15
May
08

On air: Do Palestinians need to accept there can never be a ‘home-coming’?

We talked about Israel’s declaration of independence with Israelis last week. They mark their country’s 60th birthday according to the Jewish lunar calendar. Palestinians mark the anniversary they call ‘nakba’ today, May 15th (the actual declaration was on May 14th) and we’ll talk with them.

More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled in the war that followed Israel’s declaration of independence, and many of them or their descendants still hold out hope they will one day return to their homes. But is that realistic?

Is it helpful to keep aspiring to returning home when many would argue that, aside from other issues, pure impracticality stands in their way? Some homes have gone, others changed beyond recognition.

Or do Palestinians have every right to keep insisting they must go home however long it takes? And does this insistence actually slow their efforts to get their own country?


96 Responses to “On air: Do Palestinians need to accept there can never be a ‘home-coming’?”


  1. 1 steve
    May 15, 2008 at 16:16

    There are refugees from every other conflict in history, and they all moved on. There are ethnic germans that got kicked out of the Czech republic after WW2. There were Germans of Koenigsburg (now Kaliningrad, Russia)… They moved on. Israel isn’t going to accept a large group of hostile people within Israel proper, just like the Jews expelled from Muslim countries probably realize it wouldn’t be the wisest move to go back to those countries, yet history ignores the jewish refugees because Israel took them in, and didn’t keep them in refugee camps like the arabs do with palestinians.

  2. 2 VictorK
    May 15, 2008 at 16:48

    There can be no progress in the Middle East if people insist on impossible objectives, such as a ‘right of return’.

    No such right exists and Israel will never grant a right that would mean its demographic death. The Jews expelled from the Arab world – comparable in numbers to the Palestinians who left their homes, though hardly ever mentioned – are as much victims of dispossession. But unlike the Palestinians those expellees had no choice: the UN partitioned the Palestinian territory – as it was entitled to do under international law – and gave the Palestinians a state of their own (in addition to Jordan, created from 80% of the original Palestinian mandate). The Palestinains had a state to begin with. They weren’t content with what the UN had given them, though it was the first time (apart from Jordan) that a Palestinian state had been created.The determination of Arab countries to seize the territory that had been marked out for a Jewish state is the root of the Naqba.

    There are only two options for taking things forward. The Palestinians renounce their claim to a right of return, individuals accept compensation for private property lost to Israel (with similar compensation being paid by Arab governments to Jews who lost property in the Arab world), and they get on with trying to make a success of the Palestinian Authority. Otherwise Israel should annex the West Bank and Gaza and expel the Palestinian inhabitants to Egypt and Jordan.

  3. May 15, 2008 at 16:54

    The Israeli refusal to be flexible on this issue is part of the conflict itself. By this I don’t mean that the Palestinians insist in the right of return contrary to what Israel is willing to accept.

    What I mean is that the reason why Israel doesn’t want the refugees to return is because they see them as a threat to their country. The refugees are “the enemy” as far as Israel is concerned. But that attitude is incompatible with future peaceful relations we want to get to.

    So, perhaps a solution should involve a gradual return of some fraction of the refugees some years after a peace deal is finalized. If not all the refugees can return for practical reasons then Israel should compensate the refugees for that. Europe or the US could help to implement such a deal by paying that bill for Israel.

  4. May 15, 2008 at 17:04

    Hello Precious Steve…. You go back to Precious Ros’ post “Happy Birthday Israel?” and read a comment of mine (no.87 I think) in which I described how Baghdadi Jews used to live in Baghdad before 1948… The right of returning back home again for Palestinian refugees never dies no matter how much time has passed…. Inshallah when the independent and sovereign Palestinian state is established on East Jerusalem, the whole West Bank, and the Gaza strip soon, then at that time all Palestinian refugees will be able to get back home again honoured, dignified, and raising up their chins as they do really deserve… Only when that happens, we’ll then be able to abolish the word ‘nakba’ from our dictionary… With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  5. 5 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 15, 2008 at 17:27

    Mr.Steve,
    None of the jewish ever been expelled from any muslim country, still over 40,000 jewish are in Iran & they got represantion in Iranian Public Offices beside that Pakistan got lot of Jewish & have represantation in public offices, so do the Turky & other non Arab muslim countries.
    No doubt Europe is trying to sprinkle crockdile tears over first & second world war events in a consperious way instead of shame & sorrow.
    Isriel suppose to understand ground realities keeping in view past & future, this is not in the intrest of Europe & USA that Isriel achieve the peace, as there business of arms is booming because of Middle East conflict.
    I think immeture Isrieli behaviour is insisting other Middle Eastern Countries to achieve the peace with Atomic power.
    Sooner or later peace will be achieved in Middle East and EU & USA will be isolated immediately.
    Any way “Lawrance Of Arabia” is the father of all Middle Eastern Nation’s.

  6. May 15, 2008 at 17:38

    Palestinians need to let go of the notion of going home to what they had in the past. One cannot force a mule to move when looking at it eye to eye. When the mule feels it is not being challenged and a little incentive, an apple perhaps, only the will the mule move…ever so slowly.

  7. May 15, 2008 at 17:53

    I don’t think Israel has much of a future as a “Jewish” state. With luck it can continue as a Jewish homeland where Jews are free to live along with anyone else.

    From their earliest days Zionists talked about the need to expel Palestinians and create a fortress society. It has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now their little fortress is surrounded by angry Arabs. As the world runs out of cheap oil, Israel’s position will only get worse.

  8. 8 steve
    May 15, 2008 at 18:13

    @ Syed

    Yes, Jews were expelled, and Jews probably also voluntarily left living Muslim countries, the same 700,000 as the palestinians had. Life got really bad for them after Israel was formed. I have relatives that left Tunisia, and it wasn’t exactly by choice, or are you suggesting they are lying to me? What were those Synagogue bombings in Tunisia about recently anyways?

  9. 9 Matthew Godwin
    May 15, 2008 at 18:13

    Dear Ros,

    Where is the Israeli perspective? On Israel’s 60th birthday celebration WHYS invited Palestinians to participate as well as Israelis – now we have an open forum for only the Palestinians. This is not fair treatment.

    Thanks,
    Matt Godwin
    Halifax
    Canada

  10. May 15, 2008 at 18:15

    Typically The European Union takes it’s usual high handed stance with respect to The Environment, while MEPs do nothing themselves to become more environmentally friendly. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH FIRST!

  11. 11 Will Rhodes
    May 15, 2008 at 18:21

    @ VictorK

    Couldn’t agree more.

  12. May 15, 2008 at 18:23

    Steve in the USA writes:

    Is it the Nakba because Israel was created or the Nakba because the Palestinian state wasn’t created as a result of the Arabs attacking Israel and then occupying Gaza and and the West Bank from 1948-1967? If it’s the former, then if so many Palestinians don’t think Israel has a right to exist, do you think peace is possible? If the latter reason, why isn’t there anger at Egypt and Jordan for not giving the Palestinians independence?

  13. 13 Kathy
    May 15, 2008 at 18:23

    Why are there still Palestinian refugees 60 years later? Why did the Arab states allow this misery? Other conflicts have left refugees but these past refugees were taken in and given lives-why have Palestinians been left to their misery?

  14. 14 Shirley
    May 15, 2008 at 18:24

    There is no need for Palestinians to give up the hope of returning to their homes. Just as I feel that Native Americans in the States have every right to their homelands, I feel that Palestinians have every right to their homes. It is what accords with international law. It is what is morally correct. It is what is humane.

  15. 15 Oaktown Jeff
    May 15, 2008 at 18:26

    The Nakba is that Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Of course they missed their own state in 1948- they are the ones who rejected statehood. oops. Why in a 2 state solution must one be free of Jews but the other not be free of “Palestinians”?

    Yes i was listening to KALW and I’ll remember this show when the come crawling for money- what a sham, what a terrible moderator.

  16. 16 Dennis
    May 15, 2008 at 18:27

    Should the Palestinians accept the fact they can never return home, YES….
    Because the State of Israel, does not want them there….

    I understand that the host countries i.e. Jordan and Egypt, not giving you the rights…to work and living accommodations…..

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  17. 17 Wendi
    May 15, 2008 at 18:35

    The true catastrophe is the failure of the Palestinians to blame their own who caused their current situation. Let’s not forget that Palestinians COULD BE CELEBRATING THEIR OWN STATE TOO had all the Arab nations not voted against the partition plan. It is easy for the Palestinians to villify Israel without placing any blame on their own brethren. The Palestinians did not have any say at the time – they were told to leave while the Arab states declared war in an attempt to annihilate the nascent Jewish state. The idea was that then the Palestinians could go back, free of the Jews. As we know, it didn’t work out that way. In my short lifetime (I’m 38), there have been numerous opportunities for the Palestinians to have their own country. Stop blaming the Jews of Israel when the Palestinians won’t compromise, won’t consider less than all of Israel and when the leaders of the Gaza Strip still don’t recognize Israel’s legitimate right to exist and vow to destroy them. Until the moderate, level-headed Palestinians take control from Hamas and the other militant groups, there will contine to be strife.

    Should the Jews throughout the world be given the right of return to all the Arab nations that expelled them with the creation of the Jewish state?

    History? The Hebrew people have lived the land just as long, if not longer than the Palestinian people. The Al Aqsa mosque is built on the RUINS of the Jews’ Holy Temple.

    It’s not black and white – there’s blame on both sides, but until the Palestinians disavow violence, sit down with Israelis and show their true desire for peace, the Palestinians will continue to be in this sad position. The refugee crisis is a result of war wrought by the Arab nations. The refugee crisis is a result of continued refusal to accept the numerous offers for peace. Look within for blame.

    Wendi
    Pepper Pike, Ohio

  18. 18 John in Salem
    May 15, 2008 at 18:39

    The Palestinians have as much chance of getting their homes back as the American Indians do of getting Manhattan back. Ain’t gonna happen.
    Give it up, guys. Stop wanting what you used to have or what the Israelis have because you have the potential to have far more than they do.
    You need to figure out how to create a viable economy in the Gaza Strip and just plan that at some time in the future you’re going to walk out and leave the Israelis without a cheap labor source.
    You can turn the tables on history but not if you waste your time on the past.

  19. May 15, 2008 at 18:40

    Steve in the USA writes:

    I think Lubna doesn’t understand the argument being made. The guest wants Palestinians to return to inside of Israel, whereas Lubna thinks that the argument is about Gaza and the west bank. Of course Palestinians should be able to return to Gaza and the West Bank from wherever they are in the world, it’s their country, they should be able to live in it if they want to when it’s formed. However, to say they should be able to move to INSIDE of Israel, that’s not going to happen.

    If Palestinians shared Lubna’s view, there would be no argument, as it’s common sense, but Lubna, that’s not what they are referring to with “right of return.” They want to go to Israel itself.

  20. 20 selena
    May 15, 2008 at 18:44

    Didn’t the Jews go “home” after thousands of years? Why should the Palestinians give up hope?

  21. May 15, 2008 at 18:45

    Shirley Wilson in Chicago emails:

    There is no need for Palestinians to give up the hope of returning to their homes. Just as I feel that Native Americans in the States have every right to their homelands, I feel that Palestinians have every right to their homes. It is what accords with international law. It is what is morally correct. It is what is humane.

  22. 22 Shadi Bargouti
    May 15, 2008 at 18:53

    Dear Ross,

    Your question about the Palestinians accepting that there will be no homecoming is -with all due respect- a silly one.

    May I remind you that the Jewish people for over 3000 years kept their hope of returning to their -so called- “Home Land” alive while in ‘Diaspora’. “Next year in Jerusalem” they said and shouted during these 3000 years.

    So, how do you expect the Palestinians to give up on their hope after a measly 60 years?!!!

    One thing for sure however, it will not take the Palestinians 3000 to get back to their home land. The current state of affairs will only serve to expedite this return and it’s time for the Israelis to wake up and recognize that their own existence -as a Jewish state- is not being served by their continued occupation.

    It’s time for Israel to leave the West Bank and Gaza, dismantle the settlements in the West Bank and allow people like me to return to my rightful land that was taken away from my grandfather by force.

    Respectfully submitted,

  23. May 15, 2008 at 18:55

    Wendi in Ohio writes:

    The true catastrophe is the failure of the Palestinians to blame their own who caused their current situation. Let’s not forget that Palestinians COULD BE CELEBRATING THEIR OWN STATE TOO had all the Arab nations not voted against the partition plan. It is easy for the Palestinians to villify Israel without placing any blame on their own brethren. The Palestinians did not have any say at the time – they were told to leave while the Arab states declared war in an attempt to annihilate the nascent Jewish state. The idea was that then the Palestinians could go back, free of the Jews. As we know, it didn’t work out that way. In my short lifetime (I’m 38), there have been numerous opportunities for the Palestinians to have their own country. Stop blaming the Jews of Israel when the Palestinians won’t compromise, won’t consider less than all of Israel and when the leaders of the Gaza Strip still don’t recognize Israel’s legitimate right to exist and vow to destroy them. Until the moderate, level-headed Palestinians take control from Hamas and the other militant groups, there will contine to be strife.

    Should the Jews throughout the world be given the right of return to all the Arab nations that expelled them with the creation of the Jewish state?

    History? The Hebrew people have lived the land just as long, if not longer than the Palestinian people. The Al Aqsa mosque is built on the RUINS of the Jews’ Holy Temple.

    It’s not black and white – there’s blame on both sides, but until the Palestinians disavow violence, sit down with Israelis and show their true desire for peace, the Palestinians will continue to be in this sad position. Look within for blame.

  24. May 15, 2008 at 18:56

    Even if 600 years not 60 years pass on, this will never change the fact that the whole Palestinian people do deserve to live a dignified, honourable and peaceful life in an independent, respect-worthy ansovereign Palestinian state…. It’s never a dream… It’s a legitimate right that can never be denied no matter how much time has passed or will pass… A mistake doesn’t at all justify another mistake, does it ?! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  25. 25 Shirley
    May 15, 2008 at 18:56

    I looked up the Jewish exudes from Arab lands. For the most part, it is referenced by extremists or tunnel-visioned groups such as Daniel Pipes, Christian Action for Israel, Palestine Facts, Middle East Facts, and Free Republic. I am on page four of my Google search for jews expelled arab countries, and only Wikipedia comes up as a source without its own pre-set agenda.

    “The migration started in the late 19th century, but accelerated after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. According to official Arab statistics, 856,000 Jews left their homes in Arab countries from 1948 until the early 1970s.” The picture before 1948 appears to be mixed. There were periods of tolerance or acceptance, and there were periods of discrimination and persectution. It appears to have reflected the treatment of other minorities by the state and the majority population around the world at the time.

    The reason that the time is interesting to me is because the rise in the mistreatment of Arab Jews coincides with the strengthening and mobilisation of the zionist movement. Has it occurred to anyone that people in the Arab would might get upset that part of their lands might be set aside exclusively for a homeland for people who were not originally from there? This is the reason that tensions were increasing in Palestine before the final Partition Plan as set out by UNGA Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947. Before the zionist movement began to mobilise towards the establishment of their own state on Palestinian land to the exclusion of the Palestinian people, the Jewish people in Palestine were generally accepted. It was understood that they were fleeing persecution in their own countries and needed a safe haven. When the threat of the changing of that safe haven into an exclusive homeland was perceived, reactions began and tensions flared.

    I view the historical maltreatment of Jews in Muslim countries as unfortunate, because I would have hoped that Muslim rulers would have been more accommodating towards ethic and religious minorities. Then again, I look back at the slaughter of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad and their supporters who clung to the belief that Imam `Ali, not Caliph Abu Bakr was the true successor of Prophet Muhammad, and it becomes obvious that this sidelining and persecution of the minority was already the status quo in most historical Islamic states. I believe that Jewish people, as well as others who are persectuted in other parts of the world on account of their ethnic or religious status, should be able to find refuge in a Muslim country. It does bother me that Muslim rulers historically often fell in step with the rest of the world in their treatment of minorities. Indeed, there were good times, but the bad times cannot be ignored.

    What is confusing about the argument of the Jewish exodus from the Arab world is that if we did return those Jewish emigres in the same way that we we would like to see Palestinian exiles to be returned, the Jewish refugees would almost certainly be persecuted all over again. Just because the leaders of Arab countries claim the title “Muslim” does not mean that they have any intention of acting Muslim. If we have rapists, murderers, and usurers as leaders in Muslim countries, then how can we expect them to be held to the Islamic standards of the treatment of the minority and politically weak?

    In my opinion, the best solution would be to abide by the expectations normally held of democratic societies: compensate those wronged, return to them what is theirs, and work towards the removal of racist barriers and abuses.

  26. May 15, 2008 at 18:57

    The Seyforths write:

    Palestinians must never give up hope of a Palestinian State. There will never be peace in the Middle East until there is a Palestinian State. There is far too much subjcation in this world particularly in the case of the Palestinian’s. The United States has not helped in this regard.

  27. May 15, 2008 at 19:14

    These are some of the text messages we have been getting from you

    Akin in Nigeria
    If the Berbers can live in an Arab dominated North Africa,why can’t Arabs accept one Jewish state on part of a land Jews have lived in since 1200 B.C.

    Ric in Jerusalem
    After Israels creation thousands of Jews were forced out of Arab countries the difference is unlike, the Palestinian refugees who were kept lingering in refugee camps to be used as political pawns by their Arab hosts the Jewish refugees who came to Israel were absorbed into Israeli society.

    Banks in Amsterdam
    Trust Bush to come out with the most inappropriate, offensive concepts and statement possible. For Palestinians it was a tragedy, and now it’s reinforced. No wonder they hate and distrust the west.

    Peter in the UK
    Just how could Bush be SO HYPOCRITICAL, claiming to want peace and yet Preaching his Zionist venom and celebrating Zionist occupation and destruction of Palestine at the same time?

    Percy in Kaduna, Nigeria
    Palestinians shd stop cryin over spilt milk, d deed’s been done they shd focus on gettin back wit their lives but Israel shd b more lenient 2 them though.

    Basy in Nigeria
    Isreal’s 60th anniversary is a celebratn of emptiness, they should give peace a chance.

    Mansour in Monrovia
    Palestine has the right to exist.

    Hope in Nigeria
    Palestine can exist alongside Israel, Israelis should overcome the “holocaust mentality”, how we rationalise the unending killings between the two people.

    Jamal in Freetown
    Hitler killed about six million jews for them to have a home land. Should the jews also kill six million palestinians before they can have a home land?

    Ayaya in Nigeria
    I feel sorry for the Palestinians,but where do they think the state of Israel should have been located in the world?

    Hope in Nigeria
    Palestinians you must accept the reality of the existence of the state of Israel. As for Israel, you must know that PALESTINE is real, which can’t bombed away.

    Gabriel in Monrovia
    I blame britain for handing over palestine to the jews, effectively condeming the palestinians to roam the region stateless. It was unjust to say the least and must be revised before any negotiation.

    Mobi in Nigeria
    THE TRUE PATH TO RECONCILIATION LIE WITHIN THEIR WILL TO SINCERELY WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS PEACE

    C.C.
    You Palestinians you will never get your land back because you are not united!

    Nasir in Nigeria
    United Nations should force israel to allow palestinians refuges to go back to their home land, because they have right exist on their land.

    Abdul in Accra
    Please tell us,is this lsrael a new state or the Biblical one?

    Ebqahim in Gambia
    The US can justify Israili killing of Palestenians because that is the way the US was created.

    Julie in Kampala
    Uganda was targeted as one of the ’holocaust settlement countries’. Thank God my country failed 2 meet the criteria. Isolation has been 2 long. Israelis& Palestines must find a resolution.

  28. 28 Jamila in Kuwait
    May 15, 2008 at 19:40

    Ros,

    The West is as much responsible for the creation of the Jewish homeland as dismantling the Palestinian nation. Why are the Palestinians bearing the sins of the West (the Holocaust)? The West has conveniently exploited and abused the Palestinians to clear their guilt and pacify the Jews. Additionally, the extremist Evangelical Christians are supporting Jews because they believe Jesus will only resurrect when there’s a greater Israel. Why isn’t BBC exposing the extremist Evangelical Christian’s (with Extremist Jewish support), agenda of wishing to annihilate and eradicate Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians?

    Jamila
    Kuwait.

  29. 29 steve
    May 15, 2008 at 20:24

    @ Jamila

    It wasn’t the Jews or the west rejecting the arab state created in 1948. The invading arab armies didn’t give the Palestinians independence. Why? You cannot blame Israel for this, unless Israel is to blame for the actions of the arab armies that rejected partitition, conquered palestinian territories and didn’t grant Palestinians independence.

  30. 30 Fitouri
    May 15, 2008 at 21:26

    Yes the Palestinians should give up hope, however there should be a few other things to take place:

    Israel needs to stop making the lives of Palestinians so horrible. “But they kill our civilians,” Israelis say. Well, if take the time to examine crime in any major metropolitan area. Regardless of police force, it will not stop until the lives of the criminal demographic is bettered. Until the lives of Palestinians is made better, which requires relaxation from Israel, there will be no serenity.

    Palestinians need to be given other citizenships. Jordan was created to suck up all the refugees from Palestine, to be where all the Arab Palestinians go (similar to how Pakistan was made for Muslims, India for otherwise). If they have nowhere to go, can’t own land anywhere, and are trapped by a nation that is incessantly bombing terrorist strongholds, which are often school houses or hospitals, then those Palestinians are going to keep fighting a war they can never win.

    The Palestinian “nation” should cease to exist. It should be distributed amongst neighboring Arab nations, and the inhabitants to become either vassals or citizens of the absorbing nations. This is a move taken out of ancient era politics, but it works. If the Gaza strip was handed to Egypt, then Egypt could decide what to do with them. It will probably not be liberation, and may still be very hard for them, but there will be much more cooperation by the two like-minded sides, probably, within 50 years, ending up in total assimilation of the Palestinian state.
    The West Bank could similarly be distributed between Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan.

  31. 31 VictorK
    May 15, 2008 at 21:51

    Can anybody help with answers to these questions:
    1. What proportion of the land that is now Israel was, in 1947, legally owned by Palestinian property holders? What proportion of the land was Jewish-owned?
    2. What proportion of Palestinian refugees had ancestral roots n the Palestinian territory going back to, say, 1850?
    3. In what meaningful sense are the Palestinians a nation? Did anybody claim or believe that the Palestinians were a nation prior to the Twentieth Century? If not, what claim do they have to a ‘national’ territory?
    4. Why is Palestine not named after the people who claim to be indigenous to the territory, or named to mark some aspect of their history? This is how almost every genuine nation denominates its territory.
    5. Western powers (Britain and France) established Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria as states. Did those powers have a right to do this? Are the states they established legitimate and possessed of a right to exist?

  32. 32 selena
    May 15, 2008 at 22:42

    @Steve darling, (Oh dear, can I say darling now?) 😉

    You can shout it from the rooftops until the cows come home that Israel and the West are not responsible for the misery of innocent Palestinians and it still will not wash.

    After a while this kind of rhetoric takes away from the real issue, which is to create a blameless culture on both sides. Peace, not political rhetoric as a means to a political end, should be the gaol.

    Forget Palestine, your kind of talk is not good for Israel.

  33. 33 steve
    May 15, 2008 at 22:49

    @ Selena

    I have never said ISrael and the west are not responsible, I’m saying they are not entirely responsible like the arabs tend to say. There would be a 60 year old Palestinian state if the arabs did not attack in 1948. Remember, Egypt and Jordan occupied the occupied territories from 1948-1967 and didn’t give the Palestinians independence.

  34. May 15, 2008 at 23:06

    I still remember an extremist from the Sash Party who found a quick solution to the Palestinian issue. He argued that Arab countries should divide the Palestinian population among them, especially those living in Israel. As for Al Aqsa Mosque, it should be transferred to Mecca. Thus inferring all the territory should be left just to the Israelis.

    On my part I have even a crazier solution to this problem. The Israeli and the Palestinian land makes no more than 22,000 square kilometres. It won’t be spacious enough if the Palestinian refugees return there. Which means more than 10 million people should live in it, while in a decade or two that population can jump into 15 million and more. What I suggest is that a portion of the Israelis should return to their countries of origin, i.e. the countries from which they migrated to make room for the Palestinian refugees to have breathing space in the land from which they fled after the creation of Israel.

    Now trying to be serious, I think the Palestinian issue will remain unresolved as long as the refugees aren’t granted the right to return to their homeland. This of course doesn’t mean all of them will seek to return, especially if they know the economic difficulties they can face. Currently, many of those living in Palestinian controlled territories are seeking to migrate to Europe, the Gulf States, or the USA. Many try to enter Egypt or Jordan, the nearest countries with which Israel has peace agreement. But they are confronted by the border guards and barbered wires.

    What can solve the problem of the Palestinian refugees is a general peace agreement between the Arabs and the Israelis after solving territorial and border issues with mainly Syria and Lebanon. Economic cooperation in the region will make the Palestinians seek a better life in neighbouring countries while remaining attached to their homeland.

    It is the political issue that makes the question of refugees of paramount importance. There are countries whose at least tenth of its population live abroad as immigrants or residents. The majority of the Lebanese live abroad in the Americas and even in Africa. The difference is that immigrants and even their offspring have the right to return to their countries of origin. For the Palestinians, a category of Palestinians living in refugee camps don’t yet have the right to return to the Palestinian territories, while the Palestinians living in Palestinian territories must have the permit to enter the Israeli territory. That’s what makes the issue look prickly. It still needs resilience on all sides to find a solution to it without politically trading in the rights of the people concerned.

  35. 35 Roberto
    May 16, 2008 at 00:07

    Palestinians need to be given other citizenships. Jordan was created to suck up all the refugees from Palestine, to be where all the Arab Palestinians go.
    ———————————————————

    ——— Sorry, but your time line is off.

    Jordan is the largest mass of land carved out of the original Palestinian Mandate territories a year before Israel was created. The population of Jordan was and still is overwhelmingly Palestinian. This is part of the reason the King of Jordan married a Palestinian women as has been done for thousands of years of world history to keep the peace between tribes, the King being part of the Hashemite tribe.

    Many of the “Palestinian refugees” of the 1948 war did end up in Jordan among many other states. Jordan has also recently absorbed the largest portion of the Iraqi refugees.

    The Palestinians don’t appear to want other citizenships in the middle east and those countries don’t want them as citizens. They will use a few of them as foreign labor or as businessmen, but any more than a few create problems with local tribes and cultures and are banned.

    Right now we no longer know what Palestinians want. They have a civil war going on. They have turned down at least 2 certain opporunities to create their own state, probably more.

    Surrounding middle eastern states are funding the arms and terrorism used against Israel and the western supported government of Lebanon. The Palestinians that run their territories have chosen to use their culture as cannon fodder against Israel.

    I’ve no doubt there are many Christians and Palestinian Muslim victims who feel caught in the crossfire every day. They are powerless against the heavily armed clans that dominate Palestinian leadership.

    The UN and other peace brokers should explore creating a state out of what remains of the West Bank that Palestinians still live in and leave the Gaza population as stateless since that is where most of the attacks come from.

    There can be no right of return for non Israeli Palestinians. There can be compensation, but there also has to be compensation by consensus of the oil rich middle eastern and North African nations to all the Jews, Christians, Druze, Zoroastarians, and other religious refugees who have been forced to flee their lands since 1948.

    There can be no compensation until these states recognize Israel officially. Even if all the stars, sun, and the moon line up for this peace and mutual recognition, the terrorist blood cult created by Palestinians will still be actively involved in terrorism for a long time.

    That’s the bottomline reality of the Palestinian dilemma.

  36. 36 selena
    May 16, 2008 at 00:38

    @Steve,

    Soul searching begins at home. Change requires that one person/group exhibit more awareness and grace than the other.

    If we always resort to pointing out the other’s faults, we remain with them in the dirt. When everyone is covered with dirt, everyone looks the same, no matter how they got dirty in the first place.

    There is no real way of telling who is better until the dirt starts to disappear.

    Heroes are dirt removers. Heroes rise above the fray by closing the door on past wrongs and refusing to spread blame. Heroes accept responsibility for things as they are and move forward through a process of dignity for all.

    There is no way of knowing what if… but one thing is certain there is glory enough for all, if we leave the past in the past.

    🙂

  37. 37 Dan
    May 16, 2008 at 14:43

    There can never be any right of return for any Arab (there are no Palestinians) into Israel unless Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, UAE, Quatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all other Islamic nations abandon their religion (?) of Islam and Mecca is opened to Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Bahia and any Pagan faith.
    The double standard that world debates as the “Jewish Question” is ridiculous.
    NO RIGHT OF RETURN.
    No Arab country wants or cares for those Arabs that fought Israel and freely abandoned their homes to live in refugee camps for 60 years.

  38. 38 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 14:50

    The rhetoric about Palestinians not having a state because the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948 is just that – rhetoric. The fact is that zionist militias began to attack Palestinian civilian areas, even those that had been assigned to the state of Palestine by UNGA Res 181 of 29 Nov 1947 beginning in December of 1947. That was 10 months before the UN Partition Plan was to take place place in (October). There were 14 such operations. 10 of them were inside Palestine-designate. Those that took place in the land that was set aside for Israel took place between December 1947 and May 1948. Arab militaries entered Palestine and the the established Israel on 15 May 1948. It seems to me that the zionist militias were already aiming at the removal for any potential of a Palestinian state before Arab armies set foot in the Holy Land. It also seems that the Arab armies entered the region to protect the Palestinians – not a friendly intention, but seemingly necessary for the survival of the Palestinian people. That is how it looks to me.

    I have seen quotes from a December 1997 JPost article by Abraham Rabinovich that claimed, “Senior Hagana commanders met with [UN Special Committee On Palestine] members…in similarly surreptitious circumstances to express confidence that Jewish forces, which they numbered at 90,000, including 35,000 reservists, could overcome any Arab assault should it come to war.” I saw quotes from “The Sword and the Olive” by Martin van Creveld that indicated that the Arab armies amounted to 30,000 troops and that the Jordanian contingent was the strongest. Other quotes from “The Sword and the Olive” imply that the Arab army had communication problems and insufficient ammunition. Van Creveld also claimed that the Arab armies were “technically incompetent, slow, ponderous, badly led, and unable to cope with night operations that willy-nilly, constituted the IDF’s expertise.” I read quotes from “Israel: A History” by Martin Gilbert indicating that there were agreements made between Jordan and Israeli negotiators: “Ben-Gurion made serious efforts, shortly before the United Nations vote on the Partition proposal, to seek the neutrality of King Abdullah of Transjordan… [King Abudullah] soon made the heart of the matter clear: he would not join in any Arab attack on us. … After all, we had a common foe, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.” I have also heard that as of October 1948, Israel had 90,000 troops, while the Arab armies had less than 70,000.

    It seems to me that the Arab armies were undermanned and under-equipped in comparison to the Israeli armies. It also seems that the Jordanian army sat idly by while the fighting took place, having signed a deal with Israel not to assist the Arab military operations. About 2,000 Palestinians were killed. 60% of Palestinians were expelled. 530 Palestinian villages were destroyed.

    Steve, I basically grabbed a couple of my posts from the Israel Birthday thread and transplanted them here: see https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/happy-birthday-israel/#comment-21447 , https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/happy-birthday-israel/#comment-21511 , and hhttps://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/happy-birthday-israel/#comment-21868 . Your ability to maintain something of a level head in your discussions with me and other pro-Palestinians struck me, and I respect you for it. Thank you.

  39. 39 Nick in USA
    May 16, 2008 at 15:03

    Selena said:

    “Didn’t the Jews go “home” after thousands of years? Why should the Palestinians give up hope?”

    Is this what you would call leaving the past in the past?

    I’m not sure how these two sides can still be using the same weak arguments. You are not going to change your opponents opinion with these arguments. If the palestinians spent half as much time worrying about creating an infrastructure and a real nation as they do about killing Israel, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. It’s always fight, fight, fight, excuse, excuse, excuse. Their culture has failed them. If their leaders spent more time giving them a real education instead of teaching them how to shoot guns, then they would be calling Israelis “friend” right now.

    Discussing which side is right and which side is wrong is like picking sides at a bar fight. It doesn’t matter because both sides end up looking stupid and drunk.

  40. 40 Miche Norman
    May 16, 2008 at 16:54

    Shirley
    It seems to me that the Arab armies were undermanned and under-equipped in comparison to the Israeli armies. It also seems that the Jordanian army sat idly by while the fighting took place, having signed a deal with Israel not to assist the Arab military operations. About 2,000 Palestinians were killed. 60% of Palestinians were expelled. 530 Palestinian villages were destroyed.

    Well Shirley – a few facts for you.

    Israel had about 20,000 rifles, one “cannon” which was about 150 years old and that was about it. The Jordanians and Egyptians had tanks, aircaft, british officers, every single military strong point and a lot of ammo dumps were turned over to the Arabs by the departing British. The RAF even flew sorties on behalf of the Egyptians. 6,000 Israelis were killed out of 600,000. Every single Jew living in Areas that the Arabs held or caputured was either killed or expellled. Even the tombstones from the Jewish cemetry on the mount of olives were turned into urinals. So please – check your facts!

  41. 41 Miche Norman
    May 16, 2008 at 16:57

    Please can you explain why this fascination with professional refugees.

    There is no discussion of the 750 thousand Jewish refugees from Arab countries or 100 thousand holocaust survivors, or the 10 million German refugees or the 20 million germans who were left homeless – the 40 million Indians and Pakistanis – why?

  42. May 16, 2008 at 17:25

    The Palestinians that left their homes with the hope of returning after each war in the past were sure that Israel would be defeated, afterwhich they would return and be better off. They were actually told to leave by Egypt and join them when the armies of Egypt, Jordan Syria and others invaded Israel. They were so sure Israel would loose and that they would benefit by it.. the Palestinians who remained in Israel and did not leave, most of them became Israeli citizens and enjoy the same rights as other Israeli citizens. Therefore you cant have it both ways so to speak. In addition Israel cannot accept their return for the fact that one day in the future they would out number the jews and Israel would cease to be a Jewish State. In my opinion the Paleatinians that left lost their rights to return once and for all. After all they are free to live in the neighbouring Arab countries as they are of the same religion as muslims.
    Further, the jews that left the neighbouring Arab countries have lost their rights to return to their homes and now prefer to live in Israel.

  43. 43 selena
    May 16, 2008 at 18:28

    @ Nick

    You are right! What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander! 🙂

  44. 44 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 20:27

    Miche, this particular thread was edstablished to discuss Palestine (Miche Norman, May 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm). Perhaps if you want to discuss refugees from other lands, you should find a thread devoted to those topics. As for the Jews who fled Arab lands, why not check out some of the other posts on this thread? https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/do-palestinians-need-to-accept-there-can-never-be-a-home-coming/#comment-23202

  45. 45 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 20:57

    Dan,
    Palestinians did not freely leave their homes. Armed zionist militias entered their villages and killed dozens in each village that they entered. At least one village suffered aerial assault. Word of these assaults spread from village to village, and people began to flee for their lives.

    Yitzhak Rabin described the ethnic cleansing that took place in Lydda/Lud: “The eviction action went beyond the concepts they were used to. There were some fellows who refused to take part” (Simha Falpan, p. 101). In a 1994 article in Washington Report, Donald Neff attributed the flight of the residents of Jaffa to fear: “Menachem Begin’s…Irgun group began bombarding civilian sectors of [Jaffa] on April 25, terrifying the inhabitants into panicky flight.” (“Arab Jaffa Seized Before Israel’s Creation in 1948,” Washington Report, April/May 1994, Page 75) Intelligence officer Slunuel Toledano, as quoted by Quigley on page 61 of “Palestine and Israel,” also indicated that the residents of Jaffa fled the city in fear as a response to Irgun shelling.

  46. 46 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 21:00

    Miche,
    I think that Israel had more than just a few guns and an ancient cannon. On 14 January 1948, Haganah concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia for $12,280,000 worth of arms including 24,500 rifles, 5,000 light machine guns, 200 medium machine guns, 54 million rounds of ammunition, and 25 airplanes. That was only one of the various zionsit gangs that pre-emptively attacked Palestine. Bulldozers, jeeps, tanks, and other various military vehicles were used.

    Car bombs made with TNT levelled several buildings in several villages. Jaffa was the site of one of those bombs. One Sunday, an office building was levelled from a TNT bomb explosion. On 25 April, mortar bombs were lobbed from Tel Aviv, Agro Bank, and Bat Yam on several buildings in Jaffa, including residential areas. A residential complex in Haifa was bombed on 30 December 1947. Other bombs were planted and exploded 29 February 1948 and 22 March 1948. Yet another bomb was exploded in a market in Ramla.

    Various artillery and vahicles were documented in Safed, Ramla, and Jaffa.
    jeeps: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3101.jpg
    ammunition beyond guns: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3112.jpg
    TNT: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Jaffa/Jaffa/Picture1246.jpg
    unknown ammunition: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/al-Lydd/Picture2560.jpg

    On 29 October 1948, the village of Safsaf was attacked with tanks and airplanes that bombed the city. The airport in Ijzim was attacked with fighter bombers. A letter from July 1948 indicated that airplanes were used to drop bombs in Ijzim. Eyewitness reports indicate that those attacks were actually preceded by deceitful maneuvers. An airplane would approach the village but then fly towards the sea and drop a bomb there, as if targeting the Jewish settlement. Then, the plane would fly to the mountains to the east and drop a bomb there. When the people of the village came out to hail the Arab plane, a bomb was dropped on them. The airplanes were usually not fighters or bombers, but cargo and liaison planes (such as Dakotas and Pipers) from which bombs were dropped by hand. On the 12th of July at 21: 00 planes dropped 420 kg of explosives plus incendiary bombs on Ijzim. On the 17th, Ijzim was bombed again. On the 19th Ijzim was bombed twice. On the 20th the air-raids preceded an infantry raid: From 19:15 till 20:10, three flying fortresses and one Dakota bombed ‘Ein Ghazal, Ijzim and Jaba’, all together four tons.

  47. 47 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 21:06

    Miche,
    I think that Israel had more than just a few guns and an ancient cannon. On 14 January 1948, Haganah, one of the zionist groups that pre-emptively attacked Palestine, concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia for $12,280,000 worth of arms including 5,200 machine guns, 54 million rounds of ammunition, and 25 airplanes. Bulldozers, jeeps, tanks, and other various military vehicles were used.

    Car bombs made with TNT were used. An office building in Jaffa was levelled from a TNT bomb explosion. On 25 April 1948, mortar bombs were launched into residential areas in Jaffa. A residential complex in Haifa was bombed on 30 December 1947. Other bombs were planted and exploded 29 February 1948 and 22 March 1948. Yet another bomb was exploded in a market in Ramla.

    Various artillery and vahicles were documented in Safed, Ramla, and Jaffa.
    jeeps: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3101.jpg
    ammunition beyond guns: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3112.jpg
    TNT: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Jaffa/Jaffa/Picture1246.jpg
    unknown ammunition: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/al-Lydd/Picture2560.jpg

    On 29 October 1948, tanks and airplanes bombed the village of Safsaf. The airport in Ijzim was attacked with fighter bombers. A letter from July 1948 noted that airplanes dropped bombs in Ijzim. The airplanes were usually not fighters or bombers, but cargo and liaison planes (such as Dakotas and Pipers) from which bombs were dropped by hand. On the 12 July 1948, planes dropped 420 kg of explosives plus incendiary bombs on Ijzim. From the 17th to the 19th, Ijzim was bombed thrice. On the 20th, there were more air-raids: From 19:15 till 20:10, three flying fortresses and one Dakota bombed ‘Ein Ghazal, Ijzim and Jaba’. Altogether, four tons were dropped.

  48. 48 Shirley
    May 16, 2008 at 21:07

    Miche,
    I think that Israel had more than just a few guns and an ancient cannon. On 14 Jan 1948, Haganah, one of the zionist groups that pre-emptively attacked Palestine, concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia for $12,280,000 worth of arms including 5,200 machine guns, 54 million rounds of ammunition, and 25 airplanes. Bulldozers, jeeps, tanks, and other various military vehicles were used.

    Car bombs made with TNT were used. An office building in Jaffa was levelled from a TNT bomb explosion. On 25 Apr 1948, mortar bombs were launched into residential areas in Jaffa. A residential complex in Haifa was bombed on 30 Dec 1947. Other bombs were planted and exploded 29 Feb 1948 and 22 Mar 1948. Yet another bomb was exploded in a market in Ramla.

    Various artillery and vahicles were documented in Safed, Ramla, and Jaffa.
    jeeps: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3101.jpg
    ammunition beyond guns: http://lw.palestineremembered.com/Safad/Safsaf/Picture3112.jpg

    On 29 Oct 1948, tanks and airplanes bombed the village of Safsaf. The airport in Ijzim was attacked with fighter bombers. A letter from Jul 1948 noted that airplanes dropped bombs in Ijzim. The airplanes were usually not fighters or bombers, but cargo and liaison planes (such as Dakotas and Pipers) from which bombs were dropped by hand. On the 12 Jul 1948, planes dropped 420 kg of explosives plus incendiary bombs on Ijzim. From the 17th to the 19th, Ijzim was bombed thrice. On the 20th, there were more air-raids

  49. 49 Alec Paterson
    May 16, 2008 at 21:49

    The bottom line is that in 1948 the Arab armies lost a war they instigated. Losing a war means you lose territory and populations move, as was the case with Germany losing part of their eastern area to Poland and Russia (East Prussia). Japan lost the Kurile Islands to Russia, again movement of population. This has happened through history.
    A major problem, which is overlooked about the Middle East is the Muslim attitude to non Muslims. Okay if you are a dhimmi, under Muslim control, as a second/third class citizens, paying the jizya. But not acceptable for non Muslims to be in control of so called Muslim lands. Muslim anti-Semitism is well documented in the Koran, Hadith and Sirah,where an abundance of references, usually not complimentary but rather derogatory, are made to Jews This trove of anti-Jewish stereotypes have become the Shari’a-based uncontested “truth” about the People of the Book (Jews)
    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the world Jewish conspiracy, which were borrowed by Muslims from classic European anti-Semitism since the 19th century and the infamous Damascus blood libel (1840), are still recurrent and popular themes in books, posters, cartoons, sermons in mosques, TV series and radio programs produced throughout the Islamic world, including in countries that concluded peace with Israel (Jordan and Egypt).They are invariably cited in sermons during Friday prayers, thus assuring their universal diffusion among Muslim constituents and the constant poisoning of the souls of young and adult Muslims alike, something that renders their fundamentally negative attitudes to Jews and Israel unchangeable. Ahmadinejad and his cohorts are the new Nazis.
    Palestinians are not interested in a two state solution. Can you find Israel on a Palestinian map? Not one Arab country will accept Israel as a Jewish state (Islamic states abound)

  50. 50 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 16, 2008 at 21:51

    Mr.Steve,
    Maraco is a part of Arab League obiously Arab Nation’s are victom of Israli Barbasim, if there is a action you will face the reaction too.
    In my openion all fights & disputes occure because of Woman, Wealth & Land.
    All this process been done more delicately if UNO planned in a proper manner & indirect benifachery’s i.e. USA & EU take it easy & beyond there financial intrests.
    Some of my child hood friends are in leading position in Isriel too, they never been forced to migrate this was there own choice as they felt about brighter furure & approchunities.
    Though Isriel been formed by UN in violation of UN charter & constitution as this country was in the intrest of dominating apportunists of the world.
    No doubt they suceeded in this action now it is really hard for them to face the reaction in the face of “ALQUEDA”, God knows what will be next as Alquida is not the end of the world?
    This is the time we correct ourself politically..

  51. 51 John LaGrua/New York
    May 16, 2008 at 22:05

    The Palestinians should not surrender their hope and efforts to reach a satisfactory result .no matter how long it takes .They must come together to construct a unified society ,end factionalism in order to deal united with the Jews.The US has been a negative force for peace as one can see with the latest example of Bush stupidity and self serving venality .Iraq could prove to be the turning point of US disasterous and self destructive policy. .If McCain is defeated the calamity of the Bush years ,both father and son terms will end .The influence of the Isreal Lobby will be reduced and the US will seek solutions which are more in its own interest which requires the fair and honest effort for peace in the Mid East. It is not coincidental that Obama is being bludgeoned by the neo-cons such as Kristol and other Zionists masquerading as conservative Republicans.Nuclear proliferation is on the cards ,the world is much more complex and dangerous for the US to be led by knaves and fools. or to allow a group in the US to intimidate its politicians to adopt policiies which create chaos and human suffering and destroy the moral and legal standing of the US in the world. It it time for Americans reject those foreign and domestic forces which have led our country into a moral morass.

  52. 52 Roberto
    May 16, 2008 at 22:23

    Not one Arab country will accept Israel as a Jewish state (Islamic states abound)
    ———————————————————-

    —— It may be arguable what is an “Arab country,” but most assuredly border neighbors Jordan and Egypt have peaceful diplomatic relations with Israel.

    Jordan and Egypt are almost exclusively Muslim with a large population of “Arabs.” I’m less clear about Turkey, but do believe they recognize Israel as would seemingly be a requirement to join the EU which Turkey does want. They may be predominate “Turkmen,” but they are also predominate Muslim. There may be a couple of other predominate Islamic states like Indonesia and Pakistan that recognize Israel.

    It helps in discussing and solving problems that important points are accurate.

  53. 53 Mark
    May 17, 2008 at 03:00

    In 1948 two states were created, a Jewish State Israel, and an Arab state, Jordan. There never was such a thing as a Palestinian People until it was artifically invented after 1967 to justify more wars and terrorism against Israel. This lie about a Palestinian people has been peddled for 41 years to the point where even the President of the United States has been taken in by it.

    The so called Palestinians have two choices, accept the status quo and make the best of it, or continue their war to destroy Israel and destroy themselves and any hope for them in the future. The humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank continues to deteriorate. Compared to the conditions of the refugees in Darfur however it is paradise. At one point something catastrophic could happen like the inablity to deliver water or a cholera epidemic. Help from the outside will be repelled by continual terrorist attacks and far more will die than is occurring now. I do not see a Palestinian state coming into existance any time in the foreseeable future. Apparantly from recent polls, neither do many Palestinians. They’ll be lucky if their territories don’t become a lot more like Darfur.

  54. 54 Miche Norman
    May 17, 2008 at 09:12

    Miche, this particular thread was edstablished to discuss Palestine (Miche Norman, May 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm). Perhaps if you want to discuss refugees from other lands, you should find a thread devoted to those topics.

    Exactly – just like the program on Israeli independence was devoted to a large degree to a one sided discussion of “Palestinian” refugees. By the way it is terrific quoting planes flying in October 1948 – one of the main considerations in declaring a state in May 1948 was the possibility of buying arms to stop the coming pogrom. the fact remains that at the beginning of the War of independence the Arab nations had an overwhelming superiority in arms.

    Maybe the Palestinian tragedy was that their nationalism was not inveneted until 16 years later – there were no Palestinian national institutions in 1948 to declare independence, to set up Palestinian self rule – it was not freedom for Palestine that they Palestinian fighters wer shouting – it was Itbak Al yahud – kill the jews – and that is their real tragedy – becaue in 1948, in 2000 and 2008 it has always been more important to the Palestinians to kill Jews than to have a state.

    And yes the question as to what is so extraordinarily important about the Palestinians – that for 60 years they have been the world’s professional refugees while everyone else has got on with their lives. There is no thread on the Jews, the Germans, the Indians and the Pakistanis. I can guarantee to you that the 5 million refugees from the Chinese earthquake will still be living in refugee camps in 60 years time.

    to suggest solving one refugee problem by creating 7 million refugees is not a solution. And whatever some comments posted here say the Jews in Arab countries were treated as second class citizens which is why they support the likud and hold the most nationalistic views.

    80% of mandatory Palestine was given by the British to create Jordan which is 80% palestinian. Israel has been trying deparately to negotiate away another 5-8% – and i would have thought that 85% of the land for the Arabs is probably sufficient.

    Ask any Palestinian – if you accept the fallacy that they were all expelled if the right of return will last for 60 years, they will agree – for 600 years they will agree – and for 2000 years they will also demand it – and so either you accept the Jewish right to return after 2000 years (even though there were always jews living here) then you are basicaly a racist.

    The overwhelming majority of Israelis want there to eb a Palestinian state – we do not want to rule over the territories, we wish that there was no need for the anti-suicide bomb wall, the roadblocks, the situation in Gaza – and we have such massive demands to make – we just don’t want rockets beign fired at our cities, or people wrapping themselves up in a mixture of explosives, nails and rat poison and exploding in our restaurants and buses.

    This conflict has a bloody history going back more than 100 years. Yes there were Palestinian refugees in 1948- the Arab population conducted pogroms in 1929 and 1936, from 1947 onwards they tried to kill every Jew who ventured on the roads, maybe they did not want to kill all the jews but that is what they declared their aim to be and after their leader the Mufti had spent WW2 in Berlin taking an active part in the Holocaust, why should the Jes have beleived otherwise.

    so when the Arabs started what could have been called a civil war – there were attrocities on both sides – the Arabs were losing and sadly for them believed their own propaganda – blowing atrociites against them out of all proportion, with a mindset of well we were going to massacre the Jews so they will obciously do tthe same to us – and thus their tragedy began.

    Those who stayed after some 20 years of military rule are now full citizens -with all the rights but not all of the burdens that that entails.

    Yes there has to be a solution for the refugees we all agree on that we all want it. there has to be an end of the occupation/liberation of Judaea and Samaria, and an end to the situation in Gaza.

    But we, are not prepared to commit suicide to achieve that. We are being asked to give up what we see as part of our land – we are being asked to accept a serious security situation – where i live the country is less than 10 miles wide – the overwhelming majority of us want to reach a compromise.

    And for the conflict to end there has to be compromise on the other side to. Yes there was a tragedy for the Arabs in 1948, yes there was an exchange of populations – and yes we dealt with ours. and the Arab world has to deal with theirs.

    I think that you will agee that the Arab world has a moral duty to accept its role in this tragedy and maybe at $128 a barrel they can aford to pay a part in the solution

  55. 55 Alec Paterson
    May 17, 2008 at 10:46

    Roberto,

    Diplomatic relations does not mean that they accept Israel as a Jewish state. By the way Pakistan and Indonesia do not recognise Israel. Pakistan, Iran, Afganistan and Mauritania are Islamic Republics.
    If the more than 55 countries that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference are entitled to recognition as Muslim states, and if the 22 members of the Arab League are universally accepted as Arab states, why should anyone balk at acknowledging Israel as the world’s lone Jewish state?
    Accuracy! Roberto.

  56. 56 Roberto
    May 17, 2008 at 16:07

    Diplomatic relations does not mean that they accept Israel as a Jewish state.
    ————————————————————————–

    —- Don’t see the basis for your conclusion if you are talking about Egypt and Jordan.

    I gave you two significant nations that are primarily Muslim and usually lumped under the generic “Arab” banner that have peaceful diplomatic relations with Israel.

    Can we also claim that the US doesn’t accept the Saudis as an Islamic state? Maybe India also doesn’t accept Israel as a Jewish state. Maybe Israel doesn’t recognize the Vatican as a Christian state. How could such claims be supported?

    As far as the other Muslim nations I mentioned, Turkey was mentioned as another likely nation with Israeli diplomatic relations. I never made any definitive claims of relations with the others, so my accuracy is spot on thus far.

    To return to the topic of refugee Palestinians having a right of return, those rights are negotiable as much as any people’s right of return. Unfortunately Palestinians don’t give their people many rights or effective governance and have seldom been willing to negotiate with the Israelis.

    Historically most refugees have seldom been afforded the right of return, so it’s basically a nonstarter under today’s conditions since middle eastern Jewish refugees have never had such rights.

  57. 57 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 17, 2008 at 20:28

    As this Phalistine & Isriel issue is a declared desaster because of unjustied & politically incorrect UN decision, lot of migeration & human sufferings presant a horrible picture of human society of this era.
    To resolve this issue “WHY NOT WE HAND OVER THIS PEACE OF LAND TO ORIGINAL OWNER i.e.TURKY’.

  58. 58 Dennis
    May 17, 2008 at 21:15

    I hate to say this but the Palestinians, need to accept the fact…No home-coming is in the cards for them.

    I am not happy when certain countries, will not assist the Palestinians in daily living needs….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  59. 59 Mark
    May 17, 2008 at 22:15

    In what I can only call an irony of history, the Palestinians are getting exactly what they wish on their Jewish neighbors and therefore what they deserve themselves. Their national heroes are suicide bombers and other assorted terrorists. They voted for Hamas to govern them which even the normally anti-semitic Europeans are so reviled by, they label them terrorists. They accept the tapestry of lies about themselves, their history, the facts about the Jews and Israel their leaders have cynically instilled in them without question or without questioning their motives. As a result, their hatred has consumed them and will continue to destroy their lives. The idea that they can live together with the Israelis peacefully is an anathema to them now and therefore unlikely in the forseeable future. They are consumed by a hatred and false sense of victimization by the Israelis so intense that they hate Israel more than they love their own lives or even their own children. It is remarkable that considering so many Palestinians rejoiced at al Qaeda’s attack on the US on 9-11 that the US gives any consideration to their plight at all.

  60. 60 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 00:55

    “It is remarkable that considering so many Palestinians rejoiced at al Qaeda’s attack on the US on 9-11 that the US gives any consideration to their plight at all.”

    No kidding, it is amazing how many people in my country dont know or already forgot this. I would love for us to stop giving aid and let them rot – as they totally deserve. In addition, they later went on to elect a terrorist organization…the whole situation is insane, we should keep the money for ourselves.

  61. 61 Mark
    May 18, 2008 at 05:01

    Tino
    That is exactly what the US and the EU are doing, they are letting them rot. The aid that was being sent has been cut off. The real truth is that the Palestinians and the Arab governments around the area don’t want a Palestinian state or they could have had one any time during the last 41 years. What they want is that the Israelis should not have a state. They won’t get this. The harder they fight this hopeless war, the more they will suffer.

    The Palestinians are on a collision course with a horrible fate. Whether as one more target in a regional war when Israel feels sufficiently threatened by Iran’s nuclear weapons program or as the result of some incident which cuts off some vital supply such as water or sewers or food or by epidemic, they are in a very precarious situation. Even if there was sufficent sympathy from the outside world for the humanitarian crisis, the instinctive willingness of terrorits within the territories to kill anyone including rescuers who come to help will make that plight hopeless. This plays out like a Greek tragedy. There is nothing anyone can do. This is a self inflicted mortal wound.

  62. 62 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 12:21

    We did give them aid in 07 and will continue to in 08 (unfortunately). http://italy.usembassy.gov/pdf/other/RS22370.pdf

    We should give them literally nothing. So should Israel, and forget what the UN says. No fuel, no medical care, no food, no water – NOTHING. I watched their celebration of 9/11 on the news, and I was outraged. They deserve what comes their way. As for if a crisis hits them you can be sure everyone will help them – even if they did blow up their rescuers. We always think being nice solves everything.

  63. 63 Shirley
    May 18, 2008 at 14:19

    Mark, Tino
    It is disgusting to see people once again holding up the actions of a small group of people and hoding them as definitive of the societal norm of the entire group. It is as fair and unbiased as condemning all Americans as hateful racists because one of them desecrated a Qur’an in Iraq, or because some of them were beating up foreign-looking people after 911.

    Palestinian leaders condemned the 911 attacks. The lead editorial in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: “Those ignorant few who did that [celebrate] do not represent our public opinion.” (Hafiz Barghouti, “Palestinians and Americans share the same grief,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida) Hanan Ashrawi described the attacks as an “unconscionable… blow to humanity as a whole” and added “We feel your pain, we feel your sorrow, we will do everything we can to help.” (CNN.com – Attacks draw mixed response in Mideast – September 12, 2001)

    The group that was seen “celebrating” the attackswas indeed small. It may also have been staged. A report from German public TV’s news magasine “Panorama” from September 20, 2001 quoted Professor Martin Löffelholz explaining that the images show jubilant Palestinian children and several adults, but that it is impossible to know if they are necessarily pleased about the attack reports; and he does not assume this and ignores the way it has been reported. Krüger Spitta notes that inspection of the untelecasted complete tape shows the street around the celebration is quiet and a man in a white T-shirt is noticeable for inciting the children and is fetching new people again and again. The woman who is remembered for her cheering (Nowel Abdel Fatah) stated afterwards that she was offered cake if she celebrates on camera, and that she was frightened when she saw the pictures on television and that she never expected it would be noticed to the USA.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=du&u=http://www.wtc-trauer.de/mirror/Spiegel_DieMachtderTVBilder.htm

    http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdaserste.ndr.de%2Fpanorama%2Farchiv%2F2001%2Ferste7528.html&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

  64. 64 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 16:19

    I think it is a pretty fair judgement considering Hamas was democratically elected, no? The Palestinians have always been let off the hook. They got land from Israel – and still attack them all the time. Also, would you be convinced to join in such a celebration, short of having your life threatened? I know I wouldn’t, and would even consider refusing with a threat on my life. Stop trying to make them look so ignorant that they have no clue what offense they commited. These people need to be held responsible for their actions.

    I mean seriously – take this piece of cake, if you celebrate the deaths of thousands of innocents? I would take the cake and give it right back, in a most unpleasant fashion. I would refuse to celebrate. Also, she didn’t expect that we would take notice of someone celebrating one of the worst disasters in all of our history?!

    In addition: “The Times also quoted Nawal Abdel Fatah, a Palestinian woman (age 48) saying she was happy because “America is the head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against us”. Her daughter Maysoon (age 22), expressed hopes that the next attack would be against Tel Aviv.[11]” (from your same source it seems, as your quote is also found here)

    Sounds real victimized to me. There were THOUSANDS of them on the streets celebrating – did you even watch the coverage/read the articles of the time?!

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,34187,00.html

    To address your links, which are of course badly translated:

    ” A Brazilian student, Marcio, had on Wednesday on the website Indymedia, an independent media platform, a letter posted. September at the American news channel to be seen, were falsified. The film material originates in the year 1991 show of joy and celebration of Palestinian youths after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. One of his instructors had video recordings of the past and compare them with the current reports are compared. Both images were identical. CNN makes mood against the Palestinians.”

    They are making claims that the footage was from 1991, which is COMPLETELY false, and this has been proven. Therefore, how can you take their position on anything else – like the fact that the woman cheered for cake only?

    Lastly, this is not a game where we can take chances funding our enemies. Palestinians, starting with Haj Amin al-Husseini as far as I know, have been funneling charity/aid funds into violent terrorism. There is no justifiable reason to take the risk of the money going to the wrong hands, when the general population is clearly against us.

  65. 65 Mark
    May 18, 2008 at 16:37

    It is not surprising to see Palestinians rejoice at America being attacked. After all, Israel has no closer ally in this world than the US. In fact, much to my surprise as an American, the US has virtually guaranteed the survival of Israel. It is an interesting fact that the two nations have never been closer. The US recognized the state of Israel eleven minutes after it declared its existance, the first country to do so. Most traces of anti-semitism in the US have disappeared. Many on the extreme right who are born again Christians see Israel as a necessary component to the second coming of Jesus Christ and a big war with the Islamic world as being inevitable. Some actually anticipate it eagerly. Israel is now seen as being on the front lines of the same war on terror the US is fighting and a combatant with more experience at it, experience the US government can learn from.

    Whether the actual terrorists in the Palestinian territories are large or few in number, they are the heroes of many Arabs and other Moslems. These are the people who go into restaurants and detonate bombs to kill as many civilians as possible. They are the ones who fire rockets at homes of ordinary people. They are the ones who planned a military assault on an Israeli public beach. They are not merely tolerated by the Palestinian Authority, they are aided and abetted by them. There seems to be no end to them either, there are plenty of volunteers. Given the lies the Islamic world spreads around the world about Jews and Israel, I expect there to be no letup. Those who think there will be are only fooling themselves.

    Between the Europeans and the anti-Israeli Moslems in the Middle East they have accomplished the seemingly impossible. They have changed what were 70 years ago a harmless, pacifist, scattered group of people who lived peacefully among the European and Arab populations at large, who were marginalized and persecuted but tolerated with contempt into one of the most ruthless and dangerous forces in the world. The transformation happened slowly, incrementally over decades of experience. They have been pushed and provoked so intensely and so relentlessly that they now represent a mortal threat not only to every one of their neighbors but to the future existance of the entire human race itself. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. The provocation continues and as in the past, when measures at one level of violence fail to stop the attacks, the level and intensity of violence will continue to be ratcheted up. There is no upper limit as to how far it can go either.

    Yesterday, C-SPAN 2, Book TV showed a presentation from Martin Luther King High School in Bezerkley California about a confused young American woman Rachael Corrie who first won a trip to live with a family in Russia around 1995 where she was “awakened” and then went to Gaza to live with a family there where she was killed trying to stop an Israeli bulldozer from destroying a house, one which was probably used by terrorists to fire rockets at Israeli citizens. I kept thinking through the entire presentation which was supposed to garner sympathy for her and her cause how right it seemed that she got exactly what she deserved. In the end, I think most people do.

  66. 66 selena Jacobs
    May 18, 2008 at 17:50

    Quote:

    “Let them rot!”

    “Rachel Cory got what she deserved!”

    Unquote

    How sad that what is being expressed is exactly the attitude that Hitler used to kill millions of people.

    If we don’t rise above the belief that we have the right to judge whether others can live or die, we are sad specimens of humanity. That applies to every single one of us, no matter how noble we imagine our cause to be.

    If we continue to believe and act in this manner, it won’t be long before they will come after us again. Then we go after them and so on and so forth.

    Sigh! The future is in the past. Let the games continue!

  67. 67 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 18:16

    “How sad that what is being expressed is exactly the attitude that Hitler used to kill millions of people.

    If we don’t rise above the belief that we have the right to judge whether others can live or die, we are sad specimens of humanity. That applies to every single one of us, no matter how noble we imagine our cause to be.”

    Not even close to the same. My position has nothing to do with what they are – but what they do. In addition, I did not advocate exterminating them AT ALL. I merely want us to stop helping them wreak havoc on us all. Is that really so awful a position to take?

    My question to you is, who gets to judge who deserves to live or die? I think everyone should be granted a chance – but if their objective is to kill or maim innocents then you are damn right they deserve to die. Since I am an atheist, I believe these decisions should most definitely be made by humans.

    As for our actions having any bearing on what they do whatsoever – I have to disagree. Islam is against us because of religion, nothing else. They themselves divide the world into dar al-harb and dar al-Islam, not us. The west is open to any and all cultures, sometimes to our detriment (as now). If Islamic countries and peoples would offer the same respect and consideration we do then we would have no problems.

  68. 68 selena Jacobs
    May 18, 2008 at 19:05

    @ Tino

    By what criteria do you judge that your position is any different than the position of any other human who judges another human?

    Stated objectives are always noble in the mind of the judge.

    But can we say that Innocents are innocents no matter if the stated objective is to kill them or not?

    Aren’t we (in the West) against Islam because of religion? Christians view Islam as anti Christ and therefore the adherents are worthy of anything that befalls them.

    A cursory review of history might find that the West had a very big hand in dividing the world into them and us, since the advent of Christianity.

  69. 69 Mark
    May 18, 2008 at 19:32

    selena Jacobs;
    I have nothing but contempt for your rationalization and position. Germany was not surrounded by enemies determined to push it into the sea or wipe it off the map. The comparison is an outrage against history and the brutal facts.

    “it won’t be long before they come after us again.”

    Pathetic person, they are coming after you this very minute. What do you think the suicide bombers are about? What do you think the rocket attacks are about? What do you think Iran’s nuclear weapons program is about? It isn’t just in Israel or the US, they are coming after you all over the world, even in far away South America. You are not safe anywhere. The choice is simple, fight back and maybe die or don’t fight back and surely die. I know which side I am on and I see which side you are on. I don’t know which of my feelings is stronger towards you, pity or disgust.

    “….no matter how noble we imagine our cause to be.”

    How about the cause of our own survival? Does that rise to a noble enough cause for you or are you just in a state of abject denial? Your philosophy of us blaming ourselves for being attacked because we somehow provoked “them” and brought it all on ourselves is beyond contempt. They’d kill you in a heartbeat without a second thought if they could. Wake up. Facing the reality of a dire threat is not paranoia and destroying it before it destroys you is not a crime.

  70. 70 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 20:29

    “By what criteria do you judge that your position is any different than the position of any other human who judges another human?”

    By the fact that I, personally, operate by a moral code slightly different than the golden rule. I do unto others as they do unto me – except I include the bad (and how is this at all unfair?). Thus, if they attack my country/countrymen I expect them to be attacked in return – and all they need to do for peace is to STOP KILLING PEOPLE. In addition, by the way I measure, our society is vastly superior to theirs (in morality, freedoms, non-sectarian policy, technology….list is pretty long). In addition, I would be happy not killing them – if they would do the same to me. I would be ecstatic to let them rot in the cesspool they call civilization (honestly, would the Middle East be ANYWHERE w/o oil?) if they would only do the same for me (and they think our civilization is rotten as well…which is fine except they then feel they must kill us).

    “Aren’t we (in the West) against Islam because of religion? Christians view Islam as anti Christ and therefore the adherents are worthy of anything that befalls them.”

    As I stated, I am an atheist. I was raised roman-catholic and in 7th grade decided that God was nothing more than an imaginary comfort for a lot of people. Thus, I like to think I am at least a somewhat objective observer in the field of religion. I certainly didn’t pop out of the womb thinking – wow Islam really needs to reform itself or prepare for a big fight. I came to the conclusion while reading their Qur’an, their Hadith, seeing thousands (literally) of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam. I saw Bin Laden quote the Qur’an to justify his fight. I saw Muslims celebrate (at least some, somewhere) every atrocity committed in their name across the world. I have NEVER seen similar behavior from any other religion in my lifetime. Abortion clinic bombings were never celebrated in the streets, and aside from that I find it difficult to ascribe any terrorism to Christianity. The oft-presented McVeigh, as is obvious to anyone with a portion of a brain, was not a religious terrorist:

    “After his parents’ divorce, McVeigh lived with his father; his sisters moved to Florida with their mother. He and his father were devout Roman Catholics who often attended daily Mass. In a recorded interview with Time Magazine[3] he professed his belief in “a God,” although he said he had “sort of lost touch with,” Catholicism and “never really picked it [back] up.” The Guardian reported that McVeigh wrote a letter claiming to be an agnostic,[4] though his execution included a Catholic ceremony.)”

    His actual motivation: “McVeigh claimed that the bombing was revenge for “what the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge.” Of course none of this makes what he did any better – he killed children and other innocents and I am quite glad he is dead – it just disproves the people who try to claim he was a ‘Christian Terrorist’. He was clearly a person acting on his own non-religious motivation.

    “A cursory review of history might find that the West had a very big hand in dividing the world into them and us, since the advent of Christianity.”

    I again disagree. The West in the past did not operate as a cohesive unit. We fought amongst ourselves. We have usually had a stronger feeling of nationalism than religious cohesion (excepting certain times, like the crusades). Islam on the other hand preaches allegiance to the Ummah and wishes to restore a caliphate style ruling system. Since its inception, Islam has tried its hardest to convert or subjugate others. While I do not condone what Christianity has done in the past (and its stance on scientific issues in the present), it is ridiculous to assert that Islam is somehow morally equivalent to present-day Christianity. The two are so far apart on nearly every issue, that I wonder how you came to the conclusion.

    “Stated objectives are always noble in the mind of the judge.”

    Completely agree.

    “But can we say that Innocents are innocents no matter if the stated objective is to kill them or not?”

    Could you explain this differently? I do not quite understand what you mean.

  71. 71 Tino
    May 18, 2008 at 20:31

    PS: Mark, while I do think you make plenty of good points, you might consider keeping it a bit more civil. I understand that this is a high-emotion issue – it is for me as well – but Selena has kept her comments in good taste. It was Shirley that called us disgusting.

  72. 72 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 18, 2008 at 20:45

    Dennis USA.
    This is historical fact that Phalistinian nation is survivig with all Holy places before Isriel, even this nation share his bread & butter with migrant Europen Jewish in Phalistanian land.
    Further Phalistanian farmers feed Isriel from 1945 to 1967 & were making decent living, no doubt US public is victom of contiminated media & media dont have ability to change the histry & ground realities.

  73. 73 selena Jacobs
    May 18, 2008 at 20:58

    @ Mark

    Your contempt for me is just that: your contempt for me.

    I could never imagine having contempt for you, my fellow resident of this planet. No matter what you believe and no matter what you say, you are a fellow traveler. I have the greatest respect for you.

    As for survival, I don’t think that my own survival matters one whit in the scheme of things. Why on earth would I think that my survival matters more than the survival of another? We are all special or no one is special. Nothing holds more meaning for me than that simple/complex belief.

    What am I in this universe? Nothing but a speck of cosmic nothingness. From dust unto dust is the way of all flesh.

    Fear breeds more fear. If I feel unsafe, I will be unsafe. Mark consider this, it is at times when we feel more safe that we are very often less safe.

    Many, many people got up this morning and will have died before bedtime. Some of them were on their way to work and felt very safe. They didn’t make it. That is life. Earthquakes, tornadoes, car crashes, workplace accidents all make us unsafe.

    No matter what we do, we cannot make the world safe. It is not a safe world!

    We can, however, make the world a little more safe if we stop the hatred.

  74. 74 selena Jacobs
    May 18, 2008 at 21:34

    @ Tino

    🙂 Thank you for your remarks to Mark.

    I will add that Mark can say whatever he wants to me or about me. He is sincere in his beliefs and should be able to say how he feels.

  75. 75 Syed Hasan Turab
    May 18, 2008 at 21:34

    After reviwing all contribution’s I reach on the conclution that a fundamental mistake been done by UNO in 1948, this country formation is against UN mandate & wthout planning.
    I remember during childhood one very beautifully printd book of 1952,along with nice pictures & cover been distributed free in our school the title of this book was Histry Of Europe, I read that book & saved it because this was the only beautifull book I had by that time. Later on public openion of Arab Communitie’s been ignited against ground realities & barbic acts of Europen’s migrants in Phalistanian land.
    First part of the game i.e. formation of Isriel no one opposed it but the second part i.e. barbic acts of European’s Jewish migrants is the point of conflict & uptill now native Phalistanians are victom of Eorpeans Jewish dosent matter native Jrwish, native Christines & native Muslims.
    So improvement of behaviour may resolve the issue as fundamental grounds are available, wrong propangada via media may not resolve the issue may create more complecation’s like sept 11, London bombing, Spain bombing & assesnation of Pakistani Bhutto.
    May God provide us guidance in this regard as the dispute alrady been delayed & complicated by us.

  76. 76 Mark
    May 18, 2008 at 22:33

    Selena Jacobs, you have respect for me? Who are you kidding? If a terrorist were attacking me with a knife and you had a loaded gun in your hand, would you pull the trigger and kill him? Not only wouldn’t you save my life if it was under immediate threat by a terrorist, I don’t think you’d pull the trigger to save your own. I think you are a moral coward. You don’t know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. It’s all a big mish-mash to you, everyone and everything is the same. But real human lives are at stake. You are one very confused person.

    Tino;

    Islam is more than a religion, it is a political movement whose goal is to impose its will on all of humanity. If you don’t believe it, read the Koran. Divided into two major branches Sunni and Shia, they each have their own version of Islam and are just as willing to kill each other as to kill those who are not Moslems to achieve their goal. According to the Koran, a non Moslem has only three choices, to become a Moslem, to be subservient to Moslems and pay a tax, or to be killed by Moslems. For a Moslem to kill an infidel is the only sure path to Paradise. Funny, the Koran doesn’t seem quite as civil as you expect me to be. Why do you expect me to be more civil than the Koran? I am also an atheist. My motto, when I see people who want to harm me is to do unto others BEFORE they do unto me. A pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons research and development infrastructure right now seems to me to be exactly the right thing to do. For the Israelis, it’s to search out and destroy rocket factories and the terrorists inside Gaza and the West Bank who plan and execute the attacks on their citizens. It’s a mistake for anyone to get in their way, a fatal mistake.

  77. 77 Tino
    May 19, 2008 at 02:39

    “wrong propangada via media may not resolve the issue may create more complecation’s like sept 11, London bombing, Spain bombing & assesnation of Pakistani Bhutto.”

    Yeah, media propaganda was certainly responsible for 9/11 and all the terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam. Do you honestly think anyone believes that? I find it much more likely that the religion itself is to blame for bad publicity. You see, people wouldn’t think Islam was bad: IF THEY STOP BLOWING EVERYTHING UP, and kidnapping people, and screaming their hatred at Friday prayers. The idea you propose is laughable at best and Taqiyyah at worst.

  78. 78 Tino
    May 19, 2008 at 02:40

    “I will add that Mark can say whatever he wants to me or about me. He is sincere in his beliefs and should be able to say how he feels.”

    Anytime, and I really like your attitude. We may disagree but at least at the end of the day we can both let it go with no ill will.

  79. 79 selena Jacobs
    May 19, 2008 at 13:44

    Mark, you are quite right that I wouldn’t pull the trigger on a loaded gun. At least, as far as I can say now, I wouldn’t pull the trigger. But I have been known to end up doing a lot of things that I thought I would never do. So, unless I am actually in the situation, I will never know. Anyhow, it is highly unlikely that I would ever be holding a loaded gun 🙂

    That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t try to save your life, though. There are ways, other than a loaded gun, to save lives .

    I can tell you that I have been in dangerous situations where I didn’t walk away and didn’t pull a loaded gun but the situation ended peacefully. I won’t bore you with the details.

    What is a moral coward? If you think I am one, maybe I am. I don’t have an opinion, not knowing the definition. And, of course, the way I see myself will not be the way that others see me. I think Robert Burns was right when he said, “Would that god the gift he gie us to see ourselves as others see us?”

    And Mark, you are “right” again, I don’t the know the difference between right and wrong, if it is right for me to do an action and wrong for you to do it, as seems to be the current definition of right and wrong. Let’s see… you’re right, I am wrong; I am right and you are wrong. Isn’t that how it is for people of different beliefs? If I don’t agree with you, I am a moral coward.

    Here is my belief: we can sit around all day and argue how many angels can dance on the head of a of pin but, in the final analysis, the country making or using cluster bombs (etc) is no better than the country instructing and using suicide bombers.

    I realize that is not a popular definition of right and wrong but it is mine nonetheless.

    For the people who believe that Muslims are out to conquer the world: for 2000 years, Christians have been engaged in a war to spread Christianity to the far corners of the earth. They have caused untold misery, as they marched to the tune of love.

    What else is new? Different name, different religion… sigh!!

  80. 80 selena Jacobs
    May 19, 2008 at 15:03

    @ Tino

    No one has a monopoly on truth and that is why we disagree. If truth were so easy to define, there would be no need for disagreements. 🙂

    I don’t take disagreements personally. I find it amazing how much I learn every day from people who disagree with me. I have found that I don’t learn a thing from people who agree with me. That’s understandable I guess but I can’t deny that it is nice to meet people who think somewhat along the same lines.

    What really surprises and interests me is how much we can agree on some things and then disagree on others. It’s like just when we think we have met a kindred spirit, we suddenly find there are points of departure.

    Over the years I have learned that people hardly ever say what they mean. It is refreshing to find people who will say what is on their minds. The Internet is good for that.

    So thank you again, Tino.

  81. 81 Tino
    May 19, 2008 at 21:07

    “What else is new? Different name, different religion… sigh!!”

    First, definitely been fun going back and forth so far – so time to continue. Islam is different from every other religion I have seen thus far. Look at Christianity – you get into heaven by leading a good life and helping others. In Islam – you get to paradise by martyring yourself in a jihad. The foundations of Islam are so horribly different – and awful – compared to any other major religion.

    Islam does NOT preach peace (“Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.” 002.216). It needs a reformation or it needs to be fought in the physical world until it submits to reason. There is no justification why we as a country/people should be forced to accept a religion that openly proclaims its hatred for us and tries constantly to get us to change our ways (a la harvards woman only gym hours).

    The fact remains that while I tend to believe in a kind of moral relativism – as you seem to – I believe that your rights to do whatever you want end when they conflict with another’s. So while they may think it is ok to suicide bomb someone, they cross a line. In addition, the only response to violence is violence – if you sit back and take it you lost your way of life. Replacing western-style democracy with Sharia law is something I would fight and indeed sacrifice my life for. Also, since anyone can find out that Islam is against us simply by reading their own books/sermons, I also believe as Mark does that preemptive strikes are entirely justified. I know that if someone threatened me or my family with death I would not hesitate to kill them first, not for a second.

  82. 82 selena Jacobs
    May 20, 2008 at 22:44

    @Tino

    Thanks for the reply… I have been tied up in meetings all day and have deadlines to meet for a couple of days. Therefore, I don’t have much time to write.

    I don’t know much about Islam. From what I seem to remember from courses, it has the same good things as other religions and the same bad things. The Bible is the most violent book around, so I don’t see how the Koran can be much worse. I think research will uncover that the foundations of our western societies are not much better than other societies.

    In my view, we have been fed a steady diet of anti Islam so it is no wonder that we can agree with getting them before they get us. The only problem with that is it never ends. Violence begets violence, as history will attest.

    One of the areas in which you and I disagree is in the difference between deaths caused by suicide bombers and deaths causes by cluster bombs and land mines. I seem to gather from you that you believe suicide bombs are worse.

    I absolutely agree that my rights end where your nose begins. That is the reason why I don’t believe I have the right to harm you in any way.

    I would not like to see sharia law in Canada and would do anything I could to prevent it. I don’t particularly like right-wing Christian laws either.

    We are trying to sort out our own laws and I believe that Muslim countries should be left alone to sort out their own laws.

  83. 83 Shirley
    May 21, 2008 at 17:57

    Tino May 19, 2008 at 9:07 pm
    “In Islam – you get to paradise by martyring yourself in a jihad. The foundations of Islam are so horribly different – and awful – compared to any other major religion.”

    In Islam, one attains Paradise by believing in the principle beliefs of Islam and by acting on those beliefs. Muslims must believe in the One God, Prophethood and the finality of Prophethood with Prophet Muhammad, and the resurrection and life to come in either Paradise or Hellfire after judgement by God. One strives after the good of the life to come by fulfilling his obligations in terms of required worships, charity, the Pilgrimage to Mecca, etc. Those are the foundations of Islam. To me, they do not seem so different or so horrible from those of other religion.

    The qualifications for a person to be considered a martyr are narrow. A martyr must have the correct intentions: he must have entered a jihad to obey God and not to gain popularity or a reputation for himself. He must not kill women, children, the elderly, or civilians. He must not destroy houses or vegetation, and he must not kill uninvolved animals. The jihad can only be called by a proper Islamic leader of the time. In Sunni Islam, he would be the Caliph. In Shia Islam, he would only be Imam Mahdi. Anything that falls short of this is not jihad, the person would not be a martyr; and he would suffer for eternity in the Hellfire by forever repeating he incident by which he died as a punishment for having committed suicide if he were a suicide bomber, or for having committed murder or any of the other crimes mentioned.

    It is laughable that non-Muslims go around claiming things about Islam without knowing the slightest thing about our religion.

    “Islam does NOT preach peace (‘Fighting is enjoined on you…’ [Qur’an] 2:216).”

    This is result of the mistakes that literalists and those who use their methods make. This verse, and many others in the Qur’an, was revealed at a certain time in history regarding a specific battle that took place between Muslims and their Arab pagan opponents. When the incident was finished, the applicability of the verse departed from the first phrase while remaining with the second (“it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know”). These literalists whose deplorable extremism has defiled the minds of so many Muslims through the ages (or whose fanaticism results in fantastical accusations against Islam) fail to examine the interpretations of Qur’anic passages that were given by Prophet Muhammad, his devoted followers, and his successors. The Muslim avoids such a failure by learning abut Islam from a qualified and reliable teacher who adheres to traditional methodology and principles.

  84. 84 Shirley
    May 21, 2008 at 18:00

    “It needs a reformation or it needs to be fought in the physical world until it submits to reason” and “the only response to violence is violence” and “if someone threatened me or my family with death I would not hesitate to kill them first”

    Not only would this be illegal in most of the Western world, it would go against Islamic principles. To date, as far as I know, the U.S. legal system does not allow one to kill another because the other made a death threat against the one. If one is to criticise a religion for its perceived support for violence, then one “practise what one preaches” and not himself lean towards violence.

    “There is no justification why we as a country/people should be forced to accept a religion that openly proclaims its hatred for us and tries constantly to get us to change our ways (a la harvards woman only gym hours).”

    There is, however, justification in allowing people to practise their religion inasmuch as it does not impede on the rights of others. Setting aside prayer rooms, allowing individuals to say grace privately before meals, allowing people to carry sacred religious texts with them, eat according to a certain diet, and dress a certain way are all ways in which various institutions in the Wet are rightfully accommodating the religious rights of people of various religions. Where so many religions call their women to be modest in their speech and behaviour and not to present themselves in certain ways in front of unrelated males, there does not seem to be any reason to object to women’s-only hours at a gym, as long as the gym reasonably accommodates men at other hours. It seems almost as if the objection comes from a certain irritation that is occurring within a person as a response to certain groups of people, rather than a violation of that person’s rights.

  85. 85 selena (Canada)
    May 22, 2008 at 00:01

    Andrew Boyd and John Sellers on YouTube

    Don’t bomb Iran!

    http://act.truemajorityaction.org/p/7002/iranadvo?campaign_KEY=1528

  86. 86 Tino
    May 22, 2008 at 00:55

    “there does not seem to be any reason to object to women’s-only hours at a gym, as long as the gym reasonably accommodates men at other hours.”

    Except that male students pay the exact same amount to use the facility, but get less total time to use it. In addition, the request was made for religious reasons, which is ridiculous as the school receives (even though private) govt money. There are no male only hours, thus the gym does not reasonably accommodate males.

    “To me, they do not seem so different or so horrible from those of other religion.”

    No other religion sanctions violent warfare in its holy texts – there is no equivalent in any other religion to my knowledge. The crusades were not set out in the Bible – Jihad is and is regarded as a fundamental duty for Muslims. Read these articles maybe, written by Muslims: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/05/19/2008-05-19_call_radical_islam_by_its_name.html and http://www.daily.pk/culture/religion/97-religion/3821-clarifying-the-meaning-of-jihad.html (link down atm, but text is @ http://islamicsystem.blogspot.com/2008/05/clarifying-meaning-of-jihad.html).

    “When the incident was finished, the applicability of the verse departed from the first phrase while remaining with the second ”

    I would like to know how you came to this conclusion…as well as explaining these next few. And perhaps you could address http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Reza_Taheri-azar his letters, citing multiple Qur’anic verses and using a logical proof to come to a startling conclusion?

    Address these:

    ““Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” 009.029”

    ““And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!” 009.030”

    ““O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).” 009.123”

  87. 87 Tino
    May 22, 2008 at 01:36

    “There is, however, justification in allowing people to practise their religion inasmuch as it does not impede on the rights of others.”

    Then why does Islam not do this? Barely any Islamic countries allow any other religion to be practiced freely there. Qatar is the only one I know of off the top of my head (id imagine the UAE maybe), and they cannot have crosses, bells, etc on their – SINGLE – Church. Why does Islam forbid leaving of the religion – proscribing a punishment of death? There is no two-way street with Islam, period. I mean you said it yourself, we “set aside prayer rooms” and they do not allow churches to even be built! While some Muslim countries have churches there, they usually predate Islam being in power…and even ‘moderate’ countries like Egypt unnecessarily hamper non-Islamic religion. (In December 1999, in response to strong criticism of the Ottoman decree, President Mubarak issued a decree making the repair of all places of worship subject to a 1976 civil construction code. The decree is significant symbolically because it places churches closer to an equal footing with mosques before the law. The practical impact of the decree has been to facilitate significantly church repairs; however, Christians report that local permits still are subject to security authorities’ approval. The approval process for church construction continued to be time consuming and insufficiently responsive to the wishes of the Christian community. As a result of these restrictions, some communities use private buildings and apartments for religious services.) Prior to that, every new church or even repairs had to be accepted via a PRESIDENTIAL DECREE.

    Heres what the Sheikh there says:

    “Sheikh Qaradawi noted that scholars have been divided on the issues of allowing churches in Muslim countries and Muslims participating in the construction.

    He noted that of the four main schools of Islamic thought only Imam Abu Hanifa approves this.”

    He approved the construction of the FIRST church there! And he is in the minority by far with his interpretation!!!

    “It is laughable that non-Muslims go around claiming things about Islam without knowing the slightest thing about our religion.”

    What is actually laughable is how far off you are from the accepted interpretations of Islam, by Muslims (see those two articles for example). Maybe you follow a reformed, personal version of Islam but to suggest everyone else does is preposterous.

    The other thing that is laughable is that Islam claims to be peaceful but is the only religion in the world currently committing religiously-motivated terrorist attacks. Oh yeah I forgot, the ‘minority of extremists’ ‘hijacked’ this ‘peaceful and tolerant’ religion. And the majority just cannot seem to get it back. Funny how you guys are never protesting terror attacks – too busy with teddy bears and cartoons of course!

    Here is a telling question:

    “Two things happened in Iraq last week. A US soldier shot a discarded copy of the Qur’an, and al-Qaeda strapped explosives to an 8-year-old
    girl, killing more Iraqis in the name of Allah. Only one of these acts
    enraged Muslims. Do you know Islam well enough to know which?”

  88. 88 Shirley
    May 23, 2008 at 19:07

    As long as men are not having difficulty in accessing that gym, I see no reason to complain. It’s not as if the men are crowded out of the gym the rest of the time and therefore have no access. On the other hand, women who are modest and are too shy to exercise in front of men need a time when they are guaranteed that no men will be around. This benefits more than just Muslim women. If you want male-only hours, then go ahead and ask for them.

  89. 89 Shirley
    May 23, 2008 at 19:10

    You listed some articles that supported your claim that physical jihad is central to Islamic ideology and requires Muslims to act violently against non-Muslims. Unfortunately, they offer weak support, at best, for your claim.

    Tawfik Hamid, the author of “Call Radical Islam by Its Name,” has no qualifications as an Islamic scholar. He can only speak from what training he had at the hands of Hizb at-Tahrir and Gema Islamiya, both of which are extremist organisations that have twisted Islamic teachings to suit their political agendas. His claims that “most authoritative Islamic texts and systems of jurisprudence maintain that its primary meaning is ‘warfare to subjugate the world to Islam'” and “jihad, as taught by Sunni Islam’s four schools of jurisprudence, is either a war to defend Muslims or to impose Islam on non-Muslims” clearly go against the teachings of the majority of the qualified scholars of Islam and reveal that his only education in Islam was at the hands of extremist fanatics.

    The author of the blog article “Clarifying the Meaning of Jihad” is, actually, a Hizb at-Tahrir supporter. In addition to claiming that it is a primary obligation for Muslims to make jihad against non-Muslims and to establish the Khilafah, he makes several errors in Islamic jurisprudence. He claims that in Islam, all permitted actions require proof. That is, everything is prohibited until proven permissible. He claims that it is permissible, but not required, to follow the rulings of a mujtahid scholar – one who has attained such a high level of Islamic scholarship that he can issue rulings; and that it only became permissible to follow a mujtahid’s rulings because of modern circumstances. He claims that the consensus of the early Muslims, not the mujtahids, is one of the bases for Islamic Law. All of these clearly contradict the teachings of traditional Islam as espoused by organisations such as Sunni Path, Dar ul Iftaa, Zaytuna, the Ask the Imam service by Mufti Ebrahim Desai, or any Shia Islamic scholar.

    The Pakistan Daily article that you listed does not espouse the kind of aggressive warfare that you are attributing to Islam. Rather, it states, “it is easy to see that those engaging in wrongful violence in the name of Jihad have in fact acted contrary to the very concept and dictates of Jihad as prescribed by God throughout the Qur’an.” The article emphasises that the main focus of the Islamic concept of jihad is to “strive hard to attain their nearness to God by struggling to overcome bad desires or weaknesses of character.”

    Physical jihad is then conditioned in the article with the following: “Jihad strictly forbids Muslims, whether as individuals or collectively as a political identity, to wage war against non-Muslims simply because of their religious belief. True Jihad is only waged against those, Muslim or not, who are actively engaged in the destruction of the faith and the community of Islam; and the force to be used to counteract or neutralize that destructive action has to be, must only be, of the kind or relevance and to the minimum degree appropriate to succeed without engaging in ‘overkill.'”

    These points mirror Islamic teachings regarding jihad. You selectively presented verses from the Qur’an that command Muslims to fight non-Muslims. In doing so, you have removed them from the context of other verses in the Qur’an that condition them, as well as the historical context in which they were revealed.

  90. 90 Shirley
    May 23, 2008 at 19:21

    The reason that we Muslims are not all dashing into the streets and killing non-Muslims where we see them is because the immediacy of the commands in verses such as 2:216 or 2:29 applied to certain battles that the Muslims were fighting at the time of their revelation. Those battles have long since finished.

    Islamic scholars explain that where we have verses on a subject, some of which are general and some of which are conditioned, the conditions set out in the latter explain and limit the generality of the former. Other verses in the Qur’an put limitations and conditions on jihad. For example, 2:190, 9:36, and 22:38 (poss 39) state that we are only to fight those who are fighting against us, and that we cannot exceed limits. Other verses, such as 2:208, 4:90, 4:128, and 8: 61 indicate that peace is the better way. Ayatullah Shirazi, a Shia scholar, once wrote, “Just as violence is a weapon, non-violence is a weapon too. However, the weapon of non-violence is sharper than the weapon of violence.” Some of the verses discussing peace re-state that we cannot fight those who did not attack us.

    In “Jihad: The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran,” Ayatullah Mutahhari, a Shia Islamic scholar, stated, “the Quran limits jihad strictly to a type of defense and only permits it in the face of aggression.” He specified that the conditions for the legality of jihad are that the other side intends to attack us or that some group of people is oppressed under a tyrannical ruler; and he excluded forced conversions as a reason for jihad: “There is no place for the use of compulsion in religion, no one must be obliged to accept the religion of Islam. This verse [2:255] is explicit in its meaning.” He arrived at these conclusion by using the method of limiting general verses by conditioned ones: “the conditional verses are explanations of the unconditional ones.”

    We Muslims also have several narrations from Prophet Muhammad and those who succeeded him in leadership that impose conditions on how we are to deal with enemies in battle. We are not to tie them up; mutilate them; kill elderly, young, women, or those who flee the battle; cut, burn, or flood trees and crops, kill animals, violate or steal from the property of the enemy, enter their houses, or even irritate the women.

  91. 91 Shirley
    May 23, 2008 at 19:25

    Most important is our consideration of fighting in the battlefield as a lesser form of divine struggle. We Muslims believe that the greater jihad is the struggle against the self and towards greater piety. On returning from a battle, Prophet Muhammad told his followers, “You have now returned from jihad al-asghar [lesser struggle]. The jihad al-akbar [greater struggle] continues to remain a duty with you.” This is why I stated that the verses ordering Muslims to fight applied to those battles that the early Muslims fought.

    Bashir Rahim, a Shia Islamic scholar, explained the difference between greater jihad and lesser jihad. “There are two kinds of jihad, the major jihad and the minor jihad. [The major jihad] is the struggle against one’s inner self. … [The minor jihad] means to struggle for Islam. Not for extension of boundaries, … not for the glory of any…nation, but for the defence of Islam and the protection of its values. Such a struggle can take many forms: through the use of pen, …tongue, or…the sword. … In Shi’ah theology, while self defence is permitted at any time, a general qitaal [warfare] can be declared only by an Imam [divinely appointed leader].”

    Mufti Ebrahim Desai, a Sunni scholar, also declared the jihad against the self to be greater: “The Jihaad against the Nafs is the foremost form of Jihaad.” A listing of some of the proofs used by Islamic scholars that the jihad of the self is the greater jihad is can be found at http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=1752&CATE=17 .

    Mufti Desai has additionally indicated that it is practically impossible to have jihad in the modern era. “Is it not appropriate for any one person to issue a ruling like Jihaad…a Shura of responsible people should decide.” “The decree of Jihaad against the infidels of the world attributed to most Imaams [average Islamic leaders] and clerics is not true.”

    Other Islamic scholars concur. When responding to a question posted at Sunni Path regarding the permissibility of taking up jihad against certain people in the West, Shaykh Gibril Haddad replied, “Not at all, only the rightful leader of the Muslims may declare jihad, otherwise killing such people is only a murderous crime, even if they are criminals. The jihad of the entire Muslim Community right now is to educate ourselves that the crime of others is no justification for indiscriminate violence, although we are supposed to know this basic moral already.” In another post on Sunni Path, he write, “those that claim there is no jihad al-nafs in Islam have imperiled their Islam and might make their shahada, salat, zakat, sawm, hajj, AND jihad worthless.”

    From all of this, it is more than clear that Islam teaches the higher path of peace, resorting to show of force only when necessary. Those who claim otherwise are going against volumes upon volumes of sayings from Prophet Muhammad, his successors, and the vast majority of the scholars and only show their ignorance about Islam. This is not some “reformed” version of Islam, but the one Islam that began with Prophet Muhammad. Those that need reforming are those who stand in need of a proper education in Islam. Those who support such fanatics and their distorted version of Islam support stubborn ignorance.

  92. 92 Tino
    May 24, 2008 at 03:06

    “This is not some “reformed” version of Islam, but the one Islam that began with Prophet Muhammad. Those that need reforming are those who stand in need of a proper education in Islam. Those who support such fanatics and their distorted version of Islam support stubborn ignorance.”

    Then why are they so prevalent in the world today? If it is simply a couple of people misunderstanding Islam, why can they not be dealt with quickly and easily, or refuted through Qur’anic points?

    Your arguments do not add up to what I see occurring in the world on a daily basis. Members of the Ummah are, on a daily basis, killing innocents.

    Why do Muslims not protest suicide bombings by eight year olds, but find time to protest teddy bears and cartoons? None of this adds up, unless violence is inherent to Islam!

    “Ibn Baz says:

    Jihad is of various kinds, with one’s self, one’s wealth, by making dua, by teaching and guiding, by helping to do good in any way. The greatest form of jihad is jihad with one’s self (i.e., going oneself and fighting), followed by jihad with one’s wealth, jihad by speaking out and guiding others. Dawah is also part of jihad. But going out oneself to fight in jihad is the highest form”

    “According to Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani:

    Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.” [Sounds like dhimmi or die to me…]

    “According to Al-Mawardi an 11th Century Shafi`i jurist:

    The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…it is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached… ” [Convert or die…]

    “In the Hidayah, vol. II. p. 140 (Hanafi school):

    It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war… If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do.” [Dhimmi or die again]

    The point is, these quotes line up with reality – the one where Muslims are the only ones killing people in the name of their religion.

    PS: I did read your link, and I want to say: If Islam got control of its own back yard, I would not be worrying about them anymore. The fact of the matter is, they spend more time on useless crap like cartoons, perceived insults, and names than they do attacks carries out in the name of Islam. This makes it exceedingly difficult to believe anything other than: Islam = violence.

  93. 93 Tino
    May 24, 2008 at 04:39

    PS: Why does a non-violent religion describe the world in two parts (House of Islam, House of War)?

  94. 94 Shirley
    May 24, 2008 at 16:24

    Ibn Baz is one of those uselessly extremist fanatics; and he is one of those who also happens to believe that God has a literal face, literal hands, literally sits on a literal throne, etc. When one interprets scriptures literally, it can literally lead to all kinds of literal troubles. I literally cannot stand him and his ilk. They broke off from Sunni Islam, and as much as they try to claim Sunni Islam for themselves, Sunni Islam will not have anything to do with them.

    When you mentioned al Hidayah, are you talking about al Hidayah by Marghinani, or al Hadiyah by `Ala ad-Din (Aladin) ibn `Abidin, the son of ibn `Abidin? It doesn’t make too much difference in terms of dates; I think that both of them, as well as Mawardi and Qayrawani, lived during the times when the Sunni Caliphate was alive. Presumptively, it would have been possible for the Caliph of their respective times to have declared an aggressive jihad to invade the lands of non-Muslims. As a Shia Muslim, I could not bring myself to agree with such actions wherever they occurred. I am not sure if the invasion of Spain took place under those kinds of circumstances; it would be an example of something with which I could not agree. But I belong to the minority, both in terms of numbers and in terms of political strength. I was also not alive during those times. Were I to have been alive, it is possible that I could have been killed or oppressed for being a Shia Muslim.

    Today, the Sunni Muslims do not have a Caliph to issue the order for combative jihad. Their `ulama have displayed much unwillingness to declare the necessary near-unanimous call for combative jihad. Those who ask traditional Sunni Muslim scholars about re-establishing the Caliphate are shoved (gently) aside and told to focus on other things. Those who ask about combative jihad usually get the same treatment.

    There are a variety of reasons that so many Muslims, though those many do constitute a minority of us, carry out acts of violence. One of the biggest motivators is their political situations. Many come from poor backgrounds and are from countries that have experienced more Western influence than is politically healthy for the people who live there. When approached by soliciters for suicide bombing, they are too easily convinced of a fictional religious duty to shake off this non-Muslim oppressor using violent means. Were they to have better Islamic educations, it might be easier for them to remain unconvinced of the religious validity of such actions.

    An other unfortunate fact of the modern Muslim world is that most of today’s Muslims live in circumstances such that they do not have access to a decent education in traditional Islam. Institutions such as the Sunni Path Foundation, Zaytuna Institute, their related Halaqas, other similar institutions, and the Shia Islamic Hawza are few and far between. They lack the kind of funding that is showered on the extremist “educational” outlets to which the salafists (ibn Baz et al) have access. And while we Shia Muslims have Hawza graduates who can lead our congregations, traditional Sunni Islam doesn’t have that number of qualified individuals to lead their congregations, especially as compared to the leaders that Saudi riyals are sending all over the world.

    There does exist a dichotomy in the protest things like of cartoons and teddy bears and the criticism of violence that occurs at the hands of Muslims. Those who criticise violence do so from the podium and the pulpit, not in front of thousands of rallied individuals on the streets. The methods used by the two are different. One gains more attention than the other, obviously. When Ayatullah Sistani answered a quesiton about how to deal with the occupiers when the people encountered the troops in the streets, he indicated that the Iraqis should treat them respectfully, offer hospitality, and ask politely that they leave as soon as possible. This did not gain the same publicity as bin Laden’s outrages and Zarqawi’s rants. Hospitality, btw, refers to offering them a drink and such as that in accordance with the Arab custom.

  95. 95 Tino
    May 24, 2008 at 17:38

    “Many come from poor backgrounds and are from countries that have experienced more Western influence than is politically healthy for the people who live there.”

    Simply false.

    Click to access i8465.pdf

    “Instead of being drawn from the ranks of the poor, numerous
    academic and government studies find that terrorists tend to be drawn from well-educated, middle-class or high-income families. Among those who have seriously and impartially studied
    the issue, there is not much question that poverty has little to do with terrorism. For example, The 9/11 Commission Report was quite clear on the role of economic deprivation in spurring individuals to participate in terrorism: “Terrorism is not caused by poverty” (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, 2004, p. 378). Yet the claim that poverty is the root cause of terrorism continues to be made.”

    In addition, one shouldn’t even need a study to see that the problem is religion. PLENTY of people in the world today are poor as hell, yet you simply do not see: Buddhist, Christian, Atheist, or Hindu terrorists on any alarming scale whatsoever. The only non-muslim terrorists I can think of are the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka (hindu).

    More:

    “Most terrorists are not so desperately poor that they have nothing to live for. Instead they are people who care so deeply and fervently about a cause that they are willing to die for it.”

    “Economic factors were not important in explaining the national origins of the foreign insurgents, but religion was: foreign insurgents were much more likely to come from Muslim countries.”

    Pretty difficult to argue with researched facts but I am sure you will try to say something about the people I choose to back up my position, but hopefully the fact that he is an extremely qualified economist might matter.

  96. 96 Shirley
    May 30, 2008 at 15:31

    Actually, I surprise myself by trusting the 911 Commission and its report. What they describe about terrorists does interest me, though, inasmuch as I had always heard the opposite. Part of what bent me towards that general impression was an article in Newsweek magasine that indicated that many foreign terrorists who have come to Iraq to operate have come from Libya. I would be surprised to find that these were well-off individuals with good access to education, especially a decent Islamic education.

    The article is at http://www.newsweek.com/id/132938 .

    And the point about Islamic education takes us right back to the core issue of whether this kind of extremism is actually supported by Islam. In the case that it is not – the case that I support – an education in the principle beliefs, practises, ethics, and methods of Islam would forestall a person’s likelihood of joining the terrorist or extremist movement.


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