zaterdag 27 november 2010

Ma`arat al-Nu`man

Ma`arat al-Nu`man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Ma'arrat al-Numan)
Ma`arrat al-Nu`man
معرة النعمان
Great Mosque of Ma`arrat al-Nu`man
Ma`arrat al-Nu`man is located in Syria
Ma`arrat al-Nu`man
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 35°38′N 36°40′E
Country Syria
GovernorateIdlib Governorate
DistrictMa`arrat al-Numan District
Elevation530 m (1,739 ft)
Abû Zayd pleads before the Qadi of Ma`arra (1334).

Ma`arat al-Nu`man (Arabic: معرة النعمان‎, is a small western Syrian market city, located at the highway between Aleppo and Hama and near theDead Cities of Bara and Serjilla. The city, known as Arra to the Greeks and Marre to the Crusaders, has its present-day name combined of the traditional name and of its first Muslim governor an-Nu'man ibn Bashir, a companion of Muhammad.

Today the city has a museum with mosaics from the Dead Cities, the Great Mosque of Maarrat al-Numan, a madrassa built by Abu al-Farawis from 1199 and remains of the medieval citadel. The city is also a birthplace of the poet Abu al-Ala al-Maari (973 - 1057).

Main article: Siege of Ma`arra
Massacre of Ma`arra

The most infamous event from the city's history dates from late 1098, during the First Crusade. After the Crusaders, led by Raymond de Saint Gilles and Bohemond of Taranto, successfully besieged Antioch they found themselves with insufficient supplies of food. Their raids on the surrounding countryside during the winter months did not help the situation. By December 12 when they reached Ma`arra, many of them were suffering from starvation and malnutrition. They managed to breach the city's walls and massacred about 20,000 inhabitants, as they often did when they captured a city. However, this time, as they could not find enough food, they resorted to cannibalism.[1]

One of the crusader commanders wrote to Pope Urban II: "A terrible famine racked the army in Ma`arra, and placed it in the cruel necessity of feeding itself upon the bodies of the Saracens.[1]

Radulph of Caen, another chronicler, wrote: "In Ma`arra our troops boiled pagan adults in cooking-pots; they impaled children on spits and devoured them grilled."[1]

These events were also chronicled by Fulcher of Chartres, who wrote: "I shudder to tell that many of our people, harassed by the madness of excessive hunger, cut pieces from the buttocks of the Saracens already dead there, which they cooked, but when it was not yet roasted enough by the fire, they devoured it with savage mouth."[2]

Among the European records of the incident was the French poem 'The Leaguer of Antioch', which contains such lines as,

Then came to him the King Tafur, and with him fifty score
Of men-at-arms, not one of them but hunger gnawed him sore.
Thou holy Hermit, counsel us, and help us at our need;
Help, for God's grace, these starving men with wherewithal to feed.'
But Peter answered, 'Out, ye drones, a helpless pack that cry,
While all unburied round about the slaughtered Paynim lie.
A dainty dish is Paynim flesh, with salt and roasting due.
From "The Leaguer of Antioch"[3]

Those events had a strong impact on the local inhabitants of Southwest Asia. The crusaders already had a reputation for cruelty and barbarism towardsMuslims, Jews and even local Christians, Catholic and Orthodox alike. (the Crusades began shortly after the Great Schism of 1054).[citation needed] Many authors suggest that the crusaders' behaviour was not really born of their hunger but fanatical belief that the Muslims were even lower than theanimals.[citation needed] Amin Maalouf in his book The Crusades Through Arab Eyes points out the most crucial line for such belief among the Muslims: "Not only did our troops not shrink from eating dead Turks and Saracens; they also ate dogs!" by Albert of Aix.

Israel as a Rogue State 152
Blueprint for a One-State Movement

Wednesday 24 November 2010

by: Ilan Pappé, Haymarket Books | Book Excerpt

*An excerpt from Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the
Palestinians <>, by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé,
edited by Frank Barat*

The demise of the Oslo Accord at the very beginning of the twenty-first
century gave special impetus to the old/new idea of a one-state solution. It
seems to be with us again and the interest in it grows by the day. And yet
it does not appear as an item on the agenda of any actor of significance on
the Palestine chessboard. Neither major powers nor small political factions
endorse it as a vision or strategy, let alone as a tactic for the future.
Its attractiveness, however, is undeniable given the failure of the
alternative solutions.

*A Troubled History*

The one-state solution has a troubled history. It began as a soft Zionist
concept of Jewish settlers, some of whom were leading intellectuals in their
community, who wished to reconcile colonialism and humanism. They were
looking for a way that would not require the settlers either to return to
their homelands or to give up the idea of a new Jewish life in the
"redeemed" ancient homeland. They were also moved by more practical
considerations, such as the relatively small number of Jewish settlers
within a solid Palestinian majority. They offered binationalism within one
modern state. They found some Palestinian partners when the settlers arrived
in the 1920s, but were soon manipulated by the Zionist leadership to serve
that movement's strategy and then disappeared into the margins of history.
In the 1930s, notable members among them, such as Yehuda Magnes, were
appointed as emissaries by the Zionist leadership for talks with the Arab
Higher Committee. Magnes and his colleagues genuinely believed, then and in
retrospect, that they served as harbingers of peace, but, in fact, they were
sent to gauge the impulses and aspirations on the other side, so as to
defeat it in due course. They existed in one form or another until the end
of the Mandate. Their only potential ally, the Palestine Communist Party,
for a while endorsed their idea of binationalism, but in the crucial final
years of the Mandate, adopted the principle of partition as the only
solution (admittedly due to orders from Moscow, rather than out of a natural
growth of its ideology). So by 1947, there was no significant support for
the idea on either the Zionist or Palestinian side. Moreover, it seems that
there was no genuine desire locally or regionally to look for a local
solution and it was left to the international community to propose one.

The appearance in 1947 of the one-state solution as an international option
is a chapter of history very few know about or bother to revisit. It is
worth remembering that at one given point during the discussions and
deliberations of UNSCOP (the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine,
February to November 1947), those members of the UN who were not under the
influence of either the United States or the USSR—and they were not
many—regarded the idea of one state in Palestine as the best solution for
the conflict. They defined it as a democratic unitary state, where
citizenship would be equal and not determined on the basis of ethnicity or
nationality. The indigenous population was defined as those who were in
Palestine at that time, nearly two million people who were mostly
Palestinians. When their idea was put in a minority report of UNSCOP (the
majority report was the basis for the famous [or infamous] Resolution 181 of
November 29, 1947), half of the then-members of the UN General Assembly
supported it, before succumbing to pressure by the superpowers to vote in
favor of the partition resolution. It is not surprising in hindsight that
people around the world, who did not feel, like the Western powers did, that
the creation of a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians was the
best compensation for the horrors of the Holocaust, would support the
unitary state. After all, the Jewish community in Palestine was made of
newcomers and settlers, and were only one-third of the overall population.
But common decency and sense were not allowed to play a role where Palestine
was concerned.

So Palestine was partitioned between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. But the idea
was kept alive when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) came into
being. Its version of one state was a secular and democratic one (although
unsympathetic toward the possible presence of Jewish settlers who arrived
after 1948) and was attractive enough even to inspire a small anti-Zionist
group in Israel—Matzpen—to accept it for a while. The Arab world, in words
and through the Arab League, seemed to stand behind the idea. This was the
vision of the liberation movement until the 1970s, when lack of success,
pragmatism, and a growing realization of how powerful Israel had become due
to unconditional American support—which was not equaled by the limited aid
the USSR gave the PLO—led to new ideas about the future. Thus came to the
world Fatah’s Stages Program. This was a willingness to consider a two-state
solution. Initially, the plan was presented as a temporary means for
bringing peace and justice to Palestine, but later on it was portrayed as a
strategy, and perhaps even a vision.

The idea of a two-state solution, however, did not germinate on the
Palestinian side. It was always the preferred solution of pragmatic Zionism.
Pragmatic Zionism, or mainstream Zionism, led the Jewish community in
Palestine since the late nineteenth century, and its basic ideas still guide
the Israeli political system today. The power of the two-state solution
depends largely on the power of pragmatic Zionism. Those who are presently
regarded as pragmatic Zionists are defined as such due to their support for
the two-state solution. Since the support only has to be verbal and
noncommittal, even right-wing parties in Israel, despite their declared
ideology of a Greater Israel (a one-state solution with exclusive Jewish
presence and rights), can endorse it. This was recently demonstrated by
Binyamin Netanyahu’s pledge to such a solution, made only in order to allow
the continued strategic alliance between an allegedly more critical American
administration and a more hawkish Israeli government.

But because the two-state solution is so closely connected to the fortunes
of pragmatic Zionism, it is important to recap the historical record of this
mainstream Zionist force. The leaders and movements who represented
pragmatic Zionism were responsible for the 1948 ethnic cleansing of
Palestine, the military rule imposed on the Palestinians inside Israel for
almost twenty years, the colonization of the West Bank in the last forty
years, and the repertoire of oppressive and brutal policies against the
people of Gaza in the last eight years. And the list, of course, is longer
and new chapters of oppression and dispossession are added to it by the
day. And yet the total identification of pragmatic Zionism with the
two-state solution, and before it with territorial compromise with Jordan
(the Jordanian option), equated it in the eyes of the world with “peace” and
“reconciliation.” As transpired clearly during the days of the Oslo Accord,
the discourse of two states and peace provided a shield that enabled the
pragmatic Zionist governments to expand the settlement project in the West
Bank and escalate the oppressive policies against the Gaza Strip.

Looked at from a different angle, pragmatic Zionism was the only actor on
the ground that gave substance to the idea of two states; whereas the PLO,
even when it endorsed the idea, had to accept the Zionist interpretation of
it. The relevant international actors, and the United States in particular,
followed this Zionist interpretation as they still do today. This
interpretation meant that the two-state solution is based on total Israeli
control of the whole of what used to be Mandatory Palestine: its airspace,
territorial waters, and external borders. It includes a limited measure of
Palestinian sovereignty within those parts of Palestine that Israel is not
interested in (the Gaza Strip and less than half of the West Bank). This
sovereignty would also be limited in essence: a demilitarized government
would have little say in defense, foreign, and financial policies.

But the potency of this Zionist interpretation of the two-state solution,
which remains to this very moment the only interpretation, is waning. This
is the main reason for the reemergence of the one-state solution. The latter
was kept alive by those who always believed in it as the only moral, not
just political, settlement that contains, and answers, all the outstanding
problems involved in the ongoing conflict. Issues such as the refugees’
right of return, the colonialist nature of Zionism, and the need to
accommodate the multireligious and multicultural fabric of society seem to
have no room in the two-state solution. The first group of one-state
supporters were joined by the "desperadoes," those who reluctantly endorse
the one-state solution since they despair of any hope of implementing a
two-state solution. They regard the new geopolitical realities Israel
created on the ground as irreversible and they recognize there is no will on
the Israeli side to accept a truly independent and sovereign Palestinian
state alongside Israel.

Thus, despite its troubled history, the one-state idea is still with us
today. And yet it remains on the margins and attributed to naive
daydreamers. From this very brief, and admittedly somewhat esoteric
description, it is clear that only a significant erosion of the validity of
the two-state solution can revert attention to the concept of a one-state
solution, in whatever form. However, it is important to stress early on that
the idea was kept alive, not by those who despaired of the possibilities of
a two-state solution, but rather by those who did not lose faith in the
moral validity of the concept and its political feasibility. These very few
feel vindicated in the last decade by the many that joined them as "new
converts," as the demise of the two-state solution becomes clearer by the

As these words are being written, it is mainly a large number of
individuals, and not even NGOs, who stand firmly behind the idea. They are
visible and have advanced the case of the one-state solution significantly
in recent years by structuring the discussion and airing the outstanding
issues beyond slogans and ideals. The final boost to this intellectual and
public activity was the appearance of several coherent books, whose authors,
along with other writers, joined efforts to disseminate the concept and root
it deeply in the public discourse and mind. But, as mentioned, there are no
political parties upholding this idea, and, although an intuitive survey of
the scores of NGOs working on the ground in Israel, Palestine, and the
exilic communities indicates wide support in Palestinian civil society for
this idea, none of the present governmental and nongovernmental actors have
officially taken a stance of support.

*Reselling the Past*

The struggle over memory in the case of Palestine seems to be the most
important task in this century for anyone committed to the Palestine cause.
The convergence of industrious Palestinian historiography with the new
revelations made by revisionist historians in Israel transformed not only
the research agenda of academia, but also the public discourse among
activists. It was, in many ways, the exposure to the full picture of what
occurred in 1948 that expanded the spectrum of peace activists, and members
of Palestinian solidarity committees, so that it included the 1948 Nakbah.
Even President Obama, in his June 2009 Cairo speech, acknowledged a
Palestinian suffering that spans over sixty years.

The struggle over historic memory is highly relevant to the debate about a
one-state solution. Only the historical perspective reveals the reductionist
nature of the two-state solution: the fact that “Palestine” refers to only
one-fifth of the land and about one-third of the Palestinians.

A deeper historical recognition exposes the colonialist nature of the
Zionist movement. It does not only show that Palestinians were ethnically
cleansed in 1948 and were never allowed to return, but also that the
ideology that produced that policy is still operative today.

The unified Palestinian experience from the late nineteenth century up to
1948 has been replaced by discrete experiences due to the fragmentation of
the people and the bisection of the land. But these new disjointed
experiences, all without exception, relate to what happened in 1948: in
other words, whether you live in Ramallah, London, Yarmouk, or Nazareth,
your present predicament is a direct result of what occurred in 1948.

Moreover, the ideology that produced the 1948 ethnic cleansing is the one
that keeps refugees in their camps today, discriminates against Palestinians
inside Israel, and oppresses those under occupation in the West Bank and
imprisonment in the Gaza Strip.

At the academic and civil society level, this realization is solid and has
created fertile ground for the discussion about a one-state solution.
However, this is unfortunately not the case with the mainstream media and
political arena in the West or in the Arab world. There is a better chance
to debate the historical narrative than to propagate the one-state solution
at this stage in the struggle. Mainstream media and politicians reject out
of hand the one-state solution, but may be willing to accept that their
historical narrative so far was distorted and wrong and that they should
view the conflict as a process that began in 1948, even in 1882, and not in

In other words, what should be hammered in is that what the "desperadoes"
call the facts on the ground that gradually made the desired two-state
solution impossible were not an accident. They are the outcome of a strategy
aiming at granting the State of Israel control over all of Mandatory
Palestine. This strategy was and is the cornerstone of pragmatic Zionism and
it divided the land into two territories: the one that Israel rules directly
and in it wishes to implement what Shimon Peres coined "maximum territory
and minimum Arabs." And the other territory is the one that Israel controls
indirectly or through proxies such as a collaborationist Palestinian
Authority. What was and still is presented by Western journalists and
politicians as a fundamental debate inside Israel about peace and war, of
retaining the territories or withdrawing from them, is, in effect, a debate
about what "maximum territory" is and what are the means of achieving it, as
well as how one attains the target of minimum Arabs.

*Deconstructing the Peace Process*

The biggest contemporary obstacle for putting forward the one-state solution
as a viable option is that the raison d’être of the "peace process" of the
last forty years is firmly based on the vision of two states. It is so
powerful that even some of the bravest and most committed colleagues in the
struggle for Palestine endorse it in the name of realpolitik.

The peace process began immediately after the June 1967 war ended, and while
the early initiators were French, British, and Russians, it soon became an
attempt to impose a Pax Americana. The basic American assumption underlying
the "peace" effort was an absolute reliance on the balance of power as the
principal prism through which the possibility of solutions should be
examined. As Israeli superiority was unquestioned after the war, it meant
that whatever Israeli politicians and generals devised as a peace plan soon
became the basis for the process as a whole.

Thus, the Israeli political elite constantly produced the common wisdom of
the peace process and formulated its guidelines according to its own
concerns. These American-Israeli guidelines were drafted in the first years
after the 1967 occupation and crystallized as a vision for a new
geopolitical map for historical Palestine. Pragmatic Zionism dictated that
the country would roughly be divided into two spheres: one that Israel
controls directly as a sovereign state and the other that Israel rules
indirectly while giving Palestinians limited autonomy.

The principal American role was to present to the world these dictates in a
positive manner as "Israeli concessions," "reasonable behavior," and
"flexible positions." To this day, either out of ignorance or interest,
successive American administrations adopted a perception of the conflict
that caters solely to the internal Israeli scene and one that disregards
totally the Palestinian perspective of whatever nature or inclination.

This hegemonic American-Israeli presence produced five guidelines that so
far have not been challenged politically and diplomatically by the Quartet
and whoever manages the peace process.

The first guideline relates directly to the struggle over historic memory
mentioned above. It states that the "conflict" began in 1967 and, hence, the
essence of its solution is an agreement that would determine only the future
status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Such a perspective confines a
settlement to 78 percent of Palestine.

The second guideline is that everything visible in those areas is divisible
and that such divisibility is the key for peace. So even the remaining 22
percent of Palestine has to be divided for the sake of peace. Moreover, the
peace agenda meant that not only the 1967 occupied areas should be divided,
but also its people and natural resources.

The third guideline is that anything that happened until 1967, including the
consequences of the Nakbah and its ethnic cleansing, are not negotiable.
This pushed the refugee issue off the agenda, where it remains to this very

The fourth guideline is an equation between the end of the Israeli
occupation and the end of the conflict. Namely, once some kind of eviction
or control were agreed upon, the conflict would be resolved for all intents
and purposes.

The last guideline is that Israel is not committed to any concession until
the Palestinian armed struggle ends.

In 1993, these five guidelines were translated into the Oslo Accord, when a
Palestinian partner seemed to accept them in principle. They were repackaged
again in Camp David 2000 and in both cases after trials and tribulations
rejected by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA). But these are still
the agreed upon principles for the peace process.

The task here is twofold. The first is to associate in the public mind the
present reality, which is accepted by international observers as
representing a human catastrophe of unimaginable dimensions, as the
inevitable outcome of this peace process and its principles. Thus, exposing
it as a political act that provides international immunity for a policy of
colonization and dispossession. It is true that this policy has escalated
dramatically since 2000, but it is not true that the escalation is the
result of the collapse of the peace process—it is the result of the
process's raison d’être.

The one-state movement has the academics, journalists, and activists who
possess the means of disseminating this knowledge through books, journals,
and public meetings whenever the current affairs of Palestine and Israel are
discussed. A media monitor of sorts is already working, but not in a
professional or systematic way. Although one has to admit that it is much
more timidity than ignorance that prevents intelligent and knowledgeable
journalists and politicians from exposing the "peace process," shielding a
well-structured Israeli plan, devised already in 1967, to enclave the
Palestinians in bantustans. Pragmatic Zionism did not wish to directly
control the populated Palestinian areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,
did not dare to expel them, and did not wish to give them more than limited

The second task is to bring to the fore the Palestinian voices that were
directly victimized by this Israeli policy in the last forty years within a
paradigm of analysis that highlights the connection between their sufferings
and the charade of peace. In other words, the debate is not only about the
question whether the road taken so far was right, but an accusation of those
who led us on that road as contributing directly to the continued oppression
of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. This would mean challenging
the very agenda of the Palestinian Authority that claims that peace with
Israel under the old premises will bring an end to the suffering of the
occupied people, while the counterargument should be that it is having
precisely the opposite effect: deepening the occupation and perpetuating the

*Preparing for the Future*

In its present form, the one-state movement is made of individuals from all
walks of life who can bring to the fore their activism and professionalism
before the vision is taken up more systematically by NGOs and political
parties. It is time to expand the activity beyond the big conferences that
have so far successfully heralded the idea and exposed the fallacies of the
two-state solution model. There are more areas of investigation that the
one-state movement can focus on.

The first is a survey of attitudes toward the one-state idea. So far, no one
has attempted such a survey and, despite the obvious weakness of such an
instrument, this is a precondition for any future campaign of disseminating
the idea and recruiting others for it.

The second is the formation of working teams, very much on the basis of the
Tawaqim (professional teams) that were preparing, in earnest but in vain,
for the creation of an independent state in the Orient House during the
Madrid conference days. These teams should prepare the practical products
emanating from a future political outfit for Palestine and Israel in
whatever form it will appear: a constitution, an educational system,
curricula and textbooks, basic guidelines for an economic system, the
practical implications within a state of a multicultural and multireligious
society, and so on. For some of these aspects of statehood there is no need
to reinvent the wheel, as the Tawaqim were quite good in covering them; for
others, inspiration should be found elsewhere in history, other geographies,
and human thought.

Constructing, in the most practical way, these end products—such as a
prototype constitution, an educational curriculum, laws of citizenships for
all (indigenous, returnees, and new immigrants), land and property ownership
regulations (including compensations and absentee properties), and similar
projects - can give substance to the idea of one state beyond slogans and
the deconstruction of the two-state solution.

The last project for the one-state movement before it hopefully becomes a
potent, popular, and political movement is to focus on small teams, and,
later, in front of larger audiences—on how to disseminate the idea and
educate people about it. Palestinian NGOs, domestic and abroad, the few NGOs
in Israel that are still engaged in the struggle against the occupation, the
Palestine solidarity campaigns and committees, and all the other NGOs in
Western societies and around the Arab and Muslim worlds can be all recruited
to take a firmer stand on the issue.

The struggle for one state cannot be had without close cooperation with
official PLO, Hamas, and PA representatives, nor without adoption of the
discourse or dictionary of these groups on the ground. This would allow the
one-state movement to envision peace and reconciliation in a less limited,
more inclusive way. One doubts whether Arab regimes would help, apart from
heads of state who are already openly in support of the idea. On the other
hand, the South African government and NGOs have already shown greater
enthusiasm for the idea than any other state actor on the international
scene. With these limitations in mind, and with these potential partners,
the voice of the one-state movement should be heard at all times.

This can be accomplished, despite the profound knowledge that popular
support for the idea depends crucially on a total disintegration of the
two-state solution, and this scenario, in turn, is beyond the influence of
the one-state movement. While waiting for developments beyond our control
and influence, we should prepare as if this moment is around the corner and
assume that millions of desperate Palestinians, Israelis, and whoever cares
about them in the world would quickly seek an alternative to the paradigm
that so disastrously informed the peace process in Palestine and Israel.
Activism, scholarship, dissemination of information, persuasion, protest,
and solidarity are the most powerful weapons powerless people have. Let us
use them wisely.

*Ilan Pappé is professor of history at the University of Exeter in the UK,
where he is also co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political
Studies, and director of the Palestine Studies Centre. He is author of the
bestselling The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, A History of Modern
Palestine, The Israel/Palestine Question, and is a long time political

*Haymarket Books is a progressive book publisher based in Chicago, whose
authors include Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Dahr Jamail, and other TruthOut
contributors. To find out more about the press and their forthcoming
projects, which include The John Carlos Story; Boycott, Divestment,
Sanctions; and Kivalina: A Climate Change Story, please visit*

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מודעה ב"הארץ" 26 בנובמבר, 2010

היום זהערבים.

מחר זהאתיופים.



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האגדה על הילד והעוף והאריה והחיילים

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החטא הקדמון

הדתיים-לאומיים הפכו יותר ויותר קיצוניים במישור הדתי, והחרדים הפכו יותר ויותר קיצוניים במישור הלאומני

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The original sin

The national-religious have become more and more extreme on the religious level, and the Orthodox more and more extreme on the nationalist level.

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Rabin's son presents his Israeli Peace Initiative (by Akiva Eldar)

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