Adonis Diaries

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Amid the waning of the humanities, Edward Said turned out to be one of the last literary scholars with a public presence.

Udi Greenberg @udi_greenberg. One of Said’s students

Teaches at Dartmouth College and is the author of The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War (2015).

Note: wordpress is Not opening new texts on my Samsung Chrome in the last month. Maybe I need a better laptop. Untill then, minimal editing on the saved drafts.

Exiles often have conflicting feelings about their adoptive society, and Edward Said was no exception.

As a Palestinian in the United States, he recognized the country’s pervasive racism and violence, but he also knew its educational system made his career as a renowned and prosperous thinker possible.

His life was indeed filled with paradoxes and contradictions. He was one of the twentieth century’s most influential anti-colonial writers, who mostly studied his colonizers’ literature; a proponent of Palestinian liberation who wrote in English and mostly for English-speaking audiences.

Few statements capture his embrace of such tensions more than his surprising claim in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that he was now the only heir to the Jewish tradition of radical criticism.

“I’m the last Jewish intellectual,” he exclaimed. “You don’t know anyone else. All your other Jewish intellectuals are now suburban squires.… I’m the last one.”

Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Saidby Timothy BrennanBuy on BookshopFarrar, Straus and Giroux, 464 pp., $35.00

As comical as this statement can seem, Timothy Brennan’s new biography, Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said, suggests it captures Said’s unique place in public life: a Middle Eastern exile who provided an original explanation for American imperialism, powerfully condemned it, and successfully reached mass audiences.

By telling Said’s life, from his childhood in British-ruled Palestine to his death in New York in 2003, Places of Mind seeks to explain his unique ability to blend intellectual production and public activism.

Impressively researched and powerfully written, it charts Said’s many triumphs: his revolutionary scholarly writings, which became classics and are taught decades after their publication; his rise as a media celebrity (an unusual fate for an academic); and his role in making the Palestinian national movement a source of international fascination.

For Brennan, who was Said’s student and is an accomplished literary scholar in his own right, his teacher was everything a humanist should be.

By embracing his status as an “outsider”—an exile, a Palestinian, an “Arab”—he successfully infused America’s mainstream with new ideas and political visions.      

Yet by claiming to be a “Jewish” intellectual, Said was doing more than placing himself in the company of giants like Franz Kafka or Theodor Adorno.

What he recognized, and what Places of Mind sometimes misses, was the tragedy of his career: how by his life’s end, the causes for which he fought were ultimately defeated.

The Palestinian liberation movement, whose cause animated so much of Said’s writing, was headed toward ruin (a reality that he was among the very few to realize).

(Fateh, the signatory to the Oslo treaty, was displaced by more radical movements in Gaza, and currently a new wave of reactions from every mixed towns and villages in the West Bank)

And the humanities, whose flourishing made his career possible, were entering a downward spiral from which they show no sign of recovery. Reflecting on Said’s life is not only a chance to celebrate groundbreaking achievements: It is also an invitation to recognize, soberly, some of our era’s heartbreaking misfortunes.  


Colonialism is a brutal business, and this was certainly true of British rule in the Middle East and mandated France in Syria and Lebanon. Whenever locals protested the empire’s authority, as Palestinians did during the so-called “Great Revolt” of 1936 to 1939, British troops responded by demolishing entire neighborhoods, imprisoning thousands of civilians in concentration camps, and putting hundreds to the gallows.

(The British had to dispatch 100,000 troops to squash this civil disobedience movement that had a source the refusal of the British to have municipal elections on the ground that the Jews constituted only 20%)

Like many other colonialists, however, the British also sustained their rule in the region by offering alluring opportunities to some of their subjects. Those willing to cooperate could gain access to British markets, find jobs in the colonial bureaucracy, and send their children to European-run schools. These were the carrots that Europe’s “civilizing mission” dangled in front of its subjects’ noses: Submit to us, colonialists promised, embrace our language and culture, and maybe, one day, some of you would control your own fate.

This was the duality that made the young Said. Born in British-ruled Jerusalem in 1935, much of his childhood took place in the shadow of the Palestinian national trauma. While his parents, Hilda and Wadie, rarely talked politics at home, other relatives often protested their people’s fate. The price of political oppression was even more apparent once British troops were replaced by the armed forces of the Jewish Yishuv, which decimated the Palestinian national movement.

In 1947, Said’s parents fled to Cairo, which rapidly became home to many hungry and dispossessed Palestinian refugees. At the same time, colonialism helped cushion the Saids from some of this brutality. Not only were they affluent merchants, but they also benefited from being Anglican, a tiny minority that enjoyed preferential treatment by British authorities. Said’s father supplied office materials to the British (which ran the formally independent Egypt), and Said was sent to study in the elite schools of British missionaries.

Nothing demonstrated colonialism’s contradictory imprint on his family more than his regal first name, Edward, which his mother chose because she admired the Prince of Wales—a fact that Said bemoaned his entire life. 

When Said’s parents sent him to the U.S. at age 15, he would find a similar pattern of simultaneous subjugation and inclusion. In his years as a student, first at an elite prep school in New England and then at Princeton, Said was alienated by the other students’ oppressive self-absorption. Almost all white, they were confident in the superiority of their Anglo-Saxon heritage and considered Arab culture primitive.

As he put it in a note uncovered by Brennan, “to be a Levantine” in the U.S. meant “not to be able to create but only to imitate.” At the same time, the postwar U.S. system of higher education provided remarkable opportunities. After Princeton, Said enrolled in Harvard’s graduate program in European literature, and in 1963, he was hired as a professor at Columbia. Ivy League prestige, as it often does, opened many doors, and Said quickly learned how to prosper in the world of U.S. letters.

He published a book on Joseph Conrad, built ties to the New York literary world, and began contributing essays to magazines like The Nation. For all the whiteness and Euro-centrist ethos of American academia, Said cherished his success in it. To his parents’ dismay, he preferred to spend most of his summers in New York, feverishly churning out academic writings.    

These paradoxes of imperial power do not get much attention in Places of Mind, and its first chapters say frustratingly little about the colonial Middle East or the Cold War U.S. This is a missed opportunity, as the similarities between the two systems would later become crucial to Said’s intellectual and political agenda. Most important, both the British and Americans elevated certain minorities (Christians in the Middle East, Jews in the U.S.) to justify their subjugation of others (Muslims under British rule, Black people and other people of color under white U.S. hegemony).

The two cultures also similarly viewed their elites’ culture as universal, a sacred trust they had to bestow upon humanity. Both British and American elites were therefore eager to demonstrate that “outsiders” like Said, who appreciated the brilliance of Western culture, could join their club, as long as they fully assimilated and “overcame” their non-Western origins. It is likely that these parallels informed Said’s later insistence that the U.S. emulated European empires.

And it is clear that his effective navigation in both inspired his later claim that colonialism was not just oppressive but also creative, that hegemonic cultures could possess a certain allure even for their victims.       


Said’s career up to the mid-1960s was headed in a predictable direction. Groomed by and for WASP institutions, he was on the path to become a footnote in their history, yet another scholar who studied the European canon and reproduced elites in his teaching.

But the convergence of two revolutions, one intellectual and one political, soon upended this trajectory. Harnessing their energies, Said went on to produce one of the twentieth century’s most important intellectual events. Be the most
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In its most impressive chapters, Places of Mind reconstructs Said’s participation in these two revolutions. The first was post-structuralism. Under the influence of philosopher Jacques Derrida, a group of French scholars launched blistering attacks on Europe’s intellectual traditions. Even after the Enlightenment, they claimed, Europe remained obsessed with enshrining hierarchies and binaries (between men and women, “primitive” and “civilized”); the most urgent task was to dismantle those.

While Said is not always associated with this school today, he was among the first to embrace it in the English-speaking world.

He took part in the early conferences on post-structuralism in the U.S. and was one of the first to utilize its concepts in his writings. He borrowed especially from Michel Foucault and his provocative depiction of the link between knowledge and power. Artists and thinkers, Foucault claimed, were rarely individuals who challenged authority. Most of the time, they reproduced and reinforced their society’s structures of authority, making them seem natural and even benevolent.

The second project that Said joined, and for which he became especially famous, was the Palestinians’ renewed struggle for self-determination. After the shock of the 1967 war, which initiated Israel’s military rule over large Palestinian territories, Palestinian activists and leaders sought to make their cause the center of international attention. They appealed to international institutions and launched multiple violent attacks on Israel to keep their struggle in the headlines.

While Said had little personal interest in returning to Palestine (by that point he considered his exile a permanent condition), he joined this campaign and quickly became its most prominent international figure.

He published fiery essays that compared the Palestinian struggle to other anti-colonial struggles in Asia and Africa and helped launch organizations that called for an end to the West’s support for Israel. His eloquence and rare status as a Palestinian at the center of U.S. letters made him into an icon. Palestinian politicians and leaders, some of whom he met in person during a prolonged academic stay in Beirut, sought his advice; in 1974, he helped edit and translate Yasser Arafat’s historic address to the United Nations, the first by any Palestinian leader in that forum. Three years later, Said became a member of the Palestinian National Council, the coordinating organization of the Palestinian national movement.

Bringing these two projects together was hardly an obvious undertaking. Post-structuralism’s philosophical musings, with its notoriously impenetrable jargon, seemed worlds apart from the blood and sweat of daily Palestinian resistance.

Yet in his monumental Orientalism (1978), Said fused these two projects to provide a new understanding of Western attitudes toward the Middle East. Drawing on his own experiences as a beneficiary and victim of colonialism, Said claimed that Europe’s colonial domination in the Middle East did not rely merely on military or political might. Rather, it was a vast intellectual project, in which countless scholars and novelists voluntarily rushed to explore, interpret, and explain why Europe had to dominate the “Orient.” Said further argued that the Orientalist project was in fact foundational to Europe’s own self-understanding. As Europeans sought to define themselves as rational, industrious, and self-controlling, they simultaneously identified the Orient’s people as emotional, lazy, and pathologically obsessed with sex.Said, in short, exposed how knowledge and art worked in the service of oppressive power.

This claim about colonialism’s centrality to Europe’s identity would have been enough to make Orientalism an intellectual bombshell. But Said went even further, using his literary study to explain the aggression of modern American diplomacy. Said argued that the collapse of formal European empires after World War II did little to diminish the orientalist mindset. Rather, orientalism continued to flourish in the U.S., where journalists, artists, and scholars conflated their country with a “civilization” that they contrasted with the Middle East’s alleged primitivism and fanaticism.

Indeed, Said maintained that U.S. diplomacy in the region, and especially its unwavering support for Israel, reproduced Europe’s earlier racism, arrogance, and myopia. U.S. diplomats and their Israeli allies inherited the view of Arabs as inhuman and thus dismissed their political demands as emotional and even animalistic outbursts. Said’s most scorching invective was directed at Middle East specialists like Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis, whom he acidly described as the intellectual foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism. Their writings about the Arabs’ supposed fanaticism, he wrote in a related essay, provided “not history, not scholarship, but direct political violence.”  

Said, in short, exposed how knowledge and art worked in the service of oppressive power. And in so doing, he forever transformed the meaning of the word orientalist: Rather than a term for a scholar of the Middle East, it now became an adjective describing a racist and paternalist worldview.  


Orientalism’s sweeping claims could hardly leave readers indifferent, and Brennan masterfully traces both the admiration for and backlash to Said’s masterwork. Conservative commentators predictably dismissed Said as an ignorant trespasser who failed to understand the West’s greatness as he downplayed the orient’s failings.

In a lengthy review, Lewis lambasted the book as “insouciant,” “outrageous,” and “reckless,” inaugurating a rhetorical dual with Said that would continue for decades. Even more sympathetic readers highlighted the book’s limitations. Scholars like the French historian Maxime Rodinson noted that Orientalism was far too sweeping in approach. The study of the Orient, he noted, was a diverse field, and many of its proponents hated empire.

Other supportive readers questioned the book’s focus on ideology and representation. Wasn’t colonialism ultimately driven by economic exploitation? The critique that stung the most came from Arab and Pakistani Marxists, who lamented that Said unintentionally strengthened Muslim conservatives. The Syrian philosopher and activist Sadiq Al Azm, for example, argued that by depicting European knowledge as hopelessly tainted, the book “poured cold water” on the effort to popularize Marxist ideas in the Middle East and bolstered lazy anti-Western sentiments. 

These misgivings, however, did little to diminish Orientalism’s impact on the international republic of letters. Appearing in 30 languages, it was widely celebrated as a fresh and sophisticated assault on Western arrogance, one equal to anti-colonial classics like Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth (1961). “Here for the first time,” Palestinian historian Tarif Khalidi wrote, “was a book by one of us telling the empire basically to go f— itself.” In a world reeling from the manifold disasters perpetrated by the U.S. in Vietnam, understanding the connections between Western self-righteousness and violence seemed more urgent than ever.

Said helped inspire the work of countless literary scholars, philosophers, historians, and political scientists who mapped colonialism’s intellectual legacies in the present. He was the founding figure of what in the 1980s became known as “postcolonial studies.” The impact of this intellectual project spilled beyond academic circles. After Orientalism, theater programs, museum catalogs, and Hollywood films began to adopt less Western-focused perspectives.

According to Brennan, Said in fact infused the humanities with renewed significance. Works like Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism (1993), which expanded its insight to more novels, demonstrated the centrality of literature and art to political discourse. Said turned the traditional Marxist view of culture on its head. He claimed that novels and images were not mere expression of social domination but their very heart; they informed how journalists covered world affairs, how citizens thought about politics, and how politicians enacted policies. Countless students and scholars came to view the study of stories, movies, and representation as political action, and journalists the world over courted Said, endlessly asking for his take on political matters.

Places of Mind’s last chapters trace Said’s rising prominence to the position of celebrity. As a testament to his triumph, they catalog the mind-numbingly abundant prizes and honors he received, describe his never-ending stream of interviews on radio and TV, and depict his collaborations with many famous artists, such as the conductor Daniel Barenboim. Yet along with the rapid ascent came frustration. Said’s publications may have made a splash, but they were unable to materially advance the Palestinian national cause, which suffered defeat after defeat.


For Said, stories were essential to the struggle for Palestinian self-determination. If Americans so enthusiastically lavished Israel with weapons and supported its cruel occupation, he claimed, it was not out of some hard-nosed calculation, but because they bought into a particular narrative, one in which persecuted Jews had heroically defeated their evil Arab neighbors.

According to Said, this story was sustained not only by relentlessly pro-Israel politicians, magazines, and TV shows but by the fact that Americans were rarely exposed to Palestinian perspectives. Said noted that this was true even for those who were deeply critical of Israel’s actions. Noam Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle (1983), for example, condemned U.S. diplomats and Israeli politicians for enabling the horrific massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon, but it, too, relied on Western sources and did not include Palestinian testimonies.

Alongside his campaign against the orientalist tradition, Said therefore launched an effort to open new spaces for Palestinians in the Western imagination. As he wrote in the essay “Permission to Narrate” (1983), the task was to forge “a socially acceptable narrative” that would allow people to empathize with Palestinians and view them as fellow humans. Venturing beyond European literature, Said sought to integrate Arab perspectives into the Western literary canon.

While most of his academic work remained focused on English and French authors, he also began studying Palestinian writers like Mahmoud Darwish and helped facilitate their translation into Western languages. And he collaborated with photographer Jean Mohr on After the Last Sky: Palestinian Lives (1986), a collection of images and short texts that depicted Palestinian people in everyday activities.If Said’s words still resonate today, it is because the evils he helped expose are as powerful as ever.

 Yet readers largely ignored After the Last Sky and similar projects, and most certainly did not lavish it with the prizes and honors that were showered on Orientalism. They were mostly interested in the analysis of the West’s colonialism; oppression’s victims were an afterthought. Said was painfully aware that this part of his work had limited impact, and during the 1980s and 1990s he became progressively despairing about the prospects of Palestinian liberation. “The road forward is blocked,” he ruefully wrote, “the instruments of the present are insufficient, [and] we can’t get back to the past.” His gloom only grew after the Palestinian leadership signed a tentative peace agreement with Israel in 1993 (the so-called Oslo Accords), which Said predicted would not lead to statehood but to deepening occupation. By the end of his life, he was politically isolated; his books were even banned in the Palestinian Authority over his criticism of Yasser Arafat’s authoritarianism.

Said’s high hopes for literary studies—that they would lead the expansion of the world’s political options—also proved fleeting. Said’s career, in fact, was not only a rare exception but also a product of broad intellectual sources. It emerged from the 1970s and 1980s, when debates about the literary canon roiled institutions of higher learning and figures like Paul de Man and Alan Bloom were famous.

But by the early twenty-first century, the humanities began to decline. Students were beginning to abandon them, a trickle that would soon become a flood. In such a world, Said was quickly becoming a monument for a passing era. He was one of the last literary scholars to gain the public’s attention; when he lamented being the “last Jewish intellectual,” he in part recognized he was not likely to be followed by others. His increasing alienation from his adoptive country was reflected in the location of his grave. At his request, it stands not in New York, where he spent most of his career, but in Beirut, where he was only an occasional visitor. 


If Said’s words still resonate today, it is because the evils he helped expose are as powerful as ever. In the two decades since the 2001 attacks, orientalist sentiments have only intensified: Western politicians still treat Muslims and Arabs as fanatical terrorists, and Western media still perpetuate those narratives. As historian Maha Nassar recently noted*, of the thousands of pieces run by The New York Times and The Washington Post on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, barely 1 percent were written by Palestinians.

The grip of orientalism on U.S. knowledge production has in fact only tightened since Said’s passing. In 2002, the historian Daniel Pipes, who began his career with a campaign against Orientalism, founded the organization Campus Watch, which has targeted scholars who express sympathy with Palestinians. The case of Fresno State University in California was probably the most on-the-nose expression of Said’s lasting relevance. In 2016, the university’s leadership posted a job ad for its newly created Edward Said chair in Middle Eastern studies, only to abruptly call off the search by summer of 2017.

Just like his life, Said’s legacy is a paradox. His ideas are relevant exactly because their political impact was limited: The vast campaign he launched in scholarship, the media, and political activism could not dislodge orientalist bigotry. Similarly, Said looms so large in the humanities because a career like his is now hard to imagine. Rather than blazing a path for other literary scholars to become influential political commentators, he turned out to be among the last humanists with a public presence. Those who share in his quest for a more equal and humane world still face the question that always vexed him: If one has a humanist story to tell, how to make others listen? 

Cruelty to mankind and nature?

Why the Decline in demography? Is it because of loss of hope for any future?

Note: Re-edit of “History revisited: Decline or loss of hope? (Part 2, Apr. 21, 2010)”

In the previous article I wrote:

History is a collection of stories that need to be revisited frequently; stories to be revised with new eyes and new knowledge, since human behavior did not change perceptibly.  If any, human cruelty to mankind and nature increased by several notches.”

In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood-style, packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and far-sighted leaders and monarchs.

Empires decline due to steady decrease in demography.

The Muslim Ibn Khaldoun, in 15th century North Africa and considered to be the first sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that when a people lose hope for a better future to their descendants they decrease the procreation rate and in periods of high hope population increases.”

If you revise history stories, you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation.

It is basically a mass perception of predicting the short-term evolution for survival.

For example, France was the most populous nation in Europe in the 18th century until people started reducing procreation, which affected the process of holding on to colonies.

The Napoleonic wars exacerbated this perception of instability and insecurity. It was useless giving birth so that children are sent to wars for no return in profit or hope of a better future.

You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process, inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people, this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”

My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life would be too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around, the more hope is sustained.

Camp life creates community supports, and the discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little that families have, and to caring for kids of neighboring families.

Another example relates to demography in South Lebanon.

Even during the French mandate to Lebanon (1919-1943) the Zionist movement planned and schemed to extend the northern borders of the future implanted colony of States of Israel (recognized in 1948) to the Litany River.

The successive Lebanese governments, since Lebanon Independence in 1943, ruled as if South Lebanon was of No concern to them: no funds and no budgets were allocated to infrastructures, schools, hospitals or any kinds of development.

Then, in 1969, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and headed by Yasser Arafat, and with the support of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser forced Lebanon to allocate a portion of South Lebanon (Al Arkoub) an autonomous status to the PLO.

Israel was pleased with this new situation and bombed the villages in the south on pretense of reacting to the presence of the PLO.

The “inhabitants” in south Lebanon started to vacate their villages and flocked to the suburbs of Beirut (Al Dahiah).

As the civil war started in 1975, the PLO was ruling as the de facto State in South Lebanon.

Regular mass immigrations of Lebanese Shiaa to Africa and elsewhere set in.

South Lebanon was in the steady process of being depleted of its inhabitants, which should have satisfied Israel’s great dream.

Israel decided on the worst strategic blunder ever: Israel of Begin and Sharon invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Israeli army entered Beirut, and the military wings of the PLO were chased out to Tunis, and thus freeing south Lebanon from the hold of the PLO.

Israel resumed its blunder and decided to occupy south Lebanon for 25 years.

That is how purely Lebanese Resistance to occupation from many political parties started in full fledged. The Islamic regime of Khomeini in Iran extended new religious zeal, an ideology, organization, training and arming a Shiia splintered faction of AMAL named Hezbollah.

The tide had turned.  Israel was forced to vacate south Lebanon unilaterally in 2000.  The Lebanese returned to their villages with greater hope in the future.

Israel tried another attempt in 2006 to chase out Lebanese from the south during an intensive and savage 33 days preemptive war.

Israel covered the land with over 3 millions cluster bombs imported from Tony Blair of England.  The purpose was to scare people off from returning to the south.

The day the UN declared cease-fire, people returned the same day to the south and not waiting from the government to declare the trip safe.

Makeshift bridges were erected (Israel had bombed out all bridges and highways) and where cars and trucks could not cross, then walking was as good a means of transport.

Currently, the border villages in Lebanon are witnessing boom in tourism and tourist facilities, yards away from Israeli tanks and border patrols.  The tide has turned.

Israel may launch another savage and devastating preemptive war in Lebanon but the game is over: hope in south Lebanon is high for a better future while Israel is experiencing the worst period in lost hope for a stable Israeli State.

Israeli is reverting to its ghetto mentality and holding on to biblical archaic myths and laws.

And had built the Wall of Shame along all its borders: No see, no fear, no aches…

Note: The Shia population in Lebanon is over 50%, and increasing at a higher rate than the other 17 other religious sects.

Ridiculous: Palestinian people have never been “Invented People”

Note: Re-edit of “Are Palestinians an “Invented People”? And how Israel was invented? 2012″

I received a developed feedback from a reader (a Jew and Israelite), probably from a collection of posts on Palestine, and I decided to publish it, with minor editing.
“The name “Palestine” has been around for a long time. “Peleset” is transliterated from Egyptian hieroglyphics “P-l-s-t”. Palestine is found in numerous Egyptian documents referring to a neighboring people or land starting from around 1150 BC.
The “Philistine” States existed on the coastal plain between Jaffa and south to Gaza. At a short period Philistine co-existed with the faked ancient Kingdoms of Judah, located above this coastal  line. This supposed Kingdom of Israel never contemplated or was able to reach the seashore.
In the 5th Century BC, Herodotus wrote of a “district of Syria, called Palestine”.
About a century later, Aristotle described the Dead Sea in Meteorology and located it in Palestine:
“Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it, it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salty that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them.”
This writer frequently engaged in debates with Zionists (a bad habit I need to kick out!) who often tend to seize on small ideas, such as “When did the Palestinians ever have their own country?”
In order to win such an argument I would have to reduce myself to their terms, and produce a map that shows a country and borders: “Palestinian Kingdom, 1587- 1702”, and then let them present their map of ancient Israel and Judah, and then get into a wrestling match, and the winner would claim the territory of their own. 
Or perhaps the issue would be better settled the way the New York colony won Staten Island from New Jersey: with a boat race.
If the goal is exclusivity, as it always has been with Zionism, then the only criterion in achieving it is winning, whether a war or a race.
 
There was no 17th century Palestinian Kingdom, or 18th or 19th. This region was dominated by the Ottoman empire. Various provinces in a larger Ottoman empire, ruled from Istanbul (previously known as Constantinople, and before that, Byzantium), much as there are today various American States governed from Washington.
Allied victory over Germany and Turkey in World War I and the League of Nations granted “mandate ”power to France and England to control the region. France over Syria and Lebanon and Mosul: France relinquished more land to Turkey than current land in Syria. England had mandated power over Palestine, Jordan and middle and southern Iraq.
Objectors will cry “Foul!”, as Americans are governed by Americans in Washington, whereas “Arabs” were governed by Turks, a different ethnic group with a different language. As if the USA is one ethnic group.
Fine. So I modify my comparison to the Spanish speaking Puerto Ricans governed from Washington, or the French speaking Quebecois governed from Ottawa. Neither the Puerto Ricans nor the French Canadians are being ethnically cleansed.
 
Prior to Zionism, there was no need for the Palestine to focus on Palestinian identity. They were citizens of the Ottoman Empire. When, during the mandate years the British made contradictory promises to the Zionists and the “Arabs” in the Arabian Peninsula.
The “Arabs” and the Palestinians expected, and had the right to expect, eventual self-rule, it was certainly not a foregone conclusion that there was going to be an independent Palestine.
Palestinians might well have been a part of a larger South Syria, or of a Greater Syria, and happily so.
They certainly would not have been ethnically cleansed under those circumstances.
The Palestinians have always had their own distinct “Arabic” dialect, and various other cultural attributes that set them apart from other regional Arabic cultures, but that was never particularly relevant.
Many various subcultures existed within the Ottoman Empire, and continued to exist within British and French mandates. Interestingly, during the years of the Yishuv, the pre-Israeli-statehood, Zionist community in Palestine and Jewish-Zionist settlers called themselves “Palestinians”.
In this way, the Zionists ironically affirmed it Palestinian identity that many of them wish now to deny.
In 1948, amid the massacres and military forced mass expulsions of the “nakba” (Arabic for catastrophe, the name commonly given to the events of 1948), as the State of “Israel” was recognized by the UN by a majority of a single vote, all of the Jews who had been calling themselves Palestinians became “Israelis”.
When the dust cleared after expelling the Palestinians from their towns and villages, the Palestinians  who remained within the green line became “Arab Israelis”, like it or not.
The designation “Palestinian” was more actively embraced beginning in 1964, with the forming of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), this out of necessity, because a people who had been ethnically cleansed, who were in a state of shock and humiliation, and who were desperate to recover and regain what was rightfully theirs, found it useful to rally around symbols representing themselves: A name and a flag are two of the basics.
Golda Meir famously said in 1969, during her tenure as Israeli prime minister;
“There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian State? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”
I would not have been able to show Golda a map that says “Kingdom of Palestine” or “Grand Duchy of Palestine” or any of dozens of designations that might have satisfied her. But this I can say for sure: There were human beings on that land, and they had been there all their lives, and their families for many generations before them down through the centuries.
And many Palestinians were actually descended from ancient Jews who later converted to Christianity and Islam, while Golda’s and the Ashkenazi Jews, were converting to Judaism in the Khazar Kingdom on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
 
Golda actually knew and the information, which has become available to the general public in the decades since, that: We Jews did come and throw them out and take their country away from them. It’s been thoroughly documented. It wasn’t when she made this statement in 1969.  
Golda was able to get away with it then.
But since an entire generation of Jewish-Israeli scholars, (and many others, but we Jews need to hear it from Jews first!) has carefully documented the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and presented the history that she personally knew, but actively hid and denied.
Golda and her colleagues concealed the truth from Jewish supporters of Israel all over the world, including my family, who taught me lies quite innocently, because they didn’t know any better.
 
In 1984 a book written by Joan Peters, entitled From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, was released to the world. The book claimed that the Palestinians were not resident in Palestine long-term, but were recent arrivals, having come to take advantage of economic opportunities in Palestine which were largely the result of Zionist Jewish settlement.
What a perfect way for us Zionist Jews to massage ourselves (I was one at the time!) and drive a wedge between ourselves and the growing awareness about Palestine in the world around us! So it really was a “land without people for a people without a land”?  And all those “Arabs” were immigrants!
And how ungrateful that the Palestinians hate us after all the opportunity we gave them! A wave of related claims surfaced among the Zionist community. An essay by Mark Twain describing his touring of a sparsely populated 19th century Palestine, was offered up into the mix of “Palestinian-denier” evidence.
Twain, whose writing was full of humorous and ironic opposition to human bullshit, was no doubt rolling in his grave over this. And claims were often heard that prominent Palestinians, from Edward Said to Yassir Arafat, were “not really Palestinian”.
 
Enter another book, in 2003, The Case for Israel by Alan Dershowitz. After 19 intervening years, Dershowitz borrowed heavily from same, Joan Peters’ book, giving the same statistics and making the same conclusions.
 
Enter yet another book, but this one very different: In Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, published in 2005, Norman G. Finkelstein exposed Peters’s statistics as fraudulent, and with that revelation both her argument and that of Dershowitz, collapsed.
However, the damage is done among those who wish to ignore Finkelstein, and there are many! “Isn’t Finkelstein a holocaust denier?”, I’ve been asked. I respond: “No. His parents were holocaust survivors.”
Zionists have long used a familiar tactic against those who challenge their propaganda: Defamation. And so the lies persist.
This writer still has people putting From Time Immemorial in his face to prove their argument. They refuse to be embarrassed.
At the time of this writing (January 2012), the American public is being treated to an entertainment we get every four years: the run up to our presidential election. As the Democratic candidate will obviously be the incumbent, we are witnessing the Republican candidates claw at each other in their striving to win support for the Republican nomination.
Enter a billionaire Jewish American Zionist named Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and the 8th wealthiest American alive, who along with his wife has donated $10 million to candidate Newt Gingrich. Adelson, whose holdings include the Israeli newspaper Israel HaYom (Israel Today) made some interesting statements while in Israel at an Israel Media Watch event in 2010:
“I am not Israeli. The uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform. It was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF … our two little boys, one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow, hopefully he’ll come back– his hobby is shooting – and he’ll come back and be a sniper for the IDF.
 And:
“All we (the Adelson family) care about is being good Zionists, being good citizens of Israel, because even though I am not Israeli born, Israel is in my heart.
Does it sound like this guy has “divided loyalties?” Maybe like the Jewish/Evangelicals neocons in the Bush administration who got us to fight a proxy war for Israel in Iraq? No- you can’t say that! It would be “anti-Semitic”!
So is it any wonder that Newt Gingrich has made the utterly incorrect and profoundly idiotic statement that he has made about the Palestinians being an “invented” people? It has nothing to do with any education on the subject of the history, or any awareness of the current situation. 
It’s simply a question of wanting to win, and of reiterating nonsense he has heard in conversations with a very rich and generous supporter, nonsense which jives with the general impressions that Americans get from our Zionist-controlled media, and that no doubt circulate in Gingrich’s Republican circles.
Does anyone think Gingrich has read Finkelstein? I doubt it! And if he did, would he turn down $10 million in favor of truth and justice?
 
The people native to the land of Palestine were not “invented” as Rich Siegel said, and foolishly repeated by Newt Gingrich . It is indeed unfortunate that someone who is supposedly educated, and who has achieved position in life where he is poised to potentially become the next president of the United States, is putting forth such foolishness

Beirut and Haifa: They used to be twin cities, before Israel was created to block daily communication

Note: This is a re-edit of  “Tales of Twin Cities: Beirut and Haifa (April 1, 2009)”

By the year 1933, the city of Haifa was the main magnet for the Levant people (Lebanese and Syrians) and Iraqis.

A railroad linked Haifa to Egypt, Damascus and to the Hijjaz (Mecca) in the Arabic Peninsula (Now called Saudi Kingdom).

A pipeline was exporting half of Iraq’s production toward Europe.  A modern port was the main export location of Syria’s wheat and grain to Europe. A new oil refinery was installed. Haifa was the most prosperous and promising destination for the Lebanese.

Many streets were named after Lebanese towns and cities.  Anywhere you walked the stores had common Lebanese family names.  The Maronite Selim Khoury from Bkaseen (a town by Jezzine) was considered the richest in Palestine; he instituted a modern silk factory and many laborers from Lebanon flocked there.

The families of Bustros, Sursok, and Tuweiny owned half the fertile plains in Galilee ( of about 180 square kilometers). Suleiman Nassif had exclusivity on thermal pools. (These families sold their lands to the Zionists in order to establish their political foothold in Lebanon)

The CAT Company, a building contractor, erected series of houses outside Acre’ s walls.

Lebanese educators and intellectuals taught there.

The famous lawyer, Wadi3 Bustani was the special counselor to the British Governor Colonel Stanton.  Dailies were created.  Haifa was like Qatar and Dubai today for the Lebanese emigrants; they were welcomed and needed to absorb the fast pace economic explosion.

Then, in 1948, the infamous Zionist State was created by a majority of a single vote in the UN (when most countries didn’t yet enjoy “independence” from the colonial powers).

The administrations of the USA, France, and Britain wanted to get rid of the Jews in their midst.  The monster Stalin stupidly believed that Israel would be the first communist State in the Middle East.

The tide turned and the Palestinians flocked to Lebanon.

The prosperous and educated Palestinian refugees headed to Beirut.  What the English and USA governments could not do in Lebanon was done by the Palestinians:  the English language spread and prospered. The American University in Beirut got a new lease on life; most of the Arabs in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq studied in Beirut.

In fact, the most powerful bank in the Middle-East and based in Lebanon Intra was owned by a Palestinian Bidass. USA and Israel wanted to bankrupt this bank and ordered the Central Bank to cut off liquidity for the bank, though it had far more assets that the depositors needed.

The port of Beirut was modernized and expanded and replaced Haifa; oil pipelines and refineries were installed in Lebanon, most of the land transit passed through the port of Beirut.

South Lebanon was transformed into a vast garden of orange and apple orchards thanks to the expertise of the cultivators of Jaffa (Yafa).

The financial institutions in Beirut flourished.  The insurance businesses got foothold. Even today, most of the insurance executives are of Palestinian origins. Folk dancing, songs, theaters were initiated by Palestinian artists.

The rich Palestinian Christians were offered the Lebanese citizenship. The poor Palestinian Christian refugees were installed in camps in Christian districts such as the camps of Jisr Basha, Dbaiyeh, and Mar Elias.  The Palestinian Moslems were distributed in camps all over Lebanon.

These inexpensive Palestinian workmen were the main backbone for the emerging small and medium industries and in agriculture (currently replaced by Syrians refugees); until the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) disturbed the entire structure when it installed its headquarters in Beirut in 1969.

During the civil war that started in 1975, all the Christian Palestinian camps were overturned by the Lebanese Christian militias and the surviving refugees expelled from the Christian regions or cantons.

The PLO was forced to vacate Lebanon in 1982 and the Palestinian workforce was replaced by Syrians and the Palestinian refugees were confined to their camps; they experienced renewed constraints on work permits and selective jobs and restraining labor licenses.

Since time immemorial, the southern Lebanese seaport of Tyr was the administrative center for the entire region extending to beyond Haifa, Mount Carmel, and including upper Galilee.

Under normal circumstances, the coastal zone from Tyr to Haifa could have been the largest Megalopolis on the Mediterranean Sea.

The newly created apartheid Zionist State disrupted all kinds of major development in the region and blocked the daily trade and communication among the same people..

Note 1: I am reading the interesting Arabic/Lebanese book “This Life, my Sweetheart” (Ya Dunia, ya Gharamy) by Ussama El Aref.  One of its chapters inspired the theme of this article.

Note 2: After the Second World War, Germany welcomed the Kurdish workforce, arriving by train with fanfare and official bands, because it needed badly to reconstruct the country.  Germany thinks that it finished reconstruction and has no idea how to repatriate the Kurds of Turkey.

Germany is offering to finance private enterprises in the Kurdish region for any Kurdish family willing to return.  The catch is: would anyone Not feeling secure and safe in his homeland return?  Would Germany re-welcome any Kurds if political conditions deteriorate?

There are currently over half a million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.  They settled in refugee camps during three major phases:  First, they settled in refugee camps after the “Independence of Israel”, a State recognized my a single and simple majority vote in the UN in 1948, and second, after the 1967 preemptive Israeli war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, and third, after the defeat of the Palestinian resistance by the Jordanian monarchy in 1971. 

Already, one hundred thousand Palestinian refugees got the Lebanese nationality, not included in the half a million previously mentioned.  Those who got the Lebanese nationality are of three categories:  First, the mostly Palestinian Christians, in order to re-establish sectarian “balance” when the Maronite Christian Presidents of Lebanon had vast authorities before the Taif Agreement in 1989, and second, Palestinians originating from Lebanon such as those who lived in Northern Israel and the Seven Villages and are mostly from the Islam Chiaa sect, and third, the wealthy and business men Palestinians such as the families of Baidass, Sabbagh, Khoury, Nemr, Nahoum, Faress, Nasr, Kattan, Yutajy, Freij, Gharghour, Oweida, Irathy, Saba and many other families.

It appears that the refugees inscribed in the UNRWA, those residing continuously in Lebanon, number around 200,000 or 5% of the total estimated population in Lebanon.  The remaining Palestinians had managed to settle or work abroad with Lebanese travel documents.

Recent statistics show that over 92% of Palestinian refugees want to return to their Homeland, Palestine.  That is a case closed:  the UN resolution #198 of 1948 guarantees the right of Palestinians to return to Palestine and there is no way to cancel or drop that civic and human right accorded to all refugees who were forced to flee under duress and genocidal treatments.

The US, European Union, and Russia are demanding that the Palestinian refugees drop the right to return before extending compensations.  This is an impossible political condition that cannot be satisfied.  The UN should compensate immediately every adult Palestinian and Palestinian families in refugee camps (without any clause pertaining to dropping their rights for return) so that they decide what to do with that money.  Every State around the world, especially the US and European States, will welcome rich Palestinians capable of owning real estates or establishing businesses.  After two years of paying taxes and valid residency papers, the immigrated Palestinians would be having a recognized citizenship.

Since Israelis are entitled to dual citizenship then, it should be so to Palestinians.  For the time being, the UN institution of UNRWA has been caring for the Palestinian refugees in matters of education, health, and survival food since 1948.  The UNRWA budget has been cut frequently while the number of refugees has been increasing dramatically.  Currently, the  UNRWA budget is half a billion dollars; the portion allocated to the refugees in Lebanon is just $70 millions. 

There is a heated debate in Lebanon on how to securing the civic and human rights of the refugees.  There are less than 60 types of jobs that Palestinians are entitled to applying for; and they are denied owning properties, though rich Arabs and foreigners can purchase and own properties. 

The Lebanese have no jobs, no electricity, no potable water, no health coverage for more than 50% of the population, public education neglected for over 30 years, and things are going to hell.  I am pretty sure if Palestinian refugees would consider bartering their UNRWA facilities for a Lebanese nationality card then, most Lebanese would gladly relinquish their stupid cards that are more of a problem than a privilege.

 The UN should establish an international fund to aid and support the Lebanese government improve the infrastructure in the refugee camps and providing health insurance.  Palestinian kids are suffering from diseases due to bad health environment.  The education facilities are deteriorating in the camps.  Camps are becoming hotbeds of insecurity to all the youth not finding an outlet to development and assuring the minimum level of dignity.

The working force in construction, gas stations and sanitation are filled by Syrians, Egyptians, and Bangladeshis.  In-house maids and outside are from Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Madagascar… May be Lebanese and Palestinians should be allocated quotas to work alongside the foreign workers. 

If Lebanon enjoyed an economic and financial boom in its first 30 years of its independence it is mainly because of the flux of Palestinian wealth and knowhow.  Many English-speaking Palestinian refugees worked in the Arab Gulf States and supported their families in Lebanon.  They also made a qualitative development for the American University of Beirut and taught there and constituted the prime English tributary to our economy and finance.

If Lebanon had ever been tad of a State, it would have sustained its financial standing and maintained a modicum of sovereignty.  The Palestinian Resistance Organization (PLO) became a State within a State and even more powerful and more organized since 1972.  The dollar changed for just two Lebanese pounds because of the hard currencies that the PLO poured in our economy; it is currently 1,500 LL

Responses to “Einstein speaks on Zionism”; (Dec. 8, 2009)

I received this comment on my post “Einstein speaks on Zionism”. I edited errors of spelling before replying.  I do enjoy developed comments which prove involvement.

            “At the risk of lending this diatribe even a modicum of credibility by responding to it I shall confine my comments to two easily verifiable factual matters.

1. ORT was not a Zionist organization at the time specified by “Adonis49”. Between the wars it was heavily influenced by the Bundhists and others who saw the future of Jewish communities lying within the countries in which they were already situated. The organization was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 by three prominent Jews – all of them patriotic Russians with nary a proto-Zionist whim between them.

2. As for Einstein calling Arabs in the British Mandated territory “Arabs” – this may well have been because the only people calling themselves “Palestinians” at that time were Jews living there. Arabs did not start calling themselves “Palestinian” until well after the establishment of the State of Israel. I refer you to the interview which Zuheir Mohsen, a then prominent member of the PLO, gave to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, in which he stated: “The Palestinian people do not exist… Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.”

3. Indeed, any archaeologists among you may want to try digging into the ground of Israel to find “Palestinian” artifacts. You’ll find Ottoman artifacts, Muslim pieces, even some remnants of the idolatrous Canaanites if you dig deep enough. But most of all you’ll find a lot of Jewish artifacts, stretching back some 3,000 years.”

            The translated book in French did not provide context to what Einstein’s wrote, published, or delivered in speeches; thus, I have no sources for the dates or events or purpose for these documents except what I may conjecture.

            The Bundhists organization that was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 may not have been pro-Zionist at first but most of the first Russian immigrants to Palestine at the turn of the 20th century were encouraged later by that organization. Those agricultural Russian immigrants worked the land and Einstein praised them for their effort to “re-constructing” Palestine. Their offspring joined the Hagana, then the British forces in the Near East, and then were dispatched to Europe in 1945 as allied soldiers to collect arms and be re-routed to Palestine. They were the ones that the Mossad relied on to negotiate with the countries soon to fall under Soviet influence (Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Bulgaria) because they could speak Russian. It is from these countries that the first heavy arms came from after the first armistice in 1948: Stalin was convinced that the State of Israel will become the first communist state in the Middle East and was thus the first to recognize Israel.

            Zuheir Mohsen was a leader of a “Palestinian” faction (Al Saika) controlled totally by Syria that wanted to control the PLO; its propaganda tried to rob any independent entity to the Palestinians since Syria was planning to enjoy a mandated power over Lebanon during the civil war. Pan Arabism is not a national identity but an attribute for people speaking Arabic.

            I cannot understand the logic; if the freshly arriving Jews call their new land Palestine and they are known as Palestinians then why the original “Arabs” in that land for over two thousand years should not be called Palestinians? I understand the power of Zionism to disseminating fictitious stories and “facts” but I expect a minimum of rational thinking even from those who don’t care to read or reflect.

            As for artifacts, the fact is that for a century and since the recognition of Israel no Jewish artifacts were found even in Judea. It is not possible to find artifacts for nomadic people.  Artifacts are within the realm of urban civilizations such as the Canaanite and Phoenicians. Even the scrolls found are not Jewish but were written by sects fleeing the persecutions of the McCabe, Pharisee, and Sadducee sects based in Judea. No there are no “Jewish” artifacts and whatever will be found will not be dated before 200 BC.

            I might develop further on this article in the coming days.

Uncontested Palestinian Leader: late Yasser Arafat (Abu 3Ammar); June 15, 2009

 

            Known as Yasser Arafat; code-named “Abu Ammar”; full name Muhammad Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Koudwa Al Husseiny was born in Jerusalem in 1929.  He studied civil engineering at Cairo and worked in Kuwait. In the summer of 1965 he started guerilla activities inside Israel with ten feddayins, among them the future leaders Khalil Wazeer (code-named Abu Jihad; assassinated in Tunisia by an Israeli air raid), Salah Khalaf (code-named Abu Ayad), and Abu Ali Ayad (died in battle fighting the onslaught of the Jordanian army in 1970). 

            After the defeat of the Arab armies in June 1967 Arafat decided to take matters into his own hand: the Arab States can no longer be counted on to reclaim the Palestinians right to a homeland and the return of the refugees since 1948 (date of recognition of Israel as a State).  Arafat set out to organizing the Palestinians into a resistance force called “Hurricane” (Al 3asifat) and resumed incursions into Israel at higher rates. An acceptable resolution would be a secular State on the West Bank with East Jerusalem as Capital.  He would repeat: “As I liberate a single square meter then I would raise the Palestinian flag.  One day, a boy or a girl will hoist the flag in Jerusalem” Arafat insisted that “we may differ as Christians and Moslems on many issues but we are unified on liberating Jerusalem and consecrating it our spiritual and political Capital” Jerusalem was the cornerstone in any negotiation of more importance to him than the “right of return” of the UN resolution 194.  In fact, during the Arab Summit in Beirut 2002 Arafat was ready to accept the Saudi proposal of “land for peace” that did not mention the right of return.  Luckily, the Lebanese President Emile Lahoud was adamant on including this cause since the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon question is “a time bomb ready to detonate anytime”.

            The uncontested Arab leader Gamal Abdel Nasser recognized that the nascent Palestinian resistance activities are reactions to the failure of his leadership and he met with Arafat. Gamal Abdel Nasser gave Arafat’s organization political cover to preserve control of Arab politics and introduced Arafat to other Arab State leaders. Thus, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1968 which included many Palestinian factions such as the national and Marxist faction of George Habash and the splintered faction of Nayef Hawatmed.  Syria would later include another faction with a military wing called Al Sa3ikat (Thunderstorm).  Arafat was the leader of the largest faction called Fateh (Conquest) and thus was elected Chairman of the PLO; Arafat was to hold the purse or the treasury of this organization to keep all factions in line.

            King Hussein of Jordan defeated militarily the PLO in 1970 and the resistance fighters fled to Lebanon.  The Egyptian leader forced the hand of the Lebanese government to allocate a strip of land in south Lebanon called “Al 3arkoub” from which the PLO could wage guerilla attacks on Israel.  This was a top-secret deal; Deputy Raymond Eddeh would persist in the parliament to divulge the details of the deal at no avail.  Thus, the mostly Shi3a Lebanese citizens in south Lebanon were caught in between the military retaliations of Israel, the exactions of the PLO and the non-existence of the weak Lebanese government in that region. South Lebanon was de facto controlled and governed by the PLO.  The Lebanese army controlled every resistance movement in the south before 1970 but relinquished its hold after that secret deal.

            The PLO quickly established political and administrative headquarters in the Capital Beirut and was immersed deeply in Lebanon internal politics. The Palestinian resistance fighters occupied all the Palestinian camps and transformed them into bunkers. Israel didn’t mind the transformation and the involvement of the PLO in Lebanon’s politics. Israel goal was to displace the Lebanese citizens from the south and then conquer it. In fact, thousands of citizens in the south moved to the southern outskirts of Beirut in Haret Hrik, Ghobeiry, and Dahieh.  These areas would become the “belt of misery” and shantytowns.

            In April 1973, an Israeli commando (headed by Ehud Barak) assassinated three Palestinian leaders in Beirut Kamal Edwan, Kamal Youssef, and Abu Youssef Al Najjar; it failed to locate Arafat.  In May 1973, the Lebanese army was encircling the Palestinian camps and Arafat took refuge in Embassies.  Arafat had a sixth sense on personal dangers and he did sleep in Embassies when the tough got going.  His best strategy for avoiding detection and maintaining security is to be “unpredictable”; thus he frequently moved from one residence to another and never informed anyone of his displacements, even his driver or bodyguards.

            Arafat highly valued Medias and used it tot the hilt. He also lavished on and befriended the sheikhs of mosques so that their Friday preaches increase his positive exposure. Arafat was not that good in rhetoric but his charisma and large smile compensated greatly on other verbal deficiencies.

            Arafat was super patient, like fish hunters.  He didn’t mind waiting for years until his enemy is caught in his nets.  He fundamentally used persuasion and then extending financial bait and then blackmailing when everything failed.  Arafat could focus under extreme dangerous situations and keep his cool for the sake of his surrounding assistants. He slept a few hours on early morning and then had siesta after lunch.  He extended aid to the needy and took excellent care of the martyrs’ families.  He owned only two military suits.

            Arafat read every piece of mail and replied in details.  He carried a small booklet and noted down information; he once said “if one of my small notebooks is published monarchies would disappear and Presidents fall.”  Arafat was feared by Arab leaders because of his wide connections and the vast intelligence he had on each one of them; thus, the PLO coffer was replenished on demand.

            Arafat visited India PM Indira Gandhi. A guru asked Arafat “How many Palestinians are there?”  Arafat replied 8 millions. The guru retorted “I have 9 million followers who worship me as their God.”  Arafat said with a large smile “The difference is that every one of the 8 million Palestinians thinks that he is indeed God”

            On November 1974, Arafat delivered a speech to the UN assembly and offered two alternatives: the olive tree or the gun.  He also talked to the UN General assembly in Geneva on December 1988 and declared his willingness to end armed struggle and the recognition of Israel; the USA decided then to recognize the PLO.

            Arafat played a central role during the Lebanese civil war that started in April 13, 1975.  He tried to maintain a balanced position in the tag of war between Hafez Assad of Syria and Sadat of Egypt at the expense of the Lebanese civilians.  The leftist Lebanese organizations relied on Arafat for logistics in arms and ammunition and he controlled them completely.  Arafat once declared in Ramallah around 1998 that he was the de facto governor of Lebanon for over 20 years, even before the civil war. Lebanon would have been saved 13 years of mindless civil war if Arafat had decided to relinquish Lebanon to Syria and dealt with Israel in 1977 instead of 1993 for part of Palestine as he was forced to do later.

            After the signing of the Oslo agreement with Rabin, Arafat returned to Gaza on July 1994.  He signed an agreement for the return of the West bank in September 1995.  Rabin was assassinated by one of his body-guard. Netanyahu refused to go along with the agreement but finally submitted to the USA pressures and returned Hebron (Al Khalil) after the negotiation of Wy River in 1998.

            On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon entered the Masjed Akssa during the tenure of Ehud Barak PM.  The second intifada started.  Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister in February 2001 and he invaded Ramallah (headquarter of the Palestinian Authority, al mukata3a) and encircled Arafat in his quarter. George W. Bush said to Sharon “Leave Arafat to God” and Sharon relied “I will give God a nudge”

            Arafat had food delivered through Israeli check points. He suffered acute ailment and knew that he has been poisoned by small doses.  Before being hospitalized in France Arafat said to his personal physician Ashraf Kerdi “The Zionists got me…”  Mohammad Dahlan (Fateh officer) told Arafat “When you are back your authority and power will remain intact” Arafat replied “In that case you are coming with me to France”

            Mahmoud Abbass replaced Arafat and refused to have an autopsy performed.  Arafat managed to hold together an organization of many factions for 40 years by centralizing the disbursement of the financial import he secured from the Arab States and from investment.  Arafat struggled hard to keep the Palestinian decisions independent of the vagaries of the multiple Arab States leaders’ interests of abusing of the “Palestinian cause.”  Probably, most of Arafat’s “peace deals” with Israel emanate from the disunity of the Arab States toward a strategic plan for checking the Zionist plans.  Arafat had to juggle Arab States priorities concerning their proper interests. Arafat sculpted an image of Palestinian resistance by wearing the special “koufieh” headdress and the military attire. He forged a logo for the Palestinian cause.

Right to Return: for the Palestinian refugees (June 15, 2009)

 

            There are more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and their birth rate is three times the average of the Lebanese.  The Palestinian refugees are concentrated in a dozen camps (ghettoes) and they run their communities. The Lebanese government is not extending facilities to the camps or to issuing work permits.  The UN agency UNRUWA is supposed to care for the education and health of the refugees since they were chased out from their homeland in 1948.  In the last decade the UNRUWA budget has been politically reduced to force the Lebanese government into de facto enacting residency status to the refugees.

            Lebanon facilitated the influx of the Palestinian refugees in 1948 under the perception that it was a temporary stay since UN resolution demanded the return of the Palestinians. Israel exacerbated the problem by sending another wave of refuges in 1967 after it occupied the West Bank.  The Palestinian resistance was born but it failed to rely on the Palestinians inside the State of Israel for effective resistance against the occupiers. 

            There were three camps in the Christian districts which were closed down during the civil war such the ones in Dbayeh, Jesr al Basha, and Tell al Zaatar; the Christian militias forced the evacuation of the Christian Palestinians by military activities, genocide, and terror.

            Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and with the cooperation of the USA and France the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) headed by Arafat was forced to evacuate Beirut to Cyprus and then to Tunisia.  The remaining camps were supposed to be the refuge of civilians and not containing any heavy weapons.

            The entrance/exits of camps are monitored by the Lebanese army and the movement of the refugees strictly controlled.  A salafist Sunni movement “Jund al Sham” challenged the army in Nahr al Bared camp in Tripoli.  This camp is demolished and waiting for financial aid to be re-constructed.

            The ex-President Emile Lahoud fought the good fight to keep the right of return of the UN resolution 194 alive during his tenure. For example, before the Summit of the Arab League in Beirut of April 2002, the Saudi Foreign Affairs Seoud Al Faissal visited President Lahoud on March 22 and handed him the project of the Saudi Monarch of “peace for land” without a specific clause of “the right of return”.  President Lahoud refused it. Lahoud was subjected to al kinds of pressures and diplomatic maneuvering to let the project as is with no modifications but he didn’t relent. The Arab leaders suggested including the “right of return” as a separate clause to no avail. The Saudi Prince Abdallah was forced to include the clause as intrinsic part of the peace for land PROJECT.  The USA vowed to make the tenure of Lahoud a period of hell for foiling their major political goal.

            It is crystal clear that the western nations have a sole political purpose for Lebanon: accepting the Palestinian refugees as Lebanese residents.  The civil war from 1975 to 1991 failed to achieve completely that goal though most of the prosperous Christian families preferred to immigrate.

            Late Rafic Hariri PM believed that an overall peace deal with Israel is highly serious and went along a program of easing the conditions of the Palestinian refugees.  It turned out that there will be no peace with Israel because Israel’s interest is not in any kind of peace.  Pragmatic Hariri realized that the social and political fabric in Lebanon cannot digest 400,000 Palestinians and he changed his strategy; he was assassinated by the detonation of a roadside truck containing 1000 kilos of TNT.

            Though the US Administration comprehends better the predicament of Lebanon it is still hoping that this tragedy could be settled at the expense of the Lebanese people. Hezbollah challenged that strategy and won its war against Israel in 2006. The leader of the Tayyar Party, General Michel Aoun, has picked up the banner of fighting any policies targeted at settling the Palestinians in Lebanon and he won by a landslide in Mount Lebanon.  The coalition of Hezbollah and the Tayyar has put a strong break to the western strategy of reducing Lebanon to a refugee status.

Hezbollah (God’s Party) and Nasr Allah (God’s Victory): Biographies (May 25, 2009)

Hassan Nasr Allah is currently the Secretary General of Hezbollah.  He was born in August 31, 1960 in the poorest section of East Beirut called Nab3a.

Hassan was the eldest among 9 offspring and his father supported this vast family selling vegetable.

Hassan refrained from playing soccer with the neighboring kids or joining them for a swim; he was deeply religious and admired greatly Imam Moussa Sadr who gave the Moslem Shiaa sect a sense of their pride and potentials in the Lebanese fabrics.

The regions of the Shiaa in south Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley were neglected by the central government since the independence in 1943.  The Imam of the Mosque where Hassan prayed in Nabaa was the late Muhammad Fadlallah who is presently the highest Imam of the Shiaa in Lebanon.

At the age of 14 Hassan moved with his family to their home village Bazourieh in south Lebanon. He aided Sheikh Ali Shams el Deen to open a small library of religious manuscripts and Hassan started teaching religion in the village and then finished his high school in Tyr.

By the age of 15 Hassan joined the “AMAL” movement of Imam Moussa Sadr and was quickly appointed officer of the Bekaa district and then a member of the politburo.  Sheikh Muhammad Ghrawy facilitated to Nasr Allah higher religious learning in Najaf (Iraq).

Nasr Allah met in Najaf with Abbass Moussawy (later the first Secretary General of Hezbollah).  By 1978, and after two years spent in Najaf, Nasr Allah returned to Lebanon.  A couple of months later, Imam Moussa Sadr disappeared after a visit to Libya in August 1978.

In 1979, Khomeini came to power in Iran and the Shah went to exile.  The geopolitical condition in the Middle East changed drastically. Iran was now against the USA interests in the region, supported the Palestinian cause, and was the first State to officially allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to open and embassy in Tehran.

Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982; the operation was baptized “Peace in Galilee“.  Israel put siege to Beirut for two months and Yasser Arafat and 11,000 Palestinian fighters left to Tunisia.

The Lebanese President of the Republic Elias Sarkis invited Nabih Berri (leader of AMAL) to join Walid Jumblat (Druze leader) and Basheer Gemayel (leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces) to forming a national rescue team. Many AMAL cadres quit Nabih Berry such as Abbass Moussawy, Sobhi Tuffaily, Hussein Moussawy, Ibraheem Amin Sayyed, Naeem Qassem, and Nasr Allah.  They created Hezbollah and blew up the US Marines and French barracks in Beirut in 1983. Nasr Allah had said that Hezbollah was the consequence of Israel entering Beirut in 1982.

Hezbollah postponed declaring its formation until 1985 after Israel assassinated one of Hezbollah’s leaders Sheikh Ragheb Harb. The Iranian leaders Ali Mohtashamy was then the spiritual father of the Party and Muhammad Akhtary the military father.

Hassan Nasr Allah learned from Ragheb Harb the famous dictum “The word is taking a stand and shaking hands is acknowledgement of assent” and thus Harb never shook hands with any Israeli army officers who were trying hard to win Ragheb over to supporting the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon.

In 1987, Nasr Allah was appointed member of the highest legislative order in Hezbollah and chairman of the executive branch.

In 1989, Nasr Allah resumed his religious studies in Qom (Iran) and returned in a hurry to Lebanon when military skirmishes with the AMAL movement spread.  The AMAL party was executing the orders of the Syrian regime to entering the Palestinian camps and disarming the Palestinians of any heavy arsenal.

Hezbollah followed the policies of Iran to leave the Palestinian out of harm.  After many months of fighting both parties settled out their differences as Syria and Iran reached a compromise.

Israel assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbass Moussawy in 1992.  Nasr Allah was the closest aid to Moussawy, had extensive contacts with the base, and studied in Qom.

Hassan Nasr Allah replaced Moussawy as Secretary General; he was only 32 of age.  Nasr Allah said: “A movement that witnesses its leader falling martyr can never be defeated“. Hezbollah evolved into a qualitative phase in organization and political acumen.

Israel invaded Lebanon in July 1993 for 7 days under the code name “Settling Accounts” and then re-invaded in 1996 under Shimon Peres (Nobel Peace prize winner!) and the operation of total destruction lasted for 17 days under the name “Grapes of Wrath” and shelled a UN compound in Qana where civilians had taken refuge and over 100 died and 300 were gravely injured.

Hadi, the eldest son of Nasr Allah, fell martyr during a resistance operation in September 1997; it was the night before Nasr Allah was to deliver a major speech and he insisted on speaking and said:

In Hezbollah we do not save our children for the future; we honor them when they fight in the front lines against our enemy Israel; we stand tall when they fall martyrs

Israel had to retreat from all of Lebanon, with the exception of Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfarshouba in May 24, 2000 without pre-conditions or negotiations.  The Arab recognized Hezbollah as the main resistance movement that vanquished Israel and acclaimed Nasr Allah as the Hero of liberation.  In the large town of Bent Jbeil Nasr Allah delivered the Victory Speech and offered the liberation in the name of all the Lebanese.

Nasr Allah said: “Israel has nuclear arsenals and owns the most lethal air force in the region.  Israel is still much weaker than the spider web” (It was a reference of a spider web on a cave that saved the Prophet Muhammad from being caught by the Kuraich persecutors while fleeing to Yathreb)

Israel bombarded the villages in south Lebanon in 2003 and then raided Beirut in 2005.  Israel re-invaded Lebanon in July 2006 for 33 days and failed to achieve any of its proclaimed objectives.  Nasr Allah was recognized as the most charismatic and powerful resistance leader in the Arab and Moslem World.  Nasr Allah played the catalyst for the Shiaa in Lebanon to participate in projecting the living messages in the symbolism of the Koran verses and thus be capable of assimilating and accepting changing social and environmental conditions.

According to the famous journalist Seymour Hirsh, Cheney, Eliot Abrahams, and Bandar Ben Sultan conspired to finance and whisk the members of Fatah El Islam into the refugee camp of Nahr Al Bared with the purpose of destabilizing Lebanon and starting civil war between the Moslem Shiaas and Sunnis and thus immersing Hezbollah into a potential civil war. It didn’t work because the Lebanese army was hurt in its pride after many soldiers were executed by severing their heads in the summer of 2007.  The army lost over 160 soldiers and many hundreds were severely injured but the Moslem extremism objectives were defeated after 6 months of engagement in the camp.  Deputy Bahiya Hariri (sister of late Rafic Hariri) acknowledged that she contributed substantially in financing extremist Palestinian groups in the refugee camps.

The Israelis take very seriously Nasr Allah promises and threats.  The Lebanese Government of Seniora PM failed to understand that “A word is a commitment”.  Nasr Allah had said that Hezbollah will never turn its arms internally excepting when coerced to relinquish its arms; especially its secured communication lines, the most potent arm it had during the war in 2006.  In May 5, 2008 Seniora PM Government, with no Shiaa minister representatives in the cabinet, executed a plan to dismantle Hezbollah secure communication network.  Hassan Nasr Allah delivered a speech demanding the government to retract its decision.

By May 7 the AMAL militias confronted the security forces of the Moustakbal movement in Beirut and quickly closed down those arm caches intended to start civil disturbances. The AMAL forces were controlled by cadres of Hezbollah in order for the confrontation not to degenerate into sectarian infighting. For example, the rioters saved the huge pictures of late Rafic Hariri PM and removed the pictures of Saad Hariri and Seniora PM.  Israel admitted that its patient work of infiltrating Hezbollah for two years vanished within a couple of hours.

Hezbollah has joined the Parliament since 1992 and has increased the number of its Deputies; it has cabinet ministers since the year 2000.   Lebanon is getting ready for Parliamentary election in June 7, 2009 and all the indications point to victory of the opposition headed by Hezbollah, AMAL, and the movement (Tayyar) of Change and Reforms of General Michel Aoun.  Over 20 Lebanese agents spying for Israel have been apprehended.   Nasr Allah is demanding that the traitors be hanged.

Note:  The biographical sections were extracted from the recent Arabic/Lebanese book “Shock and Steadfastness” (Sadmah wa Sumoud) by Kareem Bakradouny.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
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