Thursday, June 09, 2016

Who were the 1948 Arab refugees?

From Israel Hayom, 3 June 2016, by Yoram Ettinger:

Contrary to conventional "wisdom," most Arabs in British Mandate Palestine -- and most of the 320,000 1948 Arab refugees -- were migrant workers and descendants of 1831-1947 Muslim immigrants from across the Arab world. At the time, Britain enticed Arab immigration and blocked Jewish immigration.
Thus, between 1880 and 1919, Haifa's Arab population surged from 6,000 to 80,000, mostly due to migrant workers. The eruption of World War II accelerated the demand for Arab manpower by the British Mandate's military and its civilian authorities.
Moreover, Arab migrant workers were imported by the Ottoman Empire, and then by the British Mandate, to work on major civilian and military infrastructure projects. Legal and illegal Arab migrants were also attracted by economic growth generated by the Jewish community starting in 1882.
According to a 1937 report by the British Peel Commission (featured in the ground-breaking book "Palestine Betrayed" by Professor Efraim Karsh), "during 1922 through 1931, the increase of Arab population in the mixed-towns of Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem was 86%, 62% and 37% respectively, while in purely Arab towns such as Nablus and Hebron it was only 7% and a decrease of 2% in Gaza."
Irrespective of occasional Arab emigration from British Mandate Palestine -- due to intra-Arab terrorism, which has been an endemic feature in the Middle East -- the substantial wave of Arab immigration between 1831 and 1947 triggered dramatic growth of the Arab populations in Jaffa (17 times), Haifa (12 times) and Ramla (5 times).
According to Joan Peters' momentous book "From Time Immemorial": "The 1931 census [documented] at least 23 different languages in use by Muslims plus an additional 28 in use by Christian Arabs -- a total of 51 languages. The non-Jews in Palestine listed as their birthplaces at least 24 different countries."
In 1917, the "Arab" population of Jaffa included at least 25 nationalities, mostly Egyptians, but also Syrians, Yemenites, Persians, Afghanis, Indians and Baluchis. The British Palestine Exploration Fund documented a proliferation of Egyptian neighborhoods in the Jaffa area: Abu Kabir, Sumeil, Sheikh Munis, Salame, Fejja, etc. Hundreds of Egyptian families also settled in the inland, in Arara, Kafr Qasim‎, Tayibe and Qalansawe‎.
The 1831-1840 conquest of the land of Israel by Egypt's Mohammed Ali was solidified by a flow of Egyptian and Sudanese migrants settling between Gaza in the south, Tulkarem in the center and the Hula Valley in the north. They followed in the footsteps of thousands of Egyptian draft dodgers who fled Egypt before 1831 and settled in Acre.
In 1865, the British traveler H.B. Tristram, in "The Land of Israel: A Journal of Travels in Palestine," documented Egyptian migrants in the Beit Shean Valley, Acre, Hadera, Netanya and Jaffa.
According to the August 12, 1934 issue of the Syrian daily La Syrie, "30,000-36,000 Syrian migrants, from the Hauran region, entered Palestine during the last few months alone." The role model of Hamas terrorism, Izzedine al-Qassam, who terrorized Jews in British Mandate Palestine, was Syrian, as was Fawzi al-Qawuqji, the chief Arab terrorist in British Mandate Palestine during the 1930s and 1940s.
Libyan migrants settled in Gedera, south of Tel Aviv. Algerian refugees escaped the French conquest of 1830 and settled in Safed alongside Syrians and Jordanian Bedouin in Tiberias. Circassian refugees, fleeing Russian oppression (1878) and Muslims from Bosnia, Turkmenistan, and Yemen (1908) further diversified the Arab demography west of the Jordan River.
This unusual Arab/Muslim demographic diversity is evidenced by popular Israeli Arab family names, which are a derivative of their countries of origin: Al-Masri (Egypt), Al-Obeidi (Sudan), Al-Lubnani (Lebanon), Halabi (Syria), Al-Mughrabi (Morocco), Al-Djazair (Algeria), Al-Yamani (Yemen), Al-Afghani (Afghanistan), Al-Hindi (India), Al-Hijazi (Saudi Arabia), Al-Baghdadi (Iraq), Bushnak (Bosnia), Khamis (Bahrain), Turki (Turkey), etc.
Aryeh Avneri, a pioneering historian of Arab and Jewish migration, estimated that in 1554 there were 205,000 Muslims, Christians and Jews in Palestine, then 275,000 in 1800 and an unusual surge to 532,000 in 1890, resulting from accelerated Arab immigration.
In fact, Mark Twain wrote in 1869: "Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, Palestine must be the prince. ... The hills are barren. ... The valleys are unsightly deserts. ... Palestine is desolate and unlovely."
Thus, contrary to the myth of the 1948 Arab refugees -- aiming to delegitimize Israel -- Arabs have not been in the land of Israel from time immemorial; no Palestinian people was ever robbed of its land; there is no basis for an Arab "claim of return"; and most of the 320,000 Arab refugees -- who were created by the 1948 Arab invasion of Israel and their own collaboration with the invasion -- were recent immigrants and foreign workers (from neighboring Arab countries) in the land of Israel.

Muslim writer decrys biased, baseless anti-Zionism and Judeo-phobia in the Islamic world

From JPost, 6 June 2016, by ADNAN OKTAR, a Turkish Muslim TV commentator who has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics:

The biased, baseless outlook regarding Zionism in the Islamic world has over time warped into a misplaced phobia of Jewish people.

Demonstration against Israel                                
Demonstrators burn an Israeli flag in front of the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Born of the Westphalian peace of 1648, nationalism spread across the world in earnest with the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 – so much so that the dreams of a nation state shaped international politics for 150 years. It was nationalist enthusiasm which fueled wars of independence. Those who were responsible for these wars burned with the desire to unite those of the same cultural background, the same language and living in the same region under one banner. However among the hundreds of nationalist liberation movements, one is invariably singled out, maligned and placed at the center of sinister conspiracy theories.

Aspiring to reunite and emancipate the Jewish people scattered around the globe under one state, this movement for independence, named after the Mount Zion in Israel, came to be called Zionism. The Jewish people, a diaspora community, banished from everywhere it had sought refuge, determined to establish its own state in its ancestral lands.
While every contemporary nationalist movement enjoyed friends and suffered enemies, Zionism faced unique, unbridled hostility from virtually every political current (save, in large part, Protestant Liberalism).

Following suit, non-aligned nations vehemently opposed the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of the historic Jewish homeland.
Today, anti-Israelism under the guise of anti-Zionism has become the main expression of anti-Semitism, of enmity to Jews.

An entire nation is targeted, for verbal or physical violence, women, children, elderly, innocent and oppressed alike – simply because of their Jewish nationality, and their demand to be seated at the table of nations with all of their peers.
Despite the presence of 22 Arab countries, tied to a single ethnic origin, only the desire of the Jewish people to establish its own sovereign state has been subject to fierce opposition.
Nevertheless, Israel is concurrently a safe haven for millions of persecuted people, those who fled the Nazi genocide, Soviet brutality or violence in many other countries.
Nearly one million Jews, leaving all of their assets behind, were forced to immigrate from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Yet, Jewishness is not understood in racial or traditional ethnic terms in the State of Israel, unlike its counterparts. It is a country of multiculturalism, one which hosts varying faiths and diverse ethnic backgrounds, in contrast to its Arab neighbor countries. One-fifth of the Israeli population is Arab, while the overall, majority Jewish population is comprised of over 70 cultures speaking 35 languages and dialects. Additionally, Arabic is an official language, alongside Hebrew, in the state of the Jews. The sacred places of all faiths are protected: There are nearly 400 mosques, all safeguarded since the declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.

Despite this fact, Zionism is equated in ever widening circles with a conspiracy to control and exploit the whole world.

Anti-Semitism is the only explanation for this phenomenon, a modern rendition of old, irrational Judeophobic rhetoric. Zionism, despite the well-accepted consensus in the Middle East, is simply the aspiration of the Jewish nation, who have been oppressed, persecuted and suffered greatly throughout history, to live freely and in safety in their ancestral lands. The Jewish people have been a part of these lands for 3,500 years, and were expelled from there long ago by the oppressive hand of the Roman Empire. The emergence of the State of Israel is the realization of this small nation’s dream of a homeland where they can ultimately live in safety and govern themselves.

Many if not most Muslims are unaware of the true meaning of Zionism. When asked about the reasons they oppose it, they define Zionism as “an evil system which aims to destroy the world order” and falsely believe that Zionism is the source of all evil. Moreover, many Muslims are under the illusion that anti-Israelism is piety, and this makes them unjust when it comes to Jews. Therefore, it is crucial to properly define Zionism to the Muslim-Arab public and to put an end to so much senseless Jewish hatred.

Hatred of the State of Israel and Zionism do not comply with the spirit of the Koran.

Murdering innocent Israelis or promoting expulsion of Israelis from their ancestral homeland, as is increasingly common not only in the Arab world but in European leftist circles, is symptomatic of a lack of conscience. The state of Israel may have its faults – which state does not? For its excesses and where it has committed crimes, it should be judged based on the law. Islam has a principle of “individual criminal responsibility” just as we see in international law. An entire state cannot be incriminated or punished without making any discrimination between the innocent and the guilty or the right and the wrong, and irrespective of context. The claim of some Muslims that “they fight against the Jewish people in the name of the Koran” is an act of ignorance and in violation of the Koran since God explicitly grants the Jewish people the right to live in the Holy Land: “Remember when Moses said to his people, ‘My people! Remember God’s blessing to you when He appointed Prophets among you and appointed kings for you, and gave you what He had not given to anyone else in all the worlds. My people! Enter the Holy Land which God has ordained for you. Do not turn back in your tracks and so become transformed into losers’” (Koran 5:20-21).

God informs us in the Koran – this is also promised in the Torah (Deuteronomy 30) – that the Jewish people shall gather and live in these lands in the End Times: “We said to the Children of Israel after that, ‘Dwell in the land and, when the promise of the hereafter comes, We will gather you as a mingled crowd’” (Koran 17:104).

Despite these unambiguous Koranic injunctions, no one in the Middle East seems to support or approve of Zionism.

On the contrary, hostility to Zionism is now assumed, and to buck that trend is to risk one’s life. In truth, Muslims are ordered by the Koran to act fairly and conscientiously, hence should advocate not only for the rights of the Palestinians but also the Jewish people as well.

Muslim intellectuals, religious scholars and politicians should stand out among others not by fueling the existing hatred for the Jewish people but by emphasizing the beauty of coexistence in these Holy Lands. They should explain that advocating for the rights of Palestinians is not tantamount to exhibiting hostility to Jews.

It is an incontestable right for Israelis to have the desire for self-determination, as the Palestinians do. When the Arab-Muslim world recognizes Israel’s right to exist as an independent and sovereign state, this century-long bloodshed will cease.

The greatest benefit here would certainly be shared by the Palestinian people, who suffer due to war and security precautions.

Needless to say, the spirit of peace and brotherhood is an urgent need for the local community. The sporadic warfare has cost a fortune, which could have been used for the welfare of people instead. More important, this useless war has claimed the lives of thousands of young and elderly, civilian and soldiers alike. Once the Arab world decides to acknowledge Israel as a neighbor, it can focus on developing the well-being of the Palestinian people, and of the other Arab peoples doing far less well than the Palestinians, too. The effort and means spent on conflict, destruction and hostility will be transferred to the construction and embellishment of the region; swords made into plowshares, hatred turned to science, art and technology.

The is incumbent on Muslim intellectuals everywhere.

Arab BDS Operatives lament "Normalization"

From Memri, April 10, 2016, Clip No. 5497:

Gaza BDS activist Haidar Eid said that there was resentment among BDS activists toward Palestinian authorities for allowing American peace groups such as One Voice, Seeds of Peace, and the Peace Alliance, to operate in the West Bank and Gaza.

"Allowing such groups to operate in the Gaza Strip destroys the boycott campaign," he said. ... They were speaking on the Lebanese channel Palestine Today TV on April 10, 2016.

...Haidar Eid: "To be honest, I embrace this opportunity to point out that there is resentment among the BDS activists in Palestine, both in the 1948 and the 1967 borders, at all the normalization projects, which are allowed to operate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – especially in the West Bank."

...Host: "Are you saying that normalization activities are taking place in Gaza?"

Haidar Eid: "I would not call this 'normalization activities,' but rather, the undoing of the standards of the boycott in the Gaza Strip, by authorizing pro-normalization American organizations, such as One Voice, Seeds of Peace, or the Peace Alliance, which was established after the Geneva Accord, which gave up the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees... Allowing such organizations to operate in the Gaza Strip destroys the boycott campaign."

...Omar Baghouti: "Unfortunately, the official Arab and even Palestinian normalization is on the rise. We hold the official Palestinian circles primarily responsible for this, because they are the gateway to Arab-Israeli normalization. If official Palestinian normalization had not reached this level, nobody would have dared to host Israeli delegations in Saudi Arabia, sports delegations in Qatar, trade delegations in the UAE, and delegations in Bahrain, Morocco, and so on. Official Arab normalization has reached critical proportions..."

Netanyahu thanks Cuomo for fighting anti-Israel boycotts

From the New York Post, 7 June 2016, by Carl Campanile:

Netanyahu thanks Cuomo for fighting anti-Israel boycotts

Israeli Opera: to destroy a nuclear reactor

From Times of Israel, 4 June 2016:

Thirty-five years after Operation Opera – the Israeli air attack that destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, retired IAF officers and Mossad agents revealed hitherto unknown details of the operation...

In an expose aired on Channel 10, Col. (Ret.) Ze’ev Raz, who led the June 7, 1981 raid, said that Air Force technicians “recognized that flying to Iraq and back” — some 2,000 miles in all — was slightly beyond the range of our jets, so we used all sorts of tricks to extend it.”
The Israeli Air Force could not rely on US flying tanker planes for mid-flight refueling at the time, and Israeli refueling capabilities, then in the making, would not be operational until 1982, by which point intelligence assessments were that the nuclear reactor would go online.
The strike could not be delayed, and therefore innovative methods for making the fuel last were introduced. All eight F-16As made it safely back; even 35 years later, however, the specifics of how they did so were kept secret.
The operation was initially called “Ammunition Hill,” but when prime minister Menachem Begin realized that opposition leader Shimon Peres had found out about the operation, he ordered its cancellation — and its continuation under a new name.
The Osirak reactor prior to the 1981 Israeli bombing (photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Osirak reactor prior to the 1981 Israeli bombing
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
“We later wrote the exact same operational command, but this time with the name ‘Opera’, chosen randomly by the computer,” retired Maj. Gen. David Ivry, the IAF commander at the time, said in the Friday report.
Ivry said the first signs that the Iraqis were building a nuclear reactor had been spotted in 1976 or 1977.
Gad Shimron, a former Mossad agent, said Israel during those years had inside intelligence on the Iraqis’ efforts to buy equipment abroad and their plans to build a reactor. The initial intelligence goal was to delay the completion of the reactor, and to ascertain whether a completed, online Iraqi reactor would have the technology necessary for the production of plutonium.
Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraqi war in the 1980s. (photo credit: public domain, Wikimedia Commons)
Saddam Hussein during Iran-Iraqi war in the 1980s.
(Public domain, Wikimedia Commons)
Shimron said Mossad gathered large amounts of information on the progress of the Osirak reactor’s construction. “You don’t need to be an intelligence expert to understand that if you have a project in Iraq with several dozen foreign experts, then espionage agencies interested in finding out what is going on will try to recruit [them],” Shimron said. “It goes without saying that there was someone on the inside providing information.”
Ivry said the Mossad’s work delayed completion of the Iraqi reactor by up to two and a half years.
Israeli Air Force footage taken during the strike on Osirak:

Shimron recalled that the reactor’s first core, ready for shipping at the small port of La Seyne-sur-Mer in southeastern France, exploded in “mysterious” circumstances and was damaged beyond repair.
Ilan Ramon, who went on to become Israel’s first astronaut and who perished in the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster, was at the time a young, single navigation officer. When the time came to hit Osirak, he was the man tasked with preparing the maps and examining whether the jets the IAF had at the time could make the return trip.
The Israeli Air Force F-16A Netz 243 flown by Colonel Ilan Ramon in the Operation Opera bombing of Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 (KGyST/Wikipedia)
The Israeli Air Force F-16A Netz 243 flown by Colonel Ilan Ramon in the Operation Opera bombing of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 (KGyST/Wikipedia)
Ivry said he believed the jets could easily get to Iraq, and could hit the reactor; the problem was returning alive.
Arye Naor, Begin’s government secretary, said the prime minister was determined to hit the Iraqi reactor “even if it was the last thing he did as a prime minister.”
The assessment, Naor said, was that “one or two jets would not return.”
Ahead of the strike, the pilots scheduled to take part in the mission were handed Iraqi currency, in case they became stranded on Iraqi soil and needed to escape.
US president Ronald Reagan, left, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, 1981. (photo credit: AP)
US president Ronald Reagan, left, and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, in 1981. (AP)
After the operation had been postponed once, Ivry timed it for a Sunday, figuring that the French nuclear experts working at the site would be on their weekly day off. The pilots were instructed to avoid dogfights with Iraq’s Soviet-made MiG jets if there were civilian airliners nearby; the planned route passed not far from the flight paths of Iraqi civilian aircraft.
Ramon, the youngest pilot on the mission, said in an interview soon after returning home: “You know it can end in two ways, it can end with nothing really happening and everyone returning, or it can end with one or more staying there.
“We went there as a convoy in the end. So the first one – they see; the second one – they aim; the third one – they zero in; and the fourth one gets shot [by anti-aircraft cannons].”
Ramon was the last pilot in the convoy – the eighth in two quartets of jets.
Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, stands in front of an F-16 fighter jet. Ramon perished in the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003, while re-entering the atmosphere. (file photo; photo credit: Flash90)
File: Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, stands in front of an F-16 fighter jet. Ramon perished in the disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003, while re-entering the atmosphere. (Flash90)
“Everyone knows the last one is the one that risks the most,” Raz said. “It’s like a herd of antelopes being chased by a tiger. The guys made fun of [Ramon], saying he’d be the one who would be intercepted. So he was stressed… He also had no experience [Ramon had never before launched a bomb on a live mission] but he operated very well and he hit his target.”
“He was a fine pilot and a great fighter,” Raz said.
Moshe Melnick, who led a formation of interceptor planes that accompanied the attack jets, said that the pilots had been asked to announce via the communications system after leaving the target that they were safe and sound.
“One of them, I think it was Ilan Ramon, was late to announce on the comms and there were long seconds of silence. We were all worried for a moment, but then he made contact,” Melnick recalled.
The bombing of the reactor was condemned by the international community. France, especially, was furious, having invested large sums of money in its construction.
Former US vice president Dick Cheney during a visit to Israel in 2008. (file photo credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Former US vice president Dick Cheney during a visit to Israel in 2008. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
But Ivry recalled that in 1991, then-US secretary of state Dick Cheney gave him a black and white aerial photo of the bombed reactor in ruins. Cheney wrote on the photo: “It made our work much easier.” The quiet, non-public gesture was made after the end of the first Gulf War.
Begin, in a public statement after the operation was successfully concluded, said: “The decision to bomb the nuclear reactor in Iraq was taken many months ago and there were many obstacles. There were also many considerations, but we finally reached a stage at which we knew that if we failed to act now, it would be too late.”

From Times of Israel, 7 June 2016:

Major-General Amos Yadlin (Ret.), one of the eight Israeli air force pilots who conducted the extraordinary June 7, 1981 raid on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor, spoke last week at the 2016 UN Watch Gala Dinner in Geneva, Switzerland.        
This mission was 35 years ago, which is a lot of time. For 10 years, we were forbidden to talk about it — it was top, top, top secret.
Then after the first Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein wasn’t that big anymore, we were allowed to start and brief about it, mostly in the air force, and some other places in the Israeli military.
And for 10 years, I was speaking about these sorties. After 10 years, I said enough is enough. And the last 15 years, I basically refused to talk about it. But I cannot resist Alfred. [Ambassador Alfred Moses, Chair of UN Watch.]
And since you ask, it is an important mission in the history of Israel, because never before was a nuclear reactor pre-empted to save a nation.
There was an attack, even in WWII, on nuclear facilities, but it was not a case of one tactical mission that basically decided the fate of a nation and the history.
But as a young fighter pilot — you know today from my sixties, 30-years-old today looks to me very young — a young fighter pilot, you are not interested in history.
You’re interested in taking your flying machine, flying 1,000 kilometers, which is beyond what the designer of the airplane thought that it can fly without refueling — we didn’t have refueling capabilities in the early 80s; without GPS; without even a reconnaissance picture of the target; and do all this in time of a war. Iran and Iraq were in a war at the time. So the level of alert and readiness was very, very high.
And you come to an area where there are no mountains, a valley between the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris. And you know that you will be discovered and be picked up by the early warning radars. So a very tough mission for a fighter pilot.
But every pilot in the squadron was fighting to be in the group of eight and to fly.
So it was a professional mission, but I always, between year 10 to year 20 when I spoke about it, I say: the heroes of this mission, this historical mission are not the pilots. The heroes are those who have taken the decision to do it. This is leadership, this is a leadership that takes tough decisions, even if they know what are the risks and consequences.
And I was lucky enough in 2007 to be among those decision-makers, and only then I understood myself why it’s so important and so difficult to be the decision-maker, because…
Let me end this part of the interview with a small anecdote. In the Israeli air force, the culture is that every second lieutenant can challenge a general or the commander of the squadron or the commander of the wing, the commander of the base.
And, among the eight pilots, there was only one pilot who had not participated before in the Yom Kippur War. And he raised his hand in the briefing and asked the air force commander:
“Look, we are going to destroy the nuclear reactor of Iraq, but I think this is very risky. According to all our calculations, four out of eight will not come back. We will destroy the nuclear reactor, but the Iraqis will have more motivation. They have a lot of money from oil, and the French will sell a reactor to whoever gives them a billion dollars. And within two years, there will be a new reactor there. So what are we doing? Is this worthwhile?”
Interesting question to the air force commander general. The air force commander general was about to answer it, but there was one general with a higher rank there, the chief of staff, the Ramatkal, Raful Eitan. A farmer from a moshav, I suspect he never graduated high school, but he gave a speech that I will take with me until my last day, on the difference between theory and practice.
And he said, “You know, it will not be two years. Because until Saddam Hussein will understand what happened, and he will have to think whether the Israelis will come again, and he already allocated his money, and the French may be hesitating to sell. It will not be two years, it will be five years. And for five years, you can risk your life. Because you volunteered to be a pilot, and that is a mission to do.”
Thank God, it’s 35 years, and maybe even more.