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November 18, 2003

Terrorism and Counter-terrorism: the Issue of the Day
Arash Bateni  [info|posts]

terrorism.jpg On September 26, 2002, Maher Arar, a Canadian Citizen, was traveling back from Tunis to Montreal via New York, where he was fingerprinted, insulted, arrested, and imprisoned by the US officials. He was accused of suspected link to al-Qaeda. After 12 days he was deported, not to his home in Canada, but surprisingly to Syria, his country of birth. In Syria once again he was imprisoned and severely tortured to confess to his cooperation with terrorist groups: an allegation made by Americans!

Almost a year later Arar was released without any explanation and returned to his family in Canada. US officials never apologized nor provided any evidence to explain their "extra-legal" action. Instead they repeated the familiar argument that such precautions are inevitable to stop terrorism. There are still many mysteries about Arar's story that the Canadian public and media are trying to solve. However it is now fairly clear that Arar was not a terrorist, he was not a member of al-Qaeda and he did not know any one who belonged to this group. Arar was a victim of the new security policy in North America.

Unfortunately, Arar is not the only victim of the new policy. Many in the United States (and Canada) have been harassed, arrested and/or imprisoned by authorities, without any solid accusation. In most cases they are suspects merely because of their religion, colour of skin, or country of birth. In other words, the authorities terrorize the citizens and violate their basic rights for the sake of security or as a counter-terrorism action.

The problem is even more alarming at the international level where the governments are less accountable for their actions. The case of Iraq shows how the western governments feel free to gamble on the destiny of a nation in the name of "war on terrorism." They began the war with the claim of suspected weapons of mass destruction and links to 9-11 attacks, none of which proven to exist. Iraqis who every day watch the deepening mess in their country are victims of the new policy too.

Today it is amazingly difficult to distinguish between terrorism and counter-terrorism. Israel calls the assassination of Islamic militants "war on terrorism," no matter how many civilians are being killed in the process. The US, the pioneer of war against terrorism, is now considered as the terrorist state, not only in the Muslim world, but also by many scholars like Noam Chomsky and influential figures like George Soros. The Economist, an influential and ideological supporter of the aggressive counter-terrorism policy, now admits that post 9-11 approaches ”not only widened the differences between America and the rest of the world, but have also deepened divisions within the country itself”.A global opinion survey shows a steep plunge in the world's favourable view towards the US after the beginning of its so-called war on terrorism. Europeans, who after 9-11 showed a massive solidarity and support towards America, now consider the US as the second largest thread to the world peace (after Israel and in a tie with Iran and North Korea).

In brief, it is apparent that the current counter-terrorism approach, led by the United States, shares many similarities with the terrorism itself, and in some cases it is even indistinguishable. The terrorism is a problem that shouldn't be fought with having more violence. It has its motives and roots, which should be understood and resolved. I remember a placard held by an old lady in an antiwar demonstration in Toronto: WAR FEEDS TERRORISM, JUSTICE STARVES IT.

Comments
khalil at November 18, 2003 02:58 PM [permalink]:

Noam Chomsky is hardly a repected scholar.

While it's unfortunate that innocent people suffer in the effort to eliminate terrorism; it is impossible to avoid entirely. I think you miss the point that these are exceptions. Granted, any mistreatment of innocent people is tragic, but these mistakes aren't carried out with malicious intent. I wish the same were true of the treatment of people by Iranian officials (or those of North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Lybia, et al.)

Your remarks need to be put into context. No one wants to prosecute innocent people, but in the effort to protect the masses, some individual liberties may suffer. (and they suffer considerably more in the repressive regimes mentioned above).

Essam at November 18, 2003 04:14 PM [permalink]:

Agreed. There is nothing wrong with construction criticism, but those who live in glass houses, should not throw stones. American foreign policy is certainly not perfect, but it's important to remember that there would be no counter terrorism efforts, if there were no terrorism. We have alot of problems of our own that need to be addressed before we start pointing fingers at others.

B.....m at November 18, 2003 07:40 PM [permalink]:

I think khalil and Essam have missed the point of the argument. The question is not whether Islamic Terrorism or oppressive governments are bad or good, or whether counter-terrorist policies are necessary or not (as the answers are obvious); the question is whether the way U.S. and Israel handle these issues is legitimate or merely another form of terror and oppression. I think cases like Mahar Arar’s case, Iraq’s war, the handling of Guantanamo bay’s prisoners of war, and massive air strikes on populated areas for hunting individual militants, should make us at least highly dubious about the anti-terrorist actions of the mentioned governments. Saying this does not imply that Western governments should be ignorant about the danger of terrorism, but, the fight against terrorism does not legitimize violations of the United Nation’s Charter of Human Rights, or Geneva Convention (as terrorism and oppression are nothing but a form of violation of these treaties). Also, the fight against terrorism should not become an excuse for imperialist ambitions; this only leads to more terrorism. Before the war on Iraq not even one case of Islamic suicide bombing involved Iraqis; now, almost everyday an Iraqi suicide bomber attacks the U.S. troops and their allies. The double-standard behavior of the American and the Israeli governments towards terrorism, and human rights issues, makes it harder for secular and pacifist activists to form popular movements against oppression, terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism and in favor of democratic regimes. So, an important condition to have people free from the sort of governments that khalil mentioned is to require all countries, and especially the more powerful ones, to avoid terrorism and oppression. Khalil says some of these hardships are unavoidable in fight against terrorism. Is it necessary to torture Maher Arar, and send him to Syria instead of Canada just to give him more torture? Is it necessary to keep prisoners of war in such conditions that the International Red Cross’s report describes it as a “catastrophe on human rights”? Is it necessary to delay a visa to a well-known man like Abbas Kiarostami to attend Chicago film festival? Essam says “We have a lot of problems of our own that need to be addressed before we start pointing fingers at others”. I mentioned above how what the U.S. and Israel are doing may have negative effects on how we address the problems in our country, but I also add that for people like me who live in North America, all these are everyday-life problems (see “I am going to study in America”, Ghazal Geshnizjani, posted on Oct 30, 2003 in FREETHOUGHTS).

A not relevant point: khalil considers Chomsky “hardly respectable scholar”. As for his scholarship I urge khalil to take a look at the index of any textbook on linguistics or cognitive sciences. I bet Chomsky’s entry would be one of the most referred ones. And as for respect I bet khalil has never taken a course of cognition or linguistic nor he has ever attended an anti-war protest. Khalil may find Chomsky’s idea’s not acceptable (as I sometimes do), but considering Chomsky “a hardly respectable scholar” reveals either khalil’s high expectations or his profound ignorance.

Panther at November 18, 2003 11:42 PM [permalink]:

Khalil, as B....m pointed out, Chomsky is one of the most famous (well-known) scientists in the field of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, and one of the most well-known living American political critics. His ideas are usually deliberately ignored by mainstream media in the US, and he's more famous abroad than he is in the US. Several of his books have been translated to Persian and available in Tehran book markets.

hazhir at November 19, 2003 10:39 AM [permalink]:

I think the actions of most governments, U.S. included, are driven by pragmatic and self centered concerns, rather than ethical ones. So even if it is not ethical/just/right to send Maher Ahrar to Syria, this argument can not convince a U.S. policy maker to change the way things are handled. I think a more fruitful way to make a persuasive argument for a polititian is to look were the short-sighted actions have actually hurt the U.S./politicians cause in long-term. For example, the way the Iraq situation is handled is already backfiring and hurting U.S. administration. Had they involved U.N. from the beginning there was a good chance that they could do better today.
Meantime, this is not to urge people to forget about ethics. For one thing at a more personal level many people DO care about justice; moreover, the vote and voice of people is always a pressure lever that elected politicains recognize very well.
Put together, I think it helps to recognize the differences between the two different audiences, and talk with them in their own language.

Arash Bateni at November 19, 2003 11:04 AM [permalink]:

Wow!
B....m: I am really impressed with you comment. I think you should have written the post instead of me. There is nothing left for me to respond to Khalil or Essam.

yahya at November 19, 2003 01:06 PM [permalink]:

Did you know that Chomsky is among the top 10 cited sources in Humanities?
Here is the list:
Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare,Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, Freud, Chomsky, Hegel and Cicero.

I believe his work in Linguistics can be compared with Newton's work in Physics.

Senior Grad at November 19, 2003 01:47 PM [permalink]:

Upon searching the internet, one finds out that there seems to be a serious debate on the meaning of the word "terrorism" (even aside from the necessarily accompanying political hullabaloo around it) and also its usage. Interestingly enough, and as one would expect, Chomsky, being primarily a linguist, seems to have his own defintion, although "[he] has pointed out that even according to the definitions employed by the State Department, CIA and FBI, the U.S. has been the biggest supporter of international terrorism since the end of the Second World War." ( See more at http://oznik.com/words/010923.html ).

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 20, 2003 04:58 AM [permalink]:

Terrorists target civilans DELIBERATELY to induce terror and gain advantage. How is it possible that you can not distinguish between the US or Israeli policies and that of the terrorists!!? Maybe you don't WANT to see clearly enough.
Would you please give your suggestions as to what should be done to counter terrorism? besides the utopian old lady demonstrators slogans of course...
Chomsky might be an important linguist, but his political ideas are that of a pathetic clown.

M.R.Bateni.IRAN at November 20, 2003 08:37 AM [permalink]:

Dear Arash,
1. Your posting, I believe, obviously reflects a biased anti-American view.
2.I used to attend Chomsky's classes some years ago at MIT. Many linguists,including me, strongly believe that Chomsky's ideas about language have blocked the progress of liguistcs for forty years.
3.As a political critic, Chomsky is drastically against the American foreign policies.But he does not care what some
governements do to their peoples across the world. He could not
care less what atrocities are committed by the governement of Iran .He is only interested in the wrongdoings
of the American governement.
Whatever Chomsky says regarding linguistics and /or politics must be taken with a pinch of salt !
I

M.R.Bateni.IRAN at November 20, 2003 08:38 AM [permalink]:

Dear Arash,
1. Your posting, I believe, obviously reflects a biased anti-American view.
2.I used to attend Chomsky's classes some years ago at MIT. Many linguists,including me, strongly believe that Chomsky's ideas about language have blocked the progress of liguistcs for forty years.
3.As a political critic, Chomsky is drastically against the American foreign policies.But he does not care what some
governements do to their peoples across the world. He could not
care less what atrocities are committed by the governement of Iran .He is only interested in the wrongdoings
of the American governement.
Whatever Chomsky says regarding linguistics and /or politics must be taken with a pinch of salt !
I

Victor Hanson at November 20, 2003 10:53 AM [permalink]:

America reads daily about this growing anti-American sentiment and I wonder whether those abroad stop to ponder the effect of all this easy invective on those of us who live here. Americans as never before are re-examining all the old alliances and friendships, from troops in Europe and bases in the Mediterranean to peacekeepers in the Balkans and ships in the Gulf. If privileged Western protesters cannot tell the difference between what Saddam did and what America is trying to do in Iraq, if they think that tomorrow's Saddams, Milosevics and Kim Jong Ils will be awed by Nobel Prize awards, barristers in The Hague and EU resolutions rather than aircraft carriers, or if they assume in their end-of-history world that their worship of reason is equally shared by all those outside the West, we may be soon entering a far scarier world, when America in exasperation — as it did for most of its history before the European wars — will simply shrug and say: "Good luck to you all."

Senior Grad at November 20, 2003 10:54 AM [permalink]:

It seems that the above comment by M.R.Bateni has been aborted (there is an "I" at the end), but I would like to share my opinion in regard to what it says in its current shape. First of all, about Chomsky, I try not to be awed by authorities, and Noam Chomsky is one big authority in my opinion. Chomsky is, by all accounts, an important linguist and he is also a very controversial intellectual. However, ask your average American whether she's heard of Chomsky and she'd think Chomsky's probably a brand of vodka. So, for whatever reason, Chomsky has had little impact outside certain circles. He has been bemoaning about the injustice of American foreign policy for, what, about 40 years now?, that his ideas seem threadbare and even -may I say it?- boring.

As for his impact on linguistics (because he doesn't seem to have had much success in effecting a tangible change in America's foreign policy!), however, I do not understand how a man, be it Chomsky or else, could "have blocked the progress of liguistcs for forty years" single-handedly, not to mention that I do not understand what it really *means* to block the progress of a branch of knowledge, in an open society where there is enough freedom of expression, not just for the likes of Chomsky to voice their opinions, but for *everybody* to freely challenge the ideas of as big authorities as Plato.

Given the fact that we are talking about America (and don't tell me that America does not stand up to its own ideals of democracy. Show me another country that is *closer* to democratic ideals than the United States), it therefore makes as much sense to say someone has "blocked the progress of linguistics" as it does if one says someone has blocked the progress of physics. I must therefore conclude that such allegations have simply to do with our deep-rooted conspiracy-theoretic mentalities.

Arash Bateni at November 20, 2003 02:28 PM [permalink]:

Dear M.R. Bateni: This is doesn't seem proper to label someone as being "biased" or "Anti-American" because he criticized a "downside" of the US foreign policy. I've chosen to live in North America since I believe (and appreciate) the fact that it is a democratic society. And that is why I criticize its negative aspects in a democratic way: sharing my opinion with others and welcome all the responses. So I wish to see your idea about my post (not myself) with more supporting argument/evidence.

Also I'd like to add that "the doubt" about the success of current aggressive counter-terrorism approach is not necessarily related to anti-Americanism. The Economist, an influential and ideological supporter of this policy, now admits that post 9-11 approaches "not only widened the differences between America and the rest of the world, but have also deepened divisions within the country itself". (I added this statement and the reference to the post for more clarity).

B....m at November 20, 2003 07:01 PM [permalink]:

Both M.R.Bastani and Victor Hanson have considered Arash's essay biased and anti-American. I wonder what they mean by anti-American. I would guess both M.R. and Victor criticize the current government of Iran for its actions against humanity; would this make them anti-Iranian?
M.R., who is educated enough to attend lectures at MIT, finds that Chomsky (by himself?) has blocked a field of science. Einstein, who had the most influence in 20th century physics, was probably the most famous criticizer of quantum mechanics; he never believed it, and found the Realist school of quantum mechanics, which was to prove the incompleteness of quantum mechanics. Never I’ve heard anyone saying his ideas “blocked” physics. How can an idividual scientist, with “pathetic political views of a clown”, block linguistics?
AIS is right. Terrorists target civilians, but Americans and Israelis target “militants”. The problem is that whenever U.S. and Israel make an air strike, they know that there would be more civilian casualties than “militants”. And by the way, these “militant” sometimes turn out not to be militants at all, and they are almost never proved to be militants. Anyways, all I am saying is that there are better ways to handle these problems only if U.S. and Israel want. And this brings us to AIS’s question: “what should be done to counter terrorism”. A few simple and handy solutions: 1- Don’t bring terrorists into power: that includes the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan. 2- Stop supporting undemocratic governments like those of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirate, Kingdom of Jordan, the illegitimate president of Pakistan, and …. 3- Don’t exploit nations as much as you can. Here’s a link for you to see what Barak offered in Oslo peace process (http://www.gush-shalom.org/generous/generous.html ). Also, it was Barak who was not satisfied with the agreement and left the discussions. I remind you that the second Intifada began only after the failure of Oslo. To achieve peace and get rid of Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East, a good solution is to follow UN treaties relevant to the rights of the Palestinians: either grant the Right of Return to Palestinians or at least give them something as worthy(more details: http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/israel/return/ ); follow the obligations of an occupier( http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/israel/return/isr-pa-rtr.htm ); and, recognize the authority of a Palestinian government over some agreed boundaries. 4- Support democratic and pacifist movements. This one is a rather more interesting one. In the past few years the news leaked out that Iranian and American officials had face to face diplomatic talks. In all cases it turned out that Americans were dealing with the anti-democratic conservatives. US can refuse to acknowledge any political relevance to the undemocratic forces in support of the more democratic ones, being reformists or out-of-power alternatives. In the coming years Iran NEEDS to get into WTO, and that cannot be done without a permission from the US (Akbar Ganji explains this in his “Manifest e JomhoorikhAhi”). US can use this to either get cheaper oil, or a more democratic Iran. We’ll see what she chooses.
All these points(and more can be offered upon request), are to show that there are “cleaner” ways to counter terrorism; but, that’s only if US and Israel want.

Senior Grad at November 21, 2003 10:09 AM [permalink]:

I am embarrassed to note a bad mistake in my English comment above: where I used "stand up" I meant to use the verb "live up". Sorry.

Senior Grad at November 21, 2003 10:15 AM [permalink]:

I also have to caution on the use of the word "militant". Militant does not always mean what it looks like it means (because it brings to mind words like military or militia). As far as the present meaning of the word is concerned, it has little to do with *armed* opposition. For example, the term "militant Islamist" can be aptly used to refer to what in Iran we know as HEZABOLLAHI. A militant, in other words, *can* be also a civilian.

M.R.Bateni.IRAN at November 21, 2003 12:54 PM [permalink]:

Thank you for your comments on my comment regarding Noam Chomsky. Mind you,I did not say that Chomsky personally blocked progress in linguistics. But I did say that Chomsky's ideas
about language did so. What I meant was that his
false ideas obout the nature of language,embodied
in his theory of Transformational-Generative
Grammar, led the mainstream of linguistics into a
blind alley from which it has not fully escaped yet.
To support this claim,I have to give you a detailed account of the history of linguistics
since 1957 when Chomsky's book entitled"Syntactic
Strutures" appeared. Unfortunately,I cannot do this here,but I will do it in one of these postings.

Senior Grad at November 22, 2003 03:22 PM [permalink]:

M.R.Bateni.IRAN wrote: "Mind you,I did not say that Chomsky personally blocked progress in linguistics. But I did say that Chomsky's ideas about language did so..." Right. I had misread your comment. Sorry. This makes more sense now.

Bill at December 9, 2003 01:29 AM [permalink]:

An overt action by a government, specifically the military, should not be termed as terrorism. This renders the term meaningless. Such actions are either acts of oppression or acts of war.

Chomsky always criticizes American actions, assigning his interpratations of motives. He is on the fringe of American political discourse.

Bill at December 9, 2003 01:49 AM [permalink]:

Those of you who question the necessity of anti-terrorist activities should beware American anger, which currently is quite tempered, though you may not think so.

There is no equality between the deliberate murder of unsuspecting civilians and the unintended consequences of the reactions to those attacks.

If you want such equality, then have your jihadis wear uniforms. We don't know who does and who does not want to kill large numbers of us, and if you think we should merely act like everyone is friendly, well I shall stop before I become even more dosagreeable than I am now.

But if I were you, I would be praying that the soldiers af allah are not successful, and also trying to do something about it.

JFTDMaster at December 10, 2003 01:15 AM [permalink]:
Arash: "Many in the United States (and Canada) have been harassed, arrested and/or imprisoned by authorities, without any solid accusation. " - Are you talking about citizens, or checks on people (like students) entering the country? How many is many? Is your information based on studies, or on hearsay from your friends? As for Arar, has it ever occured to you that perhaps he did know terrorists, but was released because of his cooperation? I don't know for sure, do you know? If its true, then you wouldn't hear any explanation from Canadian government, there would be a "cloak of secrecy", and thats exactly what I see.. B...M "I think cases like Mahar Arar’s case, Iraq’s war, the handling of Guantanamo bay’s prisoners of war, and massive air strikes on populated areas for hunting individual militants, should make us at least highly dubious about the anti-terrorist actions of the mentioned governments. " - I already talked about Arar's case.. As for what is acceptable and what is not in the war on terrorism, who's to judge? What America does is at least usually open to public scrutiny in America, with America being a Democracy and all. Do you really believe it is possible to win a "war on terrorism" without using any weapons? Obviously use of force should not be the sole strategy, but using Iraq's war as example, if Bush succeeds in what he said he'll do, in the creation of a real democracy in Iraq, don't you think that would be a good thing, for Iraq and for the world? Thousands of Iraqi civilians are no longer dying monthly due to Saddam, how important is that to you? Balance between rights and effectiveness of the war on terror is certainly a delicate issue... "Is it necessary to keep prisoners of war in such conditions that the International Red Cross’s report describes it as a “catastrophe on human rights”?" - The International Red Cross has become a politicized organization a long time ago, and I wouldn't trust much of what they say. Given that the prisoners are given their own quarters, time for prayer, Muslim chaplains etc, I don't think its that horrible there. Chomsky is famous in linguistic in a serious manner, and he's famous as being a kook in politics. No offense. hazhir: "I think a more fruitful way to make a persuasive argument for a polititian is to look were the short-sighted actions have actually hurt the U.S./politicians cause in long-term. For example, the way the Iraq situation is handled is already backfiring and hurting U.S. administration. Had they involved U.N. from the beginning there was a good chance that they could do better today." - The fact is that France promised to veto any action against Iraq, ever, despite there being a UN resolution demanding Iraq prove it has no WMD's. This might have something to do with France's lucrative oil deals with Saddam, like they have with Iran's regime (which gives money to the regime and to France at the expense of the Iranian people). B...M again "The problem is that whenever U.S. and Israel make an air strike, they know that there would be more civilian casualties than “militants”." - Is that a fact or a stereotype? Why do you think Americans used million-dollar cruise missiles, if not to minimize civilian casualties? Why do you think Israel usually sends troops to arrest terroists, instead of bombing whole cities like British and Americans did in Iraq? How many civilians died in Iraq during the bombing? Less than 500. "what should be done to counter terroris ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Kaveh Kh. at December 10, 2003 09:23 AM [permalink]:

The Palestinian's [and in fact the Muslim world's mostly] approach to peace with Israel is the removal of Israel from the map. This is the basis of all of the Palestinian factions and in fact is what Arafat himself keeps preaching in Arabic.

Isn't it time that Palestinians see that they are not only oppressed by the Israeli military, but by their friends in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. I can also add Iran and Saudi Arabia but I'll give that a pass. These people are truly prisoners of their false convictions.

SM at December 10, 2003 03:16 PM [permalink]:

JFTDMaster,

"...
The arabs who stayed, became Israeli citizens. The ones who left as Israel was being formed, are not citizens, and we won't accept them as citizens. (And no we did not expell them, they bet on the wrong side). ..."
Sir,
1. By the same logic those jewish people who left palestine some 3 thousands years ago bet on the wrong side and they should not have the right of return. How about that?
Can you tell me on what ground you think all jewish people can be and in fact are considered israeli citizens and have the right of return to their promised land despite the fact their ancestors left that land some milleniums ago but the same thing can not be applied to palestinian who left the land during past 50 years?
I think it is more logical for Israel to say we dont like them so they can not come back than using this kind of akward logic (logic?!) that does not make any sense.
2. Ok, dont let the refugee in, occupy their cities if you think it is good for your security, bomb and capture the terrosrists, but can you tell me what is the purpose of building those settlements? What kind of "reasonable expectations or leaders" from Israeli sides support building these?

JFTDMaster at December 11, 2003 07:48 PM [permalink]:
> a) The right of Israel to exist was not based on history, it was based on the need of the jewish people for a state after centuries of persecution. This is why in 1917 the League of Nations gave the British the Mandate over Palestine, and the expressed purpose was to oversee a settlement of the general area called Palestine by the Jews, because the area was mostly empty at the time. b) Some jews and some arabs lived in the area for centuries, but the majority of both the jews and the arabs came there within the past 100 years. c) All the early zionists, being secular humanists, wanted a state in the entire area, what would now be called a "one state solution", for all arabs and jews in the general area called palestine. d) Arab leaders rejected this, and attempted to "push the jews into the sea". Arab leaders rejected the idea of living in peace with Jews, unless the Jews were subjugated to them. e) There were large numbers of arabs migrating to the area, the majority of people who actually became refugees in 1948 came there only a few years earlier. f) So it became obvious a partition of some sort would be necessary. This is why Jordan (78% of the british mandate of palestine) was cut off from Palestine, and why Jews were not allowed to live there. Arab leaders wanted more. There were other proposed partition, like the partition of the peel commission in 1938, which the jewish leaders accepted but the arabs rejected. Then there was the 1948 partition by the UN, which Israel agreed to, and declared independence. The arab side rejected that, and publicly said they will massacre the jews. If you examine the motives of the arab leaders making the decisions from now until then, you will see that the reason they demand a return of refugees is to destroy Israel. No other reason. If the 5th generation refugees come into our country, their sole purpose would be to erase the identity of Israel: they do not accept our nation's existence, how can they become citizens? They now have a competing identity, formed by the PLO. They want all the land, and they want the jews to be subjugated to them. They want our nation gone: we do not, and that is why we won't accept any more arab refugees, besides the 150000 we've accepted to reunify them with their family. > - Many of the settlements were formed by people who were kicked out from the west bank only a few decades earlier, on land that they owned before the 1948 partition. Also, the 1949 armistice agreements between Israel and Jordan were never meant to represent a permanent border, which is why the west bank was considered disputed between Israel and Jordan during Jordan's occupation. Over a million arabs live in Israel, why is it illegal for jews to live in the West Bank? When Iran becomes a tolerant democracy (soon I hope), will it be illegal for Jews to live in Iran? Now the only difference is that the territory is also disputed. So who exactly has a claim to it? Well, the league of nation mandate called for the settlement of jews in all of palestine, but lets forget about jordan for now. Jordan had sovereignty there for 20 years, they surrendered it. All arab legal entities rejected the 1948 partition, which would have given them a legal sovereign status. The state of Israel is the only entity with a legitimate legal claim there. But we do want peace. When Palestinian leaders promised peace, we withdrew from all palestinian cities for 5-6 years, to see if they mean it. And Israe ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
JFTDMaster at December 11, 2003 07:49 PM [permalink]:

please read this

LINK