Former British diplomat: Israel should dismantle its security fence for peace

Cross posted from Richard Millett’s Blog

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Sir Vincent Fean

Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.

The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians.  Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.

However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.

Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.

As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.

Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security fence, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

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CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction to ‘banned Palestinian workers’ claim

An article by Mark Anderson in the Global Development section of The Guardian (Israel ignoring deaths of Thai workers on farms, Human Rights Watch claims, Jan. 21) included this claim.

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The claim that “Israel banned Palestinians from working in the country” is not true.

Israel did place certain restrictions on Palestinian workers in the late 80s and early 90s in response to the First Intifada, and began requiring entry and exit permits which were granted in part based on individual security screenings of potential workers. However, though these restrictions resulted in a drop in the number of Palestinian workers in Israel, there was never a ban.

Today, more than 47,000 work permits are issued annually. 

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Another journo accuses British Jews who fear antisemitism of being ‘ungrateful’

Yesterday, we posted about a Guardian op-ed by David Conn on Jan. 20th which accused British Jews who, in his view, express unwarranted alarm about the threat of antisemitism in the UK of being “ungrateful” to their country.

It turns out that, on the very same day, a similar charge was leveled by another British Jew, journalist Matthew Norman.

Matthew Norman

Matthew Norman

Writing in The Independent, Norman first notes the putative dearth of any fatal antisemitic attacks in the country.

And so it is with the greatest reluctance – it feels like sacrilege, in fact – that I tempt fate by pointing out that no Jewish person has been killed in Britain in an anti-semitic attack since … well, my possibly flawed internet researches find no fatality on record at all.

Norman’s internet research was indeed flawed. In 2008, a Manchester Jew was fatally stabbed by a man who later told police that he “needed to kill a Jewish person”.  CST characterized the attack as antisemitic.

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Once again, Peter Beaumont contradicts Peter Beaumont

An end-of-year Guardian report by Peter Beaumont (2014 in review: return to conflict in Gaza claimed 2000 lives) on the most significant events in the region in 2014 naturally highlighted the breakdown of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in late April.

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Beaumont’s report begins with these opening paragraphs, which lead to a passage blaming Israel for the breakdown:

This was a year that tested – largely to destruction – the notion you can have stability and quiet in the absence of a Middle East peace process. Instead, 2014 in Israel and the Palestinian territories was marked by a return to conflict in Gaza, which claimed over 2,200 lives, by increasing violence and tension on both sides, continued Israeli settlement building, and the introduction of a worrying religious aspect to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

The fulcrum around which all this turned was the breakdown of renewed US-brokered attempts to move towards a final settlement of the conflict, which collapsed in April amid mutual recriminations after Israel reneged on an agreement to release a third batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

However, as Peter Beaumont acknowledged in a Guardian report published on April 29th, the circumstances surrounding Israel’s reluctance to release the final prisoners were much more complicated, and can’t reasonably be framed as an Israeli failure to abide by its commitments.

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‘Footballer’ Mahmoud Sarsak and Israel’s plot “to eradicate Palestinian sports”

A 2012 Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood ‘Palestinian footballers hunger strike sparks fears for his life‘ informed readers that Mahmoud Sarsak was “a former member of the Palestinian national football team” who “remain[ed] on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge”.

“A former member of the Palestinian national football team remains on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge…

“Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food for 80 days, since 19 March. He began his hunger strike after his “administrative detention” order was renewed for the sixth time.”

“He was arrested in July 2009 while on his way from his home in Gaza to a national contest in the West Bank.”

“Sarsak’s family deny that he is a member of any militant organisation.”

However, as we noted at the time, the Guardian failed to inform readers that Sarsak – when he wasn’t playing football – was allegedly an active member of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and that the Israeli Supreme Court had upheld his detention out of concerns he would rejoin the terror organization if released.

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Palestinians tell the Guardian: Israeli occupation took root not in 1967, but 1300 BC

The root of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – and ‘the occupation’ of the West Bank – does not date back to 1967.

No, for the Palestinian protagonists in the latest article by the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, you have to go back much, much further in time – to roughly 1300 BC.

Giles Fraser

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“Don’t you hate it when Santa gets dragged into politics?”

Our headline was taken from this Dec. 23rd article at i100 (The Independent’s BuzzFeed-style website) by the site’s news editor Matthew Champion.

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Whilst you can read the brief article (ranked 3rd overall in popularity on the site) here about the flagdisplayed in Hedge End, Hampshire - we were even more intrigued by another trending article on the site (ranked 6th overall) posted by Champion on the very same day.

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This AP story about Abbas’s stifling of dissent won’t appear in the Guardian

Do you note anything out-of-place in this snapshot of the Guardian’s Palestinian Territories page from Dec. 18th?

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Well, if you looked askew at the lead story (‘Most Palestinians Accuse Abbas of Silencing Dissent’), that’s because it wasn’t really published at the Guardian.

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Guardian misleads on autopsy results of convicted terrorist Ziad Abu Ein

On Dec. 11th we asked a simple question after an autopsy (by Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian forensic doctors) of Ziad Abu Ein – the terrorist cum Palestinian minister who died in the West Bank on Dec. 10th following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers – concluded that he died from a stress-induced heart attack.

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The question was raised in the context of a Guardian report by Peter Beaumont on the day Abu Ein died which almost entirely focused on Palestinian claims that he died as the result of either a punch, kick or gun butt to the head, or by the impact of a tear gas canister administered by an Israeli soldier.  

Sure enough, Peter Beaumont’s Dec. 12th follow-up story on Abu Ein failed to clearly report on the autopsy results.

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Will the Guardian update their report on Ziad Abu Ein to note he died of a heart attack?

As we noted yesterday, the Guardian published a report (and video) on the death of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, who died shortly after a brief confrontation with IDF soldiers during a protest north of Ramallah, which all but ignored substantive evidence corroborating Israeli claims that Abu Ein likely died of a heart attack, not as the result of trauma.

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Guardian ignores key evidence indicating PA minister was NOT killed by IDF assault

What is known at the moment is that a Palestinian minister, Ziad Abu Ein, died today shortly after a confrontation with IDF soldiers during a protest north of Ramallah.  Abu Ein – imprisoned in Israel for his role in a terrorist bombing that killed two Israeli teens, but later released during a prisoner swap – collapsed and was evacuated for medical care, but died before reaching the hospital.

What’s not known is the cause of death, and there is increasing evidence (which we’ll show later in the post) that Abu Ein, who suffered from health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure, may have died of a heart attack.

However, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont naturally all but avoided evidence pointing to the strong possibility that Abu Ein died of natural causes, and instead primarily cited only those sources claiming he died as the result of trauma inflicted by an Israeli soldier.

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Richard Millett challenges Palestinian ambassador over Har Nof killings

Cross posted from Richard Millett’s Blog

On Tuesday night in Parliament I asked Manuel Hassassian, the unofficial Palestinian ambassador to the UK, why in the speech he had just delivered in which he accused Israel of “war crimes” he made no mention of Palestinian violence, specifically the recent murders by two Palestinians of four Rabbis and a Druze policeman at a west Jerusalem synagogue.

He answered me directly but when he said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had condemned the killings I reminded him, as you can see in the clip below, that Abbas had incited the murders in the first place with his violent rhetoric including imploring Palestinians to use “all means” to stop Jews visiting the Temple Mount.

Here is our confrontation:

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A response to Grahame Morris MP on the ‘root cause’ of antisemitic violence

(This op-ed by Geoffrey Alderman originally appeared in The Journal, a newspaper widely circulating in the north-east of England.)

On Tuesday 18 November two Palestinian-Islamic terrorists entered a synagogue in Jerusalem (the capital of Israel, the Jewish state) and, armed with an assortment of knives, cleavers and a gun began to hack and shoot to death as many Jews as they could. Eventually the murders were themselves gunned down. Whilst Israel buried its dead the evil deeds of the two Palestinians were celebrated by many throughout the Arab world. They were – Palestinian spokespersons declared – “martyrs” – the latest “heroes” in the 66-year-old Arab war against the nation-state of the Jews.

Who is responsible for this state of affairs, and in particular for the mindset that can result in a history of wholly indiscriminate attacks on Jews in Israel and beyond, launched from within the Arab world? On 13 October Graham Morris, the Labour MP for Easington, sought to argue in the House of Commons that the root cause of Palestinian hostility to Israel was that whilst the Jews had a state of their own, the Palestinians did not. He therefore put before the Commons a motion – eventually passed after amendment – calling for British recognition of “the state of Palestine” alongside the state of Israel “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

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UK media absurd political analogy watch: The Berlin Wall & Israel’s Security Barrier

Ben Zygier (known as Prisoner X) was the Australian-Israeli Mossad agent imprisoned at Ayalon Prison in Ramla on espionage charges who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

The 2013 row over revelations regarding Zygier’s incarceration and suicide received saturation coverage at the Guardian, and included this claim by Peter Beaumont – then foreign affairs editor for The Observer, sister site of the Guardian – in a report on Feb. 14th.

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

The comparison, as we noted at the time, was simply bizarre. Indeed, the very term “Prisoner X”, implying that his identity and whereabouts were mysterious, was itself a misnomer, as Zygier’s original arrest warrant was issued by an authorized court, his incarceration was supervised by the Israeli judiciary, and the proceedings were overseen by the most senior Justice Ministry officials. Zygier was also legally represented by a top Israeli lawyer.

To evoke a comparison with the USSR – where several million Soviet “enemies of the state” died (due to overwork, starvation, torture or summary executions) after being sent, without anything resembling due process, to Gulag camps – is risible.

More recently, we found another example of the media’s use of a blatantly false analogy – in an article published at i100 (The Independent’s Buzzfeed-style news brand).

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Economist refers to Jews wanting to pray at the Temple Mount as “militants”

In a great example of the media’s use of language to blur moral differences within the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, The Economist expanded the common understanding of the word “militant” – a word fancied by those fearing “terrorist” is too judgmental a term for those committing violence for political ends – to include Jews wanting to peacefully pray at Judaism’s holiest site.

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From left to right per The Economist: Palestinian militants, and Jewish militants

An article published on Nov. 17th titled ‘The trouble at the Mountincluded the following passage:

THE Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of the world’s most explosive bits of real-estate. It has started to rumble again in recent weeks, with demands by Jewish militants to extend prayer rights, riots by Palestinians and the killing of several Israelis in knife or car-ramming attacks.

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