Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Lesson on Jerusalem

The new light rail system has come in for a lot of criticism during its construction and the current running in period. Jerusalemites have justified reasons to complain. However, one complaint by a British member of Parliament is so fatr removed from reality, one wonders on which palnt he is living.
The following article represents the reality

David Ha'ivri Published April 27th: 2012

During my recent visit to the British Parliament, I heard concern from a number of members that Jerusalem's new light rail system was built as a "tool of Israel's apartheid.” This type of claim can leave one baffled - where do you start explaining, when an intelligent elected official hits you with a claim that is so totally off base? Aside from the issue of priorities, since people are being killed by Assad daily in Syria, it is so hypocritical for world leaders to ignore that massacre and waste their time and effort in seeking out something to pin on Israel.
In Israel's War of Independence in 1948, part of Jerusalem was captured by the British-trained Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan, who held the city for 19 years, until it was again united in the miraculous Six Day War of June, 1967. During the 19 years of Jordan's illegal occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were barred from access to holy places in the city. Jewish doctors and nurses were massacred while trying to reach the Hadassah Hospital, located on then-isolated Mount Scopus.
 Only after Israel's Defense Forces reunited the holy city were members of all religions again allowed access to places holy to them (aside from the Temple Mount, which maintains limited access for non-Muslims.)
Jerusalem today is a city with total population of about 760,000 people - about 65% Jewish, 35% Muslims, Christians and others. Anyone who visits the city will see a mix of people from all ethnic backgrounds and all religions taking part in all aspects of the city's culture and commerce. Like it or not, apartheid is not a fitting description for the reality of Jerusalem today.
Hebrew and Arabic
The city of Jerusalem incorporated its light rail public transportation system this year. The light rail is intended to relieve traffic congestion, and to save the city from some of the air pollution of exhaust fumes from the cars and buses that it will replace.
The light rail is now 14 kilometers long with 23 stops. It starts in the Pisgat Zev neighborhood in the north and runs though Beit Hannia and Shuafat, passes by the Old City through the center of town, runs along Jaffa Street past the central bus station and ends at Mount Herzl.
The track passes though and stops in both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. I have taken the train and noticed that both Jews and Arabs are regular commuters. All of the train’s signs, tickets, ticket machines, and public announcements are made very clearly in both Hebrew and Arabic. Signs of station names are posted in both Hebrew and Arabic.
Knowing the facts firsthand, it is strange for me to hear discussions in British Parliament about the light rail being segregated and a “tool of apartheid.” Why, I ask, do people buy into such baseless libel and propaganda?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


MASHAV Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation based in Haifa and USAID have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation on food security to Africa

The Heads of MASHAV and of USAID signed in Washington, April 18, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to increase cooperation on food security to Africa, within the framework of USAID’s “Feed the Future” Initiative. The MOU allows for closer cooperation on the issue of food security in four countries: Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Feed the Future strives to increase agricultural production and the incomes of both men and women in rural areas who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.

MASHAV’s cooperation includes its proven agricultural expertise in applied agricultural research, irrigation and water technologies, and agricultural production in arid zones. Emphasis will be given to gender issues, training and human capacity building, and adaptation to climate change.


With thanks to the British Israel group form the compilation

• Israeli doctors have recently restored the eyesight of more than 2,000 people in seven countries: Nepal, Mynamar (Burma), Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Cambodia, the Maldives and Ethiopia. The surgical operations were performed in special camps set up by MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, which is subject to the Foreign Ministry) in cooperation with the Eye from Zion organisation and the Khan Foundation. All the surgeons were Israeli opthalmologists.,7340,L-4173873,00.html

• Interaction with dolphins has long been known to help people suffering from mental illness and post -traumatic stress disorder. A 16-year-old Israeli boy, Morad Azva, who was attacked by peers from high school in his village, Kalansua, Israel, became mute and closed off to the outside world. Normal treatment with orthodox methods of medication and psychiatric therapy was not successful. It was only after being sent to Dolphin Reef in Eilat for “dolphin therapy” that through interaction with the dolphins there, he began to speak again.
• During Passover week which was warm and sunny, it was estimated that up to half a million tourists visited Israel’s national parks and nature reserves which were fully packed. The Golan Heights, and Lake Hula hotels were also at maximum capacity and Israel Radio reported that the road leading to the north, the Sea of Galilee and near the Carmel Forest were filled with traffic jams. Jerusalem and its outskirts also received a record number of visitors. Among the most popular sites were the Banyas Reserve, Gan Hashlosha, (Sahne), Birya Forest, the Gilboa, the Jordan River and the Hula valley. (Taken from the Times of Israel)

• These are quotes taken from a recent Friday sermon on Jordan T.V. given by Muslim cleric, Ghaleb Rabab’a: “Jordanian Army is invincible – Jerusalem will be regained … The arrogance of the Jews will be shattered … Will shatter the might of Israel just as the might of the Crusaders and the Byzantines was shattered… The absolutely most dangerous thing is the Jews…” With friends like these……..! (Thanks to Memri for these quotes.)

• Fifteen Bedouin teenagers from the northern Negev town of Hura have recently made Israeli theatrical history. Their performance at the Bat Yam Youth Theatre Festival marked the first time that a Bedouin troupe of any age had staged a Western-style play in Israel. Their play was the group’s own adaptation of the 17th century French satire by Moliere, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. These teenagers transformed Moliere’s comic masterpiece into a hilarious masterpiece of their own cultural reality in the jargon of modern Bedouin Arabic. In this version, a Bedouin tent replaces the stately mansion, traditional Bedouin robes and head coverings replace period French costumes, and instead of a minuet, 5 boys performed a fiery debka line dance. The inspiration for producing this play in the Bedouin community came from Pauline Marchand, director of the French Institute of Beersheva and the Negev, the cultural arm of the French Embassy which is underwriting this project.
(Thanks to Israel21C for this item)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PA Treatment of Minority Christian Population

The end of the Israeli occupation would allow all our people, Christians and Muslims, to develop all our potential living side by side, say FAYSAL HIJAZEEN, IBRAHIM SHOMALI .

“Based on our years as parish priests in Palestine, we were appalled by the false allegations regarding Palestinian Christians made in recent weeks by Israeli spokespeople, such as Ambassador Michael Oren.”

One has to wonder just how credible these views are when differences of opinion with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority can result in closure of the church involved.

The First Baptist Church in Bethlehem was ordered closed by the Palestinian Authority on Saturday, according to Rabbi Russell Resnik of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations. Resnik reported the incident after meeting with Pastor Steven Khoury, the son of First Baptist's head pastor, Naim Khoury.

"Steven told me that...a representative of the Palestinian authority showed up at his father’s church in Bethlehem and told him to shut the doors–they were closing down the church," wrote Resnik.

The Palestinian officials reportedly did not specify why they were closing the church, but Steven, who pastors his own church in Jerusalem, told Resnik that it must be because of his family's support for Israel.

Observers have noted with suspicion that the shuttering of First Baptist in Bethlehem came just one day after the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, which was organized and hosted by Bethlehem-based Christian leaders who do not support Israel's restoration.

Messianic blog
Rosh Pina Project noted that Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the same Palestinian Authority that shuttered First Baptist, had only days earlier attended and addressed the conference Christ at the Checkpoint.

In 2009, Steven Khoury was interviewed by CBN on the true reason for the suffering of Bethlehem's Christians. You can view that video here:

Monday, April 16, 2012

‘It All Started When an Israeli Officer Hit Back’

After so many incidents in which Palestinian propaganda has managed to rearrange the narrative so that the Israeli side appears to be the aggressor, an ISM (International Solidarity Movement) video has gone viral showing an IDF officer hittiing a protester in the face with his gun.

Let's be clear, this is wrong, whatever the circumstances, but how would you react if someone had just broken two of your fingers. Of course, this part of the narrative is ignored. Once again, videos have been edited to whitewash the protesters, many of whom are overseas provocoteurs trying make problems for the State of Israel

For a more complete account see

Yet another Non Event - The Flytilla

So the latest “Flytilla” has come and gone. With the hype surrounding the event, one could have been forgiven for thinking that there would be an “invasion” at Ben Gurion Airport.

The various Israeli departments compiled a list of some 1500 activists and handed it to airlines with a warning that if allowed to board, the activists would be put back on the flights on which they arrived and sent back at the airlines' expense. (A very positive action) As a consequence airlines, such as Lufthansa, Air France and others heeded the warning and cancelled the reservations of most of these activists, some 400 to 600 demonstrators.

The bottom line is that perhaps 1 woman from France managed to get through to Ramallah and approx. 60 were detained at Ben-Gurion airport and to be deported from Israel.

For those Israeli left-liberals who criticized the Israeli government for its position ("why not allow them to come in and demonstrate?"), their effect was minimal.
One has to ask, which of the Western countries, particularly the USA, who would allow entry to people whose sole expressed goal is to demonstrate against those governments? Yet the press think this is “hot” news.

In addition, would these “activists” dare fly into countries whose regimes deserve to be demonstrated against. Yet in a blatent display of hypocracy, they paint themselves as "heroes" attempting to enter Israel, the only liberal country in the Middle East, where all its citizens, including Arab-Palestinians, enjoy full human rights, freedoms and security.

The government of Israel acted properly and efficiently. Israel has her home grown “idiots”. She does not need imports of “idiots” from abroad.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

From Slavery to Freedom

I have written in the past about the village at Aleh Hanegev that deals with a person's disabilities in its many forms. The story below is really inspiring and is well worth reading to the end

Dvir, a resident of Ashkelon, was diagnosed as severely cognitively disabled at birth. Coupled with cerebral palsy and severe motor disabilities, he was considered very low-functioning, and his weak control over the muscles in his mouth made it impossible to understand him when he spoke. Unfortunately, repeated failures while trying communication boards led to his refusal to use them as an alternative means of communication.

At age 22 his parents brought him to live in Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, a groundbreaking rehabilitative village for children and adults with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. Aleh Negev is home to over 130 disabled residents, most of whom are diagnosed with medium to severe cognitive disabilities and who cannot speak at all.

“From the moment I met Dvir, it was clear that he was different,” says Masada Sekely, Director of the village. That first indication occurred when Dvir was shown a picture of boat and asked to describe what he saw. Dvir answered that it was a canoe.

"We asked him, ‘How do you know that this is a canoe?’ relates Sekely. “He answered that he once went on a trip to the North, when he sailed in a canoe. This was a clear indication of his ability to remember,” she adds.

A year and a half ago one of the volunteers, a drama teacher, decided to teach Dvir to play a harmonica. Physically, it seemed to be impossible. “His mouth was always open,” says Inbar Lazar-Shapiro, Dvir’s social worker. But the volunteer refused to give up. He taught him how to purse his lips and blow, working with candles and learning to blow them out. They moved onto the harmonica, and with persistence, Dvir mastered the skill.

But the ongoing practice did something else as well: Dvir’s ability to speak improved drastically.

As soon as it became easier for people to understand what he was saying, Dvir began to share his feelings and thoughts with the therapy staff. His feelings revealed a rich inner world and an unimagined cognitive level. He told the staff that he wants to move to another home, where he can be with friends with whom he can speak. He put his thoughts into a letter that he asked his therapist to type for him:

Hello, everyone. I want to tell you how I feel. I don’t have any friends here who can speak…I feel lonely here in the village; I don’t have anyone to talk to and share things with besides for the workers…. I cry at night and think that I don’t have what to do here…I can’t talk to any other resident because they won’t understand me and they can’t answer me. I am not retarded and I think I am on a much higher level than the other people here. I hope you understand me. Dvir
Recently, Dvir was re-evaluated by the village professional staff and diagnosed as having light-to-medium cognitive disabilities. He understands everything that goes on around him, and despite his speech difficulties, he takes an active part in conversations. “There is a wide gap between his physical and cognitive abilities,” asserts Lazar-Shapiro.

A few months ago Israel’s Welfare Department Placement Committee convened to meet with Dvir and to discuss placing him in a different facility, with people more suited to his cognitive level. The Aleh Negev administration is in full agreement, and hopefully Dvir will soon move to a daycare center in Beer Sheva.

“There is no question that Dvir’s story is extremely unusual. You feel that you changed an entire world. You gave a person hope for a normal life. It will be very difficult for us to part from Dvir, but we know he will be in a place that is better for him,” conclude Sekely and Lazar-Shapiro. And Dvir says, “I think about moving all the time and I also dream about it at night.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

The UN acts in violation of International Law While Claiming to Uphold It

By Ted Belman

The United Nations’ Human Rights Council has resorted to official enquiries as a precursor to damning Israel — the most recent of which was the Goldstone Enquiry on Cast Lead, Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza. And we know how that turned out. Israel was accused of all manner of war crimes, though none were proven to have been committed.

Last week, the UNHRC passed a resolution to “dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the president of the Human Rights Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The resolution was based, inter alia, on a written statement produced by Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a Palestinian NGO financed by a number of European countries.

This statement, under the heading “Concentration and Containment,” accused Israel of applying various land laws and planning laws which aimed at “the ‘confiscation and colonization’ of the vast majority of Palestinian owned land; and the ‘concentration and containment’ of the Palestinian population within small pockets of land, which are dispersed and fragmented across the OPT and within Israel.” A number of allegations are set out in support.

Given the liberal proclivities of the Israel High Court, there should be no worry that anyone’s rights are being trampled on in Judea and Samaria, or in Jerusalem, for that matter. Alan Dershowitz praised the Court with these words: “Many also seem to be unaware of the fact that Israel’s record on human rights and freedoms is among the best in the world, and certainly the best in the region. Israel has a completely free press, which is generally highly critical of the Israeli government. No Arab country has a free press, nor does the Palestinian Authority. Israel has a completely independent judiciary, the only one in the entire area. Its Supreme Court, one of the best in the world, is the only court in which an Arab in the Middle East can expect to get justice in lawsuits brought against any government.”

So why resort to the UNHRC? Simple. The report will be a basis to delegitimize and demonize Israel and to force her to change her legal course.

The acronym “OPT” stands for “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The Arabs no longer refer to Judea and Samaria as the “West Bank,” which was Jordanian nomenclature during its period of occupation from 1948 to 1967; they now prefer to brand it as Palestinian land which is occupied.

Not only is the land not “occupied,” but it is also not “Palestinian.” It never was “Palestinian” — i.e., subject to Palestinian sovereignty. Sovereignty of Judea and Samaria has never been allocated, nor has sovereignty been claimed. Israel refers to the region’s status as “disputed,” but I personally reject such a description because the Palestinians have no legal claim to this territory. Israel alone has the right to claim sovereignty over these lands.

During the first half of the last century until the State of Israel was declared in 1948, the Jews living under the Palestine Mandate were
referred to as Palestinians and thought of themselves as such. The Arabs living there were generally considered Syrians or Jordanians or just plain Arabs. It was not until the sixties and seventies that they began calling themselves Palestinians so as to claim all of Mandated Palestine for themselves.

Howard Grief, the author of
The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law and the leading expert on the subject, co-copied me with three powerful letters in defense of Israel’s rights, in which he writes:

The country of Palestine was created in April 1920 at the San Remo Peace Conference for one purpose only – to be the Jewish National Home, and the term “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is thus an oxymoron since Palestine was never intended to be an Arab land under international law[.]” …

Upon the re-birth of the Jewish State on May 15, 1948, Jewish legal rights to Palestine were devolved upon the State of Israel. Whatever you may think, those rights never lapsed, were never annulled or voided and never validly or legally transferred to an Arab people known as “Palestinians”, as you so wrongly assume. Moreover, subsequent events – such as the 1947 Partition Resolution, Security Council Resolution 242, the Israel-PLO Agreements or the Road Map Peace Plan – have not superseded or curtailed the rights of the Jewish People to former Mandated Palestine[.]

Israel’s Deputy FM Ayalon explained The Truth about the West Bank in a now famous video.

The charters of both Fatah and Hamas and the Arabs in general consider the San Remo Resolution and the Mandate to be passed in violation of Arab rights and therefore illegal. They want these laws reversed and Israel destroyed. They have no respect for international law, but they bash Israel in the name of international law, though Israel is not in violation of it.

The international community accepts these legal determinations but applies the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) to classify Judea and Samaria as occupied territory. Opponents of Israel cite in support the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the apparently questionable legality of the security fence built by Israel. Israel chose not to participate in its hearing. The ICJ determined that the FGC applied and that the construction fence was illegal. With all due respect to them, I suggest that this determination was wrong.
provides: In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party.

Previous to the ’67 War, Jordon was in possession of the lands, but Jordan’s sovereignty over them was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan. Thus, the lands in question were not “the territory of a High Contracting Party.”
The IJC finessed this precondition by
holding that “the Convention applies, in particular, in any territory occupied in the course of the conflict by one of the contracting parties.”

Be that as it may, the Palestinians, as set out in the statement submitted by BADILS, are not really complaining about violations of the FGC so much as they are complaining about the terms of the Oslo Accords, which divide the land into Areas A, B, and C. The Palestinians are not satisfied with building in Areas A and B, where they are fully in control; instead, they want to build in Area C, where they have no rights and where Israel is in control.

Accordingly, they ask of the HRC, inter alia, to: Condemn Israel’s policy of land and resources grab in area c and in east Jerusalem in order to build and/or expand colonies while the Palestinian communities in these areas are prohibited from acquiring permits to build houses on their own land. To call upon Israel to immediately revoke all orders concerning the demolition of houses and eviction of Palestinians in the OPT.

Condemn Israel’s practice of prohibiting Palestinians living in Area C and in East Jerusalem of receiving building permits and therewith hindering the natural growth of those communities.

They also ask that the HRC to: Register Israel’s system of institutionalized discrimination that distinguishes between Jewish nationals and citizens and Palestinian Arabs and extends from Israel Proper to the OPT.

Register Israel’s continuing practices of house demolitions, land confiscations, and its adoption of policies resulting in inadequate housing and living conditions.
Israel is treating all residents living in Judea and Samaria, whether Arab or Jew, pursuant to Occupation Law and is treating all residents of Israel, whether Jew or Arab, according to Israeli law. Any house demolitions or land confiscation in either place takes place according to the law of the land.

Essentially, the Palestinians, with the aid of the international community, keep rewriting the rules of the game to favor their cause.

Israel accepted Res. 242 in ’67, which allowed her to stay in occupation until she had an agreement for secured and recognized borders. The resolution also permitted Israel to keep some of the land. It was not until ’83 that Yasser Arafat accepted the resolution, which he was required to do as a precondition to entering the Oslo Accords. In reality, he and the PA rejected the resolution, and they still do, as they demand 100% of the land in any settlement. And the PA violates said resolution by inciting and perpetrating violence every day.

The Oslo Accords were silent on the question of settlement construction, yet the PA demands the cessation of same as a precondition to negotiations. And now they are demanding that the Accords be amended to allow them to build in Area C.
Unfortunately, the U.N., the EU, and even the U.S. support them in their endeavors.

The sooner Israel abrogates the Oslo Accords for cause, the better. But that won’t stop the delegitimizing and demonizing. It will just change the playing field.

Pursuant to her legal rights as defined above by Howard Grief, Israel should claim sovereignty over Area C and settle it as she sees fit. It is her right.