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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Israel's forgotten Palestinians

Monday, February 09, 2009

FOCUS: ISRAEL VOTES
Israel's forgotten Palestinians
By Ahmed El Amraoui

Palestinian women and girls are the most disadvantaged sector of the Israeli population [EPA]

The rising mistrust of Israelis towards the Palestinian citizens of Israel raises the question of what will happen to the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, who already suffer discrimination.

While they used to make up the majority of the population of Palestine before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, only 150,000 out of 950,000 native Palestinians remain within what is now known as the state of Israel.

After this tragic war and the forced expulsion of the people – known by Arabs as al-Nakba, or the Catastrophe - Israeli forces occupied 213 villages and expelled more than 400,000 refugees before the British mandate ended on May 15, 1949.

After the defeat of Arab forces in December 1948, Israel confiscated nearly 85 per cent of the territory. Most of this land was taken from about 800,000 Palestinians from 531 villages, cities and tribes, who were thrown out or fled in fear of their lives.

Those who remain

Today, the Palestinians who remain in Israel account for less than 20 per cent of the population, roughly numbering 1.4 million of a total population of 7.3 million.

As part of its longstanding effort to "divide and rule", Israel identifies them as "Arab Israelis" rather than the Palestinian citizens of Israel to separate them from their kin in occupied territories.

The majority of them live in all-Palestinian towns and villages located in three main areas: in Galilee in the north, in the "little triangle" in the centre, and in the Naqab, or Negev, as it is referred to in Hebrew.

By referring to the desert area of Naqab as Negev, Israel tries to achieve a fait-accompli to erase what remains for the natives - a name.

Up to 220,000 indigenous Palestinians are displaced within Israel and not allowed to return to their homes, while 43 villages, where more than 70,000 Palestinians live, are not recognised by Israel.

All citizens are equal?

Israel identifies itself as a state "Jewish in essence and democratic in character".

Azmi Bishara, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and a former member of the Knesset, says it is unrealistic and prejudiced for Israel to be both Jewish and democratic.

"I would call it trivial democracy. It is a democracy for Jews," Bishara told Al Jazeera.

He called for a fair and impartial state for all Israeli citizens, taking into account the sizeable non-Jewish community.

"The Israeli state was established in 1948 on the ruins of the Palestinian people. Now if you want, in the language which will be known probably in Australia or America or even in South Africa, we are indigenous people, the natives of the place," Bishara said.

"And Israel was built on our ruins. We did not immigrate to Israel in order to become Israelis, like many French people would like the Algerians to integrate into France or to be accepted as equal citizens.

"We did not choose to be Israelis. Israel came to Palestine, destroyed Palestine and emerged from the ruins of Palestine.

"We are Arab Palestinians. Israeli identity does not exist even according to Israel - they insist their identity is Jewish. There is no such thing as Jewish Israeli identity.

"Our Israeli citizenship was forced upon us. Now we use it as a framework for work to demand equality."

Racism and discrimination

Discrimination favouring "Jewish nationals" pervades nearly all walks of life, depriving Palestinians from enjoying their social, civil, cultural, political and economic rights.

Negatively indentified as "non-Jews" in Israeli statistics, and subdivided into groups according to religious affiliation rather than nationality, Israeli law establishes Jewish nationality status as well as Israeli citizenship as differentiated levels of civil status.

The theocratic character of the Israeli legal system is shown by the fact that the enjoyment of full rights is determined by faith.

In depth


Al Jazeera's coverage of the Israel elections
Palestinian women and girls are the most disadvantaged sector of the Israeli population. They are the lowest paid and least educated segment, subject to legal abuse and inadequate judicial protection.

Every year, Israel demolishes dozens of houses belonging to Palestinian Bedouin in unrecognised villages in Naqab, leaving dozens of families without shelter.

"Most Palestinians in Israel live in discrimination in all walks of life. They cannot go back to their villages. They become internal refugees, living 5km from their villages, from which they were driven away, and cannot go back to their properties," he said.

"There is a phenomenon called 'unrecognised villages'. Villages that should not be there, although they were there before the state of Israel emerged. So, it is a severe case of discrimination."

Figures and statistics

According to a report released by the Israel Democracy Institute in June 2007, about 56 per cent of the Jews in Israel publicly voice their opposition to full equality for the Arabs.

As many as 78 per cent of them reject the idea Arab parties should join the government or any crucial political decision-making body.

Other Israeli statistics show that half of Israel’s non-Jewish population is defined as "poor".

Among non-Jewish citizens, 51.2 per cent of the families were poor as opposed to 15.4 per cent of the Jewish families in 2006, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

As stated by the Law of Return, relatives of Palestinian citizens of Israel abroad cannot return to Israel, while Jews automatically qualify for citizenship.

Most worryingly, 66 per cent of Jews do not trust Palestinian citizens of Israel and 55 per cent of them think that they should leave Israel.

Government prejudice

Tzipi Livni, the current foreign minister of Israel and a frontrunner in the race to become the next prime minister, told a group of secondary school students in Tel Aviv on December 11, 2008, that Palestinian Israelis should not remain in Israel once a Palestinian state is eventually created.

"My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two distinct national entities," Livni was quoted by army radio as saying.

"And among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Arab Israelis, and tell them: 'Your national aspirations lie elsewhere,'" Livni said.

Another party leader who advocates Livni's plan is Avigdor Lieberman, whose party Yisrael Beiteinu seems set to become the third-largest in Israel.

Lieberman also wants to strip citizenship from Palestinian citizens of Israel, whom he considers to be disloyal to the "Jewish state".

The rising popularity of Lieberman reflects the general mood of the Jews towards the indigenous population.

Such discrimination does not exist against Jews in Arab countries. In Morocco, for instance, Jews are well integrated in the society and Andre Azoulay, a Moroccan Jew, is a senior adviser to King Mohammed VI.

Israel is not accountable for such prejudiced measures, but if such things happen to Jews anywhere in the world, they will be considered anti-semitic.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera.
Source: Al Jazeera
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 10:10 AM
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That's a very good article, and it touches on one of the most troubling aspects of our ongoing coddling of the Israelis and their despicable actions internally and amongst their neighbors. The US should not be lending support for theocracies, especially aggressively racist hegemons.
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-15-2009, 02:48 PM
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The Israeli society might be one of the most, if not the most, racist in the world. It's not just a Jew vs. non-Jew prejudice but also discrimination between Jews themselves. Jews are categorised into Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Mizrahim, Mustaaribim, etc. There was a famous case of Jewish Yemeni babies being kidnapped from their parents and given to other Jewish families to raise them as better, more civilised Jews.

Dr. Azmi Bishara, a Palestinian Christian politician and a member of the Israeli Knesset for more than 10 years, provided political analysis on alJazeera TV almost daily during Israel's last offensive. He was very pro-resistance.. a 180 degrees change from his earlier support of peace talks. As an insider to Israeli politics, he knows of Israel's ingenuousness towards peace. His views were a big blow to those who fear/accuse Hamas of Islamisation of the conflict. He had written books on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Arabic, English and German.
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Tahloube View Post
The Israeli society might be one of the most, if not the most, racist in the world. It's not just a Jew vs. non-Jew prejudice but also discrimination between Jews themselves. .....
So the joos have a monopoly on discrimination do they?

Please explain to me what part of the Sunni/Shia conflict stands as an example of brotherhood for the rest of the world.

Is it the fratricide that occurred between the two following the second gulf war?

Is it the 8 year war between Iran and Iraq?

Is it the persecution of Sunnis in Saudi Arabia?

Is the wholesale murder of blacks in Darfur a good example of Muslim tolerance?
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Shia and Sunni often don't see eye to eye, and would probably even more frequently fight each other.
The State of Israel, and what both Sunni and Shia regard as theft of Palestinian lands by squatters, seems to be a powerful and unifying influence (when it comes to the Jewish State).

The 8 year war between Iraq (who started it), and Iran (I was living there at the time) came IMO about when the U.S. biggest disaster re foreign policy Jimmy Carter let she Shah fall like a hot potato, opening the door to the Islamo radicalization of the Middle East (without Iran's support groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc,etc, wouldn't be a big factor today). The withdrawal of support for the Shah, in the opinion of many, set in motion the first domino in a chain of events, i.e. from the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan to the later spread of the Taliban and a power base for Al Qaeda / Osama Bin Laden which brought about 9/11, and the later US/Nato vs Taliban War, the Iraq - Iran War with massive US support of Saddam Hussein from intelligence, logistics to arms, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, resulting in the first Gulf War, and GW,s folly of invading Iraq, putting every American man, women, and child in hock, and almost bankrupting this Country.

FYI, the majority of Saudis are Sunni. The Shia have a bit of a problem there, not the Sunni.

I don't know much about Dafur, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan.
But the above mentioned radicalization and creation of Islamo Jihadi's should be the main contributing factor (you can add Siri Lanka, Indonesia, Phillipines).

Comparing the old Middle Eastern Maps to those later borders, which were rather arbitrarily drawn by the U.K. across tribal regions, it seems future conflict was pre programmed / intended.

BTW, in 1951 the Shah was already in exile in Italy, when Mohammad Mosaddeq, a secular nationalist and democrat was freely elected as prime minister of Iran.
Had he be allowed to continue, and set the direction for the future, we would be looking at a completely different Country today.
Iranian oil exploration was the monopole of the Anglo Irainan Oil Co., with Iran receiving a token percentage of the income. Iran had no right to see the books, was denied multiple requests, and when Mossadegh came to power, the oil co was nationalized.
The CIA's Kermit Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt directed the coup from inside Iran, planned by the US and UK Governments.
In 1953, Mossadegh was toppled, and the Shah brought back from Rome, and reinstated on the throne.
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 05:12 AM
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baby boo,

Don't mix things up. Teutone's main post was on discrimination against Palestinian holders of Israeli citizenship and not on conflicts in the whole region of the Middle East. I hope you enjoyed reading Teutone's answers to your irrelevant questions.

I'm not going to defend Arabs and Muslims just because they're my people. Never. I'm aware of the many, many mistakes we make on the personal, social and political levels and the least I can do is to admit it. But, unlike Israel, we don't claim to be the only real democracy in the Middle East while we act against this claim in many ways.
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 05:24 AM
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Teutone,

Quote:
The State of Israel, and what both Sunni and Shia regard as theft of Palestinian lands by squatters, seems to be a powerful and unifying influence (when it comes to the Jewish State).
True. Plus Iran's direct funding of both Hizbulla and Islamic Jihad. Hamas, although Sunni and independent from Iranian agenda, also has become a receiver of Iranian support since the Israeli blockade on Gaza. This in turn serves Iran polish its tarnished image among Arabs and Muslims.

BTW, were you in Iran before the Revolution? Were there an anti-Sunni sentiment all the time or was it a product/further inflamed because of the Revolution?
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 09:01 AM
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baby boo,

Don't mix things up. Teutone's main post was on discrimination against Palestinian holders of Israeli citizenship and not on conflicts in the whole region of the Middle East. I hope you enjoyed reading Teutone's answers to your irrelevant questions.

I'm not going to defend Arabs and Muslims just because they're my people. Never. I'm aware of the many, many mistakes we make on the personal, social and political levels and the least I can do is to admit it. But, unlike Israel, we don't claim to be the only real democracy in the Middle East while we act against this claim in many ways.
You're the one who brought up the fact that Jews discriminate against Jews.

I was just pointing out your hypocrisy in ignoring the rampant discrimination and enmity that Sunni and Shia have for 14 centuries exhibited towards each other.

Something about people in glass houses......
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 09:07 AM
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BTW, Teutone's assertion that, were it not for their shared disdain for Israel, Shia and Sunni would be in even greater conflict with each other is hardly a ringing endorsement of Muslim "brotherhood."

Last edited by baby boo; 02-16-2009 at 09:12 AM.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 02-16-2009, 09:51 AM
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I think the Balfour Declaration and the CIA toppling of Mossedeq are two of the worst Middle Eastern policy blunders of the 20th Century. And folks wonder why the West is so reviled and distrusted over there.
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