Thursday, January 25, 2001

Jerusalem Post Opinion Article

This morning I sent you the Palestinian view of Jerusalem - it has nothing to do with Jews & we should all go back to where we came from (preferably Germany!).

Attached is a link to a view from Natan Sharansky.

The PA Mufti: Jews from Germany Should Return There

The PA Mufti: Jews from Germany Should Return There

The PA Mufti, 'Ikrima Sabri, was interviewed by the German Die Welt on the issues of Jerusalem, the Jews and the Arab-Israeli conflict. (1) Following is the interview:

Die Welt: The new Intifada is named after the Al-Aqsa Mosque which is on the Temple Mount. On January 4, the Chief Rabbinate declared that Jewish Halacha (Religious Law) prohibits "the transfer of sovereignty over the Temple Mount to foreigners, whether directly or indirectly", for it is the holiest place for the Jewish people. Four days later, you declared in a Fatwa that the place is Muslim in its entirety. Is this an unsolvable contradiction?

Sabri: There is not [even] the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple on this place in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish History. Our right, on the other hand, is very clear. This place belongs to us for 1500 years. Even when it was conquered by the Crusaders, it remained Al-Aqsa, and we got it back soon afterwards. The Jews do not even know exactly where their temple stood.
Therefore, we do not accept that they have any rights, underneath the surface or above it.

Die Welt: It is agreed among archeologists that the Wailing-Wall is part of the foundation of Herod's temple. The Bible and other antique sources report about this place in detail. Why can't you respect the Jewish connection to this place?

Sabri: It is the art of the Jews to deceive the world. But they can't do it to us. There is not a single stone in the Wailing-Wall relating to Jewish History. The Jews cannot legitimately claim this wall, neither religiously nor historically. The Committee of the League of Nations recommended in 1930, to allow the Jews to pray there, in order to keep them quiet. But by no means did it acknowledge that the wall belongs to them.

Die Welt: Why don't you allow Israeli scientists to dig there to look for possible remnants and proofs for or against the existence of the Jewish temple?

Sabri: We categorically reject all excavations under the Al-Aqsa mosque, because they would endanger the historical buildings on the site. Besides, they have already dug everywhere. All they could find were remnants of buildings from the Omayyad-period. Everything they excavated was related to Arabs and Muslims.

Die Welt: King Hussein once proposed "Divine Sovereignty" over Temple Mount, in order to reduce the tensions between peoples and religions there… Sabri: We accept God's sovereignty. That is why this mosque is called Al-Aqsa. Allah himself gave it this name. Allah wants the place to belong to the Muslims and to no one else. This is acceptable to us.

Die Welt: Would you agree, if necessary, to the internationalization of the city, in order to manage these unsolvable problems?

Sabri: An internationalized Jerusalem would be worse for us than a Zionist Jerusalem. In such a case, the entire world, and not only one state, would be against us. This would be a regression to colonial times.

Die Welt: On March 23, the Pope said in Jerusalem: "Religion must never be an excuse for the use of force especially when religious identity overlaps with cultural and national identity." How would you answer him?

Sabri: Any religious man would agree with that. We also believe that religion is not the reason for the hatred between peoples. Only those without religion ignore that. But who are they? Who occupies and destroys other peoples and their property?

Die Welt: The Intifada is also violent. Wasn't the peaceful resistance with which Gandhi ended British colonialism in India, more successful?

Sabri: We have fought for peace without using violence since 1967. But no one listened to us. We won resolutions in the UN, but no one lifted a finger for us.

Die Welt: In your July 2000 Fatwa you declared: "We insist on the Right of Return for all the 1948 refugees and prohibit them from getting compensations for [the loss] of the Holy Land, for it has no price. What are the borders of this Holy Land that you refer to?

Sabri: From an Islamic point of view, it stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan [River]. It is Palestine in its entirety.

Die Welt: And there is no place for the Israelis?

Sabri: For the Jews who lived here before, there will be a place, of course. But all those Jews who came here from all over the world, must return to the places from where they came. The Jews from Germany should return to Germany. (laughs) After all, you like them so much, don't you?

Die Welt: Does this mean, that there is no place here for a Jewish state?

Sabri: I didn't address this issue in my Fatwa. All I said was that the refugees must return. I didn't say anything about the borders.

(1) Die Welt (Germany) January, 17, 20001.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the media of the Middle East and original analysis and research on developments in the region.
Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available upon request.

Sunday, January 14, 2001

300,000 Demonstrators

Not everyone has to agree with me.

It is interesting to see how Left-wing Arie Caspie interprets the attendance of 300,000 Israelis at a demonstration compared to the analysis I sent you, when writing in the influential Haaretz newspaper.


Letters to the editor at Ha'aretz can be addressed or fax it to 972-3-5121156. The letter should be exclusive to Ha'aretz and must include the writer’s name, home address and telephone number.

Thursday, January 11, 2001

‘Peace Psychosis’ In The Mideast

I refer the attached link to an opinion piece in Newsweek to your attention.
It's nice to read something supportive for a change.

As you might recall, when I first started writing these emails it was in order to provide links to information which would balance the world media.

At the request of some of my "audience" I from time to time add a personal perspective - although I try to make it apolitical (a bit hard!). The distribution list is small, and I only add people if they request to be on.

I have a view that mass mailings are not very effective, although a letter from someone you know is generally read. The intention was that my readers would look at what I had to say, have a look at the links I provide, act on my suggestions when they agree - and pass on the information they feel worthwhile to their friends along with a personal note. There is no copyright, cut & paste can be used freely & I need no acknowledgement.

After some weeks of these emails, I am wondering how effective they are, and whether I should continue. A reader survey is probably the best way.

Please let me know. Do you read what I send? Do you like getting it, or just too polite to tell me to stop? Do you pass the information on to others? If so, to how many? Do you ask them to pass it on? Do you think I am covering the right sort of material? Please let me know. I will interpret "no response" as you did not get this far down the page!

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

What's in the news?

I saw two interesting articles in the Hebrew papers.

The first, which I am sure will get world coverage is the approximately 300,000 who came from all over the country to demonstrate for a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovreignity. We are often numbed by numbers - but I thought it worth pointing out the magnitude of this. On a normal workday, 5% of Israel's population turned out to show their support for a united Jerusalem. This number is HUGE. If you take out the babies, Arabs, Druze & Beduins from the population statistics and extrapolate the support to all those who don't like demonstrations, were working, were looking after children, were too young to go without the working parent attending, live too far away, are aged or infirm, etc. you begin to understand the size of the real grass roots Jewish objection to the division of Jerusalem. No I wasn't there - I don't like demonstrations too much, was working - and might even be willing to give away parts of (East) Jerusalem if there was any real chance of peace. One of my daughters (18) was there, another (14) we didn't let go (over strong objections) because she is too young in our view to attend a demonstration where one never knows how the crowd will react and a third (20) was working at her National Service post. Rochelle (my wife) was looking after the other 2 smaller children - and so we didn't even discuss whether she would go if she had a chance. This might give a personal feel of the dynamics. Even without all of this, what cause brings out 5% of a whole nation? This is a bit like 14 million Americans standing in the street to protest against something the Black population strongly supported. I am not sure that the world will understand this. Something I noticed was the news report on the local TV, which headed with film of what was an orderly peaceful demonstration of every day citizens. A couple of items later was footage of a small demonstration in the Palestinian authority of masked men brandishing weapons, and shooting bullets in the air. It was quite a contrast.

The second is a report which I am sure that the world media will ignore. Entitled "(Palestinian) Authority Responsible for Approximately 80% of the Attacks" the article tells that Israeli security forces have information showing that 70 - 80% of all attacks against Israelis since the start of the current disturbances have been performed by the Palestininan Authority security forces, or the Tanzim (which CNN describes as a militia movement affiliated with Arafat's Fatah Faction). As far as the Tanzim goes, I note that whenever one of their officials are revealed, they seem to be a member of the official Palestinian security forces in one form or another. Despite the world media attempt to differentiate between the Palestinian authority and "terrorists", we at least should be aware that they are one and the same. I guess that is one of the reasons that I feel guilty for not joining the Jerusalem demonstration. Even if I could give up parts of Jerusalem for the sake of peace, why would I do so to my sworn enemy who is just looking for a chance to push me into the sea - or put a bullet in my head?

Those of you who subscribe to will have gotten a request to respond to specific media reports lumping the killing of the "extremist" Meir Kahane and his wife together with Thabet Thabet, the "Palestinian activist who was killed outside his home". (Thabet was secretary general of the Tanzim in the Tul Karm area and personally ordered the attack last month near Shevei Shomron in which two Israeli civilians and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously. Thabet was also responsible for numerous other shooting attacks by Fatah activists in the area, and was involved in planning bombing attacks.)