Saturday, May 22, 2010

A different perspective regarding the current crisis inUS-Israel relations

 

by Tzvi November

  

Almost all the commentators I see and hear on Israeli TV and radio agree that US support is crucial to Israel. Without American help in the international arena, the Arabs, Europeans and just about everyone else would increase their efforts to de-legitimize Israel, boycott its products, arrest its leaders for "war crimes" and pass anti-Israel resolutions in the UN and other international bodies.

Rarely do pundits ask how this intolerable situation has come about. It is all too easy to blame Barak Hussein Obama and his left-leaning, Arab-appeasing administration for Prime Minister Netanyahu's woes. However, just a few years ago George W. Bush was president and Israel's media masters frequently reminded their audiences that Bush was the most friendly/considerate president that Israel could hope for. But it was Bush who authored the 'Road Map' that makes all sorts of demands on Israel while pretty much ignoring the ongoing Arab/Palestinian terror war orchestrated by Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah fighters. Sharon's government submitted fourteen objections to points in the 'Road Map' but these complaints were rejected out of hand without any discussion. True to their banana republic mentality, Israeli government officials quickly forgot all about their fourteen reservations. After all, the reasoning goes, America is Israel's only ally and good relations are essential for survival.

 

NOT A NORMAL COUNTRY

If Israel was a normal country its leaders would conduct its affairs in a normal manner. For instance, a Zionist Manifesto would have been issued in Arabic long ago to explain to the Arab world why the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people just like Arabia belongs to Moslem Arabs. This document would also relate to the "Palestinians" who already have a huge country they can call their very own. It is Jordan. Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan. (Until a few years ago "Palestinians" living on the "West Bank" held Jordanian citizenship until King Abdullah II cancelled it). There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between a "Jordanian" and a "Palestinian". In fact some 70% of Jordanians are actually Palestinians. Indeed, Jordan's queen originates from Nazareth. I sometimes wonder if she still holds Israeli citizenship and if she would be allowed to bring her husband to live in Israel under the 'family unification scheme'.

Alas, Israeli spokesmen and women refuse to remind the international community that Palestine already exists. It is a mental block similar to the substitution of "territories" for Judea and Samaria. Israeli diplomats and politicians attend international conferences all the time but can anyone recall hearing an Israeli representative talk about the legitimate rights of the Jewish people? While they find it difficult to articulate Jewish rights, Israelis have little or no difficulty talking about the aspirations of the "Palestinian people", a non-existent nationality that never had a state of its own.

Most Israeli politicians, commentators and political analysts want to end "the occupation" because, they claim, a smaller Israel disengaged from large Arab populations in Gaza, Judea and Samaria would strengthen Israel's democracy and Jewish character. (Interestingly, the same people who worry about Israel's Jewish character are also the very same folks who fight against every effort to promote Jewish law, culture and education within Israeli society).

Unfortunately, Israel is a partyocracy and not a democracy where the will of the majority rules.

Since religious Israelis have a high rate of reproduction and immigration brings a few thousand additional Jews to Israel every year, Israel's demographic situation improves all the time. Israel is definitely not an apartheid state because Jews are a clear majority. Whereas the white population of South Africa was about three million out of some eighteen million, the Jews here constitute a majority of all the people living between the Mediterranean and Jordan River.

I have rarely heard an Israeli official remind the world that Hawaii was an independent kingdom that the US occupied and annexed or that Tibet was an independent country before China occupied it or that Chechnya has been occupied by Russia for generations. Similarly, Judea, Samaria and Gaza were conquered and occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively between 1948 and 1967. Today, these are liberated territories; liberated from Jordan and Egypt.

For decades, globe-trotting Israel ministers have failed to remind the world that the so-called "occupation" and death of tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians killed after 1967 are a direct result of the Arab Leagues three no's. Had the Arab League said yes to peace, yes to recognition (of Israel) and yes to negotiations at their Khartoum meeting in 1967, the whole Middle East Israeli-Arab conflict would have been resolved 42 years ago. One assumes that it is the duty of every Israeli spokesman to remind both our friends and foes of this fact. The Arabs are entirely to blame for the whole mess but have you ever heard an Israeli spokesman tell it like it is? Whenever Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's current foreign minister makes a statement critical of Arab machinations, he is immediately attacked in the media.

Much of the guilt for Israel's present predicament must be placed on Shimon Peres and his sidekick Yossi Beilin who, when they ran the foreign ministry back in 1993, initiated the suicide process which they deceptively named the "peace process". In violation of Israeli law they conducted secret negotiations with Yasser Arafat, the world's arch terrorist and his henchmen. Then they invented the term "disputed territories" for Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Of course, Arabs always refer to these areas as Arab land or Palestinian land but never as disputed land.

Worse still, Israel's foreign ministry has never (to the best of my knowledge) demanded that UNRWA, the UN agency that keeps Arab refugees, their children and grandchildren in camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan be dismantled. The Palestinian refugee problem like the world's other refugee problems should be turned over to the UNHCR (High Commission for Refugees). The faster Arab refugees are resettled amongst their brothers in Arab countries, the faster will the Israel-Arab conflict come to a just conclusion.

Between 1948 and 1967 the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) monitored the ceasefire between Jordanian and Israeli forces in the DIVIDED city of Jerusalem. UNTSO's headquarters are still in Jerusalem but it has served no function here for the past 42 years. Amazingly, I have never heard anyone demand that UNTSO close its facilities in Jerusalem and concentrate its attention on the borders between Israel and Syria and Lebanon where it still has a role to fill.

The Israel foreign ministry has also failed to forcefully advocate compensation for Jewish victims of Arab aggression and human rights abuses. Enormous amounts of Jewish communal and personal property in Arab countries were confiscated. Jews who supported Zionism (a serious crime in most Arab lands) or failed in their attempts to escape were imprisoned and even executed. Unfortunately, this is not a priority issue at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs which is over-sensitive to Arab emotions.

When high-ranking foreign dignitaries visit Israel, they are taken to the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum. This, of course, is a terrible mistake because these tours serve to reinforce the Arabs' contention that Jews stole Palestine in the aftermath of the massacre of European Jewry during WWII by the Nazis and their collaborators (which also included Arabs). It would be wiser to take visiting presidents and prime ministers to see the 2000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls or King Herod's palace at Herodion or to the Cave of the Machpela in Hebron where the Jewish patriarchs were buried over 3000 years ago.

If the foreign ministry did its job properly, visitors from abroad would also learn that the names of most Arab villages in Israel are derived from the original Hebrew. For example, the Arab town of Shefaram was once Shofar Ha'Am until the Jews were driven out by Arab invaders. Batir is Betar. Beituna is Beit El. Anata is Anatot. A comprehensive study of all the place names in Israel proves that Arabs are occupying Jewish land. But you will never hear about this from Israeli presidents and prime ministers.

Other peoples also suffer at the hands of the Arabs. Berber culture and language has been decimated in North Africa. Copts are murdered in Egypt; Darfur natives are annihilated by Sudanese Arabs and Syria (Syrian Arab Republic) has turned the Kurds (10% of the population) into an oppressed minority.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton are enthusiastic about creating another Palestinian state but they are mum about Kurdish nationalism. The Kurds number over twenty million. They have their own language, culture and history that include pre-Islamic religions of their own. American and Israeli diplomats, however, maintain radio silence when it comes to the Kurds.

The US State Department, with its strong Arabist contingent, has a dismal record. The US has squandered ten of billions of dollars over the decades in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt and Iran (before the revolution). American personnel have been blown to bits in Yemen, Kenya, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Despite their many Ph.D.s, American foreign policy directors have a depressing record of disasters to their discredit. In all likelihood, this string of failures is going to continue in the near future when Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and perhaps Jordan join the anti-American, pro-Islamic fundamentalist camp. And despite the rhetoric about sanctions, Iran is on its way to dominate the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

Obviously, the only way out of this situation is to squeeze Israel whose leadership has long ago abandoned the righteousness of its Zionist cause, its claim to the entire Land of Israel (west of the Jordan), its 'red lines' (e.g. we don't negotiate with terrorists, defensible borders, united Jerusalem) and resolve to say "no" to American pressure if need be.

President Obama recently said that the ME status quo is unacceptable. Given Turkey's increasing friendship with Iran and Syria, President Mubarak's rapidly declining health, the Pakistani army's indecisive war on terrorists in the Peshawar (capital of world terrorism) area and the US military's scheduled withdrawal from Iraq next year as well as Iran's nuclear bomb program, I would humbly suggest that the President is dead wrong.
 

Zvi November was born in Brooklyn NY and has lived in Israel since 1969. He has worked as teacher, youth counselor, probation officer and employment advisor. He has a degree in social anthropology and has written on the inherent contradictions of Israel, "a complex nation-state whose five or more populations disagree on almost every issue."

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

 

The rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees first

 

by Shulamit Kogan

 

Background

When the Arabs invaded the new state of Israel in 1948, and Israel drove them back, many of the local Arabs fled, either urged by their leaders or expecting that the Jews would do unto them as they would have done to defeated Jews. In August, 1940, this core of refugees was numbered at 472,000 of which some 360,000 needed help, according to Count Folke Bernadotte, the United Nations mediator in Palestine. Curiously, instead of the numbers falling, they continued to be adjusted upwards and by October, 1950, it was set at 711,000. In 60 years, it has grown amazingly to over 4.6 million. Of course, births are registered; registering deaths is less certain. Other frauds include selling and renting ration cards; and hiring children at census time.

 

These have been unusual refugees. All other refugees in the world are mostly resettled within a few years, either to their old homes or in other countries. There is no such thing as a "right of return." All other refugees are on their own after the initial crisis; the Arab refugees have continued to be wards of the U.N., which feeds them, clothes them, houses them, educates them and gives them medical treatment. In fact, in many areas, they live better than the locals, who often sign up as "refugees" for the perks. All other refugees can not pass on their refugee status as a legacy to their descendents. The Arab refugees have continued their protected status for some 4-5 generations. As another mark of distinction, all refugees world-wide except the Arabs are cared for by a single agency, UNHCR. Only the Arabs have an entire agency -- UNRWA -- dedicated just to them. UNRWA now handles some 4.6 million "refugees" with a budget (in 2007) of $500 million. UNHCR with a budget a little over double that of UNRWA ($1.1 Billion) takes care of 4 times as many refugees, some 20 million world-wide. UNRWA employs many of their refugees and has been implicated in training terrorists, delivering terrorists in UNRWA ambulances and other official vehicles to their target areas, and teaching the young to hate Israel.

 

Martin Sherman has noted, "Unlike the UNHCR, UNRWA's definition of refugees includes migrant and temporary workers who were resident in Mandatory Palestine for less than two years and their multigenerational descendants. The far-reaching significance of this can be condensed into the remarkable fact that if the universally accepted UNHCR criteria for refugees were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of "refugees" would shrink from close to 5 million to around 200,000. These figures starkly illustrate that both the scale and the durability of the Palestinian refugee problem is fueled by the distorted parameters of its definition. There is growing consensus that without abolishing UNRWA and folding its operations into UNHCR, no way out of the Palestinian-Israeli impasse is possible." (Martin Sherman, April 21, 2010.)


To Binyamin Netanyahu's outright demand that the Arabs recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Mubarack was the first to publicly announce his disagreement to such a definition and was followed by all other Arab leaders. Yet Obama pressed on to have Netanyahu stop buildings in Judah and Samaria. But even if the Arabs had agreed there would be no factual meaning to it, for with the moral problem of the refugees, even after they will receive more and more land concessions, they will be able to press even more than with their territorial demands.

Is it not wise to suggest to Obama to start with the rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees before any land concessions, now that Obama and the Western World are so anxious to help the refugees, and they demand of us a plan of action?

 

This indeed should be the first important plan of action

After having seen how the Palestinians reacted to Israel's generous offers — such as Arafat's reaction to Ehud Barak's offer to receive all of Oslo's concessions at once rather than in stages — Clearly the refugee problem needs to be resolved first of all, and not after we will give them more and more land.

There are two dangerous risks:

Either the Israeli concensus against acceptance of Palestinian refugees will slowly dissipate, as did concensi of the past such as "not to talk with Arafat" or "No to a Palestinian State" (who even remembers them as such?)

Or, if the concensus will persist, and we will not agree to accept Palestinian refugees, the Palestinians, after they will have a state (which will obviously not long remain demilitarized) will attack us in an all out war with the help of other Arab countries, a war that will be very hard to win in the narrow borders, and in any case they will have nothing to lose, for they learn to know that even if they attack and lose they will be able to again demand everything back.

As a counter attack to the Arab public relations, our public relations must emphasize that the peace process is an historical one, not between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but between two nations — the Jewish and the Arab, two nations each of which has its own religion, its own language and culture, and its right to exist.

Therefore, one needs to emphasize the terrible injustice (but because it is known to all, it is not being reminded in our public relations) that while the Arab nation has more than twenty national states, they demand of the only Jewish state (which received all its refugees — also from Arab countries) that it give them another state out of its small area, and in addition that what will remain of the Jewish state should turn to a state of all its citizens. This they demand already now, but if we will allow their refugees, even if only a few, to return, this is what will actually happen, at best, at worst it will quickly have an Arab majority and will "democratically" become another Arab state.

Therefore it is imperative to delay the process of surrendering land until after the enlightened world (the US, the UN etc.) will give each refugee a sum of money for his rehabilitation — in Arab countries or in other country that will be willing to accept them, except Israel.

If such offers will be directed to individuals and not through Arab politicians (who are interested to keep them as refugees, as they have been doing now for over sixty years) the large majority of the refugees will be happy to accept it; and only after all of them will officially start to be rehabilitated, we will be able to sit down to peace negotiations.

Will Obama refuse to help in such a humanitarian endeavour?
 

Shulamit Kogan is an Israeli.

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

 

Next year in West Jerusalem

 

by Victor Sharpe

  
It has thus come to this. Jerusalem may well be on the way to being re-divided. History will not look kindly upon those in this generation who have fallen into the trap of media distortion, Arab untruths, peace at any price and sheer apathy.

The Jewish Talmud and Midrash tell us from where the message of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is to be broadcast to the world and from where its radiance is to shine forth. The name Zion is synonymous with Jerusalem and every time the Torah is taken from the Ark, during the synagogue service, Jerusalem and Zion are invoked. "For out of Zion shall come forth the Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:1 and Micah 4:2).

The word Jerusalem and Zion are mentioned 821 times in the entire Jewish Bible (the Tanach) sometimes also referring to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). Jerusalem is mentioned 154 times in the Christian Bible and Zion seven. Jerusalem is not mentioned by name once in the Moslem Koran. Only well after the Arab invasion of Eretz Yisrael in 638 AD did the Arabs begin to refer to the city by name and then only from the tenth century with names of Jewish origin, e.g. Al Kuds, Arabic for the Hebrew Ir Hakodesh (City of Holiness) and Siyyun, Arabic for the Hebrew, Tsiyon, Zion.

The betrayal of Jewish and biblical history, which began at the Madrid Conference, led remorselessly to the Oslo Accords and to the nonsense called the "peace process" whereby Israel gives away land for peace but in return never receives peace. First Jericho, which Joshua bin-Nun liberated when the Jews entered the Promised Land, went to the Arab arch terrorist Yasser Arafat, then Hebron (the first capital of the Jewish King David), and then in rapid succession Nablus, (Biblical Shechem), and relentlessly the hills, mountains, fields and terraces of biblical Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

All were given away to those who hate the Jews and who endlessly plot the total destruction of the Jewish State. Mahmoud Abbas, the Holocaust denying acolyte of Arafat, is presented to the world as a peace partner for Israel. What monumental sham is this? There are those within the present U.S. Administration who work to uproot perhaps as many as 300,000 Jewish residents from their homes in the outlying communities of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and a further 200,000 living in neighborhoods of north and northwestern Jerusalem. They seem intent upon forcing Israel to give away most of what's left of the ancestral Jewish heartland to the Palestinian Arabs — in return for nothing.

Those within the Left and within the international corridors of power have learned nothing from Israel's arbitrary withdrawal from southern Lebanon or from Gaza. As a result of those Israeli peace overtures to the Arabs, Hezbollah inflicted upon Israel the Second Lebanon War and from Gaza a relentless barrage of missiles upon Israeli towns and villages. On and on has continued the insane juggernaut of concession and abandonment of Israel's biblical and ancestral homeland to the Arabs; urged on at every instance by American Administrations, the European Union, the so-called Quartet and the United Nations until the very gates of Jerusalem may now soon be breached.

Talk of dividing Jerusalem is uttered relentlessly. For the first time in recorded history, large areas of Judaism's capital city would become the capital of a new, hostile and fraudulent Arab state called Palestine. The Temple Mount, the holiest of all Jewish holy sites, is now all but lost, and the prayers and anguished longing by generations of suffering Jews is being dismissed by those who have no love for the Jewish state. The previous Israeli government allowed the Moslem Waqf to blatantly destroy Jewish and Christian antiquities on the Temple Mount and to build a new giant mosque underneath it. Israeli archaeologists pleaded in vain to stop the Moslem bulldozers and desecration. Now ordinary Israelis have to sift through enormous piles of dirt that Muslim Palestinians dumped unceremoniously in the valley below the Holy City. Israelis and visitors from overseas now painstakingly search to see if they can find what remains of Jewish and Christian antiquities. Who knows what priceless archaeological evidence was destroyed by the Waqf. What humiliation is this?

We must not at our peril fool ourselves that the appetite of the Palestinian Arabs and the entire Moslem world will be satisfied by the abandonment of the Temple Mount and the eastern half of Jerusalem. We may be doomed to be the generation that will see before our very eyes the destruction of the Jewish State itself, for even if Israel shrinks to a small city block in Tel Aviv, its presence will still be a provocation to the Arab and Muslim world.

Is there an answer? Yes, but many will find it unpalatable. Most have been brainwashed into thinking that the giving away of ancestral Jewish land and the showering of billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinian Authority will bring "peace in our time." It will not. The growing weakness and crumbling resolve of too many Jews in Israel and the Diaspora only serves to whet the appetite of the Arab world. The Arabs have boasted that they will wipe out what they consider the "insufferable Zionist entity" just as they finally destroyed the Crusader Kingdom.

It does not matter that, unlike the Jews who have returned to their ancient homeland, the Crusaders were foreign adventurers on land that they had no historical ties to. For Muslims, no non-Muslim state or nation that is on land once conquered by Muslim armies in the name of Allah will ever be tolerated.

This is the fatal flaw in the entire concept of the "peace process." For the Muslim Arabs, peace is merely a means to an end — an armistice in place for only as long as the "infidel" is perceived to be strong. Once that perception has vanished, all promises, agreements and undertakings made with the "infidel" are to be ignored and abrogated. This has been the pattern for all the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, and every single undertaking and promise by them has been broken.

Unpalatable as it must be, the only solution for Israel is to make not one additional concession but resolve to face the entire world if need be rather than deny Jewish history, Jewish faith, and the Zionist cause. It is time to give victory a chance, not the endless and self-defeating concessions that have marred so many Israeli governments in the past. It is time — as it always has been — to look for support from the One source of ultimate strength above all: Almighty God.

In biblical times the Jewish people withstood for long periods the attacks of their neighbors, whoever they were. Today Israel faces a new U.S. Administration, which displays a growing hostility and coldness towards Israel. The deplorable manner in which visiting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was treated at the recent meeting in the White House is unprecedented and marks a clear and present danger to Israel's very survival. Add to that the antipathy of the Moslem world, a hostile and deceitful media, the insidious influence of Arab oil power and, alas, latent anti-Semitism that lingers in international chancelleries, and you have a perfect storm of infernal pressure growing upon the tiny, embattled Jewish state. Satan has much to smile about.

There is still a faint glimmer of hope, but the candle's flame is growing dimmer by the hour. Israel still has the precious few supporters who expose the cumulative deceits, the distortions, and the outrageous moral equivalence that is made between the Israeli victims of Arab terror and the Arab perpetrators of terror; so lamentably displayed by many of the media mavens who preside over how the news is presented. And the reconstituted State of Israel has the steadfast support of millions of Christians who have found and rediscovered the inextricable roots of their faith within Judaism. They, along with the many Jews who have not yet succumbed to liberal novelties present a resolute defense of an increasingly isolated and vulnerable Israel.

But if the siren calls of a fraudulent, beguiling and deceptive peace cannot be rejected out of hand then I fear a terrible betrayal of undivided Jerusalem, Jewish history and faith will occur. It will not be long before the time immemorial prayer uttered at the conclusion of the Passover meal, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt, the Covenant with God and the creation of the Jewish nation, will become a bitter joke. Instead of "Next Year in Jerusalem," it will be, "Next Year in West Jerusalem."
 

Victor Sharpe is a featured writer with several websites and writes about Jewish history and the Arab-Israel conflict.

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

 

No Demographic Time Bomb; It's a Demographic Scarecrow Bomb

 

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading. 

In contrast with conventional "wisdom," there is a Jewish majority of 67% in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel and Judea & Samaria and a 60% majority west of the Jordan River (including Gaza), compared with a 33% and a 8% Jewish minority in 1947 and in 1900 respectively.

The robust Jewish demographic tailwind and Arab demographic headwind are demonstrated through the absolute annual number of Jewish and Arab births in pre-1967 Israel.  While the annual number of Arab births stabilized at 39,000 during 1995-2009, the annual number of Jewish births surged by 50% from 80,400 in 1995 to 121,000 in 2009.

The number of Judea & Samaria Arabs is artificially inflated by 66%.  It is 1.55MN and not 2.5MN.  Thus, the World Bank documents a 32% "inflation" in the number of Palestinian births, a substantial erosion of the Palestinian fertility rate and a significant escalation of Arab emigration from Judea, Samaria and Gaza.  Documented entries and exits via international passages feature a 20,000 net Arab emigration from Judea & Samaria in 2009, 17,000 and 14,000 in 2008 and 2007 respectively and only six years of net-immigration since 1950.

 

The significant decline in Arab population growth rate has been caused by an intensive family planning campaign, an unprecedented reduction of teen-pregnancy, a swift urbanization process, an all-time-high divorce rate and median wedding-age, an impressive expansion of education especially among women and enhanced career mentality among women. 

 

In contrast with international demographic standards, the Palestinians include some 400,000 overseas residents in their census. They also include 250,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who bear Israeli I.D. cards and are therefore doubly-counted: as Israeli Arabs by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and as West Bank Arabs by the Palestinians.

 

Demographic doom's day projections have been refuted drastically and systematically since the launching of the Zionist voyage by Theodore Herzl.  The founders of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and their successors have underestimated Jewish fertility, overestimated Arab fertility, ignored Arab emigration and downplayed Aliya prospects. In the 1940s, they projected 2.3MN Jews in the Land of Israel in 2001. They were off by 3.5MN Jews! They dismissed Ben Gurion's assessments of one million Olim in the 1950s and ridiculed the suggestion that an additional million Olim would arrive from the USSR during the 1990s.

In 2010, there is a demographic problem, but there is no demographic machete at Israel's throat.  Most importantly, the demographic tailwind is Jewish, not Arab.  Refuted demographic fatalism should be replaced with well-documented optimism, thus expanding security, political, strategic, diplomatic and economic options for Israel

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

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

 

A new 'nakba'. Oh, wait...


by  Melanie Phillips

(After a not insignificant delay by the NYT and other main-stream media, the Hamas housing destruction and beatings have arrived, albeit not front page news. One can also properly surmise that the story was not exactly given the Melanie Phillips treatement, therefore ....Y.)

Two days ago, Palestinians had their houses bulldozed into rubble after they were beaten and forced out of them by club-wielding policemen, all because they had allegedly built their homes illegally on government-owned land.

An outrage! A ‘nakba’ indeed, as the Palestinians cried. Quick, call for Human Rights Watch/Amnesty/B’tselem! Get the UN to pass a resolution!

Oh wait...

Hamas police wielding clubs beat and pushed residents out of dozens of homes in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Sunday before knocking the buildings down with bulldozers, residents said.

Gaza's militant Hamas rulers said the homes were built illegally on government land. Newly homeless residents were furious over Palestinians on bulldozers razing Palestinian homes.

Obviously Israel’s fault, then. Call for Goldstone.

 

 

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

 

The prerequisite for peace in the Middle East: Arab recognition of the legitimacy of Israel

 

by Kenneth J. Bialkin

  

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Middle East peace diplomacy aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict is bound to fail yet again unless the process is reconfigured to emphasize, as its centerpiece, Arab recognition of the Jewish People's ancient claims to their ancestral homeland and the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Waiting for this necessary change of heart among Palestinians and other Arabs concerning Israel's legitimate Jewish character and national future is the wisest route to peace.

 

American diplomacy has been very active, particularly in the last three decades, in trying to bring peace between Arabs and Israelis. There have been successive peace initiatives by Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and, more recently, Barack Obama. The record of American activism in the Arab-Israeli arena is mixed, although there is a clear improvement in Arab-Israeli relations.

The peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan demonstrate that leaders of the Arab world can show the courage to accept Israel as a sovereign neighbor. Although Anwar Sadat paid with his life for his courage, and King Hussein was the subject of assassination attempts before his death, the Jordanian and Egyptian arrangements remain in place and they are important for regional stability. Most Arab countries are cooperating partners with international intelligence services in the struggle against Islamic terror, and that cooperation is reported to be strengthening in many areas. It is an open secret that some Arab countries maintain contacts with Israel or Israeli companies for mutual benefits which involve commercial, social, intellectual, medical, educational or strategic interests.

The Saudi initiative ascribed to King Abdullah and the subsequent Arab League Peace Initiative of March 2002 supported the speculation that long-fixed attitudes may be subject to change.

The prospect that Iran may become a nuclear power has roiled the Sunni Arab world to the point where many Arab countries quietly side with Israel in seeking to block Iran from fulfilling its apparent nuclear aspirations.

The Palestinian issue remains unsolved despite the fact that the basic issues between Israel and the Palestinians are simple to state: a two-state solution; borders; Jerusalem; mutual recognition; and "End of Conflict." Other issues such as Arab refugees, Israeli settlements, and so on, are supposed to be "soluble" in the context of a true "End of Conflict" agreement. So we are told.

But the question must be asked: If this is accurate, why has there been no real peace progress? In all previous peace initiatives, the magic-bullet formula was for Israel to make concessions so that a sovereign Palestinian state could be established. Israel was pressed to yield land and forego settlements in areas considered its homeland, which were acquired in wars following Arab aggression. The failure of those initiatives was almost always assigned to Israel's refusal to grant the Palestinian Arabs what they "deserved," namely, a state and relaxed security restrictions. The policy of successive US administrations to press Israel for unilateral concessions was vigorously supported by the United Nations and most of the international community where sympathy for Palestinian rhetoric can be taken for granted.

The answer to the question above is this: A peace process which rests upon Israel's unilateral concessions is doomed to fail — unless and until the world also demands that the Arab states (including the Palestinians) recognize Israel's legitimacy and sovereignty, explicitly and openly. Contrary to the myth that Israeli "Occupation" is the result of Israeli aggression and a quest for "Lebensraum," the Arab world must come to recognize that the Jewish claim for a state and for land and recognition did not begin in the twentieth century and is not simply compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust.

The Jewish claim for land and recognition derive from the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Jesus, King David and the prophets. This claim has abided for more than 3,000 years, persevering through the creation and universal reverence of the Bible. The Bible reports that in his first year (516 BCE), Cyrus, the King of Persia, in order to reverse the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 597 BCE, and to fulfill the prophesy of Jeremiah, proclaimed that he had been charged by the Lord to build a house in Jerusalem and to send the Jews in his kingdom to "go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem" (Second Book of Chronicles 36:23). The revival of Zionism more than 100 years ago is a part of that history and its legitimacy lies in the continuous belief and aspirations of the Jewish people.

Israel has recently made it clear that any peace agreement with the Palestinians must include a clear recognition and acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the region. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said in his famous address in June 2009 at the BESA Center that "A fundamental prerequisite for ending the conflict is a public, binding and unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People."

Netanyahu made it clear that his government has joined previous Israeli governments in accepting a demilitarized Palestinian state, which would include arrangements to protect Israel's security concerns. (Israel still has immediate and more distant neighbors that abide by the 1967 Khartoum declaration of "No Recognition, No Negotiation and No Peace with Israel."

Neither the UN, the international community nor the US has ever demanded unequivocal acceptance by the Arabs to recognize and live in peace with Israel. The US has never insisted that recognition and acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state be advanced as an independent demand in advance of an end to the conflict.

After years of unsuccessful peace strategies, it is time for a change. There are many reasons why a correction of strategy has a good chance to produce peaceful settlement for the true benefit of Israel and the Arab world. Peace is not a zero sum game where there can be only one winner and loser. The failure to convince the Arab world to internalize the right of the Jews to share the Land of Israel and to put an end to the conflict — means the conflict and the state of war will continue.

The centerpiece of a new diplomatic strategy should now include, in the mix of basic conditions for a peace process, that the Palestinians and the Arab World accept an "End of the conflict" agreement with Israel and recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state where all its citizens may enjoy equal rights under law. This formulation will not diminish the present right of every Jew to acquire Israeli citizenship.

When President Obama spoke to the world from Cairo, he said, "The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past."

Israel has shown willingness for major concessions under circumstances of a full peace, while displaying great reluctance for such concessions in the absence of real peace. Israel's experience with unilateral concessions has not been good and is not likely to be repeated. Waiting for the necessary change of heart among the Palestinians concerning Israel' legitimacy poses great risks but there may be no other realistic alternative. While waiting, the current efforts of Israel and the Palestine Authority to improve the welfare and economic condition of Palestinians should continue.

The consequences of maintenance of the status quo may be briefly considered:

Continuation of historical trends in economic and social development: Despite the absence of peace Israel has managed to attain robust levels of economic growth. Progress in education, human rights, social services and quality of life compare favorably with the leading international exemplars of progress. In contrast, the trends for the Palestinians and most Arab states suggest greater regression, decline and turmoil, with no basis to expect change. That gap must be expected to grow.

Failure of Palestinian progress in self government and the responsibility of sovereignty: The failure of the Palestine Authority to develop a democratic polity or to achieve governmental stability raises questions whether it can fulfill the obligations of government to establish order and tranquility for its citizens and to ensure stable and peaceful relations with its neighbors.

Growing threat of terrorism: It is a sad fact that the consequences of Islamic terror falls most heavily on other Muslims. Failure to take steps necessary to counteract continued terrorism will delay the prospect of progress for the Palestinians and indeed for the Arab world.

For too long, Israel's right to be recognized and accepted by the Arab world has been ignored by the international community and should no longer be ignored. The UN should be ashamed that each year it countenances General Assembly resolutions advocating the expulsion of a member state and similar outrages by a gaggle of states whose societies deny their own citizens fundamental human rights.

The US should lead the international community to correct a long-term injustice: Arab lack of respect for the legitimacy of the State of Israel and for the historical contributions and rights of the Jewish people. This is the most important prerequisite for peace.
 

Kenneth J. Bialkin, a lawyer, is Chairman of the America-Israel Friendship League, former national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, and former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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

 

Is Israel a colonial state? The political psychology of Palestinian nomenclature Part I


by Irwin J. Mansdorf

1st part o 2  

  • Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire Middle East, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
  • What is not popularly recognized is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it served the Arab world in their nationalist goals and helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France.
  • Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial," with the term "settler-colonialist" applied to the Zionist enterprise.
  • This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "setters" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. The notion of "settler" dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.
  • Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948. The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological denial of any Jewish connection to the ancient Land of Israel.

Psychological factors often play a role in the development of political views. In the Israel-Arab conflict, one of the ways in which psychological factors operate is in the formation of "mantras" that do not necessarily reflect either the historical record or applicable international law.[1] Examples include the use of descriptions of occupation as "illegal"[2] and the determination that there is a "right" of resistance[3] or a "right" of return.[4] When used over and over again, these descriptions, despite their questionable legitimacy, can alter perceptions. Once perceptions change, attitudes and behavior change as well, leading to partial and ultimately biased views of historical and political reality.

Language thus becomes an important psychological tool both in correctly describing events and in perpetuating beliefs based on narratives that do not accurately reflect history. Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad is among those that have portrayed Israel as a colonial entity based on an illegitimate and racist movement, namely Zionism.[5] In the eyes of many, it is a foreign element implanted into the Middle East where organizations such as the United Nations[6] and political activists such as Chomsky[7] describe Arabs as "indigenous" and Jews as "immigrants." The charge of colonialism has become a major theme in criticizing Israel throughout the academic world and is part of the language of the discourse.[8] The language of "colonialism" and its related terms (e.g., ethnic cleansing) have been incorporated into academic coursework even in Israel.[9] An examination of the actual history and events related to the Middle East, in general, and Palestine, in particular, however, fails to confirm the reality behind the "colonial Israel" moniker. Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire area, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The Beginning of the End of Colonialism in the Middle East: The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration is historically viewed as the document that first recognized the rights of Jews to a national home and independence in Palestine. Accordingly, it is perceived in the Arab world as a document that began what was seen as an illegitimate process of dispossessing Arabs from their lands. What is not popularly recognized, however, is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France. Nowhere is this made clearer than in the Peel Commission Report of 1937, which stated:

The fact that the Balfour Declaration was issued in order to enlist Jewish support for the Allies and the fact that this support was forthcoming are not sufficiently appreciated in Palestine. The Arabs do not appear to realize in the first place that the present position of the Arab world as a whole is mainly due to the great sacrifices made by the Allied and Associated Powers in the War and, secondly, that, insofar as the Balfour Declaration helped to bring about the Allies' victory, it helped to bring about the emancipation of all the Arab countries from Turkish rule. If the Turks and their German allies had won the War, it is improbable that all the Arab countries, except Palestine, would now have become or be about to become independent states.[10]

The Balfour Declaration, thus, not only served as the stimulus for Jewish independence, but, curiously enough, served the Arab world in their nationalist goals as well. This was largely seen outside of Palestine, but insofar as Palestine is concerned, there was initially an absence of nationalism with a distinct "Palestinian" identity. The Peel Report notes, "The Arabs had always regarded Palestine as included in Syria."[11] The plan, under an agreement between Emir Feisal and Chaim Weizmann (the Feisal-Weizmann agreement), was that the Arabs would recognize Jewish rights and independence over Western Palestine as called for in the Balfour Declaration, while Feisal's family would retain control of Syria and the area known as Trans-Jordan. The failure of this agreement, and the resultant conflict that ensued, was a result of the French refusal to relinquish their colonial control and recognize the rights of Emir Feisal in Syria.[12]

Arab Denial of Jewish Rights and History in Palestine

The breakdown of the Feisal-Weizmann agreement and the reversal on Arab acceptance of the Balfour Declaration launched a period of Arab nationalism accompanied by violence between Jews and Arabs. Today, despite the documented history of the Jewish people in the area that was known as Palestine and Feisal's acceptance of the Jewish presence there, the Arab world continues to deny this history, both in official policy and in popular media. The U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report of 2009 notes that Palestinian Authority textbooks "often ignored historical Jewish connections to Israel and Jerusalem."[13]

This thinking is reflected in the charters of both leading Palestinian movements. The Palestinian National Charter of 1968 declared the Balfour Declaration null and void and said: "Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood."[14] The issue of recognizing Jewish as opposed to Israeli rights remains a sticking point between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[15] The Hamas Covenant makes several statements expressing Islamic hegemony over the area known as Palestine, along with several references to the Jews usurping Palestine and challenging Islam.[16]

Academic circles in Palestinian Arab society also subscribe to these notions. Al-Quds University posts a "History of Jerusalem"[17] that repeatedly implies that the Jewish "narrative" is a "myth"; that King David, whose very existence is questioned, was probably part of an "idealized" community of "Israelites" that had no connection to Jerusalem; that those "Israelites" never experienced an exodus from Egypt (Al-Quds claims this "story" was "appropriated" from a Canaanite legend); that Joshua's conquest never took place; that Solomon's Temple was actually a center of pagan worship; and that the Western Wall was probably just part of a Roman fortress. In the Al-Quds rendition of the "conquests" of Palestine, Jews are not even mentioned, although ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Mamlukes, Ottomans and British are. Jews are nowhere to be found in the history of the land and have nothing to do with its past.

In popular Palestinian media, the notion of lack of historical connection between the Jews and Palestine has also been promoted, such as with television broadcasts denying any Jewish connection to the Western Wall.[18] This belief is so pervasive that even Israeli-funded institutions have been exposed to it. In Jerusalem, the Tower of David Museum's head Arabic-speaking guide was dismissed[19] after implying that there were no Jewish roots in Jerusalem, stating, in a Palestinian television interview, that the museum's documentary film was "full of historical lies and historical deceptions."[20]

The Connection between the Charge of Colonial Israel and Denial of Rights

The concerted effort in Arab circles to deny Jewish roots in Palestine/Israel is critical to claims of Jewish colonialism in Palestine. Palestinian spokespersons claim that since Jews are members of a religion and not a nation, any nationalistic aspirations based on a specific territory are invalid.[21] The notion of Jews as a foreign entity in Palestine was advanced and popularized through the work of the late Edward Said in his seminal work, Orientalism,[22] which continues to be seen as a foundation for post-colonial thinking in academia today.

The historical reality is quite different from what the Arab narrative, which has been adopted by many in academic and intellectual circles, presents.

The Colonial Background of the Entire Middle East

As a result of their colonial conquests, much of the Middle East area was under the control of the Ottoman Turks from 1516 through 1917. British colonial history includes their gaining control of the Gulf area between 1861 and 1899, turning the area into what one source called "a British lake."[23] British officials would decide which of the prominent tribal families in the Gulf region would eventually become the rulers of the states that would eventually emerge. French colonialists took over Algeria in 1830, conquered Tunisia in 1881, and took control of Morocco in 1912.

Neither Jews nor Arabs enjoyed any modern independence in the area, which, by the end of World War I, had been under colonial control for many years. As a result of the mandate system that developed after the war and the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916, British and French colonial interests were drawn and defined.

Decolonialization Following the Ottoman Defeat

Starting around the period of World War I, the entire Middle East underwent a process of decolonialization with the emergence of national movements. Jewish nationalism was consistent with the Balfour Declaration, which, after being incorporated into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, uniquely called for settlement of Jews in Palestine as part of the Jewish National Home, without reference to their place of origin. Just as the British supported the Jewish national claims to Palestine, a number of source documents show that they also encouraged Arab nationalism as a tool in their own conflict against the Ottomans.[24]

The mechanism for the transformation from colonial independence for the majority of new states was the mandate system. Both the British and French mandates eventually yielded sovereignty to the populations of the Middle East as multiple independent states came into being. With Israel, the Jewish state was reconstituted, while the various tribal Arab populations that stemmed from the invasion of the seventh century[25] now began carving out areas of influence and sovereignty. The Jews, far from being colonialists, were the beneficiaries of a national movement that aimed to renew Jewish sovereignty, but also which, along with Arab national movements, ended colonial control by forces that had no historical or indigenous roots in the region.

Indeed, it is an earror to assume that Britain, as the mandatory power, gave the Jewish people their rights to claim Palestine. The 1922 Palestine Mandate specifically refers to the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." Rather than creating a new right, the Mandate recognized a pre-existing right that clearly pre-dated the colonial powers.

The Mandate also calls for the Jewish people to begin "reconstituting of their national home," essentially stating that they were going to rebuild a national home that had been there before. Many of the Arab states, in contrast, were modern fabrications of the British and the French.

 

 

Irwin J. Mansdorf

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

 

Share It