Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

WikiLeaks exposes Obama

February 25, 2011

Op-ed: Leaked documents refute US President Obama’s fundamental assumptions

Yoram Ettinger

Published: 12.09.10, 11:37 / Israel Opinion
 

Recently published Wikileaks documents expose the failure of President Obama’s counter-terrorism policy. 

While reaffirming a 1,400 years old Muslim track record, the documents refute Obama’s fundamental assumptions, which have shaped his counter-terrorism policy: that the Palestinian issue is a root cause of Middle East turbulence and anti-Western terrorism; that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are allies of the US; that there is no Islamic terrorism since Islam promotes peace and not terrorism; that there is no Jihadist terrorism since Jihad is a process which purifies the soul; that there is no global terrorism; that Islamic terrorists represent a Muslim minority which rejects modernity and that Islam has always been part of the American story.

According to the documents, Islamic terrorism has afflicted the globe from Latin America through the US and overseas American targets, Western Europe, the former USSR, Africa, the Middle East (hitting mostly fellow-Muslims), South Asia, the Far East and Australia.

The worldwide proliferation of Islamic terrorism is orchestrated and executed, also, by multi-lingual graduates of Western universities, who proficiently use the Internet, Blackberry, iPod, Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to Obama’s assumption, modern-day Islamic terrorists do not reject modernity. In fact, they leverage modernity in order to advance Islam’s historical values and goals. They believe that Islam’s destiny of religious and territorial domination of the globe is divinely-ordained. And, they pursue their goals via violence, intolerance toward “infidels” and “apostates,” totalitarianism and “Holy Wars” (Jihad) against civilizations and entities that undermine their megalomaniac aspirations, which transcend the Palestinian issue and Israel’s policies or existence.

Irrespective of the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Muslim terrorists operate along the joint border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, as well as in San Paulo, Foz do Iguacu and Parana, Brazil. Independent of Israel’s policies and existence, the Lashkar-E-Taiba, Jaish-E-Mohammed and other Islamic terrorist organizations – operating with the backing of Pakistan – target India. Moreover, Lashkar-E-Taiba expands its presence in Pakistan – where it collaborates with the Inter Services Intelligence – Sri Lanka and Nepal in order to intensify terrorism in India.

Tailwind to terrorists

According to WikiLeaks – quoting a December 2009 Secretary of State Clinton memo – Saudi Arabia (especially), Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the chief financial supporters of global Islamic Sunni terrorism, such as al-Qaeda, Taliban and Lashkar –E-Taiba, raising funds for terrorism through seemingly philanthropic organizations during pilgrimages to Mecca.

The May 31, 2010 edition of The Sunday Times reported that Afghanistan’s financial intelligence unit, FinTraca, documented a $1.5 billion transfer from Saudi Arabia to Afghani terrorists, mostly Taliban. The British daily asked: “One wonders how much of this money was used to buy weapons that killed 1,268 American soldiers and maimed thousands more in Afghanistan?!”

Undersecretary of the Treasury for Financial and Terrorism Intelligence, Stuart Levey, testified at an October 6, 2009 Senate Banking Committee hearing that “money is leaving Saudi Arabia to fund terrorism…Undoubtedly, some of that money is going to Iraq, to South-East Asia and to any other place where there are terrorists…”

For example, the Riyadh-based al-Rajhi Bank was implicated in funding the Islamic Chechen Mujahedeen. Saudi involvement in anti-Western Islamic terrorism was also reported in 2009 by Pakistan’s police, including a $15 million transfer to Jihadists who were involved in the murder of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A November 15, 2010 report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US Congress investigative unit, maintained that Saudi Arabia made progress in curbing terror-funding within the kingdom but did not cooperate in de-funding Islamic terrorism outside the kingdom.

Saudi-funded Islamic non-profit foundations – with direct and indirect ties to terror organizations – proliferate globally. The first foundation, the Muslim World League was established in 1962, five years before the Six-Day War, before the first settlement was established, while Jordan and Egypt occupied parts of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza and the Palestinian issue did not preoccupy Western

policymakers. More Saudi-supported foundations followed, including the USA-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIS), the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), etc.

However, President Obama has overlooked the fact that those who finance and incite terrorism are more culpable than the brainwashed terrorists who execute terrorism. President Obama has subordinated counter-terrorism to wishful thinking, oversimplification, misreading of the writing on the wall and a series of wrong assumptions, such as a supposed linkage between the Palestinian issue and countering-Islamic terrorism and preventing Iran’s nuclearization. Thus, wrong assumptions have produced wrong policies, which have yielded tailwind to terrorists and rogue regimes and headwind to Western democracies.

U.S. Embassy told to monitor Israeli leaders, motives – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

December 10, 2010

U.S. Embassy told to monitor Israeli leaders, motives – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

 

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was asked to collect information about senior figures in Israel, and to assist in the gathering of information on key intelligence topics regarding military and political moves, national infrastructure and coded means of producing passports and government ID badges.

This secret task, among the WikiLeaks documents published yesterday, is included in a telegram from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, dated October 31, 2008 – a few days before U.S. President Barack Obama’s victory and about two months before Operation Cast Lead.

Following the American failure to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in 2005, the head of the CIA was put in charge of human intelligence for the entire intelligence community, and delegated that authority to the CIA’s secret operations wing. Giving the task of intelligence gathering to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv could be perceived as proof of American spy operations in Israel.

The American agents were asked to supply information about Israeli plans for military operations against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon and against Syrian or Lebanese targets, as well as Israel’s methods of fighting terror and the impact of reserve duty in the territories on Israel’s preparedness.

The American intelligence sources were also asked to report on how decisions on military operations, including retaliations against terror attacks, were made and approved. Information was also sought on Israeli contacts with Hamas and unofficial channels vis-a-vis the Palestinians, with or without permission from the Israeli leadership; positions of Israeli leaders, especially the prime minister (Ehud Olmert, at that time ) and his aides toward the United States, and on settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Other issues of interest included the possibility of development of natural gas deposts off the Gaza shore, prisoner exchanges, Israel’s interrogation methods of Palestinian prisoners and the emigration of Jews from Israel and their motives.

In another telegram, dated July 20, 2009, the head of the security department in the Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, was quoted as telling participants in the American-Israeli strategic dialogue that he was unsure how much longer Egyptian President Mubarak would live and doubted the ability of Mubarak’s son to take over. Gilad also said the Egyptian army continued to train as if Israel was the only enemy, and that Egyptian-Israeli peace was tenuous.

180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals

November 30, 2010

180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals

Sunday, November 28, 2010 | Ryan Jones

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According to Israel’s detractors, it is a cruel and racist nation determined to oppress the Palestinian Arabs as much as possible. But medical officials last week published another piece of evidence that Israel is anything but what its detractors say.

Over the past year, 180,000 Arabs from the Palestinian-controlled territories were treated at Israeli hospitals.

Speaking during a conference on humanitarian medicine at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, said that during the first years of the recent Palestinian terrorist uprising, so few Palestinians were able to get to Israeli hospitals that a true humanitarian crisis loomed.

Prior to the so-called “intifada,” Palestinians had been able to easily drive themselves to Israeli hospitals. But as the terrorist attacks escalated, Israel had no choice but to clamp firm restrictions on travel between Israel-proper and the Palestinian-controlled areas.

“We could not practice medicine beyond the minimum,” said Gen. Alon. “In those days, we were on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.”

But with medical cooperation improving and the IDF successfully heading off most remaining terrorist threats, Israel has been able to significantly increase the number of Palestinians it helps.

 

http://goo.gl/5jC4M

 

Why Israelis care about peace

September 18, 2010

Given our experience of disappointment and trauma, it’s astonishing that Israelis still support the peace process at all. Yet we do, and by an overwhelming majority

Imagine that you’re a parent who sends her children off to school in the morning worrying whether their bus will become a target of suicide bombers. Imagine that, instead of going off to college, your children become soldiers at age 18, serve for three years and remain in the active reserves into their 40s. Imagine that you have fought in several wars, as have your parents and even your grandparents, that you’ve seen rockets raining down on your neighborhood and have lost close family and friends to terrorist attacks. Picture all of that and you’ll begin to understand what it is to be an Israeli. And you’ll know why all Israelis desperately want peace.

Recent media reports, in Time magazine and elsewhere, have alleged that Israelis — who are currently experiencing economic growth and a relative lull in terrorism — may not care about peace. According to a poll cited, Israelis are more concerned about education, crime and poverty — issues that resonate with Americans — than about the peace process with the Palestinians. But such findings do not in any way indicate an indifference to peace, but rather the determination of Israelis to build normal, fruitful lives in the face of incredible adversity.

Yes, many Israelis are skeptical about peace, and who wouldn’t be? We withdrew our troops from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip in order to generate peace, and instead received thousands of missiles crashing into our homes. We negotiated with the Palestinians for 17 years and twice offered them an independent state, only to have those offers rejected. Over the last decade, we saw more than 1,000 Israelis — proportionally the equivalent of about 43,000 Americans — killed by suicide bombers, and tens of thousands maimed. We watched bereaved mothers on Israeli television urging our leaders to persist in their peace efforts, while Palestinian mothers praised their martyred children and wished to sacrifice others for jihad.


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Given our experience of disappointment and trauma, it’s astonishing that Israelis still support the peace process at all. Yet we do, and by an overwhelming majority. According to the prestigious Peace Index conducted by the Tamal Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University and released in July, more than 70% of Israelis back negotiations with the Palestinians, and nearly that number endorse the two-state solution. These percentages exist even though multiple Palestinian polls show much less enthusiasm for living side by side in peace with Israel, or that most Israelis believe that international criticism of the Jewish state will continue even if peace is achieved.

Indeed, Israelis have always grasped at opportunities for peace. When Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or King Hussein of Jordan offered genuine peace to Israel, our people passionately responded and even made painful concessions. That most Israelis are still willing to take incalculable risks for peace — the proposed Palestinian state would border their biggest cities — and are still willing to share their ancestral homeland with a people that has repeatedly tried to destroy them is nothing short of miraculous.

It’s true that Israel is a success story. The country has six world-class universities, more scientific papers and Nobel Prizes per capita than any other nation and the most advanced high-tech sector outside of Silicon Valley. The economy is flourishing, tourism is at an all-time high and our citizen army selflessly protects our borders. In the face of unrelenting pressures, we have preserved a democratic system in which both Jews and Arabs can serve in our parliament and sit on our Supreme Court. We have accomplished this without knowing a nanosecond of peace.

We shouldn’t have to apologize for our achievements. Nor should outside observers conclude that the great improvements in our society in any way lessen our deep desire for peace. That yearning was expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the recent White House ceremony for the start of direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Addressing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “my partner in peace,” Netanyahu called for “a peace that will last for generations — our generation, our children’s generation and the next.”

For Israelis who don’t have to imagine what it’s like to live in a perpetual war zone, that vision of peace is our lifeline.

Michael B. Oren is Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times

The Flotilla Farce

August 15, 2010

Whether they are from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate reek of hypocrisy.

By DANNY AYALON

A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.

Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a “crusade” against their Palestinian brothers.

AFP/Getty ImagesA Palestinian refugee collects metal and plastic objects at a garbage dump in the Palestinian refugee camp of Beddawi near Tripoli.

ayalon

ayalon

While most will assume that the events described above took place in the West Bank or Gaza, they actually took place in Lebanon in the summer of 2007, when Palestinian terrorists attacked the Lebanese Army, which struck back with deadly force. The scene of most of the fighting was the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Northern Lebanon, which was home to the Islamist Fatah al-Islam, a group that has links with al Qaeda.

At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the “prison camps” in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.

Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from “discrimination and marginalization” and are treated like “second class citizens” and “denied their full range of human rights.”

Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.

In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are “united by a feeling of stark injustice.”

This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded “humanitarian activists” are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

This is the same Gaza that just opened a sparkling new shopping mall that would not look out of place in any capital in Europe. Gaza, where a new Olympic-sized swimming pool was recently inaugurated and five-star hotels and restaurants offer luxurious fare.

Markets brimming with all manner of foods dot the landscape of Gaza, where Lauren Booth, journalist and “human rights activist,” was pictured buying chocolate and luxurious items from a well-stocked supermarket before stating with a straight face that the “situation in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur.”

No one claims that the situation in Gaza is perfect. Since the bloody coup and occupation by Hamas of Gaza in 2007, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed, Israel has had no choice but to ensure that Hamas is not able to build up an Iranian port on the shores of the Mediterranean. Until Hamas meets the three standards laid out by the international community, namely renouncing violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and abiding by previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas will continue to be shunned by the international community.

While Israel’s policy is to continue to see that all civilian needs are addressed, it can not allow Hamas to rearm and use Gaza as a base to attack Israel and beyond. For this reason, Israel initiated a blockade, fully legal under international law, to ensure that no items can be appropriated by Hamas to attack innocent civilians. Organizations that wish to join the U.N. and the Red Cross to deliver goods or aid to Gaza are welcome to do so through the Kerem Shalom crossing or even through Egyptian ports. Those that refuse and seek to break the legal blockade to boost Hamas are interested in provocation. If Israel allows these confrontational flotillas to successfully open up a shipping lane for arms smuggling for an Iranian proxy, then the region will suffer from continuous conflict. Actions that embolden the extremists will be at the cost of the moderates and this will pose a grave danger to moving the peace process forward.

The latest flotilla preparing to leave from Lebanon fully exposes not only the hypocrisy but the danger of these provocative vigilante flotillas. The Lebanese flotilla, whose organizers claim injustice while ignoring the dire human rights situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, amply demonstrate that these flotillas have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with delegitimizing Israel.

Mr. Ayalon is Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395022140188274.html 

 

 

44 – Helen Thomas retires amid controversy over Israel remarks

June 7, 2010

44 – Helen Thomas retires amid controversy over Israel remarks.

Helen Thomas retires amid controversy over Israel remarks

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/06/gibbs-helen-thomas-remarks-off.html

Updated 12:50 p.m.
By Anne E. Kornblut
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately, in the wake of a controversy over her comments on Israel, according to a report from her employer, Hearst News Service.

Thomas told a rabbi at a White House event last week that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany and Poland.

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Thomas said in a statement on her Web site. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Thomas’s comments provoked sharp criticism within the close-knit world of White House reporters, and drew a rebuke from the White House podium Monday. With her seat conspicuously empty at the daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assailed Thomas for her words.

“Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible,” Gibbs said, noting that Thomas has apologized. Her sentiments “do not reflect certainly most of the people here and certainly not those of the administration.”

Thomas, 89, who has covered the White House for decades, canceled a speech over the weekend and was dropped by a speakers’ bureau that represented her. The controversy comes at a precarious moment in the Middle East, after an Israeli assault on an aid flotilla that left 11 dead and prompted an international outcry.

The Board of the White House Correspondents Association also issued a statement Monday calling her comment “indefensible.”

The full WHCA statement follows:

Helen Thomas’ comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them. Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat.

While Helen has not been a member of the WHCA for many years, her special status in the briefing room has helped solidify her as the dean of the White House press corps so we feel the need to speak out strongly on this matter.

We want to emphasize that the role of the WHCA is to represent the White House press corps in its dealings with the White House on coverage-related issues. We do not police the speech of our members or colleagues. We are not involved at all in issuing White House credentials, that is the purview of the White House itself.

But the incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room. That is an issue under the jurisdiction of this board. We are actively seeking input from our association members on this important matter, and we have scheduled a special meeting of the WHCA board on Thursday to decide on the seating issue.

Ed Chen, Bloomberg
David Jackson, USA Today
Caren Bohan, Reuters
Ed Henry, CNN
Julie Mason, DC Examiner
Don Gonyea, National Public Radio
Steve Scully, C-SPAN
Doug Mills, The New York Times

This post has been updated since it was first published.

MidEastTruth :: View topic – Nakba Day and the Fraud – By Ben-Dror Yemini

May 27, 2010

MidEastTruth :: View topic – Nakba Day and the Fraud – By Ben-Dror Yemini.

Nakba Day and the Fraud

By Ben-Dror Yemini
May 2010

The Palestinians have been holding the title of “refugees” for over six decades . They have succeeded in creating a unique historical narrative for themselves . This myth is growing, so it should be shattered and the real facts presented: the Palestinian population before the first Aliya was sparse, hundreds of thousands of Jews were also expelled from Arab countries, and there is no precedent anywhere in the world for the right of return.

The Nakba – the story of the Palestinian refugees is the greatest success story in the history of modern times – a success that is a complete fraud. There is no other group of “refugees” in the world that has gotten such broad global coverage. Not a week goes by without a conference, another conference, about the wretched state of the Palestinians. There is not a campus in the West that does not devote countless events, conferences and publications, each year or each month to the issue of the Palestinian refugees. They have become the ultimate victims. A million calamities and injustices and expulsions and population exchanges and acts of genocide and slaughter and wars have befallen the world since the Arabs, among them the Palestinians, declared a war of annihilation on Israel – but the Nakba of the Palestinians takes up most of the space. A visitor from another planet would think that it was the greatest injustice suffered by the entire universe since the Second World War. So it is best to shatter this lie. It is best to present the real facts. It is best to expose the fraud.

The Jews came to the area of the Land of Israel, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, in many small waves, back before the First Aliya. Did they really expel millions of Arabs? Well, there is no debating the fact that in those years there were no “Palestinians” and there was no “Palestine” and there was no “Palestinian identity.” And, mainly, there was no real boundary between Arabs from Syria, Egypt or Jordan. There was a steady stream of people. In the years in which Muhammad Ali and his son conquered this region in 1831 – 1840, they sent many Arabs from Egypt to Gaza, Jaffa and other cities. The Jews who also arrived in Jaffa during those years helped to develop the city as well.

Forgotten research findings

There is a debate among historians over the number of Arabs who lived during those years in the area of “Palestine,” which, in effect, was composed of districts (Sanjaks) that were subject to Damascus or Beirut, as part of the Ottoman Empire. The most serious testimony about what existed before the First Aliya is a forgotten one. It’s known to many scholars, but it doesn’t exist in the public discourse. It was made by a delegation of British researchers – the Palestine Exploration Fund – which traveled through the western Land of Israel in 1871 – 1878, from Dan to Beer Sheba, and published a precise and authentic map of settlements in 26 parts, which is rare for its size, type and authenticity. The researchers found a small number of sparse settlements here. The journalist Zeev Galili published a comprehensive investigation following publication of the map, and found that Haifa, for example, was a settlement of 440 x 190 meters. No more than that. Acre and Nazareth were larger settlements, whose area was 600 x 300 meters. The size of Jaffa was 540 x 240 meters. Jerusalem was situated between the walls, and was relatively huge, about 1,000 meters x 1,000 meters. There were a total of about 100,000 residents. A rare collection of photographs of the Land of Israel in those years clarifies the size of the settlements, and gives another fascinating look at those times.

There are those who bring up the famous tour of the Land of Israel in 1891 by Achad Ha’am, who also found cultivated and flourishing fields. It seems, however, that the impressions of Achad Ha’am are dwarfed by a series of well-established findings from that era. Another visitor, like Achad Ha’am, was Mark Twain, who toured the land in 1865. “….A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse… A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely… We never saw a human being on the whole route. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes… desolate and unlovely… these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness…that melancholy ruin of Capernaum; this stupid village of Tiberias slumbering under its six funereal plumes of palms” Of the same mind was Henry Baker Tristram, who made several visits to the Holy Land during those same years, and his descriptions are very close to those of Twain’s.

More well-established testimonies are given in the book of James Finn, the British consul in Jerusalem for 17 years (1845-1862), who traveled the length and breadth of the country and published a book describing the land, which was settled with appalling sparseness, waiting for residents that would redeem it. In a memorandum that he sent in 1857, he noted that “Palestine is mostly empty of residents.”

It appears, however, that the findings of the research delegation are above any dispute. These were not chance visitors. They were researchers who stayed here for years, researched the land, went from settlement to settlement, measured every mountain, settlement and hill, and published six volumes. One of the researchers, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, said about the Judea region that “mile after mile not a living thing is to be seen.”

Despite these findings, there is a sharp debate among researchers, historians and demographers about the number of Arabs who lived in the area before the First Aliya. The estimates range from 100,000 according to the British research delegation and hundreds of thousands according to other researchers. There is another dispute on the question of the extent of Arab immigration to Israel following the advent of Zionism. This issue also occupied other researchers, among them Moshe Braver and Moshe Sharon.

Winston Churchill said in 1939, “Despite the fact that they were not persecuted, masses of Arabs streamed into Palestine and multiplied there until the Arab population increased more than all the Jews of the world could have added to the Jewish population.” There are dozens of information sources on both the sparse Arab population before the First Aliya and on the Arab immigration, the size of which is in dispute, after the advent of Zionism.

* * *

The book by Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, which provides a great deal of data on Palestinian immigration, is very controversial. Some of the findings that appear in the book have been refuted, but more serious researchers, such as Arieh Avneri (who refutes the claim of eviction and colonialism) and Fred Gottheil present a reliable picture which actually establishes most of the claims made by Peters. When this is added to the testimony of the research delegation, and to the book and memorandum by Finn – the result is unequivocal: before the First Zionist Aliya, there was an appallingly sparse population in the Land of Israel.

With regard to the immigration, we should add that as long as the government was Arab or Muslim, the people sought a better place to live. The Arabs of the region were under Egyptian and Jordanian rule for two decades (1948-1967), and they never demanded a state for themselves. They lived under a cruel régime (a subject for a separate article) and made every effort to emigrate to other countries. The change began in 1967. The Israeli government caused another attraction. That is the reason that many Palestinians prefer to return to the territories of Judea and Samaria, and that is the reason that many of them want to immigrate to Israel and become citizens (hundreds of thousands have already done so).

* * *

Throughout the years of the British Mandate, there were two populations here – Jews and Arabs. The original area of the Mandate, according to the Balfour Declaration, included the eastern side of the Jordan. As mentioned, the area was very sparsely populated. The establishment of a national homeland for the Jews would not have caused any injustice because there was no state here and there was no nation here. That was the real background to the Balfour Declaration. In 1922, the League of Nations cut off part of the promised area to give to the Hashemite family, and one year later the Golan Heights was also cut off to give to the French government in Syria.

Harassment of Jews also existed during the Ottoman period, and increased during the time of the British Mandate. The opposition was led by the Supreme Muslim Council, headed by Haj Amin Al-Husseini. The Palestinian leader attached himself to the Axis countries. He preached hatred and extermination of the Jews and spent World War II in Berlin. “The Mufti and Hitler have a common enemy – the Jews,” declared a German film clip about a meeting between the two. The Mufti did more than just talk – he also acted. He established the Muslim Hanzar Brigades, which were sent into action in the service of Hitler.

Link

The only remaining refugees

Parallel to the UN resolution on partition, the Arab countries declared a war of annihilation on Israel. The result is well known. The declaration of war led to hundreds of thousands of Arabs being forced to move to neighboring countries. Many of them fled. Many testified that they were forced to leave under pressure of their leaders. There were also some who were evicted in the heat of battle. About 600,000 people became refugees.

The experience undergone by the Arabs became the “Nakba,” a story that has inflated over the years. They became the only exiled people among all the disputes in the world. And there is no greater lie than that. First of all, because the “Jewish Nakba” occurred at the same time. With the same background, in the same conflict, more Jews in Arab countries – over 800,000 people – were forced to face eviction and expulsion. And they did not declare a war of annihilation on the countries in which they lived. Second, and even more important, more than 50 million people have undergone population exchanges as a result of national conflicts or the creation of new nation states. There is no difference between the Arabs of Palestine and the rest of the refugees, including the Jewish refugees. Just in the decade after World War II, and in Europe alone, more than 20 million people experienced population exchanges. That also happened later, in conflicts between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus; between Armenia and Azerbaijan (the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), between the states that were created as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia and in many other conflicts around the world.

But only the Palestinians, out of all those groups, have held the title of “refugees” for over six decades. They have succeeded in creating a unique historical narrative for themselves. This myth is also growing with the help of UNRWA, a group dedicated to taking care of the Palestinian refugees, separate from the care given to all the other refugees in the world by the UNHCR. Many countries, including Israel, help to maintain the UNRWA, which deals not only with assisting and perpetuating the refugee problem, but also with incitement. The tragedy is that if the Palestinians were to receive such treatment from the international community, their situation today would be far better.

The fraud that is called the right of return

In the many discussions in which I have participated, I asked my colleagues, devotees of the Palestinian narrative, when have deportees who declared war, and lost that war, been granted the “right of return?” Is there one among the dozens of groups and the tens of millions who experienced expulsion in the past century that has been granted a “right of return” in a manner that caused the political annihilation of a nation state? To this day I have not received an answer. Because there is no such right.

The Palestinian Authority presents a document which claims that there are precedents for a “right of return.” The most serious example presented there is the Dayton Agreement of 1995 which allows the return, for example, of Serbs to Croatia. The circumstances, however, are different. First, the return was never implemented. Croatia allowed the return of Croatians but placed barriers on the return of Serbs. Second, even if it had been implemented, the return would not have undermined the existence of Croatia as the national state of the Croatian people. Another example presented by the Palestinians is an agreement from 1997 regarding Azerbaijan. This is also a fraud because a report from 2002 shows that the Muslims who were exiled to Azerbaijan did not return to Armenia, and the Armenians who arrived as refugees did not return to Azerbaijan. In effect, the Armenian constitution grants the right of return only to Armenians (similar to the Israeli Law of Return, which exists in other countries around the world). The other examples presented by the Palestinians, from Africa and South America, are also irrelevant to the many population exchanges around the world and certainly to the population exchanges between the Arab countries and Israel.

The most serious reference to the issue of the right of return is in the Cypress agreement initiated by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The agreement does not recognize the right of return, despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights recognized the rights of petitioners on the Greek side of Turkey to return and to the restoration of property. In other words, not every legal precedent becomes a political truth. The agreement was welcomed by the international community in general and by the European Union in particular. There is a reason why the Palestinians do not mention the Cypress precedent because the right of return there was limited so that the Turkish majority, on the Turkish side, would always be at least eighty percent.

The Palestinians are also relying on resolution 194, so it should be recalled that the Arabs presented a united front in opposition to the resolution. They knew why. Because it is a resolution which, in effect, is based on recognition in a previous resolution – the partition resolution – which grants international legitimacy to recognition of the Jewish state. There are other stipulations in that resolution, such as the creation of suitable conditions and pre-agreement to the fact that candidates for return must agree to live in peace with their neighbors. Needless to say, the Palestinians are insisting on non-recognition of the Jewish state, which shows that the conditions have not been created and certainly that the return is for the purpose of eliminating the Jewish entity and not for the purpose of peace. And as Abu-Mazen stated in May 2009, he does not recognize the Jewish state because it is liable to prevent the return of the masses.

Is there a Palestinian people?

Azmi Bishara has stated in the past that “There is no Palestinian people. That is a colonial invention. There were never Palestinians.”

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Bishara is right. It is even happening to him. Even the third Arab Congress in 1920, which was held in Jaffa, stated that Palestine is southern Syria and that there is no separate Palestinian identity. Ahmad Shukieri, the first chairman of the PLO, stated that “Palestine is just a part of Syria.” The president of Syria, Hafez al Assad, said in 1976 that Palestine was part of greater Syria. Many spokesmen have admitted, exactly like Bishara and Assad, time after time, that there is no separate Palestinian identity. Without Zionist immigration, masses of immigrants would not have come here from Muslim countries, and no Palestinian identity would have been created. But the fact that this does not involve a nation, but rather immigrants from neighboring countries, does not rule out the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. They see themselves as a nation, they have created a separate national identity, and their wishes should be respected.

One of the Palestinian claims is that for the purpose of resolving the conflict, the Palestinian Nakba must be recognized, and primarily the Israeli responsibility for the refugee problem. The truth is the opposite. Cultivating the myth of the Nakba is not what is delaying resolution of the conflict, because the Palestinians are busy reinforcing the problem, inflating it and insisting that it is different from any international precedent. They are forgetting that they are the ones who preferred to support the Nazi axis of evil. They are the ones who refused the partition proposal. They are the ones who declared a war of annihilation. They are the ones who started the war. They are forgetting that a greater number of Jews were persecuted, dispossessed and expelled from Arab countries. As long as they continue the myth of the Nakba, and delete the basic facts, they only perpetuate their suffering. And despite all this, the Palestinians deserve respect, freedom and independence. But alongside of Israel. Not instead of Israel. And not by means of the Nakba, which is no more than a political fraud and that a historical fraud.

Ben-Dror Yemini is a senior columnist in Maariv, daily newspaper
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http://www.MidEastTruth.com

Ben Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1954. He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studies Law. After his university studies, he was appointed advisor to the Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorption and then became the spokesman of the Ministry. In 1984, he began his career as a journalist and essayist. He worked as a lawyer and was a partner in a law firm. Since 2003 he is the opinion-editor of the daily newspaper Maariv and also published many articles and essays in other journals.