Settlement Slush, Or How to Build and Say We Didn’t

Gershom Gorenberg

My new article for the American Prospect, on the historical background to George Mitchell’s talks with Bibi Netanyahu, is now up:

In the summer of 1974, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv received a cable from the State Department. The main office was concerned about press reports that Israel intended to expand settlements in the occupied territories. The cable complained of the “difficulties such publicity generates in U.S.-Arab relations.” The reports “were most unhelpful to Middle East peace efforts.” Foggy Bottom therefore wanted to know how Israel’s Labor government “might be induced to turn off public comments on expanding settlements.”

Two days later, Ambassador Kenneth Keating cabled back. He’d talked to Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, who said he was about to meet with the editors of the country’s newspapers. Allon promised to ask them to play down “sensitive issues” connected to the negotiations that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was conducting between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Allon kindly “volunteered to add settlement to his list” of subjects to hush up, Keating wrote. The secretary could rest easy.

What’s striking about those messages — preserved in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland — is that they say nothing about persuading Israel to stop building settlements. …  Washington simply wanted to keep noise about them from sabotaging its peace efforts and its image in the Arab world. Never mind that West Bank settlement helped block an interim agreement between Israel and Jordan. The brief exchange of cables, surreal as it is, is just one example of a long tradition of half-hearted, half-attentive U.S. objections to Israeli settlement efforts — from the soft-spoken response to the first settlements in 1967, through George W. Bush’s 2004 letter to Ariel Sharon, accepting that “new realities on the ground” (read: major settlements) will prevent a return to the pre-1967 borders.

Read the rest here, and return to South Jerusalem to comment

31 thoughts on “Settlement Slush, Or How to Build and Say We Didn’t”

  1. Like a knife through butter, your tenacity never fails to bring revelation, but at the cost of great frustration to this reader.

    My opinion of Obama is teetering on the edge. There is a real risk that his mellifluous voice will end up being as unbearable to me as the folksy twang and twinkling eye of his predecessor.

    The emptiness of the BO health care speech in regard to real change, even as the oratory soared, gives me little hope for change in the actual, as opposed to stated, U.S. policy on settlements.

  2. Gee Cliff I was beginning to think I was all alone out on a deserted island and here is someone hearing the same nothing I have been hearing. I keep saying, give the rookie a chance ,to more suspecting friends, who sayeth “do you like recycled Clinton all the time”. No I don’t but I will reserve judgement for now , but the now is going to be a short time span not a long one. Afganistan is an issue that I will give him no leeway. It’s a disaster just like the stand on Israeli settlements

  3. Gershom, sorry to stray off topic, but have you weighed in at all on the Human Rights Watch controversy, respecting their Nazi-paraphernlia enthusiast Middle East investigator, Marc Garlasco? Can’t we agree that, at a minimum, a man who fetishizes Nazi garb and military decorations, with nary but the most perfunctory words of disapproval for the Nazi regime itself, should not be assigned the task of ferreting out evidence of Israeli war crimes? His reports have come under heavy criticism for unreliability, prior to disclosures of his frankly disgusting pastime, one he pursues with singular moral frigidity respecting the origins of his objects of fascination, his recent apologia notwithstanding.

  4. from Wikipedia: May you live in interesting times, often referred to euphemistically as the Chinese curse, is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse, although it may have originated among the English themselves (or Americans). It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the other two being:

    May you come to the attention of those in authority (sometimes rendered May the government be aware of you)

    May you find what you are looking for”

    After reading this article in the American Prospect, my first feeling was that we live in “interesting times”. We Americans did our job: electing the most promising president to come along in memory. Now we are not too sure if his talents are limited to great vision and wonderful writing and oral abilities. We are looking for his spine. We have to wait and see.

    We should be aware of how complicit the US has been in this deliberate sabotage of the peace process over the years turning a blind eye to settlements for political gain and raw revenge for terror attacks. We should be aware of how settlements have become the terminal illness, how hard-core settlers are spoiled children in an apparently dysfunctional house. I can’t believe that Israel wants peace, nor do I believe there is an awareness of the dire consequences of keeping on this trajectory. It’s plain disingenuous to say “we want peace but they don’t”. And it’s criminal to allow a pass on this claim.

    The curse to Israel might be that it finds what it is really looking for.

    I throw my hands up at this New Year’s arrival.

    but to Haim and Gershom and commenters Shana Tovah,- thanks for the good work and the spirit on this site.

  5. Suzanne: Have you looked at the Bacus bill?It seems to put us right there with Burundi.The lack of spine in the health care debate,the hate campaign,and last of all the settlement issue I think has done tremendous damage to the abundant political capital our President came in with. I wish Rahm would revert to his old ,”the only thing a Republican understands is a piece of lumber along his head”and get working on the maturation of the President.

  6. From what I understand, Mr. Hilborn, the Baucus bill is and out and out rip-off of the people, totally thoroughly corrupt.

    There is a connection between Obama’s abilities to achieve decent honest health care reform and his abilities to do anything meaningful in this Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Animals smell weakness.

  7. “We Americans did our job: electing the most promising president to come along in memory.”

    As an American I find this statement appalling in its smugness. I voted for the guy, but lets be real, the guy was the most right wing of the Democratic candidates.

    Obama’s staff was the worst of the Clinton administration with right wing nut jobs sprinkled in.

    Obama had never successfully completed a single long term task in his life. Obama’s early big donors were the financial and health insurance companies. He’s not spineless, he’s a corporate shill doing what he was paid to.

    On the subject of settlements, I am pretty sure the Pritzgers* would get pretty pissed if he started seriously demanding the settlements stop. *Earliest, biggest donors

  8. Obama is a right wing candidate? Thats pretty unbelievable. Perhaps he has to deal with the fact that this blog notwithstanding, the US is a center-right country

  9. “Perhaps he has to deal with the…US is a center-right country”

    Mr. Kaine,

    Almost 60% of the nation support a single payer option, 80% support a Public option. Obama supports neither…he want to support the current system . That puts Obama in the right wing fringe.

    Thanks for playing, wanna talk war polls?

  10. I ruefully voted for Obama and wish there had been a viable third candidate [I did vote for Gore thank you]. Outside of Kennedy, who gave us Viet Nam, Obama is the most inexperienced Democratic nominee we’ve ever had…and his economic experience is less than zero, how else can you explain the advisors he listens to, Summers & Geithner. All three help to create the crisis we are in and all three recommend more of the same..why do they expect a different result? Secretary of Defense? Bush’s guy Robert Gates. DoJ? Obama is the first president in history to NOT demand letters of resignation from all of Bush’s political appointments…was Bush’s DoJ what you voted for Suzanne?

    Can fevering Obama supporters answer me this; how come policies that they found abhorrent under Bush are now not only acceptable, but admirable under Obama? It boggles my mind.

    As far as presidential policy goes Obama has continued Bush’s

    1] War in Iraq, by implementing Rumsfield’s plan in iota of change

    2] Bailout of the financial sector, Giethner’s policy is line on line with

    3] Domestic spying and has suppressed any investigation.

    4] Violation of unlawful detention, even using the same technique of moving
    prisoners from jurisdiction to jurisdiction

    5] Reliance on health insurers to set national health policy.

    6] A continuation of torture and restricting investigations to only those who followed orders and ignoring those gave the orders and the legal justifications.

    7] Expansion of the Afh-Pak war beyond anthing Bush envisioned

    Many who voted for Obama “hoped” for better, but obviously found “style” more important than any meaningful change.

  11. SBrennan- Obviously you voted for Nader? or would have or did in 2000 to bring us the GWBush disaster? It would seem that you have no idea how a big ship gets turned around. The President is not a magician. He has to work with, especially in the beginning, the state of things currently while cultivating changes. There are no buttons to push that change the view. There are many who, understanding that Obama had an overflowing plate of issues to take care of immediately PLUS a fairly progressive agenda, feel that he has accomplished a lot and are more willing to give him longer than 8 months to go cynical. We are 8 months since the inauguration. A lot of what has been done has been damage control and setting out an agenda that Obama feels is achievable. I am not uncritical at all but Obama has shown himself to have the far-reaching vision and the ability to articulate that to a wide range of people. We could do a lot worse- a lot. Have you listened to the yahoos on the other side of politics here? Obama/Biden are certainly a lot brighter wiser bulbs and more on the ball than the McCain /Palin team showed themselves to be.

  12. The settlements are not the “obstacle to peace”. The existence of Israel as a Jewish state is the “obstacle to peace”. The PLO/Fatah was formed in 1964 before there were any “occupied territories” or settlements.


    “July 1, 2009 – Fatah web site

    The Fatah Charter calling for Israel’s destruction is still valid and still appears on the Fatah web site: Charter, Article 8: “The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.” Charter, Article 19: “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

    The current Fatah Charter current Charter is

  13. Charlotte:

    A very misleading argument. Fateh’s charter was amended, not by removing the previous clauses, but by appending statements that certain clauses were no longer in effect (statements which the site you link to carefully ignores). In other words, they amended it in precisely the same way that the United States amends its constitution – by adding amendments, not deleting the earlier words. You are like someone who finds the US Constitution on a website and, finding that Article 1 Section 2 is still part of it, concludes that the United States still permits slavery, ignoring the 13th and 14th Amendments.

    And you don’t have to take my word for this. Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon (speaking officially as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister respectively) both publicly agreed in 1998 that Fateh’s charter had been properly amended (see ).

    But the broader point is still more important. Whether or not the Fateh charter had been as you say, no sensible person thinks that settlements are the ONLY obstacle to peace, and there are certainly real obstacles on the Palestinian side as well as the Israeli one (the obsession with the “Right of Return” is the most obvious, but there are others too). But that settlements are AN obstacle to peace – and indeed one of the most substantial obstacles – seems hard to deny. In the real world, a sine qua non for peace is that a significant number of settlements will have to be handed over to Palestine. This means that there are tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of settlers whose homes will be handed over, and who thus have a strong personal interest in opposing such a peace: and while some of those may be persuaded to override their personal interests for the sake of the public good, many others will not willingly do so. The more such settlers there are, the less likely it is that any Israeli government will have the political will to do what is necessary to reach a peace agreement.

  14. David, I followed the link you gave. It only states that Fatah voted to change their Charter. Where did you find the information you gave about Fatah adding paragraphs? Is the amended Charter available to view online? I think it’s odd that Pal Media Watch do not mention any amendments and only have the original document online.

  15. Suzanne,

    You are wrong when you assume.

    “Obviously you voted for Nader? or would have or did in 2000” Suzanne // Sep 26, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I warned all that would listen that Bush the Second was a right wing guy through and through. I gladly voted for Gore, he was the most prepared Democrat to assume the presidency since LBJ.

    In 2008 I warned all that would listen that Obama was a right wing guy through and through. However, Obama has surprised even me since assuming office…he’s far more right wing than I thought.

  16. SBrennan– This opinion of Obama is unusual. Why are so many on the right calling him a socialist with an agenda? I think you mistake his core views with his need (unfortunately) to appease or to come up with consensus with obstructionist sore-losing opponents. Some may feel he is centrist like Clinton- but not right wing.

    David– well said. I have been through this regarding the Hamas charter with Charlotte and she does not take to the facts easily and is obsessed with charters. I think this is looking for the worst of Palestinian intentions to absolve Israel’s egregious behavior. This is also making noise to drown out how Palestinians and the international community ( and international law) view the settlements: the literal stealing of land and the placement of “facts on the ground” which is, more than words in a charter so many years ago, indicative of Israel’s real intentions to hold onto this land, or, to give benefit of doubt, making it harder and harder to leave as settlements grow. The above view is a coldness also to Palestinian’s need for justice, just as Jews needed justice, with regard to losses and dispossession.

    I also think it’s odd that as the Palestinian side is willing to accept Israel as a Jewish State, and as they have stated publicly that they are willing to construe “right of return” in such a way that it does not threaten Israel, that they are willing to have a state, final borders, on the other side of ’67 lines, and are ready to live in peace with East Jerusalem as their capital- that this is not acceptable to Israel’s hard core rejectionists and their supporters abroad. Ears and eyes are deaf and blind to these factors.

    Israel’s leaders and public majority has, I believe in the past, had it’s hand out ready for such a peace and has,as a result, enjoyed a much higher moral reputation in the world. But now Israel, is viewed increasingly as the obstructionist in this too long conflict and is on its way to being viewed as the outlaw oppressor.

    The settlements are indicative. Those who have lost hope ( some of who believe that continued war and terrorism is the only recourse) look at this settlement proliferation happening “in-your-face” in broad daylight with either the government’s approval and assistance or non-interference ( looking the other way) and conclude that Israel’s continued crying about existential threats from outside ( now Iran) pale compared to the more real threats from within.

  17. The “Palestinians” are going to recognise Israel as a Jewish state??????

    They categorically say they will NEVER recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and you know why, oh factually challenged one, because its against their religion, Islam. Doh!!!

  18. Then I suppose Harry Truman must’ve been a closet Muslim (like Obama, ha-ha), as he too didn’t recognise Israel as a Jewish state in 1948.

    Did Israel recognise Iran as an “Islamic republic” in or after 1979, I wonder?

  19. Charlotte- some real facts, mot opinion masquerading as such: The PLO in 1988 accepted UNRes 181 of 1947 which calls for the creation of two states, one Jewish, one Arab. “Jewish State” is also in Israel’s declaration of independence.

    So Palestinians have already accepted this and are willing, in a final agreement, to agree to it again once the issues are settled. They refuse any further recognition now for real reasons that have to do with the well-being of Arab/Palestinian Christians and Muslims within and outside of Israel.

    This issue throws up smoke- it has popped up to waste time on the Israeli side (as settlements grow)… part of a larger strategy of wearing the other side down. EACH side denies the other’s identity. The Jewish identity of israel is Israel’s business and for Israel to decide. Palestinians do not have to give permission for that. Once there is an agreement there is mutual recognition… of course.

  20. Suzanne, you inhabit a la-la land of your own wishful thinking, divorced from fact.

    The national religion of the PA is Islam; its law is Sharia. Go and read the 1991 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam and stop spouting irrational rubbish.

    You are always preaching on these threads about Jewish values. Islamic values are antithetical to Jewish ones. No Muslim State can recognise Israel as a Jewish State on theological grounds. It is an Islamic duty to destroy all vestiges of Judaism, hence the Muslim insistence on Jerusalem for a capital, so that they can bar Jews again and obliterate all traces of Judaism and Jewish history.

    The Christian Arabs are persecuted by the Muslim Arabs, and always have been on Islamic theological grounds.

    “…It would be impossible to list all the places of Jewish, and particularly Christian, worship which were Islamized and banned to their former owners. The cave of Machpela in Hebron is the most famous example: built by Herod the Great to house the tombs attributed to the Hebrew patriarchs and matriarchs, it was turned into a church at the time of the Crusades, was later converted into a mosque in 1266 by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars and, henceforth, banned to Jews and Christians. In 1862 the Prince of Wales was allowed to enter it by a special authorization granted by the Ottoman sultan, a sacrilege which necessitated the military occupation of the town. Ordinary Christians could not enter until the British Mandate in 1922. In Iraq, in former Ninevah opposite Mosul, the tomb attributed to the Prophet Jonah, once a place of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pilgrimage, together with all the church buildings, was assigned to the Muslim waqf after the conversion of the Mongols to Islam. It was strictly banned to non-Muslims until World War 1 and the establishment of the British Mandate. The latest example was the tomb of the Hebrew Patriarch Joseph – whithin the boundaries of the town of Nablus, then under the protection of the Palestinian Authority – which was destroyed by a Palestinian mob soon after the outbreak of the second intifada in October 2000. It was immediately rebuilt as a mosque, its dome painted green. Since then, Palestinian groups have mounted unsuccessful attacks to take over the Tomb of the Hebrew Matriarch Rachel at the entrance to Bethlehem, which is under Israel’s protection.” (Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude, Where Civilisations Collide (2002).)

    Discussing Israel/”Palestinians” ignoring the role, ideology, and history of supremacist Islam and the Jews , using your own words, “throws up smoke”. Worse than that, the fanciful wishful thinking, shorn of factual reality, of people like you who claim to be Jews, aids and abets Israel’s enemies.

  21. “This opinion of Obama is unusual. Why are so many on the right calling him a socialist with an agenda? I think you mistake his core views with his need (unfortunately) to appease or to come up with consensus with obstructionist sore-losing opponents. Some may feel he is centrist like Clinton- but not right wing.” – Suzanne // Oct 2, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Jeeze Suzanne, “Why are so many on the right calling [the media liberal with] a socialist with an agenda?”. Dunno Suzanne, maybe deception works with the naives of this world…huh? Obama’s “his need to appease” is based on his big donors, which would be the financial sector, drug and health insurance companies…the same folks that attacked Clinton from the right.

    Obama is a right wing pol, who’s policies AS PRACTICED are line on line with Bush’s [see my comments above on the subject]. Your line of argument, that Obama’s liberal because people who are one step away from fascism say so is childish. What would be more adult is if you address the clearly defined Bush policies that Obama now practices [see my earlier posts on the subject] and tell what’s so centrist/liberal about them.

    Suzanne, by your standards the Blackshirts were liberal because the Brownshirts were even more wacko. Big clue here, both were right wing wackos and if you follow the history of fascism in the 20th century you’ll see each incarnation moves farther to the right…until it ended in Holocaust something made possible by changing the frame ever rightward. All somebody has to do to person thinks as you do, is move the goal posts to the right and tell you black isn’t brown and you’ll be good. Let’s work towards better reasoning skills…huh? Last time we accepted you line of thinking it was a disaster for Gentiles and Jews alike.

  22. Charlotte: You invest a lot of your arguments in declarations to prove your point that there is no living with Islam or Muslims in this world. That stance is exactly what you are accusing them of. Everything is interpretation- in Judaism, in Christianity, in Islam. In this instance the Cairo Declaration itself does not comport with some of the laws in Muslim countries. But that does not stop your broad brush accusations:

    ” It is an Islamic duty to destroy all vestiges of Judaism, hence the Muslim insistence on Jerusalem for a capital, so that they can bar Jews again and obliterate all traces of Judaism and Jewish history.”

    Please cite where you get this lest I think that you pulled this out of your other end.

    And what does any of this have to do with the settlement problem? Or finding a way to resolve Israel’s need to find a way to live peacefully in that part of the world? Nothing, or worse.

  23. S Brennan: “What would be more adult is if you address the clearly defined Bush policies that Obama now practices [see my earlier posts on the subject] and tell what’s so centrist/liberal about them.”

    No. What would be more adult of me is to not engage you on this on this thread which is not about Obama ( or any other).Obviously you are looking at Obama from a very far end of the spectrum of opinion and I cannot change that.

  24. Suzanne, I did not argue, I stated facts, in response to your arrogant & nonsensical assertion [do you remember?], you are the one arguing…and without ANY supporting facts.

    As readers will note, every one of your unsupported suppositions has proven false and yet you throw another unsupported insulting supposition in your latest comment without once addressing the the facts I have stated above.

    Here’s a factual reminder, it was you who brought US electoral politics into this conversation…not I…any person who reads up thread will see you are being deceptive in your last statement:

    “…more adult of me is to not engage you on this on this thread which is not about Obama” – Suzanne at 1:23 pm

    Since you agree with me that your behavior is childish why don’t we leave at that.

  25. No Brennan- Clif and Hilborn, if you read, mentioned our politics at the outset. I said ( in response to the feeling that Obama is some magician”

    “We should be aware of how complicit the US has been in this deliberate sabotage of the peace process over the years turning a blind eye to settlements for political gain and raw revenge for terror attacks.”

    And to Hilborn ( about the perception of Obama with re healthcare: “There is a connection between Obama’s abilities to achieve decent honest health care reform and his abilities to do anything meaningful in this Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Animals smell weakness.”

    I’ll leave it that you have a different view of reality even on this thread.

  26. Here’s a tasty morsel for factually challenged, ahistorical, muslim apologist Suzanne:

    “A popular Hamas children’s program that usually gives advice to youngsters, such as instructing them to listen to their parents, aired a call for the “slaughter” of Jews in Israel late last month, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

    All Jews must be “erased from our land,” Nassur, a stuffed bear who hosts the weekly program, Tomorrow’s Pioneers, on Hamas’s Al-Aksa television, explained to a child who called in to a September 22 show. “We want to slaughter them, Saraa, so they will be expelled from our land… we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter.”

    Nan Jacques Zilberdik, an analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, which translated the program and regularly monitors Palestinian media, saidTomorrow’s Pioneers, which comes out of the Gaza Strip, is available via satellite around the world. The program often blends pragmatic advice with hate, she said.

    “Generally the program also transmits good messages to kids like drinking milk or asking parents permission to do something, but we also find these very problematic messages like the call to kill Jews,” she said.

    Furthermore, Zilberdik said that in her organization’s broader monitoring of Palestinian media, no objections to or repudiation of hatred-inciting messages being included in children’s programs had been found.

    This is not the first time Palestinian Media Watch has discovered hateful content in programs made for children.

    In 2007, the NGO discovered a Mickey Mouse-type figure who also called for the slaughter of Jews.

    After worldwide outcry, the character was executed on the program by an Israeli interrogator, and was soon replaced by another character who expressed similar sentiments, Zilberdik said.

    The following comes from a transcript of the program aired on September 22:

    Nassur: “There won’t be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They’ll be erased.”
    Saraa: “Chased away.”
    Nassur: “And just like we will visit the Qaaba [in Mecca]… everyone will visit Jerusalem.”
    (A seven-year-old boy on the phone tells how his father, a member of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades, “died as a shahid (martyr).”)
    Nassur to boy: “What do you want to do to the Jews who shot your father?”
    Boy: “I want to kill them.”
    Saraa: “We don’t want to do anything to them, just expel them from our land.”
    Nassur: “We want to slaughter (nidbah-hom) them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?”
    Saraa: “Yes. That’s right. We will expel them from our land using all means.”
    Nassur: “And if they don’t want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter (shaht).”
    (Al-Aksa (Hamas) TV, September 22, 2009)”

  27. The facts- which here are a certain selection of them to make a certain point- beg an analysis and response that does not feed the ongoing problem. Hamas’ appeal lives off of Israeli oppression/occupation.

  28. No, Suzanne – Hamas’s appeal lives off Islam. It is the refusal of Jews to live under the rule of Islam as dhimmis that fuels the Islamic hatred of Israel and Zionism.

    “The doctrine preached by Muhammad was a simple one. The Koran is a book of divine origin revealed progressively to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Islam is the only true and eternal religion (Koran:3:17). The prophets of Israel and Jesus had already preached it and foretold the coming of Muhammad, but the Jews and Christians, jealous of the pefection of the new religion, had rejected him and falsified their own sacred Scriptures.The Muslim faith stresses the divine character of the Koran and of Muhammad’s preaching: “Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys God.” Muhammad, being the last of the messengers sent by God to instruct humanity is the seal of the prophets.

    …episodes in the life of Muhammad are recalled since they inspired Koranic revelations and thereby gave a definitive form to the main features of future relationships between Muslims and infidels concerning the strategy of warfare (jihad), Muslim rights of conquest, the laws pertaining to the division of booty, and the fate of the vanquished populations whose lands were taken over by the Islamic community, for according to Muslim tradition Muhammad said at the siege of Khaybar: “The land belongs to Allah and his Messenger.” (Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi)

    The Jews were decimated – slaughtered, expelled, and oppressed by the Muslims as dhimmis until the creation of an independent Jewish State, Israel. There only respite was when under European protection.

    You are either an ignormus or a closet Islamist.

  29. My last sentences should have read: “Their only respite was when under European protection. You are either an ignoramus or a closet Islamist.”

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