November 21, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Dutch Parliament Curbs Aid to PA over Its Support of Terrorism - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    The Dutch parliament has voted to curb the county's aid to the Palestinian Authority, citing the PA's policy of paying convicted terrorists and their families.
    The Netherlands provides the PA with $1.6 million in monthly aid, allowing the PA to spend it at its discretion. Now any aid funds will be given only to specific projects.

Arabs Against Boycotting Israel - Mostafa El-Dessouki and Eglal Gheita (Wall Street Journal)
    Boycotting Israel and its people has only strengthened both, while doing great harm to Arab countries.
    The Arab Council for Regional Integration, formed this week in London, is made up of 32 civic actors from 15 Arab countries who repudiate the culture of exclusion and demonization that has wreaked havoc across the Arab world.

Misunderstanding the Iraqi Uprising - Amir Taheri (Gatestone Institute)
    Iraqi officials believe the uprising is prompted by lack of public services, poor economic performance, and widespread corruption.
    Although those factors do count, there is little doubt that the revolt has other, deeper roots.
    Today Iraq has better public services than a decade ago. The Iraqi economy is performing more robustly than that of Iran. The average Iraqi is materially better off than five years ago.
    It is hard for Iran's leaders, who claim to be spearheading a universal Shiite revival destined to conquer the world, to admit that their consulates and cultural offices are set on fire and their flags burned by fellow Shiites.
    The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.

A Lebanese Warlord Aims to Break Hizbullah's Hold - Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor)
    Lebanese Shiite tribal warlord Al-Hajj Mohamed Ja'afar led 1,000 armed members of his Ja'afar tribe into battle in Syria. His Dir al-Watan (Homeland Shield) militia fought as a unit of Syria's V Corps.
    With Russian air support, they helped oust Islamic State jihadists from Palmyra in 2016, and later fought in Deir Ezzor. The militia lost 47 men in Syria.
    He says members of his tribe fight with Hizbullah for $600 per month, "but come back from Syria broke."
    "Now Hizbullah is hanging by a thread, anyone can come along" to challenge them, he says. "They don't care about people. They got too big, and they are corrupt."
    "It's becoming harder and harder for Hizbullah to sustain the resistance narrative... when years pass and there's no conflict with Israel," says Nicholas Blanford, a Beirut-based fellow at the Atlantic Council.
    "In the Bekaa [Valley] there are very tribal dynamics, where the tribes come first. So Hizbullah has always had trouble trying to placate the tribes."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel: Automatic European Support for Palestinians Is Preventing Direct Negotiations
    Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon addressed a UN Security Council meeting Wednesday in the aftermath of the U.S. policy change regarding the legal status of the Jewish communities in the West Bank. Danon said, "When the international community tries to force its solution, it achieves the opposite effect. When Palestinians see that their battles are being fought for them, why would they agree to come to the negotiating table, where they would have to compromise?"
        "The automatic support of some European countries for the Palestinians has resulted in a propaganda campaign that starts in New York and ends in Ramallah. If you want to truly help, you must change your approach because your criticism is preventing direct negotiations."  (JNS)
  • Israel Protests to Canada over UN Vote - Robert Fife
    Nimrod Barkan, Israel's ambassador to Canada, said Wednesday that his country intends to lodge a formal protest after Canada voted Tuesday for a UN resolution that helps to delegitimize the Jewish state. Over the past decade, Canada has voted against the resolution which calls for the preservation of the "territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem."
        "We regret the Canadian change," Barkan said. "We think the resolution is not a substantive resolution, but an attempt to delegitimize Israel and is part of the whole package that should be rejected out of hand. It was a surprise...we had no inclination or hint that Canada would change its vote on the regular annual UN resolutions and we trusted Canada, knowing that this is a circus of anti-Israeli resolutions."  (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Centuries of Christian Anti-Semitism Led to Holocaust, Landmark Church of England Report Concludes - Gabriella Swerling
    Christian theology played a part in the "stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people which ultimately led to the Holocaust," a landmark Church of England report has concluded. The document, which has been three years in the making, marks the first time that the Church of England has made an authoritative statement on the subject of anti-Semitism.
        The report said Christian attitudes towards Judaism have provided a "fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism," and noted that a similar hatred of Jews continues to exist today within political discourse by "pro-Palestinian advocates."  (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Police Close PA Institutions in Jerusalem - Tzvi Joffre
    Multiple Palestinian Authority institutions operating in Jerusalem, including an office of the Palestinian Education Ministry and a TV station, were closed by Israel Police on Wednesday. "A fierce battle is underway here for the future and identity of Jerusalem, and every step should be taken to thwart the PA's attempts to incite residents of east Jerusalem against Israel," said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
        "A straight line connects these activities to the terrorist camps and the glorification of terrorists that the PA is funding. I will continue to strengthen the sovereignty and governance of Israel throughout Jerusalem and prevent Palestinian attempts to create a foothold in the eastern part of the city."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Ambassador Dermer: Anti-Semitism Has Become Acceptable Again - Omri Nahmias
    Israel's Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer told a symposium on "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism": "Israel has given the Jewish people something that we did not have in all those centuries of anti-Semitism, and that is the power to fight back. And that was given to us when we restored our sovereignty and our capability in defending ourselves, not just on the battlefield, but also in the battle of ideas."
        "Many people believe that the Holocaust had created a new norm, and this was a mistake in believing. What the Holocaust did, it made it politically incorrect in Western society to go after Jews for about a half-century....I see the turning point in the [2001] conference in Durban. That was the point where I believe anti-Semitism became acceptable in polite society again."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Why the U.S. Decision on Israeli Settlements Will Speed the Peace - Jake Novak
    Through its decisions on settlements, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and passing the Taylor Force Act on PA payments to terrorists, the U.S. is sending a key message to the Middle East and the entire world. That is, the U.S. is embracing reality, and every time the U.S. has embraced realities instead of hopeful fictions in the Arab-Israeli conflict, peace eventually ensues.
        Jerusalem is the real and functioning capital of Israel and has been for more than 70 years. The Golan Heights is a vital strategic, cultural, and economic part of the country that the Israelis will never give up. Jewish Israelis building homes in previously undeveloped and uninhabited land, despite competing historical claims on that land, is a phony excuse for terrorism. The Palestinian leadership uses a major chunk of foreign aid money to directly fund and indirectly support terrorism. (CNBC)
  • Pompeo Did Not "Reverse 41 Years of U.S. Policy" on Settlements - Stephen Daisley
    The Carter administration adopted the position that settlements were illegal in 1978. This was reversed by Ronald Reagan in 1981. Thereafter, the U.S. maintained a balanced position of discouraging settlements without branding them illegal. That was until the dying days of the Obama administration when John Kerry reverted to the Carter stance. Far from "reversing 41 years of U.S. policy" as is being claimed, Pompeo has restored the stance maintained for at least 35 of the last 41 years.
        The assertion that Israeli settlements "violate international law" - when the same legal instruments are not applied to other territorial disputes - is an attempt to judicialize political preference. Rather than assert a new principle of international law, the U.S. has restored a lifeline to a rigorous interpretation.
        Israel already considered settlements legal. The Israeli Supreme Court will continue determining which settlements are consistent with Israeli law and which are not. The absence of a Palestinian state remains a matter of the Palestinian leadership refusing to accept one. (Spectator-UK)
        See also Financial Times Corrects Editorial Alleging "40-Year U.S. Policy" Calling Settlements "Illegal" - Adam Levick
    The Financial Times has corrected a Nov. 20 editorial that claimed Secretary of State Pompeo had "overturned 40 years of U.S. policy" with his announcement on the legality of Israeli settlements. Between the late 1970s and 2016, there was not one U.S. president or secretary of state who labeled the settlements "illegal."  (UK Media Watch-CAMERA)

The Legality of Israel's Settlements: Flaws in the Carter-Era Hansell Memorandum - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The legal opinion submitted by State Department legal counsel Herbert Hansell in 1978, according to which Israel's settlements policy is inconsistent with international law, contains serious flaws. The opinion ignores the norms of international law.
  • Israel's settlement policy is based on Article 55 of the 1907 Hague Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, enabling use of public lands and properties for settlement while strictly respecting private rights of ownership of local residents of the territories.
  • Hansell contended that Israel's settlement policy violates the prohibition on deporting or transferring parts of its civilian population into the territory, according to Article 49 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. However, this provision was never intended to be applied to voluntary movement by individuals into the area.
  • This movement is subject to strict legal monitoring and supervision by Israel's Supreme Court and is done with the knowledge that use of public land and property is pending the outcome of negotiations on the permanent status of the territory.
  • Hansell's opinion treated Israel's presence in the territories as a standard situation of belligerent occupation, totally disregarding the legal, historic, and indigenous claims of Israel and the Jewish people, encapsulated in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and transformed into international legal instruments by the 1920 San Remo Declaration, the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and reaffirmed by Article 80 of the UN Charter.
  • These historic and legal characteristics render the territory to be truly unique (sui generis) and, as such, outside the standard criteria used by Hansell. Moreover, the 1993-5 Oslo Accords instituted an agreed legal regime that overrides any other legal framework, including the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

    The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon.