolution make?” he asked. “It might make us feel good. But recognizing a state should only happen when the territory in question has the basic requirements of a state. And through no fault of the Palestinians that is not true at the moment and it seems to me that the resolution before us is premature as we do not have a Palestinian government.” A similar vote by the Upper House of the Irish Parliament, known as the “Seanad Eireann,” adopted on October 23, 2014, stated: “Seanad Eireann calls on the government to formally recognize the state of Palestine and do everything it can at the international level to help secure a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” A similar position was put forward by the new prime minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, who stated in an inaugural address to the Swedish parliament on October 3, 2014: “The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine.”
Analyzing these statements and votes logically, they would appear to be based on questionable legal, historic and political premises, as well as being in and of themselves self-contradictory and constituting, by their terms, a non-sequitor. As such, they would appear to be both ill-advised and based on a mistaken reading of the situation. The reference to the ultimate aim of a “negotiated two-state solution” correctly acknowledges the present legal situation in which the issue of final status of the territory is a distinct negotiating issue between Israel and the Palestinians, pursuant to the Oslo Accords, to which the UK, Ireland and Sweden, as part of the EU, are signatory as witness. However, in acknowledging this, it is clear that the issue of the permanent status of the territory remains an open negotiating issue, yet to be agreed-on, and one may assume that upon resumption of the negotiating process, it will be duly addressed by the parties as one of the central agenda items.
Accordingly, the British House of Commons, the Irish Upper House and the Swedish prime minister would appear to contradict themselves by recognizing that negotiations are still pending, but nevertheless at the same time prejudging the outcome of the very negotiation they purport to support, by calling for recognition of the state of Palestine. Clearly no such a Palestinian state or sovereign entity exists and thus cannot logically be recognized or acknowledged by the UK Parliament. Similarly, no international treaty, convention or binding international resolution or determination has ever been adopted or entered into, that determines that the territories in dispute are indeed Palestinian. In this context, the Palestinian leadership itself is committed, pursuant to the Oslo Accords, to negotiate the issue of the permanent status of the territory. Article V of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on September 13, 1993 states as follows: “2. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian people representatives. 3. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.” Accordingly, the outcome of such negotiations and the ultimate status of the territory, whether as a Palestinian state or any other sovereign entity agreed-upon by the two sides, cannot be arbitrarily imposed by external parties, including the UK, Irish or Swedish parliaments, or the UN. It may only emanate from a bona-fide negotiating process as well as in accordance with accepted norms and requirements of international law regarding the characteristics of statehood. Such norms and requirements are set out in international law in article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States that clearly determines the attributes of statehood: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” The Palestinians clearly do not meet the requirements set out in this convention.
Since the issue of the permanent status of the disputed territory is an agreed-upon negotiating issue, as indeed acknowledged by the international community including the UK, Ireland and Sweden, any resolution by the House of Commons, the Irish Upper House of Parliament or the Swedish prime minister calling for recognition of a Palestinian state in effect purports to pre-empt the outcome of that negotiation through a one-sided determination that totally ignores legitimate legal and historic claims to the territory by Israel, including those based on historic and legal commitments to which the United Kingdom itself is bound. They would thus appear to be intervening in a bona fide negotiating process by supporting one side only. This is far from constituting any “bridge” to negotiations, so described by shadow foreign minister Mr. Ian Lucas, or “morally right,” as stated by Mr. Nicholas Soames. To the contrary, rather than encouraging a return to negotiations, as claimed by the proponents of these resolutions, such one-sided and biased issuances emanating from European parliaments will only serve to impede any bona fide and genuine negotiation by encouraging the Palestinians to adopt arbitrary and uncompromising positions on the issues on the negotiating agenda, knowing that they have the support of those European countries.
While clearly it is the sovereign prerogative of the British, Irish or Swedish Parliaments to adopt whatever resolution they choose, one might assume that they would not want to be misled or manipulated, whether by narrow political interests, external political or economic pressures or any other cause, into adopting a resolution that is legally and politically ill-advised and mistaken. It would be legally and politically prudent were the UK House of Commons and the Irish Upper House, as well as the Prime Minister of Sweden, to reconsider such ill-advised resolutions or statements, which certainly do no credit to them nor to those MPs who advanced and supported them…
[To Read the Full Article, With Footnotes, Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Rabbi Shalom Lewis
Frontpage, Oct. 7, 2014
I thought that maybe I’d start with a rendition of Paul McCartney’s plaintive masterpiece “Yesterday”… “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay, oh I believe in yesterday” – but then I thought, too romantic…And then I remembered Joseph Conrad’s sadly, cynical observation – – “The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness,” and sadly it felt right.
And so, here were are in a place of unimagined chaos and cowardice, paralysis and brutality. The beast roams the earth; we are stymied, stunned and continue to fiddle. My friends, “Ehr Kumpt Part 2, the Sequel.” This is not a time for delicacy. For tiptoeing. It is not a time to parse words nor worry about offending someone with unfiltered vocabulary. Time is no longer a luxury we possess. Distance no longer provides protection. We are being threatened like no time before, by an enemy obsessed with an apocalyptic endgame that will bring only disaster. An enemy that worships savagery. An enemy that celebrates depravity. An enemy that glorifies the death of the young. There has been a seismic shift in our world. We feel it. We see it. We know it. We dare not deny it. Pick up any newspaper on any day, the first page, the second page, the third page, the fourth page and beyond – – most of the articles are about radical Muslims, not just ISIS, immersed in a vicious culture of blood and slaughter. Skip to the sports page or the crossword puzzle if you wish, but that doesn’t make the uncomfortable news go away. In fact, it brings joy to the jihadists who hope for our indifference. If we deny evil then we need not fight it. It doesn’t exist – just a few lunatics, thousands of miles away, pounding sand, blowing each other up and occasionally beheading an unlucky journalist. Not so bad. For years, we have been mercifully spared the ugliness and intimacy of war…But today, war has been redefined and relocated. Geneva is finished. We are all combatants in the cross hairs. We are all on the front lines, like it or not. The battlefield has no boundaries and the war, no rules. The enemy targets deliberately, fiendishly, any place of innocence. All are vulnerable and so we must recalculate our strategy, re-examine our tolerance, re-energize our resolve and unequivocally identify the evil doers. Let us not be silenced by fear, by feckless goodwill, by reckless hope, by meaningless rhetoric.
There are one billion Muslims in the world and authorities agree that 5% are committed Islamists who embrace terror and wish to see, by any means possible, the Muslim flag fly over every capital, on every continent. I was relieved when I heard only 5%. Thank God it’s only 5%. Now I could sleep soundly. But wait, let me figure this out, 5% of a billion is… 50 million Koran-waving, Allah Akbar-howling Muslim murderers out there planning to slit our throats, blow us up or forcibly convert us…But what disturbs me is, where are the other 950 million Muslims who are not terrorists? Who are not bomb-blasting, acid-throwing zealots? Where are the other 950 million Muslims who tuck their children in at night with a lullaby, who are okay with Christians and Jews, crave a peaceful world and wish nothing more than a tasty bowl of hummus and a friendly game of Shesh Besh with a neighbor? I want to believe they are out there, for their sake and for ours. I want to believe they weep in pain over the desecration of their faith. I want to believe that we have partners who dream the dreams we do and wish upon the same star. I want to believe – – but where are they? A silent partnership is no partnership. Sin is not just in the act of commission – it is also in the act of omission. Most Germans were not Nazis – but it did not matter. Most Russians were not Stalinists – but it did not matter. Most Muslims are not terrorists – but it does not matter. Stand up righteously or get out of the way. Perhaps in every mosque, in every midrassah, in every Muslim neighborhood, Edmund Burke’s powerful warning should be chiseled on a wall in Arabic, in Farsi, in Pashto, in Urdu, for all to read and heed. “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.”…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Terrorism Defies Definition: Daniel Pipes and Teri Blumenfeld, Washington Times, Oct. 23, 2014 —Defining terrorism has practical implications because formally certifying an act of violence as terrorist has important consequences in U.S. law.
Egypt Cancels Israel-Hamas Talks, Shutters Rafah, Plans Anti-Smuggling Wall After Mass Car Bombing: Dave Bender, Algemeiner, Oct. 26, 2014 —After a terror attack on Friday killed at least 30 Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai, Cairo has declared a state of emergency in the area, closed down the Rafah crossing from Gaza, canceled indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas, and now says it will build a wall to block smuggling with the coastal enclave, Israel’s NRG News reported.
The Role of Hamas and Fatah in the Jerusalem Disturbances: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Oct. 26, 2014 —The deterioration of the security situation in Jerusalem cannot be understood only on the Israeli-Palestinian level…
MPs 'Encouraged Hamas Terrorism' by Voting for Palestinian State Says Israel: David Blair, Telegraph, Oct. 24, 2014 —Parliament was guilty of “encouraging terrorist attacks” and “giving up” on peace when MPs cast a “miserable” vote in favour of Palestinian statehood, according to an Israeli cabinet minister.
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