Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The lying deceitful Palestinians

The Palestinian deception
Op-ed: Palestinians speak language of peace to West, preach hate and war in Arabic
Yochanan Visser, Sharon Shaked
Published: 12.28.11, 11:10 / Israel Opinion

Eighteen years have passed since the signing of the Oslo accords, and it seems justifiable to reach the conclusion that there will be no final-status agreement that will solve the Arab Israeli conflict in the foreseeable future.

The recent reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – including the announcement that Hamas will join the PLO - is further evidence that Mahmoud Abbas was never sincere in pursuing a peace agreement with Israel.

New Mideast?
Hamas is changing / Raphael Mimoun
Op-ed: Israel should consider new strategy towards increasingly pragmatic Hamas movement
Full story
Now that the chimera of a “peace process” has been exposed, the time has come to finally face the truth.

The Palestinian leadership has deceived Israel and the international community by speaking the language of “peace” to Western English-speaking audiences, while continually preaching hate and war to their own people in Arabic.

Duplicity and deceit have long concealed the true intentions of the Palestinian Authority, but its most recent actions and rhetoric have definitively revealed that it is not truly interested in peace and reconciliation with the Jewish state.

'Intelligent resistance'
A recent example of Palestinian deception is the manner in which the PA officially explains its refusal to negotiate with Israel.

The decision not to negotiate has been presented as a result of the Israeli insistence on building in the settlements while, in reality, the deadlock is the result of a revised policy that the PA adopted more than two years ago.

This revised policy was discussed by the Palestine Strategy Group and formed the basis for the 13th program of the Palestinian Authority published in 2009.

The program calls for "intelligent resistance" – meaning law fare, boycott campaigns and propaganda – as a means of continuing the struggle against Israel.

While terror has always been the main Palestinian weapon against Israel, under Abbas’ leadership the strategy changed, and political warfare has proven to be more successful in winning over the international community to the Palestinian cause.

But there is more. Other factors, which were not openly discussed by the Palestinians, contributed significantly to the failure of the peace process.

The absence of truth in Palestinian politics and society is one of those factors. Jihad or Ribat (a religious war for Allah), and Islamic anti-Semitism (including incitement against Jews and Israel) are the others.

Confusing the world
Ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, deception has been a tactic to confuse Israel and the rest of the world.

Conflicting reports about the meaning of Hamas’ membership in the PLO issued recently by Fatah and Hamas leaders are the latest example of this tactic of deception, which is called al-Taqiyya and is primary based on the Koran.

According to the authoritative Arab text, Al-Taqiyya Fi Al-Islam, “Taqiyyah (deception) is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it…Taqiyyah is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.”

Muhammad first practiced Taqiyyah during the Battle of the Trench (627AD,) which pitted his army against several non-Muslim tribes known as “the Confederates.”

Arafat referred repeatedly to the use of Taqiyyah by Muhammad when he spoke about the Oslo accords to Islamic audiences.

'We will drive them out'
Fatah leader, Abbas Zaki, has repeatedly revealed the duplicity of the PA leaders.

On April 9th 2008 he told NBN TV the following: “The PLO has not changed its platform even one iota….The PLO proceeds through phases…..Allah willing we will drive them out of all of Palestine.

The same Zaki said the following this year on Lebanon TV: “When we say that the settlement should be based upon these (1967) borders, President (Abbas) understands, we understand, and everybody knows that the greater goal cannot be accomplished in one go. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, evacuates the 650,000 settlers and dismantles the wall – what will become of Israel? It will come to an end."

He then said: "It is not acceptable policy to say that we want to wipe Israel out. Don’t say these things to the world, keep it to yourself."

Mahmoud Abbas is less outspoken but is no less involved in deceiving the international community. Take for example an interview with European reporters about the unity agreement with Hamas two weeks ago, in which he said the following:

"We set the agreement's pillars, and Hamas agreed with us that resistance will be popular and adopt peaceful ways, rather than military resistance.” Peaceful resistance?

Well, when Hamas celebrated its 23th anniversary in Gaza the same week, Hamas PM Haniyeh called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to start a war to liberate Jerusalem He also said the following:

“We affirm that armed resistance is our strategic option and the only way to liberate our land, from the (Mediterranean) sea to the River (Jordan.) God willing, Hamas will lead the people… to the uprising until we liberate Palestine, all of Palestine”.

Water issues
Deception and incitement have also been the hallmark of the way Palestinians inform the world about the day-to-day situation in the West Bank and in Gaza.

This summer our organization, Missing Peace, revealed that the PA continually lies about water issues in the West Bank in order to advance the narrative of Israeli repression and Palestinian victimhood.

Additionally, the PA has actually failed to implement approved water projects and ignored undeniable evidence of Palestinian water theft.

Reports by individual Palestinian citizens or Palestinian NGOs often contain similar false claims.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Media Watch just published a book titled Deception, which documents the hate, incitement and promotion of violence by PA officials and media.

The book also demonstrates how the Palestinian public, and especially children, are brainwashed into believing the most outrageous lies about Palestinian history, Israel and the Jews.

The book also recounts a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and president Obama in the White House on June 9, 2010. During that meeting Abbas said:

“And I say in front of you, Mr. President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and we’re not doing that.”

Until now, large parts of the international community have ignored the evidence about the Palestinian deception and insist that the conflict is about territorial claims. Yet it is not. This conflict is about the existence of a Jewish state in the Dar al-Islam (territory of Islam).

The EU even raised its contribution to the PA by €100 million for 2012 and keeps admonishing Israel for building activities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

If foreign interlocutors like the EU are serious about ending the conflict they should first insist that the PA end incitement and confront the clear pattern of deception by Palestinian leaders.

Yochanan Visser is the Director of Missing Peace Middle East News and writer of 'Israel indicted' a recently published book about the cognitive war against Israel (Dutch language)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gingrich points out FALSE narrative of Palestinians

The Gingrich Syndrome

By: Yedidya Atlas

In 1949, Princeton University Press, published the Fifth Revised Printing, of the original 1943 history book “The Arabs: A Short History” by Professor Philip Khuri Hitti, Professor of Semitic Languages and Chairman of the Department of Oriental Languages at Princeton University. Credited with almost single handedly created the discipline of Arabic Studies in the United States, Hitti, born in Ottoman Syria (now modern day Lebanon), was the preeminent scholar of Islam and the Arab world of his day.
It seems that some people (including some in the media) have short memories...

A proponent of the Arab cause against the Jews and Zionism, Hitti was the first Arab to testify against the Partition Plan at the 1946 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, where he took Ben-Gurion to task for his testimony about “Palestine” (referring to the Jews). Hitti declared: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” And in fact, in the aforementioned “The Arabs: A Short History” there is no mention of whatsoever of an Arab “Palestinian People” even though the particular volume in this writer’s possession was printed in 1966. Despite its numerous revisions, including after the founding the 1948 founding of the State of Israel, Professor Philip K. Hitti, a world renowned spokesman for the Arab cause for many years, made no revision to include the now oft-mentioned Arab “Palestinian People” in later editions of his book on Arab history.

In fact, the name “Palestine”, or “Palaestina” in Latin, originated in the second century C.E., after the Roman occupiers crushed the Jewish revolt of Bar Kochba. In an effort to subsequently wipe out Jewish connection to the Land, the Romans renamed the occupied Jewish Land of Israel as“Syria Palaestina” (after “Philistina” – the land where the Philistines, ancient enemies of the Jewish People, had dwelled in what is today Israel’s coastal plain and Gaza) and considered southern Syria, ruled by a Roman Governor in Damascus. Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina”, Shechem, which had, like Jerusalem, been burnt to the ground and rebuilt by the Romans was renamed “Neapolis” (or “the New City” in Latin). Owing to the lack of the letter “P” in Arabic, “Palestine”, is today referred to by Arabs as “Filastin”, and the Arab name for Jewish Shechem, “Nablus” was another Arab mispronunciation of the Roman name Neapolis.

In brief, the name of the nationality of the so-called Arab “Palestinian People” is not even derived from their own language, Arabic. They have no distinctive national history, culture or even cuisine that distinguishes them from other Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt. No one can name the first, last, or any Arab Palestinian king, during the long centuries they falsely claim to have existed prior to the return en masse of the Jews to the Biblical Land of Israel in the past 200 years. Hence, Arab Palestinian national existence is demonstratively a recent development at best.

So the responses to the recent remarks of former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and current Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, regarding the historical bona fides, or lack thereof, of the “Palestinian People” is more telling than the actual remarks.
After all, what did he say?
“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century. I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israelnow since the 1940s, and it's tragic.”
Mr. Gingrich, who has a PhD. in history and taught it at the college level for a number of years prior to his decades long political career, has sufficient academic credentials for one to assume he has read at least a few serious books in his life on the subject, and can easily document the accuracy of his declaration. Moreover, as proven above, he didn’t say anything all that earth shattering per se.
The Palestinian Arab leadership, of course, challenged the veracity of the Gingrich remarks with the usual oft-repeated falsehoods:
"Our people have been here since the very beginning and are determined to stay on their land until the very end." And that Gingrich was “denying historical facts.” (Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad)
Also, of course, they labeled Mr. Gingrich, as “ignorant and racist” for challenging the politically correct albeit false Palestinian narrative.
Unsurprisingly, some media outlets attempted to undercut the historical accuracy of the Gingrich remarks. The Reuters report included the following paragraph:
“Most historians mark the start of Palestinian Arab nationalist sentiment in 1834, when Arab residents of the Palestinian region revolted against Ottoman rule.”
The key words being, of course, “most historians” in an effort to convince the reader that Gingrich’s statement was really just politically motivated and not a well documented historical fact. In reality said “most historians”is really the politically correct wishful thinking of two of Israel’s leftist “new historians” Baruch Kimerling and Joel Migdal in their book “The Palestinian People: A History” (Harvard University Press, 2003). There they write:
“The tough rule and new reforms led to the 1834 revolt’s outbreak in the heart of the country, uniting dispersed Bedouins, rural sheiks, urban notables, mountain fellaheen, and Jerusalem religious figures against a common enemy. It was these groups who would later constitute the Palestinian people.” (pp.3-20, p.7)
The “common enemy” was the Egyptian forces led by Ibrahim Pasha that had conquered much of the country in 1830 from Ottoman rule. The baseless assertion that “these groups who would later constitute the Palestinian people” is vacuous at best, if not deliberate false propaganda to lend credence to the “Palestinian People” myth propagated by Israel’s enemies in an effort to challenge the well documented Jewish connection to the Land. And although even Kimmerling and Migdal don’t buy into the official false history of today’s Palestinian Arab propaganda machine, their book nonetheless, achieved its purpose since it gives Reuters and other media outlets the “academic” basis to muddy the waters of historical accuracy and give the false impression that these issues are in dispute and Mr. Gingrich and anyone who agrees with his statement is in the minority and assumedly with a politically motivated bias against the “poor Palestinians.”
Much has been written in the past week or so in defense of Mr. Gingrich’s historically accurate assertions by top columnists in both Israel and theUnited States, but what no one discusses is the “true sin” of Mr. Gingrich. It is not merely that he has publicly noted that the “Palestinian Arab emperor” has no clothes, but that he, who may well be the next president of the United States, has, in essence, argued that documented truth, and not a politically correct false version of a so-called narrative, should be the basis of the reality upon which negotiations take place. In brief, that the so-called “Israel-Palestinian Conflict” is not a level playing field with equal moral and historical claims to a “disputed” Land.
He didn’t challenge the rights of the parties to negotiate a solution acceptable to both parties. He simply asserted that truth counts in policy making. What a remarkable idea!
The criticism leveled at Mr. Gingrich by even his fellow Republican contenders is that by speaking the truth about an important subject, it is making today’s realpolitik approach to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, for example, more difficult – even for Israel! As if the Israeli position would not be strengthened by an American administration that would reject the false narrative of its enemies. Thus far, administrations that accept the Palestinian “Big Lie” invariably pressure Israel to make tangible and irrevocable concessions that threaten her very existence.

The logical extension of Mr. Gingrich’s “sin” is that not only should truth and morality be factors in making national policy, next he might suggest that political leaders should face reality and deal with it accordingly instead of making policy on delusional wishful thinking. Who does he think he is?
The author is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

reaction to the invented palestinians

Our World: Gingrich’s fresh hope
12/12/2011 23:20

Gingrich's statement about the Palestinians was entirely accurate. That is, the Palestinian people were invented 91 years ago.

Talkbacks (100)
Last Friday, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, did something revolutionary. He told the truth about the Palestinians. In an interview with The Jewish Channel, Gingrich said that the Palestinians are an “invented” people, “who are in fact Arabs.”

His statement about the Palestinians was entirely accurate. At the end of 1920, the “Palestinian people” was artificially carved out of the Arab population of “Greater Syria.” “Greater Syria” included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. That is, the Palestinian people were invented 91 years ago. Moreover, as Gingrich noted, the term “Palestinian people” only became widely accepted after 1977.

As Daniel Pipes chronicled in a 1989 article on the subject in The Middle East Quarterly, the local Arabs in what became Israel opted for a local nationalistic “Palestinian” identity in part due to their sense that their brethren in Syria were not sufficiently committed to the eradication of Zionism.

Since Gingrich spoke out on Friday, his factually accurate statement has been under assault from three directions. First, it has been attacked by Palestinian apologists in the postmodernist camp. Speaking to CNN, Hussein Ibish from the American Task Force on Palestine argued that Gingrich’s statement was an outrage because while he was right about the Palestinians being an artificial people, in Ibish’s view, Israelis were just as artificial. That is, he equated the Palestinians’ 91-year-old nationalism with the Jews’ 3,500-year-old nationalism.

In his words, “To call the Palestinians ‘an invented people’ in an obvious effort to undermine their national identity is outrageous, especially since there was no such thing as an ‘Israeli’ before 1948.”

Ibish’s nonsense is easily dispatched by a simple reading of the Hebrew Bible. As anyone semi-literate in Hebrew recognizes, the Israelis were not created in 1948. Three thousand years ago, the Israelis were led by a king named David. The Israelis had an independent commonwealth in the Land of Israel, and their capital city was Jerusalem.

The fact that 500 years ago King James renamed the Israelis “Israelites” is irrelevant to the basic truth that there is nothing new or artificial about the Israeli people. And Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, did not arise in competition with Arab nationalism. Zionism has been a central feature of Jewish identity for 3,500 years.

THE SECOND line of attack against Gingrich denies the veracity of his claim. Palestinian luminaries like the PA’s unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told CNN, “The Palestinian people inhabited the land since the dawn of history.”

Fayyad’s historically unsubstantiated claim was further expounded on by Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dmitri Diliani in an interview with CNN. “The Palestinian people [are] descended from the Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites that inhabited the ancient site of Jerusalem as early as 3200 BCE,” Diliani asserted,

The Land of Israel has the greatest density of archeological sites in the world. Judea, Samaria, the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan Heights and other areas of the country are packed with archeological evidence of the Jewish commonwealths. As for Jerusalem, literally every inch of the city holds physical proof of the Jewish people’s historical claims to the city.

To date, no archeological or other evidence has been found linking the Palestinians to the city or the Jebusites.

From a US domestic political perspective, the third line of attack against Gingrich’s factual statement has been the most significant. The attacks involve conservative Washington insiders, many of whom are outspoken supporters of Gingrich’s principal rival for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

To date, the attackers’ most outspoken representative has been Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. These insiders argue that although Gingrich spoke the truth, it was irresponsible and unstatesmanlike for him to have done so.

As Rubin put it on Monday, “Do conservatives really think it is a good idea for their nominee to reverse decades of US policy and deny there is a Palestinian national identity?” In their view, Gingrich is an irresponsible flamethrower because he is turning his back on a 30- year bipartisan consensus. That consensus is based on ignoring the fact that the Palestinians are an artificial people whose identity sprang not from any shared historical experience, but from opposition to Jewish nationalism.

The policy goal of the consensus is to establish an independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River that will live at peace with Israel.

This policy was obsessively advanced throughout the 1990s until it failed completely in 2000, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s and then US president Bill Clinton’s offer of Palestinian statehood and began the Palestinian terror war against Israel.

BUT RATHER than acknowledge that the policy – and the embrace of Palestinian national identity at its heart – had failed, and consider other options, the US policy establishment in Washington clung to it for dear life. Republicans like Rubin’s mentor, former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, went on to support enthusiastically Israel’s surrender of Gaza in 2005, and to push for Hamas participation in the 2006 Palestinian elections. That withdrawal and those elections catapulted the jihadist terror group to power.

The consensus that Gingrich rejected by telling the truth about the artificial nature of Palestinian nationalism was based on an attempt to square popular support for Israel with the elite’s penchant for appeasement. On the one hand, due to overwhelming public support for a strong US alliance with Israel, most US policy-makers have not dared to abandon Israel as a US ally.

On the other hand, American policy-makers have been historically uncomfortable having to champion Israel to their anti-Israel European colleagues and to their Arab interlocutors who share the Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

The policy of seeking to meld an anti-Israel Arab appeasement policy with a pro-Israel anti-appeasement policy was embraced by successive US administrations until it was summarily discarded by President Barack Obama three years ago. Obama replaced the two-headed policy with one of pure Arab appeasement.

Obama was able to justify his move because the two-pronged policy had failed. There was no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The price of oil had skyrocketed, and US interests throughout the region were increasingly threatened.

For its part, Israel was far more vulnerable to terror and war than it had been in years. And its diplomatic isolation was acute and rising.

Unfortunately for both the US and Israel, Obama’s break with the consensus has destabilized the region, endangered Israel and imperiled US interests to a far greater degree than they had been under the failed dual-track policy of his predecessors. Throughout the Arab world, Islamist forces are on the rise.

Iran is on the verge of becoming a nuclear power.

The US is no longer seen as a credible regional power as it pulls its forces out of Iraq without victory, hamstrings its forces in Afghanistan, dooming them to attrition and defeat, and abandons its allies in country after country.

The stark contrast between Obama’s rejection of the failed consensus on the one hand and Gingrich’s rejection of the failed consensus on the other hand indicates that Gingrich may well be the perfect foil for Obama.

Gingrich’s willingness to state and defend the truth about the nature of the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the perfect response to Obama’s disastrous speech “to the Muslim world” in Cairo in June 2009. It was in that speech that Obama officially abandoned the bipartisan consensus, abandoned Israel and the truth about Zionism and Jewish national rights, and embraced completely the lie of Palestinian nationalism and national rights.

Both Rubin and Abrams, as well as Romney, justified their attacks on Gingrich and their defense of the failed consensus by noting that no Israeli leaders were saying what Gingrich said. Rubin went so far as to allege that Gingrich’s words of truth about the Palestinians hurt Israel.

This is of course absurd. What many Americans fail to recognize is that Israeli leaders are not as free to tell the truth about the nature of the conflict as the US is. Rather than look to Israel for leadership on this issue, American leaders would do well to view Israel as the equivalent of West Germany during the Cold War. With half of Berlin occupied by the Red Army and West Berlin serving as the tripwire for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, West German leaders were not as free to tell the truth about the Soviet Union as American leaders were.

Today, with Jerusalem under constant political and terror threat, with all of Israel increasingly encircled by Islamist regimes, and with the Obama administration abandoning traditional US support for Israel, it is becoming less and less reasonable to expect Israel to take the rhetorical lead in telling important and difficult truths about the nature of its neighbors.

When Romney criticized Gingrich’s statement as unhelpful to Israel, Gingrich replied, “I feel quite confident that an amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth about the war they are in the middle of, and the casualties they are taking and the people around them who say, ‘They do not have a right to exist and we want to destroy them.’” And he is absolutely right. It was more than nice.

It was heartening.

Thirty years of pre-Obama American lying about the nature of the conflict in an attempt to balance support for Israel with appeasement of the Arabs did not make the US safer or the Middle East more peaceful. A return to that policy under a new Republican president will not be sufficient to restore stability and security to the region.

And the need for such a restoration is acute. Under Obama, the last three years of US abandonment of the truth about Israel for Palestinian lies has made the region less stable, Israel more vulnerable, the US less respected and US interests more threatened.

Gingrich’s statement of truth was not an act of irresponsible flame throwing. It was the beginning of an antidote to Obama’s abandonment of truth and reason in favor of lies and appeasement. And as such, it was not a cause for anger. It was a cause for hope.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Was Newt right about the "invented peole"

WAS NEWT RIGHT about the invented people?
Jewish World Review
The Year the Arabs Discovered Palestine
By Daniel Pipes
(From our Sept. 14, 2000 issue) | Today is the day when a Palestinian state was nearly declared - for the third time.
On October 1, 1948, the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Husseini, stood before the Palestine National Council in Gaza and declared the existence of an All-Palestine Government.
In theory, this state already ruled Gaza and would soon control all of Palestine. Accordingly, it was born with a full complement of ministers to lofty proclamations of Palestine's free, democratic, and sovereign nature. But the whole thing was a sham. Gaza was run by the Egyptian government, the ministers had nothing to oversee, and the All-Palestine Government never expanded anywhere. Instead, this fa�ade quickly withered away.
Almost exactly forty years later, on November 15, 1988, a Palestinian state was again proclaimed, again at a meeting of the Palestine National Council.
This time, Yasser Arafat called it into being. In some ways, this state was even more futile than the first, being proclaimed in Algiers, almost 3,000 kilometers and four borders away from Palestine, and controlling not a centimeter of the territory it claimed. Although the Algiers declaration received enormous attention at the time (the Washington Post's front-page story read "PLO Proclaims Palestinian State"), a dozen years later it is nearly as forgotten as the Gazan declaration that preceded it.
In other words, today's declaration of a Palestinian state would have retreaded some well-worn ground.
We do not know what today's statement would have said, but like the 1988 document it probably would have claimed that "the Palestinian Arab people forged its national identity" in distant antiquity.
In fact, the Palestinian identity goes back, not to antiquity, but precisely to 1920. No "Palestinian Arab people" existed at the start of 1920 but by December it took shape in a form recognizably similar to today's.
Until the late nineteenth century, residents living in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean identified themselves primarily in terms of religion: Moslems felt far stronger bonds with remote co-religionists than with nearby Christians and Jews. Living in that area did not imply any sense of common political purpose.
Then came the ideology of nationalism from Europe; its ideal of a government that embodies the spirit of its people was alien but appealing to Middle Easterners. How to apply this ideal, though? Who constitutes a nation and where must the boundaries be? These questions stimulated huge debates.
Some said the residents of the Levant are a nation; others said Eastern Arabic speakers; or all Arabic speakers; or all Moslems.
But no one suggested "Palestinians," and for good reason. Palestine, then a secular way of saying Eretz Yisra'el or Terra Sancta, embodied a purely Jewish and Christian concept, one utterly foreign to Moslems, even repugnant to them.
This distaste was confirmed in April 1920, when the British occupying force carved out a "Palestine." Moslems reacted very suspiciously, rightly seeing this designation as a victory for Zionism. Less accurately, they worried about it signaling a revival in the Crusader impulse. No prominent Moslem voices endorsed the delineation of Palestine in 1920; all protested it.
Instead, Moslems west of the Jordan directed their allegiance to Damascus, where the great-great-uncle of Jordan's King Abdullah II was then ruling; they identified themselves as Southern Syrians.
Interestingly, no one advocated this affiliation more emphatically than a young man named Amin Husseini. In July 1920, however, the French overthrew this Hashemite king, in the process killing the notion of a Southern Syria.
Isolated by the events of April and July, the Moslems of Palestine made the best of a bad situation. One prominent Jerusalemite commented, just days following the fall of the Hashemite kingdom: "after the recent events in Damascus, we have to effect a complete change in our plans here. Southern Syria no longer exists. We must defend Palestine."
Following this advice, the leadership in December 1920 adopted the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state. Within a few years, this effort was led by Husseini.
Other identities - Syrian, Arab, and Moslem - continued to compete for decades afterward with the Palestinian one, but the latter has by now mostly swept the others aside and reigns nearly supreme.
That said, the fact that this identity is of such recent and expedient origins suggests that the Palestinian primacy is superficially rooted and that it could eventually come to an end, perhaps as quickly as it got started.

Friday, September 16, 2011

High Life Sept 17

Hints of High Life Sprout in Poverty-Stricken Gaza - Crispian Balmer (Reuters)
A smart hotel which aspires to five-star service, a shopping outlet that boasts Gaza's first in-store escalator and a sparkling supermarket stocked to the rafters have all opened their doors this summer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Obama implements DREAM Act by executive fiat.

Obama implements DREAM Act by executive fiat. And our D - Illinois Senator Dickhead Turban is a sponsor.

Editorial: Obama's Amnesty-Light Is A Bad Dream

Posted 08/19/2011 06:45 PM ET

Immigration: Unable to get "comprehensive immigration reform" past Congress, the White House announces it will halt deportations on a case-by-case basis for some illegal aliens. Don't enforce the law and they will come.

Following a pattern of making law by regulation and executive order, the Obama administration Thursday announced it will impose a version of the Dream (development, relief and education for alien minors) Act on America through administrative fiat.

This is blatant political pandering in an election cycle at the expense of American citizens.

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress she has authority to halt deportation of illegal aliens not perceived to be a criminal threat as long as they meet certain criteria, such as attending school or having family in the military.

The new rules would cover up to 300,000 illegal aliens. In 2010, the government deported 200,000 with no criminal records. Under the new rules, most would now likely be allowed to stay and apply for permits.

Opposed by a majority of Americans and twice defeated in Congress, the federal Dream Act essentially grants amnesty to any illegal alien in America if they agree to enlist in the military or attend a U.S. college.

It's called a "path to citizenship," a path that leads right past the U.S. Border Patrol.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a sponsor of the federal Dream Act, praised the DHS announcement.

"These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and maybe senators who will make America stronger," he said in a statement.

So are the children of America's jobless. Many of their parents have given up hope of sending them to college, much less finding work. The focus should be on creating jobs for Americans, not those from other countries.

Durbin left out one important criterion — present and future voters. President Obama, taking a break from his 2012 re-election campaign to vacation at Martha's Vineyard while Americans scan the want ads, needs to secure his base, Hispanics included. Attracting votes and voters is what it's all about.

"If you look at immigrants from Mexico, they register 3-to-1 Democrat, so the Democratic Party is for easy citizenship and allowing them to vote," says Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

This is about making the Democratic Party, not America, strong. It's about inviting more people to climb aboard a boat that is sinking. Instead of asking itself where are the jobs, this White House is asking where are the illegal aliens and how can we keep them here?

"This plan amounts to backdoor amnesty for hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of illegal aliens," Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. We are a nation of laws, not men — or even immigrants.

Obama should focus on the American citizens who elected him, those struggling to keep their homes and their heads above water, those looking for jobs while the president looks for votes.

We need a president who respects them and the rule of law. 2012 can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rise of Gaza Middle Class Fuels Resentment toward Hamas Rulers, Say Wealth Isn't Tricking Down

Rise of Gaza Middle Class Fuels Resentment toward Hamas Rulers, Say Wealth Isn't Tricking Down
A budding middle class in the impoverished Gaza Strip is flaunting its wealth, sipping coffee at gleaming new cafes, shopping for shoes at the new tiny shopping malls, and fueling perhaps the most acrimonious grass roots resentment yet toward the ruling Hamas movement. The level of consumption may be modest by Western standards, but it's in startling contrast to the grinding poverty of most Gazans, who rely on U.N. food handouts to get by.
"There is a nouveau riche that has followed the rise of the government," said Alaa Araj, a former Gaza economic minister and businessman considered close to Hamas. "We must sound the alarm," he said. "(Resentment) is growing in Gaza." (AP/Washington Post)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New 5 star hotel opens

By Associated Press, Published: August 6

AL-SOUDANIA, Gaza Strip — The Gaza Strip’s first five-star hotel gleams with marble floors, five luxury restaurants and a breezy cafe overlooking the territory’s white sandy beaches and sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. The only thing missing are guests.

Nearly all of the newly opened hotel’s 222 rooms, decked out with ornate metal-worked lamps, flat screen televisions, oversized beds and sea views, sit empty. The tourists whom the developers expected to flood to Gaza when they launched the project 13 years ago are nowhere to be seen. Local residents, most of them living in poverty, can only dream of staying in the gleaming complex.

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The eight-story structure is an anomaly in Gaza, yet it cannot escape its surroundings. Residents riding donkey-driven carts occasionally trot by. Women cannot swim in the pool, in a nod to conservative Gaza tradition. There is no alcohol — banned by Hamas in line with Islamic law. On a recent day, two women in conservative Islamic headscarves and loose gowns sipped drinks by the pool, as children splashed inside.

Earlier this month, the hotel’

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The PA's economic revival

The PA's Economic Revival - Ron Ben-Yishai
12 new hotels have been built in Bethlehem in the past two years, and more are in the works. However, the real economic boom in the Palestinian Authority in recent years is taking place in northern Samaria, fueled by Arab Israelis who head there en masse to buy food, furniture and household items for up to half price compared to Israel. A large portion of the goods makes its way to Arab shops and malls in northern Israel (after paying duty at the Gilboa Crossing) and is sold for discounted prices. However, the PA is only able to fund about one-third of its annual budget through taxes. The rest comes from donor nations. (Ynet News

Thursday, July 7, 2011

even the New York Times knows 06/26/world/middleeast/26gaza. html

Building Boom in Gaza’s Ruins Belies Misery That Remains

By ETHAN BRONNER June 25, 2011

GAZA — Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.

As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla aimed at maintaining an international spotlight on Gaza and pressure on Israel, this isolated Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007.

“Things are better than a year ago,” said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.”
Ala al-Rafati, the economy minister for Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, said in an interview that nearly 1,000 factories are operating here, and he estimated unemployment at no more than 25 percent after a sharp drop in jobless levels in the first quarter of this year. “Yesterday alone, the Gaza municipality launched 12 projects for paving roads, digging wells and making gardens,” he said.

So is that the news from Gaza in mid-2011? Yes, but so is this: Thousands of homes that were destroyed in the Israeli antirocket invasion two and a half years ago have not been rebuilt. Hospitals have canceled elective surgery for lack of supplies. Electricity remains maddeningly irregular. The much-publicized opening of the Egyptian border has fizzled, so people remain trapped here. The number of residents living on less than $1.60 a day has tripled in four years. Three-quarters of the population rely on food aid.

Areas with as contested a history as this one can choose among anniversaries to commemorate. It has been four years since Hamas took over, prompting Israel and Egypt to impose a blockade on people and most goods. It is a year since a Turkish flotilla challenged the siege and Israeli commandos killed nine activists aboard the ships, leading to international outrage and an easing of conditions. And it is five years since an Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, was abducted and held in captivity without even visits from the Red Cross.

In assessing the condition of the 1.6 million people who live in Gaza, there are issues of where to draw the baseline and — often — what motivates the discussion. It has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.
“We have 100 percent vaccination; no polio, measles, diphtheria or AIDS,” said Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official here. “We’ve never had a cholera outbreak.”
The Israeli government and its defenders use such data to portray Gaza as doing just fine and Israeli policy as humane and appropriate: no flotillas need set sail.

Israel’s critics say the fact that the conditions in Gaza do not rival the problems in sub-Saharan Africa only makes the political and human rights crisis here all the more tragic — and solvable. Israel, they note, still controls access to sea, air and most land routes, and its security policies have consciously strangled development opportunities for an educated and potentially high-achieving population that is trapped with no horizon. Pressure needs to be maintained to end the siege entirely, they say, and talk of improvement is counterproductive.

The recent changes stem from a combination of Israeli policy shifts and the chaos in Egypt. The new Egyptian border policy has made little difference, but Egypt’s revolution and its reduced policing in the Sinai have had a profound effect.
For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs. A number of international projects are proceeding, but there is an urgent need for housing, street paving, schools, factories and public works projects, all under Hamas or the private sector, and Israel’s policy bans access to the goods to move those forward.

So in recent months, tunnels under the southern border that were used to bring in consumer goods have become almost fully devoted to smuggling in building materials. Sacks of cement and piles of gravel, Turkish in origin and bought legally in Egypt, are smuggled through the hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian security authorities no longer stop the smugglers. Streets are being paved and buildings constructed. “Mubarak was crushing us before,” said Mahmoud Mohammad, a subcontractor whose 10-man crew in Gaza City was unloading steel bars that were carried through the tunnels and were destined for a new restaurant. “Last year we were sitting at home. The contractor I work for has three major projects going.”
Nearby, Amer Selmi was supervising the building of a three-story, $2 million wedding hall. Most of his materials come from the tunnels.

Karim Gharbawi is an architect and building designer with 10 projects under way, all of them eight- and nine-story residential properties. He said there were some 130 engineering and design firms in Gaza. Two years ago, none were working. Today, he said, all of them are.

Another result of the regional changes is the many new cars here. Israel allows in 20 a week, but that does not meet the need. Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, driven through Egypt and sold via the unmonitored tunnels. Dozens of white Kia Sportage models, ubiquitous on the street, are widely thought to have come from the same dealership in Benghazi, Libya, that was looted after the uprising there began.

Hamas’s control of Gaza appears firmer than ever, and the looser tunnel patrols in Egypt mean greater access to weapons as well. But opinion surveys show that its more secular rival, Fatah, is more popular. That may explain why an attempt at political unity with Fatah is moving slowly: the Hamas leaders here are likely to lose their jobs. The hospital supply crisis is a direct result of tensions with Fatah in the West Bank, which has kept the supplies from being shipped here.

Efforts by fringe Islamist groups to challenge Hamas have had little effect. And it has been a year since the government unsuccessfully sought to impose tighter religious restrictions by banning women from smoking water pipes in public. On a recent afternoon in the new Carino’s restaurant — with billiards, enormous flat-screen televisions, buttery-soft chairs — women without head coverings were smoking freely.

But such places and people represent a wafer-thin slice of Gazan society, and focusing on them distorts the broader and grimmer picture.

Samah Saleh is a 21-year-old medical student who lives in the Jabaliya refugee camp. Her father, an electrician, is adding a second story to their house now that material is available from the tunnels. Ms. Saleh will get her own room for the first time in her life, but she views her good fortune in context.
“For the vast majority in Gaza, things are not improving,” she said. “Most people in Gaza remain forgotten.”

Fares Akram contributed reporting.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey NY

Far from representing a humanitarian effort, this flotilla is a political endeavor that will do little more than raise tensions and set back the peace process. Organizers’ rejection of Greece’s offer to transport humanitarian cargo in a legal manner reveals their true goal of making a political statement. It is a provocative, dangerous, and unnecessary action that endangers lives.
There are established ways to provide assistance to the residents of Gaza, and the humanitarian situation has improved significantly. Israeli expansion of civil policy toward the Gaza Strip has resulted in an increase in the range and scope of goods and materials flowing into and out of Gaza. Israel is also working with the international community and the Palestinian Authority to implement donor funded projects that help ensure the needs of the people of Gaza are met.
In fact, Gaza’s economy is growing. Recent reports detailed new infrastructure projects, including the building of roads, homes, and schools. Two new luxury hotels recently opened, and a new shopping mall is set to open this month. Yet despite economic development and access to goods and services, Hamas continues to deprive the poor in Gaza as a means of maintaining political power. Over 70 percent of people in Gaza still live below the poverty line, and unemployment sits at almost 25 percent.
The blockade is legal; Israel has the right to defend itself. Since June of 2010, there have been over 470 rocket and mortar shells launched at Israeli communities. These attacks are aided by illicit arms smuggled into Gaza as evidenced by the recent seizure, by Israeli and Egyptian authorities, of advanced military systems, weapons and ammunition headed for terrorist groups in Gaza. In order to provide security to its citizens, Israel must be allowed to screen cargo bound for Gaza for illegal arms and dual-use materials. . . .

Monday, July 4, 2011

NYT experiences luxury in Gaza

New cars, shopping malls, luxury hotels. A NYT reporter experiences life in Gaza.
by Moshe Ronen
When New York Times' Ethan Bronner came through the Erez crossing into the Gaza Strip last week, he expected something completely different.
This was not his first visit to the Strip. During the past three and a half years, Bronner, who heads the newspaper's Jerusalem bureau, visited the Palestinian enclave on several occasions.
During Operation Cast Lead he stayed in Gaza for two weeks and his visits usually last more than a day, as the border crossing closes at 3 pm.
Like other journalists who do not carry Israeli passports – Bronner, who received the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for a series of investigative reports about terrorist organization al-Qaeda – has no trouble getting into the Strip. The Erez Crossing is open six days a week and no one gave him a hard time.
"Even red sports cars can be seen roaming around the Strip."
With the spotlight diverted from Gaza in recent months, Bronner found himself traveling to other destinations. He spent a long time in Egypt and went to Bahrain to cover the uprisings in the Arab world.
When he arrived in Gaza this week, Bronner wrote, he was surprised to discover that on the eve of the second Gaza-bound aid flotilla – conditions in the Strip were much better than he had expected.
Shortage in four-wheel drive cars
The first thing that caught Bronner's attention were the "thousands of new cars plying the roads." Israel allows the import of a 20 cars a week, but according to the New York Times reporter, "That does not meet the need.
"Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, driven through Egypt and sold via the unmonitored tunnels," he said.
Gaza resident Yossef Nazal noted that "even red sports cars can be seen roaming around the Strip, not to mention motorcycles, especially three-wheeled motorcycles, which have become the latest fashion."
It turns out that unlike three or four years ago, when people speak about shortage, they don’t mean herbs, but rather four-wheel vehicles – one of the few items Israel does not allow into the Strip.
But cars are not the only indicator that things are better than they used to be. In his article, Bronner noted that "two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month," one of which is owned by Palestinian billionaire Munib al Masri.
"A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month," he writes, adding that "Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools" are also scheduled to be built in the upcoming year, in addition to a three-story wedding hall.
Omar Ghraib, a blogger from Gaza, writes that in order to comprehend the change that has been taking place in the Strip, it's enough to look at the butcher stalls in the market.
Local Gazans can buy Egyptian poultry, which is smuggled through the tunnels, for $1 per kilo, but most of them fear diseases and therefore opt for Israeli chickens, which are sold for $1-$2 per kilo or the more prestigious home-grown poultry, which are sold for $2-$3 per kilo.
In his article, Bronner confirms that most consumer goods still originate in Israel, and that “the siege on goods is now 60% to 70% over.”
Only 250 trucks pass through the crossing due to one simple, yet surprising reason – there isn’t enough demand.
Some 350 trucks are allowed to pass through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which has become the main transit hub for goods originating from Israel. However in practice, the number only reaches 250 because of one simple, yet surprising reason – there isn’t enough demand.
Import-export business
As part of the rise in living standards, Gaza merchants focus on importing more luxury goods such as tropical fish, bicycles, camping gear and plasma TVs, which come straight from Israel.
Once a week, some 70 Gaza traders travel to Israel to look for potential merchandise to import.
Even the export market, albeit still in small quantities, has boomed recently with strawberries, flowers, potatoes and cherry tomatoes being sold to Jordan and the Persian Gulf states. Gaza tradesmen now plan to resume exports of Furniture and textiles to the West Bank, as was done four years ago.
Despite the encouraging picture, Bronner notes that Israel still bans cement, steel and other construction material from entering the Strip "because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs.
"So in recent months, tunnels under the southern border that were used to bring in consumer goods have become almost fully devoted to smuggling in building materials," Bronner explains.
"Sacks of cement and piles of gravel, Turkish in origin and bought legally in Egypt, are smuggled through the hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian security authorities no longer stop the smugglers. Streets are being paved and buildings constructed," he notes.
"What we don’t get from Israel, we get through the tunnels, says Daud Harb, a merchant from the Strip, adding that the only thing currently missing in Gaza is freedom.
'Relative freedom if Hamas not provoked'
The Gazan summer is in full swing and the beaches, just like in Tel Aviv, are swarming with bathers. Families with children and hijab-clad women dip into the cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
On the warm evenings, people sit at coffee shops and internet cafes that are becoming abundant. One hand grasps the water-pipe while the other is typing status updates on Facebook. In the background, large screens are broadcasting live soccer matches from the English and Spanish Leagues.
The summer is also the official wedding season in Gaza, but young couples will have to wait another two weeks due to a ban imposed by Hamas, in order to prevent noise during high school matriculation exams.
For the same reason motorcyclists are not allowed to roam through the streets past 10 pm.
After all, Gaza 2011 is Hamas-ruled. The society has become more conservative, mosques have increased in number, Islamic education is fervently applied to daily life both formally and informally, and almost all media outlets have an Islamic nature.
"Sure, we have some crazy laws, like women can't drive motorcycles, sing provocative songs, giggle on the beach or smoke water pipes in public areas," says Ahmed Nazal, a resident of Rimal neighborhood, the Gazan equivalent of Ramat Aviv.
"But if you don’t provoke Hamas, you can live here pretty freely," he adds.
Bronner also notes that "Hamas’s control of Gaza appears firmer than ever, and the looser tunnel patrols in Egypt mean greater access to weapons as well. But opinion surveys show that its more secular rival, Fatah, is more popular."
This, the Jerusalem bureau chief notes, "may explain why an attempt at political unity with Fatah is moving slowly: Hamas leaders here are likely to lose their jobs."
Despite the improved image, Gaza is a far cry from being the Manhattan of the Middle East. While the economy did report a 15.2$ growth according to the International Monetary Fund, Ghraib notes that thousands of houses that were destroyed during Operation Cast Lead have yet to be rebuilt.
Frequent blackouts are also not an unusual phenomenon, some of them lasting between 6 and 8 hours daily.
Bronner finds it difficult to assess the condition of the 1.6 million people living in the Gaza Strip.
"There are issues of where to draw the baseline and — often — what motivates the discussion. It has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world," he notes.
Either way, the low emigration rates from Gaza indicate that despite the hardships, the congestion and the feeling of living under a siege, the locals still love Gaza and are willing to struggle in order to stay there.
Roni Shaked and Daniel Bettini contributed to this report. This article originally appeared on Yediot Ahronot's English news site