domingo, 24 de abril de 2011

"Ethical" Journalism: Al-Jazeera journalist resigns over 'incitement'

Ghassan Bin Jeddo director of al-Jazeera’s office in Beirut protested against lack of objectivity in reporting of Arab world uprising

Ghassan Bin Jeddo a prominent journalist and presenter in Qatar's satellite TV channel al-Jazeera has resigned, citing the channel’s abandonment of its neutrality in the present unrest in the region.

The statement could not be independently corroborated despite reports that Bin Jeddo himself confirmed the news, published in the Arabic language Lebanese daily al-Safir.

Al-Safir had quoted "reliable sources" as saying that Bin Jeddo’s resignation was attributed to al-Jazeera's alleged abandonment of professional and objective reporting, as it became "an operation room for incitement and mobilization.”

Another reason noted was its "provocative policy, which is “unacceptable, particularly in light of the historical stage the region is passing through," it added. It stressed that Bin Jeddo’s resignation was morally motivated as al-Jazeera highlighted the developments in Libya, Yemen, and Syria but not Bahrain.

Asked if the resignation was related to the policy the channel has adopted in covering Syrian developments, the paper quoted a source as saying: "It's an issue of principle and morality for him."

About face

Al-Safir noted that after the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, Bin Jeddo was banned from entering Syria for a year and a half because "he is an advocate of reform and freedom in that country.”

During the first weeks of the riots in Syria the al-Jazeera network completely ignored the protests and incured a great deal of criticism from government opposition in Damascus.

Following the criticism the Qatari network did an about face and now has the Syrian riots as its main story even going so far as to publish harsh images of protestors being killed by the regime supporters.

It also offers Syrian human rights activists and resigning parliament members a platform to present their views.

Palestinian police open fire on pilgrims visiting Joseph's Tomb

YNet News reports that the police officers were screaming "Allahu Akbar!" as they deliberately fired into the vehicles of pilgrims.

Palestinian Authority police Sunday morning shot and killed one Israeli and wounded four others after they prayed at Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef) around 6 a.m. Sunday (11 p.m. Saturday night EDT). The murder victim was identified as 24-year-old Ben Yosef Livnat, a nephew of Likud Minister Limor Livnat and father of four children.

Arabs attacked the funeral procession with rocks as it proceeded from his childhood home of Elon Moreh where he lived with his wife and four children, to Jerusalem. At least one car windshield was broken in the rock attacks, but no one was injured. People from Elon Moreh stood by the highway in dozens of cars as the funeral procession passed.

One of the four who were wounded in the shooting attack is in serious condition, and Army helicopters evacuated the injured to a hospital for emergency care. A group of 15 worshippers from the Breslov Chassidic sect had driven to the site and were returning when they were gunned down by Palestinian Authority police in a jeep.

The PA security forces continued to fire at the cars as they fled.

Kever Yosef is a Jewish holy site that was supposed to be under Israeli control and open to worshippers as stated in previous agreements. However, the government has surrendered the area to Palestinian Authority control, and local Arabs have desecrated it several times.

The Breslov group was known to Palestinian Authority authorities as people who frequently prayed at Kever Yosef without any other intentions, according to Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council. He called the shooting attack a “massacre at close range."

National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari indirectly blamed the American government for having “trained and armed the enemy army that is called the ‘Palestinian Authority police’ and is directly responsible for the murder at Kever Yosef.”

He called on the Israeli government to restore the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva to Kever Yosef and to confiscate weapons from the Palestinian Authority

The attack on the morning before the last day of the Passover holiday comes less than a month after the savage stabbings of Rabbi Udi Fogel, his wife Ruthie and three of their six young children, including a three-month-old baby, in community of Itamar, also located in Samaria.

Residents of Judea and Samaria frequently have warned that the removal of roadblocks and checkpoints in the area would make it easier for Arab terrorists to stage attacks and would encourage PA police to attack Jews. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has argued that the easing of security measures are “goodwill” measures that strengthen PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s popularity and help him fight terror.

quinta-feira, 21 de abril de 2011

Egyptians: We Want a Siege Like Gaza, Too!

In his column in the Egyptian daily Rooz Al-Yousuf, dated June 29, 2010, Muhammad Hamadi gave statistics from a Hamas website showing that despite all the talk of a siege on the Gaza Strip, and in contrast to claims that Egypt has a role in starving the Palestinian people there, so many goods are streaming into Gaza that supply is greater than demand – and that as a result, produce, poultry, and beef are cheaper there than in Egypt.

He concluded that life under siege in Gaza is easier than it is in Egypt, where the people would love such a siege.

The following are translated excerpts from the article:

Hamas Has “Turned to Resistance Online and In the Media”

“After the [Hamas] movement abandoned the real resistance and turned to resistance online and in the media, one of Hamas’s many websites published an important report comparing prices of goods and produce in Egypt and in Gaza.

“The report states: A kilo of watermelon in Gaza costs less than one Egyptian lira, while in Egypt it costs over two lira; a kilo of tomatoes in Gaza costs less than half a lira, while in Egypt it costs 1.5 lira; a kilo of potatoes in Gaza costs half a lira, while in Egypt it costs two lira; a kilo of onions in Gaza is one lira, while in Egypt a kilo of onions is 1.5 lira; a kilo of garlic in Gaza is 10 lira, while in Egypt it is 15 lira.

“A kilo of chicken in Egypt is 20 lira, and in Gaza it goes for only 10 lira. The average price of a kilo of beef in Egypt is 60 lira – while in besieged Gaza it goes for five lira. A tray of eggs in Egypt is 19 lira, while in Gaza it is only 10 lira.”

“What Siege Are They Talking About?”

“This comparison of prices between Egypt and Gaza, which has been under siege for three years, as they say, shows that life under siege is cheaper, more convenient, and easier…

“So what siege are they talking about? Does the siege cause prices to drop? And how are goods flowing into Gaza despite the siege? …

“These questions are not being raised [here] in expectation of an answer from Hamas, but they are directed at all Hamas supporters in Egypt who see nothing wrong with accusing their own country of betraying the Palestinian cause and of starving the helpless Palestinian people with the oppressive siege on Gaza.

“If this is what it’s like in Gaza under siege, then the Egyptian people, who have been burned by the fire of prices and who peel off part of their limited income to save the besieged Gaza residents, [should] pray to Allah to smite them with [such a] siege, if the seige will lead to lower prices and make it possible for every common citizen to buy eggs, meat, and poultry like the Gaza residents do.”

The article in full (Arabic):

Translation courtesy of Memri:

quinta-feira, 14 de abril de 2011

How many 'Palestinian refugees' were there really

- The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931

The extraordinary coverage of the 1948 war notwithstanding, the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem during the five-and-a-half months of fighting, from the partition resolution of November 29, 1947, to the proclamation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, passed virtually unnoticed by the international community. Nor for that matter did the Arab states, burdened as they were with a relentless flow of refugees, or even the Palestinian leadership itself, have a clear idea of the dispersal's full magnitude, as demonstrated by the mid-June 1948 estimate of the prominent Palestinian leader, Emile Ghouri, of the number of refugees at 200,000: less than two thirds the actual figure. A few weeks later, after thousands more Arabs had become refugees, a Baghdad radio commentator was still speaking of 300,000 evacuees "who are forced to flee from the Jews as the French were forced to flee from the Nazis." Taking their cue from these claims, W. De St. Aubin, delegate of the League of Red Cross Societies to the Middle East, estimated the number of Arab refugees (in late July) at about 300,000, while Sir Raphael Cilento, director of the UN Disaster Relief Project (DRP) in Palestine, set the number at 300,000-350,000 (in early August).[1]

Paradoxically it was the Israelis who initially came with the highest, and most accurate, estimates. In early June Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was told by Yossef Weitz of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that "some 123,000 Arabs left 155 villages in the Jewish state's territory; another 22,000 left 35 villages outside the Jewish state: a total of 145,000 evacuees and 190 villages. Seventy-seven thousand Arabs left five cities in the Jewish state's territory (Haifa, Beisan, Tiberias, Safad, Samakh). Another 73,000 left two cities [designed to remain] outside the state (Jaffa and Acre). Forty thousand Arabs left Jerusalem: a total of 190,000 from eight cities. All in all, 335,000 Arabs fled (including 200,000 from the UN ascribed Jewish territory)."[2]

A comprehensive report by the Hagana's intelligence service, comprising a detailed village-by-village breakdown of the exodus, set the number of Palestinian Arab evacuees in the six-month period between December 1, 1947 and June 1, 1948, at 391,000: 239,000 from the UN-ascribed Jewish state, 122,000 from the territory of the prospective Arab state, and 30,000 from Jerusalem. Another exhaustive Israeli study set the number of refugees (in late October) at 460,000, almost evenly divided between the rural and urban sectors.[3]

This estimate was substantially higher than the 360,000 figure in the report of the UN mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte, submitted to the General Assembly on September 16, or Cilento's revised estimate of 400,300 a couple of weeks later, and was virtually identical to the supplementary report submitted on October 18 by Bernadotte's successor, Ralph Bunche, which set the number of refugees at 472,000 and anticipated the figure to reach a maximum of slightly over 500,000 in the near future.[4]

By now, however, the Arabs had dramatically upped the ante. In a memorandum dispatched to the heads of the Arab states and Arab League Secretary-General Abdel Rahman Azzam in mid-August, the Palestine Office in Amman, an organization operating under the auspices of the Transjordan government, estimated the total number of refugees at 700,000, of whom 500,000 were in Palestine and the rest in the neighboring Arab states. The memo struck a responsive chord, for in October the Arab League set the number of refugees at 631,967, and by the end of the month official Arab estimates ranged between 740,000 and 780,000. When the newly-established United Nations Relief for Palestine refugees (UNRPR) began operating in December 1948, it found 962,643 refugees on its relief rolls.[5]
Read the whole thing.

The number of 'Palestinian refugees' was inflated from the outset. The number continues to grow because 'refugees' never died and because of the bizarre system - used no place else in the World - in which refugees were not resettled, and their status is passed down from generation to generation.

segunda-feira, 4 de abril de 2011

The Only Solution for the Problems of the Middle East

If the world wishes to bring stability and calm to the Middle East, there is
no choice but to let the modern Arab countries – those whose boundaries were
set by colonialism – collapse and break up into small states, each based on
one homogeneous group.

We are currently witnessing social unrest in many Arab states, and street
riots have already succeeded in ousting two presidents – in Tunisia and in
Egypt – and in unsettling the governmental fabric in Libya, Yemen, Morocco,
Syria and Bahrain. The ease and swiftness with which the flames have spread
from country to country in the last two months is due to a common trait
shared by these countries: all of their regimes are dictatorships headed by
non-legitimate rulers who ruthlessly hold sway over a starving, neglected
and abused populace which has decided to put an end to its oppression and

The fundamental problem characterizing Middle Eastern states is that they
have no legitimacy in the eyes of their citizenry because their borders were
marked by European colonial interests. Great Britain created the borders of
Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan,
Yemen and the Gulf Emirates; France was involved in determining the borders
of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon; Italy was responsible for
the borders of Libya. Included within these borders were ethnic, religious,
denominational and tribal groups who, throughout history, were often unable
to live together in peace.

The human mosaic of Arab states is traditionally grouped along several

A. Ethnic: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Persians, Berbers, Nubians,
Circassians, Armenians, Greeks and others;

B. Religious: Moslems, Christians, Druze, Alawis, Bahá'ís, Ahmadis,
Yazidis, Sabians, Mandeans, Zoroastrians and Jews;

C. Denominational: Sunnis, Shi’ites, Sufis; Catholics, Protestants,

D. Tribal: Hundreds of large and small tribes dwell in the deserts,
rural areas and cities.

Every one of the Arab states, except the Gulf Emirates, is a conglomeration
of these traditional groups: living in Iraq are Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and
Persians who practice at least seven faiths; the Moslems consist of both
Sunnis and Shi’ites, and most of the population is splintered along tribal
lines. Saddam Hussein imposed his Dulaim tribe on Iraq and his harsh regime
claimed the lives of a million Iraqis throughout the years, including the
period of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

In Syria, the population consists of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen who are
Muslims, Christians, Druze or Alawis. The Muslims are both Sunnis and Shi’ites,
and the tribal element is dominant in some areas as well. The Alawis, a
group of idol-worshipping tribes, seized power, and the other faiths are
forced to suffer the rule of illegitimate infidels.

The population in Jordan is Arabic and Circassian, the Arabs both Bedouin
and Palestinian; ruling them is a foreign royal family brought in from Saudi
Arabia by the British. There are several dozen tribal groups in Libya,
where, in 1969, Colonel Mu’ammar Qaddafi imposed the power of his tribe
Qaddaf a-Dam (“the blood-shedder”).

For a state to be considered legitimate by most of its citizens it must be
the political embodiment of their national, communal, historical and,
perhaps, religious desires. In Israel, the State is indeed the fulfillment
of the sixty-generation-old Jewish dream originating with the destruction of
the Jewish kingdom in the Land of Israel in 70 C.E. There is not even one
Arab country that fulfills the historical hopes of most of its citizens. In
Israel and in European nation-states, such as Holland and France, the
governing body is elected for a several-year period, after which its actions
are subject to public judgment and the people either extend its term of
office by elections or replace it.

In the Arab world, by contrast, the state is considered illegitimate by the
majority of its citizens because its borders were determined by colonial
interests; because it does not politically embody the will of its populace;
because the group in power rules with an iron hand and the torture chambers
of its security agencies. The only group that views the state as legitimate
is that of the ruling minority, which establishes media organs – newspapers,
radio and television – whose primary purpose is to create legitimacy for the
state and the regime. These biased media operate in Soviet-Pravda (=
“truth”) fashion. Statues of “the leader” adorn public squares and
gigantic portraits of him are displayed on building fronts as part of an
intensive and blatant personality cult. The educational system is also
mobilized to cultivate an image of the ruler as a beloved leader. As
illegitimate regimes need an external “enemy” to unite the ranks behind the
“leader”, he tends to involve his country in wars and conflicts.

Nevertheless, the more such regimes try to justify their existence to the
citizenry, the less successful they are. The modern Arab state, as an
organized political entity, has failed in its main task: to take root in the
hearts of its citizens, who will then abandon the focus of their original
ethnic, religious, denominational or tribal loyalty. This is most evident
in Syria, where the regime attempted to reduce Islam's hold on the public,
since Islam represents the main challenge to infidel, Alawi rule. As a
result, the Muslim Brotherhood rose to increasing prominence among the
Sunni-Muslims until 1976-1982, when it posed a real threat to the regime's
survival; the government brutally liquidated the Brotherhood, and fifty
thousand men, women and children were killed over a seven-year period.

The Converse Model

Nine Arab states, the Gulf Emirates, do not conform to the above pattern:
independent Qatar and Kuwait, and the seven states of the United Arab
Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm
al-Quwain. Every one of these emirates, in common, is based on one tribe to
which most of its citizens belong. National law reflects traditional tribal
customs; since the leadership consists of the traditional tribal elite, the
state is perceived as legitimate by its tribesmen citizens. The
sociological stability in the emirates is the basis for legitimate, stable
government and allows for a well-developed economy that exploits oil profits
for the benefit of all. Dubai has no oil or gas, and its economy is based
on commerce and real estate.

By comparison, Iraq's fragmented and conflicted society, with its multiple
ethnic, religious, denominational and tribal groups, cannot establish a
stable political system; the Iraqi economy, therefore, is failing as well,
despite its huge oil reserves. Bahrain, also in the Gulf, is the model of
the failed Arab state because the Shi’ite majority, ruled by the Sunni
minority, does not recognize the legitimacy of the regime. The primary
reason for the lack of Bahraini stability, it enables Iran to influence the
Shi’ites and incite against the government.

Accordingly, the more a modern Arab state mirrors traditional society, and
bases itself on ethnic, religious, denominational or tribal homogeneity, the
more legitimate, stable and peace-oriented it will be, and the less
dictatorial. And countries composed of groups in conflict with each other
will be less stable and legitimate, more dictatorial and warlike.

What Can Be Done?

If the world wishes to bring stability and calm to the Middle East, there is
no choice but to let the modern Arab countries – those whose boundaries were
set by colonialism – collapse and break up into small states, each based on
one homogeneous group. Allowing the residents of these states to decide for
themselves the group upon which to build the future state is the important
element in this process. It is time to re-think colonialism and the
problematic legacy it bequeathed the Arab world.

Legitimate states based on traditional social groupings would be able to
create partnerships, federations or other types of unions. Witness the
Gulf: each of the seven members of the United Arab Emirates is completely
independent, and the emirates, together with Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
established the Gulf Cooperation Council, an effective security body that
recently deployed forces to Bahrain, forces that succeeded in restoring
order there and in quashing the Shi’ite majority’s demonstrations.

Relief to the chronic ailments of the Arab world, immersed as it is in
corruption, poverty and violence, will come only through the establishment
of homogeneous states which accommodate the traditional Arab social
framework; these ailments are all the result of the modern Arab state's
failure to become the focal point of individual and collective identity.

The creation of legitimate states which provide for the welfare, health and
employment of their citizens will significantly reduce emigration from the
Arab world to European and other western countries. Afghanistan is the
first candidate for such a process, which is the only way to bring calm to a
country with more than ten ethnic groups which lack the basis to form and
maintain one political entity. The current Libyan crisis offers an historic
opportunity to partition the country into tribally homogeneous areas, which
will thereby gain legitimacy and stability. It is still possible to divide
Iraq into homogeneous states, and if the internal crises there persist, it
would be wise to advance the idea of establishing the Iraqi Emirates on the
ruins of the failure called “Iraq”.

The Kurds in Iraq are already implementing this idea, having formed their
own state in the north. Sudan and Yemen – two very tribal countries – are
also poised to break up. The West should acknowledge this emerging trend;
it should encourage the dismantling of failed, heterogeneous Arab states and
the establishment of legitimate, homogeneous ones in their stead.

The process is liable to be long and difficult, but it is the only way to
bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East.