There is no God but Liberty; our conscience its messenger
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Political realism from Morocco! After years of using the "right of return" as a codeword for the "destruction of Israel as a democratic Jewish state," some Arab intellectuals and politicians are finally speaking up. Mind you : there is no such thing as a "right of return" and this whole false concept is based upon a specious reading of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 which is (a) legally non-binding and according to the UN Charter an "expression of sentiment"; (b) all the Arab states voted against UN 194 because it also recommended that Arab states take in Palestinian refugees; and (c) the words 'right of return' never appear at all in UN 194. In any case, most Arab leaders know this and have just used the 'right of return' to distract their populations from the misery and oppression that besets them. This from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today:

Morocco’s foreign minister said it is impossible for Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.

Speaking in Rabat on Monday to a visiting delegation of U.S. Jews from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Taib Fassi Fihri said Arab countries have to be realistic in their demands for a right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

posted at 1:00 PM by Jonathan

February 17, 2004
Arabs in U.S. Raising Money to Back Bush
New York Times

Wealthy Arab-Americans and foreign-born Muslims who strongly back
President Bush's decision to invade Iraq are adding their names to the ranks
of Pioneers and Rangers, the elite Bush supporters who have raised
$100,000 or more for his re-election.

Among the donors are:

The fund-raisers are people like Mori Hosseini, the Iranian-born chief
executive of ICI Homes
, a home builder in Daytona Beach, Fla. Mr.
Hosseini is a Ranger, gaining the top designation after raising $200,000
from his family and acquaintances.

Yousif Ghafari, a Lebanese Christian who came to the United States
in 1972 and now heads his own engineering firm.

For years Mr. Ghafari donated to the Republican Party, but this year he
stepped up the pace, raising $350,000 to become a Ranger. He said that
"the 9/11 situation was a bad situation for us" but that he supported
Mr. Bush for "taking the initiative" to oust Saddam Hussein and believed
that Mr. Bush had the capacity to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli

"The Western-educated and business-motivated know that the whole Middle
Eastern region has to change
," said Mr. Ghafari, who collected
donations from non-Arabs as well.

posted at 2:09 AM by Jonathan

From Agence Presse-France from February 17, an interesting story about a conflict that doesn't get much mention in the Western media. What is interesting about Abkhazia is that although the Abkhaz are technically Muslim, they fought with the Russians against the Georgians. And, unlike in Chechnya, Abkhazia did not see an influx of "Afghan Arabs" to make what is essentially (for both Abkhaz and Chechens) a nationalist struggle into a jihad - Although conditions in Abkhazia are not great by any means, the Abhkaz are lucky not to have been infiltrated by Wahabbis

Separatist Abkhazia refuses talks with Georgia

Georgia's separatist region of Abkhazia said it would not take part in talks with Georgia later this week aimed at reaching a peaceful settlement on the region's future status, it was reported.

"Abkhazia does not deem it useful to acquire a new (conflict) resolution mechanism," the ITAR-TASS news agency quoted the region's self-declared foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, as saying.


"Abkhazia does not intend to study the proposals from the ambassadors of countries (of the group) which aim to set out constitutional prerogatives between Tbilisi and Sukhumi," Shamba said.

Abkhazia, a mountainous territory nestled in northwestern Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea and bordering Russia, declared independence in 1992 and fought for it for a year, during which 250,000 Georgians fled the region.

The new president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, has vowed to win back full control of Abkhazia but the region, through peaceful means. But the territory's self-declared prime minister, Raul Hadzhimba, has said Abkhazia is determined to stay independent irrespective of the change of power in Tbilisi

posted at 1:12 AM by Jonathan

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