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Palestinians Join International Criminal Court

icc_logoEarlier this year, we reported on the Palestinian Authority’s move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), in hopes of bringing war crimes charges against Israel. The Times of Israel reports that today, the P.A. officially became a member of the ICC:

The Palestinian Authority became a member of the International Criminal Court in Wednesday and was marking the occasion with a low-key ceremony at the court’s headquarters.

Palestinians signed the court’s founding treaty in January and their membership came into force Wednesday, an event welcomed by activists who see it as an opportunity to bring accountability to years of conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

Israel is not a member of the ICC, but the country’s military and civilian leaders could now face charges if they are believed to have committed crimes on Palestinian territory…

Beyond seeking war crimes charges against Israel at the court, the Palestinians want the UN Security Council to set a deadline for an Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank and hope for new momentum of a Palestinian-led international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 11:58 AM  | Stand For Israel

Resisting the Pressure

U.S. President Barack Obama with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud AbbasThere are increasing indications that Western powers will seek to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations right after the Israeli elections on March 17. Dore Gold writes at The Algemeiner that no matter how the elections turn out, Israel’s government must stand firm in resisting the pressure to agree to a dangerous deal:

Whatever government Israel elects on March 17 will have to be firm in resisting the pressures that are likely to mount. The most immediate demand to be made is that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, with “limited” land swaps, as the U.N. draft resolution [from December 2014] recommended. In past interviews, such as the one he gave to The New York Times on Feb. 7, 2011, [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas clarified that his idea of a “limited land swap” involved 1.9 percent of the West Bank. This miniscule land swap in no way could offset the huge concession he was demanding of Israel — to agree to the 1967 borders.

This land swap would not provide enough territory to protect Israeli settlement blocs. Leaks to Al Jazeera of past negotiations under Olmert indicate that the Palestinians refused to concede the large settlements of Ariel and Maale Adumim. In short, Abbas’ land swaps would leave thousands of Israelis on territory that the Palestinians expect to be theirs. The concept of 1967 borders with land swaps is a non-starter.

The pressure on Israel to agree to a nearly full withdrawal on the basis of the 1967 lines also directly impacts Israel’s security — yet another reason for any Israeli government to resist such a demand. Ironically, just as this pressure can be expected to increase, the current chaos in the Middle East makes such a withdrawal more dangerous than ever. The vacuum created by the breakdown of several Arab states, like Syria and Iraq, has allowed for the growth of a new breed of terrorist organizations, like Islamic State, that are far more challenging than the…

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 9:23 AM  | Stand for Israel

PLO Calls for End to Security Cooperation with Israel

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

(Photo: White House/ Paul Morse)

Earlier this year, we reported on the Palestinian move to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since that time, Israel has been withholding money from the Palestinians. Now, The Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has called for an end to security cooperation with Israel:

The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s central council decided Thursday to end security cooperation with Israel, in a potentially explosive move after the Jewish state cut off a key source of funds.

The PLO council decided “to stop security cooperation in all its forms with the occupying power” which it urged to “take over full responsibility for the Palestinian people in the occupied State of Palestine, the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.”

A source close to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israel Radio that the council’s decision was a recommendation only. Another Palestinian official said that Abbas must issue a presidential order ending the security cooperation with Israel.

Israel has been withholding tax revenue from the Palestinians since they decided to join the International Criminal Court last month …

Palestinian leaders have threatened to cut security ties with Jerusalem in the past, but cooperation held as both sides had a shared interest in maintaining the arrangement.

Israel sees security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as a vital part of its efforts to stymie attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers and gain intelligence on the ground.

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015 at 3:20 PM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinians Escalating West Bank Tensions

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

We’ve reported on the Palestinian Authority’s various tactics to pressure Israel – including their attempts to wage diplomatic warfare against the Jewish state and their threats to halt security cooperation. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Yaakov Lappin says that such maneuvers are increasing tensions in the West Bank, making it a dangerous region with the greatest potential for violence in the coming year:

As tensions in the West Bank between Israel and the Palestinians continue to grow, the West Bank is now the least stable arena in Israel’s environment, and the risk of a new, large-scale wave of violence breaking out in this area next month is rising steadily.

Already, IDF personnel serving in the West Bank have noted a significant spike in violent incidents across their sector of operation …

Several factors are colluding to make the West Bank the most likely region to flare up in 2015.

The first is the attempt by Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to initiate a diplomatic confrontation with Israel, by using international legal institutions for his attack.

Aside from the significant challenges Abbas’s maneuver poses to Israel on the legal, political, and “international legitimacy” fronts, the PA president may be playing with fire, and end up igniting the Palestinian street.

Abbas’s goal appears to be to limit the confrontation with Israel to the diplomatic arena, but his chances of preventing violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces have been decreasing by the week.

Palestinians’ frustrations with the lack of economic growth in the West Bank, and the lack of any diplomatic progress in talks between Ramallah and Israel, are filling the air with explosive fumes. The more concentrated the fumes, the easier it will be for any spark to ignite them.

Ongoing incitement to hatred, by both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Fatah and at the grassroots level (such as the Palestinian community’s Facebook pages), adds to the tension …

In recent weeks, PA officials have threatened to put an end to security coordination between Israel and PA. Although…

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Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 at 8:31 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Palestinian Welcome?

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/ASHERNET)

Canada has given the Palestinian Authority over 700 million dollars in aid over the past ten years. So how was Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird welcomed during his visit to the West Bank last week? By Palestinians pelting his vehicle with eggs and shoes, holding signs reading “You are not welcome in Palestine,” and shouting insults at the Canadian diplomat.

The Palestinians are angry at Canada for having the common sense and moral integrity to vote down last month’s unilateral attempt to gain statehood through the U.N. Security Council. And when the Palestinian Authority joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) two weeks ago – where they are currently submitting charges against Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity – Canada was one of the first nations to condemn the move.

Over the years – and especially under Stephen Harper’s leadership – Canada has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies. Yet they have gone to great measures not to turn their backs on the Palestinians or the prospect for peace.

While other democratic countries, especially those in Europe, have taken up the Palestinian cause to try and win favor with Arab countries, Canada has stood firmly on the side of truth, on the side of morality, and on the side of genuine peace – the side on which Israel stands and has always stood.

To win favor with Palestinians, it is not enough to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into projects aimed at improving their lives… their leadership’s attempts to strip Israel of its legitimacy and right to self-defense must be supported, as well. Canada – which supports a two-state solution, but demands the Palestinians offer peace in return for land, and not more intensified violence – is seen as the enemy.

After twenty years of “peace talks,” tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid, countless Israeli concessions and unilateral land withdrawals, the Palestinian public is even more radicalized and opposed to peace than they were before the whole peace process began.

- Ami Farkas

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Monday, January 26th, 2015 at 1:21 PM  | Stand for Israel

Struggling to Understand Hatred

(Photo: flickr/synnetonidas)

(Photo: flickr/synnetonidas)

I want to believe – and most times I do – that not every Palestinian wants me dead. I don’t want to look for the exit every time a Palestinian walks into a café or gets on a bus. I really want some semblance of normalcy with my neighbors, though I’m painfully aware that significant segments of their society harbor immense hatred toward my people, and even call for our destruction.

Every once in a while I’ll have a pleasant encounter with a Palestinian and I imagine a light at the end of this dark tunnel of conflict. I’ll hope that one day Israelis will no longer have to wait in rocket-proof bus stops in Sderot. I’ll hope that someday soon we’ll no longer have to build homes equipped with bomb shelters. And I’ll hope that maybe, just maybe, one day I can toss our funny-looking gas masks in the trash, or use them as Purim costumes for my kids.

But then I read something like this:

Palestinians have uploaded an instructional video on the internet that shows would-be attackers the most lethal ways to stab somebody. The step-by-step video, titled “How to stab correctly,” was circulated on YouTube and its links were shared with the Facebook and Twitter groups of Palestinian organizations and activists in East Jerusalem, the Hebrew news site NRG reported Saturday.

Strangely enough, this shocking video made me think of my parents. Their childhood in Eastern Europe was spent running from the Nazis, and while they were fortunate enough to have survived, most of their cousins and grandparents were not. And yet, I was never taught to hate all Germans because of what the Nazis did to our ancestors.

Instead, my parents were impressed by what Germany had become after WWII. And while I learned about the Holocaust and the appalling anti-Semitism that caused it, I was always reminded that good people reside everywhere and in every culture.

As for Palestinians, my father served in the IDF during both the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur

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Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 at 7:55 AM  | Stand For Israel

The True Nature of Terror

(Photo: Flickr/ IDF)

(Photo: Flickr/ IDF)

I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of young Palestinians with slingshots in their hands and keffiyehs wrapped around their heads, hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers who are armed to the teeth and clad in the best protective gear money can buy. These images portray a conflict wherein Israel is strong – even invulnerable, you might say – up against a Palestinian “resistance” that looks weak, even harmless. But this, and many similar images, are extremely deceiving, and have misled an entire world about the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A crucial image necessary to forming an educated opinion about the Arab-Israeli conflict is indeed a photo of a Palestinian with a slingshot in his hand and a keffiyeh wrapped around his head. But this time he’s not aiming at well-armed soldiers. He’s aiming at two-year-old Israeli toddler, or an eleven-year-old Israeli girl riding in a car from school with her parents.

If you want to tell the real story of the Israeli fight against terror – and the Palestinian’s quest for statehood – you must make that photo front and center. Because that is the reality that we face here in Israel on a daily basis. The terrorists are not only targeting Israel’s strong and brave soldiers, as the media would have you believe. They are targeting women, they are targeting children, school kids at bus stops, and the elderly – whoever is vulnerable and can be easily harmed.

The full picture of this conflict is rarely if ever shown in mainstream news outlets, because such images would certainly change the way the world thinks about it. It might even tip world’s view to Israel’s benefit – a terrifying thought for many opinion makers.

Although rarely reported, terror against Israeli children has been rampant here. Just last week, an eleven-year-old Israeli girl named Ayala was driving home from a math class with her father when their car got firebombed. Two Palestinian teenagers hurled Molotov cocktails at the car carrying Ayala home.

The firebomb broke the…

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Monday, December 29th, 2014 at 3:21 PM  | Stand For Israel

Why a Palestinian State Will Become a Source of Instability

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

(Photo: flickr/ crazymaq)

Tensions and violence in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel have risen. Palestinian leadership incites their people, while also threatening to pursue statehood on the international level. But if Palestinian statehood should occur, writes Khaled Abu Toameh, Palestinians will still be the problem of Israel and the West, and a continuing source of instability throughout the Middle East:

The Palestinians know very well that if and when they have a state of their own, they will never be able to rely on their Arab brethren.

The Arab countries have a long record of turning their backs on the Palestinians, not only with regard to financial aid promises, but even when it comes to basic needs such as medical treatment.

But what will happen after the creation of a Palestinian state? Palestinians say they do not have high expectations that the Arab countries will help them build their state.

Today, it is much easier for Palestinians to receive medical treatment in Israel, Turkey and Germany than in most of the Arab countries …

While the Egyptians continue to seal off their border with the Gaza Strip, Israel has become the only hope for the 1.7 million Palestinians living there.

In the period between November 18 and 23, some 2,966 crossed the Erez border crossing with Israel in both directions, according to the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.

In addition, some 1,490 trucks carrying thousands of tons of goods entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom terminal along the border with Israel during the same period. The goods consisted of food, construction materials, input for agriculture and medicine products.

How many Arab trucks loaded with goods entered the Gaza Strip over the past month? None.

This is precisely what Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries want: to turn the Gaza Strip into an Israeli, and not Arab, problem.

There is good reason to believe that the Arabs are not going to change their attitude toward the Palestinians once a Palestinian state is…

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Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 8:57 AM  | Stand For Israel

A Society Indoctrinated

(Photo: ASHERNET)

(Photo: ASHERNET)

The recent wave of terrorism in Israel – with cars being used as rockets to target and kill civilians, and stabbings being carried out in broad daylight – is despicable. It also says a lot about Palestinian society, where such attacks are not only condoned but are met with praise.

In the 20 years since the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian Authority’s creation, Palestinian society has been indoctrinated to hate Jews, an indoctrination the likes of which has not been seen since the fall of Nazism.  Is it any surprise that so many Palestinians are willing to kill Jews even if it gets them killed in the process?

The biggest innovations in Palestinian society during this time have been methods of killing. Once it was suicide bombs. Then it was rockets. This summer we discovered a subterranean tunnel network that would facilitate the kidnapping and killing of Jewish men, women, and children. And now, mowing down Israelis with a car.

Israel’s security establishment cannot keep up with the ever-changing tactics used by Palestinians to target Israeli civilians. And unfortunately, because of decades of incitement and the indoctrination of a whole generation of Palestinians, the chances of lasting peace grow slimmer and slimmer.

Who’s to fault for the violence?

Many people in the West blame Israel. They point to the lack of a peace accord and blame Israel’s construction in Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank – even construction in those areas which no Israeli leader on the left or right would ever relinquish. But to those who hold such views, Palestinian violence is not terrorism. To them, it is a legitimate form of resistance.

The reality is that the Palestinian Authority is to blame. Under their leadership, Hamas was allowed and encouraged to grow and to build a terror network. The P.A. facilitated incitement in Palestinian schools and summer camps, and in the media. The P.A. has continuously glorified “martyrs” who kill Israeli civilians, and has made it their mission to free terrorists from Israeli jails and throw them a…

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Thursday, November 13th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand for Israel

What Will Palestinian Christian Leaders Say Now?

(Photo: flickr/ joshhough)

(Photo: flickr/ joshhough)

The recent violence in Israel has become unbearable. Two are dead – a young woman and an IDF soldier – from terrorist stabbings. Four more have died from attacks that saw terrorists drive vehicles into crowds. Riots and fighting threaten daily life in and around Jerusalem. How will it stop? How can it be stopped? Dexter Van Zile writes that one group that could help ease the strife is made up of Christians:

What we see has all the makings of a Third Intifada that will cost hundreds, if not thousands, of people their lives. It will make life more difficult for both Jews and Arabs.

If the violence continues unabated, there will be more checkpoints in the West Bank and it will be more difficult for Palestinians to get into Israel to work or worship in Jerusalem’s Holy Places.

Tourism will decline, costing shop owners in both Jerusalem and Bethlehem the income they need to survive. A Third Intifada will simply be a disaster for Israelis and Palestinians.

Clearly, somebody in Palestinian society needs to come forward and speak words of peace to their fellow Palestinians.

One group that should be in a position are Christians living in Bethlehem, particularly those associated with Bethlehem Bible College and The Holy Land Trust, located nearby.

Both of these institutions were established by the Awad family, a prominent Christian family in Bethlehem.

For the past few decades, these Christians, who have close ties to the Palestinian Authority, have portrayed themselves as a force for peace and development in Palestinian society.

They have done this at Christ at the Checkpoint Conferences organized by Bethlehem Bible College, where Israel is condemned left right and center for its actions and where Palestinian and Arab violence is downplayed or condoned.

These Christian activists now face a test.

Will they condemn their fellow Palestinians who have run over Israelis with their cars in Jerusalem?

Will they condemn their fellow Palestinians who have stabbed Israelis in…

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at 8:07 AM  | Stand for Israel

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Rabbi’s Commentary
A Light unto the Nations

As we continue to pray for the people of Nepal, who have suffered so greatly from the massive earthquake that rocked their nation last Saturday…


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