Peace will be the fruit of justice (Isaiah 32:17)
A Symbol of Peace and Justice
Foreword (Louis-Albert Zbinden)
The Palestinian village of Amwas and biblical Emmaus (Christoph UehIinger)
Point of view of a native Palestinian Christian (Sami Aldeeb)
The destruction of Palestinian villages (Christoph UehIinger)
Association for the Reconstruction of Emmaus
Rue du Centre 74
Sami Aldeeb, LL.D.
Michel Bavaud, Professor
Therese Bavaud, Teacher
Thomas Jaggi, LL.D.
Charles Ridore, Ph.D.
Christoph Uehlinger, Theologian
Louis-Albert Zbinden, Journalist and writer.
Thank you for your support and adhesion
Address of the Association
Association for the Reconstruction of Emmaus
Dr. Sami Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh, President
1025 St-Sulpice, Switzerland
Post Check Account: 17-4482-8 (Fribourg / Switzerland)
Please read this brochure and invite others to read.
Reprint and copy allowed.
Also available in French and German.
Just a little off the beaten track of the road going from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv, the
shade of a park provides a resting-place for tourists. There is no longer an inscription to mark that in this same place, in the past, other
travelers stopped off: these were the pilgrims of Emmaus.
It happened about 2000 years ago.
Nothing remains of the village which was Jewish before becoming Palestinian, where Christians came to conserve the memory of Christ after the resurrection: The fratricidal war of the Children of Abraham has provoked the destruction of Emmaus.
Let us go back to 1967, when its inhabitants were scattered. They too, far from their ruined walls and their dead, cry for their lost homeland, and live in the hope of returning there.
Next year at Emmaus.
In Switzerland, a group of men and women, differing from each other not only in age and profession, but also in religion and origin, have resolved to listen to this hope, and develop it, by making the reconstruction of Emmaus a solid act of reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians.
They invite you to join them. Hate must not be let reign or perpetuate, whether it be under the guise of a peaceful garden. Stones lie buried beneath the lawns: Still living, they are crying out to be set-upright.
From their communal origin, the three Religions of the Book name the artisans of peace as sons of the same God.
Where it all began
Peace will be the fruit of justice (Isaiah 32:17). Our Association was born out of a meditation on the words of the prophet Isaiah, who lived in Palestine 2700 years ago.
What can be done to end the state of war opposing Arabs and Jews, two brother peoples, both the children of Abraham? We think the answer can be found in the words of Isaiah. If Arabs and Jews want to establish peace, they must progressively seek to end the injustices that stand behind the war which opposes them.
Not the least among these injustices is the expulsion of Palestinians. become refugees, and the destruction of hundreds of their villages by Israel.*
Peace must be the concern of many, but our Association is trying to contribute by adopting one destroyed village, Emmaus. We hope it can become a symbol of the road to a peace based on justice for all the sons of Abraham, Jews and Arabs alike, showing the oppressed that there can be an alternative to the use of violence.
According to St Luke, after the resurrection, Christ appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. Invited to spend the night in their village, he was recognized at the moment of breaking and blessing of the bread.
The hospitality of the village became a favorite subject for painters and Abbe Pierre used its name for his Community of Emmaus, founded after World War II to provide work and shelter to the homeless. We think that helping the inhabitants of Emmaus to 90 back to their land and rebuild their village is a way of returning the hospitality the village showed Jesus Christ.
True, several Palestinian villages claim the honor of having accorded hospitality to the resurrected Christ, but the village on the road from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem near the Latrun Monastery is the only one still called Emmaus today.
The Destruction of Emmaus and the Committee of inhabitants
The village was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967, destroyed by bulldozers and the inhabitants expelled. Amos Kenan, an Israeli soldier who was in the sector, wrote a report and a recent programme made by the Swiss Italian Television showed photographs taken at the time by another soldier, Youssef Ohman of Kibboutz Ga'ash. According to witnesses, some of the sick and elderly who couldn't flee in time were buried alive under the rubble of their houses. Similar actions by bulldozer also destroyed two neighboring villages, Beit-Nuba and Yalu.
The Jewish National Fund, with the help of the Jewish Canadian Fund, planted a forest called Canada Park on the site of Emmaus. Canada Park has become a favorite weekend picnic area for Israeli families -but the former inhabitants of Emmaus are not even allowed to bury their dead in the village cemetery. They, and their descendants, now number about 11'000 in Amman (Jordan) and 2,000 more live on the West Bank, near Ramallah, according to a letter from the inhabitants' Committee (2 May 1987).
Nearly 20 years after the destruction, they have not forgotten their village. Several times they have asked the Israeli authorities for permission to return to their lands. But there have been no official replies at all to their letters. Despite this attitude, the inhabitants are determined to continue demanding their rights and have formed a committee to represent them.
Their goal is not to destroy the trees of Canada Park, but only to rebuild their houses on an unplanted 4000 donum plot (1 donum = 900 sq meters) that belongs to the Muslim Waqf (or foundation for religious properties), to be allowed to bury their dead in the cemetery and to return to the cultivated lands which were their livelihood.
Purpose of the Association
Help for the inhabitants of Emmaus
Our Association was founded in August 1986 at the request of the inhabitants of Emmaus to help them in the quest to return to their lands. Although this matter can only be resolved between the inhabitants themselves and the Israeli authorities, our goal is to give an international dimension to their pleas. The Association's local coordinator is Father Tournay, former director of the Ecole biblique et Archeologique of Jerusalem, who is in steady contact with the inhabitants of Emmaus.
Our Association believes that peace in the Middle East can only be the fruit of justice. It is fundamentally pacifist and non-violent, denouncing all injustice that contributes to the violence in the Middle East today. We consider the destruction of villages and the expulsion of their inhabitants a flagrant and inadmissible injustice. The Palestinian refugees should have the right to return to their homes and all the parties to the dispute must look for a just solution.
The Association seeks to develop a dialogue with all the forces working for peace and justice, in Israel, on the West Bank and everywhere else. To prove our good will and to emphasize our basic goals, we have, from the beginning, invited the Associations Switzerland-Israel and Switzerland-Palestine to join our efforts in favor of peace and the just demands of the inhabitants of Emmaus. Our Association has among its members Christians, Moslems and Jews.
Certain groups in Switzerland have criticized our actions, affirming that the inhabitants of Emmaus have been given indemnities and no longer want to return to their lands. We specifically asked the inhabitants' Committee to answer questions on these points. The president replied to our letters on 30 March and 18 June 1987, saying that the inhabitants have not received indemnities and that they still want to return. Father Tournay, our local coordinator, wrote us a confirming letter on 22nd April 1987. We include a letter to the Israeli authorities from the inhabitants.
A 20-minute film, Ritorno a Emmaus shown by the Swiss Italian Television on 29th May 1987 also answered the above questions. The film showed the inhabitants of Emmaus who stated, in front of the camera, their desire to return to their lands and confirmed again that they have not been given indemnities.**
In the film, the President of the inhabitants' Committee says:
"When I come here, I feel sad, frustrated. Under these plants, there was the village
where I was born. I remember the houses, the neighbors, our friends. Coming here for a visit is very painful for us; I think about what was done to us, to our village.
"Among the Israelis there are those who speak a great deal about peace; they should give us a concrete example of their desire to do something for peace. Here it would be possible, by letting us come back to Emmaus, to let us rebuild our houses, with our own hands and our own funds. That is what we ask from Israel.
"We are within the law and our request is legitimate. The reconstruction of Emmaus would not pose any problems or present any threat to the security of Israel. The people of Emmaus never took part in the fighting. The Israeli s have really behaved very badly towards people who lived in peace with their neighbors.
"Now we say to Israel: here is a good opportunity to show that you want peace. I think that if Shamir or Peres or other leaders say yes to the reconstruction of Emmaus, it would help the image of Israel in the world. It would prove that they really do want a dialogue with the Arabs. The reconstruction of Emmaus would be a symbol of peace and of good will".
In the film, one also sees two Israelis from the nearby Kibbutz Nahshon who explain that they have refused to cultivate the lands of Emmaus, or even to go into the Canada Park. This Kibbutz is backing the inhabitants of Emmaus. Its secretary wrote an article in the Hebrew daily paper Yedioth Aharonoth in favor of the inhabitants' request and the article was reprinted in the Arabic daily Al-Qods (Letter from Father Tournay, 13 October 1987).
* We have a list of those villages, carefully checked against official Israeli maps,
available on request (price: 5.- Sfr.).
** If you would like to borrow a videocassette of the film, write to us. The cassette is in its original Italian version, but we have prepared French and Arabic translations of the text.
By Christoph Uehlinger
"That same day (i.e., the day of the Resurrection) two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which lay about sixty stadia from Jerusalem ...they reached the village to which they were going ...and he went in to stay with them" (Luke 24:13,28-29).
This passage taken from the gospel of Luke which describes the encounter of two disciples with the Risen Christ on their way to Emmaus gives a precise indication of the distance between this village and Jerusalem: 60 stadia, i.e. about ten miles.
one would thus be inclined to believe that the identification of Emmaus should be an easy task. Unfortunately this cannot be said: there are no less than four different Palestinian localities that could compete for the honor to have hosted Christ and his two disciples...What is this problem about?
First of all, there are three pious traditions of various date and weight: the village of Amwas (situated near Latrun, some 20 miles west/north-west of Jerusalem on the road to Tel-Aviv/Jaffa) where a memorial celebrating the disciples' encounter is attested to since the 4th Cent. A.D., i.e. the Byzantine period, a village which has retained the ancient Greek name of Emmaus in an arabicized form; the village of Abu Gosh (situated some 10 miles from Jerusalem on the same road) which has been identified with the biblical Emmaus since the 12th Cent. A.D., i.e. the Crusader period; and the village of Qubeibe (some 8 miles north-west of Jerusalem, with a Franciscan sanctuary) which is honored as the site of biblical Emmaus since the 15th/16 Cent. A.D.
The last two identifications cannot hold firm against an historical enquiry. True, their distance from Jerusalem would easily match the biblical text. However, neither of them presents a tradition that would go further back than to the Crusader period. Both identifications may be taken as western inventions: In the 12th Cent. A.D. the Crusaders, looking for a site where the biblical event could be commemorated, measured 60 stadia from Jerusalem and identified the nearest village, Abu Gosh and its caravanserai, with biblical Emmaus. Three centuries later the Franciscan friars did the same and chose Qubeibe where the Christian community of Jerusalem owned land and houses. Each period looked for a precisely matched spot, where the numerous pilgrims could rest and commemorate their predecessors' supper with the Risen Christ.
Therefore, the village of Amwas may be considered to detain alone a really ancient Palestinian Emmaus tradition. However, its distance from Jerusalem does not measure 60, but 160-170 stadia. True, some ancient manuscripts of Luke's Gospel actually read "160" instead of "60" (stadia), but they seem to depend upon a pious tradition already established at Amwas. Moreover, if Amwas were to be identified with Luke's Emmaus, it would have been quite difficult for the two disciples to return to Jerusalem on the same night and to meet the still gathered Jerusalem community (Luke 24:33).
For these reasons, numerous scholars would prefer to locate biblical Emmaus at a fourth place, situated much nearer to Jerusalem: the today destroyed Palestinian village of Qaluniya (latin "colonia"), equally nali1ed Emmaus by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (lst Cent. A.D.) but situated only some 30 stadia west of Jerusalem (between the modern Israeli localities of Mevasseret Yerushalayim and Motza). There is, however, no direct testimony nor any pious tradition which would allow a verification of this fourth proposal.
To conclude: It does not seem possible to identify Amwas with Luke's Emmaus. It is in this very village, nevertheless, that the pious tradition of the Palestinian Christian community, commemorating the breaking of bread by the Risen Christ, has found its deepest roots.
By Amos Kenan
Aros Kenan, a reservist Israeli soldier, took part in the fighting in this region. This report has been sent to all Knesseth Members. This English version is from "Israel, a wasted Victory" Amikam Tel-Aviv Publishers Ltd, Tel-Aviv 1970, pp. 18-21.
"Beit Nuba village near Latrun,
The commander of my platoon said that it had been decided to blow up the three villages in the sector -Yalou, Beit Nuba and Amwas. For reasons of strategy, tactics, security. In the first place, to straighten out the Latrun "finger". Secondly, in order to punish these murderers' dens. And thirdly, to deprive infiltrators of a base in future.
One may argue with this idiotic approach, which advocates collective punishment and is based on the belief that if the infiltrator loses one house, he will not find another from which to wait in ambush. One may argue with the effectiveness of increasing the number of our enemies -but why argue?
We were told it was our job to search the village houses; that if we found any armed men there, they were to be taken prisoner. Any unarmed persons should be given time to pack their belongings and then told to get moving -get moving to Beit Sira, a village not far away. We were also told to take up positions around the approaches to the villages, in order to prevent those villagers who had heard the Israeli assurances over the radio that they could return to their homes in peace -from returning to their homes. The order was -shoot over their heads and tell them there is no access to the village.
The homes in Beit Nuba are beautiful stone houses, some of them luxurious mansions. Each house stands in an orchard of olives, apricots and grapevines; there are also cypresses and other trees grown for their beauty and the shade they give. Each tree stands in its carefully watered bed. Between the trees, lie neatly hoed and weeded rows of vegetables.
In the houses we found a wounded Egyptian commando officer and some old men and women. At noon the first bulldozer arrived, and ploughed under the house closest to the village edge.
With one sweep of the bulldozer, the cypresses and the olive-trees were uprooted. Ten more minutes pass and the house, with its meagre furnishings and belongings, has become a mass of rubble. After three houses had been rowed down, the first convoy of refugees arrives, from the direction of Ramallah.
We did not shoot into the air. We did take up positions for coverage, and those of us who spoke Arabic went up to them to give them the orders. There were old men hardly able to walk, old women mumbling to themselves, babies in their mother's arms, small children, small children weeping, begging for water. The convoy waved white flags.
We told them to move on to Beit Sira. They said that wherever they went, they were driven away, that nowhere were they allowed to stay. They said they had been on the way for four days now -without food or water; some had perished on the way. They asked only to be allowed back into their own village; and said we would do better to kill them. Some had brought with them a goat, a sheep, a camel or a donkey. A father crunched grains of wheat in his hand to soften them so that his four children might have something to eat. On the horizon, we spotted the next line approaching. One man was carrying a SO-kilogram sack of flour on his back, and that was how he had walked mile after mile. More old men, more women, more babies. They flopped down exhausted at the spot where they were told to sit. Some had brought along a cow or two, or a calf -all their earthly possessions. We did not allow them to 90 into the village to pick up their belongings, for the order was that they must not be allowed to see their homes being destroyed. The children wept, and some of the soldiers wept too. We went to look for water but found none. We stopped an army vehicle in which sat a Lieutenant-Colonel, two Captains and a woman. We took a jerry-can of water from them and tried to make it 90 round among the refugees. We handed out sweets and cigarettes. More of our soldiers wept. We asked the officers why the refugees were being sent back and forth and driven away from everywhere they went. The officers said it would do them good to walk and asked "why worry about them, they're only Arabs"? We were glad to learn that half-an-hour later, they were all arrested by the military police, who found their car stacked with loot.
More and more lines of refugees kept arriving. By this time there must have been hundreds of them. They couldn't understand why they had been told to return, and now were not being allowed to return. One could not remain unmoved by their entreaties. Someone asked what was the point of destroying the houses -why didn't the Israelis 90 live in them instead? The platoon commander decided to 90 to headquarters to find out whether there was any written order as to what should be done with them, where to send them and to try and arrange transportation for the women and children, and food supplies. He came back and said there was no written order; we were to drive them away.
Like lost sheep they went on wandering along the roads. The exhausted were rescuing. Towards evening we learned that we had been told a falsehood -at Beit Sira too the bulldozers had begun their work of destruction, and the refugees had not been allowed to enter. We also learned that it was not in our sector alone that areas were being "straightened out"; the same was going on in all sectors. Our word had not been a word of honor; the policy was a policy without backing.
The soldiers grumbled. The villagers clenched their teeth as they watched the bulldozer mow down trees. At night we stayed on to guard the bulldozers, but the entire battalion were seething with anger; most of them did not want to do the job. In the morning we were transferred to another spot, No one could understand how Jews could do such a thing. Even those who justified the action said that it should have been possible to provide shelter for the population; that a final decision should have been taken as to their fate, as to where they were to 90. The refugees should have been taken to their new home, together with their property. No one could understand why the fellah should be barred from taking his oil-stove, his blanket and some provisions.
The chickens and the pigeons were buried under the rubble. The fields were turned to desolation before our eyes, and the children who dragged themselves along the road that day, weeping bitterly, will be the fedayeen of 19 years hence.
That is how that day, we lost the victory",
Here are two of the many letters sent to the Israeli authorities and which have
never been answered.
Letter from the inhabitants of Emmaus
H. E. The Prime Minister,
H. E. The Minister for Defense,
H. E. The President of the Knesseth
Concerning: Request to return to our villages
As the inhabitants of Emmaus, Yalou and Beit-Nuba, we have the honor
to appeal to Your Excellencies in the hope that you will examine our legitimate request. We ask
only for our legitimate humanitarian right to return to the villages from which we
were driven and expelled.
Before the 1967 June War, we lived peacefully in our villages on the Jordanian-Israeli border, with no problems with our Jewish neighbors. We were in no way a threat to security or a turbulent people in the region.
For no reason, from the very beginning of the war, we were driven out of our villages, on foot, with our children and old people. On that day, the Israeli Army ordered us to leave our houses and told us we could return after the war. Since then, we have not been able to 90 back to our homes but we live in the hope that one day it will be possible.
We appealed to the West Bank military government administration but have had no reply to date. We are therefore referring our request to Your Excellencies as Supreme Authorities of the State of Israel.
Our houses were completely demolished and there is nothing left of our village. We were forced to leave our land and houses and all was destroyed along with our furniture, our livestock and all our possessions. But we still hope to be able to return.
We are peace-loving and unarmed, not aggressive people. We were driven out through no fault of our own. The State of Israel has nothing to gain from our eviction. The war was waged against a belligerent State, not against unarmed, innocent people. Since the creation of the State of Israel, we lived peacefully with our Jewish neighbors for a long period without a shadow of hostility on the part of the villagers.
We therefore appeal to you as supreme State Authorities to examine our legitimate humanitarian demands and allow us to return to our villages to live in peace and security. We are prepared to rebuild our houses ourselves without applying for compensation from the State and are full of hope we shall be able to live once again as in the past, as peaceful neighbors.
(Letter in Arabic dated March 17, 1986, published in Al-Bayadir As-Siyassi, on July 12, 1986)
Letter from Father Tournay to Mr. Shimon Peres
Ecole Biblique et
91019 Jerusalem, Naplouse Street, 9
P.O. Box 19053. Tel. 282213
Jerusalem, May 5, 1985
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
On the request of our colleague, Mr. Andre Chouraqui, I take the liberty of passing on some important information concerning the village of Amwas (Emmaus), which was destroyed in 1967. I came across many villagers originating from Amwas, at the Trappist Monastery of Latrun. They would very much like to be able to rebuild a few houses on the Amwas site, on a waquf site without any trees, at the foot of the waly [mausoleum] of Sheikh Ma'ath Ben Jabal, facing east, between the present French Prehistorical Centre and the Canadian National Park. They would also like the great cemetery to be made use of again where their parents are buried which has currently been abandoned. These people would accept all conditions proposed to them by the authorities, bearing in mind the security problem posed by the proximity of the Jerusalem Tel-Aviv trunk-road.
I had the chance to discuss this matter with my colleague, the late Professor Yigael Yadin, shortly before his death. As you know the site of Amwas is of historical importance, and has been cited in the book of Maccabeas (3,57; 4,3), the gospel of Luke (24:13 ss.), the Talmud Yerushalmi (Shevi'it 8.9.38; Avodah Zarah 85,44d), Flavius Joseph, etc. It was the homeland of Jules the African. Our Biblical and Archeological School uncovered the ruins of a Roman villa and a Byzantine Basilea (Vincent-Abel, Emmaus, sa basilique et son histoire, Paris 1932).
Would there not exist the possibility to promote here the peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews? There already exist the Kibbutz of Meve Harron where a friend of mine, Reuben Hagan lives, and that of Neve Shalom to the south of Latroun Abbey, which was founded by my Dominican brother Bruno Hussar.
I had the honor of meeting you on December 31st last at the residence of President Herzog, and was able to introduce you to my successor to the directorate of the Biblical and French Archeological School, Father Luc Vesco.
Raymond Jacques Tournay. O.P.
Professor and Director of the
By Sami Aldeeb al-Imwasi*
The absence of the Palestinian voice Newspapers, radio and television in Western Countries have access to Israeli journalists and correspondents who report daily on the situation in the Middle East from an Israeli perspective. The Palestinian perspective, on the contrary, is rarely heard from Palestinian sources. Such a situation is contrary to democracy. In an attempt to fill the gap, I have written this short piece.
Peace is the fruit of Justice
There are two opposing concepts of peace found in the world today:
First is the concept based on the pagan Roman adage: "If you wish peace, prepare for war" (Si vis pacem, para bellum). Then there is the saying of the prophet Isaiah, who lived in Palestine 2700 years ago: "Peace will be the fruit of justice; justice assures calm and tranquility forever" (Isaia, 32: 17).
As a Palestinian Christian, I am convinced that only the concept of Isaiah can bring peace to the Middle East:
From a moral point of view, the war between Jews and Arabs, two brother peoples, is contrary to the commandment: "Thou shall not kill".
From a practical point of view, war has failed to establish peace and has done nothing but perpetuate the cycle of violence. It is pointless to persist in swelling the military arsenals which serve no one except arms manufacturers. To achieve the peace which Isaiah writes of, it is necessary to put an end to the injustice which is the basis of the war in the Middle East.
A basic injustice
By virtue of Israeli law, all Jews, even recent converts, have the right to immigrate to Palestine, regardless of where they were born, in Moscow or in New York. The majority of native Palestinians, on the contrary, do not have the right to return to their land and their homes, simply because they are not Jews.
Today, Palestinians, as non-Jews, find themselves within miles of their land, inside the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and the Arab countries, forbidden to return home. Meanwhile, Israel recruits Jews from Moscow, New York and elsewhere.
Palestinian villages were, for the most part, demolished. Professor Israel Shahak from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem gives the names of several hundred destroyed villages. This equals approximately 80% of the Palestinian villages within the borders of Israel prior to 1967 (see p. 14).**
Israeli oppression continues today. Palestinian intellectuals are arrested and tortured. As a condition for their release from prisons, Israel demands their departure from Palestine. Thus begins a nomadic life of exile for these intellectuals, in countries which mayor may not welcome them, according to the whims of the moment. It is estimated that 70% of Palestinian academics have been in prison at least once. According to the Newspaper "Le Monde" of June II, 1987, 2000 people have been deported since 1967, and 4,500 prisoners are incarcerated in Israeli prisons.
It is impossible to review all the harassment aimed at the civilian Palestinian population by Israeli authorities. There have been the poisoning of school children; armed robberies, in the middle of the day, carried out by unidentified persons under the watch of Israeli military patrols; the confiscation of farmers' lands, depriving them of their way of life without financial compensation; the control over the access to water resources by Israeli authorities.
Solution of the ignorant against the terrorism of the hopeless
Chased from all sides, declared undesirable both in their homeland and in other
countries, the Palestinians have been hopelessly drawn to acts of terrorism
reflecting their hopelessness. Attempting to stop this terrorism, heads of state convene
meeting after meeting, talking only of police measures or military intervention against those countries that harbor terrorists.
In so doing, these leaders behave like an idiot who fights a headache with insults rather than trying to heal it. They believe that waging war against terrorism can bring peace. Not only do they forget their complicity in creating the desperation which leads some to acts of terrorism, but they have forgotten their Bible as well, preferring pagan ideals to those of Isaiah. The latter however, would cost considerably less, and would bring a much more effective response.
It is not through the signing of treaties, through police measures or military interventions that a people who have lost hope can be prevented from resorting to terrorism. You can prod a donkey with a stick to change directions; but a people without hope need justice to calm them. Justice:
allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes
permitting the reconstruction of the villages razed by Israel
giving repayment to war victims.
Israel also forgets her Bible
When Sadat visited Jerusalem in 1977, I was among those few Palestinians supporting this trip, on condition that reparations for the injustices committed against the Palestinians be made. I felt convinced that "Without a solution to the Palestinian problem, all attempts at peace are nothing but a time bomb." (Newspaper "La Suisse", Dec. 31, 1977).
The Camp David agreement which followed Sadat's visit turned out to be a means of neutralizing the Egyptian border in preparation for an Israeli war against the Palestinians in Lebanon. Instead of making reparations for the injustices committed against the Palestinian people, Israel preferred to launch a murderous war called "Peace for Galilee". Israels forgets the Bible by applying the pagan principle "If you want peace prepare for war" instead of looking to that of Isaiah, "If you want peace establish justice." With losses and suffering on both sides, this war is far from having established the deathly peace desired by Israel.
Pretexts for denying justice
On April 22, 1983, President Reagan, repeating the words of Israel, denied that the PLO was the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. These two "democratic" countries refused however to give proof of their allegations against the PLO by allowing elections amongst the Palestinians -at least those of the West Bank. The refusal to negotiate with the PLO or to organize elections proves that these two states are refusing to grant justice to the Palestinians.
Israel and the United States refuse to dialogue with the PLO, asserting that it is a terrorist organization. They forget that most of the present Israeli leaders were involved in terrorist movements and are implicated in some civilian assassinations. Suffice it to cite the case of Yitzhak Shamir, Israeli Prime Minister, who was responsible for the assassination of Count Bernadotte, special Envoy of the United Nations in charge of finding a solution to the Palestinian problem (Sune 0. Persson, Mediation and Assassination, Ithaca Press, London 1979, p. 208).
The United States and Israel further contend that the PLO refuses to recognize the State of Israel. Israel does not, however, say which borders it would like to have recognized, or what destiny is in store for Palestinian refugees and destroyed Palestinian villages.
Personally, I do not oppose recognition of Israel, if it accepts:
-the borders prior to 1967
the return of those refugees who wish to, who fled in 1948 and 1967, with rights equal to those of Jews immigrating from Moscow or New York
reconstruction of a significant portion of those villages destroyed, and reparations made to war victims
dismantling of the Israeli settlements on the Occupied territories.
With the exception of the Golan Heights, which would have to be returned to Syria, I
would favor putting control of the territories emptied by Israel under the United
Nations for five years, without the presence of an army. After five years, a free
election would be held. Whatever the results, these territories would have to be
maintained without an army so that the energies of the population of the area could
be directed toward the good of the people, and not toward the purchase of weaponry.
Over the lon9 term I envision the establishment of a confederation between Israel and the new Palestinian State, with local autonomy for the two entities, as is the case in Switzerland. This confederation would be open to other states with rights equal to those of the base states.
Such an idea for a confederation is not purely an invention of my spirit. Sane Israelis support it, and find that it is the only solution possible in a land claimed by two peoples. Amongst these Israelis are Nahum Goldmann (former President of the World Jewish Congress), Uri Avnery (Israeli politician and Chief-Redactor of Haolam Hazeh), Andre Chouraqui (former vice-mayor of Jerusalem), as well as Israeli pacifist Joseph Abileah. Abileah is the Secretary of the Israeli Association for a Confederation in the Middle East, of which the famous musician Yehudi Menuhin is a supporting member. It is composed of Jews, Moslems and Christians and its President is an Arab Pastor.
Justice or extermination
The Confederation idea is undoubtedly utopic in its vision, so long it has not been realized. Whatever alternative is chosen must however respect the principle of justice and assure that the Palestinian refugees are permitted to return to their lands and their homes. Such an assurance by Israel was a condition for its recognition by the United Nations. Failure to establish a just solution to the Palestinian problem will result in the continuation of the battle between the Arabs and Jews, until both parties are exterminated. Either justice or extermination.
* This article engages only the author's responsibility.
** A list of destroyed villages is available on request (price: 5.- Sfr.).
By Christoph Uehlinger
The brochure Pa ix en Palestine/Frieden in Palastina published by Sami Aldeeb gave a list of 383 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israel between 1948 and 1967. This list has been taken from a book published by Professor Israel Shahak, president of the Israeli Lea9ue for Human and Civil Rights, based on a research of the Palestinian Historian and Geographer Aref el-Aref (see Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, The Shahak Papers, Beyrouth [Palestine Research Center] 1973, pp. 94-111).
This list has caused considerable concern and consternation among many readers who ignored totally that Palestinian villages had been destroyed in the aftermath of Israel"s war for independence. At the same time, it resumed the debate on a particularly delicate subject concerning the recent history of Palestine. As was to be expected, certain inconditional defenders of the state of Israel reacted against it. Some of them did not hesitate to deny globally that the list had any documentary value. Shahak was termed a "court fool", a person to whom no credit at all should be given in this matter.
Have any Palestinian villages been destroyed after the war of 1948, yes or no? And how many? Shahak's list having been attacked in such a global and virulent manner, we could not contil1Je to back its publication without undertaking a systematical verification. An examination of the problem on the spot was impossible for material reasons; we thus chose to do a documentary study. We have consulted Israeli maps of the 1950s (1:100'000) which mention explicitly almost 300 destroyed Palestinian localities. Moreover, we have compared Shahak's list with another list of destroyed villages, established by Professor Kamal Abdulfattah of the University of Bir Zeit. Each time when the two lists affirm jointly the destruction of a given locality, we tried to locate this on the maps just mentioned as well as on presently available Israeli maps. If the statement of destruction could be confirmed on the base of all these documents (e.g., if modern maps mention only ruins instead of an ancient village attested to in the earler map), we have inserted the locality in our list.
Proceeding thus in an absolutely methodical way, we have been able to establish a new document containing 372 names of destroyed Palestinian localities. This list may be ordered at the address of the Association for the reconstruction of Emmaus (price: 5.- Sfr.). The list mentions the names of the localities in question and the number of their inhabitants based on the 1945 census; it indicates the precise location of each village giving its coordinates on the Palestine/Israel grid; using a system of simple abbreviations, it offers a summary of our observations made on the documents mentioned; finally, the list mentions the name of the Israeli settlements which today is situated next to the place of the destroyed and abandoned Palestinian locality and which, in most cases, has inherited its land.
Our list registers 372 destroyed Palestinian localities as follows:
District of Jerusalem 37
District of Hebron 15
District of Beersheba 1
District of Gaza 44
District of Ramle 54
District of Jaffa 16
District of Tulkarem 9
District of Haifa 42
District of Acre 25
District of Nazareth 4
District of Jenin 6
District of Beisan 22
District of Tiberias 22
District of Safed 75
Of course, this list might contain errors: please do not hesitate to inform us in
case you identify any. However, the list establishes as an unrefutable fact the disappearance of several hundreds of Palestinian villages. If we insist on this
matter, it is only in order to give justice to history. Our aim is to reconstruct
Amwas/Emmaus, which has been destroyed in 1967, and not these 372 localities.
Nevertheless, our memory should remain enlightened: if we want to 90 ahead on the road to
peace, there is no use to falsifying history.
The Association for the Reconstruction of Emmaus is established under Articles 60 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code and is seated in Fribourg, Switzerland. It is of unlimited duration. It is committed to using peaceful methods and to the proposition that peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through justice.
In response to the requests of the inhabitants of Emmaus, it aims to support their non-violent efforts to return to their homes, to obtain compensation, and to have their houses and village reconstructed, the reconstruction of Emmaus being a symbol of the path to reconciliation on the basis of justice.
All persons adhering to its aims may join the Association. Membership and the forfeiture of membership are decided by the board.
The board and the general meeting may accord the status of sponsor to those persons who render services to the Association. A sponsor has the same rights as an ordinary member.
The regular general meeting will be held annually. A meeting can also be called by the board members or by one fifth of the membership. General meetings have the power to:
approve the annual report and the minutes of the last meeting and the budget.
change the bylaws or dissolve the Association.
consider the case of a member who has been excluded.
nominate the board, the president and two auditors to serve for a period of two years.
The decisions of the meeting are made by majority vote. To change the bylaws or to
dissolve the Association, the approval of three fourth of the members attending is
The board has three to seven members, of whom at least two must be founding members who signed the original bylaws. The board has the power to:
convene its own sessions.
oversee work towards realizing the aims of the Association.
convene the general meeting.
The joint signatures of the president (or, in case of absence, the vice-president)
and a member of the board are needed to bind the Association. The decisions of the
board are taken by the majority of the members attending.
The funds of the Association consist of voluntary contributions of members and outsiders. The Association does not have mandatory dues. Its funds may only be used for the expenses and activities of the Association. In case of dissolution of the Association, the board then in charge will dispose of the funds in conformity with the objectives of the Association.
Bylaws, approved by the general meeting in Fribourg on March 7, 1987.
Sami Aldeeb, LL.O.
Charles Ridore, Ph.D.
Michel Bavaud, professor
Christoph Uehlinger, theologian
Therese Bavaud, teacher
Louis-Albert Zbinden, journalist
Thomas Jaggi, LL.D. writer