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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

December 15, 2009

Pity the "poor Palestinians": They're in such political disarray and worldwide disfavor that when they attempt to declare a state (again), the world snubs them

Dear Friend of FLAME:

At a Channukah dinner on Friday night, a young man introduced himself to us as a "left-wing pro-Israel activist," who "supports human rights."  Being a polite guest, I resisted the temptation to observe that the label "left-wing pro-Israel activist" sounds like an oxymoron.  Most leftists who claim they are pro-Israel are anything but, since they generally favor policies, such as tearing down the security fence and allowing the "right of Palestinian return" that would destroy the Jewish state.

I also held off expressing my fervent support of human rights in the Middle East---equal rights for women, equal rights for all religious faiths, the right of free speech---because I suspect the young man was not speaking of the most rampant civil rights violations in the region, which are committed by the Arab nations, but rather was referring to supposed violations by Israel of Palestinians' human rights.

But any hardship on the Palestinians brought about by Israel's attempting to defend itself from suicide bombers and Hamas rocket attacks pales before the damage done to Palestinian society by Palestinians themselves and Arab states in general.  In a recent article---"What does 'pro-Palestinian' really mean?"---Palestinian-born journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, offers a long list of ways well-meaning Westerners (especially leftists) can help the Palestinians.  He suggests they send teachers to the territories to teach Palestinian children to speak English and send observers to Gaza to monitor human rights violations and lawlessness by Hamas authorities.

Ironically, the Arab states do little to help the Palestinians either.  To the notorious United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), whose sole purpose is supposedly to help impoverished Palestinians (and issue anti-Israel propaganda), the Arab nations contribute little (Kuwait leads with $2.5 million/year) or nothing (Saudi Arabia not a dime), while the U.S. ($94 million), Europeans ($116 million) and other Western nations prop the agency up.

A few weeks ago, the nominal Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas tried to whip up renewed worldwide support for the beleaguered Palestinian people and his pathetic Fatah party by threatening to declare a state.  As this week's FLAME Hotline article points out, this initiative was greeted on the world stage like moldy falafel.  Most international politicians, including the Arabs, either ignored the announcement or mocked it.

In fact, Israeli journalist and author Dr. Guy Bechor notes in this article below that the climate of worldwide opinion actually seems to be swinging against the Palestinians and toward Israel.  While the Palestinians are often praised for their manipulation of the world's sentiments (and the Israelis criticized for their lack of PR acumen), the corrupt Palestinian leadership and the disarray of the Palestinian political system are finally being seen for what they are---enemies of a Middle East peace.

Best wishes for a happy Channukah and a merry Christmas!

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME


Have you seen the latest FLAME hasbarah message? Here's an advance preview: It's titled "Israel: A Light Unto the Nations---Those who demonize Israel are either misinformed or malevolent."  This piece tells the truth about the Jewish nation---that it is an exemplary free and democratic society, one that deserves to be praised and emulated. I suggest you review it immediately, especially since we're entering the season of hateful rallies on university campuses claiming that Israel is an "apartheid state" (of course nothing could be farther from the truth). To help set the record straight, this editorial piece has just started to run in national media delivering more than five million impressions, including to college students and all U.S. Senators and Representatives.  If you agree that FLAME's outspoken brand of public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. I hope as this year comes to a close and the joyous holy days are upon us, you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

P.P.S. President Obama has asked for input from U.S. citizens on his Middle East policies.  To give him your opinion about the need to stop pressuring Israel for concessions and start focusing on the higher-priority issue of Iran's development of nuclear weapons, please write the President---immediately.

Palestinians alone again: Abbas' hopes dashed as world gives Palestinians cold shoulder
by Guy Bechor, December 10, 2009, Ynetnews

Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority finds it hard to believe that it's happening: It is starting to be portrayed as a peace refusenik in the world.

About a year ago, they were certain that good fortunes are ahead and that an ideal American president will make all their wishes come true. Yet within a year, the tables have turned, and instead of the PA painting Netanyahu as a refusenik, the world is increasingly starting to realize that the Palestinians are in fact the refuseniks.

Two moves by Netanyahu managed to change the picture: First, his willingness to endorse a Palestinian state, without a return of the refugees and without Jerusalem; a move that had the Palestinians would have grabbed with both hands a while ago had they been serious about it.

Then there is the temporary settlement freeze, which posed another problem for Abbas. "Israel made a move, so why are you refusing to negotiate with it?," he is being asked by world leaders. The burden of proof has shifted to him, at a time when he has not made any concession vis-a-vis Israel. The opposite is true—his PA continues to incite against Israel.

While Israel is ready for negotiations, here and now, the Palestinians are presenting preconditions and are losing the West's support.  Preconditions for talks with Israel? As if we never had Olso, mutual recognition, and signed agreements. When it comes to Palestinian rights, the joint agreements are alive and well, yet when it comes to recognizing Israel, they suddenly dissipate.

In addition, the Palestinian leadership only recently got hit with a slap in the face in the wake of the "unilateral statehood" notion it came up with. The United States made it clear in the most unenthusiastic and determined way that there is no chance it will support such move.

Worse than that for the Palestinians: Even the European Union made it explicitly clear that it will not endorse such unilateral move or state. Such move contradicts the European worldview, which is based on negotiations and mutual recognition.

Palestinians fail to understand

"Yet what about the hatred to Israel?," muttered the Palestinians, who failed to realize that hatred for Israel does not equal sympathy for the Palestinians. They confused anti-Israel sentiments with pro-Palestinian sentiments. They failed to understand that many in the world hate Israel, but are using the Palestinians as the fig leaf for this hatred.

The Palestinians were also stunned to see relations upgraded between Israel and Europe, a move they attempted to curb. Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki (formerly a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) even condemned this.

The Palestinians fail to understand: How could Europe be moving closer to Israel? They listened for too long to the hate broadcasts of most Arab channels, which emphasize only the negative aspects about Israel; just like anyone relying on these reports, they cannot understand the real picture.

Even more disappointing for the Palestinians was the absence of Arab support for the unilateral Palestinian move. Some reminded them sarcastically that they already endorsed the Palestinian state declared in 1988.

And so, the Palestinians have remained alone, again. Seemingly, everyone supports them and competes to back them more loudly, yet at the moment of truth, as always, they are left alone.

The Palestinians, who wanted to isolate the US and Israel with their unilateral move, ended up isolating themselves, portraying themselves as peace refuseniks, objecting to real ties with Israel as though they wish to force their views on the world. The Obama Administration is increasingly having reservations about them; they largely lost him.

The unilateral move exacted a heavy price on Abbas and his associates, and at this time they have no idea about how to respond to Netanyahu, who is waiting to talk to them.


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