Monday, November 27, 2006

Flawed Conclusions by the United Nations-Again!
GS Don Morris, Ph.d.

Upon awaking the day after Thanksgiving, a day of reflection and peaceful gratitude for all we have, I was once again jolted back to reality here in Israel. As is my custom, I turned on my computer and started reading the local and international newspapers on line. The following headline reminded me, again, why I believe that the United Nations has lost its moral compass together with its ability to address the Middle East with any degree of ethical behavior. The headline read, “Israel may be more to blame than Hizbullah”, and I was informed that we, Israel, were the dastardly breakers of all that is humanely deceit and should receive the blame over a terrorist group called Hizzbollah1. The UN High Commissioner, for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told me this and if I did not know the truth or the facts I certainly must believe the Commissioner for Human Rights2.

Allow me to suggest that a person who holds such a position must understand the responsibility associated with drawing conclusions after complete facts are known and analyzed. Furthermore, this person must consider the entire context in which specific actions were conducted.

Juxtaposed against the preceding headline was another one I remember: “IDF set for massive assault on Lebanon-eight soldiers killed, two kidnapped in Hizzbollah attack on northern border”, July 13,2006, Jerusalem Post. The facts shall set you free, unless you are associated with the United Nations. Israel was attacked by an international terrorist group-it was an unprovoked attacked-we immediately lost eight young people and to this day our kidnapped soldiers have not only never been heard of since this day, there is no public conversation of their return. Concomitant with these acts, Hizzbollah began firing dozens of missiles into Israel proper aimed precisely at non-military targets. They aimed their rockets of death at our northern civilian population. Most other countries would consider this cumulative behavior as an act of war. Israel did what any other nation would do-we decided to return fire and action-we went after our men. We did this to also protect one million of our citizens who were now directly in harm’s way.

To deny any of this is to distort, misrepresent and lie to the world community. A war had begun and it lasted for over one month. Within this framework of understanding battles ensued and with any war there was collateral damage. It is at this point that one can begin to discuss the operational and therefore intentional behavior of both sides in this war. Hizzbollah used the Lebanese population as human shields. Not only did it store munitions, rockets, missiles and terrorists within civilian neighborhoods, it continued the “blending process” by dressing as the local population. It used civilian homes as missile launch sites. It held at gunpoint Lebanese who tried to leave their own neighborhoods in order to find safe havens away from the Hizzbollah enemy of Israel. It even shot some citizens of Lebanon for trying to escape. Need I state the obvious? Not only are all of these actions intentional, they are illegal by any Western legal authority, including the Geneva Convention.
Israel has the most stringent “rules of engagement” of any Western military operating today. It is against these rules, it is illegal by Israeli law and it is against all Judaic practices and principles to intentionally target civilians. Yes, in war either by technical error, tactical mistake or by simply plain old bad luck civilians are killed. Does any one remember the number of British civilians killed on a daily basis during WWII?

So we arrive at the apex of this piece. Hizzbollah, international identified terrorist group, attacks without provocation the only democracy in the Middle East. Its operational standards and rules of engagement are to murder or maim as many civilians as possible, use human shields and blend in with the local population. It is no wonder that the media erroneously reported, day after day, that “innocent Lebanese civilians” were killed-you see, they counted Hizzbollah terrorists as civilians.

I am not the only one who understands and knows all of this. It is therefore shameful for a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour to arrive at the conclusion that Israel is more to blame than Hizzbollah in the summer war. Try to follow her logic-this from an educated and highly decorated civilian now serving the United Nations.

She begins by responding to this question: “if there was a distinction under human rights law between missile attacks aimed at killing civilians and military strikes in which civilians are unintentionally killed, Arbour said the two could not be equated. Note she acknowledges that they cannot be equated.

Her explanation defies logic: "In one case you could have, for instance, a very objectionable intent - the intent to harm civilians, which is very bad - but effectively not a lot of harm is actually achieved," she said. "But how can you compare that with a case where you may not have an intent but you have recklessness [in which] civilian casualties are foreseeable?”1 I suggest she makes an incorrect assumption regarding her argument. She assumes that Israel killed recklessly civilians and these deaths were foreseen. Huh? She offers no data to substantiate this inflammatory statement. She only uses rhetoric provided her by Hizzbollah operatives. I have already indicated the IDF’s code of operational behavior, something she fails to even present or discuss. She also conveniently ignores the blending of Hizzbollah terrorists within the civilian population so when the IDF did strike targets these individuals were the ones hit.

Do you believe that Ms. Arbour sat in the war room with Israeli planners and leaders? Of course she did not have this access; she did not have any idea what was in the minds of IDF soldiers. The only information she could have possibly had was the Israeli and Hizzbollah operational directives previously mentioned. Therefore, to come to the following conclusion is disingenuous "When you kill civilians virtually each time [in a military attack], at some point you have to ask yourself, 'Wasn't that foreseeable that so many would be killed?" she said. "That is where I think you start having to engage in the possibility that it is somewhat culpable."1 There she goes again, misrepresenting reality during the war. Notice no data substantiating “killing virtually each time-how did she arrive at this? Perhaps the handlers in Lebanon failed to indicate that the “blended” Hizzbollah were counted as civilians thus enabling Ms. Arbour and the world opinion makers to also believe this nonsense.

She returns to the intention part of her argument with Israel. She states, "there is very little distinction between recklessness and intent," she said. "It is a small distinction as to whether you desire the result, or you foresee it as virtually certain and you do not care. In terms of culpability there is not a lot of difference between recklessness and intent."1
By denying the stated intentions of both Hizzbollah and the IDF, she arrives at unfounded conclusions. Without producing any evidence she rushes to the conclusion that Israel is guilty of crimes more so than is Hizzbollah-incredible, simply incredible that such a person can offer this with a serious demeanor. It is despicable behavior and unfortunately demonstrative again of the bias and apparently the contempt the United Nations has for Israel. It is this kind of prejudiced argument, reported around the world that enables her and others to remain part of the Middle East problem. Israelis, individuals living in the disputed territories deserve better from those meant to help protect them!

End Notes

1. HILARY LEILA KRIEGER and TOVAH LAZAROFF, “Louise Arbour: Israel may be more to blame than Hizbullah”, Jerusalem Post, November 24, 2006

2.Commission on Human Rights,

Sunday, November 19, 2006

By GS Don Morris, Ph.D.

Once again the latest distortion has made the rounds of most pro-Israeli writers:

The new article blaming Jews for "fanning the flames of evil and provoking wars" has appeared in the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper, Al Hayat Al Jadida , the paper owned by the Palestinian Authority and controlled by Fatah,--under Abbas’ direct control.

It is incongruous that words such as those quoted in Al Hayat Al Jadida can be viewed as representing the 'moderate' Mahmoud Abbas. Yet, time and again, from the Arab world across the Pond to America, this is the adjective used to describe the man upon whom the West rests its policy, hopes, and strategies – while the lives of innocent human beings hang in the balance. Is it not within reason to question the veracity of this assessment? How much do we really know about Mahmoud Abbas vs. what have we have been told about him by individuals whose political agenda requires the creation of a 'moderate' Abbas? Is it really in our best interest to believe that Mr. Abbas is ‘moderate’?

In truth we have been led down a pathway of misrepresentation and deceit. The first step down this path is to be convinced that only a “moderate Palestinian” leader can become a peace partner. Who and why does anyone believe and accept this as though it were the “Holy Grail”? If this is true, how does one explain the German and Japanese leaders who signed peace agreements with us at the conclusion of WWII or must we believe that they, too, were moderates? It is time to get beyond this kind of thinking.

Let us first examine his background in order to have accurate perspective of the man called Mr.'Moderate' Arab. The following are some brief facts:
· Mahmoud Abbas was born in what is now Israel; he left in 1948 to settle in Syria
· Taught school for a while, graduated from the University of Damascus and moved to Egypt where he studied law
· As a young man in his twenties Abbas worked in Qatar. Now known also as Abu Mazen, he joined Yasser Arafat and the small group of men who founded the terrorist group, Fatah, in 1959, with the stated aim of destroying Israel. As Arafat moved about over the years, Abbas went with him – to Jordan, Lebanon, and to Tunis.2
· Abbas remained at Arafat's side thereafter as a trusted key aide in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunis and, of course, the Palestinian Authority.
· He has held the most senior posts under Arafat including Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, member of Fatah's Central Committee, head of the PLO Department of International Relations, and, in March, 2003, Abbas was Arafat's choice as the first "Prime Minister" of the Palestinian Authority.
· The 'moderate' Mahmoud Abbas took a doctorate from Oriental College in Moscow. His thesis was published as a book entitled The Other Face: The Secret Connection Between the Nazis and The Zionist Movement. It contained statements such as: "Regarding the gas chambers, which were supposedly designed for murdering living Jews: A scientific study ... denies that the gas chambers were for murdering people, and claims that they were only for incinerating bodies, out of concern for the spread of disease and infection in the region."3
· Mahmoud Abbas , alias Abu Mazen, is a Holocaust denier, to this day!

Context is everything! For nearly 4 decades, Abbas stood beside Arafat. Arafat, dressed in his ill fitting, worn out “military outfit”, scruffy beard, disheveled, and slobbering when he spoke –usually in an abrasive manner. This was the visual treat we saw day after day. His appearance, coupled with his actions, policies, and deceitful language , was observed for all of these same years. How many times did we catch Arafat in a lie, an intentional distortion? He would give a message to the West in English and then minutes later turn to the Arab media and say just the opposite.

Perhaps one of the most egregious moments was September 13, 1993, on the White House lawn. There stood Arafat, after shaking Rabin’s hand and declaring he would now strive for peaceful coexistence. Within 24 hours he was on Jordanian TV saying just the opposite. I remember when he concluded his talk with these words, “When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us”.

The West cried nary a tear with Arafat’s death. The concern was now who would step in and fill the void? Waiting in the wings was Mahmoud Abbas. We needed a new leader, one whose behavior and appearance was the anti-thesis of Arafat. Remember the international community’s concern, Hamas terror group, was positioned to take over unless…………Iraq was “starting to go south “and President Bush’s Mid-East policy was in trouble. A new leader was needed - someone acceptable to the West; Mahmoud Abbas was chosen. He dressed the part-always in a suit and properly coiffed, appropriately, calm, polished social behavior, and moderate in demeanor. He was the “new Palestinian leader” who would finally take them “home”.

Worn down by Arafat, we wanted to believe; we wanted to embrace this man. But at the end of the day he was Arafat’s buddy – someone who shared goals and values with him. To this day Abbas has no more intention of relinquishing that terror card than Arafat did.2 Here in Israel he is known as 'Arafat in a suit'.

Words are certainly important. The mark of a human being is the action associated with the spoken words. Congruency between speaking and actions equals integrity. Let us see if Mr. 'Moderate' is such a man. I will present words defining him as a “moderate” and then follow them with his own behavior.

Our Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has emphasized US support of the Palestinian people by increasing the American foreign aid to the Palestinians to $468 million and by putting in place an international mechanism which will allow transfer of financial assistance to the Palestinians without going through the Hamas government.
The Secretary of State also stressed the importance of backing 'moderate' leaders
in the Arab world – such as Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine.

Abbas behavior: Let's look at President Abbas' "commitment." In 2005, Abbas refused to disarm the armed wing of his own Fatah party, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (photos), much less Hamas. Today both terrorist groups are fighting for dominance of the Palestinian Arabs. Worse still, not only is the U.S. sending aid to the Palestinians (which indirectly supports Hamas by freeing up their resources for waging terror), but we are also directly arming the ' moderate' Abbas.2

President Bush: In a White House meeting last Friday (July, 2005) and in a meeting with Jewish leaders the day before, Abbas presented himself as a 'moderate' and a “supporter of a peaceful”, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I’m gaining confidence in the Palestinian prime minister and the great Cabinet," Bush said, describing them as "people who do what they say."

After this date and in early 2006, the Administration officially sanctioned a policy put together by US Army Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton to expand by up to 70 percent Abbas' presidential guard and personal army, Force 17. The administration wishes to raise some $20 million to fund the training, arming, and expansion of Abbas' army from 3,500 to 6,000 soldiers. This move comes after the US transferred 3,000 rifles and 1 million bullets to Force 17 in June (2006).

Abbas behavior: He knows Force 17 is a terrorist army led by terrorists. Furthermore, the militant, Abu Yousuf, hinted that any new weapons provided by the U.S. to his group could be shared with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization, the declared "military wing" of Abbas' Fatah party. Abu Yousuf, like several Force 17 members, is also a member of the Brigades.

Read on, Abbas did not stop here

There is a chance that Israel will attack the Palestinian territories, and in this case, these weapons and others provided [by the U.S. to Force 17] will be directed towards the (Israeli) 'occupation', Abu Yousuf said. Abbas, the 'moderate', cleverly raised funds, munitions, and weapons - courtesy of the USA. Right after he received the weapons shipment, Abbas appointed Mahmoud Damra commander of the force. Damra, who like many of the Force 17 officers and soldiers, is a Fatah terrorist wanted by Israel due to his direct involvement in the terrorist murder of at least 15 Israelis.

PM Olmert: Once Shalit is freed, Olmert will invite Abbas, a 'moderate' from the Fatah Party, to talks based on the internationally backed "road map" peace plan, Peres told Army Radio.

Abbas behavior: He asked and received Israel's permission to let an unspecified number of troops from the Jordan-based Badr Brigade enter PA areas-to buoy up Fatah against Hamas-extreme political pressure was exerted by the USA to mandate that Israel permit the return into the disputed territories of a terrorist group it had expelled for its viciousness many years ago.

The list of contradictions is endless. Yet, the US continues to uphold Abbas as a 'man of peace', a ' moderate' and a 'respectable' leader that the Bush administration wishes to strengthen. To this end, the Bush administration has 'whitewashed' Abbas' clear support for terrorism. It has excused his constant appeals to merge his Fatah terror group with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It has ignored the fact that his Fatah terror group has committed more acts of terror than Hamas and that Fatah's involvement in terror and the sophistication of its attacks has only increased since Abbas replaced Arafat after the latter's death in November 2004.4

The Bush Administration knows Abbas is as much a moderate as Nancy Pelosi is now a centrist. Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of the fact that daily operational policies enacted by Abbas are literally killing Israelis. The collective Western governments rush to define this chameleon in a manner meant
to calm and appease their respective populations has led to open smuggling from Egypt into Gaza. Actually, it can really no longer be called smuggling; it is open commerce. America’s “friends” the Russians are able to supply Israel’s enemy with the latest Russian made antitank missile Metis-M9. Guess whose hands they ‘fell into'? The plan is to use them not on Israel’s tanks; instead of firing rockets, Hamas intends to open a barrage of around-the-clock heavy fire on Israel, using antitank missiles, short-range ground-to-ground missiles and artillery fire – similar to what Hizballah used during the Lebanon war – and mortar fire. So, Abbas also is arming Hamas, the organization with whom he is theoretically at odds.
If we still believe that the man Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazen is a 'moderate', then we must also believe that peace in the Middle East is around the corner. Perhaps we have succumbed to the adage: if one is told a lie often enough one ultimately comes to believe it. Please, a rose by any other name, is still a rose. Abbas is not the beautiful petal, he is indeed the dangerous thorn.

End Notes

PA paper: Jews fan flames of evil,,2506,L-3321651,00.html
Kushner, Arlene, “Abu Mazen: Beneath the Moderate Veneer,” February 25, 2005
Special Thanks to my editor Hannah Givon