Monday, September 19, 2011

Questionable Assumptions about the Palestinians

An excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal made me realize that many well-meaning people make many assumptions about the Palestinian campaign in the UN that are questionable at best. I'm not saying that these assumptions are all necessarily false -- just that they aren't necessarily true.

1. The Palestinian People deserves a state.

The common assumption is that every people should have its own state. But there are plenty of peoples without a state. The Kurds, the Tamils, the Flemish are all peoples without a state, and there are countless others. Indeed, these others have a much better claim than the Palestinians - check out this old video, where Azmi Bashara, of all people, insists that there is no Palestinian People!

2. The Palestinians currently lack a state.


But what about Jordan, where Palestinians are the majority? Why is this not a Palestinian State?


3. The Palestinians want a state that is equivalent to the Jewish state.

Israel, the Jewish State, has a huge number of Arab citizens. In some ways, they may be second-class citizens, but they do have full legal equality, and certainly a better life than they would have in any Arab country. The Palestinians, on the other hand, want their state to be Judenrein, as the Palestinian ambassador to the UN recently stated (and made more clear in the past, despite recent efforts to change the meaning of his words).

4. The Palestinians want a state alongside Israel.

Of course, this is what they claim that they want. But is this really what they are working towards? Abbas said that “We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years.” Shouldn't that be 44 years? I guess not, seeing as the PLO was founded before Israel captured Judea and Samaria in 1967. It's pretty clear that the Palestinians are working towards acquiring all Israel, not a Palestinian State alongside Israel.

5. The Palestinians' UN bid is driven by a desire for independence and statehood.

That's what Westerners would assume that it is about, since that is what Westerners would want. But is that what is driving the Palestinians? A long time ago I wrote a post about how whenever people give two reasons for something, the second reason is always the real driving reason, and the first reason is secondary, but placed in the first position in order to make their position more palatable. This is what Abbas wrote in the New York Times a few months ago:

"Palestine's admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court."

That's what the Palestinian UN bid is really about. Not about creating a state, which they had much better opportunities for, and rejected. Rather, it's about attacking Israel.

37 comments:

  1. I think the Palestinians have been pretty clear that they want their own state in order to destroy Israel. They've stated it outright many times for many years now.

    Anyways, when they have received their own sovereignty they use it to persecute their own people and to enforce Sharia law.

    If you ask Arabs living in Israel whether they prefer living under Israeli sovereignty or Arab sovereignty, they will usually answer "Israeli." I even knew a Muslim-Arab man who lived in Chicago, had a greencard, a job, and an American wife, and he divorced his wife and returned to Israel because it was better for him. He also said that he prefers the Israeli soldiers to "the Blacks" he lived with in Chicago.

    (I am expressing his attitude toward African-Americans, not my own.)

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  2. Most of the positive statements regarding Palestinian statehood have never been made by the so-called Palestinians themselves but by their "useful idiot" enablers in the West.
    The Arabs in Yesha openly admit they have no interest in creating a viable, peaceful state alongside Israel. They openly admit their only purpose in all this is the weakening of Israel so they can more easily destroy it. They openly refuse to recognize any Jewish claims to the land. Only the Western left continues to spread the placating bromides about a two state solution and peaceful coexistence.
    People need to remember that both the PLO and Hamas were created to destroy Israel. If Mahmood Abbas isn't trying to do that, he isn't earning his paycheque in an honest way.

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  3. I have spoken with palastinians, and I do not think what you have written here is correct. And certainly what the first two commentors have written is not correct.

    If you remember, in 1970s the PLO tried to establish a country in Jordan for Palestinians. While the majority of Jordanians might be Palestinians, the country is not.

    Secondly, the Palestinians have tried to get UN recognition since the 1950s ( to my surprise) The PLO was not created in a vacuum all of a sudden one day.

    On top of that, there are many palestinian familes that are known to be Jewish families that were forcefully converted, as well as other tribal families that are not from syria or Jordan or egypt or Iraq. (though they are obviously the minority)

    In short, while I would prefer that Israel stay whole and think the UN vote thing is a mistake, a lot of the arguments here would never convince a person who grew up in Ramala, even if they wanted to be part of Israel and were pro-Israel themselves. And frankly, they don't really convince me. (some do ,some don't)

    Great thing about the internet. If you want to know what a Palestinian thinks, you can find them and ask them.

    Also, many of these arguments ring hollow to me, because the same could be said for Jews.. why not just annex Monsey?

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  4. "If you remember, in 1970s the PLO tried to establish a country in Jordan for Palestinians."

    No, not really. Black September had many reasons, but establishing a national homeland was not one of them.

    "While the majority of Jordanians might be Palestinians, the country is not."

    You mean the regime is not. What makes a "Palestinian country"?

    "Secondly, the Palestinians have tried to get UN recognition since the 1950s ( to my surprise)"

    Can you be more specific? Do you mean Muftis All-Palestine government project? IIRC the original PLO charter explicitly excluded Gaza and West Bank from the Palestinian state and focused solely on reconquesting Israel in the borders from 1948-49.

    "On top of that, there are many palestinian familes that are known to be Jewish families that were forcefully converted."

    And there are hated by the Arabs just for their alleged family origin. Today they are completely Arabic. Not sure what you are pointing to...

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  5. "You mean the regime is not. What makes a "Palestinian country"?"

    What makes a Jewish country? What exactly is this fight about? Why did Jews want to kick out the British?

    Re the 1950s.. The remnants of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Palestine_Government attempted to get political support in the UN and expand themselves, but were unsucesfull at every attempt.

    There is a not so well documented history that I have only learned about by talking to my neighbors, and I find only hints of it on the web.

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  6. "There is a not so well documented history that I have only learned about by talking to my neighbors, and I find only hints of it on the web."

    WADR You do realize how this sounds from an anonymous commenter on the internet?

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  7. "WADR You do realize how this sounds from an anonymous commenter on the internet?"

    I am merely suggesting that you go talk to people if you want to know what they think.

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  8. "But what about Jordan, where Palestinians are the majority? Why is this not a Palestinian State?"

    I can't believe that this one keeps coming up. Jordan is the one Arab country that really IS at peace with Israel. Why do so many supporters of Israel want to destabilize it? Do we have a death wish?

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  9. "the Palestinians have tried to get UN recognition since the 1950s ( to my surprise)"

    Indeed the UN General Assembly voted 33-13 to create a Palestinian State on November 29, 1947.

    "The PLO was not created in a vacuum all of a sudden one day"

    No, but it was created in 1964, three years prior to the 1967 war. It is very clear that the "occupied territory" they were concerned about included places like Tel Aviv and Haifa.

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  10. "The Kurds, the Tamils, the Flemish are all peoples without a state"

    It is very easy to argue that they have suffered immensely from the lack of a state.

    Of course, the narrative from much of the Palestinian side would return Jews to the status of a people without a state.

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  11. "Israel, the Jewish State, has a huge number of Arab citizens. In some ways, they may be second-class citizens, but they do have full legal equality, and certainly a better life than they would have in any Arab country."

    This is true only of Arabs who happened to be on the Israeli side of the cease fire line in 1949. Beyond that line, Jews can live as Israeli citizens but not Arabs.


    " The Palestinians, on the other hand, want their state to be Judenrein, as the Palestinian ambassador to the UN recently stated (and made more clear in the past, despite recent efforts to change the meaning of his words)."

    I almost got banned from dailykos.com for using the term "Judenrein" even though it was entirely accurate. To be fair, though, the current Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, has repeatedly said that he wants Jewish settlers to remain where they are and become citizens of Palestine. (I'm not sure anyone else in the PA agrees with him.)

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  12. Nice post Natan. No Palestinian nation. No Palestinian State. So then you are left with two options. Give them full citizenship and dilute the Jewish majority and within x years Israel disapears as a Jewish state. Or keep them deprived of voting rights and full civil rights. Which do you prefer?

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  13. " there are many palestinian familes that are known to be Jewish families that were forcefully converted, as well as other tribal families that are not from syria or Jordan or egypt or Iraq"

    Another "Don't go there!" line of argument. There are many Jewish families that are known to be Christian families that voluntarily converted, and have no biological ancestors who ever lived in the Middle East, much less Eretz Yisrael.

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  14. Dear Rabbi Slifkin,

    As a fan of your blog, I must say I'm disappointed to see this post, as it has almost nothing to do with either Torah or the rational/irrational divide in Judaism.

    Please reconsider including posts like this in this particular blog.

    IJT

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  15. You can not undermine the legitimate desire of Palestinians by dissecting an oped in the WSJ. They are entitled to a state as much as the Jews. That their leaders are far from perfect people who often appeal to the most radical members of their society in no way undermines that right just as most readers of this blog dont believe that the Zionist leaders secularism undermines the Jewish right to a state.

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  16. > If you remember, in 1970s the PLO tried to establish a country in Jordan for Palestinians.

    No, they tried to overthrow King Hussein in a violent coup that he put down very effectively.

    > While the majority of Jordanians might be Palestinians, the country is not.

    The ruling class, the Hashemites, are from Saudi Arabia. You want a case of foreign types ruling over an indigenous population, you've got it right there.

    > Secondly, the Palestinians have tried to get UN recognition since the 1950s ( to my surprise)

    This is a lie. They were given the chance in November, 1947 and turned it down.

    > The PLO was not created in a vacuum all of a sudden one day.

    Nor was it created by so-called Palestinians. It was created one day by the Arab League to function as a militia in the war against Israel.

    > In short, while I would prefer that Israel stay whole

    And elsewhere, right?

    > a lot of the arguments here would never convince a person who grew up in Ramala,

    Many of those people also believe we use gentile blood in our matzahs. Honestly! They'd be red, not white, if we did that.

    > Great thing about the internet. If you want to know what a Palestinian thinks, you can find them and ask them.

    I can also go to the fantasy fiction section at my local bookstore. Stuff there is lots more interesting and far less repetitive.

    > Also, many of these arguments ring hollow to me, because the same could be said for Jews.. why not just annex Monsey?

    Because we make no claim that its our land.

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  17. The Palestinian Arabs want democracy, one man one vote for all people living from the sea to the Jordan. They are good with one state because in the not too distant future they will be a large enough population that they could expect a better life than they have under the current occupation. It is the Jews who want a Jewish state with a guarenteed Jewish majority. For this you need a two state solution, giving the Palestinian 22%+ of the whole area plus reparations. The third choice is an Israel dominated by settlers, endlessly at war, hated and isolated by the world. Ethnic cleansing is indeed a solution, but I am afraid the subsequent boycotts and disinvestment will destroy the state. If Rabbi Slifkin and his ilk are willing to roll the dice, go for it, and accept the consequences. But don't cry then that the world hates Jews. That is like Rubashkin writ large.

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  18. "Theoretically the UN created a state for the Israels out of the blue (I am not discreting the holocaust but merely stating that it was the UN who came up with this allowance) So they have the right to give the palestinians a state as well." This is what I have heard

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  19. Hi Rabbi where is my comment? Anyway maybe I'll report it (or part of it now).
    " 'But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live." (Numbers 33:55)

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  20. So then you are left with two options. Give them full citizenship and dilute the Jewish majority and within x years Israel disapears as a Jewish state. Or keep them deprived of voting rights and full civil rights. Which do you prefer?

    The latter, obviously. It's a horrible situation. But it's better than having my country severely harmed, even destroyed. Which will be the likely result of any alleged "peace treaty."

    The common mistake that people make is to assume that since the current situation is bad, a different situation would be better.

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  21. Shocking, but not shocking:

    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=5656

    "The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of 4 terrorist murderers, one of whom killed seven Israeli civilians and attempted to killed twelve others, as the person to launch their statehood campaign with the UN.

    In a widely publicized event, the PA had Latifa Abu Hmeid lead the procession to the UN offices in Ramallah and to hand over a letter for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

    The official PA daily reported that she launched the UN campaign last week, and noted that she is the "mother of seven prisoners and of the Shahid (Martyr) Abd Al-Mun'im Abu Hmeid." However, the paper did not mention that 4 of her imprisoned sons are murderers[...]

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  22. The third choice is an Israel dominated by settlers, endlessly at war, hated and isolated by the world.

    That's what it's been like for the last few thousand years. I'm not expecting it to change anytime soon. If you are, then you're naive. Israel could sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians, be the world's darling for a day, then all it would take is for the Palestinians to engineer some civilian casualties (like with the Mavi Mara) and Israel would be hated as much as ever.

    If Rabbi Slifkin and his ilk are willing to roll the dice, go for it, and accept the consequences.

    I'm a realist. Better the consequences of continuing the current status quo, then the consequences of a Palestinian State which finds a pretext to negate its peace treaty, launches missiles into my town, and places its soldiers amongst civilians so that any retaliation by Israel brings about the wrath of the UN on its head and thus effectively stops Israel defending itself.

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  23. Some of us are interested in facts, not "what they think."

    I for one couldn't care less what a guy in ramala is convinced by or not convinced by. My job or goal is not to play debate club and persuade ramalans of some point of view that isn't their own. Why should it be anyone's job?

    Oh, and there is no such thing as a palestinian people. But thanks for playing.

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  24. Charlie hall you wrote:

    "To be fair salam fayyad wants..." bla bla bla

    He wants that? Or he simply says that and you mistakenly believe him to be an honest person (and one who is stating his actual opinion)?

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  25. from Churchill and the Jews (chapter 11, page 133) by Martin Gilbert:

    The policy of Partition [of Palestine], Churchill warned [in year 1937]:

    “Will not lead away from violence, but into its very heart; will not end in peace, but in war.”

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  26. "Oh, and there is no such thing as a palestinian people. But thanks for playing."

    Genetics proves otherwise. In as much as sperate peoples exist in reality. Palestinians are ones as much as anybody.

    How else could Jodran be mostly populated by them and ruled by a family that is not part of them?

    "And elsewhere, right?"
    Complete nonsense.

    The idea that if Israel claimed full control over its territory that it would soon loose it's Jewish majority is also nonsense. The demographics just don't support that.

    Complete and total control of Israel is really the only option, and I think that things are moving in that direction. However, not because of an illegitimate claim for Palestinians to want their own country.

    "Arabs" are not a single people but a collection of many different ones. Just as Europeans are not all a single people.

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  27. Rabbi Meir Kahane was right. The Palestinian's presence in Israel is a ticking time bomb which can only lead to ongoing misery.

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  28. Amateur, I have spoken with Arabs -- and not anonymous online personalities where you don't really know who they are or where they're from. Quite a few of them are not as stupid as portrayed in the media and realize that they have more rights and better opportunities under a Jewish government than under any Muslim-Arab government that has ever existed.

    They will also tell you proudly how they beat their wives, though not all of them do so.

    Here in Israel, I have been through Arab neighborhoods which host villa after villa, and otherwise show a very high standard of living, one that I can't dream of achieving.

    Also, people don't have automatic rights to create their own country. I'm not a moral relativist. People who plan at the outset to create racist, non-democratic governments do NOT deserve their own country! Every Muslim country exploits its poor to the point that a poor man has no way to ever advance, no matter how hard he works.
    Every Muslim country has some kind of dhimmi status with the accompanying discrimination on its
    non-Muslim minorities.
    Every Muslim country tolerates honor killings. If the killers do receive a sentence, it will generally be less than 5 years.
    Every Muslim country tolerates female circumcision, wife abuse, and child (under age 12) marriage. Even those that technically have laws regarding these crimes do not usually enforce them.
    The Palestinians have absolutely no intention of making their country any different than the other Muslim countries.

    But at the end of the day, Israel is our God-given land. Judging by the boundaries outlined in the Torah, Jordan and Lebanon and Syria already sit on some of it, and that's more than enough concession on our part. Neither the non-Jews who try to steal it from us nor the Jews who try to give it away will see any blessing from such actions.

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  29. The Palestinian Arabs want democracy

    Really? Is that why they elected Hamas? I'm sure you also expect Egypt and Libya to flower into secular democracies which respect the human rights of all their citizens? You're really naive.

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  30. If Azmi Bishara himself admitted, as he did, that there is no such thing as a Palestinean nation, than it is riddiculous for Jews on this site to be claiming otherwise. Bishara was the duly elected representative of these "Palestineans", to use that term. If their own political rep admits its not true, there's nothing left to discuss. QED.

    Of course, Bishara is no longer the representative - he left Israel after having been found to have committed treason against the country, by helping terrorists kill Jews. This is from a supposed moderate.

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  31. Charlie Hall:

    "Indeed the UN General Assembly voted 33-13 to create a Palestinian State on November 29, 1947."

    That's an anachronism. UN vote didn't talk about a "Palestinian State" since the "Palestinian Nation" didn't exist yet.

    The Council of the League of Nations also voted on September 16, 1922 to create an Arab state in most of Palestine. It was called it Transjordan. No, they didn't called the people living there "Jordanian nation".

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  32. Rabbi Meir Kahane was/ IS right. The Arabs are a ticking time-bomb. We either follow the Torah which tells us to expel them (or even kill them if need be)or suffer the consequences as we have been and are with all of these terrorist acts, which can get even worse. You'll see missiles hitting Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and the rest of the country as well, and not only those poor Sefardim in Sderot.
    What is more important your life or satisfying the opinions of goyim (U.N.) who only hate you and won't be satisfied until Jews are dead?

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  33. Tali, it is interesting to me that you keep using the word 'they', but start off making us think you have spoken to specific people.

    careful with your language.

    Not everyone on the internet is anonymous, and not all conversations exist on the internet.

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  34. No time for a long response, and I haven't read the original article but you seem to be wrong on just about every point.

    1. The no Palestinian people argument is poor. For time's sake, let's just say that it's a red herring. If you're not going to give them a state then, unless you admit to being apartheid, you have to grant them citizenship. Decide which you want.

    2. The Palestinians do not rule Jordan. In fact, they nearly went to war with Jordan once upon a time while trying to exert their independence. And, once again, this is a red herring. In '48 Palestine was about two thirds Palestinian but you seem to think they should all get up and leave for your sake. Even if Jordan were Palestinian, it would be a poor argument.

    3. This is your most legitimate argument, but still terribly poor. You just argued that the Palestinians should all get up and go to Jordan, and now you're arguing that they want Palestine Judenrein?

    4. Plenty of prominent Jews, including Israeli Prime Ministers have admitted to trying to take as much Arab land as possible; go read some of their diaries. In the meantime, I don't get your diyuk. You think they don't consider Jordan and Egypt taking their land as occupation? You probably don't. And even if they do refer to the portion allotted to the Jews, they can disapprove of their land being given to Jews without it being "clear" that they "are working towards acquiring all of Israel." We are the ones with the tanks and nuclear weapons, you have to be seriously indoctrinated to be scared they're about to drive us out.

    5. Right, they like our holding them captive, bulldozing their houses, and taking their farms. In fact, they prefer it, because then they can try to take us to court for it. Your thinking is incredibly twisted.

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  35. Eh? I honestly have no idea what you're talking about, especially with point 5. Did you read what I wrote? I also suggest that you read all the comments here.

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  36. Amateur,

    You are trying to twist my words around. It is acceptable to make a general statement ("they") and then back it up with only one example, rather than, let's say, 15. Most people don't want to read through every single conversation I've had.

    I inferred that you have only spoken to Palestinians online because that is the way you suggested we talk to them, so I assumed that is how you do. Sorry.

    BTW, here is a poll: http://pechterpolls.com/?p=399
    Only 35% of the Arabs interviewed said they'd prefer living in a Palestinian state. The other 65% either weren't sure or preferred the Israelis. 54% said they wouldn't leave Israeli sovereignty to live under Palestinian sovereignty.

    Like most people I've had this debate with, you have completely ignored my points about legalized (or culturally tolerated) child marriage, female circumcision, domestic violence, discrimination against non-Muslims, honor killings, and the active desire to completely annihilate the population of a country the size of New Jersey.

    With the exception of trying to annihilate Israel, every Muslim country that has ever existed has either tolerated or legalized the above. Until now, Muslim rulers merely wanted to conquer Israel and keep the Jews under the dhimmitude, not completely annihilate them. The genocidal attitude is new. Is this progress?

    Why would any decent person ever want to support the creation of yet another Muslim country, particularly one that votes in entities like Hamas?

    Who in the world would benefit from a Palestinian country? Not them and not us. So what is the point?

    This situation is a perfect example of how being kind when you should be "cruel" ends up making you cruel when you should be kind.

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  37. I agree with you 95%, but I think it's worth noting that

    (1) Jordan does not welcome Pal Arabs the way Israel welcomes Jews.

    (2) The proposed "Palestinian State" would similarly not welcome Pal Arabs. It's already been announced that the Pal Arabs living in "refugee camps" in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan would not be offered citizenship. Even those living in "refugee camps" on the West Bank would not be offered citizenship.

    To me, this is conclusive evidence that the Arabs want a Palestinian State purely for purposes which are destructive and not constructive.

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