From the Washington Post:

A Shadow on the Human Rights Movement

By Jackson Diehl
Monday, June 25, 2007; A19

Where does the global human rights movement stand in the seventh year of the 21st century? If the first year of the United Nations Human Rights Council is any indication, it’s grown sick and cynical — partly because of the fecklessness and flexible morality of some of the very governments and groups that claim to be most committed to democratic values.

At a session in Geneva last week, the council — established a year ago in an attempt to reform the U.N. Human Rights Commission — listened to reports by special envoys appointed by its predecessor condemning the governments of Cuba and Belarus. It then abolished the jobs of both “rapporteurs” in a post-midnight maneuver orchestrated by its chairman, who announced a “consensus” in spite of loud objections by the ambassador from Canada that there was no such accord.

While ending the scrutiny of those dictatorships, the council chose to establish one permanent and special agenda item: the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” In other words, Israel (or “Palestine,” in the council’s terminology), alone among the nations of the world, will be subjected to continual and open-ended examination. That’s in keeping with the record of the council’s first year: Eleven resolutions were directed at the Jewish state. None criticized any other government.

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This article, as recently published in the Wall Street Journal, addresses a central point to the current state of affairs amongst the various Palestinian factions, clans and tribes: if a people truly want a state they must build it from the ground-up through hard work and compromise. As Mr. Stephens states in the article, “…the experience of an unoccupied Gaza Strip has shown is the Palestinians’ unfitness for political sovereignty.” President Abbas is now receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to hopefully begin to build the semblance of a state. Let us all keep our fingers crossed.

From the WSJ:

Who Killed Palestine?
By: Bret Stephens
June 26, 2007; Page A14

Bill Clinton did it. Yasser Arafat did it. So did George W. Bush, Yitzhak Rabin, Hosni Mubarak, Ariel Sharon, Al-Jazeera and the BBC. The list of culprits in the whodunit called “Who Killed Palestine?” is neither short nor mutually exclusive. But since future historians are bound to ask the question, let’s get a head start by suggesting some answers.

And make no mistake: No matter how much diplomatic, military and financial oxygen is pumped into Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, it’s oxygen flowing to a corpse. Palestine has always been a notional place, a field of dreams belonging only to those who know how to keep it. Israelis have held on to their state because they were able to develop the political, military and economic institutions that a state requires to survive, beginning with its monopoly on the use of legitimate force. In its nearly 14 years as an autonomous entity, the PA has succeeded in none of that, despite being on the receiving end of unprecedented international good will and largesse.

Hamas’s seizure of the Gaza Strip this month — and the consequent division of the PA into two hostile, geographically distinct camps — is only the latest in a chain of events set in motion when Israel agreed, in September 1993, to accept Arafat and the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. An early indicator of what lay ahead took place on July 1, 1994, when Arafat made his triumphal entry into Gaza while carrying, in the trunk of his Mercedes, four of the Palestinian cause’s most violent partisans. Among them were the organizers of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and the 1974 Ma’alot school massacre. If ever there was an apt metaphor for what Arafat’s rule would bring, this was it.

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As Published in the New York Times
June 19, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
Brothers to the Bitter End By FOUAD AJAMI

SO the masked men of Fatah have the run of the West Bank while the masked men of Hamas have their dominion in Gaza. Some see this as a tolerable situation, maybe even an improvement, envisioning a secularist Fatah-run state living peacefully alongside Israel and a small, radical Gaza hemmed in by Israeli troops. It’s always tempting to look for salvation in disaster, but in this case it’s sheer fantasy.

The Palestinian ruin was a long time in coming. No other national movement has had the indulgence granted the Palestinians over the last half-century, and the results can be seen in the bravado and the senseless violence, in the inability of a people to come to terms with their condition and their needs.

The life of a Palestinian is one of squalor and misery, yet his leaders play the international game as though they were powers. An accommodation with Israel is imperative — if only out of economic self-interest and political necessity — but the Palestinians, in a democratic experiment some 18 months ago, tipped power to a Hamas movement whose very charter is pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state and the imposition of Islamist rule.

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Sderot Speaks

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Today we’d like to feature an editorial by Amir Hanifes a member of the Druze community in Israel.

As published on Judeoscope:

Exposing the bigotry of UK anti-Israel boycotters
Amir Hanifes
As a holder of two degrees from the University of Haifa and a PhD student at the University of London, I traveled to Bournemouth for the meeting of the British University and College Union (UCU) as an Israeli delegate on behalf of the Israeli Council for Academic Freedom.

The discussions at the meeting regarding the imposition of a boycott on Israeli academia took place in a hostile environment while ignoring all the facts we presented regarding freedom of expression and academic freedom at Israeli institutions of higher learning.

Evidence that Israeli lecturers who hold pro-Palestinian views are able to express their positions uninterrupted both in their research work and lectures, as well as in the media, had no effect whatsoever on the discussions.

Even when we presented a list of organizations and research centers that operate in the framework of Israeli universities and boast Israeli-Palestinian or Israeli-Arab cooperation, with the promotion of ties between the peoples their top agenda, it did not make a difference.

The same was true when it came to calls by Palestinian lecturers and figures, including al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibah and Minister Raleb Majadele urging the UCU to refrain from boycotting their Israeli colleagues.

Boycott leaders in Bournemouth ignored the figures I presented to them regarding the University of Haifa and the fact that close to 20 percent of students there are members of minority groups in Israel – apparently, we will also be subjected to the boycott.

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As published in The Guardian. From our Prime Minister:

1967: Israel cannot make peace alone
We must pursue a comprehensive solution with energy and vision, writes Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert

Wednesday June 6, 2007
The Guardian

Six days, 40 years ago. Looking back to the weeks preceding the war, it may be difficult for you to imagine just how desperate life seemed for Israelis, ringed by peoples whose armies pointed their weapons towards us, whose leaders daily promised the imminent destruction of our state and whose newspapers carried crude cartoons of Jews being kicked off the face of the earth. As we consecrated mass graves in expectation of the worst, we were once again people facing annihilation. We had no alternative but to defend ourselves, no strategic allies to ensure our survival. We stood alone.

Our victory in those six days in June 1967 – swift, complete and totally unexpected – showed us and the world we were not going to be wiped off the map that easily. Israel fought an unwanted war to defend her very existence, and today there are still leaders who call for Israel to be wiped off the map. But there is a danger that that will be forgotten, overtaken by a re-reading of history. Our survival in 1967 is now, in the eyes of the world and, with worrying consequences in the UK, the original sin of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our opponents argue against the ongoing “occupation” as if it were the Gordian knot of the conflict. If only we were to leave the territories the conflict would end. And they threaten international isolation if we do not.

If only the conflict were so simple; if only the answer were so simple. Over the last 15 years, successive Israeli governments have initiated talks with the Palestinians in every conceivable permutation in an attempt to reach a settlement. In the 1990s, Israel withdrew from all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank, handing its affairs over to a Palestinian Authority. Nearly two years ago, Israel withdrew its troops and civilians from Gaza, with no preconditions. Last year my Kadima party came to power on an agenda promising further withdrawals. In the face of concessions that have threatened our own domestic consensus, the constant refrain has been the Palestinian refusal to end its violent attacks on our citizens.

Palestinian violence is not a response to the capture of the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian nationalism’s roots are not so shallow. From the emergence of the Zionist movement over 100 years ago, Arabs have opposed our claim to independence on our historic homeland, often violently. Our conflict is not territorial, it is national.

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Ynet News put together a very interesting special report today on the 40th anniversary.

Here it is.

**Video courtesy of Hollyyyyy on YouTube**

We think the NYT did an important job of addressing these disturbing and incredibly hypocritical trends among Britain’s unions to single out the Jewish State for censure regarding a decades old conflict fraught with complexity.

As the Times points out, Israeli journalists and academics are some of the state’s harshest critics as are Israel’s vibrant, creative, loving and humane citizens. Being a critic, however, means just that. Engaging and criticizing not slandering and de-legitimizing.

We want to solve this conflict more than anyone else in the world. We want to have a normal life without fear of missiles, rockets, suicide bombs, regional wars, and nuclear annihilation. We want to have peace with our neighbors as we have done with Egypt and Jordan and tried with the Palestinians in 2000, and will continue to try. But how can we feel secure when Iran’s leader continually calls for our destruction, Hamas continually call for our destruction, Hezbollah continues to call for our destruction, and the British Unions turn around and boycott us.

From the New York Times Editorial Board:

June 3, 2007
Malicious Boycotts
The University and College Union, a newly formed British union of college teachers, shamefully called last week for a boycott on contacts and exchanges with Israeli academic institutions. That follows on the shameful call in April by the National Union of Journalists in Britain to boycott Israeli goods.

It is hard to imagine two organizations that should be less given to such nonsense. Who would respect the judgment of a scholar who selects or rejects colleagues on political grounds? Who would trust the dispatches of a reporter who has been openly engaged against one side of a conflict? The unions argue that they have an obligation to demonstrate labor-union solidarity with the oppressed, as they did in opposing apartheid. That is absurd.

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Above is a power point on the missile attacks last week on Sderot and below is an article from today’s New York Times about the suffering our citizens are enduring in Southern Israel.

From the NYT:

June 1, 2007
Rockets Fray Nerves in Israeli ‘Bull’s-Eye’ City
SDEROT, Israel, May 29 — Kobi Cohen was 2 years old when a Qassam rocket fired by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip exploded 50 yards from him. Now 5, a skinny boy with an impish face, Kobi still shows signs of trauma. He had some therapy at the time, said his mother, Hanna Cohen, but she is not sure how effective it was.

“Even today he gets very angry about every little thing, and he shakes,” Mrs. Cohen said.

Another of her six children, Maayan, a shy girl of 10, panicked a few months ago when a rocket attack caught her outside the house. Her mother had sent her across the road to invite a lonely neighbor to hear the Sabbath blessing over wine.

Then the “red alert” sounded over the citywide public address system — the recorded voice of a woman calmly but urgently repeating “Color red, color red,” the code for an incoming rocket, which is inevitably followed by a whistle and a terrifying boom.

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