Palestine and the Arab League – Fake Freedom Fighters

January 25, 2011 by David Singer
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The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Arab League member States continue to deny their populations basic political rights and civil liberties – according to a Report recently published by Freedom House. At the same time the Arab League is mounting an intensive campaign to delegitimize Israel – the only State in the Middle East where such freedoms exist.The Freedom House report is an annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties carried out in 194 countries and 14 territories around the World.

Freedom House defines itself as:
“ an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.”
In determining what constitutes “political rights” and “civil liberties” – Freedom House has drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the following components of freedom which include an individual’s ability to:
Participate freely in the political process;
Vote freely in legitimate elections;
Have representatives that are accountable to them;
Exercise freedoms of expression and belief;
Be able to freely assemble and associate;
Have access to an established and equitable system of rule of law;
Have social and economic freedoms, including equal access to economic opportunities and the right to hold private property.
Freedom House has determined that 18 of the 22 Arab League member States all rate very poorly and fall into the category of being “Not Free” which is defined as :

“…one where basic political rights are absent and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.”

The remaining 4 Arab League members are categorized as being “Partly Free” being countries which are defined as :
“characterised by some restrictions on political rights and civil liberties – often in the context of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic strife or civil law.”
Israel is the only State in the Middle East that is identified as being “Free “ meaning:

“a country where there is broad scope for open political political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life and independent media”.

 

 

Scathing report on Arab freedom fighters

 

As Latin American States apparently fall over themselves to accord recognition to a non-existent Palestinian State in total contravention of international law as prescribed by the Montevideo Convention – it is time for them – and others who might be similarly minded – to ponder
what kind of State they are promoting and
the extent to which such State does not accord with the principles laid down in the Road Map – the basis on which all negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been conducted for the last seven years under the auspices of America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations
The Road Map articulated that any such Palestinian State must be “democratic” as was made clear by the following provisions:
“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established…

A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.”
The Freedom House Report notes that the Palestinian Authority controls up to 40% of the West Bank territory and 98% of the Palestinian population outside of East Jerusalem. Hamas controls 100% of Gaza as well as its entire population.

Any signs of a a leadership acting decisively to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty in either the West Bank or Gaza is totally absent according to the Freedom House Report.

The current push for recognition of “Palestine” as an independent State is becoming an exercise in creating yet another State whose citizens will continue to be denied the basic freedoms and civil liberties that are currently enjoyed by some of its current democratic proponents – Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

That was clearly not the objective of the Road Map – to which those Latin American States gave their support in 2003.

Since it still supposedly remains the only game in town prescribing the “two-state solution” – the Road Map is rapidly ending up as a document that
is not worth the paper it is written on espouses a democratic state that will not be achieved and has been rejected as the basis of a two-state solution by some democratic countries who have now decided to assign the civilian populations of the West Bank and Gaza to the same fate as all the surrounding Arab populations in the Middle East Arab States.
The Arab League meantime fails to recognize Israel and pursues campaigns encouraging boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel – whilst at the same time its member states deny their populations the political rights and civil liberties that are enjoyed by Israel’s population – including the 20% of Israel’s population that is Arab.

The Freedom House report stands as a monument to the eternal shame of the Arab League and to those democratic countries who have been seduced into accepting the Arab League’s spurious hate campaign to eradicate the State of Israel.

Fareed Zakaria – the host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, a Washington Post columnist, and a New York Times bestselling author described by Esquire Magazine as “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” – says of the Freedom House Report:

“While there are many sources of economic data, good political data is hard to find. Freedom House’s survey is an exception. For anyone concerned with the state of freedom, or simply with the state of the world, Freedom in the World is an indispensible guide.”

Those democratic States ignoring the clear message contained in the Report and abandoning the signposting in the Road Map are not doing themselves – or the cause of liberating long suffering Arab populations denied their basic political rights and civil liberties – any favours.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


Comments

8 Responses to “Palestine and the Arab League – Fake Freedom Fighters”
  1. david singer says:

    # Tim Tam

    Thank you for bringing the IMPACT- SE website to my notice.

    No doubt an attempt will be made to deny the credibility of the site because it is based in Israel.

    This tactic of shooting the messenger and ignoring the message must be resisted.

    Poisoning young minds through hatred filled textbooks, television shows and unbridled media distortion have been – and continue to be – among the principal contributors to exacerbating the 130 years old conflict between Arabs and Jews.

    Until these outrageous practices are halted – real reconciliation between Jews and Arabs seems to be unattainable.

  2. Tim Tam says:

    There is an organization that provides reports on the attitudes to peace, to minorities and in general to “others” in school textbooks and educational programs in Middle Eastern countries, including both Israel and the Palestinian Authority territory. It is called IMPACT-SE, at http://www.impact-se.org.

    The preliminary finding of its latest report on Israel is summarized on its website at http://www.impact-se.org/research/israel/index.html The summary is:
    “IMPACT-SE has recently started a review of Israeli schoolbooks used in school year 2009-2010. It has discovered that the encouraging fundamentals found in the previous report persisted and even strengthened, namely: regarding the “other” as first and foremost a human being; overcoming suspicion, hatred and prejudices; knowing and respecting Islam and Arabs; admitting the legitimacy of the rival national movement and; presenting conflict in a balanced way. Despite deterioration of Palestinian-Israeli relations after the second Intifada and the deep disenchantment with the peace process among Palestinians, peace is still considered something that might and should happen one day, and is presented as obviously positive and worthwhile for all sides.”

    The most recent report on Palestinian schoolbooks is summarized at http://www.impact-se.org/research/pa/index.html It reads:
    “IMPACT-SE has studied the Palestinian Authority schoolbooks used in the current school year (2009-2010), and has come to the conclusion that although positive changes have occurred in the books during the last two years, they still do not amount to forming a clear departure from the negative fundamentals in PA schoolbooks regarding the attitude to the Jewish and Israeli “other” and to peaceful resolution of the Middle Eastern conflict.”

    There are separate reports on the subject relating to schoolbooks and other educational programs in Hamas-run Gaza (see http://www.impact-se.org/research/hamas/index.html).

    The most recent report is summarized as follows:

    “IMPACT-SE recently completed its report on Al-Fateh (http://al-fateh.net), the Hamas web magazine for Children, which serves as its internet educational instrument, supports its ideology and terrorist activities, and serves as a platform for Hamas propaganda and indoctrination, especially of Palestinian, and more generally, Arab and Muslim, children. Politically, the website’s consistent message is a call for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in its stead, and an armed struggle of violence and terror against all who are defined as the enemies of Islam, including the West in general. The site indoctrinates children to adopt the concepts of jihad and martyrdom and aspire to become not just fighters but suicidal martyrs, effectively preparing them to serve as the next generation of sacrificial instruments in the war of terror and annihilation waged by Hamas.”

    I therefore call upon Stewart Mills to redirect his criticisms to the Palestinians. It is not needed nor just when directed against Israel.

  3. david singer says:

    #Stewart Mills

    You are off on a tangent again. The Freedom House report said not one of the 22 Arab League countries including the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is free and that Israel is the only free state in the region..

    Do you agree or disagree with this conclusion?

    A simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice..

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    What an opportunity for those studying or interested in Jewish/Palestinian/Human Rights and other areas touched upon by these passionate contibutors and others in the past.
    Parents, print them off and file them for your children as personal references one day.
    They will never be outdated but no doubt forgotten in the scheme of things.

  5. Tim Tam says:

    The bias of Human Rights Watch against Israel, and its double standards, is so extreme even its own founder and head, Robert Bernstein, quit, and wrote a public and very scathing account of the dishonest anti-Israel partisan pressures in that organization which betray the principles on which HRW was founded. This is now therefore a matter of the public record. But the bias of the other NGOs used by Stewart Mills to support his anti-Israel argument, such as B’Tselem and Amnesty International, is much the same. On this, see the various detailed analyses and reports by Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO-Monitor, at http://www.ngo-monitor.org. The hollowness of the moral pretensions of many of precisely the organizations that claim to be acting to preserve human rights, global morality and peace, not excepting the U.N. Human Rights Council itself, is one of the greatest scandals of our age, and indicates the moral abysses facing the whole world today, as in every generation I am sorry to say.

    Israel is in simple truth a liberal democracy, with complete rule of law, and includes its Israeli Arab inhabitants as citizens with the full range of civil rights granted in any liberal democracy, including access to legal redress, independent political expression and parties, freedom of expression and all the rest. These are just matters of fact. Israeli Arabs sit in the Israel Parliament, the Kenesset, on the Israeli Supreme Court, in the Foreign Service, write columns in the newspapers, run businesses and do everything others do. Nothing like this exists for Jews, for example, in the Palestinian Authority areas, or indeed for anyone else either, nor in any of the Arab countries around Israel for any minorities or dissidents. In fact, in the P.A. it is official policy that all Jews in their future state must be ethnically cleansed from the land: they want 0% Jews in their proposed state. Torture is rampant in their prisons, there is no freedom of expression, elections have been suspended for the duration, Fatah supporters are tossed off the roofs of buildings in Hamas-run Gaza, while Hamas supporters are jailed and even executed in the West Bank. Even people who cooperate with Jews, selling land to them or joining in business ventures, are threatened with death or are actually killed. The contrast is stark.

    Stewart Mills is indifferent to these realities. According to him, Palestinians are not even enemies of Israel, and the consistent 70% of the P.A. population that (according to Palestinian opinion polls year after year) believe that terrorist atrocities committed against Israel are good, justified and proper, do not matter. He calls upon Israelis to see the good and bad together in the Palestinians who blow up people in pizza parlours or heroize their perpetrators by naming public squares after them.

    But actually, Israelis do see the good and bad in Palestinians, do not like to hate nor approve of it, and generally have not indulged in the sort of hate-incitement and gun-waving and raving mass rallies and protests common in Gaza or the West Bank societies. One does not find such hate-incitement on Israeli TV, school books, or political speeches. But, Stewart Mills, I invite you to have a look at the PLO National Covenant, still unmodified despite claims otherwise, or the Hamas Charter. — But, hold on, that does not register with Stewart Mills either. Rather than see that, he must tie his shoelaces, again.

    For a good analysis of the sort of thinking that seems to be operating here, see Bernard Harrison, The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel and Liberal Opinion (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006). Bernard Harrison is a British analytical philosopher, non-Jewish by the way, who thought it would be interesting to apply the logical skills and linguistic analysis of his discipline to the “real world,” by analysing the anti-Israel discourse that is so central and emphatic in the leftist media in Britain. He devotes a whole chapter for example to some debates in the Guardian newspaper and blogs, and another chapter to John Pilger. Very penetrating reading.

  6. Sam, who said anything about taking one’s life? The actions I was talking about was doing things to help others – whoever they may be Palestinians, Israelis, Copts, Muslims being persecuted by other Muslims whoever.

    Who is this ‘enemy’ you refer to that you seem to no so well? Why is this ‘enemy’ so different from other people in history? If you are prejudging all Palestinians as the enemy then I feel sorry, for indeed this is what your fate will be. If you see friendships within the community then there is a chance to find peace. Your fate is dependant on your outlook. A more realistic view is to see the good and bad in all people and try and work towards reconciling differences instead of trying to force submission. History shows that forcing a people to consent only creates a bigger problem for a later time. It is wiser to resolve problems now, for the benefit of future generations, than to keep the cycle of violence going.

  7. sam goldman says:

    is steward mills living in the real world?
    sure all these idealistic views are wonderful to dream about, but unfortunately totally unrealistic in this world we live in.
    the enemy has shown his colours so many times that to bury ones head in the sand and ignore the history, the threatening words they utter today and the hate they teach, is equivalent to committing suicide.
    we are obliged to try to better the world but we are forbidden to commit suicide.
    sam

  8. David the objectivity of Freedom House is certainly questionable when it failed to account for Israel’s actions in the deprivation of liberty for the people of Palestine. What does B’Tselem, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the various United Nations agencies say about the civil and political rights of citizens in the Arab world? Deplorable. What do they say about the civil and political rights of Palestinians? Intolerable…on two counts. Not only do citizens have to withstand the deprivations and repression associated with military occupation and effective control by a sovereign state, Israel, they have to deal with the trauma of infighting and repression presented by the leadership that has surfaced within the occupation. Consider Human Right Watch’s 2011 report:

    “Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier. In October a military court sentenced Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to one year in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements by children. In January the Israeli military released anti-wall activist Muhammad Othman, after detaining him for 113 days without charge.”

    “Complaints of torture committed by West Bank PA security services increased in 2010, with the Independent Commission for Human Rights receiving 106 complaints as of September.”

    My point is if Israel wants to take the high moral ground about the threats faced by their state, then equal consideration needs to be given to the lives of those whose lives are threatedned by the military occupation by Israel. If Tel Aviv had tanks rolling through their streets and jeeps driving around with Egyptian soldiers shooting tear gas at Israelis throwing stones at them, I can sure as bet you would be outraged (and rightfully so). Why then not outrage if Israeli soldiers can do it, but not Egyptian soldiers?

    Look to at the plight of Palestiniasn living in Israel. Is there a reason Freedom House did not focus on the plight of Bedouin-Israelis? Again from Human Rights Watch report 2011:

    “Bedouin citizens of Israel suffered discriminatory home demolitions. From July to October police and the Israel Land Administration destroyed the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib six times, displacing 300 people. At the time residents were contesting in court the state’s claims that they had never owned lands in the area. Some 90,000 Bedouin live in “unrecognized” villages with no basic services and at risk of demolitions.”

    David, there are a plethora of reputable agencies that publish their perspective on the civil and political rights of fellow human beings.

    What does B’Tselem, Amnesty International and the various United Nations agencies say about the civil and political rights of citizens in the Arab world. Deplorable. What do they say about the civil and political rights of Palestinians. Intolerable. Intolerable on two counts. Not only do citizens have to withstand the deprivations and repression associated with military occupation and effective control by a sovereign state, Israel, they have to deal with the trauma of infighting and repression presented by the leadership that has surfaced within the occupation.

    What type of future is this for either Palestinians or Israelis? Certainly not a recipe for good neighbourly relations. Without a doubt all the ‘Arab’ world is not a shining light to democracy and human rights. But Israel too is failing its duties as an occupier of the people of Palestine. Does that mean we close our eyes to one area of injustice. King reminds us that “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”. So we as people of conscience should respond to the injustice. For those who respond to the injustice in Sudan, all power to them, for those who support the rights of Copts in Egypt, thank you, for those who champion potential climate refugees because of Climate Change, you are beautiful people, for those who seek for justice for the poor and marginalized within Israel, toda raba, for those who seek for freedom for the Palestinians from occupation, blessings to you. The point is striving for tikkun olam, healing and wholeness, requires looking out for those beyond your tribe. Through the act of giving life to others we in turn make our life one that is worth living.

    Shalom

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