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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, August 15, 2005


It is fascinating how in the Middle East the same situations and issues come up over and over again. The so-called Road Map or Feuille de Route, a so-called plan for peace between the Jews of Israel and those Arabs called "Palestinians" [obviously, since it is sponsored by the European Union, UN, Russia, and USA, it is not a real peace plan] stipulates that the "Palestinian Authority" must dismantle the terrorist organizations, which means taking their weapons away. This is one of the first obligations on the PA to accomplish in order to allow the plan to progress ["progress" here simply means go forward, without any positive moral connotation]. of course, children who love toys --weapons in this case-- don't want to give them up. Nor does Mahmud Abbas [often known by his nom de guerre, Abu Mazen] want to take those weapons away from them. He has said this publicly over and over. Thereby, he openly defies one of the obligations he took on when he and the PA accepted the Road Map. But as we know, undertakings and obligations signed by the Arabs do not have to be carried out as far as the EU, UN, or US State Department are concerned. This practice of overlooking or tolerating Arab violations of agreements goes back to the 1950s when Jordan, Egypt, Syria, etc., repeatedly violated the 1949 armistice agreements. Of course, if there are a dozen official PA armed forces and a half-dozen terrorist militias [which often include members of the official armed forces], then the resulting loss of centralized discipline and control of armed force on the PA side could complicate relations with Israel. That is, the Israeli government might feel obliged to retaliate for attacks, although it is reluctant to do so, in the true spirit of facilitating Arab terrorism, which is one of the true meanings of the Peace Process. And such retaliation might spoil what the diplomats and the media call "peace hopes." Anyhow, the PA under Abu Mazen has done nothing to dismantle or disarm the terrorist groups. Instead he is bringing Hamas into his government.
On the other hand, in 1834, Ibrahim Pasha decided that it was right and proper to disarm the local rebels, who violent and brutal like today's terrorists, although the 19th century had descended to the slogan-concealed barbarism of the 2oth and 21st centuries.

The monk NeoPhytos describes Ibrahim Pasha's policy of disarming the local thugs or rebels.

". . . a message arrived from the Pasha ordering thal all guns, pistols and swords should be collected from the people of Jerusalem, and from the fellaheen. The next day (July 3oth) a herald proclaimed that every man, Moslem, Christian and Jew, should deliver up his arms, otherwise, if during the search arms were discovered, he would be hanged in front of his own door. The good people of Jerusalem at first handed up cheap or useless guns, but on being warned again, they also brought those that were hidden. They possessed, however, rifles and bayonets which they had stolen from the Government armoury; some of these they hid safely and some they threw by night into the Haram esh-Sherif [Temple Mount].

"While this was taking place in Jerusalem, the Pasha was operating in the Hebron district, receiving those who surrendered and collecting the arms from the fellaheen." [p 67]

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Pasha, as we recall, the son and general of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, showed that he meant to be relatively fair to the Jews, at least by contemporary standards in that time and place.

". . . having collected all the arms from the people [in an uncertain location across the Jordan], he sent them to Jerusalem. He had previously sent to Jerusalem the guns, swords and daggers of the people killed in Kerak [in Transjordan]. . . Meanwhile his representative in Jerusalem had ordered the people of the villages around Jerusalem to hand in their guns. They brought but one-tenth of what they had, so he proceeded to Bethlehem and Beitjala [Beyt Jallah, ancient Gilo (Josh 15:11, II Samuel 15:12, 23:34)] and calling together the Sheihs, he ordered them to bring immediately the hidden arms. They swore that they did not have any. He threatened to hang the lot of them and gave some of them merciless beatings, after which two hundred more guns were produced. When the people of the other villages heard of this, arms arrived every day on camels until the armoury at the citadel [David's Tower] was filled . . .

"On September 5th, Kutchuk ("the Little") Ibrahim Pasha, having lately arrived in Jerusalem, had three fellaheen beheaded for molesting a Jewish merchant on his way from Jaffa. One was beheaded at David's Gate [now called Jaffa Gate], one at Damascus Gate, and one at Gethsemane Gate [now usually called Lions' Gate, on the east side of the Old City, close to the Garden of Gethsemane, dear to Christian tradition], where their corpses hung for seven days.
"On September 9th a herald proclaimed throughout Jerusalem, that all hidden arms should be delivered up, on penalty of death for the man in whose house a gun would be found."[p 71]
<>"On the morning of September 10th, the Pasha unexpectedly arrived in Jerusalem. . . the same day 22 cannon were fired to announce his arrival. The next day 100 men, Christians, Moslems and Jews were forced to work with picks and hoes to destroy the houses and trees of those Moslems who were unwilling to hand over their arms, and who had fled to the desert of Idumea [Judean Desert or Negev?]. The houses were demolished and all the fig and olive trees and vines were uprooted. The same sentence was executed on all those of the villages, who had abandoned their homes."On September 14th, ten Christians were brought from Beitjala, handcuffed and manacled, and cast into prison, because Moslems had reported that they possessed hidden arms.
"At 9 o'clock of the same day, a Christian from Beit Sahur was beheaded in the Wheat Market, because of a slanderous report that he had helped the Moslem traitors of Bethlehem to escape.
"When the fellaheen had joined with the [Muslim] people of Jerusalem, about which we have already spoken, they stole many things. . . Amongst other things, they stole powder and lead and 3,000 rifles with bayonets from the armoury. The Pasha demanded the return of these arms form the people of Jerusalem. He believed that it was they who stolen most of them, for the following reasons: (A) Fifty had already been found in a grocery shop in a hole that had been dug up and plastered over again. (B) Some had been found scattered on the streets and in the Haram esh-Sherif, where they had been dropped during the night. (C) When they were burying the dead in the Moslem cemetery, they found arms instead of bones in the graves.
"He therefore, gathered the elders of the city and warned them to speak the truth. They swore an oath that they did not have such things. Then he flogged some, imprisoned many, and tortured others, but he did not succeed in getting anything.
"The next day he brought ten Orthodox and Frank notables of Bethlehem in chains, and gave them a dreadful flogging because they had failed to collect the arms from the people of their town. The Pasha discovered that they had found nearly 500 guns, so he punished them by fining them 100,000 piasters. . ." [p 72]
Note that Ibrahim Pasha really wanted to collect the weapons held by civilians, although his methods are considered excessive by today's standards. Now, Mahmud Abbas [aka Abu Mazen] openly avows his refusal to collect weapons from terrorist groups, despite his and the PA's commitment to the "Road Map." What's more, the Quartet of peacemongers does not seem to care. That is, it does not care to insist on Arab fulfillment of Arab commitments, just as before the Six Day War the UN, the West and the Communists did not insist that the Arabs respect the armistice agreements that they had signed.
Note that the rebels in 1834 were led by their local notables and shaykhs [here called sheihs], it was not a class revolt, despite the fancies and daydreams of certain 21st century sociologists.
Further, the Jews, who had not taken part in the revolt, were made to do forced labor along with other residents who had.
Some rebels were punished by wrecking their homes. Recall that when Israel wrecked homes of mass murderous terrorists, there was much international condemnation, including some from the US State Department. Further, Israel was falsely charged with violating the Fourth Geneva Convention. Actually, Geneva IV allows an "occupying power" (another false charge made against Israel, but for argument's sake, we use the term) to destroy civilian property for military purposes. Indeed, destroying houses has an old precedent in this part of the world.

- - - - - -
The monstruous expulsion of Jews from Gush Qatif continues, whereas Jews lived in Gaza and nearby areas [such as Kfar Darom] in ancient, medieval, and modern times up to the British-instigated Arab pogroms of 1929 in Gaza city, when the remaining Jews were "evacuated" by the British "for their own good." Kfar Darom, as said before, was refounded in 1946, wrecked by the Egyptian army in 1948 --its Jewish inhabitants driven out-- and refounded once again after the 1967 Six Day War.
Sharon should remember that the Russian tsars too delighted in expelling Jews from their homes. Bear in mind that this is what happens to Tevyeh der Milkhiger in the Sholom Aleykhem stories about Tevyeh [put on Broadway as Fiddler on the Roof]. He and the other Jews are driven out of their shtetl Anatevka. Is Sharon proud to treat the Jews as the tsars did? Is George Bush proud of being the instigator of said policy?


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