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Latest News in Israel – 17th January

Paris conference ends with endorsement of two-state solution

The much-discussed Paris Middle East Conference ended Sunday with a rather bland statement reaffirming support for a two-state solution, and a call to stop violence and “ongoing settlement activity.”

Some 70 countries and international organizations, including the foreign ministers of more than 30 states, attended the conference, which included neither Israeli nor Palestinian participants.

Israel adamantly opposed the conference, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeating on Sunday that he felt it was “futile” and a relic of an approach to the Middle East that will end on Friday with the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump.

The conference represents the “final palpitations of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow will look a lot different, and tomorrow is very close,” he said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

The final statement did, however, adopt the anti-settlement UN Security Resolution 2334, as well as the six principles that US Secretary of State John Kerry laid out in his December 28 speech.

Kerry, who attended the parley, called Netanyahu from Paris and said the United States will oppose any efforts to codify the Paris declaration into another Security Council resolution.

Israeli sources said Kerry called Netanyahu from the conference to brief him on the efforts the US was taking there to soften the language of the final statement.

According to the sources, Netanyahu told Kerry that damage had already been done to Israel by the anti-settlement resolution that the US allowed to pass in the Security Council last month, and that no more harm should be allowed to be caused from the Paris summit.

Kerry assured Netanyahu that there would be no follow- up to the Paris conference in the Security Council, according to the sources.

And, in fact, the statement made no reference to a further Security Council resolution, but did call for a follow-up conference by the end of the year “to support both sides in advancing the two-state solution through negotiations.”

The declaration also included a “call on each side… to refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final-status issues, including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees and which they will not recognize.”

A French diplomatic source said there had been tough negotiations on that paragraph.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said intensive efforts by Israel over the last few days were successful in softening the language of the statement, which – for instance – did not include the language of Resolution 2334 in referring to east Jerusalem as “occupied territory.” They also noted that there would be no follow-up in the Security Council, and attributed this largely to Israel’s furious reaction to the US failure to veto that resolution.

The final communique also shied away from explicitly criticizing plans by Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, although diplomats said the wording was meant to send a “subliminal” message.

Sources told The Jerusalem Post Kerry’s discussion with Netanyahu on Sunday tipped the balance on this matter, with Kerry objecting to any mention of Jerusalem as capital of both Israel and “Palestine,” or to a specific follow-up mechanism.

He said it would have been inappropriate to include in a communique from a meeting held in Paris on Israeli-Palestinian peace a mention of plans by the Trump administration to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

“It is being debated publicly at home and does not belong within international fora at this moment in time. It’s inappropriate,” Kerry told reporters.

French Foreign Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault said at a press conference after the meeting that while the Paris declaration will not be adopted at the Security Council at a meeting it will hold on the Middle East on Tuesday, it will certainly be discussed at Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

Ayrault said he would go to Washington once Trump takes office, and – among other issues – discuss the conference’s resolutions with the new administration.

He said all the countries and organizations that took part in the conference shared a sense of urgency vis-à-vis continued settlement activity and the increase in violence on the ground, in Jerusalem and elsewhere, elements that are threatening hopes to achieve a viable two-state solution.

According to Ayrault, the international community as a whole must firmly condemn the terrorist attack in Jerusalem last week.

He also stressed that the international community was united behind the anti-settlement resolution at the UN.

Ayrault said he is ready to invite Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Paris, or to go to the region and discuss the conference declaration with them.

French President François Hollande told the conference the two-state solution was threatened on all fronts; on the ground, by the continued settlement enterprise; on the political level, as the peace camp weakens; and on the moral level, with growing mistrust between the sides, and with the terrorists acting against it.

This threat, and the wars raging in the region, have driven many to abandon this vision in favor of the status quo, said Hollande, who emphasized that “the presence of 70 states and organizations here prove that we are not giving up.”

Hollande rejected the assertion made by Israel that France was trying to impose a solution on the sides, stating, “We have no intention to dictate any parameters of a solution. Only direct negotiation can lead to peace.

No one can do it in the stead of the leaders of both sides.” Without mentioning Netanyahu or Abbas by name, he said, “Only the leaders of both sides can convince their own peoples.”

Hollande’s speech addressed both Israelis and Palestinians, when he said, “There are always those who are skeptical. Those who refuse. I am fully aware of accusations by which our initiative is naïve, and that one cannot talk peace when war is tearing the region apart. But it is naiveté to believe that Israel can build relations and get closer to its neighbors without an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”

French diplomatic sources expressed disappointment that New UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres didn’t attend the conference, especially since France actively backed his candidacy to the post. Arab countries participating all sent their foreign ministers, and so did most of the EU countries, with the noticeable exception of Britain, which sent Michael Howells, head of the Mideast desk in the foreign office, and two diplomats in its embassy in Paris. Russia, as well, was “only” represented by its ambassador to France, and not by its foreign minister.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat issued a statement, saying, “We welcome today’s statement by the Paris Peace Conference, which stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 as per international law and international legitimacy resolutions; including the recent Security Council Resolution 2334.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Australia distances itself from Paris Middle East Peace Conference concluding statement

Australia has distanced itself from the concluding statement of the Middle East Peace conference in Paris, where more than 70 countries met to try to revive the stalled peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

The concluding communique of the Paris meeting, which took place overnight, reaffirmed that only a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians could resolve the conflict.

The statement also “welcomed” the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution that last month condemned Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

A spokesperson for the office of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC that “while the Australian Government was represented at the Paris conference, this does not mean we agree with every element of the final statement”.

“The most important priority must be a resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians for a two-state solution as soon as possible.”

Britain also said on Sunday it had reservations about the outcome of the conference in Paris, saying it risked “hardening positions”.

Britain had observer status at the conference and did not back the final communique.

Australia was the only country to speak out publicly against the US-backed security council resolution on settlements last month, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calling it “one sided” and “deeply unsettling”.

Washington effectively cleared the way for the resolution, which demanded an end to Israeli settlement building, prompting Israeli Government officials to direct harsh attacks against US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ms Bishop noted at the time that Australia was not currently a member of the Security Council and was not eligible to vote on the resolution, but indicated the Federal Government did not support the contentious move                   (ABC News)

UK refuses to sign Paris declaration, warns summit may harden Palestinian positions

Dramatically breaking ranks with participants from 70 other countries, the United Kingdom criticized Sunday’s Middle East peace conference in Paris, arguing that it might harden Palestinian negotiating positions and refusing to sign a joint statement issued after the summit that called for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Foreign Office spokesman said London had “particular reservations” about the Paris meeting taking place without Israeli or Palestinian representatives, especially since a new US administration is being sworn in later this week.

Indeed, the spokesman’s statement noted that the confab took place against Israel’s expressed wishes and “just days before the transition to a new American president when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement.”

“There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.”

Due to these concerns, Britain had attended the Paris talks as an observer only and refused to sign the joint declaration issued after the conference, the spokesman said.

“We will continue to support efforts to improve conditions on the ground to enable negotiations to resume and look forward to working with the parties, the new US Administration and other countries represented in this conference to make progress in 2017 and beyond,” the spokesperson added.

The surprising statement appeared to align London’s position on the conference with Israel’s. Jerusalem repeatedly decried the event as a futile exercise that, if anything, will make peace harder to achieve.

“The conference convening in Paris today is a useless conference,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier on Sunday. “Its goal is to try and force terms on Israel that conflict with our national needs. Of course it pushes peace further away because it hardens the Palestinian positions and it also pushes them away from direct negotiations without preconditions.”

According to a report in the British press, London refused to send a high-level delegation to the Paris conference to appease US President-elect Donald Trump, who reportedly disapproved of the conference as well.

Rather than send a minister or its ambassador in Paris to Sunday’s conference, which hosted representatives from 70 countries, the United Kingdom had three junior diplomats attend. Some 35 countries send their foreign minister to Paris for the event, including the US, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Norway, Sweden and Egypt.

London opted not to send a senior diplomat in order to placate Trump, who is said to be very sympathetic to the current Israeli government, a report in the Guardian suggested. The president-elect has reportedly conveyed to French diplomats his disapproval of the conference.

Representing the UK at the conference was the head of the Middle East desk of the Foreign Office, Michael Howells, as well as two advisers to the UK envoy in France, according to the paper.

On December 23, the UK in favor of a UN Security Council resolution lambasting Israeli settlements, which passed after Washington refrained from exercising its veto. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson admitted to playing an instrumental role in drafting the resolution, which was fiercely criticized by Israel, though Jerusalem focused its condemnations on the United States, which allowed the resolution to pass by withholding its veto.

Days after the vote, the British prime minister’s spokesperson issued a highly unusual rebuke of US Secretary of State John Kerry for overly focusing on Israeli settlements during a post-vote December 28 speech, in which he defended the US abstention, bitterly attacked the settlement enterprise, and set out his thoughts on how to advance the peace process.

Just a week and half before the Security Council vote, May delivered a speech overflowing with praise and support for Israel. Addressing the Conservative Friends of Israel, the prime minister hailed the Jewish state as “a remarkable country” and “a beacon of tolerance.”

Ties with Jerusalem were “crucial,” she said, promising to raise the bilateral trade relationship to new heights and describing the Balfour Declaration as “one of the most important letters in history.”  (the Times of Israel)

Hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators rally against Mideast summit in Paris

Hundreds of Jews demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy here Sunday against the Paris peace summit being held about four kilometers away at the French Foreign Ministry.

“We are here today to express our objection to the Paris Middle East Conference, which we consider as an anti-Israeli tribunal, similar to the negative decisions adopted by UNESCO and the UNSC,” Francis Kalifat, president of the French Jewish umbrella organization CRIF, told The Jerusalem Post.

French Jews, Kalifat said, are disappointed by the French leadership, which refuses to accept the fact that true peace should and could be achieved only through direct negotiations.

“France must realize that one cannot make statements and take such decisions five days before a new administration takes office in the US,” he said.

Jean B., 25, who attended the rally, said: “We are here today to tell our president that Israel has already reached out to the Palestinians in peace. The Palestinians are trying to internationalize the conflict instead of accepting Israel’s hand and opening unconditional talks.”

Israeli Ambassador to France Aliza Bin Noun said at the rally that “France has condemned the terrible attack in Jerusalem, and screened the flag of Israel on the façade of city hall, demonstrating that we share the same values of peace, democracy, solidarity and mutual respect. Yet, France continued with its initiative and the conference convened today [Sunday] – a peace-pretending conference.”

Bin Noun recalled that peace agreements between Israel and Jordan and Egypt were both reached through direct negotiations, and not within international forums.

Elisabeth, a student at the Sorbonne, told the Post: “We are hoping our leaders will hear our outcry and listen to it. I know that France wants to advance peace, but they are going about it the wrong way.”  (Jerusalem Post)

France says Trump’s Jerusalem embassy proposal a provocation

France’s foreign minister said on Sunday a proposal by US President-elect Donald Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem would be a provocation with serious consequences.

“Of course (it’s a provocation). I think he would not be able to do it,” Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television amid a conference on the Middle East peace process in Paris. “It would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a US president, but none have let themselves make that decision.

“One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position. You have to create the conditions for peace.”

Earlier on Sunday  as the conference on Middle East peace kicked off, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the parley was “futile” and the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world.

The summit, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, was “coordinated between the French and the Palestinians with the goal of trying to impose conditions on Israel that are not compatible with Israel’s national interests.”

Delegations from some 70 nations attended the conference, however, neither Israel nor the Palestinians had representatives participating in the summit.

Ayrault opened the conference in Paris, by stressing that the two-state solution is the only alternative able to to guarantee peace and security to Israel, the Palestinians and the region.

The conference, he said, aims to offer measures that would encourage the sides to relaunch negotiations and to create the optimal conditions for that. He also hinted that the conference might establish a follow-up framework. ‘’We have no aim but peace for Israel, the Palestinians, the region and all people who suffer from the crisis and violence of the conflict,’’ said Ayrault.

The conference is also seen as an effort by the international community to send a message to Trump that a two-state solution is the only way forward, and to serve as a warning not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as he has pledged to do.

The Palestinian leadership has launched a campaign to appeal to the world to block the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

A Fatah spokesman said on Saturday night that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will “open the gates of hell.”

Last Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent letters to a host of world leaders and heads of international bodies, including the US president-elect, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May, asking them to block the relocation of the embassy.  (Jerusalem Post)

Obama says UN vote didn’t rupture US-Israel relations

US President Barack Obama played down fallout from a US abstention on a United Nations resolution last month demanding an end to Israeli settlements in occupied territory, saying it did not trigger a significant break in relations with Israel.

Relations between the United States and Israel, which have soured during Obama’s eight years in office, reached a low point late last month when Washington, defying pressure from longtime ally Israel and President-elect Donald Trump, declined to veto the UN resolution.

After the Dec. 23 vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the US move as “shameful” and accused the Obama administration of colluding with the Palestinians in the UN move against the settlements, which are considered illegal by most countries and described as illegitimate by Washington. The White House denied the charge.

“I don’t think it caused a major rupture in relations between the United States and Israel,” Obama said in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” airing on Sunday night, according to a transcript provided by CBS.

“If you’re saying that Prime Minister Netanyahu – got fired up, he’s been fired up repeatedly during the course of my presidency.” Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel’s capital despite international objections.

Obama, who leaves office on Friday, said Israel’s settlements had made it harder to imagine a contiguous, effective Palestinian state, seen as key to a long-sought two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.

Israel disputes that settlements are illegal and says their final status should be determined in any future talks on Palestinian statehood. The last round of US-led peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014.  (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas headquarters uncovered north of Jerusalem

Thirteen Hamas terrorists, including a member of the Palestinian Authority’s Legislative Council, were arrested overnight in a joint operation by the IDF and Shin Bet internal security agency.

The operation comes on the heels of the discovery of a regional headquarters of the Hamas terror group in the Ramallah district, north of Jerusalem.

The base is believed to have served as the center of operations for dozens of Hamas terrorists in Samaria, and may be part of a broader effort by Hamas to expand its influence in the Ramallah area. Payments to jailed terrorists and their families, outreach efforts to local Palestinian Authority residents, public demonstrations, and the operation of a Hamas student group were all managed from the headquarters.

During the raid of the facility overnight, IDF soldiers and Shin Bet agents confiscated cash, vehicles, and propaganda material used by Hamas for recruitment purposes.

“The discovery of this [terror] infrastructure reveals Hamas’ continuing strategic intentions to operate and establish bases in the area, as part of an effort to weaken the [Palestinian] Authority; all while attempting to commit serious acts of terror,” a Shin Bet spokesperson said.

“The Shin Bet security agency and the IDF will continue to operate with determination to disrupt these [terror] infrastructures in advance [of possible attacks].” (Arutz Sheva)

Israelis to travel abroad to honor fallen lone soldiers in hometowns

Honoring fallen soldiers is a mandatory annual ritual, and bereaved friends and family in the Diaspora who cannot attend ceremonies in Israel are excluded from this rite.

A recently launched foundation is changing this, and this May, on Remembrance Day, Israeli youth, IDF officers and politicians will travel to various communities around the world to honor their loved ones who sacrificed their lives for Israel.

One of the founders of All For One, Ofer Inbar, told The Jerusalem Post that he was inspired by a story he learned while he working at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

The former prime minister had ensured that the family of Daniel Haas, an American lone soldier who was killed in the First Lebanon War in 1982, was flown in from Cleveland for the funeral in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.

Not all of Haas’s family was able to fly, as one of his sisters was pregnant. The following year, Begin approved funding for the flights of those relatives to attend Haas’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death.

Today, the government funds for the parents of a lone soldier to come every year and for the siblings of a lone soldier every five years. “The time has come to change that,” Inbar says.

Highlighting that it’s not just the immediate family who are affected, but also grandparents, friends and community members, the founders of All For One decided Israeli representatives should travel to Diaspora communities every year to hold official ceremonies to honor and mourn with the bereaved families and friends of fallen lone soldiers, in their hometowns and communities that have been isolated from Israel’s national day of mourning.

Next week the foundation will launch a Headstart crowdfunding campaign to make that possible this year, and they hope that by next year it will already have been passed into law and government- funded.

Lt.-Col. Tzvika Levy (res.), the “father of lone soldiers,” offered to be president, despite the fact that he is suffering from muscular dystrophy.

From his sickbed he filmed an impassioned plea to support the cause.

“Over the past several months, a number of people have been working on a very important project – official memorial ceremonies in communities around the world, whose children have served in the IDF as lone soldiers and have died during the Israeli wars,” he said. “I joined them in this important journey as the president of the foundation. I call on you to join the Facebook page All for One and help us promote this humane project. Give us a like, share the video and join your friends efforts in the project.”

Over the past 25 years, Levy has taken care of thousands of lone soldiers, finding housing for them and otherwise acting as mentor.

“I have dedicated my entire life for the lone soldiers and even more so for those who have died defending our homeland,” he continued.

“Join us so that we can remember them together. It is now our turn to contribute our share to their families, friends and communities whose children contributed so much.”

The initiative is swiftly gaining traction, with several public figures and politicians having expressed their support.

Levy’s video was shared by President Reuven Rivlin on Friday, with the words: “A moment before Shabbat, I am passing to you this request from Tzvika Levy, to give him and the organization All For One a hand in this holy work. You are very dear to us Tzvika.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked too joined in the call.

“There are special Jewish youths who live far away from Israel and who know the State of Israel from afar,” she wrote on Facebook.

“They learn about us, mainly through the media, but nonetheless they choose the task, which is not all taken for granted. They leave everything, family, studies and friends and move to Israel alone, to serve in the IDF.”

She added that in recent years a number of lone soldiers have fallen while serving, and thousands of Israelis have felt the need to support the communities they left behind.

“The time has come to commemorate those lone heroes,” she wrote. “Join this global initiative and together we will embrace them.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Paris peace conference – much ado about nothing

by Herb Keinon                     The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Much-ado-about-nothing-478527

The setting looked so impressive.

There in Paris, inside the French Foreign Ministry, tables were set for representatives of some 70 countries, including more than 30 foreign ministers.

At the head of the hall was an elevated area with a podium, a single French flag and, in white letters against a blue background, the following was writ large: Middle East Peace Conference, Paris – Sunday, January 15, 2017.

Yes, another Middle East peace conference. Never mind that neither of the parties who are supposed to be making peace – the Israelis and the Palestinians – were present, another Paris peace conference was under way, nonetheless.

Over the years, there have been many Paris peace conferences.

There was the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 at the end of World War I; the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 that ended the Vietnam War; and the 1994 Paris Protocols, where the agreement governing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were hammered out.

Those were bona fide international conferences that actually led to something tangible. Few expect the same to emerge from Sunday’s event in Paris, especially given the fact that in five days there will a new president in the United States widely expected to object to this type of Middle East initiative so adamantly opposed by one of the concerned parties: Israel.

No, this conference is likely to be remembered along with some of the other international meetings in Paris, convened amid great fanfare, that led nowhere.

One such conference was the 2008 parley organized by then president Nicolas Sarkozy – the Union of the Mediterranean – that brought together leaders from some 40 countries around the Mediterranean, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Syrian President Bashar Assad, who stood on the very same stage without speaking or looking at each other.

That conference, widely viewed then as one of Sarkozy’s vanity projects, led to nothing.

Sarkozy also was instrumental in establishing the Group of Friends of the Syrian People in 2012, which convened in a number of different locations, including Paris, to discuss the Syrian situation. That, too, has not been a resounding success.

Yet, the French were adamant in going ahead with Sunday’s parley, even though they obviously know that – with the absence of Israel’s participation and the emergence of the Trump administration in Washington – the likelihood of its success is very slim.

Why, then, go ahead with it at all? Firstly, because this is what the French do – they organize and hold international conferences.

Secondly, because the French feel a historic responsibility toward the Middle East – primarily toward Lebanon and Syria, but also toward Egypt and Israel. They do not see the Levant as a remote corner of the world, but rather a region to which they have strong historic ties and responsibilities.

Thirdly, because of domestic political considerations. And there are two distinct elements at play here.

French President Francois Hollande’s left-wing government has been consistently criticized by the Left for not being leftwing enough. After Hollande came to Israel in 2013, he was criticized inside his party for cozying up too much to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This conference shows the French Left that the government has not forsaken the plight of the Palestinians.

And there are also cold electoral calculations at play, as well.

The Muslim electorate is a significant voting bloc in France, and for a large part of that bloc, the Palestinian issue remains very important. This conference is a way of showing them that the issue is also important for the Socialist Party. Keep in mind that the French will be going to the polls in just a few months to vote in a new president, so the Muslim voting bloc will be particularly significant.

Finally, the French are hosting this conference because there remain few vehicles in the world that lift up a country’s international diplomatic stature – if only momentarily – than hosting a Middle East peace conference.

Paris has, over the last number of years, bet on all the wrong horses in the Middle East: Saddam Hussein in Iraq; Assad in Syria; Yasser Arafat in the Palestinian Authority; Hosni Mubarak in Egypt; and Rafik Hariri in Lebanon.

But hold a Middle East peace conference and maybe – just maybe – none of that will matter and some of that lost diplomatic prestige and luster can be regained.

Then again, maybe not.

The UN and Obama’s Act of Aggression

by Maria Polizoidou              The Gatestone Institute

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9759/un-obama-aggression

UNSC Res. 2334 is an act of political aggression against foundation of the Judeo-Christian civilization and should be treated as such. The Jewish nation has every right to consider this attack as an act of war against it.

President Obama sometimes seems to have an indifference to historical truth that often borders on antagonism. Obama has again tried to re-write history by claiming that Greece, with the help of the winners of World War I, was an aggressive and imperialistic state that cared only to re-build its Empire against the Turks.

The notion that ancient non-Muslim nations are occupiers in their own lands, is repeated in the UN Resolution 2334.

Historically, Muslim forces began invading Syria in 634, and ended by conquering Constantinople in 1453. They invaded not only all of Turkey — obliterating the great Christian empire of Byzantium — but then went on to conquer all of North Africa, Greece, southern Spain, parts of Portugal and eastern Europe.

President Obama apparently did not learn about the Trojan War in school; he apparently never read Homer to know that the inhabitants of the Bosporus and much of Asia Minor were Greeks — just as he apparently never read the Bible, or the Greek and Roman historic records of the Jewish people and their capital, Jerusalem.

The US and the UN are not who determine what is historically true and what is not. These shameful votes should be reversed immediately; if not, all funding should be withdrawn from the United Nations. They are now, to paraphrase the words Vladimir Lenin, “paying for the rope with which members of the UN will hang them.”

If US President Barack Obama were uneducated, if his staff consisted of people who had never been taught history at school, if the government consisted of savages who have just emerged from the Amazon jungle, we could somehow “justify” their ignorance about the history of the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern people.

But that is not what is going on. This ambush against Israel in UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which considers the Jewish people “occupiers” in their own ancient capital and the holiest part of it, is an act of jihad and an act of political violence – perpetrated by governments to achieve political goals.

This resolution did not randomly emerge from a historical moment, or as the result of political choices based on reasonable criteria to provide peace and stability in the region. It does not help either the Arabs living in the disputed territories — Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip – or the Israelis in any peace process. It is an act of vengeance against the foundations of Judeo-Christian civilization and should be treated as such. The Jewish nation has every right to consider this attack an act of war against it. It certainly is an act of war against the history of the Jews and the freedom, democracy, human rights, pluralism and rule of law that Israel represents in the Middle East.

President Obama and his government at the beginning of their service eight years ago turned against the history of the Greek nation with the same political aggression. Obama had a chance to do that when he went to the Turkish Parliament, on April 6, 2009.

Sadly, he did not acknowledge the genocide of the Greeks by the Turkish army under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Between 1913 and 1923, millions of Greeks who had lived in Turkey since before the great Christian Byzantine empire, were either slaughtered or driven out. According to some Greek historians, between 800,000 and 1,200,000 Greeks were slaughtered during this period; every year on September14, the State of Greece officially honors the memory of those who died in Asia Minor.

Instead, Obama gave political cover to what the Turks did by saying at the Turkish Parliament on April 6, 2009: “You freed yourself from foreign control, and you founded a republic that commands the respect of the United States and the wider world”.

The “foreign control” to which President Obama refers is the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, where the League of Nations was established. [1]

President Obama, in evident his enthusiasm to flatter the ego of Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “forgot” to mention some important events of that era. President Obama “forgot” all about the genocide of Greeks and Christians in Asia Minor by Mustafa Kemal’s Ataturk Turkish. Barack Obama methodically “murdered” historical truth, by ignoring the fact that the Greek army, after the end of World War I in 1918, was sent to Asia Minor under the instructions of the great powers and the winners of the war, to protect Christian populations from persecution, murders and rapes of Muslim Turkish. The Greek army did not go as an occupier but as a protector of human life and human rights.

President Obama sometimes seems to have an indifference to historical truth that often borders on antagonism.[2]

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately responded by saying that “history cannot be rewritten”.

Now, this is what President Obama has tried to do again: to re-write history by claiming that Greece, with the winners’ help of World War I, was an aggressive and imperialistic State that cared only to re-build its Empire against the Turks. In other words, President Obama seemed to mean that the winners of WW I were some Christian Countries who wanted through Greece to establish a Christian Empire, such as the Byzantine Empire, and that Muslim territories and the International Community should, as he was the leader of such a powerful nation, “adopt” his view of history.

The notion that ancient nations which are not Muslim are occupiers in their own lands, is repeated in the UN Resolution 2334.

Obama was complimenting Turkey on not returning to the Ottoman Empire, which officially ended in 1922.

Democracy in Turkey now -what is left of it, that is – consists of all the military and the judiciary purged of anyone who believed in government by the people. Just since August, Turkey has arrested more than 26,000 people, including 120 journalists and has closed 150 news outlets.

“There is no more critical journalism, 90 percent of the free press is destroyed directly or indirectly,” according to Erol Onderoglu, the Turkish representative for Reporters Without Borders. “Investigative journalism is considered treason. Journalism has been stolen by the government.”

Is that kind of clampdown what Europeans would eventually like to see happen here, too?

Historically, Muslim forces began invading Syria in 634, and ended by conquering Constantinople in 1453.

They invaded not only all of Turkey – obliterating the great Christian empire of Byzantium – but then went on to conquer all of North Africa, Greece, Southern Spain, parts of Portugal, and eastern Europe, including Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans.

Emperor Constantine the First had moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople and laid the foundation for Christianity to become the official religion of the Roman-Byzantine State and the Western world in general. Emperor Constantine had given the citizens of the Roman Empire the right of the religious tolerance, a liberal action 1700 years ago; today, many leaders in the Arab world say they cannot tolerate Christian Churches in their territories.

The Greeks wanted during the World War I to re-establish the Byzantine Empire, but the Turkish-Muslim world prevented it from happening. Instead, commencing in 1914-15, they conducted a genocide against both the Armenians, and the Greeks until 1923.

At present the Greek community in Turkey numbers around 3000 and are not allowed to attend Greek schools.

For President Obama, the Turkish “victory” seems to have been a sensational win against the Western-Christian world, even though it was this world that had made him President of the United States.

President Obama apparently “forgot” the American’s testimonies who helped the Greeks to escape from Kemal’s Turkish massacres. He “forgot” the 1.5 million Greek refugees who were expelled from their homes in Asia Minor by the Turkish army. The Turkish “democracy” which Mr. Obama so admires, built on seas of blood of other people who were living in those areas. Perhaps, refugees for President Obama and his government, are only those who are Muslims. All the others are “occupiers”…

But even if the Greek army went to Asia Minor as an occupier — if we adopt the most distorted view of history, where exactly it would be an occupier? In the cities that were inhabited by Greeks from the beginning of recorded history?

President Obama apparently did not learn about the Trojan War in school; he apparently never read Homer to know that the inhabitants of the Bosporus and much of Asia Minor were Greeks – just as he apparently never read the Bible, or the Greek and Roman historic records of the Jewish people and their capital, Jerusalem.

The Obama administration, to cover the president’s shameful ambush against the Jewish state, sought through Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, to shift the responsibility for the UN resolution onto the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Where does the US Democratic party’s downhill plummet end?

The US and the UN – both the Security Council and UNESCO – are not who determine what is historically true and what is not. These shameful votes should be reversed immediately; if not, all funding should be withdrawn from the United Nations, by United States and all freedom-loving democracies. They are now, to paraphrase the words of the Soviet Union’s Vladimir Lenin, “paying for the rope with which members of the UN will hang them.”

Maria Polizoidou, a reporter, broadcast journalist, and consultant on international and foreign affairs, is based in Greece.

[1] President Obama also said in the same speech: “At the end of World War I, Turkey could have succumbed to the foreign powers that were trying to claim its territory, or sought to restore an ancient empire”. The “ancient empire” that Obama refers to, is unclear – Ottoman or Byzantine – and the “foreign powers that were trying to claim its territory” were the winners of World War I, including the USA.

[2] Such as claiming for weeks that a video had caused the attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya; his knowingly false promises to his own people about the effects of his Affordable Care Act; lies about the Internal Revenue Service; or his endless lies about the “Iran deal”.