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When Israel Was Apartheid’s Open Ally

By Lenni Brenner | Black Agenda Report | November 6, 2007

Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, has opened up much of the American public to serious discussion of Israel’s realities. He’s no expert on Zionist history, but the Anti-Defamation League and other pro-Israel propagandists must now work 25 hours a day, 366 days a year, trying to discredit equating Israel and apartheid South Africa.

Curiously, Carter only mentions South African apartheid 3 times. He relates how, on his 1973 visit to Israel,

“General Rabin described the close relationship that Israel had with South Africa in the diamond trade (he had returned from there a day or two early to greet us) but commented that the South African system of apartheid could not long survive.”

He also tells us that

“Israeli leaders have embarked on a series of unilateral decisions, bypassing both Washington and the Palestinians. Their presumption is that an encircling barrier will finally resolve the Palestinian problem. Utilizing their political and military dominance, they are imposing a system of partial withdrawal, encapsulation, and apartheid on the Muslim and Christian citizens of the occupied territories. The driving purpose for the forced separation of the two peoples is unlike that in South Africa — not racism, but the acquisition of land. There has been a determined and remarkably effective effort to isolate settlers from Palestinians, so that a Jewish family can commute from Jerusalem to their highly subsidized home deep in the West Bank on roads from which others are excluded, without ever coming in contact with any facet of Arab life.”

And he presents the 3 unattractive options in front of Israel’s public. One is

“A system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed, although many citizens of Israel deride the racist connotation of prescribing permanent second-class status for the Palestinians. As one prominent Israeli stated, ‘I am afraid that we are moving toward a government like that of South Africa, with dual society of Jewish rulers and Arab subjects with few rights of citizenship. The West Bank is not worth it.’”

Beyond that, his only citation re post-apartheid South Africa is listing Nelson Mandela as supporting the “Geneva Initiative” Israel/Palestine peace plan that Carter was involved in drawing up.

In reality, Israeli and American Zionist ties to racist Pretoria were so close that there can be no doubt that Zionism’s leaders were accomplices in apartheid’s crimes, including murderous invasions of Angola and Namibia.

Israel denounced apartheid until the 1973 Yom Kippur war as it sought to diplomatically outflank the Arabs in the UN by courting Black Africa. But most Black states broke ties after the war, in solidarity with Egypt, trying to drive non-African Israel out of the Sinai, part of Africa. Jerusalem then turned towards South Africa.

During WW ll, Britain had John Vorster interned as a Nazi sympathizer. But in 1976 Israel invited South Africa’s Prime Minister to Jerusalem. Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel’s PM, hailed “the ideals shared by Israel and South Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence.” Both confronted “foreign-inspired instability and recklessness.” Israel, alone in the world, allowed Bophuthatswana, SA’s puppet ‘black homeland,’ to open an embassy.

In 1989, Ariel Sharon, with David Chanoff, wrote Warrior: An Autobiography. He told of his 1981 trip to Africa and the US as Israel’s Defense Minister:

“From Zaire we went to South Africa, where Lily and I were taken to see the Angola border. There South Africans were fighting a continuing war against Cuban-led guerrilla groups infiltrating from the north. To land there our plane came in very high as helicopters circled, searching the area. When the helicopters were satisfied, we corkscrewed down toward the field in a tight spiral to avoid the danger of ground-to-air missiles, the Russian-supplied SAM 7 Strellas that I had gotten to know at the Canal.

On the ground I saw familiar scenes. Soldiers and their families lived in this border zone at constant risk, their children driven to school in convoys protected by high-built armored cars, which were less vulnerable to mines.

I went from unit to unit, and in each place I was briefed and tried to get a feel for the situation. It is not in any way possible to compare Israel with South Africa, and I don’t believe that any Jew can support apartheid. But seeing these units trying to close their border against terrorist raids from Angola, you could not ignore their persistence and determination. So even though conditions in the two countries were so vastly different, in some ways life on the Angolan border looked not that much different from life on some of our own borders.”

Sharon went to Washington to deal with a range of Middle Eastern questions. He also

“took the opportunity to discuss with Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinburger, and CIA Director William Casey other issues of mutual interest. I described what I had seen in Africa, including the problems facing the Central African Republic. I recommended to them that we should try to go into the vacuums that existed in the region and suggested that efforts of this sort would be ideally suited for American-Israeli cooperation.”

By 1989 it was certain that apartheid was about to close down, hence Sharon’s “I don’t believe that any Jew can support apartheid.” But a 12/14/81 NY Times article, “South Africa Needs More Arms, Israeli Says,” gave a vivid picture of Israel’s earlier zeal for its ally’s cause:

“The military relationship between South Africa and Israel, never fully acknowledged by either country, has assumed a new significance with the recent 10 day visit by Israel’s Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, to South African forces in Namibia along the border with Angola.

In an interview during his recent visit to the United States, Mr. Sharon made several points concerning the South African position.

First, he said that South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa and southwestern Asia that is trying to resist Soviet military infiltration in the area.

He added that there had been a steady flow of increasingly sophisticated Soviet weapons to Angola and other African nations, and that as a result of this, and Moscow’s political and economic leverage, the Soviet Union was ‘gaining ground daily’ throughout the region.

Mr. Sharon, in company with many American and NATO military analysts, reported that South Africa needed more modern weapons if it is to fight successfully against Soviet-Supplied troops. The United Nations arms embargo, imposed in November 1977, cut off established weapons sources such as Britain, France and Israel, and forced South Africa into under-the-table deals….

Israel, which has a small but flourishing arms export industry, benefited from South African military trade before the 1977 embargo.

According to The Military Balance, the annual publication of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the South African Navy includes seven Israeli-built fast attack craft armed with Israeli missiles. The publication noted that seven more such vessels are under order. Presumably the order was placed before the 1977 embargo was imposed….

Mr. Sharon said Moscow and its allies had made sizable gains in Central Africa and had established ‘corridors of power,’ such as one connecting Libya and Chad. He said that Mozambique was under Soviet control and that Soviet influence was growing in Zimbabwe.

The Israeli official… saw the placement of Soviet weapons, particularly tanks, throughout the area as another danger.

South Africa’s military policy of maintaining adequate reserves, Mr. Sharon said, will enable it to keep forces in the field in the foreseeable future but he warned that in time the country may be faced by more powerful weapons and better armed and trained soldiers.”

American Zionists were equally committed to apartheid. The 5/86 ADL Bulletin ran “The African National Congress: A Closer Look.” It revealed the organization’s hatred of the movement leading the liberation struggle in South Africa. The ADL sent its tirade to every member of the US Congress!

It formally bowed to political correctness: “Discussion of the political scene in South Africa properly begins with the self-evident stipulation that apartheid is racist and dehumanizing.” But

“… this is not to suggest closing our eyes to what may emerge once apartheid is gone…. We must distinguish between those who will work for a humane, democratic, pro-western South Africa and those who are totalitarian, anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israeli and anti-American.

It is in this context that the African National Congress (ANC), so frequently discussed as an alternative to the Botha government, merits a close, unsentimental look…. The ANC, which seeks to overthrow the South African government, is a ‘national liberation movement’ that, plainly said, is under heavy Communist influence. The ANC has been allied with the South African Communist Party (SACP) for 50 years…. The fall of South Africa to such a Soviet oriented and Communist influenced force would be a severe setback to the United States, whose defense industry relies heavily on South Africa’s wealth of strategic minerals.”

ADL spying on America’s anti-apartheid movement, for BOSS, South Africa’s secret police, became public in 1993 when San Francisco papers revealed that Tom Gerard, a local cop and ex-CIA man, illegally gave police information to Roy Bullock, ADL’s man in SF.

Gerard pled no contest to illegal access to police computers. The ADL made a ‘we didn’t do it and won’t do it again’ deal with the DA. It agreed to an injunction not to use illegal methods in ‘monitoring’ the political universe. ADL National Director Abe Foxman said that, rather than go to trial, where — of course! — they would certainly have been found innocent, ADL settled because “continuing with an investigation over your head for months and years leads some to believe there is something wrong.”

Despite the slap-on-the-wrist deal, Bullock’s activities were documented. The ADL claimed that he was a free-lance informer whose activities for the apartheid regime were unknown to them. But (FBI) FD-302, a 1993 FBI report on an interview with Bullock, takes up a letter found in his computer files, “prepared for transmission to the South Africans.” It said that, “during an extended conversation with two FBI agents,” in 1990, they asked

“‘Why do you think South African agents are coming to the West Coast? Did I know any agents’ they finally asked?…. I replied that a meeting had been arranged, in confidence, by the ADL which wanted information on radical right activities in SA and their American connections. To that end I met an agent at Rockefeller Center cafeteria.”

The FBI said that “Bullock commented that the TRIP.DBX letter was a very ‘damning’ piece of evidence. He said he had forgotten it was in his computer.” Of course he hastened to tell the FBI that “his statements to the FBI that the ADL had set up his relationship with the South Africans were untrue.”

The ADL was so anti-ANC that only fools could think that they didn’t know that Bullock was working with the South Africans. Isn’t it more likely that he told the truth in 1990 and lied in 1993? The feds came on another matter in 1990, surprising him with questions re South Africans. They interviewed him in his lawyers’ office in 1993. Be certain that they told him what not to say. He also knew that if he wanted ADL help in his FBI troubles concerning South Africa, he had to claim that they had nothing to do with his BOSS connection. In any case, the ADL continued to work with Bullock. And NY’s 7/27/93 Village Voice reported that Irwin Suall, its Chief Fact-finder, i.e., head spy, told the FBI that “he didn’t think dealing with South African intelligence was different than dealing with any other police agency.”

Time hasn’t been kind to the ADL. The ANC runs its country and is a model of ethnic and religious tolerance. It never was anti-Semitic and there are Jewish ANCers in the Pretoria parliament. But Foxman always has a cleanup for Israeli and ADL infamies. On October 11th, 2007 he spoke at a NY Barnes & Noble bookstore on his latest book, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control”. It has a chapter denouncing Carter. I was in his audience and challenged him:

“You brought up the fact that Jimmy Carter used the word apartheid in his title. But I would remind you that of course that Israel was allied to apartheid South Africa. I’m looking at the December 14, 1981 New York Times, “South Africa needs more arms, Israeli says,” Israeli meaning Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Defense, who was on a tour, as it were, with the South African army as it was invading Angola. And then, in May 1986…

Foxman: I get the point.

Brenner: Excuse me! The ADL sent this to every member of Congress, denouncing the African National Congress as pro-Soviet and wicked, yes, and anti-Semitic and so on and so forth.”

I sat several rows from him. Two words on my tape are indistinct and tentatively printed here in caps. But they don’t effect general understanding of his statement, even with its grammatical irregularities as he grappled with my surprise accusations:

“OK. The African National Congress during the fight for SUFFRAGE, the struggle for AFRICAN liberation, was anti-Semitic, it was pro-Communist, it was anti-Israel, it was, where ever it could, become friends and allies of Arab, Palestinian terrorism, etc.

I had the privilege, I had the privilege of flying to Geneva to meet President Mandela, before he was President, after he was freed and before he came to the United States on his 1st visit. I had the very, very special privilege of spending 5 hours with him and several American Jews who came to meet with him in advance of his visit, to better understand. And he said to us, ‘if,’ he said,

‘I understand why Israel made friends with apartheid South Africa. Because Israel was boycotted all over the world, Israel couldn’t have relations with other countries in the world, Israel wasn’t sold arms to defend itself, so I do not judge Israel, I understand why Israel, you need not to judge me, for the friends that I make. I make friends with the PLO, I make friends with those who supported our liberation movement, and if you don’t make it as a prerequisite that your enemies have to be my enemies, I will not make it a prerequisite for me.’

So Mandela, who was a heroic fighter in the struggle for, understood, very well, that just like he had to make deals with the devil, he made deals for support with people that he didn’t agree with, that he didn’t like. You certainly know from his record, he was not a Communist, yet he took the support of Communists, because they were the only ones, he understood, and respected, that Israel was dealing with South Africa.

South Africa was one of the few countries that sold it arms. Now these were the years that America wouldn’t sell Israel arms. Those were the years that Europe wouldn’t sell Israel arms. So he understood it. Was it pleasant for everybody? No. Did we send the stuff about the ANC then? Yes. And today things are changed, very dramatically changed.”

How accurately did he recall Mandela’s remarks? We know that the ANC made a deal with apartheid’s leaders. Blacks got their rights and hearings were to be held on what repressive crimes actually happened during the racist era. But white military and other officials retained their posts under the new Black-led government. So if Mandela said what Foxman claims he said, it was in that reconciling spirit: ‘You did what you thought you had to do, same with me, now lets move on.’

The ANC’s generous peace didn’t retrospectively make apartheid less criminal. If Mandela wanted relations between his new government and Israel to go to a friendlier level, that didn’t make Israeli and ADL collaboration with racism even a speck less felonious. And of course ANCers still denounce Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, was emphatic at a Boston “End the Occupation” rally in 2002:

“You know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal. To criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic…. People are scared to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful — very powerful. Well, so what?

For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”

Five years later, Israel is still very powerful. But in time it too shall be replaced by a democratic secular binational Palestinian/Israeli state. The model for that is today’s South African constitution. Most whites there say that they as well as blacks are the better for it. And when secular bi-nationalism finally wins, Israelis as well as Palestinians will likewise rejoice in their equality, peace and prosperity.

December 21, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lies of the Israeli Peace Movement

By Richard Hugus | August 8, 2004

How clever the oppressor is, learning the language and ways of the oppressed and insinuating himself among them. “Yes, yes” he says, “I too am oppressed – can we sit side by side and declare our common cause?” The US “peace and justice” group, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, recently sent an announcement to a listing of peace events in Massachusetts for a meeting to do just this. In the announcement, the public is invited to hear from “bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families supporting peace, reconciliation and tolerance.”

By this means an ‘equals’ sign is put between Zionists and the people of the land they occupy, in the country which is the sole source of support for that occupation. This is propaganda of the most insidious kind. Now the Zionist must show “tolerance” for the Palestinian whose land he stole, whose homes he moved into, whose people he began attacking 56 years ago, and continues to attack. Now the Palestinian must accept, must renounce his right to resist this attack, his fight against occupation, his right to return, his rights as a human being – all because “both sides” have engaged in violence.

Imagine those who rule the US holding sessions with the Vietnamese on the harm the Vietnamese did to them in the Vietnam War. Imagine the white plantation owner having public meetings in which injustices done to him by his slaves could be fully and sensitively aired. Imagine the US majority – the colonial settlers of what the natives once called Turtle Island — sitting down with the Sioux or Apache or Ojibwa, saying it was time “both sides” admitted to wrongdoing.

Betrayals of history such as this are only organized by the victor when some members of its polity have a pang of conscience, or as a way to further the ongoing project of colonization. The “peace” being sought here is just another kind of war. On its web site, Brit Tzedek says unabashedly that it is “deeply committed to Israel’s well-being.” Thus, it wants an end to violence in Palestine, but it supports the source of that violence – namely, the state of Israel. It claims to be for justice, but in fact it isn’t. Justice would mean the right of Palestinians to return to the land stolen from them. It would mean restitution for past crimes. It would mean an end to the idea of a state for Jewish people only. Such things are not on Brit Tzedek’s agenda. The idea that “Israel” is an illegitimate state to be done away with, just as Apartheid South Africa was, is not on the agenda of the Israeli peace movement. In all cases the legitimacy of the current state is assumed, and its preservation sought.

Last November, Brit Tzedek held a conference at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston to which it invited Knesset Minister Avram Mitzna. As commander of the West Bank Israeli occupation forces in the late 80’s, this star of the so-called “Israeli peace camp” was directly responsible for implementing Yitzhak Rabin’s “breaking bones” policy during the first Intifada. He did so with his own “iron fist” policy. Breaking bones meant Israeli soldiers taking large rocks and butts of guns and shattering the hands and arms and legs of any Palestinian thought to be resisting. Mitzna was a featured speaker at the Brit Tzedek conference.

At this conference, one Brit Tzedek activist came out to speak to supporters of Palestine protesting outside. She broke into tears and asked for the sympathy of one protestor because, as she admitted, she had just come to the conclusion, after wrestling with the question for many years, that the Palestinian right of return was just not going to be possible. Other progressives, like Noam Chomsky, have said the same. They speak of what is “realistic, ” as if it’s “realistic” to remove an entire people from their country by massacre and attrition, to jail inside 24 foot high walls any who remain, to shoot children in the street, to destroy farm land and water supplies, to drive people to starvation, to wage war on rock-throwers with F-16’s, tanks, and attack helicopters, and to never acknowledge that “facts created” and gains made by Ariel Sharon and all his predecessors were atrocious crimes. To the double-talking liberal, it is not “realistic” to stop any of this, and give Palestinians back what was stolen. Genocide is realistic; justice is not. The progressive “realist” is finally no different than the right wing Zionist. Like the Democrats and Republicans in the US who both support the basic goals of US empire, both sides are the same.

Not surprisingly, Brit Tzedek is also for a “two-state solution”—a position no one can take seriously anymore, as the Wall guarantees that any “state” Palestinians might have at this point would actually be a collection of separate prisons.

It is necessary for people who actually are progressives today to beware the corruption of language and values which the oppressor spews out on a daily basis. He has air-conditioned offices with well-paid staff to do this work. He has well-meaning NGO workers fulfilling grants. He has intellectuals in the academy, the media, and government to do this work.

It is time to respond to the pacifist progressive in particular who collaborates with the oppressor by equating and condemning all violence. The language of resistance must be clearly spoken: It is right for Palestinians to resist the occupation, not just the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but of all of Palestine, by whatever means possible. It is right for the Iraqi resistance to resist the similar vicious US occupation of Iraq. It was right for the Sioux to resist, it was right for the African slave to resist, it was right for the Vietnamese to resist. In no way can the minor losses of the oppressor be equated with or compensate for the original crime of his aggression. It is time for progressives in the US to openly and clearly support resistance to the monster that the US has become, and the entities it supports, like Israel, and increasingly this means rejecting the false language of the pacifist. The conflict in Palestine is not morally ambiguous. It is not a battle between two sides who are equally guilty. Zionists attacked, Palestinians defended. There is a right and a wrong.

Writings of Richard Hugus

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oslo Dead but Still Matters

Suppose several armored vehicles belonging to a branch of the Palestinian Authority raided an Israeli border village at the eve of a new round of peace negotiations. One can picture PA President Mahmoud Abbas defending the killings, stating that the attack was made in the cause of protecting the security of the Palestinian public. Would the Israeli delegation return to the talks with handshakes and smiles?

The answer is an obvious no. Yet the Palestinian delegation did return to real recently renewed peace talks after Israeli forces’ raided a refugee camp in north Jerusalem on August 26, killing three. This was not the only lethal Israeli attack to take place during “peace talks”, and it will not likely be the last.

Granted, Palestine is an occupied nation, and its leadership possesses far fewer advantages than its Israeli counterpart; but if negotiations exist under such humiliating circumstances, can Abbas and his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat reasonably expect any fair outcome from these talks?

Of course not. Yet Abbas continues to offer more concessions that defy logic and the history of diplomacy. After volunteering last year to terminate claims to historic Palestine during an Israeli TV interview, which was rightly understood as a direct dismissal of Palestinians’ right of return to land occupied in 1947-48, he is still unrepentant.

“The Palestinians would abandon historic claims to land that is now in the state of Israel in the event of a far-reaching peace deal,” he told a group of Israeli parliamentarians, as reported by The Guardian newspaper on August 23.

Abbas, who serves no purpose aside from filling the US-entrusted role of the “moderate” Palestinian, has no vision of his own. Rather he is an assortment of confounded ideas about peace and justice and international law. He is willing to abandon the internationally enshrined rights of his people, yet expects a “just” agreement that would usher in “an end of the conflict”.

He doesn’t even seem to fully grasp the timetable set forth for the negotiations: “We wanted the meetings … to take place every day or every second day, and not once a week or every 10 days like the Israelis want. I don’t know why they don’t want to. We don’t have much time.”

Although his term as a president of the PA has expired, and his authority doesn’t enjoy a speck of democratic credentials, he makes concessions in the name of his people. “You have a commitment from the Palestinian people and also from the leadership, that if we are offered a just agreement, we will sign a peace deal that will put an end to the conflict and to future demands from the Palestinian side.”

Abbas’ statements have grown so increasingly strange that few political commentators – aside from those working in self-serving media outlets belonging to, partly funded by, or permitted to operate under the auspices of the PA in the West Bank – even bother to decipher his outlandish remarks.

The current peace process, styled on the 1993 Oslo I Accord, is long dead as far as its chances of achieving any peace, just or otherwise. Israel has made it crystal clear that no peace deal is present on its agenda.

In August alone, the Israeli government announced bids for 3,000 more housing units in illegal Jewish settlements. Abbas himself, although playing along for non-altruistic reasons, is aware of that. “I can’t say that I’m optimistic, but I hope we aren’t just wasting our time.”

That said, and although irrelevant as far as its declared reasons for finding a fair solution to the historic conflict, Oslo is not dead as a culture. That aspect of Oslo is very much alive. It continues to define Palestinian political bankruptcy and split Palestinian society.

As disheartening as it may sound, the accord’s legacy has plenty of supporters who are benefiting, to various degrees, from its perks and privileges. It has polarized Palestinians around factional and geographical lines. And unlike other attempts by Israel to weaken Palestinian resolve, this particular gambit has had unparalleled success.

History is laden with failed Israeli experiments aimed at destroying the Palestinian national project from within. In 1976, the Israeli government, then led by Yitzhak Rabin, conducted local elections in the West Bank and Gaza. It was a classic Rabin move aimed at stripping the Palestine Liberation Organization and nationalist leaders of any validity in the occupied territories.

Israel had by then made-up another group of Palestinian “leaders”, which consisted mostly of traditional heads of clans, a small, self-seeking oligarchy that historically accommodated whatever foreign power happened to be ruling over Palestinians at the time. Israel was almost certain that its allies were ready to sweep the local elections, but it miscalculated.

Israel’s miscalculation in 1976 was a rude awakening for both its military and political leaderships, whose plans had officially faltered when the results came out. National candidates won an overwhelming majority, sweeping 148 of the 191 mayoralties and councillorships. The attempt to create an early version of Abbas and his PA was a complete failure.

But Israel was never to give up trying to mold local Palestinian leaders as alternatives to elected Palestinians or internationally recognized representatives of the Palestinian struggle. In 1978, Israeli leader Menachem Begin established the Village Leagues, giving its members relatively wide powers, including approving or denying developmental projects in the occupied territories.

He armed them and also provided them with Israeli military protection. But that too was deemed to fail. “The league members [were] widely regarded as collaborators by their fellow townspeople and villagers (And by 1983) Israel had begun recognizing the artificial nature of the Village Leagues and acknowledged the failure of the efforts to create political institutions capable of mobilizing Palestinian support for the occupation,” wrote Ann Mosely Lesch and Mark Tessler in Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians: From Camp David to Intifada.

As a revamped version of the Village Leagues and their clan-like political apparatus, Abbas’ authority is working too well. Palestinians have to face up to the inescapable reality that their leadership has completely acquiesced and their continued silence is an affirmation of that defeat.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Futile Peace Talks – Again

The Jewish state’s bottom line

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | August 14, 2013  

There are many flies waiting to spoil the ointment of the Middle East peace talks, not least Israel’s recent announcement of a rash of settlement-building. That triggered an angry letter to Washington last week from the Palestinian leadership, though it seems Israel’s serial humiliation of Mahmoud Abbas before the two sides meet was not enough to persuade him to pull out.

However, as the parties meet today for their first round of proper negotiations, it is worth highlighting one major stumbling block that has barely registered with observers: the fifth of Israel’s population who are not Jews but Palestinians.

The difficulty posed to the peace process by this Palestinian minority was illustrated in the defining moment of the last notable effort to reach an agreement, initiated in Oslo two decades ago.

In 1993 Yitzhak Rabin, then prime minister, assembled a 15-person delegation for the signing ceremony with the Palestinians at the White House. The delegation was selected to suggest that all sectors of Israeli society favoured peace.

When Rabin was asked why he had not included a single Palestinian, he waved aside the question: “We are going to sign a peace treaty between Jewish Israel and the PLO.”

Rabin believed his own Palestinian citizens should be represented not by their government but by the adversary across the table. The mood 20 years on is unchanged. The Palestinian minority is still viewed as a fifth column, one a Jewish state would be better off without.

Significantly, it was a matter relating to Israel’s Palestinian citizens that nearly scuppered the start of these talks. Israeli cabinet ministers revolted at a precondition from Abbas that the release of long-term political prisoners should include a handful of inmates from Israel’s Palestinian minority.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, won a majority in the cabinet only after agreeing to postpone freeing this group until an unspecified time.

Similarly, previous experience suggests there will be an eruption of outrage should Netanyahu’s promised referendum on an agreement depend for its outcome — given the likely split between Israeli Jews — on the votes of Palestinian citizens. A senior minister, Silvan Shalom, has already indicated that only Israeli Jews should decide.

But Israel’s Palestinian minority will be thrust into the heart of the negotiations much before that.

Last weekend Netanyahu picked at one of the Israeli right’s favourite sores, denouncing reported comments from Abbas that no Israeli should be allowed to remain inside a future Palestinian state. Why, asks the right, should Israelis — meaning the settlers — be expelled from a Palestinian state while Israel is left with a large and growing Palestinian population inside its borders?

A possible solution promulgated by Netanyahu’s ally Avigdor Lieberman would redraw the borders to expel as many Palestinian citizens as possible in exchange for the settlements. There is a practical flaw, however: a land swap would rid Israel only of those Palestinians living near the West Bank.

Netanyahu prefers another option. He has required of the Palestinian Authority that it recognise Israel as a Jewish state. This condition will take centre stage at the talks.

Leaders of the Palestinian minority in Israel are intensively lobbying the PA to reject the demand. According to a recent report by the International Crisis Group, Palestinian officials are still undecided. Some fear the PA may agree to recognition if it clears the way to an agreement.

Why does this matter to Israel? In the event there is a deal on Palestinian statehood, Israel will wake up the next morning to an intensified campaign for equal rights from the Palestinian minority. In such circumstances, Israel will not be able to plead “security” to justify continuing systematic discrimination.

The Palestinian minority’s first demand for equality is not in doubt: a right of return allowing their relatives in exile to join them inside Israel similar to the current Law of Return, which allows any Jew in the world instantly to become a citizen.

The stakes are high: without the Law of Return, Israel’s Jewishness is finished; with it, Israel’s trumpeted democracy is exposed as hollow.

Netanyahu is acutely sensitive to these dangers. Recognition of Israel’s Jewishness would pull the rug from under the minority’s equality campaign. If you don’t want to live in a Jewish state, Netanyahu will tell Palestinian citizens, go live in Palestine. That is what Mahmoud Abbas, your leader, agreed.

Netanyahu’s visceral contempt for the rights of the Palestinian minority was alluded to in a recent parliamentary debate. When an Arab MP commented, “We were here before you and will remain [here] after you”, an indignant Netanyahu broke protocol to interrupt: “The first part isn’t true, and the second won’t be.”

Recent government moves suggest that his latter observation may not be simply an idle boast but a carefully crafted threat. Israel is preparing to expel tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens from their homes in the Negev into urban reservations as part of a forced relocation plan. This ethnic cleansing campaign sets a dangerous precedent, hinting at what may lie ahead for Israel’s other Palestinian communities.

The minority has taken to the streets in the most widespread internal Palestinian protests seen since the eruption of the second intifada. Israeli police have responded with extreme brutality, using levels of violence that would never be contemplated against Jewish demonstrators.

At the same time, Netanyahu’s government has introduced legislation to raise the threshold for parties seeking entry to the Knesset. The main victims will be the three small Arab parties represented there. The law’s aim, analysts note, is to engineer an Arab-free Knesset, guaranteeing the right’s continuing and unchallengeable domination.

Netanyahu, it seems, doubts he can rely on the PA either to supply him with the political surrender he needs from the peace process or to recognise his state’s Jewishness. Instead he is bypassing Abbas to protect against the threat posed by his Palestinian citizens’ demand for equality.

~

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books).

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gatekeepers – demolishing the Zionist narrative

By Lawrence Davidson | To the Point Analyses | February 6, 2013

There is a new documentary movie about Israel, called The Gatekeepers.  It is directed by Dror Moreh, and features interviews with all the former leaders of the Shin Bet, the country’s internal security organization.  The Shin Bet is assigned the job of preventing Palestinian retaliatory attacks on Israel and, as described by Moreh, the film “is the story of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as told by the people at the crossroads of some of the most crucial moments in the security history of the country.”   Along the way it touches on such particular topics as targeted assassinations, the use of torture, and “collateral damage.”

The Gatekeepers has garnered a lot of acclaim.  It has played at film festivals in Jerusalem, Amsterdam, New York, Toronto and Venice, and elsewhere.  It has received critical acclaim from critics and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Best Documentary Award. It has been nominated for an Oscar.

The Messages 

In order to promote the The Gatekeepers, Moreh has been doing interviews and recently appeared on CNN with Christiane Amanpour.  He made a number of points, as did the Shin Bet leaders in the clips featured during the interview.  I shall review and critique some of these below.

Moreh says that “if there is someone who understands the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s these guys”  (the Shin Bet leaders).  Actually, this not necessarily true.  One might more accurately claim that these men, who led Israel’s most secretive government institution, were and are so deeply buried inside their country’s security dilemma that they see it in a distorted fashion (with only occasional glimmers of clarity).  For instance:

– Avraham Shalom (head of the Shin Bet from 1981-1986), tells us that “Israel lost touch with how to coexist with the Palestinians as far back as the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967….When the country started doubling down on terrorism.”  But is this really the case? One might more accurately assert that Israel had no touch to lose.  Most of its Jewish population and leadership has never had any interest in coexistence with Palestinians in any equalitarian and humane sense of the term.  The interviewed security chiefs focus on the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza because they are the ones who offered the most resistance to conquest.  But what of the 20% of the population of Israel who are also Palestinian and who actually lived under martial law until 1966?   You may call the discriminatory regime under which these people live “coexistence,” but it is the coexistence of superior over the inferior secured largely by intimidation.

–Moreh also insists that it is the “Jewish extremists inside Israel” who have been the “major impediment” to resolving issues between Israel and the Palestinians.  The film looks at the cabal of religious fanatics, who in 1980, planned to blow up the sacred Muslim shrine of the Dome of the Rock  on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount,  as well as the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in 1995.  Yet, as dangerous as are Israel’s right-wing extremists and settler fanatics, focusing exclusively on them obscures the full history of the occupation.

By the time Menachem Begin and Israel’s right-wing fanatics took power in 1977,  the process of occupation and ethnic cleansing was well under way.  It had been initiated, both against the Arab Israelis from 1948 onward, and against the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza after 1967,  by the so-called Israeli Left:  the Labor Party and such people as David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres, and Yitzak Rabin himself.  Amongst the Israeli leadership, there are no clean hands.

– Finally,  Dror Moreh  repeatedly pushes another message:  “a central theme of the documentary is the idea that Israel has incredible tactics, but it lacks long-term strategy…if [security] operations do not support a move toward a peace settlement, then they are meaningless.”

Again, this erroneous assessment is a function of being so deeply situated inside of a problem that you cannot perceive it clearly.   Moreh assumes that achieving peace with the Palestinians is the only “long-term strategy” Israel ought to have and, in its absence, Israel pursues no strategy at all.  However, an objective assessment of Israeli history tells us that there has been another strategy in place.  The Zionist leaders have in fact always had a long-term strategy to avoid any meaningful peace settlement, so as to allow:  1. occupation of all “Eretz Israel,” 2. the ethnic cleansing or cantonization of the native population, and 3. settlement of the cleansed territory with Jews.

It is because of this same naivete that Moreh confesses himself “shocked” when Shalom compares the occupation of the Palestinian territories to “Germany’s occupation of Europe” which, of course, had its own goal of ethnic cleansing.  It is to Shalom’s credit that he made the statement on camera, and to Morah’s credit that he kept the statement in the final version of the film.  But then Morah spoils this act of bravery when he tells Amanpour, “Only Jews can say these kind of words. And only they can have the justification to speak as they spoke in the film.”  Well, I can think of one other group who has every right to make the  same comparison Shalom makes– the Palestinians.

The Retired Official’s Confession Syndrome

For all its shortcomings, the film is a step forward in the on-going effort to deny the idealized Zionist storyline  a monopoly in the West.  Indeed, that The Gatekeepers was made at all, and was received so positively at major film venues, is a sign that this wholly skewed Israeli storyline is finally breaking down.  Certainly, this deconstruction still has a long way to go, but the process is picking up speed.

On the other hand there is something troubling about the belated nature of the insights given in these interviews.  They are examples of what I like to call the “retired official’s confession syndrome.”  Quite often those who, in retirement, make these sorts of confessions were well aware of the muddled or murderous situation while in office.  But, apparently, they lacked the courage to publicize it at the time.  It would have meant risking their careers,  their popularity, and perhaps relations with their friends and family.  One is reminded of the fate of Professor Ilan Pappe, who did stand up and live his principles, and eventually lost his position at Haifa University and was, in the end, forced into exile.  For most, however, including these leaders of the Shin Bet, their understanding was clouded and their actions skewed by a time-honored, but deeply flawed, notion of “duty” to carry on like good soldiers.

Conclusion  

To date, Israel’s leaders and Zionist supporters have shown an amazing capacity to ignore all criticism.  The newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has let it be known that he has no intention of watching The Gatekeepers.  It is also questionable how many of those who voted for him, or other right-wing politicians, will bother to seek the documentary out.

Israel’s government has recently made the decision to ignore the country’s obligations under the United Nations Human Rights Charter,  a decision signaled by its representatives refusal to show up for the country’s “universal periodic review”  before the Human Rights Council.  Nor is there any sign that any new right-wing led government coalition will stop the ethnic cleansing and illegal colonial re-population of East Jerusalem.  

The only reasonable conclusion one can come to is that it will take increasing outside pressure on Israel, in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions, to convince a sufficient number of that country’s Jewish population that they must change their ways.  To not change is to acquiesce in Israel’s evolving status as a pariah state.  The irony of it all is that that status will have little to do with their being Jewish.  Yet, It will have everything to do with the fact that, in this day and age, even the Jews have no right to maintain a racist state.

February 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Gatekeepers – demolishing the Zionist narrative

The Constant Countdown: Never-Ending Hype, Hysteria, and Hyperbole about Iran’s Nuclear Program

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | October 21, 2012

On Monday evening, the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will focus primarily on foreign policy.  Needless to say, the issue of the Iranian nuclear program will feature prominently.  While both the Democratic and Republicantickets are quick to employ bellicose rhetoric and myriad falsehoods regarding the issue, a quick review of the candidates’ stated positions shows a slight difference between the two parties.

Taking into account the conclusions of U.S., European and Israeli intelligence agencies, President Obama explained earlier this year that “our assessment, which is shared by the Israelis, is that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt.”

Vice President Joe Biden made the same point during his debate with Romney running mate Paul Ryan.  “The Israelis and the United States,” he said, “our military and intelligence communities are absolutely the same exact place in terms of how close the Iranians are to getting a nuclear weapon. They are a good way away. There is no difference between our view and theirs.”  Biden went on: “There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon.”

Meanwhile, both Republican candidates have repeated the claims that Iran is now closer than ever to having a nuclear weapon.  On October 11, 2012, Paul Ryan declared during the vice presidential debate, “When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material — nuclear material to make one bomb. Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”

Five days later, on October 16, 2012, Mitt Romney repeated that formulation, warning the town hall debate audience in Hempstead, Long Island, “We have Iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb.”

This talking point will surely be repeated on Monday in Boca Raton.

It should also be remembered when the Israeli Prime Minister stood before the Knesset and declared:

“Iran is in the initial stages of an effort to acquire non-conventional capability in general, and nuclear capability in particular. Our assessment is that Iran today has the appropriate manpower and sufficient resources to acquire nuclear arms within 10 years. Together with others in the international community, we are monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity. They are not concealing the fact that the possibility that Iran will possess nuclear weapons is worrisome, and this is one of the reasons that we must take advantage of the window of opportunity and advance toward peace.”

That address was given in January 1993 by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.  Just as Iran didn’t have nuclear weapons ten years later, it still doesn’t as 2013 approaches.

It has been nearly two years (22 months, really) since I published “The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, Falsehoods, and Fear-Mongering about Iran’s Nuclear Program,” a timeline of constant U.S., Israeli, and European assertions regarding the supposed inevitability and immediacy of a nuclear-armed Iran – hysterical allegations that have been made repeatedly for the past thirty years, none of which has ever come true.

Subsequently, over fifty updates – cataloging new alarmist claims and predictions – have been added to the original piece (they can be read here) and a more extensive follow-up was posted in November 2011.

With a renewed spate of relentless warmongering, regurgitated propaganda by U.S. and Israeli officials, and endless talk of red lines, deadlines, end zones, zones of immunity, windows of opportunity and points of no return, it’s time for another update.

So, culled from the last eleven months, this never-ending saga continues:

Following a lengthy and thoroughlyoverhyped IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear program in November 2011, the media was filled with howls of imminent Iranian atomic bombs and the need to carry out an illegal, unprovoked military attack on Iran.

A Washington Post opinion piece by members of the hawkish Bipartisan Policy Center on November 7, 2011 claimed that, “if it chooses, Iran could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear device in just 62 days using its existing stockpiles and current enrichment capability,” but also stated the timeline could be even shorter.  “Once Iran acquires more than 150 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent — which could happen by early 2013 if Iran’s announced plans are realized,” Stephen Rademaker and Blaise Misztal wrote, “it would need only 12 days to produce enough fissile material for a bomb.”

On November 8, 2011, Simon Henderson of the AIPAC-affiliated Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) suggested “the IAEA report should serve to shift the public debate from whether Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, to how to stop it,” while career mouthpiece for the Israeli government Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote in Bloomberg View that the report offered “further proof that the Iranian regime is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons.”

A November 9, 2011 editorial in The Guardian noted that, as usual, the latest “flurry of leaks” about the Iranian nuclear program “tend[s] to suggest, without being able to absolutely prove, that Tehran is working to acquire nuclear weapons capacity.”  Undaunted by this absence of evidence, the British paper concluded that, not only is it “time to drop the pretence that Iran can be deflected from its nuclear path,” but that “[i]t really is time for Iran to drop the pretence that it is not on that path.”

Furthermore, editorials in both the The New York Times (“The Truth About Iran“) and The Washington Post (“Running Out of Time“) endorsed the IAEA’s insinuations without the slightest hint of skepticism or scrutiny.  The Times claimed that without “a new round of even tougher sanctions…Iran will keep pushing its nuclear program forward,” while the Post, drawing conclusions that are actually rejected by the IAEA itself, stated the latest report “ought to end serious debate about whether Tehran’s program is for peaceful purposes,” and warned that “the danger is growing, not diminishing,” suggesting Iran is “at least a year or more away from completing” a bomb.

The same day, November 9, 2011, analysts for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments stated, “Iran might have both the technology and material to build a nuclear bomb in a matter of months” and recommended that “Obama should take out Iran’s nuclear program…before it’s too late.”

Columnist Carlo Strenger, also writing on November 9, 2011 in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, claimed that the IAEA report “confirmed Israel’s and the Western World’s fears: there can be no reasonable doubt that Iran is working actively towards the atomic bomb.”   Even Ha’aretz‘s most rational and articulate commentator Gideon Levy fell for the hype, lamenting in his column, “Iran will apparently have an atom bomb, and that is very bad news.”

On November 10, 2011, a Ha’aretz editorial declared, “The [latest IAEA] report clearly shows that Iran carried out tests which cannot be interpreted in any way other than as signaling an intent to develop nuclear weapons,” while t he same day, The Wall Street Journal ran an opinion piece by then-GOP nomination hopeful Mitt Romney (though certainly written by the war-crazy cabal known as his “foreign policy team“) which stated, “Iran is making rapid headway toward its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons.”

Also on November 10, 2011, former Director of Policy Planning in the Obama State Department and current Princeton University professor Anne-Marie Slaughter opined that the IAEA report “affirms what western governments already know or believe: that for all the sanctions and diplomacy, Iran continues to make steady progress toward producing a nuclear weapon.”

On November 11, 2011, contributing columnist for The New York Times Magazine and ForeignPolicy.com James Traub lamented, “Neither Bush nor Obama has stopped Iran from pursuing a goal to which Iranian leaders are single-mindedly dedicated,” adding that “Iran has been seeking for years to develop a nuclear warhead and is continuing to do so.”  Traub continued: “Iran is still enriching uranium and is now estimated to have enough to produce four bombs.”

The Wall Street Journal published its own editorial on November 14, 2011, claiming that the new IAEA report “lays to rest the fantasies that an Iranian bomb is many years off” and insisted that “[t]he serious choice now before the Administration is between military strikes and more of the same. As the IAEA report makes painfully clear, more of the same means a nuclear Iran, possibly within a year.”

In truth, as acknowledged by Greg Thielmann and Benjamin Loehrke in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

Most analysts familiar with the report agree that there “is nothing in the report that was not previously known by the governments of the major powers” — a nuclear Iran is “neither imminent nor inevitable.” While it is clear that Iran’s continuing research on nuclear weapons is a serious concern for international security, there “has been no smoking gun when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions.”

Nevertheless, Jerusalem-based right-wing conspiracy theory website DEBKAfile released a new prediction in mid-November 2011. “According to the briefing given to a closed meeting of Jewish leaders in New York…the window of opportunity for stopping Iran attaining a nuclear weapon is closing fast” and “will shut down altogether after late March 2012,” the report said.  Why?  Because “intelligence reaching US President Barak Obama is that by April, Iran will already have five nuclear bombs or warheads and military action then would generate a dangerous level of radioactive contamination across the Gulf region, the main source of the world’s energy.”

On November 20, 2011, CNN aired an interview in which Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Fareed Zakaria that Iran would reach a “zone of immunity” within six to nine months, at which point its nuclear infrastructure would be redundant, dispersed and protected enough to be invulnerable to an attack.  Misunderstanding Barak’s allegation, Israeli media outlet Ha’aretz ran the alarming headline “Iran less than a year away from producing nuclear weapon” in anticipation of the broadcast.

Two days later, during a CNN debate between Republican presidential candidates sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation, two neoconservative bellwether organizations, AEI’s Danielle Pletka stated that “Iran is probably less than a year away from getting a nuclear weapon” before asking whether anything short of a military assault “could stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

On December 19, 2011, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, when asked by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley whether “Iran can have a nuclear weapon in 2012,” replied, “It would probably be about a year before they can do it. Perhaps a little less,” but added a “proviso” that, “if they have a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel,” the timeline to developing a nuclear weapon would be “on a faster track.”  The Pentagon quickly walked back the assertion.

On December 31, 2011, The Wall Street Journal quoted Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti telling reporters, “There is strong concern on the advancement of Iran’s nuclear program reaching a point of nonreturn and the strategy, which Italy agrees with, is the urgency to strengthen instruments of pressure on Iran.”

In the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, Matthew Kroenig, a former defense and Iran policy strategist for U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, published a call for the United States to launch an unprovoked and wholly illegal attack on Iran, citing Institute for Science and International Security “estimates that Iran could now produce its first nuclear weapon within six months of deciding to do so.”

On January 4 and January 6, 2012, Reuters reporter Fredrik Dahl wrote that “Western experts give different estimates of how quickly Iran could assemble a nuclear weapon if it decides to do so – ranging from as little as six months to a year or more.”

On January 8, 2012, Defense Secretary Panetta told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that the United States will take all necessary measures to make sure Iran “cannot continue to do what they’re doing,” adding, “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us.”

On January 9, 2012, David Sanger of The New York Times noted, “Already Iran has produced enough fuel to manufacture about four weapons, but only if the fuel goes through further enrichment, nuclear experts say.”

The following day, January 10, 2012, the Times of London claimed that a recent Israeli security report revealed “Israel is preparing for Iran to become a nuclear power and has accepted it may happen within a year.”

On January 11, 2012, Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman issued a joint press release that stated, “Despite the increased sanctions put in place over the last several years, the American people should have no illusions: time is now quickly running out to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”  The statement called upon Congress to officially rule out “containment” as a policy option “should economic and diplomatic pressure fail to force Iran to abandon its pursuit of acquiring nuclear weapons.”

On January 12, 2012, retired U.S. General Barry McCaffrey delivered a briefing to senior executives and producers at NBC News in which he determined that Iran “will not under any circumstances actually be deterred from going nuclear” and predicted that it “will achieve initial nuclear capability within 36 months.”  He also concluded that, not only will Iran instigate a major war against the United States, it will acquire “a nuclear capability of dozens of weapons within 60 months with the missile and fighter delivery systems required to strike targets in Israel, the GCC states, and regional US military forces.”

On January 13, 2012, Fox News contributor Liz Cheney asserted on Fox and Friends that Iran (which she accidentally called “Iraq”) was merely “months, not years, away” from enriching enough uranium needed for a nuclear weapon.

On January 16, 2012, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal published a dazzlingly Orientalist and bloodthirsty article entitled “The Intrigues of Persia,” which praised the then-recent murder of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, claiming – without providing evidence, of course – he “was engaged in building a nuclear bomb in violation of four binding U.N. Security Council resolutions.”  The piece also described the Iranian government as an “evil regime” and insisted “the mullahs…are building a bomb,” the success of which is now “closer than ever.”

A blockbuster article by Ronen Bergman, senior political and military analyst for the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, published in The New York Times on January 25, 2012, quotes Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon (who is also Minister of Strategic Affairs) as saying, “Our policy is that in one way or another, Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped. It is a matter of months before the Iranians will be able to attain military nuclear capability.”  Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak tells Bergman that “no more than one year remains to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weaponry.”

Bergman also writes, “According to latest intelligence, Iran now has some 10,000 functioning centrifuges, and they have streamlined the enrichment process. Iran today has five tons of low-grade fissile material, enough, when converted to high-grade material, to make about five to six bombs,” and adds, “It is believed that Iran’s nuclear scientists estimate that it will take them nine months, from the moment they are given the order, to assemble their first explosive device and another six months to be able to reduce it to the dimensions of a payload for their Shahab-3 missiles, which are capable of reaching Israel.”

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, stated on January 25, 2012, “Never has it been so clear Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon. Now is the time to act. Tomorrow is too late. The stakes are too high. The price of inaction is too great.”  Prosor also declared that “Tehran’s efforts to enrich uranium to 20 percent-levels at its reactor in Qom could serve no other plausible aim other than to develop an atomic bomb,” despite the fact that such enrichment is known to be used in the creation of medical isotopes that treat cancer patients.

On January 26, 2012, Reuters reporter Frederik Dahl wrote, “The IAEA issued a detailed report in November that laid bare a trove of intelligence suggesting Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability,” and added that “some experts say” Iran “could have the potential to build at least one nuclear device as early as next year.”

On the January 29, 2012 edition of 60 Minutes, Defense Secretary Panetta again addressed the Iranian nuclear program.  “The consensus is that, if they decided to do it, it would probably take them about a year to be able to produce a bomb,” he said, “and then possibly another one to two years in order to put it on a deliverable vehicle of some sort in order to deliver that weapon.”

At the same time, Israeli military chief Benny Gantz said he had “no doubt” Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons and Defense Minister Barak warned, “We must not waste time on this matter; the Iranians continue to advance, identifying every crack and squeezing through. Time is urgently running out.”

On February 2, 2012, Director of Israeli Military Intelligence Major General Aviv Kochavi told a panel at the Herzliya Conference that “Iran is vigorously pursing military nuclear capabilities and today the intelligence community agrees with Israel on that” and assessed that “Iran has enough nuclear material for four bombs.”  Kochavi said, “We have conclusive evidence that they are after nuclear weapons,” adding, “When Khamenei gives the order to produce the first nuclear weapon – it will be done, we believe, within one year.”

On February 17, 2012, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom announced on MSNBC, “Everyone now knows most of the world, if not all the world, knows the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear bomb. It’s out of the question. They have all the proof. Everyone knows the security and intelligence of the western world knows very well the Iranians are developing a nuclear bomb, and they should be stopped.”

On February 23, 2012, The Los Angeles Times‘ Ken Dilanian wrote that, although “U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb,” David Albright’s Institute for Science and International Security estimates Iran “could enrich uranium to sufficient purity to make a bomb in as little as six months, should it decide to do so.”  The article also states that “Albright and many other experts believe that if it decides to proceed, the country has the scientific knowledge to design and build a crude working bomb in as little as a year” and that it would take three years “for Iran to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.”

On March 5, 2012, David Albright’s Institute for Science and International Security released a report claiming that “Iran is already capable of making weapon-grade uranium and a crude nuclear explosive device” and cataloging the different routes Iran might take to obtain a nuclear weapon by 2015.

On March 6, 2012, Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies wrote that “Iran already is nuclear capable” and “has everything it needs to be able to manufacture a nuclear weapon. All it would take is a political decision and time.”

The next day, on March 7, 2012, Israeli Prime Minister was interviewed on Fox News by Greta van Susteren, who asked “What’s the timeline? How much time do we have?”  Netanyahu replied, “Every day that passes makes it closer and closer.”  When van Susteren pressed, “Is it weeks, months, or years?,” the Israeli leader declared, “It was a lot further away 15 years ago when I started talking about it. It was a lot further away 10 years ago. It was a lot further away five years. It was a lot further away five months ago. They are getting there, and they are getting very, very close.”

On March 18, 2012, an Associated Press report noted Israeli concerns that the Iranian nuclear program may be allowed “to reach the point where there is enough enriched weapons grade material that a bomb could quickly be assembled, within a year.”

Five days later, on March 23, 2012, AP published a “Special Report” that laid bare the hysteria over the Iran nuclear program.  “The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead,” AP stated plainly.  “Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.”

Nevertheless, on April 5, 2012, Ehud Barak told Fareed Zakaria on CNN that, with regard to the goal of stopping Iran’s “nuclear military program,” Israel has “limited time. We don’t have to make a decision next week and we cannot wait years.”

On May 7, 2012, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stated in an interview with CBC that Iran could “very quickly” produce a nuclear weapons if it so desired.  After compiling “all the ingredients” for a bomb, Baird suggested, “they could certainly dash to the end which could be done in as few as nine or as many as 18 months.”

On May 10, 2012, career warmonger Marc Theissen insisted that “Iran is determined to obtain a nuclear weapon” and claimed that “made more progress toward this goal in the past three years under Obama than it has in the three decades since the Iranian Revolution.”  He condemned the incumbent administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear issue, claiming, “Before Obama took office, Iran needed months to make a dash to a bomb. Today, it could make that dash in a matter of weeks.” Theissen concluded that “the Iranian regime has developed a rapid nuclear weapons breakout capability on President Obama’s watch” and that “Iran is closer than ever to building a nuclear bomb.”

On May 25, 2012, David Albright and his staff at ISIS calculated that Iran had already stockpiled enough 3.5% low enriched uranium that “if further enriched to weapon grade” could “make over five nuclear weapons.”

In the May/June 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs, USC professor Jacques E. C. Hymans pointed out that despite the “underlying assumption” that, unless challenged violently, Iran will soon acquired nuclear weapons, “there is another possibility.”  Hymans explains, “The Iranians had to work for 25 years just to start accumulating uranium enriched to 20 percent, which is not even weapons grade. The slow pace of Iranian nuclear progress to date strongly suggests that Iran could still need a very long time to actually build a bomb — or could even ultimately fail to do so.”

A veritable who’s-who of warmongering neocons including Elliott Abrams, Matthew Kroenig and Ray Takeyh published a monograph in June 2012 entitled, “Iran: The Nuclear Challenge,” which states, “Nongovernment experts believe that if Iran made the decision to enrich to a higher level today, it could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one bomb in four months. The same experts estimate that by the end of 2012 the time might be as little as one month…Extrapolating from these estimates leads to public estimates that it would take Iran about a year to produce such a nuclear weapon if it decided to do so.”

On June 15, 2012, David Albright and crew were back with a new assessment of Iran’s breakout capabilities, reporting that “Iran will have enough [19.75% low enriched uranium] by early next year, if further enriched to weapon-grade in a breakout, for a nuclear weapon,” but adding that “it could have enough…for a nuclear weapon by the end of 2012.”  Albright also concludes, “Production of enough for a second nuclear weapon would take many additional months,” estimating Iran “would have enough for a second weapon in about October 2013. By November 2015, Iran would have enough for three to almost five nuclear weapons.”

In late June 2012, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted by Foreign Policy as saying, “In my judgment…if nothing will be done about it, within several years Iran will turn nuclear.”

On July 13, 2012, the British press quoted Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, Britain’s international espionage agency, as telling a gathering of civil servants that without risks taken by his intelligence operatives, “you’d have Iran as a nuclear weapons state in 2008, rather than still being two years away in 2012.”

On August 3, 2012, RAND policy analyst Alireza Nader stated the obvious: “According to the U.S. intelligence community, the Iranian leadership hasn’t even made the decision to weaponize their program.  They’ve been creating the technical know-how and the infrastructure, but they haven’t made that decision, and there is much more time than the Israelis portray there to be. I don’t think an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is inevitable or imminent.”

On August 5, 2012, Israeli daily Ynet reported that Netanyahu estimates that “Iran is a few months away from becoming nuclear,” quoting the Prime Minister as predicting, “The time frame isn’t measured in days or weeks, but not in years either.”

On August 24, 2012, The Los Angeles Times stated, “At its current pace, by next year Iran may be able produce enough fuel for a bomb within two months,” according to timeline favorite David Albright.  The report continues, “Fairly soon after that, as Iran continues to add to its centrifuge capacity, the time will be reduced to one month, he said in an interview.  ‘You will see much shorter breakout times coming into play early next year or late this year,’ he said, referring to the time Iran would need should it choose to rush to build a nuclear weapon. ‘You have this growing enrichment capability that starts to get the breakout down to an order of a month.'”

On September 4, 2012, former director of the CIA Michael Hayden told Ha’aretz, ““While it is probably true that the so-called ‘window’ regarding effective action is closing, there is still some time, as real decisions are to be made in 2013 or 2014.”

On September 7, 2012, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu believes that if Iranian leaders “decide to do the dash” for nuclear weapons, it could take a s little as “four weeks to eight weeks” for Iran to acquire an atomic bomb.  Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence analysts believe it would “take a little longer than that,” Rogers said. “But the problem is nobody really knows for sure.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking on CBS‘ “This Morning” on September 11, 2012, said that, were Iran to make the decision to develop a nuclear weapon, the U.S. would have “roughly about a year right now” to take action to halt such a process. “A little more than a year. And so…we think we will have the opportunity once we know that they’ve made that decision, take the action necessary to stop [them],” Panetta revealed, adding that the U.S. has “pretty good intelligence” on Iran. “We know generally what they’re up to,” he said. “And so we keep a close track on them.”

The same day, Associated Press reported, according to unnamed “diplomats,” that the IAEA “has received new and significant intelligence over the past month that Iran has moved further toward the ability to build a nuclear weapon.”

In mid-September 2012, a bipartisan report spearheaded by William Luers, Austin Long, Thomas Pickering and Colin Kahl and endorsed by over thirty former government officials and security experts, including General Anthony Zinni, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Brent Scowcroft, Dick Armitage, Leslie Gelb, Admiral James Fallon, Admiral Joe Sestak, Anne Marie Slaughter, Chuck Hagel, Paul Volcker, Lee Hamilton, Zbigniew Brezinski, Nicholas Burns, and Joe Cirincione, determined, “Conservatively, it would take Iran a year or more to build a military-grade weapon, with at least two years or more required to create a nuclear warhead that would be reliably deliverable by a missile.”

On September 14, 2012, deputy speaker of the Knesset Danny Danon wrote an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times advocating an illegal military attack on Iran, claiming that Iran is “developing its nuclear program at an alarming rate.”

On a September 16, 2012 Sunday morning panel, ABC News reporter Brian Ross claimed that Iran was “four to six weeks away” from acquiring a nuclear weapon, “if they made the decision to do it.” Ross justified his assessment by adding, “That’s some of the intelligence.”  In response, Christiane Amanpour countered, “That has been so vastly disproved. Others say that it could be a year. So, this is a guessing game that has gone on for years.”

The same day, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Face the Nation that, while “Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon,” there is only “perhaps six months” before it achieves that capability, leading him to predict that “2013 is going to be a year in which we’re going to have a military confrontation with Iran.”

Also that day, September 16, 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared on CNN, warning that Iran “moving very rapidly to completing the enrichment of the uranium that they need to produce a nuclear bomb. In six months or so they’ll be 90 percent of the way there.”

On September 24, 2012, Israeli UN representative Ron Prosor issued a condemnatory statement about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which read, in part, “Three thousand years of Jewish history illustrate the clear danger of ignoring fanatics like Iran’s president, especially as he inches closer to acquiring nuclear weapons.”

On September 25, 2012, PBS correspondent Margaret Warner remarked that Iran has “so much uranium they can break out in a matter of weeks or months and make a weapon.”

On September 26, 2012, Iran attack enthusiast John Bolton opined, “Tehran is perilously close to achieving nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for worldwide delivery,” stating that the nuclear program is “far too advanced” to be stopped by anything other than a military assault. “And because the world’s intelligence on Iran is imperfect,” Bolton added, “Iran may be even closer to a nuclear bomb than we think.”

The next day, September 27, 2012, Benjamin Netanyahu descended upon the United Nations General Assembly, cartoon bomb diagram in tow.  He bellowed that Iran is “70 percent of the way” to stockpiling enough enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.  “And by next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

On October 2, 2012, Reuters‘ Frederik Dahl posted an extensive run-down of current assessments regarding the Iranian nuclear program.  “Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several atomic bombs if refined to a high degree but it may still be a few years away from being able to build a nuclear-armed missile if it decided to go down that path,” he begins.

“I still think that we are talking about several years…before Iran could develop a nuclear weapon and certainly before they could have a deliverable nuclear weapon,” said Shannon Kile, head of the Nuclear Weapons Project of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Greg Jones, a senior researcher at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and world-class Iran hysteric, claimed that “Iran could refine uranium for a nuclear weapon in 10 weeks and produce the required non-nuclear components in six months or less, he said, adding this could be done simultaneously.”

An anonymous Israeli official told Reuters reporter Dan Williams, “Once Iran gets its first device, no matter how rudimentary, it’s a nuclear power and a nuclear menace. With that said, we have always noted that, from this threshold, it would take Iran another two years or so to make a deployable warhead.”

On October 4, 2012, IISS‘ Mark Fitzpatrick wrote in Canada’s Global Brief that “Iran continues to move closer to a virtual weapons status,” suggesting that “by mid-2013, Iran will have enough low-enriched uranium (LEU), if further enriched, for perhaps six weapons.”  He also noted, “As of late summer 2012, Iran was still several months away from being able to make a successful dash for nuclear weapons. Producing missile-deliverable weapons would take longer.”  Nevertheless, “As Iran’s stockpile of enrichment uranium increases,” Fitzpatrick hedged, “the timelines shorten.”

On October 8, 2012, David Albright issued a new report which found that it would take “at least two to four months” for Iran to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium to produce a single nuclear bomb, while Mitt Romney delivered a foreign policy stump speech at the Virginia Military Institute, in which he declared, “Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability. It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us.”

On October 11, 2012, Oxford Analytica, a global corporate and governmental consulting firm, reported that Iran had already acquired enough “enriched uranium nuclear fuel to get breakout capability but the extra steps to produce a weapon [would] take months.”

The fever-pitched predictions over just how imminent and inevitable an Iranian nuclear weapon will surely continue unabated, regardless of how many decades Iranian leaders consistently deny such intentions or how many IAEA reports affirm Iran has never diverted any nuclear material to a weapons program or even had a weapons program in the first place.

It is no wonder that a Zogby poll from late February 2012 found that 78% of Americans “believe Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons production.” Quite simply, in our current debate, facts just don’t matter.

October 21, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on The Constant Countdown: Never-Ending Hype, Hysteria, and Hyperbole about Iran’s Nuclear Program

A look back at “Break the Bones” Policy

News report circa 1988:

Beating the Palestinians #1

Beating the Palestinians #2

Beating the Palestinians #3

Israel Declines to Study Rabin Tie to Beatings

New York Times – July 12, 1990

Israel’s Parliament decided today not to investigate charges that former Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin [later Prime Minister] ordered soldiers to break the bones of Arab militants at the beginning of the Palestinian uprising…

…..Soldiers testifying at Colonel Meir’s trial said Mr. Rabin and other senior commanders told them privately that beatings should be used to punish Arabs known to be troublemakers.

…a company commander under Colonel Meir, testified in April that he was told by Colonel Meir to ”break the arms and legs” of Arabs ”because the detention camps are full.” Full story

May 19, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Comments Off on A look back at “Break the Bones” Policy

Top 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the #Nakba

Permission To Narrate

1.       Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe. It is used to describe the Palestinian loss of land and property during the depopulation of Palestine from 1947-1949 and does not refer simply to the declaration of a state of Israel.

2.       212 localities depopulated and at least half of the refugees created during the Nakba were created prior to May 15th, which is, prior to the entry of armies of other Arab states. The largest Palestinian cities at the time, Yaffa and Haifa, were emptied of the vast majority of their inhabitants before May 15th, 1948. The idea that refugee creation happened only after, or only as a result of, the mobilization of Arab armies is patently false.

3.      At every stage of the war, the Yishuv/Israeli forces were superior in training, equipment and numbers to the combined Arab armies.

4.       The Zionists prepared extensive data collection efforts to map out intelligence relating to the Palestinian villages for a decade prior to the war. Detailed information about each village was kept including information on the number of inhabitants, the village’s resources, the potential activists that resided within it and what its political affiliations were.

5.     Of the over 500 Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba, 303 were depopulated as a result of either direct expulsion  carried out by Yishuv/Israeli forces or as a result of attack by Yishuv/Israel forces.

6.     Of the depopulated villages, 81 have been completely obliterated which means there is no traceable sign of their existence. Rubble was identified at the site of another 140 villages. Some standing walls were apparent at another 60 villages while 74 more had few houses intact. Other villages had houses intact and occupied by Israelis.

7.     Golda Meir struck a secret agreement with the King of Jordan before the war. Even though Jordan’s Arab Legion was the most formidable of the Arab armies, and even though the massacre at Deir Yassin tested this agreement, the Jordanian forces didn’t cross into territory that was designated for the Jewish State under the UN partition plan.

8.      After the depopulation of towns and villages, rampant looting of personal property took place. Israeli civilians and soldiers took part in stealing from vacated Palestinian homes and shops. Israeli historian Tom Segev notes that 1,800 trucks were taken from the town of Lydda alone.

9.      While 700-800,000 Palestinians were made refugees and not permitted to return by the state of Israel, 150,000 did remain inside Israel and many became internally displaced persons who still lost their property and were subjected to martial law until 1966 and various discriminatory laws since then.

10.   Yitzhak Rabin, an officer during the 1948 war, included a description of orders to forcibly expel tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in his memoirs. The State of Israel prevented this description from being printed when his memoirs were published and, as far as I am aware, continues to prevent it today.*

*UPDATE: The censored passage from Rabin’s memoirs was published in the appendix of a 1996 English version published after Rabin’s death. It is unclear if the passage is permitted for inclusion within the text of the memoirs themselves or in versions published in Hebrew or in Israel.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Time for the Palestinian Oslo Team to Leave!

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan | Palestine Chronicle | May 7, 2012

The current leaders of the West Bank Palestinians are physically, politically and financially taken hostages by the Oslo agreements that they negotiated, signed and promoted. Oslo City was the venue of the secret Israeli-Palestinian ‘peace agreement.’ Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat signed the agreement’s ‘Declaration of Principles’ on the lawns of the White House, hosted by US President Clinton on Sep 13, 1993. Arafat who sold Oslo to his people as ‘the peace of the brave’ was jailed in his Ramallah headquarters and he allegedly was executed by his Israeli Oslo partners after fulfilling his role in recognizing the State of Israel.

The Palestinian Oslo negotiators promised their people that Oslo was a plan to create an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza while some senior PLO members rejected the agreements and many Palestinian intellectuals and foreign observers concluded that Oslo would lead the Palestinians to nowhere. Edward Said, Palestine’s most prominent intellectual, criticized the agreement because it had not addressed the refugees and Jerusalem questions. Edward Said was ridiculed by members of the Oslo team and his books were banned in the West Bank and Gaza by orders from Arafat as a retaliation measure.

It was a common knowledge that Israel had absolutely no intention of conceding Jerusalem or the Palestinian refugee right of return, but the two issues were shelved by Oslo agreements until the so-called “final status talks” which was nothing but a fig leaf to surrender to Israel the most important issues. The UN Resolution 194 of December 11, 1948 affirmed the right of Palestinian refugees who had fled or had been expelled during the war to return to their homes. Resolution 194, a direct application of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was adopted by the United Nations unanimously in 1948. After signing Oslo agreements, the US Administration under President Clinton that was the main sponsor of Oslo argued at the UN, that past UN resolutions on Palestine were “obsolete and anachronistic” after the signing of Oslo.

The American journalist Tomas Friedman who is known for his pro-Israel writings described Arafat’s letter to Rabin recognizing Israel as a humiliation for Arafat and the PLO and an Israeli decisive victory over the Palestinian national movement. He wrote that the letter was “not a statement of recognition. It is a letter of surrender, a type-written white flag in which the PLO chairman renounced every political position on Israel he has held since the PLO’s foundation in 1964.” Arafat’s letter to Rabin promised to assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance with Oslo agreements; prevent violations and discipline violators; and declared inoperative all the articles in the Palestinian Covenant which denied Israel’s right to exist.

The Israeli journalist Danny Rubenstein predicted at the time of Oslo signing and the establishment of the Palestine Authority (PA) that the “autonomy” which the Israelis accepted for the Palestinians was the autonomy “of a POW camp, where the prisoners are autonomous to cook their meals without interference and to organize cultural events.”

On August 8, 1995, the Financial Times was dismayed that the unfair pattern of water seizure by Israel had not been changed years after Oslo agreements: “Nothing symbolizes the inequality of water consumption more than the fresh green lawns, irrigated flower beds, blooming gardens and swimming pools of Jewish settlements in the West Bank”, while nearby Palestinian villages were denied the right to drill wells.

After giving Oslo team the benefit of the doubt, the Palestinian leader, Haidar Abdel-Shafi concluded that Oslo agreements and the PA would fail the Palestinian national cause. For those who do not know, Haidar Abdel-Shafi was the head of the Palestinian negotiating team in Washington that was boycotted by Israel for insisting on having a commitment by Israel to withdraw from East Jerusalem and dismantling the settlements as part of any acceptable interim agreements. Israel chose to negotiate with Oslo team which agreed to Israel’s demand to leave Jerusalem, the refugees and the settlements issues until the “final status talk” of the negotiations.

The Oslo agreements partitioned the occupied lands into zones where the Palestinian Authority is allowed to have different administrative and security powers. Besides the towns and malls and highways built on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and Jerusalem for Jews only, there are many other visible failures of Oslo agreements. Oslo gave Israel the power to divide the Palestinians into groups with different gradation of legal statuses and different security regimes depending on where they live. There are the Israeli Palestinians, Jerusalem Palestinians, Palestinians who reside between the apartheid wall and the green line, Palestinians in zone A or B or C, Gaza Strip Palestinians, the 1948 refugees, the 1967 refugees and the Palestinians who came with Arafat from Tunisia.

The Oslo team in the West Bank still believes the Palestinian issue is a border dispute between two states, but the facts on the ground suggest the Palestinians’ struggle today is existential. The Israelis including the left have adopted the theology of the rabbis that calls for Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians to be based on “Jewish history”, Jewish ethnicity and Jewish religion. The Israelis perceive the settlements, especially in Jerusalem, as an integral part of their national heritage closely tied to the Jews “glorious past.” Some Israelis liken the Palestinians to the biblical Philistines or Amalek, a nation that, in the Torah, “God Commands” the Israelites to “expunge!!” Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba settlement wrote in 2009: “We must cleanse the country of Arabs and resettle them where they came from, if necessary by paying.” Due to the military training indoctrination and religious beliefs, the attitude of the Israeli young generation toward the Palestinians is more radical than their parents.

The news from Israel suggests the right-wing government is popular and if a new parliamentary election takes place today, Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party will be a winner. As long as the majority of the Israeli people support the ethno-security regime and do not pay the cost of occupation, the status quo in the occupied lands will continue. Due to its success in ruling the West Bank Palestinian population through the proxy of the Palestinian Authority that is financed by the donor countries and the siege of Gaza, Israel does not feel a need for making any concession to the Palestinians as long as the Oslo team controls the Palestinian population. The Israelis believe they can manage the conflict until the Palestinians are ready to settle the conflict on Israel’s own terms.

The Israeli architect of Oslo, Yossi Beilin, wrote a letter dated April 4, 2012 to his Palestinian Oslo partner, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the president of the Palestinian Authority. The letter stated that the Oslo agreements were based on “the Beilin-Abu Mazen talks” and described the agreements as “a process that promised to lead to a partition of the land in a few years [not the withdrawal from the occupied lands] ……and a fitting symbolic and economic resolution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees [not according to the UN resolution 194].” Beilin reminded Abbas that the PA was an interim phase of the agreement and “One simply cannot continue with an interim agreement for more than 20 years.” Beilin’s letter suggests that if the PA is not dissolved after two decades of signing the Oslo agreements the territory administered by the PA will become the de facto Palestinian state.

The Oslo team has failed to deliver on its promises to establish an independent Palestinian state. Under Oslo team leadership, the vast majority of the Palestinians in the occupied lands are poor, living on donors’ handouts, fearing the confiscation of their land, subjected to ethnic cleansing, family separation and home demolition. They experience daily humiliation creeping for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to them by the Israelis. The Palestinians are living under military rule in disconnected enclaves, surrounded by sprawling massive Jewish settlements, Jewish only roads, and the separation wall; or they are living in the besieged Gaza and millions are left homeless without citizenship in refugee camps.

Due to their failed policies, the Oslo team has disqualified themselves politically and legally from leading their people. Time has come to declare the Oslo “peace process” over and allow a new leadership that thinks differently to step in. The new team should reject imposing Jewish hegemonic conceptions on the millions of Palestinians as individuals or groups. They should demand equality within the framework of one state over all historical Palestine.

Hasan Afif El-Hasan is a political analyst. His latest book, Is The Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

May 8, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Time for the Palestinian Oslo Team to Leave!