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The Forum > Article Comments > Interrupting a history of tolerance - Part II > Comments

Interrupting a history of tolerance - Part II : Comments

By Riaz Hassan, published 3/8/2007

Religion provides little basis for the conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

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Both West and Middle-East, along with their colonies have been shaped on religous faith, Hassan, particularly on the lesson of some sort of Almighty's Gift of a Promised Land

So could you please give us an idea of
what would have been a better way?

Even our most atheistic unbelievers don't seem to have a clue?

Cheers - BB
Posted by bushbred, Friday, 3 August 2007 6:34:21 PM
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Riaz--- you say in your article that the Arabs were brainwashed into being anti-semitic by German propaganda.

The facts are that the Arabs assisted the Nazi’s in world war two in trying to exterminate the jews. Your stated reason “that natives do not take kindly to having their territory settled by foreigners” as being the reason for the Arab hostility is spot on.
This is the same reason the the Germans tried to exterminate the Jews. They did not like having the jews in their country and as the number of Jews started to number in the millions they feared the eventual loss of their country to Jewish control. It was not because they were anti-semitic.

This is what wars and ethnic cleansing are always about, tribes do not like the idea of other tribes threatening their territorial control. The Arabs have the same human nature as us all and so they are not innocent of attempting to assist the Germans in ethnic cleansing of the Jews as your article tries to claim.

Your facts are right when you say the West established a homeland for the Jews in Palestine and so was instrumental in causing the present territorial warfare. One of the reasons they did this, was that no country including those who fought to free the Jews from the German concentration camps wanted them in their own countries. Thus once again proving it is human nature to not want other tribes in your country. The Jews are also guilty of feeling this way towards the Arabs.

The point I’m am making here is the Arabs and the Jews are every bit as territorially hostile as the Germans and every other tribe on earth is. So don’t try and paint the Arabs innocent in that respect. Don’t let the nice uniforms of the Germans fool you , just picture them in lap laps and spears and the picture becomes clearer as to the true nature of man. Arabs, Jews Americans included.
Posted by sharkfin, Friday, 3 August 2007 10:28:04 PM
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Good articles, Riaz, pretty well in line with the reasoning in our universities.

As a farmer going on 87 who has spent much of his thirty years retired and in contact with WA universities, do believe that both the US and Britain were very undemocratic with their forward planning just after WW2 as regards the Middle East.

However, such forward planning has suited the situation of Israel, the allowance of her to go unlawfully militarily nuclear in the late 1960s, suiting the right-wing shift of Thatcherism and Reaganomics.

Though eventually celebrating the end of the Cold War, it still did not produce the exhilaration felt after WW2 so like facing a new ethically restructured world with the so-called ending of colonialism, especially in Africa, India and Burma, coupled with the forgiveness of former enemies Germany and Japan with the Marshall Plan.

With our gradual shift towards the old colonial corporate culture since the end of the 1970s, it seems the only answer now from the US and Britain for the Middle East could be to simply solve the problem with missile diplomacy, the only change from the old colonial diplomacy.

Proof of the re-emergence of colonialist imperialism was the attack and occupation of Iraq, and the political threat about a US attack on Iran in the future. It is a sad fact, that the destruction of Iran could benefit Israel as also a successful US occupation of Iraq might have suited her.

Further, one can only conclude, looking back that if the Great Powers were looking for true global peace and democracy, much more thought should have gone into preferably settling the very much harassed German Jews into the US, the UK, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand where they would have been well received considering the thankful feelings among the allies right after WW2.

The lesson is that looking for decent democracy in the future, too many problems should have not been solved partly from an elitist point of view, but from a fair-minded, even possibly risky view, but proven victorious by Nelson Mandela in South Africa
Posted by bushbred, Saturday, 4 August 2007 4:40:46 PM
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I agree with much of what Professor Hassan has written in his two part article “Interupting a History of Tolerance”, however, he has not sufficiently addressed the fact that Jews have always been a presence in the Middle East and that over 50% of the Jews in Israel are descendents of over 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab States, having had all their property both public and private confiscated by the relevant governments - not only housing, but also businesses, schools, hospitals and synagogues. In many Arab States, it remains illegal to be Jewish. This occurred after the establishment of Israel. Jewish existence in the Middle East, preceded Islam, and the Jews expelled from Arab States were direct descendants of the original Jewish presence. Hassan is correct that for centuries Jews and Muslims lived in relative harmony. I question, however, whether Arab pride, whilst earlier may have been, is currently, the cause of anti-Zionism.

Whilst Israel was established by mandate by the United Nations, Arab States were artificial creations - without consideration to the varying groups within their “borders” - drawn up with pencil and ruler by colonialists in far away countries. These states were intended as puppet states to colonial interests. There have been more conflicts between, and within, Arab States than there have been between Arab and Israel.

Whilst Hassan cites secondary sources, primary sources such as the following would put much of Hassan’s article into greater perspective:

Statements by leading Arab nationalist Sherif Hussein, guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia (Al-Qibla, March 23, 1918); and later by his son, Emir Faisal asked, in fact, pleaded for Zionists from Europe to return to their original homeland in the hope of encouraging back the original Palestinian inhabitants, who had abandoned their home and spread far and wide. Both these historically important men referred to these groups as “brothers”

The Weizmann-Faisal Agreement signed by Emir Faisal, leader of the Arab nationalist movement with Zionist leaders during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. As the British didn’t fulfil their promises, this agreement could not be implemented.
Posted by Danielle, Saturday, 4 August 2007 8:47:26 PM
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Faisal’s letter to Harvard law professor, later Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, on March 3, 1919, expresses much pleasure and expectations for the Palestinians and Zionists living together, seeing Zionists as contributing modern knowledge and technological advances to aid their “brother’ Palestinians.

The statement made by the Arab Higher Committee of the UN to the General Assembly in May 1947; and reiterated to the Security Council by Ahmed Shuqeiri, later chairman of the PLO, that there was no such place as Palestine, but the area was southern Syria.

The article by the Palestinian nationalist leader Musa Alami “The Lesson of Palestine,” Middle East Journal (October 1949) makes pertinent reading.

Riaz Hassan makes no mention of current policies in each Arab Muslim state relevant to Palestinians. There is definitely no sympathy towards them - in fact, antipathy would be the word - such as barring Palestinians from living in thier countries. Whilst Syria and Lebanon permit Palestinians to live in squalid camps, they are denied social or civil rights, and have limited access to health care. The most tolerant, Jordan, in 1988 withdraw citizenship from Palestinians living in the western area, but permitted them Jordanian passports.

Many Arab intellectuals and academics, such as such as Raji Sourani, and Rashid Khalidi, director of the Middle East Institute recognise Israel, and the realities, with grave consequences that certain radical Islamic groups pose, not only to Israel, but to the Arab and Iranian world. Whilst these radical groups may use Israel, or anti-Zionism as an excuse, a provocation, their intentions are wider, and much more sinister and dire for the Middle East as a whole.

The Arab League recognises Israel’s right to exist; and continue with current directives to Hamas, Hezbollah and other Muslim terrorist groups, to do the same. The Arab League realise that 1.2 billion Muslims have nothing to fear from the 5 million Jews who live in Israel.
Posted by Danielle, Saturday, 4 August 2007 8:50:34 PM
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'The causes of anti-Semitism within Islamist movements thus lie largely in the prevailing political, social and economic conditions and the conflicts arising from them. Islamic symbols are co-opted as a sacred motif for the political mobilisation of the resistance efforts.'

I understand where Riaz Hassan is coming from. But doesn't his concluding paragraph negate his whole argument. That is, the religion of Islam has intertwined itself with Palestinian resistance and is now a prime motivating force.

And therefore, Islam is a vital cog in the wheel of the perpetuation of Arab-Israeli violence.
Posted by TR, Saturday, 4 August 2007 9:16:18 PM
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