For the last few months, there have been almost daily stories in the press and on television about Mubarak Awad, an American citizen of Arab-Palestinian heritage. The Israeli government expelled Awad and returned him to his adopted country the United States. Our government has taken interest in the case and has expressed its concern to Israel about this matter. It's easy to get confused.
What are the facts?
Awad's background. Mubarak Awad is an Arab, born in the eastern sector of Jerusalem. Like all other Arabs resident in Jerusalem, he was offered Israeli citizenship. He declined that and chose to remain a Jordanian subject. In 1969, Awad immigrated to the United States. He married an American citizen and became himself an American citizen by naturalization. Israeli law stipulates that a non-citizen resident who lives outside the area for seven years loses his resident status. Availing himself of his U.S. citizenship, Awad started making periodic visits to Israel. During his sojourns as a "tourist" and under the cover of his U.S. citizenship, Awad organized the "Palestine Center for the Study of Non-Violence." That organization promotes general civil rebellion of the Arab population of Judea/Samaria (the "West Bank") and Gaza. In his writings and exhortations, Awad describes such tactics as "supplement to the 'armed struggle' for liberation." In the Middle East setting, "armed struggle" is a notorious code word for terrorism.
Having exhausted the forbearance of the Israeli authorities, the government of Israel decided to expel him and to send him back to the United States, of which he is a citizen. This, almost inexplicably, produced much outcry and was cited by some as another example of Israeli ruthlessness and disregard for human rights. But one basic attribute of sovereignty is that a nation can determine which foreigners may or may not reside in its country and to expel anybody whom they consider undesirable. The U.S. routinely refuses entry into the country to those whose political activities we think of as being contrary to our interests. Until recently, we even barred those whose sexual orientation did not conform to the norm. And we routinely expel those who are here illegally, who have overstayed their visas, or who are engaged in activities that we consider contrary to the interests of our country. In most cases, these matters are handled summarily. Usually only in cases of American citizens, such as in the case of the mass-murdered Demjanjuk, who was ultimately extradited to Israel, does it take judicial action.
Abuse of rights. How then can the Israeli government possibly be faulted for expelling Awad? He totally abused his rights as a tourist, because the real purpose of his visits was to incite the Arab population of Israel and of the administered territories to insurrection, civil disobedience and "armed struggle." The Israelis would have been quite within their rights not to allow him to enter the country in the first place, or to expel him during the term of his visa. But they allowed him to stay months after the expiration of his visa and expelled him ultimately only after he emerged as one of the top leaders of the current Arab uprising against Israeli authority. Even then, and in deference to the United States, Awad has allowed to exhaust every judicial recourse and, in a process that took months, carried his case to the Israeli Supreme Court. That court, which, just as in the United States, is totally independent of the government, unanimously decided that the expulsion was legal. Awad was put on a plane and sent back to the U.S.
Why martyrdom for Awad? Those who are determined to bestow the mantle of martyrdom on Mubarak Awad call him an "apostle of non-violence" and compare him to Gandhi and Martin Luther King. But the reality is quite different. Dr. King deeply loved America and tried to strengthen it through his campaign of non-violence. By explicitly supporting the terrorist PLO, by declaring violence to be a legitimate means of advancing Palestinian political goals, by viewing non-violence as a tactical complement to violence in the Palestinian uprising, and by subscribing to the PLO's concept of "armed struggle" and to the ultimate liquidation of Israel, he revealed himself as what he really is: a revolutionary to whom "non-violence" is only one of many revolutionary weapons.
Misuse of American citizenship. As Americans we must be particularly concerned about Awad's misuse of his American citizenship. In becoming an American citizen, he took an oath to forswear all foreign allegiances and to reside permanently in the United States. He clearly broke his oath on at least those two counts. Before the Israeli Supreme Court, he declared that he had used his "American citizenship and passport solely for bureaucratic reasons of convenience, without attaching any importance and weight whatsoever," and that he "viewed Jerusalem as his place of residence always."
He made statements to the same effect on the MacNeil/Lehrer Report of Tuesday, June 14. Mubarak Awad treated the priceless gift of American citizenship with disdain and cynically used it for his political purposes and his foreign entanglements. How fortunate for Awad that we Americans are such good-natured, forgiving and patient people! Any other country would at the very least have stripped him of the citizenship that he had acquired by swearing falsely and with the obligations of which he never intended to comply.
It is clear that Israel was totally within its rights to expel Mubarak Awad, a rabble-rouser who used the cover of his U.S. citizenship and the protection of his U.S. passport to foment revolution in Israel and in the territories administered by Israel. Israel would have been fully justified in expelling him summarily. But they gave him every legal opportunity to have the expulsion order rescinded. Awad's assumed role as a latter-day Gandhi or Martin Luther King is a sham. Disregarding all other aspects of this case, his true personality is revealed in his cynical and cavalier misuse of his American citizenship.
This ad has been published and paid for by
Gerardo Joffe, President