Eye on Arab Media: Is Israel Gadhafi’s Ultimate Safe Haven?

Eye on Arab Media: Is Israel Gadhafi’s Ultimate Safe Haven?

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Despite the counterattack launched by Col. Muammar Gadhafi’s militias and their ability to use warplanes to pound rebels’ locations, the Libyan dictator, who ruled his people for 41 years, is facing a real crisis.

Gadhafi has lost control over most of Libya, and his militias are unable to take back liberated cities, especially in the eastern part of the country. Meanwhile, international pressure on him to exit Libya is increasing.

Arab journalists believe that Gadhafi may ultimately seek a safe heaven, just as Mubarak and Bin Ali have done, and some proposed several options. However, the most creative possibility comes from Israeli televisions.

No Country for Old Dictators

Al Jazeera’s Hasan Sagheir writes, “It will not be easy for any country to grant Gadhafi, who kept describing himself as ‘the King of African kings,’ political refuge. This can become a huge responsibility due to the large number of Libyan protestors who were killed and the kinds of weapons that were used in the killing, which may be considered genocide. Gadhafi may become wanted by the International Criminal Court.”

Libyan journalist, Mahmud Shamam believes that if Gadhafi decides to leave, he will most likely go to a Latin American country, particularly Venezuela, because of his personal ties with Hugo Chavez and leaders of revolutionary movements in the region.

Another possible destination according to Shamam is Serbia, because Gadhafi has good relations with security and political officials in the Serbian regime.

Shamam, however, strongly believes that Gadhafi will not go to any African country because of the instability in the region--and the fact that African countries likely couldn’t resist handing him over to the International Criminal Court.

Hassan Abdel Wahed, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian newspaper, Alakhbar Alyom also believes that Gadhafi may go to Venezuela. But he also mentioned other possible destinations. It is possible, he wrote, that Gadhafi could retire to one of the Eastern European countries or former Soviet states, as long as he receives a guarantee that he will not be extradited to Libya or the International Criminal Court.

My Kingdom for a Yarmulke!

Israeli televisions, however, offers a surprising possible destination for the Libyan despot.

According to Israel’s Channel 2, Gadhafi might be Jewish. If this turns out to be true, he would be entitled to seek refuge in Israel, as would any other Jew based on the “law of return.”

Israeli Channel 2 interviewed two Israeli Jewish women of Libyan origins saying that they are Gadhafi’s distant relatives.

One of the women, Guita Brown said, “Gadhafi’s mother is the sister of my grandmother.” She continued, “Gadhafi’s grandmother ran away with an Arab sheik and left her first husband with whom she had a kid.”

Brown also elaborated her story at Israeli Channel 7.

The news anchor of Israel’s Channel 2 responded, “So Gadhafi doesn’t just have Jewish relatives, he is Jewish!” That is because Judaism is a matrilineal religion, meaning anyone born to a Jewish woman is considered a Jew under Jewish law.

Rayan Jones wrote in the magazine Israel Today, “If the story told by Brown and Saada [the second woman] is true, Gadhafi is entitled to immigrate to Israel as a Jew under Israel’s Law of Return. Even if every other country on earth refused him entry, Israel would be obligated by its own laws to take Gadhafi in.”

Israel’s Channel 2 anchor added sarcastically, “I am sure there is some local authority in Israel that would be pleased to have a former president on its staff.”

For Gadhafi, though, someone who has long championed the Palestinian cause and claimed to be the leader of Pan Arab nationalism, one might ask: Wouldn’t his seeking refuge in Israel be committing political suicide?