Arlene from Israel: Where to Begin?

I frequently feel overwhelmed by the number of critical issues I would like to share with my readers: I must chose among events competing for attention. That said, I begin with the good news, which is of considerable importance.  (But I ask you please to continue reading past the good news for important matters requiring attention and action.)
Credit: lndscience

“An Israeli researcher at Ariel University in Samaria has discovered a revolutionary new method to stop the uncontrolled bleeding common in victims of stab wounds…

“Israeli scientist Moshe Rogosnitzky has discovered that gallium, a biometal currently used to stop bone loss in cancer patients, can, in liquid form, known as galluim nitrate, rapidly halt bleeding from deep wounds without causing blood clots.”


“Electronics melded with living tissues have been used by Tel Aviv University researchers to create a self-regulating ‘cyborg cardiac patch’ to  save lives of people with diseased hearts.”

The number of donor hearts for transplants is limited, and more than 25% of those Americans waiting for transplants will die before receiving a new heart.  The patch, which was invented by Prof. Tal Dvir (pictured below) and doctoral student Ron Feiner, has capabilities that actually surpass those of human tissue alone: it contacts and expands like human heart tissue but regulates itself like a machine.

 This is an innovation that – while still in development – is at the cutting edge of new age science.  What is envisioned is the possibility of remote monitoring of this patch to ensure sound functioning. Ultimately, it should be possible  to release drugs from the patch directly into the heart: “if it senses inflammation, it will release an anti-inflammatory drug,” etc. Researchers are also considering possibility for applying this concept to neurological conditions.


Nael Zoabi, an Arab-Israeli school principal in the north, has given an extensive interview to Makor Rishon (Hebrew) in which he criticizes the Arab Israeli MKs for investing their energy in Palestinian Arab nationalism rather than addressing issues within their own community.

Zoabi insisted that

“many, if not most, Arabs in the Jewish state would like to work on peaceful coexistence and in bettering their societal standing. But, he asserted harshly, ‘Their voices are stolen from them’ by their own Knesset representatives.”

credit: mida

In the interview, he said,

“I meet with Arab and Jewish youth, religious and secular; I speak at home gatherings. Jews from the Diaspora come to visit me, and I introduce them to our people.

I raise the issue of coexistence at every opportunity at the school, and write op-eds for Israeli papers like Israel Hayom and Haaretz.

I came to educate the kids at the school to be good people and citizens, and not just any citizens, but effective ones. We don’t have another state or country — not us and not you

“There are serious problems in our sector – relating to education, housing, employment, academic studies, violence and other issues…Who is addressing this? Nobody. The only issues our leaders concern themselves with are anti-Israel ones.” (All emphasis added)


I share this last item because it offers hope for Israel.

I am not inside the Arab community, and I do not know what “the majority” of Israeli Arabs think.  What I do know is that – while there is a body of Arabs that functions peacefully and productively within the country – there has been a radicalization of many, with the process promoted by a covert Hamas influence and aided and abetted by the stance of Arab MKs.  The terrorism we are dealing with now comes in part from Israeli Arabs, and even if they and their sympathizers represent a minority, perhaps a small minority, of the Arabs – who constitute 20% of Israel’s population – we cannot tolerate a fifth column within our society.

I’ve watched the process over the years, as Arabs who are citizens of Israel are encouraged by Palestinian Arabs who are anti-Israel to identify as “Palestinians” rather than “Israelis.”  They challenge the self-identity and loyalty of Israeli Arabs.  I know Arab Israeli citizens who call themselves “Arab Israelis” and others who say they are “Palestinian Israelis.” This last has always seemed to me a contradiction in terms, because I see “Palestinian” as a political identification and not an ethnic one – it reflects confusion.  I’ve seen Arabs here who have switched how they identify (in both directions) in response to changing times.

Part of the problem, as we struggle to deal with the situation, is knowing who is pro-Israel and who anti-Israel.  Who can be trusted and who not. An exceedingly painful and difficult problem today.  A morally complex situation. But maybe – let us pray! – there remains hope for the long run.

Collective punishment (or, rather, inconvenience) is inevitable at some level because we must protect Jewish life.  And so, for example, both Arabs who are pro-Israel and those who are anti-Israel may have to go through checkpoints and endure delays at various times.  I have a “tough” attitude towards those who complain.

But what Zoabi’s statement comes to remind us is that we must also do our best to embrace those who sincerely stand with us.  The key is Arabs who are citizens feeling truly part of our country.

Nael is part of a large Zoabi clan, which – ironically – includes the horrendously anti-Israel Hanin Zoabi who sits in the Knesset. I have heard marvelously pro-Zionist statements from other members of this clan and perhaps I’ll return to some of them.  I salute them all.


You may recall postings I’ve written in the past devoted to the outrage of EU funding of illegal Palestinian Arab housing in Area C (which is under full Israeli jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords), with the goal of co-opting parts of this Area for a de facto Palestinian state.

The EU, which persists in claiming (erroneously) that Israel is working in defiance of “international law,” has no trouble being disrespectful of Israeli law – which requires permits before building can take place.

Now there is another, even more outrageous element to the story, as the EU claims to be above the law.

The NGO Regavim – – which fights for Israel’s rights to the land, primarily via the courts, is attempting to utilize the courts to require demolition of those illegal EU-funded buildings.  But the EU delegation in Israel is claiming diplomatic immunity that means it cannot be taken to court.


The Daily Mail (UK), having uncovered documents regarding this situation, has now done an exclusive exposé of the situation.

I ask, first, that you see it:

The EU is claiming diplomatic immunity after using [British] taxpayers’ money to build unauthorised settlements and roads on Israeli parts of the West Bank, MailOnline can reveal.

An Israeli NGO launched legal action after photographing EU flags flying above buildings on land placed under Israeli jurisdiction by the Oslo Accords, to which the EU is a signatory. EU bureaucrats are avoiding court by citing diplomatic rules.

The buildings, which are given to Palestinians, are intended to ‘pave the way’ for more land to be brought under Palestinian control, according to official EU papers. Many are bulldozed by Israel only for the EU to repeatedly rebuild them, generating more costs for the taxpayer.

Leaded documents obtained by MailOnline show the that EU – which receives £350 million per week from Britain – is using diplomatic rules to place officials above the law, foiling attempts to hold bureaucrats accountable

“MPs have expressed outrage that the EU is using aid money to ‘meddle’ in a foreign territorial dispute, and branded its actions ‘dodgy.’

“’It is deeply concerning that the EU falls back on diplomatic immunity after breaking planning regulations, Jacob Reed-Mogg MP told MailOnline. ‘The UK Government would take a very dim view of a friendly state doing that to us.

’Diplomatic immunity is there to protect envoys from unjust treatment, not to protect the high-handed behaviour of arrogant bureaucracies.’

“He added: The EU maintains that it is based on fundamental principles of rule of law and support for democracy. But when this clashes with its bureaucratic bungling, neither rule of law nor democracy seem important.’” (Emphasis added)

The Daily Mail expose includes a letter written to the Foreign Ministry of Israel by the Delegation of the EU to the State of Israel, which documents the EU position.


You can see here a picture, supplied by Regavim, of illegal buildings in Area C, with stickers on each bearing the blue EU symbol:


And another with the sticker more visible:

Credit: Jonathan Shaul


What I then ask of each of you is to broadly share the link to this Daily Mail article.  The information about the audacity of EU actions must be put out extensively.  The fact that the critique of the EU comes from an EU nation makes it all the more powerful.


There was a minor moment of panic in certain quarters here in Israel, last night and today, because of a report that was leaked.  On closer examination, it appears that the matter is complex, with context not quite as simple or nearly as alarming as seemed at first blush.

The report first appeared via Haaretz, which clearly has it own bias. What was said was that there had been secret talks between Israel and the PA, with Israel offering to halt all military operations in Ramallah and Jericho and rely on PA security operations instead, with a readiness to apply this agreement to other PA cities if matters go well.

The PA, it was said, refused the offer because it was insufficient – its demand was that Israel stop operations in every PA city.  It was further reported that the PA said it was considering halting all security cooperation with Israel if its demand was not met.


As part of the Oslo agreement, the IDF had pulled back from PA-controlled Area A. That is, until 2002, when Defensive Shield was put into operation because of horrendous terror attacks that emanated from this area.  Since then the IDF has operated in all PA cities of Judea and Samaria, seeking out terrorists, cells planning attacks, arms caches, arms factories, etc.  There is no standing Israeli army presence in these cities – there are only operations, mostly at night, in which the IDF moves into an area for a specific purpose and then moves out again.

A primary target of IDF operations in the PA areas is Hamas; it is broadly recognized that without Israeli military assistance, the PA would be overthrown by Hamas in the blink of an eye, just as Fatah was roundly defeated by Hamas in Gaza.


In speaking to knowledgeable individuals, I have encountered a dubiousness as to whether Israel truly would have offered what the report says was offered.

We are again struggling with a surge in terrorism, and could not – would not – relinquish our ability to go after terrorists in PA cities. According to Arutz Sheva, an Israeli official has said the talks addressed security arrangements with the PA, but that Israel always reserves the right to enter any place according to its operational needs. (See further confirmation of this below.)


The US has weighed in on this, saying that it had no information on such an offer, and that, because of close American involvement, would have been informed by Israel:

“State Department spokesman John Kirby says that the US has no knowledge of such discussions…”

He did not believe that there were such organized efforts.  “Otherwise we would know something like this was happening.”

Another US official was cited as saying he believed this was just “spin.”

“Diplomatic officials (presumably Israeli) told Arutz Sheva…that the report referred to ideas that arose in the security establishment, but have not been brought up in actual discussion. They added that there was no intention to implement them in practice.”  (Emphasis added)


As to the PA collapsing without security assistance from Israel, there are PA officials declaring that they’d rather collapse than be beholden to Israel.  This has the feel of grandstanding, or an attempt to make Israel look intransigent.  I wish I had ten shekels for every time some PA official has said the PA will be dissolved.

But who knows?  There are reports that the PA may be close to imploding in any event.


The obligation we have, unquestionably, is to monitor such reported situations and speak out against what seems bad for Israel.  In the event that this was a trial balloon that had been floated by whomever – testing the political reception – it is important to make it clear precisely what the response to such a move would be.

Two in the government who have spoken out strongly are Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Minister of Immigration Ze’ev Elkin (Likud).


In response to the press reports on the subject, Chief of Staff Eisenkot offered an explanation (emphasis added):

The talks being alluded to, he said, were among commanders on the ground and not at a political level. (Translation: the government is not talking about relinquishing parts of Judea and Samaria.)

Credit: Moti Kimchi

“The goal of the discussions is to strengthen the effectiveness of regional security while examining the possibility of decreasing the number of IDF incursions into Area A, Eisenkot told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. ‘These discussions were preliminary…The IDF will preserve its full ability to act in Area A.

“Eisenkot also said Military Intelligence issued a strategic warning at the beginning of 2015 regarding the possibility of instability in West Bank. ‘In accordance with this warning, we have assessed that the IDF has an operational and intelligence advantage and works without limitations….’”,7340,L-4778924,00.html


Next posting, finally, I hope to look at some of the measures (not yet adequate, but making headway) that the government is adopting to combat the terrorism.

When the current “knife intifada” began, I said that I would continue to report on all attacks, so that no one would think they had stopped. Sadly, this has not been possible, as there are too many attacks and attempted attacks – knifings, shootings, vehicle attacks – over a period of days.  According to the Israel Policy Center, the IDF reports that from September through mid-March there have been 130 stabbings, 47 shootings, and 25 car rammings.


The last item for this posting is a marvelous short video put out by Regavim Regavim Advocacy Project.

In it, State Department spokesman John Kirby seems to be confusing the Negev with Judaea and Samaria (what he would call the West Bank).  In his rush to look at his notes to quote the phrases that are considered just right, he forgot to get the question right.  When asked about demolitions of illegal housing for Bedouins in the Negev, which is southern Israel, he speaks about leaving “Palestinians” homeless and actions that are disruptive to a two-state solution.

(With thanks to Yisrael Medad.)

See this not only because it’s a blooper that is good for a laugh, but also because Regavim provides commentary to set the record straight.  It counters fallacious charges with facts.  We need the laugh, and we need the facts.


The song is over 55 years old, from the 1960 version of the film Exodus. “This Land is Mine.”  Some might think it dated.  But it feels right for today, especially with the overlay of pictures.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.


If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.


“We Have Legal Grounds” –




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