Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Israel as 'the Jewish quarter of an Arab town'

Revealing outburst by Ahmed Benhelli in the pages of Al-Ahram following the accidental shelling by the Israeli army of Beit Hanoun in Gaza. While he does not explicitly call for the destruction of the Jewish state, Benhelli seems to be calling on Israel to ‘know its place’. There is one word missing in his idealised account of coexistence of Jews and Arabs in the Arab town – ‘dhimmitude’. The Jews never did have equal rights with their Muslim neighbours, were always at their whim and whimsy and owed their achievements to the more benign of their rulers.

What Benhelli has in mind is a ‘dhimmi’ state in thrall to its Arab neighbours. Not many Israeli Jews would be too keen. But there is nothing the Jews of Israel would like better, as Benhelli suggests, than to devote their energies to progress and prosperity – if only their neighbours would let them.
(Via Guysen Israel News).

Guysen reports: "Ahmed Benhelli, assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, uses the pages of the Egyptian Weekly Al-Ahram in order to pass on a clear message which he believes will settle the conflict once and for all. Israel must return to its historical place as ‘ the Jewish quarter of an Arab town’, and be cut ‘down to size’. His starting point is the Jewish state’s ‘inadequate’ behaviour. Israel is stubbornly clinging to the logic of overwhelming force towards its neighbours, the imposition of its hegemony on others without the slightest moral or human scruple. It lives in total denial of the geography of the region, the nature of its peoples and the composition of its societies. The dominant power in Israel, which is perpetually immune to international measures, is at loggerheads with nature and the logic of history. Israel’s politicians will perhaps draw lessons from the debacle in south Lebanon and previous to that in Gaza, in order to rethink Israel’s strategy in the region and the concept of their approach towards their neighbours, especially the Palestinian people.

For Ahmed Benhelli, one must learn the lessons of the past – before the creation of the state of Israel – in order to resolve the current conflict. “Throughout their history, the Jews have lived in the Jewish quarter of the Arab town. They enjoyed all rights and respect as citizens and had the same duties, in an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony. There were many Jewish ministers, governors, scientists and craftsmen. (My emphasis -ed).

"The time has come for Israel to agree to live in proportion to its ‘size’‘, like the Jewish quarter of an Arab town, as befits History and natural logic, to live in a State ‘to scale’ with its numbers of inhabitants, its surface area as defined by UN resolutions, in peace and security among the states of the region. And to devote its human and material resources to construction, progress and prosperity instead of wars, tears, suffering and selfishness."

Read article in full (French)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Not in a 1000 years - Yeah and after the Jews, it will be the turn of the christians... This guy is on dope....

Anonymous said...

You guys didn't get the message, he was preaching the acceptance of the state of Israel within the Arab Sphere, like when (in the past) there was always a Jewish quarter in every Arab town.

bataween said...

I beg to disagree - the Jewish quarter was a ghetto where the inhabitants were locked in overnight for their own safety. If they left it they were not allowed to wear shoes (Morroco/Yemen)and had to wear distinguishing clothes. The Jewish quarter was also a cramped and unsanitary area of town.