Quotes About "Palestine"


Remember: Israel is bad! Its existence keeps reminding Muslims what a bunch of losers they are.
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"There will be no peace until they will love their children more than they hate us."

-Golda Meir-
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'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel'‎

~Benjamin Netanyahu~
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"Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all out war, a war which will last for generations.

~Yasser Arafat~
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"The Palestinian people have no national identity. I, Yasser Arafat, man of destiny, will give them that identity through conflict with Israel."

~ Yasser Arafat ~
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"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. For our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of Palestinian people, since Arab national interest demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism".

~ Zahir Muhse'in ~

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Occupation" as an Excuse for Terrorism

By Carlos

No reasonable person can doubt that Palestinian extremists have been committing terrorist acts against the Israeli civilian population on a very wide scale. Call it what you will, under the banners of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades and others, these terrorists have intentionally targeted the most defenseless Israelis, including infants, children, and the elderly. They say they must do it to fight the "Israeli occupation." They say they have no alternative.

The word "occupation" is indeed the most powerful weapon in the Palestinians' propaganda arsenal. It is a serious charge. Therefore we must examine the questions: Just what is this "occupation," and is it a legitimate excuse for violence against innocent people?

The claim that "occupation" excuses terrorism has made Palestinian extremists seem credible and has made gratuitous violence look legitimate. Aside from the very obvious moral weakness of any attempt to excuse intentional violence against civilians, the claim is false for at least two basic reasons:

1. Arabs committed terrorist atrocities against Jewish civilians years before the existence of what is now called the "occupation."

2. The Palestinians refused even to negotiate a genuine peace offer that could soon have ended the so-called "occupation." There was never any need to resort to violence.

These two facts are enough to invalidate any attempt to use "occupation" to justify terrorism. The "occupation" excuse for terrorism has persisted nevertheless, and so deserves a full examination.

The word "occupation" in this discussion refers to the presence of Israelis in the West Bank and in Gaza. What is its origin?

Before 1967, the West Bank was part of Jordan and Gaza was part of Egypt, and Israel had nothing to do with them. Then came the Six Day War.

In the spring of 1967 the Arab states were preparing for war. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the UN Emergency Force to leave the Sinai. Egyptian and Syrian troops massed along the Israeli border. Egypt closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping and blockaded the port of Eilat. This itself was an act of war. Cutting off a major supply route placed Israel in a stranglehold.

The Arabs made their intentions clear. An official radio broadcast proclaimed:

As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.

Israel, knowing its existence was threatened, launched a preemptive strike against the Egyptian air force. The result was an Israeli victory in a surprisingly short period of time. Afterwards Israel found itself in control of pieces of Arab territory in the front-line states that had attacked it: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

On June 19, 1967 the Israeli Unity Government announced that it was willing to give back these territories in return for peace treaties and normalization of relations. The Arabs responded with resolutions passed at the Khartoum Conference held at the end of that summer. Then as now, the Arab response to an offer of peace was belligerence. Article 3 of the Khartoum Resolutions states:

The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country. [Emphasis added]

Over time the situation with Egypt did improve. Largely due to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's bold gesture for peace, for which he paid with his life, Israel was able to negotiate a treaty with Egypt, which included return of the Sinai. The negotiations were hard and took years, but they have proven that Israel values peace more than the land it captured in 1967 and is ready to negotiate the return of the land as part of any serious peace offer.

In contrast, the situation in the West Bank steadily deteriorated. Any hope of reaching an accord with Jordan ended in 1988 when King Hussein relinquished all claims to the West Bank, severed all administrative ties, and canceled his investments there. Israel was left with the Palestine Liberation Organization as the only possible partner to any negotiations.

In 1992 disillusion with the policies of Yitzhak Shamir and the desire to try new approaches to peace led to the election of his Labor Party rival Yitzhak Rabin. While Shamir did not truly believe in the negotiation process, Rabin had faith that it could lead to results. The history of the Oslo agreement is complicated and beyond the scope of this essay, but we do need to consider its basic provisions.

The agreement of September 1993 consisted of mutual letters of recognition, plus a "Declaration of Principles" (DOP). In these letters Yasser Arafat affirmed the right of Israel to exist, and Yitzhak Rabin formally recognized the PLO as the official representative of the Palestinian people. Arafat also promised to renounce terrorism and to control those factions that would still engage in it.

The intention of the DOP was to provide for a gradual process of Palestinian autonomy over the West Bank and Gaza, beginning with Gaza and Jericho. To that end a "Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority" was to govern the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank for a transitional period of at most five years, during which time permanent status negotiations would take place. The parties were to negotiate an "interim agreement" specifying the structure of this Self-Government Authority or "Council" and the transfer of power from the Israeli military government to this Council.

There were delays in the implementation of the DOP. Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and Jericho was achieved in May 1994, five months behind schedule. And in September 1995, two years after the initial accords, Rabin and Arafat signed the "interim agreement." Known popularly as "Oslo II," it was a detailed prescription for Palestinian autonomy.

Oslo II was far more comprehensive than Oslo I, comprising over 300 pages. It provided for the election of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, more commonly known as the Palestinian Authority, and specified its powers. It also provided for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, the establishment of a Palestinian police force, and the creation of a safe passageway between Gaza and the West Bank. But the heart of the agreement was a prescription for gradual Israeli withdrawal from the territories. The West Bank was divided into three zones:

Zone A consisted of the major Palestinian cities: Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron. In these areas, to be evacuated by Israel, the Palestinian Authority would have full jurisdiction over both civil affairs and security.

Zone B consisted of the more rural areas, including hundreds of small towns and villages. In this zone the Palestinian Authority would have full jurisdiction over civil affairs and internal security, while Israel retained authority over external security.

Zone C consisted of areas that were largely unpopulated, as well as Israeli settlements and military camps. Here the Palestinian Authority would have control over civil affairs, while Israel remained responsible for both internal and external security.

Israel was gradually to transfer Zone B areas to Zone A status, and Zone C areas to Zone B. This would prepare the way for the final stage of this peace process, the permanent status negotiations.

To summarize, Zone A consisted of areas under Palestinian control, Zone B of areas under joint control, and Zone C of areas under Israeli control, with a process in motion to achieve steadily increasing Palestinian autonomy in all areas.

The plan should have worked. Both parties agreed to it. It was based on the same land-for-peace principle that had worked with Egypt. So what happened after Oslo?

Arab violence against Israelis not only continued, it intensified. After Israel withdrew from Jericho and the Gaza Strip, those places became safe bases of operation for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. By the end of 1995 Israel had withdrawn from all Zone A cities save Hebron. A rash of terrorism including suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in early 1996 caused a delay of Israel's departure from Hebron. Arafat proved either unwilling or unable to control the terrorists responsible for these attacks, and indeed members of his own Fatah group perpetrated much of the violence. Israel finally withdrew from most of Hebron immediately after ratifying the Hebron Accord in January 1997.

And so since 1997 the Palestinian Authority had total jurisdiction over all Palestinians living in the seven Zone A cities plus Jericho. These areas comprised about 60% of the Palestinian population. Almost all of the rest lived in the smaller towns of Zone B, over which the Palestinian Authority had civil jurisdiction with Israel responsible only for security. The Palestinians had achieved self-rule. There was no longer any occupation in any real sense of the word.

But instead of getting better, things got worse.

After Oslo a new form of terrorism became increasingly common: bus bombings. These attacks were especially deadly, the fatality rate much higher with the explosion confined to a small enclosed space. Suicide bombing and other violence spread rapidly to all areas where civilians congregate: dance halls, shopping malls, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, even children's bedrooms. No one was safe.

Yasser Arafat, signer of the Oslo Agreement, was complicit in this terrorism. He signed the checks that financed many of the terrorist operations.(6) He was the Commander of Fatah and the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades. The areas that Israel turned over to Palestinian control under the Oslo Accords became terrorist strongholds. Jenin became the capital of the suicide bombers. Nablus became the terrorist leaders' headquarters as well as their major bomb factory. Hamas developed Qassam 2 rockets in Gaza, built them in Nablus, and shipped them to Tulkarem for use against cities in central Israel. This was the Palestinian response to the concessions Israel made at Oslo.

The great irony here is that it is not Israeli "occupation" that provokes escalations of Palestinian terrorism but rather steps taken to diminish the Israeli presence in the territories. Palestinian terrorism has only increased since Oslo. And the greatest escalation of terrorism in history came after the historic peace offer of Camp David 2000, when Israel signed on to an American plan that would have ceded to the Palestinians virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip plus shared control over Jerusalem. The Palestinian response to this peace offer was the Second Intifada, which grew so bloody, to the point of suicide bombing attacks almost every day, that Israel had to take drastic measures during Operation Defensive Shield and reenter the Palestinian cities that had been granted autonomy under Oslo. This Palestinian answer to the peace process has so far claimed 500 Israeli dead and 4,000 wounded.

The big lie behind Palestinian terrorism is that it is a response to Israeli occupation. Palestinian terrorism began long before Israel gained control of the territories in 1967, and the more autonomy (that is, the less "occupation") the Palestinians gained, the worse the terrorism became. The Palestinians have shown the world conclusively what they would do with their autonomy and with their own state if they ever acquire one: turn it into one big suicide bomb aimed at the heart of Israel, taking Israel down and themselves with it.

What can possibly account for such irrationality?

If the Palestinian agenda were really to acquire a state of their own, they would have achieved it by now. If we understand the Palestinian goal to be an end of Israeli "occupation" in the West Bank and Gaza so that they can establish their own state there, then their strategy makes no sense. They could have done so much more quickly and without all this bloodshed. The Palestinian strategy makes sense only if we understand what their goal really is.

The Palestinians are smart, much smarter than the Israelis when it comes to public relations. The word "occupation" has a double meaning, and they use it knowing that Western people understand it one way while they themselves understand it in another. To the West, "occupation" means Israeli presence in territories captured in the 1967 war. To the Palestinians, "occupation" means the existence of Israel itself. Their own maps have no "Israel" at all but show the entire area, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, as "Palestine."

Occasionally in news interviews given in English one can hear a Palestinian spokesperson slip and talk about "fifty years of occupation," going all the way back to the creation of the State of Israel. Often when speaking to friendly audiences they do not even try to hide it. In an article entitled "Mother's Day Rally: Over 50 Years of Occupation" a staff writer for the Ottawa Muslim Network writes:

End The Occupation! No Land No Peace! These are the slogans shouted by thousands who gathered on Mother's day on Parliament Hill to voice their support for Palestinians and to oppose the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. May 15, 2002 marks the 54th anniversary of the occupation of Palestine and the crowd in front of the Peace Tower were reminded of the unrelenting struggle of generations of Palestinians.

And in her address to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa no less a figure than Hanan Ashrawi spoke of "occupation" pre-1967:

In 1948, we became subject to a grave historical injustice manifested in a dual victimization: on the one hand, the injustice of dispossession, dispersion, and exile forcibly enacted on the population that has come to be known as the refugee question that currently encompasses more than 5 million Palestinians. On the other hand, those that remained were subject to the systematic oppression and brutality of an inhuman occupation that robbed them of all their rights and liberties including their national identity on their own land.

This paragraph is full of distortions and lies, only one of them being that an "occupation" started in 1948. To the Palestinians, "occupation" means the existence of Israel itself; yet by clever use of language they have turned the word into a potent propaganda tool justifying the worst kind of brutality. They have gotten the world to sympathize with them while their nail-packed bombs tear apart the bodies of innocent people.

What then can we say about Oslo from Israel's perspective? Was it a mistake?

Oslo was a tragic mistake in that by granting the Palestinians autonomy without insisting that they live up to their promises, Israel has compromised its security more than ever. But Oslo was a necessary mistake. Israel had to participate, to do what it could to give peace a chance. The Oslo process began at a more optimistic time, when there seemed to be real hope for peace, when people believed that if only the Palestinians would remove from their charter the clauses urging Israel's destruction that their hearts would change and they would become real partners for peace. It took Oslo, plus the rejected peace offer of Camp David 2000, to reveal to the world, once and for all, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the Palestinians' true intentions. And still the world refuses to listen.

And yet from the beginning there were signs of what was to come. On the very same day that he signed the Oslo Accord, Arafat gave a speech on Jordanian television indicating he had no intention whatsoever of abiding by it:

O, my beloved ones, do not forget that our Palestine National Council adopted the resolution in l974. It called for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil that is liberated or from which the Israelis withdraw. This is the fruit of your struggle, sacrifice and Jihad....

Long live Palestine, free and Arab!

The "resolution in 1974" to which Arafat refers is the infamous "Phased Plan" for Israel's destruction, a reference well known to his television audience. Many times when speaking to his own people Arafat referred to Oslo as a step in this Phased Plan. And both Arafat and Feisal Husseini, another Palestinian negotiator, have compared Oslo to a "Trojan Horse," a weapon poised to penetrate Israel's defenses and destroy it from within.

"Occupation" is not only the lie that fuels the Intifada, it is the Palestinians' most potent excuse for Israel's destruction. A knowledge of history exposes the lie. But one important question still remains: Why has this lie so easily taken root?

It is difficult to respond to the word "occupation" because the word itself has become a powerful slogan whose purpose is to turn off thought and elicit sympathy for terrorism. Such manipulations of people's emotions are always hard to counter. Reason and reflection are often no match for prejudice and hatred - but only in the short term. Prejudice and hatred abound not only in the front-line Muslim states but also in those countries that accept the "occupation" excuse reflexively, without considering the other side. Nevertheless, the truth must continue to be told. Like water dripping on a rock, after time its effect on people of good will can overcome even the hardness of a heart calcified by prejudice.

Lies have power only when people are willing to believe them. Most of the nations of the world, not only the Arab states but the countries of Europe as well, have shown themselves only too willing to embrace this lie. When terrorists receive not condemnation but sympathy for committing terrorist acts, then those who give their sympathy become accomplices. Let those nations of the world who give tacit approval to the deaths of innocent children and grandparents deal not only with their consciences but with the results of their own policies when they in turn become the victims of terrorism.





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More Quotes About "Palestine"

"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".

- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
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"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".

- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
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"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".

- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
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Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".

"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".

- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
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"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".

- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
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"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".

- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
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"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".

- Count Constantine Fran├žois Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
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"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".

- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
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"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".

- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
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"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".

- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
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"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".

- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -

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