Mahmoud Darwish and the Jews

August 9th marks the ninth anniversary of the death of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Poems that eloquently capture the essence and spirit of the Palestinian struggle for independence–this is what Darwish gave to the world.

Born on March 13, 1941 in the village of Al-Birwa, Darwish published his first book of poetry at the age of 19. His home village, Al-Birwa, no longer exists, by the way. Located in western Galilee near the border with Lebanon, it was destroyed in 1948. Darwish was seven years old at the time. He and his family and other villagers were forced to flee. A kibbutz and the Jewish town of Ahihud occupy the land today.

A week ago I put up a post entitled Solzhenitsyn and the Jews, the purpose of which was to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of the famed Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The parallels between Solzhenitsyn and Darwish are striking. For one thing, both men died within a week of each other–Solzhenitsyn on August 3, 2008, and Darwish on August 9, 2008. Both of course were also great writers. But perhaps most striking of all is both spent a major portion of their lives living under a brutal system of government imposed by Jews–and in both cases the experience powerfully shaped their writing.

Here is what I wrote in my article on Solzhenitsyn:

The Soviet Union, at least in its earlier years, seems very much to have been an example of Jewish power gone berserk.

The same of course can be said of Israel.

You can kind of sense that power gone berserk in what follows. It’s one of Darwish’s most famous poems–“I Come from There.”

I Come From There

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
Turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
When the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
To a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..

On June 8, 1987, Darwish published an essay entitled, “The Cruelest of Months.” The essay marked the twentieth anniversary of the 1967 war, a war in which Israel, in addition to bombing the USS Liberty, further extended its control over Palestinian land, capturing East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In his essay, Darwish employs the rhetorical device of repetition, repeating the words “June is the cruelest of months,” throughout the piece. He may have intended it as a literary allusion to T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” whose  opening line consists of the immortal words, “April is the cruelest month.” At any rate, the piece jumps straight into the poet’s portrayal of June’s agony:

No one is safe from the pain of memories, or from psychological collapse. June is the cruelest of months. June is an abyss which tries to ascend from its own depths to improve the conditions within it. A strained hand is raised to prevent the wall from collapsing and a strained cry rings out: let whatever is collapsing collapse–let our internal pain complete its twentieth year. The passing of twenty years startles us as we ponder what time can and cannot do. Twenty years of pain that we try to forget, but which pursues us. Whoever was born then, in June, is now twenty years old–children familiar with rocks and small rockets, with prisons, children who have lived abnormal lives. We see to what extent we have been further scattered and to what extent the homeland has narrowed. Twenty seasons of burned wheat.

And as we bid the years farewell, the ideas of youth fade. They would have remained young if night had not been confounded with day. June is the cruelest of months. Because we are witnesses of the event. And turning back to that part of this age which has already ended, this age which defies proper description, does not enable us to escape the fever or to ascertain its origins: is it the past that has taken with it the memory of the defeat and gone away; or is it the present, incapable of separating itself from the spectacle of the defeat and its history so that the past remains capable of repeating itself as long as the reality of the defeat is present in the form of the occupation?

The line about night being “confounded” by day is perhaps the most powerful of all. In an obscene world of cruelty and madness, darkness is preferable to the light of day. Darkness at least brings us a sense of respite from the murderous depravities.

The essay also addresses Israel’s tiresome and incessant demands from one and all–including the very people it has displaced–for recognition of its “right to exist.” And there is also a backhanded slap at Arab governments which, in exchange for cordial relations with the Zionist state, have all but abandoned the Palestinian struggle (other than the payment of occasional lip service).

Here a June question arises: if the decision to make war was an Arab decision, why should the decision to make peace be based on a Palestinian agreement to absent himself? Here the Greek tragedy and the Shakespearean tragedy are completed: the Palestinian is expected to absent himself from his homeland, from his problem, from his case, and from himself. He is requested to appear on  stage only once. He who is absent is asked to appear to witness that he is absent, invisible; he is supposed to come only to recognize Israel’s existence, Israel which is present only on the condition that the Palestinian is absent. Then the Palestinian is supposed to disappear. He is also supposed to present himself before the Arab ruler to acknowledge that he does not represent himself, to admit that he is absent from the stage in the presence of the one who has requested him to attend once for the sake of permanent absence.

But Darwish foresaw, even then, way back in 1987, that the Palestinians were not going to give up, that the struggle for justice would go on:

We must realize again that June did not come from outside as much as it sprang from within. Is June still alive within us? We have witnessed twenty years of occupation. But also twenty years of steadfastness of a people surrounded and besieged by occupation. Twenty years of embers springing from the ashes. Twenty years of the crystallization of the Palestinian national identity. Twenty years of shaping the miracle.

That essay, as I say, was published in June of 1987. Six months later, in December of 1987, the first intifada broke out.

A tribute to Darwish has been published at the website Palestine Square. The article tells a little of his personal story and also provides links to a number of writings–these consist of Darwish’s own writings as well as articles that have been written about him. One of the articles linked to is a commentary Darwish himself wrote on the 9/11 attack. Here is a brief excerpt from it:

No cause, not even a just cause, can make legitimate the killing of innocent civilians, no matter how long the list of accusations and the register of grievances. Terror never paves the way to justice but leads down the shortest path to hell. We deplore this horrendous crime and condemn its planners and perpetrators with all the terms of revulsion and condemnation in our lexicon. We do this not only as our moral duty, but also in order to reassert our commitment to our own humanity and our faith in human values that do not differentiate between one people and another. Our sympathy with the victims and their families and with the American people in these trying times is thus an expression of our deep commitment to the unity of human destiny. For a victim is a victim, and terrorism is terrorism, here or there; it knows no boundaries nor nationalities and does not lack the rhetoric of killing.

A Palestinian girl lights candles in tribute to Darwish.

That article, condemning the horrendous attacks, was published in a Palestinian newspaper on September 17, 2001. As was the case with most people in the world at that time, it obviously had not occurred to Darwish that 9/11 may well have been a false flag, with Israel as the possible principle perpetrator. In any event, the marked sympathy he shows for Americans should be noted–it is a distinctly humanist perspective, coming from one of the leading intellectuals in Palestinian society, this despite America’s ongoing support for Israel.

In 2001, America truly had the sympathy of the entire world. We managed to squander it. Our response to 9/11 was to bomb and invade one country after another–in wars that were relentlessly advocated by Jewish neocons and the Zionist-owned media.


Remembering Mahmoud Darwish

Palestine Square

It is difficult to overstate the legacy of Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s iconic poet, whose passing on 9 August 2008 has left behind a literary treasure. His was a voice that touched every Palestinian, and with it, Darwish delivered the Palestinian experience to a global audience. His poems have been translated into more than 20 languages, and continue to ring true for many Palestinians who long to return home. Indeed, exile was the central thread of Darwish’s poetic journey. And, while exile is often regarded as a political reality, Darwish’s experience reveals a far broader concept. As he said in a 1996 landmark interview featured in this month’s Special Focus below, “Exile is a very broad concept and very relative. There is exile in society, exile in family, exile in love, exile within yourself.” It began with an exile from his natal village in the Galilee, where Darwish lived under military rule along with 150,000 other Palestinians after Israel’s establishment in 1948. Then, came Moscow, Paris, Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Amman, and finally Ramallah, where he was buried. This fragmented living resonated with a broader Palestinian experience of displacement and dispersion.

Yet, for all his collective significance, Darwish was often reserved and his poetry was born from very personal experiences. For instance, he grew up convinced he was unloved by his family, especially his mother. But, when he was jailed in Israeli prison in 1956, he wrote “I Long For My Mother’s Bread,” which has become a Palestinian classic in the voice of Marcel Khalife.

“I wanted to atone for my feelings of guilt toward my mother for thinking she hated me—as a poem of national longing. I didn’t expect that millions would sing it,” Darwish said. Indeed, for countless Palestinians estranged from place and family, this particular poem was embraced as a national resistance poem, where the mother symbolizes Palestine.

Continued here

You can follow the link to access the full tribute to Darwish. At the bottom of the article you will find the links to the other articles. These include a link to the essay, “The Cruelest of Months.” Take note, however, that the articles are in PDF format and will only be available for the duration of the month of August. So if you wish to read them, do so now.

Isaac Herzog: Netanyahu and I Visited Arab Leaders

Local Editor

03-07-2017 | 15:29

‘Israeli’ opposition leader Isaac Herzog confirmed that he, along with Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited leaders in the Arab world, saying: “I met with leaders that have never been seen by ‘Israeli’ eyes. The political process I was in charge of was huge, and it gives hope of building a Palestinian state,” ‘Israel’ Hayom reported.

Isaac Herzog: Netanyahu and I Visited Arab Leaders

Herzog, however, said he was “not ready for any one-sided step,” the newspaper added. “There is an alternative coalition in our hands. Proper work might defragment Netanyahu’s coalition,” he added.

Herzog’s remarks were made on the eve of the preliminary elections of the Zionist “Labor” Party which will take place on Tuesday to elect a new president.

Estimations, however, show that none of the candidates will win 40% of the votes, the required percentage for someone to win, expecting to hold another round next Monday.

Source: Zionist Media, Edited by website team

Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel

A review of the book authored by David Cronin

By Jim Miles GlobalResearch,

July 01, 2017

The Balfour Declaration, currently accepted by many as the founding legal statement for the establishment of Israel is really nothing more than a letter. It was a letter of policy between government personnel and became a major part of foreign policy then, and its shadow effects have continued on rather effectively to now. Balfour’s Shadow is a well written outline of the history of events after the letter: the immediate short term effects on British policy after WW I; the medium range policies that continued until after WW II; up to Britain’s current policy of advocating for and dealing with Israel. It is not a pretty story.

The letter was not necessarily well intended. Balfour himself was anti-Semitic. Yet the letter offered support to the Zionists for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Several factors accounted for this, one of them being this very anti-Semitism, as many British felt that Jews would never assimilate into their society.

Several other factors came into play: Jewish support in the war effort was considered necessary; the British wanted to protect the Suez Canal as the main route through to its then colonies of south Asia, mainly India; and natural resources, oil, became a major interest after oil was discovered in abundance in the Middle East. A colonial outpost would, Britain believed, help consolidate control of the region against Arab interests in an era when British racism ran rampant throughout its colonial networks.

From that beginning, Cronin highlights the major factors in the relationship between Zionists, Jews, and the British government. He deals specifically with events pertaining to the government, and does not detail all that transpired during Britain’s occupation via the Palestinian Mandate. But the general thread of the history is exposed throughout the work, accessible to both those with a strong background in the history and those just entering into the discovery process of Middle East history. For the latter, Balfour’s Shadow provides enough detail that a reader should be motivated to research more information through other works (of which there are many).

Author David Cronin

(Source: @dvcronin / Twitter)

In general, Cronin reveals that the methods used by the British to control the indigenous population of Palestine laid the foundation for the ethnic cleansing and later suppression of the Palestinian people. Much history has been written about the Haganah, Stern, and Irgun ‘gangs’ fighting against the British, but the general trend of British behaviour was to support the increasing settlement patterns, evictions, and land grabs of the Zionist settlers.

After the nakba, Britain continued to supply Israel with military support ranging from hundreds of tanks, many planes, up to and including nuclear systems, in particular the sale of heavy water through Norway. This period was a transition from British global power to U.S. global power: after the fake war for the Suez Canal and the later pre-emptive war of 1967, the U.S. had clearly taken the lead in supporting Israel. Britain however did not let go.

Indeed, Britain became one of the strongest voices in support of Israel as military trade and financial/corporate interests continued with mostly behind the scenes activities.

Additional information is provided showing how the British worked to sideline the PLO by effectively recruiting Arafat as leader of a recognized PLO ‘government’, leading to the false promises of the Oslo accords and the continued annexation, settlement, and dispossession of the Palestinians.

For contemporary events, Cronin highlights the bizarre career of Tony Blair. At this point in time Blair was truly a “loyal lieutenant” for the U.S., adopting and promulgating U.S. policy for Israel and the Middle East in general. Bringing the work up to current events, “Partners in Crime” outlines the corporate-military ties between Britain, Israel, and the U.S.. Most of the corporate interest is military procurement going both directions – hardware to Israel, spyware and security ware to Britain. As always, these corporations (Ferranti, Affinity, Elbit, Rafael, Rokar, Lockheed-Martin) changed British views – at least of the elites – from tentative support to solidarity. These friendly relations also helped tie Israel into the EU more strongly.

Today, official British policy remains as an ardent supporter of Israel, with a lasting pride in Israel’s founding. The British colonial heritage rages on in the Middle East.

This is an excellent work most specifically for its focus on British attitudes concerning the development of Zionism/Israel, a history of war crimes and apartheid. Kudos to Cronin for his extensive use of many personal diaries and notices and of official records from War and Colonial office files as well as Foreign and Commonwealth files for more recent materials. It is concise and direct, an accessible read that can serve as a prerequisite for Middle East studies/Zionist studies and as a general guide to British policy for Israel. [1]


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Title: Balfour’s Shadow – A Century of British Support for Zionism and Israel

Author: David Cronin

Publisher: Pluto Press, London

Click here to order.


[1] Many books cover the development of Zionism and the creation of Israel. For a more highly detailed development of the historical situation preceding and leading up to the Balfour letter itself, the best I have read is: The Balfour Declaration – The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Jonathan Schneer. Anchor (Random House), Canada. 2012.

This review was first published in Palestine Chronicle, June 29, 2017.

Featured image from Book Depository

From the horse’s mouth– Syrian Rebels: ‘We Want Peace With Israel, Real Enemy Is Iran’


Breaking Israel News

A leading member of Syria’s political opposition said most Syrians view Iran as the real enemy and not Israel, adding that Israel could do more to help the Syrian people.

“We want peace with Israel, and today, among the opposition in Syria, most people understand that the enemy is Iran and not Israel, so there is a good chance that there will be peace in the future,” said Salim Hudaifa, a former Syrian military officer who serves as a political representative of the opposition’s Free Syrian Army, at the Eurasian Media Forum in Kazakhstan.

Hudaifa is a former intelligence officer who abandoned Syria’s military in the 1990s and eventually gained asylum in Denmark. During the Syrian Civil War, Hudaifa was recruited by the U.S. to head a program to train the Free Syrian Army, but the program was eventually abandoned by the U.S. Defense Department.

“Israel needs to do more and help the rebels. People here are disappointed [with Israel]. There are also quite a few who think that [the Israelis] are helping [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, because they see that the Israeli-Syrian border is quiet,” Hudaifa said during a forum attended by Israeli dignitaries such as Gilead Sher, the Jewish state’s former chief peace negotiator.

“I think [Israel] can be more proactive and help us,” added Hudaifa. “Regarding the treatment of the wounded in your hospitals, it certainly improved Israel’s image in the eyes of Syrians, but only in a limited way. The reason is that the Arab media does not report it.”

Israel is secretly supporting Syrian rebel groups along its border with Syria in the Golan Heights, providing rebels with funds, food, fuel and medical supplies, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

While Israel has largely refrained from getting involved in the six-year-long civil war, it has periodically carried out airstrikes in Syria when its interests are threatened. These strikes have mainly been against the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which is significantly involved in supporting Assad’s regime in the conflict.

مصر نحو «كامب ديفيد» ثانية

اجتماع أمني و سري رفيع بالقاهرة بحضور إسرائيلي وسعودي والملفمستقبل غزة

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يونيو 30, 2017

انتظرت مصر طويلاً تنفيذ مشروع مارشال أميركي اقتصادي يضعها في خانة الدول المتقدّمة، حسب ما وعدها الأميركيون عشيّة توقيع مصر معاهدة «كامب ديفيد» مع «إسرائيل» في 1979. هذه المعاهدة التي أخرجتها من الصراع العربي «الإسرائيلي»، وأطاحت النظام العربي العام على هامشيّته وزعزعت استقرارها.

مصر اليوم تتّجه إلى كامب ديفيد جديد أخطر من سابقه، ويضعها في خدمة المشروع «الإسرائيلي» السعودي مع وعود بتقديمات اقتصادية تفكّ لها تعثّرها. ومجدّداً، تقع مصر ضحية الوعود الخيالية، ولا تكتفي بوقوعها ضحية مشروع مارشال كامب ديفيد الأولى، فها هي تندفع للسقوط في لعبة كامب ديفيد الثانية، وبعد 38 عاماً على توقيع المعاهدة الأولى التي لم تُفضِ إلّا إلى انهيار مصر ومعها العالم العربي.

اقتصادياً، يقبع خمسون في المئة من المصريين تحت خط الفقر، إلى جانب 25 في المئة من الفقراء.. أمّا الباقون فيتوّزعون بين أقليّة تنهب البلاد وتعينها طبقة وسطى لا تتجاوز 15 في المئة. ينعكس هذا التدهور الاقتصادي على الوضع الاجتماعي السياسي، فيصبح المصريون قابلين للانضواء ضمن أُطر معادية للنظام، كما يعمل قسم منهم في خدمة الأزمات الإقليمية.. فهل يمكن للأدوار الأميركية السعودية «الإسرائيلية» أن تغطي هذا الانهيار؟ أم أنّها ذاهبة مجدّداً للإدمان على مسكّنات لا قدرة لها على علاج فقرها البنيوي؟

تنقسم مصر إلى تيار يؤمن «بمصرنة» مصر ونأيها عن صراعات الإقليم، مقابل عروبة منهكة وأمميّة إخوانية مصابة بالإعياء والإحباط… فشل التيار الأول الذي أسّسه أنور السادات على أساس عزلة مصر، فخسر قيادة العالم العربي من دون أن يربح وضعاً اقتصادياً مريحاً، فيما انزوت العروبة في مربعات من المثقفين الذين يطلقون خطباً «موديل 1960» في القرن الحادي والعشرين، فيبدون فولكلوراً ممجوجاً.

أمّا التيار الأممي الإسلاموي، فأُصيب بضربة عسكرية من المشير السيسي أبعدته عن السلطة واعتقلت الرئيس مرسي الإخواني وزجّت به في غياهب السجن، بتأييد سعودي أميركي.

وهناك تيارات شعبية صغيرة تحاول التأثير على نزق النظام بواسطة التحركات الشعبية والإعلام، لكنّ القمع يدفعها إلى الانزواء… إلى جانب الحركات الصوفية المعتدلة التي تبدو حالياً كمن أُصيب بغيبوبة سياسية، سببها عدم تمركز هذه الحركات في بناء مركزي موحّد، ما أدّى إلى ضمور دورها واقتصاره على الابتهال والتواشيح الدينية.

أمّا الأزهر الشريف، فمقسوم بدوره بين أجنحة موالية للسلطة، وأخرى للسعودية الوهابية، وثالثة للإخوان إلى جانب قوى مستقلّة ليست بذات وزن. لذلك يتجاهل الأزهر الأوضاع الداخلية، رافضاً اتهام الإرهاب بالكفر ومصرّاً على أنّهم يرتكبون أخطاء. ويعتبر أنّ الصراع دائر بين مسلمين، فلا يضيع شيء لمصلحة «الفرنجة والكفار»، على حدّ تعبير شيوخه.

لذلك تستغلّ التنظيمات الإرهابية المشتقة من «القاعدة والإخوان» هذا التفكك لمهاجمة مراكز الجيش المصري وكنائس الأقباط في الصعيد والمحافظات الفلاحية وصحراء سيناء، وحتى المدن والعاصمة. واللافت أنّ الأقباط لا يعملون على أيّ مشروع سياسي تقسيمي قد يبرّر استهدافهم، ما يضع هذه الهجمات في خانة الأعمال الطائفية الصرفة المنسّقة مع «إسرائيل» وواشنطن.

هذا هو المشهد المصري اليوم… انهيار اقتصادي متدحرج يتقاطع مع تراجع هائل في الموارد السياحية والصناعية والزراعية… اضطرابات أمنية متواترة، وعدم استقرار سياسي مقابل علاقات عميقة بواشنطن و»تلّ أبيب».

ولمعالجة هذا التدهور المريع السياسي الاقتصادي الأمني، أعلنت مصر ولاءها للسعودية في قمّة الرياض بزعامة الرئيس الأميركي ترامب. وفي مبادرة لحسن النيّة، أعادت إليها جزيرتي تيران وصنافير في حركة لاقت استياءً مصرياً شعبياً لم يتمكّن حتى الآن من التعبير عن نفسه. كما انضمّت إلى المحور السعودي الإماراتي البحريني المطالب بعزل دولة قطر، وصولاً إلى حدود إلغاء النظام القطري.

ماذا تريد القاهرة من هذا التماهي مع السعودية؟

يبدو أنّها تذهب إلى كامب ديفيد جديد بخلفيّتين: تحسين وضعها الاقتصادي، وضرب الإخوان المسلمين المعتمدين على التحالف القطري التركي. أمّا في العمق، فيبدو أنّها تتأقلم مع مشروع أميركي جديد يبتدئ من الخليج ومصر و»إسرائيل» ليشمل لاحقاً دولاً عربية وإسلامية أخرى.

من ناحية الاقتصاد، تسأل جهات عليمة كيف يمكن للدولة المصرية أن تعتمد على بلاد تراجعت مداخيلها ستين في المئة دفعة واحدة بسبب انخفاض أسعار النفط؟

وكيف يمكن لها المراهنة على ضرب الإخوان المسلمين في قطر، وهم متجذّرون في مصر ويستفيدون من التعثّر السياسي والعسكري والاقتصادي لنظام الرئيس السيسي؟ كما أنّ لتركيا الصّلة الأكبر بالإخوان، وهي تدعمهم في اليمن ومصر وليبيا وتونس ولبنان وسورية والعراق وبلدان أخرى؟

أمّا عن الطموح المصري بضرب أوضاع الغاز في قطر للسماح للشركات الأجنبية بالاستثمار في استخراج الغاز المصري، فهذه عملية تحتاج إلى 15 عاماً كي تستفيد مصر من بيع مواردها الغازيّة.. فهل بوسع الوضع الداخلي المصري الانتظار؟ وإلّا الانفجار؟

مصر السيسي تطمح إلى مسكّنات خليجية وأميركية وأوروبية تعزّز من قابليّتها على انتظار الاستثمار في مواردها الغازيّة، وتعتقد أنّ ضرب الإخوان المسلمين من شأنه تعزيز قدراتها على الإنتاج الزراعي والصناعي والسياحي.

لكنّ الحقيقة أنّ الدولة المصرية ذاهبة للالتحاق بالمحور الأميركي السعودي «الإسرائيلي» في مواجهة إيران وروسيا في حركة تبعيّة قد تُفضي إلى أخطر من النتائج التي رست عليها معاهدة كامب ديفيد الأولى.

فهذا الاستلحاق لا يعني أبداً إمكان تحسّن الوضع الداخلي «للمحروسة» وشعبها، بقدر ما يرتبط بمشاريع القضاء على القضية الفلسطينية والمساعدة في دعم الدور السعودي الإرهابي في الخليج وسورية والعراق وأمكنة أخرى. فواشنطن طامحة إلى تأسيس تحالف شرق أوسطي تقوده السعودية بمعاونة مصرية «إسرائيلية»، ولاحقاً تركية.

فهل ينجح السيسي، حيث فشل السادات ومبارك ومرسي؟

لا شكّ في أنّ المصريين يتّسمون بصفة الصبر، إنّما مع التزامهم بحدود يليها عادة انفجار قد يطيح بالسيسي والإخوان، ويُعيد إلى مصر خطّ انفتاحها التاريخي على بلاد الشام على قاعدة أنّ تحسين أوضاعها رهن بتطوّرها الداخلي، وليس بالاستتباع للخارج الذي نال من هيبة أرض الكنانة.

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Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate

JUNE 27, 2017

Several articles have been published about the “legal limbo” in which Palestinian Jerusalemites exist and proposals as to what Israel ought to do about this 50-year old travesty, among them being righting “the wrong” of denying Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem Israeli citizenship.

In my view, such articles both define the injustice done to Palestinians deceptively and are meant simply to normalize the idea of Palestinian Jerusalemites becoming Israeli citizens, in the same way I might normalize the poll that American Jews are increasingly losing their connection to Israel by writing about it, especially if I were to headline my article “Breaking Taboo”, as Maayan Lubell does, or make the title echo a classified ad for the lovelorn, or question “Jewish identity” by “layering it with complexity” – i.e., by tying it to Israel.

Lubell’s article (Haaretz, Aug 5, 2015) is titled “Breaking Taboo, East Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship: In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured during the 1967 war, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.” It begins with this:

“I declare I will be a loyal citizen of the state of Israel,” reads the oath that must be sworn by all naturalized Israeli citizens. Increasingly, they are words being uttered by Palestinians. In East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed, a move not recognized internationally, issues of Palestinian identity are layered with complexity.

While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status. While they can seek citizenship if they wish, the vast majority reject it, not wanting to renounce their own history or be seen to buy into Israel’s 48-year occupation. And yet over the past decade, an increasing number of East Jerusalem Palestinians have gone through the lengthy process of becoming Israeli citizens, researchers and lawyers say.

So what is the reader to conclude from the “and yet” at the end of the quotation above? One way of looking at it is to see “the increasing number” of Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship as finally surrendering to the imperative of power and brutal facts on the ground, impelled by an otherwise unlivable life.

Another is to regard these Palestinians as traitors to the Palestinian cause, normalizing and legitimizing their enemy’s power, as there is often the implication in references to Palestinians seeking Israeli citizenship that Jerusalemites, through their applications for such citizenship, are signaling approval for the Israeli state, when in fact they seem to be doing it for practical reasons- so they can acquire some basic rights that Israel otherwise denies them.

A third is to see it from the point of view of Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji – as yet another defeat for the Palestinian Authority in the context of Oslo’s so-called “peace process”.

Tafakji is quoted in this Haaretz report as saying,

“If this continues, what will the Palestinians negotiate about? They want to negotiate on the land – they have already lost the land. They want to negotiate for the population and the population is being lost.”

In other words the Palestinian view that Tafakji expresses is a lose/lose situation, not the win/win one espoused by another Haaretz article on the subject like the following.

Nir Hasson’s article (Haaretz, June 20, 2017) also has clues as to the function of such articles in the Israeli “liberal” media and co-dependent publications like the New York Times. These are often embedded right in the title or subheading – in this case:

“50 Years After Six-Day War, East Jerusalem’s Palestinians Remain Prisoners in Their City: Study shows how ambivalent Israeli policies and denial of the problem have created a status that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth: Native-born residents who are not citizens of the state in whose capital they live.”

One glance at the word “capital” in the subheading frames it all for us, hasbara style. What may lull the suspicions of the unwary reader is that the piece does, in fact, highlight the severe problems created for Palestinians by Israeli policies of judaization in the expanded municipality of Jerusalem. But in the end, this kind of article is Israeli “self-criticism” of the worst kind, meant to play games with one’s head.

The subtext you may miss is that, similar to the past and ongoing judaization of Israel proper, the goal behind Israel’s policies in Jerusalem is to create, expand and preserve the Zionist Jewish state.
Hasson describes Israeli policy in 1967 in East Jerusalem, when the population was 60,000, as follows:

The [Israeli] ministers assumed that, as in 1948, when a large number of Arabs likewise didn’t get automatic citizenship, over time the East Jerusalemites would request citizenship – an option granted only to them and not to other West Bank residents – and integrate into Israeli society. The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan, and the unwillingness of Israeli society to absorb a large Palestinian population …. After the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the ties East Jerusalemites had to the West Bank and allowed them to vote for the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. This made their legal status even more complicated: permanent residents of the State of Israel with Jordanian travel papers and the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections.

Notice the telling phrase in the above that is the blind spot of Zionism: “The ministers did not take into account the strong ties these Arabs had to the West Bank and Jordan.” It totally disregards the strong ties of Palestinian Arabs to an Arab Jerusalem, to an Arab Palestine, ties Israel has not succeeded in breaking seventy years after its establishment on a territory of Palestine as a settler-colonial Zionist Jewish state against the wishes of its native inhabitants.

Hasson goes on to say:

Another expression of the relatively enlightened policy of the early years was a law, finally passed in 1973, that enabled East Jerusalemites to be compensated for property they abandoned in western Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence, similar to the rights of Jews to get back the property they had to abandon in East Jerusalem during that same war. In the end, the compensation offered was paltry and very few Palestinians tried to claim it. But the debates on the law at least demonstrated an effort to right the wrong…. In recent years there has been considerable talk about the “Israelization” of East Jerusalemites, as reflected in the labor market, the desire to study the Israeli curriculum, and the increased number of requests to get full Israeli citizenship.

Again, notice the Israeli-centric formulation and framing. Palestinians are described as having “abandoned” their property in West Jerusalem, when, in fact, they were denied their right of return to their property by Israel.
Palestinians “abandoned” their property; but the reference to Jews is a reference to their “rights.”

Palestinians turned down “compensation” for no other reason than its paltry size, when, in fact, the Palestinian view on this issue is as Canadian professor Michael Lynk describes it in The Right to Compensation in International Law and the Displaced Palestinians”

“Palestinians advance the compensation issue as a right recognized in international law that would obligate Israel to return, or pay for, the refugee properties expropriated or destroyed in 1948 and afterwards. As well, they argue that Israel must pay damages for pain and suffering, and for its use of Palestinian properties over the past five decades

The dominance of Jewish companies in the labor market in East Jerusalem where many Palestinians are employed (See The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration), the agonizing choice some Palestinians make in accepting a school curriculum for their children that denies Palestinian heritage and identity but allows them to get ahead at Israeli universities, and the application for Israeli citizenship (mostly denied by Israel) of a minority of Palestinians are all deceptively framed as “a desire” for “Izraelization” and a path to “correcting the injustice”.

Quoting Amnon Ramon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli [not for Palestinian] Studies, Hasson’s article also details the problems that Israel faces as a result of the “limbo” residency arrangement imposed on Palestinian Arabs by the Israeli Government – a “hollow sovereignty”, contributing to “instability and violent outbursts, as well as the international community’s refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy in Jerusalem.”

But ostensibly, the article is concerned with Israel “righting a wrong” by removing the “legal limbo” under which Palestinian Jerusalemites live, claiming that such a path, will not only relieve Israel’s problems, but is also a path to “justice” – justice as defined by Israel, the oppressor, not by the Palestinians themselves, Israel’s victims.

This brings us to the immediate present. On June 25, 2017, the New York Times published a piece by Isabel Kershner titled “50 Years After War, East Jerusalem Palestinians Confront a Life Divided.”

Again, we have to ask: What is Kershner’s point in this one? Is it really a concern for Palestinians whose lives have been “divided” by Israel or is it another deflection from the illegitimate existence of Israel as a Zionist Jewish entity in Palestine?

Even as Israelis mark the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war, the Palestinians and most of the world consider the eastern half under occupation, and the city remains deeply divided. But after five decades, dealing with Israel has become unavoidable for residents of East Jerusalem.

The deflection in the quotation above is blatant. Dealing with Israel did not “become unavoidable after five decades.” For Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other Palestinian Arabs who want to visit or do business there and for Palestinian Arabs denied return to their property there, or those whose property was seized and/or demolished, dealing with Israel became unavoidable the minute Israel occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

It is true Palestinian culture and day-to-day life has been under severe assault by Israel for a long time – since 1948 to be exact. The 50-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem (see Living Under Israeli Policies of Colonization in Jerusalem) is an occasion to extol and marvel at Palestinian resilience and sumoud (an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness” that has entered the English language, just as the word “intifada” has). It is not an occasion to normalize and indirectly extol “the reunification of Jerusalem,” whose Palestinian Arab population now accounts for 18% of the Palestinian Arab population of Israel.

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Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

Israeli Minister Calls For Full Saudi Ties And Official Riyadh Visit

Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz has also invited King Salman to send new crown prince to Israel to establish mutual ties

By MEE and agencies

June 23, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Senior Israeli ministers have called on Saudi Arabia’s King

Salman to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Speaking at the Herzliya conference on Thursday, Israel’s intelligence and transportation minister Yisrael Katz asked King Salman to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Riyadh and to send newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Tel Aviv in return.

“I call upon Salman, the King of Saudi, to invite the prime minister of Israel Netanyahu to visit Saudi Arabia,” Katz said, at the annual gathering of Israeli political leaders and strategists.

“We saw what a wonderful host you can be… when President Trump was there. You can also send your heir, the new one, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He’s a dynamic person. He is an initiator. And he wants to break through.

“Exactly this way… they know who Iran is. They know we have to create an access vis-a-vis Iran. You can send him for a meeting in Israel and I promise you, he’s going to be a very welcome guest.”

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister, also called for “full diplomatic and economic relations” at the conference.

A peace deal must be reached with “moderate Arab Sunni countries” before a peace agreement could be made with the Palestinians, Lieberman said.

He said: “The only light at the end of the tunnel is a complete regional agreement.” The hard-right defence minister added: “Full diplomatic and economic relations. Not under the table, but on the table.”

“I saw research on what the result of a regional agreement and full economic relations would mean between Israel, the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. This would mean an additional revenue of $45bn for Israel. That’s the potential. We have to clearly say what our priorities are.”

Prince Salman’s appointment as crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne has brought renewed hope of a rapprochement between the two countries, according to communications minister Ayoub Kara.

“Salman’s appointment means more economic cooperation in the Middle East, and not just regarding oil,” Kara said in a statement. “The strengthening of relations with the Trump administration is the beginning of a new and optimistic time between Saudi Arabia and regional states, including Israel and the Jewish people.”

Saudi Arabia has refused to recognise Israel since its inception in 1948 and has supported Palestinian rights to sovereignty over territory occupied by Israel since 1967. However, the Gulf kingdom did not participate in any of the Arab-Israeli Wars.

Both countries see Iran as a strategic threat and are close allies of the United States, while recent years have seen growing ties between the bastion of Sunni Islam and the self-proclaimed “Jewish state”.

Israel has also been supportive of a blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia. Tel Aviv has repeatedly called on Qatar not to give asylum to key Palestinian figures, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Azmi Bishara.

During a tour of the Middle East last month, US President Donald Trump flew directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel in a flight dubbed a “historic moment” in relations between the two countries by deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Talks aimed at establishing economic ties between the countries began last week, according to The Times. Arab and American sources said the links would start small and allow Israeli businesses to operate in the Gulf, and possibly allow El Al, the national airline to fly over Saudi airspace.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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