“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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