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February 10, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah Chief Boasts of Iran Military Support (AFP)
    Lebanon's Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday acknowledged for the first time that his party was solely funded and equipped by Iran.
    "We have been receiving since 1982 all kinds of moral, political and material backing from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Nasrallah boasted.
    "In the past we alluded partially to this truth," Nasrallah said. "We used to speak of moral and political support while keeping silent when questioned about our military backing so as not to embarrass Iran. But today...we have decided to speak out."

Iran's Quds Force "Advising Assad Regime" - Alex Spillius (Telegraph-UK)
    The head of Iran's elite Quds force, Qassem Suleimani, is reportedly visiting Syria to advise the regime on repressing protests and the armed resistance.
    "It is his second visit at least," said Radwan Ziahdeh, an executive member of the opposition Syrian National Council. "The Quds force is working mainly with training, helping militias and snipers."
    The Quds, or Jerusalem, brigade is a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for external relations that reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    Western and Arab experts and diplomats estimate the number of troops and advisers from the Quds force in Syria to be in the high hundreds or low thousands. They have set up at least one base in Zabadani near Damascus.
    Iranian help includes riot control equipment and technical advice on how to quash dissent and how to flood areas with security forces.
    The Free Syrian Army claims to have captured 29 Iranians.
    Reports in the Arab media have claimed that snipers from Iranian-backed Hizbullah forces have also been brought in from Lebanon to support government forces fighting the FSA.

Assad Forces to Use Chemical Weapons in Homs? - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    Syria's military has begun stockpiling chemical weapons and equipping its soldiers with gas masks near the city of Homs, opposition sources reported on Thursday.
    Opposition activists received reports that the Syrian army had transferred a significant quantity of grenades and mortars containing chemical agents to a school building in Homs.
    Opposition sources spoke of unprecedented attacks by government forces against Homs, Idlib and Daraa over the past two days, with hospitals and clinics bombed and doctors arrested.

Report: U.S. Won't Oppose Fatah-Hamas Deal - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    The U.S. administration has informed the Palestinian Authority that it has no objections to the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, the London-based Al-Hayat reported Friday.
    Israel has expressed vehement objection to the deal.
    On Thursday the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank decided against resuming the Amman peace talks with Israel.

Where's the Syria Flotilla? - Michael Rubin (Commentary)
    In May 2010, a Turkish Islamist charity with close ties to Turkey's ruling party sponsored a flotilla which it claimed was to relieve suffering in Gaza, never mind that the standard of living in Gaza surpasses that in Turkey.
    Many self-described human rights activists and groups joined the "Save Gaza" chorus and donated their time and money to sponsoring flotillas (which, in effect, would support and supply Hamas but contribute little to humanitarian causes).
    Alas, these organizations are silent on the atrocities in Syria, let alone prepared to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

Prices Rise, Patience Thins in Sanctions-Hit Iran - Ali Akbar Dareini
    The prices of many imported goods have doubled from last year, while the money to buy them has plunged in value.
    "The evolving internal economic crises could become Iran's most vulnerable spot," said Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "It's one thing to stand against the world. It's another to feel pressure from the inside."  (AP)

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France to Cut Its UNIFIL Contingent - Willow Osgood (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    France will reduce its UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) regiment from 1,300 to 900 peacekeepers, a French diplomatic source told the Daily Star Tuesday.
    The source denied that the cut comes in response to two attacks on French peacekeepers last year.

Qatar Financing Wahhabi Islam in France, Italy, Ireland and Spain - Soeren Kern (Stonegate Institute)
    Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who has long cultivated an image as a pro-Western reformist and modernizer, recently vowed to "spare no effort" to spread the fundamentalist teachings of Wahhabi Islam across "the whole world."
    The promotion of Islamic extremist ideologies - particularly Wahhabism, which not only discourages Muslim integration in the West, but actively encourages jihad against non-Muslims - threatens to further radicalize Muslim immigrants in France, analysts say.
    France, with 5-6 million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the EU.
    A 2,200-page report, "Suburbs of the Republic," commissioned by the French think tank L'Institut Montaigne, shows how Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law in many parts of suburban Paris and warns that France is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society.
    The writer is a Senior Fellow at the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group.

Israel and PA an Island of Calm in a Stormy Middle East - Asaf Gabor (Makor Rishon, 3Feb12)
    During a visit to tourist spots in Bethlehem we were greeted by Radar, the proprietor of the Coffee Shop. I asked him if there was much discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "No, we've gotten used to that," Radar answered with a smile.
    "I talk about the war with Iran. There is something bigger than the individual Jew or Muslim. The whole Middle East is sinking: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria - they are all falling, and the condition of the population is becoming worse and worse."
    "When you look at their situation, you can't complain about conditions in Israel and the PA. We have the problems of the rich. What is absurd is that all this time they spoke about Israel and the Palestinians, and in the end the quietest and calmest place in the Middle East is right here."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Explosions Kill 17 at Security Bases in Aleppo, Syria - Dominic Evans
    Two explosions outside security bases in Aleppo killed 17 soldiers and civilians on Friday, Syrian television said. (Reuters)
        See also Report: 137 Killed in Syria on Thursday - Roi Kais
    A Syrian opposition group said at least 137 civilians, including 11 children, were killed by government forces throughout the country on Thursday. Hadi al-Abdullah of the Syrian General Revolutionary Council, based in Homs, told Al-Arabiya, "There are 107 casualties here. Is this not a massacre? Today the missiles are being launched from a military college in the area, and they are falling like rain on the Baba Amr neighborhood. The city is also being bombarded from the air. Helicopters are targeting all those who are trying to help the wounded."  (Ynet News)
        See also Syria Uprising Is Now a Battle to the Death - Martin Chulov
    Rockets rain down on towns that residents can neither defend nor leave, as Bashar al-Assad's forces besiege the Free Syrian Army. The doctors and nurses on duty at a makeshift medical center near Homs had fled the state hospital, one kilometer away, and set up a triage center and a surgical ward in a derelict house. All day they were tending to dead and seriously wounded men, many of them members of the badly outgunned rebel army. As night fell, the numbers of dead and wounded appeared to increase. Every massive boom in the near distance seemed to herald the arrival of more patients. (Guardian-UK)
  • Senators to Urge Obama to Make Iranian Nuke "Capability" a Red Line - Ron Kampeas
    A bipartisan group of U.S. senators will present a resolution calling on the Obama administration to make a "nuclear-weapons capability" by Iran a red line. The non-binding resolution, introduced Thursday by Sens. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), "urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and to oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat."  (JTA)
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Wants Its Own Prime Minister
    Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called Thursday on the ruling generals to sack the military-appointed government. Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said the military should appoint a Brotherhood representative as prime minister, who would then form a new government. (AP-Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel: Economic Incentives Package Off the Table If Hamas Joins PA - Herb Keinon
    According to diplomatic officials, Israel has made clear to the international community that a package of largely economic incentives to entice the Palestinians back to talks that started last month in Jordan will be taken off the table if the Hamas-Fatah deal is consummated. "Israel is not going to come with any confidence-building measures if this agreement is implemented," one diplomatic official said. A sign of its implementation, he added, would be if PA President Mahmoud Abbas replaced Salam Fayyad as the PA's prime minister. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Turks Block Israel Navy Participation in NATO Operation - Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon
    Turkey has blocked an Israeli plan to contribute a missile ship to NATO's "Active Endeavor" mission in the Mediterranean which patrols against ships suspected of involvement in terrorism, diplomatic and defense officials told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
        "Israel's navy anyhow patrols the Mediterranean and since we were interested in upgrading our ties with NATO, it made sense to offer to actively participate in the operation," a senior government official said. "The Turks, though, torpedoed the move and refused to allow one of our ships to join." Defense officials said this week that Israel and NATO were on the verge of signing a new cooperation agreement that would lead to a significant upgrade in relations. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Bedouin Kidnap Egyptian Soldiers in Sinai, Release American Tourists
    Armed Bedouin in Sinai have kidnapped two Egyptian police officers and 17 soldiers, Egypt's Al Ahram reported.
        Last week, Bedouin kidnapped two American women in an apparent attempt to hold them for ransom, only to release them to army authorities a few hours later. A Bedouin source said the authorities had agreed to free four fellow tribesmen from police custody in exchange for the two tourists. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • The Responsibility to Protect - Irwin Cotler
    Russia and China vetoed UN Security Council efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria on the same day that Syrian forces killed 200 people in Homs. The total death toll now stands at more than 7,000 persons murdered by shelling, indiscriminate sniper fire, artillery fire targeting civilian neighborhoods, and now rocket attacks and even the gunning down of people at funerals. Witnesses also tell of the wanton killing and torture of children, detainees and hospital residents - in short, the slaughter of innocents.
        At the UN World Summit in 2005, more than 150 heads of state and government unanimously adopted a declaration on the Responsibility to Protect, authorizing international collective action "to protect (a state's) population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity" if that state is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens, or worse, as in the case of Syria, if that state is the author of such criminality. It is our collective responsibility to ensure R2P is not empty rhetoric, but an effective instrument for preventing mass atrocity, for protecting people, and for securing human rights. The writer, a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, is the co-editor of The Responsibility to Protect: The Promise of Stopping Mass Atrocities in our Time (Oxford University Press, 2011). (Montreal Gazette-Canada)
  • The Obama Administration's Syrian Double Standard - Marc Ginsberg
    When Col. Gaddafi's forces were on the outskirts of Benghazi, White House staffers demanded urgent international action to prevent an assault on innocent civilians. Secret arms deliveries were smuggled into Libya courtesy of Qatar and Egypt. CIA operatives were parachuted in to help the nascent Libyan opposition forces. A NATO-led no-fly zone was declared and enforced.
        The appalling massacre of innocent civilians escalates daily across Syria, and images from Homs and other Syrian cities are far worse than anything witnessed in Libya. Meanwhile, while Administration officials "explore" sanctions options, Russian ships and cargo aircraft pour tanks, artillery, aircraft and ammunition into Syria to replenish Assad's killing machine. The writer, a former deputy senior advisor to President Carter for Middle East policy, served as U.S. Ambassador to Morocco. (Huffington Post)
  • Why Russia Supports Assad - Dmitri Trenin
    Syria's civil war has de facto begun. America, Europe, Turkey and the Gulf states have already given Assad a thumbs down. Russian mediation might have had a chance if Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Mikhail Fradkov, the director of Foreign Intelligence, had come to Damascus last summer, or even last fall, and kept coming in an exercise of shuttle diplomacy. Today, their mission looks more like a face-saving gesture.
        Syria is not a Russian ally; Tartus is a naval resupply facility rather than a naval base; and the total value of Russia's arms trade with Syria during the previous decade amounted to around $1.5 billion, which makes Damascus Moscow's seventh-largest client. To understand Moscow's attitude to Syria, one has to take a broader view. When the Kremlin - or Fradkov's office - looks at the Arab Awakening, they see democratization leading directly to Islamicization. They point out that post-Gaddafi Libya is chaotic, with a lot of the former regime's weaponry finding its way into unsavory hands. The writer is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. (New York Times)
  • A TV Cameraman Flees Syria
    Younes al-Yousef, 35, was a cameraman for a Syrian pro-government television station. "I was with the regime heart and soul," he said in an interview in his apartment in Cairo. But he said that as he watched security forces blast towns where protesters took to the streets to demand the ouster of President Bashar Assad, he could no longer believe the line he was helping bring to the public, that "terrorists" were tearing apart the country. He expressed his doubts to a colleague. Then, fearing retaliation, he packed up his family and fled the country.
        The message resonates among Syrians who have been taught for years that the Assads' secular, nationalist rule is what keeps the country together. There is particularly fear among minorities - the Alawites and Christians - that Sunni Muslim fundamentalists will take over and retaliate against them. (AP-Washington Post)

  • Iran

  • The Gulf Is Where It's At - Ray Takeyh
    Despite all the exhilarating and disturbing changes in Egypt and the Levant, the center of gravity of the Middle East has moved to the Gulf. The strategic relevance of Egypt and Syria stems from their connection to the notion that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will transform the Middle East. But the stalemated Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to remain frozen. Even if there were a peace treaty, it would have a limited impact on a region struggling with sectarian identities, resurgent religious parties and the specter of nuclear proliferation.
        The challenge for the U.S. remains how to maintain access to Middle Eastern oil at reasonable prices, sustain the fragile order in Iraq and prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb. As contentious and corrosive as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be, the fact is that it has not impeded America's ability to execute its policy in the Middle East.
        Blocking Iran from making a nuclear weapon without the use of force is not as far-fetched and unattainable as it is often made to appear. For all its inflammatory rhetoric, the Islamic Republic has immense vulnerabilities. A regime distrusted by its neighbors and disdained by its citizens is a candidate for a successful policy of coercion. Existing efforts to stress Iran's economy could be complemented by a broad range of political moves, such as assisting dissident forces. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (New York Times)
  • The "Blame Israel Firsters" and Iran - Walter Russell Mead
    The "blame Israel first" crowd continues to interpret the Iran-U.S. crisis as an example of a sinister Israel lobby pushing the U.S. into a war to serve the ambitions of the Jewish state. Not only does this analysis miss the vital U.S. interests at stake in the region and the threat Iran poses to a balance of power the United States needs, it misses the reality that for several years now some of the strongest, most consistent pressures on Washington to act against Iran have come from the Arab world.
        The Arab Lobby's strong pressure for war against Iran is a major factor in French, British and even German hawkishness as well in this crisis. But the blame Israel firsters don't care; if we have a war with Iran they will know who to blame. (American Interest)
  • Iran Threatens Two More Naval Chokepoints - Lenny Ben-David
    Considerable attention is being given to Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which a large proportion of the world's petroleum sails. Yet the recent visit of two Iranian naval vessels to the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah should draw attention to two more vital naval chokepoints - the Bab el Mandeb Strait at the southern tip of the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal located between the northern tip of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. More than three million barrels of oil pass through the Bab el Mandeb every day on the way to the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline used by tankers that are too big to traverse the Canal. Closure of the Bab el Mandeb would force ships to travel around the southern tip of Africa.
        Iranian naval ships have also been patrolling in the Gulf of Aden which lays just south of the Bab el-Mandeb strait, waters known for their Somalia-based pirates. Iran's growing interest in the region led it to announce plans to open embassies in Somalia and in Djibouti, another country on the Horn of Africa that borders on the Bab el Mandeb. (Weekly Standard)

  • Arab World

  • Egypt Must Drop Charges Against U.S., Egyptian Democracy Workers - Editorial
    Egypt's announcement that it will file criminal charges against 19 Americans involved in elections monitoring and democracy and journalism training is a deeply worrisome sign. Egypt is sending a dangerous message that it is willing to throw away its crucial alliance with the U.S. In targeting Americans and those who work with Americans, Egypt's military brass seems to be betting that we need them more than they need us. But U.S. taxpayers provide an estimated 25% of Egypt's military budget and a crucial voice of support when Egypt applies for loans from the International Monetary Fund.
        The Egyptian military should reconsider its course, not for the sake of the U.S., but for the sake of Egypt, which cannot develop a functional democracy without a civil society. And the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress should make it clear to Egypt how costly its current course of action could be for all involved. (Boston Globe)
        See also Egypt's Ominous Detention of Americans - Michael Gerson
    For months, the Egyptian government has explored the limits of U.S. patience, which it is just about to reach. (Washington Post)
  • Eyeing the Arab Spring
    Some Israelis fear the Arab spring is set to produce an Islamist winter. Religiously inspired parties, mostly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, have emerged as the strongest political force in half a dozen Arab states. The Brotherhood now dominates Egypt, the largest Arab nation. Its rise there in effect ends the isolation of the Brothers' offshoot in Gaza, the Palestinian group Hamas, which has warred with Israel for decades. Jordan's wobbly king faces a rejuvenated Islamist opposition. When the smoke clears in Syria, Islamist forces could emerge triumphant there too, seemingly completing Israel's encirclement by like-minded, hostile governments.
        Yet Aviv Kochavi, the director of Israeli military intelligence, predicts that internal instability will enfeeble neighboring Arab states for several years to come. Many Sunni Arab countries are in fact more worried by the threat coming from the Persian Shias of Iran than by Israel, reckons Dore Gold, a former official who posits an opportunity for pacts of mutual interest. "What pulled Europe together was not coal and steel but fear of the Soviet Union," he says. (Economist-UK)
  • Who Defames the Prophet? - Ahmed El Aswany
    Those who defame the Prophet are they who slaughter and bomb innocent people all over the world - in New York, Madrid, London, Bali, Riyadh, Cairo, Kabul and Baghdad - while citing the name of Allah and his Prophet and under the banner of Islamic jihad. Those who defame the Prophet include men like [Yusif] Qaradawi [the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader], who incite killing Jewish babies in their mothers' wombs, and who incite and support suicide bombings and declared jihad in Iraq.
        Those who defame the Prophet are not in the West, but rather we Muslims, for imposing a terrorist, hypocritical, and life-hating Islamic model that feeds on killing others in the name of jihad and fighting freedom of expression. They [Western people] only defame and combat the model that we - and no one else - created. (Stonegate Institute)

  • Israel and the Palestinians

  • A New, Realistic Peace Is Needed - Ari Shavit
    After Israel gave the Palestinians most of Gaza, the first bus blew up at Dizengoff Square. After Israel gave the Palestinians Nablus and Ramallah, buses started blowing up in downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. And after Israel suggested that the Palestinians set up a sovereign state on most of the territories, they responded with a wave of terror. And as suicide terrorists were running amok in our cities, it started to dawn on people that maybe there was something defective about the promise of a great peace.
        After Israel withdrew from south Lebanon, a Shi'ite missile base was set up there, which threatens the entire country. And after Israel withdrew from the Gaza settlements, the area became an armed Hamastan that continually attacked the south.
        Tzipi Livni sat with Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala ) for a full year, but Qureia signed nothing. Ehud Olmert offered Jerusalem to Mahmoud Abbas, but Abbas just disappeared. The fact that the moderate Palestinians were turning their backs on the most generous peace offerings Israel had ever made raised gloomy suspicions about their intentions. Were they really willing to divide the country into two national states that would live side by side with one another? Reasonable, moderate Israelis lost their faith in reconciliation.
        Now the Islamic revolution in Egypt has removed the southern anchor of that promised peace. The Arab awakening has killed the diplomatic process. In the coming years, no moderate Arab leader will have enough legitimacy or power to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Peace simply isn't going to happen. Not now, and not in this decade. (Ha'aretz)
  • Arab-Israeli Conflict No Longer Viewed as Key to Mideast Peace - Guy Bechor
    The grim truth exposed by the "Arab Spring" is that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is marginal compared to the region's real conflicts. With the Arab Spring, the Arab public was given a way to express itself for the first time, and suddenly it turned out that Israel is far away and not too relevant. When the entire Mideast is burning, the Palestinian issue comes off the agenda. International news networks are leaving Israel since the conflict there is no longer a story, with the focus shifting to Damascus and Cairo.
        Even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resumes in the future, it will merely constitute one conflict among many in the Middle East, rather than the "father of all conflicts" as it was perceived in the past. (Ynet News)
  • Ready for Statehood? - David M. Weinberg
    The Palestinians keep insisting to every international interlocutor that they are ready for statehood. The Palestinian government(s) I see are far from being "ready" for statehood or peace with Israel, for reasons that range from impotency to insolvency and raw anti-Semitism. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad this week was forced to shelve his plan to actually tax PA businessmen. The PA has a budget deficit of over $1 billion and almost no self-generated income? You call this a well-functioning, self-governing authority ready for statehood?
        Over the past ten years, the Palestinians have received more than $25 billion in international assistance, and the PA itself pulled in more than $4 billion per year in 2009 and 2010. These are astronomical sums, averaging donations of $1,000 per person per year. Yet very little of this money has been invested in projects that advance Palestinian infrastructure or create economic growth.
        According to Hebrew University geographer and water expert Prof. Haim Gvirtzman, 95% of the sewage produced by the Palestinians each year flows untreated into the ground, poisoning the water future of both Israel and the Palestinians. Only one sewage plant has been built in the West Bank in the last 15 years, despite a $500 million international donor fund available for this purpose. Despite all the international NGOs advising and assisting the PA, no recycling of water takes place and no treated water is used for agriculture. A well-functioning national authority? It doesn't even come close to being a decently run local municipality. (Israel Hayom)

  • Weekend Feature

  • "Guardsmen" Seek to Protect Israeli Farmlands - Gil Hoffman
    Young Israelis from around the country come regularly to Avishai Bokovza's sheep ranch in the Negev to help him keep watch. The volunteers are from an organization called Hashomer Hachadash, the New Israeli Guardians. The organization was established in 2007 to help farmers and ranchers in the Negev and Galilee who tend vast tracts of state-owned land and had to deal with the theft of their livestock by local Bedouin or Palestinians from the West Bank, and illegal building by Bedouin and Israeli Arabs. Named after Hashomer, the guardsmen who protected remote Jewish settlements 100 years ago, Hashomer Hachadash also works to ensure a stronger Jewish presence in the Negev and Galilee.
        Hashomer Hachadash was founded by Yoel Zilberman, a third-generation cattle breeder from Zippori who saw his father brought to the brink of bankruptcy by thieves who destroyed his fences, stole and slaughtered his livestock, and physically threatened him. The group has since attracted more than 2,000 volunteers to guard more than 20 ranches in the Negev and Galilee. More than 300 regular volunteers give over at least one night a month for guard duty. The organization hopes to increase its corps of volunteers and operate 30 outposts protecting over 100,000 acres of land, supplementing the work of law enforcement organizations that have insufficient manpower. (New Jersey Jewish News)

Our Nakba - Zvi Gabay (Maariv-Hebrew, 1Feb12)

  • At the end of January every year, a humble memorial service is held at the Babel Judaism Heritage Center in Or Yehuda, in memory of the Martyrs of Iraq - 80 Iraqi Jews who since the establishment of the State of Israel were executed by hanging, died in torture or while escaping to Israel. Jews have experienced similar difficult tragedies in other Arab countries. In Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt - after the establishment of the Jewish state - Jews lost their lives in retaliation for Israel's victories over Arab armies in the battlefield.  
  • On the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel, there was a horrifying anti-Jewish atmosphere in all Arab countries, accompanied by inflammatory anti-Jewish declarations, including from the podium of the United Nations. The Jews were forced to flee and emigrate from every Arab country, while leaving behind all their personal and communal possessions. From a population of approximately one million Arab Jews, nowadays very few Jews reside in Arab countries.  
  • The horrible human tragedies experienced by the Jews in Arab countries - their catastrophe - is almost forgotten; it is not properly taught in schools, it is not discussed in the media and it is not marked either nationally or within UN institutions. Very few people in the world are aware that approximately half of Israel's population originates from Arab countries, where Jews have lived for thousands of years.  
  • Arab propaganda has wisely concealed the chapter of population exchange conducted between Israel and the Arab countries during Israel's War of Independence. It repeatedly claimed the "right of return" for Palestinian Arabs who fought Israel. Simultaneously, Arab propaganda has succeeded to ingrain the notion that Israeli Jews "have come from Poland and Germany," while the "Palestinian Nakba" is the only disaster that took place upon the establishment of the State of Israel.  
  • Israel must place the issue of Arab Jews on the agenda, as a main part of the history of the Israeli people in their country. The sooner we rectify the injustice, the better.

    The author was an ambassador and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

        See also Compensation for Jewish Refugees - Lyn Julius
    Some years ago, Anwar Sadat's widow Jehan delivered a talk in New York. Congratulating her afterwards, a daughter of the Jewish Castro family from Egypt exchanged pleasantries with Mrs. Sadat. "But you must come back to visit [Egypt] and to show it to your children," Mrs. Sadat said, adding the traditional Egyptian courtesy - "my house is your house." In fact, Jehan Sadat's presidential villa had literally belonged to the Castro family, which was expelled by Nasser in 1956.
        Economist Sidney Zabludoff estimates that there were 50% more Jewish refugees than Palestinian Arab refugees, and that they almost certainly lost 50% more in assets and property. (Jerusalem Post)
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