Gaza War Diary 1 Sun-Mon. Jan. 29-30, 2017 Day 1241-1242 & 4th Sovereignty Conference Invite 1 2:30am
name: phone: Email:
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org מאשר קבלת חומר פרסומי מערוץ 7
By: Women-in-Green: Nadia Matar 050-5500834 & Yehudit Katsover: 050-7161818
Dear Family & Friends,
I am so pleased that Sovereignty Now has matured into a beautiful Movement for us all to be proud of. I’ve been pushing for it in my own way, for a long, long time. Maybe since 1984: 7/24/1984 Sovereignty Now: “Jewish Sovereignty over ALL Jerusalem, Temple Mount, Judea, Samaria & Jordan Valley Security in a Jewish & Democratic State” by Gail Winston
Mar 19, 2003 – Gail Winston, founder of M.E.I.R., Mid East Information Resource … Now the world can see how short-sighted they were NOT use Israel’s superbly … only a sovereign Jewish State with Jerusalem as its Eternal Capital – without …
THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL SHOULD APPLY ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY OVER JUDEA & SAMARIA — NOW [July 31, 2011]
www.israelifrontline.com – BY GAIL WINSTON, Middle East Analyst & Commentator. Why should the people of Israel apply Israeli Sovereignty over Judea & Samaria Now ..
The people of Israel should apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea & Samaria – now!! By: Gail Winston. WinstonIsraelInsight.org: Archived in: Israel Policy. Published on: 08/01/2011
Winston Memorial Sovereignty Conference Monday, May 20, 2013 In Living Loving Memory of Manny Winston, ZaTz”L At Begin Heritage Center utu.bhttps://yoe/gxovxy6t4Gw
See my personal, urgent recommendations that we apply SOVEREIGNTY NOW in 2013. Click this YouTube by Batya Medad at the Winston Memorial Sovereignty Conference of May 20, 2013
Here’s Gail Winston talking about what we in Israel really need, Sovereignty: utu.bhttps://yoe/gxovxy6t4Gw
May 20, 2013:Gail’s Birthday & Manny’s Yahrzeit. Yud Sivan.
Jan 12, 2014 – By GAIL WINSTON…. “Without sovereignty, we won’t have security, freedom or a Jewish & democratic State.”
All the very best, Gail/Geula/Savta/Savta Raba x 2/Mom Our Website: Check out our “JERUSALEM DEFENSE COLLECTION” in our JERUSALEM BOOK & our JONATHAN POLLARD BOOK both @ WinstonIsraelInsight.org
by Eliran Aharon, Arutz Sheva 30/01/17 12:39
Protest in Jerusalem – Ro’i Hadi
Hundreds participated Monday morning in a Jerusalem protest against the demolition of Amona, scheduled for no later than next Wednesday.
A march was held from the Israel Museum to the Botanical Garden prior to the demonstration. Heading the marchers were mayors from Judea, Samaria & the residents of Amona.
Participants included Rabbi Haim Druckman, Rabbi Eli Sadan, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Nobel Laureate Professor Israel Aumann, Professor Aryeh Eldad, Yesha Council Chairman and Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Roeh, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, Acting Chairman of Gush Etzion Regional Council Moshe Seville, Mayor of Mount Hevron Yochai Damari, Mayor of Kiryat Arba-Hevron Malachi Levinger, Beit El Council head Shai Alon, & Mayor of Beit Aryeh Avi Naim.
The protest’s joint headquarters issued a statement: “The regulation law appearing before the Knesset today is the result of the persistent & just struggle of Amona’s residents – we will not allow the government to abandon them to their fate & leave them outside the law. We are here today to say loud & clear: Bold leadership is required. Leadership with red lines. Erasing a 20-year-old community is a red line & won’t pass quietly. We are all with Amona’s residents in their struggle.”
The regulation law is expected to come to the Knesset floor for a vote this afternoon, but it does not include the clause that applies the law to judgments that have already been decided by the courts. Therefore, Amona & the 9 houses in Ofra are slated to be evacuated in coming days.
The agreed upon plans for Amona’s relocation are at a standstill due to a court staying order for investigation after a leftist NGO claimed the alternate lands are owned by Arabs. The houses for the Ofra residents are not completed & the families requested a postponement from the courts.
Women in Green org cites poll showing wide support for annexation ahead of PM’s planned meeting with Trump. ‘These are very crucial days’. By Ido Ben Porat, 27/01/17 14:47 Advocates for the Land of Israel are lobbying the Likud party ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s February trip to Washington DC to meet with newly inaugurated President Donald J. Trump.
See YouTube of Nadia Matar: https://youtu.be/M_L0fdFwV4I
Activists from the Women In Green, a pro-Israel organization which supports the application of Israeli law over Judea and Samaria, canvassed among lawmakers and party leaders at this week’s conference of Likud members in Eilat, dubbed the “Likudiada”.
Women in Green co-chair Nadia Matar spoke with Arutz Sheva at the Likudiada regarding the Prime Minister’s upcoming trip to Washington, and the growing movement to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea & Samaria.
“These are very crucial days,” said Matar. “We have the new Trump administration; we have, unfortunately, Amona and Ofra, which are God forbid, [slated to be] destroyed… [and] we must have the Prime Minister get his strength before his [planned February] trip that the people of Israel want sovereignty. The people of Israel expect our Prime Minister not to ask for a little bit, for a few crumbs, but to ask and say what Israel wants. Israel wants to dream big. Israel wants Eretz Yisrael.
Earlier this month, Land of Israel Lobby Chairman Yoav Kish (Likud) proposed a bill to annex Maaleh Adumim, the third largest Israeli community in Judea and Samaria.
While the Women In Green endorsed the application of Israeli law to the city, they warned against partial annexation.
“Let us not be satisfied with partial… sovereignty,” wrote Women in Green leaders Yehudit Katsover & Nadia Matar. Narrow applications of Israeli sovereignty would, they warn, “make us lose sight of the living and breathing connection between the people of Israel & all of the areas of its land, a connection of which sovereignty is an essential & required part.”
During the Likudiada, Matar highlighted a recent poll commissioned by the Women in Green, suggesting strong support for annexation – and shrinking support among Israelis for Palestinian statehood.
“Seventy-five percent of the people of Israel voted in favor of sovereignty,” said Matar. “Only 7% voted for a Palestinian state. So only 7% of the Israeli public still favor a Palestinian state. All the rest, 75% – & probably also those who said they don’t know yet, 18% – know that the one & only Zionist plan that can be implemented here is the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea & Samaria.”
With Netanyahu’s backing, controversial legislation that would recognize 4,000 West Bank housing units set to become law BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF
The Knesset this week is set to pass into law a controversial bill that would legalize some 4,000 housing units in the West Bank built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
The so-called Regulation Bill was put on ice in December until US President Donald Trump entered the White House on January 20.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) to bring the proposed legislation to its second and third readings in the plenum this week, according to Hebrew reports.
A special Knesset committee created to hammer out the legislation was set to vote on its final formulation on Monday morning, clearing the bill for its final votes in the plenum as early as Monday afternoon, though a final date has not yet been confirmed.
The votes come ahead of the court-ordered demolition of the Amona outpost and nine buildings in the nearby West Bank settlement of Ofra by February 8. The legislation was not expected to circumvent the final court order on Amona but could avert the demolitions of other structures for which a final ruling has not yet been handed down.
The residents of Ofra, who had planned to launch a hunger strike this week, called off the protest after the government announced it would advance the law, amid hopes it would annul the demolition orders, the Ynet news website reported.
The legislation, which was approved by the Knesset in its first reading, has faced fierce backlash from the international community, the Obama administration, and Israel’s attorney general.
The legislation stipulates that settlement construction in the West Bank that was carried out in good faith, without the knowledge that the land was privately owned, would be recognized by the government provided the settlers could show some kind of state support in establishing themselves at the site — which in some cases could be as minimal as having access to public infrastructure.
Under the bill, the government will be able to appropriate land for its own use if the owners are not known. If the owners are known, they will be eligible for either yearly damages amounting to 125 percent of the value of leasing the land, a larger financial package valued at 20 years’ worth of leasing the plots, or alternate plots.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has warned that the Regulation Bill breaches both local and international law, and indicated that the High Court is likely to strike it down. Some officials, including Netanyahu — who voted for the bill along with all but one member of his coalition — have warned that the law could see Israeli officials prosecuted in the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The final votes on the bill come a week before the Amona outpost — home to some 40 families, and established in 1996 — was set to be evacuated.
In a deal struck last month with the government, the outpost residents agreed to move peacefully to an adjacent plot. But the deal was complicated after a Palestinian claimed ownership of the nearby plot, prompting the High Court to stop all work on the site.
The deal had apparently run into trouble even before the court ruling, with Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz reportedly telling ministers from his Likud party on Sunday that the agreement with Amona residents could not be implemented because of legal complications.
The lack of a clear solution has once again raised the possibility of a forced evacuation of the Amona settlers and fears that violence could result.
The residents of Amona last week renewed their protest against the government and vowed to resist the evacuation after the compromise appeared to fall through.
IsraPundit by Ted Belman January 29, 2017
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 403
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The US is usually thought to be biased in favor of Israel, even after its recent acceptance of UNSC Resolution 2334. But for many years, the US has been a big part of the reason why the diplomatic world accepts a false narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict that harms Israel & makes it harder to achieve peace. Washington should move to a truth-telling strategy to dismantle the structure of false views that slander Israel & stand in the way of peace.
The widely accepted false narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is built on the following ‘false’ premises:
· Israel stole & now occupies Palestinian territory;
· Millions of “Palestinian refugees” have a “right of return” to Israel;
· Israel & the Palestinians have equal or comparable claims to Jerusalem;
· The Palestinian community & its leadership are ready to accept a two-state solution that will end Palestinian efforts to eliminate the Jewish state.
The US has consistently either supported or been unwilling to contradict these false premises.
Palestinian leaders have an additional false view on which they insist when they speak in Arabic & which they often proclaim to international audiences. This view is that the Jewish people did not, in fact, live in & rule parts of Palestine, including Jerusalem, for hundreds of years long before the beginning of Islam. While this false claim is not generally accepted diplomatically, UNESCO recently endorsed the fiction that the ancient Jewish temples were not built on the Temple Mount – a site UNESCO calls “al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif” (Noble Sanctuary).
This Palestinian false history is not challenged by the US or by any other democracy. Had the US utilized an active strategy of telling the truth, the Palestinians would not have been able to continue to use their false picture to resist peace.
Rejecting false premises does not mean rejecting a peace agreement based on a two-state solution. The truth is compatible with a variety of ideas about what should be done in the future. Those who support a two-state solution can also support a strategy of telling the truth, as can those who doubt the feasibility of a two-state solution.
US policy has always been to ignore & sometimes even to support, the falsity of these diplomatically accepted narratives in order to avoid contradicting the Palestinians & arousing the wrath of Arab & Muslim nations. This longstanding American willingness to put reality aside to try to encourage negotiations has been unsuccessful thus far & has become increasingly harmful.
For many years, US policy was to appear “even-handed” even at the expense of truth – that is, to be superficially even-handed between the arsonist & the firefighter, the terrorist & the victim of terror. Washington should switch to an even-handed policy of supporting truth, whether it comes from Palestinians or from Israelis: a policy of rejecting falsehood from both sides.
Of course, many statements are partly true & partly false. Often there are good reasons for different opinions about what is true. But there would be a great improvement in the diplomatic environment if the US took the lead in rejecting the most important & clearly false elements of diplomatic consensus.
A truth-telling strategy does not mean being absurd by always insisting on truth. The realities of human nature & of politics & international relations, require substantial room for untruth. The US government cannot & should not act like an innocent who expects everyone to always tell the truth & who views not doing so as evil.
The False Claim That There Is Such a Thing as “Palestinian Territory”
The biggest falsehood the US needs to expose is that there exists “Palestinian territory” that Israel refuses to “give back” because of its expansionist ambitions & purported security needs. It is controversial, rather than a falsehood, to say that justice & peace require Israel to turn over to a Palestinian state essentially all the land it seized in its defensive war in 1967. But there is a big difference between the controversial statement that the West Bank should become Palestinian territory as part of a peace agreement & the false statement that these areas are now, or ever were in the past, Palestinian territory.
The distinction between saying that the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) is Palestinian territory & saying that it should become Palestinian territory is important for both the past & the future. For the past, the statement that the West Bank is Palestinian means that Israel stole land that was not Jewish & should “give it back.” For the future, the distinction determines whether Israeli proposals to provide land for a Palestinian state are returning stolen property or are offers to give up disputed land to which it has serious claims, to make a healthy peace with its neighbor. From the Palestinian point of view, it differentiates between an immoral submission to a thief who has more power & a wise compromise with neighbors who have overlapping claims of right.
A US truth-telling strategy would not ignore Palestinian assertions about “Palestinian land” but would point out that the land in question is disputed. It is not Palestinian territory – despite US acceptance of a UNSC resolution that refers to it as such – because there is no Palestinian territory & never has been. Palestinians have never ruled or been sovereign over any land. This is an indisputable fact, not a question of policy or interpretation.
The West Bank is disputed territory: it is territory for which Israel has historic & legal claims based on League of Nations resolutions endorsed by the US government in the 1920s & confirmed in Article 80 of the UN Charter. The most recent sovereigns before the West Bank came into dispute were the British Mandate from the League of Nations to promote a Jewish national home (1922-48) & the Ottoman Empire (1517-1917).
Individual Palestinians certainly own much land in the disputed area, just as they own land in Israel, in the US & elsewhere. But ownership of land by individual Palestinians does not make it Palestinian territory, either in Nablus or in New York.
Palestinian national rights to the land do not come from international law, but from a principle that has become widely accepted over the last century: that the people who live in an area should govern it. But this principle is not automatic & self-executing. Implementing it presents difficulties that require exceptions (or else east Boston would have become part of Ireland). Who the majority is in an area depends on how the borders are drawn. For example, Israelis are the great majority of the population of Area C in the West Bank – a Jewish majority that was not created by removing Arabs.
The Falsehoods about “Palestinian Refugees”
The second most important part of a new truth-telling strategy would be to expose how the Arabs have abused what they call the “Palestinian refugees” in order to maintain them as a weapon for destroying Israel as a Jewish & democratic state.
The politely accepted story in diplomatic circles is that there are nearly 5 million “Palestinian refugees” from 1948, more than a million still living in UNRWA “refugee camps” because Israel refuses to let them return home despite the “right of return” granted them by the UN General Assembly.
The reality is that only some 50,000 of the “Palestinian refugees” are refugees as the world defines the term. The others are descendants of refugees who have died. The Palestinian leadership & the Arab states have prevented these descendants, who never lived in Israel, from settling & living normal lives in any Arab state (except Jordan).
Furthermore, UNGA Resolution 194 did not, in fact or in law, grant the right of return to all refugees & would have had no authority to do so even if it had tried.
It is widely recognized in private that the Arab insistence on the “right of return” does not come from concern over the wellbeing of the “refugees” who have not been given any choice about their unfortunate status. The miseries imposed on them for 3 generations are the result of the Arab world’s decision to prevent their resettlement in the hope that someday, Israel will be forced to take in so many “refugees” that it cannot continue to be both Jewish and democratic.
The false diplomatic story with which the US has been playing along for generations is that the Arab position on the “right of return” is a plausible negotiating position that might prevail in the final stage of peace talks. The issue should not yet be addressed, so the thinking goes, because it is so hard to resolve. The truth, which is widely understood in the diplomatic community although no country will admit it publicly, is that the “refugees” do not have any real legal “right of return” & Israel cannot allow them to move to its territory if it is to survive. It is well understood that the “right of return” is a weapon to destroy Israel, not a normal negotiating demand that can be compromised.
A truth-telling strategy would declare that peace depends on finally settling the “refugees” & that it is needless cruelty to keep them in refugee camps, without normal citizens’ rights any longer.
The US should start the process of closing down UNRWA, the UN agency that has made it possible to conceal the truth about Palestinian “refugees.” It should be made clear to the Palestinians that they will never get international support for the notion of forcing Israel to take in millions of Palestinians.
It should be noted that the Israeli government has favored continued support for UNRWA. This is one of a number of instances where the government of Israel has chosen to appease international opinion rather than use the truth to defy it. It is time for Israel too to move away from such appeasement, which has not worked.
The more sophisticated diplomatic discussion of how peace might be negotiated asserts that the “refugee” issue does not prevent peace, because the Palestinian leadership already understands that no more than a token fraction of refugees will ever be allowed to move to Israel. The “refugees” will have to be satisfied with apologies & compensation – a premise widely acknowledged but never uttered out loud.
Diplomats around the world, particularly in the US, privately understand Israel cannot & should never be forced to take in millions of “Palestinian refugees.” But no one says so officially, or tells that to the Palestinians. A truth-telling strategy would hold that it is time to say openly what everyone knows to be true.
Telling the truth that there is no “right of return” leaves open the question of compensation for Palestinian refugees from Israel & for Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. This does not have to be an obstacle to peace. It is indisputable that the creation of Israel led to at least as many Jewish refugees from Arab countries as Palestinian refugees from Israel. The Jewish refugees, who were all resettled without international help (mostly in Israel), were forced to leave behind more assets than did the Palestinian refugees.
False “Even-Handedness” About Jerusalem
A much less important, but highly symbolic, piece of American truth-telling will be moving the US embassy in Israel to the country’s capital, Jerusalem. The US can further increase its truth-telling by allowing passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem to record that they were born in Israel. At present, Washington is unwilling to allow this truth to appear in American passports.
Because the US has been willing to ignore these truths for so long, there will be great Arab resistance to their being stated in public. The fiercer their protests, the more the Arabs will demonstrate the cost of having avoided truth-telling for so long. In the long run, recognition that the US has a commitment to the truth will reduce harm done by violent protests. Conversely, a policy of avoiding the truth in deference to threatened violence will lead to more such violence – or to US subservience to the rioters.
Jerusalem is a good example of the biased “even-handedness” that has long characterized the US stance. Official statements always refer to Jerusalem as sacred to both sides – sometimes adding that it is sacred to Christians as well –& typically imply that a fair solution will require equal treatment for Israel & the Palestinians on Jerusalem. But in reality, there is very little symmetry between the Israeli & Palestinian connections to Jerusalem.
The al-Aqsa Mosque, which is located in Jerusalem, has significance for the religion of Islam (although its origins are controversial) – but it is in no way central. The city of Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran, nor in regular Muslim prayers. On the other hand, Jerusalem is a central feature of the Jewish religion & of daily Jewish prayer & identity. The climax of every Jewish wedding ceremony is when the groom breaks a glass to symbolize the exile from Jerusalem & repeats a quotation from Psalm 137: “If I forget you, o Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.”
Jewish & Muslim performance in ruling Jerusalem since 1948 has also been very different. Under Israeli rule over Jerusalem (West Jerusalem for 19 years & the entire city for 50 years), there has been freedom of religion & protection of the holy sites of all religions. During the 19 years of Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed entry even to the Jewish Quarter & Jewish religious sites were destroyed – [eg., 58 Synagogues in the Jewish Old City & the Mount of Olives, the world’s oldest cemetery].
The religion of Islam takes no notice of Jerusalem as a city. Muslims have expressed interest in Jerusalem only when it was ruled by non-Muslims. For over a thousand years of Muslim rule over Jerusalem, it was never made into the capital of any part of the Muslim empire, not even the local district. From 1948 to 1967, when it was ruled by Jordan, Jerusalem was treated as inferior to Amman. By contrast, the city of Jerusalem has always been a major concern of the Jewish religion of Jewish identity, including throughout the nearly 2,000 years during which it was in the hands of others. Israel cannot survive as a Jewish state without Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli & Palestinian interests in the future of Jerusalem are not at all symmetrical. Israel needs Jerusalem to continue to be a vibrant working city. The Palestinians, by contrast, would make an important gain in their effort to destroy Israel if they achieved new arrangements for Jerusalem that allowed its health as a city to be undermined by violent conflict.
To follow an even-handed truth-telling strategy about Jerusalem, the US should state that a fair disposition of the city will acknowledge it as the capital of Israel, protect the religious concerns of all religions & assure that the city’s health will not be jeopardized by internal conflict. The Palestinian interest in having Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state should be satisfied in a way that is consistent with these three values.
The False Assertion that the Palestinians are Ready to Make Peace with Israel
A US truth-telling strategy would also address the question of whether the Palestinian community & leadership are in fact willing to make peace with Israel. While there cannot be any indisputable truth about such a hypothetical & complex question, evidence can be examined in order to respectfully try to understand the point of view of the Palestinians.
A search for truth would ask why the Palestinian leadership (both intellectual & political) takes such pains to falsely deny the ancient Jewish presence in the land. It must be unpleasant & difficult for informed Palestinians to tell such obvious falsehoods that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (from which Christ could chase the money-changers), or that Jews did not rule the land for centuries before most of them were exiled by the Romans 2,000 years ago. This denial of history is NOT part of the religion of Islam; it is a recent Palestinian invention. Older Muslim sources explain that the Dome of the Rock was built on the Temple Mount because it was the site of the Jewish Temple. One of the traditional Arab names for the Mount is Bayt al-Maqdis (The Temple).
One plausible explanation why the Palestinian leadership is so insistent on such an extreme denial of reality is that if the Palestinian people knew the truth, they might be more willing to accept Israel on part of the land. This suggests that it might be constructive for the US to remind the Palestinians that according to Islamic tradition, the Temple Mount was built by Jews as the site of the Jewish Temple. A public airing of the fact that there is no doubt that there were ancient Jewish kingdoms in the land a thousand years before Islam might increase the readiness of the Palestinian people to make peace with the Jewish people, who share their connection to the holy land. [Gail Sez: I doubt this. History & current inflamed statements accelerate the ‘useful’ violence.]
Persistent US truth-telling would so undermine the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to deny basic historical truths they would not be able to continue without embarrassing themselves before their own people. [Gail Sez: Only if they were rational.] It would show the Palestinians that the US & presumably other democracies, are not prepared to accept blatant falsehoods as justification to force Israel to accept a Palestinian victory. This would undermine one of the major Palestinian reasons for thinking they might still be able to destroy Israel: their hope that it is not too late to remove Israel from the land completely. That Palestinian hope is the fundamental obstacle to peace.
When Did the Palestinians Have an Internal Dispute about Making Peace with Israel?
If we are to gain a truthful answer to the question whether the Palestinians are now willing to make peace with Israel, we must also ask the following question: If the Palestinian leadership & public are now willing to make peace with Israel, when did they change? What was the political process that produced the change?
Since before the establishment of Israel, despite the deep desire of many Palestinians for peace, the Palestinian community & its leadership were determined not to accept a Jewish state on any terms & were committed to struggle to destroy it until it was removed from land that had once been Muslim-ruled. Whatever some Palestinians might have thought or said in private or in English, any suggestion of a basis for accepting Israel or of allowing the “refugees” to be settled outside Israel was taboo in Arabic public discourse for many years.
This is a statement of fact, not an accusation. It could be disproved if one could point to Arabic public statements to the effect that it is necessary to end the struggle to destroy Israel, or that a major share of the “refugees” might not be allowed to enter Israel. There is no evidence of such statements. Nor can one find many Palestinian political voices who say such things in Arabic in public. The Palestinian political discourse is available translated into English on MEMRI.
Before there can be any major change in Palestinian policy, there will have to be a sharp public debate among Palestinians. Certainly there would be strong voices initially rejecting any willingness to give up the war to destroy Israel or to settle the “refugees” outside of Israel. This debate would be visible in public channels & it would be possible to see which side was eventually forced to retreat.
There has been no such debate. Palestinian discourse still maintains the taboo against suggesting it is necessary or desirable to give up the war against Israel on any terms. Nor is it acceptable to discuss the possibility of some “refugees” not being allowed to move to Israel.
A truth-telling US strategy would not continue to assume that peace can be negotiated with the Palestinians if Israel makes appropriate concessions. Truth-telling is consistent with urging negotiations between Israel & the Palestinians, but not from the position that the success of those negotiations will depend on what Israel does. A truth-telling strategy would recognize that agreement on peace can only happen after Palestinians have public debates about “refugees” & about accepting Israel.
Why the US Should Move Toward a Truth-Telling Strategy
A large edifice built on falsehood has come to define the diplomatic & policy environment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This structure of unreality has failed to produce useful results. Perhaps, therefore, the new US President, who campaigned on making significant changes to US policy, should adopt a new strategy of truth-telling, which might lead to better results.
International pressure is one of the main weapons with which the Palestinians hope to destroy Israel. They will not give up that goal until it has become clear there is no way it can succeed. Demonstrating that the world will no longer pretend to believe Palestinian falsehoods might lead more Palestinians to see that they have no chance of eliminating Israel. They might then seek the benefits of peace.
Furthermore, forcing Palestinians to acknowledge Israel’s historical & moral claim to the land would provide them with an honorable basis for compromise with Israel. If Israel were a stranger to the land, simply a colonial power taking Arab land by force, as the Palestinians falsely argue, it would be cowardly for them to yield.
When American & European democracies accept Palestinian falsehoods, it creates a disincentive for the Palestinians & their supporters to face the realities of their situation. But these realities have to be the basis of any resolution of the conflict. A truth-telling strategy would offer a sound long-term foundation on which peace can eventually be built.
Why Israel Should Move Toward a Truth-Telling Strategy
Even with a new administration that has promised to break with the policies of the past, there may not be much chance the US will depart radically from its policies of the last 50 years. But whether Washington alters past positions or not, Israel should advocate a truth-telling strategy for the US & the other democracies & pursue that strategy itself.
Israel is now imprisoned by an internationally accepted structure of falsehoods. It is tactically wiser for Israel to argue for truth-telling than to continue to appease the international consensus, for example by explaining why settlements are not the obstacle to peace, or that Israeli security requires that Israel ‘occupy’ what people think of as “Palestinian land.”
Israel needs to go on the diplomatic offensive. Framing its position as an effort to get recognition for the truth is more likely to get its story heard than simply making demands & claims. Criticisms of the Palestinians that Israel needs to make to change the diplomatic consensus will be more effective if they are made as part of a broader strategy of urging democracies to face the truths about the conflict.
It is politically difficult for the US or other countries to take positions that are more “pro-Israel” than the positions of the Israeli government. If Israel would like other states to move toward more truth-telling about the conflict, it needs to stop holding back from presenting its own case out of fear that criticism of the Palestinians & assertions of Israeli rightful claims would seem to conflict with negotiations for peace.
The US is thought to be biased in favor of Israel even though it does not stand for the truths essential to Israel’s position. Despite its longstanding alliance with Israel, the US under many presidents has allowed Israel to be forced to operate according to the international structure of falsehood that now dominates Israel’s diplomatic position. This policy should be replaced by a truth-telling strategy.
Briefly, some of the main truths that the US has been denying or ignoring & that a truth-telling strategy should make prominent in the international discussion, are:
· Although there are good reasons why there should eventually be “Palestinian territory,” there is not now & never has been, any such thing. No territory was “taken from” the Palestinians; nor can any territory be “given back” to them. They have always lived in territory ruled by others.
· West Jerusalem is located in Israel & is the capital of Israel. Palestinian & Israeli connections to Jerusalem are neither equal nor symmetrical. Jerusalem is demonstrably more important to Israel than it is to the Palestinians.
· The Jewish people lived in & ruled most of the area of Israel in ancient times. Israelis did not come to the land as European colonialists; they came as a people returning to its homeland. Israel’s rule over the land is not based only on its military strength; it has historical, legal, and moral claims.
· [GAIL SEZ: We Jews are the oldest, living indigenous people of our Land & OF ANY LAND ON EARTH!]
· The Jewish international legal right to settle in the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea was established by the League of Nations’ Mandate in 1922, in recognition of the Jewish People’s millenarian attachment to the Land of Israel. It is not based on Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.
· The claim of a “right of return” for Palestinian “refugees” is not a humanitarian effort to provide help or justice to those unfortunate individuals, who are not truly refugees. It is an Arab weapon intended to destroy Israel via demographic subversion. And it is not a valid legal claim. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires resettling the “refugees” outside of Israel & ending UNRWA’s mandate. (While this truth is not indisputable, it is the understanding held by independent & informed people, most of whom do not publicly say what they personally believe.)
· It is not an established truth that the Palestinian leadership & community have decided to give up the goal of destroying Israel & are ready to make a peace that accepts Israel if Israel makes appropriate concessions. The evidence for & against this generally accepted assumption needs to be examined. Much of it indicates that the Palestinian community is not willing to make peace with Israel on any terms.
The US should be more genuinely even-handed between Israel & the Palestinians than it has been in the past. It could advance the cause of peace by telling the truth. It is not even-handed for the US to let one side’s systematic falsehoods dominate diplomatic discussion, when a truth-telling strategy could make the policy debate more realistic & improve long-term prospects for peace.
Dr. Max Singer, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is co-founder of the Washington-based Hudson Institute.
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through generosity of Greg Rosshandler Family
PM: The leftist media is trying to bring me down
PM Netanyahu – by Hezki Baruch
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized the Israeli media Monday afternoon for attacking him over a tweet his posted on his Twitter account praising US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
“President Trump praised the fence which was built under my guidance on our border with Egypt. He said it almost completely stopped illegal infiltration into Israel. And I said in response that he was right. And in response he retweeted the things I said. The media commentators have blown it out of proportion.” the Prime Minister said.
He accused the media of hypocrisy. “These same commentators said earlier that I had to relinquish Israel’s security assets for the sake maintaining a good relationship when the previous president was in the White House. And now they say that I have hurt Mexico, and ruined our relationships with them.”
“Who spoke about Mexico? We had a good relationship with them, and we will continue [to have a good relationship with Mexico]. Even when we have a real debate with them, and not imaginary one, like their vote at UNESCO.” Netanyahu said. “But the media are focusing now on this in order to divert attention away from the main point, and that is the tremendous success of the fence we built in the south, which curbed illegal infiltration. It was a complete success, and the President knows it.”
Netanyahu claimed that the media was pressuring the Attorney General to file an indictment against him. “It does not surprise me. The Leftist media is on a Bolshevik witch-hunt and is engaged in brainwashing & character assassination against my family & myself. It happens every day, night after night. They create a flood of fake news against us.”
“They exert constant pressure on the Attorney General & law enforcement to submit an indictment against me at any price. There has never been anything like this in the history of the country. There has been hardly anything like this in the history of democratic states. Why do they do it? Because since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Left has dominated the media & other nondemocratic centers of power.”
“I’m the first Prime Minister from the Right wing to try to change this, who dared to try to change it. So they do everything they can do to get rid of me & thereby perpetuate the continued control by the Left of the centers of power, in opposition to the will of the voters, who are mostly Right-wing. It will not help them. They will not succeed.” Netanyahu declared.
IsraPundit by Ted Belman January 29, 2017
President Trump on Saturday ordered the Pentagon to devise a strategy to defeat the Islamic State & restructured the National Security Council to include his controversial top political adviser as he forged a partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their first official phone call.
Trump & Putin spoke for one hour & vowed to join forces to fight terrorism in Syria & elsewhere, according to the White House & the Kremlin, signaling a potential shift in U.S.-Russian relations that have been marked by high tension.
Meanwhile, Trump signed a presidential memo directing the Pentagon to submit a plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State, an effort to make good on his campaign promise to more aggressively confront Islamist terrorism than his predecessor did.
Even prior to the memo, military officials had been at work developing potential actions for Trump & Defense Secretary James Mattis to consider. Those include potentially deploying additional advisers to Iraq & Syria, allowing U.S. military personnel to accompany local forces closer to the front lines & delegating greater decision-making power to field commanders.
As he signed his directive at his desk in the Oval Office, Trump said, “I think it’s going to be very successful. That’s big stuff.”
President Trump signed three executive orders, Jan. 28, including one directing the Joint Chiefs of Staff to draft a plan to destroy the Islamic State & another formalizing new lobbying restrictions on administration officials (The Washington Post)
Counseling Trump in the effort will be Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist whose influence inside the administration is expanding far beyond politics. In a separate presidential memo, Trump reorganized the National Security Council to, along with other changes, give Bannon a regular seat on the principals committee — the meetings of the most senior national security officials, including the secretaries of Defense & State.
That memo also states director of national intelligence & chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to sit on the principals’ committee only when issues to be discussed pertain to their “responsibilities & expertise.” In the previous 2 administrations, both were included as regular attendees.
The White House thinks the changes will make the NSC more adaptive to modern threats. Trump said the changes would bring “a lot of efficiency &, I think, a lot of additional safety.”
The changes affirm the ascent of Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative website that is popular with white nationalists [GW sez:??], who has emerged as Trump’s political consigliére & keeper of the president’s populist flame.
Bannon has already been playing a major role in directing Trump’s foreign policy, administration officials say & joined the president in the Oval Office on Saturday for his calls with Putin & several other world leaders.
In their call, Putin & Trump discussed Ukraine & Syria & agreed to build stronger economic ties between the United States & Russia, according to a statement issued by the Kremlin. They said they would arrange an in-person meeting, but Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency that the two presidents did not specifically talk about a lifting of the sanctions the Obama administration imposed against Russia over alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election & Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
Eliminating the sanctions is a priority for Moscow, but Trump is under pressure in the United States to maintain them & said Friday that he thought it was premature to consider lifting them.
Speaking at his first news conference since winning the election, President-elect Donald Trump said he hopes to get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin & said Putin’s support is “an asset.” (The Washington Post-January 11, 2017)
The White House described the conversation as “a congratulatory call” initiated by Putin.
“The positive call was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States & Russia that is in need of repair,” read a statement from the White House. “Both President Trump & President Putin are hopeful that after today’s call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism & other important issues of mutual concern.”
This was one of five conversations Trump had Saturday with world leaders. Seeking to cultivate a personal rapport, Trump spoke with the leaders of Australia, France, Germany & Japan, but his administration’s suspension of the acceptance of all refugees & a suspension of entry by citizens from 7 majority-Muslim nations injected some diplomatic tension into the conversations.
In their call, French President François Hollande told Trump that he believes defending their democracies would be effective only if their governments adhere to “the principles on which they are founded, in particular the reception of refugees,” according to the Elysee Palace, the French president’s office.
Trump’s conversation with Putin was hotly anticipated, considering the warmth with which each man has spoken of the other.
Trump spoke with Putin from behind his desk in the Oval Office, which was stacked with papers & a glass of Diet Coke. The president was flanked by VP Pence, national security adviser Michael Flynn, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer and Bannon.
Trump began the day with a call to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to discuss security & trade issues between the 2 countries & mutual threat from North Korea, according to the White House.
Abe, who during Trump’s transition phase became the first foreign leader to talk face-to-face with the president-elect, agreed to meet Trump during a visit to Washington on Feb. 10, according to the White House.
Trump then spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he had blasted repeatedly on the campaign trail over the German policy of admitting large numbers of Syrian refugees. Trump & Merkel covered a range of issues, including NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, according to the White House.
After Trump’s criticism of NATO during his campaign, the president & Merkel agreed on the alliance’s “fundamental importance to the broader transatlantic relationship & its role in ensuring the peace & stability of our North Atlantic community,” read a White House statement.
Trump accepted Merkel’s invitation to visit Hamburg, in July for the G-20 summit & Trump invited the chancellor to visit Washington soon, the White House said.
Later Saturday, Trump talked with Hollande as well as Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. Hollande told Trump it was important to maintain the Paris agreement on climate change, according to Hollande’s office. Trump has said he wants the US to withdraw from the accord.
In Moscow, leaders expressed cautious optimism that the new American leader could forge stronger ties than Obama did. From Moscow’s point of view, lifting the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration for interference in the presidential election & Russia’s intervention in Ukraine would be a good start, as would a reduction of NATO’s military presence near Russia’s borders.
Trump has said he sees his posture toward Putin as in the geopolitical interests of the United States. He has consistently argued that Russia can be a strong ally, saying the two countries could cooperate on counterterrorism as well as countering nuclear proliferation.
U.S. lawmakers from both parties — as well as some of Trump’s Cabinet nominees — have raised alarms, or at least questioned, his approach.
Also on Saturday, Trump signed an executive order finalizing new lobbying rules that had been informally established during the transition period. It stipulates administration officials cannot register as lobbyists for 5 years after leaving the government —& can never lobby on behalf of a foreign government.
“Most of the people standing behind me won’t be able to go to work or do anything adverse to our wonderful country,” Trump said, as the aides standing behind him in the Oval Office laughed.
Filipov reported from Moscow. James McAuley in Paris, Anthony Faiola in Berlin and Karen DeYoung, Jenna Johnson & Missy Ryan in Washington contributed to this report.
IsraPundit by Ted Belman January 29, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is delaying its plans to issue two executive orders that would reduce funding to the UN & begin a process to review & potentially cancel certain multilateral treaties, according to current & former officials briefed on the matter.
Both draft orders were submitted to the National Security Council for approval, but the council’s advisers were granted less than an hour & a half to review them, though this process normally takes weeks. Federal agencies were granted similarly brief windows for review.
Federal officials that were asked to review the documents balked at their contents, warning they required legal vetting.
The draft orders are now being withheld for a more complete review by a number of agencies, including the State Department, which is expected to begin as early as next week.
The draft order on the UN funding, according to copies acquired by the NYT, called for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in contributions by the US to the world body & its agencies. Much of this funding currently goes to international peacekeeping operations & other core United Nations missions. The draft order would have allowed for similar cuts to other international organizations, but it did not name them.
Some provisions in the draft order were either unclear or redundant. For example, one suggested considering cuts in funding toward the International Criminal Court, but the United States does not recognize that body or make contributions to it. Another called for the termination of funding for any UN agency that grants full membership to a Palestinian representative, which is already United States law.
Ms. Haley added, “For those who don’t have our backs, we’re taking names.”
President Trump expressed antipathy toward the UN during the campaign.
A second draft order called for establishing a process to review whether some multilateral treaties should be annulled, including current & pending treaties. The order’s text excluded treaties “directly related” to extradition, trade or national security, though it is unclear which treaties would have qualified.
Experts said that permission for the reviews of treaties related to the environment — such as the Paris climate agreement — or to human rights also appeared to be intended in the draft order.
8.Palestinians’ Fort of Torture by Khaled Abu Toameh Gatestone
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9854/palestinians-torture 1/30/17 at 5:00 am
As Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas & his cronies occupied themselves in the past 2 weeks issuing warnings to President Trump against moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reports resurfaced concerning the brutal conditions & human rights violations in a Palestinian prison in the West Bank.
These reports, however, were buried, along with the abuse, in favor of attention to rhetoric directed against the Trump Administration. Anything uttered by Abbas & senior PA officials regarding the possible transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem made it to the headlines of major newspapers & TV networks around the world.
At one point, it actually appeared as if the mainstream media in the West was interested in highlighting & inflating these statements in a bid to pressure Trump into abandoning the idea of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Western journalists ran to provide platforms for any Palestinian official interested in threatening the Trump Administration.
The threats included warnings that transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem would “destroy the peace process,” “jeopardize regional and international security” & “plunge the entire region into anarchy & violence.” Some Palestinian officials went so far as to state that such a move would be considered an “assault on all Palestinians, Arabs & Muslims.” They also threatened to “revoke” Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
Regrettably, as Palestinian officials from across the political spectrum joined forces to broadcast sensational headlines in the mainstream media around the world, reports about torture of Palestinian detainees in a PA prison failed to attract the interest of the many journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The torture that takes place in PA-controlled prisons & detention centers is not new.
Over the past few years, Palestinians have become accustomed to hearing horror stories about what is happening within the walls of these structures. Yet, because it is not Israelis who are perpetrating the abuse, the reports are ho-hum to these journalists.
A Palestinian who points a finger at Israel is guaranteed a sympathetic ear among journalists. When a Palestinian complains of torture at the hands of Palestinian interrogators or security officers, it is seen as just more of the same. Worse: It is seen as “Oh those Arabs, what can anyone expect from them?”
Ironically, it is the Hamas & Palestinian Authority media outlets that publish such reports. The 2 sides regularly report about abuse of human rights & torture in each other’s prisons & detention centers as part of the smear campaign they have been waging against each other for the past decade.
Hamas-affiliated media outlets are teeming with reports documenting cases of torture in PA detention facilities in the West Bank. Similarly, PA media organizations are always happy to hear from any Palestinian prepared to recount his or her ordeal in a Hamas prison in the Gaza Strip.
The bottom line: both Hamas and the PA, according to testimonies and reports, are practicing torture in their prisons. Neither cares a fig for the rights of detainees & prisoners & both scoff at the values of international human rights. But because human rights organizations, lawyers & relatives are so often denied access to the Palestinian prisoners & detainees held by Hamas & the PA, they cannot get any first-hand information from the prisoners themselves. They are people — being tortured in prison!
All of this makes perfect sense, of course: Hamas is an extremist Islamist movement that does not consider itself obliged to abide by international laws & treaties concerning basic human rights. Indeed, the concept of human rights simply does not exist under Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where public freedoms, including free speech & media, are non-existent.
Then how does the Western-funded PA, which has long attempted to join international bodies such as the UN, explain its systemic barbarity?
For years, the PA has been acting as an “independent state” – recognized by more than 100 countries. As such, foreign governments, especially American & European taxpayers, are entitled, or rather obliged, to hold the PA accountable for human rights violations & demand transparency & accountability. This right derives from the fact that the PA is asking to become part of the international community by winning recognition for a Palestinian state. Unless, of course, the international community is willing to welcome yet another Arab state that tramples upon human rights & practices torture in its prisons.
The most recent evidence of torture in the West Bank was disclosed in a report by a Hamas-affiliated online website. The report sheds light on some of the torture methods employed by PA interrogators & offers a unique insight into the conditions detainees are held under. The report refers specifically to the notorious Jericho Central Prison, which is controlled by various security branches of the PA.
Entitled “Jericho Prison — A Fort of Torture?” the report describes conditions inside the prison as similar to those sensational films aired on TV screens to draw the attention of viewers.
A Palestinian who was recently released from the Jericho Central Prison is quoted as saying that anyone who arrives at the facility is first blindfolded & his hands tied behind his back before he is severely beaten by five to 10 security officers. One of the most common forms of torture in the PA prison, he recounted, is called the “shabah“ position, where a prisoner’s hands are shackled and he is hung from the ceiling for several hours. During this time, the detainee is beaten on all parts of his body. If the detainee tries to move or change his position, the beating gets worse. Sometimes, the “shabah“ takes place inside the prison lavatories.
Another infamous form of torture in the Jericho Central Prison is the “falaka“ where the victims are whipped on their bare feet. According to the testimony of another former detainee, who is identified only as Abu Majd, he was subjected to the “falaka” with a plastic hose for several hours each session. Sometimes, one of the “interrogators” would also slap him on the face while he was being whipped on his bare feet.
Abu Majd reported that he was also subjected to another well-known form of torture, where he would be asked to “climb” a non-existent ladder on a wall. Because there is no ladder and the detainee cannot “climb” it, he is punished with more beatings.
Other former detainees recounted sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and being locked up in a small closet with powerful air-conditioning as common practices of torture in the same prison. This is in addition to verbal abuse, of course, and forcing detainees to sleep on the floor without mattresses or blankets.
In 2013, two Palestinian detainees reportedly died from torture in the Jericho Central Prison five days apart from each other. They were identified as Arafat Jaradat and Ayman Samarah.
Earlier this month, the father of Ahmed Salhab, who was recently detained by PA security forces & taken to the Jericho prison, complained that his son’s health was seriously harmed as a result of torture. The father said that his son was suffering from acute pain after being hit on the head by his interrogators.
Detainees in Palestinian prisons have reportedly gone on hunger strikes to protest their incarceration & torture. Unfortunately for them, they are not going on hunger strikes in an Israeli prison, where such actions garner the immediate interest of the mainstream media.
A London-based human rights organization reported 3,175 cases of human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, by the PA security forces in the West Bank during 2016. According to the report, hundreds of those detained include university students and lecturers, as well as schoolteachers.
A Palestinian Authority policeman attacks protestors. (Image source: “Palestinians for Dignity” Facebook Page)
During the same year, the PA security forces also detained 27 Palestinian journalists, the report revealed.
PA political & security officials dismiss these reports as Hamas-orchestrated “propaganda.” But one does not need wait for Hamas to tell the world about torture & human rights abuses at the hands of PA security officers. Among the thousands of Palestinians who have experienced incarceration in PA prisons & detention facilities during the past two decades, many are willing to tell their stories. But who is willing to listen?
Not Western governments, human rights organizations and journalists. Most of them seek evil in Israel & Israeli alone. Yet such a policy aids & abets the emergence of yet another Arab dictatorship in the Middle East. For now, the residents of Jericho will continue to hear the screams of the tortured detainees in their city. The rest of the world will close its eyes & ears & continue to pretend that all is rosy in the land of Abbas.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.
9.Telos Group:True Identity of “American Pro-Israeli, Pro-Pal, Pro-Peace Movement” by Noah Summers https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9826/telos-group 1/30/17 4:30 am
At least one person was pleased about the Obama Administration’s decision to abstain from the UN Security Council (UNSC) vote on Resolution 2334, effectively establishing the boundaries of a Palestinian state. For Gregory Khalil, the current president & co-founder of the Telos Group, an organization posing as “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian & pro-peace” it was 12 years coming. His 2004 New York Times op-ed encouraged the US to abstain from exercising their UNSC veto in defense of Israel. In December 2016, the Obama Administration finally acted upon the advice of this former Palestinian negotiation-team lawyer by abstaining from — instead of vetoing — Resolution 2334.
Founded in 2009 with the original name of the “Kairos Project,” the Telos Group described
“… a non-profit educational initiative that seeks to educate America’s mainstream faith leaders & their communities about the causes of — & solutions to — the modern conflict that currently ravages the Holy Land.”
A “bio” for Telos Group President and Co-Founder Gregory Khalil reveals:
“Mr. Khalil spent the summer of 2000 in East Jerusalem researching refugee rights under international law — as well as other issues related to final status negotiations — with renowned Palestinian legislator, negotiator & spokesperson Dr. Hanan Ashrawi.”
By his own account, Khalil later advised the Palestinian leadership on negotiations with Israel & served four years on the Palestinian negotiating team.
In 2014, the Telos Group was outed as an anti-Israel organization not living up to its “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian & pro-peace” self-description. The following year, Telos doubled down, rebranding with that slogan as their central theme. Their rebranding efforts included unveiling a new logo, revamping their website, and developing a more active presence on Facebook & Instagram. In July 2015, Telos announced on their blog the launch of their newly redesigned website ” & a slightly new direction,” with the stated goal to “grow and direct the pro/pro/pro movement in America.”
While the old Telos website originally emphasized the slogan of “Educating America’s Faith Communities for Holy Land Peace,” its new website prominently displays its “Pro/Pro/Pro Peacemaking” slogan and an updated mission:
“By resourcing leaders at the nexus of culture, faith and enterprise, we equip Americans to build a transformative pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace movement.”
Telos’s rebranding efforts were quickly undermined by its own actions; its agenda remained unchanged. Khalil facilitated meetings with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) / Palestinian Authority (PA), Palestinian companies & the chairman of the organization behind the PayPal4Palestine campaign. In 2011 (before its rebrand), Telos posted a picture with Hanan Ashrawi on the Telos Facebook page in a photo album titled, “Conservative Leaders Trip.” Now, in 2016, the PLO posted on Facebook two press releases on Ashrawi’s meetings with “a Telos Group,” featuring pictures of both meetings (one picture included Khalil). Palestinian media also reported on the meetings.
Notably, Telos social media accounts did not post about the two PLO/Telos meetings. In contrast to the rebranding’s emphasis on a “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace” slogan, Telos met with an organization and government (PLO/PA) that has monetarily supported the families of terrorists who have murdered Israeli civilians.
On the same day as their second meeting with Ashrawi, Telos met with Palestinian companies that are part of a larger Palestinian push seeking to establish a Palestinian high-tech economy in both the West Bank & Gaza. These companies pressured PayPal in an unsuccessful attempt to secure PayPal tools reportedly necessary to accomplish this goal. The PLO/PA expressed support for the PayPal4Palestine movement. Khalil also tweeted the Palestinian PayPal letter from his personal Twitter account and retweeted #Paypal4Palestine messages. Telos then facilitated a meeting between the Women Donors Network’s Middle East & Peace Democracy Circle (WDN’s MEPDC) & Sam Bahour, Chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. Bahour, whose organization is coordinating the #PayPal4Palestine campaign, letter & hashtag, posted about the meeting & thanked Khalil for it on Bahour’s Google+ account. Again, the Telos social media accounts were strangely silent.
While every pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian & pro-peace American longs for the day when Palestinians experience genuine economic freedom, they undoubtedly understand that money is fungible & that in the West Bank & especially in Gaza, financial resources & economic products often end up in the hands of government & terrorist organizations instead of in the hands of impoverished Palestinians. The PayPal4Palestine movement (supported by the Palestinian companies who met with Telos) offered its assistance to PayPal to work around any legal issues by working with “officials.” But those PA and Hamas officials are part of the very regimes responsible for stealing resources from the Palestinian people. The unsuccessful PayPal4Palestine movement did not call for the serious internal Palestinian reforms necessary to enable genuine economic prosperity to reach the average Palestinian suffering under an oppressive government.
Khalil’s December 2016 New York Times op-ed provides a key insight into what could potentially be driving Telos’s and his private economic advocacy efforts: “They [leaders] should also help avert collapse of the partly dependent Palestinian economy by enabling greater access of goods and people to Jerusalem’s global marketplace.”
On January 10, 2017, Telos shared a Jerusalem Post op-ed by Gershon Baskin, asking, “Is the Palestinian Authority an effective government? What challenges does it face? Check out this opinion piece to learn more about the PA.”
In the piece, Baskin, who claimed to have worked to bring “tens of millions of dollars of private-sector investments into Palestine,” blamed Israel for the failures of the Palestinian Authority. He dismissed PA corruption, excused the lack of democratic elections, justified PA nepotism & suggested that Palestinians have more freedom under the Palestinian Authority “than in any other Arab country.” Baskin urged Israelis & Palestinians alike not to give up on the PA & argued: “Investment in the private sector & especially direct foreign investment in Palestine is way too low. Part of that comes from the donor mentality that has been created & fostered whereby Palestinians have learned to expect projects to be supported by free money rather than having to risk investing their own money in expanding the economy.”
Instead of building substantive bridges between Palestinians & Israelis, the bridge Telos appears most intent on building is a financial one between America & Ramallah. Telos’s actions demonstrate the organization is pro-PLO/Palestinian Authority, not pro-Palestinian. At a time when Telos has a tremendous opportunity to advance genuine peace between Israelis & Palestinians, it is focusing its efforts on enabling a corrupt, oppressive PLO/PA government that has opposed peace on multiple occasions, oppressed its citizens by denying them freedom of speech & protection from religious persecution & jailed journalists who dare to criticize the PA’s undemocratic government and its abuses of its citizenry.
While operating as a pro-PLO/PA-narrative non-profit, the Telos Group masquerades as a pro-Israeli/pro-Palestinian/pro-peace non-profit. Based on its leadership and their behavior to date, its ultimate objective would appear to be an economically viable Palestinian state on terms more favorable to the PLO/PA than to Israelis, Palestinians, or peace — certainly not a pro-Israeli/pro-Palestinian/pro-peace agenda.
Given the recent UN vote, Khalil’s New York Times op-ed from 12 years ago is still relevant. Khalil’s 2014 hour-long presentation to students participating in a model UN cleverly presented the pro-Palestinian narrative as the historical perspective. His choice of language during his history review and his version of the Israeli and Palestinian narratives cast Palestinians in a sympathetic light and Israelis in an unsympathetic and historically inaccurate light.
During the presentation, Khalil told the audience: “I see different conversations emerging, among key populations in Israel, in Palestine & in the international community who’s been a full party to this conflict all along — it’s not half a world away. I see different conversations that aren’t about silly talking points anymore like, ‘Oh, if Palestinians just learned to love their own kids more than they love killing Jews.’ Like, you know, racist sentiments like that. Or ‘Oh, if Israelis just didn’t want to just wipe all Palestinians off the map & just trying to just completely kill us & get rid of us.'”
Paraphrasing a quote popularly attributed to former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Khalil labeled it a “racist sentiment.” While there is now some question whether Golda Meir did in fact say the original quote (“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us”), his criticism of the quote’s message was misleading. Peace with Israel is premised on Palestinians no longer supporting their children engaging in terrorist acts against Israel. Khalil’s choice of a parallel Palestinian talking point is strange, considering that talk of wiping Israel — not Palestinians — off the map is the anti-Israel rallying cry popularly attributed to Iran then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (although the exact translation is disputed).
Talking to the model UN students, Khalil promoted the narrative that the State of Israel came into existence primarily as a result of the Holocaust & that Palestinians were unjustly punished for what the Jewish people endured during the Holocaust:
“Palestinians on the ground were like, ‘Wait a second! What are you talking? Why should we be responsible for what happened over there in Europe in this massive war. Like we’re connected to this land too.’ Just as my family would tell you or Palestinian Christian, their first Christians were, of course, here in the Holy Land. Muslims have family trees that go back 1,500 years.”
Khalil’s narrative misconstrues the history of the region during & immediately following, the Holocaust. By suggesting that Palestinians were innocent bystanders during the Holocaust, Khalil is misleading his student audience. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has documented how the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, met with Adolf Hitler, sought to assist the Nazis in murdering Jews in Europe & expressed his desire to destroy Jews & the Jewish homeland. By inaccurately seeking to establish Palestinians as the indigenous people of the Holy Land, Khalil’s speech does not address that the first Christians of the Holy Land 2,000 years ago were Jewish disciples of Jesus, a Jewish carpenter whose Jewish family tree dates back thousands of years.
On at least two occasions, Khalil has misrepresented the legal situation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, also known as historic Judea & Samaria. Both in his 2014 model UN speech & during a January 2, 2017 Global Immersion webinar, Khalil used the analogy of a foreign country invading the United States to describe the settlements. For his model UN speech, he equated Israeli settlements to Canada building towns in the United States. During the webinar, he used the analogy of Mexico invading & building towns in San Diego.
While Khalil appeals to UN Resolution 242‘s “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” to justify his position on Israeli settlements, he neglects to mention that this “land-for-peace” resolution was premised on the Palestinians halting all violence against Israelis & recognizing the State of Israel. Historically, when Israel has withdrawn from territory in exchange for peace, Palestinians have continued to launch both verbal (incitement to violence) & physical attacks on Israel’s sovereignty & security. Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Israeli communities have lived under constant threat of Hamas rocket fire. As recently as January 2017, Hanan Ashrawi reiterated the PLO/PA’s unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
So how is the Telos Group continuing its anti-Israel narrative & advocacy under the guise of a new direction? Demonstrating that its rebranding is nothing more than a facade for its real agenda, the Telos Group cleverly packages & disseminates PLO/Palestinian Authority talking points — creating a generation of misinformed anti-Israel activists in America while the PLO/PA does the same in the Middle East. The key is Telos & Khalil’s choice of language, construction of narrative, & questionable public relations efforts.
In 2010, at a Capitol Hill event, Gregory Khalil laid out the reasoning behind the Telos Group’s (then known as the Kairos Project) values-oriented language: “For many years, we’ve sort of ceded the language that relates to values, and fundamental human rights, and social justice in favor of a more sort of pragmatic political language. Now, I don’t mean to diminish the role of politics, because this conflict is not a theological conflict; it’s a political problem. But I’m trying to say that there are ways to engage new voices who can be helpful rather than harmful.”
As someone of Christian Palestinian descent, Khalil should be familiar with the fact that Islamic radicals such as Hamas & Hezb’Allah cite Islamic texts to justify theologically their attempts to destroy the Jewish people & the State of Israel. Many Christians & Jews also view this conflict not in strictly political terms, but in theological terms. While secularists in both Israeli & Palestinian societies may view this conflict only in political terms, to deny the theological underpinnings of the conflict is to ignore the root causes of the conflict & to be ignorant of potential real-world consequences of proposed conflict solutions.
As a result of a misguided perspective on the conflict, Telos Group is indoctrinating “new voices” (the younger generation & their influencers) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict via storytelling that builds empathy for the Palestinian cause while using language that appeals to this generation’s values, sense of social justice & dedication to protecting human rights. Khalil’s model UN speech was a prime example of this process & agenda. Through his language & narrative, he builds support among his model UN audience for taking action & upsetting the status quo.
Four articles published since the Telos rebranding & shared on Telos’s social media accounts, vividly demonstrate while the organization’s PR efforts were supposed to establish the rebranding, they in fact revealed the organization’s efforts to disseminate PLO/PA talking points.
After going on a Telos Group tour, Washington Post religion writer Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote a glowing piece in December 2015 entitled, “How some evangelicals are challenging a decades-long stance of blanket support for Israel’s government.” Bailey’s article title is of note, since in describing their tours, the Telos website states tour participants “encounter multiple Israeli and Palestinian narratives,” & that “Telos guides expertly balance and interpret these meetings…”
Former Telos trip participant Justin Kron is a Christian tour guide, leading Israel tours emphasizing the Christian faith’s Jewish roots. Researching Palestinians’ access to water after his 2013 Telos tour, he found the tour had provided him with only 1 side of the story on that hot button topic — the pro-PLO/PA narrative. In 2014, another Telos Group trip participant, Cameron Strang, Founder and CEO of the Relevant Media Group, wrote an article on Israeli-Palestinian conflict presenting only a pro-PLO/PA narrative on a host of topics, including Palestinian water access.
In her Washington Post piece, Bailey had observed, “The trip focused mostly on Israel as a modern state, rather than Israel as a biblical land.” The pro-PLO/PA narrative promoted by Telos focuses on Israel’s current existence & the conflict, while willfully ignoring thousands of years of Jewish presence in the land, seeking to replace it with the false narrative of an indigenous Palestinian population. Writing in the Middle East Quarterly, author & professor Dr. David Bukay explained: “Rewriting the history of the Land of Israel by erasing Jewish history and replacing it with a fabricated Palestinian history is a central goal of the Palestinian Authority (PA)…. In the official Palestinian narrative, the Palestinian people are authentic & indigenous while it is the Israelis who are the foreigners, invented & sown in a land that is not theirs.”
December 2016, Khalil was quoted in a Washington Post article about Palestinian Christians, & also authored a New York Times op-ed about moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both articles illustrated that the Telos Group, Khalil & their friends in the media are regrettably shilling for the PLO/PA through the use of language and storytelling which mirror the language and narrative of an oppressive, undemocratic, often genocidal group.
In the Washington Post piece, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian (Assistant Editor of Foreign Policy) inaccurately blamed Israel as the cause of Palestinian Christians’ suffering. She quoted Khalil misrepresenting the Holy Land’s history: “I and many other Americans of Palestinian Christian ancestry will often get asked: When did you convert? ‘2,000 years ago, when did you convert?’ is a standard response.”
In words eerily similar to those of the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi, Allen-Ebrahimian reprimands American Evangelical Christians for supporting “Israeli security policies” that “have…made life difficult for Christians in Palestine and have cut them off from parts of their homeland.” Allen-Ebrahimian goes on to claim: “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), an outspoken conservative Christian politician & proponent of Israel, demonstrated that particular myopia when he gave the keynote speech at a 2014 conference hosted by [In Defense of Christians] IDC. A contingent of Arab Christians booed Cruz off stage after he declared ‘Christians have no better ally than the Jewish state.’ For Palestinian Christians, that simply isn’t true.”
Expressing similar sentiments, Hanan Ashrawi recently rebuked Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III (whose title is “Patriarch of Jerusalem and All Palestine“) over his description of Israel as a “democracy” with “freedom of worship.” Launching into the PLO/PA narrative, she libeled Israel, inaccurately claiming the Jewish State is the cause of Palestinian Christians’ suffering. Ashrawi disingenuously referred to “the impact of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem” and preposterously declared “thousands of Palestinian Christians cannot access their own Holy Sites in Occupied East Jerusalem due to Israel’s illegal annexation Wall and other movement restrictions.”
In Khalil’s December 2016 New York Times op-ed, he claimed, without citing statistics or historical precedent to back up his claims, that violence would be the likely result of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Khalil’s comments mirror, in part, those of Fatah Central Committee official Sultan Abu Al-Einein, who reportedly said on 1/1/17: “We must prepare for a new confrontation with the new US administration, which has declared, clearly & audaciously, that Israel & its settlements are legitimate & legal & has sent a delegation in order to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I believe any American act of stupidity will ignite the Palestinian territories & the US administration, along with the Israeli arrogance in continuing its settlement activity, will bear responsibility for return of bloodshed in the Palestinian territories.”
On 1/15/17, the day of the Paris conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Telos posted an article by its Executive Director & Co-Founder Todd Deatherage, in Christianity Today, about the Security Council resolution vote, Secretary Kerry’s speech & the incoming Trump Administration’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Deatherage’s Christianity Today “bio” stated that Telos “aims to build a pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace movement.” In contrast to his organization’s pro-PLO/PA actions, Deatherage admonished Christians: “any community steeped in the Sermon on the Mount must seek ways to reject the fictions of a winner-takes-all world & embrace things like working for security, dignity& freedom for Israelis & Palestinians.”
Considering the current Middle-East turmoil, his dismissal of “the fictions of a winner-takes-all world” shows a profound disconnect from current Middle East reality facing Israelis & Palestinians — the PLO/PA & Hamas both pose an existential threat to Israelis’ safety & security and obstruct Palestinians’ pursuit of freedom & prosperity.
Deatherage claimed: “Any just end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires an honest diplomatic process, accompanied by vigorous bridge-building & reconciliation at the grassroots level. Christians in the US often envision their role in this as taking one side against the other. But there is a third way, one that takes seriously Jesus’ admonition that ‘blessed are the peacemakers’ & seeks to live that out by indentifying [sic] with those on both sides who are working for peace.”
Unfortunately, Telos & Deatherage’s unwillingness to hold the PLO/PA accountable for their corruption & oppression & their willingness instead to spout PLO/PA talking points about the conflict & proposed conflict solutions, undermine their credibility to lead the bridge-building, reconciliation & peacemaking efforts of Christians genuinely seeking to ensure peace & security for all Israelis & Palestinians.
So why was the Telos Group facilitating meetings with the very government &organization that oppresses its own people & through their actions, limits Palestinians’ freedom of speech & economic activity? Why was the Telos Group, through its PR efforts, participating in gas-lighting Israel & its Christian supporters right before Christmas? Unfortunately, the Telos slogan of “pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, and pro-peace” is misleading: that is not its true identity behind the facade. The Telos Group’s most recent blog post by Deatherage, “How can we be Pro-Pro-Pro Right Now?”, confirms what research has shown. Gregory Khalil’s model UN speech & his NYTop-ed demonstrate the organization’s attempts to use deceptive language & storytelling to disguise its true agenda.
Facilitating meetings among those seeking to revitalize the Palestinian economy without necessary Palestinian reforms, Telos plans to use congressional lobbying & their ties with philanthropists & activists to upset the status quo & disrupt peace. Its false narrative currently targets grassroots Americans who are genuinely pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian & pro-peace. Given that the upcoming 2017 Telos Leadership Gathering’s theme is “Disrupting the Status Quo: Pro/Pro/Pro in Action,” Americans should be aware of this organization’s true intentions & agenda. It is time to call the Telos Group for what it really is — Anti/Anti/Anti: anti-Israeli, anti-Palestinian & anti-peace.
Noah Summers is a specialist on Middle East affairs and American foreign policy.
IsraPundit by Ted Belman January 29, 2017
T. BELMAN: HITLER WAS ALSO STRENGTHENED BY THE BLESSINGS OF THE CHURCH.
· There are now many Catholic commentators who are questioning the Church’s blindness about the danger Europe is facing.
· “Islam has every chance massively to strengthen its presence in Europe with the blessing of the Church…. the Church is not only leading Europe to an impasse, it is also shooting itself in the foot.” — Laurent Dandrieu, cultural editor of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.
· “It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world…Islam, through the sharia, their law…allows violence against the infidels, such as Christians….And what is the most important achievement? Rome.” — Cardinal Raymond Burke, interview, Il Giornale.
· “[T]hey are not refugees, this is an invasion, they come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, they want to take over.” — Laszlo Kiss Rigo, head of the Catholic Hungarian southern community.
· François Fillon published a book entitled, Vanquishing Islamic Totalitarianism, and he rose in the polls by vowing to control Islam and immigration: “We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” Fillon said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”
Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompei (left) belongs to a growing branch of Catholic leaders who refuse to see the future belonging to Islam in Europe & who speak in open opposition to Pope Francis (right).
Everyone in Italy and the rest of Europe will “soon be Muslim” because of our “stupidity”, warned Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompei. Liberati claimed that, thanks to the huge number of Muslim migrants alongside the increasing secularism of native Europeans, Islam will soon become the main religion of Europe. “All of this moral & religious decadence favours Islam”, Archbishop Liberati explained.
Décadence is also the title of a new book by the French philosopher Michel Onfray, in which he suggests that the Judeo-Christian era may have come to an end. He compares the West & Islam: “We have nihilism, they have fervor; we are exhausted, they have a great health; we have the past for us; they have the future for them”.
Archbishop Liberati belongs to a growing branch of Catholic leaders who refuse to see the future belonging to Islam in Europe. They speak in open opposition to Pope Francis, who does not seem too impressed by the collapse of Christianity due to falling birth rates, accompanied by religious apathy & its replacement by Islam.
Pope Francis’s official vision is personified by Bishop Nunzio Galantino, who was appointed by the Pontiff as the Secretary General of Italy’s Bishops. Last December, Galantino gave an interview in which he dismissed any religious motivation behind Jihadist attacks & claimed that, instead, “money” is what is behind them.
Many Catholic commentators are now questioning the Church’s blindness about the danger Europe is facing. One is the cultural editor of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles, Laurent Dandrieu, who writes: “Islam has every chance massively to strengthen its presence in Europe with the blessing of the Church. The Church is watching the establishment of millions of Muslims in Europe… & Muslim worship in our continent as an inescapable manifestation of religious freedom. But the civilizational question is simply never asked …. By breaking away from the Europe’s indigenous peoples & their legitimate concerns, the Church is not only leading Europe to an impasse, it is also shooting itself in the foot”.
Dandrieu lists Pope Francis’ gestures and speeches in favor of Islam and migrants: “On October 1, 2014, the Pope received Eritrean survivors of a shipwreck off Lampedusa; on 8 February 2015, he made a surprise visit to a refugee camp in Ponte Mammolo, northeast of Rome; on April 18, he used the first official visit of the new Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, to demand ‘a much larger commitment’ for migrants; on 6 September 2015, at the conclusion of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, he called for ‘every parish, religious community, monastery & sanctuary in Europe to host a family’ of refugees; on March 24, 2016, he chose to celebrate the Holy Thursday in a structure housing 900 refugees & to wash the feet to twelve asylum seekers; on May 28, he received children whose parents died in a boat that sank, filled with migrants; during the general audience of June 22, Francis went down to the crowd to bring back fifteen refugees”.
But as Liberati’s case demonstrates, resistance to Pope Francis’ vision of Europe is growing inside the Catholic Church.
“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world”, Cardinal Raymond Burke said.
“Islam, through the Sharia, their law, wants to rule the world & allows violence against the infidels, like Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality & to respond by defending the Christian faith (…) I have heard several times an Islamic idea: ‘what we failed to do with the weapons in the past we are doing today with the birth rate and immigration’. The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries such as Italy, the majority will be Muslim (…) Islam realizes itself in the conquest. What is their most important achievement? Rome”.
The first to denounce this dramatic trend was Italy’s most important missionary, Father Piero Gheddo, who said that, due to falling fertility & Muslim fervor, “Islam would sooner rather than later conquer the majority in Europe”. These concerns do not belong only to the Conservative wing of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna & a candidate tipped to be the next Pope, is very close to Pope Francis & is a centrist. Last September, on the anniversary of the Siege of Vienna, when Turkey’s Ottoman troops nearly conquered Europe, Schönborn delivered a dramatic appeal to save Europe’s Christian roots. “Many Muslims want & say that ‘Europe is finished’”, Cardinal Schönborn said, before accusing Europe of “forgetting its Christian identity”. He then denounced the possibility of “an Islamic conquest of Europe“.
After a Tunisian, who arrived among a flood of migrants into Germany, murdered 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin, the Catholic archbishop of the German capital, Heiner Koch, another “moderate” Catholic leader appointed by Pope Francis, also sounded a warning: “Perhaps we focused too much on the radiant image of humanity, on the good. Now in the last year, or perhaps also in recent years, we have seen: No, there is also evil”.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Miloslav Vlk, also warned about the threat of Islamization. “Muslims in Europe have many more children than Christian families; that is why demographers have been trying to come up with a time when Europe will become Muslim”, Cardinal Vlk claimed. He also blamed Europe itself for the Islamic takeover:
“Europe will pay dearly for having left its spiritual foundations; this is the last period that will not continue for decades when it may still have a chance to do something about it. Unless the Christians wake up, life may be Islamised & Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society”.
Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Bohemia, has also questioned Pope Francis’ “welcoming culture”.
Among the Eastern Catholic bishops there are many voices raising concerns about Europe’s demographic & religious revolution. One belongs to the leader of the Catholics in Lebanon, who paid an extremely high price for the Islamization of their own country, including murder & exile & now see the danger coming to Europe itself. “I have heard many times from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: faith & the birth rate”, Cardinal Bechara Rai said.
Another voice belongs to the French-born Bishop Paul Desfarges, who heads the diocese of Constantine in Algeria: “It’s no surprise that Islam has taken on such importance”, Desfarges said. “It’s an issue that concerns Europe”. Sydney Cardinal George Pell then urged “a discussion of the consequences of the Islamic presence in the Western world”. Pell was echoed by Laszlo Kiss Rigo, the head of the Catholic Hungarian southern community, who said that “they are not refugees, this is an invasion, they come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, they want to take over”.
On the political level, there is another tendency, that of strong Catholic leaders who challenge Pope Francis on the Islamic question & immigration. The most important is the French presidential candidate François Fillon, one of the first politicians who “doesn’t hide the fact that he’s Catholic“. Fillon published a book entitled, Vanquishing Islamic Totalitarianism. He rose in the polls by vowing to control Islam & immigration: “We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” Fillon said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”
These politicians, bishops and cardinals might convince Pope Francis not to abandon Europe, the cradle of Christianity & Western civilization, to a looming dark fate. Michel Onfray wrote at the end of his book: “Judeo-Christianity ruled for two millennia. An honorable period for a civilization. The boat now sinks: we can only sink with elegance”. It is urgent now to prevent that.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.