Saturday, March 31, 2018

Are there Arabs who like Israel? The answer is a resounding yes

Are there Arabs who like Israel? The answer is a resounding yes

Some are willing to talk in public, most are afraid to be identified, but a growing number of Arabs and Muslims see Israel as a country to be admired.

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Usually, I present my readers with a most depressing picture of the Arab and Muslim worlds. I find it unavoidable because the troubles tearing apart those two worlds are beyond description –  the last seven years alone have witnessed hundreds of thousands of people killed, and millions of women, children and the elderly turned into homeless, destitute and suffering refugees. Despite the Middle East's enormous potential, its vast natural resources, panoramic vistas and unlimited opportunities, the entire region is in a state of pitiful collapse.

In the prevailing Middle Eastern discourse, the blame for all this chaos is placed squarely on the shoulders of one party – Israel, along with the colonialist regimes – mainly Britain and France – who brought the Jewish State into being.

Placing the blame only on Israel is easy to do, for several reasons:

a. It is easier for our neighbors to blame someone else for their terrible plight instead of taking a hard look at themselves in order to find the reasons for  their suffering;

b. Israel, neither Arab or Islamic, is considered an outsider in the region to begin with;

c. Israel is the work of Satan because Jews have no right to sovereignty and must be kept subjugated (with dhimmi status);

d. Israel gains the most from the surrounding chaos so it must have caused it to begin with, and

e. Israel is successful while its neighbors are abject failures and therefore consumed by jealousy.

This anti-Israel stance is the rule in many of the populations making up the Middle East and includes heads of state, subjects, the intelligentsia and the ignorant, the religious and secular, elites and marginal persons, Muslims and members of other religions, Bedouin, villagers, rural folk and city dwellers.

It has become "bon ton" to talk negatively about Israel all over the Middle East, to the point where the Arabic word for normalization of relations with Israel has become a vulgar and negative word in Middle East discourse.

Over the last few years, however, a parallel conversation has emerged, one that is free of the conventional way of talking about Israel and that Is often dramatically different. It is hard to nail down those who participate in it, some are educated and secular, some are ordinary citizens, others members of the ruling class or the opposition, they include the religious and non-religious, Muslims and members of other faiths. The main thing they have in common is the ability to free themselves from accepted conventions and swim against the tide, willing to face criticism and to deal with it.

It is important to note that the social media available at just about everyone's fingertips are the main force allowing a pro-Israel conversation to reach the wider public's eyes and ears. Means of mass communication cannot be controlled completely by a government or any other entity, so they provide a public platform for people who wish to think independently and are not bound by the conventions surrounding them.

Just what are they saying? (Note: My comments are in parentheses, M.K.)

The first person quoted here is a Kuwaiti journalist named Abdallah Alhadlek. In an interview, he said:  "Whether we like it or not, Israel is a sovereign and independent state. It exists in reality, has a seat at the UN, and most peace-loving nations have recognized it. There is, of course, a group of nations that have not come to terms with Israel's existence, but they are all despotic dictatorships."

"Verse 21 in the Table Chapter of the Quran proves the Jewish right to the Holy Land: 'So says the exalted God: Moses said to his people: My nation go into the Holy Land that Allah granted you.' Accordingly, it is Allah who gave them the land and they did not steal it from anyone. In fact, the land was stolen by those who lived there before the Jews entered it. That is why I do not accept the outdated expressions like 'thieving entity' or 'Zionist entity.'
"There is no Occupation, there is only a nation that returned to its promised land. The history of the Jews precedes Islam. As Muslims, it is our duty to recognize the right of the Jewish people to this land. In 1948, when Israel was established, there was no state called Palestine. There were people dispersed in different Arab countries, called Canaanites, Amalekites and by many other names."

Another example is a very interesting woman named Nonie Darwish. She stems from Egypt where her father was an Egyptian Intelligence officer stationed in Gaza. During the 1950s he would send fedayeen – today's terrorists – to attack Israel and murder, rob and destroy whatever they could get their hands on. One day Israel sent him the gift of a book which, when he opened it, exploded in his face and sent him to the place reserved in Hell for terrorists.

Noni understood that her father deserved the punishment he received for his cruelty to Israel and decided to leave Egypt, abandon Islam and convert to Christianity. Today she lives somewhere in the West and manages the ArabsForIsrael website. This is where she fights Islamic activities, the acceptance of Sharia law in Western countries, the culture of Jihad and where she speaks positively of Israel, its right to exist, defend itself and live in peace in its historic land.

And despite what many Israeli Jews think, there are, among Israeli Arabs, those who see things differently and dare to utter their thoughts out loud. One of them is a young Muslim woman named Daima Taya, who appeared on a local Arab channel and told a hostile interviewer: "Israel is not an apartheid state, and anyone who says so should be ashamed of himself. You live in this country and have a blue identity card (like every other Israeli). You work, talk (as you wish), study (whatever you wish), become researchers, teachers, lawyers, leaders,  and live in a country that shows you respect." 

"Syria, Iraq, Egypt and all the other Arab countries – what have they done for their people? Israel is a democracy, and its Declaration of Independence states that it has  Druze, Muslim Arab and other minority groups. What is a democratic state? One that respects its people, the people living in it, their right to lead their own religious lives, study, work, be elected, become judges, lawyers, and MKs, to speak freely in the  Knesset on whatever subject they wish. (Israel) gives them the right to liberty and freedom. Just where do you find that (in the Arab world)? …I wish all the Arab states, Arab societies, and citizens of Arab states the privilege to live in a democratic state like the State of Israel. I define myself as an Arab, a Muslim, I have Israeli citizenship, am proud of myself and of my religion, proud that I live in a state that respects me and grants me my rights…."

Later, she added: "There is nothing perfect, nothing is 100%, go look at what is going on in the Arab world. Compared to that, Israel is just fine! And show me one Arab state where one can criticize the government!"

These are just examples of the pro-Israel opinions in the Arab world. Names such as Wafa Sultan, Bridget Gabriel, Sacar Alnablasi, Camal Govriel, Walid Shoebat and the Saudi Arabian Louis Alsherif are others, who have said things like:  "If Israel did not exist, the Arabs would have had to invent it" or "Israel does not fit in the Middle East because it is not a dictatorship, not a tribal state, not a clan-based state and not run by a military junta" and "The Arab world is not willing to accept Israel because Israel's head of state gets his bribes in envelopes and our rulers need boxes to transport their bribes" and "Arab and Israeli journalists have  something in common: Their governments allow them to malign Israel" and "Israel mirrors the Arabs – when they look at it they see the opposite of themselves."

There is much more to say about the few people who appear on Arab media and defend Israel. There is much more to say about those who do so secretly for fear of the reaction that would come from their surroundings. I myself am in contact with quite a few of these people, those who are out in the open and those who are afraid to reveal their identities.  
I am going to tell just one story. Every few weeks a group of 3-4 people phone me from somewhere in the Gaza Strip and beg me to tell Israel to re-conquer the region because their lives are Hell since the day in 2007 when Hamas pushed out the PA to take control of Gaza. In the past they had worked in Israel, earned decent wages and provided for their families. Israel as a state and the Israeli people treated them well, showed them respect and usually paid them fair wages for their work.

When Hamas took over, they lost their jobs in Israel. Now only those who flatter Hamas manage to obtain some sort of employment and anyone not willing to sing Hamas' praise finds himself unemployed.  Work, however, is only a minor issue, because there is something much worse – the difference between Hamas' treatment of women and local girls and Israel's. The friends who phone me remember well that if it was necessary to do a security search on a woman at a checkpoint or other place while Israel controlled Gaza, the IDF would ensure that a policewoman or female soldier was called in to perform the search.  Not once did a male IDF soldier touch a local woman. Today the situation in that regard is simply horrible – if there is someone who has lost  favor in Hamas eyes, the Hamas men arrive at his house late at night in cars without license plates, break in with their faces masked, remove the men from the house and abuse the women and young girls left unprotected inside.

That is what makes all the difference. The Arabs themselves know the truth about Israel, how it treats its citizens. They know that those who malign and slander Israel, whether or not they have reason to do so, do not have truth on their side. Even those who support Israel realize that it is not perfect, that there is no perfect nation in the entire world. What Israel has, however, and none of its neighbors possesses, is the Israeli desire and intent to be decent, law-abiding and moral, to respect human rights and respect men and women. Israel does not wish to see dead and wounded Arabs. If its neighbors would only allow Israel to live in peace and tranquility, they would never find themselves attacked.

What is really important, though, is for us, the Israelis, to remember that not every Arabic speaker is an Israel-hater by definition. There are many people to be found in the Arab and Islamic world who accept Israel's existence from the start and not just after the fact and believe in the right of Jews to live securely and tranquility in the land of their forefathers. They also believe in Israel's right to defend itself and its citizens' lives, welfare, and health.
That is the Arab tragedy: The modern Arab state appears in several places as its nation's own worst enemy, hated by its citizens, murdering its residents, denying their rights and stealing their property – while the head of state, its ruler, can best be described as "the liaison officer between his citizens and the World to Come."

When such is the difference between Israel and its neighbors, is it any wonder that there is a not insignificant number of Arabs willing to accept Israel's right to exist and defend its citizens like any other nation in the world? Is there any way Israel can help them? Probably not, and they know this well.

We can only wish them long, healthy and successful lives, as we wish all the people of Israel.

Written in Hebrew for Arutz Sheva, translated by Senior Consulting and Op-ed Editor Rochel Sylvetsky

Friday, March 9, 2018

Pal-Arabs are counterfeit

Pal-Arabs are counterfeit

Why is there no ‘Palestinian’ rebel group mentioned in ancient Roman history, as for example the Jewish Zealots are?

By Victor Sharpe

Recently,  the Holocaust-denying head of Terror, Inc, known as the Palestinian Authority, one Mahmoud Abbas, upped his erstwhile mentor and arch terrorist, Yasser Arafat, by spewing yet another Arabian Nights hallucinatory diatribe at the United Nations Security Council. It went as follows:

“We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day.”

We should remember that the grisly, blood soaked Arafat had claimed that those Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, were descended from the Philistines. But then the followers of the ‘religion of peace’ will tell you that even Adam was a Muslim. Loony tunes for loony people!

But let’s come back to reality and deconstruct the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.
There is no such thing as a Palestinian people; no such thing as a Palestinian history; and no Palestinian language exists.

The present-day so-called ‘Palestinians’ are an Arab people sharing an overwhelmingly Muslim Arab culture, ethnicity and language identical to their fellow Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, with few if any distinctions.  They are primarily the descendants of those itinerant Arabs who illegally flooded British Mandatory Palestine from Arab territories as far away as Sudan, Egypt, Syria and what was Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).  They were attracted during the early decades of the 20th century by new employment opportunities provided by the Jewish pioneers, whose heroic efforts were turning the desert green again and restoring centuries of neglect that the land had endured under a succession of alien occupations.

Britain, during its Mandate over the territory, turned a blind eye to the flood of illegal Arab aliens entering, while at the same time often arbitrarily limiting Jewish immigration into the ancestral Jewish homeland.  This was a betrayal of the Mandate given to Britain to facilitate a Jewish Homeland in the geographical territory known as Palestine.

Yasser Arafat, the Egyptian born arch-terrorist, was fond of creating the absurd myth that Palestinian Arabs were descended from the Philistines.

Canaanites, without doubt, are mentioned in the Bible as the first known inhabitants of the Land of Israel before the first Hebrews, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives, settled there, and before Moses brought their descendants back to the Promised Land during the Exodus from Egypt.

The Canaanites lived both along the coastal plain and in the mountain regions, which run like a spine down the biblical territory of Samaria and Judea.  Their language was similar to Hebrew and their territory stretched north into present day Lebanon and included the present day Golan Heights.

The Canaanites were finally subdued, decimated and  intermarried and no longer exist as a distinguishable people.

The ‘Philistines’ were non-Semitic peoples who had entered the land from their homes throughout the Aegean Islands in general and from Crete in particular.  These ancient Cretans arrived in Southern Canaan and along the Egyptian coastline and were known as ‘Pelestim and Keretim’ by the Hebrew tribes.

It appears that their first settlement may have been Gaza.  Later they settled in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gat and Ekron: the Pentapolis.

Their territory was primarily along the coastal Mediterranean and they attempted at different times to invade Judah, but were turned back by the various Jewish Biblical heroes and finally defeated by King David. From that time onward, they were diminished as a threat and as a separate people, finally disappearing from history after King Hezekiah defeated them and Assyria exiled them. Any claim to lineage by the Arabs who call themselves ‘Palestinian’ is as absurd as that of links with the early Canaanites.

Moving fast forward to 73 CE, the first attempt of the Jews to reclaim their independence from the repressive yoke of Roman occupation ended when Jewish warriors and their families fled to the fortress of Masada from Jerusalem.  The Romans had destroyed the Jewish capital city Jerusalem, along with the Second Jewish Temple.  Masada is where the heroic last stand took place and where the surviving warriors and their families took their own lives rather than be sent as slaves throughout the mighty Roman Empire.

The Land where these stirring and epochal events took place was in the province known as Judæa.  There is absolutely no mention of any place called ‘Palestine’ before that time.

After the suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt in 135 CE against the continuing Roman occupation, the Emperor Hadrian replaced the name of Judea (Yehuda in Hebrew from which the name Yehudim, Jews, originates) with Syria-Palæstina after the ‘Philistines’ who were the ancient enemies of the Israelites.  Hadrian did so with the explicit purpose of effacing any trace of Jewish history.

No such name as Palestine occurs in any ancient document.  It is not written in the Bible, neither in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the Christian Testament, not even in Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, Seleucian or other Greek sources.  There is no ‘Palestinian’ people ever mentioned, not even by the Romans who invented the term. Yet, here again, the fantasist, Abbas, who ranted in the UNSC and then bid a hasty retreat, still claims Jesus was a ‘Palestinian.’

Why is there no ‘Palestinian’ rebel group mentioned, as for example the Jewish Zealots are? Why does every historic document mention the Jews as the native and aboriginal inhabitants, and the Greeks, Romans and others as foreigners dwelling in Judea while there is no mention of a ‘Palestinian’ people, neither as native or as foreigner?

What is more, there is no reference to any ‘Palestinian’ people in the Koran, although Muslims claim that their prophet was once in al-Aksa (meaning the farthest place) which Muslims, for political purposes, chose to be Jerusalem.

Saladin, a Kurd, knew the Jews and invited them to resettle in Jerusalem.  He had no trouble in recognizing Jerusalem as their capital city and the territory as their rightful Homeland.  But he did not know any so-called Palestinians and to claim that Palestinians are the original people of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, is not only counter to secular history but is also opposed to Islamic history.

The so-called ‘Palestinians’ who claim Jerusalem want it so that they can take it away from the Jews for whom Jerusalem, known also as Zion, is the eternal, 3,000 year old Jewish capital.

Perhaps what links the modern day Arabs who call themselves ‘Palestinians’ with the ancient Philistines is that both are invaders.

The Philistines wanted to take from the Israelites the Holy Ark of the Covenant, while today’s so-called ‘Palestinian Arabs’ want to take from the Jewish people the Holy City of the Covenant – Jerusalem.

So let me close, beginning with the words of a Christian Arab, Joseph Farah, in Myths of the Middle East.  Farah has made his home here in America and knows of what he writes:
“There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians.

“Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc.  Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9 per cent of the Middle East lands.  Israel represents one-tenth of one per cent of the landmass.  But that’s too much for the Muslim Arabs.  They want it all.  And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about today….No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.”

In Their own Words
Pre 1967:

“There is no such country as Palestine.  ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented.  There is no Palestine in the Bible.  Our country was for centuries part of Syria.  ‘Palestine’ is alien to us.  It is the Zionists who introduced it.” Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937.

“There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946

“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria.” Representative of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956

Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:

“The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 CE hardly lasted, as such, 22 years.”

Post 1967:

“There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.  We are all part of one nation.  It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity….the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes.  The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.” Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council.

“Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria.  You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria.  Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people.” Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

“As I lived in Palestine, everyone I knew could trace their heritage back to the original country their great grandparents came from.  Everyone knew their origin was not from the Canaanites, but ironically, this is the kind of stuff our education in the Middle East included.

“The fact is that today’s Palestinians are immigrants from the surrounding nations! I grew up well knowing the history and origins of today’s Palestinians as being from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Christians from Greece, Muslim Sherkas from Russia, Muslims from Bosnia, and the Jordanians next door.

“My grandfather, who was a dignitary in Bethlehem, almost lost his life at the hands of Abdul Qader Al-Husseni after being accused of selling land to Jews.

“My father used to tell us that his village Beit Sahur (The Shepherds Fields) in Bethlehem County was empty before his father settled in the area with six other families.  The town has now grown to 30,000 inhabitants.” Walid Shoebat.

Reports from travelers to the Holy Land before its rebuilding by modern Zionism:

“There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilee); not for thirty miles in either direction….One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings.  For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee….Nazareth is forlorn….Jericho lies a mouldering ruin….Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation….untenanted by any living creature

“… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds….a silent, mournful expanse, a desolation….
“We never saw a human being on the whole route….Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere.  Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country… Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes….desolate and unlovely…” Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad”, 1867.

In 1590 a ‘simple English visitor’ to Jerusalem wrote: “Nothing there is to be seen but a little of the old walls, which is yet remaining and all the rest is grass, moss and weeds much like to a piece of rank or moist ground.” Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund.
“The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil.” British archaeologist, Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s.

“Palestine is a ruined and desolate land.” Count Constantine François Volney, 18th century French author and historian.

“The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents.  They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities.  They created nothing in it.  Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters.  The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it.” – Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s.

“The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population.” James Finn, British Consul in 1857.

“The area was under populated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880’s, who came to rebuild the Jewish land.  The country had remained ‘The Holy Land’ in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people.

“Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants – both Jewish and Arab.  The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts.  Houses were all of mud.  No windows were anywhere to be seen.  The plows used were of wood.  The yields were very poor.  Schools did not exist.  The rate of infant mortality was very high.  The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert.  Ruins were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.” The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913.

That the world has fallen hook, line and sinker for duplicitous Arab propaganda speaks to the success of one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated. And Mahmoud Abbas is still at it!

Victor Sharpe traces the Israel-Islam conflict in his four-volume set  (previous volumes here) titled, Politicide, The Attempted Murder of the Jewish State, and provides the reader with an immense amount of information about the biblical and post-biblical history of the Jewish homeland: Israel.He is a prolific freelance writer with many published articles appearing in leading websites dealing with the threat posed by resurgent Islam not only to Israel but to Western and Judeo-Christian civilization.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Why do the Arabs hate the Palestinians so?

Why do the Arabs hate the Palestinians so?

The Arab world, for many reasons, is not at all interested in giving the Palestinian Arabs a state. The Palestinian Arabs don't really want one either, because why kill the "refugee" goose that lays the golden eggs?

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In Israel, and in much of the Western world, we tend to think that the Arab world is united in support of the Palestinians, that it  wants nothing so much as to solve the Palestinian problem by giving them a state, and that all the Arabs and Muslims love the Palestinians and hate Israel.  This, however, is a simplistic and partial point of view, because while It is true that many, perhaps even the majority of Arabs and Muslims hate Israel, there are a good many who hate the Palestinians just as much.

Their hatred of Israel stems from Israel's success in surviving despite wars, terror, boycotts and the enmity aimed at the Jewish state; it stems from  the fact that there is an existing Jewish state even though Judaism has been superseded by Islam, the 'true religion.' It is exacerbated by Israel's being a democracy while they live under  dictatorships, because Israel is rich and they are poor, because Israel is Paradise compared to Arab countries, many of which resemble nothing so much as the last train stop before Hell (see Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan – and the list goes on) …and most importantly, because Israel has succeeded in areas in which they have failed, and their jealousy drives them up a wall.
But why should they hate the 'unfortunate' Palestinian Arabs? After all, the Arab narrative says that the Palestinian Arabs' land was stolen and they were forced to become refugees. The answer to this question is complex and is a function of  Middle Eastern culture, which we in Israel and most Westerners neither understand nor recognize.

One of the worst things in Arab eyes is being cheated, fooled or taken advantage of. When someone attempts to cheat an Arab - and even more so, if that person succeeds – an Arab is overcome by furious anger, even if the person involved is his cousin. He will call on his brother to take revenge on that cousin, in line with the Arab adage: "My brother and I against my cousin - and my brother, my cousin and I against a stranger."

Regarding the Palestinian Arabs, first of all,  many are not originally Palestinians at all. They are immigrants who came to the Land of Israel from all over the Arab world during the British Mandate in order to find employment in the cities and on the farms the Jews had built.  These immigrants still have names such as "Al Hurani (from Huran in southern Syria)", "Al Tzurani (from Tyre in Southern Lebanon)", "Al  Zrakawi (from Mazraka in Jordan)," "Al Maztri (the Egyptian)" and many other names that point to the actual, geographically varied origins of the so-called Palestinians. Why, ask the other Arabs, should they get preferential treatment compared to those who remained in their original countries?

Starting with the end of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the politics in the Arab world began to center on Israel and the "Palestinian problem" whose solution was to be achieved only by eliminating Israel. In order to help succeed in that mission, the Arab refugees were kept in camps, with explicit instructions from the Arab League to  keep them there and not to absorb them in other  Arab countries.

UNRWA ensured that they were provided with food, education and medical care without charge – that is to say, the nations of the world footed the bill, while the Arab neighbors of these eternal "refugees" had to work and provide food, education and medical care for their families by the sweat of their brow.  Refugees who were supplied with free foodstuffs, such as rice, flour, sugar and oil, for the use of their families, would often sell some  of it to their non-refugee neighbors and make a tidy profit.

Those living in the refugee camps do not pay municipal taxes, leading to a significant number of "refugees" who rent their homes to others and  collect exorbitant sums in comparison with those renting apartments in nearby cities, thanks to this tax exemption. In other  words, the world subsidizes the taxes and the refugees line their own pockets .
In Lebanon, several refugee camps were built near Beirut, but were incorporated into the expanding city, then turned into high class neighborhoods with imposing high rise apartment buildings. Someone has profited from this change, and it is not the man in the  street, who has every reason to feel cheated.

The Palestinian "refugee" camps located in Lebanon have been taken over by armed organizations, from the PLO to ISIS, including Hamas, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front and organizations of Salafist Jihadists. These organizations act viciously towards surrounding Lebanese citizens and in 1975 brought on a civil war that  lasted for 14 long  years of bloodshed, destruction and saw the emigration of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese from their villages to lives of horrible suffering in tent camps all over the country' Many took  refuge in Palestinian "refugee" camps, but the Lebanese refugees received less than 10 per cent of what  Palestinian Arabs received, causing much internecine jealousy  and hatred.

In Jordan, in 1970, the Palestinian Arabs, led by PLO head Yassir Arafat, attempted to take over the country by establishing autonomous regions of their own, complete with roadblocks and armed Palestinian Arabs in the country's north that challenged the monarchy. In September 1970, known as "Black September", King Hussein decided he had had enough and would show them who is boss in Jordan. The  war he declared against  them cost thousands of  lives on both sides.

Meanwhile, in Israel,  20% of the citizenry within the pre-1967 borders is made up of "Palestinian" Arabs who do not rebel or fight against the state. In other words, the "Palestinians" living in pre-1967 Israel enjoy life in the only democracy in the Middle East, while the Arab countries sacrifice their soldiers' blood to liberate "Palestine." Is there a worse case of feeling that you are being exploited than that of an Arab soldier putting his life in danger for this meaningless cause?

Worse still is what every Arab knows: Palestinian Arabs have been selling land to Jews for at least a century, profit immensely from the deals and then go wailing to their Arab brothers to come and free "Palestine" from the "Zionist occupation."

Over the years, the Palestinian Arabs were given many billions of euros and dollars by the nations of the world, so that the yearly per capirta income in the PA is several times greater than that of the Egyptian, Sudanese or Algerian man in the street. His life is many, many times better than that of Arabs living in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen over the past seven years.

On a political level, the Palestinians have managed to arouse the hatred of many of their Arab brethren: In 1990, Arafat supported Saddam Hussein's Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In revenge, Kuwait, once it was freed of Iraqi conquest, expelled tens of thousands of Palestinians, most of whom had been employed in its oil fields, leaving them destitute overnight. This led to an economic crisis for their families in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who had been receiving regular stipends from their sons in Kuwait.

Today, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are supported by Iran, the country abhorred by many Arabs who remember that airplane hijacking and the ensuing blackmail were invented by the Palestinian Arabs who hijacked an El Al plane to Algiers in 1968, fifty years ago, beginning a period of travail still being endured by the entire world.

Despite the 1989 Taaf agreement that ended the civil war in Lebanon and was supposed to lead to the de-weaponization and dissolution of all the Lebanese militias, Syria  allowed Hezbollah to keep its arms  and to develop its military power unrestrainedly. The repeated excuse was that the weapons were meant to "liberate Palestine" and would not be aimed at the Lebanese. To anyone with a modicum of brains, it was clear that  the Palestine story was a fig leaf covering the sad truth that the weapons were going to be aimed at Hezbollah's Syrian and Lebanese enemies. "Palestine" was simply an excuse for the Shiite takeover of Lebanon.

Worst of all is the Palestinian demand that Arab countries refrain from any relations with Israel until the Palestinian problem is solved to the satisfaction of the PLO and Hamas leaders. However, a good  portion of the Arab world cannot find any commonalities that could unite the PLO and  Hamas. They have given up on achieving an internal Palestinian reconciliation, watching the endless squabbles ruin any chances of progress regarding Israel. To sum up the situation, the Arab world – that part of it which sees Israel as the only hope in dealing with Iran – is not happy at the expectation that it must  mortgage its future and  its very existence to the internal fighting between the PLO  and Hamas.

And let us not forget that Egypt and Jordan have signed peace agreements with Israel, have moved outside the circle of war for the "liberation of Palestine" and have  forsaken their Palestinian Arab "brothers," leaving them to deal with the problem on their own.

Much of the Arab and Muslim world is convinced that the "Palestinians" do not want a state of their own. After all, if that state is established, the  world will cease to donate those enormous sums, there will be no more "refugees" and the Palestinian Arabs will have to work like everyone else. How can they do that when they are all addicted  to receiving handouts without any strings attacked?

One can say with assurance, that 70 years after the creation of the "Palestinian problem," the Arab world has realized that there is no solution that  will satisfy those who have  turned "refugee-ism"  into a profession, so that the "Palestinian problem" has  become an emotional and financial scam that only serves to enrich the corrupt leaders of Ramallah and Gaza.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Senior Consultant to A7 English site, Op-ed and Judaism editor

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The two-state solution's inconvenient truths

The two-state solution's inconvenient truths

Because of the basis of "Palestinian" national identity, the two-state solution basically makes peace impossible. The objective factors that preclude a two state soluton should have been obvious to anyone analyzing the situation.

By Dr. Yale M. Zussman

As long as there was some hope that negotiation could produce a solution to the conflict with the Arabs, Israel and it supporters generally refrained from calling attention to several objective factors that have always made the so-called "two-state" solution impossible. In the wake of UNSCR 2334 and several more recent developments, the prospects of successful negotiations have dimmed further, even with all the talk of the Trump Plan, so the time has come to call attention to those factors.

There are five objective factors, "inconvenient truths" if you like, that preclude a successful "two-state" solution that should have been obvious to anyone thinking about the issue seriously:

1. Opposition to Jewish rights in the region comes, at least in part, from religious sources. Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who led the Arabs during the Mandate, was a religious authority and appealed to his people to oppose the Jews using religious terminology. For Muslims, the entire Land of Israel is a Muslim waqf or religious trust, territory that, having been conquered by the Muslim sword, can never revert to its previous and rightful owners. As long as that belief isn't countered, no Muslim can accept that Jews will rule anywhere in the Land. The conflict over security for the Temple Mount complex is a manifestation of this problem as is the dispute over recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Both are largely driven by theological, even eschatological, factors because they directly challenge this Muslim belief.
There can be no peace between Muslims and Jews that fails to address the Islamic dimension of the problem. It is possible that finding an answer here will provide insights enabling solution of the other apparently intractable problems of the Muslim world. Given what is going on in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, etc., such insights cannot come too soon. The Arab-Israeli conflict is a result of the same factors that generated those others, and not the cause of them. Conventional wisdom has had it exactly backwards. Establishing a Palestinian state would do nothing about this issue.

2. The demographics of the region require that either Israel or the putative Palestinian state be non-contiguous. While it is topologically possible to make both states contiguous, by exchanging the Jordan River valley for territory linking Gaza and Judea, the absurd borders this will produce, and the need to move tens, or hundreds, of thousands of citizens to get there, guarantee that this will not be done. The contiguity problem led to the Partition Commission's clever, possibly elegant, but conceptually flawed, borders in 1947. Because the wider region is mainly Muslim, it is more important that Israel remain contiguous, which it currently is, and that means that any Palestinian state established must consist of non-contiguous pieces.

Non-contiguity enables separate development in economics and culture at the very least, and these lead to divergent political paths. We see this phenomenon in "Palestine" with the Islamist Hamas controlling Gaza and the avowedly secular PA in power on the 'West Bank'. As long as "Palestine" is conceived as a single entity, the groups ruling its two lobes must compete for control of both by upping the ante against Israel, because hostility to the Jews is the only issue that unites their various peoples.

The track record of non-contiguous states is rather bad. The most obvious examples are Pakistan, from which Bangladesh seceded in a bloody war in 1971, and Germany and East Prussia, which contributed to the outbreak of World War II. Non-contiguity, by itself, may guarantee that the putative Palestine will be a failed state almost from birth. In turn, that makes the notion of a "Palestinian state" part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.
3. A solution to the conflict that includes Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line, division of Jerusalem, and withdrawal of all the settlers to enable the establishment of a fully militarized Palestinian state along the 1967 lines, what "two-state" solution advocates claim they want, and what is envisioned in the 2002 Arab initiative and UNSCR 2334, would demonstrate that the cause of all Palestinian suffering, for the last 49 years, if not since 1949, is the unwillingness of their leaders to make peace with Israel: This is the solution they could have had in 1967, or even 1949, but chose not to pursue.

Such a solution would mean that all Arab "suffering" since 1967, or even 1949, is the result of decisions made by their leaders and will have been "for nothing." No-one who has been part of the decision-making process during this period can escape responsibility for the costs they have imposed on their people, and many would undoubtedly pay with their lives. The longer the conflict continues, the more "suffering" there is and the higher the price the leaders will have to pay.

Palestinian Arabs would benefit by being told the truth, but their leaders have never done so and can't start now; they have backed themselves into a corner. For this reason, all concerned must recognize that a solution before Mahmud Abbas' death is basically inconceivable.

I have brought this reality to the attention of a few diplomats involved with the issue, and none of them has acknowledged being previously aware of it. Once it is pointed out, it's sort of obvious, and they recognized immediately why it would prove to be a problem.

The only solution that can vindicate that suffering is the destruction of Israel, but there is no obvious reason why Israel should agree to that... This means that only the prospect of future losses can provide the incentive for Palestinian Arab leaders to settle sooner rather than hoping for better later. Since, apart from its propaganda value, these leaders don't appear to be bothered by the suffering of their people, Israel's only real leverage on the Palestinian Arabs is the possible loss of land.

Contrary to the widely-held assumption in the West, this means the prospect of additional 'settlements' is a net positive for getting the Palestinians to make peace, and the campaign against them has undermined the pursuit of a solution. It is no coincidence that as the campaign against the 'settlements' has gathered momentum the prospects for a negotiated solution have dimmed. Palestinian leaders understand this, which is why they are so adamant about building freezes, and why, when they get one, respond by doing nothing. Freezes do nothing more than remove Israel's leverage; they don't advance the cause of peace.

4. "Palestinian" history demonstrates that there is no "Palestinian People." The 1910/11 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica lists more than a dozen identifiable nationality groups within the Muslim population of the land claimed by the Palestinians. During the Mandate, they were joined by additional Muslim groups, including some from Syria.

Some Palestinian Arab leaders are willing to acknowledge that there is no Palestinian people. Thus, Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told the Dutch publication Trouw in 1977:

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct `Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism."

In an official PA TV special broadcast for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, (Nov. 1, 2017) Palestinian historian Abd Al-Ghani Salameh responded to a question about the Declaration's impact on the Palestinian people with:

"Before the Balfour Promise (i.e., Declaration) when the Ottoman rule ended (1517--1917), Palestine's political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today (emphasis added), since Palestine's lines of administrative division stretched from east to west and included Jordan and southern Lebanon, and like all peoples of the region [the Palestinians] were liberated from the Turkish rule and immediately moved to colonial rule, without forming a Palestinian people's political identity."

Pinhas Inbari (Who Are the Palestinians? August 7, 2017 pointed out recently that the histories and genealogies of the various clans confirm that essentially all of them are new-comers, from Arabia, Egypt, or even Central Asia. Thus, contrary to Mahmud Abbas's claims, none of the clans or tribes claims to be descended from the Canaanites, much less the Natufians, the name anthropologists give to the people who may have discovered agriculture 10000 years ago.

Even Hamas minister Fathi Hammad acknowledges that "half the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis."

During the mandate, the Arabs of Palestine had no name for themselves; "Palestinian" referred to the Jews. When they took a name, in the 1950s, it was the name the imperialists -- Roman Empire or British, take your pick -- gave to the territory where they had lived. Where would they be if the Jews had decided to retain the name "Palestine" for their country?

Two or three generations of separate development followed 1949, so there has been no opportunity for Palestinian Arabs to coalesce into a single people. If they had, the "Refugees of 1948" would be willing to forego their claimed "right of return" to their homes in 1947 for the opportunity to have a Palestinian state. Insistence on this right means the "Palestinians" aren't a people even today. They remain, as they were a century ago, a grab-bag of clans and tribes, some newly arrived in the Middle East, never mind "Palestine," and often at war with one another.

Even if their leaders wanted to, this collection would be incapable of making the decisions necessary to establish peace. Indeed, as long as hostility toward Israel is the glue holding the "Palestinian People" together, they cannot make peace without putting themselves out of business. They are incapable of either unifying, which is a prerequisite for the "two-state" solution, or abandoning maximalist  claims because that means abandoning the "Refugees of 1948."

Palestinian leaders must be aware of this at some level, which explains their ridiculous claims about the antiquity of their people and their denial of demonstrable Jewish history and claims to the land, a lie made "official" by UNESCO. Reality doesn't support their political goals, so, in the absence of a real one, they have simply invented a history for themselves.

Curiously, the only time all the parts of the "Palestinian" people could intermingle freely was when there actually was an 'occupation'. It was also during the 'occupation' that their living conditions improved markedly, now labeled "suffering." Maybe Arafat concluded that if he didn't destroy these gains his hope to destroy Israel would never come to pass, and thus the intifadeh.

Any solution now would demonstrate that the "Palestinian narrative" has been a lie all along, and without that narrative, Palestinian claims would be seen for what they are: a pretext for avoiding making peace.

That there is no "Palestinian People" does not mean there are no Palestinian people; there is a difference. The sad irony of this situation is that what is good for Palestinian people, like the economic and social progress that occurred during the 'occupation', is often bad for the notion that there is a "Palestinian People;" while what is good for that idea, like more "resistance," violence, and death, is usually very bad for individual Palestinians.

5. The solution suggested in item 3 does nothing for the "Refugees of 1948" because it doesn't include the "right of return" or enable them to destroy Israel, so they have no reason to support it or to pay any price to get it. That most of the leaders of the various Palestinian factions come from those "Refugees of 1948" means they won't consider settling on this basis, and as long as Palestinian society is not governed democratically, the "Refugees of 1948" faction will hold power and prevent a solution.

Consequently, resolution of the refugee issue is a prerequisite for achieving a peace settlement of any sort; it must come before the Palestinians will be willing to get serious about making peace. The solution will have to come from outside, perhaps a buy-out of their "refugee" status. Arab leaders have understood this since 1949, which is why they have refused to address the refugee issue and why there are Palestinian "refugees" living in camps under the jurisdiction of the PA and Hamas, the two candidates for their prospective "government." UNRWA must be closed down since its survival depends on perpetuating the refugee problem.

The above items are incontestable facts, and note that I have not included that the Palestinian Arabs have a different idea about what the "two-state" solution is intended to achieve: not peace but a new status quo from which they can pursue the destruction of Israel.

Now for the implications:

There are at least three alternatives to the establishment of a Palestinian state as envisioned in the "two-state" solution:

a) Continuation of the current situation. This is basically a non-starter because since Oslo it has been understood as temporary and that has contributed to escalating violence. "Temporary" does not mean it is going away any time soon, just that ultimately it must end.

b) Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Caroline Glick has proposed this, but her solution doesn't really explain why the Arabs would accept it and how Israel might address the consequences of having a large hostile minority inclined to engage in violence with free access to everywhere in the country.

c) Look back to the situation between 1949 and 1967. In this scenario, Gaza is either annexed by Egypt or recognized as the Palestinian state (appropriate because Gaza approximates the territory once inhabited by the Philistines) while Israel and Jordan draw a border between them to resolve territorial issues in Judea and Samaria. Because both Egypt and Jordan have already recognized the legitimacy of Israel, such a solution doesn't require the conceptual breakthrough necessary for an agreement between Israel and "Palestine." Jordan can agree to demilitarize its West Bank territories without losing sovereignty, something a Palestinian state in the same territory could not do.

The counter-argument here is that this strategy will convert Jordan into a possibly second Palestinian state, but if the "Refugees of 1948" have already been resettled, they might be open to adopting a Jordanian identity that enables them to avoid Islamist rule, which Hamas has brought to Gaza.

This approach ends the "occupation" without empowering forces committed to destroying Israel, and may well be sufficient for the larger Arab and Muslim worlds to declare the problem solved.

The notion of a "Palestinian State" may be one of the worst ideas ever to come from the political elite. Because of the basis of "Palestinian" national identity, it basically makes peace impossible.

The question before diplomats who wish to address this conflict now is simple: Are they more interested in vindicating the theory that requires Israeli concessions or do they wish to find a solution to the problem? It is said to be intractable, but maybe what must actually change is the mind-set of those who seek to deal with it and their understanding of what it will take to find a solution.

(The author holds a doctorate in Political Science from MIT)