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The Israeli Departure from Gaza

August 22, 2005

(broadcast stream) (.mp3 download Right-click,”Save Target as”,”Save”)
Guest: Reem Alnuweiri, Vancouver Palestine Community Centre and a representative of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition

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  • Mark Levine August 30, 2005 11:59 am

    This is a good map showing the difference between the Palestinian claims of the offer at Camp David and the actual claims.
    It comes from a book by Clinton negotiator Dennis Ross.
    If only the Palestinian Leadership spent a tenth as much time caring about establishing a Palestinian State (which they’re very bad at) as they did spreading false propaganda (which they’re very good at)!
    For more maps of Camp David and Taba, check these out:
    The Clinton proposal rejected by Arafat would be 100% of Gaza and 95% of the West Bank plus 1 to 3% from Israel for a total of 96% to 98%.
    (While I am NOT conceding that Israel does not legitimately control the territories taken in a defensive war or that the Jewish settlements in these areas for four thousand years pre-1948 or those post-1967 are invalid, but let’s accept, for the sake of the following argument, the Palestinian claim to 100% of the West Bank…)
    Now, if someone took from you 100 acres of land and hadn’t returned it in 57 years — and they finally agreed to give you 95 of those acres back (and 1 to 3 more of their acres of their own land) – land you never expected to see in your lifetime, who in their right mind would refuse?

  • Mark Levine August 29, 2005 6:41 pm

    Hi Vlad,
    Thanks for listening. Let me respond to your two points.
    1) Yes, Israel has integrated its Arab population. Israeli Arabs have full rights to vote, and they hold high positions in the powerful unions comprising the Histadrut (the Israeli AFL/CIO). They have full religious freedom, they control their own religious institutions, and they even decide which Muslims and Christians can marry without interference from the State. Arabs in Israel have one advantage over Jews, in fact: they are not required to serve in the military. However, some Israeli Arab populations (Bedouin and Druze) have requested to serve and they do so loyally. In fact, Israel has traded many live terrorists to get the remains of one Israeli Arab killed in Lebanon (Ron Arad) with so little focus on the fact that Arad was Arab that most people don’t know it.
    The Israeli Arab populations with full equal rights include those in areas annexed by Israel (East Jerusalem and the Golan). The Mayor of the most populous Israeli Arab town, Umm Al Fahm, has stated publicly that he wants his town to remain in Israel rather than in a Palestinian State in the West Bank (which is a mile away from the town).
    Hebrew and Arabic are both official languages of Israel. All government business is conducted in both languages, and both are taught in schools.
    As for the Arabs in the territories defensively captured after Arab countries attacked Israel seeking to destroy it, these Arabs, from 1967 on, have requested that they NOT be annexed by Israel and given equal rights there. The PLO and the Palestinian Authority have remained consistent on this. Believe me, there is nothing Israel would like more than to annex the 70% of the West Bank that is unpopulated or sparsely populated and make the rest a Palestinian State or give it back to Jordan. This, of course, would not change the majority Jewish ethnic balance.
    Is their prejudice in Israel against Arabs? I won’t deny it. But when you consider that a signficant number of Arabs support suicide attacks that kill both Jewish and Arab children, it is surprising that there is not MORE prejudice in the land. Consider the racism in the United States even though there is no African-American terrorist movement and reflect on how persistent that is and how much greater it would be if suicide bombings among Blacks were commonplace.
    2. There are extremely few German Jews left alive after the gas chambers. However, there are millions of Jews that are descendants of Jews forced out of Arab countries in the 1940’s and 1950’s. For example, substantially more than 100,000 Jews were forced out of Iraq alone in the 1950’s and their descendants number several hundred thousand today. (Iraq/Babylonia was the oldest Jewish comunity outside the Land of Israel and dates back to the Babylonian Exile described in the Bible more than 2500 years ago.)
    Jews were forced not only out of Europe (where more than 80% of them were conveniently murdered rather than exiled) but also out of Arab countries. More Jews in Israel today are descended from Jews kicked out of Arab lands (the Sephardim) than Jews kicked out of European lands (the Ashkenazim). Israel is already an Arab country, if you count its Arab Jews which comprise the majority of the population and its Arab Muslims and Christians which comprise another 20%. Less than 1/4 of Israel is descended from Europeans.
    Few realize that more Jews (800,000) were kicked out of Arab countries in the five years surrounding Israeli independence than Arabs who left the new state of Israel during that time(600,000). These Jews have not only not been given a “right of return”: their property has been fully confiscated by the Arab States.
    Given the almost equal population swap more than 50 years ago, I say it’s time to stop calling people born in Saudi Arabia to parents from Jaffa “refugees.” Ms. Nuweiri is no more a refugee than Ariel Sharon (born in Europe).
    I also think it’s too late to require all European and African descendants to vacate the United States or Australia and too late to repatriate the tens of millions of Indians and Pakistanis that crossed borders when those states were formed at the same time as Israel.
    Why are people whose grandparents were born in Israel considered “Palestinian refugees” while those whose grandparents were born in Ireland are considered American?

  • Vlad T. August 25, 2005 11:19 pm

    even though I admire your progressive views, I think this time your judgment is distorted by ethnic feelings. My two comments after listening pod cast.
    1. Has Israeli government ever offered or considered full integration of Palestinian population into its society? No. It would change the ethnic balance.
    2. You commented against right of return and provided an example of Jews not claiming European countries. When in fact there is a current German policy of allowing re-immigration of Jews (not necessarily born there). Not every Jew considers it, but the right to return still exist.

  • Mark Levine August 24, 2005 12:12 pm

    For more on the “Orient House”, read below:
    This is the official Palestinian version of the Israeli map, so you know that the Israeli version has to be at least as generous, if not more generous. My guess is Ms. Alnuweiri’s maps come from some earlier point in the negotiation But note that even they are misleading…for example, those blue lines are “existing roads.” They are made with two lines, to look as if they cut through the territory given to the Palestinians. Actually, they’re just roads that no more cut through the territories than our interstates “cut through” the USA.

  • Mark Levine August 24, 2005 12:03 pm

    I’m not sure where Reem Alnuweiri gets her maps. But the below map, showing 94% of the West Bank offered by the Israelis at the final negotations at Taba in January 2001 is from the “Orient House,” the official Embassy of Yassir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (the PLO) in Jerusalem.
    If only the Palestinians had either accepted this map or given a counter proposal, they would have more than 94% of the land they seek…that is, unless they seek the destruction of the entire State of Israel….
    Sometimes 94% of a loaf is better than no bread at all.