Jeremy Corbyn Says a UK Labour-Led Government Would Quickly Recognize a Palestinian State

Jewish Telegraphic Agency;

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London, Dec. 14, 2017. (Daniel Leavl-Olivas/Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) — British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is under fire for having anti-Israel views allegedly born out of anti-Semitism, said in a tweet that a Labour-led government would recognize Palestine as a state.

Corbyn made his remarks Saturday on Twitter during a tour of camps in Jordan for Syrian and Palestinian refugees as part of his first international trip outside of Europe since becoming Labour leader in 2015.

“Today I’ll visit the Al-Baqa’a refugee camp which was first created in 1968, where 100,000 Palestinians live,” he tweeted. “The next Labour government will recognise Palestine as a state as one step towards a genuine two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

On Friday during a tour of Zaatari, Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees, Corbyn criticized the administration of President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called moving the U.S. Embassy there a “catastrophic mistake.”

He also said: “I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full state as part of the United Nations.” A Palestinian state would be recognized “very early on” under a Labour government, he said.

Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a hard-left politician, of tolerating and at times encouraging expressions of anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism or anti-capitalism by thousands of supporters who joined the party under him.

The party has kicked out some members caught engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric. But under Corbyn, who in 2009 called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” whom he said he was “honored” to host in Parliament, Labour has also readmitted or refrained from punishing others who made statements perceived as anti-Semitic.


Telling People What They Don’t Know

Despite five years of ‘on the job training,’ nothing could have prepared Christian Broadcasting Network director Erin Zimmerman for her latest project.

By: Noa Amouyal; Jerusalem Post –

"To Life", Israeli documentary by Erin Zimmerman, June 19, 2018.
“To Life”, Israeli documentary by Erin Zimmerman, June 19, 2018. . (photo credit: Courtesy)

Two years ago, Erin Zimmerman found herself far from home in war-torn Kurdistan hearing a harrowing story of how innocent people were subjected to the worst kind of evil.

It was there that Zimmerman heard a Kurdish man recount his experience saving kidnapped women who were held captive by ISIS.

“I just heard terrible stories,” Zimmerman recalled. “When I sat down and interviewed Abdullah he told us stories that were so bad, my translator had to leave to take a cigarette break.”

Poster for the documentary film 'To Life' (Courtesy)
Poster for the documentary film ‘To Life’ (Courtesy)

Those stories and more were featured in her latest documentary for the Christian Broadcasting Network: To Life, How Israeli Volunteers are Changing the World. Released in time for Israeli’s 70th Independence Day last May, the film showcases five of the country’s organizations that are helping repair the world.

While each organization helps people in distress, not all stories were as somber and disturbing as the ones she heard in Kurdistan – the story of IsraAID, for example, is inspirational and shows how good can triumph over evil.  Off the shores of Lesbos, Greece, IsraAID volunteers healed and cared for not only strangers – but people who would be considered an enemy under any other circumstances.

That’s because the volunteers were Israeli – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – who were all united in one singular mission: to be a light unto the nations and lead by example.

“The doctors were almost all female. They got along so well and did way more than what was expected of them. If you see these girls, they were taking time to hug and comfort people,” Zimmerman said. “One of the doctors told me, ‘70 years ago, this was us. We were on a boat trying to come home and nobody would help us. So it’s our responsibility to help others.’”

Whether it be a beleaguered refugee in Greece or a Palestinian child in need of a heart transplant, the lives of the people being helped are forever transformed. For Zimmerman, it caused some introspection on her part as well.

“It shines a light on your life. [Filming the movie] made me stop and say, ‘Wow. This is pure love,’” she marveled. “If you are an Israeli, you’re technically at war with Syria and they are the enemy.”

However, the tenacity, courage and kindness of the volunteers allowed them overlook that and see these people for who they were: scared humans in desperate need for help.

Rather than focusing on an Israel engulfed in conflict, To Life tells the untold story of Israel as the beacon of innovation and humanitarian aid. It is a story not often told in the press today.

“There is not so much positive press about Israel. My boss [CBN CEO Gordon Robertson] and I have similar ideas but a different motivation. He’s very focused on combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, but my thought process isn’t that intricate. It’s more, ‘This is a great story, let’s tell it.’”

“I was really impressed by the people I met and captured on camera. It made me feel really small, i saw these great things but then I went home to comfort at night,” she said. “I met so many millennials doing amazing things and nobody told them to.”

Although Zimmerman was at the helm of three other CBN movies prior to this one, her career in directing is a rather recent one. After spending 20 years in television production, Robertson encouraged her to try her hand at directing CBN’s first movie, Made in Israel. That film, which was made for television, was so well-received that requests were made for it to be available on DVD.
Now Zimmerman directs roughly one movie every two years for the network. However, she still feels that she has much to learn and often relies on other members of the crew to steer her in the right direction.

“I’ve had a lot of on-the-job training. I’ve done a lot of reading on the Internet, learned from coworkers and my excellent production company here in Israel. If you want to succeed, hire people smarter than you,” she joked.

“I always like to tell people what they don’t know,” Zimmerman said of her film making philosophy. “With To Life, you see Israelis doing amazing work. We’ve tried to figure out why and ask questions why they do it and we get these wonderful answers. ‘We’re supposed to be.’ Or ‘God made us this way.’ From secular and religious alike, it’s amazing to hear.”


5 Must-Know Facts about Prince William’s Historic Visit to Israel

By: Josephin Dolsten; Jewish Telegraphic Agency –

The royal family, with Prince William in the center alongside his wife, Catherine, and their two children, in London during the Trooping the Colour, this year marking the queen’s 90th birthday, June 11, 2016. (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Prince William will soon embark on a historic visit to Israel. During the trip, which also includes stops in Jordan and the West Bank, Britain’s Duke of Cambridge will visit important sites in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

William is set to arrive Monday in Israel on a trip that is sure to be closely watched by the British and Israeli media, as well as fans of the royal family around the world, even though he will not be accompanied by his wife, Duchess Catherine of Cambridge.

Ahead of the trip, JTA compiled some interesting facts relevant to the royal visit.

William’s visit to Israel is not the first by the royal family.

In March, some media outlets reported that the visit would be the first by a member of the royal family. That is not the case, though William’s visit is being billed as the first official one. Prince Phillip, William’s grandfather, visited the country in 1994 for a ceremony honoring his mother, Princess Alice, for her sheltering of a Jewish family during World War II (more on that later). Phillip accepted the Righteous Among the Nations award on behalf of his late mother and planted a maple tree in her memory at Yad Vashem. Prince Charles, William’s father, visited Israel to attend the funerals of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and President Shimon Peres in 2016.

His schedule is already stirring up conflict.

Though Israeli leaders were quick to praise Prince William after the trip announcement in March, everyone wasn’t as happy upon the release of the official schedule, which listed Jerusalem as being in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Zeev Elkin, the Israeli Cabinet member in charge of Jerusalem and a mayoral hopeful for the city, calledon William’s staff to correct the itinerary.

“United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality,” Elkin said in a statement that also was posted Monday on Facebook. “I expect the prince’s people to correct the distortion.”

Prince William and wife Catherine show their newborn son at St Mary’s Hospital in London, April 23, 2018. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

William will visit his great-grandmother’s grave on the Mount of Olives.

Princess Alice of Battenberg has a special connection to the Jewish people. Alice, who was married to Prince Andrew of Greece, helped shelter three members of the family of a late Greek-Jewish politician in her palace in Athens during World War II. The Gestapo was suspicious of Alice, even questioning her, but the princess, who was deaf, pretended not to understand their questions. Alice later became a nun.

Before her death in 1969, she said she wanted to be buried at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, near where one of her aunts, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, was laid to rest. Her wish wasn’t immediately realized; Alice was buried initially at Windsor Castle. However, in 1988, her remains were transferred to Jerusalem. In 1993, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel namedher a Righteous Among the Nations for her war-era bravery.

Prince William will stay at the historic King David Hotel.

Opened in 1931, the King David has played a pivotal role in Israel’s history. The hotel has hosted royalty and heads of state, including King George II of Greece, who set up his government there in 1942 when the Nazis occupied his country. During the British Mandate, the hotel’s southern wing was turned into British administrative and military headquarters. In 1946, the hotel was the target of a bombing by the Irgun Zionist paramilitary group that killed 91, including 15 Jews. Two years later the hotel became a Jewish stronghold, as Israel declared its independence.

There’s a tattoo parlor in Jerusalem’s Old City where several royals are said to have been inked.

If William has any desire to get a tattoo, Razzouk seems like the obvious choice. King Edward VII, King George V and Prince Albert are all said to have been inked there with Jerusalem crosses. The shop, run by the Razzouk family for some 500 years in the Christian Quarter, is popular among visitors to the city. The family uses wooden block stamps, some of them hundreds of years old, to stamp religious symbols onto the skin before the tattooing process begins. Tattoo artist Wassim Razzouk offered to do the tattoo should William be interested, telling Haaretz “it would be a great honor.”


Fiery ‘Terror Kites’ Shake Residents in Southern Israel, but not Their Resolve to Stay Put

By: Sam Sokol; Jewish Telegraphic Agency,

A firefighter extinguishing a blaze in the Beeri Forest on the Israeli border with Gaza, where flaming kites sent from Gaza have caused thousands of shekels of damage, June 11, 2018. (Sam Sokol)

NAHAL OZ, Israel (JTA) — Dani Ben David fiddles with his radio, switching between it and his cellphone as he drives through the Beeri Forest, a nature reserve located on the border of Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

As his Jeep jolts over the dirt road, he quickly and calmly jumps between multiple conversations, coordinating efforts to extinguish the multiple fires that have sprung up across his territory. As regional director for the Western Negev for Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, Ben David is responsible for maintaining the forest’s tens of thousands of acres in the face of Palestinian efforts to torch them and the surrounding farmland.

Since April, more than 450 open-air fires have been set along the border region by kites and balloons carrying incendiary materials launched from Gaza. Flying aimlessly over the kibbutzim, they have turned large swatches of what was once an oasis of green in a dry and dusty south into a charred landscape.

Many of those kites have landed in the wheat fields of farmers, causing millions of shekels in damage to the local agricultural sector as well as in the area’s vast nature reserves.

“Look over there,” Ben David says, pointing to a pillar of smoke in the distance. His finger sweeps across the horizon, noting the locations of several other fires in the distance. “We see three, four, five fires. There are eight fires now.”

“It’s like this every day,” he continues, describing how more than 4,000 dunams, or nearly 490 acres, have already gone up in smoke over the past two months. “It’s doing great damage to the forest, to the plants and animals. Everything here is burned. We don’t really see a solution, either from the government or the army, against this kite terror.”

Ben David says KKL-JNF employs 12-13 private firefighters who are responsible for the forest, a number bolstered by volunteers from local communities and Israel’s overstretched Fire and Rescue Services.

“If we had 10 more it would be good, but we don’t have 10 more,” he says. “We are doing what we can. You extinguish one and you move on to the next one.”

Rafi Babiyan, security officer for the Sdot Negev Regional Council, holding a kite and incendiary devices that landed in Israeli fields near the Gaza border, June 11, 2018. (Sam Sokol)

At another site nearby, a tractor puts out the flames by driving over them followed by a man carrying a hose attached to a small water tank on his back. It’s siren blaring, a firetruck pulls up and a regular-duty firefighter gets out and starts spraying a flaming clump of trees.

Over the course of less than an hour, Ben David visits more than five fires, one of which blazes alongside a small one-lane road, completely obscuring visibility.

“At the end of the day, we are succeeding at extinguishing everything,” he says, but adding it would help if he had access to firefighting planes. Ben David explains that such aircraft are prohibited from taking part in the battle due to the proximity to the Gaza border.

“These kites aren’t toys, they’re weapons,” he says. “If the IDF or government will understand that, I hope they will do something.”

In nearby Nahal Oz, Yael Lachyani walks along pointing out the damage done to her kibbutz’s farmlands. She points to a small patch of burnt ground on which small shoots are already beginning beginning to sprout. Lachyani, the agricultural collective’s spokeswoman, says that on the festival of Shavuot each year, a small ceremony is held here for the community’s children, but this year it was set ablaze only hours before the gathering.

“We put out the fire and held the ceremony anyway. We are proud that we didn’t let them destroy our holiday,” she says, noting that 600 dunams, or almost 150 acres, have already gone up in flames.

“We try to be optimistic. It’s all about resilience,” Lachyani says. “We don’t complain. We don’t let them run our lives. You burn and we plant. Our morale is high. There is something about tragedy that connects you more to the people you live with.”

While acknowledging that the damage has only been to vegetation, she says it is only a matter of time until someone gets hurt in the community of fewer than 500 residents next to the border fence. The Israel Defense Forces and the government have not responded to the fires in the same way in which they act in the wake of a rocket attack, she says, and this “sends a message” to Hamas.

Lachyani says that despite the rocket attacks and fires, Nahal Oz is thriving, with residency at capacity, in part due to the “new secular Zionism of living wherever it’s necessary and wherever it’s meaningful.” But while the community has grown since the last flare-up with Hamas in 2014, it does not mean the residents are totally sanguine about the situation.

“We are thriving under fire … for the moment,” she says, complaining of the feeling that “no one cares.” Citing Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi’s statement that he was “not excited by the kite terrorism” — that is, that people shouldn’t overreact to what he called a “pathetic” enemy — Lachyani asserts that the “government isn’t doing anything.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has pledged to strike back in response to the kites “when it is convenient for us.” The army is testing two types of drones for use against the kites as “part of a comprehensive response, which includes cooperation with firefighting forces and the activity of combat forces on the ground,” an IDF spokesman told JTA.

According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, bomb disposal experts have responded not only to to kites dragging alcohol-soaked rags but also explosive devices, “which is a much more serious threat to both soldiers and civilians.”

“Every day we have at least 30 firefighters with 10 fire engines to deal only with fires near the fence,” Israel Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Yoram Levy says. “In order to respond quickly we opened five temporary stations in kibbutzim. We have a volunteer unit at Kfar Aza with a fire truck and equipment, and we are about to establish two more units. When we receive intelligence that there might be mass demonstrations [like last Friday], we are reinforcing our staff as needed.”

Levy says the fire service has used airplanes twice, near Kibbutz Or Haner and Kibbutz Karmia, after receiving permission from the Israeli Air Force.

One resident of Nahal Oz sees the attacks as an opportunity to give something back. Only weeks before the fires started, Raymond Reijnen immigrated to the kibbutz with family from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. A 16-year veteran of his city’s fire brigade, Reijnen — a tall, thin blond with tattooed arms — saw no future in Europe and decided to make aliyah so his children could grow up in a Jewish state.

Assigned to the kibbutz dairy, where he tends cows, Reijnen threw himself into agricultural work and learning Hebrew. Teams of firefighters from across the country have converged on the south, taking shifts on duty before returning to their home cities. Nevertheless, each kibbutz maintains its own volunteer team and Reijnen joined the one at Nahal Oz immediately.

Raymond Reijnen, who moved to Israel from Holland just weeks before arsonists began floating incendiary kites over the Gaza border, joined the fire-fighting team on his kibbutz, Nahal Oz. (Sam Sokol)

He says he felt good that he could “give something back to the kibbutz with my skills as a firefighter. I can pay them back for all the things they do for me here. I was kind of useless for the kibbutz and I’m not used to that.”

Kibbutz Saad, located three miles away, has had to deal with far fewer fires than Nahal Oz, and the fields that burned were already harvested, says Buki Bart, a member of the kibbutz administration. While expressing frustration, Bart says he understands that “everybody is doing the best that he can” and that the damage thus far has been minor enough that he doesn’t feel he has to report every small fire to the kibbutz members. Residents have come under fire for years, he says, especially during the last three wars in Gaza.

According to Adi Meiri, a spokeswoman for the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, whose territory includes Sderot, extinguishing the fires is not the only struggle for residents of the region. While the state has pledged reparations for farmers who have lost crops, local representatives also have been pushing hard for additional payments for those forced to harvest early, losing part of the value of their produce, as well as for those who have lost agricultural equipment.

Aside from the financial side, Meiri says the constant fires have caused stress for residents, especially children, many of whom are receiving help from psychologists at a local “resilience center.” She describes how she has gone to great lengths to shield her own children from the reality of the past two months.

Picking up on Meiri’s theme, council head Alon Schuster told JTA that it is important that the IDF, when attacking targets in the Gaza Strip, announce that the strikes are in part in retaliation for the kites. He says “it is important for the internal psychological resilience of our residents.”

The authorities have been somewhat slow “to assimilate, to integrate, the reality” of what is happening, Schuster says.

“They are concentrating now on the threat of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians entering into Israel to sabotage or kidnap people, and they underestimate the threat of fire,” he says.

While many residents have called for increased strikes against Hamas, others believe that only an improvement in conditions in Gaza will bring true peace.

“We have been relatively lucky,” Adele Raemer of Nirim says. “It hurts to see the land being ravaged by fires — the same land that those who are doing it claim to love, claim to be theirs.

“I’m hoping to hear that the government will make decisions today that will alleviate the impossible conditions in Gaza and enable the Gazans to have some hope. People who have nothing to live for only have reasons to die for.”


US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to End Palestinians Teaching Hate in Schools

Jewish News Syndicate;

CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.

In September 2011, a teacher leads one of the first classes of the new academic year at a Gaza-based school supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Credit: U.N. Photo/Shareef Sarhan.
In September 2011, a teacher leads one of the first classes of the new academic year at a Gaza-based school supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Credit: U.N. Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

 U.S. lawmakers introduced new legislation last week aimed at holding the Palestinians accountable incitement in their school curriculum by increasing transparency on foreign aid.

The Palestinian Authority Educational Curriculum Transparency Act, which was introduced by Reps. David Young (R-Iowa), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on June 7, requires the U.S. Secretary of State to submit annual reports reviewing the educational material used in schools in the West Bank and Gaza run by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the United Nation’s Palestinian-refugee agency.

The legislation seeks to determine whether U.S. foreign assistance is being used, directly or indirectly, to fund dissemination of such material by the P.A. and UNWRA.

The Jerusalem-based IMPACT-se, a research institute that analyzes educational materials that participated in crafting the bill, hopes the legislation will lead to a more peaceful future for Palestinians.

“Congressman Young’s vision in initiating and introducing this bill is timely, remarkable and potentially extremely significant in offering young Palestinians a peaceful vision for the future,” Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, said in a statement.

IMPACT-se, which has worked with European lawmakers to pass similar legislation to prevent aid from the European Union to the P.A. from being used to teach hate, also previously worked with Sen. Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) office to challenge UNRWA’s use of P.A. textbooks that radicalize Palestinian children.

Sheff said Palestinian textbooks hinder the development of a peaceful future for their children and hopes that the new legislation will mark the beginning of a change in education for the Palestinians.

“Ultimately, these textbooks are a major impediment to the possibility of peace,” said Sheff. “They deny young Palestinians the chance of a violence-free and peaceful future, and perpetuate eternal war. We look forward to the swift passage of the bill through the U.S. Congress.”


The Annexation That Deserves to Be Recognized

By: Zev Chafets;

Israel thinks the time is right for the U.S. to acknowledge its sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Recognizing reality. Photographer: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images Europe

Now that the American embassy has opened in Jerusalem, Israel seems to be turning its diplomatic attention to the Golan Heights.

The Golan, which dominates the northeastern part of Israel, was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces in the Six Day War. In 1981, Israel unilaterally annexed the territory, an act recognized by no other nation.

Israel now wants to rectify that, with the aid of the Trump administration. According to Israeli Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz, the future of the Golan Heights tops the agenda of current Israel-American bilateral discussions. Katz says he is speaking for Netanyahu, but the goal of international recognition is by no means limited to the Israeli Prime Minister and his coalition. “It is absurd to think that Israel will ever withdraw from the Golan Heights,” Yair Lapid, the head of Israel’s most important opposition party, told a group of foreign ambassadors last week.

The notion wasn’t always absurd. Between 1994 and 2007, successive Israeli governments offered Syria the lion’s share of the Golan in return for a peace agreement. The ruling Assad family flirted with the idea but ultimately rejected it.

Many Israelis regretted that. The Golan, which is smaller than Oklahoma City, lacks the emotional significance of Jerusalem and the West Bank. Sure it is a strategic asset, but if Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak — both former military chiefs of staff — said it was safe to return the Heights to Syria most civilians were not inclined to argue.

The chaotic civil war in Syria, and the entry of Iran and its proxies into the fight, have changed that calculation. The IDF’s strategic doctrine now regards the Golan Heights as the center of an integrated northern battlefield ranging from Lebanon to Tehran.

This isn’t simply theory. The Iranians have attempted to establish military bases near the Golan border and fired rockets at Israeli targets there. This has led to Israeli reprisals against Iranian anti-aircraft bases and missile storehouses in Syria. There were reports Monday of an Israeli-Russian agreement that would see Iranian forces pushed back from the Israeli border, another sign that the Golan is now the potential staging ground for a wider regional war.

“Recognizing reality” has been a fundamental tenet of the Trump administration’s foreign policy; it was invoked in the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israel, which has long wanted U.S. recognition of its sovereignty in the Golan Heights, now wants the U.S. to agree it falls under the same category.

Katz sees a high probability that Washington will recognize Israel’s status over the Golan some time during Trump’s first term. The decision would not require Congressional approval but would enjoy wide bipartisan support anyway. It would certainly not encounter serious domestic opposition.

Such a move would not be universally popular outside Israel and the U.S., of course. But it would also not be particularly costly. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in no position to stop it. Iran might react by supporting Hezbollah rocket attacks or other acts of violence, but the success of recent Israeli strikes on their military infrastructure in Syria has made Tehran more cautious.

Further afield, the Palestinian Authority would likely try to take a “land-grab” argument to the United Nations or the International Criminal Court at The Hague. They might score some points in the public relations war, but neither the United States nor Israel accepts the jurisdiction of the court and the U.S. has a veto in the UN Security Council; so the PA’s objections are unlikely to get very far.

Arab capitals would probably voice their protest of a U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan and then go back to more pressing concerns, as they have over the embassy opening in Jerusalem. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could once again try to rally Islamic opinion against Israel, but that is a ploy with diminishing returns. Besides, Erdogan hates Assad even more than he hates Israel.

The EU would undoubtedly lobby the Trump administration to refrain from recognizing the Golan Heights as formally part of Israel. The Europeans don’t really care about the territory, but they do care about a future Palestinian state; a change in the Golan’s status would be seen by the EU as a precedent for a unilateral (and U.S.-backed) annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Still, European concerns no longer determine outcomes in the Levant. The old borders drawn by French and British statesmen are gone. The U.S. and Russia are now dividing the region into spheres of influence. Syria is a good example of this: There are U.S. troops in the Kurdish region in Syria and in Jordan, while Russian troops are deployed on the Mediterranean coast and in central Syria. This process is taking place every day, without the benefit of a formal negotiation. U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights part of a larger American project that includes removing the Iranian military presence from Syria, weakening Hezbollah in Lebanon and eventually changing the regimes in both countries.

The Russians, too, have a project. They want to remain the power behind the Assad government in Damascus, expand their Mediterranean naval bases and ports and have a say in the future of the region. These ambitions do not necessarily clash with U.S. interests. They could even be complementary. Mutually agreeing to Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would be a step in that direction.

UN ‘Hopelessly Biased Against Israel’ Says Haley, as US Vetoes Security Council Resolution on Gaza Violence

By: Algemeiner Staff;

US Ambassador Nikki Haley casts her veto at the UN Security Council on June 1. Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

The majority of the 15 states on the UN Security Council were “willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas, for violence in Gaza,” the American Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Friday after the US vetoed a Kuwait-sponsored resolution that urged the deployment of an international force to the West Bank and Gaza.

“It is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel,” Haley said after the vote. “The United States will not allow such bias, which is why we did not hesitate to cast our veto.” Earlier this week – at an emergency session of the Security Council called by the US to condemn rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza against Israel – Haley remarked that the Palestinians did not require protection from an external predator, but from a Hamas leadership that cynically manipulates the civilian population into violence.

Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, condemned the Kuwaiti draft “as a hypocritical resolution that sought to condemn Israel while failing to even mention the terrorists of Hamas as the root cause of violence and unrest in our region.”

Danon continued: “We thank the United States for vetoing the resolution and commend all the Council members who in refusing to support it, defended Israel’s right to defend our citizens.”

Of the four remaining permanent members of the Security Council, France, China and Russia all voted in favor of the resolution, while the UK abstained.

Ethiopia, The Netherlands and Poland – all non-permanent members – also abstained on the vote, while Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Peru and Sweden all voted in favor.


U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution on Gaza, Fails to Win Second Vote on its Own Measure

By: Rick Gladstone;

The United States on Friday voted against a United Nations Security Council resolution to protect Palestinians and condemn Israel, which Ambassador Nikki R. Haley called “grossly one-sided.”CreditMary Altaffer/Associated Press

A bitter divide over who is to blame for scores of Palestinian deaths from Israeli fire at protests near Gaza’s border shifted Friday to the United Nations, where the United States vetoed a measure backed by Arab countries to protect Palestinians and condemn Israel.

Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, described the measure, a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by Kuwait, as one-sided. She accused the measure’s authors of inexplicably absolving Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and organized the protests.

The United States, a permanent Security Council member with veto power, was the sole no vote on the measure, which was enough to defeat it. Ten members voted in favor and four abstained.

A separate American resolution proposed by Ms. Haley, which would have condemned Hamas for the Gaza violence, failed to gain any support from fellow Council members.

Ms. Haley said the votes showed that the Security Council majority “was willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas, for violence in Gaza.”

“Further proof was not needed, but it is now completely clear that the U.N. is hopelessly biased against Israel,” she said in a statement.

While the votes were largely symbolic, they offered some insight into the challenges the United States is facing diplomatically over what critics call its unbridled support of Israel’s side in the protracted conflict with the Palestinians.

Kuwait’s draft resolution condemned the use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians” and demanded a halt to such actions. It made no mention of Hamas, which Israel, the United States and several other countries consider a terrorist organization.

In the vote for the American resolution, in which the United States was the sole yes vote, three members voted against it and 11 abstained.

A Security Council resolution requires a minimum of nine yes votes, with no vetoes by its permanent members, for passage.

About 120 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded by Israeli forces along the fence that divides Israel from Gaza since the protests erupted at the end of March inside Gaza, an impoverished Mediterranean enclave where nearly two million Palestinians live.

A 21-year-old Palestinian health worker was killed on Friday, the Gaza Health Ministry said. No Israelis have been killed during the protests.

Israel has contended that its military is acting lawfully to stop the protesters from breaching the fence, and it has rejected accusations that soldiers have used deadly force needlessly. The Israelis have also accused Hamas and its militant affiliates in Gaza of using the protests as cover for sending attackers into Israel.

The United States has backed Israel completely on the Gaza issue.

The resolution by Kuwait, the only Arab member of the Security Council, called for the “consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and for a halt to “the use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” by the Israeli military.

Ms. Haley, an outspoken supporter of Israel at the United Nations, called the draft a “grossly one-sided approach” that did not acknowledge any responsibility by Palestinian militants for the violence.

The diplomatic jousting after the votes at the Security Council meeting displayed the yawning divide and dual narratives of the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

Riyad H. Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, expressed thanks that the Kuwaiti resolution would have passed by a lopsided margin had it not been for the United States veto.

Addressing the measure’s supporters, Mr. Mansour said, “You have rejected the might-over-right strategy, sending a clear message that no one is exempt from the law — not even Israel.”

Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador, denounced Security Council members who he said had “stood in solidarity with the terrorists of Hamas” in supporting Kuwait’s resolution and rejecting the American one. “This double standard against Israel will not stand,” he said.

Addressing the Kuwait delegation and others who helped draft its resolution, Mr. Danon said: “You couldn’t bring yourself to mention Hamas even once. Don’t you know how to spell it?”

Under the Trump administration, the United States has become increasingly isolated at the United Nations when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Trump’s decision to relocate the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem was met with widespread international condemnation.

The Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, have been especially critical of the American Embassy relocation and have said the United States can no longer be regarded as an impartial broker of any peace negotiation.


Liberman Vows Retaliation for Hamas, Islamic Jihad Kite Attacks

By: Gil Hoffman;

Defense Minister revealed that there have been 600 kite attacks, of which 400 were intercepted with technology. The remaining kites caused 198 fires, burning 9000 dunams.

Liberman vows retaliation for Hamas, Islamic Jihad kite attacks
A fire burns in scrubland on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, near kibbutz Gevaram. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Israel will retaliate for incendiary kite attacks from the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed at Monday’s Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset.

Liberman revealed that there have been 600 kite attacks, of which 400 were intercepted with technology. The remaining kites caused 198 fires, burning some 2,500 acres.

“It must be clear, we are unwilling to accept kite attacks, riots on the fence, or attempts to rush the fence and harm land that is under Israeli sovereignty,” Liberman said.“We will act according to Israel’s interests at timing that is comfortable for us. We will not leave accounts open. We will settle accounts with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the rests of the terrorists operating against us from the Gaza Strip.”

Liberman revealed that he had briefed mayors of communities in the Gaza periphery. He praised their strength and restraint and said they understood the decision-making of the defense establishment.

In a Kulanu faction meeting, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said the damage from the kite attacks was NIS 5 million. He said farmers would immediately be compensated for half their losses.

The opposition blasted the government’s handling of Gaza.

“I heard the prime minister and his ministers declaring victory in the previous round of fighting,” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said. “I want to ask them a question: If over 170 rockets and mortars landed in Jerusalem, would you also declare victory? If the forests around Jerusalem or parks in the city went up in flames, would you also declare how pleased you are with the result? The government has no strategy when it comes to Gaza. At the moment Netanyahu has no policy when it comes to Gaza except to wait for the next round and the next arson attack. The residents who live around Gaza deserve better.”

At the Zionist Union faction meeting, party leader Avi Gabbay announced that the faction would tour the Gaza fence area on Thursday.

Regarding the North, Liberman said Israel’s policy is that neither Iran nor Hezbollah should be in Syria.Israel will retaliate for incendiary kite attacks from the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman vowed at Monday’s Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset.


Why Does the Media Continue Encouraging Hamas Violence?

By: Alan Dershowitz;

Why does the media continue encouraging Hamas violence?
Getty Images

If this were the first time that Hamas deliberately provoked Israel into self-defense actions that resulted in the unintended deaths of Gaza civilians, the media could be excused for playing into the hands of Hamas.

The most recent Hamas provocations — having 40,000 Gazans try to tear down the border fence and enter Israel with Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons — are part of a repeated Hamas tactic that I have called the “dead baby strategy.” The goal of Hamas is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so that the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line, while their own fighters hide behind these human shields.

Hamas leaders have long acknowledged this tactic. Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated as far back as 2008, “For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy, ‘We desire death like you desire life.’”

Hamas used this tactic to provoke two wars with Israel in which their fighters fired rockets from civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques. When Israel responded, it tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, dropping warning leaflets, calling residents of potential targets and dropping non-lethal noise bombs on the roofs of houses that were being used to launch rockets and store explosives. Inevitably, some civilians were killed, and the media blamed Israel for these deaths, despite the precautions it had taken.

The same was true when Hamas built terror tunnels used to kidnap Israeli civilians. The entrances to these tunnels were in civilian areas as well, including mosques and schools. Using their own civilians as human shields, while targeting Israeli civilians, is a double war crime. Yet, the media generally focuses on the reaction of Israel to these war crimes, rather than the war crimes of Hamas.

The cruel reality is that every time Israel accidentally kills a Gaza civilian, Israel loses. And every time Israel kills a Gaza civilian, Hamas wins. Israelis grieve every civilian death its army accidentally causes. Hamas benefits from every death Israel accidentally causes. That is why it encourages its women and children to become martyrs.

Calling this the “dead baby strategy” may seem cruel because it is cruel. But don’t blame the messenger for accurately describing this tactic. Blame those who cynically use it. Blame the media for playing into the hands of those who use it by reporting only the body count and not the deliberate Hamas tactic that leads to one-sided body counts.

It is true that Gaza is in a desperate situation and that it is wounded. But the wound itself is self-inflicted. When Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, removing every single soldier and settler, the territory could have become the Singapore on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a beautiful area with a large seacoast. It received infusions of cash and other help from Europe. Israel left behind agricultural equipment and hot houses.

But instead of using these resources to feed, house and educate its citizens, Hamas built rockets, terror tunnels and Molotov cocktails. It threw dissenters off the roof and murdered members of the Palestinian Authority who were willing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it. Hamas rejects the two-state solution or any solution that leaves Israel intact. The only solution for it is violence, and the events at the fence these past days are a manifestation of that violence.

Would any country in the world allow 40,000 people, sworn to its destruction, to knock down a border fence and attack its citizens living peacefully near the border? Of course not. Could Israel have done more to reduce casualties among those trying to breach the border fence? I don’t know, and neither do the legions of armchair generals who are criticizing Israel for the steps it took to prevent a catastrophe among the residents of Kibbutzim and towns that are proximate to the border fence.

One thing is crystal clear: Hamas will continue to use the ”dead baby strategy” as long as the media continues to report the deaths in the manner in which it has reported them in recent weeks. Many in the media are complicit in these deaths because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line. Perhaps Israel could do a better job of defending its civilians but it is certain that the media can do a better job of accurately reporting the Hamas strategy that results in so many innocent deaths.

There is a marvelous cartoon that illustrates the difference between Hamas and Israel. It shows an Israeli soldier standing in front of a stroller with a baby in it, shielding the baby. Then it shows a Hamas terrorist standing behind a stroller with the baby in it, using the baby to shield him. This cartoon better illustrates the reality that is occurring at the Gaza fence than most of the “objective” reporting by the media.