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Behold Israel
What the Muslims think about Israel
Mufti says Wall belongs to Muslims
January 17, 2001

Jerusalem cleric claims Jews' holiest site Islamic property

By David Kupelian

Jerusalem's entire Temple Mount area -- including the Western or "Wailing" Wall, the holiest site in Judaism -- belongs to the Muslims, according to the Palestinian Authority-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, Shiekh Ekrima Sabri.

In a recently issued Islamic religious edict, called a "fatwa," Sabri proclaimed that the Western Wall -- the last remaining wall of the second temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. -- as well as the plaza in front of it are part of the holy Mount and are therefore also the property of the Moslem Waqf. The Waqf is the Islamic religious trust that currently administers the top of the Temple Mount area, comprising the Al Aqsa mosque and surrounding grounds.

The entire area, claims the Mufti -- the area's highest Muslim religious authority, appointed by PA head Yasser Arafat -- is the property of God and cannot be transferred to anyone else -- meaning the Jews. During a press conference at his Temple Mount office, the mufti claimed his fatwa compelled one billion Muslims worldwide to act in accordance with its proclamation, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.

Previously, Sabri has called for the complete "liberation" by Palestinians, not only of Jerusalem, but in fact of the entire country of Israel, and has also praised the "sacrifice" and "martyrdom" of Palestinian children [see link below] in pursuance of the cause of the Palestinian "jihad," or holy war, against Israel.

"The land of Palestine is not only Jerusalem; this land stretches from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. Naturally, the [Palestinian] problem relates to all of this land. We cannot establish a homeland by only liberating Jerusalem," said Sabri, echoing a long-held, though seldom reported, Arab view that the presence of Israel -- regardless of its borders -- is intolerable to the Arab world.

Related stories:
Jerusalem cleric praises child 'sacrifices'

David Kupelian ( is managing editor of
Saddam Pays for Martyrs

Saddam's money winning Palestinian hearts and minds

By Steve Rodan, Middle East Newsline
Wednesday, December 13, 2000

BETHLEHEM - This advertisement appeared on the front page of Palestinian dailies. "Thank you Saddam Hussein for the heroic stand for the feelings of our martyrs."

These days, this message appears frequently in newspapers, demonstrations and public events in the West Bank. The reason: Iraq has money and Saddam is doling it out to families who have lost their loved ones in clashes with Israeli troops.

While other Arab League members have been locked in discussions over the distribution of $1 billion in pledges to the Palestinians, the Iraqi president has been sending money directly to the people. Palestinian sources said more than 30 families in the West Bank have received $10,000 each as compensation for relatives killed by Israel.

Palestinian Authority officials and independent sources say that Iraq is raising its profile in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Iraq has allocated more than $890 million to win Palestinian support and maintain the mini-war against Israel. He is buying supporters as well as weapons in an effort to widen the conflict.

"What Saddam wants is to spark a regional war which he can lead," a senior Palestinian source said. "He is pushing Hizbullah to do this and he is pushing the PA to do this. It's clear that he has more leverage with the Palestinians."

The source said PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has given Saddam a free hand to buy influence in the Palestinian areas. At demonstrations - all of which must be approved by the PA - Saddam is the only foreign leader whose portrait is displayed.

Arafat's liasion to Saddam is PA Public Works Minister Azzam Ahmad, who still holds the post as the Palestinian envoy to Baghdad. Ahmad shuttles frequently between Baghdad and Gaza and said the Iraqi decision to use oil revenues to help the Palestinians is up to the United Nations.

"They [Iraq] feel for the Palestinian resistance," Ahmad told PA radio on Tuesday. "We, as the PLO, are in contact with the Iraq and the United Nations so that they can implement Iraqi support for the Palestinian people. I expect that the position of the United States will be negative."

For Saddam, a regional war would garner pan-Arab support and finally break the shackles of more than a decade of international sanctions. Once again, Iraq would be the leader of the Arab world as well as master of its vast oil revenues.

In a symbolic move, millions of Iraqis have already registered as volunteers to fight alongside the Palestinians. "If we had the opportunity, Iraq would have come to you with its armies," Saddam said.

Currently, Saddam's playground is the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said Saddam has revived the Baghad-based Arab Liberation Front, many of whose members are linked to the Iraqi security forces. The group has its headquarters in Bethlehem and has offices in Gaza and Nablus among other Palestinian cities.

The front is headed by Abu Amer Rahal, who is senior official in the PA Economics Ministry. Palestinian sources said the group funneled $500,000 through an Amman bank for distribution to Palestinian families.

The group has also organized Ramadan evening festivals to celebrate the end of the daily fast. These dinners are meant to anchor grass-roots support in the PA areas.

In all, Saddam has allocated $15 million for this stage of the effort. The money is also being used to buy weapons from gun dealers aligned with Arafat in what the Palestinian sources said could be preparations to stage their own attacks against Israeli targets.

The Iraqi effort has encountered dismay among both Arafat's friends and rivals. Palestinian sources said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has warned Arafat against allowing Saddam to extend his influence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They said Mubarak has been alarmed by the growing cooperation between Iraq and Syria.

Jordan has also been disturbed by the Iraqi incursion. Iraq has already bolstered its presence in Jordan and has pressured King Abdullah to dismiss two of his closest aides -Samih Batihi and Abdul Karim Kabariti. Both are regarded as pro-Syrian.

Moreover, Iran is concerned with the Iraqi effort. Iran has urged the Lebanese Hizbullah to form alliances with Palestinians, particularly, the Islamic Hamas opposition.

But Palestinian sources said a meeting between Hizbullah and Hamas last month in Beirut went poorly as Hamas rejected a Hizbullah demand that Hamas militants be trained and activated by the Shi'ite group.

"Hizbullah wants to, in effect, take over Hamas and that was unacceptable," a Palestinian source said.

'Blood Libel' Alive and Well

by Joseph Farah

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There will be no lasting or real peace in the Middle East until Arabs stop demonizing Jews.

Many Arabs like to say they lived in harmony with their Jewish brothers and sisters until the state of Israel was created in 1948. This, like so much of official and unofficial Arab rhetoric about the Jewish state, is a lie.

In 1840, a vicious rumor began spreading in Syria. A priest, Father Toma, supposedly went to the Jewish Quarter of Damascus and never returned. The story was that the priest was slaughtered by a group of rabbis and other Jews. Not a drop of blood was spilled. It was collected, so the infamous "blood libel" story went, and used to make Passover matzoh.

The result of this rumor was the death, torture and plunder of countless Jews throughout the Arab world.

That was 160 years ago, but guess what? The blood libel story is alive and well and making the rounds of the official Arab press and television shows. Last month, alone, it resurfaced in two prominent places.

On Oct. 24, the Palestinian Liberation Army Mufti, Sheikh Col. Nader Al-Tamini, said in a television debate on the Qatari Arabic cable news channel Al-Jazeera that there can be no peace with the Jews because they suck and use the blood of Arabs on the holidays of Passover and Purim.

Just four days later, the official Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram published a full-page article by columnist Adel Hamooda titled, "A Jewish Matzoh Made from Arab Blood." It retold the infamous blood libel story of 1840 in great detail, recounting it as a documented historical fact.

The author went on to explain that the Jews' "bestial drive" to add the blood of non-Jews to matzoh is at the root of the violence and killing of Arab children in Israel today. Arab children, he wrote, are often found torn to pieces without a single drop of blood in their bodies.

"The most reasonable explanation is that the blood was taken to be kneaded into the dough of extremist Jews to be used in Matzohs to be devoured during Passover," he wrote.

Huh? That's the most reasonable explanation? The answer is yes to the hysterical propagandists of the Middle East.

The "blood libel" story has been told over and over again through the years. But it has more currency today in the Arab world than perhaps ever before.

Why? Because you can't tell a lie about Jews that is too big for the Arab governments, Arab schools and Arab press. As an Arab-American, I wish that were not true. But it is.

It is also true that as long as such lies are spread, there is no chance for improving relations between Jews and Arabs. There is no chance for peace between Israel and her neighbors. There is no chance for reconciliation between these two peoples.

Unfortunately, I can predict the reaction from many of my Arab brothers and sisters: "Great! We don't want peace with these monsters. We don't want better relations. We don't want reconciliation with the Jews. We want only victory over them!"

As one of the very few commentators of Arabic heritage who dares to point out the obvious incredibility in such horror stories, I will be called names. I will be vilified. I will be threatened, intimidated and harassed.

That's OK. Somebody's got to say it. Someone has to tell the truth. It's long past time -- about 160 years past time -- that someone stood up and characterized these ugly rumors as exactly what they are, unforgivable blood libels against an entire people.

Please don't tell me this is a two-way street. Sure, some Jews are guilty of hot rhetoric about Arabs. But nothing like this. Nothing. Nowhere. Not now or ever. Hate speech like this would not find its way into any newspaper in Israel. No television station would broadcast lies of this magnitude. No, this is an Arab problem -- hateful hyperbole run amok.

The first step to true and lasting peace in the Middle East must be to shatter the foundation of lies beneath the never-ending negotiations, one-sided concessions and the war of attrition that lead nowhere but to more bloodshed, death and destruction. Can we at least agree to put the blood libel stories to rest, once and for all?

Translation into English was done by the Middle East Media and Research Institute, MEMRI, an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the Arab media and original analysis and research on developments in the Middle East.

Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of and writes a daily column.
Palestinian textbooks


from International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem
September 27, 2000

Controversey is swirling once again over Palestinian textbooks which contain strident anti-Israel and anti-Semitic materials, including a new sixth grade primer that states, "There is no alternative other than to destroy Israel."

Hoping to avoid the watchful eye of Israeli monitoring groups, the Palestinian Authority embargoed new textbooks - funded by Eurpoean donor states and written specifically for first and sixth graders - until classes started recently. But now that the texts are available, careful reviews have turned up familiar hostile rhetoric that the PA agreed to delete in the Oslo and Wye accords.

Fifteen newly-printed Palestinian text books still define Israel as a "conquering state," according to David Bedein of the ISRAEL RESOURCE NEWS AGENCY, while one sixth-grade book originally published in 1965 and re-printed once again preserves the call "to destroy Israel." One or more books mention Jaffa and Acre as occupied lands that must be recovered, while Jews are mentioned as a target of Islamic scorn.

IRNA also found that the PA's new sixth-grade civics book carries a picture of Izzadin Al Khassam, the notorious Arab terrorist killed in a shootout with British mandate forces in the 1930s and now the namesake of Hamas' military wing.

Besides the new PA texts, older objectionable books published by Egypt and Jordan are still being used throughout the Palestinian school system. Israel used to censor the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish passages from these books until the PA took over in 1994 and reinstated them. Among the more troubling entries, these books contain persistent calls for Jihad and constantly describe Israel as a "Nazi entity."

Bedein has taken particular issue with the recent nod for the new PA texts by Abe Foxman, US Director of the Anti-Defamation League, who demanded just last year that the PA institute a more Israel-friendly curriculum. Foxman last week invited media to tag along to his cordial meeting with PA chairman Yasser Arafat, where he failed to register a complaint about the new books. The two held "a lively discussion of the peace process," but Palestinian education was not mentioned.

After the meeting, Foxman - who did not review the new text books - handed Arafat a letter stating, "We are encouraged by reports that the new textbooks do not have incendiary anti-Israel or anti-Jewish passages. However, we are disappointed that the textbooks appear to do nothing to... promote tolerance between Palestinians and Israelis."

Bedein later noted that the ADL relied on misleading "reports" that the tone of the books had improved. The ADL - the largest Jewish organization which monitors and fights anti-Semitism globally did not investigate the books first-hand. Nor has the group ever included a study and report on the PA cirriculum in the annual ADL-funded survey of worldwide anti-Semitism.

With only weeks left until the US national polls, First Lady and New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to get some mileage out of the issue, calling on Arafat to "stop teaching hate to your children." At a campaign stop in New York City on Monday, Ms. Clinton urged him "to act immediately" to expunge anti-Israel language from Palestinian textbooks, and suggested that US aid to the PA should be contingent on eradicating anti-Semitism and inflammatory language from the books.

"For generations, lessons of hatred and violence have been a vital part of the curriculum in Palestinian schools," Ms. Clinton claimed. "Not only history books, but maps, grammar exercises, and language lessons have been deliberately infused with incendiary ideas and images. Ideas and images designed to deny the legitimacy of Israel, to encourage violence, to foster racist attitudes among a new generation of Palestinians."

Ms. Clinton, who is locked in a tight race with Republican congressman Rick Lazio, needs to carry a solid majority of the New York Jewish vote to win. A spokesman for Lazio said he "has long condemned" the books, and subtlely reminded voters that Ms. Clinton kissed and embraced Arafat's wife Suha this past year right after Suha claimed Israel has gassed Palestinian babies, among other outlandish charges.

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