Memorandum submitted by Gerald M. Adler,
LL.M. J.S.D. (Yale)
The aim of the various forms of aid to the Palestinians
is to alleviate immediate problems of poverty, inadequate infrastructure,
and so on; but also to enable the Palestinians to build up their
own economy and society so that in future they can enjoy a decent
standard of living independent of foreign aid. These goals can
be effectively accomplished only if we maintain a tight and unsentimental
focus on two questions: First, how can aid be delivered efficiently
so that it accomplishes the most for those who need it most urgently?
And second, how did the current severe economic problems of the
Palestinians come about?
The latter issue is crucial (albeit glossed
over by most NGO submissions to the Committee), since the Palestinian
living standard just over three years ago was at a quite respectable
level compared with the rest of the Arab world. In order to restore
this standard of living (much less to surpass it) it is vital
to understand what brought about the rapid collapse of the Palestinian
economy: Israeli security measures taken in response to Palestinian
terrorism, largely directed and encouraged (and certainly not
effectively combated) by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.
Accountability and transparency are necessary
preconditions if aid to the Palestinians is to have maximal effect.
Further, those sending and distributing aid must understand the
way in which this aid (along with other sources of wealth and
power) are used in the traditional struggle for power and prestige
in Arab society. If aid is to be distributed based on genuine
need, NGOs will need to institute much closer supervision, relying
less on local workers to direct the flow of resources.
Local NGOs have their own political agendas
to pursue. We question the effectiveness of many local NGOs in
delivering aid to the intended recipients. In particular, we believe
that UNRWA has been a force for perpetuating and deepening the
problems of Palestinian society, rather than ameliorating and
Corruption is endemic in Palestinian society,
from the top down. Aid funds delivered directly to the Palestinian
Authority, intended for education, infrastructure, housing, general
budgetary support, and other welfare services, has instead been
largely diverted to other purposes. Some of this money has been
siphoned off for the personal benefit of Palestinian leaders,
but a substantial portion of it has been used to support the continued
existence and activities of various terrorist groups both inside
and outside the Palestinian territories. The PA has failed to
confront terrorist groups in any serious way.
Cultural changes both secular and religious
must be made in Palestinian society for its government to become
politically responsive to its constituents and its financial administration
to become both transparent and accountable. Further, Palestinian
society needs to abandon its preference for violent means of resolving
external and internal conflicts.
Unbridled terrorism compels Israel to take defensive
measures to protect its own population. These measures have seriously
impacted on the general day-to-day activities of ordinary Palestinians.
While it is possible to criticize particular security measures
as overly harsh, the fact remains that these security measures
would not exist without Palestinian terrorismand, in most
cases, did not exist before the current "Intifada" began.
The easiest way to eliminate these security measures, and thus
enable the Palestinian economy to get back on its feet, is to
take strong measures to eliminate the actuality and threat of
Terror is the product of incitement in Palestinian
schools, government-controlled media, and government-funded mosques.
The long-term prospects for peace will remain dim until and unless
effective action is taken to end this incitement. Until then there
is little likelihood of any major improvement in the present situation.
The Appendices referred to in this memorandum
have not been printed. Copies have been placed in the Library.
1. THE AUTHOR
The author of this submission is a dual citizen
of the United Kingdom and Israel, where he lived for 30 years.
His professional experience and background in academia, government
and industry gave him unique opportunities to witness and participate
in interactions between Jewish Israelis and Arabs, both Israeli
and Palestinian. (See cv in Appendix 01)
Until August 2003, the author was also an accredited
freelance journalist with the Israel Government Press Office.
He travels frequently to Israel and maintains constant contact
with Israeli non-governmental organisations and with a network
of individuals who are committed to an accurate and balanced presentation
of the issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
2. CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
(a) At the outset it is important note the
disparate political and economic cultures of the Palestinian Arab
aid recipients and European donor countries. In Europe, the centres
of power, wealth, political patronage and information dissemination
are structured differently than they are in Arab societies; in
particular, control of all these elements is far more broadly
(b) In contrast, Arab society is still very
much clan-based. Power and legitimacy are bestowed not by the
free democratic choice of the constituents, but rather by victory
in a no-holds-barred struggle of patronage, deal-making, and violence.
An "election" in the Arab world has nothing to do with
choosing a ruler among several viable alternatives; it is simply
a rite for confirming the legitimacy of a leader who achieved
and maintains his position by completely non-democratic means.
(c) Arab society does not have any peaceful
institutional means for removing a leader who has failed to deliver
on his promises, or who fails to account for his actions. This
strongly influences the effectiveness of aid and the manner of
its distribution and delivery.
(d) Arab societies have a profoundly different
spectrum of underlying motivations than European societies do.
The latter are driven by an appreciation of pragmatism, technical
development, economic efficiency, meritocracy, and a concern for
a reasonably equitable distribution of wealth. While Arab societies
are willing to use Western technology, their dominant cultural
motivations are honour, shame, avoidance of humiliation, and retribution
for actual or perceived affronts. Unlike modern Europe, the Arab
world fully approves of violence as a primary means of resolving
conflicts, recovering from loss of face, and removing shame and
humiliation. A preference for non-violent conflict resolution
is perceived as a sign of weakness. (See David Pryce-Jones, The
Closed Circle, An Interpretation of the Arabs, Ivan R.
Dee, Chicago, 1989, 2002, ISBN 1-6663-440-7; Raphael Patai, The
Arab Mind, revised edition, Hatherleigh Press, New York 2002,
ISBN 1-57826-117-1; and Gutmann, Shame, Honor and Terror in
the Middle East, Front Page Magazine, October 24, 2003, www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/authors.asp?ID=2112.)
Families shamed by a female relative's
inappropriate (even if involuntary) sexual relations often murder
their relative to restore their family honour. (See Soraya Sarhaddi
Nelson: Honour in a Non-Secular Society "Another `honor'
victim: Daughter, raped by brothers, killed by mother, Arizona
Central November 14, 2003 AZCentral.com: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1114HonorKilling14-ON.html)
(e) The Arab representative from Christian
Aid, Dr. Mohammed Shadid, specifically expressed this difference
in values in the opening words of his presentation to the Committee.
He stated that while the Palestinians were grateful to the UK
for the financial support, what they really wanted was Britain's
political support against Israel. His people, he said, would prefer
"to go to bed hungry than remain under occupation".
This is significant because it demonstrates
the Arab mindset: loss of honour, shame and the humiliation of
"occupation" is more important than prosperity and physical
well-being. This attitude's ultimate expression is the suicide
(f) These cultural factors suggest questions
which any responsible donor should consider:
(i) Can donations from Western countries
be effectively distributed to those needy people who do not support
the political objectives of the Palestinian ruling elite?
(ii) Can donor countries generally, and Britain
in particular, reasonably expect to see a significant development
of Palestinian democracy any time soon? If not, is there any real
chance that enough trust can be rebuilt between Israel and the
Palestinian leadership to permit the resumption of open negotiations?
(iii) Is there a realistic chance that violence
and terrorism can be replaced by dialogue and compromise as the
Palestinians' preferred means of conflict resolution? If not,
is there any possibility of restoring Palestinian living standards
to pre-September 2000 levels?
This last point is particularly serious since
dialogue, compromise, and agreement have traditionally been seen
by Arabs as a tactic for dealing with a stronger opponent until
political, economic or military circumstances change in their
favourat which point they revert to violence. (The archetype
of this tactic is Mohammed's Hudaibiya treaty). The current Palestinian
leadership has amply demonstrated that its renunciations of violence
and terrorism have never been more than tactical moves; when conventional
negotiations failed to achieve maximal goals, shame, humiliation,
and loss of honour were assuaged by a return to violence.
(See Guy Bechor, Between Hudaibiya and Gaza-Jericho,
Haaretz, May 23, 1994,
p. A2, www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH081x0 (Appendix
Pearl Herman, Disclosed Inside the Palestinian
Authority and the PLO israelbehindthenews.com/pdf/Precis.pdf14
Nissan Ratzlav-Katz The Value of a Signature,
(g) Islam and Dhimmitude. Two factors impact
on any attempt to find a settlement between the Arab world and
First, religious Muslims believe that no land
that has once been under the sway of Islam can ever be permanently
surrendered to non-Muslim control. This prohibition applies to
all the territory west of the Jordan River. Islam demands the
eventual violent re-conquest of any "Moslem territory"
controlled by non-Moslems. These values are still being taught
to Palestinian youth, and appear in Palestinian school textbooks.
(See 2003 Palestinian Authority Textbook Calls for Jihad and
Martyrdom, MEMRI Special Report No. 22 http://www.memri.org/bin/openerlatest.cgi?ID=SR2203
Second, Israel as a Jewish state in the middle
of dar Islam is a humiliation for believing Muslims. Jews,
like Christians, are considered dhimmissecond-class,
inferior beings who are permitted to exist in a Moslem state under
conditions of extreme inequality with their Muslim neighbours.
It would be extremely difficult, to say the least, for orthodox
Muslims to accept the sovereignty of a dhimmi state within
dar Islam, and to be subject to its rule would be intolerable.
(see Bat Ye'Or, Islam and DhimmitudeWhere Civilizations
Collide, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2202. Gazelle
Book Services, Falcon House, Queen Square, Lancaster LA1 1RN,
2002; See also Peace Encyclopaedia. www.yahoodi.com/peace/dhimma.html;
Dhimmis and Dhimmitude: The Status of Minorities Under Islamic
. . . www.dhimmitude.org/5k14 Nov 2003www.dhimmi.com/21k14
This section responds in part to Paragraph 6
of the Committee's Scope of Enquiry: "The role of civil society,
including NGOs, in ensuring a broad popular participation in the
development of Palestinian society."
NGOs have become extremely powerful and influential,
particularly with respect to human rights related issues and the
Arab-Israeli conflict. Their reports, protests and lobbying activities
have a dominant impact on the policies adopted by many governments,
as witnessed by the number of submissions made to the Committee
in this instance.
Many of these NGOs, particularly Amnesty International,
Christian Aid UK, and Human Rights Watch, which receive significant
financial support from generous donors and government budgets,
have not themselves been subject to independent and critical analysis.
It is important to make a distinction between
two different types of NGOsinternational and local. The
former category consists of organisations such as Amnesty International,
Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, Euro Mediterranean Human Rights
Network (EMHRN), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Human
Rights Watch (HRW), and the Ford Foundation. They operate in many
countries and across a range of conflict zones, and have headquarters
either in Europe or the United States. Although most international
NGO's have small on-the-ground teams, most of their information
is garnered from other sources, mainly local NGO's. The information
is then packaged on their websites, in press releases and reports.
Examples of local NGO's in the Middle Eastern include Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Physicians for Human RightsIsrael
(PHRI), B'Tselem, Al-Haq, Adalah, and LAW. The relationship
between local and international NGO's is a determining factor
in how human rights issues are reported across the world.
Local NGOs have many advantages, especially
in terms of acquiring primary information. At the same time, however,
their disadvantages include a tendency to advocate agendas that
reflect only one side of the conflict. They run the risk of losing
perspective and become, as one researcher has termed it, "mandate
blinded." In the Arab-Israeli conflict it is particularly
common for NGO's to focus exclusively on the right of Palestinians
to live normal lives, while utterly ignoring the right of Israelis
to do the same.
In turn, international NGOs often fail to acknowledge
the limitations of local NGOs, and grant them inordinate influence,
assuming that a "grassroots" perspective is ipso
facto accurate and reliable. The information may indeed be
accurate, but it can also be misleading because it fails to present
a full and balanced picture of the situation.
NGOs have a tendency to ignore the wider picture,
either intentionally or unintentionally, by putting their own
interestshowever ethical and noble they may seembefore
the interests of those they claim to assist. Thus, organisations
providing a particular form of assistance to the Palestinians
will consistently assert that more of the same assistance is called
for. Further, organisations attempting to help the Palestinian
population can be relied upon to blame Israel, and never the Palestinian
leadership, for the poverty and oppression of ordinary Palestinians.
To do otherwise would destroy their image of the Palestinians
as helpless, blameless, and thus sympathetic victims, and so would
seriously damage their perception of the value of their labors.
Local NGOs have an interest in gaining the attention
of international NGOs, increase their funding prospects and political
support. The larger and more established international NGOs readily
use material provided by local NGOs because it is from "grassroots"
sources. Even in cases where international NGOs send in their
own teams (for example, in the case of HRW and Amnesty International
after Israel's Operation Defensive Shield of April 2002) these
researchers usually lack the necessary language and contacts to
Instead, like press reporters, they rely on
local teams to show them around and to "find" the right
people to "confirm" particular versions of events. The
Palestinian Authority has encouraged growth in advocacy work in
recent years on behalf of the Palestinian cause, at the same time
clamping down on these advocates' freedom to criticize human rights
abuses within the Palestinian territories. This has resulted in
unintended social and political distortions of NGO information
reporting and service provision.
There is a high degree of interdependence between
local and international NGOs, which in the long term has a negative
impact on the free flow of human rights reporting and humanitarian
relief. All professional organizations need to secure a reliable
flow of resources, and like most news organizations and foreign
ministries, international NGOs naturally tend to concentrate on
conflict areas where information is plentiful and readily accessible.
NGOs vary widely not only in size, nature, and
quality, but also in their apparent motivations. Their power to
"do good" is matched by their power to misrepresent.
Unlike democratically elected governments or publicly traded companies,
NGOs operate outside any systematic framework for maintaining
rigorous standards of accuracy and accountability for the statements
and reports they produce. In some situations, established NGOs
that claim to pursue universal humanitarian goals enjoy a "halo
effect", such that their reports and activities in the framework
of the Arab-Israeli conflict are granted immunity from detailed
scrutiny and criticism. There is an assumption that their motives
are pure, and that they are politically and ideologically neutraland
thus critical review is unnecessary. There is no real evidence
that NGOs, in general, deserve the level of credibility they are
accorded by those who agree with their stated principles.
NGOs produce an immense volume of reports, press
releases and media interviews, making them major providers of
convenient pre-packaged information for journalists, researchers,
and governmental policy makers. As one organisation's findings
are typically echoed by other NGOs, there is an amplifying and
legitimising effect which can create the impression of a massive
consensus among independent observers when, in fact, very few
real field observations have been performed. In this manner, local
NGOs with strong political agendas can have a disproportionate
influence on the crafting of public policy.
All too often, the reports of NGOs display a
partisan bias in total contradiction to their professed commitment
to universal human values. Many of these reports display a selective
morality by obscuring or simply removing the context within which
events have occurred. Such selective reporting grossly distorts
the true humanitarian dimensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In presenting the above analysis, the author
has relied upon as yet unpublished material and the mission statements
supplied to him by the Managing Editor of the NGO-Monitor. In
addition, and as evidence presented to the Committee, the writer
wishes to draw attention to the critical reports on Amnesty International,
Christian Aid and Human Rights Watch provided by NGO-Monitor.
NGO Monitor is an independent organisation whose
aim is "to provide information and analysis in order to challenge
such interpretations and the perceptions that have been built
up, by fostering a comprehensive debate on these critical issues."
Its Editor in Chief is Professor Gerald Steinberg, Professor of
Political Science at Bar Ilan University, and one of the Leading
specialists on Conflict Management and Negotiation; the Managing
Editor is Simon Lassman. (See Appendix 01 for their respective
The Committee's attention is also drawn to a
recent research study by Justus Reid Weiner (cv in Appendix 01)
entitled Illegal Construction in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Center
for Public Affairs, Jerusalem 2003, ISBN 956-218-041-6. This is
an extremely important study as a whole which clearly demonstrates
that a number of local NGO's are engaged more in advancing a political
message than providing humanitarian assistance. The whole text
of the study appears as Appendix 03.
See specific reports on:
Amnesty International: (See Appendix 02).
Amnesty's Latest Report Grossly Overbalanced:
Amnesty in the Arab-Israeli Conflict
(Vol. 1, No. 4) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n04/v1n04-1htm.
Amnesty calls for Washington to review
US arms transfers to Israel (Vol. 1, No. 6) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n06/v1n06-2htm.
AI and HRW criticize UN Commission
on Human Rights for growing politicisation (Vol. 1, No. 7) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n07/v1n07-3.htm;
See also Weiner, supra, text pp. 75-84
and Notes 516-565.
Christian Aid (UK): (See Appendix 02)
Christian Aid Produces Inaccurate
Film (Vol. 2, No.3): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v2n03/v2n03-2.htm
Christian Aid Compromised by Anti-Israel
Ideology (Vol. 1, No.7) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n07/v1n07-1.htm
Human Rights Watch: (See Appendix 02):
Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing
Attacks Against Israeli Civilians http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n01/v1n01-2.htm
AI and HRW criticize UNCHR (Vol.
1, No.7) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/infofile.htm_christ
HRW: Two Steps Forward, One Step
Back (Vol. 1, No.8) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n08/v1n08-2.htm
Human Rights NGOs Distort Israeli
Policy (Vol. 1, No.9) http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/infofile.htm_christ
Israeli Committee on Home DemolitionsICHD
To the best of the Author's knowledge, this
NGO is active mainly in East Jerusalem. The aim of this NGO, as
shown by its name, is to prevent the of demolition Arab residential
construction by the Israeli authorities. ICHD alleges that Israeli
building legislation is used for political rather than safety
and environmental purposes. The net impact of this NGO's activities
on Jerusalem's residential housing supply and perhaps elsewhere
is probably only marginal. However, it is clear from the evidence
given before the Committee by its Coordinator, Jeff Halper, and
from its activities in the field, that the financial support it
seeks will be devoted primarily to the dissemination of a political
message while its contribution to humanitarian aid will be both
indirect and relatively small. Weiner's research has shown, that
much of the building made available to Palestinians by Arab developers
in East Jerusalem and probably elsewhere, is constructed illegally
on land belonging to absentee owners and without their knowledge.
It is often built with substandard materials and workmanship,
and at a greater density than that permitted by the town plan
and of the permitted development in the proximity. ICHD's activities
are specifically examined by Weiner in Appendix 03 at pp.73-75
and notes 507-510.
For the full list of NGOs upon which reports
are available from NGO Monitor consult: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/infofile.htm_christ
While I believe that UNRWA is trying to do an
efficient job of aiding Palestinian refugees, I submit that, unfortunately,
UNRWA in practice is part of the problem and not part of the solution.
I would refer the Committee to a recent paper prepared by Dr.
Avi Beker: UNRWA, Terror and the Refugee Conundrum: Perpetuating
the Misery, Institute of the World Jewish Congress, Jerusalem,
2003, a hard copy of which is submitted herewith (see in Appendices
-unumbered) and incorporated by reference. The PDF file is available
at www.wjc.org.il/beker.pdf as is also available as HTML. It is
also available through a "Google" search under "issn
In particular, I concur with Beker's analysis
that if the refugee problem were to be resolved first rather than
last, much of the conflict would be eliminated. The refugee problem
does not have to be solved only by the return of displaced persons
to areas within Israel. The original recommendations of the UNGA
were also to find solutions through resettlement and rehabilitation.
It is in this regard, among others, that UNRWA has failed in its
Whilst UNRWA's senior managers are undoubtedly
primary loyal to the UN and to broad humanitarian principles,
this does not appear to be true at the crucial "ground level",
where the large majority of UNRWA staff, some 22000, are themselves
Palestine refugees (http://www.un.org/unrwa). This is especially
significant considering that the largest single group of UNRWA
staff are teachers, followed by health service and relief and
social services staffall recruited locally, with priority
being given to applications from registered Palestine refugees.
Such personnel, often highly politicized, are obviously a major
factor in the transmission of hate and incitement in UNRWA schools.
The ease with which Palestinian terror groups have been able to
infiltrate the refugee camps and use non-combatants as a shield
while planning and executing their attacks and manufacturing weaponsincluding
explosives which have injured and killed many innocent Palestiniansis
a further concern.
The responsibility for ensuring the preservation
of the civilian/humanitarian nature of the refugee camps clearly
lies with the Palestinian Authority, since Israel transferred
power over and responsibility for the camps to the PA in 1995.
This obligation is shared with the UN and humanitarian agencies.
It is unfortunate that Israel, in order to protect the lives of
its citizens, has been compelled to re-enter many of those areas
that had previously been ceded to Palestinian control.
UN organisations, including UNRWA, have operated
in the Palestinian Refugee Camps since the 1950's. These organisations
have neither spoken out nor taken action to prevent these camps
from becoming centres of terrorist activity. None have spoken
out against the aggressive and hostile Palestinian actions which
originated in the camps in recent months, nor against the choice
made by Palestinian gunmen in Jenin to make their "last stand"
against Israeli troops in the centre of the civilian refugee camp.
A range of UN Resolutions and other documents
have emphasised the obligation upon both the host (PA) and humanitarian
organisations working within refugee camps to act and speak out
against terrorism and violence taking place in these camps.
UN Security Council Resolutions have called
for the civilian/humanitarian nature of the refugee camps to be
preserved. In this regard reference should be made to UNSC Resolutions
1208 (1998) and 1296 (2000). The latter called upon the Secretary
General to inform the Security Council of instances where refugee
camps are left open to the entrance of armed elements.
Other UN bodies such as the United Nations High
Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) have stressed the importance
of this matter. The responsibility for such preservation lies
with the host of the camp. It is interesting to note that Kofi
Annan, Secretary General of the UN, in an April 1998 UN report
on violence in Africa stated:
Failure to separate armed elements from civilians
has led to devastating situations in and around camps and settlements.
Not separating combatants from civilians allows armed groups to
take control of a camp, and its population, politicising their
situation and gradually establishing a military culture in the
camp. The impact of safety and security of both the refugees and
the neighbouring local populations can be held hostage by militias
that operate freely in the camps, spread terror, press-gang civilians,
including children, into serving in their forces.
In addition humanitarian aid and supplies are
often diverted to these armed elements, depriving the intended
"Blurred lines between the civilian and
military character of camps expose civilians inside to the risk
of attack by opposing forces where camps are perceived as launching
pads for renewed fighting." (UN Document A/52/871, para 30).
In UN Document A/52/871, para 54, the following
Refugee camps and settlements must be kept free
from any military presence or equipment including arms and ammunition.
The neutrality and humanitarian character of the camps and settlements
must be scrupulously maintained.
Why Kofi Annan's observations on Africa are
not applied to the Palestinian Authority is incomprehensible.
This failure, and the total absence of international censure over
the violation of international humanitarian law by Palestinian
Authority and international agencies, stand in stark contrast
to the intensity of international outcry regarding Israel's response
to the terror so readily tolerated and indulged by Israel's critics.
5. AID GIVEN
EU AND THE
UK. DOES IT
Paragraph 5 of the Committee's scope of enquiry
relates to "the accountability of Palestinian government
institutions and the technical capacities of the public and private
sectors to build an autonomous and viable economy." "This
paper responds to this issue by the following discussion on corruption.
Before entering into the details, however, I would remind the
reader of the introductory remarks I made concerning Arab culture,
where leadership is secured not only by eliminating potential
competitors, but by giving support either financially or by employment
to loyal supporter of the leader. Against this background, it
is therefore appropriate to consider the extent to which corruption
permeates Palestinian society.
It is clear from the submission of UNRWA and
the other NGOs that substantial amounts of aid have been donated
by the EU and the UK, intended to support the construction and
rehabilitation of essential infrastructure; to provide basic education,
health, environmental, and sanitation services; to upgrade management
information systems; and to implement technical, programme and
management reforms in the Palestinian Authority. In particular,
according to UNRWA, the UK has funded approximately 65% of the
construction of the sewerage and drainage systems in Beach Refugee
Camp, North and Southsystems that have benefited approximately
49,000 people and have had a marked effect in reducing incidence
of disease in the camp.
However, it is claimed by UNRWA that this significant
international investment in the Palestinian society and economy
is under serious threat, primarily as a result of the strife engulfing
the Palestinian territories since September 2000. It is submitted
that reality is somewhat different from this claim. While funds
have indeed been allocated and transferred to the Palestinian
territories, they have not reached their intended beneficiaries.
I refer the Committee to Rachel Erenfeld's evidence,
which has already been previously submitted independently to the
There is ample evidence to demonstrate that
much of the aid has been siphoned off by the Palestinian leadership
generally, and by Yassir Arafat in particular. Indeed, this is
not surprising, given the structure of Arab culture and society
mentioned above. It is consistent with Arab leadership traditions
that while the leader eliminates potential competitors on the
one hand, on the other hand he maintains his leadership by distributing
a portion of the wealth and power he controls. So long as control
over finances is left in hands which are unaccountable to the
donors, there is little hope that the benefit of the aid will
reach those most in need. Rather, it will be distributed to those
who show their allegiance to the leadership; that allegiance is
best demonstrated by acts of violence and terror against "the
occupation" and Israeli citizens.
While transparency in accounting is a first
step in eliminating the distribution of aid along political lines
rather than according to need, such fair distribution also requires
certain other conditions, of which two may be mentioned.
First, when any modern government or agency
in the world hands out incentives to industry or projects for
regional growth, they demand and receive reports and guarantees.
For example, loans granted by the UK Export Development Corporation,
the US Eximbank, French COFAX and other export development corporations
require borrowers to present periodic reports, including photographs
of work in progress, as a condition for the release of the next
tranche of the loan. Why cannot UK and EU grants for Palestinian
infrastructure projectsor even for the provision and distribution
other equipment, school textbooks or servicesbe subject
to such reporting and inspection? In so doing, the EU could have
evaluated whether the infrastructure projects were in fact being
carried out as expected, or whether European-funded schoolbooks
promoted democratic principles and a positive attitude to other
peoples in the Middle Eastincluding Jews/Israelisand
encouraged the peacemaking rather than "martyrdom".
Second, aid should be distributed by independent
workers. For the most part, NGOs utilize local Palestinian workers
in the field to distribute aid in order to cut down their administrative
costs (and, of course, to provide additional jobs to Palestinians).
However in so doing, the NGOs ultimate objectives are frustrated.
It might be more cost effective to allocate slightly more funds
to employ foreign NGO aid workers who are more likely to ensure
that funds or direct aid benefits the intended recipients.
In this connection it is appropriate to refer
the committee to a position paper prepared by the Prism Group
dealing with "The Alleged Misuse of Funds Supplied to
the Palestinian Authority by the European Union." (see
Appendices 04 or http://www.theprismgroup.org/euinquiry.htm) The
Position Paper is herby incorporated by reference in this submission.
This Report concludes that Arafat and other senior officials have
provided funds and financial assistance to people planning and
executing armed attacks on Israeli civilians, and in so doing
have failed in their obligations both to donor countries and agencies,
and to the intended beneficiaries.
Further information regarding the misuse of
funds and corruption may be found in http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/default.htm.
A number of papers produced by the Intelligence and Information
Center at the Center for Special Studies may be of interest to
the Committee. These include:
Corruption and Exploitation of
the Population in the Palestinian Authority, May 2003 Special
Information Bulletin / March 2003;
Terrorist Organizations in the
Palestinian Territories use UNRWA Officials and Facilities to
carry out Terrorist ActivitiesCaptured Documents Reveal
PA Corruption, Waste and the Employment of PA Funds for Encouraging
and Financing Terrorism;
The Theft of Food Products and
Medications Provided to the Palestinians in the Framework of Foreign
Humanitarian AidThe terrorist organizations in and outside
the PA areas exploit the status of UNRWA employees for facilitating
terror activitiesTerrorist Financing by the Palestinian
Authority March 2003
The Preventive Security Apparatus
in the Gaza as a Corrupt Business CorporationAdditional
Captured Documents Reveal Again the System of Money Transfers
to Terrorist Squads, Personally Authorized by Yasser Arafat, with
the Deep Involvement of Marwan Barghouti
Arafat's and the PA's Involvement
in Terrorism (According to Documents Captured During Operation
(See Appendix 04A)
A recent article published in the November 14,
2003 edition of the Jerusalem Post by Bret Stephens provides
readers with "A Short History of PA Corruption." http://info.jpost.com/C003/Supplements/FSB/031114/art.03.html
6. THE OBJECTIVES
Paragraph 8 of the Committee's Scope of Enquiry
raises the issue of "the role of aid in supporting political
solutions to the conflict". This section attempts to relate
to the issue in the following manner:
Before examining the vast sums that the EU and
other donor countries have dedicated to the education and care
of Palestinian children, it is first appropriate to enquire as
to the purpose of that education and the content of the materials
employed. It surely comes as no surprise to the Committee that
much of the Palestinian Authority's education effort is directed
to the promotion of values that are antithetical to those of European
In this regard, I hereby incorporate as part
of this submission the findings of The Prism Group, Israel, on
the educational objectives of the Palestinian educational system;
(Appendices 05 and 05A) and the report prepared by Funding for
Peace Coalition, Seattle, Washington, USA, which deals not only
with incitement but also with the Palestinian Authority's mantra
of a "Judenrein" Middle East and its explicit denial
of the historical connection and any legitimate connection of
the Jews with the Holy Land. These reports are electronically
linked to this submission and can be downloaded from http://www.theprismgroup.org/education.htm
and http://eufunding.org/ respectively.
Some of the main findings mentioned by Prism,
based on earlier American reseach, showed that in the Palestinian
1. There are failings in the teaching of
civil society and cultural literacy.
2. Jews are "inadequately and inappropriately
represented" in the historical events of the region.
3. There are problems in the teaching of
religious identity, where the textbooks "seem to ignore their
existence (of Jewish religious places) or their importance to
Jews and the State of Israel".
4. With regard to modern history, Jews "are
What is of greatest concern, however, is the
hidden agenda of the PA educational system. It is obvious there
are major influences over students within the school environment
that cannot be found in textbooksthe gap between what is
prescribed and what is actually taught. Major influences in a
child's formative years include the teachers themselves, their
presentation methods, and the role model they present to their
charges. Prism reminds us that
It is pertinent to recall how differing factionsand
especially Hamasare grasping to control the Palestinian
education system. In internal correspondence of the Palestinian
National Authority's Gaza Preventative Security Service the assessment
was confirmed that "Hamas has infiltrated into the Ministry
of Education and . . . [has] thus gained influence over the students."
It was further observed that "The Hamas movement begins to
constitute a real threat to the political vision of the Palestinian
National Authority and to its interests, its presence and its
influence. The influence of the Hamas via the teachers in the
schools is very clear.
In addition to the schools, there is obviously
the negative influence of the home and of Palestinian television
broadcasts. The latter vehicle has been the subject of extensive
research by Itamar Marcus of Palestine Media Watch (see below).
There are still other negative influences over
Palestinian children which require examination, such as quasi-military
summer camps in which children are incited to hatred and violence;
to death rather than to life; to absolutism rather than compromise.
At this point the Committee should recall the cultural aspects
of Arab society that I briefly set out at the beginning of this
The Prism Report, referred to earlier, shows
clearly the sources of funding for Palestinian education, the
extent of the EU's contribution and those of other donor states,
the channels through which the money flows, and the beneficiariesie
the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA.
The Report also points out that while the organizations
and countries that support the PA do not buy textbooks directly,
many of the inflammatory materials would not be available without
their injection of cash.
Prism also notes that the European Commission
has consistently justified its support of the printing of textbooks
on the grounds that the new books, while not perfect, did not
contain incitement. Prism's report refutes this.
Although Prism concludes that the Palestinian
educational system is a direct impediment to achieving peace in
the Middle East, it also draws our attention to the fact that
while its report was being prepared several items of news appeared
indicating that the Palestinian Authority is making some effort
to halt or reduce incitement. Whether this trend can be maintained
and advancedor even if it is "for real" at allremains
to be seen. Given Chairman Arafat's continued control and funding
of terrorist movements, his ability to determine policy from behind
the scenes, and his role as a mentor for the young, encouraging
them to continue their confrontation with Israeli forces, it is
doubtful that these efforts will be maintained until the Chairman
is permanently out of the scene. This assessment is supported
by Toby Harnden, in Palestinians Reprint Schoolbooks Praising
Jihad "Martyrs" Daily Telegraph 18 November 2003
(Appendix 14) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/11/18/wjihad18.xml
and Memri Report 2003 Palestinian Authority Textbook Calls
for Jihad and Martyrdom (Appendix 15) http://www.memri.org/bin/openerlatest.cgi?ID=SR2203;
Palestine Media Watch Ask for Death, Appendix 17; Memri
Video Library (Appendix 18).
While Israel is at present concerned more with
the immediate need to halt terror attacks against her population,
the long-term influence of the present Palestinian educational
system, which accepts and promotes violence and hate as positive
values, must cease if a true and lasting peace is to be achieved
in the Middle East. Although the author is not opposed to the
level of support provided to Palestinian children by foreign governments,
he believes that these donations should be executed and managed
in a transparent manner; and an independent review of the end
product should be introduced to ensure that the result does not
promote further violence and despair.
Reference must be made to the research conducted
by Itamar Marcus of Palestine Media Watch. His organization has
for a considerable time devoted its energies to the monitoring
and translation into English of Arabic television broadcasts,
including those of the Palestinian Authority, along with written
Palestinian educational materials. I understand that he is submitting
his own evidence (which I highly endorse) directly to the Committee.
As important background on the limitations and
obstacles confronting those who desire to eliminate hate, I draw
to the Committee's attention the scope of the "hate industry"
as expressed in a chart summary by the Intelligence and Information
Centre which forms part of the Center for Special Studies, to
be found at http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/default.htm. This
is, in my opinion a very important website.
7. Paragraph 4 of the Scope of Enquiry set by
the Committee relates to the control that the network of settlements
in the occupied territories has over the basic conditions for
the development of the Palestinian economy: agricultural land,
water, movement of persons and goods, environmental impacts.
The alleged control which the settlements exert
over conditions of Palestinian development is manifested in "the
A. The Terrorist Security Barrier (TSB)
Much has been made in other submissions to the
Committee of the impact of the TSB. While the Committee issued
invitations for memoranda on nine issues dealing with the effects
of Israel's actions on the Palestinians, including the effect
of the security barrier, there has been complete silenceand
no call for submissionsconcerning the effects of Palestinian
attacks against Israelis which gave rise to demands for the barrier's
construction. Regardless of one's views as to which party is responsible
for the various aspects of the conflict, one wonders how the Committee
can possibly assess the situation realistically without some discussion
of Palestinian terrorism, which is the leading motivation for
Israeli policies vis-a"-vis the Palestinians in general,
and construction of the TSB in particular.
It should be said at the outset that the reference
in many of the submissions to the Committee to "the Wall"
is a misnomer, both as to its nature and purpose.
The TSB has been erected solely in response
to the Palestinian "Intifada" which began on 27 September
2000before Ariel Sharon's visit to Temple Mount, and not
in response to it (see Mitchell Report).
The following figures have been obtained from
the Israel Defence Forces website:
Israeli civilian casualties between
30 September 2000 and 16 November 2003 have amounted to 629 killed
and 4,250 injured. In UK terms (adjusting, that is, for the 10-to-1
difference in population size) these would be equivalent to 6,290
British citizens killed and 42,500 injured. http://www.idf.il/dailystatistics/english/1.doc.
Between 30 September 2000 and 16
November 2003, there have been 19,465 attacks on Israelis in the
West Bank, Gaza Strip and "Israel proper"of which
8,079 have come from the West Bank. In proportionate UK terms,
this would have constituted 194,650 attacks, of which 80,790 would
have emanated from the West Bank. http://www.idf.il/dailystatistics/english/2.doc.
Since the beginning of the redeployment commencing
29 June 2003 updated, and up to 16 November 2003, some 60 Israeli
civilians were killed and 298 injureda considerable reduction
compared with the previous period. Again, in UK terms, this would
be the equivalent of 600 killed and 2,980 injured. http://www.idf.il/daily_tatistics/english/3.doc.
It is clear that Israel, in fulfilling the obligation
to defend her own people, must be permitted to take defensive
action in proportion to the damage likely to be suffered in the
absence of such action. While it is extremely regrettable that
innocent Palestinians suffer in many waysincluding loss
of free access to land, employment and public servicesthe
blame and responsibility for the current situation lies mostly
with the Palestinian Authority and the terror organisations which
the Authority and its Chairman have refused to confront. On this
latter point, BBC reporter Jeremy Bowen, certainly no friend to
Israel, showed clearly in "Correspondent" on
Sunday, 9 November 2003 at 1915 GMT on BBC Two, that the Palestinian
terrorist groups continue to obey the orders of Yassir Arafat.
Given the tremendous cost (in money and political
capital) of the TSB, it is not really open to argument that its
construction is an attempted land-grab on Israel's part. Were
this a sensible and cost-effective means of acquiring land, it
would likely have been tried long ago. Furthermore, it is also
clear that since the only purpose of the barrier is to help provide
security to Israeli citizens, such expropriation of private land,
including the injurious affection on land still retained by their
respective owners, is justified under the regulations attached
to the Hague Convention of 1907. These are now considered as international
customary law. And form part of Israeli domestic law (see Julius
Stone, Aspects of the Beit-El and Elon Moreh Cases 
Israel Law Review 476).
In considering the nature of the TSB, its route
and impact, I insert below the web link to the Israel Defence
Force web site which provides information on what is termed the
"Seam Zone". This shows that the route of the TSB was
derived from topography, population density and threat assessment
of each terrain compartment. The route also took into consideration
a number of other factors set out on the website, including efforts
to avoid including any Palestinian villages in the area of the
Seam Zone and to minimise disruption to the lives of civilian
populations located along the route. (See Appendix 06 Israel Ministry
of Defence: The Seam Zone) www.seamzone.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/route.htm.
B. "Occupied" or "Disputed"
There has been considerable discussion over
the years as to whether the West Bank and Gaza are "occupied
territories" under international law (especially the Geneva
Conventions). This issue is considered especially relevant regarding
the legality (or illegality) of Israeli settlements in the Territories.
(See Jerusalem Issue Brief Occupied Territories or Disputed
Territories? 2 September 2001, Jerusalem Institute for Public
Affairs http://www.jcpa.org/art/brief1-1.htm). However there has
been an unfortunate confusion in terminology: "Occupation"
does not mean "presence"; and thus Israeli settlements
do not by themselves constitute "occupation". In fact,
Israeli settlements in the Territories are most accurately described
as "close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State
lands and waste lands not required for public purposes"an
activity legalized and encouraged by Article 6 of the League of
Nations Mandate for Palestine, which still retains the force of
law. Such land may or may not come under Palestinian sovereignty
in the future; until and unless it does, there is no valid reason
to consider the settlements "illegal".
In contrast, "occupation" under international
law describes territory where a hostile army has established effective
military control in place of a previous sovereign power. The West
Bank, however, since 1918 has never been internationally recognized
sovereign territory of any nation. Israel's military presence
in the West Bank is thus in a unique category, falling short of
"occupation" under the Geneva Conventions. In this regard,
the author draws the Committee's attention to the article by Professor
Eyal Benvinisti "Israel and the Palestinians: What Laws
were Broken" Crimes of War Project (see Appendix 07)
8. UNEQUAL LEVELS
An uncritical reading of the published details
of poverty and hardship borne by the Palestinian population of
the West Bank gives the impression that all are suffering. In
considering the standards of living of those sections of the Palestinian
population in the refugee camps, one should not overlook the extreme
discrepancies in wealth within Palestinian society as a whole.
Many "wretched refugee camps" in the West Bank and Gaza
are in fact neighbourhoods of above-average Arab towns, located
near Palestinian universities and the residential compounds of
the wealthy. For example, the town of Jenin consists of stone
and concrete buildings, with schools and a private university;
a chamber of commerce and industry; shops selling jewellery, CD's,
computers, confectionary, etc.; offices of travel agencies, lawyers,
engineering firms, insurance agents, restaurants, and banks; mosques,
hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, sports clubs, taxis, traffic jams,
and every thing else one would expect in a modern Western urban
community. Luxury apartments are available to those who can afford
them. The websites of Aqaria, The Palestine Real Estate Investment
Co. attest to a different sort of lifestyle and give a different
picture of the West Bank towns from those we have been accustomed
to see in the UK press and television. (See Appendix 07A) http://www.aqaria.com/almashtal.htm;
IN NGO REPORTS
A number of NGO submissions to the Committee
criticise Israeli water consumption and water pollution. I have
passed the relevant sections for comment to Prof. Haim Gvirtzman,
Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
Regretfully owing to limitations of time he
has responded to me as follows:
I do not have enough time to go over all the
web sites, however, I just want to emphasize few points, which
you should develop.
When the Israelis entered the West Bank and
Gaza in 1967 they found that 90% of the villages had no access
to running water. Today, thanks to Israel, 95% of the villages
have running water and their standards of living had improved
dramatically. Only tiny villages far away at the desert have no
The reported figure of Israeli consumption per
capita being six times that of Palestinians is incorrect. Palestinians
consumption is indeed less than the Israelis on the average. An
Israeli is using on the average 100 cubic meters per year (per
capita), while a Palestinian consumes about 30 cubic meters per
year per capita. Hence the proportion is 3 not 6.
It is important however, to compare the water
consumption of Palestinians in Israel to their consumption in
other Arab countries. For example, the Palestinians at refugee
camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt consume much less than
the Palestinians in Israel. Many houses at these refugees' camps
have no access to running water!! They consume about 5-10 cubic
meters per capita per year.
The Palestine Authority does not allow development
of sewage treatment plants and seem to be unconcerned about contamination
infiltrating into the groundwater reservoirs. In fact they are
responsible for the deterioration of Israel's groundwater and
environment. Many countries in the world offered to give money
to build these plants but they refused and seem to prefer to use
the funds for ammunitions and terror
All the best, Haim"
At this juncture I would also draw the Committee's
attention to two reports (unfortunately at present unavailable
by weblink) prepared by UN Watch in respect of the water utilisation
in the West Bank. These reports dispel some myths: that Israel
controls 100% of the water supply in the West Bank; that Israel
charges Palestinians over US$1 a cubic metre for water it supplies;
and that Israel prevents Palestinians from developing their own
See: UN Watch, "At the United Nations,
Palestinians blame Israel for water problems. To a Palestinian
journalist, Palestinian water professionals tell a different Story"
(Appendix 08) and UN Watch "Water in the IsraeliPalestinian
Conflict: Myths and Facts" (Appendix 09), both of which
are incorporated into this submission.
I am reliably informed that the Israeli Water
Commission is preparing a full report on the water situation in
the West Bank. Publication is planned within the next three months.
As regards the an appropriate regime for the
future utilization of water between Israel and the Palestinians,
I would draw the Committee's attention to Jitzchak P. Alter, Water
in the Peace Process The International Association of Jewish
Lawyers and Jurists www.intjewishlawyers.org/pdf/Justice%20%209.pdf
(Appendix 10) and Benvenisti and Gvirtman "Harnessing
International Law to Determine Israeli-Palestinian Water Rights"
33 Natural Resources Journal Summer 1993, p.543 (Appendix 11)
10. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
This section responds to the issue 9 of the
Scope of the Committee's Enquiry
A. Development Needs of a Palestinian State
Clearly, in light of the analysis given in this
and other submissions, the development needs of the Palestinians
are enormous. However it is essential to distinguish those needs
which are of a physical/infrastructure nature from those relating
to human developmentincluding education in technical, spiritual,
and philosophical spheres.
Addressing physical development requirements
is essentially a matter of setting prioritiesthose relating
to health (provision of potable water supply, elimination of water
pollution, hospitals and medical facilities); welfare (schools
and other social infrastructure); employment (port and communication
facilities, agriculture, manufacturing); and so on.
I am given to understand that during the Committee's
recent visit to Israel, its members were shown Israel's willingness
and ability to support the Palestinians in a wide range of cooperative
medical, engineering, agricultural, and infrastructural projects.
Indeed, on 17 November, 2003, The Jerusalem Post announced
that an electricity distribution agreement has been concluded
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (see Appendix 12)
However, investment in human resources is at
least as important. Such an investment includes the need for Arab
society in general, and the Palestinians in particular, to re-examine
some of their own values. So long as violence remains the preferred
solution to conflict rather than negotiation; so long as recovery
from loss of face, dishonour, and perceived humiliation takes
priority over pragmatic realism in solving "real world"
problems, it is difficult to imagine how Arab-Islamic society
can peacefully co-exist alongside a Western democratic secular
culture. And until Palestinians are prepared to live in peace
alongside Israel, it is nearly impossible to imagine any real
progress in Palestinian economic development.
One of the greatest issues that Palestinian
society must come to terms with its inability to demand some degree
of accountability from its leadership. An indigenous leadership
in the West Bank had been developing until it was effectively
thwarted in 1974 by the Rabat Conference, attended by 24 Arab
nations and the PLO leadership. The Conference recognised not
only the right of the Palestinian people to a separate homeland,
but, over the objections of King Hussein of Jordan, accorded the
PLO recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians.
As the head of the PLO, Yassir Arafat's entry to Gaza and Jericho
in 1994 under the Oslo Accords destroyed any possibility of an
indigenous Palestinian government accountable to its electorate.
Under the Interim Agreement which formed part of the Accords (see
below), elections were supposed to have been held within a short
period of Arafat's arrival; but they were delayed for almost two
years, enabling Arafat and his supporters to crush any moderate
opposition. Thus by the time elections were held, the voters were
presented with no real choice of leadership, and had no independent
press to help them make informed decisions. Rather than reining
in the militant groups who entered the Territories with him, Arafat
used them to crush opposition; and they now constitute a major
prop of Palestinian Authority repression and corruption. Arafat's
political regime in the West Bank falls clearly within the traditional
Arab approach to government described briefly at the beginning
of this paper.
B. Potential for Economic Development with
Oslo and the Betrayal of Trust: Hudaibiya
The technical potential for Palestinian economic
development in cooperation with Israel is vast. The political
desire to cooperate has been demonstrated, even as this paper
was being written, with the signing of the Electricity Distribution
Agreement mentioned above. However, all agreements require mutual
trust if they are to be effective!
In the days immediately following the signing
of the Oslo Accords, professionally I experienced considerable
interest from clients and colleagues in the possibilities of mutual
co-operation, particularly regarding electrical power generation
and distribution, the project which has just come to fruitionat
least on paper. This anticipated cooperation had been based on
the assumption that the Palestinian leadership had truly changed
both its strategy of violence and terrorism, and its long-term
objective of eliminating Israel.
Throughout the negotiations between Israel and
the Palestinian authority, I paid particular attention to the
Declaration of Principles on Interim Self Government Arrangements,
dated 13 September, 1993 ("Oslo I") and the detailed
terms of the Interim Agreement signed between Israel and the PLO
("Oslo II") signed on September 28, 1995. I also followed
up those items of news which impacted on the compliance by both
parties with what had been agreed. What struck me most forcibly
were Palestinian violations of most of the terms of these agreements
from their very inception. Incitement to violence continued to
be expressed in Arabic to the Palestinian population; the maximum
permitted number of armed police was exceeded; the PA failed to
prevent acts of violence and terror against Israel and to apprehend
those responsible; and when it did make arrests (in order to render
suspects immune from Israeli justicethe agreements include
a prohibition on "double jeopardy"), there was a revolving-door
policy of quick release. In particular, there was no cessation
of expressions of hate and incitement in the schools, government-funded
mosques, and Palestinian Authority-controlled media. The major
breach, however, was the failure by Arafat to resolve all outstanding
issues through bilateral negotiations. Arafat is known for saying
in English what the West wants to hear, but saying something quite
different and inflammatory when speaking to his adherents in Arabic.
Unfortunately, I am reluctantly led to believe that Osloostensibly
a strategic agreement for exchanging land for peacewas
really a ploy, a "Trojan Horse" tactic in which the
ephemeral concept of "peace" agreed to by the Arabs
could easily be reversed. On the other hand, the concrete moves
made by Israel in ceding land to the Palestinians were irreversible
without the use of arms.
The Palestinians' strategic goal, according
to an interview given by the late Faisal Husseini on 24 June 2001,
is the liberation of Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the
[Mediterranean] Sea. (See The Oslo Accords were a Trojan Horse,
"Al-Arabi, 24 June, 2001.) The principles of the Treaty of
Hudaibiya made in 628 between Mohammed and his opponents are still
being re-enacted today by the Palestinian leadership, in its conflict
with Israel. See Sari NusseibehThe Trojan Horse http:/www.shaml.org/ground/Nusseibeh/reactions/the
%20trojan%20horse.htm. For Arafat and the Palestinians, "Occupation"
does not mean Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
but rather Israel's presence in any part of the Middle East; the
ultimate goal of Arafat and his supporters is the replacement
of Israel by Palestine. (See: A-Sabah, Official Palestinian
Newspaper (Internet issue), mid-May, 2002, http://www.alsbah.com/news15.htm)
In any event, notwithstanding any public statements
made by Arafat and the PA supporting peaceful co-existence with
Israel, peace cannot take root until many years after the cessation
of the vicious anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement that is
spat out daily in the Arab media and in Arab schools. Suicide
bombers are such, not because of despair, but because they have
been brought up to hate and to kill Jews. This is something that
Arafat or his successor can change and must be made to change
before any meaningful negotiations can take place. Until such
time the TSB and other Israeli security measures are defensive
necessities, despite their regrettable and unfortunate consequences
for both Israeli and Palestinian populations.
C. Necessary Cultural Changes as a Condition
Even if the violence and incitement to violence
were to stop immediately for purely political reasons, there are
the cultural obstacles to peace described earlier that have to
be overcome by both sides.
The Israeli population needs to have a greater
awareness and acceptance of Arab values and sensitivities than
have been expressed in the past. In this regard, the Israel Defence
Force has recently issued interactive training manuals and videos
to its troops, instructing them how to improve their relations
with Palestinian civilians. (See Appendix 16.)
For the Palestinians, especially those with
strong Islamic beliefs, there are a number of cultural obstacles
that need to be faced and overcome before any meaningful peace
can prevail between the parties.
1. Traditional attitudes towards Dhimmis
and religious coercion still prevail in most Arab states. It is
not generally known that in the Palestinian administered areas
there is continuing intense religious intolerance. In particular
the Palestinian Authority is well aware of the persecution of
Islamic converts to Christianity. (Weiner, Human Rights in
the Emerging Palestinian State, Detroit College of Law, Journal
of International Law, 8, pp 540-594.) It is worth noting in this
context that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with
a growing Christian population
2. The vast Arab world has lost face when
confronted with the technological, social, political and particularly
military achievements of a small non-Moslem neighbouring state
like Israel. (See David Pryce-Jones supra) Notwithstanding
Israel's lack of natural resources, its successful absorption
of immigrants and ability to bear the associated financial burdens,
as well as its successful military defence against its neighbours,
has caused Arab shame which can only be assuaged by violent revenge.
Arab honour will be restored only when Israel is eradicated. Unless
there is a radical change in Arab thought on relations with Israel,
the long-term prospects for peaceful coexistence are likely to
be disappointing (See Harold W. Glidden, The Arab World,
Amer J Psychiat 128:8, Feb 1972)
3. While the Arab states have recognised
the advantages of "modernisation" (acceptance and use
of modern communication, transportation and weapons technology)
they have not become westernised in any deep sense. For them,
democratic government, political accountability, sexual equality,
and freedom of speech and religion are foreign and inimical concepts.
Whether the Arab states generally and the Palestinians in particular
are able to institute democratic, responsive, and accountable
forms of government in the medium and long term remains to be
seen. In the short term, attempts to persuade the Palestinians
to become accountable and transparent in their financial dealings
and create an institutional structure whereby leadership and power
can be transferred in a peaceful manner has not yet been proven.
(see Rachel Ehrenfeld, Reforms in the Palestinian AuthorityA
Reality Check, Appendix Annexure 19)
Israel, constituting only one sixth of 1% of
the Arab world, stands as an island of democracy in a sea of Arab
dictatorships and authoritarianismwhether religious or
secularand thus presents a threat to their regimes.
4. More specifically, even if Arafat or
his successor is persuaded that the cessation of violence is to
his advantage, it will take many years to eradicate the anti-Jewish/Israeli
hatred that has been inculcated into the Arab population of the
Middle East over the last century.
Since its establishment, and particularly after
the Six Day War, Israel has been accused of being "racist"
and having colonial aspirations that are an anathema to Arab and
other emerging nations. While this issue is the subject of another
paper, it should be recalled that Israel has among its citizens
not only Jews, but Christians, Muslims, Bahai, and Druze; all
these groups enjoy equal civil rights, and their holy places are
fully respected both in law and in practice. Israeli Arabs participate
in civic public life as members of the Knesset (Israel's legislature),
judges in the Israeli Supreme and lower Courts, in the free professions,
and in the civil service. Ethnically Israel has within its population
black Jews from Ethiopia, coloured Jews from North Africa, Yemenites,
Jews from India, Caucasian white Jews from Europe, as well as
Arab Moslems and Christians. As a cultural minority in the Middle
East, Israel, a country the size of Wales, seeks only the right
of its citizens to live in peace and security; and to be able
to express, as a majority within their own territory, their history,
their own varied Jewish culture. Like other countries Israel also
seeks to maintain its right of self determination so as to enable
its citizens to express their social, religious and secular customs,
their values and practices, without having to justify and expose
themselves to a unique level of international scrutiny and approval.
12 Not printed. Copies placed in the Library. Back