Sunday, August 23, 2020

  • Sunday, August 23, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
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TheJC has an article by Colin Shindler of SOAS  about his former student Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s UN Ambassador, going through her family history:

For Lana Nusseibeh, who was instrumental in bringing about the agreement, it was the end of a long road which started many years ago at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies when she took a newly instituted MA in Israeli Studies.

She was a brilliant student who wrote some wonderfully insightful and incisive essays on Zionism and Israeli history.

She deserved the distinction that was awarded to her.

The Nusseibeh clan have been in Jerusalem for over a millennium. Tradition has it that Saladin appointed the family “Guardian of the Holy Sepulchre Church” in 1192 and presented them with the keys.

Lana’s grandfather, Anwar Nusseibeh, was educated at Cambridge and was deeply involved in the Palestinian cause. An advocate of the parliamentary path, he opposed Nazism and the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries.

After 1948, when Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Anwar Nusseibeh held numerous posts in King Hussein’s government and was appointed ambassador to London in the 1960s. Following the Six-Day War, he supported King Hussein in his military conflict with Yasser Arafat and the PLO in September 1970.

His son, Sari Nusseibeh, a philosophy professor, was appointed the representative of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem by Arafat in 2001. Opposing the Islamist suicide bombers during the al-Aqsa Intifada, he was a leading exponent of the Palestinian peace camp who worked with figures such as Moshe Amirav and Ami Ayalon in trying to forge a reconciliation between the two sides.

His other son, Zaki, — Lana’s father — trod a different path and left for the Gulf in 1968 where he became a trusted advisor to the rulers of the Emirates and was truly a builder of the powerhouse that it is today. An intellectual and a respected government minister, he has translated Arab poetry into English and promoted the cause of Arabic culture in the Gulf internationally.

He has the Encyclopaedia Judaica and many books on Jewish history in his extensive personal library, which I was able to peruse on a visit to Abu Dhabi last year.

Most Arab countries do not allow Palestinians to become citizens – ostensibly for their own good – following a series of Arab League resolutions including resolution 1547 and the 1965 Casablanca Protocol insisting that all Palestinian Arabs “retain their Palestinian nationality.”

How did Lana’s father Zaki become an Emirati citizen?

It turns out that the UAE, which was established in 1971 after the Casablanca Protocol, never had discriminatory laws against Palestinians becoming citizens the way other Arab countries do.  According to Arab Migrant Communities in the GCC , “a number of Palestinians born in the UAE [have] attained UAE citizenship, and are not officially documented as Palestinians. These individuals were granted citizenship by decree or royal favour for making important contributions to the UAE."

Indeed, Zaki Nusseibeh became a citizen by direct royal decree – he acted as Sheikh Zayed’s personal interpreter before the Emirates was formed so he was offered immediate citizenship.

This led to his daughter becoming an integral part of the negotiations to normalize relations with Israel.

To be sure, the UAE does not easily welcome new citizens of any type. But its non-discrimination against Palestinians helped lead to an agreement with Israel.

It is truly ironic that the people who are against equal rights for Palestinians in the Middle East are the same people who are against Israel’s continued existence.  Bigotry against Palestinians and Jews go hand in hand.

The socialist Left and Arabs who insist that they are acting for the best interests of Palestinians are the ones who are the most against peace, and they should be treated as the anti-peace reactionaries they are rather than as the liberal pacifists they pretend to be.



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