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::The Israel/Palestine Thread::

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by ~atp~, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    The conflict in Palestine and Israel (and surrounding borders) is one that we are consistently debating.

    Regardless whether or not you believe it to be an important issue, it is at least popular enough to warrant attention. Personally, I believe it is representative of a large number of problems we see in foreign policy, not only as it relates to the United States, but as it relates to other governments, in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    Given the number of thread topics that have been created on this subject and the renewed attention of the media on the region, as a result of the "Road Map to Peace", I thought it appropriate to designate this thread to all issues surrounding the conflict.

    I'm going to start the thread not necessarily with a debate, but a very worthwhile read wherein the authors (Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenisti who are both Jewish) discuss why they've managed to come to the same conclusion; that a two-state solution will not work.

  2. Klubmasta Will

    Klubmasta Will TRIBE Member

  3. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    I will read this article when I get some time on my hands.
  4. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    Note: Moved from this thread.


    This only validates my point. The Jewish people, prior to the UNSCOP recommendation of 1947, comprised 30% of the total population and owned 6% of the land.

    The UNSCOP recommendation was to give the Jewish people 54% of the land which is 9 times their ownership and about twice their populative representation. This is hardly "fair", but as I mentioned, such is the case in the geopolitical arena. This also explains why Palestinians rejected the recommendation while the Zionist entities embraced it; Ben Gurion admitted that this was only a first step in a much longer in the acquiescent battle for land.

    Sure, but this doesn't validate the UNSCOP recommendation in the first place. That would be like the UN saying, "well, because the demographic area defined by 'little Italy' in Toronto is predominantly Italian, I think we can all say it's ok to make little Italy a new country for all immigrant Italians, regardless of what the rest of the country has to say about it."
    The repartitioned numbers, by the way, are something to the effect of: in the Jewish state, 498,000 Jews and 497,000 Arabs and in the Arab state, 10,000 Jews and 725,000 Arabs. Even still, within the Jewish state, the Jewish people owned a mere 10% (up from 6%) of the land. Nice how it all worked out, huh? :)

    Ahh yes, the infamous Dershowitz aka "OJ Simpson guy".
    I remember reading an interesting article (or maybe it was an interview?) by him; kinda funny looking in a Woody Allenish sort of way. Anyway, he was saying something about how it would be beneficial to Israel to torture all arrested Palestinian suspects. No, not actual criminals, just suspects. What really got me was his suggestion about killing the relatives of all Palestinian terrorists. I probably read that drivel in the New Republic.

    I stopped reading around that point. Silly man. Discrimination can really fuck you up. ;)


    Well, let me try and explain. Again. Slowly. So that you understand. If I could draw, I would use peekchurs to reinforce the ideas. But I don't. So here it goes:

    Somewhere around the mid 1960's, the PLO was formed. It's creation came out of terrorist conflict with Israel, naturally, and its charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel, even to this day (although the 1993 Oslo accords enacted the retraction of the offending sections, those sections are still visible at the PNA official website).

    So while the PLO called for the destruction of Israel, Israel called for the destruction of Palestine. Is there an echo in here?
    So I'm not sure what you don't understand Deep_Groove, perhaps my use of the word "state" offended you? Stay on track here my man and address the issues! ;)

    You're calling my bluff huh?

    You don't know the history very well, do you? Perhaps you should start by reading the very dry but factual UN resolution documentation and the general assembly transcripts, found here. You can, more specifically, find the historical content regarding Israel and Palestine (between 1947-1975).

    Seriously, Deep_Groove, read it. In fact, anyone else who would like to do real research on the Israel/Palestine problem can effectively do so by linking and cross-referencing using the domino.un.org website. Very useful.

    So, now, to lay out my cards on my claim:

    During the 1870th meeting (12th January 1976) of the UN Security Council, a representative from the PLO, Mr. K. Haddoumi, had an opportunity to address the council for the first time. The discussion centered around the "Palestinian question". In part, the President proposed to allow the PLO the rights to speak at the council just "as are conferred when a Member State is invited to participate under rule 37."

    The United States, naturally, objected to allowing such representation (I'll get back to this later).

    Most other States voted for the adoption of the PLO rights of representation at the council. Indeed, on most resolutions, the voting had been heavily in favor of the Palestine proposals set forth by the UN, vetoed often alone by the United States and its client states (again, I'll get back to this).

    Once Mr. Haddoumi had a chance to speak, he began by saying:

    What's interesting is that Israel deliberately refrained from joining in on the discussions, as Haddoumi explains:

    You should actually read all of what Mr. Haddoumi and the rest of the general council has to say about the subject. It's very, very telling.

    I am going to post some of what he said here, for you to read. Yes, that's right, read it, please!

    It is amazing to me that the PLO is asking for a security council resolution here, but it has been denied, consistently, by most notably the United States and Israel.

    These resolutions all refer to the "Question of Palestine" in one way or another and all refer to the "inalienable rights of the people of Palestine". In every instance, we see the veto power that the United States exhibits. These cases are:

    - 2535 B
    - 3210 (105 for, 4 against 2 of those being the U.S. and Israel).
    - 3236
    - 3237 (re: asking the PLO to take part in UN deliberations)
    - 3375
    - 3376

    There are many other examples, relating to other aspects of the middle east, however I think I have satisfactorily shown the cooperation of the PLO at the international forum of the security council and its willingness to submit itself to decisions that address the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.


    Deep_Groove, I sincerely trust that one day you acquire a pair of latex-free, sterile, surgical gloves, put them on your hands, position them around your anus and with every lefty-hating bone in your body, push like a mutherfucker until you hear a loud pop!, knowing that that sound is your over-inflated head being forcibly removed from your ass.
  5. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    atp your last post is very insightful. Thank you for all the information.

    With that I would like to post this article I got off of Counter Punch:

    September 3, 2003

    Building a Mighty Ghetto State
    "First of All This Wall Must Fall"

    This slogan was born spontaneously, opposite the Wall in Kalkiliya, at the place where it becomes a fence and turns east, penetrating deep into Palestinian territory. On the other side of the wall the Palestinians were demonstrating. We were looking for a short rhyme to broadcast by megaphone. A common effort brought forth the seven words that carry the whole message.

    True, this is not the wall of Jericho that could be destroyed by the sounding of trumpets. The people who are building this obstacle want it to stand for eternity, much as "united" Jerusalem is the "eternal capital of Israel". The Israeli Right has no concept of a period of time less than eternity. But among Israeli Leftist there are also some who believe that the wall has created an "irreversible" situation.

    Not me. Because I remember other "irreversible" situations. And other "eternities", too.

    Our Wall is frequently being compared to the Berlin Wall. Visually and politically, this is a reasonable comparison. Also because the "Berlin Wall" was not only an urban monstrosity. It was part of the German section of the Iron Curtain, cutting all of Germany into two and extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the border of Czechoslovakia in the south _ almost a thousand km, approximately the same as the planned length of Sharon's monster.

    In Germany, too, it was a huge obstacle, a combination of walls and fences, watchtowers and firing positions, "death zones" and patrol paths. It divided the country, scarred the landscape and separated parents from children. An awesome monster, arousing fear and loathing, a symbol of power and finality.

    Especially finality. Everyone who saw it felt that this was a point of no return in German history, that the separation was eternal, that there was no point fighting against it.

    Indeed, serious politicians based their policy on the wall's permanency. Leftists and Rightists resigned themselves to the fact. No serious commentator questioned it. The situation was "irreversible".

    And then, one day, like a completely unforeseen eruption of a volcano, it just happened. The terrible wall disappeared, as if by itself. A communist minister made a slip of the tongue, the police had a moment of indecision, a crowd gathered _ and the "irreversible" became eminently "reversible". The situation had changed. Like the dinosaurs, the terrible monster disappeared from the earth.

    (Some time before that I drove from West Germany to Berlin. I had to pass a DDR border station. Vopos (Volkspolizei) with hard faces and raw commands: "Your passport! Sit there! Wait!" No "please", "thank you" or "excuse me". Like the Nazis in Hollywood movies. Same uniform, same peaked caps. same behavior, same everything.

    Some days after the fall of the wall I passed there again. The same policemen were still there, but they were unrecognizable. Smiles from ear to ear. Unbounded civility. Please, Sir. Thank you, Sir. Would you please, Sir. Just a moment, Sir. Obviously not only walls are reversible, people are reversible, too.)

    There is, of course, an important distinction between the German and the Israeli wall. East Germany had a border fixed by international agreement (between the Soviet Union and the Western allies at the end of World War II). The wall was built entirely on this line. Its path was self-evident. But here there is no agreement, no border, no self-evident path. Everything is determined by anonymous planners.

    It is easy to imagine them sitting in their air-conditioned offices, a map spread out before them. A very special map, because it shows only Jewish settlements and bypass roads. The Palestinian towns and villages do not appear on it at all. As if the ethnic cleansing, that so many in Israel (and in the Sharon government) are longing for, had already happened.

    That is what's so special about this Wall: it is inhuman. The planners have completely ignored the existence of (non-Jewish) human beings. They took into account hills and valleys, settlements and bypass roads. But they totally ignored the Palestinian neighborhoods and villages, their inhabitants and their fields. As if they did not exist.

    And so the Wall stands between children and their school, between students and their university, between patients and their doctor, between parents and their children, between villages and their wells, between peasants and their fields. Like a big armored bulldozer that crashes into a village and crushes and destroys everything in its path without faltering, the Wall cuts thousands of the thin threads that constitute the fabric of people's daily lives, as if they weren't there.

    For the planners, these lives simply do not exist. The country is empty of non-Jews. At the beginning of the 21st century they act in accordance to the Zionist slogan that was current at the end of the 19th : "A land without a people for a people without a land".

    Indeed, the idea of the wall is rooted deep in the Zionist consciousness and has accompanied it right from the beginning. In his book "Der Judenstaat" that gave birth to the modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl was already writing: "In Palestine we shall constitute a part of the wall of Europe against Asiaan outpost of culture against barbarism." More than a hundred years later, Sharon's wall expresses exactly the same outlook.

    Outsiders won't understand this. Yasser Arafat told me this week that Abu-Mazen, on his recent visit to the United States, showed President Bush a map of the Wall. Bush was shocked. He shook the map before the Vice President, Dick Cheney, and cried: "What's this? Where is the Palestinian State?"

    By its very existence the wall seems to express power. It announces: "We are mighty. We can do whatever we want. We shall imprison the Palestinians in little enclaves and cut them off from the world." But that is make-believe. In reality, the Wall expresses ancient Jewish fears. In the Middle Ages, the Jews surrounded themselves with walls in order to feel safe, long before they were obliged to live in ghettoes.

    A State that surrounds itself with a Wall is nothing but a ghetto-state. A strong ghetto, for sure, an armed ghetto, a ghetto that frightens everybody in the neighborhood, - but a ghetto, nevertheless, that feels save only behind walls and barbed wire and watchtowers.

    We shall not achieve peace unless we overcome this ghetto mentality. And first of all, we must get rid of the Wall.

    Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is one of the writers featured in The Other Israel: Voices of Dissent and Refusal. One of his essays is also included in Cockburn and St. Clair's forthcoming book: The Politics of Anti-Semitism. He can be reached at: avnery@counterpunch.org.
  6. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    Israeli Warplanes Strike South Lebanon
    Attack in Response to Shelling by Hezbollah
    By Hussein Saad
    Wednesday, September 3, 2003; 4:21 PM

    TYRE, Lebanon - Israeli warplanes attacked the outskirts of a south Lebanese village Wednesday after Hezbollah gunners fired anti-aircraft rounds at Israeli jets in Lebanese airspace, Lebanese and Israeli security sources said.

    "Israeli planes attacked the western part of Lebanon from which a cannon belonging to Hezbollah fired shells which hit the village of Shumra in western Galilee," Israeli army spokesperson Sharon Feingold said. "The planes destroyed the cannons."

    The planes struck the outskirts of Telal al-Bayad, just north of the Lebanese border town of Naqoura, Lebanese security sources said.

    Hezbollah confirmed that the Israelis hit one of its positions but said none of its fighters there was harmed.

    "The Islamic Resistance reserves the right of response to this aggression and knows well how to choose the appropriate time and place for the response," a Hezbollah official told Reuters.

    "The Islamic Resistance considers the raids as acts of aggression," he added.

    The strike, the second in less than a month, came hours after Hezbollah fighters, who are backed by Syria and Iran, fired anti-aircraft rounds at Israeli jets flying in Lebanese skies.

    On Aug. 10, Israeli troops and jets blasted the outskirts of Lebanese villages after a Hezbollah anti-aircraft shell killed an Israeli teen-ager in northern Israel.

    The death was the first since the Jewish state withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in May 2000 after a 22-year occupation under pressure from Hezbollah guerrillas.

    Since the withdrawal, Israeli planes have regularly flown into Lebanese skies, drawing Hezbollah barrages.

    The United Nations, which has repeatedly warned that Israeli overflights could escalate into a more serious conflict, views both the flights and Hezbollah's reaction as violations of the terms of Israel's pullout.

    Lalit Tewari, the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, expressed "deep concern" over Wednesday's raid and said UNIFIL would follow up the matter closely.

    Tensions surged between Hezbollah and Israel after Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah threatened late last month to kidnap more Israelis unless there was progress on stalled prisoner swap talks.

    But Israel late last month handed over the bodies of two Hezbollah members who died fighting Israeli forces in southern Lebanon, in what analysts said could be a precursor to a prisoner exchange.

    (Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny
  7. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    In this thread, I'd rather avoid posting articles where the content is more or less: "Faction X bombed/killed N civilians" where X might be the IDF or Hamas and where N could be some number.

    Posting news like that is really not worthy of much comment, as it provides (usually) very little insight into the problem, and seems to generate only angry discussions that are like an exercise in futility.

    I started this thread with an excellent two-part essay that you should all read, if you're interested in the subject. :)

  8. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    BREAKING NEWS Israel's security Cabinet decides in principle to expel Yasser Arafat, but puts off taking immediate action, Israeli TV reports. Details soon.

  9. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member


    Whatever you might think of Arafat, people in Palestine have held on to him as their only form of unity.

    The potential reaction to this could be more violent than anything we've seen in that region in years...

    This is really sad.
  10. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    Here's what CNN is saying:

    Israeli security Cabinet will work to 'remove' Arafat
    Thursday, September 11, 2003 Posted: 3:53 PM EDT (1953 GMT)

    A crowd gathers at Arafat's Ramallah compound to show support Thursday night.


    Story Tools


    A father and daughter die in a suicide bombing. CNN's Matthew Chance reports.



    Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar was seriously injured and his son and bodyguard killed when Israel bombed his home.


    Israeli destroys militants' homes in West Bank


    • Interactive: Road map explainer
    • Interactive: Timeline
    • Map: Occupied lands
    • Interactive: Key Players
    • Gallery: Mideast lands
    • Special Report

    JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel's security Cabinet on Thursday said it will work to "remove" Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, a decision that could mean the Palestinian leader's expulsion from his Ramallah compound, the Israeli prime minister's office said..

    But no immediate action has been taken, said Ra'anan Gissin, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    Gissin said the security Cabinet believes that "Yasser Arafat is a complete obstacle to any process of reconciliation and peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors."

    He said Israel will act to remove "this obstacle" in a time and manner of its choosing.

    "That does not mean that we are going to expel him tomorrow," he said.

    The Sharon aide said the move could mean tightening restrictions on Arafat or neutralizing him in other ways. The issue is "how best to remove this obstacle without causing further damage" to peace with the Palestinians, he added.

    Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath called the announcement a "declaration of war" and said it could be a form of psychological warfare intended for shock effect.

    "Removing the obstacle should have started with removing the occupation. It is the Israeli occupation that is the obstacle," Sha'ath said. "We're not invading the Israeli territory. Israeli forces are occupying our country. The obstacle to peace starts there."

    Sha'ath said Israel has exacerbated the conflict by refusing to remove settlements and building a security fence that cuts into the West Bank.

    Speaking in a TV report, Arafat said, "This is the terra sancta. No one can kick me out."

    Asked if he was concerned for his life, Arafat said defiantly that the Israelis "can kill me by their bombs" but that he will "definitely not" leave.

    Arafat said he is committed to the road map to peace and urged its quick implementation.

    In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority officials used loudspeakers to urge Palestinians to head to Arafat's compound and rally around him. Scores of Palestinians staged demonstrations in support of him. In Gaza City, dozens of people, some brandishing weapons, started protesting.

    The Israeli move comes at a time when the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace appears buried under repeated Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis and Israeli strikes on Palestinian extremist group members that also have killed bystanders.

    The road map -- backed by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia -- aims to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

    After two Hamas suicide bombings killed 15 Israelis Tuesday, Israeli warplanes hit the house of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar on Wednesday, wounding him and at least 20 others and killing his son and a bodyguard.

    The Palestinian Authority also is undergoing a governmental crisis. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas quit last weekend, and the Palestinian Authority parliament soon will consider a new government put together by Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qorei.

    Also Thursday, an Arafat aide said that the authority plans to consolidate its security apparatus under the Palestinian president.

    Israel, which backed Abbas, has said it will not support a government led by Arafat or one of his allies. Officials recently have raised the issue of expelling Arafat from the West Bank, where he has been under siege for months at his headquarters in Ramallah.

    The security Cabinet, which includes ministers responsible for security issues, met after Sharon cut short his trip to India after Tuesday's suicide bombings.

    In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said the Bush administration's position remains unchanged regarding the expulsion of Arafat, adding that the Israeli move would not be "helpful."

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the U.S. view is that Arafat "is part of the problem, not part of the solution."

    "At the same time, we think it would not be helpful to expel him because it would just give him another stage to play on," Boucher said.

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned against exiling Arafat, saying it would be a dangerous move, according to Reuters.

    "Nobody can tell what would happen in the Palestinian territories if Arafat is expelled," Mubarak told Reuters. "Terrorism, violence will erupt everywhere. It would be a very dangerous situation."

    Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who is in Washington, also said he thought removing Arafat would be unwise.

    "I think it will be a mistake," Peres said. "Arafat outside the country will be more bitter and more negative and freer to do so."

  11. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    I came into this forum knowing this thread would be at the top after I read that headline.

    *shakes head*

    This can't be good.
  12. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    I'm kind of amazed the man his lived this long!
  13. AVE

    AVE TRIBE Member

    cannot be done
  14. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member


    (For a couple reasons...I've highlighted them)...

    Remember when we all said that the invasion of Iraq set a new precedent? Here's the first, direct and actualized reference to it. I'll repeat it, in case you missed it:

    In response, a Palestinian official said:

    Sound familiar? Let's change the word "Israelis" to "Americans":

    The Haaretz article finishes off by saying:

    I'm suspicious of the claim "abandoned structures". So I did some digging. Here's what I found:


    Two completely different stories. No surprise there.
  15. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    ^^^^ crazy!!
  16. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Not really according to the IDF every house is empty except for terrorist and everyone who gets hurt is a terrorist. According to the PLO every house is packed with children who can't walk because they have been starved for so long and all there fatherrs are in prisons in Israel.

    Both sides have been lying for so long you start to believe what they say. Its the same crap thats been going on for so long and the same tit for tat that makes this near impossible to resolve.

    If ever there was an area of the world in more need of an earthquake and a natural disaster I don't know what it is. This is a country that really needs something so horrendous to occur to both sides that they're forced to work togther.
  17. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    At this point, I'm almost inclined to agree with you here.

    As for the accuracy of the reporting in this specific case, I did a bit more looking into it and found that PCHR (Equivalent of HRW in Palestine) was on site. It's most definitely true that the homes were destroyes, and it's definitely true that there was artillery fire.

    ...so if the homes were abandoned, why was there artillery fire?

    ....meh, anyway, Ditto's more or less right, both sides have a vested interest in exaggerating or understating each and every aggression or oppression.
  18. Deep_Groove

    Deep_Groove TRIBE Member

    What is revealed about Palestinian public opinion regarding peace when Arafat, a past and present corrupt dictator, terrorist organizer and murderer of innocent civilians, is revered as the "great leader" who should never be replaced?

    And ~atp~, it's JUST like you to compare a report from Ha'aretz, a mainstream, private, non-government-controlled publication with a tiny website entitled "electronic intifada" and declare "Who knows WHAT to believe?" Frikkin' LOL!

    - Deep_Groove
  19. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    I see how you qualify information these days. Based on the size of the website. Very good. :)

    You also didn't bother to notice that their information disseminated from the PHRW organization...but hey, it's a Palestinian website, it's probably run by terrorists.
  20. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    Good article from the Gaurdian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,1042071,00.html):

    The end of Zionism

    Israel must shed its illusions and choose between racist oppression and democracy

    Avraham Burg
    Monday September 15, 2003
    The Guardian

    The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly.
    There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out.

    The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Ariel Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvellous theatre and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed.

    It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun.

    It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. You can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Travelling on the fast highway that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it's hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied.

    This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger for ever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing.

    We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don't hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don't even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands.

    Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below - from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption.

    If all this were inevitable, divinely ordained and immutable, I would be silent. But things could be different, and so crying out is a moral imperative.

    Here is what the prime minister should say to the people: the time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs.

    Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state - not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish.

    Do you want the greater land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let's institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages.

    Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse - or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements - all of them - and draw an internationally recognised border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish law of return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state.

    Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box.

    The prime minister should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racism or democracy. Settlements, or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire and suicide bombers, or a recognised international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem.

    Why, then, is the opposition so quiet? Perhaps because some would like to join the government at any price, even the price of participating in the sickness. But while they dither, the forces of good lose hope. Anyone who declines to present a clear-cut position - black or white - is collaborating in the decline. It is not a matter of Labour versus Likud or right versus left, but of right versus wrong, acceptable versus unacceptable. The law-abiding versus the lawbreakers. What's needed is not a political replacement for the Sharon government but a vision of hope, an alternative to the destruction of Zionism and its values by the deaf, dumb and callous.

    Israel's friends abroad - Jewish and non-Jewish alike, presidents and prime ministers, rabbis and lay people - should choose as well. They must reach out and help Israel to navigate the road map toward our national destiny as a light unto the nations and a society of peace, justice and equality.

    · Avraham Burg was speaker of Israel's Knesset in 1999-2003 and is a former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Reprinted with permission of The Forward, which translated and adapted this essay from an article that originally appeared in Yediot Aharonot
  21. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member


    In response to this thread I've decided to hopefully shed some light on why Israel (or better yet, Sharon) has decided to go public with this information and their motivation for doing so. This is my own writing, based on some of my own knowledge on the issue. It's opinionated, as usual. ;)

    First, I would like to say that Israel has always had a policy regarding the use of political assassinations as a security tool, purportedly in order to defend and deter against terrorists and other political dissidents. It wasn't until 1998 that this policy became quite public and openly discussed in government circles.

    A bit of History

    As early as 1952, when Isser Harel was head of the Mossad (Israeli intelligence agency), operations against defectors, German scientists and others who were helping enemy states (such as the missile-development program in Egypt) were carried out on a regular basis. There was no trial or judicial hearing to authorize these executions, they were simply covert-op assassinations. This is, of course, not unique to Israel but nevertheless demonstrates that assassinations were carried out.

    Progressing into the 70's and 80's, the Mossad put Yasir Arafat and many others on their terrorist list, and had partial success, for example Abu Jihad, Arafat's deputy of the PLO (which also reminds us of the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte). These assassinations were not motivated by vengeance, they were "protective" security measures with the exception of the retaliation for the Olympic terrorist attack (which was called a "liquidation campaign against the terrorists"). In fact, the Mossad documented their reasoning as "a deterrent and disruptive response to terrorism".

    Unfortunately, as is evidenced today, it seems the Israeli's policy of "deterrence" has only generated more terrorists. Much like the anticipated response to the United States' ambitions in Iraq, the hatred grew in Palestinian hearts and has physically expressed itself as terrorism suicide campaigns; a very sad and direct consequence (there are other motivating factors for the Palestinian suicide programs, however that is not the focus of this discussion). In fact, during a Mossad intelligence review over a decade ago, it was admitted that their understated policy was not working. Yet, why do they continue with their policy today, if they know it only makes things worse? Is it the only choice they have?

    Into the near-present

    In 1998, Mr. Ariel Sharon (who was Infrastructures Minister at the time under Netanyahu) publicly announced that Israel would eventually assassinate Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas. This is the first, truly explicit declaration made by an Israeli official of an assassination attempt. Mr. Meshal had been attacked previously with poison spray by Israeli forces.

    Since that day, Mossad has both denied and confirmed various assassination attempts against militants and other Arab leaders. Since Sharon's been PM, we have seen an increasingly bold escalation in the public declaration of the use of force against Palestinians in general, not just the known terrorists. What is obvious, is that the existence of an assassination policy has progressively become more public.

    But why, if the government recognizes the failure of such a policy, do we not only see it being carried out today, we see it being carried out with more fervour and with less public apology than ever before?

    There must be a reason, and it isn't because the policy works. This recent public admission to the public from Sharon's government is not a deterrent, and they know it. One might try to sum up the motives for such a decision as follows:

    1. Arafat "pulls all the strings" and thus if you chop off the "head" the rest of the "body" crumbles.

      This is highly unlikely, regardless of whether or not Arafat is "pulling all the strings" and I justify the claim below, in the next section, in response to Deep_Groove's comments.
    2. Sharon is bluffing, in order to achieve some form of political gain.

      If this is the case, it isn't clear what gains he might achieve. Perhaps he is hoping to scare Arafat into exile (which has never happened before) or perhaps he is looking to focus the international community on Arafat.

      This is a distinct possibility, given that:
      *Bush's new war on terrorism has branded many leaders as evil and helps justify preventative wars and other illegal operations.
      *Abu Mazen has just stepped down as Palestinian leader, thus defaulting our attention back to the other recognized leader of Palestine, Yasser Arafat.
      *Attention to the recent increase in Israeli hostilities against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has been elevated in the international community. Sharon would rather have the international community talk about Arafat and his evil deeds rather than Sharon's evil deeds.
      *Yasser Arafat is essentially the main cause for Abbas' resignation. This may have really pissed off Sharon's government. lol.

      Given these factors, it is possible that Sharon is using this as a bluff to distract attention away from Israel's occupation (which has seen an unusally high amount of attention lately, mostly due to the "Road Map" and the "security fence").
    3. Sharon would like to kill Arafat thus generating chaos, which would justify an Israeli invasion of the West Bank and Gaza.

      Listen to what this possibility suggests: Sharon might be purposefully triggering a war, in order to once and for all expropriate the land and seize those borders he deems as fit. This is the most extreme possibility, but Israel is living in an extreme government with extreme neighbours both sides having endured a century of conflict. It's not entirely unreasonable to consider this possibility.

      Dispelling the myth

      I would also now like to address a brief point that Deep_Groove brought up in the other thread. Now, in case you aren't already aware, Deep_Groove is very pro-Israeli (whatever that means, right?). Fine. But taking a position and justifying it are two very different things. Deep_Groove is good at one of these. He states:

      This is a common claim made by pro-Israeli lobbyists and media groups.

      This also happens to be demonstratably false. The PFLP, for example, in Lebanon, absolutely hate Arafat and accuse him (publicly) of conspiring to work with Israel! Now, this is obviously ludicrous, but that's because the PFLP is a tad bit extreme: this group opposes any negotiated settlement with Israel. Arafat, if you can believe it, is more peaceful and reasonable than this. (I use peaceful in a relative sense here).

      Probably to Deep_Groove's surprise, Israeli officials admit that Arafat doesn't actually control all the terrorist groups in Palestine:
      Arafat has very close connections to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade and does indeed help fund their cause. This is absolutely true, but then, Al-Aqsa was relatively unknown until 2001. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, on the other hand, are unlikely to be under the control of Arafat's PNA. The issue here is not very simple, either: Arafat is an intelligent man and throughout his career has purposely set terrorist organizations against each other in order to generate rivalries that encourage competition.

      Arafat has the power, for example, to set the more loyal components of the Al-Aqsa brigades as well as his other more "mainstream" security forces against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, however this would most certainly lead to an explosive civil war within Palestine and would probably result in the death or expulsion of Arafat and the rise of a potentially more unreasonable militant leader. Yasser Arafat would never concede to doing this, and Sharon knows it! He presented that option to Arafat last year knowing that Arafat would never accept it, thus justifying further offenses in the Palestinian territories. Notice that I am not defending Hamas or Islamic Jihad, I am simply defending the motives for Arafat's decision.

      A hypothetical

      Even if we entertain the hypothetical that Arafat controls all terrorist organizations, this would only increase the likelihood of a more vicious response if Arafat were to be assassinated! If Israel knows this to be the case, then what is their motivation? Do they feel that there will only be a short-term period of violence which will be followed by an inevitable peace now that Yasser Arafat is gone? Obviously not: a long-term peace could not be achieved by these means since:
      • the source of the Palestinian hatred for Israel's government is not due to Arafat, but due to Israel's occupation. That is, Palestinians do not generally hate the Israeli government because Arafat exists. They hate the Israeli government because of the policy and violence surrounding the occupation. Killing Arafat does not solve this.
      • even if killing Arafat is followed by a forcible installment of a "democratic" leader in Palestine and new borders imposed, the Palestinians will only see this as a greater injustice against their right to self-determination. This will only generate more resentment and violence.

      Dispelling another myth

      I'll quote Deep_Groove for an example of another interesting myth regarding Arafat:

      This is actually an interesting claim. Arafat became very public during the 2000 Camp David peace accord (not to be confused with a similar accord in 1978 under president J. Carter). This peace accord is the one that Deep_Groove refers to in his statement. The mainstream media will typically use the 2000 accords as a perfect example of how Yasser Arafat does not want peace.

      What really happened during the accords though? If you want to learn the details, the most interesting dissection of the motivations behind the accord is called "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors" and can be found here.

      I highly recommend reading it.

      I will summarize the from that review, and comment on why it is false to claim that "Yasser Arafat does not want peace". First, the Oslo accords were not adhered to after they were signed. Six years after the agreement, "there were more Israeli settlements, less freedom of movement and worse economic conditions". This "disillusioned" the Palestinians, obviously generating cynism among the officials and populous in Palestinian society.

      Furthermore, Barak was fearful of alienating the right, which was the mistake of Rabin, and was also fearful of the settler population, so his stated objectives purposely remained vague throughout the 2000 Camp David peace process. He also tried to strike a preemptive deal with Syria, thus rejecting the Palestinian legitimacy. This was an "instrument of pressure", especially seeing as Syria has done virtually nothing to address Israeli concerns over the years, contrary to positive steps taken by the PLO, such as recognizing Israel and "countless face-to-face" negotiations through international bodies such as the U.N.

      By the time Barak set a 3-month deadline, the Palestinians were fearful, cynical and angry at Barak and Israeli government in general. They didn't trust Israel, and with very good reason. The deal was laid out by Barak, which, if Arafat accepted would mean serious compromise and which, if he rejected, would mean a sort of political suicide because of the high-profile nature of the deal.

      And the accords really were organized by Clinton/Barak. This fact alone makes the entire deal suspect:

      Indeed, Clinton urged Barak to put himself in "Arafat's shoes" and to perhaps perform a few "goodwill gestures" toward the Palestinians. Then, on the eve of the summit Clinton assued Arafat that "there will be no finger-pointing" if the deal did not succeed!

      The offer

      In terms of the offer itself, the review I linked to above has this to say:

      The point here, is, that vilifying Arafat for "rejecting" an honest and generous peace proposal is a knee-jerk reaction for those who do not understand the issues. It's easy to point fingers at the "bad guy" (hey, you're with us or against us right?) but blaming Arafat in this case is both fallacious and ignorant of the issues. If you're pro-Israeli, you should at least have an understanding of the context within which these circumstances have occured.


      I honestly believe that if Arafat is either forcibly expelled from Palestine or killed, we will see terrorism on an enormous scale directed at Israel and the United States (because the connection Israel=America is assumed here). I think that Sharon is trying to redirect public attention and force the international community to demand for the removal of Arafat under threat of assassination by Israel.

      The bigger, more powerful state in this conflict is Israel. Israel has been occupying territory that doesn't belong to them. They have been killing people in those occupied territories. Palestinians have been responding to the occupation with more violence, which is not the answer. In response, Israel says they're going to assassinate Arafat, a man who is not even in their country, which makes the operation illegal under international law. The real source of the problem is the settlements and occupation. A solution that deals with this will stop the violence in the mideast.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2003
  22. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

  23. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    An interview with Uri Avnery

    I just read this article it's really insightful:

    An interview with Uri Avnery

    Violence is a symptom; the occupation is the disease
    FromOccupiedPalestine.org, 14 September 2003
    Znet, 15 September 2003

    Jon Elmer, FromOccupiedPalestine.org: There is an active debate in Israeli society, in government and in the media about murdering Yasser Arafat. Have you ever heard of a discussion of assassinating the elected leader of another country taking place in a 'democratic' society? What logic drives the open discussion of assassinating Arafat? What would the consequences of such an action be?

    Uri Avnery: First of all, there is no public debate in Israel at all - on this subject or on any other. We have now a situation where there is a group of generals - including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Staff, the army Chief of Intelligence and Chief of the Security Service - who decide all these methods alone, with the help of a compliant media that accepts everything the government says.

    For the past 30 years there has been a campaign to demonize Arafat in the media. I don't remember one single article saying anything positive about Yasser Arafat. So the public just takes this and the public also believes what it has been told since Camp David [of 2000] - that we offered the Palestinians everything and they rejected it; therefore, there is no partner for peace. Within Israel this is an axiom accepted by virtually everybody. When the public believes that peace is impossible, and that the suicide bombings will go on forever, they will accept everything the Prime Minister tells them.

    The act itself of assassinating Arafat, apart from its moral and legal aspects, will cause the greatest disaster in the history of Israel. It may put an end to the Israeli state in the long run, because it will put an end to any prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, and between Israel and the Arab world, for the next hundred years

    Elmer: According to the US-Israel alliance, it is the Palestinians - more specifically, it is Arafat - who must take the initiative in ending the "cycle of violence". Edward Said has commented: "Since when does a militarily occupied people have responsibility for a peace movement?" Is it the responsibility of the Palestinians to end the violence?

    Avnery: Violence is part of the resistance to occupation. The basic fact is not the violence; the basic fact is the occupation. Violence is a symptom; the occupation is the disease - a mortal disease for everybody concerned, [both] the occupied and for the occupiers. Therefore, the first responsibility is to put an end to the occupation. And in order to put an end to the occupation, you must make peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people. This is the real aim, this is the real task.

    Elmer: David Ben-Gurion is quoted having said: "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true, God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see only one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" What is your comment on this?

    Avnery: This is complete nonsense, and David Ben-Gurion, with all due respect, was an idiot as far as Arabs themselves are concerned. He did not understand the Arabs, he hated the Arabs. There are hundreds - thousands - of documents to prove this. As far as the statement itself, Palestinians want a state of their own. They want to live in freedom. They want to get rid of the terrible misery in which they are living. They are ready after 50 years to accept a state of their own in 22% of what used to be the country of Palestine. I think it is the height of stupidity on our part if we don't grasp this opportunity.

    Elmer: Is Ariel Sharon and his generals' goal to turn so-called Greater Israel, from the Mediterranean to the River Jordan, into a Jewish State?

    Avnery: That is their real aim. It is the aim of Ariel Sharon, and I strongly suspect that the core of whole higher office will follow him on this. His idea of a Greater Israel - or, as you call it in Hebrew, the entire Eretz (land of) Israel - is from the Mediterranean to the river Jordan, and to turn this into a purely, ethnically clean Jewish state. I would say this is the ultimate objective of all of these people, which would entail, of course, ethnic cleansing [of the Palestinian people].

    Elmer: Can you talk a little bit about your years in the Irgun during the war of independence?

    Avnery: I joined the Irgun when I was just 15 years old, and I left when I was 19 years old. I joined because I wanted to fight for our freedom and a state of our own, against the British colonial administration of Palestine at that time. I left it because I did not approve of the methods and the aims of the Irgun.

    What I would say is that I have always been aware and conscious of the importance and the strength of nationalism, and this has led me straight to the acknowledgement and recognition of the nationalism of the Palestinian people. I believe there is no way around this; we have to have a solution based on two national states, which will hopefully live and grow together and establish a relationship between them in something like a European Union.

    Elmer: Can you discuss your 1945 essay, "Terrorism: the infantile disease of the Hebrew revolution"? How was it different from the disease of Palestinian terror of their current revolution for statehood?

    Avnery: When I left the Irgun, at the age of 19, one of the reasons was that I didn't like the methods of terror applied by the Irgun at the time. When they put, that is to say we put, bombs in the Arab markets of Jaffa and Jerusalem and Haifa, and killed scores of people - men, women and children - in retaliation for similar acts by the Arabs, I didn't back this. I thought there were other methods. But it left me with a lasting understanding of what gets people to join such organizations, and I understand the Palestinians who join these [terrorist/resistance] organizations.

    I am against violence on both sides. But I understand people who believe that without violence they will not achieve anything at all. It is our responsibility as the stronger party, as the occupying power, to convince the Palestinians that they can achieve their basic national aims, their just national aspirations, without violence. Unfortunately, the behaviour of the Sharon administration, and before this of the Barak administration, have shown the Palestinians the opposite; namely, that they will achieve nothing without violence.

    Elmer: Robert Fisk has said of the Israel-Palestine war: "This terrible conflict is the last colonial war". Although he wrote this before the American war and occupation of Iraq, do you agree that this is essentially a colonial war?

    Avnery: No, I do not agree, I think it's a very simplistic, superficial view. What we are in is a conflict lasting for 120 years, between two great national movements: the Zionist Jewish one, and the Palestinian Arab one, who consider the same country their homeland. And it is a conflict which has no example anywhere in this world. And I object to people who make these easy comparisons and these easy analogies that are completely irrelevant. We are not South Africa. We are not in basically a colonial situation. There are aspects of the apartheid regime, there are aspects of the colonial regime, but it is something by far more profound, with much more profound historic roots, and you cannot come to a solution if you do not understand the nature of the conflict that we are in.

    Elmer: Admitting those deep historical roots, can there be a solution to the conflict that does not properly and justly deal with the Palestinian right of return?

    Avnery: The Palestinian right of return has many different aspects. There is the moral aspect, the political aspect and the practical aspect. I believe that Israel must concede to the Palestinian right of return in principle. Israel must, first of all, assume its responsibility for what happened in 1948, as far as we are to blame - and we are to blame for a great part of it, if not for all - and we must recognize in principle the right of refugees to return.

    In practice, we have to find a complex solution to a very complex problem. It is manifestly idiotic to believe that Israel, with 5 million Jewish citizens, and 1 million Arab citizens, will concede to the return of 4 million refugees. It will not happen. We can wish it, we can think it's just, that it's moral - it will not happen. No country commits suicide.

    Now the question is: how do we solve the problem by allowing a number of refugees to return to Israel, allowing a number of refugees to return to the Palestinian state, and allowing a number of refugees to settle, with general compensation, where they want to settle. It is not an insolvable problem; there are possible solutions to this problem that concerns human beings. It is not an abstract problem, it involves 4 million human beings, and more than 50 years of various sorts of misery. It is possible to find a solution for them, and it can be done: it involves some good will, and a readiness to give up historic myths on both sides.

    Elmer: I know that Gush Shalom has done some work with the ISM. I was wondering if you could comment on the role of internationals in the conflict.

    Avnery: The International Solidarity Movement is very important and does a very good job protecting the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories, giving testimony to all the terrible things that are happening there. Gush Shalom is glad to cooperate with them wherever we can. We have organized jointly several demonstrations in the Occupied Territories and we are both engaged in the fight against this terrible wall that is being erected by Sharon. Some of them, or all of them, are very courageous people, doing very courageous work. I want to mention here the name of Rachel Corrie, who gave her life in an effort to defend the Palestinians against the destruction of their homes. Her parents are in Israel right now, and I want to salute them.

    Elmer: But ultimately the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict lies with the Israeli and Palestinian people?

    Avnery: The only solution that can come about must be between Israelis and Palestinians. Others can help, assist, mediate and do many, many important jobs. But finally, it rests with Israel and the people of Palestine to find the way of peace and reconciliation - and reconciliation is more important than peace.

    Elmer: It is a popular refrain - in North America at least, where I live - that there is no hope. The two sides have been fighting for thousands of years and there is just no solution. Israelis and Palestinians will always kill each other. After all your experience: from independence fighter, to frontline journalist, to member of the Knesset, to peace activist - what is the solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

    Avnery: The solution is perfectly clear. All parts of the conflict have been amply debated and discussed. Many plans have been put on the table - hundreds. And everybody knows by now exactly the parameters of a peace solution. We at Gush Shalom have published a draft text of a peace agreement, and I am fairly certain that when peace comes about, it will be more or less on these lines.

    The solution is this: there will be a state of Palestine in all of the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The so-called Green-Line, the border that existed before 1967, will come into being again. There may be small adjustments, a small exchange of territories, but [the Green-Line] will be the border between Israel and Palestine. Jerusalem will be the shared capital - East Jerusalem will be the capital of Palestine, West Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. All settlements must be evacuated. The security must be arranged for both people, and there must be a moral solution and a practical solution.

    On these lines, there will be peace. And if you ask me, they could make peace in one week. The trouble is that both people find it very difficult to come to this point. And when I say both people, I don't want to establish a symmetrical situation - there is no symmetry here: there are occupiers, and the occupied. And as the occupier, we have the responsibility to lead this process. This is what I, as an Israeli patriot, tell my own people.
    Uri Avnery is a founding member of Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc). In his teenage years he was an independence fighter in the Irgun (1938-1942), and later a soldier in the Israeli Army. A three-time Knesset member (1965-1973, and 1979-1983), Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with the Palestinian Liberation Organization leadership, in 1974. During the war on Lebanon in 1982 he crossed "enemy lines" to be the first Israeli to meet with Yasser Arafat. He has been a journalist since 1947, including 40 years as Editor-in-Chief of the newsmagazine Ha'olam Haze, and is the author of numerous books on the conflict.

    Jon Elmer is currently reporting from Israel-Palestine and is the editor of FromOccupiedPalestine.org
  24. Mike Richards

    Mike Richards TRIBE Member

    Even though I'm a devoted Catholic I still think Religion is FUQD!

    How can something that is supposed to create peace create so much hatred & war?
  25. man_slut

    man_slut TRIBE Member

    I dunno why don't you ask the Pope!;)

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