Thats what the Newsweek article mentioned as well.
The "Handbag Queen" title was given to her by a bunch of wealthy Jordanians, which does seem to suggest jealousy and envy on their part.
Nicole, u made a point, we are talking about the Queen of a very poor country, not about Q Elizabeth The II of UK...... ppl in Jordan do have a TV set at home and they use to go to Net Points, a Jordanian guy wrote in a Forum that unemployed guys in Amman usually spend the whole day at Net points. I think Jordan ppl know very well what the Royal Family is doing, that's why there's been a strict cencorship about the Jordan Royal Family in the last 2 years, King Abdallah stated in an interview that it was no business of the media what The Royal Family members were doing in their spare time.
I can say that that tiara for sure is in excess of $ 100,000.00 US$. I saw
a tiara similar in height and different design and it was $ 125,000.00!
so go figure that one out.
oMG yes i saw QN at Larry King and yes her lips are really weird . :lol:
She did it!
I'm afraid it's Silicone :wacko:
QR yes she looks different she did something to! :blink:
Well they are like almost everyother woman just like to play with "knives" :lol:
But we have to forgive them. :blush:
Please check 'A Reminder About Posting Guidelines' or Important topics' - 'Posting guidelines' (pinned), and I'm sure the going on disscusion regarding Aisha's remarks will be over...
Although rather ironic, Aisha's remark was just a joke - that is the way I see it.
Keep smile on your faces - being happy feels so great. :)
on the topic of cosmetic surgery, i think its fine for burn victims and others who need it because of a medical condition but for noor and rania? come on. they were beautiful to begin with...i think all this surgery, botox, whatever it is is making them look worse...people look best when their beauty is effortless (or looks effortless)...anyway, just my opinion...
hey asma, if you don't mind me asking, what happened at the 2nd arab women summit?
Those who support Ranias spending, be ashamed of your self. Jordanians children are dying because there is no health care system. Abdullah has money for Rania and when it comes to people he goes to western countries and begs for money. Jordan (and Egypt) is Arab country that heavily depends on western money just to survive. Donations that are going to Jordan to poor people are use on Rania lavish lifestyle. What do you think she has money from?
Thats what the Newsweek article mentioned as well.
The "Handbag Queen" title was given to her by a bunch of wealthy Jordanians, which does seem to suggest jealousy and envy on their part. [/b][/quote]
The rich Jordanians are only H family. As far as jealousy goes that is exactly what Rania said. When people talk about her spending they are jealous. However, she forgot that she is first lady (not a Hollywood star) and her responsibility is to serve Jordanian people. And listen to their concerns.
Good God! some of you really need to calm down and stop taking this so personally. None of the people who have defended Rania, including myself, have endorsed her extravagance. Infact, the only reason I started this thread was because i was taken aback by this article about her gold shoes. She always comes across as a savvy business woman and the fact that she could indulge in something so frivolous totally shocked me. But the fact remains that her spending habits, however inappropriate, should not be treated as the cause of problems that plague not only Jordan but the rest of the Middle East. That sort of behaviour demonstrates carelessness because you end up focusing on something entirely superficial and ignoring the roots of the problem.
What about the citizens of most third world countries that experience the problems that Jordanians do but do not have the luxury of blaming Queen Ranias of their own?
Besides, its not like she's snatching the bread out the mouths of her subjects or not working to make their lives somewhat easier.
Its just too bad that her intensely glamorous image prevents her from being taken seriously at times. Hopefully she'll mend her ways as times goes by.
Thats all I have to say on the matter.
For some reason I find repeating myself over and over and over again. Either its because Im not making myself clear enough or my comments are being entirely misinterpreted.
For the last time, I dont believe Queen Rania is without blame in this matter. Nor do I think that her spending doesn't create problems. I just dont think the issue deserves such intense scrutiny, that is all. Royal families are criticized for their lavish lifestyle in many countries and that still doesn't get many results. So I dont think that the Jordanian royal family or Rania will change their ways just because they have all these critics out there. The more attention people pay to the lifestyles of people like Rania, the more they end up ignoring more significant problems. Criticisms of human rights violations are likely to be taken more seriously than whining about a woman's wardrobe.
I believe im expressing myself more clearly thats all.
My time away from this thread has been a healthy thing. Im just not taking this business too seriously.
Humera you are wrong if you think that this lavish lifestyle of JRF doesn’t have end. Corruption is the main problem that is discussed by all western governments. Lavish lifestyle of Saddam Hussein was several times mention by American government (even when they tried to make case for war). As mention by Sean, Shah of Iran is other example. People of Iran had no other choice just to follow Islamic fundamentalist Chommeni. Iran until today remains Islamic country. Rania lavish lifestyle is serious problem. Those behaviours have to be stop otherwise will cost other problems. And should be address. After all Jordan lives from our western money.
PS: I have no problem what so ever with you repeating yourself. We can be happy that we can express ourselves freely. In Jordan LTR is cut of service.
One more thing. Give me the name of First lady (from whole world) that spend more money that Rania.
I believe im expressing myself more clearly thats all.
My time away from this thread has been a healthy thing. Im just not taking this business too seriously. [/b][/quote]
Imelda Marcos -_-
My comments were specifically regarding Queen Rania's extravagance. I wasn't discussing the lavish lifestyle of the entire Jordanian royal family. Nor did I ever say it wasn't a problem.
Im no fan of the Shah of Iran either. With him, the problem wasnt just lavishness. Not only did he impose his ideas on his people, forcing women to dress in a western manner for example, but he was quite a hypocrite in my opinion. The backlash of the Iranians was entirely natural.
As for me repeating myself, its all growing a little too tiresome for me after 5 pages of sounding like a broken record.
I dont see why I'd contradict myself. I never set out to defend every single thing about Queen Rania. Like I've said before, I was appalled by the article about the gold shoes. Why would I even post it here if I wanted to defend her extravagance.
Im still making the points i've wanted to make from the start. All I can say is that being away from this thread has made it easier for me to take the emotion out of the whole thing...its not my aim to really change anyone's opinion anyway. I know there are people out there who are just as stubborn as I am.
I love this forum. It is getting better and better. I don’t know if you notice but in ME section is more guests than before. After all, it is very interesting reading of different opinions, arguments and issues as whole. Internet is easy and inexpensive way to get info and to learn.
But I have become more aware that Rania's glamourous image seems increasingly superficial. While I do like her, from what I've read and heard more recently Im somewhat turned off by the fact that she seems to be catering this image specifically to the western media. Its not the best way of garnering credibility or respect i think. Although you have to admit that most western media doesnt seem to care. The middle eastern media might be a different story.
It wouldn't really be possible for a first lady of a democratic country to really get away with that sort of extravagance. Princess Diana was a very stylish woman but she recycled her clothing frequently. Plus she was very natural and didnt come across as a clotheshorse.
As for monarchies in the Middle East, most of their women aren't as visible as Rania is so I wouldnt know.
The only other comparison I can think of are the Pahlevis of Iran. But that was before I was born so I dont exactly know how extravagant their women were or how much criticism they received. Empress Farah was certainly dripping with price-less jewels
I was young then too, but am quite familiar with the ME and Iran (particularly the Mossadeq years). The Pahalavi's were criticized for their spending in general, but it was more for things like Persopolis, the coronation, and the sending of caviar every year to the various European royals etc. Sure they spent on clothes etc., too, but Farah was nothing like Rania in perceived spending or style. Moreover, Iran was/is an oil rich country. Jordan is dependent on foreign aid.
Sean. ~ [/quote]
Sean--i agree with you that Rania is acting like she comes a very rich country by the way she dresses and acts, but I don't think your comparison of her and the Iranian royal family is fair. I too wasn't born when the Shah was in power, but my parents were familiar with the Shah's lavish lifestyle and it was obvious to people around the world that the Shah and his wife spent extravigant amount of money when there were very poor people in his country. And wasn't the Shah overthrown?
Sean--i agree with you that Rania is acting like she comes a very rich country by the way she dresses and acts, but I don't think your comparison of her and the Iranian royal family is fair. I too wasn't born when the Shah was in power, but my parents were familiar with the Shah's lavish lifestyle and it was obvious to people around the world that the Shah and his wife spent extravigant amount of money when there were very poor people in his country. And wasn't the Shah overthrown? [/quote]
Er, I wasn't comparing her to the Shah per se. I said the Shah spent money on things like Persopolis (which was one of the most extravagent royal affairs ever), his coronation, and sending caviar to the various European royals every year etc. Thus I hardly painted him to be some kind of stingy miser. That being said, Farah did not have the same kind of dress as Rania. She was more conservative. Moreover, sure there were (and are) poor people in Iran. However, Iran was nnot as poor as Jordan, as it had/has oil. Finally, yes, the Shah was overthrown. If you follow the thread, you will see that is the point I've been making. The Shah was overthrown because he was completely out of touch with his people, his spending, his policies, etc. Rania et al would be wise not to make the same mistakes. Unfortunately, by the looks of things they haven't really learnt from history.
No, Rania and Abdullah did not learn for the history. Just recently Pentagon made fun of them, too. Pentagon asked in some king of poll what do people think; will Arafat first kill or Jordan royalty overthrown.
I can't imagine the Pentagon conducting such a poll, so could you explain further?
I will try to find some article about it. It was just recently. I think in September before Ablullah trip to US.
There are many articles about it. Just do search through Yahoo. I took first one so you can see it.
Pentagon plans to predict terrorist acts through online betting
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jul 29, 2003
The Pentagon plans to let online traders bet on the likelihood that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might be assassinated or that Jordan's King Abdullah II might be overthrown, as part of an effort to predict and prevent terrorist acts.
The scenarios are being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), which funds Pentagon research projects, under an experimental program known as Future Markets Applied to Prediction, or FutureMAP.
The agency is betting that trading in the futures contracts, modelled on the type of speculative transactions common in commodity markets, will boost traditional intelligence methods.
Lawmakers and media commentators have assailed those methods since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
"Futures markets have proven themselves to be good at predicting such things as elections results; they are often better than expert opinions," the agency said in a statement Monday.
But US Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, both Democrats, said they wanted the program stopped before it starts registering traders on August 1.
"The idea of a federal betting parlor on atrocities and terrorism is ridiculous and grotesque," Wyden, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Monday.
Wyden has been prominent among congressional critics of another DARPA program, Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA), a computer surveillance initiative that raised concerns about invasions of individuals' privacy.
He said the new "Policy Analysis Market" trading scheme is overseen by TIA chief retired admiral John Poindexter, a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, in which US officials illegally funded Nicaraguan rebels with proceeds from also-illegal arms sales to Iran in the mid-1980s.
Dorgan described the Internet scheme as "unbelievably stupid."
"How would you feel if you were the King of Jordan and you learned the US defense department was taking bets on your being overthrown within a year?" he added, noting that Jordan has long been a US ally.
In much the same way as Middle East analysts have used petroleum futures contract prices to predict events in the region, DARPA's contracts would focus on "the economic, civil, and military futures of Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey and the impact of US involvement with each," according to the agency's "Policy Analysis Market" Web site.
Traders, who would have to deposit money with the market before being able to make any trades, would buy contracts for an event they considered likely and attempt to sell contracts if they thought it unlikely.
The more buyers there were for a contract -- say, Arafat's assassination in the first quarter of 2004 -- the more likely it would be considered and the higher the price. If the event came to pass, buyers would cash in and sellers would lose out.
Up to 1,000 individuals will be allowed to register starting Friday and will begin live trading on October 1, DARPA's Web site said. Their numbers would be increased to at least 10,000 worldwide by January 1.
The Internet market site would be run by private technology firm Net Exchange with data and analysis provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the business information arm of the publisher of The Economist magazine.
Government agencies will be barred from taking part and from access to traders' identities or funds, DARPA said.
I wonder what Abdullah thinks of this.
I cant help feeling sorry for him.
Would his uncle have been a better monarch though? considering he's certainly older and more experienced.
i thing rania caters to the western society because lets be honest....where does most of the money that is being given to their country coming from....the west... she is just being a smart cookie....give them what they want and she ( and jordan) will get what they want
You are jewel!! Thank you for posting the article.
Well the reason I asked is because I remember watching him on TV a couple of times and hearing that he was quite respected among some of the Arabs.
As for his wife, is she unpopular because she's a foreigner or some other reason?
I do remember reading somewhere that before King Hussein's death she was basically acting like her own husband was going to be King...redecorating the palace and all...dont know if thats true or not.
i believe, however, that iraq will choose an iraqi to lead them, an iraqi who has lived with them and suffered with them...and i also hope that iraq will not be run by any family, jordanian or other.
Oh, yes we should.
How well (and/or how often) is King Abdullah's uncle welcomed or invited to the palace or to important events hosted by the King and Queen and the royal court? For example, if the Swedish royals had visited the Jordanian royals last fall instead of the other way around, would King Abdullah's uncle and his wife been invited to attend some of the events like the gala dinner? At least one of King Carl Gustav's sisters attended one of the gala dinners -- would the same invitation been extended to King Hussein's brother?
King and the prince do not get along.
What family politics!
What family politics! [/b][/quote]
Hard to say. I think, it is Abdullah struggle for authority. Since Hassan does not have any official duty in Jordan, he is trying to interface in international politics. Abdullah does not like it. Usually, their views are different.
In the TV interview, the Jordanian King said " I am the head of this ( Hashimite) family and I frankly say that the Hashimite family has no ambitions to return back to ruling Iraq, and there should be no anyone in this family that thinks the opposite, he would only represents himself," in an implicit remark to prince Hassan.
If Prince Hassan goes to Iraq with the intention of ruling, he'll be chewed up and spat straight out of the country. Sharif Ali bin Hussein is the rightful heir to the Iraqi throne. And it's up to the Iraqis to decide whether they want a king or not. Right now, I don't think they'll tolerate a foreigner ruling them for the long-term. And they wish to move along the path of democracy and let the people choose the next ruler of Iraq.
But let's imagine if P. Hassan actually became King of Iraq. He would become a huge threat to K. Abdullah. Jordan would have to find another chief trading partner, another source of oil etc. Hassan would have all the oil and a huge army to be a credible threat to K. Abdullah's throne. P. Rashid would become heir to a throne in control of some of the largest oil reserves in the world. If Hassan became king of Iraq, it would be like sweet revenge. The Hashemites of Jordan would be like "poor relations". P. Hassan and P. Sarvath would make K. Abdullah and Q. Rania look like beggars.
However, Araffat doesn’t deserve this, after all he is Noble peace price winner.
I do believe I read the letter you've mentioned on the internet somewhere. Although I wonder why it was made public.
I do believe I read the letter you've mentioned on the internet somewhere. Although I wonder why it was made public. [/b][/quote]
They were fighting their battles in public back then. Savrath was going around telling people that Queen Noor was a Zionist spy etc. Anyway, I've posted the letter and another article (Asma has also kindly posted an article) in the thread titled Ex-Crown Prince Hassan's Interest in Iraq.
Btw, is that your picture? It looks a bit like Gilian Anderson. Is it?
Its a real shame because you only get one family
that is Gillian..although i've been told i resemble her at times, dont know why, red hair just isnt me :innocent:
undoubtedly one of the best actresses on the greatest tv show in history :alien:
Well, they've given a lot of lip service. But really, Humera, as I asked another poster, does one think Jordan would be of such strategic importance if the ME conflict were resolved (and I'm really interested in your opiniont)? One could argue that an end to the conflict isn't totally in Jordan's best interests. Sure peace and stability in the region willl make it more attractive to investors, etc. But I think they will come anyway, as long as their interests are protected by an authoritarian regime. Peace between the Israelis and Palestiniansy, however, will mean an end to all that economic and military aid (and those photo ops at the White House).
Sharif Alis not the rightful heir to any throne. See my post in response this inaccurate assertion under the thread titled Hassan's Interest in Iraq.
It all sounds a bit strange to me though. From what you're saying, a solution to the Palestinian conflict isnt in Jordan's interest because then they'd get no more aid. What exactly are they getting this aid for? Was there ever a time when they didnt get aid from western nations? Someone on this forum said that Jordan hasn't got a lot of resources. But they've gotta have some sort of alternatives. I mean, wouldn't it be in the royal family's interest if they weren't dependant on foreign governments for money...after all, its not a very good solution to a country's long -term survival.
It all sounds a bit strange to me though. From what you're saying, a solution to the Palestinian conflict isnt in Jordan's interest because then they'd get no more aid. What exactly are they getting this aid for? Was there ever a time when they didnt get aid from western nations? Someone on this forum said that Jordan hasn't got a lot of resources. But they've gotta have some sort of alternatives. I mean, wouldn't it be in the royal family's interest if they weren't dependant on foreign governments for money...after all, its not a very long-term solution to a country's survival. [/b][/quote]
Of course they talk. They aren't going to very well speak out against a Palestinian state (or at least I would hope not). That wouldn't go down very well in the Arab world. The fact is Israel needs Jordanian recognition more than Jordan needs Israel. However, Jordan wants US $$ and thus will not take a hard line with Israel. (And I don't mean war, a I tend to be anti-violence. I am referring to diplomatic and economic sanctions).
The conflict has been ongoing since Balfour, and in full force since 1947-8. What's more, if you go back to the origins of the conflict, you will see that Abdullah I, the present King's grandfather, played a large part in it by colluding with Israel for territorial gain. The first Arab-Israeli war had a lot to do with putting an end to Abdullah's territorial ambitions. There were two blocs at the time: Egypt, Syria and Yemen v. Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi (these countries were termed the Hashemite Axis). The former was led by Egypt and the latter by Jordan, which had the most powerful military out of all the Arab states at the time. Both Egypt and Jordan were kind of dueling it out for control of the Arab world. Egypt, too was willing to recognize Israel long before 1948, provided the Zionists helped lobby the US to help get the British out of the Canal Zone (see Michael Dorian's Pan Arabism Before Nasser). Public opinion, however, was strongly against this (remember this was a very tense time in Egypt as well). This was one of the underlying reasons for the 1952 coup by the Free Officers (it was more complex, but I won't get into it here).
This coupled with the the Camp David Accords of the late 1970s (which called for a Palestinian state within 5 years) between Egypt and Israel, as well as the terms of the later Oslo accords, you can tell that the Arab states have not done much to bring Palestinian statehood to fruition. They have, however, secured substantial financial benefits for themselves in the process. Egypt sold out for $ 2 billion a year. Jordan gets close to that in economic and military aid too. This is their reward for recognizing Israel and keeping 'stability' in the region (i.e. regimes that will do tow the American line when it comes to Israel). If there is peace between the two primary adverseries, however, there will be no reason to pay this money and suppport these corrupt regimes. Hence my argument that a final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians may not be in the Jordanian elites interest. The former are pawns in the game of power politics. Sad, really.
Anyway, It's just a theory. I hope it makes some sense.
Abdullah does not care about Araffat but it was slap to Abdullah authority in Arab world.
Lack of Leadership from Arab World slows Peace
by Ray Hanania
(Friday 19 September 2003)
"Why didn't King Abdullah correct President Bush and point out Sharon's government continues to build Israeli settlements in violation of peace?"
President Bush held another one of those "we love each other" press conferences, this time with Jordan's King Abdullah. The king best fits the image of what President Bush hopes for in an Arab leader. President Bush got exactly what he desires.
While President Bush didn't miss an opportunity during the brief press conference to blame everything on Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and on the Palestinians, King Abdullah played the role of the typical Arab leader who was guarded prefers to keep his opinions to himself.
I and I am sure millions of other Arabs and Palestinians wish that King Abdullah would just open up one time with his real feelings.
President Bush and King Abdullah were beginning discussions on how to revive the "Road Map" which was intended to help Palestinians and Israelis return to the peace negotiations and end the current violence.
Instead, the Road Map has turned out to be little more than a reflection of Israel's brutal, one-sided oppressive policies, ripping apart peace just as surely as Israeli forces are ripping apart real Palestinian roads.
Hopefully, when they met in private, King Abdullah gave President Bush a piece of his mind and a lecture of his own. No one deserves to be lectured more than President Bush who is being held political hostage to Israel's powerful lobby.
Personally, I don't understand how King Abdullah can hold his tongue and not speak out or respond to some of the ridiculous lies that came from President Bush during their brief encounter.
For example, Bush repeated his ridiculous assertions that Arafat is singularly responsible for the demise of the Road Map and for the violence. No one else. It's "only" the Palestinians who are using terrorism and violence.
Imagine. Arafat is held hostage in a nearly destroyed bunker in Ramallah surrounded by Israeli tanks, helicopters, jets and an enormous Israeli force. Yet, he is able to direct an Intidafa. The mighty Israeli army which has defeated every army it has faced on the battlefield, can't seem to prevent terrorism, but Arafat, with no assets, freedom of movement or administrative support, can?
The Bush logic makes no sense, and merely follows the pro-Israel propaganda line crafted by Ariel Sharon who is not the first Israeli prime minister haunted by accusations of mass murder, genocide and past atrocities. Sharon led the fearsome "Unit 101," an Israeli military unit involved in the murder of hundreds of Palestinian civilian women and children.
Still, King Abdullah bit his tongue and offered nothing more but a few words of kindness, greetings and respect.
Even if King Abdullah doesn't particularly like Arafat, who despite the attacks continues to enjoy unanimous support from Palestinians and Arabs alike, you might think the monarch would insist that part of the blame be placed on Israel where it belongs.
King Abdullah might have noted it was Sharon who, after a cease-fire was negotiated with Hamas, assassinated several key Hamas leaders thus provoking Hamas to retaliate with suicide bombings against Israeli targets?
Why didn't King Abdullah correct President Bush and point out Sharon's government continues to build Israeli settlements in violation of peace? (The term "illegal settlement" is redundant since every Israeli settlement, including those choking Jerusalem, are illegal, too.)
Couldn't King Abdullah demand Israel withdraw its forces out of the Palestinian cities so the Palestinian civilians can breath for the first time in a decade of oppressive occupation? Or maybe the King could have also demanded that Israel stop intentionally provoking the Palestinians?
Maybe King Abdullah might have said something about the Apartheid Wall that Israel is building, not on Israeli land but on newly confiscated (translate that as "stolen") Palestinian lands?
Could King Abdullah have educated his good friend President Bush about Sharon's true, vicious nature? If Arafat is a terrorist, is not Sharon worse? Sharon doesn't want peace based on compromise, but rather a peace based on the destruction of Palestine.
Hopefully, those are a few of the things that King Abdullah did tell President Bush when they met afterwards in private away from the media and the cameras and the eyes of a wanting public.
Let's hope he did, anyway
Nice article other than the fact that *none* of the Israeli "settlements" are illegal under any law, even the fallacious UN law. It also totally ignores the fact that historical Palestine was originallydivided into two states--one for the Jews west of the Jordan river, and one for the Muslim Arabs east of the Jordan river. The Hashemites refuse to accept that. It's true though that it's the Arab world's fault that the Palestinians still live in squalor--it's the Arab world that continues to allow Arafat to ruin their lives, as well as failing to give the Palestinians citizenship in their 22 countries.
I will post more on it tomorrow, as I am just cleaning up afer a party right now. Palestine did not belong to the British or the divide. It belonged to the people who lived there. Yet the majority of the land was given to a people that onely comprised less than a third of the population and only owned 6 percent of the land as of 1948.
As far as the Arab states are concerned, their treatment of the Palestinians does not negate Israels responsibility. The Palestinians can not be denied by the fundamental rights just because people of the same ethnicity have not done all that they can for them. We don't deny individuals their fundamental rights because of the actions (or inactions) of their relatives, after all. The fact that their are 22 Arab countries has no bearing on the matter. Each country and its people are different. The argument that there are 22 Arab countries reaks of ethnic cleansing.
The following compiled Question and Answer pertains to the aforementioned conflict (and Bubette's post). It makes mention of the Hashemite King Abdullah I, and thus is not entirely off topic. It also shows how much the Jordanian rulers have and have not done to bring a Palestinian state to fruition. Also, just so people do not think it is biased, it was compiled and written by a Jewish Rabbi.
Question & Answer
Background to the Israel-Palestine Crisis
by Stephen R. Shalom
What are the modern origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
During World War I, Britain made three different promises regarding historic
Palestine. Arab leaders were assured that the land would become independent;
in the Balfour declaration, Britain indicated its support for a Jewish
national home in Palestine; and secretly Britain arranged with its allies to
divide up Ottoman territory, with Palestine becoming part of the British
Empire. Historians have engaged in detailed exegesis of the relevant texts
and maps, but the fundamental point is that Britain had no moral right to
assign Palestine to anyone: by right Palestine belonged to its inhabitants.
In the late years of the 19th century, anti-Semitism became especially
virulent in Russia and re-emerged in France. Some Jews concluded that only
in a Jewish state would Jews be safe and thus founded Zionism. Most Jews at
the time rejected Zionism, preferring instead to address the problem of
anti-Semitism through revolutionary or reformist politics or assimilation.
And for many orthodox Jews, especially the small Jewish community in
Palestine, a Jewish state could only be established by God, not by humans.
At first Zionists were willing to consider other sites for their Jewish
state, but they eventually focused on Palestine for its biblical
connections. The problem, however, was that although a Zionist slogan called
Palestine "a land without people for a people without land," the land was
not at all empty.
Following World War I, Britain arranged for the League of Nations to make
Palestine a British "mandate," which is to say a colony to be administered
by Britain and prepared for independence. To help justify its rule over Arab
land, Britain arranged that one of its duties as the mandatory power would
be to promote a Jewish national home.
Who were the Jews who came to Palestine?
The early Zionist settlers were idealistic, often socialist, individuals,
fleeing oppression. In this respect they were like the early American
colonists. But also like the American colonists, many Zionists had racist
attitudes toward the indigenous people and little regard for their
Some Zionists thought in terms of Arab-Jewish cooperation and a bi-national
state, but many were determined to set up an exclusively Jewish state
(though to avoid antagonizing the Palestinians, they decided to use the term
Jewish "national home" rather than "state" until they were able to bring
enough Jews to Palestine).
Jewish immigration to Palestine was relatively limited until the 1930s,.when
Hitler came to power. The U.S. and Europe closed their doors to immigration
by desperate Jews, making Palestine one of the few options.
Who were the indigenous people of Palestine?
Pro-Israel propaganda has argued that most Palestinians actually entered
Palestine after 1917, drawn to the economic dynamism of the growing Jewish
community, and thus have no rights to Palestine. This argument has been
elaborated in Joan Peters' widely promoted book, From Time Immemorial.
However, the book has been shown to be fraudulent and its claim false.2 The
indigenous population was mostly Muslim, with a Christian and a smaller
Jewish minority. As Zionists arrived from Europe, the Muslims and Christians
began to adopt a distinctly Palestinian national identity.
How did the Zionists acquire land in Palestine?
Some was acquired illegally and some was purchased from Arab landlords with
funds provided by wealthy Jews in Europe. Even the legal purchases, however,
were often morally questionable as they sometimes involved buying land from
absentee landlords and then throwing the poor Arab peasants off the land.
Land thus purchased became part of the Jewish National Fund which specified
that the land could never be sold or leased to Arabs. Even with these
purchases, Jews owned only about 6% of the land by 1947.
Was Palestinian opposition to Zionism a result of anti-Semitism?
Anti-Semitism in the Arab world was generally far less severe than in
Europe. Before the beginning of Zionist immigration, relations among the
different religious groups in Palestine were relatively harmonious. There
was Palestinian anti-Semitism, but no people will look favourably on another
who enter one's territory with the intention of setting up their own
sovereign state. The expulsion of peasants from their land and the frequent
Zionist refusal to employ Arabs exacerbated relations.
What was the impact of World War II on the Palestine question?
As World War II approached, Britain shrewdly calculated that they could
afford to alienate Jews -- who weren't going to switch to Hitler's side --
but not Arabs, so they greatly restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine.
But, of course, this was precisely when the need for sanctuary for Europe's
Jews was at its height. Many Jews smuggled their way into Palestine as the
United States and other nations kept their borders closed to frantic
At the end of the war, as the enormity of the Holocaust became evident, for
the first time Zionism became a majority sentiment among world Jewry. Many
U.S. Christians also supported Zionism as a way to absolve their guilt for
what had happened, without having to allow Jews into the United States. U.S.
Zionists, who during the war had subordinated rescue efforts to their goal
of establishing a Jewish state,3 argued that the Holocaust proved more than
ever the need for a Jewish state: Had Israel existed in 1939, millions of
Jews might have been saved. Actually, Palestine just narrowly avoided being
overrun by the Nazis, so Jews would have been far safer in the United States
than in a Jewish Palestine.
During the war many Jews in Palestine had joined the British army. By war's
end, the Jewish community in Palestine was well armed, well-organized, and
determined to fight. The Palestinians were poorly armed, with feudal
leaders. The Mufti of Jerusalem had been exiled by the British for
supporting an Arab revolt in 1936-39 and had made his way to Berlin during
the war where he aided Nazi propaganda. From the Zionist point of view, it
was considered a plus to have the extremist Mufti as the Palestinians'
leader; as David Ben Gurion, the leader of the Jewish community in Palestine
and Israel's first prime minister, advised in 1938, "rely on the Mufti."4
What were the various positions in 1947?
Both the Palestinians and the Zionists wanted the British out so they could
establish an independent state. The Zionists, particularly a right-wing
faction led by Menachim Begin, launched a terror campaign against Britain.
London, impoverished by the war, announced that it was washing its hands of
the problem and turning it over to the United Nations (though Britain had
various covert plans for remaining in the region).
The Zionists declared that having gone through one of the great catastrophes
of modern history, the Jewish people were entitled to a state of their own,
one into which they could gather Jewish refugees, still languishing in the
displaced persons camps of Europe. The Zionist bottom line was a sovereign
state with full control over immigration. The Palestinians argued that the
calamity that befell European Jews was hardly their fault. If Jews were
entitled to a state, why not carve it out of Germany? As it was, Palestine
had more Jewish refugees than any other place on Earth. Why should they bear
the full burden of atoning for Europe's sins? They were willing to give full
civil rights (though not national rights) to the Jewish minority in an
independent Palestine, but they were not willing to give this minority the
right to control immigration, and bring in more of their co-religionists
until they were a majority to take over the whole of Palestine.
A small left-wing minority among the Zionists called for a binational state
in Palestine, where both peoples might live together, each with their
national rights respected. This view had little support among Jews or
What did the UN do and why?
In November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into
two independent states, a Jewish state and an Arab state, joined by an
economic union, with Jerusalem internationalised.
In 1947 the UN had many fewer members than it does today. Most Third World
nations were still colonies and thus not members. Nevertheless, the
partition resolution passed only because the Soviet Union and its allies
voted in favour and because many small states were subject to improper
pressure. For example, members of the U.S. Congress told the Philippines
that it would not get U.S. economic aid unless it voted for partition.
Moscow favoured partition as a way to reduce British influence in the
region; Israel was viewed as potentially less pro-Western than the dominant
Didn't Palestinians have a chance for a state of their own in 1947, but they
rejected it by going to war with Israel?
In 1947 Jews were only one third of the population of Palestine and owned
only 6% of the land. Yet the partition plan granted the Jewish state 55% of
the total land area. The Arab state was to have an overwhelmingly Arab
population, while the Jewish state would have almost as many Arabs as Jews.
If it was unjust to force Jews to be a 1/3 minority in an Arab state, it was
no more just to force Arabs to be an almost 50% minority in a Jewish state.
The Palestinians rejected partition. The Zionists accepted it, but in
private Zionist leaders had more expansive goals. In 1938, during earlier
partition proposals, Ben Gurion stated, "when we become a strong power after
the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread
throughout all of Palestine."5
The Mufti called Palestinians to war against partition, but in fact very few
Palestinians responded. The "decisive majority" of Palestinians, confided
Ben Gurion, "do not want to fight us." The majority "accept the partition as
a fait accompli," reported a Zionist Arab affairs expert. The 1936-39 Arab
revolt against the British had mass popular support, but the 1947-48
fighting between the Mufti's followers and the Zionist military forces had
no such popular backing.6
But even if Palestinians were fully united in going to war against the
partition plan, this can provide no moral justification for denying them
their basic right of self- determination for more than half a century. This
right is not a function of this or that agreement, but a basic right to
which every person is entitled. (Israelis don't lose their right to
self-determination because their government violated countless UN cease-fire
Didn't Israel achieve larger borders in 1948 as a result of a defensive war
Arab armies crossed the border on May 15, 1948, after Israel declared its
independence. But this declaration came three and a half months before the
date specified in the partition resolution. The U.S. had proposed a three
month truce on the condition that Israel postpone its declaration of
independence. The Arab states accepted and Israel rejected, in part because
it had worked out a secret deal with Jordan's King Abdullah, whereby his
Arab Legion would invade the Palestinian territory assigned to the
Palestinian state and not interfere with the Jewish state. (Since Jordan was
closely allied to Britain, the scheme also provided a way for London to
maintain its position in the region.) The other Arab states invaded as much
to thwart Abdullah's designs as to defeat Israel.7
Most of the fighting that ensued took place on territory that was to be part
of the Palestinian state or the internationalised Jerusalem. Thus, Israel
was primarily fighting not for its survival, but to expand its borders at
the expense of the Palestinians. For most of the war, the Israelis actually
held both a quantitative and qualitative military edge, even apart from the
fact that the Arab armies were uncoordinated and operating at cross
When the armistice agreements were signed in 1949, the Palestinian state had
disappeared, its territory taken over by Israel and Jordan, with Egypt in
control of the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem, which was to have been
internationalised, was divided between Israeli and Jordanian control. Israel
now held 78% of Palestine. Some 700,000 Palestinians had become refugees.
Why did Palestinians become refugees in 1948?
The Israeli government claim is that Palestinians chose to leave Palestine
voluntarily, instructed to do so via radio broadcasts from Arab leaders who
wanted to clear a path for their armies. But radio broadcasts from the area
were monitored by the British and American governments and no evidence of
general orders to flee has ever been found. On the contrary, there are
numerous instances of Arab leaders telling Palestinians to stay put, to keep
their claim to the territory.9 People flee during wartime for a variety of
reasons and that was certainly the case here. Some left because war zones
are dangerous environments. Some because of Zionist atrocities -- most
dramatically at Deir Yassin where in April 1948 254 defenceless civilians
were slaughtered. Some left in panic, aided by Zionist psychological warfare
which warned that Deir Yassin's fate awaited others. And some were driven
out at gunpoint, with killings to speed them on their way, as in the towns
of Ramle and Lydda.10
There is no longer any serious doubt that many Palestinians were forcibly
expelled. The exact numbers driven out versus those who panicked or simply
sought safety is still contested, but what permits us to say that all were
victims of ethnic cleansing is that Israeli officials refused to allow any
of them to return. (In Kosovo, any ethnic Albanian refugee, whether he or
she was forced out at gunpoint, panicked, or even left to make it easier for
NATO to bomb, was entitled to return.) In Israel, Arab villages were
bulldozed over, citrus groves, lands, and property seized, and their owners
and inhabitants prohibited from returning. Indeed, not only was the property
of "absentee" Palestinians expropriated, but any Palestinians who moved from
one place within Israel to another during the war were declared "present
absentees" and their property expropriated as well.
Of the 860,000 Arabs who had lived in areas of Palestine that became Israel,
only 133,000 remained. Some 470,000 moved into refugee camps on the West
Bank (controlled by Jordan) or the Gaza Strip (administered by Egypt). The
rest dispersed to Lebanon, Syria, and other countries.
Why did Israel expel the Palestinians?
In part to remove a potential fifth column. In part to obtain their
property. In part to make room for more Jewish immigrants. But mostly
because the notion of a Jewish state with a large non-Jewish minority was
extremely awkward for Israeli leaders. Indeed, because Israel took over some
territory intended for the Palestinian state, there had actually been an
Arab majority living within the borders of Israel. Nor was the idea of
expelling Palestinians something that just emerged in the 1948 war. In 1937,
Ben Gurion had written to his son, "We will expel the Arabs and take their
places ... with the force at our disposal."11
How did the international community react to the problem of the Palestinian
In December 1948, the General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which declared
that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their
neighbours should be permitted to do so" and that "compensation should be
paid for the property of those choosing not to return." This same resolution
was overwhelmingly adopted year after year. Israel repeatedly refused to
carry out the terms of the resolution.
Did the Arab countries take steps to resettle the Palestinian refugees?
Only in Jordan were Palestinians eligible for citizenship. In Lebanon, the
government feared that allowing Palestinians to become citizens would
disturb the country's delicate Christian-Muslim balance; in Egypt, the
shortage of arable land led the government to confine the Palestinians to
the Gaza Strip. It must be noted, however, that the Palestinians were
reluctant to leave the camps if that would mean acquiescing in the loss of
homes and property or giving up their right to return.
It is sometimes implied that the lack of assistance to Palestinians from
Arab nations justifies Israel's refusal to acknowledge and address the
claims of the refugees. But if you harm someone, you are responsible for
redressing that harm, regardless of whether the victim's relatives are
Hasn't there been a population exchange, with Jews from Arab lands coming to
Israel and replacing the Palestinians?
This argument makes individual Palestinians responsible for the wrong-doing
of Arab governments. Jews left Arab countries under various circumstances:
some were forced out, some came voluntarily, some were recruited by Zionist
officials. In Iraq, Jews feared that they might be harmed, a fear possibly
helped along by some covert bombs placed by Zionist agents.12 But whatever
the case, there are no moral grounds for punishing Palestinians (or denying
them their due) because of how Jews were treated in the Arab world. If Italy
were to abuse American citizens, this would not justify the United States
harming or expelling Italian-Americans.
How were the Palestinians who remained within Israel treated?
Most Arabs lived in the border areas of Israel and, until 1966, these areas
were all declared military security zones, which essentially meant that
Palestinians were living under martial law conditions for nearly 20 years.
After 1966, Arab citizens of Israel continued to be the victims of harsh
discrimination: most of the country's land is owned by the Jewish National
Fund which prohibits its sale or lease to non-Jews; schools for Palestinians
in Israel are, in the words of Human Rights Watch, "separate and unequal";
and government spending has been funnelled so as to keep Arab villages
underdeveloped. Thousands of Israeli Arabs live in villages declared
"unrecognised" and hence ineligible for electricity or any other government
Following 1948, didn't the Arab states continually try to destroy Israel?
After Israel's victory in the 1948-49 war, there were several opportunities
for peace. There was blame on all sides, but Israeli intransigence was
surely a prime factor. In 1951, a UN peace plan was accepted by Egypt,
Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, but rejected by Israel. When Nasser came to power
in Egypt, he made overtures to Israel that were rebuffed. When Nasser
negotiated an end to British control of the Suez Canal zone, Israeli
intelligence covertly arranged a bombing campaign of western targets in
Egypt as a way to discourage British withdrawal. The plot was foiled, Egypt
executed some of the plotters, and Israel responded with a major military
attack on Gaza.14 In 1956, Israel joined with Britain and France in invading
Egypt, drawing condemnation from the United States and the UN.
How were the Occupied Territories occupied?
In June 1967, Israel launched a war in which it seized all of Palestine (the
West Bank including East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from
Egypt), along with the Sinai from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Large numbers of Palestinians, some living in cities, towns, and villages,
and some in refugee camps, came under Israeli control. (In 2001, half the
Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories lived in refugee camps.15
The Israeli conquest also sent a new wave of refugees from Palestine to
Israel's supporters argue that although Israel fired the first shots in this
war, it was a justified preventive war, given that Arab armies were
mobilizing on Israel's borders, with murderous rhetoric. The rhetoric was
indeed blood-curdling, and many people around the world worried for Israel's
safety. But those who understood the military situation -- in Tel Aviv and
the Pentagon -- knew quite well that even if the Arabs struck first, Israel
would prevail in any war. Nasser was looking for a way out and agreed to
send his vice-president to Washington for negotiations. Israel attacked when
it did in part because it rejected negotiations and the prospect of any
face-saving compromise for Nasser. Menachem Begin, who was an enthusiastic
supporter of this (and other) Israeli wars was quite clear about the
necessity of launching an attack: In June 1967, he said, Israel "had a
choice." Egyptian Army concentrations did not prove that Nasser was about to
attack. "We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."16
However, even if it were the case that the 1967 war was wholly defensive on
Israel's part, this cannot justify the continued rule over Palestinians. A
people do not lose their right to self-determination because the government
of a neighbouring state goes to war. Sure, punish Egypt and Jordan -- don't
give them back Gaza and the West Bank (which they had no right to in the
first place, having joined with Israel in carving up the stillborn
Palestinian state envisioned in the UN's 1947 partition plan). But there is
no basis for punishing the Palestinian population by forcing them to submit
to foreign military occupation.
Israel immediately incorporated occupied East Jerusalem into Israel proper,
announcing that Jerusalem was its united and eternal capital. It then began
to establish settlements in the Occupied Territories in violation of the
Geneva Conventions which prohibit a conquering power from settling its
population on occupied territory. These settlements, placed in strategic
locations throughout the West Bank and Gaza were intended to "create facts"
on the ground to make the occupation irreversible.
How did the international community respond to the Israeli occupation?
In November 1967, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 242.
The resolution emphasized "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of
territory by war" and called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces
from territory occupied in the recent conflict." It also called for all
countries in the region to end their state of war and to respect the right
of each country "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries."
Israel argued that because resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal from
"territories," rather than "the territories," occupied in the recent
conflict, it meant that Israel could keep some of them as a way to attain
"secure" borders. The official French and Russian texts of the resolution
include the definite article, but in any event U.S. officials told Arab
delegates that it expected "virtually complete withdrawal" by Israel, and
this was the view as well of Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.17
Palestinians objected to the resolution because it referred to them only in
calling for "a just settlement to the refugee problem" rather than
acknowledging their right to self- determination. By the mid-1970s, however,
the international consensus -- rejected by Israel and the United States --
was expanded to include support for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and
Gaza, perhaps with insignificant border adjustments.
How did the United States respond to the Israeli occupation?
Prior to the 1967 war, France, not the United States, was Israel's chief
weapons supplier. But now U.S. officials determined that Israel would be an
extremely valuable ally to have in the Middle East and Washington became
Israel's principal military and diplomatic backer.
Why, given the U.S. concern for Middle Eastern oil, was Washington
supporting Israel? This assumes that the main conflict was Israel vs. the
Arabs, rather than Israel and conservative, pro-Western Arab regimes vs.
radical Arab nationalism. Egypt and Syria had been champions of the latter,
armed by the Soviet Union, and threatening U.S. interests in the region. (On
the eve of the 1967, for example, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were militarily
backing opposite sides in a civil war in Yemen. Israel had plotted with
Jordan against Palestinian nationalism in 1948, and in 1970 Israel was
prepared to take Jordan's side in a war against Palestinians and Syria.)
Diplomatically, the U.S. soon backed off the generally accepted
interpretation of resolution 242, deciding that given Israel's military
dominance no negotiations were necessary except on Israel's terms. So when
Secretary of State Rogers put forward a reasonable peace plan, President
Nixon privately sent word to Israel that the U.S. wouldn't press the
proposal.18 When Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor, proposed a peace plan that
included cutting his ties with Moscow, Washington decided he hadn't
grovelled enough and ignored it. But after Egypt and Syria unsuccessfully
went to war with Israel for the limited aim of regaining their lost
territory, and Arab oil states called a limited oil embargo, Washington
rethought its position. This led in 1979 to the Israeli-Egyptian Camp David
Agreement under which Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in return for peace
and diplomatic relations. Egypt then joined Israel as a pillar of U.S.
policy in the region and the two became the leading recipients of U.S. aid
in the world.
What progress was made toward justice for Palestinians during the first two
decades of the occupation?
The Palestine Liberation Organization was formed in 1964, but it was
controlled by the Arab states until 1969, when Yasser Arafat became its
leader. The PLO had many factions, advocating different tactics (some
carried out hijackings) and different politics. At first the PLO took the
position that Israel had no right to exist and that only Palestinians were
entitled to national rights in Palestine. This was the mirror image of the
official Israeli view -- of both the right-wing Likud party and the Labor
party -- that there could be no recognition of the PLO under any
circumstances, even if it renounced terrorism and recognized Israel, let
alone acceptance of a Palestinian state on any part of the Occupied
By 1976, however, the PLO view had come to accept the international
consensus favouring a two-state solution. In January 1976 a resolution
backed by the PLO, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and the Soviet Union was introduced
in the Security Council incorporating this consensus. Washington vetoed the
The 1979 Camp David agreement established peace along the Egyptian-Israeli
border, but it worsened the situation for Palestinians. With its southern
border neutralized, Israel had a freer hand to invade Lebanon in 1982 (where
the PLO was based) and to tighten its grip on the Occupied Territories.
What was the first Intifada?
Anger and frustration were growing in the Occupied Territories, fuelled by
iron-fisted Israeli repression, daily humiliations, and the establishment of
sharply increasing numbers of Israeli settlements. In December 1987,
Palestinians in Gaza launched an uprising, the Intifada, that quickly spread
to the West Bank as well. The Intifada was locally organized, and enjoyed
mass support among the Palestinian population. Guns and knives were banned
and the main political demand was for an independent Palestinian state
coexisting with Israel.20
Israel responded with great brutality, with hundreds of Palestinians killed.
The Labor Party Defense Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, urged Israeli soldiers to
break the bones of Palestinian demonstrators. PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir,
who from Tunis had advised the rejection of arms, was assassinated (with the
approval of Rabin); Israel was especially eager to repress Palestinian
leaders who advocated a Palestinian state that would coexist with Israel.21
By 1989, the initial discipline of the uprising had faded, as a considerable
number of individual acts of violence by Palestinians took place. Hamas, an
organization initially promoted by the Israelis as a counterweight to the
PLO,22 also gained strength; it called for armed attacks to achieve an
Islamic state in all of Palestine.
What were the Oslo Accords?
Arafat had severely weakened his credibility by his flirtation with Saddam
Hussein following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. (The Iraqi leader had
opportunistically tried to link his withdrawal from Kuwait to an Israeli
withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.) Israel saw Arafat's weakness as
an opportunity. Better to deal with Arafat while he was weak, before Hamas
gained too much influence. Let Arafat police the unruly Palestinians, while
Israel would maintain its settlements and control over resources.
The Oslo agreement consisted of "Letters of Mutual Recognition" and a
Declaration of Principles. In Arafat's letter he recognized Israel's right
to exist, accepted various UN resolutions, renounced terrorism and armed
struggle. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin in his letter agreed to recognize the
PLO as the representative of the Palestine people and commence negotiations
with it, but there was no Israeli recognition of the Palestinian right to a
The Declaration of Principles was signed on the White House lawn on
September 13, 1993. In it, Israel agreed to redeploy its troops from the
Gaza Strip and from the West Bank city of Jericho. These would be given
self-governing status, except for the Israeli settlements in Gaza. A
Palestinian Authority (PA) would be established, with a police force that
would maintain internal order in areas from which Israeli forces withdrew.
Left for future resolution in "permanent status" talks were all the critical
and vexatious issues: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and borders. These
talks were to commence by year three of the agreement.
In September 1995 an interim agreement -- commonly called Oslo II -- was
signed. This divided the Occupied Territories into three zones, Area A, Area
B, and Area C. (No mention was made of a fourth area: Israeli-occupied East
Jerusalem.) In area A, the PA was given civil and security control but not
sovereignty; in area B the PA would have civil control and the Israelis
security control; and area C was wholly under Israeli control (these
included the settlements, the network of connecting roads, and most of the
valuable land and water resources of the West Bank). In March 2000, 17% of
the West Bank was designated area A -- where the vast majority of
Palestinians lived -- 24% area B, and 59% area C. In the Gaza Strip, with a
population of over a million Palestinians, 6,500 Israeli settlers lived in
the 20% of the territory that made up area C. Palestinians thus were given
limited autonomy -- not sovereignty -- over areas of dense population in the
Gaza Strip and small, non-contiguous portions of the West Bank (there were
227 separate and disconnected enclaves),23 which meant that the PA was
responsible chiefly for maintaining order over poor and angry Palestinians.
How did Israel respond to the Oslo Accords?
Whatever hopes Oslo may have inspired among the Palestinian population, most
Israeli officials had an extremely restricted vision of where it would lead.
In a speech in October 1995, Rabin declared that there would not be a return
to the pre-1967 borders, Jerusalem would remain united and under exclusive
Israeli sovereignty, and most of the settlements would remain under Israeli
sovereignty. Rabin said he wanted the "entity" that Palestinians would get
to be "less than a state."24 Under Rabin, settlements were expanded and he
began a massive program of road-building, meant to link the settlements and
carve up the West Bank. (These by-pass roads, built on confiscated
Palestinian land and U.S.- funded, were for Israelis only.)
In 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli and he was succeeded
as prime minister by Shimon Peres. But Peres, noted his adviser Yossi
Beilin, had an even more limited view than Rabin, wanting any future
Palestinian state to be located only in Gaza.25 Yossi Sarid, head of the
moderate left Israeli party Meretz, said that Peres's plan for the West Bank
was "little different" from that of Ariel Sharon.26 Settlements and by-pass
roads expanded further.
In May 1996, Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu who was openly opposed to the Oslo
accords was elected prime minister. Netanyahu reneged on most of the already
agreed on Israeli troop withdrawals from occupied territory, continued
building settlements and roads, stepped up the policy of sealing off the
Palestinian enclaves, and refused to begin the final status talks required
In 1999, Labor's Ehud Barak won election as prime minister. Barak had been a
hardliner, but he had also confessed that if he had been born a Palestinian
he probably would have joined a terrorist organization28 -- so his
intentions were unclear. His policies, however, in his first year in office
were more of the same: settlements grew at a more rapid pace than under
Netanyahu, agreed-upon troops withdrawals were not carried out, and land
confiscations and economic closures continued. His proposed 2001 government
budget increased the subsidies supporting settlements in the Occupied
What was the impact of the Oslo accords?
The number of Israeli settlers since Oslo (1993) grew from 110,000 to
195,000 in the West Bank and Gaza; in annexed East Jerusalem, the Jewish
population rose from 22,000 to 170,000.30 Thirty new settlements were
established and more than 18,000 new housing units for settlers were
constructed.31 From 1994-2000, Israeli authorities confiscated 35,000 acres
of Arab land for roads and settlements.32 Poverty increased, so that in
mid-2000, more than one out of five Palestinians had consumption levels
below $2.10 a day.33 According to CIA figures, at the end of 2000,
unemployment stood at 40%.34 Israeli closure policies meant that
Palestinians had less freedom of movement -- from Gaza to the West Bank, to
East Jerusalem, or from one Palestinian enclave to another -- than they had
What was U.S. policy during this period?
The United States has been the major international backer of Israel for more
than three decades. Since 1976 Israel has been the leading annual recipient
of U.S. foreign aid and is the largest cumulative recipient since World War
II. And this doesn't include all sorts of special financial and military
benefits, such as the use of U.S. military assistance for research and
development in the United States. Israel's economy is not self-sufficient,
and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing. During the Oslo years,
Washington gave Israel more than $3 billion per year in aid, and $4 billion
in FY 2000, the highest of any year except 1979. Of this aid, grant military
aid was $1.8 billion a year since Oslo, and more than $3 billion in FY 2000,
two thirds higher than ever before.36
Diplomatically, the U.S. retreated from various positions it had held for
years. Since 1949, the U.S. had voted with the overwhelming majority of the
General Assembly in calling for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
In 1994, the Clinton administration declared that because the refugee
question was something to be resolved in the permanent status talks, the
U.S. would no longer support the resolution. Likewise, although the U.S. had
previously agreed with the rest of the world (and common sense) in
considering East Jerusalem occupied territory, it now declared that
Jerusalem's status too was to be decided in the permanent status talks. On
three occasions in 1995 and 1997, the Security Council considered draft
resolutions critical of Israeli expropriations and settlements in East
Jerusalem; Washington vetoed all three.37
What happened at Camp David?
Permanent status talks between Israel and the Palestinians as called for by
the Oslo agreement finally took place in July 2000 at Camp David, in the
United States, with U.S. mediators. The standard view is that Barak made an
exceedingly generous offer to Arafat, but Arafat rejected it, choosing
A U.S. participant in the talks, Robert Malley, has challenged this view.38
Barak offered -- but never in writing and never in detail; in fact, says,
Malley, "strictly speaking, there never was an Israeli offer" -- to give the
Palestinians Israeli land equivalent to 1% of the West Bank (unspecified,
but to be chosen by Israel) in return for 9% of the West Bank which housed
settlements, highways, and military bases effectively dividing the West Bank
into separate regions. Thus, there would have been no meaningfully
independent Palestinian state, but a series of Bantustans, while all the
best land and water aquifers would be in Israeli hands. Israel would also
"temporarily" hold an additional 10 percent of West Bank land. (Given that
Barak had not carried out the previous withdrawals to which Israel had
committed, Palestinian scepticism regarding "temporary" Israeli occupation
is not surprising.) It's a myth, Malley wrote,39 that "Israel's offer met
most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations" and a myth as
well that the "Palestinians made no concession of their own." Some Israeli
analysts made a similar assessment. For example, influential commentator
Ze'ev Schiff wrote that, to Palestinians, "the prospect of being able to
establish a viable state was fading right before their eyes. They were
confronted with an intolerable set of options: to agree to the spreading
occupation ... or to set up wretched Bantustans, or to launch an
What caused the second Intifada?
On September 28, 2000 Ariel Sharon, then a member of Parliament, accompanied
by a thousand-strong security force, paid a provocative visit approved by
Barak to the site of the Al Aqsa mosque. The next day Barak sent another
large force of police and soldiers to the area and, when the anticipated
rock throwing by some Palestinians occurred, the heavily-augmented police
responded with lethal fire, killing four and wounding hundreds. Thus began
the second Intifada.
The underlying cause was the tremendous anger and frustration among the
population of the Occupied Territories, who saw things getting worse, not
better, under Oslo, whose hopes had been shattered, and whose patience after
33 years of occupation had reached the boiling point.
Who is Ariel Sharon?
Sharon was the commander of an Israeli force that massacred some seventy
civilians in the Jordanian village of Qibya in 1953. He was Defense Minister
in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon, causing the deaths of 17,000
civilians. In September 1982, Lebanese forces allied to Israel slaughtered
hundreds of Palestinian non- combatants in the Sabra and Shitila refugee
camps, a crime for which an Israeli commission found Sharon to bear indirect
responsibility. As Housing Minister in various Israeli governments, Sharon
vigorously promoted the settlements in the Occupied Territories. In January
2001, he took office as Prime Minister.
How did Israel respond to this second Intifada?
Israeli security forces responded to Palestinian demonstrations with lethal
force even though, as a UN investigation reported, at these demonstrations
the Israeli Defense Forces, "endured not a single serious casualty."41 Some
Palestinians proceeded to arm themselves, and the killing escalated, with
deaths on both sides, though the victims were disproportionately
Palestinians. In November 2001, there was a week-long lull in the fighting.
Sharon then ordered the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud,
which, as everyone predicted, led to a rash of terror bombings, which in
turn Sharon used as justification for further assaults on the PA.42 By March
2002, Amnesty International reported that more than 1000 Palestinians had
been killed. "Israeli security services have killed Palestinians, including
more than 200 children, unlawfully, by shelling and bombing residential
areas, random or targeted shooting, especially near checkpoints and borders,
by extrajudicial executions and during demonstrations."43
Palestinian suicide bombings have targeted civilians. Amnesty International
commented: "These actions are shocking. Yet they can never justify the human
rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions which, over
the past 18 months, have been committed daily, hourly, even every minute, by
the Israeli authorities against Palestinians. Israeli forces have
consistently carried out killings when no lives were in danger." Medical
personnel have been attacked and ambulances, including those of the Red
Cross, "have been consistently shot at."44 Wounded people have been denied
medical treatment. Israel has carried out targeted assassinations (sometimes
the targets were probably connected to terrorism, sometimes not,45 but all
of these extrajudicial executions have been condemned by human rights
The Israeli government criticized Arafat for not cracking down harder on
terrorists and then responded by attacking his security forces, who might
have allowed him to crack down, and restricting him to his compound in
Israeli opinion became sharply polarized. At the same time that hundreds of
military reservists have declared their refusal to serve in the West Bank
and Gaza (www.couragetorefuse.org), polls show 46% of Israelis favour
forcibly expelling all Palestinians from the Occupied Territories.46
What has U.S. policy been?
U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic support has made possible the
Israeli repression of the previous year and a half.
Much of the weaponry Israel has been using in its attacks on Palestinians
either was made in the United States (F-16s, attack helicopters, rockets,
grenade launchers, Caterpillar bulldozers, airburst shells, M-40 ground
launchers) or made in Israel with U.S. Department of Defense research and
development funding (the Merkava tank).
On March 26, 2001, the Security Council considered a resolution to establish
an international presence in the Occupied Territories as a way to prevent
human rights violations. The United States vetoed the resolution. Because
Israel did not want the U.S. to get involved diplomatically, Washington did
not name a special envoy to the region, General Zinni, until November 2001,
more than a year after the Intifada began. Bush met four times with Sharon
during the Intifada, never with Arafat. In February 2002, Vice President
Cheney declared that Israel could "hang" Arafat.47
What caused the current crisis?
As the Arab League was meeting to endorse a Saudi peace proposal --
recognition of Israel in return for full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967
borders -- a Hamas suicide bomber struck. Sharon, no doubt fearing a
groundswell of support for the Arab League position, responded with massive
force, breaking into Arafat's compound, confining him to several rooms. Then
there were major invasions of all the Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
There are many Palestinian casualties, though because Israel has kept
reporters out, their extent is not known.
In the early days of Sharon's offensive, Bush pointedly refused to criticize
the Israeli action, reserving all his condemnation for Arafat, who,
surrounded in a few rooms, was said to not be doing enough to stop
terrorism. As demonstrations in the Arab world, especially in pro-U.S.
Jordan and Egypt, threatened to destabilize the entire region, Bush finally
called on Israel to withdraw from the cities. Sharon, recognizing that the
U.S. "demand" was uncoupled from any threat of consequences, kept up his
Is there a way out?
A solution along the lines of the international consensus -- Israeli
withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a truly
independent and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with its
capital in East Jerusalem -- remains feasible. It needs only the backing of
the United States and Israel.
Don't the Arabs already have 22 states? Why do they need another one?
Not all Arabs are the same. That other Arabs may already have their right of
self- determination does not take away from Palestinians' basic rights. The
fact that many Palestinians live in Jordan and have considerable influence
and rights there, doesn't mean that the millions of Palestinians living
under Israeli occupation or who were expelled from their homes and are now
in refugee camps aren't entitled to their rights -- any more than the fact
that there are a lot of Jews in the U.S., where they have considerable
influence and rights, means that Israeli Jews should be packed off across
How can terrorists be given a state?
If people whose independence movements use terrorism are not entitled to a
state, then many current-day states would be illegitimate, not the least of
them being Israel, whose independence struggle involved frequent terrorism
Won't an independent Palestinian state threaten Israeli security?
Conquerors frequently justify their conquests by claiming security needs.
This was the argument Israel gave for years why it couldn't return the Sinai
to Egypt or pull out of Lebanon. Both of these were done, however, and
Israel's security was enhanced rather than harmed. True, the Oslo Accords,
which turned over disconnected swatches of territory to Palestinian
administration, may not have improved Israeli security. But as Shimon Peres,
one of the architects of the Oslo agreement and Sharon's current Foreign
Minister acknowledged, Oslo was flawed from the start. "Today we discover
that autonomy puts the Palestinians in a worse situation." The second
Intifada could have been avoided, Peres said, if the Palestinians had had a
state from the outset. "We cannot keep three and a half million Palestinians
under siege without income, oppressed, poor, densely populated, near
starvation."48 Israel is the region's only nuclear power. Beyond that, it is
the strongest military power in the Middle East. Surely it cannot need to
occupy neighbouring territory in order to achieve security. Nothing would
better guarantee the Israeli people peace and security than pulling out of
the Occupied Territories.
Isn't the Palestinian demand for the right of return just a ploy to destroy
Allowing people who have been expelled from their homes the right to return
is hardly an extreme demand. Obviously this can't mean throwing out people
who have been living in these homes for many years now, and would need to be
carefully worked out. Both Palestinian officials and the Arab League have
indicated that in their view the right of return should be implemented in a
way that would not create a demographic problem for Israel.49 Of course, one
could reasonably argue that an officially Jewish state is problematic on
basic democratic grounds. (Why should a Jew born in Brooklyn have a right to
"return" to Israel while a Palestinian born in Haifa does not?) In any
event, however, neither the Arab League nor Arafat have raised this
Don't Palestinians just view their own state as the first step in
eliminating Israel entirely?
Hamas and a few other, smaller Palestinian groups object not just to the
occupation but to the very existence of Israel. But the Hamas et al.
position is a distinctly minority sentiment among Palestinians, who are a
largely secular community that has endorsed a two-state settlement. To be
sure, Hamas has been growing in strength as a result of the inability of the
Palestinian Authority to deliver a better life for Palestinians. If there
were a truly independent Palestinian state, one can assume that Hamas would
find far fewer volunteers for its suicide squads. It must be acknowledged,
though, that the longer the mutual terror continues, the harder it will be
to achieve long term peace.
Is a two-state solution just?
There is a broad international consensus on a two-state solution, along the
lines of the Saudi peace proposal. Such a solution is by no means ideal.
Palestine is a small territory to be divided into two states; it forms a
natural economic unit. An Israeli state that discriminates in favour of Jews
and a Palestinian state that will probably be equally discriminatory will
depart substantially from a just outcome. What's needed is a single secular
state that allows substantial autonomy to both national communities,
something along the lines of the bi-national state proposed before 1948.
This outcome, however, does not seem imminent. A two-state solution may be
the temporary measure that will provide a modicum of justice and allow Jews
and Palestinians to move peacefully forward to a more just future.
Stephen R. Shalom teaches political science at William Paterson University
and is the author of Imperial Alibis (South End Press).
1. As Zionist writer Ahad Ha'am put it, his fellow Jews "treat the Arabs
with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them
without cause, and even boast of these deeds." Quoted in Jews For Justice in
The Middle East, The Origin of the Palestine- Israeli conflict, 3rd ed.,
P.O. Box 14561, Berkeley, CA, 94712, available at
2. . Norman G. Finkelstein, "A Land Without a People: Joan Peters's
'Wilderness' Myth," in Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict,
New York: Verso, 1995, pp. 21-50. return
3. See the sources cited by Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United
States, Israel and the Palestinians, updated edition, Cambridge: South End
Press, 1999, p. 169n10. return
4. Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, New York:
Pantheon, 1987, pp. 66-67. return
5. Quoted in Jerome Slater, "What Went Wrong? The Collapse of the
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process," Political Science Quarterly, vol. 116,
no. 2, 2001, p. 174. return
6. Flapan, pp. 55, 73-77. return
7. Flapan, pp. 153-86. return
8. Flapan, pp. 187-199. return
9. Christopher Hitchens, "Broadcasts," in Blaming the Victims: Spurious
Scholarship and the Palestinian Question, ed. Edward W. Said and Christopher
Hitchens, New York: Verso, 1988, pp. 73-83. return
10. Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987; Norman G. Finkelstein, "'Born of
War, Not By Design," in Finkelstein, Image and Reality..., pp. 51-87. return
11. Slater, pp. 173-74. return
12. See Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994, pp. 308-11; and sources in Noam
Chomsky, Towards a New Cold War, New York: Pantheon, 1982, p. 462n33. return
13. Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Contorl of a National
Minority, University of Texas, 1980; Human Rights Watch, Second Class:
Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel's Schools, Sept.
2001, https://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/. On Israeli-Arab
"unrecognised" villages, where some 100,000 people are forced to live
without basic government services, including electricity and water, see
14. Charles D. Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 4th ed.,
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001, pp. 237-38. return
15. John Dugard, Kamal Hossain, and Richard Falk, "Question of The Violation
of Human Rights in The Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine,"
Report of the human rights inquiry commission established pursuant to
Commission resolution S-5/1 of 19 October 2000, E/CN.4/2001/121, 16 March
2001, para 29. return
16. Quoted in Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, p. 100. return
17. Smith, pp. 306, 334n10. return
18. Henry Kissinger, White House Years, Boston: Little, Brown, 1979, p. 376.
19. Chomsky, Fateful Triangle, chap 3, esp. p. 67. return
20. Smith, pp. 418-21. return
21. Smith, pp. 422-24. return
22. Richard Sale, "Israel gave major aid to Hamas," UPI, Feb. 24, 2001.
23. Geoffrey Aronson, "Recapitulating the Redeployments: The Israel-PLO
'Interim Agreements'," Information Brief No. 32, Center for Policy Analysis,
27 April 2000. return
24. Slater, p. 177, citing speech to Knesset of 5 October 1995, printed in
Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories 5 (November 1995).
25. Slater, p. 178n9, quoting Ha'aretz, 7 March 1997. return
26. Slater, p. 178n9, quoting Report of the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences, Israeli-Palestinian Security,1995. return
27. Slater, p. 179. return
28. Smith, p. 490. return
29. Slater, pp. 180-81. return
30. Edward Said, "Palestinians under Siege," in The New Intifada: Resisting
Israel's Apartheid, ed. Roane Carey, New York: Verso, 2001, p. 29; Allegra
Pacheco, "Flouting Convention: The Oslo Agreements," in Carey, p. 189.
31. Sara Roy, "Decline and Disfigurement: The Palestinian Economy After
Oslo," in Carey, p. 95; Pacheco, p. 187. return
32. Roy, p. 95. return
33. Roy, p. 101. return
34. CIA World Factbook 2001. return
35. Roy, pp. 98-100. return
36. Clyde R. Mark, Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance, Updated March 15, 2002,
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, Congressional Research Service, The Library of
Congress, Order Code IB85066. Available at
37. See the list of vetoed Security Council resolutions on Palestine at
38. Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors," New
York Review of Books, August 9, 2001. See also Deborah Sontag, "Quest for
Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed," New York Times, 26 July 2001, p. A1;
and the critique of the Barak offer on the website of the "Peace Bloc," Gush
Shalom, https://www.gush-shalom.org. return
39. New York Times, July 8, 2001. return
40. Slater, 184, citing Ha'aretz, 24 November 2000. return
41. Dugard et al., para. 22. return
42. Suzanne Goldenberg, "Middle East: Israeli strikes dim hopes for peace
mission: Sharon accused of trying to sabotage visit," Guardian, Nov. 26,
2001, p. 6. return
43. Amnesty International, 58th UN Commission on Human Rights (2002),
Background Briefing, IOR 41/004/2002, March 11, 2002. return
44. AI statement before Commission on Human Rights, March 26, 2002, MDE
45. Dugard et al., paras. 56, 62, 64. return
46. Ha'aretz, March 12, 2002. On the reservists, see
47. Clyde Mark, Palestinians and Middle East Peace: Issues for the United
States, Updated March 19, 2002, Congressional Research Service, The Library
of Congress, Order Code IB92052. return
48. Jason Keyser, "Peres Says Mideast Peace Process Flawed >From Outset,"
Associated Press, Feb. 21, 2002. return
49. See Arafat, New York Times, Feb. 3, 2002, and Dugard et al., para. 31
for further discussion. return
50. For discussion of the right of return, see Palestinian Refugees: The
Right of Return, ed. Naseer Aruri, London: Pluto, 2001. return
I wish I could familiarize myself more with the history of the middle east. But between Canadian, American, and European history I hardly have time for researching school papers as it is.
Although I am beginning to see how even someone like King Abdullah, who by all accounts has been educated in the west and been exposed to democratic principles, would prefer to head an authoritarian regime. He's certainly not as helpless in the matter as I thought he was. But what exactly is he afraid of? That his people will overthrow him if he gives them more rights and freedoms?
The Palestinians terrorists are just that--terrorists who think ]nothing of blowing up discos, murdering toddlers in strollers and blowing up weddings. They should not be rewarded with a state besides Jordan, their Palestinian state which was stolen by the hashemites. BTW, Judea and Samaria have been ceded by Jordan to Israel, as Gaza has been by Egypt--so the Geneva convention doesn't apply. But I am happy to drop the subject, and get on with Rania's shoes.
Fourthly, there wouldn't be militants if there was no occupation. If you want to talk about terrorism, we can talk about terrorism carried out by the IDF, those interloper setlers, and Israeli leaders -- Begin, Meir, Shamir, Rabin, and Sharon were all internationally known as terrorists in their time.Moreover, terrorism comes in all different forms and variations. Fifthly, Jordan was never a Palestinian state. I would suggest you back and re-read history. You may want to start off with Rabbi Shalom's article above, which is backed up by citations (as oposed to mere ideology). Historic Palestine was divided into two states well after Jordan (a Beduoin state) was created.
Sixthly, it would, inddeed, be best that you drop the subject as this is one argument you will not win. No amount of selective revisionism will change historical facts. And again, there is no such place as Judea and Samaria. It is that kind of extremism that perpetuates violence in the region.
Most of my Canadian history courses, including the one at present, focus on pre as well as post confederation. I've discovered that Canadian history certainly has its share of humourous moments..we've had some colourful personalities as our leaders. John A. Macdonald for one.
As for European, I love British history. Ofcourse the monarchy's my favourite aspect. I find the Tudors especially fascinating and Elizabeth I has to be the historical figure I like the most. Im also taking French and Islamic history at present.
So basically, im all over the place. Hopefully i'll be able to continue that trend with my Masters...whenever that'll be.
Of course there is a Judea and Samaria--they are part of the modern state of Israel. Perhaps you'd better pull out a map. Those lands were captured in a war. ANd guess what--to the victor goes the spoils--course, before Israel put in sewage, and electricity, and irrigationm, and reclaimed the lands, there wasn't much "spoils"--other than Jewish and Christian holy sites which had been destroyed or forbidden to worshippers. And Jordan was, and is, a Palestinian state--who do you think comprises most Jordanians? I am happy to agree to disagree with you and drop the subject if you'd like.
Most of my Canadian history courses, including the one at present, focus on pre as well as post confederation. I've discovered that Canadian history certainly has its share of humourous moments..we've had some colourful personalities as our leaders. John A. Macdonald for one.
As for European, I love British history. Ofcourse the monarchy's my favourite aspect. I find the Tudors especially fascinating and Elizabeth I has to be the historical figure I like the most. Im also taking French and Islamic history at present.
So basically, im all over the place. Hopefully i'll be able to continue that trend with my Masters...whenever that'll be.
It sounds like we have some similar interests. We're probably in the same age group too. I'd love to talk about Canadian History one day.
It sounds like we have some similar interests. We're probably in the same age group too. I'd love to talk about Canadian and Islamic History one day (there sure are a lot of Canadians on this board).
i think you give queen rinai more than she deserve shes so ugly i dont like her at all ,speacially when she want to be a queen how loves her people becuse shes not shes so selfish and looks like she dont like anyone eccapt herself like playing lottary with KA
Why is the Palestinian Authority objecting to Sharon's decision to "disengage"? It's because they know they can't financially support the Palestinian people after such a much. Why can't their Arab neighbors step in to take on all the welfare payments that Israel makes to the West Bank and Gaza? They don't want to. None of the other Arab states want to deal with Arafat. Within Arafat's inner circle are Islamic extremists that would undermine their own regimes. Not even Jordan's KA want the Palestinians. He fears the Israeli "Wall" because it will mean that more Palestinians will infiltrate into Jordan. Palestinians do nothing to help their cause by killing innocent people, or publicly supporting groups like Al-Qaeda, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, Ansar Al-Islam etc.
Not having a homeland is no easy thing; when you have no home you are easily abused. The Kurds are goings through that, the Assyrians are going through that, the Gypsies are going through that, and the Jewish people went through that for 2,000 years and have finally overcome. If the Palestinians want a state, they should demand that the Hashemites give them back their land, and send the Hashemite clan packing back to Mecca and the Hejaz. KA has a good chance of becoming King of Arabia, once the people in Saudi Arabia get fed up with their own royal family and throw them out.
No amount of UN resolutions can affect the will of G-d. If He wants a State of Israel, there will be one, and there is one. If He wants a Palestinian state there will be one. Now back to Rania's shoes. If we want to get more political than this then create another thread.
I think we need to stay in focus here. The last series of posts has been very informative in terms of the exchange of information and opinions, but the latter few posts about the Middle Eastern conflict is way beyond the breadth of the original, helpful discussion.
I think the Middle Eastern conflict is way beyond even the scope of this discussion, historically, politically, socially and culturally.
And even for all her extravagances, we cannot blame Rania's Chanel suits for that, too. ;)
Can we maybe move the thread to somewhere else so that it may continue Alexandria?
I don't have a problem with this discussion, it's just that the last few posts have evolved into discussion of Middle Eastern conflict, politics, policies, history, etc., that are not particularly relevant to royalty.
And while I realize that we have several members who have studied history extensively and have degrees in this field, and who may provide insight into the history and present problems of this area, discussion of Palestine/Israeli conflict, etc. is straying too far away from the original intent of this topic and the latter discussion.
There has been concern expressed that this discussion may become too political, and as long as it stays clean - i.e. no profanities, name calling, or accusations and allegations against nations or individuals without proof - then I don't have a problem with this discussion continuing.
But I just want to make that clear to those individuals who wish to continue along this topic. This should be a civil discussion and exchange of information, opinions and suggestions for remedies, etc.
Thank you, Alexandria. I don't have anything to hide, so I will just say that I am the one that requsted that an administrator review the posts, just to keep things on the up and up. It's not that I want the thread to be closed per se, as it is a very interesting, erudite discssion. It's just that IME, whenever this conflict is discussed by anyone, emotions get very high on both sides. I certainly don't want anybody to be upset. Thus I thought it best to get an 'outside' opinion.
Asma, Synthia, et al. anything to add that I'v missed?
1. I am absolutely a Zionist and proud of it! All freedom loving people should be Zionists--those that believe the Jewish people should have a homeland in their traditional home area--Jerusalem and environs.
2. Jordan is absolutely 70% of the British mandate of Palestine--pick up a map Sean.
3. The Palestinians continue to preach destruction of Israel, teach their kids to be suicide bombers, and have trading cards with the murderers of school children on them. Their maps and textbooks do not show Israel as existing at all.
4. Israel declared its independence regardless of the UN; btw, Israel is not in violation of *any* resolutions--not that the UN has *any* moral weight whatsover.
5. Since there never was a country of "Palestine," perhaps you need to rethink your position on the "country." It is terrible how Arafat tortures his own people--but you have the 22 Arab states who finance him to thank for that, as well as the UN, which has kept them living in squalor for 50 years.
6. No extremists in Arafat's circle? I call the murderers of toddlers, teens at discos, babies in their strollers extremists---and they are all in Arafat's circle.
As I have said, I am happy to drop the subject as long as no further misleading statements are posted here.
I won't respond to the rest of your post, as it speaks for itself and accounts for your obvious biases.
Have a great Sunday everyone (you, too Bubette)!!! I'm off to enjoy my day!
It has happened in virtually every war. Especially here, where the Palestinians were told to leave by their own leaders--it's time for their own leaders to take responsibility. 10s if not 100 of million of people were displaced after WWII--it happens, it's not ethnic cleansing, and people have all managed to move on with their lives. The Palestinian leadership though, prefers to kill, maim and torture and suppress basic human rights. It doesn't seem different from any other Arab leadership now, does it?
It has happened in virtually every war. Especially here, where the Palestinians were told to leave by their own leaders--it's time for their own leaders to take responsibility. 10s if not 100 of million of people were displaced after WWII--it happens, it's not ethnic cleansing, and people have all managed to move on with their lives. The Palestinian leadership though, prefers to kill, maim and torture and suppress basic human rights. It doesn't seem different from any other Arab leadership now, does it? [/b][/quote]
Um, actually it is ethnic cleansing. That's what you all it when an entire ethnic group is transferred by the politically and/or economically more powerful group. Advocating such a thing is, IMO, a hate crime. What's more, I can not believe that you are advocagting that the atrocities of WW II should be repeated. Just because the Nazis did it to the Jews and the Russians did it to other minorities (such as the Chechens) doesn't mean it is okay for Israel to do it today (e.g. the US used nulear weapons during WW II. It doens't mean that it is okay for India and Pakistan to use them against one another simply because they both lay claims to Kashmir).
Uh, no, it's called realities of life. The Palestinians up and left--it's not Israel's faulth the 22 Arab countries forbid them citizenship, property rights, or to work in most fields, as in Lebanon. And I'm not saying they should be forced to leave--I'm saying they should be allowed to leave--it's just the Arab countries won't let them. What do you think happened to much of central and eastern Europe's population after WWII? They relocated.
And what is wrong with using atomic weapons? War is necessary; atomic weapons are/were necessary at that time, and may be in the future.
Anyone who advocates the use of atomic weapons is unreasonable and, IMO, insane. Sorry if that sounds harsh. Even Pentagon hawks don't advocate this. That's why there is such a emphasis on nuclear non-proliferation.
I respect your differing view point on this matter but can you try to tone down making Arafat and Hezbollah good guys? No extremists in his inner circle? He is fighting for them? Hezbollah provides services to those poor Palestinian people? Gee - what a great bunch of people! Why are those big, bad Israelis picking on such a good group of people? Can't be because they are terrorists or anything like that, could it?
And since everyone is scrutinizing Queen Rania's spending habits when her country has millions of poor people, shall we also scrutinize Arafat's wife? Hmmm...I remember reading somewhere about a Paris apartment and I'm sure she has the finest clothes as well. Does anyone have any stats on her spending and Arafat's wealth?
You accuse the Israelis of ethnic cleansing. Didn't ethnic cleansing occur in your country too, when the native americans were shifted to reservations so that they would not pose a threat to the white population? More than any other nations Canada and the U.S. are guilty of ethnic cleansing. How come no one speaks about that injustice, since you are so passionate about human rights?
Reading these posts in a last few days, I was thankfully grasping less known information regarding issues not even remotely superficial as this thread's title may of suggested at the beginning.
Vivid, intense and mostly well argumented debate on Middle East's salient issues enabled excellent insight to various social, cultural, political, geopolitical and historical problems and aspects of life in this tormented region, and revealed some of participants' admirable knowledge at these fields as well as their sincere interest, care and passion for what they believe in.
Indeed, I have learned a lot and I am grateful for that.
Unfortunately, I have also learned that we failed in understanding the most valuable and important lessons that history teaches us.
Without right and therefore without any attention to debate, judge or take sides:
I don't believe that language of hate, intolerance and prejudice would do any good to anyone; I don't believe that repression is a good answer to repression, nor that violence of any kind is a solution for any sort of problem; I don't believe that there are 'right' hands for the weapons of mass-destruction to be placed into; I don't believe in one side truth;
I do believe in communication, understanding and tolerance or at least in effort to achieve them; I do believe that there is always a peaceful solution if there is a good will and open mind involved in a search; I do believe in every person's right to live dignified life;
I want to believe in laws equal for all and equally respected by all; I want to believe that all parents love their children; I want to believe that common sense, love and tolerance will prevail.
On this Forum at least. After all, reaching a point when we can agree on the fact that we disagree, and being able to treat the other side respectfully along the way, despite the differences - is a step forward. Thank you.
If you want to scrutinize Suha, go ahead. She has a Paris apartment, but her family is rich. She grew up in France and attended the Sorbonne at the University of Paris. We can also talk about BB Netanyahu and his wife Sara. She too has quite the reputation and we all know about BB Netanyahu's corruption. Ariel Sharon and his sons are being investigated too. So corruption, lying and theft are not just Arab problems. Whether corrupt or not, I've seen the way Arafat lives. He sleeps in a mettle frame bed in a small room. The only decor is a picture of his daughter in a platic frame.
Where do you have get all this information?
I mean I found it very interesting, when ppl did not only critisize arab leaders.
Can you give some more information about Suha Arafat? Because the western media is just saying, that she has stolen millions of the palestinians, that she have a lavish lfestyle etc...
And what is about the relationship between Arafat and Suha?
My apologies then. I just wasn't sure. :flower:
If you are so against terrorism, you should also be against State sponsored terrorism, which Israel engages in daily. Again, I can cite you hundreds of examples if you so wish. I do not condone violence (I believe human life is sacrosanct), but having seen how they are treated, I do understand what would drive the Palestinians to such depths of despair. Your argument of not being trusted can be used against the Israelis. Cosntant seize fires, but then the displacing of civilians for settlements, the diverting of water, the confiscatio of farm lands for settlers, the extra judicial assassinations, the torture, the breaking of bones of young Palestinian boys with huge stones by soldiers (I've seen it with my own two eyes), the dropping of 2000 pound bombs into the most densely populated area on earth. The list is endless. The fact of the matter is that Israel has done nothing to make peace. As one previous poster even acknowledged, ethnic cleansing or "transfer" is the preferred solution. This has been the case since the inception of Israel. Indeed, Theodre Herzl, the founder of Zionism, even said so at at the turn of the century.
All the best.
WHAT HAPPENED TO RANIA'S GOLD SHOES....AT FIRST THE CONTROVERSY WAS INTERESTED...NOW ITS KIND OF BORING...CRITICIZING BACK AND FORTH AND I DONT THINK ANYONE IS ACTUALLY LISTENING TO THE OTHER SIDE..WHAT A TRAGEDY.....
Former Israel PM Netenyahu and his wife were also alleged to have stolen millions from their people. Thehy were even investigated. You may want to search the net for that (just type in Netenyahu + theft or Netenyahu + stealing and investigation into Google). Sharon and his sons are being investigated too.
Hope that answers some of your questions.
I admire your articulated answers & the intelligent way you answer back.
Straight to the point with supported facts. I studied history (not my major though) and read the news & reports from many sources. You are absolutely RIGHT... & you are well informed. I am enjoying the debate here.
Humble, Phd. in Information Sciences.
Thank you, Humble. I appreciate your kind words. It really means a lot to me.
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