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In 1975, Uganda, under the dictatorial leadership of Idi Amin, sponsored the Zionism is Racism resolution. On Monday, Uganda, under the more progressive leadership of Yoweri Museveni, was one of only 10 states that abstained from the United Nations General Assembly resolution against Israel's security fence. This is progress.
Then again, in 1975 the European countries opposed Zionism is Racism. This time, the EU voted as a 25-member bloc in favor of the anti-fence resolution. So much for the diplomatic boost Israel was supposed to get in Europe once the eastern states were on board.
What is the difference between the 1975 resolution and this one? On the surface, they couldn't be more different. Zionism is Racism forthrightly stated that Israel had no right to exist; that among the world's many nation-states and national movements the Jewish one was uniquely illegitimate.
The 2004 resolution says nothing of the kind: It reaffirms "the commitment of the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders." It condemns "all acts of violence, terrorism, and destruction." And it calls "on both the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately implement their obligations under the road map."
Yet the real difference between the two resolutions really comes down to degrees of baldness. The 1975 resolution said Israel has no right to exist. The 2004 resolution says Israel has no right to defend itself, except on terms agreeable to the international community generally and the Palestinians particularly, which is tantamount to no defense at all.
What the European Union – Germany incredibly and inexcusably included – voted for this week, then, was this: Not the dismantling of the security fence, which they know perfectly well isn't going to happen, but for the right to decide on Israel's behalf how its citizens are legitimately to be defended. We are told that lethal incursions into the West Bank and Gaza Strip to stop the terrorism at its source are forbidden.
Now the non-lethal security fence is forbidden, too. What Israel can do, apparently, is capitulate to the Palestinians politically, retreat to the 1949 armistice lines, and defend itself as best it can within – and only within – those narrow borders.
Is this what the civilized world really wants for Israel? Is this what Germany really wants for the Jewish state? By this token, Israel would not have had a right to rescue its citizens taken hostage at Entebbe airport in 1976, on the grounds that the rescue violated Ugandan sovereignty. (The Entebbe analogy is particularly apposite because Idi Amin claimed not to be colluding with the German terrorists, just as the PA claims not to be colluding with Palestinian terrorists.)
We understand the European states would argue their vote for the resolution means nothing of the sort; thus the condemnation of terrorism and the line about peace and security within recognized borders.
But how can they put their names to a resolution that makes only the briefest and most nonspecific mention of "terrorism," while inveighing against Israel in highly specific terms? How can they simultaneously be in favor of a negotiated settlement, which implies compromise over the final disposition of the territories, and a legal verdict that claims that every inch of the West Bank and Gaza is Palestinian soil? How can they decently oppose a measure that demonstrably saves lives while taking none? Most importantly, what realistic alternatives does the EU offer Israel to mount an effective defense against Palestinian terrorism? What alternative, that is, other than assurances of Palestinian goodwill?
Had the General Assembly resolution not been merely a hortatory one, we suspect the EU may have been rather more reluctant to cast its votes against Israel. Championing the Palestinians at Israel's expense is easy as long as it's cheap, and as long as they know the US will come to Israel's diplomatic defense. In the meantime, we can only concur with Israel's able and eloquent UN ambassador, Danny Gillerman.
"Thank God," he said, "that the fate of Israel and of the Jewish people is not decided in this hall."
News headlines at the start of the week diligently covered the unfolding drama in the Middle East, with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia resigning, then apparently un-resigning, followed by the Palestinian “parliament” urging strongman Yasser Arafat to accept the original resignation.
While the stories certainly made for interesting copy, they all missed the real point: No matter how well-intentioned a new leader might be, peace cannot come as long as Arafat is around.
Even upon the ouster or death of Arafat—the former finally seeming like a realistic possibility—peace might not occur for some time afterward, given how thoroughly Arafat has poisoned the Palestinian culture.
What is now unfolding could mark the start of Arafat’s eventual demise. Then again, he has a knack for hanging on when everyone has counted him out.
When the U.S. and the European Union last year wanted to “sideline” Arafat, the lifelong terrorist—and ultimate political survivor—appointed his longtime number-two, Mahmoud Abbas, as prime minister. Hoodwinked Western diplomats nodded in approval.
Within four months, Abbas was gone. Less than a year later, Qureia either has resigned or is at least trying to. What both men quickly realized is that Arafat has his hand on all the levers of Palestinian power.
How anyone who knows Arafat could believe he could be “sidelined” is simply baffling. It’s not in his character to allow any sort of power-sharing. This is not analysis requiring the professional input of a shrink, either. The record couldn’t be any clearer.
From the time supposed self-governance (in the form of the Palestinian Authority) was granted following the Oslo accords of 1993, Arafat has controlled practically every aspect of Palestinian life, from the security forces to radio and television to the economy.
Look at the 1996 “election.” Arafat made sure he had but one opponent, a 72-year-old social worker, a woman named Samiha Khalil. She stunned observers by garnering a much higher vote total than anyone anticipated: 9.3%.
There’s more. After his political party, Fatah, held a primary, Arafat knocked off the slate those he did not like. Some of those purged from Fatah were elected to parliament, but Arafat soon rendered the legislative body toothless.
In the run-up to the balloting, Arafat used Palestinian radio and television to spread his propaganda, while candidates not affiliated with his party were virtually blacked out. Even outlets beyond Arafat’s direct control were bullied into submission.
Palestinian newspaper Al Quds was ordered by Arafat’s minions to run an article on the thug’s meeting with a Greek Orthodox leader on the front page. When it ran on page 8 instead, armed guards arrested Al Quds editor Maher al-Alami, “detaining” him for six days.
Violence and intimidation continue to play significant roles in Arafat’s playbook. On Tuesday, former Cabinet minister and longtime Arafat critic, Nabil Amr, was shot on his way home by unidentified “gunmen.” Early reports indicate he might lose his leg.
Maybe it’s no surprise that Abbas refused to cross Arafat, and Qureia chose resignation over a “mysterious” death.
At least Arafat treats political enemies better than he does Israelis. He openly desires nothing short of the complete destruction of the Jewish state. He is, after all, a partner for peace.
While charming diplomatic dupes in the West with beautiful English-language statements, he has for years been rallying Palestinians to Jihad in Arabic.
It’s all part of Arafat’s cult of death. It starts by brainwashing youths not long after they are out of diapers, and the incitement continues with the bombardment of constant anti-Semitism and calls to arms over radio and television. With so much venom injected into Palestinian hearts and minds, it’s a fair question if peace can come even after Arafat is gone.
Offering a glimmer of hope, though, that Palestinians might be able to overcome Arafat’s cancerous reign is decades of exposure to Israeli media. Though Palestinians may not love their neighbor, they do envy it. According to a recent poll, Palestinians preferred an Israeli-style democracy over that found in any other nation, such as the U.S., France, or Germany.
It would be messy, and likely bloody, but after the demise of Arafat, the Palestinian people might eventually get just that.
Joel Mowbray (firstname.lastname@example.org) is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.
France is very upset with Ariel Sharon. So upset as a matter of fact, that Jacques Chirac, France's Prime Minister has told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he is not welcome in France.
This is very heavy-handed and extraordinarily insulting language coming from a national leader of a democratic nation, to a national leader of another democratic nation.
Would Chirac ever say that to an American President given the same circumstances?
What Ariel Sharon said to invite this insult was not that big a deal. At least not in my opinion.
In a speech this past week to an American group visiting Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suggested that French Jews should immigrate to Israel in order to get away from the violent anti-Semitism that is played out in France virtually everyday by members of the more than 6 million Moslems living in that country.
Chirac is outraged. Why?
It is absolutely true that Jews and Jewish owned properties (including cemeteries) in France are regular targets for insults, violence and vandalism.
There are also other instances of extreme anti-Semitism France cannot ignore.
1) The French murdered, displaced, dispossessed, disenfranchised and drove all Jews out of France during the days of the French Inquisition in the thirteen hundreds.When I was a kid of about 10 years old, I had a French (Parisian) friend whose family emigrated to Canada from France several years after the Second World War. Even though my friend was very young at the time, he remembered with crystal clarity the night a group of French women who lived in their apartment building beat his mother while she held him close to her body to shield him from the blows.
He recalled his mother being beaten to the floor, where she was kicked and punched, while the attackers verbally assailed her for being a Jew. Not long after, my friend's family came to Canada. I will never forget that story.
If nothing else, Jews have a terrible memory for the history of anti-Semitism, and always hope beyond reality, that the last time will be the last time. And when anti-Semitism rears its ugly head, as it inevitably will: there's genuine surprise.
In spite of Jacques Chirac's indignation at the remarks of Ariel Sharon, France has a clear and uninterrupted history of anti-Semitism that all of his protestations will not change.
I imagine that what bothered Chirac most was not what Sharon said, as much as the fact that what Sharon said was true.
If Ariel Sharon didn't say what he did about France's Jews, he would have been guilty of ignoring history, and of gambling with the welfare of French Jews so as not to offend a French leader who's not worth the time I've spent writing this article.
Many Westerners are confused about the real problems of the Middle East, because they simply don't understand the nature of evil.
They don't comprehend that there are truly evil people in the world who would not only perpetrate acts of unimaginable violence on innocents, but they would go a step further – blaming the victims for the crime.
It doesn't happen occasionally. It happens over and over again. It is the modus operandi of mass-murdering haters like Yasser Arafat and his cohorts in the Palestinian Authority.
Let me give you a recent example: Last week, Arafat "condemned" a bombing attack in Tel Aviv that killed one and injured some 20 others. Whenever Arafat "condemns" an act of terrorist violence against innocent Jewish civilians you know there has to be a catch. And, true to form, there was a catch this time – a big one.
Arafat suggested the attack was actually an act of provocation carried out by Israelis.
So, while Arafat was in effect condemning the attack, he was in fact blaming the victims.
Meanwhile, however, a terrorist organization founded by Arafat, commanded by Arafat, sustained by Arafat and fully supported by Arafat – the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade – claimed responsibility for the attack. Years ago, when Arafat began using the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to launch terrorist attacks while giving himself plausible deniability, I exposed the fact that Arafat created the group, paid for the attacks and directed their operations.
Lately, I've noticed other news organizations reporting that Al-Aqsa is "linked" with Arafat. Yes, linked – like the Japanese were "linked" with Pearl Harbor, like Adolf Hitler was "linked" with the Holocaust, like al-Qaida was "linked" with Sept. 11.
The propaganda success of the Arab leaders – whether it's Arafat or the dictators of existing Middle East states – has been built on this foundation of lies. It's bad enough these thugs murder innocent people and get away with it. The devilish miracle of Middle East propaganda is the Arabs' ability to blame the victims for the crime – over and over and over again.
Here's another example.
The Arabs contend Israel oppresses them – that the Jewish state doesn't respect their human rights. Yet it is in the Arab states that Arabs have no rights. Israel represents the only state in the Middle East that protects the rights of Arabs to vote, to speak out, to publish newspapers, to protest government policies, etc. The Arabs of the Palestinian Authority, however, maintain an official policy that excludes any Jews from living within the territory or future state. It's an official policy of ethnic cleansing. It's an official policy of genocide. Again, the words the Arabs use are simply a kind of verbal camouflage to hide their own murderous activities.
Here's another example – maybe the worst of all.
The Arabs say Israel created a refugee crisis. This is revisionist history, because it's certainly not what most Arabs believed in 1948. It was the Arab leaders who urged the Arabs to leave upon their declaration of war. It was the Arab leaders who whipped up a frenzy of fear in the Arab populace. It was the Arab leaders who promised they would quickly "liberate" the Jewish state. And, most importantly, it has been the Arab leaders who have kept the Arab refugees in perpetual squalor ever since – so they could be used as a political bargaining chip, a scapegoat to keep the minds of the Arab people off the corruption of their governments.
There was no Jewish conspiracy to chase Arabs out of their homes in 1948. It never happened. There are, instead, plenty of historical records showing the Jews pleading with their Arab neighbors to stay and live in peace and harmony.
The truth is that 68 percent of the Arab Palestinians who left in 1948 – perhaps 300,000 to 400,000 of them – never saw an Israeli soldier.
But, once again, the very roots of this conflict have been so distorted – turned upside down and inside-out. The guilty get a free ride and the innocent are blamed for the crime.
So, it should surprise no one that Arafat is now blaming Israel for attacking itself with terror bombs. This has been the way the history of the Middle East has been twisted since 1948.
Never underestimate the capacity of an evil mind.
Joel Mowbray (email@example.com) is author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America’s Security.
I don't question whether Martha Stewart should have received a jail sentence for telling federal investigators what a New York jury concluded was a lie. Judge Miriam Goldman Cederbaum could have given Ms. Stewart probation, but it was her call. My call would have been different, but I wasn't the judge.
Nor do I question whether the jury should have convicted Ms. Stewart. It could have acquitted her -- I would have. But their verdict certainly wasn't perverse: There was evidence for a conviction.
I don't even question whether the prosecutors should have charged Ms. Stewart. They had the discretion to do so. I would have exercised my discretion differently, but that's neither here nor there.
What I question is whether it should be against the law to lie to the authorities.
It seems to me lying to the authorities should be unlawful only in societies where it's unlawful for the authorities to lie to citizens. In our society, it isn't. Governments and politicians lie all the time. They lie outrageously about things big and small. They say "watch my lips" and lie. None are ever charged. I rest my case.
Change of topic. As a footnote to the decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to let al-Jazeera into the country, it seems that our brave broadcast commissars may have remembered that if fence-sitting were an Olympic sport, Canada would invariably bring home the gold.
The CRTC appears to have straddled the fence with admirable aplomb. While it allowed the Arab network to be carried in Canada, it made it virtually impossible for any cable company to do so. The requirement of setting up a time delay with Arabic interpreters monitoring the broadcasts to weed out noxious material -- apart from objections to regulators deputizing Canada's cable operators as censors -- would probably make al-Jazeera unaffordable, expert observers say. "No cable company would be able to recover the costs," suggests Peter Grant, a prominent broadcast lawyer and co-author of Broadcasters and Trade Wars.
Next item. As the anarchy continued in Gaza City this weekend, with gunmen from rival Palestinian factions burning down Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority offices yesterday, it illustrated again that turmoil in the Muslim world has little to do with Israel's policies, or even with Israel's existence. It would be in a state of upheaval if the Jewish state had never come into being.
Take a list of events: Egypt's use of poison gas against Yemen in the 1960s; the killing of tens of thousands of Syrian citizens by Assad the Elder; the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens by Saddam Hussein; the hundreds of thousands of Muslim casualties on both sides of the Iran-Iraqi war between 1980 and 1988; Saddam's invasion of neighbouring Kuwait; the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan; the global terrorism of al-Qaeda; the Indian-Pakistani nuclear standoff over Kashmir; the kidnappings and killings by Muslim guerrillas in the Philippines; the fratricidal murders in Algeria; the recent Muslim massacres in Indonesia; the current slaughter of black Christians by Arab Muslims in the Sudan -- all these and similar events over the last half century had nothing, nothing whatever, to do with Israel. There wasn't even an indirect connection. Presumably, these events would have occurred if no Jewish state had ever existed or even envisaged. As several commentators pointed out over the years -- most recently the theoretical physicist Haim Harari -- it's the profound backwardness and dysfunctionality of the Arab/Muslim world, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that causes such wars, invasions and massacres.
"The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 million," said Professor Harari in a speech in April, "larger than the U.S. and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the United States or all of Europe. These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium."Backwardness on this scale spells disaster. There's no doubt that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict needs a just resolution, but there's equally no doubt that even the most equitable resolution won't calm the upheavals of the region. Contrary to the impression created by the media, it's not the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but the problems inherent in Professor Harari's numbers that give rise to turmoil in Muslim regions.
There was a time when Arab/Muslim contributions to culture in science, medicine, architecture and even statecraft were second to none. Those days have vanished in the mists of history. When the Benelux region's population of fewer than 30 million people, with almost no natural resources, generates more wealth than the Arab League's 300 million people with ample natural resources, there's a systemic problem, or indeed a civilizational problem, that needs to be addressed. Until the civilization involved addresses it -- for no one else can -- Arab/Muslim regions in the 21st century won't contribute much to the world except suicide bombers.
“Thank God that the fate of Israel and of the Jewish people is not decided in this hall. This resolution cannot but embolden those who are the true enemies of the Israeli and Palestinian people.”—Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman, criticizing the General Assembly’s approval of a resolution that called on Israel to obey the ICJ’s July 9 ruling to dismantle the anti-terrorist fence. Aside from Israel, the U.S., Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Australia voted against the resolution. Canada, Uruguay, Cameroon, Tonga, Vanuatu, El Salvador, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and the Solomon Islands abstained from voting. The European Union voted in favour of the resolution. (Jerusalem Post, July 21)
Israeli missile finds Palestinian who paraded soldier's severed headBy israelinsider staff July 23, 2004
Missiles from an IDF helicopter killed three Islamic Jihad terrorists in a car in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City late Thursday night. An IDF spokesperson said the target was Hazam Yasser Rahim, 24, believed to be planning an attack in Israel in the coming days. Rahim was among those filmed holding the severed head of a soldier killed two months ago when an IDF armored personnel carrier was blown up.
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