By Tabitha Korol
The Economist self-describes its character as belonging to the radicals, yet it backed conservative Ronald Reagan, who would never have approved of this article. My conclusion after reading “We Want Recognition too,” was that The Economist economizes on truth – because it clearly misrepresents the facts with an intent to demonize Israel in every possible way.
The author, Wadi Naam, accused Israeli soldiers of knocking down Bedouin shacks “with abandon,” without acknowledging that Israel is among the smallest countries in the world with among the highest population densities, requiring proper urban planning to accommodate the needs of ALL its citizens. Bedouins have among the highest reproduction rates, requiring special attention to appropriate space for a rapidly increasing population. Further, these nomads often choose to live in accordance with their historic lifestyle, in mean housing, without paved roads, public transportation, electricity or water. These amenities are available to them in the established communities, but cannot be routed in desert areas despite their expectation of entitlements. The author admits that the Bedouins refuse to budge! Soldiers do NOT destroy with abandon and construction is done with legal authorization under Israel’s democratic law – privileges and restrictions apply to all citizens of Israel.
Mention of a torched mosque is made completely out of context, without providing the impetus for the action, which was in retaliation to all the damage done by Arabs to Jewish antiquities, from undermining the Temple Mount; to destroying the graves of the 3,000-year-old Mount of Olives cemetery; to the defilement of the Church of the Nativity; to the bombing and burning of a church in Gaza and Jewish synagogues in Jericho, Nablus, Gush Katif; to the destruction of Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph’s tomb in Nablus – along with 6 soldiers killed, to removing soil containing precious relics and disposing them in a garbage dump. Need I say more? Further, the mosque was torched by individual, angry, avenging citizens; they were not government representatives.
Further unethical and immoral statements were made with reference to 1948 as an issue of ethnic cleansing, when these accusations have already been proven wrong. The establishment of the Jewish State brought her 850,000 Jews who fled increased Arab persecution as well as sudden attacks from seven Arab countries. The Jewish refugees were given safe haven and welcomed as citizens to Israel, France, and the US. The 160,000 Arabs who accepted Israel’s invitation to stay and become citizens now number more than a million and are gainfully employed and thriving.
Palestinian leadership and elite evacuated their homes earlier to avoid the conflict and many followed by example. NOTE: Historian Shabtai Teveth repoirted they were given oral instructions to leave. The British High Commissioner for Palestine, General Sir Alan Cunningham, reported that Arab morale collapsed. The Major of Jaffa , among the many who fled,was also a factor in the flight of Haifa’s community. A British official, Palestine's Chief Secretary Sir Henry Gurney, recorded that the Arabs were deserted by their leaders – and the inhabitants of nearby towns followed suit. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, gave instructions for complete evacuation (for the purpose of Holy War) even while British, Jewish and Arab leadership were negotiating a truce. Those who fled were not offered a safe haven by their countries of origin, but were forced to remain homeless pawns to be used strategically later. This was a heartless Muslim-upon-Muslim crime.
Finally, if there is no room for camels and Bedouins are forced to abandon their herds, this is what happens with increased population without room for expansion. Israel tries to accommodate all her citizens in the little land she has, which is one one-thousandth of the Arab land mass. Those who chose to leave their traditional enclaves with their “wide open spaces” enjoy life in the cities, and a full range of modern homes and services, such as in the modern city of Rahat.. Those who choose to live in underdeveloped areas will, obviously, not have access to infrastructure; it is their choice. There are many Bedouins working to assist their own people in assimilation, but the author has an agenda of distorting the truths about Israel.
The Negev Bedouins (desert dwellers) continue their centuries-old ways, living as squatters and tribal nomads, engaging in sectarian violence, except now they have apparently concluded that they can get more, as the Palestinians do. They have seen the Palestinian-Arabs get far more “humanitarian” aid per capita than any other group on earth, and likely believe they can do so as well – or threaten with a Palestinian-style Intifada.
The Western world insists that Islamic assimilation is possible and that it is incumbent upon Israel to be the first to give up everything for the sake of the Arab world. The conflict is fundamental. The Koran prohibits assimilation and for Muslims this is truth.