Proposed Palestinian State: Compendium Of Background Articles

Articles by:

David Bedein

Director

Israel Resource News Agency

Center for Near East Policy Research

Beit Agron

Suite 105-106

37 Hillel Street

Jerusalem 94581 Israel

Tel. 0547-222-661

Fax 02-623-6470

www.israelbehindthenews.com

 

The “Kill and Run” Precedent of the New Israeli-Palestinian Accord

Jerusalem Post

February 25, 1997

On January 14, 1997, at 12:00 noon, as the Israeli cabinet gathered in Jerusalem to begin its deliberations on the approval of the Oslo accords, something else transpired in Ramat Dania, a neighborhood within walking distance from the Knesset.

A young Palestinian Arab wielding an axe hacked Ya’akov Yamin, a sixty year old Israeli building foreman, to pieces.

The killer then hopped in a taxi to Bethlehem, only ten minutes away.

The taxi driver later described to me how, upon arrivingat the Bethlehem checkpoint, his extremely nervous passenger jumped out of the cab and ran into Bethlehem.

The taxi driver called the Israeli police as did the driver’s employer..

The police, however, demonstrated little interest in the matter, arriving on the scene over an hour later. They police finally got around to interrogating the driver and obtain a complete description of the murderer, preparing a hand-drawn sketch of the killer. The sketch was never broadcast by any television station nor did it appear in the print media. Neither did thet Israeli police forward the sketch to the Palestinian police. What the, the Israeli police spokesman did say, however, was that no such sketch existed.

Yaakov Yamin’s murder made Israel’s front page news the next day, sharing headlines with the historic Israeli government meeting that had taken place at the time of the murder. The purpose of that significant meeting was to confirm the Israeli government’s backing of the latest accord with the Palestine Authority.

“Reciprocity” was the theme of this agreement, with the Israeli government declaring clearly and forthrightly that it would only cede concessions to the PA if and when the PA demonstrated the appropriate confidence-building measures that would show that it was indeed keeping its part of the accords.

The day after the murder, the front page of the popular Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot featured a photograph of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Arafat on top of the page, and a small snapshot of Yaakov Yamin on the corner of the page.

The issue of killers who had escaped to the Palestine Authority was high on the agenda of the new accord, according to all Israeli government spokespeople.

The retiring Israeli attorney general, Rabin appointee Michael Ben-Yair, presented the government with a long awaited legal opinion declaring in no uncertain terms that the accords signed by the previous PA governmentrequired the PA to extradite to Israel killers within its jurisdiction.

Israel Minister of Justice Tzachi Hanegbi followed Ben-Yair by succinctly stating that if the new accords did not require the PA to hand over killers, he would not vote for them.

Meanwhile, the Yamin killing and murderer’s escape disappeared from the public’s consciousness. I asked government ministers if the cabinet would send a representative to his funeral or to the shiva (house of mourners) home. I received no response. No government minister or member of Knesset visited the Yamin home.

I asked the Israeli police spokesperson of they were pursuing the killer in Bethlehem, or if the Israeli police was asking the Palestinian police to hand over the killer. The spokesperson responded that the question was premature. I visited the Palestinian police station in Bethlehem to learn what they knew. They told me that if the killer had come to Bethlehem, he was welcome. I called IDF radio, Israel State radio, Israel State television, Yediot Aharonot and M’aariv daily newspapers to see why they were not following up on the Yamin murder, even as a side bar to the government meeting.

The response I received from the news editors left me speechless: “We have been ’asked‘ to drop the case and not to dwell on the issue.” Besides, the peace process is more newsworthy. So not a word appeared in the Israeli media – and certainly not in the foreign press – on the Yamin murder and the subsequent escape of his killer to the Palestine Authority “safe haven” only ten minutes away.

That was the precedent of the latest accords that were approved by the Israeli government. An Arab can murder a Jew, escape to a warm welcome in the Palestine Authority safe haven only several minutes away and the matter will simply be sanitized by a cooperative Israeli and foreign media. Press conspiracy? Hardly. Government policy? Perhaps.

On Tu B’shvat (Israeli Arbor Day), I had the opportunity to visit the Yamin family, who had finished their week-long period of mourning on the previous day. I was accompanied by two people. Yehudah Wachsman, whose son Nachshon had been abducted and murdered by Arab terrorists only two years ago. Nachson’s chief abductor Muhammad Deif, resides in Gaza and the Israeli government has so much as requested Deif’s arrest. Mr .Y, the taxi driver ,was also with us. He described the killer to the family and confirmed that he had sat with the Israeli police for no less than eight hours, as they prepared a sketch of his passenger.

According to Israeli law, victims of terror attacks receive immediate attention and care by the mental health professionals of the Israeli Defense Ministry Rehabilitation Department and Israel’s National Insurance Institute.

The Israeli police, however, will only say that they are “99% sure” that Ya’akov Yamin was murdered in a terror attack, and not in a robbery. This despite the fact that Yamin’s bulging wallet was never taken from his body.

Therefore, using this ploy, the Israeli government is not legally obligated to provide any mental health professionals to assist the family. Under normal circumstances, a police or military official would appear at the home, escorted by a doctor or psychiatrist to inform the family of the murder. Instead, the family discovered the killing when a journalist showed up at their door requesting a picture of the deceased.

If the government indeed acknowledges that this was a terror attack, it will have to answer some very difficult questions and will be asked to explain to its citizens how the peace process allows Arabs to kill and escape to the sanctuary of the Palestine Authority.

Red Lights & Green Lights: Weapons Control in the Palestine Authority?

Israel Resource Review

March 31, 1997

At a time when Hamas threatens more terror activity against targets throughout Israel, it may be instructive to note the extent to which the Palestine Authority directly licenses arms for Hamas instead of confiscating the latter’s weapons.

The Cairo Accord, signed between the Israeli government and Arafat on May 4, 1994, established strict regulations for firearms possession in the PA, in an attempt to minimize terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinian groups and individuals opposed to the Oslo Accords. Arafat agreed to restrict the possession of firearms by ordering the PA to take three steps: disarm militias, confiscate weapons, and issue gun licenses for pistols only to individuals demonstrating a need for them, and only with Israel’s consent.

Arafat and the PA, however, have yet to implement that agreement, thus perpetuating a situation in which the ability of groups and individuals to carry out terrorist attacks remains undiminished.

For eleven months the PA sat idle. Only in April 1995, following the Islamic Jihad terror attack near Kfar Darom which took the lives of six Israelis and one American, did the PA announce a May 1995 deadline for turning in illegal weapons. Yet by the appointed deadline, only several dozen weapons had been relinquished by a small number of civilians.

IDF Lieut. Col. Shabak confirmed that the Palestinian police had only confiscated a few weapons by the deadline. These numbers pale in comparison to the total number of unlicensed weapons in the PA area of jurisdiction, which, while unknown, were estimated by Arafat himself as early as March 1995 to be more than 26,000.

Five militias under the PA’s jurisdiction remain armed: Fatah Hawks, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Not only has the PA refrained from taking steps to disarm these groups, but high ranking officials continue to state their refusal to do so.

Shortly after the signing of the agreement, Col. Jibril Rajoub, head of Arafat’s Preventive Security Service said, “We sanctify the weapons found in the possession of the national factions which are directed against the occupation.”

Echoing this sentiment only a year later, , Palestinian Minister of Justice Freih Abu Middein, said the Palestinian police would not disarm Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. A senior Hamas official confirmed that the PA had not demanded their disarmament, saying that “the PA is not asking us to disarm, just to report to it.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Liberation Army police force continue to issue licenses for automatic weapons and gun permits to well known members of terrorist organizations. Both Shabak (Israel’s General Security Services, the GSS) and the Palestinian Police commander in Gaza, Gen. Ghazi Jabali, confirmed that the Islamic Jihad and Hamas leaders have received permits to carry weapons, Shabak noting, “most of the permits issued thus far have been given to members of the opposition parties.” Shabak also acknowledged that some of these permits were for “light automatic weapons,” a statement confirmed by the Palestinian Minister of Information. As if to allay fears, Abu Medein said that he had received assurances that Hamas and Islamic Jihad members would “keep their weapons at home.”

The issue is not about whether or not Arafat turns “green lights” on or off for Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. Silently and seemingly unknown to the Israeli public, Arafat has heavily armed both terror groups, and they will decide when and how to use their weapons against Israeli targets.

Why is the Israeli public unaware that the Palestine Authority has been issuing weapons to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, since May 1995 ? The story was reported in all of the Israeli media, – but only on the back pages and never as a lead item.

After all, nobody wants to disturb the good news of the peace process,. let alone the momentum.

Arafat, the Palestine Authority and the Hamas: A Surprising Cooperative Relationship

Philadelphia Inquirer

August 11, 1997

Almost four years ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with Yasser.Arafat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on the White House lawn, most people in Israel and abroad anticipated that Arafat would form a new Arab entity that could.restrain the violent Muslim movements known as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

That, at least, was the rationale behind what later became known as the Oslo Peace Process. Israel was expected to cede land, while Arafat’s PLO was expected to form a new Palestine.Authority that would fight Hamas/Islamic Jihad and other Arab terror groups that continued to threaten the lives of people in Israel.

However from the very outset, the opposite has occurred. Instead of cracking down on Hamas, Arafat openly woos the terrorist organization.

In December 1994 when I asked Arafat about Hamas at the press conference he held in Oslo, where he was soon to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, he answered by.saying, “Hamas are my brothers. I will handle them in my own way”.

When the PLO celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in January 1995, Arafat delivered.a series of lectures in Gaza and in Jericho to Palestinian Arabs . In these lectures he praised suicide bombers and.refused to condemn the Hamas attacks which took place at that time. Arafat’s speeches of.praise for Hamas were televised by the new Palestinian TV network which was directly controlled.and operated by Arafat. Video cassettes of Arafat’s harangues became popular in the.Palestinian Arab open market.

Arafat’s strategy was best summed up by US Ambassador to Israel, and presidential confidante, artin Indyk, who told the Los Angeles Times in March 1996 that Arafat had decided to.cooperate rather than to fight Hamas.

Arafat’s cooperation with Hamas was not in words only, but also in deed.

On May 9, 1995, I covered a Gaza press conference held by Arafat’s local Palestine Liberation.Army Police Chief Ghazzi Jabali, in which the representatives of Arafat’s Palestine Authority officially announced that they would license weapons for the Hamas. Only one month before, Hamas had carried out an attack on an Israeli civilian bus near Gaza, killing six young Israelis and one American student, Aliza Flatow.

At Jabali’s packed press conference, carried live on PBC radio, the police chief announced that Hamas leaders such as Mahmoud A-Zahar would be allowed, and even “encouraged” to own weapons under the protection of the Palestine Authority. On the same day, our Palestinian TV crew filmed an armed A-Zahar, standing in front of a skull and cross bones imposed on a map of Israel, as he addressed an angry mob in Gaza and called for the bloody overthrow of the State of.Israel.

Jabali would later assure the Associated Press on May 14, 1995 that he was expecting the Hamas and Islamic to keep their licensed weapons “at home”.

For the last two years, however, both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have openly operated with weapons licensed by the PA. Meanwhile, all levels of Arafat’s military forces acknowledge that they have recruited radical Moslems to join forces with them.

On each occasion when Arafat was asked to “crack down” on these Islamic groups which took credit for fatal terror bombs against Israel, Arafat ordered the mass round-ups that resulted in confessions, and then the mass release of prisoners.

In thirty seven documented instances since 1994, the Palestine Authority has offered asylum to Hamas and Islamic Jihad members who murdered Israelis and took refuge in the new safe havens of Palestinian Arab cities that were protected by Arafat’s armed forces.

A case in point: Muhammad Deif, the admitted Hamas mastermind of the October 1994 kidnapping and murder of nineteen year-old American-Israeli, Nachshon Wachsman, wanders Gaza freely, armed and untouched. When I asked Arafat’s commander of the Palestine Liberation Army about Deif, he told me that he was under direct orders from Yasser Arafat not to touch Deif. This, despite the fact that US President Bill Clinton declared at Nachshon’s grave in March 1996 that Israel should not continue any negotiating process with Arafat and the Palestine Authority until and unless Arafat hands Deif over to stand trial.

Every Friday, over the past three years, Arafat-appointed Hamas Muftis in Nablus and Jerusalem deliver weekly sermons in their mosques calling for jihad, holy war, against the state and people of Israel.

Not to be outdone, Arafat consistently addresses Palestinian crowds as if he were trying to emulate the Hamas, and not as if he was interested in restraining them.

Arafat’s own Jihad harangues have continued when the Oslo peace process was progressing nicelywith Israel, and when it was not.

Arafat’s arming, encouragement and emulation of the Hamas occur in the open, and in public domain, at a time when more than two hundred foreign and Israeli news bureaus cover Arafat and his new Palestine Authority.

An unwritten rule exists in the media, even among the Israeli press, that downplays the significance of the PA-Hamas cooperation, and Arafat’s calls for armed struggle with.Israel.

Many close followers of the Middle East situation incorrectly assume that there are two entities – the PLO and the Hamas, and that they somehow remain in conflict.

Analysis: Reconsideration of Our Passion for PLO Statehood After Tisha B’av

Israel Resource Review

August 11, 1997

The concept of ceding a sliver of the land to another nation may have been a good one. After all, why should neighbors not find a way to make peace with one another?

The Arabs, however,r eject the idea, and continue to demand not only that three million of their refugees return to whence they came in 1948 but that the return of the Jews to our land cease and desist.

Those of our fellow Jews who have advocated sovereignty for Palestinian Arabs do not do so out of malice or hatred of the Jewish people. They advocate such an idea from a theoretical concept of justice and self-determination.

My own personal twelve year involvement of s with the Israeli Left led me to meet and dialogue with many PLO sympathizers.

PLO activists asked for what they thought was reasonable: We will give you peace if you give up your obsession for Zion.

Yet, from the very commencement of the Oslo process, Arafat has utilized truth serum every day and continues proclaiming to his people that the purpose of the process is the conquest of the land in its entirety.

Three million residents of the UNRWA Arab refugee camps believe him with all their heart and soul.They are preparing to join forces with Arafat’s trained and wellmotivated Palestine Liberation Army of 50,000 to liberate the Land of Israel.

A guerilla army against a nation with a strong army? Ask the National Liberation Front in Algeria and their counterpart in Vietnam. These are the models for the PLO.

The leaders of Israel, anxious in their passion for peace after one hundred years of war, moved quickly to cede territory and provide training, arms and cooperation to Arafat’s military forces, while Arafat was focused arming and training the Hamas.

The tragic mistake, however, was in the alacrity of the Oslo process.

The late General Aharon Yariv, who conceptualized the concept of “territory for peace”, said it best: “The Oslo process misinterprets our concept. We never said territory BEFORE peace. We said territory FOR peace”.

The ideal peace deal was made with Jordan. Israel made a treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom in 1970 and signed it with King Hussein in 1994. The Jewish State first wanted to ascertain Hussein’s behavior. Israel tested him, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon invasion, the 1987-93 Intifada and the 1991 Gulf War. Only thereafter did Israel sign a formal peace treaty with King Hussein.

This is not the case with Arafat, the PLO and the new Palestine Authority. They see the Oslo process as a stage of war with the State of Israel, and they view the ceding of territory as a stage of surrender. Those who support this Olso process should take advantage of “Tisha B’av” [the saddest day in Jewish history, commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem which occurred about 656 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date] and its grave message and attempt to take stock of reality.

When Arafat says JIHAD, he means it.

When Jewish Organizations Research Anti-Semitism and Delete Mention of the Palestine Authority

Israel Resource Review

April 27, 1998

In a joint news conference held on April 22, 1998, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, representatives of Stephen Roth Institute of Anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University, the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress distributed a summary of their annual international survey of anti-Semitism that deleted any reference to the Palestine Authority, the Palestine Ministry of Information and the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation.

The reason they gave for this omission was that the full 400 page text is still at the printers.

The full text, however, explicitly notes the anti-Jewish tirades that have emanated daily from the Palestine Authority since its inception in 1994.

A case in point: On the morning before this report was issued, the official television station of the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) aired a program in which a children’s chorus chanted jihad and called for the extermination of the Jewish state. What can one glean from such a message from the P.A. the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day?

This PBC program is fully accessible to the media to the ADL, the World Jewish Congress, and to Tel Aviv University.

The media and these mainstream agencies, however, have made a conscious decision: to obfuscate – from the people of Israel and from public opinion as a whole – the expressions the Palestine Authority relate to their own people.

The PA media obfuscation policy follows the request made of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority in 1995 by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to refrain from any news reports that feature what Arafat says to his own people in Arabic.

In their own words, officials of the Israel Broadcasting Authority who knew of the policy, stated that Rabin had explained that reportage of Arafat’s speeches would harm the peace process. Rabin carried this policy to the United States as well.

In September 1995, just before to the initialing of the second Oslo Accords at the White House, the US House International Relations Committee conducted audiovisual hearings, during which time more than thirty members of Congress viewed videos of the programs featured on the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation. Although more than fifteen news bureaus covered the event, however Rabin’s cousin, Israeli Ambassador to the US Itamar Rabinovitch, working together with a high official of the US State Department, lobbied the American media and requested that they not report these hearings. With the exception of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Washington Jewish Week, the media acceeded to their request.

People in Israel are in the dark, knowing very little of the daily dose of incitement that has spewed forth from the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation since the inception of the Oslo process. Such matters are seen as the obsession of a few anti-peacenicks.

Thist is due, in part, to a policy of self-censorship that the media has imposed upon itself and adopted by groups such as the ADL and the World Jewish Congress. The fact that the full report on anti-Semitism will be issued in several weeks will have little effect on the public domain. The ADL and the WJC will not conduct a press conference nor organize any forum on the subject of official anti-Semitism emanating from the PBC, which is under Arafat’s direct control.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in 1998, let it be remembered that three prominent institutions of the Jewish people prevented the public from obtaining knowledge that they each had: the newly-created Palestine Authority makes no bones about its warlike and anti-Semitic intentions.

In 1996, the full text of the same international survey that was distributed to the press made no mention whatsoever of the Palestine Authority. In 1997, the full text distributed to the media mentioned the PA in only a few paragraphs that analyzed one PA poet.

In 1998, however, when the full text included material on the PA, the press conference organizers chose not to distribute it. In fact, they deleted any mention of or reference to the Palestine Authority in the summary they made available to the media.

There is legitimate concern about systematic Holocaust denial, when organizations make it their business to prevent people from knowing about the murder of six million Jews and the events leading up to it.

What about the effort for systematic Arafat denial?

Israel at Fifty Makes an Offer “Territories for Peace”, Not “Territories

Philadelphia Inquirer

May 4, 1998

On the occasion of Israel’s fiftieth anniversary, the Jewish State finally finds itself in a full-scale peace process, following formal peace treaties signed with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).

This is the result of a surprising turn in Israeli public opinion, which now widely accepts the 1974 Yariv-ShemTov formula of “territories for peace”, which at the time it was suggested was embraced by less than fifteen of Israel’s 120-member parliament. By the 1996 Israeli elections, 118 members elected to Israel’s Knesset had run on platforms that favored and endorsed the concept of territories for peace, as embodied in the 1993 Oslo Accords signed on the White House lawn by US President Bill Clinton, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

This most recent Israeli election occurred at a time of unprecedented Israeli-Arab cooperation in almost every field. Israel’s level of exports to Arab countries, some of whom are still in a formal state of war with Israel, has surpassed a billion dollars. Israel’s former Minister of Public Security, Attorney Moshe Shachal, who recently resigned from the Knesset to resume his law practice, now represents Arab countries from the Gulf States.

Israel’s former Military Liason to the West Bank and the Palestine Authority, General Oren Shachor, now exports soft drinks to Kuwait, working with Palestinian partners, some of whom spent years in Israeli prisons.

Likud Member of Knesset Gideon Ezra, an Israeli career intelligence officer, opened a firm together with Palestinian partners to locate stolen vehicles.

The examples of economic cooperation are matched by a new social milieu. No less than five hundred Arab-Jewish reconciliation organizations are now registered with Israel’s Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations, some of which have been initiated by Arabs.

Indeed, Palestinian Arab journalist Daoud Kuttab, Arafat’s press liason during the Intifada riots of the late eighties, initiated a private media firm that cooperates with Israeli and American television companies to produce the first Middle East “Sesame Street” in order to encourage Israeli and Arab children to play together without stereotypes and hatred.

The obvious question is: With all this cooperation, why are the peace talks between Israel and the new Palestine Authority so bogged down? Have Israelis lost their desire for peace. I would think not. Have Palestinian Arabs had second thoughts? Not in my judgment.

As a religious Jew and a social work professional , I have the opportunity to participate in timely dialogues with Palestinian Arabs from all walks of life. The Palestinian Arab people want peace. So what is the problem?

It is an institution known as the United Nations, which in Jerusalem is headquartered on what the New Testament refers to as the “Hill of Evil Counsel”. The Back in 1949, the U.N. established the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), that today plays host to more than three million Palestinian Arab refugees, the descendants of650,000 Arabs who left the area which, in 1948, became known as the new State of Israel. With the establishment of the State,Israel absorbed more than 800,000 Jews who had left the Arab countries. Such a population exchange is not rare in the Twentieth Century. The only problem was the exceptional way in which the U.N. chose to deal with the :–by confining the Arab refugees to the squalor of transient huts, wherein they have languished for nearly fifty years. They have been living under sub-ghetto-like conditions as per the proscribed U.N. Resolution #194 promise and premise of the “right of return” to homes and villages that no longer exist, with absolutely no U.N. right to compensation for the property that the Arabs lost in 1948.

The idea of a West Bank/Gaza Palestinian entity may be acceptable to the one million Palestinians who see the West Bank and Gaza as their home, but not to the vast majority of Palestinians who live in the U.N. refugee camps of the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Tragically, one of the first laws established by the new Palestine Authority in 1994, was the forbidding of making improvements on the UNRWA camps, based on the legislated U.N. promise and premise of the “right of return” to Israel proper.

In the heart of Samaria, in an area under the Palestine Authority control, sits a mountain of 1,300 empty homes that were built to house Palestinian Arab refugees, constructed with generous funds provided by a Catholic charity with Israeli encouragement.

The United Nations retains a guard at the foot of the hill, ensuring that no Palestinian Arab refugee will move into these homes. According to a United Nations decision made in 1985, any move into any such permanent housing would violate the “inalienable right of return” of Palestinian Arabs.

Many are inclined to believe that Yasser Arafat’s willingness to sign a peace accord with Israel was based on new Arab willingness to accept what for them would be a historic compromise that would limit Palestinian Arab sovereignty to the West Bank and Gaza, with some link to East Jerusalem. That was the basis on which Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a ceremony I covered in Oslo.

On that occasion, I asked Arafat whether he would indeed relinquish the greater Palestinian vision that demanded the “right of return” of three million Palestinian Arabs. Arafat would not answer my question.

I also asked Arafat if he would disarm the Hamas. Again he would not respond. The answers themselves were not long in coming.

In May 1995, Arafat authorized weaponry for the Hamas. In December 1995, Arafat signed a pact with the Hamas, to include them in the Palestine Authority. In April 1996, my television crew covered the session of the Palestine National Council (PNC), which was supposed to cancel the PLO state of war against the State of Israel and agree to a “West Bank/Gaza” entity. At that session, Arafat would only authorize the PNC to establish a committee to consider “changes” in the PLO constitution.

Most recently, on April 19, 1998, Arafat told Egyptian television, that, indeed, “all options are open before the Palestinian people”, and that, as an Arab Moslem leader, Arafat had signed the Oslo accords in the context of the historic Khudaibiya Agreement made by Muhammad and the tribe of Koreish. The Khudaibiya Agreement, slated to last for ten years, was broken within two years, when Muhammad’s forces – having used the peace pact to become stronger – massacred the Koreish tribe.

So much for the concept of “territories for peace”.

Shortly before his death, I interviewed Aharon Yariv, the Israeli general and former IDF intelligence chief who had first conceptualized the idea of territories for peace.

Yariv told me that “people today misunderstand the Yariv-Shemtov formula. We offered ’territories for peace’, not ’territories before peace’”.

That formula constitutes the risk that the government and people of Israel are ready to make. All indications are that the Palestinian Arab people are ready for such a formula.

Tragically, the United Nations and the new Palestine Authority, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, are not.

That remains the complex legacy of peace for Israel’s fiftieth birthday.

Why is the UNRWA Refugee Camp in Shuafat Seething?

The Jerusalem Post

October 13, 1998

At a time when the issue of Palestinian refugees surfaces on the agenda of the peace process, a visit to the one Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem can provide one with some understanding of the complexity of the refugee issue at hand.

A three-minute ride from Mount Scopus, traveling north, well within the city limits of Jerusalem, one will find the only United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Arab refugee camp in Jerusalem, located in the town of Shuafat. This is part of Jerusalem, and Shuafat is not affected by closures of the West Bank.

The Shuafat refugee camp appears in the news every so often when there are riots in the camp or stones hurled at passing vehicles. It remains a mystery to most people as to why there must be so much anger and tension in the camp.

I went to Shuafat to find out.

It would seem that some 5,500 Palestinian Arab refugees live in the Shuafat camp, three thousand of whom are children. These people are the descendants of Arabs who, in 1948, left what is now the Ashkelon region, and who were initially settled in the hovels of the burnt out Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. From there, they were abruptly relocated by King Hussein to Shuafat in 1966.

Jordan had been considering renovating the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem at the time. What the Jordanian king did not realize was that his “Project Removal” to Shuafat would allow the IDF to enter an abandoned Jewish Quarter in 1967.

Ahmed, the volunteer head of the “committee for the disabled” in Shuafat, is a one-man greeting committee for Shuafat. He introduces himself as the man who was elected by the residents of Shuafat to run programs for disabled Shuafat residents. The term “disabled” defines anyone from those who are handicapped to children with learning disabilities. Unlike other Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem where various professional services are offered, they do not in Shuafat, other than on a voluntary basis.

Ahmed, who works as a school teacher at Shuafat’s elementary school, says that he voluntarily devotes all of his spare time to work at the center for the disabled in the Shuafat camp. , . While he describes programs and centers in other areas of East Jerusalem that provide professional paid staff for the disabled, he explains, “UNRWA simply does not provide such services…People in the camp hate the UN and UNRWA. They strike them at work and when they come to visit the camp”.

Palestinians interviewed by the Israeli/Palestinian Center For Research and Information(IPCRI), described UNRWA’s assistance as “meaningless”, and spoke about tension between camp residents and UNRWA.

“We believe that UNRWA wants to withdraw from this camp and give it to the Palestinian Authority”, said Omar, Ahmed’s colleague on the ad hoc “Public Relations Committee for Shuafat”.

According to Omar, The PR committee, believes that this is the reason UNRWA does not supply services to the best of its ability.

Not that Omar is satisfied about the PA managing things, either, since he claims that the PA does not have funds allocated to help UNRWA camps. “As far as the PA is concerned, Shuafat people have homes to go back to in the villages that they left back in 1948”, says Omar.

Omar is correct. One of the first decisions of the Palestine Authority back in 1994 was to deny aid to the UNRWA refugee camps, since this would violate the right of return of Palestinian Arab refugees, as prescribed by UN Resolution #194.

So much for the expectations of the Oslo process, that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs living in refugee camps would be taken care of by an autonomous Palestinian entity.

Omar comments that when he walks around the camp every day, he sees “ a look of abandonment” upon the faces of the men sitting around him. UNRWA wants to desert them and they do not want to be under sovreignty of the Palestinian Authority. Their lives lay in the hands of ruthless politicians. As a result, the refugees maintain an unstable relationship between the UNRWA representatives and the residents in the camp”.

When Shuafat refugee camp opened in 1966, camp residents say UNRWA was eagerly providing education, medical care, food, and social services.

That was then. Now, the reality is much harsher. The refugees of Shuafat camp wake up to the smell of urine breezing through their tiny apartments. In the winter, floods streams rush through their narrow alleyways. Every year, there is talk of a new plan to pave streets and create sidewalks. The Jerusalem municipality maintains a standard offer to assist with sewage infrastructure and paving the streets, but their offer is consistently rejected. UNRWA will not permit this, since Israel is not recognized as a “host country”.

Meanwhile, children and the elderly try to deal with the decline in services that were previously provided by UNRWA.

“Our children do not even have a playground,” Omar said, as he walked past a group of Shuafat children kicking around a plastic bottle.

Back in 1966, Shuafat camp was large enough to house all of its then 1,000 inhabitants. No longer is this the case.

In Shuafat, as in other UNRWA camps, there is not enough room to expand the housing. UNRWA therefore builds upward. Apartments are stacked like blocks, one on top of each other. Families of ten are often packed in three bedroom apartments.

Palestinian refugees have one of the largest population growth rates in the world, almost 5 percent per annum. In total, the 650,000 Arab refugees from 1948 have swelled to more than three million, confined by UNRWA since 1949 in 59 refugee camps. One million Arab refugees live in the UNRWA camps in the West Bank and in Gaza.

The figures may be somewhat inflated, said one UNRWA health official, who asked not to be identified. He claimed that this is “because some identity cards of deceased UNRWA residents get used again”.

“UNRWA promised us 12 sanitation workers and the exact number that work here is five,” shouted Hadr, an angry Public Relations Committee member.

The lack of sanitation employment within the camp is evident by the piles of garbage and sewage that clog the streets of Shuafat. The small number of UNRWA sanitation employees are unable to stop the garbage from piling up. This is probably why Shuafat looks more like a garbage dump than anything else.

The Shuafat refugees also complain about the UNRWA health care services.

Some of the camp’s residents leave to find heath care outside of the camp because they feel that it better serves their needs.

“Clinics within the camps are equal if not better than hospitals in the surrounding area,” responds Ibrahim Jibril, Public Information Assistant for UNRWA at UNRWA headquarters in Jerusalem.

Yet many UNRWA refugee camp residents receive healthcare insurance from their jobs outside of the camp, through Israel National Insurance Institute employment benefits. Many residents have to pay the full price to get reasonable medical care.

“When I go the UNRWA doctor for a stomachache, he gives me Paracetamol. When I go to the doctor because I have a headache, he gives me Paracetamol. When I ask him why he always gives me that same medicine, he says because UNRWA does not have money for medicine,” Omar explained in a distressed voice.

Omar took out a blue card case and proudly presented it to me. Camp residents with blue cards, which are equivalent to Palestinian work permits, are able to seek medical care outside of the camp. However, there are hundreds of Shuafat residents who do not possess a blue card; they have to suffer miserably when they need real medical assistance.

“There are only two doctors who work in our Shuafat clinic: a general doctor and a dentist. The dentist never comes to work. When we ask to see him they (UNRWA) tell us to go to a private doctor or to go to Jerusalem,” Hadr said. Hadr, who recently needed root canal surgery, went to see if he could make an appointment with the dentist at the UNRWA clinic. The dentist was not in his office. Hadr’s patience ran thin. Suffering extreme pain, he went to an Israeli dentist and paid a fee that he could not afford.

Anger in the UNRWA schools of Shuafat is demonstrated quite differently. One of the UNRWA perks is free education until twelfth grade. When entering a Shuafat school, it looks like any other modern school one you might see in Jerusalem. Indeed, the plaques on the adjacent boys and girls schools in Shuafat designate that these schools were built from contributions recent received from Saudi Arabia, which also constructed an adjoining mosque. The schools are much cleaner than the rest of the camp. The children seem well-fed and well-dressed in their neat school uniforms.

Yet the ascetic quality of the school contrasts with the curriculum. In an eighth grade English class, the teacher proudly proclaim the words “occupation”, “land” and “return”, and asks the children to repeat them loudly. Thereafter, they sing their daily English song, a rendition of “We Shall Overcome …. in Palestine.” When the children were asked what the the song means for them, each one of them spoke of returning to their homes in the area that is now Ashkelon.

None spoke about living in the Palestinian entity in the West Bank or Gaza. One child even introduced his grandfather, Mohammad, who offered to provide a personal escort to the village where they “will soon be returning to”, even though it no longer exists.

An UNRWA school official ironically explains that the Shuafat school curriculum is in line with the UNRWA mandate and the 1949 UN Resolution #194 that is reaffirmed every two years. This resolution supports “the inalienable right of return” of all Palestinian refugee to be repatriated to the homes that they left in 1948.

Between the garbage, the reduced health facilities, the discouragement with UNRWA and the expectation of the right of return, it might be fair to say that Shuafat, the one refugee camp in Jerusalem is seething in expectation.

The Shuafat camp residents are well aware that the issue of “refugees” is now on the agenda of the Oslo process as the final step in a peace process that has so far excluded them.

One can well expect the Shuafat camp residents – well educated and quite literate – to conduct additional riots if their physical situation does not improve or if they do not have assurances that they will indeed return to Ashkelon very soon.

Meanwhile, the camp residents’ expectation that the Palestine Authority may soon take over official control of the Shuafat camp will represent a new headache to the city of Jerusalem and Israeli security services, which already copes with a dozen institutions of the Palestine Authority in its midst.

Scenarios of the Palestinian State in Formation

Jewish Action

January 5, 1999

Sir Edmund Burke, an elder statesman of Great Britain in the late eighteenth century, reported that he was often asked why he would not support the French Revolution.

After all, Burke’s colleagues noted, he had supported the American Revolution, demonstrating courage as a British Parliamentarian.

Burke would respond with a brief answer, one that summed up the problem of the French Revolution: “the end is the means in process”. Burke explained that an entity that began as a tyrannical dictatorship would evolve into one.

“The end is the means in process” would explain the challenge to the supporters of the new Palestine Authority, which no one doubt is a Palestinian state-in-the-making.

Only a small minority of Israelis accepted the Yariv-Shemtov “territories for peace” formula when it was proposed in 1974, following the Yom Kippur War. At the time, less than a dozen members of Israel’s Knesset supported the idea.

However, by the 1996 election, the Yariv-Shemtov formula of “territories for peace” had eventually evolved into an overwhelming consensus idea, when 118 members of the 120-member Knesset were elected.

Human rights activists throughout the world conceived of a Palestine Authority that would eventually become an independent Palestinian state. The vision was something along the lines of a two-state solution, whereby both Arabs and Jews dwelling within the small geographic entity known as Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel – or Palestine would coexist, side by side.

Indeed, those who spearheaded the campaign for a Palestinian state in Israel, Europe and the US did so under the “framework of a Palestinian human rights campaign”, recognizing the idea of Palestinian statehood as a fundamental human right. This was in line with the basic human concept of dignity and self-determination that might be afforded to any and all peoples.

Since its inception in 1994, the reality of the Palestine Authority, , has belied the two-state conceptof a nation-state that could dwell in a state of peace and reconciliation with the Jewish State.

There are two diametrically opposed directions toward which the Palestine Authority nation-state could head.. The first would be a democratic option, if the spirit of the liberal movements that have campaigned for the establishment of a Palestine Authority nation-state were allowed to prevail.

The infrastructure for peace and reconciliation is already in place – in Israel, at least, where more than 500 non-profit organizations are registered with Israel’s Ministry of Interior’s Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations that dedicate themselves to promoting understanding between Jews and Arabs.

In November 1996, I attended a meeting between Arafat and various Israeli groups that were concerned with peace and with reconciliation, all of whom wanted to gain Arafat’s approval to operate within the Palestine Authority.

Present were members of Arafat’s inner circle, along with businessmen of the Palestine Chamber of Commerce. Participating Israeli businessmen asked Arafat about the possibilities of joint business ventures, perhaps in the area of tourism. Arafat nodded his head in approval.

However, a rule of the Palestine Authority remained unchanged. That rule discourages joint ventures between Israeli and Palestinian businessmen.

Another participant was Amit Leshem, a feisty redheaded woman who has led a network of educators who have pioneered multilevel dialogues between Israeli and Palestinian teachers, principals and students.

Leshem told Arafat that she was having trouble gaining cooperation from the Palestine Authority to conduct such dialogue within the schools or any premises within the Palestine Authority.

She mentioned that she was close to Dr Yossi Beillin, one of the architects of the peace process, and asked Arafat’s to personally intervene to allow for schoolchildren of both peoples to interact.

Arafat was demonstrably interested in Ms. Leshem’s idea, and asked innumerable questions, saying that “only when our schoolchildren begin to talk will there be peace”.

Despite Arafat’s reassurances to her, the rule of the Palestine Authority forbidding official contact between Israeli and Palestinian school children or school teachers remained unaltered.

Sitting near Ms. Leshem at that meeting was Yehudah Wachsman, who had recently established the Nachshon Center for Tolerance and Understanding, named in memory of his son, Nachshon, who was kidnapped and later killer by Hamas assailants in October 1994.

Mr. Wachsman asked Arafat for the Palestine Authority to endorse and to participate in the Center’s dialogue activities. Wachsman indicated that he had been in touch with Palestinians who had indeed expressed interest in his new institute.

Arafat responded with great emotion, relating his condolences to the Wachsman family, and promising to do for the Wachsmans what he had done for the family of Leon Klinghoffer. Mr. Klinghoffer was the American Jew, who was murdered by PLO member Mahmoud Abbas aboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship, despite the elderly man’s being confined to a wheelchair at the time.

In response to a suit from the Klinghoffer family, Arafat had issued a press release stating that he would fund an institute for peace education in memory of Leon Klinghoffer.

The only problem was that Arafat never provided the necessary funds.

When Yehudah Wachsman followed up the meeting with Arafat by sending a letter to invite representatives of the Palestine Authority to participate in the activities of the Nachshon Center for Tolerance and Understanding, he received no reply;not from Arafat nor any representative of the Palestine Authority.

Despite the disappointing follow-up to the Arafat meeting, the atmosphere at the actual meeting, organized by Arafat himself, was a peaceful one.

As a journalist who covers the official Palestinian media, I had the opportunity to ask Arafat about his lack of peace message made, in Arabic, on the the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) television and radio network that operates out of the Palestine Authority. Radwan Abu Ayash, head of the PBC, acknowledged in a news interview that the Palestine Authority does not allow messages of peace to be carried on its official airwaves.

Arafat promised this would change.

However, even in the wake of the Wye Peace Conference of October 1998, the PBC continued its policy of broadcasting daily telecasts advocating war against Zionism and the Jewish State.

In August 1998, when I covered the fifth anniversary of the Oslo process held at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, I asked Arafat about any program of peace and reconciliation that he and the Palestine Authority would be ready to endorse.

Arafat responded enthusiastically that the Palestine Authority had indeed received funding for the “People to People” project from the Norwegian and American governments, that encouraged direct contact between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Since Arafat was sitting between Norwegian government officials, and only a few feet away from US State Department Negotiator Dennis Ross’s staff, this was Arafat’s opportunity to shower both governments with praise for this most personal peace initiative.

For once, I thought, I had a genuine story to write about an official Palestine Authority/Israeli dialogue when I would return to Israel.

From Ben Gurion Airport, I called the Israeli and the Palestinian participants who had been selected by the “People to People” project.

The Arab partner in the project. a Palestinian professor was curt with me, saying that “the project hasn’t begun yet. Please do not publish my name”. The Israeli professor chosen to run the project, Bar Ilan University’s Dr. Ben Mollov, was more explicit: “We have the students from Bar Ilan University and Bethlehem University, ready and enthusiastic. The Palestine Authority has simply pulled the plug and forbid Palestinians from participating in the project”. Need one forget that this occurred after the Palestine Authority had received generous allocations from the American and Norwegian governments for this specific program.

What had happened in the official circles of the PA’s Ministry of Education? Tragically, the PA schools have adopted into the official curriculum the PLO covenant calling for recovery of all land of Palestine.

The first academic study of the one hundred and fifty Palestine Authority school books, appearing at www.edume.org, reveals that PA textbooks make no reference whatsover to peace or to reconciliation.

Meanwhile, United Nations refugee “transit” camps, house more than 1,000,000 Arab refugees in the West Bank and Gaza. For over fifty years, these camps have adopted and taught a new Palestine Authority curriculum advocating raising a new generation of Palestinian Arab school children to believe they will soon return to the homes that they left in 1948… in Tel Aviv, Haifa and more than two hundred other communities and collective farms that now house Israeli residents.

If Arafat has his way, the Palestinian state will communicate to the world that it wants cooperation with Jews and with Israel, while simultaneously forbidding any such reconciliation.

Yet there is another Palestinian spirit.

Amit Leshem, Yehudah Wachsman, Ben Mollov and hundreds of other Israeli Jews have met Palestinian Arabs from all walks of life who would who are eager to coexist with Israelis.

The remaining question is which of the diametrically opposed directions of the PA, a nation-state-in-the-making, will become the dominant force in the future?

Much depends on two nations – the United States and Israel.

The US has spearheaded the drive for nations around the world to invest in Palestinian Authority.

As of October 1998, the State of Israel participated in 63% of the operating budget of the Palestine Authority

If the US and Israel decide to make a positive decision, each nation can reinforce the democratic elements in the developing Palestinian nation-state.

The late General Aharon Yariv co-author of the Yariv-Shemtov formula, told me that people misinterpreted his seminal peace formula. “We advocated ‘territories for peace’, not ‘territories before peace’…”After all Yariv, was concerned about the consequences of a Palestinian Arab entity that was not committed to peace and reconciliation with Israel.

PA Accountability

The Jewish Advocate of Boston, Mass.

November 22, 1999

While the US Congress deliberates over whether or not to comply with the request of President Clinton to grant an additional $400 million to the Palestinian Authority, a team of Palestinian and Israeli journalists have prepared a comprehensive report concerning Palestinian Authority fiscal accountability.

This carefully-researched Palestinian-Israeli analysis reports severe financial mismanagement by the PA that casts doubt on the ability of the PA to be responsive to the health, education, welfare or even the business needs of the Palestinian Arab population.

Principle problems documented by the report:

  • At least two private bank accounts of the Palestinian Authority operate under the exclusive control of Yasser Arafat, and the monies that go through those accounts are not invested in any concerns of the Palestinian Arab people. Half a billion dollars remain in these private accounts.
  • The Palestinian Authority recklessly and brutally domineers the business affairs of the Palestinian Arab population through monopolies in industries such as cement-mixing and gasoline, which kick back all profits to private coffers of PA officials. The US State Department estimates that there are twenty-seven PA-controlled monopolies.
  • Fourteen PA security services collect taxes from the Palestinian Arab population, with little coordination by the PA treasury. These militias all claim loyalty to Arafat under the aegis of the various arms of the Palestinian Liberation Army.
  • Assets of the PLO abroad are not being transferred to the Palestinian Authority.
  • Laxity of supervision from donor-nations has given Arafat free and arbitrary control over the $2.75 billion received so far from those nations.
  • Proliferation of thousands of unnecessary employees in public service of the Palestinian Authority

Meanwhile, the report notes that agreements signed between Arafat and all donor nations to the Palestinian Authority require total supervision of the PA’s bank accounts, along with verification and certification of the exact use of the funds. For that reason, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was brought in as a “consultant” to the Palestinian staff to prepare the Authority’s annual budget.

The report points out that the Palestinian Authority gladly accepts foreign donations but is dismayed at the supervision accompanying it. In fact, two budgetary systems operate within the PA. One is ruled by Arafat with little or no accountability to the World Bank, the IMF, and donor nations. The other is under the supervision of the contributing countries which serves to develop PA infrastructure.

The World Bank and the IMF which represent the donor nations, have repeatedly demanded that the Authority close the secret accounts that remain under Arafat’s personal control, and whose assets run in excess of half a billion dollars. Arafat has consistently ignored those requests, with no consequences.

At the conference of donor nations to the PA held in Japan in mid-October, the Palestinian Authority promised to clean up the arbitrary accounts and to make various economic reforms. In private discussions, however, Palestinian Authority representatives joked in the corridors of the conference that they will continue to do whatever they like with the money that they receive.

A theory propagated by proponents of the Oslo process was that the flow of capital to the Palestinian Arab community would foster peace and a “new Middle East.” Instead, the billions of dollars of cash-flow in Palestinian society has led to rampant corruption and a seething population that may turn to violence – not only against Arafat’s PA, but also against Israel and the US, whom the Palestinian people blame for imposing a corrupt regime upon them.

Mohammed and Meira Begin First Grade

The Jewish Week, New York

August 31, 2000

I work with a senior Palestinian television journalist named Mustafah. Like me, he turns fifty this month. Like me, has a six-year-old child, Muhammad, who will begin first grade this week.

My daughter, Meira, is excited to know that very, very soon she will learn how to read and write like her older siblings. I witness the same excitement from Muhammad while visiting his home in Ramallah, as I sitting with his entire family.

Muhammad always runs to get me Kosher cookies when I come to work with his father on a filming assignment. He tells me that now that he is in first grade he’ll be able to read the kosher label on the cookies.

When I joined Mustafa this week to cover the beginning of the school year in both the Israeli and Palestinian first grades, the difference in the curriculum could not be more dissonant.

When I went to the curricula center in Al Bira, the well kept middle class Palestinian suburb of Ramallah, the PA director of textbooks and printings, showed my Muhammad and I the new school books. This is the first publication undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, itself, with special grants received from the nations of the European community. The books would be used by students in first and sixth grade.

The other textbooks used by Palestinian school children, published for the PA in Egypt and in Jordan, are rampant with passages preparing Palestinian children for war against the State of Israel, describing the Jewish state in Nazi-like terms.

During the time the Israeli civil administration supervised the Palestinian school system, until 1994, Israel had deleted all such passages. The PA simply reinstated them.

Many people hoped that the new textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority would contain passages of peace. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

The history and geography books for both the first and sixth grades contain maps which portraying all of Israel as Palestine. Numerous additional passages call on a new generation of Palestinian children to liberate all of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.

The contrast between the PA textbooks and what Israeli schoolchildren are learning is striking. A peace curriculum has been required in the Israeli schools and in Israel’s educational television programming since 1993.

As I browsed through the Palestinian schoolbooks, I could not help but think about the Meira and Muhmmad. My daughter knows the Arabic version of the Sesame Street song “Let’s Be Friends” from the program that she has been watching on Israeli educational TV since she was four. In fact, she sometimes insists on singing it at the Sabbath table. For her, the possibility that she might befriends Arab children her own age has been an accepted reality of hers from a ver young age.

Muhammad, on the other hand, can’t stop singing the Biladi (My Land) song of the PLO, set to its marching, militaristic music; the song that calls on every Palestinian youngster to take up arms against the Jews.

Such manipulation of children was not expected to be part of the peace process. After all, “peace education” was to be included in the second paragraph of the Oslo Declaration of Principles, issued and signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jorgen Holst, and PLO leader YasserYasser Arafat in September, 1993.

Today, almost seven years to the day from the signing of the Declaration of Principles, and despite numerous grass-roots efforts at reconciliation, the official organs of the PLO and its administrative creation, the Palestinian Authority, have yet to issue their first statement in Arabic that calls for peace and reconciliation with Zionism and/or the State of Israel.

I inquired as to whether the Italian consul, Mr. Gianni Ghisi, the person responsible for organizing the European consuls to fund the new Palestinian textbooks, had even seen the new textbooks of the Palestinian Authority that he had funded.

Mr. Ghisi responded by saying that the PA would not let him see the books before they were published, despite an agreement that they had to review the texts before publication.

Recognizing that the PLO and the PA had instead substituted incitement for peace in their official rhetoric, the US, the PLO and Israel agreed at the Wye conference in October, 1998 to establish a continuing task force to address the subject of official PLO incitement to war. The task force met consistently for more than a year, even into the Barak administration, which assumed the helm of Israeli leadership in July, 1999.

Barak appointed Yaakov Erez, Editor of Ma’ariv, Israel’s daily newspaper, to head Israel’s delegation to the task force on incitement.

The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, an agency that monitors schoolbooks on all sides of the Middle-East conflict, dispatched streams of material to the task force, and organized an unusual nonpartisan session of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in May to address the subject of PA education, which constantly depicts Israel as a Nazi entity that needs to be wiped off of the face of the earth.

Following my visit to the PA curriculum center in Al-Bira where I had perused the new textbooks of the PA, I called Yaakov Erez to ask him if the textbooks had been evaluated by the task force on incitement. Erez told me that he had resigned from the committee, and referred me to the Israel Foreign Ministry, who had assigned a senior staff member to continue Israeli representation at the committee.

When I got to the Israel Foreign Ministry and finally located the staff person was assigned to the incitement committee, he informed me that the task force on incitement was no longer holding sessions. The reason he gave waslack of interest demonstrated by the current US ambassador.

So there you have it.

Meira begins first grade knowing the Sesame Street song in Arabic by heart, wondering aloud if she will ever have an Arab friend, while, on his first day of school, Muhammad will be handed a map of Israel where the name of the legal state is replaced with the name Palestine.Meira will learn tolerance and democracy while Muhammad will be inculcated to do everything that he can in his young life to make war on my children.

It was therefore not surprising to see the front-page storyof the New York Times, on August 3, 2000, entitled “Palestinian Summer Camps Offer Games of War”, documented how the schoolyards of Palestinian educational institutions were used all summer to train 25,000 Palestinian school children in the art of war.

The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace’s website can be accessed at: www.edume.org.

Does the New PLO Entity Recognize Israel?

The JUF News, Chicago

March 28, 2001

A hands-on journalism experience…

At a staff meeting in September 1993, our news agency – whose purpose it is to provide continuing factual coverage for the foreign media – made a policy decision: to examine first-hand how the new Palestinian Arab entity would view Israel, and to determine if their recognition of Israel would indeed e genuine. Toward this end, we raised funds to hire Palestinian journalists and Arabic-speaking Israelis.

Among other things, over the past seven years we have succeeded in doing the following:

covered all of Arafat’s speeches, some of which we filmed;

monitored public statements made by the PA;

watched the PA’s new TV station and listened to their new radio station;

bought their new (revised) maps and their new school textbooks;

attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo (1994)

did our utmost to make timely visits to the UNRWA refugee camps;

followed the PA’s new religious leaders and participated in Islamic-Jewish dialogue;

visited PA military bases and interviewed PA security officials;

attended the Palestine National Council meeting in. which met in a special session to cancel the PLO Covenant.

Seven and-a-half years later, the question of whether or not the new PLO entity recognizes Israel can now be answered,based on our hands-on coverage in each of the abovementioned areas.

  1. Arafat’s Speeches: The theme that Arafat has consistently preached throughout the past seven years revolves around the liberation of “all of Palestine”. When Arafat refers to his commitment to “the peace of the brave”, it is in terms of “the Right of Return” for five million Palestinian Arab refugees to flood Israel and to take over all of Jerusalem. He never speaks of “East Jerusalem”.

Never once has Arafat made a statement to his people in the Arabic language that even hints at recognizing the State of Israel. He has never asked for a cessation of terror. In November 1996, I asked Arafat when he would speak, in Arabic, about recognizing Israel or denouncing terror. He replied that he does so all the time, to which I responded that we have no record of such. In November 1998, following the Wye Conference, while holding in my hand a thick booklet of Arafat’s verbatim praises of terror, I once again asked him that question. while attending a US State Department briefing . His unfazed (unblinking, immediate) reply was that he “loved the Jews”.

  1. Public Statements Made by Members of the Palestinian Authority: We have subscribed to the position papers of the Palestinian Authority since its inception in 1993, and have carefully followed the Fatah website since its inauguration in 1998. Seeing these reports, one prominent Israeli peace leader observed that what bothered him was not the themes of war that one might expect in the intermediate stages of a rock peace process, but rather that they were so entirely devoid of peaceful sentiments.
  1. Palestinian Authority Radio and TV: Since its inception in Fall 1995, we have followed PA radio and PA TV. Indeed, a laboratory monitoring PA radio and TV stations – that is not connected with our office – now operates full time. Although the airwaves for both PA radio and TV were provided by the IDF and the initial funds for the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation came through the US government and visiting UJA groups, the official Palestinian Authority electronic media regularly calls for Israel’s destruction, the liberation of Palestine, and praises terror. In 1997, I arranged for a colleague in the peace movement to meet with Radwan Abu Ayash, the head of PBC, to ask him why the official media of the PA was devoid of any program for peace. Ayash responded that the Palestinian people were not ready for any such program.
  1. Maps: On the maps of the new Palestinian state sold at the at Orient House in Jerusalem – PLO headquarters – the name “Israel” does not appear. The word Palestine replaces the State of Israel. All 531 Arab villages that were abandoned in 1948 are returned to their locations within Israel proper while hundreds of Jewish communities have been obliterated. The current tourism map of the PA Ministry of Tourism, financed by the United Nations Development Program for Palestine, simply eradicates Israel from the map and shows all of the Old City of Jerusalem under PLO control, with no mention of Israel whatsoever. On May 15, 2000, our agency brought Arafat spokesman Dr. Walid Amar to speak. Amar said in his defense, “Well, your Israeli maps make no mention of Palestine,” at which I whipped out the new Israel Ministry of Tourism map, which clearly delineates the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
  1. School Books: In September 2000, our agency bought copies of the new school books of the Palestinian Authority, and submitted them for translation and evaluation by professional agencies in Jerusalem. These textbooks were supposed to recognize Israel. The emphasis should be on the word “supposed”/.Instead, the maps and the curriculum portray all of Palestine as one great Islamic state while the old school books that specifically instruct school children in the art of jihad (holy war) remain in the school curriculum.
  1. Nobel Peace Prize: At the much-celebrated Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December 1994, I asked Yasser Arafat if this prize meant that he would indeed crush Hamas and cancel the PLO covenant. He responded very matter-of-factly that he made no such commitment.
  1. UNRWA Refugee Camps: One of the great hopes of the peace process was that the new Palestinian entity would absorb the Arab refugees who have been held in the UNRWA camps for more than 50 years under the premise and promise of the ”Right of Return” to the l948 homes that no longer exist. Our hands-on reporting over the past seven years has conveyed the opposite reality. The PA has disenfranchised the UNRWA camps, depriving the Arab refugees of millions of dollars of health, education, welfare and construction assistance, since the PA with its ideology of the right of return does not subscribe to the notion that Palestinian Arab refugees should be repatriated to the West Bank or to Gaza. Imagine the shock one of my staffers experienced when she witnessed a Palestinian doctor in an UNRWA clinic refusing medical service to Arab refugee patients on the grounds that they can go back to the place from where they came – which, today, is the city of Ashkelon.

8.Islam: When Arafat appointed new clerics to serve the mosques under his control, the initial press reaction was hopeful; perhaps this would provide a balance to the preaching of terror by Hamas clerics. Little did we know that the Arafat-appointed clerics would launch calls to jihad against the Jews with greater ferocity. As a participant in Islamic-Jewish dialogue, I was struck by the dissonance between the genuine grass-roots Palestinian Moslem interest in reconciliation and the incendiary messages they were receiving from the Palestinian Authority.

  1. Palestinian Security Services: The reason Israel, the US, Canada and the E.U. provided weapons and arms training for Arafat’s security services was based upon the assumption that Arafat would use his forces against Hamas. It was therefore surprising for us to report the PBC news item in May 1995 that the PA was going to supply Hamas with weapons; and the December 1995 English Arab weekly, Al-Aharam news item reporting on a PA-Hamas military and tactical agreement. Any visit or interview with Palestinian Authority security officials reveals that their goal is to liberate all of Palestine, despite any interim security co-operation with Israel.
  1. The PNC Council: We dispatched a television crew to cover the historic meeting of the Palestinian National Council in April 1996, a meeting that was reported to have cancelled the PLO covenant calling for Israel’s destruction. The United States Congress had mandated that Arafat would not be allowed into the US unless that covenant was cancelled. US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk misinformed President Clinton when he reported that Arafat had cancelled the covenant. Our video, which we sent to Indyk and later screened in the Knesset and the US Congress, told quite a different story when it revealed that the PNC had, in fact, merely voted to establish a committee to consider amendmenting the PLO covenant.

In short, although the Israeli government has used the past seven years of a peace process to prepare the Israeli people for peace, the PLO and its nascent Palestinian Authority have oriented the Palestinian Arab people to the continued non-recognition of Israel while preparing their people for war.

A logical question would be whether Israel has made any significant changes in its academic curriculum during this negotiation process. Senior Hebrew University Education Professor, Amos Yovel, one of the founders of the Leftist Peace Now Movement, was commissioned by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace to conduct an exhaustive survey of Israeli school books, to see if peace is being taught, and to determine if Arabs are being demonized in the Israeli school curriculum.

On January 8, 2001, Professor Yovel presented his study of 200 Israeli text books which he had culled from both religious and secular Israeli schools. He declared that he had found no evidence of racism or demonization of Arabs in the curriculum being taught in the Israeli school system, and he expressed satisfaction that the Israel educational system was preparing a new generation of Israeli Jewish students for peace and reconciliation.

(Studies of the portrayal of Israelis in PA school books, and of Arabs in Israeli school books both appear on the same website: www.edume.org)

It takes two to dance the tango of mutual recognition and reconciliation. Only one of the parties is dancing.

The Former Israeli Peace Camp: Trouble Coping with Reality

Jewish Action

April 10, 2001

Amos Asael, veteran left wing columnist for the Jerusalem Post, was asked, shortly after the Israeli election in February, as to whether he would define himself as a “former peace activist”.

Amos retorted that he is part of the “former peace camp”.

The ideology of the “former peace camp” – whose motto is, “territories for peace” had long advocated that the Israeli government cede the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for a peace deal with representatives of the Palestinian Arabs.

That “Peace nNw” formula was dealt a fatal blow at the Camp David negotiations during the Summer of 2000, when Barak offered 92% of the West Bank and Gaza along with the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Arafat, an idea which was soundly rejected by Arafat and the PLO.

Senior Israeli negotiator, who is also Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Dan Meridor, told me that the PLO resisted the Israeli negotiating team’s generous “Peace Now” offer , since Ehud Barak would not give Palestinian Arab refugees the option to return to their homes and villages from 1948. Meridor mentioned that the senior members of the Israeli negotiating team, most of whom emanated from the “Peace Now” movement, had universally assumed that the PLO would welcome the “Land for Peace” offer. Meridor described how surprised the dovish delegation was to discover that the Palestinian delegation was serious about their demand for the “Right of Return”.

The concept of “Land for Peace” first entered mainstream Israeli political parlance after being endorsed by IDF Intelligence Chief General Aharon Yariv following the Yom Kippur War. Yariv had successfully negotiated a cease-fire with Egypt at the famous #101 kilometer post, an agreement that would pave the way for President Anwar Sadat’s visit and formal territory for peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1979.

Yariv, however, was prophetically skeptical regarding the chances of success for the current negotiation process with the PLO. Shortly before his death in 1994, Yariv told me that he feared the Oslo process because he favored “territory for peace”, and not handing over “territory before peace”

With the demise of the “Peace Now” formula at the Camp David Summit, there were those who pronounced premature eulogies of the “Peace Now” movement and its allies.

However, in October, following the outbreak of riots, senior Peace Now activist Janet Aviad: dispatched a wide-ranging proposal to members and supporters of her organization, calling for a $675,000 budget to focus the energies of the Israeli public on what she believed was the one main impediment towards peace: the Israeli Jewish “settlers” of Judea, Samaria and Katif.

In late October, after receiving more than $100,00 from the Americans for Peace Now organization, Peace Now in Jerusalem ran ads in all of Israel’s major newspapers, andfor the first time, in Palestinian Authority newspapers, in which Peace Now declared that the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza remained the greatest impediment to peace.

With the influx of journalists as a result of the riots, Peace Now initiated tours of the settlements for journalists, stopping near Nablus to show underground caves wherein Peace Now claimed that settler families were living in order to stage surprise attacks on passing Arabs. Peace Now representatives confirmed this, only after I showed them the pictures taken of such caves and testimonies of journalists who had been fed that line from the Peace Now tour guides.

The ads called for the Israeli government to unilaterally dismantle at least 40 of these Jewish communities as a confidence-building measure for peace.

In early November, Peace Now convened a press conference in which it presented the updated statistics on the expansion of settlements.

Speaking on behalf of the Movement, Ben Gurion University Professor Aryeh Arnon stated the passionate position of Peace Now: if Israel were to immediately withdraw from these 40 settlements, the Palestinian Authority would stop the shooting – in the direction of Jerusalem’s Gilo,neighborhood.

I asked Prof. Arnon if any official in the Palestinian Authority had ever made a statement at any time in Arabic to express his willingness to accept a two-state solution and to recognize the State of Israel at any time.

Arnon said that he could not answer that question.

I sumbitted that question to more than 100 agencies that have been involved in covering or researching the peace process: Does anyone have any record of any statement in the Arabic language at any time in which an official of the PLO or the PA states their recognition of a two-state solution – in other words, of territories for peace. No such record has ever been discovered.

Peace Now is not alone in its continuing campaign against the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Defining the settlement defines set as colonists, the European Union, the EU, allocated $250,000 to the “Peace Now” campaign against the settlements.

To augment the effort of targeting settlers as being the principle problem of the peace process, the EU commissioned the Israeli “Bitzelem” Human Rights Organization to research the subject of “settler violence”. To this end, “Bitzelem” hired Arab staffers who interviewed Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and, as a matter of policy, “Bitzelem” refused to interview any Jewish residents of the West Bank or Gaza.

Meanwhile,, in conjunction with Peace Now, the Rabbis for Human Rights organization has conducted an international campaign to expose West Bank settlers who allegedly uproot trees from Arab villages as a matter of policy. The Rabbis campaign includes raising funds for every tree that has been uprooted by settlers. Representatives of this group have made regular appearances on CNN and BBC to advance their cause. However, when these Rabbis are asked if they can pinpoint a specific time, witness or police complaint to the fact that settlers uprooted Arab trees, they could not cite a single instance, eyewitness, or police complaint of such. “We just know that this goes on”, said the spokesman for the Rabbis for Human Rights.

What upsets the Peace Now settlement apple cart remains the official PLO definition of settlements including any area where Israel placed its civilians in place of Arab civilians wherein Arab villages were overrun. This is in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids a conquering nation from doing just that. In other words, the PLO definition of illegal settlements includes Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands that replaced Arab villages in 1948 – places such as Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Ashkelon.

For this reason, the Voice of Palestine radio news described Netanya and Hadera as illegal settlements when bombs were detonated in these Israeli cities, both of which annexed neighboring Arab villages following the 1948 war.

Since the Palestinian Authority declared a “death sentence for settlers”, it would surprise many of in the Peace Now camp to know that most of the population of Israel now lives under the threat of a nascent regime that will justify, rationalize and condone the murder of most Jews in Israel, even if they do not live in the West Bank or Gaza.

Surprisingly, the Peace Now position has not been shaken. Their position remains that the way to peace is to cede the West Bank and Gaza to the PLO, even though the PLO does not accept any such formula for peace.

An icon is not easily broken. The Peace Camp has been transformed into an ideological dinosaur.

Will Israel Sever Its Umbilical Cord to Arafat?

Philadelphia Inquirer

December 10, 2001

Israel has only itself to blame for bringing Arafat on the scene. The question remains when and whether Israel will sever its umbilical cord to the PLO leader.

The Israeli government in 1993 imported Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, then in Tunis, to rule the Palestinian Arab population.

The late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, proud of his decision to impose Arafat on the Palestinian Arab people, declared at the time, that “Arafat will crush terror without civil liberties organizations and without any supreme court getting in his way.”

When Arafat was elected under internationally-supervised elections in 1996, the contest was conducted under Arafat’s rules: nobody was allowed to run in those elections without his express written consent.

When a serious candidate did indeed emerge to run against Arafat, the challenger’s house was blown up. Arafat’s campaign managers had devised persuasive ways of convincing Arafat’s rivals to reconsider running against him.

Jimmy Carter, head of the US observer team to the elections, was asked to comment on Arafat’s “election rules.” Carter quipped, “we have problems like that in Chicago too”.

The Civil Liberties Issue

By November, 2001, Human Rights Watch declared that Arafat had set up an autocratic regime that had engaged in a policy of systematic torture, arbitrary executions and wholesale denial of human rights and civil liberties. After years of rioting and an Arab nationalist revolution that posed a threat to all of Israel, the Israeli government decided to give Arafat an opportunity to rule over the Palestinian Arab population, in the hope that he would forge a nation-state that would live in peace and coexist as a neighbor to the State of Israel. In addition, Israel hoped that Mr. Arafat would meet the greatest challenge of all : absorbing millions of Palestinian Arab refugees into humanitarian conditions.

Today, there are 3.6 million Palestinian Arabs who live in the squalor of “temporary” UN-run Palestinian Arab refugee camps that were established for the half a million Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948.

Ensured of a program to help refugees, Arafat made it a policy that all Arab refugees must continue to suffer in their “temporary” refugee camps, under premise and promise of “the right of return” to the 531 Arab villages that were destroyed during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 , despite not only thet fact that these villages no longer exist, but that they have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and roads.

Instead of inculcating recognition and reconciliation of, and with, the state of Israel, Arafat’s PA consistently conveyed the message to his people, in their own language that the new Palestinian Arab state must replace – and not coexist with – the State of Israel.

Instead of appointing religious leaders to preach a message of peace in the local mosques, Arafat appointed Hamas preachers who every Friday offer seething sermons endorsing war on the Jews.

Instead of creating new media outlets to promote peace, Arafat has used the official Arabic language media of the PA to convey a consistent message of war.

Instead of using the PA school system to promote a two state solution and recognition of the State of Israel, Arafat has used his school system to introduce a curriculum calling for a Palestinian Arab state that will replace the State of Israel. George Washington University professor, Nathan Brown, a Fulbright scholar working under a grant from US Foundation for Peace, evaluated Arafat’s school books and curriculum and concluded that the concept of peace and recognition are totally lacking in the new curriculum

Arafat and Israeli Government Expectations

In 1993, the Late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the former (and current) Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, repeatedly stated that the reason they had given the Palestinian Arab population to Arafat, was because he would rein in the violence of the nascent Islamic Palestinian Arab movement.

When Peres and Rabin conducted a media briefing in Oslo when they jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Arafat in December, 1994, I asked them if Arafat had fulfilled his commitment to crush Hamas. They indicated that he had done so. Several hours later, when I asked Arafat the same question, as to whether the PLO leader would crush the Hamas, his response said it all: “Hamas are my brothers. I will handle them in my way”.

Arafat did just that; he brought Hamas into his new regime, as full coalition partners.

In May, 1995, Arafat’ security forces announced that they would provide Hamas with arms.

In December, 1995, Arafat invited Hamas to join his provisional regime.

In 1996, Arafat appointed Hamas officials to run the religious departments and schools under his authority.

By Fall, 2001, the IDF confirmed that all Islamic terror groups train and operate in full view of the Palestinian Authority Security Services, and the Islamic terrorists receive the unambiguous message that their activity operates with the full blessing of Arafat’s regime.

Israel now acknowledges that Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, which Israel helped create to control the Islamic terror, has instead become the sponsor of Islamic terror.

Arafat’s war with Israel is most like Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. It is waged everywhere: on the home front, at road junctions, on the way to schools, in buses, in cafes, and in pizzerias. Even some Israeli Arabs and their leaders are not ashamed to join in.

Almost half of the murders of Israelis that have taken place have been carried out by members of Arafat’s own military units: Fatah and Tanzim.

In a briefing given by the Israeli army to the media on Monday morning, December 3, 2001, IDF experts declared that Arafat had not arrested a single wanted terrorist from among the list of 108 men that Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had given to Arafat following a wave of murders. Arafat did arrest one hundred me, all of whom were on his payroll and none of whom were wanted by Israel. All of them were arrested for embarrassing the Palestinian Authority.

In the words of the IDF spokesman, “Arafat did not pay attention to Secretary Powell when the American secretary of state declared that Arafat would have to rein in the terrorists who are fighting Israel. Arafat has not learned his lesson”.

Why the Palestinians are Winning the Media War: An Interview with David Bedein

Reform Judaism Magazine

August 17, 2002

David Bedein has run the Jerusalem-based Israel Resource News Agency, which provides news services for the foreign media, since 1987. He has also worked on special assignment for BBC, CNN Radio, the Los Angeles Times, and the weekly Israel news magazine Makor Rishon. He was interviewed by RJ editor Aron Hirt-Manheimer.

Do you agree with those who say that “the Palestinians have been doing a better job than the Israelis on the public relations front”?

Yes. For the past twenty years, the Palestinians have outmaneuvered the Israelis in framing the conflict for the world media. The turning point came during the 1982 Lebanon War, when the Palestinians initiated a propaganda campaign to cast themselves as the defenders of human rights and the Israelis as the violators of human rights.

At the same time, Yasser Arafat’s brother, Dr. Fatchi Arafat, exploited his position as director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to release grossly inflated casualty figures. On June 10, 1982, for example, Dr. Arafat issued a statement declaring that “10,000 Palestinians have died and 600,000 have become homeless in the first few days of the war”–a lie calculated to portray the Palestinians as the victims of a genocidal assault in Lebanon. In fact, the total population in the war zone numbered fewer than 300,000. Yet the International Red Cross and Middle East Action Committee of the American Friends Service Committee spread the 10,000/600,000 figure to every media outlet in the world, and the major American networks picked up the story.

NBC’s Jessica Savitch reported, “It is now estimated that 600,000 refugees in south Lebanon are without sufficient food or medical supplies.”

Palestinian media professionals have no qualms about deceiving the media for political advantage. In their attempt to convince the world that the IDF massacred hundreds of civilians in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield, they used animal carcasses to fill the air with the stench of rotting flesh in places where reporters and UN officials were likely to visit. The IDF caught that ploy on video, as well as a staged funeral in which “the body” jumped out of the coffin and ran for cover when an Israeli surveillance plane flew over the site.

Are you suggesting that such tactics have been counterproductive?

Not at all. Such bloopers are the exception. The Palestinians have an excellent track record in manipulating images that appear in the world media. They achieved an enormous propaganda windfall at the beginning of the second intifada, when a Palestinian film crew working for a French television network recorded the shooting of eleven-year-old Mohammed a-Dura as his father tried in vain to shield him during a battle at a road junction near Gaza. The video, edited to portray the IDF as heartless child killers, fit the Palestinian story line perfectly.

The Israeli government fell into the trap, issuing an apology even before investigating the incident. Mohammed a-Dura, the “poster boy” of the second intifada, will go down in history as a celebrated martyr of the Palestinian people and yet, the Palestinian version of a-Dura’s death is a lie, an invention of Palestinian P.R. professionals. A thorough IDF investigation, which was issued three weeks after the incident and confirmed by a German TV crew, showed that the bullets fired at the boy had come from the direction of Palestinian gunmen who had attacked an Israeli guard post. But the world had “witnessed” the shooting of a-Dura, as the media scripted it an atrocity committed by Israeli troops and the damage could not be undone. It is impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

When did these Palestinian P.R. professionals first come onto the scene?

Back in March 1984, Ramonda Tawill, a media professional (who six years later would become Yasser Arafat’s mother-in-law), helped the PLO establish the Palestinian Press Service (PPS) to provide assistance to visiting journalists and conduct training seminars in media relations. The PPS then joined forces with the Palestine Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC) to change the image of the PLO from that of a sixties-style liberation movement to an organization fighting to protect the victims of Israeli human rights abuses.

PHRIC seminars instructed their “students” to steer every media interview to the same themes – Israeli occupation, illegal settlements, human rights abuses, and the right of the Palestinian refugees to go home. Regardless of the question, these themes were to be repeated over and over again. I know this firsthand, because our agency made it a policy to assign our journalist interns to take Tawill’s courses.

One of her great “accomplishments” came in May 1985, after Israel released more than a thousand convicted PLO terrorists in exchange for seven Israeli soldiers. As a way of diverting media attention from their crimes, Tawill coached these freed terrorists to stress that they were tortured in Israel jails for “political activism” and “support of Palestinian nationalism.” I learned about this tactic from several of Tawill’s students in a media course I took in May 1986. They explained that by monopolizing the reporters’ time with stories of torture, the journalists would invariably have to complete the interview before they had time to ask the terrorists about the actions that had led to their capture and imprisonment.

At the time, Israeli intelligence did not allow reporters to look at the prison files of security detainees, so the crimes of these terrorists went virtually unreported.

Was the PHRIC widely perceived as a credible human rights organization?

Absolutely. By mid-1989, international human rights organizations routinely reproduced information developed by the PHRIC, which by then had secured funding from the Ford Foundation and had established offices in Chicago and Washington. Addressing the media in Jerusalem in November 1989, Amnesty International Spokesman Richard Reoch acknowledged that his organization regarded the PLO, which works with the PHRIC, as an objective information source. “Since the PLO is not a government body,” he said, “we feel comfortable with Amnesty using them as a source.” And a US embassy spokesman told me in February 1989 that the PHRIC had “impeccable” credentials.

How do Palestinian P.R. professionals get their training today, and who funds it?

The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) provides courses and more than thirty how-to manuals on public relations, media relations, fundraising, communications, lobbying, and public speaking. PASSIA trains Palestinian academics who will be teaching abroad on how to promote their cause on university campuses. In addition, Palestinians in the US are taught how to seek out the Arab constituencies in each congressional district and how to lobby members of Congress for political and financial support of the Palestinian cause. And who picks up the tab for PASSIA? The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a program of the US State Department, grants PASSIA and eighteen other Palestinian media relations firms in Jerusalem more than $1 million annually. It was only this past March, after a US House International Relations Committee staffer discovered that USAID was providing allocations for Palestinian media relations, that members of Congress became aware of this aid. A surprised Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) looked at PASSIA’s advocacy manual and said incredulously: “Here we are in Congress paying them to lobby us.”

How have the Israelis countered this Palestinian strategy of portraying them as human rights violators?

The Israelis constantly find themselves on the defensive. They can’t seem to get out of the box into which the Palestinians have put them. By framing the conflict as a human rights issue, the Palestinians have succeeded in convincing many journalists, on some level at least, that every act of terrorism against Israeli civilians is not a crime, but a legitimate response to human rights abuses.

What is the organizational structure of the Palestinian public relations program, and how does it differ from Israel’s?

The major Palestinian media organization, known as the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), is heavily subsidized by the European Union and the Ford Foundation. Headed by Dr. Ghassan Khatib, a close associate of Yasser Arafat, JMCC provides the foreign media with topnotch professional services–affordable camera crews, translators, photographers, and transportation, as well as daily press bulletins, briefing papers, and people to interview.

The Israeli government provides the visiting press with bushels of bulletins, but leaves the provision of camera crews and translation services to the private sector. No Israeli TV crew can compete with the heavily subsidized JMCC, which essentially has cornered the market on media services for the foreign press. The foreign press is totally dependent on Palestinian technical support personnel, who have a strong influence on the narrative and images that appear in the Western media.

Do the Palestinians have a P.R. presence in Washington, DC?

Their man in Washington is Edward Abington, who served as US Consul in Jerusalem when USAID began to finance PASSIA in the ‘90s and is now registered as a paid foreign agent for the PLO in Washington. Abington coordinates information from JMCC, PASSIA, and other Palestinian information agencies and puts a moderate face on the Palestinian cause, which often means damage control. For example, each time one of Arafat’s militias takes credit for a terror attack, Abington’s office quickly issues a statement to the media denying Arafat’s involvement. A case in point: on November 20, 2000, the PLO’s Fatah was quoted on official PBC radio and PBC TV as taking credit for an attack on a school bus near Kfar Darom, where two schoolteachers were murdered and three siblings were maimed for life.

Yet CNN reported that the PLO had condemned the attack. I called the international desk of CNN in Atlanta to inquire about the contradictory statements. The person on the desk, a nineteen-year-old intern, told me that she had received a call from Abington’s office in Washington, followed by a fax, denying PLO involvement.

Abington also provides the press and the US government with “translations” of Arafat’s speeches. On May 15, 2002, Arafat delivered a speech to the Palestine Legislative Council in which he compared the Oslo Accords to the ten-year peace treaty between Mohammed and the Jewish tribe of Qureish, a treaty the founder of Islam tore up two years later, when his forces had the power to slaughter the Jewish tribe. President Bush declared that Arafat had been speaking the “right words.” When our news agency asked the US embassy in Israel if the entire speech had been sent to Bush, embassy officials responded that Bush had not yet received any of the speech. We then called Abington’s office, which told us that they had supplied the translated speech to the president. Clearly, the text supplied by Abington’s office arrived before any official dispatch from the ambassador’s information office. The “right words” conveniently excluded Arafat’s bellicose message.

Are Palestinian medical and relief organizations involved in the “media war”?

Like the so-called Palestinian human rights organizations, the Union of Palestine Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), run by Dr. Mustafa Al-Bargouti (brother of jailed Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Al-Bargouti), coordinates its strategies with Dr. Fatchi Arafat’s Palestinian Red Crescent Society in disseminating wild reports of Israeli medical neglect and torture of Palestinians. There have also been numerous incidents in which false information issued by UPMRC sources has been picked up by US media. On July 11, 2001, for example, the Associated Press reported that a pregnant Palestinian woman was shot to death at an Israeli roadblock. In fact, she didn’t die, and the doctor who had told the AP reporter she’d been shot and killed hadn’t even seen her. He was in a different town at the time. AP reversed itself the next day, reporting that “Israeli soldiers did not bar a Palestinian woman in labor from passing an Israeli checkpoint, refuting initial claims by two Palestinian doctors.”

Another incident: in late May, National Public Radio aired a parallel report of a Palestinian suicide bombing at an outdoor restaurant near Tel Aviv that killed a toddler and her grandmother, and the shooting of a Palestinian grandmother and child that the IDF mistook for terrorist infiltrators. Palestinian doctors told the NPR reporter that the Palestinian victims’ bodies were burned, dismembered, and crushed by an Israeli tank. NPR included these unsubstantiated accusations in its coverage. When I asked the IDF spokesman about these accusations, he laughed with disbelief that mainstream reporters would give credibility to such outrageous inventions, but they did.

How is the UPMRC funded?

It receives $300,000 annually from the United States for P.R. And Dr. Arafat’s Palestinian Red Crescent Society receives $215,000 a year in US assistance. Both agencies are on the list of the fifty-nine non-government Palestinian organizations that have shared $100 million in US aid since 1997.

Do you believe the United Nations plays a role in advancing the Palestinian P.R. agenda?

Definitely. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) maintains a professional media relations department and a news service called the UNRWA television network, both based in the Ain el-Helweh UNRWA refugee camp in Lebanon. UNRWA cooperates with the media services of the PLO and the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) to provide the visiting press with information and services. Its literature focuses largely on the plight of the refugees who are being housed in camps until they can “return to their homeland” – which, according to their literature, includes not only the territories captured by Israel in 1967, but also all the areas that Israel annexed after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

he UN’s agenda is to present the Palestinian Arabs as victims. In Witness to History:

The Plight of the Palestinian Refugees, one of several primers distributed by UNRWA and published by MIFTAH, the Palestinian media agency run by well-known Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi and commissioned by the Canadian government, the UN asserts, on page 13, that all “refugees and their descendants have a right to compensation and repatriation to their original homes and land….”

How do the Palestinians and Israelis different in their methods of media relations?

Professionally trained and disciplined Palestinian spokespeople usually present themselves as a ragtag bunch of amateurs. They meet Western reporters in modest Jerusalem or Ramallah hotels or against the backdrop of refugee camps. This tactic has been very successful in reinforcing the stereotype of their side as the aggrieved underdog. An interview with a Palestinian in an alleyway with burning tires and bullets flying overhead captures the imagination of editors who place a premium on entertainment value – the human drama unfolding.

In contrast, when foreign correspondents meet with Israeli officials, they are often greeted by slick government spokespeople at fancy hotels, state-of-the-art media centers, or modern offices. Israeli spokespeople labor under three false notions. First, that formal, professionally packaged P.R. is persuasive.; Second, that lengthy explanations of the history of the conflict will be more effective than sound bytes in convincing the public of the rightness of their cause.Third, that the moral correctness of their action and cause is self-evident to any rational, fair-minded human being. Along these lines, Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres once said: “Good policies are good P.R.; they speak for themselves.” Unfortunately, Peres was wrong. A lie can be more powerful than the truth, if you market your lie well enough for people to believe it.

Another problem with Israeli P.R. is that it is woefully uncoordinated and sometimes contradictory. News originates from at least four different offices: the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, and the Defense Ministry – and at times each conveys a different message.

On October 28, 2001, for example, Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres gave numerous interviews to Israeli and foreign news bureaus stating that Arafat was not responsible for the current wave of terror, and produced as proof the fact that the PA had recently arrested several Hamas terrorists. Yet on that same day, IDF intelligence met with more than a hundred journalists to present evidence linking Arafat and his Fatah organization to Hamas terror activity. Explaining how Hamas terror groups train and operate in the full view of the Palestinian Authority security services, an Israeli military spokesman furnished the media with documentation that the Hamas wing operates as an official, integral part of Arafat’s Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza. He also pointed out that two wanted Hamas terrorists working for the Palestinian security services had murdered four women and wounded fifty civilians at the Hadera bus station that very morning.

In contrast to the seemingly uncoordinated messages coming from Israel, spokespeople of the autocratic Palestinian Authority adhere to a party line with practiced discipline, simply reciting the standard litany of complaints about their “oppression,” the “occupation,” “human rights abuses,” “racism,” etc.

Why do you think the Israel government has had such difficulty in recent years getting its point of view across to the Western media?

I think Israel made a major mistake in 1986, when Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his deputy Dr. Yossi Beilin revised the way in which the government would relate to the PLO. They asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cease distribution of the PLO Covenant, which has never officially changed the provision calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. They also asked that the ministry stop defining the PLO as an enemy. In countless briefings that the ministry held in the late 1980s, both Peres and Beilin explained that the time had come to put the fight with the PLO in the past. The 1986 Peres/Beilin policy change paved the way two years later for the US government to recognize the PLO.

The Israeli government also gave the Palestinians a free ride from 1993- 2000, during the seven-year Oslo process, by downplaying terrorist attacks and the two-faced message of the Palestinian leadership, which presented a message of peace in English and a message of war in Arabic. To keep the Oslo process from collapsing, both Israeli and US leaders decided in 1993 to ignore the PA’s daily radio and TV calls for a renewed war against Israel. Indeed, in 1995, when the Institute for Peace Education Ltd., which our agency helped to facilitate, produced videos of Arafat’s speeches promoting jihad (holy war), then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres asked Israel TV not to air any of Arafat’s speeches in Arabic. In September 1995, Peres went so far as to ask Representative Ben Gilman, the chairman of the US House International Relations Committee, not to hold a special hearing in which these videos of Arafat’s speeches were to be screened. The House committee ignored the request.

The “don’t tell” policy continued during the Netanyahu administration from 1996 to 1999. While Netanyahu’s office churned out weekly reports on PA incitement for Likud Party members, a senior official of the Netanyahu administration confirmed to me that the reports were deliberately withheld from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli media. In October 1998, during my coverage of the Wye Conference, I asked the Israeli embassy why they did not distribute this material. They answered, “The Israeli government downplays the reality of Arafat’s PA in order to not alienate the US government.” The Barak government, which assumed power in May 1999, went so far as to quietly eliminate the clause in the Oslo accords that required the PA to cease incitement against Israel.

How do the Palestinians and Israelis compare in their treatment of foreign journalists?

The Israeli army often declares areas to be off limits to the media, which is like flashing a red flag before a bull. The first thing a reporter assumes is that Israel is trying to hide something. One foreign reporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me that Israel had made a “horrible mistake” when “the IDF closed the whole West Bank to reporters during Operation Defensive Shield and left the area wide open to wild rumors planted skillfully by Palestinian spokesmen. We had no way to check out the rumors, and so many of us had to report it in a he-said, she-said format. And, of course, when TV networks put Palestinian spokesmen on live to make their charges, then it’s out there and we have to deal with it.”

In contrast, the PA rarely engages in confrontation with the foreign press. A rare exception occurred in October 2002 when two IDF soldiers were lynched in the Ramallah police station. The gruesome scene was captured by an Italian TV crew and sent abroad without going through PA censors. The PA demanded an apology and a promise never to do it again – -or lose permission to cover Palestinian territory. The Italians said mea culpa and promised never again to embarrass their hosts. We asked our staffer to fly to Rome to interview this Italian crew, who told us, on the record, how they had been browbeaten by PA security officials into providing a letter of apology.

What advice would you give the Israeli government to improve its image in the Western media?

Instead of barring reporters from “closed military places,” the IDF and the Israeli government should facilitate press coverage of every event, no matter how delicate or dangerous. Preventing journalists from doing their jobs, in some rare cases even shooting in their direction, does little to win friends in the media.

I think the best way for Israel to improve its public relations is to improve its human relations. On the positive side, Israel has finally begun to provide correspondents with more concise and useful background information, such as kits, CD roms, and profiles of Israel’s enemies.

But rather than providing reporters with the means to get to the scene of an attack, Israel still prefers to keep them away. In short, Israel needs to treat journalists with less suspicion and more respect.

Do you believe that many Western journalists harbor an anti-Israel bias, or are there other factors which work in favor of the Palestinian point of view?

I agree with the assessment of Dr. Mike Cohen, a Jerusalem-based strategic communications analyst and IDF reserve officer, who says that most foreign journalists are not inherently anti-Israel, anti-semitic, or pro-Palestinian. They are, however, easily swayed by Palestinian manipulation, which relies on the reporters’ and editors’ lack of background knowledge, combined with the lack of time and desire to take a deep look at the facts. Another factor is the fear of losing access to Palestinian sources and logistical support if their stories are perceived as hostile. Moreover, non-Palestinian reporters are deliberately impeded and intimidated when trying to cover news that may embarrass the PA. I know of several foreign journalists who had reported incidents of Palestinian incitement and were thereafter barred from PA briefings.

Are there dissenting Palestinian voices in the Palestinian media?

One rarely hears a dissenting voice among the Palestinians because anyone who publicly criticizes the PA can be imprisoned or even executed. The foreign media is told, and dutifully reports, that the person in question was a “collaborator.” A case in point: in early March 2002, BBC reported the execution of two Palestinians who had been accused by the PA of collaboration. When the BBC crew met with the families of the two victims, they discovered that both had a history of opposition to the PA and that both had openly criticized Arafat.

The BBC correspondent told me that these were dissidents, not collaborators, but BBC World Service chose not to report the story.

In the final analysis, how important is the P.R. factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Absolutely crucial. As long as Western journalists project an image of the PA as a defender of human rights and Israel as a brutal occupier, development funds from the United States and the European Union will continue to flow into the PA’s coffers with little public protest about some of that money being used to bankroll the intifada, including suicide bombers, as documents seized from Arafat’s office during Operation Defensive Shield prove. As long as Palestinian P.R. professionals continue to dictate the story line to the media, Israelis will continue to be portrayed as the villains and the Palestinians the victims. It’s time to change the script.

Israeli Peace Now MK Launches Attack Against Official Palestinian Authority Media

Makor Rishon

November 4, 2002

This week, Meretz Knesset Member and Peace Now Leader Ron Cohen unleashed an unprecedented attack against the Palestinian Authority’s PBC (Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio and TV stations, describing PBC broadcasts and telecasts as “subversive and racist”.

MK Cohen dispatched a letter to the director of the PBC, Radwan Abu Ayash, to cease the PBC broadcasts and telecasts that are picked up throughout Israel and which incite Arab youth, even within Israel, to conduct suicide attacks and engage in war against the very existence of the State of Israel.

MK Cohen went a step further than any member of Knesset had ever done and asked the Israel Minister of Communications, Mr. Reuven Rivlin to reconsider the airwave license granted by the Israeli government to the Palestinian Authority back in 1994 that allowed the PBC free access to the airwave transmissions over Israel.

Reached at his office in the Knesset, MK Cohen noted that he was responding to a recent analysis made by Dr. Guy Bichor, a Middle East Arabic studies scholar who has just completed a study of the children’s programs on the PBC. Bichor notes the consistent trend of the PBC, from its inception in 1994 until today, to indoctrinate a generation of children to commit suicide attacks and to make war on the Jews and on the Zionist entity. As a matter of policy, the PBC does not mention the entity known as the State of Israel.

Asked why MK Cohen was making this statement now, after eight years of PBC incitement, Cohen said that the time had come to admit that neglecting the issue of official Palestinian Arab incitement was the greatest mistake made by the architect of the Oslo process, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Speaking on November 4th, 2002. Onthe day that marked the seventh anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, Cohen, in a chocked voice stated, “Rabin thought that we should deal with this kind of thing after we would solve everything else, and we now know that Rabin was wrong… ” Rabin made a mistake, and that there is no reason to repeat that mistake

Radwan Abu Ayash, the director of the PBC, was unavailable for comment, and refused to appear on the popular media talk show with MK Ron Cohen, hosted each week on the Voice of Israel’s IBA (Israel Broadcasting Authority) radio show by veteran Israeli journalist Mati Golan.

Instead, Ayash delegated the PBC Voice of Palestine’s program editor Muhammad Assayad to read a prepared statement, in which he accused MK Cohen of being a “stooge for the Israeli right wing and the settler radio station Arutz Sheva”. Cohen laughed and responded that he had just come from a Peace Now rally and that he was leading the fight the next day in the Knesset to cut funding for Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Assayad repeated his prepared statement, and remarked that Cohen should be appearing on the Arutz Sheva radio program of Adir Zik, who is “so popular with the settlers”, in Assayad’s words.

IBA talk show host Mati Golan intervened and told Assayad that MK Cohen was not attacking a “Palestinian Arutz Sheva” or any Palestinian pirate radio show. Golan noted that this was an attack on the official voice of the Palestinian Authority. Golan asked how the PA would respond if official IBA radio and TV were to run programs that would promote the murder of Palestinian Arab children. Assayad hung up the phone.

Official Palestinian State Constitution: Islam as State Religion, No Juridical Rights for Other Religions, Guarantee for the Right of Return

Makor Rishon

April 18, 2003

This week, a senior foreign diplomat provided Israel Resource News Agency with the finalized Arabic version of the Palestinian State Constitution, framed by the official constitutional committee of the Palestinian National Authority, which had been funded by the Ford Foundation in the framework of the long-awaited reform in the Palestinian Authority.

This constitution was finalized on and dated March 26, 2003.

Some salient points of the 43-page document of the Palestinian constitution deserve special attention:

Islam is to be the official religion of the Palestinian state, with all aspects of Palestinian state law to be subservient to fundamental Islamic law, modeled on Saudi Arabia law. No other religion except for Islam is to have juridical status. All religious schools and religious institutions of “Christianity and other religions are under the supervision of the Islamic Law. The PLO concept of a “democratic secular state” appears nowhere in the document. Sources in the Vatican have expressed their deep concern about the prospect that Christian schools and Christian institutions that would be thrown under the jurisdiction and arbitrary control of a Moslem authority.

It is noteworthy that there is no system of human rights or civil liberties mentioned anywhere in the Palestinian State Constitution.

The “right of return to homes from 1948” remains a fundamental right protected by the Palestinian State Constitution, based on the PLO interpretation of UN General Assembly Resolution #194. By “protecting” the right of return, the Palestinian State Constitution essentially advocates the replacement of the State of Israel with millions of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents who have been wallowing in United Nations Arab refugee camps since 1949.

Official sources in the Palestinian Authority, the US government and the Israeli government confirmed to Israel Resource News Agency that the White House, US secretary of state, Israel’s office of the prime minister and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs have received official copies of the Palestinian State Constitution. However, the US and Israeli governments have not bothered to translate and share this sensitive document with either the US Congress or the Israeli Knesset (parliament).

Neither the US nor the Israeli governments are willing to publically discuss the document.

Perhaps both governments prefer that the existence of this document not be known. After all, there is a vision of an opportunity, after the Iraqi war, to “make peace.”

Any documentation of Palestinian intentions would destroy that vision.

This follows the pattern of the Oslo process. If the Arabic-language documents of the nascent Palestinian Authority had been released earlier, things could not have gone as far as they did.

The “Right of Return” The Wild Card of the Middle East Negotiation Process

September 19, 2003

Israel Resource News Agency

The 1948 War Continues

Israel’s 1948 war has not been resolved. The Palestinian Authority and PLO, with the help of the UN, keep that war simmering. They do this by demanding the implementation of the “Right of Return”, so that Arab refugees and their descendents may claim Arab homes and villages abandoned during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, even if these locations have since been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands.

While anywhere between 450,000 and 700,000 Arabs left or fled the former British mandate of Palestine during that two year war , the PLO now claims that any peace settlement must include the return of 8,000,000 Arabs to live within Israel’s 1949-1967 cease-fire borders.

Demand for the :Right of Return” attracts little media coverage in the mainstream media in the West and even in Israel.

Most people, including Israelis, know nothing about it.

Despite this, all foreign governments involved in Middle East negotiations, including the US, give tacit support to the “Right of Return”. In principle, this is a simple formula replacing Israel’s population with an Arab population who claim that more than 80% of Israeli homes are built on the property of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents.

“Right of Return” in the UN-run Palestinian Arab refugee camps

Schools in the UN-run Palestinian Arab refugee camps inculcate a new generation that soon they will be living inside a Jew’s house inside Israel.

The precision of this “Right of Return” brainwashing can be seen in the educational curriculum being taught at (www.palestineremembered.com), where the descendents of Palestinian Arab refugees can peruse photos and maps of the homes and villages to which they expect to return; the same locations that are now “occupied” by Jews.

It is blatantly evident that the “Right of Return” is woven into the official curriculum of the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Education (www.edume.org), whose schools and school books are funded by the US AID, Canada and all major European nations.

“Right of Return”: The Foundation of the ‘Road Map’

The issue of the Palestinian Arab demand for “Right of Return” to the Arab villages that they left in 1948 is now on the table.

Indeed, the current “Road Map”, sponsored by the US, the EU, Russia and the UN is based on the “Saudi Peace Plan” proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah on March 28, 2002 at the Arab League in Beirut., Palestine Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, also Arafat’s confidante, affirmed in Beirut on August 16th that the US-sponsored Road Map would mandate the right of Palestinian Arab refugees to return to their homes and villages from 1948.

Surprisingly, Shaath was correct. All one needs to do is to read the official “Road Map” document to know that the Saudi initiative, which supports the “Right of Return”, provides the basis for the Road Map. This can be found in the document entitled ” A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” http://www.un.org/media/main/roadmap122002.html.

In other words, the “Saudi Peace Plan” demands that Israel accept the recognition of the “Right of Return” for any Palestinian Arab refugee or any refugee descendant who desires to act upon his or her “right”.

All this is in line with the Palestinian State Constitution, authored by the same Nabil Shaath and ratified on March 26th by the US-funded Palestine Legislative Council (PLC). This constitution legislates the “Right of Return” for all Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents to return to the villages from 1948, even if they no longer exist .Thousands of maps recently issued and distributed by the Palestinian National Authority in Arabic and in English provide a clear guide for Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants to forcibly take back the 531 Arab villages lost in 1948 which have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands.

Not one of the villages to where Palestinian Arab refugees demand the “Right of Return” are located in Judea, Samaria (also known as the West Bank) or Gaza.

Only last week, Palestinian Arabs fired Qassam rockets into Ashkelon from UN refugee camps in Gaza. Some 24 hours thereafter, an announcement aired on the Palestinian Authority’s PBC Voice of Palestine stated that “Palestinian fighters had attacked the Israeli settlement in Majdal-Ashkelon.”

The emphasis in the announcer’s voice was on Majdal, alluding to the fact (which his Arab Palestinian listeners would be expected to know) that Ashkelon has been built on the ruins of al-Majdal, a cluster of Arab villages.

The refugee residents of UNRWA camps in Gaza speak of the necessity of removing “illegal Israeli settlements” to achieve peace.

One might think that they are referring to the 21 Israeli Jewish farming communities that have been founded on the sand dunes south of Gaza in the context of their claim to all of Gaza.

However, an example of a settlement that the UNRWA camp residents wish to remove is the “illegal Israeli settlement” of Ashkelon, which replaced Majdal and other Arab villages as a result of the 1948 war, or the constantly shelled Sderot, which replaced Arab villages in the Negev.

“Right of Return”: Motto of the Palestinian Authority

The emergence of a Palestinian Arab entity in the form of the Palestinian Authority has done little to stem Palestinian Arab expectations for the “Right of Return”.

After the erosion of the Camp David negotiations during Summer 2000, both the Israeli and Palestinian Arab delegations confirmed that the talks broke down because Israel did not recognize the “Right of Return” Israeli negotiator Dan Meridor told me in an interview in September, 2000, the Israeli delegation was amazed that the Palestinian Arab delegation was so adamant on the full recognition of the “Right of Return”.

Yet Palestinian Legislative Council Chairman, Ahmad Qurei, [a.k.a. Abu Alaa], Arafat’s most recent prime ministerial candidate for a future Palestinian Arab state, has consistently declared that the ideology of a Palestinian Arab state must be based on the “Right of Return”. As he stated in 1999 “… Either [we achieve] a just peace that will guaranty the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including [their] return, self determination, and the establishment of an independent [Palestinian] state with Jerusalem as its capital – or there will be no peace but [rather] a return to the struggle in all its forms.”

Al-Ayyam, September 24 1999 [Excerpt from MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 58 November 18, 1999]

We asked the head of the PLO Refugee Committee, Daoud Baraket, about the difficulties of the “Right of Return”, since Israelis live in cities that replaced the Arab villages from 1948. Baraket had a simple solution. “The Israelis should leave,” he said. We asked what would happen if they do not leave. “Well, we would have to kill them, and international law would be on our side,” Baraket said.

“Right of Return”: The Basis of UNRWA

The “Right of Return” also forms the basis for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operation UNRWA was established in 1950 to administer 59 “temporary” Palestinian Arab refugee camps instead of repatriating them to Arab countries.

The organization continues to operate these camps as “temporary shelters” under that very mandate of the “Right of Return”

Often, UNRWA Arab refugee camps organize each neighborhood exactly according to the neighborhoods and villages from whence they left in 1948, so as to facilitate their repatriation to those same neighborhoods.

In June of this year, Hamas won 60% of the votes to take over the UNRWA workers union, the professional guild that represents the 23,000 employees of UNRWA, most of whom are college-educated Palestinian Arab residents of the UNRWA camps.

That indicates the dominant ideology of the UNRWA employees who run the camps.

It is no wonder that the 59 UNRWA refugee camps remain the safe haven of Arab terror groups.

The Lebanese Equation

Lebanon is the one country in which UN camps are most likely to prime Palestinian Arab refugees to “return to their homes from 1948”. Palestinian Arab refugees, 320,000 of them, wallow in the UNRWA camps in Lebanon, the only host country for UNRWA which restricts Palestinian Arabs from working in most professions, so as to keep the Palestinian Arabs impoverished and dependent n the UNRWA camps.

UNRWA camps in Lebanon openly conduct daily military exercises to prepare thousands of refugees for the day that they will flood northern Israel to retake their homes and villages that were lost in the 1948 war, all under the spirit and slogan of the “Right of Return”.

Surprising US acquiescence to the “Right of Return”

People across the political spectrum in Israel expected the Bush Administration to stand with Israel on the “Right of Return” issue, since the idea of Palestinian Arabs flooding Israel with refugees seemed incompatible with the Bush notion of a two-state solution where Arab refugees would be absorbed by a Palestinian Arab entity.

However, on May 23, 2003, two days before the Road Map was affirmed with strong reservations by the Israeli cabinet, Shimon Schiffer, the senior diplomatic correspondent for the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, reported that “the Americans rejected one of Israel’ central demands that the Palestinian Arabs would agree to concede the Right of Return in return for Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian Arab state”.

The US also rejected Israel’s request to remove the Saudi proposal – a full withdrawal to the lines of June 4, 1967, recognition of the Right of Return, in exchange for the recognition of Israel by the Arab countries and natural relations – as the basis of the Road Map’s authority.

The US support for the “Right of Return” is not a theoretical matter.

That support was translated into $114 million the US contributed over the past fiscal year to UNRWA, an amount that comprisesthirty pecent of the UNRWA budget.

On August 4th, the US allocated an additional $26 million to UNRWA, with no strings attached to mandate that the organization not promote the “Right of Return”

Will the US Congress Place Constraints on UNRWA?

Deputy Chairman of the US House International Relations Committee Rep. Chris Smith (R;NJ), successfully offered an amendment on August 18th expressing the “Sense of the Congress” that “UNRWA was failing to vigorously oppose terrorism.” He also called on the Department of State and UNRWA’s own leadership to “take more pro-active steps to disassociate UNRWA from the terrorist elements that operate within and among its staff and humanitarian operations”. Smith’s amendment demands that UNRWA comply with section 301(c) of the US Foreign Assistance Act, which curtails US aid to any humanitarian agency which hosts military training.

It will soon be up to the US Congress to determine if they agree with the assessment of the Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, the head of Israel’s “Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center”. In December, 2002, Dr. Ehrlich wrote a position paper for Israeli intelligence which concluded that “Terrorist Organizations Use UNRWA officials and Facilities to Carry out Terrorist Activities”

(See text on Israel Resource Review of March 31, 2003)

The Palestinian Authority after Arafat

November 26, 2004

Israel Resource Review

With the PLO leader out of the picture, the only difference between Arafat and his followers is that his successors wear business suits.

Every PLO official who runs the Palestinian Authority maintains a clear record of continued support of the armed struggle and the essentials of the PLO covenant mandating the “phased eradication of Israel”.

If the Clinton holdovers in the US State Department have tried to convince the President that Arafat’s inner circle are advocates of peace and reconciliation, there may be another way to look at the situation. IPresident Bush’s supporters can remind the president of the public record held by each of the PLO officials who often make a nice impression in the media, and whose reality belies their image.

Here is the line-up of those who are set to take the reins of power from Arafat:

Ahmed Qurei (Abu-Ala)

PNA Prime Minister

Former Speaker, Palestinian Legislative Council

Member, Fatah Central Committee

Manager of PLO financial empire

A man with an image as moderate negotiator, Qurei has showed signs of being anything but moderate.He is on record as saying that the borders of the future Palestinian state are the boundaries set by the UN Partition Resolution in 1947. This means Israel would not even have possession of West Jerusalem.

In 1998, he told attendees at a PA rally: “The leadership that threw stones is ready to return and use stones to free the people and the land.”

Nabil Sha’ath

PNA Minister of External Affairs

Chair, Palestinian National Council Political Committee

Member, Palestinian Legislative Council

Member, Fatah Central Committee

Sha’ath is at home in the Western political sphere, and tends to be well received by Westerners.

While he seen as a moderate, there is evidence to the contrary:

Shortly after two Hamas bus bombings in 1994, he commented: “For us, we have a political relationship with Hamas, a brotherly relationship.”

In the 1996 PA elections, he used a campaign emblem of two Kalashnikov assault rifles and a hand grenade superimposed on a map of “all Palestine.”

In 2000 he said: “No one believed him (Arafat) when he used to say it…[but] The choice is not at all between options of negotiation and fighting: you can have negotiations and fight at the same time… the Palestinian people fight with weapons, with jihad, with intifada and suicide actions…and it is destined to always fight and negotiate at the same time.”

In the same year, he boasted of the capacity of the Palestinians to kill Israelis, saying that Hezbollah would kill 20-25 Israelis in a year, whereas the intifada, in a “mere” four months had succeeded in killing 74 Israelis.

Sha’ath served as Chairman of the PLO Constitution Committee, and has overseen the drafting of a new constitution, approved by the PL.C, for the proposed Palestinian state. This is a constitution that would establish a state based on strict Islamic law and mandate the right of every Palestinian Arab refugee and refugee descendent to return to their “homes” from 1948.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen)

First PNA Prime Minister, April to September 2003

Member, Palestine National Council

Member, PLO Executive Committee

Co-Founder, Fatah

Abu-Mazen is widely considered a moderate:

He participated in the negotiation process during the Madrid Conference, and headed the Palestinian negotiating team to the secret Oslo talks that preceded an agreement. A long-time head of the PLO Negotiating Affairs Department, he was a signatory to the Principles of Declaration signed in September 1993, and the Interim Agreement in 1995. That same year, working secretly with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin he drafted a controversial “Framework for the Conclusion of a Final Status Agreement between Israel and the PLO” (better known as the Abu-Mazen – Beilin Plan) and then refused to sign the document.

Yossi Beilin voices the opinion that Abu-Mazen’s positions are more extreme than Arafat’s, since he “was among Arafat’s ‘restrictors’ during the Camp David summit.”

Abn-Mazen lauded Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s offer at Camp David in 2000, saying, “I do not feel any regret. What we did was the right thing to do.” No opportunity was missed, since “the opportunity did not exist…they say ‘we offered 95% (of the territory),’ and I ask why not 100%?”

According to Arabic News, once the Al Aqsa Intifada (I’m not sure if this should be italicized) began,, there were some among Arafat’s advisors who pressed for a settlement with Israel. However, Abu- Mazen, a man recently touted as conciliatory, advised Arafat to continue the armed uprising until the goal of a Palestinian state was achieved.

Among other positions of Abu Mazen that cast grave doubt on his moderation:

He has given sanction to killing civilian Jews in the West Bank and Gaza. In the Arabic paper Asharq Alawsat, he said: “It is our right to resist. The intifada must continue, and it is the right of the Palestinian people to resist and use all possible means in order to defend its presence and existence. I add and say that if the Israelis come to your land in order to erect a settlement then it is your right to defend what is yours [using] all means and arms as long as they are coming to your home.

He insists on the right of return, which, if implemented, would destroy Israel: “The refugees of 1948 and the refugees of 1967 have the right reserved to return to their homeland and every place they have left…this is not only limited to land under the sovereignty of the PA. We demand their return to Jaffa, to Haifa and the other regions that they came from.”

Regarding the existence of a Jewish Temple at the Temple Mount, he commented: “I challenge the assertion [that there has ever been a Jewish temple.]But even if it were true, we do not accept it because it is not the logic of someone who wants a practical peace.”

He was praised for criticizing the “militarization” of the Second intifada, but later clarified: “We didn’t say we would stop the armed struggle. We said that the militarization of the intifada should stop. This is why we said that there is no option but to stop it for a year and it won’t be perceived as caving in on our side …”

The title of Abbas’s doctoral thesis was “Zionist leadership and the Nazis.” He later expanded it into a book, The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and the Zionist Movement, in which he wrote: “[the Zionists gave] permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine…nHaving more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over.”

He is still echoing these opinions. In an interview on official Palestinian TV, he charged that the Nazis had no specific plan to murder Jews, that the term “Holocaust” can be applied only to Gypsies and Palestinians, and that the “Holocaust Industry” is a Zionist plot to generate billions.

Abu-Mazen was also the man who financed the terrorists who killed the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

All of this is important as a matter of record but in a sense may now be moot. For, such are the vagaries of Palestinian politics that it is not Arafat, but rather Abu-Mazen who has been rendered irrelevant to proceedings within the PA; his “new” government lasted less than five months:

Muhammad Dahlan

Former PNA Minister for Security Affairs

Co-Founder, Shabiba, Fatah Youth Organization

Member, Fatah

In the 1980s, he was arrested by the Israelis eleven times for terrorist activities associated with Shabiba, and subsequently became a student leader of the first intifada. After being deported by Israel, he went to Tunisia, where he gained Arafat’s confidence as he continued to orchestrate intifada activities.

On his return to Gaza in 1994, he took over the Preventive Security Services in Gaza. His base of power has remained Gaza. There is resentment of him in the West Bank, where rival Jabril Rajoub maintains his base of power.

Dahlan criticized lack of coherent policy in the second intifada and resigned in 2002 in disagreement with Arafat regarding PA reforms. Because of his independence and his desire to establish one single security force, he was sought after as reforms were being instituted within the PA. Once he assumed a role in the cabinet of Abu-Mazen, he became very much an Abu-Mazen loyalist, publicly associated with moderation.

However, Dahlan is on record as having no intention of dismantling the terrorist infrastructure. Moreover, his personal involvement in terrorism is eminently clear:

  • • Israeli Intelligence is in possession of documents proving the direct complicity of Dahlan in all stages of the foiled Karine-A gunboat operation.
  • • The CIA possesses a secret recording of Dahlan giving orders to bomb an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom, November 18, 2000. Two adults were killed in that attack, and several children were wounded, including three siblings who each lost part of a leg.
  • • His name is associated with a document for a bomb factory.
  • • He sheltered Muhammad Dief, a terrorist with blood on his hands.
  • • Dahlan said in an interview that he had hired 25 Hamas terrorists specifically in order to protect them from being arrested by the Israelis.

Dahlan’s loyalty to Abu-Mazen and his charges that Fatah was instrumental in generating Abu-Mazen’s downfall made him a focus of Fatah tensions. This resulted in a falling out with Arafat; Abu-Ala then excluded him from his newly formulated cabinet. By February 2004, Arafat had begun to court Dahlan, but this appears to be an effort to quell tensions between PA security forces and gunmen loyal to Dahlan.

Marwan Barghouti

Member, Palestinian Legislative Council

Secretary-General, Fatah

Co-founder Shabiba, Fatah Youth Organization

Commander, Tanzim

After Arafat, he is the person most closely allied with recent Palestinian terrorism. According to Avi Dichter, director of the Israel’s General Security Services, Barghouti has been in charge of the ongoing terrorist war against Israel.

Barghouti provided assistance when Arafat established the Tanzim, a paramilitary force of Fatah that is currently responsible for some 50 percent of the violence against Israel, and was subsequently appointed its commander by Arafat. When he lost a re-election to the position, Arafat cancelled the results.

On January 17, 2002, in an infamous strike, Tanzim militia opened fire with an attack rifle at a bat-mitzvah party being held in the city of Hadera, killing six and wounding over thirty. Israeli security sources have firmly established that Barghouti knew of the attack in advance, and gave it his blessing.

He has close associations with the Al-Aqsa Brigades, founded in 2000, which has carried out some of the most brutal terror attacks. He publicly denies a role in founding this special operations paramilitary group, however in April 2002, they claimed him as their leader, and it is clear that other key members of Tanzim are also intimately involved with the Brigades. It has been his habit, as well, to present inciteful speeches at gatherings such as funerals in order to provoke the masses.

In a 2001 interview published in the New Yorker magazine, he said that even if he were to receive a complete withdrawal of Israel, i.e., to pre-’67 lines, he would still seek “bigger things” – specifically, “one state for all the peoples.” Quite simply, he does not seek coexistence with Israel but rather Israel’s disappearance as a Jewish state.

In a discussion with Israel’s daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, about whether Fatah would restrict its terrorism to “Area A,” that is, areas under Palestinian control, Barghouti replied: “For me, Ramallah and Tel Aviv are now Area A. The same.”

In yet another, astonishing, interview – this time with an Arab newspaper, Barghouti described his critical role in igniting the intifada that began in 2000. (See: “In Their Words”).

Barghouti was captured by the IDF in the West Bank in April 2002. He is currently standing trial in Israel. The indictment filed against him alleges that he violated seven provisions of penal law, including membership in a terrorist organization, activity in a terrorist organization, murder, complicity to murder, solicitation to murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Jabril Rajoub

National Security Advisor (Arafat appointment)

Former Head, West Bank Preventive Security Forces

Member, Fatah

For throwing a grenade at an Israeli military jeep and killing Israeli soldiers, he spent the years from 1968 until 1986 in Israeli prisons (where he learned Hebrew and English). As a result of his role in the intifada in 1987, he was then expelled to Lebanon.

Upon returning to PA-controlled territory in the West Bank in 1994, he took over the Security Forces there, bringing together thousands of young men, most of whom who had been involved in the intifada.

Rajoub is a strong PA loyalist. He has a reputation as someone who abuses Arab human rights and frequently resorts to crude strong-arm techniques; more than one journalist who has criticized the PA or Arafat has received a visit from Preventive Security.

Rajoub has turned a blind eye to terrorism, saying: “If I have information about terror activity in Area B [where Israel has responsibility for security], I won’t give it to the Israelis.”

He has also voiced support for Hamas, telling Al-Jazeera television on May 27, 1998: “We view Hamas as part of the national and Islamic liberation movement… At the top of my list is the occupation and not Hamas. We are not interested in arrests.”

On April 19, 2002, Israel’s then Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky reported the following during a briefing he gave regarding Israeli activities in Operation Defensive Shield: “…we went to the base of Jabril Rajoub. This is an army base, but we also found a lot of costumes for people that are going to make suicide bombings – fake hair and kippas [skullcaps] for people who are going to put them on so they can get into Israeli streets and make suicide bombings. We have some of the pictures…”

Rajoub, for whom a bright future in the PA has been predicted, was actually fired by Arafat in 2002 because he was perceived as a threat. He returned to favor in August 2003, when Arafat appointed him as his National Security Advisor. (Rajoub – who has a fiercely competitive relationship with Dahlan – had acquired value as a counterweight to Dahlan, who had become an Abu-Mazen loyalist.)

In November 2003, he called for increased “Iraqi resistance to the American occupation.”

Sari Nusseibeh

President, Al Quds University, East Jerusalem

Member, Fatah

He played a role of significance during the intifada of 1987. In bills of indictment brought against seven leaders of the violence in Lod Military Court in 1989, the Israeli government prosecutor stated that Nusseibeh served as a conduit for money “for financing the intifada,” and that Nusseibeh was responsible for “drawing up reports and leaflets for intifada purposes such as instructing intifada activists [on]…throwing firebombs” at Israelis and “fighting with knives.”

During the 1991 Gulf War, he was caught contacting Iraqi officials in order to help direct the Scud rocket attacks of Saddam Hussein. According to a statement by Col. (Res.) Shalom Harari, former Arab Affairs Advisor for the Israeli Defense Ministry: “While the rockets were falling it became clear…that…[he]…was telephoning the Iraqi ambassador in one of the neighboring countries to tell the Iraqis where to shoot the missile.”

Nusseibeh was arrested by Israel’s Shin Bet Intelligence Agency, and put in administrative detention without trial for several weeks. After the Gulf War ended, Israeli officials allowed Nusseibeh a plea bargain under which he voluntarily left the country for three years.

After the Gulf War, he became a member of the PLO steering committee for the Madrid Conference.

By 1995, he had assumed his position at Al-Quds University. He attracted considerable attention when he wrote a letter to Saddam Hussein in January 2001: “In the name of Al-Quds University…allow me to express the admiration of the Palestinians for your honorable positions…You represent the vanguard of steadfastness…We, in Jerusalem, are inspired by you…We are proud to belong to a nation, which (sic) considers you a symbol of resistance and a symbol of greatness…We are certain of your support…”

After the sudden death of Faisal Husseini in 2001, Nusseibeh was appointed the PLO’s representative in East Jerusalem. Since then, he has been regarded by many as a leading voice of Palestinian moderation. He has written dozens of articles on Jerusalem and the prospects for agreement with Israel, and is known for his close relations to Israeli leftists.

In July 2002, however, Israeli Public Security Minister Uzi Landau ordered the closure of the administrative offices of Al-Quds University, including the Nusseibeh’s office, claiming that they served as an arm of the Palestinian Authority, which does not have the right to operate in Jerusalem.

Farouq Qaddoumi (Abu-Lutf)

Head, PLO Political Bureau

Secretary-General, Fatah Central Committee

Founding Member, Fatah

By 1973, Arafat had appointed him to head the foreign bureau of the PLO (to become, in essence, its “foreign minister.”). In the years following, he skillfully enhanced relationships with the PLO in a host of foreign countries, establishing missions (quasi-embassies) and gained recognition for the PLO that has been enormously important in advancing its cause.

While he worked as well on ties with Arabs nations, Europe and the US, his key portfolios were for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, where he garnered considerable support.

Qaddoumi identifies as a refugee, for whom refugee rights is the first issue of the Palestinian agenda. Except for some important meetings, he has declined to come into PA areas and has lingered in Tunisia, spending time as well in Jordan and Syria.

Opposed to the Oslo Accords, he refused to sign the Declaration of Principles in 1993, and played a key role in getting the PLO executive to refrain from ratifying the “D.O.P.” which obligated the PLO to cancel the PLO covenant for the liberation of Palestine.

Rashid Abu-Shbak

Head, P.N.A Preventive Security Forces, Gaza

Rashid Abu-Shbak served as deputy to Mohammed Dahlan when he headed Preventive Security Forces in Gaza, and assumed that position when Dahlan resigned in 2002.

While still Dahlan’s lieutenant, he was implicated in several terrorist acts:

  • • When the CIA released information regarding the fact that Dahlan gave orders for the bombing of a school bus in November 2000, Abu-Shbak was understood to have been the one who personally supervised the preparation of the bomb.
  • • The CIA had recordings of Abu-Shbak giving orders for other attacks, as well.
  • • The I.D.F. captured a secret Preventive Security document in November 2001 depicting a plan to produce large quantities of acid for use in bomb-making a terrorist attack. The document indicates that Abu-Shbak was one of the people involved in approving technical specifications and financing mode.

During a press conference on August 22, 2002, Abu-Shbak, at that point already Gaza Preventative Security Chief, put on display Akram Muhammad Al-Zatma, a Palestinian student suspected of informing Israel of the whereabouts of Hamas military leader Salah Shehadeh. Al-Zatma had been arrested a month earlier and held in detention until the press conference, when he was turned over to Hamas gunmen and summarily executed.

Hanan Ashrawi

Minister of Information, Arab League

Founder and Secretary-General, MIFTAH

Member, Palestinian Legislative Council

Member, Fatah

Ashrawi, both as a woman and as a Christian, is an anomaly amidst the Palestinian activists among whom she frequently moves. For these reasons, and others, she has perhaps attracted more than her share of attention. While unsuited for Palestinian Arab radio and television, she continues to be an informal spokesperson for the Palestinian cause due to her fluency in English and her on-screen poise which have made her an attractive candidate for international interviews.

Ashrawi has, however, a propensity for playing fast and loose with facts. The following serve as examples:

  • • She claimed that “the land of Israel” has no basis in history and that Jesus was a Palestinian.
  • • She justified the brutal lynching in the West Bank on October 12, 2000 of two Israeli reservists (who were clearly not undercover as they were acknowledged by journalists to be in fatigues and driving a car with Israeli plates) with a fabrication: “The two undercover Israeli agents that had infiltrated the march were recognized by the Palestinians as members of the Death Squads that had been responsible for assassinations…”
  • • In making a point regarding the Palestinian right of return, she offered CNN desk anchor Daryn Kagan the blatant untruth that “all refugees throughout the world have the right to return, according to law.”
  • • Distorting the historical reality of the British having been assigned the mandate to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine (which was carved from the Ottoman Empire and not independent), she claimed: “There was a Palestinian state….Just because we were under occupation… Just because we were placed under the British Mandate… Palestine existed….My birth certificate says Palestine.Anything before ’47 said Palestine.”

On the Palestinian School Curriculum: Erasing Israel

The Philadelphia Bulletin

August 28, 2006

As this is being written, in late August 2006, news wires around the world are publicizing that Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, has launched a new peace initiative with Israel.

However, contradictory to the seemingly exciting news, the new school books the said Mr. Abbas has just introduced in the Palestinian Authority school system – which is run independently of Hamas – offer a curriculum educating a new generation of Palestinians in the destruction of Israel.

Only this past summer, the world witnessed Abbas and the Palestinian Authority giving fervent support to Hezbollah’s war on Israel., The present question to be raised is whether the new academic year, which commences next week in the Palestinian Authority, will simply add fuel to the fire of the PA’s war against Israel, rather than the new peace initiative with the Jewish State being exposed throughout the media.

The new PA school books have also been incorporated into the Arab schools in Jerusalem, raising cause for further concern. A movement is occurring within in the Israeli Arab schools throughout Israel to adopt the PA curriculum as well.

Indeed, the latest study of PA textbooks, (see: www.intelligence.org.il/eng/default.htm), commissioned by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzliya (www.intelligence.org.il), an agency that had been consistently supportive of the Oslo Peace Process), speaks for itself.

Here are some of the pearls of wisdom the Palestinian children will learn from the new school books of the Palestinian Authority this year:

  1. Israel does not appear on any of the world maps contained in the new PA textbooks. “Palestine” appears in place of “Israel”.
  1. Sites in Israel are “annexed” to Palestine;. “Haifa is a Palestinian seaport,” (p. 7)  (Lughatuna al-Jamila [Our Beautiful Language] Vol. 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 86), “Galilee, Nazareth and Beit She’an are regions in Palestine,” (p. 7) (Al-Iqtisad al-Manzili [Home Economy], 10th grade textbook, pp. 36-37.
  1. Israel is mentioned only as an enemy, in reference to “occupation of lands” in 1948 and 1967:”There is no doubt that the Israeli occupation has a negative impact on [Palestinian] agriculture and its export,” (p. 8) Lughatuna al-Jamila [Our Beautiful Language] Vol. 1, 10th grade textbook, p. 102).
  1. Zionism is presented only as an enemy movement: “The Palestinian people are under an oppressive siege, limiting their movement and way of life,” (p. 9) A-Tarbiyah al-Islamiyyah [Islamic Education], Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 49).

There are accusations against settlements [from 1948!] of damaging water sources “the influence of settlement on sources of water in Palestine,” (p. 9) Ulum al-Sihha wal-B’ia [Health and Environmental Sciences] 10th grade textbook, p. 122. “The Palestinian family has problems…stemming from the occupation…it loses father, mother or son to death or imprisonment…endures the difficulties of life…,” (p. 11) A-Tarbiyah al-Wataniyya [National Education], 5th grade textbook, p. 23).

  1. A false claim is made that an “extremist Zionist” set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, (p. 12) Tarikh al’Alam al-Hadith wal-Mu’asir [History of the New Modern World], 10th grade textbook, p. 106), when the arson was really committed by a mentally unstable fundamentalist Christian Australian.
  1. Another nefarious assertion is that the First Zionist Congress at Basel fostered the Zionist State based on a secret decision of what came came to be known as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” (p. 13) Tarikh al-‘Alam al-Hadith wal Mu-‘asir [History of the NewModern World], 10th grade textbook, pp. 60-64.)
  2. The professed falsehood that only ancient inhabitants of Israel were Arabs totally ignores the ancient Jewish presence in the region. “Concentrated…in the land of A-Sham [Greater Syria]…was the culture of the Canaanite and Aramaic peoples who migrated there from the Arab peninsula,” (p.14-15) Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima [History of Ancient Civilizations], 5th grade textbook, (Foreword).
  3. Palestinians must use war and violence – especially martyrdom – to accomplish their goals:

The heroic mother, “who incessantly presents one sacrifice [fida’] after another.” Lughatuna al-Jamila [Our Beautiful Language], Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 31).

The warrior goes to war faced with one of the good options: victory or martyrdom in battle for the sake of Allah. (Ibid. Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 70).

“Allah gave the people of this land (A-Sham and Palestine) an important task: they must stand on the forefront of the Muslim campaign against their enemies, and only if they fulfill their duty to their religion, nation, and land will they be rewarded as stated in the scriptures.” (A-Tarbiya al Islamiyyah [Islamic Education], Vol 2, 10th grade textbook, p. 50).

  1. The children featured in the books have such such as Jihad (holy war) and Nidal (struggle). (p.22) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al Qadima [History of Ancient Civilizations], 5th grade textbook, p.6).
  1. The importance of “return” of refugees to all of Palestine – by violence – is emphasized:

“The wrong must be made right by returning them to their homes: we returned to the homeland after a long absence.” Lughatuna al-Jamila [Our Beautiful Language)], Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 43). “Returning to the homes, the plains and the mountains, under the banners of glory, jihad [holy war] and struggle” Ibid., Vol 1, 5th grade textbook, p.88).

Tragically, most Israeli leaders do not take the influence of such “education” as seriously as they should.

In May, 2001, when I asked then-Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert about the incorporation of PA textbooks in the Arab schools in Jerusalem, his answer was, “they can teach what they want, and we will teach what we want.”

Questions on this issue submitted to Mr. Olmert – who is now Israel’s prime inister – have gone unanswered. When the Evening Bulletin raised the issue of the curriculum to Olmert’s cabinet secretary, he replied that the issue is not on the agenda.

Ten Obstacles to Middle East Peace

November 4, 2009

Israel Resource Review

  1. November 2, 2009 marked the 92nd anniversary of Balfour Day, which led to the 1922 San Remo Treaty and to the 1924 League of Nations ratification of the San Remo Treaty, which recognized the right of Jews to purchase land in the Jewish national homeland, defined as anywhere west of the Jordan River. Ratified by the UN in 1945, that is the basis of international law by which Israel can, indeed, settle the land of Israel with Jews who come from the four corners of the earth.

The internationally ratified legal basis for Israel has been forgotten.

  1. The Arab league rejected the idea of a Jewish national home, declaring a war of extermination in 1945 and actualizing that declaration in 1948. That declaration still exists.The Arab League’s war to exterminate Israel continues. Egypt was then the dominant nation of the Arab League. The Saudis, however, remain the dominant element of the Arab League today, as the only nation contiguous to Israel to have never signed any armistice or peace treaty with the Jewish State.
  1. Perhaps the most effective tactic of the Arab League was to spawn the PLO under its aegis, whose task it would be to coordinate indigenous Palestinian Arabs to join the Arab states in their war to conquer and displace the Jewish State. To this day, the PLO, led by the Fatah, reports to the Arab League, which has never changed its charter to destroy Israel. For that matter, neither has the PLO changed its charter of an identical nature.. At the same time, the Fatah conveys the false impression to the world that it is the product of a grass roots Palestinian national movement. Yet the PLO plan, changed the map and the people’s perception of the Arab campaign to exterminate Israel, to make the war look like one of national liberation.
  1. The Arab League continued its war of extermination by confining Palestinian Arab refugees from 1948 to the squalor of refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the Right of Return. Their presence in UNRWA refugee camps continues to this day, under the aegis of the UN, through UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
  1. UNRWA’s purpose is to fulfill successive UN resolutions that promote the supposed “inalienable right” of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents to return to villages wherein they lived prior to 1948. Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants in the UNRWA camps learn that the 531 Israeli villages, kibbutzim, moshavim (cooperative agricultural community) and neighborhoods that replaced the Arab villages, are the illegal Israeli settlements. They are located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ashkelon, Beersheva, Ashdod, Sderot and hundreds of other places throughout Israel wherein communities were established on the ruins of Arab villages after 1948. While the popular imagination posits that the Palestinian Arab national ambition is solely to replace the Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria and Katif, the Palestinian Arab ambition as dictated by the PLO and its patron in the Arab League, is to take back the lands lost in 1948. UNRWA, financed by the US and other Western nations, reinforces that ambition. UNRWA has recently been taken over by Hamas, to ensure that the ambition to actualize the right of return has gained a new, Islamic emphasis. After all, one need only to note how many Palestinian Arab refugees have left the teeming UNRWA Arab refugee camps in Gaza to live on the lands of the expelled Jewish communities from Katif. Not one. Why? Because the dictate of the PA, the PLO and Hamas is that Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants must return to the homes and villages that they left after 1948 – to Jaffa, Beersheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, etc.
  1. Instead of spurring the newly recognized Palestinian national entity to establish a nation state alongside Israel, the Palestinian Authority, established in 1994,has launched a base from where they can liberate the rest of Palestine.
  1. Meanwhile, the PA has established an educational system to educate the next generation that Israel must not exist. The new PA school books and the new PA maps speak for themselves, as the first school curriculum since the Third Reich to inculcate the idea that war must be made on the Jews and that Jews are less than human. The PA school books go one step beyond the Nazis, however, as they introduce lesson plans praising those who murder Jews. While the Nazis murdered Jews, they always attempted to obfuscate their acts. The Palestinian Authority however teaches their children to take pride in the act of murdering a Jew.
  1. To further reinforce the Palestinian entity around a renewed religious determination of the continued war to liberate all of Palestine, the PA adopted the draft of an Islamic constitution, based on Sharia (Moslem) law. This was revealed to the public by a senior official in the Vatican who addressed visiting US congressmen in March 2003. This radical constitution was sponsored by the US government, through US AID.
  1. Meanwhile, the Hamas Islamic movement took control of the PA legislature in democratic elections that were held under the sponsorship of the American government in January 2006,. This led to a Fatah-Hamas power sharing agreement known as the Mecca Accord, signed between Fatah and Hamas in March 2007. When Fatah began to hesitate in carrying out the Mecca Accord, Hamas overtook Gaza in its entirety in June, 2007.
  1. The PA has made it clear that it will make no deal with Israel that does not assure the Right of Return for Palestinian Arab refugees, PA control over Jerusalem, and the establishment of full and total sovereignty, including an army.

Recipe for Terror: A Text Analysis of the Palestinian State Constitution

Makor Rishon

November 19, 2004

Israel Resource Review

  1. Introduction
  2. Why a Palestinian State Constitution

More than anything else, the Palestinian State Constitution represents an attempt to present to the world the face of a modern Palestinian state. The constitution is meant to offer the hope that a dictatorship can turn into a democracy, that a regime built on terrorism can become peaceful, that a traditional society can embrace the tenets of modernity.

As a result of this aspiration , the European Union and the United States have concentrated on drafting a Palestinian constitution that would reflect a Western prospect of a nascent Palestinian state. Since 1997, Brussels and Washington have been financing the effort and advising on and urging for the introduction of democracy, separation of powers and judicial independence as part of any state.

In 2002, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat initiated the Basic Law, an interim document meant to govern the Palestinian Authority until a permanent constitution was written. The Basic Law contained 112 articles calling for regular presidential elections, and a separation of powers.

The Palestinian constitution is considered a serious trial of Palestinian commitment to democracy. President George Bush has stressed that the United States desires to ensure Palestinian democracy before ensuring statehood.

  1. The History of a Palestinian Constitution

Attempts at drafting a Palestinian constitution preceded the 1993 Oslo agreement with Israel and negotiations for a Palestinian state. In October 1948, months after the declaration of the Jewish State of Israel, the Palestinians sought to assert their right to statehood. The newly-established Palestinian National Council presented what it termed a provisional constitution. The purpose of the constitution was to establish an interim parliamentary regime in the first step toward statehood. Within three years, the Palestinian constitution dismissed. By 1952, Egypt was in complete control over the Gaza Strip and suppressed all signs of genuine Palestinian nationalism. Instead, Egypt issued constitutional documents for the Gaza Strip in 1955 and 1962. Jordan, then in control the West Bank, issued a constitution in 1952. Both constitutions limited any effective expression of Palestinian political identity.

In 1988, the PNC declared Palestinian independence. The declaration pledged to establish a democratic government and draft a constitution. Again, the PNC did little more than focus on rhetoric. In 1993, however, Israel and the PLO signed an agreement recognizing oneanother and began a process that seemed to be a step toward Palestinian statehood. Arafat appointed Dr. Anis Al-Qassem to coordinate the efforts of composing a constitution and the PLO’s legal committee ordered the drafting of the said Basic Law.

PA Chairman Arafat did little, if anything, to promote the constitution and refused to sign the Basic Law. This created a vacuum in the Palestinian legal framework. The Palestinian court system was based on a patchwork of Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian law. In the end, the Basic Law was dismissed as failing to meet international demands for reform.

In 1999, the PLO Executive Committee established several committees to draft a constitution. The Arab League formed an advisory committee to help and supervise the effort. One year later, several drafts were circulated, none of which was endorsed. In February 2001, the Palestinians established another constitutional committee.

  1. Major Issues of a Constitution

Each of the drafts of a constitution have sought to address four key issues, includinga system of government, rights and freedoms, the role of Islam and the link with the Palestinian diaspora. PA International Cooperation Minister and Chairman of the Constitution Committee Nabil Shaath, said the latest effort to complete a constitution included more than 40 drafts. A Western team, including experts from Britain, Spain and the United States, assisted in the wording of the text.

  1. The Constitution
  2. Those Deserving of Thanks

The preamble of the document – a third and final draft presented on March 25, 2003 – contains a list of people to whom Shaath and the committee that drafted the constitution expressed thanks and gratitude. One would expect that the first nameg be those countries or organization that financed the effort and advised the committee. This would have included the European Union, the United States State Department and other contributing foundations. Not one of these groups appear. Instead, the list, which reads like a Who’s Who of Arab despotism, is comprisedof the heads of Arab regimes friendly to the PLO.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leads the list. Egypt’s records on human rights which has consistently been criticized by Washington,.is one of the worst for a US ally. Mubarak is followed by Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Lebanon has been consumed by the Syrian occupation and has destroyed all freedom of expression and human rights. Thereafter comes Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mussa and his predecessor, Ismat Abdul Majid. Saudi Arabia is described by the US State Department as a country that does not tolerate any freedom of religion apart from Islam.

The primary reason for offering his gratitude to these Arab leaders is because Arafat ensured that the constitution received their approval. The Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al Awsat daily newpaper stated that the constitution was sent to several Arab countries and the responses were disappointing. The Arab regimes complained of the powers of Arafat. (David, what do you mean by the “powers of Arafat”?) In response, Shaath and his committee noted that the draft of the Palestinian constitution is similar to that of Egypt, France and Syria. Still, this need to somehow appease the disgruntled Arab leaders sheds full light on Araft’s need to seek their approval from such an Arab regime as Syria.

  1. The Nature of the State

The opening articles of the constitution focus on the nature of the proposed Palestinian state. While the text is plentiful, the details are vague and the meaning ambiguous. The main issue is if the Palestinians are interested in establishing a state that will not threaten Israel. The constitution leaves this question open.

N.B. Indentation of the text of the following Articles has been made for purposes of clarity only.

Article (1):

The State of Palestine is a sovereign, independent republic. Its territory is an indivisible unit based upon its borders on the eve of June 4, 1967, without prejudice to the rights guaranteed by the international resolutions relative to Palestine. All residents of this territory shall be subject to Palestinian law exclusively.

In the Arabic version, the word “based” does not appear thus implying that this is the final border. The discrepancy is obviously not coincidental. Palestinian officials and the PA-owned media have spoken of a range of versions for this clause.

Article (2):

Palestine is part of the Arab nation. The state of Palestine abides by the charter of the Arab League. The Palestinian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations. Arab unity is a goal, the Palestinian people hopes to achieve.

This clause is as ambivalent as the first and just as threatening. Arab unity has been cited as a goal for every act of Arab hostility, including the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990. Does this mean that a Palestinian state will seek to merge with Egypt and Jordan or Syria?

The link of a Palestinian constitution with the Arab League charter raises another serious question: How does this affect the Palestinian commitment to peace with Israel.?The Arab League has never recognized Israel nor its right to sovereignty; it remains in a continuous state of war with Israel. How does the charter of the Arab League mesh with any hope for Palestinian recognition of Israel?

Article (3):

Palestine is a peace loving state that condemns terror, occupation and aggression. It calls for the resolution of international and regional problems by peaceful means. It abides by the Charter of the United Nations.

This statement would appear optimistic and benign when relating to most emerging states. However, given the PA record of terrorism, the mendacity rooted in this “fact” goes beyond belief. The PA has never fought Palestinian terror. It does not abide by the UN charter and has shown no notion of becoming “peace-loving” or seeking to resolve problems by peaceful means. The most significant phrase herein is “resolution of international and regional problems by peaceful means.” The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not seen in this context.

Article (4):

“Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and seat of its public authorities.”

The Palestinian draft does not offer a specific definition of Jerusalem. Neither the Arabic nor the English versions delineate the borders of the city, which was Israel’s capital before the 1967 war.

  1. Islam and the State

The dichotomy of Islam and democracy is repeated throughout the constitution. Will Palestine be an Islamic state or a democracy that respects all? Some might argue that both can be achieved. However, his argument is moot,given the state sponsorship of Saudi Arabia, Al Qaeda, Hamas and other Islamic groups — all in the bogus name of peaceful Islam.The adoption of state-sponsored Islam means the intention of an undemocratic Arab regime to trample civil and human rights in the name of religion.

Article (5):

Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions shall be equally revered and respected. The Constitution guarantees equality in rights and duties to all citizens irrespective of their religious belief.

There is no mention of Judaism herein. Christianity is referred to despite the fact that there are many more Jews than Christians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. What does this Article signify regarding Jewish existence in these areas?

The status of Islam as the official religion does not conform with the assertion that all religions are equal in the Palestinian state. Islam as practiced in the Arab states that sponsored the constitution, unmistakably does not recognize other religions. The PA has crushed non-Islamic religions while it has supported Hamas’s agenda. The PA has converted its radio and television stations into instruments of Islamic jihad, holy war. PA television indoctrinates children to hate Israelis as those who seek to destroy Islam, and urges Muslim children to destroy Jewish symbols.

Article (7):

The principles of Islamic Sharia [law] are a major source for legislation. Civil and religious matters of the followers of monotheistic religions shall be organized in accordance with their religious teachings and denominations within the framework of law, while preserving the unity and independence of the Palestinian people.

This Article is in total contradiction of Article 5. Sharia law, especially as interpreted by Arab regimes, dismisses and represses other religions. It also violates human rights and demands supremacy of Muslims over non-Muslims. The contention can be made that Israel has a similar law. The difference, however, is that Israeli secular courts show no preference regarding religion while Sharia courts clearly do. There is no question that Article 7 is a concession offered to Saudi Arabia and Hamas.

  1. The Palestinian Political System

A large part of the constitution discusses the future Palestinian political system. In truth, no political system can guarantee a dictatorship. However, a consice document can at least serve to rally democratic forces. The Palestinian constitution does little more than rehash platitudes in a way that can only remind one of George Orwell’s 1984, where truth was a lie and freedom meant slavery.

Article (8):

The Palestinian political system shall be a parliamentarian representative democracy based on political pluralism. The rights and liberties of all citizens shall be respected, including the right to form political parties and engage in political activity without discrimination on [sic] the basis of political opinions, sex, or religion. The parties shall abide by the principles of national sovereignty, democracy and peaceful transfer of authority in accordance with the Constitution.

This statement can be nothing but disingenuous. Presently, there is no political pluralism in Palestinian society. All of the factions in the Palestinian Legislative Council are wings of the PLO, each with its own militia. There is no place in the PLC for peace activists and the Article does not provide any immunity from the executive branch and its security forces.

Article (9):

Government shall be based on the principles of the rule of law and justice. All authorities, agencies, departments, institutions and individuals shall abide by the law.

Without an understanding of the background of Palestinian government, this article would appear redundant/ In short, the PA has flouted every law passed. The following two articles also fail to address the legacy of Arafat’s authoritarian rule.

Article (10):

All activities of the Palestinian public authorities shall, in normal and exceptional circumstances, be subject to administrative, political, legal and judicial review and control. There shall be no provision of law, which grants immunity to any administrative action or decision from judicial supervision. The state shall be bound to compensate for damages resulting from errors, and risks resulting from actions and procedures carried out by state officials in the pursuit of their duties.

Article (11):

The independence and immunity of the judiciary are necessary for the protection of rights and liberties. No public or private individual shall be immune from executing judicial rulings. Any act of contempt of the judiciary shall be punishable by law.

The constitution does not acknowledge or even seek to resolve the matter of any regime leader, being recognized as being above the law. This allowed the breaching of law by those who spoke or acted for Arafat. However, the constitution, as will become evident below, made Arafat the center of Palestinian authority.

  1. The Palestinian Right of Return

If there were any point the Palestinians could make to demonstrate its peaceful intention, it would regard the determination of the future of Palestinian refugees and their ancestors. The PA claims that the number of refugees and their descendants now exceed 7 million. Pressing for the return of these people to what is now Israel, guarantees the destruction of the Jewish State. The constitution, however, supports the Right of Return for Palestinians without any thought being given to the consequences for its Israeli neighbor or of a peaceful Middle East.

Article (12):

Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law, without prejudice to the rights of those who legally acquired it prior to May 10, 1948 or the rights of the Palestinians residing in Palestine prior to this date, and who were forced into exile or departed there from denied return thereto. This right passes on from fathers or mothers to their progenitor.

It neither disappears nor elapses unless voluntarily relinquished. A Palestinian cannot be deprived of his nationality. The acquisition and relinquishment of Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law. The rights and duties of citizens with multiple nationalities shall be governed by law.

This is a change from the PLO covenant that states that a Palestinian is someone who arrived to the British mandate up until 1947. It also grants rights to tens of thousands of Arab fighters who infiltrated the mandate on the eve of Israel’s War of Independence. The meaning of the phrase Palestinians who “legally acquire” Palestinian nationality is ambiguous. The transfer of Palestinian nationality from the mother as well as the father goes beyond the nationality laws of any Arab state, which regards rights as stemming from the father only.

Indeed, the next clause reaffirms the Palestinian Right of Return. It merges perfectly with the preamble and other clauses that do not envision a termination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the emergence of a peaceful Palestinian state.

Article (13):

Palestinians who left Palestine as a result of the 1948 war, and who were denied return thereto shall have the right to return to the Palestinian state and bear its nationality. It is a permanent, inalienable, and irrevocable right. The state of Palestine shall strive to apply the legitimate right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, and to obtain compensation, through negotiations, political, and legal channels in accordance with the 1948 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the principles of international law.

Article 14 continues in this vein.

Article (14):

Natural resources in Palestine are the property of the Palestinian people who will exercise sovereignty over them. The state shall be obligated to preserve natural resources and legally regulate their optimal exploitation while safeguarding Palestinian religious and cultural heritage and environmental needs. The protection and maintenance of antiquities and historical sites is an official and social responsibility. It is prohibited to tamper with or destroy them, and whoever violates, destroys, or illegally sells them shall be punishable by law.

This is the basis for Palestinian claims over all water that stems from the West Bank or that flows into the Gaza Strip. The article contains no reference to cooperation with its neighbors regarding natural resources. In other words, this article ensures the basis of future conflict.

  1. Palestinian Equality

Article (19):

Palestinians are equal before the law. They enjoy civil and political rights and bear public duties without discrimination. The term ‘Palestinian’ or ‘Citizen’ wherever it appears in the constitution refers to both, male and female.

There is no reference to residents of Palestine. In other words, those who are not citizens or regarded as Palestinians have no civil or political rights. Article 20 also reaffirms the absence of basic rights for those who are not considered Palestinian citizens.

Article (20):

Human rights and liberties are binding and must be respected. The state shall guarantee religious, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and liberties to all citizens on the basis of equality and equal opportunity. Persons are not deprived of their legal competence, rights and basic liberties for political reasons.

One can say that the first sentence provides a fig leaf to all in a Palestinian state. However, whereas the first sentence affirms a general right, the second sentence clearly limits this to citizens. The difference is significant in countries such as Saudi Arabia, which has a huge expatriate community.

Article (32):

A foreign political refugee who legally enjoys the right of asylum may not be extradited. The extradition of ordinary foreign defendants shall be governed by bilateral agreements or international conventions.

This clause sounds liberal at best and benign at worst except one realizes that thousands of Al Qaeda, Hizbullah and other terrorists are seeking refuge in PA areas. Is their status that of political refugees? After all, Syria has been harboring hundreds of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s regime of on the pretext of them being political refugees.

Article (36):

Freedom of religion and religious practice is guaranteed by the Constitution. The state shall guarantee access to holy shrines that are subject to its sovereignty. The state shall guarantee to followers of all monotheistic religions the sanctity of their shrines in accordance with the historic commitment of the Palestinian people and the international commitments of Palestine.

The constitution consistently refers to rights limited to “followers of all monotheistic religions.” This statement might not be so ambiguous were it not for Hamas’ claims that Judaism isdevil worship Who, then, would decide whether or not a religion is monotheistic? The truth undoubtedly comes to the surface with the guarantee for freedom of access being in “accordance with the historic commitment of the Palestinian people and the international commitments of Palestine.” If the Palestinians claim that the Jewish presence in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs threatens sovereignty, must the Jews right of access to one of Judaism’s most sacred sites be denied?

Article (37):

Freedom of thought shall be guaranteed. Individuals shall have the right to express their opinions and publicize them in writing, speech, art, or other means of expression within the provisions of the law. The law may only apply minimal restrictions on the practice thereof so as to safeguard the rights and liberties of others.

Despite its ambiguous wording, this Article contradicts what it appears to want to protect. The Articles contains a restriction that completely nullifies freedom of thought. It refrains from stating that freedoms of expression that attack the rights and liberties of others will not be tolerated. Who will decide what is considered “minimal” and the exact “restrictions that the law may apply? Would this be Sharia Law or perhaps some type democratic law which, as seen above, would be disallowed according to other Articles in this constitution? Is it simply an oversight that the last sentence is absent from the Arabic version of the document?

Instead, the text states that freedom of thought is guaranteed and includes respect of the rights of others.What group can offer this guarantee and what “others” will it respect?

Article (38):

The right to publish newspapers or other means of the media is universal and guaranteed by the constitution. Financial sources for such purposes shall be subject to legal control.

This article reflects both an expectation and a current reality. Newspapers in the PA are and will be financed from abroad. The PA has circumvented this by ensuring that all of its daily newspapers are either owned outright or controlled by Arafat.

Article (39):

Freedom of the press, including print, audio, and visual media, and those working in the media, is guaranteed. The media shall freely exercise its mission and express different opinions within the framework of society’s basic values, while preserving rights, liberties and public duties in a manner consistent with the rule of law. The media may not be subject to administrative censorship, hindrance, or confiscation, except by court order in accordance with the law.

Again, the right of freedom for the press is undermined by an unspecified proviso that the courts could stop freedom of the press. This is an important point, seeing that Arafat has control over the court system and simply overrules the decision of any judge he desires.

Article (45):

The law shall regulate social security, disability and old age pensions, support to families of martyrs, detainees, orphans, those injured in the national struggle, and those requiring special care. The state shall guarantee them – within its capabilities – education, health and social security services and shall give them priority in employment opportunities in accordance with the law.

This Article reiterates and guarantees that the Palestinian state will finance terror. While the clause could have stated that the Palestinian government woulod provide for those injured in war or an attack. it chose to focus on “martyrs” and “national struggle.” The only time the term “martyrs” has ever been used is in reference to Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel.

Article (52):

The right to protest and strike shall be exercised within the limits of the law.

Every Arab country has this clause in its constitution and not one of them permits strikes. What are the limitations of strikes? Under what law are they protected? Sharia law does not allow strikes.

Article (53):

Citizens shall have the right to assume public office, on the basis of competence, merit and equal opportunity in accordance with the requirements of the law.

Who will decide whether a candidate for public office is competent or meritorious? In democracies, candidates are elected. In Iran, a regime council screens candidates for competence?

Article (58):

Basic rights and liberties may not be suspended. The law shall regulate those rights and liberties that may be temporarily restricted in exceptional circumstances in matters relate to public security and national safety purposes. The law shall penalize the arbitrary use of power and authority.

The term “exceptional circumstances” is often fraught with danger. The Palestinian leadership have excused numerous types of injustice by invoking this term. Egypt has maintained a state of emergency for over 20 years. This Article merely sets up the option of dictatorship.

Article (67):

The House of Representatives shall be composed of (150) individuals, representing the Palestinian people. They shall be elected according to the Constitution and election law. When running for candidacy to the House of Representatives, the provisions stated in this Constitution and the election law shall be observed. Candidates for the House of Representatives must be Palestinian.

This Article very clearly guarantees that minorities living in the Palestinian state will not have representation. Nor does it aptly define a Palestinian. A large part of the constitution delves into details of the House of Representatives and the president. This is not usually the function of a constitution. The English translation also calls the parliament a “house of representatives,” an apparent offering to the U.S. This is interesting considering the fact that none of the other Arab nations, on which this constitution is primarily based, has a house of representatives in its governmental system.

Article (117):

The president shall submit a financial statement relative to him, his/her spouse and minor children, detailing his movable or non-movable property and cash asset debts or dues in Palestine and abroad. They will be kept by the Constitutional Court.

It is well known, though little discussed, that most of Arafat’s financial business, including payments for terrorist attacks, is conducted on small pieces of paper or letters on which he requests one of his senior officers to make various payments as per Arafat’s sole decision. If the Constitutional Court, under the direct aegis of Mr. Arafat himself, will keep the financial statements, does this mean that Arafat’s financial statement will never be released?

Article (124):

The Speaker of the Council of Ministers, or the minister he appoints, shall negotiate international treaties, and inform the President of the State of the course of negotiations, which in turn have to be approved by the Council of Ministers and endorsed by the President.

The Arabic version merely states “prime minister.” Why is there a discrepancy? What does “endorsed by the president” mean? The Arabic version uses the terms “certified or confirmed.” Perhaps the answer will be found in the next Article.

Article (125):

In addition to the Presidential prerogatives, the President enjoys the following privileges:

He heads, in exceptional cases, and during the State of Emergency, the Council of Ministers.He issues alone the decree for the nomination of the prime minister and the decree accepting the resignation of the government or considering it resigned. Other decisions and protocols have to be jointly signed by the prime minister, and the minister or ministers concerned. The prime minister co-signs with the president of the state decrees of law, decrees of reevaluation of laws and decrees calling for exceptional meetings of the House of Representatives.

He addresses, when necessary, a non-debatable speech to the House of Representatives.

He forwards drafts of laws approved by the council of ministers to the House of Representatives.

He grants special pardons or reduction of sentences. Amnesty is by decree exclusively.

He heads official receptions and grants state decorations by decree.

This is the key to how the Palestinian constitution sees the future of Arafat’s successor, the person who will continue to wield tremendous power. Clearly, the constitution ensures that he will continue to be a dictator. All he has to do is declare a state of emergency.

Article (127):

The president of the state is the supreme commander of the Palestinian national security forces which is headed by a concerned minister.

In short, this robs the prime minister of authority over the security forces.

Article (129):

The president of the state, with the approval with the prime minister and consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representative, may declare a state of emergency if the security of the country is exposed to danger of war or natural disaster or siege threatening the safety of the society and continuity of operation of its constitutional institutions. The emergency measures must be necessary to restore public order, or the orderly functioning of the state’s authorities, or confront disaster or siege, for a period not exceeding thirty days, renewable by approval of two thirds of all the members of the House of Representatives, with the exception of state of war. In all cases, any declaration of a state of emergency must specify the purpose thereof, and the region and time period covered thereby.

If the president himself can appoint a prime minister, then the latter’s input in the state of emergency is meaningless. Indeed, the constitution envisions the prime minister as being an extension of the president. Notice how much text is allotted to the issue of a state of emergency. This is the scenario Arafat expects will transpire immediately after the is formed.

III. Conclusion

The Palestinian constitution cannot be divorced from two basic facts:

  1. The historic use of terrorism and brutality by the Palestinian leadership — primarily against its own people.
  2. The Palestinian leadership has not changed and Arafat’s successor is expected to continue his authoritarian rule. The constitution does not acknowledge or deal with this. Instead, it deals with platitudes and remains disingenuous in its entirety.

Consequences of a Palestinian Arab State

The Philadelphia Bulletin

January 25, 2007

At a time when the establishment of a Palestinian Arab sovereign state is so widely discussed, few have taken the time to consider the consequences of such an entity. Below are questions that every citizen can and should bring to the attention of the US government and to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These questions can help that conceptualize the idea and suitable responses will help publicize the ramifications of establishing such an entity:

  1. Encirclement: Will a proposed sovereign Palestine not engulf Jordan, most of whose population is Palestinian, leaving Israel with a hostile state from the Iraqi border to the Mediterranean Sea, with a corridor across the Negev between Gaza to Hebron?
  1. Israeli Arabs: Will the Arabs of the Galilee and the Triangle (David, what is the triangle?) not sue for “autonomy,” and then demand the fulfillment of U.N. Resolution 181 – an Israeli withdrawal to the 1947 borders (evacuation of Nahariya, Acre, Nazareth, Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat and Beersheva)?
  1. Terror: Will a new Palestinian entity disband terrorist organizations? After all, Mahmoud Abbas has so far refused to dismantle or disband Fatah’s al Aqsa Brigades which continue to fire missiles into the Western Negev.
  1. Armament: How can there be any expectation that a sovereign Palestine will uphold any and all commitments for demilitarization, since the Palestinian Authority never upheld any such commitment since the Oslo Accords?
  1. Refugees: Based on Israel’s surprising agreement to view the Saudi plan as the basis for a state, does that not mean that Israel will have to absorb descendents of refugees and thus displace thousands of Israelis from cities like Haifa, Safed (Tfzat) and Jaffa as well as 80 kibbutzim which replaced Arab neighborhoods or villages from whence Arabs fled in 1948?
  1. Air space: Will the Israel Air Force be forbidden from flying over the “West Bank,” just as it was banned from the Lebanese skies?
  1. Alliances: Based on diplomatic experience with the Palestinian Authority, upon signing military agreements with countries hostile to Israel, will Palestine not violate every prohibition thus placing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on Israel’s borders?
  1. Water: Like the Palestinian Authority before it, will a sovereign Palestine not carry out pirate drillings, and threaten the mountain aquifer of Judea and Samaria?
  1. Jewish sovereignty: Will the momentum of a Palestine not erase the right of the Jews to the land of Israel in international consciousness?
  1. Loss of independence: Will Israel not become a protectorate that is subject to the Quartet – the U.S., the EU, the U.N. and Russia?

Abbas: We Won’t Abandon Armed Resistance

Philadelphia Bulletin

August 10, 2009

The Fatah General Conference convened this week in Bethlehem, 20 years after the previous conference that was held in Tunisia. Discussions addressed the question of whether Fatah should give up the armed struggle.

Large posters featuring Palestinian children brandishing rifles decorated the conference hall.

“Our determination to choose the path of peace and negotiations does not mean that we have abandoned our noble path of legitimate resistance, which is based on international law,” declared PA Chairman Abbas in his keynote speech at the three day conference of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority.

“Yes, resistance is legal, and we are with this resistance”, Abbas consistently reiterated.

An Israeli Arab Member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), MK Ahmed Tibi, the former advisor to the late PLO founder, Yasser Arafat, also spoke at the conference. He called upon the delegates to expel Jews from the future Palestinian state, leading thousands of Palestinians in a chant: “Get out of the Palestinian lands. Get out of all of our souls. Get out already!”

Following Mr. Tibi’s harangue, the Israel Legal Forum demanded that Israel Attorney General Meni Mazuz prosecute Mr. Tibi for incitementm sedition and racism.

One of Fatah’s possible future leaders, former Security Chief Jibril Rajoub, presented a clear position:

“Fatah will never give up the armed struggle,” he said. “There are tactics of struggle and policy, but they depend on Israel’s position and recognition of the existence of the Palestinian people.”

MEMRI, a credible Middle East think tank, translated Palestinian Legislative Council Member Jamal Huwail’s speech at the Fatah conference. His statements reflected the the mood at the event:

This conference must confirm the right of resistance by all means, as they appear in U.N. conventions, considering that Fatah is a national liberation movement and its people are under occupation. The resistance is carried out not only with guns, but also [with] political activity and serious negotiations.

MEMRI also translated Hussam Khader, another senior Fatah member who has spent the last several years in an Israeli prison for active participation in the uprising who declared:

Fatah has not changed its national identity, and it retains the option of resistance and armed struggle. But now, for the first time… it is permitting the option of negotiations as one of the Palestinian people’s strategic options and as a possible way of attaining its political goals.

Interviewed in prison, where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of 13 Jews, Marwan Barghouti, a senior Fatah member imprisoned in Israel, said in an August 4, 2009 interview with the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: “Resistance to the Israeli occupation is a national obligation, and it is a legitimate right…”

In an earlier interview, on July 21, he declared:

Fatah believes in a combination of all forms of struggle, and it will not abandon, thwart, or rule out any form of struggle. As long as a single Israeli soldier or settler remains on the Palestinian land that was occupied in 1967, Fatah will not relinquish the option of resistance.

There isn’t a single Fatah member who does not believe in resistance, because the very essence of the Fatah [movement] is resistance, [more] resistance, and eventual victory. There isn’t a single people in history that was under occupation and did not resist. Resistance is a legitimate right that is confirmed by religious law, U.N. resolutions, and international law.

We in Fatah think that political activity and negotiations complement resistance, and harvest its fruits. Therefore, we have always called for adhering to the option of resistance, negotiation, and political activity alike.

MEMRI also translated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander Zakariya Al-Zubeidi, called on the Fatah conference “to propose a plan that will combine the political line with the resistance line within Fatah, against the backdrop of the past failure of [each path alone] to obtain results favorable to the Palestinian cause.” He, too, rejected the possibility that Fatah would omit the armed struggle from its plan.

Fatah Spokesman Fahmi Al-Za’arir stated: “It is not possible to rule out or to marginalize the military option. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are the jewel in Fatah’s crown. We must strengthen their status… [and] maintain them in a state of alert.

During the Fatah conference, former PA Prime Minister Abu Alaa (Ahmed Qurei) welcomed Khaled Abu-Usbah to the conference and referred to him and Dalal Mughrabi as Palestinian heroes for carrying out the bus hijacking in 1978, in which killed 37 Israeli civilians, including 12 children were killed.

At the same time, the Fatah party platform that was adopted at the conference, explicitly states that Israel must not be recognized as a Jewish State.

Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations sharply criticized the statements made yesterday by former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Alaa and other Fatah officials atthe Congress.

Conference Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said,

Statements by Abu Allah praising suicide bombers who have killed dozens of people is wholly unacceptable and represents the true challenge to the chances for peace in the region. Statements by other Fatah officials urged the continuation of armed resistance and asserted that Fatah would not recognize the State of Israel. These declarations, made by the so-called ‘moderate’ Palestinian faction puts into sharp focus the question of the real beliefs of the party with whom Israel is to negotiate. Such rhetoric cannot be dismissed as it glorifies murderers and incites others to emulate their example. The U.S. has urged the Palestinians to address the issue of incitement, which is both an immediate and long-term obstacle to the prospect of meaningful negotiations. Too often, such statements have been dismissed. But as history has shown, it is a serious impediment, not only undermining the confidence of Israelis, but exhorting this and future generations to violence and hate. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority must speak out against these actions to declare and take steps that all such incitement will be stopped.

The Fatah Conference in August: An Opportunity Missed

Israel Resource Review

November 4, 2009

Fatah – which defines itself as a nationalist movement – is the dominant force within both the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. It is impossible to understand the possibilities for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without understanding its policies.

Contrasted routinely with Hamas, Fatah is considered “moderate.”

Its constitution,[1] however, tells another story. Written in 1964, when Israel did not yet control the West Bank and Gaza, it uses terms such as “liberation” to refer exclusively to Israel within the Green Line, which it calls “Palestine.” The constitution states:

  • Liberating Palestine is a national obligation.
  • UN projects, accords and resolutions, or those of any individual country which undermine the Palestinian people’s right in their homeland are illegal and rejected.
  • The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial…base…
  • [A Fatah goal is] complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
  • Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.
  • This struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.Many well-informed persons are unaware of this Fatah constitution. Many who are familiar with it believe it is an anachronism;: as Fatah itself has changed, post-Oslo, its original constitution, which has remained static, is rendered irrelevant.The fact, however, is that Fatah has two faces. This is revealed in the “Phased Program” adopted by the PLO in 1974, of whichFatah was, and is, by far the largest and most influential faction. This program acknowledged that “total liberation” in one fell swoop had become unrealistic; instead there was to be a “Strategy of Stages” meant to “give the appearance of moderation” while “total liberation” would be pursued slowly over time as Israel was weakened.The summer of 2009 was not simply post-Oslo, but also post-Annapolis. Moreover, the new American president, reaching out to the Arab world, had made resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a centerpiece of his administration.It was an auspicious time for Fatah, if truly moderate, to come forth with a stance that definitively demonstrated this. This was the moment to renounce the positions of its pre-Oslo constitution to and speak in unambiguous terms about compromise, end of conflict, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist.As it happened, Fatah had an extraordinary opportunity to do just that: In early August 2009, Fatah’s Sixth General Congress was held in Bethlehem.Historically, this was a remarkable event, for even though its constitution requires the Congress – which is Fatah’s highest authority – to convene every five years, there had been no conference for 20 years.Now some 2,000 delegates – most selected by Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas and his associates – came together, presumably prepared to establish new policies and elect new representatives to Fatah’s decision-making bodies: the 21-member Central Committee and the 120-member Revolutionary Council. Since the Congress had last met before Oslo, and since many of the leaders elected earlier were now either old or deceased, there was considerable international expectation that genuine changes for Fatah, reflecting new realities, might emerge from the Congress.On the eve of the Congress, (Arabic-speaking) journalist and commentator Pinchas Inbari, writing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,[2] provided insight into the process that was about to unfold. Two documents would be discussed and approved at the Congress: The Political Program, which could be seen as promoting a political process, and the Constitution, referred to by Inbari as the “Internal Order.”Here Fatah’s two faces became apparent. The Political Program, which moves toward a political solution, “tries to accommodate international expectations and seems designed to mobilize international legitimacy…” It does not overtly reject the concept of “armed struggle,” and occasionally speaks of a “struggle of all options,” which would include “armed struggle.” Most frequently, however, it refers to “struggle” in more generical terms. This includes a variety of other options, such as peaceful demonstrations, with “armed struggle” alluded to as something from the past.The “Internal Order” – as is clear from its term of reference – is intended for use in-house (and includes procedural matters). As described above, it rejects negotiations and fervently and unambiguously embraces “armed struggle.”The key to a genuine change in Fatah, then, would be modification of its “Internal Document.”Hopes were high, as the Congress commenced on August 4th: “Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law…“We are not terrorists, and we reject a description of our legitimate struggle as terrorism. This will be our firm and lasting position.”There was a nod early in the proceedings to Fatah’s terrorist past, as a moment of silence was called for the martyrs [i.e., terrorists] of Palestine, and reverence was duly expressed for Yasser Arafat. A discussion was held regarding whether Arafat had been poisoned; in the end, a resolution declared Israel responsible and called for an investigation. (In July, hard-liner, Secretary-General of the Central Committee Farouk Qaddoumi, had accused Abbas himself of being involved in Arafat’s poisoning.)After its first day, Conference proceedings deteriorated. In large part this was a reflection of the enormous party rifts – old guard vs. new, hardliners vs. pragmatists, representatives of one region vs. those of another. Anger was expressed about persons not invited to the Conference and the manner in which nominees for the Central Committee were selected, indicating discontent with Abbas’s tight-fisted control. One Fatah official commented: “There is so much corruption that is occurring from those who hold high positions that I don’t think we can come together…”[3] Ahmed Qurei, chief PA negotiator during the Annapolis negotiations, was so angry when he discovered that he had lost in the Central Committee elections that he questioned the vote-counting process, declaring that Fatah’s electoral fraud was even greater than Iran’s.On-going tensions so delayed proceedings that the Conference had to be prolonged by several days.About half of the new members elected to the all-important Central Committee were from the “young guard,” but this is no assurance of increased moderation or revitalization within Fatah. Those who are considered “young” average about 50 years in age (compared to the age of “old guard” members, which is often over 70 years).Two men elected from the “young guard” to the Central Committee elicit the greatest enthusiasm with regard to hope for change: Marwan Barghouti and Muhammad Dahlan, seen as pragmatists who, each in his own way, might unite the party and combat corruption. There is more than a bit of irony in this regard, as Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his terrorist involvements, and Dahlan has been identified by the CIA and others as being directly associated with terrorism as well.As it is, Dahlan came in only at tenth place of the 18 new members who were being elected. Muhammad Ghneim, 71 (who, as an Abbas ally, helped to draft the list of attendees) received the most votes. A hard-liner opposed to Oslo, for years he remained self-exiled in Tunisia. Committed to the “total liberation of Palestine” he has vowed to keep the term “armed resistance” as part of the lexicon of Fatah’s program. A co-founder of Fatah, with Arafat, Abbas, and others, he has continued to maintain close ties with Abbas.In second place was another Abbas ally, Mahmoud al-Aloul, former member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. He had been a close associate of terrorist Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) before Israel killed him in 1988.

Philadelphia Bulletin
March 2, 2010

Palestine: The Real Apartheid State-in-the-Making

  • Yet his words also carried a subtle endorsement of violence:
  • “We have made mistakes,” said Mahmoud Abbas – head of Fatah and PA president – in his opening address. “Twenty years is too long. [This conference should be a] platform for a new start.”

In 1948, apartheid laws institutionalized racial discrimination in South Africa & denied human rights to 25 million Black citizens of South Africa.

In 1948, the Arab League of Nations applied the apartheid model to Palestine, and declared that Jews must be denied rights as citizens of Israel, while declaring a total state of war – that continues to this very day – to eradicate the new Jewish entity.

In 1948, at the directive of the Arab League of Nations, Jordon devastated the vestiges of Jewish life from Judea and Samaria, and burned all synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

In 1948, member states of the Arab League of Nations began to strip Jews of human rights and to expel entire Jewish communities that had resided in their midst for centuries.

In the mid 1960’s, the Arab League of Nations spawned the PLO to organize local residents to continue the war to deny Jews the right to live as free citizens in the land of Israel – well before Israel took over Judea, Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem in the defensive war waged by Israel in 1967.

Since its inception in 1994, the newly constituted Palestinian Authority, created by the PLO, has prepared the rudiments of a Palestinian state, modeled on the rules of apartheid and institutionalized discrimination:

  1. The right of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents to return to Arab villages lost in 1948 will be protected by the new Palestinian state.
  1. While twenty percent of Israel’s citizens are Arabs, not one Jew will be allowed to live in a Palestinian state.
  1. Anyone who sells land to a Jew will be liable to the death penalty in the Palestinian state.
  1. Those who murder Jews are honored on all official Palestinian media outlets.
  1. Palestinian Authority maps prepared for the Palestinian state depict all of Palestine under Palestinian rule.
  1. PA maps of Jerusalem in the Palestinian State once again delete the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
  1. Recent PA documents claim all of Jerusalem for the future Palestinian state.
  1. The right of Jewish access to Jewish holy places is to be denied in the new Palestinian state.
  1. The draft Palestinian State Constitution denies juridical status to any religion except Islam.
  1. No system which protects human rights or civil liberties will exist in a Palestinian state.

If that is not a formula for a totalitarian apartheid state of Palestine, then what is?

Reports that Distort Israeli Reality…About Israel’s “Peace Partners”

Israel Resource Review

August 4, 2010

  1. Fatah’s Intentions

Prevailing media reports portray Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah as peace partners for Israel in the current Middle East negotiations.

Rarely do we find any news reports that quote senior Israeli government M inister, Benyamin Begin. MK Begin has consistently attempted to remind the public that Fatah reiterated its commitment to the armed struggle against Israel at the seminal Fatah conference held in Bethlehem last August. His declarations that Fatah never changed its covenant and commitment to liberate Palestine – all of Palestine – falls on deaf ears.

(See: “Fatah Conference: August 2009” at http://israelbehindthenews.com/reports.html)

  1. Egypt’s Role in the Massive Supply of Weapons and Munitions to the Hamas Regime in Gaza.

Popular media reports portray Iran as the sole supplier of weapons and munitions into the Gaza strip, via underground tunnels.

Rarely do we find any news reports that discuss the geographical continuity of Egypt to Gaza, and the fact that Egypt has allowed hundreds of tunnels to be dug through Gaza from within Egyptian territory. Should we not heed the credible intelligence analysis, which lays the blame for the import of weapons and munitions to the Gaza regime squarely on the Egyptian regime?

Peruse the Bar-Ilan University intelligence study, ”Egypt Is Not Going to Stop the Smuggling into Gaza,” written just after Israel unilaterally halted its military incursion into Gaza (http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/perspectives60.html)

  1. Is Israel Set to Deport the Children of Foreign Workers?

Standard news reports headline alleged Israeli government discussions to deport the children of foreign workers from Israel.

In fact, what is on the Israeli government’s agenda concerns the 26,000 non-Jewish foreigners who have infiltrated the Jewish State.

Some of these foreigners have sought menial labor in Israeli industry.

The Israeli government has never discussed any proposal regarding the deportation of the children of this illegal population.

Instead, the New Israel Fund-financed groups advocating this influx, have manipulated the media to believe that the Israeli government is only discussing the deportation of the children of foreigners who have illegally arrived in Israel.

Rarely does the media report the fact that intelligence reports confirm the infiltration of over one million illegal refugees who enter Israel through Egypt’s Sinai Desert. It is essential to review how will this affect the Jewish State, whose total population of only 7.5 million includes 20 percent ofnot Jews.

The media rarely anlayzes the security implications of the thousands of refugees entering Israel from Sudan, an Arab nation with an Islamic regime actively at war with Israel.

The press almost never analyzes the consequences of 30,000 Sudanese refugees establishing their presence in Israel’s southernmost port city of Eilat, a city consisting of less than 47,000 people. (See http://www.cbs.gov.il/population/new_2009/table3.pdf ).

Were these Sudanese were to learn civics from the leftist NIF and thereafter assert their democratic right to vote in an Eilat municipal election, what would prevent the Sudanese from voting for Eilat to secede from Israel, and join the Arab world? This would represent the perfect Arab military victory, without one bullet being fired.

How many people actually remember the Egyptian Parliament laying claim to Eilat only four years ago. (See: http://israelbehindthenews.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=60&q=2).

Is it simply a coincidence that Egypt utilizes the Sinai as a staging ground for the massive influx of a hostile population into Israel? Is it simply a coincidence that this influx finds its way specifically into Eilat, where non-Jewish squatters now constitute at least 10 percent of that city’s population?.

Do these issues not require a deeper and more serious study than the media and the government are giving them?

A Time of Dialogue: Questions that Jewish Groups Can Ask Palestinian Authority Leaders Abbas and Fayad

September 20, 2010

Israel Resource New Agency

This week, Palestinian Authority leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad arrive in Washington. According to reports that have appeared in both the Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post newspapers, the purpose of their trip is to improve their relations with the Jewish community in the United States at a time when negotiations have resumed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. In that context, the Daniel Abraham Center will be hosting Abbas and the Israel Project will be hosting Fayad in widely publicized press events

The readiness of Abbas and Fayad to dialogue with the Jewish community provides Jewish groups with a most appropriate opportunity for asking direct questions of these two leaders. Some suggestions for questions that address issues at the heart of possibilities for genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are:

Will you arrange for revisions — beginning immediately — of official Palestinian Authority textbooks, so that:

all praise of the armed struggle (“Jihad“) and all praise of Palestinian terrorists (“martyrs”) is removed?

Israeli cities such as Tiberias, Acre (Acco), Haifa and Safed (Tzfat) are identified as such, rather than as Palestinian?

All maps identify Israel as such, at least within the Green Line?

Will you order the PBC, the official TV and radio network of the Palestinian Authority, to cease and desist from broadcasting and televising programs that incite the “armed struggle” against the State and people of Israel?

Will you refrain from honoring terrorists by such actions as naming city squares, sports events and schools after them?

Will you change the Palestinian Authority tourist map of Jerusalem, so that the Jewish Quarter, which is currently omitted, is properly identified?

Will you denounce in English and Arabic the decision of the August 2009 Fatah conference, which endorsed the armed struggle against the State of Israel?

Will you renounce in English and Arabic the draft of the Palestinian State Constitution that was adopted by the Palestinian Authority in 2003, which calls for the adoption of Sharia Law, thus permitting no juridical status for any religion in the future Palestinian state other than Islam?

Will you arrange for an official Palestinian Authority endorsement in English and Arabic of cancellation of those sections of the PLO covenant that call for Israel’s destruction?

Will you remove from all Palestinian Authority schools and libraries the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as well as the Ph.D thesis written by Abbas which asserts that Zionists worked with the Nazis to conduct mass murder of Jews during World War II?

 

David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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