Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tear Gas in the Shiloh Valley

This is the eastern section of the Shiloh Valley, the light north-west line at the right of the picture being the Allon Road:

The green encircled area, in Area B, is where a new construction project is planned and where earthworks have already begun, promoted by Tabo Company.

This project represents a real security theat to several small communities such as Avichai and Adei Ad.

Here are some illustration of the short distances between the various sites:

a) one kilometer from Adei Ad

b) also one kilometer to Avichai

c) almost 2 kilometers to Shevut Rachel

And to illustrate the height difference, here are some screen snaps from an Arab news program I downloaded:

a) Amichai

b) Shiloh

c) Achiyah and Amichai and encircled is a Jewish protest encampment

There was a violent demo by Arabs today which they defined as a protest of

the expansion of the outpost "Adi Ad" on the lands of the towns of "Turmus'ayya, Abu Falah, al-Mughayer."
Just backwards (an Arabic-language report from Sept. 22).

A pic

More visuals here.

Will try to keep you updated.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Gaza Hot Spots in Israel

From the research of Yoav Tepper, as published in Makor Rishon:

The results of rocket, mortar and missile fire from the Gaza Strip in to Israel.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

We Blew It: On The Prohibited Sounding of the Shofar

These names might not be recognizable to most:

Eliel Lofgren. Charles Barde. C.J. Van Kemken. Stig Sahlin.

Those were the three members of a committee that reviewed the issue of the Western Wall following the August 1929 riots, and its coordinating secretary

Matson Collection

In a short 2010 blog post I recalled their activity and I want to return to them and that period, as has been noted, we will soon be marking 90 years to the ban on the blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall by the British, which was vigorously protested by the Chief Rabbis immediately on the day following Yom Kippur 1929:


I need present some necessary history and will use material from the Report of the that three-man Commission which had been appointed by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the approval of the Council of the League of Nations, to determine the rights and claims of Moslems and Jews in connection with the Western or Wailing Wall at Jerusalem.  

As shown, there was a constant struggle of Jews against attempts by the Moslems to deny any legitimacy to customs and even simple decency of comfort of Jewish worshippers:
On 19th February, 1922, the acting Governor of Jerusalem received a letter from the Supreme Moslem Council, asking for the removal, according to the Palestine Government's previous instructions, of seats and benches from the Wall. As the Jews had again begun to place the seats there, the Council wrote again to the Governor on 16th April, 1922, asking him to restrain the Jews from bringing benches or seats to the place. Then the Council, at the request of the inhabitants of the private dwellings near the Pavement, in a letter dated 8th January, 1923, complained of a repeated trespass on the part of the Jews in the same respect. A reply was given by the acting Governor on the 3rd February, 1923, informing the Council that orders had been given for due observance of the earlier instructions.
That was 1922-1923.

Next, 1925-1926
After a certain time had elapsed the guardian of the Waqf of the Moghrabis protested again against the Jews for precisely the same reason and on that account in a Ietter dated 28th September, 1925, the Council lodged a complaint with the Governor, referring to the promise contained in his letter of 3rd February, 1923. As the Council did not receive any written answer for some time, they wrote again to the Governor on the 7th June, 1926, asking for a reply and entreating him to prevent the Jews "from repeating this act of theirs so as to abide by the status quo." Along with the said letter, however, there was enclosed a copy of a petition from the guardian of the Moghrabi Waqf, in which complaints were made "that Jews place benches, mats, tables, chairs, and lamps when they have not been previously allowed to do so." The guardian of the Waqf goes on to say that "this has caused a nuisance to passers by, as the road leads to the houses of the Waqf. They have therefore trespassed on part of the Waqf land, because the width of the passage does not exceed 2-1/2 metres. We are in continual quarrels with them as they insist on placing these things."
In other words, the Moslems, who built houses right up to the wall, leaving but a dozen feet or so for Jewish worshippers, then get upset they cannot walk by.

To continue:
Upon an answer being received from the Governor's Office dated the 28th of June, 1926, to the effect that "the matter was under investigation," the Council through their President wrote again on 20th July, 1926 repeating its request of 7th June, but without mentioning any particular appurtenances. As the result of the promised investigation was not forthcoming, the President of the Council sent a letter to the Deputy District Commissioner on the 4th of August, 1926, informing him that the Jews were again endeavouring to put out seats at the Wall. This information, he stated, had reached the Council from the guardian of the Moghrabi Waqf and his repeated request for action on behalf of the Council was dictated by those complaints. This time, however, the Council concluded their letter by saying: "The aim of the letter dated 20th July, 1926, was that the necessary steps be taken to prevent the Jews from putting anything in the Buraq, especially on Saturdays and Jewish feast days." On 25th August, 1926, the District Officer wrote to the President of the Council in reply to the above letter as follows: "That the measures referred to in the last paragraph of your quoted letter have been taken, and that no change in the status quo will take place."
And you wonder where Moshe Dayan got his idea about a "status quo".
After that nothing of any special interest happened up to the beginning of November, 1926, at which date the inhabitants of the Moroccan Quarter complained to the Supreme Moslem Council about the Jews bringing "small portable chairs" to the Wall, under the presence that they had been promised leave to use such chairs by the District Police Officer. Quarrels had arisen between the Moroccans and the Jews on account of that, and the guardian of the Waqf asked that the Jews might be prevented from placing anything there that was not sanctioned by old practice. The said petition caused the Council to write to the Deputy District Commissioner on 7th December, 1926, informing him about the quarrels that had just arisen about the small chairs which were " contrary to the ancient usage and practice," and he concluded his letter in the following way: "We do not believe that the Government desires to alter the ab antiquo state which has been enforced on to the present." (Italics inserted by the Commission.)
On to 1927-1928:
At the end of 1927 the Deputy District Commissioner advised the President of the Supreme Moslem Council that, in his opinion, it was desirable in the interests of public security that during certain hours of the day when Jews were wont to congregate at the Wall for praying purposes, tourists should not be permitted to go there. He, therefore, proposed to give orders to the policemen stationed near the Wailing Wall to refuse admission to tourists during those particular hours of the day.

This letter was written on the 2nd of December, 1927, and was answered very fully by the President of the Council, on the 15th of January, 1928. The Council objected to prohibiting tourists from approaching the Pavement, because any such prohibition amounted to "granting the Jews new rights in the same place, and, moreover, would arouse the feelings of the Moslems." In this letter the view was consequently advanced which came to light later in the proceedings before the Commission, viz., that "several incidents and many problems caused by the Jews around the question of the Buraq plainly indicate that they have laid down a plan of gradually obtaining this place.

Thereafter, the Deputy District Commissioner by letter of 30th March, 1928, informed the President of the Council that he would post a notice in the area of the Western Wall for the information of the tourists stating the special hours of prayer and "requesting the public to respect the privacy of those engaged in prayers at such times." In his answer to that letter on the 3rd of April the President of the Council stated that he could not agree to that notice being put up and repeated his assurance that every attempt by the Jews to extend their claims in the Buraq would be received with the utmost anxiety by the Moslems and would be flatly refused.

Not until the 24th of September, 1928, i.e., on the same day as the disturbances described in the Shaw Commission Report (page 29) took place, did the President of the Moslem Council himself make a direct and detailed protest against the Jews' habit of bringing appurtenances of worship to the Wall. He then specified "a wooden room covered with cloth, screens, mats, a large table in the middle and also the Ten Commandments placed on a chair which should not be there."

There is more but the above is more than sufficient. And it is important to see the development of the issue. The Mufti had his eye on turning the conflict into a religious one early on, prior to 1928 and "Jewish provocations".

The prohibition on sounding the shofar was already in place for Yom Kippur 1929, some two months after the riots, as reported in the Yiddish newspaper the Grodna Express:

and thanks to Bella Bryks-Klein for confirming my presumption that that what was reported.

The Committee concluded in its Report in connection with the shofar sounding:
It forms a part of the Jewish service in the Synagogue to blow the Shofar (ram's horn) on New Year's Day and on the Day of Atonement and the Jews have claimed the right on the said occasions to carry out this ceremony of theirs in front of the Wall too.

That is a claim that has not been recognised in the present administrative regulations or otherwise in actual practice, and the Commission has not found any sufficient reason for assenting to it.
And decided:
The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable;
Jews didn't have a chance with the Mandatory Government:

Already, back on November 28, 1928, the British published a 'forgotten' White Paper that was issued after the infamous "Prayer Partition" incident to re-established the principle of a status quo at sacred sites which included that 
a protocol could be mutually agreed upon between the Moslem and Jewish authorities regulating the conduct of the services at the Wall without prejudies to the legal rights of the Moslem owners and in such a way as to satisfy normal liturgical requirement and decencies in matters of public worship.
In that White Paper, it was made clear as reported in the Palestine Post of December 5, 1928, anything the Moslem Waqf and the Supreme Muslim Council considered as an act that infringes on the status quo would be opposed:
His Majesty 's Government regard it as their duty and it is their intention, to maintain, the established Jewish right of access to the pavment in front of the Wall for the purpose of their devotions and also their right to bring to the Wall those appurtenances that they were allowed to take to the Wall under the Turkish regime. It would be inconsistent with their duty under the Mandate were they to endeavour to compel the Moslem owners of the pavement to accord any further privileges or rights to the Jewish community. 
A previous post of mine on the subject.

Some other historical background here


P.S. Despite the ban, from 1930 until 1947, members of Betar, Brit Habiryonim and the Irgu blew the shofar, some being subsequently detained for up to 6 months in prison. In 1944, the Irgun warned the British not to think of coming into the alleyway in front of the Wall, a suggestion with which they complied.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Hilarious BDS Fail

You hopefully know about the Canada case, whereby a Jew has taken upon himself to effectively halt the import of Psagot Wines and other products that are produced in Judea and Samaria.

I mentioned it here, with a solution. The issue has been referred back to legal and political consultations which has angered the Pals.  Israellycool noted a problem with the Nadim Winery and it continues, as Daoud Kuttab has tweeted.

Read on, here:



In a case of unexpected blowback, products from the Taybeh winery and Taybeh Brewing Co. in Ramallah are being withheld from shelves in Ontario, as officials work out whether they can be labelled as a “Product of Palestine.”
Taybeh products that have been delivered to Canada “are currently on hold due to uncertainty surrounding labelling of products from the Israeli-occupied West Bank,”...

...In an Aug. 29 post on its website, Palestine Just Trade said the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) World Destination Program arranged to include five “Nadim” wines from Taybeh and five varieties of Taybeh beer earlier this year – all labeled “Product of Palestine.” The products were ready for release in early August, when notification came that they were put on hold.

“… the LCBO informed Palestine Just Trade that ‘due to the recent decision by the Federal Court regarding labeling requirements for wines from this region, we have placed these products on hold,’ ” the group stated...

"...In an Aug. 28 letter to the president of the CFIA, Lascaris enclosed a certificate from the Palestinian Authority confirming that Taybeh is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, “which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. We can assure you that the Taybeh products that have been placed on hold have not been produced in any Israeli settlement.”

Lascaris also enclosed a list of 60 wines made in “the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights or Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory” that are still sold in Canada, despite the Federal Court ruling.

“In our view, the manner in which the CFIA and LCBO are dealing with accurately labelled Taybeh products and falsely labelled products from Israeli settlements in occupied territory is plainly discriminatory,” Lascaris wrote.

Oh, well.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

How Did the Yesha Communities Vote?

The result of the voting in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley (source: Moetzet Yesha)

Number of Residents in the Jewish Communities: 456,865.
Number of Eligible Voters: 241,403 (52.8% of total population)
Percentage of State of Israel Voters: 3.78%
Percentage of Voter Participation: 76.8% (vs. 69.7% overall; 1.6% drop from April)
Voting Results per party (in percentages) :
Yamina: 24.4%
Likud: 22.4%
UTJ: 20.4%
Shas: 9.9%
Blue and White: 9%
Otzma: 6.9%
Yisrael Beiteinu: 3/6%
Labour: 1.7%
Democratic Camp: 0.6%
Other Parties that did not pass the threshold: 1.1%


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Anti-Anti-Semitism Professor

A Hofstra professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology and the director of social studies education programs, Alan Singer, thinks

Not everything is anti-Semitism

Well, "thinks" might be inappropriate. He promotes an idea that while there is anti-Semitism, there are different approaches to solving it.

For example, the recent violence in New York he sees this way

Urban tension in gentrifying communities where racial and ethnic minorities are being displaced by gentrification and in Brooklyn, New York, by an expanding orthodox religious group has led to anti-Semitic slurs and physical assaults on religious Jews, but they are not an attack on Judaism as a religion and on the Jewish people as a whole. This behavior can best be addressed by building an inclusive community.

"As a whole"?  Does he mean the attacks are actually targeting specific Jews?

Of course not. All Jews are targets for this form of hatred. 

Singer is with Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist pro-Palestine group (see this). And that sheds some light on his approach to anti-Semitism. It's a form of what I see as "it's the Jews' fault and therefore, Jews are obligated to solve it by being less Jewish".

For example, he wrote in his Hofstra piece:

Distinguishing between bias and racism or anti-Semitism makes it possible to have thoughtful and respectful discussions and societal debates on difficult issues without automatically putting people on the defensive.

This may sound logical to some but it is based on a purposeful misrepresentation. Bias directed at Jews because they are Jews is anti-Semitism. Yes, Jews can be, and are, guilty of various wrongdoings but to create a distinct category of "bias" when Jews, and especially Jews who appear Jewish, like Hasidim in Brooklyn, are being attacked for things they have not done, is anti-Semitism and no amount of debates or inclusivity will set right.

He further pooh-poohs anti-Semitic behavior by academic staff at his university be referring to it as "microaggressions" thus exhibiting his own anti-anti-Semitism mode.

He goes further with a form of goody-goodiness penning this drivelous wisdom:

As a teacher, I distinguish between bias and racism or anti-Semitism. Everyone has biases. They are products of culture, what we are taught and our understanding of experiences. But everyone does not act on biases to restrict or hurt other people. 

If he would only act, think and write as a Jew.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Albion in Palestine: The British Who Tried to Destroy Israel in 1948

I already blogged Meir Zamir's previous discovery, that the British in 1944 were engaged in convincing the Syrian opposition to reject the French Mandate, accept the British and together they'll create a Greater Syria with Jordan and there'll be no Jewish state.

And now?

Intelligence obtained by the French secret services in the Middle East sheds new light on Britain’s role in the Arab-Israeli War of Independence. It was reported that

Brig. Iltyd Clayton...“architect” of the Greater Syria plan, the Oriental Bloc and the bilateral defense treaties with the Arab states – was now advocating a new scheme for the partition of Palestine. The plan proposed that : “Imperialist Lebanon will annex the Western Galilee up to Shavei Zion; Syria the northeastern part of the Galilee and part of its southern region; Egypt will have part of the cake; and Transjordan will swallow up the rest.”

More excerpts:

In fact, these and other reports in the Lebanese press on the activities of British secret agents were part of a secret war being waged by French intelligence against the British.

Information conveyed by the French intelligence services to the Haganah [the prestate underground Jewish army] in the fall of 1947 indicated that Brig. Clayton and his assistants were involved in a new initiative to secure Britain’s strategic position in the Middle East, and linked Clayton to the escalating Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine...Brig. Clayton had, on December 17, 1947, reached an understanding with Lebanese Prime Minister Riyad al-Sulh, according to which the British forces would evacuate northern Palestine and give free rein to the irregular forces of the Arab Liberation Army, headed by Fawzi al-Qawuqji, to attack Jewish settlements.

...Ben-Gurion’s concern regarding the undercover activities of Brig. Clayton and Arabist “experts” in the Foreign Office and the Middle East intensified after August 1947. On November 11, 1947, he sent a British-Jewish former officer to interview Clayton, who was unaware that Ben-Gurion had drafted the questions. The urgency to uncover the British secret services’ intentions prompted Ben-Gurion to approve the “Acre operation,” in which the Haganah seized the files of the British Legation in Beirut, on December 25, 1947, as they were being transferred from Beirut to Haifa, en route to Britain.

...The question of Britain’s role in the war between Israel and the Arab states in 1948 is one of the most studied issues in the historiography of the War of Independence.

And yet, despite the considerable efforts of historians, they found no evidence of Ben-Gurion’s allegations that Britain had instigated the Arab leaders to invade Israel a day after its establishment.

In fact, confirmation of Ben-Gurion’s allegations can be found in French archives, especially in the files of French intelligence, whose officers closely followed the activities of the British secret services in the Middle East in the 1940s.

...The thousands of Syrian and other Arab documents found in the French archives, together with British intelligence reports obtained by French intelligence, confirm that the role of the British secret services in the Middle East during and after World War II comprises the “missing dimension” in the historiography of the region in the 1940s.

Two conclusions can be drawn from research into these documents, which are relevant to the role of British intelligence in the war in Palestine.

The first is that, in the 1940s, Britain conducted a two-track policy in the Middle East: one, a well-documented, official policy defined by Whitehall under both the Conservative and Labour parties; the second was informal and secretive, which can be termed “regional,” implemented by “agents in the field,” which left few traces in British archives.

It was perpetrated by a small, influential group of Arabist secret agents who manipulated the cabinet in London and implemented their own policies, which deviated from the official position...They joined forces with Arab rulers, whom they portrayed as voicing the Arab view, in order to mislead their government. Their tactics, which were backed by senior military officers in Cairo, gathered momentum under the post-WWII Labour government and during the crisis in Palestine in 1947-48.

The second conclusion is that the British secret agents succeeded in implementing their policies due largely to their use of indirect control over local “agents of influence.” 

The Secret British Scheme

In early June [1947], Mardam Bey wrote directly to Bevin, complaining of the intrigues of British officers in the Arab Legion against Syria, adding, “What makes the situation even more delicate is that the plot organized against Syria is welcomed by all the British officials in the Near East.”

In the summer of 1947, a shift took place in the British Arabists’ stand – especially those in the secret services – toward the Labour cabinet’s Middle East policy.


On September 23, 1947, shortly after the Arab League meeting in Saoufar, the French attaché in Baghdad reported a secret British scheme to instigate an Arab-Jewish war in Palestine, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Greater Syria plan...“It seems, in effect, that the British government, urged on by the young elements in the Foreign Office and the Intelligence Service, has decided, after months of hesitation, to undertake a large-scale maneuver that will enable it to consolidate, at little cost, its present wavering position in this part of the world. The British believe that the UN will no doubt ratify the UNSCOP decisions. Disturbances will thus begin in Palestine. The English will benefit from the situation to build new positions as advantageous as those they have lost in Egypt. According to information from an English source, the British plan will be as follows:

“England will give up its mandate over Palestine as soon as possible and return it to the UN, which will oversee, if necessary, an international force to reestablish order in this country. A retreat from Palestine of most of the British troops can already be envisaged. In the event of open conflict between Jews and Arabs, the English, under the pretext of not wanting to be attacked from both sides in these hostilities, where it maintains an officially neutral position, will retreat to Transjordan, from where one or two British divisions will be able to immediately intervene if necessary. British agents will now push the Arab countries to intervene to help their brethren in Palestine if they are attacked by the Jews.”

...the cabinet in London neither knew of nor approved the scheme of their secret agents to instigate an Arab armed invasion of a Jewish state. Prime Minister Attlee, who decided on withdrawal from Palestine despite the objections of his chiefs of staff, would not have taken on the moral responsibility for a plot that could have annihilated the Jews in Palestine only three years after the Holocaust. Moreover, such an act could have jeopardized Britain’s international standing and its relations with the United States.

...Between September and December 1947, Brig. Clayton and other secret agents tacitly collaborated with Azzam, Mardam Bey and Sulh to organize an irregular force – the Arab Liberation Army, under Qawuqji’s command – to be activated before Britain formally withdrew from Palestine...

A British military mission under Col. Fox, an unofficial adviser to the Syrian High Command since 1946, tried to obtain arms and ammunition from British army stocks in Palestine to arm Arab volunteers in the Katana camp south of Damascus...

British agents also negotiated with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem – initially indirectly through Sulh and later with his envoy, following his demand to command his own armed forces in Palestine. The Arab Liberation Army entered Palestine in the first half of January 1948; Qawuqji later wrote that the British army had hardly hindered the advance of his forces on northern Palestine.

...The British secret agents used almost all the “dirty tricks” in their arsenal – fear, jealousy, greed, false promises, misleading information and playing on inter-Arab rivalries – to provoke the Arab rulers into a war in Palestine. Nuri al-Sa’id (until the failure of the Portsmouth Treaty); King Abdullah (between June 1947 and May 1948); and Azzam, Mardam Bey and Sulh, and other co-opted “agents of influence” – all allowed the British secret services to operate behind-the-scenes to implement their schemes.

Meir Zamir teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His book, “The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East: Intelligence and Decolonization, 1940-1948,” is due to be published by Routledge this December.