By Jerusalem Newswire Editorial Staff
JNW HEADLINE NEWS
May 15th, 2005
JERUSALEM – Those Arabs living in Israel and areas under the Jewish state’s overall control enjoy far greater freedoms than any of their brethren throughout the Middle East, a prominent Iraqi political figure said last week.
“I am sure that the Palestinian [Arabs] in Israel have more rights than in any other Arab country; and even the Iraqi citizens during the time of Saddam [Hussein],” Mithal al-Alusi, leader of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post .
Alusi based his assessment on first hand knowledge, after making a controversial visit to Israel last September to attend an international counter-terrorism conference.
“I was interested to know how they [Israel] deal with problems and with terror. Why should we have war between Iraq and Israel? How can I forget that there is a modern state in the area which has had success in the democratic process and the economy?” he explained.
At the time, Alusi was head of Iraq’s De-Ba’athification Commission, but his trip to Israel gained him numerous enemies in a nation still officially at war with the Jewish state and cost him his high-ranking position.
He has since survived an assassination attempt and been reduced to a political outsider. His two sons were less fortunate, having been gunned down by terrorists in February.
“Before I went, I knew I would have a huge trouble in Baghdad, I was very sure I would lose my political position. And I was very sure that I was a target for the terrorists but these taboos [against relations with Israel] should be broken, must be broken,” Alusi insisted.
Alusi is not alone in his observation of the favorable treatment of Arabs under Israel. Even Palestinian Arabs, despite all their anti-Israel rhetoric, often admit to preferring Jewish rule to their own Palestinian Authority, noted famed columnist Daniel Pipes in an editorial published by The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
Pipes listed several examples from the past decade.
Regarding the rule of law, Pipes quoted Haydar Abd ash-Shafi, a noted Arab leader in Gaza, as once observing the relief felt among the populace when the IDF would impose general curfews in order to quiet local infighting.
Musa Abu Marzouk of Hamas once pointed out that in Israel, the “opposition criticized [prime minister Ehud] Barak and they were not arrested – but in our case the PA arrests people as the first order of business.”
Pipes goes on to quote a Christian Palestinian with no great love for Israel, who was nevertheless forced to admit that “Israeli laws protect us” as a minority.
Were a Palestinian Arab state to come into existence, “we [would] undergo the same [persecution at the hands of Muslims] as our Lebanese brothers or the Copts in Egypt,” that same Christian lamented.
Iyad as-Sarraj, a prominent psychiatrist and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, confessed that “during the Israeli occupation, I was 100 times freer [than under the PA].”