Towards a Palestinian future worthy of their past

courtesy by:  International Committee for European Security and Co-operation - ICESC
url: - related e-books: .../mvcindex.htm | .../gridlock.htm | .../babylon2.htm
.../jaffa.htm | .../a1.htm | .../pkk.htm | .../diplomacy.htm | .../landgrab.htm ¦ .../code.htm-
research contributed by:EDA & Bundesarchiv, Bern; ETH Zurich; Irina Gerassimova, UN Library Geneva
tks 4 notifying errors, ommissions & suggestions to:+4122-7400362  - - copyright
al-Jazeera's Palestine papers: Rice's refugee suggestion

5 Dec 12    If Not Two States, Then One, NYT, SAREE MAKDISI
25 Jan 11    Palestinians condemn US plan to settle refugees in South America, The Guardian, Rory Carroll
24 Jan 11    Condoleezza Rice: Send Palestinian refugees to "Chile, Argentina, etc.", The Guardian, Rory Carroll
17 Sep 09   Let's try something else, Al-Ahram, Samir Ghattas, comment
11 Aug 09   The Current Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything, NYT, HUSSEIN AGHA et al.
24 Jun 09   Some Jewish settlers turning against Israel,, Dina Kraft
24 Jun 09   Israel wrestles with settler challenge,, Dina Kraft
17 Apr 09   For relocating 13000 Palestinians: Abbas seeks Barzani’s support, Kurdish Media, Mufid Abdulla
25 Mar 09   Ottoman Archives Show Jerusalem Land Deeds Forged, The National UAE, Jonathan Cook
22 Jan 09   The One-State Solution, NYT, MUAMMAR QADDAFI
18 May 08   For Israelis, an Anniversary. For Palestinians, a Nakba, NYT,Elias Khoury, Op-Ed Contributor
10 Apr 08   Former President Carter to Meet With Hamas Chief, WP, Glenn Kessler
21 Mar 08   Could Palestinians untangle Mideastern gridlocks?, GOGEL, Iconoclast
1.Okt 07   Schweizer Menschenrechtspraxis, parlamentarische Anfrage zum Fall M.S.Mahmoud (version française)
10.Mai 07   Palästinensische Vertriebene aus dem Irak ohne Zuflucht, NZZ
21 Nov 06   Settlements 'violate Israeli law', BBC News
21 Nov 06   Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land, NYT, STEVEN ERLANGER
21 Mar 06   Invitation for Ray Hanania to commemorative festivities for Sheik Mahmoud Al Hafeed
6 Nov 04   A Redefining Babylonian Exile for Uprooted "Palestinians", israpost, Bruce Brill
12 Apr 04   Untangling Mideastern Gridlocks, GOGEL, Iconoclast
3 May 02   Herbert Hoover, Dick Armey, etc: With Honor and Wisdom,, Boris Shusteff
30 Apr 02   It Aint Necessarily So!, letter to NYT
28 Apr 02   And if the Palestinians really cried uncle?, letter to IHT
26 Apr 02   Israel's Historic Miscalculation, NYT, editorial
21 Apr 02   Sharon said to want half of West Bank land, Washington Times
16 Jan 02   Marwan Barghouti: Want Security? End the Occupation,
 Dec 01  Inspired by Babylon 1: a transitional Palestinian homeland at the Old Empire's Northern perimeter?
16 Dec 96   Senator John Nimrod alerts Al Gore on UN's looting of Assyrian properties
28 Oct 96   Assyrian Universal Alliance presents alternative approaches for Northern Iraq to Al Gore
8 Oct 96   US Vice-President invited to think out-of-the-box & break out of worn-out tracks on Palestine
18 Jun 96   Private alert to UN Secretary General on UN disfunctions & growing avoidable headaches
1995    Palestine-in-Saudi Arabia? The Islamic conception of migration: past, present and future, Sami Aldeeb
10 Jan 93   413 Deported Palestinians, relief offer confirmation to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres
6 Jan 93   Report to Military Command Center on Relief Flight Preparations
3 Jan 93   Report to Swiss lawmakers on sabotaged humanitarian efforts
29 Dec 92   Turf battle: ICRC protests "illegal" Red Cross efforts, threatens penal measures - Editor's Note
25 Dec 92   MVRC - ICRC Tel Aviv: relief offer for 400 deported Palestinians (Hamas)
22 Dec 92   MVRC - France Liberté on cooperation for effective relief operations
4 Dec 92  Mosul Vilayet Red Cross (MVRC) appeal to George Bush on Emergency Winter Help
1949    Arab Refugees: A Survey of Resettlement Possibilities, RIIA, S.G. Thicknesse
1948    Lest We Forget
19 Nov 45   Herbert Hoover Suggests Palestinian Settlements in Iraq, New York World Telegram
n.d.    The Right of Return, maaber, Uri Avnery

summary statement

Untangling Mideastern Gridlocks

Iconoclast, International Committee for European Security and Co-operation
in cooperation with
Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers ( – 12 Jan 04 (updated 21 Mar 08)

In car traffic, overlapping claims to the right of way – for whatever cause - invariably produce either gridlock or an accident. Once the hardware is thus entangled, the traffic flow will not be reestablished by either rhetoric or gesticulations. Only someone’s enlightened engaging the reverse gear will do that. In politics here and there, overlapping land claims lead to similar deadlocks. It takes someone wiser and more courageous than others in order to effectively open the way out for everybody. In the case of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in particular, that someone need not be the originator of the gridlock. And in a longer-term perspective, the Palestinians may even benefit most from a properly designed and implemented initiative of their own. One which would draw inspiration from the Babylonian exile experience their - yet-to-be-recognized - Egyptian brethren went through some 2600 years ago. And one which - to those who, since, have unwittingly become their chief adversaries - would deny these astrayed brethren the punching bag which they, in their current mind set, apparently need for survival. To mutually beneficial ends, and under a more enlightened leadership, interested Palestinians might thus accept to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq and to help out in the recovery of Iraq's lost generations, by temporarily setting up there an internationally recognizable Palestinian state-in-exile. Of course without prejudice to their return to Palestine. And without giving up any legitimate land claim in their ancestral homeland. Inspired by the ping-pong meetings which facilitated the rapprochement between the United States and China, the untangling of key Mideastern gridlocks might thus get under way in this Olympic year - even before the next US presidential elections. 1.   Reflecting the history of modern Iraq and its position in international law, including the still valid international guarantees for effective minority and private property protection there, revisiting a paper published in 1994 by the UN Commission on Human Rights ( | .../homeland.htm) may also be in order for those looking for a solution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict.  Notably, the „Proposed Conflict Resolution Pathways for Iraq" called for an interim UN administration for the Northern part of Iraq (Mosul Vilayet) which, in 1926, was conditionally attached to Iraq.  It also offered the following perspectives: „11. The proposed measures could bring to the populations concerned the overdue relief, without prejudice to their ultimate political fate. In the case of the Mosul Vilayet's Yezidi and the Muslim, Christian and Jewish Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Turkomans and others, this would entail in time the eventual, freely-decided re-attachment of their ancestors' territory to either Iraq or Turkey, its attachment to Syria or Iran, or its eventual independence.
12. Also, in the cases of the Christian,Shiite and Sunnite inhabitants of the Baghdad and the Basra vilayets, further developments are conceivable which seem worthy of these peoples' great cultural past. This might include interim solutions for Palestinians of all faiths who, in the event, may need complementary solutions and fallback positions. However, that road may be opened only by a deliberate - and sanctions-relevant - dissolution of existing structures into a federated state involving notably the Kingdom of Jordan."
2.   With the past Iraqi Government effectively pushed out of power, and the occupying Coalition Provisional Authority CPA anxious to hand back power to the Iraqi people by 30 June 2004 in an orderly fashion and with internally & externally stabilizing structures, a competently designed & implemented and adequately supported program to attract brotherly, well-trained and well-paid Palestinian professionals particularly into Iraq’s Northern districts might go a long way to achieve both the Iraqi people’s legitimate aspirations and the CPA’s security, political and other relevant longer-term objectives.

3.   With the current Israeli Government elected and apparently thriving on a security platform providing for the maintenance and continued ordinary development of most settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, and with the Quartet’s official road map and the private Geneva initiative at least not yet, or in the foreseeable future meeting the reality test for a practical way out of the generations-old political gridlock of overlapping land claims, the Palestinian leadership might be offered to negotiate a mutually beneficial temporary exile in Iraq – with President Arafat perhaps more influential when acting from abroad, e.g. with a temporary sabbatical or medical leave in Geneva. The conceivable deal:

  1. the Iraqi Government extends an invitation to all Palestinians – including Hamas, etc. – to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq and to settle in Iraq, with the right to preferential acquisition of real estate in the Diyala District;
  2. the Palestinian Authority is granted a renewable 49-year Hong Kong-type lease for part of the Diyala District, with the right to establish there an internationally recognizable Palestinian Government-in-exile;
  3. the Palestinians have an internationally guaranteed right to their real estate in all of Palestine; they can either buy, sell, lease or belabor their own land holdings which, if situated in the occupied territories, shall remain under Israeli administration for the duration of the Diyala lease; landowners can visit their holdings anytime;
  4. the Israeli Government guarantees the protection and proper maintenance of Palestinian assets under its jurisdiction; both visiting and resident Palestinians are to receive national treatment, political and military rights reserved to Israeli citizens notwithstanding;
  5. the Palestinian Authority, at the invitation of the Israeli Government, appoints the mayors of those towns and villages in the occupied territories where Palestinians are in the majority; the Israeli Government consults and seeks the cooperation of the Palestinian Authority notably on infrastructure and all other matters of mutual concern; the parties agree to bi-annually renegotiated preferential conditions for bilateral trades.
4.   The proposed part of the Diyala District – some 10000 km2 Northeast of Baghdad, capital: Baquba – is oil-bearing, water-rich and suitable for agricultural development ( | .../homeland.htm | .../babylon2.htm). It is, of course, inhabited, but seen to be politically, economically and culturally suitable for accommodating the eventual influx of large numbers of Palestinians. Building new villages and towns on land either bought or leased from current landowners would be the general formula, with the key to it all being the private property guarantee contained in art.14 of the 1932 Declaration of Iraq which is not only still fully valid in international law but explicitly takes precedent over any contrary Iraqi constitutional provision, law or regulation (.../UNGA.htm). In the hands of imaginative arbiters this, of course, avails itself as a unique instrument for peacefully solving overlapping land claims in all parts of Iraq. At the same time, it is also a manifestly self-serving potential bonanza for every current, as well as for every illegally depossessed former landowner. Reanimation and enforcement of this eminently important international private property guarantee is thus likely to be supported by whoever will eventually be in power in Baghdad. And it has indeed already been subscribed to by all tribe, cultural and political leaders consulted so far.

5.   Swiss Parliamentarians, in the event, are prepared to facilitate the realization of the above efforts. With regard to the proposal to invite qualified Iraqi athletes for Olympic training in Switzerland, the Swiss Government has already agreed to support the Swiss Olympic Association’s related efforts (.../mvcolympia.html). A Palestinian athlete currently prepares himself under difficult circumstances for a spot in the swimming category. His integration in the Swiss solidarity Olympic program may be mutually acceptable and beneficial.

New York World-Telegram     November 19, 1945

On the Palestine Question
by Herbert Hoover

THERE is a possible plan of settling the Palestine question and providing ample Jewish refuge. It at least is worth serious investigation for it offers a constructive humanitarian solution.

In ancient times the irrigation of the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys supported probably ten million people in the Kingdoms of Babylon and Nineveh. The deterioration and destruction of their irrigation works by the Mongol invasion centuries ago and their neglect for ages are responsible for the shrinkage of the
population to about 3,500,000 people in modern Iraq. Some 30 years ago, Sir William Willcocks, an eminent British engineer, completed a study of the restoration of the old irrigation system. He estimated that about 2,800,000 acres of the most fertile land in the world could be recovered at a cost of under
$150,000,000. Some progress has been made under the Iraq Government, but their lack of financial resources and the delays of the war have retarded the work greatly. Some years ago it was proposed that this area should be developed for settlement by Jewish refugees. This did not, however, satisfy the Jewish desire for a homeland.

My own suggestion is that Iraq might be financed to complete this great land development on the consideration that it be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine. This would clear the Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization. A suggestion of transfer of the of the Arab people of Palestine was made by the British Labour Party in December 1944 but no adequate plan was proposed as to where or how they were to go."
Accoording to Hoover's political engineering visions, "the Arab population of Palestine would be the gainer from better lands in exchange for their present holdings.  Iraq would be the gainer for it badly needs agricultural population."  Hoover wrote, "I realize that the plan offers a challenge both to the statesmanship of the Great Powers as well as to the good-will of all parties concerned.  However, I submit it and it does offer a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom."

Questia Media America, Inc. Publication Information: Book Title: Addresses upon the American Road, 1945-1948. Contributors: Herbert Hoover - author. Publisher: D. Van Nostrand Co.. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1949. Page Number: 16/17.

Hay Alwozarah - Arbil, Mosul Vilayet

J.A.Keller, Representative
box 2580 - CH 1211 Geneva 2
fax: 4122-7400362

December 4, 1992

Appeal for complementary humanitarian measures

Dear Mister President,

I am mandated to transmit this urgent Red Cross appeal to you - and to the responsible authorities by way of your good offices. Several million people in the embargoed but non-government-controlled part of Northern Iraq are presently at risk to freeze to death this winter, according to the interim report which Max van der Stoel, Special Rapporteur on Iraq, submitted to the Security Council (see enclosed extract). Failure to develop and implement appropriate alternatives to the present dependence on Baghdad to fulfil its latest paper obligations would not be seen to be in line with Western humanitarian traditions.

Accordingly, the leaders of the tribes, the health services and the teachers of that area have set up, and registered in Arbil a Baghdad-independent Red Cross Society. I have been asked to organize the external realization of the following key programmes:

In order to give life to this life-saving emergency programme, I am honored to solicit your personal support and shall naturally be glad to answer all further questions. Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to assure you of my highest considerations and extend my warmest Season's Greeting to you, your family and your people.


enclosures: mandate; A/47/367/Add.1

Hay Alwozarah - Arbil, Mosul Vilayet

J.A.Keller, Representative
box 2580 - CH 1211 Geneva 2
22 December 1992

Mme Amanda Harding
Paris 331-47558181 f:88

re: Baghdad- and UN-independent effective relief operations
    in non-government-controlled Northern Iraq

Dear Madame,

     You were right about the NGO meeting held in Geneva under an attractive title: it did not produce more than an intellectually stimulating exchange of views.

     With the situation in Northern Iraq what it is, and your plans for providing some effective punctual relief apparently also delayed, I suggest you to consider joining us for an informal open-end meeting on New Year's eve in St.Moritz, at the Suvretta Hotel. There, around the theme of "guests of St.Moritz take charge", a group of art-loving, humanitarian citizens of this world are scheduled to discuss alternative and traditional methods and means for providing effective prompt relief to, notably, the Assyrians, the Kurds and the Turkomans of the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet. The focal point of their attraction - and relief contributions - will be Andy Warhol's last masterpiece "The Last Supper", which 2x11m re-interpretation of Leoardo da Vinci's last supper is intended to be bought and given as a gift to the United Nations on the occasion of the UN Year of Indigenous Peoples (to be exhibited permanently at the UN in Geneva in the Assembly lobby, E building).

     Trusting this to be of interest to you, too, I am looking forward to meeting you then and there - and to get serious about organizing the airlift of survival goods to Arbil and Suleymania with the help of imaginative humanitarian aid officials, airforce members, government officials and other public and private enterpreneurial human beings who happen to be there or who will have made the extra effort to participate in our emergency operation designed to keep untold numbers of victims of the Iraqi government - and of the persistent UN fumblings - from freezing to death this winter.

    Sincerely yours, and all the best for Christmas and the New Year,


cc:  Senator Nimrod; Senator John Glenn; Alain Michel; Senator Nunn;
     Lord Ennals; The Hon. Emma Nicholsen; Lord Kennet;
     Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan; B.Bischofberger, etc.

Hay Alwozarah - Arbil, Mosul Vilayet

J.A.Keller, Representative
box 2580 - CH 1211 Geneva 2

 25 December 1992

ICRC Delegation
Tel Aviv fax: 9723-5270370
re: 400 expelled Palestinans in Southern Lebanon

Dear Sirs,

This is to present my compliments and, at the suggestion of the ICRC in Geneva, to avail myself of your good offices for transmitting the following good offices offer to the Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian Red Cross/Crescent organizations and, in the event, to other interested parties.

The Red Cross of the Mosul Vilayet (Northern Iraq), through its Plenipotentiary in Geneva, is prepared to immediately arrange for the temporary accomodation for the presently stranded Palestinians in Southern Lebanon in the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet for humanitarian reasons and, in the event, to cooperate with the Allied, UN, Red Cross and humanitarian organizations concerned in order to effectively provide for the prompt and secure airlift, reception and stay of these expelled and widely rejected human beings in line with the universally valid principles enshrined in the applicable conventions, treaties and declarations.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt cooperation, I take this opportunity to assure you of my highest considerations and extend my best New Year's wishes to you.

Sincerely yours,



International Committee of the Red Cross
19, avenue de la Paix
Tél. 022 734 60 01 Telex 414226 Fax 022 733 20 57

DATE : 29.12.92
No   : DDM/JUR 92/2037/MSA/jr           7 PAGES including this page


TO : Telecopy No 3117970

  Mr. J.A. Keller  Geneva


Dear Sir,

This is to confirm our telephone conversation of today. Considering the different humanitarian initiatives you take in the name of the "Mossul Vilayet Red Cross", in particular in recent days concerning the fate of the Palestinian deportees deported into an area between Israeli controlled and Lebanese controlled Lebanese territory, we would like to ask you formally not to use the name of the "red cross" (or "red crescent"). Such a misuse of the name of the red cross creates confusion, endangers our negotiations with the parties concerned and therefore risks to prolong the suffering of the victims concerned. Furthermore, legally, the emblem or the name of the red cross (or the red crescent) may only be employed by the States Party to the Geneva Conventions to indicate medical units and establishments, by National Red Cross Societies duly recognised by the ICRC, ... and by the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (cf. art. 44 of the First Geneva Convention, annex 1). As a representative of the "Mossul Vilayet Red Cross" you may therefore not use the name of the Red Cross. The Geneva Conventions furthermore oblige all States Parties to pass legislation necessary to prevent and repress such misuses of the red cross (cf. art. 53 and 54 of the First Convention, annex 2). Switzerland, from where you act, has passed such legislation by the "loi fédérale concernant la protection de l'emblème et du nom de la Croix-Rouge" of 25 March 1954 (annex 3). Art. 8 of that law punishes those who misuse the name of the red cross in the way you do with imprisonment or fine.

While we express our full respect for humanitarian activities of your organisation, we hope that these explanations spare us and you further legal steps.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Marco Sassoli Legal Adviser for the Middle East

 *          *          *

Editor's Note

Granted, there is good reason for the texts Dr. Sassoli was asked to play up. Granted every private initiative risks to succede before established apparatus rev up. Which can explain the intense unhappiness of some officials who may see themselves as gardians if not of the Holy Grail then of some monopoly in humanitarian affairs. That is what happened in the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, the hostage affairs in Teheran, Kuwait/Baghdad and, most recently again, in Afghanistan and Peru (for a review of these and other cases, see also: "Edouard Brunner, MPD (Master of Parallel Diplomacy)", What is less understandable, what is saddening and less than acceptable - and what the public and their elected representatives grow less and less tolerant about with correspondingly reduced willingness to support solidarity projects - is that the real objectives of all humanitarian efforts thus become overshadowed, if not jeopardized, by petty turf objectives, with the victims additionally victimized at the hands of their purported saviors. That's what happened with our initiative for helping some Palestinian deportees, with our St.Moritz meeting and with related efforts. They were all brought to nought, not least with penal threats against the organizers who were taken by surprise by the long arms of some purported monopoly holders and their allies in many quarters. In a noted silent protest, a one-to-one reproduction of Andy Warhol's "Last Supper" was thus exhibited prominently over the frozen Lake of St.Moritz during January 1993 - as a silent message for the well-fed to be remined of their less fortunate fellow human beings.

MEMO  3.Januar 1993

an:     Herren Nationalräte P.Couchepin, F.Steinegger, H.Weder

von:  J.Anton Keller, Beauftragter des Mosul Vilayet Red Cross,
           Postfach 2580, 1211 Genf 2 (zZ: 01-2120563)

re:      Transport von Winterhilfsgütern der Armee nach Nordirak

Entgegen den klaren Zusagen des Vertreters des Katastrophen-Hilfskorps fand die Sitzung zur gemeinsamen Ueberprüfung der einschlägigen Transportfragen (von den 6 Zeughäusern zum Abholflughafen Basel, und von dort nach Arbil) bisher nicht statt; die einschlägigen EDA-Stellen und das Schweiz. Rote Kreuz scheinen sich sogar aktiv querzulegen. All dies nicht aus Gründen welche der unbestreitbaren Notlage entsprechen, sondern wegen formeller Bedenken und zufolge eines schwerverständlichen Monopolanspruchs.

Demgegenüber hat Herr Bundesrat Villiger's Sachbearbeiter, Herr Loretan (031-675077), zuvorkommende Bereitschaft bekundet, beim innerschweizerischen Materialzusammenzug und Transport behilflich zu sein, und gegebenenfalls auch bezüglich der Kosten von Fr.12000 für die ca.30t Ueberschussmaterial von den bestehenden EMD-Kompetenzen Gebrauch zu machen (zB. wenn sich interessierte Parlamentarier dafür einsetzen würden). Für den für Mitte Januar vorgesehenen Charterflug habe ich zwei sehr günstige Offerten erhalten: Zimex Aviation (Zollikon) Fr.58'500; Berline (Berlin) DM 59'800. Für diese Posten und weitere Programmpunkte (zB. Handwärmer der Genfer Firma Ernest Mayor SA: Fr.505'500; 100'000 Wolldecken der Firma Eskimo Textil AG in Turbenthal: Fr.950'000) fehlen aber noch weiterhin die festen Finanzierungszusagen. Die Wolldeckenlieferung allein würde voraussichtlich sechs weitere Flüge auslasten. Der Kapitalbedarf für dieses Soforthilfeprogramm, inkl, administrative Aufwendungen, beläuft sich demnach auf rund zwei Millionen Franken, und ich ersuche Sie höflich um entsprechende dringende Fürsprache insbesondere bei den Herren Bundesräten Villiger, Felber und Stich. Ich werde mir erlauben, Sie in den nächsten Tagen dazu telephonisch anzusprechen.

Inzwischen habe ich mich auch an einer einschlägigen Solidaritäts-Aktion in St.Moritz beteiligt, welche zugunsten der vertriebenen Völker und der Opfer des Krieges im ehemaligen Yugoslawien im Rahmen des UNO-Jahres der Eingeborenen Völker und in Verbindung mit dem eindrücklichen Leonardo da Vinci/Andy Warhol Meisterwerk "The Last Supper" zu Jahresbeginn erfolgte. Bei einer Rückfrage durch eine SDA-Sachbearbeiterin (Frau Santschi, 031-243333) wurde ich auch nach dem Hintergrund des Winterhilfprogramms für die Bewohner des Mosul Vilayet (Nordirak) befragt. Ich erlaubte mir dabei auf die bereits im Nationalrat dazu erfolgte Einfache Anfrage Weder, sowie auf die Unterstützung einschlägiger Bemühungen durch weitere Parlamentarier hinzuweisen, wobei ich als Beispiele die Herren Nationalräte Couchepin und Steinegger namentlich erwähnte. Ich hoffe gerne, Ihnen damit dienlich gewesen zu sein, und dass dieser Hinweis gegebenenfalls bei Rückfragen Ihre Bestätigung finden und jedenfalls in Ihrem Sinne in der Oeffentlichkeit zum Ausdruck kommen wird.

Inzwischen verbleibe ich, mit besten Wünschen zum Neuen Jahr, Ihr

Anton Keller

Beilagen: BAZ 21.12; EDA 21.12.92;
MVRC-ICRC 25.12.92; Press release 1.1.93.


J.A.Keller, Secretary
POB 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2
fax: 4122-3117970, 411-2120563

Zurich, 6 January 1993

Dear Sir,

I appreciate your cordial reception and de-briefing on my way back on November 11, and wonder about the present and foreseeable relief situation, particularly the transport conditions and the readiness of the Arbil, Harire and Suleymania air fields for accomodating emergency relief flights.

Having studied in particular the food and fuel supply situation during my six-weeks stay in Arbil, I have obtained from the Swiss Army and private suppliers offers of various materiel intended to protect against cold and freezing (115'000 head covers, 26'500 gloves, 175'000 woolen scarfs, 100'000 woolen covers, sleeping bags and 17'000 pocket warmers fueled with carbon sticks for two months). Beyond these immediately available supplies, I am confident to be able to arrange for other needed items in quantity, but am not sure whether any of these supplies are really still needed in light of the apparent arrival of the long-delayed UN relief convoys and other deliveries by other governmental and NGO organizations.

If you feel additional supplies of said nature to be still - and urgently at that - needed, I would much appreciate and expect you to send me, by return fax, the best available data on:

a)  Arbil, Harire and Suleymania air fields (sketches; visual approach landing charts; MDB, ILS and other facilities available; runway conditions and lengths; etc.).

b)  Availability of air transport capacities from allied powers for transporting some 200t and 1000m3 winter protection materiel eventually provided from Swiss Army and private Swiss sources from Basel to Arbil/Suleymania.

c)  Contact tel and fax and codes for entry clearance and, if possible, AWACS guidance to be duly arranged with Swiss charter airline.

d)  Need to set up medical and humanitarian air links to and between notably said air fields, as planned by the Mosul Vilayet Red Cross, on the basis of helicopters and PC Porters eventually lent for those purposes by Swiss firms. ...

Trusting this to receive your urgent attention, I am looking forward to your up-to-date info, while extending my warmest New Years greetings and wishes to you. Sincerely yours,


ccc: Senator John Nimrod
     Lord Ennals

Hay Alwozarah - Arbil, Mosul Vilayet

Permanet Representative to the United Nations
box 2580 - CH 1211 Geneva 2
fax: 4122-3117970
t+f: 01-2120563
Zurich, 10 January 1993

H.E. Shimon PERES, Foreign Minister
c/o Israeli Mission to the UN in Geneva
re: 413 temporarily expelled Palestinians in Southern Lebanon

Your Excellency,

This is to present my compliments and to reiterate the offer of Good Offices in the above matter which I previously had the honor to transmit notably to the Israeli Red Cross by way of the ICRC in my capacity as Representative of the Mosul Vilayet Red Cross but which, so far, only drew a critical note from the ICRC which objected to my "different humanitarian initiatives ... concerning the fate of the Palestinian deportees deported into an area between Israeli controlled and Lebanese controlled Lebanese territory" to constitute an "abuse of the name of the red cross" which "creates confusion, endangers our negotiations with the parties concerned and therefore risks to prolong the suffering of the victims concerned." Obviously, the latter have not been the intended effects. Therefore, I may be permitted to offer the following clarifications.

1.   The Mosul Vilayet Red Cross has been formally set up and put to work by representatives of the inhabitants of the liberated part of the Mosul Vilayet (Northern Iraq) on 9 November 1992 in Arbil. It was registered on that day at the General Registry of the Mosul Vilayet, is being organized by university, health, tribal and other leaders and enjoys the support of the local authorities. It subscribes to the Geneva Red Cross Conventions, notably, and, with the full backing of the Mosul Vilayet Council as that area's supreme authority, is seen to be covered by art.26 of the First Convention. As such it may cooperate with other Red Cross Societies.

2.   My letter of accreditation and other related documents has been presented to the ICRC upon my return from Arbil in November; giving me full powers, it is signed by its key officials of which Sheik Salar Hasan Al-Hafeed, Mohammad Mahmood Harony (Jaf Tribe), Najim Omar Khedher Al-Sourchi and Mohammad Sidik Mahmoud (Secretary) are also leading personalities of the governing Mosul Vilayet Council. The offer of 25 December may thus be considered promptly.

3.   Assuming the proposed offer for a humanitarian interim accomodation of the Palestinians concerned to be of interest to the Israeli authorities, I suggest the above experience with the ICRC to be taken into account, i.e. to communicate directly either on the level of the involved Red Cross societies or on that of the involved governmental organizations.

I take this opportunity to assure Your Excellency of my highest considerations, and send my best New Year's wishes. Truly yours,

Special Representative to the UN
of the Mosul Vilayet Council

box 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2
t+f (private in France): 33-450322842

18 June 1996,  second mail copy: 9/18/96

Dear Boutros,

     For your information, please find enclosed today's Memorandum 9 of the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers. As your Geneva office no longer avails its internal fax facilities - not even for official communications between an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC and your office in New York, I am sending it by surface mail (including some earlier letters which have not yet drawn the courtesy of a reply).

     While you were in Geneva, I tried several times to contact you or your wife on a variety of problems which may seem small on your daily plate, but then again appear to go to the heart of some major problems bedevelling the UN, your streneous endeavors and my own small efforts to continue the work Dr.Leila Takla, other lawmakers and I begun in 1990 on festering and increasingly volatile Mideastern problems. I sent you a handwritten note by fax to the Reserve and - as recommended by your wife - at 8 am, in order to discuss an urgent problem which is soon going to be picked up by U.S. lawmakers (growingly arbitrary treatment of NGOs and their representatives and violations of due process and other human rights by the UN Administration). The communication channels being clogged, the free flow of things is likely to produce avoidable and thus the more regrettable results.

     Anyway, I wish you and your family all the best for your future and am looking forward to the pleasure of more relaxed exchanges on perhaps more meritious topics in Geneva or wherever our paths may again cross in the future.



PS     With no resolution in sight for the in-house human rights violations committed by UNGO when they arbitrarily shut me out of the Palais des Nations - thus preventing me from going after my business there, be it as a duly accredited NGO representative, as the Special Representative of the Mosul Vilayet to the United Nations, or as a long-time researcher at the League of Nations archives - I wonder whether you have been out for lunch or actively kept from becoming aware of what has been going on at UNGO, with corresponding adverse effects on a variety of fronts. In order to bring you up-to-date, I enclose communications on current problems which won't go away by being ignored. They all urgently call for your discrete leadership, in the sense of my public statement of support (letter to the Wall Street Journal Europe, August 20, 1996):

     The most pressing, the "oil-for-food" problem is intimately linked to what is already under way in Northern Iraq. Yet, with me, as the duly appointed Special Representative of the peoples concerned deliberately shut out of the UN in Geneva and numerous communications to your office still awaiting the courtesy of a reply, it should surprise nobody that some see the UN's role there as still being more a part of the problem than of the solution! Trusting this absurd situation to be changed promptly under your leadership, I may thus again find reason - this time openly - to help realize your aspirations. Meanwhile, I remain, sincerely yours,

enclosures:   MVC 9/15/96; Memo 9, 7/18/96; ICESC-UNSG 5/29/95; Questions on UNGO


Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
box 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2 - f: 01162 -3985006 (private t+f: 01133-450322842)

8 October 1996 (corr.2), 5 December 1996 (smc), 26 February 1997 (tmc)

Dear Mr.Scasc,

     This is to follow up on our proposal of September 29 for the Israeli Prime Minister to accept "the 'American' compromise formula, providing for the contested archeological tunnel to be kept open under Israeli sovereignty but, subject to the approval of the representatives of the three One God religions, guarded and maintained by the Palestinian Authority in cooperation with the archeological community." This proposal to empower and responsibilize the Palestinians in a security-wise irrelevant but psychologically crucial field now avails itself for being explored with King Hussein of Jordan for possibly combining it with his proposals on the tunnel issue and, in the event, for being formally tabled, at the earliest opportunity, as a U.S.-Jordanian proposal. We would appreciate your informing us on whether our proposal got anywhere at last week's Washington summit, and your keeping us abreast of its eventual evolution.

     Meanwhile - in the sense of the timely alarm signals by Daniel Doron in his ed page piece "Peace Needs More Than Goodwill" (Wall Street Journal Europe, 10/4-5/96) - we would like to draw your attention to a concrete suggestion for putting real meat behind the peace process, thus making the Palestinians also less dependent on ever-scarcer and conditioned foreign aid (it was first mentioned in §15 of the enclosed letter which the undersigned had addressed to Vice-President Al Gore last July 4, in his capacity as Adviser to the Mosul Vilayet Council). It centers on the Mosul Vilayet, i.e. the birthplace of key religions, commercial crossroad, homeland of Assyrians and Kurds, tributary of Pharaohs, and strategic oil reserve of Europe which the League of Nations, in 1925, conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq rather than to Turkey. As part of a more comprehensive solution to some problems which have bedevilled the Middle East at least since the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, the Mosul Vilayet, for humanitarian reasons, is to be provisionally taken out of the game and placed under a non-prejudicial interim trusteeship, i.e. its oil-bearing Diala district could be leased to the Palestinians while the rest would be entrusted to its autochthone Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman inhabitants which, in 1932, were placed under international protection. Until 31 August when the perennial infighting between the externally built-up but internally discredited Kurdish warlords provided an opportunity for Baghdad to extend its long arms again into the Allied-protected 'liberated' part of Northern Iraq, this regionally stabilizing interim solution was sought by way of corresponding steps which, perhaps under U.S. leadership, were to be taken by the UN General Assembly (GA Resolution 24 (I) 24 February 1946). It is our understanding that essentially the same result may - still - be obtained, provided Baghdad is driven to take corresponding steps, e.g. a 10-25 years lease of the Mosul Vilayet to either the Kingdom of Jordan or to Syria. In order to obtain such or another negotiated solution, the available leverages must be used to the maximum by the international community. This can be helped by the international obligations which Iraq incurred in 1932 with regard to minorities and the Mosul Vilayet and which still take precedence over any Iraqi "law, regulation or official action." Particularly the obligation to respect all property rights as they existed prior to Iraq's independence is a powerful instrument - also for changes in Baghdad's power structure. As pointed out in the enclosed letter to the Vice-President, themis-labelled humanitarian oil-for-food UN resolution SCR 986 should thus be kept inoperative, be modified or be replaced... lest the UN and the U.S. (as SCR 986's key sponsor) open themselves to the accusation of being accomplices in the stealing from the internationally protected oil properties of the Mosul Vilayet's Assyrians, Jews, Kurds and Turkomans.

I am still awaiting the promised substantive response from the Vice-President's office, and so are the peoples concerned who urgently await clear and reliable signals and guidelines. Trusting this to be helpful, I'd like to reiterate our interest for an early meeting with the Vice-President's representative preferably in Geneva. Meanwhile, I remain, sincerely yours,

J.A.Keller, I.C.E.S.C. Representative to the United Nations in Geneva


7055 North Clark Street
Chicago, Ill 60626
tel: (773) 2749262, fax: (773) 2745866

Senator John J.Nimrod
Secretary General

October 28, 1996

A pathway for relieving Northern Iraq while respecting Iraq's sovereignty rights

Dear Mister Vice-President,

The 3 mio strong Assyrian diaspora, particularly its 320000 strong U.S. branch, is concerned about the fate of its some 2 mio brethren living in Iraq, where some 200000 hold on in the Northern governorates, the Mosul Vilayet, which is a small part of what, some 4000 years ago, constituted the Assyrian Empire. Accordingly, and in light of the United Nations' persistent failures to properly address either the humanitarian needs or the special rights of Iraq's Assyrian population, we are now looking for more enlightened and helpful United States leadership towards lasting solutions in the Middle East in general and in the Mosul Vilayet in particular. Respect for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be linked and be commensurate to Iraq's respect for its human rights and international minority protection obligations, including the landownership rights. To this effect and on a more regular basis, we expect to be involved in the formulation and implementation of U.S. policies affecting the Assyrian Christians in Iraq.

In the wake of the latest developments in Northern Iraq - and with due regard to the legitimate interests of Iraq, other Iraqi communities as well as of Iraq's neighbors - we are grateful to the U.S. Government for its opposition to have the problematic oil-for-food resolution SCR 986 implemented before it will have been improved under new UN management. This opens the way for a more practical solution. Indeed, SCR 986, as it stands now, has been shown in the enclosed paper "'Oil-for-Food' vs. Assyrian Property Rights in Iraq" to constitute:

"Most urgently, the power to distribute humanitarian aid must not be left in the hands of those who no longer have the confidence of the people ... [for which reason] it has become indispensable to replace the present power structure in the Mosul Vilayet with an interim administration which is to be militarily supported by the Allies and which is also acceptable [to Iraq and to] the neighboring ... governments [e.g. entailing a 10-25 years lease of the Mosul Vilayet to the Kingdom of Jordan, thus preserving Iraq's sovereignty]. ... This sanctions-free and self-financed interim administration [wherein all constitutive ethnic, religious and professional communities shall be equitably represented] must ... ensure freedom, liberty and justice for all. As such it would have to provide the necessary services and security, giving the local inhabitants the opportunity to effectively pursue the reconstruction of their villages, churches and homes, and ensuring their civil, human and property rights. Authorized to develop the local resources and to trade freely, the necessary financial means would no longer depend on ever scarcer taxpayer money. Thus, these resources could finally become a source of regional stability, security and economic well-being." (ibid., §§ 8, 9)

In this sense, we would not be surprised to see the current French Mideastern diplomatic offensive to evolve - and eventually take over the spoils of ill-advised and failed policies which persistently relied on discredited warlords. Thus we look forward to assist the U.S. Government in providing instead corresponding successful leadership, and to effectively advise our members in time of the U.S. position. Sincerely yours,


7055 North Clark Street
Chicago, Ill 60626
tel: (773) 2749262, fax: (773) 2745866

Senator John J.Nimrod
Secretary General

December 16, 1996

Dear Mister Vice-President,

     This is to express our congratulation to your re-election and to that of President Clinton. It is to follow up on our correspondence of October 28/November 19, 1996, regarding notably Assyrian rights in Iraq and available pathways for arriving at a regionally stabilizing interim solution meeting security requirements, human rights concerns and international standards. And it is to express both our appreciation and concern regarding current U.S. policy on Iraq, as reflected in your letter and subsequent events, whereby we seek clarification of the U.S. position - in the event with a view to taking appropriate protective measures, including U.S. court actions and congressional hearings in order to effectively prevent the UN - apparently with U.S. Government support - from spoliating any further Assyrians holding Iraqi land titles.

     We have noted with interest President Clinton's September announcement of a fundamental review of U.S. policy on Iraq, and we would like to procede from the assumption that we will be able to effectively assist "in the formulation and implementation of U.S. policies affecting the Assyrian Christians in Iraq" (our letter to you of October 28, 1996). To this effect, we have sought to draw your particular attention to our concern regarding the international minority protection guarantees Iraq incurred as a sine qua non condition of its ascension to independence and statehood on October 3, 1932 (see our policy paper "'Oil-for-Food' vs. Assyrian Property Rights in Iraq"). And, on behalf of all some 5 mio Asyrians living either in Iraq or in the diaspora (including some 320000 U.S. residents), we continue to expect clear and unswerving U.S. Government support for the effective recognition and enforcement of our thus internationally protected minority and property rights in Iraq both at the UN and vis-à-vis Baghdad.

     We were thus encouraged by your statement: "Until the United States can be sure these humanitarian supplies will actually get to those who need them, the U.N. plan willl not go forward." Yet, there has been no mention of the facts we pointed out in due time, namely that the petroleum involved in this notorious "oil-for-food" deal is understood to be the legal, yes even internationally protected property of yet-to-be-consulted and not-yet-consenting Assyrian and other landowners. And when, on December 10, the UN Secretary General finally gave the green light for SCR 986 to become operational, we have had no part in that decision. Also, we started wondering whether the U.S. Government really intended to forfeit this property rights tool which could have served - and still could serve - as an effective leverage for bringing about much desired changes in Iraq. Regardless of whether or not that is the case, we now find ourselves in a position similar to the families of Jewish Nazi victims whose fortunes were looted not only by their Nazi tormentors. And drawing inspiration from how that historic wrong now falls back on other involved governments and unscrupullous bankers, we are thus considering said appropriate protective measures.

     To be sure, so far, our contacts with Iraq desk officers at the State Department have been less than reassuring with regard to their knowledge of and readiness to invoke and even enforce said Iraqi obligations. In fact, for reasons which may reflect long-standing party lines of White Hall, all public and privately-voiced U.S. - and UN - references to Iraqi obligations have persistently been limited to the post-WWII period, thus ignoring the comprehensive humanitarian and property rights obligations contained in the constitutive Iraqi Declaration of 30 May 1932 which continue to be of crucial importance to both the Assyrians and other Iraqi minorities (reproduced in UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27). This, of course, is understandable, given America's legacy with, its ill-admitted-fatherhood-turned-into-contempt of the League of Nations. Yet, like fear, such feelings are unhelpful and indeed failure-prone policy pillars for any states(wo)man worth his(her) salt. And the all-too-often heard argument: "how can we reasonably expect Iraq to honor a commitment dating from before WWII when we cannot even get it to respect more recent obligations?" is a formula for disaster and not a thought worthy of responsible persons wishing to be taken seriously.

     Indeed, by failing to even mention if not enforce Iraq's constitutive, fundamental obligations - whose validity, incidently, has not been officially questioned, so far, not even by Saddam Hussein - Iraq's leaders are encouraged to disregard its later obligations and stick out the waning penalties. This is the more so as the attention span of U.S. politicians in particular is notoriously short-lived. It is not helped either by the failure of the peoples concerned to keep alive the collective memory on their internationally protected rights, by the resultant general ignorance on these matters, and by the international community's failure to monitor the faithful observance of these obligations.

     But all this throws a longer shadow. It reaches beyond Iraq and the Middle East to all of the world's current and future trouble spots where minority issues have not been resolved lastingly. And it is in this area where the biggest political opportunity costs arise for any country whose leaders aspire to remain factual, credible and effective leaders on the world stage. Indeed, such festering trouble spots in Iraq, Palestine and ex-Yugoslavia (notably in Eastern Slavonia, Krajina, Sanjak, Kosovo and Macedonia) not only see the United States deeply entangled, but in a position to become part of either the problem or its solution. The latter requires real, effective leadership, i.e. willingness and capacity to bring to bear imagination, clear-sightedness and credible power. Re-inventing the wheel is certainly not called for - nor is the myopic ignoring of past agreements in favor of new ones created by primarily self-promoting diplomats eager for sound bites on CNN. Essential is: solid enrootment in and enforcement of universal principles, like pacta sunt servanda. Surprisingly, the legacy of the League of Nations, with its focus on minorities, contains many documents which can not only serve as helpful sources of inspiration and for adaption but have retained their validity in international law. The above-mentioned and other current trouble spots are all covered by valid treaties providing for extensive international minority protection rights which wait to be reactivated by way of UN General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946. And though they were concluded in relation with the failed, yet underestimated League of Nations, the United States is in a unique position to take the lead for their mutually helpful reanimation. Iraqi's obligations of 1932 thus readily avail themselves as vehicles for venturing beyond worn-out tracks, opening new horizons with a successful and widely-appreciated U.S. diplomatic initiative.

     Indeed, in its Advisory Opinion on South West Africa of 11 July 1950, the International Court of Justice upheld the related "international obligations" on the basis of considerations which are seen to have a direct bearing on obligations incurred with Iraq's Declaration of 30 May 1932 (in the event, this Court might be asked to clarify related issues with another Advisory Opinion). The Court thus held (as quoted in the UN Secretariat study E/CN.4/367/Add.1, p.4):

     "These obligations represent the very essence of the sacred trust of civilization. Their raison d'être and original object remain. Since their fulfilment do not depend on the existence of the League of Nations, they could not be brought to an end merely because this supervisory organ [i.e. the Council of the League of Nations] ceased to exist. Nor could the right of the population to have the Territory administred in accordance with these rules depend thereon." (I.C.J. Reports 1950 p.133) "With respect to the latter kind of obligation ['related to the machinery for implementation' being 'closely linked to the supervision and control of the League'] the Court was of the opinion that effective performance of the 'sacred trust of civilization' required that the administration should be subject to international supervision and that this necessity for supervision 'continues to exist despite the disappearance of the supervisory organ under the mandate system. It cannot be admitted that the obligation to submit to supervision has disappeared merely because the supervisory organ has ceased to exist ...' [ibid. p.136]" (UN, op.cit.)

     On this basis, and with our full participation, we trust the on-going discussions with representatives of other ethnic Iraqi minorities to avail themselves to overcome the impass reflected in the revealing enclosed documents we received from KDP sources on an alleged PUK conspiracy. In order to promptly and effectively explore and put onto the rails mutually beneficial solutions, we reiterate our offer to contribute our fair share in line with our basic agreement on property and other rights concluded in 1992 with duly elected representatives of the Mosul Vilayet Council. Also, we would greatly appreciate your benevolent guidance on these matters, and look forward to an early clear statement on where the U.S. Government stands on these crucial issues. Meanwhile, we take this opportunity to re-assure you, dear Mister Vice-President, of our highest consideration, and remain, with Season's greetings,

sincerely yours,

Senator John J. Nimrod, Secretary General

53rd Session, 1997, Agenda item 11: Improving the Efficiency of the Commission's Work through due process, other human rights and pacta suntservanda at the UN, in Iraq & elsewhere ON THE RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE UN IN GENEVA Mr.President, the Swiss police has prevented me from entering Switzerland with my valid Swiss visum and detained me "for deportation to Baghdad" where l face the death penalty. And the UN Geneva Office has actively blocked the exercise of my functions as a duly appointed Deputy Representative of an NGO in consultative Status with ECOSOC. What's more, it saw fit to evict another NGO representative from the Palais des Nations. This UN service organization thus managed to shut out the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation ( its work here - nota bene in violation of due process and other principles the UN stands for. Such incidents are seen to undermine both this Commission and the reputation of Geneva as an international human rights center. As a contribution to the improvement of its work, l've thus asked a colleague to read my testimony with your presidential permission.

My name is Mohammad Siddiq Mahmoud ( I am a Kurdish lawyer from Sulaymanyia in the Mosul Vilayet who served the Iraqi people as Agricultural Minister, Governor and Presidential Adviser. However, when the Assyriens, Kurds and Turkomans rose against Baghdad in the wake of Iraq's defeat in 1991, l also believed in President Bush's encouraging words and joined that uprising. And since l've thus become an opposition leader which, in the eyes of some, is unforgiveable, nobody could ignore that a visit to Baghdad would now be a death ticket for me.

With my background, l could indeed add to the already heavy body of testimony against the Iraqi regime. But that would not make a dent in Baghdad. It would not help any segment of the already all-too-long and excessively suffering Iraqi people. And it would not relieve me of whatever responsibility l may share for past official actions. Nor would it help to open up people's mind for new vistas and practicable ways out of the present mess. On the other hand - and this is where the Commission could also benefit from my particular case - if it used this and other experiences imaginatively, some current human rights disasters in Mesopotamia and other parts of the world might be resolved without further burdening foreign taxpayers.

In this sense, the representatives of the 5 mio strong Arab, Assyrian, Kurdish and Turkoman communities and tribes of the oil- and water-rich Mosul Vilayet (Northern Iraq) invited me in 1992 to serve as a co-founder and chief organizer of the supreme Mosul Vilayet Council ( ¦ .../rebirth.htm). In 1926 this former Ottoman Empire province was conditionally attached to the Kingdom of Iraq. Due to the never-abrogated constitutive Iraqi Declaration of 30 May 1932 (reproduced in: E/CN.4/.Sub.2/1992/NGO/27: .../a3b.htm), the Mosul Vilayet inhabitants in particular, on paper at least, enjoy internationally recognized and formally guaranteed minority protection and property rights which are understood as still valid. Indeed, in 1950, the International Court of Justice, in an analoguous case, firmly ruled that

"These obligations represent the very essence of the sacred trust of civilization. Their raison d'etre and original object remain. Since their fulfilment did not depend on the existence of the League of Nations, they could not be brought to an end merely because this supervisory organ [i.e. the Council of the League of Nations] ceased to exist. Nor could the right of the population to have the Territory administered in accordance with these rules depend thereon. " (I.C.J. Reports 1950, p.133, as quoted in: E/CN.4/367/Add.1: .../a3a.htm#LEGAL).

Accordingly, the Mosul Vilayet Council (MVC: .../a31.htm) has labored from the outset to free its inhabitants from all international economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, to place it, for 10-25 years, under a non-prejudicial and regionally stabilizing UN-sponsored interim administration (e.g. by the Kingdom of Jordan, as outlined in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/NGO/48: .../a3b.htm#48), and to provide for its eventual re-attachment to Iraq or Turkey, attachment to Iran or Syria or independence. To this effect, it has obtained the formal approval of most leaders of its ethnic, religious, civil, educational, cultural and business communities and of 17 political parties. Nevertheless, it has yet to draw commensurate support from the international community, whose denial of rights enshrined in the UN Charter and other binding international texts is seen to have prevented the process of self-healing and peace in the region. Until this is recognized and will have produced the necessary policy changes, this man-made and regionally destabilizing humanitarian nightmare may not be overcome by any "oil-for-food" deal. Particularly not by programs based on looting "internationally protected" landowners. In fact, these mostly self-serving schemes are likely to rekindle religious tensions, exacerbate ethnic conflicts and fuel tribal wars which may further threaten regional peace and stability.

While the MVC's duly elected Permanent Representative to the United Nations thus kept running into a solid wall of vested interests, the venerable International Committee for European Security and Cooperation kindly offered me to speak out directly at the UN Commission on Human Rights. On 10 October 1995, this NGO with consultative status appointed me as ICESC Deputy Permanent Representative, in Charge of Good Offices in Near Eastern affairs. Communications between Iraq and the rest of the world being what they are, l arrived in Istanbul only three weeks later where l immediately applied at the Swiss consulate for a corresponding visa for human rights work at the UN. Although l paid the requested 50000 Turkish lira for accelerated fax transmissions, the ICESC Main Representative in Geneva was contacted by the Swiss authorities only at the end of November - i.e. two weeks after my Turkish transit visa had expired and l was obliged to start wandering about in the Middle East. In mid-February 1996, l was finally issued in Cairo both a Swiss and a French visum providing for 30 days of NGO work at the UN. But when l arrived at Geneva airport on 23 February, the Swiss police immediately cancelled my visum and detained me, without giving any reason. And when l objected to a check of my Iraqi passport by members of the Iraqi mission, I was told that l am going to be "deported to Baghdad". It was only due to the determined efforts by my Swiss friends and ICESC representatives that, after a chilling five hours detention, l was allowed to exit the airport to France - vive la France!

The fact that l can't testify before you in person and that ICESC is now not represented in Geneva raises disturbing questions on the ability of the Commission, its members and its NGO community to carry out its crucial task in an evironment of law, due process and human rights. Who keeps track of the cases where the UN Administration and/or the host government prevented access to the Commission on Human Rights, thus interfering in its proper functioning? We know that during the Second World War Swiss officials routinely turned back at its borders members of undesirable minorities who were thus driven towards death in gas chambers. And we know that the Swiss National Bank was then heavily involved in trade with looted gold. But l, for one, presumed that today Swiss officials strictly heed Switzerland's international and human rights obligations and need not be told of the 15 November 1996 "Chahal" ruling where the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg prohibited the deportation of a person to a country where his/her life is seriously endangered (70/195/576/662). And neither l nor the ICESC representative expected to draw so heavy fire in Geneva against our efforts to prevent the unprecedented looting of Assyrians, Jews, Kurds and Turkomans as the internationally protected owners of oil-rich lands. In protest, my colleague declined to register our NGO until this matter will be satisfactorily resolved so as to reliably preclude similar incidents, and he retained the option of publicly denouncing this case.

All this, it seems, did not sit well with some of the involved Swiss officials. For my valiant Swiss human rights defender suddenly saw himself shut out from the Palais des Nations - allegedly for "behavior which is not compatible with that of a representative", terms which are usually reserved for diplomats accused of spying or terrorism. This happened within the walls of the UN's Geneva human rights sanctuary without the shadow of due process, i.e. without a hearing, without specifying any wrong-doing, and without possibility of appeal. The NGOs involved were advised of this with a letter by the UN Geneva Office dated 19 April 1996, specifying that the representative in question may no longer represent them at the UN in Geneva. To date all efforts failed to identify either the source behind this harrassment or the legal basis of this "administrative decision". The only reason given so far was that this internationally renowned minority rights expert and ICESC representative was "too persistent." A survey among the Missions in Geneva revealed both other disturbing incidents involving Swiss officials as well as a little known, hardly ever vented frustration in the diplomatic community. At the Palais des Nations only Swiss officials are said to have the kind of influence thus brought to bear in this and similar cases. Not surprisingly then, the Swiss authorities repeatedly refused to formally exclude their involvement in this affair, or to intervene at the UN on behalf of their own Citizen, e.g. by invoking their prerogatives written into the UN Seat Agreement.

Which brings us back to our initial question. Which is: Can the UN Geneva Office still be trusted to unreservedly apply within its walls the human rights standards the UN stands for? This and other grave cases point to undue external influences and out-of-control UN officials. And this mutually harmful situation calls for serious review and determined corrective measures, lest NGOs be reduced to folkloric functions and the UN's Human Rights arms become ineffective and redundant due to their failure to safeguard the cooperation with and the contributions of courageous, competent & principled representatives of civil society and vigilant NGOs.

PS: Commendably, the then-president of the Swiss National Council's Foreign Affairs Commission, François Lachat, and other Swiss lawmakers, spent much political capital for seeking to clarify and redress the above-described situation which is understood to be linked to Saddam Hussein's long arms abroad. So far to no avail - despite the changes in Iraq. Which is reminiscent of an unrelated but equally significant and telling, yet unresolved polito-legal black hole (.../stammabs.htm).(24.9.07 - url: ¦ .../icescge.htm)

MEMO: Palestinian Homeland at the Old Empire's Northern Perimeter

from:     Anton Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers
              cp 2580  -  1211 Geneva 2  -  Switzerland  -  3 December 2001
              t+f:  +4122-7400362  -  e:

On the Palestinian issue, the interim idea never really caught on with the powers that be.  Even though, since 1992, it has drawn sustained critical mass support among the members of the Mosul Vilayet Council (MVC;  It is based on the principle which was successfully applied by Andropov and his successors of the former Soviet Union: deprive your enemy of his enemy and your enemy will disappear!   It would provide for the Palestinians and their Authority to consider with imagination - and to draw liberating and fruitful inspiration from - the history of their Jewish brethren (.../babylon2.htm). And to adopt and execute a policy calling for and practising, as a rule, non-opposition to any and all of Israel's plans for the occupied territories (.../gridlock.htm). While focussing instead all their energies on developing what the MVC repeatedly offered to the Palestinian leadership, i.e. a "loaned homeland", a Hong Kong-type 99 year lease of the oil-bearing Diala district to the North of Baghdad, where the PLO could actually create an economically viable and internationally recognizable state.  Without giving up any land title in, or other claim to any part of Palestine, those Palestinians wishing to temporarily leave Gaza, the West Bank and the refugee camps could settle in the Diyala, assisting in the UN-mandated administration of the Mosul Vilayet (.../a33h.htm | .../HELMS.htm | .../opinion.htm), helping to recover Iraq's lost generations (.../PLATO.htm), promoting a balanced diet for the Iraqi population (.../CERES.htm) and assisting in the rebuilding of Iraq's society (.../oilforfood.htm | .../babylon2.htm | .../arbil.htm).

Maybe this not only sounds but is outlandish; yet, what alternative is there for temporarily, yet truely and healingly settling over-lapping religious (.../a31.htm#VIVANT | .../slm.htm) and land claims which, ever since the Ottoman Empire break-up, have festered in the Middle East?

PS    for Iraq, Iran and other Middle East-related studies, see:
Official documents and comments on Iraq's limited sovereignty
( ¦ .../3103.htm ¦ .../ray.htm)     January 16, 2002

Want Security? End the Occupation
By Marwan Barghouti

RAMALLAH -- Israel's assassination of Fatah activist Raed Karmi on Monday was predictable. Despite Israel's having killed more than 18 Palestinians since President Yasser Arafat's call for a cease-fire on Dec. 18, there have been no Israeli civilian casualties during that time. That, according to world governments and the international press, constituted a "lull in the violence." But a lull in the violence is exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cannot afford. He was elected in a time of crisis and knows that his rule is sustainable only in a time of crisis. For his own political survival, he will do whatever it takes, and look for any excuse, to stoke the flames of unrest and avoid a return to peace negotiations.

Hence, more than 600 Palestinians, already refugees, were recently made refugees yet again as Sharon's bulldozers razed their homes in Gaza. A day later Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem were destroyed. And then, just to ensure that Palestinians are sufficiently provoked and the cycle of violence starts again, Israel assassinates Karmi.

Sharon justifies such barbaric and illegal measures in the name of "security." But as someone often considered a candidate for Israeli assassination myself, I can assure the Israeli people that neither my assassination nor any of the other 82 assassinations during the past 15 months will bring them any closer to the security they seek and deserve.

The only way for Israelis to have security is, quite simply, to end the 35-year-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Israelis must abandon the myth that it is possible to have peace and occupation at the same time, that peaceful coexistence is possible between slave and master. The lack of Israeli security is born of the lack of Palestinian freedom. Israel will have security only after the end of occupation, not before.

Once Israel and the rest of the world understand this fundamental truth, the way forward becomes clear: End the occupation, allow the Palestinians to live in freedom and let the independent and equal neighbors of Israel and Palestine negotiate a peaceful future with close economic and cultural ties.

Let us not forget, we Palestinians have recognized Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine. It is Israel that refuses to acknowledge Palestine's right to exist on the remaining 22 percent of land occupied in 1967. And yet it is the Palestinians who are accused of not compromising and of missing opportunities. Frankly, we are tired of always taking the blame for Israeli intransigence when all we are seeking is the implementation of international law.

And we have no faith in the United States, the provider of billions of dollars in annual aid to fund Israel's expansion of illegal colonies, the "fighter of terrorism" that supplies Israel with the F-16s and helicopter gunships used against a defenseless civilian population, the "defender of freedom and the oppressed" that coddles Sharon even as he faces war crimes charges for his responsibility in the 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees. The role of the world's only superpower has been reduced to that of a mere spectator with nothing to offer other than a tired refrain of "Stop the violence" while doing nothing to address the root causes of that violence: denial of Palestinian freedom.

Watch as the hapless Gen. Anthony Zinni focuses his efforts on "violence" while Jewish settlers violate international law and even American policy by moving into a new illegal colony in occupied East Jerusalem. We Palestinians are not impressed.

Over the past 15 months, Israel has killed more than 900 Palestinian civilians, 25 percent of them under the age of 18. And still the United States has the audacity to veto a U.N. plan for an international protection force to stop the onslaught.

So we will protect ourselves. If Israel reserves the right to bomb us with F-16s and helicopter gunships, it should not be surprised when Palestinians seek defensive weapons to bring those aircraft down. And while I, and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbor, I reserve the right to protect myself, to resist the Israeli occupation of my country and to fight for my freedom. If Palestinians are expected to negotiate under occupation, then Israel must be expected to negotiate as we resist that occupation.

I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated -- the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else.

This principle may well lead to my assassination. So let my position be clear in order that my death not be lightly dismissed by the world as just one more statistic in Israel's "war on terrorism." For six years I languished as a political prisoner in an Israeli jail, where I was tortured, where I hung blindfolded as an Israeli beat my genitals with a stick. But since 1994, when I believed Israel was serious about ending its occupation, I have been a tireless advocate of a peace based on fairness and equality. I led delegations of Palestinians in meetings with Israeli parliamentarians to promote mutual understanding and cooperation. I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and a just resolution to the plight of Palestinian refugees pursuant to U.N. resolutions. I do not seek to destroy Israel but only to end its occupation of my country.

The writer is general secretary of Fatah on the West Bank and was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Washington Times    4/21/2002                       

Sharon said to want half of West Bank land

     From combined dispatches
     JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to annex up to half of the West Bank under an unpublished plan for the Palestinian territories that he is drawing up with close advisers, a senior minister in his government has said.
     "As far as I know, the strategy is to annex 50 percent of the West Bank [for Israel], and this is incompatible with a two-state solution. It is not realistic," Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh told the London Sunday Telegraph.
     Mr. Sneh, a Labor member in Mr. Sharon's coalition government, spoke at the end of a week in which Israel began winding up its largest military operation in the West Bank in more than 30 years.
      Israeli tanks and armored vehicles yesterday began pulling out of Nablus, the largest West Bank city, and parts of Ramallah. But in a resurgence of violence, a Palestinian gunman and an Israeli policeman died in a clash at a Gaza border crossing and another Palestinian blew himself up near a border checkpoint.
     The London newspaper reported that Mr. Sneh's remarks were a strong indication that the Israeli prime minister prefers to see a divided, weakened Palestinian entity with far less land than envisioned under previous peace plans.
     Asked about the comments, Danny Ayalon, a senior Sharon aide, said the prime minister would wait for a regional peace conference — which he has called for — to discuss his proposals for Palestinian territory.
     Israel also promised yesterday to cooperate with a United Nations mission to probe its crushing assault on the Jenin refugee camp, saying it had nothing to hide in the face of Palestinian accusations of a massacre. Palestinians said they hoped the U.N. Security Council's unanimous decision Friday to send a "fact-finding" team to the camp could lead to an international criminal trial of Mr. Sharon and others.
     "We have nothing to hide, and we will gladly cooperate with this U.N. inquiry," Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin said after the United States proposed the compromise U.N. resolution.
     Mr. Sharon has played his cards close to his chest over his broader political strategy, saying only that he is prepared to make "painful concessions" to the Palestinians in the interests of long-term peace.
      However, Mr. Sneh's comments will fuel speculation that the prime minister and the Israeli right are hoping to retain most of 150 Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
     Over the years, Mr. Sharon has pushed for annexation of up to 60 percent of the West Bank. When the deadline in the 1993 Oslo accords for creation of a Palestine state expired in May 1999, Mr. Sharon, then foreign minister in the Benjamin Netanyahu government, threatened to annex settlements if the Palestinians declared a state unilaterally.
     Mr. Sneh, a rising figure in Labor ranks, plans to present alternative peace proposals to his party's conference in June, based on land swaps and Palestinian sovereignty over most of the West Bank.
     Labor and the right-wing parties — of which Mr. Sharon's Likud is the largest — have maintained a united front in the anti-terror crackdown. However, Mr. Sneh indicated that rifts over a political settlement could cause the coalition to collapse.
     Last week, Mr. Sharon called for an international peace conference, but demanded the exclusion of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Mr. Ayalon, one of the prime minister's closest advisers, said he would not be drawn into revealing details of any plans to offer the Palestinians a peace deal.
     President Bush yesterday said Israel must press ahead with its withdrawal from Palestinian cities but did not repeat earlier demands for an immediate end to the offensive.
     "All parties must realize that the only long-term solution is for two states — Israel and Palestine — to live side by side in security and peace. This will require hard choices and real leadership by Israelis and Palestinians, and their Arab neighbors," Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address.
     Asked about Mr. Sharon's reported annexation plan, a senior State Department official, requesting anonymity, told The Washington Times that "there may be all kinds of Israeli ideas," but no one should "get wedded to any one specific plan."
     The official said the emphasis is on convincing Israel to "implement a complete withdrawal" from Palestinian towns and on convincing Palestinians to "take responsibility for getting the violence down and the political process going."
     In Cairo, visiting Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji pressed Israel to withdraw immediately from Palestinian towns and called for a complete cease-fire.
     Tanks and armored personnel carriers were seen heading out of Nablus and some Ramallah neighborhoods yesterday, but Mr. Gissin said troops would stay near Mr. Arafat's Ramallah headquarters. "Any place that we've finished we pull out," he said.
     Israel has said it will maintain its siege at the shell-shattered compound where the Palestinian leader is confined until he turns over suspects in the October killing of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. Israel yesterday rejected Mr. Arafat's offer to try them in a Palestinian court.
      Israeli forces were expected to stay in the heart of Bethlehem until the end of a standoff between soldiers and armed Palestinians holed up inside the Church of the Nativity since April 2. A Franciscan priest inside said yesterday that food supplies had run out.
     In the Jenin refugee camp, fierce fighting ended more than a week ago, but 11 persons have been wounded over two days by stepping on unexploded ordnance or opening booby-trapped doors intended for Israeli troops, hospital officials said.
     U.S. Middle East envoy William Burns, calling for humanitarian aid, described the camp yesterday as the scene of a "terrible human tragedy" and "enormous suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians."
     The scale of death and destruction remains in bitter dispute. Israel says about 70 Palestinians were killed, most militants. Palestinian officials estimate the death toll in the hundreds. Twenty-three Israeli troops were killed. So far, 43 Palestinian bodies have been found, six of them women, children or elderly men, Palestinian sources said.

        April 26, 2002

Israel's Historic Miscalculation

Late last week, senior Israeli Army officers called for uprooting several dozen isolated Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip because of the military burden involved in protecting them. Even though the proposal was focused on Israeli security interests, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angrily dismissed it at a cabinet meeting, saying that as long as he was in power there would be no discussion of removing a single settlement.

It is hard to imagine a more dispiriting statement for those hoping for a negotiated land-for-peace end to hostilities in the Middle East. If Mr. Sharon sticks to this view he will leave little hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We recognize that this is an exceptionally painful moment in a region where the focus has been on death and human suffering rather than on land. But ultimately this dispute is over land.  Just as terror is the greatest Palestinian threat to Middle East peace, so are settlements on territory captured in the 1967 war the greatest Israeli obstacle to peace. They deprive the Palestinians of prime land and water, break up Palestinian geographic continuity, are hard to defend against Palestinian attack and complicate the establishment of a clear, secure Israeli border.

Before the Oslo peace process began in 1993, settlements were a major American concern. The first President Bush threatened to withhold $10 billion in loan guarantees from Israel if it did not freeze its settlement building. The hostility between him and Yitzhak Shamir, then prime minister, over this issue contributed to Mr. Shamir's defeat at the hands of Yitzhak Rabin in 1992.  But for nearly a decade, settlements have earned little American attention. Since Israel and the Palestinians were engaged in peace negotiations, it was assumed that eventually many if not most of the settlements would go, and it was easier not to cause a political crisis by pressuring the Israeli right before a full peace agreement had been reached. The Oslo peace talks broke down, of course, and while primary responsibility for the collapse rests with Yasir Arafat, the settler population in the West Bank and Gaza has nearly doubled, to more than 200,000. This is an immense problem.

Two decades ago most Israelis considered the settlers to be oddballs spurred by messianism and nostalgia for the derring-do of Zionist pioneers. A few thousand and then a few tens of thousands set up cheap mobile homes on windswept hillsides and vowed to double their number. But by the early 1990's, when Mr. Sharon served as housing minister, the situation had changed radically. Aided by government subsidies and other inducements, there were more than 100,000 settlers. For Israelis, settlers were no longer zealots but ordinary fellow citizens. Suddenly their plumber or doctor or neighbor's sister was living in a big semi-detached house in a community on land captured in 1967. Many Israeli maps stopped demarcating the former border.

Today the biggest settlements are real towns, with tens of thousands of inhabitants, major access roads, neighborhoods, shopping malls, industrial parks, even a university. This is in addition to some 200,000 other Israeli Jews who live in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem also captured in 1967. Palestinians consider these to be settlements as well.  In the year that Mr. Sharon has been prime minister, some 35 new settlement outposts have been established, in contravention of his coalition agreement with the Labor Party. Opinion polls show strong Israeli public support for removal of some settlements in exchange for peace, a position embraced by previous Israeli governments. Yet Mr. Sharon refuses to consider such a move.

Mr. Sharon has said he is willing to make "painful compromises" for peace, and has called for a regional peace conference. He has welcomed the Saudi peace framework, which posits the return of all land captured in 1967 in exchange for full diplomatic ties with the Arab world. But to take out of negotiation even the most isolated settlements — this week Mr. Sharon said Netzarim, a Gaza settlement, was the same to him as Tel Aviv — is to undermine the possibility that following his military action, a meaningful political dialogue can begin. The Israeli public and the American government must not turn away from this painful reality. The Palestinian and Arab leadership must also realize that the longer the Palestinians rely on terrorism and fail to return to negotiation, the harder it will be to remove these "facts on the ground."

"Israel's big mistake", IHT April 27-28, 2002, NYT editorial
Letter to the Editor, re: "Israel's big mistake"

And if the Palestinians really cried uncle?

If indeed it is a "big mistake“ not to budge on the settlements issue (4/27-28/02), it also entails unintended and unexpected effects.  For the Palestinians may thus be driven to recognize and draw the consequences of the current gridlook over overlapping land and religious claims.  They may take time out and deliberately create a void.  And to come back only when the changes thus brought about will include the fundamentals in Palestine.

Inspired by the regeneration their exiled Jewish brethren experienced some 2600 years ago in Babylon, the Palestinians might accept the offer to temporarily emigrate to Saddam-free territory between the two rivers (  And to build up their own state and economy.  Not from handouts.  But from developing a leased patch of fertile oil-bearing land.  From helping to rebuild the sanctions-damaged infrastructure.  And from assisting in the recovery of the lost generations of equally short-shrifted, down-trodden and forgotten peoples (.../PLATO.htm).

It Aint Necessarily So!

Prime Minister Sharon's hardball is not following the fashionable land-for-peace script.  Reportedly, he refuses to consider abandoning any Israeli settlement in the West Bank and Gaza.  As your editorial suggests (April 27-28, 02), this may indeed turn out to be "Israel's big mistake" - albeit for other reasons, and with consequences differing from those projected.

Not that a chance for real and lasting peace is thus being missed.  And not that the explosiveness of the gridlocked situation, that the no-future syndrom and that the Palestinians' prevailing misery in the contested lands, would finally move their brethren into meaningful action.  But that the Palestinians should not be underestimated in their capacity to take matters effectively into their own hand - not on the military, but on the political front where they have a real chance.  By stopping to rely on others (who necessarily follow their own agenda).  By looking more closely at their own roots and preparing for their future on a thus strengthened basis of their own (  And by drawing inspiration from history (e.g. "Deprive your enemy of his enemy and your enemy will disappear!").

Indeed - and assuming this to be desirable at all - could Israel really survive as a religion-based state, if the Palestinians took the initiative and (without giving up any rights or claims) let their Jewish brethren invest their energies into building in Palestine whatever and wherever they please?  All the while those Palestinians so desiring would accept the already-extended invitation of the Mosul Vilayet Council (representing Northern Iraq's Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans; .../mvc.htm) to temporarily emigrate to the latter's Saddam-free territory (.../pal.htm).  To set up their internationally recognizable - and recognized - homeland temporarily between the two rivers, on an oil-bearing and fertile patch of land, leased for a generation or two.  And to build up their own state and economy not from handouts.  But from oil exports.  From helping to rebuild the sanctions-damaged infrastructure.  And from assisting in the education and recovery of the lost generations of equally short-shrifted, down-trodden and forgotten peoples.

Atoni Mustafa, Permanent Representative of the Mosul Vilayet
to International Organizations, Geneva -
t+f:  +4122-7400362    May 3, 2002

by Boris Shusteff

_May 2, 2002 should be written in the book of the Israeli-Arab conflict with golden letters._ After nearly half a century of futile attempts by the world community to make work the delusional idea of creating a second state for the Palestinian Arabs on a meager 2,268 sq. miles of territory, a prominent American political leader has finally offered the only sane approach to solving the conflict.

In an interview with MSNBC, House Majority leader Dick Armey, a Texas Republican, said that he supports the idea that Israel should expand her sovereignty to the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and that the Palestinian Arabs should be resettled in the Arab countries. He said, "There are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and soil and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state."

_Armey's statement is of utmost importance._ While it is a great pity that he is only a Senator, with this statement he guarantees himself a place next to the great American Presidents who advocated the idea of the relocation of the Arabs from Palestine to the Arab countries, even before the creation of Israel._ This idea is grounded in the understanding that the Jews should be able to reestablish their national home unimpeded by Arab terror.

_Let us recall history._ On October 25, 1938 Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a long meeting with the British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Ronald Lindsay._ The main topic of the conversation was Palestine._ Adolf Berle, the Assistant Secretary of State wrote of this meeting, "The President was full of Palestine._ He had suggested to Ronald Lindsay that they call a conference of Arab princes; that they lay down, say $200,000,000 buying a farm for every Arab who wishes to leave Palestine, the money chiefly to be used in digging wells, which is perfectly possible in the Hedjaz" (1).

_Roosevelt had another meeting to continue the discussion of the issue with Lindsay during the first half of November._ At this meeting, the President said that he thought that "the British should call in some of the Arab leaders from Palestine and some of the leaders from the adjoining Arab countries._ The British should explain to them that they, the Arabs, had within their control large territories ample to sustain their people"(1)._ Roosevelt said, "Some of the Arabs on poor land in Palestine could be given much better land in adjoining Arab countries"(1).

_The British Government, for obvious political reasons, was against the idea and tried to dissuade the American President, preparing at the end of December a memorandum stating that it did not "believe that any considerable quantity of water could be obtained in Transjordan," therefore making the idea of resettling the Arabs unviable. However, Roosevelt was skeptical about this kind of argument._ Sharing the memorandum with Louis D. Brandeis, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, he wrote, "the British ought to explore for water to the south and to the north." He added that he had heard from the French that "the land in Arabia across the Red Sea from Djibouti and back of the coastal range of mountains, has all kinds of possibility for settlement - and also that the Iraqi people are entirely willing to take a large Arab population for settlement on their newly irrigated lands" (1).

_By 1942 Roosevelt had become even more convinced of the advantages of moving the Arabs out of Palestine in order to allow the Jewish settlement there._ In a letter to Brandeis, he put forward his plan for the transfer of a large number of Arabs from Palestine to Iraq._ And in December 1942 he told Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, "I actually would put a barbed wire around Palestine, and I would begin to move the Arabs out of Palestine.... I would provide land for the Arabs in some other part of the Middle East.... Each time we move out an Arab we would bring in another Jewish family.... There are lots of places to which you could move the Arabs._ All you have to do is drill a well because there is a large underground water supply, and we can move the Arabs to places where they can really live" (1).

_In November 1944, several days after he was reelected President for his fourth term, Roosevelt discussed the Palestine situation with the Under-Secretary of State, Edward Stettinius._ Stettinius wrote in his diary, that Roosevelt felt confident that he would be able to "iron out" the whole Arab-Jewish issue. "He thinks Palestine should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it... and he has definite ideas on the subject._ It should be exclusive Jewish territory" (1).

_The idea of moving the Arabs from Palestine to Iraq was even more feverishly championed by Herbert Hoover, the thirty-first President of the United States. The famous "Hoover Plan" was born on November 19, 1945 and published in the "New York World-Telegram" under the headline "Hoover Urges Resettling Arabs to solve Palestine Problem."

_Hoover approached the issue as an engineer, stating that as a result of his solution, the "emotional, racial and political aspects of the problem would be subordinated in a process by which both Jews and Arabs would benefit materially" (1)._ Proposing to move the Arabs from Palestine to Iraq he wrote, "My own suggestion is that Iraq might be financed to complete [the]... great land development on the consideration that it be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine. This would clear Palestine completely for a large Jewish emigration and colonization" (1). His statement continued, "A suggestion of transfer of the Arab people of Palestine was made by the British Labour Party in December 1944 but no adequate plan was proposed as to where or how they were to go" (1).

_He indicated that "the Arab population of Palestine would be the gainer from better lands in exchange for their present holdings._ Iraq would be the gainer for it badly needs agricultural population" (1)._ Hoover wrote,_ "I realize that the plan offers a challenge both to thestatesmanship of the Great Powers as well as to the good-will of all parties concerned._ However, I submit it and it does offer a method of settlement with both honor and wisdom" (1).

_It is this method of settlement with both honor and wisdom that was reawakened by Dick Armey when he suggested the relocation of the Arabs from Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Arab countries._ Armey's suggestion is the only pragmatic approach to the solution of a seemingly irreconcilable problem._ The point is that a heavily populated Arab state is non-viable on 2,268 sq. miles of territory (this is the total area of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip).__ It is easy to demand the creation of a new "Palestinian state" but for some reason, no one pauses to consider that it is a crime to try to cram over 10 million people (expected population there by 2025 at the current population growth rate) into two tiny, disconnected parcels of land._ Especially since these territories are both water-scarce areas, with the Gaza strip being "the most horrifying case of all."

_On April 25, Keith Marsden, an economist from Geneva, wrote an article in the "Wall Street Journal," in which he said that "a sustainable Mideast peace can only be built on two firm foundations._ First, Israel's right to exist behind_ secure borders must be recognized._ Second, a viable Palestinian state should be created._ Though all these achievements appear unreachable right now, it's the viability part that looks the hardest at this point."

_Marsden hits the nail directly on the head._ Viability is completely ignored by all those who advocate the creation of an Arab state in the West Bank and Gaza._ Marsden notes that real development in this area started only after Israel took it over in 1967._ This was in great measure due to integration with Israel's economy._ According to the UN in 1999_ (prior to Arafat's decision to go to war)_ "27% of Palestinian workers were employed in Israel." Marsden wrote that more than 60% of total Palestinian Authority (PA)_ revenue from 1995 to 1998 constituted money transferred to it by Israel through "direct taxes levied on Palestinian workers in Israel and indirect taxes on Palestinian imports through Israeli ports._ Net transfers from the Israeli Treasury to the PA amounted to $542 million in 1998." Another significant factor in thedevelopment of the West Bank and Gaza was the flow of official aid from Western donors. "Net assistance to the territories averaged $580 million annually from 1996-2000."

_If an Arab state is created in this 2,268 sq. miles of land, in order to become self-sustainable (which is what_ is meant by the concept of "sovereignty") the Arabs will have to forget about these aforementioned sources of revenue._ They will stop being applicable._ First, Israel will not employ the Palestinian Arabs_ (nobody can force a sovereign country to employ citizens of another sovereign state, especially a hostile one)._ Second, as Marsden notes "Western aid donors may begin to question whether it is just or equitable that Palestinians receive nine times more aid per head than people living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their average incomes are little more than a quarter of Palestinians'."

_It is naïve to expect that help for the Palestinian Arabs will come from their Arab brethren._ Trading arrangements among the Arabs exist only on paper._ Marsden reveals an absolutely astounding fact._ He writes that, "Exports within the Arab Common Market, which groups together Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, amounted to only 1.6% of their total exports in 1999._ It's surprising that Arab countries, which share a common language, religion, culture, ethnic heritage and geographical proximity, should trade so little among themselves."

_All of this means that an overpopulated Arab state on the two tiny, non-contiguous parcels of water-scarce land, lacking all natural resources, and deprived of "free" money, needing somehow to sustain its population, will be absolutely unviable._ The Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will be still-born from the moment of its declaration._

Thus, in this option, a "sustainable Middle East peace" is a mirage._ Only Armey's suggestion of relocating the Palestinian Arabs to some Arab state is worthy of consideration if one really wants to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict._

1. Chaim Simmons. A Historical Survey of Proposals to Transfer Arabs from Palestine 1895 - 1947.

Boris Shusteff is an engineer._ He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.

israpost    6 November 2004

[emphasis added]
By Bruce Brill

The Palestinians' situation is terrible. Three fourths of their population live in poverty. The number of poor has tripled since September 2000 and over half the workforce is unemployed. Palestinians are more dependent on food aid than ever before. Reports for 2003 from social welfare organizations note "pervasive and deepening poverty," "worsening conditions and an economy in a state of ruin," "conflict creating a major humanitarian crisis," and "widespread psychological trauma." Palestinian Prime Minister Qurei has understated: "Our people are suffering."

President George Bush and other world leaders have lamented the sad plight of the Palestinians. Something beyond talk is needed to alleviate Palestinian suffering. "Tell Bush: Good Speech! Now Take Action," suggested the Jewish Voice for Peace, urging Bush "to back his words with action." Refugees International has called on President Bush to "take steps to give jobs, education, medical services, and food." In describing the talking-versus-doing syndrome, Herbert Hoover, President of the United States from 1929-33, said in 1920: "Words without actions are the assassins of idealism."

Hoover could never be accused of assassinating idealism: he was responsible for the rescue, feeding, clothing and resettlement of more victims of natural disaster and war than just about anyone in history. During World War I, he headed the Commission for Relief in Belgium, which fed 10 million people and carried out Belgian postwar reconstruction. In 1917, Hoover served as US food administrator. After the war, President Woodrow Wilson sent Hoover to Europe to direct the American Relief Administration. In 1927, as Secretary of Commerce, he successfully resettled 325,000 Americans rendered homeless by the Mississippi River's flooding.

After World War II, he brought relief to millions as Coordinator of the European Food Program. A Quaker, Hoover passionately believed in peace, was appalled by the human costs of war, and devoted his life to public service. Even with his most grandiose projects, he kept the worth of the individual paramount. His title, "The Great Humanitarian," was well deserved. When war again broke out in Europe, Hoover, now in his 70s, established the Polish Relief Commission, which fed 300,000 children in occupied countries. He became chairman of the Famine Emergency Commission and in 1945, President Harry S Truman asked him to organize food relief for war-torn countries.Nor did the plight of the Palestinian Arabs escape The Great Humanitarian's attention. In December 1945, he submitted his plan to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine. Hoover said it was "a process by which both Jews and Arabs would benefit materially," and could be instrumental in "settling the Palestine question and providing ample Jewish refuge."

He insisted that it offered a "constructive humanitarian solution" and the committee agreed that the proposal merited careful study. What Hoover proposed was "that Iraq be made the scene of resettlement of the Arabs from Palestine" for their immediate relief and long-term benefit. Unlike current proposals for mass, forced transfer, there was an implicit assumption that this one would be totally voluntary. By 1949, with the creation of half-a-million Palestinian refugees, Hoover's plan took on special urgency. He wrote the White House that "they are in a deplorable condition," and they can be absorbed in Iraq. "It would give permanent [?] solution to the problem of these unfortunate people," Hoover said. He also said his plan "would strengthen the economy of Iraq.

Could Hoover's vision work today? The population of Iraq this past generation has been decimated. The prolonged Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, the internecine fighting within Iraq, the 1991 Gulf War, the subsequent UN sanctions, and the most recent US-led invasion and occupation have taken a toll of millions of Iraqis. Resettling the downtrodden Palestinian Arabs in Iraq would alleviate their suffering and be a concomitant blessing to Iraq. Palestinian Arabs excel in agriculture and construction, the areas of war-torn Iraq's greatest need. Jimmy Carter warned recently that "the lack of real effort to resolve the Palestinian issue is a primary source of anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East and a major incentive for terrorist activity." Hoover noted his program "would contribute to a friendly gesture from the West to all Arab countries."The idea of Jordan as a Palestinian state is widely supported on the Israeli right, even though it is vigorously resisted by the Jordanian monarchy and people.

The notion of Egypt as a partial homeland is strongly advocated by the leader of the National Religious Party and others, even though it is firmly rejected by the Egyptian authorities. However unrealistic reviving Hoover's idea may appear at first glance, it seems far more realistic than those relatively widely endorsed approaches. The main obstacle to implementing Hoover's plan has been the presence of antagonistic regimes in Baghdad. Today, American control of Iraq presents a unique opportunity. Let's remember: "words without actions are the assassins of idealism".

Mar 21 2006

Dear Ray,

I just discovered your traces in the sand (Ray Hanania, "Changing Palestinian-Israeli paradigm", Yediot Ahronot, March 15 2006), waded through your biography, and thought it "proper and effective in the circumstances" to relay to you the invitation by H.E. Sami Shoresh, the Minister of Culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG for the commemorative festivities for Sheik Mahmoud Al Hafeed, to be held in Arbil (Irak) on March 11 to 13, 2006 (

If you're interested to attend this event, please advise H.E. by return email (, with copies to Sheik Salar al Hafeed ( and to myself at your earliest convenience. His Excellency advised me that I may invite, on his behalf, several suitable colleagues from among my network, that all costs will be carried by the KRG, that for their current lack of experience and know-how, those accepting this official invitation should make on their own their traval arrangements to and from Arbil, and that they will be fully reimbursed in Arbil.

I have tentatively made reservations (, +49307-9748491) for five persons on the Kurdistan Airline flight of April 10 which leaves Frankfurt on 22.55 and arrives at Arbil 05.30 - just in time for the opening of the festivities on the morning of April 11.

With best regards

Anton Keller, Secretary
Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers
t+f: +4122-7400362

PS:  Referring to our past humanitarian efforts, notably with regard to the 1992 invitation I arranged for the 400 Palestinans which in December 1992 were expelled to Southern Lebanon (.../mvcindex.htm#Hamas), I'm also looking for related prompt contacts with some interested Hamas representatives. For, in a wider and longer-term perspective, some wounds in the Middle East are festering not only since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, but appear to have much deeper roots which - in the evolving context and given visionary, principled and courageous minds capable of thinking out of the box and recognizing the world not to be flat - may now have a chance of being effectively addressed in a comprehensive way (.../214.htm).

Neue Zürcher Zeitung   10.Mai 2007

Palästinensische Vertriebene aus dem Irak ohne Zuflucht
Hunderte sitzen entlang der syrisch-irakischen Grenze fest

Während sie unter der Herrschaft Saddam Husseins einige Privilegien genossen, werden die Palästinenser im Irak seit der amerikanischen Invasion verfolgt. Mehr als die Hälfte von ihnen ist deshalb aus dem Zweistromland geflohen. Einige hundert sitzen an der Grenze zu Syrien und Jordanien fest. Aufnehmen will sie niemand.
kw. Damaskus, im April
    «Terrorist, Saddam-Liebling, Verräter, Palästinenser, verlass den Irak, oder du wirst sterben!» Einen Zettel mit diesen Worten fand der Palästinenser Raed Musa, Küchenchef und Taxifahrer, eines Morgens vor zwei Jahren an der Windschutzscheibe seines Autos in Bagdad. Wenige Tage später beschossen unbekannte Männer sein Haus mit Granaten, deren Splitter Raed selbst sowie zwei seiner Kinder verletzten. Tagelang hätten sie nicht ins Spital fahren können, weil die Amerikaner zu jener Zeit Baladiat umzingelt hielten, das Quartier, in dem er und die meisten Palästinenser Bagdads wohnten. Und als sie endlich im Spital ankamen, konnten die Ärzte nichts tun, weil die Medikamente fehlten. Nachdem dann Raeds Bruder ermordet worden war und dessen irakische Frau am Telefon bedroht wurde, packte die Familie ihre Koffer und fuhr Richtung jordanische Grenze.

Die Revanche der Schiiten
    Wie Raed Musa sind in den letzten Jahren Tausende von Palästinensern aus dem Irak geflohen. Für einige von ihnen ist es auch nicht das erste Mal, dass sie in die Flucht getrieben wurden. Palästinenser fanden im Irak erstmals nach ihrer Vertreibung beim arabisch-israelischen Krieg von 1948 Aufnahme. Weitere folgten nach dem Sechstagekrieg im Jahr l967. Im Jahr 1992 wurden die Palästinenser aus Kuwait vertrieben, weil der palästinensische Führer Arafat die irakische Invasion unterstützt hatte. Viele fanden im Irak Aufnahme. Saddam Hussein verstand sich als ihr Beschützer; sie erhielten Wohnungen zu einem symbolischen Mietzins und weitere Privilegien. Seither gelten die Palästinenser als Günstlinge des Diktators, so dass sie nach dessen Sturz zunehmenden Schikanen durch die Behörden und Verfolgungen durch schiitische Milizen ausgesetzt waren. Zwischen April 2004 und Januar 2007 wurden laut dem Uno-Hochkommissariat für Flüchtlinge (UNHCR) mindestens 186 Palästinenser im Irak getötet. Von den 35 000 Palästinensern, die vor der amerikanischen Invasion im Irak lebten, sind heute noch 15 000 im Land.
    Als Raed Musa mit seiner Familie und Dutzenden von Leidensgenossen im März 2006 die Grenze Jordaniens erreichte, war diese geschlossen. Jordanien hatte bereits über tausend palästinensische Flüchtlinge aufgenommen, die zum Teil seit Beginn der Invasion im Zeltlager Ruwayshid in der jordanischen Wüste ausharrten. «Es gab kein Land mehr, das uns aufgenommen hätte. Uns blieb nichts anderes übrig, als zu warten», erinnert sich Raed. Nach zwei Monaten akzeptierte die syrische Regierung die Gruppe der 287 gestrandeten Palästinenser und brachte sie nach al-Hol, an der irakischen Grenze im äussersten Nordosten Syriens gelegen.

Zwangsverordnetes Nichtstun
    Von al-Hol sieht man weit über eine karge Ebene bis zu Hügeln, die bereits auf irakischem Territorium sind. Stacheldraht umzäunt die niedrigen Betonhäuschen, die Anfang der neunziger Jahre für irakische Flüchtlinge gebaut worden waren und nun den Palästinensern als Behausung dienen. Das Eingangstor wird von syrischen Polizisten bewacht. «Die Flüchtlinge dürfen nicht arbeiten. Wir versorgen sie mit allem, was sie brauchen», sagt Raymond Yusuf, der als Beauftragter des UNHCR und der Regierung das Lager verwaltet. Die 90 palästinensischen Schulkinder dürfen im nächsten Dorf in die Schule, wer aber zu einem Verwandten- oder Spitalbesuch nach Damaskus will, braucht eine Spezialbewilligung.
    «Wie ein Gefängnis», zischt Scheich Abu Ahmed, der Vorsteher des Lagers, und deutet mit vielsagendem Blick auf die Männer des Geheimdienstes, die den Besuchern keinen Schritt von der Seite weichen. Der Scheich, in einen Trainingsanzug gekleidet, erzählt, dass er früher viel Sport gemacht habe, zudem habe er ein grosses Haus besessen und zwei Autos. Von alldem sei nichts geblieben, und nun werde er faul und träge vom zwangsverordneten Nichtstun. Im Lager führt er einen kleinen Krämerladen mit Chips und Plüschbären, und im Zwei-Zimmer-Häuschen hat er einen Fernseher aufgestellt, mit dem er gegen die Langeweile ankämpft.
    In einem kleinen Nähatelier besticken Frauen Tücher und Taschen. Arbeiten wolle sie, sagt Wafa Sammer, die früher in einer Ingenieurfirma in Bagdad gearbeitet hat. Sie wurde in Jordanien geboren, ist in Kuwait aufgewachsen und floh von dort nach Bagdad. Sie beklagt sich nicht, dass sie nicht gut versorgt würden, aber darüber, dass sie einmal mehr im Exil ist. «Endlich eine Heimat haben», wünscht sich auch der Veterinärmediziner Mohammed Adi, «egal wo.» Sein Vater sei in Gaza zur Welt gekommen, er in Kuwait. Ein Leben lang sei er Flüchtling gewesen. «In Bagdad wurden sechs meiner Nachbarn getötet. Zweimal wurde ich auf dem Weg in die Tierklinik beschossen», erzählt Adi und sagt, dass die Flüchtlinge von al-Hol das UNHCR gebeten hätten, sie in irgendein Land zu bringen. Hauptsache, sie würden nicht wieder vertrieben. «Das Problem ist nicht nur, dass es hier 300 Flüchtlinge hat», sagt Raymond Yusuf. «Das Problem ist, dass sie Palästinenser sind. Das ist eine rein politische Angelegenheit.»

Von Flüchtlingen überrannt
    In Syrien lebten schon vor dem Kriegsausbruch im Irak 400 000 Palästinenser, Flüchtlinge von 1948 oder 1967 und deren Nachkommen. In den letzten Jahren hat das Land über l Million irakische Flüchtlinge aufgenommen. Die Flüchtlinge, die an der irakischen Grenze zu Syrien oder Jordanien gestrandet sind, will heute niemand. Israel will sie nicht aufnehmen und ihnen auch nicht die Einreise in die besetzten palästinensischen Gebiete erlauben. Die USA, die mit ihrer Intervention den Flüchtlingsstrom aus dem Irak ausgelöst haben, wollen auch keine Palästinenser aufnehmen. Einzig die Palästinenser, die Geld hatten, konnten sich in Bagdad einen irakischen Pass für 700 Dollar kaufe.n, mit dem sie als Iraker in arabische Länder wie Syrien ausreisen konnten. Wie der Mitarbeiter eines Hilfswerks in Damaskus erklärt, wollen die Hamas und die Palästinensische Befreiungsorganisation zudem verhindern, dass die Flüchtlinge nach Übersee ausreisen und dort ein neues Leben beginnen. Dahinter stehe die Politik, so viele Palästinenser wie möglich im Flüchtlingsstatus zu belassen, um die Forderung nach ihrer Rückkehr nach Palästina zu stützen.
    Al-Hol im Norden ist nicht die einzige Endstation für Palästinenser, die aus dem Irak geflohen sind. Im Mai 2006 erreichte eine Gruppe von 350 Palästinensern, vor allem Frauen und Kinder, die syrische Grenze bei at-Tanf an der Hauptstrasse zwischen Bagdad und Damaskus. Seit über einem Jahr leben sie in Zelten im sieben Kilometer breiten Niemandsland zwischen dem syrischen und dem irakischen Grenzposten. Die Zelte stehen in der Steinwüste neben der Strasse, auf der die Lastwagen vorbeidonnern und auch schon ein Kind überfahren wurde. Bei Regenfällen im Winter werden die Zelte überschwemmt, im Sommer wird die Hitze unerträglich. Auch dieses Lager wird vom UNHCR und von anderen Hilfsorganisationen versorgt. In einer Nacht Ende April brach ein Feuer im Lager aus und zerstörte die Zelte mitsamt dem gesamten Hab und Gut von sieben Familien. Es ist bereits das zweite Mal, dass ein Feuer im Lager ausbricht. Der UNHCR-Vertreter in Syrien warnt vor weiteren Tragödien, wenn die Flüchtlinge nicht bald an einen sicheren Ort gebracht werden.

In der Wüste gestrandet
    Im vergangenen Sommer hat sich etwas weiter östlich, auf irakischem Territorium nahe des Dorfes al-Walid, ein drittes Lager gebildet. Dort wohnen Palästinenser, die nicht einmal mehr im Niemandsland zwischen den beiden Grenzposten geduldet werden. Das UNHCR und das Internationale Komitee vom Roten Kreuz haben für sie Zelte aufgebaut, doch für die Hilfsorganisationen ist es schwierig, diese Flüchtlinge zu versorgen. Sie sind Angriffen schutzlos ausgeliefert, und wer krank wird, kann nur notdürftig versorgt werden. Im März harrten über 500 Palästinenser in al-Walid aus. Mitte April waren es bereits mehr als 750. Über 400 weitere palästinensische Flüchtlinge sind in provisorischen Lagern entlang der Grenze verstreut. Seit dem 12. April versuchen die Flüchtlinge in al-Walid mit einem Sitzstreik die internationale Aufmerksamkeit auf sich zu lenken.

version française
07.5328 - Nationalrat, Fragestunde. Frage

 Eingereicht von  Freysinger Oskar
 Einreichungsdatum 01.10.2007
 Eingereicht im Nationalrat
 Stand der Beratung Erledigt

Eingereichter Text [eingereichter Originaltext*)ohne redaktionelle Kürzungen:]
Trifft es zu, dass im Februar 1996 Mohammad Siddiq Mahmoud, ein früherer Minister von Saddam Hussein und späterer Anführer des kurdischen Aufstandes von 1991, mit gültigen schweizerischen und französischen Visa in Genf eintraf, jedoch an der Einreise gehindert und schliesslich nach Frankreich abgeschoben wurde (
Wer veranlasste diese offiziellen Vorgänge?
Ist der Bundesrat bereit, dafür Sorge zu tragen, dass solche Rechtsverletzungen und Imageschädigungen vermieden werden und der Betroffene entschädigt wird?

Blocher Christoph, Bundesrat:
    Herr Oskar Freysinger spricht einen Fall an, der im Februar 1996 passiert ist, also schon relativ lange her ist. Es geht darum, ob ein Visum zu Recht widerrufen worden ist und wer diese offiziellen Vorgänge ausgelöst hat.
    Zum Generellen: Für den Widerruf von Visa an der Grenze sind zwei verschiedene Verfahren vorgesehen. Bei Diplomaten oder Personen in offizieller Mission ist das Eidgenössische Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA) zuständig. In den übrigen Fällen können die für die Grenzkontrolle zuständigen Behörden der Kantone oder jene des Bundes nach Rücksprache mit dem Bundesamt für Migration die Visa widerrufen, wenn die Einreisevoraussetzungen nicht mehr erfüllt sind, wenn also zum Beispiel eine Gefährdung der öffentlichen Sicherheit besteht oder die innere und äussere Sicherheit der Schweiz gefährdet ist.
    Die genauen Umstände, unter denen es im Februar 1996 zum Widerruf des Visums von Mohammad Siddiq Mahmoud und zu seiner Inhaftierung und Überstellung nach Frankreich gekommen ist, konnten in der zur Verfügung stehenden Zeit nicht abschliessend geklärt werden. Es handelt sich eben um einen Fall aus dem Jahr 1996, deshalb sind die zur Klärung der Fragen notwendigen Unterlagen noch nicht elektronisch archiviert. Die Akten befinden sich nicht mehr im BFM, sondern möglicherweise im Bundesarchiv, sofern sie nicht aus datenschutzrechtlichen Gründen gelöscht worden sind. Auch im EDA sind die Vorgänge nicht mehr bekannt. Das Bundesamt für Migration wird aber die in dieser Sache notwendigen Abklärungen veranlassen und den Fragesteller und gegebenenfalls die Öffentlichkeit zu gegebener Zeit informieren. Es braucht leider noch eine gewisse Zeit.


*)    1. Trifft es zu, dass im Februar 1996 Mohammad Siddiq Mahmoud, ein früherer Minister und Berater von Saddam Hussein und späterer Anführer des kurdischen Aufstands von 1991, mit gültigen schweizerischen und französischen Visa für Arbeiten im Rahmen der UNO-Menschenrechtskommission in Genf eintraf, jedoch an der Einreise im Flughafen gehindert wurde, trotz Todesgefahr nach Baghdad deportiert werden sollte, und schliesslich nach Frankreich abgeschoben wurde (
2.    Wer veranlasste allenfalls aus welchen Gründen diese offiziellen Vorgänge?
3.    Ist der Bundesrat gegebenenfalls bereit, dafür Sorge zu tragen, dass solche Rechtsverletzungen und Imageschädigungen unter allen Umständen vermieden werden und der Betroffene angemessen entschädigt wird?

Washington Post     April 10, 2008

Former President Carter to Meet With Hamas Chief

By Glenn Kessler

Former president Jimmy Carter plans to meet next week in Damascus with Khaled Meshal, the head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in a direct rebuke of the Bush administration's campaign to isolate it.

The disclosure of Carter's plans by the Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat and subsequent confirmation by sources familiar with his itinerary instantly placed the campaigns of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in a political bind.

The campaign of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive Republican nominee, was quick to blast Carter's plans and called on both Obama and Clinton to condemn the meeting with what the State Department lists as a terrorist group.

Both Clinton and Obama issued statements with milder language, saying they "disagreed" or did "not agree" with Carter's plans.

Carter's views of the Middle East attracted controversy last year because a book he wrote included tough criticism of Israel's policies. Indeed, a source close to Carter said that the former president favors Obama but that he has decided not to endorse Obama publicly or formally because he fears it would contribute to hostility toward Obama among Jewish Democrats.

In 2006, Hamas, formally known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, won Palestinian legislative elections, ousting the Fatah faction championed by the Bush administration. Hamas then forcibly seized the Gaza Strip last June, splitting the Palestinian territories. Both the Bush administration and the Israeli government have long sought to ostracize Hamas.

However, Carter's trip would also come at a time when a growing number of experts in the United States and Israel have argued that isolating Hamas is not productive. A poll published in February in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found that 64 percent of Israelis favor direct talks with Hamas. Both Efraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad spy agency, and Shlomo Ben-Ami, a former foreign minister, say Hamas can no longer be ignored.

A bipartisan group of foreign-policy luminaries, including former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, issued a statement before the Annapolis peace talks sponsored by the administration in November that said "we believe a genuine dialogue with the organization [Hamas] is far preferable to its isolation."

The Carter Center, in a statement, confirmed that Carter plans to be in the Middle East this month but declined to elaborate. No senior American representative, in or out of the government, has met with Hamas's leadership since it was named a terrorist group in the mid-1990s.

Brzezinski, Carter's former national security adviser and an Obama supporter, said he was unaware of Carter's plans but said "it is a good idea to talk to Hamas," given the changing mood in Israel. "Extremist movements, if handled intelligently, can be brought around to embrace" a more moderate approach, he said.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, however, that "former president Carter is a private citizen" and, "United States Government policy is unchanged: Hamas is a terrorist organization. They can't have one foot in politics and one foot in terror."

McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said the candidate "believes it is a serious and dangerous mistake for Americans of any stature to meet with an organization like Hamas that is committed to the destruction of Israel and regularly conducts terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis."

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, said, "Hillary respects former president Carter but disagrees with his decision," adding: "She would not meet with Hamas without coordinating with Israel."

Obama has said he is willing to meet with officials of hostile governments, but he puts Hamas in a different category.

Spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama "does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with this meeting because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements."

Staff writer Robert G. Kaiser contributed to this report.

Op-Ed Contributor

May 18, 2008

For Israelis, an Anniversary. For Palestinians, a Nakba.

IN 1948, during the war known to the Israelis as the war of independence, the historian Constantine K. Zurayk wrote the book “Ma’na al-Nakba,” later translated as “The Meaning of the Disaster.” The title struck a resounding chord, and nakba (catastrophe) became the term Palestinians used for the cataclysm that befell them that year.

I always considered the word “catastrophe” inappropriate. It rendered the perpetrator anonymous, and it exempted the vanquished from bearing any responsibility for their defeat. Like many members of my generation, born around the time of the war, I tended to place the blame for our defeat on the traditional Palestinian leadership under the sway of the mufti of Jerusalem, and the Arab regimes of the day.

But Zurayk was neither guileless nor naïve, as we had believed. He coined the term nakba deliberately to convey the impossibility of blocking the project for the Jewish state after the Holocaust.

I didn’t grasp the true meaning of the word until I worked in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. In the alleys and passages of the Shatila camp, I discovered the truth of the catastrophe. Villagers expelled from the Galilee had suddenly found themselves living in huts set up hastily to provide temporary shelter. But the temporary became permanent, and the people were forced to construct a nation for themselves out of words and memories. They gave the various sections of their camps the names of the villages they had fled, and they lived, as they said, “waiting” in a suspended time. Even when the waiting went on too long and became “exile,” they still refused to believe that no one would recognize and authenticate their tragedy.

These peasant farmers, who made up the majority of the Arab population of Palestine in 1948, did not discover that they had had a “nation” of their own until they lost it. They had been living in a historical continuity for hundreds of years, as a succession of invaders of different nationalities and ethnicities took control of their lands and communities. But they were astonished to discover that these new invaders did not wish to control the land in the manner of the former invaders; instead they wanted it emptied of its inhabitants.

The consternation of the Palestinians who told me the stories of their destroyed villages derives, essentially, from the absence of the world’s acknowledgment of them, the lack of credence given to what happened to them. After the Holocaust, it became virtually impossible to condemn any action of the Israeli state. In establishing the state of Israel, the West had found a solution to its moral obligations and a release from the disastrous burden of Nazism.

No one wishes to hear the Palestinian story. Their history has been written by the victors: Israel has thus succeeded in blotting out its “original sin,” as the French author Dominique Vidal referred to the situation. Were it not for the courageous voices of Israeli “new historians” like Ilan Pappé, the world would not have come to admit that a people had been expelled from their land in a comprehensive ethnic cleansing operation, given the name “Plan D” by Israelis.

As Israel celebrates the 60th anniversary of its independence, it is pointedly ignoring two truths: First, that there is another people, composed of the previous inhabitants of the country, who consider that anniversary to be a day of national disaster, and consider the nation of Jewish immigrants to have been built on the rubble of another nation, Palestine.

Second, that Israel’s continued occupation of the remaining portions of Palestine, in the West Bank and Gaza, has transformed the nakba from a historic incident to a daily reality, experienced by Palestinians through the invasive settlements, the wall of separation and the checkpoints that disconnect their lands and sever the links between them, making their lives a hell on earth.

The peace process has failed, Yasir Arafat has died and the iron fist policy put in place by Ariel Sharon has led to the nearly total defeat of the Palestinian national movement. That defeat is also a product of the short-sightedness of the architects of the Oslo Accords, a framework for future relations between Israel and the anticipated state of Palestine, and the failure of the Palestinian leadership to find new methods of confronting the occupation in keeping with this two-state solution.

The defeat of the secular leaders of the Palestinian national movement has not given Israel the “peace of strength” it has sought since its foundation. Rather, it has brought the region to the brink of the abyss of fundamentalist tendencies.

What successive Israeli governments pretend to forget is that pushing the Palestinians to this destructive brink is not without a cost. Indeed, the Palestinians could drag Israel to the brink along with them. This would mean an open-ended state of war. Unfortunately, this is the direction in which rapidly unfolding developments are now propelling us, as witnessed in Gaza and now in Beirut, with Iran through its allies edging closer to a direct confrontation with Israel.

Israel has depicted the problem as rooted in the Arab world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. But even after the majority of Arab states demonstrated their recognition of this right by supporting the Saudi peace initiative of 2002, nothing changed; in fact, things became worse. To Palestinians, the true problem lies in Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian right to an independent state, and in the prevailing Israeli culture’s refusal to recognize that Palestinians were themselves victims of forced expulsion from their lands.

Recognizing the sufferings of the victim, even if they are of the victim of a victim, is the necessary condition for an exit from this long and tragic tunnel. However, as the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci suggests, it is difficult to maintain the optimism of the will in the face of the pessimism of the intellect.

Pessimism of the will is what we are living today in the Middle East. It is a pessimism that warns not only of the danger of recurring episodes of catastrophe as Arab societies break apart, but of the dismal prospect of an endless war that will provoke future tragedies in the 21st century.

Elias Khoury, the editor of the literary supplement of the Beirut daily An Nahar and a professor at New York University, is the author of the novels “Gate of the Sun” and “Yalo.” This essay was translated from Arabic by Michael Scott

Op-Ed Contributor

January 22, 2009

The One-State Solution
By MUAMMAR QADDAFI, Tripoli, Libya

THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

But everywhere one looks, among the speeches and the desperate diplomacy, there is no real way forward. A just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, but it lies in the history of the people of this conflicted land, and not in the tired rhetoric of partition and two-state solutions.

Although it’s hard to realize after the horrors we’ve just witnessed, the state of war between the Jews and Palestinians has not always existed. In fact, many of the divisions between Jews and Palestinians are recent ones. The very name “Palestine” was commonly used to describe the whole area, even by the Jews who lived there, until 1948, when the name “Israel” came into use.

Jews and Muslims are cousins descended from Abraham. Throughout the centuries both faced cruel persecution and often found refuge with one another. Arabs sheltered Jews and protected them after maltreatment at the hands of the Romans and their expulsion from Spain in the Middle Ages.

The history of Israel/Palestine is not remarkable by regional standards — a country inhabited by different peoples, with rule passing among many tribes, nations and ethnic groups; a country that has withstood many wars and waves of peoples from all directions. This is why it gets so complicated when members of either party claims the right to assert that it is their land.

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.

But the Palestinians too have a history of persecution, and they view the coastal towns of Haifa, Acre, Jaffa and others as the land of their forefathers, passed from generation to generation, until only a short time ago.

Thus the Palestinians believe that what is now called Israel forms part of their nation, even were they to secure the West Bank and Gaza. And the Jews believe that the West Bank is Samaria and Judea, part of their homeland, even if a Palestinian state were established there. Now, as Gaza still smolders, calls for a two-state solution or partition persist. But neither will work.

A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point. Further, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would do little to resolve the problem of refugees. Any situation that keeps the majority of Palestinians in refugee camps and does not offer a solution within the historical borders of Israel/Palestine is not a solution at all.

For the same reasons, the older idea of partition of the West Bank into Jewish and Arab areas, with buffer zones between them, won’t work. The Palestinian-held areas could not accommodate all of the refugees, and buffer zones symbolize exclusion and breed tension. Israelis and Palestinians have also become increasingly intertwined, economically and politically.

In absolute terms, the two movements must remain in perpetual war or a compromise must be reached. The compromise is one state for all, an “Isratine” that would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.

A key prerequisite for peace is the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes their families left behind in 1948. It is an injustice that Jews who were not originally inhabitants of Palestine, nor were their ancestors, can move in from abroad while Palestinians who were displaced only a relatively short time ago should not be so permitted.

It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.” Yet only the full territories of Isratine can accommodate all the refugees and bring about the justice that is key to peace.

Assimilation is already a fact of life in Israel. There are more than one million Muslim Arabs in Israel; they possess Israeli nationality and take part in political life with the Jews, forming political parties. On the other side, there are Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israeli factories depend on Palestinian labor, and goods and services are exchanged. This successful assimilation can be a model for Isratine.

If the present interdependence and the historical fact of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence guide their leaders, and if they can see beyond the horizon of the recent violence and thirst for revenge toward a long-term solution, then these two peoples will come to realize, I hope sooner rather than later, that living under one roof is the only option for a lasting peace.

Muammar Qaddafi is the leader of Libya.

The National    25 March 2009

Ottoman Archives Show Land Deeds Forged
Palestinians benefit as Israel-Turkey ties sour
Jonathan Cook

JERUSALEM // A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighbourhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.

Sheikh Jarrah

After the Israeli army’s assault on the Gaza Strip in January, lawyers for the families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the settlers are forged.

On Monday, Palestinian lawyers presented the Ottoman documents to an Israeli court, which is expected to assess their validity over the next few weeks. The lawyers hope that proceedings to evict about 500 residents from Sheikh Jarrah will be halted.

The families’ unprecedented access to the Turkish archives may mark a watershed, paving the way for successful appeals by other Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank caught in legal disputes with settlers and the Israeli government over land ownership.

Interest in the plight of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents peaked in November when one couple, Fawziya and Mohammed Khurd, were evicted from their home by an Israeli judge. Mr Khurd, who was chronically ill, died days later.

 Meanwhile, Mrs Khurd, 63, has staged a protest by living in a tent on waste ground close to her former home. Israeli police have torn down the tent six times and she is facing a series of fines from the Jerusalem municipality.

The problems facing Mrs Khurd and the other residents derive from legal claims by the Sephardi Jewry Association that it purchased Sheikh Jarrah’s land in the 19th century. Settler groups hope to evict all the residents, demolish their homes and build 200 apartments in their place.

The location is considered strategic by settler organisations because it is close to the Old City and its Palestinian holy places.

Unusually, foreign diplomats, including from the United States, have protested, saying eviction of the Palestinian families would undermine the basis of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The help of the Turkish government has been crucial, however, because Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire when the land transactions supposedly took place.

Israel and Turkey have been close military and political allies for decades and traditionally Ankara has avoided straining ties by becoming involved in land disputes in the occupied territories. But there appears to have been an about-turn in Turkish government policy since a diplomatic falling-out between the two countries over Israel’s recent Gaza operation.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, accused his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, of “lying” and “back-stabbing”, reportedly furious that Israel launched its military operation without warning him. At the time of the attack, Turkey was mediating peace negotiations between Israel and Syria.

Days after the fighting ended in Gaza, Mr Erdogan stormed out of a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, having accused Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, of “knowing very well how to kill”.

According to lawyers acting for the Sheikh Jarrah families, the crisis in relations has translated into a greater openness from Ankara in helping them in their legal battle.

“We have noticed a dramatic change in the atmosphere now when we approach Turkish officials,” said Hatem Abu Ahmad, one of Mrs Khurd’s lawyers. “Before they did not dare upset Israel and put us off with excuses about why they could not help.”

He said the families’ lawyers were finally invited to the archives in Ankara in January, after they submitted requests over several months to the Turkish consulate in Jerusalem and the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Officials in Turkey traced the documents the lawyers requested and provided affidavits that the settlers’ land claims were forged. The search of the Ottoman archives, Mr Abu Ahmad said, had failed to locate any title deeds belonging to a Jewish group for the land in Sheikh Jarrah.

“Turkish officials have also told us that in future they will assist us whenever we need help and that they are ready to trace similar documents relating to other cases,” Mr Abu Ahmad said. “They even asked us if there were other documents we were looking for.”

That could prove significant as the Jerusalem municipality threatens a new campaign of house demolitions against Palestinians. Last week, Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the recent issuing of dozens of demolition orders in Jerusalem “ethnic cleansing”.

Palestinian legal groups regularly argue that settlers forge documents in a bid to grab land from private Palestinian owners but have great difficulty proving their case.

Late last year the Associated Press news agency exposed a scam by settlers regarding land on which they have built the Migron outpost, near Ramallah, home to more than 40 Jewish families. The settlers’ documents were supposedly signed by the Palestinian owner, Abdel Latif Sumarin, in California in 2004, even though he died in 1961.

The families in Sheikh Jarrah ended up living in their current homes after they were forced to flee from territory that became Israel during the 1948 war. Jordan, which controlled East Jerusalem until Israel’s occupation in 1967, and the United Nations gave the refugees plots on which to build homes.

Mrs Khurd said she would stay in her tent until she received justice.

“My family is originally from Talbiyeh,” she said, referring to what has become today one of the wealthiest districts of West Jerusalem. “I am not allowed to go back to the property that is rightfully mine, but these settlers are given my home, which never belonged to them.”

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is A version of this article originally appeared in The National (, published in Abu Dhabi.    April 17, 2009

Mahmoud Abbas’ visit and embarrassment to Massoud Barzani’s aide
Mufid Abdulla

Most of the observers have been touched by the visit of the first Arab leader to the Kurdistan Regional Government. However, at the same time, we also realise that we are only approached when they are in trouble or in need of something. Although we support Palestine’s cause to become independent which is the same as our own, we must ask ourselves what they have done to help us over the many years when our people have faced massacre and ongoing tragedies.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmed, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has requested that the Kurdish authorities relocate 13,000 Palestinian refugees from the south and centre of Iraq to Kurdistan due to the security situation there which puts them in a position of danger. In addition negotiations took place regarding the establishment of a Palestinian Consulate in the capital.

Whilst Kurdistan suffers already from a lack of resources in their housing and dwelling systems and in fact in all other infrastructure systems, this will be the nail in the coffin if the request is accepted. The Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmed has further satisfied that the relocation of these people to Kurdistan will bring further money and investment into the region. Surely such a huge commitment should first go through Parliament? This is another sign that our leaders have not considered the consequences of their decision-making.

The most embarrassing situation occurred in the press conference in Erbil which accompanied Mahmoud Abbas’ visit and where he was joined by Massoud Barzani, the President of Kurdistan. We saw that Barzani’s aide Khalid Salih was unable to accurately translate from Kurdish to Arabic due to a lack of competence in the Arabic language. Why should we blame the younger generation for their lack of proficiency in speaking the Arabic language when people who have notable positions in our government are unable to do so? We must ask ourselves what conclusion this creates for the Arab leaders and from other outside attention with regards to the KRG’s apparatus of how they are functioning, it does not instil us with a great deal of confidence in our government so how must it look to the outside world?    June 24, 2009

Some Jewish settlers turning against Israel
By Dina Kraft

YITZHAR, West Bank (JTA) -- The Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in this Jewish settlement looks more like a well-fortified auto repair shop than a house of learning.

Located in an industrial neighborhood, the yeshiva has a drab aluminum exterior and tin roof, and it’s surrounded by a metal gate. A small guard house sits out front, and teenage boys wearing oversized, thick-knit kipot walk in and  out of the gate and past a lonely basketball hoop.

Appearances notwithstanding, these students and their teachers have become the face of radical Jewish nationalism in Israel.

They are a key part of a movement of settler youth, rabbis, leaders and supporters determined to hold onto the West Bank at any cost. Located mostly in isolated corners of the West Bank like Yitzhar, radicals represent a small but  vocal and increasingly violent constituency of the Jewish settler movement.

Radical settlers rampage against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, sometimes hiding their faces behind black ski masks or scarves. Confident they are following the word of God, they call for a Torah-based theocracy that they say will  one day triumph over the State of Israel.

Unlike most settlers, these youths mostly eschew serving in the Israel Defense Forces, which they consider criminal for its evacuation of Jews from Gaza in 2005. Mostly second-generation settlers whose fathers had considered IDF  service an automatic rite of passage, these radicals have largely turned against a state they view as having betrayed its core principles.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, a teacher at Od Yosef Chai, says Israel has lost its way with its willingness to cede parts of the Land of Israel, the Jews’ biblical birthright.

“To put faith in the state is not the right way to go,” he said.

Ariel is a disciple of the charismatic St. Louis-born head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg. Considered a spiritual heir to the late Meir Kahane, Ginzburg gained notoriety -- and some jail time -- in 1994 after penning an article  praising Baruch Goldstein's killing of 29 Muslim worshipers in Hebron.

Ginzburg preaches a messianic brand of Judaism that views Jews as superior beings and violent revenge attacks on Arabs as justified by the Torah. He is one of a small group of rabbis who provides the theological and ideological  underpinnings for radical settlers.

The foot soldiers in the movement are youths who grow up or study in places like Yitzhar. Some go on to seize and establish illegal outposts on lone West Bank hilltops.

Like its predecessors, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has taken limited steps to dismantle the illegal outposts -- notably in the weeks since Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama in May -- but the youths return almost as  soon as they are forcibly evacuated. Officially, at least, the government has committed to dismantling all such outposts.

Radicals often are dismissed as rogue, fringe elements by the mainstream settler movement, and their precise number is unknown. But radical settlers’ acts of vigilante violence against Palestinians and, increasingly, against Israeli  security forces, have fueled debate inside Israel about the settler movement as a whole and about the threat radical settlers pose to the state -- in part because the mainstream settler leadership has not come out forcefully against  them.

Roy Sharon, a journalist for Israel’s daily Ma’ariv who covers the settlers, says the division within the settler movement about how to deal with the radicals is not about principle -- all believe in the unalienable right of settling the Land  of Israel -- but about practice: how exactly to achieve that aim.

“The Yesha Council” -- the main settler umbrella body -- “thinks that it is not the right time to build and settle on all of the Land of Israel, but the radicals think there is no such thing as the ‘right’ timing and there is no need to take  into account politics and policies," Sharon said.

Dror Etkes, who works for an Israeli group called Yesh Din that promotes Palestinian rights in the West Bank, estimated that there are up to 1,000 active radicals. Posters hung in recent days at bus stops across the West Bank  calling on supporters to "defend" against evacuation of West Bank outposts say there are 2,000 people living in 26 outposts. The West Bank has about 280,000 Jewish settlers in all, not including those who live in eastern Jerusalem,  which Israel annexed after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

"I feel the state has separated itself from me and is no longer going according to God's will," said Moshe Fumberg, 16, who studies at a yeshiva at an illegal outpost near Yitzhar.

Fumberg’s friends boast that they represent a new, bolder generation of Jewish settlers ready to use violence to keep West Bank Jews in their homes.

"We want them to be afraid of us because maybe then there won't be any more evacuations," one of Fumberg's friends said of Israeli security forces charged with evacuating illegal outposts.

Geographically isolated, the youths consume alternative media, including newspapers, Web sites, radio stations and synagogue pamphlets, that feed into their sense of alienation and betrayal. In their synagogues, rabbis rail against  cooperating with a government that supports West Bank withdrawals.

"If the State of Israel is criminal and a sinner, then the role of true believers is to correct its ways,” explains Motti Inbari, author of the upcoming book “Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount.” “This is pushing people into  radicalization and into the idea of a post-Zionist state.”

Over the last year and a half, radical settlers seem to have upped the ante. They have defaced Muslim tombstones, set fire to Palestinian olive groves, assaulted Palestinians, slashed tires of IDF vehicles and thrown acid at Israeli  soldiers.

It’s all part of a strategy the radicals call “price tag,” which aims to greet every move by the government against illegal settlements with mayhem and violence. Radical youth, encouraged by a small number of veteran settler leaders, are  at the forefront of this effort.

Via text messages and with special phone lists, they spread plans for specific activities. Sometimes the message is as simple as three words: "Price tag now." Settler violence quickly follows.

There is no apparent centralized leadership in the radical settler movement, which by its nature is somewhat anarchic. Among its most outspoken proponents, however, are figures such as Daniella Weiss, the former head of the  Kedumim settlement, Hebron’s Baruch Marzel and Nadia Matar, head of Women in Green.

Both Matar and Weiss head groups that signed onto the posters calling on settlers to defend the outposts. Matar, who says she is against violence, said she understands why the youth have decided to “fight back.”

“They have seen the adults capitulate -- their rabbis and teachers and parents who tell them to turn the other cheek,” she said. “There is rebellion of youth who are sick and tired of seeing the adults caving in and letting the  government trample us. The more adults show real leadership and stick to our principles, the less they will feel a need to rebel.”

Then there are the rabbis like Ginzburg and their followers.

Neriah Ofan, 36, counts himself as a Ginzburg disciple. Ofan, who lives in a house surrounded by cypress trees with his wife and six children in a small outpost near Yitzhar, has caught the eye of Israeli security.

Two separate court orders barred him from being in the West Bank for several months. Part of a committee that called on soldiers to defy evacuation orders, he spent time in administrative detention during the Gaza withdrawal. He  also leads a group that holds marches around the walls of Jerusalem's Old City every month, according to an ancient tradition.

Ofan cuts a stark figure, with jet black beard contrasting with a pair of bright blue eyes that seem to flash when he speaks of his hopes for a Jewish kingdom.

"I think the state of today is mostly of the past. Only a miracle could save it for the future," he says in his dining room. "It's heading into oblivion because it has not connected with the Jewish people."

Stepping outside, he peers at the view behind his house, a steep drop overlooking the terraced hillsides beyond. In the distance, there is another outpost that, like his, was erected illegally.

Ofan says he’s not too concerned about being evacuated.

With the afternoon sun shining on his face, Ofan admires the view.

"I think God chose a good and beautiful land for us,” he says.    June 24, 2009

Israel wrestles with settler challenge
By Dina Kraft

TEL AVIV (JTA) -- When two top Israeli army commanders in the West Bank received threatening letters in early June, the suspects weren’t the army’s traditional enemies in the territory.

Instead, Israeli Jews angry about the army’s recent demolition of several illegal settlement outposts appeared to have sent the letters.

One compared the soldiers to Nazis, calling the officers "a gang of Jews with wretched souls, reminiscent of the Judenrat."

Another said, “We know where you live. We will get to both you and your family.”

The threats, along with the violence that has accompanied attempts to evacuate illegal settlement outposts, represent a growing concern for Israeli authorities.

Rampages by settlers against Palestinians, private property and Israeli security forces have brought into stark focus the problem Israel is likely to face as it moves to evacuate more illegal West Bank outposts and confront Jewish  extremists. The challenge may become more acute in the months ahead due to new pressure from Washington to freeze Jewish settlement growth.

Though the radical settlers are small in number, cracking down on them has proven a difficult task for successive Israeli governments.

In recent years, the Israel Defense Forces’ demolitions of illegal outposts have been met at times with settler violence. More often than not, settlers have returned to rebuild their illegal outposts.

The conundrum for Israel is how to bring the lawlessness of radical settlers under control and end the cat-and-mouse game with settlers who return almost as soon as they’re evacuated by force.

Yizhar Beer, director of a watchdog group on extremism called Keshev, says the problem for authorities is that radical settlers use guerrilla tactics, spreading out and exhausting traditional forces.

"Being in many places necessitates facing off with them with a large amount of forces,” he said. “That's very difficult.”

Some blame a lack of political will. Successive Israeli prime ministers have failed to follow through on promises to demolish illegal outposts, and a 2005 government report by former state prosecutor Talia Sasson found that some $18  million in government funds had been directed toward illegal settlement building between 1996 and 2004.

Sasson found that regional councils in the West Bank were able to use funds from the Ministry of Housing and Construction to pave roads, connect water lines and hook up the outposts to local electricity grids by misleadingly  earmarking the funds as infrastructure for new neighborhoods within existing settlements.

Sasson held responsible the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division and government bodies, including the Defense Ministry, which has overall responsibility for Israel’s West Bank presence.

A 2006 report by Peace Now found that 40 percent of Jewish settlement territory was built on privately owned Palestinian land.

"When people see there is no enforcement of law,” Sasson said, “they can take land that is not theirs and establish new settlements without government approval and build houses on them, and no one does anything afterward. They  can come and hit and shoot Palestinians, and they see no one does anything about it.”

Sasson's report detailed how settlement supporters helped surreptitiously funnel government money into building outposts.

Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said things have changed recently on that issue.

“Today, where we can stop such actions we are doing our best to do so,” he said. “There was a lack of oversight in some places in the past, but in the past three years it has improved.”

Until recently, high-ranking police officials blamed a dearth of resources for the lack of law enforcement. But police now say they are better equipped: Last year the police established a headquarters in the West Bank for the first time,  and there are more vehicles and personnel to effect rapid responses.

Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group that focuses on the West Bank, says one major problem of law enforcement is the rarity with which settlers who use violence against Palestinians or Israeli soldiers are prosecuted.

“Failing to stand firm and severely stem the growing stream of Jews and Israelis who have adopted violent modes of operation directed at innocents as a way to achieve political goals morally stains the State of Israel and constitutes a  legal violation of the duties incumbent on us,” Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s attorney, said in a letter sent in early June to the defense minister and top army officials.

Sfard blamed a lack of police resources for investigations.

There’s also a problem of intelligence gathering, say former officials of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and Defense Ministry officials. Close knit, wary of outsiders and young -- the perpetrators of violence often are teenagers -- the  radical settlers are difficult to infiltrate. Sometimes, when radical youths are arrested, they refuse even to give their national identification numbers to authorities.

“Theirs is an insular and inherently suspicious society,” Dror said. “Because they are driven by a fanatic ideology, it’s extremely difficult to convince members to pass on information.”

About 280,000 Jews live in the West Bank, many for reasons of convenience and economics rather than ideology. The largest settlements are filled with commuters to Israel, and the settlements offer the advantages of suburban life at  a cost far cheaper than in Israel proper, thanks in large part to government subsidies.

Under international law, all of the settlements are considered illegal because they are built on land Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. Though Israel never annexed the territory, aside from eastern Jerusalem,  Israel maintains that settlements authorized by its government are legal.

Israel views the West Bank as unassigned territory left over from the British Mandatory period whose final status has yet to be determined. The outposts, which are built without government authorization, are considered illegal by  the government.

Israelis who live in the West Bank are subject to Israeli law. West Bank Palestinians come under Israeli jurisdiction for criminal or security matters, and mostly are under Palestinian jurisdiction for civil matters.

Despite tough talk by Israeli politicians past and present, action against the outposts has been sporadic.

When the government decided to aggressively confront the outposts by enforcing a Supreme Court order to demolish the Amona outpost in February 2006, the confrontation between settlers and police turned violent. Afterward,  settlers launched a public campaign decrying police violence, and the Knesset formed a special committee to investigate the event.

Since Amona, no wide-scale evacuation of a larger outpost has taken place.

"We are talking about people who can be violent, so it's the job of the security service and intelligence community to make sure these people are watched closely and that they cannot take law into their own hands," said Mark Regev, a  spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Regev noted that the police and army presence in the West Bank has been increased and authorities more commonly issue temporary restraining orders barring those deemed dangerous from the West Bank.

"We cannot underestimate the threat posed by vigilante extremism,” Regev said. “We lost a prime minister to a bullet fired by an extremist Jew, and the threat has not subsided."

Most mainstream settler leaders take pains to distance themselves from radicalism. They say young violent settlers, known as hilltop youth, are beyond their control.

Pinchas Wallerstein, director of the Yesha Council settler umbrella group, said settler leaders are trying to be proactive about reining in the extremists by reaching out to young people, holding meetings and trying to draft a set of  guidelines for behavior that would be endorsed by settler rabbis.

The message Yesha is trying to convey to youths, Wallerstein said, is that even though Israel carried out the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, “the State of Israel is important and we should try to fix mistakes from the inside and not  become outsiders.”

He added, "Even though the state is not always right, breaking the rules is not going to change things."

Critics of Israel's 42-year presence in the West Bank say the occupation has fostered a Wild West, anything-goes approach to the law, with the result apparent in land grabs and physical assaults on Palestinians by both soldiers and  civilians. This, they say, makes a crackdown against Israeli lawbreakers in the territories a challenge.

"When a society gets used to lawlessness being the norm, the abnormal becomes the norm,” said Dror Etkes of Yesh Din. “It's very hard to wake up from that and say let's change things now.”

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, a member of the Likud Party, headed the Knesset's investigative committee on Amona’s evacuation.

"I think we are too liberal and we are ready to suffer what other democratic countries are not ready to tolerate,” he said.

“If in the United States someone threw a stone on a policeman, he would be put in jail," Steinitz said. "Those who are beating IDF soldiers are beating up on the Jewish state, and we cannot accept any violent anarchic approach from  either right or left."

Al-Ahram    September 17, 2009

Let's try something else
Samir Ghattas

The "Ben-Gurion of Palestine", Salam Fayyad, wants a state before one is established. Is his third way right?

In three months time, we'll mark the anniversary of UN Resolution 181 of 1947, which provided for the partitioning of Palestine into two states, a Jewish one and an Arab one, with Jerusalem being an international zone.

David Ben-Gurion agreed to Resolution 181 although it gave him 56 per cent of historic Palestine on which he had hoped to establish the Jewish state. The area given to the Jews didn't include any of the biblical sites sacred to the Jews. It didn't include Hebron, the traditional burial place of Abraham. It didn't include the West Bank, which the Jews refer to as Judea and Samaria. It didn't even include Jerusalem, seat of the alleged Third Temple.

The Arabs rejected the partition scheme. Since then, the Palestinian state, originally envisioned on 42.4 per cent of historic Palestine, has shrunk to 22 per cent or less of the original whole -- even before it has seen the light.

The Arabs and Palestinians yearn for a Palestinian state, and have gone about achieving it in more than one way. But so far, every single strategy they have adopted has failed.

The first strategy lasted from 1948 to 1967. It aimed at creating a Palestinian state on the entire historic land of Palestine, assuming that Israel would be defeated and annulled. This strategy failed twice, in 1948 and again in 1967. The late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who fought in the first war, agreed after the 1967 defeat to UN Resolution 242. This was a turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was Resolution 242 that gave birth to all the peace treaties and settlement schemes that followed.

Having agreed to 242, the Arabs focussed on the "removal of the traces of aggression". This policy implicitly entailed three points. First, the Arabs practically recognised Israel's existence, simply because Resolution 242 involves "acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries." Second, the task of the Arab armies from then on would be confined to liberating the land occupied in 1967, and not the land taken earlier to that date. Third, the Palestinian state, if created, would coexist with Israel, rather than supplant it.

This strategy was eventually replaced by a new vision that Fatah had been promoting since its birth in 1965. Fatah embraced a long-term war of liberation, Algerian or Vietnamese style. No longer would regular armies be asked to liberate Palestine. The job would be accomplished by resistance groups seeking to create a unified democratic state for Israel; one in which Muslims, Christians and Jews could live together. This objective remained theoretical, and Fatah took no practical measures to turn its long-term war of popular liberation into a daily practice.

After the 1973 War another shift happened with the Palestinians declaring their intent to create a Palestinian authority on any part they may be able to free from Israel's occupation. In 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) declared the establishment of a Palestinian state. Many countries recognised the declaration, but the state failed to materialise.

After the Madrid Conference in 1991 and the Oslo Accords of 1993, a third strategy took shape, one in which negotiations became the main method of creating a Palestinian state. Still, negotiations kept running into snags, the most memorable of which was the failure of the Camp David summit between Arafat and Barak in 2000.

For a while, Yasser Arafat tried to combine negotiations with armed resistance. This too didn't work. It wasn't long before Hamas sprang onto the scene, declaring negotiations over and armed resistance to be the only way ahead.

Much has been said about the failure of the negotiations option. And yet few dare to address the failure of armed struggle. To put it bluntly, armed struggle has been a disappointment. Since 2003 and to this day, little has been achieved through armed struggle. Actually, for the past four years or so, few Palestinian military operations have been conducted against Israel, and Israel's losses have been minimal, if not non- existent.

Consequently, Hamas has sought to engage in the political process rather than oppose it. It has indeed sought to benefit from the self-rule situation created by the Oslo Accords. For the time being, Hamas is trying to shore up its power base in Gaza; some say that it wants to set up a mini-state in Gaza.

Currently, Fatah and Hamas have one thing in common. They are both trying to rein in armed struggle and have practically outlawed all attacks on Israel. Just as General Keith Dayton supervises military arrangements in the West Bank, General Ahmed Al-Jaabari of the Hamas-affiliated Qassam Brigades enforces a ban on military operations against Israel in Gaza.

Interestingly enough, General Yoav Galant, head of Israel's southern military command, is pleased with what Hamas is doing in Gaza. A few days ago, he told the Israeli press that attacks on Israel have reached their lowest level in the past 15 years.

The domestic divisions Israel is experiencing under Netanyahu have made negotiations a harder option, thus diminishing hopes for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. And with armed struggle at a dead end, Palestinians need to start looking at other options.

To break the impasse, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad proposed a plan that goes beyond the options of negotiations and armed resistance. In August 2009, while submitting his government's programme, he pledged to create an independent state within two years through a strategy that I shall call the "evolving state". According to Fayyad, the Palestinians need to prove to themselves as well as outsiders that they can run a state of their own. To do that, they should start by building and developing the various institutions that a modern state requires and run them in a smooth manner and in keeping with the requisites of civil society, democracy, and political pluralism.

The Palestinian state, Fayyad pledged, would fight corruption, streamline security, and generally act as a successful model of good governance. By doing so, the Palestinians would refute any argument for the postponement of the creation of their independent state.

Before reviewing the reactions to Fayyad's ideas, I must note that they are not completely unprecedented. The Zionist state used this same "evolving state" strategy before 1948. Zionist organisations at the time turned the local Jewish community in Palestine into a state-in-waiting, one equipped with viable economic, political and military agencies.

I must also note that the main weakness of Fayyad's strategy is the crucial difference between his project and that of the Zionist movement. The Zionist movement had the backing of major countries, Britain initially and then the US. Even the Soviet Union gave the Zionists substantial help during the early years.

Some of the objections made so far to Fayyad's plan are valid, but critics have mostly focussed on details rather than substance. And few have come up with a better or more viable plan.

Speaking for the EU, both Tony Blair and Javier Solana supported Fayyad's plans. But Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, criticised the new Palestinian strategy and promised to stop it in its tracks. For his part, Israel's president, Shimon Peres, praised the strategy and described Fayyad as the "Ben-Gurion of Palestine".

The EU alone cannot provide adequate backing for this strategy or stop Israel from undermining it. Nor can it guarantee that the probationary two-year period would end up in international recognition of an independent Palestinian state.

There is, however, a way around that. A form of internationalisation, along the lines successfully adopted in Kosovo and Namibia, may provide a way out of the current impasse. This is the option we must consider now. The strategies of negotiations and resistance have failed. We all know that, but are yet to admit it. Let's try something else.

* The writer is director of the Maqdis Centre for Political Studies, in Gaza.

Atoni Mustafa commented:

I commend Salam Fayyad for his visionary initiative and Samir Ghattas for his supportive analysis, entitled "Let's try something else", of the persistant Israeli/Palestinian gridlock. Maybe it's too early - and too daring at that - to take the ideas thus ventilated a bit further. Let's assume some immaginative and courageous Palestinian leader draws inspiration from the way the Soviet Union was deliberately collapsed in order to deprive its enemy of an enemy, thus causing its enemy to be destabilised and eventually disappear. Translation: said visionary Palestinian leader may find the necessary support among his brethren for the new message to their Israeli brethren. Which is to deny them henceforth the indispensable function of being the Israelis' punching bag. Without giving up any right, those Palestinians who want to escape from the current gridlock, take the high road of dignity and well-being, and assume the leadership towards a road-holding, mutually beneficial and lasting solution to the Middle Eastern core conflict might thus accept the Iraqi people's invitation to help rebuild the country, to recover Iraq's lost generations, and in the process build up the indispensable institutions, competence, economic basis and respectability for an internationally recognized Palestinian state-in-exile as a forerunner for the thus organically grown future unified Palestine. After all those failed initiatives pushed on worn-out tracks, what's your take on this out-of-the-box approach?

The Guardian   24 January 2011 20.00 GMT

Condoleezza Rice:
send Palestinian refugees to South America
Palestine papers show US secretary of state told negotiators
that Chile and Argentina could be asked to give land to displaced
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent

The United States proposed giving Palestinian refugees land in South America as a radical solution to a problem that has haunted Middle East peace talks for decades.

Condoleezza Rice, the Bush administration's secretary of state, wanted to settle displaced Palestinians in Argentina and Chile as an alternative to letting them return to former homes in Israel and the occupied territories. Rice made the proposal in a June 2008 meeting with US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Berlin, according to minutes of the encounter seen by the Guardian.

During a discussion about international funding to compensate refugees – an estimated 5 million Palestinians are scattered around the Middle East – the US diplomat made a startling suggestion.

"Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind. Chile, Argentina, etc (ie, give land)."

The minutes, which are not verbatim, have the initials CR before the quote. Rice was the only participant with those initials.

The proposal seems based on the fact that Chile has a large Palestinian community dating back a century and, like Argentina, has large tracts of sparsely populated land.

It flew in the face of Palestinian insistence that the refugees have the right to return to their ancestral land – a demand Israel has resisted since its foundation in 1948. Carving out a new Palestinian homeland 8,000 miles away in the Andes could theoretically reduce pressure on Israel to return land.

The proposal, not previously disclosed, is a twist on suggestions made in the last century to settle Jews in Madagascar and what is present-day Kenya. It appears to have been influenced by the transfer of 117 Palestinian refugees to Chile between March and April 2008, a few months before the Berlin meeting.

The group had lived in Iraq for many years but was stranded in a grim camp on the Syrian border during post-Saddam Hussein chaos. Chile hosted them in response to a UN appeal, said Carolina Podesta de Footner, a spokeswoman for the South American office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"The UNHCR made an appeal to governments to take these people. Chile was one of the first countries to accept."

As well as having Latin America's largest Palestinian population – estimated at more than 200,000 – Chile had previously accepted refugees from Afghanistan, Colombia and the former Yugoslavia. Podesta said other Palestinians from Iraq were settled in Brazil, Iceland and Romania.

At the time Rice made her proposal the Iraqi Palestinians appeared to be settling well in La Calera, a city north of Santiago. They were greeted with smiles, songs and promises of help with housing, jobs and language training.

But unlike previous Palestinian arrivals – mostly Christians with education and money who chose to move – the refugees were blue-collar conservative Muslims and had struggled to integrate.

The Palestine papers: Rice's refugee suggestion
Minutes from Berlin Meetings, June 24, 2008, p.16

Tal Becker (Israel): "I forgot to mention that we agree that there will be an international fund [to help settle Palestinians' refugee claims]."
Condoleezza Rice (US): "Maybe we will be able to find countries that can contribute in kind. Chile, Argentina, etc. (i.e. give land)."
Ahmed Querei (PA): "They (Arab and other potential donor countries) are focusing on the easier stuff."
Tzipi Livni (Israel): "This way when it comes to us we'll just have the hard questions."
Condoleezza Rice: "On territory - you are going on the field tours. You know you have to discuss the swaps, the safe passage. You are discussing the whole of the territory - you know what the denominator is. Refugees looks like it is going well. We'll look at the mechanism. ..."

The Guardian   25 January 2011 12.09 GMT

Palestinians condemn US settlement plan
Suggestion revealed in Palestine papers clashes with refugees'
fundamental right to go home, say Palestinian groups
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent

Children at a Gaza refugee camp: Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state under George Bush, suggested in 2008 that Palestinian refugees could be resettled in Chile and Argentina. Photograph: Ali Ali/EPA

Palestinians have expressed shock and dismay at the US suggestion to settle Palestinian refugees in Argentina and Chile rather than let them return to ancestral land in Israel.

Representatives of the Palestinian diaspora said the plan to ship displaced Palestinians from the Middle East to a new homeland across the Atlantic clashed with their fundamental right to go home.

"It's completely unacceptable. It contradicts our inalienable right to return to our own homeland," said Daniel Jadue, vice-president of Chile's Palestine Federation. "That right cannot be renounced. To make this suggestion shows the mediation was not honest. It was clearly tilted in favour of Israel. This is extremely grave."

Condoleezza Rice, who was secretary of state in the Bush administration, floated the idea at a meeting on 28 June 2008 with US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Berlin, according to minutes of the encounter obtained by al-Jazeera and shared with the Guardian.

The suggestion dumbfounded South America's Palestinians – a largely Christian community which emigrated in waves over the past century and settled across the region, especially in Chile which is said to be home to more than 200,000.

Chile's Palestinians would welcome compatriots who chose to settle in the Andes, said Jadue. "If a Palestinian accepted to come here that would be their right and we would show solidarity." But that did not justify a US proposal to funnel refugees from the Middle East to reduce pressure on Israel to give up land, he said. "That's wrong."

Tilda Rabi, president of the Federation of Palestinian Organisations in Argentina, said the proposal violated the UN's affirmation of refugees' right to return home. "This is an extension of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing, of clearing people from their own homelands." She doubted many refugees would have accepted such an offer. "In the camps people still have keys to the homes they left behind."

It is unclear whether the Bush administration lobbied Argentina and Chile to take Palestinians. The foreign ministries in Buenos Aires and Santiago did not respond to email and phone queries.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it received no such request. "UNRWA has never been approached by any government to assist with the movement of refugees to South America," said a spokesman, Chris Gunness. "If such an offer was made refugees could accept or reject it," he said. "It would be their choice."

Hillary Clinton, Rice's successor as secretary of state, played down the importance of the documents in her first comments on the leak last night.

"I don't think it comes as any surprise what the issues are between the Palestinians and the Israelis," she told reporters in Mexico. "They have been well known for 20 years or more. They are difficult issues. They do not lend themselves easily to compromise."

However, the state department spokesman Philip Crowley earlier acknowledged that the disclosure would have an impact on efforts to get peace talks restarted.

"We don't deny that this release will, at least for a time, make the situation more difficult than it already was," he said. "None of this changes our understanding of what is at stake, or what needs to be done. We continue to believe a framework agreement is both possible and necessary. We continue to work with and engage the parties."

The United Nations special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, said some of the interpretation of the documents conveyed an "inaccurate impression". The Palestinian negotiators were committed to reaching a deal in the interests of the Palestinian people, he said.

"At this crucial time, I would urge both parties to show their readiness for a negotiated peace based on a two-state solution, and to deliver on the ground. It is to the genuine credit of the Palestinian leadership that they are doing so."

Israel radio reported that Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said the documents released by al-Jazeera were authentic, unofficial and did not obligate the Palestinian side.

December 5, 2012

If Not Two States, Then One

Ariel Schalit/Associated Press

ISRAEL did not wait long to reveal its first response to the United Nations General Assembly’s overwhelming recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, almost immediately announcing its intention to push forward with plans to build housing for Jewish settlers in E1, an area of the West Bank just to the east of Jerusalem.

Although it is sometimes misleadingly referred to as “disputed” or “controversial,” settlement construction in E1 is no more and no less of a contravention of international law than settlement construction elsewhere in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. What makes this development significant is E1’s location, sealing tight the gap between East Jerusalem and Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, further to the east.

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That gap is the last remaining link for Palestinians between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank; it also occupies the interface among and between the Palestinian communities of Ramallah, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem — which, apart from being the cultural, religious, social and economic focal point of Palestinian life, is also one day supposed to be the capital of Palestine.

In moving forward with long-threatened plans to develop E1, Israel will be breaking the back of the West Bank and isolating the capital of the prospective Palestinian state from its hinterland. In so doing, it will be terminating once and for all the very prospect of that state — and with it, by definition, any lingering possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Oddly enough, the Palestine recognized by the United Nation is only an abstraction; the one that Israel is now about to throttle is much more real, at least insofar as the throttling will materially affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in a way that mere recognition does not.

However heavy the blow to Palestinian aspirations, an equally heavy political price for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s E1 plan will be paid by Israelis. For by terminating the prospect of a two-state solution, Netanyahu will also be sealing the fate of an exclusively Jewish state.

As cannier Israeli politicians (Ehud Olmert among them) have long warned, maintaining the existence of Israel as a Jewish state fundamentally requires perpetuating at least the idea of a Palestinian state, even if only as a deferred fiction kept alive through endless negotiations.

Once the fiction of a separate Palestinian state is revealed to have no more substance than the Wizard of Oz — which the E1 plan will all but guarantee — those Palestinians who have not already done so will commit themselves to the only viable alternative: a one-state solution, in which the idea of an exclusively Jewish state and an exclusively Palestinian one will yield to what was really all along the preferable alternative, a single democratic and secular state in all of historical Palestine that both peoples will have to share as equal citizens.

A campaign for rights and equality in a single state is a project toward which the Palestinians will now be able to turn with the formidable international support they have already developed at both the diplomatic and the grassroots levels, including a global boycott and sanctions movement whose bite Israel has already felt.

For Palestinians, in any case, one state is infinitely preferable to two, for the simple reason that no version of the two-state solution that has ever been proposed has meaningfully sought to address the rights of more than the minority of Palestinians who actually live in the territory on which that state is supposed to exist.

The majority of Palestinians live either in the exile to which they were driven from their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948, or as second-class citizens of Israel, where they face formidable obstacles as non-Jews in a state that reserves a full spectrum of rights only for Jews.

For Palestinians, the right to return home and the right to live in dignity and equality in their own land are not any less important than the right to live free of military occupation. A separate state addressed only the latter, but there can never be a just and lasting peace that does not address all those rights, even if it means relinquishing the prospect of an independent Palestinian state.

What must be added here is that if a one-state solution offers the last remaining key to a just and lasting peace, Israeli Jews will pay what will turn out to be only a short-term price in exchange for many long-term gains. Like Palestinians, they will lose the dream and the prospect of a state exclusively their own. But — also like Palestinians — what they will gain in turn is the right to live in peace.

Saree Makdisi is a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and the author of “Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.”