Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Netanyahu Calls for Israeli Presence on Palestinian Border

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that his consent to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state depended on an Israeli presence on its eastern border, such as in the Jordan Valley. This was due to the concern of rocket smuggling from the Jordanian border.

Mr. Netanyahu added, “We are surrounded by an ever-growing arsenal of rockets in Iranian pockets from north and south.”

In his annual address to the Israel Foreign Press Association, delivered Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu stressed that Israel must ensure that, at the entrances to the areas abutting Israel, there be an efficient way to stop missile smuggling. This, he said, required an Israeli presence on the eastern side of the Palestinian state.

The Israeli prime minister sounded pessimistic about renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.

“Instead of starting negotiations, the Palestinians have climbed up a tree and appear to be staying there,” he said. “The more ladders they bring them, they just climb higher up.”

Special U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, met this week with Mr. Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Mr. Mitchell arrived in Jerusalem from Lebanon and Syria, where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who told him that, as of now, he “doesn’t see that Israel is interested in peace. There is no point to negotiations with a government that constantly declares that it is not interested in reaching a peace agreement with its neighbors, which imposes a siege on Gaza and which threatens aggression.”

Palestinian officials said yesterday that they would propose to Mr. Mitchell that the U.S. represent their interests in the talks on the permanent status arrangement with Israel and basically mediate between the sides.

Chief Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected the statements that were made by Mr. Netanyahu as if Israel would have to maintain a presence in Judea and Samaria as part of a final status arrangement.

Mr. Erekat said that “Netanyahu was trying, once again, to establish facts on the ground on his own instead of by means of negotiations.”

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israeli Delegation Returns from Haiti

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) medical and rescue team sent to Haiti concluded its operations Wednesday.

The delegation’s 236 members, including 218 IDF soldiers and officers and 18 civilians, left Haiti on board an airplane chartered from El-Al and landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport Thursday morning. On board the airplane is a five-year old-child from Haiti who is scheduled to go through a heart surgery in order to correct a heart deficiency.

The delegation left 30 tons of medical equipment for use in the ongoing aid effort. This includes bandaging gear, surgery equipment, two incubators and other medical accessories as well as 1150 blankets, 30 large-sized tents, 500 mattresses, 200 sleeping bags and kitchen equipment. The equipment will be distributed to tent-cities in different locations in Haiti, under the coordination of the Israeli ambassador in the country.

On Tuesday, the delegation held a ceremony to mark the closing of the field hospital set up in Haiti.

Col. Itzik Kryce, commander of the field hospital, conveyed his great appreciation to the medical staff and said, “You were a drop of hope in a sea of desperation and sometimes made the difference between life and death. It is a great privilege, and you’ve done it as human beings, following the spirit of the IDF and in accordance with the values of the IDF Medical Corps.

“We came here to lend a hand and provide assistance, but, above all, in order to provide hope and to show that even in the worst situations, a human being can be a symbol of hope to others, wherever they may be.”

The delegation had departed for the disaster area 12 days ago comprised of rescue teams from the IDF Home Front Command and Medical personnel from the IDF Medical Corps. The delegation also included a logistical section, security personnel, C4I personnel, search and identification personnel and additional assistance.

During its stay in Haiti, the delegation treated 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies, including three by caesarian sections, and saved many from within the ruins.

The IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command will now hold a series of briefings following the activity in Haiti in order to improve their preparedness for similar future events.

View this story at Israel Behind the News

The Philadelphia Bulletin: German Company will not Sign New Contracts with Iran

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Exactly 19 years ago, when Iraq launched 39 missile attacks against Israel, causing damage to more than 10,000 homes in the center of the country, a German activist organization known as the “Society for Threatened Peoples,” sent a delegation to Israel to warn the Jewish state that 88 German companies were supplying Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya with the technology for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with the full knowledge of the German government.

The full report on the exported WMD to these countries is entitled Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria & Libya and written by Mr. Kenneth Timmerman.

This reporter, then a correspondent for CNN Radio, flew to Germany to follow up on the story and asked members of the German Bundestag parliament about German companies involved in aiding these nations with such lethal technology. The answer of members of the Bundestag was that, indeed, such exports were illegal, but that these German companies were carrying out their exports of lethal technology through subsidiaries outside of the Fatherland.

This past week, there was an important development in the campaign to advance a German economic boycott of the regime in Iran: The management of the huge German conglomerate Siemens announced yesterday that it had decided not to sign any more new business contracts with Iran. However, the company made it clear that it would not break existing contracts with Iranian clients - including a deal, valued at 1 billion Euro, for producing gas in Iran.

Just recently, Tehran had announced that it had signed the deal with Siemens for improving the gas production.

However, pressure was brought to bear on Siemens to stop its commercial ties with Iran, and that pressure bore results. Peter Loescher, the CEO of Siemens, announced at the meeting of the conglomerate’s shareholders about a decision to halt business ties with Iran. The decision will go into effect by mid-year.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Tu Bshvat, A Celebration Of Land

by David Bedein

Saturday will be the observation of Tu Bshvat on the Hebrew calendar, the 15th of Shvat, the Jewish arbor day, a day when the Jewish people bid a “happy birthday to the land of Israel.”

One rabbi, known as “the Ari of Tzfat,” declared in the 16th Century that Tu Bshvat should be celebrated as the real Jewish New Year.

In the modern era, Tu Bshvat combines a heavenly commitment of love for the land of Israel with the Zionist enterprise, in order to make the land bloom in the modern era.

The organization in charge of planting trees in the land of Israel, after two millennium of desolation, is known as the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

This is how the momentum of tree planting in the land of Israel has progressed over the past 90 years:

In 1920, the year the JNF was established, there were 14,000 dunams (a measurement of one-quarter of an acre) of planted forests in the land of Israel. By 1942 there were already 35,000 dunams of forest and more than a half a million in 1980.

Israel is the only country in the world that will have more trees in its territory this year than it did in 1910. The trees that are going to be planted this year in the course of the annual Tu Bishvat celebrations are part of the JNF’s “Tree for Every Resident” program.

“In the framework of the program we are going to plant seven and a half million trees,” said Efi Stentzler, the JNF chairman. “A tree for every resident of Israel. Our project is part of a global project that was announced by the U.N., the goal of which is to fight the causes of pollution that humanity is responsible for.”

Forests currently cover some 1.6 million dunams of land in the state of Israel. A million of those dunams are administered by the Jewish National Fund.

The JNF has planted more than 240 million trees to date. The national master plan envisions another 300,000 dunams of available land to be covered with forests. This year, between 15,000 and 20,000 dunams of land will be forested. Tree-planting season ends in March. The saplings are provided by the JNF nurseries, which produce 1.2 million saplings every year.

In 1960, pine trees accounted for 85 percent of all trees planted in Israel, which made them the icon of JNF planting in Israel. In recent years, pine trees have come to account for under one-third of the trees planted. Rather, 70 percent of all saplings planted are indigenous trees.

The JNF plants 150 different kinds of trees and invests an average of five million dollars every year for that purpose. The JNF has recorded in a special diary an account of all plantings ever since the Israel was established. In 1991, that diary was computerized.

The largest forest in Israel is the Yatir Forest, which is spread over 40,000 dunams, half of which are in the desert. The smallest forest is the Dalton Forest, which is on a modest 42 dunams of land.

The first forest ever planted by the JNF is the Ben Shemen Forest -which was initially called the Herzl Forest and consisted of just 18 olive trees.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Friday, January 29, 2010

INVESTIGATION OF THE NEW ISRAEL FUND

by Ben Caspit

Maariv daily Israeli newspaper, Jan 29 2010

Meet Ron Shuval. He is 29, married plus two, lives in Ramat Hasharon, secular, served in the Armored Corps, works in high-tech. He has a BA in international relations and philosophy, an MA in Jewish thought from Hebrew University. He is also the chairman and founder of Im Tirtzu which defines itself as a “centrist extra-parliamentary movement that strives to strengthen the values of Zionism in Israel and to renew and reinstate Zionist discourse, thinking and ideology in order to secure the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and strengthen Israeli society in the challenges it faces.” A young organization, not big, but active and feisty. That is one side.

What is the other side? One of the largest, most established, most active and well known philanthropic funds in Israel. The New Israel Fund. It is registered in the United States, it fosters and supporters Israeli non-profit organizations and other organizations. Since beginning to work in Israel, it has distributed USD 140 million to various organizations, which is over NIS 0.5 billion. An enormous sum. This is how the fund defines itself on its web site: “The New Israel Fund (NIF) is the leading organization committed to democratic change within Israel. Since 1979, NIF has fought for social justice and equality for all Israelis. We believe that Israel can live up to its founders' vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race or gender.

Widely credited with building Israel's progressive civil society from scratch, we have provided more than $200 million to more than 800 cutting-edge organizations since our inception. What's more, through our action arm, SHATIL, we mentor, train and lead Israeli civil society in an ongoing struggle to empower the underprivileged.

We fight inequality, injustice and extremism because we understand that justice is the precondition for a successful democracy - and the only lasting road to peace. [...]”

In the next few days, Im Tirtzu will launch a harsh billboard campaign against the New Israel Fund and against its president, former MK Prof. Naomi Chazan, from the bastions of Meretz and a veteran social activist. “Naomi Chazan-Goldstone,” she will be called, with a large horn coming out of her forehead. The headline: according to a special report that Im Tirtzu will release in the next few days, the New Israel Fund supports a great many of the Israeli organizations that provided the Goldstone commission with the materials that incriminated the IDF. The Goldstone report contains 1,208 footnotes, with 1,377 citations of various sources of information. Im Tirtzu checked all of them and reached an amazing conclusion: nearly half (42%) of the quotes in the Goldstone report from Israeli sources come from organizations that are supported by the New Israel Fund. When each of these negative quotes are isolated, with various allegations against the IDF and its commanders, this figure is even more amazing: 92% of them come from the same organizations. In other words: the New Israel Fund, according to Im Tirtzu, basically pumped up and financed, indirectly, the Goldstone commission and its vicious report. Goldstone maligned, and these organizations provided him with the references. This relates both to advocating the establishment of a UN investigative committee before it was established, providing incriminating material during its work, and praising it and fanning the flames afterwards. All this, as said, with the help of millions of dollars, money that the New Israel Fund gives to these Israeli post-Zionism organizations every year. You could call them, “thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth from thee [Isaiah, 49, 17].

And that’s not all. The Im Tirtzu’s report details other influences of the organizations supported by the New Israel Fund: Adalah, for example, asked the UN to force Israel to stop Operation Cast Lead and accused it of war crimes. Major web sites shared by a number of organizations joined together in PR work and accused the IDF and the State of Israel of war crimes, called for a boycott and sanctions and demanded an international commission of inquiry.

The New Israel Fund’s response: the New Israel Fund is proud of its role in supporting domestic critical organizations in Israel. This is a patriotic role of the first order, because these organizations are important to the continued existence of Israeli democracy, and for shoring its international standing at a time it is under strong attack.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S. HANNA SENIORA: DO ANY OF HIS STATEMENTS RING TRUE IN THE NEW YEAR (2010)?

by Rhonda Spivak



Hanna Seniora, the man that Yasser Arafat appointed to be The Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002, agreed to let me interview him while he was sipping a cup of turkish coffee. We were in Beit-Jalla outside of Bethlehem.

The white-haired 72 year old Senoira, is a Christian Palestinian who lives in East Jerusalem, and is the co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information. He is also currently a member of the Palestine National Council and the chairperson of the Palestinian-American Chamber of Commerce.

In the 1970’s, Siniora served first as editor-in-chief, and later as publisher of the Jerusalem Arab newspaper Al Fajr. That paper has an English-language edition known as The Jerusalem Times founded in 1994, of which Seniora is currently the publisher.


I first asked Seniora was how many Christians (who made up over 75% of Bethlehem’s population in 1947) currently lived in Bethlehem, which now has a Moslem majority. Do the Christians continue to leave? Seniora answered “About 40% [of Bethlehem’s population] are Christian. They are staying. They are born and raised here...”


At the time, Seniora’s answer struck me as a little odd, one which tried to downplay the ongoing exodus of Bethlehem’s Christians. According to Israeli surveys, Christians now make up less than 25 percent of Bethlehem. According to Wikipedia, in 1998 Bethlehem’s Christian population had already declined to 23%.
While Seniora mentioned his inflated figure of 40%., he didn’t mention that in Bethlehem, Christians have long complained of anti-Christian violence. His prediction that Christians in Bethlehem will all be “staying” struck me as rather untenable.


Seniora has long been a proponent of dialogue in working towards a resolution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and is viewed by many as a moderate.

He said that “in the long run”, he believes that a two state solution “ is the only solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but “in the short term it’s difficult because the Israeli government is still reluctant about a two state solution.” Seniora made no mention at all of any notion that there are those on the Palestinian side of the equation who oppose a two state solution, or are “still reluctant.”

Seniora said that “We [the Palestinians] have to stop violence, and they [the Israelis] have to freeze settlements.”

I asked about a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, and Seniora spoke of Palestinian elections. Seniora said “ Eventually the [Palestinian] people will have to decide. We are trying to start a democracy where the results will be respected. Unfortunately, [in the last election when Hamas won in Gaza], the results weren’t respected and this led to [conflict]. Now Mahmoud Abbas is saying, let the voters decide and the Palestinian Authority will respect the results of the elections.”

Seniora’s above statement about the PA holding elections in the West Bank, and respecting the results if Hamas won, seemed rather fanciful to me at the time. My interview with Seniora took place last August. Since we are now in January 2010 when these elections were to be held, we can certainly say that Seniora’s statement turned out to be way off the mark. Regardless of whether Abbas declares that he is resigning or not, one thing has become increasingly clear-it’s not likely that we will see elections in the near future, since Abbas might well lose!


On the subject of Hamas, Seniora said this past August “Even Hamas has changed in the last three years from asking for the whole of historical Palestine.... Until now they [Hamas] refuse to recognize the State of Israel. They say that the PLO did that, and what did it get them? They [Hamas] say that if Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders and the State of Palestine will take shape in the borders of ’67, then they will reconsider their position on the recognition issue.”

In response, I said to Seniora, that Hamas’s view that they would “reconsider their position,” is very different then saying they would recognize Israel. Seniora acknowledged this distinction.

When I asked whether he was saying he thought Hamas would recognize Israel, he responded “I think eventually, yes, they would.”

He said that currently “Hamas says they are ready for a long term ceasefire for ten years.”

While he was saying this, I thought to myself, that throughout the interview Seniora was trying to sell me a rather strong smelling concoction: not only will all the Christians stay in Bethlehem, but Abbas will soon call elections and respect their results, and, of course, Hamas is really in its own humble way telling us that it recognizes Israel.

Seniora expounded, “Hamas are saying that they are for ending the occupation and they have said they will live in a state [with the 1967 borders], which means that they indirectly recognize Israel.”

Seniora then said “Israel should go to Hamas and say that Hamas can participate in [Palestinian] elections in January 2010 and we[Israel] will respect the results of that, and will negotiate with you [Hamas] if you win.”

Seniora noted that Gershon Baskin, the Co-CEO of the Israel-Palestine Centre for Research and Information,[IPCRI] disagreed with him in this regard.

“Gershon [Baskin] thinks that Hamas can not participate in elections without recognizing Israel’s right to exist, but without them [Hamas] we can’t have a peaceful settlement,” Seniora said.

“Most of [Hamas’s] people justify it[ not recognizing Israel] by saying how can I recognize Israel, when I don’t have a state?,” Seniora added.

After hearing Seniora try to sanitize what Hamas has been saying, I finished the interview feeling rather pessimistic about the prospects for peace.

But there was something else that made me feel more pessimistic.

I interviewed Seniora just before a two day peace education conference IPCRI held in Beit Jalla, outside of Bethlehem on Aug 7-8. Baskin and Seniora, as Co-CEO’s of the organization were scheduled to speak at the opening session. But, when the time came Seniora wasn’t there and Baskin opened the conference without even mentioning his whereabouts.

Throughout the two day conference, Baskin actively participated and attended the sessions. But, I didn’t see Seniora attend any of the sessions. He wasn’t around much, and when he was around, he was sitting having coffee in the lounge. Baskin also gave closing remarks at the conference without Seniora.

Was this an accident, or was it symptomatic of the fact that Seniora’s interest in peace workshops is waning?

Subsequent to the conference, I read the IPCRI website, and was not surprised to find writings of Baskin posted, but nothing of Seniora’s.



Rhonda Spivak, an attorney and a writer, is a member of the Canadian and Israel Bar Associations, now editing the Winnipeg Jewish Report at http://winnipegjewishreport.com/

Iran: The Time Has Come (INSS Insight No. 158, January 25, 2010)

If its domestic situation were not so serious, Iran's government could be
very happy indeed. Iran managed to gain another crucial year in its quest
for a nuclear weapons capability, and every passing day brings it closer to
its ultimate goal: having the potential to produce deliverable nuclear
weapons in short order, if it so decides. It successfully delayed the West
from pursuing a more severe sanctions regime, and the West is behaving as if
it has all the time in the world. It does not.

How did this come about? Several factors combined to achieve the net result,
most of them not of Iran's doing: the election of a new US president who
believed in engagement as the sole way to resolve conflicts (and may still
want to believe this); the unwillingness, for years, of the IAEA to
acknowledge Iran's ultimate goal; the (unclassified) 2007 US National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that raised the possibility that Iran abandoned
its quest for nuclear weapons; the reluctance of the US to assume the lead
role in confronting Iran, and letting the EU-3 deal, albeit ineffectively,
with the situation; the contrary attitude of Russia and China, which are
watching the West struggle to find a solution while throwing it a bone from
time to time in supporting some sanctions resolutions that are not achieving
their aim; and the exceptional spanner in the works embedded in the quite
unproductive suggestion to transfer some of Iran's low enriched uranium
(LEU) outside the country and return it as medium enriched uranium fuel for
its Tehran Research Reactor. This last statement needs some explanation.

On October 1, 2009, the P5 +1 (the five permanent Security Council members
plus Germany) and Iran began talks in Geneva that were supposed to deal with
a host of issues, including the suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment
activities. Meantime, the US proposed the said uranium transfer idea. The
rationale was, apparently, to remove the major portion of the LEU from Iran,
thus delaying Iran's potential to produce the core of its first nuclear
explosive device. The talks were then postponed for more than a month, the
IAEA produced a text of an agreement accepted by the Russian, US, and
Iranian delegations, and the Iranians went home to obtain the approval of
the agreement by their government. The government probably never had any
intention of approving this. The deadline for an Iranian reply came and went
and nothing happened. Meanwhile, Iran continued to enrich uranium.

Evaluating the proposal objectively, little would have been achieved, even
if the Iranians had agreed to it. The LEU stockpile would have been reduced,
and its quantity would be below what is needed for a complete nuclear weapon
core, but this would remain so for a short time only, since enrichment would
continue. Thus, the uranium transfer proposal bought precious time for the
Iranians, and no uranium enrichment suspension was even discussed.

Meanwhile, the end of the 2009 deadline set by the US for resolving the
Iranian nuclear issue also came and went, and nothing happened. The Iranians
are enriching, the US is hesitating, and the East seems to be quite happy
with the situation. The US year's end deadline proved to be devoid of
substance. The US administration apparently had no fallback plan to deal
with such a situation, and if it had, it did not execute it. Although Iran
formally rejected the above plan, the IAEA director general was quoted as
saying that the plan was still on the table. One wonders what this would
achieve if it were now accepted by the Iranians, except for a further delay
of a comprehensive solution to the issue and a continuing enrichment of
uranium by Iran. Time is running short, and action is needed if Iran's
almost inevitable achievement is to be thwarted.

The main solution, agreed to by almost all involved, is to level strong
sanctions. However, there is a lack of consensus on what these should be and
how to apply them. Recently, the idea has been floated that sanctions should
be applied mainly on those who are involved in Iran's nuclear project - the
Revolutionary Guards. It is a worthy notion, but almost impossible to
implement. It is worthy, because it would not affect the man in the street,
who is anyway oppressed by the regime. It is impossible to implement,
because it is quite difficult to think of any effective sanctions that would
target only the Revolutionary Guards.

The only sanctions that make sense that could influence the Iranian regime
to cave in and at least suspend the uranium enrichment program and agree to
institute the inspections according to the Additional Protocol are the
Iraqi-type sanctions. These should limit imports into Iran of anything but
foodstuffs, medicines, and other humanitarian aid, if and when necessary. No
other imports including oil distillates or technical equipment would be
supplied to Iran until it agrees to the above conditions. It is a mistake to
assume that any less severe sanctions would do the trick. Iran would go on
and continue enriching without giving much thought to the outside pressure.
If this is not undertaken by the Security Council, the US should implement
it with all the friends it can muster.

What would happen if this is not done? The one remaining way to prevent Iran
from becoming a nuclear power is military action against Iran's nuclear
installations. This is a route fraught with dangers and uncertainties.
Depending on how successful the attack would be, the Iranian program could
suffer a severe setback. However, there is a high probability that Iran
would attempt to retaliate. Moreover, the Iranians would be able to
reestablish their facilities within a few years and the vicious cycle would
recommence. If both suggested routes of action are not applied or they fail
to achieve the expected results, then within a few years a nuclear Iran will
likely emerge and begin activating its plans for regional hegemony. This
would cause a major upset of power distribution in the region, possible new
wars, and possibly the complete loss of American hegemony in the Gulf
region. On a global scale, the nuclear non-proliferation regime would
suffer, perhaps beyond repair.

Unfortunately, it is the latter possibility that seems to be in the offing.
Unless the US - which for all its rhetoric seems resigned to this outcome -
takes strong sanctions action now, this is probably what will happen. Iran
should not be given the time to accomplish this.

--

Mission

The Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) is an independent academic institute that studies key issues relating to Israel's national security and Middle East affairs. Through its mixture of researchers with backgrounds in academia, the military, government, and public policy, INSS is able to contribute to the public debate and governmental deliberation of leading strategic issues and offer policy analysis and recommendations to decision makers and public leaders, policy analysts, and theoreticians, both in Israel and abroad. As part of its mission, it is committed to encourage new ways of thinking and expand the traditional contours of establishment analysis.

Conceiving of security studies as a dynamic interdisciplinary field that involves military, intellectual, economic, and social resources, the Institute strives to reflect that diversity and complexity through research and policy recommendations of the highest standard. Complementing the traditional areas of defense, security doctrine, and politics, INSS has expanded its focus to include the “softer” components of national security, such as domestic trends and social processes.

The Institute is non-partisan, independent, and autonomous in its fields of research and expressed opinions. As an external institute of Tel Aviv University, it maintains a strong association with the academic environment. In addition, it has a strong association with the political and military establishment.

Ephraim Asculai worked at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) for over 40 years, mainly on issues of nuclear and environmental safety. In 1986, he went to work at the IAEA in Vienna on issues of radiation protection of the public. During 1990-1991 he was the Scientific Secretary of the International Chernobyl Project.
In 1992, Dr. Asculai returned to Israel and became heavily involved in the deliberations leading to the conclusion of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In his final period at the IAEC he served as the Director of External Relations. During his sabbatical at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C. he authored Verification Revisited: The Nuclear Case, published by the ISIS Press.

Dr. Asculai retired from the civil service in 2001. In 2002 he joined the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (now incorporated into the Institute for National Security Studies). He has since published several papers dealing with WMD non-proliferation in general, and Middle East issues in particular, including the monograph Rethinking the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime in 2004.
He received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


View the original publication at the Institute for National Security Studies

View this article on www.israelbehindthenews.com

New immigrant looks to make rainwater harvesting popular

by Ehud Waldoks, The Jerusalem Post

When Eric Aiken, 47, decided to make aliya with his family, he began to look for a new way to help the country. He stumbled across an ancient idea in a modern format: rainwater harvesting.

"Rainwater harvesting has been done for millennia and modern versions are in use in Germany, Australia and the US. Several [American] states even offer tax rebates for rainwater collection systems. Here in Israel, though, it's totally off people's radar," he told The Jerusalem Post recently.

With five years of drought behind us and less rain falling every year, storing what precipitation does fall may be an idea whose time has come.

Rainwater harvesting is relatively simple, and the water can be used for washing machines, toilets and gardens, Aiken said. It is also used for drinking water in some countries, but Israel has very strict regulations that do not allow for that.

After doing his research and talking to experts around the world, Aiken and his family made aliya to Efrat five months ago, and he's starting to get his new company, Geshem Artzenu, off the ground. The firm offers both the equipment for and installation of rainwater collection systems.

"We can import a system in a month and install it in a day," Aiken said.

The system consists of a tank to store the water, pumps and filters, and he will install gutters and a spout to catch the water rolling off the roof if a house doesn't have them. Certified plumbers attach the system to the house's indoor plumbing.

Aiken is offering a 6,000-liter collapsible tank, "so that you can fold it up and put it away during the dry season. If you need a second tank, you can connect it in about five minutes." Hard plastic tanks are also available.

The cost for a system is generally under NIS 10,000, but "come to me for an estimate," Aiken suggested.

So how much water could you collect with such a system? It depends where you live and how big your house is.

A moderate-sized house could collect 50 cubic meters of water per year, a large house or one in the North perhaps double that, Aiken writes on his Web site. Public buildings could also install a tank with Geshem Artzenu.

Aiken is also interested in tapping into the kibbutz and moshav market, because the roofs of the farm buildings are potentially gigantic collection devices.

"Farms have an enormous catchment area and they could use the rainwater to water the livestock," he said. According to his Web site, each large animal enclosure could potentially collect 1,000 cu.m. a year.

Aiken is setting up his company against the backdrop of rising water prices and with drought levies hovering in the background. He is confident that such systems are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective over the long term.

"All you need to do is clean out the filters two to three times a year. Everything else is automatic," he said.

Such systems require the approval of the local authority's engineer, the Health Ministry told the Post.

Acting under the Planning and Building Law, specifically the regulations governing sanitation devices, the first option is to stream the collected rainwater into the community's channeling system. However, if a private homeowner wants to use the water himself, the engineer would have to address that request, the ministry said.

The Water Authority would also have to give its approval, since it is in charge of water quotas and rainwater collection systems, the Health Ministry said. The Water Authority did not return a request for clarification since its employees are on an extended labor strike.

Shelef agricultural laboratory manager Oded Jaffe told the Post on Tuesday he had received hundreds of calls from people interested in putting in rainwater collection systems and grey water (shower and toilet water) systems.

"Many have told me they've gone ahead and built such systems," he said.

View the article originally published in the Jerusalem Post

View this article at www.israelbehindthenews.com

PA Holds Diplomatic Event In Jerusalem: Norwegians Deny Meeting With Senior Officials

by Samuel Sokol

Last Monday, Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store held official diplomatic talks with Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem Ahmed A-Rawidi and Rafik Husseini, chief of staff to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

The meeting was the first that the Palestinian Authority has held in Israel's capital for almost a decade.

Then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon closed down the PA's Jerusalem headquarters, located in the Orient House, in 2001 as a response to the Second Intifada. Since then, it has been Israeli policy to prevent PA events and institutions from operating in the eastern half of the city.

Recently the European Union and the Russian Federation have requested that Israel reopen the Orient house.

When asked by Israel's Channel 10 regarding the reopening of the Orient House, during a joint press conference with Store last Sunday, Foreign Minister Lieberman stated that "there will be no more gestures. There is simply no room to talk about opening Orient House, freezing the construction in Jerusalem or any additional gestures. Now is the time for a gesture from the Palestinians."

Dr. Aaron Lerner, the director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis), told the Five Towns Jewish Times that the Palestine Liberation Organization, and by extension the PLO run Palestinian Authority, is banned by Israeli law from engaging in official activities within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.

According to Lerner, the laws banning the PLO from operating in Jerusalem were not amended following the Oslo accords, "nor did Israel enter into any written understanding with the PLO as a result of Oslo that abrogated that law," he said.

When asked if they were aware that official meetings with Palestinian Authority figures are forbidden within Jerusalem, the Norwegian Embassy misleadingly stated that the their country’s ambassador was not present at the Augusta Victoria hospital and referred to a press release from the foreign ministry stating that the minister visited east Jerusalem, without any mention of Rafik Husseini, effectively denied that the meeting took place.

Further queries only resulted in Annika Evensen, the embassy’s first secretary, saying that she had “nothing to add to what is in the press release.”

According to Norwegian journalist Vidar Norberg, Store was welcomed to the hospital by Husseini, who compared Israeli policies to those of Apartheid South Africa and called for an international boycott of Israel goods.

Store held a press conference with the PA dignitary, complete with a podium and Norwegian and Palestinian Authority flags. Speaking to reporters, with the Gush Etzion city of Maaleh Adumim behind him, the foreign minister announced that Mahmoud Abbas’ goal is a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Middle East conflict.

However, Abbas stands accused of inciting terrorism by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian Authority president was quoted in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on January 17th defending his government’s decision to name a square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist guilty of 37 counts of murder.

“Norway considers the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem to be in violation of international law, as does the entire international community,” Store said

LEGAL BASIS FOR CLOSING PALESTINIAN OFFICES IN JERUSALEM

Aaron Lerner 5 August,1996

The following is an English translation provided by the Foreign Ministry of
the law which serves as the legal basis for the closing of Palestinian
offices in Jerusalem.

LAW IMPLEMENTING THE AGREEMENT ON THE GAZA STRIP AND THE JERICHO AREA
(RESTRICTION ON ACTIVITY) 1994

Purpose of the Law: 1. The purpose of this law is to ensure compliance with
the undertaking of the Palestine Liberation Organization (hereinafter "the
PLO") concerning the restriction on the activity of the Palestinian
Authority to the areas of Gaza and Jericho in accordance with the Agreement
and to prevent activity of a political or governmental nature or other
similar activity within the area of the State of Israel which does not
accord with respect for the sovereignty of the State of Israel by the
Palestinian Authority or the PLO, without the agreement of the State of
Israel.

Definitions:

2. "meeting" - includes a march, assembly or congress; "the Agreement" -
the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area signed at Cairo
between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on 4
May, 1994. "the Palestinian Authority" and "the areas of Gaza and
ericho" - as defined in the Emergency Regulations (Judea and Samaria and
the Gaza Strip - Jurisdiction over Offences and Legal Assistance) 1967;

"Representative Mission" - includes any institution, office or branch.

Restriction on the Palestinian Authority:

3.(a) The Palestinian Authority shall not open or operate a representative
mission, and shall not hold a meeting, in the area of the State of Israel
unless written permission for this has been given by the State of Israel or
by someone authorized by it to do so;

(b) The Minister of Police may, by means of an order, prohibit the opening
or operation of a representative mission of the Palestinian Authority,
order its closure, or prevent the holding of a meeting, if permission has
not been obtained in accordance with sub-paragraph (a).

(c) Orders referred to in sub-paragraph (b) shall be served, insofar as
possible, on the owner of the premises, or the occupier, or the organizers,
or whoever it seems to the Minister of Police is responsible for the
activity which is the subject of the order;

Where it is not possible to serve the order as aforesaid, the Minister of
Police shall give instructions for its publication in a manner which he
shall establish; A notice concerning the giving of the order shall be
published in the Official Gazette.

Restriction on the activity of the PLO:

4.(a) The Government may, by means of an order, the activity prohibit the
opening or the operation of a representative mission of the PLO, order its
closure, or prevent the holding of a meeting on behalf of the PLO or under
its auspices within the area of the State of Israel.

(b) The provisions of paragraph 3(c) above shall apply, with the necessary
changes, to an order referred to in sub-paragraph (a) above.

Duration of order:

5. The duration of a closure order issued pursuant to paragraphs 3 or 4
shall not exceed 6 months and may be extended from time to time for an
additional period which shall not exceed 6 months at any one time.

Ancillary authorities:

6. For the purpose of executing orders pursuant to paragraphs 3 or 4, the
Israel Police shall have all the authorities given to it by any law,
including the authority to enter into any place, to remove from there any
person, to close the place, to disperse any meeting, and to take any action
necessary to ensure the execution of the order and to use reasonable force
for this purpose.

For the purpose of this paragraph, "the Palestinian Authority" includes any
person acting on its behalf or under its auspices or using its name.

Restriction on licensing:

7.Where an order has been issued pursuant to paragraph 3 or 4, prohibiting
the opening of or operation of a representative mission, the license
required for such activity shall not be granted under any law.

Validity and entry into force:

8.(a) This Law shall enter into force on 1 January 1995.

(b) This law shall continue in force for the period of the continuance in
force of the Emergency Regulations (Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip -
Jurisdiction over Offences and Legal Assistance) 1967, as extended by the
Law implementing the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area
(Judicial Powers and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Legislative Amendments)
1994.

View the original publication in the 5 Towns Jewish Times

View this story at www.israelbehindthenews.com

Training the Palestinian Security Forces for What?


by Jonathan Rosenblum, Director of Jewish Media Resources

On Thursday afternoon December 24, Rabbi Meir Chai, a 45-year-old religious school teacher, was shot and killed as he left the Shomron settlement of Shavei Shomron, in which he lived with his wife and seven children. Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility almost immediately, and promised “more quality operations from us.... “

Two days later, on Shabbos, Israeli forces blockaded Nablus and surrounded the homes where the three Al-Aqsa Brigade members who plotted the attack lived. None of the three surrendered in response to a demand from the IDF forces that they do so, and each was subsequently killed in gun battles with Israeli forces.

The response of the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian media to the murder of Rabbi Chai and to Israel’s subsequent killing of his murderers raises again troubling questions about the Palestinian security services forces currently being trained by American and European experts.

Since 2005, the Untied States and EU have spent hundreds of millions of dollars training thousands of members of the various Palestinian security forces on the assumption that those forces will constitute one of the key institutions of the Palestinian state in the making. Those forces have been trained both in the basic police work and tasked with anti-terrorist efforts (at least in the minds of the trainers), on the assumption that a reduction in anti-Israel terror is a key component in winning Israeli agreement to the creation of a Palestinian state.

The results so far do not justify the investment nor give much cause to hope that the Palestinians are any closer to creating a stable political entity capable of living in peace with Israel. In The Case for Democracy, Natan Sharansky argued that only a democratic Palestinian state, in which citizens are capable of freely proclaiming their views in the marketplace, offers any hope of long-term peace with Israel. The creation of a trained police force would not have been self-evidently the first item on the agenda in creating the basics of a civil society capable of evolving into a democratic state. Nor has the record of the Palestinian security forces provided much cause for optimism on this score. Palestinian human rights groups have raised constant complaints against the various security forces for arbitrary arrests, brutality, and shakedown operations.

Nor has the training proved successful in creating a national identity that supercedes various other identities. Almost all members of the security forces are simultaneously members of Fatah, the revolutionary Palestinian organization from which most of the current leaders of the Palestinian Authority were drawn, and profess loyalty to Fatah. In addition, American trainers are not sufficiently sensitive to the importance of clan loyalties in Palestinian society.

The latter may have played a key role in the total failure of the American and European-trained forces to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, even though those forces enjoyed a vast numerical advantage over the Hamas forces. Many Palestinian Authority fighters simply deserted or joined with Hamas fighters. Low levels of loyalty and esprit de corps have also characterized the Palestinian Authority forces in confrontation with Palestinian gunmen on the West Bank since 2007. Palestinian Security forces proved incapable of evicting Fatah gunmen from the casbah. They proved similarly ineffective in operations against an Islamic Jihad group in the Kabatya refugee camp. And in a mock drill, fake “Hamas” operatives attacked a PA prison and freed all the prisoners after the Palestinian security forces fled the scene.

Most important from Israel’s point of view, the American-trained forces have proven to be indifferent as an anti-terrorist force. As Maj.-General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the IDF Staff and Command College and former head of the IDF Research and Assessment Division, points out, police work may have legitimacy in Palestinian society, anti-terrorist activities do not. Israel continues to carry out 70-80% of the anti-terrorist actions in the West Bank. To the extent that the Palestinian Authority security forces have conducted such operations, it has been almost entirely out of a desire to prevent a repeat of Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank, not out of any desire to protect Israel from terror attacks.

Indeed it would be impossible to expect Palestinian security forces to show any commitment to anti-terror action when the Palestinian Authority leadership continues to glorify terrorism. After the murder of Rabbi Chai, approximately 100 meters from the site of a recently removed security checkpoint, the Palestinian Authority issued no condemnation of his murder, even after the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade claimed responsibility. Palestinian media described Anan Subbah as the mastermind of the murder of Rabbi Chai, after the former was killed by IDF security forces. And yet Palestinian Authority President Abbas sent personal condolences to “the holy martyrs of the Palestinian revolution,” and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salem Fayyad personally visited the families of the slain terrorists. Meanwhile the official Palestinian media denounced their deaths as “murder in cold blood” and an “assassination.”

The proclamation of Rabbi Chai’s murderers as “military commanders, brave heroes and fighters,” was of a piece with the Palestinian Authority’s consistent glorification of terrorists. In late December, Abbas sponsored a celebration of the 50th birthday of Dalal Mughrabi, the mastermind of the 1979 Coastal Road Massacre, in which 37 Jews were killed. The official proclamation described her as the “bride of the cosmos,” and the Palestinian Authority daily proclaimed her “the heroine of the Palestinian heroines.”

Two high schools, numerous sports competitions, a new computer center, a Palestinian summer camp and a town square have been named after Mughrabi to date. A one-hour Palestinian television special recently celebrated the 1979 attack. In a similar vein, the Palestinian Authority just issued a musical video celebrating Wafa Indris, the first Palestinian female suicide bomber.

But while the U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces have proven largely ineffective against Palestinian terrorists of various stripes, they do threaten Israel. Twice before have CIA-trained Palestinian security forces, with whom there was a fa├žade of cooperation with Israel, turned their guns on Israelis - the first time during the Tunnel Riots of 1996 and the second time at the outset of the Second Intifada called by Yasir Arafat after the 2000 Camp David summit. The fear is that those being trained under the supervision of U.S. General Keith Dayton may prove more effective than their predecessors. Dayton has himself stated that U.S. training has lifted Palestinian expectations of receiving their state within two years, and he raised the spectre of the Palestinian security forces turning their guns on Israel if those expectations are not met.

There is evidence that those U.S.-trained security forces include members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade responsible for the murder of Rabbi Chai. PA Prime Minister Fayyad, the great “Palestinian moderate” in Western eyes, has previously offered shelter to Brigade members in the compounds of the Palestinian security forces and paid their salaries out of PA coffers. Dan Diker, one of Israel’s most respected political analysts, writes that senior Al-Aqsa Brigade commanders have been assigned senior positions in the PA security forces, such as Aba Jabbal, the senior Palestinian Authority officer in Nablus. The mastermind of the murder of Rabbi Chai’s murder, Anan Subbuh, was found with two M-16s in his possession, even though as part of a U.S.-brokered amnesty agreement, he had foresworn any future possession of such arms.

Senior members of the Israeli defense establishment point out that the Palestinian security forces are not only receiving training from the United States and Europe, but high quality equipment. For instance, advanced surveillance equipment capable of monitoring military communications networks, intelligence networks, and cellular phones has been employed against Israeli targets. Abu Yousuf, a senior officer in Abbas’s Force 17 Presidential Guard, told the New York Sun (August 21 2007), “I do not think the operations of the Palestinian resistance [a code word for terrorism] would have been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000... without these [American] trainings.”

After the IDF eliminated the three terrorists who murdered Rabbi Chai, the United States demanded public clarifications from Israel of what had taken place. No similar clarifications were sought from the PA after Rabbi Chai’s murder and the PA’s failure to condemn it.

Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice-president of Agudath Israel of America, wrote to Secretary of State Clinton, of Mr. Abbas’s failure to disassociate himself and the Palestinian Authority from Rabbi Chai’s murder, “There is something deeply wrong here.” When the recipients of half a billion dollars in aid under the 2010 foreign aid budget law “are linked to terrorists, and even have words of praise for terrorists, it is only logical to question the wisdom, not to mention the moral rectitude of our aid,” he continued.

Indeed.

Jonathan Rosenblum is the director of Jewish Media Resources, a leading media organization dedicated to furthering an understanding of Torah Judaism. Jewish Media Resources works with foreign journalists stationed in Israel and with local journalists by providing access to leading figures within the Orthodox Jewish community in Israel, and with information and insights about the community. Jonathan also serves as an English-language spokesman for the Orthodox Jewish community with foreign journalists.

View the Post at israelbehindthenews.com

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Muslim World: Iran - the End Is Not Nigh


As originally posted by the GLORIA center of IDC Herzeliya HERE

By Dr. Jonathan Spyer, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

The ongoing demonstrations in Iran are testimony to the continued strength and resilience of Iranian civil society. They make a mockery of the Islamic Republic's ambition of offering a model for successful Muslim governance to the world.

The next major manifestation of the protests is likely to be February 11 - the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The seventh and 40th days following the deaths of those killed this week are also likely to witness dramatic scenes.

Still, the overheated punditry of the last week predicting the imminent demise of the regime, claiming that this is the beginning of the end for the Islamists in Teheran and that a "tipping point" has been passed is misleading and should be questioned.

Two parallel movements exist in Iran, each of which seeks to change the nature of the Islamic Republic as it has existed since 1979.

The first of these has been much in evidence this week, in the protests and demonstrations that have rocked Teheran and other cities. This is the so-called "Green movement." It has no clear ideology beyond a deep dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Within its ranks, one may find supporters of the reformist wing of the current regime, including former presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami.

The protest movement also undoubtedly includes individuals and groups with a far more determined and radical agenda, who would like to see the end of the regime established in 1979. But no credible, organized revolutionary leadership with a clear program for toppling the regime can yet be identified from within the broad mass of this movement.

THE SECOND "movement" exists within the regime itself. This is the trend whose most visible representative is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The coalition of hard-line conservative political associations which produced Ahmadinejad, along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, have been steadily advancing in the institutions of the Islamic Republic over the last half-decade.

Unlike their opponents in the Green movement, this group has a clear and unifying set of ideas and goals. Their aim is a "second Islamic revolution," which will revive the original fire of 1979. What they are aiming at is the replacement of clerical rule with a streamlined, brutal police-security state, under the banner of Islam. This state will be committed to a goal of building regional hegemony - through possession of a nuclear option and the backing of radical and terrorist movements.

This year has been mixed for the Iranian hard-line conservatives. On the one hand, the electoral "victory" of Ahmadinejad and the subsequent backing given to him by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei represented their biggest advance yet. Ahmadinejad later reinforced his victory by forming a cabinet packed with hard-line conservatives and Revolutionary Guardsmen. This cabinet is currently administering Iran.

There were gains further afield, too. The closest regional allies of the hard-line conservatives - Hizbullah - have become the effective governing force in Lebanon. Iran's Palestinian clients, Hamas, are maintaining power in Gaza, as well.

But on the other hand, 2009 is also the year in which the limitations of the hard-liners and their ideas became apparent.

The ongoing unrest in Iran may not constitute an immediate danger to the regime, but it surely indicates that large numbers of Iranians have no desire to see their country turned into the instrument of permanent Islamic revolution and "resistance" envisaged by the hard-line conservatives. The domestic unrest thus hits significantly at their legitimacy and their ability to promote their regime as a model for governance to the Arab and wider Muslim world.

More tangibly, the Iranian hard-liners have not had it all their own way over the last year in the field most dear to them - the practice of political violence.

Their resistance model failed in a straight fight with the IDF in the early part of the year. Hamas's 100-man "Iranian unit" suffered near destruction in Gaza. The client Hamas regime in Gaza managed to kill six IDF soldiers in the entire course of Operation Cast Lead. This is a failure, and has been recorded by all regional observers as such.

In addition, there appears to be an attempt to demonstrate to the Iranians that the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy is a two-way street. Hence the killing of 29 Revolutionary Guards in a bombing near the Iran-Baluchistan border in October, and the mysterious explosion in Damascus last month which killed a number of Iranian pilgrims.

These are significant setbacks. Still, the bottom line remains that for as long as they maintain the loyalty of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Basij militia, and the patronage of Khamenei, the control of the hard-line conservatives is not in danger.

Should a real challenge to the power of the hard-liners emerge, the likely prognosis would be for prolonged civil strife, rather than their swift departure. This is not a tired and decaying elite, parallel to the East European communists in 1989. The Iranian hard-liners and their allies regard themselves as the wave of the future, only now ascending to the pinnacles of power. They will not go quietly.

So the prospect is for a long struggle in Iran. The Iranian people are not about to enter the stage like a deus ex machina, with one stroke destroying the Islamist regime and solving the agonizing problem of the Iranian nuclear program.

The most determined revolutionary current in Iran remains the hard-line conservatives. Their eventual failure is a near certainty, because they are likely to fail in building the real-world basis - political, social, economic and military - which alone could support their boundless ambition. Even then, much will depend on the will of the Western and regional enemies of the regime in confronting them.

But contrary to some of the more overexcited opining this week - the playing out of all this still has a way to run. The end is not yet at hand.

Dr. Jonathan Spyer is Senior Research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel


Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, P.O. Box 167, Herzliya, 46150, Israel
info@gloria-center.org - Phone: +972-9-960-2736 - Fax: +972-9-960-2736

The Philadelphia Bulletin: New Israeli Subs to Station in the Persian Gulf

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - This week, a delegation of seven Israeli government cabinet ministers, headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, held a joint cabinet meeting with their counterparts in Berlin, Germany.

The reported subject under discussion: Israel’s intention to station new German-made submarines in the Persian Gulf on a permanent basis. This was reported on Sunday by the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

The German newspaper reported that Israel requested from Germany to consent to subsidize the construction of a sixth submarine for Israel, manufactured in Germany.

In 2011, Israel is scheduled to receive new Dolphin submarines from Germany that are powered without fuel, and run on an electric engine that creates power from water in an innovative chemical process.

Since 1991, Germany has funded the manufacture of five Dolphin submarines for Israel in the amount of 900 million EURO. In addition, the German army, the Bundeswehr, has increased its military acquisitions in Israel. The German government already approved the construction of the sixth submarine for Israel in 2006.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
View this story at Israel Behind the News

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Palestinians' Unilateral "Kosovo Strategy": Implications for the PA and Israel

The Palestinians' Unilateral "Kosovo Strategy": Implications for the PA and Israel

Published January 2010

The Jerusalem Viewpoints series is published by the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation.

No. 575 January-February 2010

Mahmoud Abbas' new precondition that the international community recognize the 1967 lines in the West Bank as the new Palestinian border bolsters the assessment that the Palestinians have largely abandoned a negotiated settlement and instead are actively pursuing a unilateral approach to statehood.

Senior Palestinian officials note that Palestinian unilateralism is modeled after Kosovo's February 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. European and U.S. support for Kosovo's unilateral declaration has led the Palestinian leadership to determine that geopolitical conditions are ripe to seek international endorsement of its unilateral statehood bid, despite the fact that leading international jurists have suggested that the cases of Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority are historically and legally different.

The Palestinians are legally bound to negotiate a bilateral solution with Israel. Unilateral Palestinian threats to declare statehood have been rebuffed thus far by the European powers and the United States.

The Palestinian "Kosovo strategy" includes a campaign of delegitimization of Israel, seeking to isolate Israel as a pariah state, while driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The unilateral Palestinian bid for sovereignty will also likely turn the Palestinians into the leading petitioner against the State of Israel at the International Criminal Court. Although the PA is not a state and therefore should have no legal standing before the court, the petition it submitted to the court after the Gaza war was not rejected by the ICC.

Finally, a unilateral Palestinian quest for the 1947 lines may well continue even if the 1967 lines are endorsed by the United Nations. The PLO's 1988 declaration of independence was based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognizes the 1947 partition plan for Palestine, not the 1967 lines, as the basis for the borders of Israel and an Arab state.

Have the Palestinians Abandoned a Negotiated Settlement?

Washington's intensive shuttle diplomacy as well as Arab pressure may convince Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table with Israel. However, Abbas' new precondition that the international community recognize the 1967 lines in the West Bank as the new Palestinian border bolsters the assessment that the Palestinians have largely abandoned a negotiated settlement and instead are actively pursuing a unilateral approach to statehood.1

Senior Palestinian officials have also noted that Palestinian unilateralism is modeled after Kosovo's February 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia.2 European and U.S. support for Kosovo's unilateral declaration, plus Palestinian confidence in its own international case, appear to have led the Palestinian leadership to determine that geopolitical conditions are ripe to seek international endorsement of its unilateral statehood bid, with the 1967 lines as its future borders.3

This assertive Palestinian shift to unilateralism has also been bolstered by a changing balance of power between the Palestinian Authority that was established at Oslo, and its "parent," the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has embraced a unilateral approach to statehood since its 1988 unilateral declaration of independence but has not operationalized it. On December 15-16, 2009, the PLO Central Council convened in Ramallah where it unilaterally assumed the PA's legislative authority, resolved to extend Abbas' term indefinitely, and even voted to replace the PA Legislative Council that had been established as part of the internationally-sanctioned Oslo peace accords.4

The PLO Central Council meeting and its far-reaching resolutions provide another illustration of unilateral intentions that are rooted in former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's 1988 PLO statehood declaration. However, despite Palestinian determination and a largely sympathetic international community, it's unlikely that the Palestinian "Kosovo strategy" will end the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, it may signal the final unraveling of the Middle East peace process.

Palestinians Invoke Kosovo's Unilateral Statehood Model

Since February 2008, when the Albanian Muslim majority government in Kosovo unilaterally declared independence and secession from Christian Serbia, winning U.S. and European support, the Palestinian leadership has publicly invoked Kosovo as a model for a prospective Palestinian state. Yasser Abed Rabbo, senior advisor to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, told Agence France Presse immediately following the Kosovo declaration, "Our people have the right to proclaim independence even before Kosovo. And we ask for the backing of the United States and the European Union for our independence."5

In late 2008, the collapse of the Annapolis peace negotiations between Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who, as Abbas acknowledged publicly, had made unprecedented concessions,6further motivated the Palestinians to embrace a unilateral approach to statehood as a default option. Abed Rabo confirmed at the time that, "we have another option. Kosovo is not better than Palestine."7

The Palestinians strengthened their bid for unilaterally-declared statehood in late 2009 and into 2010 while lobbying Europe, South America, and the UN for support, and simultaneously setting unprecedented preconditions for restarting negotiations with Israel.8 In November 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat threatened to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, arguing that "the EU recognized the state" of Kosovo before other official channels supported its claim for independence. However, U.S. and European opposition to the move would force Erekat to deny his intentions. Instead, he insisted that the Palestinian Authority merely sought UN Security Council endorsement of a Palestinian state, which also mirrors Kosovo's quest for a UN Security Council resolution proposing independence.9

Two leading international jurists have suggested that the cases of Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority are historically and legally different.10 However, from a Palestinian point of view, it seems that legal and historical context are less important than the sympathetic political perceptions that can be created in the international community by promoting what appear to be some external similarities.11 The Palestinians liken themselves to Kosovo's profile in the West as a besieged, indigenous population seeking freedom and independence from its brutal Serbian sovereign overlord, which in the Palestinian analogy is the State of Israel's "occupation" of the disputed West Bank.12

True, both Palestinians and Muslim Kosovars enjoy international support for their respective bids for independence.13 Both have established internationally-sanctioned, self-governing authorities, receive European security backing and UN financial support, and work with UN-appointed special envoys, while each has penned a constitution. However, Kosovo enjoys a NATO security presence, which Palestinian negotiators have failed to introduce into the West Bank despite several attempts to do so in past peace negotiations with Israel.14

Another point of similarity between Kosovars and the Palestinians involves territory. The Kosovo model did not require a territorial compromise on the part of the Albanian Muslim Kosavar government to take into account areas where concentrations of Serbian Christian population remained.15 Similarly, the Palestinian leadership has been reluctant to compromise with Israel over Israeli population centers and vital security requirements in the West Bank.

Politically, many in the Palestinian leadership assess that adopting a unilateral "Kosovo strategy" and seeking international legitimacy to impose the 1967 borders on Israel is their best option, which, in their view, would automatically solve the issues of Jewish settlements and the status of Jerusalem without having to negotiate with Israel, while leaving the refugee issue to be decided according to the "agreed-upon solution" specified in the Arab peace initiative.16

Israel as the Palestinians' "Serbian" War Criminal

Palestinian efforts to delegitimize Israel in the international community play a key role in their unilateral quest for independence. Mindful of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, who was indicted by the Hague-based International War Crimes Tribunal for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, the Palestinian leadership has aggressively pursued a diplomatic intifada against Israel as a tool of "resistance" to criminalize and isolate the Jewish state in international circles, while simultaneously "leveraging up" the PA's case for statehood.17 For example, Palestinian leaders have for years charged Israel with being an "illegal occupier" of Palestinian lands, and of building an "apartheid wall" - Israel's security fence - in the West Bank. The Palestinian leadership has also promoted internationally its denial of any historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.18

In January 2009, following the Gaza war with Hamas, Palestinian Justice Minster Ali Khashan petitioned the International Criminal Court to charge Israel with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.19Israel's Foreign Ministry noted that the PA was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Goldstone mission by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), and led the campaign in the HRC and the UN General Assembly to implement its conclusions.20 Pro-Palestinian groups have filed scores of war crimes petitions in London and in other European courts, using the Rome Statute and laws of universal jurisdiction to seek the arrest of senior Israeli leaders.21

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has also advanced the notion of a "popular intifada" and has overseen the organization of committees for non-violent popular resistance against Israel that are expressed in the weekly, high-profile, Palestinian-led protests at Bil'in, Maasara, Ni'ilin, and more recently in Sheikh Jarah in Jerusalem.22 In December 2009, Fayyad characterized PA diplomacy as launching an "international intifada against Israel."23

The Influence of Fayyad's Unilateral Statehood Plan

The Palestinian leadership's numerous references to Kosovo's unilateral statehood quest, in the context of public threats by Abbas and Erekat in November 2009 to unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood, must be seen against the backdrop of the August 2009 publication of Prime Minister Fayyad's unilateral two-year statehood plan.

Western policymakers and observers have embraced the Fayyad plan as a positive development - a unilateral, "bottom up," state-building plan whose main goal is to build the infrastructure for eventual Palestinian independence.24 Some Israeli officials and legal experts have also praised aspects of the plan. However, its firm two-year deadline, and its massive state-building projects slated for Area C of the West Bank - which is under full Israeli control and includes the strategically vital Jordan Valley and its protective 3,000-foot hilltops overlooking Israel's main airport and cities - renders the plan more of a pretext to unilaterally declare statehood.25 In fact, Fayyad has provided clear indications that after two years, the establishment of a de facto Palestinian state will occur with or without Israel's agreement.26

In January 2010, Fayyad said, "Our people are determined to expunge all the distorted definitions described as Areas A, B, and C," and that "Palestinian markets should burn products coming out of Jewish settlements."27 This would seem to suggest that Fayyad advocates sidelining the principle of a negotiated agreement that was enshrined and agreed upon in the Oslo accords, even to the point of resisting such previous agreements on the ground.

Favorable Geopolitical Conditions for the Palestinians

The Palestinian leadership did not adopt the unilateral "Kosovo strategy" ex nihilo. Leading members of the European Union encouraged the Palestinians to move in this direction. PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat credited former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana with engineering the idea.28 In July 2009, Solana told a British forum that after a fixed deadline, the UN Security Council should unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines.29 Palestinian unilateralism also received a boost in early December 2009 when Sweden, in the final thirty days of its rotating EU presidency, proposed that EU foreign ministers back its draft proposal recognizing east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, thus implying EU acceptance of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood.30

The EU Foreign Policy Council partly softened its final statement days later. However, as former UN ambassador Dore Gold notes, the final EU statement still retained the proposal that envisioned Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. Additionally, the statement said that the EU "would not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem," thereby enshrining the 1967 lines - a key Palestinian demand - as a previous political border.31 Palestinian unilateralism has also drawn encouragement from the United Nations itself. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has reportedly issued expressions of support for such moves, according to former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan and Saeb Erekat in a November 14, 2009, interview with the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam.32

U.S. Policy

The Palestinians' roller-coaster relationship with the United States over the past two years has ended up giving the Palestinians' "Kosovo strategy" a push forward. In 2008 the Bush administration had rejected the Palestinian comparison between Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority, encouraging the PA to continue to pursue the Annapolis process.33 However, the Palestinian Authority rejected Washington's opposition, despite Palestinian participation at Annapolis. Abbas' spokesman, Yasser Abed Rabo, noted, "Our people have the right to proclaim independence as the people of Kosovo did. We were occupied long before the Kosovo problem emerged."34

Since then, Palestinian disappointment with the Obama administration's policy reversal on an Israeli settlement freeze as a precondition to negotiations has fueled the unilateral Palestinian statehood bid. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's praise of Israel's settlement moratorium and her calls for an unconditional resumption of peace talks convinced Palestinians that the United States would not "deliver" Israel.35 Abbas was also worried about Secretary Clinton's statement noted in the Arabic press during her visit to Qatar that negotiations are about "give and take." He inferred that Clinton meant removing the principle of the 1967 borders from the table - which the Palestinians took as a hint that the Obama administration may have been reviving President Bush's 2004 presidential letter to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that provided U.S. presidential backing for Israeli settlement blocs and denied the right of return to Palestinian refugees. Abbas contrasted Clinton's latest statements with her much tougher statements on Israeli settlements in May 2009, when she said, "Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions."36

Former PA Minister Ziad Abu Ziad assessed that "the Palestinian leadership had thought that Obama had become more Palestinian than the Palestinians, that he would stop settlements, remove them, and establish a Palestinian state."37 Rather, U.S. pressure on Abbas to return to negotiations with Israel without preconditions has appeared to weaken Abbas both among the political echelons of Fatah and on the Palestinian street,38 and has severely compromised his ability to negotiate with Israel. Additionally, the terms of reference which Clinton had used in January 2010, to try to reconcile Israeli demands for secure and recognized boundaries with Palestinian demands for a state on the 1967 lines, seem to justify Abbas' concerns.

Despite Palestinian disenchantment with Washington, there are signs that the Obama administration position supports the Palestinian demand for a state along the 1967 lines and a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem,39 which are central objectives of the Palestinian "Kosovo strategy." According to one assessment, Obama may have even supplied the Palestinians with a letter of guarantee to that effect.40While the U.S. is publicly committed to the principle of a negotiated solution between the sides, it has grown impatient with the bilateral process. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly expressed deep frustration with both the PA and Israel, which supports the Palestinian sense that they are on the right track in pursuing a unilateral "Kosovo" option.

Internal Palestinian Considerations

The Palestinians' "Kosovo strategy" has also been bolstered by a shift in the balance of power from the internationally-sanctioned Palestinian Authority to its parent organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas' refusal to stand for re-election and the PA's failure to hold new parliamentary elections has led to a governmental deadlock. Hamas' nominal control of the PLC since its 2006 electoral victory, as well as its rule in Gaza and its refusal to reconcile with Fatah or to cooperate in holding elections for the PA in January 2010, is another major source of the PA's paralysis. Abbas also fears a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.41

At the PLO Council's mid-December meeting, it unilaterally assumed the PA parliament's legislative authority and extended Abbas' leadership indefinitely, recognizing Abbas as Chairman of the PLO, as opposed to Chairman of the PA. By definition, the PLO move sidelined Hamas' majority control in the PA parliament.42 Despite the PLO Council's decision to delay the official replacement of the PA parliament, the meeting unilaterally restored the PLO's power in Palestinian parliamentary politics that had characterized the period under Arafat's rule.43

Should the PLO implement its recent resolution, collapse the PA, and rule the West Bank, it will create a vacuum of international legal legitimacy, as the PA was recognized by the Oslo agreements as an interim governing body. Therefore, this latest internal move will likely accelerate PLO decision-making regarding a unilateral declaration of statehood. The case has a precedent: in 1999, it was precisely this consideration that caused the Palestinian leadership to consider unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state as Oslo's five-year interim period was about to expire.

Re-energizing International Support for the PLO's 1988 Statehood Declaration

The PLO Council meeting also illustrated a strategic shift from the bilateral negotiations with Israel of the past 17 years. The PLO Council reenergized the Palestinian National Council's 1988 declaration of independence in Algiers, which had been endorsed by 104 countries and resulted in UN recognition of the PLO's proclamation.44 Beginning in 1989, this brought the UN to refer to the PLO as "Palestine," but without formal statehood status in view of firm U.S. and European opposition to the PLO declaration, since the PLO did not satisfy the basic criteria for statehood under international law.45

The PLO's unilateral statehood declaration was never shelved even during the Oslo years, despite the signed agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel affirming a negotiated solution based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which also governed all subsequent peace initiatives including the Quartet-sanctioned Roadmap and the Annapolis process.46 In fact, Arafat and other senior PLO and PA representatives had repeatedly asserted their right to declare statehood unilaterally during the Oslo period without prior coordination or agreement with Israel, and even threatened to make such a declaration on several occasions, including at the United Nations in 2000.47

That explains the far-reaching significance of the PLO Central Council's sudden reemergence as the Palestinian legislative authority. It established a new pretext to cancel previously signed agreements, both with respect to the exchange of letters with the PLO in September 1993 at the White House and to the 1995 interim agreement with the Palestinian Authority. A reinvigorated PLO strategy now seeks UN Security Council endorsement of the 1988 PLO declaration of statehood in an effort to impose the 1949 armistice lines (the 1967 borders) on Israel - which Abbas and other senior Palestinian leaders publicly sought in November 2009.48 On January 8, 2010, Abbas reiterated this threat if the United States failed to impose Palestinian preconditions on Israel as part of Washington's efforts to jump-start peace talks.49 Waleed al-Awad of the former communist Peoples Party noted that the goal of the PLO Central Council meeting was to "place an international siege on Israel."50

Prospects for Palestinian Success

The Palestinian gambit for pursuing a "Kosovo strategy" is anything but certain. The Palestinians are legally bound to negotiate a bilateral solution with Israel. Unilateral Palestinian threats to declare statehood have been rebuffed thus far by the European powers and the United States. However, the Palestinians believe that under fluid political conditions and growing U.S. impatience over getting the parties to return to the negotiating table, support for Palestinian unilateralism is possible and necessary for success. Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Malki told the London-based Asharq Alawsatthat the main goal of Palestinian diplomacy is winning U.S. support, so that when the Arab countries jointly appeal to the UN Security Council, the Obama administration will not veto a resolution that will finally affirm the pre-1967 lines as the borders of a Palestinian state.51

There is also a wide gap between Palestinian aspirations for unilateral statehood and their poor performance on the ground. Palestinian governance has been marked by several failures. The PA has not delivered reforms to its constituency. Government corruption and unemployment are still major issues. The PA failed to hold the promised 2010 elections, which resulted in the PLO Central Council resolution to replace the PA Legislative Council. But that decision has also been tabled for the interim. Meanwhile, the split between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank may prove to be irreconcilable.

The Palestinian leadership's rush to act already as a de facto state has not succeeded, even in the basic administrative tasks of issuing passports and currency.52 In December 2009, Maan, a leading Palestinian news organization, raised doubts as to the effectiveness of the PLO's "Kosovo strategy" and questioned the wisdom of turning the international arena into a confrontation line between the Palestinians and Israelis. It emphasized that unilateral "success will benefit the Palestinians, while failure will inflict political catastrophe."53

Implications for Israel

The Palestinian "Kosovo strategy" contains several major implications for Israel. First, the Palestinian delegitimization of Israel in the interim poses a strategic threat. The Palestinian state-building process has succeeded in painting Israel as a pariah state, while the hidden foreign policy agenda of the PA and PLO leaderships is to drive a wedge between Israel and the United States. Although unlikely, if the Palestinians win international endorsement of sovereignty along the 1967 lines, Israel will become persona non grata anywhere east of the "green line," including in many central neighborhoods within its own capital city, Jerusalem, that have been developed since the 1967 war.

The unilateral Palestinian bid for sovereignty will also likely turn the Palestinians into the leading petitioner against the State of Israel at the International Criminal Court. An early indication of what can be expected if the PA's "Kosovo strategy" comes to fruition may be seen in the petition submitted to the court by the PA after the Gaza war. Although the PA is not a state and therefore should have no legal standing before the court, its petition was not rejected by the ICC.

Finally, the unilateral Palestinian quest for the 1947 lines may well continue even if the 1967 lines are endorsed by the United Nations. The PLO's 1988 declaration of independence was based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognizes the 1947 partition plan for Palestine, not the 1967 lines, as the basis for the borders of Israel and an Arab state.

This threat is not theoretical. In 1999, former Palestinian UN Ambassador Nasser al-Kidwa, today a senior Palestinian official and a major proponent of UN endorsement of a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state, submitted a letter on behalf of the PLO asserting that Resolution 181 and its corresponding 1947 partition plan are accepted by the PLO and cannot be annulled, as they provide the legal basis for the existence of both Jewish and Arab states in Mandatory Palestine.54 Since then, Resolution 181 has been invoked by other Palestinian leaders. In view of the PLO's intention to replace the PA as the legitimate legal authority to carry out the Palestinians' Kosovo model, the implications of unilateral Palestinian action are far-reaching.

Dan Diker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he is also a senior foreign policy analyst. He is also an Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington.

* * *

Notes

1. Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon, "Recognition of ‘67 Border Before Talks," Jerusalem Post, December 15, 2009. Abbas announced at the PLO Central Council meeting on December 15, 2009, that the Palestinians will not resume peace talks with Israel unless the international community recognized the "1967 borders" as the boundaries of a Palestinian state. Abbas' latest precondition, as well as the complete Palestinian rejection of all Israeli concessions and gestures since the failed Annapolis peace process - including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state, a virtually complete settlement moratorium in the West Bank, and the granting of amnesty to hundreds of members of Palestinian terror groups - illustrates a Palestinian refusal to negotiate with Israel. See "The Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate Peace," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 4, 2010, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Behind+the+Headlines/Palestinian_refusal_negotiate_peace-Jan_2009.

2. "Erekat: It's Time to Recognize a Palestinian State," Ma'an News, November 17, 2009. See also, "Palestinians Should Follow Kosovo Example: Negotiator," Agence France Press, February 20, 2008, http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iS_5y-7raxAQIhNgJDtMOIhadGrg.

3. "Palestinians Unveil Two-Year Development Plan for Statehood," Ha'aretz, November 15, 2009.

4. http://www.mofa-gov.ps/ar/index.php?p=main&id=22. The PLO Central Council also voted to delay implementing the replacement of the Oslo-sanctioned Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), extending the PLC's role in the interim until elections can be called "at the earliest possible date."

5. Yaakov Katz, "Taking a Cue from Kosovo," Jerusalem Post, September, 3, 2009.

6. Abbas acknowledged to the Washington Post 's Jackson Diehl after the failure of Annapolis that Olmert's offer of 97 percent of the West Bank and the recognition of the right of return (that included the return of 100,000 refugees - DD) was more generous to the Palestinians than the offers of either George Bush or Bill Clinton, and yet Abbas said: "The gaps were wide." See Jackson Diehl, "Abbas' Waiting Game,"Washington Post, May 29, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803614.html.

7. Ali Abunimah, "Kosovo and the Question of Palestine," Electronic Intifada, February 25, 2008.

8. "Erekat Unimpressed with New U.S. Attitude," January 9, 2009, Jerusalem Post,http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1262339435514 & pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull.

9. Tova Lazeroff and Herb Keinon, "Erekat Denies PA Unilateralism Plans," Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1258489190816&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter. In the Kosovo case, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, passed in 1999, established Kosovo as a UN Protectorate. However, similar to the Palestinian case, Kosovo has not yet won a UNSC resolution for independence, since the Security Council has been unable to agree on a resolution backing supervised independence. See International Crisis Group Analysis, http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3225&l=1.

10. Separate conversations with international law experts Professor Ruth Lapidot and Professor Irwin Cotler, former Justice Minister of Canada, in Jerusalem, December 21, 2009.

11. Kosovo - a province of Serbia - has been under international trusteeship since NATO's armed intervention in 1999. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 provided international sanction for UN trusteeship. For Serbs, Kosovo is an ancestral homeland and the site of many important Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries. They insist that the area remain under Serbian sovereignty. The current state of limbo, tension, and sporadic violence between Kosovo's Albanian majority, which is mostly Muslim, and the Serbian minority, which is mostly Orthodox Christian, has mobilized international support away from the notion of a multi-ethnic society there and ratcheted up support for Kosovo's break from Serbia.

12. Clearly, the legal analogy does not work. Kosovar independence, currently being considered by the International Court of Justice, requires the consent of Serbia, the sovereign power, notwithstanding exceptional cases of brutality that would obviate agreement of the sovereign. Ironically perhaps, legally, the Palestinians must also receive Israel's agreement in any final status arrangement over final borders, as enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242, and as agreed upon at Oslo and in the 2002 Roadmap.

13. The Kosovo case was referred by the UN General Assembly to the International Court of Justice on October 8, 2008, for an advisory opinion as to the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration. The ICJ opinion is still pending. See http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/141/14797.pdf.

14. http://reut-institute.org/en/Publication.aspx?PublicationId=3679.

15. A map of Kosovo reveals that its ethnic composition leaves the minority Serb population contained in the provinces in Kosovo's north, leaving the majority of the land to the Muslim Kosovar majority without the risk of geographical interlocking or overlapping communities.

16. The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative referred to the issue of refugees thus: "Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/mar/28/israel7.

17. Dan Diker, "Why Israel Must Now Move from Concession-Based Diplomacy to Rights-Based Diplomacy," Jerusalem Viewpoints #554, June-July 2007,http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp ? DRIT=2&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=253&PID=0&IID=1607&TTL= Why_Israel_Must_Now_Move_from_Concessions-Based_Diplomacy_to_Rights-Based_Diplomacy. See also "Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate Peace."

18. See examples of Palestinian leadership denials of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in Dore Gold, The Fight for Jerusalem (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2007), pp. 10-11.

19. John Quigly, "The Palestine Declaration to the International Criminal Court: The Statehood Issue,"Rutgers Law Record, vol. 35, (Spring 2009), http://www.lawrecord.com/files/35-rutgers-l-rec-1.pdf.

20. "Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate Peace." Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israel Defense Forces' International Law Department, pointed out in interviews on January 6, 2010, on Army Radio and Channel 10 that Fayyad's government successfully appealed to the International Criminal Court without having the status of a sovereign state. Surprisingly, Reisner noted, the court did not dismiss the appeal, which underscores the vigorous efforts of PA Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Malki to upgrade the status of the PA to a sovereign state, which would in turn leverage up the number and effectiveness of Palestinian petitions to the ICC against the Israeli government and military officials.

21. In late 2009, Defense Minister Ehud Barak narrowly escaped arrest while on an official visit to London, while Israeli opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzippi Livni cancelled a planned visit to London, fearing arrest. http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/international/Israeli_Military_Delegation_Cancels _Britain_Trip_Fearing_Possible_War_Crime_Charges_25944716.

22. On March 22, 2009, Fayyad convened in his bureau the committees of the "popular intifada," as opposed to the military one. These committees were charged with organizing public activities against the security barrier and the settlements. Fayyad told them: "This example of resistance received respect, appreciation and support worldwide." Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 22 2009. See also Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari, "Is the Palestinian Authority Stable Enough for Peace Talks? Assessing the Resignation and Return of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad," Jerusalem Issue Brief, vol. 9, no. 3, June 16, 2009,http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp ? DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=3007. For a typical anti-Israel protest website, see http://www.awalls.org/.

23. http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&article=548758&issueno=11341.

24. U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, visiting Ramallah in November 2009, said, "I know some people concerned that this is unilateral, but it seems to me that it is unilateral in the healthy sense of self-development." See "Fayyad, PA Getting Ready for Statehood," Jerusalem Post, November 15, 2009. See also Dan Diker and Pinhas Inbari, "Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Two-Year Path to Palestinian Statehood: Implications for the Palestinian Authority and Israel," Jerusalem Issue Brief, vol. 9, no. 11, October 2, 2009,http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID =442&PID=0&IID=3096.

25. Alan Baker, "A Paradox of Peacemaking: How Fayyad's Unilateral Statehood Plan Undermines the Legal Foundations of Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy," Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 574, November-December, 2009,http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID =1&TMID=111&FID=443&PID=0&IID=3185.

26. Diker and Inbari, "Fayyad's Two-Year Path."

27. http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=252188.

28. "Erekat: PA May Declare State via UN," Ynet News, November 14, 2009, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3804948,00.html.

29. Assaf Uni, Jack Khoury, and Yanir Yagna, "EU Chief Urges UN to Set Unilateral Timetable for Palestinian Statehood," Ha'aretz, July 13, 2009.

30. Barak Ravid, "EU Draft Document on Division of Jerusalem," Ha'aretz, December 2, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1131988.html.

31. Dore Gold, "Europe Seeks to Divide Jerusalem," Jerusalem Issue Brief, vol. 9, no. 14, December 10, 2009.

32. Baker, "A Paradox of Peace Making."

33. "Washington Rejects Palestinian Kosovo Comparison," AFP, February, 20, 2008.

34. Ibid.

35. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1124825.html.

36. Isabel Kershner, "Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Clinton Says," New York Times, May 28, 2009.

37. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Palestinians and Obama, End of a Honeymoon," Hudson Institute New York, November 24, 2009.

38. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Why Is Abbas Stonewalling?" Jerusalem Post, December 24, 2009.

39. "Obama Tells Abbas Committed to PA State," Ynet News, October 23, 2009. Following Obama's phone call to Abbas, his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, said, "It was a very important conversation for the future of the peace process and the region." As the Palestinians' sole priority has been to win U.S. and international endorsement for the 1967 lines, the PA's uncharacteristically positive reaction to Obama after Washington's reversal of its former precondition of a total Israeli settlement freeze strongly suggests an Obama commitment on the central Palestinian demand.

40. Amidst the growing tensions between the U.S. and Israel over Israeli construction in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar wrote, "The Obama administration has recently begun discussing how to appease Abbas. For example, by giving him letters spelling out U.S. support for a final status arrangement based on the 1967 borders and reaffirming Washington's position that Jerusalem is divided into eastern and western parts." See Akiva, Eldar, "Will Netanyahu's Behavior Push Obama into Abbas' Arms?" Ha'aretz, November 19, 2009.

41. Abbas reportedly revealed to a Kuwaiti newspaper that he had "verified information that Hamas was planning to take over the West Bank. Khaled Abu Toameh, "Can Hamas Be Stopped from Seizing the West Bank," Hudson Institute New York, January 5, 2010, http://www.hudsonny.org/2010/01/can-hamas-be-stopped-from-seizing-west-bank.php.

42. While many Hamas PLC lawmakers remain in Israeli custody, the Palestinian leadership wanted to remove Hamas from even formal majority control of the Palestinian Authority's Legislative Council.

43. Salim Zanoun, Chairman of the PLO's National Council, noted that the Palestinian Authority was the legal child of the PLO and the Central Council which the PNC established in 1994. The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs further explained the proposed but yet to be implemented PLO takeover of the PA Parliament, saying: "The PA's duty is only to provide services to the Palestinians." Hence, the PLO and not the PA is the only legal body empowered to declare a state, http://www.mofa-gov.ps/ar/index.php?p=main&id=22. Ironically, perhaps, the PLO Council did not uproot the PA and endorsed the continued functioning of the Palestinian Authority's legislative council, in order to enjoy the ongoing receipt of billions of dollars in international donor contributions. The PA received $3 billion in 2008, according to French estimates, while the December 2007 Paris donors' conference pledged over $7 billion in aid to the PA over the years 2008-2010. See Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh, "Can the Palestinian Authority's Fatah Forces Retake Gaza?" Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 569, January-February 2009, http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=443&PID=0&IID=2842.

44. While not recognizing Palestine as a state, 104 countries recognized the 1988 Palestine Liberation Organization's Declaration of Independence. See John Quigly, "The Palestine Declaration to the International Criminal Court." See also Palestinian National Council, Declaration of Independence, November 15, 1988, UN Doc. A/43/827, S/20278, Annex III, November 18, 1988, reprinted in 27 I.L.M. 1668 (1988). The August 2009 publication of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's "Two-Year Plan to Palestinian Statehood" is seen by most Western and many Israeli observers as a unilateral state-building plan in its initial phases, but not necessarily one in which Fayyad or the PA will unilaterally declare a Palestinian state in 2011, thereby maintaining the framework of a negotiated solution.

45. Tal Becker, "International Recognition of a Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State, Legal and Policy Dilemmas," Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, http://www.jcpa.org/art/becker1.htm.

46. Baker, "A Paradox of Peacemaking."

47. Becker, "International Recognition of a Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State."

48. "Erekat: It's Time to Recognize a Palestinian State," Ma'an News. See also "Abbas: Only Solution Is to Declare Palestinian State," Ha'aretz, November 25, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1128786.html.

49. Hilary Leila Krieger, "Jerusalem Rejects 2-Year Peace Deadline," Jerusalem Post, January 8, 2010.

50. Maan News (Arabic), December 12, 2009, http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=245977.

51. http://www.aawsat.com/details.asp?section=4&article=548758&issueno=11341.

52. For example, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Malki signed a state-to-state agreement with Francewhich is an upgrade of the PA's political status on the declarative level, but the Palestinians had to backtrack from practical decisions expressing unilateral statehood, such as issuing a Palestinian currency or issuing Palestinian passports. The Lebanese daily al-Akhbar reported that one of the main purposes of Abbas' visit to Beirut was to deal with the rejection of issuing passports to the Palestinian refugees inLebanon, as they believed passports would cost them the right of return. Abbas, according to the report, accepted the claim and rescinded the issuing of passports.

53. http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=245885.

54. See the letter submitted by PLO Ambassador Nasser al-Kidwa to the General Assembly, http://www.jcpa.org/art/jid-apx.htm#plo181.