Sunday, February 16, 2014

Palestinians deprive their own people of clean water for propaganda...and the world accepts it !

Last week's brouhaha in the Israeli parliament caused by European Parliament President Martin Schulz erroneous claim,  during a guest speech in The Knesset, that Palestinians living in the West Bank are allotted one-fourth of the amount of water that Israelis are allotted is a perfect example of all that is wrong in the world discussions and activism around the Palestinian  / Israeli conflict. I have always said that this is a complicated nuanced situation, which is not helped by the vast amount of misinformation and incitement pouring from the Palestinian side, accepted as truth by a world eager to believe the "under dog". Water is a perfect example:

Schulz was wrong - of that there is no question - and he has  accepted that believing a Palestinian youth he had met that day without checking the information was a mistake but I do not think the Palestinian youth believed he was lying and I would guess that most ordinary Palestinians believe exactly what Schulz's anonymous source had told him, but what is the truth? What are the facts? If we can't get to the reality to a situation, how are we going to be able to find real solutions?

First, lets be clear - Palestinians do not get as much water as Israelis, including those living in Judea / Samaria aka The West bank, but much of this is of their own causing as I will show below: On the positive side Israel has ensured that Palestinian water quality and quantity has improved dramatically since the area came under Israeli control in 1967, and  Palestinians have far better water supplies than the vast majority of people who live in most of the regions Arab nations. Israel is supplying the PA with more than 50 m.c.m. or 25% of its total needs – which, under the  Oslo Accords, is more than Israel is supposed to provide even a full-fledged Palestinian state under a final-status arrangement! 

Part of the problem with Palestinian water comes from the inefficiency and corruption of the Palestinian Authority and in part from the political desire to keep the issue as a weapon to beat at Israel, regardless of the suffering it causes the Palestinian people  - for example the PA has built just one sewage plant over the past 15 years, despite  a $500 million international donor fund available to them to build more. There are plans for building purification plants in several major Palestinian towns such as Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, paid for by donor countries, but the Palestinians have decided that they don’t want to build in the Oslo defined Areas A and B under their control, but only in Area C (which is under full Israeli military, and administrative control). Israel has stringent regulations for these and similar projects in other parts of Israel which the Palestinians have no interest in complying with ( and wouldn't have to in areas A & B) so they have built none of these plants. Where Israel has made an effort to help with West bank sewage treatment, such as the Wadi Kana trunk sewage pipe designed collect and recycle waste water from Palestinians and Jewish communities in parts of the disputed territories, the PA has refused to cooperate and hasn't connected the 11 Palestinian towns in the area to this new sewage line, preferring to dump raw sewage in the ground causing totally unnecessary environmental issues in their territory.

So are the Palestinians really short of water as they claim? Certainly they are correct that Israel has finally got enough water for its own purposes, after its world leading desalinization plants & water recycling technology has drastically reduced Israel's dependency on the Sea of Galilee  The Palestinians for their part have the large Eastern aquifer given entirely over for their use by Israel as part of the Oslo accords, which inexplicably they have barely begun to tap into and which should be producing at least another 60 m.c.m. per year. More than half the approved wells have not even been started by the PA, again despite international funding sitting waiting. 

In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority does give its tacit and unsubtle approval of the illegal tapping of pipes into Israel's primary water lines, stealing a massive amount of  water and connecting it directly into the PA water system. In 2012 the IDF discovered hundreds of these illegal connections to the main Mekorot pipeline. Cutting this supply line adds to the impression of Palestinians, reinforced culpably by the Palestinian Authority's propaganda machine (known derisively as Pallywood) that evil Israel is depriving ordinary Palestinians of their water, when in fact a  study by Professor Haim Gvirtzman in 2012 of Hebrew University’s Hydrology Studies Program, showed that 10 million cubic meters of Israel's water is being stolen each  year as a result of this Palestinian state-sanctioned theft ( which they also do not factor into their water statistics they send to international bodies and media.).

We must bear in mind that not only has Israel been meeting its international obligations under the 1995 Oslo accords, but consequently every Israeli pays far more for his or her water because Palestinians receive their water from Israel at a discount price and steal a huge amount more. On top of this  PA often reneges on its commitment to pay for the water it receives legally from Israel, partly to maintain the water filled political football and partly because funds donated (or raised from taxes)  to pay for water has inexplicably disappeared, presumably  into private bank accounts.  

The bottom line - Palestinian Authority has created a water crisis, and it sells this to the world as Israel starving the poor underdog Palestinians  of water - typical of apartheid Zionism. This fits into the Pallywood narrative but at what cost? What it needs is well intentioned leaders such as Martin Schulz to call Abbas on this deception - this would take at least one myth off the table. Again - we need to be talking about the REAL issues and not these Pallywood inventions. World leaders know what is happening even if the rabid boycott haters do not. It is for them to look at the facts, and tell the PA that it just won't wash. Do this with each myth and we'll be talking genuine solutions - finally.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Obama & Kerry's Meddling in Israeli / Palestinian Situation is The Diplomatic Equivalent of Medical Malpractice and here's why....

Imagine a doctor, confronted with a patient suffering from chronic sciatica, a gun shot wound, and a serious concussion, who decided to put all his effort into treating the sciatica. I'm assuming that he would eventually lose his license to practice medicine, after correct prioritizing is the essential basis of triage! 

Now consider President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry, surveying the Middle East with a quarter million dead in Syria; Iranian aspirations to rule Mid destabilizes the region, and threatening both Israel & The US; Lebanon teetering on the edge of civil war; Egypt crushing democracy; 330,000,000 Arabs across the Mid East denied basic democratic rights; and women in several countries treated to laws more severe than apartheid S.Africa ever imagined - what problem do they choose to devote their effort and resources? The Palestinian Israel conflict! Yes, like sciatica it is a painful and long term issue, which needs careful treatment and pain management, but in the face of potentially fatal wounds, to focus on Israel / Palestinian issue constitutes nothing short of  incompetence. 

In fact given that any Palestinian solution must involve the entire region for it to have any meaning or hope of success, Kerry's efforts are doomed to failure, where as intervention in Syria could save lives and in Egypt could steer the interim government to develop democratic institutes. A firm hand with Iran could have more positive effect on the region & Palestinians than any protracted fruitless peace talks - simply making it harder for Iran to fund and resupply Hamas and Hezbollah  would achieve that.

It appears that Obama and Kerry are simply trying to look like they are doing something important, to hide their impotence to deal with the wider Mid East issues, which lets be honest, Obama's mishandling from the day he arrived in office has been a major contributing factor. Their incompetent meddling - and lets remind ourselves that if they were doctors and the Region their patient, they'd be fired by their hospital by now - is very likely to lead to a resurgence in violence, even a third intifada. Nobody in Israel or Palestinian society benefits from that, yet Kerry is pushing. Abbas knows he can't make peace now, Hamas knows this too, as does the Israeli government, so what is this about? Its about President Obama and John Kerry's reputations, nothing more and that is - its malpractice! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Boycott SodaStream . Oxfam Debacle has backfired on the BDS Movement Exposing its Platform of Hypocrisy & Hatred That Hurts Palestinians Most Of All

Lets examine the facts: Sodastream is an alternative to Coke & Pepsi, and other carbonated bottled drinks, but for obvious reasons it is far more environmentally friendly - for one thing you reuse the bottles so far  less plastic manufacturing takes place! In fact the Carbon footprint of Sodastream is as much as 80% better than Coke or Pepsi.

What about social action? We've all heard that Sodastream is an" Israeli settler company", so you could easily assume that its good for Israelis and bad for least that's the knee jerk stupidity that Israel boycotts peddle - its what they hope the average person worldwide, not prejudiced but not well informed either, will think. What is disturbing is that organizations such as Oxfam don't seem able to see the difference between genuine campaigns for peace and dialogue in the MidEast and the Israel delegitimization BDS movement, based on a one sided hatred of Israel or worse, on antisemitism.  Sodastream may be based in a Jewish settlement in Judea aka The West Bank, but it employees hundreds of Palestinians who are paid above Israel's national average. These people work alongside Jewish Israelis in good conditions, have stable employment and have spoken out against the anti Sodastream publicity. BDS would have us believe that the mere presence of Jews in Judea is an obstacle to peace - they are advocating a population removal, an ethnic cleansing of Jews from their ancestral homeland, a place where Jews had lived uninterrupted for at least 2500 years until ethnically cleansed by Jordan  just 70 years ago. It is obscene to support the blatant racist policy of the Palestinian Authority "not one Jew" and yet the Boycott movement does exactly that, supported apparently by Oxfam and even the EU! 

If we are serious about talking peace between Israel & Palestinians, then living & working alongside each other is surely the best way to create mutual respect. Allowing Palestinians to have a share in the success of Israel, creating jobs, boosting the Palestinian economy and having arabs and Israelis interact and see each other colleagues rather than enemies, is surely something Oxfam and the entire "peace movement" should be applauding. If a Swedish firm were to attempt to establish an environmentally friendly company employing hundreds of arabs and Jews to work together in WB, I'm sure Oxfam would support it.

If the BDS movement had its way, the already awful unemployment in Palestinian world would be far worse, because any effort to create positive working bonds and financial interdependence between Israel & Palestinians would not be allowed. The result of their policy is poverty and anger, and that anger is inflamed by the constant incitement of the Palestinian Authority directing it at the evil Zionists. On a larger scale the Palestinian refugees have been kept trapped, stateless, without a future by the entire arab world for 70 years. By any normal moral situation these people would be citizens of the states they, and their parents have been born in, as with any other refugee population, but they are trapped in refugee camps, and in poverty, all the time being told the evil Zionists who stole their country are to blame. 

The world is complicit in this crime against humanity - humanitarian groups such as Oxfam supporting BDS are inf act supporting Palestinian poverty and incitement to violence, which is perpetuating their situation. On a regional scale the UN through the UNHRW has perpetuated Palestinian refugees farce for 3 generations. Simply look at its mission as compared to the UNHCR which has handled every single other refugee crisis since WW2 and you can see why the Palestinians are still refugees. This was obvious even in 1958 as the quote shows. The Palestinians are pawns of their Arab Brothers & the anti Israel movement, their future hope traded against Arab League policy & dominance of the UN, and the willingness & prejudice of "pro" Palestinians in the BDS movement to support the cause, even though while BDS irritates Israel, it destroys Palestinian lives.

Its time this farce - this crime against humanity -  ended and influential people and organizations give serious thought as to how to build Palestinian economic situation in West Bank through cooperation, and how to offer them citizenship and a future in the countries the refugees were born in. Perhaps they'll turn it down, out of Palestinian national pride, but I think the vast majority will grab it with both hands.

The Sodastream / Scarlett Johansson debacle, aside from no doubt giving Sodastream the best PR imaginable, to the chagrin of Coke & Pepsi, has finally shed a bright beam of light on the nasty side of the anti Israel movement - BDS. While that beam still shines lets tell the world that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve better than the hatred of the boycott / delegitimization movement. They deserve honest people, who care about peace not about making Israel suffer for being a Jewish state.