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Israel's African problem: An interview with Mark Regev

The full transcript of an interview with Mark Regev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official spokesman, on the African refugee problem in Israel.

In light of the recent events concerning Sudanese refugees in Israel and the outburst of violent demonstrations in Tel Aviv, I have decided to publish an interview I conducted with Israel’s Mark Regev on April 2 to better understand the government position in regards to the African refugees in its borders.

The interview, which was conducted for an article I was writing in Rolling Stone magazine, took place shortly after a court injunction was placed on the Israeli government’s decision to begin deporting South Sudanese refugees back to their country of origin amid a deteriorating situation between Sudan and South Sudan. The interview gives good insight into how the government perceives and treats the issue of asylum seekers.



OR: Could you explain the government’s decision to deport the South Sudanese refugees?


MR: The policy is clear. Last year, I think in 2011, we had more illegal immigrants entering Israel than we had legal immigrants. And Israel is a small country; we are some 8 million people. And I think we have to deal with this issue. It would be irresponsible not to deal with this issue. The government has adopted a 4-tier strategy of dealing with the issue of illegal immigration.

One is of course what David sent you [he is referring to a link that was given to me by his staff], the issue of the border fence. Two, is making it much more difficult for illegal immigrants to work in Israel. Ultimately the Israeli economy is a first world economy and that serves as a magnet to people who are coming from many places, but specifically Africa. Thirdly, the prime minister has talked about a detention center to be established for illegal immigrants; to make sure their needs are taken care of, that they have housing and healthcare and other services, until…you know… humanitarian treatment.

And finally, is deportation to their countries of origin. That’s the four-tier process. Now we can’t ignore this issue, we have to deal with it. We can be flexible in the way we deal with it but we are not going to solve anything by ignoring the issue.


OR: One of your orders is saying to prevent them from work because Israel is a first world country and therefore it attracts people looking for work, so…?


MR: You got to remember what is the absurdity of the situation. Let’s say refugees… I shouldn’t say refugees, very few of them are refugees. Illegal immigrants who are coming to Israel are not coming from their country directly. They are coming through third-countries, where they are not persecuted. It’s clear they are coming here because of the economic magnet.


OR: Well according to refugees that I am using for my story and that I spoke to, they were indeed persecuted in 3rd countries. The conditions in Egypt for example…?


MR: To be fair, Israel is the only democracy in the region. Does that mean that a hundred million people can come to Israel and declare themselves legitimate refugees?


OR: I am not sure.


MR: Well, I am asking you according to your logic, sir.


OR: Umm… no obviously not.


MR: Alright. This is a real problem we can’t ignore it.


OR: But, the South Sudanese refugees are 700 people not hundreds of millions.


MR: As the Prime Minister said, firstly we can be flexible with the implementation and secondly, we are waiting for the judicial process. Israel is a country where there is rule of law. We can’t ignore the problem and hope it will go away. We are a very small country. We are a successful democracy, and we cannot be the solution for the region and beyond, for all the ills. Those solutions have to be found in greater democratization in other countries.


OR: Do the 700 south Sudanese refugees living in Israel’s borders pose such a deep threat to the state that they should be deported?


MR: Once again there is a four-tier strategy….


OR: Right, I understand that but I am talking about these 700 refugees?


MR: We can be flexible on implementation of that four-tier strategy and of course we respect the decisions of the courts. I can’t go beyond that at this stage.


OR: Ok. And also you mentioned the detention center that is to take care of the needs of refugees?


MR: According to our legal system if someone is in your country illegally you cannot prosecute them for working illegally and you cannot prosecute employers, which is more important, if they don’t have a place where they can live because then they don’t have—according to our legal people—they don’t have the ability to live and feed themselves, to take care of themselves, to find dwellings and so forth. The idea of the detention center is so we can enforce laws against employers who are illegally employing them, because the detention center—which will have the highest international standards—will deal with the issue: will they have a place to stay, will they be provided with food and medical care and education for children, if need be.  And social services because obviously some of these people have had very traumatic experiences, and so forth. And only with the detention center can we—according to our Supreme Court and our judiciary—can we legally enforce the ban on work. That’s the only way to deal with the magnet. If people can come to Israel illegally, and make a hundred times what they can make in Africa, the magnet is not going to go away. We have to be successful in enforcing labor laws.


OR: So you do not believe the majority of these people are in fact fleeing crisis situations in their own country?


MR: According to our own investigation only a fraction of 1 percent of these people qualify as bona fide refugees and then of course they have the right to stay here indefinitely until they can go to a third country. But the overwhelming majority are illegal economic migrants.


OR: This is still contrary to their status elsewhere where 85 percent of Eritreans get refugee status and I think around 50 percent of Sudanese?.


MR: Once again, first of all these people are coming from third countries. They are not coming directly.


OR: Well the ones that are in the US are also coming from third countries, no?


MR: And they are automatically given refugee status in the United States?


OR: No, but they are at least going through a process in which I guess 85 percent of Eritreans are getting refugees status and 50 percent of Sudanese, or South Sudanese,  not a fraction of 1 percent?


MR: Our studies… in our studies… in what we have been doing only a fraction of 1 percent qualify as refugees.


OR: And those Eritreans and South Sudanese are capable of going through the RSD process?


MR: What’s the RSD process, sorry?


OR: The Refugee Status Determination process?


MR: Obviously some of them have, you should speak to the Ministry of Interior. They know more about the details of that process.


OR: Thank you very much, I appreciate your comments.

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    1. Elisabeth

      Thank you, that was hilarious.

      MR: “According to our own investigation only a fraction of 1 percent of these people qualify as bona fide refugees”

      OR: “This is still contrary to their status elsewhere where 85 percent of Eritreans get refugee status and I think around 50 percent of Sudanese”

      MR: “Our studies… in our studies… in what we have been doing only a fraction of 1 percent qualify as refugees.”

      OR: “And those Eritreans and South Sudanese are capable of going through the RSD process?”

      MR: “What’s the RSD process, sorry?”

      Reply to Comment
    2. the other joe

      Hum.. a fraction of 1 percent of 700. I guess that’ll be one or two then.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Maor

      THE OTHER JOE – Regev was referring to 1% of the illegal immigrants who crossed into Israel from Egypt in recent years, estimated at around 50,000 today. It is the interviewer that came up with the number 700, not Regev.

      I find it very unprofessional that a journalist mocks the interviewee by transcribing something like the question “what’s the RSD process?”. The spokesperson is not a professional in every field and does not have to know all professional terms and abbreviations in each field and in each language he speaks.

      Reply to Comment
    4. MAOR – the 700 is referring to the number of South Sudanese who were to be deported, not the total number of African refugees. Regarding the publishing of the last part, I was not trying to mock his lack of technical knowledge on the issue. But i decided to publish the whole piece, including my own questions and responses, verbatim.

      Reply to Comment
    5. I don’t see why Omar should be criticised for not covering for Regev’s ignorance. Where is it written that a journalist — any journalist — should cover for a government spokesperson’s ignorance? What kind of ass-licking system do you think you’re living under?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Maor

      Oman, thanks for your answer. I understand what the 700 refers to, but Regev’s 1% who qualify for asylum refers to the total number of “infiltrators” and not to the 700. This is what Israel decided regarding those who qualifies, I’m not saying that this is right or wrong and whether other countries would grant asylum to more or less.

      Rowan: Why not knowing what RSD is an “ignorance” that should be covered for? How many politicians or spokesperson know what RDS mean? I think that it is more professional when the journalist asks about the refugees status determination and not about “RDS”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tony Kaku

        OK, I give up, Maor.

        What does RDSstand for ?

        Reply to Comment
    7. Will

      It is inevitable that Israel realize what distressed peoples do, Torah obligates. Humanism cannot take the place of Torah yet the systematic elimination of those that turn to Israel, the light of the Torah, cannot be dismissed. If a legitimate programme of food, housing, education and practical military defense in South Sudan existed, it would enhance, not degrade Israel. And cost less in the end….

      Reply to Comment
    8. Living in Arizona, boardering Mexico, I am well aware of the incurrsion of illegals to better themselves. The State’s authority to deport illegals is a matter of law. But there is obviously a sharp distinction between how resident illegals are treated until deportation. The argument the spokesman makes is sound. In the US, it is best to apply for asylum aboard; in some cases, I believe, one arriving illegally will be deported, told to make his case at an embassy. This is the hard reality of demographics.
      What has happened in South Tel Aviv is not about the right of these de facto illegal immigrants to stay. It is about how they are treated until there is a legal outcome. If the High Court has (amazingly) stayed the State’s hand, then the State has to accomodate those present for livlihood in some way. If the law disallows work, then detention may be the only outcome left, unless an underground economy coupled with aid seems–seems–adequate at the moment.
      The law is a bag of tricks. Winning one doesn’t mean you win all. But you can forbid incitement to riot, which is what happen in South Tel Aviv.
      The law is faulty here. Either you let them die, be beaten, hold jobs without recourse to legal protection, intern them–or you fix the law in the name of humanity given the Court’s prior stay against removal. The Court has forced resolution onto the Knesset. But this Knesset is not known for its humanitarianism (see Will, above). The only remaining qustion, if the Knesset does nothing: can the Court somehow extend its ruling to provide some form of legal residency?
      This is a legal cul-de-sac, apparently, which has been amplified into a form of political hate by members of the Knesset. Until these members are castigated as much as the left is, I see little hope for improvement.

      Reply to Comment
    9. palestinian

      Maor ,Oman is a country in the Gulf region (you know oil…money ooohhh your favourite) ,the writer’s name is Omar (like Omar Ben Al Khattab,oh wait you cant find this name in Israeli school books although Israel is in the heart of the Arab world..anyways).You said “infiltrators” well I will have to remind you that Israelis are infiltrators and children and grandchildren of infiltrators ..whats that idiom aha “pot calling the kettle black” I guess you know who is the pot and who is the kettle.

      @Will the Torah didnt really help us in 1948 when the people who claim to follow it didnt save a minute butchering people and stealing their properties to fulfill “G-d’s promise” althought their leaders didnt even believe in God oops sorry G-d .

      Reply to Comment
    10. Maor

      Palestinian (yaanu someone who call himself after a Roman distortion of a biblical group’s name with a consonant that doesn’t even exist in his language…): This was a typo, I also made some grammatical mistakes and at the end I wrote RDS instead of RSD. But I know you couldn’t resit an opportunity to show your bigotry and ignorance and spread some lies (ooohhh your favorite!).
      Do you mean Omar ibn al-Khattab, the colonialist who occupied the entire Middle East and put Apartheid laws against the Jews in Jerusalem? Because we do learn about him in school, not sure it’s a good thing for the image of people who are obsessed with hate and destruction against a tiny people who took their 0.02% of the Middle East back and established a wonderful country! Choke with your hate.

      Reply to Comment
    11. palestinian

      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      by any other name would smell as sweet,so you can call us Palestinians ,Canaanites,….that doesnt change who we are ,the indigenous population that disrupt your fairytales.At the end we arent Lamlam (I couldnt find the english word sorry).
      I can tell its a typo , but I couldnt resist lecturing (annoying) you,although the “r” isnt even close to the “n”.
      When it comes to obsession you (Zionists) beat it ,you are obsessed of who you want to be and you arent .You go crazy when people dare to question your hasbara and nonexistent identity ,I mean you have a point ,you spend lots of money and effort( and we have to give you credit for that ,you are able to fool millions of people ,good job…great )and someone comes and try to burst your bubble .How awful that person can be !

      Reply to Comment
    12. caden

      Gingrich was right, the Palestinians are a made up people who make their every move in response to what Jews do. If we didn’t exist, they wouldn’t exist.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Maor

      @Palestinian: Which bubble exactly do you think you burst? Lies, bigotry and obsessive destruction wishes cannot burst justice. I wonder, btw, what will be the result of a comparison between the money invested in anti-Zionist propaganda versus that used by Hasbara organizations.. something tells me that you’re getting paid much better than I am!
      @Caden: Without Israel, the Palestinians would probably exist, probably not a group other than Syrian Arabs (with a small Jewish and Christian minority, those who manage to survive the Dhimi Apartheid laws and the annual massacres).
      Here’s the appearance of the word “Palestinians” in 1900- books scanned by Google: http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Palestinians&year_start=1900&year_end=2005&corpus=0&smoothing=3
      And here’s a comparison “Jewish people/Palestinian people”): http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Jewish+people%2CPalestinian+people&year_start=1900&year_end=2005&corpus=0&smoothing=3

      Reply to Comment
    14. palestinian

      Maor , when I read “Lies, bigotry and obsessive destruction wishes ” I thought you were talking about Zionism and the Israeli Hasbara,how funny.I dont have to get paid to defend my cause ,money isnt my number one two and three priorities,we arent alike….But I’m curious to know how much they pay you (you just said that you get paid for your hasbara) an honest Zionist ? one of a kind.Arent you gonna cry “we are a nation” ,do you really believe you are a people ? it must be difficult defending such a fairytale , I mean you know people tend to ask logical questions and you have to face them ,arent they giving you enough hasbara classes and camps ?!you poor thing

      Reply to Comment
    15. max

      Thanks, Maor, I wasn’t aware of this feature – quite powerful!

      Reply to Comment
    16. Maor

      @Palestinian: WHAT? you wanna tell me that you’re spreading hate and bigotry without even getting paid to do that??? God, what’s the motivation for a reasonable person to do something like that?? Can it be that you really believe the lies you spread around?
      Regarding how the Jews define themselves as people: that’s really non of your business, it’s an internal Jewish issue. Besides, it’s not enough for you to spread lies about your own identity, you also want to trash other people’s identity?
      Why don’t you do something more constructive with your time, like working on your antisemitic prejudice?

      @Max: I’ve been playing with it recently, there are a lot of interesting conflict-related findings there. Spread it around (for a Hasbara bonus of course, don’t work for free…)

      Reply to Comment
    17. palestinian

      Maor Hate ? when I state facts about you ,I’m spreading hatred ?!I said several times you identity is non of my business as long as it doesnt affect my life and rights and it does,your fake identity and fairytales are being used to justify terrorism and land theft so I have the right to question “your so-called nation” I wont step aside when a bunch of thieves murder my people and steal their land because they dreamed about G-d promising them my land .Next time dont forget to fax us your deed ,with a stamp please .

      Reply to Comment
    18. Maor

      @Palestinian: At the end of the day, I wish you and your “people” (I’m just kidding, I don’t mind you defining yourself as people..) an independent state, even Judenrein if you insist (and you seem to insist on that, quite harshly), in which you can practice your cultural traditions of tolerance and achievements in all fields of life. The problem is that many of you have no interest in something like that – your interest is to destroy someone else instead of building or rebuilding yourself. If you want to dig into the past, you’ll find many arguments against your narrative. You’ll find that your story of those European monsters coming to your sovereign land, taking it away from you and expelling everyone out of some kind of “evilness”, doesn’t hold much in the real world. I think that it would really be better if you focus on the here and now, and see that the things you complain about (you didn’t list but I guess it’s the wall, checkpoints, all the regulars) are the results of your constant obsessive attempts to kill Jews, or just to wish that they would be gone somehow. Let me tell you something clear: however we define ourselves, whatever beliefs and reasoning we invent to justify ourselves – we’re really not going anywhere. And as long as you continue to hope that we will, you’ll find us more determined, and yourself more immersed into hate and bigotry. Your choice.

      Reply to Comment
    19. I can’t see anything in anything ‘palestinian’ has said on this thread to justify the ignorant, racist stereotyping that Maor is indulging in. Maor seems to be sayingsomething like this:
      “Whoever you are and whatever you actually think or do, we’re going to define you as a genocidal savage with no interest in life except hating Jews (‘antisemitic prejudice’) and killing them (‘obsessive attempts’), and we’re going to treat you as a psychopathic would-be genocidal monster a la Hitler stereotype. In fact, if you aren’t already that, we shall use certain means, such as imprisonment and torture, to make you into that, because that’s what we want you to be, so that we can use our superior fire-power to exterminate you, and spin a story to our Uncle Sam that we had to do it in self-defense.”

      Reply to Comment
    20. palestinian

      Maor , I will try to believe you but you have one problem , hypocrisy .You present the case as if you the poor Jews have this state and those violent evil “Arabs” want to eliminate us,but wait you are the ones who came from Europe to butcher them and steal their land ,this isnt our narrative , these are facts you try to hide with your fairytales and fake identity.You brought us foreigners from Poland and Russia and claimed they belong to our land because their ancestors lived here 2999.999456 years ago ,a child would laugh at you.You are obsessed with your Jewishness,with a bond that doesnt exist,you impose it on others through dirty games,money,deception ,manipulation and blackmailing.I’m sorry if you lack an identity but thats not our problem.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Maor

      @Rowan – since you chose to write about me and not to me I won’t respond, except for writing you that you understood me perfectly – what you wrote is exactly, word by word, what I wanted to say. Good for you!

      @Palestinian – We, the Jews, are definitely not “poor” – we are strong and determined to defend ourselves, and we do it quite successfully, in front of major challenges (and as a nice British general said once, while demonstrating the biggest care for civilians among the enemy ever seen in human history).
      Your narrative is all in all, a lie. History is a complex and dynamic sequence of events taking place in context and multiple players. I really don’t want to spend time telling the Zionist narrative, and you’re telling the anti-Zionist narrative, we both know what they are and there are a lot of places to read both in a fair way (to present the Zionist narrative as “stole the land, brought people from Europe because God promised us land” is of course far from a fair presentation of our narrative).

      I don’t get it why you think that I’m obsessed with my Jewishness. With all you antisemitic images of Judaism (money, deception…) it seems that you’re the one who is obsessed with my Jewishness. Again, let it go, make peace, do some nation and statebuilding. That’s my advice. It will be better for both of us.

      Reply to Comment
    22. palestinian

      Maor , well thats great ,then stop using your power to oppress and terrorize others.You target civilians before militants,you intend to destroy the region to make it difficult for people to survive so later you can take over their land.There is one narrative ,two sides.One side made the first step and I think it was those from outside.This game of accusing people of what you are doesnt work with me,my advice to you purhase an Island and establish your state there ,you have no future in this region no matter how powerful you are ,your money and influence wont give you stability ,nor walls and high-tech weapons .We will never give up our land not in Haifa nor Yafa.Keep your fairytales outside our life.

      Reply to Comment
    23. max

      Palestinian, who is “we” in “We will never give up our land”?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Maor

      Palestinian, not only that Israel doesn’t use its power to opress and terrorize but to defend its people and provide itself security, it is also doing that in the most moral way seen in modern history. There is no country, no army that ever, under such conditions, did more to safeguard the lives of civilians among the enemy than Israel. If you have an example for a country that fights terrorism, rockets, suicide attacks, in a more moral way than Israel – let us know.

      “You target civilians before militants,you intend to destroy the region to make it difficult for people to survive so later you can take over their land” – demonization, lies. Israel doesn’t target civilians (that doesn’t mean of course that civilians are not getting hurt). Israel develops military technologies to do exactly the opposite of what you’re accusing it to do – to prevent civilian casualties.

      About your wishes to get rid of the Jews – It of course makes me sad that this is what you think, but don’t think for a moment that it’s gonna work out well for you. In the time you spend dreaming of Israel’s destruction, Israel became am amazing successful country. If you want to continue obsessing hate and destruction, don’t be so surprised that Israel (and the Western world, at least those who are not affected by your effective propaganda) won’t defend itself. The Jews are really not gonna commit a suicide, and the only thing you’ll be doing is strengthening Israel, and increasing support for its defensive actions (see for example, Chomsky and Finkelstein, who share your desire, but object your goals and won’t support the measures you sell in the West to help you achieving them).

      Reply to Comment
    25. Piotr Berman

      “I find it very unprofessional that a journalist mocks the interviewee by transcribing something like the question “what’s the RSD process?”. The spokesperson is not a professional in every field and does not have to know all professional terms and abbreviations in each field and in each language he speaks.”

      Is it professional for a journalist to mock? Oriana Fallacci, a legendary Italian journalist, was famous for a rather irreverent attitude to very important people she interviewed, like Henry Kissinger an Rudollah Khomeini. With Khomeini, she got dressed in a chador, and she remarked that it is quite inconvenient. The Supreme Leader replied that as a Christian she is under no obligation to wear a chador, and she exclaimed “Great, I can get rid of this stupid thing” and pulled it out over the head. The transcript says “The interview resumed after 20 minutes”. The Supreme Leader, Object of Emulation, Imam of the Faithful etc. got irate but got over it.

      “Expert determination” that about 1% or less of Eritrean migrants are refugees is ludicrous. Eritrea is an extremely repressive state compared with other countries in Africa. Human Rights Watch: President Isaias uses the border standoff and paranoid claims of “western interference” to justify his increasingly totalitarian rule. The country’s eighteen-month national-service obligation has been indefinitely extended. This means that much of the adult population (in a nation of about 4.4 million people) works at the direction of the state for years for only a token wage. The majority of national-service conscripts serve in the 300,000-member military.

      The continuing “emergency” is also used to legitimise sweeping restrictions on political dissent and religion. National-service conscripts who question government policy soon find themselves in Eritrea’s massive and mysterious national network of jails. Among those languishing in appalling conditions in Eritrea’s prisons – underground, in shipping containers and in the notorious Dahlak Kebir island prison in the Red Sea – are students who were caught reading the bible in school, soldiers who tried to flee the army, and political opponents who in 2001 questioned the president and called for the return of democracy in 2001 (the last category includes the former foreign minister and vice-president).

      Reply to Comment
    26. Piotr Berman

      Palestinian: some may be confused by a different treatment of vowels by Arabs (compared with Europeans), for example Wikipedia has an article on Umar ibn Khattab (whose sword can be seen in Topkapi (palace of the Sultans in Istambul) in the same room as a hair from the beard of the Prophet (PBUH) and several other venerated relics of Islam.

      Reply to Comment
    27. palestinian

      Maor , have you reahced the denial phase ?it seems your are confused about the definition of morality.I mean burning people alive ,bombing their homes , shooting them , stealing their land and properties (we need a library to document the Israeli terrorism and crimes) is moral? Give me one country that is occpuying,terrorizing and oppressing 4+ million people for 64 years after expelling the rest.
      Your last heroic paragrapgh tells alot about your obsession with being Jewish and that everybody wants to destroy your state bla bla bla while committing crimes and playing dirty games.Israel is on its way to commit suicide, dont forget to invite me to the funreal.

      Reply to Comment
    28. palestinian

      Piotr Berman,Umar or Omar both arent the right pronunciation.I think Umar is better.Grammatically its Omar/Umar ben (not ibin) al Khattab and when we pronounce the Ben/Bin +Al as “Binel” khattab.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Maor

      Palestinian, first, all countries are results of occupations that lasted for more than 64 years, particularly Arab countries that are results of brutal, imperialist occupations of people like Omar/Umar.
      But what you mean is that history is indeed not rich with examples of countries that ruled a small territory of their enemies with so many micro-interventions, such as establishing 250 checkpoints to prevent terrorism from popular militant organizations and populations that are dedicated for their destruction and genocide. You know why? because throughout history, most countries or regimes that faced such threats and had the power to face them militarily, reached a military victory on the ground. Sometimes this resulted in a total “disappearance” of the problem (particularly in small groups, ask Arab leaders,they were always great in destroying communities and cultures in brutal imperialist occupations), and in other cases the threatening groups accepted their failure, their wrongdoing, and moved on (ask the Germans and the Japanese).

      And Israel? It decided in 1967 to deal with the genocidal dream of your people against the Jewish people in the most moral military way that exists – occupation. Any other alternative to deal with the constant threat of people obsessed with your destruction would be morally worse.
      Look at Gaza right now for example: A genocide-wishing regime is in control of a small territory next to a military superpower, threatening its populations and its existence, firing thousands of rockets on its civilians. Do you really think that another country would let something like this exist on its borders? Most countries, particularly Arab countries, would have got rid of that thing called Gaza long time ago. Israel doesn’t – instead, it uses billion-dollar technologies to allow it to target militants who fire rockets while minimizing damage to civilians among whom these militants hide. If you want to kill civilians, you don’t need billion-dollar worth technologies and F-16s, a few M-16s would be more than enough. So the whole purpose of the Israeli military strategy is to prevent civilian casualties among its enemies. No army in history did more on this issue.

      But all this doesn’t matter in front of the big issue – of course I think that there are people who want to destroy Israel – you yourself write here that you want to destroy Israel. Don’t you find your argument about my obsession ridiculous after you wrote your quite blatantly your destruction wishes? You know, maybe one day Israel will stop being so patient and moral in front of your genocidal goals, and then maybe afterwards you won’t feel so comfortable to be proud in your hate and bigotry as you seem to be at the moment, when you know there’s no danger in doing that, and there’s a group of Western morons you cheer for you when you do that.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Maor, you tell ‘palestinian’: “you yourself write here that you want to destroy Israel.” You don’t seem to be able to understand that there is a difference between wanting to end the Zionist system, and wanting to kill all the Jews. You accuse him of “genocidal wishes” no fewer than four times. But he is not saying he wants to kill all the Jews; he is saying he wants to bring an end to the Zionist system which currently forms the basis of the state of Israel. It is perfectly possible to imagine a different sort of state, just as e.g. post-Apartheid south Africa still contains the Whites who ruled it under Apartheid laws, but they no longer do so. They haven’t all been “driven into the sea” or subjected to any other form of genocide.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Maor

      Rowan, I write to ‘Palestinian’: “you want to destroy Israel”, and by that I don’t mean that he wants to kill all Jews, but that he wants to destroy Israel, the Jewish state, which he does. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – the Jewish people, like all people, have national rights and sovereignty in their homeland, and it was achieved in 1948. Your comparison so South Africa is ridiculous – Israel and the Palestinian Territories are not the same political entity, and Israel’s sovereignty cannot be challenged by wishes to join two political entities together (just because the Jews will be the minority in the ‘one state’). Get it into your head: The “Zionist system”, i.e. a Jewish nation state, is not going anywhere. It cannot, and should not go anywhere, and this wish by people who claim to care about justice, freedom and national rights of minorities, is at best hypocrisy.
      My objection to your “one state” is moral, but also on a practical ground, we all know how a “bi-national state” will look like, and I don’t think it will take more than 2-3 years to make such a state Judenrein. I don’t know if you get it or not, but a genocide of the Jews in Israel is only a momentary insouciance away. It’s not going to happen, because there are enough people that would not close their eyes even for one second.

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    32. None of that justifies you in repeatedly accusing him, personally, of genocidal intentions, and implying that he has stated such intentions, when he hasn’t done anything of the sort. If he had, he would probably be subject to summary arrest, and by accusing him of it, you effectively threaten him with this.

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    33. Maor

      So I’ll clarify: I’m not so convinced that he would do something if there’s a genocide of the Jews in Israel, but I’m not accusing him directly in wanting it. Maybe I should be more specific, sometimes when I wrote “you” I meant the Palestinians as a collective group, not him specifically. I don’t think that he should be arrested, though I don’t know what he’s doing except for writing here comments…

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    34. palestinian

      Well when you terrorize people for 64 years you get violence, not angels, and this the least they can do so blame yourself ,if the Palestinians don’t live a decent life then Israelis shouldn’t. Your occupation isn’t like any other occupation ,you want to eliminate us and replace us with immigrants because of fairytales. You are the only country that keeps expelling the indigenous population ,steal their land and import more illegal “chosen” immigrants.
      Our Nabka was a genocide , a continuous one .What you call the Jewish people shouldn’t be in Palestine in the first place ,you don’t butcher people ,steal their land and expect them to send you roses.The land theft is in progress ,your occupation isn’t meant to protect your settlers (in Tel Aviv and Haifa) but to expel more people and expand your dream.

      What people would accept Israel to exist in their land ?nobody ,you started the circle of violence when your elders didn’t accept that the beautiful bride was already married ,they shot her husband and raped her because G-d promised them that bride,in their dreams.Hamas is a scapegoat ,and Israel takes advantage of the fireworks that hurt nobody and keep bombing Gaza.If you read Yuval’s Road Trip ,in one part a resident of a the kibbutz Kissufim said “The IDF has such sensitive equipment around here that it can detect a rabbit crossing a field at night. I know this for a fact. They are in the know about everything that’s happening inside the Strip, but they let the occasional missile fly, so they can then run weeping to the Americans to get more money.People who live here know this,we see the trucks that go into the Strip. Some of them carry pipes, the same pipes that are used to make Qassam rockets. So Israel won’t let building materials in, claiming that they can be used for bomb construction, but it does let in those pipes. Does that make sense? Yes, awkward sense. Keep the south traumatized and weak, keep the cameras on the smoke coming from our fields, and you can easily fend off any criticism”
      So the question remains why did your so-called people travel thousands of kilometers crossing the Mediterranean ?we didnt nivite them.

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    35. The quote from the Kissufim resident is very interesting. I shall have to read this “Round Trip” which I haven’t done yet. The Qassams in fact are usually fired (a) in retaliation for some ‘targeted killing’ from a drone, and (b) not by Hamas at all but by the PRCs, IJ, etc., and Hamas spends a considerable amount of its time trying to stop them, which doesn’t prevent the Western media from routinely referring to them as “Hamas rockets,” the aim of all this being to prevent peace from breaking out.

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    36. Maor

      Palestinian, you keep shooting on many topics and it’s hard to follow or to answer all.

      Palestinians in the WB and Gaza can have a great life if they make peace with Israel and stop dreaming (like you) about Israel’s destruction. The Palestinians in the Arab world, in camps (not in Israel, Israel is the only country in the region not to hold the Palestinian refugees in camps.. even the Palestinians in Gaza and WB hold themselves in camps!!) can have a decent life once their Arabs brothers stop treating them like crap and apply Apartheid on them.
      But as long as the Palestinians, as a nation, keep fighting for Israel’s destruction, they can’t expect Israel to sit quietly and not to defend itself. That’s really as simple as that – you send suicide bombers – you get checkpoints, you fire rockets – you get military incursions and blockade. Not every measure Israel takes is justified, not every action that every soldier makes on the ground is justified, and not everything makes perfect sense to me as well. Still, all those things would not be necessary if rockets were not fired.
      You think that these rockets are fireworks. What can I say? I don’t wish such fireworks on anyone. Still, it is true that not many people died of these rockets (theoretically thousands of rockets of this sort can kill thousands of people) – because Israel PROTECTS its citizens: shelters, alarm systems, Iron Dome and so forth. The victims of these rockets are well protected. Numbers of casualties do not imply intentions: Hamas didn’t kill 10 Israelis in 2009 because it was aiming to kill 10, it was aiming to kill thousands, it was just very unsuccessful in doing that. Take an example: suppose 5 people running toward you with guns and shoot nonstop, but you managed to kill them all and get only slightly wounded. You defended yourself, but look at the numbers: you killed 5 people that didn’t kill anyone.

      About your “stolen land” narrative – sorry, it’s a lie. Palestinians never had sovereignty over the land, and when it comes to ownership – Palestinians still own land in Israel (guess where they can’t own land??). The result of borders and sovereignty after the British left is the result of complex historical processes that cannot be reduced to “you came from Europe and stole the land”.
      Your “Nakba”, as zureiq who coined that term wrote, is the catastrophe of loosing the war to the Jews. You opened a war of extermination and you lost it. The holocaust survivors you tried to slaughter (not you personally yes?) managed to survive and win the war. This is actually more simple. But the Nakba is not the “catastrophe” itself, but the continuation of this problem since then – the Arabs hold the refugees as pawns.

      The point is, sorry that it’s not nice to hear – whether you like it or not, whether you choose to adopt lies or not, whether you’re obsessed about it or not – Israel is here and is not going anywhere. There are enough people to make sure it’s not going anywhere. The sooner you internalize that (go beyond the anger-bargaining stages you’re stuck on for 64 years), the better it is for everyone.

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    37. Maor

      Rowan, you’re right – since 2009 it’s only rarely Hamas that fires rockets.
      Regardless of who fires and for what purpose – when you fire rockets, primitive as they are, on a military superpower, what exactly do you think is going to happen to you?

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    38. I outlined the theory on another thread: the British created and funded the Muslim Brotherhood, the CIA created and funded al Qaeda, Israel created and funded Hamas, and we are asked to believe that at some point they lost control of them. But whoever really controls them, they serve the function they were intended to serve, namely, to prevent peace from breaking out. That’s a sarcastic phrase in english, the point being that peace is what the western powers especially do not want. So a bunch of homicidal maniacs yelling “Allah hu Akhbar!” and waving RPGs around is exactly what the western powers most frequently request and require.

      I have a special theory about this, which is my own contribution to the infant science of conspirology. I call it “the push-pull theory.” My theory is that the western powers simultaneously “push” these groups with military, legal and police persecution, while covertly “pulling” them (via the secret services) with inducements such as arms and funding. This leads to endless complications which would be comical if they weren’t so macabre, as when Hillary Clinton puts a million dollars on someone’s head and he gives a press conference saying, “What do they think, that I’m living in a cave in the Hindu Kush? I’m right here in Rawalpindi, my address is so and so, can I have the million dollars please?”

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    39. palestinian

      Maro You are the one who jumps from sub to another .
      I am a Palestinian refugee and I live better than at least 80% of the Palestinians in Israel and at least 55% of the Jewish Israelis.We are asking for our rights and land not your destruction.
      Attacks on Israelis didn’t come out of nowhere ,Hamas wasn’t there in 1948,Hamas didn’t invite the Zionists to bomb our villages and build their state on top of their ruins.Hamas isn’t building settlements and confiscating (stealing) land.Whats sovereignty?Hamas is their magical card to defend their crimes,so, to Israel,Hamas must be kept alive and kicking! Did the people of South Sudan have a country before 2011 ?Does that mean people from Japan had the right to expel them and establish a state there ? Palestinians in Israel today own 3% of their homeland after they owned hundreds of villages and homes (which are called absentee properties,an absentee that is living 1 kilometer away from his property hehe,or were donated to poor Jewish families aka thieves) Land confiscation is in progress (to develop kibbutz and moshavim around them).So you cant even brag about it ,you should be ashamed of stealing others ‘properties under laws but do you know whats shame ?just asking

      The claimed holocaust survivors (Ben Gurion didn’t seem like a holocaust survivor) came from Europe to butcher us and steal our land ,we didn’t invite them .And as always you end your losing argument by “Israel is here to stay” if you are sure about it why are you arguing with me ?!fear maybe ….the question remains , why did your so-called people travel thousands of kilometers crossing the Mediterranean?

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    40. palestinian

      Maor * sorry a “typo”

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    41. Maor

      Palestinian, if you studied some bible and not only antisemitic propaganda from the 19th century, you would know that Maor is the biblical Hebrew word from Genesis to the sun and the moon (the big Maor and the small Maor). So in a way it means light. So I have a biblical name, a word from 5,000 years ago, and you have a fake Roman distortion of a biblical name that first appeared in the world around 50 years ago… I guess it tell the whole story of our conflict doesn’t it? 🙂

      Just one point about Hamas: Hamas wasn’t there in 1948, but five Arab armies and one Nazi-collaborator were there, and they were pretty clear about their genocidal goals toward the Jews (do you read Arabic? See page 3, a document from the fighting Arab armies: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/63819910/Nakba%20Shmakba/Safwat%20orders.pdf).

      @Rowan – This conspiracy comes up here and there. The nature of conspiracies is that you can’t prove them but I can’t refute them. With regard to Hamas – Israel “established” Hamas, just like it established all Palestinian organizations in the Palestinian Territories between 1967 and 1994 – the years that it was responsible on authorizing political and civil activities in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel was quite liberal toward Hamas in its first years, when it dealt mostly with education and welfare, but only later the organization became political and established an armed wing (it’s steal dealing with education though, suicidal-cartoons and such…).
      I think that no one expected political radicalization among Islamic movements in the 70s and 80s, that’s why they were convenient to the West as allies against communists, and later became the new enemy. But is it really so easy to play with Islamists and to make them do what you want?

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    42. palestinian

      Maor , thnx for your biblical info but I didn’t ask for it .
      Lets assume what you said about the Arab armies is true , they attacked whom? Zionists from Europe so again who started the conflict ?btw those Zionists declared thier will to establish their state in Palestine in 1917 ,they knew the bride was married and knew her husband wouldn’t agree .

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    43. Having cleared the ground a little, hopefully, I want to look at a recurrent theme in ‘Palestinian”s comments, viz, “fairytales”:
      “We are the indigenous population that disrupt your fairytales. […] Arent you gonna cry “we are a nation,” do you really believe you are a people? It must be difficult defending such a fairytale. […] your fake identity and fairytales […] they dreamed about G-d promising them my land […] your fairytales and fake identity […] because their ancestors lived here 2999.999456 years ago. […] You are obsessed with your Jewishness, with a bond that doesnt exist. […] Keep your fairytales outside our life. […] You want to eliminate us and replace us with immigrants because of fairytales.”
      This is saying that the Bible and the historical relationship it recounts between the Jews and the land of Israel is a ‘fairytale’. But the Bible is more than just a ‘fairytale’. It’s history of a sort. Even secular Jews believe in the historical bond between the Jews and the land of Israel. Only the most hard-boiled materialists would dismiss it as a ‘fairytale’.

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    44. palestinian

      “The land of Israel ” again another fairytale.Lets agree that Jews once lived there , does it mean its a Jewish land ?does it make todays Jews a “nation” ,you want us to believe they all descend from those Jews who inhabited the land 2999.987643 years ago ?We can say we have a historical bond to the land ,we are descendants of the Canaanites …

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    45. Maor

      @Roman – It’s not only the Bible that connects every Jew to the land of Israel, it’s the constant connection to that land even throughout the years in the diaspora. Every Passover Jews in Europe or the Middle East continued praying for the next year in Jerusalem, looking onto Jerusalem three times a day. Refuting the bond between Jews and that land (like the Palestinian leaders now trying to refute connection between the Jews and Jerusalem) is stupidity at best, it’s one lie that went too far and no one’s in the West is going to buy it.

      “Palestinian” – If you’re using the bride metaphor so much, so yes, the bride was already married – but in a monogamy it can only be married to the Jewish people. But sovereignty is not land, and is definitely not a woman you can poses (though I’m not sure an Arab would have that image of land as something to be owned by him, like his woman :)). It if is, it was raped by so many foreign infiltrators in recent centuries, until it finally got her husband back 64 years ago, the only sovereign to ever have it. Palestinian, you can distort it as much as you want – there’s a difference between ownership and sovereignty. Regarding ownership – I don’t want to take your ownership over land in Israel and/or PT away. Palestinians own land in Israel (you know the Knesset? it’s land is under the ownership of a Palestinian…). In fact, Israel is one of the only countries in the region to allow Palestinian private ownership of land.. Regarding sovereignty – you never had it, so I can’t take form you something you never had.

      Please, for the sake of your children and my children, give up the fairytales, the metaphors, the bigotry, the obsessive lying, the unprecedented hate and distorted logic – get over it, recognize Israel, get your own state, start building instead of ruining. Build factories, national institute, even a http://www.palestinian-space-agency.org. It’s time, things will not be better if you don’t.

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    46. Maor

      Sorry Rowan for the “Roman”, the Romans are gone without knowing that someone would make a nation out of their joke/misunderstanding after 2,400 years..

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    47. palestinian

      Maor the problem is there is no Jewish people…so your whole argument has no place.Palestinians own what was left out of their homeland,its like I had 1000$ the burglar stole 950 $ and I kept 50$(how generous).And there are restrictions on landownership, Zachary Lockman, wrote in a letter to The New York Times that 92 %of Israel’s land area is administered in accordance with regulations which prohibit these lands from being purchased, leased or worked by the Palestinian citizens of Israel.So they stole the land , gave it to the new immigrants and allowed the indigenous population to keep a very small fraction of their land.Palestinians from Ramallah cant purchase land inside the greenline but a Russian immigrant can .
      Again whats sovereignty ? I am relieved you agreed not to steal the rest of my land but your so-called people are greedy….I totally agree you have to give up your fairytales ,your kingdoms ,your fake identity that you use to justify your terrorism.If you really care about your children (not ours because you don’t)give us back our rights else you will face the consequences within the next 3 decades.

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    48. Maor

      Palestinian, antisemitic stereotypes aside, you never had those particular 1,000$, you never had sovereignty. You can still get sovereignty, you just need to let go of the dream of destroying Israel.

      I’ll try to explain Jewish ethno-nationality to you briefly, though I still maintain that it’s none of your business… – before missionary religions, each ethnic group or so had its own set of beliefs. One of these groups were the Jews. The Jews are also what we would call today a nation – they collective goal, achieved here and there, was sovereignty over their own land. The Jews are not called in the Bible “The Jews”, but “The people of Israel” (בני ישראל). When Chriatianity and Islam came into existence, and even before that with the spread of empires, ethnic groups embarrassed inter-ethnic religions. The Jews kept their non-missionary beliefs – did not, as a group, give up their religion, and did not, as a group, try to convert others to adopt their religion. The way one enters Judaism is the same way one enter an ethnicity and a nationality – be born into such a family.
      Identities are complex, and they change and evolve. For this reason I accept the existence of a Palestinian national identity, although it’s clear to me that it’s “fake”, in the sense that it was constructed against Zionism within a political context that pushed for its construction. The Jewish ethno-national identity never disappeared from biblical times. It’s true that the Jews, like all groups, got mixed up with other communities to some extent – some joined in, some moved out (although you’ll be happy to know that genetic studies confirm to a large extent the distinctness of the Jewish ethnicity throughout the diaspora period. That is, Jews from Iraq have more in common, genetically, with Jews from Germany, than from Muslims from Iraq). But the point is – if there’s one nation on earth that does not deserve to be called a nation – it’s the Palestinians. And if there is one nation on earth that deserves to be called a nation – it’s the Jews. Despite this difference, and even though you definitely don’t deserve this (as a collective), I’m willing to accept your national rights, I even wish you to achieve these rights. But it’s not gonna happen as long as you keep denying my national rights. Not only that it’s injustice by itself, you also decide to decide for me what I am and what I am not, which is outrageous, but I seldom expect more from you.

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    49. palestinian

      Maor I’m a Semite I cant be anti-myself.What’s sovereignty? I don’t want to destroy Israel, I can benefit from Israel .
      I had to skip your bedtime story , its boring.Do you have real stuff to discuss?

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    50. Maor

      Palestinian, this argument with “Arabs are Semite so they can’t be anti-Semitic” doesn’t work – Anti-Semitism is not hatred toward Semites, but hatred toward Jews. If you feel more comfortable, call it Judo-phobia, Jew-hatred, or anything that makes you less comfortable and proud in your attitudes.

      If you don’t wanna learn, don’t be surprised when people call you ignorant and liar.

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