Trying to Obliterate the Jewish State

A group of Israeli Arab academics is behind the document called the “Haifa Declaration”. Like previous Israeli Arab documents, the authors have no hesitation about rewriting history for their usual ends: the obliteration of Israel’s Jewish character

Dr Rivka Shpak Lissak

“The Haifa Declaration” was written by Israeli Palestinian Arabs from the Mada al Carmel Center (The Arab Center for Applied Social Research) with European Union funding. It was published on May 15—the date the Palestinians mark as Naqba or “Catastrophe” Day.

According to its preamble, the purpose of the Haifa Declaration is to tackle the following subjects:

To present our reading of our (Israeli Arabs’) history and point of view regarding our citizenship and relations with the rest of our people the Palestinians, and with the Arab nation, and Israel;

To present our vision of living with dignity in our homeland and establishing a democratic society based on the values of justice, liberty, equality, and mutual respect between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews in Israel.

To present the conditions for an historic reconciliation and our vision of relations between the Palestinian people and the Israeli Jewish people.

Rewriting History

The document contains a number of basic assumptions that we need to address:

Israeli Arabs are part of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation — the declaration authors say that their national identity is based on universal values and culture, Arab language and culture, and on their collective memory and continuous ties with their territory and homeland. The document says that the Palestinian Arab people is indigenous to Israel and that the country belongs to them. Saying that Israel belongs to the Palestinian Arabs is rewriting history. Jewish settlement began in the country in the third millennium BC. The Arabs only arrived there as conquerors in 630 AD. Their settlement of Israel was slow and most of the Arab population only arrived between the end of the eighteenth century and middle of the twentieth century as described by the Ottoman and British records. The “Naqba” (“Catastrophe”—the Arab name for Israel’s War of Independence) separated parts of the Palestinian people, but the connection to the rest of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation was preserved.

Zionism is a Colonialist Movement—according to the document authors, the Zionist movement embarked on a colonial policy of settling Falastin in the late nineteenth century and began to realize its goal of conquering the Palestinian homeland and fulfilling its vision of turning it into a Jewish state. The purpose of defining Zionism, the national movement of the Jewish People, as a colonialist movement is to cut the connection of the Jewish People to its historic homeland. In other words, to negate the Jewish People’s bond with the Land of Israel and steal from its past and historic right, a right which was ratified by the League of Nations and the UN.

The Zionist Movement is responsible for the Naqba and created the refugee problem—the document authors say that in 1948 the Zionist movement carried out massacres of the Palestinians, turning most of them into refugees, destroying hundreds of their villages, and uprooting most of their inhabitants from the towns. The state of Israel then prevented the refugees from returning to their homeland in violation of Resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly. The document says that in the period after its establishment Israel continued to expel and dispossess Palestinians.

Vision of Establishing a Democratic, Egalitarian Society

Recognizing the Right of the Israeli Jewish People to Self Definition—the vision of the document authors is not based on equality. They separate Israeli Jews from the rest of the Jewish People and only recognize the limited national entity comprised of Israeli Jews; for their part they do not give up their own bond and ties with the sections of the Palestinian people and Arab nation. This is clearly discriminatory. The document denies the rest of the Jewish People’s national connection and its link to its historical homeland. The right of Israeli Jews to self definition is not based on any historical bond but on the authors’ acceptance of the “Zionist Movement’s colonialist take over”. By severing Israeli Jews from the remainder of the Jewish people they wish to deligitimize the laws involving either direct or indirect bias on a national, ethnic, or religious basis—the main ones of these being the Right to Return and the Citizenship Law.

Recognition of the Palestinian People as an Indigenous Minority—in other words, while the Israeli Jewish minority is a consequence of colonialism, the Palestinian Arab minority is the legal title-holder to the country. It would therefore only be fair for them to have the right of veto on matters affecting Palestinian Arab status and rights, cultural autonomy, and share of resources. The document also demands the fulfillment of UN Resolution 194 though its authors prefer to be vague on that point. The Palestinian Authority and Arab nations interpret Resolution 194 as the “return of the refugees to their homes”—that is Israel. The document implies the right to return to Israel as the new immigration law would allow free immigration.

Conditions for Historical Reconciliation

Historical reconciliation means Israel must acknowledge its historic injustice to the Palestinian people. The document authors say that Israel must recognize its responsibility for the Naqba, which affected all members of the Palestinian people. They do not suggest a joint responsibility for the Naqba and do not think the Israeli Arabs and their leaders were at least partly responsible for what happened. The document ignores the 1936 Peel Commission and the Partition Resolution of 1948. It also ignores the Arabs’ armed attacks on the Jewish settlement in the late the nineteenth century, especially after the UN resolution of 1947. They also ignore the invasion of the Arab countries with support from the local Arabs and the call by the Arab High Committee headed by Grand Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini to briefly leave while the Jews were “thrown into the sea”. Also missing from the Palestinian narrative is the mufti’s call on radio to slaughter the Jews and his collaboration with the Nazis who not only planned to kill European Jewry, but to annihilate the Jewish settlement with Arab assistance once Rommel (who was finally stopped in Egypt) occupied the country. Reconciliation is also contingent upon Israel’s ending the occupation, dismantling the settlements on all Arab land occupied in 1967, recognizing the Palestinians’ right to self determination, and establishing a Palestinian state. Israel must also recognize the rights of Israel’s Palestinian citizens as an indigenous minority, in other words, as the country’s true masters.

The Goal: To Obliterate the Jews from the Land

In sum, the purpose of the document is to establish the conditions for changing Israel from a Jewish state into a Palestinian state, with the interim stage of being a country of all its citizens. Ostensibly, they are interested in equality between a Jewish majority and a Palestinian Arab minority. In practice, this is not equality at all. The document separates Israeli Jews from the rest of the Jewish People without asking or receiving permission, transforming them into colonialists like the whites in South Africa and robbing them of their past and future. Canceling the Law of Return, realizing the right of return according to resolution 194 and open immigration would make the Jew a minority in no time and then Israel could be made into Falastin democratically. The document authors seek a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside a country for all its citizens, which would rapidly become a Palestinian state, wiping out the Jewish state. This document joins a pile of similar documents published recently: the “Arab Vision” of the Israel Arabs’ Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the “Israeli constitution” proposed by the Israeli Arab advocacy center, Adala, and others.

As Israel’s National Poet, Haim Nahman Bialik, said of such a situation:

If there is justice let it appear now

But if justice appears when you are destroyed from under the skies

Let its seat be destroyed for ever

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.