Monday, April 27, 2015

Abbas also volunteers to help Nepal victims - with words

From the official PA Wafa news agency:

President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday offered his condolences to President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, following the earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday.

Abbas expressed his and the Palestinian people’s solidarity with the families of the victims, as well as with the people and government of Japan, and hoped a speedy recovery for the wounded, affirming the Palestinian side’s willingness to provide all possible help.
(The "Japan" part seems to be a typo, it isn't in the Arabic version of the article.)

I'm sure that they appreciate it.

04/27 Links Pt2: Bernard-Henri Lévy: New Wording is Making Antisemitism ‘Acceptable’ Again

From Ian:

French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy Says ‘New Wording’ is Making Antisemitism ‘Acceptable’ Again
French philosopher and public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy told a New York audience on Sunday that an emerging new language for antisemitism is once again making the world’s “oldest hatred” acceptable.
“Antisemitism in Europe is taking on a new form, is adopting a new wording which makes it again acceptable … by a growing number of French and European people,” he told an audience at the Consulate General of France in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
He said the new antisemitism rested on the three pillars of anti-Zionism, Holocaust denial and using the Holocaust to “shut up” other human catastrophes.
Explaining his thesis, Lévy said that “one of the questions … of antisemitism … is to inhabit the wording which makes the hatred possible and legitimizes the hatred. It gives the feeling to the one who hates that he hates for good reasons.”
Throughout history, as the justification for antisemitism, Jews have at times been despised for “killing Christ” and at other times resented for “inventing Christ,” Lévy said. During other periods Jews were considered to be a corrupting race. These historic forms of antisemitism are now in the “process of disappearing” he said.
According to Lévy, today’s emerging anti-Jewish bigotry rests on three arguments.
The first of them is anti-Zionism. That “Jews deserve to be hated because they are faithful…to an illegitimate state.” The second is Holocaust denial. “Jews deserve our distrust…our hate…because they traffic what should be the most sacred part of themselves.” And the third justification antisemites are using, Lévy argued, is that Jews use the Holocaust to “shut up” the suffering of others and other genocides, “particularly the Palestinians.”
A defining moment for Europe
Europe’s leaders and media have long ignored, downplayed or outright denied that anti-Semitism has increased on the continent over the past 15 years. When in 2006 a gang of self-described “barbarians” of African and North African background tortured llan Halimi, a young Parisian Jew, for 24 days, finally dousing his naked body with acid and leaving him to die beside a highway, the police refused to acknowledge the obvious hate element of this horrific crime.
The anti-Semitic nature of more recent attacks on Jews could no longer be so easily denied. But even so, the murders in 2012 of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse, and of four people in the Brussels Jewish museum last May failed to evoke any largescale demonstrations, let alone serious political action.
One therefore does not have to be a cynic to wonder whether the January attack on the Paris kosher supermarket and the murder the following month of a synagogue guard in Copenhagen would have passed just as quickly from public consciousness had these crimes not been flanked by assaults on journalists and free speech. The Charlie Hebdo attack galvanized public outrage in a way the Toulouse and Brussels murders clearly had not.
However belatedly, governments, particularly the French, speak now more openly about the anti-Semitic threat from Islamic extremists. We would be fooling ourselves, however, if we reduced the problem “just” to Europe’s thousands of home-grown jihadis.

When you hate Israel, it can do nothing right

When you hate Israel, 
it can do nothing right
Evil Hasbara claim
Israel Derangement Response
Israel is tolerant towards gays
  • Israel has some homophobes, and therefore really hates gays (Richard Silverstein)
  • Israel is only pretending to be tolerant; it is engaging in “pinkwashing” to distract the world from its crimes (Sarah Schulman)

Israel has repeatedly offered peace and been rebuffed
  • Those “peace plans” were completely unacceptable to Palestinian society and therefore Israel didn’t offer enough (+972)
  • Palestinians accepted the idea of two states in 1988 and therefore cannot be expected to ever compromise on anything ever again (Robert Malley)

How could supposedly racist Jews consistently vote for non-Jews in TV reality polls?
  • They are still racist, they are simply practicing “tokenism” (Max Blumenthal)

Israel sends aid to help victims of natural disasters
  • Israel really wants to learn how to kill more effectively (Rania Khalek)
  • Israel wants to steal the organs of the victims (Jenny Tonge)
  • Israel is trying to distract the world from its crimes by pretending to do good (Ali Abuminah)

Hamas and Hezbollah are terror groups that Israel must defend itself from
  • Hamas and Hezbollah are “social movements that  are progressive” (Judith Butler)

Arab men beat their wives and engage in “honor killings”
  • It is Israeli policies that cause Arab men to beat and kill their wives (The Lancet)

The IDF has fewer reports of rape compared to other countries’ armies
  • They don’t rape because they consider Arab women too inhuman to even consider raping (Tal Nitzan)
  • IDF rabbis say rape is perfectly OK according to Yossi Gurwitz
  • Tasteless T-shirts prove Israel has a “rape culture” (David Sheen)

In short: If Israel does something bad, it is proof that Israel is evil. If Israel does something admirable, it is proof that Israel is evil. If Arabs do something bad, it is because Israel is evil.

Life is so simple for the simple-minded.

1955 was before 1967, wasn't it?

PA prime minister Rami Hamdallah spoke at the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia last week. In his speech, he said that the independence of Palestine and gaining their freedom is the last remaining objective of this conference from its inception 60 years ago.

Hamdallah said that his people are still suffering from the historical injustice done to him, and that living under occupation is unjust and claustrophobic, and that the pain of exile and asylum is still continuing and worsening He called for the establishment of fully sovereign Palestinian state on the "1967 borders."

But the first Asian-African Conference was held in 1955, way before 1967. Why wasn't there any mention then of creating a Palestinian Arab state in the illegally annexed West Bank and Gaza then?

The Palestine issue was addressed in the 1955 final conference communique with a very vague paragraph:
In view of the existing tension in the Middle East, caused by the situation in Palestine and of the danger of that tension to world peace, the Asian-African Conference declared its support of the rights of the Arab people of Palestine and called for the implementation of the United Nations Resolutions on Palestine and the achievement of the peaceful settlement of the Palestine question.
Nothing about statehood.

In fact, that 1955 declaration included parts that Palestinian Arabs have consistently violated against Israel:

  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.

Why doesn't Hamdallah insist that his own people adhere to all of these principles?

04/27 Links Pt1: A light unto the nations; IDF Activities in Nepal; Someone sends Iran a message

From Ian:

A light unto the nations
Israel's critics have tried, with some sophistication, to compare the monsters of the Third Reich who ravaged Europe to the IDF soldiers who are working tirelessly to safeguard Israelis, even though our national ethos is not destruction but rather the pursuit of peace and securing the continuity of life.
Not only do those comparisons lack any merit, they are utterly outrageous. Especially in light of the events of the past few days.
The tragic earthquakes in Nepal have claimed thousands of lives. Beyond the immediate humanitarian concerns, Nepal is looking at a long recovery. The first disaster relief team has already left for Nepal as part of a coordinated effort orchestrated by the IDF and the Foreign Ministry.
The so-called military of thugs is already assembling another delegation of some 250 people to help with the search-and-rescue efforts, provide security and carry out field surgeries.
The IDF has been saving lives all over the world for more than 60 years. Technological advances have helped it gain more expertise. The soldiers have demonstrated their capabilities in Turkey, Greece, the Philippines, Haiti, African countries and elsewhere. In fact, by doing so they have lived up to the mission Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion assigned them. Israel's first prime minister believed the IDF was more than just a military force and said it was duty-bound to advance educational and socio-economic causes owing to its central role in building the nation. Indeed, the IDF has been an "army of relief," fitting into what Prophet Isaiah called "a light unto the nations."
IDF Blog: Update on IDF Activities in Nepal
This morning, April 27, an 80-member Israeli humanitarian aid delegation set flight for Nepal, after a magnitude-7.8 quake struck the capital city Kathmandu on Saturday. They will be joined shortly in Nepal by another cargo flight with around 170 trained military personnel.
“We’re on a mission to achieve three things. Deploy major search and rescue operations. Admit patients to our field hospitals within 12 hours of landing. Help the Nepalese people.”
-Colonel Yoram Larado, head of the IDF humanitarian delegation to Nepal
The first team is scheduled to arrive in Nepal late Monday night. It will immediately join other countries that have set up disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of the worst earthquake to hit Nepal in the past 80 years:
- The earthquake’s death toll has already reached more than 3,000 people.
- Local hospitals are unequipped to treat more than 6,500 injured people.
- A second tremor has struck, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale.
- Hundreds of thousands of people in Kathmandu have been displaced as a result.
- 150 Israeli travelers have yet to establish contact and are believed to be missing.
Four Israelis rescued from Mt. Everest, 100 still missing
Four Israelis were rescued from the slopes of Mt. Everest on Monday, where they had been trapped in the wake of the earthquake that shook the mountainous nation of Nepal on Saturday, leading to a death toll in the thousands. Some 100 Israelis are still missing, according to Israeli officials.
Army Radio said a rescue team sent by Harel, an Israeli insurance company, brought the quartet to safety. All four were reported to be in good health.
Meanwhile, an army 747 jet carrying 250 medical and rescue personnel and supplies, including a field hospital, lifted off from Ben Gurion Airport Monday afternoon for the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
The plane was the second shipment of aid Monday to the earthquake-battered nation. Earlier in the day, another IDF plane carrying 90 rescue workers and supplies lifted off from Ben Gurion.

NYT and WSJ headline bias, and the underlying anti-Arab racism of the media

Yesterday, the New York Times inverted cause and effect in its headline and reporting of terror attacks in Israel:

Today, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Israel defending itself from bombs is what "threatens to fuel tensions," not the bombs themselves:

There is an underlying racism with these and countless other examples of similar reporting. The assumption is that only Jews have the ability to assume responsibility for their actions, while Arabs are wild animals who are expected to act irrationally and violently.

Since only Jews can act like adults, they are expected to treat the mentally deficient Arabs with kid gloves, just as you would be careful how you act around anyone with mental illness.

Teachers know well that students will act in ways corresponding to how they are treated; if they are expected to be disruptive they will end up being disruptive, if they are expected to be brilliant they end up actually getting smarter.

The same dynamic is at work every day in the Middle East. As long as Arabs are expected to act as if they have no moral compasses, they readily live down to the expectations.

By treating Arabs as people who cannot be held responsible for their actions, the media (and the world governments who subscribe to the same viewpoint) help perpetuate terror and irresponsibility.

The irony is that in an honor/shame culture, Arabs would be even more likely to respond to being shamed by the West pointing out that their behavior is what is aberrant, not Israel's wholly justifiable reactions to being attacked.

But the media will continue to do its part to push the subconscious narrative of Arab intellectual and moral inferiority, the surest way to keep things that way.

Palestinians claim Jews stole shakshuka from them

Last week, Israeli UN ambassador Ron Prosor treated UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to shakshuka, from an Israeli Manhattan food truck called Shuka Truck.

Naturally, this upset the perennially upset Palestinian Arabs.

Palestine Today writes that the dish "originated in occupied Palestine since ancient times; and spread to become one of the main dishes known in the Arab world."

The Palestinian Arab kitchen is a target of Israeli theft. Israel claims for itself much Palestinian Arab cuisine, such as hummus and falafel.

It should be noted that the occupation also claimed that Palestinian costume and headdresses and the Canaanite shekel is of pure Jewish heritage.

Professor of history at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, Dr. Riad al-Astal, confirmed that Jewish groups have been trying hard to convince the world that they are the rightful owners of in the Arab region, especially the Palestinian land, by distorting facts and falsification of heritage in their favor.

Dr. Astal said the battle with the occupation over heritage is no less dangerous than the occupation of land and required a clear strategy to address these thefts, calling on international bodies such as UNESCO to address the issue of counterfeiting heritage.
In reality, the dish originated in northern Africa, not in the Levant. Jews from Tunisia and Libya brought the dish with them when they were expelled from those tolerant Arab countries. Ambassador Prosor never claimed that this was a Jewish or Israeli-origin dish.

So the only people who are stealing others' culture is, as usual, "Palestinians." I wonder what the north African community thinks about that.

Israeli NGO calls for FIFA to suspend Jibril Rajoub as head of Pal team

From Inside World Football:
A rightwing Israeli non-governmental organisation has stepped up the propaganda war of words over the treatment of Palestinian footballers in the West Bank and Gaza by blaming Palestinian football leader Jibril Rajoub for deliberately stirring up trouble.

Mattot Arim has responded to Rajoub's call for Israel to be suspended by FIFA by urging world football's governing body to expel Rajoub instead because, it claims, he is a front for promoting terrorism.

Responding to the demand for Israel to be thrown out of FIFA unless restrictions on Palestinian footballers travelling between the West bank and Gaza are lifted, Mattot Arim says such restrictions are necessary because of ongoing security concerns, accusing Rajoub of "openly mis-using sports competitions...as venues at which to praise terrorism and present murderers as desirable role models."

In emailed correspondence containing extremely uncompromising language, Mattot Arim, formed in 1992, refutes what it describes as Rajoub's "baseless accusations" saying the head of the Palestine Football Association is in no position to complain about racism because "he himself" has publicly referred to "Jews, Satans, Zionist sons of bitches."

In its hard-hitting letter to FIFA, part of which has been seen by Insideworldfootball, Mattot Arim takes Rajoub to task on a number of issues. One of these is a claim that Rajoub personally opposed a match between Palestinian and Israeli children even though it was sponsored by the so-called Israeli Peres Centre for Peace.

"FIFA's mission is 'developing football for all...building a better future for all through football'," the letter to FIFA says. "But Rajoub's philosophy is exactly the opposite. Suspend Rajoub - not Israel."

Whether Mattot Arim's rant - similar in tone to many of Rajoub's personal attacks on Israeli behaviour - can be taken seriously is open to question given its staunch rightwing status. But it illustrates the depth of feeling on both sides and comes at a highly sensitive time in FIFA's attempts at mediation, with the FIFA Congress just over a month away.
Pointing out Rajoub's support for terror becomes an invalid point if  it comes from a "rightwing" source?

I received a copy of the entire letter written by Mattot Arim:

Dear FIFA leadership,

re: FIFA - Suspend Rajoub - not Israel!

Next month, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association (affiliated with FIFA), will ask the FIFA Congress to suspend Israel from international soccer.

We ask that you suspend Rajoub, instead. Here's why:

FIFA's mission is "Developing football... for all ...promote it globally in the light of its unifying...value.... unite and inspire the world through ...competitions ....Football can ...break down barriers.... building a better future for all through football." But Rajoub's philosophy is the exact opposite.

3 examples:

1. "[A]ny activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity. ... the Palestinian sports leadership ...- the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association - have opposed such activities....I demand that all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities".
(Rajoub's statements were made in response to a football match between Palestinian and Israeli children sponsored by the Israeli Peres Center for Peace).
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014; also posted to Jibril Rajoub's official Facebook page, Sept. 6, 2014.

2. "Rajoub ... noted that the Palestinian teams that are under the responsibility of the Olympic Committee ...will not play under any circumstances, inside the Green Line" (i.e. in Israel).
Source: Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 16, 2012.

3. "Something that has no place in the dictionary of Palestinian sportsmen is ...normalization with the occupation (i.e. with Israel). Impossible, impossible, impossible...I understand by normalization that ...we'll play [sports] together .... I say to you: Under no circumstances will there be normalization. Next time we are prepared to bring the Executive Committee in helicopters... so they will see no Jews, no Satans, no Zionist sons of bitches."
Source: Official Palestinian Authority TV, May 17, 2012.

Even worse, Rajoub routinely abuses sport competitions, using them as venues at which to praise terrorists and present murderers as desirable role models. 3 examples:

1. Dalal Mughrabi hijacked a bus in 1978, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children. She was glorified in a women's ping pong tournament sponsored by Rajoub in 2013. ("The Martyr (Shahida) Dalal Mughrabi Women's Table Tennis Tournament ... will be sponsored by Chairman of the Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub" - Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Sept. 26, 2013).

2. Hassan Salameh planned the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972. The official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, reported on "the Second Palestine Boxing Tournament for youth and men in Hebron" held "In the presence of Rajoub" and "named ... after Shahid Ali Hassan Salameh, the 'Red Prince.'" (Aug. 9, 2010).

3. Abu Jihad, also known as Khalil Al-Wazir, planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks, including the 1978 hijacking of a bus and killing of 37 civilians, 12 of them children. The Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, reported on June 11, 2010 that the "Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) 16th Football Tournament for youth" would be held "under the supervision of the Palestinian Football Association" and in the presence of a "representative of Jibril Rajoub". The newspaper referred to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida as "The Prince of Shahids (Martyrs)".

Note that Rajoub's revolting endorsements of terrorism are reported by Palestinian news sources using his organizational affiliation! For example, Ma'an, a Palestinian news agency, reported on July 17, 2013 that "Chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub" eulogized Ahmad Jabarah Abu Sukkar (a mass murderer), as "patriotic" and a "caring father of generations of struggle". Rajoub even praised the mass murderer's "pure soul" and spoke of "our adherence to the principles and goals that he dedicated his long life to protect". Ahmad Abu Sukkar planned a bombing attack in 1975 in which 15 were killed and over 60 were wounded. http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=9398

Rajoub has even explicitly and publicly encouraged murder of civilians ("Am I stopping you from slaughtering a settlement? No one is stopping anyone. ...No one is stopping anyone", Awdah independent Palestinian TV channel, Aug. 13, 2014). Rajoub has never retracted (or been called upon to retract) this statement. http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2014/08/26/pa-leader-jibril-rajoub-calls-to-slaughter-the-jews/

Rajoub links FIFA, and world football, to terrorism. He is a stain on your organization. Please suspend him.

S. Dym, spokesperson on behalf of Mattot Arim an Israeli NGO working toward peace-for-peace since 1992 
(h/t YK)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hezbollah media says Israelis going to Nepal only to save Israelis (UPDATE)

From Hezbollah's Al Manar:

A 6.7-magnitude aftershock struck earthquake-devastated Nepal on Sunday, the USGS said, with climbers reporting the tremor triggered more avalanches on Mount Everest as the overall death toll from a massive earthquake which devastated large parts of the country has passed 2,000.

The latest quake struck northeast of Kathmandu near the border with China at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), the US Geological Survey said.

A number of Israelis were wounded in Nepal, according to Zionist media outlets.

Ynet mentioned that the Zionist entity sent a number of doctors and paramedics as well as 240 soldiers for Kathmandu to participate in rescuing the Israelis.
What did YNet say?
A Magen David Adom delegation left Israel for Nepal on Sunday morning to help Israelis caught in the earthquake and assist locals after a powerful earthquake struck the region Saturday, triggering an avalanche on Mount Everest.
The terrorist paper was trying to make it sound like Israelis don't care about the other victims.

UPDATE: But lowlifes like HRW's Ken Roth and Max Blumenthal look at things differently:

International law experts praise Israeli actions in Gaza war

From Just Security:

A Legal and Operational Assessment of Israel’s Targeting Practices

By Michael Schmitt and John Merriam

Israel has long resisted publicly revealing its targeting methods and even some of its specific positions on the law of armed conflict (LOAC), fearing that doing so would provide an operational advantage to its adversaries and be exploited by often-critical interlocutors among states and in the international human rights community. This may be changing. Shortly after the conclusion of open hostilities, the IDF invited us to Israel to examine its targeting practices and application of the LOAC. We visited an operational IDF headquarters (the Gaza Division) and observed its targeting cells; reviewed the targeting procedures of both ground and air forces; studied the organization, training, and methodology of the Military Advocate General’s Corps; visited a Hamas attack tunnel; examined combat footage, including the publicly released footage here; and interviewed IDF officers — both legal advisers and operators — at various levels of command.
Our goal was not to assess the just-concluded campaign (Operation Protective Edge), but rather to delve into how the IDF conducts targeting in general from the perspective of individuals who have real-world targeting experience and LOAC expertise. The results of the research will be published in two related pieces, one for a military-policy audience, the other in an academic law journal.
Broadly speaking, we concluded that IDF positions on targeting law largely track those of the United States military. Moreover, even when they differ, the Israeli approach remains within the ambit of generally acceptable State practice. The IDF is served by a corps of highly competent and well-trained legal advisors who operate with a remarkable degree of autonomy, and its operations are subject to extensive judicial monitoring. While there are certainly Israeli legal positions that may be contentious, we found that their approach to targeting is consistent with the law and, in many cases, worthy of emulation.

Michael Schmitt is the Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Law and Director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College.

John Merriam is a US Army Judge Advocate currently serving as the Associate Director of the Stockton Center at the US Naval War College.

The two larger papers are interesting in themselves. For example:
When civilians may be affected by an attack and it is militarily feasible to do so, the IDF undertakes extensive measures to warn them.69 Some, such as leaflet drops and general announcements to the civilian population, are common in conflicts. They typically announce that a particular area will be subject to attack and instruct the population where to go to avoid its effects. In many cases, the IDF contacts neighborhood leaders and asks them to encourage civilians to leave the area. The IDF also delivers very precise warnings of particular strikes. As described below, these include direct phone communications with civilians in the target area and so-called “knocks on the roof.” Human rights organizations criticized both of the latter techniques during the recent Israeli operation in Gaza, although the authors did not find the criticism well-grounded.70
Footnote 70 refers to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, effectively saying that their grasp of international law is flawed..


Although the Israeli positions on the LOAC principles and rules governing targeting are rather orthodox, the unique operational environment in which it finds itself clearly affects interpretation and application. As an example, given the propensity of Israel’s enemies to use human shields, it is unsurprising that Israel has taken the position that individuals voluntarily acting this manner are to be treated as direct participants in hostilities. In light of its enemies’ frequent failure to distinguish itself from the civilian population, it is equally unsurprising that Israel has embraced the principle of reasonableness with respect to target identification. Perhaps most noteworthy is the high value Israel places on the safety of its soldiers and its civilian population. Although impossible to quantify, these concerns undoubtedly influenced the perspective of Israeli commanders as they plan and execute military operations, perspectives that often come into play in the application of such LOAC concepts as proportionality.

In the authors’ opinion, use of lawfare by Israel’s enemies likewise shapes, whether consciously or not, Israel’s interpretation and application of the LOAC. In particular, Israel has adopted an inclusive approach to the entitlement to protected status, particularly civilian status. Examples include Israel’s positions on doubt, its treatment of involuntary shields as civilians who are not directly participating and its view that individuals who ignore warnings retain their civilian status. Although these positions might seem counterintuitive for a State that faces foes who exploit protected status for military and other gain, such positions are well suited to counter the enemy’s reliance on lawfare. In this regard, Israel’s LOAC interpretations actually enhance its operational and strategic level position despite any tactical loss. Along the same lines, in many cases, the IDF imposes policy restrictions which go above and beyond the requirements of LOAC.
Israel's actions were quite lawful under any sane interpretation of the Laws of Armed Conflict. Amnesty and HRW twist international law in ways that make it impossible for any modern army to fight.

04/26 Links: San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone; Israel rushes aid to earthquake-struck Nepal

From Ian:

San Remo: The Forgotten Milestone
Ninety five years ago, prime ministers, ambassadors and other dignitaries from Europe and America gathered in the Italian Riviera. Journalists from around the world reported on the upcoming San Remo Peace Conference and the great expectations the international community placed on this event, just a year after the Paris Peace Conference had settled the political map of Europe at the end of World War One.
On Sunday, April 25, 1920, after hectic deliberation, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the U.S. acting as an observer) adopted the San Remo Resolution -- a 500 word document which defined the future political landscape of the Middle East out of the defunct Ottoman Empire.
This Resolution led to the granting of three Mandates, as defined in Article 22 of the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations. The future states of Syria-Lebanon and Iraq emerged from two of these Mandates and became exclusively Arab countries. But in the third Mandate, the Supreme Council recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country” while safeguarding the “civil and religious rights” of the non-Jewish population.
Subsequently, the British limited the Jewish Homeland in Palestine to the area west of the Jordan River and allowed eastern Palestine to be gradually administered by the Hashemites. The territorial expansion to the east eventually gave birth to the Kingdom of Transjordan, later renamed Jordan in 1950.
The importance of the San Remo Conference with regard to Palestine cannot be overstated:
A Dybbuk in the White House
In Jewish folklore a dead malcontent may return to possess the living. The troubled soul is known as a “dybbuk’, and it runs amok making mischief. Writers and people of stage and screen have invoked the fiend to aggravate family wrangles to the point of madness.
Yet for all its wicked antics the dybbuk wants nothing more sinister than to settle a score. It may upturn some lives in the ghetto, but not the balance of world power. And no dybbuk, until now, toyed with the President of America.
Love or hate Obama’s par-cooked nuclear deal, there’s no doubting the architect’s turn-up of the old order. Iran, hitherto America’s number one foe, is to be, in the world’s number one hotspot, America’s number one ally.
A detente, in other words, is brewing between the world’s powerhouse and the world’s sour pickle jar. The President’s resolve to bring war-mongering mullahs in from the cold is life-changing.
Debate his grip on reality; fret at the madness of trusting Iran to abide by unverifiable terms; believe that the terms will inhibit or pave the way to nuclear breakout; extol Obama’s indefatigable self-belief or cut at his mulish naïveté, it all pales beside one dominating horror. Effectively a president of America has decamped to the enemy.
JCPA: The Power Struggle for Leadership of the Palestinian Authority
The conflict between Abbas and Dahlan, who for years had been a favorite of Abbas, erupted in 2011 and escalated to the point that Dahlan was expelled from Fatah and tried in absentia.
Since then there have been various attempts at mediation. Even Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi tried, but Abbas rebuffed his appeal to mend fences with Dahlan.
The Ramallah court’s ruling prompted a wave of rumors about new, behind-the-scenes mediation efforts.
Such efforts appear to depend on whether the PA will appeal the court’s ruling. Fatah officials who are close to Dahlan confirm that reconciliation efforts have resumed, taking account of Dahlan’s growing power in Gaza and in the refugee camps in Lebanon.
Recent months have also seen a spike in Dahlan’s power in the refugee camps and general area of Jenin and Nablus, leading to armed clashes between his supporters in the Balata camp (adjacent to Nablus) and Abbas’ followers in the Nablus area.

The "Linkage" Falsehood and the Riyadh-Cairo Axis (Mike Lumish)

cairo egyptThe primary political fault-line in the Muslim Middle East today is the Iran coalition versus what Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Middle East Forum, calls the Riyadh-Cairo axis.

Spyer argues that the United States left a power vacuum in the region that is being filled by Shia Iran and thereby threatening the Sunni Arab states.  This is not an original idea, but I am beginning to suspect that it is an exceedingly important one.

The absence of United States leadership is forcing an emergency alliance among the main Sunni states for the purpose of countering the Iranian coalition advancement, where it can.

Where it can, maybe, is Yemen and it is in Yemen that we are seeing Saudi push-back against the Iranian Houthi proxies.

Spyer writes:
Iran appears to be rebuilding its links to Hamas and, therefore, to the Islamist half of the Palestinian national movement. But the Ramallah Palestinian Authority is backed by Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf Arabs and the West.
It is this latter coalition that Spyer refers to as the "Riyadh-Cairo axis."

So, consider this:

We are in a situation where the EU, the US, and the UN demand of Israel that it ethnically-cleanse Jews from Judea - or, at least, force them to stop building housing for themselves and their children - allegedly in order to facilitate a negotiated conclusion of hostilities with the local Arabs.

They have also insisted upon "linkage," which is the idea that stability throughout the region depends on the willingness of the Jews in Israel to make peace with the Palestinian-Arabs... but not the other way around.  According to this notion, the other conflicts are related - ideologically or otherwise - to the Arab-Israel conflict and until that conflict is resolved these other related conflicts will fester in violent ways all around the world.

For example, Secretary of State John Kerry, at a reception in honor of Eid al-Adha, had this to say:
As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
Needless to say, when Jewish Israelis are thought to send Jihadis into spasms of psychotic, genocidal violence elsewhere in the world - for daring to defend themselves - it is emphatically not in the strategic interests of the Western nations, who prefer their Arabs calm and their Jews quiet.

What this suggests is that unless Israel does what it is told by the EU and the US, they can blame Israel not just for failing to bring peace to themselves and their own children, but for stubbornly refusing to help bring peace to the rest of the Middle East.  Furthermore, given that Islamists in Europe have taken increasingly to the harassment and killing of Jewish people and non-Muslims, we are finding Israeli Jews sometimes blamed for the murderous behavior of Jihadis in Europe.

However, if what Spyer says is true - and it is - what we are also witnessing, among the Palestinian-Arabs, is not merely a split between a vicious Islamist dictatorship in Hamas contending with a vicious semi-secular dictatorship in the Palestinian Authority.

It is also a brutal contest between Iran's proxy in Gaza and the Riyadh-Cairo proxy in Judea and Samaria.

As above, so below.

The larger contest wrecking the Middle East is reflected in the smaller contest wrecking the Palestinian-Arab polity... and, needless to say, they all blame it on the Jews.

Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthis in Yemen who are aligned with Iran.  The Yemen conflict is, therefore, a proxy fight between segments of the Saudi coalition and the Iranian coalition on land largely belonging to neither.

The Islamic State, a Sunni faction not aligned with the Riyadh-Cairo axis, is fighting Shia militias in Iraq that are directed by Iran.  In Iraq we are seeing what looks to be Iran's bid to take over as much of the country as possible, which is why they are fighting the Islamic State for control.

What this means is that things are considerably more complex than we may have realized when we thought of the split among Palestinian-Arabs as being just that, a split among Palestinian-Arabs.

More and more it is looking like that split is a reflection of the larger dominant divisions throughout the Muslim Middle East and if that is the case the likelihood for reconciliation between the factions is considerably less than we may have realized.

Of course, from an Israeli perspective, they cannot make peace with a unity government that contains Hamas, nor can they make peace with a divided Palestinian-Arab polity if the other half is still seeking to murder Jews.

And what all of this means is that the notion of "linkage" is upside-down and backwards.

Peace throughout the region will not come from a resolution of the conflict between the Jewish-Israelis and the Palestinian-Arabs.  So long as the Muslim world is ripping itself to pieces along religious and sectarian lines, Israel will be used as a scapegoat by all sides, including the western-left.

It is only when Muslims make peace with themselves that they will ever allow peace with the Jews.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.