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

October 11, 2016

President Obama Tells the United Nations: “Israel Cannot Occupy Palestinian Land.” (Good News—It Doesn’t!)

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Last week the Obama administration harshly criticized Israel again. This time it was for approving plans to tear down a settlement—Amona—in Judea/Samaria (e.g., the West Bank), which was deemed illegal by Israeli courts. Mr. Obama objects to Israel resettling Amona’s 300 occupants in a different, government-sanctioned, residential area nearby.

This “strong condemnation” by the U.S. State Department is one more reflection of Mr. Obama’s mounting new pressure on Israel by revising Middle East history according to the Palestinian playbook.

The President’s most previous effort to do this was in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly just a few weeks ago, in which he asserted that “Israel cannot continue to occupy Palestinian land.”

Ironically, Obama’s shrill criticism of Israel is done in the name of his commitment to a two-state solution. What’s strange is that we hear the U.S. administration speak of the two-state solution, and we hear Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu talk of the two-state solution, but the focus of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abba’s September speech to the U.N. was the existence of the state of Israel, which he believes is unjust.

In fact, the Palestinians are planning to sue Britain for crafting the Balfour Declaration in 1917—yes, 1917, one hundred years ago—the first document to affirm the legal and historical rights of Jews to return to their homeland in Palestine. (Abbas denies the legal and the homeland parts.)

So we might logically ask why the U.S. doesn’t condemn the Palestinians for refusing to make their state possible—for refusing to recognize the Jewish nation, for refusing to sit down for peace talks, for refusing after all these decades and some very serious peace offers brokered by the U.S. and Israel to give the Palestinians sovereignty.

But no. Our President, the great legal scholar, speaks of “Palestinian land” as though there were such a thing legally or historically. In fact, other than private land owned by individual Palestinians, there is no such thing as “Palestinian land.”

As this week’s FLAME Hotline makes clear, Obama’s assertion that Israel is occupying Palestinian land has no legal, historical or moral basis. It is pure rhetoric, pure politics, pure propaganda. Nothing wrong with that . . . if you don’t try to pass it off as the truth.

For the truth of the matter as to who owns Judea and Samaria (aka, “the West Bank”), please read this week’s commentary by firebrand journalist Melanie Phillips, who makes it clear that there’s no such thing as “Palestinian territory”—only disputed territory, until the Palestinians decide they really want their own state.

You’ll find Phillips’ analysis useful next time you hear someone demand that Israel give the Palestinians a state, especially in case Mr. Obama does issue a manifesto—as he is rumored to be working on for a late-November release—on how Israel and the Palestinians should simply obey his orders and make peace.

In addition, I hope you’ll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME’s current hasbarah campaign to refute the scurrilous allegation of Black Lives Matter that Israel and the U.S. are committing genocide against Palestinians.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)



Over the past year, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli police, soldiers and armed civilians, nearly every one of them involved in murderous terror attacks, usually using knives, automobiles or firearms as weapons. Yet the Black Lives Matter movement, which focuses on racially biased policing in the U.S., has recently issued an outrageous platform in which Israel (and the United States) are accused of genocide against Palestinians. In order to make Americans—especially college and university students—aware that this insinuation is a blatant falsehood, FLAME has just begun publishing a new position paper in media nationwide—which exposes the Black Lives Matter libel and proves Israel to be eminently humane to Palestinians.. I urge you to review this outspoken hasbarah message: “Palestinian Genocide?” This paid editorial is appearing in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress and President Obama. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. support for Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope 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 donate now. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that the American people and the U.S. Congress end our support of blatantly anti-Semitic, global jihadist organizations.

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Israel, not the West, stands for international law

The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”

By Melanie Phillips, Jerusalem Post, September 29, 2016

After the death of Shimon Peres, BBC radio’s flagship current affairs show “Today” interviewed Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.

The presenter persistently suggested to him that Peres’s record as a peacemaker ran contrary to Israel’s subsequent record of failure to make peace with the Palestinians, and that the absence of a two-state solution was all the fault of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Her questioning reflected the grotesque false assumption underlying Western hostility toward Israel: that if only it wasn’t so belligerent there would be peace. Repeatedly challenged with this claim, Regev refused to engage. Instead he mouthed platitudes about how Peres would always have answered such a question with hope and optimism about a peaceful solution.

This was a missed opportunity. The overwhelming requirement for Israel is always to nail the big lie behind the questions thrown at it.

Regev should have said that the reason for the absence of a two-state solution was displayed last week at the UN, where the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a speech expressing hostility to Israel’s very existence.

To dissuade a determined White House from this course of action, Congress will have to do more than write letters. Here are some of the legislative options that could throw significant roadblocks in its path.

He [Abbas] falsely presented the Jews of Israel as squatters in the Palestinians’ own land. He even demanded that Britain apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which first committed Britain to reestablish the Jewish homeland in what was then called Palestine.

Through this declaration, said Abbas, Britain had given “without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.”

This preposterous speech was notable for three things. First, it rewrote the Jews out of their own history by fabricating an entirely fictitious Palestinian story. The only people for whom the Land of Israel and the disputed territories have ever been their national kingdom are the Jews.

Second, Abbas blamed Israel for his own people’s aggression and murderous violence over the Temple Mount.

Third, his speech showed that the Palestinians’ complaint is not about the absence of a state of their own. It is about the existence of Israel which they want gone.

The full speech received no mainstream coverage in the West. Abbas could be confident, however, that it reflected two entirely false Western beliefs: that Israel acts in contravention of international law, and that the land originally belonged to the Palestinians.

With the West duly softened up, Abbas is thought to be planning a maneuver at the UN. He says he will be pushing a UN Security Council resolution against the settlements. What worries Israel more is the rumor that President Obama will refuse to veto a proposed French UN resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.

If Obama does this, the US will be complicit in tearing up international law and bringing into being a terrorist state whose existential purpose is the extermination of Israel.

As the international law expert Prof. Eugene Kontorovich argued in The Washington Post in September, the proposed French measure repudiates UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in the wake of the Six Day War. Resolution 242 represented a territorial compromise, with Israel agreeing to cede some but not all the territories it seized during the Six Day War in return for peace.

According to Kontorovich the French resolution, which would push Israel back behind the 1949 “Auschwitz” armistice lines, would repudiate 242 and amount to “a fundamental reversal of 50 years of Middle East diplomacy.”

Instead of a negotiated settlement, the US would therefore not only be aiding the unilateral imposition of a new terrorist entity in the Middle East but would also show its contempt for international law.

In fact the US, Britain and Europe have long displayed this contempt by supporting the big lie that Israel behaves illegally or belligerently.

The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”

Israel’s presence in the disputed territories cannot be legally defined as an occupation. Under the Hague and Geneva conventions, an occupation can only take place on sovereign land. The territories were never anyone’s sovereign land.

Israel is furthermore entitled under international law to continue to hold onto them as a defensive measure as long as its Arab aggressors continue to use them for belligerent ends.

The West says Israel’s settlements are illegal. This is also untrue.

In the 20s, the Mandate for Palestine gave Britain the legally binding duty to settle the Jews throughout what is now not just Israel but the disputed territories too. That Jewish right has never been abrogated.

The Geneva conventions, cited as the reason the settlements are illegal, prohibit an occupying power from transferring people en masse into occupied territory. This was drafted after World War II to prevent any repetition of the Nazis’ forced displacement of peoples. Israelis resident in the disputed territories, however, have not been transferred but moved there through their own free choice.

Kontorovich has looked at every modern example where occupied territories have been settled. In none of them did the international community denounce such action as illegal or demand that settlers had to vacate the land as a condition for peace or independence. If world powers asked the occupying force to withdraw, they referred only to the army and not the settler population. The only exception has been Israel.

The West makes a fetish of international law. Yet it denounces Israel, the one Middle East state that upholds it. It’s time to call out the US, Britain and Europe for aiding the repudiation of law and justice and thus helping promote the Arab agenda of exterminating Israel.


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