The Implications of Raised Expectations in Palestine
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has officially decided to go to the United Nations in September to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
But how can Abbas go to the UN in New York when he cannot even go back to his home in the Gaza Strip, which has been seized by Hamas?
How can he go to the UN when he cannot visit the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians live?
How can Abbas go to the UN when he cannot even visit a refugee camp in the West Bank, Lebanon or Syria?
Even if the UN votes in favor of a Palestinian state in September, how does Abbas plan to implement the decision on the ground? Can he really convince Hamas and Palestinian refugees to accept the two-state solution and abandon the "right of return" to Israel proper?
Hamas, which represents many Palestinians, has made it clear that it would never recognize Israel's right to exist or accept the two-state solution. Hamas will, of course, reject any UN resolution calling for the establishment of a state "only" within the pre-1967 lines.
Hamas's goal is to replace Israel with an Islamic state that may allow some Jews to live under its jurisdiction as a minority. Hamas wants all the land, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. That is why any resolution adopted by the UN would not bring everlasting and comprehensive peace to the Middle East.
Most refugees, for their part, will also oppose any UN resolution that does not call for their return to their original homes and villages inside Israel. For them, recognition of a state along the pre-1967 lines would mean depriving them of their right to return to their original homes and villages. Already now, many refugees are expressing concern over the September statehood bid.
Abbas has failed to consult with all Palestinian factions and representatives of his people about his controversial statehood bid. It is highly likely that he doesn't want to do so because he is afraid that he would not enjoy the backing of a majority of his people for such a move.
True, Abbas has secured the support of Fatah and the PLO for his statehood initiative, but who said that these two bodies are representative and have a mandate to make such important decisions? The two groups are dominated by Abbas loyalists who receive funding from the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.
It is obvious by now that the September initiative would not advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. On the contrary, it would further complicate matters for both Israel and the Palestinians, plunging the region into another vicious cycle of bloodshed and violence.
Abbas has raised the expectations of many Palestinians to a dangerous level, as many are now expecting to wake up in September to see a new state where they live in peace and security. But when that does not happen, and the Palestinians realize they have been once again sold false promises, they could turn to violence not only against Israel, but also against their leaders in the West Bank.
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by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.