Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Arabs in the Holy Land - natives or aliens? Part I

 

by Dr. Harry Mandelbaum

1st part of 2


At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Arabs in the Holy Land. Historically, a "Palestinian" people never existed. The English name "Palestinian", to describe the local Arab population, was invented AFTER the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. These Arabs do not even have a native name to describe themselves in their own Arabic language. The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to Palestine and invaded the land after 1917, from neighboring Arab countries. There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland - let them return to where they came from - to where they lived earlier for hundreds or thousands of years - to their real homeland in their original Arab countries.

Unknown to most of the world population, the origin of the "Palestinian" Arabs' claim to the Holy Land spans a period of a meager 30 years - a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of years of the region's rich history.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Muslim Arabs in the Holy Land. By contrast, the Jews, despite 2000 years of persecution and forced conversions by various conquerors, have throughout most of history been the majority population there. In Jerusalem Jews were always the largest demographic group [1][2], except for periods when conquerors specifically threw them out and prevented them from returning.

When General Allenby, the commander of the British military forces, conquered Palestine in 1917/1918, only a few thousand Muslim Arabs resided in the Holy Land. Most of the Arabs were Christians, and most of the Muslims in the area either came from Turkey under the Ottoman Empire, or were the descendants of Jews and Christians who were forcefully converted to Islam by the Muslim conquerors. These Muslims were not of Arab origin.

It is important to note that estimates and censuses conducted by the Muslim conquerors were heavily biased to exaggerate the number of Muslims and to minimize the number of Jews and Christians. Therefore, the only reliable data is provided by non-Muslim neutral sources. Tourists and politicians, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, have documented their observations of the population in the Holy Land beginning more that a thousand years ago. Let's start at the early days and continue into the Ottoman period:

  • The historian James Parker wrote: "During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 CE], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons."[3]
  • In year 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained: "the mosque is empty of worshipers... The Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem's population" (The entire city of Jerusalem had only one mosque?). [4]
  • In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: "Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years... It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement".[5]
  • In 1695, the Dutch scholar, philologist and cartographer, Adriaan Reland, visited the Holy Land. He documented his visits to many locations. He writes: The names of settlements were mostly Hebrew, some Greek, and some Latin-Roman. No settlement had an original Muslim-Arab name with a historical root in its location. Most of the inhabitants of the cities were Jews, the others were Christians. The Arabs were predominantly Christians with a tiny minority of Muslims. In Nazareth there were approximately 700 people - all Christians. In Gaza there were approximately 550 people - half of them Jews, the rest Christians. Um-El-Phachem was a village of 10 families - all Christians. Reland mentions all the Muslim Arabs as nomadic Bedouin tribes who arrived in the area as seasonal workers.[6]
  • In 1835 Alphonse de Lamartine wrote: "Outside the city of Jerusalem, we saw no living object, heard no living sound. . .a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, in the highways, in the country."[7]
  • In 1844, William Thackeray writes about the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem: "Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride."[8]
  • In 1857, the British consul in Palestine, James Finn, reported: "The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population."[9]
  • In 1866, W.M. Thomson writes: "How melancholy is this utter desolation. Not a house, not a trace of inhabitants, not even shepherds, to relieve the dull monotony ... Much of the country through which we have been rambling for a week appears never to have been inhabited, or even cultivated; and there are other parts, you say, still more barren."[10]
  • In 1867, Mark Twain - Samuel Clemens, the famous author of "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer", toured the Holy Land. This is how he described the land: "There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent; not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings ... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."[11]
  • In 1874, Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: "But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain, which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude.... Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter -- "the land is left void and desolate and without inhabitants." (Jeremiah, ch.44 v.22)[12]
  • In 1892, B. W. Johnson writes: "In the portion of the plain between Mount Carmel and Jaffa one sees but rarely a village or other sights of human life... A ride of half an hour more brought us to the ruins of the ancient city of Cֳ¦sarea, once a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants, and the Roman capital of Palestine, but now entirely deserted... I laid upon my couch at night, to listen to the moaning of the waves and to think of the desolation around us."[13]
  • In 1913, a British report, by the Palestinian Royal Commission, quotes an account of the conditions on the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea: "The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track, suitable for transport by camels or carts. No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the [Jewish] Yabna village. Houses were mud. Schools did not exist. The western part toward the sea was almost a desert. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many villages were deserted by their inhabitants."

As we can see, throughout history, as documented by Arab historians and by foreign observers before 1917, the land was desolate; there were no Muslim Arabs in the cities outside of Jerusalem; and the number of Muslim Arabs (other than Ottoman Muslims or Christian Arabs) was minuscule, most of them nomadic Bedouins. A huge difference exists between these authentic accounts and the falsified Muslim-Arab propaganda.

When the Holy Land was taken from the Ottomans by the British, it was no longer under Muslim control. The Quran commands Muslims to take land away from non-Muslims, including land which they have never trodden on before[14]. Following the British conquest of the Holy land, the Muslim Arabs embarked on a massive immigration into the Holy Land, fulfilling their religious obligation to capture as much foreign land as possible. The following accounts describe the massive Arab immigration after 1918:

  • In 1930/31, Lewis French, the British Director of Development wrote about the Arabs in Palestine: "We found it inhabited by fellahin (Arab farmers) who lived in mud hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria... Large areas were uncultivated... The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin's lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors, the bedouin (Arab nomads)."
  • The British Hope-Simpson Commission recommended, in 1930, "Prevention of illicit immigration" to stop the illegal Arab immigration from neighboring Arab countries.[15]
  • The British Governor of the Sinai (1922-36) reported in the Palestine Royal Commission Report: "This illegal immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria."
  • The governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey El Hurani, admitted in 1934 that in a single period of only a few months over 30,000 Syrians from Hauran had moved to Palestine.
  • British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 that "far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population."


 

The Arab population in the Holy Land increased only because of their massive immigration from neighboring Arab countries. Before 1918, when the Arab immigration started, only a minuscule number of Muslim Arabs lived in the Holy Land, practically all of them in Jerusalem. This is why it is so difficult to find an old-age Arab in the Holy Land whose grandparents were born in the Holy Land.

The (Jewish) grandparents of the author's wife were born in the Holy Land in the 19th century. They saw with their own eyes how empty the land was at the time. They also lived through and experienced first-hand the British conquest and the Arab's massive invasion of the land that started in 1918. This invasion lasted for only 30 years, and ended in 1948 with the evacuation of the British from the land and the declaration of the state of Israel.

The name "Palestina" is a Latin-Roman name based on the Hebrew Biblical name of the ancient "Philistines" -- "Plishtim" in Hebrew. The translation of this name to English is: "invaders". The Philistines arrived from the Mediterranean islands near Greece and invaded the land about 4000 years ago . The Philistines are extinct since approximately 2000 years ago, and have no ancestral or historical relationship to Arabs. Before 1917, during the 400-years rule of the Ottoman empire, the Ottomans did not call the Holy Land "Palestina". The British decided to renew this ancient name and called the land "Palestine". The local Arabs never called themselves "Palestinians", not even during the British mandate. Both Arab and British leaders referred to them only as "Arabs". For example: The Hope-Simpson report[15] published by the British in 1930, contains the phrase "the number of Palestinian unemployed, whether Arab, Jew or other...". "Palestinian" is used only as an adjective in reference to the location and also includes Jews. The Arab inhabitants are always referred to as "Arabs". The word "palestinians" does not appear anywhere in this report.

After 30 years of invasion, following the end of the British mandate and the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, the Arabs recognized the fact that they invaded foreign land and invented for themselves a name in English -- "Palestinians". If the British were to call the land "New England", and the local Arabs were to call themselves "English" would they automatically become English? It is important to emphasize that the concept of a "Palestinian" to describe the local Arab residents was invented by the Arabs AFTER the declaration of the state of Israel. This group of Arabs who started calling themselves "the Palestinian nation" after 1948, does not have an original name in their native Arabic language. Is there any nation in the world which does not have a name in its original native language? The Arabs who invaded the Holy Land do not have a name in their native Arabic language because they are not, and have never been, a unified group or a nation.

Historically, a "Palestinian" people never existed. The fact is that the Arabs who now call themselves by the English name "Palestinians" don't even know what their name is or should be in Arabic. Even Arab leaders and historians have admitted that a "Palestinian" people never existed. For example:

  • In 1937, the Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul Hadi told the Peel Commission: "There is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented. Palestine is alien to us."
  • In 1946, Princeton's Arab professor of Middle East history, Philip Hitti, told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry: "It's common knowledge, there is no such thing as Palestine in history."
  • In March 1977, Zahir Muhsein, an executive member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said in an interview to the Dutch newspaper Trouw: "The 'Palestinian people' does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel."
  • Joseph Farah, an Arab-American journalist, writes: "The truth is that Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land. Palestine has never existed as an autonomous entity."
  • Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist acknowledged the lie he was fighting for: "Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? ... we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians. They removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag."
  • The Syrian dictator Hafez Assad said: "There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity".

Dr. Harry Mandelbaum

                                                                          ./..

The Arabs in the Holy Land - natives or aliens? Part II

 

by Dr. Harry Mandelbaum

2nd part of 2

The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to Palestine and invaded the land after 1917, from neighboring Arab countries, predominantly from areas now known as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. None of these countries existed as nations prior to 1913. They were nothing but a disorganized collection of tribes, constantly terrorizing each other, trying to seize land from their neighbors. Unfortunately, those Arab invaders, imported into the Holy Land their age-old "culture" of terrorizing neighbors to seize land. Many of them were social outcasts and criminals who could not find jobs in their own countries so they searched for their luck elsewhere. Some of them were accepted by the British regime as a source of cheap labor and were allowed to settle on unoccupied Jewish land. Even Yassir Arafat, the leader of the PLO, is not a native of the Holy Land. He called himself a "Palestinian refugee" but spoke Arabic with an Egyptian dialect. He was born in 1929 in Cairo, Egypt. He served in the Egyptian army, studied in the University of Cairo, and lived in Cairo until 1956. He then moved to Saudi-Arabia and founded the Al-Fatah terror organization, the precursor to the PLO, in Kuwait in 1958, together with his Saudi-Arabian friends. How exactly does that constitute a "Palestinian refugee"? Arafat must have been a good student of Muhammad, the founder of the Muslim religion, who said in the Quran: "War is deception".[16]

In their propaganda, the Arabs who now call themselves "Palestinians" consistently demand that Israel and the world recognize their "pre-1948" rights. That's about 60 years ago. Mysteriously, they are never willing to add another 60 years to their "historical" claims on the Holy Land. They know very well that doing so will send them back to where they came from - Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Years ago, during negotiations with the, so-called, Palestinians, a Israeli negotiator proposed to revise a mention of their claim of "pre-1948" rights and replace it with "pre-1917". The "Palestinians" vehemently opposed. Now we know why.

If there is anyone who still believes that a "Palestinian" nation ever existed before the end of the British mandate and the founding of the state of Israel, would they please be kind enough to answer when was it founded and by whom? What was its name in Arabic (not in Latin-English)? What was its form of government? What were its borders? Name one top "Palestinian" leader before Arafat? Which country ever recognized its existence and when? In which library or museum can we find any of its literature, coins, or historical artifacts? The answer to all these questions is "nil". As stated by Zahir Muhsein: "The 'Palestinian' people does not exist."

Some Arabs consider themselves the descendants of Abraham, the forefather of the Jewish nation. Ironically, if not for Muhammad's study of the Bible, the Arabs would not have known of the existence of Abraham. Muhammad invented the Muslim religion in the 7th century AD, in Saudi Arabia. He studied the Bible in order to be better equipped in his attempts to persuade the Jews to follow his newly invented religion. When the Jews refused, he dictated the stories of the Quran (the Muslim bible) to his students, and filled it with his own imaginary accounts of Biblical events. (Muhammad himself did not know how to read or write.) He even took the liberty to change the God-given day of rest, Saturday - the Sabbath. Since Sunday was already taken by the Christians, he picked Friday as the next-best Muslim day of rest.

Muhammad never visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and did not consider them important enough to mention their name in the Quran even once. By comparison, Mecca and Medina, the only two Muslim holy cities, are mentioned in the Quran hundreds of times. Even though the name of the Holy Land is not mentioned in the Quran, the Quran refers to the Holy Land many times as the land of the children of Israel.[17] [18] [19][20].

The Jewish Holy Temple stood on Temple Mount long before the Muslim religion, or any other current world religion was conceived. Even when the founders of the Christian religion walked around in the streets of ancient Jerusalem there were no mosques nor churches there - only the Jewish Holy Temple and nothing else. The land of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem was purchased by King David, for the Jewish people, approximately 850 years BCE. The deed, the name of the previous owner, and the purchase price were recorded in the Bible (See Samuel-B Ch. 24 and Chronicles-A Ch. 21-22).

Today the Muslim "Palestinians" claim to own Temple Mount, the site of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They claim it is "their" holy site. Does anyone in the rest of the world know which way the Muslims in Jerusalem face when they pray? When the Muslims in Jerusalem pray in their mosques, even in the "Al Aktza" mosque built on the edge of Temple Mount, they actually stand with their back turned to Temple Mount. And, when they bow down in their prayers they show their behind to Temple Mount. How consistent is that with considering it a Muslim holy site? Visit any mosque in Jerusalem to see it for yourself. The Muslims have long ago recognized that the Holy Temple is a Jewish holy site. Its name in Arabic is "Al Quds" - "The Holiness" in English, which is an abbreviation for "The House of Holiness" - The Jewish Holy Temple. The fact is that Jerusalem is not important enough to the Muslims to be mentioned even once in the Quran, while Mecca and Medina, the only two Muslim holy cities, are mentioned hundreds of times. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, up until 1967, they never considered it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

Can any Muslim in the world produce any credible evidence for their connection to this holy site, other than in Muhammad's dream? Believe it or not, the one and only source for the Muslim's claim to Jerusalem and the site of the Holy Temple, is a mention in the Quran of a dream that Muhammad had about an unknown "far distant place"[21]. Perhaps this "far distant place" is the site of the White House in Washington DC? Or the Vatican in Italy?

The best reference for understanding the Muslim-Arab mentality and politically-motivated falsification of history is Muhammad's own advice to his followers: "War is deception"[16].

The real problem facing those Arabs today is not the lack of a homeland. The historical root-cause of their problem and frustration is the fact that the countries they came from have not agreed to accept them back in. This is why so many of them live, up until today, in refugee camps, in neighboring Arab countries, lacking fundamental civil rights. In their frustration they feel that the only hope and choice they have is to try and steal a country. Many of the vehicles and the agricultural equipment in the Palestinian Authority have been stolen from their Israeli neighbors. For a while, Israel suffered the highest rate of automobile thefts in the world! Most of these stolen vehicles were later found in towns and villages of the Palestinian Authority. If invading foreign land is so easy; if stealing vehicles is so easy; why not try and steal a country too?

There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland. It is the only solution that will satisfy their claim of the right to return to their homeland. Since helping them return to where they lived for less than 30 years is their own definition of justice, then helping them return to where they lived earlier for hundreds or thousands of years is, by the same definition, a better justice. Let's all help them get the better justice they deserve. Let's help them return to where they came from - Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

The Quran contains more than 100 verses commanding Muslims to fight a war against non-Muslims[22]. Some verses command Muslims to chop off heads and fingers and terrorize and kill non-Muslims[23]. Other verses command Muslims to take land away from non-Muslims[14]. Muslims are also prohibited from living in peace with non-Muslims on non-Muslim land[24]. Anyone who avoids fighting against non-Muslims is punished. Because of such religious commandments, there is no chance and no hope that Muslims will ever live peacefully together with non-Muslims. Temporary periods of calm are nothing but a waiting period - waiting in ambush - waiting for an opportunity to strike[25].

History proves that a population exchange is the only possible solution, other than war, to conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims. For example, in 1923, the war between Turkey and Greece ended only when both sides agreed to a population exchange of more than two million Muslims and Greek-Orthodox Christians. Similarly, in 1947, more than 14 million Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, have exchanged locations in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

More than 800,000 Jews have relocated out of the Arab countries; about 600,000 moved to Israel and 200,000 moved to other countries. Now it is time to end the conflict between Jews and Muslims in Israel. The only possible peaceful solution is to complete the second half of this Jewish-Muslim population exchange by returning the Muslims in the Holy Land back to the Muslim countries where they came from. As we can see in the map above, there is no shortage of space in the Arab-Muslim countries.

 

References

1.  According to the Prussian consul, the population in Jerusalem in 1845 was 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers and 100 Europeans. Jerusalem: Illustrated History Atlas, Martin Gilbert, Macmillan Publishing, New York, 1978

2.  Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry, by Darrell G. Young.
http://focusonjerusalem.com/jerusalempopchart.html

3.  James Parker, Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine (Harmondsworth, Great Britain: 1970), p.66.

4.  Muqaddasi, quoted by Erich Kahler who cites this statement from Knowlege of Crimes, p.167, in The Jews Among the Nations (New York: F. Ungar, 1967), p. 144.

5.  Ibn Khaldun, quoted by Yahya Armajami, Middle East Past and Present (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970), p. 143.

6.  Adriaan Reland, Palestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrate

7.  Alphonse de Lamartine, "Recollections of the East", Vol. 1 (London 1845) p.268

8.  William Thackeray, From Jaffa To Jerusalem (1844)

9.  James Finn, British Foreign Office Documents 78/1294, Pol. No. 36

10.  W.M. Thomson, The Land and the Book (London: T. Nelsons & Sons, 1866); and Southern Palestine and Jerusalem (1882).

11.  Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (American Pub. Co., 1869)

12.  Reverend Samuel Manning, Those Holy Fields (London, 1874), pp.14-17

13.  B. W. Johnson, Young Folks in Bible Lands: Chapter IV, (1892)

14.  "And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and to a land which you have not yet trodden." (Quran 33:27). "See they not that we gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders?" (Quran 13:41).

15.  The Hope-Simpson report, (London 1930)
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Hope_Simpson.html

16.  "Muhammad said: '... for war is deception.' " (Tabari 8:23) . "Allah's Apostle said, 'War is deceit.' '"(Sahih Bukhari:4.268). "When the Prophet (peace be upon him) intended to go on an expedition, he always pretended to be going somewhere else, and he would say: War is deception." (Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 2631 Narrated by Ka'b ibn Malik). "war is deception" (Ahmad, 6.459).

17.  Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, "What the Qur'an Really Says"
http://www.templemount.org/quranland.html

18.  Quran, 17:104 : "And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: Dwell securely in the Promised Land."

19.  Quran, 5:20-21: "Moses said to his people ... O my people, enter the Holy Land which Allah has assigned to you."

20.  Quran, 10:93 : "We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place, and provided for them sustenance of the best."

21.  Quran, 17:01 : "Glorified be He who carried his servant by night from the inviolable place of worship (mosque in Mecca) to the far distant place of worship (far distant mosque)." This "far distant" mosque could not have been in Jerusalem, because in Muhammad's time there was not even a single mosque in Jerusalem. The first mosque in Jerusalem was built 83 years after Muhammad died. See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isra_and_Mi%27raj

22.   http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/023-violence.htm

23.  "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them." (Quran 8:12). "Fight those who do not believe in Allah... nor acknowledge the religion of Truth." (Quran 9:29). "Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemies of Allah." (Quran 8.60). "Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you" (Quran 9:123). "And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah" (Quran 8.39). "Fighting is prescribed for you" (Quran 2:216). "... slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush" (Quran 9:5). "Go forth, light-armed and heavy armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah" (Quran 9:41). "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him." (Bukhari 52:256). "The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." (Muslim 1:33). "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah." (Bukhari 8:387). "Kill any Jew who falls under your power." (Tabari 7:97). "Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah." (Ibn Ishaq, 992).

24.  "what is the matter with you, that, when you are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? ... Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place." (Quran 9:38-39). "Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who are disabled, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives." (Quran, 4:95). "whoever turns back (from the war against the non-believers), He will punish him with a painful punishment." (Quran, 48:17).

25.  "and lie in wait for them in every ambush" (Quran 9:5)

 

 

Dr. Harry Mandelbaum

                                                                    .         ./..

 

Obama, Israel and the Settlements.

 

by Sultan Knish

  

Since Obama has made Settlements the central issue in his attack campaign against Israel, let us take a look at what they are, and what they are there for.

The Settlements occupy the high ground, creating defensible communities surrounding Israel's capital and moving outward. They vary from major cities such as Maaleh Adumim (Red Mountain) that hold populations as large as 50,000 people, to small outposts that are nothing more than a handful of families living in a handful of caravans, with only some firearms, a fence and a few dogs for protection.

The term settlement is used for any Jewish towns, villages or outposts in territory that Israel liberated during the 1967 war, even if those towns and villages had existed before 1948 and were captured by the Egyptians or Jordanians then.

That is the first part of the double standard. So for example, Jordan's armed capture of East Jerusalem in 1948, after a prolonged siege and expulsion of its Jewish residents, was recognized as legal. Israel's recapture of East Jerusalem and reunification of the city in 1967, is treated as illegitimate.

Then there is Kfar Darom (South Village) whose Jewish presence dated back nearly 2000 years. The residents of Kfar Darom lived on land they had bought and paid for, survived Arab attacks over the years, and finally during Israel's War of Independence in 1948, the village's militia managed to hold the Egyptian Army at bay for several months.

The Egyptian forces using armor, artillery and even air attacks were unable to break through a defensive line held by 30 young men and women. Similar defenses of other villages such as Nirim, Yad Mordechai and Negba managed to thwart the Egyptian advance further into Israel. When the residents of Kfar Darom, running out of food and water, were finally evacuated, they had demonstrated the powerful defensibility that individual communities contributed to the country as a whole.

And when the area was liberated from Egypt in 1967, Kfar Darom was once again rebuilt and turned into a thriving community that exported agricultural products around the world. Nevertheless despite the fact that it was actually a rebuilt community, international diplomats insisted on calling it an illegal settlement.

To demonstrate Israel's willingness to make peace, Israel forcibly expelled the residents of Kfar Darom, as part of the Disengagement Plan, which handed over all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Gleeful mobs promptly torched the synagogue. Gaza was taken over by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas and the former Jewish towns of Gaza, built in strategic locations, became prime launching pads for rockets and missiles shot deep into Israeli territory, hitting as far as the city of Ashkelon.

Gaza served as the ultimate lab test for demonstrating why Israel could not afford to hand over any more territory to Islamic terrorists. The handover of Gaza led to Hamas gaining power and to the bombardment of towns and cities well within internationally recognized parts of Israel. Yet now Obama expects Israel to ethnically cleanse as many as 250,000 Jews in order to turn over vital territory to terrorists. There can be no real surprise that Israel isn't interested.

Furthermore Obama expects the Palestinian Authority to be given control over parts of Jerusalem. When Jordan seized East Jerusalem, snipers used it to take potshots into Israeli apartment buildings inside West Jerusalem. Prices for apartment buildings within range of Jordanian positions dropped sharply as a family might be sitting down to dinner, not knowing whether there was a sniper drawing a bead on them while they ate. That was the situation under the fairly stable and moderate Hashemite kingdom. The situation would be unimaginably worse with those Jordanian snipers replaced by Fatah and Hamas terrorists, and the rifles replaced by missile tubes.

What Obama really wants is for Israel to put its own center of government in shelling range from a terrorist group ensconced in its own capital. No rational person should need an explanation for why Netanyahu has said, no.

Obama has presented no serious plan to dismantle and disarm terrorist groups such as Hamas. Instead he is pressuring Israel to make unilateral concessions, to ethnically cleanse its own population and turn over the strategic high ground to the terrorists-- in exchange for nothing.

While Obama presses his demands, using a concentration camp that was part of the Nazi final solution, as part of his PR campaign against Israel, a new outpost has gone up named mockingly after Obama. Like the other "illegal" outposts, it is an attempt by patriotic Israelis to hold the high ground against the terrorists who would otherwise use it to wreak havoc even deeper inside Israel. Their message is that Obama may push for the destruction of their homes, but they intend to keep building long after he is gone.

Obama may have the power, but they are determined to hold the high ground. And the high ground they hold forms a chain, a chain of hilltops that protects the larger cities and towns, which in turn protect major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. After all it is only 37 kilometers/22 miles from Tel Aviv to one of the larger settlements. A drive of only 35 minutes is what separates Israel's second largest city from the imminent danger that the settlements are there to prevent. And like the handful of young men and women who daringly fought the Egyptian Army to a standstill, the hilltop youth are prepared to serve that function again, living on the front line in the war against terrorism.

 

 

Sultan Knish

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Are settlements illegal?

 

by Jerold Auerbach

  

With the recent election of a liberal American president and a conservative Israeli prime minister, pressure on Israel to reach a final agreement with the Palestinian Authority is likely to intensify. According to the conventional political wisdom, peace will require substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority regarding the status of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and the future of Jewish settlements. But the problem that has eluded resolution for sixty years remains: demarcating the permanent, recognized borders of the Jewish state.

Settlements have been a deeply polarizing issue, in Israel and elsewhere, ever since the Israel Defense Forces swept triumphantly through the West Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan in June 1967. Before long, clusters of religious Zionists returned to the once inhabited, then tragically decimated, sites of Gush Etzion and Hebron, south of Jerusalem. They were the vanguard of a growing movement to restore a Jewish presence throughout Judea and Samaria, the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people.

Settlement of the Land of Israel, after all, had defined Zionism ever since the founding of Rishon l'Tzion, the first settlement, in 1882. The "tower and stockade" settlements built overnight by kibbutzniks under British Mandatory rule remained legendary achievements in Zionist annals. With its stunning victory in the Six-Day War, Israel unexpectedly confronted new possibilities to fulfill ancient dreams — and, it is seldom recognized — long-deferred international commitments.

Now, four decades after the first settlers blazed the trail of return, nearly 300,000 Israelis live in more than one hundred settlement communities amid 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs. No Jews anywhere in the world have been as persistently maligned — indeed, as maliciously vilified — as these Jewish settlers. Everyone from Yasir Arafat to Jimmy Carter (who has made a new career of hectoring Israel) has condemned them for occupying Palestinian land and violating fundamental principles of international law, to say nothing of impeding peace efforts.

This allegation has been incessantly propagated by Israeli critics of settlement and by enraged Palestinians who claim that Jewish settlers have stolen "their" land. In Lords of the Land (2007), the first comprehensive survey of the Jewish settlement movement, Israeli historian Idith Zertal and Ha'aretz journalist Akiva Eldar lacerated settlers for their illegal occupation, plunder, destruction, and lawlessness. The "malignancy of occupation," they wrote, "in contravention of international law," has "brought Israel's democracy . . . to the brink of an abyss." By now, The New York Times has reported, "Much of the world" regards "all Israeli settlements in land occupied in the 1967 war to be illegal under international law."

At the core of the settlement critique is the incessant allegation, rarely scrutinized or challenged, that Israeli settlements established in "occupied" territory since 1967 are illegal under international law. It surfaced within Israeli government circles three months after the Six-Day War when Theodor Meron, legal counsel for the Foreign Ministry, sent a memo to Foreign Minister Abba Eban, a copy of which he forwarded to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. "My conclusion," Meron wrote, "is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

The Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949 in the shadow of World War II atrocities, declared that an "occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." According to Meron, this provision (Article 49) was intended to forever prevent repetition of the notorious Nazi forced transfers of civilian populations — for "political and racial reasons" — from conquered territory to slave labor and extermination camps. As a youthful prisoner in a Nazi labor camp, Meron had painful personal memories of such population transfers, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported from their homes and replaced by foreign nationals. He insisted that the Geneva prohibition was "categorical and is not conditioned on the motives or purposes of the transfer."

Meron's legal opinion, recently rediscovered by journalist Gershom Gorenberg during his research for a critical study of the early years of Jewish settlement, was filed and forgotten — for good reason. It was neither persuasive to his superiors nor an accurate appraisal of the applicability of the Geneva Convention to new Israeli settlements in the former West Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan. Military Advocate General Meir Shamgar, who subsequently became attorney general and then chief judge of the Supreme Court, asserted, "The legal applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to these territories is in doubt." For legitimate legal reasons, no government of Israel has ever accepted the validity of Meron's argument.

To the contrary: Israeli settlement throughout the West Bank is explicitly protected by international agreements dating from the World War I era, subsequently reaffirmed after World War II, and never revoked since. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," was endorsed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, drafted at the San Remo Conference in 1920, and adopted unanimously two years later. The mandate recognized "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and "the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." Jews were guaranteed the right of "close settlement" throughout "Palestine," geographically defined by the mandate as comprising land both east and west of the Jordan River (which ultimately became Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel). This was not framed as a gift to the Jewish people; rather, based on recognition of historical rights reaching back into antiquity, it was their entitlement.

Jewish settlement throughout Palestine was limited by the mandate in only one respect: Great Britain, the Mandatory Trustee, acting in conjunction with the League of Nations Council, retained the discretion to "postpone" or "withhold" the right of Jews to settle east — but not west — of the Jordan River. Consistent with that solitary exception, and to placate the ambitions of the Hashemite Sheikh Abdullah for his own territory to rule, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill removed the land east of the river from the borders of Palestine.

Churchill anticipated that the newly demarcated territory, comprising three-quarters of Mandatory Palestine, would become a future Arab state. With the establishment of Transjordan in 1922, the British prohibited Jewish settlement there. But the status of Jewish settlement west of the Jordan River remained unchanged. Under the terms of the mandate, the internationally guaranteed legal right of Jews to settle anywhere in this truncated quarter of Palestine and build their national home there remained in force.

Never further modified, abridged, or terminated, the Mandate for Palestine outlived the League of Nations. In the Charter of the United Nations, drafted in 1945, Article 80 explicitly protected the rights of "any peoples" and "the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties." Drafted at the founding conference of the United Nations by Jewish legal representatives — including liberal American Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Peter Bergson from the right-wing Irgun, and Ben-Zion Netanyahu (father of the future prime minister) — Article 80 became known as "the Palestine clause."

It preserved the rights of the Jewish people to "close settlement" throughout the remaining portion of their Palestinian homeland west of the Jordan River, precisely as the mandate had affirmed. But those settlement rights were flagrantly violated when Jordan invaded Israel in 1948. The military aggression of the Hashemite kingdom effectively obliterated U.N. Resolution 181, adopted the preceding year, which had called for the partition of (western) Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Jordan's claim to the West Bank, recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan, had no international legal standing.

Contrary to Theodor Meron's citation of Article 49, the Geneva Convention did not restrict Jewish settlement in the West Bank, acquired by Israel during the Six-Day War. As Eugene V. Rostow, formerly dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969, noted, the government of Israel neither "deported" Palestinians nor "transferred" Israelis during or after 1967. (Indeed, beginning with the return of Jews to Hebron the following year, settlers invariably acted on their own volition without government authorization.) Furthermore, Rostow noted, the Geneva Convention applied only to acts by one signatory "carried out on the territory of another." The West Bank, however, did not belong to any signatory power, for Jordan had no sovereign rights or legal claims there. Its legal status was defined as "an unallocated part of the British Mandate."

With Jordan's defeat in 1967, a "vacuum in sovereignty" existed on the West Bank. Under international law, the Israeli military administration became the custodian of territories until their return to the original sovereign — according to the League of Nations mandate, reinforced by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter — the Jewish people for their "national home in Palestine." Israeli settlement was not prohibited; indeed, under the terms of the mandate, it was explicitly protected. Jews retained the same legal right to settle in the West Bank that they enjoyed in Tel Aviv, Haifa, or the Galilee.

After the Six-Day War, a new UN resolution — which Rostow was instrumental in drafting — specifically applied to the territory acquired by Israel. According to Security Council Resolution 242 (superseding Resolution 181 from 1947), Israel was permitted to administer the land until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" was achieved. Even then, Israel would be required to withdraw its armed forces only "from territories" — not from "the territories" or "all the territories" — that it administered.

The absence of "the," the famous missing definite article, was neither an accident nor an afterthought; it resulted from what Rostow described as more than five months of "vehement public diplomacy" to clarify the meaning of Resolution 242. Israel would not be required to withdraw from all the territory that it had acquired during the Six-Day War; indeed, precisely such proposals were defeated in both the Security Council and the General Assembly. No prohibition on Jewish settlement, wherever it had been guaranteed by the Mandate for Palestine forty-five years earlier, was adopted.

"The Jewish right of settlement in the area," Rostow concluded, "is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing [Palestinian] population to live there." Furthermore, as Stephen Schwebel, a judge on the International Court of Justice between 1981 and 2000, explicitly noted, territory acquired in a war of self-defense (waged by Israel in 1967) must be distinguished from territory acquired through "aggressive conquest" (waged by Germany during World War II). Consequently, the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine, allocating all the land west of the Jordan River to the Jewish people for their national home, remained in force until sovereignty was finally determined by a peace treaty between the contending parties — now Israel and the Palestinians. Until then, the disputed West Bank, claimed by two peoples, remained open to Jewish settlement.

In sum, the right of the Jewish people to "close settlement" throughout Mandatory Palestine, except for the land siphoned off as Transjordan in 1922, has never been abrogated. Nor has the legal right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, indisputably part of western "Palestine," ever been relinquished. The persistent effort to undermine the legitimacy of Israeli settlements, according to international law expert Julius Stone, has been nothing less than a "subversion . . . of basic international law principles," in which the government of Israel, at best ambivalent about the settlements, has often been a willing accomplice. In the continuing absence of a "just and lasting peace," with an accompanying determination of the scope of Israeli withdrawal from "territories," Israel is under no legal obligation to limit settlement.

World opinion, of course, is another matter. (In his uncritical embrace of Meron's flawed conclusion, Gorenberg cited "the court of world diplomacy" as "the court that mattered.") Ever since the Six-Day war, settlements have provoked unrelenting international hostility toward Israel. A triumphant Jewish state could hardly be expected to win approval from intractable Arab neighbors who had not recognized Israel even before settlements. An international community that in 1975 perceived Zionism as "racism" continues to see Palestinians only as "victims" of Jewish "conquest" and "occupation." Secular Zionists on the political left — long the ruling elite in Israeli intellectual, academic and media circles — are hardly receptive to challenges to their own cultural hegemony from religious nationalist settlers.

So, ever since 1967, Jewish settlements have been widely and loudly — and erroneously — trumpeted as the major obstacle to Middle Eastern peace. They are convenient surrogates for the deep and enduring hostility to the very existence of a Jewish state. That hostility long antedated 1967 and, as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and President Ahmadinajad of Iran endlessly reiterate, it is likely to endure for as long as Israel exists within any boundaries. But neither in the court of world opinion, nor in the State of Israel, are settlement critics entitled to ignore the firm protection for Jewish settlements afforded by international legal guarantees extending back nearly a century, frequently affirmed ever since, and never rescinded.
 

 

Jerold S. Auerbach, professor of history at Wellesley College, is a frequent contributor to Midstream, where this article was published in the Spring 2009 issue
(http://www.midstreamthf.com/). He is the author of Hebron Jews, to be published by Rowman & Littlefield in July, from which this essay is excerpted.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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