Israel Should Tell the International Observer Force to Leave Hebron

Jan. 11 2019

After Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 Palestinian worshippers in 1994, Israel was pressured to accept the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), a peacekeeping force whose presence has proved anything but temporary. Every three months, Jerusalem must renew its permission for the force to remain. Eugene Kontorovich argues that it’s time to send the observers home:

The anti-Israel bias of TIPH is built into its . . . mission of “promoting by [its] presence a feeling of security” for Palestinians in Hebron. Protecting Jews from constant terrorist attacks is not part of its job description. Members of the organization even veered from this narrow definition by attacking Jews in Hebron in the last year. The attackers were later pulled out of the country by the TIPH leadership without ever having to stand trial. TIPH has cooperated with radical [Israeli] groups like Breaking the Silence and leaked confidential reports to the press. The organization’s reports are full of anti-Israel claims that have no connection to its stated task. . . .

Unlike comparable UN forces, TIPH is not a separate international organization but an operational framework for security officials from five countries: Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland. These countries are themselves . . . often hostile to Israel. Turkey, the most blatant example, treats Israel as an enemy state. Ankara supports Hamas and has dispatched anti-Israel flotillas to Gaza, promotes anti-Semitic defamation, and works to undermine Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. Despite all this, Israel grants official immunity to Turkish representatives who photograph and video record Israeli soldiers and citizens. . . .

The continuation of TIPH’s mandate sends these countries the message that no matter how much they harm Israel, Israel will turn the other cheek. TIPH symbolizes the failure of Israeli foreign policy. Faced with a series of constant and ongoing campaigns against it, . . . Israel always reacts out of diplomatic anxiety; . . . as a result, the status quo continues unabated at the country’s expense.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Baruch Goldstein, Breaking the Silence, Europe and Israel, Hebron, Israel & Zionism, Turkey

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary], approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat