Friday, March 28, 2014
by John Rossomando and Steven Emerson
The State Department has not criticized a statement denying the Holocaust made March 20 by Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei despite President Obama's promises to "speak truth" to Holocaust deniers.
"The Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and, if it happened, it's uncertain how it happened," Khamenei said in a speech commemorating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, the International Herald Tribune reported. "In Europe no one dares to speak of the Holocaust.
That same day, Khamenei also vowed to "raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground" if "the Zionist regime makes a wrong move" in a post on his official Facebook page.
A reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki at last Friday's press briefing if she had any comments about the ayatollah's remarks, which were described as "not very kind either to the United States or to Israel, to put it mildly." She said she didn't know about the specifics and would check into it. Told that the ayatollah "again voiced doubts about the existence and the scale of the Holocaust," Psaki pledged to "take a closer look and we can get something around to all of you."
No statement has been made by the State Department or the White House since then.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism asked State Department spokesman Peter Velasco Tuesday afternoon if, having had time to review Khamenei's remarks, they had any comment. Velasco said no, and asked that further questions be referred to the State Department's press duty officer's email. An email was sent, but no reply has been issued.
Iran's highest ranking religious and political figure has routinely used his Facebook page to promote hatred against Jews by comparing Zionists with Nazis and to exalt Palestinian terrorist groups.
Khamenei's incendiary comments contrast with goodwill messages President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry sent to Iranians to recognize their new year called Nowruz in Farsi.
"If Iran seizes the moment, this Nowruz could mark not just the beginning of a new year, but a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world – including a better relationship with the United States and the American people, rooted in mutual interest and respect," Obama said in a video message to the Iranian people.
On Friday, Kerry similarly suggested that the Iranian holiday could mark a time of "renewal and hope" and used his Nowruz message to announce that the State Department was issuing a new "General License" to allow more Iranian students to study in the U.S.
The State Department silence over Iran's most recent Holocaust denial stands in stark contrast with Obama's repeated pledge to strongly respond to the anti-Semitic revisionism.
The United States would "pledge to speak truth to those who deny the Holocaust," Obama pledged in a January 2012 message commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He directly addressed Holocaust denials coming from Tehran in an April 2012 speech at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, condemning Iran for denying the Holocaust and threatening to destroy Israel.
State Department officials issued similar condemnations of former Iranian President Mhmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denials since Obama came to office.
The administration has been sensitive about moves that might disrupt ongoing negotiations aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program. That apparently means passing on a golden opportunity to make good on the president's vow to "speak truth" to those who deny the Holocaust.
John Rossomando is a senior investigative reporter at the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Steven Emerson is the IPT's executive director.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
A comprehensive research paper in six parts, divided into "myths".
The land issues relating to the Bedouin citizens have been simmering on the national agenda for decades. The situation has now reached the boiling point, and requires our immediate understanding and attention, and the correct course of action by the State of Israel.
To strengthen the Bedouin case, organizations claiming to represent them have made a number of false and misleading statements that have been presented as facts to the general population. Many of these claims have been stated repeatedly and with authority, completely distorting the truth in the eyes of the public.
This document clearly and irrefutably dismisses and disproves many of these myths, using indisputable facts on the ground such as aerial photography, maps and documents.
Any solution should clearly take into account the undeniable facts on the ground. We are convinced that this document will clear the air and provide a more informed and educated discussion on the way forward for the Negev.
Myth 1: Are the Bedouin “Indigenous”?
Around twenty-five years ago, a global discussion began surrounding the term “indigenous peoples” as it relates to ethnic minorities throughout the world.
International law, however, began to address the issue of indigenous peoples as far back as the 17th century, and by and large the matter was left to the discretion of the individual states. With the passing of the years, the law began to recognize the independent status of indigenous ethnic groups (such as the Indians and the Aborigines) in a way that was bound together with previous legal agreements regarding preservation of culture, holy sites, and other factors.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) associated with the United Nations tried to advance two international treaties concerning the rights of populations that define themselves as indigenous, yet were unsuccessful in formulating a statement, due to the differing views of each country on sovereignty and indigenous populations.
In the past few years, key figures in the Bedouin sector in Israel began to apply this term to themselves as defining their independent status, together with a demand for recognition of their historic ownership of lands across the Negev.
Despite the lack of an international agreement as to the definition of “indigenous”, the general recognition of indigenous peoples uses several parameters, focusing on the following:
- Original Inhabitants – Indigenous peoples are descendants of the first peoples to inhabit a particular territory.
- Extended Period of Time – Indigenous peoples have lived in a territory “from time immemorial”, over a period of thousands of years.
- Pre-Colonial Sovereignty – Indigenous peoples had territorial sovereignty before the arrival of a developed nation that took possession of the region.
- Group Connection to the Land – Indigenous peoples have a spiritual connection to the land on which they live.
- External Validation – Indigenous peoples are recognized by other external groups which affirm that they are in fact indigenous.
Original Peoples – Many groups preceded the Bedouin in Palestine in general and in the Negev in particular, including Jewish inhabitants who maintained an uninterrupted presence in the land since the days of the Bible. Therefore, the Bedouin cannot claim that they were the original inhabitants of the land.
The Dimension of Time – The variable called, “from time immemorial” requires a long-standing presence on the territory. The Bedouin tribes currently living in the Negev have been there for about two hundred years . As such, they cannot claim that their presence predates the arrival of a foreign power, such as the Ottoman Empire, which preceded the current Bedouin tribes present in the Negev by hundreds of years.
Sovereignty –The Bedouin of the Negev never had sovereignty over the region. When they arrived, the Negev was already under Ottoman control, followed by British and then Israeli control.
A Unique Spiritual Connection to the Territory – Nomadic life precludes any specific fixed connection to the land. There is no long-standing proof in Bedouin tradition establishing a spiritual connection between them and the Negev, a logical result of their relatively brief presence there and to their nomadic lifestyle. Indeed they claim the Arabian Peninsula to be their historic homeland.
Today, the Bedouin are not claiming collective rights to the land, but are rather demanding fulfillment of private land ownership claims of individual families, giving them the possibility of selling the lands and transferring them to a third party. Such individual demands are contrary to the spiritual dimension, and point to the fact that the main aspiration of the Bedouin is financial gain, with no collective character that would support their campaign to be recognized as indigenous.
The Group Defines itself, and is regarded by others, as indigenous inhabitants of the Territory – The claim of the Bedouin as indigenous is quite recent, and was first mentioned only a small number of years ago . Previous studies did not find that the Bedouin regarded themselves as indigenous and no researchers made the claim as such. Although the UN Committee on Indigenous People did bestow indigenous status on the Bedouin of the Negev, the fact that no other Bedouin tribe in the Middle East ever made a claim of being indigenous raises questions as to the motives and authenticity of such a claim.
The fact that the Bedouin of the Negev, in many cases, are part of the same tribe that dwells in neighboring countries, also makes it illogical to say that only the Bedouin who live on the Israeli side of the border should considered indigenous.
The narrative according to the Bedouin claim that they are “indigenous” does not fulfill the world’s accepted criteria for being considered indigenous.
1. “Are the Negev Bedouin an Indigenous People? Fabricating Palestinian History”. Havazelet Yahel, Dr. Seth Frantzman & Prof. Ruth Kark. Middle East Quarterly. Summer 2012, pp. 3-14
2. Ottoman tax records from the years 1596-97 specify the names of forty three Bedouin tribes in what was to become the Palestinian Mandate, including three in the Negev, yet the names of the tribes living today in the Negev do not appear in this list.
3. The first articles to relate to this claim appeared about ten years ago in the platforms of organizations identified with the radical left in Israel such as “Adalah,” “the Negev Co-existence Forum,” and “Human Rights Watch.
Regavim Regavim is an organization whose raison d’etre is to ensure responsible, legal & accountable use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation through proper management of this most precious resource. Based on this assumption, Regavim's activities are directed at influencing all the State of Israel's government systems in order to bring them, and effectively the whole country, to act based on the fundamental principles of Zionism and protect Israel's lands and national properties.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Steven Plaut
Israel is currently under a worldwide assault, one whose foundations are anti-Semitism. The campaign of demonization and delegitimizing has many forms, including the economic warfare of the “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” movement or BDS. The goal of the campaign is the annihilation of Israel and its population, and victory for the movement of Arab terrorism and Islamofascism.
It is impossible to understand fully this assault against Israel and the Jews without an appreciation of the role of Israeli leftwing traitors, collaborating with anti-Israel Arab nationalists. From the beginning, the initiatives calling for worldwide boycotts of Israel have come from a small group of disloyal radical leftist Israelis, many of them holding tenured positions at Israeli universities. These lead the calls for boycotts against their own country and their own employers. They provide a figleaf of respectability for anti-Semites around the world who can claim that even “progressive” Israelis are endorsing their campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli institutions. The disloyal tenured radicals are also the inventors of the canard that Israel is an apartheid regime. They are the moral equivalents of Vichy French and other European collaborators with Nazi Germany during World War II. Their aim is to provide legitimacy, aid and comfort to the enemies of their own country.
The belligerence of the Israeli Radical Left is not restricted to endorsements of BDS. Radical Leftists in Israel have led campaigns for mutiny and insurrection among soldiers designed to persuade Israelis to refuse to serve in the military. The Radical Left wants to impose its political agenda on the country undemocratically, by conditioning army service on the adoption of its own political agenda. (Some rightwing groups have also called upon Israelis to refuse to serve in the military unless their own political agenda is adopted.) In some cases, the radical Leftists have openly endorsed terrorism and violence. In almost all cases the Radical Left opposes freedom of speech for non-leftists.
The Israeli government has always coddled the disloyal radicals and excused their behavior as protected speech. But as the world campaign of anti-Semitic aggression against Israel escalates, it is increasingly clear that something must be done about the treason involving Israeli radical leftists. Simply stated, Israelis who call for BDS warfare against Israel should have their own property seized, sequestered, and confiscated by the state.
Too radical, you say? Undemocratic? Well, think again. The effective means by which Israel can deal with its own Fifth Column may be learned from the history of another great democracy – the United States – in coping with disloyalty. It is time for Israel to deal with sedition the same way that Abraham Lincoln and the Union did.
Shortly after the American Civil War broke out, both the Union and the Confederacy passed confiscation laws that seized the property of those living in the territories of the enemy belligerent. Penalties for disloyalty were not restricted to seizure of property. The Confederacy’s law was called the Sequestration Law and, if anything, went even further than the Confiscation Act of the Union.
The Confiscation Bill S151 of 1862, which replaced a weaker similar American law from 1861 (passed right after the first Battle of Bull Run), was largely the initiative of Lyman Trumbull. He was a Republican Senator from Illinois and chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. He was from a middle class family that traced its origin back to the earliest settlers in New England, and he was a descendent of the Puritan preacher Cotton Mather. After studying law, he settled in the Illinois western wilderness, and forged early close personal ties with Abraham Lincoln. He built a reputation as a highly skilled and intelligent state legislator, and was a moderate on the controversial issues of the day, including abolition. He first served as a representative in the state legislature of the pro-South Democrat Party, but later joined Lincoln in the newly-created Republican Party, where he was disliked by the more radical members of the party due to his moderation.
Trumball’s confiscation law authorized the permanent seizure of all property of anyone involved in treason against the Union, including notably anyone considered to be offering “aid and comfort” to the enemies of the United States. The property in question could be located either in the North or the South, and could be seized without due process. There would be no compensation whatsoever for any property confiscated. The message was: endorse the enemy of your country and forfeit your property!
“Property” included lands, business assets, securities and bank accounts. The law allowed for seizure of assets left as bequests by northerners to family members living in the south. Where a person was considered to be disloyal but his heirs were not, the government would seize dominion over the property as a “life estate,” one lasting as long as that person himself lived, to revert later to his heirs after his death. Conservative legislators who were concerned with due process and uncomfortable with the constitutional implications of complete seizure of property without trial found the idea of seizing a life estate in rebel property to be entirely acceptable. The Act’s orders for seizure of property were made more popular when it explicitly included slaves as “property” that could be seized without trial and without compensation (and freed) by the forces of the United States.
Trumbull was subject to much criticism by more radical politicians for not going further in confiscating the property of supporters of the Confederacy. For example, his bill did not allow wholesale seizure of property of slave owners in the “border states” that had not seceded from the Union, and provided for compensation when any property would be seized from people in those areas. Trumbull was the leading advocate of the doctrine of “dual sovereignty,” which held that those supporting the Confederacy retained certain rights and privileges of citizenship, but at the same time they could be treated in some ways as enemy belligerents. In his words, “We may treat them as traitors and we may treat them as enemies, and we have the right of both belligerent and sovereign so far as they are concerned.”
The Confiscation Acts at the time were considered quite moderate and restrained because of American experience and policies during the War of Independence. During that War, a significant portion of the population was “Loyalist” and supporting Great Britain against American independence. Every one of the original thirteen colonies that were to form the United States confiscated the property of “Loyalists” without trial, and in many cases the Loyalists themselves were expelled en masse from the territories of the United States. Disloyalty had been regarded as legal grounds for seizure of property under English law going as far back as 1351.
In some areas American confiscation began as early as 1775. In November of 1777 the Continental Congress recommended that all colonies seize all property of Loyalists without compensation and sell it at auction. Among the most enthusiastic supporters of this wholesale confiscation were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Large swaths of land were confiscated in New York and it is estimated that 11% of the property in Boston was seized. “Loyalists” opposed to Independence were considered to have forfeited all rights of protection for their property. After the war ended, no compensation was made to previous owners of “Loyalist” property, with limited exceptions in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Later chapters in American history also saw rigorous measures taken against manifestations of disloyalty. These ranged from the banning of the pro-Nazi German American Bund in 1941 to the wholesale internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Ethnic Germans and Italians in the United States were also interned, although in fewer numbers. Before that, the Sedition Act of 1918 (repealed in 1920) implemented a wide range of penalties for disloyalty, including imprisonment up to 20 years. Public figures opposing service in the military and promoting refusal to serve were jailed for sedition, including Eugene V. Debs, leader of the Socialist Party of America.
The lessons for Israel from all this are clear. Radical leftist Israelis, including tenured traitors, who endorse BDS economic warfare against their own country, should be forced to pay a price for their disloyalty and sedition. Those Israelis who are endeavoring to cause economic and financial harm to their own country because of their animosity towards it should suffer harm to their own economic interests. Those who attempt to undermine the willingness of citizens to serve in the military should be subject to personal sanctions, whether they be from the Left or Right.
Most important of all, it is high time that Israel gets serious about dealing with treason and sedition.
 Much of the historic material presented here is based upon Daniel W. Hamilton’s “The Limits of Sovereignty,” University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Efraim Karsh
For most of the twentieth century, inter-Arab politics were dominated by the doctrine of pan-Arabism, postulating the existence of "a single nation bound by the common ties of language, religion and history. … behind the facade of a multiplicity of sovereign states"; and no single issue dominated this doctrine more than the "Palestine question" with anti-Zionism forming the main common denominator of pan-Arab solidarity and its most effective rallying cry. But the actual policies of the Arab states have shown far less concern for pan-Arab ideals, let alone for the well-being of the Palestinians, than for their own self-serving interests. Indeed, nothing has done more to expose the hollowness of pan-Arabism than its most celebrated cause.
Denying Palestinian Nationalism
Emir Faisal ibn Hussein of Mecca became the effective leader of the nascent pan-Arab movement. He placed Palestine on the pan-Arab agenda by falsely claiming that he and his father and brother had been promised the country in return for their anti-Ottoman uprising.
Nor did Faisal abandon his grand ambitions after his expulsion from Damascus by the French in July 1920. Quite the reverse, using his subsequent position as Iraq's founding monarch, he toiled ceaselessly to bring about the unification of the Fertile Crescent under his rule. This policy was sustained after his untimely death in September 1933 by successive Iraqi leaders, notably by Nuri Said, Faisal's comrade-in-arms and a long-time prime minister. In the summer of 1936, Said sought to convince Palestine's Arab and Jewish communities, as well as the British government, to agree to the country's incorporation into a pan-Arab federation, and six years later, he published a detailed plan for pan-Arab unification (known as the Blue Book) that envisaged that "Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Transjordan shall be reunited into one state."
The scheme was vigorously opposed by Abdullah, who strove to transform the emirate of Transjordan (latterly Jordan), which he had ruled since 1921, into a springboard for the creation of a "Greater Syrian" empire comprising Syria, Palestine, and possibly, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; and it was the Arab states' determination to block this ambition and to avail themselves of whatever parts of Palestine they could that underlay the concerted attempt to destroy the state of Israel at birth. This, on the face of it, was a shining demonstration of pan-Arab solidarity; in reality, it was a scramble for Palestinian territory in the classic imperialist tradition. As Arab League secretary-general Abdel Rahman Azzam admitted to a British reporter, Abdullah "was to swallow up the central hill regions of Palestine with access to the Mediterranean at Gaza. The Egyptians would get the Negev. [The] Galilee would go to Syria, except that the coastal part as far as Acre would be added to Lebanon if its inhabitants opted for it by a referendum [i.e., the inhabitants of the said coastal strip]."
Had Israel lost the war, its territory would have been divided among the invading Arab forces. The name Palestine would have vanished into the dustbin of history. By surviving the pan-Arab assault, Israel has paradoxically saved the Palestinian national movement from complete oblivion.
Manipulating the Palestinian Cause
Having helped drive the Palestinians to national ruin, the Arab states continued to manipulate the Palestinian national cause to their own ends. Neither Egypt nor Jordan allowed Palestinian self-determination in the parts of Palestine they occupied during the 1948 war. Upon occupying the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria, Abdullah moved to erase all traces of corporate Palestinian Arab identity. On April 4, 1950, the territory was formally annexed to Jordan to be subsequently known as the "West Bank" of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. Its residents became Jordanian citizens, and they were increasingly integrated into the kingdom's economic, political, and social structures. And while Egypt showed no desire to annex the occupied Gaza Strip, this did not imply support of Palestinian nationalism or of any sort of collective political awareness among the Palestinians. The refugees were kept under oppressive military rule, were denied Egyptian citizenship, and were subjected to severe restrictions on travel. "The Palestinians are useful to the Arab states as they are," President Gamal Abdel Nasser candidly responded to an enquiring Western reporter. "We will always see that they do not become too powerful. Can you imagine yet another nation on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean!" Had these territories not come under Israel's control during the June 1967 war, their populations would have lost whatever vestiges of Palestinian identity they retained since 1948. For the second time in two decades, Israel unwittingly salvaged the Palestinian national cause.
Following the 1948 war, Palestinian refugees were kept under oppressive Egyptian military rule in Gaza, were denied Egyptian citizenship, and were subjected to severe restrictions on travel. The situation has not changed significantly in Egypt. Here, young Palestinian refugees from Syria ask for recognition in Egypt, May 6, 2013.
Nor was Syria more sympathetic to the idea of Palestinian statehood. During his brief presidency (April-August 1949), Husni Zaim proposed the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Syria in return for financial and political gain while Hafez Assad (1970-2000), who as late as September 1974 described Palestine as "a basic part of southern Syria," was a persistent obstacle to Palestinian self-determination. He pledged allegiance to any solution amenable to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—appointed by the Arab League in October 1974 as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people"—so long as it did not deviate from the Syrian line advocating Israel's destruction. Yet when in November 1988, the PLO pretended to accept the November 1947 partition resolution (and by implication to recognize Israel's existence) so as to end its ostracism by the United States, Syria immediately opposed the move. The PLO then took this pretense a step further by signing the September 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-government Arrangements (DOP) with Israel. This provided for Palestinian self-rule in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip for a transitional period of up to five years, during which Israel and the Palestinians would negotiate a permanent peace settlement. But the Syrian regime strongly condemned the declaration while the Damascus-based Palestinian terrorist, Ahmad Jibril, threatened PLO chairman Yasser Arafat with death.
A no less instrumental approach was exhibited by Saddam Hussein, another self-styled pan-Arab champion whose professed allegiance to the Palestinian cause was matched by a long history of treating that cause with indifference, if not outright hostility. Saddam stood firmly against Iraqi intervention to aid the Palestinians in Jordan during the "Black September" of 1970 and subsequently sought to exclude Palestinians from coming to work in Iraq's booming, oil-rich economy. Though a vociferous critic of Egypt's Anwar Sadat for reaching a separate peace with Israel in 1979, Saddam quickly reconsidered when he needed Egyptian military aid in his war against Iran (1980-88), toiling tirelessly for Cairo's readmission into the Arab fold. Nor was Saddam deterred from collaborating with Israel against Syrian interests in Lebanon (to punish Assad for his support of Tehran in its war against Baghdad), or from seeking sophisticated Israeli military equipment. In 1984, at a time of pressure due to the war with Iran, he went so far as to voice public support for peace negotiations with the Jewish state, emphasizing that "no Arab leader looks forward to the destruction of Israel" and that any solution to the conflict would require "the existence of a secure state for the Israelis."
This support, to be sure, did not prevent Saddam from attempting to link his August 1990 invasion of Kuwait to the Palestine problem. During the months of negotiations with the Kuwaitis before the invasion, Saddam made no mention of Palestine. Once confronted with a firm international response, he immediately opted to "Zionize" the crisis by portraying his predatory move as the first step toward "the liberation of Jerusalem." But this pretense made no impression whatsoever on most Arab states, which dismissed the spurious link as the ploy it obviously was and fought alongside the West to liberate Kuwait.
Nor did the anti-Iraq coalition collapse when Saddam, in a desperate bid to widen the conflict, fired thirty-nine Scud missiles at Israel—a move cheered by the Palestinians and by demonstrators in marginal states such as Yemen but otherwise greeted with conspicuous calm by the proverbially restive "Arab street." Not a single Arab regime was swept from power following its participation in the war, with the war even producing an ad hoc tacit alliance between Israel and the Arab members of the anti-Saddam coalition: Israel kept the lowest possible profile, eschewing retaliation for Iraq's missile attacks while the latter highlighted the hollowness of Saddam's pan-Arab pretenses by sustaining the war operations against Baghdad.
If anything, it was the Palestinians who paid a heavy price for their entanglement in the conflict as the PLO's endorsement of the Iraqi occupation led to its ostracism by the Arab world and the postwar expulsion of most of the 400,000 Palestinians who had been living and working in Kuwait. So much for pan-Arab solidarity with "the sole representative of the Palestinian people."
The political manipulation of the Palestinian cause was mirrored by the dismal treatment of the Palestinian refugees based in Arab states since the 1948 war. Far from being welcomed, the new arrivals were seen as an unpatriotic and cowardly lot who had shamefully abdicated their national duty while expecting others to fight on their behalf, and this attitude was entrenched and institutionalized over time. Yet with their desire to offload their Palestinian guests matched by the lingering dream of Israel's destruction, the Arab states as well as the Palestinian leadership rejected U.N. General Assembly resolution 194 of December 11, 1948, which conditioned repatriation on the attainment of comprehensive peace and partial refugee resettlement in the host Arab states. The resolution's subsequent transformation into the cornerstone of an utterly spurious claim to a "right of return" has only served to perpetuate the refugee problem as the Arab states used this "right" as a pretext to prevent Palestinian assimilation into their societies in anticipation of their eventual return to their homeland.
Nowhere has this state of affairs been more starkly illustrated than in Lebanon, the most liberal Arab state up until the mid-1970s. Fearful lest the burgeoning and increasingly radicalized Palestinian population (which grew from 100,000 in 1948 to about 500,000 in 2012) undermine the country's fragile confessional edifice, the authorities barred its incorporation into Lebanon's social, political, and economic structures. As a result, the vast majority of Palestinians have remained stateless refugees with more than half living in abject poverty in twelve squalid and overcrowded camps (another five camps were destroyed during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-90), administered by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), created in 1949 for the exclusive relief of Palestinian Arab refugees.
Camp residents or not, Lebanese Palestinians have been excluded from numerous walks of life and spheres of activity due to their alien status; and unlike other foreign residents who can evade this discrimination by virtue of their countries' reciprocity treaties with Lebanon, the stateless Palestinians can claim no such rights and have consequently been singled out for distinct mistreatment including severe restrictions on travel, property ownership, and ability to work. For decades, they were barred by government decree from more than seventy professions, from doorkeepers, to mechanics, to file clerks, to schoolteachers, to personnel managers; and while the ministry of labor lifted the ban on fifty professions in June 2005, the actual application of this measure has been haphazard at best. Likewise, only 2 percent of Palestinians took advantage of the August 2010 legislation aimed at improving their access to the official labor market and the social security benefit system with Lebanese law still barring Palestinians from at least twenty-five professions requiring syndicated membership (such as law, medicine, and engineering) and discriminating against their work and social conditions (e.g., Palestinians are underpaid in comparison to Lebanese workers for performing the same jobs and overpay for their pensions). Palestinian refugees are still prevented from registering property in accordance with a discriminatory 2001 law.
While Lebanon may offer the starkest example of abuse, nowhere in the Arab world have the Palestinians been treated like "brothers." In accordance with Arab League resolutions, all Arab states reject naturalization and/or resettlement as solutions to the refugee problem and refuse as a matter of principle to contribute to UNRWA's budget or to assume responsibility for any of its functions; and all restrict the freedom of movement of their Palestinian residents as well as their property rights and access to such government services as health, education, and social benefits. When in 2004 Saudi Arabia revised its naturalization law allowing foreigners who had resided in its territory for ten years to apply for citizenship, the estimated 500,000 Palestinians living and working in the kingdom were conspicuously excluded. The pretext: the Arab League's stipulation that Palestinians living in Arab countries be denied citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their "right to return" to their homeland.
Even in Jordan, where most Palestinians have been naturalized and incorporated into the country's fabric, they remain largely marginalized and discriminated against. Between 1949 and 1967, when Jordan was in control of the West Bank, some 250,000-500,000 Palestinians moved across to the East Bank or migrated abroad in search of a better life. But even East Bank Palestinians have been subjected to systematic discrimination. They pay much heavier taxes than their Bedouin compatriots; they receive close to zero state benefits; they are almost completely shut out of government jobs, and they have very little, if any, political representation: Not one of Jordan's twelve governorships is headed by a Palestinian, and the number of Palestinian parliamentarians is disproportionately low.
The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that more than two million Palestinians, most of whom have full Jordanian citizenship, are registered as UNRWA refugees with some 370,000 living in ten recognized camps throughout the country. This has in turn resulted in the perception of the kingdom's entire Palestinian population as refugees who would eventually depart to implement their "right of return."
This outlook can be traced to the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, which quickly challenged Jordan as the focus of Palestinian national identity. The situation came to a head in the autumn of 1970 with the organization's attempt to overthrow the Hashemite dynasty. This forced King Hussein to drive the PLO out of the country, gaining traction in July 1988 when hundreds of thousands of West Bankers lost their Jordanian citizenship as a result of the king's severance of "administrative and legal ties" with the territory. After the signing of the DOP and the July 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, the process shifted to the East Bank where thousands of Palestinians were stripped of their Jordanian citizenship. "For East Bankers, the right of return is often held up as the panacea which will recreate Jordan's Bedouin or Hashemite identity," read a 2008 confidential memo by the U.S. ambassador to Amman:
At their most benign, our East Banker contacts tend to count on the right of return as a solution to Jordan's social, political, and economic woes. But underlying many conversations with East Bankers is the theory that once the Palestinians leave, "real" Jordanians can have their country back … In fact, many of our East Banker contacts do seem more excited about the return [read: departure] of Palestinian refugees than the Palestinians themselves.
Not only have the host Arab states marginalized and abused their Palestinian guests, but they have not shrunk from massacring them on a grand scale whenever this suited their needs. When in 1970 his throne was endangered by the Palestinian guerilla organizations, the affable and thoroughly Westernized King Hussein slaughtered thousands of Palestinians during a single month, now known as "Black September." Fearing certain death, scores of Palestinian fighters fled their Jordanian "brothers" to surrender themselves to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Civilian casualties were exorbitant with estimates ranging from three thousand to fifteen thousand dead—higher than the Palestinian death toll in the 1948 war.
In the summer of 1976, Lebanese Christian militias, backed by the Syrian army, massacred some 3,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in the Beirut refugee camp of Tel Zaatar. Six years later, these very militias slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, this time under the IDF's watchful eye. None of the Arab states came to the Palestinians' rescue.
Palestinians flee Tel Zaatar refugee camp. In the summer of 1976, Lebanese Christian militias, backed by the Syrian army, massacred some 3,500 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in Tel Zaatar. None of the Arab states came to the Palestinians' rescue.
When in 1983 the PLO tried to reestablish its military presence in Lebanon, having been driven out the previous year by Israel, it was unceremoniously expelled by the Syrian government, which went on to instigate an internecine war among the Palestinian factions in Lebanon that raged for years and cost an untold number of lives. So much so that Salah Khalaf (aka Abu Iyad), the number two man in the PLO, accused Damascus of committing worse crimes against the Palestinian people than "those of the Israeli enemy."
In the summer of 2007, the Lebanese army killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians, in the north Lebanese refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, inflicting widespread environmental damage and driving some 30,000 persons to seek refuge in a nearby camp.
Thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syrian civil war, and tens of thousands have fled the country with refugee camps subjected to military attacks and prolonged sieges that reduced their inhabitants to destitution and starvation. The large Yarmuk camp south of Damascus, once home to some 250,000 Palestinians, including 150,000 officially registered refugees, is now "nothing but ruins, and houses only around 18,000 residents who couldn't escape to Lebanon, Jordan, or elsewhere."
Much has been made of the Palestinian exodus of 1948, but during their decades of dispersal, the Palestinians have been subjected to similarly traumatic ordeals at the hands of their Arab brothers. As early as the 1950s, the Arab gulf states expelled striking Palestinian workers while the Black September events led to the expulsion of some 20,000 Palestinians from Jordan and the demolition of their camps. And this tragedy pales in comparison with the eviction of most of Kuwait's 400,000 Palestinians after the 1991 Kuwait war. "What Kuwait did to the Palestinian people is worse than what has been done by Israel to Palestinians in the occupied territories," Arafat lamented, as if it were not the PLO's endorsement of Iraq's brutal occupation (August 1990-February 1991) that triggered this deadly retribution.
It mattered not that this community had nothing to do with the PLO's reckless move. Within months of the country's liberation, only 50,000-80,000 Palestinians remained in the emirate, and by the end of the year, the number had dwindled to some 30,000. Most of these were holders of Egyptian travel documents, originally from Gaza; they were unable to obtain visas to anywhere in the world, including Egypt, the governing power in their homeland at the time when they left for the gulf. By contrast, as noted in The Palestine Yearbook of International Law, "Israel generally placed no obstacles on the post-war return to the territories of Palestinian families from the West Bank," repatriating some 30,000 West Bankers and 7,000 Gazans with valid Israeli identity cards who had been living and working in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
No sooner had the dust settled on the Kuwait exodus than the Palestinians experienced yet another expulsion, this time from Libya. In a speech on September 1, 1995, as Israel was about to surrender control of the Palestinian populated areas in the West Bank to Arafat's Palestinian Authority (control of the Gaza population had been surrendered the previous year), Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi announced his intention to expel all Palestinians living and working in the country, urging the Arab states to follow his lead so as to expose the hollowness of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. He argued,
Since the Palestinian leaders claim they have now got a homeland and a passport, let the 30,000 Palestinians in Libya go back to their homeland, and let's see if the Israelis would permit them to return. That's how the world will find out that the peace it's been advocating is no more than treachery and a conspiracy.
While no Arab state took up Qaddafi's advice and some implored him to rescind his decision, none opened their doors to the deportees. Lebanon denied entry to several thousand arrivals without Lebanese travel documents and banned maritime transport from Libya to preempt the possible flow of deportees while Egypt allowed Palestinians with Israeli permits for entry to Gaza or the West Bank to cross its territory—under escort—to the Palestinian-ruled areas, leaving thousands of hapless refugees stranded in the Egyptian desert for months. Holders of residence permits elsewhere were gradually able to move out; the rest were eventually allowed to remain in Libya when Qaddafi rescinded his decision in early 1997.
Last but not least, the toppling of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 unleashed a tidal wave of violence and terror against Iraq's 34,000-strong Palestinian community, driving some 21,000 people to flee the country in fear for their lives. Yet far from protecting their long time "guests," the internationally-propped Iraqi government was implicated in the arbitrary detention, torture, killing, and disappearance of Palestinians while none of the neighboring Arab states (with rare, temporary exceptions) opened their doors to fleeing Iraqi Palestinians. "It's hard to understand why Syria has provided refuge to nearly a million Iraqi refugees but is shutting the door on hundreds of Palestinians also fleeing Iraq," commented a leading human rights watchdog. "The Syrian government's mistreatment of these Palestinian refugees contrasts sharply with its declarations of solidarity with the Palestinian people." A few years later the same watchdog was voicing the same grievance vis-à-vis the Lebanese government for preventing Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war from entering its territory.
Yasser Arafat (in glasses) at a press conference discussing the situation between the Palestinians and Jordanian authorities, Amman, 1970. Their mutual animosity was greatly exacerbated by the recklessness of the Palestinian leadership, which turned on Arab host societies whenever given the opportunity. The PLO's subversive activities against the Jordanian regime culminated in the Black September massacres.
No Love Lost
In fairness to the Arab states, their animosity and distrust were more than reciprocated by the Palestinians. As early as the 1948 war, the pan-Arab volunteer force that entered Palestine to fight the Jews found itself at loggerheads with the community it was supposed to defend. Denunciations and violent clashes were common with the local population often refusing to provide the Arab Liberation Army, as this force was ambitiously named, with the basic necessities for daily upkeep and military operations; for their part, Arab army personnel abused their Palestinian hosts of whom they were openly contemptuous.
This mutual animosity was greatly exacerbated in subsequent decades by the recklessness of the Palestinian leadership, headed from the mid-1960s to November 2004 by Arafat, which turned on Arab host societies whenever given the opportunity. As noted above, it was the PLO's subversive activities against the Jordanian regime that set in train the chain of events culminating in the Black September massacres. Likewise, the PLO's abuse of its growing power base in Lebanon, where it established itself after its expulsion from Jordan, and its meddling in that country's internal politics, helped trigger the Lebanese civil war that raged for nearly two decades and cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
"I remember literally screaming at him in my own house," the Palestinian academic Walid Khalidi, then based in Beirut, said, recalling his desperate attempt to dissuade Arafat from taking sides in the nascent civil war. "I was really very angry because it just didn't make sense for him to say that. I told him that we as Palestinians had no business calling for the ostracism of the Phalangists, and that it would drive them all the way into the hands of the Israelis." This point was not lost on ordinary Palestinians, who often blamed Arafat for their Lebanese misfortunes. When in summer 1976 the PLO chairman visited survivors of the Tel Zaatar massacre, he was treated to a barrage of rotten vegetables and chants of "traitor" by the embittered refugees who accused him of provoking the camp's blood-drenched fall.
This political meddling was accompanied by wanton violence wreaked by the PLO on its host society. In a repeat of their Jordanian lawlessness, Palestinian guerrillas turned the vibrant and thriving Lebanese state, whose capital of Beirut was acclaimed as the "Paris of the Middle East," into a hotbed of violence and anarchy. Several districts of Beirut and the refugee camps came under exclusive Palestinian control, so much so that they became generally known as the Fakhani Republic, after the Beirut district in which Arafat had set up his headquarters. Substantial parts of southern Lebanon or "Fatahland" also were under Palestinian control. In flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty, the PLO set up roadblocks, took over buildings and drove out local residents, operated extortion rackets, protected criminals fleeing from Lebanese justice, and committed countless atrocities against Lebanese civilians, notably the January 1976 massacre of hundreds of residents of the Christian town of Damour, south of Beirut, and the expulsion of the remaining population.
Self-serving interventionism under the pretence of pan-Arab solidarity has transformed the bilateral Palestinian-Israeli dispute into a multilateral Arab-Israeli conflict, thereby stirring unrealistic hopes and expectations in Palestinian political circles and, at key junctures, inciting widespread and horrifically destructive violence. The consequence has been to increase the intensity of the conflict and make its resolution far more complex and tortuous, leaving the Palestinians stateless for over six-and-a-half decades.
The sooner the Palestinians reject this spurious link and recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner are they likely to make their own peace with the existence of the Jewish state—as stipulated by the 1947 partition resolution—and win their own state at long last despite their Arab "brothers."
Efraim Karsh, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London and professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University where he is also a senior research associate at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies. This article is part of a wider study prepared under the auspices of the BESA Center.
 Walid Khalidi, "Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State," Foreign Affairs, July 1978, pp. 695-6; Hisham Sharabi, Nationalism and Revolution in the Arab World (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1966), p. 3.
 Walter Laqueur, ed., The Israel-Arab Reader (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970), p. 37.
 Gen. Nuri Said, Arab Independence and Unity: A Note on the Arab Cause with Particular Reference to Palestine, and Suggestions for a Permanent Settlement to which Are Attached Texts of All the Relevant Documents (Baghdad: Government Press, 1943), p. 11.
 "Interview [by] Clare Hollingowith with Azzam Pasha, Mar. 23, 1948, S25/9020"; see, also, "Fortnightly Intelligence Newsletter No. 57," issued by HQ British Troops in Palestine for the period 6 Dec.-18 Dec. 1947, WO 275/64, p. 2; Cunningham to Creech Jones, Feb. 24, 1948, "Cunningham Papers," VI/1/80; Kirkbride to Bevin, Dec. 23, 1947, FO 371/61583; Musa Alami, "The Lesson of Palestine," Middle East Journal, Oct. 1949, p. 385.
 John Laffin, The PLO Connections (London: Corgi Books, 1983), p. 127.
 Damascus Radio, Mar. 8, 1974.
 Palestinians leaders went out of their way to reassure their constituents that this was merely a tactical ploy aimed at enhancing the PLO's international standing and, as a result, its ability to achieve the ultimate goal of Israel's destruction: "We vowed to liberate Palestine before 1967," stated Abu Iyad, Yasser Arafat's second in command. "We will restore Palestine step by step and not in one fell swoop, just as the Jews had done." He reiterated this pledge a few days later: "The establishment of a Palestinian state on any part of Palestine is but a step toward the [liberation of the] whole of Palestine." Al-Anba (Kuwait), Dec. 5, 13, 1988.
 Davar (Tel Aviv), Nov. 12, 1987; Hadashot (Tel Aviv), Nov. 13, 15, 1987.
 International Herald Tribune (Paris), Nov. 27, Dec. 5, 1984.
 For further discussion of this issue, see Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi, Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (New York: Grove, 2003; rev. and updated ed.); Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).
 The New York Times, Mar. 16, 1991; "A New Beginning," US News & World Report, Sept. 13, 1993.
 "194 (III). Palestine - Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator," U.N. General Assembly, New York, Dec. 11, 1948, art. 11; "393 (v) - Assistance to Palestine Refugees," idem, Dec. 2, 1950, art. 4; "Special report of the Director and Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East," idem, Nov. 29, 1951, A/1905/Add. 1, p. 4. For Arab rejection of res. 194, see "Arab Broadcasts: Daily Summary," Israeli Foreign Office, Middle Eastern Dept., no. 36, Sept. 12-13, 1948; Hagana Archive (Tel Aviv), HA 105/88, p. 153; "Arabs Firm on Refugees," The New York Times, Sept. 9, 1948; British Middle East Office (Cairo) to Foreign Office, Sept. 11, 1948, FO 371/68341; Davar, Aug. 8, 1948; al-Masri (Cairo), Oct. 11, 1948, quoted in "Refugee Repatriation—A Danger to Israel's security," Israeli Foreign Ministry, Research Dept., Sept. 4, 1951, FM 2564/1.
 "Where We Work – Lebanon," UNRWA, New York, accessed Dec. 8, 2013; "Exiled and Suffering: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon," Amnesty International, London, Oct. 2007, pp. 2, 10; Julie Peteet, "From Refugees to Minority: Palestinians in Post-War Lebanon," Middle East Report, July-Sept. 1996, p. 29.
 Lena El-Malak, "Betrayed and Forgotten: Palestinians Refugees in Lebanon," Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, vol. 9, 2002-03, pp. 136-7; Souheil al-Natour, "The Legal Status of Palestinians in Lebanon," Journal of Refugee Studies, no. 3, 1997, pp. 360-77.
 "Palestinians in Lebanon working under precarious conditions," International Labor Organization, Geneva, Nov. 20, 2012; World Report 2010: Lebanon, World Report 2011: Lebanon, World Report 2013: Lebanon, Human Rights Watch, New York; "Exiled and Suffering," Amnesty International, London, pp. 18-22.
 See, for example, "Recommendations by the Committee of Arab Experts in Reply to the Proposals by the U.N. Secretary-General Regarding the Continuation of U.N. Assistance to the Palestine Refugee" (Sofar, Leb.), Aug. 17, 1959, in Muhammad Khalil, The Arab States and the Arab League: A Documentary Record (Beirut: Khayat, 1962), vol. 2, pp. 654-5; Abbas Shiblak, "Residency Status and Civil Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries," Journal of Palestine Studies, Spring 1996, pp. 36-45.
 P.K. Abdul Gharfour, "A Million Expatriates to Benefit from New Citizenship Law," Arab News (Riyadh), Oct. 21, 2004.
 Moshe Efrat, "Haplitim Hapalestinaim 1949-74: Mehkar Kalkali Vehevrati" (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, Horowitz Center for the Study of Developing Countries, Sept. 1976), pp. 22-3; Don Peretz, Palestinian Refugees and the Middle East Peace Process (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1993), pp. 49-50; Mudar Zahran, "Jordan Is Palestinian," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2012, pp. 3-12.
 "Where We Work: Jordan," UNRWA. Figures as of Jan. 1, 2012.
 "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Jordan: Palestinians, 2008," Minority Rights Group International, London, accessed Feb. 3, 2014.
 Laurie A. Brand, "Palestinians and Jordanians: A Crisis of Identity," Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1995, pp. 46-61; "Stateless Again: Palestinian-Origin Jordanians Deprived of Their Nationality," Human Rights Watch, New York, Feb. 1, 2010; "Jordan: Stop Withdrawing Nationality from Palestinian-Origin Citizens," Human Rights Watch, Feb. 1, 2010.
 U.S. Ambassador to Jordan David Hale, "Confidential Memo on the Debate in Jordan Concerning the Palestinian Right of Return, Amman, Feb. 5, 2008," Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 2012, pp. 220, 222.
 Said Aburish, Arafat: From Defender to Dictator (London: Bloomsbury, 1998), p. 114.
 Al-Majallah (London), Nov. 26, 1983.
 "Exiled and suffering," Amnesty International, London, pp. 5-6.
 Ramzy Baroud, "Starving to Death in Syria," al-Ahram (Cairo), Jan. 9-15, 2014; The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 19, 2013; Haaretz (Tel Aviv), Jan. 2, 2014; The Guardian (London), Dec. 12, 2012.
 "From Badil Refugee Survey 2008-2009: Secondary Forced Displacement in Host Countries - An Overview," BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem, Summer-Autumn 2010.
 Al-Musawwar (Cairo), Nov. 15, 1991.
 "Nowhere to Go: The Tragedy of the Remaining Palestinian Families in Kuwait," Human Rights Watch, Middle East Watch, Oct. 23, 1991, reprinted in The Palestine Yearbook of International Law, vol. 6, 1990-91, pp. 99-102; Steven J. Rosen, "Kuwait Expels Thousands of Palestinians," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2012, pp. 75-83; Ann M. Lesch, "Palestinians in Kuwait," Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1991, pp. 47-53.
 The Baltimore Sun, Sept. 14, 1995; The New York Times, Oct. 5, 1995.
 Abbas Shiblak, "A Time of Hardship and Agony: Palestinian Refugees in Libya," Palestine-Israel Journal, no. 4, 1995; "The Palestinian Crisis in Libya, 1994-1996 (Interview with Professor Bassem Sirhan)," Forced Secondary Displacement: Palestinian Refugees in the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Jordan, and Libya, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem, Winter 2010.
 "Syria: Give Refuge to Palestinians Fleeing Threats in Iraq," Human Rights Watch, Feb. 2, 2007.
 "Nowhere to Flee: The Perilous Situation of Palestinians in Iraq," Human Rights Watch, New York, Sept. 2006; "Syria: Give Refuge to Palestinians Fleeing Threats in Iraq," idem, Feb. 2, 2007; "Lebanon: Palestinians Fleeing Syria Denied Entry," idem, Aug. 8, 2013.
 Andrew Gowers and Tony Walker, Arafat: The Biography (London: Virgin, 1994), pp. 186, 200.
 Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 86, 102.
 Aburish, Arafat, p. 151.
Efraim Karsh, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London and professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University where he is also a senior research associate at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies. This article is part of a wider study prepared under the auspices of the BESA Center.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.