Saturday, December 14, 2013

Analyst: Secret Report Reveals Kerry's Plan 'Fraud'

by Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva Staff

Allon Plan map
Allon Plan map -Mark Langfan
A secret US Joint Chiefs of Staff (USJCoS) Memorandum from 1967 has been uncovered by Arutz Sheva analyst Mark Langfan. Langfan says the report proves that US Secretary of State John Kerry's current proposed security arrangements are a "military security fraud on Israel and the Jews."

Kerry is currently in Israel, pushing his proposals for the Jordan Valley which Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief Mahmoud Abbas again rejected on Friday morning. Langfan has revealed in the past that the arrangements are based on the 1967 "Allon Plan," and are a "death-trap" for Israel.

The newly revealed secret document, dated June 29, 1967 and referenced as "JSCM-373-67," take Israel's "defensible" borders as its subject. It was signed by then-Chairman of the USJCoS, US Gen. Earle G. Wheeler.

The memorandum shows the necessity of Israeli control over the high ground of western Samaria.

"From a strictly military point of view...the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff...(see as necessary Israeli) control of the prominent high ground running north-south" through Judea and Samaria, reads the report. Langfan notes that this region, deemed crucial for defensible Israeli borders, is the very area that is slated to be given to the PA under Kerry's plan.

Furthermore, the memorandum's appendix elaborates that Israel at minimum needs a defense line along "Bardala-Tubas-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem," which "would give a portion of the (Judean and Samarian) foothills to Israel and avoid interdiction by artillery in the Israeli villages in the lowlands."

Langfan remarked "in 1967, before shoulder-fired anti-air missiles, before laser-designators, before radar and radio-jammers, before Katyushas from Lebanon and Gaza, before rampant Muslim-on-Muslim use of Sarin-tipped-chemical-Katyushas in Syria, the greatest collection of military professionals in the world concluded Israel's retention of Western Samaria was a military necessity for Israel."

However, Langfan points out that a more insidious problem than Kerry's "fraudulent" security plan exists.

"(The) real problem is that for years, Israel's entire military establishment has generally signed onto the ‘Jordan Valley Concept’ that wholly contradicts the professional written military conclusion of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff," reveals Langfan.

Through the Jordan Valley arrangements that have been commonly promoted, Israel would abandon Judea and Samaria to various degrees, keeping a security presence in the Jordan Valley.

Langfan notes the indefensible nature of such an arrangement. He remarks that the 1967 memorandum "prophetically predicted the likely advent of Katyusha rockets from Western Samaria into Israel's" population centers, referencing a strategic threat that he has warned of in the past.

Langfan called for a a commission of inquiry, such as was conducted after the disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War, to determine how "such a military hoax could have been perpetrated by the IDF, and successive Israeli-governments." He further volunteered to "be the first to testify, and name names."

"Israel should have a 'commission of inquiry,' before it suffers a catastrophic irreversible defeat, not after 10's or 100's of thousands of Jews are murdered as a result of Israel's endemic military failures," warned Langfan.

Updated depiction of US Joint Chiefs of Staff 1967 map Mark Langfan

Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva Staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Charles Krauthammer: Land Without Peace

by Charles Krauthammer

There is much to recommend the book Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer. He covers many different topics, always with the sensitivity, insight and wisdom that we have come to expect from him. I quote here one of the articles that deals with the so-called Israeli-Palestinian "peace process", originally published by the Washington Post on September 29, 2011. The truths that Dr. Krauthammer writes about in this article, unfortunately, still hold. And if anything, matters have only become worse with time and the obsessive tinkering by Westerners who don't understand the region and have nothing to lose if things go terribly wrong, as they repeatedly have in the past.

"While diplomatically inconvenient for the Western powers, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to get the United Nations to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state has elicited widespread sympathy. After all, what choice did he have? According to the accepted narrative, Middle East peace is made impossible by a hard-line Likud-led Israel that refuses to accept a Palestinian state and continues to build settlements.
It is remarkable how this gross inversion of the truth has become conventional wisdom. In fact, Benjamin Netanyahu brought his Likud-led coalition to open recognition of a Palestinian state, thereby creating Israel’s first national consensus for a two-state solution. He is also the only prime minister to agree to a settlement freeze — 10 months — something no Labor or Kadima government has ever done.
To which Abbas responded by boycotting the talks for nine months, showing up in the 10th, then walking out when the freeze expired. Last week he reiterated that he will continue to boycott peace talks unless Israel gives up — in advance — claim to any territory beyond the 1967 lines. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. This is not just absurd. It violates every prior peace agreement. They all stipulate that such demands are to be the subject of negotiations, not their precondition.
Abbas unwaveringly insists on the so-called “right of return,” which would demographically destroy Israel by swamping it with millions of Arabs, thereby turning the world’s only Jewish state into the world’s 23rd Arab state. And he has repeatedly declared, as recently as last week in New York: “We shall not recognize a Jewish state.”
Nor is this new. It is perfectly consistent with the long history of Palestinian rejectionism. Consider:
●Camp David, 2000. At a U.S.-sponsored summit, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offers Yasser Arafat a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza — and, astonishingly, the previously inconceivable division of Jerusalem. Arafat refuses. And makes no counteroffer, thereby demonstrating his unseriousness about making any deal. Instead, within two months, he launches a savage terror war that kills a thousand Israelis.
●Taba, 2001. An even sweeter deal — the Clinton Parameters — is offered. Arafat walks away again.
●Israel, 2008. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert makes the ultimate capitulation to Palestinian demands — 100 percent of the West Bank (with land swaps), Palestinian statehood, the division of Jerusalem with the Muslim parts becoming the capital of the new Palestine. And incredibly, he offers to turn over the city’s holy places, including the Western Wall — Judaism’s most sacred site, its Kaaba — to an international body on which sit Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Did Abbas accept? Of course not. If he had, the conflict would be over and Palestine would already be a member of the United Nations.
This is not ancient history. All three peace talks occurred over the past decade. And every one completely contradicts the current mindless narrative of Israeli “intransigence” as the obstacle to peace.
Settlements? Every settlement remaining within the new Palestine would be destroyed and emptied, precisely as happened in Gaza.
So why did the Palestinians say no? Because saying yes would have required them to sign a final peace agreement that accepted a Jewish state on what they consider the Muslim patrimony.
The key word here is “final.” The Palestinians are quite prepared to sign interim agreements, like Oslo. Framework agreements, like Annapolis. Cease-fires, like the 1949 armistice. Anything but a final deal. Anything but a final peace. Anything but a treaty that ends the conflict once and for all — while leaving a Jewish state still standing.
After all, why did Abbas go to the United Nations last week? For nearly half a century, the United States has pursued a Middle East settlement on the basis of the formula of land for peace. Land for peace produced the Israel-Egypt peace of 1979 and the Israel-Jordan peace of 1994. Israel has offered the Palestinians land for peace three times since. And been refused every time.
Why? For exactly the same reason Abbas went to the United Nations last week: to get land without peace. Sovereignty with no reciprocal recognition of a Jewish state. Statehood without negotiations. An independent Palestine in a continued state of war with Israel.
Israel gave up land without peace in south Lebanon in 2000 and, in return, received war (the Lebanon war of 2006) and 50,000 Hezbollah missiles now targeted on the Israeli homeland. In 2005, Israel gave up land without peace in Gaza, and again was rewarded with war — and constant rocket attack from an openly genocidal Palestinian mini-state.
Israel is prepared to give up land, but never again without peace. A final peace. Which is exactly what every Palestinian leader from Haj Amin al-Husseini to Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas has refused to accept. Which is why, regardless of who is governing Israel, there has never been peace. Territorial disputes are solvable; existential conflicts are not.
Land for peace, yes. Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to national suicide."

Charles Krauthammer

Source: Things That Matter published by Crown Forum, pg 245-246

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Legal Case for Judea and Samaria

by Nadav Shragai

For years, the world has regarded Judea and Samaria as Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel • But now a group of hundreds of jurists from Israel and abroad is fighting back in the battle for the historical and legal truth.

An Israeli community in Judea and Samaria
Photo credit: Lior Mizrahi

If international legitimacy for the settlement enterprise were a horse, one could say that it's been long out of the barn. Those roaming the halls of power worldwide -- from the White House in the era of Barack Obama and John Kerry to the United Nations -- have for years regarded the territories of Judea and Samaria as Palestinian territory that is currently under occupation.

The hostile attitude toward the settlement enterprise is a natural, direct derivative of this premise. If we were to make a gross generalization, the world has adopted the Palestinian narrative as it relates to the legal status of the territories. Even those who negotiate on behalf of the State of Israel, men and women who officially adhere to the party line that Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish civilization and peoplehood, is not occupied territory, have long ceased to make this statement publicly, just as they haven't even bothered to make use of a long list of legal and historical arguments that support this position. 

While it may seem that this train has long left the station, we were surprised to suddenly learn that for months now a counterattack has been waged over "the historical, legal truth." This is a campaign that is being waged by hundreds of jurists from Israel and abroad who aren't making do with the usual "rights of our forefathers" or "Zionism" rejoinders which are now devoid of currency in the international arena and the High Court of Justice.

Last summer, right-wing organizations and settlers managed to bring together a number of highly regarded legal minds -- including those who are not traditionally aligned with right-wing politics. These individuals set out on a mission to change the terminology and the legal discourse that the left, including groups like Peace Now, has assumed control of for quite some time. 

The battle over the narrative

The so-called "new" jurists are really just dusting off old arguments that were first made and eventually accepted in the initial years following the Six-Day War. This new line of discourse categorically rejects the premise of "occupied territories." The State of Israel did indeed conquer Judea and Samaria in 1967 as the result of a war of self-defense, but from a legal standpoint these territories are not occupied since the foreign power that held these territories between 1948 and 1967 -- Jordan -- did so illegally.

These jurists note that with the exception of Britain and Pakistan, the international community refused to recognize the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank. Therefore, the legal status of these territories is in dispute. From the standpoint of international law, there is an enormous difference between occupied territories and disputed territories.

Those who bolster this argument -- and some jurists do indeed do this -- with what is referred to as "the historic right of the Jewish people to sovereignty over the Land of Israel" add another legal statement in support of their case: "Demanding the right to this sovereignty, which supersedes any counter-demand by the Palestinians."

Jurists like Professor Talia Einhorn or Professor Eliav Shochetman, who are two of the more active legal experts in the group, note that this right was recognized by the international community from the time of the British Mandate for Palestine. This legal document granted national rights solely to the Jewish people, which were in turn reaffirmed in Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

"As such, when the U.N. secretary-general states that 'the settlements are illegal and are an obstacle to peace,' or when [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas demands that Israel 'dismantle the settlements built on Palestinian land since 1967, since their very establishment is illegal,' and when even the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, refers to the settlements as 'illegitimate' -- all of them are basing their statements on errant legal assumptions from a factual standpoint," said Dr. Hagai Winitzki of Sha'arei Mishpat College.

A legal case

The renaissance that the "new jurists" are trying to infuse into the discourse to make an Israeli case for Judea and Samaria has for years been proudly trumpeted by the Foreign Ministry on its web site. It has even been articulated into a codified doctrine by the former president of the Supreme Court, Meir Shamgar. This case rested on a number of international resolutions and historical facts that were almost wiped clean from the public record but in recent years have been resurrected by a number of organizations.

Two of these groups, which began work just recently, are drawing the most attention. First, there's the Regavim Institute's Center for Zionism, Justice, and Society. For years, Regavim has provided assistance in court cases which hear petitions brought on by left-wing groups against settlements in Judea and Samaria. It even shocked the judicial system when it brought its own petition against "Palestinian outposts" in an attempt to defend Jewish settlement in these areas.

The other organization is the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which was originally founded as a group dedicated to pursuing legal means to defeat the disengagement plan.

The inaugural convention held by the Center for Zionism took place a few weeks ago at the Mishkenot Sha'ananim event hall in Jerusalem. The occasion also featured the unveiling of an impressive new book that delves into property laws and international law in Judea and Samaria. The book is 560 pages long, and it includes a number of articles by renowned legal scholars like Prof. Haim Sandberg and Prof. Einhorn.

One of the most noteworthy articles that appeared in the book was written by Col. (res.) Daniel Reisner, an expert in international law and the former head of the international law department in the Military Advocate General's Corps. Today, Reisner is a partner in the Herzog Fox Neeman law firm.

Reisner's position is interesting not just because of his professional background, but also because he is a jurist who is not aligned with the political right and who recognizes that the Palestinians also have claims to Judea and Samaria.

In his article, Reisner expresses understanding for Israel's formal position "because since the territories of Judea and Samaria were never a legitimate part of any Arab state, including the Kingdom of Jordan, it is impossible to determine that Israel is an occupier in Judea and Samaria in the accepted legal definition. What's more is that the Jewish people have a historic, legal, and physical link to Judea and Samaria."

Reisner is a senior jurist who took part in all of the major diplomatic negotiations since the Oslo Accords. Today he serves as an advisor to Israel's peace negotiators. He believes that the position taken by most experts who are well-versed in international law against Israel's claims does not stem from the weakness of Israel's legal arguments, but rather is the result of the fact that most of the countries of the world have adopted the Palestinian narrative which holds that the territories of Judea and Samaria belong to the Palestinian people.

"Even if it seems that the battle is lost, that doesn't mean it's a reason to give up on a real, genuine legal argument," he said. "Israel didn't conquer these territories from any state because Jordanian control of the West Bank was illegal. If Israeli control over Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in 1967 was illegal because of the illegality of taking over a territory by force, then the Jordanian occupation of that same complex in 1948 suffers from exactly the same problem."

"Conversely, if one claims that the Jordanian occupation of 1948 was legitimate because before that the territory wasn't under the sovereignty of another state, then that just strengthens a similar Israeli argument," he said.

From Jerusalem to Al-Khader

Reisner recommends that we do not take the simplistic approach of treating Judea and Samaria as a single, solitary entity.

"There is no uniform law that applies equally to Ramallah -- where there was never a Jewish presence -- and Hebron -- where a constant Jewish presence spanning hundreds of years was cut short by a horrific massacre," he said. "There is no uniform law that applies equally to Al-Khader, which was and remains an exclusively Arab village, and the settlements of nearby Gush Etzion, which like Rachel's Tomb was in sole Jewish control before the War of Independence. And of course there is no uniform law that applies equally to the Old City of Jerusalem, the historic site of two Jewish temples, and the neighborhood of Abu Dis nearby."

In addition, Reisner finds legal backing for distinguishing between territories and specific sites in Judea and Samaria. Such language can be found in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. The wording of the resolution calls for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories conquered" in the Six-Day War. It doesn't call for withdrawal from "the" territories.

"This shows that there really isn't an insistence on all of the territories that were captured during the war," Reisner said. "In any event, despite what the world thinks about us, it is impossible to peg us as foreign occupiers that are without any rights to these regions, and whoever ignores this part of the story is simply deviating from the truth."

Is this argument, as factually correct as it may be, even relevant now, with the world and even the State of Israel talking in a different language? Isn't it too late?

Reisner: "The conflict has a political dimension and a legal one. Nonetheless, the solution to the conflict won't necessarily be found in either of these two dimensions, but in my opinion it will rather be based on something totally different -- a fair compromise that will create a stable reality over time. The odds of one party to the conflict managing to convince the other to accept competing legal and political positions are nil."

Still, Reisner is convinced that "Israel needs to make its case cogently from a legal, political, and historic standpoint simply because it has its own truth that is backed up by facts."

"Will the solution be based on this truth? Is this truth relevant to the results of the negotiations? I'm not entirely certain."

If there is a legal case to be made, why don't the state's negotiators use it in the talks?

"Because inside the negotiating room it's almost irrelevant. International law has a relatively marginal role to play in Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The bottom line is the one that both sides need to live with. Legal arguments help you. They give you an internal anchor, but in negotiations it is almost never a winning argument. In any event, a legal claim is never weakened or nullified because it is up to people to either make the claim or not make the claim. If you have a truth and you believe in it, speak up!"

Do the political opinions of jurists who are participating in the negotiations or the opinions of prosecutors have an effect on their legal positions?

Reisner: "I don't know."

Stop apologizing

Alan Baker, an attorney and a member of the Levy Committee which was formed in 2012 to investigate the legal status of the outposts and the settlements and which came to the conclusion that Judea and Samaria are not occupied territories, echoes much of what Reisner has to say.

Baker, a former legal advisor in the Foreign Ministry who also served as ambassador to Canada, heads a newly formed group of experts in international law which has already written to Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in protest of their "mistaken and misleading" positions.

Two weeks ago, Baker was in Paris, where he met with dozens of other senior jurists from across Europe who share similar views. The group includes Yaakov Neeman, the former Israeli justice minister; Baroness Ruth Deech, a member of the British House of Lords and a professor of law at Oxford; and Meir Rosenne, the former Israeli ambassador to France and the U.S.

"The Israeli government for years has refrained from waging a hasbara campaign based on advancing our rights," Baker said. "Instead, it has waged a hasbara campaign based on apologies. The right thing to do was to operate out of a sense of advancing our rights, the rights of the Jewish people as an indigenous nation in its land. The Jews are the oldest nation here, but the State of Israel rarely mentioned this. It has rarely mentioned the fact that these are territories where we have had rights from time immemorial. It has rarely mentioned international documents like the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Declaration, the U.N. Charter, and the British Mandate as approved by the League of Nations, all of which are very relevant as they relate to our rights here."

"Most importantly, it has refrained from emphasizing that what we are dealing with is not occupation," he said. 

You're "talking history." Who even takes that into account these days?

Baker: "If we refer to it, others will refer to it. It's a process that takes time."

Even the State Attorney's Office is completely disconnected from this approach whenever it argues the state's position to the High Court of Justice.

Baker: "There's a problem with the State Attorney's Office. There is a group of people there that have a very one-dimensional approach when it comes to the status of the territories and settlers."

But they are supposed to be the mouthpiece of the state.

Baker: "Not exactly. The mouthpiece of the state is the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office. Those people implement the law. That's their job. They're not charged with waging hasbara campaigns or making policy. We agreed with the Palestinians that the fate of the territories will be determined in negotiations between us, so in the context of a permanent status deal with the Palestinians, we will have to compromise. But on the way to the compromise, for it to be better for us and for us to know that we did all we could, there is something called 'rights,' and we need to speak up about it."

"It is inconceivable that the entire world will repeat the mantra about Judea and Samaria being occupied territory when from a factual standpoint there is no legal basis for this," he said. "When Kerry claims, even before the negotiations ended, that we have no rights in territories over which negotiations are being held and where settlements are illegitimate, he is in essence adopting the Palestinian position and harming the negotiations. If the negotiations are intended to determine the fate of the settlements, then by all means. Even if you are the secretary of state, don't prejudice the negotiations by stating beforehand that they are illegitimate."

Bezalel Smotritz, a senior figure at Regavim, said that while his organization adopted the "offense-is-the-best-defense" approach in its arguments before the High Court of Justice, he and his friends realized that they were busy "putting out fires."

"The settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria exists today within the bounds of an untenable legal situation which is the byproduct of the judicial delegitimization that has been waged for years by the left against Judea and Samaria and the settlements there," he said. "These bounds toe the line between 'illegitimate' and 'war crime.' One should add that the law that is applied today to the settlement enterprise is outdated and unsuitable for normalized living in Judea and Samaria. We are talking about the remnants of Ottoman law, British Mandatory law, Jordanian law, and Israeli defense edicts. All of this requires that we change the ongoing dialogue."

"If we seriously want to deal with the justice system as it relates to the settlements, there is no alternative but to equip ourselves with a legal bulldozer and break through," he said. "We need to establish an entirely different legal foundation which will enable the settlement enterprise to breathe and combat the legal delegitimization, and to convince the public that settlements are legitimate."

"The new book that our center published, which is already making waves throughout the halls of power, is just the tip of the iceberg," he said. "There will be more books, conferences, academic courses, scholarships, and more. One can say, 'It's too late,' and throw up his hands in despair and go home, like [what we've done] in the Negev. I'm not ready to give up, not on the Negev and not on Judea and Samaria. For years, a certain legal school has been in charge, and many academics and jurists were afraid to speak up. Now they are not alone."

Nadav Shragai


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Palestinian Refugees -- a Reality Check

by Yoram Ettinger

Western policymakers and media have misconstrued/misrepresented the Palestinian refugee issue, ignoring its global context and core data. Moreover, the Palestinian claim of dispossession -- which impacts the U.S. financial aid to UNRWA, and is defined as a key issue in the peace process -- fails the reality test.

The global context

At the end of 2012, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees documented 15.4 million refugees worldwide -- excluding Palestinian refugees who are administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency -- and 28.8 million internally displaced persons. Four million of the refugees are from Afghanistan. One of the results of the civil war in Sudan was 5.5 million refugees. Fifteen million refugees (Hindu, Muslim and Sikh) were created by the 1947 partition of India, which created Pakistan. The Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922 involved a forced population exchange of two million people.

From 1990 to 1991, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait expelled 800,000 Yemenites and almost 300,000 Palestinians for collaborating with Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Some 300,000 Palestinians -- who were allies of Saddam Hussein -- fled Iraq following the first and second Gulf Wars. Since 1945, there have been some 100 million refugees worldwide, most of them resettled. On the other hand, Palestinian refugee camps in Arab territories have remained intact since 1950, while Palestinian leadership conducts a lavish life-style, including bank accounts stashed throughout the world. 

Core data

According to an August 1971 Ford Foundation report, by 1950 the majority of the Palestinian refugees began evacuating the camps and non-refugees moved in to benefit from UNRWA's services. For example, half of the population in the Jalazone refugee camp, near Ramallah, settled there after 1950. 

A November 17, 2003 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office documented that less than 33% of registered Palestinian refugees live in refugee camps.

The actual number of Palestinian refugees is determined by the following: Before the 1948-1949 War of Independence, 800,000 Arabs (per inflated numbers) resided within the boundaries of "pre-1967 Israel." At the end of that war, 170,000 Arabs stayed in Israel. Of the remaining 630,000 Arabs, 100,000 were absorbed by Israel's family reunification gesture; 100,000 middle and upper class Arabs left before the beginning of the 1948-1949 war and were absorbed by neighboring Arab states; 50,000 migrant laborers returned to their Arab countries of origin; 50,000 Bedouins joined their brethren-tribes in Jordan and Sinai; and 10,000 were war fatalities. Thus, the actual total number of Palestinian refugees was 320,000. Most of the refugees followed their political, economic and social leadership, which left before the eruption of the war. Many were enticed to depart by Arab leaders, who promised a quick devastation of the Jewish state that would provide the evacuees with Jewish property. British authorities influenced others, pressuring the minority in mixed Jewish-Arab towns to evacuate: Arabs evacuated but Jews did not.

The claim of dispossession examined

According to Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohanna of Ariel University and former head of the Mossad's Palestinian research division ("Line of Furrow and Fire: The Conflict for the Land of Israel, 1860-2010," 2013, pp. 397-415): "The birth of the Palestinian refugee phenomenon -- in the form of a massive Arab flight -- occurred during the Arab riots of 1936-39, not during the 1947-49 war. ... The flight was confirmed by the British consul general to Beirut, G.W. Furlonge, in an October 27, 1938 report to the British High Commissioner in Jerusalem ... and by the Lebanese daily, Al Akhbar, in a December 1938 article. ... A documentation of 40,000 Arab refugees, during 1936-39, was included in Dr. Rony Gabbay's 1959 Ph.D. thesis, which was submitted to Geneva University. ... 

"The flight was caused by an Arab wave of terrorism, which was aimed initially at British personnel and Jewish communities, but was rapidly diverted at Arab targets. It perpetrated a violent anarchy among Arabs, totally devoid of Jewish involvement. Just like the 1947-49 flight, the 1936-39 flight triggered a departure by upper class Arabs, followed by lower and middle class Arabs, who felt increasingly insecure. Many returned to their countries of origin. ... 

"The 1947-49 flight was limited, mostly, to Arabs from the coastal plain and valleys of Israel, while most mountain Arabs from the Galilee (which was taken over by Israel, but produced very few refugees), Samaria and Judea remained intact. ... Therefore, the Palestinian "claim of return" always highlights the coastal plain [pre-1967 Israel]. ... 

"The coastal plain was devastated by the Muslims, following their victory over the Crusaders. ... Consequently, in the 19th century, Jaffa was reduced to a small village, Haifa had less than 1,000 residents and the valleys (Jordan, Beit Shean, Jezrael, Hula, etc.) were desolated, as documented by the 1881-83 surveys of the Palestine Exploration Fund. ...

"[Since 1882,] Jewish [immigration] concentrated in the coastal plain, producing economic growth, which attracted massive Arab immigration from neighboring countries, mostly Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and North Africa. It was that coastal population, and its descendants -- possessing limited roots in the Land of Israel -- which fled in 1947, before the eruption of the war. The flight was accelerated during the 1948-49 war." 

Western policymakers and media who ignore reality, and embrace the claim of Palestinian dispossession, undermine the peace process and squander the Western taxpayers' resources.

Yoram Ettinger


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Jordan: Why Would a Christian MP Support Jihad?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

It is interesting that Khoury's call for launching terror attacks on Israel comes at a time when Christians are being slaughtered and churches torched in Syria and Egypt.
What Khoury perhaps does not know – or does not want to know — is that one of the few places where Christians can still lead normal lives is the same country he wants to see targeted by the jihadis: Israel.

We are used to hearing Muslim fundamentalists voice support for jihad and terrorism, but when a prominent Arab Christian publicly comes out in favor of jihad, it is surreal — especially at a time when Christians are being persecuted and slaughtered in a number of Arab countries.

But Jordanian parliament member Tarek Khoury obviously does not care about the plight of his fellow Christians.

Khoury told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that he supports "jihad operations" against Israel.

The Christian legislator said he feels "disappointed" when an Arab regime equates terrorists with those who act against Israel.

"It's not our job to protect the usurping Zionist entity which targets Jordanians and Palestinians," Khoury declared. He said that jihad against Israel should be excluded from crimes which the Jordanian State Security Court is authorized to look into.

The Christian legislator even went as far as quoting a hadith [saying] attributed to Prophet Mohamed: "If one inch of the land of Muslims is occupied, jihad becomes an individual duty of every Muslim."

Khoury cited the case of female terrorist Sajedah al-Rishawi, who was involved in the 2005 suicide bombings in Amman.

He pointed out that as al-Rishawi had been tried before a Jordanian court for terrorism, while "anyone who tries to wage jihad against the Zionist enemy is also brought to trial for the same charges."

Bassam al-Badareen, a respected journalist in Amman, noted that the real surprise lies in the fact that Khoury is an important parliament member who represents Jordan's Christian minority, which makes up around 10% of Jordan's population.

Most of the kingdom's Christians have left to the U.S., Canada and Europe over the past few decades in search of better lives. When the kingdom was established, Christians made up 30% of the population.

Instead of representing the true interests of the Christian minority, Khoury has allied himself with the Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Palestinian Hamas movement. It is because of such Islamic groups that Christians no longer feel comfortable living in Jordan and other Arab countries.

He has also joined the bandwagon of Jordanian legislators who have been pressuring their government to cancel the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. Calls for expelling the Israeli ambassador to Jordan have become a weekly occurrence in the kingdom.

On a number of occasions, some Jordanian parliamentarians have set fire to the Israeli flag inside the chamber.

Not only is Khoury ignoring the plight of his fellow Christian citizens, but he is also turning a blind eye to what is happening in nearby countries, especially Egypt and Syria.

It is notable that Khoury's call for launching terror attacks on Israel comes at a time when two bishops, a priest and 12 nuns are still missing after being kidnapped in Syria. It is also interesting to see that his support for jihad comes at a time when Christians are being slaughtered and churches torched in Syria and Egypt.

Most of the anti-Christian attacks are being described by the perpetrators as "jihad operations" – the same term Khoury uses to justify terror attacks against Israel. The jihadis view the Christians as infidels and a fifth column.

So why is someone like Khoury openly supporting jihad? There could be two answers to this question. First, he may be trying to appease the Islamists so they they will not turn against him and his community in Jordan. Second, Khoury may be another enemy of Israel who thinks it is fine to carry out suicide bombings or, as he calls them, jihad operations, against women and children.

But what Khoury perhaps does not know – or does not want to know – is that one of the few places where Christians can still lead normal lives is in the same country he wants to see targeted by jihadis: Israel. If he has endorsed jihad and Islamic fundamentalism, what is stopping Khoury from converting to Islam and joining Al-Qaeda or one of the jihadi groups in Syria?

Khaled Abu Toameh


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israel-Bashers Let the Bedouin Rot

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The Israeli government has waved the white flag. After trying to put through a rational plan for the Negev that would bring some aid and infrastructure to their nation’s most impoverished population, Jerusalem has given up. The announcement was greeted as a victory for Israel-bashers that painted the plan created by the government’s director of planning Ehud Prawer and former Cabinet minister Benny Begin as a racist land grab that stole land from the Bedouin. After violent demonstrations supported by a minority of Bedouin and international protests supported by the cast of usual suspects involved in efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, the Netanyahu government has understandably cut its losses. With so much else to deal with in terms of the Iranian nuclear threat and the peace negotiations with the Palestinians, what was the point of sticking their necks out on an issue where they were getting killed by both the left and the right?

The demise of the Prawer-Begin plan will be celebrated by the left as setback to Israeli control of the Negev and by the right as the collapse of a plan they saw as a dangerous giveaway of state land since it would have allocated vast tracts of desert territory to the nomads. But the only real losers here are the Bedouin. They are the poorest members of Israeli society and many live in ramshackle shantytowns with no infrastructure or state services. In exchange for giving up some of the area that they claimed, albeit without legal proof of ownership, many would have been left in place and a minority would have been moved to new towns where they could have joined the 21st century. While leftist foes of Israel denounced this as paternalism or colonialism, their victory leaves the Bedouin in the same desperate condition. But then again, like those who pose as friends of the Palestinians, the point of the exercise isn’t to help the Arabs; it’s to hurt Israel.

Israeli planners will now go back to the drawing boards to try to do something for the Bedouin whose isolation and pre-modern style of life may seem romantic to those in the West but which, in reality, condemns them to lives of grinding poverty and deprivation. It’s possible that the government will now craft an even more generous plan that will give the Bedouin more land as well as the services they need. But the problem here is that virtually any attempt to give them what they require will run afoul of the notion that any attempt to create infrastructure in the Negev will be misinterpreted as a Zionist plot.

Let there be no mistake about the fact that Israel’s leftist foes don’t give a damn about the Bedouin. Bringing water, sewage, electricity and educational services to camps that can stretch out for miles in places throughout the desert is impossible. While most of the existing Bedouin towns can be left in place, the most far-flung need to be consolidated if the people who live there are not going to be left in shacks with no connections to the country’s first-world economy. Connecting them to the grid means some have to move.

Much like the descendants of the 1948 Palestinian refugees, the Bedouin only serve a purpose to Israel-bashers if they can be portrayed as victims of the Zionists. They don’t care that the main purpose of the Prawer-Begin plan was to help the Bedouin. Those who claim to demonstrate on their behalf have done nothing for either group. Indeed, the more miserable their existence, the better they like it. Any deprivation faced by this population is fine, so long as it serves to make the Israelis look like exploiters. The crocodile tears they shed for the Bedouin will be swiftly forgotten as they move on to other issues and Israelis who argued about it will similarly push them to the back of the national agenda.

Just like the Palestinian refugees who have been kept homeless for generations in order to serve as a standing argument against Israel—while an equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands were resettled in Israel or the West—the leftist foes of Israel are content to let the Bedouin rot in ramshackle tents. That’s where they will remain until Israel finally puts forward a new idea that will be, no matter how generous, denounced just as furiously by Israel’s enemies. Those who think the demise of the Prawer-Begin plan is good for the Bedouin are lying.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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The Consequences of Kerry’s Vanity Project

by Seth Mandel

The Russian-brokered deal for the West to partner with Bashar al-Assad to start clearing out his chemical weapons seemed to announce what everyone had already figured out: the Obama administration’s goal in Syria was not a rebel victory. Yet in truth the turning point in public perception of President Obama’s approach to Syria probably took place when the Wall Street Journal broke the news that the White House still hadn’t fulfilled its pledge to provide weapons to the moderate opposition.

The reason for the cold feet was calculating–and devastating to the rebels:
The Obama administration doesn’t want to tip the balance in favor of the opposition for fear the outcome may be even worse for U.S. interests than the current stalemate.
U.S. officials attribute the delay in providing small arms and munitions from the CIA weapons program to the difficulty of establishing secure delivery “pipelines” to prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands, in particular Jihadi militants also battling the Assad regime. …
The White House wants to strengthen the opposition but doesn’t want it to prevail, according to people who attended closed-door briefings by top administration officials over the past week. The administration doesn’t want U.S. airstrikes, for example, tipping the balance of the conflict because it fears Islamists will fill the void if the Assad regime falls, according to briefing participants, which included lawmakers and their aides.
So the message was clear: the Obama administration had given up on the moderates. The only non-Assad alternative to the moderates was victory by Islamists, who had gained strength and taken over the lead in opposition. It was more important to prevent an Islamist takeover of Syria, according to the administration, than to roll the dice on moderates. And yet we read today a very curious addendum to this, one that undermines the administration’s previous justification for inaction but helps illuminate the administration’s approach to the entire region, including the Iranian issue and Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is seeking to protect what really matters to them–the diplomatic photo op:
The Obama administration is willing to consider supporting an expanded Syrian rebel coalition that would include Islamist groups, provided the groups are not allied with al-Qaeda and agree to support upcoming peace talks in Geneva, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. …
The emergence last month of the Islamic Front has presented the administration with a dilemma as it seeks to maintain military pressure on the Syrian government before an opposition-government peace conference next month that it hopes will lead to the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad and the installation of a transitional government.
The SMC, whose Free Syrian Army is the only opposition armed force the United States backs in Syria, has lost both strength and influence to anti-Assad Islamic groups. Among them is the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the al-Nusra Front, both of which have been labeled terrorist groups by Washington.
There are the obvious questions: how will the Obama administration vet the groups? What really constitutes an al-Qaeda “affiliation?” Doesn’t this incentivize Islamists to simply create front groups and workarounds? Why is official affiliation more important than, say, ideology and tactics? The answer to that last question is easy: the administration has decided that it is not fighting a war on terror; it’s fighting a war on al-Qaeda.

That also helps us understand the strategy, such as it is, that underpins the Obama administration’s problem-solving agenda. What the president wants is to preserve the superficial appearance of peace by gathering people in Geneva and signing whatever agreement can be cobbled together. This president prefers style over substance, and he has the perfect compliment in a secretary of state mildly obsessed with resume-padding.

So we got the deal with Assad that took the air out of the tires of his opposition and enabled him to go on killing with glee. Then we got the nuclear deal with Iran, which wasn’t a good deal and in fact may not have been a “deal” at all, just a flaky Potemkin escape hatch for the overmatched Western negotiators.

And now Kerry is back in Israel, where he is claiming that the talks are on schedule to produce a comprehensive, full peace agreement by the end of April. It’s possible that Kerry’s right, and he’s not leading the dangerously delusional vanity project he appears to be–gambling with the lives of others so he can secure a few more of those shiny, overtly ridiculous media profiles he’s been scoring lately. But it remains the case that the talks have stalled after Israel had to release terrorists for the privilege of being part of Kerry’s charade.

That is, Kerry appears to have been played by the Palestinians after getting played by Iran and played by Assad and the Russians before that, and is angling for a chance to be played by Islamist extremists for his next act. This process, of pointless photo ops and clumsy negotiations, is the metric by which this administration grades its foreign policy. And its got another mendacious “victory” planned for Syria.

Seth Mandel


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Iran Pulls out of Nuke Talks

by Rick Moran

This may be a temporary move, or it could signal the unraveling of the interim agreement. If the latter, it would set some kind of record for an Iranian double cross.

The move came after President Obama announced some new sanctions on Iran.

Washington Free Beacon:

Iranian negotiators abruptly ended nuclear talks with Western powers in Vienna on Friday just a day after the Obama administration announced tighter sanctions on Tehran.
Iran had threatened that new or tighter sanctions would nullify the recently reached Geneva interim deal, which is not yet in effect.
The Iranians abruptly "halted" the talks and left Vienna so that they could consult with higher-level officials about how to proceed with talks following the tighter sanctions, which were announced Thursday morning by the U.S. Treasury Department.
"The Iranian negotiators interrupted the talks with the [P5+1] for consultations in Tehran," a negotiator said on Thursday, according to Iran's state-run Fars News Agency.
"America's move is against the spirit of the Geneva deal," Iranian chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi reportedly told the Iranian press. "We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response."
Iranian and Western negotiators were in the middle of talks about ways to implement the interim agreement when the sanctions were announced, according to experts.
The "wild thing about today's action [is that] Treasury officials [are] negotiating terms of [the Joint Plan of Action] w/ Iran right now in Vienna," Foundation for Defense of Democracies expert Jonathan Schanzer tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
The White House told the Washington Free Beacon early Friday that it would address the development later in the day.
The interim accord reached in Geneva created the framework for a final deal that would halt portions of Iran's contested uranium enrichment program for six months.
With final negotiations on the six-month freeze in limbo, it remains unclear when exactly Iran will begin halting its nuclear work.
The White House issued a statement defending the sanctions and told reporters to talk with the Iranians about an explanation.

If the Iranians are looking to back out of the deal, this would be the perfect opportunity. However, they may find it more practicable to continue negotiations for a while either to complete work on their project or get a good start on building more infrastructure.

Rick Moran


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Alleged Kansas Bomber Wanted to Be "Obedient Slave of Allah"

by IPT News

An FBI sting has led to the arrest of a Wichita, Kan. man who thought he was about to die in a suicide car bombing that targeted a terminal at the city's Mid-Continent Airport.

Terry Lee Loewen, 58, worked at the airport as an avionics technician. This gave him access to airport grounds. He was arrested before dawn Friday after he tried to open a security gate and get on the tarmac, the Kansas City Star reports.

According to a three-count complaint, Loewen discussed his view of faith as a Muslim. That included expressing "his desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of al Qaeda" during an online conversation with someone whom, unbeknownst to him, was an FBI employee.

"I don't understand how you can read the Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and not understand that jihad and the implementation of Sharia is absolutely demanded of all the Muslim Ummah," Loewen allegedly wrote Aug. 5. "I feel so guilt-ridden sometimes for knowing what's required of me but yet doing little or nothing to make it happen. I love my Muslim brothers and sisters, whether they agree with me or not, it's just hard to deal with the denial that some of them appear to be going through."

Osama bin Laden and American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki "are a great inspiration to me, but I must be willing to give up everything (like they did) to truly feel like a (sic) obedient slave of Allah (swt)," he wrote a few days later.

Later that month, he asked for help finding "someone who is active in jihad and could use an occasional influx of 'help' ... I just hate the kaffar government and those who are following it to the Hellfire, and the sooner it and its followers get there, the better."

Loewen was trying to drive a van packed with explosives to a terminal as part of a plan he spent months developing, a Department of Justice statement says. He "talked about his commitment to trigger the device and martyr himself."

The explosives were rendered inert by the FBI and the public was never in danger. Agents were drawn to Loewen early last summer after he made statements about jihad. He is [charged] with trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Many national Islamist groups have criticized similar sting operations, arguing the FBI is manufacturing a terrorist threat where it might not exist. If Loewen's correspondence in the complaint proves accurate, however, he was a man with the motivation and access to pull off a horrific attack. Left alone, he might have found ways to make his own bomb.

At one point, Loewen acknowledged not knowing whether he could trust his contact. But it wasn't enough to discourage him from pursuing an attack. "my greatest fear is not being able to complete an operation because I was set up," he wrote. "I hate this government so much for what they have done to our brothers and sisters, that to spent (sic) the rest of my life in prison without having taken a good slice out of the serpents head is unacceptable to me."

If convicted, Loewen could face life in prison.

IPT News


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Qaradawi’s War for Egypt

by David Schenker

Sunni Cleric of Al-Jazeera Talk Show Fame is further Destabilizing Egypt with his Fatwas


One of the most influential Sunni clerics in the Middle East, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has been calling on Egyptians to “go out to the streets” and confront the military. His controversial edicts have enraged Egypt’s new leaders and incited violence between the rival camps.
Egyptian chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (C) during his visit to the Islamic University in Gaza City on May 9, 2013. (EPA/ALI ALI)
Egyptian chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (C) during his visit to the Islamic University in Gaza City on May 9, 2013. (EPA/ALI ALI)

The 2011 toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak signaled the onset of a prolonged period of political instability and economic uncertainty in Egypt. When Muslim Brotherhood apparatchik Mohamed Mursi was elected in 2012, many Egyptians were hopeful that the new Islamist administration would govern competently and deliver Egypt from crisis. But Mursi ruled undemocratically and incompetently, moving Egypt to the brink of financial collapse and, by the time the military stepped in to remove him from power in July 2013, Egypt was facing a burgeoning terrorist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that was spreading to the Nile Valley.

In the aftermath of Mursi’s removal, a debate has been sparked in Western capitals as to whether the military’s intervention was in Egypt’s best interests. There is, however, little disagreement over the urgent need to reestablish security and economic stability in the most populous Arab state. The 87-year-old Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, however, takes a rather different view. 

Qaradawi is one of the most influential Sunni clerics in the Middle East. In recent months, he has been issuing fatwas urging Egyptians to support the deposed Islamist president. Many see his religious edicts as the incitement of violence among rival groups. Qaradawi’s position is not only unrealistic—the Egyptian military will not allow the Muslim Brotherhood to retake the reins of power in Cairo—it is also a recipe for continued instability. 

The leading scholar has a loyal following. In addition to heading the prominent International Union for Muslim Scholars, Qaradawi stars in his own Sunday night primetime show on Al-Jazeera, Ash-Shari’a wal-Hayat (Shari’a and Life) which reaches an estimated 60 million viewers.

Qaradawi has long tried to position himself as a representative of the Wasatiyya moderate religious trend of Islam. Notwithstanding his views that suicide bombings against Israel are legitimate, wife-beating is permissible, and British author Salman Rushdie should be executed for blasphemy, he has largely been viewed in the region as a centrist. Lately, however, Qaradawi’s opinions on Egypt have been provocative and uncharacteristically divisive. In fact, weeks ago, his deputy at the International Union of Islamic Scholars, a Mauritanian cleric named Abdallah bin Bayyah, resigned his post, purportedly due to disagreements over Qaradawi’s positions on Egypt and Syria.

Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood

For decades, Qaradawi has been affiliated with, and a vocal supporter of, the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, the cleric was twice offered the position of Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide, but he declined both times. Qaradawi, therefore, was pleased with the revolution that toppled Mubarak, who had alternately repressed and co-opted the Brotherhood since coming to power in 1981. The Brotherhood’s post-Mubarak electoral victories in parliamentary and presidential elections seemed to herald a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated era in Egypt, an opportunity to irrevocably Islamize Egyptian politics.

Following the January 2011 revolution, Qaradawi, who had been exiled by former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, returned triumphant to Egypt to deliver his first public speech since 1981. Thousands turned up in Tahrir Square to hear him speak. In late 2012, he enjoyed another first when he preached a sermon in Al-Azhar Mosque, Egypt’s preeminent religious institution. For Qaradawi, the trajectory of post-revolution Egypt could not have looked better.

Understandably, the July 3 military action that deposed Mursi and killed many of his supporters shocked Qaradawi. His reaction reflected his anger and disappointment in the reversal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s fortunes. Several days after Mursi was removed, Qaradawi issued a fatwa saying, “It is haram [religiously impermissible] for Egypt to do this. . . . Nothing can come after this except divine wrath and punishment.” 

Subsequently, he issued another fatwa calling on “Muslims from around the world” to be shuhada, or martyrs, in Egypt, adding: “Allah will ask you on the day of judgment whether you saw these human massacres.”

Qaradawi’s reaction to the August 14 military crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood occupation of Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square was even more pointed. Nearly one thousand Brotherhood supporters were killed during the clearing of the square, as the military and the pro-Mursi camp clashed. That day, Qaradawi made a lengthy speech on Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian channel encouraging all Egyptians to “go out to the streets” and confront the military. Qaradawi described this as a “fardi ayn” (religious duty), an “obligation for every able-bodied and believing Egyptian to leave their house.” Minister of Defense Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the Egyptian government were “complicit in these massacres,” Qaradawi added, and would “have to answer to Allah for what they have done.”

Since then, Qaradawi has justified his incitement to violence against Egypt’s military on the grounds that the military and its Egyptian supporters qualified as “Kharijites,” a reference to the seventh-century Muslim sect that broke away from Sunni Islam. Even worse, according to Qaradawi, is Sisi, a “traitor” whom he warned would “be punished in this world before the hereafter.” 

“Allah,” Qaradawi said, “kills killers.”

Taking on Egypt’s religious establishment

While Qaradawi continues to criticize the military and the campaign of arrests against Muslim Brotherhood officials, he has focused his ire more recently on the former grand mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa. Qaradawi has used his platform at Al-Jazeera and the International Union for Muslim Scholars to relentlessly criticize Gomaa, whom he now routinely refers to in his tweets as “mufti al-askar,” or the “military’s mufti.” 

In September, Qaradawi attacked Gomaa on Al-Jazeera and in a statement issued by the Muslim scholars’ union for issuing his own fatwa supporting the military’s removal of Mursi. His position, according to Qaradawi, qualified him as “a military spokesman of the coup” and “a slave of the police and those in power.” 

Qaradawi likewise impugned Gomaa’s religious credentials. In the same statement, he described Gomaa’s fatwas—about dealing with ribh, or charging interest, Muslims selling alcohol and pork, and women washing with milk, among other things—as “al-fatawa al-shatha,” or an aberrance. According to Qaradawi, Gomaa “permits that which is forbidden and forbids that which is permissible . . . and maligns God, His Prophet, the scholars, and the Umma [Islamic nation].”

Egyptian newspapers have reported extensively on the war of words between Qaradawi and Gomaa, as has—perhaps not surprisingly—the pro-Hezbollah, pro-Iranian press. Just recently, Hezbollah’s satellite television channel, Al-Manar, reported that Qaradawi had called on Gomaa to “repent” prior to facing a “bad ending.” 

“Ali Gomaa,” Qaradawi said, “supports the people in power over the ahl al-haq [the rightly-guided people], the soldiers over the scholars, the military over the people, the sword over the pen, the sultan [i.e., Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi] over the Qur’an, and the state over religion!”

Responding to these comments and Qaradawi’s calls for jihad in Egypt, Gomaa—who for years served as a salaried cleric under Mubarak—opined on Egyptian television that “Qaradawi is old and suffering from Alzheimer’s.” Gomaa’s colleagues at Al-Azhar similarly criticized Qaradawi for sowing fitna, or chaos, among Muslims, and attributed his positions to “senility.” 

Other Egyptian Islamists have also taken issue with Qaradawi’s interference in domestic Egyptian affairs. For example, notwithstanding the Muslim Brotherhood’s release of several long-imprisoned members of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, the organization has been critical of Qaradawi. One of Islamic Jihad’s leaders, Nabil Naim, recently described Qaradawi as an agent whose fatwas are “in the service of America and Israel.”

Even Qaradawi’s son, Abdel Rahman Al-Qaradawi, criticized his father’s stance on Egypt. Indeed, in a letter to the Egyptian daily Al-Yawm Al-Saba’a, the son wrote that Mursi was removed because he had ruled undemocratically, violating his presidential oath. “According to what obligation to Allah do you ask us to leave him in power?” he asked. He added that his father’s militant fatwas had “embarrassed me and saddened me.”

Out of step with Egyptians

Qaradawi’s declaration of jihad in support of the restoration of Mursi to the presidency is not the only militant position out of step with most Egyptians. Qaradawi’s zealous advocacy on behalf of Hamas, the Palestinian chapter of the Brotherhood that has been designated by the US and the European Union as a terrorist organization, also places him squarely outside of the consensus today in Egypt. 

In recent months, the Egyptian military has been taking steps to shore up the border with Gaza in order to prevent the infiltration of weapons, Hamas members, and foreign fighters aligned with Al-Qaeda into Egypt’s increasingly dangerous Sinai Peninsula. The efforts to seal off Gaza and secure the Sinai—an endeavor that for the first time since the 1967 Six-Day War involves Egyptian helicopters and fighter jets flying over Palestinian territory—is popular in Cairo, if not among Sinai residents.

Some one hundred members of the security forces have been killed in recent months in the Sinai. Meanwhile, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—and, seemingly, Qaradawi—oppose the efforts to reestablish security in the peninsula, hoping to leverage the ongoing violence for political concessions to the Islamists. 

The problem, of course, is that Egypt’s insecurity is not limited to the Sinai. Since Mursi’s removal this summer, terrorists have targeted a state-owned satellite television station in a Cairo suburb with rocket-propelled grenades and attempted to assassinate the interior minister with a car bomb in downtown Cairo. Equally problematic Sinai-based insurgents fired rockets at a ship traversing the Suez Canal in late August. 

Fueled by Al-Qaeda and Qaradawi’s calls for jihad, the insurgency is crossing the canal and destabilizing Egypt. Already beset by economic and political woes, violence today in Egypt currently resembles the 1990s, threatening the transition and hopes for a return to the “normalcy” of pre-revolution days. Regrettably, in a desperate effort to restore the Muslim Brotherhood to power, this is the dynamic that Qaradawi is promoting. While the violence cannot ultimately achieve its goal, it stands to do a great deal of damage to Egypt, undermining any chance for reconciliation between the vanquished Islamists and their military and more secular adversaries. No matter. To paraphrase an old quote, it seems that Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood have reached the conclusion that it may be necessary to destroy Egypt in order to save it.

The article was originally published in The Majalla.

David Schenker


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