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ISIS: The brainchild of Wahhabism

ISIS Wahhabism 04e54

Like the Ikhwan before, ISIS represents a rebellion against the official Wahhabism of modern Saudi Arabia. And yet ironically its roots are firmly anchored in Wahhabism.

ISIS’ swords, covered faces and cut-throat executions all recall the original Brotherhood. But it is unlikely that the ISIS hordes consist entirely of diehard jihadists. A substantial number are probably secularists who resent the status quo in Iraq – Baathists from Saddam Hussein’s regime and former soldiers of his disbanded army.

This would actually explain ISIS’s strong performance against professional military forces. In all likelihood, few of the young recruits are motivated either by Wahhabism or by more traditional Muslim ideals. In 2008, MI5’s behavioural science unit noted that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could be regarded as religious novices.”

A significant proportion of those convicted of terrorism offences since the 9/11 attacks have been non-observant, or are self-taught. Misguided or disguised ISIS militants are certainly not looking for religious enlightenment; rather they have been sold to a violence which speaks to their own pain and sense of loss.

Two wannabe jihadists who set out from Birmingham for Syria in May 2014 had ordered Islam for Dummies from Amazon. ISIS militants are no Muslim devouts, only sociopathic begots.

It would be a mistake to see ISIS as a throwback; it is a thoroughly modern movement which has drawn its inspiration from the Ikhwan crusades. It has become an efficient, self-financing business with assets estimated at $2bn. Its looting, theft of gold bullion from banks, kidnapping, siphoning of oil in the conquered territories and extortion have made it the wealthiest jihadist group in the world. There is nothing random or irrational about ISIS violence. The execution videos are carefully and strategically planned to inspire terror, deter dissent and sow chaos in the greater population.

ISIS is not just a terror army, it is a terror movement with imperialistic ambitions. And if its methods are terrifying and bloody, they are hardly an innovation. There too ISIS drew from past examples – Mass killing is after all a thoroughly modern phenomenon, one which western powers gave into many times over.

During the French Revolution, which led to the emergence of the first secular state in Europe, the Jacobins publicly beheaded about 17,000 men, women and children. In the 1990s, Armenia slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of Azeris in a grand scale flash ethnic cleansing campaign.

Similarly, ISIS uses violence to achieve a single, limited and clearly defined objective that would be impossible without such slaughter. As such, it is another expression of the dark side of modernity – industrial killing to achieve politico-strategic goals.

Above all, ISIS wants rebuild the caliphate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkey declared null and void in 1925.

The caliphate had long been a dead letter politically, but because it symbolised the unity of the ummah and its link with the Prophet, Sunni Muslims mourned its loss as a spiritual and cultural trauma. Yet ISIS’s projected caliphate has no support among ulema internationally and is derided throughout the Muslim world.

That said, the limitations of the nation state are becoming increasingly apparent in our world; this is especially true in the Middle East, which has no tradition of nationalism, and where the frontiers drawn by invaders were so arbitrary that it was well nigh impossible to create a truly national spirit. Here, too, ISIS is not simply harking back to a bygone age but is, however eccentrically, enunciating a modern concern.

The liberal-democratic nation state developed in Europe in part to serve the Industrial Revolution, which made the ideals of the Enlightenment no longer noble aspirations but practical necessities. It is not ideal: its Achilles heel has always been an inability to tolerate ethnic minorities – a failing responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. In other parts of the world where modernisation has developed differently, other polities may be more appropriate. So the liberal state is not an inevitable consequence of modernity; the attempt to produce democracy in Iraq using the colo­nial methods of invasion, subjugation and occupation could only result in an unnatural birth – and so ISIS emerged from the resulting mayhem.

ISIS has declared war against all — Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Yazidis — there is no escaping this reactionary band of Godless criminals and murderers.

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has now become the designated target of ISIS militants. As if playing out a Greek tragedy, ISIS seeks now to strike at its creator, intent on pushing the boundary of the acceptable to reinvent itself not a religion but a radical atheist movement which stands in negation of the Holy, in all its forms and all its manifestations.
It was ibn Abdul Wahhab who declared it incumbent upon his followers to wage “Jihad” against all the Muslims, and that it was permitted for them to enslave their women and children. ISIS clearly heard its father’s calling.

This approach was derived from the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, who remains to this day an important influence guiding the principles of Islamic terrorism. It is strange that, of all the Muslim scholars throughout history that he could have chosen from, that Wahhab, and all modern Muslim “reformers” after him, emphasize the importance of Ibn Taymiyyah, whose orthodoxy was questionable, and who in his own time was repeatedly in conflict with the leading scholars and the ruling establishment.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

A history of Wahhabism and the hijacking of the Muslim faith

Article of NOVEMBER 19 ,2015

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” – George Orwell

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Our century so far has been overshadowed by a plague which roots, western powers have proclaimed, can be found in Islam and its practice. And though politicians have been careful not to publicly brand all Muslims terrorists, the narrative has nevertheless been one of suspicion and assumption. The words terror and Islam have been juxtaposed too many times in the media for anyone to believe that it was not by “design.”  There has been a war of words against both Islam and Muslims. Its aim is rather simple and only too predictable since it falls within an equation of greed and cynicism.

By ridiculing Islam and dehumanizing its followers, western powers have essentially laid the ground for intervention – positioning their armies within a narrative of moral salvation and liberation when their aims are everything but.

Iraq serves a perfect example. Even though US soldiers committed heinous crimes against Iraqis, despite the rapes, the raids and the mass massacres; in the face of systematic tortures and aggravated human rights violations, Washington still claimed moral high ground, arguing the greater good required decisive actions.

Truth is, from the moment the towers of the Trade Center tumbled down to the ground in great swirls of smoke and ashes, the MENA and with it all Muslims within it, have been lined up as sacrificial lambs to the altar of imperialism.

If anyone and anything has benefited from this grand war on terror, it is surely weapons dealers and all those behind who feeds corporate America its fill of blood. The signs are everywhere for those who care to see!

And if speaking the truth is conspiratorial theorism then so be it!

Terror was engineered and unleashed as a weapon of mass destruction and a political trojan horse. What better way to control the narrative and outcome of wars but by creating the very crisis, one intends to find solutions to, while keeping a hand in both pots?

If not for 9/11 Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq would not have been invaded. Arguably, without the war on terror Americans would still enjoy some of their civil liberties, and terminologies such as rendition and institutionalized torture might not have become generic terms. But then again corporations would not have seen their bottom lines explode under the influx of billions of dollars in weapon sales, security deals, and oil concessions the way it did.

The terms “follow the money” takes on a completely different meaning when correlated to terror.

But if corporate America has indeed played the terror card to forward its own very selfish and radical form of capitalism, it did not invent the ideology of terror per se – it only rebranded and repackaged it to fit its purpose.

It is again in history we must look to understand how this evil – Wahhabism, came to be in the first place; and under whose influence it first sparked into life. There too, the shadow of imperialism lurks …

It is crucial to understand though that ISIS, terror’s modern manifestation and expression, carries no tie with Islam. NONE!

Actually both Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali warned us against this black plague.

In Kitab Al Fitan – a compilation of hadiths (Islamic tradition) relating to the end of times put together by prominent scholar Nuyam bin Hammad in 229 AH – Imam Ali recalled the Prophet saying,

“If you see the black flags, then hold your ground and do not move your hands or your feet. A people will come forth who are weak and have no capability, their hearts are like blocks of iron. They are the people of the State (literally the people of Al Dawla), they do not keep a promise or a treaty. They call to the truth but they are not its people. Their names are (nicknames like Abu Mohammed) and their last names (are the names of town and cities, like Al Halabi) and their hair is loose like women’s hair. (Leave them) until they fight among themselves, then Allah will bring the truth from whoever He wills.”

In another reference to a period of intense religious, political and social confusion Imam Ali  warned,

“If you are against a group of ‪Muslims and the kuffar (unbelievers) are against them too, then know that you have aligned yourself with the kuffar against your own brothers. And know that if that is the case, then there is definitely something wrong with your view. If you want to know where the most righteous of Muslims are then look to where the arrows of the kuffar are pointing.”

In this extract, Imam Ali clearly refers to a time when Muslims will cross swords with other Muslims while in alliance with non-Muslims. And because western powers are undeniably colluding with those radicals they claim to want to destroy – training them and funding them in plain view, one can legitimately ponder.

Looking at events currently unfolding in the Middle East such warnings have found a deep echo within the Muslim community and religious leaders, among whom most prominently Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Both have mapped their decisions within such religious parameters. And whether one agrees with those men or not is not the point – understanding where they are coming from and where they stand however, is.

And if we can agree that not all is as it seems, then could it not be that those enemies we have imagined are indeed – not?

If ISIS has certainly been sold as an Islamic movement, everything it professes and teaches stands against Islam and its teachings. This divide actually goes beyond Islam’s great schism – which schism it needs to be noted remains part of this myth Saudi Arabia has been so eager on selling the world.

If indeed religious disagreements have occurred over the centuries and if Muslims have in truth fought and argue over the legitimacy, legality and religious superiority of their schools of thoughts and judicial principles, scholars did so in the knowledge and express belief that while men are flawed, Islam is perfect.

Islam’s disagreements came about out from a desire to walk better on God’s path, not to obliterate people with an implacable and merciless truth.

Looking back at the long line of prophets, from Adam to Noah, Ibrahim, Jesus, Yehia and Muhammad, all shared in the Oneness which is God’s ultimate command, God’s boundless mercy onto His creation and His injunction of peace. And if those holy messengers came at different times and places in our history, the essence of their message has been as permanent and immovable as God’s will. From Adam’s first cries of remorse and calls for forgiveness, to Prophet Muhammad’s last breath, God’s message onto us has always been Islam – as Islam means submission. In truth, the only real freedom which was ever given to us is that to submit, body and soul to The Creator of All things.

Islam did not start at Prophet Muhammad, rather it was reborn with him and through him; a last call before the sunset, a last mercy and guidance for us to follow – or not – a last ray of hope before evil can get its fill and the last chapter of our fate written down.

Islam was on the first day as it will be on the last day – it is us which have called it many things in our need to possess and label the divine. It is us again which have strayed and plotted, coveted and perverted to serve very earthly ambitions.

Wahhabism is no more than an engineered perversion, a division, an abomination which has but spread like a cancer onto the Islamic world and now threatens to destroy all religions.

Wahhabism and its legions: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, are but the manifestations of a reactionary atheist movement which seeks the death of all faiths.

Wahhabism is not of Islam and Islam will never be of Wahhabism – it is a folly to conceive that Islam would ever sanction murder, looting and atrocious barbarism. Islam opposes despotism, injustice, infamy , deceits, greed, extremism, asceticism – everything which is not balanced and good, fair and merciful, kind and compassionate.

If anything, Wahhabism is the very negation of Islam. As many have called it before – Islam is not Wahhabism. Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition – Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, a man who was recruited by Empire Britain to erode at the fabric of Islam and crack the unity of its ummah (community).

As Wahhabism began its land and mind grab in Hijaz – now known as Saudi Arabia – one family, Al Saud saw in this violent and reactionary school of thought a grand opportunity to claim and retain power. This unholy alliance has blotted the skies of Arabia for centuries, darkening the horizon with its miasms.

Wahhabism has now given birth to a monstrous abomination – extreme radicalism; a beast which has sprung and fed from Salafis and Wahhabis poison, fueled by the billions of Al Saud’s petrodollars; a weapon exploited by neo-imperialists to justify military interventions in those wealthiest corners of the world.

But though those powers which thought themselves cunning by weaving a network of fear around the world to better assert and enslave are losing control over their brain-child, ISIS and its sisters in hate and fury, as they all have gone nuclear, no longer bound by the chains their fathers shackled them with.

ISIS’s obscene savagery epitomises the violence which is inherent and central to Wahhabism and Salafism – its other deviance. And though the world knows now the source of all terror, no power has yet dared speak against it, instead the world has chosen to hate its designated victim – Islam.

In July 2013, the European Parliament identified Wahhabism as the main source of global terrorism, and yet the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, condemning ISIS in the strongest terms, has insisted that “the ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism do not belong to Islam in any way”. But then again the Grand Mufti might remain oblivious to the history of Wahhabism or what Wahhabism actually professes.

Wahhabism 101

During the 18th century, revivalist movements sprang up in many parts of the Islamic world as the Muslim imperial powers began to lose control of peripheral territories. In the west at this time, governments were beginning to separate church from state, but this secular ideal was a radical innovation: as revolutionary as the commercial economy that Europe was concurrently devising. No other culture regarded religion as a purely private activity, separate from such worldly pursuits as politics, so for Muslims the political fragmentation of society was also a religious problem. Because the Quran had given Muslims a sacred mission – to build a just economy in which everybody is treated with equity and respect – the political well-being of the ummah was always a matter of sacred import. If the poor were oppressed, the vulnerable exploited or state institutions corrupt, Muslims were obliged to make every effort to put society back on track.

If 18th-century reformers were convinced that should Muslims ever regain lost power and prestige, they would have to return to the fundamentals of their faith, ensuring that God – rather than materialism or worldly ambition – dominated the political order, Wahhabism would come to pervert such desires.

There was nothing militant about this “fundamentalism”; not yet, rather, it was a grassroots attempt to reorient society and did not involve jihad.

Only, if the idea of going back to the root of Islam at a time when society had strayed from the path was indeed laudable, Wahhabism would work to betray such ideal by twisting on its head Islam’s most sacred pillars, perverting Islamic law and the interpretation of its Scriptures to serve the mighty and enslave the weak.

Under Wahhabism’s interpretation of Islam, women reverted to being objectified. Those many great women Islam saw rise under the strict protection of the Quran, those models Muslim womencame to look up to and aspire to become – Maryam, Khadijah, Fatimah, Zaynab; Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab would have had locked up in chains in their home.

When Islam gave women their rightful place within society, Wahhabism denied them everything.

And for those of you who continue to live under the premise that Islam is profoundly unfair against women, do remember it is not Islam but rather men’s interpretations of it which is the source of your ire.

Islam secured women’ status according to God’s will. Islam poses both men and women on equal footing in terms of their faith – it is only in their duties and responsibilities which they differ, not worthiness. Islam calls on men to provide for women and offer them security, both financial and physical. Under Islam women are free to marry, divorce and work. Under Islam women cannot be bought, bartered or oppressed. Under Islam women enjoy more freedom than most western women have been given. It is society and cultural deviations which have denied them those rights, not Islam.

Women rights are forever imprinted in the Quran – this reality will never change, no matter how men chose to interpret it and falsify it.

Like Martin Luther, ibn Wahhab claimed he wanted to return to the earliest teachings of Islam and eject all later medieval accretions. To achieve such ambitions he opposed Sufism and Shia Islam, labelling them as heretical innovations (bidah) as both opposed tyranny in faith. He went on to urge all Muslims to reject the learned exegesis developed over the centuries by the ulema (scholars) and interpret the texts for themselves, or rather under his guidance.

This naturally incensed the clergy and threatened local rulers, who believed that interfering with these popular devotions would cause social unrest. Eventually, however, ibn Wahhab found a patron in Mohammed Ibn Saud, a chieftain of Najd who adopted his ideas. Ibn Saud quickly used Wahhabism to support his military campaigns for plunder and territory, insisting such violence was all in the name of the greater good.

To this day Al Saud’s house is following in such bloody footsteps.

Although the scriptures were so central to ibn Wahhab’s ideology, by insisting that his version of Islam alone had validity, he distorted the Quranic message in the most violent way. The Quran firmly states that “There must be no coercion in matters of faith” – Quran 2:256.

It rules that Muslims must believe in the revelations of all the great prophets (3:84) and that religious pluralism was God’s will (5:48). Until Wahhabism came knocking, Muslims remained traditionally wary of takfir, the practice of declaring a fellow Muslim to be an unbeliever (kafir). Hitherto Sufism, which had developed an outstanding appreciation of other faith traditions, had been the most popular form of Islam and had played an important role in both social and religious life. “Do not praise your own faith so exclusively that you disbelieve all the rest,” urged the great mystic Ibn al-Arabi (d.1240). “God the omniscient and omnipresent cannot be confined to any one creed.” It was common for a Sufi to claim that he was a neither a Jew nor a Christian, nor even a Muslim, because once you glimpsed the divine, you left these man-made distinctions behind.

After ibn Wahhab’s death, Wahhabism became more violent, an instrument of state terror. As Al Saud sought to establish an independent kingdom, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Muhammad, Ibn Saud’s son and successor, used takfir to justify the wholesale slaughter of resistant populations. In 1801, his army sacked the holy Shia city of Karbala in what is now Iraq, plundered the tomb of Imam Hussain, and slaughtered thousands of Shias, including women and children. A few years later,  in 1803, in fear and panic, the holy city of Mecca surrendered to the Saudi leader, wary of that his army would do to the population.

Little do we remember the sacking of the holy city of Medina, when Al Saud’s legions ransacked mosques, schools and homes. Al Saud’s army murdered hundreds of men, women and children, deaf to their screams. As imams pleaded for the most sacred relics of Islam to be protected, Al Saud’s men pillaged and looted, setting fire to Medina’s library. Al Saud made an example out of Medina, the very city which proved so welcoming to Islam. On the ground which saw rise the first mosque of Islam, Al Saud soaked the earth red with blood.

Where the footsteps of the last Prophet of God still echo, Al Saud filled the air with ghastly cries of horrors.

But such terror has been erased from history books. Such tales of blood and savage betrayals have been swallowed whole by Al Saud as this house attempted to re-write history and claim lineage to the house of the prophet.

Eventually, in 1815, the Ottomans despatched Muhammad Ali Pasha, governor of Egypt, to crush the Wahhabi forces and destroy their capital. But Wahhabism became a political force once again during the First World War when the Saudi chieftain – another Abd al-Aziz – made a new push for statehood and began to carve out a large kingdom for himself in the Middle East with his devout Bedouin army, known as the Ikhwan, the “Brotherhood”.

In the Ikhwan we see the roots of ISIS. To break up the tribes and wean them from the nomadic life which was deemed incompatible with Islam, the Wahhabi clergy had settled the Bedouin in oases, where they learned farming and the crafts of sedentary life and were indoctrinated in Wahhabi Islam. Once they exchanged the time-honoured ghazu raid, which typically resulted in the plunder of livestock, for the Wahhabi-style jihad, these Bedouin fighters became more violent and extreme, covering their faces when they encountered Europeans and non-Saudi Arabs and fighting with lances and swords because they disdained weaponry not used by the Prophet. In the old ghazu raids, the Bedouin had always kept casualties to a minimum and did not attack non-combatants. Now the Ikhwan routinely massacred “apostate” unarmed villagers in their thousands, thought nothing of slaughtering women and children, and routinely slit the throats of all male captives.

In 1915, Abd Al-Aziz planned to conquer Hijaz (an area in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia that includes the cities of Mecca and Medina), the Persian Gulf to the east of Najd, and the land that is now Syria and Jordan in the north, but during the 1920s he tempered his ambitions in order to acquire diplomatic standing as a nation state with Britain and the United States. The Ikhwan, however, continued to raid the British protectorates of Iraq, Transjordan and Kuwait, insisting that no limits could be placed on jihad. Regarding all modernisation as bidah, the Ikhwan also attacked Abd al-Aziz for permitting telephones, cars, the telegraph, music and smoking – indeed, anything unknown in Muhammad’s time – until finally Abd Al-Aziz quashed their rebellion in 1930.

After the defeat of the Ikhwan, the official Wahhabism of the Saudi kingdom abandoned militant jihad and became a religiously conservative movement.

But the Ikhwan spirit and its dream of territorial expansion did not die, instead it gained new ground in the 1970s, when the Kingdom became central to western foreign policy in the region. Washington welcomed the Saudis’ opposition to Nasserism (the pan-Arab socialist ideology of Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser) and to Soviet influence. After the Iranian Revolution, in 1979 it gave tacit support to the Saudis’ project of countering Shia Islam by Wahhabizing the entire Muslim world.

Just as Nasserism posed a threat to both the Saudis and the US in that it entailed independence and a supranational sense of belonging and solidarity, in opposition to colonialism and feudalism, Iran Shia democratic movement presented too much of a pull for countries in the region to follow to be allowed to shine forth.

And so the wheels of propaganda were set in motion and Iran became western powers and its allies’ designated enemy. Right alongside Soviet Russia, Iran became the source of all evil, while all the while Saudi Arabia was left to industrialize radicalism on a mass scale.

The soaring oil price created by the 1973 embargo – when Arab petroleum producers cut off supplies to the U.S. to protest against the Americans’ military support for Israel – gave the Kingdom all the petrodollars it needed to export its idiosyncratic form of Islam.

The old military jihad to spread the faith was now replaced by a cultural offensive. The Saudi-based Muslim World League opened offices in every region inhabited by Muslims, and the Saudi ministry of religion printed and distributed Wahhabi translations of the Quran, Wahhabi doctrinal texts and the writings of modern thinkers whom the Saudis found congenial, such as Sayyids Abul-A’la Maududi and Qutb, to Muslim communities throughout the Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, the United States and Europe. In all these places, they funded the building of Saudi-style mosques with Wahhabi preachers and established madrasas that provided free education for the poor, with, of course, a Wahhabi curriculum.

Slowly Muslims’ understanding of Islam became polluted by Wahhabism and Sunni Muslims began to think and breath Wahhabism, no longer in tune with its own religious tradition, cut off from free-thinking Islam, moderate Islam, compassionate Islam and non-violent Islam.

At the same time, young men from the poorer Muslim countries, such as Egypt and Pakistan, who had felt compelled to find work in the Gulf to support their families, associated their relative affluence with Wahhabism and brought this faith back home with them, living in new neighbourhoods with Saudi mosques and shopping malls that segregated the sexes. The Saudis demanded religious conformity in return for their munificence, so Wahhabi rejection of all other forms of Islam as well as other faiths would reach as deeply into Bradford, England, and Buffalo, New York, as into Pakistan, Jordan or Syria: everywhere gravely undermining Islam’s traditional pluralism.

(Source / 26.06.2016)

The Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Israelites

By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat on September 17, 2010

The Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the so called Kingdom of Judea.

A Palestinian and an Israeli arguing over the disputed land.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting held in Tel Hai last february, Israeli PM Netanyahu said “Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience – it is anchored in our store of knowledge and the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations, in our ability to justify our connection to the land.

Netanyahu was so eloquent in his statement and he managed to touch upon the problematic status quo of the state of Israel when he mentioned Israel’s ability to justify its connection to the occupied land of Palestine. But is it true? Are the Israelis of today the descendants of the ancient Israelites? Does merely being a Jew give anyone the right to claim connection to the land of Palestine and its history? I think it is up to historians not politicians to decide that.

Only by understanding history can we understand why things are the way they are right now. Many of the past events and histories in the world have shaped what we are as of now.

Historians agree- despite the scanty archeological findings- that the ancient Israelites inhabited part of Palestine- or the southern Levant- thousands of years ago. But so did the Phoenicians, the Canaanites, Philistines , the Hittites and theAramaeans. Nevertheless we do not find some Canaanite people – whom were at least mentioned in the Mesopotamianand Ancient Egyptian texts. – appearing in modern age after thousands of years had elapsed with claims to the right to return to the land of their ancestors.

How did the ancient Israelites live in that part of the ancient Near East?

Their old Bible states that they lived in a monarchy of a political and military power close enough to be the rival of magnificent kingdoms like the Egyptian, the Babylonian and the Hittites. But history and archeology says different.

The Biblical Israelites

In his book “the Bible unearthed” The archeologist Israel Finkelstein states that although the book of Samuel, and initial parts of the book of Kings, portray Saul, David and Solomon ruling in succession over a powerful and cosmopolitan united kingdom of Israel and Judah, Finkelstein  regards modern archaeological evidence as showing that this is a pious fiction.

The Israelites lived as herders and farmers who never left their land.

The united kingdom of Israel and Judah depicted in the bible was nothing more than a sparsely populated rural region, nomadic tribes at best until the 7th century BCE. And the whole region was an Egyptian protectorate extending north to where Syria is today.

And by following the Biblical story of the Israelites we will find out that they were driven out of their land in the form of mass exile in 607 BCE by the Babylonians, and from Judea in 70 CE by the Roman Empire.  Somehow we are more concerned with the second mass exile or what is better known as the “Diaspora” as it is the Zionists` pretext for claiming the right to return to their homeland.

According to Shlomo Sand in his bestseller book “ The invention of the Jewish people”, the description of the Jews as a wandering nation in exiles, “who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland,” is nothing but “national mythology.” For the ancient Israelite never left their homeland nor wandered across different parts of the world in what is known as the “Diaspora

Inventing the Diaspora

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom” – thus states the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence. This is also the quotation that opens the third chapter of Sand’s book, entitled “The Invention of the Diaspora.” Sand argues that the Jewish people’s exile from its land never happened.

“The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of ‘the people of the Bible’ that preceded it,” Sand explains. Under the influence of other historians who have dealt with the same issue in recent years, he argues that the exile of the Jewish people is originally a Christian myth that depicted that event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

Sand added “I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land – a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book of shlomo sand was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”

In his historical research, sand attempts to prove that the Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the so called Kingdom of Judea. Their origins, according to him, are in varied peoples that converted to Judaism during the course of history, in different corners of the Mediterranean Basin and the adjacent regions. Not only are the North African Jews for the most part descendants of pagans who converted to Judaism, but so are the Jews of Yemen (remnants of the Himyar Kingdom in the Arab Peninsula, who converted to Judaism in the fourth century) and the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe (refugees from the Kingdom of the Khazars, who converted in the eighth century).

 The same conclusion was adopted by Arthur Koestler in his famous book The Thirteenth Tribe (1976). It advances the controversial thesis that the modern Jewish population originating from North / East Europe and Russia including their descendants, or Ashkenazim, are not descended from the historical Israelites of antiquity, but from Khazars, a people originating and populating the Caucasus region (historical Khazaria) who converted toJudaism in the 8th century and later voluntarily migrating or were forced to move westwards into current Eastern Europe (Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Germanyand other places outside the Caucasus region) before and during the 12th and 13th century when the Khazar Empire was collapsing.
YouTube – Veterans Today -Ashkenazi Jews are NOT descendents of the Biblical Israelites!

History’s final word

So this is how history unfolds to refute the Biblical narration of a kingdom of David and Solomon, negates the Diaspora ever happened and tells us that the current Jews are mainly the descendants of Khazar tribes, berber tribes in north Africa and Arabic tribes in Yemen who converted to Judaism and have no strong Genetic link to the Jews who lived in Palestine during Roman times something that Israel now is trying to prove otherwise by financing Genetic clinical trials that only revealed Genetic similarities amongst Jews expected of people with the common ancestral origins mentioned above.

A flag and the memories of the lost land of Palestine.

The UN records show that there are 5 million uprooted Palestinians today do not have the right of return to their homes despite the fact that Ashkenazi Jews (European, with no ties to biblical Israel other than their adoption of the Jewish religion) do. 

History negates that the ancient Israelites ever left their home land and approves the thesis of their conversion to Islam in the 7th century and in doing so undermines the historical connection of modern Jews to the land of modern day Palestine.

History says the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that modern Israelis are its descendents.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Gandhi’s Message to Jewry – Palestine Belongs to the Arabs

March 3, 1939

“My sympathies are all with the Jews.

I have known them intimately in South Africa. But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for a national home for the Jews does not make much of an appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they were born and where they earn their livelihood?

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of a lst war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews, partly or wholly as their national home.

The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of Jews wherever they are born and bred.

This cry for the national home affords a colorable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.

But the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. If there could be a justifiable war in the name and for humanity; a war against Germany to prevent the wantom persecution of a whole race would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war. A discussion of the pros and cons of such a war is outside my province or horizon.

But if there can be no war against Germany, even for such a crime as being committed against the Jews, surely there can be no alliance with Germany. How can there be an alliance between a nation which claims to stand for justice and democracy and one which is the declared enemy of both? Or is England drifting toward armed dictatorship and all it means?

Can the Jews resist this organized and shameless persecution? Is there a way to preserve their self-respect and not feel helpless, neglected and forlorn? I submit that there is.

I am convinced that if someone with courage and vision can arise amoung them to lead them in nonviolent action, the winter of their despair can in the twinkling of an eye be turned into a calm and determined stand offered by unarmed men and women possessing the strength of suffering, given them by Jehovah. It will then be a truly religious resistance offered against the Godless fury of dehumanized man.

And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun.

A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of a bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodness of the Arabs.

They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart.

I am not defending the arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of nonviolence in resisting what they rightly regard as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But, according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of nonviolence for vindicating their position on earth. Every country is their home, including Palestine, not by aggression, but by loving service.”

-Mohandes K. Ghandi

Originally printed in the Church of England newspaper – reprinted in the Christian Science Monitor, March 3 1939.

(Source / 27.05.2016)

Israeli forces ‘steal money, jewelry’ during raid in West Bank

An article of Aug 26, 2015

The file photo shows Israeli forces detaining a Palestinian protester during clashes in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, north of Ramallah. (AFP)

The file photo shows Israeli forces detaining a Palestinian protester during clashes in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, north of Ramallah

Israeli forces have reportedly stolen money and jewelry from a Palestinian home during a predawn raid in the occupied West Bank.

Nasim Hilmi Karaki, a lieutenant colonel with the Palestinian Authority national security forces, said Wednesday that the Israelis stole money and jewelry from his family home in the northern West Bank village of Salem, east of Nablus, Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.

The Israelis forced their way through the main door of the residence. The Palestinian security officer was cuffed and forced to stay with the rest of the family in one of the rooms. Karaki said the house was ransacked for at least four hours.

According to Karaki, the Israeli forces were searching for firearms but were unable to find any.

This photo shows a room in the house of Nasim Hilmi Karaki, a lieutenant colonel with the Palestinian Authority national security forces, after being raided by Israeli troops

The Israelis also detained Karaki’s 18-year-old son, identified as Hilmi. Karaki’s son was one of dozens of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces kidnapped 16 Palestinians in Nablus, 12 in Bethlehem, two in Ramallah and one in Jericho in their predawn raids on Palestinian homes.

The Israeli regime forces regularly raid Palestinian homes and abduct residents across the occupied territories by applying the overused pretext of perceived security threats.

Nearly 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently being kept in Israeli detention centers, many without charge or trial.

(Source / 10.03.2016)

Palestinian protesters mark 1994 al-Khalil mosque massacre

Israeli forces push Palestinian demonstrators demanding the reopening of Shuhada Street in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil Hebron on February 26, 2016. ©AFP

Israeli forces push Palestinian demonstrators demanding the reopening of Shuhada Street in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil Hebron on February 26, 2016

Dozens of Palestinians have taken to the streets in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) to peacefully mark the anniversary of a 1994 massacre carried out by an Israeli settler at a mosque.

On Friday, Israeli soldiers used stun grenades to disperse crowds of Palestinians who gathered to mark the February 25 massacre of 29 Muslims praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil.

Reports say a Palestinian demonstrator and a journalist were detained by Israeli forces.

They demanded the reopening of the key thoroughfare known as “Martyrs Street” or Shuhada Street, which has been closed to Palestinians since the incident.

The protesters also slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian lands as they gathered near the Israeli settlement of Kyriat Arba.

Kyriat Arba was the home of Baruch Goldstein, the settler who opened fire on the Palestinian worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque. The assailant was then beaten to death after the killings.

In 2000, Israel declared the area a “closed military zone,” only allowing Palestinians to access the area by foot.

The demonstration comes amid ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinian protesters in the occupied territories. Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed since the outbreak of violence last October.

Palestinians are angry at what they say is a covert plan by the Israelis to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa Mosque, a highly revered place for the Muslims in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem.)

They have also raised concerns over a growing trend of settler attacks on Palestinian houses and properties in the West Bank, which they say could be a sign of Israel’s plans for more illegal settlement activities there.

(Source / 28.02.2016)

OCCUPIED HEBRON / AL-KHALIL

Hebron / Al-Khalil is the second largest city in the West Bank and the largest in the southern West Bank, located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem.

The city of Hebron has an estimated total population of 200,000 inhabitants.

Approximately 40,000 Palestinians live in the Old City. Around 400-850 Israeli settlers reside in the core of the city; an additional 8,000 settlers reside in the Kiryat Arba settlement, on the outskirts of Hebron.

Hebron is a sacred site for all three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) due to the belief that the biblical prophet Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried together with Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah in the place where the Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the patriarchs) is built. The Old City of Hebron grew around this important monument.

Due to its religious significance, Hebron became a stronghold for the religious extremists within the settler movement, including Gush Emunim (‘Bloc of the Faithful’) and semi-underground organisations such as Kach and Kahane Chai (‘Kahane Lives’), which played a major role in initiating and developing the settlements in Hebron. After the massacre in the Ibrahimi Mosque, they were designated terrorist organisations .

Hebron is the only Palestinian city with Israeli settlements in the middle of it. They are built in and around the Old City, which traditionally served as the commercial center for the entire southern West Bank.

Hebron’s fundamentalist settlers, influenced by the thought of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, are characterised by their extreme ideologies and literal interpretation of religious texts. They are united in their belief that the Land of Israel is “the spatial center of holiness in the world” and that Hebron and the rest of the West Bank is considered Jewish by divine right.

For this reason they agreed that the sanctity of the land must prevent the receding of the territory conquered during the 1967 war. They fully believe in the importance of their role to colonize and live in the occupied land. They are united in their objective of restoring the Jewish life and expanding the Jewish community in Hebron.

Nowadays the most radical settlers live in Hebron’s Old City illegally, contributing to the transformation of the Old city into ghost town.

The settlemets are considered illegal in according to the Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It states that, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population in the territory it occupies.”

THE GOAL OF THE OCCUPATION IN HEBRON

The Israeli settlements in Hebron were originally initiated by individuals, and not by the government of Israel. Yet, the development and expansion of them were carried out over the years with the approval, support, cooperation, and even encouragement of various Israeli governments.

Israel provides a wide range of financial benefits, essentially welfare, to the settlements. These incentives have encouraged many Israelis to move from within the ‘Green Line’ to the OPT.

The settlers themselves are clear in their vision for the future of the city: they want to turn Hebron into a Jewish city.

Their goal is to expand the Jewish community in the city through political lobbying and by creating ‘facts on the ground’, often through illegal and violent actions aimed at the expulsion of Hebron’s Palestinian population.

Israel is the sole power capable of implementing and supporting the settlements in Hebron. Without the state’s political, financial and military support, Hebron’s settlements could not have been established or maintained.

OCCUPATIONAL POLICY OF FRAGMENTATION AND SEPARATION

Israel’s colonisation of the OPT, like any other colonial enterprise, is principally about resources, strategic control, and land. The settlements are part of a strategy to keep the Israeli control and exploit the locals’ natural resources.

Settlements are used to establish physical and demographic ‘facts on the ground’ in order to fortify Israel’s claim over large areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Over the years, Israel has established a network of control in the OPT which is composed of settlements, infrastructural system of roads, settler ‘bypass roads’ (which Palestinians are forbidden to use), military bases and checkpoints. Those elements divide the OPT into small, disconnected entities. The fragmentation and the dismemberment of the Palestinian territories has severely prevented commercial activity and made Palestinian daily life extremely difficult, including access to health and educational infrastructure.

Alessandro Petti describes the fragmentation of the West Bank territory through two different spatial forms: the archipelago and the enclave. The first is the landscape of interconnected Israeli settlements, the space of flux, while the second is represented by Palestinian cities and villages, whose main feature is their increasing disconnection and fragmentation.

Israel’s policy of isolating Hebron’s settlements and encouraging them is also based on the same “principle of separation and fragmentation”. This includes physical and legal segregation between Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

1994 AS A STARTING POINT OF THE DECLINE OF THE OLD CITY OF HEBRON

In 1994, immediately after the massacre that took place in the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Israel imposed a curfew on Palestinian residents in Hebron. Since then, Israel has restricted the movement of Hebron’s Palestinian population in the proximity of the settlements. A section of Al-Shuhada Street was closed to Palestinian vehicles claiming that the restriction was needed for security reasons.

The restrictions on Palestinian movement were enforced by a large number of staffed checkpoints and physical roadblocks. Most of the shops in this area have been forced to close.

These restrictions and prohibitions have expropriated the City Center from its Palestinian residents and destroyed its economy. Having no other option, many families have left the city center.

According to the Hebron Protocol, signed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Government of Israel in 1997, the city of Hebron was divided into two sections, known as H1 and H2. Area H1 is under Palestinian civil and security control, comprising 80% of the city. Area H2 is under Israeli military/security control and Palestinian civil control, comprising 20% of the city, including the whole Old City of Hebron.

In the autumn of 2000, with the outbreak of the second intifada, Israel increased the severity of the restrictions and imposed a long curfew on H2 area. Residents were forced to stay in their homes day and night for weeks and months, except for a few hours once or twice a week to enable them to supply their provisions. The curfew was never imposed on the Jewish settlers of Hebron.

As a result of this long period of prohibitions on movement, and prohibitions on opening shops and businesses, thousands of residents lost their source of income. Commercial activities in this area died, which was a major cause for why residents moved out of the area. This dramatic situation is called by several urbanists “urbicide”: the killing of the city and the killing of the social and economic life in the city.

THE SITUATION TODAY

Now-a-days a network of barriers create a continuous strip of land in the H2 area, along which Palestinian vehicles are completely forbidden. This strip, which stretches from the Kiryat Arba settlement in the east to the Jewish cemetery in the west, is separated from the rest of the city, as the army controls and restricts entry of Palestinians to it. The middle of the strip contains many sections of road closed for Palestinian pedestrians. The most important is called Al-Shuhada Street, which is closed to Palestinian vehicular and pedestrian traffic between the Beit Hadassah and Avraham Avinu settlement points. The settlers, on the other hand, are allowed to move about freely in these areas.

According to a report from Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, a policy of “separation” has guided the operations of the Israeli military (IDF) in the area. The Israeli security forces believe that the physical separation of the two ethno-national communities is necessary on both security and operational grounds: this is in order to prevent friction, guarantee the security interests of IDF personnel and Jews living in the Old City, and to ensure military operational efficiency.

The result is the creation of “protective spaces” using the elements of the occupation, such as checkpoints and physical roadblocks. These are placed to separate the city of Hebron from the area occupied by Jewish settlers adopting a strategy of “sterilization”. The “sterile” area is usually the zone located around the settlement’s compounds, from which Palestinian pedestrians are forbidden.

CONCLUSION

Due to this complex and eerily encrouching policy of occupation, Hebron is turning into two different cities. Area H1 and H2 are increasingly two different towns, divided by physical elements and difference in social classes. The mass departure of the residents that could financially afford to leave the area has transformed the Old city in an almost-empty neighborhood, heavily controlled by the Israeli army and today mainly inhabited by the lowest socio-economic classes of Hebronite society.

The H2 area is additionally fragmented through a “strategy of separation”, including the presence of physical elements such as closures, barriers, settlements and legal strategies of discrimination between Palestinian and Israeli settlers based on national-ethnic criteria.

Palestinians are subject to a system of military law Israel enforces in the West Bank as opposed to Israeli settlers, who are tried under Israeli penal law in courts inside Israel.

Using these measures, Israel have expropriated the City Center from its Palestinian residents and destroyed it economically. This schemed strategy based on prohibitions, omissions, restrictions and fear has exasperated the lives of Palestinian residents, making it impossible for them to continue to live and work in the area.

The H2 area would have already become a Jewish-only area if not for the perseverance of local families resisting the settlements by living inside the occupied zone. Thanks to their presence, these Palestinian families have prevented the settlers from occupying the whole area, they are the main symbol of nonviolent resistence. By continuing to live in their houses, take care of their olives trees and walk in the streets inside the H2 area, they give hope that one day this land will be returned to the local owners. Their resistance keeps the hope alive that Palestinians will one day come back to their homes, the merchants will reopen their shops and Al-Shuhada street will once again turn back into one of the most lively and vivid commercial streets not only in the city of Hebron, but all of The West Bank.

(Source / 28.02.2016)

The Economist names the only democracy in the Middle East, and it isn’t Israel

Article of July 8, 2014

With the rise of Islamist organizations, repressive regimes, and civil conflicts which threaten regional stability, the promise of the Arab Spring of 2011 quickly devolved into an Arab winter.In an expansive article in The Economist, the threat to the Middle East is discussed in appropriately grave terms; Syria and Iraq are in flames while Jordan looms as the next domino to potentially fall. Libya and Yemen, where Islamic terror networks operate with impunity, are labeled “failed states.” Those Middle Eastern nations that are not in danger of imminent collapse are either absolute monarchies or counties which merely maintain the false edifice of democracy.

There is one country, however, which shines as a beacon of freedom for the region. It’s commitment to the rule of law and the maintenance of the basic standards of human dignity serve as an example to its neighbors. No, not Israel, silly. Tiny Tunisia is The Economist’s shining city on the Arab hill.

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In fairness, the article, datelined Cairo, which accompanies this deeply misleading graphic is far more informative and measured than the visual representation above. That should come as a surprise to no one; if Vox dot com has taught us anything, it is that one simple graphic will never be able to impart “everything you need to know.”

While the author has a case to make for Tunisia’s shift toward Western democratic standards in the wake of the self-immolation of a native fruit vendor who inadvertently sparked the Arab World’s great but failed awakening, there is less of a case to make for Lebanon as a more democratic nation than neighboring Israel.

While representatives of the government in Beirut often pledge their devotion to secularism, that country has also been a safe haven for fighters allied with Iran and Syria for years. And, while ISIS in Iraq is receiving much of the media’s attention, the Syrian civil war long ago expanded into the Lebanese theater.

Syrian Army officials fighting alongside Hezbollah have been unable to dislodge Islamic radicals hiding out in Lebanon’s near lawless Qalamoun region near the Bekaa Valley.

“[W]ith the Lebanese Army keeping an eye on the outskirts of Arsal, Hezbollah has been monitoring the rugged mountain paths favored by rebels using drones and picking off fighters with ambushes and landmines,” the Lebanon Daily Star reported on Tuesday. “The opposition has launched its own series of attacks in an attempt to regain control over Rankoush.”

The expert added that these fighters would continue battling the Syrian army in Qalamoun and could also coordinate attacks inside Lebanon in an attempt to strike Hezbollah at home.

The prospect of yet another Levant nation falling to ISIS puts the lie to the notion that Lebanon is a model for popular democracy in the Middle East. Though it is not clear that the author intended to even make that case; Israel is barely mentioned in his piece and, when it is, it is only discussed in the context of the fracturing of the Palestinian Authority in the noncontiguous Gaza and West Bank territories.

(Source / 27.02.2016)

George Ḥabash Palestinian political leader

George abash Palestinian political leader

Born
1925 or 1926

Lod, Palestine

Died
January 26, 2008

Amman, Jordan

George Ḥabash,  (born 1925/26, Lydda, Palestine [now Lod, Israel]—diedJanuary 26, 2008, Amman, Jordan), militant Palestinian and leader of thePopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Ḥabash was forced to flee Palestine in 1948, after the State of Israel was established there, and earned a medical degree at the American University of Beirut. In the early 1950s he was active in the “Youth of Vengeance” group, which advocated violent attacks on traditional Arab governments. Ḥabash founded the militant PFLP after his goal to liberate Palestine through Arab unity proved unrealistic following the Arab defeat by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967 (see Arab-Israeli wars). Under the leadership of Ḥabash, the PFLP staged several airplane hijackings, including the abduction of three Western passenger jets to a Jordanian airstrip in September 1970. These activities destabilized the Jordanian monarchy and triggered King Ḥussein’s crackdown on Palestinian guerrillas operating in Jordan. A bloody civil war followed, in which the PFLP and other guerrillas were driven from the country.

Ḥabash, a Marxist, visited China in 1970 (where Chinese leaders criticized the PFLP’s “foreign operations”) and Moscow in 1972. Following the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Ḥabash became the leading voice of the “Rejection Front,” four Palestinian groups that opposed any diplomatic settlement to the conflict with Israel. He attacked what he called the “defeatist” attitude of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s leadership, whose attempts at reconciliation with King Ḥussein he sharply criticized. Under his leadership the PFLP successfully organized clandestine cells in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Ḥabash stepped down as leader of the PLFP in 2000.

(Source / 26.01.2016)

Israel must take action to regulate the status of tens of thousands of Gazans living without IDs

Article of 21 Jul 2013
Illustration: Noam Rabinovich, B'Tselem

There are 40,000 to 50,000 individuals currently living in the Gaza Strip without ID cards recognized by Israel, and they have no official status anywhere else in the world. Some of them were born in the Gaza Strip but were never recognized as residents by Israel; some fled the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war, or left Gaza for various reasons after 1967 and returned later. A small number of these individuals were born in the Gaza Strip and have never left it, but do not have ID cards for various reasons. Other stateless individuals in the Gaza Strip are Palestinians from abroad who married Gaza residents, entered Gaza with visitor permits and remained after their permits expired.

Individuals who live in the Gaza Strip without status and without an ID card or a passport of any country find it difficult to lead normal lives. They cannot leave the Gaza Strip for any reason, including studies, work, visiting family or pilgrimage to Mecca (al-Hajj). They cannot hold down jobs that require travel outside the Gaza Strip. Any stateless individuals in need of medical treatment not available in the Gaza Strip cannot go to Egypt to receive treatment and very rarely do they receive permission to enter Israel for this purpose. All of this is compounded by the constant overall sense of insecurity experienced by people who have no official status. This feeling is linked, among other things, to fear of an Israeli incursion into Gaza which may result in their deportation.

Walid Judah, 26, was born in Kuwait to parents who left the Gaza Strip in 1965 to work abroad. In 1999, he arrived in the Gaza Strip along with his parents on visitor permits requested for them by relatives. Judah’s parents applied for family reunification for the entire family. Yet shortly after, in 2000, Israel froze all family unification procedures. Judah finished high school with honors in 2004 and received scholarships to study abroad, but could not travel because he has no ID card. Following is what he told B’Tselem:

Local ID issued by Hamas authorities

In 2004, I finished high school with a 95.5% average. I got two scholarships from the Palestinian Ministry of Education, one to study engineering in Turkey and the other to study medicine in Tunisia. Because I don’t have an ID card, I couldn’t go. I stayed in Gaza and studied information technology at al-Azhar University, even though I wasn’t interested in this profession. I wanted to study dentistry abroad, but I couldn’t. I stayed in Gaza and finished my studies.

After I finished my studies, I was unemployed for two years. Then I got a job with the welfare agency, as head of their information department. I’d like to study for a Master’s degree outside of Gaza, but I can’t, because I don’t have an ID card. I got married two years ago. My wife does have an ID so our two children were registered on her card.

Rafiq Masah, 78, came to Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip as a young refugee from Majdal, present-day Ashkelon in 1948. He got married in the Gaza Strip and had four children. According to Masah, in 1967, after Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, he was deported to Egypt along with other men from Khan Yunis. He was later joined by his family. The family then moved to Kuwait, where he found a job. In 1995, one of his sons returned to the Gaza Strip on a visitor permit and received official status through the family reunification procedure. In 2000, Rafiq Masah returned to the Gaza Strip with his wife and one of their daughters on visitor permits their son had obtained. They filed for family reunification, but the application was not processed because of the Israeli freeze on these procedures. In his testimony to B’Tselem, Masah describes the difficulties he has had as a stateless person in the Gaza Strip:

Rafiq Masah, Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'TselemBefore the Israeli military withdrew from Gaza, I couldn’t visit my relatives in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, because of the many checkpoints the military had established. There was a checkpoint at [the settlement of] Netzarim that separated Gaza City from the central Gaza Strip and one near [the settlement of] Kfar Darom, which separated the central part of the Gaza Strip from northern Gaza. I was afraid to go through the checkpoints because the soldiers ask to see IDs, and if they’d realized I didn’t have one, I could have been deported from Gaza. I was only able to visit relatives after the Israeli withdrawal.

I have a heart condition and arthritis, and I need medical care that I can’t get in Gaza. The doctors in Gaza only give me drugs and pain killers, but that doesn’t solve the problem. I also really want to go visit my children who live in Saudi Arabia. I haven’t seen them since 2000.

Israel still retains control of the Population Registry of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Although the Oslo Accords imparted much relevant authority in this sphere to the Palestinian Authority, Israel stopped updating its copy of the population registry in 2000 and no longer recognizes changes made to it by the PA ever since. Israel now only allows the PA to register births and deaths and to issue replacements for worn documents. As a result, the PA and the Hamas government have no possibility of issuing recognized ID cards to residents of the Occupied Territories.

In an attempt to resolve the plight of stateless individuals in the Gaza Strip, in January 2008, the Hamas government began issuing temporary internal ID cards to Gaza residents who are not listed in the Population Registry. This measure was implemented in order to help these individuals in leading their daily life within the Gaza Strip and enable them to do things like open a bank account, enroll children in school or acquire medical insurance. According to figures collected by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Gaza, there are currently about 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza who hold these temporary ID cards. However, these cards are not valid at the crossings into Israel or at the Rafah border crossing to Egypt, currently managed by Hamas and Egypt. Egypt does not allow individuals who have these cards to cross the border, unless they also hold Jordanian passports. Individuals who have expired Jordanian passports are permitted to leave, but cannot return without renewing their passports.

Najah Tawil, of Gaza City, recounted her existence as a stateless individual:

Najah TawilIn 1967, before the war, my father went to Egypt to study at the university. He wasn’t present in the Gaza Strip when the census was conducted, so he wasn’t registered. In 1970 he traveled to Saudi Arabia where he married my mother, who is also a native of Gaza… My mother got an ID as far back as 1998 in a family reunification procedure. My brothers came to Gaza on a visitors permit in 1999, and my father and I joined them in 2000… We all had Jordanian passports valid for two years, but now they can no longer be renewed. I have an ID card issued by Hamas. I used it to open a bank account, but it’s not good for anything else… I stopped thinking about school or work outside of Gaza… Our lives depend on having an ID card and a passport.

Citizenship status is what facilitates the existence of civil structures, allowing citizens to communicate with the ruling authorities. It is crucial to leading a normal life and necessary in order to exercise the right to enter a country, achieve equality before the law, have access to health services and employment options and more. Because of its great importance, the right to nationality has been enshrined in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and states are prohibited from arbitrarily revoking this right. Since the Declaration, attempts have been made to enshrine the right to nationality in international conventions. Among others, in 1954 the UN accepted the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and in 1961, the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. These conventions reflect the concept that this status is essential for every person.

Israel, which still controls the Palestinian Population Registry, must allow all stateless individuals in Gaza to obtain official status, so that they may lead normal lives. As a first step in this direction, Israel must complete the process of regulating the status of 10,000 stateless individuals whose applications for family unification were approved as part of the goodwill gestures offered to the PA in 2007, but were not granted the official status once the process was frozen in 2008.

Click here for more information on stateless residents of the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 28.10.2015)