“If the borders opened for one hour, 100,000 young people would leave Gaza.”
— Rashid al-Najja, vice dean, Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.
“…I’d go to Somalia, Sudan — anywhere but here.”
Just before the last day of Passover, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Deitsch died in Israel. The well-known Chabad rabbi was injured in a brutal…
— Salim Marifi, student at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, Al Jazeera, May 6 2015.
“96 percent of water in the Gaza Strip is now undrinkable.”
— i24 News, April 9, 2017.
“Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip’s Mediterranean beachfront … turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone.”
— Associated Press, May 3, 2016.
“Gaza’s sole power plant runs out of fuel.”
— Times of Israel, April 16, 2017.
The endeavor to transform the coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip into a self-governing Arab entity (or even part of such an entity) has failed.
It has failed resoundingly and irretrievably.
After two and a half decades of futile effort, the time has come to accept this, and to acknowledge that further pursuit of this ill-conceived objective will only compound the current tragedy — for both Jew and Arab alike.
Incapable and uninterested
With the passage of time, it has become increasingly clear that, as a collective, the Palestinian Arabs in general and the Gazan Arabs in particular are totally incapable of and largely uninterested in creating and sustaining an independent political entity for themselves, by themselves.
Underscoring this dour assessment is the increasingly frequent and ominous flow of reports warning of imminent collapse of virtually all the basic infrastructure in Gaza — electric power, water, sewage and sanitation system — and the impending catastrophe this precipitates.
This raises a trenchant question and one which advocates of Palestinian statehood must be forced to confront:
Why has a Palestinian state failed to materialize up to now?
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In an ironic turnaround, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is now the object of intimidation and threats made by many Palestinians.
UNRWA is reportedly planning to introduce some changes to the curriculum in its schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinians are rather unhappy about it. They claim that UNRWA has “succumbed” to Israeli pressure to make the changes.
The proposed changes are based on leaks to Palestinians and have not been confirmed by UNRWA. Palestinians claim that they learned about the plans to introduce the changes during meetings with senior UNRWA officials.
According to the Palestinians, the changes are intended to “eradicate” their “national identity” and “history” and distort their “struggle” against Israel.
The Palestinians claim that the new textbooks have replaced the map of “historic Palestine” (including Israel) with pictures of a pumpkin and a bird. Palestinian textbooks often feature maps of “historic Palestine” without Israel. Cities inside Israel, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Tiberias and Ramle, are referred to as “Palestinian cities.” The Palestinian Authority (PA) media also refer to these cities as “Palestinian cities inside the 1948 Land.”
In one fourth-grade textbook, the Palestinians charge, UNRWA has replaced the map of Palestine with a picture of a traditional Palestinian woman’s dress.
The new textbooks make no reference to cities in Israel; they mention only cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, such as Nablus, Jenin, Gaza City, Jericho and Ramallah.
Unsurprisingly, an UNRWA revision of the Palestinian presumption of Jerusalem as the “capital of the State of Palestine” to Jerusalem as a “Holy city for the Abrahamic religions” did not go over well with Palestinians. In addition, they are angry because the UNRWA textbooks make no mention of the Jordan Valley along the border between Israel and Jordan.
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The New York Times (NYT) published without any cautionary notations an opinion piece written by Marwan Barghouti barely mentioning his incarceration of five counts of planning and making all preparations for five mass murder terrorist bombings and shootings during the Second Intifada. He was tried for five of the people who had been murdered in his attacks leading to five lifetime sentences. Barghouti is an idol of the extreme left who hold him as a freedom fighter against Israeli oppressions and as a revolutionary who would raise the Palestinian Arabs to new heights in the struggle for independence from Israel. Left out of their admiration is the small matter that Barghouti views all of Israel as rightfully Palestinian lands and has called for the extermination of the Jews of Israel giving their crimes against humanity as the principle reason. His support is similar to the admiration given Che Guevara, the…
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Jeremy Corbyn used his opening election pitch this morning to promise that he wouldn’t follow the “rules” of the “establishment”. As if to show how different he could be to a conventional professional politician, he came swiftly unstuck over policy questions – namely whether he would rule out a second referendum on the terms of the UK’s final Brexit deal. The Labour leader failed to do so, and it fell to a spokesman to clarify hours later that “a second referendum is not our policy and it won’t be in our manifesto.” At the same time, John McDonnell was out on the stump in Luton, and he pointedly failed to rule out a second referendum, suggesting that the Shadow Chancellor hadn’t got the memo.
Labour MPs are continuing to decide it is better to stand down in June, including Gisela Stuart and Rob Marris. Tom Harris isn’t surprised, writing today: “Those who know him best, who have served with him in the Commons over the years, have already made up their minds. And they’re voting with their feet.”
Theresa May might be tempted to look upon Labour’s drama and feel an electoral landslide is assured. The latest YouGov poll, putting the Tories on 48 per cent, double Labour’s share of 24 per cent, would reinforce that belief. Labour MPs are also adding to it, with Helen Goodman declaring that the election was not about changing the government, but about “preventing the Tories from getting such an overwhelming majority that there is no possibility of dissent in this country.” But this risks opening up a different problem of voters feeling that Mrs May is so certain to romp to victory that they don’t need to turn out to vote. The Tories may have to start building up Mr Corbyn so that their voters can knock him down.
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UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, has stabbed free speech in the back once again.
Last week it effectively canceled a long planned speech by David Horowitz. Today it canceled a long planned speech by Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27.
As they did with Horowitz, UC officials, citing safety concerns, first tried to bureaucratically shrink the Coulter speech out of existence by informing Young Americans for Freedom, sponsors of the event, that Coulter could speak only in the afternoon when students were in classes; that only students could attend; and, in a Kafkaesque twist, that the location of the speech would be distant from the center of campus and not be announced until just before it occurred.
Coulter agreed to these conditions. But she added two stipulations that called the bureaucrats’ bluff that this was about public safety rather than the suppression of the free speech of conservatives. She asked that the Chancellor not require police to stand down in the face of anticipated violence by thugs, as he has in the past; and she asked that the UC administration make it clear than any student trying violently to disrupt the speech would be expelled.
The University replied by cancelling Coulter’s speech outright.
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It has been said that when German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed the reconstitution of the military in 1955, he proclaimed: “It is crazy, gentlemen, that I have to create a German army, it is just crazy”.
Sixty years have passed, but that sentiment still seems very strong in Germany. A few days ago Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, said: “We have to be a bit careful here that we don’t over-interpret the 2 percent target.” Gabriel then became clearer: “Maintain perspective, stay focused on the target, but avoid being consumed by the bliss of a new rearmament spiral!”
A few days earlier, Germany had made an announcement: to raise the number of soldiers from 170,000 to 198,000 by 2024 — a modest “rearmament”.
It is a direct consequence of the Trump Administration’s important pressure on European allies, urging them to invest more in defense and security. European armies have become, to quote The Economist, “Potemkin Euro-armies“. Germany’s views are crucial to understanding Europe’s attitude about security and defense. Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy and Europe’s financial giant, is a military dwarf, proud of being weak and disarmed.
Take the countries which suffered most of terror attacks in the last two years. Belgium? It spends 0.85% of its gross domestic product on defense. France? 1.78%. Germany? 1.19%. Spain, which in 2004 experienced the most severe attack in Europe’s recent history? 0.94%.
Europe is enjoying a big siesta. It is disarmed not only militarly but also mentally. Seventy-five percent of Belgium’s military spending goes to pay army pensions. As NATO’s Secretary General Lord Robertson put it, “The problem in Europe is that there are far too many people in uniform, and too few of them able to go into action.”
Another NATO official, Joseph Ralston, the former supreme commander for Europe, defined European armies as “fat and redundant”.
These countries have all embraced the moral vanity of pacifism.
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“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Sir Winston Churchill
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” -British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” – President Ronald Reagan
I had my first introduction to the South American Country of Venezuela as a young Army Second Lieutenant at my Artillery officer basic course, class 2-84, in Ft. Sill Oklahoma. There I had as my artillery tactics instructor an exchange officer from the Venezuelan Army, Captain Gonzales. Now, I have to admit, having been born and raised in Georgia and educated at the University of Tennessee, I did struggle a tad at first with his heavy accent. After a week or so I had no problem and would come to admire this strapping professional officer who seemed to just know everything. He was an exceptional representative of a beautiful Nation. When we had down time, Captain Gonzales would share with us the true beauty of Venezuela. We would all ask ourselves, why didn’t the U.S. Army have a duty assignment in this nation of resource richness and extravagant landscapes?
I have recently found myself asking how is Captain Gonzales doing?
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Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons are “a model for sensibility and national culture and constitute a pillar for the establishment of a Palestinian state.” This glorification of Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are behind bars for murdering Jews, was issued last week by Fayez Abu Aitah, a senior representative of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.
Abu Aitah’s words of appreciation for murderers of Jews came during a visit he paid to Hatem al-Maghari, a Palestinian Authority (PA) policeman who was released last week after serving 17 years in prison for his role in the lynching of two Israeli reserve soldiers who mistakenly entered Ramallah. Upon his arrival at his home in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Al-Maghari received a hero’s welcome. Hundreds of Palestinians have since converged on his home to congratulate him on his release from prison and heap praise him on for his “contribution” to the Palestinian cause.
Abbas’s Fatah was quick to embrace al-Maghari as “one of our sons” in order to send a message to Palestinians that the Fatah faction is also involved in terror attacks against Israel. For years, Fatah’s opponents have been accusing it of abandoning the “armed struggle” in favor of a peace process with Israel. Groups such as Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to criticize Fatah for not being sufficiently active in the terror campaign against Israel.
The release of al-Maghari provided an opportunity for Fatah to remind its Palestinian enemies of its “contribution” to the war against Israel. The lynching of the two soldiers inside a Palestinian Authority police station in Ramallah was one of the most brutal crimes perpetrated by Palestinians. The PA leadership has never accepted responsibility for the lynching of the two soldiers, who were being held by PA policemen inside the station after taking a wrong turn into the city as they were on their way to their base.
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