Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Arabs Inside Israel Seek Change

Arabs living inside Israel are seeking change. According to a new report commissioned by the Committee of Arab Mayors in Israel, Arabs are “moving towards a new era of self-recognition…”.

The report, known as The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel states its purpose as “…answering the question, "who are we and what do we want for our society?" This is a question all Palestinians must ask. Everyday life for the average Palestinian will remain desperate until they deal with their leadership.

For some background on this very question, I recently posted Who and What are Palestinians? It is a bulleted, easy-read on the early history of Palestine, Arabs and Israel. “The Future Vision” report can be seen as a fairly naked appeal from the Arabs residing inside Israel, to the people of Israel, to “treat us as equals.” Compared to the Jew-related “Arab-speak” we have become all too familiar with, this document seems restrained even as it accuses Israel of “exploiting democracy in the service of its Jewishness…”. The “Vision” asserts a firm foundation for the indigenous rights of Arabs to Israel and calls for “…an independent Palestinian State, based on UN resolutions.

Have you read those Resolutions lately? Resolution 242 is dated November 22, 1967 and there's an undated follow-up, Resolution 338. I think it's fair to say these Resolutions are not resolving anything. Reports from the Nazareth bureau of the Los Angeles Times latimes.com shows conflicting reactions from Israelis; some see a growing militant minority, some fear a state within a state, most see a threat to Jewish identity, and those who have advocated for better conditions for Arab residents “feel disheartened.” More from latimes.com:

"Shawki Khatib, head of the 64-member Arab mayors group, said the manifesto was not an ultimatum but an effort to catalog Jewish discrimination against Arabs and provoke debate over how Israel's two largest communities should live together."
And more:
“The Future Vision” document (also referred to as a "manifesto" by latimes.com), seeks conditions of peace and prosperity with Israelis. Palestinian leaders will never allow it".
I see other conflicts: Hamas, Fatah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and then there’s the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. An independent Palestinian State just isn’t on the agenda for any of these factions, unless it includes every square inch of an Israel without Jews. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) points to the absurdities surrounding any Palestinian leadership’s acceptance of Israel as a neighbor. In the following excerpts from ZOA, referring to the Baker Hamilton Report (also known as Iraq Study Group) regarding Israel and Palestine, I have eliminated referenced page numbers for easier reading. The text of the cited PLO, Fatah and Hamas "Articles" are included after the ZOA material. Here’s the quotes as well as the ZOA’s response:
Baker Report: Arab-Israeli peace efforts should include "Support for a Palestinian national unity government" of Fatah and Hamas Fact: The Baker Report calls for negotiations with "Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist)" yet both Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and Hamas, in their respective Charters, call for Israel's destruction ( see Fatah: Article 12; Hamas, Article 15) and the use of terrorism (Fatah: Article 19; Hamas: Article 7). Hamas also calls for the murder of Jews (Article 7). In October 2006, Mahmoud Abbas admitted that in his view neither Fatah nor Hamas need recognize Israel.”
And the second point from ZOA:
“Baker Report: Seeks "A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of Israel's right to exist". Fact: This recommendation exemplifies the absurdity and lack of rationality that permeates the Report. Hamas is dedicated in its Charter to the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). Why would Hamas heed the Syrian regime to change its raison d'etre when Syria itself not does recognize Israel's existence, hosts several Palestinian terrorist groups and rejected Israel's offer of all of the Golan Heights in negotiations in 2000? The Report is characterized by an unwillingness to acknowledge the actual nature and goals of the Syrian regime.
Follows the text of the specific Articles referred to above: (“Hamas” Articles are taken from “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas):
Fatah Constitution Article 12: "Complete liberation of Palestine and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." Fatah Constitution Article 19: Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
Hamas Charter Article 7: Follows just a portion of Article 7, which according to the Hamas Charter, quotes The Prophet Allah:
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
Hamas Charter Article 15: Follows just a portion of Article 15:
The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews' usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.
(Two paragraphs deleted here)
"The bond of one day for the sake of Allah is better than the world and whatever there is on it. The place of one's whip in Paradise is far better than the world and whatever there is on it. A worshipper's going and coming in the service of Allah is better than the world and whatever there is on it." (As related by al-Bukhari, Moslem, al-Tarmdhi and Ibn Maja). "I swear by the holder of Mohammed's soul that I would like to invade and be killed for the sake of Allah, then invade and be killed, and then invade again and be killed." (As related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
Then just to back-up the fervor of the Palestinians for their mission, there’s this from The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Charter:
Iris.org - The PLO Charter Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine.
It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.
Regarding the above PLO Charter Article 15, iris.org says this:
“The text is the English version published officially by the PLO, unabridged and unedited. Note, however, that the PLO's translation sometimes deviates from the original Arabic so as to be more palatable to Western readers. For example, in Article 15, the Arabic is translated as "the elimination of Zionism," whereas the correct translation is "the liquidation of the Zionist presence." "The Zionist presence" is a common Arabic euphemism for the State of Israel, so this clause in fact calls for the destruction of Israel, not just the end of Zionism.”
A portion of Article 9 of the Charter states that:
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it….”
So, while quoting the Zionist Organization of America may appear a biased source, the text of Palestinian Charters, Covenants and Constitutions puts it all into perspective.
"The main message is that we do not accept our situation as second-class citizens," Khatib said. "We want to change that situation, and we prefer to change it through dialogue."
The same article points out how the Arabs residing inside Israel feel “…alienated by the Star of David on Israel’s flag…”. Have we ever heard of the offense Israel must feel at the hostile flags surrounding their tiny nation? Has dialogue with Palestine ever been other than deception? As Arabs in Israel seek “self-recognition," are Israelis expected to ignore the Hamas support from the very Arabs sharing their land? Is Israel to believe that these same Arab residents would not take the land and expel them, or worse, if given any opportunity? Latimes.com reports that nearly half of the Arabs living inside Israel live below the poverty line. Is Israel expected to provide better homes, lands, services and education than Palestine provides to Palestinians?

Are Arabs in Israel poorer than the Arabs in Palestine? I don’t know the answer, but I’m doubting they could be poorer – perhaps “as” poor, but probably not “poorer”.

Whatever the intentions of the Arabs led by Mr. Khatib, the PLO, Hamas and Fatah will never allow conciliatory measures on behalf of Israel, unless it leads to the complete surrender of Israel to Palestine.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton