Muslims Claim South Pole

One of two applications to have the South Pole declared a Muslim holy site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is predicted to pass by a large majority despite threat of a walkout by the Norwegian delegation and a hotly contested rivalry between the two claimants.

A joint application submitted by Egyptian, Palestinian, and Syrian committee members claims that the South Pole was discovered by Saladin’s seventh son, Mas’ud, in 1194, a year after his father’s death in Damascus.

A rival petition by Turkish representatives states that the South Pole was discovered instead by an expedition sent by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1540, two years after the capture of Aden in present day Yemen. “Muslim sailors were trading with North America centuries before Columbus, it’s a known fact,” said Yūsuf ibn Haddagan, Head of the Turkish delegation. “The expedition sailed from Istanbul in three ships, and reached the South Pole with a team riding 70 fast camels.”

“These claims are ridiculous. Everyone knows that in December 1911 Roald Amundsen was the first man to reach the South Pole,” said Norwegian representative Thor Hedd. “I will not stand for politically motivated attempts to change history, even by the peaceful Palestinian people who lived in Palestine centuries before the Jews.”

Palestinian Minister of Misinformation, Mahmoud Taqiyya, offered copies of photographs taken on the Mas’ud expedition as well as a diary of the twelfth century polar explorer as historical evidence of the claim that Saladin’s son was first to reach the Pole.

“PHOTOSHOPPED!” charged ibn Haddagan.

“A Turk couldn’t find the South Pole with both hands,” countered Taqiyya, throwing the photos into the air.

“Mas’ud used WAZE, and I can show you a screen shot” replied Haddagan, prompting a tumult in the conference room. When he regained the microphone, he continued “I mean Google Maps, not that Zionist piece of garbage, which was stolen from an engineering student from Ankara by the Mossad anyway…”

The Norwegian delegation was heard to protest that neither photography or GPS was available in the twelfth or fifteenth centuries. Shouted down, they threatened again to walk out of the hearing.

UNESCO has scheduled a vote on the applications next week, along with nominations to declare the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel Muslim holy sites.

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Digging up Arafat – Post-Palestinian Theater of the Absurd

Any reasonable chance of a “Palestinian state” died long before Yasser Arafat breathed his last in a Paris hospital. With a blaze of fresh publicity, the Palestinian Authority recently exhumed Arafat’s body from its crypt for “forensic tests” to prove the claim that he was poisoned by Israel. Just what these tests will prove is anyone’s guess. But natural causes from his numerous lingering illnesses from a dissipated life of excess are not leading contenders for the expected results. It is a prime example of what I have come to call Post-Palestinian Theater of the Absurd.

At the latest, the Post-Palestinian era began with Arafat’s death and the crowning of his bag man and crony, Mahmoud Abbas, as President of the Palestinian Authority. It’s hard to take Abbas seriously when his only talent seems to be refusing to come to the negotiating table, and saying “no” to every possible statehood plan offered him. Nevertheless, even though he lost control of half of his Palestinian state when Hamas took over Gaza in 2006, and his term of office ended in 2009, the world still acts like he is in control of the Palestinian state in waiting. In reality, he and his shrinking Fatah party are mostly huddled in Ramallah while Hamas and even more radical factions extend their terror cells into the so-called West Bank.

Oh, but he just got Palestine voted into the UN as a non-member state, 138 to 9 with 41 abstentions. Isn’t that a major step on the road to statehood? But, what is a non-member state at the UN? The only one most people can think of is the Vatican. The UN vote is just more post-Palestinian theater.

A real state takes care of its people: raises its own taxes, builds the needed infrastructure, encourages an economy, and had fairly well defined borders. The Palestinian Authority and the state it has declared has spent the past 18 years doing very few of these things. It has lived off unprecedented international gifts and loans, and built a police force to oppress its own people while offering little of substance. Pull the plug on the free money and what do you have left? Not much.

I Googled the terms “post Zionist” or “post Zionism” recently and got more than 50,000 hits. Trying the same search with the terms “post Palestinian” got a mere handful, and only eight mentions in the past year. The term postpalestinianism got none.
What is the point of my little online experiment? I would argue that the words that people use tend to shape their thinking. We live in a world that has gotten very used to the term post Zionist, but is just barely beginning to conceive of the concept of post Palestinian. It’s time to think a little faster, and a lot deeper, because we are already deep into the post-Palestinian era. However, most people seem to be clinging to the nostrum of a “two-state solution” and ignoring the evidence.

Let’s start with defining our terms. Consider the following definition from a 1,200 word article on the subject in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia:

Post-Zionism refers to the opinions of some Israelis, diaspora Jews and others, particularly in academia, that Zionism has fulfilled its ideological mission with the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and that Zionist ideology should therefore be considered at an end.

A note carefully adds that neutrality of this article is disputed. Search Wikipedia for an entry for post Palestinian and there is none. Apparently all the free-wheeling intellects in the online world have not set down a definition of the term. So, let me try to define what I mean by post Palestinian.

Rather than an idea or ideology that has fulfilled its goals and is therefore no longer relevant, I would define post Palestinian as:

 Post Palestinian: an idea that had failed to achieve any of its goals, and is increasingly irrelevant, if not downright detrimental, to the people it is supposed to represent.

Consider the first part of the definition, “an idea that has failed to achieve any of its goals.”

Now think over this while reading the following excerpts from Wikipedia about some basic “facts”:

• The Palestinian Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974.
• The PLO was considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991.
• The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel, as a five-year interim body, during which final status negotiations between the two parties were to take place. As of 2011, more than sixteen years following the formulation of the PA, a final status has yet to be reached.
• November 17, 1998, Israel’s 120 member parliament, the Knesset, approved the Wye River Memorandum by a vote of 75–19 agreeing to turn over approximately 97 percent of the so-called West Bank, Golan and Gaza areas to the PA

I could add that former prime minister Ehud Olmert offered a similar deal in 2006. It was rejected outright.

Has Palestinianism achieved any of its goals here? Not even close. In fact, the record of efforts to create a Muslim-ruled state in the Jewish homeland has consistently failed since the UN partition in 1948. Three major wars: 1956, 1967 and 1973, plus an un-ending terror war against the Jewish people have proved time and again that there is no partner for peace here.

What about the second part of my definition: “is increasingly irrelevant, if not downright detrimental, to the people it is supposed to represent.”

Consider this report released in November 2012 by the Jerusalem Institute for Justice
According to research conducted by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, the Palestinians have received an estimated 25 times more aid, per capita, than European citizens under the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction and economic recovery of Europe following WWII (adjusted for currency inflation).

The Palestinian leadership, rather than improving the living conditions of their people with this funding, have instead violated their human rights through arbitrary detentions, torture and cruel punishment, restriction of freedom of the press, denial of religious and minority rights, and oppression of women and children. (http://jij.org.il/blog/?p=952)
Even the PA-loving US State Department in its 2012 annual report on human rights criticized Palestinian security forces for “abusing detainees and restricting civil liberties.” It noted widespread social discrimination and abuse against women, discrimination against persons with disabilities, and child labor remained serious problems.”

The great Soviet socialist experiment took over the vast Russian empire in 1918 and became the world’s second greatest superpower for almost half a century before crumbling into a cluster of states of the former Soviet Socialist Republic (FSSR). A few diehards may argue that communism is a viable system—and most of them are in Israel—but one of the greatest “isms” of the twentieth century is dead and buried.

I think it’s time to hold a wake for another entrenched “ism” whose time is long gone: “Palestinianism,” an idea that had failed to achieve any of its goals, and is increasingly irrelevant, if not downright detrimental, to the people it is supposed to represent. Maybe Yasser’s body will show up at the party.

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A modest proposal “land for war” instead of “land for peace”

I emigrated to Israel in 2004, just in time to get caught up in the national debate over disengagement from Gush Katif, the Israeli communities in the Gaza strip. In the past eight years, I have witnessed the utter failure the “land for peace” policy that handed over flourishing Jewish communities to our sworn enemies. The idea at the time was to “disengage” ourselves from the “Palestinians[i],” and give them the whole Gaza strip so that they could practice jihad in peace. These peace loving Palestinians soon voted Hamas into power and began a reign of terror over themselves and everyone within Kassam and Grad rocket range that continues until today.

More than 12,000 rockets and mortar shells later, we are again posting daily rocket counts. Most reasonable people would take this as ample evidence that the policy of disengagement, also called land for peace, is not working.

So, I have a modest proposal: if land for peace doesn’t work, how about trying “land for war?”

Here’s how it would work. Every time someone fires a rocket, mortar, or artillery shell from the Gaza strip at Israel, we take back a certain amount of land. That is, if they
make war, we take away land, instead of giving it away. The more war, the more land.

I propose drawing an imaginary line from the northwestern most point of the seacoast of the Gaza strip to the southwestern most point on the coast. We are very good at drawing imaginary lines in Israel: Green Lines, Red lines, I don’t care what color we call this line, it is the next imaginary line that counts. At a right angle to this north-to-south imaginary line, we draw a line perpendicular to it that runs east to west and starts at the northern most tip of the Gaza Strip. Perhaps we can call this line the “Black Line.” That sounds ominous and final enough.

Now, what I propose is to move this imaginary black line south one meter for each rocket or mortar shell that falls on Israel. Once a year we move the border south the appropriate number of meters. I suggest making this annual adjustment on “Nabka Day” since it is already a day of rage and mourning in certain quarters of Israel. Only instead of mourning losing the war they started in 1948, Gazans can mourn the past year’s failings of their leadership to take any reasonable steps towards peace. They can mourn all the lost opportunities to make peace with the State of Israel that gave them all of Gaza in 2005, and offered them 97 percent of the so-called West Bank as recently as the Olmert government in 2009.

So, each Nabka day, anti-Israel activists can film the bulldozers doing their grim work, moving the border X meters south and soldiers stringing new barbed wire. After all, if we build a fence in attempt to keep peace with our neighbors, it is world news and an international crime. They can vilify us all they want – but it will be a direct consequence of making war instead of peace.

Think a moment about the tremendous opportunity that was lost in 2005. The 1.5 million residents of Gaza were handed full control of 30 plus kilometers of prime Mediterranean beachfront property. And the nations of the world lined up to pledge more than a billion dollars to help them develop it. If you gave 1.5 million Jews a billion dollars and tens of thousands of acres of beachfront property, the result would be another Miami Beach, or a second Tel Aviv within a decade.

What did the Gazans do? First they burned the empty synagogues. All of them. Then they smashed a lot of the 10,000 greenhouses, just for fun, never mind that Bill Gates and friends paid for keeping them standing. OK, they did make an attempt to recover a fraction of the flourishing hydroponic vegetable and flower business that the entrepreneurs of Gush Katif had built from scratch in the desert sands along this dry coast. Nobody is very impressed.

I had the privilege of joining a work crew in Gush Katif AFTER the official withdrawal. Several kibbutzim got permission to dismantle a handful of greenhouses over the course of one week, and move them by truck to a new location in central Israel. On taking a few of these apart, I came to appreciate the ingenuity and marvelous economy of these seemingly fragile structures. But I digress.

Let’s take a look at how this would have played out had the policy been in force over the past decade. Here is the raw data, as of this morning (Nov 18, 2012) from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Missile+fire+from+Gaza+on+Israeli+civilian+targets+Aug+2007.htm

Suppose we started our rocket count in 2001, when Hamas launched its first rockets at Israel. Before that, it was some other terrorist group. According to the MFA: “On April 16, 2001 the then Saudi Arabian-backed Hamas terrorist organization launched its first rocket into Israel. To date, more than 12,700 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel.” [ii]

Let’s see what the Google Earth map of Gaza would look like if we had implemented the one meter per rocket rule at various points in recent history. If, instead of our unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, we had implemented the “land for war” plan, Gaza City would now be a garden by the sea instead of a nest of dysfunctional terrorists and those too poor to leave.

But, let’s bend over backwards and be really fair. Rather than hold Hamas responsible for the damage it did before it was the duly-elected ruling party of the Gaza strip. What if we started our bombs for land policy upon leaving Gaza in 2005, since Hamas is now the elected government of Gaza, perhaps we can hold them responsible. We  could even give them a few month grace period and start the rocket clock ticking at the start of 2006. Our newly elected Hamas government would have mourned the loss of a mere 1.123 kilometers of territory at the end of 2006. Sorry, I don’t have the daily data to compute where the line would have been draw for Nabka Day.

However, if that failed to change their terrorist ways, and they continued with 2,427 rockets in 2007 and 3,272 meters taken away in 2008 – perhaps the Cast Lead operation would not have been necessary. Certainly it would have been easier to carry out with the Black Line cutting through the northern quarter Gaza City. And the line would have moved even father south at the end of 2011. [iii]

But, what about the poor homeowners whose houses would be razed in my draconian plan? After all, it probably wasn’t their individual faults that Hamas gained ascendancy over all of Gaza. What about them?

Well, what do you say we give them a few choices? They can choose to become Israeli citizens, with the same full rights and privileges accorded our 1.5 million current Arab citizens – or they can choose to stay in Gaza. In either case we could afford to offer fair compensation for their property and allow them ample opportunity and assistance to move their personal property. Really. It would be cheaper than invading every four years to keep the peace.

How long would it take Hamas to crumble and Gaza to decide to live in peace? Good question. At the present rate, Gaza as we know it would be gone in another 20 some years. Perhaps at some point they would vote to become part of Egypt – but it doesn’t look like the Egyptians want them at this point. Not my problem.

Anyway, for what it’s worth. That’s my modest proposal. Think about it each time you check the daily rocket  count.


[i] I put “Palestinian” in quotes because it is debatable if there really is a Palestinian people, rather than a collection of immigrant Arabs from around the Middle East who happened to be living in Israel in 1948, when Palestinian stopped meaning Jews and everyone else living here in the British Palestine Mandate. Yes, there are some “Palestinian” families who have probably lived here continuously since being converted to the new religion of Islam in the first Arabian conquest in about 600 CE. But there has also  been a continuous occupation of Jews in this land since the times of Joshua, despite massacres and expulsions too numerous to name.

[ii] On April 16, 2001 the then Saudi Arabian-backed Hamas terrorist organization launched its first rocket into Israel. To date, more than 12,700 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel endangering the lives of more than 1,000,000 civilians.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Missile+fire+from+Gaza+on+Israeli+civilian+targets+Aug+2007.htm

[iii] 11/14/2012: Since the beginning of 2012, 797 rockets have been identified in Israeli territory; 1,345 since Operation Cast Lead. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Palestinian_ceasefire_violations_since_end_Operation_Cast_Lead.htm

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