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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Arab’

On Heel of Netanyahu Visit, Russia Pushing ‘Arab Initiative’ as Basis for Talks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Moscow has no problem adopting the Arab peace initiative on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and sees no need to amend it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told TASS after talks the PA FM Riyad al-Maliki on Wednesday. And, apparently, as far as the Russians are concerned, they never heard Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for any amendments to the initiative when he met with President Putin the day before.

“I did not hear any demands for amending the Arab peace initiative in the remarks of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Lavrov said. “It is integral and embraces the entire set of relations between Israel and the Arab countries, including Palestine of course. There is no need to amend it.”

According to Lavrov, the Arab peace initiative is a universal document, which everybody regards as the fitting foundation for a peaceful future between Arabs and Jews.

Also known as the “Saudi Initiative,” the Arab peace initiative is a 10 sentence proposal that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 and then in 2007, calling for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel, in exchange for “(a) Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon; (b) Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194 (which says that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.); (c) Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In other words, the elimination of the Jewish State as we know it—by the time the last conditions of the initiative were fulfilled.

Perhaps it was symbolic that on the day of the first declaration of the Saudi initiative, March 27, 2002, Hamas committed the Passover Massacre as a suicide bomber killed 30 Israelis and injured more than 170, including children, at the Park Hotel in Netanya.

And yet, in March 2009 US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell announced that President Obama’s administration planned to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy.

And last year, in May 2015, shortly after winning the March 17 elections, Netanyahu himslef expressed tentative support for the initiative, saying he accepted the “general idea,” but with significant caveats, specifically its calls for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the relocation of millions of Arabs into Israel. As to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said it would not be resolved immediately, and so for now “we’ll set this aside.”

For his part, al-Maliki told TASS he was hoping for Moscow’s “direct and active involvement” in resolving the conflict with Israel, based on the generous Arab initiative. “Considering the results of the latest session in Paris, we felt that it was necessary for us to come to Moscow to exchange opinions and see whether there were prospects for progress,” the PA foreign minister said.

“We’re convinced that Russia can play a very important role in bringing the parties to the negotiating table,” he added, noting that the recent talks in Paris held without the participation of the parties to the conflict helped ensure agreement on the beginning of the talks.

David Israel

Who Were the 1948 Arab Refugees?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Contrary to conventional “wisdom,” most Arabs in British Mandate Palestine – and most of the 320,000 1948 Arab refugees – were migrant workers and descendants of the 1831-1947 Muslim immigrants from Egypt, the Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, as well as from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, North Africa, Bosnia, India, Afghanistan, etc.. Britain enticed Arab immigration and blocked Jewish immigration.

Thus, between 1880 and 1919, Haifa’s Arab population surged from 6,000 to 80,000, mostly due to migrant workers.  The eruption of WW2 accelerated the demand for Arab manpower by the British Mandate’s military and its civilian authorities.

Moreover, Arab migrant workers were imported by the Ottoman Empire, and then by the British Mandate, to work in major civilian and military infrastructure projects.  Legal and illegal Arab migrants were, also, attracted by economic growth, which was generated by the Jewish community beginning in 1882.

According to a 1937 report by the British Peel Commission (featured in the ground-breaking book, Palestine Betrayed , by Prof. Efraim Karsh), “during 1922 through 1931, the increase of Arab population in the mixed-towns of Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem was 86%, 62% and 37% respectively, while in purely Arab towns such as Nablus and Hebron it was only 7% and a decrease of 2 percent in Gaza.”

Irrespective of occasional Arab emigration from  British Mandate Palestine – due to intra-Arab terrorism, which has been an endemic feature in the Middle East – the substantial wave of Arab immigration from 1831-1947 triggered dramatic growth of the Arab populations in Jaffa (17 times), Haifa (12 times) and Ramla (5 times).

According to Joan Peters’ momentous book, From Time Immemorial (Harper & Row, 1984), which was written in consultation with Prof. Elie Kedourie, the “Olympus” of Middle East history and politics, “The 1931 census [documented] at least 23 different languages in use by Muslims plus an additional 28 in use by Christian Arabs – a total of 51 languages.  The non-Jews in Palestine listed as their birthplaces at least 24 different countries….”

In 1917, the Arabs of Jaffa represented at least 25 nationalities, mostly Egyptians, but also Syrians, Yemenites, Persians, Afghanis, Hindus and Baluchis.  The “British Palestine Exploration Fund” documented a proliferation of Egyptian neighborhoods in the Jaffa area: Abu Kebir, Sumeil, Sheikh Munis, Salame’, Fejja, etc. Hundreds of Egyptian families settled also in the inland, in Ara’ Arara’, Kafer Qassem, Taiyiba and Qalansawa.

The (1831-1840) conquest of the Land of Israel, by Egypt’s Mohammed Ali, was solidified by a flow of Egyptian and Sudanese migrants settling between Gaza in the south, Tul-Karem in the center and the Hula Valley in the north.  They followed in the footsteps of thousands of Egyptian draft dodgers, who fled Egypt before 1831 and settled in Acre. In 1865, the British traveler, H.B. Tristram, documented, in The Land of Israel: a journal of travels in Palestine , Egyptian migrants in the Beit-Shean Valley, Acre, Hadera, Netanya and Jaffa.

According to the August 12, 1934 issue of the Syrian daily, La Syrie, “30,000-36,000 Syrian migrants, from the Hauran region, entered Palestine during the last few months alone.”   The role-model of Hamas terrorism, Az-ed-Din el-Qassam, who terrorized Jews in British Mandate Palestine, was Syrian, as was Kaukji, the chief Arab terrorist in British Mandate Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s.

Libyan migrants settled in Gedera, south of Tel Aviv. Algerian refugees escaped the French conquest of 1830 and settled in Safed alongside Syrians and Jordanian Bedouins in Tiberias. Circassian refugees, fleeing Russian oppression (1878) and Moslems from Bosnia, Turkmenistan, and Yemen (1908) further diversified the Arab demography west of the Jordan River.

This unusual Arab/Muslim demographic diversity is evidenced by popular Israeli Arab family names, which are a derivative of their countries of origin: al-Masri (Egypt), al-Obeidi (the Sudan), al-Lubnani (Lebanon), Halabi (Syria), al-Mughrabi (Morocco), al-Djazair (Algeria), al-Yamani (Yemen), al-Afgahni (Afghanistan), al-Hindi (India), al-Hijazi (Saudi Arabia), al-Baghdadi (Iraq), Bushnak (Bosnia), Khamis (Bahrain), Turki (Turkey), etc.

Arieh Avneri, a pioneering historian of Arab and Jewish migration, documented ( The Claim of Dispossession , 1980) 205,000 Moslems, Christian and Jews in 1554, 275,000 in 1800 and an unusual surge to 532,000 in 1890, resulting from accelerated Arab immigration.

In fact, Mark Twain wrote in 1869 ( The Innocents Abroad ) :  “Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, Palestine must be the prince…. The hills are barren…. The valleys are unsightly deserts…. Palestine is desolate and unlovely.”

Thus, contrary to the myth of the 1948 Arab refugees – aiming to delegitimize Israel – Arabs have not been in the Land of Israel from time immemorial; no Palestinian people was ever robbed of its land; there is no basis for an Arab “claim of return;” and most of the 320,000 Arab refugees – who were created by the 1948 Arab invasion of Israel and their own collaboration with the invasion – were recent immigrants and foreign workers (from neighboring Arab countries) in the Land of Israel.

Yoram Ettinger

Arab Terrorists Shoot at School Bus, Stone Second Bus

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

A school bus, transporting students from the Chitzin yeshiva was shot at on Sunday evening. The attack happened near Huwara, which is near Shechem.

Impact signs on school bus window

Impact signs on school bus window

The windows of the armored bus show signs of multiple impacts, but no one was injured.

UPDATE: The IDF reports that the projectiles shot at the bus were metal ball bearings, and not bullets.

This is the second time in the past month that Arab terrorists have targeted the bus driver of a school bus.

“Forces are searching the area for the perpetrator,” an IDF spokesperson said in a statement to media.

In a separate attack, Arab stoned a bus between Adam and Hizmeh, damaging the front windshield.

MDA is treating the bus driver who is lightly wounded, and 4 passengers for shock.

Bus stoned near Adam

Bus stoned near Adam

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israeli Arab Pundit Urging Louis C.K. to Cause Trouble on Jerusalem Visit

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

As preparations have begun for the single concert trailblazing comic Louis C.K. will perform in Jerusalem on August 18, Arab journalist, humorist and screenwriter Sayed Kashua is already upset because he fears the comic will betray the Palestinian cause—even though the comic has never declared his political views about the Middle East, other than to compare Israel and the Arabs on LNS to his two daughters having a tantrum fight. Or as Kashua put it on Friday, in his Ha’aretz column: “If he doesn’t cause a political scandal — me and Louis C.K. are finished.”

With brisk sales for the one-time event, and with prices reaching almost $200, Kashua already detects signs that the most innovative and popular American comic of the day is selling out the Arabs: he first announced his Israel concert on the Howard Stern radio show, Howard Stern whom Kashua calls “the shallow racist who thinks that if he were Israel he’s have eliminated all the citizens of Gaza in five minutes. Who claims that the Jews arrived at a totally empty place, that there were no inhabitants in that desert.”

Kashua sees the Louis C.K. visit as far more than a cultural event — to him this is a political event which legitimizes Israel’s policy, especially in Jerusalem, although the Pais Arena, where the concert is scheduled to take place, is just inside the ancient “green line” separating the pre- and post-1967 eternal city.

Kashua declared that he is suspending his binge watching of the Louis C.K. hit online for-pay series Horace and Pete until after the comic’s short tour of the holy land. “Only if he causes a political scandal that will dominate the local and world press, will I forgive him,” Kashua vowed. “And not something about a regional peace and a hope for equality, but the kind of criticism that would force the state leaders to enact anew law that bans the entry of artists who support free speech.”

Until then, Kashua promises, Louis C.K. can forget about his next three bucks.

Sayed Kashua was born in the Arab Israeli town of Tira. After a successful career as columnist for Ha’aretz and screenwriter for Israel TV (“Arab Labor”), in which he examined honestly and humorously his ambivalence as a successful Arab intellectual in Israel’s Jewish society, Kashua moved to Chicago, Illinois, with his wife and three children, to teach at the University of Chicago, as well as at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

David Israel

Jerusalem Light Rail Targeted by Arab Attackers

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Arab terrorists attacked the Jerusalem Light Rail in the evening on Tuesday.

The attackers hurled large rocks at the train as it passed through the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

None of the passengers were physically injured but at least one of the windows in a car on the train was smashed, requiring the train to be taken out of service.

The train is often attacked by Arabs in northern Jerusalem, costing the CityPass company that owns the rail line hundreds of thousands of shekels each year in repairs.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish-Muslim Medical Center to Rise at Ariel University

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Members of the board of governors of Ariel University visited President Reuven Rivlin Tuesday to announce the establishment of a new joint Jewish-Muslim regional medical center.

The initiative is being launched with the support of the Helmsley Trust, within the framework of the university’s School of Health Sciences.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Ariel University Chancellor Yigal Cohen-Orgad and Helmsley Trust representative Sandor Frankel were also at the meeting.

“It is clear to all that Ariel will be an integral part of Israel in any future agreement,” said President Rivlin, and congratulated those present on their work in developing the university and establishing the new medical center. The President stressed that the establishment of the ‘Judea and Samaria Academic College’ in Ariel 33 years ago, had been the result of a tremendous effort by many people, and said that he was therefore today especially pleased to welcome them as representatives of the ‘Ariel University’.

The President added that Ariel University, as its fellow universities, provided a first opportunity for significant interaction between the different communities in Israel – interaction and meetings that did not distinguish between religion, nationality, or sex, and were for the benefit of Israeli society as a whole.

With reference to the establishment of the regional medical center, the President stressed that this represented an opportunity to create genuine shared coexistence. He noted that while many had objected to the establishment of Ariel University, the new center was testament to the work of the university in serving to support coexistence, and build bridges of trust.

Hana Levi Julian

“Arab States Working with Israel to Replace Abbas with Dahlan”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Elder of Ziyon website}

From Middle East Eye:

The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan are planning for a post-Mahmoud Abbas era that would leave his Fatah archrival Mohammed Dahlan in control of the Palestinian presidency, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority, Middle East Eye has learned.

Senior Palestinian and Jordanian sources told MEE separately of the plan. Although there were differences in emphasis – the Jordanian source added caveats about Dahlan’s known weaknesses – they independently corroborated the existence of a joint plan of action.

Abbas has been a dominant figure in Palestinian politics since the 1990s and Palestinian president since 2005.

Dahlan is a former leader of the Palestinian political party Fatah who has been exiled from Gaza and the West Bank and has close ties to the UAE monarchy.

The UAE has already held talks with Israel about the strategy to install Dahlan, and the three parties will inform Saudi Arabia once they reach an agreement on its final shape.

The key objectives of the plan are to:

• unite and bolster Fatah for the forthcoming elections with Hamas
• weaken Hamas by dividing it into competing factions
• conclude a peace agreement with Israel with the backing of Arab states
• seize control of sovereign Palestinian institutions, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the PLO chairmanship and leadership of Fatah
• choreograph the return of Dahlan as the power behind the throne of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA)

One of the prime movers of the plan is Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who made clear to Jordan that differences over Palestinian President Abbas affected bilateral relations.

At one point, the Emiratis demanded the arrest of Abbas as well as a ban on him entering Jordan or using Jordan to travel abroad.

“The Emiratis, particularly Mohammed Bin Zayed, absolutely reject Abbas on the personal level, to the extent that they told the Jordanians explicitly that the reason the UAE is negative about Jordan is due to the fact that Jordan did not take a stand against Abbas,” a senior Palestinian source told MEE.

The three Arab countries have enumerated the steps needed to implement this plan and have allotted roles for each actor to play.

This is a fairly long and elaborate article, and it is intriguing, although I would take it with a large grain of salt.

There is no doubt that Dahlan is a wily politician who has a fair following, but since he was exiled his influence has waned. He is also a thug who has not hesitated to use violence against his political enemies when he was in charge of security in Gaza.

It does mention obstacles to Dahlan’s triumphant return:

  • He is considered to be unpopular among Palestinians and is accused of corruption and links to the Israeli security services.
  • His “zero sum” relationship with Abbas, who sees Dahlan as the main threat to his presidency, is also considered problematic, as is the fact that he works outside of the territory controlled by the PA.
  • The Jordanians believe the decision by Abbas to replace Yasser Abd Rabbuh as secretary to the PLO executive with Saeb Erekat shows Abbas is aware of the potential for a palace coup, and could work against Jordanian interests in Jerusalem.
  • It was, however, noted that Dahlan had influence in the Palestinian refugee camps inside Jordan and could constitute “an important card to impose control inside the camps.”
  • Weighing up the various pros and cons of Dahlan’s offer, Jordan opted to stall, according to the source.
  • The policy was to continue to enhance contacts with Dahlan and to show interest in embracing Fatah’s reconciliation, but to tell him to wait until after the US presidential elections and to ask for US help in pushing Abbas towards a reconciliation.

I have no idea if Israel supports Dahlan–it seems like a long shot. Positioning him as an alternative to Hamas when Abbas dies may make a little sense; Hamas leaders are more charismatic than Abbas’ heir apparent Saeb Erekat.

The article is detailed enough to make it seem at least a little plausible that such a plan is being hatched, although the chances of it actually being implemented seems very low.

Elder of Ziyon

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/elder-of-ziyon/arab-states-working-with-israel-to-replace-abbas-with-dahlan/2016/05/31/

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