Is Jordan In The Middle Of A Coup?

ArabNN is reporting that the rumors surrounding the disappearance of Jordan’s King are picking up steam as even Eddie Cohen of the Jerusalem Post appears to be confirming them.

Jordanian Opposition Leader Mudar Zahran has been agitating for full Palestinian rights in Jordan. 80 percent of Jordan’s populace are Palestinian Arabs and yet the King and his clan, along with the Muslim Brotherhood have essentially monopolized the country’s wealth and disenfranchised the majority of the populace. There has been growing discontent over the last year and calls for overthrowing the monarchy have grown.

“Jordan is facing unprecedented financial turmoil and COVID 19 death toll is rising at a staggering rate,” Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) Leader Mudar Zahran said. “The ruling Hashemite family has systematically destroyed the country, and because no one has seen him in days, many are now asking: “Where’s Waldo?”

“Abdullah is clearly missing in action, and over 9 million Jordanians are searching for Waldo,” Zahran continued. “One thing is certain, he is running away from his duties, he brought this economic distress upon us, he lied to Jordanians juts three months ago telling them Jordan was almost COVID19 free, and now he left Jordanians to face their fate, while he is refusing to face the music.”

Intelligence website JAFAJ states the following:

“While the king’s whereabouts and conditions remain a mystery, Uncle Hassan has been frantically trying to fill the vacuum left by Abdullah’s absence, while drumming up political support.”

How Does Jordanian Uncertainty Affect Israel

Israel has spent years propping up the Hashemite family in Jordan, to the point where despite King Abdullah’s partnership with Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Israel still includes the monarchy in its security umbrella.

The thought has always been that despite the King’s two-faced policy, his “Kingdom” was necessary to provide a buffer to first protect against Iraq and then later Iran. Yet, with the recent deal between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, as well as the growing possibility of Saudi Arabia, Jordan’s Monarchy has become a liability.

Is Saudi Arabia Helping To Depose the “Royal Family?”

There has been a long standing feud between the Hashemite and Saudi royal families dating back to when the Hashemites lived in what is now Saudi Arabia. The British placated the Hashemites by giving them what is today Jordan, leaving the Saudis in charge of the Arabian peninsula. Both dynasties have laid claim to being descended from Muhammed and both Kingdoms claim custodian over major shrines special to Islam. In Jordan’s case they control the management of the Temple Mount, which is within Israel’s security apparatus and sovereignty.

The last point is important and must be taken into account onto why Saudi Arabia sees the need to finally depose the Hashemites once and for all. The Hashemite claim to leadership of the Islamic world is essentially a farce. It resets on the fact that after 1967 the Israeli government was weak and allowed the Waqf to remain in charge. Thats it. Thats the whole claim King Abduallah and his family have.

The Saudis control Mecca and Medina, the two holist sites in Islam. They are a power player in the Middle East and see themselves as the rightful leaders of the Muslim world. Most of the world regards them that way as well.

So what is their interest in toppling the Jordanian Monarchy?

Simply put – peace.

With 80 percent of the Jordanian population made up of Palestinians and these Palestinians needing a State, the Saudis can ink a final deal between a Palestinian Jordan and Israel while signing a peace agreement themselves with the Jewish State. The Saudis would see their family replacing the Waqf as custodians of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa and do away with a wannabe king who finds the Muslim Brotherhood in direct contravention of both American policy and Saudi interests.

So is Jordan’s King now on the way out? If he is, the Saudis are the most probable reason why – and that is a good thing for Israel and peace in the Middle East.

No, it isn’t Kent State on the Mediterranean*

I talked to an American friend yesterday. She is well-educated and interested in current events, and she was concerned about what was going on at the border with Gaza. She read me an AP news account that was in her local paper (probably this one) which explained in the second paragraph that

Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians and wounding 491 others in the second mass border protest in eight days. The deaths brought to at least 31 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since last week.

What is the picture that this evokes?

If I didn’t know better, I would see a bunch of people peacefully holding signs, singing “we shall overcome,” when suddenly a machine gun opens up and mows them down at random, men women and children. The article mentions that “the area was engulfed by thick black smoke from protesters setting tires on fire,” but it is only in the ninth paragraph that we are told that “the [Israeli] military said” that the “protesters” threw firebombs and explosive devices under cover of the smoke,  and that “several attempts to cross the fence were thwarted.”

Let’s analyze some of this.

Are they “protesters” and if so, what are they protesting? Some of them are civilians who are sympathetic with Hamas, or who are young people with nothing more exciting to do, who have taken the free buses provided by Hamas to eat the free lunch provided there. Participants are encouraged to try to break through the border fence, and Hamas is paying them from $200 to $500 if they are injured, and $3000 to families of anyone who is killed.

The civilians  are generally not the ones who are getting shot. Most of those who did are members of the al-Qassam brigades or other military organizations associated with Hamas or other terrorist factions, who a trying to damage or penetrate the border fence, or injure or kill Israeli troops on the other side.

Here is a description from an article by Nahum Barnea, an Israeli journalist who is a bitter enemy of Israel’s present government, and anything but a right-winger:

[IDF officer at the scene:] “There were armed cells among the protestors that wanted to break through the fence to set it on fire, to kidnap soldiers and perhaps break into one of the kibbutzim. There are several people within the crowd, members of Hamas’ elite Nukhba force, who are hiding guns, knives, explosives under their clothes. Their intention was to turn into a fighting force.”

Nineteen or 20 Palestinians were killed on the first Friday, I said.

“One-third of the dead are armed terrorists,” one of the officers said. “Another 40 percent are members of the organizations, including a Nukhba company commander. Most of the others were identified as key instigators. The first person who was killed was a farmer. It was a misidentification by a tank.”

The orders received from the General Staff are clear. A soldier is allowed to fire in three cases: If he is in a life-threatening situation, if he detects damage to state infrastructure [the border fence] and if he spots key instigators. In the last case, he must receive approval from a commander. First, he fires into the air, and only then he shoots towards the person’s body.

“Let’s assume that 400 people had broken through the border fence,” one of the officers said. “We would have had to stop them with fire. At least 50 of them would have been killed. It would have been a strategic event. They would have had to retaliate. We would have had to retaliate. In fact, we are preventing war through our surgical activity.

People in Gaza have much to be unhappy about. Media sympathetic to Hamas usually blame Israel, citing its “blockade” of Gaza. But the blockade is very selective, and does not prevent Gaza from importing food, medical supplies and even construction materials intended to rebuild homes and infrastructure damaged in recent wars. Hamas taxes all imports heavily, and appropriates what it wants for its own purposes. Cement and rebar imported for construction of buildings, for example, is diverted to use in attack tunnels dug under the border to Israel, which are intended to infiltrate terrorists and to kidnap Israelis.

The biggest problems for Gaza residents today are the lack of electricity, mostly because of a dispute with the Palestinian Authority, and the availability of clean water and sewage treatment facilities. International donors have provided money and equipment, but resources are consistently diverted to Hamas for military purposes.

But these are not the things they are protesting. The protest is called “The Great March of Return,” and it is on behalf of a “right of return” of the descendents of Arab refugees from the 1948 war to land that has been under Israel’s control since then. Rhetoric is very aggressive. Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said that the event marks the beginning of their return to “all of Palestine,” especially Jerusalem, which they say US President Trump had no business recognizing as the capital of Israel.

As everyone knows, the “return” of the millions who claim refugee status would be the end of the Jewish state (and probably the start of a civil war that would rival the one in Syria). In other words, what they are protesting is the very existence of Israel on land that they want for themselves.

I told my friend that Israel had few options. Could they fail to defend the border, close to Israeli communities (as close as 100 meters in some cases)? Palestinian terrorists have on countless occasions showed that they are capable of horrific violence, even slitting the throats of babies in their cribs.

Some commentators have gone as far as to accuse Israel of deliberately “massacring” Palestinians. What they don’t explain is what advantage Israel would gain by doing so. Israel is extremely conscious (too much so, in my opinion) of maintaining an image of a progressive, humane society, and would consider mass or indiscriminate killing of Palestinians a public relations disaster as well as a moral one. The view that IDF soldiers in general would seize an opportunity to kill Palestinians out of sheer hatred – which is apparently assumed by those who suggest that there has been a “massacre” – is a manifestation of the campaign of demonization that Israel and the IDF have been subjected to, and even of a pervasive anti-Jewish worldview.

Hamas, on the other hand, benefits greatly from civilian casualties, which support its narrative of victimization and provide its supporters with fodder for “lawfare” against the IDF and diplomatic sanctions against Israel.

I have recently read several articles which argue that the situation is very complicated and we shouldn’t place all the responsibility on either side. I agree that it is complicated. There are numerous players with influence here, including Israel and Hamas of course, but also the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and notably Iran, which is financing Hamas and sees violence in Gaza as in its interest.

But it isn’t complicated in a moral sense. I have no problem saying that one side is defending itself against invasion, and the other is committing an act of aggression while at the same time victimizing its own people.

It’s a shame that important parts of the American media don’t get this – or don’t want its consumers to get it.


* For those too young to remember, see Kent State Massacre.

Originally Published on Abu Yehuda.

Gaza Bloodshed and the Return of the Intifada

Just before Passover in Israel, the Hamas leadership in a premeditated manner attempted push nearly 20,000 angry Gazans spread out over six camps through the Israeli border fence. The resulting clash resulted in more than 15 Gazan deaths and over 1,000 wounded. The IDF was ordered to shoot those protestors that posed a direct threat to them or civilians.

Already there is a serious outcry over the “needless” deaths from across the world.  This is to be expected.  The world has been wantonly silent on Turkish genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Afrin.

Up until now Israel has held strong against Hamas’ aim at deligitimzing the Jewish State, but with reports that footage shows the IDF shooting unarmed civilians, the question remains on exacly how long Bibi and his cabinet can continue shutting down these sorts of protests.

Hamas was able to get the IDF to play according to their rules knowing that any death would appear “unwarranted.”  Now they have the spark to potentially set the Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria ablaze, starting a new Intifada.

John Bolton and the Death of the Two-State Solution

Hamas has also given the new head of the NSC John Bolton enough ammunition to convince Trump to kill the two-state solution once and for all. Bolton has made it clear in the past he does not believe the Two-State solution is workable. The question really is whether this is or not Bolton prioritizes Israel and the surrounding area.

Hamas was able to use the march on the Gazan border by allowing the group to become chaotic and driven by an anger over their roll in the “Nakba.” The results are already starting to flow with the Secretary-General of the UN calling for an independent council over the protests.

“The Secretary-General calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these incidents,” said a statement by Guterres’ deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, which also reaffirmed “the readiness” of the world body to revitalize peace efforts.

If the Palestinians continue their protets and gain noterietry Israel’s typically weak PR may find itself overwhelmed, creating a wave of international attacks on the tiny Jewish state.


The Narrative

Maybe arguments are not important. Maybe, as Jonathan Haidt (video, 1 hr. 32 m.) says, logical arguments are window dressing used to justify conclusions forced upon us by deep-seated emotional motivations. Maybe those who demand that we “free Palestine” on US campuses and UK streets simply disdain the Jewish people and their state. Maybe we should just tell them to go to hell and maintain our military deterrent capability.

Maybe. But the arguments against Israel all rest on the foundation of the Palestinian Narrative. Just in case there is anyone left who can be persuaded by facts and logical reasoning, it’s important to refute the Narrative. And in case the concept of international law hasn’t been so perverted by the perfidious UN and our enemies in Europe and the Mideast as to be completely worthless, it’s important to do so in order to provide a basis for legal rulings and diplomatic resolutions by international bodies.

Most importantly, in order to dispel the doubts planted in the minds of our remaining friends (few as they might be) by the propaganda pervading all kinds of media, educational institutions, churches and liberal synagogues, charities, and so many other institutions, it is imperative to refute the Narrative.

The Narrative has various forms and incarnations, which may be more or less persuasive. But they all make several main false claims:

Claim: The Palestinians were here first. They are natives; we are colonists. They have aboriginal rights. Sometimes they even claim to be descendants of Canaanites or Philistines who predated the Exodus from Egypt.
Claim: European Jews came to Palestine as a result of the Holocaust and stole the land belonging to Palestinians.
Claim: The actions of Israel amount to ethnic cleansing or even genocide against the Palestinians.
Claim: The definition of Israel as a Jewish state constitutes apartheid.
Claim: There is a “right of return” in international law that entitles the descendants of Arabs that fled in 1948 to “return to their homes” and/or receive compensation.
Claim: There is a “right of resistance to Israeli occupation” that justifies everything from rock-throwing to bombing buses and pizza parlors.

There is much more, but I think these are the most essential claims of the Narrative. It provides the basis for international legal and diplomatic attacks against Israel, as well as support for a Palestinian state on the grounds of aboriginal rights and self-determination.


The claim to aboriginal rights – which implies the right to live in one’s historic homeland as well as some degree of self-government and title to ancestral lands – is claimed by both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples (yes, there is a “Palestinian people” – I’ll get to that). Both peoples claim to be the extant people with the longest connection to the land. In order to decide between them we need to ask 1) how long have these peoples existed, and 2) to what extent are they connected to the land?

In the case of the Jewish people, there is evidence of the existence of a people with a unique language and religion who self-identified as yehudim (Jews) for at least several thousand years. The Bible tells about  their migration to the land of Israel and tells a story whose protagonists are God, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel. Their religious rituals express the yearning of those exiled to return to the land, and have done so for hundreds of years. Even the Qu’ran refers to a Jewish homeland in the land of Israel.

There is a large amount archaeological evidence for the Jewish presence in the land of Israel back to the First Temple period (before 587 BCE), and even as far back as 1200 BCE. There is also genetic evidence that most of those today calling themselves “Jews” have a common origin. The strong taboo against intermarriage with non-Jews testifies to their belief that they are not just a religious group, but a nation. Their common origin, language, religion, customs, and – very importantly – self-identification establishes them as a people or nation.

What about the Palestinians? The fantasies about Canaanites and Philistines are just that, with those peoples gone centuries before the Common Era. Before the mid-1960s, the Arabs of Palestine did not even identify as a separate people, considering themselves part of the greater Arab nation. After the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Palestinian Arab leadership argued that those parts of the empire which were to become the Palestine Mandate were actually “southern Syria,” with no unique political identity. The Palestinian Arabs themselves did not have a unique language or religion, and their origins were multiple. Although some were probably descended from native Jews or from the original 7th century Arab conquerors of Palestine, many Arab clans came much, much later.

Allen Hertz notes that disease, war and famines had greatly reduced the population in Palestine by the early 19th century, but

…from time to time, there have also been repeated waves of fresh migrants drawn from various ethno-religious groups, whether from adjacent regions or further afield. …

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, regional rulers like Zahir al-Umar (Bedouin), Ahmet al-Jazzar (Bosnian), and Mehmet Ali (Albanian) invited farmers and other Muslim migrants from Egypt, the Balkans, and elsewhere to help repopulate the land. In addition, there were always newcomers who arrived without authorization. For example, from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Bedouin from neighboring regions significantly migrated to the Holy Land, where some became sedentary, as encouraged by the Ottomans.

In the second half of the 19th century, the Ottoman government from time to time sponsored settlement in the Holy Land by Muslim refugees — such as Tatars, Circassians, and Chechens who had to flee their homelands due to widespread Russian persecution. Thus, we can readily understand why the detailed article on greater “Palestine” in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (though egregiously omitting the Druze) refers to no fewer than twenty ethnic groups. Namely, listed among the locals are Arabs, Bedouin, Jews, Persians, Afghans, Nawar, Turks, Turkomans, Armenians, Germans, Greeks, Italians, Bosnians, Motawila, Kurds, Circassians, Egyptians, Sudanese, Algerians, and Samaritans. …

The 1930 Hope Simpson Report, the 1937 Peel Commission, and the local administration’s 1946 Survey of Palestine all agreed that there was not much effective control of land frontiers which, during the interwar period, remained mostly open to undocumented Arab migrants seeking opportunities in Western Palestine. The attraction there was the Jew-driven local economy which was famously rising faster than in the neighboring Arab countries. …

It is probably true that with a few exceptions, most of today’s Palestinian Arabs are descended from people who migrated into the region no earlier than 1830.

What finally melded the disparate collection of “Palestinians” into a Palestinian nation was opposition to the Jewish state. But even after 1948, Palestinian Arabs still saw themselves as part of a greater pan-Arab nation, and only after 1967 – under the tutelage of the KGB, which explained the public relations value of becoming a movement of national liberation – did they begin to refer to themselves as a nation.


The claim that the Jews colonized Palestine as a result of the Holocaust is popular, because it is usually followed by the argument that “native” Palestinians ought not to suffer as a result of the crimes of Nazi Germany. There is some irony inherent in this, when one considers that the leader of the pre-state Palestinian opposition to Jewish sovereignty, Jerusalem Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, aided Hitler by recruiting Muslims to serve in the SS and broadcasting Nazi propaganda in Arabic from Berlin for much of the war.

But not only were Jews present in Palestine since biblical times and more appropriately called “native” than the Arabs, but the idea and implementation of Jewish sovereignty began long before the Holocaust. Indeed, the pre-state yishuv had most of the institutions necessary for a sovereign state that could properly provide protection and services for its citizens in place by the 1920s and 1930s.

It should also be pointed out that the Jews did not take control of Palestine from the Arabs. There was never a Palestinian administration; the Ottoman Turks were supplanted by the British colonialists, and it was the British that were thrown out by the Zionists. One way to describe the events in Palestine in the first half of the 20th Century is as a struggle by the Jews to reestablish sovereignty and the Arabs to prevent them from doing so.

Land was not stolen from the Arabs by the Zionist settlers. It was purchased, at exorbitant prices, from landlords who were either absentees or rich local Arabs. It is true that after the War of Independence, land that had been abandoned by Arabs who fled was appropriated by the new government and became state land, which was then often leased to Jews. This was to some extent morally problematic, but it is hard to see what else the state could have done – especially considering the hostility of much of the Arab population, which had just been defeated in a war that would probably had ended in another genocide of the Jews if it had gone the other way.


The claim that Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing or genocide is an important part of the Narrative. The accusation of genocide is easily refuted: in 1960 there were about 1.3 million Arabs between the Jordan and the Mediterranean; by 2015 this number had grown to about 5.1 million. By contrast, the real genocide of the Jewish population in Europe by the Nazis reduced it from 9.5 to 3.8 million between 1939 and 1945. The “evidence” given for genocide consists of anecdotes about individual Palestinians who were killed – almost all of these in conflict with police or IDF forces – or casualties in war. In neither case was an effort made to kill Palestinians simply because they are Palestinian, and indeed, the IDF takes unprecedented measures to protect enemy civilians in wartime.

Entire books have been written about the 550,000 – 700,000 Arab refugees who fled their homes before or during the 1948 war (about 160,000 remained and ultimately became citizens of Israel). However, it seems clear that only a minority of the refugees were expelled by Israeli soldiers; the majority left out of fear of the fighting, especially as a result of false rumors of Jewish brutality (I would call it psychological projection: they expected the Jews to do what they would have done in similar circumstances). By contrast, every single Jew in those parts of Palestine that were captured by Jordan and Egypt in 1948 was either killed, driven out at gunpoint, or forced to flee.


The claim that Israel is an apartheid state also does violence to the language, and to the history of South Africa where actual apartheid existed. Palestinians and their supporters say that the fact that Arabs in Judea and Samaria do not live under the normal Israeli legal system and do not have the right to vote constitutes apartheid. Some even say there is “apartheid” inside the Green Line because of discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel.

In Judea and Samaria, at least 95% of the Arab population lives in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Theoretically they can vote in PA elections, although the PA hasn’t held one in 9 years, for reasons of its own. But although the PA is something less than a state, without an army or control of its borders or airspace, it does control the economic, social and cultural life of its population. It is responsible for policing, education, media, public health, and more. The PA is another country for all practical purposes. No Jews live in those areas. Indeed, Jews are forbidden by Israel to enter PA-controlled areas for their own good, since they are likely to be lynched.

Real apartheid, as it was practiced in South Africa, consisted of parallel societies for whites and “coloreds.” Every aspect of life was regulated according to skin color. Within the Green Line, Arabs and Jews have the same rights, including the right to vote and hold political office. There are no segregated drinking fountains or beaches as in apartheid South Africa. Jews and Arabs are not forbidden to marry or have relationships. There is a certain degree of social separation which is not legally mandated, but is a result of cultural differences, and some discrimination. But as those who lived in apartheid South Africa will testify, there is simply no comparison.

Israel is a Jewish state, which means several things. One of the most important is the Law of Return, which allows a Jew anywhere in the world to come to Israel and acquire citizenship. Yes, there is no “law of return” for Palestinians. But this is not apartheid. Any country has the right to establish rules for immigration, and it can use any criteria it wants to. All Israeli citizens have equal rights, but not everyone in the world has an equal right to become a citizen.

“Jewish state” also means that Israel has a state religion, Judaism. There are numerous countries that have state religions, including all Arab countries, the UK, Finland, Italy, and numerous others. Judaism has a special status in Israel, with a government funded Ministry of Religious Services that provides financial assistance to Jewish institutions. However, there is little or no interference with the practice of other religions.


The claim that there is a “right of return” for Arab refugees is one of the most contentious claims in the Narrative. There is no such general right in international law; although the Geneva Conventions call for humane treatment of refugees, there is no requirement that they be returned to their place of origin. Further, the UN treats Palestinian refugees differently from any other refugees in the world, by allowing refugee status to be hereditary. The original 550,000 – 700,000 Arab refugees of 1948 have thus grown to 5 or 6 million today (depending on whom you ask). The Arab countries in which the refugees reside – including the PA – refuse to countenance any solution for these people other than “return” to “their homes” in Israel.

The right of return (or compensation, for those who prefer not to return) is sometimes said to be guaranteed by UN General Assembly resolution 194. But the resolution is non-binding, and applies equally to Jewish refugees. It says that refugees “wishing to … live in peace with their neighbors” should be allowed to return “home,” and certainly was not intended for grandchildren yet unborn to do so. It also calls for Jerusalem “to be placed under international control.”


The claim that there is a “right to resist Israeli occupation,” and that such a right justifies Palestinian terrorism against Israel, is a perverse and entirely bogus claim. One formulation argues that the “right” comes from the UN’s 1960 decolonization declaration, and the 4th Geneva Convention. The argument is that because of the illegality of the occupation under the 4th Geneva Convention, Palestinians are subjected to “subjugation, domination and exploitation,” a violation of their human rights forbidden by the decolonization declaration. But together with “the basic right of all human beings to resist their being killed and harmed, and a society to take armed actions to protect itself”  this supposedly implies that “all Palestinian attempts to lift the yoke of Israeli oppression” are legitimate.

This is sheer nonsense, from start to finish. Judea and Samaria are not colonies, they are disputed territories that are arguably legitimate parts of Israel. Even if you believe that they are “occupied territories,” the 4th Geneva convention does not make the occupation illegal. And we mustn’t forget that at least 95% of the Arab population there is ruled directly by the PA, not by Israel. The so-called “resistance” is a murderously violent campaign whose objective is to cause the Jewish state to collapse so it can be replaced by an Arab-dominated one.

But supposedly this argument is strong enough to legitimize murder, even mass murder as has been committed multiple times by Palestinian terrorists!


The Narrative is seductive to the uninformed, especially if they are predisposed to support the underdog, whom they believe to be the Palestinians.

Perhaps that’s the final falsehood of the Narrative. The poor, oppressed Palestinians vs. mighty Israel. But of course for all these years they had the entire Arab world with its seemingly infinite oil money behind them. And of course the Europeans, who never met a Jew they didn’t (openly or covertly) dislike.

But now the geopolitical situation is changing, and the Arab nations have bigger problems than the pesky Jews (who never really were a threat to them anyway). The Europeans may not have noticed it yet, but they do too. Much bigger problems.

Maybe now is the time to deploy facts and logic against the Narrative?

Originally Published in Abu Yehuda

Trump, Netanyahu and the Post-Oslo era

If the peace process ends, Netanyahu will present his own plan.

You wouldn’t know it from the news, but this week, the probability that Israel will apply its law to areas of Judea and Samaria rose significantly.

This week was first time that either Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or the Trump administration ever addressed the possibility of Israel applying its law to areas of Judea and Samaria.

Lawmakers from Bayit Yehudi and the Likud have prepared separate bills on the issue. MK Bezalel Smotrich’s Bayit Yehudi party bill calls for Israel to apply its law to Area C – the parts of Judea and Samaria located outside Palestinian population centers.

The second bill, proposed by Likud MK Yoav Kisch, calls for Israel to apply its law to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. The Likud’s central committee unanimously passed a resolution in December calling for the government to implement such a policy.

On Monday, Netanyahu met with the Likud Knesset faction to convince the lawmakers to postpone consideration of Kisch’s bill. Netanyahu gave two justifications for his position.

First, he said that he wants to discuss the issue with the Trump administration. Netanyahu explained, “On the topic of applying sovereignty [in Judea and Samaria], I can tell you that for some time now I have been discussing the issue with the Americans.”

Netanyahu continued, “Our relationship with them is a strategic asset to the State of Israel and the settlement enterprise.”

Netanyahu’s statement was very general. The media chose to interpret it to mean that Netanyahu was lobbying the Trump administration to support the application of Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria.

But that is not at all what he said. He said that he is discussing the issue with the Americans and that he wants to maintain the good relations Israel now enjoys with the Trump administration because those relations are a strategic asset for Israel.

The second guiding principle Netanyahu said inform his position on applying Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria contradicts the notion that he wants the Trump administration to adopt the cause of applying Israeli law in Judea and Samaria as an American position.

Netanyahu said he opposes Kisch’s bill because he believes that applying Israeli law to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is “an historic undertaking.”

Netanyahu said, “This has to be a government initiative and not a private one, because this is a historic undertaking.”

Before considering the implications of Netanyahu’s second guiding principle, we need to examine carefully consider the US position on the issue.

Netanyahu’s general statement to the Likud Knesset faction provoked a media maelstrom. The outcry compelled the Trump administration to respond. The manner it responded to the media storm was instructive.

The administration’s first response came at the conclusion of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Cairo. Tillerson was in Egypt on the first leg of his regional tour to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Given his hosts’ opposition to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December, the State Department was certainly not interested in having the US embroiled in Israeli discussions about applying Israel law to areas in Judea and Samaria.

And yet, in his media appearance, Tillerson ignored the issue. He told reporters, “The Trump administration remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

As the media storm in Israel and the region over Netanyahu’s remarks expanded with Palestinian condemnations of his statement, a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem clarified Netanyahu’s remarks to reporters.

The senior diplomatic source explained that Netanyahu “has not presented the United States specific proposals for annexation, and the US has not expressed its agreement with any such proposal. Israel updated the US on the varying proposals that have been raised that the Knesset. The US expressed its clear position that it wishes to advance President Trump’s peace plan. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position is that if the Palestinians maintain their refusal to negotiate, Israel will present its own alternative.”

This statement is the most revealing statement any senior official has made on the issue of applying Israeli law to areas of Judea and Samaria. The senior official told us several things we didn’t know.

First, Netanyahu plans to wait to present any new Israeli position on Judea and Samaria until after Trump presents his peace plan.
Second, Netanyahu will postpone consideration of any plan to present an independent Israeli initiative if the Palestinians agree to return to the negotiating table.

Finally, like Tillerson, the senior Israeli official did not say that the US opposes Israeli plans to apply Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria.

Later on Monday, in response to virulent criticisms of the US following Netanyahu’s remarks, the Trump administration stiffened its tone.

White House spokesman Josh Raffel issued what the media presented as a harsh rebuke of Netanyahu’s statement before the Likud Knesset faction members.

“Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false, Raffel said.

“The United States and Israel have never discussed such a proposal, and the president’s focus remains squarely on his Israeli-Palestinian initiative.”

Did Raffel’s statement tell us anything new? Not really.

The senior diplomatic source said Netanyahu has updated the administration on the various proposals for applying Israeli law to areas of Judea and Samaria. He didn’t say Netanyahu held discussions with administration officials about the various proposals. And the senior diplomatic source said that the US remains committed to advancing Trump’s peace plan.

In other words, there is no inherent contradiction between Netanyahu’s statement at the Likud faction meeting, the statement by the Israeli senior diplomatic source, Tillerson’s statement and Raffel’s statement. None of them said that Israel is interested in having the US support applying Israeli law to Judea and Samaria. None of them said the Trump administration opposes applying Israeli law to Judea and Samaria.

They all said the Trump administration is committed to advancing its own peace plan.

The sense that the dispute between Netanyahu and the White House was more apparent than real was reinforced on Tuesday at the State Department press briefing.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert had no response to the news that the Knesset passed legislation placing Ariel University under the auspices of the Council of Higher Education, instead of a designated special council that deals specifically with higher education institutions in Area C. Like everyone else, she restated the administration’s commitment to advancing its own peace plan.

And this brings us to the peace plan the administration is now preparing.

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem say that Netanyahu has presented two positions that he believes must be incorporated in any peace plan to ensure that the plan, if implemented will produce peace rather than war.

First, Netanyahu insists that the Palestinians must recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Second, Netanyahu insists that Israel must maintain permanent control over the eastern border with Jordan.

These goals are eminently reasonable. Israel cannot share sovereignty west of the Jordan River with an entity that rejects its right to exist. So any peace deal must involve Palestinian acceptance of the Jewish state’s right to exist.

By the same token, even in an era of peace, Israel cannot surrender its ability to defend itself. Since Israel cannot defend itself without perpetual control over the Jordan Valley, Israel cannot sacrifice its control over the Jordan Valley. Any deal Israel strikes with the Palestinians that does not include perpetual Israeli control over the Jordan Valley is a recipe for war.

If Trump accepts Netanyahu’s position and incorporates it into his peace plan, then as far as Netanyahu is reportedly concerned, the negotiations can begin in earnest.

On the other hand, if the Palestinians refuse to accept these conditions, then the peace process will be over.

And if the peace process ends, Netanyahu will present his own plan. That plan, apparently will look a lot like the Likud central committee’s plan to apply Israeli law over the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Rather than supporting someone else’s bill, Netanyahu will present the plan to the cabinet for approval and then introduce it as a bill to the Knesset, just as then prime minister Menachem Begin applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights in 1981.

While all of these developments may appear odd, we have been here before.

In many ways, the situation today recalls the situation in 1992. In 1992, the US was sponsoring peace talks between Israel and its Arab neighbors in Washington. Without informing the Americans, after taking office in 1992, the government of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres began carrying out secret talks with the PLO under the auspices of the Norwegian government in Oslo.

After the first Oslo deal was concluded in August 1993, Rabin sent Peres and then-Foreign Ministry legal adviser Joel Singer to the US to brief then-secretary of state Warren Christopher on the agreement. Rabin hoped Christopher would agree to present the deal as an American peace plan. Rabin believed that the Israeli public would be more supportive of a deal with an American imprimatur.

In a 1997 interview with Middle East Quarterly, Singer described the meeting with Christopher. Singer recalled that as Christopher read the agreement for the first time, a shocked look came over his face. “His lower jaw dropped, and for the first and last time in my life, I saw Warren Christopher smile.”

But Christopher rejected Rabin’s request, all the same.

“Secretaries of state are not supposed to lie,” he told Peres and Singer.

Just as the Clinton administration was not willing to take the lead on a new strategic trajectory that placed Israel and the PLO on equal footing, so the Trump administration is not willing to initiate a new post-Oslo Middle East.

That is Israel’s job today just as it was Israel’s job in 1993.

A close reading of Netanyahu’s statement to the Likud Knesset faction makes clear that he understands this basic truth. And a close reading of the statements and counter-statements from Jerusalem and Washington following his briefing to the Likud Knesset faction indicates that if and when Netanyahu embarks on a new course, like Bill Clinton and Warren Christopher in 1993, Trump and his advisers will not stand in his way.

FAKE NEWS: Andrea Mitchell Accuses Israel of Racism Against its Arab Lawmakers

Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC falsely accused Israel of racism with the following tweet about the protests that occurred inside the Knesset plenum during the Vice President’s speech:

Knesset Reporter & Analyst for The Jerusalem Post Lahav Harkov responded to Mitchell with th following Tweet:

Take a look at the video below.  This is not your typical protest in what is supposed to be respected environment.

The fact is, the Black Caucus would never be removed from the congress because they would never disrupt a foreign dignitary’s speech with such viceral hatred.  Unfortunately Andrea Mitchell and her leftist friends over a MSNBC continue to create an intersection between the Black civil rights movement and Arab/Palestnian rights in Israel.  No wherre do Arabs live more free in the Middle East than in Israel.


End the “Palestinian” occupation of Israel.

Palestinian boss Mahmoud Abbas recently declared that Israel is “a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness.” Moses, King David and thousands of years of Jewish history would disagree. Israel and the Jews are part of the story of human civilization. Over 50% of the human race has a holy book that tells of the Jewish journey to Israel. That includes Mohammed’s own copy of the Koran.

Israel isn’t a “colonial enterprise.” Palestine is.

Anyone who wants to find out where the name Israel comes from can open the Book of Genesis 32:29. The story even appears in Islamic hadiths. But where does “Palestine” really come from?

Palestine isn’t a Hebrew or Arabic word. The Greeks used it to describe the area. And when the Romans and their Arab mercenaries repressed the indigenous Jewish population, they renamed it all Palestine.

Palestine, after the Philistines: but why did the Greeks and Romans name the area after the Philistines?

The Philistines were one of the Greek origin sea peoples who had originally invaded and colonized the area. The Jewish resistance to Philistine colonialism is chronicled in the histories of Samson, King Saul and King David. It was natural for the Greek and Roman colonies that the Jews of the Second Temple era clashed with to use “Palestine”, the name associated with earlier colonies, to refer to their new colonies.

That latest phase of Greek colonialism led to an extended conflict between the Persian Empire and Greco-Roman civilization. The Romans made extended use of Arab mercenaries and rulers to secure their dominions. One such ruler was Herod, the son of an Idumean father and a Nabatean Arab mother, (according to the Greek historian Strabo they were both Arabic peoples), who repressed the Jews.

The eventual decline and fall of the Roman and Persian empires made way for the Islamic conquests of the region. But the Islamic bandit hordes had no original ideas. Their religion was a hodgepodge of Judaism, Christianity, assorted pagan beliefs and Mohammed’s violent fantasies. The rest of their culture they took wholesale from the Greeks. This game of historical Idiocracy ended with a collection of Arab colonists who call themselves “Palestinians” and claim to be descended from… somebody.

In Germany, Abbas declared that, “the nation of Palestine, throughout its long history, has been a beacon of generosity, and our people are an extension of the 3,500-year-old Canaanite civilization.” The Palestinian Authority that the unelected dictator runs was created in 1993. There was never any such independent country before that. And inquiring minds would love to know what an Islamic terrorist group and the Arab clans it oversees have in common with the Canaanite civilization. Fire, the wheel?

But then, Abbas also insisted that, “Mohammed the Prophet was a Palestinian”. According to Islamic tradition, Mohammed was an Adnanite Arab from Arabia. They claim descent from Ishmael and Abraham. That means they aren’t Canaanites. And a number of the Arab clans who make up the “Palestinians” do have their origins in Arabia. For a brief, shining moment, Abbas was telling the truth.

Previously, Abbas had also claimed that Jesus was a Palestinian. If you’re keeping track, that means the Palestinians are Canaanites, Arabs and Jews. That certainly covers a lot of historical bases.

But we’re just getting started.

“The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham,” Abbas also insisted. The Bible doesn’t say anything in “these words”, but people took it to mean that he was claiming that the Palestinians were actually the Philistines. But then he took credit for the invention of the “Canaanite-Palestinian alphabet more than 6,000 years ago.”

There’s no such alphabet. The Palestinian Authority and Muslims in Israel use the Arabic alphabet which does have its extremely distant origins in the Phoenician Proto-Canaanite alphabet. But so does Greek, Latin and the letters you’re reading now. Like most of the “Palestinian” leader’s claims, it’s nonsense.

Within a few years, Abbas claimed that the “Palestinians” are descended from the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jews and the Arabs. Only the last one is true. The “Palestinians” were part of a wave of Arab and Islamic invaders whose incursions continued well into the modern era.

There are some 10,000 “Afro-Palestinians” in Gaza. Some are African settlers who came in the 19th century. The anti-Israel left would have you believe that a Sudanese Muslim who settled in Israel in the late 19th century is an indigenous “Palestinian”, but a Jewish refugee from Egypt is a foreign “settler”.

The Arab Muslims who live in ’48 and ’67 Israel are made up of various clans from around the region.

Abbas has referred to Jordan and Palestine as “one people living in two states.” Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad had once asserted, “Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri (Egyptian). Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.”

The most famous Al-Masri is a billionaire who lives in a West Bank reproduction of an Italian villa named “The House of Palestine”, and was recently detained by the Saudis. Munib Masri served as a Palestinian Authority minister, holds a legislative seat and accounts for a quarter of the “Palestinian” economy. The greenhouse in his villa was a gift from Napoleon III to his mistress.

Masri, whose family name originated in Egypt, and claims to be a Palestinian, is actually a Saudi citizen who lives in an imported Italian villa. He made his money supplying the US military during Desert Storm.

That’s what a “Palestinian” looks like.

The “Palestinians” are Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians, Senegalese, Sudanese and a number of other Muslim invasive colonists. They are not Philistines, Canaanites or Jews.  They’re as indigenous as Al-Masri’s “House of Palestine” made out of imported Italian marble and filled with European art.

The “Palestinians” are what they always were: a foreign Islamic Arab colony inside Israel.

The Big Lie of Palestine is that the Islamic colonists are the indigenous population of Israel and that the Jews are colonizing Palestine. But an indigenous people can never colonize their own country.

“Palestine” is a twisted colonial fiction. The name reflects Greek colonization of the region. And its use by the modern Islamic colonists shows their lack of any actual historical connection to Israel.

After all the agonized wailing about the deeply meaningful “Palestinian” connection to “Palestine”, they still haven’t come up with their own name for the place. One that they can properly pronounce. (There’s no proper “P” in Arabic.) But Abbas keeps coming up with new lies about which ancient people the “Palestinians” are descended from this week.

I can’t wait until he claims to be Cherokee.

The claim of the “Palestinian” colonists to Israel is a lie of Islamic imperialism. The Muslim powers of the region have funded the racist attacks by the PLO, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups on Jews.

The “Palestinians” are not the victims of colonialism. They are its perpetrators.

The fighting between Israel and Islamic terrorists is a struggle between imperialism and colonialism. The imperialists are not the oppressed Jewish minority that has been forced out of nearly everywhere else in the region. It’s the Arab Islamic majority that represses minorities across the region.

“Palestine” is a pathetic attempt to launder one imperial identity with another followed by shameless efforts to appropriate the identities of nearly every ancient people in the region. Including the Jews.

The only way to end the conflict is to end the lies.

Originally Published in FrontPageMag.

99% of ‘Palestine refugees’ are fake

In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

Well, it just became urgent.

That’s because President Donald Trump tweeted, “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”



U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).

The American taxpayer is UNRWA’s largest donor, paying in $370 million in 2016. Few expenses would be more satisfying to cut from the federal budget, for UNRWA has a long record of misbehavior: incitement against Israel, supporting violent attacks on Jews, corruption, and perpetuating (rather than ending) the refugee problem. Not surprisingly, many attempts have been made in Congress to cut its funding. But, as Steven J. Rosen documented with regard to 10 initiatives in the years 1999 to 2014, every one of them ended in failure because of Israeli government opposition.

Because of what, you ask? Yes, contrary to what one might expect, the government of Israel wants continued U.S. payments to UNRWA, fearing that their termination might cause a new intifada, the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, or renewed warfare with Hamas. Also, Jerusalem sees UNRWA as a lesser evil than alternative recipients of the money, such as the PA.

Perhaps this time, with the president wanting funds to be stopped, that will happen? Not likely, because, as a news report from Israel indicates, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly endorsed an American cut, behind the scenes he seeks to block or slow down this move, and for the usual reasons. Should that be so, it’s hard to imagine the president and members of Congress ignoring his wishes, as they never have until now.

Even if U.S. funding to UNRWA ended, plenty of governments – and even individuals – could easily replace the $370 million, and have incentive to do so. Qatar could consolidate its role as protector of the Palestinians. Beijing could purchase a role at the heart of Arab politics. Moscow could reverse some of the damage of siding with Tehran. Carlos Slim, estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth $67.9 billion, could decide to burnish his Arab credentials. Worse yet, if any of them did fill the funding gap, the Trump administration would look ineffectual and isolated.

And even if no one replaced U.S. donations, denying UNRWA money does not get to the heart of the problem, which lies not in its sponsored activities, but in its perpetuating and expanding the population of “Palestine refugees” in three unique, even bizarre ways: allowing this status to be transferred without limit from generation to generation; maintaining the status after refugees have acquired a nationality (such as the Jordanian ones); and assigning the status to residents of the West Bank and Gaza, who live in the putative Palestinian homeland. These tricks allowed UNRWA artificially to expand the refugee population from 600,000 in 1949 to 5.3 million now. An accurate count of real refugees now alive is around 20,000.

Therefore, while enthusiastically endorsing Trump’s political goals, I suggest that withholding funds is not the right tactic. Better would be to focus on the “Palestine refugee” status. Denying this to all but those who meet the U.S. government’s normal definition of a refugee (in this case, being at least 69 years old, stateless, and living outside the West Bank or Gaza) diminishes the irredentist dagger at Israel’s throat by over 99%. It also puts the “Palestine refugee” status into play, permits millions of Palestinians to live more healthily, addresses the dank heart of Arab anti-Zionism, and helps resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Accordingly, I propose that the president adjust U.S. policy to work with Jerusalem and continue to send aid to Palestinians while making it contingent upon the overwhelming majority of recipients formally acknowledging that they are not now and have never been refugees.

The Middle East Forum, which has been working this issue since 2010, has proposed legislation to make such a shift. It is both simple and feasible, as it does nothing fancier than bring Washington’s relations with UNRWA into line with U.S. law and policy. About time.
Daniel Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.
Originally Published in Israel HaYom

Trump Threatens to Deal Another Blow to the Palestinian Cause

Originally Published in Town Hall

President Trump set off another Twitter firestorm last week when he hinted that he may be considering cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Trump was angered over Palestinian unwillingness to engage in peace talks with Israel after the Trump administration announced the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Given that the U.S. channels its Palestinian aid through third-party United Nations organizations, it’s unclear how much money Trump is talking about it. But in total it may exceed $700 million per year, according to reports.

A decade ago, the U.S. row with the Palestinian Authority would have been major news. But not now.


The entire Middle East has radically changed — and along with it the role and image of the Palestinians.

First, the U.S. is now one of the largest producers of fossil-fuel energy in the world. America is immune from the sort of Arab oil embargo that in 1973-74 paralyzed the U.S. economy as punishment for American support of Israel. Even Israel, thanks to new offshore oil and natural gas discoveries, is self-sufficient in energy and immune from Arab cutoffs.

Second, the Middle East is split into all sorts of factions. Iran seeks to spread radical Shiite theocracy throughout Iraq and Syria and into the Persian Gulf states — and is the greatest supporter of Palestinian armed resistance. The so-called “moderate” Sunni autocracies despise Iran. Understandably, most Arab countries fear the specter of a nuclear Iran far more than they do the reality of a democratic and nuclear Israel.

A third player — radical Islamic terrorism — has turned against the Arab status quo as well as the West. Because Palestinian organizations such as Hamas had flirted with Iran and its appendages (such as the terrorists of Hezbollah), they have become less useful to the Arab establishment. The terrorist bloodlettings perpetrated by groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida have discredited terror as a legitimate means to an end in the eyes of the Arab world, despite previous support for Palestinian terrorists.

Third, the world itself may have passed the Palestinian issue by.

Israel was founded in 1948. Palestinian rhetoric that they would push the Jews into the sea is by now stale. There have been seven decades of failed intifadas and suicide bombing campaigns, along with full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

Equally futile were endless “peace processes,” “peace initiatives,” “road maps” and “multiparty talks,” plus Middle East “conferences,” “summits” and “memoranda” all over the world, from Madrid and Oslo to Camp David.

In the meantime, most other “refugees” the world over have long ago moved on. Around the time Israel was created, some 13 million German speakers were ethnically cleansed from East Prussia and Eastern Europe. The word “Prussia” no longer exists as a geographical or national label. Seven decades later, the grandchildren of refugees do not replay World War II. “Prussians” do not talk about reclaiming their ancestral homelands in present-day Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. German-speaking youth do not demand a “right of return” to their grandparents’ homes to the east.

Fourth, the Palestinians have never been able to craft a successful, transparent, consensual government. After 30 years of waiting, the world has mostly given up on their rhetoric of self-government and reform on the West Bank.

Since the Palestinian proclamation of independence in 1988, there have been only two “presidents”: Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Neither has allowed open and transparent elections. A Palestinian president gets power by seizing it. He loses it only by dying in office. Over the same period, Israel has elected seven different prime ministers from a variety of political parties.

The Palestinian political party Fatah is engaged in a deadly rivalry with the terrorist-inspired Hamas organization that has run Gaza for over a decade. The beef is not over democracy, but over which faction will bury the other.

The Palestinians’ inability to rule the West Bank in constitutional fashion is why hundreds of thousands of expatriate Palestinians voice their solidarity from a safe distance while living in North America or Europe. More than a million Palestinians prefer to stay put in Israel. They are convinced that they will have more security, freedom and prosperity in a democratic state than under dictatorial Palestinian rule a few miles away.

It finally may be time for the Palestinian factions to fund their own causes and go their own ways.

Is Saudi Arabia About to Abandon the Palestinians?

In the video below, two known Saudi writers appear to push for Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians to go their separate ways.  Ignoring for a moment, some of the mistated facts, like claiming there were only a handful of Jews in 1939 in what was known as Palestine or that the Jews only wanted to be members in a Palestinians parliament, the point the writers are driving home is that the Palestinians are to blame for their problems. This is an extreme about face for the Saudis and appears to be setting a stage for a serious detente between Saudi Arabia and Israel.