Tag Archives: united nations

The “Jewish community” comes under attack at Amnesty.

The UN's Hamed Qawasmeh (right) next to the chairperson at Amnesty in London on Monday.

The UN’s Hamed Qawasmeh (right) next to the chairperson at Amnesty in London on Monday.

It didn’t take too long for yet another anti-Israel event at Amnesty International to spill over into criticism of Jews. It was Monday night and Hamed Qawasmeh had finished speaking on the subject of Human Rights in Hebron and Area C of the West Bank.

Qawasmeh is a long time employee of the United Nations and his current remit is to “document human rights violations in the southern West Bank” (apparently human rights violations don’t extend as far as the recent cold-blooded murders of two Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, one in Hebron itself. Neither murder was mentioned during the event).

Qawasmeh described how Israel uses its control of Area C (granted to Israel under the Oslo Accords) to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. It does this, he said, by refusing to grant building permits, by demolishing Palestinian homes, by evictions and by building military zones and nature reserves so as to confiscate more land. Then there are the roadblocks, checkpoints and “separation wall”.

He claimed the Israeli government refuses to allow Israeli electricity companies to build electricity pylons for Palestinian homes near Jewish settlements.

Quite magnanimously, Qawasmeh did say that he had no problem with Israel wanting to protect its own people by building the wall, but that the wall should stick to the “1967 border” and not snake into the West Bank.

During the Q&A I stated that “settlements” are not illegal and that the so-called “1967 border” was not a border but merely an armistice line. I also said that when visiting Hebron twice I had seen many palatial Palestinian-owned houses en route.

I had intended to go on to ask how there could be any peace while Palestinian Authority television shows Palestinian children saying they want to become “martyrs” and with the Hamas calling for the murder of Jews via their Charter.

But by then the audience was getting restless and vocal and the chairperson was telling me I had taken up enough time. I tried to persist with my question but it got lost in a noise of insults. Meanwhile, a woman from the audience approached me and held my arm while asking me to leave the room with her.

I slumped back into my chair and stayed silent as the discussion moved onto how Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian children on their way to school and how Israel rounds up large numbers of Palestinian “kids” and tortures them under interrogation.

I felt I had to challenge such allegations, upon which Abe Hayeem rose to his feet (you can read all about Hayeem here). Hayeem pointed at me and said:

“He must be removed. He disrupts every meeting. He signifies the sort of people that are in Hebron. And I suggest that your (Qawasmeh’s) presentation should be made to the Jewish community here. The total injustice and criminality of what has happened here doesn’t penetrate him…”

This seemed to be a totally unprovoked attack on “the Jewish community”. But instead of being criticised for such an outburst Qawasmeh assured Hayeem that he gives his presentation to Israelis and also to “Jews who come from the States”.

On leaving the room at the end of the event I was confronted by a young woman who told me that her grandmother, who was a Holocaust survivor, would be ashamed of my behaviour. Someone else told me that she had no problem with Hamas. I was also twice told that my manner was too aggressive and that I was “not helping my own cause”.

Overlooking these shenanigans was Amnesty’s campaigns manager Kristyan Benedict. Benedict once tweeted “Louise Ellman, Robert Halfon and Luciana Berger walk into a bar…each orders a round of B52s … #Gaza”. The three MPs happen to be Jewish. He also once threatened to beat me up after another Amnesty event, again after I had questioned what I had heard.

According to the Jewish Chronicle Benedict was forced to apologise for his tweet and Amnesty said that he would “focus his energy on managing AIUK’s crisis work, particularly the human rights crisis in Syria”.

But on Tuesday night he wasn’t focusing on Syria. He was at this disgusting anti-Israel event, albeit not chairing it for once.

Old habits obviously die hard.

Yachad and UJS to host talk by boycotter Peter Beinart at UJIA.

Yachad calls itself “The pro-Israel pro-peace voice of British Jews”. It’s as if no other pro-Israel British Jew can possibly be “pro-peace”. Just those Jews who support Yachad, you understand.

At the United Nations in New York today at what is euphemistically called Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, “Palestine” is due to be recognised as a non-member observer state.

However, today’s rhetoric has had nothing to do with Palestinian statehood, but has been tantamount to incitement to murder Jews and Israelis and to boycott Israel out of existence. One Arab delegate accused Israelis of burning the Koran, and Roger Waters spoke for 25 minutes. Waters accused Israel, inter alia, of apartheid and prioritising Jewish people above its other citizens. He demanded a boycott of Israel.

Delegate after delegate called for a two-state solution and for UNGA Resolution 194 to be implemented. 194 calls for a return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. As the UN classes ALL Palestinian descendants as refugees this would soon lead to the demographic destruction of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state. What UN delegates are, in effect, calling for is a two-state solution as long as both states are Palestinian.

Waters, ludicrously, claimed that Hamas has agreed to future peace with Israel as long as a Palestinian state is agreed along the 1967 ceasefire lines. He claimed that New Yorkers, cut off from the outside world, don’t know this. Hamas who, in their Charter, call for the murder of all Jews are hardly going to agree to any Jewish state along any lines. It is Waters who is cut off.

But, now, with this growing febrile atmosphere against Israel where Israelis are demonised and demands made that they be boycotted Peter Beinart has been invited by Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students to address a Jewish audience at the offices of the United Joint Israel Appeal (UJIA). UJIA, a charity, is supposed to have the interests of Israel and all Israelis at heart.

It is a student-only event. Here is the Facebook page where the location of the event has now been hidden:

As you can read Beinart calls for “a boycott of West Bank Settlement produce”.

So because Beinart disagrees with a group of people, in this case Israeli settlers, he wants their businesses and livelihoods immediately destroyed and their ability to feed their families and young children immediately curtailed. All they have worked for should be destroyed overnight on the say so of someone living thousands of miles away?

Hannah Weisfeld, who heads Yachad, claimed in March this year:

“While we hugely respect Peter Beinart and believe he adds an important voice to the debate, we believe that all forms of boycott are counter-productive.”

However, a month earlier at an Israeli Society event at SOAS discussing whether Israel should be boycotted Weisfeld was far more ambiguous when she said:

“I think we would be having a very different conversation in this room if the BDS movement was about a targeted (settlement) boycott. I am not saying that I would necessarily support it, but I think the entire debate would be different…”

Now Weisfeld, Yachad and the Union of Jewish Students have invited Beinart to make the case, via Skype, for just such a targeted boycott of those Israeli families living on the West Bank.

By all means disagree with their living their and make the case that they shouldn’t be. Try to achieve a gradual change in Israeli government policy, like when Ariel Sharon finally decided to order Israeli settlers to be removed from Gaza.

But for Beinart and others to encourage the wrecking of people’s livelihoods overnight is crossing a red line, let alone a green one. We hear it enough at the hundreds of anti-Israel events that take place annually.

Meanwhile, UJIA have confirmed that they are hosting the event:

Campaign for Truth takes case against Palestinian state to 10 Downing Street.

Sharon, of Campaign for Truth, hands in file to Number 10.

Sharon, of Campaign for Truth, hands in file to Number 10.

The last time I wrote about the organisation Campaign for Truth they were out campaigning on the streets of Golders Green, but yesterday they took their case against a declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations to 10 Downing Street.

After C4T activists had handed out leaflets explaining what Hamas stands for to passers-by the Campaign for Truth team made their way to the Prime Minister’s residence where they were able to hand in a file explaining the current situation in which Hamas, an internationally listed terror organisation dedicated to Israel’s destruction and the killing of Jews, is in a unity government with Fatah and, therefore, should the UN declare a Palestinian state Hamas will, in effect, be running it:

The letter handed in for David Cameron reads:

“It is well known that your government together with the Israeli government and many other democratic governments have accepted the right of the Palestinian people to statehood. However, the fact is that this vote is on a single issue – recognition of the Palestinian state as applied for, with an administration as it is. A Palestinian state would be dominated by Hamas. Hamas is dedicated to preaching and committing genocide. We, the British people, have a duty to prevent genocide. The British people have a moral responsibility to reject a Hamas-Fatah regime that will form the administration of a premature Palestinian state, a state steeped in Hamas ideology.”

It seems that when the UN vote comes about Cameron could do worse than take a leaf out of his mentor’s Margaret Thatcher’s 1990 statement on Europe taking ever more powers from Britain when she famously declared “No, no, no.”

Photos from yesterday:

Roy, Benjamin and Sharon of C4T on Downing Street.

Roy, Benjamin and Sharon of C4T on Downing Street.

Campaign for Truth team hands in letter and document to Number 10.

Campaign for Truth team hands in letter and document to Number 10.

Going through security.

Going through security.

Coming back after visiting Number 10.

Coming back after visiting Number 10.

Explaining Israel's case to a passer-by.

Explaining Israel's case to a passer-by.

Campaigning opposite Number 10 as "Monty" looks on.

Campaigning opposite Number 10 as "Monty" looks on.

A call to activism.

A call to activism.

C4T team in front of the cameras yesterday.

C4T team in front of the cameras yesterday.

Some activists listening to Benjamin of C4T speak.

Some activists listening to Benjamin of C4T speak.

Those cringe-making New Year wishes from our political leaders.

It’s that time of year when our political leaders, in their Rosh Hashanah messages, tell Britain’s Jewish community how wonderful they all are and what a wonderful contribution they have all made to British society.

But the test of whether a political leader is being sincere, or whether just going through the motions, is whether he has been brave enough to show any sort of concern for Israel’s well-being in his message.

All British Jews are obviously concerned for Britain, and particularly our soldiers out in Afghanistan, but they are also concerned for Israel and their relatives and friends who live there under a constant threat of attack from Palestinian terrorists.

This year has been no exception with the cowardly slaughter of five members of the Fogel family as they lay in their beds, the direct hit on a school bus by a rocket from Gaza which killed a 16 year-old boy and the recent multiple attacks near Eilat that killed eight Israelis.

Then there was a Scottish Christian evangelical woman who was killed by a bomb blast in Jerusalem and the more recent deaths of an Israeli father and his baby when stone throwing by Palestinians caused the man to crash his car.

And, of course, this was Gilad Shalit’s sixth Rosh Hashanah away from his family after being kidnapped by Hamas.

Living in the UK is relatively safe. The worst it gets is a bunch of hate-filled anti-Israel activists trying to close Ahava or interrupting the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. It hardly compares to living in Sderot in southern Israel where there is a constant barrage of deadly rockets being sent over by Hamas from Gaza.

Many Palestinians have also been killed over the last year, but none has been specifically targeted because he is Palestinian, unlike the Israelis who have been targeted because they are Jewish. The Palestinians have been killed in self-defence in IDF actions that needn’t have happened if the Palestinians had been able to control their terrorist elements.

So it wouldn’t take a lot for our political leaders to acknowledge that worry and concern of British Jews for Israel and Israelis would it?

First, let’s take Nick Clegg, our deputy Prime Minister and the Liberal Democrat leader. Does he mention Israel? Yes, but only once and only in passing. He speaks of how “For the High Holy days Jews from across the world, from countries as diverse as Israel, India, Ethiopia, and, of course Britain, are united.”

There is also the cringe-making end where Clegg tries to out-Catholic the Pope, by using Hebrew to wish British Jews an easy Yom Kippur fast.

A simple “Shana Tova and well over the fast” would have sufficed (message to Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel: Keep it simple next year please).

As for Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, all I have been able to find is a report in the Jewish Chronicle in which there is no mention of Israel, but lots of talk of a “fantastic community”.

The bravest of Britain’s political leaders, by far, was the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who, as well as speaking of British Jews’ “tremendous contribution”, spoke of his belief in Israel being “unshakeable” and how Britain “will always stand up for Israel against those who wish her harm”.

The government has come along way since Cameron’s silly “Gaza is a prison” comment in front of Turkey’s President Erdogan. It has repealed the iniquitous law on Universal Jurisdiction and it pulled out of Durban 3, the anti-Semitic festival that was held at the UN in New York last week. Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Greece didn’t pull out.

Maybe British Jews can finally relax a bit with Cameron in charge. Now he just needs to follow through on his pledge to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir.

But when it comes to wishing Jews a Shana Tova no one does it better than Barack Obama. There is no cheesy chat, no awkward wishes in Hebrew but a few simple acknowledgments that “many of our closest allies, including the state of Israel, face the uncertainties of an unpredictable age” and that the bond between America and Israel is “unshakeable”.

MPAC chief to me: “You’re a filthy scumbag who thinks Muslim life is less important than other people’s lives.”

Outside Downing Street yesterday.

Outside Downing Street yesterday.

I made a new best friend last night when I got into a conversation with Asghar Bukhari, the founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, outside Downing Street.

He had spent a few minutes politely educating me in the ways of Israel. He thinks Israel uses the Palestinians as slaves, that they are treated like the blacks in apartheid South Africa and that Israel behaves like the Nazis.

When I explained to him that Arabs living in Israel have it better than many of their brothers and sisters in most Arab and Muslim countries he became highly irritated and went for me personally, as you can see (switch browser if viewing problems):

MPAC is a vile organisation. At the last general election it had a hit list headed “Is your MP a Zionist?” One Jewish MP on the list received a death threat.

At the previous general election MPAC helped unseat the non-Jewish Lorna Fitzsimons as an MP by claiming in leaflets “she had done nothing to help the Palestinians because she was a Jewish member of the Labour Friends of Israel”.

What is shocking is the amount of airtime that the likes of the BBC and Sky give to Bukhari. Go on to youtube and you will be amazed.

Apart from that yesterday’s pro-Israel counter-demonstration called by the ZF, British-Israel Coalition and Stand With Us was a success.

It was in response to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign orchestrated anti-Israel protest in light of the upcoming Palestinian UN statehood bid.

While calling for a Palestinian state the PSC mob also called for the destruction of Israel with their usual refrain of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free”:

Hopefully, David Cameron will have heard this so as to leave him in no doubt as to the true hopes of PSC members if a Palestinian state is ever formed.

Meanwhile, someone from Chabad turned up to blow the Shofar, which was lovely:

And there was an excellent pro-Israel turnout:

I also interviewed the Neturei Karta which I will blog about next.

Some photos:

A tenner if you can guess which side she's on.

A tenner if you can guess which side she's on.

I love Hanoar. I went on Israel tour with them and can tell you some stories.

I love Hanoar. I went on Israel tour with them and can tell you some stories.

Good luck with that.

Good luck with that.

Is this really too much to ask?

Is this really too much to ask?

Good luck with that also.

Good luck with that also.

Downing Street.

Downing Street.

The PSC mob shouting their usual sinister slogans.

The PSC mob shouting their usual sinister slogans.

Israel considering annexing settlements if Palestinians proceed with UN member-state bid.

Israel is considering annexing the West Bank settlement blocs if the Palestinians carry through with their threat of asking the United Nations to formally declare a Palestinian state.

According to Jonny Daniels, Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Danny Dannon, such a move would bolster the security of the settlements and give them the same legal status as east Jerusalem, making it more difficult for the settlement blocs to form part of a future peace accord. The idea is gaining momentum in Congress with members of the House of Representatives starting to push for a motion supporting the decision.

Regarding the settlements Dannon, himself, has previously stated that Israel has “a full right to this land”.

Meanwhile, on 20th September Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas still looks set to ask the United Nations to pass a resolution declaring Palestine the 194th member of the United Nations. It will be along the 4th June 1967 boundaries, which would have the effect of leaving the settlement blocs inside a new state.

The United States is certain to block a Palestinian state being legally declared by using its veto on the Security Council, but the resolution should be passed easily in the General Assembly instead. Britain is still to declare its voting intentions.

Professor Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to London, said that a non-binding General Assembly resolution upgrading Palestine’s current observer status to that of non-member state would significantly raise the stature of the Palestinians in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court:

“Our position will be bolstered. We won’t need Qatar or Lebanon to represent us anymore. We will be able to pursue war criminals ourselves, which will put more pressure on Israel,” he said.

Hassassian says that Israel gave the Palestinians no option but to go down the UN route:

“There has been no peace process with the current Israeli government, although we always hoped for a breakthrough. Israel has continued embarking on its settlement activities, and this has aborted the prospects for a two-state solution. None of this has encouraged the Palestinians or the international community and has proved that Israel is not serious in wanting peace. Our going to the UN will be a wake-up call for America and Israel,” he continued.

Jonny Daniels refutes this accusation:

“Even when Ehud Barak offered Arafat everything he asked for in 2000 the Palestinians rejected it. If the Palestinians were serious they would have recognised Israel as a Jewish state by now. By going to the UN they are breaking the Oslo Peace Accords, which state that no side can take a unilateral decision. My friends in Judea and Samaria are now in greater danger,” he responded.

He said that because the Palestinians lacked democracy Israel does not know whether it is Fatah or Hamas making the decisions, but he was still optimistic that the Palestinians could one day recognise Israel as a Jewish state:

“The Middle East is a very volatile area. Who could have predicted that the Egyptians would have ousted Mubarak like they did? Things can change very quickly, but until then we must look after ourselves,” he said.

Daniels views the proposed UN vote as another attempt by the Palestinians to delegitimise Israel, something that will add to the anti-Israel atmosphere at Durban III at the UN in New York on 22nd September.

Some commentators and politicians are predicting a return to violence after the UN vote, with the Arab Spring adding a potentially volatile ingredient.

Professor Charles Tripp, of the London Middle East Institute, said:

“Palestinian expectations may be raised, at least on the West Bank, making the likelihood of demonstrations and clashes even stronger. There have been reports that the IDF have been preparing for such an eventuality, including, it seems, training settlers in ‘crowd control’. This will exacerbate things even further.”

“The Israeli government has also hinted at various ‘symbolic’ reprisals like further building and settlement projects and other moves designed to infuriate the Palestinians.”

Professor Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov, of the Department of International Relations at the Hebrew University, thinks Abbas might organise mass protests similar to those on the recent Naksa and Nakba days when hundreds of Lebanese and Syrian citizens were bussed to Israel’s border leading to clashes with the IDF.

“The Arab Spring could have a big influence. After the overthrow of Mubarak and others people are starting to understand its effectiveness. If the demonstrations can be contained then all well and good, but if protesters get into the settlements then violence could escalate rapidly if there are clashes with the IDF,” he said.

Professor Benny Morris, of the Middle East department at Ben-Gurion University, believes such violence “may spiral into a third Intifada” and thinks terrorism likely. More ominously, Emanuele Ottolenghi, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, thinks it could lead to all out war against Israel:

“A UN resolution recognising Palestine as a state on paper will not give Palestinians a state in reality. It will instead spark a fire in the region that could quickly burn out of control, very much like happened in late September 2000 with the Second Intifada.”

“The difference, this time, is twofold. First, Hamas rules Gaza and has an arsenal to terrorize Israeli civilians. It will seek to exploit the situation to trigger a war with Israel. Second, the region has dramatically changed since the Arab Spring toppled Mubarak, which means that, this time, Arab countries may be dragged in,” he said.

Manual Hassassian said that violence is not part of the strategy of the Palestinian leadership and that any demonstrations will remain non-violent. He addressed concerns in the Arab world that declaring a state without agreement with Israel could spell the end of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees:

“After the vote we will not be giving up on a negotiated settlement. We will be continuing with the diplomatic onslaught to resolve permanent status issues like the right of return. Everything will still be on the negotiating table, but eventually there will be an independent Palestinian state,” Hassassian stated.

Dr. Jonathan Spyer, of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, thinks the UN vote will not bring any significant change for the Palestinians:

“Israel was created because of facts on the ground, notably the ability of Israel to prevail against any force in the eastern Mediterranean wishing to prevent its birth. This is not the case with the West Bank Palestinian Authority. The only way to a successful re-partition of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, if this is what the Ramallah leadership desires, is by way of negotiation. This will still be true after 20th September,” he said.

While Kadmina MK Yoel Hasson blames both Netanyahu and the Palestinians for the breakdown of negotiations and notes the potential for “violent incidents”, he doesn’t think that there will be any change on the ground regarding the settlements:

“I fear that the result of the Palestinian move will be isolation of Israel in the international community and it will definitely lead to greater pressure to evacuate the settlements. However, I have always believed that the settlements are not a real obstacle to peace. Israel proved twice, in the Sinai and Gaza, that it is willing to remove the settlements,” he said.

As a result of all this Israel could swing back left or go further right, but Hasson thinks it too early to gauge how events will affect Israel politically:

“No one knows yet whether Israelis will criticise the government or whether blame will be directed towards the Palestinian side,” he said.

But Professor Colin Shindler, of the European Association of Israel Studies, blames the Palestinians going to the UN on the “politics of stagnation in Israel” and believes that renewed isolation of Israel could lead it further to the right with Lieberman as a possible contender for the premiership:

“The Israeli government is a pantomime horse of the centre Right and the far Right – the former would like to negotiate, the latter does not. Therefore the lack of initiative prevents serious division within the government and ensures its survival. The Geneva Initiative, the Saudi Peace Plan and many other suggestions are dismissed. This leaves a vacuum which is being filled by the proposal to recognise a Palestinian state at the UN,” Shindler said.

Daniels dismisses the prospect of a Lieberman premiership pointing out that Yisrael Beitenu came a distant third at the last general election and neither does he think that Kadima will benefit from the Palestinian push at the UN:

“During the recent social protests in Israel Kadima was up in the polls and Likud down, but the polls have now swung back to the right. The right wing bloc is strong. People know that the right of Israeli politics is about security. The only real chance for peace is if there is change in the education systems of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab world generally where Israel is concerned”.

This piece appears on pages 4 and 5 of this week’s Jewish News.

Norman Finkelstein: “Israel could nuke Lebanon.”

Norman Finkelstein (New Jersey Jewish News Online)

Norman Finkelstein (New Jersey Jewish News Online)

Last friday I attended a round table discussion at CAABU (Council for Arab-British Understanding) with anti-Israel polemicist Norman Finkelstein.

Mr Finkelstein was coming to the end of his week’s speaking tour of British Universities.

Before he arrived CAABU’s education officer detailed CAABU’s recent trip to Gaza. They took two Lib Dem MPs, one Conservative MP and a Labour Lord and crossed into Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

There are two sets of schools in Gaza; those of a higher standard run by the UN and those run by “the government”. The government schools have their own syllabus which has a strong religious theme with no emphasis on human rights, unlike the UN run schools.

The CAABU party left behind “an expensive piece of medical equipment” which they are now trying to retrieve via the smuggling tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt. Basically, one of the politicians left his dentures behind.

Eventually Mr Finkelstein walked in with the air of Norman Bates and proffered his theory on where the Middle East could be going in the next 12 to 18 months.

It centred on Lebanon.

He thinks there is a United Nations plot brewing to wipe out Hezbollah as follows:

Israel had recently left the town of Ghajar in Lebanon only so it could claim that as it was now in full compliance with UN Resolution 1701 Hezbollah should be fully disarmed.

Michael Williams, the UN’s representative to Lebanon, has reiterated this call.

Israel will now try to escalate resolutions at the UN which call for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

Sanctions against Lebanon will be announced and once they start to bite the Lebanese people will call for Hezbollah to be disbanded.

Conveniently, the UN’s Special Tribunal on Lebanon is about to indict several members of Hezbollah over the killing of Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

This will ratchet up sectarian tensions in Lebanon as Hariri was a Sunni Muslim while Hezbollah is Shia.

Finkelstein’s own sources tell him that Hezbollah was not involved in the killing of Hariri, but it could have been Sunni extremists.

Meanwhile, CBC has just played a documentary in Canada, approved by the Harper government, detailing evidence linking Hezbollah to the assassination (view here).

Inevitably Iran will want to support Hezbollah.

But Hezbollah will be portrayed as a demonic power and a threat to international security making it impossible for Iran to support Hezbollah.

It will be similar to before the 1991 Gulf War when Sadaam was made to look like Hitler.

But the Lebanese will want to avoid 2006 again and so will comply with demands to disarm Hezbollah.

But Israel won’t want Hezbollah to disarm. They will want to show they have militarily defeated Hezbollah.

Israel is reconciled to Hezbollah rockets hitting Tel Aviv. There could be several hundred casualties but Israel will then destroy everything in Lebanon. It could be Armageddon.

Nasrallah thinks that Israel cannot absorb significant civilians lossed but he is mistaken. After the bungled operations on the Mavi Marmara and in Dubai Israel needs to prove its military prowess to deter others.

Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Turkey are tightening the noose around Israel. It is like the build up to 1967.

But Israel will deliver a big blow to cut the Muslims and Arabs, who only understand the language of war, down to size.

In 1967 Israel was fighting radical Arab nationalism. Now it is Islamic fundamentalism.

Israel has already stated it will apply the Dahiya Doctrine. This is “the use of pulversing force against a civilian population” as happened in Dahiya in 2006 when Israel destroyed the poor Shia town.

The first application of this doctrine was in Gaza.

Israel will then gloat that “we beat Hezbollah” and it will be like the miracle of the 1967 war again.

The war will probably come one June as June seems to be Israel’s “favourite month for raining death on neighbouring Arab countries”.

But it won’t come for a while yet as the UN resolutions will take time. The “UN lends legitimacy to these outrages” as in the Balkans, Iraq 1990-91 and Iraq 2002.

Nasrallah is “smart, competent and incorruptible”, exactly the sort of person the West doesn’t like.

Mr Finkelstein said he can understand why the Lebanese will want to avoid their country becoming like Gaza. In Gaza there were 650,000 tons of rubble and you’d have to multiple that several times for Lebanon next time.

“Israel will want to smash Lebanon to show the Arab world not to mess with us. Therefore, it won’t work by disarming Hezbollah.”

The 2006 war was unavoidable as Israel had been planning it since 2001 and is again working to re-establish its deterence capacity. Their mentality is to be patient and to slowly build up the facts like they did when they came to Palestine at the turn of the nineteenth century and in 1967.

Israelis are “crazy” and they will “send in everything. If everything doesn’t look like it is working and it looks like Israel is losing it won’t accept a third defeat. They will threaten the ultimate”.

He confirmed this as meaning nuclear.

In the meantime, if anyone finds a set of dentures in Gaza please contact CAABU……

Palestinians destroy children’s summer camp, Israel to blame.

John Ging is 2nd from right (ph: thejeruselamfund)

Exactly three years ago Hamas’ violent ousting of Fatah from Gaza left the terrorist group a free hand to create an Islamist entity where no dissent is allowed.

As Sarah Honig has noted the anniversary came and went with scant critical appraisal anywhere.

“Nobody demands even a modicum of good behaviour from it (Hamas). Hamastan gets such pampering press that it seemingly cannot set a foot wrong,” she writes.

The latest expression of this involved the recent destruction of a United Nations children’s summer camp in Gaza, which was attacked by two dozen masked Palestinian armed men. This is the second such attack in just over a month.

Islamist Palestinians in Gaza accused the United Nations of corrupting Gaza’s youth with its summer programme of games, sports and human rights lessons for 250,000 children.

Hamas would prefer the children to attend their own “summer camps” with their sinister military training side.

John Ging, the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, came out with an implausible statement. (UNRWA is responsible for 70% of Gaza’s 1.5 million population).

While going through the motions of condemning the attack Ging went on to cite it as further evidence of growing levels of extremism in Gaza and called for a change in the circumstances on the ground that generate such extremism.

What he meant is that Israel has caused Hamas et al to act like this because of its blockade of Gaza. Ging has repeatedly called for the blockade’s complete lifting, which would inevitably lead to a further rocket onslaught on Israel.

Time after time we have seen influential people like Ging allow Hamas to get away with brutality.

It seems that there is nothing that Hamas or the Palestinian community are forced to take responsibility for whether it be voting for a terrorist group like Hamas in the first place (it was said that the Palestinian people had no choice due to the corruption of the incumbent Fatah regime), suicide bombings (according to many, including Ken Livingstone, there wouldn’t be suicide bombings if it wasn’t for the occupation), firing thousands of rockets into Israel (the defence to this being the rockets are ineffective and haven’t killed that many Israelis) and now repeatedly destroying another children’s summer camp (but if the blockade was lifted this might not happen, apparently).

The list of excuses reeled off for the Palestinians is exceedingly long.

It does the Palestinian people no credit in implying that such acts of barbarism are all just a reaction to anything Israel does. Suicide bombings, firing rockets into civilians areas in Israel and destroying children’s summer camps are wrong and should be condemned outright instead of letting the Palestinians repeatedly off the hook.

Ging and Livingstone etc. cannot, or do not want to, grasp the true nature of Hamas. What Hamas does is not because of the occupation or the settlements or the blockade. They would commit such barbaric acts if such situations did not exist. That is the nature of an Islamist group.

Hamas answers to a higher power alone.

Even the brutal Hamas takoever of Gaza and the accompanying massacres of Fatah activists were blamed on Israel and America.

According to B’Tselem 660 Palestinians have been murdered by Palestinians in the last ten years. No doubt these atrocities are also pinned on Israel.

At least in Beirut Palestinians are taking responsibilty for their actions and doing something they are not allowed to do under Hamas’ rule; protest against their rulers.

On Sunday outside the United Nations building in the Lebanese capital some 6,000 Palestinians demanded basic civil rights 62 years after they first arrived in Lebanon.

The 400,000 Palestinians that live in Lebanon are not allowed to own property and are excluded from 72 different forms of employment.

It is ironic that while there are more flotillas destined for Gaza to try to alleviate a non-existent humanitarian crisis, Palestinians living in Lebanon in dire conditions are virtually forgotten by the international community, including the flotilla activists.

Goldstone Report debate shambles

Goldstone's fact finding team: (l to r) Hina Jilani, Richard Goldstone, Professor Chinkin, Colonel Travers

Last night a few of us headed down to the London School of Economics to hear two of Richard Goldstone’s United Nations “fact” finding team into Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

The event was entitled The Goldstone Report and the Peace Process.

Considering the importance of the event it should have started on time but the Chairman and four speakers strolled in 15 minutes late so reducing the event’s length from 90 to just 75 minutes.

Retired Colonel Desmond Travers and Professor Christine Chinkin were both on the Goldstone panel but Chinkin had already signed a letter to the Times condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Chinkin’s mere presence on the investigation team was, therefore, a breach of Article 6 (Right to a fair trial) of the European Convention of Human Rights as she is obviously not “impartial”.

Karma Nabulsi also spoke. She is an ex-PLO negotiator and very personable but a one trick pony. For Karma peace can only come through “justice” and “justice” for her means the return of the Palestinian refugees to Israel.

She asked: “What is wrong with the refugees returning to Israel?”.

Where does one start, Karma! It’s the equivalent of the UK opening its borders to 60 million non-EU nationals.

Then there was Ami Ayalon. He was the “Israel voice”. He is ex-Shin Bet . Shin Bet is Israel’s internal security service, like our MI5. He also used to be a Labour Member of Israel’s Parliament.

He said Israel has a duty to defend its citizens but that he was against Israel invading Gaza because, as the Hamas website says, Hamas will take the fight to its own civilian areas.

Ayalon felt Israel did not have the tools to do this without causing harm to Palestinian civilians. Instead he had proposed a plan with Sari Nusseibah where there should be a new “law of return” for the settlers who wish to move back West into Israel proper and who should be compensated accordingly.

As decent a left-wing Israel voice as Ayalon was it would have been more interesting to hear from someone from Kadima, the party that took Israel to war. Now such a person runs the risk of arrest as soon as they step off the plane at Heathrow, so we will never be allowed to hear from them.

Ami Ayalon - ex-Shin Bet

But back to Colonel Travers who left some of us in utter disbelief by the end.

Travers was Goldstone’s munitions expert. He started off by saying that “the great preponderance of the damage that was done in Gaza was done by conventional weapons”.

Travers then took us through the deadly propensity of White Phosphorous, a non-conventional weapon which was used as a smoke-screen by Israel to shield its soldiers from Hamas fighters. Travers admits that the use of WP is not illegal and that all armies use it but he felt it should be banned worldwide “even for battlefield use”.

As he explained: “WP is a highly toxic chemical that needs no initiator to ignite, all it needs is oxygen. If it is deprived of oxygen it remains dormant and active. WP that was dumped in the Irish Sea after Wolrd War Two broke away from its moorings and came ashore and ignited on an Irish beach 50 years later. The fumes cause sickness as they are highly toxic and people with as low as 10% surface area burns will die becuase it attacks the central nervous system.”

Then he said: “Children in Gaza were attracted to the smoke because of its pleasent almond smell.”

But, apparently, there are two alternatives to WP: Red Phosphorous and Titanium Tetrachloride

Now, I am no chemist but at first glance these two chemicals also seem highly deadly and my hunch is that had Israel used either of them then accusations of war crimes would still be heading its way.

Then Travers moved on to the use of DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive): “To be very honest about it we found no evidence of DIME being used. There is anecdotal evidence. Whether it was or it wasn’t used it puts the victim at risk of cancer and is very difficult to trace and remove.” (Note the caveats.)

He also said he wished to see Tungsten and Flechette shells removed from the armies of the world.

But for the denouement of his presentation he said: “In Gaza munitions were dropped to achieve deep penetration, perhaps tunnel systems or underground caches and this suggests strongly that those munitions were comprised of hardened warheads which might have logically been hardened by radiological devices or depleted uranium or uranium devices and if so there are toxic consequences. It might have happened and if it has happened there is a responsibilty on the international community to make sure Gaza doesn’t deteriorate further and it is in a terrible situation already.” (How many more caveats!)

I had my doubts about the Goldstone Report but I kept an open mind that Israel might well have done things beyond international law. Now, after hearing, Professor Chinkin and, particularly, Colonel Travers I am even less inclined to trust its findings, eventhough I have not read the report in full.

Professor Chinkin has little credibility as an objective judge and Colonel Travers’ accusations that Israel used non-conventional weapons applies, on his own admission, to every other army in the world so then why is only Israel under investigation?

Below you can see Colonel Travers in full flow last night as filmed by Jonathan Sacerdoti. Note how in response to Jonathan Hoffman’s question about the possibility of weapons being stored by Hamas in mosques he admits that he visited only 2 out of the 14 mosques destroyed by Israel in Gaza and found no evidence of munitions having been stored there because, in his view, it just isn’t a secure place to store them.

Get that: He visited just two! What about the other 12, Colonel? Did Hamas not allow you into them by any chance?

The event was a perfect show of the amateurish way that the Goldstone Report, which could have the affect of sending Israeli soldiers and politicians to prison, was put together.

The United Nations, itself, loses even more credibility by endorsing the report.