Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Soccer Dad's Mideast Media Sampler. 6/12/13

Today's sampler and analysis of Mideast media content from my pal Soccer Dad:

1) How can you tell the difference between a terrorist organization and a liberal democracy?
The title is a trick question. In international fora, the terrorist organization gets a lot more respect.
Last week the Ireland led the way to prevent the European Union from designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Ireland is reportedly blocking efforts inside the European Union to formally blacklist Hezbollah as a terror organization. Britain recently initiated procedures to add the Iran-backed terror group to the E.U. blacklist, after Bulgarian officials linked Hezbollah to the July 2012 Burgas bombing that killed six civilians and a Cypriot court convicted a confessed Hezbollah member on terrorism-related charges. The U.S. has repeatedly called upon the E.U. to follow its example and ban the group, which has established deep roots on the Continent.
Even as Hezbollah's reach is seen in South America and Syria the European Union refuses to sanction the terror group operating within its borders.

But when it comes to Israel, the world is more intent on preparring a final solution. In the farcically named UN Human Rights Council, 67 nations and organizations heartily approved the report of asylum escapee, Richard Falk, condemning Israel. In a just world someone like Falk would issue his statements from behind the walls of an institution, but in the topsy-turvey world of the UN he is a respected "Special Rapporteur." Naturally, in this venue he received support from even the world's worst rights abusers. Look at how they piled on.
During the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur, speakers condemned Israel’s persistent refusal to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and expressed concerns at the persistence of settlement activities and human rights violations, including restrictions on movement, arrests and harassment of Palestinians, and the particular effects on children. They highlighted the need to put an end to impunity for human rights violations. Speakers regretted the deterioration of the situation in Gaza due to the ongoing blockade and the loss of civilian lives. Some delegations echoed the proposal of the Special Rapporteur to investigate the activities of businesses connected with Israeli settlement activity. Others complained about the unbalanced mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the presence of political considerations in his report. Mr. Falk was accused of being anti-Semitic.
Speaking in the discussion were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, Mauritania, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group, Indonesia, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Iran on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, Iraq, Qatar, Cuba, Ecuador, Angola, Venezuela, Kuwait, Chile, Morocco, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Syria, Algeria, Turkey, Iran, Maldives, Zimbabwe, the United Nations Children’s Fund and Malaysia.
No, you didn't misread. Syria - whose government has killed more than 80,000 over the past two years - and its patron, Iran (of the laughably named "non-aligned movement) sit in judgment of Israel in this venue. In the asylum that is the UN, this is hardly remarkable.

There were, however two speeches that weren't anti-Israel and were, instead, indictments of the "human rights" establishment.
One was by Anne Bayefsky; the other by Hillel Neuer.
Mr. Falk, in the first page of your report, you attack my NGO and ask this Council to launch an investigation in order to shut us down.
Does your report allege a crime? No, you simply object to our words. We are the only watchdog at the UN, and we report what you say. In reprisal, you now seek to muzzle our voice, to avoid being held accountable.The real issue is whether your work, conducted under the banner of human rights, actually exonerates and exculpates the perpetrators of terrorism.

2)Smacking Friedman down, again
Last week I took issue with Thomas Friedman's Israel lives the Joseph Story.
But I missed a major goof.
And the world for the most part would not begrudge Israel keeping its forces on the Jordan River — as will be necessary given the instability beyond — if it ceded most of the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Elder of Ziyon
Oh, and don't forget Friedman's other "if-then" fallacy here - that the world would allow Israel to keep the Jordan Valley as a buffer if only it would offer the Palestinian Arabs a state. Wasn't that already offered and rejected?
Meryl Yourish:
The bolded phrase contradicts all of the Palestinian statements made about Israel keeping any soldiers in the West Bank. In point of fact, the Palestinians absolutely begrudge Israel a force on the Jordan.
My Right Word:
Well, I do not know about the "world" but the Pals. would certainly not agree.
Friedman loves to pose as someone who understands simple truths that those in power (especially in Israel) fail to appreciate. But here he shows that he hasn't been paying attention to the past twenty years of the peace process. Maybe in 1993 an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley was an accommodation would have made. It is no longer.

3) Soccer news
Despite efforts of anti-Israel activists to prevent it, Israel hosted this year's UEFA (European soccer's governing body) under 21 championship. Israel did not advance in the tournament. However, the Israeli team did win its final match in Jerusalem against England. Ofir Krieff, of the Israeli team, scored the game winning goal.
To score in the capital city, in my home town, in front of my home fans, is a fantastic feeling. We did a really good job. The credit goes to the team and not to me even though I scored. It's all thanks to the great work of the staff and the players.
I think that we had a really good tournament overall. To win four points against these kind of teams is a big achievement. We had some criticism and it wasn't always right. This team has a lot of potential and we proved it today against England which is nothing to take for granted.
When I scored I just thought that we had finally got the win after this hard work. The credit goes to Guy [Luzon]. It was highly important to finish with a good taste because of him and I'm happy that we gave him this goodbye present. "I wanted to run over to him but afterwards I saw nothing because everybody was all over me".
One of Israel's top players was Taleb Twatha:
This is a 20-year-old, after all, from a world far removed from the one he now inhabits as a professional footballer. Defender Twatha is from a Bedouin family, born and brought up in Jisr az-Zarqa, a coastal town in the north of Israel which did not even have a football pitch when he was growing up.
"We have only 13,000 people in Jisr," the left-back explained to "Jisr is a very poor town and when I was young there was no football there – not even a football field. I'm the youngest in my family. My eldest brother studies medicine in Italy. My other brother does the same but in Germany. My sister finished nursing school in Jordan. My father is the school principal and my mum is also a teacher. I'm the only one to have gone into professional sport."
That he ended up playing UEFA Champions League football for Maccabi Haifa FC aged just 17 was the result, he says, of a serendipitous moment seven years earlier – namely, a random phone call from a family friend. "I tried gymnastics, tennis, karate, but only in the fifth grade did I start playing football. I had some luck because I was in the car with my dad one day when a friend of his saw a newspaper ad about a football school and phoned him about it. I interrupted the call and told him I wanted to go. Just a year later I moved to Maccabi Haifa."
4) Erekat's Latrun gambit
In commemoration of the 46th anniversary of the start of the Six Day War, the New York Times published a press release for the Palestinian Authority, On Anniversary of Arab-Israeli War, a Palestinian Plea:
It was here on the wooded slopes of Latrun on Tuesday that Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, chose to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 war and to call for an end of Israeli occupation.
“I am sure many of you are asking why is Saeb Erekat bringing you to this point,” Mr. Erekat said to a group of diplomats and reporters as he stood against a backdrop of green fields, a reservoir and an Israeli settlement of red-roofed houses in the valley below.
“It is not because I want to demarcate the maps or finalize the negotiations,” he said, referring to the intensive efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to get the Israelis and Palestinians to return to peace talks. “I just want to stand here and say, ‘It is 46 years later.’ ”
Control of Latrun was critical for control of the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and at the time, Arab forces had been poised to to attack Irael's narrow coastal corridor. Much as Erekat obfuscates the issue, control of Latrun was essential for Israel's survival.

The New York Times continues.
If nothing else, Mr. Erekat’s selection of Latrun spoke to the great distance between Palestinians and Israelis. Many Israelis consider Latrun to be an integral part of Israel. Drivers heading to either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem speed across the unmarked armistice lines along the main highway, slicing through several miles of West Bank territory and designated stretches of buffer zone, oblivious to the area’s fraught history.
The reporter tells us the obvious, but leaves out something else that is obvious. The Palestinians once again are seeking to "move the goalposts." Erekat's press conference was apparently the first move in a new campaign.
Israel Matzav writes:
The 'Palestinians' have responded to US Secretary of State John FN Kerry's pressure on Israel for concessions... by seeking even more concessions. The 'Palestinians' are now seeking two of Israel's biggest tourist attractions: Mini Israel and the Latrun tank museum. In fact, they're seeking the whole area around Latrun...
A favored Palestinian official gives a press conference and a reporter for the New York Times dutifully records his statements without explaining what he is doing. She simply writes, "here's one more Palestinian demand that needs to be addressed by Israel," and not "the Palestinians keep changing their demands."
Jonathan Tobin comments:
Erekat’s candor is in a sense quite commendable. Latrun is a potent symbol of the nature of the Israel that existed in those halcyon days before the obstacle to peace was the presence of Jews in the West Bank and in which a small state with indefensible borders and a capital that could be isolated with ease stood on the precipice of destruction as Arab armies began to mass on its borders. Erekat was sending a clear message to Israelis that if they thought the PA would ever accept the fact that the world had irrevocably changed in those 46 years they could just keep dreaming.
As Erekat well knows there now exists a broad consensus within Israel about the desirable nature of a two-state solution. That consensus includes Prime Minister Netanyahu and most of the members of his government. Indeed, even the Israeli right knows that if the Palestinians ever offered a complete end to the conflict and recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn they would find the majority ready to make painful territorial sacrifices. But by laying down a marker on Latrun—a place that no Israeli in his right mind would ever consider leaving—Erekat was making it clear their real priority was not peace but an effort to merely continue the conflict on more advantageous terms.
Indeed, reminding Israelis of the Israel that existed from 1949 to 1967 is not exactly the way to reassure his ostensible peace partners of the PA’s good intentions. But of course what else can you expect of a peace negotiator that has boycotted peace talks for the past four and a half years?
Israel begged Jordan not to join the war. King Hussein convinced of Egypt's early success against Israel joined in seeking to cut Israel in half. western Jerusalem was bombarded. Israel did not decide "we will dispossess the Palestinians" and seek war. War was forced on them and they fought to survive. Erekat wishes for the world to forget that.

Elder of Ziyon asks a very important (rhetorical) question:
If the Six Day War hadn't happened... Would there be a Palestinian Arab state today on the West Bank and Gaza?
Perhaps that's something that Erekat ought to consider. If Jordan hadn't attacked Israel in 1967, would he now be an international celebrity for promoting Palestinian nationhood?

The rest of the New York Times article is a lament about how both sides are being unreasonable and how this mutual stubbornness will sink Jonh Kerry's peace plan. When it's one side that refused to negotiate and then changes the parameters of negotiations isn't that the side that is uninterested in peace?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was quite a while back but I remember Dennis Ross expressing dismay that, during the Oslo negotiations, just as they were about to come to an agreement, the palestinians would demand last minute concessions.-