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Among various principles invoked by the International Court of Justice in its highly publicized decision on Israel's security fence is this one: It is a violation of international law for Jews to be living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. If this sounds absurd to you -- Jews have been inhabiting the Old City of Jerusalem since it became their capital 3,000 years ago -- it is. And it shows the lengths to which the United Nations and its associate institutions, including this kangaroo court, will go in order to condemn Israel.
The ICJ's main business was to order Israel to tear down the security fence separating Israelis from Palestinians. The fence is only one-quarter built, and yet it has already resulted in an astonishing reduction in suicide attacks into Israel. In the last four months, two Israelis have died in suicide attacks, compared with 166 killed in the same time frame at the height of the terror.
But what are 164 dead Jews to this court? Israel finally finds a way to stop terrorism, and 14 eminences sitting in The Hague rule it illegal -- in a 64-page opinion in which the word terrorism appears not once (except when citing Israeli claims).
Yes, the fence causes some hardship to Palestinians. Some are separated from their fields, some schoolchildren have to walk much farther to class. This is unfortunate. On any scale of human decency, however, it is far more unfortunate that 1,000 Israelis are dead from Palestinian terrorism, and thousands more horribly maimed, including Israeli schoolchildren with nails and bolts and shrapnel lodged in their brains and spines who will never be walking to school again.
From the safe distance of 2,000 miles, the court declared itself ``not convinced'' that the barrier Israel is building is a security necessity. It based its ruling on the claim that the fence violates Palestinian ``humanitarian" rights such as ``the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.''
I'm sure these conventions are lovely documents. They are also documents of absolutely no weight -- how many countries would not stand condemned for failure to provide an ``adequate standard of living '' -- except, of course, when it comes to Israel. Then, any document at hand will do.
What makes the travesty complete is that this denial of Israel's right to defend itself because doing so might violate ``humanitarian" rights was read in open court by the chief judge representing China, a government that massacred hundreds of its own citizens demonstrating peacefully in Tiananmen Square. Not since Libya was made chairman of the Commission on Human Rights has the U.N. system put on such a shameless display of hypocrisy.
Moreover, the ICJ had no jurisdiction to take this case. It is a court of arbitration, which requires the consent of both parties. The Israelis, knowing the deck was stacked, refused to give it. Not only did the United States declare this issue outside the boundaries of this court, so did the European Union and Russia, hardly Zionist agents.
The ICJ went ahead nonetheless, betraying its prejudice in its very diction. For example, throughout the opinion it refers to the barrier as a ``wall.'' In fact, over 93 percent of its length consists of fences, troughs and electronic devices to prevent terrorist infiltration. Less than one kilometer out of every 15 is wall, and this is generally in areas that Palestinian gunmen have been using to shoot directly onto Israeli highways and villages. Sensors and troughs cannot stop bullets.
The ICJ's long account of the history of the conflict is equally corrupt. For example: In 1947, the U.N. partitioned Palestine into two states -- one Jewish, one Arab. When the British pulled out and Israel proclaimed its independence, five Arab countries responded immediately by declaring war and invading Israel with the announced intention of destroying the newborn state. How does the ICJ render this event? ``On 14 May 1948, Israel proclaimed its independence. ... Armed conflict then broke out between Israel and a number of Arab states.'' Broke out? As if three years after the Holocaust and almost entirely without weapons, a tiny country of 600,000 Jews had decided to make war on five Arab states with nearly 30 million people.
Israel will rightly ignore the ICJ decision. The United States, acting honorably in a world of utter dishonor regarding Israel, will support that position. It must be noted that one of the signatories of this attempt to force Israel to tear down its most effective means of preventing the slaughter of innocent Jews was the judge from Germany. The work continues.
The "Quartet" consisting of the US, UN, EU and Russia, is singing the same tune called "Ultimatum", as they once again have told Yasser Arafat to reform his Palestinian Authority/Palestine Liberation Organization (PA/PLO) security services or risk losing international support.
"Arafat must reduce his dozen or so security forces to three, change all corrupt security bosses, change the interior minister and empower the prime minister," a Western diplomat told Reuters as representatives of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia met in Jerusalem earlier this month. "Everybody now is sick and tired of empty talk, and there is total disillusion with the Palestinian Authority," the diplomat said.
Famous last words. Sick and tired of empty talk? Be real. Give us a break.
Why did it take this long to reach disillusionment?
What will be constructively done with this disillusionment?
How will Arafat do any of the above when he is the boss and corrupt dictator, otherwise known as the "Chairman of Terror", of a complex organization, with his PA/PLO Fatah-led terrorist subsidiaries and sister organizations?
Why will he listen now, when for his entire career, he has been getting away with murder (both figuratively and literally)?
The four meddling mediators make up the "Quartet" overseeing the "Road Map" proposed peace plan. The group also has accused Israel of "poor faith" for failing to dismantle all "illegal settlement outposts" in the disputed territories of Gaza, Judea and Samaria (wrongly called "West Bank" by most of the world today, but belonging to Israel Biblically, historically, legally and politically).
Much media hype is made about the issue of "illegal settlement outposts", when in fact most of the Arabs living in Israel today are offspring of those who came to the area from their own native nations of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria during the 1920s for economic and political reasons. Hence, they are actually refugees from their homelands and they are the ones living in "illegal settlement outposts", which became especially overpopulated during the "occupation" by Egypt and Jordan for nineteen years from 1948 to 1967.
Furthermore, Jews have a Biblical "right of return" to the G-d-given Holy Land, Promised Land or Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel), which is clearly stated in the holy books of all three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam – the Old Testament (also known as the Bible, Chumash, Five Books of Moses, Pentateuch, or Torah), the New Testament (combined with the "Old" original one, also called the Bible by Christians) and the Koran (the last one in the "trilogy").
All those "Arab" Jews expelled from the 22 Arab/Islamist nations also have a "right of return" to either their G-d given ancient biblical land of Israel or those places they lived prior to the "Forgotten Exodus" of 1948, when they were absorbed by the modern state of Israel (unlike the refugee problem created by Arabs, in which they failed to absorb their brethren and cousins, then blamed Israel).
We hear and see much media political propaganda about the "right of return", but never, ever in the proper Biblical and historically honest context.
Let's be completely honest with facts and truth. Let's not hide them with lies, myths and political propaganda ploys.
Arafat has faced ultimatums before and largely has ignored most, if not all, of them successfully, because the international community's bark is largely bigger than its bite.
If the "Quartet" is very serious and truthful about this ultimatum, it will impose diplomatic, economic and political sanctions on Arafat, the PA/PLO, as well as on the sister terrorist organizations Hamas, Hezbullah and Islamic Jihad. In order to win the international "War on Terror", the "Quartet" must send a very clear message that it is completely against terrorism and show its support for its only true-blue ally in the Middle East, this neighborhood of corrupt dictatorships, repressive ruthless regimes and tyrannies.
That means fighting terrorism on the frontlines, in Israel.
That means saying no to the likes of alleged allies, Saudi Arabia (the birthplace and cradle of extremist fanatical fundamentalism and perhaps the biggest state-supporter of terrorism), Jordan and Egypt (America's allies and Israel's peace partners?), as well as to those who may not be allies, such as Syria-Lebanon, Iran (two of the next biggest state-supporters of terrorism), Yemen, Libya, et. al. That means not allowing oil dollars to grease the wheels of terrorism. That means not allowing terrorism anywhere, anytime. Period.
The US can set an example by actually enforcing the law we might term "the Arafat Accountability Act", which was passed by Congress and formally signed into legislation by President George W. Bush. Actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to have a law on the books. But quite another to read and use the books when appropriate.
Empty ultimatums only perpetuate the problem forever rather than resolve the "War on Terrorism" efficiently, productively and quickly. Veiled threats are ignored completely and not taken as serious threats in the Arab/Islamist Middle East.
The "Quartet" must sing a new song and dance a different dance if its message is to be taken seriously in the American-led "War on Terrorism". If the world wants to truly preserve Western civilization, it must act now to support the only beacon of democracy and freedom in the entire Middle East – Israel – against all of the Arab/Islamist corrupt dictatorships, ruthless repressive regimes and tyrannies.
The "Quartet" has a vested interest in preserving Israel for its own safety and security. The sooner the international community begins to act in a completely honest, intelligent and moral manner, the better off the entire world will be from now on.
This is a message for the "Quartet" and the rest of the international crew. A final confrontation with Arafat and his PA/PLO is long overdue.
They stepped off the plane into the heat and humidity of the hottest day of the year in Tel Aviv, carrying stuffed animals, live animals, and an assortment of other remnants of their former lives.
The 400 new immigrants from the U.S. and Canada who arrived on a charter flight from New York Wednesday are part of the new American aliya movement that's bringing hundreds of North American Jews home. This summer, more than 1,500 North American Jews will make aliya in four separate chartered flights.
Elana Balkin, 27, of West Bloomfield, MI, called her arrival in Israel "the most incredible day of my life." For Balkin, the move completes a circle of Jewish history. She described her great-grandparents who were planning to escape Nazi Germany and flee to Palestine. They never made it. "Everyone was supposed to meet here," Balkin said with emotion. "But I'm the one who has the zchut (merit) to be here."
Like many of the young, single olim, Balkin is planning on attending an intensive residential ulpan before setting out to find work in her field.
This year's group of olim includes a large group of singles. Some 273 single men and women will arrive on the Nefesh B'Nefesh planes this summer, joining 273 families.
In an effort that is largely privately funded, the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization partnered with the Jewish Agency has succeeded where official Israeli efforts to encourage Western aliya had previously failed.
The key element encouraging this new wave of immigrants is financial assistance and personal support. Grants of anywhere between $7-18,000 per family are available from Nefesh B'Nefesh if the family stays in Israel for at least three years. After they get here, an aggressive employment counseling service is at the disposal of the olim, as well as match-ups with veteran immigrants and assistance dealing with immigration bureaucracy.
"The financial support certainly helped me to decide to come that much quicker," notes Balkin.
Ron Karama, 22, from Seattle, a recent graduate and pro-Israel campus activist, hopes to serve in the IDF after his adjustment period. He was welcomed home by an uncle and cousin in uniform.
A crowd of several hundred Israeli-Americans was on hand in the El Al hangar at Ben Gurion airport this morning to greet the newcomers. For many, it was a chance to relive their own aliya experience. "We didn't get this kind of hoopla when we arrived," said Shalom Abramowitz who arrived in 1994, "but it's just great to see people coming in greater numbers today," he added, as his eyes scanned the disembarking passengers for his cousin from Long Island.
The plane pulled up directly to the hangar with the normally tedious passport control and other immigration processing having taken place with Interior Ministry officials during the flight.
Flag-waving Air Force cadets lined the walkway leading into the hangar, and a swarm of media descended on the new Israelis. There were some great shots - a middle-aged woman hugging her long haired white dog tight to her chest, her eyes filled with tears; a young mother who stopped to breastfeed her new-born baby before hugging all her waiting relatives; the elderly mother of an American oleh welcomed by a gaggle of grandchildren as she embarks on her new life close to her family.
The super-secular, hip Israeli film crews recording the event couldn't have looked more different than the largely observant immigrants they were filming.
But as the new olim took their seats in the hangar, they were indistinguishable from the hundreds of more veteran immigrants who had come to greet them. Slightly younger, perhaps, but the same kind of people.
Around half of the olim are children, small children. There are few families with teenage kids in the group - a testament to the notoriously difficult absorption of teenagers into Israeli high school society.
On hand to greet the new olim were Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; Absorption Minister Tzippi Livni; Jewish Agency director Sallai Meridor; and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who told the olim: "Our two thousand years of wandering have come to an end."
Tony Gelbart one of the co-founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh, urged the government to continue to make aliya a priority: "Israel needs to know it can be a magnet for U.S. Jews," he declared. Strong aliya sends a message to our enemies too, he continued, and could go a long way in dealing with Israel's demographic challenges.
The Furman family of Toronto was called up to receive their first official documents as Israeli citizens. The father of four spoke one sentence: "Thank you for making our aliya dream come true."
The singing of Hatikva closed the ceremony. Flags waved and tears flowed, cameras rolled and the olim took a deep breath before dispersing to their new homes.
In the latest fit of diplomatic moral equivalence, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week visited Israel, attempting to persuade the Jewish state to declare formally its nuclear capability—eventually leading to a supposedly nuclear arms-free Middle East.
Under utopian scenarios, perhaps Israel’s unilateral disarmament could lead to lasting Middle East peace. But not when the Iranian mullahs—themselves a nuclear power or soon-to-be one—pledge “Death to Israel” and when even one of the two Arab governments officially to recognize Israel, Egypt, openly foments rabid anti-Semitism.
Of course from Israel’s vantage point—knowing that almost the entire Arab world prefers its annihilation, and the rest probably wouldn’t mind it—the only answer would seem to be maintaining the status quo. Being the dominant nuclear power in the region is a powerful deterrent, not to mention a display of strength that engenders respect, though not affection, from neighboring states.
But what does Israel do as its enemies go nuclear? After all, the nature of nukes is such that a country doesn’t need to catch up to Israel in order to be a threat.
One fairly novel proposal comes from arms control expert Henry Sokolski. The eccentric and undeniably bright former Bush administration official believes that Israel could take a leadership role toward ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction through its own actions. (This and similar proposals will soon be on the website of his group, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, at www.npec-web.org.)
Sokolski is not silly enough to suggest unilateral disarmament, nor is he naïve enough to believe that Israel’s nukes are behind the motivations of Iran’s and Arab states’ nuclear pursuits. But he does think Israel possesses incredible leverage as a result of its nuclear arsenal and could use that influence to force the hand of its Muslim neighbors.
The first step would be for Israel to mothball Dimona, its main nuclear facility. Sokolski’s reasoning is that since a facility as old as Dimona either has to be shuttered or rebuilt—at an overwhelming cost—Israel would benefit more by allowing the IAEA to monitor the mothballing and consequently altering the political dynamic.
“Israel could then announce how much fissionable material it has produced and put it under escrow (in Israel) with a country it trusts, such as the U.S.,” Sokolski says. The idea would be that by taking the moral lead, the Jewish state would force countries such as Algeria, Egypt, and Iran into the diplomatic hotseat—all without Israel having to engage in formal talks or negotiations with Iran or Arab nations.
He argues that with US and EU coordination, even Russia can be cajoled into pressuring Iran to start behaving better. More than anything, though, Israel taking the lead toward reduction would set the political trajectory for Iran and the Arab world in the right direction.
“There are no guarantees of results, but boy, the heat sure would be intense, much more than it is right now,” Sokolski notes.
What about stateless terrorists? Sokolski argues that the only way terrorists could get nukes is from a state, and Israel’s nuclear arms wouldn’t be much of a deterrent for terrorists anyway.
Sokolski maintains that all this could be done while preserving the longstanding policy of nuclear ambiguity. Though the rest of the world knows Israel has nukes—in large part because of top-secret material leaked in 1986 by Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu—making such an announcement would send unnecessary shockwaves.
Though it may not force the hands of Iran and Arab states, as even Sokolski admits, the proposal nonetheless merits serious consideration, particularly since Israel would still maintain its arsenal. But even if every bad actor is pressured into playing nice, inspections are inherently imperfect. Iran has already duped the IAEA, for example, and it continues to openly flout the watchdog agency.
The problem is simple: tyrannies can’t be trusted. Since even the best of inspections are imperfect, trust has to be at the core of any such agreement.
Arab tyrants have a lethal history of using chemical weapons—Iraq against Iran and Egypt against the North Yemenis—and Israel’s nukes may have been the primary deterrent that kept Saddam from launching chemical-laced Scuds at Tel Aviv during the Gulf War.
But history also tells us that free societies—of which Israel stands as the Middle East’s sole epresentative—don’t develop WMDs for offensive purposes. South Africa, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina all shuttered their WMD and/or nuclear programs upon becoming democracies in the 1980’s.
The only true solution, then, is something over which Israel ultimately has little control: the spread of freedom in the Middle East.
Joel Mowbray (email@example.com) is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.
"Thank God that the fate of Israel and of the Jewish people is not decided in this hall."- Israel's UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman in the UN General Assembly
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