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25 years ago today, on 18 July 1994 at 9:53 A.M., a huge explosion rocked the city of Buenos Aires - the second murderous attack against Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina in two years.

July 18 marks the 25th anniversary of the murderous attack carried out against the Jewish community center AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) in Buenos Aires, on 18 July 1994. It was the second attack against Jewish and Israeli targets on Argentinian soil – the attack on the Israeli embassy took place only two years previously.

Tragically, 85 people lost their lives in the AMIA attack, and hundreds more were injured.

The sorrow and grief caused by this attack is compounded by the fact that those responsible for this horrifying act, as for the one preceding it, have not yet been brought to justice. After years of investigation, the Argentinian magistrate concluded in 2007 that Iran was behind the attack and responsible for dispatching the murderers.

The government of Argentina appealed to Interpol to issue arrest warrants for a number of suspects, and this appeal was approved by the Interpol General Assembly. Israel condemns Iran for its responsibility for terrorist attacks around the world and for funding, instructing, training and arming terror organizations and for threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

At this difficult hour, the people and government of Israel identify with the bereaved families, with the Jewish community in Argentina and with all the people of Argentina. Concurrently, we would like to congratulate the Jewish community, which has managed to recover from the tragic event, to restore the community and maintain firm ties with the State of Israel. Furthermore, we endorse the Argentinian government's efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

 

Photo  AMIA website

 

 

 

On Thursday November 2, 250 aspiring diplomats participated in BashaerMUN, Debate for Peace’s opening Model United Nations conference of the year. The conference was hosted by the Bashaer School for Science in Sakhnin, and co-sponsored by the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

 

 

The Palestinian Authority’s campaign against the Balfour Declaration indicates that its leadership refuses to recognize the legitimate historical right of the Jews to their national homeland and casts serious doubts about Palestinian intentions.

 

November 2 2016 marks the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, one of the earliest measures taken by a major international actor to recognize the right of the Jewish people to reestablish sovereignty over their national homeland.The Declaration recognizes the fact that the Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel and have had a continual presence there for millennia. Jews have been striving to reconstitute their national homeland since the destruction of the Judean Kingdom in 70 CE, but the successful fulfillment of this goal began only in the 19th century when the political movement to return to the Jewish homeland began to establish national institutions at the Zionist Congress in 1897.The Balfour Declaration was issued on 2 November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur James Balfour, and states: 

 

“His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

It is important to note that at the time the Declaration was issued, Palestine referred to a geographic area, not to any political entity as no such independent or sovereign entity existed.Recognition by the International Community International recognition of the Jewish people’s inalienable right to reestablish sovereignty in its ancestral homeland quickly followed the Balfour Declaration.Most significantly, the League of Nations [the precursor to the United Nations] recognized this right in its 24 July 1922 decision to establish the Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate. In that international legislative act, the League appointed Great Britain to be responsible for putting the Balfour Declaration into effect, with the goal of “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” The legally-binding League of Nations Mandate acknowledged the “historic connection of the Jewish people” to the area rightly known as the Land of Israel/Judea/the Holy Land.The League of Nations mandate of 1922 transformed the Balfour Declaration and its call for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people from a policy position into an international legal obligation accepted by the international community as a whole. Legitimate Jewish Rights The importance of both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision lays in the international recognition of preexisting natural, historical, and legal rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, in which there had been a continuous Jewish presence throughout the centuries. The official acknowledgment by the international community of the Jewish people’s historic ties to the land is further emphasized by the language used in the League’s Mandate decision. The Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate specifically calls to “reconstitute” the national home of the Jewish people, not to constitute anything new. The International Community and the Establishment of the State of Israel The Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations decision and the subsequent United Nations Partition Plan of 1947 all recognized the Jewish people’s right to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. These international decisions played an important role in galvanizing support for the establishment of the future State of Israel. Palestinian Attempts to Undermine the Balfour DeclarationThe essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from 1917 until today has been the systematic and total rejection by the Palestinian leadership of the Jewish people's legitimate national rights in the Land of Israel.Current Palestinian attempts to undermine the Balfour Declaration are part and parcel of their campaign to undermine the basic rights of Jewish peoplehood and the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Rejecting the Balfour Declaration is tantamount to rejecting the internationally-recognized natural rights of the Jewish people to a national home in the Land of Israel.While Israel has repeatedly stressed its adherence to the principle of two states for two people, these Palestinian attempts prove yet again that their leaders are less interested in establishing their own state alongside Israel than they are in forging it instead of Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s incongruous threat, first announced this past July, to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration amply demonstrates that Palestinian leaders remain fixated on unfounded allegations from the past instead of moving forward to a better future for both peoples. This historical denial of internationally-recognized Jewish rights by the Palestinian leadership is also refl ected in the recent attempts in UNESCO to erase the Jewish and Christian heritage of Jerusalem.Respect for the Rights of AllBoth the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision included specific provisions to ensure respect for the civil and religious rights of all inhabitants in the land of Israel, irrespective of their ethnic orientation or religion. Israel itself has always fervently strived to protect the rights of all its citizens – Jews and Arabs alike. Even before Israel became a state in 1948, the Jewish national movement deemed respect for the basic rights of all the inhabitants of the land as one of its most important values. Indeed, Israel enshrined these rights in its Declaration of Independence:

“THE STATE OF ISRAEL […] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”


The Quest for PeaceIn the hope of fulfilling its dream of peaceful coexistence, Israel – and the Jewish national movement that preceded it - continually demonstrated their readiness to make painful compromises with their Arab neighbors.In contrast, the rejectionist policies of the Palestinian leaders have not changed since 1917. Tragically, these Palestinian policies have not been limited to the political sphere. In 1947, the UN Partition Plan - which was accepted by the Jews - was rejected by the Arabs, who chose to wage a war of annihilation instead of accepting the compromise that would have averted all the wars that followed. Current activities by the Palestinian Authority, including its campaign against the Balfour Declaration, indicate that the Palestinian leadership continues to claim exclusive rights to the entire land, refusing to recognize the legitimate historical right of the Jews to their national homeland. These actions cast serious doubts about Palestinian intentions.These actions, together with the systematic distortion of Jewish history, are morally unacceptable and factually unfounded. They are inimical to the international community’s – and Israel’s – desire for peace. It is long past time for the international community to step up and demand that the Palestinians stop perpetuating the conflict against Israel and finally answer Israel’s repeated calls to return to direct negotiations for a genuine peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Some of Israel’s brightest young diplomats gathered at the Yachad Modi’in High School on Sunday, passing a number of resolutions promoting women’s rights and empowerment. YachadMUN, the first Model United Nations (MUN) conference to be held in Modi’in, united Arab and Jewish girls and boys from more than 15 schools and cities around Israel for a full day of intensive debates and negotiations before finally voting on 5 resolutions.

 

YachadMUN was the latest MUN conference run by Debate for Peace (DfP), a program offering free MUN conferences to students all over Israel. DfP is run in DfP coordination with the Interfaith Encounters Association (IEA) and the Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB). DfP was able to provide transportation to participating schools thanks to a grant from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, its newest partner.

 

At the conference, the 150 participants, ranging from 13 to 18 years old, discussed topics of global importance related to women’s rights: women’s education; women’s health; women’s role in developing economies; sex trafficking, and women’s rights in Muslim countries. After four hours of rigorous debates and negotiations, all five committees passed resolutions.

 

During the closing ceremony, Mrs. Sassie Yona, the Yachad MUN club advisor, and a teacher in the English and Diplomacy program, thanked everyone who had helped make the conference happen, the guests and the participants. She was followed by the principal of Yachad, Mr. Sagiv Elbaz, who thanked Mrs. Yona for her commitment to MUN at Yachad, essentially creating a dominant program from scratch.

 

 

 

 

The keynote speaker was Dr. Iris Truman, barrister at law. Dr. Truman, who holds a PhD in law and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Leicester in England, has also served as a business mentor for young entrepreneurs for more than two decades.An expert in international law and trade agreements and managing complex negotiations, Dr. Truman is the chairman of the ICSCD committee of the Israeli Bar Association. She talked to the students about her latest initiative—a new international commercial court to settle disputes between countries and multinational companies, using practical examples relevant to the conference’s topics.

 

Following the formal speeches, came the awards section of the evening. Mr. Jack Karn read out the students who had earned scholarships to JPB interfaith programs in the United States this summer: Shai Lenman (Ort Binyamina); Alia Habib Allah (Al-Bashaer); Tal Tzipori (Yachad Modi’in); Lana Wattad (Jatt); Ariel Haguel-Gutman (Darca Begin); Jameel Ghantous (Al-Bashaer); Almog Bar (Ort Gan Yavne); Saba Tahaa (Jadeeda); Omri Zait (Ort Binyamina), and Donia Daghash (Al-Bashaer).

 

The chairs for each committee then came to the podium and announced the winners of the Best and Outstanding Delegates: In the HRC, Mor Atsmon, Ariel Zinman and Zohar Baskin; in ECOSOC, Chai Margalit and Omri Zait; in OIC, Shaked Offenbach and Donia Daghash, in UNESCO, Or Moshe, Tal Tzipori and Carmel Kenneth, and in the WHO, Yoav Lev Sagie, Hila Krokovski, Omar Masalha and Itai Shalev.

 

After the event, Mrs. Yona discussed how pleased she was with hosting Modi’in’s first MUN conference:

“My students and I put in countless hours of preparation for this event, and the day went off almost exactly as I had imagined and hoped it would.

 

Hosting YachadMUN has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. This has given students unique opportunities, and I have seen shy, introverted boys and girls shine as they challenge themselves to stand up and represent a country whose policy they may not necessarily agree with.”

Nooralhuda Hoji, co-Director of the Debate for Peace program said that “bringing together so many young students from around Israel to tackle such important topics is proof that we can work together to empower women and change perspectives on key issues, some of DfP’s most important goals.”

 

 

 
Steven Aiello is the founder and co-director of the Debate for Peace program  & a part of www.diplomacy.co.il Team
 

Photo Credit: Yachad Modi'in School

 

 

 

 

 

Prime Minister's Office Statement on Turkish Parliament Decision

 

 

Israel welcomes the Turkish Parliament's decision to approve the deal recently concluded by the two governments and looks forward to the next steps of its implementation, including the return of our respective ambassadors.