Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Lies Palestinians Tell at Christmas.

When Israel relinquished control of Bethlehem to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo Accord agreement in 1995, 85% of this prosperous town were middle class Christians. Business and life was good when it was part of Israel.
By Christmas 2019, Christians are less than 10% of the population in an economically stricken town.
How did this come about?
In 1995, Elias Freij was that the last Christian mayor of Bethlehem. He appealed to Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, not to withdraw from the city as part of the Accords due to his fear for the future of Christians in Bethlehem. Rabin wanted an official and public statement from the mayor to that effect to take into his negotiations. Freij and the church authorities refused Rabin’s request. The rest is a tragic page in Christian history.

The Palestinian leadership blame the “security wall” for the current situation. They talk of Israel turning Bethlehem into “a prison.”
The British artist, Banksy, has advanced his reputation in left-wing circles by promoting propaganda graffiti scrawled on walls throughout Bethlehem. He has even built a hotel in Bethlehem called the Walled-Off Hotel which is full of imagery of Israeli negativity such as a nativity scene in front of a section of security wall with a shattered bullet hole which he calls “The Scar of Bethlehem.”
All this propaganda scandalizes Israel and projects Palestinians as oppressed victims.
Nowhere in Banksy’s work is there a mention of Palestinian terror promoted and rewarded by the Palestinian Authority, a prolonged terror campaign that has murdered hundreds of Israel and made the security barrier a necessity, or the threatening behavior of Palestinian Muslims that has driven out most of the town’s Christians.
Today, at Christmas 2019, Bethlehem is a once Christian town, with important churches, holy relics and sanctuaries, and a few Christians that live in fear not of Israel, but of Muslim Arabs.
There has been an Islamization of Bethlehem and the West has closed its eyes to this truth, prefering to blame Israeli security for the tense situation in that small town.
The Christians I once knew had businesses such as tourist shops selling olive wood carvings and religious symbolism to tourists. They are gone. Their homes and the shops now occupied by their Muslim neighbors.
The Palestinians will tell you it’s all Israel’s fault. They are, after all, the perennial victim. It’s become and industry for them. This image sells as much as Banksy’s souvenirs in Bethlehem.
But is this the truth?
The Palestinians wanted a separation from Israel and when Israel gave it to them, they used the vacated territories to relaunch their terror campaign against Israeli civilians, killing thousands.
In the name of peace, Bethlehem was the sixth town that Israel vacated and put under Palestinian rule following its withdrawal from Jericho, Jenin, Tulkarm, Nablus and Kalkilya.
Initially, there was a free flow of people. Palestinian Arabs worked in Israel. Israelis visited the Arab towns to buy and enjoy the services of the local Arabs. Everything was cheaper than in Israel and the interchange was buoyant and good for everyone.
That was until Arafat commanded his troops to engage in what they called “the Second Intifada,” a brutal terror campaign. This was a repeat of an earlier Arafat-inspired killing spree against Israelis civilians that killed and injured many thousands of Israeli Jews.
The Oslo Accords was but a way-station on the road to the total destruction of Israel according to the Palestinian plan of Jewish elimination by stages.
After the slaughter, Palestinians complain when Israel put up barriers to prevent the incursion into Israel of Palestinian suicide bombers, gunmen, and other forms of crude terrorism.
I am witness to the change, the division, between Israelis and Arabs who want to call themselves Palestinian. In the past, we also enjoyed visiting Tulkarm to buy household goods and enjoy their cafes. I even had Palestinian Arabs work on upgrades to my apartment. That was before Tulkarm became a hotbed of competing Palestinian terrorism.
Killers representing the PLO, Tanzim, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, even Lebanese Hezbollah have emerged from the hellhole that once was peaceful Arab Tulkarm to kill Israelis, including women and children.  I know. I became the co-founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization.  Over 50 Netanya victims were killed, many more injured, some badly, in my small hometown.
Since Israel constructed a security wall bordering Tulkarm, no Israeli has been blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers.
The Palestinians of Tulkarm, Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem can complain about restrictions as much as they want. They have only themselves to blame.
Peace was once an option. They killed it. Deliberately. Let them blame their leaders, not ours.

One deceptive fable Palestinians tell the world is that they are trapped in Bethlehem behind oppressive walls and checkpoints, that it is a prison with no exit, that it is a form of apartheid, ethnic cleansing. Yet, it is a strange sort of ethnic cleansing prison in which the Christian population has fallen dramatically while the Muslim population has increased exponentially! It’s a checkpoint where Christians leave and Muslims enter.
Some ethnic cleansing! Some apartheid!
Palestinians are not trapped in Bethlehem. They can go through checkpoints after an obligatory security clearance. Israelis, on the other hand, are advised not to enter Bethlehem. Road signs warn Israeli drivers that it is dangerous to travel on certain roads under Palestinian control, and are prevented from doing so in certain sensitive areas.
Contrary to Palestinian claims of Israeli “oppression,” in Bethlehem the major problem still facing the few remaining Christians is the duress posed by Islamic extremists and Palestinian bullies. They are the ones that are driving them out of that town.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, reported a few years back, “I have spent two days with fellow Christian leaders in Bethlehem. There are signs of disturbing anti-Christian feeling among parts of the Muslim population, despite the constant traditions of co-existence. But their plight is made more intolerable by the tragic conditions mads by the security fence.”
Both of these tragedies are the responsibility of the brutal and uncaring oppression of the Palestinian leadership and the emboldened Muslim population who have exploited the Palestinian-inspired turmoil.

In a televised report for Fox News by Pete Hegseth called “The Battle in Bethlehem,” Hegseth found it difficult to find a Christian willing to go on camera to tell him what they told him privately. He had several booked to appear. They all backed out at the last minute, even after he promised to hide their identity.
When Hegseth mentioned this to law professor, Eugene Kontorovich, the professor smilingly told him, “They are not going to tell you they live in danger, because they live in danger.”
Among the Palestinian Christians there are a radical minority that perpetuate an anti-Semitic Kairos doctrine of replacement theology. They help generate a relatively new Palestinian lie – that Jesus is a Palestinian.
Jesus has been hijacked by the Palestinian cause. Obscene conferences are held in Bethlehem including ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ in which Jesus is presented as a Palestinian messenger.
In my role helping our terror victims I sadly recognize a Palestinian messenger when I see one. They usually come attached to an explosive belt, carrying a rifle or a hatchet. They also have a penchant for sending their messages attached to a rocket or mortar shell. We are still waiting for them to come with a message of peace. These Palestinian messengers are the antithesis of Jesus.
Kairos Christians are in the camp of their real enemy. They slander Jews as the Christian population in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas dwindle to nothing. During the same period the Christian population in Israel has grown by 56%. Kairos Christians should rediscover their moral compass.

Hegseth went in search of what is going on with Jesus in Bethlehem.
He sat with Adnan, owner of the StarB Coffee shop.  “Jesus is a Balestinian.” Most Palestinian Arabs cannot pronounce the letter “P.” “If you study all three books,” referring to the Old and New Testaments and the Koran, “he is a Balestinian.”
When Hegseth protested by saying, “But, for Christians, Jesus in the New Testament is a Jew and he went to the holy temple,” Adnan smiled and said, “He was born here and the Jews tried to kill him.”
Hoping for a more intelligent answer, Hegseth went to speak with Bethlehem University professor, Mazin Qumsiyah.  According to the professor, “the word ‘Jew’ and the religion came in the 3rd Century AD, long after Jesus. I am Judaic,” said this Palestinian academic explaining it thus, “The Judaic people came from Judea. This is Judea. Jesus is not from Judea. He came from Nazareth two thousand years ago which was not a religious place.”
Continuing the myth, and contradicting himself in the process, Qumsiyah told Fox News, “If you are asking if Jesus was a Jew from a geographic designation, the answer is no. If you talk from a religion, only in the 3rd century AD does Judaism as a religion come.”
Astonishingly, or maybe not, this is what professors are teaching students in Palestinian universities.
Hegseth took this anecdote to Dr. Naim Khoury from the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem who shook his head.
“That is not true. You cannot find this anywhere in the Bible. How can you deny that Jesus is born from Mary of Nazareth and that her family was known as Jewish people?”
Everyone knows the pastor is right. Everyone except the Palestinians and their obsessed supporters. And maybe UNESCO and the majority of the UN General Assembly.
This then is part of the Palestinian conflict.
Hegseth asked Dr. Khoury why they deny the truth.
“Politics. It’s a very dirty game. When bad people play politics they can say what they want.”
Dr. Khoury is a courageous Christian. According to his bio, he has been shot four times and the Palestinian Authority refuse to grant his church authority to function as a religious institution, but the brave pastor continues to care for his dwindling congregation.  His church has been firebombed and defaced, his members attacked, not by Israelis but by Palestinian Muslims.
The pastor’s son, Steven, told the 700 Club, “Christians are leaving because they are seeing that nobody is standing with them. They are seeing that extremism is growing, that an anti-Christian agenda is growing. Their ultimate goal is to put fear and submission into the heart of every Christian in the Middle East.”
First they came for the Saturday people. Then they came for the Sunday people. And shockingly, they are supported by radical elements among the Sunday people and a few of the Saturday people.
In a hundred-year conflict, ever since the anti-Semite Haj Amin al-Husseini set out on an incitement rampage exhorting Muslims to kill Jews. He was followed by Mahmoud Abbas his “Pay to Slay” incentive to kill Jews, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
We cannot build a path to peace, or a future, on the assumption that the Palestinians will stop their lies, their hate campaign, and their obsessive desire to kill Jews, and persecute Christians.
In Bethlehem, they are doing to the Christians what they did to the Jews. They are driving them out.
The dominant building in Manger Square are not the Christian churches. It is the Mosque of Omar with its tall minaret. This is a metaphor for what has taken place in Bethlehem. 
The lies that Palestinian tell at Christmas is an indication of the root cause of the conflict.
Barry Shaw is the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Antisemitism.’

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Irish Hypocrisy Hiding Under a Thin Veneer of Diplomatic Morality.

Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, visited Israel on a two day visit in early December. He met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, before meeting PA boss, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
Bibi told him of Israel's displeasure to Ireland considering criminalising the buying or selling Jewish products from Judea & Samaria, parts of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and the Golan Heights.
Such a law would have serious economic consequences for Ireland, currently enjoying a huge $1.1 billion trade surplus with Israel.
Trade from the limited areas threatened by Ireland is only $1.7 million.
From an Israeli perspective, Ireland wants to use a tank to destroy a tin can.
If they do that, Israel has the option of destroying the tank by closing its Irish embassy and using that budget to open a trading embassy in a more sympathetic country.
Israel can also counter-boycott by buying products and services elsewhere rather than from the Irish. This will be a damaging $1B+ poke in the eye of the Irish economy.
It will be an interesting exercise to research how much Ireland is invested in Turkey, China, Morocco, Russia and other countries who are occupying other people's territory (which is not the case with Israel). It is clear that Irish hypocrisy will be found hiding under the thin veneer of diplomatic morality. 
Minister Coveney was in an uncomfortable diplomatic position. He and his fine Gael party oppose the bill. He said a year ago that the bill “would send an important message to the Palestinians but would not enhance Ireland’s international position.”
He is right. The message would embolden Palestinian intransigence while damaging Ireland’s reputation with the stain of anti-Semitic exclusivity
If Ireland truly wants to move the sides towards peace, Ireland should impose a boycott, an absolute isolation on the Palestinian Authority, until it stops its terror indoctrination based on its Jew hatred, until it stops its obscene "Pay to Slay" policy of rewarding its killers, and commit to return to the negotiation table with Israel.
But of course none of this will happen as long as Ireland has a boycott foreign policy exclusively aimed at Israel, the Jewish State.
Barry Shaw,
International Public Diplomacy Director,
Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

EU’s Blatant and Discriminatory Anti-Semitism.

The BDS Movement began as an international civil insurrection against Israel following a series of military failures by combined Arab armies.
It was designed to inflict severe, even crippling, economic damage on Israel. International agencies were cajoled to join the global campaign to bring down the Jewish State and to isolate it diplomatically.
Despite all their hyper-active efforts this to has effectively been a failure.
If the raison d-etre behind their efforts was to improve the lot of the Palestinian Arabs, the results of this has been contrary to what they, perhaps, intended.
The prime example was the BDS high profile efforts to close down the Mishor Adumim factory of SodaStream, the Israeli-based company manufacturing the popular home soda machines. The brand carried the label “Made in Israel. This product is produced by Arabs and Jews working side-by-side in peace and harmony.”
This message infuriated the BDS Movement who set about a heavily-funded propaganda campaign to close SodaStream down. It happened at a time when the Israeli company was looking to expand its production facility due to increasing demand for its popular product.
Faced with its business needs and the rise of adverse publicity, SodaStream CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, decided to move its production to the Negev industrial area just north of Beer Sheba.
The result was the prime victims of the BDS anti-normalization efforts were over 600 Palestinians forced into unemployment after earning Israeli-scale wages and social welfare benefits.
The brand new factory today employs more people. The Palestinians have been replaced by the local Bedouin. SodaStream goes from strength to strength. It was taken over by globally-known Pepsi Cola. In November 2019, it was announced that a $92 Million expansion will enable the enlarged factory to employ a further one thousand workers. Had SodaStream stayed at Mishor Adumim, it would have benefitted the local Palestinians. Instead, BDS wrought significant financial damage on them.
Such is the bankruptcy of BDS efforts to inflict economic harm on Israel.
As a substitute, they have persuaded the European Union to introduce a labelling policy on Jewish produced products and services from Judea & Samaria in Israel, frequently called “the West Bank,” and used to called in diplomatic circles as “disputed territories.”  In a unique policy, the EU are insisting that Israeli products emanating from Jewish towns, villages, and industrial areas can no longer be labelled “Made in Israel” but must designate some other description.
When the EU calls upon “international law” to back up its demands, its history, apparently, begins in 1967. Based on that false premise, it is a convenient leap of commitment to decide that Israel occupied “Palestine” in a corrupted retelling on history upon which they base their diplomacy, policies, their resolutions, and their false laws.
They ignore the fact that there is no Palestine yet. Palestinians seem to be doing their best to establish a state only when Israel has been annihilated and Jews banished.
The Europeans take no account of the fact that, prior to 1948, the so-called West Bank was Israel in territory that included Judea & Samaria, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea down to Eilat.
They take no account that this was prescribed by the League of Nations (the forerunners of the United Nations) in 1922 in which they affirmed the 1920 decision of the Supreme Court of the League of Nations that “recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
We need to question the European drift from the requirement to “secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home” to a policy that id blatantly anti-Semitic.
As for the premise that Jewish products must be tagged as not being quite kosher, i.e., not made in Israel, but produced by Jewish labor and ingenuity in what are called “Jewish settlements,” the European framers of this discriminatory labelling policy would do well to consider Article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine which says the Administration of Palestine... “shall facilitate Jewish immigration” and shall encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land.”
How the Europeans go from there to an attempted blocking and limitation on Jews choosing to live where they are entitled, historically and legitimately, to live, and call that an obstacle to peace, is, again, blatantly anti-Semitic.
As for “Illegal occupation,” it is not illegal for a nation to defend itself. Nor is it illegal for such a nation to hold onto territory seized in a defensive war against a congenital aggressor as Israel was against Jordan, both in 1948 and in 1967, when it twice invaded Israel in order to annihilate the Jewish state and to banish its Jewish population.
Evidence of this is seen in Jordan’s brutal occupation of Jerusalem in which they destroyed all the ancient synagogues and physically expelled all the remaining Jews, those they hadn’t killed, from the Old City of Jerusalem. That was when Jordan occupied Judea & Samaria and the Jordan Valley, which became known as The West Bank (of Jordan) between 1948 and 1967.
Nobody cried about “illegally occupying Palestinian land” during that period. The Europeans had nothing to say about calling on the Jordanians to withdraw from occupied Israeli land.  They were silent when Jordan joined with other Arab armies to “drive the Jews into the sea,” from their vantage positions on the high ground overlooking the narrow coastal plain of what was left of Israel since their initial conquest of Israeli territory.
The Europeans silently expected the annihilation of the Jewish State. They did nothing. They watched and waited. Many were disappointed by the miraculous victory of a determined people’s army against the British trained and equipped Jordanian army who were driven back across the Jordan River as Israeli soldiers liberated Jerusalem and drove the Syrians off the Golan Heights.
The Europeans have been supporting the proxy Arab cause, known as the Palestinians, ever since. They have silently acquiesced with Palestinian terrorism.
They have pressured and punished Israel while buying into the victim card played by a corrupt, violent, anti-Semitic Palestinian leadership in Ramallah who, according to all polls, do not represent Palestinian Arabs. That honor belongs to Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
They pump European taxpayer’s money into Palestinian Authority coffers that fund a multi-million dollars “Pay to Slay” policy. They continue to fund UNRWA, the iniquitous UN organization that perpetuates a growing Palestinian refugee population into their 4th and 5th generation, living in the exclusive civil and security control of the Palestinian Authority!
Am I the first to ask how it is possible to be a Palestinian refugee when you have been born and live as the 5th generation under the control of the PA?
But the EU decision to target some 700,000 Jews while referring to “population transfers,” yet failing to impose the same strictures on Turkey who transferred its population into the northern part of Cyprus it occupied in a war of aggression, Russians in the Crimea, China’s grip on Tibet and Hong Kong, not to mention European fishing in the waters of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco, is not just hypocritical.
It is a blatant form of discriminatory anti-Semitism.

Barry Shaw is the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’