No Palestinian-Israel Peace in 2019 — But Here Are Some Developments We Can Expect: Abraham Cooper, Algemeiner, Dec. 31, 2018— For Israel, 2019 will likely bring great achievements but also great disappointments.
Thank Heaven We’re Done With UNESCO: Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom, Jan. 2, 2019 — Thank God, it’s over.
The UN’s Obsession With Israel Makes Peace Harder to Achieve: Nikki Haley, New York Post, Dec. 18, 2018— When I first came to the United Nations two years ago, I was taken aback a bit by this monthly meeting.
The Late Moshe Arens: A Noble Spirit, a Truthful Man: Benjamin Netanyahu, JNS, Jan. 9, 2019— The life story of my faithful teacher and close friend, the late Moshe (“Misha”) Arens, ended after he had the privilege of seeing Israel celebrate 70 years of independence.
On Topic Links
First Ethiopian Jewry Research Hub Aims to Preserve Community’s Traditions: Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel, Jan. 8, 2019
UN Elects Yemen, Worst on Gender Equality, as VP at UN’s Gender Equality Agency: UNWatch, Jan. 9, 2019
Maybe UNESCO Will ‘Learn a Lesson’ From US and Israeli Withdrawals, Ex-Envoy Says: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2019
French Resistance Hero Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children Dies Aged 108: Alexandra Topping, Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018
NO PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL PEACE IN 2019 —
BUT HERE ARE SOME DEVELOPMENTS WE CAN EXPECT
Algemeiner, Dec. 31, 2018
For Israel, 2019 will likely bring great achievements but also great disappointments. The achievements will include: continued growth of Israel’s innovation economy; increased tourism; and development of a broad range of new inventions, along with drugs and devices to help people deal with many severe health issues.
The disappointments will include: continued Iranian-induced terrorist attacks and looming threats of war; endless hostility from the halls of the United Nations and the European Parliament; and the continued Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement — waging asymmetrical economic and cultural warfare – seeking to demonize, isolate, and ultimately eliminate the Jewish state.
Despite the best efforts of President Trump, his senior advisers and son-in-law Jared Kushner to come up with a peace plan acceptable to the Palestinians and Israelis, they are taking on an impossible task at a time of new elections and political upheaval in Jerusalem, and an aging, corrupt, and unrepresentative Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.
Make no mistake: Israelis yearn for the day when their 18-year-olds no longer have to devote two years of their young lives to put themselves in harm’s way. They want to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. Israel today provides its Arab citizens, who comprise nearly one-fifth of the population, with more rights and a higher living standard than are enjoyed in Arab nations. But continuing Palestinian terrorism at its southern and northern borders — and in the West Bank — forces Israel to take significant security precautions, as any nation would when faced with similar threats.
Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) is holding out for impossible demands in any peace treaty, including the “right of return” for any Palestinian who left Israel when the Jewish state was created in 1948 – plus all their millions of descendants. No Israeli government will ever accept the “right of return” poison pill that would create an Arab majority overnight and spell the end of the lone, democratic Jewish state.
The PA also demands the return of every square inch of territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, leaving Israel with what Abba Eban, the late Israeli foreign minister, called indefensible “Auschwitz borders” — and without much of its historic capital and its holiest sites in the eastern part of Jerusalem. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad Palestinian terrorist groups and their patron state Iran go even further, calling for Israel’s destruction through violence and terrorism.
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas both use a school curriculum that denies Israel’s existence, and teaches children to venerate terrorists. As a result, there will be no peace breakthrough with the Palestinians in 2019, no matter how innovative President Trump’s peace plan may be — or how much Israel wants peace. It’s not about money, it’s not even so much about borders. It’s about psychology.
Many Palestinians — even those who claim to want to live in peace side by side with Israel — are opposed to the very concept of a Jewish state. But Jews, inspired by a vision of a return to Zion, founded Israel specifically to be a Jewish state, a refuge for Jews fleeing antisemitism and genocide; Israel was envisioned as a modern democracy — protecting the rights of all — in the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.
Still, in the year ahead, we can expect continuous Iranian threats to drive greater cooperation between Gulf States and Israel. This could lead that one or more of them finally recognizing Israel 70 years after its creation. Having personally met Bahrain’s King Hamad and hosted two dozen Bahrain interfaith leaders in Jerusalem, my best hope and prayer is that the king will lead the way in normalizing relations with Israel. Other Arab states will follow and so eventually will a new generation of Palestinian leaders — but don’t look for that to happen anytime soon.
Not only does peace seem to be a distant dream, but Israel’s raucous political battles have yielded a December surprise and not a happy one: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his coalition government was dissolving and that snap elections would be held in April. So is the Jewish state, a failing state? Quite the contrary. Indeed, there must be other aspects of Israel’s 2018 that help explain why 89 percent of its 8.9 million citizens have reported that they are happy with their lives…
Here’s some good news about Israel you rarely hear in the US and international media: First, Israel actually experienced a huge increase in global tourism this year, led by Asia. Whatever tourists may have been hearing from biased media, there is nothing like experiencing the only Middle Eastern democracy and its holy sites firsthand to debunk the Big Lie that Israel is an “apartheid state.”
Nowhere was the tourist boom more in evidence than in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. An estimated four million tourists have visited the Holy City this year. This came as President Trump was true to his word and announced that the United States was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The actual move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem took place in business-like (not diplomatic) speed, and I was honored to witness the opening of the embassy on May 14.
Secondly, the “I” in Israel really does stand for innovation. Despite the fact that young Israelis have to serve in the IDF and can be called up to the reserves for decades – and despite the barbs, hatred, and violence flung their way — Israelis are committed to making a difference in ways that are impacting the lives of friends and enemies the world over.
Here’s a tiny sample of the world-changing innovations that emerged from Israel this year: The world’s first 3D- printed vegan steak — which will help address how the planet can feed its exploding population; Research to create tissue implants of any kind by using patients’ own cells; A new tool to better assess pain that patients experience in the intensive care unit; A new device to detect problems in lesions before cancer develops; and promising research on the inner ear that could help address hearing loss. And this spring, Israel is expected to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon in April. Furthermore, we can all expect to see more spectacular innovation from Israel that will improve our economies, our lives, our health, and our iPhones in the near future.
We can only hope and pray that someday a new generation of Palestinian leaders will realize their people are better off cooperating with their neighbors and living in peace than entrusting their children to corrupt leaders who reward young people not for innovation and education, but for murdering Jews — thus ensuring a never-ending conflict.
It’s unfortunate that this will not happen in 2019 — unless the Messiah himself intervenes. To hasten real change on the ground in the New Year, nations like Germany, France, and Japan should follow President Trump’s lead by snapping shut their checkbooks to the Palestinians unless and until they can prove that “humanitarian aid” doesn’t go to build terror tunnels or financially reward families whose sons murder and main Jews.
THANK HEAVEN WE’RE DONE WITH UNESCO
Israel Hayom, Jan. 2, 2019
Thank God, it’s over. When 2018 ended, Israel’s withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization took effect. Don’t feel bad. Under existing conditions, there was no reason to keep our place at the table with the gang of hypocritical liars that every few months rewrote another chapter of the history of the land of Israel and the Jewish people, and coopted it for the Palestinians. Rather than thrilling at the glorious cultural, religious, historic, and archaeological legacy of the Jewish people in the land of Israel, the organization chose time and again to adopt “fake history” and give its seal of approval to more fabrications from the Palestinian pack of lies.
UNESCO questioned Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. It treated us as if we were occupiers in our own capital, even though Jerusalem in all its holiness was never a capital – in terms of either politics or conscience – for any Arab or Muslim ruling entity. Even the Jordanians, who together with the Palestinians prompted UNESCO to pass resolutions hostile to Israel – never used Jerusalem as their capital in the years in which they occupied the city. They desecrated the places that are holy to Jews, and in violation of agreements we signed with them, even denied us access to those places. Back then, the Jordanians and the Palestinians – before they invented themselves as a “people” – cited the Temple Mount as the location of Solomon’s Temple on their maps and in their writings. Today, they boldly deny ever doing so and UNESCO is helping them by partly adopting their denial.
But UNESCO has more than Jerusalem in its sights. Rachel’s Tomb, which UNESCO decided to call, as the Palestinians term it, Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque, was never traditionally called that. Ibn Rabah, of Ethiopian descent, was one of the first muezzins who served the Prophet Muhammad. He was killed in Syria and buried in Aleppo or Damascus. Only when the Palestinian Authority realized it had failed to capture the site from Israel during the Second Intifada did they link Ibn Rabah to “Kubat Rachel,” the Arabic name for the site that had been used for generations. In the case of Rachel’s Tomb, UNESCO supported an attempt to take over people’s minds in place of a physical occupation of the site which failed.
The Palestinians also biased UNESCO on everything having to do with the Cave of the Patriarchs. The cave, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite, was long ago stolen from us by Muslims. The fact that the two religions co-own it today is a generous compromise we forced the Muslims to accept about 50 years ago. Israel, with help from the forces of history, rectified a few colossal absurdities that the Muslims thought would remain in place forever. The Palestinians appealed to UNESCO so that at least as far as people’s thinking went, they could regain full ownership of the Cave of the Patriarchs, and UNESCO helped them with that, as well.
With each delusional resolution, UNESCO made itself more ridiculous and less relevant. But every cloud has a silver lining. Despite the total absurdity of the organization’s decisions, they carried one main advantage for Israel – they held up a mirror. They forced us to go back to our roots, to study them, to delve into them and understand that we are not passersby in this land. We weren’t just born here and we didn’t just move here. The UNESCO resolutions helped us reach the vital recognition that the land of Israel is not just a haven, it’s also a destination; that its many holy sites are the cradle of our people’s birth and still correspond to our present and our future here, which rests on more than “security needs.” Now, without UNESCO, we’ll need to remind ourselves of that from time to time.
THE UN’S OBSESSION WITH ISRAEL MAKES PEACE HARDER TO ACHIEVE
New York Post, Dec. 18, 2018
When I first came to the United Nations two years ago, I was taken aback a bit by this monthly meeting. The fact that the UN would consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not striking. It is, after all, a matter of international peace and security. What was striking was the frequency of the discussion and the one-sidedness of it. Members of the Security Council have heard me say this many times. The problems of the Middle East are numerous, and yet we spend a vastly disproportionate amount of time on just one of them. And the UN has shown itself to be hopelessly biased, as we witnessed again just two weeks ago when the General Assembly failed to condemn Hamas’ terrorist activity against Israel.
Over the past two years, I have attempted to provide more value in this monthly meeting by using my time to speak about other pressing problems in the Middle East. I have spoken about Iran’s illegal weapons transfers and destabilizing support for terrorism throughout the region. I have spoken about the barbarism of the Assad regime in Syria. I have spoken about Hamas’ illegal and diabolical use of human shields. I have done this for two reasons. I’ve done it to illustrate that most of the region’s problems have absolutely nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And I’ve done it to encourage the UN to move away from its obsession with Israel.
This UN obsession has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they just might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the UN, rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the UN. This biased obsession is not the path to peace. It is the path to an endless stalemate.
Today is my last time addressing this monthly session as the United States ambassador. Because it is, I’m going to deviate from my practice of the last two years. Today, I will directly address the Israel-Palestinian issue. Given my record, some may mistakenly conclude that I am unsympathetic to the Palestinian people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s how I see it. Israel is a thriving, strong, prosperous country. It has always wanted peace with its neighbors. It has clearly demonstrated its willingness to make big sacrifices for peace, including giving up large areas of land.
But Israel will not make a peace agreement at just any price, and it shouldn’t. No UN resolutions, anti-Semitic boycotts or terrorist threats will ever change that. Throughout its existence, and even today, Israel has been surrounded by threats to its security. It would be foolish for it to make a deal that weakened its security. And yet, even in the face of constant threats, Israel has become one of the leading nations in the world. Israel wants a peace agreement, but it doesn’t need one.
And then there are the Palestinian people. Like the Israelis, they are a deservedly proud people. They, too, do not need to accept a peace agreement at any price. But the condition of the Palestinian people is very different. Economic opportunity, health care, even electricity are all scarce in the Palestinian territories. Terrorists rule much of the territory, undermining the safety of all civilians. The Palestinian people are suffering terribly while their leadership clings to 50-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic.
It is time we faced a hard truth: Both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more. Ultimately, as always, the final decisions can only be made by the parties themselves. Israelis and Palestinians will decide their own futures. They will decide what sacrifices they are willing to make. And they will need leaders with real vision to do it.
As for the American people, we have demonstrated time and again our commitment to peace in the Middle East. We will continue to offer our hand in friendship to the Palestinian people, whom we have financially supported by far more than any other country has done. The Palestinians have everything to gain by engaging in peace negotiations. But whatever it is that others decide, the world must know that America will remain steadfast in our support of Israel, its people and its security. That is an unshakeable bond between our two peoples. And it is that bond — more than anything else — that makes peace possible.
THE LATE MOSHE ARENS: A NOBLE SPIRIT, A TRUTHFUL MAN
JNS, Jan. 9, 2019
The life story of my faithful teacher and close friend, the late Moshe (“Misha”) Arens, ended after he had the privilege of seeing Israel celebrate 70 years of independence. That national peak filled Misha’s heart with great satisfaction. As one who followed our struggle for freedom, and even wrote glowing pages about our founding as a state, he was always astounded at the country’s achievements, which proved the justice of the Zionist vision. Misha was a vital leg in the Zionist relay race. He was raised on the theories of Revisionist thinker Ze’ev Jabotinsky and wanted to implement them.
I was happy to accept his invitation to join the Israeli Embassy delegation in Washington in 1982. Even before that, our two families had formed deep ties because of the help Misha gave my father, Professor Benzion Netanyahu, in his Zionist activity — and at the time, I was aware of how privileged I was to continue that work. As Israel’s ambassador to the United States and as foreign minister, Misha was eloquent in representing our diplomatic positions. In accordance with Jabotinsky’s theory on pressure, he waged an unflagging diplomatic battle for our vital interests. As defense minister, Misha strengthened the iron wall that defends us. His contribution to the development of Israel’s air defenses, as well as the steps he took to bolster its ground forces and homefront, stemmed from his correct appraisal of the dangers in the Middle East.
Misha also encountered struggles and disappointment. That is natural in a career of public service that spanned more than four decades. He felt that the cancellation of the decision to develop the Lavi aircraft in Israel was a missed opportunity. In our in-depth discussions, I tried to convince him that when it came down to it, he had been very successful — our military might in the air, at sea, and on land; military intelligence; and cyber capabilities are the equivalent of an iron fist. Our enemies know that they will pay a heavy price for any attempt to attack us.
Misha was a great gentleman, a noble spirit, and, no less important, a truthful man. In the name of the truth, he devoted himself to retelling the story of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. He could not rest at the fighters from the right-wing Betar movement being left out of the tale of the heroic stand against the Nazis. His exciting book Flags over the Warsaw Ghetto rights that wrong. Misha gave Pavel Frenkel and his Betar comrades the honor they deserved. They led the uprising, along with Mordechai Anielewicz and his people, and set a path towards the future — a strong stance against those who seek to kill us and ensuring our ability to defend ourselves.
Moshe Arens, the beloved Misha, was part of some of the decisive moments in the history of the new State of Israel. The personal, unique stamp he put on building sovereignty in the homeland will stay with us for generations to come. May his memory be a blessing.
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporter: Shabbat Shalom!
On Topic Links
First Ethiopian Jewry Research Hub Aims to Preserve Community’s Traditions: Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel, Jan. 8, 2019—Ethiopian Israeli religious leaders are hoping a new academic center will “create a new language” to talk about the richness of Ethiopian culture and traditions, after decades of discrimination dismissing the contribution of Ethiopian Judaism.
UN Elects Yemen, Worst on Gender Equality, as VP at UN’s Gender Equality Agency: UNWatch, Jan. 9, 2019— A human rights watchdog organization today condemned the UN’s election of Yemen, the worst-ranking country in the world on gender equality, to be vice-president of the Executive Board of UN Women, which is the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Maybe UNESCO Will ‘Learn a Lesson’ From US and Israeli Withdrawals, Ex-Envoy Says: Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, Jan. 1, 2019—“Maybe they will learn a lesson,” a former Israeli ambassador to UNESCO told The Algemeiner on Tuesday as the Jewish state officially left the global cultural institution.
French Resistance Hero Who Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children Dies Aged 108: Alexandra Topping, Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018—Georges Loinger used all his skill and cunning – and a large dash of chutzpah – to rescue Jewish children from deportation and near-certain death during the second world war.