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« Pollak on the Human Rights Delegation | Main | Kuwaiti journalist appreciates Israel's treatment of prisoners »

August 07, 2008

Comments

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR

Steve,
It is such a coup that the UNHRC has decided to locate the WHRTC (World Human Rights Teaching Centre) in South Africa. Jody Kollapen (SAHRC) is really so well qualified to help co-ordinate its activities from Joburg. We really are blessed.

Nobody can doubt South Africa's moral authority. If you read the papers, you will know that it is increasing by the day. South Africa is a guiding light. It is, to put it succinctly, the world's moral compass.

Joel Pollak

This is a truly awesome post - especially the part debunking claims to be improving relations with the Muslim community. Dialogue has to go both ways--and you correctly observe that one-way reconciliation only leads to further contempt and hatred.

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR

Steve,
Btw, I am flabbergasted that I was not invited to the "residence in Houghton" to hear Judge Edwin Cameron's views. After all, I offered him a one-way ticket to Tehran, so that he could assess human rights there. My proviso was that he must rock up at a stoning.

How do I get on the Jewish "A" list? I was not even invited to the Chief Rabbi's tete a tete with Jacob Zuma at Investec.

I am beginning to feel that I have been "blacklisted".

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR

The SAHRD's statement reads;
"We have been deeply affected by what we have seen, and intend to engage in this regard, in our personal capacities, with all our communities and constituencies. We intend to be sensitive to the anxieties and perspectives that exist, and to use our visit to promote thoughtful discussion within and between our communities."

This is a bare-faced lie. I have written to Nathan Geffen on many occasions but have not even recieved the courtesy of a reply. I have also raised questions on the letters page of the SAJR which have not been answered.

My "anxieties" have not been dealt with. I don't expect therapy. But I do expect some attempt to discuss the various issues that I have raised.

Is it possible that I have once gain been "blacklisted"?

Steve

BD,
Geffen and Isaacs have the full truth and you don't. Its that simple.

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR

Steve,

Truth or not, I feel that I am being snubbed.

Did you read the Judge Davis article in this weeks SAJR? What did you think of it?

Steve

Didn't read it. Will get a copy and read it. Sorry you were snubbed.

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR


Subject: THE PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
Date: 08 August 2008 9:57:49 PM
To: nathangeffen@gmail.com

Dear Nathan Geffen,

I alert the SAHRD's attention to the recent announcement of The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). Like you, they have a 'human rights" mandate, so you might find the following relevant...

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1218104233902&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull..

"Hamas is preventing human rights lawyers from visiting dozens of Palestinians arrested in the group's recent crackdown on Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip, Reuters quoted a human rights group as saying Thursday.
The arrests followed a July 25 bombing that killed five members of Hamas's armed wing and a seven-year-old girl. Fatah denied involvement in the attack and in response to the Hamas arrests, embarked on crackdown of their own, against Hamas members in the West Bank.
Altogether, more than 250 Palestinians were arrested by both Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PA security forces since the explosion.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said the detentions were illegal and that several of the arrests had been carried out by Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, without warrants.
PCHR director Raji Sourani told Reuters that his lawyers had been blocked from visiting any of those detained by Hamas for political reasons.
The PCHR, citing testimony from victims, also said that Hamas was abusing and torturing some detainees.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Thursday that the PCHR report was "unfair and unbalanced," adding that it ignored the arrest campaign by forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against Hamas activists in the West Bank."


I would hope that the SAHRD (South African Human Rights Delegation) takes their concerns seriously and brings them to the attention of the South African public.

Of course, such concerns might not suit your narrow agenda. You might, moreover, agree with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri who said on Thursday that the PCHR report was "unfair and unbalanced," If so, please ignore this email.

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR


Subject: CENSORSHIP AND THE MRN
Date: 11 August 2008 4:32:38 PM
To: jduncan@fxi.org.za, naeem@fxi.org.za

Dear Mr Jeenah and Ms Duncan,

I draw the FXI's attention to the fact that my comments with regard to the SAHRD have now been removed from the MRN's website. The comments were polite and pertinent. I even pointed out, in a further comment, that Jody Kollapen's name had been misspelt. Am I to be censored, for pointing out a spelling mistake??

I think that you would agree that, such excisions, are a serious assault on my freedom of expression.

I request that The FXI investigates this matter on my behalf asap.

I look forward to hearing from you,

viva
blacklisted

BLACKLISTED DICTATOR

Is there a specific word for censoring someone who points out your spelling mistakes?

Nathan Geffen

You say there is "lots of space for criticism"?
Perhaps you are unaware that I was boo'd and heckled at the 100 year Cape BOD meeting, or the Masada2000 website? What about the email harassment that one of your readers subjects people to, the anonymous abusive phone calls I and others have received in the past, the public threats of violence by members of the Jewish community against Doron Isaacs and the defamatory lies? Doron and I are thick-skinned, but what message does all this send to others in the community who want to criticise Israel? In all my time of vehement criticism of the SA govt for its policies on HIV and my harsh (but deserved) attacks on the Min. Health, I have never been responded to with the hatred I get in response to my comparatively mild criticisms of Israel. The right-winged voices in the community need to do some serious introspection; you have gone seriously awry.

You accuse me of "currying favour". You clearly were not at the public meeting in Bo Kaap (a Cape Muslim community) several weeks ago where I and others spoke out against anti-semitism in the Muslim community and where a Muslim youth group consequently agreed to remove anti-semitic graffiti in the area.

Steve

Nathan, perhaps you need to send a human rights delegation to Glenhazel and not Israel? Jokes aside, I hope you contact the police regarding some of this behaviour. It is unacceptable.
I don’t know why you have included the Masada2000 website in your evidence supporting your claim that there is no room for debate in the SA Jewish community? It’s an awful website. But is it run by the broader SA Jewish community? Why the need to throw that website into this discussion? I think that error says a lot about the position you are defending.
I think you should deal with the email harassment. I have spoken out about it before. There must be ways of dealing with the problem given that you know the names of the offenders. Have you told the offenders that you don’t wish to debate these issues? Perhaps they mistook your calls for debate as a signal to debate?
Your allegations focus exclusively on the far right wing side of the community and totally ignore the left and center. You have painted the entire community with the same brush.
I agree with you that sections of the far right wing in this community need to do some serious introspection. But that does not mean there is no space for debate. Perhaps we could be doing better, but there is certainly more space for criticism than the Muslim community enjoys, yet in your article you accused only the Jewish community of this homogeneity of views.
• If you are correct then how do you explain the Jewish Board hosting talks extremely critical of the occupation at their annual conferences?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the Limmud learning festival and the personalities they are bringing?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the dinner hosted a few year back for Dennis Ross?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the frequent visits by Benjamin Pogrund?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the coverage you received from the community paper?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the terrific turnout you received at the residence of a prominent member of the Jewish community?
• If you are correct then how do you explain the weekly column in the Jewish Report written by Dennis Davis?
The list goes on.
What bothered me most about your article was the uneven way you treated the Muslim and Jewish communities. Why the need to publicly castigate SA Zionists in the media and privately discuss things with the Muslim community? Your article in the Cape Argus let one side off the hook and absolutely smashed the other. "Currying" favour is an opinion which we can disagree on. The end result however is indisputable. Your article bought favour with one side and anger with the other. That is fine, but it then makes me laugh when I remember that, on the very same newspaper page, you wrote that the delegation aims to bring the Jewish and Muslim communities closer together. It’s a joke.
Why haven't you contacted the Jewish community about removing the disgusting anti-Muslim graffiti in Glenhazel? Oh that's right, there is none. So why then are the failings of the Jewish community (great though they are) so much more severe than those of the Muslim community?
I deeply deplore the treatment you describe. But it is not in any way equal to treatment meted out to members of the Muslim community who dissent. I am saddened that you don’t realise this.

Mike

Nathan,
Your logic worries me. You seem to imply in the last paragraph that by get the Muslim Youth group to take down what you describe as Anti-Semitic graffiti you were somehow not currying favor with them. Agreeing to not engage in racist acts is by no means a concession. It should be a given. Not currying favour would be to explain to the Muslim Community why Israel has a right to exist in secure boundaries or why Jewish also have historical claims to Jerusalem and Hebron. Not currying favor would be to public denounce their leadership for their express support for the most heinous atrocities committed by Hamas. But you have not done this.
I too am sorry that certain members of our community have behaved in the way they have. Threatening phone calls and threats of violence are totally unacceptable. I would be happy to call on the SAJBD and SAZF to denounce these actions publicly and call on those members of the community to desist. I will actually email them now to do so. On the emails front, I would advice answering some of the issues he raises. As Steve pointed out you were the ones that called for debate.

Nathan Geffen

Mike and Steve (apologies for not addressing you more formally but I don’t know your surnames):

We could have a debate about my personal merits and shortcomings. I could point out to you how I have condemned suicide bombings and anti-semitism on Islamic radio stations, how I’ve attacked fundamentalism live on an Islamic radio station (and subsequently slammed the phone down) and how your presumption that the meeting I referred to was private is false. I could point out the umpteen times Doron and I have defended Israel’s right to exist. I could point out my track record of being involved in condemnations of human right abuses in Iran, China, Iraq (during Saddam Hussein’s time), Saudi Arabia, China, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda, Namibia etc (please tell this to your supporter Anthony Posner, who harasses people for this sort of irrelevant personal info). I could point out how a Muslim delegate of the SAHRD has criticized the hopeless Palestinian leadership in a public forum, or how Zackie Achmat, another delegate, has challenged intolerance in the Muslim community.

We could also argue to and fro about tolerance and intolerance in the Jewish community and how your examples are a consequence of people like Doron Isaacs and Dennis Davis continually struggling for greater tolerance (Doron is the chair of CT Limmud). I could remind you that the orthodox chief rabbi has condemned Limmud as yet another example of intolerance. I could defend my logic to Mike. I could justifiably take umbrage at your undermining the importance of my combating anti-semitism in the Muslim community. I could point out to you that although there’s no disgusting anti-Muslim graffiti in Glenhazel, there’s disgusting anti-Palestinian hate speech on a South African Jewish facebook site (middle-class graffiti) and in many other public forums. I could also suggest to you that there is reason to suspect that respected members of our community assist Masada2000 or that Jonathan Shapiro asked the Board of Deputies to condemn Masada2000 long ago. I agree that South African Muslim dissenters generally have a harder time than Jewish ones; you really presume a lot about my views without knowing them!

But it’s actually all beside the point. Let’s debate some real issues. On a Facebook group started by Doron I proposed the following campaigns we should support as Jews who care about Israel’s security and moral integrity:

• The 900 Hebron settlers must be removed from the city and relocated west of the green line. Hebron must be handed over for complete Palestinian control (equivalent to Oslo Area A) with the exception that anyone may enter Hebron to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
• The concession to Elad of Ir David (City of David) in Silwan must be ended. All rights over the use, maintenance and extension of this archaelogical dig must be under the joint control of the residents of Silwan and the Israeli government, with at least equal power in decision-making given to the Silwan residents. Silwan residents must be compensated for damage to their homes and illegal settlers in Silwan must be removed.
• East Jerusalem has been de facto annexed. East Jerusalem Palestinian residents must be given the same rights as Israelis including the vote.
• The fence/barrier must be relocated to the green line.
• New settlements in the West Bank really must be stopped. Outposts declared illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court must be dismantled and the people staying there relocated west of the green line.
• West Bank sterile roads (i.e. Israeli only) must be ended. The efforts to creating separate electricity and water supply systems on the West Bank must be halted and reversed.
• West Bank check points must be equal opportunity. Irrespective of your number plate, everyone should wait in the same queue and be subjected to the same procedures.
• Israelis must be allowed to enter places designated Oslo Area A like Nablus and Ramallah. This is for two reasons: The tourist industry has collapsed in these areas and it is impossible for Israeli peace activists to work in them. If the Israeli government wants to see places like Nablus become even more militant then preventing Israelis from going there is one way to do it.

I’m sure there are nuances and improvements that could be suggested to the above list. Let’s discuss it. I’m open-minded about it. And there’s a lot of other Israeli government human rights violations that I’ve left out (e.g. access to Jerusalem’s holy sites for West Bank Palestinians).

Besides being just, I believe it would be in the security interests of Israelis and Palestinians for the above to be achieved. It would likely improve Israeli/Palestinian relations.

Mike

Hi Nathan,

I happy to deal with the issues you raised. My first concern is that your list includes no obligations on the Palestinian side. As we have learned all too painfully from the Gaza disengagement (which I supported) the solution to this conflict needs to be bilateral or even multilateral.
So I would begin by adding the following:
• Palestinians militant groups must be disarmed. The Palestinian police force and military should have a monopoly on lethal force.
• A massive re-education campaign is needed to reverse the last 30 years of anti-Jewish hate that has permeated Palestinian society.
• The institutions needed for an independent and democratic Palestinian state need to be established and strengthened in the territories. Curtailing corruption and furthering sustainable economic development are crucial in this regard. I particularly like the Peres economic peace plan but am open to debating the specifics. Jordon, Israel and other states in the region must be included in this.
Now to the points you raised:
• I find your suggestion that Israel/the international community should ethnically cleanse Hebron of its Jews problematic to say the least. Even if one ignores the very strong religious, historic and legal claims of those people to live in that city, colonial settlers like the Hebron Jews (as you see them) have not been required to leave as a condition for peace in other countries. Take South Africa. What more rights do we whites have to live here than the Jews of Hebron. I believe that if they so choose the settle should be allowed to become equal citizens of the future Palestine. They of course would have to respect Palestinian law and the Palestinian government guarantee their security. Your delegation was quoted as saying that at Yad Vashem you were very moved by the quote about a country is judged by how it treats its minorities. Why do we not hold the Palestinians to this same standard?
• I am not so clear what your issue with the archeological dig in the city of david is. Can you please elaborate. I oppose illegal settlement construction but this would include Jews as well as Arabs who build without building permits.
• East Jerusalem was de Jure (not de facto) annexed by Israel. Arabs living there were given the option of full citizenship at the time. This was rejected by most and thus the current limbo status. I believe that East Jerusalem or parts there of will be the future capital of Palestine. Giving its residents full Israeli citizenship now would be seen as a ploy by Israel to hold onto that territory. Not only would Jerusalem Palestinians not take it up, but it would create major tension with non Jerusalemite Palestinians. It may even result in a 3rd Intifada.
• There are major settlement blocks in the West bank that in any final status deal will remain in Israeli hands (about 8% of WB). I support land swaps to compensate for this territory. The fence route must include these settlements. If not the security of hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in those towns will be at risk. I do however believe that all effort must be made to minimize Palestinian suffering from the building of the fence. I wholeheartedly endorse the supreme courts position and judgments in this regard. The Israel government must comply with these as soon as possible.
• I agree with you on illegal outposts. They are against Israeli law and should have been dismantled years ago. I have no problem using the full might of the law to ensure this happens including sending in the army.
• Sterilized roads are a safety measure to protect the lives of Jews who live in the territories. If there was no shooting at cars on the roads there would be no need for separate roads. If the terror stopped I would be happy to support the free movement of Palestinian traffic. On the water and electricity, if the Palestinians are going to have an independent state then I don’t believe it is healthy for them to rely on Israel for basic utilities. So I don’t support a united water and electricity grid run by Israel.
• I would support your suggestion about the check points. I think its one of the most constructive and novel points you have made.
• I also wholeheartedly support your call for Israelis to be allowed into Palestinian towns. But there is that little question of their safety. 2 Israelis were brutally lynched in Ramallah not so long ago. If this can be guaranteed then I am all for it.
Finally neither Steve nor I have anything to do with Anthony’s emails. If we had anything to say we would email you ourselves or post it here.
I am looking forward to engaging with your response. I hope this can provide some constructive foundation for debate and ultimately peace.

Mike

P.S. I think its great about all those things you say you have done. Its a pity then that it does not get any coverage. If it did the Jewish communities view of you and your delegation would be very different.


1 Notice hte words of SAHRD:
"violence against civilians, has been a disaster for Palestinians. It has been a politically bankrupt strategy that has come at a terrible moral cost. As Nathan Geffen said on Monday night in Bokaap, the net effect of suicide bombing has been to kill off the once-vibrant Israeli peace camp, and to strengthen the right around the world".

They only condemn homicide bombings strategically i.e being disastrous for the 'Palestinian 'cause'.
No condemnation of homicide bombings because of the death and suffering they cause to Jews.

2 Isaacs refers to the unemployment and hunger of the Palestinians.
Is he aware that because of the sanctions and divestment campaign supported by Pro-Palestinian leftists around the world, a quarter of Israeli children do not have enough food to eat and Jewish children are going to school and passing out from hunger.

3 Did the 23 SAHRD visit the the popular display in a museum in the West Bank city of Nablus celebrating and recreating the Arab
homicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza family restaurant in which fifteen Israelis died (including women and children) and dozens more injured.

The display was complete with fake body parts and pizza piece strewn all over, and thoroughly enjoyed by thousands of Palestinian visitors.

4 Did the SAHRD visit the parent s of Jewish children killed in Palestinian acts of terror?

5 Did the SAHRD consider that the forced removals suffered by the Jews of Gaza is just as traumatic as anything suffered by the Palestinians?
Why do the Palestinians need a judenreihn state?

6 Isaacs talks of dispossession. Is he aware that in 1948 800 000 Jews were expelled from North African and Middle Eastern countries with nothing more than the clothes on their back and were resettled in Israel?

8 The Palestinian terror network started this war in 2000 in rejection of Barak's offer of all of the West Bank and Gaza as well as half of Jerusalem. They always thunder their aim is jihad and to destroy Israel.
If you start a war with the aim of genocide surely you cannot complain when your people also suffer as a result of that war.
The Arabs have being fighting tio destroy Israel and massacre it's people since before 1948. Surely they cannot then complain of the suffering that they bring on themselves.

9 All those pro-Palestinian lefties who cry such copious tears for the Palestinians should know that their pro-Palestinian work means that they think the genuinely oppressed people of the world like the Kurds, South Sudanese, Darfurese, Tibetans, Zimbabweans, Uighurs, Berbers, Maronites etc are worthless.
These people are far more oppressed and suffer far more than the 'Palestinians' and unlike the' Palestinians' it is not self-inflicted.
This Palestinian garbage is just a stick used to beat Israelis.
These trendy lefties don't give a damn about human rights, but as rabid Islamo-Leftists just want to fall all over themselves to join the racist hyena chorus and bashing Israel at every opportunity Notice Russia's invasion of Georgia, in which three thousand have died in a few days (more than 'Palestinians' have died in 7 years) has not elicited any emotive responses from those who point fingers at Israel so vociferously - no COSATU marches, no media outcry, no ANC/.SACP statements etc.
Is it a case of let everyone else die as long as Hamas and Hezbollah et al are happy?

They do not care about the rights of minorities in the Middle East such as minorities in the Middle East and North Africa such as the Jews, Christian Lebanese, Kurds, Druze, Berbers, Copts , Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yazidis, Black South Sudanese, Bahais, Zoroastrians etc.
The real struggle in Israel is over the rights of minorities in the Middle East as against total Islamic Arab domination.
The Islamic Arabs want every inch of the Middle East to themselves with no self-determination or rights for other groups.

10 Did the SAHRD ever hear of Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and nobel laureate, who, in a plea for the plight of his own people today, especially the youth and children of Israel being targeted by terror and forces of genocide (such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Ahmadinejad regime as well as all who are sympathetic to these anti-Jewish elements), penned an open letter to President George W Bush. He stated: “Please remember that the maps on (former Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat’s uniform and in Palestinian children’s textbooks show a Palestine encompassing not only all of the West Bank but all of Israel, while Palestinian leaders loudly proclaim that ‘Palestine extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Rosh Hanikra (in the North) to Rafah (in Gaza)’.

“Please remember Danielle Shefi, a little girl in Israel. Danielle was five. When the murderers came, she hid under her bed. Palestinian gunmen found and killed her anyway.

“Think of all the other victims of terror in the Holy Land. With rare exceptions, the targets were young people, children and families. Please remember that Israel – having lost too many sons and daughters, mothers and fathers – desperately wants peace. It has learned to trust its enemies’ threats more than the empty promises of ‘neutral governments’.”

11) Why should 'settlements' be regarded as a human rights abuse?
Why should the fact that Jewish communities live in the lands ruled by the PA be a crime?
Where else in the world is the existence of a certain ethnic group living in a territory regarded as a crime against humanity?
What about the human rights of the Jewish communities who live in these areas?

As regards the angry reception you got from 'settler' leaders are you really surprised?
If a delegation came to the suburb in you lived with the purpose of denigrating you before the world, trying to force you out of your homes (the real ethnic cleansing is what was done in Gaza and what the Left aims to do to Jews in Judea and Samaria), disrupting your lives and terrorizing your children, what reception would you give them.
All this after these communities have been attacked by Arab killers and their children murdered.

Gary

1 Notice hte words of SAHRD:
"violence against civilians, has been a disaster for Palestinians. It has been a politically bankrupt strategy that has come at a terrible moral cost. As Nathan Geffen said on Monday night in Bokaap, the net effect of suicide bombing has been to kill off the once-vibrant Israeli peace camp, and to strengthen the right around the world".

They only condemn homicide bombings strategically i.e being disastrous for the 'Palestinian 'cause'.
No condemnation of homicide bombings because of the death and suffering they cause to Jews.

2 Isaacs refers to the unemployment and hunger of the Palestinians.
Is he aware that because of the sanctions and divestment campaign supported by Pro-Palestinian leftists around the world, a quarter of Israeli children do not have enough food to eat and Jewish children are going to school and passing out from hunger.

3 Did the 23 SAHRD visit the the popular display in a museum in the West Bank city of Nablus celebrating and recreating the Arab
homicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza family restaurant in which fifteen Israelis died (including women and children) and dozens more injured.

The display was complete with fake body parts and pizza piece strewn all over, and thoroughly enjoyed by thousands of Palestinian visitors.

4 Did the SAHRD visit the parent s of Jewish children killed in Palestinian acts of terror?

5 Did the SAHRD consider that the forced removals suffered by the Jews of Gaza is just as traumatic as anything suffered by the Palestinians?
Why do the Palestinians need a judenreihn state?

6 Isaacs talks of dispossession. Is he aware that in 1948 800 000 Jews were expelled from North African and Middle Eastern countries with nothing more than the clothes on their back and were resettled in Israel?

8 The Palestinian terror network started this war in 2000 in rejection of Barak's offer of all of the West Bank and Gaza as well as half of Jerusalem. They always thunder their aim is jihad and to destroy Israel.
If you start a war with the aim of genocide surely you cannot complain when your people also suffer as a result of that war.
The Arabs have being fighting tio destroy Israel and massacre it's people since before 1948. Surely they cannot then complain of the suffering that they bring on themselves.

9 All those pro-Palestinian lefties who cry such copious tears for the Palestinians should know that their pro-Palestinian work means that they think the genuinely oppressed people of the world like the Kurds, South Sudanese, Darfurese, Tibetans, Zimbabweans, Uighurs, Berbers, Maronites etc are worthless.
These people are far more oppressed and suffer far more than the 'Palestinians' and unlike the' Palestinians' it is not self-inflicted.
This Palestinian garbage is just a stick used to beat Israelis.
These trendy lefties don't give a damn about human rights, but as rabid Islamo-Leftists just want to fall all over themselves to join the racist hyena chorus and bashing Israel at every opportunity Notice Russia's invasion of Georgia, in which three thousand have died in a few days (more than 'Palestinians' have died in 7 years) has not elicited any emotive responses from those who point fingers at Israel so vociferously - no COSATU marches, no media outcry, no ANC/.SACP statements etc.
Is it a case of let everyone else die as long as Hamas and Hezbollah et al are happy?

They do not care about the rights of minorities in the Middle East such as minorities in the Middle East and North Africa such as the Jews, Christian Lebanese, Kurds, Druze, Berbers, Copts , Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yazidis, Black South Sudanese, Bahais, Zoroastrians etc.
The real struggle in Israel is over the rights of minorities in the Middle East as against total Islamic Arab domination.
The Islamic Arabs want every inch of the Middle East to themselves with no self-determination or rights for other groups.

10 Did the SAHRD ever hear of Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor and nobel laureate, who, in a plea for the plight of his own people today, especially the youth and children of Israel being targeted by terror and forces of genocide (such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Ahmadinejad regime as well as all who are sympathetic to these anti-Jewish elements), penned an open letter to President George W Bush. He stated: “Please remember that the maps on (former Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat’s uniform and in Palestinian children’s textbooks show a Palestine encompassing not only all of the West Bank but all of Israel, while Palestinian leaders loudly proclaim that ‘Palestine extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, from Rosh Hanikra (in the North) to Rafah (in Gaza)’.

“Please remember Danielle Shefi, a little girl in Israel. Danielle was five. When the murderers came, she hid under her bed. Palestinian gunmen found and killed her anyway.

“Think of all the other victims of terror in the Holy Land. With rare exceptions, the targets were young people, children and families. Please remember that Israel – having lost too many sons and daughters, mothers and fathers – desperately wants peace. It has learned to trust its enemies’ threats more than the empty promises of ‘neutral governments’.”

11) Why should 'settlements' be regarded as a human rights abuse?
Why should the fact that Jewish communities live in the lands ruled by the PA be a crime?
Where else in the world is the existence of a certain ethnic group living in a territory regarded as a crime against humanity?
What about the human rights of the Jewish communities who live in these areas?

As regards the angry reception you got from 'settler' leaders are you really surprised?
If a delegation came to the suburb in you lived with the purpose of denigrating you before the world, trying to force you out of your homes (the real ethnic cleansing is what was done in Gaza and what the Left aims to do to Jews in Judea and Samaria), disrupting your lives and terrorizing your children, what reception would you give them.
All this after these communities have been attacked by Arab killers and their children murdered.

Nathan Geffen

Mike,

I agree with a number of your points and some I almost agree with.
“Palestinians militant groups must be disarmed. The Palestinian police force and military should have a monopoly on lethal force.”
Agreed. Same goes for the Israeli side. It’s only fair that settlers be disarmed too.

“A massive re-education campaign is needed to reverse the last 30 years of anti-Jewish hate that has permeated Palestinian society.”
Agreed. And, again, the same goes for the Israeli side. The propaganda hatred goes both ways. It seems judging by some of the comments posted on this site we need to do the same in our Jewish (and yes, Muslim too) communities back home. But the nature of this demand is a little different to the ones I’ve listed. The ones I’ve listed can be carried out by the Israeli govt (and some of the ones you’ve listed can be carried out by the PA, to the extent that it has any real power anymore). This demand, however, can only be carried out by a massive effort throughout both Israeli and Palestinian society and falls primarily upon civil society to do. That’s why we should support the joint efforts of the Israeli-Palestinian peace activists and groups like the Parent’s Circle who are about to visit SA.

“The institutions needed for an independent and democratic Palestinian state need to be established and strengthened in the territories. Curtailing corruption and furthering sustainable economic development are crucial in this regard.”
Agreed. But how on earth is this supposed to happen in the short to medium term when Palestinian society is so fractured, humiliated and disorganised, to a large extent because of poor Palestinian leadership, but to just as large an extent because of the occupation and poor Israeli leadership.

You make good points about my proposal about voting rights for East Jerusalem Palestinians. Indeed, you virtually describe the catch-22 situation East Jerusalem Palestinians find themselves in, primarily because of the contradictions of the is-it or isn’t-it nature of the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem. Bad political decisions taken over the course of 40 years have left the situation in Jerusalem extremely difficult to resolve.

For an introduction to the situation in Silwan, the Wikipedia article (last time I checked it) isn’t bad. This is the next Hebron. We visited it. It’s a tragedy and conflict in the making.

Most of your other points elicit the serious disagreements we have. On the barrier, I defer to the ICJ judgment. But for this posting, I want to concentrate on Hebron. Nothing brings more into focus the problems with the occupation and the potential for conflict than the situation in Hebron.

The +/-900 Hebron settlers are fanatics (at least the adults are). It is from their midst that one of the larger terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank was committed: the Baruch Goldstein massacre. The settlers treat Goldstein’s grave as a shrine. They have settled in Hebron for ideological reasons, not because of the property prices, vistas, nice weather or exciting job market – the normal reasons affluent people settle elsewhere. It is the only Palestinian city with a settlement in the middle. The army, in contradiction of a court order, keeps the main road sterile (meaning Palestinians can’t go onto it). Palestinian residents who live on this road have to exit via the back door. From being a bustling market, it is now a white elephant. They cover their balconies with cages because the settlers regularly stone them. Graffiti is sprayed on walls saying Death to Arabs (in Hebrew). Magen Davids are splashed across closed Palestinian shops. There’s regular violence, mainly but not only from the settlers and lots of video footage of it too. The Palestinians live in fear. Ask the average Israeli where violence is most likely to erupt and the answer will probably be “Hebron”. I met the Hebron settlers, including one of their leaders Dave Wilder from New Jersey. It was not a pleasant experience.

One of our Israeli activist hosts related a story to us: He saw a young settler kid (less than 10 years) walking behind some Palestinian girls. The girls scurried away, obviously scared. The kid turned to our Israeli friend and said something to this effect: “You think that by you being here they will not be afraid of me. But you’re wrong, they’re still scared of me.” Is this the type of Israel we want?

It’s consequently not surprising that Hebron is a Hamas stronghold.

You mention that you can’t support the ethnic cleansing of the settlers. But the 4th Geneva Convention is clear on this:
“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” (Article 49)

Lords of the Land by Zertal and Eldar explains the dubious circumstances under which the settlement of Hebron began post the 67 war, with state support.

Besides, Israel has moved settlers out of Sinai and Gaza. It’s not as if there isn’t a precedent for this.

Ethnic cleansing is however a serious problem in Hebron. From Btselem “The findings of a survey conducted by B'Tslem in November-December 2006 show that at least 1,014 Palestinian housing units in the center of Hebron have been vacated by their occupants. This number represents 41.9 percent of the housing units in the relevant area. Sixty-five percent (659) of the empty apartments became vacant during the course of the second intifada. Regarding Palestinian commercial establishments, 1,829 are no longer open for business. This number represents 76.6 percent of all the commercial establishments in the surveyed area. Of the closed businesses, 62.4 percent (1,141) were closed during the second intifada. At least 440 of them closed pursuant to military orders.”

As Jonny Copelyn says, the situation in Hebron is not a sustainable basis for running a society.

If you’re serious that the occupation must end, if you truly believe in a two-state solution, if you want any chance of one day seeing a just peace in Israel and Palestine, then you must concede that the Hebron settlers have to be moved.

Mike

Nathan,

Pleased to see that we can find some common ground. Some more clarity from my side:

• I totally agree that the settlers should also be disarmed.
• I think Peace education in Israel and the Jewish community is important and completely support it. Steve and I, in our own little way here have tried to create a space were more nuanced views of the conflict can be expressed and debated in the hope of achieving some of that. We sometimes under criticism have always campaigned for a 2 state solution. But I do not agree with your equivalence. I think that the Jewish community is much less anti-Arab than Palestinian society is anti-Jewish. Particularly at an official leadership level. Check out www.pmw.com. That often gets lost in the way you put forward the point.
• I think building up a cohesive Palestinian society should be our first goal. Its not easy but it can be done. That’s why I was so disappointed that your tour did not share its expertise at building a strong civil society with the Palestinians. I think you missed a real opportunity to help.
• On Hebron, I know very well what has and is going on there. I have also been on tours (all be it Zionist and religious ones). I agree with your facts and have and do condemn the situation. But I dispute your conclusions. I don’t think all Hebron settlers are murderous thugs. Some for sure maybe, even most, but its not fair to throw them all in the same pot. That’s what you accuse right wing Jews of doing with the Palestinians. I am surprised by how much you dehumanize them and their children. And even if there are no good people in that entire community does that give us the right to kick them out of their homes ala Sadom and Gemora? When they break the law like everyone else they must be punished. I think Israel is threatening the rule of law by not taking action against their criminal actions. But again you must also admit that they have rights. They are also threatened and shot at and killed by Palestinians. Hebron’s non Jewish residents are no angles either. I also don’t think you are being objective in examining their claims to live there. Don’t forget that Hebron is the second holiest Jewish city and while that may not mean much to you, it means much more to them then good weather. I don’t see why they cannot remain (if they wish) as equal citizens of Palestine.
Finally, I am sorry for the poor reply. I am not feeling well and taken some meds. So if it is completely unintelligible let me know and I will respond (hopefully more clearly) tomorrow.

Nathan Geffen

Mike,

Certainly the Hebron settlers have rights. They must be compensated and they must have access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and other religious/cultural sites. But their settlement is illegal in terms of international law and I do not see a way of resolving the dreadful situation that has unfolded in Hebron and resulted in the de facto expulsion of many Palestinians from the city other than the removal of the Hebron settlers to Israel.

This has been a good discussion. We have well defined disagreements but also some important common ground. I have said all I need to at this point. I'll watch the discussions unfold and contribute again if I feel I have something new to say. There will also be more discussions and debates at Limmud and in public meetings (such as a very good one that took place at the Durban Club last night).
Thanks.

Nathan Geffen

Sorry, I meant the Jewish Club in Durban, not the Durban Club.

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