Sunday, September 18, 2011

Make Palestine Whole Again

Make Palestine Whole Again

Yes we can!

Help create the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Undivided Palestine for EVERY Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, tribal, indigenous person living there or who was displaced by the creation of Israel.

Overturn the injustices, heal the wounds, allow the right to return of the dispossessed and the displaced, make Palestine WHOLE. That is the ETHICAL path.

Some steps to start the process to make Palestine whole again:
1. US stop meddling.
Get out of the room.
Get out of the region.
You are not a regional neighbor and no American is a legal resident of Palestine [see new data on dual citizenship] I am a US citizen. That does not make me a citizen of Palestine, of which Israel is a part.

US, you are purely self-interested, you have a short-term ad hoc perspective, you are not committed to The Greater Collective Good of ALL the Palestinians peoples -- Arabs, Christians, Jews, atheists, tribals, indigenous, ALL of whom reside in undivided Palestine or were displaced from it.

2. Israel stop being alarmist and stop putting up roadblocks to undivided statehood. Do not prevent efforts to make Palestine whole once again. Israel is located in Palestine. Jews have asserted their right to live in Palestine. Jews are entitled to exercise that right. That right would be preserved preserved in undivided Palestine.

3. Falasteen Arabs, develop strategies of non-violence, give up terror as a means to retaliate against the injustices caused to you by stealing your land and displacing the Arab, Christian, tribal and indigenous people of Palestine, due to the creation of Israel, by the UN.

4. France stay out of this. You are a former colonial power, you are not a regional neighbor, so don't meddle. Stay in your lane, as Judge Karen would say.

5. Turkey, you are trying to broaden your strategic reach through your membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Hold on. You also are NOT a regional neighbor, go play in your own sandbox, that would be Turkey, stop meddling in West Asia and South Asia.

UN, especially the In-Security Council, you created the problem in the first place by dividing Palestinians and creating the State of Israel. The UNSC -- United Nations Security Council cannot set policy, it cannot hold itself above the One State One Vote authority vested in the UNGA -- The United Nationas General Assembly. The US cannot veto the UNGA.

Now UN, go ahead, solve the problem you, the UNSC, created.

UN, especially the UNGA, it is now up to you to ***Facilitate*** an Undivided Palestine -- Arabs, Christians, indigenous, tribals and Jews are ALL Palestinians -- help the Palestinians work it out.

This September 2011, the United Nations is deliberating once again. A UNSC vote, a promised US veto, is looming that may create more bitterness in Palestine once again.

2011 is the critical year to make Palestine whole once again.

To prevent division into two separate states.

To re-establish an historical undivided Palestine.

A Palestine that now can become a sovereign, democratic republic with full membership in the UN.

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York [CUNY]
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
some articles from varied sources:

NYTimes copyright

The Middle East Has Changed

Updated September 15, 2011, 07:36 PM

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of "Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness."

There are only two genuine threats to Israel’s survival. One is its continued subjugation of the Palestinian people. The other is its failure to realize that it lives in a very different Middle East from that of Herzl or Weizmann or Ben-Gurion. That was a region dominated by outside powers that blandly accepted Herzl’s idea of Israel as a colonial outpost of the West, and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. Such things are inconceivable in a Middle East where popular sovereignty is finally beginning to have an impact on the foreign policy of states like Turkey and Egypt, and where peoples like those of Libya and Syria are waking up to their power to resist authoritarian governments.

The U.S. too must adapt to this new Middle East, instead of continuing to rely on bullying pliable clients like the undemocratic Arab regimes that are falling like dominos.

The United States too must adapt to this new Middle East, instead of continuing to rely on bullying pliable clients like the undemocratic Arab regimes that are falling like dominos. The Palestinian Authority has been subjected to threats and pressure to prevent the inter-Palestinian reconciliation which is a precondition of any serious attempt at a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and to prevent it from going to the United Nations to achieve member state status for Palestine.

True security, stability and self-determination for the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples can only come when both enjoy precisely the same rights on a basis of complete equality. That can only happen when both peoples feel safe in a homeland that is not predicated on discrimination and the denial of the rights of the other, as is the case with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians today.

More important than whether it comes via the establishment of one or two states is arriving at a sustainable and lasting final outcome based on justice, international law and human rights. That has not been on offer in American policy for over two decades, nor is it today. As long as the United States supports Israel in standing in the way of an immediate rollback of settlements and end to illegal occupation, a Palestinian state will not see the light of day, and any discussion of it is futile. Until we Americans change this status quo, based on crass domestic political considerations as opposed to our true national interests and our moral and legal responsibilities, a just and stable peace will be a long time in coming.

Published: September 21, 2011


Multimedia in Opinion
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Mapping Mideast Peace
Related News

Obama Says Palestinians Are Using Wrong Forum (September 22, 2011)
France Breaks With Obama on Palestinian Statehood Issue (September 22, 2011)

Related in Opinion

Room For Debate: Can Israel Survive Without a Palestinian State?

AS the United Nations General Assembly opens this year, I feel uneasy. An unnecessary diplomatic clash between Israel and the Palestinians is taking shape in New York, and it will be harmful to Israel and to the future of the Middle East.

I know that things could and should have been different.

I truly believe that a two-state solution is the only way to ensure a more stable Middle East and to grant Israel the security and well-being it desires. As tensions grow, I cannot but feel that we in the region are on the verge of missing an opportunity — one that we cannot afford to miss.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, plans to make a unilateral bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations on Friday. He has the right to do so, and the vast majority of countries in the General Assembly support his move. But this is not the wisest step Mr. Abbas can take.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has declared publicly that he believes in the two-state solution, but he is expending all of his political effort to block Mr. Abbas’s bid for statehood by rallying domestic support and appealing to other countries. This is not the wisest step Mr. Netanyahu can take.

In the worst-case scenario, chaos and violence could erupt, making the possibility of an agreement even more distant, if not impossible. If that happens, peace will definitely not be the outcome.

The parameters of a peace deal are well known and they have already been put on the table. I put them there in September 2008 when I presented a far-reaching offer to Mr. Abbas.

According to my offer, the territorial dispute would be solved by establishing a Palestinian state on territory equivalent in size to the pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza Strip with mutually agreed-upon land swaps that take into account the new realities on the ground.

The city of Jerusalem would be shared. Its Jewish areas would be the capital of Israel and its Arab neighborhoods would become the Palestinian capital. Neither side would declare sovereignty over the city’s holy places; they would be administered jointly with the assistance of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The Palestinian refugee problem would be addressed within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The new Palestinian state would become the home of all the Palestinian refugees just as the state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Israel would, however, be prepared to absorb a small number of refugees on humanitarian grounds.

Because ensuring Israel’s security is vital to the implementation of any agreement, the Palestinian state would be demilitarized and it would not form military alliances with other nations. Both states would cooperate to fight terrorism and violence.

These parameters were never formally rejected by Mr. Abbas, and they should be put on the table again today. Both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu must then make brave and difficult decisions.

We Israelis simply do not have the luxury of spending more time postponing a solution. A further delay will only help extremists on both sides who seek to sabotage any prospect of a peaceful, negotiated two-state solution.

Moreover, the Arab Spring has changed the Middle East, and unpredictable developments in the region, such as the recent attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, could easily explode into widespread chaos. It is therefore in Israel’s strategic interest to cement existing peace agreements with its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.

In addition, Israel must make every effort to defuse tensions with Turkey as soon as possible. Turkey is not an enemy of Israel. I have worked closely with the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In spite of his recent statements and actions, I believe that he understands the importance of relations with Israel. Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Netanyahu must work to end this crisis immediately for the benefit of both countries and the stability of the region.

In Israel, we are sorry for the loss of life of Turkish citizens in May 2010, when Israel confronted a provocative flotilla of ships bound for Gaza. I am sure that the proper way to express these sentiments to the Turkish government and the Turkish people can be found.

The time for true leadership has come. Leadership is tested not by one’s capacity to survive politically but by the ability to make tough decisions in trying times.

When I addressed international forums as prime minister, the Israeli people expected me to present bold political initiatives that would bring peace — not arguments outlining why achieving peace now is not possible. Today, such an initiative is more necessary than ever to prove to the world that Israel is a peace-seeking country.

The window of opportunity is limited. Israel will not always find itself sitting across the table from Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who object to terrorism and want peace. Indeed, future Palestinian leaders might abandon the idea of two states and seek a one-state solution, making reconciliation impossible.

Now is the time. There will be no better one. I hope that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas will meet the challenge.

Ehud Olmert was prime minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009.

Op-Ed Contributor
Support the Palestinian Bid for Statehood
Published: September 22, 2011


THE United States should support the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations. The Palestinian people deserve a state now. As the current debate unfolds, I am reminded of what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1965: “The time is always right to do what’s right.”
Related in Opinion
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Mapping Mideast Peace
Related in Opinion

Olmert: Peace Now, or Never (September 22, 2011)

After almost two decades of unsuccessful negotiations among Israel, the Palestinians and partner states, it is understandable that the Palestinian Authority has elected to go to the United Nations — the international body empowered to mediate conflict and recognize statehood. Despite the initial promise of the Oslo peace process in the 1990s — particularly before the horrific assassination of the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin — direct negotiations have deteriorated to a dismally low point.

Given this impasse and Israel’s settlement expansion, the Palestinian Authority is following the example of dozens of current United Nations members, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Eritrea, as well as South Sudan, which successfully seceded from Sudan after a protracted civil war and gained admission to the United Nations in July. Israel, our ally, followed a comparable process and rightfully gained admission to the United Nations in 1949. And in this case, Arab countries that have never recognized Israel would implicitly be doing so when they voted to recognize a Palestinian state that envisioned itself beside Israel in a two-state solution to their conflict. That in itself would be a breakthrough, confirming Israel’s solid standing in the region.

World leaders should pause before criticizing the Palestinians’ intention to follow the same legal process by which many of their own nations achieved international recognition. Palestinian leaders have sought statehood through violence and terrorism: they hijacked planes and massacred Israeli athletes in Munich in the 1970s, and bombed buses during the second intifada. These abhorrent acts of terrorism were rightly rejected by the world community and stymied the Palestinians’ efforts to gain statehood recognition. But the Palestinian Authority, unlike Hamas, is pursuing statehood nonviolently and diplomatically now, so why are we discouraging its efforts?

Criticisms of the Palestinian Authority’s desire for the United Nations to act include assertions that this approach to statehood is unilateral and precludes negotiations with Israel. Yet the process of gaining recognition from the United Nations Security Council is multilateral by definition. No one disputes that further direct negotiations will be needed to resolve the outstanding final status issues of the conflict, including borders, repatriation of refugees, national security and the claims of both sides to Jerusalem. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said he will urge Israel to resume negotiations immediately after a United Nations vote. Both sides must avoid violence and work to repair relations.

Some of my Congressional colleagues have threatened to cut off United States aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues pressing for statehood. However, officials from all nations involved acknowledge that American aid has vastly improved the security situation for Israel and the Palestinians. Thanks in large part to American assistance, incidents of terrorism in Israel have receded from the extraordinary levels of the first half of the last decade.

Given its successful security collaboration with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government said in a report recently that it “calls for ongoing international support for the Palestinian Authority budget and development projects.” Undermining our current progress by cutting off American aid would be counterproductive — especially for Israel and the United States — and would further delay peace in the Middle East.

The Palestinian people are a distinct group that desires, and deserves, to have a homeland that is internationally recognized as a state. The international community has a formal process for recognizing states, and the Palestinian Authority is following that process. As it seeks to join the community of nations this month, world leaders should not forget King’s important lesson about doing what is right. The Palestinians’ use of multilateral diplomacy to achieve statehood represents a step toward achieving the two-state solution and achieving a more stable Middle East. It is an opportunity, not a threat. We should seize it now.

Keith Ellison is a Democratic representative from Minnesota.
Make Palestine Whole Again. That is my central point.

Ethical Democracy as Lived Practice

My sincere question to Sacher (see his article below) is:

So what? Jews love their ancestral homeland. Great. Why does that preclude SHARING Palestine with others who have similar feelings about their homes, their gardens, their places of community?

Jews are DISTINCT, they wish to be considered distinct. DISTINCTNESS is the core attribute of ETHNICITY, every ethnicity, not just Jewsish ethnicity.
But that does not mean ethnic Israeli Jews can be permitted to be exclusionary, and shut out others who feel close to the same land, the land from which they were displaced.

Be ethical, Sacher. develop an argument that benefits the Greater Collective Good.
Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York [CUNY]
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
copyright The Atlantic

A Jewish Palestine

"The idea of Judaism is inseparable from the idea of the Jewish people, and the idea of the Jewish people is inseparable from the idea of the Jewish land"
By H. Sacher

THE Zionist movement dates from A.D. 70, the year of the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish State. The Zionist Organization dates from 1897, the year of the first Zionist Congress. The Zionist movement is a longing and striving to restore to the Jewish people normal national life. The Zionist Organization is a particular instrumentality for achieving that end. The Zionist movement will continue until the Jewish people are once more living a normal national life, when it will be transformed into the active expression of that normal national life. The Zionist Organization, when the particular phase of Jewish national life which called into being this special instrumentality has passed, will merge into some other instrumentality.

There are some who deny that there is such a thing as the Jewish people, but the denial is a modern innovation. Very rare is the non-Jew who thinks of Jews as merely a sect without national quality; and it is doubtful whether among the Jews themselves there could be found a single instance of such a denial much earlier than the second decade of the nineteenth century. The negation of Jewish nationality was first presented by German Jews as part of what is called the 'reform ' movement in German Jewry, which itself was hardly separable from the movement for Jewish political emancipation in that country. From Germany it spread to other lands, but it has never had much respect among any save a small minority of Jews, and it has never had any respect at all from non-Jews, except when political expediency made it convenient for a Gentile statesman or diplomat to invoke this strange dogma.

Let us try to clear the ground by attempting, not so much a definition as a characterization of Judaism. Judaism is not a religion in the Western sense of the word. Judaism is the precipitated spiritual experience of the Jewish people. The idea of Judaism is inseparable from the idea of the Jewish people, and the idea of the Jewish people is inseparable from the idea of the Jewish land. You may see this in every form and expression of Jewish religious life. Individual prayer, prayer for the individual Jew alone, is exceedingly rare. When the Jew prays, he prays not simply for himself, but for all Israel; and this national conception permeates prayer even in what might be considered to be the most personal and individual incidents of life: birth, marriage, death.

The welding of the idea of the Jewish people with the idea of the Jewish land is manifest in every page of the Jewish Liturgy. When the lad is confirmed and assumes the full burden of the law, he prays that 'God may have mercy upon Zion, for it is the hope of our life,' and that 'He may save her who is broken in spirit speedily even in our days.' He thanks God for having planted eternal life in the Jewish people. 'Gladden us, O Lord our God, with Elijah thy servant, and with the Kingdom of the House of David thy anointed. Soon may he come and rejoice our hearts. Suffer not a stranger to sit upon his throne nor let others inherit his glory.'

Let it not be supposed that this passionate identification of the Jewish people with the Jewish land is an aspiration for some allegorical spiritual Zion that never was on sea or land. The Jewish people preserve to this day the calendar of a land from which they have been exiled for two thousand years. The seasons which they mark with observance, the times of sowing and of planting, of harvest and of vintage, are the seasons and the times, not of the lands in which they dwell, but of the land in which their fathers lived and from which they have been exiled. The name in the everyday speech of the Jew for the lands of the Diaspora is Galuth, exile. The Jewish sages celebrated the bitterness of exile in many a poignant phrase: 'The Galuth atones for all the sins of the Jews.' 'With him who dwells outside Palestine it is as though God were not with him.' 'Those Jews who dwell outside Palestine do not enjoy eternal life.' Such sayings of the rabbis bring out their conception of the meaning of exile.

Rabbinical literature is full of apophthegms that express the positive passion of the teachers of Israel for the soil, the air, the water, the physical being of the national land. 'Whosoever walks four cubits in Palestine is assured of the world to come.' 'It is better to dwell in a Palestine desert than to live in a land of plenty abroad.' 'To live in the land of Israel outweighs all the commands of the Torah.' 'The air of Palestine makes men wise.' 'Even the chatter of Palestine is worthy of study.' 'Palestine is the microcosm of the world.' 'Rabbi Abah used to kiss the rocks of Palestine. Rabbi Chazah used to roll in the dust of Palestine.' The whole doctrine of the rabbis in regard to the national home is summed up in the sentence: 'God said to Moses, "the Land is me and Israel is dear to me. I will bring Israel who is dear to me to Land that is dear to me.' Here is the triple thread which is Judaism -- God, the Jewish people, the Jewish land. What the rabbis taught and felt, the Jewish people believed and felt.

THE determination of the Jewish people to recover a normal national life never limited itself to faith in a miraculous restoration independent of the effort of the Jews themselves, although the conviction that the restoration was certain to come one day was part of the faith of every Jew. A continuous series of efforts to restore the Jewish national life in Palestine marks the centuries of exile. The rising of Bar Kochba against Hadrian threatened for a time the fabric of Roman dominion. The great outburst in the early years of the seventh century, in conjunction with the Parthians, expelled the Romans for a few years. The coming of Moslem rule diverted Jewish effort for a long time from the political to the quasi-miraculous. From the thirteenth to the eighteenth century was the period of the pseudo-Messiahs, of whom the two best known are that David Alroy around whom Disraeli wove a novel, and Sabatai-Zevi, of whom Zangwill has given marvelously penetrating study.

With the nineteenth century we come to efforts which are neither strictly political nor yet miraculous. The Jew begins to return to Palestine, but to return as an individual. It is probable that there never was a period when there was no Jewish settlement of any kind in Palestine. Mediaeval Jewish travelers have left records of Jewish communities, and there is evidence of the existence of Jewish agricultural communities, perhaps from the days of the Temple. In the seventeenth century, the illustrious Don Joseph Nasi and his mother conceived the idea of planting Jews on the soil of Palestine. Early in the nineteenth century, Jews from Eastern Europe began to drift in, brought thither mainly by the profound emotion of the bliss of dying and being buried in the dust of the Holy Land. Every Jew who settled in Palestine was a link between the Diaspora and the land of Israel, for it was the duty and the pleasure of his brethren to maintain in Palestine men given up to meditation and study and dedicated to the spiritual life.

With Sir Moses Montefiore, whose journeys to Palestine began in the eighteen-thirties, Western Jewry began to occupy itself constructively with the Jewish restoration. There was established a fund for the cultivation of land in Palestine by the Jews. Sir Moses had the idea of obtaining extensive concessions, and so bringing about 'the return of thousands of our brethren to the lands of Israel.' Many years afterward he summed up the goal of his striving in the following words: 'I do not expect that all Israelites will quit their abodes in those territories in which they feel happy, even as there are Englishmen in Hungary, Germany, America, and Japan; but Palestine must belong to the Jews, and Jerusalem is destined to become the city of a Jewish commonwealth.'

Many public men in Great Britain were deeply interested in these efforts to restore the Jewish people to the Jewish land. Lord Shaftesbury was the foremost of them. 'The inherent vitality,' he wrote, 'of the Hebrew race reasserts itself with amazing persistence. Its genius, to tell the truth, adapts itself more or less to all the currents of civilization all over the world, nevertheless always emerging with distinctive features and a gallant recovery of vigor. There is unbroken identity of Jewish race and Jewish mind down to our times; but the great revival can take place only in the Holy Land.' He believed that the hour had struck for the Jewish restoration, and he labored to persuade English statesmen to take up the holy task. Another distinguished Englishman of those days who was penetrated with the same conviction was Colonel Churchill, the British Resident at Damascus, who urged upon the Jews the return to Palestine as the solution of the Eastern question.

The interest of Englishmen in the Jewish people and a Jewish Palestine dates back to the Commonwealth. The same school of thought which permitted the Jews to return to England speculated further upon the Jewish restoration to Palestine; and this religious interest, fed upon the Bible and upon Protestantism, has survived in great strength down to our own day, as is evidenced by a whole literature, including a book conceived in this spirit recently published by Sir Andrew Wingate, a distinguished ex-Indian civil servant. The religious element of English interest in Jewish nationalism was fortified by political considerations. The genius of Napoleon revived the statesmanship of Caesar and Alexander, and conceived, as they did, of the Jewish people in Palestine as a pillar of empire in the East. When Napoleon started upon his expedition to Syria, he issued a proclamation announcing his wish to restore the scattered hosts of Jewry to their ancient land. There can be little doubt that this seed planted by Napoleon found lodgment in English minds. From Colonel Churchill to Laurence Oliphant can be seen sprouting the idea of serving both God and Great Britain, as well as the Jewish people, by re-creating a Jewish Palestine. It was an alternative solution of the Eastern question, to the maintenance of the decrepit Ottoman Empire. This latter solution may be said to have been the orthodox one in the nineteenth century, and to have held the field in official England until the middle of the Great War; but the conflict of the two political conceptions persisted, although in a dormant condition, throughout the century, and in the end it was the larger and nobler which triumphed.

The big political schemes for a Jewish Palestine in the eighteen-forties, whether conceived by Gentile or conceived by Jew, were based upon the rule of Mehemet Ali over Syria and Palestine. The great Powers, in bringing about the fall of Mehemet Ali, sterilized all these projects. The foundations of a Jewish Palestine were to be laid slowly, arduously, with infinite toil, by the sacrifices of individual Jews. In the eighteen-sixties Jews from Russia and Roumania began to buy land to start colonies. In 1870 the agricultural school of Mikveh Israel was founded, to be followed by several other agricultural settlements. The pogroms of the eighteen-eighties lessened the great Jewish passion for Palestine by shattering some of the illusions of emancipation. That decade saw the establishment of numerous colonies. It also saw the intervention in this task of reconstituting a Jewish Palestine of Baron Edmund de Rothschild of Paris.

There is no chapter in the colonizing history of any people finer than the story of these Jewish pioneers. They came to Palestine ignorant of agriculture, ignorant of the land, ignorant of the people, miserably equipped. The government laid its dead hand on all development. It was only by stealth, and with the assistance of baksheesh, that a house or a shelter could be erected. There was no security for land property or life, and fever and pestilence raged. The settlers had to compete with native labor accustomed to a very low standard of life. They had to make their own roads, furnish their own police, their own schools, their own sanitary apparatus; and while the government of Palestine offered them nothing but the privilege of paying taxes, the governors of the countries from which colonists came extended them no protection. On top of these troubles there came a severe crisis in the agricultural industry on which the colonists were mainly dependent. In the end, all these difficulties were conquered, and Jewish colonies of today in Palestine, numbering over forty, are so firmly founded that they could resist the ravages of the war and of the blockade. These Jewish settlements are perhaps the only vital communities in the country.

Most of the Jewish colonies are given up to plantations of oranges, almonds, olives and vines, though there is a certain amount of cattle-raising and of corn-growing The wines of Palestine are famous throughout the Jewish world, and they are established in the neighboring markets of Egypt and Syria. The Jewish colonists have demonstrated that they have a real talent for special work, grafting and the like, in plantations, and have shown that the process of reconverting the Jew into a husbandman is natural and not difficult. The Jewish colonists have introduced the motor-pump in place of the blinded camel or mule. They have cleared the stagnant pools by planting eucalyptus. They have worked out at the Agricultural Experiment Station (which is an American foundation) many devices for combatting the enemies of their crops and for improving species. They have improved the breeds of cattle and of poultry, and have sent students all over the world, notably to California, whence they have brought back to the ancient East the latest developments in Western dry-farming. They have introduced irrigation and cooperation. They have founded at Jerusalem a school of arts and crafts which is to be the mother of a revived Jewish art.

These Jewish colonies, just because they are the children of an ideal and a passion, much more than of the pursuit of material gain, have a unique atmosphere and quality. The farmer and the laborer are scholars as well as sons of the soil. The school and the public hall are as indispensable as the shed. The cultivation of the Hebrew tongue is as natural as the cultivation of the land, and the children of the colonists speak and sing and play and jest in Hebrew, their mother-tongue. A considerable Hebrew literature of great range has sprung up, from the masterly dictionary of Ben Jehudah to the daily newspaper. There are reviews specializing in education and in agriculture; there are medical reports and a considerable variety of monographs on every aspect of the life of the colonist. This pulsating Jewish life, small in scale though it still is, is the microcosm of the Jewish Palestine that is to be. Perhaps the political charter of the New Jewish Palestine never would have come but for those few score thousands of Jewish settlers.

MEN searching for a single phrase have found it hard to express precisely the function of the Zionist Organization in the building up of the Jewish Palestine in the period before the war. Perhaps we can say that it wedded Eastern and Western Jewry for the common task, that it Hebraized Western Jewry and infused into European Jewry the technical knowledge and intelligence and the organizing gifts of Western Jews. It reintroduced into the making of a Jewish Palestine political action. Under the stimulus of the Zionist Organization there was no Jewish community, of any size, in the world which did not have a group of men who linked their own personal as well as their national hopes with Palestine, and who labored to achieve a Jewish Palestine.

The Zionist Organization called into being financial instruments such as the Jewish Colonial Trust and the Anglo-Palestine Company, which strengthened and sustained the Jewish settlements in Palestine, notably under the trials of the war. The congresses summoned by the Organization are memorable for the influence they exerted in bringing together the scattered hosts of Jewry, and in educating Jewry as to the Jewish present, the Jewish past, and the Jewish destiny. Nobody who has ever attended a Zionist Congress but has felt that here was something unique; that here, in this gathering of Jews from the remotest parts of the earth, all assembled to deliberate solely upon Jewish questions, there was a living demonstration of the ancient saying that all Israel are brethren. To be present at a congress was to have what was most Jewish in Jewry brought under one's eyes.

Again, the Zionist Organization has educated the Gentile world as to the true character of the Jewish question. The artificial status of the Jewish people had evoked self-constituted interpreters and representatives of the Jews to the outside world. These worthy and well-meaning men had, in fact, lost touch with those in whose name they spoke. The Organization ultimately overthrew this curious dynasty, and offered the world in its place Jewish representation at once democratic and faithful.

The Zionist Organization reintroduced the political element into the creation of a Jewish Palestine. It was not concerned with parties or factions inside the various countries; but its aim was to give the Jewish people in Palestine a secure home under the guaranty of the Great Powers. It is possible that Dr. Herzl, the father of the Zionist Organization, was too optimistic in his expectations that either Turkey or the Powers would recognize the value to themselves and to the world of a Jewish Palestine. Nevertheless, his efforts were not wholly sterile. He fixed the identity of the Jews and of Palestine in the political vision of modern statesmen, and he secured from Great Britain two offers which were the first recognition in modern times, by any government, that the Jews constituted a nation, and that they had a right to remake a Jewish national home; that, in the words of the old and pregnant dictum of the rabbis, Israel was not a. widower. These offers were of an autonomous Jewish settlement in East Africa, and of a Jewish settlement in the Sinai Peninsula. For a variety of reasons they came to nothing, but they sustained British interest in the Jewish national restoration, and they were a milestone on that road which was to lead to a Jewish Palestine under a British trusteeship.

Pessimists might well have argued that the war, which shattered Jewry and divided the Zionist Organization, meant the indefinite deferring of the day of Israel's redemption. Perhaps to no people did the war come at first as so enormous and so unqualified a disaster. Eastern Europe, the greatest of all Jewish centres, became the battlefield of peculiarly ferocious war, in which millions of Jewish existences were brought to naught, and ancient seats of Jewish culture went up in ruin. For practical purposes Eastern was sundered from Western Jewry, and the whole of Jewry, save the Jewish communities of the Central Powers, was separated from Palestine. That major portion of the Jewish population of Palestine which dependent on support from its brethren without, was threatened with starvation. The colonies found themselves deprived of their markets, subjected to the plunder attendant upon Oriental warfare, and exposed to persecution by the Turkish authorities. The directing heads of the Zionist Organization were scattered in half a dozen countries. The prospect was very dark, but the trial demonstrated the tenacious purpose of the Jewish national will.

On the material side, the debt of Palestine and the whole Jewish people during the years of war to American Jewry is incalculable. When the United States was neutral, and the American Jews had access to the East, they promptly assumed the responsibility which had fallen upon them. If the centre of gravity of the commonwealth of Jewry has passed from Russia to the United States, that is due, not simply to wealth and numerical strength, but to the fact that, when the call came, American Jews answered it. Justice requires that the services of German Zionists in the preservation of the nucleus of the Jewish Palestine should be noted. Alone of the Great Powers during the war, Germany could bring political influence to bear upon the Turkish authorities and on more than one critical occasion the German Zionists induced the German Government to a check on the fury of Djemal Pasha. But not the least remarkable of Zionist manifestations during this trying time was the political insight of the Zionist leaders.

During the early years of the war British alliance with Russia did not make for sympathy with Jewish sufferings and Jewish aspirations. The dominant school in British military and political thought still built upon the Turk, and showed little appreciation of nationality as the heir of the Turk in the Near and Middle East. This is manifest in the secret treaty of 1916 for the division among the Great Powers of the Turk's estate. Under that treaty France obtained 'the coastal strip of Syria,' except the ports of Haifa and Acre. There was to be an Arab zone between the French and British territories, and 'with a view to securing the religious interests of the Entente Powers, Palestine with the Holy Places was to be separated from Turkish territory and subjected to a special regime, to be determined by agreement between Russia, France, and England.' This secret treaty contains no mention of Jewish national rights. It prescribes the partition of the Jewish motherland, it sets up a condominium over that fragment of Palestine which was not otherwise distributed. Every one of the deadly sins against Jewish nationalism was embodied in this unhappy agreement. To recall it is to indicate the magnitude of the political task with which the Jewish statesmen grappled and which they overcame.

The Zionist leaders pinned their faith, a faith which never wavered in the darkest hours, to the Allied cause. The Zionist leader in England, Dr. Weizmann, a distinguished scientist attached to the Manchester University, got into touch with British statesmen in the earliest days of the war. The first of these to grasp the importance of the Jewish national claim was Mr. Balfour, whose interest has been steadily sustained, and whose merit it was to sign the famous Declaration of the British Government recognizing the Jewish rights to Palestine. Such of the leaders of the Zionist Organization as war conditions permitted assembled in England, and it was his ceaseless labors which brought about the death in London of Dr. Dchlenow, a leader of the Russian Zionists. The chief part in this diplomatic work was carried on by Mr. Sokolow, who represented the Russian Jews, and Dr. Weizmann. Dr. Weizmann was chiefly concerned with the British authorities, and Mr. Sokolow went on missions to Paris, Rome, and the Vatican.

The Zionist cause gained a valuable ally in the foundation in Manchester, in 1916, of the British Palestine Committee, which, early in 1917, commenced the issue of its weekly organ, Palestine. The British Palestine Committee presented the case for a Jewish Palestine from the British point of view. Its policy was 'to reset the ancient glories of the Jewish nation in the freedom of a new British dominion in Palestine.' It advocated a Jewish Palestine under British sovereignty, and it is a matter of historical interest that it was from the British Palestine Committee that the demand was first launched for a British mandate under the League of Nations for a Jewish Palestine. Indeed, this committee was one of the first, if not the first, to put forward the conception of the mandatory system in general, a conception which was promptly adopted by the Zionist leaders, who thus consistently associated the idea of a Jewish Palestine with the idea of the League of Nations. The British Palestine Committee early laid it down that any satisfactory solution of the Palestine question must embrace an integral Palestine, under a single sovereignty. Its slogan was 'neither partition nor condominium.' Every conceivable argument, political, economic, strategic, and moral, was brought to bear in Palestine, which became immediately a recognized authority with regard to all Palestinian questions. Without question the propaganda of the British Palestine Committee did much to convert public opinion to the idea of a Jewish Palestine.

All these efforts were ultimately dependent on the fortunes of the British military campaign in Palestine. The Eastern and Western schools fought one another over Palestine almost as hard as the Turk was fought. The Western school held that the expedition should never have been undertaken, and even as late as the spring of 1918 there was serious talk of evacuating Jerusalem and falling back on Gaza. In the en the East won, and the genius of General Allenby carried British arms the Taurus and shattered the Ottoman Empire.

But even while the military fortunes were in the balance, a great political victory had been won for a Jewish Palestine. On November 2, 1917, on the eve of the capture of Gaza and Beersheba, Mr. Balfour issued the memorable pronouncement: 'His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use its best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.'

The declaration of the British Government was speedily adopted by the French and Italian governments, and it has since been approved in terms or in substance by all the powers associated in the war against Germany.

It is not invidious to inquire what were the motives which brought the British Government to this momentous decision. As has been pointed out, it was in line with a long British tradition of interest, religious and political, in the Jewish restoration to Palestine, and it met with unanimous approval among the British people. The idealistic motive weighed heavily with British statesmen, as those Jews who came in contact with them during the war can testify. Another consideration was the necessity for recasting British policy in the East, now that Turkey had become an irreconcilable enemy to Great Britain. British statesmanship instinctively realized the necessity of substituting for the Ottoman Empire a new East, constituted by the revived and restored subject nations. The part which a Jewish Palestine could claim as an interpreter and a bridge and a reconciler between East and West appealed to the British imagination. These ideas weighed much with the late Sir Mark Sykes, who throughout was the chief channel of communication between Zionism and British statesmanship. A third argument was the political influence, immediate and future, of the Jewish people. America was a new recruit to the war, and England appreciated the value of Jewish friendship. A people of fourteen millions spread throughout the world was, again, a political fact not to be depreciated.

By more roads than one, therefore, Great Britain came to identify herself with a Jewish Palestine, and once having taken the decision, followed out its logic. A Zionist Commission was sent to Palestine in 1918, to prepare the way for the future. Its most inspiring act was to lay the foundation of a Hebrew University at Jerusalem. At Paris, the Zionists had 'their day in court,' as President Wilson called it, and they have submitted their demands. The British Government has accepted the Zionist idea of a British mandate under the League of Nations for a Jewish Palestine. The British Government has further cleansed itself of its original sins of partition and condominium. The Jewish Palestine is to be an integral Palestine, and it is not to be cursed by a divided rule. Zionist statesmanship has succeeded in reversing the whole policy of the secret treaty of 1916, and it has succeeded at the same time in rallying to itself the support of the American and the Italian and, finally, even of the French government. The Zionist leaders have been able to do this because they have never allowed themselves to become the instruments of British or any other imperialism, but have pursued steadily and with a single eye the interests of the Jewish nation, which are the interests of humanity.

WHAT do the Jews want in Palestine? what do they hope? what do they intend? In the proposals laid before the Peace Conference by the Zionist Organization, the following demands are submitted. (1) For the recognition of the historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine, and the right of the Jews to reconstitute Palestine as their national home. (2) That the boundaries of Palestine shall extend on the west to the Mediterranean, on the north to the Lebanon, on the east to the Hedjaz railway and the Gulf of Akabah. (3) That the sovereign title to Palestine shall be vested in the League of Nations, and the government be intrusted to Great Britain as mandatory of the League. (4) That Palestine shall be placed under such political administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment there of the Jewish national home, and ultimately render possible the creation of an autonomous commonwealth, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. (5) For these purposes the mandatory power is to promote Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land; to accept the cooperation of a Council representing the Jews of Palestine and the world, and to give this Council (which is to be precluded from making a private profit) priority in any concession for public works or the development of the natural resources of Palestine. (6) Hebrew shall be one of the official languages of Palestine, and the Jewish Sabbath and Holy Days shall be recognized as legal days of rest.

Such in brief outline are the proposals which the Zionist leaders are making to the Peace Conference, and which have already commended themselves to most of the peace delegations by their moderation and good sense. The Jews are not asking that they shall govern Palestine. They constitute at present, numerically, but a small minority in the country, although qualitatively that minority is the most important element, and represents the fourteen millions of the Jewish people. What Jews are asking for is the right to make Palestine a Jewish country once again -- Jewish in the sense that the majority of the people shall be Jews; Jewish in the sense that the predominant culture shall be Hebrew culture. For this purpose a mere bare permission to emigrate into the country will not suffice. He who wills the end must also will the means. The land must be made accessible to the Jews. At present, from sixty to eighty per cent of the soil of Palestine is held in great estates, by absentee landowners, who rack-rent a miserable peasantry. The Jewish people had no intention of allowing their passion for the country, their enterprise, and their genius to be converted into unearned increment for the benefit of these absentee landlords. They are, however, anxious that the rights of the cultivating fellaheen shall be conserved, and there is plenty of room for the fellaheen and for the Jewish immigrants. Palestine to-day has not one tenth of the population it once had. The Jewish people again demand that the development of the natural resources of the country shall not pass to alien capitalists, but shall be entrusted to the Jewish Council, representing and working on behalf of the Jewish people. These economic instrumentalities are indispensable if the Peace Conference is to make real its design of calling into being a Jewish Palestine. As and when Palestine becomes Jewish once again, the Jewish people will ask that its political institutions shall express that Jewish social reality.

The Jewish people do not expect that all the Jews of the world will ever be gathered into Palestine. The country is too small to hold them all, and there is no universal desire to go there. In the fullness of time there will be several million Jews in Palestine, but in all human probability the majority of Jews will still live outside its borders. Skepticism is sometimes expressed as to the likelihood of Jewish emigration into Palestine; as to whether the comfortable or the indifferent of the new and the old worlds will turn their steps toward Zion. The anxiety of the Zionist leaders, as it happens, is lest, in the early years, the flood of immigration may be so great as to threaten the stability of a Jewish Palestine -- threaten it as an economic entity, threaten it as a Hebraic entity. During the early years the need will certainly be for selection among the immigrants, rather than for stimulation of immigration.

What kind of men will come? Palestine will get many of the best in Jewry, for, beyond a doubt, Zionism is the one vital Jewish thing in Jewry. It appeals to the idealism of the Jew, be he student, professor, craftsman, or businessman. Zionism has saved the soul of Jewry in every country of the Diaspora. Many, far more than the non-Jew even dreams, are girding themselves for the great adventure. The desolation that has swept over the European world has set free hosts of the pick of Jewry, and a Jewish Palestine will have at its disposal talents of every variety and of rare quality. Those who do not go themselves, and with their own hands and brains share in the building of the Palestine, will be happy to assist from a distance by material help and encouragement. Even those who have resisted the march of Zionism will rally the positive work of reconstruction, once the conflict of theories and politics over and done with. In the new Palestine there will be a task attractive to every man of fine spirit. Though not every Jew will ever be there physically the whole Jewish people will assuredly collaborate in making the new Jewish Palestine.

Sociologically, the Jewish Palestine will be the home of many experiments. It will set the common weal above private appetite. It will blend public ownership and private enterprise. It will make education, in accordance with Jewish tradition, the possession of every citizen. It will do justice between all the nationalities within its borders. It will establish the equality of men and men, and work toward democracy, political and economic. It will be one the pillars of the League of Nations, and by its relationship to all the scattered communities of Israel, it will forge powerful links for the brotherhood of the peoples. In the Near East and the Middle East it will strive to replace the broken tyranny of the Turk by a harmonious cooperation between Jew, Arab, and Armenian. It will read the riddle of the West to the East, and the riddle of the East to the West. For the Jews throughout the world, the new Jewish Palestine will be once again a Zion from which the Law and the word of God shall go forth. No Jew outside Palestine will have any political tie with, or obligation to, a Jewish Palestine; but every Jew who feels in himself the Jewish soul and the Jewish consciousness will see in the Jewish Palestine the example of a pure Jewish society. There he will see the Jewish faith developing freely, according to the law of its being, distracted neither by opposition, nor by surrender to an alien environment. There he will see the Jewish national spirit expressing itself in a society modeled on the Jewish idea of justice, in a Hebrew literature, in a Hebrew art, in the myriad activities which make the life of a people on its own soil, under its own sky. There he will see the Jewish nation once again making its contribution to the common task of humanity, and he will see himself the better citizen of the land in which he dwells for the spiritual ties which link him with a Jewish Palestine.

Such is the goal toward which the Jewish people are striving, and such is the fabric for which the ground is now being cleared by the labor of the Peace Conference at Paris. The Zionist ideal is the twofold ideal, national and human, of the Rabbis. 'Jerusalem is the city that made all Israel brothers. Jerusalem is destined to be the mother-city of all the lands.'

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The Real Reason Behind the Israeli Hysteria Over the UN Vote
Posted: 9/22/11 10:04 AM ET
UN General Assembly , Israeli-Palestinian Conflict , Mahmoud Abbas , Salam Fayyad , Plo , Un , Unsc , World News

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When Palestinians decided to go to the United Nations to seek Palestinian recognition, they knew that would anger Tel Aviv and possibly Washington. But they didn't expect the reaction that ensued.

Both the US and Israel are on record as supporting Palestinian statehood. The UN rarely has the ability to produce decisions with teeth unless the US and other Western allies are forcefully behind it.

Israel is about to declare an emergency situation in the occupied territories and the Obama administration is in emergency mode as if Palestinians were declaring war.

The idea of Palestine becoming a permanent member of the United Nations originated, say Palestinians, from none other than US President Barack Obama. Speaking at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010, Obama said he hoped that "when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations- - an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel".

The Palestinians decided to take the US president at his word.

Obama's efforts to rekindle the Middle East peace process was met by Israel's refusal to carry out a temporary settlement freeze. The United States was even willing to offer a $3 billion arms deal to Israel in return for suspending building Jewish-only settlements in areas earmarked for the Palestinian state. At the time the US president also offered to veto any anti Israel resolution. But Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected the US offer.

Nine months later, Obama made another effort to kick start peace talks.

"The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states," he said in May.

Once again Palestinians accepted Obama's formula, while Netanyahu publicly rejected it, leaving Palestinians with no other non-violent alternative but to go to the UN to seek a state based on the 1967 borders.

In 1967, it should be recalled, Israel occupied the remainder of historic Palestine and other Arab territories following the June War. Shortly after the war, the UN Security Council declared, in the preamble to Resolution 242, that "it is inadmissible to occupy land by force."

As threats against the Palestinians failed to produce results, the US is now pressuring international countries who have already publicly recognized Palestine not to vote for it. The Obama administration wants these countries to refrain from giving a positive vote so that the US doesn't have to veto the resolution.

So why this big fuss? Is it solely because the right-wing Israeli government and the election year in US are too fragile for any anti-Israeli UN decision? But this is not reason enough to warrant such overreaction over a toothless UN vote

A more credible answer could be found in the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.

The decades-long occupation has given the Israelis the feeling that even in negotiations they can ram ideas down the Palestinians' throats and that the weak Palestinians have no choice but to bite their lips and accept Israeli dictates. After all, Israel can and often delivered harsh, violent, financial blows against Palestinians, as well as further restricting movement of peoples and goods.

Israelis often wonder why Palestinians are not responsive to what they consider a benevolent attitude towards the Palestinian population.

When Arafat rejected Israel's " generous offer", they besieged his headquarters and kept their tanks in Ramallah until his death.

The Gaza siege is another example of what happens to Palestinians when they do not toe the Israeli line, when they do not act the way they are supposed to.

What makes this situation different is the fact that the current Palestinian leader has found the right formula. His sincere and active opposition to violence has removed a major excuse Israelis often use to justify their harsh attitude. No wonder an Israeli strategist has called Mahmoud Abbas "dangerous" for Israel. But although Abbas is opposed to violence, dresses in a suit and speaks the language of a moderate, he has refused to budge on issues of national importance to Palestinians. Hence his real strength.

Furthermore, Abbas has vowed not to run for reelection, this leaving him free to act for what he believes is the interest of his people.

In his plane ride to New York, Abbas spoke to journalists about his life starting as a refugee and fighting for Palestinian rights. The report was published top of page in the wide-circulation Palestinian daily Al Quds; it reads, clearly, as a man's last testimony. Abbas is going to the UN for history and for his personal legacy to the nation.

The Palestinian president has taken the path of UN recognition rather than continue with the charade of useless -- indeed, harmful -- direct talks. And, clearly, that change in tactics has hit a raw nerve with Israelis and frustrated the US.

Few Palestinians see anything wrong with the move, although many are not certain that it will produce many immediate and tangible results. Nonetheless, the Palestinian public is pleased for now with a leadership that has found the backbone to stand up to pressure from Israel and the US.

As Abbas has publicly said, the Palestinians' desire to obtain a UN vote on statehood (in whatever form) does not mean that they cannot have direct negotiations with Israel. There is no reason why representatives of the newly recognized state cannot negotiate with representatives of Israel.

If the UN vote succeeds, however, it will not be a people talking with the occupier, but two states negotiating how to manage their relations in peace and harmony.

November 12, 2000
The Promised Land An Israeli journalist recounts how Britain pledged the Holy Land to Jew and Arab alike.
Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate.
By Tom Segev. Translated by Haim Watzman.
Illustrated. 612 pp. New York:
Metropolitan Books/
Henry Holt & Company. $35.

Reading Tom Segev's remarkable book just as another round of violence and frustration erupts in Israel and the Palestinian territories, one is instantly gripped by a powerful sense of déjà vu. Once again the region has succumbed to despair, and peace seems, at best, a distant prospect. And yet ''One Palestine, Complete'' is more than the tale of a historical tragedy in the making. For Segev is unusually attuned to the hopes and dreams that both Arabs and Jews have invested in this divided land. Instead of telling his story through the loud pronouncements of political leaders, he has woven a fine tapestry of individual portraits, curious anecdotes and penetrating insights. One is left with a faint hope that the current crisis is as much a convulsive reaction to an anticipated settlement as it is a compulsive return to old patterns of prejudice and violence.

Although Segev makes only a few fleeting references to the controversy over the so-called new historians in Israel, his book is a major, if somewhat oblique, contribution to the debate. In the last decade or so, a number of younger Israeli scholars, mostly born after the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, have boldly challenged the patriotic narrative of the past, which cast Israel as an innocent victim of Arab aggression and rejected Palestinian claims of nationhood. Sifting through previously classified documents in British and Israeli archives, scholars like Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim and Ilan Pappé have used this evidence to present a more balanced and detached examination of the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict. Not surprisingly, they have provoked fierce resistance from conservative scholars as well as from right-wing and ''security-minded'' politicians, journalists and intellectuals in Israel and the United States.

Segev is something of an anomaly among the new historians. Despite a doctorate in history from Boston University, he makes his living as a journalist for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. His column is titled, significantly, ''Foreign Correspondent,'' though he lives in Jerusalem and writes mostly on domestic matters. Segev is also the author of several influential books, notably ''The Seventh Million,'' a controversial study of how the Holocaust shaped Israeli identity.

Segev's distinctive place in Israeli intellectual life, however, has as much to do with his style as with his unconventional opinions. In a culture accustomed to intense emotions, he stands out for his wry, often aloof sensibility. He has a keen eye for the ironic, even the ridiculous, detail, and seems to take particular pleasure in deflating heroes and exploding the myths that are the lore of national identity. Segev's coolness generally serves him well, but it is not always a virtue. ''One Palestine, Complete'' is written in the authoritative, sometimes arrogant tone of an author who feels no need to engage in debate with his opponents. The omniscient voice masks some significant lapses in the narrative, while Segev's apparent detachment conceals his own ideological views, which are heavily tilted against the Zionist interpretation.

That said, Segev has written an enormously important book, perhaps the best single account of Palestine under the British mandate. For the first time in the historiography of the region, the story of the mandate has been told from all three perspectives -- the Zionist, the Arab and the British. The book opens with the conquest of the land from the Ottoman Empire in World War I, when, Segev writes, ''the British were received as an army of liberation. Both Arabs and Jews wished for independence and assumed they would win it under British sponsorship.'' The British gave them no reason to think otherwise, making vague promises to the Arabs in ''an evasive and amateurish correspondence,'' and announcing in the Balfour declaration of 1917 that England ''views with favor'' the creation of a Jewish ''national home'' in Palestine. As Segev remarks, ''The Promised Land had, by the stroke of a pen, become twice-promised.''

The book ends with the departure of the British following the United Nations resolution to divide the country into two separate states in 1947. That resolution, and its rejection by the Arab leadership, led to a bloody war that culminated in the establishment of an independent Jewish state -- by then no longer in line with official British policy -- and the resulting flight and expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs. Tragically, the creation of a Jewish state just three years after the near-total destruction of the Jewish diaspora by Nazism led to the creation of a Palestinian diaspora, whose fate has yet to be determined. Thus, what Israelis remember as their War of Independence is marked by Palestinians as al nakba -- the catastrophe.

Which side did the British favor in Palestine? Segev's argument is characteristically subversive of Zionist historiography, which portrays the British as hostile to Jewish aims. Although the Jews and the British clashed in the years immediately preceding independence, Segev argues that the British played a decisive role in the transformation of the tiny Jewish population they found in Palestine into an economically viable and politically well-organized community with a statelike infrastructure. Without the mandate, he insists, a Jewish state either would never have come into being or would have been greatly delayed. The mandate, in his view, was the single most important factor in the establishment of the state, and not, as was claimed at the time and is still believed by most Israelis and Jews, an obstacle to independence.

Segev tells the story of the Palestinian Arabs with a great deal of sympathy and balance. As we get to know some of the leaders of Palestinian nationalism more closely, we realize that they hardly correspond to the stereotypes often drawn by Zionist historians of primitive serfs and corrupt, lazy and pro-Nazi elites. Segev also personalizes Arab-Jewish relations in the mandate years in a way that shatters the starkly ideological prism through which they tend to be seen by both Jews and Arabs. Among his most affecting vignettes is the troubled yet powerful friendship between Khalil al-Sakakini, a teacher and writer who represents the fate of Palestinian intellectuals, and Alter Levine, a successful insurance agent and somewhat lesser poet, who embodies the curious blend of practicality and romanticism so common among the early Jewish settlers. Their bond, sealed by the shared experience of persecution under the Turks, was irreparably frayed by the mandate. Indeed, Sakakini had become so embittered by the anticipated loss of his homeland that he expressed sympathy for Nazi Germany. Yet Segev resurrects a time when such friendship was still possible and through it reveals how narrow our view of the past has been and the extent to which it has impoverished our understanding of the tragedy. Sakakini and Levine stand for all that was once possible before even its memory was erased in decades of bitter confrontation.

Segev views the British as astonishingly ill equipped to deal with the myriad problems of Palestine. Soon after their arrival, they found themselves frustrated in their efforts to support the creation of a Jewish state while appeasing an increasingly restive Arab population. The Arab rebellion of 1936-39, which British soldiers suppressed with brutal force, only deepened their sense of despair. As Segev observes, this first intifada had paradoxical consequences. On the one hand, British retaliation considerably weakened Arab military organization and thereby helped the Jewish forces gain the upper hand during the war of 1948. On the other hand, vehement Arab resistance to Jewish settlement convinced the British that staying in Palestine was not worth the price. Had it not been for the outbreak of World War II, they might have left earlier.

Among left-wing commentators in Israel, anti-Israeli critics in Europe and Palestinian nationalists, it is often said that Israel's establishment was a direct consequence of the Holocaust. Segev wisely rejects this idea. The Yishuv (the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine), he notes, was well on its way to statehood before the war, while the genocide of European Jewry deprived Zionism of the human reserves needed to fortify the future state. In this sense, the Holocaust served Palestinian interests, for it greatly reduced the threat of mass immigration. What is more, sympathy for Zionism was more common in British political circles during and after World War I than it was following the Holocaust. Even in 1938, the British ambassador to Egypt wrote, ''The Jews? . . . Let us be practical. They are anybody's game these days. But we need not desert them. They have waited 2,000 years for their 'home.' They can well afford to wait a bit until we are better able to help them get their last pound of flesh.''

Segev's penchant for the eye-catching detail and for personal anecdote occasionally lends his book a somewhat gossipy quality. We learn a great deal about who was sleeping with whom and what sorts of drinks certain individuals liked to have on their porch. And we read of fascinating outsiders like the Spanish consul to Jerusalem, Antonio de Ballobar, a raffish young count whose mother was Jewish and who was ''famous for the sumptuous meals he served at his home in West Jerusalem.'' To be sure, Segev is trying to evoke the lost and, for some, romantic world of mandate Palestine. But this also means that he tells us much more about the elites than about the majority of Palestinians and Jews so keenly observed by figures like Ballobar.

This approach also tends to give short shrift to high politics and strategy. For instance, Segev makes the striking observation that some key British politicians, including Prime Minister David Lloyd George, supported the Zionist cause not only out of sympathy for Zionism, but also thanks to the notion (greatly encouraged by the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann) that Jewish power and influence would help bring the United States into the war on Britain's side. But one would have liked to see a more careful analysis of Britain's far-flung strategic interests and the perceived role of Palestine as an important link between India and Europe, a crucial obstacle between North Africa and the Caucasus, a base for British air and naval operations in the Mediterranean and a center for the local production of armaments. Moreover, Segev ignores the possibility that British awareness of oil reserves in the region also served as potential motivation for their presence.

It should also be noted that while Segev pays much attention to the Arab Palestinian population, most of his materials come from British and Israeli archives, as well as private collections of diaries, letters, newspapers and memoirs. The book is obviously directed at an Israeli, American and European audience, and the myths it sets out to dispel are mainly Israeli and Jewish. Palestinian myths are hardly addressed. Then again, the Arabs do not need Segev to tell them that the British were the friends rather than the enemies of the Jews; they already said so in 1917 and 1936.

Nevertheless, the merits of this book far outweigh its limitations. It is very well written and hard to put down despite its considerable length. This will doubtlessly become the authoritative text for the pre-state history of Israel, as well as a book that Palestinian scholars will and indeed should refer to. And, considering the terrible deterioration of relations between Jews and Palestinians in the last few weeks, one can only hope that this book will draw attention not only to the nightmarish quality of the region's history, but also to the promise of coexistence that was so recklessly tossed aside.

Omer Bartov's most recent book is ''Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity.''

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The Irish Times - Saturday, January 8, 2011
Palestinian population fast approaching that of Israeli Jews
Palestinian children hold balloons during a rally marking the 46th anniversary of Fatah's foundation.Palestinian children hold balloons during a rally marking the 46th anniversary of Fatah's foundation.Photograph: Reuters
In this section »

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The land between the Mediterranean and river Jordan will be majority Palestinian from 2015, writes MICHAEL JANSEN

THE PALESTINIAN population in “historic Palestine” will equal the Jewish population before 2015, according to projections released by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics.

The bureau said Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza currently total 4.1 million while Palestinian citizens of Israel amount to 1.4 million. This gives a total of 5.5 million Palestinians, approaching the 5.8 million for Israeli Jews.

Due to a higher Palestinian birth rate – 32.8 per 1,000 – as compared to the Jewish Israeli birth rate – 26.2 per 1,000 – the bureau said the “number of Palestinians will reach the number of Jewish residents by the end of 2014, around 6.1 million, at the current growth rate”.

Thereafter, the land between the Mediterranean sea and the Jordan river will not only become a Palestinian majority area but this majority will grow.

Since immigration numbers almost equal those for emigration, the Palestinian figure has not been affected by the 7,000 Palestinians, mostly men between the ages of 15-29, who leave annually. The lure of education, better living conditions and improved job opportunities pushed 32,000 young men to depart between 2005-09. However, during this period an estimated 30,411 returned, the highest number being 7,077 in 2009.

Palestinian migrants tend to return home because great importance is placed by the Palestinian community on “steadfastness”, they have few opportunities to settle abroad, and they do not want to become permanent exiles. The number of Palestinian refugees was set at 5.6 million, most living in Arab countries.

The latest statistics issued by the Israeli government show that the population of Israel minus the Palestinian territories, is 7.7 million, 75.4 per cent Jewish, 20.4 per cent Palestinian, and 4.2 per cent foreigners.

Israel’s figures are 5.8 million for Jewish and 1.5 million for Palestinian citizens.

While Israel’s population growth rate of 1.9 per cent remains steady, it is significant that during 2010 Israel absorbed only 16,000 immigrants. Of these 6,000 were born abroad to Israeli parents and 4,000 moved to Israel on family reunification schemes. This means that only 6,000 are new Jewish immigrants, suggesting that immigration has slowed while emigration has accelerated, particularly over the last decade.

US Census Bureau figures show that more than 140,000 US residents were born in Israel, a 30 per cent increase over the number in 2000 when Israeli residents totalled 109,720. Of those currently living in the US, 90,179 have US citizenship.

However, the US official figures are questioned by Israeli official sources and media. According to the Israeli consulate in New York, as many as 600,000 Israelis now live in the US. This figure indicates that the number of Israelis who migrate to the US is larger than that of US citizens moving to Israel – which was, according to the Jewish Agency, 23,640 from 2000-2009 – an average of 2,300 a year.

The discrepancies between US and Israeli figures are explained by differences over who is considered an Israeli. Neither Soviet-born Jews who went first to Israel and then settled in the US nor children born to Israeli residents of the US are necessarily considered to be Israeli citizens by the US Census Bureau.

Some Israelis contend that since Israel withdrew its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, the narrow coastal strip with its Palestinian population should be excluded from the equation.

However, Palestinians point out that Gaza is indisputably part of “historic Palestine”. Furthermore, the international community considers that the strip is not only occupied Palestinian territory but also remains firmly under Israeli domination through its control of land, air and sea access.

Other Israelis, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, hold that the high Palestinian birth rate is a “demographic time bomb” set to rob Israel of its Jewish majority. They argue that the only way for Israel to remain a democratic Jewish state is to reach a deal for a two-state solution.

Mr Olmert insists that unless such a peace settlement is reached Israel would have to embrace the one-state solution, where Jews and Palestinians would have equal rights, or become an apartheid state, where a Jewish minority will dominate a restive Palestinian majority.
Definitions of Palestine
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Further information: History of the name Palestine

The term Palestine has several overlapping (and occasionally contradictory) definitions.

1 Palestine as a historical region
2 Palestine as the region of the Palestinian territories
3 Palestine as a state
4 Etymology
5 Boundaries
6 See also
7 References
8 External links

[edit] Palestine as a historical region
Further information: Time periods in the region of Palestine, History of Palestine, and History of the name Palestine
Historical region of Palestine showing Israel's 1948 and 1967 borders

In historical contexts predating the British mandate of Palestine, Palestine was mostly a geographical term, particularly used in the Roman Latin and Greek, and also other languages taking their geographical vocabulary from them. The Romans united Iudaea with the Galilee to form the Roman sub-province of Syria Palaestina (encapsulating territories of ancient Canaan, Kingdom of Israel, Judah, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia) and thus included much of the land on both sides of the Jordan River although with further political sub-divisions along the Jordan River valley.

Also in geographical contexts, "Palestine" is often used, as it is a distinctly unique natural unit. Rivers, vegetation and bird migration have ignored political boundaries, while contributing to the development of the natural character of the land.
[edit] Palestine as the region of the Palestinian territories
Main article: Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) showing Israel's 1948 and 1967 borders

Sometimes people use the term Palestine in a limited sense to refer to lands currently under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, a quasi-governmental entity which governs but lacks full sovereignty. Since the late 1990s, this has included the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank. However in colloquial everyday usage residents of all parts of Palestine continue using the name for the entire region of Historic Palestine (as defined before the creation of the State of Israel). Palestinian citizens of Israel (who are officially referred to by Israel as "Israeli Arabs") generally make a distinction between the land (Palestine) and the political structures governing it (Israel, Palestinian Authority). Thus, many Palestinians in Israel, the Occupied Territories and in dispersion use the word "Palestine" to refer to Historic Palestine, even when they recognize Israel's existence and affirm its right to continue to exist; for such people, Palestine and Israel are one and the same territory.
[edit] Palestine as a state
Main article: Views of Palestinian statehood
Palestinian National Authority showing Israel's 1948 and 1967 borders

Modern usage of the term Palestine usually refers to a prospective Palestinian state, incorporating both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Some who oppose the existence of a Jewish state in the region regard all the land west of the Jordan River as the territory of a Palestinian state "from the river to the sea," in denial of Israel's existence or right to exist in the future.

The term is also used to convey the sense that Palestine is already a state, either (a) consisting only of Gaza & West Bank or (b) including as well all land held by Israel. Since the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the UN General Assembly has recognized the PLO mission there under the name "Palestine."[1]
[edit] Etymology

The term Palestine (Greek: Παλαιστινη/Latin: Palaestina), originally referred to the coastal lands of the biblical Philistines, a people of Aegean origin who settled in the southern coastal plains of Canaan, in the 12th century BC, their territory being named Philistia.

The earliest known mention is thought to be in Ancient Egyptian texts of the temple at Medinet Habu from c.1150 BC which record a people called the P-r-s-t (conventionally Peleset) among the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign.[2] The Assyrian emperor Sargon II called the same region Palashtu or Pilistu in his Annals dated 709 BC.[3][4][4][5] The Hebrew name Peleshet (פלשת Pəléshseth)- usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible to denote the southern coastal region that was inhabited by the Philistines to the west of the ancient Kingdom of Judah.[6]

By the Hellenistic period, the term had come to denote a wider region, including that of Judea. Herodotus wrote in c.450 BC in The Histories of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistinê" (whence Palaestina, whence Palestine).[3][7][8][9] One important reference refers to the practice of male circumcision associated with the Hebrew people: "the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians, are the only nations who have practised circumcision from the earliest times. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine themselves confess that they learnt the custom of the Egyptians... Now these are the only nations who use circumcision"[10] In c.340 BC, Aristotle wrote in Meteorology about Palestine in a reference to the Dead Sea: "Again if, as is fabled, there is a lake in Palestine, such that if you bind a man or beast and throw it in it floats and does not sink, this would bear out what we have said. They say that this lake is so bitter and salt that no fish live in it and that if you soak clothes in it and shake them it cleans them."[11] And in c.40 AD, Roman-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria wrote of the Jews in Palestine: "Moreover Palestine and Syria too are not barren of exemplary wisdom and virtue, which countries no slight portion of that most populous nation of the Jews inhabits. There is a portion of those people called Essenes"[12]

After crushing Bar Kochba's revolt in 132-135, the Roman Emperor Hadrian applied the name Syria Palestina to the entire region that had formerly included Iudaea Province,[13] which some scholars interpret to have been an attempt to suppress Jewish national feelings.[14][15] The Arabic toponym Filasteen (Arabic: فلسطين‎) is also derived from the Latin name.

"The name Palestine, which the Romans had bestowed on the conquered and subjugated land of Judea, had been retained for a time by the Arab conquerors to designate an administrative subdivision of their Syrian province." The name had disappeared from the region prior to the arrival of the Crusaders. The term was rediscovered in Europe at the time of the Renaissance and used to refer to what "European Christians ... previously called the Holy Land." "The name was not used officially, and had no precise territorial definition until it was adopted by the British to designate the area which they acquired by conquest at the end of World War I and ruled under mandate from the League of Nations."[16]
[edit] Boundaries

Prior to the Allied Powers victory in World War I and the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, which created the British mandate in the Levant, most of the northern area of what is today Jordan formed part of the Ottoman Vilayet of Damascus (Syria), while the southern part of Jordan was part of the Vilayet of Hejaz. What later became part of British Mandate Palestine was in Ottoman times divided between the Vilayet of Beirut (Lebanon) and the Sanjak of Jerusalem.[17]

The Jordan Rift Valley (comprising Wadi Arabah, the Dead Sea and River Jordan) has at times formed a political and administrative frontier, even within empires that have controlled both territories. At other times, such as during the rule of the Kingdom of Israel and the Hasmonean state for example, territories on both sides of the river formed part of the same administrative unit.[citation needed] Alternatively, during the Arab Caliphate period, parts of southern Lebanon and the northern highland areas of Palestine and Jordan were administered as Al Jund al Urdun, while the southern parts of the latter two formed part of Jund Dimashq, which after the ninth century was attached to the administrative unit of Jund Filasteen (Arabic: جند فلسطين‎).[18]

In 1920, most of modern-day Jordan was at first incorporated into the planned League of Nations mandate territory of Palestine. However, the Transjordan was made into a separate political unit on April 11, 1921, and its separate Mandate came into force in September 1923 as the Emirate of Transjordan.

Nineteenth century sources refer to Palestine as extending from the sea to the caravan route, presumably the Hejaz-Damascus route east of the Jordan River valley. Others refer to it as extending from the sea to the desert.

Between 1922 and 1948, the term Palestine referred to the portion of the British Mandate of Palestine lying to the west of the Jordan River; that is, all of what is now Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. During the period of the British Mandate of Palestine, the term "Palestinian" referred to all people residing there, regardless of religion, and those granted citizenship by the Mandatory authorities were granted "Palestinian citizenship".[19] The term was used without any ethnic connotations. For example, the The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, was called The Palestine Post from its founding in 1932 until 1950.

[edit] See also

Palestine (disambiguation)
Palestinian territories - variously defined
Palestinian National Authority - government over West Bank and Gaza
Definitions of Palestinian
Geography of the Palestinian territories
Geography of Israel

[edit] References

^ Eric Suy, Karel Wellens (1998). International Law: Theory and Practice : Essays in Honour of Eric Suy. Martinus Nijhoff. p. 378. ISBN 9041105824.
^ Fahlbusch et al., 2005, p. 185.
^ a b Sharon, 1988, p. 4.
^ a b Room, 1997, p. 285.
^ Carl S. Ehrlich "Philistines" The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 2001.
^ Lewis, 1993, p. 153.
^ Palestine and Israel, David M. Jacobson, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 313 (Feb., 1999), pp. 65–74
^ The Southern and Eastern Borders of Abar-Nahara, Steven S. Tuell, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 284 (Nov., 1991), pp. 51–57
^ Herodotus' Description of the East Mediterranean Coast, Anson F. Rainey, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 321 (Feb., 2001), pp. 57–63
^ The Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132-135 C.E.) by Shira Schoenberg, The Jewish Virtual Library
^ 'The Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered' By Peter Schäfer, ISBN 3-16-148076-7
^ 'The Name “Palestine”, The Jewish Virtual Library
^ Bernard Lewis (1999). Semites and Anti-Semites, An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice. W.W. Norton and Company. pp. 169. ISBN 0-393-31839-7.
^ "Palestinim, Am Behivatsrut," by Kimmerling, Baruch, and Joel S. Migdal - Keter Publishing, ISBN 965-07-0797-2
^ Kamal Suleiman Salibi (1993). The Modern History of Jordan. I.B.Tauris. pp. 17–18. ISBN 1860643310.
^ Government of the United Kingdom (December 31, 1930). REPORT by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of PALESTINE AND TRANS-JORDAN FOR THE YEAR 1930. League of Nations. Archived from the original on 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2007-05-29.

[edit] External links
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Druse (disambiguation).
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (Consider using more specific cleanup instructions.) Please help improve this article if you can. The talk page may contain suggestions. (March 2011)
Druze دروز Druze star.svg
Druze star
Total population
1,000,000 to 2,500,000
Regions with significant populations
Syria 700,000[1]
Lebanon 250,000[1]
Israel 120,000[1]
Jordan 20,000[2]
Outside the Middle East 100,000
United States 20,000[3][dead link]
Canada 10,000
Australia 3,000[4]
Venezuela 2,000
Unitarian Druze
Rasa'il al-hikmah (Epistles of Wisdom), Qur'an
Hebrew (in Israel)
French (in Lebanon and Syria)
Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim
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Seveners · Qarmatians
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The Druze (Arabic: درزي, derzī or durzī‎, plural دروز, durūz, Hebrew: דרוזים‎ druzim) are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and other philosophies. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid (People of Unitarianism or Monotheism) or al-Muwaḥḥidūn (Unitarians, Monotheists) – the official name of the sect is al-Muwaḥḥidūn al Dururz (The Unitarian Druze).

1 Location
2 History
2.1 Origin of the name
2.2 Early history
2.3 The closing of the faith
2.4 During the Crusades
2.5 Persecution during the Mamluk and Ottoman period
2.6 Ma'an dynasty
2.7 Shihab Dynasty
2.8 Qaysites and the Yemenites
2.9 Civil War of 1860
2.10 Rebellion in Hauran
3 Modern history
3.1 In Syria
3.2 In Lebanon
3.3 In Israel
4 Beliefs of the Druze
4.1 God in the Druze faith
4.2 Scriptures
4.3 Esotericism
4.4 Precepts of the Druze faith
4.5 Religious Symbol
4.6 ʻUqqāl and Juhhāl
5 Origins of the Druze people
5.1 Ethnic origins
5.2 Genetics
6 See also
7 Notes
8 Further reading
9 External links

[edit] Location

The Druze people reside primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.[5] The Israeli Druze are mostly in Galilee (81%), around Haifa (19%), and in the Golan Heights,[6] which is home to about 20,000 Druze.[7] The Institute of Druze Studies estimates that 40%–50% of Druze live in Syria, 30%–40% in Lebanon, 6%–7% in Israel, and 1%–2% in Jordan.[8][9]

Large communities of expatriate Druze also live outside the Middle East in Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the United States, and West Africa. They use the Arabic language and follow a social pattern very similar to those of the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean region.[10]

The number of Druze people worldwide exceeds one million, with the vast majority residing in the Levant or East Mediterranean.[11]
[edit] History
[edit] Origin of the name

The name Druze is derived from the name of Anushtakīn ad-Darazī (from Persian, darzi, "seamster") who was an early preacher. Although the Druze consider ad-Darazī a heretic[12] the name had been used to identify them.

Before becoming public, the movement was secretive and held closed meetings in what was known as Sessions of Wisdom. During this stage a dispute occurred between ad-Darazi and Hamza bin Ali mainly concerning ad-Darazi's ghuluww (Arabic, "exaggeration"), which refers to the belief that God was incarnated in human beings, especially 'Ali and his descendants, including Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah who was the current Caliph, and ad-Darazi naming himself "The Sword of the Faith" which led Hamza to write an epistle refuting the need for the sword to spread the faith and several epistles refuting the beliefs of the ghulat.

In 1016 ad-Darazi and his followers openly proclaimed their beliefs and called people to join them, causing riots in Cairo against the Unitarian movement including Hamza bin Ali and his followers which led to the suspension of the movement for one year and the expulsion of ad-Darazi and his supporters.[13]

Although the Druze religious books describe ad-Darazi as the "insolent one" and as the "Calf" who is narrow minded and hasty, the name "Druze" is still used for identification and for historical reasons. In 1018 ad-Darazi was assassinated for his teachings, some sources claim to be executed by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.[12][14]

Some authorities see in the name "Druze" a descriptive epithet, derived from Arabic dâresah ("those who study").[15] Others have speculated that the word comes from the Arabic-Persian word Darazo (درز "bliss") or from Shaykh Hussayn ad-Darazī, who was one of the early converts to the faith.[16] In the early stages of the movement, the word "Druze" is rarely mentioned by historians, and in Druze religious texts only the word Muwaḥḥidūn ("Unitarian") appears. The only early Arab historian who mentions the Druze is the 11th century Christian scholar Yahya of Antioch, who clearly refers to the heretical group created by ad-Darazī rather than the followers of Hamza ibn 'Alī.[16] As for Western sources, Benjamin of Tudela, the Jewish traveler who passed through Lebanon in or about 1165, was one of the first European writers to refer to the Druzes by name. The word Dogziyin ("Druzes") occurs in an early Hebrew edition of his travels, but it is clear that this is a scribal error. Be that as it may, he described the Druze as "mountain dwellers, monotheists, who believe in 'soul eternity' and reincarnation."[17]
[edit] Early history

The Druze faith began as a movement in Ismailism, that was mainly influenced by Greek philosophy and gnosticism and opposed certain religious and philosophical ideologies that were present during that epoch.

The faith was preached by Hamza ibn 'Alī ibn Ahmad, a Persian Ismaili mystic and scholar. He came to Egypt in 1014 and assembled a group of scholars and leaders from across the world to establish the Unitarian movement. The order's meetings were held in the Raydan Mosque, near the Al-Hakim Mosque.[18]

In 1017, Hamza officially revealed the Druze faith and began to preach the Unitarian doctrine. Hamza gained the support of the Fātimid Caliph al-Hakim, who issued a decree promoting religious freedom prior to the declaration of the divine call.

Remove ye the causes of fear and estrangement from yourselves. Do away with the corruption of delusion and conformity. Be ye certain that the Prince of Believers hath given unto you free will, and hath spared you the trouble of disguising and concealing your true beliefs, so that when ye work ye may keep your deeds pure for God. He hath done thus so that when you relinquish your previous beliefs and doctrines ye shall not indeed lean on such causes of impediments and pretensions. By conveying to you the reality of his intention, the Prince of Believers hath spared you any excuse for doing so. He hath urged you to declare your belief openly. Ye are now safe from any hand which may bring harm unto you. Ye now may find rest in his assurance ye shall not be wronged. Let those who are present convey this message unto the absent so that it may be known by both the distinguished and the common people. It shall thus become a rule to mankind; and Divine Wisdom shall prevail for all the days to come.[19]

Al-Hakim became a central figure in the Druze faith even though his own religious position was disputed among scholars. John Esposito states that al-Hakim believed that "he was not only the divinely appointed religio-political leader but also the cosmic intellect linking God with creation.",[20] while others like Nissim Dana and Mordechai Nisan state that he is perceived as the manifestation and the reincarnation of God or presumably the image of God.[21][22]

Some Druze and non-Druze scholars like Samy Swayd and Sami Makarem state that this confusion is due to confusion about the role of the early heretical preacher ad-Darazi, whose teachings the Druze rejected as heretical.[23] These sources assert that al-Hakim rejected ad-Darazi's claims of divinity,[14][24][25] and ordered the elimination of his movement while supporting that of Hamza ibn Ali.[26]

Al-Hakim disappeared one night while out on his evening ride - presumably assassinated, perhaps at the behest of his formidable elder sister Sitt al-Mulk. The Druze believe he went into Occultation with Hamza ibn Ali and three other prominent preachers, leaving the care of the "Unitarian missionary movement" to a new leader, Bahā'u d-Dīn.
[edit] The closing of the faith

Al-Hakim was replaced by his underage son, 'Alī az-Zahir. The Unitarian Druze movement, which existed in the Fatimid Caliphate, acknowledged az-Zahir as the Caliph, but followed Hamzah as its Imam.[14] The young Caliph's regent, Sitt al-Mulk, ordered the army to destroy the movement in 1021.[12] At the same time, Bahā'a ad-Dīn as-Samuki was assigned the leadership of the Unitarian Movement by Hamza Bin Ali.[14]

For the next seven years, the Druze faced extreme persecution by the new caliph, al-Zahir, who wanted to eradicate the faith.[27] This was the result of a power struggle inside of the Fatimid empire in which the Druze were viewed with suspicion because of their refusal to recognize the new Caliph, Ali az-Zahir, as their Imam. Many spies, mainly the followers of Ad-Darazi, joined the Unitarian movement in order to infiltrate the Druze community. The spies set about agitating trouble and soiling the reputation of the Druze. This resulted in friction with the new caliph who clashed militarily with the Druze community. The clashes ranged from Antioch to Alexandria, where tens of thousands of Druze were slaughtered by the Fatimid army.[12] The largest massacre was at Antioch, where 5000 Druze religious leaders were killed, followed by that of Aleppo.[12] As a result, the faith went underground in hope of survival, as those captured were either forced to renounce their faith or killed. Druze survivors "were found principally in southern Lebanon and Syria." In 1038, two years after the death of al-Zahir, the Druze movement was able to resume because the new leadership that replaced him had friendly political ties with at least one prominent Druze leader.[27]

In 1043 Bahā'a ad-Dīn declared that the sect would no longer accept new pledges, and since that time proselytization has been prohibited.[14][27]
[edit] During the Crusades

It was during the period of Crusader rule in Syria (1099–1291) that the Druze first emerged into the full light of history in the Gharb region of the Chouf Mountains. As powerful warriors serving the Muslim rulers of Damascus against the Crusades, the Druze were given the task of keeping watch over the crusaders in the seaport of Beirut, with the aim of preventing them from making any encroachments inland. Subsequently, the Druze chiefs of the Gharb placed their considerable military experience at the disposal of the Mamluk rulers of Egypt (1250–1516); first, to assist them in putting an end to what remained of Crusader rule in coastal Syria, and later to help them safeguard the Syrian coast against Crusader retaliation by sea.[28]

In the early period of the Crusader era, the Druze feudal power was in the hands of two families, the Tanukhs and the Arslans. From their fortresses in the Gharb district (modern Aley Province) of southern Mount Lebanon, the Tanukhs led their incursions into the Phoenician coast and finally succeeded in holding Beirut and the marine plain against the Franks. Because of their fierce battles with the crusaders, the Druzes earned the respect of the Sunni Muslim Caliphs and thus gained important political powers. After the middle of the twelfth century, the Ma'an family superseded the Tanukhs in Druze leadership. The origin of the family goes back to a Prince Ma'an who made his appearance in the Lebanon in the days of the 'Abbasid Caliph al-Mustarshid (1118 AD-1135 AD). The Ma'ans chose for their abode the Chouf district in the southern part of Western Lebanon, overlooking the maritime plain between Beirut and Sidon, and made their headquarters in Baaqlin, which is still a leading Druze village. They were invested with feudal authority by Sultan Nur-al-Dīn and furnished respectable contingents to the Muslim ranks in their struggle against the Crusaders.[29]
[edit] Persecution during the Mamluk and Ottoman period

Having cleared Syria of the Franks, the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt turned their attention to the schismatic Muslims of Syria. In 1305, after the issuing of a fatwa by the Hanbali Sunni scholar Ibn Taymiyyah calling for jihad against all non-Sunni Muslims like the Druze, Alawites, Ismaili, and twelver Shiites. al-Malik al-Nasir inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Druze at Keserwan and forced outward compliance on their part to orthodox Sunni Islam. Later, under the Ottoman Turks, they were severely attacked at Ayn-Ṣawfar in 1585 after the Ottomans claimed that they assaulted their caravans near Tripoli.[29]

Consequently, the 16th and 17th centuries were to witness a succession of armed Druze rebellions against the Ottomans, countered by repeated Ottoman punitive expeditions against the Chouf, in which the Druze population of the area was severely depleted and many villages destroyed. These military measures, severe as they were, did not succeed in reducing the local Druze to the required degree of subordination. This led the Ottoman government to agree to an arrangement whereby the different nahiyes (districts) of the Chouf would be granted in iltizam ("fiscal concession") to one of the region's amirs, or leading chiefs, leaving the maintenance of law and order and the collection of its taxes in the area in the hands of the appointed amir. This arrangement was to provide the cornerstone for the privileged status which ultimately came to be enjoyed by the whole of Mount Lebanon in Ottoman Syria, Druze and Christian areas alike.[30]
[edit] Ma'an dynasty
Main article: Maan family
Fakhreddin castle in Palmyra

With the advent of the Ottoman Turks and the conquest of Syria by Sultan Selim I in 1516, the Ma'ans were acknowledged by the new rulers as the feudal lords of southern Lebanon. Druze villages spread and prospered in that region, which under Ma'an leadership so flourished that it acquired the generic term of Jabal Bayt-Ma'an (the mountain of the Ma'an family) or Jabal al-Druze. The latter title has since been usurped by the Hawran region, which since the middle of the 19th century has proven a haven of refuge to Druze emigrants from Lebanon and has become the headquarters of Druze power.[29]

Under Fakhreddin II, the Druze dominion increased until it included almost all Syria, extending from the edge of the Antioch plain in the north to Safad in the south, with a part of the Syrian desert dominated by Fakhreddin's castle at Tadmur (Palmyra), the ancient capital of Zenobia. The ruins of this castle still stand on a steep hill overlooking the town. Fakhr-al-Dīn became too strong for his Turkish sovereign in Constantinople. He went so far in 1608 as to sign a commercial treaty with Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany containing secret military clauses. The Sultan then sent a force against him, and he was compelled to flee the land and seek refuge in the courts of Tuscany and Naples in 1614.

In 1618 political changes in the Ottoman sultanate had resulted in the removal of many enemies of Fakhr-al-Din from power, signaling the prince's triumphant return to Lebanon soon afterwards.

In 1632 Ahmad Koujak was named Lord of Damascus. Koujak was a rival of Fakhr-al-Din and a friend of the sultan Murad IV, who ordered Koujak and the sultanat navy to attack Lebanon and depose Fakhr-El-Din.

This time the prince decided to remain in Lebanon and resist the offensive, but the death of his son Ali in Wadi el-Taym was the beginning of his defeat. He later took refuge in Jezzine's grotto, closely followed by Koujak who eventually caught up with him and his family.

Fakhr-al-Din finally traveled to Turkey, appearing before the sultan, defending himself so skillfully that the sultan gave him permission to return to Lebanon.

Later, however, the sultan changed his orders and had Fakhr-al-Din and his family killed on 13 April 1635 in Istanbul, the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, bringing an end to an era in the history of Lebanon, a country which would not regain its current boundaries, which Fakhr-al-Din once ruled, until Lebanon was proclaimed a republic in 1920.

Fakhr-al-Din was the first ruler in modern Lebanon to open the doors of his country to foreign Western influences. Under his auspices the French established a khān (hostel) in Sidon, the Florentines a consulate, and Christian missionaries were admitted into the country. Beirut and Sidon, which Fakhr-al-Dīn beautified, still bear traces of his benign rule.
[edit] Shihab Dynasty
Main article: Shihab family
Druze woman wearing a tantour, Chouf, Lebanon – 1870s

As early as the days of Saladin, and while the Ma'ans were still in complete control over southern Lebanon, the Shihab tribe, originally Hijaz Arabs but later settled in Ḥawran, advanced from Ḥawran, in 1172, and settled in Wadi-al-Taym at the foot of Mt. Hermon. They soon made an alliance with the Ma'ans and were acknowledged as the Druze chiefs in Wadi-al-Taym. At the end of the 17th century (1697) the Shihabs succeeded the Ma'ans in the feudal leadership of Druze southern Lebanon, although they reportedly professed Sunni Islam, they showed sympathy with Druzism, the religion of the majority of their subjects.

The Shihab leadership continued until the middle of the 19th century and culminated in the illustrious governorship of Amir Bashir Shihab II (1788–1840) who, after Fakhr-al-Din, was the most powerful feudal lord Lebanon produced. Though governor of the Druze Mountain Bashir was a crypto-Christian, and it was he whose aid Napoleon solicited in 1799 during his campaign against Syria.

Having consolidated his conquests in Syria (1831–1838), Ibrahim Pasha, son of the viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, made the fatal mistake of trying to disarm the Christians and Druzes of the Lebanon and to draft the latter into his army. This was contrary to the principles of the life of independence which these mountaineers had always lived, and resulted in a general uprising against Egyptian rule. The uprising was encouraged, for political reasons, by the British. The Druzes of Wadi-al-Taym and Ḥawran, under the leadership of Shibli al-Aryan, distinguished themselves in their stubborn resistance at their inaccessible headquarters, al-Laja, lying southeast of Damascus.[29]
[edit] Qaysites and the Yemenites
Main article: Battle of Ain Darra
Meeting of Druze and Ottoman leaders in Damascus, about the control of Jebel Druze

The conquest of Syria by the Muslim Arabs in the middle of the seventh century introduced into the land two political factions later called the Qaysites and the Yemenites. The Qaysite party represented the Ḥijaz and Bedouin Arabs who were regarded as inferior by the Yemenites who were earlier and more cultured emigrants into Syria from southern Arabia. Druzes and Christians grouped in political rather than religious parties so the party lines in Lebanon obliterated racial and religious lines and the people grouped themselves regardless of their religious affiliations, into one or the other of these two parties. The sanguinary feuds between these two factions depleted, in course of time, the manhood of the Lebanon and ended in the decisive battle of Ain Dara in 1711, which resulted in the utter defeat of the Yemenite party. Many Yemenite Druzes thereupon immigrated to the Hawran region and thus laid the foundation of Druze power there.[29]
[edit] Civil War of 1860
Main article: 1860 Lebanon conflict

The Druzes and their Christian Maronite neighbors, who had thus far lived as religious communities on friendly terms, entered a period of social disturbance in the year 1840, which culminated in the civil war of 1860.[29]

After the Shehab dynasty converted to Christianity, the Druze community and feudal leaders came under attack from the regime with the collaboration of the Catholic Church, and the Druze lost most of their political and feudal powers. Also, the Druze formed an alliance with Britain and allowed Protestant missionaries to enter Mount Lebanon, creating tension between them and the Catholic Maronites, who were supported by the French.

The Maronite-Druze conflict in 1840–60 was an outgrowth of the Maronite Christian independence movement directed against the Druze, Druze feudalism and the Ottoman-Turks. The civil war was not therefore a religious war, except in Damascus where it spread and where the vastly non-druze population was anti-Christian. The movement culminated with the 1859–60 massacre and defeat of the Christians by the Druzes. The civil war of 1860 cost the Christians some ten thousand lives in Damascus, Zahlé, Deir al-Qamar, Hasbaya and other towns of Lebanon.

The European powers then determined to intervene and authorized the landing in Beirut of a body of French troops under General Beaufort d'Hautpoul, whose inscription can still be seen on the historic rock at the mouth of Nahr al-Kalb. French intervention on behalf of the Maronites did not help the Maronite national movement since France was restricted in 1860 by Britain which did not want the Ottoman Empire dismembered. But European intervention pressured the Turks to treat the Maronites more justly.[31] Following the recommendations of the powers, the Ottoman Porte granted Lebanon local autonomy, guaranteed by the powers, under a Christian governor. This autonomy was maintained until World War I.[29][32]
[edit] Rebellion in Hauran
Main article: Hauran Druze Rebellion

The Hauran rebellion was a violent Druze uprising against Ottoman authority in the Syrian province, which erupted in 1909. The rebellion was led by al-Atrash family in an aim to gain independence, but ended in brutal suppression of the Druze, significant depopulation of the Hauran region and execution of the Druze leaders in 1910.
[edit] Modern history

In Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community with its own religious court system. Druze are known for their loyalty to the countries they reside in,[33] though they have a strong community feeling, in which they identify themselves as related even across borders of countries.[34]

Despite their practice of blending with dominant groups in order to avoid persecution and because the Druze religion doesn't endorse separatist sentiments, urging the Druze to blend with the communities they reside in, nevertheless the Druze have had a history of brave resistance to occupying powers, and they have at times enjoyed more freedom than most other groups living in the Levant.[34]
[edit] In Syria
Druze warriors preparing to go to battle with Sultan Pasha al-Atrash in 1925

In Syria, most Druze live in the Jebel al-Druze, a rugged and mountainous region in the southwest of the country, which is more than 90 percent Druze inhabited; some 120 villages are exclusively so.[35]
Flag of Jabal el Druze representing the five Druze principles; other variations of the flag exist

The Druze always played a far more important role in Syrian politics than its comparatively small population would suggest. With a community of little more than 100,000 in 1949, or roughly three percent of the Syrian population, the Druze of Syria's southeastern mountains constituted a potent force in Syrian politics and played a leading role in the nationalist struggle against the French. Under the military leadership of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, the Druze provided much of the military force behind the Syrian Revolution of 1925–1927. In 1945, Amir Hasan al-Atrash, the paramount political leader of the Jebel al-Druze, led the Druze military units in a successful revolt against the French, making the Jebel al-Druze the first and only region in Syria to liberate itself from French rule without British assistance. At independence the Druze, made confident by their successes, expected that Damascus would reward them for their many sacrifices on the battlefield. They demanded to keep their autonomous administration and many political privileges accorded them by the French and sought generous economic assistance from the newly independent government.[35]
Druze leaders meeting in Jebel al-Druze, Syria, 1926

Well-led by the Atrash household and jealous of their reputation as Arab nationalists and proud warriors, the Druze leaders refused to be beaten into submission by Damascus or cowed by threats. When a local paper in 1945 reported that President Shukri al-Quwatli (1943–1949) had called the Druzes a "dangerous minority", Sultan Pasha al-Atrash flew into a rage and demanded a public retraction. If it were not forthcoming, he announced, the Druzes would indeed become "dangerous" and a force of 4,000 Druze warriors would "occupy the city of Damascus." Quwwatli could not dismiss Sultan Pasha's threat. The military balance of power in Syria was tilted in favor of the Druzes, at least until the military build up during the 1948 War in Palestine. One advisor to the Syrian Defense Department warned in 1946 that the Syrian army was "useless", and that the Druzes could "take Damascus and capture the present leaders in a breeze."[35]

During the four years of Adib Shishakli's rule in Syria (December 1949 to February 1954) (on August 25, 1952: Adib al-Shishakli created the Arab Liberation Movement (ALM), a progressive party with pan-Arabist and socialist views),[36] the Druze community was subjected to a heavy attack by the Syrian regime. Shishakli believed that among his many opponents in Syria, the Druzes were the most potentially dangerous, and he was determined to crush them. He frequently proclaimed: "My enemies are like a serpent: the head is the Jebel al-Druze, the stomach Homs, and the tail Aleppo. If I crush the head the serpent will die." Shishakli dispatched 10,000 regular troops to occupy the Jebel al-Druze. Several towns were bombarded with heavy weapons, killing scores of civilians and destroying many houses. According to Druze accounts, Shishakli encouraged neighboring bedouin tribes to plunder the defenseless population and allowed his own troops to run amok.[35]

Shishakli launched a brutal campaign to defame the Druzes for their religion and politics. He accused the entire community of treason, at times claiming they were agents of the British and Hashimites, at others that they were fighting for Israel against the Arabs. He even produced a cache of Israeli weapons allegedly discovered in the Jabal. Even more painful for the Druze community was his publication of "falsified Druze religious texts" and false testimonials ascribed to leading Druze sheikhs designed to stir up sectarian hatred. This propaganda also was broadcast in the Arab world, mainly Egypt. Shishakli was assassinated in Brazil on September 27, 1964 by a Druze seeking revenge for Shishakli's bombardment of the Jebel al-Druze.[35]

He forcibly integrated minorities into the national Syrian social structure, his "Syrianization" of Alawite and Druze territories had to be accomplished in part using violence, he declared: "My enemies are like serpent. The head is the Jabal Druze, If I crush the head the serpent will die" (Seale 1963:132).[35] To this end, al-Shishakli encouraged the stigmatization of minorities. He saw minority demands as tantamount to treason. His increasingly chauvinistic notions of Arab nationalism were predicated on the denial that "minorities" existed in Syria. [37]

After the Shishakli's military campaign, the Druze community lost a lot of its political influence, but many Druze military officers played an important role when it comes to the Baathist regime currently ruling Syria.[35]
[edit] In Lebanon
Prophet Job shrine in Lebanon the Chouf region

The Druze community played an important role in the formation of the modern state of Lebanon, and even though they are a minority they played an important role in the Lebanese political scene. Before and during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the Druze were in favor of Pan-Arabism and Palestinian resistance represented by the PLO. Most of the community supported the Progressive Socialist Party formed by the Lebanese leader Kamal Jumblatt and they fought alongside other leftist and Palestinian parties against the Lebanese Front that was mainly constituted of Christians. After the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt on March 16, 1977, his son Walid Jumblatt took the leadership of the party and played an important role in preserving his father's legacy and sustained the existence of the Druze community during the sectarian bloodshed that lasted until 1990.

In August 2001, Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir toured the predominantly Druze Chouf region of Mount Lebanon and visited Mukhtara, the ancestral stronghold of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. The tumultuous reception that Sfeir received not only signified a historic reconciliation between Maronites and Druze, who fought a bloody war in 1983-1984, but underscored the fact that the banner of Lebanese sovereignty had broad multi-confessional appeal[38] and was a cornerstone for the Cedar Revolution. The second largest political party supported by Druze is the Lebanese Democratic Party led by Prince Talal Arslan the son of Lebanese independence hero Prince Magid Arslan. Many Druze also support the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.
[edit] In Israel
Main article: Israeli Druze
[edit] Beliefs of the Druze

The Druze are considered to be a social group as well as a religion, but not a distinct ethnic group. Also complicating their identity is the custom of Taqiya—concealing or disguising their beliefs when necessary—that they adopted from Shia Islam and the esoteric nature of the faith, in which many teachings are kept secretive. Druze in different states can have radically different lifestyles. Some claim to be Muslim, some do not. The Druze faith is said to abide by Islamic principles, but they tend to be separatist in their treatment of Druze-hood, and their religion differs from mainstream Islam on a number of fundamental points.[39]

Druze does not allow conversion to the religion. Marriage between Druze and non-Druze is strongly discouraged for religious, political and historical reasons.[citation needed]
[edit] God in the Druze faith

The Druze conception of the deity is declared by them to be one of strict and uncompromising unity. The main Druze doctrine states that God is both transcendent and immanent, in which He is above all attributes but at the same time He is present.[40]

In their desire to maintain a rigid confession of unity, they stripped from God all attributes (tanzīh) which may lead to polytheism (shirk). In God, there are no attributes distinct from his essence. He is wise, mighty, and just, not by wisdom, might, and justice, but by his own essence. God is "the Whole of Existence", rather than "above existence" or on His throne, which would make Him "limited." There is neither "how", "when", nor "where" about him; he is incomprehensible.[41]

In this dogma, they are similar to the semi-philosophical, semi-religious body which flourished under Al-Ma'mun and was known by the name of Mu'tazila and the fraternal order of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al-Ṣafa).[29]

Unlike the Mu'tazilla, however, and similar to some branches of Sufism, the Druze believe in the concept of Tajalli (meaning "theophany").[41] Tajalli, which is more often misunderstood by scholars and writers and is usually confused with the concept of incarnation, the core spiritual beliefs [sic] in the Druze and some other intellectual and spiritual traditions.... In a mystical sense, it refers to the light of God experienced by certain mystics who have reached a high level of purity in their spiritual journey. Thus, God is perceived as the Lahut [the divine] who manifests His Light in the Station (Maqaam) of the Nasut [material realm] without the Nasut becoming Lahut. This is like one's image in the mirror: one is in the mirror but does not become the mirror. The Druze manuscripts are emphatic and warn against the belief that the Nasut is God.... Neglecting this warning, individual seekers, scholars, and other spectators have considered al-Hakim and other figures divine.

...In the Druze scriptural view, Tajalli 'takes a central stage.' One author comments that Tajalli occurs when the seeker's humanity is annihilated so that divine attributes and light are experienced by the person."[41]

The concept of God incarnating either as or in a human seems "to contradict with what the Druze scriptural view has to teach about the Oneness of God, while tajalli [sic] is at the center of the Druze and some other, often mystical, traditions."[41]
[edit] Scriptures

Druze Sacred texts include the Kitab Al Hikma (Epistles of Wisdom).[42]
[edit] Esotericism

The Druze believe that many teachings given by Prophets, religious leaders, and Holy Books, had esoteric meanings preserved for those of intellect, in which some teachings are mere symbols and allegoristic in nature and for that they divide the understanding of holy books and teachings into three layers. These layers according to the Druze are:

The obvious or exoteric (Zahir), accessible to anyone who can read or hear;
The hidden or esoteric (Batin), accessible to those who are willing to search and learn through the concept of (exegesis); and
The hidden of the hidden, a concept known as Anagoge, inaccessible to all but a few really enlightened individuals who truly understand the nature of the universe.[43]

Unlike some Islamic esoteric movements known as the batinids at that time, the Druzes don't believe that the esoteric meaning abrogates or necessarily abolishes the exoteric one. For example, Hamza bin Ali, refutes such claims by stating that, if the esoteric interpretation of Taharah (purity), is the purity of the heart and soul, it doesn't mean that a person can discard his physical purity, as Salah (prayer) is useless if a person is untruthful in his speech and for that the esoteric and exoteric meanings complement each other.[44]
[edit] Precepts of the Druze faith
Main article: Seven pillars of Ismailism

The Druze follow seven precepts that are considered the core of the faith, and are perceived by them as the essence of the pillars of Islam. The Seven Druze precepts are:

Veracity in speech and the truthfulness of the tongue.
Protection and mutual aid to the brethren in faith.
Renunciation of all forms of former worship (specifically, invalid creeds) and false belief.
Repudiation of the devil (Iblis), and all forces of evil (translated from Arabic Toghyan meaning "despotism").
Confession of God's unity.
Acquiescence in God's acts no matter what they be.
Absolute submission and resignation to God's divine will in both secret and public.[45]

[edit] Religious Symbol
Druze star.svg

The Druze strictly avoid iconography but use five colors as a religious symbol: green, red, yellow, blue, and white. Each color pertains to a metaphysical power called Haad, literally meaning a limit, as in the limits that separate humans from animals, or the powers that makes the animal body human. Each Haad is color coded in the following manner: green for Aql "the Universal Mind/Nous", red for Nafs "the Universal Soul/Anima mundi", yellow for Kalima "the Word/Logos", blue for Sabq "the Potentiality/Cause/Precedent", and white for Lahq "the Future/Effect/Immanence". The mind generates qualia and gives consciousness. The soul embodies the mind and is responsible for transmigration and the character of oneself. The word which is the atom of language communicates qualia between humans and represent the platonic forms in the sensible world. The Sabq and Lahq is the ability to perceive and learn from the past and plan for the future and predict it. The colors can be arranged in a vertically descending stripes or a five-pointed star. The stripes is a diagrammatic cut of the spheres in neoplatonic philosophy while the five pointed star embodies the golden ratio, phi, as a symbol of temperance and a life of moderation.
[edit] ʻUqqāl and Juhhāl
Druze Sheikh (ʻUqqāl) wearing religious dress

The Druze are divided into two groups. The largely secular majority, called al-Juhhāl (جهال) ("the Ignorant") are not granted access to the Druze holy literature or allowed to attend the initiated Uqqal's religious meetings. They are around 80% of the Druze population and are not obliged to follow the ascetic traditions of the Uqqal.

The initiated religious group, which includes both men and women (about 20% of the population), is called al-ʻUqqāl (عقال), ("the Knowledgeable Initiates"). They have a special mode of dress designed to comply with Quranic traditions. Women can opt to wear al-mandīl, a loose white veil, especially in the presence of other people. They wear al-mandīl on their heads to cover their hair and wrap it around their mouths and sometimes over their noses as well. They wear black shirts and long skirts covering their legs to their ankles. Male ʻuqqāl grow mustaches, and wear dark Levantine/Turkish traditional dresses, called the shirwal, with white turbans that vary according to the Uqqal's hierarchy.

Al-ʻuqqāl have equal rights to al-Juhhāl, but establish a hierarchy of respect based on religious service.The most influential 5% of Al-ʻuqqāl become Ajawīd, recognized religious leaders, and from this group the spiritual leaders of the Druze are assigned. While the Shaykh al-ʻAql, which is an official position in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, is elected by the local community and serves as the head of the Druze religious council, judges from the Druze religious courts are usually elected for this position. Unlike the spiritual leaders, the Shaykh al-ʻAql's authority is local to the country he is elected in, though in some instances spiritual leaders are elected to this position.

The Druze believe in the unity of God, and are often known as the "People of Monotheism" or simply "Monotheists". Their theology has a Neo-Platonic view about how God interacts with the world through emanations and is similar to some gnostic and other esoteric sects. Druze philosophy also shows Sufi influences.

Druze principles focus on honesty, loyalty, filial piety, altruism, patriotic sacrifice, and monotheism. They reject tobacco smoking, alcohol, consumption of pork, and marriage to non-Druze. Also, in contrast to most Islamic sects, the Druze reject polygamy, believe in reincarnation, and are not obliged to observe most of the religious rituals. The Druze believe that rituals are symbolic and have an individualistic effect on the person, for which reason Druze are free to perform them, or not. The community does celebrate Eid al-Adha, however, considered their most significant holiday.
[edit] Origins of the Druze people
[edit] Ethnic origins

The Druze faith extended to many areas in the Middle East, but most of the surviving modern Druze can trace their origin to the Wadi al-Taymour in South Lebanon, which is named after an Arab tribe Taymour-Allah (formerly Taymour-Allat) which, according to Islamic historian, al-Tabari, first came from Arabia into the valley of the Euphrates where they were Christianized prior to their migration into the Lebanon. Many of the Druze feudal families whose genealogies have been preserved by the two modern Syrian chroniclers Haydar al-Shihabi and al-Shidyaq seem also to point in the direction of this origin. Arabian tribes emigrated via the Persian Gulf and stopped in Iraq on the route that was later to lead them to Syria. The first feudal Druze family, the Tanukh family, which made for itself a name in fighting the Crusaders, was, according to Haydar al-Shihabi, an Arab tribe from Mesopotamia where it occupied the position of a ruling family and apparently was Christianized.[29]

The Tanukhs must have left Arabia as early as the second or third century A.D. The Ma'an tribe, which superseded the Tanukhs and produced the greatest Druze hero in history, Fakhr-al-Din, had the same traditional origin. The Talhuq family and 'Abd-al-Malik, who supplied the later Druze leadership, have the same record as the Tanukhs. The Imad family is named for al-Imadiyyah--the Kurdish town of Amadiya, northeast of Mosul inside Kurdistan, and, like the Jumblatts, is thought to be of Kurdish origin. The Arsalan family claims descent from the Hirah Arab kings, but the name Arsalan (Persian and Turkish for lion) suggests Persian influence, if not origin.[29]

The most accepted theory is that the Druzes are "a mixture of refugee stocks, in which the Arab largely predominates, grafted on to an original mountain population of Aramaic blood."[46]

Nevertheless, many scholars formed their own hypotheses: for example, Lamartine (1835) discovered in the modern Druzes the remnants of the Samaritans;[47] Earl of Carnarvon (1860), those of the Cuthites whom Esarhaddon transplanted into Palestine;[48] Professor Felix von Luschan (1911), according to his conclusions from anthropometric measurements, makes the Druze, Maronites, and Alawites of Syria, together with the Bektashis, 'Ali-Ilahis, and Yezidis of Asia Minor and Persia, the modern representatives of the ancient Hittites.[49]

During the 18th century, there were two branches of Druze living in Lebanon: the Yemeni Druze, headed by the Hamdan and Al-Atrash families; and the Kaysi Druze, headed by the Jumblat and Arsalan families.

The Hamdan family was banished from Mount Lebanon following the battle of Ain Dara in 1711. This battle was fought between two Druze factions: the Yemeni and the Kaysi. Following their dramatic defeat, the Yemeni faction migrated to Syria in the Jebel-Druze region and its capital, Soueida. However, it has been argued that these two factions were of political nature rather than ethnic, and had both Christian and Druze supporters.
[edit] Genetics

In a 2005 study of ASPM gene variants, Mekel-Bobrov et al. found that the Israeli Druze people of the Carmel region have among the highest rate of the newly evolved ASPM haplogroup D, at 52.2% occurrence of the approximately 6,000-year-old allele.[50] While it is not yet known exactly what selective advantage is provided by this gene variant, the haplogroup D allele is thought to be positively selected in populations and to confer some substantial advantage that has caused its frequency to rapidly increase.

According to DNA testing, Druze are remarkable for the high frequency (35%) of males who carry the Y-chromosomal haplogroup L, which is otherwise uncommon in the Mideast (Shen et al. 2004).[51] This haplogroup originates from prehistoric South Asia and has spread from Pakistan into southern Iran.

Cruciani in 2007 found E1b1b1a2 (E-V13) [one from Sub Clades of E1b1b1a1 (E-V12)] in high levels (>10% of the male population) in Turkish Cypriot and Druze Arab lineages. Recent genetic clustering analyses of ethnic groups are consistent with the close ancestral relationship between the Druze and Cypriots, and also identified similarity to the general Syrian and Lebanese populations, as well as a variety of Jewish lineages (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Iraqi, and Moroccan) (Behar et al 2010).[52]

Also, a new study concluded that the Druze harbor a remarkable diversity of mitochondrial DNA lineages that appear to have separated from each other thousands of years ago. But instead of dispersing throughout the world after their separation, the full range of lineages can still be found within the Druze population.[53]

The researchers noted that the Druze villages contained a striking range of high frequency and high diversity of the X haplogroup, suggesting that this population provides a glimpse into the past genetic landscape of the Near East at a time when the X haplogroup was more prevalent.[53]

These findings are consistent with the Druze oral tradition, that claims that the adherents of the faith came from diverse ancestral lineages stretching back tens of thousands of years.[53]

Israeli Knesset member Ayoob Kara, a Druze himself, speculated that the Druze are descended from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, probably Zebulun. Kara stated that the Druze share many of the same beliefs as Jews, and that he has genetic evidence to prove that the Druze were descended from Jews.[54]

That was after the Israeli author Tsvi Misinai claimed that the cultural and genetic background of Arabs living west of the Jordan River, proved that the majority of them descended from the Jewish nation,and that the genetic cluster of Druze coincides closely with those of the Samaritans, and is very close to the genetic clusters of Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Jews from the Caucasus, but he asserted that such findings do not prove Kara's conclusion since several Jewish villages in Palestine converted to Druze faith which means the samples can be linked to those lineages and not a broad Druze linkage.[54]
[edit] See also

List of Druze
Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

[edit] Notes

^ a b c The Economist. 390. Economist Newspaper Ltd.. 2009. p. 49. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
^ US State Department International Religious Freedom Report 2005
^ Institute of Druze Studies - Druze Traditions
^ "Druze Population of Australia by Place of Usual Residence (2006)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
^ Druze
^ "Press Release: The Druze Population of Israel" (DOC). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2009-04-23. (Hebrew)
^ Jordanian Druze can be found in Amman and Zarka; about 50% live in the town of Azraq, and a smaller number in Irbid and Aqaba. "Localities and Population, by District, Sub-District, Religion and Population Group" (PDF). Statistical Abstract of Palestine 2006. Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics.
^ Institute of Druze Studies: Druzes
^ Dana, Nissim (2003). The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status. Sussex University Press. pp. 99. ISBN 1903900360.
^ Rabah Halabi, Citizens of equal duties—Druze identity and the Jewish State, p. 55 (Hebrew)
^ "Druze set to visit Syria". BBC News Online. 2004-08-30. Retrieved 2006-09-08. "Around 80,000 Druze live in Israel, including 18,000 in the Golan Heights."
^ a b c d e "About the Faith of The Mo’wa’he’doon Druze" by Moustafa F. Moukarim
^ "Al-Darazî and Ḥamza in the Origin of Druze Religion" by MGS Hodgson - 1962
^ a b c d e Swayd, Samy (1998). The Druzes: An Annotated Bibliography. Kirkland, WA, USA: ISES Publications. ISBN 0966293207.
^ 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, page 606
^ a b Al-Najjar, 'Abdullāh (1965) (in Arabic). Madhhab ad-Durūz wa t-Tawḥīd (The Druze Sect and Unism). Egypt: Dār al-Ma'ārif.
^ Hitti, Philip K (2007) [1924]. Origins of the Druze People and Religion, with Extracts from their Sacred Writings (New Edition). Columbia University Oriental Studies. 28. London: Saqi. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0863566901.
^ 01., Islam Heritage F.I.E.L.D
^ Melville's Clarel and the Intersympathy of Creeds by William Potter page 156
^ Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-expression by Mordechai Nisan page 95
^ The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status, Nissim Dana
^ Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia by Josef W. Meri, Jere L. Bacharach.published by Routledge (2006), ISBN 0415966906
^ The Olive and the Tree: The Secret Strength of the Druze by Dr Ruth Westheimer and Gil Sedan
^ Swayd, Sami (2006). Historical dictionary of the Druzes. Historical dictionaries of peoples and cultures. 3. Maryland USA: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810853329
^ M. Th. Houtsma, E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936
^ a b c Rebecca Erickson. "The Druze". Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements.
^ a b c d e f g h i j Origins of the Druze People and Religion, by Philip K. Hitti, 1924
^ Druze History
^ Abraham, Antoine (1977). "Lebanese Communal Relations". Muslim World 67 (2): 91–105. doi:10.1111/j.1478-1913.1977.tb03313.x.
^ The Druzes and the Maronites under the Turkish Rule from 1840 to 1860, Charles Churchill published in 1862
^ Michael J. Totten. "The Tower of the Sun".
^ a b Tore Kjeilen. "Druze".
^ a b c d e f g Joshua Landis. "Shishakli and the Druzes: Integration and intransigence". The Syrian Land: Processes of Integration and Fragmentation. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998: 369-396.. T. Philipp & B. Schäbler, eds..
^ Dossier: Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir (May 2003)
^ The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status, By Dana, Nissim
^ The Druze Faith by Sami Nasib Makarem
^ a b c d Druze Spirituality and Asceticism By Dr. Samy Swayd, SDSU (An abridged rough draft)
^ Religion - Druze Faith
^ BBC - h2g2 - The Druze
^ "The Epistle Answering the People of Esotericism" (batinids), Epistles of Wisdom, Second Volume (a rough translation from the Arabic version)
^ Origins of the Druze People and Religion, by Philip K. Hitti, published in 1924, page 51.
^ "1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, DRUSES, or DRUZES (Arab. Druz)". "There is good reason to regard the Druses as, racially, a mixture of refugee stocks, in which the Arab largely predominates, grafted on to an original mountain population of Aramaic blood."
^ Voyage, by Lamartine, II, page 109.
^ Recollections of the Druses of Lebanon (London, 1860), pp. 42-43.
^ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (London, 1911), page 241.
^ "Ongoing Adaptive Evolution of ASPM, a Brain Size Determinant in Homo sapiens", Science, 9 September 2005: Vol. 309. no. 5741, pp. 1720-1722.
^ "The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people".
^ a b c American Technion Society (2008, May 12). Genetics Confirm Oral Traditions Of Druze In Israel, ScienceDaily.
^ a b Lev, David (25 October 2010). "MK Kara: Druze are Descended from Jews". Israel National News. Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 27 October 2010.

[edit] Further reading

Sakr Abu Fakhr: "Voices from the Golan"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 5–36.
Jean-Marc Aractingi et Christian Lochon , Secrets initiatiques en Islam et rituels maçonniques-Ismaéliens, Druzes, Alaouites,Confréries soufies; éd. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2008 (ISBN 978-2-296-06536-9 ).
Rabih Alameddine: I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters, Norton (2002). ISBN 0-393-32356-0.
B. Destani, ed.: Minorities in the Middle East: Druze Communities 1840–1974, 4 volumes, Slough: Archive Editions (2006). ISBN 1840971657.
R. Scott Kennedy: "The Druze of the Golan: A Case of Non-Violent Resistance"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Winter, 1984), pp. 48–6.
Dr. Anis Obeid: The Druze & Their Faith in Tawhid, Syracuse University Press (July 2006). ISBN 0815630972.
Shmuel Shamai: "Critical Sociology of Education Theory in Practice: The Druze Education in the Golan"; British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 11, No. 4 (1990), pp. 449–463.
Samy Swayd: The Druzes: An Annotated Bibliography, Kirkland, Washington: ISES Publications (1998). ISBN 0966293207.
Bashar Tarabieh: "Education, Control and Resistance in the Golan Heights"; Middle East Report, No. 194/195, Odds against Peace (May–Aug., 1995), pp. 43–47.

[edit] External links
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Look up druze in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


History and sites of the Druze
Rise and fall of the Syrian Druze
Institute of Druze Studies, San Diego, California
Druzenet, English publications
Druse, Druze, Mowahhidoon described at the OCRT site
Druze Catechism
1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article
Article about Druze Encyclopedia Britannica Concise
Longer article about Druze Encyclopedia Britannica Concise
Druze by Pam Rohland
SEMP - Who are the Druze?
Druze articles
Who are the Druze? Photo essay on PBS Wide Angle website


Druze Professional Network (DPN)
Druze Chat
Druze Faces
Druze News Druze News from Lebanon, Israel and the Druze world.
Lebanese Druze Online Community
American Druze Society - National
American Druze Society - Michigan
The Druze Association of Edmonton
Canadian Druze Society
Australian Druze Community
South Australian Druze Community
Israeli Druze Online - in Hebrew
European Druze Society
Meeting Druze from all over the world

Other links

Staying Druze in America video on PBS Wide Angle website
Druze: A small peace of Israel from
The Druzes and the Maronites under the Turkish Rule from 1840 to 1860. Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. ISBN 1-429-73982-7.
Contestant No. 2 PBS Wide Angle documentary about a Druze teen who challenges her conservative community
Druze in Israel and Syria
The Druze by Dr. Naim Aridi
Historical Changes in the Political Role of the Druze in Lebanon by Dr. Abbas Abu Saleh
The Druze

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