Jerusalem – Next week in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the leaders of the Arab countries are supposed to reconfirm the Saudi initiative, which has become the official initiative of the Arab League, the entity at war with Israel since the inception of the Jewish state in 1948.

The public relations campaign that has accompanied the Saudi initiative has let the world know that the Saudi proposal contains a recognition of Israel.

However, as Israeli left-wing pundit Ben Dror Yemini wrote this past Friday in the Israeli newspaper Maariv, “It is not clear which Israel the Arab countries are prepared to recognize. If it is Israel as a Jewish state, in keeping with the U.N. resolution, then this initiative should be welcomed. However, its principal demand is for the “right of return” for all those Palestinians who claim “their” lands inside the state of Israel – then this initiative contains no recognition of the State of Israel. Actually, it is a ruse and a conceit.”

It is instructive to pay attention to the Arab view of the Saudi plan.

Farouk Kadoumi, the official PLO foreign minister and protégé of Yassir Arafat, was the highest-ranking Palestinian official at the Beirut conference. Kadoumi endorsed “the right of return” in supporting the Saudi Initiative, which specifically calls for the immediate implementation of the Arab understanding of U.N. resolution #194 – allowing for the right of return to come to fruition. Kadoumi said at the time that “the solution of two states is a temporary matter. The goal is a single state.”

Not alongside of Israel. Instead of Israel. Saker Habash, one of Arafat’s advisers, issued a statement endorsing the Saudi initiative, clarifying matters by saying: “the right of return is the winning card, which means the destruction of Israel.”

How can the world deal with the moral issue of the “right of return”?

Thirty-eight million people were forced in the last hundred years to undergo the experience of population exchanges. In all of those cases, the exchanges were made in order to create a nation state. In this context, 700,000 Palestinians were forced to leave Israel, and 850,000 Jews from Arab countries arrived in Israel – many of whom were expelled.

There are those who claim that the Saudi initiative contains only a demand to discuss the issue of the refugees in keeping with U.N. Resolution 194, with the consent of the two sides, and that this is a softened wording that leaves room for compromise. If only that were the case. The problem is that that is not what it says. The Saudi Initiative clearly endorses the “right of return.”

Professor Uzi Arad, former Israeli intelligence and now the head of an academic center in Israel, has warned that the platform of the new Palestinian government betokens a significant political escalation of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. The new Palestinian government has not foresworn terrorism and does not recognize Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, instead of maintaining some kind of moderate position, adjusted his positions at the Mecca summit to Hamas’ positions.

For whatever reason, the U.S. government and the Israeli government have yet to repudiate Abbas, allowing him to agree to the guidelines of a regime that conforms to Hamas’ fundamental positions, while the U.S. and Israel mysteriously continue to describe Abbas as a force for peace.

The unkindest cut of all is that Abbas also insists on the “right of return.” After all, in January 2005, the platform that Abbas was elected on to succeed Yassir Arafat was a total commitment to the “right of return.”

Norway Recognizes The Palestinian Government

At the time Israel asked all nations not to recognize the Palestinian unity government, Norway – where the Oslo process was spawned in 1993 -was the first country to announce that it would cooperate with the new government.

The Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, issued a statement that Norway will immediately cease the policy of restraint with regard to the political and economic relations with the Palestinian government.

The Norwegian prime minister said at one of his party’s branches in western Norway that he blesses the new government and “President Abbas for his achievement.” He pledged that Norway would effectively resume its support for the efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Nowhere in the statement issued by the Norwegian foreign minister was there any reference to the platform of the Palestinian unity regime rejects any recognition of the state of Israel. Nor does Norway take into consideration the recent declarations of the new Palestinian leadership that they will use “any means” to liberate “all of Palestine.”

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2007


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David Bedein
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: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.