Saturday, 4 April 2009

Arabs in Israel:

Arab American Journalist Joseph Farah makes some interesting and relevant points about Israel:

  • Far from being mistreated, the Arab population in Israel and in the territories administered by Israel has been freer than the population in any Arab state. Arabs in Israel vote. They elect leaders to the Knesset. They have their own political parties. They have their own newspapers. They have full rights to citizenship. They are free to speak their minds. As an Arab-American journalist who has spent a good deal of time covering the region, I can tell you there is more freedom for Arabs in Israel than in any Arab state.

  • Land cannot possibly be the contentious issue as the Arab and Muslim states in the region already have 800 times as much territory as Israel. The Arabs have 50 times the population of Israel. The Arabs have all of the oil reserves of the region. They have 21 states of their own – all varying shades of police states. It's difficult to imagine how one more will bring peace to a region that has known some of the most devastating and costly wars of the last century.

But, to top it all off, I seem to be the only observer asking pointed questions about the Arab-Israeli conflict: If conditions for Arabs are so bad in Israel, why is the Arab population exploding -- and I don't mean because of suicide bombers? Why do Arabs continue to flock to the tiny Jewish state from virtually every Arab and Muslim land in the world?

In 1949, the Arab population of Israel was about 160,000. Today, it is over 1.2 million.

This is hardly attributable to higher birth rates. Most of the growth in Arab population is due to migration. In other words, Arabs are picking up stakes in Arab lands and choosing to live in Israel.

This trend, of course, doesn't include Arab Jewish migration to Israel. No one talks about the staggering number of Arab Jewish refugees – as many as 1 million – who fled the Muslim world with little more than the clothes on their backs to reach the safety and security of the Jewish state in the last 50 years.

We're led to believe Arabs hate Israel – and, indeed, it's true there is an irrational, inexplicable form of virulent anti-Semitism growing in the Arab and Muslim world. But when they vote with their feet, Arabs seem to love Israel. They continue to choose it as a place to live over life in their native countries as they have for the last half-century.

I'd love to hear one of the Arab nationalists explain this phenomenon.

Facts That Get Ignored When Condemning Israel

Next time you feel tempted to jump on the bandwagon and start bashing Israel for its 'poor' treatment of Palestinians, consider the following facts:

Unequal education and employment for Palestinians: Arab states vs. Israel

In Arab Lebanon, Arab Palestinians do not have social and civil rights, and have a very limited access to the government's public health or educational facilities and no access to public social services. Palestinians are prohibited by law from working in more than 70 trades and professions.

Under Israeli rule, Arab Palestinian universities in East-Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip (all founded after 1967 when Israel took over these territories from Arab Jordan and Arab Egypt):
Al Azhar University of Gaza
Al-Quds University (6 campuses in Jerusalem and West Bank)
Arab American University of Jenin
Bethlehem University of Bethlehem
Birzeit University of Birzeit

Hebron University of Hebron
Ibrahimieh Community College of Jerusalem
Islamic University of Gaza
Palestine Polytechnic Institute
An-Najah National University of Nablus official website:
"In 1977 it became An-Najah National University with Faculties of Arts and Science. In 1978 An-Najah National University joined the Association of Arab Universities as a full member. The university grew and advanced from this point forward constructing auditoriums, a library and a student center until it was declared a "closed military area" by the Israeli authorities in 1988. It was reopened in 1991 and has been fully functioning since. It has 10 Undergraduate Faculties, 30 Masters, and one Ph.D program. The university has also added nine professional and technical centers, such as the Center for Water and Environmental Studies and the Center for Urban and Regional Planning. An-Najah National University continues to advance and develop and offer the highest level of secondary education in the West Bank. The foundation has already been laid for its new campus, which will house the School of Medicine, a Teaching Hospital and its existing Science and Technical Faculties, and An-Najah hopes to expand to hold more than 10,000 students by the new millenium.� You got it? From 1948-1967, under the occupation of the Arab Jordanian brothers, Nablus got no university. But since 1977, under Israeli rule, Nablus not only got their first university but �the university grew and advanced�. Needless to say, while tens of thousands of Arabs study at Israeli universities, no Jew can safely enter Nablus.

True human development of the Palestinians and the other Arabs
The "wretched" Palestinians in the Israeli "Occupied Palestinian Territories" have higher Human Development Index (HDI = 0.731) than the 22 Arab states average (0.662) and than the average (0.707) of all neighboring Arab states Egypt (0.648), Jordan (0.743), Syria (0.648) and Lebanon (0.752) and only a bit lower than oilrich Saudi Arabia (0.769). HDI source: United Nations Human Development Report 2003

Unequal names by which neighborhoods in Palestinian towns are called
"Wretched" Palestinian "refugee camps" in "occupied" West Bank and Gaza Strip are in fact neighborhoods of above average Arab towns, near Palestinian universities and compounds of the Palestinian rich and famous.
For example, Jenin (West Bank) consists of stone and concrete buildings, with schools, private university, chamber of commerce and industry, jewelry shops, CD shops, computer shops, sweet shops, travel agencies, restaurants, lawyers offices, engineering offices, banks, mosques, insurance agents, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, sports clubs, taxis, traffic jams and everything else you expect in a community.

Unequal UN mandates for refugees in the world:
Palestinians vs. all others
20th century: 135 million refugees
, less than 0.5% were Arab Palestinians

Unequal health in the Middle East: Palestinians and the other Arabs
Palestinians have higher population growth, life expectancy, fertility rate and lower infant mortality than the Middle East average and than all the neighboring Arab states Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Israeli Teenager Killed By Axe Wielding Terrorist

A Palestinian terrorist brandishing an axe has murdered a 16 year old Israeli. The attack happened after the terrorist managed to enter the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin on Thursday afternoon. The Palestinian also stabbed a seven year old boy with a knife.

Isaeli spokesman Mark Regev called the killing a 'senseless act of brutality against innocents.'

Israeli paramedics rushed to the scene but had to pronounce the teenager dead when they found him with a fatal wound to the head. The 16 year old has been named as Shlomo Nativ. Meanwhile the boy of seven was rushed to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition.

Immediately after the attack, roadblocks were set up and security forces tried to assess how the Palestinian had got into the settlement.

But within an hour of the murder, the terrorist group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

An Israeli politician who happened to be in the area has urged the Palestinian Authority to work together with the Israelis in a bid to catch the killer.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Obama And Putin Both On The Phone To Bibi

Well, Obama's government is certainly saying all the right things in terms of supporting Israel's security needs. Obama apparently phoned Bibi Netanyahu personally today, to wish him well in his premiership.

The American president phoned Netanyahu early this morning, to congratulate him following his first day in office. And sources in Israel state that Obama made it very clear that American support for Israeli's security was staunch. The conversation lasted for half an hour, and the mood was 'friendly'.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also contacted Netanyahu today. Sources report that the two discussed improving the relationship between Israel and Russia, as well as several other topics including the Middle East Peace Process. And apparently the telephone call ended on a warm note, with Putin saying that Netanyahu would be a 'welcome guest in Moscow'.

Of course, it would be somewhat easier to trust Obama's promises, if he wasn't so desperately trying to make Iran his new best friend...

Just Downright Sad

Palestinian authorities have disbanded a youth orchestra from the West Bank, because it played for an Israeli group of elderly Holocaust survivors.

Adnan Hindi, from Jenin, referred to the Holocaust as a 'political issue' and accused the orchestra conductor, Wafta Younis, of 'dragging the children into a political dispute'.

Now Younis has been barred permanently from apartment where she taught the Strings Of Freedom Orchestra - the property has been boarded up.

"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. She will be forbidden from doing any activities."

The move highlights the reluctance of many Palestinians to acknowledge what the Jews suffered in the Holocaust.

Kaynan Rabino, director of Ruach Tova ( Good Spirit) the charity that organized the event, said he was disappointed to hear about the reaction in Jenin.

"They approached us and volunteered to play. Wafa knew the orchestra would play before Holocaust survivors," he said. "We wanted to bring people's hearts closer together and if they are against that then that's a real shame."

Jenin was the scene of a violent conflict in April 2002, which saw the deaths of 23 Israeli soldiers , alongside 53 Palestinian militants, over several days of fighting.

The youths, aged 11 to 18, of the modest orchestra performed a goodwill concert for elderly survivors in the Israeli town of Holon Wednesday.

The event, held at the Holocaust Survivors Center in the central Israeli town, was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event.

Hindi said the children's parents were not aware that the orchestra would play for Holocaust survivors.

Younis was not immediately available for comment. But as the debate raged on over the weekend, she said on Saturday that her intention was purely to perform music. "We didn't do anything wrong," she said.

At last Wednesday's performance, most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide - or even what the Holocaust was.

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Bibi Is Back


A decade after being pushed out of power by the Israeli electorate, Benjamin Netanyahu is back. He officially returned to power yesterday and is set to play a vital role in Barack Obama's bid to bring peace to the Middle East.

Netanyahu has a number of tough challenges ahead of him, not least convincing skeptical world leaders who are worried about his tough stance and refusal to be bullied by America. In particular, his concern over Iran may lead to a deepening rift between Israel and America.

In a candid interview with The Atlantic magazine, Netanyahu described Iran as "a messianic apocalyptic cult" with nuclear ambitions and a "grave danger" to the world.

And Netanyahu has promised to hold peace talks with the Palestinians.

"We do not want to control another people. We do not want to rule the Palestinians," Netanyahu told the Israeli parliament. "In the final agreement, the Palestinians will have all the authority to govern themselves, except for those that threaten the existence or security of the state of Israel."

But his main concern remains Iran and its nuclear programme. He has called Iran's nuclear ambitions and "extreme Islam" the greatest danger to Israel and the world. Iran has threatened several times to wipe Israel off the map and Ahmadinejad has actually organised a conference entitled 'A World Without Israel'.

Iran also funds Hamas to the tune of billions of dollars a year.

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