"Haq Al-'Awda"
Septemebr 10, 2000

I am really very honored to come today invited by  "Haq Al-'Awda" (Rirht of Return" to Palestine to present some remarks on the issue of Al Awda. I know the time is very limited so I will start right away.

Despite that there is a great deal for a Peace Process, the Israeli governement with the support of the USA administration is fighting to get the most of what would become one day a Palestinian State. This is a fact.

They do not say it quite clearily how much the Israelis are able to compromise but they know how to sell their need for security and the future of Israel.

You know, it is not what you say, many times,  what is the most important, but it is HOW you say it. It is how you sell it to the Public Opinion. This the first law of marketing. And Israel have worked more than anybody on how to sell the need of her security to world, the need to get peace but to keep the land.

Now how Israel is marketing or selling the idea of wanting really and sincerily Peace but at the same time working to keep the land, will be the subject of my remarks. Please, try all you best to listen to me for some minutes.

The Israeli Governement have officially serveral responses to tell the world and specailly the American Public Opinion and the American Administration that they are not taking any land from the Palestinians but on the c0ntrary giving back land to the Palestians who nobody can stop eagerness to get everything and then throw us in the sea.

I will mention some of them. I do not have a lot of time to comment long enough on each of them.

First thing that Israel say: that we do not take Land from Palestinians, there is no exproriation of Lands. The lands are State lands or belonging to Jews.

Second: If there are lands that have been taken; this is the right of any democratic and good country. We use these lands for the benefit of everybody, for public purposes: Israelis and Palestinians. We build hospitals and schools for everybody, we open roads for everybody. Land then it is not taken for the use and benefit of all the citizens.

Third: Israel for its security, as any country in the world, has the right to claim as military zone some hills, mountains, or places that over look on the Palestinian cities because of Palestinian terrorism. Let the Palestininas stop Terrorism we will limit the militrary zones on the Occupied Territories.

Forth: Israel says as a democratic country, if really a Palestinian, unfortunately (we are sorry) would think that we took his land he can have a recourse to the court to fight it. The court will look at his claims and give him justice.

Fifth: If there is any new constructions on any settlements, it is because of the natural growth of that settlement. You know families grow and we need to build for them more houses. This is not building new settlements but respecting the natural growth that even Oslo conference recognize as legal.

Sixth it is legal in Israel to create different zones for the different people that form the Israeli society. It would be illigal in the USA. So in some cities only Jews have to live, in others only Muslims should live, in others only Christians should live. This is the only way to keep peace and harmony between these different groups.

So in few words they say we do not take lands from the Palestinians, we build roads, schools and hospitals on the land for the benefit of everybody, we have the right to look for the security of the Israelis against the Palestinian terrorism. If Palestinians have any claims on a land  took from them we encourage them to have recourse to the court. It is as simple  as that.

You see then, I hope, what I have meant  by saying that the way of saying things, HOW YOU SAY,  is more important than what you really say.

Now if I want to respond to every claim that Israel is telling the world for years and years, it would take a lot of your time. You know that a lot of our beloved American people beleive that Israel is sincere and what is claiming is just, fair and right, the Palestinians are the ones who do not want to understand and are frustrating the Israelis.

Let me comment in few words on each of these claims:

First thing that Israel say: that we do not take Lands from Palestinians, there is no exproriation of Lands. The lands are state lands or belonging to Jews.

All and every historian and expert will tell you that Jews before 1947 had about 5% of  the Land of Palestine. All the land that Israel has today is out of expropriation of Palestinians. One of the Laws that Israel created on March 14, 1950, was the law of "The Absentee property". Create a law, even if it is unfair...then what you do becomes legal... in fact how many laws have been changed because they were unjust. This "Absentee proprerty" law says that a Palestinian citizen who left his ordinary place of residence for a place in Palestine or outside Palestine before the 1st of September, 1948, his proprety, house, lands, belongings are givin to a "Custodian of abscentees' proprety (means Israel) and this Custodian is empowered to buy, rent, take on lease, sell and transfer the right of proprety to the Jewish Israeli Fund... Or before that date a lot of Palestinians had to flee from the war and find a quite place before they come back to their homes. These people were unauthorised to come back. Their houses and lands are confiscated and given to the so called " Custodian of abscentee", who gave them to Jews. These people are the today refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt some statistics speak of 5 million people, others of 3.6.

The best of this law was in 1968 when Israel annexed East Jerusalem and applied this Law on the Jerusalimites. So all the Palestinian houses and busnisses in Jerusalem on 1968 were considered proprety of the "Custodian". In one day the Palestinian Jerusalimites found themselves stranger in their homeland. And that is what made Israel take the IDs of the people of Jerusalem.
 

Second: If there are lands that have been taken, this is the right of any democratic and good country to use these land for the benefit of everybody, for public purposes: Israelis and Palestinians. We build hospital and schools for everybody, we open roads for everybody. Land then it is not taken for hte use and benefit of all the citizens.

But Israel did not say to the world that she build only roads for the Israeli settlements here and there and everywhere on the Occupied Territories. The 95 % of these roads are used by the Israelis, 99% of the schools are used by only the Israelis. They did not build one hospital or school in the Occupied territories for the service of the Palestinians.
 

Third: Israel for its security, as any country in the world, has the right to claim as military zone some hills, mountains, or places that over look on the Palestinian cities because of Palestinian terrorism. Let the Palestininas stop Terrorism we will limit the militrary zones on the Occupied Territories.

This arguement gave Israel the right to take every single hill at the Occupied Territories and build not only a military base but hundreds of settlements. Hundred of thousnads of people since 1967 came from Russia, Ethiopia, Poland, USA... to live there.
 

Forth: Israel says as a democratic country, if really a Palestinian, unfortunately (we are sorry) would think that we took his land he can have a recourse to the court to fight it. The court will look on his claims and give him justice.

The Israeli courts are Israelis and they fellow the Israeli law. The Law is on the side of the Israelis that do not give back anything to the Palestinians. Shalom Hashav an Israeli organization have stood against their own courts as many other organizations but they could not stop one order of demolition of a Palestinian house or give back the home of any Palestinian of 1948 or 1967.

On the contrary Israel says today that Jews have the right of return after 2000 years but the Palestinians do not have the same right after less than 30 or 50 years.

Fifth: If there is any new constructions on any settlements, it is because of the natural growth of that settlement. You know families grow and we need to build for them more houses. This is not building new settlements but respecting the natural growth that even Oslo conference recognize as legal.

Now somebody would ask, what is a natural growth? Who defines it? How much a year is natural growth? What are the bounderies of the Settlement? Who decides it?

Soon you will find that the bounderies of the settlements is as much as they want. And when in the begining they started with some hundreds of houses in some years they have built tens of thousand of houses. What kind of natural growth is that? How can a settlenment grow in few years five hundred times and sometimes one thousand times... at at the expence of the Palestinian cities and villages....

Sixth it is legal in Israel to create different zones for the different people that form the Israeli society. It would be illigal in the USA. So in some cities only Jews have to live, in others only Muslims should live, in others only Christians should live. This is the only way to keep peace and harmony between these different groups.

But this applies only to Palestinians, and sometimes where Christians and Muslims are living in peace for years. Israel comes and create divisions. A Jew can live everywhere. Sharon lives now in the Old City in the Muslim quarter in a house that he took from a Palestinian by force. About 200 Jewsih mainly from Broklyn, NY, live in Hebron between more than 150 thousand Muslims.

As you see we need to know how to tell our American Public Opinion about the Truth. We need to educate ourselves.

The way that I found that can help us: is to bring Americans to live with Palestinians. With some friends we do have now the project Bed and Breakfast. American living during some days with Palestinians. If anybody is interested, write me an Email or visit my website Al-Bushra website.

We created a website Palestineremembered.com, please visit it it will help you a lot.

I call on our People to teach not only the Arabic Language but the History of our land, and the Nakba. Our young people should make researches, write papers at school on the issue of their home countries. We can help you to work the best truthful papers.

I will be having a panel at the Emanu-El Synagogue with Souleiman Ghali, President of the Islamic Society of San Francisco, and Rabbi Sheldon Lewis of Congregation Kol Emeth of Palo Alto On September September 18th at 5:30. Please come to support us.
 
 

Additional thing:
More Jewish families moving into Muslim Qtr.

By Nadav Shragai
Ha'aretz Correspondent

(http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=08/20/00&id=89901)

Two Jewish families will soon move into the Beit Varsa site in the Muslim
Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Renovation has been done in this
enclave over the past year to make it fit to accommodate three additional
Jewish families. Until now two families have lived at the site.

A fifth Jewish family is expected to settle at Beit Varsa in another two
months bringing the total to 15 Jewish families settled in this part of
the Muslim Quarter. All told, close to 60 Jewish families live in the
Quarter today and if a number of yeshivas and other religious facilities,
and-Jewish owned stores are counted, about 1000 Jews live, study and work
in the Muslim Quarter.

Most Jewish families and Torah institutions in the Muslim Quarter are
located on Hagai street, which runs between Damascus Gate and the Western
Wall. For months, exploratory excavation work has been done in the
quarter's Beit Hatzelem area, close to Herod's Gate, as preparation for a
construction project, which the ultra-Orthodox Ateret Kohanim group wants
to sponsor.

This project, which is now under preparation and has yet to be submitted
to the Jerusalem Municipality's planning authorities, would create housing
for another 20 Jewish families.

In recent weeks, the Jerusalem Municipality has authorized the
construction of an additional floor at Beit Gavriel, a Jewish structure in
the Old City's Christian Quarter. When the new floor is built, four new
Jewish families will settle at Beit Gavriel.

The Municipality also recently gave the green light for expansion work at
Beit Hatzelem, to accommodate more Jewish residents at this Muslim Quarter
enclave.

Speaking for Ateret Kohanim, Mati Dan told Ha'aretz that Israeli proposals
to put the Muslim Quarter under some form of Palestinian sovereignty has
stirred consternation among various Jewish groups. These proposals, he
said, will be resisted not only by Jewish residents of the Old City, but
by the vast majority of Jews - this majority recalls that this Old City
quarter once had a mixed, Jewish-Arab population, with thousands of Jews
living in it up to, and after, the 1929 riots.

Speaking against Palestinian sovereignty, Dan asked rhetorically: "Have
they murdered, and also inherited?.