Sunday, November 25, 2012

Respose to Oren Ben-Dor

Poor Oren.  You can't be a prof in Britain nowadays without being anti-Israel - it isn't really allowed.  
" Israel has persistently denied them their internationally recognized legal right to return."  link
Such careful language implies the professor is perfectly aware that while the right may be "recognized" that is a matter of politics, not fact.  By the terms of the Treaty of Sevres and its successor the Mandate of Palestine, "close settlement" of Palestine by Jews was to be encouraged but nevertheless both Jews and Arabs were supposed to respect the civil and property rights of minorities in the lands that came under their political domination, as they were under the Ottomans. This obligation the Israelis kept - Israel is over 20% Arab - but the Arabs did not fulfill it either in their own lands or in Palestine - the Jews were tossed or made to flee, save for a few in Tunisia and Morocco, and entire Arab villages in Palestine participated in attacking Jewish settlements, or fled expecting Arab armies to win the victory for them.  
When these Arabs in the Mandate committed or supported collective violence against Jews they forfeited their civil and property rights under the laws and practice of the Ottomans.  Neither they nor their descendants have any legal rights to return.  If it wasn't for the politics of the vastly larger number of Arabs focusing their anger on the peace-seeking Jews of Israel and the frightened fashionistas of the West seeking to accommodate them the legal case would have dominated the discussion long ago.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Husain Haqqani: Divorce, Osama bin Laden, and an Assassination Plot

In light of the assertion by Pakistan's former Ambassador to the U.S. that the U.S. and Pakistan seek to divorce themselves from each other and that "somebody knew" about Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan, this passage comes to mind:

...The ISI was by then convinced it needed to get rid of Bhutto.  Having promised to stay out of Afghan politics, she had lectured Hamid Gul on the need to stop the war and start a permanent peace process, arguing for  afixed border to be negotiated and for the mujahideen to hand back their ISI-supplied weapons.  It was too much for Gul, who in the spring of 1989 began plotting to take Bhutto's life.  He approached a mujahideen fighter and financier based in Peshawar, the gateway to the Khyber Pass.  As yet unknown to the West or South Asia, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi dissident, whose family had made their fortune in construction, had many prosperous and powerful political connections.   He was bored, looking for a new purpose.  Gul, who had got to know him via the ISI bureau in Pashawar, had a job in mind.

Husain Haqqani was let into the plan.  "Hamid Gul took Osama to see Nawaz Sharif.  I was there when he did it.  He wanted to put the two of them together so that they could mount a coup and overthrow Benazir."  The meeting took place at the Jamaat-e-Islami office in Mansehra, Northwest Frontier Province.  Two further meetings took place in Jamaat-e-Islami offices in Peshawar and Lahore.  "Gul wanted Osama to pay for the overthrow, preferably with Benazir finished off."  There was a huge war chest assembled, with Osama bin Laden rasing $10 million, againsst which he set one precondtion.  Nawaz Sharif, who would take over as prime minister, was to transform Pakistan into a strict Islamic state, administered solely by sharia law, an austere theocracy of the type that would shortly rise under the Taliban in Afghanistan.  "Sharif agreed," Haqqani said.  "The money was already in Pakistan."

- excerpted from Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark, Walker & Company, 2007, pp. 193-194.

Husain Haqqani was, of course, appointed Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. a few months after this book was published.  Thus Pakistan's civilian leadership implicitly endorsed the above account and considers it 100% true and accurate.  If people wonder how it came to pass that the U.S. has so little trust and faith in Pakistan's military, this passage is sufficient explanation - but not the only reason, of course.

Update, 10:55pm:  Husain Haqqani claims the authors later acknowledged they erred in suggesting H.H. was an eyewitness or was present.  I am attempting to verify this.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Curiosity just landed

Watching CNN.  The scene in the control room was wild.  Especially the hugging.  Men hugging women, women hugging women, men hugging men.   And as the pictures come through the scene grows wilder.  An amazing accomplishment, decades in the planning.

First pic from surface: rear wheel w/Mars horizon.  The camera still has the dust cover on - good thing too, it seems.  Dust cover should be ejected in a few hours.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Will Durant: Palestine, 1930

Would you see with your own eyes the transformation wrought throughout Palestine by the enterprise of these [Jewish] immigrants? Enter at stormy Haifa, and ride by the modern railway from the port to the capital. Look out at Benjamina, at Richon, at Kudeirah, at Peta-Tikva, and see the once arid fields flourishing; note the great orange-groves in the hinterland of Jaffa; and at Tel-Aviv observe a new Jewish city risen in a decade out of the sand. Alongside the individual Arab peasant tillling the earth primitively with camel and plough rise the Jewish co-operative farms, uniting to finance new methods, new machinery, agricultural experiment stations, and agricultural schools...Of the arable land ninety-three percent is owned by Arabs, who will not sell to Jews, or will sell only at twice or thrice the price asked of good Mohammedans. How can an Arab love a Jew when the Jewish farmer, though city-bred, given to letters, and completely unfitted for the rural life, produces four to five times as much per acre as the Arab coaxes from his soil? How can the Arab look with content on the groves that have made a Jaffa orange the noblest work of God? 

 Add to this the hospitals and dispensaries, the schools and the university which the immigrants have brought to Palestine with unforgivable initiative. The Jews are too brilliant to remain content with farming; their active minds demand commerce, industry and urban variety as a vital need...they organized labor, and won shorter hours and higher wages for Jewish and Arab workers alike...They found a country without reliable water to drink, with typhoid, dysentery, malaria, and eye-diseases rampant; they drained the swamps, cleared and extended the water-supply, brought malaria and trachoma under control, established public sanitation, and opened these services to all They built and operated their own schools, and at the same time paid heavy taxes for the maintenance of the public shcools in which Britain is educating the Arabs... 

 But because of these very achievements, the racial problem - if we may loosely speak of a racial problem between peoples who are all of one race, Semitic brothers in origin and blood - had become more dangerous than before. The growth and success of the Jews inflamed the Arabs with a jealous rage...They resolved to put the matter to the ordeal of blood. 

 On August 14, 1929, 10,000 Jews arrived in Jerusalem to gather at the Wailing Wall the next day and mourn together the destruction of the Temple. Arab leaders spread throughout Palestine the word that Jews had killed Arabs in the Arabs swept down upon the Jews at the Wailing Wall, and slew scores of praying women and men...inflamed Arabs slaughtered helpless students in the Hebrew seminary at Hebron and throughout Palestine armed Muslims fell upon unarmed Jews, until there was a total of several hundred Jewish wounded and dead. For four weeks terror ruled.... Who was to blame? They were all to blame, Arabs and British and Jews alike; it would be well if they could accept the guilt together... ...The Effendis who rule the Arab peasant and mulct him religiously would not want him empowered by votes, or instructed by universal education, to demand democracy -

 - Adventures in Genius, Will Durant, Simon and Schuster Inc., New York, 1931, pp. 328-332.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meet Kasim Hafiz, part II

British ‘Muslim Zionist’ tackles anti-Israel bias, blames ignorance Monday, 04 June 2012
Kasim Hafeez, born to a family of Pakistani origin, calls himself “a proud Muslim Zionist.” (File photo)

A Muslim Briton has criticized the British community he grew up in, accusing it of “calling for the destruction of all Jews,” which led him to believe that Israel is a “terror state,” an Israeli news site reported on Sunday.

 Kasim Hafeez, born to a family of Pakistani origin, now calls himself “a proud Muslim Zionist,” and has embarked on a trip to Israel in an effort to tackle what he deems to be misrepresentations about the Jewish state.

 The Briton met with the Israeli press and the country’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, on Sunday. In the meeting, Hafeez said that “much of the hatred and intolerance of Israel stems from ignorance,” the Israel-based Ynet news reported.

 “I’ve always said that (the problem) with Israeli advocacy (is that) we’re not getting the truth out there,” he said. “(…) People don’t know the facts. I would say to anybody, come to Israel. See the rights that Muslims have,” he added.

 Hafeez recalled his father praising Adolf Hitler, lamenting only the Nazi tyrant’s failure to kill even more Jews during World War II. “It’s so key that we get the facts out there,” he said. “We’re sitting here in the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, where there are no restrictions on what people can believe. People can vote for their leaders. People of all colors, all races, all backgrounds co-exist here, and people just don’t know,” Hafeez said.

 “It’s a beautiful thing, Israel is truly a nation of all its citizens,” he added. In the meeting, the Briton also relayed what he deems to be the truth about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

 “A Palestinian state never existed,” Hafeez said. “It’s a fact and people don’t know it.”

 He particularly criticized media bias in the United Kingdom, saying that Israel can “do no right in the UK press.”

 “Israel is always wrong and everything has a very negative slant. “It has become very black and white, where the Palestinians are right, and Israel is wrong… It is helping to poison people towards Israel because they are not being told the truth of the conflict. I think there is a case where if you tell a lie enough times, people accept it as being true,” he said.

 Similarly on Sunday, a French imam spoke out and denounced “a hatred of Jews,” in an interview with Haaretz.

 Hassen Chalghoumi, 40, a well-known Muslim leader in France and a prominent voice calling for intra-religious dialogue, has been dubbed the “Imam of the Jews” by several international media outlets.

 In 2006, Chalghoumi publicly acknowledged the horrors of the Holocaust and reached out to Jews in France − things that were unheard of for a Muslim cleric at the time, Der Spiegel reported.

 But according to the report in 2010, Chalghoumi’s “enemies would” gather in front of the mosque every Friday, where on one occasion they staged a rally where they raged against Chalghoumi and Zionism. (Written by Eman El-Shenawi)

part 1

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Shoot the drones?" No, they're legal!

“It grieves me to say that the US drone attacks on Waziristan are patently illegal. The drones, and those who fly them, are violating Pakistan law.” link

Sorry Mr. Smith, but Pakistan law doesn’t apply! Under the post-9/11 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373 Pakistan has the binding sovereign obligation in international law to root out terrorists, terror havens, terror training camps, and terror financing from its territory. Demonstrable failure on Pakistan’s part to act – as in North Wazirstan – means Pakistan’s sovereignty is nulled when other nations do so.
We don’t hear this argument from diplomats because since 2006 reports about Pakistan’s noncompliance with 1373 have been classified by the Security Council. However, if this “U.S. drone strikes are patently illegal” theme grows further, I wonder if that may change?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A quickie pocket history

Just because they didn't have a defined border with Jordan and other countries, and just because they were culturally smiler to each other, it doesn't mean they should be kicked out from Palestine.

Except that's not how it happened. Here's a quickie pocket history:

 Put yourself back in time to 1919. Three empires have disintegrated or are in the process of disintegration: the Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman. Sure, in the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires the Russians and Germans respectively were the majority, but their efforts to rule others meant denying minority civil rights and led to external war. In the Ottoman Empire the Turks were not the majority and kept falling prey to violent internal conflicts.

So the decision was made - by the victors, but with the support of much of the post-Imperial populations - to break these Empires up into nation-states. Minorities whose nationalisms were suppressed would now have their own territories and states: Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, etc. Millions of people migrated between countries - the Greek evacuation of Asia Minor was probably the most disruptive. Areas where the nationalities were not separated after WWI became flashpoints for later wars: Danzig, Yugoslavia, the Saarland, Alsace, Silesia, and of course Palestine.

Why did the Ottoman Caliphs agree to support the Jewish National Home in Palestine? They had been approached before. The judgment of Abdul Hamid II was no, because the Arabs had fought for the Empire. With the Arab Revolt, however, that feeling of obligation ended. There was no reason to deny the Jews any longer, nor, I suppose, was the prospect of an Arab Empire replacing an Ottoman one attractive - the decades-long Mamluk threat from Egypt had been bad enough.

 The obligation put upon Middle Easterners by the Caliph and Allies alike was that the Jews and Arabs should respect each others' civil and property rights in the territories that came under their political domination. The British Mandate declared that Palestine was the Jewish National Home. (Tens of thousands of Jews had already migrated to Palestine since the 1880s.) That meant that Jews could settle wherever they could buy property, or they could settle in "state" lands previously owned by the Ottomans. Transjordan, 70% of the Mandate territory, was peeled away.

 The Jews were very faithful in re-settling Palestine in this fashion - indeed, under the British, they couldn't kick Arabs off private land if they wanted to. Outside of Palestine, however, the new Arab tyrants actively kicked Jews out, enriching their families or followers with the property and realty they seized. The process started with Jordan and continued, on and off, through the 20th century in all Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, which conquered Jewish communities in its war with Yemen. (Lebanon is a partial exception, since Jews have departed but some continue to own realty and even, it is said, collect rents through intermediaries.)

Farmers who tenanted agricultural property purchased by Jews departed their old fields after the harvest following the purchase, or were paid to teach Jews how to farm or to help guard the settlements Indeed, the money and prosperity the Jews brought to Palestine was a big draw for Arabs from surrounding countries, and the population of Palestine, both Arab and Jew, increased.

What freaked the Arabs out was the prospect that any portion of the Middle East would fall to Jewish control. Prodded by the British military, whose Empire (as Pakistanis should recall) thrived on being the middleman between contesting groups, and the militant new Mufti of Jerusalem (Yassir Arafat's uncle), Arabs took to violence against the Jews - even Jews who had been in Palestine for centuries. Their slogan was Al Yahud Kelabna - "the Jews are our dogs."

(That's what Pakistanis who stand up for "Palestinians" are fighting for, you know. Not "Islam" but "the Jews are our dogs.")

The British, whose primary concern was the Iraq to Haifa oil pipeline, were not terribly effective at halting violence of Arab against Jew and were more interested in appeasing Arabs by restraining or arresting Jews who defended themselves. That's how the Haganah got started, as a semi-secret Jewish self-defense organization.

After two decades of scarcely-controlled mayhem in Palestine and another World War the Brits wanted out. They evacuated Palestine. The 1947 partition plan - yet another hacking of Mandate territory - was rejected by the Arabs who went to war - first against individual settlements, then against the State of Israel. Under the Ottomans a population in revolt forfeits its civil and property rights. Israel, to its credit, passed a law permitting Arabs to return to Israel and their property (or compensation) upon swearing loyalty to the Jewish State and forswearing violence; about 25% did so. The remaining Arabs who fled Israel because they couldn't abide Jewish rule and their descendants thus have no claim on lands in Israel proper. Israel is about 20% Arab today. The remaining Jewish population in "Arab" states is so small as to be barely detectable.

The Mandate continued and still continues to exist. Just because the trustee departs doesn't mean the trust is dissolved. That was the U.N.'s rationale for establishing UNRWA, to take care of Arab "refugees" (its definition is a unique one) in Mandate territory. (Israel eventually dissolved the UNRWA camps in its territory and accepted their Arabs as citizens.) That's also the source of the legal claim of Jewish settlers in the West Bank: under the Mandate it is part of the Jewish National Home in Palestine and Jews can settle there, even if it isn't part of the State of Israel. 

So now, IbnAlwaledm, you know how we reached today. The Arabs were not "kicked out of Palestine" because they were Arabs. They left or chose to stay away because they had a deep, abiding, and violent hatred of Jews, especially Israelis. Separating a population devoted to violence from its target has been the foundation of successful peace for the past century, from 1919 Budapest to 2007 Baghdad. Once the hot-heads have been frustrated brotherly feelings between peoples are then free to develop.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Meet Kasim Hafeez

British Muslim Zionist pulls no punches

Myron Love, Prairies Correspondent, Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kasim Hafeez [Myron Love photo]

WINNIPEG — Kasim Hafeez has seen the truth and, in an address to a largely Jewish audience at the Asper Jewish Community Campus on Feb. 6, he pulled no punches.

Wahhabism, the Saudi Arabian version of Islam, is little different than Nazism, Hafeez said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should be facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, he said.

Anti-Zionism is code for antisemitism, he said.

The Islamic concern for Jerusalem is purely political, he said. Until the creation of Israel, Jerusalem was unimportant to most Muslims.

And often, he noted, those who claim to be pro-Palestinian are just anti-Israel.

Hafeez, 29, a British-born Muslim of Pakistani origin, knows of what he speaks.

Until just a few years ago, he was part of that Jew-hating Muslim world. He was even ready to go to Pakistan to train as a terrorist.

His worldview began to change after stumbling across a copy of Alan Dershowitz’s book, A Case for Israel. “I figured it was just Zionist propaganda,” he said of the book. “I thought I would read it and be able to refute it all.”

Instead, Hafeez found that Dershowitz’s arguments challenged all of the myths about Israel and the Jews that he grew up with. And, he said, he couldn’t find any Muslim sources who could refute Dershowitz’s points.

He decided pursue this new line of research and read books by Sir Martin Gilbert and other pro-Israel authors. Then he decided he had to go to Israel to see this “apartheid, fascist” and “racist” country for himself.

Not surprisingly – considering where he was coming from ideologically – he was immediately detained after landing at Ben-Gurion Airport. “Although I was held back for eight hours, I was treated with respect,” he recalled. “The guard kept apologizing and offering me coffee and pastries. I understood that he was just doing his job.”

After leaving the airport, he found that people were friendly and helpful. He contrasted his reception in Israel with the religious pilgrimage that he and some members of his family had made to Mecca some years earlier.

“I had never faced such racism before,” he said of his Saudi experience. “Because of our skin colour, we were purposely ignored. At checkpoints, our group was held up in the heat longer than others. My aunt was pushed away from an ATV machine by a Saudi woman who told her that Pakistanis can wait. And, if we had had Pakistani passports, our treatment would have been worse.”

In Israel, Hafeez’s epiphany came when he stood before the Western Wall. “I watched Christians, Muslims and Jews peacefully and freely going to their places of worship and I burst into tears. I finally realized what Israel is all about – the only Jewish state in the world. It is about the survival of the Jewish People, their religion, culture and heritage.

“I fell in love with the place.”

It’s far from easy being a Zionist Muslim in England. Hafeez said he’s been marginalized by his community, and most of his family won’t talk to him any more (his sister, an aunt and his mother being the exceptions – although, he added, his mother is embarrassed by him).

Nonetheless, he feels compelled to speak the truth and cut through the lies. That truth is that of the two narratives concerning Israel/Palestine, one is the truth and the other is a pack of lies, he said.

“It was the Arabs, not the Jews who rejected partition in 1948,” he said. “It was the Arabs who attacked the new Jewish state. While I have sympathy for the Palestinian people, you can’t take their expressions of peace seriously when they are constantly showing maps of the land of Israel as greater Palestine.”

He urged his audience to get the facts about Israel out, especially on university campuses, to be proactive rather than reactive. “Hold regular events that promote Israel in the best possible way,” he said. “And show people that Israel is much more than just the conflict. Show all the ways that Israel is helping humanity. Be proud of Israel, not apologetic.”


Thursday, January 05, 2012

When did the West Bank become "occupied territory"?

at what point, exactly, did the West Bank become "occupied territory" rather than "disputed territory" under international law? After 1947 the annexation of Jordan wasn't recognized so Mandate Law was considered to prevail as far as the U.N. was concerned and in Mandate Law Jewish settlement was explicitly permitted (though from 1947-1967 the Jews were evicted). The post-SixDay War UNSC 242 doesn't appear to change this sovereignty scheme.

Yet by the time UNSC 446 was passed in 1979 the West Bank was considered "occupied territory" and subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention and Israeli settlements (Jewish settlements, that is) thus declared illegal. (UNSC 446 is not a Chapter VII resolution and thus is non-binding under int'l law so the change had to have happened before that.)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Would he say this to his fellow Arabs regarding Israel?

“Having grievances does not justify violence. There are bodies to look into those grievances -"

- Saudi Ministry of Interior spokesman Mansour Al-Turki link