Thursday, April 06, 2006

Appendix H.
Belief statements that are a source of conflict

The appendix below is the result of some informal research conducted by the author on the conflict between Palestinian and Jewish People during his time in Europe, North America and Israel. The statements of resentment were compiled following the author’s discussions with Palestinians and Jews within Israel or in the diaspora. The responses to these statements are the author’s views.

Statements which cause Palestinian resentment.

Such myths held by some in the Israeli Jewish and wider community include:

i. There are no Palestinian people. There has never been a Palestinian nation.

How long has there been an American, German, Polish, Italian, Australian, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Taiwanese, Jordanian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Indonesian, East Timorese, Rwandan, Somali or Israeli nation? When was there a United Kingdom of Israel? A divided kingdom? When was there an East or West Germany, a North or South Vietnam? For how long will there be a North Korea and South Korea? History shows that national identities are fluid. They have a use for a particular point of time for a particular group of people in history

One’s national identity may be due to factors such as some geo-political decision or it may result from an individual’s personal choice, based on their ancestry and personal feeling. One’s perception of national identities such as German, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Kuwaiti, Jordanian, and Palestinian are also modern perceptions. A person who chooses to identify him/herself as Palestinian has equal legitimacy as another person who chooses to identify him/herself as any other national identity. They are just a tool used to distinguish one group from another. The tragedy of history is these names we give ourselves, have been used by some to denigrate and divide humanity rather than to unite and support.

ii. The vast majority of Palestinian people came to the region following the arrival of the Zionist Jews or following the British arrival (for example Herzl’s myth ‘A land without a people for a people without land‘).

For evidence against this myth see the population of ‘Israel’ table above. Alternatively checking Encyclopaedia Britannica pre-1914, (see ‘Palestine‘), checking Baedecker, the German travel writers books (post 1874), checking the Palestine: Royal Commission (1937) will quickly dispute such claims.

iii. Israel was not colonised by Jewish people.

The word colonisation, carries a negative connotation as a result of the disempowerment, killings and oppression by western European nations towards traditional communities in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania from the 1500-1900s.

For Israel, there is a tendency to deny Jewish people colonised this land. How can Jewish people colonise land that was rightfully theirs, is one related response. Such a response opens up a series of questions about who has the right to land, which is discussed under the following sub-heading.

However, whether one calls the changes in sovereignty to this region in the twentieth century an act of colonisation or re-colonisation, an ethnic majority did displace another group without the democratic consent of the ethnic majority. This happened to both the descendants of the present Jewish and Palestinian communities today. The present displacement process occurred primarily as a result of actions of the international community’s involvement, with a minor land purchase effort.

Use of the word colonization (a term which in the nineteenth and early twentieth century lacked its negative connotation) was made during the initial foundings of ‘Zion’. Objective number 1 as written in the programme for the First Zionist Congress (1897) called for “The promotion, on suitable lines of Colonisation of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers”. Secondly in 1899 the ‘Jewish Colonisation Association’ was formed following on from work by Edmond de Rothschilds and his early settlement works (Parkes 1970).

iv. Jewish people have a right to the land. Jewish people have a right to self-determination. Jewish people have a right to a national home. Jewish people. Jewish people have suffered persecution for generations - and they have a right to a place on the Earth where they can find security.

What rights do any people have to land? What rights do the indigenous or tribal groups of Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, Asia or Africa have to self-determination? What is evident from history is that people displace other people from land. Hebrews displace Canaanites, Romans displace Hebrews, Zulus displace Sothos. All land at one time or another was occupied by another group.

What is needed today is a compassionate attitude, by the displaced group and the empowered group. We need to consider the golden rule which could be expressed in this context as ‘my right to land - exists as long as I do not deny the rights of another to land.’ Recognising the similarities in our mutual global predicament may encourage more peaceful relations.

v. Jewish people have a God given right to the land.

Such a statement has encouraged acts of violence so frequently that it is necessary to rethink the usefulness of such a statement. A more practical question is:
· Where is the example of compassion my community can show to another community?
· How can I ensure my community can live out its cultural aspirations, in the same region as another community?

These are questions other communities around the world are seeking to discover. Israel is just another example of our multi-faith, multi-ethnic close-living world. All parties need a home. All parties wish to live out their culture. All parties wish to end the violence. Achievement of such aspirations might involve reflection of the following questions:

· What kind of justice involves the mutual exclusion of another group from a home?
· When is it appropriate to change traditional cultural teachings and aspirations?
· Why are necessary changes not to one’s culture not made to encourage harmony in this region?

vi. Jewish people bought the land legitimately from the Arab people, through groups such as the Jewish Agency.

According to Palestine Government (1945) in 1945 Jewish land ownership was 15%, Public land 19% and ‘Palestinian’ land 66%. Stewart (1972, p. 289) put Jewish land at a much lower figure, about 7% in 1948. He summarised Jewish land ownership as follows “in the thirty one years from the Balfour Declaration to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jews were only able to increase the proportion of Palestine they owned through purchase from around 2 to around 7 per cent of the total”.

vii. Arab people rejected wholeheartedly the Peel Partition Plan (1937) and the United Nations Partition plan (1947), while the Jewish Agency accepted it although it was a bare minimum.

Why did the 'Arabs’ (and the 13 other UN signatories) say no in 1947? The reason for this may be made clearer if one considers that two-thirds of British Palestine were non-Jewish in 1947 and that three decades before 90% of this region was non-Jewish. Also consider:

· The creation of a Jewish State had seemed counter to the status quo of the region for the previous two millennia.
· The creation of a Jewish State seemed counter to Macdonald’s White paper 1939 and the Anglo-American Committee’s report 1946.
· 70 % of the population was being given 46% of the land
· Almost 50% of the population of the proposed Jewish State was non-Jewish (if Jaffa had not been included as part of the Arab State then greater than 50% of the Jewish State would be non-Jewish (Khan 23 April 1948).
· No plebiscite was given - as the UN had done for Greece, Kashmir, Korea and Czechoslovakia (El-Khouria 15 May 1948).
· No mention was made in the partition plan of compensation for non-Jews in the Jewish State if they chose to leave.

Furthermore it is important to note that:

· The General Assembly Partition plan (29 Nov 1947) was initially to be voted on 26 August but the vote was postponed on two occasions until it was clear the necessary two-thirds majority (including abstentions) would be gained. The decisive votes were obtained from Haiti, Liberia and Philippines. Questionable lobbying by the US ensured their support (Smith 1947).

· The Partition Plan received 33 votes for 13 against (including from Greece, India and Pakistan) and 10 abstentions (including UK the mandatory state and China). It has been said that the British did not vote for partition as it would lead to war.

· The United Nations Security Council proposed to suspend the General Assembly’s 1947 Partition Plan (March 1948). It proposed Palestine to be placed under UN trusteeship until the communities were in a more conciliatory position. The UN Security Council was of the opinion that only through an international force could the General Assembly’s partition plan be implemented.

However, the General Assembly met in the same week the United Kingdom was to terminate its mandate. On 14 May the Jewish Agency proclaimed the state of Israel on the basis of the UN General Assembly’s decision of November 1947, but in defiance of the United Nations Security Council decision of April 1948. Similarly, US President Truman in contradiction to the UN Security Council recognised the state of Israel, as did the Soviet Union three days later.

viii. The Arabs want to drive the Jewish people into the sea

Statements such as this have been said and are still being said by elements within the Arab community. However, what is misleading about this statement, is that this is not the mainstream attitude of the Palestinian National Authority, Jordanian or the Egyptian government.

The second misleading part about this statement is use of the expression the ‘Arabs’. The ‘Arab’ community encompasses 22 countries, it has a diversity of attitudes just as the Jewish community, or any other community has. Use of the term ‘Arab’ may be appropriate in some contexts. However, in this context, it is highly false. Its only value is to tell something of the ignorance of the speaker on this issue.

ix. 'The Arabs can go live somewhere else'. They can live in 22 other Arab countries, whereas the Jewish people only have one ‘home’. A country that is so tiny amidst what the Arabs have.

Questions raised from this statement include:

· What makes a people?
· What would stop someone moving to a new geographic location?
· When is it just for one group to tell another group to move?
· Why cannot one group live out their cultural identity amidst other cultures?
· What should be the response of multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual, pluralist nations, when one country imposes monoculturalism?
· What is the diversity of Arab countries? Name 5 differences between Lebanon, Syria and Egypt? Between Saudi Arabia and Libya, Morocco and Kuwait?.
· What is the diversity of the Jewish community?

Alternatively, consider the following.

Consider two groups of people at any time in history. Suppose Group A wants group B to move. What is the normal response if group B does not want to go? How through history is group B made to move?

If war is chosen, conventional terminology for this action is ‘ethnic cleansing‘. This word has been used to describe events in Kosovo (1998), Rwanda (1995), Bosnia (1992). It also could be used to describe actions of the Nazis and fascists in Europe (1930s and 40s).

For those raised in ethnic European dominant countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific, a similar predicament occurred. Group A wanted Group B to move. Warfare was the method used to impose Group A’s dictates. Ethnic cleansing occurred. Or a collapse in the previous ethnic majority occurred.

x. 'Arab people send their children out to fight our soldiers. Arab people shoot at our soldiers from behind their children' (a recent statement).

Desperate times may lead to desperate actions.

Regardless of the reality of this statement, or the role of the Israeli authorities response to the situation - it does reinforce the point, that people given a deep enough reason may consider drastic actions. A practical question might be:

· How can I help others to achieve their goals, and prevent such future tragedies?

xi. Arabs will not respect Jewish holy sites as demonstrated by their actions from 1948-1967 in Jerusalem.

Of course wrongs have been committed with respect to Jewish holy sites in this period. This is a tragedy. However, one would encourage future governments to act more responsibly. Such mismanagement cannot exclusively be labeled a consequence of Muslim administration. The mere existence of such holy sites in the 20th Century suggests previous Arab communities respected the sanctity of these Jewish holy sites. Especially given Jewish people and tradition are respected within Islamic teaching. Such mismanagement would be more the consequence of individual actions, responding to the new political power base in the region.

xii. Arabs will restrict Jewish people from visiting their holy sites if they have control, as they did 1948-1967.

Why would one group restrict another to come to land over which they have control? Why does any country make an embargo, or restrict access? One probable reason is to cause hardship or to make a point. The point was a sense of injustice was felt by neighbouring nations. Was it an appropriate action? Did it achieve the desired outcome? Would it happen again? These questions are difficult to be answer (maybe they are unanswerable). But one would hope future governments would be more understanding to the situation of Jewish and Palestinian people and would prevent such instances occurring again.

Statements which cause Israeli Jewish resentment.

Such myths held by some in the Palestinian and wider community includes:

i. There is no Israel! This is Palestinian land! It is Islamic land.

Presently, there are over four million Jewish people in this region. One may argue that from a historical basis this is unjust. However, what is required is for our present societies to look at methods necessary to reconcile such past injustices and prevent future injustices.

ii. Jerusalem is Islamic and must remain under Islamic control

Such a statement has encouraged acts of violence so frequently that it is necessary to rethink the usefulness of such a statement. A more practical question is: Where is the example of compassion my community can show to another community?

(See the previous section for a response to “Jewish people have a God given right to the land”).

iii. The Palestinian people have existed as a nation since ancient times.

Although one recognises the propaganda used by previous Israeli governments to deny the existence of Palestinian people, attempts by Palestinian nationalists to construct some long historic Palestinian identity may be another form of nationalistic propaganda. One may recognise the word ‘Filastin’ (‘Palestinian’ in English) has an ancient origin, and was originally used to identify the Philistine people. One also recognises the word Palestina was used by the Romans to identify the people of this region despite there being ethnic groups other than Philistine.

However, it would seem use of the word ‘Filastin’ regained prominence in response to the Jewish nationalism movement (Zionism) post 1919 and the creation of the Arab kingdoms of Syria and Transjordan (1921). It was a word used to distinguish the Arab ethnic majority who lived within the newly created British Palestine.

Despite this change significant Palestinian nationalist figures still considered Palestine to be a part of Syria (as it had been divided under Turkish administration). Examples of such nationalists who referred to Palestine being a part of Syria, or the southern province of Syria, were made by Haj Amin al- Husseini at the decision to form British Mandate Palestine in 1922, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the UN at the General Assembly in May 1947, and Ahmad Shukeri on 31 May 1956 to the Security Council (Yaniv 1974).

Confusion of the term ‘Palestinian’ also occurs because it has been used in various ways. It has been used to talk inclusively of Jewish people or exclusively. For example the term Palestinian was used during the British mandate period to refer to Jewish persons native to the region, prior to the 1880s (as well as those who emigrated in the late 1800s). Presently the term is used to refer only to the Muslim, Christian or Druze people of the region.

References for “Belief statements that are a source of conflict” (Appendix G)

Baedeker, Karl, Palestine and Syria: A Handbook for Travellers, London: Dulau and Co., 1876.
El-Khouria, United Nations Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No. 66, 292nd meeting, Saturday 15 May 1948, p. 18.
Encyclopaedia Brittanica 11th ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1910-1911).
Khan, Sir Mohammed Zafrullah, United Nations General Assembly Official Record Second Special Session, April 1948, p. 70.
Palestine Government, Village Statistics, 1945—as cited in Khalidi, Walid, Before the
Diaspora: A photographic history of the Palestinians 1876-1948.pp. 237.
Institute for Palestine Studies. Washington DC, 1984.
Palestine Royal Commission Report, Cmd 5479, London, July 1937.
Parkes 1970
Smith, Lawrence, US Congressional Record - House. pp.11652-11658, 18 December
Stewart, Desmond, The Middle East: Temple of Janus, New York: Double Day and Co., London, 1971.
Yaniv 1974

Appendix I.
Inflammatory statements to Palestinians

The following list of inflammatory statements was compiled by the Palestinian Center for Rapproachment between People, Beit Sahour, Palestinian Autonomous Areas.

1. "The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, the more they want more"....
Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time - August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

2. " [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs”.
Menachim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts". New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

3. "The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
Israeli Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York
Times April 1, 1988

4. "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to
scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle."
Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times,
14 April 1983.

5. "How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to."
Golda Meir, March 8, 1969.

6. "There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed."
Golda Meir Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

7a. Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : "We must do everything to insure they ( the
Palestinians) never do return." Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. "The old will die and the young will forget."

8. "We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves."
Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo
Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

9. "We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return"
David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar's
Ben-Gurion: The Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.

10. "We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question,
What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a
gesture which said 'Drive them out!'"
Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

Appendix J.
Inflammatory statements to Israelis/Jews

Palestinian incitement against the Jews
26 June 2003

Anti-Semitism in the Arb World
Anti-Defamation League (USA)

Sermon - 8/3/01

Excerpts from Friday, August 3, 2001, sermon at the Sheik ’Ijlin Mosque in
Gaza given by Sheik Ibrahim Madhi. The sermon was broadcast on
Palestinian Authority television:


"We must all seek a role in the Jihad and the battle. We said and we still say: 'Even if we, the entire [Palestinian] people, stood in line and signed for the Jews that we want peace, they would not accept it. The Koran is very clear on this: The
greatest enemies of the Islamic nation are the Jews, may Allah fight them...'"

"All spears should be directed at the Jews, at the enemies of Allah, the nation that was cursed in Allah’s book. Allah has described them as apes and pigs, the calf-worshipers, idol-worshipers…”

"Whoever can fight them with his weapons, should go out [to the battle]; whoever can fight them with a machinegun, should go out; whoever can fight them with a sword or a knife, should go out; whoever can fight them with his hands, should go out;
This is our destiny. The people who are the most hostile toward the believers are the Jews and the Polytheists... The Jews have exposed their fangs. Nothing will deter them, except the color of their filthy people’s blood; nothing will deter them except for us voluntarily detonating ourselves in their midst. They have nuclear power, but we have the power of the belief in Allah..."

"The Prophet [Muhammad] said: 'The Jews will fight you, and [Allah] will establish you as rulers over them...' We blow them up in Hadera, we blow them up in Tel Aviv and in Netanya, and in this way, Allah establishes us as rulers over these
gangs of vagabonds…”

"Blessings for whoever assaulted a soldier... Blessings for whoever has raised his sons on the education of Jihad and Martyrdom; blessings for whoever has saved a bullet in order to stick it in a Jew’s head…"

Sources: Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
Palestinian Media Watch


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