Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

It is to Johan Sebastian Bach that I entrust the task to convey my best wishes for Christmas. His music expresses, better than I ever could, the humble grandeur of the Emmanuel. The Christmas Oratorio, which is a set of cantatas for the Christmas time is superbly played by Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the head of the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir. The set is on YouTube, in 19 sections. I suggest you the first one, but watching it you will have access to all, if you feel like it. Let your ears and heart be filled with joy. We all need it ! Merry Christmas Fiodor

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Little quiz about the Middle East

Jerusalem 1948. Jews expelled from the Old City by the Arab Legion

More than ever, Israel has a bad reputation in the media. The massive vote at the UN General Assembly (it must be remembered that it includes a wide majority of dictatorial and/or corrupted and/or totalitarian states) has boosted the excitement of the media against the Hebrew State.

Let me say clearly that I am in favour of the “two states” solution, which means an independant Palestinian state, event through important concessions on behalf of Israel. This seems to be the position of Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party. We can however wonder if it is not merely tactical, while the strategic aim remains the destruction of Israel, an objective that Hamas has no scruple to assert. Recent statements of Khaled Mechaal on this subject are very clear. Moreover, I recommend you strongly the reading of the charter of the Hamas.

To give you, on the political reality of the Middle East, an outlook which is slightly different from that of our "politically correct" media, here is a little quiz.


1.  At the end of the 19th century, the most numerous inhabitants in Jerusalem were:
A. Muslims
B. Jews
C. Armenians
2.  Compared to the British Mandatory Palestine, and excluding the “occupied” or “disputed” territories, the the State of Israel spans an area of:
A. 85 %
B. 12 %
C. 20 %
3.  About 3 500 to 10 000 Palestinians (according to various sources) were killed over a period of 10 days, by:
A. The Israelis, during the first “Intifada”
B. The Israelis, during the “Cast lead” operation
C. The Jordanians, in September 1970
4.  800 000 is the number of:
A. Jews expelled from Arab countries after Israel’s founding
B. Palestinian Arab refugees during the war of 1948
C. Syrians who left the Golan in 1967
5.  The Palestinian national claim is the result of:
A. The occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
B. The occupation of the West Bank by Jordan
C. Israel's occupation of the disputed territories since the 1948 war
6.  The PLO (of Yasser Arafat and Mahmud Abbas) has abolished its Charter goal of destroying the State of Israel
A. In 1993 (Oslo)
B. In 1987 (first Intifada)
C. Never
7.  Among the 270 000 Arab inhabitants of East Jerusalem, want to live in a Palestinian State:
A. 30 %
B. 98 %
C. 70 %
8.  Which statement is true ?
A. A Jew is member of the Constitutional Court of the Islamic Republic of Iran
B. A Jew is member of the Egyptian governement
C. An Arab is a judge of the Supreme Court of Israel


1. B: About “Jerusalem”, the Grand Dictionnaire Larousse du XIXe siècle, published in 1875, quotes: “City of Asiatic Turkey, capital of Judea, chief town of a sanjak of Sidon pachalik. Population can hardly be estimated at more than 18 000 or 20 000 inhabitants: 8 000 Jews, 5 000 Muslims, 3 000 Greeks, 1 500 Latins, 1 000 Armenians, 100 to 200 Syrians and Copts”. Let us add that, in 1899, Jerusalem has 70 000 inhabitants, among which 45 000 Jews.
2. C: The Kingdom of Jordan was created on eighty percent of the territory of the Palestine Mandate allotted to the United Kingdom in 1921. It is thus the Palestinian Arab state, and was recognized as such by Israel untill the Oslo Agreements. This was natural, since more than three quarters of the population of Jordan are of Palestinian origin. And the Arab population in Judea and Samaria were Jordanian until 1967.
3. C: Jordanian Armed Forces during "Black September". Estimates range between 3 500 (Jordanian sources) and 10 000 deaths and more than 110 000 injured (Palestinian sources). The “Cast lead” operation (2008-12-27 to 2009-01-19) led to 1 300 Palestinian victims, half of which were armed men. The first Intifada led to 1 162 Palestinian victims.
4. A: Between 1948 and 1960, it is estimated that more than 800 000 Jews were forced into exile from countries like Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, etc.., where they were sometimes located over two millennia. Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war are estimated at about 700 000, a significant number of which have left their villages at the instigation of the Arab Higher Committee, who promised them to return after the defeat of Israel. The Six Day War has led to the departure of about 100 000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.
5. C: Of course. No protest was expressed against the occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt or against the occupation of the West Bank by the Hashemite Kingdom (1948 to 1967).
6. C: Despite verbal assurances given in the framework of the Oslo Agreements in 1993, the goal of the destruction of Israel has never been removed from the Charter of the PLO. As an evidence, this statement of Adli Sadeq, Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority in India, in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, daily newspaper of the PA, on November 26th 2011: “Hamas, Fatah and the other factions are not waging war against Israel right now for reasons related to balance of power. There are no two Palestinians who disagree over the fact that Israel exists, and recognition of it is restating the obvious, but recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from recognition of its [physical] existence.”
7. A: According to a survey conducted by the American researcher David Pollock (published in the Washington Post in 2011): 30% say they would prefer to be Palestinian citizens in the framework of a two-state solution, while 35% say they would choose Israeli citizenship. (Others gave no answer or refused to answer). 40% said they would consider moving to another neighborhood to become citizens of Israel rather than become Palestinians, and 54% said that if their neighborhood were assigned to Israel, they would not emigrate to Palestine.
8. C: Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab, is a judge of the Supreme Court of Israel since 2003. We can also mention, among many others, the case of an Israeli Arab Muslim, Jamal Hakroush, Deputy Inspector General in the Israeli police since 2011.

As a conclusion, if we want there to be peace, one day, in this part of the world, we must first clean up the spirits and correct the vocabulary. There is work to be done! ...