Israel in Deadly Denial

Guest Column: Uri Avnery As dozens of Palestinian civilians are killed in Israel’s fierce retaliation for the latest round of rocket fire, the veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery discusses the inevitable — it may take the death of hundreds or even thousands more Palestinians, and scores more Israelis, but in the end, Israel will talk to Hamas.

The Bush-Olmert policy, since Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections two years ago, has been a catastrophic failure. Attempts to cajole the Palestinians through collective punishment (economic and military) into overthrowing Hamas have, if anything, strengthened its hand — and the collaboration of the Fatah leadership with many of these efforts has simply accelerated the political eclipse of the preferred Palestinian interlocutors of the U.S. and Israel.

Clearly, it is the duty of the international community through the UN to protect civilians in conflict situations, and that requires restraining Israel’s attacks on Gaza, and brokering a ceasefire with representative leaders of the Gaza Palestinians to prevent further rocket attacks on Israeli population centers. That means tearing up the absurd Bush Administration policy that has been in effect for two years ago, when we warned on this site that it was time for the U.S. to get real on Hamas.

Only a negotiated cease-fire between Israel and Hamas can bring the carnage in Gaza to an end, and the current violence is not a coherent policy, simply an appeasing of the worst instincts of a mob baying for vengeance. Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai last week threatened to unleash a “shoah” (the Hebrew word used to refer to the Holocaust) in Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket fire. (When Mahmoud Ahmedinajad says things a lot less explicit that are deemed to threaten Israel’s elimination, he arouses the ire of the international community and is scolded by the U.N. Secretary General; somehow Vilnai’s threat has passed largely without comment.)

Vilnai’s statement, although he scrambled to explain that he used the word simply to connote its literal meaning, “disaster,” seems to answer the question posed last year by former Knesset Speaker Avram Burg, about the increasingly virulent strain of racism that has emerged in mainstream Israeli political discourse. “I hear voices coming out of Sderot …. We will destroy and kill and expel. And there is a transferist discourse in the government …. We have crossed so many red lines in the past few years. And then you ask yourself what the next red lines that we cross will be.”

In the midst of the fury, Uri Avnery’s view is a welcome dose of calm rationality.

Good Morning, Hamas

By Uri Avnery

We Israelis live in a world of ghosts and monsters. We do not conduct a war against living persons and real organizations, but against devils and demons which are out to destroy us. It is a war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, between absolute good and absolute evil. That’s how it looks to us, and that’s how it looks to the other side, too.

Let’s try to bring this war down from virtual spheres to the solid ground of reality. There can be no reasonable policy, nor even rational discussion, if we do not escape from the realm of horrors and nightmares.

After the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, Gush Shalom said that we must speak with them. Here are some of the questions that were showered on me from all sides:

- Do you like Hamas?

Not at all. I have very strong secular convictions. I oppose any ideology that mixes politics with religion – whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, in Israel, the Arab world or America.

That does not prevent me from speaking with Hamas people, as I have spoken with other people with whom I don’t agree. It has not prevented me from being a guest at their homes, to exchange views with them and to try to understand them. Some of them I liked, some I did not.

- It is said that Hamas was created by Israel. Is that true?

Israel did not “create” Hamas, but it certainly helped it along in its initial stages.

During the first 20 years of the occupation, the Israeli leadership saw the PLO as its chief enemy. That’s why it favored Palestinian organizations that, it was thought, could undermine the PLO. One example of this was Ariel Sharon’s ludicrous attempt to set up Arab “village leagues” that would act as agents of the occupation.

The Israeli intelligence community, which in the last 60 years has failed almost every time in forecasting events in the Arab world, also failed this time. They believed that the emergence of an Islamic organization would weaken the secular PLO. While the military administration of the occupied territories was throwing into prison any Palestinian who engaged in political activity – even for peace – it did not touch the religious activists. The mosque was the only place where Palestinians could get together and plan political action.

This policy was, of course, based on a complete misunderstanding of Islam and Palestinian reality.

Hamas was officially founded immediately after the outbreak of the first intifada at the end of 1987. The Israeli Security Service (known as Shabak or Shin Bet) handled it with kid gloves. Only a year later did it arrest the founder, Sheik Ahmad Yassin.

It is ironic that the Israeli leadership is now supporting the PLO in the hope of undermining Hamas. There is no better evidence for the stupidity of our “experts” as far as Arab matters are concerned, stemming from both arrogance and contempt. Hamas is far more dangerous to Israel than the PLO ever was.

- Did the Hamas election victory show that Islam was on the rise among the Palestinian people?
Not necessarily. The Palestinian people did not become more religious overnight.

True, there is a slow process of Islamization throughout the region, from Turkey to Yemen and from Morocco to Iraq. It is the reaction of the young Arab generation to the failure of secular nationalism to solve their national and social problems. But this did not cause the earthquake in Palestinian society.

- If so, why did Hamas win?

There were several reasons. The main one was the growing conviction of the Palestinians that they would never get anything from the Israelis by non-violent means. After the murder of Yassir Arafat, many Palestinians believed that if they elected Mahmoud Abbas as the new president, he would get from Israel and the US the things they would not give Arafat. They found out that the opposite was happening: No real negotiations, while the settlements were getting larger every day.

They told themselves: if peaceful means don’t work, there is no alternative to violent means. And if there be war, there are no braver warriors than Hamas.

Also: the corruption in the higher Fatah echelons had reached such dimensions, that the majority of Palestinians were disgusted. As long as Arafat was alive, the corruption was somehow tolerated, because everybody knew that Arafat himself was honest, and his towering importance for the national struggle overrode the shortcomings of his administration. After Arafat, tolerating the corruption became impossible. Hamas, on the other hand, was considered clean, and its leaders incorrupt. The social and educational Hamas institutions, mainly financed by Saudi Arabia, were widely respected.

The splits within Fatah also helped the Hamas candidates.

Hamas, of course, had not taken part in previous elections, but it was generally assumed – even by Hamas people themselves – that they represented only about 15-25 percent of the electorate.

- Can one reasonably expect the Palestinians to overthrow Hamas themselves?

As long as the occupation goes on, there is no chance of that. An Israeli general said this week that if the Israeli army stopped operating in the West Bank, Hamas would replace Abbas there too.

The administration of Mahmoud Abbas stands on feet of clay – American and Israeli feet. If the Palestinians finally lose what confidence they still have in Abbas, his power would crumble.

- But how can one reach a settlement with an organization that declares that it will never recognize Israel and whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state?

All this matter of “recognition” is nonsense, a pretext for avoiding a dialogue. We do not need “recognition” from anybody. When the United States started a dialogue with Vietnam, it did not demand to be recognized as an Anglo-Saxon, Christian and capitalist state.

If A signs an agreement with B, it means that A recognizes B. All the rest is hogwash.

And in the same matter: The fuss over the Hamas charter is reminiscent of the ruckus about the PLO charter, in its time. That was a quite unimportant document, which was used by our representatives for years as an excuse to refuse to talk with the PLO. Heaven and earth were moved to compel the PLO to annul it. Who remembers that today? The acts of today and tomorrow are important, the papers of yesterday are not.

- What should we speak with Hamas about?

First of all, about a cease-fire. When a wound is bleeding, the blood loss must be stemmed before the wound itself can be treated.

Hamas has many times proposed a cease-fire, Tahidiyeh (“Quiet”) in Arabic. This would mean a stop to all hostilities: Qassams and Grad rockets and mortar shells from Hamas and the other organizations, “targeted liquidations”, military incursions and starvation from Israel.

The negotiations should be conducted by the Egyptians, particularly since they would have to open the border between the Gaza Strip and Sinai. Gaza must get back its freedom of communication with the world by land, sea and air,

If Hamas demands the extension of the cease-fire to the West Bank, too, this should also be discussed. That would necessitate a Hamas-Fatah-Israel trialogue.

- Won’t Hamas exploit the cease-fire to arm itself?

Certainly. And so will Israel. Perhaps we shall succeed, at long last, in finding a defense against short-range rockets.

- If the cease-fire holds, what will be the next step?

An armistice, or Hudnah in Arabic.

Hamas would have a problem in signing a formal agreement with Israel, because Palestine is a Waqf – a religious endowment. (That arose, at the time, for political reasons. When Caliph Omar conquered Palestine, he was afraid that his generals would divide the country among themselves, as they had already done in Syria. So he declared it to be the property of Allah. This resembles the attitude of our own religious people, who maintain that it is a sin to give away any part of the country, because God has expressly promised it to us.)

Hudnah is an alternative to peace. It is a concept deeply embedded in the Islamic tradition. The prophet Muhammad himself agreed a Hudnah with the rulers of Mecca, with whom he was at war after his flight from Mecca to Medina. (By the way, before the Hudnah expired, the inhabitants of Mecca adopted Islam and the prophet entered the town peacefully.) Since it has a religious sanction, its violation by Muslim believers is impossible.

A Hudnah can last for dozens of years and be extended without limit. A long Hudnah is in practice peace, if the relations between the two parties create a reality of peace.

- So a formal peace is impossible?

There is a solution for this, too. Hamas has declared in the past that it does not object to Abbas conducting peace negotiations, on condition that the agreement reached is put to a plebiscite. If the Palestinian people confirm it, Hamas declared that it will accept the people’s decision.

- Why would Hamas accept it?

Like every Palestinian political force, Hamas aspires to power in the Palestinian state that will be set up along the 1967 borders. For that it needs to enjoy the confidence of the majority. There is no doubt whatsoever that the vast majority of the Palestinian people want a state of their own and peace. Hamas knows this well. It will do nothing that would push the majority of the people away.

- And what is the place of Abbas in all this?

He should be pressured to come to an agreement with Hamas, along the lines of the earlier agreement concluded in Mecca. We believe that Israel has a clear interest in negotiating with a Palestinian government that includes the two big movements, so that the agreement reached would be accepted by almost all sections of the Palestinian people.

- Is time working for us?

For many years, Gush Shalom was telling the Israeli public: let’s make peace with the secular leadership of Yasser Arafat, because otherwise the national conflict will turn into a religious conflict. Unfortunately, this prophecy, too, has come true.

Those who did not want the PLO, got Hamas. If we don’t come to terms with Hamas, we shall be faced with more extreme Islamic organizations, like the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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46 Responses to Israel in Deadly Denial

  1. Murphy says:

    “The Israeli intelligence community, which in the last 60 years has failed almost every time in forecasting events in the Arab world, also failed this time”

    Absolutely true. Even if we take the last few years – or even months – alone, it is clear that Israeli ‘intelligence’ in the OPT has been a succession of failures. How Israeli intelligence gained its reputation for superhuman skill never ceases to amaze me.

  2. Y. Ben_David says:

    Helmut writes above (Helmut Osterman was Uri Avnery’s real name before he “Zionized it”):

    “everybody knew that Arafat himself was honest”.

    Now, how does Helmut know that? Did his pal Arafat show him his books? Yes, we have all heard this before “Hitler is honest, it’s his underlings that are the problem”…”Stalin is okay, its the people who are under him who are causing the problems”, etc,etc.

    Helmut has always had a soft spot in his heart for mass murderers, starting with Hitler in Helmut’s country of birth, Germany (Helmut transferred the “master race” concept he picked up there to the Middle East creating something called “Semitic action” or some such thing ), then he transferred his affections to a Semitic Superman, Arafat. That is why he attributes “honesty” to him.
    Remember the fight over how many MILLIONS of dollars Suha demanded after Arafat passed on? So much for the “noble ascetic warrior” Arafat of Helmut’s affections.
    His nonsense here about “honest” Arafat shows how reliable all the other things he says are.

    BTW-Helmut still has his affections for the late “1000-year Third Reich which expired (at great cost) 988 years ahead of schedule…he wrote a paean of praise, for some reason, to the overrated Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in the Ha’aretz newspaper. Most modern military historians say he received a lot of unwarranted hype because he was a favorite of Hitler.

  3. William Burns says:

    Do you actually have any plans to respond to the substance of Avnery’s post, Y, or are you planning to continue to waste bandwith with nitpicking and puerile insults?

  4. Y. Ben_David says:

    I can understand your point, Mr Burns, but Avnery just doesn’t have much credibility with me or most Israelis. If you read his postings on his Gush Shalom web site, you will see that he believes that essentially the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are true, i.e. there is a conspiracy of “Right-wing Jews” along with Protestant Christians in the US to “take over the world” or some such thing. He just protests that he is against it.

    What is ironic, is that most of the ruling Establishment in Israel agrees with his views. He, for years, argued that Israel should bring Arafat in and give him arms and money. This was done, and there was the greatest outbreak of terrorist violence in the history of Israel. The Palestinians were actually the biggest victims of Arafat and his regime which he impoverished and handed over to a death cult. That is why Avnery claims “Arafat was honest”…he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the suffering he caused by advocating those policies. (If Arafat was such an “honest, good guy”, then why did he appoint so many “bad, corrupt” people as subordinates?)

    In principle, I have no problem with Israel talking to HAMAS….in fact, since I don’t believe that a contractual peace is possible, the idea of an unofficial, long-term “Hudna”is what I think will evolve eventually. What I think is important to remember is that HAMAS was elected explicitly on a platform of “war to the end” and total victory. They didn’t promise the Palestinians a comfortable life, they promised an escalation of the war with Israel which they have delivered on. Thus, I have to ask, what can be achieved with talking to them? They say they want war, so why would they suddenly turn around and agree to a true relaxation of tensions. Avernery for years said “Israel HAS to make peace with Arafat, he is the ONLY one who can deliver, otherwise the evil HAMAS will take over”. Well, they have taken over and now Avnery tells us that, really, he was wrong, we CAN reach some sort of agreement with them. He has flip-flopped. Does this really make sense?

  5. William Burns says:

    I have read Avnery’s postings, he doesn’t believe that there is a Right-wing Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

    Israel failed to make peace with Arafat, Hamas did take over, and this proves what about Avnery? He consistently believes that you make peace with the Palestinian leaders you have, not the ones you wish you had. In fact, you seem to agree with him about talking to Hamas, so I’m not even sure why you’re so upset about this column. You and Avnery obviously disagree about Arafat, but Arafat’s dead. Time to move on.

  6. Dave Bowman says:

    Ah yes, the ‘Protocols’ flag is being waved once again–well used in the past, it has become well worn out, Y.Ben, so please, try to find some new material.

    The ironic thing is that the biggest audience of readers for the ‘Protocols’ appears to be Zionists themselves, who simultaneously love to revel in their opposition to it, agonize over its words, like it is a text-based Ahmadinejad, and ultimately love it as a useful cudgel with which they can smear their enemies with.

    The hypocrisy continues with the latest ‘hudna’–of course it’s not really what we mean, they explain, and even so, the dastardly Hamas deserves it because they started it…

    Yet, the illegal settlements continue unabated, and the promises of the Israeli government in this regard are merely words. Perhaps this has something to do with the uprising in Warsaw-on-the-Mediterranean?

  7. jdledell says:

    I have a bunch of relatives living in Israel, mainly in East Jerusalem and other settlements. What concerns me the most in my current conversations is the ugliness of the emotions being expressed. Even after the 67 and 73 wars I did not hear from Israelis the degree of venom that is now being expressed toward arabs.

    I fear for the souls of my people. I shudder to ponder what G-d thinks of Jewish voices raised in words of desire to kill and obliterate another people. I hear talk of a “final solution” involving carpet bombing Gaza so not a single man, woman or child remains alive.

    The emotions are currently running very high and the desire for blood revenge is at a dangerous level. One wrong move could set it off, leading to the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and ultimately the loss of the Israeli Jewish soul.

    Are our actions following G-d’s will as expressed in the Torah? In the past few thousand years we have been tossed out of Israel several times, with or without G-d’s approval. Without Peace, I’m afraid the same thing will happen again. How seriously are we pursuring that peace. In my 50+ years of traveling back and forth to Israel, I have never been as worried about our future as I am now.

    For the last 40 years we have tried to control the Palestinians only militarily with only two serious (or semi-serious) attempts at peace, Olso and Camp David. This is the wrong proportion of effort.

    Israel has caused a great rift in my faith. Is my Jewish faith what I learned first at my Grandfather’s knee and my 63 years of trying to follow the traditions and Torah. Or is the faith expressed by my relatives and other Israelis I know who would like to kill every arab and anyone else who gets in their way?

  8. Ethylene says:

    Disagree about Hamas’s long-term intentions.

    As I see, 1948 was the climax of several decades of inter-communal conflict over Palestine, ending in the decisive defeat of the Palestinians by Israel. All the history since then is about coming to terms with that defeat.

    While some Palestinians came to accept defeat and decided to settle for a two-state solution, others carried on the commitment to overturning history by decisively defeating Israel.

    Hamas, inspired by a religious ideology that tells them they cannot give up one square inch of Palestine — and that if they carry on a jihad then Allah will give them victory in the end.

    They are the party of no compromise on Palestinian national rights. That’s why, during the Oslo period, they deliberately sabotaged the peace process. Obviously Israeli greed for land played its part too, but Hamas by its words and actions stood for carrying on the fight by military means and never accepting a peace which would mean compromise and humiliation.

    Palestinians, as Uri said, supported Fatah as long as they thought there was a chance of a fair peace being reached. Hamas, being opposed to both peace and compromise, rejected Oslo and stepped up its terrorist campaigns.

    The result: no peace, and the people turn to Hamas, believing that there is no hope for the peace process. It’s a devious game they have played, helping to sabotage the peace process, and then claiming that it would never lead anywhere anyway. Partly due to them, it was never given a chance.

    So, for Uri to say that Hamas wants a two-state solution, after it has spent years fighting to prevent just that from being realised, is I think plain wrong.

    The only possible strategy for peace is to somehow sideline Hamas, while proving to the Palestinians that a peace process can be viable. Of course, Israel did not act to make peace seem viable, but instead continued to colonise and carve up Palestinian territory (and thereby helped to prove Hamas’s point for them).

    Recent US policy has been to try to put this into practice by having Israel engage with Abbas, while dangling a few meagre inducements before the Palestinians. But the reality on the ground is that Israel continues to colonise East Jerusalem and the West Bank, while the threat of rockets from disengaged territory make further disengagement politically impossible and indeed unwise anyway.

    Two things are needed to make a real peace process possible: for Israel to make (or be made to make) a real commitment to peace along the well-known lines of the two-state solution; and, simultaneously, for Hamas to be marginalised.

    Unfortunately, Hamas and other militants will refuse to allow themselves to be marginalised, and Israel will say that all moves towards peace are impossible while the militants are active.

    It’s a nice idea of Uri’s that Hamas is really a supporter of two states, as this neatly solves our problem. But that is not what Hamas is all about. Hamas really are “rejectionists” and will never be included in any peace. The question is then, what to do about them?

  9. lolaone says:

    I would just like to thank Uri Avner for existing in that world. There should be more men like him, and with power to act. He appears to have studied the layers of deceit building for most of my adult lifetime. I am 63 years old,and in my youth saw one dream crumbling,to be replaced by a next,and then the next,I am no longer young and have less hope to see an end to the madness of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Mr Avner is a flickering light in the darkness. Thank you!

  10. gary says:

    fair is fair, we all know that the jews have been horribly abused…this may explain the hatred of all things arab…but it does not make it right!!!
    will this ever end?

  11. Y. Ben_David says:

    Yes, Mr Burns, Avnery did say that there is a conspiracy of what he called IIRC “Kabbalistic Jews” and Christian Protestant Fundamentalists to make wars against Iraq and Iran.
    You will note that there are people who post here who talk about a “Likudnik/neocon” clique that supposedly forced Bush to go to war in Iraq and want war with Iran as well. That amounts to the same thing.
    I see many so-called “Progressive Jews” who say the same thing, they just want it understood that they oppose this conspiracy.

  12. William Burns says:

    Y, making wars against Iran and Iraq is not the same thing as taking over the world. You got a link to this?

  13. William Burns says:

    BTW, a google search of “kabbalistic jews” and “avnery” yields nothing, so it looks like you’re not recalling correctly. You should check these things before making wild charges.

  14. Joshua says:

    Hamas is not an archaic party that sees no progression when time evolves, Ethylene. It’s involvement in the elections such prove such a point: while it does declare IN THE PAST that it did not favour any negotiated “peace” with Israel, because it saw (correctly) that such outcomes were bound to neuter true Palestinian resistance and acquiesce with the occupier’s rule.

    In fact, despite it’s stated intention of never “recognising” Israel, it has done a major overhaul of its militancy that it took on a ceasefire (unilaterally) for almost a year just prior to the elections. Hamas has shown alot of intention for a two-state solution, and plenty of gestures for a ceasefire. While this may not curry favour in your eyes from its past pretensions, it has done a great moderating evolution that has Hamas in this position in the first place.

    PS You narrow your scope on Hamas’ true goal of a “two-state” solution, and yet appropriately leave out Israel’s subterfuge of advocating a “two-state” solution while doing everything they can to eliminate that possibility. In fact, you have the roles reversed: it is the Israelis who are “rejectionist” as they reject every Palestinian entity that wishes to negotiate, preferring the status quo as it fits nicely to their annexation and expropriation.

  15. Y. Ben-David says:

    Mr Burns–it was around the time of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 which Avnery denounced. I looked through their (Gush Shalom) archive but I didn’t see any articles that referred specifically to that war. I do remember it quite clearly, though.

  16. William Burns says:

    If, as I suspect, what Avnery really said is that some conservative Jews and Protestants supported an American war with Iraq, worked to make it happen, and succeeded, that hardly makes him a follower of the Protocols.

  17. Y.Ben-David says:

    Mr Burns, although I don’t recall exactly what he said, I do recall the “kabbalistic Jews” description. You can understand what he meant by seeing how Tony Karon describes Orthodox Jews and “alte-kakker Zionists”, in other words, Jews whose ideology and beliefs are pernicious and dangerous. Avnery’s political camp in Israel is openly quite hostile to traditionalist Jews exactly the way Tony is. Other “progressive” Jewish bloggers like MJ Rosenberg and Phil Weiss (Weiss’s blog has a link on this page) also talk about traditionalist Jews in the same way.
    So I would say it goes beyond your characterization of the situation to rather an organized group that educates its young and operates in society in inherently a malicious way.

  18. William Burns says:

    So the values of “traditionalist Jews” and Zionists should be exempt from criticism?

  19. bernard g says:

    Y Ben-David,
    you “don’t recall exactly what he said” but you have no hesitation in stating that “he believes that essentially the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are true”. Once again, can you provide the slightest actual evidene for this statement, or indeed your earlier charge that Avnery is an admirer of Hitler?

  20. Y. Ben_David says:

    Mr Burns-
    I’ll give you an example…Tony said the following in the Obama thread:
    This crank reminds me of a moment years ago when a Palestinian journalist friend of mine was on a U.S. TV ‘town hall’ type show with one of these people who claim they’re Jews but the god they worship really is some tribal totem rather than the universal deity proclaimed by Judaism. My friend, having been treated to a harangue by someone claiming, like the last poster, that Jews were in direct contact with God and their dispossession and subjugation of the Palestinians was all being done at his behest, simply asked the fellow, “If you’re in such close contact with the creator, could you please ask him what he has in mind for my people?”

    Tony’s statement is a put-down of the beliefs of millions of Jews (and Christians, for that matter), because the connection of the Land of Israel to the Jewish People comes from the Bible. The Balfour Declaration was granted on that basis. You ask, “is crticism legitimate”? I guess it is and it probably depends on how you phrase it. Tony doesn’t have accept Jewish beliefs if he doesn’t want to, but freedom of religious belief is an accepted principle and simply to put down with insulting epithets everyone who doesn’t agree with his own views is simply impugning the integrity of a whole class of people, something that I would think “progressives” would object to. I am sure he would never make a similar comment about Muslims and Islam, but since he is a Jew, he feels free to spew this out.
    He is welcome to try to convince all of us that he is right and we are wrong, but I object to him calling me some sort of barbarian because I happen to practice one of the ancient world religions.

  21. Ethylene says:

    @ Joshua

    If Hamas believed the peace process would lead nowhere, why did they try to derail it — instead of sitting back and watching it fail?

    Hamas offers a hudna in exchange for Israel pulling out of occupied territory, but that would not be the end of it. If Hamas could get Israel out of the West Bank as well as Gaza, it would only give them greater confidence to defeat Israel completely and so to carry on the fight, maybe after pausing to re-arm.

    BTW I agree with you that Israel also has acted against a Two-State solution, and said so in my original post.

  22. William Burns says:

    Mr. Ben-David,

    You still haven’t provided any evidence for your depiction of Avnery as a believer in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I think you should withdraw your allegation.

    As for your quotation from the comment thread, I certainly do not believe that political arguments, such as the one Tony describes, can be made immune from criticism simply by being religiously based. Hamas’s beliefs are religiously based, are they immune from criticism? You yourself, in comment number 4 in this post, refer to a Palestinian “death cult.” Is this an insult to the billion people who practice Islam?

  23. Y. Ben-David says:

    Mr Burns,-
    I did NOT say Islam is a “death cult”, the “death cult” I was referring to was the official Palestinian media celebrating suicide bombings and broadcasting messages to children that it is wonderful to be a suicide bomber. Suicide bombings are a new phenomenon and Islamic scholars opposed deliberately targeting civilians.

    Regarding the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-what I meant is the belief that an organized group of Jews, acting out of a “Jewish ideology” are acting in a malevolent way to “control the world”, “make wars and profit from them”, etc.
    For example, the famous Egyptian theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayid Qutb, said in his commentary on the Quran , in the sura called “The Cow” that “the Jews have been conspiring against Islam since the time of its finding”. There is a Muslim who believes in it. If people, as you have seen even here, say “there is a neocon/Likudnik plot to embroil the US in wars for Israel’s interests”, this, to mind my, would be the same thing. Sure Pohoretz is calling for confrontation with Iran, but I don’t think he claims to be speaking for any group or Israel or the Jewish people at large. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, a Jew, wrote a few years ago that “Ariel Sharon dictates policy to President Bush”. There is another example.

  24. Y. Ben-David says:

    Correction-I should have said “Islamic scholars in the PAST have opposed suicide bombings” but there are modern ones who do.

  25. William Burns says:

    And Karon distinguishes between Judaism and the worship of “some tribal totem” in precisely the way you do not identify all Islam as a “death cult.”

  26. William Burns says:

    I’m not going to defend Qutb, who does seem to be a classical antisemite in the passage you quote. However, “Neocons/Likudniks” are not Jews. If neocons and Likudniks are lobbying for confrontational policies, is this not to be pointed out because many neocons/Likudniks are Jews? For the Protocols, all Jews are part of a shadowy, malevolent conspiracy. For Avnery and Karon, some Jews are part of a political pressure group operating in Israel and America. There is a group of Jewish organizations–ADL, AIPAC, ZOA, and others, that works to influence American policy, very often successfully. Pointing this out is not an endorsement of conspiracy theory.

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  28. Abe Bird says:

    Uri Avneri is a dead idol of the Palestinian promise-ganda…. better to say Falsetinian ProPALganda. He never sought to reach a logic solution, and part of the OSLO accord failure is led in the shoulder of his kind.

    The Israeli intelligence is quite one of the best. The less you know about the better. There are some reasons that Israel won all its wars and didn’t loose even one, and I mean even the last Lebanon episode. Israel has well professional intelligence personal and means. The Avnery lunatic claim that The Israeli intelligence community failed almost every time in forecasting events in the Arab world in the last 60 years is rubbish untrue claim. Only one who doesn’t acquaintance with the facts can say that. Israeli intelligence very well picturing for years the growing threats of the extreme Islam fractions, Iran growing threat to Israel and the west, the Arab Palestinian bigotry (The Israel intelligence warned the OSLOiada’s cell of the Arab Palestinian bigotry), and they taking care wonderfully of the Palestinian terror groups. Every bullet find its target at due time and place.

    The fact that Avnery is playing childish with facts is very known around. Even while he served as MK he was classified as dangerous persona and was prevented from seeing classified security papers. He talks just rumors of his nature.

  29. Abe Bird says:

    Two-State solution is just a dead slogan. More that the Arabs want anther Arabian state in the land of Israel they don’t want the Jews have their own national state, as most of the states’ nature is around.

    Hamas doesn’t recognize the right of non-Muslims to have their national state in a Musim eastern soil, and the Holy Land considered being their soil by their own eyes. Hamas acts as the same as all the other extreme Islamic groups around – like in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, states and terror groups alike. The Hamas charter specifically mandates the murder of Jews in compliance with what it believes is Divine will. Violence and terror, which Hamas refers to as “resistance”, are considered legitimate tools to be used for this purpose.

    Hamas spokesman Dr. Ismail Radwan in an April interview with the Hamas-controlled Al-Risalah newspaper said: “We will liberate Palestine, all of Palestine… Palestine will not be liberated by negotiations, committees and decisions. It will only be liberated by the rifle and the al-Kassam [rocket -ed.]. Therefore, prepare yourselves,”.

    Ultimately, states former Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar in a March interview with the Arabic Al-Ayyam newspaper, “Our position is the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine. This is the final and strategic solution for us……Anyone who denies it must check his faith and his Islam.”

    That’s only few Hamas declaration which is added to their weird and inhuman Hamas’ charter.

  30. When Israel adopts a constitution as the foundational law of the land that acknowledges and guarantees the liberty and equality under the law of ALL people and enforces that constitution – THEN it will become legitimate. Will that change its, so-called, nature? We can only hope that, in time, its nature will change – as did the nature of the U.S. slowly, slowly change following the abolition of slavery.

  31. Abe Bird says:

    It has nothing to do with a constitution. Israel has a declaration of independence and various “basic laws” that protect the private citizens of any government abusive behave regardless his nationality, religion, gender etc. These laws are kept in a formative way.

    What “nature” should Israel change? Israel is the state of the Jewish people as France is for the French and Britain for the Britain etc… What really bother you with that “nature”?

    Why Arab states can be Arabian and Muslim? Why Russia is a Russian? Why Holland is Dutch? Do they all have a privilege that you escape to give to the Jews?

  32. Tony says:

    Abe, that’s nonsense. I’m Jewish, and Israel is not my state. Nor do most of the Jewish people I know consider Israel to be their state. Two thirds of the world’s Jews live elsewhere, and consider themselves citizens of France, Britain, the United States or whatever. Israel is not the “state of the Jewish people,” it is the state of the Israelis. It’s time for them to recognize that the rest of us have no intention of emigrating there, so we don’t need a “law of return” that keeps the right of citizenship open to us, while denying it to people who were actually born within its borders.

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