President Sarkozy will arrive in Israel
on Sunday. According to a June 13, 2008 article (translation
provided below) in the Arab media, based on French sources, the American Jewish
Committee’s Paris representative, Valerie
Hoffenberg, visited Bethlehem on June 12, 2008, in order to
do advance work for Sarkozy’s stay during which he will lay the cornerstone on
a planned industrial park in Bethlehem.
Concurrently, he is expected to make serious demands of Israel
that will further the economic, diplomatic and strategic interests of France
and the Palestinian Authority.
But, who owns the AJC/France? Does the organization serve the interests of
French Jews? Is it the handmaiden of the
French government? Or is it a friend and
mentor to the Palestinian Authority? If
the answer to one or more of these questions is “yes”, do these divided
loyalties spell conflict of interest?
The question is a reasonable one. Philippe Karsenty has accused
the AJC/France of thwarting his efforts to expose the al Dura hoax to the light
of day in two widely circulated letters to which the organization has
publically responded. An article detailing
the dispute was published in the Jerusalem Post. Karsenty accused the AJC’s Paris
Hoffenberg, of maneuvering behind-the-scenes to block his
access to government officials, and of arguing that his contentions concerning
al Dura had no merit.
was sued for defamation by France’s
largest publically owned and controlled television station and its acclaimed
journalist, Charles Enderlin, for his accusation that their report of the
shooting death of an Arab boy in Gaza,
on September 30, 2000, by
Israeli soldiers was a staged hoax. He
was found innocent on appeal on May
AJC President, David Harris,
dismissed Karsenty’s charges, responding, “You might as well accuse us of
passing nuclear secrets to the Iranians.”
Jewish community was ill-served by Harris’s cynical rejoinder, meant to
undermine Karsenty’s credibility, and to deflect attention from the substance
of his concerns, namely: whom does American Jewish Committee represent? Jews?
The French government? Or the
Arabs? Silence and inaction on the al
Dura hoax protects French diplomacy, costs Jewish lives, and gives aid and
comfort to Arab lies.
Concerning Valerie Hoffenberg’s
visit to Bethlehem on June 12, 2008, the same question must
be asked. Was she on a mission for the
French government, the Palestinian Authority or the American Jewish
Committee? The purpose of the visit was
to facilitate the creation of a French industrial zone in Bethlehem
for the benefit of Arabs living in Judea and Samaria.
Obviously, French and Arab diplomatic, strategic as well as economic interests
are at stake. On the Arab side, vested
foreign economic interests in a future Palestinian state function to make it a
fait accompli irrespective of the success or failure of negotiations with Israel. French and other foreign economic investment
and commitment to such a state, in advance of negotiations and agreement with Israel,
will increasingly box Israel
into a corner from which no exit is possible and further constrain her ability
to act in her own strategic and diplomatic interests. Is Valerie Hoffenberg’s
involvement in this process suitable to her role as representative of AJC/France?
The project has run into difficulty
due to Israeli policies. Valerie
Hoffenberg met with the mayor and prefect of Bethlehem,
as well as the Council General of France,
to strategize over wresting concessions from the Israeli government in order to
make the project a reality.
The land for the industrial zone
has not yet been identified due to difficulties created by the “Israeli
The project’s success depends on Israel. The French delegation in which Valerie
Hoffenberg participated was concerned specifically with persuading (read pressuring) the Israeli government to remove
checkpoints erected to thwart terrorist attacks against Jews. Furthermore, Israel
is expected to supply land, water and power for the industrial zone.
On whose behalf is Valerie Hoffenberg
negotiating? If her goal is to benefit
the Palestinian Authority, can it be affirmed that she is functioning in her
capacity as representative of the AJC/France?
Perhaps French Jews would be more
comforted if Hoffenberg were negotiating to forestall as many concessions as
possible rather than endeavoring to pressure Israel
to grant as many as possible.
Roadblocks save lives. Their removal spells death to future, but
inevitable, Jewish victims of Arab terrorists who will henceforth be unhindered
by the inconvenience of a stop and search.
Not all AJC donors and supporters
would be pleased to know that, in addition to being an obstacle to the truth in
the al Dura case, its Paris
representative went to Bethlehem
last week in preparation for Sarkozy’s forthcoming visit to Israel. It is reasonable to wonder whether her role
in easing Sarkozy’s bargaining position on behalf of French and Arab economic,
strategic and diplomatic aspirations constitutes a conflict of interest with
her role in AJC/France. Though David
Harris may not be dealing nukes to Iran,
his agent in France
is certainly dealing death to Israelis in furthering the ambitions of their
murderous peace partner. By all means,
let’s not inconvenience the terrorists!
Down with checkpoints!
Below is the article translated
from the Arabic detailing plans for France’s
industrial zone in Bethlehem.
GMT Thursday the 12th of June 2008
Sarkozy will lay the cornerstone during this month [i.e
break ground] France
will build an industrial zone in Bethlehem
Osama Al-Issa from Bethlehem
French and local sources revealed today that President
Nicholas Sarkozy will lay down the cornerstone for an industrial zone that will
be built by France
in Bethlehem at a later time of this
month. And thus the project of establishing an industrial zone in the
Palestinian city that is surrounded by walls and settlements goes into the
execution phase, despite the fact that it has till now not been announced where
the zone will be constructed. And the [selection of a site] for the industrial
zone has transformed into a conundrum in the past months, because of the
Israeli invasion's control over most of the lands of Bethlehem
that lies beside Jerusalem.
And Valerie Hoffenberg, the French president's envoy for the followup of the
Industrial Zone project, visited Bethlehem today and met with the [Head of the
district... not sure what official title this translates to] Salaah Al-Ta'mari,
and the vice mayor of Bethlehem George Sa'aada, and the head of the Commercial
Chamber in Bethlehem Dr. Sameer Hazboun, and searched for methods with them to
make the industrial zone project succeed and which is supposed to be
established and in which a celebration of the laying of the cornerstone with
the presence of President Sarkozy will happen on the 24th of the current month.
And the French President's envoy was accompanied to
Bethlehem by Allan Rame the French Consul in Jerusalem, and Sebastian Farafe
the Academic Attache in the French Consulate, and Corin Evanesse, the president
of the company in charge of the feasibility study of the industrial zone, and
during the meeting several matters were discussed regarding work in the
industrial zone and ways to make it succeed so as to begin constructing it so as
to serve the Palestinian people.
And in the beginning of the meeting the [district head]
Al-Ta'mari informed the French delegation of the political and economic picture
in the district where he offered an explanation of the current economic reality
in Bethlehem, in which he valued
the French effort and vision that supported the Palestinian people.
And Al-Ta'mari referred to Israel's control over Palestinian
lands and the difficulties that Palestinians face in finding a suitable piece
of land for the building of the Industrial Zone, pointing out to the choking of
areas A due to the siege that has reached the borders of the city and of which
nothing remains and as for Area B is controlled by the invasion and the
Israelis are trying to prevent any Palestinian effort on it, and the Israelis
forbid construction in the C areas that are [totally under Israeli control].
And Al-Ta'mari stressed the Palestinian need for
developmental projects that help the Palestinian in the building of a strong
and advanced economy despite the circumstances instead of offering aid and
assistance, especially in the agricultural, industrial, and tourism fields.
And the French president's envoy said that the purpose of
President Sarkozy's coming visit to Bethlehem, and the laying down of the
corner stone for the establishment of the industrial zone, is "to
establish an industrial zone able to offer assistance to the Palestinian
economy and that be employed in all the fields of Palestinian industry,
therefore creating more employment opportunities for the Palestinian youth and
give them hope", pointing out that the idea is based on helping the
Palestinians through partnership with them at work.
And the French envoy stressed that France will do all it can
to help the Palestinian people and improve the circumstances of their daily
lives, clarifying that France, by the building of this industrial zone, wants
to send a signal to the entire world that the Palestinian people can develop
and construct, and that this French Palestinian project will be a message for
success so as to be a model adhered to by all the countries of the world so as
to help in the construction of a large Palestinian economy.
And the French envoy said that she will present several
issues with the Israeli side concerned with the commencement of the execution
of the Industrial zone such as easing movement in Bethlehem and the subject of
providing the Industrial zone with sufficient electricity and water, in the
hope that the Israelis will fulfill the promises they gave to facilitate and
help the Palestinian economy.
And George Sa'adeh the vice mayor of Bethlehem valued the
French efforts in support of Bethlehem and Palestine, expressing his hope that
other countries will follow this example and offer assistance with Bethlehem
through assistance in developing its industry and economy.
And Dr. Sameer Hazboun the president of the Commercial
Chamber said that this was the first time an industrial zone's execution is
commencing, despite that the fact that Palestinians had heard many times of
promises to establish industrial zones that have yet to be executed, and he
expressed his belief that its execution will be a lively initiative that will
show the French and international commitment to the Palestinian people.
And Hazboun valued the French vision and plan for the
establishment of this zone, pointing out that the industrial zone will need to
establish a large and permanent expo for the Palestinian industries that will
contribute in the promotion of these industries on one hand and work on
assisting Bethlehem economically by organizing days of cooperation with the
nations that are interested in visiting this permanent expo.
And Hazboun called upon the French delegation to work on the
necessity of having a French commitment to assist in marketing the Palestinian
products and easing their movements through France's
relationships with the Israeli side which will help a lot in the Palestinian
economy and its development and growth.
considered the [No.1] city in terms of tourism, and the undeclared capital of
Christianity, due to the presence of the Church
of Nativity which is thought to
have Christ in it, but due to the continuing Israeli siege the city and the
rise in emigration to the outside, the city has become poor.