Report that Israel placed more anti-personnel mines in Golan in advance of September protests

This is a story that gets little reaction, despite more news coming in from time to time.

This time, it’s from a report, presumably in Hebrew, published in an Israeli military magazine.

The right-wing Israeli website, Arutz Sheva, is reporting here, that the latest edition of the Bemachaneh (On the Base) military magazine says that “Anti-personnel mines have been placed beyond the Golan border fence but on Israel’s side of the border … The mining in the area of the Golan territorial brigade is the first phase of activity that will extend to all of the border covered by the Israel Defense Forces’ 36th Division”.

The report also says that mines “already in place did not go off” during the May 15 protests in which Palestinian and Syrian protesters crossed the Golan and briefly entered the Israeli-controlled town of Majdel Shams, before being returned to Syria.  And, it says, this new planting of anti-personnel mines “is in addition to the erection of fences, the digging of trenches and other measures to prevent incursions by demonstrators or other hostile forces in September, when violence is expected to accompany the Palestinian Authority’s announced intent to unilaterally declare a state. Anti-tank mines are also being upgraded or replaced, in the first mining of the area in 10 years“.

UPDATE: The AP is now reporting, on Saturday 13 August, that “An Israeli army magazine says the military is planting new land mines along the border with Syria to dissuade protesters from rushing into the Golan Heights. The army decided to go ahead with the move after older mines failed to detonate when Syrian demonstrators rushed into the border area in June during a protest against Israel’s occupation. Israeli forces opened fire, killing some 20 protesters in efforts to push the crowd back. The mines are also part of beefed-up measures Israel is taking ahead of rallies that Palestinians are planning to hold in September”. This AP report is posted here.

NOTE: Our earlier reports on this story are posted:
17 June – here, and
16 June – here,
And our even earlier posts on this are:
9 June – here;
8 June – here;
and 7 June – here.

Continue reading Report that Israel placed more anti-personnel mines in Golan in advance of September protests

EU blocked "unbalanced" US move in last Quartet meeting

It was the European Union — and not just Russia, as earlier reported — that blocked a U.S. move in the last Quartet meeting (a dinner in Washington on 11 July) to back, and impose on Palestinians, a statement that would have endorsed two of Israel’s main recent demands (Palestinian acknowledgement of Israel as a Jewish state, and accomodation of major Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory) according to a report by the Ramallah-based Jerusalem Media Communicatons Center (JMCC) today.

The U.S. also reportedly tried — but apparently failed — to get the Quartet to disapprove of any Palestinian move to upgrade the status of their representation at the United Nations in September.

The JMCC report, published here, contains a twice-translated citation of the wording of the U.S. proposal that was not accepted by the Quartet, which it added to other material partly based on a report in today’s Haaretz, here.

According to the Haaretz report, “senior European diplomats” told Haaretz that “responsibility for the failure of the meeting lies with the United States, which proposed to the other Quartet members – the EU, the UN and Russia – a one-sided wording for an announcement that favored Israel and which had no chance of being accepted by the Palestinians. The U.S. version did include mention of negotiations being based on the 1967 borders with an exchange of territory, however, it also included portions of the [2004] letter of President George Bush to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which noted that the border changes would reflect the demographic changes on the ground since 1967. This implies the annexation of the settlement blocs to Israel…”

Continue reading EU blocked "unbalanced" US move in last Quartet meeting

Why remember PLO decisions of 1993, but not those of 1988?

Why do Palestinian negotiators speak of 1993 exchange of recognition between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but forget about the PLO’s declarations in 1988?

(1) Yasser Arafat read out, at meeting of the PLO’s Palestine National Council (PNC) in Algiers in November 1988 [almost one year into the first Palestinian Intifada], the PALESTINIAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, which says that the 1947 UNGA partition Resolution 181 (endorsing Jewish + Arab states) still provides the legal basis for the right of Palestinian Arab people to national sovereignty and independence — despite historical injustice.

By this, the PLO accepted the State of Israel, and recognized it as a Jewish State.  Now, in 2010, the Palestinians are being squeezed to do the same thing again — but they are reacting with shock and horror, and adamantly refusing.

One main question now  is: if the Palestinians were to repeat, graciously, their earlier decision, would the reaction be a display of Jewish morality — or would it be, instead, Jewish triumphalism and victor’s justice?

(2) In the same meeting of the PLO’s PNC in Algiers in November 1988,  a POLITICAL DECLARATION was adopted stating that Israel should withdraw from all the Palestinian + Arab territories occupied in 1967 (including Arab Jerusalem).

By  claiming the territory occupied in 1967, the PLO  and the Palestinian leadership effectively gave up title to the land between the lines of the 1947 partition resolution and the 1949-1950 Armistice Lines agreed between Israel and its neighbors in UN-sponsored negotiations (more or less the same thing as the 1967 Green Line which Israel crossed in the Six Day War).