Al-Qaradawi: Al-Sisi has lost his relevance and will not be president of Egypt

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who is considered the spiritual reference for the Muslim Brotherhood, has said that General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi has lost his relevance and will not be president of Egypt. He also suggested that the upcoming constitutional referendum is “absurd”, and said that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge stronger from this confrontation, after having already defied two previous presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Qaradawi stated that Al-Azhar has turned into “a cover for political trends and guidance”, adding that he resigned from the Senior Scholars Committee after he found that the institution was “supporting people who resented the fact that the country was living under a free and democratic system”. Moreover, he said that his dispute with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and the former Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, was due to “their support for the military coup and their silence and involvement in legitimising the murder of people in the streets.”

In an interview with Qatar’s Al-Watan newspaper, Al-Qaradawi mocked the exaggerated figures, which reached as high as 30 million people, for the number of opponents who took to the streets during the coup in opposition to President Mohamed Morsi and his government. He said that, “anyone who says this is a liar; this number would mean that every Egyptian, with the exception of children and the elderly, took to the streets that day.”

As for the upcoming constitutional referendum, Al-Qaradawi remarked that, “I believe that the new constitution and the referendum are both pointless.” He also commented on the possibility of General Al-Sisi being nominated for the presidency by saying: “Al-Sisi has lost his credibility and is no longer suitable as a president or a minister of defence. Look at the leaked information involving him; is this a minister of defence fit for Egypt, let alone president? Al-Sisi will not be the president of Egypt, even if he wanted to; the same goes for Gamal Mubarak.”

With regards to his vision of the Muslim Brotherhood’s future, Al-Qaradawi told his interviewer: “look at the opinion polls…look at the future of the Brotherhood now, after defying Abdel Nasser and Mubarak, and you will see what their future holds. The Brotherhood has now spread to over 70 countries in the world.”

(Source / 28.12.2013)

Starvation policy in Homs crops people lives

Activists have circulated online a photo for an old man has been died due to the siege and lack of food and medicine in Jourat al-Shayyah in the blockaded Homs.

The rebellious neighborhoods in Homs have been suffering a severe siege for over months by Assad Army, no food or medicine, local activists said.

Starvation policy is the only option to punish people of rebel-held areas, Ahmed Mousa, 32, lives in Al Waer neighborhood, told Zaman Alwasl reporter.

One Syrian security official called it according to Reuters the “Starvation Until Submission Campaign”, blocking food and medicine from entering and people from leaving besieged areas of Syria.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have used partial sieges to root out rebel forces from residential areas during the civil war. But a recent tightening of blockades around areas near the capital is causing starvation and death, residents and medical staff say.

Food and medicine, which could be used by the warring parties, are rarely allowed to enter besieged areas and the movement of civilians in and out is restricted.

Over one million Syrians are trapped in areas where aid deliveries have stalled, the United Nations says.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

Fatah official: Palestinians should choose ‘smart’ resistance in 2014

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The Palestinian Authority will continue plans in 2014 immediately after a 9-month time limit given to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to reach an agreement ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a Fatah official said Saturday.

Speaking to Ma’an, Nabil Shaath said no peace deal would emerge after the nine-month limit “because of what Israel and the United States are proposing.”

He acknowledged that developments related to the question of Palestine in 2014 would be unpredictable and worrying because of the dire conditions in the Arab world.

Shaath highlighted that the “so-called Arab Spring has become very dusty spring.”

Nevertheless, the Fatah official expects 2014 to be dedicated to reactivating Palestinian resistance. The PA, he said, is expected to join more UN organizations and to dedicate efforts to achieve reconciliation with Hamas.

“We have to use smart and fruitful means of struggle rather than violent struggle in order to maintain international support, as negotiations have failed to make a single step forward.”

He added: “The minimum of what we were offered in the year 2000 hasn’t been reached, not to mention that the US has failed to exert pressure on Israel to guarantee Palestinian rights.”

It seems “impossible” to reach an agreement, says Shaath, due to Israeli demands of maintaining security control, annexing Palestinian lands, refusing Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem and requesting that the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

“We will not recognize Israel as Jewish state, and would like to ask John Kerry if he agrees that we recognize the US as a Christian state,” Shaath said.

Thus, he added, the Palestinians have the right to practice resistance by all means.

“However, we should choose a smart resistance which will not cause us calamities like what happens when a missile is launched from Gaza. We have to make sure the world will show solidarity with us just as in Europe where settlement products will be boycotted by the beginning of 2014.”

(Source / 28.12.2013)

PA: Israel to release names of prisoners set for release

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Minister of prisoners affairs Issa Qaraqe said Saturday that Israel would announce the names of a third group of prisoners to be released at midnight.

Qaraqe told Ma’an TV that Israel did not provide the PA with a list in advance.

He denounced the delay of the release of the third group to Dec. 30, and rejected Israel’s justifications for it.

Qaraqe expected Israel to release the prisoners at midnight on Tuesday.

Qaraqe added that Israel wanted to use the prisoners’ issue to pressure the Palestinians to give up their basic rights.

He said the number of sick prisoners increased from 800 to 1,400 this year, and expressed his fear that the number of prisoners with cancer might increase because of medical negligence.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

New Study Refines View of Sarin Attack in Syria

A new analysis of rockets linked to the nerve-agent attack on Damascus, Syria, in August has concluded that the rockets were most likely fired by multiple launchers and had a range of about three kilometers, according to the two authors of the analysis.

An image taken by local activists in Damascus shows the remains of a rocket implicated in a chemical attack in August.

The authors said that their findings could help pinpoint accountability for the most lethal chemical warfare attack in decades, but that they also raised questions about the American government’s claims about the locations of launching points, and the technical intelligence behind them.

The new analysis could point to particular Syrian military units involved, or be used by defenders of the Syrian government and those suspicious of the United States’ claims to try to shift blame toward rebels.

The rockets in question were not seen before the Syrian civil war. There is little publicly available information about their internal construction, their manufacturing provenance or their flight characteristics.

But remnants of expended rockets have been videotaped and photographed, including at sites in eastern Damascus that were struck by sarin-filled warheads on Aug. 21.

That attack is broadly believed to have caused at least hundreds of civilian deaths. It led the Obama administration, which blamed the government of PresidentBashar al-Assad, to threaten military action. That threat was deferred in mid-September after Russia and the United States reached an agreement to dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons program.

The authors of the new analysis —Theodore A. Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Richard M. Lloyd, an analyst at the military contractor Tesla Laboratories — evaluated the exteriors of the implicated rockets, visible in videos and photographs. The analysis suggested that they were propelled by motors taken from a common family of 122-millimeter conventional artillery rockets known as the BM-21, the authors said.

The BM-21 line is a globally abundant system of ground-to-ground rockets, colloquially called Grads, that originated in the Soviet Union but have been reproduced and updated by many countries, including post-Soviet Russia, China, Egypt and Iran. Both the Syrian army and the rebels possess them.

An examination of the territory to the northwest of the cluster of reported impact strikes shows many positions that have been firmly under military control throughout 2013, including factories and a bus station complex that are part of Mr. Assad’s defense around his seat of government.

Eliot Higgins, a blogger who has collected and analyzed many online videos related to the attack, the munitions and the Syrian government’s military positions in Damascus, said the new analysis of the rockets’ range aligned with assertions that the government was culpable.

“A range of beyond 2.5 kilometers would put potential launch sites in an area between Jobar and Qaboun, to the north and northwest of the impact locations, that has been a hive of government activity for months,” Mr. Higgins wrote in an email on Friday.

But the analysis could also lead to calls for more transparency from the White House, as Dr. Postol said it undermined the Obama administration’s assertions about the rockets’ launch points.

On Aug. 30, the White House released its assessment of the attack, saying that, among other forms of intelligence, “satellite detections corroborate that attacks from a regime-controlled area struck neighborhoods where the chemical attacks reportedly occurred.”

Dr. Postol said those statements created a public impression that the rockets had been launched from areas at the center of government control.

“It is clear that if the U.S. government’s claims that the allegedly observed launches came from ‘the heart’ of Syrian government controlled areas, there is a serious discrepancy between the meaning of this claim, the technical intelligence it relies on, and the technical properties of this munition,” he wrote.

Using published data about characteristics of motors in various Grad rockets and derivatives, Dr. Postol and Mr. Lloyd calculated potential maximum ranges for the sarin-filled rockets, with an emphasis on a common Grad variant’s motor.

“The dimensions of the inserted rocket motor very closely match the dimensions in the 9M22-U artillery rocket,” Dr. Postol wrote in an email on Thursday. “If the inserted motor is the same as the standard 9M22-U motor, then the maximum range of the munition would be no more than three kilometers, and likely less.”

That would be less than the ranges of more than nine kilometers calculated separately by The New York Timesand Human Rights Watch in mid-September, after the United States had dropped its push for a military strike. Those estimates had been based in part on connecting reported compass headings for two rockets cited in the United Nations’ initialreport on the attacks.

The published range for a 9M22-U rocket is about 20 kilometers, or 12.4 miles. But the Syrian rockets carried a bulky and apparently flat-nosed warhead — Dr. Postol called it “a soup can” — whose range would have been undermined by its large mass and by drag, the authors said.

Depending on the motors propelling different Grad models, the projected maximum ranges can vary from 2.5 to 3.5 kilometers, or 1.5 to 2.2 miles, Dr. Postol and Mr. Lloyd said.

The longer estimates seem unlikely, Dr. Postol said, because as a sarin-filled rocket was pushed to greater air speeds by a more powerful motor, the stresses created by its non-aerodynamic shape could cause it to tumble or break apart.

Mr. Lloyd said on Friday that his separate analysis of the reported impact sites suggested that two to four launchers were involved in the Aug. 21 strikes.

Dr. Postol agreed. The details, he said, might indicate a canny attacker.

“The line of impacts suggests a launcher that changed loft angle,” Dr. Postol wrote. “This is consistent with a strategy aimed at spreading the nerve agent over a wide area.”

The new analysis has limits. It relies on secondhand measurements of and assumptions about the rockets’ components and construction, but no handling, X-rays or other examination of the real items. The central claim, about a particular rocket-motor insert, regards an item that has not yet been seen in any publicly available images.

Nonetheless, a core assertion in the two authors’ previous analysis of the sarin-filled rockets, also based on dimensions, has stood for months.

That study proposed that the warheads contained a large volume, about 13.2 gallons, of sarin. The United Nations implicitly seconded that suggestion when it included a similar estimate in its own report in September.

The assumption that the warheads contained a large volume of nerve agent also helped shape another prominent analyst’s assertion that the details of the Aug. 21 attack implicated the Syrian government.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

Airstrike kills 21 in Syria market

A Syrian government airstrike on a crowded market in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 21 people, activists say.

Videos uploaded by activists showed extensive damage to the market and corpses being pulled from cars.

Many more were reported wounded in the strike.

Government forces are reported to have killed about 400 people since beginning an aerial offensive in and around Aleppo two weeks ago.

Syrian authorities say they are targeting “terrorists”, a term the government uses to describe all opposition.

The main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, said earlier this week it would not attend a peace conference planned to take place next month in Geneva if the air campaign continued.

Human rights groups have condemned the Syrian air force’s use of so-called barrel bombs – oil drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel – saying the targeting is indiscriminate and that the attacks are therefore unlawful.

The bombs have hit residential and shopping areas, often killing dozens of civilians, either missing possible military targets or with little indication of any intended military objective, they say.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

Six Palestinians shot by PA forces in Jenin camp

 

JENIN, (PIC)– PA Security Forces have stormed on Friday Jenin refugee camp and started firing intensively injuring 6 citizens including the leader in Jihad movement Mahmoud Sa’adi and the leader Bassam Sa’di’s two sons.

Eyewitnesses confirmed to the PIC reporter that PA forces stormed the refugee camp over a family problem in the camp, and they started firing randomly once the leader Mahmoud Saadi emerged with his nephews Yahia and Fathi, the leader in Jihad Movement Bassam Saadi’s two sons.

Yahya Bassam Saadi, 19, suffered very serious injuries as he was shot in his chest, while Sheikh Mahmoud Saadi got shot in his stomach. Fathi Bassam Saadi, 18, was also moderately injured in addition to three other citizens who were present at the scene.

The sources said that the PA forces tried to arrest Sheikh Mahmoud Saadi after shooting him; however, camp inhabitants intervened and prevented his arrest, after which violent clashes broke out in the refugee camp. Several suffocation cases were reported among citizens after the PA forces fired tear gas bombs.

On Friday evening, PA forces stormed al-Razi hospital and arrested Yahia and Fathi although they were receiving treatment after being shot by those forces in Jenin camp, PIC reporter reported.

Yahia and Fathi were transferred in an ambulance to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus under heavy police protection.

PA Security Forces have carried out raid and arrest campaigns in Jenin Refugee camp under the pretext of searching for weapons and wanted persons.

For its part, Jihad Movement held the PA fully responsible for the shooting of three of its members by PA forces, considering it a criminal act.

“This crime is a clear result of Israeli continued incitement against resistance movements in the West Bank particularly in Jenin”, Jihad Movement’s statement said.

“We have repeatedly warned of the PA forces’ escalating repression and persecution campaigns against citizens”, the statement added.

The movement called on national forces and factions to work seriously to put an end to the PA forces’ repressive policy that fell in line with security coordination with Israeli forces.

The statement praised Palestinian citizens in Jenin refugee camp who prevented the arrest of the leader Mahmoud Saadi.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

PFLP in Arraba commemorates 46th anniversary with military march

jeninThe Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Arraba, Jenin, the hometown of assassinated PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa, commemorated the 46th anniversary of the Front with a military parade in the town on December 27.

The marchers chanted for resistance, freedom for the prisoners, honouring the martyrs, and for the liberation of land and people in the homeland and diaspora.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades made a statement, saying there is no option but resistance and in particular armed struggle to spearhead the confrontation with the occupation. Resistance is the method for the strategic defeat of the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state on the entire land of Palestine, and to do so Palestinian national unity is urgently needed, the AAMB statement said.

They called for an end to the futile negotiations and pledged that 2014 would be the year for liberation for imprisoned General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, saying that AAMB was commmitted to freeing all prisoners held in occupation prisons.

(Source / 28.12.2013)

Gaza is the only place the world forgets about (or pretends to forget about)

Kinderen kijken naar dubbele regenboog

 

‘Look where the world is and where we are!’ an exclamation I very frequently heard at home, and even expressed myself at some points. Going out to this world though, makes this thought invalid. It is a world where a major concern is offering dogs a better life, healthier food and softer napkins because humans do not have problems to worry about. In this world, brains are squeezed to figure out what problems may occur in 2050, and how they can be solved because there is nothing to solve at the moment other than the fact that there aren’t comfortable couches and free Wi-Fi in shopping centres. People are not worried about water supply or power cuts, when to do the laundry or how to charge the laptop. All the basics are available, and what is sought is only to better the quality of life.

People work so hard so they can get the best most comfortable life they can get. They are very concerned about enhancing the quality of their lives, some very precious ones, and this is what really makes the difference. I was once with a French friend at some park, and a lady stopped by to take some information for a questionnaire. One of her questions was what we thought that park was missing. My friend answered “music”. I was staggered by the answer. No water, no benches, no entertainment for the kids, no other parks to take some of the huge loads of people off this one, just music. Music!! I would not give such an answer in a million years. Although I do have the same current life as this friend’s, but my previous life and my family’s in Gaza dominates my brain and my way of thinking. Music got me to think how relaxed and restful one needs to be to come up with a similar answer.

Here in Europe, cycling is promoted, and it would be better if you walk. Special lanes are paved, and traffic signals are placed for cyclists all for the sake of healthier generations and a better greener environment. There, in Gaza, we walk and ride bicycles not for the environment, not even for our health. We do it because there is no fuel for our cars. We read books and we socialize because there’s no power to watch TV or to surf the internet. There, it’s the 21st century, and my medicine-studying brother reads his books under the light of candles. On many days, he has to sleep during the day, and stay up all night to celebrate that the power is on and study. My only way to see my mother is Skype, and very often I can’t see her for days, simply because when the power is on, she has laundry, hovering and baking and other chores to do and 6 hours a day is hardly enough to finish.

Here, they watch TV, do the laundry, and freeze their poultry whenever they want, for months if they want. There, we equip our houses with the most expensive electricals, and in seconds we feel the futility of it all. In seconds, they are no more than dead plastic and metal boxes and everyone is in the dark, back to the Stone Age and the most primitive ways to get light and heat that ended hundreds of years ago. I’ve been there, and by primitive I mean candles and charcoal braziers simply because there isn’t even fuel to start the power generators. And if it is found, it’s too expensive for an average family to afford. Not to mention the hidden diseases it adds to my people there; my family and friends one on top of the other.

However, here, the real disaster comes when we are treated differently because we come from there. Here, we carry our passports and travel the world. I have a red passport, I am a human being. In my case, I am labelled with my Palestinian passport. Last time I travelled abroad I was pulled back by my husband when the airport employee confused my passport for a travel document. I was willing to fight but he held me back. ‘It is a PASSPORT’, I wanted to say, ‘just like yours but another colour and another place of the world that you don’t know even exists’. Another previous time, the employee brought a big book and started turning its pages looking for the passport that looked like mine in order to identify it. I could not but smile. She was trying to insult me in an indirect way. All because I’m not from here, and I won’t state the obvious, my headscarf.

To be honest, however, they are not to blame as we Palestinians receive a far worse treatment by people of our language, religion and kinship; our neighbours the Egyptians. During a 6 hour long ride from Cairo to Rafah crossing, we were stopped last year close to 10 times by soldiers to check our passports (which doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world, “do you have Palestinians?” as if looking for rats). And the situation has gotten much worse after the military took over in Egypt. I was told by a cousin that they were shot on their way to Cairo airport. Now, visiting my family in Gaza, or my cousin leaving Gaza to study, has become a journey were you risk your life. Now, I cannot go home this year and I don’t know when I can return.

Here, people are so sensitive, so tearful. They cannot take the pain due to the very relaxed style of life they have, no wonder psychiatrists make a very good business here. Impulsively, sometimes I trivialize their pain when they cry for the simplest reasons saying: ‘what have you seen of life?’

Here, a respectable life is taken for granted. However you still have the right to complain, and when you do, you will be taken seriously, and you will see a difference, a change for the better. You will see Parliament members resigning for traffic violations. You will see governments asked to bury their heads in shame for not offering the expected aid to Syrian refugees. But clearly Gaza is the only place that this world forgets or more accurately pretends to be forgetting about. And the greatest witness to that is the late humanitarian crisis that happened in Gaza. A two day rain filled the Strip with sewage water that drowned hundreds of ground floor apartments and ravaged their contents, as well as fertile agricultural patches that were the main source of livelihood for many families. Due to the blockade and fuel shortage, water treatment pumps could not be operated and the residents of the affected areas were left displaced in the UN schools for a week. And after the water dried out, they went back to their houses (which in any other country would need to repaired and the damaged furniture replaced before inhabited again) and they will have to pay for it all.

There, in Gaza, people are deprived of life for the living. All the necessities of life are being taken away from them one after another; power from 8 hours down to 6 and then to 4; water unfit for human use (contaminated water used to irrigate the crops we eat in Gaza). And we have to buy our drinking water, scarce gas and fuel supplies. And even after the mentioned rain, caused and made worse by man-made crisis, nothing changed. And we DO complain, and we DO shout, but the world gives us a deaf ear, and the situation keeps getting worse.

And the question remains: Until When??

Kind van Al Shati vluchtelingenkamp

Letter from David Ben-Gurion to his son Amos, written 5 October 1937

Obtained from the Ben-Gurion Archives in Hebrew, and translated into English by the Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut

5 October 1937

Dear Amos,

I was not angry at you, but I was very sorry indeed that there was no reply from you. I cannot accept the excuse that you have no time. I know you have a lot of work at school, in the field, and at home, and I am happy that you are so preoccupied with your studies. But it is always possible to find free time if necessary, not only on Sabbath days but even during weekdays. Your excuse that I keep moving from one country to another is not convincing. You can write to me in London. Here they [the Jewish Agency office] always know where I am, and they are efficient in forwarding my mail.

As to the question of my membership in the executive committee [of the Jewish Agency], I shall explain to you in person if I meet you in Tel Aviv upon my return. Here what I want to talk about is the conflict you are experiencing between your reason and your emotions with regard to the question of the state. Political matters should not be a question of emotions. The only thing that should be taken into account is what we want and what is best for us, what will lead to the objective, and which are the policies that will make us succeed and which will make us fail. It seems to me that I, too, have “emotions” [quotation marks in original. Hebrew: regesh]. Without these emotions I would not have been able to endure decades of our hard work. It definitely does not hurt my feelings [regesh] that a state is established, even if it is small. Of course the partition of the country gives me no pleasure. But the country that they [the Royal (Peel) Commission] are partitioning is not in our actual possession; it is in the possession of the Arabs and the English. What is in our actual possession is a small portion, less than what they [the Peel Commission] are

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proposing for a Jewish state. If I were an Arab I would have been very indignant. But in this proposed partition we will get more than what we already have, though of course much less than we merit and desire. The question is: would we obtain more without partition? If things were to remain as they are [emphasis in original], would this satisfy our feelings? What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish [emphasis original]. A unified Eretz Israeli would be no source of satisfaction for me — if it were Arab. From our standpoint, the status quo is deadly poison. We want to change the status quo [emphasis original]. But how can this change come about? How can this land become ours? The decisive question is: Does the establishment of a Jewish state [in only part of Palestine] advance or retard the conversion of this country into a Jewish country? My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning. When we acquire one thousand or 10,000 dunams, we feel elated. It does not hurt our feelings that by this acquisition we are not in possession of the whole land. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country. We shall admit into the state all the Jews we can. We firmly believe that we can admit more than two million Jews. We shall build a multi-faceted Jewish economy– agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize an advanced defence force—a superior army which I have no doubt will be one of the best armies in the world. At that point I am confident that we would not fail in settling in the remaining parts of the country, through agreement and understanding with our Arab neighbors, or through some other means. We must always keep in mind the fundamental truths that make our settlement of this land imperative and possible. They are two or three: it is not the British

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Mandate nor the Balfour Declaration. These are consequences, not causes. They are the products of coincidence: contingent, ephemeral, and they will come to an end. They were not inevitable. They could not have occurred but for the World War, or rather, they would not have occurred if the war had not ended the way it did. But on the other hand there are fundamental [emphasis original] historical truths, unalterable as long as Zionism is not fully realized. These are: 1) The pressure of the Exile, which continues to push the Jews with propulsive force towards the country 2) Palestine is grossly under populated. It contains vast colonization potential which the Arabs neither need nor are qualified (because of their lack of need) to exploit. There is no Arab immigration problem. There is no Arab exile. Arabs are not persecuted. They have a homeland, and it is vast. 3) The innovative talents of the Jews (a consequence of point 1 above), their ability to make the desert bloom, to create industry, to build an economy, to develop culture, to conquer the sea and space with the help of science and pioneering endeavor. These three fundamental truths will be reinforced by the existence of a Jewish state in a part of the country, just as Zionism will be reinforced by every conquest, large or small, every school, every factory, every Jewish ship, etc. Our ability to penetrate the country will increase if we have a state. Our strength vis-à-vis the Arabs will likewise increase. The possibilities for construction and multiplication will speedily expand. The greater the Jewish strength in the country, the more the Arabs will realize that it is neither beneficial nor possible for them to withstand us. On the contrary, it will be possible for the Arabs to benefit enormously from the Jews, not only materially but politically as well. I do not dream of war nor do I like it. But I still believe, more than I did before the emergence of the possibility of a Jewish state, that once we are numerous and powerful in the country the Arabs will realize that it is better for them to become our allies.

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They will derive benefits from our assistance if they, of their own free will, give us the opportunity to settle in all parts of the country. The Arabs have many countries that are under-populated, underdeveloped, and vulnerable, incapable with their own strength to stand up to their external enemies. Without France, Syria could not last for one day against an onslaught from Turkey. The same  applies to Iraq and to the new [Palestinian] state [under the Peel plan]. All of these stand in need of the protection of France or Britain. This need for protection means subjugation and dependence on the other. But the Jews could be equal allies, real friends, not occupiers or tyrants over them. Let us assume that the Negev will not be allotted to the Jewish state. In such event, the Negev will remain barren because the Arabs have neither the competence nor the need to develop it or make it prosper. They already have an abundance of deserts but not of manpower, financial resources, or creative initiative. It is very probable that they will agree that we undertake the development of the Negev and make it prosper in return for our financial, military, organizational, and scientific assistance. It is also possible that they will not agree. People don’t always behave according to logic, common sense, or their own practical advantage. Just as you yourself are sometimes split conflicted between your mind and your emotions, it is possible that the Arabs will follow the dictates of sterile nationalist emotions and tell us: “We want neither your honey nor your sting. We’d rather that the Negev remain barren than that Jews should inhabit it.” If this occurs, we will have to talk to them in a different language—and we will have a different language—but such a language will not be ours without a state. This is so because we can no longer tolerate that vast territories capable of absorbing tens of thousands of Jews should remain vacant, and that Jews cannot return to their homeland because the Arabs prefer that the place [the Negev] remains neither ours nor theirs. We must expel Arabs and take their place. Up to now, all our aspirations have been based on an assumption – one that has been vindicated throughout our activities in the country – that there is enough room in the land for the Arabs and ourselves. But if we are compelled to use force – not in order to dispossess the Arabs of the Negev or Transjordan, but in order to guarantee our right to settle there – our force will enable us to do so. Clearly in such event we will have to deal not only with the Arabs living in Eretz Israel, since it is very probable that Arabs from the neighboring countries will

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come to their aid. But our power will be greater, not only because we will be better organized and equipped, but also because behind us stands a force still greater in quantity and quality. This is the reservoir of the millions in the Diaspora. Our entire younger generation of Poland, Romania, America, and other countries will rush to our aid at the outbreak of such a conflict. I pray to God that this does not happen at all. Nevertheless the Jewish state will not rely only on the Jews living in it, but on the Jewish people living in every corner of the world: the many millions who are eager and obliged [emphasis original] to settle in Palestine. There are not millions of Arabs  who are compelled or willing to settle in Palestine. Of course it is likely that Arab adventurers and gangs will come from Syria or Iraq or other Arab countries, but these can be no match for the tens and hundreds of thousands of young Jews to whom Eretz Israel is not merely an emotional issue, but one that is in equal measure both personal and national. For this reason I attach enormous importance to the conquest of the sea and the construction of a Jewish harbor and a Jewish fleet. The sea is the bridge between the Jews of this country and the Jewish Diaspora – the millions of Jews in different parts of the world. We must create the conditions that will enable us in times of necessity to bring into the country in our own ships manned by our own seamen, tens of thousands of young men. Meanwhile we must prepare these young men while they are still in the Diaspora for whatever task awaits them here. I am confident that the establishment of a Jewish state, even if it is only in a part of the country, will enable us to carry out this task. Once a state is established, we shall have control over the Eretz Israeli sea. Our activities in the sea will then include astonishing achievements. Because of all the above, I feel no conflict between my mind and emotions. Both declare to me: A Jewish state must be established immediately, even if it is only in part of the country. The rest will follow in the course of time. A Jewish state will come. My warm greetings [Hebrew: Shalom Rav]. When do you return to Kadoorie [agricultural school]? Write to me. Show this letter to your mother and sisters.

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Sincerely,

Your father

V * E * R * T * A * L * I *N * G

Brief van David Ben-Gurion aan zijn zoon Amos, geschreven op 5 oktober 1937

Verkregen uit de Ben-Gurion Archieven in het Hebreeuws/Ivriet, en in het Engels vertaald door het Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut

5 oktober 1937

Lieve Amos,

Ik was niet boos op je, maar ik vond het erg jammer dat er geen antwoord van je was. Het excuus dat je geen tijd hebt kan ik niet accepteren. Ik weet dat je een hoop werk hebt op school, op het land en in huis, en ik ben blij dat je aan je scholing voorrang geeft. Maar het is altijd mogelijk vrije tijd te vinden als dat nodig is, niet alleen op Sabbatdagen maar zelfs door de week. Je excuus dat ik telkens verhuis van het ene land naar het andere snijdt geen hout. Je kunt naar me schrijven in Londen. Hier [het kantoor van de Jewish Agency] weten ze altijd waar ik ben, en ze sturen mijn post efficiënt door.

De kwestie van mijn lidmaatschap van het uitvoerend comité [van de Jewish Agency] zal ik je persoonlijk uitleggen als ik je zie in Tel Aviv bij mijn terugkomst. Hier wil ik praten over de spagaat die je ondervindt tussen je verstand en je emoties over de kwestie van de staat. Politieke zaken en emoties moeten niet met elkaar te maken hebben. Het enige wat moet tellen is wat we willen en wat het beste voor ons is, wat zal leiden tot het doel en welk beleid ons succes, dan wel mislukking zal brengen.

Het schijnt me toe dat ook ik “emoties” [aanhalingstekens in het origineel. Ivriet: regesh] heb. Zonder die emoties had ik ons harde werken niet tientallen jaren kunnen volhouden. Het kwetst beslist niet mijn gevoelens [regesh] dat een staat wordt uitgeroepen, zelfs al is die klein. Natuur doet de verdeling van het land me geen plezier. Maar het land dat zij [de Koninklijke (Peel) Commissie] verdelen is niet in ons feitelijke bezit, het is in handen van de Arabieren en de Engelsen. Wat we echt in bezit hebben is een klein deel, minder dan wat zij [de Peel Commissie] voorstellen als een Joodse staat. Als ik een Arabier was zou ik zeer verontwaardigd zijn geweest. Maar in deze voorgestelde verdeling zullen we meer krijgen dat we al hebben, zij het natuurlijk veel minder dat we verdienen en wensen. De vraag is: zouden we meer krijgen zonder verdeling? Als alles bleef zoals het is [onderstreping in het origineel], zou dat onze gevoelens voldoening geven?

Wat we echt willen is niet dat het land onverdeeld en een eenheid blijft. Wat we willen is dat het hele en verenigde land joods is [onderstreept in het origineel]. Een verenigd land Israël zou voor mij geen bron van voldoening zijn – als het Arabisch was. Volgens ons standpunt is de status quo dodelijk vergif. Wij willen de status quo veranderen [onderstreept in het origineel]. Maar hoe kan die verandering tot stand komen? Hoe kan dit ons land worden? De beslissende vraag is: zal het vestigen van een joodse staat [slechts in een deel van Palestina] de verandering van dit land in een joods land bespoedigen of vertragen? Ik ga ervan uit (en dat is waarom ik fervent voorstander ben van een staat, zelfs al gaat dit nu gepaard met verdeling] dat een joodse staat op slechts een deel van het land niet het eind is maar het begin.

Als we duizend of tienduizend dunams verkrijgen voelen we ons opgetogen. Het kwetst ons gevoel niet dat we door deze verwerving niet in bezit zijn van het hele land. Dit is omdat deze vergroting van ons bezit niet alleen op zichzelf van belang is, maar omdat we daardoor onze kracht vergroten, en iedere versterking helpt het bezit van het land als geheel. Het stichten van een staat, zelfs op maar een deel van het land, is de maximale versterking van onze macht op dit moment en een krachtige versterking van onze historische pogingen om het hele land te bevrijden.

Het stichten van een staat, zelfs al is dat alleen maar op een deel van het land, is de maximale versteviging van onze macht op dit moment en een krachtige versterking van onze historische pogingen om het hele land te bevrijden. We zullen in de staat alle joden toelaten die we kunnen opnemen. We geloven vast dat we meer dan twee miljoen joden kunnen toelaten. We zullen een veelzijdige joodse economie opbouwen – met landbouw, industrie en marine. We zullen een geavanceerde defensiemacht organiseren – een superieur leger waarvan ik niet betwijfel dat het een van de beste legers ter wereld zal zijn.

Wat dat betreft heb ik het vertrouwen dat het ons niet zou mislukken ons te vestigen in de overige delen van het land, door middel van contracten en overeenkomsten met onze Arabische buren, of met andere middelen. We moeten steeds de fundamentele waarheden voor ogen houden die onze vestiging in dit land noodzakelijk en mogelijk maken. Dat zijn er twee of drie: het is niet het Britse mandaat of de Verklaring van Balfour. Dat zijn gevolgen, geen oorzaken. Ze komen voort uit toevallige incidenten, onzeker, dingen van de dag, en ze zullen ten einde komen. Ze waren niet onvermijdelijk. Ze konden alleen plaatsvinden dankzij de wereldoorlog, of  liever, ze zouden niet hebben plaatsgevonden als de oorlog niet zo was geëindigd als is gebeurd. Maar aan de andere kant zijn er fundamentele [onderstreept in het origineel] historische waarheden die niet kunnen veranderen zolang het zionisme niet ten volle is gerealiseerd. Dat zijn: 1) De druk van de ballingschap, die voortgaat met stuwende kracht de joden naar het land te dringen; 2) Palestina is grotelijks onderbevolkt. Het bevat enorme kolonisatiemogelijkheden die  de Arabieren niet nodig hebben en ook niet bevoegd zijn (omdat ze die niet nodig hebben) te exploiteren. Er is geen Arabisch immigratieprobleem. Er is geen Arabische ballingschap. Arabieren worden niet vervolgd. Zij hebben een thuisland, en dat is uitgestrekt. 3) De innovatieve talenten van de joden (een gevolg van punt 1 hier boven), hun vaardigheid om de woestijn tot bloei te brengen, industrie te scheppen, een economie op te bouwen, cultuur te ontwikkelen, de zee en de ruimte te veroveren met behulp van wetenschap en vernieuwende ondernemingszin. Deze drie fundamentele werkelijkheden zullen worden versterkt door het bestaan van een joodse staat in een deel van het land, net zo als het zionisme zal worden versterkt door elke verovering, groot of klein, elke school, elke fabriek, ieder joods schip, etc. Onze bekwaamheid om het land binnen te dringen zal groeien als we een staat hebben. Onze kracht tegenover de Arabieren zal evenredig toenemen. De mogelijkheden tot opbouw en vermeerdering zullen zich snel uitbreiden. Hoe groter de joodse kracht in het land, des te beter zullen de Arabieren zich bewust worden dat het voor hen niet gunstig noch mogelijk is weerstand te bieden tegen ons. Integendeel, de Arabieren zullen enorm van de joden kunnen profiteren, niet alleen materieel maar ook politiek. Ik droom niet van oorlog en zie daar ook niet naar uit. Maar toch geloof ik, meer dan voordat de mogelijkheid van een joodse staat opkwam, dat de Arabieren, als wij eenmaal talrijk en machtig zijn in het land, zullen beseffen dat het voor hen beter is onze bondgenoten te worden.

Zij zullen baat hebben bij onze hulp als zij ons uit eigen vrije wil gelegenheid geven ons te vestigen in alle delen van het land. De Arabieren hebben vele landen die te dun bevolkt zijn, onderontwikkeld en kwetsbaar, niet in staat op eigen kracht weerstand te bieden aan hun buitenlandse vijanden. Zonder Frankrijk zou Syrië het nog geen dag volhouden tegen een stormaanval uit Turkije. Hetzelfde geldt voor Irak en de nieuwe [Palestijnse] staat [volgens het plan van Peel]. Al deze landen hebben bescherming nodig van Frankrijk of Engeland. Die behoefte aan bescherming betekent onderwerping en afhankelijkheid van de ander. Maar de joden zouden gelijkwaardige bondgenoten kunnen zijn, echte vrienden, geen bezetters of tirannen. Stel dat de Negev niet aan de joodse staat wordt toebedeeld. In dat geval zal de Negev onvruchtbaar blijven want de Arabieren hebben noch de capaciteiten noch de behoefte die tot ontwikkeling of welvarendheid te brengen. Ze hebben al een overvloed aan woestijnen maar niet aan mankracht, financiële reserves of creatieve initiatieven. Hoogstwaarschijnlijk zullen ze ermee instemmen dat wij beginnen de Negev te ontwikkelen en tot bloei te brengen in ruil voor onze financiële, militaire, organisatorische en wetenschappelijke ondersteuning. Het is ook mogelijk dat zij er niet mee instemmen. Mensen gedragen zich niet altijd logisch, volgens de regels van gezond verstand of hun eigen praktische voordeel. Precies zoals jijzelf soms in een spagaat zit tussen je verstand en je gevoel, is het mogelijk dat de Arabieren het dictaat zullen volgen van onproductieve nationalistische gevoelens en ons zeggen: “We willen noch uw honing noch uw angel. We zien liever dat de Negev onvruchtbaar blijft dan dat er Joden zouden wonen.” In dat geval zullen we ze moeten toespreken in een andere taal – en we zullen een andere taal hebben – maar zo’n taal zal niet de onze zijn zonder een staat. Dit is zo omdat we niet langer kunnen toelaten dat uitgestrekte gebieden die tienduizenden joden zouden kunnen opnemen, leeg blijven, en dat joden niet kunnen terugkeren naar hun vaderland omdat de Arabieren er de voorkeur aan geven dat de plaats [de Negev] niemandsland blijft, niet van ons en niet van hen. We moeten de Arabieren eruit gooien en hun plaats innemen.

Tot nu toe gaat alles wat we nastreven uit van de veronderstelling – die bij al onze activiteiten in het land gerechtvaardigd bleek – dat er in het land genoeg ruimte is voor de Arabieren en ons. Maar als we gedwongen worden kracht te gebruiken – niet om de Arabieren in de Negev  of Transjordanië hun eigendom te ontroven maar om ons recht ons daar te vestigen te garanderen – dan zal onze kracht ons daartoe in staat stellen. Het is duidelijk dat we in zo’n geval niet alleen moeten afrekenen met de Arabieren die wonen in het land Israël, aangezien Arabieren uit buurlanden hun zeer waarschijnlijk te hulp zullen komen. Maar onze kracht zal groter zijn, niet alleen omdat we beter georganiseerd en uitgerust zullen zijn, maar ook omdat achter ons een macht staat die nog groter is in aantal en kwaliteit. Dat is de miljoenenmassa in de Diaspora. Onze hele generatie jongeren in Polen, Roemenië, Amerika en andere landen  zullen ons te hulp schieten als zo/n conflict uitbreekt. Ik bid tot god dat dit helemaal niet gebeurt. Desalniettemin zal de joodse staat niet alleen rekenen op de joden die er wonen maar op het joodse volk dat woont in alle hoeken van de wereld: de vele miljoenen die enthousiast en verplicht [onderstreept in het origineel] zijn zich te vestigen in Palestina. Er zijn geen miljoenen Arabieren die verplicht zijn of  de wens koesteren zich te vestigen in Palestina. Natuurlijk zullen waarschijnlijk Arabische avonturiers en bendes uit Syrië of Irak of andere Arabische landen komen, maar die zullen geen partij zijn voor de tien- en honderdduizenden jonge joden voor wie Eretz Israël niet slechts het gevoel treft maar evenzeer zowel persoonlijk als nationaal is. Daarom hecht ik een enorm groot belang aan de verovering van de zee en de bouw van een joodse haven en een joodse vloot. De zee is de brug tussen de joden van dit land en de joodse diaspora – de miljoenen joden in verschillende delen van de wereld. We moeten de voorwaarden scheppen die ons in staat zullen stellen in tijden van nood in ons land met onze eigen schepen bemand met onze eigen zeelieden tienduizenden jonge mannen aan te voeren. Intussen moeten we deze jongemannen terwijl ze nog in de diaspora zijn voorbereiden op wat voor taak hun hier ook maar wacht. Ik vertrouw dat het vestigen van een joodse staat, zelfs in slechts een deel van het land, ons in staat zal stellen deze taak uit te voeren. Als die staat er eenmaal is zullen we de zee van Eretz Israël beheersen. Onze activiteiten in de zee zullen dan leiden tot verbazingwekkende resultaten. Door alles wat hierboven staat, voel ik geen conflict tussen mijn verstand en mijn emoties. Beide zeggen mij: Een joodse staat moet nu onmiddellijk worden opgericht, zelfs al is het alleen maar in een deel van het land. De rest volgt in de loop van de tijd. Er komt een joodse staat. Mijn warme groeten [Ivriet: Shalom Rav]. Wanneer ga je weer naar Kadoorie [landbouwschool]? Schrijf me. Laat je moeder en zusters deze brief lezen.

Tot ziens,

Je vader