kassam, qassam - what's in a name?

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    Kassam, Qassam - What's in a Name?
    by Gerald A. Honigman
    Nov 18, '04

    Ever since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced plans for a unilateral disengagement from Gaza last April, adjacent towns in Israel proper have come under increasing attack. Kassam rockets have been frequently fired into communities such as Sderot, deliberately aimed at terrorizing civilians. Whereas Israel tries its best to carefully target those responsible for the murder of its people, the Arab targets of choice are the most innocent. Not only is greater shock value derived from this, the reality is that, in Arab eyes, there are no Jewish innocents. Two Jewish preschoolers were recently killed in such a volley, helping to set into motion Israel's latest assault on Gaza's terror apparatus.

    Now, when choosing this Arab weapon of terror, Hamas (which, like most other Arabs, denies Israel's right to exist with or without the disputed territories) gave careful thought to the name that it should go by. Since the "military wing" of the organization (the folks that actually blow up the buses, teen night clubs, pizzerias and such) was named after Izz Ad-Din Al-Kassam, it made sense to name the weapon after him as well.

    Surely such a man must have had some great credentials in the "Palestinian" Arab movement, don't you think?

    Of course.

    Izz Ad-Din made his name by butchering and disemboweling "Zionist invaders" during the early Mandatory period after World War I. What else do we know about this legendary leader of the "Palestinians?" Well, for starters, hold on to your seats.

    Hamas' hero -- like most other "native Palestinians" -- was born elsewhere. In his case, Latakia, Syria.

    In just one three-month period alone, the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission documented scores of thousands of other Syrian Arabs pouring into the British Mandate of Palestine. Like numerous other Arabs moving in from elsewhere, they came to take advantage of the economic boom going on because of the influx of Jewish capital. And for every Arab newcomer -- i.e., settler -- who was documented, many more slipped in under cover of darkness and were never recorded. Add to this the fact that, for a number of reasons, the Brits were more concerned about entering Jews than entering Arabs. Despite this, lots of evidence exists showing that, like the murderous Kassam, most "Palestinian" Arabs were no more native than most of the returning, forcibly exiled, Diaspora Jews.

    Now think about this for a moment.

    So many Arabs were recent arrivals into the Mandate that when UNRWA was created to deal with the Arab refugee situation, created as a result of the invasion by a half-dozen Arab states of a reborn Israel in 1948, it adjusted the definition of "refugee" from the prior meaning -- persons normally and traditionally resident -- to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948. Also keep in mind that for every Arab who was forced to flee the fighting that the Arabs started in their attempt to nip a nascent Israel in the bud, a Jewish refugee was forced to flee Arab lands -- but with no UNRWA set up to help them.

    Indeed, scores of thousands of Jews fled the same Syria that Kassam immigrated to Palestine from. Greater New York City alone now has some tens of thousands of these folks. Many others moved to Israel and elsewhere.

    But, while Arabs see it as their natural right to settle anywhere in the Dar Al-Islam and what they claim as purely Arab patrimony (despite the fact that scores of millions of non-Arabs also live in the area and have been conquered and forcibly Arabized by them), when Jews moved into their sole, reborn state (as opposed to some two dozen for Arabs), Arabs declared this to be Nakba, the Catastrophe. Hundreds of millions of Hindus and Muslims could arrive at a less-than-perfect modus vivendi in the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent, at virtually the same moment Arabs were rejecting a similar offer over what was left of the Palestine Mandate after Arabs had already been awarded the lion's share in 1922 with the separation of Transjordan. The mere thought of anyone else gaining a mere sliver of the very same political rights that Arabs demand for themselves (be they Kurds, Berbers, Black Africans, Jews or whomever) was out of the question. The conflict we have in the Middle East today is largely all about this mindset.

    The next time you hear about those Kassam rockets, consider the irony here. And, oh yes, I almost forgot...

    Despite the French attempt to falsify his death certificate regarding his place of birth, Yasser Arafat himself was born in Cairo, as existing documentation and records clearly show. And tens of thousands of other Egyptian Arabs had preceded his own migration and settlement in Palestine just a bit earlier in the wake of Muhammad Ali and son Ibrahim Pasha's military excursions in the latter 19th century.
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