Friday 26 July 2019

ISRAELIS /PALESTINIAN CONFLICT                                        
If you click your mouse over the underlined words, you will get more information.

There is an old adage that says that gasoline and flames shouldn’t be mixed together.  Who is the gasoline and who are the flames when referring to the Israelis and the Palestinians living in Israel? 

ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip conflicts for the past 51 years.The ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians began in the mid-20th century. The origins to the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration and sectarian conflict in British control of what was then called Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It has been referred to as the world's "most intractable conflict"

In 1975, I was invited by the United Nations to be a speaker at the Fifth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Prisoners which was cnducted at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

A participant attending that Congress who was representing the Palestinian Liberation Organization approached me and asked me if I would speak to the head of the Israelis delegation which was one of over a hundred and fifty delegations attending that congress while representing their countries from  around the world 

He asked me to tell the Israelis that the Palestinians living in Israel would be willing to be Israelis citizens or alternatively, be given a portion of Israel that would be entirely Palestinian. The head of the Israelis delegation told me to tell the Palestinian representative that neither possibilities would ever happen in either of their lifetimes.

Subsequently, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians continued in Israel, not withstanding the fact that the late Yasser Arafat who was the Chairman of the PLO kept his word to me that the PLO would publically denounce terrorism and no longer sanction terrorist acts in future Olympic games like they did in Munich in 1972.  During the 1976 Olympic Games held in Canada and all the other Games that followed, Jewish athletes were never attacked by Palestinian terrorists. Canada kept my word to Arafat that the PLO could have an office in Ottawa, Canada’s capital if he kept his word to me—which he did.

As fate intervened, the Oslo Accord, signed  between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, created the administrative districts with varying levels of Palestinian autonomy within each area. Area C, in which Israel maintained complete civil and security control, accounts for over 60% of the territory of the West Bank.   

Officially, there is no internationally recognized line between Israel and Palestine subsequently the borders are considered to be disputed, and have been for decades. So is the status of Palestine. Some countries consider Palestine to be an independent state, while others (like the US) consider Palestine to be territories under Israeli occupation. Both Israelis and Palestinians have claims to the land going back centuries, but the present-day borders are continuously disputed.

This problem primarily is not about religion. The dispute is over who gets what land and how it is controlled. Unfortunately for both sides,  that gets them into a lot of really thorny issues, like such as  where are the borders? Can Palestinian refugees return to their former homes in present-day Israel?

Alas, the decades-long process of resolving that conflict has created another, overlapping conflict and that is managing the very unpleasant Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, in which Israel has put the Palestinians under suffocating military occupation and Palestinian militant groups have terrorize Israelis.

Area C comprises of an area of 220 square km, (131 square miles) consisting of the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. As of July 2017 it has an estimated population of 2,747,943 Palestinians, and approximately 391,000 Israeli settlers who had already lived there prior to the signing of the Acord.  Further, approximately another 201,200 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem. The international community considers Israeli settlements currently in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem as living legitimately in those two areas since they had already lived there before the Acord was signed.

Before the State of Israel was established in 1948, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were simply parts of Mandate Palestine; their ‘borders’ are the result of Israeli expansion and armistice lines. Prior to Israeli occupation, the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip controlled by Egypt. 

Israeli justice system applies in the West Bank, where Israelis are living under civilian rule and Palestinians are governed by Israelis military law. Though the legal systems are different—military court versus civil court,  the relevant law is implied impartially," said Yehuda Shefer, a deputy state prosecutor who is head of a Justice Ministry committee for West Bank law enforcement.

Did Israel invade the Palestinian territory of Gaza in July 2014, leading to the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, many of them children? They did. The reason was that the militant Palestinian group called Hamas  fired rockets into civilian neighborhoods in Israel? How did that latest round of violence start in the first place — and why do the Israelis and Palestinians hate one another at all?   

Israel is an officially Jewish nation located in the Middle East. Palestine is a set of two physically separate, ethnically Arab and mostly Muslim territories such as the West Bank and Gaza that is next to the Mediterranean.

There is no doubt in my mind that when Israelis armed forces  marched into Gaza, they were justified in doing so because Gazan Hamas terrorists were slipping into Israel and killing innocent Israelis and also firing rockets into Israel.      

The Israelis should have remained there until all the Hamas leaders were captured and imprisoned in an Israeli prison so that decent Gazian leaders could be found to replace the terrorist Hamas leaders.  But as sure as God made little apples, the Hamas leaders later ordered more rockets being fired into Israel. The Israelis have justifiably retaliated but not to the extent undertaken in the invasion that caused so many deaths in Gaza.

Those two dimensions of the conflict tbetween the Palestinians and Israelis are made even worse by the long, bitter, violent history between these two peoples.

It's not just that there is lots of resentment and distrust.  Israelis and Palestinians have such widely divergent narratives of the last 70-plus years, of what has happened and why so that even reconciling their two realities is extremely difficult to bring about. All of this makes it easier for extremists, who oppose any compromise and want to destroy or subjugate the other side entirely, to control the conversation and derail the peace.  

Something we often hear is that "both sides" are to blame for perpetuating the conflict, and there's plenty of truth to that. There has always been and remains plenty of culpability to go around, plenty of individuals and groups on both sides that squandered peace and perpetuated conflict many times over. Still, perhaps the most essential truth of the Israel-Palestine conflict today is that the conflict predominantly matters for the human suffering it causes. And while Israelis certainly suffer deeply and in great numbers, the vast majority of the conflict's toll is incurred by Palestinian civilians

What my concern is that current settlers are Israelis who moved into the West Bank. They are widely considered to violate international law, which forbids an occupying force from moving its citizens into occupied territory. Many of the 500,000 settlers are just looking for cheap housing; most live within a few miles of the Israeli border, often in the around surrounding Jerusalem.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Israelis government approves of the intrusion of Israelis settlers moving into the land that only belongs to the Palestinians.

On July 21st, 2019, Israelis Security forces moved in to Sur Baher, a Palestinian neighborhood on the southeastern outskirts of East Jerusalem to tear down buildings said to house 17 Palestinians.  The residents of those buildings said that they had been given permits to build their homes in the buildings by the Palestinian Authority.  They accused Israel of an attempt to grab more of the land of the Palestinian West Bank. But Israeli Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan said Israel's Supreme Court had ruled that "the illegal construction constitutes a severe security threat and as such, the Palestinian Authority had violated a construction ban by warding g those permits in the first place.

In my opinion, The Palestinian Authority should have discussed this matter with the Israelis first when considering the fact that the property was so close to the border.   If there was no agreement re that issue, an arbitrator should have been appointed. 

Some 700 Israeli police officers and 200 soldiers were involved in that operation in the village of Wadi Hummus, on the edge of Sur Baher. They moved in along with excavators, which began tearing down the 10 buildings the UN says were earmarked for demolition. Nine of the Palestinians who have been displaced are refugees, including five children, according to the United Nations. Another 350 people who owned homes in buildings that were unoccupied or under construction are also affected.

This kind of conduct reminds me of the Nazis moving into the properties of Jews in Germany back in the 1930s and 1940s. There is no doubt in my mind that during the drafting of the Oslo Acord, the Palestinian negotiators did not agree that Israelis intrusion ins their land was to be   part of the joint agreements.

The Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister. Mohammad Shtayyeh said that the Palestinians would complain to the International Criminal Court about this grave aggression. 

Will the Israelis later permit Israelis settlers to build their homes in that disputed land?

The United Nations has denounced what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians by destroying their homes.

To add to the Palestinians suffering even more, in the short term, Israelis settlers of all forms make life for Palestinians even more difficult, by forcing the Israeli government to guard them with walls or soldiers that further constrain Palestinians. In the long term, the settlers create what are sometimes called "facts on the ground such as Israelis communities that blur the borders and expand land that Israel could claim for itself in any eventual future peace deal.

There is only one possible solution to solve this problem of land grabbing by the Israelis. 

FIRST:  The United Nations  should  appoint an international Commission to solve this intrusion problem.

SECOND: The Commission has the authority to define the actual borders and build a fence on the borders in order to delineate the lands belonging to the Palestinians and the lands belonging to the Israelis.

THIRD:  There to be no more Israelis settlers taking over lands that belong to the Palestinians and no Palestinians who already  own lands on the Palestinian  part of Israel should be permitted to sell their property to Israelis.

FOURTH:  Any Israelis living on Palestinian lands must abide by the Palestinian civil and criminal laws even though they are still Israelis citizens. If they have Israelis passports, they should be passed through entry points without any difficulty.

FIFTH:  If they choose to work in the Palestinian section of Israel, they should have that option and they will pay taxes to the Palestinian authority if they choose that option. 

SIXTH:   The Palestinians will have its own police force, premier and elected legislators sitting in its Legislature that govern the Palestinian lands which Israel treats as a province of Israel.

If any Palestinian commits a terrorist act against any Israeli in Israel and returns to the Palestinian province, the Palestinian police wo arrested that person will  turn the terrorist  over to the Israelis.
EIGHTH: Israel will come to aid of the Palestinians if they are attacked by outside forces. 

I can hear it already the response of the Israelis. “NOT IN OUR LIFE TIME!”

If they don’t agree to those terms (which I think are reasonable), then maybe sanctions against the leaders of Israel will be used to encourage them to accept the terms.

The same solution could be done for the people living in Gaza. 

From the start, Dennis Oland insisted he had nothing to do with his father's death. But he was the only suspect for Saint John police from the day his father’s body was found.

According to the police and the Crown prosecutors, Dennis was the last known person to have seen his father alive. The trial heard he went up and down to his father's office three times in the space of about an hour on July 6, 2011, between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. He said his father was fine when he left him after a pleasant chat about the genealogy of the Oland family.

"Absolutely ridiculous," Oland said when prosecutors accused him on the stand in March when Dennis said, "I'm not that kind of monster."

Judge Morrison said he found the testimony of a man who heard Richard Oland being killed credible. The man, Anthony Shaw, was working in the office below Oland's on the night of July 6, 2011, and heard thumping and banging coming from the floor above.

The judge said he accepted that was the sound of Oland being killed so the time of the noises was critical. Shaw told the court he believes it was around 7:30 or 7:45 p.m. That was the a time of the murder when Dennis Oland was nowhere near the crime scene and could not have been the killer.

In 1969, I was invited to head a task force of legislators, judges, law professors, lawyers, a former solicitor general and the chairman of the Ontario Law Reform Commission. We were to report to the Ontario government as to whether or not innocent persons sent to prison should be compensated. In my report, I stated that innocent persons who are imprisoned should be compensated.  Years later, this became the general practice all over Canada. In Ontario, a man who was jailed for six months for a crime he didn’t commit was awarded half a million dollars. A man in the Province f Saskatchewan who spent 24 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit was awarded ten million dollars tax free. I believe that Dennis Oland will be awarded the cost of his defence and compensation for spending a year in jail.

Having studied the transcript of the trial, now I will give you some of my of my own thoughts about the evidence that was submitted by the Crown prosecutor during the trial. I should point out that I studied criminal law at the University of Toronto for two years, practiced law for fifteen years and represented clients in fifteen cities in Southern Ontario. Here are my thoughts re this case.

The analytical inquiry into the admissibility of proposed opinion submitted by a prosecutor’s evidence has two steps to be taken. The first step involves the threshold requirements of its admissibility. Those requirements that are presented as being logical, and relevance,—absence of an exclusionary rule  and the testimony of a properly qualified expert. Further, in the case of novel or contested science or science used for a novel purpose, the reliability of the underlying science for that purpose must also be assessed at the first step of the analysis.

If the evidence meets the threshold requirements, the tryer  of the facts  must then go on to the second step and exercise what has been described as a judge’s discretionary “gatekeeper role” The judge must balance “the potential risks and benefits of admitting the evidence in order to decide whether the potential benefits justify the risks.

The required balancing exercise has been described in various ways; such as relevance, reliability and necessity which are  “measured against the counterweights of the passing of time, prejudice and confusion. The “trial judge must decide whether expert evidence that meets the preconditions to admissibility is sufficiently beneficial to the trial process to warrant its admission of evidence despite the potential harm to the trial process that may flow from the admission of the expert evidence.

 The first criterion is whether the proffered evidence is logically relevant, in other words whether or not the evidence has a tendency as a matter of human experience and logic to make the existence or non-existence of a fact in issue more or less likely than it would be without the evidence being submitted.  It is not an inherent characteristic of any item of evidence, rather instead, it exists as a relation between an item of evidence and a proposition of fact that its proponent seeks present to the court. 

It is not an inherent characteristic of any item of evidence, rather, it exists as a relation between a particular form of evidence and a proposition of fact that its proponent seeks to establish by its introduction as evidence.

Relevance is assessed in the context of the entire case and the positions of counsel. It requires a determination whether, as a matter of human experience and logic, the existence of a particular fact, directly or indirectly, makes the existence or non-existence of a material fact more probable than it would be otherwise. If it does,  fact is considered to relevant and admissible.

Even if the Fairvale Tower connection at 6:44 p.m. supports an inference that Richard Oland’s iPhone had left the office, there is no evidence that Richard Oland himself did not leave the office after his son left and return sometime before the homicide, all the while with the iPhone in his possession. This rational possibility iwas simply ignored by the Crown prosecutor because it is completely inconsistent with Dennis Oland’s guilt. The Crown must explain on what basis other than the assumption of Dennis Oland’s guilt. The prosecutor chose to ignore this obvious possibility.

Furthermore, there was no evidence of any conceivable reason for Dennis Oland to have taken the iPhone, and no evidence consistent with any theory of guilt for such a “possession”. And what ultimately became of the iPhone remains one of the biggest mysteries in this case, since it was “roaming” outside Canada a few days after the homicide. Absent other evidence dealing with these matters, the cell tower evidence only provides for speculation and not any reasonable, rational, and logical inference relevant to the Crown’s allegations.  It is possible that the real murderer took the iPhone from the victim’s desk.

Whether Richard Oland left his office or not for a time after his son left the office was up to the jury to decide in the context of the entirety of the circumstantial evidence. The Court did not accept the opinion of the prosecutor that a finding by the jury that Richard Oland never left his office for a time before he was killed because it would involve “speculation to bridge inferential gaps”. Actually, any finding that Richard Oland left his office for a time after 6:30 p.m. and then returned to his office might, if anything, had to be viewed as more speculative than inferential, or, if considered an available competing inference, a less cogent one. I will endeavour to explain.

 There was no evidence (at least none before the Court to date) that Richard Oland was seen outside his office or was heard from after 6:30 p.m. on July 6th. More significantly, the expected evidence from Diana Sedlacek, Richard Oland’s mistress, is that this happened to be the very time of day of habitual daily contact between them. Except, that day around that time Richard Oland did not respond to Ms. Sedlacek’s phone calls (made to both his IPhone and his office phone). Nor did he respond to a text message, the text message having been sent by her to his IPhone at 6:44 p.m. inquiring of his whereabouts because he had not answered her phone call. The logical question arising is:  why did Richard Oland not respond to Ms. Sedlacek according to habit? It is obvious. He was dead.

It was that text message which is at the centre of the t voir dire. If the Crown could establish through admissible Call Detail Records (that the receipt of that text message on Richard Oland’s IPhone registered (“pinged”) on Rogers Communication “Fairvale cellular tower” located in Rothesay at 6:44 p.m., the Crown sought to give meaning to that record through Radio Frequency engineering evidence as to what that registration signifies in terms of the general location of the IPhone at that time. This evidence, if admissible and if accepted by the jury, would be logically relevant because it could tend to show that either  Richard Oland and his IPhone were somewhere within the coverage area of the cellular tower in Rothesay (but inexplicably not responding to Ms. Sedlacek) at the same that Dennis Oland would have been in Rothesay, or  that Richard Oland was not responding because he was not with his IPhone which was somewhere within the coverage area of the cellular tower in Rothesay (and which phone remains missing) when Dennis Oland was in Rothesay so shortly after leaving his father’s office.

if the jury were to draw the latter inference from the circumstantial evidence as a whole it could logically raise a question for them that can be rhetorically put—Is it a coincidence that Dennis Oland just happened to be in Rothesay at the same time his father’s now missing IPhone was somewhere in the Rothesay tower coverage area, so shortly after he (the last known person to see his father alive) left his father’s office or is that too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence? The only points being made here are that it does not appear to be a speculative consideration that Richard Oland never left his office after 6:30 p.m. and that evidence going to the general location of Richard Oland’s IPhone shortly after 6:30 p.m. on July 6th, 2011 would be logically relevant; as would the location of Dennis Oland around the same time as derived from the general location of his ‘cellphone.  

The criterion of necessity can be understood as relating to the assistance the trier of fact would require in properly understanding and appreciating the evidence in question. The judge therefore agreed with the Crown’s argument that was submitted that the proposed expert opinion evidence in this case was necessary to assist the court in making its decision.

While most people these days own and use cellular phones on a regular basis, it cannot be said that the design and operation of the actual cellular communication network, the creation of propagation maps and the interpretation of CDRs in relation to those propagation maps is actually common knowledge.

 But, a different aspect of the concept of necessity had not been directly addressed, although it has been indirectly brought up by the Defence. It was the purpose of the proposed evidence of RF Engineer Peter Landers on behalf of Bell Mobility (the service carrier for Telus) pertaining to the likely location of Dennis Oland’s cell phone.

The question which has been raised in my mind is if, as the Defence suggested, that the evidence submitted only goes to confirm or corroborate where Dennis Oland admitted going to the area of Rothesay after leaving his father’s office. why the  was it necessary for that expert evidence to be called by the Crown at all, given that Dennis Oland’s own statement to that effect would be presented before the jury? Although logically relevant, was the prosecutor’s proposed expert evidence really necessary?

In summary, in my opinion, te judge was right when he said that the Crown prosecutor hadn’t convinced the judge that the prosecutor had a case to prosecute. 

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