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Confessions of a Once-Hopeful Leftist, or How ‘Disengagement’ Reveals the True Character of the Proposed Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza

[Posted 22 August 2005]


I was once part of what may be called the Hopeful Left.

The Hopeful Left is a species associated with the Arab-Israeli dispute.  It believes that the Arabs fighting Israel are waging a classic struggle for national liberation. All they want is a state of their own in Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Since Arab violence is viewed as stemming from supposed Israeli suppression of national aspirations, the Hope is that if Israel showers Arabs with concessions, extremists will be isolated; moderates (once meaning Yasser Arafat and now meaning Mahmoud Abbas, otherwise known as Abu Mazen, President of the Palestinian Authority) will be empowered; peace will reign.

Such is the Hope of the Hopeful Left.

Beginning three years ago, I was forced by the tremendous escalation of media attacks on Israel to study the facts about the Arab-Israeli dispute. I now believe the Hopeful Left is dangerously wrong. There is much evidence that the so-called Palestinian movement is not an outgrowth of the history of some Palestinian people, but an artificial creation of the Arab states, with much help, at various times, from Great Powers, such as the former Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and others.

A lot of evidence caused me to change my mind; a humbling process, since it meant I had been remarkably wrong since the early 1970s. Some of that evidence involved the origins of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Surely if the Arabs who are currently called Palestinians have been waging a legitimate national liberation struggle, the PLO has been its leading voice.

Among the things I learned was that, according to the Egyptian State Information Service, the PLO was formed in 1964 by 13 leaders of Arab states at an Arab League summit meeting:

“They approved many decisions, including holding the summit annually, establishing the unified supreme Arab command and forming an organization representing the Palestinian people.”
-- From the Egyptian State Information Service’s history of Arab Summit meetings.

Odd, isn’t it, that Hopeful Leftists are able to ignore the fact that the PLO was created by some of the most regressive regimes on earth? Regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) that allow the stoning to death of women for having extra-marital affairs? [3] This blindness is a tribute to the human capacity to avoid facts that rudely contradict one’s beliefs.

In any case, since the Arab states were in 1964 (and are now) waging a war of words and guns against Israel’s existence, the fact that the PLO was formed by the Arab leadership does not speak well for the legitimacy of the PLO.

And consider the following text, included in the founding charter of the PLO, which I stumbled upon by chance during an internet search a couple of years ago:

“Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area.”
--The 1964 charter is backed up at

Odd, isn’t it, that a national liberation movement now claiming to be focused on the demand for a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip included in its founding document an acknowledgement in principle that Palestinian sovereignty does not include the West Bank and Gaza Strip? The only part of historic Palestine, as the PLO calls it, that the PLO then demanded was the part then comprising Israel.

If you look at the current charter of the PLO, you will search in vain for the above-quoted text. Why? Because the charter was rewritten in 1968. Article 24, as quoted above, excluding the West Bank and Gaza from Palestinian sovereignty, was removed.

What happened between 1964 and 1968 to transform historic Palestine?

What happened was that the Arab states lost the 1967 war against Israel.

Consequently, Egypt and Jordan lost control of Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. That is, these areas went from being controlled by Arab regimes that were not, according to the PLO definition, ‘Palestinian,’ to being controlled by Jews, whereupon they entered the realm of ‘Palestinian’ sovereignty. Doesn’t this support the conclusion that the so-called Palestinian national liberation movement is, in fact, not a movement for liberation at all, but an attack force cloaked in the rhetoric of national liberation, a rhetoric chosen as a public relations device, because it has worldwide appeal? That this ‘movement’ was not created to strive for national liberation, but as a weapon against Jews?

Let us test this thesis in terms of the current so-called “disengagement” from Gaza and four settlements in Samaria (the West Bank). As everyone has seen on TV, this means the forcible removal of the Jewish population of these areas and the destruction of their homes and workplaces, indeed of everything they built over many years. (As of early September, it will mean the return of the Egyptian army to the Gaza Strip, a development that the Western media has barely reported, but which, in my opinion, is a strategic disaster for Israel and for the cause of peace.

So let us look at ‘disengagement’ in terms of this question: is the PLO involved in a movement for national liberation?  Or against Jews?

Arabs live in Gaza; until now, Jews have lived there too. Gaza Jews built towns and villages out of what was previously considered un-farmable land. Junk land. In 1967, when Israel seized Gaza from Egypt, that land was inhabited by nobody. These are indisputable facts.

Arab leaders tell the world that their struggle is not against Jews per se, but against a supposedly expansionist Israel. All they want is a state for the Palestinians; so, for national liberation, not against Jews.

As a recovering Hopeful Leftist, I remember believing this. I began recovering from my Hopeful condition when I began testing this belief against reality. For example, if Arab organizations were really fighting for a positive (self-determination) and not a negative (against Jews), what would have been their attitude towards the Jews who lived in Gaza for 38 years?

The answer is, they would have welcomed Jewish individuals to stay. The Palestinian Authority would have published official documents guaranteeing protection of the rights of what would be, upon the departure of Israeli forces, a Jewish minority. And they would have guaranteed that attacks on Jewish people, prior to the proposed pullout, were punished as sharply as possible, thus making an international statement. This would be a brilliant stroke, creating the impression that Arab leaders were anti-racist. It would have weakened Jewish opposition to turning Gaza over to full Arab control.

Why haven’t Arab leaders taken this politically shrewd stand?

There is a substantial Arab minority in Israel, with normal rights; indeed, Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than those in any Arab state. For example, in what Arab state can Arabs organize and campaign for government office without fear of police repression?

Israeli Jews who physically assault Israeli Muslims are subject to the extreme penalties of the law. In Israel it is a hate crime, and one that is actively prosecuted, to call for physical attacks on Muslims or make remarks considered insulting to Muslims.

So, even if the Arab Palestinian movement is based on hatred of Jews, it would have been smart for Arab leaders to welcome Gaza Jews to remain, thus telling the world that the Arab movement is just as humane as Jews.

What was the reality?

No Arab leader invited Jews to stay; none promised to protect them from attack. Quite the contrary, prior to the implementation of ‘disengagement,’ every Palestinian Arab faction attacked the plan to evict Jews from Gaza as inadequate and insincere. Not only did no Arab faction ask Jewish residents to stay in Gaza, but none denounced the continuing attempts to murder them. Palestinian Authority leaders sometimes suggested that these terrorist attacks should temporarily be halted lest they interfere with the planned evictions. But why would any terrorist group take such suggestions seriously when the Palestinian Authority-controlled mass media continued to incite Arabs to murder Jews and laud those who did it?

In June and July we had the absurd spectacle of the United States praising the Palestinian Authority (and the PA praising itself) for supposed efforts to halt terrorist attacks even as the attacks continued, with the full blessing of the media controlled by...the Palestinian  Authority.

It was pure doubletalk.  Case in point: on Saturday, June 18th, CNN reported that Mahmoud Abbas, alias Abu Mazen, President of the Palestinian Authority, held a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. For months, Arab terrorists had been shooting at and launching rockets at Gaza Jews. For example:

“Earlier Saturday (i.e., the day of the press conference - JI) two Palestinian militants opened fire at Israeli troops guarding an Israeli settlement in Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. One militant was killed and another was wounded when the soldiers opened fire, Palestinian officials said.”
-- CNN, June 18, 2005

And after the press conference ended:

“Shortly after Rice spoke, a blast was heard in Gaza. Palestinian militants said they had launched two rockets toward an Israeli settlement in southern Gaza.”
-- CNN, June 19, 2005

Notice that in one case, the attack was directed at settlements, meaning the homes of Jewish civilians. In the other case, the Arabs tried to kill the troops protecting those Jewish civilians from murder. So, both attacks told Jews that their presence in Gaza was an offense punishable by death.

How did Secretary Rice and Mahmoud Abbas react?

Ms. Rice told the assembled reporters about her meetings with Arab officials and spoke of the need for a “peaceful withdrawal,” not mentioning that rockets were targeting Jews and that Arab terrorists were trying to kill soldiers protecting the Jews. These were non-events.

As for Abbas, he was Orwellian:

“We discussed with Dr Rice the issue of the calm in general and the Palestinian factions’ commitment to this calm. We will continue to maintain the calm to reach a favorable result, whereby everybody will be committed so as to move to other steps after the withdrawal.” -- Transcript of June 18th press conference. [8]

Notice that Abbas spoke of “continu[ing] to maintain calm,” calling the assembled world media’s attention to “the Palestinian factions’ commitment to this calm.” So, War is Peace; Murdering Jews is Calm.

The world writes this off on the grounds that the attacks are supposedly the work of Hamas, which is supposedly the fringe of Arab politics. The idea is that supposed moderates, like Abbas, don’t dare to oppose Hamas terror, lest they isolate themselves.

If this bizarre defense were accurate, it would mean that the Arab population in Gaza was so thoroughly indoctrinated to hate Jews that even with Israel about to pull all security forces out - and evict all Jewish residents - no Arab politician dared to say killing Jews is wrong, let alone welcome Jews as citizens in a future Arab state. And this despite the international political gain from making such statements, even if they were lies.

So if it had been Hamas trying to kill Jewish residents and the troops protecting them, the Abbas-can’t-do-anything-lest-he-be-isolated argument would be absurd.  However, it was not Hamas: 

“Two Palestinian militant groups, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad, claimed joint responsibility for the failed attack.”

And what is Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? A terrorist group controlled by Fatah, which leads the PLO, and whose candidate in the Arab election was Abu Mazen, alias Mahmoud Abbas, now president of the Palestinian Authority. That is, the guy who spoke alongside Secretary Rice at the June 18th press conference.

Here are photos of Abbas enthusiastically campaigning with leaders of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades:
In case the link is not working, the page is backed up at: 

And, as I mentioned earlier, the Palestinian Authority TV and radio, which the PA controls with an iron hand, continues to incite and praise the murder of Jews. [6]


O National Liberation, what Crimes
are Committed in thy Name


The world has been conditioned to think it is perfectly acceptable for the Arab “liberation” movement to enthusiastically support killing Jews, even though it would be a political coup for them to pretend that they morally oppose such killings.

Thus has the once honorable idea of national liberation been transformed into its opposite - a license for race hate, the very thing national liberation was supposed to combat.

By way of contrast, consider the 19th century nationalist struggle to unify Italy.

Prior to unification, the Italian territories included, and include today, a large French-speaking minority and a large German-speaking minority, as well as Jews, Albanians, Greeks, Slovenians and Croats. Jews in the then-Papal State were confined to ghettos whose gates were locked at night to prevent them from mingling with Gentiles, or otherwise escaping.

Not only did the Italian liberation movement give full rights to minorities, it tore down the walls of the Jewish ghettos, declaring the Jews free and equal (much to the fury of the Vatican...).

Similarly, after World War I, when Serbs led in creating a united state of the South Slavs (Yugoslavia), they did so in conjunction with Croats and Bosnian Muslims, even though many members of the latter groups had participated in anti-Serb atrocities as soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Or consider this. On April 28, 1948, the Haifa (Jewish) Workers’ Council published a declaration calling on Arab workers not to respond to the demand, broadcast by Haj Amin Al-Husseini’s Arab Higher Committee, to leave Haifa. Instead, the Arabs were urged to stay and build Israel for Jews and Muslims alike. (You may read the declaration in full at )

That’s how real national liberation movements work. In liberating themselves, they embrace potential brothers, rather than organizing the murder of Jews.

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the appeal]


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Footnotes and Further Reading


[1] Today most people are unaware of the role Britain played in inciting, guiding, covering up and apologizing for Arab terror against Palestinian Jews in the months before 5 Arab armies invaded the newborn state of Israel, in May 1948. The left-wing Nation Magazine wrote a UN memorandum, using British intelligence reports to document British actions. The Nation memorandum can now be read online, in both text and pdf format, along with comments by TENC editor Jared Israel, at

Archived at

[3] Arab states are attacked for the practice of stoning women to death for adultery on a Muslim web site
As far as I can make out, this web site argues that, according to Muslim texts, instead of stoning women accused of adultery, their punishment should be ‘limited’ to 100 lashes (with a whip). I guess after that they would not be engaging in adultery, or much else.

[4] The revised PLO charter, which no longer excludes the Gaza Strip and West Bank from ‘Palestinian’ sovereignty, can be read at

[5] Under US pressure, Israel has agreed to pull out its forces patrolling the so-called Philadelphi corridor, a security zone set up to locate and destroy tunnels used to smuggle heavy weapons (including rockets) from Egypt into Gaza. These weapons have been used to attack Israeli civilians. For a graphic illustration of the weapons smuggling operation and the Philadelphi corridor, go to

For an Israeli army
description of the smuggling operation, go to

For a page of links to IDF (Israeli army) data on the weapons smuggling, and descriptions of the efforts to combat it, go to

Instead of Israel continuing to combat weapons smuggling and terror emanating from Gaza, under the new agreement, Egypt is to bring in 750 troops, supposedly to play a key role in security. This directly violates ,“Annex I: Protocol Concerning Israeli Withdrawal and Security Agreements, Article II,” of the Arab-Israeli peace treaty of 1979. 

Egyptian sources pay lip service to preventing terrorist smuggling and attacks on Israel. But even in statements and articles expressing a half-hearted commitment, the Egyptians make clear they will offer at most a token effort to combat terror. For example, one Egyptian article on Egypt’s return to Gaza talks about maintaining security and combating Islamism, but then the article ends with a quote from Diaa Rashwan, described as an Egyptian security expert:

[Comment by Rashwan starts here]

“Egypt cannot forget that after Gaza comes the West Bank... Gaza and the West Bank are linked. Their future is together,” said Rashwan, adding “Egypt will never play the dividing role that Israel would like it to play.”

“Everyone accepts us in Gaza, Islamists included, because our message is clear: policy is more important than security,” he said.

Egypt will deploy 750 soldiers along its border with Gaza;By Alain Navarro - CAIRO; Middle East online; 2005-08-09;

[Comment by Rashwan ends here]

[6] Incitement to murder Jews is routine on Palestine Authority TV and radio. For example, PA-controlled TV has weekly sermons preaching hatred and murder of Jews. As reported by MEMRI, which monitors the Arab media, "Each Khatib (preacher) is a paid employee of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The sermons are broadcast live every Friday at noon from mosques under control of the PA and are shown on PA television." The so-called Roadmap Plan supposedly requires the PA to suppress terror and incitement to terror, but these hate-sermons are still being broadcast.  To read a recent sermon, go to There you will also find a link to a streaming video of the sermon.

The PA-controlled media continues to laud Arab terrorists who murder Jewish civilians, such as the Jewish grandparents shot down after a visit to relatives in Gaza on July 24th. Below I've posted an excerpt from Steven Erlanger's NY Times report on the July 24th murders, which is quite unusual because it describes the reaction of the PA-run mass media. Notice that Mr. Erlanger says the Times monitors Palestinian radio. So, the fact that the Times generally does not report how the PA media covers anti-Jewish terror suggests that it has a general policy of suppressing such news.

Erlanger reports that three terrorist groups claimed responsibility for the attack. Apparently it was quite a status symbol:

[Excerpt from NY Times starts here]


"The groups are Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Mr. Abbas's Fatah faction.

Official Palestinian news organizations, including Voice of Palestine radio and Palestinian state television, described the killings as acts of resistance and martyrdom, while referring to the dead Israeli couple as settlers, which they were not. The Palestinian radio news, monitored by The New York Times, described ''two citizens martyred in an armed clash near Kissufim junction'' and described the Israelis killed or wounded as settlers.


Palestinians Kill 2 Israeli Civilians on Road From Gaza, The New York Times, July 25, 2005 Monday, Late Edition - Final, Section A; Column 1; Foreign Desk; Pg. 3, 758 words, By STEVEN ERLANGER, JERUSALEM, July 24

[Excerpt from NY Times ends here]

[7] Rice on Israel troop withdrawal: “‘There is no more time’”,, June 18, 2005 Saturday, 2:33 AM EST, WORLD, 748 words, RAMALLAH, West Bank

[8] “Palestinian leader affirms commitment to Gaza coordination, Rice urges progress”, BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, June 19, 2005, Sunday, 2949 words

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