After 12 years, during which the
Palestinian Parliament (Legislative Council, PLC) has not met, Mahmoud Abbas
suddenly announced yesterday, that the Palestinian Constitutional Court had
dissolved the PA parliament:
Abbas: "The [PA] Parliament (Legislative Council),
which has not been active for 12 years... The topic reached the constitutional
court, and it issued a decision to dissolve the parliament and call for
elections for the parliament within six months."
PA TV, Dec. 22, 2018]
Why would Abbas suddenly do
something that he has not done for 12 years?
In the last PA elections held in
2006, Hamas won a clear majority of Parliamentary seats in both the Gaza Strip
and the West Bank. With Hamas holding the absolute majority, it was convenient
for Abbas that the Parliament never met. Abbas and Fatah ruled the PA directly
through government decisions and regulations. Abbas justified the freezing of
the Palestinian Parliament due to the Civil War which led to Hamas rule in the
Gaza Strip in 2007.
Abbas' change of heart is not
because he is suddenly interested in democracy. Rather Abbas is recognizing
that at 83 years old he must consider what will happen the day he leaves
office. Under PA law should the president leave office without a successor, the
Speaker of the Parliament takes over as President of the Palestinian Authority
for two months after which presidential elections are held. The current Speaker
of the Palestinian Parliament is Aziz Al-Dweik from Hamas.
So under PA law Hamas would rule the
PA, should Abbas leave his position.
Significantly, a large majority of
Palestinians support implementing PA law and having Al-Dweik lead the PA should
the position of president be empty. A July 2018 poll by Khalil Shakaki's
Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), found that 60% of
Palestinians agreed that "in the case of Abbas' absence, the Speaker of
the Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Al-Dweik from Hamas, must become president
for two months in implementation of the Basic Law."
Although Abbas has refrained from
explaining his decision to disband the parliament, the rationale underlying the
move would appear to be his fear that Hamas would legally take control of the
PA, even without new elections. While the PA Basic Law does limit the interim
presidency to two months there is no guarantee that Hamas once ruling the PA
would allow for new elections.
Hamas could use a number of
justifications, citing the fact that Mahmoud Abbas himself has been president
of the PA for 13 years without calling elections even though the presidency
under PA law is limited to 4 years.
If Abbas could breach PA law and remain president for such an extended period
of time, there is no reason to believe that a Hamas president would rush to
relinquish his powers simply because of PA law.
The potential result could be, that
having legally taken control, Hamas would have no incentive to call a general
PA election and they could extend their rule indefinitely as did Mahmoud Abbas.
The "Group of 77”
(G-77) developing nations is a powerful entity on the UN and the
international stage. It is the largest Third World bloc, today
numbering 134 member states with 80 percent of the world’s population.
The "State of
Palestine” – the Palestinian Authority – is set to chair the G-77 for
a year beginning on January 1, 2019, and will likely use this clout to
advance its own political agenda.
The Palestinian Authority
should not be allowed to chair the group due to incompatibilities
between the principles of the G-77 and the laws, policies, and actions
of the Palestinian Authority. These incompatibilities are evident when
juxtaposing the Palestinian Authority’s laws, policies, and actions
with some of the fundamental principles of the G-77, as delineated in
their 2014 declaration, "For a New World Order for Living Well.”
These principles include
gender equality, improving the practice of democracy, eradication of
poverty, coexistence with the environment, and fighting corruption.
This study’s findings show
that the Palestinians have violated over two dozen articles of the
By appointing the
Palestinians as chairman, the G-77 is sending a message that abusive,
undemocratic, corrupt governance is entirely permissible and even
The G-77 should immediately
annul the Palestinian appointment, and instead elect one of its
numerous other members who would be much more suitable for the
position. If the Palestinian Authority were to change its method of
government to more closely align with the principles of the G-77,
their nomination could be reconsidered.
of tomorrow's special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, UN Watch
Executive Director Hillel Neuer visited the Israel-Lebanon border to
examine the Hezbollah terror tunnels that have just been discovered.
cross-border tunnels, a massive, multi-million dollar building project financed
and masterminded by the Islamic Republic of Iran, were designed for a Hezbollah
surprise attack against Israel in which gunmen would suddenly emerge into
nearby Israeli towns, in order to kidnap and murder civilians.
tunnels dug under and into Israel by Iran's proxy terrorist organization amount
to a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701—which
prohibits any military activity or even presence of Hezbollah south of the
Litani River—and constitute a threat to the peace under the UN Charter.
at lease one tunnel was dug from a civilian home in Lebanon — a war crime under
international humanitarian law because Hezbollah sought to use Lebanese
civilians as human shields to protect their military infrastructure.
When the UN Security Council
meets tomorrow, they must send a strong message by demanding that the
Government of Lebanon—and the world body’s own UNIFIL forces—implement the
requirements of Resolution 1701, concretely and immediately
A number of years ago, a quote from Mark Twain
went viral - as we would say. Not sure if that term was used back then,
but it did create waves.
Skeptics would question the sincerity of his
statement. It appears to be only grudgingly stated, but that might make it even
Here's what he said about the Jews, in
"If the statistics are right, the
Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a
nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the
Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of.
He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is
extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world’s list of
great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse
learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.
He has made a marvelous fight in this
world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be
vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the
Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to
dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast
noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch
high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have
The Jew saw them all, survived them all,
and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities, of age,
no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert
but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass,
but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
When emergencies occur, rapid
medical treatment increases chances of survival exponentially. Using specially
equipped motorcycle ambulances, United Hatzalah’s network in Israel, of more
than 5,000 volunteer medics help save thousands of lives each year across
Israel by providing medical treatment in an average response time of 3 minutes
or less. The humanitarian services are free, universal and available 24 hours a
day, seven days a week.
On a recent day at 11:15PM Khaled Rishek, a
Muslim volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah who lives in Jerusalem, was at home
preparing to go to sleep when he received an urgent alert from United
Hatzalah’s Dispatch and Command Center. The emergency took place when a
30-year-old woman was in a major car accident on Derech Hevron road. The woman
had been speeding down the street when she lost control of the vehicle causing
it to slam into a guardrail and flip upside down.
Khaled immediately jumped out of bed, grabbed
his jacket and helmet, and raced to the scene on his ambucycle. Khaled,
together with other United Hatzalah responders (including a doctor in a United
Hatzalah ambulance) assisted in extricating the woman from her overturned
vehicle, staunched the bleeding from her facial wounds, applied trauma
bandages, affixed a neck brace, performed a field neurological assessment, and
helped the woman recover from the emotional shock of the incident.
Amazingly, despite the severity of the crash
the lucky woman escaped with relatively few injuries. After the initial
treatment she was rushed to the nearest trauma center in a United Hatzalah
After the incident Khaled said: “I am very
proud to see my fellow Muslim volunteers from across Jerusalem responding to
emergencies with me. In this incident, all of the volunteers who arrived at the
scene, including the doctor, are Arab-Israelis who feel a tremendous sense of
pride and responsibility being United Hatzalah responders. We all believe that
no matter who you are you have a responsibility to help, and that no matter who
is in need of help we have a responsibility to help them, regardless of
religion, race or gender. All of United Hatzalah’s volunteers, Muslim,
Christian and Jewish and alike, are always ready, at any moment, to rush out to
save a life.”
to Israel the body no longer has to reject a donor organ!
has given so many people hope for the future. 25% of kidney recipients and 40%
of heart recipients have some type of acute rejection within the first year
after a transplant. That is not a small percentage.
with Israel’s new breakthrough, these patients no longer have to experience
Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and
Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology said, “With our technology, we can
engineer any tissue type, and after transplantation, we can efficiently
regenerate any diseased or injured organ.”
believe that a country that has existed for under 100 years has had such a
time the world starts showing appreciation for Israel. The tiny, tiny Jewish
state surrounded by enemies has become a place for everyone to turn to. They
have helped Jews and non-Jews alike with their inventions, innovations,
breakthroughs, and volunteer work.
needing to put so much time and energy into security, fighting against the
media bias, and fighting the word’s bias, Israel still manages to create things
for the world that save lives, change lives, and overall improve lives.
is time to stop benefiting from Israel when you also fight against them.
Last week I mentioned my son living in Ashkelon and that two of his sons – two-thirds of triplets – have joined the IDF. The family has also two older sons who finished their army service some time ago. One of the triplets has recently joined the same fighter unit as his cousin (the one who just got engaged and finished his IDF service last month). His brother joined the IDF last week in the “Combat Engineering Corps., an unknown aspect of the IDF in our family’s tradition. [The third triplet has yet to change his civilian clothes into an army uniform. In Israel, after completing high school, boys and girls are allowed to study for some time in special religious frameworks before beginning their army service].
The Combat Engineering Corps was founded in 1947 when its soldiers were mainly drawn from Jews who had served in the UK’s Royal Engineers. Their official motto is "Always First" - the unofficial being “The hard, we shall do today; the impossible, we shall do tomorrow". They took an indispensable part in all of Israel’s wars:
In the 1948 War of Independence, the CEC blasted bridges over the Jordan River and the streams of the southern coastal plain in order to stop the advance of the Arab armoured forces into the Israeli civilian rear. While helping to breach the “Burma Road” into besieged Jerusalem there were many casualties. To commemorate the fallen soldiers, a “Road of Heroism” memorial was erected near the Hulda forest at the Burman Road.
In the 1956 Sinai War, the CEC destroyed the Egyptian military infrastructure in the Sinai Peninsula and was awarded with a battalion recommendation of honour.
In the 1967 Six-day War, the CEC stormed Jordanian fortifications along the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. After Israel annexed the Old City, the CEC removed landmines planted in the city by the Jordanians.
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the combat engineering battalions bridged the Suez Canal while carrying tanks and paratroopers across the canal with amphibious tank-carriers. This effort enabled the armored divisions to cross the canal and surround the 3rd Egyptian Army, forcing it to surrender. The bridging of the canal is regarded by many as the turning point of the war on the southern front. On the northern front, a CEC Caterpillar D9 bulldozer was the first ever motorized vehicle to reach the summit of the Hermon – Israel’s highest mountain.
The 1982 First Lebanon War, dubbed Operation Peace for Galilee, began when the IDF invaded southern Lebanon, after repeated attacks and counter-attacks between the PLO operating in southern Lebanon and the IDF, that had caused civilian casualties on both sides of the border. The CEC worked intensively to open routes for Israeli forces, as well as building fortifications and outposts.
By expelling the PLO, removing Syrian influence over Lebanon, and installing a pro-Israeli Christian government led by Bachir Gemayel, Israel hoped to sign a treaty which the Prime Minister Menachem Begin promised would give Israel "forty years of peace". Unfortunately, Israel’s desire for peace was again thwarted. Following the assassination of Gemayel in September 1982, Israel's position in Beirut became untenable and the signing of a peace treaty became increasingly unlikely. The Lebanese civil war would continue until 1990, at which point Syria had established complete dominion over Lebanon.
In the 1991 Gulf War, the CEC were on a "code red" alert for disarming Iraqi scud missiles, armed with non-conventional warheads.
During the al-Aqsa Intifada, which broke out in September 2000, the CEC were employed to disarm many Palestinian explosive charges and booby traps. They also dynamited Palestinian houses inhabited by terrorists, bomb labs. and smuggling tunnels.
The CEC took a significant part in the Second Lebanon War that erupted in 2006 after Hizbullah attacked an IDF patrol, abducted two soldiers and killed another 8 with anti-tank missiles that hit the rescuers.
During the Gaza War (2008–2009) codenamed "Operation Cast Lead", the CEC were the first to enter the Gaza Strip to clear IED's, booby traps and open safe routes to armour and infantry.
During Operation Protective Edge (July–August 2014), the CEC played a major role in destroying the Hamas cross-border underground infiltration tunnels. In total, about 32 tunnels were destroyed! In addition, combat engineers participated in the battles, neutralized Hamas-planted improvised explosive devices, cleared booby-traps, opened routes for armour and infantry, and destroyed terrorist infrastructure.
The CEC has an excellent record of professional achievement and decoration. Their first chief engineer, Brigadier General David Leskolv developed many combat engineering systems for the IDF, and won three Israel Security Prizes. He served in the IDF until his death at the age of 86, making him the oldest soldier in the world!
Looking at the above list chronicling the wars and military campaigns incited by its enemies, is the stark reality of Israel’s fight/right to exist.