Compensation Fund for Palestinian Arabs’ and MENA Jews’ Lost Property

As the US hopefully initiates plans to dismantle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians in the Near East (UNRWA), it is an appropriate time for Israel to assess the amount of money that Palestinians are due for their lost property.

ALL Palestinians

Part of the lure that the United Nations dangled before the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) to register as refugees in the UN agency was that those people who remained in the immediate surrounding area (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza) would not only be entitled to free schooling and healthcare, subsidized housing and business loans, but would ALSO have the opportunity to either move into Israel or be compensated for the homes that were left by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents long ago. This contrasts with relatives who left the region to have careers, homes and citizenship outside of Israel’s neighbors who gave up the right to move to Israel and/or be compensated for the lost property according to the UN.

That’s absurd. Lost property is lost property.

It is time for Israel to take a full accounting of the property which Arabs left in 1948 when five Arab armies came to destroy the reestablished Jewish State of Israel. Those Arab descendants who lost property should not be limited to those who registered with UNRWA to be wards of the world. There are Arabs who live in Chile, the United Kingdom and elsewhere who should also be entitled to compensation for a lost home.

The compensation should be paid directly to the Arabs still alive from 1948. In cases in which there is no survivor, the compensation should be shared ratably among all of the descendants regardless of where they currently live and whether they are registered as “refugees” with the UN.

Such approach is consistent with the founding resolution of UNRWA and UNGA Resolution 194 which states:

 “that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;”

For 70 years it has been clear through wars, intifadas, car ramming and stabbing attacks and a leadership that continues to refuse to acknowledge the “Jewishness of Israel” and has laws for the death penalty for any Arab that sells land to a Jew, that the Palestinian Arabs are unwilling to “live at peace.” The chapter of “Right of Return” has closed. It is time to settle the issue completely with compensation.

Does that mean that third generation Palestinian Arabs living in Chile will have the same rights to compensation as the SAPs in Gaza? Absolutely. Why should they be treated differently? Just because Gazans have been living off of the world’s charity for 70 years, does not make them more entitled to compensation for lost property than Palestinians that established productive lives in new countries. A Palestinian-Canadian, Palestinian-Chilean and Gazan will all have to share from the same compensation fund.

850,000 Jews from Arab Lands

It is similarly time for the Arab countries that forced their native Jews to flee from their homes to pay compensation to them for lost property. These Jews were routed from their houses out of pure antisemitism, unlike the Arabs from Palestine that had launched a civil war over land. Each country should follow a similar program of compensating the direct party that was forced to leave their home, or their direct descendants.

  • Algeria 140,000 Jews
  • Egypt 75,000
  • Iraq 135,000
  • Lebanon 5,000
  • Libya 38,000
  • Morocco 265,000
  • Syria 30,000
  • Tunisia 105,000
  • Yemen 55,000

This total of 850,000 Jews does not include the Jews who fled Iran and Afghanistan.

The fact that the Jewish survivors of the Arab expulsion and their descendants now have citizenship in Israel, France, Canada and elsewhere make them no less entitled to compensation for lost property, just like the Palestinians with citizenship in various countries.


For 70 years the Jews and Arabs from around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have fought each other and routed people from their homes. It is time for just compensation to be made for all parties to forge a pathway to an enduring peace in the region.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

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What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The United States has seemingly made the decision to stop its voluntary contributions to UNRWA, the United Nations organization which handles the descendants of Palestinian Arab “refugees” who left what is now Israel in 1948. The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley held a talk at the Defense of Democracies where she made several comments as to why she felt that it was the correct thing to do:

  • The countries that we give money to, do they believe what we believe? Are they still actually wanting to be our partner and work with us? If they’re not and shouting ‘Death to America’ why would we give them a single penny? And so you are seeing the efforts to defunding those things that are not helpful to us and not in the United States’ interest.” (16:50)
  • UNRWA can stay there, and we will be a donor if it reforms what it does. If it goes and makes sure that they are not doing this teachings in textbooks , if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering with them.” (27:45)

The leadership of the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly shut down discussions with the Trump Administration. Senior leaders have refused to entertain the still unreleased peace plan; they have refused to stop paying stipends to the families of terrorists; they have even told Nikki Haley to “shut up.”

In short, the Palestinian Authority is a problem, the terrorist group Hamas that runs Gaza is a problem, and the UN agency that enables and encourages these two factions is also a problem.

But the New York Times could not bring itself to cover the underlying facts about the decision to cut funding to UNRWA in an unbiased fashion.


New York Times page A8 on September 1, 2018
with two stories on the US funding cuts to UNRWA

On September 1, 2018, the “news”paper ran two stories on the subject, conceivably showing two sides of the UNRWA defunding issue. One article was called “Trump Administration’s Move to Cut Aid to Palestinians Is Denounced.” The article included a picture of Arabs on line for aid with a caption “Palestinian refugees receive assistance at a distribution center managed by the United Nations in Gaza last month.” The second article was titled “Why U.S. Plans to Slash Aid to Palestinians Make Israel Uneasy.” It included a very large picture of five cute girls sitting at school desks with a caption “Students at a U.N. school in Gaza City on Wednesday. A U.N. agency faces a $217 million shortfall that could force schools to close.”

Two articles were printed together on the same topic. One article said that the U.S. move to cut its funding to UNRWA was “denounced” broadly. The second article said that the cut made Israelis “uneasy.” The clear message from the Times was that everyone thinks the move is a terrible idea, even the Israelis.

How is that two sides of an issue? Why not clearly articulate why the administration is taking the steps against the agency which the State Department called an “irredeemably flawed operation,” with an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable“?

Since the alt-left media cannot be balanced and educate readers, let’s do so here.

Refugee Definition and Headcount

A “refugee” is someone who leaves a country, not a town or a village. Such definition does not get handed down through the generations like an inheritance. There are roughly 50,000 refugees from the Arab War against Israel in 1948, not 5.3 million, as detailed below. The balance are descendants of refugees. The UN allows even more people to register for services (RPs, Registered Persons), so UNRWA actually provided services to 5.87 million people as of December 31, 2017.

UNRWA’s own definition of Palestinian refugees are “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” The area of Palestine in that window of time included Gaza and the region later to be known as the “West Bank.” Gaza holds 1.436 million “Registered Persons” and the West Bank 997,000 RPs. That’s 2.4 million people who are living in the same place, just a few miles from where their grandparents had a house. There’s no basis of calling any of these people refugees.

Basically all of the 2.287 million Palestinian Arab “RPs” living in Jordan have Jordanian citizenship. They – and their parents and grandparents – were granted citizenship after Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, illegally annexed eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (which they renamed the West Bank) in 1950 and then granted all of the non-Jewish residents citizenship in 1954 as part of their ethnic cleansing of Jews and illegal seizure. These Palestinian-Jordanian citizens have no fear of persecution. Indeed, the Queen of Jordan is herself a descendant of Palestinians. As such, all of these 2.3 million people have no basis of being called refugees.

The balance of the RPs in Syria (618,000) and Lebanon (532,000) who are over 70 years old who left Palestine because of the 1948 War could be called Palestinian refugees. What percentage of the 1.15 million people were born before May 1948? The estimate is that 6.78% of Lebanon is over the age of 65. Using a very conservative 5% figure for people 70+ who fled Palestine because of war would yield a actual refugee count of approximately 57,000 people; the actual number is likely 1/10th of that.

The United Nations is perpetuating UNRWA and its budget through a grossly exaggerated count of refugees, by well over 100 times!

UNRWA Budget

UNRWA claimed a needed budget in 2016/7 of $760 million. That equates to $129 spent per person on the overstated 5.87 million RPs. The other United Nations agency tasked with helping refugees – real ones by the way – is the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That group handles 68.5 million people, from war-town areas including South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria (63.1 million stripping out 5.4m Palestinians registered with UNRWA). These refugees typically have nothing as they flee their regions, needing basic items including food, clothing and shelter, let alone medicine and schools. UNHCR had $4 billion of expenditures to care for these people in 2017, roughly $63 per person. That means that UNHCR spent 51% less per person for people with dire needs all over the world, compared to UNRWA which has been around for decades, with established facilities.

The main cause is staffing. UNHCR had a staff of 11,517 around the world as of May 2018. Meanwhile, UNRWA had a staff of 30,799. The staff-to-RPs ratios for Palestinians was 1 UN staff member for every 190 people needing assistance, but only 1 UN staffer for every 5,479 people at UNHCR for refugees with real emergency needs. That’s an over-staffing problem at UNRWA of 29 times – even using the grossly exaggerated UNRWA definition of refugee.

UNRWA’s Abused and Outdated Mission Statement

UNRWA has a flawed mission statement at its core, quite unique relative to the UNHCR.

The UNHR’s mission statement states clearly:

“UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. In its efforts to achieve this objective,the Office strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State,and to return home voluntarily. By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle permanently in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight.”

As noted above, the 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are already in “their own country.” The 2.3 million Palestinians living in safety and security and enjoying citizenship in Jordan are settled “in another country.” Under UNHCR’s definition, there would be no facilities in those locations.

However, UNRWA was created as different kind of agency. General Assembly Resolution 302 in December 1949 sought to create UNRWA at a time when Egypt controlled Gaza, Jordan had the “West Bank,” and Israel assumed even more land than had been considered under the 1947 Partition Plan. The resolution referred to UNGA Resolution 194 – and paragraph 11 in particular – which stated:

“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

“Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;”

Unlike the UNHCR, which seeks to make sure that refugees are safe and settled SOMEWHERE, UNRWA only seeks to have Palestinians going to their HOMES. Not to their country or another country, but to the actual house where people once lived. While that may have been a somewhat logical approach right after the war 70 years ago, the idea of moving into a house that no longer exists in towns that have been completely rebuilt is nonsensical.

Yet, UNRWA is unswayed. It insists that the Palestinian refugees will return to the exact town and home. It even features skeleton keys above the entrance to its camps, as a symbol of such “Right of Return.”

UNRWA Facilitating Terrorism

Beyond the flawed core mission of UNRWA – and perhaps because of it – the organization is a horribly biased actor in the peace process between the Arabs and Israelis.

The school textbooks have long denied the history of Jews throughout the holy land and promote antisemitism. The schools refuse to teach about the Holocaust and UNRWA teachers use Facebook to promote terrorism against Israelis.

In Gaza, the situation is particularly untenable, as the area is governed by the terrorist group Hamas which has launched three wars against Israel in 2008, 2012 and 2014. UNRWA does not sit idly as a neutral party in these battles. UNRWA teachers have been active fighters, building bombs for terrorist groups, and allowing schools to be used to store weapons and as missile launching sites.

The UNRWA-terrorism problem has been going on for a long time. James Lindsay, a former general counsel for UNRWA from 2000 to 2007, penned a report in January 2009 where he wrote “UNRWA has taken very few steps to detect and eliminate terrorists from the ranks of its staff or its beneficiaries, and no steps at all to prevent members of terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, from joining its staff.

In October 2015, during the Obama Administration, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen introduced H.R. 3829, The UNRWA Anti-Incitement and Anti-Terrorism Act, which sought to defund UNRWA unless and until it made significant changes. The bill had three Republican co-sponsors but did not get much traction. And the US kept sending UNRWA its voluntary contributions.

Finally in 2018, the United States appears ready to follow through with actions after a decade-plus of discussions.

Funding Sources

Almost the entirety of UNRWA’s funding comes from voluntary donations. There is no assessment nor formula for which country is required to give how much.

Every year, decade-after-decade, it has been the United States that has been the single largest contributor to UNRWA. In 2017, the USA gave $364 million. The European Union gave $142 million. The individual counties’ contributions were relatively light: Germany $76 million; United Kingdom $67 million; Sweden $61 million.

The Muslim and Arab states gave paltry sums, especially considering their constant attacks against Israel at the United Nations. Saudi Arabia $53 million; UAE $12.8 million; Kuwait $9 million; Turkey $6.7 million; Kuwaiti Fund $4.9 million; Dubai Cares $3.8 million; Qatar $1 million; Kuwait Patients Fund $100,000.

Zero from Iran. Nothing from Bahrain. No Oman. No Morocco. No Pakistan. The entire Arab and Muslim world gave less than 25% of the American donation.

But as Nikki Haley pointed out, the generosity of the United States is treated with scorn and demands for more.


UNRWA is a deeply flawed organization and has been so for decades. It has been an embarrassment that the United States has done so little to reform the organization over the past decade and that liberal media still cannot accurately report on the agency’s corruption and failings. More kudos to Nikki Haley for underscoring plain facts, and to the Trump team of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt for their efforts to reform the UN to help advance an enduring peace in the Arab-Israel conflict.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

The UN Must Pay to Repair the Gaza Fence

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

The UN Wants “Real Stories on REAL Refugees”

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Jordan’s Hypocrisy about UNRWA

The Hamas Theme Song (CSNY)

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A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

There is a famous restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina called Hyman’s Seafood. Its menu is replete with non-kosher goodies like shrimp, crabs and calamari. The locals love the family run business – now in its fifth generation of management – as do the various celebrities and tourists who often must wait outside in line for up to an hour to enjoy the food and ambiance.

The warmth of the restaurant is very much part of the appeal. In addition to the many autographed pictures of movie stars that adorn the walls, are small cards sprinkled around the two-story building with sayings and words of advice. They include funny and off-color comments about relationships as well as more thoughtful sayings from important people such as Rabbi Israel Salanter. Yes, that’s a rabbi card in a traif restaurant.

The peculiarity keeps going. The storefront has mezuzahs on each door. There is even an option to have kosher food brought in from the local Chabad!

You see, the owners of Hyman’s are all about attitude. They envision a world that is inclusive, positive and happy. Their formula for creating that world includes spreading those messages throughout the store, and they live that credo by finding a way to enable every person to eat in their restaurant – even those that cannot eat the food because of dietary restrictions.

Pretty incredible.

Not surprisingly, the owners run their business in the same fashion. They have a sign on one of the walls that reads: “If you like us, tell others. If not, tell us!

It’s so simple and basic. Spread positive messages to everyone you can. Encourage others to frequent the establishment. Boost the store’s image and popularity.

However, if there are issues that bother you, don’t tell others about the perceived problems, but bring them up to management. Be constructive and the owners will make the effort to address the matter to the extent that they can. Don’t write letters to newspapers or get on social media with the bad news, as those actions would be detrimental to the business.

It is a simple concept that too many liberal self-declared “pro-Israel” groups and people fail to comprehend.

J Street and New Israel Fund

J Street’s tagline is that they are “pro-Israel,” even though it actively undermines Israel on the global stage. The group lobbied the Obama Administration to censure Israel at the United Nations and declare Jews living in the eastern part of the promised land to be illegal! How can such a group possibly be considered pro-Israel? Would someone who likes Hyman’s Seafood report them to the Department of Health? Trash them on Yelp?

The New Israel Fund supports Breaking the Silence which does media tours undermining the Israeli Defense Forces. How is that being constructive in working with the Israeli government itself to find ways to improve?

It’s not, and it’s not appreciated by the Israeli government.

Liberal “Balance”

Supporters of J Street and the New Israel Fund like Rabbi Sharon Brous believe that they truly love Israel and are simply trying to understand all sides of the situation with Palestinian Arabs. Brous penned a letter in the Los Angeles Times on August 26, 2018 about her taking her daughter to Hebron in an effort to show her “the other side,” which included “the harshest effects of the occupation.” Her letter described how difficult life was for the 200,000 Palestinian Arabs because some Jews wanted to reestablish the Jewish community there. She relayed how extreme and racist these Jews were.

Did she show a real balance to her daughter? Did she speak to the 93% of Palestinian Arabs that are antisemites? Did she tell her daughter that when the city was under Muslim control Jews were forbidden from even climbing the steps of the Tomb of the Jewish Patriarchs, let alone pray there? Did she educate her daughter that the Palestinian Authority has a law that calls for the death penalty for any Arab selling a home to Jews? That its president has demanded a Jew-free country?

Brous didn’t really show her daughter a complete or honest story. And that is her business to educate her daughter in a manner she desires.

However, her daughter wasn’t her real audience. The daughter was merely a tool for her to write to the whole world. Brous published her opinion piece marketed as a story in the widely read LA Times to publicly vilify Israel, written in a smug fashion of being an honest educator and parent.

The readers of paper understood the message: lovers of Israel think the country is vile too.


If groups like J Street and NIF, and public Jewish leaders like Brous want to be included in the pro-Israel community, they must learn a simple lesson from Hyman’s Seafood: if you have an issue, bring it up with directly with the party in charge. In public, sing the praises loudly to all.

Today’s self-declared “pro-Israel” alt-left groups and rabbis are harmful to Israel. Until these groups and individuals make major fundamental changes, they should be excluded from any pro-Israel forums, including schools, synagogues and umbrella Zionist organizations.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Denying Entry and Citizenship

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

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When the Democrats Opposed the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Israel’s Channel 2 reported over the weekend that US President Donald Trump was prepared to push the Palestinian Authority to end its so-called “Right of Return” in which millions of descendants of Palestinian Arabs that left homes in what is now Israel, be granted the right to return. Various news stories picked up the story as something new and fantastic including the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva.


Senior Advisor Jared Kushner Meets with Acting-P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas
(Photo: AP)

It is remarkable to witness how the tenure of former President Obama was so pro-Palestinian, that people have forgotten that the Democratic Party also was against the “Right of Return” before Obama took office.

The 2008 Democratic Platform (drafted pre-Obama) stated clearly that:

“[t]he creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.

That is, there are one of two ways that the Palestinian Arabs will be compensated for lost property: either through monetary compensation, or by permitting them to move to the new country of Palestine. There would be NO right of return into Israel.

Should President Trump move to close the return issue demanded by the Palestinians, he would simply be reverting back to the standard bipartisan approach that both Democrats and Republicans used before Obama’s aggressive push of the Palestinian Arab agenda. That Trump’s action is being viewed as novel says more about how far the Obama administration shifted the Democratic Party and the media away from Israeli-leaning positions than the Trump action itself.


Related First.One.through articles:

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

The “Great Myth of Return”

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

Losing Rights

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

The UN Must Pay to Repair the Gaza Fence

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

First.One.Through video:

I Hate Israel – Right of Return

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J Street Saddened by Passage of Palestinian Basic Law

A satire.

 

J Street’s tagline is “the political home of pro-Palestinian, pro-peace Americans.” It is not surprising that a group with such orientation would voice its strong displeasure with the Palestinian Basic Law, sayingThis is a sad day for Palestine and all who care about its democracy and its future.

J Street noted some troubling clauses in the Permanent Constitution Draft. Consider Article 2:

“Palestine is part of the Arab homeland. The state of Palestine abides by the Charter of the League of Arab States. The Palestinian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations. Arab unity is a goal. The Palestinian people work on behalf of its realization.”

J Street was horrified to only see “Arab” written throughout the text. Where was the space for non-Arabs? Why was Palestine ascribed to be part only of the Islamic nations? How were non-Muslims going to feel about such language?

The language would get even worse as the text continued to become more specific. Consider Article 4:

“Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and seat of its public authorities.”

How could the Palestinians state that Jerusalem is its capital when the Israelis claim the city for its eternal capital? Such a declaration spits in the face of Israel and diminishes a chance for peace and reconciliation.

Article 5 added to the problems:

“Arabic is the official language and Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions are accorded sanctity and respect. The constitution guarantees equality in rights and duties to all citizens irrespective of their religious creed.”

J Street was apoplectic about this clause. Why wasn’t Hebrew included as an official language? Why was Islam declared as the only official religion? The Basic Law mentioned that Christianity would be accorded “sanctity and respect,” but the law would not even mention the word “Judaism.” What kind of respect was the Palestinian Law truly giving when it could not even bring itself to mention Jews and Judaism?

J Street’s press release was biting:

“The Israeli minority that lives in the West Bank already face terrible job persecution and have a difficult time buying land due to Palestinian law that forbids any Arab from selling land to a Jew (subject to penalty of death). The laws laid out in the Constitution further reiterate that Israeli Palestinians are second class in their own homeland.

“This is an alarming trend of Palestine pulling back from its commitments to become a liberal democracy and moving in an increasingly theocratic, authoritarian and xenophobic direction.”

J Street commented that it was concerned about Mahmoud Abbas’s recent comments that he will continue paying the families of murderers monthly stipends. “Several left-wing NGOs receive some of that money,” J Street noted. “But not enough.

J Street’s President Jeremy al-Ami, said that “We need more outspoken opposition to the far-right policies of xenophobia shown by Abbas and his cronies. We need more voices questioning the horrible laws and declarations in the Palestinian Constitution to make a better life for Israelis and Palestinians and Israeli Palestinians and Palestinian Israelis.


Arab MK Ayman Odeh at J Street Conference was given a warm welcome.
Odeh would later refuse to meet with Jewish leaders because the meeting
was on the same floor as the Jewish Agency.


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Netanyahu’s Doctoral Thesis on the Nakba

Palestinian Job Fair for Peace

Fun With Cause-and-Effect: Gaza Border Protests

Israel’s Kite Business Gets a Second Wind

Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

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Every Picture Tells a Story: Fire

The summer of 2018 was a story of fire.

Fires raged through California, consuming thousands of acres. Fires raged in Greece, killing scores.

The front pages of The New York Times featured color photographs of these horrible incidents. The pictures captured the roaring flames, the burnt forests, the exhausted firefighters.

The daily front page articles showed the destruction. The captions under the pictures gave readers a sense of the unfolding efforts to contain the blaze, even as it updated the daily loss of life.

But not in Israel.

Every day for the length of the summer, Palestinian Arab arsonists sent firebombs aloft into Israel. Using kites and healium filled balloons and condoms, the terrorists sought to inflict damage to Israelis with a new approach that let the masses participate in the battle against Israel.

Yet despite the thousands of acres burned, The New York Times never posted a front page picture of the Arab arsonists. It never broadcast clearly the terrible damage of the scorched fields which Israelis had cultivated.

It never posted a caption clearly describing the terrorist and the victim.

For the New York Times, tragedy is a dish best served among friends.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Every Picture Tells a Story: Anti-Semitism

Every Picture Tells a Story: No Need for #MeToo for Palestinians

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Killed Terrorists

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It?

The United Nations’ Select Concern for Arson in the Middle East

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Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law Advances a Two-State Solution

In November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan (UNGA Resolution 181) to be implemented in the Holy Land for when the British ended their administration of Palestine. The resolution proposed that two states be established in the area west of the Jordan River: a Jewish State and an Arab State. The resolution mentioned the term “Jewish State” a full 27 times.

But the world never quite understood what a “Jewish State” meant. The modern world never had witnessed such a thing.

Conversely, an “Arab State” seemed clear. There already were many Arab countries in the world. There were also many Muslim countries. People had a pretty good understanding of what such countries looked like and how they operated. The number of both Arab and Muslim countries would grow over the following decades.

After the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, the Palestinian Arabs would begin to define what their proposed Arab State would look like. In the waning days of the five year transition period that began in September 1995, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him), ordered a draft Palestinian Constitution be prepared. The initial draft Palestinian constitution was completed in 2001.

It made a few points abundantly clear: a State of Palestine would be Arab and be Muslim.

  • This constitution is based on the will of the Arab Palestinian people.” (Article 1)
  • The Arab Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, liberty, equality, human dignity, and their right to practice self-determination and sovereignty over their land.” (Article 2)
  • The Palestinian people are a part of the Arab and Islamic nations.” (Article 3)
  • Arabic shall be the official language.” (Article 5)
  • Islam shall be the official religion of the state. The monotheistic religions shall be respected.” (Article 6)
  • The principles of the Islamic Shari`a are a primary source for legislation. The legislative branch shall determine personal status law under the authority of the monotheistic religions according to their denominations, in keeping with the provisions of the constitution and the preservation of unity, stability, and advancement of the Palestinian people.” (Article 7)
  • Sovereignty belongs to the Palestinian Arab people. Its prerogatives shall be exercised by the people directly, by means of elected representatives, by referendum, and through their constitutional institutions.” (Article 10)

It goes on, and the point is underscored: a new Palestinian State would be Arab and Islamic.

Even without a state, the Palestinian Authority created a framework of what it meant to be a Palestinian State. Yet, Israel, which had been a country since May 1948, never defined what it meant to be a Jewish State.

Until 2018.

Israel – like the United Kingdom and New Zealand – does not have a constitution. Instead, it issues a series of “Basic Laws.” These laws enumerate key principles of the country. Until July 2018, the government of Israel did not declare what it meant to be a Jewish State in any of the Basic Laws, even while it enumerated other key attributes such as human dignity and liberty. There were Jewish symbols and Jewish holidays used in Israel, but those could easily be replaced with any new law. The State of Israel was only de facto a Jewish State. Nothing more.


Emblem of Israel, the seven branched menorah, as depicted in the Arch of Titus in Rome, celebrating the sacking of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.

That de facto existence has been more than enough for Arabs and anti-Zionists. Thirty Arab and Muslim countries still refuse to recognize the existence of Israel. For his part, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has stated that Palestinian Arabs “will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel.” The PA would make peace with the government of Israel simply as a counter-party to an agreement. However, it still objected to the basic formula laid out since 1947 of two states for two people: a Jewish State and an Arab State.

And Abbas could comfortably delude himself into that reality because Israel never proclaimed itself in its own Basic Laws that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people. The country operated like a Jewish man wearing a baseball cap instead of a kippah, acting religiously without the public declaration of being Jewish. The Jew and anti-Semite could play the farce of doing business and getting along with each other with the fig leaf of deniability.

No longer. The public declaration has been made. The Jew is out of the closet. Deal with your anti-Semitism if you want to live next to Israel, and strike treaties and do business with the Jewish State.

In 2018, the State of Israel declared itself the Nation-State of the Jewish people. For anyone that held out hope for a two state solution built on a solid foundation, there is only cause for optimism and joy.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

The Basic Law’s “Unique” Problem

Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law is Not Based on Religion

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Palestinian State I Oppose

No Jews Allowed in Palestine

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

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The Basic Law’s “Unique” Problem

After Israel announced its 2018 Basic Law of the Nation State of the Jewish People, many people became incensed. Some were the usual suspects who hate anything that Israel does such as the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan. Others were parties that say they are pro-Israel while they attack the State, like the left-wing group J Street, which declared on its website that it was “a sad day for Israel and all who care about its democracy and its future.” Other left-wing groups and non-Orthodox rabbis made similar comments.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not care much about the complaints from these left-wing groups and non-Orthodox rabbis. It was a somewhat surprising reaction to chose to ignore them considering that one of the points in the 2018 Nation-State Law stated clearly that Israel was the nation state of all Jews, including the left-wing Jews that despise his administration.

However, Netanyahu did become upset when he learned that the Law upset the Druze minority that account for roughly 1.7% of Israeli citizens. The Druze have always been loyal Israeli patriots and are found in every aspect of Israeli society. When Netanyahu learned of the Druze protest, he announced that he would review the language of the law.


Druze protest in Tel Aviv, August 2018

Much of the Basic Law did not break new ground. For example, the national symbols of Israel have always been Jewish symbols. Jerusalem has always been the nation’s capital, and was already so noted in a Basic Law in 1980.

So why did the Druze protest? Why have so many non-Orthodox Jewish rabbis denounced the declaration?

The major reason for the controversy surrounds clause 1c, and the use of the word “unique.”

“The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”

The other statements the law’s items 1a and 1b were simply factual statements for anyone that understands Israel and history. International law in 1920 (San Remo Conference Declaration) and 1922 (Mandate of Palestine) underscored that the land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, and it is there that the Jewish people fulfill their “natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.

Item 1c went a step further, declaring that ONLY Jews had the right to national self-determination.

Those in favor of the law saw nothing exceptional about the clause. There was no threat to the nation’s democratic ideals as every citizen – Jew and non-Jew – still had an individual rights to self-determination and full protection under the country’s laws.

However, the Druze and non-Orthodox Jewish community saw things very differently.

The Druze Community

The Druze community came about in the 11th century as an offshoot to Islam. Most of the Druze view themselves as predominantly connected to other Druze, while still remaining loyal to the country in which they reside. The majority live in Syria and Lebanon, with roughly 15% living in northern Israel. Today, the Druze number roughly 1 million people in total.

Like the Kurds, the Druze never had an independent country, and the global powers did not carve out a space for them when the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War I. Unlike the Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, they did not seek to destroy the Jewish State at its founding in 1948.

The Israeli Druze view themselves as completely part of the Israel. Roughly 60% of Druze have served or are serving in the Israeli military, just slightly less than the 75% of Israeli men that have served or are serving. That compares to fewer than 1% of Israeli Arabs who serve in the Israeli army.

The Druze’s proud participation in Israeli society is drastically different than Israeli Arabs. They have no qualms in calling themselves “Israeli Druze,” in sharp contrast to many Israeli Arabs that prefer to call themselves “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” leading with their allegiance to a combatant entity that has warred against the Jewish State since its inception.

For many Druze, the Nation-State Basic Law made them question the nature of patriotism: was it a one way street? Several Druze army officers resigned in protest.

Non-Orthodox rabbis and Left-Wing Groups

For the non-Orthodox rabbis in the United States, the issue was philosophical. Their approach to Judaism and Israel is about universalism and not particularism as detailed in this article. As such, the word “unique” produced a knee-jerk protest.

Left-wing groups (which have more than a few non-Orthodox rabbis in leadership positions) claim their own version of universalism: a world in which everyone and everything is the same. That means no special rights or preferences for anyone that is in the majority or position of power, especially if they are white men. Any move to create rights and protections issued by such powerful white men on behalf of the majority must be inherently bigoted and racist.

Most fundamentally, the Basic Law calling for a “unique” right for the Jewish people in Israel undermines the far left’s two-state solution of 1.5  states for Arabs and 0.5 state for Jews, instead promoting a single state for Jews and a single state for Arabs.

Next Steps

As Netanyahu considers making alterations to the law, he might be able to satisfy both the Druze community and left-wing groups by dropping the word “unique” in statement 1c, but that would make it redundant with clause 1b.

However Netanyahu must know that the Druze have never fought for an independent state and never had one, let alone in northern Israel.

Netanyahu certainly realizes that the Druze did not protest the 1950 Law of Return which only granted Jews an expedited pathway to citizenship.

Israeli leaders can see that the Syrian Druze are loyal citizens to the Syria Arab Republic which has stated in its constitution that it opposes the very existence of Israel and is only an Islamic state. Did Druze loyalty in Syria collapse because of its warring stance and its view of religious hegemony? Not at all.

The handful of protests by Israeli Druze are sparked by the knowledge that the Jewish left and European funded-NGOs will embrace its cause and fight side-by-side in the streets. In Syria, disloyalty is addressed with expulsion and extinction. But in the Jewish State there is a left-wing army that is willing to join their protests in a manner that never existed in 1920, 1948, 1950, 1967 or 1980. The far left-wing will now combat the Israeli government in the streets of Israel, throughout the parliaments of Europe and in the halls of the United Nations.

Perhaps Netanyahu could replace clause 1c with a declaration that Judaism is the official religion of the State of Israel, just as many other democracies have official national religions. It would be interesting to see if the Basic Law opponents would be more comfortable with such declaration.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People

Israel’s Nation-State Basic Law is Not Based on Religion

Israel’s Colonial Neighbors from Arabia

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

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No Jews Allowed in Palestine

The acting-president of the Palestinian Authority made his desire for a country devoid of Jews in a statement in July 2013 when he declared:

“In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”

Some Palestinian-apologists tried to divorce the statement from antisemitism by noting that Abbas said that he didn’t want “Israelis,” not Jews. Those apologists ignored Palestinian law that forbids the sale of land to any Jew, not just Israelis. It ignored the repeated assertion by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority that Jews have no history in Israel. It whitewashed the Hamas Charter‘s rant against Jews around the world.

President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry tried to further invert reality and cause-and-effect by stating in December 2016:

“Does anyone here really believe that the settlers will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine?”

Suggesting that it is not Arab antisemitism but Israeli Jews unwilling to coexist that underscores the Palestinian Authority goal of a Jew-free country.

But the facts are clear as laid out in a March 2018 Palestinian poll which found that 63% of Palestinian Arabs want to forbid any Jews from living in their country. While slightly better than the 93% of Palestinian Arabs that were found to be anti-Semitic in a 2014 ADL poll, the horrifying results are abundantly clear that the Palestinian’s hatred is not limited to Israelis but about all Jews generally.

Israel as a Jewish State,
Palestine Open to Jews

Mahmoud Abbas criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that a final peace agreement include a statement that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Abbas’s protests included comments that such a recognition was not required in peace deals with Jordan or Egypt, and that such a recognition would harm the status of Israeli Arabs.

It is quite a pool of hypocritical spittle.

Neither Jordan nor Egypt have laws that forbid the sale of land to Jews nor have they made statements that Jews are unwelcome in their respective countries. Meanwhile Palestinians have fabricated a narrative that only Arabs have a history and claim on the holy land.

If Abbas is truly worried about the status of Israeli Arabs (who prefer to live in Israel over a future Palestinian state), he should be able to empathize with Israelis’ fear about the status of Jews in a potential Palestine. Maybe Netanyahu would waive the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State in exchange for a clear Palestinian declaration that Jews are welcome to live and pray in Jewish holy sites throughout Palestine.

It could go a long way to normalizing relations between Jews and Arabs and ending the prevalent antisemitism in Arab society.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

The Palestinian State I Oppose

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

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While the UNSC Debates Israel-or-Hamas Regarding Gaza, Gazans Debate Whether to Stay-or-Go

On May 30, 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations placed most of the blame for the latest violence and terrible living conditions in Gaza on the de facto ruling party there, the terrorist group Hamas. Haley stated:

“The Palestinian people of Gaza are facing desperate humanitarian hardships. We want to help address their needs. We support Special Coordinator Mladenov’s engagement to restart initiatives that could improve conditions in Gaza…. The Palestinian people deserve a better life. That can only happen if we acknowledge and reject the terrorist actions of Hamas and if we encourage more responsible Palestinian leadership.”

Haley continued to comment at the UN Security Council against the biased narrative that the problems in the region stem from Israel. She declared that the primary problem was Hamas.

Is Haley correct that Palestinians truly want to live in peace with Israel, and it is just the ruling terrorist party that foments violence in an attempt to destroy the Jewish State?

Palestinian Poll

The Palestinian Arabs poll themselves every quarter. The public opinion poll #67 was published on April 1, 2018, with interesting findings about Palestinians’ views of Israel, the peace process, Hamas and the leader of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

  1. Israel is a leading democracy. Remarkably, Palestinians are incredibly impressed with the democratic institutions that they see in Israel. When voting on “good” democracies, Turkey garnered a 64% approval; Israel 57%; France 55%; Palestinian Authority 23%; and Egypt 10%.
  2. No real desire for Peace. Despite considering Israel as a leading democracy, Palestinians are not particularly interested in peace with the Jewish State. 48% want a return to an armed intifada. 50% oppose a two-state solution. 52% want to cancel recognition of Israel and a suspension of the Oslo Accords. 63% of Palestinians oppose the idea of allowing any Jew to live in a future Palestinian state as either a citizen or resident.
  3. The Arab world has moved on from Palestinian Cause. Because of the “Arab Spring” upending countries in the region and the emergence of a Sunni-versus-Iran regional confrontation, 74% of Palestinians believe that the Palestinian cause is no longer a primary concern in the Arab world.
  4. Hatred for Abbas. 68% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, not much of a change from the 70% that wanted him to resign in December 2017. If Abbas ran against the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, in presidential elections he would lose, just as he would have lost in every poll conducted over the past several years.
  5. Done with the US. 88% of Palestinian Arabs believe that the US is biased towards Israel and 65% oppose resuming any talks with the US administration.
  6. Expectations for peace. Only 9% of Palestinians believe that there will be peace in 10, 25 or even 100 years.
  7. Time to move. A growing percentage of Gazans want to immigrate to other countries, now at 45% of the population, up from 41% in December 2017. The percentage is only 19% for Arabs in the West Bank.

According to the polls, Palestinians are indeed fed up with their leadership, but more with Abbas than Hamas. That sentiment is more pronounced in Gaza (81%) than the West Bank (62%).

So when Haley calls out for encouraging “more responsible Palestinian leadership,” the answer must be a COMPLETE overhaul of the Palestinian leadership including the current acting-president Abbas and the ruling government in Gaza, Hamas. In the current configuration, no relief will come to Gaza and no peace between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

At the UN Security Council, the US is debating the rest of the council in a Hamas-versus-Israel narrative as it relates to Gaza. But in Gaza, the conclusions are in: they are fed up. They hate Abbas even more than Hamas and have no interest in coexistence with Jews or the Jewish State. For Gazans, the debate is only whether to stay or to go.


Gazans attempt a “reverse flotilla” to leave Gaza and break
the Israeli navy blockade on May 30, 2018 (photo: Associated Press)


Related First.One.Through articles:

An Inconvenient Truth: Palestinian Polls

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

Nikki Haley Channels Robert Aumann at the UN Security Council

Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

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