Israel Resource Review 13th July, 1999

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Clinton and the Right of Return
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

On July 1, 1999, President Clinton stated that American policy was that Palestinians have a right to live "wherever they would like to live".

Clinton's policy statement resounded through the Palestinian media and the United Nations Relief and Work Refugee Agency (UNRWA) camps which have serviced Palestinian Arab refugees in "temporary" shelters since 1948, under the premise and promise of the UN resolution #194, that assures the 3.6 million Palestinian Arab refugees under the aegis of UNRWA that they have the "inalienable right of return to the villages that they left in 1948, which now constitute Jewish communities throughout Tel Aviv, Haifa. Ashkelon, and at least 200 kibbutzim and Moshavim.

Far from being a theoretical notion, the "right of return" remains a living program that moves the hearts and minds of 3.6 million Palestinian Arab refugees. For UNRWA camp residents, the "right of return" is not a dream: it is a plan of action.

The policies of UNRWA, whose greatest funder for the past fifty years remains has been the US, reassure Palestinian Arab refugees that they may indeed realize their right of return", while the new Palestinian Authority forbids housing assistance or eve voting rights to UNRWA camp residents, under the premise of the "right of return". >

Toward that end, the curriculum of the Palestinian Authority Educational system, funded in part by the US, stresses the "right of return", as UNRWA school principals and teachers inculcate a new generation of Palestinian youth to prepare themselves to return "home", and that does not mean to the west bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, a senior US State Department official told me that Under Secretary of State Dennis Ross has reassured the Israeli government that UN resolution #242 (that recognizes Israel's 1967 ceasefire lines) supersedes UN resolution #194.

However, nobody bothered to tell that to 3.6 million people who linger in UNRWA refugee camps, who are also assured by US officials in the employ of UNRWA that they have the right to return to the homes and villages that they left in 1948.

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Egyptian Al-Ahram:
Peace Only if '48 Refugees Return Home
Editorial: "A Slip of the Tongue"
Al-Ahram Weekly, 8th - 14th July, 1999

Full Text:
Even if the statement made by US President Bill Clinton last week that millions of Palestinian refugees "should be given the freedom to settle wherever they want to" was a "slip of the tongue", as the new Israeli government would like to believe, it was a Freudian slip that may have revealed more than Clinton intended. Any objective mind would agree that the Palestinians are entitled to enjoy rights equal to those of other human beings. All human beings are "chosen people" -- one ethnic or religious group alone cannot claim that title for itself.

If the US led NATO in a long war to force Slobodan Milosevic to accept the return of nearly one million Albanian refugees to their homes in Kosovo, why is the world's sole superpower not moving at all to help more than four million Palestinian refugees dispersed worldwide by the "pioneering" Zionists, the builders of modern Israel, return to their homes? President Clinton was apparently taken by surprise when the question was put to him by an Egyptian writer who accompanied President Hosni Mubarak on his visit to Washington.

Although it has been 51 years since Zionist gangs systematically terrorised and massacred thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians to empty the land of its real owners, many of the million Palestinians expelled in 1948 continue to hold the keys to their houses. The names of their villages and towns have been changed in an effort to rewrite history, but they can still remember every street and alley, and continue to feed that information to their children and grandchildren. If any Palestinian refugee was given the "freedom" to choose where he or she would like to settle, the answer would definitely be: Palestine, my home, my land.

If the new government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak recognises this important fact before starting negotiations with the Palestinians, the outcome of these talks must necessarily be a just and comprehensive peace. Without justice, peace will never exist. And justice will be served only when the Palestinian refugees are allowed to return to their homes.

Article researched, located and shared by IMRA, "Independent Media Review and Analysis".

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Abu Mazen
No Negotiations Unless Barak Drops Red Lines

The following are excerpts from an interview of the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) published in the Palestinian weekly, El Ashaab, on 5 July, 1999:

[The interviewer is not identified; the interview took place in Abu Dhabi.]

Question: What happens if Ehud Barak fails to back down from his four noes?

Mazen: If the four noes are the maximum of what Barak is willing to give then there will be no final status talks.

. . .

Question: After Barak won there has been a return to talking about the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreement. Does such an agreement exist?

Mazen: No. A document does not exist. An agreement does not exist. All that there was was dialogue between myself and Beilin regarding the final status issues. Beilin wanted to tell Yitzhak Rabin about this dialogue but before he could Rabin was murdered and the dialogue ended.

Question: Could the dialogue be the basis for the coming talks?

Mazen: Like all dialogue it could be a basis but it is also possible to go to back to the starting point.

Question: What about Jerusalem?

Mazen: Jerusalem is occupied Arab land like the other occupied Palestinian land. Resolutions 242 and 338 should be implemented - Israel should withdraw from all occupied territory.

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Barak's "Red Line" Coalition
by Graham Usher
Al-Ahram Weekly, 1st - 7th July, 1999

Quotes from text:
"There are enough hawks in Israel's emerging coalition -- including perhaps Barak -- to insure that no withdrawal from occupied south Lebanon is likely to be forthcoming without firm Syrian or international guarantees for Israel's security"

"not a single party in Barak's new political dispensation . . . is likely to challenge his "red lines" of no shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, no dismantling (but probable expansion) of settlements and no withdrawal to the 1967 borders. And there are a few -- like Yisrael B'aliya and NRP -- who will blanch at the prospect of a Palestinian statre, even if it is truncated and demilitarised."

"The only parties in Israel who oppose that consensus are the three Arab lists which, between them, command 10 seats in the new Knesset. And it is because they oppose the consensus that they cannot be in an Israeli government"

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the onslaught on Lebanon, Israel's prime minister elect Ehud Barak's long toil to form a government appears slowly to bearing fruit. For the Arabs -- as always with Israel -- it is a mixed harvest.

The first coalition agreements were signed on 25 June within hours of Israeli warplanes returning to base from Lebanon. As widely predicted, the Russian Immigrant party, Yisrael B'aliyah, landed the Interior Ministry. Less widely predicted -- and ominously for the Palestinians -- the far right and pro-settler National Religious Party received the Housing Ministry, a post with inordinate powers to market lands and offer tenders for settlement construction in the occupied territories. Having wooed representatives of Israel's "right" and "centre",

. . .

Following a terse five minute meeting with Barak on 28 June, Sharon was "sorry to say the partnership [between One Israel and Likud] was not a partnership of truth". It was certainly going to be an equal partnership if that was what Sharon had intended.

. . .

The apparent departure of Sharon and Likud from government undoubtedly will be greeted with sighs of relief by most of the Arab world. Yet it would be unwise to cheer too loudly. The removal of Likud will probably make things easier for Barak to resume negotiations with Syria from the "point they left off" in 1996 or, more precisely, from the different points each side think they left off. But there are enough hawks in Israel's emerging coalition -- including perhaps Barak -- to ensure that no withdrawal from occupied south Lebanon is likely to be forthcoming without firm Syrian or international guarantees for Israel's "security".

As for Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, this will be faced with an Israeli government that, unlike its Netanyahu predecessor, accurately reflects the Israeli consensus. This could mean the implementation of the 1998 Wye River agreement and a resumption of Oslo's final status negotiations. But there is not a single party in Barak's new political dispensation that is likely to challenge his "red lines" of no shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, no dismantling (but probable expansion) of settlements and no withdrawal to the 1967 borders. And there are a few -- like Yisrael B'aliya and the NRP -- who will blanch at the prospect of a Palestinian state, even if it is truncated and demilitarised.

The only parties in Israel who oppose that consensus are the three Arab lists which, between them, command 10 seats in the new Knesset. And it is because they oppose the consensus that they cannot be in an Israeli government . . . .

Article researched, located and edited by IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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America Too, Is Part of the Exile
by Gary M. Cooperberg

Today we have interesting computer programs which can help us search for all kinds of things. One which is very helpful to Jews, is a calendar program which takes the solar calendar and co-ordinates it with the Jewish lunar calendar.

This way we can check out when our child's bar mitzvah will come out, and we can go back and check to see the Hebrew date which fell on the day we were born.

I was experimenting with this program a while back and made an interesting discovery. I plugged in the date, July 4, 1776. I was amazed to find that in that year the Hebrew date was the 17th of Tamuz.

This date, on the Hebrew calendar, marks the beginning of a three week mourning period for the destruction of our holy Temple in Jerusalem. For two thousand years we Jews have marked this period as one of national mourning. On this day, when the mourning period begins, we all fast and contemplate this enormous tragedy to the Jewish People.

Thus, on the very day when the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain, and became a sovereign nation, while the majority of the new American citizens were celebrating and feasting, the Jews were mourning and fasting. Clearly this fact was no coincidence. The symbolism is prophetic. On the surface it may have seemed that the establishment of the United States of America was an opportunity for the Jew to find acceptance and true freedom from religious oppression. Indeed, over the past two hundred and twenty-three years most Jews would declare that this country has proven itself to be the best thing that ever happened to the Jewish People during our long Exile.

This fact alone is reason to mourn. The Jewish people were never meant to find peace and tranquillity outside of her homeland. We were scattered to the four corners of the world as a punishment. We were destined to wander and never find contentment until, at long last, our Exile would end and we would come home to our country, the Land of Israel.

In every nation of our Exile, in every generation, we made the best of a bad situation and kept our Judaism intact. We prayed for the day when we would be able to come home, and never lost hope that the day would finally come.

It wasn't hard to keep the dream of Zion alive in the ghettos, and under the many persecutions which we had to suffer. But in the Land of the free and the home of the brave we faced a challenge for which we were unprepared. We were permitted to live as we wished. Surely there was anti-Semitism here too, but it was easier to ignore and hide from than in most of our temporary homelands.

Because it was a nation of immigrants, there really was no such thing as a pure bred American. It thus became easy to cast aside those things which made us appear different from our neighbours and to blend in with them. We took upon ourselves a new culture and rejected at least those parts of our Judaism which made us different.

We forgot the blessing of Balaam, that we are destined to be a nation that stands alone, not to be reckoned among the nations of the world. No.

We would find a way to be like our neighbours, and to be accepted by them as equals. That was the new Jewish dream.

The United States of America is the most dangerous place in the world for the Jewish people. The dangers here are more subtle than in other places. The fact that Jews have been able to achieve financial and political success has created an illusion that is nearly impossible to shatter.

We have been taken in by this illusion. We live in beautiful homes, send our children to the best schools, drive new cars and enjoy all of the best technological advances of mankind. We never had it better. But do we ever stop for a minute to look at our children? Where do they get their values? How are they equipped to deal with the moral conflicts which face them as they grow up among the American Gentiles?

Chances are, aside from their friends at school, most of their values are learned from the television and movies they watch. The watered down version of Judaism that they are given has no substance for them. What kind of role models do they strive to emulate?

The President of the United States is certainly not the kind of role model any moral individual would want for his children. Yet he is there, and he does present such an image. No matter how high a standard of living we have in the United States, no amount of money can adequately insulate the Jew from the depraved foreign values being imparted to his children. Even among the religious Jewish segment of American culture, which tries to develop a strong barrier between themselves and the society around them, it is impossible to avoid exposure and contagion with the alien culture in which we are submerged.

Throughout our history there have been Jews who dealt with anti-Semitism in different ways. Some gave up their Judaism outright in the futile hope that this would gain them acceptance in the eyes of the Gentile.

Others tried to adjust their Judaism to make it less different than the religion of their neighbours. And a hardy few kept a low profile but adhered to their heritage with a passion. Those are the ones who survived over the centuries. We can see all of these mechanisms at work in the United States as well.

Many have outrightly rejected their heritage. They married out of the faith and changed their names. Others re wrote our Torah and made Judaism easier for the goyim to accept. But, even with the strongest of our people, those who did not give in and who have kept their Judaism strong and proud, even these people cannot help but be affected by the warped society in which they live. Today there is only one guarantee for the survival of the Jewish People. Only by returning to our homeland and striving to rebuild, not only the Land, but the Jewish way of life, will be breathe true redemption into the dry bones of our Exiled people. We must seriously consider the very ominous implication of the fact that the birthday of the United States of America was a sad day for the Jewish People.

Let us understand that we have only one homeland. It is the Will of G-d that the Jewish People be gathered together in the Land He Promised our Father, Abraham, as an internal inheritance. Until 1948 it was extremely difficult to come home. But today, despite the many problems, at least it is under Jewish sovereignty and a modern nation. Today we have no excuse to remain in the cursed Exile which is destined to come to an end. We have no future outside our homeland.

We can wait for the Exile to spit us out or destroy us, or we can elect to come home now, with our pride and our possessions.

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