Israel Resource Review 2nd June, 1997

This week's review

Background: Arab Land Sales
Old Palestinian Arab Families
Sold Land to Jews

The weekly Fasl al-Maqal, owned by Arab-Israeli parliament deputy Azmi Beshara and based in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth in north Israel, ran a list of 54 leading Palestinians who sold land to Jews from 1918-1945. The paper reported Thursday that Palestinian nationalist leaders, including the grandfather of the PLO's current top official in Jerusalem, sold land to Jews in the years before Israel's founding.

The paper ran a story titled "Our Fathers On The Take," takes the issue back to the era of the British mandate before Israel's founding in 1948, when the Zionist movement was seeking land in Palestine to create a Jewish state.

The paper reports that some of those highest up in the Palestinian nationalist movement which opposed the Jewish state were at the same time selling land to the Jewish Agency, the body spearheading the Zionist drive,

The weekly's editor-in-chief, Awad Abdel Fatah reports that the names came from an official document dating back to the British mandate in Palestine, which the paper received from official sources in Jordan. He said, "We published only a partial list from the document, showing the role of the Palestinian leadership in the flow of lands to the Jewish Agency before the disaster of 1948," he said.

The names are embarrassing to the PA as one is a relative of Yasir Arafat and he is one of the most prominent names on the list. His name is Mohammed Taher al-Husseini, father of al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem and supreme head of the Palestinian nationalist movement. Another was Kazem al-Husseini, grandfather on the mother's side of Faisal Husseini, the top PLO official in Jerusalem. Kazem sold lands in Jerusalem, where he was mayor from 1918-1920. The list includes five other members of the Husseini family, one of the most prominent clans in pre-1948 Palestine and today.

Other members of leading Palestinian families also showed up on the list, as did members of the High Arab Committee, the High Islamic Council and the Arab Executive Committee, the main bodies which led the nascent Palestinian nationalist movement against Zionism. Mussa al-Alami, who headed the Palestinian delegation to the London Conference of 1939 convened to discuss the future of mandate Palestine, sold 90 hectares (222 acres) to Jews in Bisan, now the north Israeli city of Beit Shean, according to the list. Ragheb al-Nashashibi, mayor of Jerusalem from 1920-1934 and head of the National Defense Party, sold over 120 hectares (296 acres) of land in Jaffa, outside Tel Aviv. Nashashibi also sold land in east Jerusalem upon which Hebrew University was later built.

Yaakub al-Ghussein, who headed the Arab Fund created to gather money to support the Palestinian cause, sold land to Jews in Jaffa and what is now the Gaza Strip for 4,000 Palestinian pounds, equivalent to British pound sterling at that era. And the other elite Muslim and Christian families of Palestine, including the Abdel Hadi, Bseiso, and Fahum clans, were represented on the list.

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Developing Red Lines?
Minister Sharon, MKs Yahalom & Eitan, Levran

by Aaron Lerner

All interviews were carried out in Hebrew on 1st June. All appear in their entirety.

Minister of Infrastructure Ariel Sharon

IMRA: Is the Netanyahu Government developing today its opening position for the negotiations with the Palestinians on the permanent arrangements or Israel's "red lines."

Sharon: That's the question. That's exactly what I asked the head of military intelligence. I don't know. It pains me greatly that I am not part of the group which is working on this. I really don't know.

National Religious Party MK Shaul Yahalom

IMRA: Is the Netanyahu Government developing today its opening position for the negotiations with the Palestinians on the permanent arrangements or Israel's "red lines."

Yahalom: I don't know. It is clear to me that it is an opening position but that doesn't mean that it isn't also Israel's red lines. It all depends on the pressures. The NRP isn't even satisfied with the proposal as it is so we will certainly apply as much pressure as possible on this matter.

IMRA: Can this lead to a confusion in the process itself since one participant may present what is actually a true red line while other participants in the process think that this is only an opening position and room was left for compromise?

Yahalom: Yes.

Likud Knesset faction chairman MK Michael Eitan

IMRA: Is the Netanyahu Government developing today its opening position for the negotiations with the Palestinians on the permanent arrangements or Israel's "red lines."

Eitan: Let's be realistic and not fool ourselves. What we say doesn't matter. If it is only an opening position or not, the moment that negotiations begin whatever position the government gives is an opening position.

There is no question that it is not just a question of the position of the coalition but also what the Left says. This also influences the process. We can say that we live in a democracy so there are many views but that there is only one government but other Israeli views will have an influence.

I want to point out that I was attacked for my talks with [Labor MK Yossi] Beilin and others for reducing the demands of the government regarding the permanent arrangements but I said clearly that I was doing this as a private individual - neither as a representative of the government or the Likud party. The point is that I had an agreement with Beilin which included important features, such as the position on keeping settlements intact.

I want to say on this matter that red lines are not set before negotiations but only during negotiations and history has shown that the phase "red lines' never end up being real. We had red line in Lebanon - what happened? Sinai - what happened? Also what is asked for today as "red lines" are now much less than in the past.

Red lines won't stand.

IMRA: Isn't there a point, however, that you can say that if you don't have "X" then its better to continue without an agreement then to sign a deal without "X"?

Eitan: It appears to me that the security element is a function of a combination of the situation in the field and other matters. Consider for example that one of the most difficult and serious problems is control of the envelope so that if your control of the envelope is greater then you may be able to agree to be more liberal on your control inside. On the other hand, if your control of the envelope is less, then your requirements inside have to be greater.

Former senior intelligence officer Brig.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Levran

IMRA: Do you think the military is providing the government with red lines or just opening positions?

Levran: The army can say 'this is desirable' and 'this is vital' but it can't talk in terms of opening negotiating positions.

IMRA: If the military thinks that the government may compromise on things it considers to be vital is there the possibility that it will overstate what is vital to offset a compromising government in advance?

Levran: I am certain that those in the military organizations present a more liberal position to a Labor government than to a Likud government. Not in the areas of black and white but in the gray areas. I think that they would present a harder position to a Likud government this because they wouldn't want to be attacked by the ministers. But in both situations there is an issue of integrity, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't bend the positions of the military somewhat.

I do not see asking a military man if a given position is a "red line" but rather how much risk is associated with it; is it the bare bones or is there any meat left and how much?

IMRA: Are there any true "red lines"?

Levran: There are and should be, by definition, red lines. For example, the position against returning to the '67 borders is most definitely a red line.

IMRA: Are there geographical elements which can't be compensated for by other means?

Levran: Look, you have to hold the Eastern slopes of the Jordan Valley and since there are also settlements in the Valley itself you don't give that either. There are also some high places in Judea and Samaria which you must hold and you have to widen the narrow waist of Israel in the Kalkiliye area .

I always said that from an ideological standpoint we should hold everything. This is our land. But even if you consider the situation purely from a security standpoint, at best it is possible to pull back from 15% of the land and this is a nonstarter as far as the Palestinians are concerned. You simply can't fit another country into this tight area. I see only a functional solution, some form of autonomy for the Palestinians.

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645

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Full CNN profiles of Netanyahu/Arafat:
Worthy of Feedback to CNN

The profiles of Netanyahu and Arafat which are on the CNN web site:

Note: The one time CNN uses the word "terrorist" is about Netanyahu's political movement, with no specifics, no justification for the use of the word. The one terror incident mentioned concerning Arafat is Munich, 1972, and its "alleged" connection to Fatah. The eader of the Black September which murdered the Olympic athletes is today a high ranking security officer of the PA "Police". Not worthy of mention. But what about Ma'alot 1974, Lod 1972, the US diplomats murdered on Arafat's orders in the Sudan in 1974 ? What about the fact that the PLO operated aerial piracy for more than a decade? Not worthy of mention?

Perhaps some feedback to CNN sponsors is long overdue ...

Jack Golbert

Here are the CNN profiles:

CNN Insider
Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister

Born: October 21, 1949; Tel Aviv, Israel
Education: BA (architecture), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1974; MBA, 1976
Military Service: Israeli army (Sayeret Matcal anti-terrorism force), 1967-72; Army, 1973
Occupation: Diplomat
Family: Wife, Sara Netanyahu; 1 son, 1 daughter (from first marriage)
Religion: Jewish
Early Years: Participated in several high-profile commando missions including a raid on a hijacked jetliner outside Tel Aviv, 1972; Was pursuing a business career in the United States when his brother Jonathan was killed in the Israeli raid on a hijacked plane in Entebbe, Uganda, 1976; Returned to Israel and founded the Jonathan Institute, a group that studies the origins of terrorism and develops strategies to combat it.

Political Career:Deputy chief of mission, Israeli Embassy, Washington, DC, 1982-84; Israeli Ambassador to UN, 1984-88; Member of Parliament, 1988-96; Deputy Foreign Minister, 1988-91; Deputy minister, office of prime minister, 1991-92; Likud Party leader, 1993-; Prime Minister, 1996-
Office: Kiryat Ben-Gurion, 3 Kaplan St, P.O. Box 187, 91919 Jerusalem, Israel

Related Site: Israel Information Service

Sources: Current Biography, 1996, Who's Who in the World, 1996; Israel Information Service

Benjamin Netanyahu's political philosophy is representative of Israel's so-called revisionist movement, which evolved into the conservative Likud Party after Israeli independence in 1948. This political philosophy espouses Israel's justification in carrying out terrorist revenge attacks against Arab civilians and the British government, and argues that Israel's borders should extend eastward to include what is now Jordan. It rejects the relinquishing of any Israeli territory as dangerous to the country's security.

In the 1977 election, the Likud Party, for the first time in Israel's history, won enough votes to knock the Labor Party out of power. The Likud Party then launched a feverish expansion policy to build Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, disturbing the native Palestinian population. Netanyahu aligned himself with the Likud Party and found in it a home for his hawkish views.

In 1982, Netanyahu was appointed deputy chief of mission at the Israeli mission to the United States. He served as Israel's U.N. representative 1984-88, deputy foreign minister 1988-91 and deputy prime minister 1991-92.

Netanyahu gained international prominence during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when he was interviewed live on Cable News Network as Iraqi Scud missiles fell on his country. His remarks and demeanor aroused sympathy for the Israeli cause. In 1992, he served as Israel's chief spokesman at the Middle East peace conference in Madrid, establishing himself as a shrewd negotiator.

Netanyahu was elected leader of the right-wing Likud Party in 1993 and elected prime minister in May 1996. He was a fierce opponent of the pacifist policies of his predecessor Yitzhak Rabin and the Labor Party, which had followed the mainstream Ben-Gurion tradition of military restraint and a willingness to compromise on territory for the sake of peace.

He won the election by persuading a majority of Israelis to join him in opposing relinquishing Israeli control of the city of Jerusalem. He also opposed Israel's 1993 land-for-peace agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which granted self-rule to Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu will have to walk a very fine line in following his conservative political approach. Although he may successfully defend Israel's security, he runs the risk of igniting violent confrontations with the Arabs, arousing opposition from liberal, pacifist Israelis, as well as angering the chauvinistic, conservative Israeli settlers who, living among hostile Arab neighbors, depend on the Israeli government for their defense.

Yasser Arafat
Palestinian Leader

Born: August 24, 1929; Cairo, Egypt
Education: Degree in engineering, University of Fuad I (now Cairo University), 1956
Family: Wife, Suha Tawil
Religion: Muslim
Early Years: In 1946, began procuring arms for an anticipated battle for Palestinian territory; Helped found Fatah, a guerrilla group dedicated to the liberation of Palestine, mid 1950s; Began mounting raids into Israel, 1965; Elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), 1969.
Recent Years: Signed draft agreement with Israel providing for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho, 1993; Awarded Nobel Peace Prize along with Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, 1994.
Office: Gaza City, The Gaza Strip, via Israel

Related site: The Palestine Home Page

Source: Current Biography, 1994; Biographical Dictionary of the Middle East

The Palestinian-Arab politician, former terrorist and nationalist leader Yasser Arafat was born Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al Qudwa al-Hussein in Cairo, Egypt, on August 24, 1929, son of a successful merchant. His mother died when he was 4, and he went to live with an uncle in Jerusalem, at that time a British protectorate. It was during those years that Arafat was first exposed to the clash between native Arabs and immigrant Jews who aspired to build a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

When Arafat went to college in Cairo, he undertook a study of Jewish life there, associating with them and reading the works of Zionists such as Theodor Herzl. By 1946 he had become a convinced Palestinian nationalist and was already procuring weapons in Egypt to be smuggled into Palestine in the Arab cause.

When the first of five Arab-Israeli wars broke out in 1948, Arafat slipped into Palestine to fight the Jews. He was incensed when he and his compatriots were disarmed and turned back by other Arabs who did not want the help of Palestinian irregulars. After the Jews won the war, Palestinians suffered another humiliation when the Arab states concluded a peace with Israel that dispossessed three quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs, leaving them stateless. He maintained that the Arab states should have accepted a U.N. proposal to divide Palestine into two separate states -- one for the Jews, and one for the Palestinian Arabs.

In the mid-1950s Arafat and several Palestinian Arab associates formed a movement which became known as Fatah, an organization dedicated to reclaiming Palestine for the Palestinians. This and other groups eventually operated under an umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization, formed in 1964. Running Fatah became Arafat's full-time occupation, and by 1965 the organization was launching guerrilla raids into Israel.

Israel again emerged victorious in the Six-Day War of 1967, and captured the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. The war widened the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to include other Arabs. In 1968 Arafat and the Fatah got international publicity when they inflicted a significant defeat on an Israeli incursion into Jordan. The PLO's activities increasingly troubled Jordan's King Hussein however, and in 1970 he forced the Palestinians to leave Jordan. They set up bases in Lebanon and continued to carry out raids against Israel from there.

In 1972 Arafat was vilified because of an alleged involvement with the Arab terrorist Black September group that massacred Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

In 1974, Arafat addressed the United Nations in New York. The sympathetic world body voted to give the PLO observer status at the U.N. and acknowledged the Palestinians' right to self-determination. That year Arafat appeared to be willing depart from his desire to destroy Israel and instead reach a political settlement with the Israelis.

The bleakest period for Arafat and the PLO came in June 1982 when, provoked by terrorist raids, Israel launched an all-out counterattack, destroying the PLO headquarters in Beirut and forcing the PLO out of Lebanon. Arafat re-established PLO headquarters in Tunisia. Soon however, world attention was drawn away from the PLO toward rioting by Palestinians in the West Bank and their plight in the Israeli-occupied territories. The PLO supported the West Bank Palestinians, and the international sympathy they aroused thrust the PLO back into prominence.

In the Algiers Declaration of November 1988 the PLO proclaimed an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and recognized Israel's right to exist. Further, Arafat declared before the United Nations that the PLO renounced terrorism once and for all, and supported the right of all parties to live in peace -- Israel included. The United States declared itself ready to negotiate, and by the year's end some 70 countries had recognized the PLO. This diplomatic victory was undermined when Arafat backed Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait split the Arab world into pro-and anti-Iraq camps.

Although long deemed a "terrorist organization" by Israel, the PLO recognized Israel in 1990. In 1993, Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin forged a peace agreement. which provided for the gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Palestinian Authority -- the Palestinian governing body in the occupied territories -- was created under the 1993 peace agreement. The Palestinian Authority's legislative body, the 88-seat Palestinian Council, was elected in January, 1996, and Arafat won a landslide victory as its president.

Rabin and Arafat shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for their achievement in bringing peace.

Arafat has been criticized by Israel and others for a lack of control over extremist Palestinians such as Hamas. Arafat has vowed to crack down, and repeatedly has expressed sorrow over Hamas terrorist acts, but remains the champion of Palestinian rights and their quest for a homeland.

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How Israel Can cope with the PLO by Adopting a Proactive Approach to the Media
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

Edmund Burke, who supported the war against his mother nation, was once asked if he would support the French Revolution. His answer was negative, because "the end is the means in process". To paraphrase Edmund Burke, a regime conceived in terror would adopt a policy of terror against its own people.

The PLO reality is such that it is a nation state in formation, for better or for worse.

The PLO now operates its own army and rules villages, cities, refugee camps, farms, industries and schoools, with all the responsilbilities inherent in statehood.

The PLO's new Palestinie Authority benefits from the direct and personal prestige of the President of the United States, along with the recognition of almost every nation on the face of the earcth.

Indeed, the PLO now communicates with every level of Israeli society and every segment of Israeli politics, openly or covertly.

However, since its ascendence to power, the PA has also established the precedent of welcoming killers and car thieves within its miudst, while all the PA outlets of communication continue incitement for war against Jews and the state of Israel. Leading the pack is Arafat, who, with the exception of one single speech delivered on the day that he took over in of Hebron, continues to address his people in the most warlike of terms against the Jewish state.

The newfound status and recognition of the "PLO state in the making" makes it difficult and almost counterprodcutive fprt Israel to engage in a frontal media campaign against the PLO.

The prestige of statesmen and reporters around the world are now tied in to the PLO.

The PLO itself is now on the center stage of the world, yet that very exposure can provide the hint to Israel as to how to conduct its media relations in the near future.

The time has come to move the realm of Israeli public relations into the private business, so that new ways can be pioneered that will report the reality of what Israel now faces for the Jewish world, at least, to understand what is going on.

And the way to project any idea to the Jewish mind remains the mainstream media, especially because Jews remain the greatest news junkies in the world, especially in regards to Israel.

With the PLO at center stage, I would suggest that Israelis work with Palestinian media professionals who are also disaffected with Arafat to promote media productions in the following areas:

  1. Human rights and civil liberties within the Palestine Authority
  2. Public funds and corruption in the PA
  3. PA arms supply of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad
  4. PLO involvement with narcotics trafficking.
  5. UNRWA regulations that keep Arab refugees in a situation of squalor
  6. Continuing Arafat incitement
  7. Anti Israel curricula in PA schools and media
  8. Orders carried out by the PA army to kill dissidents within the PA
  9. And in the positive realm, Israel can continue to project the possibilities for better and positive relations with between Jews and Arabs in the future, once the PA is deemed to be obsolete. The untold story of Jewish-Arab cooperation in the realms of trade, commerce, education, health and dialogue can provide the media with newsworthy stories, ad infinitum.

    What Israel needs is a proactive approach, privately funded, for the media to be presented with the news stories that will reflect another reality in Israel.

    A framework exists, known as the Institute for Peace Education Ltd, just waiting for partners to build a new level of news coverage for Israel in the next few years.

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    Special Book Review
    by David Bedein
    Media Research Analyst

    Knesset and Government Directory: The 14th Knesset
    edited by Boris Karassni and Ronit Chacham
    published by Policy Publishing House Ltd
    2 Laskov Street, Tel Aviv 64736 Israel
    256 pp.
    Cost: 130 shekels

    The above directory is a first of its kind. The most helpful guide to the sraeli government and Knesset that has ever been written. The fact that mos Israelis in any walk of life, from lawyers to union organizers to lobbyists generally do not know a thing about how to contact the Knesset or how laws re made remains an unusual fact of life in Israel. This short directory contais every possible fax number and name of every Knesset administrative assistat whose job it is to make the laws of the state of Israel. Particularly helpful is the delineation of the Knesset committees and lists of officials in every overnment office in Israel. A must for anyone who wants to influence Israeli government policy.

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