Monday, March 31, 2014

Back to Square One

cross posted from TbT (Truth be Told) by Zvi Haris Green   - 

US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s tireless efforts to energize a peace process between Israel and her Arab neighbors seem destined for failure and only because of Mohammed Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as the National State of the Jewish people. Such recognition is fundamental to any just and lasting peace. Without it, there can be no real peace. For the peace process to move forward, both de jure and de facto recognition of Israel by the Arab world is essential.
How can the Arab leadership “sell” any deal to their people if they, themselves, don’t believe the Jewish people have a right to establish their National State within negotiated borders? What moral right will they have to call on their citizens to lay down their arms? How will they justify ending the hate speech, inflammatory rhetoric and incitement against Israel? By not recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a National State, Israel will continue to be perceived as an occupying power. Without de jure recognition the peace process can’t survive. Hostilities and incitement will resume immediately after any negotiated concessions are implemented.
We have, of course, already been there.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 calling for the establishment of two National States in what remained of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Jews implemented this resolution and established a state which guarantees full civil rights to all its citizens regardless of race, religion or creed. The Arabs refused to accept this resolution and declared war on Israel. Following cessation of hostilities, Jordan annexed that part of the territory not controlled by Israel – an act regarded as illegal by the international community including the Arab League.
The Arabs never attempted to establish an independent Arab state in these territories. They may not have been satisfied with their slice of the cake, but, by the same token, the proposed Partition Plan fell way short of Jewish aspirations after 78% of the territory earmarked by the Balfour Declaration and endorsed by the League of Nations for the establishment of a Jewish National State, was consumed by the Trans Jordan Protectorate which later became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
If only the Arab world had a leader of Nelson Mandela’s stature. Somebody who could appreciate the significance of a historic reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. Imagine how many lives and how much bloodshed and suffering could have been saved had the Arabs complied with UN Resolution 181. Billions of dollars that could have been spent on education, health and social services, were spent creating sophisticated military infrastructures.
Why can’t the Arab leadership get their act together and take the necessary decisions to enable a lasting peace for all the peoples of the region?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Breakdown in Negotiations

With the pending breakdown of U.S.-brokered peace negotiations and increasing PA belligerence, Israel has cancelled the agreement to release terrorists as scheduled on Saturday, March29th.
Atara Beck, staff writer, United with Israel
Israel has cancelled the scheduled release of 26 terrorists from prison on Saturday night.
“The Israeli government has informed us through the American mediator that it will not abide with its commitment to release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners scheduled for tomorrow,” senior PA official Jibril Rajoub told AFP news service on Friday.
“Israel has refused to commit to the names that were agreed upon of prisoners held by Israel since before the 1993 Oslo agreements,” he said.
A committee or five ministers, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was to decide which prisoners should be freed. Their names would have had to be made public at least 48 hours prior to the release, not including the Jewish Sabbath, in order to provide time for appeals to the High Court of Justice.
The originally scheduled release would have been the fourth and final stage in the freeing of 104 terrorists as a gesture to encourage peace negotiations.
Over the past several months, thousands of families of victims have been protesting the deal to release terrorists, many of whom have resumed violence against civilians following their release.
PA Central Committee Member Tawfiq Tirawi, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch, stated this week on official PA TV that the negotiations are merely “one of the methods of struggle. But the rifle is here, and it can burst forth at any moment.”
With the lack of progress made in the negotiations or any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian side. a growing number of Israeli government ministers have joined the call to cancel Saturday’s prisoner release. Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon has threatened to resign if the terrorists are set free.
Abbas, while adamant in his refusal to recognize the Jewish state – with the support of the Arab League – has been demanding a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria and the freeing of terrorists as a precondition for merely continuing the talks.

The PA head has been receiving the released prisoners with blood on their hands as heroes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Christians to EU: Israel is Our Safe Haven

Some 150 Israeli Arabic-speaking Christians on Sunday demonstrated outside the European Union mission in Tel Aviv, demanding that the international community stop nitpicking against Israel and start combating the severe persecution of Christians everywhere else in the Middle East.
“Nations, organizations and international missions are quick to raise an accusing finger against Israel at every opportunity,” said Father Gabriel Nadaf, spiritual father of the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, which organized the rally.
Those same nations and organizations “don’t life a finger against the ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East,” the priest continued.
Father Nadaf went on to explain that from Syria to Egypt to Iraq to the Palestinian Authority, Christians on a daily basis suffer intimidation, harassment, desecration, coercion, torture, rape, physical abuse and murder. “According to the statistics, a Christian is murdered every five minutes [in the Middle East], and the Western world is silent about this,” he lamented.
In messages posted to its Facebook page during the Tel Aviv rally, the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum insisted that “there is no place but Israel that is safe for Christians in the Middle East!”
While the rally was largely ignored by the mainstream Western media, the Israeli press took great interest, and forum spokesman Shadi Khalloul, a veteran of the IDF, was interviewed by various television and print media outlets.
Khalloul has spoken numerous times with Israel Today regarding the Christian awakening within Israel, and the bonds of brotherhood than bind local Christians to the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
Last month, Israel’s Knesset took the first important step toward recognizing local Christians as an independent minority separate from the Arab Muslims. Both Nadaf and Khalloul say this is necessary, since local Christians were here before the Arab Muslim conquest around 600 AD.
A growing number of Israelis, including lawmakers and opinion shapers, are likewise waking up to the strong Christian minority in their midst, a minority that has been long neglected, but which is now beginning to boldly take its place alongside the Jews.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Walk to Clear the Mind

Although theoretically a pensioner (?), sometimes, with the pressures of the amount of e-mails I try to read each day it is great to able to get out for a walk which helps to clear the mind.

In Haifa, the Dado beach promenade is often bustling with activity with swimmers, surfers, those exercising and other pastimes. 

During the winter months there can be days with little activity and the following photos are representative of the hardy individuals that frequent the beach irrespective of the weather.

A cafe that is typically full of patrons, on this cold day has
no-one ready to sit outside

The backgammon regulars are always present irrespective
of the weather
And if the weather is really bad, there is always a corner
where the open areas can be covered with cardboard
against the weather. 
There are always surprises as one progresses along the well trodden promenade but on a day like this, the exercise machines lay idle with no oversize individuals trying valiantly  to lose a kilo or two! No roller bladers practicing their intricate maneuvers through rows of bottles.

Even the cats have to be patient waiting for tidbits from the
rare number of brave souls prepared to sit outside, well
wrapped of course. 
However, there are always those hardy individuals who will barave all weather conditions.
No waves in  sight!!
Time to go home.

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Ambassadors course at Haifa University

The 2014 academic course to combat the delegitimization of Israel has now started at Haifa University.

The curriculum of the university, " Ambassadors Online ," teaches students how to operate against the campaign to de - legitimize the State of Israel and now, after 2  experimental years, grants students starting this semester 4 credits towards their degree in the  Department of Interdisciplinary Studies .

" This is a program designed to train students who wish to explore, learn and ask what underlies the new anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel , as represented , among others , by Apartheid Week , which is an expression of pure anti-Semitism . Ambassadors will train during the program to fight this phenomenon and learn how to research and teach the phenomenon "said Prof. Eli Avraham , academic supervisor of the program and Director of the Comper Center for the Study of Antisemitism.

" Ambassadors Online " opened two years ago as separate part of the graduate program and qualified for an Eligibility Certificate only. The program focused on ways to use the Internet in general and social networks in particular, to fight the de – legitimization of Israel .

Now, with the upgraded academic program , students will be required to ,not only be active , but also to analyze and investigate issues such as anti-Semitism sources old and new , public relations strategies , branding and more.

In the previous two years, the activities of the graduates of the program  recorded many achievements :
-            -  during operation " Pillar of Cloud " they set up a war room information center  presenting the      way Israelis saw the reality on the ground ;
-           -   initiated several advocacy missions abroad ;
-           -   created quite a lot of social media " messaging " that went viral on the Web , including                supporting decision of the actress Scarlett Johansson promoting the SodaStream company;
-           -   brought to Israel, journalists and bloggers from around the world and toured with them in              various cities and more.

Consequently, the program has won praise from public officials in the Foreign Ministry and current program coordinator Maureen Hayo - Hemo even represented the program in two various discussions held at the Knesset : A meeting of the Caucus on Public Diplomacy for academic boycott of Israeli universities and meeting of the Committee of Immigrant Absorption Anti-Semitism on the net.

All these have made the program a magnet for the students and this year nearly a hundred students sought admission to the program,  some students from other universities in Israel and even non- students. After a stringent screening process involving four stages 35 students were accepted from a wide range of ages , backgrounds and religions .

"This year we will focus on the students ability in analytical depth strategy – widening the network of Israeli diplomacy and a significant emphasis on the branding of Israel in the Social media ," said Hayo - Hemo .

"The image and stereotypes against Jews have not changed much among some Europeans, a fact that can be easily seen in the attempts to boycott or call to boycott that Israel faces . I'm sure students who will complete the course will receive tools for academic and practical work to cope with these prejudices," concluded Professor Abraham .

Monday, March 10, 2014

Abbas Cannot Make Concessions on Any Core Issue

Khaled Abu Toameh March 10, 2014

"The dispute with Israel is not only over recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.The dispute is over Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and borders."Mohamed Shtayyeh, Member of Fatah Central Committee.
Abbas is not authorized to make concessions on any of these issues. Today it is clear that the Palestinian Authority is preparing to hold Israel responsible for the failure of the peace talks because of its refusal to comply with all of the Palestinians' demands.
Even if the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, the gap between the two parties remains as wide as ever over most of the core issues.

As the Americans and Israelis continue to demand Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, a senior Palestinian Authority official revealed that this issue was no longer the main obstacle to reaching a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.

Mohamed Shtayyeh, member of the Fatah Central Committee and former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said that gap between the two parties now remains wide over major issues such as settlements, Jerusalem, borders and refugees.

Shtayyeh and other senior Palestinian officials insist that the only way to move forward with the peace process is by forcing Israel to accept the Palestinian demands regarding these major issues.

"The dispute with Israel is not only over recognizing Israel as a Jewish state," Shtayyeh said. "The dispute is over Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and borders."

The Palestinians say that the real problem facing the peace process is the refusal of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to accept the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is not authorized to make any concessions on any of these core issues.

"The Americans are behaving as if this is a personal dispute between President Abbas and [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu," said a senior advisor to Abbas in Ramallah. "Obama and Kerry think that once Abbas signs an agreement or accepts Israeli and American demands, all the Palestinians would take to the streets to support the peace process."

"Abu Mazen [Abbas] remains fully committed to the Palestinian national rights and he will not succumb under any form of pressure," explained Palestinian political analyst Hani Habib.

Habib said that despite their weakness, the Palestinians are determined to go to the United Nations to seek recognition of a Palestinian state once the talks fail. He also said that the Palestinian Authority has plans to file complaints against Israel with the International Criminal Court.

Abbas, who is expected to meet with Obama in Washington on March 17, will once again make it clear that without accepting all Palestinian demands on the core issues there would be no agreement with Israel.

Abbas's position on the core issues was relayed to Obama and Kerry on a number of occasions over the past few months.

On the issue of Jerusalem, Abbas continues to insist on a full Israeli withdrawal from east Jerusalem, including the Old City, and turning it into the capital of a future Palestinian state.
As for the borders, Abbas has made it clear that the pre-1967 lines would become the borders of a Palestinian state, with "minor" amendments that take into consideration new facts created on the ground over the past four decades.

With regards to the settlements, the Palestinian position is also very clear: Israel must remove all settlements and settlers from the West Bank.

And on the explosive issue of the refugees, Abbas continues to insist on the "right of return" for those Palestinians who wish to move to Israel. True, Abbas recently declared that he does not wish to "flood" Israel with millions of refugees. However, this is out of the conviction that most of the refugees would agree to accept financial compensation or resettlement in Arab and Western countries. Representatives of the refugees have responded by criticizing Abbas, arguing that he is not authorized to make any concessions on the "sacred right of return."

Nabil Sha'ath, a senior Palestinian official, reaffirmed the Palestinian position this week when he accused Israel of rejecting the "foundations for peace."

Sha'ath stressed that Israel's refusal to accept the Palestinian demands regarding the core issues would lead to the failure of the peace talks.

Today it is clear that the Palestinian Authority is preparing to hold Israel responsible for the failure of the peace talks because of its refusal to comply with all of the Palestinians' demands.

The peace talks are scheduled to end in late April in accordance with Kerry's nine-month deadline. But the Palestinian Authority leadership has no plans to wait until then to declare the failure of the peace process.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah say that the talks with Israel have already failed, but Obama and Kerry continue to live in denial. There are no direct talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Rather, each side is conducting separate negotiations with Obama and Kerry.

The latest statements from Palestinian Authority officials show that the issue of Israel's Jewishness is only a secondary issue compared with the sensitive issues of Jerusalem, refugees, borders and settlements.

Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not going to bring the two sides closer to reaching agreement on any of these core issues. This is what Obama needs to take into consideration when he meets with Abbas. He also needs to take into consideration what many Palestinians are saying – that Abbas is not authorized to make concessions on any of these issues.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Israel: A failed state

Charles Abelsohn retired several years ago as the legal manager of one of the most well–known entities in Israel. He is a graduate of three universities (Cape Town, Stellenbosch and U. Of South Africa) in South Africa in Law, Transportation Economics and Finance. His interests, even as a young student, were Judaism, Israel, Economics and Finance.

I grew up in South Africa and left for Israel in the 1970`s. So I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on South African apartheid. In view of the criticisms of Israel as an apartheid state, I felt it my duty that my understanding and knowledge of apartheid should be put to good cause by exposing the evil manifestations of apartheid in Israel

I started in my neighbourhood. I went to the municipal park. In South Africa, only whites would have been allowed to enter. I could not believe my eyes. Arabs and Jews were mixing peacefully, Arab and Jewish children socialising and shouting at each other in their home languages. This cannot be, where is the separation? So I went to the shops and restaurants of the adjoining mall. What a major let down! Arabs and Jews shopping together as customers, Arabs and Jews employed together in the shops as assistants and cashiers, Arabs and Jews sitting in restaurants, an Arab dentist with his sign for all the world to see and the only missing ingredients were the “blankes alleen – whites only” signs. Clearly, in matters of commerce and common use of public and transport facilities, open to all, Israel is a failure in implementing apartheid: there is clearly no South African style apartheid to be found in public areas.

I had a brainwave. There are four places where there simply has to be South African apartheid – beaches, hospitals, universities and the army. I rushed to the beach and another failure. Jews, Arabs and tourists mixing, unaware that according to the world they should have been separated; even worse, I learnt that one million Arabs from the Palestinian Authority`s West Bank had visited Israel`s Mediterranean beaches during summer, mixing with Israelis as if it was the most natural thing to do. These failures to comply with the most elementary requirements of apartheid were making me sick and I rushed to hospital requiring medical attention. I was treated by Arab nurses before being ignominiously delivered to Arab doctors for further treatment. I heard that twenty percent of the medical staff are Arab and that the Israeli hospitals, medical staff, administrative staff and patients, are open to all, even the Syrian enemy or the Palestinian terrorist injured while setting off his bombs to kill and injure Israelis. In a children`s ward could be found in adjoining beds, Jewish, Israeli Arab, Palestinian Arab and Syrian children. Last year, 220,000 West Bank Palestinians, including 20,000 Palestinian children, took off time from shouting to the world about their ill-treatment and oppression at the hands of Israelis in order to visit Israeli hospitals for medical treatment. What a lousy advert for apartheid.

I was going crazy. Apartheid – where are you? I drove like a madman to an Israeli university to search for this elusive apartheid thing. Again, about twenty percent of the students at Israeli universities, no less than 30% at Haifa university, are Arabs. There are Arab professors and lecturers mixing with their Israeli colleagues. The Palestinian, Bargouti, leader of the world-wide anti-Israel boycott (BDS) movement, which bases itself on alleged Israeli apartheid, is a student at Tel Aviv University. Kafka, where are you when you are so desperately needed? This is becoming a mad, mad, mad world. When it comes to imposing apartheid, Israel does not appear to have a clue as to what is required.

I knew I could rely on the army to provide me with a first success that apartheid exists in Israel. After all, why would any but Jews want to serve in the Israeli army? I charged to army headquarters and suffered possibly my biggest defeat. In the Jewish/Israeli army serve, as commanders, officers and soldiers, Ethiopians, Beduin Arabs, Christian Arabs, Moslem Arabs, Druse and Circassians (Moslems originally from the Northern Caucuses). Worse, the world famous Golani Brigade is commandeered by a….. Druse Brigadier General! What sort of fictitious apartheid permits Arabs to serve and even command in the Jewish army? Israel, you failure you, don`t you know anything about implementing apartheid?

I decided to catch this Israeli apartheid thing slyly through the back door. South African apartheid was anchored by legislation. I went to a lawyer to obtain details of legislated apartheid in Israel. I came out with my tail between my legs. Not only is there no legislative apartheid but Israel`s Declaration of Independence and subsequent Basic Laws specifically provide for full democratic and human rights for all. Arabs serve as judges and in fact an Arab judge recently sentenced an ex-president of Israel to jail for being naughty with the ladies. Arabs vote as equals with Jews and sit as members of the Knesset (Parliament) as members of all parties. What an abject failure for Israel; even the judiciary up to and including the Supreme Court and the Knesset (Parliament) are devoid of “apartheid”.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to implementing apartheid, Israel is a failed state. Israel fails every test evidencing the existence of South African style apartheid.

But all was not yet lost. My lawyer pointed out that the Palestinian had learnt much about apartheid from their good South African friends. Could I snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by changing direction? Apparently, yes. The Palestinians have legislation forbidding the sale of property to Jews; the sentence for transgressions: death. Good. Apartheid at last. There are no Jews or Israelis living in Areas A & B under Palestinian Authority control. Better. More apartheid. The Palestinians have announced that no Jews or Israelis will be entitled to live in their state after it is founded. Eureka! Success at last! If you want to find South African apartheid in the Middle East, all you need to do is visit the Palestinian Authority`s areas, or for that matter, most Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Libya etc (where Jews and Israelis have no rights or are even allowed). By now it must be clear to all why the Palestinians, their supporters and the Arab world are always shouting “apartheid”. These folk are the real success stories when it comes to implementing apartheid.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Israel's record-breaking milkers

Dairy farming expert shares Israel’s secrets for its exceptionally high yields of milk, along with solutions for happier and healthier cows
(By Rivka Borochov)
Joshuah Miron in Volcani’s dairy
Why is it that Israel can get about 12,000 liters of milk per year per cow, while in other countries the total yield is only about 8,000? What has made Israeli cows the record-breaking milkers that they are? Why is the Israeli milking technology from firms such as AfiMilk now found on dairy farms the world over? How can farmers and the milk industry everywhere make their cowsheds clean and healthy and the entire milk market more environmentally sound?

Israel’s Volcani Center, a government-run research body, provides some clues.

Over in the Volcani Center’s cowshed, kept cool during the hot noonday sun with water misters and fans, is Joshuah Miron. He heads the Ruminant Sciences Department and oversees the health and welfare of the Volcani Center’s herd of 230 milking cows in Beit Dagan, Israel.

He talks while his cows munch in the background.

Israel’s extraordinary success in the dairy industry is made up of three important ingredients: enhanced breeding to make better milkers; advanced nutrition science; and a team of highly educated dairy farmers, most of whom have an undergraduate degree in the field. Put these three together and you get the answer, which starts at the Volcani Center.

Virtually all of Israel’s 1,000 dairy farms take advantage of Volcani research designed to overcome challenges in the milk industry. The center’s work has surpassed even its own expectations, says Miron.

Consider that Israel is a small country with limited arable land. For feedstock, says Miron, Israel can “grow only 30 percent of the cow’s diet. The rest has to come from somewhere. If the rest is imported, then the price of milk would be very high. Grain costs $340 per ton. Just to feed them, we couldn’t support our cows.”

The Volcani Center came up with a nutritious and earth-friendly solution: using some 630,000 tons of wet vegetarian byproducts from the olive oil and food production industries to feed its dairy cows. Otherwise, these byproducts would be treated as waste and taken to the desert and buried, according to Miron.

Distress sensors for happy cows

Milk yield and quality is directly related to the health and wellbeing of the cows. In Israeli cowsheds, if a cow experiences any sort of distress, it will be sensed immediately, as each cow is hooked up to an AfiMilk monitor produced at an Israeli kibbutz based on Volcani research. Its infrared sensors for determining infection or inferior milk quality help the dairy manager track the health of every milk cow in real time, along with fat and protein content and overall output.

The AfiMilk system, sold worldwide by a private company, measures electrical conductivity in the milk as it passes from the cow’s teat into the pipe system. Miron says it can sense bacteria in the cow’s udder, a sign of dietary stress; or mastitis, a painful udder condition that would need treatment.

Continuing the clever “eco-system” design of the Israeli dairy industry, the fodder that is grown in Israel for cattle is raised with recycled water. And the cow manure from the dairy is hauled back to the farmer’s fields as fertilizer to start the process all over again.

Israeli dairy-farming expertise such as this helps dairies in many developing nations make milking a more efficient process.