Monday, May 15, 2006

Either return..or return

This month Palestinians mark the 58th year of their ongoing dispossession.

58 years since Yousuf's grandparents were forced out of their villages of Wa'arat al-Sirris and al-Yajur, both of which were completely destroyed and ethnically cleansed.

Now this fourth generation carries on the torch of dispossession; Like his father and grandparents before him, Yousuf, too, is a refugee. And like it or not-he, and the millions like him, will not "disappear", much as the government of Israel would like them to, whilst trying its utmost to render their return unfeasible and their plight irrelevant: it lives on. And American passport or not, "Palestinian" is stamped on his forehead (and in my identity document, to which he is added and thus rendered "Palestinian", not "American", by Israeli forces, meaning he is not alloweed to return or visit Haifa)... as the Palestinian Gazan poet Haroon Hashim Rasheed said.. "Filisteeni ana Filisteeni..naqashtu ismee ala kulil mayadeeni"

There is so much to write and say on the occasion of al-Nakba, and what it means to each of us as Palestinians. I decided to search my archive for three pieces I wrote last year while visiting Yassine's refugee camp and others like it in Lebanon.

The first is an interview with the veritible godfather of right of return, Dr. Salman Abu Sitta; the others are features, one on the plight of Palestinai refugees in Lebano, the other about a Palestinian heritage museum in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon-and the amazing man who runs it. His words echo stronger than mine could, at least right now.

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta: Palestinian Right of Return is feasible

"There is nothing in international law or in our sense of morality that says racist or ethnic exclusive considerations should overrule principles of justice."

"By what scale or measure is it that the refugees in Gaza live only five kilometres away from their homes, to which they cannot return, and Israel is seeking out obscure tribes in India and Guatemala, and bringing them over in a hurry to populate the land which belongs to the refugees?"

"[W]e have found by looking at maps, both old and new, that 90% of village sites are still vacant today."

Safeguarding Palestine's Past

Hidden away in a squalid Palestinian refugee camp is a historical treasure trove that keeps the dreams of many alive.

In a corner of the Palestinian refugee camp of Mashook in southern Lebanon, 68-year-old Muhammad Dakwar shows the way into a dusky two-room gallery that he guards with his life.

Inside, ragged pieces of traditional Palestinian garments hang on thin metal racks; decades-old clay pottery and copper plates are neatly arranged on shelves amid a melange of traditional Palestinian household items.

Rustically preserved samples of Palestinian earth - soil, rocks, and olive tree branches - are displayed on poster boards, crudely taped and labelled according to city or village of origin.

All are part of what Dakwar says is the only Palestinian museum in exile, and by some estimates, the only Palestinian heritage museum in the world.

Dakwar insists on using the year 1948 - the date of the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, as a benchmark for dating items on display.

"This is no coincidence, to centre the museum around 1948," he explains eruditely. "I want to make sure people forever remember this date and what it means for Palestinians. This is part of the museum's purpose."

[See link for rest of story...]

Lebanon's Palestinians keep dream of return alive

Um Muneer Utoor fought back tears through wistful eyes as she told of a dream in which she was returning home to Palestine.
In it, the 67-year-old refugee was going back to her house just behind a young almond tree on a small, breezy hill in the village of Jish.

"Just the way I remember it when I was little," she recalled.

And for a moment, Um Muneer's eyes were not so sad.

Then she woke up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if Israel never agrees to Return. What then?

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, there is no "if" about it. Israel will never let them into the "green line". which means that they either settle for one of the other options that are offred.
Or Leila's great-great........great
chuldren will still "carry on the torch of dispossession".
What a sad prospect. Which is why I hope they see sense.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

Sense is not forgetting the Catastophe, of remembering the houses the keys of which you still have.

Never again means never again to anyone.

As I said before, no one expected apartheid-era South Africa to be relegated to irrelevance in my lifetime certainly, yet I love typing the phrase apartheid-era South Africa as a historical relic

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have a key, but the door is not there, the house is not there, the very hill is not there any more. The face of the land had changed beyond recognition.
Keep the key, keep the memory, but start living in the now, instead of putting life "on hold" until some impossible event in some imaginary future.
But if not, if you prefer to go on waving keys to non-existant doors, well- that means you are stuck in a limbo out of your own choice. Which is your right, of course. But then don't come complaining to the world about your situation. It is totally out of your own making.

Do you know what happened in 1947-48?
The UN decided to partition the land into a jewish and an Arab states. The Jews agreed and announced a Jewish state. The Arabs refused and started a war, which they lost. The refugees are a result of that war.
And Israel is no South Africa, since it exsists by a legal decision of the UN.
So if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath about Israel obliging you and disapearing off the face of the earth... Believe me, We are here to stay.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Abu-Issa said...


What doesn't make sense is a dispossessed people "carrying on the torch of dispossession" and then coming back after 2000 years to dispossess those who stayed!


12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That only shows me that you do not know a lot about the history of the Jews.
It is a ve--ry long story but I will try to explain in short:

The Jews did not "carry torches of dispossesion". Everywhere they went (which is most of the world) they tried to settle down and live their lives as normally as possible. Yes, they remembered Jerusalem and the Land-of_Israel and hoped and prayed to go back thereone day. But this was not instead, or at the expense of life in the place and time they were in. And this is what I meant when I said "keep the key, keep the memory", But Live Here and Now!

As for the coming back after 2000 years, it was only after extreme persecution, the details of which are too long to go into here. But there came a point where the Jews just had to do something about this continued misery of 2000 years. And so they came back to be an independent nation once more. not with any intent to dispossess anyone, but rather to live side by side. (THE land was not heavily populated then). But the Arabs (some of whom may be "those who stayed" and many others are "those who arrived over the years...) did not exactly welcome the Jews, and that is an understatement... The results are known.
We did not start it. It was self defense, and nothing that others would not have done in the same situation.

So what is it to be- 2000 years of Palestinian misery in the hope of a "return", or two independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and prosperity?

And in the meantime- goodnight.

1:41 AM  
Blogger Christopher Brown said...

58 years later, and Israeli still can't figure out what the hell they did wrong! Maybe they need someone to draw them a picture.

2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you wish to speak of dispossession, you must start with the first act of dispossession in this bloody conflict. That of 1929, the dispossession of the Jews of Hebron. Add the dispossession of the Jews of the old city of Jerusalem in 1948, which happened at the very same time as Arabs were dispossessed of homes on the other side of the line of control. Add in the dispossession of Jews all over the Arab World, instigated by the Palestinian leadership, which drove so many into Israel in the ensuing decades. For good measure throw in Saddam Hussein's dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Kurds, at a time when the Palestinian public and leadership were giving Saddam their support, thereby making themselves complicit. And while we're at it, there is the slow dispossession of French Jews going on right now. Which again is being instigated by Palestinians.

All this put together sharply reduces the moral standing from which Palestinians can complain about their losses. Palestinians can (and mostly do) pretend none of this happened, or that none of this matters, since those were Jews and Kurds who clearly had it coming. In which case you will continue to receive no sympathy and no aid from me and from many other people.

Or you can gather up the nerve, look at these disgracing details, get a sense of perspective, and maybe finally talk about resolving this conflict in a sensible fashion. Just remember you are not the only ones who were dispossessed out there. That you dished out plenty of this bitter meal yourselves.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's very interesting to see the way you use your little son (who has no idea what your writing about)as "pawn". meaning that your trying create some sort of picture, (through taking some true facts, expounding, magnefying it etc.) i.e.

..."And American passport or not, "Palestinian" is stamped on his forehead (and in my identity document, to which he is added and thus rendered "Palestinian", not "American", by Israeli forces, meaning he is not alloweed to return or visit Haifa)...

.....meanwile your distorting these facts from it's whole picture. making "as if", because he is palestinian he'll not be allowed to Haifa, (making it sound insane that israeli's will not let this little (truthfully)innocent kid in.)maybe look at why this came, did you hear the news that there are people from your area coming into israel with bombs blowing up innocent people. -(and don't bring me the response that the israeli's do the same! as you know israel has an enemy target wich might kill the "innocent palestinian"(just note: that the terorist use them as human sheild(killing two birds with one stone(media,the obvious reason)not that it's right but comeon do you really not see the difference?!)- now how do you expect these israeli's to let anyone through? do you know that there are EVEN young girls blowing them selves up!!!
so what do YOU suggest they should do?? STOP using your son as a "PAWN" to make the israeli's the way you make them try to sound.


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christopher Brown, you said:

"58 years later, and Israeli still can't figure out what the hell they did wrong! Maybe they need someone to draw them a picture"

Well, go ahead Chris, draw me a (verbal) picture of your version of events, I'm listening.
Just make sure to base your picture on FACTS, not slogans. Slogans are boring, and beyond being good for shouting matches where the sides take out some of their aggresion, they are not good for anything.
I'm serious- state your side of the story in a factual way, and maybe we can have a reasonable discussion here.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of this bullshit that anyone can be the godfather of the RoR. Or that a journalist feels she has the wherewithal to describe or even attempt to describe what the Nakba means to anyone other than herself. I'm sick, sick, sick of posturing self-righteous shits speaking on my behalf. The Nakba is HUGE in all of our lives, especially those of us withOUT any papers. The RoR mafia in NorthAmerica, the one that is trying to set the parameters of how we talk about Palestine needs to acknowledge the PRIVILEGES of DOCUMENTATION. Those of us ROTTING in Lebanon have every right to be angry at those who think they can SPEAK in my our name. The Right of Return movement in the US and the UK is bankrupt. It is in shambles. It gets orders from decrepit old men in Beirut (il-Hakim and his minions) and no longer gives a damn what Palestinians living less than 500 miles from their old homes actually feel, or want, or desire. We are just pawns in their passion plays. Based in Nebraska or Vancouver or whenever the hell they operate from, hold silly ass conventions every year where WHITE people get to vote on RoR.
I'm just sick of it.
Al godfather al.
It is time he played with his grandchildren.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:22
I don't see that Layla spoke on anyone's behalf but her own family?? Also, if I am not mistaken, she does not have an American passport (see her previous posts)... only her 2 year old who was born there. Neither does her husband (Lebanese refugee document).

Have you heard of Karma Nabulsi's Civitas project -empowering and giving voice and citizenship to Palestinian refugees in camps?

I think it s good SOMEONE is trying to organize and reprsent the movement. It is your right ot feel you are not properly represented. Maybe its time to get involved and make your voice heard? How DO you feel?

p.s. abu sitta is also a refugee from beer il sabi3.


5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very interesting reading all the comments. The participation and complicity of Palestinian Arabs in the dispossession of Jews was very well-documented.

One neglected item is that the vast majority of the "dispossessed" Palestinians were not expelled by Israel, but by the Arab states who told them to get out of the way until they managed to overwhelm Israel and dispossess all of its Jewish residents -- or, at least, those whom it didn't murder.

You're still waiting. Why is that Israel's problem? Clearly your grandparents' Arab allies have no intent of fulfilling their part of the deal. So find fertile land, and build a new life. Get out of the camps, since you can...

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I find it quite telling that many of those who have responded adversely to the sentiments of Laila's post did not express any sympathy with the Palestinian dispossession 58 years ago. Also telling is that the forced removal of the Palestinian people is justified on many grounds... including Orly expressing the ignorant 'self-defence' argument.

Into this debate should come the context that the right of return of refugees is a right guaranteed to all people by customary international law and international human rights instruments. Under the international rule of law, therefore, Israel has a duty to provide the option of the right of return to Palestinians forced from their land some 58 years ago.

Further, it is quite clearly a moral right that those dispossessed and ethnically cleansed from their homeland should have the right to return.

A simply racist response that being a Palestinian disqualifies us from enforcing these rights is obviously unacceptable... so why should this position adopted by the Israeli state be allowed to prevail?

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila- thank you so much for speaking out and focusing on the importance of fully respecting human dignity and worth- basic human rights and the right of return.

Please do not let manipulative Zio-Nazis steer you away from speaking out clearly and distinctly, truthfully reporting what you know in your heart to be true.

Many people want to shut you up- they want to take that key and toss it away so that investments in political Zionism can continue ruining lives everywhere.... don't give Zio-Nazis that power- hold tight to the key- the real key to real justice- real peace- real hope- a future where all people have the freedom and a chance to live with dignity and security, regardless of religion or ID cards.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Identify ourselves what for?
No more violence my dear azzanian,that´s because people like you,that I never identify myself.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as long as we celebrate our indepndence every year and you cry about our country (not that you don't have one - just that we do) - all I have to say is WE WIN- YOU LOSE!!!

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I have one question for you. What gives Israel the right to exceed there boundries as was set in 1948 and continue to take Palestinians land from them? That is totally wrong. What may have happened in the past does not justify trying to wipe out a whole nation of people now. To Me that is similar to what the Americans who cam to America did to the American Indian. If they had their way there would be no Native Americans. they did manage to put them on reservations with the poorist land to produce food.Quit reading fiction and start leaning the truth about what is really happening.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Telemaque said...

I'll answer that, Chet. What gives Israel that right was the Arab decision to go to war. The boundaries set in 1948 could have been respected by the Arabs. had they been, they would be in place today. Instead, the Arabs decided to go to war. Well, Chet, if you choose to go to war and get your backside handed to you, you don't get to ask to revert to the status quo that preceded the war. That's the price you pay for making that choice.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Telemaque said...

You know what's more cowardly than hiding your name from the vast number of mentally deranged folks on the net, Azanian? It's hiding from the cold hard truth. I notice you are continuing to turn a blind eye to the hard truth that the Palestinian people and leadership have been engaged in the dispossession of others continuously from the Hebron massacre of 1929 all the way to the present day.

Hiding from knowledge - now that's cowardly.

3:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People, life is so short............stop the violence and start talking. Palestinians have to accept that Israel is not going to accept the refugees back.Israelis have to accept that the Palestinians have a right to self determination.
And so on, so on, start talking stop the violence...........

3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R 5:00pm

I know she is a refugee. I also know many refugees. And I know Abu Sitta is a refugee.

That was obviously NOT my point.

My point is that Abu Sitta and his cohorts seem to think they have the ability to somehow REPRESENT refugees. And when I say represent, I do not only mean politically, but also discursively.

This is why I like the Civitas project. It rips that bullshit pose right out from under all these people who think they can speak in anyone other than themselves name.

This isn't a hollow criticsm meant to undermine activist work on the RoR. Its meant to criticize a certain FORM of work on the RoR. THe facist, one-trip pony, one-man show stunts that have become the structures of work in Al-Awda movements.

I mean look at them in the US. Its disgraceful that they actually feel they can excommunicate people. Or 50 splinter groups of Al-Awda in Europe.

And again, Abu Sitta has used his Gulf wealth, yes, to do interesting research. But not for research's sake. Unelected and unrepresentative, he seeks indeed to be the Godfather of the movement.

And people buy it because everything is so BANKRUPT.

True collective work, were the people get to express what they want to do is the answer.

I think all these movements avoid people because they don't trust them. The majority of these movements are left-wing and no longer have very much populat support and don't trust the religiously inclined "masses" to actually say they want RoR.

And no more of this notion that if you work on RoR you are somehow more sacred because the cause you advocate is sacred. No, we should begin to call our leadership out on its self-promoting bullshit.

And please spare me the feelings crap. "How do YOU feel?" Really, don't reduce it to psycho-babble. It isn't about that.

PS It seems you have incorrectly understood the Civitas project. If you understood it, you wouldn't call it "Karma Nabulsi's". It isn't hers. It is everyones. Local communities ran the meetings. Not her. Civitas provided facilitation, that is all.

4:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh Blah blah blah blah.

Here we go another year of the same old crap. This is a never ending cycle.


4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're only a 58 year old movement. It's a little too early to be jaded.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 58 year old movement that allowed itself to be led by Yasser Arafat. It doesn't get any more jaded than that.

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think of it as a fresh start!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:07
I'm still curious why you attacked Layla though??
What is your backgrond anyhow-you seem yourself to be stationed in the US, or are you in Lebanon ?

I'm just curious in what you have to say. Also by "movements" whom do you mean? You are lumping them togethr at once, saying they dont' hold their leders accountable? It seems counterintuitive that they are afraid the "masses" want right or retrun??

I feel you are sort of blurring the lines here.


6:40 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Absolutely blurring the lines in order to obfuscate, discredit,and demoralize in order to get people to waste time here defending positive leaders and articulate writers rather than focusing on postive action.

Read Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, a lot of his essays may be found at Research to counter simplistic and uninformed arguments which gain credence only because there is much ignorance in western society.

And tune in to Zahi Damuni of Al-Awda on tonight at 7:00 central time.

8:27 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Not to mention divide and conquer...

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do have an article about the palestinian situation in lebanon

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I think anon has a point. Anon did credit the research of Abu Sitta, but is criticizing his over-dominance. He was trying to go out of the structure of the movement to start his new thing for a while.

This thing is actually there, its being studied by quite a few people, academics, and Palestinian scholars, about the RoR movement in the US and Europe and how fractured it is, and how a lot of it is about personalities. Abu Sitta parted with the Palestine Return Centre in London for personal politics, although Majed AlZir also had issues.

Maybe Haddad should use this as a tip to go beyond surface politics. No one is a saint, and we anon is right to not like the language of "godfather" or what have you. that sort of patronage thinking needs to really stop.

not everything is a conspiracy against us. Our mistake has always been that we are too quick to me defensive. see Zurayk, 1948, Ma'na Al-Nakba. There is actually a few good points in anon's rant, also, I appreciated the thing about white people and their impact on the movement. That is a serious issue that activists in the US and Europe are just now beginning to see. They have a role, but in many cities they have taken over the movement and feel possessive in this weird way of it.

Plus, what does it matter how anon feels, wasn't haddad the one who asked a while ago about what the diaspora is feeling. Well, obviously, very strongly!

2:55 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Let's stop focusing on ROR and debate on whether Palestinians are brown or white.

People truly interested in ROR don't waste time and energy publicly quibbling about superfluous matters.

PRC London has the following on its website:

This appears on their About page:

By popular demand we have recently released the second revised edition of Dr. Salman Abu Sitta's "Palestinian Right to Return … Sacred, Legal and Possible."

And this story by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta was added to their website in October.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the original anon asking the question. I was really interested in the feelings and ideas of real refugees a little introspection or even the "I believe we will return" statement of Khaled which is honest and speaks volumes.
As usual instead there is the ranting of defensive Israelis, sycophantic activists and the usual "well I have a US passport and most of my family are from Wisconsin but my great great grandfather might have come from a village in the Galilee" crowd.
You people make it impossible to listen. I don't think you want to listen.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the right of return:
for whom?
for the palestinians since 1948?
for the Jews that were thrown out and forced into exile by the Asyrians, the Babilonians, etc.,etc.

It was my land, Israel, before you got here.It was my land before your Prophet was born. I came before you.....You yourself aknowledge Moses,my "prophet" as one to respect. Respect my life.I will respect yours.

8:42 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

Cool poster (the picture I mean).

9:16 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Well, Anthony, my family can trace our roots for several centuries; my father came from Ramallah and his ancestors settled there in the mid sixteenth century; they came over from near Edrah, and this is all documented in Aziz Shaheen's Ramallah, and verified by the Ottoman census.

So there are few Palestinians who wouldn't know from whence their great, great grandfather originated.

Refugees speaking for themselves may be found on many websites.

Palestinians are an amalgamation of many people who went through Caanan; the Jews were not the first to settle in Palestine. But who was there first is not important; can anyone really say where their ancestors were two thousand years ago? The human, civil,and political rights of the people who were already there were disregarded by the Zionists. This is easily verifiable by British reports during the mandate period, as well as writings by the early Zionists themselves, which may be found in Walid Khalidi's From Haven to Conquest: Readings in Zionism and the Palestine Problem Until 1948.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Um Kahlil, it isn't just where they were but what they did that can be documented also. Like the dispossessions your fellow Palestinians inflicted on Jews started in 1929.

Keep ignoring the issue. It shows what kind of person you are.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um Khalil and anonymous - to be honest I don't care what each groups history is, who moved where and when, who was killed from each group, who did the killing in each group. History has a lot to teach us but we cannot use it to justify our actions in the here and now. The Chinese are not justified in seeking revenge from the Japanese. The French can't extract retribution from the Germans. Descendants of the Maya are owed nothing by residents of modern Spain. The current Arab residents of Hebron don't owe anything to the Jews because of an 80 year old massacre and modern Israelis are unlikely to give up their homes.

What is important is what people plan to do with their lives, how they view their futures, what they hope for and how they choose to realize their dreams.

That is what I want to know.

1:03 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

When one directly quotes someone, as I did Sheehan, one is obliged to enclose the directly quoted material in quotation marks.

On History, from Dr. Adnan Shahada, refugee from Yasur:

"...Homeland has a great significance in Arab culture. It means belonging, sel-esteem and history for the generations who live in that part of the earth."

And on the future from refugee
Abdallah Arabid from Hirbya:

"My personal private rights state that nobody, whoever he is, is entitled to take a decision on my behalf. I am from the occupied village of Hiribya. Nobody is entitled to sell, to let, to rent or to relinquish Hiribya to anybody on my behalf."

And if I make any more comments here, this blog will be Raising Kahlil, so I'd best stop.

1:41 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

One more thing re "how they choose to realize their dreams," and "modern Israelis are unlikely to give up their homes."

The Feasibility of Return by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta:

1:58 AM  
Blogger Telemaque said...

The feasability of return is nil. For one simple reason: asking non-Muslims to turn themselves into a minority among Muslims is asking for them to commit suicide. In case you haven't noticed, it's not much fun to be a Copt.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Telemaque, Thank you for answering the question but that gives them no right to continue today to keep occuping Palestines land and displacing it's people. But there seems to be one thing that is being over looked. I have talked and know people both from Israel and Palestine and they want peace, they do get along. It is the governments that have gotten greedy and power hungry that is causing the problem. When I say that I include the U.S. government in that. There is Israel soldiers that refuse to go into the occupied territories because they know that it is wrong. To keep critizing the people of both countries with this kind of hatred is totally wrong.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact is - if people like that or not - there will never be peace nor quiet without having given the Palestinian people the right to return ... that's just the way it is. What needs to be decided for future generations is if it's worth to continue the current way of living in fear and not knowing what blows up next - or to grant the rights which are anchored in UN-resolution 194 and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Law!
A word to the opponents: if YOU were driven out of your house at gunpoint ... wouldn't YOU want to return as well??? Of course you would .. so give the SAME right to others as well!

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at how quiet Leila is at all of these comments.

I think the most pointed comparison is between the behavior of the Jews and the Arabs in the context of the conflict. The distinction reflects a more general difference in the wider Jewish and Arab worlds, with the exception of a few Gulf states such as Qatar and the UAE.

It seems that Arab culture is highly focused on issues of pride and justice. The Palestinian narrative, at least as presented to the outside world, is all about "what they did to us" and "what we deserve". Similarly, other Arab states that went to war over Israel did so to reverse "humiliation" and the "bespoiling of Arab lands".

Jewish culture by contrast seems focused on pragmatic issues. The message coming out of Israel is one of economic growth, embracing of globalization, science and technology. Similarly for Jews around the world, who play key economic and cultural roles in most countries where they are represented.

This cultural difference is also perhaps the underlying cause of the sides' contrasting reactions to the Peel partition plan. The Arabs - "no, this is our land and we want to keep it all". The Jews - "well, it's something and will let us build a state".

It is particularly interesting to see how Jews relate to the holocaust, which happened just before the nakba (no coincidence of course), and was by any measure a far more devastating event. I don't hear any Jews asking to go back to their homes in Germany. Jews took compensation from the country and built a life elsewhere. It didn't take long for Israel to establish diplomatic and economic relations with Germany.

Jews made films and wrote books and created a day to commemorate the holocaust, as should the Palestinians with the nakba. But the Jewish narrative around the holocaust is decidedly not anti-German - in fact, quite the opposite.

I don't think there's any moral superiority to either way of looking at things, but it's fairly obvious from the outcomes which is more effective. I wonder how Israel would look if the Arabs had won the 1948 war, and (for argument's sake) not massacred the Jewish citizens as promised, leaving them to live in a small strip of land around Tel Aviv. Hong Kong comes to mind...


9:23 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Message from the original Jewish community of Hebron: Evacuate settlers

"Settlers living in Hebron's heart do not have the right to speak in the name of the old Jewish community, and their pretensions to be following the path of our fathers is a deceit and deceiving. They are alien to the culture and way of life of the Hebron Jews, who in the course of generations created a heritage of peace between peoples and understanding between faiths.

"The settlers who have taken possession of Jewish property in the heart of Hebron and made it theirs, have done thievish work. No one granted them the right that is not theirs, to be the heirs of our fathers, no matter if we speak of private property or community property. And they intend to add sins to their crimes and to possess other lands and structures."

Complete Signed statement here:

9:56 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Message from the original Jewish community of Hebron: Evacuate settlers

"Settlers living in Hebron's heart do not have the right to speak in the name of the old Jewish community, and their pretensions to be following the path of our fathers is a deceit and deceiving. They are alien to the culture and way of life of the Hebron Jews, who in the course of generations created a heritage of peace between peoples and understanding between faiths.

"The settlers who have taken possession of Jewish property in the heart of Hebron and made it theirs, have done thievish work. No one granted them the right that is not theirs, to be the heirs of our fathers, no matter if we speak of private property or community property. And they intend to add sins to their crimes and to possess other lands and structures."

Complete Signed statement here:

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jewish and Palestinian narratives on this are very incompatible (obviously). There is a high degree of mutual ignorance about the narratives. Most argumnets made from both sides come from an entrenched mentality that tries to show the other side as morally corrupt or culturally bankrupt.

The past is instrmentalized to justify present injustices and acts. There is almost no attempt to look towards the future. Israel is an undeniable fact on the ground and so are the Palestinians and the refugees and their heritage.

Although many do not like this to be raised, the only fair and long-term-viable solution to the conflict is the secualr one state solution. I know that even open minded Israelis refuse it (they see it as an Arab trojan horse). Many Arabs refuse it too I think. So, I am not optimistic to see such a solution in my lifetime. Maybe we will see some interim 2 state solution imposed instead. This imposed solution should be better than the brutal occupation, though.

Rather than focusing on historical blame that only increases the hatred I would rather focus on how to peacfully reconcile the narratives of both sides and imagine a very different future.

Impossible? Crazy?


But only 'crazy' ideas can push the human race forward.

Salam to all

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with those who suggest looking to the future rather than go on and on about past grievances
(this goes for both sides!)

And I say- there is no better time to start afresh than right now,like... Today!

The IDF has had to close Karny crossing again after reopening it only yesterday, because of a terror alert. And around midday there was also the usual dose of kassams- 6 of them (only 3 of which fell inside Israel. Guess where the others fell...)

So instead of always accusing Israel, how about you guys doing something about the bombers and the kassamers! Then the crossings can reopen, and people and goods can pass.
This will be a good start, don't you think?

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's all take a break from our fighting and do something useful, like try to save this poor attempted-rape victim's life. She is being doubly victimized by Iran's Islamic (um, religion of peace?) government, which is enforcing Sha'aria law. It is not hopeless and we should ALL try to save her:

Sign the petition and then pass this on to EVERYONE that you know.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Wahat-al-salam?

6:25 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

The message coming out of Israel is one of economic growth, embracing of globalization, science and technology

Well, that and attacking Palestinian schoolchildren

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:20

"people like that or not - there will never be peace nor quiet without having given the Palestinian people the right to return ... or to grant the rights which are anchored in UN-resolution 194 and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Law"

If you actually read UD of Human Rights - international law - you will see that the right to return is legally to be granted "after the ceasation of war" - in other words the end of hostilities, or PEACE. So to claim that there will be no peace until RoR is actually to flout the law and to give the Israelis an excuse NOT to allow refugees to return. Statements such as these do not help the Palestinians and instead hinder their cause.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Telemaque said...

Um Kahlil, you are right to point that some (NOT ALL) the descendants of the original Hebron community object to what the current one has been doing. They do not speak for everyone from that old community though.

(In my opinion all of Hebron should be levelled and replaced with a monument of shame, but that's my opinion.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


these israiles did succeded did not they?
Palestinians are artitficial.
I was never there is the eyes of the world.

And for the so called "palestinian" who want to be jordanina.Be it.We don't want any weaklings on our part and let me as a person who lived in jordAN FOR 8 YEARS

They will never even consider one of the among and be pretty much discriminted.I cannot recall how many times my father said taht jordaninans we gave a land to settle in and start saying stuff like baljeek and all...

We are guest there thats what he told him.

8:48 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Link for Universal Declaration of Human Rights is above

This is Article 13:

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

UN Declaration 194:

11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Refugee" is not a hereditary title, you know. Only the actual people who fled their homes are "refugees", not their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. So maybe the Israelis will agree to let those few elderly people back, who knows.

Then again, Resolution 194 is a General Assembly resolution and thus non binding. So they probably will decide to just ignore the whole thing. I know I would. The UN is a Joke.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Palestinian refugees from 1948 and their descendants do not come under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, but under the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which created its own criteria for refugee classification. As such they are the only refugee population legally defined to include descendants of refugees, as well as others who might otherwise be considered internally displaced persons."

"The UNRWA definition is designed solely for the determination of eligibility for UNRWA assistance. Under General Assembly Resolution 194 (III), of December 11, 1948, other persons may be eligible for repatriation and/or compensation but are not necessarily eligible for relief under the UNRWA’s working definition. Thus a person who is not or who has ceased to be regarded by UNRWA as a refugee for the purpose of receiving relief, may still qualify as a refugee by the common definition."

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By your own addmition, this special definition Of "refugee" is by UNRWA, and relates only to UNRWA assistance. Not to 194.
Meaning you can go on being beggars till kingdom come, if that's what you want. But "Return"?
Forget it.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umkhalil - Firstly the quote concerning the ceasation of hostilities preceeding return is indeed from another declaration, I apologize and will look for the reference.

The declaration of human rights is a wonderful document but fairly limited in its scope, each part for legal purposes must be interpreted to be placed into law.
For instance 13(1) Freedom of movement. Sounds wonderful, but of course all countries limit it, especially for criminals.
The resolution calling for the right to work - great, but what if there are no jobs?

13(2) - Right to leave a country and return, but what if there was no official country? Or the country no longer exists? Even covering nationality - the laws normally apply to those born there and perhaps their children (depends on the country). Habitual domicile is also used but that can only apply to those who actually lived there.
Some other posters (though rude) are technically correct about the special status afforded to Palestinian refugees, it does in fact go against many of the principles of regular refugee law concerning refugee status.

It is interesting to note that Resolution 194 was only accepted by the PLO in 1988. You'll notice that is says "live in peace" - presumably there would need to be some way to assertain that this was in fact so, especially as the de facto governments of both groups are still technically at war. Plus of course, UN resolutions are just that, resolutions, not enforcable laws.

I don't really want to take sides. It strikes me that each side is more than happy to accept the resolutions that suit it (Israelis that forming the two states in 1947, Palestinians the ones advocating the possibility of return) and to ignore those it does not like.

It does seem that a resolution will require a leap of faith by one side or the other. Either Israel accepts in good faith that returning refugees accept the state and wish to live peacefully there before there is an actual peace agreement. Or Palestinians accept in good faith that a final peace agreement will open the door to return.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just in:

I'm kind of starting to like Iran. It is really making my job so much easier! Let's see if the leftist moonbats and the useful idiots can rationalize this one, or better yet, blame it on the Jews.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badges for Jews? You mean kind of like differnet coloured ID cards and license plates for non-Jews??

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, please be real. Do I have to explain it?

Okay, here goes, v e r y s l o w l y n o w . . . Different countries have different license plates. Different states in the US have different license plates. Different countries have different passports. "Palestine" or whatever it thinks it is, is not Israel. Get it?

Seriously, did you get it? Eventually you will have to figure out that the Arab citizens Jordan left behind after it lost the war are NOT residents of Israel.

Iranians are Iranians, regardless of their religion.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, with the exception of the Jordanian Arabs who did not leave and were granted Israeli citizenship. They have Israeli license plates and passports. See, because they live in Israel . . . That's how that works.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


...your "job" is what? To make all of us Jews around the world pay for your arrogance??

Yes, you should s p e a k - s l o w l y - b e c a u s e - A r a b s - a r e - n o t - t h e - s h a r p e s t - t o o l s - i n - t h e - s h e d...right?

Your blantant racism is disgusting and hurtful to all GOOD Jews!


Oh yeah, and Palestinians are Palestinians regardless of their religion, too!

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, are you crazy? Or just naive? You said:

"Either Israel accepts in good faith that returning refugees accept the state and wish to live peacefully there before there is an actual peace agreement."

Why on earth would Israel believe that? The Palestinians haven't given Israel ONE reason to believe that! Every time there IS some kind of agreement made, it only takes the Palestinians days to revert to suicide bombings and other terrorist tactics. Every time Israel gives them a chance, they blow it! It's the story of their whole existence.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 6:52:

1. Did you read the second part of that statement?

2. Leap of FAITH!!!!!! Look up faith in the dictionary please.

3. The point was to show the problem both sides have believing each other.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The problem both sides have believing each other"-

Of course, the risk that each of the side is requested to take is not equal:

If the Palestinians agree a peace with Israel and Israel then does not let them in, they can revoke the peace deal. But If Israel let's them in on trust, and they then turn out not to have peaceful intensions, then that will be the end of Israel.

Like someone up here said- you don't really expect them to commit suicide, do you.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Like someone up here said- you don't really expect them to commit suicide, do you. "

yes :)

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so Jewish Question will be finally solved! YALLAH!

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As expected Layla Jhiad does continue.
From the US shores and protected by the power of the US army,
she will continue to denounce US policies.., US allies..,(Israel...),etc etc;

Fatah and Hamas are on the verge of civil war in Gaza.., and where does Layla seek refuge?
In the US.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the most recent anonymous- are you really functionally illiterate, or is that just an act?

You are a perfect example of why Israel will never let the Palestinians just move in.

Get a life.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the "Anon" who called me a racist -- stop being a Useful Idiot. The commenter I replied to was comparing having different license plates because of residency, to having an anti-semitic government force one to wear different clothing because of religious identity. Big difference there and anyone who can't see that really ISN'T the sharpest tool in the shed. That's just a fact, and has nothing to do with "racism."

If you really are a Jew, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are on the WRONG SIDE. Stop helping an entire group of people plot to destroy YOUR people, OUR people. Would you give the keys to your family home to a murderer on the street? If not, why not? Yet that is what you are doing by aiding and abetting people who hate you. And here's a news flash for ya (cause I'm beginning to think that you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed either): The Muslims hate you just as much as they hate me, and no amount of your grovelling will ever change that. Better wise up while you can, if you can.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"to bad hitler didn't get you all"

Ahmedinijad may try to finish the job...

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

consider a world w/o zion

the arab caliphate would be a fact

there would be no war for zion in iraq

there would be no occupation

what a better world it would be w/o zion

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Layla Jhiad and palestinian Intifadah are funny.

While layla did seek refiuge in the US.., abbas aides get treatement in Israel.

But they both will keep fighting the Zionists and the US..,the very fellows to whom they turn when they are in trouble.

Top Abbas loyalist survives assassination attempt in Gaza

By Nidal al-MughrabiSat May 20, 5:44 AM ET

A top Palestinian security chief and loyalist to President Mahmoud Abbas was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on Saturday when an elevator he was taking at his headquarters in the Gaza Strip exploded.

The incident, in which one of General Intelligence chief Tareq abu Rajab's aides was killed, could inflame tension between gunmen from Abbas's Fatah faction and militants from the rival Hamas movement which heads the government.

It followed heated gun battles between Fatah and Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip on Friday in which five people were wounded. The fighting erupted after a top Hamas official was caught trying to smuggle 639,000 euros ($804,000) into Gaza.

Rajab was taking an elevator surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards and aides when it exploded, apparently when a bomb planted in the lift shaft was detonated, security sources said.

Abbas immediately ordered an inquiry be established to "investigate the assassination attempt against the head of general security Tareq abu Rajab ... and to speedily punish those behind the assassination attempt."

Rajab -- the head of the feared "mukhabarat" intelligence service -- was among 11 people wounded in the explosion at his heavily guarded headquarters in northern Gaza.

One of his aides, who was also his nephew, died in the blast. Rajab and several others wounded in the explosion would be transferred to an Israeli hospital for treatment.

Security officials did not say who they suspected was behind the assassination attempt.

Rajab has often been at odds with Hamas which is in the midst of a power struggle with Abbas and his supporters over control of the security forces after winning a parliamentary election that put it in charge of the government.

Hamas was accused of being behind a 2004 assassination attempt against Rajab in which he was shot by unidentified gunmen and sustained severe wounds. Hamas denied responsibility.


Thats " The Ocupation ", ha ha ha ha

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pigsreal Kills 4 yr old baby in precision assasination

kills 'militant' bystander (collatoral damage)

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abu Ghaib prison - a sister's story
We at Al-Ayiri Media include this letter from Sister Noor (which had been smuggled out of Abu Ghraib prison) as it was something which affected us deeply. Sister Noor was murdered after writing this letter, we ask Allah to accept her from the Martyrs who have neither cause to fear nor to grieve.

“To my family and noble brothers in Ar-Ramaady, Al-Khalidiyyah, and Al-Fallujah…to all honourable people of the world, this is my appeal. Allah’s greeting and peace be upon you.

Allah says in His exalted book: “O you who believe! If you support the Cause of Allah, He will support you and make firm your foothold.” [Quran: 47:7]

And He says: “Fight them so that Allah will punish them by your hands, disgrace them, grant you victory over them and heal the hearts of a believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers) hearts. Allah turns to (mercifully) to whomever He pleases. Allah is All- Knowing, All-Wise.” [Quran 9:14]

This is a message from your sister Noor, in the American-Zionist prison of Abu Ghraib. Where should I start? The pen is unable to describe to you the misery and the indignation in the prison. Shall I describe for you the hunger while you eat, or shall I describe the thirst while you drink, or the nudity while you dress, or the sleep deprivation while you rest?

Dear brothers, when I see your trucks and cars passing by, transporting construction material for the Americans, and when I read the identity of your cars carrying the names of my people and my town, I say my people and my brothers have sold their sister and their honour for money. But when I reflect upon our desecrated honour and my situation, I burst into tears.
Dear brothers and sisters, how can I, in Allah’s Name, describe or put into words, the mental and physical suffering we undergo at the hands of the Americans, let alone the severe beatings and daily torture which we try to endure to keep our honour and save your trust. Where are the religious leaders? Did you forget the divine message that was carried by the truthful and trustworthy Prophet Muhammad ? Have you already sold yourselves and us to the Americans and Zionists in the slave market in return for a few gold coins? We shall bring you before Allah, Allah has placed us as a trust on your necks; to keep, cherish and protect our honour from desecration. You are responsible before Allah for our destiny. The Americans in Abu Ghraib have already desecrated both the honour of you and us.

In whosever’s hand this message finds itself, I request and urge you in the Name of Allah, to raise your voices against this brutal treatment, especially the noble scholars of Islam who fear Allah, who have a pulpit and a platfoorm, this message is a trust which you have to broadcast from your platfoorm, you noble ones.

Remember that once you looked to your sisters in Palestine? Now we are suffering, especially when we see the Zionists drinking alcohol and then violating our honour and chastity like wild beasts. We scream for help to save us from these beasts but no one seems to hear our desperate cry.
You noble one. How many times have you died! Our honour and chastity has been violated, our clothes have been torn, our stomachs have been starved, and our tears are running but there is no supporter or helper.
I do not want to say farewell before saying Fear Allah in your next of kin. The wombs are full from illegitimate bastards from rape. We urge you again: Fear Allah and remember your next of kin!

Also before the farewell: I call upon the nobles ones, if you have weapons attack the prison and kill us with them (Americans) inside the prison. I urge you by Allah, I urge you by Allah, I urge you by Allah!

Your sister in Allah,

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fatima's Letter
Dec 24, 2004

By Khadija Abdul Qahaar, JUS And Muhammad Abu Nasr, Free Arab Voice
At approximately 12:25pm on Saturday, resistance fighters waged an unprecedented assault on the Abu Ghraib prison camp south of Baghdad. The assault was sparked by a letter from a female prisoner named Fatima that fueled some Muslim fighters into action.

Fatima’s letter, a hand written document, was recently smuggled out of Abu Ghraib. Fatima is the sister of one of the celebrated Resistance fighters in the area. US occupation forces raided his house some time back but failed to find him, so they took his sister prisoner in an attempt to force him to give himself up. JUS reported the incident at the time and it was said that this family is known for their piety and uprightness.

Here is Fatima’s letter as originally published in Arabic by Mafkarat al-Islam and translated to English by Muhammad Abu Nasr of Free Arab Voice

Fatima’s Letter

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Mercy-giving. “Say He is God the One; God the Source [of everything]; Not has He fathered, nor has He been fathered; nor is anything comparable to Him.” [Qur’an, Surat 112 “al-Ikhlas”]

I chose this noble Surah from the Book of God because it has the greatest impact on me and on all of you and it strikes a particular kind of awe in the hearts of Believers.

My brother Mujahideen in the path of God! What can I say to you? I say to you: our wombs have been filled with the children of fornication by those sons of apes and pigs who raped us. Or I could tell you that they have defaced our bodies, spit in our faces, and tore up the little copies of the Qur’an that hung around our necks? God is greatest! Can you not comprehend our situation? Is it true that you do not know what is happening to us? We are your sisters. God will be calling you to account [about this] tomorrow.

By God, we have not passed one night since we have been in prison without one of the apes and pigs jumping down upon us to rip our bodies apart with his overweening lust. And we are the ones who had guarded our virginity out of fear of God. Fear God! Kill us along with them! Destroy us along with them! Don’t leave us here to let them get pleasure from raping us! It will be an act to ennoble the Throne of Almighty God. Fear God regarding us! Leave their tanks and aircraft outside. Come at us here in the prison of Abu Ghurayb.

I am your sister in God (Fatimah). They raped me on one day more than nine times. Can you comprehend? Imagine one of your sisters being raped. Why can’t you all imagine it, as I am your sister. With me are 13 girls, all unmarried. All have been raped before the eyes and ears of everyone.

They won’t let us pray. They took our clothes and won’t let us get dressed. As I write this letter one of the girls has committed suicide. She was savagely raped. A soldier hit her on her chest and thigh after raping her. He subjected her to unbelievable torture. She beat her head against the wall of the cell until she died, for she couldn’t take any more, even though suicide is forbidden in Islam. But I excuse that girl. I have hope that God will forgive her, because He is the Most Merciful of all.

Brothers, I tell you again, fear God! Kill us with them so that we might be at peace. Help! Help! Help! [Wa Mu'atasima!]

Subsequently, approximately 100 resistance fighters launched a fierce attack on the prison, forcing US troops to take cover inside their barracks within the compound. Fighters pounded the Americans with barrages of 82mm and 120mm mortar rounds. Large crowds of people gathered outside, fearful that the bombardment might harm the prisoners but they were assured by the fighters that they knew the layout of the prison camp very well.

Mafkarat al-Islam’s correspondent in Baghdad reported that the fighters succeeded in destroying part of the walls of the prison camp, blasting a hole four meters long in the inner and outer fences that encircled the camp.

The fate of Fatima and the other woman with her is unknown.

On a final note, an individual responded to Fatima's letter yesterday on the Ansar site and wrote:

“Sorry, sister, we are not men. Only true men can answer your cry for help. Men are in a very short supply these days. Sorry again sister.”

It is comments like these that speak to the lack of honor and duty that characterizes many Muslims today. At JUS, we have insisted that rape has been going on since the occupiers landed their muddy boots in Iraq, which has for the most part, fallen on dead ears. We feel great frustration and failure over the receipt of Fatima’s letter because we know there are many more Fatimas being raped in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan and many other sisters who are being violated who are not in captivity. What must we do to make these voices heard and where are the Muslim men to defend their honor?

In previous times, glory and honor were integrated into the lives of Muslims as part of the complete system of Islam. For instance, a man tied the end of that woman's dress to a chair while she was shopping and when she got up, a portion of her private parts became visible. She screamed "Wa Mu'atasima", calling for the Khalif himself. The Khalif wrote this letter to the head of the cross worshipper’s state:

"To the dog of Rome, I am coming to you with an army whose front is at your door and whose rear is right here"

This is honor and glory in action for something much less than rape. This is an army instead of 100 fighters. Those were the days when Muslim men could be found.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reports Iran to tag non-Muslims denied by Jewish MP

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So do I have this straight, you guys go on arguing in the same comment box until Umm Yusuf posts something new, you then go on to the next comment box and start over again. Isn’t there chat rooms or bulletin boards made for you guys to do this?

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frequently Asked Questions – Al Nakba
May 15, 2006

Al Nakba (the Catastrophe), or what Israel refers to as the “War of Independence,” symbolizes the dispossession, displacement, and uprooting of almost 1 million Palestinians in 1948 from their original homes in what is know Israel. However, while Al Nakba embodies the first major wave of forced expulsion of Palestinians from their land, Israel’s premeditated campaign of ethnic cleansing and uprooting of Palestinians has continued until the present day.

How did it all start?
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions, in favor of the Partition Plan dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The area of greater Jerusalem was to come under international control. The Jewish state was to receive 55% of Mandatory Palestine.

The Arab leadership opposed the plan, arguing that it violated the rights of the majority of the people in Palestine, which at the time was 67% non-Jewish (1,237,000) and 33% Jewish (608,000).

Fighting between the two sides immediately broke out and hunderds of Palestinian Arabs and Jews were killed.

What was the Palestinian and Arab reaction to the partition plan?
In January, 1948 Palestinian guerrilla leader 'Abd Al Qader Al Husseini secretly returned to Palestine after a ten-year exile to organize resistance to the partition plan. Between January 8 – 28 three groups of 700+ Arab irregular troops arrived in Palestine to join the fighting. Jewish gangs had begun to organize and launch attacks against Arab communities in an attempt to expel them and occupy as much territory as possible.

What was the role of the British at the time?
On March 10, the British House of Commons voted to end the Mandate over Palestine on May 15. “Plan Dalet” was also finalized by the Jewish gang the Haganah. The plan aspired for Jewish military conquest of the area allotted by the UN Partition Plan to the Jewish state and of substantial Palestinian territories beyond this state's boundaries.

How did the Jewish troops operate?
As the fighting intensified between March and May 15, the Jewish army continued to conquer the irregular Arab troops. A coastal "clearing" operation was carried out by the Haganah during this period. Attacks and expulsions drove out almost all Palestinian communities from the coastal area from Haifa to Jaffa prior to the British withdrawal.

What was Deir Yassin?
Also during this period, as part of their plan to terrorize the Arab population, on April 9, 1948 the Irgun and Lehi Jewish gangs carried out the massacre of Deir Yassin. Over 200 Palestinians were massacred in the raid on the Arab Palestinian western suburb of Jerusalem.

'Abd Al Qader Al Husseini, the Palestinian commander in Jerusalem, was also killed in this period leading a counterattack against Jewish troops to recover the Jerusalem area village of Qastal.

What happened to Jerusalem?
Between April 26 and 30, the Haganah Har'el and Etzioni brigades launched “Operation Yevussi” in and around Jerusalem, attacking the East Jerusalem quarter of Sheikh Jarrah, which they were later forced to hand over to British authorities. Jewish troops then captured the West Jerusalem residential district of Qatamon from Palestinian irregulars causing the flight of its Palestinian inhabitants. By April 30, all Palestinian quarters in West Jerusalem had been occupied by the Haganah and its residents driven out.

Were there other massacres?
On May 1, Zionist forces occupied and massacred more than 70 civilians from 'Ayn al-Zaytun (Safad) in northern Palestine. By May 3, 175-200,000 Palestinian refugees were reported to have fled from areas taken by Zionists, including some 50,000 who fled from the Jaffa suburbs and neighboring villages following attacks by Jewish gangs.

What was the role of the Arab regimes?
On May 13, the Arab League met and agreed to send regular troops into Palestine when the Mandate expired. Abdullah of Transjordan was named as the commander-in-chief of the Arab armies, but the various Arab armies remained largely uncoordinated throughout the war.

When did Israel declare its independence?
On May 14, 1948 David Ben Gurion declared the indendence of Israel one day before the British Mandate was due to expire in Palestine.

Over the next few days, approximately 1,000 Lebanese, 5,000 Syrian, 5,000 Iraqi, 10,000 Egytpian and 4,000 Transjordanian troops invaded the newly-established state but were largely conquered by the Israeli army, which continued to push out the Arab population.

How does it end?
Following the defeat of the Arab armies, Israel signed the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which are a set of agreements between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria, effectively ending the 1948 war.

How many Palestinians were made refugees by Al Nakba?
Palestinian researchers have suggested up to 850,000 people were expelled from or fled their homes in the 1948 war. Of this population, approximately one-third fled to the West Bank, another third to the Gaza Strip, and the remainder to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or other countries.

Estimates put the worldwide Palestinian population at over eight million today. In June 2004, UNRWA data showed some 4,186,711 registered refugees in its "area of operation" (West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon).

What did the international community have to say about the refugee problem?
In December 1948, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which declared that in the context of a general peace agreement "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so" and that "compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." However, the resolution was never implemented.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Omni said...

This whole thing is so sad... if only there was a way for everyone to be happy and stop fighting...

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't claim to have read every single comment here, but I'm struck by the fact that most of the arguments about who has the "right" to say they are dispossessed and who has what "moral authority" center around events that happened 60-80 years ago. This might represent a very American perspective on my part, but isn't debating history much less important than talking about human suffering (on both sides) and how to end it? And shouldn't complicity be based on current facts, on people who are actually living and building (or not) the future? I'm not saying history doesn't matter. History is key for understanding the present. But does that mean we should live in it?

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why haven't Palestinians and Arabs protested for the right of Israelis expelled from mideast countries and their decendants to return to their homes in those arab countries? It would seem to be to the Palestinian's benefit simply to make the effort whether or not anyone actually accepted the offer, and to the Arab states' benifit as well if we allow ourselves to believe that they actually want to get rid of Israel rather than simply attacking it.

Israel is strengthened by anti-semitism anywhere because it serves to re-emphasize the need for a Jewish homeland. Asking Israelis to agree to any plan tantamount to their suicide is worse than an exercise in futility. It is an outright endorsement of Israel to Jews everywhere, because it plays straight into the story of persecution which is a part of Israeli identity. Israelis say that the country needs to exist because there are other nations out to destroy them.

The notion that Palestinians are a special case, and that they have rights that Israeli refugees do not certainly doesn't do anything to help solidify those claimed rights.

Not that I think any of this will happen.

-Ryan in the U.S.-

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ryan have you been payin g attention to what is going on right now? right now the Palestinians are under a brutal illegal occupation.

the jews that left or were thrown out of arab countrys have a country...israel

the palestinians have an occupation

and jennifer the occupation is now...illegal according to the UN as is the israeli land grab wall etc.

the history is certainly bad but the present is the same...get a clue

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palestinians referendum text By The Associated Press

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given Hamas 10 days to endorse a plan accepting the idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel or he will submit the plan to a referendum. Here is the text of the 18-point plan, drafted by senior Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel.

1. The Palestinian people at home and in exile seek to liberate their land and realize their right of freedom, return and independence, and their right to self-determination, including their right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital on all the land occupied in 1967, guaranteeing the right of return for the refugees, liberating all the prisoners and detainees, drawing upon our people's historic right in the land of our ancestors, the U.N. charter, international law, and what international legitimacy guarantees.

2. Expediting the realization of what was agreed upon in Cairo in March 2005 regarding developing and activating the role of the PLO, and the joining of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in this organization as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people wherever they exist; and in line with development on the Palestinian front according to democratic bases and to strengthen the representation of the PLO, the legitimate and sole representative of our people, in a way that would enable it to carry out its responsibilities in leading our people at home and in exile, in mobilizing them, defending their national, political, and human rights in all domains and functions, regional and international; the national interest constitutes that a new national council be formed before the end of 2006 in a way that guarantees the representation of all the forces, factions, national and Islamic parties, and groups everywhere, all sectors, institutions, and personalities on the basis of proportional representation, attendance, and effectiveness in the political, struggle, social, and popular domains, and in protecting the PLO as a wide frontal framework, a comprehensive national coalition, and a national framework that assembles all Palestinians at home and abroad as a higher political reference.

3. The Palestinian people's right to resistance and upholding the choice of resistance by all means, and concentrating the resistance in territories occupied in 1967, alongside political action and negotiations and diplomatic work, and continuing popular resistance against the occupation in all its forms, places and policies, and giving importance to expanding the participation of all sectors, fronts, groups and public in this popular resistance.

4. Devising a Palestinian plan for comprehensive political action, unifying the Palestinian political discourse based on the Palestinian national consensus program, Arab legitimacy, international resolutions fair to our people, which are represented by the PLO, the PA — its chief and government, national and Islamic factions, civil society groups, public figures — to be able to reactivate and develop and mobilize Arab, Islamic, and international political, financial, economic and humanitarian assistance to our people and national authority and in support of our people's right to self-determination, freedom, return, independence, and confronting the Israeli plan to impose the Israeli solution on our people, and stand up to the unjust siege on us.

5. Protecting and developing the Palestinian National Authority as the nucleus for the upcoming state, this authority that was founded by our people, and their struggle, sacrifices, blood and suffering of its children; higher national interest requires the respect of the temporary constitution of this authority, and the laws in effect, respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the elected president for the will of the Palestinian people in free, democratic and fair elections, and respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the government which was granted confidence by the parliament, and the importance and need of creative cooperation between the presidency and the government, and joint action, convening periodical meetings between them to settle any disputes with brotherly dialogue on the basis of the temporary constitution and the higher national interest, and the need to carry out a comprehensive reform for all national institutions, particularly the judiciary, and respecting the law on all levels, and implementing its decisions, and supporting and strengthening the rule of law.

6. Forming a national coalition government in way that would guarantee the participation of all parliamentary blocs, particularly Fatah and Hamas, and the political forces who want to participate on the basis of this document and a common program to alleviate the Palestinian situation locally, on the Arab front, regionally and internationally; and facing the challenges with a strong national government that has the popular and political Palestinian support from all forces, as well as Arab and international support, and can carry out the reform program, combatting poverty, and unemployment; and providing the best possible assistance to the sectors that endured the responsibilities of steadfastness, resistance, the uprising, and was the victim of the criminal Israeli aggression, particularly the families of martyrs, injured, and the owners of houses and properties destroyed by the occupation, as well as the unemployed and the graduates.

7. Managing the negotiations is the authority of the PLO and president of the PA on the basis of upholding Palestinian national interests and realizing them, provided that any fateful/decisive agreement be presented to the new PNC to ratify or be put up to public referendum if possible.

8. Liberating the prisoners and detainees is a sacred national duty that must be carried out by all national and Islamic forces and factions, the PLO and the PA's president and government and the PLC and all resistance formations.

9. Efforts must be redoubled to support and look after refugees and defending their rights. A popular representative conference of the refugees must be convened, which would yield agencies that would follow up on reaffirming the right of return, upholding it, and calling on the international community to implement Resolution 194 calling for the right of refugees to return and compensation.

10. Working to form a united resistance front called the "Palestinian resistance front" to lead and carry out the resistance against occupation and to unify and coordinate the resistance action and form a unified political reference for it.

11. Upholding the democratic path, holding general and periodic free, democratic and fair elections according to the law, for the president and the legislature, and the regional and local councils; and respecting the principle of peaceful rotation of power; and pledging to protect the democratic Palestinian experience and democratic choice and their results; and respecting the rule of law, the necessary and public freedoms, freedom of the press, and equality between citizens in rights and duties without discrimination; and protecting the gains made by women, promoting and strengthening them.

12. Rejecting and condemning the unjust siege on our people led by the United States and Israel, and calling on Arabs, publicly and officially to support the Palestinian people and the PLO and its PA; and calling on Arab governments to implement Arab summit resolutions, the political, financial, economic, and public ones that are in support of our Palestinian people, their steadfastness, and their national cause, and reaffirming that the PA is committed to Arab consensus and joint Arab action.

13. Calling the Palestinian people to unity and cohesion and closing ranks, supporting the PLO, the PA's president and government and supporting the steadfastness and resistance in the face of the aggression and siege, and rejecting the interference in internal Palestinian affairs.

14. Rejecting all forms of disunity, division and what leads to strife (sedition), condemning the use of weapons regardless of the justifications to settle internal disputes, banning the use of weapons between the children of the same people and reaffirming the sacredness of the Palestinian blood; and committing to dialogue as the only means to resolve disputes, expressing opinions by all means, including opposing the authority and its decisions according to the law; and the right of peaceful protest, organizing rallies and demonstrations and strikes provided they are peaceful, clear of weapons, and do not transgress on people and their property or public property.

15. National interest requires searching for the best appropriate means to continue to engage our people and their political forces in Gaza in their new situation in the battle for freedom, return and independence, liberating the West Bank and Jerusalem in a way that forms a real force for the steadfastness and resistance of our people there. National interest requires a reevaluation of the most successful ways and means of struggle against the occupation.

16. The need to reform and modernize the Palestinian security institution and its sectors to make it more able to carry out its role in defending the nation and citizens, facing up to the occupation and aggression, maintaining public order and security, implementing laws, ending chaos, public display of guns, confiscating weapons of chaos, which greatly harm the resistance and defame its image and threaten the unity of the Palestinian society; and the need to coordinate and organize the relation between the forces and resistance groups, and to organize and protect their weapons.

17. Calling on the legislative council to continue to issue laws that regulate the work of the security institutions and their different branches, and to ensue a law that would ban political party membership (action) for those who are members of the security bodies, and committing to the elected political reference stipulated in the law.

18. Work to expand the role and presence of international solidarity committees and groups, lovers of peace, to support the steadfastness of our people and their just struggle against occupation and settlements, the racist separation wall politically and regionally, and for the implementation of the ICJ decision to remove the wall and the settlements and their illegalities.

Signed by:

Marwan Barghouti, Fatah, secretary general

Sheik Abdel Khaliq al-Natsche, Hamas, senior leadership

Sheik Bassam al-Saadi, Islamic Jihad

Abdel Rahim Malouh, PFLP, deputy secretary general;_ylt=AuNGBYHlNRhdweoYxR9aeqcUewgF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2ZGZwam4yBHNlYwNmYw--

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous have you been payin g attention to what is going on right now? right now Gaza has a free border with Egypy so is not under occupation. Even if it does spoil Laila's blog-name. And the Israelis are trying hard to get rid of the west bank, by building a wall between them!
Anything else?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Occupation? The Israelis are not inside Gaza. And Umm Yusuf told us how she crossed the Gaza-Egypt border without a hitch.
I don't call this "Occupation".

12:47 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

More like the world's largest open-air prison.

With the fun addition of the wardens occasionally bombing the prisoners' houses and cars and starving them.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotta love it danny!

you chosen invaders get to call it what you want right?

12:53 PM  
Blogger Quillonpaper said...

Just chanced on your blog Laila, pretty awesome stuff. Where have you been? Actually, where have I been? Great blogging! Very interesting too!! I'm definately linking yours up to mine. My prayers with you and your son, Youssouf. Allah keep ya'll well. Peace be with you.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starving Palestinians: What such a surrealist view?

By Salim Nazzal

Al-Jazeerah, May 26, 2006

In the ancient epic of Babylon, Gilgamesh goes through a long journey to the cedar Mountains searching for the tree which gives him the eternal life. In the middle of the forest stands the big monster Khambaba with his monstrous power to prevent Gilgamesh to obtain the tree of life.

Myths, as we learnt from the French Strauss, reflect the degree of the human development. We do not need to use Jack Dreda deconstruction theory to understand the current policy of the biggest power on earth, but, indeed the view seems more surrealist than we have ever dreamt.

Our concern here is to point out to a frightening idea which is to prevent a whole nation to live. Recalling recent past events may help us to see the whole picture.

The United States of America launched an initiative for democracy in the Middle East. Mr Bush devotes much of his time to be a Guru in lecturing Arabs about the importance of democracy.

In Palestine, decent and well conducted elections took place and Hamas won it. The American reaction was to boycott the elected government because this government does not recognize the Israeli occupation.

The American campaign continues to punish all the Palestinians because they conducted good elections, and because the elections brought an unfriendly party to the Israeli occupiers.

As far as history is concerned, we have not seen one single episode where the occupied are punished like in this case. To make the picture clearer, imagine if Nelson Mandela was asked to recognize the Apartheid state in South Africa as a condition to be recognized.

If we return to Gilgamesh epic, America plays the role of Khambaba who prevents the tree of life for Palestine. As a Palestinian, watching my nation occupied, starved and humiliated, I wonder how many fair Americans are willing to tell Bush to stop playing the Khambaba role!

Dr. Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian Norwegian researcher. The author of (Educating Palestinians in exile. 1993). He has written extensively on social and political issues in the Middle East. E

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect the Palestinians’ choice to elect Hamas by affirming the consequences it entails. Turning a blind eye to their electoral preference and wishing away Hamas’s murderous policies doesn’t help anyone. Instead, if the Palestinians willingly selected a government that repudiates a fundamental basis of the (admittedly deeply flawed) peace process – namely that Israel has the right to exist – then they do not deserve the fruits of that process – namely the cash and international support so crucial to propping up their regime. In short, if the people of Palestine want to take a step back from reconciliation, Israel, the U.S., and the world would be foolish not to do the same.

6:45 PM  
Blogger eurofrank said...


I was reading an anthology of Arabic poetry last night when I found Mahmoud Darwish's poem "We travel like other people" and your two posts of 14/15 May put the poem in context.

The first line is striking

"We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere. As if travelling is the way of clouds."

So, just for fun, here is the final line

"We have a country of words. Speak, speak so we may know the end of this travel"

8:15 AM  

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