Monday, 24 November 2014

Lyons ex Nov 19 EX THE COPTS!!!


Netanyahu vows harsh response as 4 killed in synagogue

Photo Credit:

John Lyons, Middle East Correspondent, Jerusalem

FOUR worshippers were killed and several wounded after two Palestinians with axes and a gun entered a synagogue in Jerusalem and launched a terrorist attack.
The victims killed included three Americans and a British citizen, Israeli police said.
There was no immediate word on their identities but Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox website said all four, who had dual Israeli nationality, were rabbis.
“Regarding citizenship, there were three Americans and the fourth was British,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night said there would be a “harsh response” to the incident, which he said was incited by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said such an attack was “act of pure terror and senseless ­brutality”.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killings but Hamas welcomed the attack, describing it as a fitting “response” to Israeli actions in annexed East Jerusalem.
The attack came a day after a Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem was found hanged in his vehicle — which many Palestinians believe was a lynching by Jewish extremists, but Israel insists was a suicide.
Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, said the synagogue attack was a response to “the murder” of the driver.
The synagogue attack, which began shortyly before 7am (4pm AEDT) was a further escalation of violence in Jerusalem.
The attackers — cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber — were shot dead as they tried to escape. Both were in their 20s.
Two policemen were among the four killed, shot in a gunfight with the attackers.
One worshipper in the synagogue told Israel’s Channel 2 he was lucky to escape.
“The man with the knife approached me,” he said.
“There was a chair and table between us — my prayer shawl got caught. I left it there and ­escaped.”
The attack occurred during morning prayers in the synagogue in the southwestern Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Nof — an area with a large ultra-orthodox community.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samra said: “Two terrorists, apparently from East Jerusalem, entered a yeshiva in Har Nof and attacked worshippers with axes and a pistol. The two terrorists were ­neutralised.”
The attack came a day after riots in East Jerusalem triggered when bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni was found hanged in what his family and a co-worker believe was murder.
Israeli police said an autopsy on the 32-year-old father showed he had committed suicide.
Bus driver Muatasem Fakeh said he “saw signs of violence on his body”. “He was hanged over the steps at the back of the bus in a place where it would be impossible to hang yourself alone.”
The death of the bus driver set off new clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem.
In recent weeks the death toll has been rising as tensions have dramatically escalated.
The latest round of hostilities began after key figures in Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party — Moshe Feiglin and Tzipi Hotovely — urged Jewish activists to visit the compound in Jerusalem’s Old City that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque. While most rabbis insist Jews should not pray there as it leads to violence, the activists insisted they should, triggering confrontations in the Old City and around Jerusalem.
The EU has drawn up a document outlining possible sanctions against European companies that do business in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that after a series of announcements of new settlement building in the West Bank several European countries regarded as friends of Israel had decided to take action. It said the EU was examining responses to “acts by the Israeli government that are liable to make the two-state solution an impossibility”.
After a meeting in Brussels, the 28 members of the EU issued a statement. “Recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU and its member states remain committed to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The EU closely monitors the situation and its broader implications and remains ready to take further action to protect the viability of the two-state solution.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the document obtained by Haaretzwas “hypothetical” and that the EU’s aim was to encourage dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
Additional reporting: agencies

LYONS Nov 22: Settlers fuel cycle of bloodshed:

Settlers fuel cycle of bloodshed: fear is taking hold in Palestinian and Israeli homes

Middle East Correspondent

East Jerusalem homes razed in crackdown

East Jerusalem homes razed in crackdown
Israelis Killed In Synagogue Attack
Right-wing activists protest in Jerusalem. Source: Getty Images
ACROSS Israel, in Palestinian and Israeli homes, one unmistakable sentiment is taking hold: fear.
This week’s savage murder of four rabbis in their synagogue in Jerusalem has triggered a new round of hostility between these two ancient combatants.
The surge in violence is almost certain to get worse as there are few leaders on either side with the ability to speak to the other.
Israel’s swing to the right under Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have sealed the fate, for now, of a Palestinian state and the end of Israel’s 47-year occupation.
An opinion poll by the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs found 75 per cent of Israeli Jews oppose a two-state solution if the Palestinian entity is based on 1967 lines — the West Bank — and Israeli troops have to withdraw.
This reflects how Israelis have voted increasingly for candidates opposed to a Palestinian state.
An independent Palestine alongside Israel is the solution countries such as the US and Australia regard as the only chance to end the bloodshed since Israel was formed in 1948.
After Tuesday’s synagogue killings the thirst by some for revenge was clear. Within hours a gang of about 50 masked men left Yitzhar, home to some of the most violent settlers on the West Bank, and attacked Palestinians as soldiers standing near watched on.
Footage obtained by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din also shows the soldiers pointing their guns at Palestinians as settlers threw rocks at villagers. One settler fired towards the village.
Adding to the climate of revenge was the Ashkelon mayor Itamar Shimoni, who summarily fired Arab labourers working for the municipality. Mr Netanyahu called the sacking discriminatory but Housing Minister Uri Ariel endorsed it. “I suggest that everyone examine who is working for them,” Mr Uriel urged.
Most nights in Jerusalem clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces involving teargas and sometimes live ammunition can be heard.
Fear is seeping through neighbourhoods.
In East Jerusalem, a frightened mother sits in her apartment talking about how bad life has become.
“We won’t let our boy ride his bike outside. We’re worried that settlers who live five minutes away will try to kidnap him.”
The woman’s home is 2km from where 16-year-old Mohamed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped in June before having petrol poured on him and burnt alive. The day before men in a car tried to take a Palestinian boy off the streets but his parents fought them off. The man who led the Khdeir kidnapping told police: “They took three of ours (Jewish youths), let’s take one of theirs.”
A sports club for children in East Jerusalem now has guards in case of further kidnap attempts. Parents of Palestinian children at the French Lycee warn their children not to speak Arabic in public.
One Christian Palestinian executive, who works for the Catholic Church near the Old City, is now frightened to walk into the centre of Jerusalem “in case people realise I’m an Arab”.
On the Israeli side, the fear is just as palpable — in Haifa and Netanya parents want armed guards at kindergartens.
“The terror inspired by the massacre in the synagogue in Har Nof was patently evident not only in the streets of Jerusalem yesterday but across Israel,” Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
“And the impression is that the public sense of security has been dealt a mortal blow.”
In June a tense situation intensified after the bodies of three Israeli teenagers, who had been kidnapped as they waited for buses, were found near Hebron.
Then, in payback, Mohamed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped.
This violence is filling the vacuum left when the peace talks mediated by US Secretary of State John Kerry collapsed five months ago. Many on the Right in Israel were delighted when Kerry threw up his hands and left.
They had made clear what they thought of him — Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, a key figure behind Israel’s new surge in settlement growth, had branded Kerry “messianic” and “obsessive” in his effort to find peace.
“The only thing that can save us is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace,” he said.
While there was no Nobel Prize, Yaalon has got what he wished — the US has clearly consigned this conflict to the too-hard basket.
Into that vacuum have charged key members of Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party — particularly Moshe Feiglin and Tzipi Hotovely — who have reignited a campaign for Jews to pray next to the Al-Aqsa mosque — a site in Jerusalem referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount. This has stirred up religious tensions which had been managed — most rabbis in Israel forbid Jews from praying at the Temple Mount to avoid violence.
Over the last week both sides have targeted a place of worship for the other — last week Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque and this week the two Palestinians rampaged in the synagogue.
While the new battle for Al-Aqsa is the immediate cause of the violence the longer-term cause is Israel’s continuing expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, or Palestinian ­Territories.
Figures revealed in the Israeli media show the Netanyahu government is financing a massive growth in settlements — coinciding with the announcement of new settlement housing the day after the synagogue murders.
Figures for the 2015 budget show a rise of 240 per cent in Israel’s funding for the World Zionist Organisation’s settlement ­division.
The body was established to help remote Israeli communities in places like the Negev desert but in recent years much of the money has been diverted to the settlements, which are regarded as illegal under international law but which Israel says are legal.
Israeli Labor politician Stav Shaffir says this money is being diverted to settlements due to “an extortionist lobby of the extreme right wing”.
Israel’s settlements are clearly the main factor now fuelling the conflict: they are systematically eating up land which Palestinians say should be their state and are often being built on privately owned Palestinian land.
An Israeli data base prepared by the Defence Ministry showed that in more than 30 settlements extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure — roads, schools, synagogues, police stations and yeshivas — was on private Palestinian land.
Upon receiving the report, Israeli officials ordered that it be kept secret as it confirmed many of the allegations the international community had been making against Israel for years — that many of its settlements were built on stolen land.
But in 2009 someone leaked the data base to Haaretz: it showed that in about 75 per cent of settlements construction had been carried out illegally.
In addition to the settlements are more than 100 “outposts” — illegal under Israeli law but which Israel allows to grow.
In contrast, Palestinian villages in Area C — 60 per cent of the West Bank — must seek a permit from the Israeli army to build a new house or extra room, something rarely granted.
Anyone who drives across the West Bank today will see a skyline dominated by Jewish settlements.
Palestinians are not allowed to enter these gated communities — Israel has declared them “closed military zones” — and are not allowed to drive on many roads around them.
The skyline also features illegal outposts — these often begin with armed Jewish youths setting up a caravan on private Palestinian land and are then expanded into a larger community.
Any settler — even those in illegal outposts — who says they feel threatened will be provided with a gun, and training, by the Israeli army.
Many outposts are built by the “hilltop youth”, armed gangs which frequently roam the West Bank destroying olive trees owned by Palestinians or attacking Palestinians physically.
The outposts are a way settlements are growing “off the books” — they only become part of Israel’s official statistics when retrospectively legalised.
Amid the new violence, it seems there is only one chance to end this tragedy — an urgent political solution for a Palestinian state that would end Israel’s control over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.
The critics of such a two-state solution argue that this would not guarantee peace — and they may be right.
But what is guaranteed is that if the current course is continued there will be much more ­bloodshed.

letters 24/11 Israel’s rightward drift is a response to attack by Palestinians

Israel’s rightward drift is a response to attack by Palestinians

JOHN Lyons quite rightly points out the rise of the Israeli right wing under Benjamin Netanyahu (“Settlers fuel cycle of bloodshed”, 22/11) but seems to suggest this is Netanyahu’s doing. The opposite is true: the growing right wing keeps him in power. And the right wing has grown because of the evidence presented by Palestinians about their intentions.
In the 1990s Israelis still hoped for peace, resulting in the Oslo accord and the withdrawal from south Lebanon. Hamas bus bombings, Hezbollah missiles and Yasser Arafat’s suicide bombing campaign soured that faith and brought the pro-settler Ariel Sharon to power. Hamas’s use of Gaza to pour thousands of missiles into Israel confirmed what withdrawal from the West Bank would bring. New incitement by Mahmoud Abbas and recent lone-wolf terrorism only push Israelis further to the right. Relentless Palestinian aggression is the cause of Israel’s move to the right; Netanyahu and the settlers are only its beneficiaries.
Dov Midalia, Bondi Junction, NSW
JOHN Lyons’ report clearly shows that Israeli leadership is the real culprit. When a people such as the Palestinians are forced to live under a brutal military occupation, they have no choice but to rebel.
Lyons points out that an independent Palestine is the solution. Yet the US cannot promote this solution because of the stranglehold of the Israel lobby on the Congress. The democratic process in the US is corrupted by the same group that promotes the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from West Bank and Gaza.
Bill Mathew, Parkville, Vic

Thursday, 20 November 2014

great carr attacks nov 11

Carr’s position is based on fragments of the truth

BOB Carr becoming a friend of Palestinians is noble; his judgment of Israel is not and is faulty (“Why I’m now a friend of Palestine”, 8/11). It is true the Palestinians deserve a home, that there is a fanatical element in Israel — whose behaviour is often not acceptable — and that settlements around Jerusalem have grown, and that the occupation outlasted its welcome on both sides.
Yet his judgment is based on hearsay and fragments of the whole truth. Carr judges Israel by a small, largely controlled element, but ignores the large fanatical element among Palestinians. He assumes 30 religious MPs to be fanatical as if being religious equals fanaticism and concludes that Israel is a fanatical religious state, not a secular state. He’s wrong.
He judges the Israeli government for refusing to forcibly evacuate settlements, yet forgets it did so in 2005 in Gaza resulting in increased terror and war. He empathises with (as he claims) the Palestinian long search for peace, yet ignores their longer quest to destroy the state of Israel. Only a few days ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas openly declared (again) that Israel must go. Carr would better serve peace if he stood for the whole truth and not just its fragments.
Rachel Sussman, 
Brighton-Le-Sands, NSW
IN his criticisms of Israel developing as an “apartheid” state, Bob Carr seems to forget that the Israeli government did what he recommends in regard to settlers in Gaza. It uprooted them, using the Israeli army to compel them to leave the strip, and handed Gaza to the Palestinians.
Instead of further developing Gaza and enjoying the villas, gardens and orchards the settlers left behind, Hamas spent its time fruitlessly firing rockets into Israel.
Carr may wax enthusiastic about a two-state solution, but he has yet to find a credible Palestinian entity that genuinely wants such a solution rather than the total elimination of Israel as a Jewish state.
Babette Francis, Toorak, Vic
THE reaction to Bob Carr’s announcement that he has accepted an appointment as patron of the Friends of Palestine has been as predictable as it has been misguided. Why is being a friend of Palestine inconsistent with being a friend of Israel?
Australian bipartisan politics supposedly supports a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel. In a recent opinion poll, a majority of Australians indicated they support the immediate granting of Palestinian statehood. The same poll indicated that Australians believe that the federal government is biased in support of Israel at the expense of Palestine.
It is a matter of fact that Israel continues to confiscate more and more Palestinian land, to build more settlements on Palestinian soil and to avoid its obligations under international law to withdraw from land it has occupied. If Carr is to be condemned simply for stating facts, then what is at stake here is not his performance as foreign minister, but truth itself.
George Browning, president, 
Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, Long Beach, NSW
BOB Carr’s dislike of the Jewish lobby has now morphed into his propaganda war at the behest of the Palestinian lobby. With not a Jewish citizen alive among the Arabs in their nations or administered territories, he has the chutzpah to call Israel, with its 20 per cent Arabic citizens, as being an “apartheid” state.
Malvina Malinek, South Yarra, Vic
BOB Carr might congratulate himself on his conversion from supporting Israel to supporting those who would destroy it. Hamas is behind all terror attacks against Israel, because its charter is to destroy the state.
What happened 40 years ago, was the rise of Arab power after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. The Arab oil-producing countries punished any country that was on the side of Israel, and began to intimidate other countries in the UN to vote with them or suffer the economic consequences.
Then Western media began to tell the story that Israel’s Arab enemies wanted it to tell — to malign the Jewish state in any way possible. Palestinians became victims, even when murdering Israeli children. And Israel’s left wing began to blame its own country for Palestinian rejectionism.
The lack of peace has nothing to do with settlers. Ask the settlers of Tel Aviv, who have just spent the past summer in bomb shelters.
Ruth Rosenberg, Caulfield, Vic

Bob Carr’s ludicrous epiphany

Bob Carr’s ludicrous epiphany

FORMER foreign minister Bob Carr has just become patron of Labor Friends of Palestine. Writing for us at the weekend, Mr Carr revealed he’d had an epiphany on Israel. He argued that the nation had “gone from secular to religious”. As well, Mr Carr claimed that fanatics in Israel’s government were promoting “apartheid”, fostering one set of racially based laws for the Jewish minority and an inferior set for the Palestinian majority. As pleas for attention go, this was both spectacular and pitiful. For someone who has had an abiding interest in international affairs, is a boastful student of history and, with Bob Hawke, launched Labor Friends of Israel in 1977, something is wrong and seriously out of kilter.
If this were only a random display of relevance deprivation syndrome by Mr Carr in his dotage it would be sad. But the one-time premier of NSW is a consummate operator, with an eye for a headline and a nose for mischief. We cannot say what is in his heart, but his analysis is deeply flawed and deserves to be exposed. In some ways Mr Carr is falling into the Left’s posture trap of late that has seen Labor MP Melissa Parke in lock step with the ratbags of the sorry boycott, divestment and sanctions cavalcade that lays the blame for the ills of the Middle East on Israel. On the other flank, of course, are the rabid Holocaust deniers. It’s an ugly pincer movement that is trying to assault not just a vibrant democracy but the only functioning one in that troubled region.
Far from being a polity of fanatics, Israel is a pluralist, if sometimes rowdy and passionate, state that does not discriminate against Palestinians; its laws are ethnically blind. An incendiary term such as apartheid does Mr Carr no credit, drawing a parallel between two systems, histories and struggles that are unrelated. Palestinians have lived well in Israel and have enjoyed all the rights of normal citizenship. Some have pointed to the dividing wall on the West Bank as an act of hostility, but Israel has an obligation to protect its children from the clear and present threat of attack. No one wants to see atrocities such as car bombs at school bus stops, but this is the grim reality for Israelis.
Mr Carr wrote that the kibbutz was once the symbol of Israel, now it is the settlement. He will recall that in good faith Israel withdrew from some settlements in 2005, handing Gaza to the Palestinians. This did not improve life for Palestinians. Rather, it gave Hamas a handy site to launch its rockets at Israel. Like our major political parties, The Australian supports a two-state solution in the Middle East. But it is not going to happen when one side works in tandem with a terrorist group that wants to wipe Israel from the face of the planet. It is a matter of deep shame that the Palestinian people have been used by militants as human shields and are seen as expendable for an extremist cause; ordinary Palestinians, too, have been poorly served by their politicians. In truth, their cause has gone backwards. They have been on the cusp of progress often, only for hope to be extinguished. In the first Oslo Accord in 1993, Israel offered Palestinians a generous deal; this was repeated, in various forms, in 2000, 2005 and 2008. Foolishly, these olive branches were rejected or met with hostility. A homeland has slipped beyond the reach of Palestinians. Mr Carr is not naive; he knows history and politics. Once a prominent friend, he has done Israel — and the cause of lasting peace — a disservice.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


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