Weekend long read

1) UN Watch has published another report concerning teachers at UNRWA educational facilities.

“…the director of the independent monitoring group UN Watch will […] present a new report showing 40 alarming new cases of UNRWA school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria whose Facebook pages incite to Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism, including by posting Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.”

The full report can be found here.

2) The FDD’s David Weinberg has produced an interesting report on a topic touched on by the BBC in the past which is titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Private Funders of al Qaeda in Syria”.Weekend Read

“It is particularly vital to evaluate Qatar’s record on terror finance in light of the Nusra Front’s July 2016 decision to rebrand itself as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), which purports to have “no relationship with any foreign party.” According to sources cited by Reuters, Qatar led an effort starting in 2015 to bolster the Syrian opposition by persuading Nusra to distance itself from al-Qaeda. Reuters reported that intelligence officials from Qatar and other Gulf states met several times with Nusra’s leader around this period to suggest that his group could receive money, arms, and supplies after stepping away from al-Qaeda. Yet the more JFS legitimates itself by integrating into the broader Syrian opposition, the greater the risk of a permanent al-Qaeda army on Europe’s doorstep.”

The full report can be found here.

3) The Tower draws attention to an interesting article by Ilan Berman published at ‘Foreign Affairs’.

“It might just be the most important terrorism case you’ve never heard of. Last fall, prosecutors in the Peruvian capital of Lima launched formal legal proceedings against a 30-year-old alleged Hezbollah operative named Mohammed Hamdar. The trial, now underway, has major regional—indeed, global—implications for the fight against international terrorism.”

4) At the Jewish Chronicle, Professor Gerald Steinberg discusses the involvement of Human Rights Watch – one of the NGOs most frequently promoted and quoted by the BBC – in a campaign to which the BBC has lent its voice.

“In November 2016, Fifa met to discuss the Palestinian effort to evict Israel from the international football federation, using the excuse that a few lower league teams are located across the 1949 “Green Line”.

Understandably, the delegates to the Fifa conference demurred, preferring not to try to referee one of the most complex and confusing political disputes in the world.

For Human Rights Watch (HRW), this response was irrelevant and this Israel-obsessed organisation continued its attack, this time during a Fifa meeting on January 10 called to consider expanding the number of teams in the World Cup.”

Read the rest of the article here

 

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q4 2016 – part two

As noted in part one of this post, between October 1st and December 31st 2016, sixty-nine reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page, some of which were cross posted from other sections of the site. 8.7% of those reports covered stories relating to security/terrorism.website

The remaining 91.3% of those articles can be categorised according to a number of categories. (The dates in brackets represent the period of time in which each report was available to visitors to the website’s Middle East page.)

Three reports related to historical subject matter:

Jerusalem reference found on ancient wine ledger (26/10/16 to 27/10/16) discussed here.

Oldest Ten Commandments carving auctioned for $850,000 in US (17/11/16 to 18/11/16)

Israel unveils Bronze Age ‘Thinker’ figurine (23/11/16 to 24/11/16)

Two reports can be categorised as miscellaneous:

Swimmers attempt to cross Dead Sea (15/11/16 to 16/11/16)

Bethlehem icons created by artists (24/12/16 to 25/12/16) 

Three reports related to the US elections/new US administration:

US election: How Israelis view the presidential contest (26/10/16 to 28/10/16) discussed here.

US election 2016: Middle East awaits Trump policy decisions (9/11/16 to 11/11/16) discussed here

Trump chooses pro-settlement hardliner as Israel envoy (16/12/16 to 18/12/16) discussed here

23 reports related to Israeli diplomatic/international relations and/or political aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict:

US ‘strongly condemns’ Israel over new settlement plan (6/10/16 to 9/10/16) discussed here.

Fifa urged to give red card to Israeli settlement clubs  (13/10/16) discussed here

Israel freezes Unesco ties for ‘denying Jewish holy sites’ (14/10/16 to 16/10/16) discussed here

Unesco passes contentious Jerusalem resolution (18/10/16 to 19/10/16) discussed here

Gas pipeline hope heals rupture in Israel-Turkey ties (19/10/16 to 23/10/16) discussed here

Spain questions Israel over helicopter drone gift to Russia (25/11/16 to 28/11/16)

Turkey drops case against Israeli officers in Gaza flotilla killings (9/12/16 to 10/12/16) discussed here

Egypt delays UN motion on Israel as Trump intervenes (23/12/16)

UN Security Council votes against Israeli settlements (23/12/16 to 29/12/16)

Israel blasts US over UN vote on settlements (23/12/16)

Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end (23/12/16 to 24/12/16) discussed here together with the additional reports on the same topic.

Israel settlements: Netanyahu rejects ‘shameful’ UN vote (24/12/16)

Israel settlements: Netanyahu orders UN ties review (24/12/16 to 25/12/16)

Israeli PM summons US ambassador amid UN vote row (25/12/16 to 28/12/16)

John Kerry warns Israel over peace deal with Palestinians (28/12/16 to 29/12/16)

Netanyahu: John Kerry blamed Israel for lack of peace (28/12/16 to 29/12/16)

John Kerry warns Israel over peace deal with Palestinians (28/12/16) discussed here

Israel-Palestinians: Netanyahu condemns John Kerry speech (29/12/16 to 30/12/16)

Israel and the Palestinians: Can settlement issue be solved? (29/12/16 to 3/1/17) later revised and date stamp changed, discussed here and here.    

Obama and the Middle East – too little, too late?  (29/12/16 to 7/1/17)

Trump and the Middle East: an impossible disengagement? (30/12/16 to 7/1/17)

Downing Street criticises US comments on Israel (30/12/16 to 2/1/17)

Five issues which shaped the Middle East in 2016 (31/12/16 to 8/1/17)

Four reports related to Palestinian affairs:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas undergoes heart tests (6/10/16 to 8/10/16)

Palestinians face uncertainties over Abbas succession (28/10/16 to 3/11/16) discussed here.   

100 Women 2016: The woman defying Gaza’s biking ‘ban’ (26/11/16 to 29/11/16) discussed here

Hamas accuses Israel of killing its Tunisian drone expert (17/12/16 to 19/12/16) discussed here and here

Of the 28 reports on Israel related stories, eight related to the death and funeral of former president Shimon Peres with seven of those having been carried over from September. The reports can be divided into sub categories including:

a) Shimon Peres:

Shimon Peres: Long legacy of Israel’s elder statesman (28/9/16 to 2/10/16) discussed here

Shimon Peres’s death closes a chapter in Israel’s history (28/9/16 to 3/10/16)

Body of Shimon Peres lies in state (29/9/16 to 1/10/16)

Shimon Peres funeral: Leaders hail legacy of former Israeli leader (30/9/16 to 3/10/16) 

Palestinian and Israeli leaders shake hands at Peres funeral (30/9/16 to 7/10/16)

Shimon Peres was a great man of the world, says Israeli PM (30/9/16 to 3/10/16) 

Obama: Abbas at Peres funeral ‘a reminder of unfinished peace’ (30/9/16 to 3/10/16)

Israel to rename Negev nuclear site after Shimon Peres (9/10 16 to 10/10/16)

b) reports relating to legal and/or criminal issues:

Israel fires: Dozen suspects arrested on suspicion of arson (25/11/16 to 28/11/16) discussed here

Israel’s Moshe Katsav to be freed on parole (18/12/16 to 19/12/16)

Israel’s Netanyahu denies wrongdoing ahead of investigation (30/12/16 to2/1/17)

c) society:

Israel in food fight over kosher licensing (10/10/16 to 12/10/16)

Israel’s Arab soldiers who fight for the Jewish state (8/11/16 to 14/11/16) discussed here

Lifting the covers on boudoir in the Holy Land (21/11/16 to 22/11/16)

How Judaism’s definition of death can boost organ donations (11/12/16 to 20/12/16)

d) domestic news/politics:

Scuffles break out at Jerusalem’s Western Wall (2/11/16 to 3/11/16)

Quieten calls to prayer in Israel – Netanyahu (13/11/16 to 14/11/16) discussed here

Israeli bills draw Palestinian warning (14/11/16 to 15/11/16) discussed here.

Israel Chief Rabbi Amar condemned for ‘gay death penalty’ comment (18/11/16 to 21/11/16)

Israel fires: Tens of thousands flee as fires hit Haifa (24/11/16 to 25/11/16) discussed here and here

In pictures: Israel wildfires force evacuations in Haifa (24/11/16 to 25/11/16)

Israeli MPs advance bill to legalise West Bank outposts (6/12/16) discussed here

Netanyahu statue: Golden likeness of PM appears in Tel Aviv (6/12/16 to 7/12/16)

Israeli parliament lifts dress code after protest over short skirt ban (15/12/16 to 18/12/16)

Jewish settlers agree to leave Amona site in occupied West Bank (18/12/16 to 21/12/16)

Israel postpones vote on new Jerusalem settlement homes (28/12/16 to 30/12/16)

e) technology:

How Israel builds its hi-tech start-ups (14/10/16 to 15/10/16)

What if your smartphone is out of touch? (23/11/16 to 27/11/16)

Even discounting the reports related to the death of Shimon Peres, Israeli domestic affairs once again received considerably greater coverage than did Palestinian affairs in the fourth quarter of 2016.

q4-reports

Overall throughout the year of 2016, 20.7% of the BBC News website’s reporting on Israel and the Palestinians related to security issues. Israeli internal affairs were the subject of 33.3% of the BBC’s reporting while just 8.3% of the coverage related to Palestinian internal affairs.

2016-reports-chart

Related Articles:

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part one

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q1 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part one 

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q2 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q3 2016 – part one

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q3 2016 – part two

Reviewing BBC News website portrayal of Israel and the Palestinians in Q4 2016 – part one

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend long read

1) As noted at the Tower, the Guardian’s Martin Chulov recently published an interesting article about a particular outcome of the war in Syria. Weekend Read

“Iran is repopulating Syrian territory from Damascus to Homs with Shiites families from elsewhere in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, turning the area into “zones of influence” that Iran “can directly control and use to advance broader interests,” The Guardian reported earlier this month. […]

Lebanese officials have been paying close attention to what they say has been a systematic destruction of Land Registry offices in areas coming under Assad’s control. It has been confirmed that these offices have been burned in the cities of Zabadani, Darayya, Homs, and Qusayr, meaning that residents who fled cannot prove ownership of their homes.

Abu Mazen Darkoush, a former Free Syrian Army commander, said that after many neighborhoods in Homs were cleansed of their residents, families who returned were refused entry into their homes by officials who cited their lack of proof of ownership.”

2) The Times of Israel has a report on some of the Israeli organisations helping Syrian civilians afflicted by the war in their country.

“In one month, an online crowdfunding campaign, “Just Beyond the Border,” has raised over $350,000 to bring much-needed emergency aid to the children of Syria — more than double its original aim.

The campaign’s title reflects the ideology behind it: that Israelis simply cannot ignore the horrors taking place in neighboring Syria.

Speaking to The Times of Israel recently, Yoav Yeivin, one of the lead organizers of the campaign who is also a Jerusalem city council member for the Hitorerut/Wake-Up Jerusalem movement, said he was inspired by his Holocaust survivor grandmother.

“I was raised with the understanding that apathy could be lethal,” he said.”

3) Although nearly two years have passed since the BBC last reported on the topic, the story of Syrian patients receiving treatment from the IDF and in Israeli hospitals continues – as Reuters recently reported.

“It happens nearly every night. After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army.

Israeli soldiers on lookout or patrol spot them waiting by the fence and whisk them away to a rear position where army medics soon arrive, according to army officials operating in the Golan Heights.”

4) Israel’s Channel 10 recently reported another development regarding Israeli aid to Syrians.

“Israel is to grant refugee status to 100 orphaned Syrian refugee children, in line with a decision by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Wednesday.

According to Channel 10, the children will receive temporary resident status and become permanent residents after four years, and be able to remain in Israel for their entire lives.

Channel 10 said that the children will be integrated into Arab Israeli families. Furthermore, any of the children’s immediate relatives will also be considered for refugee status.

The government made the final decision on the future of the refugees and will now liaise with the relevant international organizations to bring the orphans into the country.”

What context is missing from the BBC’s report on Umm al Hiran?

On January 18th the BBC News website published an article on its Middle East page under the headline “Israeli policeman and Bedouin killed during clashes over demolitions“.umm-al-hiran-art-main

The overwhelming majority of that article’s 614 words are devoted to conflicting accounts of the tragic events in Umm al Hiran earlier that day. Seeing as even now – four days later – the post-mortem examination has not been completed and the ballistics report has yet to be published, the value of some of the subjective and speculative accounts the BBC found it appropriate to publish can at best be said to be doubtful as far as helping readers understand what actually happened is concerned.

Facts were however readily available concerning another part of the story: its context. Strangely, the BBC devoted just 12.2% (75 words) of the article’s word count to informing its audiences of the background to the incidents.

umm-al-hiran-art-background

The BBC’s claim that the people concerned were moved to Umm al Hiran in the 1950s is inaccurate – they were moved to the nearby Yatir area and some of them later took over land in Umm al Hiran. The claim that “they have now been told to move to new housing elsewhere” does not give BBC audiences a proper perspective of what the squatters have actually been offered. Neither is the BBC’s claim that the new town of Hiran is “mainly Jewish” supported by the facts.

One journalist who has studied the case of Umm al Hiran extensively is Ben Dror Yemini.

“The members of the al-Qiyan tribe are right. They were indeed transferred to the Yatir Forest area in the 1950s. They settled there with permission. Precisely because they have certain rights which have been recognized by the authorities and by the courts, they were offered to move – for free – to the regulated community of Hura. Not only did they receive free land, a quarter of an acre for each household, and not only was the infrastructure supplied by the government, but each family received an additional payment, at least NIS 100,000 to build its own home. Moreover, every man married to more than one woman received land units according to the number of his wives – even though polygamy is illegal. And in order not to discriminate against the young ones, all those over the age of 24 received an independent home as well.

Before you say that this is an insufficient settlement, it should be noted that most tribe members considered it a fair and sufficient proposal. They moved to the village of Hura. Very few decided to stay. And out of the very few, a small minority left the Yatir area and spread to the Hiran area. Aerial shots document exactly what went on there starting in the 1960s: The illegal construction continued even after it was decided in 2002 to build the community of Hiran, not just for Jews as the slanderers claim. […]

The arguments I am making here do not belong to a certain side. They are based on a Supreme Court ruling, which determined in these words that “most of the tribe members moved to Hura – a Bedouin community, which is regulated and connected to infrastructures – and the remaining ones are required to evacuate their homes, and are being offered to move to Hura… They are not being expelled and not being abandoned. The suggested evacuation involves different proposals for a move, construction, compensation and a housing option, whether in the town of Hura or in the community of Hiran which is about to be built… The planned community does not prevent the tribe members from living there… Anyone wishing to live in Hiran is entitled to do so, subject to the law and under the fixed conditions.””

Another Israeli journalist who has done extensive work on this topic is Kalman Liebskind. (translation: BBC Watch)

“For very many years the State has been trying to move members of the Abu al-Qiyan family from the area in which they settled and on which they illegally built tens of structures and sheds. In order to persuade them to move to Hura – an organized community with services they do not have in their present location – the State was ready to make generous offers of land and money. Most members of the tribe chose to accept the offers. Some of them, after additional financial encouragement from the state, demolished their illegal buildings themselves.

Among those who chose to stay and refused to move even after all the legal proceedings dismissed their claims, the State defined 58 as being ‘entitled’ to compensation if they agreed to move. Who are those ‘entitled’? Families with children, married couples, one-parent families and single people over the age of 24. What was each of the ‘entitled’ to get? A developed plot of one dunam in a neighbourhood in Hura which was prepared especially to absorb the family members, together with financial compensation for each illegally constructed structure that would be demolished.

But the story did not end there. ‘Where will our children live when they grow up?’ asked members of the tribe. ‘We want plots for them too’. The State also agreed to that. And so, for example, parents of four children aged 3, 5, 7 and 9 got a commitment of financial compensation – a one dunam plot for the parents and four more plots which would be put aside for the children which, when the time came, they could purchase for the symbolic price of a few tens of thousands of shekels. Just a moment, you ask, what happens if the Bedouin has two wives and each one of them has four small children? Well then each woman will get her own plot – and for the eight small children plots would also be put aside.

Last Thursday, when the State’s representatives asked to sign the agreement, the Bedouin announced that they had a few more demands; that what they had got until now was not enough; that in addition to all that they also want a million shekels compensation for each family for the illegal structures that they had built and also 400,000 shekels for each family for the emotional damage caused to them and also plots for business and for greenhouses and also tender-exempt plots in the industrial zone of Hura.

Against all that background, another small problem was born. It turned out that in the tribe there are ten Palestinian women who were brought by the al-Qiyan tribe to live here as second wives. Not only are they not Israeli citizens, but their presence is not legal. The State’s representatives explained to the Bedouin that with all the goodwill in the world, the State cannot give a gift of land to Palestinians from Hebron or Ramallah – Palestinian Authority citizens – that nobody knows how they got here.

In light of the new and inflated list of demands, the negotiators understood that the Bedouin were not interested in closing a deal. This was a list of demands from parties trying to end the negotiations. Nevertheless, the State’s representatives decided to see what more could be done in order to leave an opening for a quiet evacuation. A round of telephone calls between the members of the Israel Land Authority committee produced another better offer. Take ten more plots and we’ll close the deal. Nobody explained, of course, that this is an elegant way to give plots to the Palestinian women without saying so outright but each one understood what he was supposed to understand.

Yesterday evening [January 17th], after the last meeting, it was clear to the State’s representatives that there was nothing more to discuss and no-one to talk to and the evacuation went ahead.”

The vast majority of that highly relevant background is markedly absent from the BBC’s minimalist portrayal of the context of this story. To those familiar with the BBC’s partial portrayal of stories concerning Bedouin land claims over the years (see ‘related articles’ below) that will probably not come as much of a surprise. But nevertheless, the corporation cannot possibly claim that it met its remit of providing accurate and impartial information in order to enhance “audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues” with those 75 words.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Wyre Davies plays wingman to anti-Israel NGOs

Unquestioning repetition of claims by political activist in BBC report on Negev

BBC amplification of organised anti-Israel delegitimising campaign

 

Compromised BBC backgrounder surfaces again

On January 16th the BBC News website published an article titled “Egypt court upholds ruling halting transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia“. Included in that report was an insert of background information titled “Why the Red Sea islands matter”, which previously appeared in an article concerning the same story in June 2016.tiran-art-jan-17

The insert includes the following context-free information:

“Israel captured the islands in 1956 and 1967, subsequently returning them to Egypt both times”

As was noted here over six months ago:

“The BBC did not bother to inform readers why that was the case.

“In 1949, Egypt established itself on two small and deserted islands in the straits that had never belonged to it – Tiran and Sanafir. Later, they were leased to it by Saudi Arabia. In January 1950, Egypt assured the United States Government that the occupation of the islands was in no way intended to interfere with shipping in the waters of the gulf. But soon Egypt broke its word, fortified the entrance to the straits and blockaded Israel. Having failed to conquer the southern Negev during the War of Independence or to bring about its cession by Israel through political pressure, Egypt now tried to land-lock Eilat and block Israel’s outlet to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, which meant cutting Israel’s present and future communications with Asia and East Africa. The closure of the Straits of Tiran was one of the main factors that led to the Sinai campaign of 1956. Israel’s refusal to withdraw its forces from Sharm el Sheikh unless its freedom of passage through the straits were effectively safeguarded led to the stationing there of the UN Emergency Force. The blockade was lifted and Israel could freely develop its trade with countries in Asia and East Africa, import oil from the Persian Gulf, and redeem the southern Negev from its desolation. Israel declared solemnly that any interference with its rights of navigation in the gulf would be regarded as an attack, entitling it to exercise its inherent rights of self-defence. […]

On 23 May 1967, President Nasser re-imposed the naval blockade in the Straits of Tiran in a deliberate attempt to force Israel to forfeit its internationally-acknowledged rights or else go to war. Five days earlier the UN Emergency Force was expelled by Nasser, and the units stationed at Sharm el-Sheikh were evacuated. […] The Israeli army reached Sharm el-Sheikh on 7 June 1967 and lifted the blockade. From 1967, freedom of navigation prevails in the Gulf of Aqaba, benefiting shipping bound for Israel and Jordan.”

Apparently the BBC considered it necessary to ensure that its audiences know that “Israel captured the islands in 1956 and 1967” – but not why.”

That observation obviously still applies.

Related Articles:

The missing chapter in the BBC’s coverage of the Red Sea islands story

Context missing from BBC News’ backgrounder on Strait of Tiran

 

 

 

attack

BBC reports on death of Rafsanjani ignore his involvement in global terror

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iranian president from 1989 to 1997, and mentor to current President Hassan Rouhani, died of a heart attack on Sunday at 82.

In multiple BBC reports on his death, Rafsanjani was characterised as one of the most “influential figures since the 1979 revolution” and a “pragmatic conservative” who became “a key supporter of reformists”.

However, in our review of BBC’s coverage of the former president’s death, there was one glaring omission: his key role in Iran’s use of global terror as a tool of foreign policy.

A recent report at The Tower details Rafsanjani’s record of terror:

A Central Intelligence Agency assessment from 1990 found that Rafsanjani had targeted “enemies of the regime” during the previous year, and predicted that “Rafsanjani and other Iranian leaders will continue selectively using terrorism as a foreign policy tool to intimidate regime opponents, punish enemies of Islam, and influence Western political decisions.”

In 1992, four Iranian dissidents were killed in a Berlin restaurant. A German court found in 1997 that both Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kamenei “not only allow terrorist attacks abroad…they themselves set in action such attacks.” Iranian foreign policy, the court concluded, involved identifying opponents abroad and having them “liquidated.”

That same year, the Israeli embassy in Argentina was bombed, as was the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires two years later, with both attacks widely believed to have been done by the Iran-sponsored terror group Hezbollah. Argentine investigators concluded that the AMIA bombing had been approved at a meeting attended by Khamenei and Rafsanjani.

Also during Rafsanjani’s tenure, the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, which housed American troops, was bombed by Saudi and Lebanese members of Hezbollah in a plot that was planned by Iranian agents. 19 U.S. Air Force personnel were killed in the blast, as were a number of Saudis and nationals of other countries. The bombers who were captured said that they were trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and had received $250,000 and logistical support from an IRGC general. Then-FBI Director Louis Freeh testified before Congress that “the attack was planned, funded and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Republic of Iran, that the IRGC principally had the responsibility of putting that plan into operation.”

Of course, BBC readers were also not informed that Rafsanjani, on multiple occasions, explicitly called for Israel’s destruction.

For more information on the attack on the AMIA Jewish community center (and the subsequent cover-up) see here.

 

 

Weekend long read

1) The Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center has produced two reports concerning UNSC Resolution 2334:Weekend Read

a) Palestinian Reactions to UN Security Council Resolution 2334

b) How UN Security Council Resolution 2334 Relates to Palestinian Terrorism

“On December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334, with 14 countries voting in favor. The United States abstained allowing the resolution to pass. Resolution 2334 deals mostly with the Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, over which there is broad international consensus. The issue of terrorism is included in the resolution but its weight is slight (as opposed to extensive dealing with the settlements, which are represented as the main obstacle to peace). Moreover, for the most part the terminology used in dealing with terrorism is general and vague. The resolution does not explicitly refer to Palestinian terrorism, the Palestinian terrorist organizations (especially Hamas) and popular terrorism and violence (the so-called “popular resistance”).”

2) At the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler fact-checks the speech made by the outgoing US Secretary of State, John Kerry, on December 28th 2016.  

““The settler population in the West Bank alone, not including East Jerusalem, has increased by nearly 270,000 since Oslo. Including 100,000 just since 2009 when President Obama’s term began.”

If you do the math, that means the population growth rate in the settlements is nearly 4 percent. Israel’s overall population growth rate is about 2 percent. Israel has the highest birthrate in the industrialized world, especially among the Jewish Orthodox population that tends to live in settlements. Israelis have long maintained that “natural growth” — births — should be allowed in settlements, and even the ill-fated “road map” plan for peace pressed by President George W. Bush called for a freeze that included natural growth.”

3) An article recently published at Ynet opens:

“An Israeli investigation into school books used by United Nations-run schools in the West Bank were found to consistently delegitimize and demonize the State of Israel.

These textbooks—written by the Palestinian Ministry of Education—are used in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in both Gaza and the West Bank.

However, the most shocking discovery is that the UN schools don’t teach Palestinian children to recognize Israel as a country—not within the 1947 borders, nor any borders at all.”

The study upon which that article is based can be found here.

Weekend long read

1) CAMERA’s Alex Safian discusses UNSC resolution 2334 in an article titled “Game Changer or Not?“.Weekend Read

“The decision by President Obama to allow the resolution to pass is likely to be a mirror image of his ill-fated demand soon after his inauguration in 2009 that Israel impose a settlement freeze, something which even the Palestinians had not demanded as a condition to resuming negotiations. Rather than advancing prospects for peace, the 10-month settlement freeze, which PM Netanyahu reluctantly accepted, actually hardened Palestinian positions, as they could not accept being seen as demanding less from Israel than the United States.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made this clear in an interview with Newsweek :

It was Obama who suggested a full settlement freeze. I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that, he came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and said to me, jump.

While the freeze was in effect Abbas ignored it as meaningless and refused to negotiate till the last month, then demanded the freeze be extended as it was about to expire, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained in 2012:

When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze I flew to Jerusalem .. it wasn’t perfect. It didn’t cover East Jerusalem, but it covered much of the contested area in the West Bank.

And I stood on a stage with him … I said it was unprecedented for any Israeli prime minister to have done that. I got so criticized. I got criticized from the right, the left, the center, Israeli, Jewish, Arab, Christian, you name it. Everybody criticized me. But the fact was it was a 10-month settlement freeze. And he was good to his word. And we couldn’t get the Palestinians into the conversation until the tenth month.

To put it simply, President Obama’s plan backfired, making peace more difficult to achieve.”

2) At the JCPA, Ambassador Alan Baker discusses “The Dangers of UN Security Council Resolution 2334“.

“This position taken by the United States (as well as the other members of the Security Council) also undermines the basic obligation of the Oslo Accords, signed by the PLO and witnessed by the United States (as well as the EU, Russia, Egypt and others), that the permanent status of the territories, the issues of Jerusalem, and borders are to be negotiated.”

3) At the Times of Israel, Rafael L. Bardaji and Col. Richard Kemp of the Friends of Israel Initiative give their view of the same topic.

“East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank constitutes disputed territory rather than being occupied, as the UN falsely insists. The final status of these lands must be mutually agreed in bilateral negotiations between the parties, in accordance with the legally-binding Oslo Accords which the Security Council now treats with contempt. […]

Whatever the UN Security Council might like to believe, if every settlement were torn down we would still not be one step closer to peace. In fact we would be farther from it, as Palestinian leaders sensed victory and pressed on towards their only goal, which is Arab domination of the entire land, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea.”

4) At the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Col. (res) Dr Eran Lerman gives his appraisal of UNSC resolution 2334.

“”Be careful what you wish for; you might get it” says the old adage, and sober elements among the Palestinian leadership may yet rue the day they managed to secure an American abstention leading to the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. The resolution condemns “settlement activity” anywhere, including East Jerusalem, and calls upon all members to distinguish in practice between Jews who live on one side of the Armistice Line of 1949 and those who live beyond it. It presumes to speak in the name of international law and to create the conditions for further progress towards peace in the interests of both Palestinians and “legitimate” Israelis. In fact, this poorly designed and atrociously timed diplomatic tool seems set to harm, if not entirely destroy, the very purposes it was designed to serve.”