The Best Answer to Israel Apartheid Week: From an Israeli Bedouin

I’ve gotten a number of emails asking me what the best material is on Israel Apartheid Week. If any readers have suggestions, I welcome them. In the meantime, here’s one from the kind of anomaly that most people on the anti-Zionist camp can’t imagine: an Israeli Arab (Bedouin), Ishmael Khaldi, the deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest. He has the single best short response to Apartheid Week I’ve seen so far. (H/T: James Wald)

Lost in the blur of slogans 03.04.09

Last year, at UC Berkeley, I had the opportunity to “dialogue” with some of the organizers of these events. My perspective is unique, both as the vice consul for Israel in San Francisco, and as a Bedouin and the highest-ranking Muslim representing the Israel in the United States. I was born into a Bedouin tribe in Northern Israel, one of 11 children, and began life as shepherd living in our family tent. I went on to serve in the Israeli border police, and later earned a master’s degree in political science from Tel Aviv University before joining the Israel Foreign Ministry.

I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deals honestly. By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation – Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East

So, I would like to share the following with organizers of Israel Apartheid week, for those of them who are open to dialogue and not blinded by a hateful ideology:

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution: If you are really idealistic and committed to a better world, stop with the false rhetoric. We need moderate people to come together in good faith to help find the path to relieve the human suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere.

You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself: You condemn Israel for building a security barrier to protect its citizens from suicide bombers and for striking at buildings from which missiles are launched at its cities – but you never offer an alternative. Aren’t you practicing yourself a deep form of racism by denying an entire society the right to defend itself?

Your criticism is willfully hypocritical: Do Israel’s Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage – you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available.

You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace: Your radicalism is undermining the forces for peace in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. We are working hard to move toward a peace agreement that recognizes the legitimate rights of both Israel and the Palestinian people, and you are tearing down by falsely vilifying one side.

To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say:

If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty. There are many Arabs, both within Israel and in the Palestinian territories who have taken great courage to walk the path of peace. You should stand with us, rather than against us.

42 Responses to The Best Answer to Israel Apartheid Week: From an Israeli Bedouin

  1. noam says:

    Mr. Khaldi makes life easy for himself. When we speak of Apartheid we are not referring to the discriminated Arabs in the north of Israel, nor talking about the Beduin in the south (who can’t be compared to the African Americans of Oakland in the discrimination they suffer, but let’s leave it). We are talking about the Palestinians in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, who have no civil rights, who can’t travel freely, who can’t even drive on the same roads as their Israelis neighbors. The only reason for not calling this “Apartheid” so far was that this was regarded as a temporary situation. With the last elections’ result, and with Israel doing anything possible to prevent the two-state solution, this argument is not as valid as before.

    And another point: the main difference between the discrimination in Israel to that which minorities suffer from in any other western country, is that in Israel the superior legal statues of the Jews is incorporated into the legal system, the state’s symbols, etc. What I mean is that an Arab in Paris can be fully French, if he wants to. So can a Jew in the US. But nice Mr Khaldi can be an Israeli patriot, even an army officer, but he will never be a Jew.

  2. E.G. says:

    noam,

    Mr. Khaldi’s point is that he doesn’t have to be a Jew to benefit from his full rights as an Israeli.

    Last time I rode an Israeli bus I didn’t see any seats reserved for a particular category of citizens nor signes for non-citizens. There were no hospital beds or rooms assigned to any category of patients (in fact, an acquaintance of mine, an Israeli Jew, told me she was ordered out of her Ichilov hospital bed, right after a terror attack, to make place for the wounded, while her Gazan neighbour, who had a similar intervention on the same day, kept her bed).

    To the best of my knowledge, in no country do non-citizens have similar rights nor obligations as citizens. Refugees have specific rights (obligations?), and the residents of the territories – having been subjected to armistice lines including or excluding their place from Israel, or been displaced from one part of Palestine to another, either refuse to abandon their refugee status or are denied any citizenship – not only by Israel. Furthermore, even though terror attacks by the Arabs of Palestine predate the establishment of the state of Israel and the 6-day war, only the 2 recent terror wars, in particular the last one, resulted in imposing quite heavy restrictions (mostly circulation, and esp. entering June 4th lines Israel ) on the population in the territories.

    Tell a Moslem in Paris that s/he’s fully French and witness his/her reaction (an incredulous stare). Ask a Mohammed or a Fatima what s/he thinks his/her chances to advance in his/her workplace, if s/he’s made it to get a job at all. And while you’re at it, question them about adhering to the republic’s nature. FYI, you won’t find many Moslems living in France’s capital, rather in its suburbs or other cities and towns.
    Last but not least, you’re right to compare two Moslem immigrant populations: one to France/Europe and another, a few decades before, to former Palestine.

  3. oao says:

    noam you ignorant,

    1. what civil rights did these arabs had under jorand and egypt?

    2. any particular reason they don’t have a state other than their continuous refusal to accept one since 1948?

    3. If they ever get a state will they have any civil rights in it, you think, under hamas and/or fatah?

    4. they don’t travel on the same roads because if they did, they would murder jews.

    So go fly a kyte.

  4. oao says:

    What I mean is that an Arab in Paris can be fully French, if he wants to. So can a Jew in the US. But nice Mr Khaldi can be an Israeli patriot, even an army officer, but he will never be a Jew.

    oh yeah and we really see how much they want to be real french or british and what they are doing to those societies and where those societies are headed.

    let’s see how much you’ll criticize israel if and when you live under sharia and how many civil rights you’ll have then.

    idiot.

  5. Rockford says:

    One of the most constructive things written on this issue is the statement from the Alumni for Responsible Speech, which states that “universities should tolerate free speech as long as it doesn’t upset anyone, but we also believe that universities, as public institutions, have a duty to ensure a safe learning environment for students and faculty, and to take corrective action when free speech or academic freedom are misused in an irresponsible way.”
    Their statement sets out concrete steps that can and should be taken to ensure a safe learning environment.

    Of course, when criticism of Islam upsets Muslim students, it’s precisely something as flakey as “as long as it doesn’t upset anyone,” that gets trotted out to shut down the criticism. I regret to say, but this formula strikes me wrong-headed. The point, it seems to me, is that learning and discussing and exploring issues involves a good deal of “discomfort.” We don’t tackle difficult subjects in order to feel good. Contradiction is a distinctly uncomfortable experience, and self-criticism (unless you’re doing it vicariously for your own collective whom you dislike) can be very painful.

    The issue is not discomfort levels, its dishonesty, demonization and violent invective. -rl

  6. Ak Khazar says:

    Many people have expressed a very strong positive reaction to this piece. Interestingly, though, a colleague—non-Jewish, and not heavily involved with Mideastern politics—said it was great, but then asked: “what the hell is Israel Apartheid Week?”

    That got me thinking. Both the most dedicated proponents and opponents of “Israel Apartheid Week” believe that it is a phenomenon of great importance. In fact, many of our colleagues are not even aware of it. Whether that is good or bad, it at least puts things in perspective.

    Since you mention that readers ask you to recommend responses to the “apartheid” analogy/accusation, here is a sample (with the inevitable variations in dogmatism and sophistication).

    –As a pendant to Khaldi’s editorial, an older and now well-known piece (often reproduced) is this one by Benjamin Pogrund, South African anti-apartheid activist and former Deputy Editor of the Rand Daily Mail.

    –Here are the observations of a Sudanese refugee on his experience in Israel.

    background on Durban I and the apartheid charge by former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Irwin Cotler.

    In addition, almost all major organizations devoted to fighting anti-Semitism or supporting Israel have sets of resources, e.g.:

    ADL

    Stand With Us (which also posted the Khaldi piece).

    –One of the best sites for information on all aspects of anti-boycott and -divestment activity is the British Engage, which insists that leftist principles are fully compatible with support for Israel and completely irreconcilable with support for Hamas, Hizbullah, and other clerico-fascist groups of which the left seems increasingly enamored.

  7. E.G. says:

    Ak Khazar,

    I too think that the general awareness to this “week” is not high.
    Intoxicating students is worrying, though, whatever the subject. Would Stu agree with me that it’s part of Cognitive warfare?

  8. Cynic says:

    noam,

    But nice Mr Khaldi can be an Israeli patriot, even an army officer, but he will never be a Jew.

    Mr Khaldi is a Muslim. He doesn’t want to be a Jew. He can be whatever he wants. He was born into his faith and is happy with it.
    The Bahai faith can only practice their faith in Israel where they have their magnificent place of worship and gardens in the heart of Haifa, not in Iran where they originate from. So according to your rationale for Israel not to be an “Apartheid” state they must become Jews?
    So if Israel forced them to become Jews then what would you use to bash Israel? Apartheid?
    Idiot.

    You are a real fool to write such rubbish denying a person the choice of his faith just to bash the Israelis.
    Or are you the typical fascist who would deny others the right to think outside the box you have created for them?
    Or just a hypocrite looking for an excuse.

    We are talking about the Palestinians in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, who have no civil rights, who can’t travel freely, who can’t even drive on the same roads as their Israelis neighbors.

    Well go complain to the Arab League and the other 300 million Arabs for the Three (3) Nos of Khartoum and the UN for its resolutions that has made the “Palestinians” prisoners in “refugee camps” for the past 60 years.
    The Palestinians were given the opportunity in the Oslo process to govern themselves, after having been “governed by Egypt and Jordan and then Israel and look what Arafat and Hamas did.
    Arafat and his thugs were given control of the WB and Gaza in 1993. Complain to them about the lack of civil rights.

    Before the murderous bombing onslaught of Arafat in 2000 they were driving all over on the same roads as their Israeli neighbours.
    They were even driving into Jewish neighbourhoods looking to pick up Jewesses, to put it politely, while their bagged feminine halves were locked up in Jenin, Ramalah and other places.
    Even the Jordanians came in to try and get their bit of flesh.

  9. Cynic says:

    Rockford,

    One of the most constructive things written on this issue is the statement from the Alumni for Responsible Speech
    http://www.connexions.org/SafeLearning.htm
    which states that “universities should tolerate free speech as long as it doesn’t upset anyone,

    But all the hate and vituperation against Jews and Israel seems to be A Okay with academia.
    Until such time as the Universities and colleges start controlling their extremists this is just pie in the sky.
    What we have seen is incitement and discrimination gone wild with blatant hypocrisy on the part of the Staff.

  10. Cynic says:

    Ak Khazar,

    Try and get footage of Israeli TV coverage of refugees from Sudan being given help after the hell they passed through in Egypt, even those Muslims from Darfur.
    Get the one about the Sudanese girl now getting the chance of an education in Tel Aviv.
    There is one person who has managed to open a shop to exploit his abilities and is also helping his fellow refugees come up to speed with life in apartheid israel.

  11. noam says:

    E.G.

    You are not answering my point: I don’t deny that there is no Apartheid when it comes to the Arabs citizens of Israel. But did you see any Palestinians riding Israeli buses in your last visit?

    The story of the few Palestinians hospitalized in Israeli facilities during the war in Gaza was an exception, done probably for PR reasons. Most of the time Palestinians can’t enter Israel to get medical treatment. This issue is well-documented, and I can forward you unbiased evidence on the matter.

    I don’t understand your second paragraph. By “refugees”, do you mean the entire Palestinian population? They are native people of this land, even those displaced during the wars of 48 and 67. And if Israel is not to give them rights, who is?

    One correction: the policy of preventing Palestinians from entering Israel didn’t start in the last Intifada, but in Rabin days.

    As for the examples from Europe and the US: I explain again, there is a difference between a de facto policy of discrimination (like there is anywhere in the west), than a legal statues. That’s the source of the problem here – the privileges the state gives Jews – all the Jews – over Arabs, even the most loyal and patriotic ones, like Mr. Khaldi here.

  12. noam says:

    Cynic,

    I am not saying he should become a Jew – it’s the other way around: that the state of Israel should grant the same rights to none-Jews…

    And what is it that makes you right-wing guys start throwing curses whenever someone tries to say something?

  13. Cynic says:

    noam,

    What makes you left-wing guys resort to dreaming?
    The Arabs have the same rights in Israel.

    The Palestinians are restricted because of their suicide bombings. They rode the buses and blew Israelis to bits, even Israeli Arabs.

    Could you not understand what I wrote in my first comment to you?
    They went everywhere even to the point of harassing
    Israeli women for sex.
    Lewd and disgusting attempts to lure them into their cars, even mothers with toddlers.
    Anyway Palestinians are not Israelis so why should they have the run of the country and be permitted to abuse Israeli freedom?

  14. Eliyahu says:

    Mr Unpleasant [noam],
    you’re crediting one of the big lies which is that there is a historical “palestinian” people which is “native” or “indigenous” to the country with whether this supposed people is subject to “racial” discrimination as were the Blacks in South Africa. Actually, there is nothing like South African apartheid on the east side of the Green Line either.
    The reason that people –both Jews and Arabs, both Israeli citizens and non-citizens– cannot travel freely is because of checkpoints [which also affect me as an Israeli citizen]. And the checkpoints are there because there is a war going on, the checkpoints are meant to stop terrorists. And they have been fairly successful in the last five years. Likewise, there are some roads [not most roads] that lead to Jewish settlements or are heavily traveled by Jews that Arab citizens of the Palestinian Authority are not allowed to drive on. The reason for exclusion from these roads is similar. It is because, in pursuit of their genocidal war against Jews, the various Arab terrorist groups [Fatah, Hamas, etc.] sent murderers to murder Jews traveling in cars on those roads. This happened enough times to justify Arab exclusion from certain roads so as not to give them the opportunity to murder Jews, as they were during when they had the opportunity. Next, the claim that these Arabs have “no civil rights.” Israel did allow Arabs residing in Judea-Samaria, as well as in Jerusalem of course, to apply for and receive Israeli citizenship. It was precisely the Arab terrorists as well as those Western powers who want the Arabs to have a separate state in the Land of Israel that more Arabs did not apply for citizenship. Some who might have applied did not do so because of fear of the terrorists. Others may have not wanted Israeli citizenship out of Arab pride. Anyhow, now that there is a “palestinian authority,” these Arabs are supposed to have citizen rights in that semi-state entity. This does not mean that that entity actually respects the civil rights or citizen rights of those whom it claims to represent [living in zones A and B]. On the other hand, Arabs in Judea-Samaria living in zone C where Israel is supposed to have both security and civil control do have civil rights without being citizens. Furthermore, the Arabs in Judea-Samaria are NOT subject to anything like the apartheid system of South Africa or the jimcrow system formerly in effect in much of the southern USA. Noam ought to learn exactly what apartheid and jimcrow were in all their humiliating details and particulars.

    It is indeed weird that the more than 1000 years of Arab-Muslim oppression of Jews as dhimmis in Arab-ruled lands are forgotten and submerged by the libellous “apartheid” charge.

    Lastly, if Noam denies the rights of Jews to inhabit Judea-Samaria –which was also part of the law of the kingdom of Jordan enforced up to 1967– then he is guilty of supporting apartheid against Jews [if we go by his definition of apartheid]. Let’s not hear any squawking from Noam about “occupied territory.” This supposed legal status of Judea-Samaria, even if it were true [it is not], has no MORAL standing to forbid Jews from living in Judea-Samaria –parts of the ancient Jewish homeland– if we are opposed to apartheid or ethnic segregation, etc. That position means denying the humanity of Jews. Since jimmy carter is one of the prime accusers of Israel on the “apartheid” charge, you ought to know that his family were in the Ku Klux Klan and his mother was a regular of Tom Watson’s anti-Jewish, anti-Black hatesheet. Learn some history of the American South, too, Noam, before you shoot your mouth off. The checkposts as well as the ban on Arab travel on certain roads in Judea-Samaria are obstacles to Arabs driving Jews out of those areas and enforcing a kind of apartheid on Jews. Recall that Islamic law calls for humiliating Jews and other non-Muslim. That system has much in common with South African apartheid, albeit it was not and is not based on biological race or skin color as was apartheid. But it was often much crueler, as cruel as apartheid was.

  15. Cynic says:

    I don’t understand your second paragraph. By “refugees”, do you mean the entire Palestinian population? They are native people of this land, even those displaced during the wars of 48 and 67. And if Israel is not to give them rights, who is?

    The British brought in Syrian and Egyptian Arabs during the mandate period contradicting the League of Nations directive so it is not quite correct to describe them all as native peoples and ignore that there were Jewish majorities in various parts of the land that British instigated riots attempted to wipe out. Hebron an example of a successful massacre of Jews and expulsion.
    Boy, if you are serious then start reading and not the claptrap rubbish of the MSM.

  16. oao says:

    That got me thinking. Both the most dedicated proponents and opponents of “Israel Apartheid Week” believe that it is a phenomenon of great importance. In fact, many of our colleagues are not even aware of it. Whether that is good or bad, it at least puts things in perspective.

    ah, but THAT’s a major problem!!! this is a growing phenomenon which is growing under the radar. instead of stopping it now, when it’s possible, it is been allowed to spread until it will become common and acceptable and it’ll be too late.

    I suggest you watch a video by daniel gordis about how the world is preparing the world for a world without israel, via demonization; just like the nazis did about the jews. it was unimportant and ignored when it started, but they persisted and succeeded.

  17. Eliyahu says:

    corrections to #14:

    …jimmy carter’s mother was a regular READER of Tom Watson’s anti-Jewish, anti-black hatesheet…

    I mean to clarify the the first paragraph in #14. The question of apartheid is separate from whether or not the Arabs are “native” or “indigenous” to the country.
    - – - – - -

    the “palestinian people” notion was an invention of British psychological warfare experts. Historically, there was no such people. Nor was “palestine” a concept in traditional Arab geography.

  18. oao says:

    What we have seen is incitement and discrimination gone wild with blatant hypocrisy on the part of the Staff.

    it’s not only hypocrisy. it’s also fear. it appears that the university staff, when push come to shove, are as scared of bullies as anybody else and won’t defend their own principles so forcefully declared.

  19. oao says:

    And what is it that makes you right-wing guys start throwing curses whenever someone tries to say something?

    because there is a limit to dealing with nonsense.

    a useful exchange requires a minimum of knowledge, intellect and integrity. when your pronouncements reveals neither, the value of spending any time respoding to you goes to minus — you are wasting everybody’s time.

    it is possible to disagree respectfully, but respect must be earned. you have not and methinks you cannot.

  20. oao says:

    it’s been my experience that responding to the likes of noam is a waste of time and effort.

    i am willing to bet that he knows zilch of the history and nature of the conflict, even the current facts on the ground.

    he has joined the fashionable bandwagon against israel to give himself some meaning in life because he is neither capable nor willing to study the subject in order to make his own decisions.

  21. Eliyahu says:

    Noam, [Mr Unpleasantness]:

    You speak of Israel’s state symbols, Israel’s identification as a Jewish state. What about the Arab League states that identify as Arab– and Muslim? That’s most of them. The palestinian authority too is a member of the Arab League. How about non-Arabs like Kurds or Assyrians who live in Arab states, or Copts in Egypt who recall that they are descended from the original Egyptians? What about the state symbols and ethnic identification of Arab League states?

    Then, there is a cross on the UK flag [actually four crosses]. And there are crosses on the flags of the Scandinavian states. And so on. Then supposedly secular Turkey has a Muslim crescent and star on its flag. What does that mean? Noam, why don’t you learn about the real world instead of these false and really childish arguments?

    The USA gives out military decorations that are called –crosses!! Did you know that?

  22. Cynic says:

    One correction: the policy of preventing Palestinians from entering Israel didn’t start in the last Intifada, but in Rabin days.

    Once more:
    In 1993 Arafat signed the Oslo accords in Washington and within a few months, in 1994 the bombings had started with a car bomb suicide driver blowing up a a bus stop full of children in Afula who had just finished school for the day. Then they rode into Afula from Jenin and surrounds and fired on ordinary people in the streets with automatic weapons, so dramatized by your media, shooting up people at the market in Afula, the bus station, not one but several times.
    Anyway since Rabin had signed the Oslo accords with Arafat they were the citizens of Palestine under the boot of Arafat so why should they be conferred with the same rights as Israeli citizens?
    Israeli citizens don’t get get the same rights as Jordanians in Jordan or Egyptians in Egypt. As a matter of fact go and check up on the “rights” of Jews in any Arab country.

  23. Eliyahu says:

    I probably didn’t give enough info about carter’s mother. As I recall, she told the press when her bright young son jimmy was running for prez or after the election, that she had been a devoted reader of Tom Watson’s weekly paper. It was called the Weekly Jeffersonian. Then he had a more high brow monthly mag, rather literary, that published among others the novelist Theordore Dreiser and the noted attorney Clarence Darrow. This monthly mag was first called Tom Watson’s Magazine and later Watson’s Jeffersonian Magazine

    Watson was known as a “populist.” That meant that he could be anti-black and anti-Jewish. He was also steadily writing against the Catholic Church. His Judeophobia came out in full flower around the lynching of Leo Frank. He is the only or maybe one of the few Jews to be lynched in the USA. He was convicted on thin evidence of raping and murdering a young woman who worked in the pencil factory that he managed. This was a case where a Black’s testimony was used to convict a Jew.

    by the way, when no`am talks about state symbols as oppressing those who may not share them, I should add that the Berbers in North Africa may not be wholly happy about their countries, where Berbers [Amazigh] lived long before Arabs, being called “Arab states” and belonging to the Arab League, whereas the Berber language was long suppressed in these countries and is still opposed by the Islamists. Moreover, the Arab states are majors accusers of Israel of all sorts of crimes. The PLO/Palestinian Authority is a member of the Arab League.

  24. noam says:

    Israel did allow Arabs residing in Judea-Samaria, as well as in Jerusalem of course, to apply for and receive Israeli citizenship

    pure imagination.

    but let’s move forward. all you guys thinking that Israel shouldn’t give the Palestinians any rights AND stay in the West Bank: how is that not Apartheid, if not now than in 5, 10, 20 years? in other words, what are we to do with the Palestinians?

  25. Eliyahu says:

    noam, I must say that your English is excellent. I was born in an English-speaking country. How did you as a supposed Israeli come by your very fluent English?

    Now, I do resent your telling me that I am lying or imagining ["pure imagination"] when I say that Arabs were allowed to apply for and receive citizenship. Maybe you are just ignorant. In fact, in the 1990s, lines were forming outside the Interior Ministry offices in east Jerusalem, lines of Arabs applying for Israeli citizenship. They had lived with permanent resident status under Israeli rule till then since 1967 but they got scared when it seemed that they might be coming under control of arafat’s palestinian authority. You can check this out in back issues of the Jerusalem Post, maybe even HaArets, which also has an English edition. I say this because I wonder about your ability to read Hebrew. In any case, when you’re ignorant you shouldn’t say that someone else is lying.

    It is a shame that it was precisely the Rabin-Peres-Beilin govt from 1992 to 1996. that betrayed some of the Arabs who had taken out citizenship and were kidnapped from Jerusalem to Ramallah, tortured and sometimes murdered by arafat’s operatives. Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about that.

  26. Rich Rostrom says:

    Eliyahu:

    AIUI, Israel offered citizenship to Arab residents of the areas around Jerusalem which Israel has annexed. Israel did not offer citizenship to other West Bank Arabs.

    As to the origins of “Palestinian nationalism”: After WW I, the League of Nations, following British directions, formally and legally defined a territory which was named Palestine. Shortly thereafter, Arab residents of that territory began to form “Palestinian” bodies. What else would a collection of people living in a territory called “Palestine” do? They had no other “national” label to use – no “national identity” at all. The “Palestinian” label filled that blank space, by default.

  27. E.G. says:

    noam,

    did you see any Palestinians riding Israeli buses in your last visit?
    I can’t really tell: nobody was wearing a distinctive sign. Have you seen any on your last visit? I do however recall some wearing explosive belts, riding Israeli buses.

    The story of the few Palestinians hospitalized in Israeli facilities during the war in Gaza was an exception, done probably for PR reasons.
    Indeed, I forgot to mention the incident I have described above occurred in 2004. Unfortunately, I had to visit relatives in the same Tel Aviv hospital a few times since then. The Israeli PR machine must be working full time, because I witnessed the presence of Israeli and non-Israeli Arabs visiting their relatives, hospitalised in the different wards, just like my own Jewish Israeli relatives. The Israeli agents were probably monitoring the casual chats we were having in the corridors, but till today I have not been notified of any action undertaken against me for exchanging with these… how do you call the discriminated race in an apartheid regime?

    do you mean the entire Palestinian population? They are native people of this land, even those displaced during the wars of 48 and 67.

    As we all know, the entire Palestinian population was composed of many ethnic and religious parts, under the British mandate. Part of this population became (Trans) Jordanian and another – Israeli. Not many were actually natives of what became in 1948 Israel.

    “these are Arabs who have drifted in from the other side of Jordan, or from Syria, or who are Egyptians, who have come in, as they can do, without passports and without being subject to regulations at all, and in very large numbers indeed. The numbers that have come in from Trans-Jordan alone between the years 1921 and 1931 are 110,000, and the number of Jews who have come in at the same time is 132,900.”
    LORD STRABOLGI, 27 June 1934

    The native Jews of Hebron were indeed never displaced, but murdered in 1936. Some Jerusalemite native Jews were luckier in 1948, to be driven away from their ancestral homes but with their lives. Others were killed.

    As for Arabs, moving from Mandatory Palestinian Haifa or Jaffa to Mandatory Palestinian Jenin or Nablus or Gaza turned them into refugees. They and their “native” neighbours in these areas became “Palestinians”: natives of a country that never actually existed.

    One correction: the policy of preventing Palestinians from entering Israel didn’t start in the last Intifada, but in Rabin days.

    You don’t mean the mid-late ’70s, do you? Just before the Likud winning the elections? Because I can attest this definitely is not the case.

    Privileges for the Jews over the Arabs – you mean like University dorms? Jews having lesser chances of being allocated a place because of affirmative action? Like Jews having a greater probability of being penalized for tax evasion than arabs? Can you give some concrete examples regarding Israeli Jews being privileged over Israeli Arabs?

    Do you really know what apartheid is?

  28. [...] posted a piece by Israel’s highest ranking Arab-Muslim diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, on the moral [...]

  29. Cynic says:

    The story of the few Palestinians hospitalized in Israeli facilities during the war in Gaza was an exception, done probably for PR reasons.

    Well before the war in Gaza Larry Miller wrote about his experience of a visit to Israel to comfort terror victims:
    “It Gets Hard When They Cheer”

    Downstairs, before we left, the head of the hospital, an Israeli named Audrey, was showing me the children’s waiting room. I couldn’t help but notice, all around, an Arab woman with her son, an Arab family over there checking in, Arab children playing with the toys while waiting. The doctor saw the look on my face and laughed. “Oh, yes, we treat everyone.” I guess I was astonished. She just shrugged. “We’re Jews. This is how we live. It’s also for the future. They’re not going anywhere, and we’re not going anywhere. There will eventually be peace. There has to be.” When? A month? A year? A hundred years? More? She didn’t know. I had to say it. You’re incredible. You take everyone, you treat everyone, no one goes first, no one goes last, you just go in order of who needs help. That’s, like, Mother Teresa stuff. “We’re not saints, we’re just doing our jobs. It’s not easy, I admit. And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in.” I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed. “Yes, it gets hard when they cheer.” This was one of the times during my trip when I held up my hands and said, “Stop. Wait.”

  30. Cynic says:

    E.G.
    Privileges for the Jews over the Arabs – you mean like University dorms?

    It seems from where I sit Haifa Univ., provides preferential treatment to Arabs over Jews.
    It’s something like affirmative action in the States.

  31. E.G. says:

    Cynic #30,

    Thanks for clarifying my 2 sentences.

    Now noam can answer.

  32. oao says:

    It seems from where I sit Haifa Univ., provides preferential treatment to Arabs over Jews.
    It’s something like affirmative action in the States.

    i can vouch this was going on even during 1973-78, when I was there.

  33. oao says:

    And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in.” I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed..

    this is the sort of thing that the average westerner has no clue on and cannot even imagine — the arab culture.

    try to imagine what would happen in any western country at war if something like this happened. we know what americans did to their OWN japanese citizens and they were not cheering at all.

  34. oao says:

    What else would a collection of people living in a territory called “Palestine” do?

    how about arabs, like they usually call themselves when it’s not in relation to israel?

    the reality is that many of them were not native to the area and some were absent landlords; many came in from arab countries as the jews developed and created jobs.

    in fact, why not jordanian and egyptians, which is what they were before 1967?

  35. RfaelMoshe says:

    The confusion that alot of Western people have is as to the meaning of “Palestinian.” “Palestinian” is NOT , as is often mistakenly asserted an ethnicity but rather a political identity. Thats why UNRWA only required 2 years residency in Palestine to qualify as a refugee. The separate political identity of “Palestinian” was assigned to them by the Arab League and Nasser in 1964 in counter=point to the potential political identities such as “Jordanian” (indicating support for King Hussein) or “Israeli-Arab (indicating person of Arab ethnicity loyal to Israel). “Palestinian” has an un-stated aspect that includes “hostility and opposition to the state of Israel.” Ironically, but for the creation of the state of Israel, the political idea of v”Palestinian” or a “Palestinian State” would also never have been created. The surrounding Arab states would simply have absorbed the people and territory. Today’s self-identified Palestinians would have adopted their previous political identities as “Syrians” “egyptians” or quite lik3ly “Arab and part of the greater pan-Arab nation.”

  36. Eliyahu says:

    Rafael, to continue this argument, in 1900 the Arabs in the country did not consider themselves “palestinians” nor did they call the country “palestine” since that name DID NOT exist in the Ottoman system of provinces and districts [vilayets & sanjaqs]. Up to the last 1/2 of the 19th century, most of what Jews have traditionally called the Land of Israel was governed by and known as part of the vilayet of Sham [= Damascus]. The northeastern part was in the vilayet of Beirut as I recall. About 1865, the Ottoman central govt took the Jerusalem district away from the Damascus vilayet and made that district an independent sanjaq [mutesarriflik] reporting directly to Constantinople. This was in order to ensure more control of events in Jerusalem, a place of high political sensitivity then as now, because of the West’s interest in the Holy City, which had been a pretext for the Crimean War. In traditional Arab/Muslim geography, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon were collectively called bilad ash-Sham.

    Arab expert witnesses testifying for the Arab side before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry on Palestine in 1946 declared that there was “No palestine in history. It is all Syria.” [bilad ash-Sham = Greater Syria or Syria]

    Nobody ever heard of a palestinian people until the early 1960s. Even now the PLO charter says in Article I that “The palestinian Arab people is part of the Arab nation and palestine is part of the Greater Arab Fatherland [watan]“

  37. Eliyahu says:

    correction [it's late]:

    the northEASTern part of the Land of Israel was part of the vilayet of Beirut.

    [this means Akko (Acre) and north and neighboring areas]

  38. Eliyahu says:

    correction of correction [it's late]:

    the northWESTern part of the Land of Israel [Akko and north into Lebanon] was part of the vilayet of Beirut

  39. RfaelMoshe says:

    Exactly. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britanacca mentions over 50 languages spoken n the area at that time. My favorite are the Palestinians from Cesarea whose ancestral connection goes all the way back to 1882, when the Ottoman transferred entire fishing villages there from Bosnia. The place had been so badly mismanaged, conquered and raided so many times etc that by 1500 Jaffa was uninhabited and in ruins. Beduin raids made rural life almost impossible. Thats why the Ottoman brought in entire villages from Circasia, Bosnia etc, in order to have someone to tax!

  40. Eliyahu says:

    RF, it was Mamluk policy, sometime after their conquest of Acre [`Akko] from the Crusaders in 1291, to destroy and depopulate all of the coastal cities, Jaffa [Yafo], Acre, Tyre, etc. This was to prevent the Crusaders from having a foothold in a city if they came back. Yaffo was rebuilt in Ottoman times, probably for the reasons that you give. There may have been few Badawin or fugitives living among the ruins before the rebuilding [circa 1560, if I rightly recall].

  41. [...] got involved recently in several arguments concerning the issue of Apartheid, and whether or not we can name Israel an “Apartheid-state”. [...]

  42. Cynic says:

    #41

    You trolling again. From your link
    Many countries discriminate minorities in their practice, but Israel is a state which favors Jews by its nature (and laws) over other nationalities. A Muslim can become an American or a Frenchman, and enjoy full rights (in theory), while an Arab can’t become a “full Israeli” and enjoy those rights, not even in theory, because those rights are reserved to Jews

    So what are those rights denied the Arabs? A brith at 8 days? Peisach? Purim?
    Don’t tell me that they are denied the right to be Jewish.
    Ah! Forgot, the right to free passage to murder those Jews in their cafes, buses etc.

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