mepeace.org

By  Daoud Kuttab
Three years ago the Israeli army initiated a major military offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip with the aim of stopping the shelling from Gaza and the release of one of their soldiers that was held in the strip. 

Over 1,400 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed, thousands were injured, and public, private and internationally owned properties were damaged as a result of the attack that came from land, sea and air.

Both publicly stated goals failed in this criminal war against a defenseless population and lightly armed militants. 

Shelling from Gaza has continued intermittently since the war. It slowed down considerably as a result of a unilateral decision by Hamas, and could end immediately if Israel were to deal with the Islamic movement. As to the captured Israeli soldier, the Israelis were forced to do what Hamas offered them from day one, to trade him for imprisoned Palestinians.

Israel and to a lesser extent, Hamas, were accused by renowned UN appointed international jurists of having committed war crimes. 

Following extreme pressure on him and his family the head of the UN commission South African judge Richard Goldstone, later wrote an opinion article changing some of the conclusions of the committee he headed. He never made any official change in the report that was submitted as an official document to the United Nations.

The Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza has continued and has been publicly justified by major world countries even though this siege was and remains totally illegal. No international body has approved the restriction of movement of people and goods into or out of the Gaza strip. 

An international effort to break the siege has resulted in a de facto loosening of this siege. Unfortunately this effort has cost nine Turkish peace activists. Israel's relations with an important NATO member has since collapsed due to Israel's refusal to apologize for killing Turks in international waters.

While the slight easing of the siege (especially in regards to badly needed building materials) has resulted in the beginnings of a rebuilding campaign, much more is needed. The hundreds of millions of dollars pledged at the Sharm al Sheikh conference for the rebuilding of Gaza have slowly trickled into the populated strip but have gone mostly to or through international organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Works Agency.

Whether it has been the result of the Arab Spring (especially in as far as Hamas's Damascus headquarters) or for other reasons, Hamas has slowly experienced discernible change since the breakout of the war. Ruling and governing can do a lot to soften any movement's ideologies. The fear of losing in future elections can do amazing things for softening the sharp edges of any movement.

In this respect, the Palestinian reconciliation efforts have produced some unprecedented changes in the political discourse as well as in the daily actions of the Hamas movement and government. Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal is now proclaiming his movements' change of resistance strategy.

The militant movement is now committed to prioritizing nonviolent resistance in all its activities. This position is translated on the ground in Gaza by the movement refraining from launching missiles towards Israel and in arresting or otherwise preventing any individual or group from doing so. This is explained as necessary for the higher interest of Palestinians in Gaza.

Politically the Hamas movement is slowly removing all the issues that caused it international isolation.

By agreeing to join the PLO Hamas is indirectly recognizing Israel, which the Palestinian Liberation Organisation officially did on the eve of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Internationally, the world community will not be able to justify continued isolation of Hamas even if Israel insists on such an isolation. After all, US and other western leaders have publicly stated their willingness to work with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists who have won elections or power in Tunis, Libya and Egypt.

Gaza at the end of 2011 is not the same as it was at the end of 2008, both negatively and positively. 

The Arab Spring requires that the current siege and all its effects are once and for all removed so that Palestinians in Gaza can live normally with the ability to move in and out of the strip. Also, Palestinian goods and people from the West Bank should equally have the right to move unfettered to the strip without the illegal and immoral siege restricting them.


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Sussan , you are so right. We have taken over your country and given 78% of it to Trans Jordan. We have initiated every war and every terror act since 1929, simply by being.

It is nauseating to read such pure unadulterated bunk that you peddle as truth and the sad reality is that some Jews have bought into it for their own perverted reason.

I guess they can make some noise but in the end no one is listening. We do have some great friends in the USA, in Europe, Asia even though their governments are scared silly of the Arab Oil lobby.

The left in Israel is dead and they are dying in Europe as well.It may take some time but the tide will change.

Susan, 

I wonder where have you found the information you wrote here. Let me correct some -

you must remember they didn't accept the divide of the land by the British Mandate, and were the ones to start a war against Israel, the day after declaration.

- Re "Let’s talk about why the other Arab countries do not want Palestinians" - 

 the reasons you give are  definitely not true.where do you have your information from????it is a real dis-information.
The sad story is that the Arab countries didn't and don't want the Palestinians because they do not see them as Arabs (read some Arabs books about that).and/or for more political reasons, like - what country would want to have so many people, who are like refugees, to feed them and take care of them???
the wars between Israel and the Arab countries around us have no connection to the Palestinian issue. the only reason was the will of the Arabs not to have us here, and to have the land for themselves..
and this is exactly why I say it is a sad story for the Palestinians. no body wants them. there was a time when Jordan had authority over the Palestinians but for very short, then they gave them up. 
you should read a more reliable sources. 

- Re your last lines, 
 you sound here very ignorant...I wonder...the Israel Country had been given to the Jews by the British Mandate and after the voting/confirmation  of the UN members.  


Dear Irit, I am not at all ignorant, but since you are convinced I am, I am very glad you brought up the matter for discussion.

 

I had relatives who left the Palestine Mandate in the last week of its existence, back in May 1948. They had been living in Jerusalem.  As I have said before, I am not an Arab or Muslim, I support Palestine because I know what happened, and remember clearly the distress expressed by my relatives who witnessed the terrible injustice served to the Arabs who lived within the British Mandate of Palestine. My people left of their own accord, and did not leave behind any property or assets, nor did they ever intend to return.

 

Everything I say is correct, maybe it appears a little extreme, but it is all correct. There is much I would not have said, except the contributions of Kingsley and Ghazi need to be challenged in order to pursue peace and justice.

 

The issues you bring up have all been discussed here at various times. The Balfour Declaration is not a proper legal document, and in any case, the British never had the legal authority to ‘give’ the Holy Land to the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe. However, the wording of the Balfour Declaration makes it very clear that the existing Arab population within Palestine was NOT to be disadvantaged in any way by the establishment of a ‘Jewish homeland’. By the term ‘homeland’, it is certain that the British did not mean an exclusively Jewish State. And, the British most definitely expected the Zionists to respect and accommodate every Arab living in the area.

 

Ben-Gurion, however, never intended to share any of Palestine with the Arabs of Palestine. There are plenty of comments in his diaries that illustrate and confirm this attitude. He, and his fellow Zionists, always believed that Israel would have a significant Jewish majority, that would receive preferential treatment. They were also fully aware of the fact that Palestine was an agriculturally developed country with an abundance of villages, towns and cities that were all economically viable. In short, they knew – very early in the 20th century - they would have to push the Arabs aside in order to take over the country.

 

The vote by the UN only ever took place in the Security Council, and a significant number of the votes came from countries that had been bribed or pressured to support Israel. The Security Council does not have the authority to grant independence to a new country. Also, Israel did not ever wait for this independence to be recognized, they announced their creation without any authorization. Stewart is the one here with the real expertise on these issues, but you can find them being discussed in other places. Personally, I do not place so much importance on these legal issues; my primary consideration is the fact that Arabs lost their houses, villages and work places when they were deliberately forced across the border into Gaza or the West Bank, in 1948, by Jewish militias.

 

Arabs had a right to reject the partition of their country, and their rejection should have been accepted and authorized by the UN.  Saying that the Arabs have no citizenship rights – or nationality rights - because they rejected the Partition Plan is a denial of the fact that as citizens of this world, and long-term residents of the Holy land, they were always entitled to live in the area they had always lived in as fully-fledged citizens.

 

There was much violence committed by Zionists throughout the 1940’s that I can inform you about, if you want to hear about it. My people lived through this period. They were present at times when bombs went off, and there were many times when they feared for their lives. Many times, Zionists threw bombs into Arab buses. (I know you will not believe this, and I was not aware of the bus explosions until I read about them recently, and even then, I would not have thought much about the bus bombings, since I knew there were constant bombs being set everywhere. It was just that I started to reflect on the continuous righteous indignation shown by certain active Zionists here - on mepeace - about the behaviour of suicide bombers, and I was somewhat annoyed to think the early Zionists had played the same game in a far more extensive – and more ruthless - manner, in the 1940’s. I can direct you to lists, or post some of the evidence, if you want, all carefully catalogued by the British.)

 

The Arab armies you talk about NEVER crossed onto Israeli soil, they were only ever WITHIN the area designated to become an Arab State. THUS, the new Jewish State – ISRAEL - WAS NEVER INVADED.  The Arab armies were attempting, unsuccessfully, to protect the Arab side of Palestine. I suggest you read about the 1948 war and examine troop movements, and the partition maps, and you will see that what I say is correct. Also, notice the silence of other participants here on mepeace, when I make comments like these.

 

 

 

The Arab countries never considered it their responsibility to accept Palestinians into their midst, because it is not their responsibility. The Palestinians were always intent on getting back their houses, farms and businesses that they had owned in what became Israel. It was only Israel who suggested the Palestinians go live in other Arab countries. This attitude is now defined as ethnic cleansing because people who had lived in an area for many centuries were forced to move (or face death) at the behest of an incoming group who coveted their land.

 

The reason you give for the Arab countries not wanting Palestinians is in fact, ISRAEL’S reason for not wanting the refugees back. Jordan has accepted a massive number of Palestinians, at significant cost.

 

Ben-Gurion was ambitious and hungry for power, and cared for none but himself. Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin are both terrorists; vicious, murdering terrorists. (I am very surprised you imagine I could write such things here if they were not true.) I am not mistaken about Ben-Gurion and Begin. My relatives personally examined the results and assisted in the preparation of official reports of bombings that Begin and Ben-Gurion had planned and executed.  Sharon is also responsible of acts of terror, likewise Golda Meir.

 

I would say nothing of all this, if the refugees had been allowed to stay and keep all their property, and have equal rights with the Jews.

 

None of this is your fault, or your responsibility, Irit. From my perspective, you too are a victim. I blame those who knew what they were doing. The leaders and the countries who supported them, and today’s dual citizens, who you will notice, do no challenge me anywhere near as much as you, Irit, would probably think appropriate.

I have read and talked about these issues for more than 40 years. I am not mistaken on any point I have made. The issues are now becoming much bigger than Israel.

Israel would not be in the position it is in today except for US support.

 

 

 

 

Irit, I admire – and greatly appreciate - your courage to stand alone and say you want peace above all else, but I am surprised at how much you do NOT know about the early history of Israel. Is there something in particular you would like more information on, because the number of issues you mentioned is rather too many to tackle all at once. Pick a topic or issue of contention, if you want to discuss the matter in more detail.

Thanks Irit, for taking the time to be present here to discuss these issues.

 

 

 

Sussan.

The wantom acts of murder against Jews precedes the State of Israel. 1929 and 1937 are but just a few examples. Belfour does not bestow anything on the JEWS but rather recognizes the Jewish sovereignity over Palestine from a historical perspective. In 1922 there was a division of land between Jews and Arabs and the Arabs received 78% of Palestine to be Judenrein.

The British facilitated not only the occupation of Jordan by a king that is not part of Palestine but they also facilitated the conquest of Judea and Samaria by Jordan. In International law Jordan is responsible for its citizens who are now stranded in Judea and Samaria. The French repatriated their citizens from Algeria, the British from South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as both India and Pakistan.

The solution is two States for two peoples and the peoples are Arabs and Jews and as Gingrich and Santorum have said the Palestinians are a made up people.I see no rights of Cubans to a country simply because they are a majority in Miami, or even a rush to give Kurds, gypsies, corsicans or others States simply because they want them.

The Arabs have 22 States and the Palestinians are no different from these in language or customs. I am prepared as would be a vast majority of Israelis to forgo laying any claims to Jordan and these two states could live in peace and harmony in a mutually beneficial relationship.

You are right that Belfour, the UNSC do not grant national rights, history does that, and we have the weight of history on our side as well as British connivance and treachery.

We discussed the creation of Jordan here on mepeace before you came, but I will mention it again, for you Kingsley, my male friend.

When the British took control of the Palestine Mandate, as usual, they were optimistic and enthusiastic about an outcome that would be favourable to everyone, in particular themselves. However, they soon became aware of serious problems with zealous Zionists who were lacking in even the rudimentary British sensitivities of how to accommodate the local community.

 

The Jewish presence in the Holy Land prior to the invention of the utopian Zionist movement was about 2% of the population. In the early 20th century, rich American Jews provided funding to purchase some of the best agricultural properties in Palestine. I do not have any problems personally, with this kind of investment, but in this case, there were some serious legal and moral issues.

 

For a start, there was PERPETUAL tenancy in Palestine, for all tenants. This perpetual tenancy was not just for a lifetime, it was for your family, in perpetuity –  for every new generation, forever.  This legal arrangement had come about because the title system bestowed upon Palestine by the Turks was – in fact – a form of taxation whereby the fake Turkish owners (who never did purchase the land!) ‘owned’ the land in order to tax those who made a living from the land.  The tenants built and owned the houses within which they lived, and had the land for private cultivation; the produce from this private cultivation being what was taxed.

 

The true owners where the people who lived there, and were obliged to put up with the exploitative antics of the Ottomans. When Jews bought these properties, the Arabs were evicted. I appreciate  this could initially be a misunderstanding, but by 1920, everyone knew exactly what was going on. This did not stop Jews from continuing to purchase land and illegally evict Arabs. This is the real cause of all the riots. These Arab people had lost their homes and work and their land – to the newly arrived Jews.

 

Now, to get back to the original point – the creation of Jordan. The Brits saw all this, and became nervous about what the Zionists were up to, and decided that the Arabs needed some protection. Thus the British drew a new border through the Mandate, and declared Jordan a separate Arab country that was not going to be available for Zionist expansionism. never never was there ever any suggestion that Arabs living on the west side of the Jordan should move to Jordan. This was never part of any plan, other than Ben-Gurion's transfer plan that is - obviously - a form of ethnic cleansing. No one ever agreed to that. To even suggest it is to say you approve of ethnic cleansing.

 

The suggestion that Arabs have 22 States is just a silly Israeli mantra designed to manipulate everyone in to believing Jews are a special case. The Holocaust museums also play the same foolish game, which is a tragedy dumped on top of what - we are told - is the world’s worst attempt at genocide. The 60 or so Holocaust museums end up being next-to-useless because they focus on the uniqueness of the Holocaust, instead of drawing out the parallels in all genocides and ethnic cleansings. People want to be educated on these important issues, not beguiled.

 

 

As you say, Kingsley, it is history that grants right to countries, and history will be on Israel’s side, only when she accepts back all the refugees, and compensates them for the assets that were stolen or destroyed. You cannot illegally acquire the land of neighbouring countries in the late 20th century and expect it to be condoned.

 

The British connivance and treachery – you refer to - was minimal, it is the Zionists who take the honours for connivance and treachery. I would accept it all and say it was nothing but a massive misunderstanding, if only it was.  Instead, we have millions of refugees, who according to Irit, are all basket cases (racist intepretation?). Yet these refugees are entirely the creation of Israel. Without Israel, there would be no refugees.

 

 

 

WE HAVE ONE WORLD, AND ONE PEOPLE

EACH COUNTRY IS ONE COUNTRY, WITH ONE PEOPLE

 

 

 

Sussan. You mean, you discussed the creation of Jordan, don't you. YOUR discussion is a blatant distortion of both reality and history. Please read the Belfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. The British were to assist with the building of state institutions for the JEWS and not for dividing the land as they saw fit and give it to a foreign king who lost a civil war in the HEJAZ. Sovereignity still rested with the "provisional Jewish government" as Jews never lost sovereignity even with the economically related influx of Arabs. No Aran entity ever claimed sovereignity or made Jerusalem its capital, your twisted propaganda notwithstanding.

THE Arabs had no veto power or a power to prevent anyone from acknowleging this historical fact

There are many fabrications in Sussan's reply here (and elsewhere).  I know she won't check this out but, for the sake of other Readers, let's clarify Ben Gurion's position on Arabs.  The source is from Efraim Karsh's "Fabricating Israeli History".  He makes direct translations of Ben Gurion's words to the Jewish Executive Committee at the time just preceding the War of Independence.  He said that it was not the intent of the Jewish people of the new state (not yet official) to send all Arabs out but rather to make it possible for them to reside within a state composed of Arabs and Jews.  Nonetheless, he wanted this state to be composed of a majority of Jews.  The way to get there was to have an ever increasing number of Jews emigrating from other lands in order to form that majority rather than forcing Arabs out. This can be found in the recorded notes of the executive committee.  Of course, Ben Gurion`s wishes resulted in a bi-national state; the Arabs make up 20% of the population of Israel, are citizens, Arabic and Hebrew are the two official languages and Israeli Arabs possess all the same rights as Jewish citizens.  That Israeli society is flawed with respect to its Arab citizens is true but Israeli society is also flawed with respect to portions of its Jewish citizens as well.  The point Professor Karsh was making was that the "new historians", those who go about lambasting the nation of Israel, consistently do so without access to or the desire to access the actual records, with distortions and with quotations out of context.  Sussan, who fashions herself an "expert" on the matter, is one of those established anti-Israelis whose goal is always to demonize the state of Israel no matter how preposterous her claims.  She is "never wrong`` and this little correction of her latest salvo will not settle her as her intent is to establish and re-establish her propaganda efforts.  In her less than scholarly way, she involves herself in the same distortions and outright deceptions as the `new historians` themselves, those whom Efraim Karsh so diligently critiques.  I thought, for the sake of other Readers, however, that her views about Ben Gurion should be dispelled.  I find it difficult to be on a forum in which she spends so much time.  I see that finally, after weeks and weeks, after being warned by Oliver and castigated by others, that her anti-semitic broadside and commentary was removed.  I`d like to be charitable towards her but the vast amount of misinformation and disinformation that she publishes continues to inflict damage on this forum, one meant, in principle, to recommend and possibly establish peaceful results in the Mideast.

Towards the end of further clarification, I just read an excellent article on how socalled liberals (they aren't really "liberals" at all but simply people with a distorted perspective with the sole intent of villifying a person, activity or movement.)  I am referring, in this instance, specifically to Susann, of course.  The enlightening article is by Dr. Barry Rubin; it appears in Pajamas Media today (10 Jan. 2012) and is entitled "How I Learned About Courage From an Arab Marxist and About Cowardice from Western Phony Liberals". Towards the end of the article, Dr. Rubin concludes that actual facts are either thrown out the window by this generation of liberals and not considered or are perverted and/or distorted in order to prove a pre-disposed point.  It's a well written article, incidentally, and the replies in the forum are of interest as well.  Most of all, and serendipitously, I read the article after the abovelisted reply and hoped that ME Readers would also read and study it because it is so compelling.

i wonder if this was true that arabs truly hated palestinians what is happening at the boarders of israel evry year since the arab spring started and on the day of 30th of march  wernt these arabs trying to break into israel from labanon egypt and suria too jordan as well just to free palestine  am just looking at reality infron  of my eyes i may be ignorant about how many books were wrote about this but if they didnt want palestinians, why would the arabs risk their lifes for palestine one more thing its simple  they shouldnt have to but as arabs it is their traditions to welcom the needy  and am saying they still do that if you go to jordan or lebanon you will find house thats made free exclusivly for the refuges of suria who are being kicked out  as we speak now

Kingsley, 

I think you take my words out of context. 

Look, without getting into the conflict, and just looking at the situation now as it is, and saying a few words about  Gaza , three years after.. all I have said were a few lines of hope for the new year. 

I tell you more: (pls excuse my poor English. I hope I shall make some sense to you :))

 

Of course, I do not ignore ANY of the elements involved in the conflict. I know enough about the Hamas and much more  of the IDF.   what do you know about the activity of the IDF in Gaza nowadays????!!!    I am not talking about the reason for the army's action in Gaza as a comment   Shalit's kidnapping, but of the way  we had been acting there. no secrets any more.

I want, I wish,  my country to be the honest one it had been until the occupation. Only people who live here can tell the real differences.

Pls have in your mind: all I am doing , all my activity, is for MYself, for MY country, for better life here in Israel.  I do believe the Israeli politics acting wrong, and I am trying to change it. I do not believe the siege on Gaza is doing US good. Either I do not believe that letting Hamas doing as it wants would do us good.  

The conflict is very complicated. There are some things people who do not live here cannot understand. They can't feel the urge for quiet life, without the threat of a war every now and then. I, as Israeli, can understand what the Palestinians feel, more than any other person from other  corner of the world. I do not agree with everything they want, or- with every way they act. But, I know I want to do ANYTHING in able to reach peace.  

Land/earth is not holy. life IS. that is what I am trying to tell my Palestinian friends.some of them get to understand and to agree with me. People in Gaza may agree with me - but they cannot express themselves, being under the Hamas's.

Many things are changing on people level .Not so on politics level. there is so much to be done.


I am a member of a bi- national movement. we meet Palestinians on everyday basis.on personal basis. they are not different from us, or from any persons all around. getting know each other makes situation more bearable. understanding makes it even more. we are trying to make the politicians, of both sides, to realize there is only one way to keep on living - that is peace. giving-up by both sides is the way to achieve peace.  

ps

how dare you saying - ." Irit is too preoccupied with Gaza to worry about Sderot and other cities in Israel where Jews are being killed and maimed and property destroyed and where school children are worried about going to school."

you are completely unfair.  you do not know me. how could you??

                  ********************


Susan.

thanks for your comment on my behalf. 


 

Irit - Regarding your view of a bi-national state... Do you not see the human rights abuses taht take place in the west bank and Gaza?  Is that what you want to bring here?  Persecusion of women, minorities gays? Almost no freedom of the press, assembly and fair trial? 

Usually te left is in favor of all these things so why would you be inviting the exact opposite here? Do you not think there would be a chance of a government with a Hamas type pasrticipation taht would demand some form of Sharia law, like they are trying to impose in Gaza? Are you not afraid of your government turing into another horrible arab dictatorship or that is 40 years Jeews will be a great majorirt and will be made as second class citizens by law?

 

Remember a bi-national state would not only consist of you and your handful of Palestinain, well intentioned friends but also will have the Jew hating terrorist that currently hold a substantial amount of votes is the Palestinain "elected" governments...

 

How can you want this?

I didn't say bi-national state, mind you. and I am not for it.

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