Under Attack Again

On Tues night around 3.30 am an alarm siren sounded, warning that we were under missile attack.  Everyone knows that the rockets originate from Gaza, which is about 50 km away.  Half asleep I dragged myself into the reinforced safe room (mamad) which is required in any new or renovated house or building in Israel.  After a few minutes I heard the loud thud as the missile hit a target.  It sounded close.  I was relieved it wasn’t me and said a quick prayer for anyone who was hit, and soon fell back to sleep on the couch.  I woke several times, but did not return to bed because they don’t sound an all-clear here (it may never be all-clear) and so I simply dozed on.

The following day the IAF counter-attacked Gaza, targeting ca. 20 Hamas facilities, including attack tunnels and also rocket launchers, if detected in time.  Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has been arguing in speeches that it will be necessary in order to stop these constant missile attacks that Israel deal a “death-blow” to Hamas in Gaza.  The Israel Cabinet is meeting today to consider a major escalation.  Everyone says that no-one wants war, but shall we continue to live all our lives under the threat of missile attack from these terrorist murderers.

The missile that had penetrated the Iron Dome system struck a house in a suburb of Beer Sheva called Ramot.  It was extremely lucky that the family with three children had just seconds before entered their mamad when the rocket hit, essentially demolishing the house.  The family was evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, uninjured, but suffering from shock.

I remember as a child in the East End of London during WWII, taking shelter from German bombs.  Sometimes in the shelter built for the purpose in the back-yard of our building, and sometimes under the kitchen table.  Shall Jewish children always be condemned to shelter from the bombs and missiles of our enemies that are trying to kill us indiscriminately?  Given that we have an exceptional armed force perhaps the time has come to stop this nonsense once and for all.


UNRWA and Jordan

The recent US moves by the Trump Administration to defund UNRWA are to be applauded.  There is no doubt that not only is UNRWA a major cause of the perpetuation of the so-called Palestinian refugee crisis, but also it is largely infiltrated and controlled by Hamas, that is a recognized Islamist terrorist organization.  In relation to the defunding of UNRWA, Khalil Janshan published an article in the prestigious magazine Foreign Policy that argues that defunding UNRWA will cause a major loss of revenue via UNRWA to the State of Jordan.  Since Jordan is a US ally this could cause severe harm to American policy and could lead to the destabilization and overthrow of the pro-American Hashemite regime.

Opposing this view Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli Ambassador to the US, wrote an editorial piece in the Jerusalem Post.  While I agreed in principle with his arguments against UNRWA, he missed one important point.  The following letter was published in the Jerusalem Post on 17/10/18.

While I agree with most of what Zalman Shoval says in his interesting article “If not for UNRWA, there would be no Palestinian refugee problem” (J. Post Oct 15), he makes one major mistake.  When discussing the situation re Jordan and the contention of Khalil Jahshan in his article in Foreign Policy that defunding UNRWA would destabilize Jordan, Shoval fails to point out that Jordan, alone among the Arab nations that received Palestinian refugees, actually gave them Jordanian citizenship.
In that case, they are not and never have been eligible for UNRWA support, since they ceased to be refugees when they accepted Jordanian citizenship.  Therefore Jordan has been receiving UNRWA funding under false pretenses for all these years.
The real question is why has not anyone bothered to defund Jordan long before now.  The State of Jordan should be grateful that it has been getting these funds for many years illegally.  Maybe they should be asked to pay them back.
Yours etc.
Jack Cohen
Beer Sheva

Border Skirmishes

For months Palestinian mobs in Gaza have been attacking the Israeli border with stones, burning tires, rockets and gunfire.  Some people, like Jeremy Corbyn, claim that these are “peaceful demonstrations,” bullshit!  Even a cursory glance at the videos show them as extremely violent skirmishes with the intention of breaching the border and pouring into Israel to cause mayhem and death.  Only those who believe the Palestinians can do no wrong because Israel is a “colonialist, apartheid regime” can support such attacks.

They are called “the march of return,” but this is futile because these violent elements will never get into Israel or be allowed to “return”.  How many of them are in fact so-called refugees?  Precious few, since they would have to be now at least 70 years old, and the majority of the mob are young men out for violent action.  The whole process is really a performance created by Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization, to gain PR.  For them the more people and the more children killed the better, they care nothing (like ISIS and Hezbollah) for the lives of their own people, as long as it keeps them in the headlines.

Israel has announced many times that they will not allow our border to be breached by a mob.  No country would allow this, certainly not the US or UK (what would Corbyn do if he were PM, would he open the border at Dover to all illegal immigrants?)  The IDF is guarding the border and will use live fire when necessary.  So it is not surprising that in yesterday’s violent attack 7 people were killed and several injured.  They have been warned.  If they want to make this sacrifice for their futile cause, so be it!  We’ll accommodate them.

On a political level, the cause of “return” 70 years after the event of their voluntarily leaving, is ridiculous.  Nowhere in the world are the descendants of refugees themselves considered to be refugees, no one has a “right of return” its a propaganda fiction, that many liberals are conned into believing.  Let them continue to “march” and throw themselves at the border, it is a futile exercise fit only for the insane and the brain-washed.

Meanwhile a dispute had developed between Hamas in Gaza and Pres. Abbas and the PA on the West Bank, because he refused to pay Israel for the gas being piped into Gaza.  So the supply was stopped,  The Qatar stepped in and agreed to pay for it, so against the PA’s wishes Israel started to supply the gas to Gaza again.  But, today after the severe riots at the border Defense Minster Avigdor Lieberman announced that Israel will stop the supply until the rioting stops.  Thai is a good decision, many people consider it strange that Israel should supply gas, water, electricity, food and medicine to its enemy that is attacking us continuously.  Now there is a price to pay for these border skirmishes.

Attacking Coexistence

On Sunday morning a Palestinian Arab terrorist entered the Alon factory at the Barkan industrial park in the middle of Samaria (Shomron) and shot dead two young Israeli Jews and wounded a third.  Then he ran from the scene and is currently being sought by the IDF.  The two murdered Israelis were Ziv Hajbi, a 39 year-old father of 3 from Rishon LeZion and Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel a mother of a one year old baby from Rosh Ha’ayin.  Ziv’s mother said “my son left for work, not for war!”

They were two of the many Jews from Israel who worked at the Barkan park, which is one of the few places where Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs work peacefully together.  In Barkan there are 164 factories, with 3,000 Israelis and 4,200 Palestinians.  It is one of the few places in Samaria where Palestinian Arabs can get decent jobs.  The killer has been identified from photographs from security cameras as Suleiman Na’alwah, 23, from, the nearby village of Shuweika.  Presumably he is a member of Hamas.

This was not only the murder of two Jews by a Palestinian terrorist, but it was also a strike by the Arab terrorist organizations against the coexistence that is being built there.  They don’t want peaceful coexistence, they don’t want economic development, they don’t want their fellow Palestinian Arabs to be working with Israelis, they are against normalization and against peace.  Those misguided and hateful Western liberals who are supporting the fascist party of war, hatred, murder and genocide are totally wrong.  They are prepared to oppose peace and coexistence for their illusory misconception that Israel is an “apartheid,” “racist,” “colonialist” state.  Barkan was and is a small illustration of what can be accomplished when Arabs and Jews work together.  The owners of Alon and Barkan have said they will not be deterred from their path by the murder and hatred of Palestinian Arab terror.

My only question is, why was there not better security so that a Palestinian Arab could enter the facility with a gun.  This was far from the first such attack, several years ago this industrial site was partially destroyed in a deliberately set fire.  The owners must have much better security to protect their Israeli workers from the attacks of the armed terrorists, just as they need to do in London, Paris, Berlin, and Jerusalem.

Why the Liberals Hate Us?

The predominant bias in Western media, that includes Europe, the UK and the US, is a liberal anti-colonialist view that also excoriates Israel at every turn. Their memories are  short, they forget that after the Holocaust of Jews in Europe during  WWII the predominant liberal sympathy lay with the Jews who were revolting against British imperial occupation, known as the Palestine Mandate.  This was given to the British Government by the League of Nations to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.  At that time, from 1945 to the 1950’s, sympathy lay with the Jews fighting for their sovereign rights.  The Palestinian Arabs were hardly heard of, they were simply part of the Arab empire that stretched from Jordan to Iraq and from Syria to Yemen.

There are several reasons one can cite to explain the gradual shift of liberal and left opinion away from sympathy for Israel to the so-called Palestinian Arabs;

  1. The Jews won. Unexpectedly against great odds, the Jews in Palestine (starting at ca. 650,000 in 1948) defeated the armies of the surrounding Arab States (that did not recognize an Arab Palestine).  Israel continued to win in the wars against them by various combinations of Arab States in every decade (1958, The Suez Campaign; 1967, The Six Day War; 1973, The Yom Kippur War; 1982, The Lebanon War; 1999, the First Intifada; 2006, the Second Intifada).  Liberals have a natural tendency to support the losers, and the left prefer the poor downtrodden underdogs.  Once the Jews in Palestine stopped conforming to this loser category, they lost liberal support.  However, in the US, that prefers winners, Israel maintained a higher level of support.
  2. The reversal of reality.  According to the Arab/Palestinian narrative, the Arabs are the indigenous people and the Jews are modern colonialist interlopers, and this is a view accepted as gospel by most western liberal/leftists.  But, in reality this is mere propaganda, as even a cursory glance at the actual history will tell anyone who is interesting in the truth.  It is common knowledge that the Jews were here thousands of years ago and they lost their sovereignty to the Romans in 55 bce.  Empire after Empire conquered the Land, the Arabs in 639 ce, the Turks in 1516 ce, the British in 1917 ce.  But, finally, after suffering immense losses at the hands of the Europeans (the Germans, and their many allies) and being double-crossed by the duplicitous British Empire that sought to keep the Land for itself, the indigenous Jews finally returned and reclaimed their Land.
  3. Zionism is racism. Liberals readily dismiss Zionism as racist.  They completely ignore the fact that the Israeli declaration of Independence and the Basic Laws of Israel give every minority, including Arabs, equal rights as citizens.  Now no State is perfect, there is certainly worse discrimination in many countries that claim to be democratic, including the US, but Israel is actually a working and stable liberal democracy.  If you don’t believe me come and see for yourself, take a holiday trip and look around, you might be surprised that your preconceptions are mistaken.
  4. The Orthodox are fundamentalists. It is true that the Orthodox exercise political power in Israel, but Israel was founded by secular/socialist Jewish Zionists, and the religious Orthodox mostly came later.  Anyway, in a democracy they have as much right to organize politically and vote for their own candidates as anyone else.  If the left is against fundamentalism then why don’t they condemn the murderous Islamic fundamentalists, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that seek to destroy Israel.
  5. Anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.  The liberal/left claim they are purely anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.  This claim rings hollow in Jewish ears, we’ve heard nonsense like this before.  Why is it that liberals and leftists who generally support the rights of ethnic minorities, such as the Palestinians, find it impossible to support such a right for the Jews?  Why are the Jews the only group in the world denied such a fundamental right by co-called liberals.  This particular animosity towards Jewish sovereignty is clearly anti-Semitic.  Although liberals claim they are anti-racist, they accept statements against Jews that would never be allowed against Blacks or other minorities.  This is anti-Semitism, and it cannot be tolerated after the way the Jews have been treated by Western “civilization.”


Nafta is now USMCA

On the deadline, Pres. Trump signed a new deal to replace NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, with a replacement, USMCA, the US, Mexico and Canada Agreement.  Since the PM of Canada and the Pres of Mexico also signed it, it must also be good for them.  According to Pres. Trump, this new agreement protects US trade more than NAFTA did.  In fact, since the US economy is booming, as Pres. Trump has argued, it is a privilege for each of these countries, and many others, including China and the EU, to have beneficial trade agreements with the US.

Recently at a dinner someone expressed the view that Trump’s initiation of “trade wars” could result in disaster for the American economy.  My immediate reaction was “bullshit.” Why?

Because the US economy is booming and as this new USMCA deal shows, every deal made in the past can be improved by doing something other Presidents did not do, namely put American interests first. NAFTA was conceived by Pres. Clinton not so much to help the American economy and workers, but to help Mexico and to a lesser extent Canada to develop economically and to protect their financial interests.  It was a magnanimous approach by past liberal Presidents, in the full knowledge that US jobs and companies would move to those countries.

Also, agreements with the EU and China were arrived at when the other side maintained tariffs against American goods, such as cars in Europe, while the US was not allowed to have such tariffs.  It is Trump’s unique combination of bluster and hard-headedness when it comes to economic policy that he insists on a level playing field for the US in all such trade deals.  And he is right.

So the question is, after the fact, how does one try to get a level playing field, how can one force the EU and China, the US’s two main trading partners, to change past policies that benefit them and not the US.  The only way is to challenge past agreements and put economic pressure on them.  In other words, what some like to call a “trade war”, to establish tariffs against their goods, just as they have maintained against the US.  Of course, they don’t like this, so they respond in kind.

But, Trump is correct, the US has a far stronger economy that any other country, and they all need to trade with the US more than the US needs them.  So the likelihood is that in any such “war” they will cave first.  It is not guaranteed, but since we are talking basically about economic interests, it makes sense since they have more to lose than the US.  So the Trump rubric is that the other partner will cave first, as happened with Canada and Mexico, and then we will have real trade agreements in which both sides are treated equally.  That will be good for the US economy and for all Americans.


The Origins of Israel

Those Western liberals and leftists who accept the Palestinian narrative, that the Jews established Israel by “stealing” their lands, are being sold a simplistic view of history.  It is necessary to go back before the Israeli War of independence of 1948 to understand the true origins of Israel.

After WWI in various conferences, at Versailles, Locarno and Sevres, various treaties were negotiated by the victorious allied powers that redrew the borders of Europe and the Middle East.  For example, Italy was given the German-speaking Southern Tyrol that had been part of Austria.  But, US President Wilson was intent on making sure that areas of the defeated Turkish Empire would not be gobbled up by other imperial powers, specifically France and Britain. This was in fact the liberal, anti-imperialist view.  It is not generally known that Wilson also refused American Mandates for either Turkey or Armenia in order not be become embroiled in ancient territorial conflicts.

A French diplomat came up with the idea of “mandates” to satisfy Wilson.  These would be areas under British or French control, but that were designated to be eventually transferred to the self-government of the local peoples.  So for example, in 1922 the League of Nations (precursor to the UN) gave France a Mandate over Syria, and Britain Mandates over Mesopotamia and Palestine.  It was explicitly stated that Syria and Mesopotamia (Iraq) were to be Arab states and Palestine was to be a Jewish “homeland.”  But France reneged at first on allowing Syrian Arab home rule and they also unilaterally created Lebanon, to protect the Christians.  Although the Palestine Mandate said nothing about an Arab State, Britain unilaterally established Transjordan (later Jordan) and later in 1938, stopped allowing Jewish immigration to Palestine as required by the Mandate.

So if we look at the facts, it was Pres. Wilson who insisted that Britain not incorporate Palestine into its Empire, but was to hold it for some time until the Jews were able to become self-governing and sovereign.  It was indefensible that Britain prevented Jewish emigration from Europe into Palestine just when Nazi Germany started its program of persecution and genocide against the Jews.

After WWII it was not the Arabs but the Jews of Palestine (at that time numbering ca. 650,000) who fought and defeated the British Empire and forced them to turn the Palestine problem over to the UN.  After many debates, the UN proposed a Partition Plan in 1947 to separate what was left of Mandatory Palestine into two States, Jewish and Arab,  The Jews accepted and established Israel, but the Arabs rejected the Plan and attacked.  It is important to note that none of the belligerent Arab States (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia) had any plans to establish a Palestinian Arab State at that time, they intended to capture Palestine for themselves (replacing the British).

It was only because Israel defeated these Arab States time and time again in their attempts to conquer the Land that they eventually gave up and the problem became a  Palestinian Arab problem.  So actually it was only after the defeats of the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, that the Palestinian narrative was born and twisted into an anti-colonialist leftist story.   If you don’t believe me consult a reputable independent history book.  I don’t expect anyone to be pro-Israel, but I do expect people to be honest and base their views of what actually happened, not on some simplistic propagandistic slogans.