domingo, 29 de agosto de 2010

Pronunciamentos pacíficos de líderes palestinos

A Globo News e o site deram grande destaque ao pronunciamento de um rabino israelense que, durante a leitura de um trecho Bíblico sobre o ano novo judaico que fala sobre a queda dos ímpios, pede uma praga contra Mahmoud Abbas (o terrorista tambem conhecido como Abu Mazen) e os palestinos que odeiam os judeus e Israel, e classificou o pronunciamento como violento e radical.

Por que será que os seguintes pronunciamentos de líderes políticos, religiosos e da TV 'estatal' palestina - que não pedem pragas contra terroristas, mas que incitam claramente o assassinato indiscriminado de judeus e israelenses (ocasionalmente de americanos, cristãos e europeus) - nunca foram mostrados?

sábado, 21 de agosto de 2010

Muslim Zionism III - 'This Is My State. I'm An Israeli Patriot': An Interview with Druze MK Ayoub Kara

Non-Jews are no strangers to Israel's policy of inclusivity in its government. What is strange is finding a non-Jewish Knesset member who is more Zionistic than most of his fellow parliamentarians. Ayoub Kara, a Druze Likud Knesset minister, is proud to consider himself one of the most "right wing" members of the Knesset.

Kara, who was appointed deputy minister of the development of the Negev and Galilee by Prime Minister Netanyahu, was first elected to the Knesset in 1999. He was appointed Speaker of the Knesset, served as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Workers and later as chairman of the Anti-Drug Committee.

In a unique position to reach out to others, Kara spoke with the mufti of Turkey following the flotilla crisis in an effort to mend bridges. He defended Israel as "the most humanitarian country in the Middle East" and urged the mufti to preach brotherhood "because there are no winners in war, and the way of peace and dialogue is preferable to the miseries of war."

Kara lives in the Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel near Haifa with his wife and five children

The Jewish Press: Can you explain the history and attitudes of the Druze people?

Kara: The Druze descend from Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Both Jethro and Moses are prophets of the Druze, and we share the same book of religion as the Jews. The Druze believe, through the prophet Jethro, that the land of Israel is for the Jews and should be defended for the Jews.

Around a hundred years ago, when the Jews wanted to make a state of their own, the Druze helped them. They defended Jewish kibbutzim and gave the Jews in the North guns. They even cooperated with the Druze in Syria to support the Jews. There are around two million Druze in Israel living in the North, in the Galilee, the Carmel, the Golan Heights, and we serve in the Israeli army. Unlike the Palestinians, we have no aspirations for our own state.

Do Druze in other countries share the same beliefs regarding Israel?

This is the philosophy of most Druze, but they're scared to speak out about it. The Druze are afraid of the Muslims. Privately they say they share a historical religion with the Jews, but out loud most of the Druze don't speak like that. There is no democracy and free speech in Arab countries and many of the Druze are pressured to convert to Islam. In Israel it's different because we have freedom to say we're Druze, and we even have a Druze flag next to the Israeli flag. We can't do this in Arab countries. I was in Lebanon and Syria, and I know how the Druze there feel. They feel like outsiders and are scared of the Muslims.

To what extent has your family been involved in Israel's struggle for survival?

Before 1948 my grandfather helped the Jews and paid a big price. His son, my uncle, was the first Druze to be killed by the Arabs in 1939. He was an officer on the side of Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, and he was killed by Arabs in Acco [Acre] because they said that he supported the Jews. My father fought with Tzahal in 1948 in the Galilee. Another uncle of mine was killed by Arabs at that time. And my two brothers were killed in the Lebanon War in 1982 near Beirut.

I was also severely injured in the Lebanon War, and my parents died soon after from heartbreak. I returned to my village near Haifa and started my own family after that. I need peace. I don't like war, but I speak about my tragedy because it's important to hear how my family paid such a price to defend Israel. I believe the ultimate importance for me, more than anything, is that I live in a democratic state with human rights. In all the surrounding Arab countries there are no human rights, no courts, no justice.

You serve as deputy minister of the Galilee and Negev. What do you consider the most significant challenges you face in these areas?

The big problem in the Galilee and Negev is the migration of people from these areas to the center of Israel. They move there to study and work because we don't have companies and business in the north and south to provide work for the young people. And when they move to the center, that means the Arabs gain in these areas. President Peres keeps talking about demographics as the reason to give the Palestinians another state. In the future a new Peres could come and say we have to give the Arabs in the north and south another state. I am afraid of that because there will be more Arabs than Jews.

What efforts are you making to combat this problem?

I am trying to introduce new initiatives in the government. One is in the area of education. We now offer soldiers who finish the army the opportunity to study for free in the Galilee and Negev, and we're also building a big college for medicine in the Galilee. We are trying to build new big roads for people to commute more quickly from the center [of Israel]. We support companies who come to these areas and provide incentives for them. We allowed Intel to open a big factory in the Negev with many rights from the government. This is our opportunity to change the demographics. If we don't pursue this we will find ourselves with more Arabs than Jews in these areas. In 1948 there were 20,000 Beduin in the Negev. Now, with no immigration, there are 200,000 Beduin.

You spoke out very strongly against the Gaza Disengagement. Do you think the Israeli public has learned anything from the results of that withdrawal?

I think the Jewish people are very naïve. I was against the withdrawal from Lebanon and was alone in my opposition. I said that Hizbullah will be motivated from this. In 1982 most of the public in Lebanon were more liberal - Christian, Druze and secular Muslims - and we were mostly at peace with them. I told [then-prime minister Ehud] Barak that it was important for us to support this group. But we withdrew quickly, and Hizbullah gained power in this area as a result of the withdrawal.

The same thing happened when Sharon withdrew from Gaza. I led the opposition to this plan in the government, but when I spoke out I was accused of opposing peace and supporting war. I tried to stop the Disengagement through the finance committee in the Knesset, but I was told if I don't agree with them they will throw me out of the parliament. Now it's different. More than 90 percent now understand that what happened in Gush Katif and South Lebanon was a mistake. They know that if there are any withdrawals in Yehudah and Shomron, the same thing would happen and there would be an Iranian ascendancy in those areas.

But we have the Supreme Court and other liberals in Israel who think we are negotiating with people who have the same mentality as Jews, Europeans or Americans. But in the Middle East, the Arabs tell you what you want to hear and not what you have to hear. The Jews did not understand this until now.

I don't want Israel to make another mistake. This is my state. For me the religion is not important - Druze, Jewish, or Christian. I am an Israeli patriot.

Yet you serve as a deputy minister in a Likud coalition whose prime minister endorsed the two-state solution and is pressing for direct talks with the Palestinians. Do you see this as a contradiction? I support Netanyahu and am one of his close friends. I don't think Netanyahu would give up any land, but he's realistic and knows he would look bad to the world if he opposes Obama. Obama has an agenda to give a state to the Palestinians. But he doesn't live here. We do. When they pushed us on Gush Katif we gave them land, and when we were attacked afterward I didn't see the U.S. come to defend us.

It's very popular to say two states for two people, but when you speak about this you have to have a partner and leadership to give them a state. Who would lead this state? Abbas and Fayyad cannot cross the border of Hebron. If there would be an election in the West Bank, Hamas would of course win. And Abbas and Fayyad don't lead in Gaza. They are not relevant there. If they would cross the border into Gaza Hamas would kill them. That's why I laugh when they talk about two states.

In all history there was never a Palestinian state. I don't support the two-state solution. We have to look at the Palestinians' intentions. Most of the Palestinians don't believe Israel should exist. The state of the Palestinians is Jordan. More than 90 percent of Jordan is Palestinian. If they want us to go back to the 1967 borders, then Jordan should lead the Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria civilly, not in defense, while Israel should [maintain its presence] in the big cities and all the areas in between. And Egypt should retake control of Gaza. We should end any relationship with Gaza. We don't have any other solution for Gaza. De facto we have another state there.

But what if Egypt doesn't want a relationship with Gaza?

So what? We are being pushed to give another state and we don't want that either. If they want us to move to the 1967 borders then they have too also. Egypt has problems with the Muslim Brotherhood, but we have our problems too. If the Egyptians kill a few thousand people in Gaza in broad daylight no one would say anything, but if Israel kills one Palestinian it makes news around the world. If we do not give Gaza to Egypt there's no other solution. The same thing with Jordan and the West Bank.

We need real peace in the Middle East, but I am not going to agree with Obama's plan. No Obama and no Osama can push us to enable Iran to come into Jerusalem.

quinta-feira, 12 de agosto de 2010

Fazendo caridade para o Hamas

Desde que Israel reagiu às agressões do Hamas, em janeiro de 2009, uns 400 foguetes foram lançados de Gaza em direção a alvos civis israelenses. Nas redações, ninguém tomou conhecimento, nem usou o adjetivo obrigatório: "desproporcional".

Na instituição acadêmica Sapir, próxima a Sderot, cidade ao sul de Israel, funciona um centro de fisioterapia e outras atividades terapêuticas para crianças com necessidades especiais. Famílias de todo o país procuram a unidade, que não existe mais*.

No sábado, 31 de julho, ela foi atingida por um foguete Qassam, lançado da Faixa de Gaza pelo Hamas, uma das muitas entidades filantrópicas que trabalham humanitariamente pela aniquilação de Israel, auxiliadas por seus porta-vozes na grande imprensa internacional.

Em qualquer outro dia, crianças e funcionários morreriam. Por sorte, era Shabbat, o dia de descanso dos judeus, e o local estava vazio. Algumas das crianças atendidas ali sofrem justamente de stress pós-traumático. O trauma de viver num lugar alvejado por foguetes todo santo dia.

Sempre que toca uma sirene, e elas tocam diariamente, um foguete do Hamas está a 15 ou 30 segundos de distância. É o tempo de correr e encontrar abrigo, e que Deus os ajude. Num dia bom, o telhado de uma casa será despedaçado e alguém sairá levemente ferido.

O fato de o Hamas ter feito mira em um centro de fisioterapia para crianças com necessidades especiais levaria uma pessoa simplória a incriminar o Hamas. Mas a verdadeira culpa, os setores esclarecidos sabem, é de Israel, que teimosamente se recusa a ceder ante as "forças de resistência", obrigando o Hamas a recorrer a este tipo de expediente.

A Sapir já havia sido atacado três vezes. Em fevereiro de 2008, o estudante Roni Yechiah morreu ferido por um Qassam que caiu no estacionamento da instituição.

Desde que Israel reagiu às agressões do Hamas, em janeiro de 2009, uns 400 foguetes foram lançados de Gaza em direção a alvos civis israelenses. Nas redações, ninguém tomou conhecimento, nem usou o adjetivo obrigatório: "desproporcional".

O que não falta para as forças de resistência do Oriente Médio é o dinheiro dos governos ocidentais. A última contribuição brasileira, por exemplo, foi de módicos 25 milhões de reais. No dia 20 de julho passado, o Estadista Global assinou a doação dessa insignificância à Autoridade Palestina. Lula diz que é para "reconstruir Gaza".

Mas quem manda em Gaza não é a Autoridade Palestina, é o Hamas, desde 2007. Se antes as doações internacionais à Autoridade Palestina iam parar nas contas suíças de Yasser Arafat, hoje a solidariedade financia os foguetes do Hamas e o terror contra Israel. Lula talvez saiba disso, sendo amigo-irmão de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

* É claro que os israelenses farão os reparos no centro terapêutico e seguirão a vida. Em breve o Hamas joga outro foguete. Quando isto acontecer, somente a reação israelense será noticiada.

Bruno Pontes é jornalista -

domingo, 8 de agosto de 2010

Dr. Guy Bekhor: Glory, Glory Halleluiah – How Obama turned into a naked gun (in Hebrew)

The most horrendous thing of all, is the fact that nobody in the Middle East, except for Israel, counts Obama. He barely exists, a bit under media reports, but never in cartoons, neither in dreams, nor in nightmares. G.W. Bush was hated, but he had constantly been referred to, because he was feared of. But Obama simply does not exist. Following decades of extensive American involvement in the Middle East, in the form of pressures, intrigues, deals, mediation, diplomacy, threats, concessions, ambassadors, insults, anger, Kissinger, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Senior & Junior and Bill Clinton – all of a sudden silence has rested upon. The residing President drowned in an assignment above and beyond his size. On the occasion of this achievement, here are ten Honorary Salvos.

When he nearly reaches the first half term in office, something strange happened to the President of the United States, in respect of the Middle East. One can’t tell he is a bad president, neither can one tell he is a good one, because he simply vanished, completely gone. When this region turns explosive and violent once again, the president of the greatest superpower on earth, has turned to be a naked gun. The United States had completely faded away in the Middle East. Glory, glory Halleluiah.

On the occasion of this achievement, here are ten Honorary Salvos in honor of the most resounding failure of an American president, comparable only to the failure of his hyperactive preceding president, but in a backwards manner:

1. When the Egyptian president didn’t come to greet Obama’s face in Cairo, last June, it was an indication by Middle Eastern codes, that Mubarak knew in advance, Obama’s speech to the Muslim world is going to yield the opposite results, contrary to Obama’s wish for a new beginning between the US and the Muslim world. Mubarak did not want his picture alongside the foreseen failure and he even refrained showing himself at the same hall where Obama spoke. A year and a half later, when Obama’s plan of approaching the Muslim world completely crushed, even Obama got it when thousands of Muslims are killed by Muslims all over and Terror atrocities inside the US, are being thwarted in the last minute and even secular Turkey marches into the hands of radical Islam. Obama has no contingency plan, no agenda and not even a road directive. All his attempts to address moderate Arab states were responded by refusal and with disrespect. Obama was left naked.

2. Obama talks but doesn’t act is a fact well known throughout the M.E. It was the acclaimed Benjamin Disraeli who said: “Do not debate matters, there’s no need for discussion either, just show me the results”. Barack Obama cannot present any achievement in the Middle East. Nothing. He is a champion in speeches, in using high words and hollow, not necessarily bright, slogans. But in the Middle East, particularly amongst Arab regimes, speeches, intellectuals and high words, are looked at in contempt and Obama is perceived as the negative embodiment of an intellectual.

3. Barack Obama assumed as if some detachment from Israel would gain him the sympathy of the Arab moderate camp. The outcome was incomprehensible: Obama brought about the dismantling of the Arab moderate camp and also lost Israel’s trust. The Arab moderate camp is practically non-existent ever since Qatar and Jordan quit, whereas entities such as Lebanon and the Palestinian leadership stayed on the fence. Obama’s lack of road directive played a significant role in the weakening of the moderate camp, because if the U.S. is weak and confused, then Iran is strong and threatening and there is no guarantee there will be anyone to protect the Gulf States. But it isn’t merely Iran pulling towards the radical direction, but also Turkey trying hard to establish a radical alliance of its own in the region, after correctly identifying the vacuum the Americans left behind. On the other hand, Obama is perceived by the absolute majority of the Israeli public, as a substantially hated personality, an unprecedented phenomenon amongst Israelis vis-à-vis any American president for dozens of years. Obama wanted both the Arabs and the Israelis on his side and lost both. Recent polls depict the U.S. as being yet again in a tremendous small stature amongst the Arabs and no Cairo speech or preening of the tongue, are going to help.

4. One must admit, Barack Obama looks ineffectual against Iran, and even the severe sanctions ordained last month by Congress on Iran, had been imposed against Obama’s opinion. He did not want to impose severe sanctions on Iran, but felt embarrassment in front of Congress’ determination. Even Iran knows this guy is not capable of ordering a military move, which explains Iran’s lack of concern. Iran estimates Obama is of weak character, one who worries and is too “liberal”. If G.W. Bush had been now in office, Iran would have been much more worried.

5. Obama is ineffectual in front of what’s happening yet again in Iraq where the American army is deployed. Given Obama’s early announcement about his plan to pull out the American army from this wretched country, Sunni terrorism went wild again, ruthless and violent than ever before. It’s about hundreds of terror casualties on monthly basis, about a renewed feeling of lack of security, while the president of the U.S. has no idea how to get out of there in peace. Obama doesn’t find interest in Iraqi politics as G.W Bush did, which brought about a significant drop down in the level of terror. Even the Iraqis complain that the U.S. vanishes in front of their own eyes.

6. Obama was wrong, by presuming to be one of the greatest persons in American history, such as Martin Luther King, FDR, or even Lincoln, what do you know. He tried wearing shoes above and beyond his size, because he has no leadership skills of such scale. Following decades of extensive American involvement in the Middle East, in the form of pressures, intrigues, deals, mediation, diplomacy, threats, concessions, ambassadors, insults, anger, Kissinger, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Senior & Junior and Clinton – all of a sudden silence has rested upon. The residing President drowned in an assignment above and beyond his size.

7. Obama is one of those politicians convinced, everyone around them will be under the spell of their cosmic halo to become reconciled. He was absolutely confident the moment he takes office, the Israelis and the Palestinians will immediately run each into the arms of the other side in order to reconcile. During the first months of Obama’s reign, there was doubt if he indeed understood or really knew what’s going on under the Israeli-Palestinian axis, partly due to the bad counsel he surrounded himself with, some of them are Jews. Now, Obama at least understands, to what extent he did not understand. A-propos Palestinians, since the death of Arafat, they are not of interest to anyone in the American establishment, except for urgent circumstances, such as the Gaza war, when there was no other choice than sending George Mitchell to the region, sort of lip service. When did Hillary Clinton visit the region recently? What does the American policy stand for? Cooperation? Mediation? Arbitration? Coercion? There is a feeling the American Foreign Office has lost interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, maybe given the insight, this is not the heart of the conflict in this region. Iran, Iraq, Terrorism, Sunnis-Shiites, political Islam, all of these aspects had nothing to do with Israel and they are the most volatile ones.

8. It was rather a politician of the Democratic Party who brought about an unprecedented
strengthening of the brutality of Arab regimes surrounding Israel, in years. Bush eroded them, by demanding democracy, which was a mistake. But Obama completely abandoned them to themselves, an error from the other side, so they take advantage of the opportunity. A wave of harsh suppression flooded the M.E. around Israel. Arrests, tortures, disappearance of opposition activists, threatened media networks, overflowing jails, and all of this happens because there is no American supervision, no control and no interest.

9. The Middle East comprehended on the spot, what happens with Obama domestically. They read the polls about the collapse of his status within the U.S., the fact he is perceived as an unreliable politician by many, so the attitude towards Obama in the M.E., follows suit. He is perceived as lacking self-confidence in American politics, turned off, if he is seen at all. So much irrelevant, to the point his counsels dispatch him to various TV shows, just to let him be seen. We’re watching a magic circle: Obama’s global failures contribute to the crumbling of his domestic status, while the crumbling of his domestic status amplifies the weaving of his failures. Obama has no answer to this deadly magic spin.

10. The most horrendous thing of all, is the fact that nobody in the Middle East, except for Israel, counts Obama. He barely exists, a bit under media reports, but never in cartoons, neither in dreams, nor in nightmares. Bush was hated, but he had constantly been referred to, because he was feared of. But Obama simply does not exist. Syria let’s herself completely ignoring the U.S., because there is no one in the White House anyway, same as Iran, Al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Erdogan and others. An example demonstrating this fact is the Turkish Flotilla episode. Obama should have sent his Secretary of State on the spot, to Ankara and to Israel, to terminate the episode swiftly, but no one came from the U.S., they barely understood that the regional damages are going to be enormous. There is simply no one there, everyone in Washington disappeared. Once upon a time, the moderate Egyptians, the Saudis, the Moroccans, the Jordanians and the Palestinians, used to hurry up to Washington for every important matter, to coordinate, to get instructions and to consult. Today they don’t bother doing it, because it’s a waste of time. They have a deep feeling, the young president doesn’t have an idea what they are facing, so what’s all the fuss about. At most Obama will tell them, as he told the King of Jordan and the Palestinians: “So go and meet with the Israelis…”

This phrase alone demonstrates how hollow American foreign policy is, lazy and non-existent. Is it good? It is very bad, because in the worst neighborhood of this world, the M.E. neighborhood, one always needs a sheriff, being ready to make order during all occasional quarrels and brawls. Someone standing by with a big stick in his hand.
But the sheriff has gone. Israel is lucky enough because the Arab side understands once more, that Israel has its own big stick ready in its hand. Glory, glory Halleluiah.

quarta-feira, 4 de agosto de 2010

Relations between first Jewish settlers and Lebanese Christians

When invoking the name Lebanon these days, it tends to conure up images of crazed Jihadi fanatics and Israel haters but that was not always the case. In fact there was once a strong trend toward pro-Zionism within the Maronite Church of Lebanon (once the largest and most powerful religious community in that country) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries up untill the establishment of the state of Israel. The movement was spearheaded by the Maronite Patriarch Antoine Pierre Arrida and Archbishop Ignace Mubarak of Beirut. If anything, this was a marriage of convenience. After all the Christians of Lebanon and the Jews of (then) Palestine were both minorities (in the case of the Maronites this was slowly but surely coming true) surrounded by a hostile Muslim majority. It was only natural to form a sort of alliance.

It began with the church reaching out to the Jewish agency and a pact was formed (it was to remain a secret -lest it further arouse the ire of the Muslims) . The church's stance did not neccesarily reflect a consensus of views among the Christian populace, the secular Phalange party (founded by Pierre Gemayel) did not support the creation of the state of Israel mostly because of economic concerns and other reasons and neither did they support the Church isolationists who wanted to create an independent Christian state in Mount Lebanon and its environs.

The first encounter between the Jewish settlers and Lebanese was under unfortunate circumstances. During the Maronite-Druze war of 1860 -when the latter gained the upper hand and were methodically slaughtering the Christians- the Maronites turned in desperation to Europe for help. The first two European personalities to respond were, Sir Moses Montefiore a wealthy Jewish communal leader in London,and Adolph Cremieux a distinguished French Jewish statesman. Montefiore ensured that the plight of the Maronites receive prominent coverage in the London Times and set up a fund to assist the survivors to which he gave generously of his own money. Cremiuex proved instrumental in persuading the French to send troops to Lebanon to save the Christians. French intervention indeed saved the Christians and brought about the creation of the Maronite dominated Mutasarifiya.

Later in the wake of WWI, when Shia-Maronite hostilites flared in the south which resulted in a rout of the Christians. Most of the inhabitants of the hardest hit Christian villages (among them Deir Mimus, Majaryoun, Jedidah and Abel al-Kumh) fled, many ending up in Sidon hungry and penniless. Pinchas Naaman who worked for the Jewish Agency in the Jewish communities of the Levant sent an urgent cable to his superiors in Jerusalem requesting special funds with which to assist the Christian refugees to which the Organization promptly complied. They were clothed and fed and their children were admitted to the Jewish school in Sidon. Naaman went above and beyond in helping out these refugees even exceeding his budget. [1]

These philantropic acts were warmly recalled even years later by the Maronite Church and later strongly impacted its attitude toward the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

Patriarch Arrida in a speech at a Beirut synagogue in 1937 said the following:

"The Jews are not only our ancestors, but our brothers. Our origin is the same, our language is almost common, our father is their father. We are proud to belong to the same race. We owe all to Judaism, our teachings are taken from their sacred law.Our faith is similar. We love the same God. We love Jerusalem as much as they do. We sincerely want that our relation with them will be constant and always fruitful. We assist each other and we hope with all our heart that God will deliver the oppressed Jews from those persecutions of which they are the object. We express our best wishes that all Jews will be assured of peace and tranquility, because we feel how sincere and precious is their love for us". [2]

Arrida was also involved in rescue efforts of German Jews after Hitler's rise to power in that country. Arrida and other Lebanese Christian leaders even floated the idea of admitting these Jews to Lebanon

Ten Years later when the demand for a Jewish State was gaining steam, the UN formed a special commission to examine the feasibility of establishing a Jewish state. The following is the very interesting testimony of Maronite Archbishop Mubarak in front of the UNSCOP commission.

Beirut, 5 August 1947

Mr. Justice Sandstrom, Chairman, UNSCOP


I regret that my absence in Europe coincided with the visit of the Special Committee on Palestine to the Lebanon, otherwise I should have had an opportunity to speak and to express my opinion - which is, moreover, that of the majority of the Lebanese people - with regard to this question.

This is not the first time I have voiced my opinion on this matter. A lot of ink has already been used and after each of my complaints the world press has seized upon my words and made ample comment on everything I said.

Here in the Middle East, which is for the most part Moslem, if the present Lebanese Government is recognized as having an official right to speak on behalf of the Lebanese nation, we should feel disposed to answer and prove that the present rulers represent only themselves and that their so-called official statements are dictated only by the needs of the moment and by the imposed solidarity binding this preeminently Christian country to the other Islamic countries which surround it on all sides and enclose it, volens nolens, in their politico-economic orbit,

By reason of its geographical position, history, culture and traditions, the nature of its inhabitants and their attachment to their faith and ideals, the Lebanon has always, even under the Ottoman yoke, kept itself out of the clutches of the other nations surrounding it and has succeeded in maintaining its tradition intact.

Palestine, on the other hand, the ideological centre of all old and Now Testament propaganda, has always been the victim of all the troubles and persecutions. From time immemorial, anything with any historical significance has always been ransacked, plundered and mutilated. Temples and churches have been turned into mosques and the role of that eastern part of the Mediterranean has, not without reason, been reduced to nothing.

It is an incontestable historical fact that Palestine was the home
of the Jew and of the first Christians. None of them was of Arab origin. By the brutal force of conquest they were forced to become converts to the Moslem religion, That is the origin of the Arabs in that country. Can one deduce from that that Palestine is Arab or that it ever was Arab?

Historical vestiges, monuments and sacred mementos of the two religions remain alive there as evidence of the fact that this country was not involved in the internal war between the princes and monarchs of Iraq and Arabia. The Holy Places, the temples, the Wailing Wall, the churches and the tombs of the prophets and saints, in short, all the relics of the two religions, are living symbols, which alone invalidate the statements now made by those who have ogle interest in making Palestine an Arab country. To include Palestine and the Lebanon within the group of Arab countries is to deny history and to destroy the social balance in the Near East.

These two countries, these two homelands, have proved up till now that it is both useful and necessary for them to exist as separate and independent entities,

The Lebanon, first of all, has always been and will remain a sanctuary for all the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. It was there that the Armenians who escaped extermination in Turkey found refuge. It was there that the Chaldeans of Iraq found a place of safety when driven from their country. It was there that the Poles, in plight from a blazing Europe, took refuge. it was there that the French,
forced out of Syria, found protection. It was there that the British families of Palestine, fleeing from terrorism, found refuge and protection.

The Lebanon and Palestine must continue to be the permanent home of minorities.

What has the role of the Jews been in Palestine? Considered from this angle, the
Palestine of 1918 appears to us a barren country, poor, denuded of all resources, the least developed of all the Turkish vilayets. The Moslem-Arab colony there lived an the borderline of poverty. Jewish immigration began, colonies were formed and established, and in less than twenty years the country was transformed: agriculture flourished, large industries were established, wealth came to the country.
The presence of such a well-developed and industrious nation, next to the
Lebanon could not but contribute to the welfare of all - the Jew is a man of
practical executive ability, the Lebanese is highly adaptable and, for that
reason, their proximity could only servo to better the living conditions of the inhabitants.

From the cultural point of view these two nations may boast that they have as many cultured and intellectual people as all the other countries of the Near East put -, together. It is not fair that the LAW should be imposed by an ignorant majority desirous of imposing its will.

It would not be fair to allow a million advanced and educated human
being to be the plaything of a few interested persons who happen to be at
-the head of affairs, who lead several million backward and unprogressive
people and dictate the LAW as they please. There is an order in the world,
an order which establishes the proper balance. if the United Nations are
really desirous of maintaining this order, it must do everything possible to consolidate it.

Major reasons of a social, humanitarian and religious nature require the creation, in these two countries, of two homelands for minorities: a Christian home in the Lebanon, as there has always been~ a Jewish home in Palestine. These two centres connected with each other geographically, and supporting and assisting each other economically, will form the necessary bridge between West and East, from the viewpoint of Culture and Civilization. The neighborly relations between these two nations will contribute to the maintenance of peace in the Near East, which is so divided by rivalries, and will lessen the persecution of minorities, which will always find refuge it these two countries.,

That is the opinion of the Lebanese whom I represent; it is the opinion of this people whom your Committee of Enquiry was unable to hear.

Behind the closed doors of the Sofar Hotel you were able to listen only to the words dictated to our so-called legal representatives by the lords and masters of the neighboring Arab countries. The real voice of the Lebanese was smothered by the group who falsified the elections of 25 May.


I have the honour to be, etc.,

(Signed) Ignace Mobarat (Mubarak)

Maronite Archbishop
of Beirut.

See original French version


[1] See Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, My Enemy's Enemy ; Lebanon in the Early Zionist Imagination,1900-1948

[2] "Le voyage de mgr. Arida, patriarche maronite"
Paix et Droit 17, no. 5(1937): 8-9

See also Mordechai Nisan,The Conscience of Lebanon: A Political Biography of Etienne Sakr (Abu-Arz)


Ao invocar o nome ‘Líbano’ nos dias de hoje, nos vêm a mente imagens de jihadistas fanáticos enlouquecidos e de inimigos mortais de Israel, mas nem sempre foi esse o caso. De fato, houve uma época em que existiu uma forte tendência pró-sionismo dentro da Igreja Maronita do Líbano (a maior e mais poderosa comunidade religiosa de então). O movimento foi liderado pelo patriarca maronita Pierre Antoine Arrida e pelo arcebispo Ignace Mubarak de Beirute. A união era natural, já que ambos os grupos eram minorias religiosas numa região hostil dominada por muçulmanos.

Tudo começou quando a Igreja se aproximou da agência judaica e um pacto foi formado (que deveria ser mantido sob sigilo, para não despertar a ira dos muçulmanos).
A postura da Igreja não refletia um consenso de opiniões entre a população cristã – o partido Falange, fundado por Pierre Gemayel, não apoiou a criação do Estado de Israel principalmente por causa de preocupações econômicas. O partido também não apoiava os isolacionistas da Igreja que queriam criar um Estado cristão independente no Monte Líbano e em seus arredores.

O primeiro encontro entre os colonos judeus e libaneses foi sob circunstâncias infelizes. Durante a guerra maronita-drusa de 1860 – que teve os drusos com vitoriosos e os maronitas como vítimas de grandes massacres – os libaneses, em desespero, se voltaram para a Europa em busca de ajuda. As duas primeiras personalidades europeias a responder foram Sir Moses Montefiore, um abastado líder judeu londrino, e Adolph Cremieux, um ilustre estadista francês também de origem judaica. Montefiore garantiu que a situação dos Maronitas receberia cobertura de destaque no periódico ‘Times’ de Londres e criou um fundo, com seus próprios recursos, para ajudar os sobreviventes. Já Cremiuex teve papel fundamental no envio das tropas francesas para o Líbano. A intervenção francesa acabou por salvar os cristãos e levou a criação de um terrotório controlado por maronitas chamado Mutasarifiya.

Mais tarde, na sequência da Primeira Guerra Mundial, as hostilidades entre muçulmanos shiitas e cristãos maronitas chegaram a seu ápice. A maioria dos habitantes das aldeias cristãs atingidas (entre eles Deir Mimus, Majaryoun, Jedida e Abel al-Kumh) fugiu, e muitos terminaram na cidade de Sidon, famintos e miseráveis.
Pinchas Naama, que trabalhou para a Agência Judaica nas comunidades judaicas do Levante, enviou uma mensagem urgente a seus superiores em Jerusalém solicitando fundos emergenciais para assistir os refugiados cristãos. Os refugiados foram alimentados e vestidos e seus filhos foram admitidos na escola judaica em Sidon.

Esses atos filantrópicos foram lembrados anos mais tarde pela Igreja Maronita e acabaram por causar um grande impacto em suas opiniões e atitudes para com a comunidade judaica e o Estado de Israel.

Palavras do patriarca Arrida em um discurso na sinagoga de Beirute, em 1937:

"Os judeus não são apenas os nossos antepassados, mas nossos irmãos. Nossa origem é a mesma, a nossa língua é quase comum e nosso pai é o pai deles. Estamos orgulhosos de pertencer à mesma raça. Devemos tudo ao judaísmo, os nossos ensinamentos são tirados de sua lei sagrada. Nossa fé é semelhante. Nós amamos o mesmo Deus e amamos Jerusalém tanto quanto eles. Nós queremos, sinceramente, que nossa relação com eles seja constante e que renda muitos frutos. Nos ajudamos uns aos outros e desejamos, com todo nosso coração, que Deus liberte os judeus das opressões e perseguições de que são vítimas. Nós manifestamos nossos mais sinceros votos de paz e tranquilidade aos judeus, porque sentimos o quão sincero e precioso é o seu amor por nós."

Arrida também esteve envolvido em esforços de salvamento dos judeus alemães após a ascensão de Hitler ao poder naquele país. Ele e outros líderes cristãos libaneses sugeriram a idéia de permitir a entrada desses judeus no Líbano.

Dez anos mais tarde, quando a demanda por um Estado judeu foi ganhando força, a ONU criou uma comissão especial para examinar a viabilidade de estabelecer esse estado. Segue abaixo o depoimento do arcebispo Mubarak em frente da comissão UNSCOP:

Beirute, 5 de agosto de 1947


Lamento que a minha ausência na Europa coincidiu com a visita da Comissão Especial sobre a Palestina, caso contrário eu teria tido a oportunidade de expressar minha opinião - que é, aliás, a da maioria do povo libanês - com relação a esta questão.

Esta não é a primeira vez que expresso minha opinião sobre esta matéria. Muita tinta já foi gasta e, depois de cada uma das minhas denúncias, a imprensa mundial tem aproveitado as minhas palavras e feito diversos comentários sobre tudo o que disse.

Aqui no Oriente Médio – que é em sua maioria muçulmano – se o atual governo libanês for reconhecido como tendo um direito oficial para falar em nome da nação libanesa, nos sentimos obrigados a responder e a provar que os atuais governantes representam apenas a si mesmos e que as suas chamadas “declarações oficiais” são ditadas apenas pelas necessidades do momento e por uma solidariedade imposta neste país eminentemente cristão, graças as suas ligações com os países islâmicos que o cercam por todos os lados e o mantém em sua órbita político-econômica.

Em razão de sua posição geográfica, história, cultura e tradições, da natureza de seus habitantes e de seu apego a sua fé e a seus ideais, o Líbano tem sempre, mesmo sob o jugo otomano, se mantido longe das garras das outras nações que o rodeiam e tem conseguido manter sua tradição intacta.

Por outro lado, a Palestina, o centro ideológico de toda a Bíblia, sempre foi a vítima de todas as dificuldades e perseguições. Desde tempos imemoriais, qualquer coisa com qualquer significado histórico sempre foi saqueada, pilhada e mutilada. Sinagogas e igrejas foram transformadas em mesquitas e, não sem razão, a importância dessa parte ao leste do Mediterrâneo foi reduzida a nada.

É um fato incontestável que a Palestina foi a casa dos judeus e dos primeiros cristãos. Nenhum deles era de origem árabe. Pela força brutal da conquista eles foram forçados a se converter à religião muçulmana, e é essa origem dos ‘árabes’ naquele país. Pode-se deduzir daí que a Palestina algum dia foi árabe?

Vestígios históricos, monumentos e lembranças sagradas das duas religiões permanecem vivos como evidência do fato de que este país não estava envolvido na guerra entre príncipes e monarcas do Iraque e da Arábia. Os Lugares Santos, os templos, o Muro das Lamentações, as igrejas e os túmulos dos profetas e santos, enfim, todas as relíquias das duas religiões, são símbolos vivos que, por si só, invalidam as declarações agora feitas por aqueles que têm interesse em fazer da Palestina um país árabe. Incluir a Palestina e o Líbano no grupo de países árabes é negar a história e destruir o equilíbrio social no Oriente Médio.

Estes dois países, essas duas pátrias, provaram até agora que suas exitências como entidades separadas e independentes são úteis e necessárias.

O Líbano, antes de tudo, sempre foi e continuará sendo um santuário para todos os cristãos perseguidos no Oriente Médio. Foi lá que os armênios que escaparam do extermínio na Turquia encontraram refúgio. Foi lá que os caldeus do Iraque encontraram um lugar seguro quando foram expulsos de seu país. Foi lá que os poloneses, numa Europa em chamas, se refugiaram. E foi lá que os franceses, forçados a fugir da Síria, encontraram proteção. Foi lá que as famílias britânicas da Palestina, fugindo do terrorismo, encontraram refúgio e proteção.

O Líbano e a Palestina devem continuar a ser o lar permanente das minorias.

E qual foi o papel dos judeus na Palestina? Considerando sob esse ângulo, a
Palestina de 1918 parece-nos um país árido, pobre, despojado de todos os recursos e o menos desenvolvido de todos os vilarejos turcos. A colônia muçulmano-árabe vivia no limite da pobreza. A imigração judaica começou, as colônias foram formadas e estabelecidas e, em menos de vinte anos, o país foi transformado: a agricultura floresceu, grandes indústrias foram estabelecidas e a riqueza veio para o país.
A presença de uma nação tão bem desenvolvida e laboriosa ao lado do
Líbano não poderia deixar de contribuir para o bem-estar de todos – o judeu, que é um homem de habilidade executiva prática, e o libanês, que é altamente adaptável e, por essa
razão, sua proximidade viria para melhorar as condições de vida dos habitantes.

Do ponto de vista cultural, estes dois países podem se gabar de ter tantos intelectuais e pessoas cultas quanto todos os outros países do Oriente Médio somados. Não é justo que a lei deva ser imposta por uma maioria ignorante desejosa de impor sua vontade.

Não seria justo permitir que um milhão de seres-humanos evoluídos e educados sejam joguete de poucas pessoas que, eventualmente estejam no comando e que liderem alguns milhões de ignorantes involuídos que ditam a lei como bem entendem.
Existe uma ordem no mundo, uma ordem que estabelece o equilíbrio adequado. Se as Nações Unidas estão realmente desejosas de manter essa ordem, elas devem fazer todo o possível para consolidá-la.

As principais razões de natureza social, humanitária e religiosa exigem a criação, nesses dois países, de duas pátrias para as minorias: um lar cristão no Líbano, como sempre houve, e um lar judaico na Palestina. Estes dois centros, ligados um com o outro geograficamente e se apoiando e ajudando economicamente, farão a ponte necessária entre o Ocidente e o Oriente, a partir do ponto de vista da cultura e civilização. As relações de vizinhança entre estas duas nações contribuirão para a manutenção da paz no Oriente Médio, que é tão dividido por rivalidades, e vai diminuir a perseguição de minorias, que sempre encontrarão refúgio nestes dois países.

Essa é a opinião dos libaneses que eu represento e é a opinião deste povo a quem a sua Comissão de Inquérito foi incapaz de ouvir.

Por trás das portas fechadas do Hotel Sofar vocês só foram capazes de ouvir as palavras ditadas aos nossos chamados ‘representantes legais’ pelos donos e senhores dos países árabes vizinhos. A voz real dos libaneses foi sufocada pelo grupo que falsificou as eleições de 25 de Maio.

O Líbano exige a liberdade para os judeus na Palestina – da mesma forma que deseja a sua própria liberdade e independência.

Tenho a honra de ser, etc,

(assinado) Ignace Mobarat (Mubarak)

Arcebispo maronita
de Beirute.

Carta traduzida para o inglês
Original em francês