zaterdag 11 juli 2009

Arabisch-islamitisch Egypte is tegen idee Joodse staat Israel

Het is niet aan Moebarak om op te geven over Egyptes goede behandeling van minderheden. Naast vele klachten van onderdrukking van de koptische christenen, heeft Egypte op een handvol na alle Joden het land uitgepest, verjaagd en verdreven, met achterlating van al hun bezittingen. Lees hier een persoonlijk verslag van een Joodse vluchteling uit Egypte: My Personal Exodus


[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:

"Don't you have Arab citizens in Israel?" he asks. "You want to turn Israel into a Jewish state only? That's very bad. I'm telling you, it's a serious mistake which will harm you. A Jewish state will become the target of all terrorists. An open state, on the other hand, is a different matter. Look at us in Egypt: We have Muslims, Christians, Copts and Jews."

And what is Egypt?

Take a look at this translation of their constitution as provided by the Egypt State Information Service (SIS):

Constitution of The Arab Republic of Egypt
Article 1
The Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic state based on citizenship. The Egyptian people are part of the Arab nation and work for the realization of its comprehensive unity.
Article 2
Islam is the religion of the state and Arabic its official language. Principles of Islamic law (Shari'a) are the principal source of legislation.

Oops. ]

Mubarak: Israel canceled Shalit deal at last minute
In exclusive Yedioth Ahronoth interview, Egyptian president blames Jewish state for failure of talks at end of Olmert's tenure as prime minister, which he says led Hamas to toughen its demands. He expresses his confidence, however, that matter will be resolved soon
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak believes Gilad Shalit will return home soon. Speaking in an exclusive interview to Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent Smadar Peri, published Friday, he blames Israel for the failure of the talks aimed at securing the kidnapped soldier's release which were held at the end of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's tenure.

"You could have finalized the Shalit deal four or five months ago," the Egyptian president says. "A number of conditions were set for a deal and we were already on the verge of finalizing and executing the first stage, but at the last minute you changed your mind at once, and the whole thing died. You caused the other side to toughen its stand and demand more prisoners."

According to Mubarak, whose country is the chief negotiators in Israel's indirect negotiations with Hamas for a prisoner exchange deal, "I really believe the matter is about to be resolved soon, but I cannot commit to an exact date."

And what about Shalit's condition? "As far as I know," the Egyptian president says, "Gilad Shalit's condition is good, he is treated well and is safe and sound. The moment a deal is reached he will be handed over to us in Egypt, until Israel releases all the Palestinian prisoners. When this happens, Shalit will return home."

In the interview, Mubarak also warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he will not accept a compromise on a Palestinian recognition of a Jewish state.

"Don't you have Arab citizens in Israel?" he asks. "You want to turn Israel into a Jewish state only? That's very bad. I'm telling you, it's a serious mistake which will harm you.

"A Jewish state will become the target of all terrorists. An open state, on the other hand, is a different matter. Look at us in Egypt: We have Muslims, Christians, Copts and Jews."

Willen de Palestijnen een staat?

Dit artikel gaat vreemdgenoeg niet in op de positie van president Abbas en zijn regering op de Westoever. In mijn ogen heeft ook hij geen afstand genomen van 'de revolutionaire droom van de bevrijding van het gehele land.' Vandaar dat hij weigert om Israel als het nationale thuis van het Joodse volk te erkennen, en vandaar dat hij ieder compromis afwijst en vasthoudt aan het 'recht op terugkeer' van alle nakomelingen van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen, en vandaar dat in door de PA gecontroleerde media geweld tegen Israel wordt verheerlijkt, en ook Abbas dit alleen om taktische redenen zegt af te wijzen.

Ynetnews / July 8, 2009
They don't want a state
Researchers increasingly argue that Palestinians uninterested in statehood
by Sever Plocker
Published: 07.08.09, 17:54,7340,L-3743297,00.html

Do the Palestinians want a state? This question sounds like a provocative one. Isn't it patently clear that the Palestinian national movement aspires to realize its goals by establishing a Palestinian state? Isn't it patently clear that the ethos of political sovereignty has guided the dreams and struggles of the Palestinian people for ages?

  Well, no. It's not patently clear.

More and more Mideast affairs researchers are today willing to respond to the question about whether the Palestinians want a state with a "no."Some of them offer a hesitant "no," while others offer a resounding "no."

In a June 11 New York Review of Books article, written by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, they two prominent experts argue the following: "Unlike Zionism, for whom statehood was the central objective, the Palestinian fight was primarily about other matters… Today, the idea of Palestinian statehood is alive, but mainly outside of Palestine… A small fraction of Palestinians, mainly members of the Palestinian Authority's elite, saw the point of building state institutions, had an interest in doing so, and went to work. For the majority, this kind of project could not have strayed further from their original political concerns…"

The two experts sum up by arguing that the notion of a Palestinian state is perceived as a foreign import, and as a convenient outlet for foreign elements who interfere with the Palestinian people's independent wishes. They point to the "transformation of the concept of Palestinian statehood from among the more revolutionary to the more conservative."
Moreover, Agha and Malley argue that in the past, when Yasser Arafat seemingly endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state and even threatened to declare its establishment, he did not adopt an unequivocal stance and did not make his intentions clear. Since Arafat's death, the notion of statehood lost the remaining popular support it enjoyed.

The message conveyed in the article is greatly commensurate with the argument presented in the new book published by Benny Morris, the leading historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The book, titled One State, Two States (Yale University Press, 2009,) details the notion of "two states for two people" starting with the early stages of Zionism and until today. The conclusion is as follows: The Palestinians never adopted the notion of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state existing alongside Israel, regardless of its borders; similarly, the Palestinians have rejected the notion of a joint bi-national state.

After analyzing the official documents of Fatah, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority, as well as statements made by Palestinian leaders, Professor Morris concludes that from the very beginning, the Palestinian national movement views Palestine as an Arab and Muslim state in its entirety.

Arafat was the only prominent Palesitnian leader who appeared to modify his original position and aspire for the "two-state solution." In his letter to Yitzhak Rabin dated September 9, 1993, Chairman Arafat recognized the State of Israel's right to exist in peace and security. However, argues Morris, those were empty words, written solely for the pupose of signing the Oslo Accords.

In practice, Arafat's position on the issue of Palestine's partition remained vague and kept on oscillating, while he rejected any practical partition deal, including the format proposed by former President Clinton at Camp David. This could be interpreted (and this is indeed how Prof. Morris interprets it) as the Palestinians reluctance to realize their sovereignty in any acceptable form. By now, this has been complemented by Hamas' complete rejection of Israel and of a Jewish presence in Palestine.

The article written by Agha and Malley, associated with the Left, and Morris' book, on the Right, convey deep pessimism. The Palestinians will not agree to either divide or share the country. They continue to cling to the revolutionary dream of "national liberation," and until this unrealistic liberation materializes, they prefer to exist as a national rather than political entity; one that has no obligations and is always seen as a victim, in its own eyes and in the eyes of the world.

We, who live here within a troublesome reality absent of solutions, can only hope that the learned experts are wrong.

Focus op nederzettingenbouw leidt aandacht af van Hamasbewind in Gaza

Tensions between Obama and Netanyahu have left many Palestinian Authority leaders very happy and hopeful. Their optimism is based on the hope that Obama will force Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, and expel all the Jewish settlers from the West Bank.
Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah seriously believe that Israel will eventually succumb to Obama's demands. As such, they explain, why return to the negotiating table with Israel when the Obama Administration has actually endorsed the Palestinian position and is negotiating with the Netanyahu government on behalf of the Palestinian Authority?
Wat de Israelisch-Arabische journalist Khaled Abu Toameh vergeet te noemen is het zogenaamde 'recht op terugkeer' van miljoenen tweede en derde generatie nakomelingen van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen uit 1948. Dit is iets waar Obama het niet mee eens is, al is hij daarover een heel stuk minder duidelijk dan over de nederzettingen.
Het is niet zo vreemd dat sommige Palestijnse leiders zo optimistisch zijn en denken achterover te kunnen leunen totdat Israel aan een serie eisen heeft voldaan. Als Obama echt vooruitgang wil in het vredesproces, zal hij duidelijk moeten maken ook van de Palestijnen een en ander te verwachten.
July 7, 2009 6:30 AM
by Khaled Abu Toameh
As Hamas Tightens Its Grip

As the row between the Obama Administration and the Israeli government over the settlements continues, Hamas is gradually turning the Gaza Strip into a Taliban-style Islamic entity that poses a threat not only to Israel, but also to the Americans, Europeans and moderate Arabs and Muslims.

Both Hamas and its rivals in the Palestinian Authority appear to be satisfied with the fact that the Obama Administration has turned the issue of the settlements into the major problem, shifting attention from the incompetence and corruption in the West Bank and the emergence of the new Islamic state in the Gaza Strip.

The high-profile controversy over Israel's policy of building new homes for Jewish settlements has in fact facilitated Hamas's mission.

Thanks to the Obama Administration's new strategy regarding the Middle East, the entire world now seems to be obsessed with the issue of the settlements as if they were just now being established.

The foreign media is no longer interested in what's happening in the Gaza Strip. Nor are Western governments and international organizations dealing with the Israeli-Arab conflict.

As far as most decision-makers in the US and Europe are concerned, the "natural growth" of the settlements is much more dangerous that the rise of another radical Islamic state in the Middle East.

Hamas feels confident to do whatever it wishes in the Gaza Strip because the Obama Administration and its allies in France, Germany and Britain are too busy arguing with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu whether settlers should be permitted to build new homes or not.

So what if young women in the Gaza Strip are being harassed and arrested by Hamas's "morality police" for laughing in public or leaving their homes without hijabs?

So what if young Palestinian women are banned from swimming unless they are covered from top to bottom? And so what if women are being banned from entering coffee shops and restaurants and other public places unless they are escorted by male relatives?

So what if young men are banned from swimming in the sea topless? And so what if Hamas is now operating a secret police whose job is to separate males from females in public places?

A Palestinian journalist in the Gaza Strip remarked: "The Americans and Europeans are fighting against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan while Hamas is building a new fundamentalist entity here. The settlements may be an obstacle to peace, but Hamastan will soon become a major threat to stability in the region."

The Palestinian Authority also appears to be happy about the West's obsessions with the settlements.

The Palestinian leadership's handling of the issue of the settlements is extremely hypocritical: Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salaam Fayad, insist on boycotting peace talks with Israel in protest against the ongoing construction in the settlements. But the two did not stay away from the talks when former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni were also building in the settlements.

The construction in the settlements has increased since the signing of the Oslo Accords more than 15 years ago, but that did not stop the Palestinian Authority from pursuing the peace talks with Israel.

Yasser Arafat negotiated with former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon even while the bulldozers were continuing to build new homes in the settlements.

So what is behind the Palestinian Authority's decision to suspend peace talks with Israel? Have Abbas and Fayad suddenly discovered that the settlements are expanding? The two are waiting for the Obama Administration to deliver.

Tensions between Obama and Netanyahu have left many Palestinian Authority leaders very happy and hopeful. Their optimism is based on the hope that Obama will force Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, and expel all the Jewish settlers from the West Bank.

Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah seriously believe that Israel will eventually succumb to Obama's demands. As such, they explain, why return to the negotiating table with Israel when the Obama Administration has actually endorsed the Palestinian position and is negotiating with the Netanyahu government on behalf of the Palestinian Authority?

EU trekt harde uitspraak over nederzettingen in

"An EU official's statement earlier this week that settlements are strangling the Palestinian economy and costing the EU taxpayers money by fostering PA dependency on European aid does not reflect the opinion of the European Commission and was not issued with Brussels' approval, Israel's envoy to the EU was told Wednesday."
Opvallend dat men daar pas achterkwam toen de Israelische vertegenwoordiger bij de EU protesteerde.

EU retracts statement on settlements
An EU official's statement earlier this week that settlements are strangling the Palestinian economy and costing the EU taxpayers money by fostering PA dependency on European aid does not reflect the opinion of the European Commission and was not issued with Brussels' approval, Israel's envoy to the EU was told Wednesday.

The envoy, Ran Curiel, met Wednesday in Brussels with a senior European Commission official who distanced himself from the statement, saying it was the initiative of Roy Dickinson, the No. 2 official at the European Commissions Technical Assistance Office in east Jerusalem.

According to the Foreign Ministry, and confirmed by a senior EU diplomat, Curiel was told Dickinson acted on his own initiative, and not according to directives emanating from Brussels.

The positions articulated in the statement do not reflect the position of EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferraro-Waldner, Curiel was told. The European Commission has given instruction to take the statement off of all official EU Web sites.

Wednesday's meeting in Brussels came a day after Foreign Ministry senior deputy director-general Rafi Barak summonsed EU Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian Uzal to the ministry to protest the statement.

According to the senior European Commission official, the unauthorized statement was part of the Technical Assistance Office's attempt to raise its profile and not only deal with aid and technical issues, but also with political ones, something Jerusalem wants to prevent.

Overeenkomst VS en Israel over nederzettingenbouw in de maak

Het zou mooi zijn als er inderdaad binnenkort overeenstemming over is, want dan kunnen zowel de VS als de media hun aandacht op een van de andere obstakels van het Midden-Oosten conflict richten. Of is dergelijke brainwashing van de jonge kindergeest geen probleem? Ook de gematigde Palestijnse Autoriteit van de gematigde president Abbas verheerlijkt nog steeds zelfmoordaanslagen, sorry, 'martelaren operaties'.

The Jerusalem Post
Jul 8, 2009 20:59 | Updated Jul 9, 2009 17:56
US, Israel settlement deal emerging

Israel and the US are moving toward a compromise solution on the settlement issue that might allow both sides to claim "victory," The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to senior government officials, under this type of solution, Israel would declare a moratorium of a few months on the settlement issue, possibly half a year, while the US would give Israel a green light to complete a still-to-be-determined number of housing units in the settlements that are in advanced stages of construction.

Officials in the Prime Minister's Office would not confirm media reports that work on some 2,500 housing units in the settlements would continue.

Under this type of arrangement, US President Barack Obama would be able to claim a victory in getting Israel to agree to a moratorium on any new housing starts in the settlements, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could claim that he did not agree to a complete freeze, and that housing construction would continue.

In addition, US Mideast envoy George Mitchell would continue efforts to extract normalization gestures from at least some countries in the Arab world.

A State Department spokesman on Wednesday night denied the media reports on the 2,500 housing units.

Israeli officials said that Obama was continuing pushing hard on the settlement issue because of a feeling he needed some breakthrough here to be able to go to the Arab world and build coalitions to help the US deal with mounting problems in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

Once agreement is reached on the settlement issue, and the US gets some gestures from the Arab world, the next step would possibly be an event - likely an international conference - where a "to do" list would be presented regarding what needed to be done to move the diplomatic process forward.

This "to do" list, according to one well-placed source, was shaping up as a revamped edition of the road map, with sequential phases and a stronger regional component, meaning that the Arab states would be asked to become involved in the normalization of ties in the early stages, rather than at the end, of the process.

In addition, any new road map would have take into consideration - and deal with in detail - something that did not exist when the original road map was launched in 2003: Hamas control of the Gaza Strip.

Diplomatic sources said that the US, interested in shoring up its relations with Russia, is now much more amenable than in the past to the idea of an international conference in Moscow to launch the new initiative.

The sources said the issue was discussed during Obama's recent visit to Moscow, and that it will also be raised at the G8 meeting that opened Wednesday in Italy.

According to National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, speaking at a Knesset press conference marking Netanyahu's 100th day in office, Netanyahu expects Obama to honor the agreements reached with the Bush administration on West Bank construction,

Arad revealed that ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with Obama in May, the National Security Council prepared reports that articulated the American commitments in great detail. Netanyahu also quizzed his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, in a meeting on Friday about the agreements he had reached with president George W. Bush behind the scenes.

"The problem is that Americans saw the situation from a different perspective than we did and it required convergence that we are working on now," Arad said in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post.

"The US didn't see itself obligated by the agreements. Our demand to respect previous standpoints has necessitated the dialogue with the US continuing to this very day. Israel expects agreements to be honored."

Arad said the policy review period that the Netanyahu and Obama administrations embarked on when the two new leaders took over did not end when they met in Washington and would continue until a framework is agreed on how to proceed on the diplomatic front.

vrijdag 10 juli 2009

Oplossing Israelisch-Palestijns conflict geen sleutel tot vrede in Midden-Oosten

Ook in Nederland is deze theorie erg in de mode: als het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict is opgelost, haalt dat de angel uit een hoop problemen met moslims, zowel in het Westen als in het Midden-Oosten. Er is weinig echt bewijs voor deze theorie, buiten het feit dat de 'Palesitjnse kwestie' altijd veel woede en emotie oproept bij moslims, meer dan andere conflicten waarin moslims betrokken zijn. Dat betekent echter geenszins dat als het opgelost zou zijn er niet genoeg andere grieven zijn tegenover het Westen.
Het Israelisch-Palestijns conflict wordt bovendien door Arabische leiders bewust gebruikt om de woede van binnenlandse problemen af te leiden, en zij zullen zeker naar andere zaken zoeken mocht het opgelost zijn. Ook wordt vergeten dat iedere oplossing die niet de verdwijning van Israel inhoudt (in naam of essentie, namelijk als het nationale thuis voor het Joodse volk), voor veel Arabieren niet bevredigend is. Het bestaan van Israel zelf is een bron van vernedering en frustratie voor velen in de Arabische wereld, enerzijds omdat het laat zien hoe incompetent en achtergebleven de Arabische landen zijn, anderzijds omdat de Arabieren het altijd weg wilden hebben en dat nooit is gelukt - nog een blijk van onvermogen.
Het is daarom veeleer andersom: wanneer het zelfvertrouwen in de Arabische wereld toeneemt, men met succes voor vrijheid en meer democratie strijdt, men meer gaat produceren, ook op cultureel gebied, dan zal de haat en nijd tegen Israel afnemen en wordt een oplossing van het conflict met haar een stuk makkelijker.

If this were a policy statement, it would be earth shaking. Keep in mind that Dennis Ross is now in a fairly senior position in the U.S. National Security Council. In this book excerpt, Ross is denouncing the dogma that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will inevitably and magically entrain an end to all problems in the Middle East. The centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Middle East peace and stability has been the holy cow of United States policy in the Middle East since 1975, when Harold Saunders enunciated the doctrine. American officials have since been convinced that upon solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is equivalent to the second coming, and will solve all earthly problems in the Middle East. Surprisingly, Ross doesn't mention Sauders.

A declaration like this in a serving U.S. official, would be equivalent to an important rabbi declaring that ham is kosher after all. Of course, this excerpt was written a while ago, and ideas change once you get into office. The fact that Ross is quite correct will make no difference. The doctrine, otherwise known in shorthand as "it's all the fault of the Jews" has an intuitive attractiveness and convenience that make it irresistable. U.S. officials will not be disabused of this notion unless Israel is finally vanquished. Then they will be quite surprised to learn that Arab economies remain backward, that Muslims frown on sexual equality and that the Middle East has no more water than it did before. At present, many US officials are evidently convinced, along with their Arab friends, that all the water in the Middle East is siphoned into West Bank Settlements, where hundreds of thousands of Jews (all from Brooklyn) use it to water their lawns, and that Al-Qaeda is really only angry at the US because of the tiny territory occupied by Israel.


July 8, 2009
'Myths, Illusions, and Peace'


Of all the policy myths that have kept us from making real progress in the Middle East, one stands out for its impact and longevity: the idea that if only the Palestinian conflict were solved, all the other Middle East conflicts would melt away. This is the argument of "linkage." Neoconservatives have always rejected it, given their skepticism about Arab intentions and their related belief that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved. While realists have been the most determined purveyors, this myth transcends all others and has had amazing staying power here, internationally, and in the Middle East. In fact, few ideas have been as consistently and forcefully promoted – by laymen, policymakers, and leaders alike.

One need not look too far for examples of linkage's pervasiveness. Note the words of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in early 2008 when, standing next to George W. Bush at a joint press conference following their talks in the Sinai resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh, he recounted their conversation: "I emphasize that the Palestinian question, of course, is the core of problems and conflict in the Middle East, and it is the entry to contain the crisis and tension in the region, and the best means to face what's going on in the world, our region – I mean by that, the escalation of violence, extremism and terrorism."

King Abdullah of Jordan made much the same argument during an interview with an American television network in 2006: "I keep saying Palestine is the core. It is linked to the extent of what's going on in Iraq. It is linked to what's going on in Lebanon."

Not only Middle Eastern leaders see the Palestinian issue at the heart of all other regional problems. Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, echoed this basic point of view in an essay published in early 2007:

A Vigorously renewed effort to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict could fundamentally change both the dynamics in the region and the strategic calculus of key leaders. Real progress would push Iran into a more defensive posture. Hezbollah and Hamas would lose their rallying principle. American allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states would be liberated to assist in stabilizing Iraq. And Iraq would finally be seen by all as a key country that had to be set right in the pursuit of regional security.

Similarly, the Iraq Study Group, cochaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, placed special emphasis on the idea of linkage: "To put it simply, all key issues in the Middle East – the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and terrorism – are inextricably linked.

Such bold statements are rarely qualified. In effect, they are guided by a central premise: that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict is prerequisite to addressing the maladies of the Middle East. Solve it, and in doing so conclude all other conflicts. Fail, and instability – even war – will engulf the entire region.

The major problem with this premise is that it is not true. There have been dozens of conflicts and countless coups in the Middle East since Israel's birth in 1948, and most were completely unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict. For example, the Iraqi coup of 1958, the Lebanon crisis of 1958, the Yemini civil war of 1962-68 (including subsequent civil wars in the 1980s and '90s), the Iraqi Kurdish revolt of 1974, the Egyptian-Libyan Border War of 1977, the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 (including Iraqi Kurdish and Iraqi Shiite revolts of the same year), the Yemeni-Eritrean and Saudi-Yemeni border conflicts of the mid-1990s, and the US-Iraq War, begun in 2003.

Many of these conflicts were long, bloody, and very costly. The Iran-Iraq War alone lasted eight and a half years, cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and took between six hundred thousand and one million lives. Yet this conflict, like the others listed above, would have taken place even if the Arab-Israeli conflict had been resolved.

Since the origins of so many regional tensions and rivalries are not connected to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is hard to see how resolving it would unlock other regional stalemates or sources of instability. Iran, for example, is not pursuing its nuclear ambitions because there is an Arab-Israeli conflict. Sectarian groups in Iraq would not suddenly put aside their internal struggles if the Palestinian issue were resolved. Like so many conflicts in the region, these struggles have their own dynamic.

In addition, as tragic as the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has become, it has not spilled over to destabilize the Middle East. There have been two Palestinian Intifadas, or uprisings, including one that lasted from 2000 to 2005 and claimed the lives of 4,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis – but not a single Arab leader had been toppled or a single regime destabilized as a result. It has remained a local conflict, contained in a small geographical area. Yet the argument of linkage endures to this day, and with powerful promoters. Why does it persist? And why has it been accepted among top policymakers as if it is factually correct?

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from "Myths, Illusions, and Peace" by Dennis Ross and David Makovsky. Copyright © 2009 by Dennis Ross and David Makovsky. 

Oeigoeren zijn geen Tibetanen en geen Palestijnen

De Tibetanen hebben op zijn minst meer aandacht en sympathie dan de Oeigoeren, maar Ami Isseroff heeft gelijk dat dat het nog niet haalt bij de Palestijnen.
Bijna iedereen is het er tegenwoordig over eens dat zij recht hebben op een staat (Waarom hebben zij daar eigenlijk meer recht op dan de Koerden, Tibetanen of Tsjetsjenen?), dat daar ook Oost Jeruzalem toe behoort, een stad die nooit Palestijns is geweest en vanaf eind 19e eeuw al een Joodse meerderheid had, en dat het feit dat ze die staat nog niet hebben de oorzaak is van tal van problemen, variërend van aanslagen wereldwijd en spanningen tussen moslims en het Westen, de populariteit van extremistische groeperingen in het Midden-Oosten, de weigering van veel regimes aldaar om te democratiseren, de steun van sommige regimes aan de opstandelingen in Irak, enz.
We vinden het sneu dat de Tibetanen zo worden onderdrukt, maar niemand ervaart ook maar enige urgentie bij het oplossen van dat probleem. De Dalai Lama is sympathiek, maar dan vooral als geestelijk leider die alle geduld van de wereld heeft en altijd verzoenende taal spreekt. Dus daar zouden de Oeigoeren niet zo gek veel mee opschieten. Nee, pas als hun onderdrukking de woede van hun moslimbroeders wereldwijd gaat oproepen kunnen ze misschien iets bereiken.    
Mona Elthaway got it almost right, but not quite. If the Uighurs were Buddhist they would be in the same sinkhole as a the Tibetans, whom she mistakenly enviews - their land occupied since 1949 with no recourse and no international backing, not UN Department of Tibetan Rights, no Tibet Day, no "Chinesism is Racism" resolution, no Boycott China and Divest from China (are you kidding?) movements. 
If only the Palestinians were Uighurs and Israel was China. Or if only Israel was Sudan and the Palestinians were Darfurians. Or if only the Palestinians were Basques and Israel was Spain, or if only the Palestinians were native Americans and Israel was the United States...
NEW YORK - Pity the Uighurs - the wrong kind of minority, the wrong kind of Muslims, fighting the wrong kind of enemy.
For years, Uighurs - a Turkic people who are largely Muslim - complained of economic, cultural and religious discrimination under the harsh fist of Beijing. The latter made sure the Uighurs were outnumbered in the western Xinxiang province by Han Chinese migrants.
In the worst ethnic unrest in China in years, Uighurs took to the streets of the provincial capital Urumqi on Sunday, apparently after a protest at government handling of a June clash between Han Chinese and Uighur factory workers in southern China, where two Uighurs died.
At least 156 people died in weekend riots.
The Chinese government quickly blamed exiled separatists and Muslim militant groups, arrested dozens and tried to curb information by stifling the internet. On Tuesday, Han Chinese armed with iron bars and machetes went looking for revenge on Uighurs.
Following the news that did make it out of Xinxiang, I thought if only the Uighurs were Buddhists like the Tibetans with whom the Uighurs share almost mirror grievances against Beijing.
If they were Buddhists, Bjork, Sting, Bono and all those other one-named saviors of the world's poor and oppressed would have held "Free Xinxiang" concerts already. But the West continues to largely ignore the Uighurs. Maybe they're not as cuddly as the Tibetans or their leader the Dalai Lama.
Perhaps the U.S. State Department would issue stronger words in their defense if only the Uighurs weren't the wrong kind of minority in a country that produces half the goods we use and which currently lends the wobbly global economy enough money to keep it just this side of total collapse.
The Uighurs aren't Buddhists but are instead Muslims and us Muslims don't get much love these days. You'd think the U.S. at least would be paying a bit more attention to Uighurs after locking up four of their brethren at the prison camp at Guantanamo without charge for seven years. They were released earlier this year to Bermuda.
If the West seems deaf to Uighur complaints, then where are their fellow Muslims? Surely this is a chance for Muslims across the world to march in protest at the stranglehold the godless Communist Chinese keep over the Uighurs?
Think again.
The Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas put it bluntly on the micro-blogging site Twitter - where thousands follow him - when he asked why no one was paying attention to the Uighur "intifada", the Arabic word for uprising that is usually associated with Palestinians fighting back against Israeli occupation.
That's precisely the problem - the Uighurs are no Palestinians and the Chinese are not Israel. Many Muslims - Arab Muslims especially - pay attention only when the U.S. and Israel are behaving badly. Palestine followed by Iraq always take precedence leaving little room for other Muslim grievances.
Look at Darfur, where the suffering goes ignored because those who are creating the misery are neither Americans nor Israelis but instead fellow Arab Muslim Sudanese.
China is coincidentally one of Sudan's biggest trade partners and sells Khartoum plenty of weapons which Darfuris complain are used against them. So it's unlikely Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who declared himself the guardian of Islam in 2007 by putting on trial a British teacher for insulting Muslims when she named a class teddy bear "Mohammed", will condemn Chinese oppression of Uighurs.
Perhaps Israel can save the day and invade Xinxiang.
Xinxiang and its Muslim inhabitants are almost complete unknowns in the Arab world, much to China's relief, I'm sure. During a visit in 1995 to attend the United Nations conference on women in Beijing, I tried to visit Xinxiang. But not a singly airline office would sell a ticket to a "radical lesbians", as conference attendees were seen. No "restive regions" for us.
Further afield from the Arab world, Shaaz Mahboob, a British Muslim friend of Pakistani descent, wondered on Facebook "Where are the Pakistani emotions which rage whenever there is an issue to do with Muslims anywhere on this planet (thank God there aren't Muslims being persecuted on the Moon or Mars - yet!)?"
He asked Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricket superstar, and other Pakistanis who have supported militant groups why "they would not even support the militant Uighur groups who have allegedly initiated this chain of violence?
"They remain mysteriously silent over the plight of Chinese fellow Muslim.. Or is it that the "friendship" with China takes precedence over helping fellow Muslims this time?"
As I said - wrong enemy.
The Chinese government quickly boosted security to crush Sunday's Uighur uprising and arrested dozens of men, leaving many women to demonstrate on Tuesday, waving their the identity cards of male relatives they say were arbitrarily detained.
Those women just might be the Uighurs' best hope of getting the world's attention. Or at least one of them and no, I don't mean Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur businesswoman and activist whom Beijing blames for orchestrating the violence from her home in the U.S.
Reuters' photographer David Gray took a picture of a lone Uighur woman in a headscarf leaning on a crutch and facing off with two Chinese security vehicles behind which stood dozens of security personnel.
It was reminiscent both of the picture of the lone Chinese student facing off with the tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and of the ubiquitous images of Iranian women from that country's recent demonstrations,
So now they have an iconic image, here's hoping the Uighurs start to register on our radar.

Tomorrow's Pioneers (Hamas TV) indoctrineert kinderen van zelfmoordterroriste

Hamas TV heeft weer een mooie wijze les voor de kleintjes, en in plaats van mee te leven met het feit dat deze kinderen hun moeder zo jong hebben verloren, worden ze gedwongen naar een video te kijken waarop de dood van hun moeder wordt nagespeeld en verheerlijkt.
Daarna geeft de presentatrice het volgende commentaar voor de jonge kijkertjes:

"These are the children of the Shahida [Martyr], the heroic Jihad fighter who sacrificed all that she had for the sake of her homeland. She cared less about her own flesh and blood, and for their sake, she sacrificed [herself] for Allah...
We say to the occupier, that we will continue in the footsteps of the Shahida, the Jihad fighter Reem Riyashi, until we liberate our homeland from your hands, usurper."

July 9, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch

Suicide bomber's children shown re-enactment of mother's death on Hamas TV kids' show
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The Hamas TV children's program Tomorrow's Pioneers produced a special broadcast in which the two young children of a female suicide terrorist were invited to the TV studio to watch a video re-enactment of their mother's suicide bombing. The terrorist, Reem Riyashi, killed four Israelis in a suicide bombing in 2004.

Click here to view:

Calling the terrorist a "Martyr," the bear puppet and star of the program, Nassur, introduces Riyashi's children to the other children in the studio:
"[Our guests are] the children of the Shahida [Martyr] Reem Riyashi."
Then Muhammad and Duha, the young son and daughter of Riyashi, together with the children in the studio, watch a music video re-enactment of their mother's suicide bombing. While the video is shown, the TV camera shows close-ups of Riyashi's children as they stare at the screen images of their mother's bombing and death.
The re-enactment:
An actress representing Riyashi is shown preparing a bomb in front of a child actress representing her daughter. The daughter follows her mother around and sings:
   "Mommy, what are you carrying in your arms instead of me? A toy or a present for me?"
Mother Riyashi does not answer and soon is seen leaving home while the daughter sings:
   "Come back quickly, Mommy."
The actress-daughter then sees the TV report of her mother's suicide bombing, and sings to her dead mother:
   "Instead of me you carried a bomb in your hands. Only now I know what was more precious than us."
As the daughter sings this revelation in the re-enactment video, the TV camera in the studio shifts for a moment to a close-up of Riyashi's son staring at the video of his mother. Then the camera goes back to the video, showing his mother with the Israeli soldiers, who all suddenly disappear in the smoke of the massive explosion of her bomb.
The broadcast of the video re-enactment stops before the end of the full music video, and the camera returns to the children in the studio.
Child hostess Saraa summarizes for the children and viewers:
"These are the children of the Shahida [Martyr], the heroic Jihad fighter who sacrificed all that she had for the sake of her homeland. She cared less about her own flesh and blood, and for their sake, she sacrificed [herself] for Allah...
We say to the occupier, that we will continue in the footsteps of the Shahida, the Jihad fighter Reem Riyashi, until we liberate our homeland from your hands, usurper."
Click here to view this Hamas children's show:
PMW note: In the full music video re-enactment, the daughter promises to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a suicide terrorist, and the video ends as the daughter opens her mother's drawer and picks up a stick of dynamite. The full video has been broadcast regularly on Hamas TV from 2007 through 2009.

Click here to view the complete Hamas music video:

Two years ago, Hamas TV interviewed terrorist Reem Riyashi's two children about their mother's suicide attack, discussing with the children how many Jews their mother had killed.

Click here to view the interview with Riyashi's children:

The following is the transcript of the 2007 interview with Riyashi's children on Hamas TV:
Interviewer: "We are now going to the two children of Reem Riyashi, the Martyrdom-seeker, and Jihad fighter [mother of] Duha and Muhammad. Duha, do you love Mommy? Where did Mommy go?"
Duha: "To Paradise"
Interviewer: "What did Mommy do?"
Duha: "Became a Shahida [Martyr]."
Interviewer: "She killed Jews, right?
How many did she kill, Muhammad?"
Muhammad: "What?"
Interviewer: "How many Jews did she kill?"
Muhammad: "Five."
[Al Aqsa TV (Hamas), March 8, 2007]

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PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel


Hoe tijdelijk is bevriezing nederzettingenbouw?

Onderstaande analyse van Aaron Lerner bevat zeker een kern van waarheid, maar de vraag is hoe erg dat is. Als de bevriezing van de nederzettingen leidt tot Arabische/Palestijnse concessies, zal het inderdaad moeilijk worden om de bouw weer te hervatten. Als het echter slechts tot verharding leidt, en Abbas achterover leunt totdat Israel aan alle Palestijnse eisen heeft voldaan, dan kan de regering Netanjahoe met enig recht de bouw hervatten. En dat weten de Palestijnen ook. Vandaar dat het niet persé oneerlijk is van een 'tijdelijke bevriezing' te spreken, ook al wordt die misschien wel permanent.
Er was overigens een afspraak tussen Israel en de VS, waarin Israel onder bepaalde voorwaarden op beperkte schaal mocht blijven bouwen.
Niet alleen Begin stemde toe in een tijdelijke bevriezing van de bouw in de nederzettingen, ook Rabin deed dat, met uitzondering van Jeruzalem. Het is niet duidelijk of Oost-Jeruzalem ook nu uitgezonderd zal blijven. Voor de Israelische wet staat het los van de Westoever, maar volgens de VN en ook de VS heeft het dezelfde status, en zij hebben Israels annexatie ervan nooit erkend.


Weekly Commentary:
No confidence a temporary freeze would be temporary

Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date: 9 July 2009

In the absence of an official written statement released by U.S. President Obama setting a clear unconditional time limit to a "temporary" settlement freeze it is reasonable to expect that any "temporary" freeze the Netanyahu team agrees to could very well become permanent.

There is every reason to expect the Obama team, given their track record to date, to insist that conditions have been met to extend the freeze.

And if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu feels that the pressure today forces him to agree to a "temporary" freeze there is every reason in the world to expect the White House to turn the screws even tighter to extend it.

And then the very same "senior Israeli officials" who no doubt will swear in background briefings that the freeze is temporary will then dutifully explain the decision to extend the freeze.

After all, once the freeze is in place there will always be more than enough reasons to justify extending it:

- Relations are good with the Obama administration, why harm them by renewing construction?

- Relations are strained with the Obama administration, why make things worse by renewing construction?

[The above two arguments have been used for years, by the way, by prime ministers explaining why they decline to seriously act for Jonathan Pollard's release - relations are either too good or too bad.]

- Progress is being made with the Palestinians, why undermine them by renewing construction?

- The impasse with the Palestinians would be exacerbated by a renewal of construction, plunging the area into crisis and conflict as "moderate" Abbas would be forced by the move to support "resistance" in order to maintain his "legitimacy".

And the list goes on.

Yes, PM Menachem Begin agreed to a temporary freeze.

But, then again, confusion over its details lead to a crisis with Washington.

And while no U.S. administration has ever accepted the legitimacy of settlement construction, this one has apparently decided that of all the problems in the world - from nuclear Korea and Iran to Darfur and beyond - the greatest international problem facing the United States today is settlement construction.

Yes, the pressure is great.

But please don't insult our intelligence with assurances that a freeze is "temporary".

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730

Enquete over regering Netanjahoe na 100 dagen

Het Israëlische publiek is (als altijd) sterk verdeeld, en de nieuwe coalitie is niet erg populair. Ook Livni's prestaties als oppositieleider worden nogal negatief beoordeeld.

Shvakim Panorama Poll: Rating Netanyahu Administration after 100 days
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date 9 July 2009

Telephone poll of a representative sample
of 516 adult Israelis (including Arab Israelis)
carried out by Shvakim Panorama
for Israel Radio's Hakol Diburim (It's All Talk)
on 8 July and broadcast on 9 July 2009.

After 100 days for the Netanyahu administration what grade from 1 to 10 do you give for:
Government's performance: 5.4
PM Netanyahu's performance 5.6
Livni's performance as leader of the opposition: 4.9
DM Barak 6.0
FM Lieberman 5.4
Finance Minister Steinitz 4.5

How do you feel towards Binyamin Netanyahu?
Very favorable 6.3% Favorable 33.9% Middle 22.6%
unfavorable 15.5% Very unfavorable 20.6%
Don't know/No Reply 1.1%

How do you feel about the Likud party?
Very favorable 6.7% Favorable 29.2% Middle 27.6%
Unfavorable 17.0% Very unfavorable 18.2%
DK/NR 1.3%

How do you feel about Livni?
Very favorable 4.6% Favorable 30.6% Middle 29.0%
Unfavorable 17.0% Very unfavorable 16.0%
DK/NR 2.9%

How do you feel about the Kadima Party?
Very favorable 2.6% Favorable 23.3% Middle 27.2%
Unfavorable 24.3% Very unfavorable 20.9%
DK/NR 1.6%

How do you feel about Ehud Barak?
Very favorable 3.4% Favorable 34.2% Middle 31.0%
Unfavorable 14.5% Very unfavorable 13.1%
DK/NR 3.9%

How do you feel about the Labor Party?
Very favorable 0.6% Favorable 16.6% Middle 24.8%
Unfavorable 21.7% Very unfavorable 30.3%
DK/NR 6.0%

How do you feel about Avigdor Lieberman?
Very favorable 9.7% Favorable 28.6% Middle 19.2%
Unfavorable 13.6% Very unfavorable 25.8%
DK/NR 3.1%

How do you feel about the Yisrael Beiteinu Party?
Very favorable 7.7% Favorable 28.3% Middle 22.3%
Unfavorable 11.7% Very unfavorable 24.6%
DK/NR 5.4%

Summary Favorable:Negative
40%:36% Netanyahu
36%:35% Likud
35%:33% Livni
26%:45% Kadima
38%:28% Barak
17%:52% Labor
38%:39% Lieberman
36%:36% Yisrael Beiteinu
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730

Israel neemt maatregelen om reisbeperkingen op Westoever te verminderen

Over de checkpoints en roadblocks doen veel cijfers de ronde. In het Acht Uur Journaal van gisteren beweerde Sander van Hoorn dat er volgens Israel nog 16 checkpoints zijn binnen de Westoever, maar volgens de VN zijn dat er vier keer zoveel. Uiteraard legde hij daarna heel 'objectief' uit waarom de cijfers van de VN de juiste zijn. Volgens onderstaand bericht zijn er echter nog maar 14 checkpoints over op de Westoever, en 504 'dirt roadblocks'. Israel heeft zo'n 140 roadblocks weggehaald en '422 crossings' ten oosten van Qalqilya. Het zou handig zijn als men een precieze definitie van een en ander zou geven. Checkpoints zijn bemand, maar sommige controleren ieder voertuig en passagier en andere doen alleen incidentele controles, sommige zijn permanent open en andere niet, etc. Roadblocks sluiten een weg af voor autoverkeer, maar soms zijn daar zijpaden ontstaan. Wat met de crossings bij Qalqilya wordt bedoeld is me niet duidelijk; zijn dat ook roadblocks? Waarom staat dat er dan niet? En waar staan die 14 checkpoints? Een paar worden bij naam genoemd, maar waar staan de andere?

Overigens zijn checkpoints in oorlogsgebied doodnormaal; het blad van de Nederlandse veteranen heet meen ik zelfs 'Checkpoint'. In Afghanistan, in Irak, in Pakistan en vele andere gebieden heeft het leger checkpoints ingericht om de bewegingsvrijheid van gewapende strijders en terroristen te hinderen. In gebied dat door de rebellen wordt gecontroleerd hebben zij checkpoints opgericht.

Easing of Restrictions in Judea and Samaria in 2009
9 July 2009
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The government of Israel recently decided to take measures aimed at easing restrictions in Judea and Samaria, which, it is hoped, will have a positive influence on the daily lives and routines of the Palestinian population and invigorate the Palestinian economy.

Some of the measures taken to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population were implemented over the past two years. However, they have been accelerated during the past three months, since the new government took office.

Within the framework of the easing of security measures, the scope of activity of the Palestinian security forces was expanded. Permission was granted to open twelve new Palestinian police stations in Area B, and the scope of activity of the existing police stations was also increased. This is in addition to the permission to open 20 new Palestinian police stations that was granted last year.

In the civil-humanitarian realm, improvements include the extension of entry permits to Israel for chronic patients and their escorts for the purpose of medical treatment, as well as for medical students doing their internship in Israeli hospitals, from three months to six months.

During the last two years, but increasingly during the past three months, two thirds out of the forty-one check points have been removed. Currently, only fourteen remain in operation. For example, the A-ram checkpoint, located south of Ramallah has been removed, thus permitting free movement of vehicles and pedestrians; the Beit Iba checkpoint in Samaria was removed in March 2009. To prevent the passage of potential terrorists from Nablus, a new vehicular checkpoint was set up near Dir Sharaf village, northwest of Nablus, where only spot checks are carried out; two roadblocks, one next to Ras Karkar village, and the second near Eyn Yabrud village, were removed. The removal of these roadblocks allows free passage of vehicles between Ramallah and the villages to the east and west. The removal of the Rimonim checkpoint, located to the east of Ramallah, allows movement between Ramallah and the Jordan Valley, and the removal of the Bir-Zeyt checkpoint, located north of Ramallah, allows swift passage between Ramallah and the villages to the north. The removal of the Hableh roadblock south of Qalqilya, allowing movement between the city and the villages to the south;

Additional measures adopted include the opening of 422 crossings east of Qalqilya, to free movement of Palestinian vehicles between Qalqilya and the villages to the east, extending the working hours of the Haviot checkpoint, northwest of Nablus, to 24 hours a day, to improve the movement of Nablus area residents, extending the working hours of the Asira a-Shamalya checkpoint, north of Nablus, to 24 hours a day, opening of the Vered Yericho crossing, north of Jericho, which will allows free movement between the Jericho vicinity and the Jordan Valley for both vehicles and pedestrians, and the extension of the working hours of the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, to 24 hours a day, with vehicular spot checks. The Hawara checkpoint is the main one in the Nablus vicinity and the easing of restrictions there allows swift passage from the city to all parts of Judea and Samaria.

An additional major measure adopted was aimed at improving the passage of Palestinian public figures and businessmen. Fifteen hundred permits have been issued to public officials, allowing them to pass through the Israeli crossings into Israel. This is a very significant move aimed at improving the quality of life of these individuals, who are the prime movers of the Palestinian economy in Judea and Samaria.

The aforementioned roadblock removals are in addition to about 140 roadblocks that were opened to traffic in the past year in order to increase the civilian Palestinian population's freedom of movement throughout Judea and Samaria. The decision to open checkpoints was made following an assessment of the situation by Central Command and as part of the plan to ease restrictions that was approved by the political echelon.

Today, in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, there are 504 dirt roadblocks and 14 checkpoints. IDF will continue to act according to decisions made by the political echelon, in accordance with security assessments.  These actions are meant to further ease the routine life of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria, while continuously fighting terror and maintaining the safety of the citizens of the State of Israel.

donderdag 9 juli 2009

PA president Abbas was niet Palestina (Israel) uitgezet in 1948

Mahmoud Abbas werd geboren in 1935 in Safed, een van de 4 heilige steden in het jodendom, waar van oudsher ook Joden hebben gewoond voor zover ze niet verdreven waren, zoals tijdens verschillende pogroms. Abbas vluchtte met zijn familie en andere Arabieren tijdens de Israëlische onafhankelijkheidsoorlog toen Safed door de Haganah werd belegerd. Hij kan dus wel als vluchteling gelden maar niet als verdrevene.
Vanaf de jaren '50 was hij aktief betrokken bij Fatah en andere Palestijnse strijdgroepen en later de PLO. Er was toen nog geen bezetting, ze vochten tegen het Israël binnen de grenzen van 1949.
De bron van onderstaand bericht is Arutz7, een behoorlijk rechtse Israelische omroep die zich beroept op een Palestijnse zender. Vooral de verwijzing naar Joan Peters op het eind is dubieus. Haar boek over de bevolking van Israel/Palestina in vroeger eeuwen geeft een -zacht uitgedrukt- vertekend beeld. Dat neemt niet weg dat de voorouders van Abbas best van elders gekomen kunnen zijn: het was een komen en gaan van mensen op dit kruispunt tussen 3 continenten.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas was not expelled from Palestine in 1948
The fact that the family of Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority was never expelled from Safed or Palestine must be obvious, though it is interesting that he admits it. It must be true because during the Israel War of Independence, when Safed was captured by the Haganah on the night of May 10, 1948, all the Arabs fled, and none were there when the Haganah forces entered in the morning. The Arabs of Safed had harbored soldiers of the Arab Liberation Army of Fawzi el Kaukji, and had a long history of pogroms against the Jews, dating back to 1834. (see Safed Plunder -1834, Palestine riots and Massacres of 1929 , Arab Uprising). Of course, that does not mean he was not a refugee. Sudetens Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia in 1945 for their role in the German conquest of Czechoslovakia were also "refugees." But belligerents who are expelled for belligerent activities do not have much of a claim as refugees.  (A.I.)

by Hillel Fendel
( Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas says the Arabs of the Galilee city of Tzfat left in 1948 not because they were driven out, but on their own volition.
Many biographies of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas imply that his family became "refugees" because of the War of Independence in 1948. For instance, a BBC profile on Abbas when he succeeded Yasser Arafat as PLO chairman in 2005 writes, "In the light of his origins in Safed in Galilee - in what is now northern Israel - he is said to hold strong views about the right of return of Palestinian refugees." states, "As a result of the Arab-Israel War of 1948, he became a refugee." Wikipedia articles on the topic say the same – all giving the impression that the Abbas family was driven out and became homeless.
It is notable that the Abbas family moved back to Damascus, as that is likely the place where it had originated less than 90 years earlier.
However, Abbas himself – co-founder of Fatah with Arafat, and known as Abu Mazen - now tells a different story. Speaking with Al-Palestinia TV on Monday, Abbas admitted that his family was not expelled or driven out, but rather left for fear that the Jews might take revenge for the slaughter of 20 Jews in the city during the Arab pogroms of 19 years earlier.
In the words of Abbas:
"I am among those who were born in the city of Tzfat (Safed). We were a family of means. I studied in elementary school, and then came the naqba [calamity, namely, the founding of the State of Israel – ed.]. At night, we left by foot from Tzfat, to the Jordan River, where we remained for a month. Then we went to Damascus, and then to our relatives in Jordan, and then we settled in Damascus.
"My father had money, and he spent his money systematically, and after a year, the money ran out and we began to work.
"The people's basic motives brought them to run away for their lives and with their property. These [motives] were very important, for they feared the violence of the Zionist terrorist organizations – and especially those of us from Tzfat felt that there was an old desire for revenge from the rebellion of 1929, and this was in the memory of our families and parents."
The "rebellion" Abbas referred to was a series of brutal Arab attacks on Jewish towns in the summer of 1929. Nearly 70 Jews were slaughtered in their homes in Hevron, 20 in Tzfat, 17 in Jerusalem, and others were murdered in Motza, Kfar Uriah and Tel Aviv.
The memory of the slaughter, Abbas said, "brought [our families] to understand that the military balance had changed, and that [we] no longer had military forces in their real meaning. There were only young people who fought, and there was an initial action. They felt that the balance of power had collapsed and they therefore decided to leave. The entire city was abandoned based on this thought – the thought of their property and saving themselves."

Return to Roots - in Damascus
It is notable that the Abbas family moved back to Damascus, as that is likely the place where it had originated less than 90 years earlier. Joan Peters, in her scholarly work "From Time Immemorial" on the Arab population of Israel, writes that in 1860, "Algerian tribes moved from Damascus en masse to Safed." She notes that the Muslims in the city were mostly descended from Moorish settlers and from Kurds – more evidence negating the claim that the Arabs in the Land of Israel had been there "from time immemorial."

PA veiligheidstroepen waren ruggegraad van Intifada terreur

De nu door de VS getrainde Palestijnse veiligheidstroepen waren de 'helden' van de Palestijnse terreur tegen Israelische burgers tijdens de tweede intifada. Dat zeggen niet rechtse haviken uit Israel, maar een minister van de Palestijnse Autoriteit, nou ja, niet in die woorden maar het komt erop neer. Een mooi voorbeeld van geslaagde reclassering of een bedreiging voor de toekomst?

Bulletin July 7, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch
PA boasts of past terror attacks by security forces currently being trained by the US
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

This week Israel approved the transfer of 1,000 AK-47 rifles to the Palestinian Authority security forces that are being trained by American Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton. This comes at the same time as former PA Minister of Prisoners, Ashraf al-Ajrami, is honoring these very same PA security forces for being the backbone of Palestinian terror during the five-year Terror War (Intifada).

Defending these soldiers, whom Hamas mockingly calls "Dayton Forces," the PA minister gloated that they carried out "the greatest and most important operations [terror attacks]" in the war. Moreover, he also taunted Hamas for not immediately joining the Fatah forces in their war in 2000.

The PA takes pride in its "Intifada" in which more than 1,000 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed by the PA (Fatah) and Hamas from 2000-2005. Depicting murder and suicide terror by the PA security forces as a sign of honor sends a clear signal to Palestinians: These PA forces, currently being trained by the US, are not to be mocked because they could be the backbone of the next war against Israel.

The following are the words of the former PA Minister of Prisoners Ashraf al-Ajrami:

"Now they [Hamas] are speaking [disparagingly] about the [PA's security forces, calling them] 'Dayton Forces.' These [security] forces paid the heavy price in the second Intifada, both as Shahids [Martyrs] and as prisoners. The greatest number of prisoners is from the security forces sector. They are the ones who bore arms and carried out the greatest and most important operations [terror attacks] against the Israeli occupation - and especially against soldiers, and some of the most famous operations [terror attacks] in the West Bank - Ein-Arik, Wadi Al-Haramiyeh, Sorda, and others. These were carried out by the heroes of the Palestinian security forces, who protected the homeland and the national interest, while Hamas merely looked on for many months before embarking [on terrorist attacks]."
[PA TV, June 29, 2009]

Palestinian Media Watch:
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f: +972 2 624 2803 w:

Obama is streng tegen Israel maar soft tegen Egypte

Ik ben het grotendeels wel eens met onderstaand betoog, al vind ik het niet geheel onterecht dat Obama zo op de nederzettingen hamert. Hij zou daarnaast vooral ook meer en fellere kritiek op de opruiing, 'recht op terugkeer' etc. moeten uiten.

The Jerusalem Post
Jul 6, 2009 7:58 | Updated Jul 6, 2009 16:02
Obama: Hard on Israel, soft on Egypt

Quick, name the two largest recipients of American foreign aid.

If you guessed Israel and Egypt, you'd be correct. Since 1997, the US has provided between $2 billion and $3 billion dollars annually to Israel and between $1b. and $2b. to Egypt, accounting for about a third of its total foreign aid budget.

But while the US enjoys a friendly relationship with both countries, a yawning gap has opened recently between the treatment President Barack Obama's administration has bestowed on Jerusalem and its advances to Cairo.

Much has already been written about Obama's general tendency to express forceful disagreement with American allies while reserving judgment about (some would say coddling) bona fide enemies, like the tyrannical Iranian regime or Hugo Chavez's virtual dictatorship in Venezuela.

But nowhere is the contrast clearer between the State Department's pressure on democratic governments and its timidity around despotic ones than in its respective approaches to Israel and Egypt.

Jerusalem Post readers need little reminder of the slights, both petty and large, that the American administration has inflicted on the Jewish state in the five months it has been in power.

From preventing media coverage of President Shimon Peres's White House visit, to grudgingly sending Vice President Joseph Biden to deliver a lukewarm address at the AIPAC conference, to demanding Israel's recognition of a Palestinian state (with nothing in return), to insisting on a complete, immediate freeze to settlement growth, the contrast with president George W. Bush's staunchly pro-Israel positions is self evident.

IN FACT, on the settlements, even earnest peace processors like Aaron David Miller have criticized Obama for overemphasizing them, calling them a "distraction." At a recent forum in a Washington-area synagogue, Miller, who participated in the 2000 Camp David negotiations, argued that "given the stakes and reality, we are going to need a relationship with Israel of great intimacy in order to do this. We need to think very carefully about how we're going about it."

And James Kirchick, an assistant editor of the (liberal) New Republic, observed that during Obama's much-ballyhooed Cairo speech to "the Muslim world," the president "only criticized one state by name, earning him more applause than any other part of his remarks. What was it? A critique of Israel's settlements policy."

So it's hardly surprising, given Washington's current obsession with preventing the addition of guest-rooms in Ma'aleh Adumim, that only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis consider Obama "pro-Israel." But what's surely more surprising is Obama's outright abandonment of human rights and democracy concerns when it comes to Israel's neighbor to the south.

EGYPT HAS CONSISTENTLY earned dismal rankings from Freedom House, the independent NGO that annually evaluates every county's level of freedom. Calling Egypt "not free" and awarding it political rights and civil liberties scores of six and five out of 10, respectively, Freedom House derided President Hosni Mubarak's "suppression of journalists' freedom of expression, repression of opposition groups and the passage of constitutional amendments that hinder the judiciary's ability to balance against executive excess." (By contrast, Israel earned a "free" ranking and political rights and civil liberties scores of one and two, respectively.)

Bush, like his predecessors, considered making foreign aid to Egypt contingent on liberal reforms to Mubarak's largely illiberal regime - a step urged by Egyptian democracy activists. While the US never formally withheld aid on these grounds, the threat alone likely prevented further human rights abuses and gave succor to brave Egyptians standing up for reforms.

But within months of assuming her position, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an Egyptian television anchor that "conditionality is not our policy." The US ambassador to Egypt also announced an end to funding of civil-society groups in Egypt in an effort to curry favor with Mubarak.

During a May press conference with Egyptian democracy activists in Washington (presumably, meeting with them in Cairo would have proven too "controversial"), Clinton paid brief lip service to the importance of democracy and human rights, then swiftly moved to discussing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Egyptian economic development.

This was followed shortly thereafter by Obama's Cairo speech, in which he did, to his credit, mention the universal desire for freedom, but then, it typical Obaman fashion, applied an important caveat: "Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone." While this bromide sounds innocent enough, it sends a clear signal to Mubarak, and all authoritarian rulers, that the US will not press them, even gently, to liberalize further.

And as Joshua Muravchik observes in the July/August issue of Commentary, these words were delivered in an auditorium at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, which admits into its precincts no non-Muslims, including the nearly 20% of the Egyptian population that is Christian. So much for promoting religious tolerance.

Thus, despite Israel's and Egypt's geographical proximity and comparable consumption of US foreign aid, the Obama administration has strongly pressured the former while indulging the latter. Pity the reverse isn't true.

The writer is an attorney in San Diego, California.

Palestijnse aanvallen tegen Israel gedaald tot 38 in Juni

Positief nieuws!
Of dit het gevolg is van de Gaza Oorlog of toeval of stilte voor de storm of een teken van matiging aan Palestijnse kant of nog een andere reden, is anyone's guess. Of dit lang zal duren is natuurlijk zeer de vraag, maar het kan helpen om het vastgelopen vredesproces weer op te starten.


Drop in terror attacks continues, 38 in June from 580 in January
Shin Bet figures indicate volume of attacks is continuing to drop in months after Operation Cast Lead. Only 38 incidents recorded in June compared to 580 in January. Military acknowledges achievement, but warns against complacency
Hanan Greenberg - YNET
Not a single Israeli citizen was wounded in a terror attack within Israel or the territories over the course of the past month, a first for 2009. According to data released by the Shin Bet, the decline in terror incidents in the West Bank and the Gaza border is the lowest it's been since Operation Cast Lead.

According to the figures, January (the month of the IDF's extensive operation against Hamas in Gaza) saw no less than 580 terror-related attacks. In February and March the numbers dropped to around 120 a month.

Most of the incidents in the West Bank were less elaborate than those on the Gaza border, youths hurling Molotov cocktails or rocks at vehicles rather than organized terror groups launching Qassam rockets and mortar shells, planting explosive devices near the border, anti-tank fire, and small-arms fire.

In April there were 69 terror-related incidents, and in May there were 51. During these months there was an average of 10-20 Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza.

In June the numbers dropped even further, with a record-low of 38 incidents - 22 in the West Bank and 16 in Gaza. Furthermore, not a single Israeli citizen was wounded during this month.

"We see this as an achievement," a military official told Ynet, "particularly the fact that there were no casualties on our side, but we must not succumb to complacency because the terror groups are still highly motivated to carry out attacks. So the troops' efforts must continue."

The official said that terror groups in Gaza have an interest in only lowering the volume of attacks rather than stopping them completely. In the West Bank he attributed to the drop to the IDF's activity as well as the calm in Palestinian areas.

woensdag 8 juli 2009

Syrië wil Golan op een gouden schaal krijgen

De gehele Golanhoogte is maar 19 jaar in Syrische handen geweest, van 1948 tot 1967. In 1919 is een deel nogal toevallig bij Syrië gevoegd, en in 1948 heeft zij zich de rest illegaal via agressie toegeëigend. Dus een en ander ligt wat minder zwart-wit dan Assad beweert.
Het is natuurlijk absoluut niet logisch dat hij de Golan terugkrijgt maar ondertussen bewegingen blijft steunen die Israel willen vernietigen en daartoe duizenden raketten op haar gericht hebben. Israel heeft de Golan veroverd in de Zesdaagse Oorlog na 19 jaar vanaf daar te zijn beschoten, dus enig teken dat Syrië bereid is tot daadwerkelijke vrede met Israel, is niet teveel gevraagd.

'We want the Golan on a gold platter' Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
A day after President Shimon Peres said Syria could not expect to receive the Golan Heights from Israel on a silver platter, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the country actually wanted the territory back on a "gold platter."

"Let's face it - it's our land and our right to have it back is the most normal thing in the world," he added after a meeting Tuesday with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to AFP

On Monday, Peres had asked Steinmeier to made it clear that Assad must understand he could not expect to receive the Golan on a silver platter while he continued to strengthen Hizbullah and maintain contact with Iran.

At Tuesday's joint press conference, Steinmeier called on Syria to "do its part" in promoting the success of the Middle East peace process, noting the need to restrict Hizbullah and Hamas, which had shown "no interest in the success of the peace talks."

"The peace process can only proceed when destructive elements in the region are reined in," the German foreign minister said.

Moallem rejected the notion of breaking ties with the terror groups.

"As for the issue of our relations with Hizbullah or Iran, that's a precondition," he said, dismissing the Israeli demands for a clean break as part of a normalization of ties under any peace deal with the Jewish state.

"You have to join negotiations to know what will happen afterward," he added, cautiously putting the ball in Israel's court. "We think a resumption of indirect contacts with Israel through Turkish go-betweens is the best way of getting to direct negotiations, but first and foremost, we have to be confident that there is a political will in Israel to achieve peace."

Welke concessies moeten Arabische landen doen voor een bevriezing van de nederzettingenbouw?

Hieronder een aantal voorstellen. Dergelijke stappen van de Arabische staten, een bevriezing van de bouw in alle nederzettingen met uitzondering van Oost Jeruzalem, en een Palestijnse erkenning van Israel als het Joodse nationale thuis. Dat zou een mooi begin zijn van hernieuwde onderhandelingen en hoop bieden voor de toekomst. Yes we can?

What would Arab states have to give in exchange for a settlement freeze?
By Reuters
Last update - 17:50 07/07/2009

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is pressing for a halt to Israeli settlement activity, holding out the prospect of reciprocal steps by Arab states towards normalizing relations with Israel.

Talks in London on Monday between Mitchell and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on a package that could include a settlement freeze and normalization ended inconclusively.

Further discussions are planned between Mitchell and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as early as next week.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab states that have diplomatic relations with Israel. Below are the regional normalization steps U.S. and Western officials say Washington is seeking:

- Arab countries in the Gulf would allow Israeli passenger and civilian cargo aircraft to fly over their territory. The move would save long detours on flights to Asia, a popular destination for Israeli travelers.

- Israel would be able to open interest sections in other states' embassies in Arab capitals, such as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Israel had interest sections in several Arab countries but they were closed after the start in 2000 of a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

- Arab countries would lift bans on the entry of tourists and other visitors whose passports carry Israeli visas or entry stamps. Such a step would facilitate regional travel for tourists and business executives.

- Arab states would allow Israeli-registered mobile phones to operate on Arab networks, a move that could foster economic contacts.

- Israel and Arab states would hold cultural exchanges. Arab countries would ease restrictions that prevent their officials from meeting with Israeli counterparts at international events.

A senior Israeli official familiar with Mitchell's talks said Israel was skeptical the envoy would be able to coax Arab states to make concrete normalization commitments if only a temporary settlement freeze was declared.

"Even if the Americans can bring a serious settlement freeze, the normalization steps will be implemented only gradually and based on performance by Israel," the official said