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The truth told should not be taken as insult!


By Marivel Guzman

Palestinian medics evacuating an injured protester during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, last year.
(Credit Adel Hana/Associated Press)

The truth told, should not be taken as insult!
Voices are usually silenced, when it comes to Israel.

Very often, we see public figures and government officials including members of Congress to receive a backlash of “angry voices” claiming that any statement make in regard of Israel, if isn’t favorable, then is antisemitism.

On July 12, four days after the latest war in Gaza began, hundreds of Israelis gathered in central Tel Aviv to protest the killing of civilians on both sides and call for an end to the siege of Gaza and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The New York Time

In my opinion, the tragedy of WWII is an open wound for Palestinians, who still carry on their backs the horrific events that took place in Europe.

Before and after the end of the war, their destiny [Palestinians] was marked by the partition of their land.

The Jewish people, who emigrated to Palestine by force or by their own will, found safe heaven there, as Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said, during a Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”

71 years later, Palestinians are suffering persecution, oppression, occupation, incarceration and a slow ethnic cleansing.

For Palestinians, the Holocaust is not a painful memory, but a crude reality.

Israel converted Palestine into a pastrami sandwich.

“What is to become of the Palestinians?” Churchill asked. “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them,” Ariel Sharon said.

Winston Churchill III recalled his 1973 encounter with Sharon during a National Press Club

By Sharon’s statement, it is obvious the plan to install settlements-Settlements are illegal under International Law, was to take more land, and to uproot more Palestinians.

#humanrights #occupation #Holocaust #Palestine

Cornel West speaks for Palestinians


By Marivel Guzman

 

Cornel West photo credit CornelWest.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif.– Sept. 29, 2016.  Cornel West at Press Conference at Sacramento State University.

I was aware of  West’s role in advising the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, particularly on the Palestine Issue. For over 40 years, West has been a vocal advocate and supporter of the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Zionist occupation of their nation; Knowing West’s position on this important issue-of-the-day, I was intrigued by his deep concern about the plight of the Palestinian people and the need for people in this country to gain an objective and historical understanding of the roots of the current plight of Palestinians.

In my familiarity with West’s books, he has almost maintained a very progressive stance by tying their oppression to foreign occupation of their country. Therefore, I was eager to hear more about his views when I attended his lecture and press conference at Sacramento State University.

Knowing that the mainstream media would not only shy away, but ignore the conflict in the Middle East, particularly in regards to the Palestinian issue, I made it a point to ask  West about his role in advising the Sander’s campaign regarding the rights of Palestinians that live under Israel’s occupation. His response made it clear that he remained firm in his conviction that the people of this country must understand and support the Palestinian struggle to regain statehood.

When I asked why the Democratic Party after the primaries refused to acknowledge the Palestinian issue, his reply was unequivocally clear,

“If they didn’t address it, they were just wrong, this was cowardly and too indifferent, too unwilling to engage the level of suffering and misery and injustice of precious Palestinians brothers and sisters.”

West went on to explain that the position of the Democratic Party has been “tied too long to American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.” He went on to explain that “AIPAC is not representative of Jewish-Americans, it represents a slice of centrist and conservative Jewish-Americans.” He then went on to explain that the AIPAC is “very powerful, like the NRA, and any other powerful lobby that is shaping U.S. policy … and for too long the kind of policies that the AIPAC promotes has not recognized the humanity (of the Palestinians) and the evil of Israeli occupation …. I am against foreign domination, I think what we are about is that every human being has some security from domination.”

The topic went on to highlight Assembly Bill 2844 which Governor Brown recently signed into law opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

There is a broad campaign both nationally and internationally to boycott, divest and impose sanctions upon companies that financially benefit from the Israeli seizure of Palestinian lands and resources.

This campaign included a boycott of those products from the occupied territories. The intent of Governor Brown bill is to protect the Israel by silencing and suppressing the groundswell support of an ever-growing number of people in this country and worldwide of the Palestinian people. Therefore, I asked West for his opinion of Assembly Bill 2844 and whether he thought groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union would challenge it on the basis of a denial of free speech. He felt that there would be legal challenges to this bill because he considers himself a libertarian when it comes to freedom of speech.

He went on to state that “there’s no doubt that there are many brothers and sisters in the BDS movement who are being targeted and demonized because they have a critique of not just Israeli occupation, they have a critique of the Israeli state that is perceived by very powerful elite at the top as being anti-Semitic …” “It is very difficult to have that conversation in the United States and so those of us who are part of the BDS we get demonized, we get viewed as if we are anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic and we just have to make it clear that we have to rob that kind of shallow characterization of the substance, we have to be very explicit about that fact that we take principled stance against anti-Jewish hatred and anti-Jewish prejudice and anti-Jewish sensibilities and still have fundamental commitment to the self-determination of Palestinians…”

I was very heartened by West’s formulation of the Middle East conflict and his wholehearted opposition to bigotry of any type. It was evident that he has pondered the issue long and hard or in his words for “30 to 40 years.” I found that his comments about President Obama’s neoliberal identity that leads him to support the State of Israeli to be on-target. He bravely criticized President Obama for his support and allowing himself to be captive to the right-wing elements in Israel. This included the passage of the $38 billion bill to the State of Israel. West concludes that the Middle East conflict is a very complex issue that demands “that we have enough people who are willing to tell the truth the best way they know it.”

The Jewish settlers and Israel as a matter of policy condoning-violence-policy is to be blamed


Ethnically Cleansed Palestinian Refugees on their way to Lebanon, October, 1948. photo/Palestine remembered

This article was written to respond to Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic: The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada, where he said his version of the story going back to 1920 through 2015: Palestinian leaders incite violence now as they did in 1920.
The current stabbing Intifada taking place in Palestine he said a quasi-uprising in which Palestinians have been trying, and occasionally succeeding, to kill Jews with knives. Goldberg should know that the definition of Intifada is uprising. He used Intifada as part of the name of the article and then he calls the intifada quasi-uprising. Mr Goldberg, it is an intifada or is not.
Well he goes to blame the current situation to the leaders of Palestine for the anger that is uncontrollable and has been displaced by the Palestinian youth mostly in recent incidents. Worth mentioning that only part of the stabbings did really happened as published by Palestinian news and other outlets, the rest of the Palestinians killed have been staged by  the settlers filled with their common hate for any Arab; Christian or Muslim. And even there is an incident that a settler confused the darker skin of an individual for Palestinian and it was a Jew.  Last Thursday, The New York Post said that 31 Palestinians were killed recently from which only, 14 were recognized as attackers, according to mathematics the other 17 were indeed executed
Anyway, going back to Goldberg’s article, he goes on saying that violence, “is prompted in good part by the same set of manipulated emotions that sparked the anti-Jewish riots of the 1920’s; a deeply felt desire on the part of the Palestinians to “protect” the Temple Mount from the Jews” he said. Goldberg does not make any mention of the thousands of settlers and IOF incidents of unprovoked attacks prior to this 2015 youth uprising. No, he prefers to say only what the Israel’s public loves to hear; the eternal victim-hood of the Jewish people wondering in the wilderness looking for God’s promise land; for his chosen people. Let’s forget about religion and come back to reality.
Palestinians have been living in Palestine for centuries as history records.
If you like recorded history and want to learn more about Palestine, I invite you to visit Palestine Remembered where you can watch videos of interviews from Palestinians and Jews before the creation of the political entity Israel, photos of villages all gone now, stories of battles and more.”The CORE issues of the Palestinian-Israeli are the collective dispossession and ethnic cleansing (compulsory population transfer to achieve political objectives) of the Palestinian people for the past six decades. In our opinion, the conflict would have been at the same level of intensity even if both parties had been Jewish, Muslims, or Christians. ” PalestineRemembered.com

Golberg repeats the same mantra that is being distributed by the Streaming Media: “Netayahu has said that the State of Israel is not trying to change the Status Quo.”

But what is the “Status Quo”?

The State of Israel is not “officially” promoting settler violence but it is permitting the violence with the protection of the IOF and Israeli security forces allowing settlers to attack worshipers and allowing the settlers to enter Al-quds with shoes (Muslims need to remove their shoes and wash their feet before entering a mosque) to vandalize inside the mosque.
If Netayahu means he is not going to change the Status Quo then:
What is the Status Quo in Jerusalem and in the rest of the occupied territories?
Occupation of Territories is the Status Quo?
Are check points the Status Quo?
“Each checkpoint looks like a military zone, consisting of a guard tower, a pedestrian waiting area, and two car lanes: one with a long wait for Palestinian cars and a special open car lane for Israeli cars. ” Electronic Intifada 2004
Palestinian Muslim males over 45 not allow to enter Jerusalem.

The South Africa pass laws implemented in Israel are kicking and running. Palestinians need to secure a permit to move around the occupied territories. If Israel feels like it, it won’t grant a permit.

Palestinians are not allowed to freely move in Palestine at all. Shuhada Street in Hebron is one of the best examples of living under a military dictatorship occupation. Shuhada Street is close for Palestinians but Jews can freely walk and harass the Palestinians residents that live on Shuhada street but need to leave their homes thru a hole on the roof.
Jerusalem is only open on Friday and males 55+, women 45+ after IOF clearance.
People living in Gaza are not allow to enter West Bank at all, actually the refugee camp of Gaza is a deportation camp. Families are completely separated.

Is the #Apartheid Wall part of the Status Quo?

Palestinian protesters and IDF soldiers at the beginning of the weekly protest near Bil’in. The apartment houses of Modi’in Ilit can be seen in the distance. March 30 2013 (photo: Noam Sheizaf)

Do allowing the settlers and sometimes IOF escorting them to harass farmers during their work in the field the Status Quo?
Do allowing the settlers to harass women in their way to the market the Status Quo?
Do allowing the settlers to harass children in their way from and to school the Status Quo?
Do allowing the settlers to burn thousands of olive trees every year the Status Quo?
Are the demolitions of Palestinian homes, separation and forced eviction of Palestinians part of the Status Quo?
Are the separate roads for settlers and Palestinian part of the Status Quo?
Is the killing of youth rather than access to courts the Status Quo?
Is the harassment of the children of Palestine in the middle of the night to take their photos part of the Status Quo?
Is the confiscation of Palestinian land for “security reason” and part of the Status Quo?
And also do not forget that the violence is not only in Jerusalem but in all the occupied territories including the modern concentration camp of Gaza which has been blocked from the rest of the world for almost 10 years.
So, people do not swallow the pill that this is a religious war, is not.Goldberg makes an excellent surgical extraction of the truth to portray the Israel’s side of the story.
For people that only follows the main stream media news, Goldberg’s piece is an excellent source to stay uninformed, misinformed and with this stripping Palestinian of all their humanity and right to fight for their existence in the only way they know; throwing rocks and now using kitchen knives.
Remember Israel has tanks, F16s, Apache Helicopters, Drones, War ships to attack Gaza, in other words Israel has all the defense gadgets and Palestinians has none but stones and knives. The fact that Palestine has been invaded many times in history does not mean it did not exist before United Nations decided to partition the land in 1947. It does not means either that the violence started on 1947.  It only means that Palestinians have been peaceful people that never wonder outside of their land, they have been farmers and shepherds, not conquerors.Further reading    Survey of Palestine by British Mandate 1200 pages report includes 1917-1945

The Holocaust Card always handy


by Marivel Guzman

"Use of the swastika by Nazism is linked to the fact that it is a strong symbol, seductive and captivating look. In this sense, served the purposes of Nazi propaganda appeal to the masses"

Two important meanings to the direction of rotation of the swastika. Benign sense counterclockwise, luck. Sense evil time, chance. “Use of the swastika by Nazism is linked to the fact that it is a strong symbol, seductive and captivating look. In this sense, served the purposes of Nazi propaganda appeal to the masses” desconstruindo-o-nazismo.blogspot.com

 

“The world’s most wanted Nazi criminal, Adolf Eichmann’s second hand-in-command, died four years ago in Syria at the age of 98, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Sunday, citing the testimony of a former German secret service agent deployed in the Middle East,” says The Times of Israel.

How the Simon Wiesenthal Center got a hold of that secret agent’s testimony?

Things are not going as planned with ISIS and the agenda to depose Assad, the president of Syria, now, Israel has to use the holocaust card again to refresh those pitiful memories of Jews dying in concentration camps in Europe, linking Syria with the worse Nazi, what a better moment to bring up the ‘news’ of Eichmann’s ‘best man who send 128,000 Jews to the camps’. If you notice the news is not about Adolph Eichmann that man history books says was the Holocaust architect, but about Alois Brenner.

How the writer knows that Alois Brenner was “described by Eichmann as his “best man,” another question I ask. Israel seems to know the secrets of Nazi Germany!

Now, I ask the ?question, who is this ‘former German secret service agent deployed in the Middle East?’ Would this former German secret service agent be around 100-year-old by now? if he was German secret service agent during the Nazi Germany this article tries to allude, that would had been right before 1945 at the end of the WWII, also this “service agent deployed in the Middle East,” is this means, he was deployed in what is now occupied Palestine, aka Israel? ,if we make memory there was no Israel then at least not before 1945, so, where exactly in the Middle East? who were the Middle East countries allies of the enemies of Germany that needed to be spied upon? This questions bring us to this, Operation paperclip!

We have received information from a former German secret service agent who had served in the Middle East who said that Brunner was dead and buried in Damascus,” Zuroff told The Sunday Express on Sunday.

“Given his age it would not be surprising and the information came from someone who we consider reliable.”

 

We should consider unreliable any information coming out of the Zionist Entity.

 

Suastica Symbol

Suastica Symbol

In 1945, Operation Overcast (renamed Operation Paperclip for the paper clips attached to the dossiers of the most “troublesome cases”) began, says Annie Jacobsen.
Jacobsen says, that more than 1,600 Germans were secretly recruited to develop armaments “at a feverish and paranoid pace that came to define the Cold War.
“Although some of these men had been Nazi Party members, SS officers and war criminals, they were valued as vital to American national security.” by Annie Jacobsen in an article written for the New York Times, on Feb, 28, 2014

If Israel is the sacrosanct ally of the United States, and Israel exist because of the U.S., this means that part of these 1600 Nazi members of the S.S were working directly with and for Israel.
Now, going back to Syria, ISIS and the whole mess in the Middle East, why the Simon Wiesenthal Center comes out with this “news” that first and all it is 4 years old, how is that when Syria is in turmoil the news is available?
Like a said, do not believe anything that comes out of Holocaust, Inc.
Marissa Newsman, the writer of this opinion piece made sure to name in the first paragraph Adolf Eichmann, the bogie man of Nazi Germany, even though this article is about Alois Brunner.
In a review in amazon.com for the Memories of Simon Wiesenthal, Scamp Lumm writes the following

Simon Wiesenthal, the most famous Nazi war criminals’ most successful tracker, even managed to find the SS agent who arrested Anne Frank in Amsterdam. I’ve just read how he trailed Joseph Menegele, the malevolent experimental doctor of Auschwitz, to the outposts of Paraguay. He was never apprehended….”

 

Now I ask, how a concentration camp survivor that has lost everything, properties, family, money finds the resources to become Nazi Criminal tracker?
What’s so amazing to me is Wiesenthal’s outlook despite having lost everything, and especially family members, he wasn’t motivated by hate or revenge in the work he did hunting for Nazis, says Scamp Lumm

The Holocaust Industry written by Norman  Finkelnstain can give you more light on the exploitation of the Jews that died during the WWII.

“The Double Shakedown, in which I documented the Holocaust industry’s blackmail of European governments in the name of “needy Holocaust victims” and then the shakedown of Holocaust victims by the Jewish organizations that pocketed the “Holocaust compensation” monies. Norman Finkelnstein

Asymmetric war: CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul reports from Gaza


by Marivel Guzman

Khaled Hamad,a Palestinian journalist.Killed by a targeted Israeli airstrike while covering Shaja'iya massacre. #Gaza on July 20, 2014 at Gaza, Palestine

Khaled Hamad,a Palestinian journalist.Killed by a targeted Israeli airstrike while covering Shaja’iya massacre. #Gaza on July 20, 2014 at Gaza, Palestine

 

The body of a elderly woman, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, is seen at her house in the Shejaia neighborhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel during fighting, in Gaza City July 20, 2014. At least 50 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighborhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled for shelter to a hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said. Militants kept up their rocket fire on Israel, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough toward a ceasefire in sight. REUTERS/Ali Hassan

The body of a elderly woman, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, is seen at her house in the Shejaia neighborhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel during fighting, in Gaza City July 20, 2014. At least 50 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighborhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled for shelter to a hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said. Militants kept up their rocket fire on Israel, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough toward a ceasefire in sight. REUTERS/Ali Hassan

 

A Palestinian boy, who medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling, receives treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City July 20, 2014. At least 20 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighbourhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled toward the hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said. The mass casualties in the Shejaia district in northeast Gaza appeared to be the heaviest since Israel launched its offensive on the Palestinian territory on July 8 after cross-border rocket strikes by militants intensified. Militants kept up their rocket fire on Israel, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough toward a ceasefire in sight. (Photo/Ali Jadallah)

A Palestinian boy, who medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling, receives treatment at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City July 20, 2014. At least 20 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighbourhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled toward the hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said. The mass casualties in the Shejaia district in northeast Gaza appeared to be the heaviest since Israel launched its offensive on the Palestinian territory on July 8 after cross-border rocket strikes by militants intensified. Militants kept up their rocket fire on Israel, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough toward a ceasefire in sight. (Photo/Ali Jadallah)

 

Palestinian killed under the rubble of his home after an Israel missile targeted his home. "The sleep, that never ends." reads a post in facebook The death toll continues to rise in the East of Gaza as Palestinians retrieve their loved ones from the rubble. July 20, 2014 at Gaza, Palestine

Palestinian killed under the rubble of his home after an Israel missile targeted his home. “The sleep, that never ends.” reads a post in facebook
The death toll continues to rise in the East of Gaza as Palestinians retrieve their loved ones from the rubble. July 20, 2014 at Gaza, Palestine

The remains of an ambulance hit during the assault of Shaja'ia neighborhood at #Gaza July 20, 2014

The remains of an ambulance hit during the assault of Shaja’ia neighborhood at #Gaza July 20, 2014

61 people were killed in Friday alone, Saturday 10, the tally is 309 Palestinian killed so far in this 17 days of slaughter. But who is counting right?


Source: Ma’an News Agency
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — 22 Palestinians were killed overnight with at least ten killed just since day break on Saturday as Israeli forces continued their military offensive against the Gaza Strip by air, sea, and land for the twelfth day, Palestinian medical sources said.

The killings follow the deadliest day in the conflict so far, after Israel killed at least 52 Palestinians and injured more than 400 on the first day of their ground invasion of the besieged coastal enclave.

Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra said on Saturday that Israeli forces had “committed a massacre against Palestinian civilians” in the Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip overnight, killing seven.

He identified the victims as 20-year-old Yahya Bassam al-Serri, Muhammad Bassam al-Serri, 17, Mahmoud Ridha Salihiyya, 56, Mustafa Ridha Salihiyya, 21, Wasim Ridha Salihiyya, 15, Muhammad Mustafa Salihiyya, 22, and Ibrahim Jamal Kamal Nasr, 13.

Al-Qidra also said that 27-year-old Raed Walid Laqan was killed in Khan Younis by an Israeli attack on a home belonging to the Tartouri family.

In addition, 30-year-old Said Ali Issa was killed in Juhor Addik neighborhood in the central Gaza Strip near al-Bureij refugee camp.

34-year-old Ahmad Mahmoud Hasan Aziz was killed by an Israeli missile on his home in Abraj al-Nada in the northern Gaza Strip overnight as well.

 

Saturday morning’s deaths bring the total death toll of 12 days of Israeli military offensive in Gaza to 309 in addition to 2268 injuries, according to al-Qidra.

The spokesman highlighted that Friday was the deadliest day of Israel’s military aggression on Gaza with 52 Palestinians killed as of midnight.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that 71 children, 25 women and 17 elderly people have been killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza as of Friday night.

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip — which it has dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” — in response to rocket fire from the area, which had increased in the weeks before the operation due to a massive Israeli military operation in the West Bank.

10 Palestinians died, more than 130 were injured, and more than 600 Hamas-affiliated individuals were arrested during that operation, which was launched following the disappearance of three Israeli youths in June.

Israel accused Hamas of being behind the disappearance, and in addition to the assault on the West Bank launched nightly airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which has been under a full economic blockade for the last seven years.

Hamas, however, denied the charges, and many have accused Israel of using the subsequent deaths of the three Israeli teenagers as a pretext for a widespread assault on the group.

Samer Issawi arrested again


Source International Middle East Media Center

UPDATED 2:34 p.m

Samer Isawi was re-arrested today by Israel Occuaption Forces

Samer Al_Issawi re-arrested today June 23, 2014 by Israel Occupation Forces. Isawi spent 10 years in jail prior to been released with another 1027 Palestinians, he was re-arrested without charged, Al-Issawi spent 8 months in hunger strike and was released in Jerusalem. His home was demolished on January 2013.

Samer Tarik Issawi (Al-Issawi) served 10 years in Israeli jails and became an internationally recognized icon for the prioners’ movement after spending 9 months on hunger strike last year.

The Palestinian News Network (PNN) reports that Samer was released, along with 1027 Palestinian prisoners, as a result of an Egypt-brokered deal between Hamas and the Israeli government for the return of Gilad Shalit.

In July of 2012, however, he was re-arrested for violating the terms of his release when he left Jerusalem into the West Bank.

Convicted for 8 months, to possibly include a reinstatement of the rest of his original 26 year sentence, Essawi began a hunger strike in August, 2012.

In April of last year, when a deal was finally reached where he was to serve 8 months for violating his bail, and then be released to Jerusalem, Samer announced the end of his strike.

Today, Israeli forces raided al-Essawi’s village, where clashes broke out with residents before they broke into Samer’s house and arrested him again.

According to Ma’an, military forces detained 37 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, earlier, as Israel’s massive arrest campaign continued for the 11th day.

Israel accuses Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion, near Bethlehem, though no evidence has actually been presented to determine that a kidnapping took place, let alone by Hamas.

Israeli military spokesman General Motti Almoz said, on Sunday, that all information indicates that the teenagers “are alive”.

Samer’s sister Shireen was arrested with their brothers Medhat and Shadi in March. They were not charged, but Israel has refused to release any details about their arrest, in line with behavior typical of the Administrative Detention policy.

Shireen’s detention has been extended by the Israeli court system three times, now, according to the PNN.

In January of 2013, brother Ahmad Issawi’s home was bulldozed.

Under the pretext of searching for the missing teenagers, Israeli forces have detained 471 Palestinians, including 11 parliamentarians, in over 400 targeted raids on homes, civil society institutions, universities and media outlets, according to the PLO. Ma’an News Agency

 

Economics of the poor and Israel

February 2, 2014 1 comment

One step at the time.
Lessons in economy of global systems. This is of course my very personal lesson in economics of the poor. “For a Capitalist System to exist, the slaves masses have to produce the goods and buy them back.
The basic neccesities for humans are food, sleep, sex, entertainment and shelter. When the system keeps those neccesities to a bare minimum, the masses do not live, they merely survive. Now, when the masses stop buying the goods they produce, the system collapse. If the reasons are to boycott the system, the system will respond by making some changes, but if the reasons are political in nature where ideas and ideals clash with the system, the masses as united force can bring the system down. It calls revolution.
Now, I’m not talking of an armed revolution but of a revolution from within the system where the masses start thinking in their behalf and get it of the box.
That is what we are doing now boycotting Israel, the capitalist system that supports Israel can not itself survive if the masses stop buying the goods, first in the settlements, then Israel and finally the corporations that support Israel. We could start big, and start from the corporations but now it is impossible to do that, we need our jobs, so we think. We are programed to our life style of comfort. It is easy to look the world with a magnifying glass and think we are outside, wrong we all part of the mess
But…. One step at the time.
BDS and Academic boycott of Israel institutions, why because Israel is shaping our world Read more…

Gaza 2013 Olive Harvest


by Marivel Guzman
On August 10, International Solidarity Movement called the international community of Palestinians supporters to come to Palestine to help the residents to harvest the 2013 Olive Harvest. Every year the settlers makes the harvest almost impossible, the presence of ISM members with their cameras y their bodies as human shields help Palestinians to get to their groves without being molested by the settlers.
Every year hundreds of Olive trees are burn or uprooted by settlers, the IDFs presence is obsolete, they do not defend the rights of the Palestinians, for the contrary their presence strengthen the settlers bully attitude.

Harvesting the olives in Gaza, 2013

“We often post distressing news of settlers uprooting, burning or wrecking the olive trees of Palestinians.  There is such a report from Sarta, in the north-west West Bank at the foot of this post. But first,  we post some lovely photos from Palinfo.com of Palestinians – men and women, young and old – picking and sorting their olives in settler-free Gaza.” Jews for Justice for Palestine


Settlers burn olive trees in Sarta

From International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team
September 27, 2013

Settlers burned around 35 olive trees in the Palestinian village of Sarta late on Thursday night, following the area being declared a closed military zone in preparation for the construction of a new settler road.

Around 60 settlers from the illegal Bruchin settlement and surrounding area, many armed with guns, set fire to the trees late on Thursday 26th September. At around midnight, the settlers arrived in Sarta. The town mayor asked the Palestinian Authority to liaise with the Israeli army in order to intervene, but when Israeli forces arrived on the scene they informed villagers that the area had been declared closed and told them to leave.

Two days earlier, town residents witnessed four bulldozers arrive in the village to prepare the ground for the construction of the road, which will connect the settlement with road five and is part of an expansion plan for the settlement which will take it from 40 houses to around 550.

The proposed road and settlement expansion is a source of concern to local Palestinians, who stand to lose much of their land under new plans, including local features such as a 500-year-old cemetery.

Bil’in protesters oppose a ‘horrible, horrible wrong’ — Michael Moore

January 12, 2013 2 comments

Posted on January 12, 2012 by Akashma Online News

by UPDATED By Marivel Guzman

5 Broken Cameras Documentary Film

I have been activist for few years now.  I consider myself part of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and like Bil’in resistance fighters, I m an advocate for non-violence movement. It is difficult to witness the struggle of Palestinians fighting their battle with a Palestinian Flag  and a camera.
Bil’in residents decided to wage a Non violent resistance war against the stronger army of the Middle East.

They started this war 7 years ago, protesting the Land grab for Settlements and the construction of the Apartheid Wall. They are not deterred by the gas, arrests, the bullets, the bullying and the death. Every Friday after prayer they gather by the Wall pacifically protesting the stealing of the Land.
I have been sharing photos and videos taken from the villages in West Bank, Gaza and West Jerusalem, images that could be rated R by the MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) by its violent content. The violence is recorded in every one of the videos shoot by the residents and by the International Community of activists volunteering to be live witness of the Israel Occupation, internationals that take their own doses of beating, gas, bullets, arrests, and sometimes death.  5 Broken Cameras Exposes Israel True Colors

Bassem Abu Rahmah

Phil was known as The Elephant, his Name was Bassem Abu Rahman RIP
Killed April 07, 2009

 

Michael Moore tweeted his followers to watch the film about Palestine that launched earlier in the departed year called 5 Broken Cameras. Twice. The chieftain of cinematic guerrilla activism sings it up as “one of the best films of the year” and “that rare documentary that has the power to move many. Pls watch!”

“Watch one of the best films of the year, “5 Broken Cameras,” the story of a Palestinian farmer who picks up a camera” MMFlint

Moore reveals a deeper connection to the film than suggested by those lonesome tweets. It took home the best picture award at the Traverse City Film Festival founded by Moore in his native Michigan. And he’s spoken at a number of screenings in the US. A video of one such pre-screening talk shows the extent of his directorial admiration for Emad Burnat’s film and the significant Israeli obstacles he has had to climb to showcase the debut Palestinian talent.

I was able to get Emad to Traverse City, Michigan. He’d gone to the airport in Tel Aviv and they wouldn’t let him leave. And so we had to get him to Amman to get on a plane there. But because I run a large international network of terrorists we were able to make this happen (laughs). I have been a huge advocate for this film for the better part of the last year. I was just telling Tom (the event’s co-organizer) downstairs that if I were the third Koch brother and had their resources … I would send a copy of this film to every home in America. And I believe that within 24 hours, if people would watch it, public opinion on this issue would change dramatically. This film is so powerful in its humanity, in its heart, its belief in non-violence as the way to succeed.

When Emad and his family were in Traverse City, Terry George, who made Hotel Rwanda, and I were introducing the film and then we did a Q&A afterwards and Terry said something I thought was really very true: every now and again a documentary comes along that after you see it you won’t discuss it as a documentary, you will discuss it as a work of art, a work of cinema, a movie. And we feel very strongly that this is one of those movies. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, of all movies, not just documentaries. And their struggle goes on as you will see. This man is not a documentary film maker – he’s a farmer. And the film that you are about to watch is a film made by a farmer. With no training whatsoever. And I don’t even think that they have a theater in their town so I don’t even know what he’s seen.

So that makes it even more amazing as you watch this film, and you’re realizing that sometimes if you have that, whatever that is in you, whatever you have to say, you want your voice heard, and he found the medium to do that, quite accidentally: because his son, Jibreel, was born in 2005 and he picked up a used home video camera; and started you know wanting to film his son growing up but things started happening, they (Israel) started building the wall to bleed their town, so he started filming that, and the title of the film, as is probably self-evident, in terms of what happens to his cameras. One thing we did in Traverse City town is that when he left we sent him a brand new camera (laughs) so he can keep filming. A small price to pay for trying to right a horrible, horrible wrong.

So I’m really happy that he came here tonight to watch this; and I encourage you in terms of not only your appreciation of the art of this film, but also when you leave here, when you think about this tomorrow, to do what you can to help other people who don’t have five broken cameras, don’t have a voice. We (Americans) are the funders of what you are about to see.

“As Israeli settlers begin building homes and erecting a barrier wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, a Palestinian farm worker documents the town’s resistance to the new settlement.  Over the course of several years, the townspeople clash with the Israeli Defense Force, and tensions mount as the wall remains and the building continues.” 5 Broken Cameras

Discover Bil’in

Bil’in is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty.

By annexing close to 60% of Bil’in land for Israeli settlements and the construction of Israel’s separation wall, the state of Israel is strangling the village. Every day it destroys a bit more, creating an open air prison for Bil’in’s inhabitants.

Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame”. And every Friday the Israeli army responds with violence, both physically and psychologically.

Bil’in residents have continued to withstand these injustices despite the frequent night raids of Israeli soldiers in the town followed by an increasing number of arrests of inhabitants and of activists. But now, the army has toughened the oppression by systematically arresting members of the Bil’in committee in charge of organizing the non-violent resistance actions. The aim of the arrests is to discourage Bil’in residents and reduce their resistance to the occupation.

By supporting Bil’in, you will help its inhabitants to continue their struggle and maintain hope in their fight for liberty. This site is dedicated to all people of good will – Palestinian, Israeli and the internationals who fight side by side against the injustices endured by the people of Bil’in.

Since I watched the trailer of 5 Broken Cameras I got inspired to shared as a great film without knowing, that this reality film was being nominated for the best documentary in our Oscar 2013.  5 Broken Cameras it is simple, real, painful as Palestinian reality is. If you have the chance “watch it”, go to Alive Mind Cinema and download it, Group Screen it, show it in your College Campus. Reality sting, but this is the only way to educate the public regarding Occupied Palestine.
Alive Mind Cinema shares a large chunk of the proceeds with the filmmakers, who are often the best spokespeople for their cause, as in the case of 5 Broken Cameras. We also support many organizations through partnerships, free screenings, education, etc.” Elizabeth Sheldon from Alive Mind Cinema.
Emat Burnat Palestinian Filmaker take you on a road of desperation, occupation, outrage and tears. In 5 years IDF (Israel Soldiers) destroyed 5 cameras, but he continue filming Palestinian Struggles.
Now for first time in history, Palestine Occupation has come out to the light of an audience silenced by Israel Propaganda Machine. 5 Broken Cameras in the hands of a Palestinian farmer bring you the painful Palestinian truth.

An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”

Democracy Now interview  with Palestinian Filmmaker/Farmer/Activist Emat Burnat and Israel Filmmakers/Activist David Davidi, they walk us to the making of 5 broken cameras, which it is an everyday reality in Bil’in Palestine.

Repression and Arrest on Videos Everyday Bil’in Struggles

Five Questions Netanyahu needs to Answer


Posted on January 05, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Source PLO -Negotiations Affairs Department

There is also a Security Non-paper issued on 2010 with singular statements like :
“Based on reciprocity, Palestine will not enter into alliances with parties hostile to Israel.
The only reason most of the Arab countries are hostile to Israel is because the Palestinian issue, so why, the PLO goes to promise such things. Or maybe they are talking of new alliances? Because the wording is talking into future, not past or present alliances. “Palestine will not enter into alliances” Security Non-Paper 2010

1. Why  does  Netanyahu  refuse  to  define  which “compromises” he will make?

Mr. Netanyahu said in his speech to the U.S. Congress in 2011 that ‘painful compromises’ will be neccesary to ensure a lasting peace. Neither in that speech nor in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last year did Prime Minister Netanyahu give any indication of which positive initiatives or agreed to any concessions during meetings arranged by the U.S., Jordan and the Quartet over the last two years.

2. Why does Netanyahu never acknowledge that the PLO has long recognized Israel’s right to exist?

The Declaration of Principles of 1993 were based on  a  historic  compromise  in  the  exchange of letters by which ‘the PLO recognizes the right to the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.’

The Palestinians have genuine and legitimate interest in establishing a Palestinian state that will be recognized, that acts as an independent state and is able to exercise its full rights and responsibilities as a sovereign nation.The Palestinian state needs also to be able to govern and exercise authority effectively, and maintain a responsible self-defense capability with no interest in establishing an offensive military threat to its neighbors. The main aim, after all, is to establish a national homeland for the Palestinians living in peace and security with all of its neighbors.

3. How  could  Palestine  be  a  sovereign  country without  East  Jerusalem  as  its  capital  and  with Israeli  occupying  forces  controlling  every  one  of its borders? 

The Israeli Prime Minister told the U.S. Congress that he is in favor of a Palestinian State, while saying that ‘Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel’ and that ‘it is vital that Israel maintain a long term military presence along the Jordan River.’

“Tonight, another Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah in Occupied East Jerusalem will be expecting to be evicted from the home they have inhabited for decades. The Shamasneh family – made up of10 members including two elderly and three children, are victims of the cruel behaviour of the Israeli occupation aimed at ethnically cleansing the city of its Palestinian inhabitants.”  Occupied East Jerusalem
“The Palestinian negotiators are not willing to sign an agreement that does not include Jerusalem or one which does not preserve our rights in the city as they were in June 1967. Israel’s proposal on Jerusalem, if we had accepted, would have cut the city in many forms and placed on it many different legal characterizations, some thing we rejected.” Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen): No Peace Agreement without Jerusalem, 2003

4. Is it not the truth that – judged by his unrelenting annexation  of  Palestinian  land  –  Netanyahu  is committed  to  making  a  viable  Palestinian  state impossible?

In  last  year’s  speech  to  the  U.S.  Congress, Netanyahu  also  claimed  that  Palestinians  should have  a  national  life  of  dignity  as  a  free,  viable  and independent  people  in  their  own  state’.  Yet he refuses to stop the expansion of Israeli settlements, continues to construct a massive and illegal wall that denies Palestinians freedom of movement, and refrains from committing to 1967 borders. In other words, he insists on building on the land that is supposed to make up the future state of Palestine.

Settlements: Since 1967, Israel has colonized the Occupied Palestinian Territories by systematically transferring parts of its Jewish civilian population into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in violation of international law. Today, more than half a million Israeli settlers, including over 190,000 in and around East Jerusalem, live in settlements established on land illegally seized from us in the OPT. These settlements range in size from nascent settlements or “outposts,” consisting of a few trailers, to entire towns of tens of thousands of settlers. Colonizing the Occupied Territories

5. When  will  he  admit  that  by  setting  non‐negotiable  pre‐conditions  on  all  issues  and unilaterally  acquiring  Palestinian  land,  his support  for  a  negotiated  solution  is  a  cynical pretense?

The  Israeli  Prime  Minister  repeatedly  calls  for negotiations  without  pre‐conditions,  while  setting pre‐conditions  and  extra  demands  of  his  own  and undertaking  aggressive  and  illegal  actions  to predetermine  the  outcome  of  negotiations. These include rejecting any compromise on Jerusalem, pre-emptively denying Palestinian refugees their right to return, demanding that Israel control the Jordan Valley area, and accelerating the theft of Palestinian land for the construction of Jewish-only settlements.

Paris Protocol, Oslo and David Accords  need to be scrapped out of the Palestinian Compromises, and a new set of rules have to be put in place according to Palestine State sovereign new status, and  according to International Law. Anything that benefit Israel and put Palestine in disadvantage should not be honored for being Legally Unjust.

Are the Palestinians Ready to Share a State With Jordan?

December 27, 2012 7 comments

Published on December 27, 2012 by Akashma Online News

By

Source The Atlantic


President Abbas may be pursuing a confederation with Jordan — a move that could finally break the stalemate in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) speaks with Jordan’s King Abdullah upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Dec. 6. (Yousef Allan/Reuters)


In the summer of 1993, I was granted a rare scoop as a Palestinian journalist: an exclusive interview with the prime minister of Israel at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, the first ever given to a reporter working for a leading Palestinian newspaper. Midway way through the one-hour meeting, I asked Rabin for his vision as to the ultimate political status of the West Bank and Gaza in 15 or 20 years. Rabin, who at the time, we later discovered, had approved the Oslo back-channel, took a puff at a cigarette given to him by one of his aides, and answered that he envisions It being part of an entity with Jordan.

I remember this response almost 20 years later, and at a time now when the Oslo Accords — which Rabin signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 — have all but been declared dead by all parties involved. Mahmoud Abbas, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Israel on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that fall, is now on the verge of leaving political life with no clear successor for him or for the Palestinian Authority that has been established in parts of the West Bank since the agreement’s implementation in 1995.

The failure of this approach has led some to suggest other avenues of breaking up the logjam  — the result of U.S. President Barack Obama’s lack of political will and the failure of the rest of the world to pick up the pieces without U.S. involvement. It is in this political limbo that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finding itself toying with an old-new formula: A role for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

In a meeting with members of the Ebal charity in October, which is made up of Jordanians of Palestinian (Nablus) origin and hosted by Jordan’s speaker of the upper house, Taher al Masri, Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal opened up the issue. In the speech, recorded and posted on the jordandays.tv website, the prince stressed that the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which includes “both banks of the [Jordan] River.” He added that he “did not personally oppose the two-state solution,” but that this solution is irrelevant at the current stage.

The October 9 talk received little attention until a former PLO leader repeated the idea, albeit in a different tone. Farouk al Qadoumi, one of the founders of the PLO’s Fatah movement, gave an interview to the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi, in which he suggested the return of the West Bank to Jordan as part of a federation or a confederation. Qadoumi, who opposed the Oslo Accords and has refused to step foot in the Palestinian Authority areas, has little clout in the PLO, and at one time accused Abbas of being behind the poisoning of the late Yasser Arafat. Qadoumi’s statement was quickly opposed by the secretary of the PLO, Yaser Abed Rabo, who called it “naïve.”

But earlier this month, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Abbas informed several PLO leaders “to be prepared for a new confederation project with Jordan and other parties in the international community,” and that his office has already issued reports that evaluate “the best strategies to lead possible negotiations with Jordan” toward “reviving the confederation.” He has reportedly asked PLO officials to prepare themselves to pursue this strategy. This report, if confirmed by official sources, could be a watershed moment for the Palestinian national movement, and the highest profile endorsement of this persistent proposal.

Abbas’s willingness to explore a Jordanian confederation comes on the heels of the United Nation’s recent declaration of Palestine as an observer state by a 138-9 vote. This clear victory for Abbas gives him the political capital to explore such a potentially controversial move — and also the international recognition of sovereignty that would allow Palestinians to enter into a confederation with Jordan as equal partners.

The idea of Jordan having a greater role in Palestine is attractive for various parties. With the Israelis claiming that the Palestinians might repeat the Gaza rocket problem if they withdraw from the West Bank, the idea of a Jordanian security role in the West Bank can defuse such Israeli concerns. A role for Jordan in Palestine would be publicly acceptable in Israel, where the Hashemite enjoy consistent respect among everyday Israelis. Americans would also find such an idea easier to deal with if talks ever return. And even among Palestinians who are unhappy with the PLO and its failures to end the Israeli occupation, any process that can end Israeli presence in Palestinian territories is welcome — even if that is replaced, temporarily, by an Arab party, whether it is Jordan or any other member of the Arab league.

The suggestion that Jordan returns to a direct role that can include sovereign control (and therefore responsibility) for the West Bank is a long shot for most Palestinians — and more importantly, Jordanians. Palestinians will see it as infringing on their independence. Jordanians will see it as a burden that will weaken their attempts at building a new East Bank Jordan with as few citizens of Palestinian origin as possible. Such a deal would certainly make Palestinians a majority in a federal system, bringing about the scenario that right-wing Israelis have been pushing, namely that Jordan is Palestine.

A Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, however, is another issue. Confederations are political systems that include two independent countries. For some time in the 1980s, this was the most talked-about term in the region. The late Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyyad), the former head of intelligence for the PLO, was quoted as saying that what Palestinians wanted was five minutes of independence and then they would happily agree to a confederation with Jordan. However, the issue became politically poisonous as soon as the late King Hussein of Jordan said publicly that he doesn’t want anyone to ever utter the term “confederation.” And so it has been for the past two decades.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, whose wife is of Palestinian origin, doesn’t have the same sensitivity, nor do Palestinians have the same concerns about him and a possible Jordanian lust for Palestinian land. Since 1988, Jordan, which had controlled the West Bank until it was lost in the 1967 war, has declared that the unity of the two banks back in the early 1950s is no longer the case. Shortly after the eruption of the 1987 Palestinian intifada, King Hussein declared a cessation of its role in the West Bank. This cessation, which has yet to be constitutionally mandated, has been rejected by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood — the largest and most organized opposition group in Jordan.

It is not clear whether the idea suggested by Prince Hassan and Farouk Qadoumi, and apparently espoused secretly by U.S. envoys to the region, will ever get traction. It is also not clear whether the words of the late Rabin of the Labor party that I published in the leading daily Al Quds at the time are still valid in Israeli governmental circles now headed by the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu and most likely will continue so after next month’s election. Ironically, Jordan’s parliamentary elections, which the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Action Front Party will boycott, will take place the following day.

While it is unclear if Jordan will ever end up having any sovereign role in the West Bank, support for a greater role for Jordan in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will no doubt increase in the coming months and years if the current decline of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority continues. The one determining factor in all of the discussions will have to come from the Israeli side, which has yet to decide whether it will relinquish sovereignty over the areas occupied in 1967 to any Arab party, whether it be Palestinian or Jordanian.

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Daoud Kuttab’s bio

 Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and media activists. He is the former Ferris Professor of Journalism at PrincetonUniversity. Daoud Kuttab is currently the director general of Community Media Network (CMN) a not for profit media organization dedicated to advancing independent media in the Arab region. CMN is registered in Jordan and Palestine and administers Radio al Balad in Amman, and www.ammannet.net

 Born in Jerusalemin 1955, Kuttab studied in the United Statesand has been working in journalism ever since 1980. He began his journalism career working in the Palestinian print media (Al-Fajr, Al-Quds and Asennara) as well as the audio visual field (Documentary producer). He established and presided over the Jerusalem Film Institute in the 90s. In 1995 he helped establish the Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) a censorship free Arab web site www.amin.org.  He established and has headed between 1996 until 2007 the Institute of Modern Media at Al-Quds University. In 1997 he partially moved to Amman (because of family tragedy and remarriage) and in 2000 established the Arab world’s first internet radio station AmmanNet (www.ammannet.net). Mr. Kuttab is active in media freedom efforts in theMiddle East. He is a regular columnist for the Jordan Times, The Jerusalem Post and the Daily Star inLebanon. He has co-produced a number of award winning documentaries and children’s television programs. His op-ed columns have appeared in the NY Times, TheWashington Post, The Los Angles Times, The Daily Telegraph and Shimbum Daily inTokyo. He has received a number of international awards among them the CPJ Freedom of Expression Award, the IPI World Press Freedom Hero, PEN Club USA Writing Freedom Award, the Leipzeg Courage in Freedom Award and the Next Foundation (UK) Peace through Media Award. He is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post, Palestine News Network, Al Arrabiya.Net and the Jordan Times.

Jerusalem-born thinker Meron Benvenisti has a message for Israelis: Stop whining

December 20, 2012 1 comment

Posted on December 20, 2012 by Akashma Online News

The notion of a Jewish-democratic state is an oxymoron and the two-state solution will never work. ‘This country is a shared land, a single homeland,’ he says.

Originally Posted on October 11, 2012 in Haaretz Daily Newspaper

By

Meron Benvenisti

Meron Benvenisti (b:1934) was born in Palestine in to a Sephardic father (from Salonika) and an Ashkenazi mother (Suvalki on the border of Prussia, Lithuania and Poland). Meron Benvenisti is a former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem (from 1971 to 1978) and the author of numerous books

Meron Benvenisti was my first editor. At the beginning of the 1980s, Ariel Sharon established more than 100 settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. At the beginning of the 1980s, Meron Benvenisti founded a Jerusalem-based information center to monitor the settlements Sharon established. At the beginning of the 1980s, I was a very young, very enthusiastic young volunteer in Peace Now, which thought ‏(rightly‏) that the settlements Sharon was establishing and that Benvenisti was monitoring were going to lead Israel to perdition. Thus I found myself working for the tempestuous Meron.

In a small apartment on the edge of Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood, he would roar in a booming voice while I documented every new settlement in the territories, every new road in the territories, every industrial zone. He would shout and rant while I noted a land expropriation and another land expropriation and yet another land expropriation. The country’s leading journalists came and went. And the leading American journalists came and went and foreign embassies requested information, whose compilation was funded ‏(barely‏) by foreign foundations. But after the melee subsided, I cast my gaze on the man who caused a media storm by claiming that the occupation was irreversible. An overgrown boy, I said to myself. An overgrown − and delightful − boy.

He was born in 1934 in Jerusalem, went to a kibbutz ‏(Rosh Hanikra‏) for self-fulfillment and left the kibbutz. He studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem ‏(history of the Crusades‏), and left the Hebrew University. He joined Teddy Kollek ‏(Tourism Ministry, Jerusalem Municipality‏), and left Teddy Kollek. After he ceased to be deputy mayor of the city and after failing to enter the Knesset, he went to Harvard and earned a Ph.D. in conflict management and founded the West Bank Data Base Project in Jerusalem, to document the establishment of the settlements. Betwixt and between, Benvenisti wrote books about the Crusaders, about Jerusalem, about the conflict and about cemeteries. For 18 years he wrote a column in this newspaper. He now divides his time between Caesarea and the city in which he was born, where he will be buried and for which he grieves.

I plead guilty to having a weakness for Meron. I love his volcanic temperament and I love his authenticity and his unbearability. I love his sabra quality and his earthiness, and I love the intensity of his tragic romanticism. Benvenisti is not only an out-of-the-box person; he is an out-of-the-system, out-of-the-mold, out-of-every-convention person. Being irresponsible, immature and unrestrained, he does not feel a commitment to any solution or any stream of thought. Being all chutzpah and provocation and quarrelsomeness, he does not belong to any group. But it’s precisely that lone-wolf intellectual wildness that makes him so fascinating. Serious and not serious, logical and illogical, Meron Benvenisti contains within him all the contradictions and all the vicissitudes and all the irreconcilables of the land with which he is engaged in a relentless wrestling match.

It has been 10 years since we last met. The man who opens the door for me is older and less healthy than the man I knew. After two major heart operations, he is thinner, softer and a bit more conciliatory. When I enter, he does not tell me what he thinks about my articles and my path and my worldview. Instead, he gives me a gift: a short letter written in a refined hand that my mother’s aunt wrote to his father in the village of Zichron Yaakov 92 years ago. Surprisingly, this delicate letter is what opens the subversive autobiography ‏(“The Dream of the White Sabra,” 2012, Hebrew‏) of the subversive Zionist I have come to listen to. Because, when all is said and done, what’s important for this subversive Zionist to say is that he is from here. From within. From this land. From the guts of the story against which he rails.

***

What is it you are saying, Meron? That we are South Africa? That we are white settlers like the Boers and are suppressing the natives like the Boers and that we are doomed to collapse like the Boers?

The comparison to South Africa is wrongheaded, simplistic and dangerous. There was something there which does not exist here: biological racism. The whites there were only 17 percent, and the blacks 83 percent. But on the other hand, the whites and the blacks shared the same religion and lived with one another and the blacks were not expelled. So, I do not accept the allegation that Israel is an apartheid state. Even what is happening in the territories is not exactly apartheid. But what is taking shape here is no less grave. This is a master-nation democracy; in German, a “Herrenvolk democracy.” We are a country that behaves like a full-blooded democracy, but we have a group of serfs − the Arabs − to whom we do not apply democracy. The result is a situation of extreme inequality.

There is a society here of settlers who dispossess others by seizing their place and pushing them out and creating a unilateral power system of migrant rule. That system cannot survive. Ultimately, the good Israelis will not be able to sustain the tension between their liberal values and the brutality of the reality amid which they live. They will leave. They are already starting to leave. Therefore, what’s needed is a transition to a different paradigm. The Jewish nation-state is doomed. It will implode. In the end, the only way to live here will be to create an equality of respect between us and the Palestinians. To recognize the fact that there are two national communities here which love this land and whose obligation is to channel the unavoidable conflict between them into a process of dialogue for life together.

Just a minute. You are saying more than I can take in. I have no argument with you about the settlements and the settlers. But that is exactly why the solution of two states for two nations was devised. That is exactly the reason that the majority of Israelis are ready for a partition solution. It will take time, it will be hard, but in the end we will have a Jewish-democratic nation-state here and they will have a Palestinian nation-state there. That is the way, it is the only way.

It is time for you and your friends in Tel Aviv to understand: it is impossible to divide this land. Impossible. You cannot tell the Arabs to forget about Jaffa and Acre. They will not forget. And you cannot get any Palestinian to sign off on “the end of the conflict.” They will not sign. And the Green Line, which was the great alibi of the left, no longer exists. The Green Line is dead. The separation fence: that is truly apartheid. Separation is apartheid. Tel Avivans don’t want to understand this, but the Land of Israel is whole. It is a single geopolitical unit. It follows that the partition of the land is impossible. It is as impossible geographically and physically as it is psychologically. What’s impossible is the solution you are proposing. Even in Spain and Canada and Belgium, the binational structures are breaking up and falling apart. So, do you expect that in the Middle East, of all places, the Jewish fanatics and the Palestinian fanatics will be able to live under one roof?

You’re dreaming, Meron. You are more divorced from reality than any Tel Aviv leftie.

First of all, I am not proposing solutions. That is not my job. I am saying that the dominant paradigm is a lie, and I am fighting it. I am proposing an alternative paradigm of equality with honor. I am bringing a different terminology and a different way of looking at reality; because the “villa in the jungle” approach won’t work. If you bring about a coerced and unjust division, you will end up with a Palestinian state that is crippled, hurting and angry, which will turn violent. The right wing is correct about that. You saw what happened in Gaza. The disengagement solved nothing and brought Hamas to power. And in the future, you are liable to get something worse than Hamas in the West Bank. That is why division is not a solution to the problem − it is an exacerbation of the problem. It’s true that the Middle East is not a comfortable place. But you came to live in the Middle East. So, what will you say now: “Sorry, it was a mistake, so pack your bags and leave”?

I am not about to pack my bags and leave. I do not have a foreign passport and I will not have one. I am a native son. I am native-born. I am from here. That is why I know that two national communities emerged in this land, both of which are an integral part of it. There are two national communities here that live together in the same place, one within the other. In this situation, partition is not an option. There was a time when it was possible, but no longer. This country is a shared land, a single homeland.

Fine, I get it. Now let’s go back. To the bedrock. Was Zionism born in sin?

Zionism was not born in sin, but in illusion. The illusion was that we are coming to a land in which there are no Arabs. And when we figured it out, we pulverized the country’s Arabs into five different groups: the Arabs of Israel, the Arabs of Gaza, the Arabs of the West Bank, the Arabs of Jerusalem and the refugee Arabs. We succeeded in creating a divide-and-rule system that made it possible for us to rule them and to preserve hegemonic power between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.

I do not want to say that Zionism is racist, but a constellation of traits developed here that is generally identified with racism, albeit without the biological element. We are imbued with a combination of hatred for the goy, which we inherited from our forebears, and hatred for the other whom we encountered here. The result is what we see today. Among a large segment of the public, there is an element of racism vis-a-vis the Arabs, but I would not categorize us all as racists. I would say that what characterizes us collectively is ethnic hatred, ethnic recoil, ethnic contempt and ethnic patronizing. Instead of progress, Zionism brought reaction. It became a movement of dispossession based on nonuniversal, non-egalitarian values.

When did this deviation by Zionism occur − in 1967 or in 1948?

In June 1948. How so? Because that was when state institutions were created here that were supposed to operate according to universal values. That was the moment at which the Zionist revolution was supposed to stop behaving by means of revolutionary force and bring into being a normal Western state. But [David] Ben-Gurion, who until that moment was the head of an ethnic group, did not internalize the fact that he was no longer the head of an ethnic group. He transformed the nascent state into the continuer of the ethnic struggle. Thus, the Arabs who remained within the boundaries of the state were immediately subjected to ethnic discrimination. Discrimination was institutionalized by means of the Military Government, land expropriations, budgetary inequality and the continued existence of organizations such as the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, which served only Jews.

But in 1967, that distorted situation, which was implicit in the state, underwent a quantum leap. Now it was no longer the Judaization of Galilee but the implementation of a wild policy of dispossession across the Green Line. Seizure of land, settlements, bypass roads: the creation of a declared situation of one law for Jews and another law for Palestinians. Oslo was a purported attempt to stop the rampant situation. There was mutual recognition between the nations, which is important. But in practice, it turned out that it was not Yossi Beilin who shaped the process but those who saw in Oslo an opportunity to continue the occupation indirectly and conveniently. Thus, a neocolonialist situation was created in the territories. We enjoy maintaining a captive market there which enriches us all.

At present we are talking about 350,000 settlers; or, if you also take Jerusalem into account, 550,000 settlers. So, everyone now understands what I said 30 years ago: it is irreversible. Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni can say whatever they like − it is irreversible. There is no way out of this mess.

Zionism, which did not undergo a metamorphosis in 1948 and did not desist in 1967, became a kind of revolution-in-progress and thereby became like the other revolutions-in-progress of the 20th century. It forged a situation that a liberal democrat cannot live with and cannot accept. This is a situation that cannot endure indefinitely.

I will tell you where you differ from the Zionist left. For most of us, the key concept is the “State of Israel.” As we see it, the Zionist enterprise was intended to bring into being a place where the Jewish people would constitute the majority and enjoy sovereignty. If there is no majority, there is no sovereignty and no democratic-Jewish state; there is no point to all this. It’s more convenient to live as a minority in Manhattan. But for you the basic concept is the “Land of Israel.” In that sense, you resemble the right wing and the Palestinians. You have a soil fetish. You come from the soil and you live the soil and you speak in the name of the soil.

It’s true that I live the story of the soil. I live the whole land and I am mindful of all the people who live here. That is how I know that the land cannot tolerate partition. And I know the land is hurting. The land is angry. After all, what two great monuments have we built here in the past decade? One is the separation fence and the other is [architect Moshe] Safdie’s terminal at Ben-Gurion Airport. The two monuments have something in common: they are intended to allow us to live here as though we are not here. They were built so that we would not see the land and not see the Palestinians, and live as though we are connected to the tail end of Italy. But I see all the fruit groves that were demolished in order to build the fence. I hear the hills that were sliced in two in order to build the fence. The heart weeps. The heart weeps in the name of the soil. For me, the soil is a living being. And I see how this conflict has tortured the soil, the homeland. I grieve for the torments of the homeland.

For years, we built against the Arabs. We dried the Hula Valley and we wrecked Jerusalem and we tore apart Judea and Samaria. But afterward, the Arabs started to build against us. They are no better than we are. We raped the soil and they raped the soil, and now the soil is violated. But I know that in the end it will be the soil that laughs at us: because we cannot exist without it and it cannot exist without us.

In the past, there were so many nations that thought they had succeeded in wresting control of the land. None of those nations was willing to share the land; they wanted the land for themselves and tried to seize it the way you seize a mare. But that noble untamed stallion shook them all off. The point is that if you want to live here, you cannot live alone and you cannot live without listening to the soil. You need to know that the soil breathes and the soil remembers. If you do not understand that, you are not truly a native son. Not truly a native. Your place is not here.

Now we have reached the heart of the matter: nativism. You have a nativist obsession, Meron. And I must tell you that there is something dangerous about your worship of the soil and your admiration for the natives, something undemocratic and illiberal and unenlightened. Why this contempt for migrants? What is the justification for rejecting those who seek a haven here? I discern in you a hidden preference for the Palestinian story over the Israeli story because you are enthralled by the fact that the Palestinians are natives here.

I am drawn to the Arabs. I love their culture, their language, their approach to the land. Our love of the land is an acquired love. Look at the heritage project of [Education Minister] Gideon Sa’ar and [cabinet secretary] Zvika Hauser: it is kitsch. First we defined some sort of theoretical Land of Israel and then we fell in love with the concept, and then we destroyed everything that did not fit the concept. We destroyed the Palestinian landscape, dug to find the remnants of Herod and King David in order to justify our existence, and we came up with a landscape of asphalt and malls that even we do not like. “Man is a tree in the field” − that is not us. Our love of the land is a love that we imposed on the land and foisted on the land. With the Arabs, it is the opposite. Their love for the land truly sprang from the soil. Love of the fig, of the tree, of the house.

It’s true that we have managed to mess them up, too. They are doing terrible things in Ramallah. But I love their love of the homeland. I love what [Palestinian national poet] Mahmoud Darwish writes about it and what [Israeli writer] S. Yizhar writes about it. I see a great closeness between Darwish and Yizhar. And I believe in a future in which the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Darwish and Yizhar live together. Because, as Yizhar wrote: Deep down, the soil does not forget. Only those who are capable of listening to the unforgetting silence of this tormented soil, from which everyone begins and to which everyone returns, Jews and Arabs, has the right to call it homeland. I believe in that with all my heart. In my perception, anyone who does not believe it is not a Zionist.

After everything you have said here, about the masters and the dispossessors and the suppressors, do you still consider yourself a Zionist? Is there such a thing as a Zionist who is against the Jewish nation-state? Is there such a thing as a Zionist who is in favor of a binational state?

Look, despite everything, Zionism is a success. It created a Jewish national community here that is alive and kicking. It forged a Jewish-Israeli nation that was not here. That’s why everyone wants to be a Zionist − to be part of the success. And I will not give all kinds of Revisionists and Likudniks the pleasure of saying that they are Zionists and I am not. In my view, the Revisionists and the Likudniks are good only in verbiage. They’re all talk. Look at this prime minister: All he knows how to do is spout verbiage. To go to the United Nations and speak excellent English and show some ridiculous drawing. In this matter he is totally his father’s son. With them it’s all verbiage. With them there is no coping with real life. And it disturbs me deeply that these Likudniks were able to transform the tremendous project of the working Land of Israel into something flawed. Because, despite all my criticism, I am very proud of my kibbutz past. I am very proud of the United Kibbutz Movement and of socialism, and of everything we succeeded in doing. I am thrilled to hear the “Internationale” and to sing the “Internationale.” What were the Revisionists, after all? A few thousand breakaways who purport to claim that they expelled the British. The only thing they were good at is talk. Only talk.

And it’s the same with the Mizrahim [Jews of Middle Eastern or North African descent]. I do not accept all this Mizrahi whining. Because, what would the Mizrahim have done if we had not been here to take them in? What would they be worth? What would have happened to them if we had not created the Israeliness to which they connected and turned into some sort of cartoon? If it had not been for us, the Mizrahim would have remained a potpourri of migrant cultures. True, we made plenty of mistakes. But we made a heroic decision to take them all in. And by that decision we effectively committed suicide. Our Hebrew-Israeli culture dissolved under the flood of immigration. That is why we now have Likud governments and constantly hear Mizrahi whining. But I do not accept either the one or the other. I am proud of being a white sabra. And I will not allow anyone to expel me from the Zionist camp. I am one of the founders of this place. I am from the Zionist Mayflower. I will not allow anyone to treat me as a non-Zionist.

So, on the one hand you are a Zionist, but on the other hand you want full justice and full equality for the Palestinians. How does that work in the real world? Do you evacuate settlements or not? Do you take in refugees or not? Do you accept the right of return or reject it?

The settlements are of no interest to me. Lawbreakers should be expelled. The rule that should be applied in Judea and Samaria is full equality between the Jewish settlers and the Palestinians. After 45 years it is no longer possible to hide behind the term “military occupation.” There is no such thing as military occupation that is not temporary. But in the same degree that the settlers live there, the Arabs have to return to their villages here. There are 140 Palestinian villages inside the State of Israel on which no communities were built but were turned into nature reserves and national parks. Some of them, at least, can be rebuilt. The people of Ikrit and [Kafr] Bir’im [in Upper Galilee] have to be allowed to return to their lands. There is no justification for Kibbutz Baram to occupy so much pastureland. The Palestinians have to be allowed to pray in the abandoned mosques. And every time people make billions from lands that belonged to Arabs, a certain percentage should go for the refugees. The Palestinians should be given a share of the profits that are raked in when all those huge malls are built on lands of kibbutzim and moshavim [cooperative villages]. And certainly the quarter of a million “present absentees” who live in Israel should be given their rights: to build a home, be hooked up to the power grid, not to have to live in “unrecognized villages.”

Don’t be so frightened of the Palestinian villages and mosques that I am talking about. There is no cause for the demographic fear. Most of the refugees don’t even want to return. We need to break down the highly charged question of the right of return into a series of acts of conciliation that address the trauma and move toward some sort of more equitable arrangement. I do not believe that it will be possible to live in one state according to the principle of one person-one vote. If so, the side that gets a majority will exploit its majority to seize the power centers and suppress the other side. We need to find a structure that will not be either a Jewish nation-state or a Palestinian nation-state, but a shared framework in which the two nations will go on squabbling − but on a foundation of equality. A foundation that consists of my acknowledgment of their story and their acknowledgment of my story, with an attempt to find some sort of reasonable balance between the two.

When did all this happen to you? After all, your father was one of the first of the Zionist educators who taught local geography [in Hebrew: “knowledge of the land”] and preached love of the land. You were a student leader of Mapai, the ruling party at the time and the forerunner of today’s Labor Party. The deputy of Teddy Kollek and one of the unifiers of Jerusalem. When did you suddenly cut yourself off from the umbilical cord of the Zionist establishment and become an anomalous figure who promotes weird ideas that infuriate both the right and the left?

The subtitle of my book is “An autobiography of disillusionment.” And that is exactly what it is. I went through an interesting process. My father wanted me to be one of the cornerstones of this country. He wanted the small soles of the feet of his son to touch this soil and no other. He tried to forge in me − and in many thousands of others whom he taught − a feeling of absolute belonging to the Land of Israel. And he succeeded. That is why I went to Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra in the 1950s and experienced the transcendent feeling of working in the banana groves − without noticing that in order to plant the banana trees, I was uprooting olive trees, thousands of years old, of a Palestinian village. That is why in the 1960s I bribed Arabs to remove hundreds of graves from the Muslim cemetery on the Tel Aviv shore so that it would be possible to clear the land on which the Hilton now stands. After the Six-Day War, I was with Teddy [Kollek] and “Chich” [Maj. Gen. Shlomo Lahat, afterward mayor of Tel Aviv] when we decided together to remove the 106 families of the Mughrabi neighborhood to create the large plaza of the Western Wall. I remember to this day the bulldozers and the clouds of dust that rose into the air and the old woman who was buried under one of the houses.

In all those cases and during that whole period I was a go-getter. I did not understand the meaning of what I was doing. But when I started to deal with the Arabs of East Jerusalem, I began to understand. I saw that the problem is not only the individual rights of the Palestinians but also their collective rights. And when I monitored what Arik Sharon was doing when he established 120 settlements in the West Bank, I suddenly realized that it’s irreversible. Finished. The Green Line is finished and the hope of a Jewish state here is finished. After all, the notion of a “Jewish-democratic state” is an oxymoron, and the two-state solution is no solution. And the terms the left uses − “peace,” “occupation,” “Green Line” − are lying, stock phrases. Their only purpose is to give Israeli liberals the good feeling that they are not responsible for the injustice and the dispossession and the terrible deeds their country is doing. I decided that I was no longer going to take part in that fraud. I would not take part in the left’s conceptual [population] transfer. I am not David Grossman of “The Yellow Wind,” who went to describe the occupation in the West Bank like some Captain Cook describing the life of the natives in some remote country. I am not Ze’ev Sternhell, who is constantly waiting for the arrival of some deus ex machina by the name of Barack Obama to force on Israel a peace that will not happen.

The fact is that, in the end, because my father so much wanted me to be a native, I am truly a native. And as a native, I see all the natives who live here − both the Israeli natives and the Palestinian natives. I am not afraid of them and do not flinch from them and do not patronize them. I believe that there is a possibility that they will find some imperfect way to live in the one common homeland.

Strangely, you are less pessimistic than many of the left-wing veterans. You, of all people, are not saying that the country is finished and all is lost. Do you feel that your generation succeeded or failed?

My generation both succeeded and failed. Mostly failed. Look, I belong to the population group that was here in 1948 − people who were 6 years old or more before the state’s establishment, and who were therefore shaped by prestate Zionism. Now I am an extinct species. But when you look back, you see that we played a tremendous part in forging this society and this national community. At the same time, you see that we lost all the wars we fought. We lost the war of creating a new person and creating a new culture and creating a new society. All in all, it came out pretty crappy for us. Everything was debased. And we, because of our bourgeois way of life, let the other forces take over in Israel and vanquish us. And the reason they vanquished us is that they were more steadfast in their goal and we were more pampered.

Living in Jerusalem today, I live in a bubble. Jerusalem outside my bubble is a city that has disintegrated completely. It is on its last legs. It does not exist. And it is too painful for me to see that. When I travel around the country today, I don’t understand exactly what is happening. Everything is different. Not what we wanted it to be; not something I can understand.

But all of that pales in the face of our huge achievement in establishing a Jewish-Israeli national community here which, despite everything, is alive and kicking. That is why I do not accept the whining of the Mizrahim and I also do not accept the white whining of the veteran Israelis.

It was not by chance that I titled my autobiography “The Dream of the White Sabra.” As the white sabra, I am not ashamed of anything. I made mistakes and I admit the mistakes, but in the end I am proud to be a son of the founding fathers. I of all people feel myself to be a Zionist. Sometimes it even seems to me that I am the last Zionist.

Books and Article written by Meron Benvenisti

  • Benvenisti, Meron (1970): The Crusaders in the Holy Land, New York [1]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (1976): Jerusalem, the Torn City, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, ISBN 0-8166-0795-8)
  • Benvenisti, Meron (1984): West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israel’s Policies, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, ISBN 0-8447-3544-2 [2]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (1988): Conflicts and Contradictions, Villard, ISBN 0-394-53647-9 [3]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (1995): Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land University of California Press ISBN 0-520-08567-1 [4]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (1996): City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem University of California Press ISBN 0-520-20521-9 [5]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (2002): Sacred Landscape: Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23422-7 [6]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (2007): Sons of the Cypresses: Memories, Reflections and Regrets from a Political Life. University of California Press [7]
  • Benvenisti, Meron (2012), The Dream of the White Sabra(Hebrew)

Articles

U.S. Challenges in a Changed Middle East


Posted on December 04, 2012 by Akashma Online News

Excerpt from CFR

Interviewee: Robert A. Malley, Program Director, Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org

The events in the Middle East continue to rapidly unfold, providing difficulties for U.S. policy in the region, whether it is the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the rise of Islamists, the conflict in Syria, or tensions with Iran. Middle East expert Robert Malley says, “With Islamists in power in Egypt, with Hamas more powerful than it was the last time it was at war with Israel [2008-09], the United States is trying to figure out its place in a region that is no longer the one it was accustomed to.” And in Syria, although a negotiated end to Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preferable, “unfortunately, it almost certainly is not the most likely” way the conflict will end. He says the United States is conflicted over accepting Egyptian help in ending the recent Israel-Hamas attacks while it is also uncomfortable with the domestic policies of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The situation in the Middle East seems extremely complicated right now. A little over a week after the United States and Israel negotiated a cease-fire with Hamas, its rival, the Palestinian Authority, is getting approval for an “observer state” status in the UN. Meanwhile, the situation in Egypt, whose leader Mohamed Morsi had been praised by the United States for his work in getting the cease-fire with Hamas, is in a fight over who’s going to run the country. How do you put all of this together?

On one level, there’s a lot that’s very familiar: A war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel that ends in an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. A Palestinian bid for an elevation of their status at the UN. An Egyptian president, who, on the one hand, acts in ways that are viewed as quite constructive by the United States when it comes to the relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and on the other hand, takes steps at home that are quite inconsistent with our view of democratic governance. We’ve seen all of that before. But the difference is that it’s taking place in a radically transformed environment where the protagonists have changed identities and worldviews. With Islamists in power in Egypt, with Hamas more powerful than it was the last time it was at war with Israel [2008-09], the United States is trying to figure out its place in a region that is no longer the one it was accustomed to.

So far, it seems Israel has passively accepted the inevitable vote in the United Nations. What’s the long-term significance of this?

Israel is beginning to do what it probably should have done from the beginning, which is to minimize the impact of this vote and to look to the day after the vote, rather than focus its energies on either trying to stop it or threatening retaliation in the event it took place. It was never in a position to stop it, and retaliation would backfire because it would be more harmful to Israel to see a collapse of the Palestinian Authority than it would be to the Palestinians themselves. The indications now coming through that Israel is going to take a more measured stance in response to the vote is something that would have been welcomed months ago, but better late than never.

The challenge is going to be twofold. One: managing the immediate aftermath of the vote to ensure that neither the Israeli government nor the U.S. Congress take retaliatory actions that would turn this in a very different direction. Second, if, as Palestinian President Abbas has said, negotiations are to resume after the vote or after Israeli elections, those negotiations learn something from the failures of the past. You can’t simply go back to the recipes that were used years ago and failed under circumstances that were more propitious than the ones that exist today.

Any renewed peace effort has to take into account the rise of Islamism, the increased mistrust between Israelis and Palestinians, the coming to the surface of issues that have been relatively secondary in the past and have now become very central, such as the notion of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state or the origin and the plight of the Palestinian refugees. These are some of the existential issues that were never easy to ignore but have become much harder to set aside, given the increasing influence in Israel and in Palestine of constituencies for whom those are the central issues, and given the rise of Islamists in Palestine and the Arab world, for whom some of the solutions of the past are going to be much more difficult to accept today.

 

 

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