Is Anyone Listening to What The Arabs Are Saying About Israel?
Even if the Obama administration were to succeed in compelling Israel to accept a two-state solution and stop building settlements in Judea and Samaria, this would not placate the Arabs or ensure peace in the region. Before embracing the idea of a Palestinian state, we should ask why the Arabs have consistently opposed partition, and examine the origin of the “Two-State Solution.” 1
When the Peel Commission recommended partition in July 1937, the Arabs immediately repudiated the British plan. “When speaking of the Palestinian problem there are no moderates or radicals,” declared Filastin, a Jaffa based Arab newspaper. “We have rejected the partition plan and will fight any idea or attempt to propose partition, as partition is a national disaster. No Arab who appreciates the national ‘stake’ will consent to negotiate partition.”2
After almost 30 years of futile attempts to bring peace between the Jews and Arabs, the British asked the U.N. in April 1947 to decide Palestine’s future. A Joint Memorandum of January 6, 1947 submitted to the British Cabinet by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Colonies found the Arabs “implacably opposed to the creation of a Jewish State in any part of Palestine, and they will go to any lengths to prevent it.”3
Arabs representing the younger generation were convinced that “their contemporaries would take up arms to resist the imposition of Partition….” and that partition would be “resisted by the Arabs of Palestine with the support of the Governments and peoples of all the Arab States.”4
Undeterred by Arab opposition, two-thirds of the members of the U.N.’s General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine into two independent states—one Arab and one Jewish. The Arab U.N. delegates did not accept the “validity” of the resolution, refused to be obligated by the decision and reserved the right to take whatever measures they deemed appropriate to thwart its implementation. 5
The next day, seven Jews were killed by an Arab ambush in response. Dr. Hussein Khalidi, acting chairman of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee (AHC), called for an Arab boycott of all Jews, warned that any attempt to enforce partition would “lead to a ‘crusade’ against the Jews,” and “may even be a spark that will lead to another world disaster.” Arabs were “prepared to meet their challenge,” Khalidi acknowledged and “fight for every inch of our country.” 6
When the U.N. Palestine Commission (UNSCOP) sought to enforce the General Assembly’s Resolution, the AHC refused to cooperate, organized a general strike in Palestine, and declined to meet with them when they arrived in Palestine.7
Jamal el-Husseini, head of the Arab delegation meeting in London to protest partition, charged in February 1947 that Zionist actions in Palestine resembled Fascist methods rather than democratic ones. “The Zionist plan is based on the Nazi line. It is based on a preferred treatment for a chosen race in utter disregard of other people’s opinions and is aimed at accomplishing the race objective without regard to the rights of others, meaning the Arabs.”8
On February 6, 1948 Husseini, representing the AHC, wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie that, “The Arabs of Palestine…will never submit or yield to any Power going to Palestine to enforce partition. The only way to establish partition is first to wipe them out—man, woman and child,” which is precisely what the Arabs had planned for the Jews.9
After David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, proclaimed Israel a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, the military forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon and a group from Saudi Arabia launched a united attack to destroy Israel. Six thousand people, one percent of Israel’s Jewish population, were killed in the war for Israel’s independence.
Why Can’t the Arabs Accept a Jewish state?
Throughout the intervening years, the Arabs have not stopped trying to eliminate Israel. Though they live in a number of different sovereign states, the Arabs view themselves as part of a single Arab Nation extending ‘from the [Atlantic] to the [Arab/Persian] Gulf.’ This is not a future objective in pan-Arab canon, but “a present reality,” notes historian Walid Khalidi.10
For historical, cultural and religious reasons, pan-Arabism resonates among all segments of Arab society, endowing them with “sanctity as dogmas.” The “de-Arabization of Arab territory” in Palestine is viewed as a breach of the unity of the Arab people because it divides its “Asiatic from its African halves.” This is a violation of Arab lands and “an affront to the “dignity of the [Arab] Nation.”11
In other words, the Arabs regard themselves as the only “legitimate repository of national self-determination” in the Middle East. No one questions their right for independence, but the rejection of the same right of other national groups in the region for self-rule “borders on political racism,” opines Shlomo Avineri of The Hebrew University. Arab repudiation of Israel’s legitimate right to exist is part of this deep-seated belief that only Arabs are entitled to have a nation-state in the Middle East.12
A People’s War
Arab failure to destroy Israel by force has led the Arabs to adopt the Marxist-Leninist “people’s war” strategy employing political and military methods used so effectively in China and Vietnam, according to historian Joel Fishman. Since the late 1960s, the political campaign has sought to divide Israeli society and delegitimize the country through incitement in Arab textbooks and media, and demonize her at the U.N. by branding Israel a racist and pariah state. 13
Part of this political strategy was to sign the Oslo Accords in order to secure land from which to launch a guerilla war to demolish the Jewish state and replace it with an Arab one. The late Faisal Husseini, Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, called this ruse a “Trojan Horse. “ 14
Husseini urged the Arabs “to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as ‘temporary procedures, or phased goals,’ this means we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them. Our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations.” The negotiations were a means toward “an extension of continuing conflict and not an opportunity for two peoples to reach a new rapprochement.”15
Agreeing to temporary concessions as a means to achieve their primary goal was suggested to Yasser Arafat and Abu Iyad, his top lieutenant, at a meeting with the North Vietnamese in early 1970. “Our ultimate strategic objective was to set up a unitary democratic state on all Palestine,” Abu Iyad avowed, “but we hadn’t provided for any intermediary stage, or any provisional compromise.”16
Members of Vietnamese Politbureau explained how in their struggle for independence they had made difficult compromises, including dividing the country into two separate independent states, while waiting for a more positive shift in the balance of power to them.17
Fatah (the largest Palestinian political party) accepted this strategy, which Abu Iyad later justified by pointing out that David Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders had accepted partition in 1947, although they claimed all of Palestine. The same applied for North and South Korea. Even Lenin had forfeited a large section of Soviet territory in the Brest-Litovsk treaty, to ensure the survival of the Bolshevik government.18
Weren’t the Arabs entitled to the same “margin of flexibility and maneuver” the Zionists had afforded themselves, he asked, especially since Israel would “remain invincible in the foreseeable future?” There is a difference, he noted, between surrender and compromise. 19
If the Arabs were prepared to accept an interim solution such a two-state solution or a series of solutions, without acknowledging that this was only an interim phase, this would defuse criticism of the PLO in the West while playing for time to achieve their objective. Iyad observed that their Vietnamese comrades do not “hesitate to sacrifice the detail so as to preserve the essential.”20
The Fifth Palestinian National Congress (February 1-4, 1969) passed the resolution confirming this policy. By early 1974, all factions of the Resistance agreed to found an independent state on “any part of Palestinian territory to be liberated,’’ with the proviso that “the strategic objective of the PLO continues to be the establishment of a democratic state on the whole of Palestinian territory.” 21
Not long after the Congress ended, feuds erupted among various groups, with the more radical elements denouncing the agreement as a “liquidation text.” One poster had a map of Palestine riddled with ten bullet holes representing the ten articles that had just been ratified. 22
At the Fatah’s Sixth General Congress in August in Bethlehem, the first since 1989, the debate over strategy continued. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that “although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law.” 23
Tawfiq Tirawi, security advisor to Abbas, disagreed that peace would be achieved through negotiation: “Words are ineffective. Action is effective.” Fruitless discussions “go on for decades.” The only way the Arab refugees will be returned and Jerusalem restored will be through the efforts of “thousands of martyrs.”24
In an interview in pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi, Rafik Natseh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and considered a “moderate,” concurred. Fatah, he said, had never relinquished the armed struggle. Muhammad Dahlan, senior Palestine Authority official, made a similar pronouncement.25
Use of Terror
In an obvious attempt to defuse criticism of Arab homicide bombings and indiscriminate missile attacks against Israeli civilians, Abbas renounced “all forms of terrorism,” but rejected “stigmatizing” their “legitimate struggle as terrorism.”26
In an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur in 2008, however, Abbas explained the reason the PA did not engage in terror was not because they opposed violence, but because they were “unable” to mount attacks at that time: “Now we are against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different. I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965 [Fatah terror against Israel began in 1965], and having taught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not... we had the honor of leading the resistance. We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps [i.e. PLO camps in the 60s]."27
In an interview on PA TV on July 7, 2009, Fatah activist Kifah Radaydeh made the same point. Violence would be renewed, she said, when Fatah was “capable,” and “according to what seems right.” Unlike Abbas, she was open about Fatah’s ultimate objective in using terror. “What exactly do we want,” she asked? “It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; and the goal is Palestine. I do not negotiate in order to achieve peace. I negotiate for Palestine, in order to achieve a state."28
This goal is shared by members at the Congress. When Abu Alaa (Ahmed Qurei), former Palestine Authority prime minister and current Chairman of Fatah Department for Recruitment and Organization, announced the presence of two terrorists in the audience of the conference they were roundly applauded.
During a bus hijacking in 1978, Khaled Abu-Usbah and Dalal Mughrabi killed 37 Israeli civilians, 12 of whom were children. This was the worst terror attack in Israeli history; nevertheless, Abu Alaa referred to them as heroes.29
This seeming inconsistency should not come as a surprise. In justifying the Palestinian Authority’s use of terror, Muhammad Dahlan openly admitted that Yasser Arafat misled the world when he denounced Palestinian terror: “Arafat would condemn [terror] operations by day while at night he would do honorable things.”
The Arabs believe they have a “legal right” to use terror if orchestrated by PA leadership at an appropriate time and location. Should they exercise their “legal right” to attack Israel, troops trained by US Lt. General Keith Dayton would be employed.30
Refusal to Recognize Israel
With regard to acknowledging Israel, Rafik Natseh declared unequivocally that Fatah “does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.” (Schenker, op.cit) Muhammad Dahlan adamantly underscored this point when he said, “I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all my fellow members of the Fatah movement… the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel…”31
The political editor of the Palestine News Agency (WAFA), explained why: "A Jewish state endangers not only Palestinians, but also the Arab World, and the global security. It is a call for legitimizing a racist entity, built on pure ethnic and theocratic criteria. They apparently think that they are a race, and they want a racist state!”32
When Will It Ever End
Despite the myriad of government commissions and official emissaries that have sought a solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict, the dispute remains intractable. Nothing will change so long as the West fails to treat the Arab world as they would any other European nation. Making excuses for Arab intransigence, blaming Israel and trying to force her to give up land that is legally and morally hers will not end the conflict.
If any nations in Central Europe had proclaimed that they were the only rightful nation-state in the region as the Arabs have, the country would be vilified as racist, elitist, hegemonic, and seen as potentially dangerous. For the last two centuries, the claim of having the exclusive right to statehood and autonomy has been the source for the many wars, carnage and mass destruction in Europe. This discredited concept, which is at the core of the problem of Arab nationalism, has been abandoned in Europe. The Arabs have not yet accepted the national rights of the Jews and the other minorities in their midst.33
1. Joel Fishman, “Politicide or Partition? Misunderstanding the ‘Two-State Solution,’” Makor Rishon (November 17, 2006).
2. Mustafa Kabha, The Palestinian Press As Shaper of Public Opinion 1929-39: Writing Up a Storm(Portland Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007), 210.
3. Joint Memorandum by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the British Cabinet,(January 6, 1947),Vol. 1:1946-1947. Patricia Toye and Angela Seay, eds. Israel Boundary Disputes with Arab Neighbors, 1946-1964 (London: Public Record Office, 1995).
5. Rony E. Gabbay, A Political Study of the Arab-Jewish Conflict: The Arab Refugees Problem (Geneva: Librairie E. Droz, 1959), 55.
6. Sam Pope Brewer,”Palestine’s Arabs Kill Seven Jews, Call 3-Day Strike,” The New York Times (December 1, 1947), 1, 8.
7. Joseph Nevo, “The Arabs of Palestine 1947-48: Military and Political Activity.” Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 23 No. 1 (January 1987), .5; “Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter.” Number 61(February 13, 1948) British Archives T.N.A. W.O. 261/573; Palestinius, “Palestine’s Mood After UNSCOP: The Yishuv Ponders Partition,” Commentary (October 1947):338-343.
8. Charles E. Egan. “Top Britons Upset By Arabs’ Reaction.” The New York Times (February 6, 1947), 3.
9. Trygve Lie, In the Cause of Peace: Seven Years with the United Nations (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1954), 165.
10. Walid Khalidi, “Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State,” Foreign Affairs, 56:4 (July 1978):695-697.
12. Shlomo Avineri, “Self-Determination for me, not for thee,” The Jerusalem Post (May 17, 2004); Shlomo Avineri, “Self-Determination and Realpolitik: Reflections on Kurds and Palestinians,” Dissent (Summer 2005); Bernard Lewis, “Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2005).
13. Joel S. Fishman, “Ten Years Since Oslo; The PLO’s ‘People’s War’ Strategy and Israel’s Inadequate Response.” Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs No. 503. (September 2003); Alex Grobman, Nations United: How The UN Undermines Israel and the West (Green Forest, Arkansas: Balfour Books, 2006).
14. Fishman, op.cit.
16. Abu Iyad with Eric Rouleau, My Home, My Land: A Narrative of The Palestinian Struggle (New York: Times Books, 1978), 69.
20. Fishman, “Politicide or Partition? Misunderstanding the ‘Two-State Solution,’” op.cit; Abu Iyad, op.cit. 70.
21. Abu Iyad, op.cit. 142.
23. “Abbas: Peace is our choice, resistance our right” Ma’an News Agency (August 4, 2009). See protocol of Fifth Congress, “Fatah Congress Issues Text of Political Programme, Elects Central Committee Members,” (August11, 1989) BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
24. MEMRI Clip no. 2189 (July 23, 2009)
25. David Schenker, “Where Have All the Palestinian Moderates Gone?” Foreign Policy (August 4, 2009)
26. “Palestinian president addresses Fatah sixth general congress opening session,” BBC Monitoring The Middle East (August 5, 2009)
27. (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “PA’s Dahlan: World recognizes our legal right to use terror (resistance), Arafat deceived the world-condemned terror while behind it.” Palestinian Media Watch (July 26, 2009).
28. (Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; the goal is Palestine." Palestinian Media Watch (July 12, 2009).
29. Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Terrorists who killed 37 Israeli civilians applauded as heroes by Fatah conference delegates,” Palestinian Media Watch (August 5, 2009)
30. Marcus and Crook, “PA’s Dahlan: World recognizes our legal right to use terror (resistance), Arafat deceived the world-condemned terror while behind it.” op.cit.; C. Jacob “Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished.” MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis - No. 538 (August 6, 2009).
31. Marcus and Zilberdik, op.cit.
32. Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “A Jewish state threatens all humanity: Official PA News Agency,” Palestinian Media Watch (August 10, 2009).
33. Avineri, “Self-Determination for me, not for thee,”op.cit.)
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Elliott Aron Green - 9/13/2009
yes, Per, there were others. Now, Shahak was a Communist. Ilan Pappe studied in Britain with the British-Arab propagandist, Albert Hourani, and Lenni Brenner was supposed to be a Trotskyist. Pappe also spoke in election broadcasts before the 1992 Israel elections in behalf of the Israel Communist Party [Hadash].
I think that Shahak is clever sometimes, but has these deep commie prejudices against Jews and Judaism. These characters are not generally not reliable. Probably less so than Flapan.
But, as you say, there are others. There is Nathan Weinstock. He was a Trotskyist who wrote a very anti-Israel book back in the 60s or early 70s. Now he repudiates what he wrote in the book, forbids republication of the book and writes in defense of Israel.
What we have learned over the last 45 years is that "leftist" Israelophobes can be just as Judeophobic as any "boureois" Israelophobe and may serve the same ends.
Per Fagereng - 9/12/2009
Besides Flapan there are others like Israel Shahak, Ilan Pappe and Lenni Brenner.
As to the Spanish civil war, I do not doubt that the Soviets played a nasty game. But the West played a nastier game by withholding arms from the elected Spanish government.
This was the big appeasement of the Thirties.
Elliott Aron Green - 9/11/2009
I met Simha Flapan years ago. He was long a member of the Marxist-Zionist Mapam party in Israel. I don't know which point of mine he disputes. But I don't consider him especially reliable.
Flapan's party was long torn between its devotion to the USSR and its Jewish loyalty, which was weaker, in the view of many observers, to its Soviet loyalty. Do you know that on kibbutsim associated with Mapam, with its kibbuts union affiliate the HaShomer HaTsa`ir, Stalin's death was deeply mourned. Of course, I'm willing to listen to what Flapan had to say. But I would do so skeptically. By the way, I used to read his articles in New Outlook years ago.
Per, off topic, but it might interest you to know that Soviet documents published since the fall of the USSR by Yale Univ Press show that the USSR intervened in the Spanish civil war not to save the Republic but to wreck it. [see link to Stephen Schwartz's article from www.martinkramer.org [I hope this is the right link to Kramer's blog].
Per Fagereng - 9/11/2009
Lots of stuff to debate. Some of your points are disputed by writers like Simha Flapan.
But the fact remains that, whatever you want to call them, real people were driven out of their homes. If that had happened to me I'd probably be a "terrorist" today.
Elliott Aron Green - 9/10/2009
The major world powers. . . have PERPETUATED the Arab refugees of 1948 in their refugee status, through financing UNRWA.
Elliott Aron Green - 9/10/2009
Per, I discuss your prescription that "ALL should be allowed to return" in another comment on this thread.
Elliott Aron Green - 9/10/2009
yes, Jesus was killed by the Romans. They did not need Jewish priests or rich men to tell them to kill a rebel. But when you bring up the Jewish priests and rich, you are still trying to implicate Jews in the crucifixion, still trying to hold on to part of the traditional Christian view of the crucifixion.
Anyhow, my point was not who really killed Jesus. My point was the implicit contradiction in the dogmas of the PLO. Arafat and other PLO spokesmen and leaders have said that the Jews crucified Jesus. Indeed, for instance, Arafat and his cronies watched the Mel Gibson film on the crucifixion with avid interest. Arafat is quoted as having praised the film.
Now, if the "Palestinians," a people not known to history before 1964, are the real and true descendants of the ancient Jews, then they are the descendants of the "Jews" as "Christ-killers" so hated in Christian tradition. That's one problem or contradiction for them. The other is that Article 20 of the PLO charter denies that the Jews have any history in "Palestine." If so, then how could the Jews have crucified Jesus in Jerusalem?? Do you see these two problems??
By the way, in Jesus' time the country was called Provincia Iudaea by the Romans, not "Palestine" which is perforce an anachronism when speaking of him. Roman Judea or IVDAEA included Samaria, Galilee, the Golan, part of Transjordan, etc. The Jews have traditionally called the country the Land of Israel, a term found in the New Testament [Matthew chap. 2]. The NT uses the term Judea in two ways: the broad Roman usage, more or less corresponding to the Land of Israel, and the narrower Jewish usage in which Judea refers to the south of the country, the former kingdom of Judah. The term "Palestine" is not found in the NT, although some Judeophobic or Zionophobic churchmen use it to satisfy their prejudices. See my article on names of the Land at:
As to Luther and Stalin, I brought up Communist Judeophobia in order to show where Sand got his motivation to write his book, in order to show the ideological background of Sand's book. Now, Marx, in his view of Jews, was deeply influenced by the Judeophobia of German philosophy, from Luther through later German theologians through Kant & Hegel to Marx. Stalin, in my view, was influenced in his Judeophobia by the Kantian-Hegelian tradition as expressed in Marx's writings, as well as by his studies in the Russian Orthodox seminary. Stalin claimed, in 1915, that the Jews were not a people or nation, at least not in modern times. I argue that Sand was also moved by the motive of proving Stalin right [Stalin's claim was the long-held belief of various breeds of Communist about Jews]. So if Sand is right, then Stalin was right.
Then, Per, you argue:
It all comes down to people being driven from their homes. They should ALL be allowed to return.
But this is dishonest and maybe ignorant, even if you are unaware of it. The Arabs in Israel's War of Independence began attacking Jewish civilians shortly after the UN General Assembly partition recommendation of 29 November 1947. Arab forces succeeded in driving Jews out south Tel Aviv and certain quarters of Jerusalem in December 1947, before there were any Arab refugees. The secretary-general of the Arab League, Abdel-Rahman Azzam Pasha, threatened to massacre the Jews in the country, not merely to "drive the Jews into the sea", as one Arab said. Clearly, the Arabs were the aggressors in that war and began to perpetrate "ethnic cleansing" from the start of the war. Furthermore, the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine, the top leadership of the Arabs in the country, told the Arabs to leave so as to allow the Arab armies to operate without worrying about harm to Arab civilians and to prove that Arabs could not live under Jewish rule [see writings of Efraim Karsh]. So, many of the Arabs who left did so because of the Higher Committee's order, sometimes enforced by violence.
Now, as to letting ALL go home. The Jews who lived under Arab/Muslim rule were oppressed by the dhimma system for more than 1000 years. Since the rise of Israel showed the Arabs, a people in love with their image of martial prowess, that they were defeated by the Jews, whom they had traditionally considered the basest of their subject peoples, they have intensified their pre-existing Judeophobia. Would you force Jews to return to countries where they would be hated, oppressed, persecuted, humiliated, which was the lot of Jews traditionally as the lowest of the dhimmis in Arab-Muslim lands??
Now Jews whose families came from Europe would be in a not dissimilar situation if forced to go to European lands where they had been oppressed, persecuted, etc. for ages. Is Europe today ready to treat Jews as equal human beings?? When answering this question, consider, for example, the Judeophobic agitprop going on in supposedly enlightened European countries like Sweden and Norway, where there were never many Jews. Hence the Judeophobia in those lands results more from religious/ideological causes than from anything that Jews or Israel have done in reality. Bear in mind Luther's influence in those lands. You yourself admit that Luther was a Judeophobe.
Then what about Arabs "going home" to Israel? The major world powers, including the UK, USA, etc., have perpetrated the Arab refugees of 1948 in their refugee status, through financing UNRWA. Why did they finance the Arab refugees' stay in refugee settlements whereas they encouraged resettlement of millions of Germans expelled from Silesia, Pomerania, East Prussia, the Sudetenland, etc??? This is not to mention the 400,000 Finns, fellow Scandinavians, expelled from Eastern Karelia upon the Soviet annexation, and millions of other people throughout the world.
Bear in mind too, that few Arabs in the refugee settlements ever lived in "Palestine." There is now a third and fourth generation of "refugees," so defined by UNRWA. "Palestine" was never their home. Furthermore, the Arabs in the refugee settlements and other Arabs have been indoctrinated and imbued with deep hatred and prejudices concerning Jews and Israel for more than 60 years, with UNRWA's cooperation. The Arab sense of honor cannot tolerate their defeat at the hands of the lowly Jews, that is, the uppity Jews. How can these people possibly live at peace with Jews, especially if the Arabs were to be about numerically equal to the Jews?? This would be at best a prescription for perpetual civil war.
So do you want war and slaughter??
Per Fagereng - 9/10/2009
Jesus was killed by the Romans. Pontius Pilate was told by Caesar to be nicer to the Jews. Previously he had been a real bastard. So he did a favor to the priests (who were the collaborators of the time) and allowed Jesus to be killed. But the Romans were in charge.
So any talk about the Jews killing Jesus is nonsense. Jesus had a following among the poor, but it was the rich and the priests who hated him.
Luther was an anti-Semite who betrayed his peasant followers. Stalin was an anti-Semite. But what's that got to do with Israel/Palestine?
It all comes down to people being driven from their homes. They should ALL be allowed to return.
Per Fagereng - 9/10/2009
The "Lapplanders" prefer to be called the Sami people. Can't say for sure, but I would guess they are treated better now than they used to be.
The important point is that the Sami can go anywhere they want in Norway, and can buy any land they can afford. Despite lingering prejudice, the Sami are full citizens.
I would dispute that the Jews were the native people in Palestine. According to Prof. Shlomo Sand, there is no one Jewish people but several sharing the same religion. He also says that the descendants of the original Jews are probably today's Palestinians.
Whatever you want to call them, the fact remains that real people were driven from their homes in what's now Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. They should ALL be allowed to return
omar ibrahim baker - 9/9/2009
" to bolsre " should read "to bolster".Sorry!
omar ibrahim baker - 9/9/2009
Resort to DNA is in a way a further admission,if any is needed at all, of the dire need for substantiation of a common racial provenance claim to bolsre a racist cause.
Arthur Koestler wrote a very interesting book on the presumed common racial prvenance .
Elliott Aron Green - 9/9/2009
So Shlomo Sand says. But Sand is not a historian of Jewish history. He specialized in films, narratives, representations, etc.
In particular, he disregards and dismisses the genetic evidence about present-day Jews [found by a number of studies], who share DNA whether Ashkenazim, Sefardim, or Mizrahim, and are in fact not so far from the Arab DNA types, also related to a lesser extent to Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and some Italians.
Sand needs to have today's Jews descended from converts for ideological purposes, since the Kantian-Hegelian school of philosophy that Marxism emerged from hated the notion of Jewish nationality and a Jewish return to history. But how does Sand get around the fact that in Christendom, conversion to Judaism was forbidden under penalty of death, while under Islam, no one was permitted to leave Islam for another religion, also under penalty of death???
To be sure, under Islam, Jews and Christians were allowed to convert to each others' religions but nobody could leave Islam, as said.
In sum, the Christian and Muslim prohibitions on conversion to Judaism tended to preserve the original Jewish stock. Of course, neither Jews nor Arabs are pure races. But that does not justify Sand's claims about today's Jews being descended from converts.
Of course, this could conceivably create a problem for the Palestinian Arabs whose leadership claims that the Jews murdered Jesus [while also claiming in the PLO charter, article 20, that Jews have no history in "palestine"]. If the ancient Jews murdered Jesus, crucified Jesus, and if Sand is right, then the Palestinian Arabs are descended from Jesus' murderers. Can `Umar give us his erudite opinion on who is guilty of the crucifixion??
As to the Communists with whom Sand is said to identify, Stalin made his Judeophobia quite clear, combining the hatred for Jews of German philosophy [itself dependent to a large extent on Lutheran theology] embedded in Marxism with the Judeophobia of the Russian Orthodox church. You do know that Stalin studied in a Russian Orthodox seminary for priests [the Georgians could not have their own seminaries].
Elliott Aron Green - 9/9/2009
But my dear Scandinavian Fagereng, the Jews are in the position of the American Indians [Native Americans] vis-a-vis the Arabs. Further, Jews living in Israel and other Arab/Muslim dominated-lands lived under the highly oppressive, exploitative, humiliating dhimma system for more than 1000 years, although the Jews were the natives. Also bear in mind that there was a sizable population of Jews in Israel up to the Crusades, when the Crusaders massacred most of the Jews in the country [see Moshe Gil].
So your argument about taking a part of the United States does not apply.
Further, the Arab forces in Israel led by the Husseini-dominated Arab Higher Committee for Palestine began attacking Jews in the country shortly after the UN General Assembly partition plan recommendation on 11-29-1947. These Arab forces succeeded --with British compliance-- in driving Jews out of various neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in December 1947 and January 1948, long before there were any Arab refugees in that war.
By the way, my dear Nordic friend, since we want to speak of principle, particularly that of the rights of native peoples, how are the Norwegians and Swedes treating the Lapplanders lately???
For more info on Jews in Jerusalem under Arab/Muslim rule, please see my article here on hnn:
For some info on Jews expelled from their homes in Jerusalem in December 1947, see my article:
omar ibrahim baker - 9/8/2009
Israel is a colony pure and simple established over the land/property of an other people whose land it occupied, part of whose people it dislocated while subjugating those it failed to dislocate and is progressively
dispossessing/plundering both those it dislocated and those it failed to dislocate to establish a self professed RACIST regime sustained through its alliance with imperialist powers.
It will end as all colonies ended.
The horror and pity of the situation is the tremendous cost its people, the Palestinians and the Arabs will have to pay in the process .
Per Fagereng - 9/8/2009
According to Shlomo Sand the Jews are not a people, but several peoples, more or less united by religion. Also, says Sand, the descendants of the original inhabitants are the Palestinians.
Whether Jews are one people or several, it does not give them the right to take other people's land.
I think Israel's long-term is somewhat bleak. It depends on the US economy for aid, and cheap oil for its military. Eventually the aid and the cheap oil will run out.
David Zohar - 9/7/2009
All of this does not conceal the reality that the Arabs refuse to accept that Jews too are a people with national rights and a historic claim on a territory where their ancestors lived. They are not just a religion, as according to Sharia law Judaism is only a second-class (like Christianity) and may be permitted to exist on condition that absolute Moslem sovereignty is accepted as axiomatic. But Israelis do not want to live under Arab or Moslem rule-they want to be free and will fight to keep that freedom. The Arabs had better start understanding that simple fact. Otherwise there will be no peace.
omar ibrahim baker - 9/7/2009
With Professor Grobman it is, now, a question of what Arabs did and do say about Israel.
What Jews/Israelis actually DID to explain why was that said does NOT seem to matter to him.
Good PR: ignore history and disdain the truth, few will bother to check either!
For the uninitiated, the purposefully ignorant, the racist and the non chalant it sounds horrible what the Arabs said and are saying.
Reading Dr Grobman out of historical context, as seemingly he hopes most will, it would sound equally horrible for anyone !
EXCEPT that The FACTS of the matter are:
- Despite the predominance of an Arab, Moslem and Christian, population then and for the last 14 centuries Great Britain, in 1917 AD, at the persistent demand of the nascent Zionist movement and the support of World Jewry, had promised the Jews, the then 10 % of total population of Palestine, a national homeland in Palestine ( The Balfour Declaration) .
- Up to the demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WW II in 1918 AD and the advent of British mandatory power over Palestine the estimated but documented population of Palestine consisted of : 10% Jews, 10% Others and 80 % ARABS.
(Refer to The KING-CRANE Commission report to President Wilson; it is on the web)
- To implement the British promise to establish a Jewish homeland in an 80% Arab , population wise, land the British mandatory authority , under ceaseless Jewish/Zionist encouragement and prodding , both local and international, managed to :
a- Implement an unprecedented demographic deformation of Palestine by allowing Jewish emigration into Palestine DESPITE the relentless resistance and ceaseless opposition of the 80 % of the population.
b- deny the Palestinian people his Right to SELF DETERMINATION and repeatedly rejecting his demand for elections to produce a representative assembly for the people in Palestine
c- enabled the growing, through emigration, Jewish community to organize and arm a virtual Jewish standing army, the Haganah, while Palestinians were executed by hanging by the British mandatory power for the mere possession of a rifle or any unauthorized fire arm
d- assisted the Jewish community to construct settlements by ceding to them so called “state domain” lands
e- ferociously suppressed a four years long Arab public uprising to continue the Jewish colonization process.
What we have from the above are the undeniable facts that tell the story of how the Jews came into Palestine, how the will of the Palestinian people was flouted and ignored and how the Jews came to have a “claim” to sovereignty over part or all of Palestine.
The establishment of Israel in Palestine does in no way differ, in essence, from the story of the establishment of colonies during the colonialist era wherein the will of the indigenous population was ignored and suppressed and ALIENS were empowered over a land and its people by brute force.
HOWEVER, Israel managed, via its intrinsic aggressive/racist/plundering doctrine, Zionism, to distinguish itself by several extra and hyper colonialist measures most of which were and remain unique to Israel.
Foremost among these:
1-The aliens it received as emigrants to supplant the indigenous population were selected according to a pure unmitigated RACIST criterion: being Jewish
2- It systematically undertook an ethnic cleansing campaign of the indigenous Arab population implemented through outright mass massacres of civilians ( Deir Yassin etc) and forced population transfer (Lod, Ramla etc) to better supplant them with incoming colonists.
3-It denied civilians who moved from their homes etc during war time away from war theatres the right to return to their homeland, their homes, their agricultural lands , their places of business etc
4-It not only supplanted the indigenous Arabs with Jewish colonists but gave the use of the Arabs homes, lands, places of business etc to those incoming alien colonists
5-It confiscated Arab properties particularly their homes and lands under the pretext of the Arabs being “absentee” title holders while always rejecting their application to RETURN and claim their properties.
Both as a colony and as an exercise in the mass plunder of others’ legitimate properties Israel has an unparalleled record of flouting not only the most basic principles of legality but equally of total disdain for the rights of others.
Per Fagereng - 9/7/2009
Suppose a Muslim people, backed by the UN, took a portion of the United States, expelled its residents and declared itself to be a homeland for Muslims. Would we accept its "right to exist" on those terms? I think not.
Most nations are recognized as existing, and recognition does not imply approval. Why should Israel be any different?
It would be like demanding that the American Indians recognize their subjugation as moral and just.
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