Sunday, November 22, 2015

...Paris 2015...

...Paris 2015...

Middle%20East%20ExplainedNimetön (68)Nimetön (67)   syria-isis-backers-1   Nimetön (65) acc33fd2cf3d9287eab58a5f036541c8
ISIS a 12046564_10206682112024397_6522921792966942131_n   35391442-first-cover-for-charlie-hebdo-magazine-after-the-terrorism-attack-on-january-7th-2015-in-paris ied-isis-dabiq hqdefault [caption id="attachment_4806" align="aligncenter" width="450"]ISIS 5-year plan ISIS global 5-year plan[/caption]   putinObamaISISisilMeme

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Israeli-Palestinian conflict maps by Ari RusilaThe Israeli-Palestinian peace process – or lack of that – is now at the  crossroads.  To start or not direct  negotiations, between Israel and Palestinian Authority or at regional level,  with or without preconditions, with or without facilitators, with 2-State
solution as only aim or not, or would unilateral actions be the better option  than keep the status quo.  Is there  Intifada-3  going on or not?   A massive peace effort - the Madrid  Conference and the Oslo Accords - ended the First Intifada; a massive military  campaign -  Operation Defensive Shield -  ended the Second Intifada; how it will end the Intifada-3 if it really  starts?  These are some questions around  the conflict.  With this analysis I try  to clarify main options to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict in relation to  current situation.

Throughout two decades of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” direct negotiation with aim of ‘Two-State’ solution has been perceived as the only paradigm of international community and it has been the main option for Israeli and Palestinian authorities. To keep negotiations ongoing has came de facto as the goal in itself instead of the means to reach an agreement. The failure to reach an agreement has given excuses to the politicians on both sides, allowing them to blame the other party for failure to progress, and destroying the belief that an agreement is possible in the foreseeable future.
Main options to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Ari Rusila
As possible solutions for Israeli-Palestinian conflict there has been besides 2-State solution also binational ‘One-State’ solution, partial solutions like Sinai an Jordan Options and different variations of ‘Three States’ solutions. One of course easy ‘solution’ is zero-option – ‘frozen conflict’ or ‘status quo’ scenario which can be implemented also through pseudo-talks. Today also unilateral actions – instead vain negotiations – can pave way towards some solutions.

One-State Solution

Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one.state solutionOne State scenario means “Isralestine”, a binational state to West from Jordan River or federation/confederation. Omer Bar-Lev - an MK for the Zionist Union – claims that Israel’s approach to security lacks creativity and initiative. He hits the nail on the head by concluding the one-state dilemma as follows:
If Israel wants to be a democratic state, which it does, then it has to either grant them full citizenship rights, which will subsequently destroy Zionism (one state for two nations) or separate from the Palestinians (two states for two nations). In that case, Israel can keep the Zionist spirit. Then, it is for the Palestinians to decide to create their Palestinian State, which is in their interests and they will make their own decisions. (Source: Fathom)
Indeed one-state option in my opinion would destroy Israel as ‘Jewish homeland’ as both democracy and ‘Jewish Israel’ could not survive in this solution. Failure of negotiations or lack of unilateral actions is shaping Israel and West-Bank more and more towards de facto ‘1-State’.

Two-State solution

To this day, I cannot understand why the Palestinian leadership did not accept the far-reaching and unprecedented proposal I offered them. My proposal included a solution to all outstanding issues: territorial compromise, security arrangements, Jerusalem and refugees.
A bit provocative 2-state vision
A bit provocative 2-state vision
A couple of decades the international community has preached a doctrine of ‘Two states for two peoples’, without any progress for its implementation. Sure also in my opinion a two-state solution might be possible. The final status agreement - negotiated compromise - has been very close at least since Beilin-Abu Mazen understandings / agreement / plan (1995) where nearly all issues were agreed. The Olmert proposal (2008) was probably the last serious try (both plans can be found from my document library ). These plans have been refined many times and serious work can be seen e.g. in leaked Palestine Papers/PaliLeaks (More in ”Pali-Leaks, land swaps and desperate search of peace).

The endgame with 2-state solution will probably be according The Clinton Parameters . The key element with 2-State Solutions are negotiated borders based to pre-1967 armistice lines with land swaps;  the state of Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people and the state of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people; Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount/Haram, and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall and the space sacred to Judaism; Palestine defined as a "demilitarized state", solving the refugee question by giving limited return to Israel, return to the new State of Palestine or rehabilitation refugees in host country.

Sinai Option

Sinai OptionGreenWith “official” 2-State Solution there is other 2-State options such as Gaza and Palestine option (more e.g. in Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander ). With this version Israel and Hamas could negotiate a deal which could lead to Gaza State while the future of Palestine state in West-Bank would stay unclear. This (part) solution could be stronger by combining it to recently again proposed Sinai option.

According Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report Egypt offers Palestinian Authority’s President Abbas a Palestinian state in Sinai.   Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi offered Palestinian Authority 620 square miles of land adjacent to Gaza in exchange for relinquishing claims to 1967 borders for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. PA President Abbas reportedly rejects proposal. Speaking in a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said: "The plan, which was proposed in 1956, included annexing 1,600 square kilometres from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip in order to receive Palestinian refugees." He continued: "The plan is being proposed again, but we refused it." One idea with offer was to resettle “Palestinian refugees” in the Sinai. At its core, the Egyptian initiatives proposes expanding the Gaza Strip to three - five times its current size (360 km2 ) and settling all the Palestinian refugees – who want to move - in a state to be established there. Under the initiative, this state will be demilitarized.

More about 'Sinai Option' in my article:  Sinai Option again .

Three-State solution

I have long been advocating Three State (return) Option - described also as no-state option - as the most pragmatic solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this 3-state scenario Amman rules the Cairo West Bank and Cairo runs Gaza. This scenario includes a Jordanian option meaning recognition and development of Jordan as the Palestinian State - Israel, the United States and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Jordan will once again recognize itself as the Palestinian nation-state.
3-state return option by Ari RusilaFor 19 years, Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan, its population Jordanian citizens, and the geographic juxtaposition between Israel and Jordan should make delineating the border between the two countries in an agreement considerably easier than reaching a deal on a border between Israel and a Palestinian state that might be established in the area. If three state solution will be implemented so Israel would receive security guarantees from Jordan's monarchy, which made peace with Israel in 1994, rather than from a politically enfeebled Palestinian president as well from Egypt, which has peace deal with Israel since 1978, rather than from outside supervised Hamas.

Related to Egypt this ‘3-State’ solution can include sc ‘Sinai Option’ and it is possible to agree some level autonomy to so formed ‘Great Gaza’.

Three-State [Return] proposal would eliminate the main logistical complication pertaining to the communication between the two parts of the Palestinian state. In addition two separate states for Palestinians would accord more realistically with a key current political reality. The idea of 2-State solution is to create a land corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, with a free flow of people and commerce between the two; however this kind of corridor effectively cuts Israel in half; sure connecting tunnels or bridges could be a solution, but these too are a logistical challenge.
From my point of view this solution is both pragmatic and doable and now more actual than ever as two-state solution is more and more utopia and road map towards it has been death for years. (More in A Jordanian-Palestinian Confederation Is On The Move and The Three-State Option could solve Gaza Conflict )

The three-state solution essentially replicates – with some minor land swaps - the situation that existed between the 1949 Armistice Agreements and the 1967 Six-Day War.

Roadmaps to solution

In my opinion there is three main pathways to solution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they are following:
  • (Re)starting negotiations,
  • Constructive unilateralism, and
  • Cold Peace
Israeli-Palestinian conflict roadmaps to peace

(Re)starting negotiations

(Re)starting negotiations has two alternatives which are
  1. start negotiations between Israel and Palestine Authority - local approach leading possibly to 2-State solution
  2. restart negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan - regional approach leading to 3-State solution
Both of these alternatives can be implemented directly between shareholders or they can be implemented with help of outside facilitators (USA, Arab League, UN).
I would like to conclude that instead of rigid high-flown statements and dead road maps international community should facilitate the Middle East peace process through following three principles
  • Negotiations will be restored without prior conditions.
  • The talks should be implemented by local stakeholders, not under supervision of outside powers
  • The international community – outside powers – should support any common agreed outcome of talks e.g. with financial aid programs
This approach means that an outcome – which I describe with term 'quality peace' – is not possible to achieve imposed from top to field e.g forced by international community or other outsiders; with that kind of approach one can only freeze the conflict not solve it. The only way for 'quality peace' is through motivation or at least commitment of individual, clan, community, ethnic groups, wider society or state to resolve conflicts through dialogue by acceptance and at least tolerance of differences. (More in my articles Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too? and Quality Peace )

quality peace by Ari Rusila

Constructive unilateralism

Already 2012 then Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Israel should consider imposing the borders of a future Palestinian state, becoming the most senior government official to suggest bypassing a stagnant peace process.
The plan titled “It’s in Our Hands,” by Omer Bar-Lev - an MK for the Zionist Union - calls for Israel to unilaterally define its own borders to ensure its security, would keep control of all of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and bequeath about 60 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, evacuating 35,000 Jewish settlers — less than 10 percent of the total.
An example from history
An example from history
According BWF  - an Israeli NGO Blue White Future - Israel should prepare for a reality of two states for two people, most notably by declaring that it does not have claims of sovereignty over most of the occupied territories, and by planning and acting accordingly, including preparing for the relocation of settlers residing east of the security fence to Israel proper. BWF proposes that the international community should adopt a paradigm that allows all stakeholders – Israel, Palestinians, the US and the other players – to take independent steps that will advance a reality of two states. (More in Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict )
A possible Hamas-Israel Deal can pave the way for Cold Peace Solution (More in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal ); the final outcome can be 2- or 3-State solution.

Cold Peace

Israel could also independently implement a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, to ensure its character as a Jewish and democratic state, by fixing a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank unilaterally. Creating a reality of two states for two peoples by separation into two nation states so that Israel annexes all Judea and Samaria (West-Bank) inside security fence and draws all outposts inside fence on the route of a permanent border on the basis of agreed-upon land swaps or independently in case negotiations does not take place. In the event that negotiations are not renewed, the temporary border will become permanent. As long as there is no agreement, the IDF and Israel would retain control of the outer borders and surrounding areas of the territories to be evacuated by Israelis who would be resettled within the state’s new borders. With this kind of unilateral “cold peace” solution Palestinians can do whatever they want in remaining territory but however this ‘Cold Peace’ in my opinion might – in the course of years – develop to permanent state of affairs and thus end Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An example could be the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel signed in 1979 which most Egyptians view as a cold peace; retrospectively not so bad deal anyway.

In my opinion the situation now is leading Israel toward a de facto binational future toward one-state solution and this might be the worst option for both sides. If negotiations now fail so I think that unilateral moves might not be so bad idea. If three-state option can not now replace the buried two-state solution so then the way forward for Israel seems to be annex the main settlements to Israel, finalize the security fence and wait if and when the Palestinian side and international facilitator want negotiate about some details based on this reality on the ground.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila

Article Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict first appeared in Conflicts By Ari Rusila

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sinai Option again

Sinai OptionGreenPost reports  that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Monday [9th November 2015] as claiming that Israel and Hamas have been conducting direct negotiations to expand the Gaza Strip so that it would include some 1,000 square kilometers of Sinai. Abbas, who was recently visiting in Cairo, told that the idea of slicing off land from Sinai to expand the Gaza Strip was first proposed by ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Abbas said that he knows the names of the Hamas and Israeli negotiators, but did not mention them. He said that former British prime minister and Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair is supervising the purported negotiations between Israel and Hamas. Abbas told that he opposes the idea of annexing any part of Sinai to the Gaza Strip.

History of the Sinai option

The Sinai option indeed is not a new option to solve Egypt-Gaza-Israel conflict. According Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report [01 September 2014 ] Egypt offered Palestinian Authority’s President Abbas a Palestinian state in Sinai.   Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi offered Palestinian Authority 620 square miles of land adjacent to Gaza in exchange for relinquishing claims to 1967 borders for the purpose of establishing a Palestinian state. PA President Abbas reportedly rejected proposal. Speaking in a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah, Abbas said: "The plan, which was proposed in 1956, included annexing 1,600 square kilometres from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip in order to receive Palestinian refugees." He continued: "The plan is being proposed again, but we refused it." One idea with offer was to resettle “Palestinian refugees” in the Sinai.

At its core, the Egyptian initiative proposes expanding the Gaza Strip to five times its current size and settling all the Palestinian refugees in a state to be established there. Under the initiative, this state will be demilitarized, Army Radio reported. In addition, the report continued, the Palestinian Authority would be granted autonomy in the Palestinian cities in the West Bank in exchange for relinquishing the Palestinian demand to return to 1967 borders. The U.S. was involved and even greenlighted the initiative, Army Radio reported, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also brought into the loop, but did not brief the cabinet on it.

trilateralscenario1A similar idea was floated some eight years ago by Israeli academics, but it was rejected outright by the regime of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Experts surmise that Sisi's generous offer stems from Egypt's current difficulty in controlling terrorist groups based in the Sinai Peninsula. Source: Israel Hayom

According Middle East Eye (MEE)   the scheme became the centrepiece of the 2004 Herzliya conference, an annual meeting of Israel’s political, academic and security elites to exchange and develop policy ideas. It was then enthusiastically adopted by Uzi Arad, the conference’s founder and long-time adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister. He proposed a three-way exchange, in which the Palestinians would get part of Sinai for their state, while in return Israel would receive most of the West Bank, and Egypt would be given a land passage across the Negev to connect it to Jordan. (This and more plans in Herzliya Papers )

According to the reports, the territory in Sinai would become a demilitarised Palestinian state - dubbed “Greater Gaza” - to which returning Palestinian refugees would be assigned. The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas would have autonomous rule over the cities in the West Bank, comprising about a fifth of that territory. In return, Abbas would have to give up the right to a state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The plan probably originated with Giora Eiland, Israel’s national security adviser from 2004 to 2006. According Eiland’s Plan in 2004 that Israel hoped would be implemented after the withdrawal of settlers and soldiers from Gaza - the so-called disengagement - a year later. Under Eiland’s terms, Egypt would agree to expand Gaza into the Sinai in return for Israel giving Egypt land in the Negev. Eiland's plan also stipulates that the Palestinians would be granted sovereignty over 89 percent of the West Bank as part of a final settlement to the decades-old conflict. ( More about Eiland’s Plan also in my document library )

According the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat (HQ in London but with strong ties to the Saudi royal family) the Egyptian source said a similar proposal was put to Morsi when he came to power in 2012. A delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders travelled to Washington, where White House officials proposed that “Egypt cede a third of the Sinai to Gaza in a two-stage process spanning four to five years”.US officials, the report stated, promised to “establish and fully support a Palestinian state” in the Sinai, including the establishment of seaports and an airport. The Brotherhood was urged to prepare Egyptian public opinion for the deal.

My conclusion           

Nimetön (60)
There is some speculations that, were Isis’s influence to expand further in Gaza or Egypt’s adjoining Sinai peninsula, Hamas could end up forging a common cause — openly or otherwise — with either Israel or Egypt; co-operation between Hamas and Egypt, and between Hamas and Israel might be the outcome.

In my opinion annexing part of Sinai to Gaza as might partly solve Arab-Israeli Conflict. In addition Hamas-Israel Deal could pave way for the ‘Cold Peace Solution’ and beyond. (More in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal )

Related articles:

Gaza Blockade – It’s Egypt not Israel!
Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Drone Papers By The Intercept

"The CIA killer drones programme is the death penalty without trial, and the new face of US counter-terrorism policy. Reprieve is assisting survivors and victims’ families in their fight for legal accountability, transparency and justice." (Reprieve)

Nimetön (55)Glenn Greenwald, known especially from Snowden case, is a founding editor of The Intercept, which published following anti-drone report based on leaked documents. The Intercept has set up a secure drop box to facilitate government employees’ illegally providing classified information to the organization. These persons are refered as “whistleblowers.” Sure leakers have different motives and have made preselection what material to leak and as a result investigative journalists have only one part of the total material for use for their analysis. Despite these shortcomings the leaked documents and follow-up analysis give anyway an inside view about issue.


Open here: The Drone Papers

¤ ¤ ¤

Nimetön (50)Based on leaked documents TRANSCEND Media Service has now published a special feature to give even more deeper view about issue with following articles:

The Drone Papers – Manhunting in the Hindu Kush (5 of 8)

Ryan Devereaux – The Intercept
Civilian Casualties and Strategic Failures in America’s Longest War

The Drone Papers – Firing Blind (6 of 8)

Cora Currier and Peter Maass – The Intercept
Flawed Intelligence and the Limits of Drone Technology

The Drone Papers – The Life and Death of Objective Peckham (7 of 8)

Ryan Gallagher – The Intercept
Stripped of British Citizenship and Killed by an American Drone

The Drone Papers -Target Africa (8 of 8)

Nick Turse – The Intercept
The U.S. Military’s Expanding Footprint in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

The Drone Papers – The Alphabet of Assassination (9-Glossary of Terms)

The Intercept – TRANSCEND Media Service
A guide to the acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms used in The Drone Papers. We defer to definitions provided in the source text where available; other interpretations are based on open source material.

Drones, IBM, And the Big Data of Death

Jon Schwarz – The Intercept
“There are no nations, there are no peoples … there is no America, there is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.” IBM received over $1.34 billion in federal contracts in fiscal year 2014, an increase of $108 million over FY 2013.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Netanyahu, Mufti and Holocaust


In October 20th 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dropped a clanger in his speech to delegates at the 37th World Zionist Congress. According to Netanyahu, the Fuhrer changed his mind at the insistence of the Palestinian Arab leader at the time, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who argued that the expulsion of the Jews would result in their arrival en masse to Palestine, which at the time was under British Mandatory rule; instead, according to Netanyahu, al-Husseini told Hitler to "burn them."

Hitler-hosts-the-Mufti-792x543 Hitler hosts the Mufti on Nov. 1941 in Berlin

The statement of PM Netanyahu controversially embraced the theory that al-Husseini bore responsibility for the Holocaust as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem inspired Hitler to initiate the “final solution” to murder the Jews of Europe while Hitler's original intentions were solely to expel the Jews. PM Netanyahu’s statement seems not be based on facts. Sure the meeting between Adolf Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, took place on November 28, 1941, at the Reich Chancellory in Berlin; however in official German record of that meeting the text that Netanyahu speaks of does not appear. (Source: Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, Series D, Vol XIII, London, 1964.) A quote:

The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely the English, the Jews and the Communists. The Fuhrer replied that Germany’s fundamental attitude on these questions, as the Mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests. Germany was resolved, step by step, to ask one European nation after the other to solve its Jewish problem, and at the proper time to direct a similar appeal to non-European nations as well.
Anyway in the entire text there is not a single reference to 'Jew burning' as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in his speech on 20th Oct. 2015.

From expelling to Holocaust

There is some evidence that the first plan of Hitler and Nazi regime was expulsion of the Jews from Germany and not to execute them. The transfer agreement in 1933 ("Ha'avara Agreement" in Hebrew) between Zionist organizations and Nazi Germany was a pact for the transfer of some 60,000 Jews and their assets to Palestine. So Nazi regime promoted the emigration of German Jews to Palestine, especially in 1933–1935. The deal with the Jewish Agency for Palestine that allowed it to confiscate the property of Jewish emigrants, but partially compensate them from the proceeds of additional German goods exported to Palestine. Among the benefits for Nazi Germany were ridding itself of some it considered dangerous enemies and increasing export. Indeed ‘The Transfer Agreement’ was the most far-reaching example of cooperation between Hitler's Germany and international Zionism. Through this pact, Hitler's Third Reich did more than any other government during the 1930s to support Jewish development in Palestine. The Mufti would begin diplomatic contacts with the Nazis in the middle of 1937, four years after the Nazi-ZIonist co-operation had started.

One example of previous policy before ‘Final Solution’ was sc. ‘Madagascar Plan’ (drafted from May to August 1940) - Hitler’s intention to expel the European Jews to Madagascar, the plan was predicated upon the defeat of Great Britain, for without open seaways and the British merchant marine available for transport, it was obviously unwork.

Haj Amin al-Husseini (who initially opposed the Palestinian peasant revolt of 1936 against Zionist colonization) sought relations with the Nazis to convince them to halt their support for Jewish immigration to Palestine, which they had promoted through the Transfer Agreement with the Zionists in 1933. His ties with the Nazis became the subject of worldwide publicity after the Israeli capture of Adolf Eichmann and during the latter’s trial in Israel. One of Eichmann’s subordinates, Dieter Wisliceny, gave evidence that Haj Amin had used his influence in Berlin to block German consideration of certain proposed exchanges and ransom deals that would have allowed groups of Jews to leave Axis territory and reach Palestine.

Final Solution?

Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, forged a pact with Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941, one week before the Wannasee conference, originally scheduled for December 7, 1941, yet was postponed by one month, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor on that very day. However it is the general view among historians that decisions or at least preparations related to ‘Final Solution’ were going on well before meeting between Mufti and Hitler. The chief historian of the Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation, Education and Commemoration in Jerusalem, Dina Porat, told the Israeli news Web site Ynet that Netanyahu's statements were factually incorrect the idea . "You cannot say that it was the mufti who gave Hitler to kill or burn Jews," she said. "It's not true. Their meeting occurred after a series of events that point to this."

By the time al-Husseini met with Hitler the extermination was under way. The Einsatzgruppen were in operation and extermination camps were under construction. Also in the summer of 1941, the construction of the Vernichtungslager – the annihilation camp, was launched. Two civilians from Hamburg came to Auschwitz that summer to teach the staff how to handle Zyklon B, and in September, in the Block 11, the first gassings were carried out on 250 patients from the hospital and on 600 Russian prisoners of war, probably ‘Communists’ and Jews. In Babi Yar in September 1941, two months before the Mufti and Hitler met,. 33,771 Jews were murdered. Babi Yar was the ravine outside the Ukrainian capital of Kiev where the mass killing of Jews by German troops and local collaborators took place Sometime during that eventful summer of 1941, perhaps even as early as May, Himmler in privacy had informed his inside circle, ‘that the Führer had given the order for a Final Solution of the Jewish Question,’ and that ‘we, the SS, must carry out the order.’ Also In the late summer of 1941, addressing the assembled men of the Einsatzkommandos at Nikolayev, Himmler ‘repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his alone, and the Führer’s.’

Christopher Browning, an eminent Holocaust historian at the University of North Carolina, wrote in a 2003 essay – “Initiating the Final Solution: The Fateful Months of September–October 1941” . According Browning the Final Solution was made even months before Hitler's November 28 meeting with al-Husseini. A quote:
In the fateful months of September/October 1941, the goal of Nazi Jewish policy fundamentally changed from a vision of expulsion and decimation to one of total and systematic extermination. Many decisions were still to be taken concerning how, when, at what rate, in what sequence, and with what temporary exemptions. But the “basic decisions” and “total clarity” sought by Höppner [Rolf-Heinz Höppner, the chief ethnic-cleanser in the Warthegau, expressed his frustration in his memorandum] in early September were now there. Those working on the Jewish question were no longer in doubt about what “working toward the Führer” meant and what was expected of them. This new vision of total eradication—to be carried out in “reception camps in the east” through “special measures” such as Brack’s “gassing apparatuses” and encompassing even the Jewish women and children of Belgrade and the Spanish Jews in France—differed fundamentally from the old vision. Among the many decisions taken in the course of the evolution of Nazi Jewish policy, in my opinion, this was the single most important one. The watershed between previous policies and the Final Solution had been crossed.
Handschar-13th-SS-Division-EmblemDuring WWII there was for murderous foreign antisemites, such as the dictatorial Croat Ante Pavelic, The Pope or the Romanian Ion Antonescu, as well as the Mufti, in Europe, however no serious historian would claim any of them influenced his decision to murder Europe’s Jews as these men were remote from the decision-making inner circles of the Third Reich. Nazi murderousness towards the Jews burst onto German and Austrian streets during Kristallnacht in November 1938, while its keener SS Jew-killers got ahead of themselves from day one of the September 1939 invasion of Poland. Well before Mufti-Hitler meeting November 1941 and Wannasee December 1941 there had been Hitler’s “prophetic” speech on January 30 of that year when he said that the outbreak of a world war would result “in the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe”.

The view of Netanyahu might be supported by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz and Barry Rubin two scholars at an Israeli research center, in their book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East:
After the meeting... Hitler made a fifth decision that would end millions of lives. He ordered [SS second-in-command Reinhard] Heydrich to organize a conference within ten days to prepare the "final solution to the Jewish question." Thus, Hitler made his key decision to start the genocide with al-Husseini's anti-Jewish rhetoric and insistence on wiping out the Jews fresh in his ears.
The evidence for this theory is however almost non-existing. Even if the mufti wanted the Final Solution to be expanded, he wasn't the one who came up with the idea.

The role of Mufti

Appointed Mufti of Jerusalem by the British in 1921, Haj Amin al-Husseini (1893 - 1974) was the most prominent Arab figure in Palestine during the Mandatory period. Fearful that increased Jewish immigration to Palestine would damage Arab standing in the area, the mufti engineered the bloody riots against Jewish settlement in 1929 and 1936. There is broad agreement that the Mufti, who helped instigate Arab pogroms against Jews in the holy land in the 1920s, collaborated with the Nazis as part of his virulent opposition to Zionism. Historians differ, however, on the significance of his relationships with Nazi leaders and the meeting with Hitler that Mr. Netanyahu described. The mufti’s promotion of genocide over mass deportation of Europe’s Jews was discussed in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, but he was never prosecuted and died in 1974.


A quote from Wikipedia:
His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. During World War II he collaborated with both Italy and Germany by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At war's end, he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution. In 1933, within weeks of Hitler's rise to power in Germany, the German Consul-General in Palestine, Heinrich Wolff, sent a telegram to Berlin reporting al-Husseini's belief that Palestinian Muslims were enthusiastic about the new regime and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region.

The affidavit of one of Eichmann’s subordinates, SS Hampsturmfuerer Dieter Wisliceny, who appeared as a witness for the Nuremberg prosecution, speaks for itself (Source: Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd ):
The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan…According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded, He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with who had been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures…

David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research and Israel Resource News Agency, in Jerusalem circulated his 2012 speech on the Mufti’s WW II activities:
“No one denies the Mufti’s Arabic language radio broadcasts, his recruitment of the Islamic SS unit, and his active involvement in SS round ups of Jews in Yugosolvia. And there is no doubt that Mufti was aware of the Final Solution, fully supported it, and sought to extend it to the Arab world. In 1961, when Eichmann was brought to justice in Jerusalem, Israel’s then foreign minister, Golda Meir, called for the Mossad to apprehend the Mufti and to sit him alongside Eichmann on trial in Jerusalem.”
Nimetön (51)Related to Jerusalem Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini's role in the extermination of European Jewry, veteran journalist Haviv Kanaan has reviewed the senior Muslim clergyman's actions in 1942, when the Jewish community in then-British Mandate Palestine was preparing for the possibility of a Nazi invasion. Kanaan said that in 1968 he met with Faiz Bay Idrisi, a senior Arab officer in the Mandate Police, who spoke of al-Husseini's intention to build a crematorium in the northwest Samarian hills. Idrisi told Kanaan at the time, recalling how in case of a German invasion "Haj Amin Husseini was gearing to enter Jerusalem at the head of the Muslim Arab Legion squadron he'd created for the Third Reich. The mufti's plan was to build a huge Auschwitz-like crematorium in the Dotan Valley, near Nablus, to which Jews from Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and North Africa would be imprisoned and exterminated, just like the Jews in the death camps in Europe." (Source: Israel Hayom )

Bottom line

After PM Netanyahu’s speech the condemnations have come fast and furious for reasons large and small, from trivializing the Holocaust and giving succor to Holocaust deniers, to absolving Hitler from even a single ounce of the blame that he deserves, to distorting history by overstating the Mufti’s role (even if he would have carried out the Holocaust if given the chance). Probably it was not Netanyahu’s intention in his poorly conceived speech to trivialize the Holocaust or take the blame for it away from Hitler, but that was anyway the outcome. In getting his history wrong - compared to widely accepted facts - and overstating the role of the Mufti and linking Palestinian accusations about the Temple Mount to the Holocaust, Netanyahu makes it seem as if his grip on reality is lost. Sure there is no doubt that Mufti was aware of the Final Solution, fully supported it, and sought to extend it to the Arab world, sure al-Husseini was a supporter of the Holocaust. But he did not instigate it? No, it was Adolf Hitler.

Related articles:

Vatican’s role in holocaust in my earlier articles

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gaza Blockade - It's Egypt not Israel!

Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Many of the current restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the imposition of a sc blockade or siege. The situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed since June 2013 by the Egyptian authorities at Rafah Crossing.
Gaza vs Rafah  Despite restrictions there has been whole time – even during conflicts/wars - movement of commodities as well Palestinians to and from Gaza via Israeli border crossings. During last months movement of goods has increased via Kerem Shalom Crossing at Israeli border to/from Gaza but is almost non-existent via Rafah Crossing at Egyptian border. Besides official border crossings Egypt is now implementing measures which will totally block unofficial traffic aka smuggling. In my opinion Egypt not Israel is blocking Gaza.  

The Rafah Border Crossing

The Rafah Border Crossing lies on the international border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip that was recognized by the 1979 Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty and confirmed during the 1982 Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. The crossing was managed by the Israel Airports Authority until Israel evacuated Gaza on 11 September 2005 as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan. It subsequently became the task of the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah (EUBAM) to monitor the crossing. Though Israel and Egypt allow limited imports into Gaza, the economy of Gaza largely relies on illicit trade that flourishes via an alternative “tunnel economy.” Hamas enriches itself at the expense of the Palestinian Authority (PA) by collecting tolls from tunnel operators and import taxes on goods brought into Gaza. This second economy increases ordinary Gazans’ reliance on Hamas rule, which most would prefer to see end. Making peace deal only between Israel and the PA does not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ignoring Gaza further incentives Hamas to oppose peace with Israel and any deal its Palestinian adversaries conclude.

Since former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in June 2013, the Egyptian military has been trying to eliminate the smuggling tunnels beneath the border in the southern Gaza Strip, destroying them and expanding the buffer zone. Egypt has demolished tunnels e.g. by exploding them, Egyptian army also fires tear gas or throws wastewater inside the tunnels to kill diggers. Rafah crossing with Egypt has been closed almost permanently since October 2014, heavily restricting those who can enter or leave the Gaza Strip. Egypt closed the border after relations soured between the Gazan and Egyptian leaderships after the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the ensuing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers. Egypt has linked instability in the Sinai peninsula to Gaza causing it to isolate the strip. Since 17th September 2015 the Egyptian army has been pumping large volumes of Mediterranean Sea waters into the buffer zone that it began building two years ago, along 14 kilometers of the Palestinian-Egyptian border. The move is the latest attempt to destroy the tunnels dug by Palestinians under the city of Rafah over the years of the Israeli blockade. (Source and more e.g. in Al-Monitor )

rafah_tunnel-e1406588938670 (2)


2014—15 Egyptian demolition of homes and terror/smuggling tunnels

In 2008 and 2009, according to media reports and the US Defense Department, the US Army Corps of Engineers trained Egyptian troops to use advanced technological equipment that measures ground fluctuations to indicate tunnel digging. In August 2013, the US Defense Department awarded the defense company Raytheon a $9.9 million contract to continue research and development in Egypt on its version of this technology, which is known as a laser radar vibration sensor. The tunnels were first constructed immediately after Israel’s disengagement from the Sinai Peninsula, as part of the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt. But digging got more intense after Israel declared a blockade on Gaza after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections. Hamas’s government started to flourish on what economists called the booming “tunnel economy” until current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi joined Israel in trying to destroy it. In October 2014 Egypt announced that they planned to expand the buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, following a terrorist attack from Gaza that killed 31 Egyptian soldiers. The buffer was created "in a move meant to halt the passage of weapons and militants through cross-border smuggling tunnels but which also puts more pressure on the Palestinian militant Hamas group." The buffer zone originally was 500 meters, following the announcement of the expanded buffer zone many residents voluntarily left the area. Ibrahim Mahlab the Prime Minister of Egypt announced that any residents unwilling to move willfully would be forcefully removed from their homes. Between July 2013 and August 2015, Egyptian authorities demolished at least 3,255 residential, commercial, administrative, and community buildings in the Sinai Peninsula along the border with the Gaza Strip, forcibly evicting thousands of people. On 17 November, 2014, Egypt announced that the buffer zone would be doubling to 1 km due to the longer than expected tunnels discovered, in addition to a night time curfew for the area. On January 8, 2015, Egypt's expansion resulted in the destruction of about 1,220 homes, while destroying more than 1,600 tunnels. Some tunnels discovered ranged over 1 kilometer long and contained lighting, ventilation and phone systems. In February 2015, in response to the buffer zone, ISIS beheaded 10 men they believed were spies for Mossad and the Egyptian Army. In June 2015 Egypt completed its digging of a ditch by the Rafah Crossings, 20 meters wide by 10 meters deep. (Source and more e.g: Wikipedia )

Over the past months Egyptian military bulldozers have also destroyed many Egyptian homes to create a buffer zone of at between 500 and 1,000 metres on the Egyptian side, and 1,000 metres. Entire neighborhoods have been flattened being gutted.  

Egypt floods the rest of Gaza’s tunnels with seawater

According MEE - Middle East Eye report Egyptian military vehicles are transferring Mediterranean Sea water to the Rafah border, to fill a newly-built crude canal, flooding and destroying the lifeline tunnels connecting Egypt and blockaded Gaza. By canal the Egyptian government is trying to economically crush Hamas, an ally of the Muslim brotherhood. Egypt is planning that sea water will flood into any remaining undiscovered tunnels and completely destroy them. Most tunnels are usually 20 meters deep, and can stretch for three hundred meters inside Egyptian Rafah. Israel also tried to fight Gaza’s tunnels by digging a canal and pumping sea water into the 14 km borderline with Egypt, but due to environmental damage and danger to natural aquifer water systems, it built a separation wall instead; deep into, and above, the ground. Egyptian military personnel won’t speak openly of the nature of the project, but some local experts have said the aim is to create fish farms. Water pipes can be seen on the Egyptian side of the border-leading from the beach area into the west of the city, to an area filled with supply tunnels. A local water engineer said that pumping sea water into natural clean-water aquifers will increase salinity twenty-fold.

Palestinians inspect the damage after Egyptian forces flooded smuggling tunnels dug beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip September 18, 2015. | Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa Palestinians inspect the damage after Egyptian forces flooded smuggling tunnels dug beneath the Gaza-Egypt border, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip September 18, 2015. | Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Mayor of Rafah, Subhi Radwan believes this could lead to the forced migration of the local population. “The sea water is leaking into the clean aquifer, damaging the ground structure and pure water,” he said. Radwan said that drinking water, for the population, will not be available soon, as dirty salt water is pushed into the already damaged plumbing system of Gaza. “This will also deprive farmers of the ability to plant consumable vegetables and all forms of fresh plants which rely on clean aquifer waters,” the mayor added. Economic analyst Moein Rajab told Al-Monitor that the pumping of salt water into the tunnels will affect agriculture and render farmlands unproductive as salt levels rise. As such, large tracts of Palestinian agricultural land that stretches along the Egyptian border will be made useless, leading to a marked decrease in agricultural production. Rajab added that soon after, the area’s inhabitants would be forced to leave as the topsoil is destabilized, further exacerbating the current Gaza Strip housing crisis. He explained, “Due to the fact that houses are so close to the border — mere hundreds of meters away — homes will become threatened with demolition or damaged to the point of being unlivable, with their foundations buckling as the earth liquefies. As a result, inhabitants will be forced to abandon their homes, which will add problems and further exacerbate the housing crisis engendered by the scarcity of building materials, blockade and pitiable economic situation.”  

The Kerem Shalom crossing

Kerem Shalom in Israel is the main – and now practically only – border crossing to and from Gaza for goods (People are using more Erez crossing in Northern Gaza). Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is part of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) agency monitoring and reporting e.g. Gaza’s situation to international community. Its statistics show clearly where movement of commodities to and from Gaza take place. To the text frame below I have collected from OCHA reports the main points about import and export of Gaza through Israel on August 2015:

Gaza Import/Export, August 2015 Gaza Import/Export, August 2015

And here is wider picture of Gaza crossings in infographic:

Commodities Dashboard I  

The Kerem Shalom crossing is relatively small and is not enough for the entry of all of Gaza’s needs. An average of 300 to a maximum of 700 trucks enter every day. To increase the truckloads of supplies that enter Gaza from Israel and speed up efforts to rebuild the territory, the Dutch government donated a new security scanner on July 2015. Some 1,000 trucks are expected to cross with the new scanner, according to COGAT and the Dutch Foreign Ministry. (Source. The Times of Israel )  

My conclusions

Hamas’ economic well-being was in large part dependent on its system of smuggling tunnels snaking underneath the Gaza border with Egypt. The supply lines that have fed it cash, arms, goods, luxury items, fuel, and cement for its terror-tunnel industry suddenly were gone. These goods, which were smuggled into Gaza at obscenely low prices at the expense of Egyptian citizens, were no longer flowing in due to the closure of the tunnels. The economy of Hamas is weakening as Egypt has closed main part of over one thousand smuggling tunnels on Gaza border; before that Hamas administration got remarkable income from smuggling activities. Gaza’s isolation was imposed originally to delegitimize and undermine Hamas’ leadership. Palestinian Authority or better say Fatah was hoping to produce positive economic development in the West Bank which could lead Gazans to overturn Hamas rule. The opposite came true as Hamas’ control grew tighter. During last year there has been talks about national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

The Hamas-Israel dialogue is the last example that instead unity the split between Hamas and Fatah as well between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is even wider than before. This situation can at best to lead long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Part of deal is lifting of an eight-year blockade placed on the Gaza Strip, less restriction for goods and people to go over border, importing goods to Gaza through a Cyprus port overseen by NATO representatives (until a floating offshore port can be developed). Hamas-Israel Deal could pave way for the ‘Cold Peace Solution’ and beyond. (More in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal ) EU claims that imaginary Gaza blockade is the reason for slow reconstruction in Gaza strip while the main reason is corruption and misuse of funds. (More e.g. in Instead of Gaza’s Reconstruction Donor Aid Finances Terrorism And Corruption ).

Besides emergency relief the international community gives also huge donations for capacity building activities. One problem however is that the impact of the international assistance is poor if not even non-existent in relation to sustainable development. As The Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) concluded “it has been almost impossible to trace any positive impact of these mobilized resources on the ground”. More about MAS analysis in Placebo effect for people and society with 20 bn bucks .

So called Gaza blockade or siege is one of the main causes or excuse – depending from viewpoint – for flotillas, BDS, EU’s labelling plans, anti-Semitism, donations to Hamas, humanitarian crisis etc. Given the facts referred above one could conclude that blaming Israel for blockade is at least unjust.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila