Friday, 31 October 2014



When an Arab was killed while, as part of a violent mob, he hurled firebombs at passing Israeli cars in Judea & Samaria, the Obama Administration sent official condolences to the family of this young terrorist.
Any country must adopt an unquestioned zero tolerance to growing deadly violence and terrorism. But the attitude of an American Administration is troubling.
When a 3 month old baby was killed by a Palestinian Arab attack driver at a Jerusalem light rail station no condolences were forthcoming from the State Department to the grieving Jewish parents.
Both the firebomb throwing terrorist and the 3 month old baby had dual Israeli-American citizenship. The fact that the US Administration sent condolences only to the Arab terrorist’s family and not to the Jewish baby’s family is worrying.
Would it, I wonder, have sent condolences to the family had the perpetrator of firebomb attacks had been an Israeli-American Jew and the victims been Arabs. I doubt it. I suspect the Administration would have harshly condemned the act, the perpetrator, and Israel.
Enough of this political incorrectness!

A recent Jerusalem Post poll showed that only 16% of Israelis view Obama as being more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian.  What’s behind Obama’s personal animus towards Israel?

Mahmoud Abbas has been inciting Arabs to violence and riots in Jerusalem. These riots have led to Israelis being targeted and killed. His incitement has been centered on Jerusalem and claims of title to the Temple Mount. Because of serious security concerns Israel was forced to close the Temple Mount to both Jews and Muslims. 
So, here's my question.  Do Jews have the right to pray on the Temple Mount?
Should Jews have the right to pray on the Temple Mount?
The Temple Mount, being what it is to the Jewish people, should make that question redundant. But it has become the threat that may spark World War 3. 
Should Israel, therefore, renege on Jewish rights and accept the Islamic/Palestinian claim that it was always an Islamic holy place, and a Jewish temple never existed there? It was all a Zionist lie?
Mahmoud Abbas has declared a 'declaration of war' if Jews dare pray there, or when Israel needs to temporarily close the area due to Palestinian violence, rioting and murder.

The progression of a Palestinian teenager terrorist. From throwing rocks to firebombs to guns, and finally to suicide bombing.

Yehuda Glick who was shot by a Palestinian gunman in Jerusalem, is being described by the liberal media as a "right-wing rabbi." Since when is it right-wing to reach out to Muslims and pray together, as Glick did? Surely this was once a liberal value?  What has happened to the liberal media?

What was behind the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick?
My friend, Dr.Mordechai Kedar, ties this terror attack to the greater picture of what is going on in Jerusalem, and a wider world.

How many of you think, as I do, that European governments that accept Palestinian rhetoric for Israel to surrender land back to indefensible borders do it mainly to appease the noisy radical elements in their countries, rather than out of genuine concern for Israel?

Israel TV showed the massive destruction of hundreds of homes by the Egyptians as they created a 500 meter buffer zone with Gaza. 1165 families were removed as their homes were destroyed. There was barely a yawn from the Western media. Not worth a mention. No angry street demonstrations. No condemnation by UN human rights organizations. No criticism by the Obama Administration. Nothing! There's no Jewish state to blame or accuse of terrible crimes.
Egyptians uncovered Hamas tunnels as they cleared the area, which was part of the reason for the operation. Egypt has a common cause with Israel in eliminating this Palestinian threat to their security. As for the Israeli perspective of Egyptian actions - Respect!!

The View from Israel is written and compiled by Barry Shaw.

Barry Shaw is the author of 'Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.'  This book has been called 'The Hasbara Bible.' It is an essential guidebook for pro-Israel activists and to readers interested in receiving an Israeli perspective on all the major issues surrounding the Israel-Arab-Palestinian conflict.                    
Available from the author at   or on ebook Kindle from Amazon.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Palestinian politics – the raw facts.

If anyone is dreaming that the influence of Hamas, the Islamic terror regime in Gaza, can be reduced by flooding the Palestinian economy, once again, with aid and money, think again.

Pictures of Gaza destruction fail to show the luxury mansions, five-star hotels, fine restaurants, riding academies and glitzy shopping malls. It would spoil the image of those begging for international donors.  It is not lack of money that is keeping so many Gazans in poverty. It is the corrupt leadership, on both sides of the Palestinian political divide.

The Palestinians, including those in the Gaza Strip, benefit from the free flow of aid that crosses into the Strip from Israel. Meanwhile, the border crossing from Egypt into Gaza remains closed. The Egyptians continue to suffer from Palestinian terrorism that is killing their security forces and terrorizing the Sinai.

A massive amount of funding is channeled into Palestinian coffers, but genuine humanitarian cases are left begging for what they can out of United Nations and other aid agencies. There is clearly an economic divide within Palestinian society.

Diplomats say that economic recovery will weaken the grip of Hamas, and improving the living conditions would isolate the Palestinian radicals and extremists. The facts prove differently.

A 2010 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) uncovered startling results.
The West Bank was perceived as developing strongly under the “pragmatic” leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister, Salim Fayad. Most politicians and leading journalists declared that the Fayad plan of Palestinian development showed new hope to the Palestinian people. Economically, yes. Politically, no.  Abbas saw in the neutral technocrat a political rival as prosperity grew. So he fired him.

The PCPO survey found that support for Hamas grew in the West Bank, even as progress was being made.

We need to remind ourselves of the deep feelings and affiliations of the Palestinians when assessing the likely outcome of promoting their cause.

The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held on January 25, 2006. This was supposed to be for a four year term. We are now in its eighth year, and counting.  Despite a declared “unity” government between Fatah and Hamas factions, it is unlikely we will see fresh democratic Palestinian parliamentary elections for the foreseeable future. There is too much historic baggage, grievances and mistrust between them.

The common misconception of the 2006 elections was that Hamas usurped power in the Gaza Strip by imposing a bloody coup. While this is true, the fact remains that Hamas won the Palestinian elections, not Fatah.

According to the electoral list, Hamas took 44.45% of the vote, with Fatah lagging behind with 41.43%.  Hamas party candidates received 41.73% of the vote to Fatah’s 36.9%. This left a seating divide in the Palestinian parliament with 74 seats for Hamas and only 45 seats for Fattah. It needs to be stressed that this covered all of the designated Palestinian territory in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It is clear, with the publication of the PCPO poll and more recent municipal election results that, with all the international involvement and all the diplomatic and media praise for the Palestinian Authority as a “moderate” and “pragmatic” section of Palestinian society, the people remain solidly behind Hamas. Any future poll would confirm the majority support for Hamas on the West Bank, especially after their recent terror war against Israel and disturbances in Jerusalem.

This is bad news for the world. It is disastrous news for Israel.

The raw facts show that the huge amounts of support from the international community and the propaganda activities of BDS, Free Palestine groups has only strengthened, not weakened, the extremist Islamic regime of Hamas.

Those who would say that Israel has to make immediate concessions to the Palestinians in the cause of peace  must be reminded that all their aid, funding, political support has had no effect in having Hamas drop the call for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of Jews from their iniquitous Charter. Neither has it made them more pragmatic by one iota. On the contrary, their assistance has encouraged Hamas to stiffen the Islamization of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority to be as rejectionist as they have always been.

In light of these harsh realities, Israel would be advised not to make any further unilateral gestures to the Palestinians. They will surely not be met by any reciprocal recognition. Withdrawals from territory would severely jeopardize Israel’s essential security. This is compounded by the very real prospect of a potential Hamas take-over of the West Bank.

An Israeli nightmare of having Hamas on the streets of Jerusalem can be seen by the breakout of recent violence, death and destruction by Hamas-supporting Arab mobs in Jerusalem. This would be child’s play if Hamas were to come to power in the West Bank.

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’   He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College, and a member of the Knesset Forum on legitimization.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Apartheid of Poverty, and Anti-Israel Hypocrisy, in South Africa.

My 2012 visit to South Africa to promote my book “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative” was timely.

My book highlights the lies and hypocrisy of the Arab narrative which positions Palestinians as the innocent victims of oppression. The truth is that they have a long history of violence and terror and have rejected every pragmatic peace deal offered to them. Whenever any group of organization pose as “pro-Palestinian” you can bet they are, at the same time, virulently anti-Israel. Scratch them and you will find, more often than not, this extends to them being anti-Semitic.

My visit coincided with the infamous and fraudulent “Israel Apartheid Week” in which South African campuses were the scene of hideous “Hate-Israel” theater where half-truths and innuendos posed as facts.

Most telling was the endorsement of this hateful circus by the South African Council of Churches who, in their official letter dated 24th February, spoke in anti-Semitic terms of Israeli violence against “non-Jews,” positioning the Palestinians as a Jesus figure, and Israelis as a form of anti-Christ. This blasphemy harks back to the dark days when Jews were portrayed as Christ killers and demonized and led to their slaughter at the hands of the Church. Indeed, under the cloak of Replacement Theology, this Jew hatred festers today as was evidenced by the decision of the SACC to isolate one country, and one country only, for condemnation – Israel.

With all the heinous crimes in the world, only Israel warrants a whole week of “academic” assault. Israel is pilloried as evil beyond all other nations on earth. The SACC, in their letter, questioned what sort of regime Israel is. Let me answer them.

Israel is the one regime that airlifted more than fourteen thousand Ethiopians out of their war-torn country and given new lives in the Jewish state.

Israel was the first country to recognize the newly independent Christian nation of South Sudan. 
Israel is there now helping to develop their agricultural, medical, security, and industrial infrastructure. 

Where is the South African Council of Churches on this issue? They are strangely silent when it comes to the suffering and slaughter of their co-coreligionists in Africa and the Middle East. Instead, they concentrate their bile on the one Jewish state in the world in an attempt to turn it into the one pariah state in the world.

Dare I say that these accusations can be leveled at the ANC-led South African government?

Israel is the regime that flew half way across the globe to rescue and help the earthquake stricken people of Haiti. Israel was the first country to set up field hospitals to operate and treat the victims.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population is growing and living in peace and security. That alone should merit the praise of the South African Council of Churches – but, no! Not even that.

So when people like members of SACC, the BDS Movement and ANC leaders including Archbishop Tutu, call Israel a racist, oppressive, country I would ask them to look, as I did during my visit to South Africa, at the townships of South Africa. There I saw what I call an Apartheid of Poverty. They are not townships. That name is deceptive. They are slums.

Nobody, not even the Palestinians, live in tin shacks with no sanitation or electricity. The Palestinians are middle class compared to the abject condition I witnessed throughout South Africa in these slums.
I would have thought that these people, numbering in their millions, deserve a week of campus activity. Instead, they are ignored. The South African Council of Churches would rather spend their resources criticizing the Jewish State of Israel rather than addressing the human rights crime of poverty in their backyard. I wonder why? Maybe it’s the Replacement Theology, that leads directly to anti-Semitism, that has a leading role in their hypocrisy?

So I left South Africa with one troubling thought in my mind. On an issue like this, it is clearly not Israel that is the racist. It is people like the SACC, ANC and BDS activists that have perverted South Africa into becoming the leading hub of delegimitization against my country to cover up the shame of their failures in their own country.

For decades, it sponsored and fostered malevolent events such as the infamous Durban “Zionism is Racism” horror show, through to the Tutu inspired “Russell Tribunal,” a one-sided and hateful kangaroo court. This circus tried, once again, to pose Israel as an Apartheid state. With its tainted jury and manufactured half truths it had nothing to do with truth or reconciliation. It was not an attempt to further peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It was yet another showcase for bias and hate mongering that has continued to this day with horrendous official statements of the ANC party.

Truth be told, if these frauds and liars dare look honestly northward up the sweep of Africa and across the Middle East, they would find only one country that can genuinely be called the “Rainbow Nation” of liberal democracy where people of all faiths are free to express themselves both religiously and politically. That nation is Israel.

Until they can speak to God, and to themselves, with honesty, organizations like the BDS Movement, the South African Council of Churches ANC and, yes, the government, South Africa has a long road to travel before it can be considered a place that contributes to peace in our troubled region.

Barry Shaw is the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative”.
He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Is there a personal animus against Israel from President Obama?

Since when does the US Administration send condolences to a criminal's family?
I know it happened in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. Now it is happening in Israel after an Arab youth who hurled firebombs at passing Israeli cars in Judea & Samaria, was killed by security forces. The Obama Administration sent official condolences to the family of this young terrorist when, as part of a violent mob, he endangering the lives of Israelis.

Any country must adopt an unquestioned zero tolerance to growing deadly violence and terrorism. But the attitude of an American Administration is troubling.  Would it, I wonder, have sent condolences to the family had the perpetrator of firebomb attacks been an Israeli-American, and the intended victims Arabs? I doubt it. I suspect the Administration would have harshly condemned the act, the perpetrator, and Israel.
Enough, already, of this political incorrectness!

But where is this biased animus coming from? I strongly suspect it is coming from the top of the present US Administration, from Obama himself.

There is a deep motive behind Obama's animus toward Israel. It stems from his far left Socialist political upbringing both at family and personal mentor levels. It has framed his political mindset both at home and abroad. It is this that affects his worldview. Anyone reading his autobiography, particularly the imprisonment and alleged torture of his grandfather in Kenya by the British, must take from it a sense that the American president harbors resentment to perceived colonizers, oppressors, and imperialist powers. He looks on countries through the prism of his upbringing. Official relations may appear normal on the surface, but grievances bubble up in personal slights. Take, for example, the little addressed gesture by Obama of returning the bust of Winston Churchill that had taken pride of place in the White House, to Britain on entering the presidential residence. It was nothing less than a personal gesture of resentment.

There is little doubt that Obama feels a personal kinship with the Muslim world. This again is grounded by his personal life experiences in Muslim countries. A personal affinity by an important world leader is often a good thing and can make for a more peaceful world if balanced with wisdom and diplomatic skills. What Obama does not take on board is the centuries old hatred of non-believers, and a past of corrupt and primitively brutal reigns of conquest, slavery, and slaughter. Instead, he shares their accusations that all their troubles have been caused by the colonizers, oppressors, and imperial powers of which America is the modern day leader.

Once adopted, Israel is perceived as a colonizer and occupier, especially if that view is expounded through his formative contact years with people such as Khalid al Mansour a vile anti-Semite and radicalized Muslim, who was a high level adviser to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. He wrote a letter of recommendation to Harvard for Barack Obama to gain acceptance, and Arafat adviser, Rashid Khalidi, to whom Obama lavished praise at a Chicago farewell party when Khalidi headed off to Columbia.

Obama has exhibited a double-talk and double vision to the carry-over of nations formally viewed as American allies prior to his election. Trapped in an establishment that conducts business as normal, his antipathy spills over in personal spats that Israel has seen on numerous occasions.

Obama is a quintessential abusive husband. He tells Israel he loves us even as he abuses us.
The latest example was his, and Kerry's, rebuttal of Israel's Defense Minister in Washington, which was a new low point in US-Israel relations. 

The nastiness of the Obama Administration was displayed by the State Department spokesperson that summarily dismissed the Mahmoud Abbas incitement that led to ongoing Jerusalem terror attacks which left a 3 month old baby dead, but slammed down on Jews legally buying homes in Jerusalem.

This spitefulness is seen in America denying visas to Israelis and temporarily preventing the resupply of armaments to Israel in the middle of a Gaza war.

A headline display of spite was Obama leaving Israel’s Prime Minister to stew in the White House while he stormed off to have dinner with Michelle in March 2010. Obama snubbed Netanyahu again in September 2012 over important Iranian nuclear issues.

In an October, 2013 article, “Obama gets cozy with Turkey; Snubs Israel.”  Frank Gaffney wrote; his administration has behaved toward Israel as though it were, at best, a country in which we have no interests. At worst, Obama seems to consider the Jewish State as a hostile power. He has: repeatedly demeaned its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; contributed to its international isolation (for example, by demanding at one point an end to settlement expansion as a precondition for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations); and subverted its vital interests (notably, by declaring that Israel must withdraw to the indefensible pre-1967 borders).” 

Gaffney added, Barack Obama has treated Turkey as a reliable partner even though, for the better part of a decade under its Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this nation that is supposedly a NATO ally has been aligning ever more palpably with our adversaries.”

We see the US both retreating from the region but also changing sides in the region. Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood on Egypt. During the Gaza conflict, his Administration sided with Qatar and Turkey against the wishes of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Because of local upheavals linked to the attitude of Obama's Administration we have seen the emergence of an alliance of common interests which is a fascinating new opportunity for Israel.

As Caroline Glick astutely pointed out in a recent talk in Netanya, our neighbors are pondering on how to get through an Obama presidency. This particularly applies to an Israel suffering from a presidential animus, which is an integral part of his personal and political DNA.

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant of Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.  He is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’

Friday, 17 October 2014

My Meeting with Kenneth Meshoe.

I met Kenneth Meshoe in a small hotel in a quiet street between Ben Yehuda and HaYarkon streets in the heart of Tel Aviv.
The clean, honest, and modest hotel matched the qualities of this charismatic leader of men in South Africa.

Kenneth Rasalabe Joseph Meshoe is the President of the African Christian Democratic Party that currently has three seats in the South African parliament. His party was founded in 1994 and it concentrates on social issues that affect many millions of black South Africans. The party’s platform is based on biblical values of reconciliation, justice, compassion, tolerance, peace and the sanctity of life, the individual, the family and community.

Kenneth Meshoe and his party are important for Israel if the Jewish state wants to gain any influence with a South African government, led by the ANC party, that has become increasingly hostile to the Jewish state.

Meshoe has argued against claims that Israel is an apartheid state, calling such accusations slanderous and deceptive. He insists these claims trivialize the word apartheid, and belittles the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color during apartheid era.

Kenneth Meshoe is the Pastor of the Hope of Glory Tabernacle and is a passionate advocate for Israel. His strong stand for Israel has put him at personal risk. He receives threats. As he told me, he receives anonymous calls saying, “we know where you are, and we’re coming after you!” In a place like South Africa you don’t take these threats lightly. 

I asked him why he fights so strongly for Israel in a difficult and dangerous environment. He answered, “The fight for the Jews is the fight for the Christians.”  He claims to represent Judeo-Christian values in his personal and public lives.

We discussed the denial of Jewish rights and legitimacy both by the Palestinian leadership and the anti-Israel lobby in his country. He referred to the many biblical references that point to the history and heritage of the Jews to the land. “If the Jews did not exist as written in the Bible,” he explained, “then the Bible is a lie. If the Bible is a lie then there is no God.”

I tentatively mentioned the anti-Israel words and deeds of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I told him that I had written about Christian leaders such as Tutu and he agreed with me that Tutu follows to dogma of replacement theology. He smiled as I spoke of how the replacement concept of a God who changed his mind and deserted the Jews as the Chosen People in favor of Christians can be destroyed.  “A God who changes his mind once,” I told Kenneth, “is a God who can change his mind again. Surely in the ascent of Islam and the slaughter of Christians we are seeing their type of God deserting the Christians in favor of the Muslims. If that is their religious philosophy, their God has forsaken them” To press home my point I insisted, “We Jews do not believe in a God who changes his mind. What is written in our Bible is, as you Christians say, gospel – irrevocable.”  

Meshoe nodded, and quoted Genesis 12;

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.]
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

He confirmed that we are seeing this being played out in our times. Countries like South Africa who turn on Israel are in political turmoil. His country is under the influence of the BDS Movement and increasingly powerful and persuasive Muslim activists. We spoke about those who call to boycott Israel. He told me that “when people say ‘don’t go to Israel’ they do it because they are afraid that people will see the truth of Israel if they come.” That is why Meshoe says it is so important for people to come and experience Israel.

I asked him how he counters the boycott calls as a member of parliament. He gave an example in his countries major problem with pollution and sewerage which has become a health and environment issue. “Israel has the technology. Here it is recycled. Israel can help South Africa overcome this growing problem. The problem in my country is that politicians are putting politics before the people. This is wrong. My people’s health must come before politics.”

Meshoe also stands for Israel’s security. “We support the right of Israel to self-defense. Which country doesn’t have the right of self-defense?”

This is his cornerstone of his belief in Israel. It is also the foundation on which he hopes to build a larger political base for Israel in South Africa. There are many millions of bible-believing black Christians that have not yet been reached with the truth of Israel. “Christians are taught not to get involved in politics; that God and politics should be kept separate. So millions do not even vote,” he told me.

I suggested that the South African Jewish community should support Kenneth Meshoe. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see a party in South Africa that makes Israel an affirmative political platform, save for Kenneth Meshoe’s ACDP. One of the obstacles to further advancement for Meshoe is lack of funding. Although it is a Christian-based party, its principles are Jewish principles. Just as millions of black South African Christians are passionate supporters of the Jewish state, it is beholden on the Jewish community there to support Meshoe’s efforts to achieve a more powerful voice for Israel. 

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’  He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to the Strategic Dialogue center at Netanya Academic College.

Obama’s dangerous strategy of linking Iran, ISIS and Israel.

In fifty days of Gaza conflict, Israel launched 5500 precision air strikes against terror targets. In 70+ days, the US launched less than 500 air strikes in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. Why?

It’s not lack of planes and fire power. It’s a lack of political will, despite all the rhetoric of having to degrade and defeat the Islamic State rampage and mayhem.

Despite Obama’s late decision to launch air strikes he has only tickled the enemy. He could do more. He won’t. He doesn't want to. What is the reason for this procrastination?

Part of the reason for Obama’s reticence in attacking ISIS with more force seems to be contained in a think tank policy document he commissioned entitled The Iran Project. Iran and its Neighbors. Regional Implications for US Policy of a Nuclear Agreement.”

Experts who signed off on this document include Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, Daniel Kurtzer, Nicholas Platt, and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The document mistakenly sees the possibility of using ISIS to drive Iran and Israel closer together in a common cause. This misguided strategic fantasy is described thus, "If ISIS were to continue to progress, Israel and Iran might find themselves with a common enemy."

The dream of bringing Iran and Israel together seems so devoutly to be wished by the Obama Administration that it surmounts any political reality to facts on the ground.

Could this be the reason that America has not applied the full measure of air power at its disposal in killing and driving back ISIS?
If it is, it’s dangerous and false thinking. It appears as if the US president is cynically allowing thousands to be slaughtered in front of our eyes for a strategy that will never happen.

Does he, or his experts, really think that Iran and Israel will join his feckless coalition out of joint fear of ISIS?  If so, he is dead wrong.

In contrast to President Obama’s recent statements, the document does call ISIS a state of sorts. 

In parts of the territory it now controls, ISIS exercises a kind of governance: it collects revenue, executes brutal Islamist law, has a police force, and controls a jihadist conventional army.”

The only force that is bravely standing and confronting ISIS on the ground are the Kurds, and yet Obama is still not arming them directly. He should. Instead, the documents points to the US Administration playing a double game by recruiting not only Iran but also Tehran’s ally Assad to fight against ISIS;

Syrian forces should be urged by Tehran to attack ISIS directly in Syria. Syrian military commanders, security personnel, and top government ocials should be motivated to avoid an ISIS victory.” 

However you read this, the Administration think tank policy document is calling on the White House to back an Iranian, Assad, even Hezbollah coalition to fight ISIS in Syria.

A nuclear agreement with Iran runs through the document. It is the center piece of a US Middle East policy. At parts it reads like an illusion world of smoke and mirrors. 

A nuclear agreement could help the United States and its allies find common ground with Iran for a creative response to ISIS, although the United States must avoid seeming to ally itself with the Shi’a and thereby enhance the appeal of radicals to Sunnis.”

It is hard to comprehend a policy in which the ISIS threat is seemingly put off until after the signing of a nuclear agreement with Iran on the supposition that it will make for closer buddies between the rival states in the region. As if Saudi Arabia and Erdogan would link arms with Ayatollahs and Assad to defeat ISIS. If only! Putting off a strong direct attack on ISIS until after a nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous wishful thinking, not foreign policy. 

The mixing of two unrelated issues, a nuclear deal with Iran and the threat of ISIS, leads to a muddling  Middle East strategy.  The dangers implied here is that it is impossible to defeat ISIS without a nuclear deal, and from that stems the desire to rush through a nuclear deal in order to solve the ISIS issue.

“The degradation and defeat of ISIS presents an opportunity for America to work evenhandedly with the nations of the region to achieve a common goal. Cooperation with Iran would thus take place within a larger regional grouping that should include the Gulf States and Turkey in addition to the Government of Iraq.”

The reason this is doomed to failure is in the description of the nuclear deal that the Administration is trying to reach. It talks of “limiting” the Iranian program, “lengthening” the time for Iran to reach nuclear breakout, and “reducing” the risk that Iran “might” acquire nuclear weapons. It does not talk of stopping Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon. Israel will never tolerate that.

Obama will not allow American soldiers to enter into ground operations against ISIS. The US-trained Iraqi army has proven itself to be cowardly and incompetent. 
This think tank should recommend the recruitment of a mercenary force made up of retired vets of special-ops units from the United States, British armies and others to initially back up the Kurds in fighting back against ISIS in Iraq while the Iraqi army is trained to stand up to this Islamic terror army on their land. 
Private security forces are no longer covert in Middle East conflicts. It was Blackwater personnel who fought their way into and held the US compound in Benghazi when attacked by Islamic terrorists in 2012. 
The Iraqi government should be persuaded that this temporary force in essential to push back against the ISIS insurgents that have taken over much of their country. The US military vehicles and equipment that have already been supplied to both Iraq and to Saudi Arabia should be requisitioned and provided to this special force on the grounds that current Iraqi units have not proven themselves capable of using them efficiently, and Saudi Arabia have the equipment but have no will to send their troops into this battle and use them.

Failing this scenario, there is another option. Israel sees ISIS creeping closer to its border. It can visibly see the Al-Nusra terror group on the Golan Heights. ISIS is not far away, and the think tank document states the threat for Israel;

“The ‘Islamic State’ declared an end to the 1916 British and French-imposed Sykes–Picot borders, and announced that its next goal would be to free Palestine.”

This threat would give Israel a justification to get into the fight. If it did, it is more likely to assist the Kurds than get into bed with Iran, as the document wrongly suggests. Covertly arming and trained the brave Kurds, before the ISIS threat becomes a face-to-face confrontation for Israel, could become a necessity for Israel.

There is another case to be made for Israel arming the Kurds, particularly in Iraq. 
The Kurds are close to America and sympathetic to Israel’s plight in a radical region. They are more democratically minded than other players in the region. They have proven themselves to be the only courageous fighters on the ground in Iraq.

Israel sees convergence of interests with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt over the growing threat of the ISIS brand of Islamic terror. As happened with its conflict against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, it is reasonable to assume that these countries will turn a blind eye to Israel arming the Kurds.

Israel looks on the Kurds with great sympathy, but it could do more. Helping them overcome their confrontation with ISIS would be one way for Israel to demonstrate to the world what a small, but courageous and just, coalition can achieve in a regional war against radical Islamic terror.

As the document states, “if allowed to consolidate its control over large parts of Syria and Iraq, ISIS would also represent a terrorist threat to the American homeland.”

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ He is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College in Israel.

Monday, 13 October 2014


The claimants may have national dreams and aspirations to territory, but law is law and cannot be summarily dismissed and ignored to favor the demands of one of the claimants over the other.

It is correct that privately owned land in Judea & Samaria, as anywhere in the world, must remain in such owners’ possessions and must be requisitioned by the state. This however, does not give that owner, or a group of owners, the right to claim sovereignty over their individual or collective lands.
Therefore, because people own land or have bought properties does not give them the right or legality to call such territories the national territories of Palestine.

To claim that a territorial area belongs to a particular nation required this territory as having belonged to that people as a collective sovereignty. In the case of Judea & Samaria, or the West Bank as some people choose to call it, the criteria have been met, historically and legitimately, by the Jewish people, and not by Palestinians.  Because it was once called Palestine does not give them the legal right to claim they had a national or sovereign existence on that land, or that they were deprived of it by having any existing national or sovereign legal rights summarily taken from them.

The Jewish people were given national rights in these territories not just by proven history and past sovereignty over this territory, but also by residual legal rights contained in the League of Nations Mandate which was unanimously sanctioned and have neither been cancelled or superseded, and are preserved by the United Nations Article 80, that was drafted to guarantee continuity in respect to Jewish rights enshrined in the Mandate resolution of 1922. These rights have the same legal resonance as do the rights of other states created by mandates emanating from the same League of Nations. None of these nations, which include Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, even Austria and Hungary, have had their sovereignty questioned.

It is fair to say that the rights of the national home of the Jewish people, specified in the mandate for Palestine, is greater than all the others because this was the only mandate that explicitly named the ethnic group to which the mandate was granted, namely the Jews. All other mandates failed to designate any ethnic identity.  It should be noted that the Mandate resolution called for close Jewish settlement” in the said territories thereby falsifying the claim that Jewish settlement is “Illegal.”
Since the destruction of Jewish sovereignty over this territory and the expulsion of most, but not all, of its indigenous people, the Jews, two thousand years ago, it remained as a desolate spot occupied by past empires, the final one being the Ottoman Empire which looked on Judea & Samaria as a dusty district of a greater Syria.

Under the Ottoman Land Code of 1858, land was apportioned into one of three main categories known as Mulk, Miri, and Mawat.

Mulk was the only privately owned land in the common sense of private ownership. This was a minimal part of the whole territory and much of it was owned Jews who were given the right to own land under Ottoman reforms.

Miri was land owned by the sovereign, in this case the Ottomans. Individuals could buy a deed to cultivate certain land. They would pay a tithe or tax to the government for this privilege. Ownership to this deed could be transferred to another only with the approval of the governing state. These Miri rights (really a rental, not an ownership) could be transferred to heirs, and the land could be sub-let to tenants. In other words, an arrangement where tenants are allowed to sub-let, but not own, the property, or land.

Mawat was state or unclaimed land, not owned by private individuals. These areas made up almost two-thirds of all the territory.

This is important in understanding the legal status of the territory that constitutes Judea & Samaria (West Bank).

The area declared “State land” by the Israeli government, a process that has undergone painstaking and methodical investigation for many years, is Mawat land. In other words, it has no private status and is not privately owned.   It needs to be stated that many claims arose during the course of the investigation, but all were proven to be unfounded on the basis of land laws.

It should be clearly understood by those who call Judea & Samaria “occupied territory” that, according to international law, the occupying power must use the pre-existing land laws as a basis for claims, exactly as Israel has done in this case, even though Israel’s official position is that it does not see itself de jure as an occupying power in the legal sense of the term.

Many people are astonished that there is an Israeli side to a narrative, having been convinced that Israel has no rights save for biblical references.

Beyond the information given in this report, I would refer people to The Levy Report that details Israel’s legal claims to sovereignty over Judea & Samaria according to international law.

For your further consideration please view this presentation by Dr. Jacques Gauthier.
“Who has international legal rights to Jerusalem?”

Written by Barry Shaw with acknowledgement to Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat, for valuable information he provided in a September 7 Jerusalem Post article.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bibi. What he said - and what he didn’t.

Following Benjamin Netanyahu’s bold but dark speech at the podium of the United Nations, he was more conciliatory with his remarks at the White House before he sat in a closed session with President Obama.

He reiterated his commitment to a peace vision of two states for two peoples. This statement drew a knee-jerk reaction from Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett, who insisted that the idea of a Palestinian state disappeared with the Hamas rocket and terror attacks we experienced this summer. 

Truth be told, we have yet to hear any Palestinian leader echo the commitment to a two states for two peoples solution. It’s the “for two peoples” bit that is constantly lacking in their rhetoric. These missing words are the prime reason there can be no territorial withdrawal by Israel.  But Bibi gave us a clue as to what he may have been thinking as he sat with Obama.

He spoke of thinking out of the box. He spoke of making use of “the new opportunities” and “a commonality of interests between Israel and leading Arab states.”  He said we should “seize upon common interests and build positive progress to advance a more secure, prosperous and peaceful Middle East.”

Netanyahu did not expound of where these common interests could lead us in regard to the Palestinian issue, but he did talk of the importance of the involvement of other regional players in finding a solution. And this brings us to surmise what alternative solution could give a better life for Palestinians, more security for Israel, and a prosperous and more peaceful Middle East.

Netanyahu does not need Bennett to lecture him about withdrawal from territories. Netanyahu resigned from the Sharon government over the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. He warned what the results would be, and his prediction was justified by everything that has happened there ever since. When Israel’s Prime Minister speaks about his rock solid commitment to Israel’s national security and defense everyone, including Bennett, should take notice. Bibi will not retreat an inch in Judea & Samaria with a rejectionist and violent Palestinian leadership that will not change its stripes any day soon.

So what didn't he say that fills the void in his optimistic future of hope?  His mention of the involvement of Israel’s neighbors and regional players leads us into recalling the offer made by Egyptian President Sisi to grant large tracts of the Sinai for a new Palestinian state. This was immediately rejected by Mahmoud Abbas, but was this the last word? I think not. Sisi would not have glibly mouthed these words based on nothing. It may have been a trial balloon but the offer is still out there. It is up to the major regional leaders to sit with Sisi and put flesh to the idea. The notion of a Palestinian state based in a connected Sinai-Gaza land mass should be seriously studied by the international community.  Once the reality that a Palestinian state in Judea & Samaria is out of the question, for a whole host of valid reasons, the Palestinians should be persuaded to seriously consider what, for them, will be an infinitely better solution.

The Egyptian initiative would offer growth space to absorb Arabs interested in a “right of return” into a new Sinai-Gaza Palestinian state. It would have access to the sea and potential for a port. It would have territory for tourism, agricultural, industrial, and residential development.

From a regional perspective, it would avoid the friction of a rejectionist Palestinian entity rubbing up against the Jewish State of Israel along indefensible borders. It would also ease the pressure for Jordan by having such an entity across the Red Sea and not over an embarrassing Israeli-held security buffer zone along the Jordan Valley or, failing that, a potential radical Islamic state across its western border. It would be a secure solution for both Egypt and Israel that would enable both of them, for mutual and separate reasons, to keep a defensive eye on a Palestinian state in such a location.

Let’s be clear about this. It is a win-win-win-win solution for Palestinians truly desirous of having their independent state, and for Israel’s, Egypt’s, and for Jordan’s political and security concerns.
It is a solution that merits the backing of the Arab League and international support led by President Obama. The plan originated in Cairo. As such it is an Arab initiative.

Those that have supported a two-state solution based solely in Judea & Samaria and Gaza should think again, support the Egyptian initiative, and exert heavy diplomatic and economic persuasion on the Palestinian to go this new route.

Mahmoud Abbas gave a timeline of two years before he threatens to pursue further damaging steps that will get him nowhere and simply extend the conflict. The time can be used to show the Palestinian people the Sisi plan for a better and more prosperous future with the ability to build a far larger state than one envisioned in the restricted space of the West Bank.

These may have been the words that were missing from Bibi’s hopeful hints at the White House press conference.

Barry Shaw is the delegitimization consultant to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.  He is also the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’