7/8/09

The Politically Incorrect Guide to "Intifadah"

By: Jonathan Harris

The word intifadah literally means, “shaking off” and refers specifically to, “an uprising by Palestinian Arabs (in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) against Israel in the late 1980s and again in 2000.”(The Free Dictionary) The first intifadah began in 1987 as a result of violent outbreaks and misinformation. From December 6th to 9th, unrest progressively broke out in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, starting with the murder of an Israeli in Gaza who was merely shopping. The next day, four residents of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza were killed in a car accident. However, rumors started that Israelis had killed the four “Palestinians.” On December 9th, a Palestinian boy was killed by an Israeli solder, after the boy had attacked an army patrol with a Molotov cocktail (a glass bottle containing fuel with a source of ignition). As a result of this incident, mass rioting broke out in Jabalya. “Between December 9, 1987, and the signing of the Oslo accords (September 13, 1993), 160 Israelis were killed, including 100 civilians. Thousands more were injured.” (Al-Hamishmar) In fact, the rioting reached such radical proportions, that Palestinians started fighting among themselves as well. Initially, most of the Palestinian casualties were the result of clashes with Israeli forces, but that quickly changed as the chaos worsened. From 1990 to 1992, more Palestinians were killed by fellow Palestinians than Palestinians killed by Israelis. (Near East Report) The PLO itself tried to call an ending to the violence precisely for this reason. The NY Times reported in 1991 that, “When many Palestinians heard a knock at the door late at night they were relieved to find an Israeli soldier rather than a masked Palestinian standing outside.” Starting on December 13th of 1993, the violence fizzled out to lower levels when the Declaration of Principles was signed between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities. The goal of the Declaration were, “To establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. . . for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. . .” In return, the PLO formerly renounced terrorism during the Oslo accords that same year.

Violence broke out again however in 2000 during the second intifada. While there has been much misinformation claiming that prime minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the temple mount sparked violence, the Mitchell Report has stated, “The Sharon visit did not cause the ‘Al-Aksa Intifada.’” The day before Sharon’s visit, “an Israeli soldier was killed at the Netzarim Junction. The next day in the West Bank. . . a Palestinian police officer. . . opened fire and killed his Israeli counterpart.” (Bard) On September 29th, the Palestinian Authority closed schools and organized riots at the Temple Mount. On the 30th, during Rosh Hashanah, thousands of Arabs began throwing rocks at Jews busy praying. The violence spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “In October 2000, Palestinian mobs destroyed a Jewish shrine in Nablus – Joseph’s Tomb – tearing up and burning Jewish prayer books. They stoned worshipers at the Western Wall, and attacked Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem with firebombs and automatic weapons.” (Bard) During the span of the second Intifada, more than twice the amount of Israeli citizens died as ration to Israeli soldiers according to the IDF. Despite Sharon’s efforts to stop the fighting, Arafat would not make any concessions. Edward Walker, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for
Near East Affairs, stated in 2001 that, ““In contrast [to Ariel Sharon's concrete steps to ease the economic hardship of the Palestinians] we've seen absolutely no response from Arafat to our urgings to him to now bring the violence to a stop. . . he has called for the continuation of the intifada” (Jerusalem Post)

The intifadahs have done nothing but cause harm to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Former Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen even stated, “I think now that the intifada in its entirety was a mistake and it should not have continued....”(Jordan) The international community has been losing patience over Palestine’s violence, and the credibility of the PO is all but destroyed. The Gaza Strip and West Bank, both have demonstrated their failure at self-government, and it remains to be seen what the next step will be.

The Truth About the "6-Day" and "Yom Kippur" Wars

. . . And What Both Tell Us About The Arab/Israeli Conflict
By: Jonathan Harris

To say that the “1967” and the “Yom Kippur” events were two separate wars, can be misleading. In reality, both cases were two battles in the same war. The same players (Egypt, Jordan, and Syria) and motivations were present in both.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lybia, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Jordan all participated in conjunction with the traditional Arab forces during the Yom Kippur “War,” the majority of them committing troops. Clearly, something other than geographical location, and economic benefit was motivating the Arab world to make war. Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal nailed this point when he stated in the November 17th in 1972 edition of the Beirut Daily Star that, “All countries should wage war against the Zionists, who are there to destroy all human organizations and to destroy civilization and the work which good people are trying to do.” The cause of both wars ultimately was anti-Semitism. King Hussein of Jordan expressed this anti-Israeli unity when he announced in May of 1967 that, “The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel...to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.” (Leibler:60) Earlier in 1964, Nassar of Egypt expressed a congruent belief when he stated, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel as it is in the present and in what she represents.” (Harkabi:27) Popular myth indicates that the Arabs were merely trying to “liberate” the Palestinians. From the way in which they speak however, even using the term “wipe of the map,” as Nassar said, it should be clear that something much larger than “liberation” was at play.

It should come as no surprise that both wars were defensive on the part of Israel. There is no dispute that Israel was not the aggressor when in 1973. The 1967 war, though preemptive, was also defensive. Nassar’s quote above took place merely six days before Israel attacked Egypt, during which time “Approximately 250,000 troops (nearly half in Sinai), more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.” (Herzog:149) Israel’s only option was to strike first, utilizing the element of surprise, or become annihilated by the overwhelming superior forces.
Another interesting comparison has to do with the United Nations. It is interesting to look back on both conflicts and realize that the UN seemed to throw its support to the Arabs.When Nassar ordered the UN Security Force which had been stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1956 to withdraw, they completely followed his order, even though the General Assembly was never called. In addition, the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran was in direct violation of the “Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone” which was adopted by the UN in 1958. Why did the United Nations allow Egypt to break International law without voicing opposition? The only opposition came when Israel started to prevail. In the same way, the Yom Kippur War revealed a greater timidness. It wasn’t until the day that Israel was in a position to wipe out Egypt’s army that the UN called for a cease-fire. Thus, when Israel was losing, the UN did nothing.

The 1967 War saw a three-fold expansion in Israel’s size, and then a subsequent reduction when it was time for treaties to be signed. Clearly, Israel was willing to trade land for peace when it, “returned all of the Sinai to Egypt, territory claimed by Jordan was returned to the Hashemite Kingdom, and nearly all of the Gaza Strip and more than 40 percent of the West Bank was given to the Palestinians to establish the Palestinian Authority.” (Bard) Unfortunately, this did not settle the problem, because the same nations attacked Israel again in 1973. Similarly, Israel “gave up the passes and oil fields it had won from Egypt in 1973, in return for Egypt’s good word that war was not the answer.” (Goldschimidt :356)

A Brief Background to the Arab/Israeli Conflict

By: Jonathan Harris

Naturally, the beginning of tension between the Syrians (“Palestinians”) and Israelis dates back to ancient times, however the modern conflict can best be examined in a concise way by starting at the first Zionist congress in Basel in 1897. The conference was the result of a culmination of decades of awareness regarding Jewish persecution. Among the goals of the Zionists was the promotion the colonization of Palestine by Jewish farmers and industrial workers. The subsequent immigration (hastened by the Balfour Declaration) to Palestine from Jews in Europe is often attributed as the “problem” that kicked off the Arab-Israeli conflict. While this is partially true, in the sense that there was an orchestrated plan to return more Jews back to Israel, this reading of history is somewhat backwards. In truth, it was Islamic anti-Semitism and British apathy that caused most of the tension. Although the Arab standard of living increased between the World Wars as a result of Jewish development, little gratitude was extended. Such terrorists as Haj Amin el-Husseini organized fedayeen riots to intimidate Jewish settlers, and curtail Jewish immigration. His tactics worked. In 1920, Husseini started a riot in Jerusalem against the Jews, to which the British reaction was withdrawing its police force. Jewish shops were looted and destroyed. After Husseini’s arrest, he was subsequently pardoned by the British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel and appointed to the position of “Grand Mufti.” The Arab riots of 1921 and 1929 inspired the Passfield White Paper which blamed the Jews for their “immigration, land purchase, and settlement policies.” (Halpern: 201) Subsequently, the British placed even more restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases. Even though over 90% of the land allotted to Jewish immigrants from 1880 to 1947 was purchased by the Jews themselves, and even though the restricted Jewish immigration dwarfed the unrestricted Arab immigration between 1915 and 1922, Muslims aggressively promoted the idea that Israel was “stealing their land.” In April of 1936, the Syrian commander of the Arab Liberation Army, Fawzi al-Qawukji, conducted a violent campaign against the Jews, killing and wounding over 300 people. In response, the British conducted the Peel Commission. The commission’s conclusion was that the food shortage (which was the supposed outbreak) was “due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population.” (Palestine Royal Commission Report: 242) To solve the growing rift, plans such as the “The White Paper” in 1939 were issued for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state. The Arabs of course rejected any plan which also set up a Jewish state (even though the Arab minority living in Jewish areas was offered representation in the government).



The next development came in 1942 with the creation of the “Biltmore Program,” sponsored by American Zionists who openly demanded a Jewish state in Palestine. The Jewish resistance began to mount, culminating in the bombing of the King David Hotel (to destroy the documents) where the British Criminal Investigation was stationed. The anti-British (not anti-Arab) bombing was in retaliation for the seizure of secret documents from the Jewish Agency and the arrest of 2,500 Jews across Palestine. Though the Hotel was called multiple times by Irgun as an evacuation warning, the threat was not taken seriously and 91 people were killed, 15 Jews among them. The Arabs quickly added this incident to their repertoire of Israeli atrocities.

In 1947 the Palestinian Partition Plan was adopted by the United Nations, forming the nation of Israel in the areas dominated by Jews. Britain subsequently withdrew, and multiple Arab nations attacked the new country. Of course, Israel miraculously defeated Her enemies, expanded her border, and fights still today for Her survival among the Middle Eastern Islamic nations.

Zionism: Imperialist Tyrrany or Reasonable Settlement?

By: Jonathan Harris

Zionism is the term used to describe those who believe that the Jewish people possess a special right to claim specifically Israel as their national homeland. Although there have been plans proposed to create Jewish states in other parts of the world, such as Theodor Herzl’s Uganda proposal, such plans have been temporary (and unsuccessful) measures meant to be means to an end, that end being the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Modern Zionists base their claim to Israel on four major premises:

1. The Jewish people settled and developed Israel. Before the time of major Jewish immigration (even though there were still many Jews who traced their lineage back to ancient times living in Palestine) Palestine was an arid third-world part of the planet for all intensive purposes. In 1867, on a trip in Palestine, Mark Twain observed, “...[a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse....” (Twain) It wasn’t until Jewish immigration that the economic situation started to turn around. Sherif Hussein noted that, “The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants.” (Katz: 128) The native Palestinians left this depressed area, but the non-native Jews fled to it.

2. The international community recognized the Jewish claim to Israel. The United Nations is responsible for the partitioning of Palestine as a Jewish State. The originator of international support was Great Britain which in 1917 released the Balfour Declaration, recognizing the “historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine.”

3. Jewish land gains resulted from defensive wars. Whether it’s the War of 1948, The Six Day War, or War of Attrition, etc., Israel has always been provoked into a defensive position which simultaneously resulted in expanded borders (even though the international community has convinced Israel to give up much of its holdings for “peace.”)

4. Abraham’s seed was promised Israel by God. To take religion out of the equation would be a catastrophic mistake when referring to Arab-Israeli relations. The Jewish nation is the oldest surviving people group to possess a historically verifiable claim to inhabiting Palestine, and it was Jehovah who gave them their claim.

Zionism’s roots date back to the mid-late 1800s. A German socialist, Moses Hess, wrote Rome and Jerusalem in 1862 advocating Jewish socialism in the land of Israel. Leon Pinksker authored Auto-Emancipation in 1882 as a statement regarding the persecution of Jews in Russia. Pinksker’s solution to both the Czarist and international persecution was a Jewish state in Palestine. His book prompted an activist movement that started in Russia and spread. Zionist groups started forming, and the first aliya took place. The first international Zionist Congress, prompted by Theodor Herzl’s book Der Judenstaat (1896) took place in 1897. During the conference, the goals of Zionism were established. Throughout the rest of history, up to the official formation of Israel, persecutions in mainly European nations sent Jewish settlers to Palestine, joining their kindred natives, and reestablishing themselves. It may surprise some that at first, intellectual Arabs were welcoming to Zionist goals. During the First Arab Congress held in Paris in June 1913, the President of the Congress, Abd-ul-Hamid Yahrawi, stated that, “All of us, both Muslims and Christians, have the best of feelings toward the Jews. . . and we regard them as Syrians who were forced to leave the country at one time but whose hearts always beat together with ours.” (Cohen: 97) Yahrawi went on to highlight the benefits of Jewish immigration to Palestine. Therefore, it can be states that there were in fact Arab Zionists!
Zionism inspired settlement, development, and democracy in the Middle East. Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists were not concerned with driving the Syrian (Palestinians) out. Chaim Weizmann’s commissions to Palestine and Syria in 1918 and 1921 (and all subsequent efforts) were designed to foster a mutual understanding between the Arabs and Jews. Unfortunately, though the efforts seemed successful at first, Arab nations quickly opposed the plan.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...