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‘For me, Palestine is paradise’: An interview with Leila Khaled

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Leila Khaled holding a photo of her younger self in 2009 (Photo: Tanya Habjouqa)

Leila Khaled holding a photo of her younger self in 2009 (Photo: Tanya Habjouqa)

Exclusive interview with Leila Khaled
Recorded on Thursday 3rd of April 2014
First published here.

Frank Barat for Le Mur A Des Oreilles (LMADO): How are you Leila? What are you doing nowadays in Amman?

Leila Khaled: I am fine as long as I am a part of the struggle for freedom, for our right of return and for an independent State with Jerusalem as capital. I know it is not going to happen in the near future, but I am fighting nevertheless. Here in Amman, I am the chief of the department of refugees and Right of Return in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (P.F.L.P).

LMADO: You are a Palestinian refugee, one of six million. Do you still think that you will return one day? And what do you make of the conditions of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, who are denied their most basic rights and yet, are sometimes criticized for trying to improve their lives in Lebanon as this might affect their right of return to Palestine?

LK: The Palestinians were distributed to different countries. Each country has had an impact on the people living there. Those in Lebanon, in the 70s and 80s, until 1982, were the ones that helped the armed struggle, that helped defend the revolution. Israel was attacking and invading all the time and occupying parts of the country as well. After 1982, the main mission of the Palestinians was to achieve their rights, their civil and social rights, which they are deprived o in Lebanon. This will enable them to be involved in the struggle for the right of return. The Palestinians in general take the Right of Return as a concept and as a culture. Any Palestinian will tell you that he fights for his social and civil rights, but this means that he is preparing himself for his return. The two are inseparable.

LMADO: The question of the refugees, in the negotiations, has, in the last decade, become more and more obsolete, something that is no longer an inalienable right but something that can be negotiated. The same applies to the last round, the “Kerry negotiations”. What do you make of this? And what do you think is going to happen after April 29th when the negotiations are supposed to end?

LK: The PFLP and myself personally have been against the negotiations since 1991. The problem is that the two parties are sticking to their guns. The Israelis think that Palestine is the land for the Jews all over the world. The Palestinians are sure that the land belongs to them and that they were forced out in 1947/1948. When this conflict moves from one stage to the next the two sides are considered as even in their power but the fact is that we are not (this is just an illusion). The leadership chose to go for the Oslo accords, thinking that this was a step forward in achieving the main rights of the Palestinians. Some people believed this, but they discovered, after twenty years, that it was nonsense. It brought catastrophe on us. There are more settlements than ever, twice more than before Oslo, the number of settlers has doubled, more land is being confiscated, and, of course, the Wall has been built. The apartheid wall. Israel is an apartheid state. These negotiations, now, are meant to help Israel and not the Palestinians. We have already experienced what Israel means by negotiate. Israel never respects its promises, its obligations, and simply continues its project of making Palestinians’ lives hell. My party and I are against this last round of negotiations too, of course. Especially now. The Americans are supporting an Israeli project that will only help Israel. There was an agreement, sponsored by the Americans, which said that you had to stop settlements in the West Bank and that 104 prisoners should be released on three different dates. Now, the Israelis have said no, we will not abide by this agreement and we will not release the last batch of prisoners. By the way, those people who are released, are often put back in jail shortly after anyway. This is what the Israelis refer to as the rotating door policy. The politicians say that the prisoners should be released but they are then rearrested. Many of them are already back in jail. It is very clear from this that the Israelis are not ready to make peace with the Palestinians. They are also taking advantage of the fact that the Arabs are occupied with many other issues, and do not support the Palestinians. Nobody is therefore going to condemn Israel when they flout the agreements they sign.

Also, what does Kerry want? What is his plan? Nobody knows. It’s all verbal. Nothing is written.  The leadership should refuse what Kerry offers. By the way, Kerry did not go back to Ramallah with another offer. Which means that the Palestinian Authority (is going to use its second option and go back to the U.N Then, today, in the news, the US has again said that it will object to such a move. What does this all mean?

I do think that we need first to consider the nature of the State of Israel. Secondly, we have to understand more about their projects and plans. Thirdly, we know that the Israelis are much more powerful than us in some respects. But we are also powerful. It all depends on our people. We have the will to face the challenges that the Israelis are putting in front of us. There is an English saying that says: “When there is a will, there is a way”. We still believe that this is our right and that we have to struggle for it. We have struggled, we are struggling, and we will struggle. From one generation to another. Freedom needs strong people to go and fight for their dreams. That is why I do not think that there will be a settlement now. The Americans always want to prolong the negotiations. This will not help.

LMADO: If negotiations do not bring peace to the Palestinians, what will? What should the leadership do?

LK: Resist! That’s how you achieve your rights as a People. History has shown us that. No People achieved their freedom without a struggle. Where there is occupation, there is resistance. It is not a Palestinian invention. We are actually going to call for a conference to be held under the auspices of the U.N, just to implement the resolutions taken by this body on the Palestinian question. Resolution 194 calls on Israel to accept the return of the refugees. Fine, let’s put the U.N on the spot. Let’s have a conference reminding people of this. The problem is that the references to any negotiations that have taken place were drafted by the Americans, which we know are biased towards Israel.

LMADO: P.L.O stands for Palestine Liberation Organization. Do you think it has lost its true meaning? Bassam Shaka in 2008 told me that the P.L.O, before anything, needed to go back to its roots as a liberation movement.

LK: No liberation is achieved without resistance. My party has not changed. It has stuck to its original program. We are calling to escalate the resistance. People talk about popular resistance. It does not only mean demonstrations. Using arms is also popular. We have people who are ready to fight.

LMADO: What does peaceful and non-violent resistance means for someone like yourself, who chose armed resistance as a mean for liberation?

LK: Resistance takes more than one face. It can be all kinds of resistance. Non violent and violent. I am ok with those who choose non-violence. We are not going to liberate our country by armed struggle only. Other kinds of resistance are necessary. The political one, diplomatic one, the non violent one. We need to use whatever we have got. For more than 10 years now, people have been demonstrating in Bil’in, in Nabi Saleh….protesting the wall and the annexation of the land. How is Israel dealing with it? Violence, tear gas, bombs… Do you think it is acceptable to have an army with a huge arsenal, against people holding banners? I am ok with using all means of resistance. We cannot say that non-violent resistance alone will achieve our rights. We are facing an apartheid State, Zionism as a movement, the Americans, and in general, the West, which supports Israel. When the balance of forces changes, then we can start thinking about negotiating.

LMADO: It is always easier to advocate for armed resistance when the general public knows who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed. Your actions in 69 and 70 were about that, correct? To put Palestine on the map. Do you think the educational process of showing another face of Palestine, showing that the Palestinians have legitimacy and are in the right, has been done enough since the 70s?

LK: Let’s take the example of Vietnam. Or of Algeria and South Africa. People needed time to convince the whole world of the just cause of their struggle. It took time. In the end, the world realized that those who are oppressed have the right to resist the way they want to. Nobody can impose a form of resistance on us. We chose armed struggle. We did not achieve our goals. Then the intifada broke out and the whole world took us seriously. We gained the support of people all over the world. Still, we did not reach our goals because the leadership was not brave enough at that time to escalate the intifada, to take it to another level. Israel was ready to accept to withdraw from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But our leadership failed us. The intifada was the choice of the people. If you go back to the beginning of the resistance and holding arms. It was a necessity for the Palestinians after 1967. We depended on the Arab countries to restore our homeland. But they failed us too. Israel occupied more of Palestine. So we decided to take our destiny into our hands. By waging an armed struggle. Nowadays people are waiting but they realize that these negotiations will get us nowhere. Our past experiences with Israel have shown us that they cannot be trusted. They do not respect their words. Threaten us all the time. Abu Mazen is not a partner for peace? Who is? Sharon? Netanyahu? This right-wing government? This is not a government, it is a gang, essentially, which represents the settlers, the fascists, the racists. The lie began last century. That this was the land of the Jews. The bible gave it to them. Is this democratic? The world in 1948 accepted this lie. God promised us the land! As if God was an estate agent. This is a colonial project. This is the main issue of the conflict.

LMADO: The struggle is about ending Israel’s settler colonial project, then, ending apartheid. What will happen, in your opinion, the day after? The day after victory? An Algerian like solution, or a South African one?

LK: We have always offered the more human solution. A place where everybody lives on an equal basis. Jewish, Muslims, I do not care about the religion of the person. I believe in the human being itself. Human beings can sit together and can decide together the future of this land. But I cannot accept that I do not have the right, now, to go back to my city. Like six million Palestinians. We are not allowed to go there. We are offering a human and democratic solution. Nobody can tell me that we cannot decide the fate of our country because we are refugees. What happened to us is a first in history, as far as I know. People being chased away from their homes and another people, coming from very far away, taking their places. The Israelis were citizens of other countries. Israel, thanks to various organizations, before 1948, built an army, Okay, but there was no society. They brought people from outside. Even now, there are huge contradictions in this country and this society. People come from different cultures, some do not even speak Hebrew. We do not want more blood, but are obliged to resist. We have the right to live in our homeland. When the Israelis realize that as long as they do not budge this conflict will be endless, they should accept our solution. Some Israelis have already understood that. That you cannot go on fighting forever. What for?

LMADO: Can you talk to us about the role of women in the resistance. And do you think your actions, the hijackings in 69 and 70, did more for Palestine, or for women around the world, or both?

LK: The hijackings were a tactic only. We wanted to release our prisoners and were obliged to make a very strong statement. We also had to ring a bell, for the whole world, that we the Palestinians are not only refugees. We are a people that has a political and a human goal. The world gave us tents, used- clothes and food. They built camps for us. But we were more than that. Nowadays there are plans to end the camps, because they are a witness of 1948. Women, are part of our people, they feel the same injustices. So they get involved. Women give life. So they feel the danger even more than men. When they are involved, they are more faithful to the revolution because they defend the lives of their  children too. When I gave birth to two children, I became more and more convinced that I had to do my best to defend them and build a better future for them. I felt for women who had lost their children. So I think my actions had an impact on both, to answer your question. The popular front slogan was: “Men and Women together in the struggle for the liberation of our homeland”. The P.F.L.P implemented that by giving a place to women in the military. At the same time, women also played a big role in defending the interior front, the families. Thousands of Palestinian women are now responsible for their families. After all the wars, the massacres, the arrests, the killings by Israel, these women protected their families from being dispersed. Also, women are now educated, they work, they travel, go to university and so on. Before the revolution, it was not like that. Now it is. And it is a must. You can see that women are involved in many aspects of the struggle and society. Whether it is inside or outside Palestine.

LMADO: Lina Makboul who directed the film “Leila Khaled; Hijacker” implies in her last question in the film that your actions did more harm than anything to the Palestinian people. The film stops right after the question. What did you answer?

LK:  She told me she did this for cinematic purposes. But I did not like that. The fact that people could not hear my answer. My answer was no, of course! My actions were my contribution to my people, to the struggle. We did not hurt anyone. We declared to the whole world that we are a people, living through an injustice, and that the world had to help us to reach our goal. I sat with Lina for hours and hours you know, telling her the whole story. She told me afterwards that Swedish TV only wanted the question.

LMADO: Do you sometimes reflect on the past? What was done, what could have been done, what could have been done differently, when you see the current state of affairs? What went wrong?

LK: Recently  my party has held its seventh conference and reviewed its positions. We then made a program to widen our relations with the progressive forces around the world, especially on the Arab level. We also decided to strengthen our interior structure. I also learned that I had to review my own positions, my own thinking. Every year, around December, I look back at the past year and then decide to do something for the coming year. This year, I decided to quit smoking, so I did.

LMADO: Mabruck!

LK: I made this decision and it was easy for me to implement it.

LMADO: Why has Palestine, in your opinion, become such a symbol for the solidarity movement?

LK: Palestine for me is Paradise. Religions talk about paradise. For me, Palestine is paradise. It deserves our sacrifices.

Frank Barat

Frank Barat is a Human Rights activist based in London. He is one of the coordinators of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a popular tribunal created in 2009 to expose and examine Israel's impunity in regards to its treatment of the Palestinian People. He has edited two books; 'Gaza in Crisis' with Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, and 'Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation' with Asa Winstanley. He has also participated in the book 'Is there a court for Gaza?' with Daniel Machover.

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55 Responses

  1. Walid on April 7, 2014, 3:10 pm

    “The Palestinians were distributed to different countries. Each country has had an impact on the people living there. Those in Lebanon, in the 70s and 80s, until 1982, were the ones that helped the armed struggle,

    … After 1982, the main mission of the Palestinians was to achieve their rights, their civil and social rights, which they are deprived of in Lebanon…” (L.K)

    Everything has been happening to the Palestinians from the start in 1947. The Palestinians have never made anything happen.

  2. Tal on April 7, 2014, 4:29 pm

    I wonder what would have happened if Israel had honestly and truthly negotiated peace with the Palestinians, recognizing the crimes of the Nakba, offering reparations but at the same time insisting that it cannot absorb more than a symbolic number of refugees into Israel proper. I wonder if the Palestinians would have accepted this path and ceased all practical plans to liberate the whole of Palestine.

    • Justpassingby on April 7, 2014, 5:26 pm

      Tal

      There would have been a palestine for both people, but Israel dont want that.

      • Tal on April 7, 2014, 7:03 pm

        Israelis are afraid to find themselves living in an Arab state which it’s culture and language and religions are foreign and intimidating.
        It’s very natural for a nation to want to preserve itself.

      • Inanna on April 8, 2014, 1:01 am

        Yeah. Imagine how those Arab Jews felt when they came to Israel and quickly learned they had to leave behind their language and culture. But not to worry, you Israelis beat and bullied the language and culture out of them.

      • Tal on April 8, 2014, 5:02 am

        @Inana, with all the respect to the Arab Jewish identity, it is nowadays in Israel almost non existent. The vast majority of mizrachi Jews identify as Israeli Jews and this what counts right now.
        BTW I don’t have to imagin how they felt because I know firsthand from my tunisian born grandparents that they felt quite good fulfilling their Zionist dreams

      • talknic on April 8, 2014, 6:29 am

        @ Tal “The vast majority of mizrachi Jews identify as Israeli Jews and this what counts right now”

        Mizrahi Jews are Arabic, whether they’re Israeli or not. Mizrahi Jews who identify as Israeli Jews, still have an Arabic heritage & I dare say DNA

      • tree on April 8, 2014, 1:37 am

        Israelis are afraid to find themselves living in an Arab state which it’s culture and language and religions are foreign and intimidating.

        Actually, you mean Ashkenazi Jewish Israelis, not just Israelis, who include both Arab Jews and Arab non-Jews, for whom the Arabic culture was not foreign or intimidating prior to the creation of Israel.

        It’s very natural for a nation to want to preserve itself.

        And yet Zionists claimed, and continue to claim, that the Palestinians were wrong to object to the creation of a foreign state in their midst; a foreign state that had no interest or concern for their welfare but rather was formed to privilege other foreigners. The basic problem is that Israel was built on a concept of acceptable Jewish privilege, to the obvious detriment of all others, and there is no moral way to conclude that those others need to accept their institutionally enforced inferiority.

      • eljay on April 8, 2014, 7:39 am

        >> Mizrahi Jews are Arabic, whether they’re Israeli or not. Mizrahi Jews who identify as Israeli Jews, still have an Arabic heritage & I dare say DNA

        IMHO: If they choose to identify as Israeli Jews, they are Israeli Jews. No-one can or should require them to identify as “Mizrahi Jews” or as “Arabic (Jews)”.

      • talknic on April 8, 2014, 1:43 am

        @ Tal “Israelis are afraid to find themselves living in an Arab state which it’s culture and language and religions are foreign and intimidating

        By 1950 the population of Israel was 1,370,000. There were at least 156,000 non-Jewish Arabs in Israel and some 500,000 Arab Jewish refugees from the Arab states. That’s 656,000 Arabs of a population of about 1,370,000, which is about 47% not including the indigenous Arab Jews of Israel!

        “It’s very natural for a nation to want to preserve itself”

        Israel now only admits to a 20% Arab population

      • RoHa on April 8, 2014, 2:47 am

        “Israelis are afraid to find themselves living in an Arab state which it’s culture and language and religions are foreign and intimidating.”

        The Zionists should have thought of that before they created a state in an Arab land. Perhaps the frightened Israelis should leave.

        “It’s very natural for a nation to want to preserve itself.”

        Natural it may be, but that does not give it any right to do so. Of course, a substantial part of the nation is Arab.

      • Naftush on April 8, 2014, 7:22 am

        You say, “’It’s very natural for a nation to want to preserve itself.’ Natural it may be, but that does not give it any right to do so.”
        I sincerely, not sarcastically, want to get to the root of your notion (shared by others) that nations need to pass a right-to-exist test. What are the items on this test? Does only Israel need to pass the test, or is a “You gotta start somewhere” strategy being applied? If a Palestinian state comes into being at some future time, will it have to take the test? And what if it fails?

      • RoHa on April 10, 2014, 5:28 am

        @Naftush.

        I am not claiming that nations need a right to exist. Where do you get that idea.? I am saying that a desire to preserve does not give a right to preserve, any more than a desire to swim gives me a right to swim.

        But saying “X does not give A a right to B” does not imply “A does not have a right to B”. A might have that right on some other basis. But (and perhaps more importantly in this case) nor does it imply “A needs a right to B”.
        What it does imply is that if it is wrong for A to B, A cannot claim the desire as justification for continuing to B.

        Learn a bit of logic.

    • puppies on April 7, 2014, 6:03 pm

      @Tal – “honestly an truthly [ ] negotiated peace with the Palestinians” while refusing to give back their lands, their homes and their rights.
      Pull the other one, will you? One can only imagine what it would have been if it had dishonestly and untruthly [ ] negotiated!

    • talknic on April 8, 2014, 2:04 am

      @ Tal “I wonder what would have happened if Israel had honestly and truthly negotiated peace with the Palestinians…”

      There’d have been no “crimes of the Nakba”, “reparations” or “refugees”. However, it has never been the intention of Israel to be honest http://wp.me/pDB7k-l5

      “I wonder if the Palestinians would have accepted this path and ceased all practical plans to liberate the whole of Palestine”

      If Israel had ceased plans to take all of Palestine they might have. As it is the Palestinians are willing to cede 78% of the territory allotted for the Arab state under UNGA res 181

      If the Zionist Movement had not insisted on a Jewish State, Jews would have had the right to immigrate to Palestine, have citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historic Homeland http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/9fb163c870bb1d6785256cef0073c89f/2fca2c68106f11ab05256bcf007bf3cb?OpenDocument

      By insisting on a separate state and by having proclaimed its borders “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947” the “Zionist Movement” took away that right.

      • Naftush on April 8, 2014, 7:31 am

        You say, “If the Zionist Movement had not insisted on a Jewish State, Jews would have had the right to immigrate to Palestine, have citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historic Homeland.” You then link to the Mandate.
        I see it the other way around. At the outset of the Mandate, the Zionist Movement was a fringe Jewish movement and was seriously conflicted about its goal: statehood, confederation, an amorphous “national home,” inter alia. The things you say the Jews were free to do (“immigrate to Palestine, have citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historic Homeland”) met with violent resistance that crested with the events of 1929. Only then, and I would say as a result, Zionism fixated on statehood.

      • talknic on April 8, 2014, 11:13 am

        @ Naftush “You then link to the Mandate”

        Yes. Specifically to Article 7 where it says “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine. ” http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp#art7

        “I see it the other way around. At the outset of the Mandate..”

        At the outset the Mandate said “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine. ” It hasn’t changed you know!

        “the Zionist Movement was a fringe Jewish movement “
        Over Palestine? Please spare us your nonsense.

        “The things you say the Jews were free to do (“immigrate to Palestine, have citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in the Jewish People’s Historic Homeland”) met with violent resistance that crested with the events of 1929

        A) It’s what the Mandate says
        B) When the Zionist COLONIAL plan became apparent, of course.

        “Only then, and I would say as a result, Zionism fixated on statehood”

        Jewish COLONIAL Trust of 1897 ring any bells pal?

    • eljay on April 8, 2014, 7:20 am

      >> I wonder what would have happened if Israel had honestly and truthly negotiated peace with the Palestinians, recognizing the crimes of the Nakba, offering reparations but at the same time insisting that it cannot absorb more than a symbolic number of refugees into Israel proper. I wonder if the Palestinians would have accepted this path and ceased all practical plans to liberate the whole of Palestine.

      Had Israel done those things and also…
      – withdrawn to within its / Partition borders or, at the very least, ’67 borders; and
      – transformed itself into a secular and democratic Israeli state of and for all of its citizens, equally (rather than remain a supremacist “Jewish State” primarily of and for all Jews),
      …I would like to think that the Palestinians would have accepted the situation and offered peace and co-existence in return.

      Other than offer a limited return of refugees, Israel didn’t do those things – and it appears to have no intention of doing those things – so we’ll never know.

  3. Interested Bystander on April 7, 2014, 10:04 pm

    That number of six million Palestinians being discussed here is muddying the water. If we assume a 4% growth rate for the 720,000 displaced by the Nakhba, that means that population might have grown to ~1.8 million over the succeeding sixty-five years. Of that number, a very significant portion has found homes and new lives elsewhere, in the U.S. , in Europe, and Jordan.

    In discussing a right of return to inside pre-67 lines, what portion of that ~1.8 million is living in refugee camps? What portion has found citizenship and new lives elsewhere? Leila Khaled was four when her parents left Haifa in the Nakhba. She has been granted citizenship in Jordan. She has found a new and happy life. She is married to a physician, has been a teacher and lecturer around the world. She has two sons. She thinks it is right for her children to pick up a gun to undo Israel. It’s not clear she has a moral claim to this; she certainly has no claim of necessity.

    She says for her Palestine is Paradise. She doesn’t mean two states. She means to acquire this Paradise with a gun.

    • puppies on April 8, 2014, 1:16 am

      @interested – You know what? That is Leila’s own country. Never you mind the citizenship bullshit. She owns it, and the Zionist invaders do not. Period. Needs a gun to get it back? Duh. How did the Zionist interlopers from another planet get it, with Monopoly chits?

      • Naftush on April 8, 2014, 7:39 am

        The Zionists did get it with Monopoly chits. That is, while resisting and politicking, they also built houses and hotels (= industry, services, governing institutions, civil society, etc.). Leila Khaled hasn’t figured out that part of it to this day, and neither has nearly all of the Palestinian national movement.

      • American on April 8, 2014, 9:57 pm

        @ Naftush

        Let me remind you how Israelis got what they have in Israel—they STOLE it—from the beginning.

        “The provisional government used the Arabs’ land, dwellings, and possessions for its Jewish population, and primarily for recent immigrants. Ben Gurion ordered that abandoned Arab housing be allocated to Jews. By April 1949, he reported to the Knesset, the government had settled 150,000 Jews in Arab housing.

        The government also took housing from Arabs who remained inside the armistice lines. In Haifa in July 1948 the IDF forced out Arab residents of the Carmel ridge area to make room for Jews. It forced Arabs from their homes in Acre into what became an Arab ghetto. Many “internal refugees” tried to return to their homes. Their land, like that of the Arab “external refugees”, was considered “absentee” property and was controlled by the custodian of absentee property, who rented it to Jews-the rent money going to the government.
        …..
        The value of the land taken from the Palestine Arabs was estimated at 100 million Palestinian pounds. It included stone quarries, 10,000 acres of vineyards, 25, 000 acres of citrus groves, 10.000 business establishments, 95 percent of what became Israel’s olive groves, and 50,000 apartments.
        …..
        The government took over fully equipped plants. In Ramleh, it distributed 600 shops to Jewish immigrants. In Lydda it seized 1800 truckloads of property, including a button factory, a carbonated drinks plant, a sausage factory, 7000 retail shops, 500 workshops, and 1000 warehouses. It confiscated cabinetmaking shops, locksmith works, turneries, ironworks, and tinworks, which it then leased and sold to Jews.”

    • tree on April 8, 2014, 1:45 am

      She means to acquire this Paradise with a gun.

      A more accurate statement would be that she means to reclaim her Paradise with a gun.

      What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Hypothetically speaking, if it was acceptable to acquire the territory with a gun in the first place, why is it unacceptable to reclaim it with a gun?

      • Naftush on April 8, 2014, 7:41 am

        Why is it unacceptable to reclaim [the territory] with a gun? Because she wants it only with a gun. It’s been offered to her [= her movement] without a gun repeatedly, and turned down violently time after time.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 8, 2014, 9:58 am

        “It’s been offered to her [= her movement] without a gun repeatedly,”

        That’s a lie. What Israel has done is the equivalent of offering Palestine’s children baby food with glass ground in it and the Palestinian parents have rightly and smartly rejected that offer repeatedly.

      • eljay on April 8, 2014, 10:45 am

        >> It’s been offered to her [= her movement] without a gun repeatedly …

        When has Israel repeatedly – or even once – offered to withdraw to within its / Partition borders and to repatriate all refugees?

      • talknic on April 8, 2014, 11:21 am

        @ Naftush “It’s been offered to her …”

        Israel has only ever offered to swap Palestinian territory for Palestinian territory so Israel can keep Palestinian territory.

      • puppies on April 11, 2014, 3:11 am

        @Naftush – “Offered”? I must have missed it, when your Zionist riff-raff evacuated Palestine and left the country back to its owners. Instead, I think I got news of more conquest and more wars of aggression. Must all have been false news, eh? So are you ready to get the f*** out, finally?

    • Inanna on April 8, 2014, 1:48 am

      OMG, the stupidity, it hurts.

      First, lets try some basic math. I think you did a simple growth rate formula to get your results, forgetting that something like population growth compounds continuously over time (ie, at each successive time period, you must include the increase in the previous time period). It’s called exponential growth and the formula should be something like:

      Population (in current time period) = Initial population (in first time period) x constant term to the power of the rate of population growth x the time periods (in this case years). So using your numbers an initial population of 720,000 growing at 4% for 65 years gives something like 9.7 million people. At 3.5% it gives 7 million, which is most likely closer to the mark. This is pretty simple high school math and is what demographers use to project population growth.

      Second, there’s really no justification for ethnic cleansing. Zionists stole the land and property of a whole bunch of people. By denying Palestinians their rights, you are saying that one groups has superior rights and thus engaging in ethnic supremacist discourse. Your view of how happy Khaled is in her personal life really has no bearing on this issue. All it shows is that you are refusing to listen to her in this interview which is all about her desire to go home. It’s not the first time a Palestinian has not been listened to and being told what is good for her, as you are doing. And you’re refusing to recognize that Israel also acquired Palestine ‘with a gun’.

      I’d given up reading comments in a lot of sites I go to but decided to dip my toe into this thread and I’ve been given ample proof that my previous ignorance of what goes on in the comments section is really bliss.

      Edited to add: I can’t believe that bad math is being used to extinguish the rightful claim of Palestinians to refugee status. When will the immorality end?

      • Interested Bystander on April 8, 2014, 2:25 pm

        Innana is right about the bad math. The question remains what is the actual number of refugees with a direct link to inside ’48 Israel lines? Sumud’s 5 million number is the number registered with UNRWA. It looks like that includes refugees displaced in ’67, i.e. not from inside ’48 borders. I see Congress has tasked the State Department to try and come up with a number. I suspect it’s not the easiest task.

        Palestinians who lived in the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon pre-’48 would not seem to have a claim to “return” to inside ’48 lines. If you think they do, it’s still necessary to make that distinction, because the rationale would have to be other than “they lived there.”

        Innana is also right that there is no justification for ethnic cleansing. That was true in ’48 and that is true today. The settlement project has an element of ethnic cleansing about it, and it’s what makes it repugnant. On the other hand, when Kaled talks of violence against civilians, it has an element of ethnic cleansing about it that is equally not justified. It’s about the means and the effect, not about the goal.

        It’s also about the need. That’s why I think there is a distinction between someone who was displaced in ’48 and is living stateless in a refugee camp withoug opportunity for a better life, and someone who was displaced in ’48 but has found citizenship and a good life in a new place. The former has a much stronger need. It matters.

      • Sumud on April 8, 2014, 8:09 pm

        Interested Bystander –

        On the other hand, when Kaled talks of violence against civilians, it has an element of ethnic cleansing about it that is equally not justified.

        Please quote where Khaled “talks of violence against civilians”.

      • annie on April 8, 2014, 9:08 pm

        It looks like that includes refugees displaced in ’67, i.e. not from inside ’48 borders.

        gee ya think? what else would you call them? many many of those expelled in 67 were expelled for the second time. why wouldn’t a palestinian kicked out of their home in 67 be a palestinian refugee?

      • Interested Bystander on April 8, 2014, 10:19 pm

        Annie: I would not call Leila Khaled a refugee in 2014. I would not call her sons who were borne as Jordanian citizens ~30 years after Leila’s family left Haifa “refugees.” I have a collegue with a successful career here in California, whose family fled in the Nakhba. I would not call him a refugee. He would not call himself a refugee. His kids go to school here. They are citizens. I would not call his sons refugees. He does not either. The question I raised is how many true refugees are there today? I’m sure the number is not small, but I’m interested what the actual number is. Feel free to actually think about it and share any knowledge you have.

      • Inanna on April 8, 2014, 9:10 pm

        You know bystander I really have to wonder about your thought processes. You acknowledge both the points I made but then introduce other points that are completely irrelevant or contradict yourself. I mentioned nothing about Palestinians living outside the mandate having a right to return. However, if we are going to mention them, then those who were outside the country on government service, work, tourism, study etc who would normally make their home in Palestine but were not there or were prevented from returning due to the hostilities should have the right to return.

        As for your point about Khaled, it’s craptastic. You are once again blaming the Palestinian victims and by using Jewish victimhood. There are many proposals out there for how to facilitate the right of return and the return of properties stolen from the Palestinian people. For example, many of those stolen properties are now controlled by the JNF, which leases them out to Jews only. A legal process can be set up to establish their rightful Palestinian owners and the leases transferred/ended. There can also be a system set up to compensate the Palestinians for the use of their property without payment, less the improvements made on the property and so forth.

        Of course we should prioritise the needs of the refugees. The ones living in the camps should be first to return. But even those who have found citizenship elsewhere should also have the right to return since this is a right held equally by all Palestinians. But for some reason my spidey senses tell me you are concern trolling.

      • Interested Bystander on April 8, 2014, 10:58 pm

        Inanna: Right. If someone who is citizen of Jordan, married to a doctor, living a good life, is promoting “armed resistance”, meaning vaguely suicide bombings, hijackings, and assassinations, which is the PFLP past, … and God knows what for the future, I blame that person for being counter-productive to peace. These are the type of people we need to oppose. Not because they are a victim, but because they are murderers. As to the real victims in 2014, the true refugees living in squalor in camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan and Gaza they can be helped in more productive ways than by renewing armed conflict. The goal is to help them to have good and productive lives, like Khaled has now. This goal is not advanced by the PLFP. Support of the PLFP is to pick up a gun and kill some settlers. Support of the PLFP is to take a trip to Tel Aviv and blow yourself up in the airport. That is not the way to peace.

      • Inanna on April 10, 2014, 3:22 am

        @bystander

        Your basic mistake is that you are ignoring who the oppressor is in this case and then blaming the oppressed for fighting back against the oppressor. Your problem is that Israeli violence and oppression is the context for the life of Khaled and many other Palestinians. Please stop concern trolling re: Palestinian refugees if you aren’t going to listen to what they want and support their rights or even acknowledge who put them in the situation they are in.

      • talknic on April 9, 2014, 12:07 am

        @Interested Bystander “The question remains what is the actual number of refugees with a direct link to inside ’48 Israel lines?

        ’48 Israel lines at the time UNGA res 194 was adopted = as the Israeli Govt asked to be and was recognized, ” within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ http://wp.me/pDB7k-KL I.e., before Israel made any claims (31st Aug 1949 as a UN Member http://wp.me/pDB7k-KL#firstclaims ) to territories acquired by war (and was rebuffed (ibid))

        “Sumud’s 5 million number is the number registered with UNRWA.”

        Simple chronology tells us that when UNGA res 194 was adopted (1948) under which Palestine refugees claim RoR to Israel ’48, UNRWA (1949) simply didn’t exist.
        The UNRWA definition didn’t exist.
        The UNRWA figure cannot be related to or relevant to RoR under UNGA res 194.

        Furthermore the UNRWA site tells us it has nothing to do with final status

        (Q) “Is UNRWA involved in the Middle East peace negotiations and in the discussions on a solution to the refugee issue?”
        (A)No. UNRWA is a humanitarian agency and its mandate defines its role as one of providing services to the refugees. However, UNRWA highlights the international community’s obligation to provide a just and durable solution for Palestine refugees.”
        http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=87#final_status

        ” It looks like that includes refugees displaced in ’67, i.e. not from inside ’48 borders. “

        Correct. Palestinian refugees are from Palestinian territories.
        Palestine refugees are from what was Palestine, some of which became Israel where some of them had a right to citizenship in that state.
        Palestine refugees BTW included Jewish folk who were cared for in Israel by UNRWA until the Israeli Govt took over responsibility in 1952

        “Palestinians who lived in the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon pre-’48 would not seem to have a claim to “return” to inside ’48 lines”

        If they were dispossessed from territory assigned to a Jewish state, accepted as and recognized as Israel, they had a right to Israeli citizenship. In effect Israel denies the right of its own to return

        “If you think they do, it’s still necessary to make that distinction, because the rationale would have to be other than “they lived there.””

        Here’s the applicable definition http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/418E7BC6931616B485256CAF00647CC7

        “The settlement project has an element of ethnic cleansing about it, and it’s what makes it repugnant”

        Repugnant and illegal (IOW evil). Israeli citizens illegally in non-Israeli territory, illegally being sold non-Israeli land by the Israeli Govt, illegally displacing non-Jewish Palestinians from their rightful territory STINKS of ethnic cleansing!

        “when Kaled talks of violence against civilians, it has an element of ethnic cleansing about it that is equally not justified”

        Israeli civilians (many of whom are armed) illegally in territory not belonging to the state of Israel, are illegal alien belligerents in Palestine, so are their security guards and so is their army. The IDF and the Israeli Government use them as human shields on a huge scale, they call it ‘defense’.

        The Palestinians have a RIGHT to attempt to expel them by force of arms. It has nothing what so ever to do with ethnic cleansing.

        ” I think there is a distinction between someone who was displaced in ’48 and is living stateless in a refugee camp withoug opportunity for a better life, and someone who was displaced in ’48 but has found citizenship and a good life in a new place.”

        Having taken citizenship in a country other than that of return, one is no longer a refugee. No refugee status. No refugee rights. http://www.unhcr.org/4d944e589.pdf

        For example – having taken citizenship in states other those of return, there are no longer any Arab Jewish refugees, which, despite the Hasbara, is why no claims have been lodged.

    • Sumud on April 8, 2014, 1:56 am

      That number of six million Palestinians being discussed here is muddying the water. If we assume a 4% growth rate for the 720,000 displaced by the Nakhba, that means that population might have grown to ~1.8 million over the succeeding sixty-five years.

      I would suggest just making up numbers based on assumptions is also “muddying the waters”.

      There are 5 million Palestinian refugees as of 2012: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_refugee

      Leila Khaled was four when her parents left Haifa in the Nakhba. She has been granted citizenship in Jordan. She has found a new and happy life. She is married to a physician, has been a teacher and lecturer around the world. She has two sons. She thinks it is right for her children to pick up a gun to undo Israel. It’s not clear she has a moral claim to this; she certainly has no claim of necessity.

      How condescending. What other war crimes do you advocate states should get away with?

      She says for her Palestine is Paradise. She doesn’t mean two states. She means to acquire this Paradise with a gun.

      Sounds sinister if you haven’t read what Khaled actually says, ie. advocates for resistance of all sorts, and also:

      We have always offered the more human solution. A place where everybody lives on an equal basis. Jewish, Muslims, I do not care about the religion of the person. I believe in the human being itself. Human beings can sit together and can decide together the future of this land. But I cannot accept that I do not have the right, now, to go back to my city. Like six million Palestinians. We are not allowed to go there. We are offering a human and democratic solution. Nobody can tell me that we cannot decide the fate of our country because we are refugees. What happened to us is a first in history, as far as I know. People being chased away from their homes and another people, coming from very far away, taking their places. The Israelis were citizens of other countries. Israel, thanks to various organizations, before 1948, built an army, Okay, but there was no society. They brought people from outside. Even now, there are huge contradictions in this country and this society. People come from different cultures, some do not even speak Hebrew. We do not want more blood, but are obliged to resist. We have the right to live in our homeland.

      “this Paradise” is not something Khaled plans to “acquire”, it is already hers. She is merely asserting her legal right to return.

      It’s about time Israelis got their head around the fact that Palestinians from Palestine are indigenous, not foreign interlopers coming from far away to steal their land and ethnically cleanse them.

    • annie on April 8, 2014, 9:17 pm

      She thinks it is right for her children to pick up a gun to undo Israel. It’s not clear she has a moral claim to this; she certainly has no claim of necessity.

      She says for her Palestine is Paradise. She doesn’t mean two states. She means to acquire this Paradise with a gun.

      She (being “rachel” the “settler” from brooklyn ny) thinks it is right for her children to pick up a gun to undo Palestine. It’s not clear she has a moral claim to this; she certainly has no claim of necessity.

      She says for her Israel is Paradise. She doesn’t mean two states. She means to acquire this Paradise with a gun.

      • seafoid on April 10, 2014, 7:01 am

        Palestine is paradise for anyone who has been barred for visiting for a very long time.
        There is nothing like the smell of the trees in Palestine. Or the tones of the local accent.

  4. Walid on April 8, 2014, 6:23 am

    That number of six million Palestinians being discussed here is muddying the water.

    Sumud, for some the term “6 million” is too close to a taboo subject and it hit a raw nerve, especially when uttered by a Palestinian to describe something about Palestinians. All the other arguments about the proper way to establish population growth are minor details. Leila could have said 5 million or 7 million and the bystander would have continued bystanding quietly without objection.

    • talknic on April 8, 2014, 11:59 am

      The number of six million Palestinians being discussed here is simply bullsh*t.

      They do not all have RoR to Israel. At the time UNGA res 194 was written, on which the Palestinians make their legal claim, the State of Israel was as it asked to be recognized “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29” it had not legally acquired any further territories. In fact Israel has NEVER legally acquired any further territories.

      UN estimate approximately 711,000 refugees fled territories “controlled” by Israel. I.e., it included non-Israeli territory which was according to the State of Israel, “outside the State of Israel”..”in Palestine” http://pages.citebite.com/x1r0b4d1y6mkv

      From the Ad Hoc Committee report – The non-Jewish population of the Jewish state was 499,020 Jews and 509,780 Arabs (including the Bedouin)

      Roughly 156,000 remained in Israel according to wikI/Pedia

      From those figures 509,780 less 156,000 only 353,780 fled Israel’s actual “proclaimed” and recognized territory.

      Unlike the Jewish population, neither the Bedouin or the remaining and/or returning Arab population in Israel would have increased thru the influx and procreation of new immigrants, Arab Jewish refugees from other states and/or Holocaust survivors. Had return been allowed the total non-Jewish population was swiftly surpassed by Jewish folk.

      BTW “We appeal – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. ”

      Do you really think the Zionist Movement and the Jewish People’s Council didn’t know there were Jewish forces already expelling them, razing their homes, destroying their farms, villages?

  5. seafoid on April 8, 2014, 10:54 am

    You have to admire the PFLP for calling out Oslo in 91 for what it was.

  6. Mayhem on April 8, 2014, 6:41 pm

    You are a Palestinian refugee, one of six million

    This is obscene, disgusting propaganda.
    There might be 6 million in the whole Palestinian diaspora but certainly not six million who could be classified as refugees.
    Furthermore it is abhorrent to tout a number like ‘six million’ which has obvious Holocaust connotations.
    As far as Khaled is concerned she seeks nothing less than an annihilatory military victory over Israel.
    The interviewer is a complete wimp, letting Khaled spew out her political invective unchallenged.

    • annie on April 8, 2014, 7:13 pm

      http://www.auphr.org/index.php/resources/factsheets/refugees/15-how-many-palestinian-refugees-are-there-today

      Palestinians are the largest and longest suffering group of refugees in the world. One in three refugees world wide is Palestinian. There are about 6.5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. More than 3.8 million Palestinian refugees and their descendents displaced in 1948 are registered for humanitarian assistance with the United Nations. Another 1.5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendents, also displaced in 1948, are not registered with the UN. About 263,000 Palestinians and their descendents are internally displaced i.e. inside present-day “Israel”.
      Descendents of refugees are included in the total population because they are still unable to realize their basic rights. About 20,000 Palestinians were internally displaced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by 2001, some 3,000 of whom were newly displaced during that year. At least 26,000 Palestinians left the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Jordan and did not return between June 2000 and July 2001. Such transfer of the Palestinian population driven by hard econmic and discriminatory conditions continues today.

      Sources

      Adapted from The Palestinian Dispossession – Frequently Asked Questions
      May 15, 2003 By MIFTAH

      Badil Resource Center for Refugee Rights
      Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding
      Shaml – Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center
      United Nations Relief and Works Agency
      U.S. Committee for Refugees

    • just on April 8, 2014, 7:20 pm

      It ain’t ‘propaganda’, Mayhem

      Apparently you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘refugee’, nor its implications.

      Then again, why would you?

    • Woody Tanaka on April 8, 2014, 7:20 pm

      What is obscene and abhorant is for you – one of the oppressors – to deem yourself worthy to question those you victimized. What is disgusting is for you to believe that you can seize ownership of a number. What is immoral and rank bigotry is for you to spew your blood libel against Khaled, about her goals.

    • American on April 8, 2014, 10:14 pm

      Mayhem says….

      ‘Furthermore it is abhorrent to tout a number like ‘six million’ which has obvious Holocaust connotations’ >>>>>

      Sorry you don’t own numbers or words.
      I was thinking of doing a coffee table book like the one the Jewish fellow did
      with nothing in it except the word Jew printed 6 million times except I would
      substitute with Palestine refugee typed in 6 million times.

      The more I think it the more I like this idea….a book for Palestine victims. I however would be respectful enough use their names
      .
      Calling annie, calling annie.!!!!!….maybe she can get one of her artist friends interested in doing the book.

    • talknic on April 9, 2014, 12:21 am

      @ Mayhem “Furthermore it is abhorrent to tout a number like ‘six million’ which has obvious Holocaust connotations”

      Nothing is too ridiculous for Israel’s apologists

    • seafoid on April 10, 2014, 7:03 am

      “Six million” is copyright , is it?

      • Walid on April 10, 2014, 10:04 am

        That’s what I implied when I said the number is taboo for some.

  7. Walid on April 9, 2014, 4:59 am

    The question here is not whether or not the Palestinians have the right to resist, they most certainly do, but whether or not they have the right to do it by using terror against civilians and by hijacking civilian planes and they certainly do not. Leila is saying to use any means including violent ones to justify the end and I don’t agree, unless the violence is directly strictly at the military. Attacking people on a bus or in a restaurant did not help the Palestinian cause. Leila’s hijacking of the plane 45 years ago and subsequent ones by others have yet to stop Israel from its systematic theft of Palestine.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on April 10, 2014, 12:42 pm

      ”unless the violence is directly strictly at the military”

      Define ‘military’. Most Jewish citizens of Israel – male and female – serve in the occupation forces. Jewish men are military reserves until their 40s. Military installations are located close to, or inside, Israeli towns and cities. Half a million squatters – criminals according to international law – live on stolen land in ghettos guarded by the occupation forces, and many of these squatters are themselves heavily armed.

      So while I agree that targetting civilians is wrong, my question is to how exactly one can ‘directly target’ the military in one of the most militarised states on earth, where the distinction between solider and civilian is a murky one. Particularly when the Israelis never trouble themselves with such trivial distinctions when it comes to attacking Arabs.

  8. Sycamores on April 10, 2014, 12:04 pm

    i can see Mondoweiss getting flack for this objective journalism.

    another example

    Settler leader’s vision for peace: millions of American Jews must move to Israel and Palestine http://mondoweiss.net/2014/02/millions-american-palestine.html

    kudos to the team on Mondoweiss

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