Tag Archives: Palestinian Authority

Bassem Eid Brings a Fresh Perspective to KCL

With Israel Apartheid Week looming at KCL, Bassem Eid, one of the BDS’ most famous and renowned opponents flew into London with CAMERA on Campus. The event was held as a pre- Apartheid Week, or a pre-Israel hate week, block at King’s College’s Waterloo Campus on the 6th February 2017.

Bassem with students from Kings

What is interesting about Bassem, and what makes him such a significant speaker, is that he highlights what should be a common goal with the pro Palestinian groups on campus, but shows how most of their efforts are destructive and harmful. Bassem Eid is a journalist that publishes about human rights cases in the Palestinian territories, to emphasise the changes that need to be made to help the community, and the corruption of the controlling powers.

Promoting human rights for Palestinians is a humanitarian goal that should not only concern individuals interested in politics or a particular cause, but a united global matter for all to have a core standard of human rights.

The BDS campaign, a coercive organisation aiming to demonise Israel and put pressure on its economic and political sustainability also have the same claim, to help the Palestinian community, however the strategies which were seen in apartheid week demonstrate that it’s not to promote the quality of their lives, but simply to attack Israel. This campaign aims to create tension between the two societies, aims to cut off economic synergies and trade, to worsen the quality of life of both parties, promoting war, hatred and unease.

At this event, Bassem emphasised that the outer international community is spending too much money and time focusing on the political side to the conflict. However, as a Palestinian, he believes that none of the Palestinians have benefited from these initiatives. He claims that since the Oslo agreements, the situation for the Palestinian society has only gotten worse. Organisations should focus more on promoting economic activity and trade and improving the quality of life of the Palestinian community, rather than implementing and arguing over artificial solutions and regulations which seem diplomatic, but are no help to the daily life of Palestinians on the ground. In order to improve living standards, employment, education and healthcare has to be encouraged, together with building bridges with the Israeli community and their economy.

Good schools lead to better societies, but the international community focuses too much on diplomacy rather than bettering the lives of Palestinians.

Unlike any usual speaker promoting Israel on campus, Bassem is focused on helping the Palestinian people, and highlighting the corruption and violence of the current Palestinian leadership, together with criticising international institutions for not seeing the short term picture of the crisis and supplying solutions for the community. Rather than being simply an advocate or having a political view, he takes a researching stance, analysing human rights and reporting on them as a journalist to the outer world.

This activism however, comes at a cost. Many journalists fail to report any stories that are negative about the Palestinian Authority for fear of being threatened by these groups, and Bassem has faced these threats himself. Arrested and denounced as an Israeli spy in 1996, Bassem still constantly receives violent threats because of his accurate reporting about human rights violations in the Palestinian territories.

Recently, it is clear that this is not the only media censorship that is happening within this community, controlled by the Palestinian Authorities. In early February a 29-year-old author from Ramallah was stranded and received a warrant of arrest due to his latest novel being deemed as too provocative and sexual. All copies of the novel have since been confiscated and have left the author in Qatar, in fear of coming home to his family who are living in the West Bank.

This example, together with many more, demonstrates how important Bassem’s work is. The fact is that yes, there are many problems in these territories, the daily life for citizens is not easy and its governing body is not too concerned about it. And unlike the BDS campaign, Bassem doesn’t want to blame the troubles in those territories on Israel.

Contributed by Joelle Reid, CAMERA Fellow at King’s College London.

The Separation Between the African-American and Palestinian Narratives

Dumisani Washington, a multi-talented and dedicated human rights activist, is a CAMERA speaker and has spoken to students at UCONN and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign among many others. Dumisani Washington is dedicated to continuing Dr. King’s legacy of establishing peace and justice in the world. Washington fights for justice by promoting and defending the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel.

Unfortunately, many critics of Israel draw parallels between the African-American narrative and the Palestinian narrative in Israel.

As Washington explains, according to Dr. King, this juxtaposition of the African American experience in America to the Palestinian experience in Israel has been false, from the beginning, since Israel’s establishment as a state on multiple levels.

Arabs, not Israelis, were the aggressors at the time

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

Soldiers celebrate at the end of the Six Day War at the Western Wall. Source: israelforever.org

Israel defended herself in the 1967 Six Day War and managed to safeguard the country as the homeland for the Jewish people. It is important to note that Israel was up against all bordering countries during the Six Day War: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

In other words, only a few years after the Holocaust, all surrounding countries decided to attack Israel and wanted to end the existence of the Jewish people’s new safe haven.

Source: JPost

Source: JPost

The Arab League, the Arab leadership at the time, had no interest in negotiations with Israel. Their only response to defeat was to label Israel as imperialist.

Almost immediately following Israel’s success in the Six Day War, the Arab League met in Sudan and officially condemned Israelis as “occupiers.”

There, the Arab League issued the infamous “Khartoum No’s” in the Khartoum Declaration:
No peace with Israel
No recognition of Israel
No negotiations with Israel

Rather than trying to work with Israel, the Khartoum Declaration made it very clear that the interests of Arab leadership were otherwise. Throughout history, Israel has offered peace talks but is only rejected with hostility or approached with false promises of peace.

Israel is ignorantly labeled as imperialist when it is only struggling to survive as the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.

Putting Dr. King’s hopes to disgrace, the Palestinian Authority ruins Palestinians’ opportunities in the Middle East

Source: electronicintifada.net

Source: electronicintifada.net

Corruption of the PA puts Dr. King’s hopes to disgrace by hurting Palestinians’ chances for life improvement. Dr. King’s legacy to help Palestinians and efforts to establish a Marshall Plan are completely disregarded and crushed by the PA.

The Marshall Plan originated from an American project to aid Western Europe in economic support in order to help rebuild them rebuild after the war. In 1968, Dr. King initiated a Marshall Plan for the Palestinians. Just as America tried to financially support Europe after the war, so too does the US need to try to help impoverished Palestinians.

Calev Myers, founder of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, has exposed the PA’s use, or lack thereof, of these attempted Marshall Plans. During the past 19 years, the Palestinian Authority has been given the per capita equivalent of 25 Marshall Plans, altogether worth tens of billions of dollars.

Despite all that the PA has received, poverty ensues among Palestinians as a direct result of the PA’s corruption. The funds do not reach the Palestinian people and Dr. King’s hope of helping them through Marshall Plans has gone down the drain.

It is not clear where all the funds end up, but the PA does not try to explain how the money goes missing. Recently, for example, the European Court of Auditors reported that approximately $3.1 billion given to the PA for Palestinians somehow has disappeared.

In addition, Bassem Eid, a pro-Palestinian activist and CAMERA speaker, testifies that overall Palestinians cannot trust the PA. Palestinians are being oppressed by their very own government and yet many ‘human rights’ activists fail to notice this.

The Palestinian Authority’s failure to distribute funds to Palestinians is part of a cycle to blame Israel further

Source: globalexchange.org

Source: globalexchange.org

Dr. King was a staunch pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian activist. According to Dr. King, the terms ‘pro-Israel’ and ‘pro-Palestinian’ are not at all antithetical because Dr. King simply believed in human rights for people, all people.

When Anti-Israel protesters use King’s views as material to delegitimize or criticize Israel, they are betraying his values and beliefs in human rights for all. While they use Israel as a scapegoat for the cause of all Palestinian plight, in truth, Israel is not comparable or at all relevant to the African-American narrative.

Such anti-Zionist activists project an image that they are fighting for justice and human rights but this is a cover for their true interests to put down Israel.
If they were truly dedicated to bettering life for Palestinians, they would be criticizing the PA and other Middle East regimes that oppress Palestinians.

Unfortunately, there is an endless cycle here: as long as Israel is blamed and used as the scapegoat for Palestinian oppression and impoverishment, the sources of Palestinians’ problems will not be addressed. And as long as the Palestinians continue to suffer, their suffering will be used as excuse to blame Israel.

To follow in Dr. King’s legacy, activists need to recognize this destructive cycle and end it for the sake of Palestinians.

Contrary to the view of many pro-Palestinian activists, Israel offers Palestinians great opportunity. It would be wise for all Palestinian activists to support Israel for the sake of Palestinians.

Palestinian workers at SodaStream before a massive layoff, a direct result of the BDS movement. Source: U.S.News

Palestinian workers at SodaStream before a massive layoff, a direct result of the BDS movement. Source: U.S.News

Israel is a land of opportunity for Arabs. The BDS movement strives to delegitimize Israel but consequently hurts Palestinian livelihoods in Israel. The Jewish state is a democracy where Palestinian citizens of Israel live freely, are employed, and Palestinians living outside of Israel in Gaza are even supported by the Israeli government through constant shipments of goods and materials.

In order to truly respect and continue Dr. King’s legacy of fighting for human rights, anti-Israel activists that truly want to help Palestinians need to address the actual perpetrators of the Palestinians’ plight and stop uselessly blaming Israel.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

Improving Israeli-Palestinian Relations on Campus

CAMERA Fellow Hayley Nagelberg.

CAMERA Fellow Hayley Nagelberg.

In March, Joe Biden spoke to a room of 18,000 people at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and said, “the future belongs to the bridge builders.” He is not the first person to use this expression. Martin Luther King Jr, Isaac Newton and Pope Francis are all known to have used this metaphor in their speeches.

The metaphor is simple: Those who build relationships with others and work toward inclusion of more groups will have success. Those who stand alone and tear others down will not.

This week, students across campus intend to promote a message of hateful lies about Israel as truth. This was not a shock for me to see; I have heard of these weeks of programming all around different campuses. But being a freshman at this University, and seeing it for the first time, I could not just brush it off.

University of Illinois campus.

University of Illinois campus.

Every week, different student organizations stand on the quad promoting their individual messages. This week, the same is true. Groups are selling cookies, handing out flyers and explaining the causes they represent. But this week, there is a new table as well, where I will spend my week trying to not just speak for one group, but for all. Specifically, this table is asking students to stand up and build bridges with us. Not just metaphorically, but literally. We are building a bridge.

The concept of apartheid has been discussed a lot on campus over the last few weeks — from the discussion of divesting from coal like we divested from South Africa, to now this week of programming. The word apartheid means separation. It was the word assigned to explain South Africa’s legislative system of racial separation. These laws regulated every faction of daily life from where people could go to the bathroom, where they could go to school and even whom they could marry.

None of these regulations exist in Israel today. Israel is a democracy — home to people of all religions, all races and ethnicities, all sexual identities and more.

There are people who infer that there is an apartheid in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinian people, but there is no basis to these claims. In the West Bank, as well as in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are self-governed.

In 1993, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was established to govern the Palestinian National Movement. This government is elected and has its own legal counsel. It is in charge of education, judicial proceedings, health policies and medical care.

There have been grave acts against the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are excluded from the Arab League states who do not stand to support their nationality. They have been kicked out of Kuwait, Libya, Iraq and more. They are denied the right to own their own homes in Lebanon. They have been denied citizenship in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and other countries. And yet, the events taking place on our campus choose to focus on condemning Israel.

Seeing this upsets me. I want to sit down and explain the facts, but that is not a feasible plan. There is too much distrust amongst different groups on campus for us to have a conversation.

In Israel, Palestinians and Israelis live side by side. In Israel, they attend school together, they play sports together, they learn to play music together and they learn to see each other as partners for peace. In Israel, an Arab woman was unanimously approved by Israel’s cabinet to be national commissioner for equal employment opportunities. Israel’s ambassador to Norway was a Druze man. On Israel’s supreme court, one of the justices is an Israeli Arab. And the list goes on.

These people know how to live side by side, yet on campuses across the country it seems this lesson is not yet understood. But I believe this campus can change that.

I believe we can be the future Biden described — a future full of bridge builders where engaging with people who disagree with us is possible, and where we see each other as neighbors and brothers and cousins, not enemies, despite unstable histories between us.

This week, and moving forward, you have a choice to make as a student here: you can join the demonstrations on the quad; you can join the events that are furthering the divide and animosity on campus, or you can join the movement to unite our campus.

The choice is yours. I hope you choose to build bridges with me.

Originally published in The Daily Illini.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at University of Illinois, Hayley Nagelberg.

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A Double Standard for “Justice”

This piece has been republished in The Algemeiner.

Jihadist fighters from ISIS are terrorizing Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp outside of Damascus. Snipers are shooting people as they attempt to flee the fighting between ISIS and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s air force has indiscriminately dropped unguided and inaccurate, but lethal “barrel bombs” onto residential neighborhoods in the camp. The UN has not been able to get food or medical supplies into the camp.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding and outrage is building. But one group, purportedly dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Palestinian people, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has largely ignored the crisis. Its website, Facebook page and Twitter account offer hardly a word of condemnation for the violence inflicted on the helpless inhabitants of Yarmouk.

The reason for this is quite obvious: Israel is not involved, and as a result, the suffering is not worth SJP’s attention.

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

A supporter of SJP shows what their true mission is.

No less guilty than SJP is the UN Human Rights Council. In the words of Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch: “ISIS has taken over the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria and is beginning to behead Palestinians. But the UN Human Rights Council won’t adopt a single resolution, convene a single emergency session, or create a single commission of inquiry. Why? Because Israel can’t be blamed.”

SJP has not always ignored the situation in Yarmouk. Last January, while Bashar al-Assad’s forces were butchering thousands of Syrians as part of that country’s ongoing civil war, SJP at Cornell published a statement about conditions there among Palestinians. However, when they declare that “To make the Palestinians of Yarmouk a pawn in anyone’s game in unacceptable,” they hypocritically do just that by blaming Israel for Yarmouk’s existence and by laying the blame for Yarmouk’s problems at Israel’s feet. What is ostensibly a plea for justice is really nothing more than a hit piece against the one democracy in the Middle East.

SJP and other groups were all-too-eager to protest Israel’s rightful use of force against Palestinian terrorists during and after last summer’s war, but the fact that there has been silence on the part of those who claim to care for ALL Palestinians, and not just those in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, is too big to ignore.

I’ve yet to see a statement similar to last year’s, or a demonstration, or other event voicing concern about the terrible crimes currently being perpetrated in Yarmouk by ISIS. However, since SJP can’t find a way to blame Israel, the Palestinians of Yarmouk who are enduring these crimes suddenly have no advocate. SJP, the UNHRC, and other groups who are supposedly interested in justice are silent, and their silence is deafening. It shows that their pro-Palestinian agenda is opportunistic, a vehicle for promoting their anti-Israel sentiment. They are not voicing concern for the lives of Palestinians caught in ISIS’ cross-hairs.

Well, this Jewish, Zionist Israel-supporter is.

If one did not know better, one would assume that SJP is less concerned with Palestinian “justice” than with demonizing Israel. Of course, to anyone paying attention, this truth is all too clear. When SJP holds demonstrations supporting the Palestinians in Yarmouk, as well as demonstrating against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who are true enemies of the Palestinians, I may be able to see them as something other than hypocrites.

By Ben Einsidler, a CAMERA Campus Coordinator.

Mahmoud Abbas Can’t be Considered a Moderate

This piece was contributed by Concordia University‘s 2014-2015 CAMERA Fellow, Bradley Martin.  It has been republished in The Algemeiner.

abbas-i-wll-never-recognize-the-jewish-state-30.10.2011Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently marched with world leaders in Paris in a gesture of unity; just days after Islamic extremists slaughtered 17 people. While much of the Western world agrees that Hamas is a terrorist organization, Abbas has been hailed by many as being a brave and moderate figure for seeking peace with Israel. Such characterizations fail to take key facts about Abbas into consideration, making his participation in the anti-terror march rather inappropriate.

In 1982, Abbas completed his doctoral thesis titled “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Zionist Movement.” Abbas wrote that the estimated number of Jews killed during the Second World War, was “less than one million.” He also claims that the Zionist leadership collaborated with the Nazi regime to “facilitate the wide-spread destruction” of Jews. Abbas’ thesis later took the form of a book, which was printed in 1984 by a publisher based in Amman, Jordan. In the introduction to his book, he asserted again that the number of Jews killed was less than one million. Abbas also claimed that there were doubts regarding the existence of gas chambers.[1]

It is rather ironic that Abbas constructs a supposed Nazi conspiracy, considering the very real connection between Adolf Hitler and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini was considered by many to be one of the major founders of Palestinian Arab nationalism. During the Second World War, he collaborated with Nazi Germany and helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS, many of whom later fought against the nascent State of Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. Al-Husseini also sought Hitler’s help in extending his anti-Jewish program from Europe to Arab lands, in a personal meeting which took place in 1941.[2]

Abbas’ belief in a conspiracy between Nazis and Zionists are not only at odds with reality, it also serves as precedent to a very disturbing practice. Under his presidency the Palestinian Authority has continued to make it illegal for Palestinians to sell land to Jews, making it a capital offense. In one high profile case, former Palestinian intelligence officer Muhammad Abu Shahala, was sentenced to death after it was revealed that he sold his home in Hebron to a Jewish man. Under Palestinian law, the death sentence can be executed if approved by the president of the Palestinian Authority.[3] abbas+mufti

According to Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post, “scores of Arab land sellers began turning up dead in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in both judicial and extrajudicial killings.”[4] Such laws, enforced by Abbas, have dangerous commonalities with the Third Reich ban on social and economic relations with Jews. Palestinian Authority officials and media have continuously engaged in incitement against Israel, under Abbas’ watch.[5] A recent example is just last year, when Abbas called upon all Palestinians to prevent Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount ‘by all means.’[6][7]

Apart from his Holocaust denial and enforcement of antisemitic legislation, Mahmoud Abbas’ past history of financing terrorism has yet to be addressed. In a Sports Illustrated article from 2002, the mastermind behind the Munich Massacre Abu Daoud with the help of German Neo-Nazis,[8] revealed that it was Abbas who financed the operation. Black September, the terrorist group which carried out the attack, led to the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and one German police officer during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Daoud recalled how Arafat and Abbas wished him luck and kissed him, when he set about organizing the attack.

apartheid3

Not only does Abbas refuse to renounce this massacre, he actively praises Black September and other terrorists to this day. When Daoud died in 2010 of kidney failure, Abbas sent a telegram of condolence calling him “a wonderful brother, companion, tough and stubborn fighter.”[9] In late 2014, when Muataz Hijazi attempted to murder Yehuda Glick, Abbas expressed condolences to Hijazi’s family, while condemning the “heinous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army.”[10]

In order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must negotiate with moderate Palestinian leadership. There must be willingness on the part of Palestinians to renounce terrorism and not pursue antisemitic policies.

  • [1] http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1414
  • [2] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/mufti2.html
  • [3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134245/Former-Palestinian-intelligence-officer-sentenced-death-selling-home-Jews.html
  • [4] Ibid.
  • [5] http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/11/19/a-list-of-recent-palestinian-incitement-attacks-glorification/
  • [6] http://news.yahoo.com/abbas-urges-palestinians-protect-al-aqsa-means-191742798.html
  • [7] http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_article=2877&x_context=2&x_outlet=35
  • [8] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/files-show-neo-nazis-helped-palestinian-terrorists-in-munich-1972-massacre-a-839467.html
  • [9] http://elderofziyon.blogspot.ca/2012/07/mahmoud-abbas-connections-to-munich.html#.VMqZbSzZF2A
  • [10] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.624200

Background Information Necessary in Articles about Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This piece was written by Brett Hausler and originally published in Massachusetts Daily Collegian, UMASS Amherst’s daily newspaper, on March 26th, 2014. Brett is a senior studying social thought and political economy, in addition to public policy and administration. Brett is a proud CAMERA Fellow, and a strong Israel advocate in the UMASS community.

A little while ago, I picked up a copy of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. It was a typical day, where I would make my way through the Campus Center and into the Student Union to stay warm on my walk toward class in Bartlett. On the second page of the Collegian, the editor had chosen to provide several stories with issues “Around the World.” In this particular issue of the Collegian, I noticed that there were two articles about Israel. One of them caught my eye, because I recognized that it was written in a way that mislead and distorted the actions of Israel.

The article began with, “An Israeli airstrike killed two people in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, including a man identified by Israeli security forces as a militant who fired rockets across the border last week during former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral.” In order for proper recognition of why there was and continues to be rocket fire between Israel and Hamas, there must be some background information provided, which the original piece of writing did not include.

Israel has strived to create peace with the Palestinian government since 1948 – other instances include 1973, 2000 and 2008. Initially, in 1947, the Arab countries rejected the UN Resolution 181 (two-state solution) because they refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate country. In 1993, Israel transferred ownership of much of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. The exchange was intended for peace, but none materialized. After the evacuation of all Israelis from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinian government still refused to have peace talks with Israel. In fact, since the withdrawal – one that has caused much dispute within the Israeli and Jewish communities – Hamas, an Islamist group, has increased rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.

The article lacked context about the air strike. By naming the casualties as just people, the severity of the militant’s actions is decreased. Initial descriptions of one of the casualties as a militant is necessary in order to better illustrate a very serious situation that happened and continues to happen in Israel. In addition to this destruction, context of Hamas’ operations within Gaza borders show the struggle that Israel faces when countering continuous rocket attacks which originate from Hamas militants.

Hamas uses civilian buildings in Gaza for military purposes, which is why many rockets sent into the Gaza Strip by Israel result in civilian casualties. According to the Israel Defense Forces blog, “Hamas uses homes, schools, mosques and hospitals as weapons caches and hiding spots for its fighters.” Israel has the right to attack these private properties, and they must do so with the knowledge that killing militants may come with the unpleasant loss of civilian life.

Hamas Human Sheilds

Hamas’ strategy of using human shields to create more ‘collateral damage’ and negative press towards Israel

According to the Geneva Convention (Protocol 1), Article 52, “military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.” This specific rocket attack was Israel’s legal obligation with regards to Article 52.

Israel struggles to generate peace with Hamas because Hamas completely rejects a Jewish State. It has the ultimate mission to “fight the Jews and kill them” and to replace the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate, among many other destructive actions even against its own Palestinian population. The article I am responding to did not provide context to Israel’s actions which killed a Palestinian militant. These aspects of the Israeli-Arab conflict need to be offered in all articles explaining the conflict, and when they are not, the words serve no purpose.

Terrorists Unite For “Peace”

This piece was originally Published in the Times of Israel on June 6th, 2014 and was written by Seth Greenwald. Seth Greenwald is an active writer for the Times of Israel, a pro-Israel activist, and a CAMERA intern.

As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reaches the tenth year of his four-year term, he has achieved the “impossible,” a brokered “peace.” Abbas has established friendly relations with one of his greatest adversaries, and that is not Israel. For the first time in nearly a decade, the “former” terrorist organization, Fatah, has agreed to form a unity government with the terrorists of Hamas. Considering the fact that Abbas has spent many months attempting to broker peace talks with Israel, this seems like the perfect way to establish peace with the Jewish State.

Hamas and Fatah have been at odds for roughly eight years, following a history of Civil War in which over 600 were killed, more than 1000 were wounded, and cities were reduced to rubble. So much has changed since innocent Palestinians were killed, terrorists bombed terrorists, and cities were destroyed. Now, their previously mutual animosity towards each other has been pushed aside and terrorists have united to kill more innocent Israelis. What has not changed is that Palestinian and Israeli civilians are still casualties of war, and rockets continue to damage civilian areas in order to combine forces against the “Zionist entity,” or the Jewish State of Israel.

Haniyeh-Fatah-AP

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, left, Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, center, and senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is based in Egypt. This photo was taken after the announcement of an agreement between the two rival Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, at Haniyeh’s residence in Shati Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Not many details are yet known regarding the terrorist government claiming to unite for peace, but one thing is for certain. Ismail Haniyeh, current Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, said at a rally on Tuesday that Palestinians would now be newly empowered to fight Israel.

“Palestinian reconciliation aims to unite the Palestinian people against the prime enemy, the Zionist enemy. It aims to pursue the choice of resistance and steadfastness,” Haniyeh told supporters in the southern town of Rafah.

The reports further state that the Hamas-built security in Gaza and Abbas’ Western-armed security forces wouldn’t be reconciled until after elections, yet the armed wing of Hamas known for firing roughly 13000 rockets from Gaza to Israel over the past 10 years will remain intact following the vote.

Continue reading here

Contributed by CAMERA intern Seth Greenwald, Sophomore at Clark University 

VICE Swayed by Propaganda Artists

It is unfortunate that even those dedicated to uncovering the truth are so consistently bombarded with fallacies that they begin to believe them. VICE, the youtube channel dedicated to showing the living conditions of those people most struggling across the globe, committed themselves to uncovering the “truth” about Israel and Palestine.

Sadly, though displaying a more accurate representation of Hamas in the video, “Crime and Punishment in the Gaza Strip,” a newer video, “Resistance in the West Bank,” takes almost entirely the Palestinian narrative, failing to properly understand the Israeli narrative.

Beginning with the name alone, “Resistance in the West Bank,” the pro-Israel side may call this “Terrorism in the Disputed Territories.” Depicting terrorists as martyrs and freedom fighters, the documentarians of VICE began their journey to “understanding.”

"Peaceful" Protests

“Peaceful” Protests

The video was wrought with fallacies from the very start: VICE described the settlements as illegal under international law, a disputed fact, and argued that “Hamas recently traded rockets with Israel” (Operation Pillar of Defense). VICE failed to note clearly how many hundreds of rockets were fired weekly into Israel by the terrorist group without a backlash and before a counter operation from the Israeli side. In regards to the settlements, the international law is tricky, but I recommend looking below:

Continue reading here: 

Seth Greenwald is an intern at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA) and a student at Clark University. 

Palestine is the Missing Partner for Peace

This piece was written by Alisa Rudy and first published in “The Ticker” on April 7th. Alisa is a junior majoring in Middle East Studies at Baruch College, is the current President of the CCAP group Youth Organization For Israel, Baruch’s student pro-Israel club.

Baruch's Pro-Israel Group

Baruch’s Pro-Israel Group

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leadership are yet again at a standstill. It seems that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, does not see a real partner in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and John Kerry agrees. The U.S. Secretary of State was quoted recently as citing Israeli actions as “disruptive to the [peace] process,” and predicting that if the peace talks fail, there will be a third intifada.

 

CAMERA Fellow Alisa Rudy

CAMERA Fellow Alisa Rudy

But is the real problem Israeli leadership? Let’s remember exactly how the second intifada had started—Yasser Arafat. That was the same man who shook hands with Ehud Barak in 1993, and who was hailed as the official, trustworthy leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) during the Oslo Accords. The same man promised that the PLO “commits itself to the Middle East peace process” and “recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.”

Palestinian President Abu Mazen

Palestinian President Abu Mazen took over the PA after Arafat.

When the second intifada began in 2000 in a succession of suicide bombings, it appeared as though the Palestinian people were erupting with a burst of unforeseen nationalism. What was later discovered, and verified by Arafat himself, was that the Intifada, the so-called grassroots uprising, was not very popular at all. In fact, the movement was initiated by the same man who shook hands with Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak for peace.

The peace process will never be successful as long as the current Palestinian leadership stands. Mahmoud Abbas continues to follow the pattern set by his predecessor Arafat, whose insincere “efforts for peace” were eclipsed by an ongoing campaign featuring the glorification of the single most petrifying terrorist movement to sweep modern-day Israel.

Israeli efforts for security are constantly seen as a “roadblock” to peace. How can Israel claim to offer equal rights to the Palestinians when they are forced to go through security checkpoints?

On Jan 27, 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, a Red Crescent emergency volunteer named Wafa Idris was permitted to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint in an ambulance into Israel without investigation. She later committed a suicide bombing that killed one person in addition to herself and injured more than 100 people, thereby becoming the first female Palestinian suicide bomber.

Even though Abbas wills to have “tranquility and quiet,” his party praises radical terrorism. Palestinian Media Watch reports that the official Fatah Facebook page posted a memorial on the anniversary of Idris’ suicide bombing, hailing her as a hero to the Palestinian people: “This is the hero whose name the Zionists will remember well, and so will Palestinians; the hero who sacrificed herself and her body for Palestine … through one of the most honorable Martyrdom-seeking operations in recent years … the name of Wafa Idris is still a lesson that terrifies the Jews.”

In March of 2011, UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, together with Fatah-affiliated Al-Amari Palestinian youth center, held a memorial soccer tournament named after Wafa Idris. In 2002, Al-Quds newspaper reported that Fatah had created a women’s brigade for attacking Israeli civilians “in honor of the Martyr Wafa Idris.”

Unfortunately, the conflicted two-faced leadership of Abbas and Fatah is not limited to Wafa Idris.

A Palestinian children’s show features alarming sing-alongs, one in which a caller from Holland then sings a song that begins, “When we get martyred we will go to Paradise … No, don’t say we are too small.” The song concludes, “I am willing to sacrifice my blood for my country. Without Palestine, our childhood means nothing.”

Additionally, the Palestinian Authority receives enormous amounts of aid each year. Instead of using this aid to help the Palestinian people and make improvements on Palestinian social works programs, Palestinian leaders are dedicating $74 million to the families of terrorists, the “martyrs for the Palestinian cause,” effectively incentivizing terrorism.

The alarming rhetoric from Palestinian leadership is extremely unsettling for the sake of Palestinians who are constantly taught that martyrdom and self-sacrifice for their country is the ideal. It is doubly concerning because the same figures who hold martyrdom to such a high standard are the ones who are calling for Israel to make peace concessions, claiming they hope to achieve it within their time.

The future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations lies in the hands of the Israeli leadership, but it is important that Palestinian leadership recognize themselves as equally responsible.

If Abbas and the Palestinian Authority do not relinquish their set of violent ideals for something more conducive to peace, it is unlikely that any step made by the Israelis will be enough to cover for what Palestinians lack in the peacemaking process.

For more by Alisa Rudy, check out her piece A Tough Legacy for a Tougher Man.

Bastardized Justice in the Middle East

This piece was contributed by Elliott Hamilton, a Liaison for our CCAP group Claremont Students for Israel. It was originally published on April 11th in The Student Life.

Last semester, following the publication of my Nov. 15, 2013 article, “We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity,” addressing dialogue on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, I waited patiently for someone to approach me to discuss the complexities of the conflict in a respectful setting. Five months later, no one from the other side of the aisle has approached me directly, but I have seen an influx of articles about the conflict in campus publications. To my surprise, and great satisfaction, it has resulted in the start of a dialogue between individuals who write from both sides of the issue.

CAMERA staff meets with Elliot Hamilton and Ellie Rudee,(our 2013-2014 Fellow).  Left to right: Gilad, Elliot, Ellie, Samantha.

CAMERA staff meets with Elliot Hamilton and Ellie Rudee (our 2013-2014 Fellow).
Left to right: Gilad, Elliot, Ellie, Samantha.

In its first issue of this semester, TSL published two articles focusing on the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott of Israel and the reasons Pomona College and the rest of the Claremont consortium should embrace the boycott’s rationale. A month later, the Claremont Independent released a critique of a column written by Matt Dahl PO ’17 in support of the boycott. The critique pointed out the double standard therein: The boycott criticizes Israel, but fails to mention atrocious violations of human rights by other states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria.

Most recently, the April 4 issue of TSL included a response to the Independent’s article written by a columnist from my hometown. What is rather ironic about this coincidence is that our hometown of Newton, Mass., was recently in the news because of allegations that public school teachers had purposefully omitted key aspects of the Hamas charter that highlighted its intent to destroy the Jewish state. This was a move that raised eyebrows in a predominantly Jewish city outside of Boston.

Claremont for israel

In a similar way, this columnist had also omitted some key variables in his defense of the ASA boycott, ones that I believe should be mentioned. Having been to Israel and the West Bank, I can make a solid case for why it is problematic to delegitimize Israel while refusing to acknowledge the Palestinian Authority’s laundry list of problems.

First and foremost, Israel is not perfect. No country has a blank track record when it comes to social problems and international conflicts. The Israeli-Arab conflict is more than 60 years old, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on since 1964, and each side has been guilty of crimes against the other.

That being said, it is rather unfortunate that nobody in the consortium likes to talk about the crimes committed against Israelis by the Palestinians. For example, nobody likes to talk about the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s numerous hijackings of planes carrying Israeli citizens, which led to the Entebbe raid that killed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother in 1976.

In addition, the consortium does not discuss the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip following Israel’s disengagement from the region in 2005, and how Israeli kindergartners are being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at a rate of almost 74 percent as a result.

And on top of that, nobody likes to mention the fact that key figures in the Palestinian solidarity movement and the Palestinian faction governments do not wish to have peace with the Jewish state.

Let’s start with Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of which the ASA boycott is a part. In an interview with the Electronic Intifada, he was quoted saying, “I am completely and categorically against bi-nationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land and therefore, we have to accommodate both national rights.”

This is not a man with peaceful ambitions to create two states for two peoples; this is a man who would rather eliminate the Israeli narrative entirely. It is illogical to claim that supporting BDS is essential for protecting free speech when its outspoken leader does not support the right for the Israeli narrative to exist. Considering that we once had prominent Israelis like Shimon Peres, Yitzchak Rabin, and Netanyahu who accepted the Palestinian narrative as legitimate, we must ask the question: Which party is more willing to coexist in the region?

Finally, I wish to address the statements of Abbas Zaki, a senior official in Fatah and close friend of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. A month ago, following Netanyahu’s address regarding the Iranian weapons shipment that the Israeli Defense Forces thwarted, Zaki discussed the situation on the PA’s national television. At one point during the broadcast, Zaki stated, “I believe that Allah will gather them so we can kill them.”

While it seems that the media and many politicians place blame on Israel for the fading peace talks, very few noticeable figures have called out Zaki for this disturbing statement about killing Israelis. I am not saying that individual Israelis have not made similar remarks about the Palestinians, but rather that it is worrying that a prominent Palestinian politician can go on record with this kind of commentary and have no one hold him responsible. I have to wonder how committed the Palestinian governments are to the idea of establishing a true, lasting peace with Israel. If conspicuous figures such as Barghouti and Zaki cannot be held responsible for their war cries, then the existence of an anti-Israel double standard cannot be ignored.

Therefore, I encourage members of the Claremont consortium to really consider what we’re putting in jeopardy when we consider policies like the ASA boycott. What are the true intentions of such movements? Are there other nations that are undergoing similar scrutiny? Are such movements beneficial to the goals we seek to accomplish?

In my opinion, the BDS movement, including the ASA boycott, is a bastardization of the concept of social justice. Unlike my fellow Newton native, I firmly believe that both Israelis and Palestinians should be held to the same standard. We cannot have a fair peace without treating both sides equally.

Elliott Hamilton PZ ’15 is majoring in economics. He is an executive board member of Claremont Students for Israel, and is the campus activist project liaison for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.