Change Gaza Can Believe In

Lest President Barack Obama’s opportunistic silence when Israel began the Gaza offensive that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians (more than 400 of them children) be misinterpreted, his aides pointed reporters to comments made six months earlier in the Israeli town of Sderot. “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Obama had said in reference to the missiles Hamas was firing from Gaza. “I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

Residents of Gaza might have wondered what Obama would have done had he been unfortunate enough to be a resident of, say, Jabaliya refugee camp. What if, like the vast majority of Gazans, his grandfather had been driven from his home in what is now Israel, and barred by virtue of his ethnicity from ever returning? What if, like the majority of the residents of this refugee ghetto-by-the-sea, he had voted for Hamas, which had vowed to fight for his rights and was not corrupt like the Fatah strongmen with whom the Israelis and Americans liked to deal?

And what if, as a result of that vote, he had found himself under an economic siege, whose explicit purpose was to inflict deprivation in order to force him to reverse his democratic choice? What might a Gazan Obama have made of the statement, soon after that election, by Dov Weissglass, a top aide to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, that Israel’s blockade would put him and his family “on [a] diet”?

“The Palestinians will get a lot thinner,” Weissglass had chortled, “but [they] won’t die.”

Starting last June, the Sderot Obama would have noticed that, as a result of a truce brokered by Egypt, the rocket fire from Gaza had largely ceased. For the Jabaliya Obama, however, the “Weissglass Diet” remained in place. Even before Israel’s recent offensive, the Red Cross had reported that almost half the children under two in Gaza were anemic due to their parents’ inability to feed them properly.

Who knows what the Jabaliya Obama would have made of the Hamas rockets that, in November, once again began flying overhead toward Israel, as Hamas sought to break the siege by creating a crisis that would lead to a new ceasefire under better terms. He might well have had misgivings, but he would also have had plenty of reason to hope for the success of the Hamas strategy.

Ever committed to regime change in Gaza, Israel, however, showed no interest in a new ceasefire. As Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Fox News, “Expecting us to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like expecting you to have a ceasefire with al-Qaeda.” (Barak apparently assumed Americans would overlook the fact that he had, indeed, been party to just such a ceasefire since June 2008, and looks set to be party to another now that the Gaza operation is over.)

A canny Sderot Obama would have been all too aware that Israel’s leaders need his vote in next month’s elections and hope to win it by showing how tough they can be on the Gazans. Then again, a Sderot Obama might not have been thinking much beyond his immediate anger and fear — and would certainly have been unlikely to try to see the regional picture through the eyes of the Jabaliya Obama.

Nonetheless, not all Israelis were as sanguine about the Israeli offensive as the Sderot Obama appears to have been. “What luck my parents are dead,” wrote the Israeli journalist Amira Hass in Haaretz. Survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, her mother and father had long hated the Orwellian twists of language in which Israeli authorities couched their military actions against Palestinians.

“My parents despised all their everyday activities — stirring sugar into coffee, washing the dishes, standing at a crosswalk — when in their mind’s eye they saw, based on their personal experience, the terror in the eyes of children, the desperation of mothers who could not protect their young ones, the moment when a huge explosion dropped a house on top of its inhabitants and a smart bomb struck down entire families…

“Because of my parents’ history they knew what it meant to close people behind barbed-wire fences in a small area…. How lucky it is that they are not alive to see how these incarcerated people are bombarded with all the glorious military technology of Israel and the United States… My parents’ personal history led them to despise the relaxed way the news anchors reported on a curfew. How lucky they are not here and cannot hear the crowd roaring in the coliseum.”

The passions of the crowd may have been satisfied. Or not. Certainly, Israel’s three-week-long military operation appears to have done little more than reestablish the country’s “deterrent” — quantified in the 100-1 ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths.

Hamas remains intact, as does the bulk of its fighting force. And if, as appears likely, a new truce provides for a lifting, however partial, of the economic siege of Gaza, and also for the reintegration of Hamas into the Palestinian Authority — which would be a blunt repudiation of three years of U.S. and Israeli efforts — the organization will claim victory, even if the Obamas of Jabaliya refugee camp, now possibly without homes, wonder at what cost.

If President Barack Obama is to have any positive impact on this morbid cycle of destruction and death, he must be able to understand the experience of Jabaliya just as much as he does the experience of Sderot. Curiously enough, he might be helped in that endeavor by none other than the man who directed Israel’s latest operation, Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Asked by a journalist during his successful 1999 campaign for prime minister what he’d have done if he’d been born Palestinian, Barak answered simply and bluntly: “I’d have joined a terrorist organization.”

Obama’s Gaza Opportunity

The catastrophe in Gaza has, counterintuitively enough, presented President Barack Obama with an opportunity to restart the peace process — precisely because it has demonstrated the catastrophic failure of the approach adopted by the Bush Administration. Unfortunately, the raft of domestic and economic challenges facing the 44th President may tempt Obama to keep many Bush foreign policies on autopilot for now.

The plan brokered by the Bush administration in its last months for an American withdrawal from Iraq will, for instance, probably remain largely in effect; Obama will actually double the troop commitment to Afghanistan; and on Iran, Obama’s idea of direct talks may not prove that radical a departure from the most recent version of the Bush approach — at least if the purpose of such talks is simply to have U.S. diplomats present a warmed over version of the carrot-and-stick ultimatums on uranium enrichment that have been on offer, via the Europeans, for the past three years.

As Gaza has clearly demonstrated, however, continuing the Bush policy on Israel and the Palestinians is untenable. The Bush administration may have talked of a Palestinian state, but it had limited itself to orchestrating a series of cozy chats between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, aimed at creating the illusion of a “process.”

There was no real process, not in the sense that the term is commonly understood, anyway — reciprocal steps by the combatant parties to disengage and move towards a settlement that changes political boundaries and power arrangements. But the illusion of progress was a necessary part of the administration’s policy of dividing the Middle East on Cold War-type lines in a supposedly epic struggle between “moderates” and “radicals.”

The “moderates” included Israel, Abbas, and the regimes of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and some of the Gulf States. The radicals were Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah, intractable enemies of peace, democracy, and stability.

Democracy?! Yes, the chutzpah of Bush and his people was legendary — after all, Hamas and Hizballah had been democratically elected, which is more than you could say for the Arab “moderates” they championed. Even Iran holds elections more competitive than any in Egypt.

Adding to the irony, Abbas’s term of office as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has now expired, but you can bet your Obama inauguration souvenir program that he won’t be required by Washington to seek a new mandate from the voters; indeed, it’s doubtful that the Israelis would allow another Palestinian election in the West Bank, which they essentially control.

Ongoing peace talks with Palestinian “moderates,” no matter how fruitless, provided important cover for Arab regimes who wanted to stand with the U.S. and Israel on the question of Iran’s growing power and influence. But there could, of course, be no talks with the “radicals,” even if those radicals were more representative than the “moderates.” (Sure, Egypt’s Mubarak stands with Israel against Hamas, but that’s because Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which might well trounce Mubarak if Egypt held free and fair elections.)

Thus, Washington chose to ignore the opportunity that Hamas’s historic 2006 decision to contest the Palestinian Authority legislative election offered. The organization had previously boycotted the institutions of the PA as the illegitimate progeny of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which they had rejected. Caught off-guard when the Palestinian electorate then repudiated Washington’s chosen “moderate” regime, the U.S. responded by imposing sanctions on the new Palestinian government, while pressuring the Europeans and Arab regimes on whose funding the PA depended to do the same. These sanctions eventually grew into a siege of Gaza.

The financial blockade would continue, the U.S. and its allies insisted, until Hamas renounced violence, recognized Israel, and bound itself to previous agreements. Exactly the same three preconditions for engaging Hamas were recently reiterated by incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her confirmation hearings.

A Failed Doctrine

The Gaza debacle has made one thing perfectly clear: any peace process that seeks to marginalize, not integrate, Hamas is doomed to fail — and with catastrophic consequences. That’s why the position outlined by Obama’s Secretary of State-designate is dysfunctional at birth, because it repeats the mistake of trying to marginalize Hamas. For its part, Hamas officials have sent a number of signals in recent years indicating the organization’s willingness to move in a pragmatic direction. Its leaders wouldn’t bother to regularly explain their views in the op-ed pages of American newspapers if they did not believe a different relationship with the U.S. — and so Israel — was possible.

For the new Obama administration reinforcing and, as they say in Washington, incentivizing the pragmatic track in Hamas is the key to reviving the region’s prospects for peace.

Hamas has demonstrated beyond doubt that it speaks for at least half of the Palestinian electorate. Many observers believe that, were new elections to be held tomorrow, the Islamists would probably not only win Gaza again, but take the West Bank as well. Demanding what Hamas would deem a symbolic surrender before any diplomatic conversation even begins is not an approach that will yield positive results. Renouncing violence was never a precondition for talks between South Africa and Nelson Mandela’s ANC, or Britain and the Irish Republican Army. Indeed, Israel’s talks with the PLO began long before it had publicly renounced violence.

“Recognizing” Israel is difficult for Palestinians because, in doing so, they are also being asked to renounce the claims of refugee families to the land and homes they were forced out of in 1948 and were barred from recovering by one of the founding acts of the State of Israel. For an organization such as Hamas, such recognition could never be a precondition to negotiations, only the result of them (and then with some reciprocal recognition of the rights of the refugees).

Hamas’s decision to engage the election process created by Oslo was, in fact, a pragmatic decision opposed by hardliners in its own ranks. Doing so bound it to engage with the Israelis and also to observe agreements under which those electoral institutions were established (as Hamas mayors on the West Bank had already learned). In fact, Hamas made clear that it was committed to good governance and consensus, and recognized Abbas as president, which also meant explicitly recognizing his right to continue negotiating with the Israelis.

Hamas agreed to abide by any accord approved by the Palestinians in a democratic referendum. By 2007, key leaders of the organization had even begun talking of accepting a Palestinian state based on a return to 1967 borders in a swap for a generational truce with Israel.

Hamas’s move onto the electoral track had, in fact, presented a great opportunity for any American administration inclined towards grown-up diplomacy, rather than the infantile fantasy of reengineering the region’s politics in favor of chosen “moderates.” So, in 2006, the U.S. immediately slapped sanctions on the new government, seeking to reverse the results of the Palestinian election through collective punishment of the electorate. The U.S. also blocked Saudi efforts to broker a Palestinian government of national unity by warning that Abbas would be shunned by the U.S. and Israel if he opted for rapprochement with the majority party in his legislature. Washington appears to have even backed a coup attempt by U.S.-trained, Fatah-controlled militia in Gaza, which resulted in Fatah’s bloody expulsion from there in the summer of 2007.

The failed U.S.-Israeli strategy of trying to depose Hamas reached its nadir in the pre-inauguration bloodbath in Gaza, which not only reinforced Hamas politically, but actually weakened those anointed as “moderates” as part of a counterinsurgency strategy against Hamas and its support base.

It is in America’s interest, and Israel’s, and the Palestinians’ that Obama intervene quickly in the Middle East, but that he do so on a dramatically different basis than that of his two immediate predecessors.

Peace is made between the combatants of any conflict; “peace” with only chosen “moderates” is an exercise in redundancy and pointlessness. The challenge in the region is to promote moderation and pragmatism among the political forces that speak for all sides, especially the representative radicals.

And speaking of radicals and extremists, there’s palpable denial, bordering on amnesia, when it comes to Israel’s rejectionists. Ariel Sharon explicitly rejected the Oslo peace process, declaring it null and void shortly after assuming power. Instead, he negotiated only with Washington over unilateral Israeli moves.

Ever since, Israeli politics has been moving steadily rightward, with the winner in next month’s elections expected to be the hawkish Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. If so, he will govern in a coalition with far-right rejectionists and advocates of “ethnic cleansing.” Netanyahu even rejected Ariel Sharon’s 2005 Gaza pullout plan, and he has made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in sustaining the illusion of talks over a “final status” agreement, even with Washington’s chosen “moderates.”

Israelis, by all accounts, have generally given up on the idea of pursuing a peace agreement with the Palestinians any time soon, and for the foreseeable future, no Israeli government will willingly undertake the large-scale evacuation of the West Bank settlers, essential to any two-state solution but likely to provoke an Israeli civil war.

This political situation should serve as a warning to Obama and his people to avoid the pitfalls of the Clinton administration’s approach to brokering Middle East peace. Clinton’s basic guideline was that the pace and content of the peace process should be decided by Israel’s leaders, and that nothing should ever be put on the negotiating table that had not first been approved by them. Restricting the peace process to proposals that fall within the comfort zone only of the Israeli government is the diplomatic equivalent of allowing investment banks to regulate themselves — and we all know where that landed us.

It is fanciful, today, to believe that, left to their own devices, Israel and the Palestinians will agree on where to set the border between them, on how to share Jerusalem, or on the fate of Palestinian refugees and Israeli settlements. A two-state solution, if one is to be achieved, will have to be imposed by the international community, based on a consensus that already exists in international law (UN Resolutions 242 and 338), the Arab League peace proposals, and the Taba non-paper that documented the last formal final-status talks between the two sides in January 2001.

Had Barack Obama taken office in a moment of relative tranquility in the fraught Israeli-Palestinian relationship, he might have had the luxury of putting it on the backburner. Indeed, any move to change the Bush approach might have been challenged as unnecessarily risky and disruptive.

In Gaza in the last few weeks, however, the Bush approach imploded, leaving Obama no choice but to initiate a new policy of his own. Hopefully, it will be one rooted in the pragmatism for which the new President is renowned.

This entry was posted in Situation Report and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Change Gaza Can Believe In

  1. Rojo says:

    Well, I suppose it’s all well and good to try and stay positive, Tony, but Obama’s speech today gave every indication that he’s planning on continuing along the same lines as Clinton and Bush II. No surprise, of course, if you were paying attention to his Middle East advisers, people like Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, who have never shown the slightest bit of concern for the Palestinian claim on justice.

    Other than that, though, you made good points as usual.

  2. Rupa Shah says:

    Now that Sen Mitchell has been appointed the special envoy to Middle East, one can hope, there will be a genuine dialogue ( and not a monologue with one side imposing all the conditions )at resolving this conflict. It will not be easy and it will not happen overnight but with patience and perseverence and most importantly with fairness to both sides, one can only wish Sen Mitchell success in his very difficult task so both sides can live in real peace with security.

  3. Tony says:

    I think you’re both right, in a way. Essentially, it’s ambiguous, and there’ll probably be a lot of conflict in the new Administration over this stuff — remember, they’re naming Ross tomorrow as a senior mideast guy, so the AIPAC crowd still have plenty of juice in this Administration. Mitchell, I think, represents the sober realism of recognizing that there’s no point in trying to forge a peace process without Hamas — in Irish terms, it’s like trying to have the SDLP the only party at the table, and exclude Sinn Fein. But Obama did repeat the dysfunctional preconditions…

    My guess is tha the creative way around this will be for the U.S. to refrain from blocking or resisting a Palestinian unity government (which Washington sabotaged, last time around). Such a government would obviously be bound by those conditions even if Hamas didn’t embrace them as a party (Hamas was up for this in teh last unity govt., even saying Abu Mazen could keep talking to Israel, and they’d abide by any agreement that was approved by referendum…)

    That’s the fudge that allows both sides to back down from mutually exclusive positions on the “preconditions”

  4. Peter says:

    Tony, I have a small question. You write:
    “Recognizing” Israel is difficult for Palestinians because, in doing so, they are also being asked to renounce the claims of refugee families to the land and homes they were forced out of in 1948 and were barred from recovering by one of the founding acts of the State of Israel.

    But why should recognition of Israel necessarily include renouncing the claims of refugees? The PLO has never renounced refugees’ claims, but it did recognize Israel in 1993.

  5. Tony says:

    Sure, it’s doable. I said difficult, which it is, politically. But far from impossible. I think the pragmatists in Hamas have been moving in that direction for years now — even the decision to go into the PA elections was a reflection of an intent to engage in governance within a Palestinian proto-state based on 67 borders …

  6. John Merryman says:


    From a philosophic perspective, I think a far deeper issue will eventually have to be considered. The basic premise of monotheism is that the absolute, the universal state, is an ideal, when it is the opposite, ie. neutral state. So a spiritual absolute would the the essence of conscious awareness from which life rises, not a moral or intellectual ideal from which it fell.
    While absolutist ideals forge strong social bonds, conflicting absolutes don’t tend to compromise. It’s taken several hundred years for the west to rid itself of top down political models in favor of institutionalizing bottom up political processes. Eventually we will have to face up to the fact that the top down religious models which validated those monarchies should be subject to review. Remember it was polytheists who invented democracy in the first place.

    The creationists want to question the logic of Darwin, why not question the logic of monotheism? The logic of faith is as valid a question as the faith in logic.

    There is a time when one’s father goes from being the model one follows, to being the foundation from which one rises.

  7. Greg says:

    In your Asia Times piece, you say: “Starting last June, the Sderot Obama would have noticed that, as a result of a truce brokered by Egypt, the rocket fire from Gaza had largely ceased.” The key phrase here is “largely ceased.” That’s not the same as “ceased.” Why is it hard to understand that a complete end to the rocket fire must be sustained? I am very sympathetic to the Palestinians, but it’s a simple reality that any, no matter how small, any rocket fire legitimizes a military response. Hamas to me seems to epitomize irrationality and constitute one of the biggest problems facing the Palestinian people.

  8. Arie Brand says:

    “Israel recruits ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist Web sites

    By Cnaan Liphshiz

    The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an “army of bloggers,” to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent Israel in “anti-Zionist blogs” in English, French, Spanish and German.

    The program’s first volunteer was Sandrine Pitousi, 31, from Kfar Maimon, situated five kilometers from Gaza. “I heard about the project over the radio and decided to join because I’m living in the middle of the conflict,” she said.

    Before hanging up the phone prematurely following a Color Red rocket alert, Pitousi, who immigrated to Israel from France in 1993, said she had some experience with public relations from managing a production company.

    “During the war, we looked for a way to contribute to the effort,” the ministry’s director general, Erez Halfon, told Haaretz. “We turned to this enormous reservoir of more than a million people with a second mother tongue.” Other languages in which bloggers are sought include Russian and Portuguese.

    Halfon said volunteers who send the Absorption Ministry their contact details by e-mail, at, will be registered according to language, and then passed on to the Foreign Ministry’s media department, whose personnel will direct the volunteers to Web sites deemed “problematic.”

    Within 30 minutes of announcing the program, which was approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday, five volunteers were already in touch, Halfon said. ”

    One would love to see the instructions these hasbara spreaders receive. Could it be that they are told to insert the phrase “I am very sympathetic to the Palestinians …” ?

  9. Greg says:

    Arie, I have no idea if your last line was directed at me, but since it has a direct quote from my post, I think it’s safe to assume so. Well, I assure you I’m part of no Zionist, or for that matter, anti-Zionist agenda. My sympathy for the Palestinians is genuine, but I’m also a realist who does not blind myself to anything I might not want to know or read. I would love someone to address my question about the difference between ceasing rocket fire and “largely ceasing” rocket fire. It matters, obviously. Peace, Greg

  10. Arie Brand says:

    Well, being such a realist, it must have been plain to you that to the great majority of people outside Israel the resumed activities of those pea shooters (resumed after Israel broke the cease fire) did NOT legitimize the wholesale slaughter Israel subsequently embarked on.

    And just a reminder: Hamas triumphed in a free and fair election in which it participated at the explicit invitation from the US.

  11. linda in chicago says:


    –Israel broke the ceasefire (this is not controversial; please correct your article)

    –a note to some of your readers: way, way more Israelis die in traffic accidents, mafia & domestic violence than are killed by the rockets. Why doesn’t the IDF send their “smart bombs” against these people, too? Israelis would be much safer as a result.

  12. saucy jack says:

    “I would love someone to address my question about the difference between ceasing rocket fire and “largely ceasing” rocket fire”
    Well the difference is that a complete cessation is agreed to be an impossibility by all concerned, including the IDF, given the primitive nature and ease of manufacture of these weapons, and the plethora of small radical groups outside Hamas. Certainly a complete cessation was never attained when the IDF controlled the territory, although they felt no need to bomb themselves as punishment for this. Happy now?

  13. da says:

    Perhaps Wikileaks will provide us with the Immigrant Absorption Ministry’s list of “problematic” web sites. (Good work, Greg.)

    This is one is most certainly on it. A badge of honor.

  14. zealot says:

    Arie, yours is a great news. The fact that there is such official drive to hire bloggers will undermine the credibility of every pro-zionist message out there. Every single one will be suspect. All that needs to be done now is to spread far and wide the information that such program exist. We all knew they were doing it (YBD) but making it official?Talk about shooting themselves in the foot.

  15. Patrick Cummins says:

    To Greg who asked what “largely ceasing fire” means in practice:

    According to statistics from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the four months preceeding the June 2008 ceasefire (i.e., Feb.-May) there were 747 rockets fired at Israel, representing an average of 187 per month. In the four full months following the ceasefire (July-Oct.), there were a total of 12 rockets, for an average of 3 per month. These few rockets were not fired by Hamas, but by marginal groups and none led to any Israeli deaths.

    Once the ceasefire was decisively broken, by the Israeli attack of Nov. 5 that killed 6 Palestinians, the rocket fire resumed with 126 rockets in November.

    If the overriding objective for Israel was a cessation of rocket fire, then the obvious course was to work with Hamas on strenghtening and reinforcing what had been, up to Nov. 5, a generally successful ceasefire that had almost completely stopped the rockets. Instead by choosing to attack Gaza, Israel ensured that it would be hit by many hundreds of rockets, a complete predictable outcome.

  16. Jacob says:

    The IRA never wanted to destroy the UK and replace it with teh Republic of Ireland. But the Hamas, contrary to the IRA and the ANC is a fundamentalist religious organization and unable to compromise. As one of their founders and previous foreign minister, Dr. Azahar said:”Palestine means Palestine in its entirety – from the [Mediterranean Sea to the [Jordan] River. We can not give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize Israeli enemy’s [right] to a single inch.”
    Israel has NO other way but to respond to armed attacks with force, unless it wants to committ national suicide.

  17. Fred Marsh says:


    Admittedly, I have long been a fan of your columns in, but this is by far the best article I have seen regarding the Gaza conflict. The Bush administration move to freeze out Hamas is simply outlandish. Especially since Bush himself acknowledged that Hamas won the elections because of the perception that Fatah was corrupt. This is especially true given the Fatah overlords in Gaza who enriched themselves at the expense of the Gazans but who were favored by the U.S. and Israel because they attacked Hamas (e.g. Mohammad Dahlan).

    Your characterization of the Bush and Clinton administrations was so head on. Even one negotiator admitted the U.S. was running interference for the Israelis during the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000.

    One only hopes the Obama administration will no repeat the same mistakes of the past. However, when I see Dennis Ross’ face in the picture, I get quesy.

    For what it is worth, I sent an e-mail to the new whitehouse website asking that the new administration take a fresh look at our policy. We have to negotiate with Hamas, whether we like it or not.

    The Israeli government, unfortuately is an insane asylum run by the patients. They are like the man who hair is on fire, who pours gasoline on his head, convinced he is pouring water and can’t understand why the fire is only getting bigger. That’s the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Its’ war has only made Hamas stronger and made the “moderates” look irrelevant. Maybe one day we will see an Israeli government which is interested in peace, instead of surrender, but for the near future, that is not likely.

  18. Raed Nusseibeh says:

    I am surprised that for a large number of intelligent people, you are missing the elephant in the rule. All of Palestine was stolen from its owners, and ALL of it must be returned for their to be peace. First justice, than peace. So called zionist progressives calling for a 2 state solution are in my opinion like a burglar being caught and then demanding to keep half of the stolen property. At least right wing zionist fascists are more honest-they say we stole the property and we are going to keep it. If you want to solve this problem, encourage non-Palestinians to leave Palestine-this is the only acceptable contribution. Everything else is flat slippery dishonesty

  19. Joshua says:


    So you insist on EVERY piece of land that was stolen from its (original) owners be returned? As much as I would find that solution to be utopian, grand and spectacular, you are sadly suffering from visions of granduer. You cannot make Israel disappear, its population, its culture and even its history and myths, just like Israel has been unable to erase Palestinian culture, history and its myths, and they have done so with gutso.

    Let’s not get involved with the superlatives and hyperboles here: sixty years is a long time and I’m sure the pain of dispossession does not fade. But expelling other generations, especially one that does not want to be removed, seems rather disingenuous here. Isn’t expulsion the reason for your anger in the first place?

    Some fait accomplis can be reversed and removed (the settlements, the wall, the blockade) but Jewish nationalism which culminated in Zionism is a thing of reality just like Palestinian nationalism.

    There are no easy answers, but so many lives are at stake here. Would it be best to advocate the one that would take the least amount of lives?

  20. Joshua says:

    P.S. So many modern states have histories of dispossession, extermination, oppression and bigotry. The particularism of Palestinian dispossession to yourself (and to many others too) may be large but there are others who are stateless and do have past grievances against an oppressive state. Unfortunately in their cases, there is less at stake when you account for all the parties involved with the Israel-Palestine conflict.

  21. Raed Nusseibeh says:

    Would it be best to advocate the one that would take the least amount of lives?…. Here we agree that preservation of life is important-the best way to minimize casualties is for the Jews to leave Palestine peacefully

    But expelling other generations, especially one that does not want to be removed, seems rather disingenuous here. … We expelled Crusader kingdoms from Palestine and Syria that lasted far longer than 60 years, and we will eventually do the same to yours. I am optimistic because Iran, Russia, China, the Arab world, South America and most of the population of the EU agrees with me. Once the US frees itself of your propaganda, you will only be backed by the superpower of Micronesia

  22. Arie Brand says:

    Is Israel “an insane asylum run by the patients” as Fred Marsh avers? Do Israelis need therapy as a contributor to Phil Weiss’ blog recently claimed?

    The opinion of an insider as Avraham Burg, who depicts Israelis as the victims of a collective trauma, seems to point in that direction. This is part of what he wrote in the Los Angeles Times of 16th Nov 2008 under the title “Holocaust’s unholy hold”:

    Referring to the present world economic crisis Burg says:

    “To Israelis, these issues are mundane. What really matters here is the all-important spirit of Trauma, the true basis for so many of our country’s life principles. In Israel, the darkest period in human history is always present. Regardless of whether the question at hand is of the future relations between Israel and our Palestinian neighbors in specific and the Arab world in general, or of the Iranian atomic threat and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it always comes down to the same conversation. Every threat or grievance of major or minor importance is dealt with automatically by raising the biggest argument of them all – the Shoah – and from that moment onward, every discussion is disrupted.

    The constant presence of the Shoah is like a buzz in my ear. In Israel, children are always, it seems, preparing for their rite-of-passage “Auschwitz trip” to Poland. Not a day passes without a mention of the Holocaust in the only newspaper I read, Haaretz. The Shoah is like a hole in the ozone layer: unseen yet present, abstract yet powerful. It’s more present in our lives than God.

    It is the founding experience not just of our national consciousness but of more than that. Army generals discuss Israeli security doctrine as “Shoah-proof.” Politicians use it as a central argument for their ethical manipulations.

    The Shoah is woven, to varying degrees, into almost all of Israel’s political arguments; over time, we have taken the Shoah from its position of sanctity and turned it into an instrument of common and even trite politics. It represents a past that is present, maintained, monitored, heard and represented. Our dead do not rest in peace. They are busy, active, always a part of our sad lives.”

    When Jacob (no.16) referring to the peashooters of Hamas writes: “Israel has NO other way but to respond to armed attacks with force, unless it wants to committ national suicide.” I cannot help but think “the poor thing, another victim of that collective trauma”.

    Hey Jacob, this might be news to you, but the quote from an early Hamas worthy you came up with is heavily out of date. Here is a far more recent statement (dating from March 2008) by Khalid Mishal, the head of Hamas’s Political Bureau:

    “There is an opportunity to deal with this conflict in a manner different than Israel and, behind it, the U.S. is dealing with it today. There is an opportunity to achieve a Palestinian national consensus on a political program based on the 1967 borders, and this is an exceptional circumstance, in which most Palestinian forces, including Hamas, accept a state on the 1967 borders….There is also an Arab consensus on this demand, and this is a historic situation. But no one is taking advantage of this opportunity. No one is moving to cooperate with this opportunity. Even this minimum that has been accepted by the Palestinians and the Arabs has been rejected by Israel and by the U.S.”

    I have this quote from an eye opening recent article by Norman Finkelstein who got it from an interview with Mishal published in the Journal of Palestine Studies of Summer 2008.

    Finkelstein argues that the motives for the recent slaughter in Gaza had, apart from Israel’s desire to strike new fear in the hearts of the Arabs after its humiliating defeats in Lebanon, much to do with Hamas’s present stance.

    This seems, given Burg’s analysis, entirely plausible to me. How would Israel react to such peace overtures? Oh God, a peace initiative might be looming from that side. We might be losing our excuse to hold on to stolen lands that we, the eternal victims, so badly need for our protection. We feel so threatend now – how would we feel if we had to live again within the “Auschwitz borders” (Abba Eban)of 1967?

    Well perhaps you people do need therapy? But who or what is going to give it to you?

  23. Raed Nusseibeh says:

    I have to agree with Arie Brand,Fred Marsh, and Avram Burg that the Israelis are a people who are incapable of peace because they are insane. There are many places in the world for a large insane asylum, such as the interior of Greenland. I propose that the entire Jewish population of Israel be transported en masse to Greenland, where they can chill for as long as needed, with no contact to the outside world. Funding this could be accomplished by the Saudis, Iranians, and Georg Soros

  24. Shlomo says:


    You are like the Palestinian Jabotinsky. Everything my anti-Zionist friends hate about Israel is present in your views. You would be expelling people who spent their whole lives in the land, know no other society, and have nowhere else to go.

    Seriously, I happen to know some settlers. You’re right, they are quite pathological. Incidentally, you sound exactly like them. But pathological lunatics like you and your Hevron counterparts are a minority among Israelis and Palestinians, So long as the rest of us don’t confuse your bloodthirsty fulminations for humane solutions, there is hope.

  25. Raed Nusseibeh says:

    You would be expelling people who spent their whole lives in the land, know no other society, and have nowhere else to go….they can peacefully go to Greenland

    So long as the rest of us don’t confuse your bloodthirsty fulminations for humane solutions, there is hope…what is bloodthirsty about resettling them in the interior of Greenland. Less lives will be lost

  26. Sherry Mandell says:

    Are you surprised by the Spanish judge who is opening a file against Israeli security personnel for killing a Hamas terrorist in 2002?

    It’s appalling. But let’s face it. Europeans have a history of anti-Semitism, though there are exceptions. And these days, Europeans are fueled by their own postmodern ideology, unable to differentiate between moral and immoral behavior.

    I experienced the shocking equivocation of good and evil in Spain many years ago. I had a German friend who looked up to the Palestinian cause. I didn’t identify very much with Israel then, but as a Jew his animosity toward Israel hurt me. I couldn’t understand it. And then something happened that gave me a window into this mentality.

    My friend who was an anesthesiologist had a VW van and we decided to go off on a trip to explore the countryside. When we got to his van, the windows had been smashed in and the radio stolen. I was shaken but he was totally calm. “It’s probably gypsies,” he said.

    “Let’s go to the police and report it,” I said.

    “No,” he said. “It’s not their fault. They are poor and underprivileged. And here I am, a rich European who comes here with a big car and lots of money. I can’t blame them. It’s not a crime.”

    “You can’t be serious,” I said. “Aren’t you upset?”

    “No,” he said. “This is what we deserve living in such inequality. I wouldn’t want to get them in trouble.”

    I realized then that he had an inability to see immorality. This mentality, refusing to admit that people, even poor ones, have a choice in the way they behave is also what drives the European affection for the Palestinian cause and its converse, animosity towards Israel.

    It is linked to a Marxist view of the world that essentially believes that all problems are economic. (“It’s not their fault. They are poor.”) It is also linked to a psychological view of the world that insists that there is always a valid motive for one’s behavior, no matter how destructive. (“I can’t blame them.”)

    But most damaging, this pro-Palestinian view is linked to the post-modern philosophy that states that the text (i.e. reality) has no truth of its own and must be determined by the reader. There are no stubborn facts on the ground. Fairness is always a factor of belief. (“It’s not a crime.”)

    Mix that with anti-Semitism and you have a lethal brew.

    In their eyes , if Hamas is sending those pesky missiles into Israel, it’s not their fault. It’s the fault of the powerful. As my doctor friend believed, you shouldn’t punish the “poor” because it’s not their fault that they are shooting missiles. And besides, they are just missiles. And what about the fact that Hamas openly states that its goal is to destroy Israel? This text can be interpreted to mean that Hamas wants to destroy Israel because the Palestinian people are in despair. And once they are not occupied by Israel’s lethal force, Hamas will be placated and agreeable, winsome puppies.

    When we in Israel exert our power, we can expect that Europeans will NOT understand our motivation because in their eyes, all power is corrupt, every weak victim has a good reason, and no text means what it says. The only pure motivations are the motivations of the weak, and everything that powerful Israeli does is corrupt, criminal, and worthy of censure, derision, and hate – especially by those cultured Europeans

  27. Shlomo says:


    How would you like it if we decided to move the Palestinians to Greenland? It’s as absurd as moving Israelis, only easier because Palestinians are poorer and the regional power would support it. How does that sound to you?

  28. zealot says:

    Shery Mendel -are you one of those first five that made the list in the online ministry of truth?

  29. Arie Brand says:

    Sherry Mandell wrote:

    “Are you surprised by the Spanish judge who is opening a file against Israeli security personnel for killing a Hamas terrorist in 2002?

    It’s appalling. But let’s face it. Europeans have a history of anti-Semitism, though there are exceptions. And these days, Europeans are fueled by their own postmodern ideology, unable to differentiate between moral and immoral behavior. ”

    Well Sherry, I would argue that this Spanish judge shows an exquisite sense of the distinction between moral and immoral behavior. Because when a state drops a one ton bomb from an F-16 warplane on a densely populated neighborhood in Gaza in order to get rid of a particular individual and it kills in the process thirteen bystanders among whom nine children (AP 1/29/09)it is guilty of immoral behavior. Why – because such consequences could have been easily predicted.

    Your attempt to argue that Europeans cannot perceive the righteousness of Israel because they are bedevilled by a heady brew of post modernism, Marxism and anti-semitism is laughable. And not only that. It shows once again that you people are getting increasingly morally disoriented. Indeed, the patients taking over the asylum and declaring the sane fit to be incarcerated.

    And please don’t keep repeating that Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel in order to justify your demonisation of it. In addition to the statement made by Mishal in March last year (see my earlier letter) he has quite recently again told a French Jewish writer that Hamas would recognise an Israel within the pre-Six Day War border.

    “Hamas would recognise Israel if it withdraws to its pre-1967 borders, a French Jewish writer said this week after meeting the exiled leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Khaled Meshaal.

    “He told me that Hamas was prepared to recognise Israel on the lines of June 4, 1967. He told me so several times,” Marek Halter told AFP on Monday.” (The Age 1/29/09)

    But he is lying of course and saying quite different things to his own people. Isn’t that what you wanted to say? We are by now, thanks to Avnery, familiar with this Israeli strategy to evade unwelcome peace initiatives.

  30. Arie Brand says:

    I should add this.

    One of the people that Spanish judge is after is Dan Halutz, an Israeli air force commander under whose command that bombing took place.

    This is a fragment of the Wiki on him:

    “On the night of July 23, 2002, an IAF warplane dropped a one-ton bomb on a Gaza apartment building where senior Hamas commander Salah Shahade was sleeping together with his wife and family [1]. The building was situated in a densely populated residential neighborhood. Besides Shehada and his wife and daughter, a dozen more civilians were killed, most of them children. Israel’s prime minister Ariel Sharon called the operation a success in the war on terror, but political critics pointed out that it was carried out hours after Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin issued a statement offering an end to suicide bombing, and just as the Palestinian Authority was working out a deal with Hamas to end terror attacks. All these developments were undone by the bombing, and the terror wave resumed. There was at least one revenge attack directly related to the Shehade bombing – in July 31 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, killing 7 civilians including 2 Americans.

    On the moral level, human-rights organizations around the world including in Israel have severely criticized the attack, proclaiming that the intentional dropping of a one-ton bomb in the middle of the night on a dense civilian neighborhood is tantamount to a war crime. The Gush Shalom movement also threatened to turn the pilot over to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Halutz, who was abroad during the bombing itself but was still accountable as IAF commander, gave an interview to Haaretz, published on August 21, 2002. To his pilots he said:

    [To pilots] Guys, … you can sleep well at night. I also sleep well, by the way. You aren’t the ones who choose the targets, and you were not the ones who chose the target in this particular case. You are not responsible for the contents of the target. Your execution was perfect. Superb. And I repeat again: There is no problem here that concerns you. You did exactly what you were instructed to do. You did not deviate from that by so much as a millimeter to the right or to the left. And anyone who has a problem with that is invited to see me.

    When asked whether the operation is morally wrong because of the toll on some civilians, Halutz answered that the planning included moral consideration and that a mistake or an accident does not make it such.

    When the reporter asked him about the feelings of a pilot and what he feels when he drops a bomb, Halutz answered:

    No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.”

    Yes that about the other victims – that was accidental and contrary to the ‘moral considerations’ that went into the planning.

    Why oh why do we have to put up with such mendacity.

    And this Lady Mandell would probably like to argue that this man has, in contrast to his European nemesis, a very fine sense of the difference between right and wrong.

    Tell me an otheree, as Australians say.

    Note that this whole operation was undertaken after Hamas and the PLO offered to make an end to the suicide bombings. That was a peace overture and therefore highly risky to Israel because they know very well over there that an absolute condition for peace is Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories and they are not prepared to contemplate this. So it looks highly likely that this bombing was a deliberate provocation to ensure the continuation of the violence.

    That gesture of that Spanish judge is of course highly symbolical and will come to nothing. For one thing there is legislation in the make there that prohibits such prosecutorial undertakings if there is no definite Spanish link. Belgium came up with the same legislation a few years ago when a group of Palestinians tried to get some justice there.

    It is midnight here and I will have to postpone any further reaction if such is required.

  31. Caroline Glick says:

    Operation Cast Lead caused many people to reassess the viability of the sacrosanct “two-state solution.” A growing number of observers have pointed out that Hamas’s Iranian-sponsored jihadist regime in Gaza is proof that Israel has no way to ensure that land it transfers to the PLO-Fatah will remain under PLO-Fatah control.

    This reassessment has also provoked a discussion of the PLO-Fatah’s own failures since it formed the Palestinian Authority in 1994. Despite the billions of dollars it received from Israel and the West, its Western trained armed forces numbering more than 75,000 and the bottomless reserve of international political support it enjoys, the PLO-Fatah regime did not build a state, but a kleptocratic thugocracy where the rule of law was replaced by the rule of the jackboot. Instead of teaching its people to embrace peace, freedom and democracy, the PLO-Fatah-led PA indoctrinated them to wage jihad against Israel in a never-ending war.

    These reassessments have led three leading conservative thinkers – former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes, and Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies – to all publish articles over the past month rejecting the two-state solution.

    Bolton, Pipes and Inbar not only agree that the two-state paradigm has failed, they also agree on what must be done now to “solve” the Palestinian conflict. In their view the failed “two-state solution” should be replaced with what Bolton refers to as the “three-state solution.” All three analysts begin their analyses with the assertion that Israel is uninterested in controlling Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Since the Palestinians have shown they cannot be trusted with sovereignty, the three argue that the best thing to do is to return the situation to what it was from 1949 to 1967: Egypt should reassert its control over Gaza and Jordan should reassert its control over Judea and Samaria.

    Bolton, Pipes and Inbar acknowledge that Egypt and Jordan have both rejected the idea but argue that they should be pressured to reconsider. They explain that Egypt fears that Hamas – a sister organization of its own Muslim Brotherhood – will destabilize it. Jordan for its part has two reasons for refusing their plan. The Hashemite kingdom is a minority regime. A large majority of Jordanians are ethnic Palestinians. Adding another 1.2 million from Judea and Samaria could destabilize the kingdom. Then too, both the PLO and Hamas are themselves threats to the regime. The Hashemites still remember how with Syrian support, the PLO in 1970 attempted to overthrow them.

    As for Hamas, its popularity has grown in Jordan in tandem with its empowerment in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. By integrating the west and east banks of the Jordan River, the chance that Hamas would challenge the regime increases dramatically. If we add to the mix Syrian subversion and sponsorship of Hamas, and al-Qaida penetration of Jordan through Iraq – particularly in the event of a US withdrawal – the danger that merging the west and east bank populations would manifest to the Hashemite regime becomes apparent.

    IT IS OFTEN NOTED that Hamas’s popularity among Palestinians owes in part to the corruption of the PLO-Fatah-controlled PA. It has also been noted that due to the PLO-Fatah-controlled PA’s jihadist indoctrination of Palestinian society, the population’s transfer of political loyalty from PLO-Fatah to Hamas was ideologically seamless.

    What has been little noted is the strategic significance of the nature of Hamas’s relations with the PLO-Fatah from the establishment of the PA in1994 until Hamas ousted it from Gaza in 2007. When the PA was established in 1994, then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin argued that the PLO-Fatah shared Israel’s interest in fighting Hamas because Hamas constituted a threat to its authority.

    What Rabin failed to recognize was that Hamas’s threat to PLO-Fatah was and remains qualitatively different from the threat it poses to Israel. PLO-Fatah never had a problem with Hamas attacks against Israel, or with its annihilationist ideology as regards Israel. This ideology is shared by PLO-Fatah and is widely popular among the Palestinians. Consequently not only did the PLO-Fatah never prevent Hamas from attacking Israel, it collaborated with Hamas in attacking Israel and did so while disseminating Hamas’s genocidal ideology throughout the PA. PLO-Fatah did crack down on Hamas when it felt that Hamas was threatening its grip on power, but in all other respects, it supported Hamas – and continues to do so.

    THE SAME UNFORTUNATELY is the situation in both Egypt and Jordan. Hamas’s Nazi-like Jew hatred is shared by the vast majority of Jordanians and Egyptians. Islamist calls for the extermination of the Jewish people and the destruction of Israel dominate the mosques, seminaries, universities and media outlets in both countries. Popular opposition to the peace treaties that Egypt and Jordan signed with Israel stands consistently at more than 90 percent in both countries.

    In spite of repeated Israeli demands for action, PLO-Fatah never ended its support for jihadist anti-Semitism. The PLO-Fatah never believed – as Israel hoped it would – that its best chance for remaining in power was by teaching Palestinians to reject hatred, embrace freedom, democracy and the blessings that peace would afford them. So too, neither the Hashemites in Jordan nor President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt have ever believed that the best way to stabilize or strengthen their own regimes is by preaching openness and peace and rejecting jihadist anti-Semitism. To the contrary, in recent years, Egypt has become the center for jihadist anti-Semitism in the Arab world and Jordan has one of the highest rates of Jew hatred in the world.

    The situation on the ground in Jordan, Egypt, Gaza and Judea and Samaria make two things clear. First, a Jordanian reassertion of control over Judea and Samaria and an Egyptian reassertion of control over Gaza would likely increase the chances that the moderate regimes in both countries would be weakened and perhaps overthrown. Second, like Fatah-PLO, neither Egypt nor Jordan would have any interest in protecting Israel from Palestinian terrorists.

    Bolton, Inbar and Pipes take for granted that Israel is uninterested in asserting or retaining control over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. This is reasonable given the positions of recent governments on the issue. However, the question is not whether Israel is interested or uninterested in asserting control over the areas – and most Israelis are uninterested in giving up control over Judea and Samaria in light of what happened after Israel withdrew its forces and civilians from Gaza.

    THE SALIENT QUESTION is now that it is clear that the two-state solution has failed, what is the best option for managing the conflict? Not only would Israel be unable to trust that its security situation would improve if the areas were to revert to Jordanian and Egyptian control, Israel could trust that its security situation would rapidly deteriorate as the prospect of regional war increased. With a retrocession of Gaza, Judea and Samaria to Egyptian and Jordanian rule, Israel would find itself situated within indefensible borders, and facing the likely prospect that the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes would be destabilized.

    Today Israel has the ability to enter Gaza without concern that doing so would provoke war with Egypt. It has minimized the terror threat from Judea and Samaria by controlling the areas with the massive help of the strong Israeli civilian presence in the areas which ensures control over the roads and the heights. IDF forces can operate freely within the areas without risking war with Jordan. The IDF controls the long border with Jordan and can prevent terrorist infiltration from the east.

    If the current situation is preferable to the “three-state solution” and if the current situation itself is unsustainable, the question again arises, what should be done? What new policy paradigm should replace the failed two-state solution?

    The best way to move forward is to reject the calls for a solution and concentrate instead on stabilization. With rockets and mortars launched from Gaza continuing to pummel the South despite Operation Cast Lead, and with the international community’s refusal to enforce UN Security Council resolutions barring Iran from exporting weapons, it is clear that Gaza will remain an Iranian-sponsored, Hamas-controlled area for as long as Hamas retains control over the international border with Egypt.

    So Israel must reassert control over the border.

    It is also clear that Hamas and its terrorist partners in Fatah and Islamic Jihad will continue to target the South for as long as they can.

    So Israel needs to establish a security zone inside of Gaza wide enough to remove the South from rocket and mortar range.

    From an economic perspective, it is clear that in the long run, Gaza’s only prospect for development is an economic union of sorts with the largely depopulated northern Sinai. For years, Egypt has rejected calls for economic integration with Gaza. Cairo should be pressured to reassess its position as Israel stabilizes the security situation in Gaza itself.

    AS FOR JUDEA and Samaria, Israel should continue its military control over the areas in order to ensure its national security. It should also apply its law to the areas of Judea and Samaria that are within the domestic consensus. These areas include the Etzion, Adumim, Adam, Ofra and Ariel settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley.

    Israel should end its support for the PLO-Fatah-led PA, and support the empowerment of non-jihadist elements of Palestinian society to lead a new autonomous authority in the areas. These new leaders, who may be the traditional leaders of local clans, should be encouraged to either integrate within Israel or seek civil confederation with Jordan. Jordan could take a larger role in the civil affairs of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, by for instance reinstating their Jordanian citizenship which it illegally revoked in 1988. At the same time, Israel should end its freeze on building for Israeli communities in the areas.

    It is obvious today that for the Palestinians to develop into a society that may be capable of statehood in the long term, they require a period of a generation or two to rebuild their society in a peaceful way. They will not do this in environments where terrorists are ideologically aligned with unpopular, repressive regimes.

    The option of continued and enhanced Israeli control is unattractive to many. But it is the only option that will provide an environment conducive to such a long-term reorganization of Palestinian society that will also safeguard Israel’s own security and national well-being.

    While it is vital to recognize that the failed two-state solution must be abandoned, it is equally important that it not be replaced with another failed proposition. The best way to move forward is by adopting a stabilization policy that enables Israel to secure itself while providing an opportunity for Palestinians to integrate gradually and peacefully with their Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian neighbors.

  32. Arie Brand says:

    This artticle by Ms. Glick appeared on 2nd Jan. in the Jerusalem Post and it is perhaps part of the new dispensation intstituted by the Israeli Ministry of Migrant Absorption that such stuff is now also sluiced through to this and other blogs.

    I will not waste any time on the so-called “three state solution” dreamt up by Bolton and his mates (people charitably called “conservative thinkers” by Ms.Glick). It seems to be clear that neither the Palestinians nor Egypt and Jordan want this and Bolton’s cavalier assumption that their reluctance can be overcome by American largesse is a pipedream. Apart from the fact that in the near future the US has little largesse to bestow, accepting fistfulls of dollars from Uncle Sam for a deeply unpopular scheme would weaken the regimes concerned even more.

    No further discussion of this then. I am, in fact, much more interested in Ms.Glick’s other assertions in her discussion of Bolton’s and Pipes’ brainchild, assertions that she slips in as if they were truisms. My fear is that for Ms.Glick and those who think like her that is in fact exactly what they are, facts beyond anyone’s doubt. That these Israelis (and it looks as if they are the majority) are shut up in a paradigm in which no outside light can penetrate. That they labor under a construed view of the situation that, ultimately, only will come asunder in a harsh collision with reality.
    Its main premiss is that “The Other” is diabolical, intent on destruction of the fatherland and that all what has transpired since 1948, and notably since 1967, has followed from this. This is transparently at odds with the facts – but facts have always only served paranoiacs to come up with contructions that deepen their paranoia.

    So let us look at some of Ms.Glick’s “facts”

    She writes referring to the Palestinian Authority:

    “Despite the billions of dollars it received from Israel and the West, ”

    Halt. Stop it right there. Billions of dollars from Israel? Ms.Glick will you please provide us with an account of this? The Alternative Information Center, an Israeli-Palestinian NGO, has come up with quite a different computation. Israel has sabotaged the Palestinian economy by an obstructive system of check points, permit systems and walls. It has also destroyed a lot of infrastructure during armed incursions. According to AIC Israel has, moreover, consistently violated the Paris Accords of April 1994 that were negotiated by Israeli and Palestinian teams. According to this agreement Israel would retain control of customs and trade but would be obligated to transfer to the PA the value added tax and other tariffs due to the Palestinians. Palestinians would be allowed to enter the Green Line to seek work (fat chance). But Israel arbitrarily withholds these revenues as it sees fit. For instance, in the first six months after the election of Hamas it withheld USD 700 million in customs revenue.

    In addition Israel charges excessive prices for its utilities and Israeli companies are allowed to trade as virtual monopolies on the West Bank and often charge exorbitant prices.

    Taking all these things together the AIC computes that Israel owes the PA some USD 25 billion.

    “Instead of teaching its people to embrace peace, freedom and democracy” .

    This is a veritable chutzpah.

    When the British historian and parliamentarian Macaulay supported the emancipation of the Jews in the nineteenth century British parliament he made a remark to the effect that the objectionable qualities some honorable members believed to have perceived in them had in fact been engendered by the very fact that they had thus far suffered discrimination.

    By contrast Israelis pretend to be continuously surprised by the fact that the Palestinians do not love them. “Why do they shoot at us” bellowed Peres recently at Davos, pretending total incomprehension. It is a pity that one level headed Israeli, Brig, General Zakai, former commander of the Gaza Division wasn’t there to provide him with an answer:

    “In an interview in Ha’aretz on 22 December, he accused Israel’s government of having made a ‘central error’ during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing ‘to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues,’ General Zakai said, ‘it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they’re in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.”
    (quoted in Henry Siegman “israel’s Lies”, London Review of Books 1/29/09)

    “the PLO-Fatah-led PA indoctrinated them to wage jihad against Israel in a never-ending war.”

    The PLO recognised Israel way back – Hamas has early last year and again recently, let it be known, via Mishal, that it is willing to recognise Israel within its 1967 borders (see my previous letters on this thread). Finkelstein has come up with the hypothesis that it was exactly this kind of peace overture that constituted one cause of the recent Gaza massacre. It is Israel that is not interested in ending the violence because being serious about peace would entail being serious about withdrawal from the occupied territories and Israel is serious about exactly the opposite – further expansion of the settlements.

    To come up with other recent examples of the Israeli sabotage of peace overtures: when the PLO and Barak seemed to come near to an agreement in Taba in 2000, Barak allowed Sharon to stage his provocative walk to the Temple Mount. The ensuing mayhem in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed led to the Second Intifada.

    When Hamas seemed to be on the verge of renouncing violence and had negotiations with the PLO on the matter in 2002, Sharon took care that there would be no cessation of the mayhem by allowing a one ton bomb to be dropped on the apartment building which housed a particular Hamas leader. Thirteen other civilians were killed among which nine children (see my previous letter)

    “Since the Palestinians have shown they cannot be trusted with sovereignty, “.

    Were they ever given sovereignty? For all intents and purposes the Gaza strip and the West Bank are still occupied territories.

    “When the PA was established in 1994, then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin argued that the PLO-Fatah shared Israel’s interest in fighting Hamas because Hamas constituted a threat to its authority.”

    Aha, it suddenly found a common interest with the PLO against Hamas. What Ms. Glick discreetly keeps silent about here is that Israel had earlier not taken any action against Hamas, had in fact rather encouraged it in a sort of permissive tolerance, in the hope that it would constitute a counterweight against the PLO.

    “PLO-Fatah never had a problem with Hamas attacks against Israel, or with its annihilationist ideology as regards Israel.”

    Oh that “annihilationist ideology” again. Israelis keep feeding their paranoia with these totem words.

    “ So too, neither the Hashemites in Jordan nor President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt have ever believed that the best way to stabilize or strengthen their own regimes is by preaching openness and peace and rejecting jihadist anti-Semitism. To the contrary, in recent years, Egypt has become the center for jihadist anti-Semitism in the Arab world and Jordan has one of the highest rates of Jew hatred in the world.”

    Ms.Glick, what about the peace deal offered by the Arab League, all 22 countries of it, in 2002, and reconfirmed in 2007?. When in that Davos meeting the Secretary General of the Arab League reminded Peres that Israel had never come up with a response to that, Israel’s President could only mumble something about everything being so complicated. Yes things get complicated if it is known that an absolute condition for peace is Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories and it continues, instead, with its expansion of the settlements.

    “The best way to move forward is to reject the calls for a solution and concentrate instead on stabilization. “

    Yes, reject a solution and continue the occupation, preferably by expanding it as Ms. Glick proposes, inter alia by establishing a “defensive zone” in Gaza.

    I don’t know who on the Israeli side will lead the country out of the political wilderness. One thing is certain: it won’t be Ms.Glick.

  33. Arie Brand says:

    Glick’s article appeared earlier at the site I put a reply there. When I looked a few hours later it had been taken away. Freedom of opinion apparently only goes one way.

  34. Raed Nusseibeh says:

    I salute Arie Brand as a man of conscience. I would be interested to know how you became an anti-zionist. I am hoping the process that you went thru will rub off on other Jews. Pls share

  35. martin cadwell says:

    It is time to face facts and act accordingly. US imperialism is struggling to dominate the world militarily, politically, and economically. Domination of the MidEast and its oil is a crucial component part of that struggle. The current world economic crisis will greatly intensify this struggle which must ultimately result in a world war to divide and redivide the world if the imperialists are not overthrown. Israel functions as a gigantic US military base in this crucial region, with the US supplying it complete military, financial, political, diplomatic, and ideological support. Nothing will change this. The only “Palestinian state” possible with Israeli and the US imperialists in power is a state of many Gazas, if they are able to install collaborators to rule them. (A big if). The US and Israel will never tolerate a truly independent Palestinian state anywhere. (Independent states determine their own governments without outside interference, have control over their own borders, airspace, and armed forces, etc, etc.) Look what they’ve done to Gaza. What does the economic blockade and seige of Gaza teach us? The failed US-Israeli-Egyptian-Jordanian financed, armed, and trained attempt to have their PA collaborators overthrow Hamas? The recent Israeli massacres in Gaza? Come on…….. Obama’s silence on Gaza, behind the fig leaf of “there can only be one President at a time” is more of the same. Namely, unconditional support for the Israeli conquest, expulsion, and oppression of the Palestinians. What else could the new chieftain of US imperialism do? Get real. (Need the President elect be mute? What else was he mute on?) Has he proposed to close a single US foreign military base? Turn the $500 billion plus war budget into a real defense budget at, perhaps, one-tenth of the cost? International politics is not fantasy football. You can’t just pick a new team or new allies, surrogates, and lackeys at will. Israel, and its US paid for arsenal including hundreds of nuclear weapons, is and always will be a garrison state extension of the US, as long as the US and Israeli imperialists are in power. And the Palestinians will never have a real independent state as long as the Zionist state–the most crucial extension of US and European imperialist, colonialist, and neocolonialist power in the most fiercely contested and strategic region in the Third World–exists.

  36. Arie Brand says:

    Raed, it helps to have a disputatious family. One such family dispute induced me to go beyond “received truth” and to find out things for myself.The “scales fell from my eyes”.

    For the first time I saw clearly the injustice that had been committed towards the Palestinians. But what horrified, and in fact enraged, me even more was the discovery that Israel had been for many decades engaged in a campaign of deliberate deception and distortion of the truth. This is, of course, still the case and a steadily renewed rage about this keeps me going.

    My own experience makes me think that it is important to show up this disinformation and to try and bring out the facts. Most people have been misinformed but once they get a glimmer of the truth “conversion” might not be far away.

  37. Young Israel says:

    The National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) today launched a worldwide grass roots effort aimed at bringing Israeli MIA Gilad Shalit home. People are encouraged to go to to join the international effort to help secure Gilad’s freedom.

    On July 25, 2006, then-18-year-old Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas terrorists. Now, more than two-and-a-half years later, Gilad is still being held captive in Gaza.

    NCYI Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner noted that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently told United States Mideast envoy Senator George Mitchell that the crossings in and out of Gaza will not be opened for anything other than humanitarian aid until a solution is reached concerning the safe return of Gilad Shalit. According to Rabbi Lerner, this is a step in the right direction. “It is critical that Jews around the world let Israeli leaders know that we support keeping the Gaza crossings closed until Gilad Shalit is released,” said Rabbi Lerner.

    Visitors to are urged to call, fax, and send letters to Israeli leaders on a daily basis. The website provides contact information for Israeli government officials and representatives in Israel and in the United States, a sample letter that people can fax, e-mail, or send via regular mail, and sample wording to use when calling Israeli leaders.

    “The pain and anguish that the Shalit family has endured for the past two-and-a-half years is indescribable, and concern for the health and well-being of Gilad Shalit is shared by Jews around the world,” said NCYI President Shlomo Z.. Mostofsky. “Our Israeli leaders need to hear from all of us how critical it is that they continue making Gilad Shalit’s release a top priority, and how crucial it is that they take a hard line approach and keep the Gaza crossings closed pending Gilad’s safe return home

  38. Pingback: maanskyn » shared items for 2009-02-05

  39. zealot says:

    Wow, those Ministry of Migrant Absorption guys realy keep busy, so mny new ‘faces’ and all with so much material! Just cut and paste, cut and paste cut and…

    As irrelevant as their posts are to this discussion, with their sledgehammer communiques simply dumped onto people who areobviously going to be repelled by them, they do serve a purpose.

    One, Arie just spent oodles of time and energy on refuting screed that was probably prepared by a staff of people who actually get paid for it. War of atrition, and you guys have fewer troops.

    Second, and I think more important effect, it’s a biiiig F@K YOU to all of you guys. They are basically telling You ‘We have already won, we do what we want, tell everyone who will listen and get away with it. Choke on it’

    And they are right. They have won, as far as the extermination/ethnic clensing of Palestinians in Palestine goes, it’s now a foregone conclusion, just matter of time. What hapens to Israel afterwards is a mater for another discussion, but the Palestinians will be coralled, expelled, exterminated.

    If stopping that outcome really is at your heart as Jews of conscience, then words on a blog are no longer enough. You are blogging, when they are shooting.
    The only thing that can still undermine the Zionist arguments and legitimacy of that regime in the eyes of Jews of Israel, is if violence against Israelis and against Zionism can no longer be atributed to only the ‘others’ be it Palestinians/Muslims/antisemites.

    Its’s up to you guys, and not your words, but actions, by Jews of conscience against Zionists. No one else’s actions but Jews’ matter anymore.

  40. stereo mixer says:

    I was so annoyed beacuse I couldn`t resolve this problem. Then I located your website in yahoo and difficulty is solved. Thanks!

  41. travesti says:

    It is known that cash can make us autonomous. But what to do if somebody doesn’t have money? The only one way is to get the loans and just secured loan where site 64

  42. Exactly how can I uncover out extra details on this subject?

  43. Its’s up to you guys, and not your words, but actions, by Jews of conscience against Zionists. No one else’s actions but Jews’ matter anymore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *