Saturday, February 21, 2009

"As the Arabs see the Jews" by His Majesty King Abdullah I, 1947

"An essay written by the late King Hussein's grandfather King
Abdullah I, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948
Arab-Israeli War. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic
right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there
for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note,
warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to
protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine."

Perhaps now is the time for this letter to be answered ... we have had enough of the dire consequences of American neglect, contempt, hegemony, et al ... time for some change we can all live with! J

The American Magazine November, 1947:
"As the Arabs See the Jews" by HM King Abdullah I of Jordan

"I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the
tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American
understanding, American sympathy, American support.
So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps
more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to
them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that
the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing
of the true case for the Arabs.
We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of
America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed
on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.
There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish
citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise
in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and
we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.
The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible
caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we
cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been
almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in
spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration
continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.
Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your
state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already
we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews.
We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.
Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should
even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America
take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them,
but you do not want them in your country.
We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but
because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands
of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or
Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our
entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the
equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country,
over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to
Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our
own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless
anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.
No people on earth have been less "anti-Semitic" than the Arabs. The
persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the
Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never
since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such
importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor
exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in
complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always
contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist
invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous
treatment—far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the
first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of
Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as
Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among
us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently
persists in America that Palestine has somehow "always been a Jewish
land." Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He
pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine
are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days,
they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far
back into the mists of history to argue about who should have
Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I
must reply to their "historic claim." I wonder if the world has ever
seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to
claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound
history of the period and verify the facts. Such fragmentary records
as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who
moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a
short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400
years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and
gradually conquered most—but not all—of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to
the country: "Palestine" is merely the Greek form of "Philistia."
Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever
control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This
empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later
the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem,
barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had
even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally
wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt
under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to
enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast
majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora,
or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a
Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.
This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still
own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world
would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England
might claim France, "homeland" of the conquering Normans. And the
French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated.
And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700
Many Mexicans might claim Spain, "homeland" of their forefathers. They
might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And
suppose the American Indians claimed the "homeland" of which they were
the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!
I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just
as fantastic—as the Jewish "historic connection" with Palestine. Most
are more valid.

In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled
things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine
was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British
armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000
Arabs and only 65,000 Jews. If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation
for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country "Arab", what does?
The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their
religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any
Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that
the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them
in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in
opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.
May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the
holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion,
Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.
The Jewish "religious claim" to Palestine is as absurd as the
"historic claim." The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions,
must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion
and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept
with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so
frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years
after war's end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.
Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the
Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in
the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible
for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian
nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong,
not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.
And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the
West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the
East—to accept the entire burden. "We have hurt these people
terribly," cries the West to the East. "Won't you please take care of
them for us?"

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore "cruel and
heartless nationalists"? We are a generous people: we are proud that
"Arab hospitality" is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a
humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite
terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European
Jews more than we.
But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We
believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is
now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world
simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is
most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of
Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is
famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.
And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation
the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful
of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried
hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot.
Nor can any other Arab. Perhaps you have been informed that "the Jews
in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine."
This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish
Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic
zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus
doubly dangerous. The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really
knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!
You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and
other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a
very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew
actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The
Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a
press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to
go to Palestine. His answer was simple: "My Jewish advisors tell me
so." He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed
begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.
The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a
Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It
is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other
country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the
international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to
Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them. The Jewish Agency
heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It
would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine.
The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and
outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really
have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid,
cramped land which is Palestine.
One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most
refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply
because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the
rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.
But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice,
and see what happens!
No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the
earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In
other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden,
Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you
must let him come in. Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the
desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave
matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote
means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk
his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in
Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have
increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11
per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.
The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless
stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important
minority in our own home.
Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough
to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny,
poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is
hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.
We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab
standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question.
But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would
rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this

The sorry story of the so-called "Balfour Declaration," which started
Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here
in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises
made in cold print which admit no denying. We utterly deny its
validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab
land for a "national home" for an entirely foreign people.
Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time,
not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not
allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly
as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President
Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress
adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.
In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration,
but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the
Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more
Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.
But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or
America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to
raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World
Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to
Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at
that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger. But the
next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was
42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!
It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all
Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we,
too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx
stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we
have not changed our minds.
I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in
Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with
it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.
I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation,
responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for
the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am
certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to
admit it and assume it.
Quite aside from official American support for the "National Home" of
the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would
have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale,
without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an
idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions
were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans,
and, as a nation, only America can answer for it. The present
catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government,
almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of
100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by countless
additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in
bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world,
who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which
hires or buys the "refugee ships" that steam illegally toward
Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal
immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported
almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which
support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill
British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.
We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open
advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these
terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could
not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must
believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness
will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness
which means nothing. I have the most complete confidence in the
fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no
favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We
ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put
yourselves in our place.
What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you
must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your
midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on
going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there
some 2,000 years ago? Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this
outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same."

Monday, February 16, 2009

working visit to UK

I am in the UK with a judge, prosecutor and a representative from the Ministry of Social Development. We are here for a week to look into the latest developments in child protection and domestic violence.

Our first day has been looking at two interviews by two female child victims who had been sexually abused by their step fathers. Apart from the fact that it is distressing to see what has happened to these children, it is very interesting to see how the police, social workers and crown prosecution work together to produce a result that gives a good case to the court and supports the family and victim. Excellent discussions and exchanges of views ensued.

What has been interesting to me is the discussions with my colleagues about the problems they face in Jordan. I do feel they mostly do an excellent job within the constraints they face. A UK judge once told me that he can only do what the law allows him to do and that applies to Jordan as well. Some of our laws are totally out of date and need revision. It was heart warming to see how engaged the three were and how much we learnt on just the first day. Hopefully, when we get back to Jordan we can start putting a 'Working Together' philosophy. T

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Orange and the iphone

I went to Orange to see how much the iphone would cost me. The pamphlet said that it would be JD 299 (8gb) plus JD 29.99 per month. BUT when I asked would there be any more costs I was told that the monthly payment would be JD 36 per month as it was quoted without tax (a small note at the bottom of the page says taxes will be added where applicable) PLUS JD 100 deposit PLUS JD 15 deposit for the monthly bill. In other words it would cost me JD 450. The JD 299 for the phone is without tax.

AND I read in JO magazine this month that a 3G network has yet to be implemented in Jordan. So Orange is trying to sell us an iphone of the 3rd generation on a network that does not support this standard. What a con! T

Sunday, February 08, 2009

No more plastic bags

Come on Jordan, be brave - BAN THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS.

We all drive around and see our national flower in the streets, the countryside and blowing in the wind. Such an ugly sight and so dangerous to the environment, animals and land.

It is easy to use cloth bags, so please let us see more of you in the shops and supermarkets refusing the plastic and using a friendly green alternative. T

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jordan’s Hashemite Charity Organization

Although it has taken me a week to respond to Michael Jansen’s January 29 article in the Jordan Times, “Truth tellers and their stories,” I was filled with a sense of pride when I read the following.

UN Relief and Works Agency Commissioner General Karen Koning AbuZayd, while discussing in-kind donations going into Gaza, stated: "Everybody is full of praise for the Hashemite Charity Organization. Their donations are just first class. They look at our lists. They give us what we have on our lists. Everything they give is new, good, usable. It's just excellent. We get a lot of things in and we have to choose because there is not enough space to bring in all the trucks [at the same time] so we bring theirs in first because we know their trucks are the best laden."

Wow, what a validation for Jordan, the Jordan Charity Organization, the people who run the organization and to the Jordanian population that support it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Inner peace

I accompanied a friend to yoga class today. What a relief to find a sanctuary of peace and inner quiet to still the torment of Gaza on my mind. And I couldn’t fathom out why certain ‘sheikhs’ of the muslim faithful in Malaysia and Egypt, would want to discourage Muslims from practicing something that is so in tune with all that is good in this ‘god forsaken’ world, regardless of religious doctrine. So allow me to share this universal prayer with you that is spoken at the beginning of each session; maybe if we ALL say it loud enough, our non-denominational and universal prayers for peace in the Middle East and beyond, may yet be a reality in my lifetime.

May all of the wicked return to good
May all who are good obtain true peace
May all who are peaceful be free from bonds
May ll who are free set others free.

Blessings upon all the people on earth
May all the world’s rulers uphold what is right
May only good fortune befall everyone
May all the world’s creatures obtain happiness.

May all the rain fall when the earth is thirsty
May all the storehouses be filled with grain
May everyone here be free from harm
May all who are good be free from fear.

May everyone know a life of joy
May everyone know a life of health
May everyone soon be released from pain
May everyone see only good in this world.

May everyone overcome all their woes
May everyone realize all their desires
May everyone see only good in this world
May everyone everywhere be glad.

May our mother and father be blessed
Blessings upon every creature on earth
May our works flourish and aid everyone
And long may our eyes see the sun.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Safe Surgery

Sometimes I put aside an article in the Jordan Times that gives me an idea for a blog posting and usually end up ignoring the urge – too many other things take precedence. However, this morning as I was preparing to throw out my small collection I re-read “New surgical guidelines save lives, boost confidence in hospitals” (January 19th issue), and decided that I needed to comment on it.

I think it was 1964 when my mother-in-law had some relatively minor surgery done in Bethlehem. For the next 11 years she suffered low back pain, repeated urinary track infections, and general discomfort. She shopped for doctors to help her until finally one discovered the problem. During surgery a piece of surgical gauze was left in her bladder! Her surgery took place at least 10 years after I had been inside an operating room and I knew that such things can and do happen. A surgeon must be able to see and sponges are necessary to keep the area clean. Safe guards like sponge counts and gauze with radio opaque thread will eliminate or at least minimize the chance of a sponge being left inside a patient. Certainly a sponge with a radio opaque thread will show up on an x-ray and the poor patient won’t have to wait for 11 years for relief. My mother-in-law confronted the doctor and hospital in Bethlehem without success. They were adamant that they were not at fault or legally responsible. Mistakes do happen, unfortunately, and I do hope that the operating room procedures in that hospital in Bethlehem have improved during the last four decades.

The article in the Jordan Times lists 10 NEW essential objectives for safe surgery. Number 7 reads: The (surgical) team will prevent inadvertent retention of instruments or sponges in surgical wounds. The other nine objectives are equally accepted by the medical profession and have been known and in practice for more than a half century. I presume that the journalist who submitted the article was ignorant of the most basic surgical standards and thought he had some significant news to report. Whatever his motive, his article upset me rather than inspire the confidence that he may have hoped for.

What victory?

"Activists prevented from holding Gaza 'victory rally'" according to the Jordan Times this morning. What 'victory' do they want to celebrate? The death, injury and displacement of thousands of Palestinians and the destruction of property, land, factories etc? The extra-judicial killings of their own by their own?

I just don't understand how anyone can describe what happened in Gaza as a victory. T