Is it related to the current heatwave ? In the heart of custom paper the summer, all the “hot“ issues of concern to us these last months seem to fall in line with the current events. Of course, each of these issues would need a longer analysis, but we are concerned by all of them and JCall feels duty-bound to voice its opinion on each of them.
1. The recent attacks in Tunisia, France, Koweit or Sinai remind us of the constant presence of the Islamist threat in the Middle-East and in Europe, all the more so as they are often perpetrated by young European-born Muslims attracted by the uninterrupted progression of the Islamic State. All experts predict that this war will last several years and that it will be won only if it is fought by Arab “moderate“ countries and regimes who are the first target of Salafists. Without denying the real threat represented by Daesh on the borders of Israel, from the North to the South, this confrontation offers Israel a real opportunity to redraw the geopolitical map of the region by forging relationships—including military relationships—with its neighbors, or by strengthening them, when they already exist, in order to help them facing these threats. According to the articles published in the Israeli and international newspapers on the intensifying military cooperation with the Egyptian army in the Sinai or the announcement of the upcoming visit of the Saudi prince Al Walid Ben Talala to Israel, the Netanyahu governement seems to have taken account of these changes in its strategy. It would still be necessary for Israelis to associate the Palestinian Authority in their strategy if they really want to keep at bay the Salafist threats also active in the West Bank.
2. The likely conclusions, according to observers, of an upcoming agreement between Iran and the P5+1, could change everything in the region. By accepting to place its nuclear programme under international control, in exchange of the lifting of sanctions that choke off its economy, Iran would recover its international position. First of all, this agreement is hoped for by the Iranian population, the actual leaders of which have understood they would be judged on their ability to meet its expectations. But these leaders can also read very well tha map of the region. They are as aware as Westerners that facing the disintegration of the Nation-States, the solution of Iraqi, Syrian or Lebanese problems cannot be reached without them. By campaigning assiduously against that agreement, instead of checking with Western States the rules for the application of control measures to be implemented, the Israeli government chooses the wrong target. It won’t be able to prevent its conclusion, even by playing off the Congress against the White House, in the way Prime Minister Netanyahu is so good at.
3. By accusing the French of willing to impose a diktat on Israel through the motion they intend to submit to the Security Council, and in which would be exposed the parameters of a solution to the conflict, accompagnied by a negotiation timetable, The Netanyahu government chooses also the wrong target. During his last visit to Jerusalem, Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, said again that France did not impose a diktat to anyone; France won’t submit any motion unless it has the guarantee of being supported by the United States. If this were to be the case, the vote of such a motion would be best for Israel, since it would have the merit of urging each camp to specify the points it agrees with and the points it disagrees with. It would thus enable the foundations for a resumption of negotiations to be defined and provide a new perspective to both populations, which do not believe anymore in a solution of the conflict.
4. The report requested by Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid Party, from his ministry in the previous government, analyzing the impact of the BDS campaign on the Israeli economy, has finally been made public two years after its writing, following an appeal of an Israeli NGO, Movement for the Freedom of Information. According to that report, the damage caused by that campaign of international boycott could cost half a billion shekel (120 million euro) a year and as many as 500 people losing their jobs if it affected only the products coming from the West Bank. But if extended to all Israeli products it could, in an extreme scenario, constitute a loss of about 40 billion shekel (9,7 billion euro) and 36500 dismissals. Faced with this threat it describes as strategic, the government has budgeted this year an amount of 100 million shekel to deal with it. But it refuses to listen to the recommendation of professionals of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, advising him to join forces, against the actions of BDS, with Jewish or Israeli leftist organizations, which criticize the government’s policy towards Palestinians, but are opposed to the boycott, since he prefers to describe as antisemitic all critics of his policies. As for us, we did not wait to be contacted to take a stand against the boycott. As soon as the BDS campaign was launched, we did it in an article published by le Monde in November 2010, co-signed, for instance, by François Hollande and Manuel Valls. We described then the boycott as a “despicable weapon“.
Our stand has not changed today and we think, like almost all the Israeli NGOs for peace, that calling for the boycott of Israeli products, whatever their origin is, remains a political mistake. However, we shall support the European stand— such as it has been exposed to us by diplomats responsible for this issue, during various recent meetings in Brussels—to ask Israelis for a labelling of their products indicating their place of origin. By this request, we simply comply with the Israeli law which never recognized the occupied territories as an integral part of the Israeli State.
These four issues will also be dealt with next September, after the summer vacation, and we will be able then to expose and defend our positions, our only aim being to allow Israel to remain a democratic State with a Jewish majority after ending the occupation of the West Bank so as to enable a Palestinian State to be built beside it. It was our aim five years ago, when we launched our appeal, and it still is.
Make sure to save the date of our first meeting in the fall: Tuesday, September 29th, we will receive Roger Cukierman, President of the CRIF.
We welcome here the creation of the new Italian JCall website
We wish a restful vacation to all of you, hoping that this summer, in Israel and the Middle-East, will be different from the last one.
 the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany.