13 August 2017

Our ABC is sleeping with our enemies

From The Australian, August 14, 2017, by Jennifer Oriel:

Imagine waking up in Afghanistan this morning. You are in a foreign country fighting a long war against international jihad. You joined the Australian army because you love your country. You love your country so much that you are prepared to sacrifice your life to keep Australians safe from terror. You serve because the war for freedom and democracy, global peace and safety is a war worth fighting. Every house surrendered to the Taliban is a girl who will never know freedom.

But the human face of war is lost in the slow grind of nation-building for a country that isn’t yours. Maybe troops feel they are fighting someone else’s war and it erodes morale. There will be no heroes’ welcome when they return home. Instead, there will be Al Jazeera on the ABC and political correctness from Canberra.

The ABC’s deal with Al Jazeera compromises the credibility of the national broadcaster. The Al Jazeera network is owned by Qatar’s ruling family. Qatar harbours Taliban leaders and reportedly supports other Islamist interests that Australian troops are fighting in the region. David Kirkpatrick wrote in The New York Times: 
“Qatar has for many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups around the region by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.” The Egyptian media reports that: “Qatar is using groups such as the Taliban, Islamic State … for its own protection.”
Since 2001, Australia has fought its longest war to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban. By May this year, 42 Australian personnel had died. The US Department of Defence reports that 2216 American lives have been lost in the struggle to free Afghanistan from jihadism. Among them 1833 were killed in action. And the Taliban hasn’t stopped killing our allies. This month, US troops were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber attacking a convoy. Islamic State has emerged in the country also. When Western forces retreat, jihadis strike. The US and Australia have sent additional troops to consolidate democratic nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, taking the number of our personnel to 300.

We might expect Australia’s publicly-funded media to ride with us in the war on international jihad. Yet the ABC’s Al Jazeera coverage of the Western war on terror often seems to align with Qatari foreign policy. It promotes porous Western borders and mass migration from Islamist states to the West while casting our military action to prevent Islamist incursion in a negative light. It frequently plays down the risk that the movement for international jihad poses to the free world. Israel is commonly demonised while some of the Islamic world’s worst violators of human rights are liberated from sustained scrutiny.

Qatar’s relationship to the Taliban is highly problematic. In 2013, the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office was opened in Doha. Qatar’s assistant foreign minister cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of what has become known as the Taliban embassy. Obama administration officials supported its establishment. Under a subsequent prisoner swap deal between the US and Qatar, the administration freed five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a US soldier being held by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl. He was feted by Democrats despite allegations that he might have deserted his post in Afghanistan before being taken by the Taliban. Bergdahl will stand trial in October for desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy.

Republican senator John McCain described the “Taliban five” freed by the Obama administration as “the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest high-risk people.” Notably, the UAE rejected the administration’s proposal to take the Taliban five because the Taliban would not agree to three conditions stipulated by the US. In a letter to The New York Times, UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba listed the conditions as, “the Taliban must denounce al-Qa’ida and its founder, Osama bin Laden … recognise the Afghan constitution … renounce violence and lay down their weapons”. Qatar reportedly accepted the jihadis without requiring the Taliban to observe any of the conditions.

The relationship between Qatar and the Taliban raises the question of credibility and bias in regard to the Al Jazeera network. Last month, Jewish leaders raised specific concerns in News Corp papers about the ABC’s coverage of Israeli affairs. Executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein wrote in this paper: 
“Qatar’s ruling family, the owner of Al Jazeera, is one of the main supporters of Hamas — a terror group committed to Israel’s destruction.”
In June, Lateline host Emma Alberici interviewed Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi after jihadis attacked the Iranian parliament. Despite Islamic State taking responsibility for the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shifted the blame to Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump. Half-way through the interview, Marandi hadn’t mentioned Trump. Alberici prompted him twice. After her second prompt (where she called Trump’s condolences to Iran “provocative”), Marandi unleashed a tirade against the West. He said: “The United States is the country that created this whole mess. They helped create the extremists in Afghanistan with the Saudis. 9/11 was blowback … the whole region is collapsing and this is largely due to American policies … if there’s one country in the world that’s responsible for … the export of terrorism across the world, it is the United States. It chooses Israel which is an apartheid regime.” Alberici didn’t correct him.

It is unclear why the government is not addressing potential political bias produced by Al Jazeera’s partnership with the ABC. Perhaps the matter is complicated by the government’s reluctance to list the Taliban as a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is clearly dishonourable to make Australians pay for the distribution of news financed by a state that backs our military enemies. Under conditions of war, such material might be called propaganda.

10 August 2017

Recognizing a Palestinian State before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law

From the JCPA, Vol. 17, No. 22, August 7, 2017, by Peter Wertheim:



The following is a brief overview only. Follow the link to the full article.

  • Among those who advocate immediate recognition of a Palestinian state, without a peace agreement with Israel, there is a striking irony in the contrast between the legalistic approach they purportedly adopt on one question, namely settlements, and their cavalier disregard for well-established legal principles on another, namely the creation of states and their recognition. One either supports the international rule of law as a general principle or not at all. One does not get to pick and choose.
  • The four criteria of statehood set out in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, 1933, are widely accepted as the minimum required by customary international law for the creation of a new state. Two of the criteria – a single, centralized government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states – are manifestly not satisfied by any Palestinian entity.
  • The internal divide between the secular nationalist movement among Palestinians, represented by the PLO and Palestinian Authority (PA) which controls parts of the West Bank, and the theocratic movement, represented by Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, has resulted in internecine violence on many occasions. All attempts at internal reconciliation have failed and appear to be intractable. They are at loggerheads on the most basic questions, not only concerning peace with Israel and other issues of foreign and domestic policy but also on the essential nature of a future Palestinian State. Thus, for reasons which are entirely internal to Palestinian society, there is no reasonable prospect for the foreseeable future of any government being formed which would exercise effective control over both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and would have the capacity to give effect to any agreements purportedly entered into by “Palestine.”
  • Although recognition is a political act and a matter of discretion, it is “subject to compliance with the imperatives of general international law.” Given that the criteria of government and the capacity to enter into relations with other States are at present not satisfied by any Palestinian entity, recognition of any such entity as a State would be to affirm a fiction, contrary to the imperatives of general international law. Recognition by even a large number of other States cannot overcome clear and compelling objective evidence indicating that the mandatory legal criteria of statehood have not been met. An exception would be admission of the entity as a member State of the UN. If, notwithstanding its admission to the UN as a member State, the entity does not, in fact, meet the customary law criteria of statehood, at law it is still a State, albeit a failed State.
  • Applying the additional requirements for recognition contained in the European Community Declaration and Guidelines (1991), the Palestinians have failed, and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future to be unwilling to make commitments to respect the inviolability of the frontiers with Israel, to repudiate all territorial claims by Palestine against Israel and to settle all disputes with Israel by peaceful means.
  • Recognition of a Palestinian State at the present time would not only be contrary to the well-established requirements for statehood stipulated by customary international law and the additional requirements mandated by the European Community Declaration and Guidelines in 1991. It would also contravene the internationally recognized and witnessed Oslo Accords between the Palestinians and Israel and lay the foundations for opening a new phase of the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel, rather than for resolving the conflict. Recognition would, therefore, undermine the primary purposes of the UN Charter and the current international rules-based order, which is to maintain international peace and security.
This is a brief overview only. Follow the link to the full article.

South Australian Legislative Council Rejects unilateral recognition of "Palestine"

10 August 2017

South Australia's Legislative Council passed a sensible and constructive resolution on promoting Middle East peace. 

The resolution, passed yesterday evening by a vote of 11 to 10, calls for a "two-state solution" between Israel and the Palestinians, "both sides to resume direct negotiations in good faith" and "the commonwealth government to recognise the state of Palestine once the two sides have successfully negotiated a two-state solution, as required by international law as set out in the Oslo Accords." 

This stands in contrast to a resolution passed by the South Australian House of Assembly in late June, which mentioned only Israeli settlements as a "major obstacle to peace" and called "on the commonwealth government to recognise the state of Palestine (as we have recognised the state of Israel) and announce the conditions and time lines to achieve such recognition", implying that such recognition should occur regardless of any progress toward a peace agreement between the sides. The same motion was put to the Legislative Council, but was defeated.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, who was in the South Australian Legislative Council to witness the historic vote, said, "Credit goes especially to Andrew McLachlan of the Liberal party - with help from other Liberal members, Corey Bernardi's Australian Conservatives, and John Darley of the Nick Xenophon Team - for his leadership in steering the passage of this sensible and constructive resolution. A degree of dignity and common sense has now been restored to the South Australian Parliament through the Legislative Council's rejection of the ahistorical, one-sided and counterproductive resolution passed in the lower house in June, and its replacement by a resolution which actually serves the cause of peace."

SA Parliamentary Friends of Israel event (L-R) Dr. Colin Rubenstein, John Gardner MLA, Andrew McLachlan MLC, Dr. Eran Lerman, Sam Duluk MLA, Dennis Hood MLC, Norman Schueler

Dr. Rubenstein noted that following the vote, South Australian Parliamentary Friends of Israel met with visiting Israeli strategic analyst Dr. Eran Lerman, who congratulated the members on the vote just taken. Dr. Lerman explained why the vote was so important - arguing the lower house vote does no favours to Palestinians by encouraging them to believe they can advance their goal of a state without ending the conflict, or engaging in negotiations and mutual compromise with Israel.