Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Obama - Confronting The Killing Culture In Palestine

[Published 17 March 2011]

The brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family including three children aged 11, 4 and 3 months - whilst asleep in their house - could only elicit the following pathetic response from President Obama:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people. There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home. We call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - in answer to Obama‘s statement - countered by stating:
“They [Israel] are now investigating and there’s no news about who perpetrated this crime. I don’t know why they are insisting on accusing the Palestinian people.”
Not a word of condemnation was uttered by Abbas against Palestinians who celebrated the Fogel family slaughter by handing out candies and sweets to a joyful crowd in Rafah after the news of the massacre became public. They are his people and Abbas should have been appalled at such behavior.

Obama’s call for the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn the murders also received short shrift from Abbas - who reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that the international community must know that settlers are targeting villages, mosques, houses and olive trees every day - and was then quoted as saying:
“The international community and Israeli society need to know about these crimes because this is a crime and that is a crime too,”

There you have it - the slit throats of innocent men, women and children equated to vandalism of olive trees.

For Abbas there is no difference between murder and vandalism as he seeks international support for a Palestinian State within the 1949 armistice lines - without Israel‘s agreement. World leaders clamor in their droves to support him in this proposal that is contrary to international law as embodied in the Montevideo Convention.

There is a widespread culture calling for death to the Jews - and official support for that culture - rampant in Palestinian society as evidenced by the following:
1. Abbas - in January - allowed a presentation of $2000 to be awarded to the relatives of a Palestinian terrorist - reported as follows in Al-Hayat Al Jadida on 25 January:
“The governor of the Jenin district, Kadura Musa, has awarded a presidential grant to the family of the Shahid (Martyr), Khaldoun Najib Samoudy, during a visit that took place yesterday in the village of Al-Yamoun. The governor noted that the grant is financial aid in the amount of $2000 that the President [Mahmoud Abbas] is awarding to the relatives of the Shahid, who was recently killed as a Martyr at the Hamra checkpoint by the Israeli occupation forces”

2. Abbas was the President who did nothing to prevent the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets, shells and mortars into Israeli civilian population centres from Gaza and the smuggling of weapons into Gaza prior to being deposed there by Hamas in 2007. Hamas continues to maintain its threat to rid the Middle East of Israel - ostensibly as the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people.

3. Both Abbas and Hamas leader - Ismail Haniyeh - head organizations whose Charters call for the elimination of the Jewish State and the denial of any right of statehood for Jews under the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

4. A Palestinian Authority TV tribute to “Martyrs” just three weeks ago included the terrorist who killed three Israelis in a 2002 terror attack in the same West Bank town of Itamar where the Fogel family was murdered.

The video was in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and was broadcast on PA TV several times daily for four days. It featured a collage with photographs labeled “Martyrs (Shahids) of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Nablus.” It included the picture of terrorist Habash Hanani, who in May 2002 entered Itamar and murdered three students in the local high school.

5. Abbas sanctioned the inauguration of a square in el-Bireh in March 2010 named after Dalal Maghreb - the Fatah woman who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 37 Israeli civilians and an American photographer were killed, and 71 were wounded,

Three days later the Palestinian Authority launched a four day seminar named after Maghreb - called the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp,” in Jericho under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority’s Military Science Academy. Its main goal was to discuss the legislative and local elections in the PA territories.

Obama must surely express his abhorrence of such official incitement and extolling of the murder of innocent Jewish civilians and condemn such conduct as being reprehensible, immoral and absolute anathema in any society.

Abbas’s attempt to justify some kind of moral equivalence between land disputes and the murder of Jewish civilians - or to excuse those murders because of the failure to resolve the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs - must be categorically rejected by President Obama.

The President must make it clear that this grossly immoral and heinous conduct and the culture that espouses and encourages it be ended - by publicly demanding that:
1. Abbas return to the negotiating table with Israel within fourteen days or understand that his failure to do so will result in America taking no further part in seeking to implement the Roadmap

2.Any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to circumvent such negotiations will be met with an American veto in the Security Council

3.Any further murders of Jewish civilians in the West Bank by Palestinians will result in America withholding or possibly withdrawing all financial aid and other support to the Palestinian Authority

Hopefully other leaders would be principled enough to follow President Obama’s lead in doing something constructive to try to end the culture that resulted in the murder of the Fogels and countless thousands of Jews before them - other than issuing bland condolences that serve no real purpose.

Such demands might just wipe the smirk off the Palestinian Authority officials laughing all the way to the bank to collect the hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid that continues to come their way.

Palestine - Pontification, Prediction and Poppycock

[Published 12 March 2011]

The world has been agog this week at the news that Israel’s Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - is to announce a new peace plan in May - possibly in an address to the United States Congress - in an effort to end the conflict between Jews and Arabs in former Palestine.

This conflict still remains unresolved more than 90 years after the signing of Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the unanimous decision of the League of Nations in 1922 - mandating
Great Britain to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine in recognition of the historical association of the Jewish people with Palestine - without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of “existing non- Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.

These decisions relating to Palestine -(which included what is today called Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan) - had been made in the context of recognizing Arab self determination in 99.999% of the lands of the Ottoman Empire captured by Great Britain and France in World War 1 - whilst the remaining 0.001% of those lands was to be set aside for Jewish self determination.

Speculation has been rife as to what Netanyahu’s May proposal will encompass.

One can state with reasonable confidence that any new Netanyahu initiative will receive short shrift from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and be totally unacceptable to them.

Ninety years of Arab rejectionism following the promulgation of the Mandate is not suddenly going to evaporate in May - unless Netanyahu’s proposal:
1. Accepts the right of return into Israel for those Arabs who became refugees in 1948 - and their descendants - who now supposedly number at least 7 million.
2. Agrees to hand over control of towns like Ariel, Maale Adumim and Har Homa to the Palestinian Authority and to evacuate the 70000 Jews who currently live there along with at least another 70000 Jews who live in a number of other towns and villages in the West Bank
3. Forgoes his demand that Israel be recognized as the Jewish National Home
4. Abandons the requirement for Israel to maintain a military presence along the Jordan River
5. Acknowledges that any Palestinian State can have its own armed forces and unfettered control of its air space and maritime coastline

These Arab demands have been - and continue to be - major stumbling blocks to achieving the “two-state solution” for the last 18 years.

Even worse - offering some of these concessions will never suffice. The above concessions are really an all or nothing scenario - and even then would still possibly be rejected by Hamas as it re-arms itself for another violent confrontation with Israel.

Zalman Shoval - the foreign policy chief of Netanyahu’s Likud party - is reported in the Los Angeles Times as having said this week:
“Is he [Netanyahu] running scared? I don’t think so.. But there is pressure. And it certainly makes it necessary for a lot of heart-searching and perhaps reappraisals.”

Any heart searching and reappraisals will be a total waste of time and effort unless all the above concessions are offered. That is not going to happen. Netanyahu is not yet ready to commit national suicide.

Israeli Defence Minister - Ehud Barak - wants to see Netanyahu release his proposals before May - telling Israel Radio:
“Such a decision must be taken in the coming weeks, not the coming months. A declaration before the Congress in May would be far too late,”
One could equally postulate that a decision in May would be far too early - indeed that no such decision should be made until:
1. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority bury their political differences
2. A single unitary governing body exists in the West Bank and Gaza that is capable of making,honouring and enforcing any agreements that might be signed with Israel
3. The political situation has been stabilized in Egypt and Jordan and the continued operation of the peace treaties signed by Israel with these countries is assured.
4. The newly elected governing body in the West Bank and Gaza resumes direct negotiations with Israel

Barak further stated:
“The world will not accept that we continue to rule over another people after 43 years,”

Barak is talking poppycock.

Under the Oslo Accords - negotiated in 1993:
1. 96% of the West Bank Arab population is ruled over by the Palestinian Authority - not Israel - so far as their civil rights and administrative control are concerned .
2. 55% of the West Bank Arab population is ruled over by the Palestinian Authority - not Israel - so far as their security protection is concerned.
3. 100% of the Gazan Arab population is already subject to the full administrative and civil control and security protection of Hamas following Israel’s unilateral evacuation from Gaza in 2005.

Perhaps Barak would serve Israel’s national interest better by asking why the world accepted Egypt and Jordan ruling over another people between 1948-1967 when a Palestinian State could have then been created in the entirety of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with the stroke of an Arab League pen.

That solution - which the world now belatedly - and mistakenly - still thinks is possible more than 43 years later - has been proved to have been an illusion in 2011 - after the last 18 years of on and off negotiations have failed to bring it to fruition.

The world has egg on its face - as does its powerful negotiating team comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. They still have to learn that nothing will appease or be acceptable to the majority of those 21 Arab States other than the elimination of the Jewish National Home the world unanimously endorsed in 1922 in promulgating the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine - which was subsequently confirmed and preserved by article 80 of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

Perhaps Barak would do well to leave all the talking to his Prime Minister - not that anything Netanyahu says now or in May will have the remotest possibility of resonating with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

“All or nothing at all” has been - and continues to be - the motto of the Palestinian Arab leaders. Their people meantime will continue to suffer as the current leadership continues to take them down the road to nowhere.

Palestine - Intellectual Ignorance Insults Israel

[Published 5 March 2011]

Novelist Ian McEwan displayed crass ignorance of the Arab-Jewish conflict when recently accepting the US$10000 Jerusalem Prize - awarded to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the ‘‘freedom of the individual in society.’‘

The Prize was awarded to McEwan by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat at a ceremony attended by Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.

Mc Ewan was self-deprecating as he told the audience that he had resisted calls to boycott the ceremony understanding that in doing so he couldn’t escape the politics of his decision.

Those present may have felt heartened when he stated:
“Some of the previous recipients of this prize have spoken their thoughts in a gathering like this and have upset people. But everybody knows this simple fact: once you’ve instituted a prize for philosophers and creative writers, you have embraced freedom of thought and open discourse, and I take the continued existence of the Jerusalem prize as a tribute to the precious tradition of a democracy of ideas in Israel.”

McEwan then took the opportunity to express his thoughts and upset people - basing them on a series of factual inaccuracies that have become mainstream thinking among many intellectuals. His public embrace of these inaccuracies rendered his thoughts of no real credibility or value.

Ian McEwan - Factual Inaccuracies Distort Opinion

Consider the following:

1. McEwan equated the murderous policies of Hamas with the tragic - but accidental - death of four young girls in Gaza when stating:
“I’d like to say something about nihilism. Hamas, whose founding charter incorporates the toxic fakery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has embraced the nihilism of the suicide bomber, of rockets fired blindly into towns, and embraced the nihilism of an extinctionist policy towards Israel. But (to take just one example) it was also nihilism that fired a rocket at the undefended Gazan home of the Palestinian doctor, Izzeldin Abuelaish, in 2008, killing his three daughters and his niece.”

Was McEwan unaware of the following facts and would he have had a different opinion if he had known that:
(i) The Gaza incident took place in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead - not 2008 - when a rocket fired by Israel during that operation accidentally hit the doctor’s home located in a refugee camp from which rockets were being fired into Israel
(ii) Operation Cast Lead occurred only after a cease fire between Israel and Hamas had been breached between November 2008 - December 19, 2008 when 170 mortars, 255 Qassams, and 5 Grads had been indiscriminately fired upon Israel’s civilian population centres from Gaza.(

2. McEwan spoke of a
“tsunami of concrete across the occupied territories.”

If he was speaking of Jewish settlements was he cognizant of the fact that they are located on less than 5% of the West Bank?

Why did he choose to use the term “occupied territories” rather than the term “disputed territories”.

As a master of words McEwan would know the inference to be drawn from using such a term is to deny Israel has any legal or historical claim to any part of the West Bank.

3. McEwan decried
“the continued evictions and demolitions, and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the process of right of return granted to Jews but not Arabs.”

It was obviously irrelevant to McEwan that such evictions and demolitions followed court orders legally obtained by the owners of these properties against occupants who were found to be illegally trespassing or squatters.

Obviously he resents the purchase of Arab owned land by Jews in transactions freely agreed upon between willing vendors and purchasers. He was silent on expressing any view about the many murders perpetrated on Arab vendors found to have sold land to Jews.

In advocating an Arab right of return he was serving to inflame - and continuing to encourage - an Arab demand that has been rejected by every Israeli government of different political persuasions since 1948. This demand has been one of the principal obstacles to creating a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.

4. McEwan mused:
“Palestinians are split, their democratic institutions are weak or non existent, violent jihadism has proved self-defeating. They have been unlucky in their leaders. And yet many Palestinians are ready for a solution, the spirit is there.”

Fine and encouraging words indeed. But who are these Palestinians? Can he point to the writings of any such Palestinians to support his grand statement?

5. McEwan called for “an end to the settlements” - empty words - unless accompanied by what he thought should happen to the 500,000 Jews who would have to suffer the consequences of that decision. The freedom of these individuals to not be thrown out of their homes obviously was of no consequence to McEwan.

6. He claimed without specifying in any detail that the Palestine Papers had revealed that
“Israel casually brushed aside remarkable concessions from the Palestinian Authority?”

Surely the use of the words “casually brushed aside remarkable concessions” required some amplification. The inference that Israel has no say in accepting or rejecting Palestinian Authority concessions was clear.

Israel’s offer to cede its claims to more than 95% of the West Bank was obviously not remarkable enough for him to point out or highlight as having been refused by the Palestinian Authority.

McEwan’s acceptance speech was a farce and indicated that he had a closed mind on the conflict - rather disappointing, considering he had this to say:"
"the novel as a literary form was born out of curiosity about and respect for the individual. Its traditions impel it towards pluralism, openness, a sympathetic desire to inhabit the minds of others.”

Any attempt by him as a novelist to display these attributes was clearly missing in the biased and controversial viewpoints he expressed.

Mc Ewan is certainly entitled to express his opinion. Those listening to him are equally entitled to consider his reliance on factual inaccuracies in the formation of such opinion as sufficient reason to dismiss that opinion as irrelevant and of little value.

Mc Ewan is undoubtedly a novelist of great distinction. He should stick to fiction - which was clearly evident in his inaccurate representation of the realities of the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Come to think of it - given his inaccurate remarks - McEwan would probably have been better staying at home and receiving the award of the Jerusalem Prize in absentia.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Egypt, Israel and Gaza - Flashpoint For Future Confrontation

[Published 15 February 2011]

The Egyptian Revolution has raised questions as to the possible termination of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty by Egypt.

Any such concern - in the short term - seems to have been allayed by the Fourth Egyptian Military Statement issued on 12 February declaring:
“the country’s ministers will stay in power for the time being and international agreements and commitments will be honoured.”

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry has described the three-decade-old peace treaty as mutually beneficial.
“We have derived a peace dividend from the treaty. We’ve been able to establish security and stability in the region. And I believe it is a main element in terms of our foreign policy,”

This is not the view of all Egyptians and calls have already been made for renegotiation of the Treaty.

Dr Ayman Nur - leader of the Tomorrow Party told Egyptian Radio
“The Camp David accord is over, Egypt must at least renegotiate the terms of the accord,”

This viewpoint must be regarded as political grandstanding with little chance of coming to fruition.

Important factors virtually ensure that the Treaty will continue to operate in the long term:
1.Egypt’s execution of the Treaty regained every square kilometer of land lost by Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War including airfields and oil fields in the Sinai. Any breach of the Treaty would put these important strategic and economic assets at risk of being lost by Egypt forever.
2.An annex to the Israel - Egypt Peace Treaty contained the following pledge from then US President Jimmy Carter to Israel’s then Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a letter dated March 26, 1979:
“I wish to confirm to you that subject to United States Constitutional processes:
In the event of an actual or threatened violation of the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Egypt, the United States will, on request of one or both of the Parties, consult with the Parties with respect thereto and will take such other action as it may deem appropriate and helpful to achieve compliance with the Treaty.”

However the prospects of conflict between Israel and Egypt in the immediate future could arise outside the Treaty involving the Philadelphi corridor - a narrow stretch of sand, ten kilometers long and about a hundred meters wide, separating Egypt from the Gaza Strip - in which is situated the Rafah Crossing - the only exit and entry point between Egypt and Gaza.

After Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in August 2005 this crossing was closed for three months until the signing of two documents on 15 November 2005 by Israel and the Palestinian Authority
1. Agreement on Movement and Access and
2. Agreed Principles for Rafah Crossing
which had resulted from negotiations facilitated by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice,European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana andthe international community’s envoy for the Israeli Disengagement from Gaza - James Wolfensohn.

For seven months, the crossing operated in an orderly manner, and some 1,320 persons crossed daily.

On 25 June 2006, following the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit Israel closed the crossing for security reasons allowing it to be opened only in isolated cases, and without giving advance notice. From then until June 2007, the crossing was closed for 265 days.

After Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel announced the freezing of the two Agreements. The Palestinian Authority was unable to have its control personnel reach the crossing due to Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip. Israel objected to opening the crossing on the grounds that the Palestinian Authority was unable to monitor the persons and goods passing through it. The European force also stopped its monitoring activities due to the European Union’s refusal to cooperate with Hamas.

Egypt - which was not a party to the 2005 Agreements - generally refrained from opening its side of the crossing due to its own national interest in preventing
1. the movement of terrorists, arms and equipment into and out of Gaza and
2. contacts between Hamas and the Moslem Brotherhood representatives
which threatened to undermine the decades long rule of Hosni Mubarak.

Article 2 of the Hamas Charter states that Hamas :
“is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.”

Whether Egypt maintains this blockade in the current circumstances remains a worry. Neither the Fourth Egyptian Army statement nor the Statement of Sameh Shoukry offer any such assurance that the status quo will be maintained.

Israel cannot allow the uncontrolled movement of people and goods through the Rafah crossing. Failure by the Egyptian Army to maintain its current controls at the Rafah crossing - or any loosening of the controls currently in place - could almost certainly result in Israel returning there to ensure its own strategic interests and the security of its citizens are preserved by controlling who and what is allowed in and out between Egypt and Gaza.

Maj. Gen. Doron Almog who served as head of Israel’s Southern Command from 2000 to 2003 presciently gave his opinion in 2004 when he stated:
“The situation on Israel’s southern border, and in the Philadelphi corridor, is a complex barometer for all of the region’s problems. Not only does it register the ups and downs in Israeli-Palestinian relations. It reflects the state of Egypt’s relations with Israel and the Palestinians, and the situation in Egypt and Gaza itself, where sub-state actors, led by Islamists, have progressively eroded the authority of the Egyptian state and the PA. Smuggling and infiltration must be understood—and fought—in these broader contexts.”

These grim warnings have taken on a new meaning with the tumultuous events in Gaza since then and following the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions that have spawned people power spreading and making its presence felt in Algeria, Yemen Jordan and Iran.

A very small - but highly strategic - sliver of real estate once again holds the key to possible future conflict in the Middle East.

Egypt and Tunisia - The Power of Prediction

[Published 12 February 2011]

The West has been caught with its pants down following the popular revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia during the past month.

I wonder why.

There was plenty of evidence floating around to indicate that Egypt and Tunisia were repressive states where human rights abuses were the order of the day and people power was set to explode.

Rather the West preferred to avert its gaze and focus its concentration on alleged human rights abuses carried out by Israel - the only true democracy in the Middle East - to the total exclusion of subjecting.dynastic Arab dictators to the same scrutiny. Iran was shamefully allowed to retain its membership of the United Nations and strut the world stage calling for the destruction of Israel to the applause of these dictators.

Trade unions, church groups and human rights organizations led the chorus of campaigns and campaigners to boycott Israel and delegitimise its right to recognition as the Jewish National Home - whilst abuses of human rights in Arab countries never rated a mention on their radar screens.

The terrorist government of Hamas in Gaza democratically elected to power by the choice of the West Bank and Gazan Arabs - and removed by Presidential decree of Mahmoud Abbas - became the focus of the world’s sympathy as the Gazan Arabs became dragged into confrontation with Israel and the Palestinian Authority by a Government they had freely elected.

That the mayhem in Gaza was the direct result of their own voting decisions seemed inconsequential as the West sent in flotillas and demanded an easing of the blockade instituted by Israel and Egypt.

Meanwhile hundreds of millions of Arabs in other countries suffered ongoing abuse and persecution perpetrated by rulers those populations were never given the opportunity to elect - or reject. Were any protests made for their redemption or flotillas sent to their aid?

The banning of blogging and web sites on the Internet in 2009 in Arab countries was allowed to happen without any whimper of international protest - as contrasted to the outrage this repressive practice has hypocritically - and belatedly - received in 2011.

The UN Human Rights Council (with Egypt as a member) led the howling pack against Israel whilst serious human rights abuses in Arab countries were ignored, America sought engagement with this outrageous organization rather than identifying and isolating it as an affront to human dignity.

In December 2009 I wrote about a highly critical Report that came out of Cairo indicating in detail the human rights abuses occurring in many Arab countries - including Egypt and Tunisia.

I guess all the advisers to Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, as well as the Gaza do-gooders - not to mention the media - had enough information and stage managed events being spoon fed to them to lambast Israel and allow these Arab dictators to continue on their merry way unchallenged and uncriticised in the face of this very comprehensive report. The silence following its release was deafening.

We are all going to pay the price for the chaos and suffering that must now inevitably occur.

The new buzzwords “orderly transition” are meaningless. They may have been relevant fourteen months ago had the fundamental concerns in this report been addressed then using a modicum of the time and diplomatic pressure spent in exerting pressure on Israel.

But the genie has now been let out of the bottle as events of the last month in Egypt and Tunisia have proved.

Palestine - Jimmy Carter Caught In Court Disaster

[Published 3 February 2011]

Former US president Jimmy Carter faces the prospect of paying damages exceeding five million dollars if he is unsuccessful in defending legal proceedings against himself and his publisher Simon & Schuster Inc resulting from the publication of Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid - which had an initial print run of 300,000 copies.

A class action instituted by five disgruntled readers of Carter’s controversial book was commenced this week in the United States District Court. The law suit appears set to attract more readers of the book to add their names to the litigation. The complainants have requested a jury to hear the case.

The Complainants are very clear in declaring what the case is - and is not - about:

“Plaintiffs wish to be clear about what this lawsuit is not about. It is not in any way an attempt to challenge Defendant JIMMY CARTER’S right to write a book, or Defendant SIMON & SCHUSTER’S right to publish a book which serves as a forum for Carter to put forward his virulently ant-Israeli bias or any other agenda he or his financial backers wish to put forward. Nor do Plaintiffs challenge his right to use falsehood, misrepresentations and omissions, misleading statements, or outright lies, all of which characterize this book, to further his agenda. Indeed, Plaintiffs fully recognize that, such an agenda from Defendant JIMMY CARTER should come as no surprise, given his well known bias against Israel and the interests of Israel’s sworn enemies who have given millions of dollars to support the Carter Center and Defendant JIMMY CARTER’S work.

Rather, Plaintiffs bring this action to challenge Defendants’ actions in deceiving the public by promoting and selling this Book as a factually accurate account in all regards of the events its purports to depict, rather than truthfully and accurately promoting and selling it as the anti-Israel screed that it is, intentionally presenting untrue and inaccurate accounts of historically recorded events, as witnesses to and participants in such events pointedly have come forward to declare. This lawsuit challenges the Defendants actions in attempting to capitalize on Carter’s status as a former President of the United States to mislead unsuspecting members of the reading public who thought they could trust their former President to tell the truth”

Factual Accuracy Under Legal Challenge

The Complainants allege several representations were made by Carter as to the accuracy of the book including:

1. the “Larry King Live” program on CNN on December 8, 2006, when Carter declared:
“Everything in the book, I might say, is completely accurate.”

2. the same day, December 8, 2006, when Carter wrote in the Los Angeles Times that:
“I used maps, text and documents to describe the situation accurately…"

3. an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on December 13, 2006 when Carter insisted:
“I know what I’m talking about and the book is completely accurate.”

A number of factual inaccuracies in Carter’s book are specified in the Complaint including claims that:

1. U.N. Security Resolution 242 - enacted on November 22, 1967, - requires Israel to completely withdraw from all territories acquired in the 1967 war.
2. Israel’s eastern border with the Palestinian Territories has been established and internationally recognized.
3. a map represented as “the Palestinian interpretation of Clinton’s 2000 proposal” in December 2000 is in fact a map presented by Israel during the Camp David Summit in July 2000
4. The Israelis have never granted any appreciable autonomy to the Palestinians.
5. The security barrier has been erected entirely within Palestinian territory and is at least three and a half times longer than Israel’s internationally recognized border
6. Hamas offered to exchange the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for the release of 95 women and 313 children who are among some 8,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons

The Complaint foreshadows many more inaccuracies will be presented at the hearing.

A former close aide and adviser to Carter - Professor Kenneth Stein - has been very outspoken in his criticism of the book:
” It contains egregious errors of both commission and omission. To suit his desired ends, he manipulates information, redefines facts, and exaggerates conclusions. Falsehoods, when repeated and backed by the prestige of Carter’s credentials, can comprise an erroneous baseline for shaping and reinforcing attitudes and policymaking. Rather than bring peace, they can further fuel hostilities, encourage retrenchment, and hamper peacemaking.”

Professor Alan Dershowitz has been as equally scathing claiming:
“Mr. Carter’s book is so filled with simple mistakes of fact and deliberate omissions that were it a brief filed in a court of law, it would be struck and its author sanctioned for misleading the court. Mr. Carter too is guilty of misleading the court of public opinion. A mere listing of all of Mr. Carter’s mistakes and omissions would fill a volume the size of his book.”

The Complainants do not appear to base their claim on any omissions of fact from the book - relying only on inaccuracies in the facts allegedly appearing in the book.

Adam Rothberg, a spokesman for Simon & Schuster, issued a statement calling the action:
“frivolous [and] without merit”

Rothberg said that the suit:
“is a transparent attempt by the plaintiffs, despite their contentions, to punish the author, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and world-renowned statesman, and his publisher, for writing and publishing a book with which the plaintiffs simply disagree, It is a chilling attack on free speech that we intend to defend vigorously.”

Rothberg apparently has failed to grasp that the case is not about free speech - but rather that it is about representing a work as factually accurate and non-fiction when it is not.

The Complainants allege:
“SIMON & SCHUSTER, Inc. steadfastly has refused to make any corrections of such false, misleading, and deceptive provisions in the book and both Defendants continue unabashedly to promote the sale of this deceptive product as a work of non-fiction filled only with a truthful account all matters depicted in it, denying all claims by those well respected officials that Carter has fabricated things in the book which he claims to be true.”

Those interested in ensuring the unquestionable accuracy of facts published in relation to the Jewish-Arab conflict - indeed any conflict - will certainly watch the progress of this case with great interest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Palestine - Remembering The Past To Protect The Future

A telephone poll of a representative sample of 506 Israeli Jews age 15-18 carried out between 16-18 January 2011 by Maagar Mohot Survey Institute (headed by Professor Yitzchak Katz) for the Committee of Gush Katif Residents - revealed an appalling lack of knowledge by these teenagers concerning Israel’s evacuation and disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Hopefully this ignorance can be countered with a visit to the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem.

It was my pleasure during a recent visit to Israel to have the privilege of visiting this little known but very important new museum established in 2008 and centrally located at 5 Shaarei Tzedek St Jerusalem just three minutes walk from the Machane Yehuda Market.

The unpretentious and modest exterior of the old building belies the love and dedication of the small band of volunteers who have taken up the challenge to make sure that the ignorance of those 15-18 year olds is addressed.

The Museum explains the rationale for its creation as follows:

“The Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem is the only museum in the world that unfolds the story of Jewish settlement in the Gaza strip, from the days of the Hasmoneans till the uprooting of Jews during the “disengagement plan” 2005, along with four other Jewish communities in North Shomron.

The years when Jews built settlements in Gaza strip were beautiful. The museum holds a collection of movies and books that deal with this wonderful era, saluting these communities . In the museum the visitor will also find the famous Menorah of Netsarim, which was carried by the settlers to the Kotel (Western Wall) and that became a symbol of the struggle.

The story of this struggle against the disengagement plan is outlined by authentic artifacts, paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos.”

The Museum contains:
1. A reference library - housing books about Jewish settlement in Gush Katif and the Disengagement Plan
2. An entry hall - presenting the day to day life of Gush Katif and a historical timeline tracing the Jewish presence in the Gaza region for over 3000 years including Kfar Darom between 1948 -1967
3. A screening room - depicting films recording the struggle against evacuation
4. The Orange Wall - recalling a year and a half of civil struggle to prevent the evacuation
5. A memorial room - remembering the fallen residents killed in terrorist attacks and military battles.
6. The Black Room - displaying the confrontation between the residents and the Israel Defence Forces and Israeli police officers.

The Museum is open Sunday - Thursday 10.00 - 18.00 and Fridays 9.00 - 13.00 and relies on visitors to supplement its meager finances. The phone number for inquiries is 02- 625 5456. Admission is free but donations and purchase of souvenirs is welcomed

The Museum should be an obligatory visit for
1. those 15-18 year old Israeli youth - indeed all school children at least once during their schooling bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah tours
2. All Israel study missions

As the disastrous effect of such evacuation become increasingly clearer with each passing day, I hope the Museum will extend its treasure trove of information with an additional section covering
1. The havoc and destruction subsequently wrought on the 8000 men women and children who were forced to leave
2. The political chaos that has descended on Gaza since 2005
3. The lessons that must be learned before any further unilateral withdrawals are contemplated by Israel

The Israeli Government was at pains to describe the events of 2005 as
1. an “evacuation” not “expulsion”
2. a “disengagement” not the ceding of Jewish rights to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Gush Katif conferred on the Jews by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and preserved in article 80 of the United Nations Charter

“Evacuate” is defined in the Collins English Dictionary as:
“to withdraw or cause to withdraw from (a place of danger) to a place of greater safety”
The corollary is that when the danger is removed there can be a return to the place where the removal occurred.

The same dictionary defines “disengage” as:
“To withdraw (forces) from close action”
The corollary is that when the dangers resulting from such close action no longer exist then the disengagement can be reversed.

Jews have had a presence in Gaza at many times over the last 3000 years. It is safe to say they will enjoy a similar privilege sometime in the future. Meanwhile the Gush Katif Museum will keep the memory and the hopes alive.

Make it a “must see” on your next visit to Israel.