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Israel's Peres Says Netanyahu Blocked 2011 Peace Deal

World  (tags: Israel, Zionist, occupation, Palestine, peace, middle east )

- 1807 days ago -
Israeli President Shimon Peres said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked a 2011 peace agreement he had secretly negotiated with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.


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Lone F (58)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 4:26 pm
Noted! Thanks Sam.

. (0)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 4:42 pm
In 2011, there was no way the Palestinians recognized Israel. Is this a propaganda piece?

Sam H (410)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 4:59 pm
Yes, Allan, propaganda piece by Peres himself!

Ellen J (62)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 5:57 pm
Shared & noted. Thanks, Sam for sharing.

Tuesday May 6, 2014, 6:01 pm
Noted. Thanks Sam for sharing.

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 6:44 pm
Thanks for posting this Sam.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday May 6, 2014, 8:24 pm
All i know is the many injustices that occur there everyday--it's dreadful. Thx Sam

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 12:11 am
Thanks for sharing Sam. I despair for the middle east

David F (14)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 12:55 am
hur hur hur. As if Israel's FUEHRER, the 'hon.' Mr. N. (HEIL-t!), wouldn't be blocking the peace Charad... oh, pardon me, the 'peace process' very openly (i.e. obvious for all who don't resctrict their input entirely to Faux News, that is)

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 5:25 am
Thanks for sharing Sam. I hate to see Perez go, with his retirement there won't be any Israeli political figures left with a sense for justice i guess. "The days passed and there was no better offer."- and the months, the years..there will never be one that this PM could accept as we all know it simply isn't what he wants.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 8:01 am
Thank you!!

Farah Hage Ali (155)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 9:54 am
noted, thank you for sharing

Sam H (410)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 11:15 am
Maybe that will give the US enough courage to start acting more honestly in the region, knowing that Netanyahu is the real obstacle to peace.

Sam H (410)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 11:17 am
In the end Netanyahu is more dangerous to the Israelis than he is to the Palestinians.

Sam H (410)
Wednesday May 7, 2014, 9:32 pm

Have you seen this story?

Israeli spying on US at 'alarming level'


Jonathan Harper (0)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 4:19 am

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 4:28 am
I have always advised pro Zionism not to show their ignorance and keep silent when it comes to the truth but it seems that they insist to prove their ignorance. Someone here writes " In 2011, there was no way the Palestinians recognized Israel. Is this a propaganda piece?" Actually my response will be from an Israeli source. He may read if he can :
September of 1993 saw a major breakthrough in the clandestine negotiations between Israel and the PLO, as Arafat relayed a message to Rabin saying his organization was willing to acknowledge Israel's right to exist and adhere to UN resolutions 242 and 338.

Arafat's message also stated that the PLO was willing to commit to finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to relinquish all forms of terror and to revoke the clauses in the Palestinian National Covenant which negate Israel's right to exists. Following these decisions, Israel agreed to recognize the PLO as the Palestinian people's official representative for any peace talks.

Israel's willingness to see the PLO as a legitimate peace partner was considered a dramatic change in policy, since up until then it was considered a terror organization and any and all contact with it was prohibited by law.,7340,L-3064378,00.html

Teresa Cowley (274)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 5:12 am
The entire world seems to be hating, lying, conflicting with each other--it's like a pandemic of destruction.
Thanks Sam.

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 9:08 am
There is a basic problem here:

Netanyahu, and a whole lot of other people, do not believe peace with Palestinians would happen regardless of what goes on at the negotiating table and what documents are signed by both negotiating parties. Assuming that Peres is right, and that peace on paper would mean peace on the ground, then Netanyahu blocked a peace-deal, but only assuming the he's right, and that is not a safe assumption. If Netanyahu is right, and violence would continue as it does now regardless of what happens on paper, he may have just averted a major disaster for Israel.

What a lot of people fail to comprehend, Westerners included, is that the primary dividing lines in Western politics, including Israel, are not about basic values or ideals. They're about beliefs and assumptions regarding how the world works. As the article follows Peres' assumptions exactly without any consideration that he might possibly be wrong, it is, exactly as Allen thought, a propaganda-piece, but one of internal Israeli politics and of Western politics in general, where the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is regularly used to rationalize both sides (as it does very well when viewed through the lens of each side's assumptions), not some general anti-Israel propaganda.

MsR S (189)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 12:47 pm
Nothing but politicians doing their evil work. Peace does not bring in the BIG bucks.

Past Member (0)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 12:57 pm
Peres often says things only a lunatic can.

His noble idea about "New Middle East" did not materialize, thanks to Arab states. His ego does not allow him to admit that he was plain wrong for the last 20 years. Then he finds others to blame. Poor old chap.

Jane H (139)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 1:43 pm
this does not surprise me....noted

Birgit W (160)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 2:59 pm
Abdessalam Diab says it all. PEACE!

Roger G (148)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 3:05 pm
noted, thanks

Sam H (410)
Thursday May 8, 2014, 3:40 pm
Stephen Brian,

There is a basic problem here--Netanyahu doesn't want peace!

You could have spared us all that other nonsense about how the rest of the world doesn’t understand. This one is a hard one to spin, Stephen!

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 9, 2014, 12:55 am
Hi Sam :)

You're helping to sell the point that the rest of the world doesn't understand. You really don't seem to, so I'll make this plain: Netanyahu doesn't even think in terms of wanting peace or not. He believes it's impossible so the point is moot. I happen to agree with him to some extent. I believe it may be possible in as little as 10-20 years, but that progress towards it has nothing to do with current negotiations.

Now, imagine what happens when one side finds itself under intense international pressure to follow through on its side of a peace-agreement, while the other ignores its obligations. The result is what we call a "massacre", or a series of massacres. That's the result of what you're calling "peace" here.

Colleen L (3)
Friday May 9, 2014, 1:58 am
Thanks Sam

Sam H (410)
Friday May 9, 2014, 2:26 am
My response disappeared, but I'll type it again.

Sam H (410)
Friday May 9, 2014, 2:36 am
This is where you’re mistaken, Stephen. The rest of the world, including the president of Israel, understands my point.

It’s you, Netanyahu and a bunch of other militant, belligerent Zionists are the ones refusing to see the light.

And what massacres are you talking about, Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila, Qana or the myriad of other ones committed or sanctioned by Israel and other blood-thirsty Zionists?

It seems (and you may have some inside information here) that those intent on committing future massacres are the ones obstructing the peace process now.

Thomas M (8)
Friday May 9, 2014, 5:48 am
Netanyahu is an ultraconservative blocker of progress who is in the same vein as our right wing American Taliban in the House of Representatives, US Senate and Supreme Court. He, Harper of Canada and the repubs in the US crowd can only think of destroying the middle class via control of the masses through corporate and religious domination of government which allows the rich to get richer at the expense of the environment and we enslaved peoples who do the grunt work - to include those who serve in the armed forces to kill any who threaten them. Religious beliefs are used as the fear and guilt factors to motivate the common man into following the oligarchs insanity. Oligarchs use money, radical religious beliefs and the fearful masses to gain more $$$$$ for them.

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 9, 2014, 8:33 am
Hi Sam :)

There are four sides in this matter: Those who want negotiations for peace, those who want to abuse negotiations for the sake of conflict, those who want to avoid negotiations because they do not believe that they help at all, and those who just want open warfare. Peres is on the first and Netanyahu is on the third. (Arafat's speech weeks after the Oslo Accords, where he called them a first step towards the destruction of Israel, put him on the second, and Hamas is on the fourth.)

I'll try to give you an analogy that maybe you can follow:
Your profile says you live in New Jersey, in the U.S. Do you honestly believe that Democrats and Republicans have the same beliefs about how the world works? Do you think that with different preconceived notions, analysis of the same data always somehow leads to the same conclusions? It's exactly the same in Israel, with arguably the same difference in beliefs about how the societies function. Two sides see the peace negotiations failing and conflict continuing. One side believes the negotiations are the route to the end of conflict and that it only continues because people aren't committed enough to them. The other believes they are doomed to fail no matter how committed, or not, people are, and fixating on them as a route to peace is useless at best. The difference comes in what factors people assume to be significant in the behaviour of societies and sub-groups: Is it primarily about internal ingrained cultural factors, or about relations between different groups? Does the solution to conflict lie in looking inwards and waiting for the other side to do the same, or in hoping that peace on paper will mean peace on the ground?

You're happy to sit there calling Zionists and Netanyahu blood-thirsty, but assume that anybody else who engages in violence is only doing so in reaction to external factors. Have you never imagined that maybe the people who fire rockets at people's homes only because a wall now prevents them from indoctrinating children and sending them as suicide-bombers on buses might, just maybe, be blood-thirsty themselves and not innocent victims reacting reasonably to oppression? Yes, obviously peace on paper will stop all of those people, and their children who learn math by how many stones it supposedly takes to kill an Israeli soldier.

Also, get your history right: The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was carried out by Lebanese Christians and came as a surprise to the Israeli forces present. Any attempt to intervene by Israeli forces on-site without a plan would have been stupid and suicidal. Of course, you think they should have anyways because that would mean more dead Israelis. As for Deir Yassin, that was committed by Irgun and Lehi militias. Learn your history. Which force, exactly, destroyed Irgun's main weapons-cache, driving it to collapse, and arrested the leaders of Lehi. I'll give you a hint: It was later reorganzied and renamed the "IDF". As for Qana, learn real international law (not the BS that gets spouted regularly) and why it's written the way it is. Innocent people died, and that's tragic, but more would have died otherwise.

I was talking about massacres that haven't happened yet, and can still be prevented, as was obvious from context. On the other hand, maybe it's not so obvious to you. You only seem interested in whom you can blame after the fact, not in the well-being of victims, and potential victims, themselves, so I guess you couldn't imagine that somebody might talk about those.

marie C (163)
Friday May 9, 2014, 5:26 pm
Noted thanks

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday May 10, 2014, 4:23 pm

Thanks for this article, Sam. What else is new? The wry notion of something called “peace” has never really entered the minds of polit-Israel. As early as 1949 (Lausanne Conference) the peace talks collapsed because of the “intransigence of Israel” (o-tone of UN-docs of those meetings).

Arafat has officially recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security in 1988 for the first time (Time, December 1988 edition). On December 7, 1988 one week before his historic speech at the United Nations, Yasser Arafat, met with several high-ranking leaders of the Israeli government to work out a peace agreement that recognized Israel’s right to exist.

Arafat, as the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, agreed to adhere to U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism, and closing the issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. The agreement allowed the start of formal negotiations for peace with the United States and Israel.

Take it one step back - who rejected the peace plans of (just the important ones):
1967-1971: The UN Jarring Mission peace plan
1969: The Rogers plan.
1971: Sadat offered Israel full peace in 1971 as soon as he assumed power.
1976: January, the PLO offered Israel full peace.
1977: The Carter Comprehensive Peace Plan (later modified to meet Israeli conditions)
1981: The Prince Fahd Peace Plan
1882: The Reagan Peace Plan
1982: The Arab Fez Peace Plan
1988: The PLO Peace Plan
1989: the Bush Peace plan
And so on and so forth …

Ever since 1988 the Palestinian leaders have time and again (oral and in writing) recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace and security – but bear in mind that reciprocity is not in the books of Israel’s leaders nor is it demanded of them by the US or the Quartet. On the contrary: Likud, Labor and the religious parties had up until and including the elections of 2006 (!) statements on their official websites that there will NEVER be a Palestinian State between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The best what could be extracted from Israeli leaders is the willingness to negotiate. As someone once put it: “We negotiate how to distribute the pizza while Israel is eating it all”. The status quo is the absolute best for Israel while it has all the time in the world to create (irreversible?) facts on the ground. Anyone denying that lives an illusion or doesn’t want to know the facts.

Take a close look at Oslo I and II – who failed and who complied? Look at the “Road Map Status Report, Phase I” of June 22, 2003 (PLO NEGOTIATIONS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT) – the PLO fulfilled/completed all requirements except for those 3 who were pending until elections … Israel didn’t fulfill one except for “GOI and PA continue revenue clearance process and transfer of funds, including arrears, in accordance with agreed, transparent monitoring mechanism.” which was still in progress at the time of the “Road Map Status Report”.

And why did Shin Bet veto the Secret Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement in July 2006? Read the full article here: Unfortunately the Haaretz link doesn’t work any longer which was quite interesting because of the comments.

But this link still works:
Former Shin Bet chief: Netanyahu not interested in peace talks. Also read the comment section – quite interesting.

If nothing is proof that polit-Israel isn’t interested in peace then just take a look at the settler statistic: in 1990 there were 77,000 settlers in the West Bank and Gaza (excl. Jerusalem). Today we’re talking about close to ½ Mio. Peace anyone? Two State solution? How??

The “Matrix of Control” by Jeff Halper showed already years ago how impossible it is to achieve peace without dismantling the matrix. Nobody is willing to address this issue.

Yes – Israel has no partner for peace … it’s his own worst enemy!

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday May 10, 2014, 4:35 pm

Uri Avnery, founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) wrote in 2006 an excellent piece which I'd like to share with all of you in full.


Uri Avnery

Missed Opportunities (Partial List)
עברית מצורפת

"THE PALESTINIANS never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity!" - this phrase, coined by Abba Eban, has become a by-word. It also illustrates a wise Talmudic saying: "He who finds fault in others (really) finds his own faults."

No doubt, from the beginning of the conflict, the Palestinians have missed opportunities. But these are negligible compared to the opportunities missed by the State of Israel in its 58 years of existence.

The list that follows is far from complete.

ON THE morrow of the war of 1948, in which Israel was founded, we could have achieved peace.

During the war, all the territory in which, according to the United Nations resolution of November 1947, the Arab Palestinian state should have been established, was occupied by Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Israel conquered and annexed about half of it, and the rest was divided between Jordan (which annexed the West Bank) and Egypt (which occupied the Gaza Strip). More than half the Palestinians were driven from their homes - partly by the war itself, partly by a deliberate Israeli policy. The name Palestine disappeared from the map.

In the Swiss town of Lausanne, a tripartite committee, representing the United States, France and Turkey, was convened in order to mediate between the parties. The Palestinians were not invited, since they were no longer recognized as a political entity. But a delegation of three prominent Palestinians did appear, ostensibly to speak for the refugees, but in reality to represent the Palestinian people. They contacted the Israeli representative, Eliyahu Sassoon, and offered to open direct negotiations for peace. On instructions from Jerusalem, Sassoon declined.

David Ben-Gurion did not want any negotiations that might have compelled him to take back at least some of the refugees, and perhaps even to give back some of the territory just occupied. Contrary to the UN resolution, he was determined to prevent at all costs the establishment of a Palestinian state. He believed that the Palestinian question had been closed, that the very name Palestine had disappeared forever, that the Palestinian people had ceased to exist. Much blood was shed because of this monumental mistake.

IN JULY 1952, the revolution of the Free Officers took place in Egypt. One sole voice in Israel welcomed it publicly - the weekly news magazine Haolam Hazeh, which I edited. Ben-Gurion did indeed voice a rhetorical appeal to the formal leader of the revolution, the old general Muhammad Naguib, but the moment it became clear that the real leader was Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, Ben-Gurion declared war on him. The appearance of Abd-al-Nasser frightened Ben-Gurion, because here was a new type of Arab: a young officer, energetic, charismatic, striving to unite the Arab world.

From his ascent to power until his death, 18 years later, the Egyptian leader sent out feelers again and again to find out if a settlement with Israel was feasible. Ben-Gurion rejected all these efforts and systematically prepared for the war of 1956, in which Israel tried, in collusion with France and Great Britain, then two predatory colonial powers, to overthrow Abd-al-Nasser. Thus he fixed for generations the image of Israel as a foreign implant in the region, a bridgehead of the hostile West.

Ben-Gurion was a sworn enemy of the pan-Arab idea and did everything possible to block its realization - an effort that was crowned with success by his heir, Levy Eshkol, in the war of 1967. Like many decisions of Israeli governments, this one also contained a logical contradiction. Almost all Palestinians lionized Abd-al-Nasser. They were ready to let the Palestinian identity be absorbed into pan-Arabism. Only after the defeat of Pan-Arabism, not least by Israel, did the specific Palestinian identity return to center stage.

It is difficult to estimate the seriousness of the dozens of Abd-al-Nasser's peace feelers throughout the years. They were just never put to the test.

THE HISTORIC opportunity, the mother of all opportunities, came with the 1967 Six-day War.

The Israeli army won an incredible victory over four Arab armies. After the six days, Israel was in possession of all the territory of historic Palestine, as well as the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. The entire Arab world was humiliated and powerless, and reacted with empty and bellicose phrases (the famous "No's" of Khartoum). The Palestinian people was in a state of shock. It was one of the rare historic moments when a whole people is able to change its basic conceptions.

At that momentous time we could have made peace with the Palestinian people and offered them life in a free state of their own, within the pre-war borders, in peace with Israel. While the war was still going on, I personally proposed this to the Prime Minister, Levy Eshkol. He rejected the idea out of hand. The temptation to acquire new territories and settle there was just too strong.

(I must explain here why I mention myself in this article: I was an eye-witness to many of the events, and to some of them I am now the sole remaining witness.)

I raised the idea again and again in the Knesset, of which I was a member at the time. To reinforce my arguments, I held a series of conversations with the local leaders of the Palestinian community and ascertained that they were ready to establish a Palestinian state, instead of returning to Jordanian rule. I have in my possession a document signed by the Prime Minister's advisor for the occupied territories, Moshe Sassoon (the son of the Sassoon from the Lausanne affair) in which he confirmed my findings.

We missed the opportunity to make peace with the conservative, moderate leadership of the Palestinian community - and got the PLO instead.

IN OCTOBER 1973 the Yom Kippur (or Ramadan) War broke out. The main blame for the war must rest with Prime Minister Golda Meir, who had arrogantly and rudely rejected all the peace proposals made by the Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat.

In spite of initial Israeli setbacks, the war ended in an Israeli military victory. Yasser Arafat, by now the uncontested leader of the Palestinian people, drew the conclusion that it was impossible to vanquish Israel militarily. A sober and pragmatic leader, Arafat decided that the Palestinian national aims must be attained through a settlement with Israel.

He instructed his people to establish secret contacts with Israelis who had connections to the center of the Israeli establishment. I myself conveyed messages from him to the new Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Like Eshkol before him, Rabin was prepared to listen patiently, but he rejected the Palestinian feelers. "I won't take the first step towards a Palestinian solution," he told me in 1976, "Because the first step will inevitably lead to a Palestinian state, which I do not want."

(Intermezzo: Rabin, like all the Israeli leadership at that time, advocated the "Jordanian Option", which meant giving back a part of the occupied territories to King Hussein and annexing the rest to Israel. Once, Foreign Minister Yig'al Allon informed Rabin that Henry Kissinger proposed turning Jericho over to Hussein immediately, in order to give him a foothold on the West Bank and perhaps enable him to prevent the PLO from becoming the dominant factor. Remembering that Golda Meir had promised to hold elections before giving back any territory, Rabin answered Allon: "I am not prepared to go to elections because of Jericho".)

Already in 1974, Arafat induced the Palestinian National Council (the PLO parliament in exile) to pass a resolution that opened the way to the Two-State Solution. It took him 14 more years to get the Council to adopt a resolution that officially set up the State of Palestine in a part of the country - thereby recognizing Israel's rule over 78% of historic Palestine. That was a revolutionary decision with far-reaching consequences. Israel did not hear and did not see. It just ignored it.

IN NOVEMBER 1977,Anwar Sadat did something unprecedented in history: in spite of the state of war existing between Israel and Egypt, he came to Jerusalem, the center of the enemy camp. He offered peace: not just peace between two states, but between Israel and the entire Arab world, with Palestine at the center.

When the negotiations started at Cairo's Mina House, at the foot of the Pyramids, the Egyptians hoisted the Palestinian flag, together with the flags of the other Arab nations invited. The Israeli delegation raised hell, and the Egyptians were compelled to pull the flags down.

At the 1978 Camp David conference, where the peace terms were worked out, Sadat fought valiantly for a settlement of the Palestinian issue. The foundations for an Israeli-Palestinian peace could have been laid there. But Menachem Begin refused adamantly. In the end, a meaningless document was adopted. In it, Begin did recognize "the just requirements of the Palestinian people", but immediately added a letter asserting he meant "the Arabs of the Land of Israel".

Arafat was present at the session of the Egyptian parliament, when Sadat announced his planned visit to Jerusalem. He applauded. He also proposed sending a Palestinian delegation to Mina House. Among his colleagues, a revolt broke out. It was the only time during his long career when his position was seriously threatened. But the situation would probably have been different, if Sadat had obtained Begin's agreement to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories, as he requested. It is possible that this failure cost Sadat his life.

IN SEPTEMBER 1993, a year after the return of Rabin to power, a historic breakthrough was achieved. The State of Israel and the PLO, on behalf of the Palestinian people, at long last recognized each other and signed the Declaration of Principles of Oslo. This envisaged that within five years, the Final Status would be realized.

At the last moment, Rabin's emissaries, mostly military men, made many changes in the text previously agreed upon. The Israeli obligations became much more vague. Arafat did not care. He believed Rabin and was convinced that the agreement would necessarily lead to the establishment of the Palestinian state.

But almost from the first moment, Israel began violating the agreement. Specific dates for implementation were laid down - but Rabin smashed the agreed time-table, declaring that "there are no sacred dates". The passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, an essential item in the agreement, was not opened (to this very day). The third and most important "redeployment" (withdrawal) of the Israeli army was not carried out at all. The negotiations for the Final Status, that were meant to be concluded by 1999, did not even start in earnest.

In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak compelled Arafat to come to a conference at Camp David, without any preparations or prior understandings. That was the last opportunity to reach agreement with Arafat, then at the height of his authority.

Instead, Barak treated Arafat with open contempt and submitted what amounted to an ultimatum - a list of terms that may have seemed "generous" from the Israeli point of view, but fell far short of the minimum needed by Arafat. Returning home, Barak declared that Arafat wanted to "throw us into the sea". This way, Barak paved the way for Ariel Sharon's ascent to power and to the siege on Arafat, which ended in his murder.

Arafat was a tough national leader who disdained no means to achieve freedom for his people - diplomacy, violence, even doubletalk. But he had a huge personal authority, and he was able and willing not only to sign a peace agreement, but also to convince his people to accept it.

Those who did not want the strong and charismatic Arafat got Mahmoud Abbas, who finds it much more difficult to assert his authority.

IN NOVEMBER 2004, Arafat died. In free elections, a large majority chose Mahmoud Abbas as his successor. "Abu Mazen", as he is generally known, has been for a long time identified with the idea of peace with Israel, more than any other senior Palestinian leader.

The Israeli government, which had demonized Arafat for many years, could have embraced his successor. It was another opportunity to achieve a reasonable compromise. True, Abbas does not have the authority of Arafat, but if he had achieved impressive political gains, his position would have been much strenthened. But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon boycotted him, ridiculed him publicly as a "plucked chicken", and refused even to meet him.

Those who did not want Abbas got Hamas.

IN JANUARY 2006, the Palestinian public elected Hamas in an election that was a model of democracy.

There were several reasons for this choice. A part of the PLO leadership had become corrupt. More importantly: since the Oslo agreements, the living conditions of the Palestinians under occupation had become incomparably worse. And, most importantly: Since the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian people had not come a single step closer to the establishment of the State of Palestine, while the settlements were being enlarged and the occupation deepened incessantly. The "separation" from Gaza, which was carried out without any dialog with the Palestinians, served Israel as a pretext for imposing a blockade on the Strip and turning life there into hell.

With the advent of Hamas to power, the Israeli government retrieved from the attic all the old slogans that had served in their time against the PLO: that it was a terrorist organization, that it did not recognize Israel's right to exist, that its charter called for Israel's destruction. But Hamas has scrupulously abstained for more than a year from violent attacks. Coming to power, it could not abnegate its ideology overnight, but more than once it has found ways to hint that it would agree to negotiate with Israel and recognize it within the Green Line borders.

A government interested in peace would have grasped the opportunity and put Hamas to the test of negotiations. Instead, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided to break off all contact with them and to urge the United States and Europe to literally starve the Palestinians into final submission.

Probably, the same rule will apply again: those who do not want Hamas will get Islamic Jihad.

THROUGHOUT THE region, extreme Islamist elements are gaining strength. One of the reasons is the festering wound of the Palestinian problem in the heart of the Arab world.

For 58 years, our governments have missed every opportunity to heal this wound. We could have achieved peace between Israel and secular-national Palestinian leaders. If the conflict, God forbid, turns into a clash between religions, there will be no opportunity to miss opportunities - there just will not be any opportunities.

The number of the opportunities rejected and the consistent way they were trampled upon by all Israeli governments may lead to the conclusion that they did not want peace at all. There has always been a tendency in Israel to prefer expansion and settlement to compromise and peace. According to this outlook, there always is "no one to talk with", there is "no solution", we shall "forever live by the sword". "Unilateral" steps, whose real aim is to annex more land, are consistent with this tendency.

If this tendency achieves final victory in Israel, it will be a disaster for the state, which has just become 58 years old.

But it should be remembered that there are also tendencies in Israel that point in another direction. Slowly but steadily, the illusion that there is or can be a military solution to the conflict is evaporating. At the same time, support for a Greater Israel and for the settlements is dwindling. The implosion of the Likud and the growing support for "Convergence" are stages on the way to a realistic approach.

If this process continues, it will become clear that there is no lack of opportunities. All we have to do is grasp them with our two hands.


fly b (26)
Saturday May 10, 2014, 5:43 pm
Good comments. Thanks Eleonora and Sam.
End all U.S. MILITARY AID and loan guarantees to Israel. They have enabled Israel's racist and unjust policies towards Palestinians and the exploitation of their lands, resources, the illegal occupation and International Laws'violations, including human rights abuses and crimes against Palestinian civilians for 66 some years.
Boycott Israel, companies that do business with Israel and the Israeli exploitation of Palestinian labour in illegal settlements.

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday May 10, 2014, 10:21 pm
Thanks, Sam - it is good to remind people that those "in the know" realise that peace talks have been scuttled by Israel over the past 20 years - and that even agreements made are not respected by Israel.

Thanks, Eleonora, for sharing those articles

Stephen, I look forward to the day when you are able to recognise that, although you want to be fair and balanced, you have some serious blind spots. Explicitly sometimes, implicitly much of the time, you are sitting on a branch that assumes that in fact: Palestinian leadership & most Palestinians want conflict, not peace, & will abuse any opening for discussion; the occupied territories are NOT occupied territories but "conquered" in 1967, thus invalidating ICJ judgement that the wall & the settlements are illegal. On this basis, you then see no wrong in taking land, water etc for settlements, no misbehaviour in settlers' actions but simply defending their right to live peacefully in homes made "legally" theirs by their government. Further land grabs, construction of more settlements in the West Bank can then be justified. But, Stephen, a faulty foundation to an argument may not prevent a beautifully constructed argument - but doesn't make it valid. I think - and hope - that you sincerely want to be balanced, but your arguments need testing at the level of your fundamental assumptions. Until you are prepared and able to examine these closely; you are just sitting on The Wall, and asking why people can't see the view the way you do.

Yes - peace on a piece of paper doesn't automatically translate to peace on the ground (the Oslo agreement is a prime example, with many broken promises - can you name a handful of promises KEPT by Israel amongst those followed through?) But good will combined with that piece of paper could open a process of peace-building, while without that paper, efforts based on good will alone are scattered & less effective. There are many groups acting in good will, getting stronger & growing in number, Gush Shalom is one of the older ones in Israel, & Israeli Jews are also active in others that question the kinds of points that you use as "facts" to base your arguments. Several are fearing that Israel will destroy itself if it doesn't change the official stance towards Palestine & the Palestinians. Try exploring what they are questioning with an open mind -

Jess - So true, how many more times can Hope be taken away before despair overwhelms and leads to darkness? But remember - there are more and more Israelis who are questioning, and working with like-minded Palestinians to keep Hope alive.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 12:56 am

Now ... this is weird - the link I copied (and checked) yesterday ... doesn't work anylonger. Yet if one googles "Shin Bet Vetoed Secret Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement" the article from the very same website pops still up (??).

Therefore, I ask for forgiveness but I'll post the whole article here as it gives a good insight into the actual forces at work and is in line with Evelyn's recommendation to Stephen.


Shin Bet Vetoed Secret Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement :: Israeli and Palestinian Sources Concur: Israel Made War Inevitable ::
by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
(Friday July 28 2006)
"Israel simultaneously began conducting covert incursions on to Lebanese territory, provoking Hizbollah’s capture of two IDF soldiers. Credible sources confirm that the soldiers were not abducted on Israeli territory, but inside Lebanon."

The Omega Institute (OI), which works closely with the Institute for Policy Research for Development (IPRD), has learned from Israeli and Palestinian sources that just prior to the current crisis, senior Hamas leaders were in active dialogue with Israeli religious leaders in a round of bilateral peace negotiations. Israeli negotiators included Rabbi Menachem Froman, former deputy leader and co-founder of the Israeli Settler movement Gush Khatif; Rabbi David Bigman, head of the liberal religious Kibbutz movement Yeshiva at Ma’ale Gilboa; and Yitzhak Frankenthal, founder of the Arik Institute. Ongoing negotiations had resulted in a breakthrough peace “understanding”, which was to be announced at a press conference in Jerusalem to mark the launching of an extraordinary peace initiative. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert had been briefed extensively about the initiative by Frankenthal. Also due to attend the conference were Khaled Abu Arafa, the Palestinian Cabinet Minister for Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhamed Abu Tir, senior Hamas Member of the Palestinian Parliament, and other senior Palestinian delegates.

The meeting was to announce a joint Israeli-Palestinian call for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit who had been abducted by Hamas in Gaza, along with proposals for the beginning of the release of all Palestinian prisoners. These measures were to precipitate unprecedented new peace negotiations on a framework peace agreement, drawn on the 1967 borders. The presence of Palestinian Cabinet Officers and senior Israeli religious leaders in contact with the Prime Minster was to underline the seriousness of this peace proposal on both sides.

Just hours before the meeting was due to start, the Israeli Shin Bet internal Security Service arrested Abu Tir and Abu Arafa and warned them not to attend the meeting, under threats of detention. The meeting, which offered a major opportunity to obtain Shalit’s release and launch a new framework for peace, was thrown into disarray. The next day, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) invaded Gaza, and the day after both Abu Tir and Abu Arafa were abducted by Israeli forces, along with a third of the Palestinian Cabinet, provoking a predictable escalation of violence.

Israel simultaneously began conducting covert incursions on to Lebanese territory, provoking Hizbollah’s capture of two IDF soldiers. Credible sources confirm that the soldiers were not abducted on Israeli territory, but inside Lebanon. Like the scuppered peace negotiations, Western officials have ignored this, and misinformed the media. However, some reports corroborate the sources. Israeli officials, for instance, informed Forbes (12.7.06) that “Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel.”

“The revelations show that Palestinian and Lebanese actors were not principally responsible for the escalation of the current conflict”, said OI Director Graham Ennis. “Contrary to the misinformation disseminated by the Whitehouse and Whitehall, Israel vetoed unprecedented peace proposals that would have initiated a promising new framework for serious negotiations, and went on to provoke Palestinian and Lebanese groups into retaliations, that now threaten to escalate into a dangerous regional conflict.”

Full details and background information are annexed below in a memorandum by Graham Ennis, Director of the Omega Institute in Brighton, UK. It includes some relevant contacts for further verification. This memo was originally forwarded to Donald Macintyre at The Independent.

From: Graham Ennis
Omega Institute
Brighton, England
:: Begins ::
1: Rabbi Menachem Froman is the former deputy leader, and co-founder, of the extremist Messianic Israeli Settler movement " Gush Khatif", but he left the movement after the massacre in Hebron of Palestinians by the Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein. He now lives in the West Bank Samarian settlement of Tekoa, where he works as a Rabbi, and has been long engaged in Muslim-Jewish dialogue activities. Froman himself has a typical Israeli political background. His Uncle was murdered in the 1930's by Ezzedine Al Qassam, a militant Cleric whose name was used by Hama's for it's armed wing. Froman has a track record. He was a principal negotiator in the release from prison of the Hama's spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. As a result of discussions with Froman, Yassin subsequently offered a cease-fire, which Yassin withdrew, after the offer was spurned by the israeli Government. He now works closely with Rabbi David Bigman, head of the Liberal religious Kibbutz movement's Yeshiva at Ma'ale Gilboa. They in turn are connected to Yitzhak Frankenthal, founder of the Arik Institute, who is also involved in religious and political dialog with Palestinians. Frankanthal has an unusual background. His son Arik was murdered by Hama's operatives whilst hitch-hiking in July 1994. Instead of sinking into bitterness, Frankanthal has become a major force in Israel in the peace movement.

The significance of all this is that Frankanthal has developed deep contacts with Palestinians. He was rapidly able to confirm, after Corporal Gilad Shalit was abducted in Gaza by Hama's, that he was only lightly wounded and still alive, as a Hama's prisoner. Frankenthal became concerned that the abduction would destroy the opportunity that had arisen, after the agreement between Fatah and Hama's prisoners in Israeli jails, to negotiate peace with Israel, which was then underway. Hama's had made public its agreement to negotiations. After Shalit's abduction, and the Israeli incursion into Gaza, this peace process has collapsed.

What is not publicly known, however, is that these bi-lateral peace negotiations between Jewish and Palestinian religious activists had gone further than is believed. After Shalit's abduction, Frankanthal and the other Israeli peace workers had kept up a close and continuous dialog with senior Hama's leaders. On at least one occasion, Frankanthal had given a detailed briefing to an aide of the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, who was demanding Shalit's return.

All these negotiations had resulted in a remarkable secret "understanding", as a result of which, the day before the Israeli incursion into Gaza, there was to have been a major press conference in Jerusalem. At the press meeting, there would have been an extraordinary peace initiative launched. Attending the conference would have been not only Israeli's like Frankanthal, Froman, Bigman, etc, but, more remarkably, The Palestinian Cabinet Minister for Jerusalem Khaled Abu Arafa, and the senior Hama's Member of the Palestinian Parliament, Sheikh Muhamed Abu Tir. The meeting was also supported by Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour, Chairman of the Islamic Movement in the occupied territories.

The meeting would have issued a joint call for the release of Shalit, implicitly backed by the Palestinian Cabinet, due to the authorized presence of the Cabinet Officer, Abu Arafa. Also, this would have formed part of a call for this to be the beginning of the release of all Palestinian prisoners, as part of an immediate start to peace negotiations on a framework peace agreement, based on the joint agreement of the Hama's/Fatah prisoners, drawn on the 1967 borders. The presence of Palestinian Cabinet Officers would have underlined the seriousness of this peace proposal.

However, what actually happened was that just hours before the meeting was due to start, the Israeli Shin Bet internal Security Service arrested Abu Tir and Abu Arafa and warned them not to attend the meeting, under threats of detention. This threw the meeting, which would have been a major opportunity to obtain Shalit's release, into complete disorder. The organizers were forced to franticly contact other Rabbis, already on the road to Jerusalem, and tell them not to appear.

The next day, the Israeli Army invaded Gaza. The day after that, Abu Tir and Abu Arafa were kidnapped by Israeli forces, along with a third of he Palestinian Cabinet. Israel revoked the two men's citizenship, making them stateless, and also removed their residency rights in Jerusalem. The subsequent escalation of violence, which also spread to Lebanon, resulted, in part, from the failure of the peace agreement that had been about to be announced, together with calls for the release of Shalit, which had been strongly "Signalled" by the Palestinians. The intervention of Shin Bet almost certainly aborted a planned release of Shalit, and a powerful appeal for peace negotiations to start. The role, in all this, of Palestinian leader Abbas, which has been extensive, will one day be revealed, and written up, by Historians of this huge calamity. That is, if there is still a history, and historians, and a future, as the whole Middle East faces something that Robert Fisk memorably denounced as "Not Dunkirk, but Munich." Or is it once again, 92 years after that fateful European Summer, time for another, terrible, "Guns of August".
:: ENDS ::

NB: Useful contacts:
• Arthur Neslan, Tel Aviv. (significant Israeli writer, and journalist, writes also in English.)
• Palestinian leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar.
• Ted Belman, Israel National Radio.
Co-authored by: Graham Ennis is Director of the Omega Institute in Brighton, where he is an active peace campaigner. He has worked as a scientific consultant for many mainstream media projects


Bruce C D (89)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 2:48 am
@Eleonora Oldani--
I found the link you provided to the Haaretz article to work just fine.

Bruce C D (89)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 3:15 am
@Eleonora Oldani--
Sorry, I see now the wrong active link was provided. Here is the link to the Nafeez Ahmed press release.

Bruce C D (89)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 4:33 am
Thanks to all here posting their insightful and informative comments, especially Abdessalem and Eleonora, I have little to add. I agree jess, the U.S. needs to quit enabling Israel if we truly want peace. Evelyn, I don't really think that Stephen wants to be fair and balanced, as his arguments here certainly give little, if any, indication of that--the whitewashing of Israeli atrocities in particular, but also the failure to admit that Israeli peace negotiations are a farce and merely a façade to facilitate continuing land grabs.

Eleonora, I also found a link to the excellent piece you posted here written by Uri Avnery, 'Missed Opportunities.'

Abo r (107)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 9:55 am
Thanks Sam for posting and Thanks Eleonora for the forward.
Thanks for the reality in comments stated by Abdessalam Eleonora, Sam. , Jess b , Rose G , Evelyn B.....
want to ask a question who killed Rabin and Arafat and Why?
The answer is hidden in between the words THe IDF do not want peace to exist .and Why ...?
The IDF wants the land without people all Palestine land and it exceed more wants a state from the Nile to Forat the whole ME and the Zionest is looking to have the Jewish EMPIREMENT all over the world .
THe do -not want the 2 state solution -OK let it be one state solution and both Falestinians and the Jews and Christians to be in it also the IDF do -not want it .
Why all the obsticles put in front of the peace talks by the IDFleaders and do its acts from killing destruction building setlements etc. on the eyes of all the world leaders its because of the US, Canada, EU , UK support , ones the US stopps its support to the IDF the IDF will run for peace and a solution. US is not the real umbrella and mediator as it is the IDF support with money weapons and Vetoes full continuous blindly support..
The US must look after its people ( jobs, health, education, building , homeless and poverty issues ) with the money donates to the IDF to crush Racheal Corrie and kill others, destruct houses over the children women aged and destruct olive trees the peace symble.
UK it is the time for you to correct the Belfoure declearation mistake and Falestinians must not pay the bill of the Holocoust .
People must raise thier voices high in the face of all leaders in this world saying NO more wars , No for wars, No for killing no for violating human rights , no for the Aparthide and no for transferring people from thier homes ,,, Yes for peace yes for peace yes for safety to everyone.
Peace will never exist on the account of others , will never exist with wars and killing .
Peace will be with love and good relationships as love is the key the real and true key for peace.
Let the world leaders work on saving the planet , climate change , help the poor and homeless in stead of killing and be criminals of humans and other creatures.
Women I am sure that if you know that the fruit of your marriage will be sent to kill others you will not thing of getting pregnant as you will never agree to be the mothers of killers and criminals. ....

Sandrea S (278)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 10:23 am
Well said, Abo!

Parsifal S (99)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 12:17 pm
many thanks Sam for posting an other episode in the Zionesia history

May you always be blessed.
Please remember, on May 15, there is a special memorial day - the Nakba - The Great Catastrophe took place !


Sheila D (194)
Sunday May 11, 2014, 7:23 pm
Wonderful comments here...the US and others won't stop their aid to Israel because they believe they are aiding the only Christian government in that region. They aren't blind, deaf, or dumb...well, maybe that last goes a bit too far. So-called Christian countries are araid that if they stop the aid to Israel, Muslims will overrun the small country. That part of the world is so volatile, and unpredictible, and there are way too many factions operating, some of which we are also aiding.

Who really wants peace? What would happen if the Palestinians simply packed up and left? What would happen if the Muslim factions stopped aiding the Palestinians? What really would happen if the US and other countries actually stopped all but humanitarian aid? Who is inciting each of the players? Do we have all of the facts???

Very scary questions to consder...No easy answers anywhere for either side here. Sadly, it is always the innocent that are made to suffer for religion and politics.

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 12, 2014, 12:39 am
Hi Evelyn :)

My basic assumptions have evolved over time as I've learned more about the area,the history, and parallels elsewhere which show how well different ideas work out. They are generally based in fact.

I would like to point out that some of what you wrote about my basic assumptions there is wrong. The majority of Palestinians genuinely want peace and are peaceful right now. However, to paraphrase Mao, power flows from the barrel of a gun, not the voices of the people. I am not even convinced that all of the violent factions even want conflict. Taking a step back, I don't think it's even sensical to say the Palestinian leadership wants any one thing: I believe one of the primary missing foundations of peace is a single Palestinian faction, capable of negotiating as a unit, to which a sufficient proportion of organized, armed Palestinians give loyalty to police the rest, so that an order to lay down arms would be effectively carried out. Would Hamas lay down arms if Fatah ordered it, like it obviously did not in 2006, or the other way around, again as seems absurd after 2006?

I believe that the lands are not legally under the framework of occupied because there is no active war over them. There isn't really much to that: Without a time-machine, land cannot be currently occupied for the purposes of a war that has been fully over for a decade. With a treaty permitting administration with the intent of eventual independence and sovereignty of a region, that's foreign rule by mandate, and the exact same mandate as formerly held by the British and the French in the area. Again, what part of that is supposed to be wrong?

As for the settlements, if we take a step back from international law which is intended to ease the return of lands to prior rulers and start looking at what would aid in the establishment of local independence, there is a very good case for them which I have outlined elsewhere. I could repeat it here if you want. What part of avoiding an exact parallel of the fighting in Crimea is wrong? Is it bad to implant economic hubs in a region that desperately needs growth? I'm still looking for the problem you mentioned in my fundamental beliefs about the conflict.

The first promise kept by Israel is to not simply arrest or kill the entire leadership of the PA once it was assembled, as would have been legally appropriate before the Oslo Accords. Remember that it was originally constructed from leaders of a wanted terrorist group, the PLO. Changing hats from militant to politician does not normally lead to amnesty for conspiracy to commit murder. The second was to cease the construction of new settlements in the territory in question. New housing units have certainly been built, but no new settlements (except for one on the 1948 border at the Western tip of the West Bank) since before the Accords. The third was to continue to permit humanitarian aid, regardless of the state of the conflict. The largest interruption in that was in Gaza when the U.N. warehouses were full, and after the convoys were attacked by Hamas (with goods stolen) until their security could be assured. The fourth was to give Palestinians full legal autonomy over certain regions, up to and including a full pullout from most of the Gaza Strip in 2005. The fifth was to support the development of schools and other social services in the mandate-territories, even when those schools were used for anti-Israeli indoctrination. Now, which promises have been kept by Palestinian leaders? Here's a hint: Palestinian negotiators mostly have goodwill, but lack the power to follow through on the big deal-breakers.

Hi Bruce :)

I'l cheerfully call the Israeli side of the negotiations a farce. The whole process, on both sides, is a sick joke that gets people killed. I can point out four independent reasons why they could never hope to succeed, even if both sides had all the desire and goodwill in the world: Incompatible traditions of peacemaking, the lack of Palestinian negotiators' actual authority over militias, fluctuating foreign meddling which creates an unclear balance of power, and active effective indoctrination of the next generation on both sides. If I thought for a while, I could probably come up with a succinct way to describe more, but I think you get the picture.

Hi Eleonora :)

"The meeting was to announce a joint Israeli-Palestinian call for the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit who had been abducted by Hamas in Gaza, along with proposals for the beginning of the release of all Palestinian prisoners" I think I can see why the Shin Bet would have stopped this. They were talking about the release of many known murderers from still-active organizations being released at least in part to secure the political success of those making the decision to get Shalit released. He was eventually released, at a time of much lower tensions when the prisoner-release would lead to less bloodshed, and talks were resumed as they would have been then, but led to nothing. It was certainly not the Shin Bet's place to interfere like that and they were wrong to do it, but are we really getting so angry about keeping killers in prison while the tensions which trigger their killings were high? I know the Shin Bet was wrong, but I would have trouble saying that to the faces of people who would likely have been killed. As for the situation in Lebanon, I would really like to see his trusted sources. It's normally very tough to find unbiased sources in a violent conflict, and not easy to dig up what would be military secrets.

Sam H (410)
Monday May 12, 2014, 3:10 am
I’m sure Evelyn, Bruce and Eleonora are quite capable of responding to your points. But the twisted “facts” and logic of your post begged for an immediate response.

So here's the teardown:

“…I believe one of the primary missing foundations of peace is a single Palestinian faction…” This is the fallacy that Netanyahu tried to perpetuate. It didn’t take Netanyahu 24 hours after Abbas and Hama reconciled to break off the negotiations.

“I believe that the lands are not legally under the framework of occupied because there is no active war over them.” How convenient of you to dispose of International law by the stroke of a pen. Not that Israel didn’t try to do the exact thing throughout its whole existence!

“…that's foreign rule by mandate, and the exact same mandate as formerly held by the British and the French in the area.”

I’m glad you object to foreign rule by mandate! But isn’t this how Israel was established in the first place—by relying on the Balfour Declaration, UN resolutions and all that other stuff. So foreign rule by mandate was fine in 1948, but is abominable in 2014? How convenient!!!

“As for the settlements, if we take a step back from international law which is intended to ease the return of lands to prior rulers…”

You did not take a step back from international law. You just obliterated it.

So you’re telling us that Israel has been searching for peace in good faith all these years, but then Putin redefined that logic by invading Crimea. I’m glad you’re choosing to be on the side of Putin. You’re writing this as if you didn’t even read Uri Avnery’s piece that Eleonora shared with us here. Maybe you didn’t. Not enough chances squandered by Israel so we have to import new “Russian logic” to keep that tradition alive! Maybe that complements importing part of Israel’s population from Russia!

“The first promise kept by Israel is to not simply arrest or kill the entire leadership of the PA once it was assembled, as would have been legally appropriate before the Oslo Accords.”

You’re probably right by saying “the entire leadership.” It was quite magnanimous of Israel to kill only a few. Do you need names and dates of the ones it killed? We’ll leave Arafat out because I’m sure you’ll object to all the facts pointing to Israel’s role in his assassination.

“The second was to cease the construction of new settlements in the territory in question. New housing units have certainly been built, but no new settlements (except for one on the 1948 border at the Western tip of the West Bank) since before the Accords.” You must be kidding me! Is this the good faith that will lead to peace? You threw away international law altogether, and your defining what a settlement is. By the same logic you can dispose of the whole Palestinian population, just by building “housing units” and no new settlements. Do you actually read what you write?

“The third was to continue to permit humanitarian aid, regardless of the state of the conflict. The largest interruption in that was in Gaza when the U.N. warehouses were full, and after the convoys were attacked by Hamas (with goods stolen) until their security could be assured.” First that is not true. And at times when humanitarian aid was allowed it was after Israel had murdered the civilians trying to deliver it. You must have forgotten the massacre Israel committed on board The Mavi Marmara! But all that aside, you steal their land and you demonize Hamas for stealing humanitarian “goods”? What planet do you live on?

“The fourth was to give Palestinians full legal autonomy over certain regions, up to and including a full pullout from most of the Gaza Strip in 2005.” Really? The pullout from Gaza wan nothing more than a military operation to minimize loses to the military and achieve from the air what was attempted on the ground. You pull out from Gaza and cut it off from the rest of the world to starve its population, and you call that goodwill gesture to achieve peace?

“The fifth was to support the development of schools and other social services…” you got me on this one. Wait a minute, you must have heard about the Israeli squatters who set fire to a Palestinian girls' school, and the whole school went up in flames! Or the Israeli bombardment and destruction of the American School north of Gaza!

You need to shed off that latent religious indoctrination that you’re trying so hard to hide, get your facts straight and start wishing for the Palestinians what you wish for yourself. Then, and only then, you may be able to see what Uri Avnery and the rest of the world can see so clearly.

Neill Abayon (667)
Monday May 12, 2014, 5:00 am
Thank you for posting Sam.

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 12, 2014, 8:09 am
Hi Sam :)

Does Netanyahu saying something automatically make it false? That's some nice circular reasoning you have going on there. Did you forget the fighting in 2006? How exactly is either side supposed to tell the other to lay down arms against Israel if it can't even do so in its own defense? You're funny.

I don't actually object to foreign rule by mandate at all ... and no, that's not quite how Israel came into being. It was created in exactly the same way as every other nation-state under the modern Westphalian state-system: It established sufficient diplomatic links to engage fully in international diplomacy, established an effective monopoly on law-enforcement within a well-defined territory, and successfully militarily defended that monopoly against all direct challenges, with all other states either unwilling to go to war to break that monopoly or demonstrably unable to do so through war Why did you think I objected?

Again, the idea that Putin redefined anything is entirely in your imagination. I used the example of Crimea as a succinct, concrete, way of describing a dynamic that was well-known many years prior: The standard response, since at least around WWI, to foreign support for irridentist movements is to demand a land-swap, taking territory from the pro-irridentist country with a local majority of people of the host country's ethnicity. This breaks down when there are no such regions in the pro-irridentist country. I used to use the Alsace-Lorraine region, with France and Germany, as an example here, but too few people here had heard of the early 20th-century issues there. This wasn't about me being pro-Putin: It was about me being opposed to conditions that consistently lead to very bloody wars, which you evidently are not.

Do you honestly believe that Israel assassinated Arafat? How about 9/11? You have an active imagination, I see. Do you think that was a false flag or an alien/Skynet conspiracy? I know the so-called "evidence" and its reports, and they're a pile of BS. "Signs consistent with polonium poisoning" mean "Lead in the system in insufficient quantities to do any harm." That's why polonium is used: It's far more toxic than the element to which it primarily decays. You're right, though: An amnesty for conspiracy to commit a large number of murders, ordering war-crimes, and a ridiculous number of lesser crimes is pretty magnanimous.

If you can't tell the difference between construction in a town and construction of a new town, I really, really hope you're not involved in urban planning. Also, what is this about me defining what a settlement is? Are you hallucinating when you read? You should get that checked out. I used exactly the same definition as is used by the U.N., destinations of organized transfers of population from Israel to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, except that I excluded Jerusalem and its suburbs because those were fully annexed by Israel in 1967 and, despite whining from Palestinian leaders, cannot reasonably be considered a potential part of any future Palestinian state. (No country in human history has, outside of unconditional surrender in war, given up control over any part of its capital in negotiations. From a practical end, putting Israel's seat of governance within firing range of a border would leave it so jumpy that I would be shocked to see any Palestinians left alive in a Palestinian East Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders' demands on the matter are either meant to be traded off in exchange for real concessions, a show of bad faith, or a show of serious mental handicap.)

You must have forgotten, or never learned, anything about the Mavi Marmara: Maybe you're having the opposite problem, not seeing things when you read. Before boarding, it was redirected to another port, where goods would be transferred to truck and sent to Gaza in an organized manner. The rest of the flotilla did exactly this, and that's what happened. There was never any attempt to stop the aid-shipment. I could go into detail about what happened there if you want, complete with exactly what would have happened if those idiots had tried running a blockade maintained by a country that followed internationally accepted standard procedures. (Rather than ten dying, ten out of the 600 might have survived, if they were very lucky. I expect things to go that way should the matter ever come up again, after the PR disaster of saving only 590 idiots from their own stupidity.)

The pullout from Gaza was entirely in line with the Oslo Accords. Regardless of the primary motivations, that was a promise kept. Even your context is off: I was asked what promises Israel kept, not to prove its goodwill with them. Are you even reading the right conversation? Make sure you respond in the right tab.

I'd definitely heard of Palestinian schools being destroyed. Have you heard of school-shootings in your own country? By your "logic", I guess the U.S. doesn't permit itself to have a school-system. Actually, that would explain a lot here.

There is no religious indoctrination behind my comments. That, again, is your imagination. You need to stop listening to propaganda about those who disagree with you and start actually listening to what they say. You might learn something. Also, stop inserting ridiculous garbage into other people's comments when reading or replying to them. It just makes you look dumb.

Sam H (410)
Monday May 12, 2014, 12:39 pm
Stephen, no one questioned your ability to state and restate your nonsense in many different ways. You’re good at that. But let’s try to address these points one at a time. If you choose to respond, please limit yourself to the specific point being discussed.

I’m going to start with the first one and gauge your response. If you stick to the point, we’ll continue the discussion. If you’re going to go on tangents an try to muddy the issue, I’ll let you do that on your own.

You stated, “…I believe one of the primary missing foundations of peace is a single Palestinian faction…”

I said, “This is the fallacy that Netanyahu tried to perpetuate. It didn’t take Netanyahu 24 hours after Abbas and Hama[s] reconciled to break off the negotiations.”

So the Palestinians reconciled and were ready to speak as a “single Palestinian faction.” But when they did just that, Netanyahu broke off the negotiations.”

What part of that do you disagree with?

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 12, 2014, 2:36 pm
Okay. That probably works a lot better.

I disagree with "This is the fallacy". It's not a fallacy. It's still as true as it was long before the Fatah/Hamas split in 2006. My reasoning may look like it's off on a tangent for a while, but if you read through each section to its end, the connection should be absolutely obvious. The only way that these can look off-topic is if you've already decided that explanations drawing on outside data are off-topic and anything else is just restatement. That would be intellectually dishonest, and in that case, I guess our discussion really will go nowhere.

Those two factions reconciled sufficiently to work together for the moment, but there is no reason to believe that either one is willing to have its militia obey n order to stand down originating from the other side, nor that they will accept the same terms. Leaving entirely aside the fact that Hamas could not stop PIJ from launching rockets at Israel in violation of the ceasefire Hamas had signed on behalf of the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip prior to Cast Lead, and that other factions are still active, there is a huge difference between teamwork in governance and diplomacy, and sufficient unification for peace (as explained below).

First, the reconciliation, at best, effectively undoes the split of 2006, but neither faction could police the other, nor order the other to stand down, before that. This was seen constantly as Hamas worked to spoil negotiations by breaking ceasefires to which Fatah, through the PA, had agreed. Now, it may be that with this new start, they could suddenly work together at that level, but only if there is no deeply ingrained reason, in Palestinian society, why that would not occur.

Second, there is a deeply ingrained reason, in Palestinian society, why that would not occur: The different parties traditionally run services of governance directly, not through structures of a common parliament or congress. The militants sign up to follow their party, even in conflict with others, rather than enter a common army. That may have begun to change with the Palestinian security-force being trained by Jordan and the U.S., with Israeli assistance, but that force is a new entity and not yet an ingrained element of Palestinian political culture, though I am hopeful that it may become one. What this adds up to is a set of party-cores which hold their loyalty to their own parties above that to any national assembly, so victory in elections means nothing in terms of authority over other parties' forces. (Imagine if the U.S. had two armies, one Democrat and the other Republican, with each side obeying only politicians from its own party, with total disregard for such things as the office of the president or Congress. Then imagine anybody else trying to negotiate war or peace with it.) This hierarchy of loyalty can be seen formally in the command-hierarchies of the different militias, which each lead independently up to a political party rather than through a united military command, and practically in the fact that even during intense fighting against an external force, during the Second Intifada, they still turned on each other, killing hundreds of Palestinians. Even then, if Hamas and Fatah agree on basic principles, they might find themselves aligned sufficiently for long enough for real unification to develop, at least enough so that both sides feel bound by treaties signed during that unification.

Third, there is a fundamental difference between Fatah and Hamas in basic principles and elsewhere, at the level where while the two may wish to work together, their collaboration is doomed to be temporary, with a falling out on its way that would leave neither side willing to abide by agreements imposed upon it by leaders from the other. Fatah is secular and operates primarily in the West Bank, with its Jordanian governing and legal traditions and cultural aspects developed over the generation from 1948-1967, while Hamas is religious and draws its support primarily from the Gaza Strip, with Egyptian governing and legal traditions and identity developed over the same time. I know those were only nineteen years ending nearly fifty years ago, but the two judiciaries and cultures still have not merged. It's a major problem within the Palestinian national movement that they have been trying to address, unsuccessfully, since 1994. The secular/religious political division, the primary one of the Arab world, is bad enough, but a piling problems related directly to issues of the intended collaboration on top of that just ensures failure. This means that even if, by some miracle, both Fatah and Hamas' forces followed one negotiator's agreement, the peace wouldn't last long.

Fourth, there is the problem of internal Palestinian power-politics. Not only do the two sides have to differentiate themselves from each other to maintain their bases, just like in the West, but issue of "outbidding" remains. It has been seen regularly that in conflicts where one side's leadership is not united, the one that more zealously pursues its goals (with less compromise) tends to come out ahead of the others in internal politics.

This is why, for two independent reasons, even in the "If, if, if" best-case-scenario, Palestinians are still far too disunited to produce a single faction capable of commanding or policing all others. With forces concentrated separately in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neither side could possibly police the other. This is why peace is actually far more likely if Israel can negotiate it separately with the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At least one set of negotiations may prove fruitful.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Monday May 12, 2014, 4:53 pm

Hi Stephen

While I’m the first one to admit that it is human to select what suits ones predisposition … I think you’re overdoing it just a tiny bit … That you obviously don’t pay attention to the well written article by a person as renowned Uri Avnery speaks for itself.

You conveniently refuse to understand or absorb that “These measures were to precipitate unprecedented new peace negotiations on a framework peace agreement, drawn on the 1967 borders. The presence of Palestinian Cabinet Officers and senior Israeli religious leaders in contact with the Prime Minster was to underline the seriousness of this peace proposal on both sides.

Just hours before the meeting was due to start, the Israeli Shin Bet internal Security Service arrested Abu Tir and Abu Arafa and warned them not to attend the meeting, under threats of detention. The meeting, which offered a major opportunity to obtain Shalit’s release and launch a new framework for peace, was thrown into disarray. The next day, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) invaded Gaza, and the day after both Abu Tir and Abu Arafa were abducted by Israeli forces, along with a third of the Palestinian Cabinet, provoking a predictable escalation of violence.”

This is just another proof – as if there is any more needed! – as to how serious polit-Israel is when the leadership speaks of “peace”. You ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.

You write “As for the situation in Lebanon, I would really like to see his trusted sources. It's normally very tough to find unbiased sources …”

I agree with your statement in principal. The fact that the source is Israeli is good enough for me to be credible as there is no reason why an Israeli official should blatantly lie in that respect – or can you think of any logical reason? Forbes’ article of 12. July 2006 “Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel.” and as stated in the article I posted above.

I've got to go but will address a few more points tomorrow - good night everybody!

Sam H (410)
Monday May 12, 2014, 5:01 pm

It’s interesting how you find it appropriate to dictate how the Palestinians should behave to achieve peace, while you’re deafeningly silent as to how Israel should behave.

Using the same logic Palestinians can level the same accusations against Israel in the sense that Israel doesn’t have the Palestinians interest at heart during any of these negotiations.

So instead of your demanding that the Palestinians should be organized as a country to negotiate when it was Israel who gobbled that country (I’m sure you’ll argue that it wasn’t a country), it may be more appropriate to reform Israel’s approach to negotiations by taking into account the realities of the existing Palestinian political structure. Demanding that the Palestinians who are struggling under occupation have stable governmental institutions before having a country is ludicrous.

More importantly you seem to gloss over the opportunities missed by Israel to achieve peace as outlined by Avnery.

It may beneficial to recall that when Israel squandered those possibilities for peace, there was no Hamas around. There was no Hamas in 1948 and there was no Hamas at Camp David. But I’m sure you’ll find entities to blame—other than Israel, of course—for all these failures.

What would be of interest also is to examine Sharon’s role in supporting Hamas to manipulate internal Palestinian politics. Extremists feed of each other.

So instead of blaming the Palestinians for the absence of peace in the Middle East, why don’t you invest your efforts to find peace without dictating what the Palestinian political structure should look like? I’m sure Israel and the Israelis would not appreciate any Palestinian input, no matter how well-intentioned, to improve their political structure and institutions!

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 12, 2014, 11:13 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

I understand that the intended negotiations had unprecedented aspects, like that people with direct access to leaders were to be openly involved. They wouldn't even have been the highest-level meetings: There is very, very good reason to believe that the original Israeli negotiator, in the secret talks before Oslo, was then-Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. If I recall correctly, there was serious hope when Abbas became the leader of Fatah because it was also believed, though this could not be confirmed for the man's safety, that Abbas was the Palestinian negotiator in those talks. There is no reason to believe that new lower-level negotiations would be any more successful.

The Shin Bet certainly should not have detained those negotiators, nor does it ever have any place interfering in matters of politics and policy. However, due to the security-risk of what the negotiations were expected to make inevitable, the release of a large number of known militants with tensions so high at the time, and the expected resulting deaths, I'm not prepared to fully condemn its behaviour. It stinks, no argument about that here, but saving lives is saving lives.

Hi Sam :)

You were very clear about how badly you wanted me to stay on-topic, so I stuck to answering your question. If you want me to talk about the changes that Israel must make, I can certainly do so: To hasten peace, Israelis could adapt to the Arab tradition of conflict-resolution rather than insist that Arabs adopt the Western one, using direct power-sharing and integration rather than clear separation with the understanding that going too far means war. (Of course, if you care about Palestinians, you might have a problem with that, given what form peace would then take.) It must make clear to Palestinians and settlers that settlements will not necessarily fall on the Israeli side of any future border. It must adopt a consistent response to the militias so that deterrence can be used effectively and suppress violence.

As for taking Palestinian internal politics into account, while that might theoretically be doable, the challenge is immense and there is absolutely no way that such negotiations would produce a Palestinian state. Here's an idea of the Palestinian internal realities:
To really take Palestinian realities into account, Israel would have to negotiate with each tribe/clan/dominant family individually. The list is three-and-a-half pages long. The notable families would benefit from a more internally powerful Palestinian state while the tribal confederations would benefit from a less powerful one, and that power would be dictated by the forces it would be able to develop, which would depend on the specifics of the treaty with Israel. With their lives on the line, the only practical ways to get the to accept the same agreement are so messy that if Israel, rather than a Palestinian negotiator, were to try them, they would just produce another round of violence and undermine the whole process.

I don't try to dictate what Palestinian institutions should look like because I want to see them compatible with Israeli ones. I just point out what different structures are capable of doing. Look at the Arab world for a minute and then tell me they face no serious problems with peacemaking, far beyond what could possibly be imposed by foreign meddling. The Lebanese power-sharing agreement is the best example they have, and can you imagine what form that would take with Israel and Palestinians? With the current balance of power, they would come out even worse off than they are now.

Now, if you insist on dictating what's "on-topic" keep it consistent. Let's talk about Avneri's "missed opportunities". The one in 1947 assumed both that peace on paper, could be achieved and that it would have led to real peace. Even the first assumption was obviously wrong: A Palestinian state would not be viable if built only within Israel's 1948-borders, and that was the only possibility if Jordan and Egypt did not cooperate, and there were no signs of such cooperation.

His next "missed opportunity" must have looked pretty good at the time, to an Israeli who never really understood how cutthroat Arabic politics are. Sadat was only able to make peace with Israel after a military victory demonstrated him a strong leader with hardliners in Egypt. Nasser would have looked like the ultimate paper tiger after diplomatically establishing himself as the greatest Arab strongman in centuries, and then negotiating with Israel and giving up territory in Gaza. The man would have been killed for that and there is no way he didn't know it. Sadat was killed, even after limited military victory over Israel. I suppose Israel could have tried handing Nasser something, but with such a huge strongman-image, there is no way he could have settled for anything less than the destruction of Israel. Nasser could not have made peace, and I suspect ben-Gurion knew that.

In 1967, as today, there may have been all the goodwill in the world among Palestinians seeking peaceful coexistence, but that's not enough. To build a country, there must be a national organization, an authority with legitimacy among those who would be a part of that country to take on the role of the original government and army. Palestinians had no such organization in 1967. I wish they could have, or that these things were quick to produce, but by the time one could even have potentially been created, the window of opportunity had passed. Consider just how long it took to do the same thing in Israel and Arab states under the British mandate, with active British support for those organizations' development. Avnery is a fair scholar and may have been a fine statesman, but a nation-builder with clear vision of all that entails he was not. Ben-Gurion was.

Rabin's first "opportunity" was also the mirage of peace on paper. At that time, the dominant Palestinian faction had still not accepted a two-state solution, and would not, according to the same account by Avnery, until 1988. There was certainly no clearer a sign of that a decade prior than there is of any new political development a decade in the future. I don't blame him for seeking to avoid facing a state, with full military acquisition-rights and military treaty-establishing rights, run by the PLO of the 1970s, with borders within firing range of the Knesset. The same was true in 1977-1978: Sadat may have spoken for Palestinians, but even he lacked the legitimacy among them to have them stick to any agreements he made on their behalf.

Shortly after the Oslo handshake, Arafat gave a speech in which he referred to the negotiations as only a first step towards the establishment of a Palestinian state in the entirety of the old British Mandate of Palestine, erasing Israel from the map. Sadly, even Arafat, the most influential leader Palestinians have had since at least the old Mufti of Jerusalem, lacked the power to really restrain the factions. He may well have wanted peace, but all that signing a final status would have meant for him was his death.

Avnery made the same mistake over and over, with his fixation on formal treaties. The issue, I think and this gets a bit off-topic, is that he applied the basic liberal assumption, that all communities behave similarly under similar conditions, to a case where it does not hold. Deeply ingrained differences in Israeli and Palestinian societies, from the hierarchy of loyalties, to traditions of conflict-resolution, to tolerance of minorities, to the effective legal person-hood of individuals or of households, mean his approach to Palestinians as a nation, thinking of them like a group of poor subjugated Israelis, will keep steering him wrong on this matter.

Donna B (104)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 6:14 am
Thanks Sam for posting, Many good comments and points made here. May Peace come to all the world someday and we can do this: "HUMANKIND BE BOTH" for our future generations.

Fadi M (37)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:29 am
Dear All,

Thank you for the informative comments and for standing up against injustice.

The way I view politics and major world events does not fall anymore under speculations, assumptions or misinterpretations, especially after having learned a very simple truth that was made taboo by those who want us to remain in the darkness.

The world is FULL of good people, caring, loving, compassionate, creative, magnificent, supportive, etc., but unfortunately, those people have been widely manipulated by the ruling class. I won't make this a long post but instead I'll provide links that will explain it all.

Up until the age of 29 I assumed that people like Netanyahu, Peres, Rabin, Obama, Clinton, Bush, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Merkel, Hollande, Erdogan, etc. are the ones who make the kind of decisions that influence the course of history and create major world events. However, I have always wondered why the world of politics seemed far too complicated than being portrayed in mainstream media. I have always wondered why a powerful country such as the United States of America becomes the United Puppets of America whenever Israel is involved. Anyway, the whole mystery is gone when one arrives at this very simple truth which I am sure some of you are already familiar with, and I hope it helps those who aren't.

Love to all.

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:29 am
Hi Ros :)

I've looked at a lot of proposed solutions, including the one you described and, unfortunately, I just don't see it working out any better than the two-state solution. It could work out, eventually, sort of, but only under conditions conducive to the success of a two-state solution, and even then, I'm not sure the results would really be any better. Thanks for giving it a good honest try, though, and I would love to see more ideas.

For vague nationalist goals, different parties are often happy to work together, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts, things regularly get vicious. For example, in Israel, the different parties developed militias and the dominant one attacked and destroyed the others in the middle of the war in 1948 when they were theoretically allies. Now imagine piling current Israeli/Palestinian tensions on top of that. Mixing like that, under anything like current conditions, would be a bloodbath. I am hopeful, though, that in as little as 10-20 years, the cultural impacts of a unified Palestinian security-force, Western media, and mass-literacy/numeracy will take hold and change things for the better. Then maybe things would not be so bloody.

I also really, really wish the traditional free market of real-estate could work there, but it faces the same problems: Right now Palestinians face a death-penalty from their own leaders and neighbours for selling land like that to an Israeli Jew. Between that and leaders (Hamas) whose guiding charter includes an entire section (#28) explicitly promoting violence against Israel and Jews in particular, I'm not confident that normal mixing would be safe for either group. Then there are religious Jewish neighbourhoods in Israel where locals are violent towards secular Jews, let alone Muslims. Mixed communities do certainly exist, though, and they live in peace, so the conflict is not too thoroughly ingrained to handle, but it must be handled before any mass-mixing. The other big problem is the legal status of the land to which settlers move: It's public property, not private, and public property where they are is administered by Israel. Strictly speaking, the settlements are built in the normal way for new towns, with permits from the administering government. I would like to see some more transfer of authority over land, but Palestinians, for the moment, lack the power and organization to effectively police even the land they hold. Due to the strategy of spoiling negotiations to undermine the PA for Palestinian internal power-politics, putting a greater strain on their police, who already do not or cannot stop the attacks could be very bloody.

The other central problem to a one-state solution is role Israel serves: It is the Jewish state and place of refuge. Just about the entire world has broken Jews' faith in the good intentions of others. In the early 20th century, Germany was literally the last place on Earth one would imagine anything like Nazism arising, but it did, and most of Europe collaborated. Even before that, just in the 20th century, the Pale of Settlement and pogroms, the anti-Jewish riots in the Middle East, the old quotas on Jewish migration and (ongoing) discrimination in education in the West, the Dreyfus Affair, and a lot of other stuff left a majority of Jews absolutely insistent that there be a Jewish-run region which could be relied upon. There is no way Israelis would accept it, especially with the vast difference in birth-rates. They regularly refer to demands for a "Right of Return" as waging war by ballot-box. When a country with mass-conscription perceives a security-threat from an internal ethnic group, things can go very badly.

Olmert's whole government was corrupt enough that there was a joke made about it years ago. Apparently Sharon's greatest service to Israel was in 2005, when he built a new party around the pullout from Gaza, Kadima, where he brought together the most corrupt elements from both leading parties so they could collapse in scandals together and leave governing to more honest people. :D

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 5:17 pm

Hi Stephen - I'd like to give you a :-) too!

I take it that you do not want to address and/or discuss the true message of the article in question re Shin Bet. Rather to go about exploring what could possibly happen if one should address the true issues. Aside from this ... sorry, but the guesswork game works for both sides and I’m not really in the mood for hypothesies.

As Sam has already stated some of the important facts in his various replies there’s no added value in me repeating and rephrasing what he said. Suffice to say that not only do you seem to believe that it is correct to obliterate international laws but also UN SC Resolutions – but much more important in my view is the fact that you please to pick-up the threads of history where it seems to be suitable and helpful for your arguments.

You (willfully?) ignore that the Palestinian people are not a sovereign state with all the necessary branches, institutes and infrastructures in place and functioning. It is a people which has been lured with a bait in 1915 into co-operation, betrayed in 1917 and ever since is struggling for its bare survival.

It is a recognized fact today – at least among intellectual honest people – that Israel has up until today either disrespected, negated, ignored or broken practically any signed agreement. Starting with the Balfour Declaration going on to ignoring the Partition Plan resp. the UN Decision of Sept 1947 in that respect to ignoring the conditions for UN admission as a full member, over to so many peace and/or ceasefire agreements. We can close our eyes in the face of overwhelming evidence but it doesn’t make any one of them go away.

Just as a reminder – the Balfour Declaration is very clear and states in no ambiguous words: “His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, IT BEING CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT NOTHING SHALL BE DONE WHICH MAY PREJUDICE THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF EXISTING NON-JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN PALESTINE [Emphasis added), or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Take e.g. the Road Map Status Report - we learn that the Palestinian side has respected all committments except the ones regarding elections as they were yet to be held ... and Israel had ignored all committments except for "working on the release of tax money" which was Palestinian anyway. Who does one trust?

Take just as another random example the truce of June 19th, 2008 (which you refer to too) – it is a well documented fact by the IDF itself that just a few hours before the truce was to take effect the Israeli Air Force flew an attack on Gaza thereby killing a Palestinian. Even Mark Regev in a rare moment of honesty stated in an interview that Israel was the first one to break the truce. And if Mark (who has a hard earned reputation to be one of the best liars) makes such a statement in front of live cameras …

So … which side deserves more trust?

Signs of honest intentions to solve this conflict are absent from the Israeli political leadership scene since 1949; a fact you choose to ignore. While we always request that the sufferings of the Jewish people over the centuries at the hands of the (mainly) Europeans must be acknowledged and honored time and again – the same request to Israel for the infliction of the Palestinian Naqba and, hence, responsibility of Israel for its effects is absolutely absent from public and/or political discourse. The opposite is the case – you sure know that any public display of any Naqba commemoration is forbidden in Israel and severely punished.

To me this equates to denying the Holocaust, the Holodomor or any of the other genocidal “enterprises” over the centuries. But denying that the Naqba took place and was initiated by Israeli forces (pre-State and after) leave alone Israel’s refusal to bear the responsibility … that’s just fine with everybody but specially with our politicos of all couleurs.

You complain about Arafat’s speech in the 90’s (any reference or link to that?) where he talks about all of the land for a Palestinian state as well as the Hamas Charta. We know from past (and solved) conflicts that a Charta can and has been amended or passages cancelled – once the conflict is satisfactorily to both sides solved or on the right track to be solved in the near future. Why is it not feasible to apply this very same methodology when it comes to Palestinians?! And why is not the very same demanded of Israel ... that the various Government parties cancel their absolute rejection of a Palestinian State?

Why is it of no concern to you or any of the world politicians that Likud, Labour and the Religious Parties of the State of Israel profoundly reject the idea of a Palestinian State between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan … and no politician ever said as much as “boo” about it??!! The very same parties that forme(d) the Israeli Government which is since decades engaged in peace charades called negotiations and which do everything to preserve the status quo? And you don’t seem to see any reason to question the honesty of the Israeli Government and political parties involved?

As Uri Avnery keeps demanding – if the historical narratives of both people are not MUTUALLY recognized reconciliation, justice and peace cannot take hold in either society.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 5:28 pm

Sorry - it's late here (2.30 am) and I overlooked that this doesn't make much sense: "Rather to go about exploring what could possibly happen if one should address the true issues."

It should read: "Rather to go about exploring what could possibly happen one should address the true issues."


Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 10:52 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

I thought the primary issue here was Peres' statement said that Netanyahu blocked a peace deal in 2011. That's why I stuck to the topic of whether or not that peace deal was viable in terms of peace on the ground, or if Netanyahu just avoided signing a piece of paper that would have just driven a division between matters de jure and de facto. I did mention the primary problem with Shin Bet earlier, though: They're unelected, selected for a job-specific mentality, and supposed to act with some secrecy, traits one does not wish to see in an organization making policy-level decisions, like that to block negotiations, anywhere. In fact, I consider their actions in this matter to be petty treason (as opposed to high treason), usurping the power of government within the fields of jurisdiction where to which it holds sole mandate and which define its role as the government. There should be a massive overhaul of the agency's oversight and those involved in this political sabotage should be arrested if they actually broke Israeli law in any way. (If what they did was somehow legal, then there should be an overhaul of the law.)

I don't look to obliterate international law. Far from it, my position on this matter is mostly about preserving it. The problem is that international law only goes as far as states are willing to submit themselves to it, or force others to do so. That's why they're normally written with very limited scopes to keep states' obligations reasonable. Attempts to apply laws where inappropriate only serve to undermine those laws even under the circumstances where they do legally apply because they will be ignored. The Geneva Conventions themselves include an article (#2) which limits its protections to sides in war which are signatories in good faith or abide by its obligations, with a full legal system of reprisals designed to prevent any force from finding itself severely disadvantaged in war by obedience to to any obligations, while preserving the integrity of the rest, so that the law is obeyed and maintains legitimacy, even if protections are reduced. This is the same sort of thing: The section regarding occupied territories has limited application written into it, and attempts to apply it any piece of international law outside of its stated scope will simply lead to it being ignored and generally de-legitimized. This sort of total failure of international conventions due to loss of legitimacy has occurred before, and it is regularly very, very bloody.

I'm also not really picking and choosing from history. How is Palestinian history at odds with anything I've written? I know they never held sovereignty and that they never independently developed all the standard services of government.That doesn't actually change their current societal setup. Also troubling, Arab states generally face almost exactly the same problems even long after having achieved sovereignty: Arab armies, for example, face a human resources nightmare because clan/tribal hierarchies compete with military command-structures for soldiers' obedience. They're stuck between aligning them, building units from single tribes which tend not to support other units in war-efforts because they know they would end up back in conflict with exactly the people they would help, mixing tribes in each unit and facing the same problem on the individual level, or having one tribe dominate a unit, which can easily lead to conditions where the rest desert. They can sometimes get by with exceptional officers, but those are exceptions, not the bulk of their armies. Palestinian politics is more divided along ideological lines, but the issue remains: Despite rhetoric, loyalty to the faction trumps loyalty to the nation.

It is generally accepted that those agreements were ignored, but the question remains whether they were rendered null before or after Israel ignored them. Here's a fine example: Israel certainly struck Hamas in 2008 before Hamas struck Israel. However, Hamas only got a seat at the negotiating table because it spoke for the entirety of the Gaza Strip, not just itself, and other factions attacked Israel before Israel struck into the Gaza Strip. A ceasefire is meant to cease the fire, not let third parties attack with impunity one side from within the territory of the other. Perhaps as importantly, Hamas had only one conceivable use for the weapons it stockpiled during the ceasefire, and its rapid buildup very strongly suggests that the ceasefire was not really setting the stage for peace, that it was doomed and the only question was who would fire the first shot.

Perhaps I should add some more emphasis to the quote you used from the Balfour declaration: "OR THE RIGHTS OF JEWS IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY". The central problem there is that rights are traditionally granted by countries to non-citizens for the sake of reciprocity, to protect its own citizens travelling abroad. Jews' rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, particularly those of Israelis, are non-existent to the point where such reciprocity is a non-issue. 900,000 Jewish refugees did not flee Arab states, leaving the bulk of their possessions behind, just because they felt like it. Treaties are contracts. What happens when one side ignores its obligations, to the other side's corresponding ones? That part of any agreement to the Balfour Declaration was long void by the time Israel ruled over Palestinian non-citizens. As for non-Jewish communities of Israeli citizens, while religious parties have sold support to coalitions in exchange for disproportionate funding for religious Jewish communities, non-Jews really have no fewer rights than do secular Jews. Arguably, they have substantially more freedom.

I really hope you're kidding about Palestinians upholding their commitments under the Road Map. Let's take a look, straight from a PA press release (as copied to McGill University):

They had two obligations, which were effectively one as effective recognition of a state's right to exist in peace and security means an end to violence against it. That was it: End Palestinian organized political violence against Israel. In 2003, right after the Second Intifada, they declared that they had done so through a bunch of declarations not remotely mirrored by activity on the ground. Again, peaceful behavior on paper means nothing without peaceful behavior in reality. The PA upheld exactly none of its obligations towards Israel under the Road Map. Its primary constituent groups, which hold greater loyalty among its members, never even bothered to edit their charters to stop calling for Israel's destruction.

About commemoration of the Naqba, no, it's not even remotely forbidden: The most recent law regarding that was that the Israeli government would not fund such commemorations. There was a proposal a while back to forbid it from the Beiteinu party, but that bill was shot down in the Knesset. I have no idea where you got the idea that it was forbidden from. The whole idea of a denial collapses with this matter cleared up.

An attack just before a truce goes into effect certainly implies bad faith, but sadly, these things are very common. There is a reason why such truces do not normally go into effect immediately. Honestly, I don't believe that any Israeli leader actually believed that peace was a possibility with that truce. That's actually where I think you have a blind-spot: If you really get away from the assumption that peace on paper implies peace on the ground, another motive for Israeli behavior, aside from a lack of desire for peace and a Palestinian state, becomes obvious: Israeli leaders mostly do not believe there to be any connection between current truces or negotiations and any real lasting peace. They get into those negotiations under pressure from the U.S., like the latest time with Kerry trying to organize a European boycott of Israel, not because they actually have any hope of success. That's why they're so quick to abandon the rounds of negotiation or even undermine them before they start, because they see the negotiations as pointless. Does that mean they're negotiating in bad faith? Yes. Should Israeli leaders be trusted when promising all sorts of things in negotiations? Not until they follow through with substance, like the multiple releases of Palestinians found guilty of major crimes. I'm right there with you on this one: Israeli leaders are far from completely honest in this matter. On the other hand, with Palestinian leaders not just unwilling but actually incapable of following through on their one big promise, they get exactly zero credibility.

Here's a link to a (very) partial recording of the speech, with English subtitles.
The specific treaty to which Arafat compared the negotiations was promptly broken, leading to the total conquest of the people with whom Mohammed signed it. It's a very, very fair assumption that this was not lost on anybody in the audience.

Charters certainly can be edited, but that normally occurs long before facts change on the ground.

Where did you get the idea that Israeli politicians don't say "boo" about members of their own parties rejecting the idea of a Palestinian state? In 1994, exactly one member of the Knesset openly opposed the negotiations after the handshake. He promptly spend six years as a political pariah, falling just short of being kicked out of his party, until he eventually sought redemption by acting as the Knesset's delegate when they were invited by Arafat to send a member to the al Aqsa Mosque as a show of goodwill. Ariel Sharon's visit officially sparked the Second Intifada, which ironically redeemed him in Israeli politics by destroying any faith Israelis had in the peace process and led to his election as prime minister. As for the religious parties, many of those guys re nuts, and they stay in opposition. The only really successful religious party in Israel, Shas, remains successful by staying silent on the matter of negotiations.

Avnery's right about harmony being impossible without mutual recognition of communal narratives. However, II believe there has been some recognition, but that's far from enough to get the desired result.

Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday May 14, 2014, 12:44 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

I just read over my comment and realized there were a few grammatical errors and weird sentence-structure. Sorry about that. I also realized that I implied that Palestinian leaders were unwilling to achieve peace with my "not just unwilling but actually unable". That was not my intention: I meant that an inability to do something required is more problematic than a lack of desire to do it, not that there was a lack of desire for peace.

Hi Fadi :)

I almost wish there were some cabal of elite manipulators interested only in their own wealth and comfort controlling world-leaders. If they had the intelligence to achieve such a position, then they would be easily smart enough to realize that they would stand to gain far more from peace than from war, and we would have world-peace. Unfortunately, things are even more complicated than that: There is a ridiculous number of factors playing into modern politics and, for the most part, leaders are only aware of their own, and regularly misunderstand even the problems of their own societies. With such poor understanding, their behavior looks, from the outside, to be totally irrational. On top of that, the issues they face, and not just the other actors, tend to be very poorly understood in general. Modern social theories are often built from models which use oversimplifying assumptions so even the recognized experts cannot be trusted. That's at least two layers of confusion for both these leaders and the reporting media

Here's a good example: The U.S. is so heavily aligned with Israel for three reasons:
First, the U.S. has a huge religiously pro-Israel Christian voting bloc which supports Israel even without encouragement from the Israeli government, direct or indirect. That, and Jews contribute to political campaigns at twice the average rate, and vote about 50% more often than other Americans so even with 2.6% of the population, they donate like 5% and vote like 4% in elections often with spreads of about 10%. Politicians want votes.
Second, there is the commodity-market. The Arab world has a far higher GDP than Israel and is a larger market overall, but with such a small population and the semi-Spartan (for that level of wealth) culture created by military conscription, Israelis have far more excess wealth beyond what they must spend on what they consider necessities. That actually makes Israel a larger market for the most lucrative exports and also a far better source for many imports.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, there is the cultural reason: Israelis are mostly of Middle Eastern origin, particularly with the roughly 900,000 Jewish refugees there from the Arab world and their descendants, but the society was set up before 1948 by Europeans and their value-system is far more compatible with the dominant one in the U.S. than is much of the Arab world. Here is a nice statistic that I use to measure these things:
The gender-ratio in the workforce cannot be imposed from the outside. Its primary problem as a cultural index is disparate reporting-rates in regions where literacy is not tied to cultural dominance (some particularly poor areas where heavy manual labour is considered the ideal and women are left to do bookkeeping and other tasks requiring education). That does not apply anywhere in the Middle East. Israel has a ratio of 0.84 while the U.S. has about 0.82. Arab states have a clump around 0.5, but otherwise dominate the bottom of the list (among countries for which numbers are available). It's less about Americans siding with Israel in particular, but just siding with essentially Western civilization of which they are a part.

Abo r (107)
Wednesday May 14, 2014, 7:34 pm

Nakba The Great Catastrophe

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 8:39 am
Hi Ross :)

SMH? Sydney Morning Herald? I went to check out the article, but I couldn't find a global section on their site.

Some Israeli settler groups probably should be labeled as terrorists. If they engage in a strategy of violently instilling terror in a population in order to drive changes in that populations' leaders' policies, then they're terrorists. If specifically those ones engaged in that strategy are organized in a group whose member can be identified prior to attacks, then they're a terrorist group.

It's possible that if "price taggers" are not organized in any identifiable way, a legal designation s a terrorist group might be meaningless: For example, the designation carries with it things like a ban on entities under U.S. authority from funding them, but if there is no way to know in advance if given funding would go to militant settlers, no standard of due diligence would stop groups from unwittingly funding them. The only way to effectively designate them as a terrorist group, then, would be to include all settlers in the designation, and we know the problem with designating too large a group "terrorists". On the other hand, if there is a clear organization, then they should be appropriately labeled, and Israel should be encouraged to handle them the same way they have other Jewish organizations labeled "terrorist groups" in the past. (I can think of two cases: In each, the leaders were arrested and then granted amnesty in exchange for handing over their entire organization, which ceased to exist within days.)

I like the idea of reparations very much, and they are generally a good avenue to follow, but problems arose when the idea of compensation was considered:

Unfortunately, with the vast amount of propaganda running amok, damage-estimates differ by a factor of twenty. Just to make matters worse, the U.N.'s estimate puts compensation would only roughly match the PA's annual total income (including foreign aid, 3.6 billion 2014 U.S. dollars). After all the discussion of how much property was lost, if the U.N. numbers are followed, reparations would feel like a cheat and may just inflame tensions further. Somehow, I don't see Israel trusting the Arab League estimate and using that number, certainly not unless there is a ceasefire in place expected to lead to peace, as those billions of dollars could easily be turned around into weapons to be used against Israel. Just to make matters worse, one side or the other is very likely to insist on reparations for damages since 1967, and that could get tricky due to different buying-power of the same amount of currency in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and UNRWA-funding of Palestinian infrastructure: The same bus might cost a whole lot more in Israel, so if one is destroyed in a bus-bombing in Israel and a similar bus is destroyed in an air-strike in the West Bank, Palestinians would end up owing Israelis money for equal damage, and I don't think that would fly too well. Between that and questions of which damages actually cost the Palestinians anything (if the destroyed infrastructure was paid for by the UNRWA), I could see things getting very tangled very quickly as the two sides haggle over numbers.

Maybe the payment could be easier to handle if it were dictated not by the past, but by the future: If Israel were to pay for the initial costs of setting up Palestinian government-infrastructure and the necessary economic infrastructure to build a successful economy, that would both amount to reparations of a sort and fall directly within the mandate dictated by its peace agreement with Jordan. That would also give Israel the opportunity to set up the initial Palestinian economy to be heavily integrated with the Israeli one (by influencing what that initial infrastructure is). Economic interdependence is a great deterrent to war as people generally don't want to blow up their own assets and kill their partners.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 3:52 pm

Hi Stephen :-),

Forgive me for being late with my answer – it’s not negligence from my side but I’m not always the boss of my time :-(.

Yes, the unwillingness of Israel to reach true peace was and is the topic – you’re right. I don’t only limit it to Netanyahu. But we can’t just look at this in a surgically clean environment … so to say … as if is were an island.

Although your response is full of guesswork and assumptions with which it is almost impossible to hold a fact based discussion … let me try anyway for whatever it’s worth.

But even if … I would take any time the risk and go for any truce and/or peace deal as a bad peace is IMO definitely better than a war no matter how good (= profitable) the war is. Reading what I just wrote about “taking the risk” I have to laugh at myself! Israel has the 4th strongest army in the world with a huge stockpile of ABC weapons and the 110% blind support of the only superpower (USA) … and would take a “risk” in respecting a truce or peace agreement with an oppressed people who have makeshift weapons, no military recognition, no spies in the skies, no nothing other than misery and starvation and sit in the biggest open-air prison of the world… this joke was not intended by me but I let it stand for everyone to enjoy,

You can’t possible in earnest believe that Shin Bet acted all by itself – or do you?! Do I have to assume that you’re not aware how this “service” works and how the line of command functions? It has nothing to do with petty or high treason; without trying to color it nicer: they just executed orders from the top office. Could it truly be that you think that the action of Shin Bet and all the military actions which took place the subsequent days where … uncoordinated coincidences?

I’m a bit uneasy how you brush the breach of the truce agreement by Israel aside “An attack just before a truce goes into effect certainly implies bad faith, but sadly, these things are very common.” Somehow justifying it with “Honestly, I don't believe that any Israeli leader actually believed that peace was a possibility with that truce.”.

Would you do the same if it where the other way around? It’s just another torpedo act of Israeli Gov not to give anything smelling of real truce and ultimately peace a chance. The UN recorded seven IDF violations of the ceasefire between June 20 and June 26, 2008.

We also have to face the fact that only after the 7th attack by Israel onto Gaza – or should I rather call it a “friendly pinch” so the rockets would start flying again? – did the attacks from Gaza start again. If memory serves me right 15 rockets flew between the 7th violation by Israel and November 4th, 2008 when Israel launched a military incursion into a residential area of Dayr al-Balah in central Gaza. Israel stated its aim was to destroy what it said was a tunnel on the Gaza-Israel border dug by militants to infiltrate into Israel and abduct soldiers, however an Israeli defense official was quoted in the Washington Times acknowledging that Israel wanted to "send Hamas a message."

You claim that Hamas was using the truce for stockpiling weapons for one purpose only as if it were a proven fact that it only served to attack Israel once they have enough of them – irrespective if there’s a treaty, a hudna or anything of that ilk. As we could read in the Israeli Press (Haaretz, Mariv, JNet) the attack on Gaza was in the making for over 6 months. (Also read Noam Chomsky on that issue: “Extermiate all the Brutes” – he gives plenty of references and links as always to original sources at the end of his article) Do you reckon everybody knew this … except Hamas? Or is it that you too believe the principle of self-defense applies only and exclusively to Israel?

Extrapolating from your thought … what do I expect from Israel in the near future as it has enough ABC weapons to blow up at least the entire region if not the whole world? I live right now as next door neighbour in Egypt … do you reckon I should rather pack-up and seek a safer heaven ;-)?

Well – let’s put this issue to rest and move on …

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 4:38 pm

Hi Stephen :-),

The Balfour Declaration

You want to dwell on the passage of "OR THE RIGHTS OF JEWS IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY".

I don’t quite see how you can take a letter/declaration of 1917 and try to apply it’s specific content to the West Bank and Gaza almost a century later … (?) ... given the fact that the whole ball game has been changed by Israel.

The understanding of the aforementioned proviso is clear in its context – it translates to the rights of Jews to [continue] living in other countries, i.e. no country has the right to kick out the Jews because of the Balfour Declaration under the pretext that Jews have now a Homeland.

Forgive me for not addressing in depth the issue of Jews being kicked out (some claim even physically deported by military force) from Arabic countries. One reason being that we all have knowledge of the disreputable actions of Israel in order to “tempt” the Jews of Iraq to “flee” to Israel (see also those in Turkey and Lybia in later times) and it follows that in light of this facts all other corroborated stories deserve at least one big question mark if not more.

The other reason being – at least for me – that the original documents about Jews leaving Arabic countries after 1948 and after 1957 (mainly Egypt) as well as their own narratives don’t have much to do with what’s portrayed today on various internet sites and speeches in Israel.

This piece of Jewish history keeps changing according to the needs of time.

Equally the ideas of Danny Ayalon are just a see through Hasbara action for no other reason than to outdo the real Naqba which the Palestinians suffered at the hands of the Zionist gangs and later the IDF. There are too many known public figures in Israel who speak out as to why the really left the Arabic countries so Danny doesn't really stand much of a chance - logically speaking and applying ratio. (but that is never really demanded in this conflict ...). The true irony of it all is the fact that the very same Danny Ayalon is promoting the continuation and intensifying of Judaisation policies in Israel!

Fact is that a lot of Jews left many Arabic countries while some of them still/again have a considerable Jewish community while others don’t or are down to Zero.

(As a side note: I’m happy that I was allowed to witness the restoration – with donation and with Egyptian tax payers money from Muslims and Christians – of the Maimonides synagogue and some 10 years ago of the Ezra synagogue. A sure sign of how much … hate … there is in the Egyptian society (Muslims and Christians) towards Jewish people – which is different from the State of Israel and its political actions.)

Treaties are contracts – I couldn’t agree with you more. There’s just one flaw in your argument: Balfour is NOT a treaty but IF it were to be treated like one then … WHY DID AND DOES ISRAEL NOT RESPECT AND ADHERE TO IT?

Equally important if not more: Treaties are entered into by BOTH (in this case) concerned parties and usually carry the authenticated signatures of those parties whereas Palestinians were totally left out despite being one of the main concerned parties.


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 4:50 pm

Sorry Stephen - I've got to run but will be back tomorrow morning with some more details on the our issue of

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 11:39 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

No worries about the delay. In the meantime, I finished a project. Now it's time to see if I can boost a good few thousand people a year out of poverty ... and end up with silly amounts of money in the process. Anyways, back to the discussion:

I just realized that I never linked to the article that I use heavily as a guide on the behavior of militias under conditions like those of the Palestinian ones:
It's technically 30 pages long, but with all the footnotes and graphs, it's actually a quick read. Anyways, my guesswork is mostly just that if they are able, Palestinian militias will engage in "outbidding" and "spoiling" as they and many others have done in the past, matching the strategies outlined in the journal-article.

That you don't consider it risky for Israel to accept such a peace tells me you're a very peaceful person, likely unfamiliar with the operational realities of urban counter-insurgency. Here's a quick run-down of some of the issues: First, there is zero strategic depth: Insurgents can emerge from the general population, being indistinguishable from them until operations commence, inside population-centers and on top of economic and administrative assets, all of which the army exists to protect. On top of that, cities are just about the worst possible environments for soldiers. For an idea of what it takes for them to operate effectively in cities while keeping them intact, consider the Russian capture of Berlin, with tens of thousands of soldiers needed to take just a single main street. I actually ran the numbers once: Assuming that the number of soldiers needed varies linearly with the area of the city (which is roughly how things work when the army has overwhelming force), and that the same proportions apply as with Russians in Berlin, the entire IDF could not take Gaza City intact. Now imagine them trying a counterinsurgency in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Eilat. Even with the world's best counter-insurgency expertise, there is no way the IDF could handle another Intifada if it happened during a period of on-paper peace and free travel, not without destroying at least chunks of Israeli cities.

Also, that Israel has far from the fourth most powerful army in the world. It has the world's best conscript-force, which, being a conscript-force, will likely never truly match any Western volunteer-force. (Training can only do so much, so when the army needs so many warm bodies in such a small population that it doesn't get to pick its members, the soldiers tend to be less competent and less responsible. That's really what's behind a lot of its troubling incidents and abuses. I hope this changes with the new laws regarding conscription.) It also has no tradition of career-NCOs, which plays havoc with its bottom-level command as its new officers have no experienced guidance. There are other problems as well, particularly related to power-projection and logistics, but those are less important for its wars. Then there's its fundamental defensive problem: It relies very heavily on expensive technology, and U.S. aid only accounts for about a fifth of its military expenses. If its economy gets hit too hard, its army will collapse, and that economy is concentrated in a few cities, mostly near borders (as the country is so small). Combined with the problems of urban counter-insurgency, I hope you can see why that risk is a very real thing.

I'm not really brushing aside the attack just before the truce took effect, nor do I consider it a light thing that Israeli leaders have so little faith in the peace-process. My point there was that even the attack was not an indication of a lack of desire for peace, just a lack of hope.

If the Shin Bet's orders came from the PM, then there has to be an overhaul in its oversight and relevant laws. The PM should not be able to give it operation-level commands, only policy-level guidance through normal channels of government. I guess when I thought of treason, I was thinking in North American terms, where it would be impossible for a PM to give secret operational commands that run contrary to popular national goals. Such a conspiracy would have to run through at least dozens of miiddlemen along the lines of communication, and there would be absolutely no way to ensure all of their silence, so regardless of what conspiracy-theories are out there, a Western leader would normally have to be seriously mentally deficient to try something like that because it would be sure to come out. With far fewer regulations in Israel, I suppose the PM might have given the order, though even then, there has to be some bureaucracy in place to run the Shin Bet so it should still be ridiculously risky to try something like that. I wouldn't trust the appearance of coordination between the Shin Bet and military to trace the matter to their point of mutual command: One can simply react to a situation created by the other, creating correlation of behavior without coordination..

The other way around, with Palestinian militias attacking Israeli military targets in way that would reduce Israel's future ability to strike at them just before a truce goes into effect while their leaders have no reason to hope for peace? I absolutely would not assume that such an attack meant a lack of desire for peace so yes, I'd brush it aside if it was the other way around.

If the attack on Gaza was only in the making for six months, I would be very surprised. It is normal for generals to spend their time drawing up plans for every conceivable operation which they may be ordered to execute. Israel almost certainly has had plans for years to invade Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, plans to use submarines and its air-force to hit Iran, and probably something for amphibious assaults on Turkey, Greece, Albania, and Italy. If not, it should. It was the lack of a plan to turn on and destroy their own allies that left Israeli soldiers unable to respond effectively when Lebanese Christians engaged in massacres as Sabra and Shatila. I'm pretty sure Israel ha a plan in case of infectious zombie-attacks.

(Also, Chomsky is an insightful linguist, but for a lot of reasons, in politics, I trust him about as far as I can throw him. That lack of trust partly comes from his tendency to pontificate on matters on which he is absolutely ignorant, and partly from some very disturbing comments by his supporters. Specifically, those who interact with him regularly note that he has an answer for everything, on every subject. There is no way one human can know and really understand that much, so the only way to have answers on every subject is by just making them up. I tend to look similar on Care2, but that's due to a limited range of issues discussed here. I regularly defer to others on many matters.)

Israel is heavily armed and, as a nation, more scared than one might expect. I seriously doubt they'll feel the need to use ABCs on Egypt. For a few reasons, Arab societies produce the world's least capable armies while Israel has the best second-rate one on Earth so I just don't see them feeling like they need more than conventional force. In fact, the only country in the area which could reasonably provoke such a reaction is Turkey, if things go badly between those two countries. Also, how close to the border do you live? Israeli logistics just can't manage much ground-based power-projection, and they learned in 2006 that their air force works best as support for ground-forces in war so if you're well beyond the border, there's really no cause for concern. Besides, military regimes tend to start fewer wars, and Israel is not about to start anything with Egypt with its failure in power-projection, so there really should be nothing to worry about, even aside from the countries' military (and beginnings of civilian) collaboration. :)

For the Balfour declaration, the change of the ball-game was pretty much my point: The two demands of the Balfour declaration were linked as is standard in agreements. One half collapsed, rendering the other half invalid. You're right that the The Balfour Declaration is not a treaty, but for it to hold any weight, then its acceptance by all parties that accepted it must be treated as a treaty because only treaties hold legal weight in international law, which, without a real world-government, is by necessity all contract-law. Israel doesn't adhere to it simply because there is now no penalty for ignoring it as everything that could be done to it in response to violations has already been done. Arab states have already gone to war to completely eliminate Israel, repeatedly, and now stand no chance of success in that. They have also severely cut the rights of Jews living there. Should the second be reversed or real threat of war in time of genuine peace, then there would be threats remaining to deter treaty-violations. As for Palestinians having been left out, that simply establishes them as non-signatories: Many treaties, including the Geneva Conventions, apply in dealings with non-signatories as long as they abide by the terms of the treaty. As they thoroughly, blatantly, and systematically ignore the terms of treaties, they lose protection under them. (This has very disturbing implications with the 4th Geneva Convention.) I'm not saying "might makes right", but under contract-law, might effectively makes legal by making laws unenforceable.

I'm not familiar with any acts by Israel to tempt Jews to flee Arab states. At least, I haven't seen anything aside from automatic citizenship out of Israel, certainly nothing that would lead to sudden abandonment of nearly all property. I have only ever heard one story about it: After the wars of 1948 and 1967, anti-Jewish sentiment rose in Arab states, culminating in legal persecution. With the expectations that things would get worse, and especially with the Holocaust so freshly remembered, Jews fled Arab states, with many going to Israel due to proximity and immediate citizenship.

Wow. That was even longer than I expected. :D

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 11:41 pm
Also, about rockets only resuming after the seventh attack, I'm pretty sure that only counts Hamas' rockets. Other groups launched before the first Israeli strike into Gaza as Hamas could not (or would not) police them.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday May 16, 2014, 2:09 am

Hi Stephen, geez – hit the wrong button before I could rephrase the sentence and then the power went off … :-( - well here’s the rest:

Road Map Status Report: Phase I
Why is it that you refer only to a truncated document? Why not link the whole document as submitted to the concerned parties overseeing the Road Map and directly from the horse’s mouth? After all, the Status Report Phase I, June 2003 was approved and acknowledged by the “independent” brokers: I do not assume that you want to argue the correctness of the findings outlined in the document (?) - Israel didn't dispute the findings.

Or could it be that the following statements don’t sit right with you and, hence, you preferred a “short version” link of the Status Report? I wouldn’t blame you – they don’t sit right with me either as the show they clearly and in no ambiguous terms show the ultimate intentions of polit-Israel. The statements below (which interestingly can’t be found under the IL Government links in the net anymore since 2008 but you may want to visit don't leave much to our immaginations.

The newer platform of Likud sounds at first somewhat a bit more “moderate” (2008 from YNet):

Main platform
Israel will not allow the establishment of an Arab Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. The Palestinians will be able to manage their lives freely in the framework of an autonomous regime, but not as a sovereign, independent state.
The Jordan River will be the State of Israel's permanent border.
Jerusalem is the Jewish people's everlasting capital; it will not be divided, nor will any negotiation to the effect be conducted. Israel will continue to push for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. Israel will ensure the freedom of religion and faith as well as free access to all holy places in Jerusalem, for all religions. The boosting of Jewish settlement activity in the Golan Heights will continue.

It can also be found here:

Quote from the Road Map Report:
“PM Sharon issued the following statement at the Aqaba Summit ( 4 June 2003 ):
“Israel, like others, has lent its strong support for President Bush's vision expressed on June 24, 2002, of two states, Israel and the Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.”
“We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial contiguity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state.”

18 of 23 Israeli Cabinet Ministers represent parties whose current official platforms expressly reject the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Likud: “Flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

National Union: “Absolutely rejects the idea of a Palestinian state between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

National Religious Party: “The State of Israel alone shall exist between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. No Palestinian state or any other foreign sovereign entity shall be established in this area.”

Check out the IL Government and Cabinet of today – look at its actions (not words) and tell me: where’s the difference?


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday May 16, 2014, 2:12 am
Stephen, I may be forgiven for posting the entire (long) article but it is such an excellent and to the point written essay that I didn’t dare to cut it up and leave the rest “unpublished” as experience shows that just a few people bother to follow links. I hope that it makes the readers curious enough to buy the book “Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians” by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé (although you tried to discredit Chomsky :-) ...). It’s worth the time to read it - if one truly wants to understand. Equally recommendable and revealing is Pappé’s book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.

The article can be found at I also recommend the comment section, especially the exchange between “zvibaranoff” and “charbova”.


A Provocative Blueprint for Peace in the Mideast

The demise of the Oslo Accord at the very beginning of the 21st century gave special impetus to the old/new idea of a one-state solution. It seems to be with us again and the interest in it grows by the day. And yet it does not appear as an item on the agenda of any actor of significance on the Palestine chessboard. Neither major powers nor small political factions endorse it as a vision or strategy let alone as a tactic for the future. Its attractiveness, however, is undeniable given the failure of the alternative solutions.

A Troubled History
The one-state solution has a troubled history. It began as a soft Zionist concept of Jewish settlers, some of whom were leading intellectuals in their community, who wished to reconcile colonialism and humanism. They were looking for a way that would not require the settlers either to return to their homelands or to give up the idea of a new Jewish life in the “redeemed” ancient homeland. They were also moved by more practical considerations, such as the relatively small number of Jewish settlers within a solid Palestinian majority. They offered binationalism within one modern state. They found some Palestinian partners when the settlers arrived in the 1920s but were soon manipulated by the Zionist leadership to serve that movement’s strategy and then disappeared into the margins of history.

In the 1930s, notable members among them, such as Yehuda Magnes, were appointed as emissaries by the Zionist leadership for talks with the Arab Higher Committee. Magnes and his colleagues genuinely believed, then and in retrospect, that they served as harbingers of peace, but in fact they were sent to gauge the impulses and aspirations on the other side, so as to defeat it in due course. They existed in one form or another until the end of the Mandate. Their only potential ally, the Palestine Communist Party, for a while endorsed their idea of binationalism, but in the crucial final years of the Mandate, adopted the principle of partition as the only solution (admittedly due to orders from Moscow rather than out of a natural growth of its ideology). So by 1947, there was no significant support for the idea on either the Zionist or Palestinian side. Moreover, it seems that there was no genuine desire locally or regionally to look for a local solution and it was left to the international community to propose one.

The appearance in 1947 of the one-state solution as an international option is a chapter of history very few know about or bother to revisit. It is worth remembering that at one given point during the discussions and deliberations of UNSCOP (the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, February to November 1947), those members of the UN who were not under the influence of either the United States or the USSR—and they were not many—regarded the idea of one state in Palestine as the best solution for the conflict. They defined it as a democratic unitary state, where citizenship would be equal and not determined on the basis of ethnicity or nationality. The indigenous population was defined as those who were in Palestine at that time, nearly two million people who were mostly Palestinians. When their idea was put in a minority report of UNSCOP (the majority report was the basis for the famous [or infamous] Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947), half of the then members of the UN General Assembly supported it, before succumbing to pressure by the superpowers to vote in favor of the partition resolution. It is not surprising in hindsight that people around the world, who did not feel, like the Western powers did, that the creation of a Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians was the best compensation for the horrors of the Holocaust, would support the unitary state. After all the Jewish community in Palestine was made of newcomers and settlers, and were only one-third of the overall population. But common decency and sense were not allowed to play a role where Palestine was concerned.

So Palestine was partitioned between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. But the idea was kept alive when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) came into being. Its version of one state was a secular and democratic one (although unsympathetic toward the possible presence of Jewish settlers who arrived after 1948) and was attractive enough even to inspire a small anti-Zionist group in Israel—Matzpen—to accept it for a while. The Arab world, in words and through the Arab League, seemed to stand behind the idea. This was the vision of the liberation movement until the 1970s, when lack of success, pragmatism, and a growing realization of how powerful Israel had become due to unconditional American support—which was not equaled by the limited aid the USSR gave the PLO—led to new ideas about the future. Thus came to the world Fatah’s Stages Program. This was a willingness to consider a two-state solution. Initially, the plan was presented as a temporary means for bringing peace and justice to Palestine, but later on it was portrayed as a strategy, and perhaps even a vision.

The idea of a two-state solution, however, did not germinate on the Palestinian side. It was always the preferred solution of pragmatic Zionism. Pragmatic Zionism, or mainstream Zionism, led the Jewish community in Palestine since the late nineteenth century and its basic ideas still guide the Israeli political system today. The power of the two-state solution depends largely on the power of pragmatic Zionism. Those who are presently regarded as pragmatic Zionists are defined as such due to their support for the two-state solution. Since the support only has to be verbal and noncommittal, even right-wing parties in Israel, despite their declared ideology of a Greater Israel (a one-state solution with exclusive Jewish presence and rights) can endorse it. This was recently demonstrated by Binyamin Netanyahu’s pledge to such a solution made only in order to allow the continued strategic alliance between an allegedly more critical American administration and a more hawkish Israeli government.

But because the two-state solution is so closely connected to the fortunes of pragmatic Zionism, it is important to recap the historical record of this mainstream Zionist force. The leaders and movements who represented pragmatic Zionism were responsible for the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the military rule imposed on the Palestinians inside Israel for almost twenty years, the colonization of the West Bank in the last forty years, and the repertoire of oppressive and brutal policies against the people of Gaza in the last eight years. And the list of course is longer and new chapters of oppression and dispossession are added to it by the day. And yet the total identification of pragmatic Zionism with the two-state solution, and before it with territorial compromise with Jordan (the Jordanian option) equated it in the eyes of the world with “peace” and “reconciliation.” As transpired clearly during the days of the Oslo Accord, the discourse of two states and peace provided a shield that enabled the pragmatic Zionist governments to expand the settlement project in the West Bank and escalate the oppressive policies against the Gaza Strip.

Looked at from a different angle, pragmatic Zionism was the only actor on the ground that gave substance to the idea of two states; whereas the PLO, even when it endorsed the idea, had to accept the Zionist interpretation of it. The relevant international actors and the United States in particular followed this Zionist interpretation as they still do today. This interpretation meant that the two-state solution is based on total Israeli control of the whole of what used to be Mandatory Palestine: its airspace, territorial waters, and external borders. It includes a limited measure of Palestinian sovereignty within those parts of Palestine that Israel is not interested in (the Gaza Strip and less than half of the West Bank). This sovereignty would also be limited in essence: a demilitarized government would have little say in defense, foreign and financial policies.

But the potency of this Zionist interpretation of the two-state solution, which remains to this very moment the only interpretation, is waning. This is the main reason for the reemergence of the one-state solution. The latter was kept alive by those who always believed in it as the only moral, not just political, settlement that contains, and answers, all the outstanding problems involved in the ongoing conflict. Issues such as the refugees’ right of return, the colonialist nature of Zionism, and the need to accommodate the multireligious and multicultural fabric of society seem to have no room in the two-state solution. The first group of one-state supporters were joined by the “desperadoes,” those who reluctantly endorse the one-state solution since they despair of any hope of implementing a two-state solution. They regard the new geopolitical realities Israel created on the ground as irreversible and they recognize there is no will on the Israeli side to accept a truly independent and sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Thus, despite its troubled history, the one-state idea is still with us today. And yet it remains on the margins and attributed to naive daydreamers. From this very brief, and admittedly somewhat esoteric description, it is clear that only a significant erosion of the validity of the two-state solution can revert attention to the concept of a one-state solution, in whatever form. However, it is important to stress early on that the idea was kept alive not by those who despaired of the possibilities of a two-state solution, but rather by those who did not lose faith in the moral validity of the concept and its political feasibility. These very few feel vindicated in the last decade by the many that joined them as “new converts,” as the demise of the two-state solution becomes clearer by the day.

As these words are being written, it is mainly a large number of individuals, and not even NGOs, who stand firmly behind the idea. They are visible and have advanced the case of the one-state solution significantly in recent years by structuring the discussion and airing the outstanding issues beyond slogans and ideals. The final boost to this intellectual and public activity was the appearance of several coherent books, whose authors along with other writers joined efforts to disseminate the concept and root it deeply in the public discourse and mind. But as mentioned, there are no political parties upholding this idea and although an intuitive survey of the scores of NGOs working on the ground in Israel, Palestine, and the exilic communities indicates wide support in Palestinian civil society for this idea, none of the present governmental and nongovernmental actors have officially taken a stance of support.

(to continue)

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday May 16, 2014, 2:13 am

(Continuation and end)

Reselling the Past
The struggle over memory in the case of Palestine seems to be the most important task in this century for anyone committed to the Palestine cause. The convergence of industrious Palestinian historiography with the new revelations made by revisionist historians in Israel transformed not only the research agenda of academia but also the public discourse among activists. It was in many ways the exposure to the full picture of what occurred in 1948 that expanded the spectrum of peace activists, and members of Palestinian solidarity committees, so that it included the 1948 Nakbah. Even President Obama in his June 2009 Cairo speech acknowledged a Palestinian suffering that spans over sixty years.

The struggle over historic memory is highly relevant to the debate about a one-state solution. Only the historical perspective reveals the reductionist nature of the two-state solution: the fact that “Palestine” refers to only one-fifth of the land and about one-third of the Palestinians.

A deeper historical recognition exposes the colonialist nature of the Zionist movement. It does not only show that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and were never allowed to return, but also that the ideology that produced that policy is still operative today.

The unified Palestinian experience from the late nineteenth century up to 1948 has been replaced by discrete experiences due to the fragmentation of the people and the bisection of the land. But these new disjointed experiences all without exception relate to what happened in 1948: in other words whether you live in Ramallah, London, Yarmouk, or Nazareth, your present predicament is a direct result of what occurred in 1948.

Moreover, the ideology that produced the 1948 ethnic cleansing is the one that keeps refugees in their camps today, discriminates against Palestinians inside Israel, and oppresses those under occupation in the West Bank and imprisonment in the Gaza Strip.

At the academic and civil society level this realization is solid and has created fertile ground for the discussion about a one-state solution. However, this is unfortunately not the case with the mainstream media and political arena in the West or in the Arab world. There is a better chance to debate the historical narrative that to propagate the one-state solution at this stage in the struggle. Mainstream media and politicians reject out of hand the one-state solution, but may be willing to accept that their historical narrative so far was distorted and wrong and that they should view the conflict as a process that began in 1948, even in 1882, and not in 1967.

In other words what should be hammered in is that what the “desperadoes” call the facts on the ground that gradually made the desired two-state solution impossible were not an accident. They are the outcome of a strategy aiming at granting the State of Israel control over all of Mandatory Palestine. This strategy was and is the cornerstone of pragmatic Zionism and it divided the land into two territories: the one that Israel rules directly and in it wishes to implement what Shimon Peres coined “maximum territory and minimum Arabs.” And the other territory is the one that Israel controls indirectly of through proxies such as a collaborationist Palestinian Authority. What was and still is presented by Western journalists and politicians as a fundamental debate inside Israel about peace and war, of retaining the territories or withdrawing from them, is in effect a debate about what “maximum territory” is and what are the means of achieving it, as well as how one attains the target of minimum Arabs.

Deconstructing the Peace Process
The biggest contemporary obstacle for putting forward the one-state solution as a viable option is that the raison d’être of the “peace process” of the last 40 years is firmly based on the vision of two states. It is so powerful that even some of the bravest and most committed colleagues in the struggle for Palestine endorse it in the name of realpolitik.

The peace process began immediately after the June 1967 war ended, and while the early initiators were French, British, and Russians, it soon became an attempt to impose a Pax Americana. The basic American assumption underlying the “peace” effort was an absolute reliance on the balance of power as the principal prism through which the possibility of solutions should be examined. As Israeli superiority was unquestioned after the war it meant that whatever Israeli politicians and generals devised as a peace plan soon became the basis for the process as a whole.

Thus, the Israeli political elite constantly produced the common wisdom of the peace process and formulated its guidelines according to its own concerns. These American-Israeli guidelines were drafted in the first years after the 1967 occupation and crystallized as a vision for a new geopolitical map for historical Palestine. Pragmatic Zionism dictated that the country would roughly be divided into two spheres: one that Israel controls directly as a sovereign state and the other that Israel rules indirectly while giving Palestinians limited autonomy.

The principal American role was to present to the world these dictates in a positive manner as “Israeli concessions,” “reasonable behavior,” and “flexible positions.” To this day, either out of ignorance or interest, successive American administrations adopted a perception of the conflict that caters solely to the internal Israeli scene and one that disregards totally the Palestinian perspective of whatever nature or inclination.

This hegemonic American-Israeli presence produced five guidelines that so far have not been challenged politically and diplomatically by the Quartet and whoever manages the peace process.

The first guideline relates directly to the struggle over historic memory mentioned above. It states that the “conflict” began in 1967 and hence the essence of its solution is an agreement that would determine only the future status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Such a perspective confines a settlement to 78 percent of Palestine.

The second guideline is that everything visible in those areas is divisible and that such divisibility is the key for peace. So even the remaining 22 percent of Palestine has to be divided for the sake of peace. Moreover, the peace agenda meant that not only the 1967 occupied areas should be divided, but also its people and natural resources.

The third guideline is that anything that happened until 1967, including the consequences of the Nakbah and its ethnic cleansing, are not negotiable. This pushed the refugee issue off the agenda, where it remains to this very day.

The fourth guideline is an equation between the end of the Israeli occupation and the end of the conflict. Namely, once some kind of eviction or control were agreed upon, the conflict would be resolved for all intents and purposes.

The last guideline is that Israel is not committed to any concession until the Palestinian armed struggle ends.

In 1993, these five guidelines were translated into the Oslo Accord, when a Palestinian partner seemed to accept them in principle. They were repackaged again in Camp David 2000 and in both cases after trials and tribulations rejected by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA). But these are still the agreed upon principles for the peace process.

The task here is twofold. The first is to associate in the public mind the present reality, which is accepted by international observers as representing a human catastrophe of unimaginable dimensions, as the inevitable outcome of this peace process and its principles. Thus, exposing it as a political act that provides international immunity for a policy of colonization and dispossession. It is true that this policy has escalated dramatically since 2000, but it is not true that the escalation is the result of the collapse of the peace process—it is the result of the process’s raison d’être.

The one-state movement has the academics, journalists, and activists who possess the means of disseminating this knowledge through books, journals, and public meetings whenever the current affairs of Palestine and Israel are discussed. A media monitor of sorts is already working, but not in a professional or systematic way. Although one has to admit that it is much more timidity than ignorance that prevents intelligent and knowledgeable journalists and politicians from exposing the “peace process,” shielding a well-structured Israeli plan, devised already in 1967, to enclave the Palestinians in bantustans. Pragmatic Zionism did not wish to directly control the populated Palestinian areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, did not dare to expel them, and did not wish to give them more than limited autonomy.

The second task is to bring to the fore the Palestinian voices that were directly victimized by this Israeli policy in the last 40 years within a paradigm of analysis that highlights the connection between their sufferings and the charade of peace. In other words, the debate is not only about the question whether the road taken so far was right, but an accusation of those who led us on that road as contributing directly to the continued oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. This would mean challenging the very agenda of the Palestinian Authority that claims that peace with Israel under the old premises will bring an end to the suffering of the occupied people, while the counterargument should be that it is having precisely the opposite effect: deepening the occupation and perpetuating the oppression.

Preparing for the Future
In its present form the one-state movement is made of individuals from all walks of life who can bring to the fore their activism and professionalism before the vision is taken up more systematically by NGOs and political parties. It is time to expand the activity beyond the big conferences that have so far successfully heralded the idea and exposed the fallacies of the two-state solution model. There are more areas of investigation that the one-state movement can focus on.

The first is a survey of attitudes toward the one-state idea. So far no one has attempted such a survey and despite the obvious weakness of such an instrument this is a precondition for any future campaign of disseminating the idea and recruiting others for it.

The second is the formation of working teams, very much on the basis of the Tawaqim (professional teams) that were preparing, in earnest but in vain, for the creation of an independent state in the Orient House during the Madrid conference days. These teams should prepare the practical products emanating from a future political outfit for Palestine and Israel in whatever form it will appear: a constitution, an educational system, curricula and textbooks, basic guidelines for an economic system, the practical implications within a state of a multicultural and multireligious society, and so on. For some of these aspects of statehood there is no need to reinvent the wheel, as the Tawaqim were quite good in covering them; for others inspiration should be found elsewhere in history, other geographies, and human thought.

Constructing, in the most practical way, these end products—such as a prototype constitution, an educational curriculum, laws of citizenships for all (indigenous, returnees, and new immigrants), land and property ownership regulations (including compensations and absentee properties), and similar projects—can give substance to the idea of one state beyond slogans and the deconstruction of the two-state solution.

The last project for the one-state movement before it hopefully becomes a potent, popular, and political movement is to focus on small teams and later in front of larger audiences—on how to disseminate the idea and educate people about it. Palestinian NGOs domestic and abroad, the few NGOs in Israel that are still engaged in the struggle against the occupation, the Palestine solidarity campaigns and committees, and all the other NGOs in Western societies and around the Arab and Muslim worlds can be all recruited to take a firmer stand on the issue.

The struggle for one state cannot be had without close cooperation with official PLO, Hamas, and PA representatives, nor without adoption of the discourse or dictionary of these groups on the ground. This would allow the one-state movement to envision peace and reconciliation in a less limited, more inclusive way. One doubts whether Arab regimes would help, apart from heads of state who are already openly in support of the idea. On the other hand, the South African government and NGOs have already shown greater enthusiasm for the idea than any other state actor on the international scene. With these limitations in mind, and with these potential partners, the voice of the one-state movement should be heard at all times.

This can be accomplished, despite the profound knowledge that popular support for the idea depends crucially on a total disintegration of the two-state solution and this scenario in turn is beyond the influence of the one-state movement. While waiting for developments beyond our control and influence, we should prepare as if this moment is around the corner and assume that millions of desperate Palestinians, Israelis, and whoever cares about them in the world would quickly seek an alternative to the paradigm that so disastrously informed the peace process in Palestine and Israel. Activism, scholarship, dissemination of information, persuasion, protest, and solidarity are the most powerful weapons powerless people have. Let us use them wisely.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday May 16, 2014, 3:06 am

Hi Stephen :-),

I’ve read diagonally through the link you provided and I’ll do an in depth reading later in the day if time permits. It seem to have one big flaw and that is that it talks about terrorists and only about those who also happen to be Muslims … if I didn’t overlook something

It does NOT take into account those who fight to free their land from foreign invaders (which is permissible under Int’l Law) as we see e.g. in Palestine. Strangely enough it also doesn’t see it necessary to mention the over 100 blowing up of Palestinian civilian buses in the 30’s and 40's or the other vicious terror attacks conducted by the Zionists … who happen to be Jewish. Nor the King David Hotel horror nor Count Bernadotte et al ...

I phrase it this way because I firmly believe what I say on my profile page; just to be clear on that issue regarding religions and “religions” – quotation marks because all too often religion is just the fig leaf to cover an ulterior agenda on any and all sides.

Another general remark regarding risk assessment in peace negotiations: why does anyone on this earth enter peace negotiations if “it” is not willing to knowingly enter a certain risk? The risk argument is a no-go as if every party who's involved in fighting would start off with such a position there wouldn’t be any peace and/or ceasefire negotiations at all – nowhere!

Taking in what you wrote I conclude you’re making a statement that reads: “I attest there are no real peace negotiations and there shouldn’t be because why should the party who dominates the current situation on all levels take any risks.”

Thank you for inadvertently (my assumption) admitting what all Israeli politicians are persistently trying to deny against all evidence.

You say “For the Balfour declaration, the change of the ball-game was pretty much my point: The two demands of the Balfour declaration were linked as is standard in agreements. One half collapsed, rendering the other half invalid.” Are you trying to imply that Jews were kicked out (acc. to today’s narrative) of Arab countries … by virtue of which the first demand has “collapsed”. Are you really serious about your notion?? I’ve got to tell you upfront that this would be totally unacceptable to me.

I’m astonished that you never heard about the Lavon affair – so called because it brought eventually down the Israeli Defense Minister at the time Pinhas Lavon. The Operation Code name was “Susannah”. Check out what happened to USS Liberty, check The Jews of Iraq, check on how Reagan was tricked into attacking Lybia and so on and so forth. There is plenty of trustworthy evidence out there (often later confirmed by Israelis in their autobio and diaries) confirming and documenting Israel’s history of false flag operations wanting to pin them on Muslim Arabs.

Bewildered regards … hope to come back later with some more ;-) – stay safe!

Fadi M (37)
Friday May 16, 2014, 4:57 am
Stephen Brian,

Do you really think I have the time to read or reply back to your newspaper posts? Your arguments have nothing to do with the real problem and its root cause. You are behaving exactly like the stupid Israeli leaders who hold cartoon bomb posters at international conventions simply because they lost the battle and they know it. Instead of dealing with the symptoms I advise you to look for the disease itself which lies in people's minds. It is the belief system of your racist and bloodthirsty Zionists that has led the world to this crazy stage we are all suffering from today. Those who founded IsraHel are not even the Jews of the Torah, they are greedy money changers who thought it would be a good idea to use religion in order to justify the creation of this mad state that would enable them to exploit the whole world and manipulate its resources and create divisions and wars. As long as you are denying this simple truth you will continue to run in a closed loop using shallow analysis without achieving something other than waste your time and others'. Discussing subjects about Hamas and the PLO, settlements and economics, etc., is not going to solve anything or get you anywhere, these are just the symptoms and not the disease.

ALL Israeli Prime Ministers were Ashkenazi Jews, I'm sure you already know that since you speak/understand Yiddish and most probably share the same origin with them and the Rothschilds. Explain to me why a country like IsraHel, supposedly a land for the Jews, has a political system that does not allow Sephardi or Mizrahi Jews (Middle Eastern origin) to become PMs? The answer is simple; because Israel it NEVER was intended for the real Jews of the Torah, it is purely a political state that has taken advantage of the real Jews and their historical presence in the region. The whole world knows this today and is standing up against your bloodthirsty bosses. Now please quit the silly games you are playing here and stop wasting other people's valuable time!

When the Palestinians acknowledged Israel, Israel said we want the Palestinians to acknowledge the "Jewishness" of the state. When the division between Hamas and the PLO broke out, Israel said how can we hold peace talks with Abbas since he does not control Gaza or represent the all Palestinians. Then came the recent reconciliation and Israel said how can we hold peace talks with Abbas after having reconciled with Hamas, our enemy that does not recognize Israel (Even though Israel itself has had countless secret/direct talks with Hamas on several issues)..... And the bullshit goes on and the whole world is watching, and the world is not an idiot, but Israel and its barbaric leaders think it is (They don't even realize that their hasbara has failed). Even John Kerry who works for a government that has been enslaved by terrorist organizations such as AIPAC, CFR, ADL and the Fed Reserve, he couldn't even hide the truth when he announced that Israel was the one responsible for the failed peace talks.
That's why today there are many brave JEWS standing up against Israel, entire nations that got fed up with the constant lies and deception, the whole world is sick of Israel and its childish games and its barbaric aggression and the sufferings it inflicts on a much weaker nation. Israel has broken and continues to break one UN resolution after the other, why not when it enjoys a lifetime free VITO membership and Carte Blanche from the U.S Puppets of America. And now the whole world is sick of the US because of that. Israel has managed to make every single nation on Earth hate the United States, and it looks like Canada is on the way too under its idiot PM Harper and his Rothschild ass kissing policies he has adopted. Hopefully Canadians will have his ass kicked out soon.

Finally, the last battle at the UN was won by 138 votes in favor to 9 against. Just mark my words; from now on Israel is going to face a Tsunami of political and legal wars it is not even capable or ready to deal with, simply because Zionists have always assumed that the world has been brainwashed enough to continue to blindly support Israel and its sick practices. Today they know that's not true, but their pocket is always full of surprises and dirty and bloody games kept specially for the Goyim.

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 16, 2014, 8:18 pm
Hi Fadi :)

If you want the short version of what I wrote earlier, here it is: Your entire earlier post was totally wrong. The sort of elite cabal you described would produce an entirely different kind of world. For the most part, the official leaders really are in control, and they're doing what they honestly believe is right, whether Israeli, Palestinian, Pakistani, Mexican, or Nigerian. This is true of politics, industry, science, all of them. Really, very few of them have are bought or controlled. The "real problem" in the world is that all the different the problems faced by leaders of any sort aren't nearly as simple as they are normally presented.

If you want a proper explanation of that, complete with an example, then I'm afraid you'll have to read the long version.

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 16, 2014, 9:05 pm
Hi again Fadi :)

Sorry I missed part of your latest post:

The reason for Ashkenazi dominance in Israel is actually very, very simple: Sample size and initial conditions.

The primary Zionist organizations which ran migrations in the early 20th century drew most of their migrants from Eastern Europe because that was where to find the greatest antisemitism, and where to find Jews most willing to leave their homes. Those involved in the organization were the most politically organized and quickly became the best-established leaders in Israel. Those were the initial conditions which applied directly up through Shamir. The problem with the sample-size is that the only Israeli PMs not of that early group were in the last twenty years, and they don't include Peres. The only three PMs not of the European organization were Barak, Olmert, and Netanyahu. That's the pattern you're basing your comment on, three people, so it doesn't take much reason for them all to be Ashkenazi, certainly no effective prohibition on Mizrahi or Sephardi leadership.

So, what's that weak reason? I honestly don't know. If I had to guess, I would say it had to do with the fact that Ashkenazi Jews have a longer tradition of secularism. They split between heavily orthodox and far more secular long ago, in a split that did not include the Sephardi or Mizrahi, creating a segment of the population more capable of handling modern politics.

Piece of advice: When you ask a question, don't presume that you know the answer. Otherwise, why bother asking the question?

You're wrong twice again below that. Didn't you notice how little official incitement there was in the last few years between Israel and the West Bank, or the rise in cooperation? They weren't "negotiating", but tensions hadn't been so low for so long in ages. I think that did more for peace than any round of talks. Also, the recognition of a country's right to run itself by its own guiding principles has always been a part of recognizing a country. I explain and give examples here:

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 12:16 am
Hi Eleonora :)

The Kydd and Walter article used a list of groups designated as "terrorists" by the U.S. government. The authors deliberately avoided making their own definition, and they don't look at questions of morality or legality, only strategy. Unfortunately, the U.S. designation did not exist until long after Hagana destroyed both Irgun and Lehi, so those groups, certainly no less terrorist than many others, were not included.

It is often difficult for groups to enter into peace negotiations because there is always a risk involved, but there are two things that traditionally mitigate that problem, neither of which is present, for the moment for Israelis and Palestinians: First, they normally only enter into negotiations under circumstances where peace can, at least theoretically, be achieved under existing conditions. There are two separate conditions preventing it, disunity among armed Palestinian factions and a lack of clarity regarding the actual balance of power due to foreign meddling. (On site, Israel obviously dominates, but both sides are so tiny compared to foreign powers like the U.S..that favour from it can tip the balance, and its politics change every few years.) Second, though this is generally less important, the cost of war usually outweighs the risk of seeking peace because peace is sought effectively by both sides before one completely dominates. Another central problem is that while there are traditions for resolving such conflicts even after one side completely dominates, the post-imperial tradition present in the West, Europe, China, and parts of Africa, is incompatible with the post-Caliphate tradition dominant in the Middle East outside of Israel. That last bit takes some serious explaining, but I'd be happy to do it if you want.

In the end, peace can be achieved between a dominant nation and a defeated one, but they have to share a tradition of conflict-resolution which Israelis and Palestinians do not. The problem is actually more widespread than that: The same issue drove recent violence in Mali, the ongoing proxy-war in Somalia between Ethiopia and Eritrea, some of the trouble in Afghanistan, and I think even some of what's going on between Pakistan and India. Fortunately, it appears as though the post-Caliphate tradition does not always hold in regions that also had a strong classical imperial tradition, like Turkey, Tunisia, and, hopefully, Egypt and Iran.

I'm going to add a little bit to your summary of my previous comment and modify the end: “I attest there are no real peace negotiations and there shouldn’t be because why should the party who dominates the current situation on all levels take greater risks than those of the status quo? However, should conditions change such that the risk is reduced to below that of the status quo, I will be among the first demanding a resumption of negotiations.”

The linkage of obligations like I described is standard-practice in international law. I don't like it either, and I don't think anybody does, including those who perpetuate it, but nobody has found a practical way of dealing with its huge problems. Essentially, reciprocal obligations like that are meant as enforcement-measures and they work very well to preserve treaties as long as two conditions are met: First, the parties of the treaties must have the power to uphold their own obligations. Second, they must be more interested in keeping the other parties to their obligations than in violating their own. The first part applies to Palestinians in peace-negotiations (which is the mainly mechanism driving their breakdown most times, with Israel seeing itself as relieved of its obligations when Palestinian leaders fail to uphold their own). The second part is where things break down regularly in the Middle East overall as leaders often do not care about certain segments of their population, and in the case in question, are less concerned with the well-being of non-Jews in Israel than with placating hardliners who vote with guns. Trying to get around the first problem, however, means either legally recognizing that a government does not hold effective sovereignty, which no government on Earth will accept as that would legally put its territory up for grabs by neighbors, so such treaties would not get signed. The other would require either legally recognizing one as willing to work against its own people's interests, or demanding that a country abide by obligations even when it gains nothing by the treaty, which really amounts to just divorcing the law from reality and accomplishes nothing good. The first of those demands interventionist enforcement, but that has a track-record of failure as nobody is willing to enforce. Just look at the convention on genocide, Rwanda, the Balkans, and Darfur. The second, sadly, has begun to become standard, leading some countries to completely disregard treaties which others demand be upheld even when the obligations are not worth the protections, like when they produce severe disadvantages in war.

I had actually never heard of Susannah. After looking it up, though, I still don't see its importance: Nobody was killed, nor was any personal property damaged. It was wrong on many levels, and destroying books in Alexandria is just bad taste, even for false-flag attacks, but I don't see how it would drive a massive exodus. I was familiar with the Liberty attack: It was a friendly fire-event in the six-day war. These things are tragic, but surprisingly common. The first Canadian deaths in the war in Afghanistan were soldiers in field-training who got bombed by a U.S. plane due to poor communications on the U.S. side. To the best of what I could find, looking back at the incident and what was later made public, there was no trickery involved in Reagan's bombing of Libya. Gaddafi had been behind an attack in Germany and, perhaps more importantly for the U.S., Libya produced something like a tenth of European oil-imports, which could have been endangered if he weren't intimidated.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 3:07 am

Hi Stephen :-)

Congratulations to your project - I didn't know that one can make money in helping the poor (?). Never too old to learn a thing or two from younger folks! One of my activities is in a development project for the poorer segments of society - but rather than making money we invest our time free of charge and we very often spend money out of our own pockets. Seems we're doing something wrong ... If your "silly amounts of money" you'll earn bust your bank account ... send them over - we're in desperate need!


Just read your answer to Fadi and sorry for me "barging" in but there's not a single one of the IL leaders who is/was not of Ashkenazy background. I've never heard of Fadi's claim but it is disturbing given the fact that more than half of the Israeli population is of Sephardic and/or Mizrahi origin. I did a quick run-down on the IL PM's so far (a lazy one in Wiki) and came up with the following (double checking some of the bio's I have). From what I found one can conclude that Fadi's question is a very valid one (?).

The origins of Israel's Prime Ministers

1. David Ben-Gurion: 13 years and 112 days (first term: 5 years and 258 days; second term: 7 years and 229 days)
Born David Grün, Płońsk, Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire. Came to Palestine in 1906.

2. Benjamin Netanyahu: Incumbent - 8 years, days as of 17 May 2014 (first term: 3 years and 18 days; second and current term: 5 years, 47 days)
The family name was Mileikowsky, his father Benzion Mileikowsky (later renamed into Netanyahu) was born in Warsaw, Russian Empire (Poland), came to Palestine in 1920.

3. Yitzhak Shamir: 6 years and 242 days (first term: 339 days; second term: 5 years and 268 days)
Icchak Jeziernicky (later renamed into Yitzhak Shamir) was born in the predominantly Jewish village of Ruzhany, Grodno province, Russian Empire (now Belarus), immigrated to Palestine in 1935.

4. Yitzhak Rabin: 6 years and 132 days (first term: 3 years and 18 days; second term: 3 years and 114 days)
Born Yitzhak Rubitzov. His father, Nehemiah Rubitzov, was born in the Ukrainian village Sydorovychi near Ivankiv, his father arrived in Palestine in 1917. [The only Israeli politician who truly wanted and worked for peace and who was killed not by Palestinians as one would assume but by a Jewish Israeli in order to derail the peace process and bring it to a halt. Successfully so.]

5. Menachem Begin: 6 years and 113 days
Born Mieczysław Wolfowitz Biegun from Brest-Litovsk, part of the Russian Empire but today a part of Belarus, arrived in Palestine in May 1942. [Can’t help it but he was a 1st class Terrorist as per today’s and yesterday’s description .... yet ...]

6. Levi Eshkol: 5 years and 247 days
Born Levi Shkolnik, was born in the shtetl of Oratov, Kiev Governorate, Russian Empire (now Orativ, Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine). Arrived in Palestine in 1914.

7. Ariel Sharon: 5 years and 39 days
Born as Ariel Scheinerman, his father was from of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus, arrived in Palestine in 1922.

8. Golda Meir: 5 years and 19 days
Originally Golda Meyerson, born Golda Mabovitch, in Kiev, Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine, arrived in Palestine in 1921.

9. Ehud Olmert: 2 years and 351 days
The father of Ehud Olmert, Mordechai Olmert, was born in Buguruslan in the Russian Empire, they moved to Harbin in China in 1919. They arrived in Palestine in 1933.

10. Shimon Peres: 2 years and 264 days (first term: 2 years and 37 days; second term: 227 days)
Born as Szymon Perski in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus), he arrived in Palestine in 1934.

11. Moshe Sharett: 1 year and 281 days
Born as Moshe Shertok, born in Kherson in the Russian Empire (today in Ukraine), Sharett arrived in Palestine in 1906. [An interesting detail: he served during WWI as an interpreter in the Ottoman Army.]

12. Ehud Barak: 1 year and 245 days Born as Ehud Brog. His paternal grandparents, Frieda and Reuven Brog, were murdered in Pušalotas (Pushelat) in the northern Lithuania (then ruled by Russian Empire) in 1912, leaving his father orphaned at the age of two. Barak's maternal grandparents, Elka and Shmuel Godin, died at the Treblinka extermination camp during the Holocaust.

13. Yigal Allon: 19 days
Born as Yigal Peikowitz in Kfar Tavor, a small farm village in eastern Galilee. His father, a founder of the settlement, had been one of the young Zionist pioneers to arrive from Russia in 1882.
[He became famous for being one of the engines behind cleansing the MOST populated Palestinian areas (i.e. Lydda,Ramla, Safad, Hebron Hills, Faluja pocket).]


Regarding our topic Benjamin Netanyahu - there's an interesting speech of his in front of AIPAC of 2010 which I leave to the readers to assess in light of the fact that his family name was up until recently Mileikowsky and NOT Netanyahu and that his family originates in East-Europe:

AIPAC Conference 2010, part of Bibi's phantasies (sorry):
“The attempt by many to describe the Jews as foreign colonialists in their own homeland is one of the great lies of modern times. In my office, I have on display a signet ring that was loaned to me by Israel’s Department of Antiquities. The ring was found next to the Western wall, but it dates back some 2,800 years ago, two hundred years after King David turned Jerusalem into our capital city. The ring is a seal of a Jewish official, and inscribed on it in Hebrew is his name: Netanyahu.

His name was Netanyahu Ben-Yoash. My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, the son of Jacob. One of Benjamin’s brothers was named Shimon, which also happens to be the first name of my good friend, Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Nearly 4,000 years ago, Benjamin, Shimon and their ten brothers roamed the hills of Judea. Ladies and Gentlemen, the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”

He lies about his origins and he lies about who built Jerusalem - he is caught on tape, in writing and on air to do this all the time: LYING. There's a name for this in medicine: pathological liar.


On a personal note: you show that you do not know the realities on the ground in the OTs (maybe not even in Israel?) with the below quoted statement. Sorry - I always assumed that you'd know and phrased my answers accordingly.

"Didn't you notice how little official incitement there was in the last few years between Israel and the West Bank, or the rise in cooperation? They weren't "negotiating", but tensions hadn't been so low for so long in ages."


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 3:14 am

Hi Stephen :-)

I came across this interesting article regarding your discussion with Fadi - in "My Jewish Learning" Rachael Gelfman published a great piece (I like her a lot, she's a straight young lady and I might be a bit bias ...):

Mizrahim in Israel (
Jews from Arab lands are gaining more and more influence in Israeli society.

As Israel shifts from a "melting pot" model to one of multiculturalism, Israeli Mizrahim are bringing their once marginalized culture back to the center of Israeli life.

"Mizrahi" is a socio-political term describing Jews from Arab and/or Muslim lands, including Jews from North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of the Caucasus. The Ashkenazic establishment in Israel coined the term in the 1950s in response to the large wave of immigrants from Arab countries at that time. The immigrants soon began to use the term to describe themselves as well. "Mizrahi" is distinct from, but often overlaps with, the term, "Sephardi," and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

While "Sephardim" literally means Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, it has expanded to describe Jews from Africa or Asia, or to describe those who follow Sephardic, as opposed to Ashkenazic, religious practice. Following the expulsion from Spain, many Sephardic Jews immigrated to Arab countries, where they blended with the local population, making it difficult to distinguish between Sephardim and native Mizrahim.

Since the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the late 15th century, Sephardim and Jews from Arab lands (some who had returned to Israel from Babylonia, now Iraq, during the Second Temple period), were the majority of Jews in the land of Israel, and Sephardic religious practice dominated Jewish life. But beginning in the 1880s, Russian, Polish, and German Jews (all considered Ashkenazic Jews) immigrated to Israel in large numbers.

The Ashkenazim soon became the majority of Jews in Israel, and by 1948 they were 80% of the Jewish population of Israel. Due to their larger numbers, and because modern Zionism, for the most part, originated in Europe, the Ashkenazim became the leaders of the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine. When Israel declared independence in 1948, Sephardim and Jews from Arab lands were almost entirely absent in positions of leadership.

Mizrahim Return to Israel
Following Independence, as Arab violence forced them to leave their native countries, Mizrahim began to arrive in Israel in huge numbers. The Ashkenazic establishment saw these newcomers as backward "orientals" whose traditions and culture were similar to that of Israel's enemies, the Arabs, and so Mizrahim were victims of systematic discrimination. Upon arrival in Israel, Mizrahim were sent to transit camps, where living conditions were very difficult. When they moved out of the camps, they were settled in Israel's least developed neighborhoods.

In Israel’s version of the "melting pot," Mizrahim were encouraged to conform to the Western Ashkenazic Zionist ideal, mainly via the public schools and the army. Young Mizrahim studied Ashkenazic heritage and historical figures and, in the public religious schools, prayed and practiced Judaism according to Ashkenazic customs. The attitude of David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, was typical of the Ashkenazic leadership in the early years of the state: "Those [Jews] from Morocco had no education. Their customs are those of Arabs...The culture of Morocco I would not like to have here...We don't want Israelis to become Arabs."

Israel's Black Panthers
The Ashkenazic establishment's efforts to "modernize" Mizrahim, however, were largely unsuccessful, and Mizrahim retained their unique culture and strong identity. By the early 1970s, Mizrahim made up half of Israel's population, but still were absent from the country's leadership structure and were far poorer, as a whole, than Ashkenazim. Mizrahi protests against the Ashkenazic establishment intensified with the Black Panthers. Modeled after the American Black Power movement, the Black Panthers were a radical political group of Mizrahim who fought for Mizrahi civil rights.

Beginning in 1971, thousands of young Mizrahim took to the streets to protest, mostly in Jerusalem. Although the movement disintegrated after only two years and never became a viable political party, it succeeded in bringing discrimination against Mizrahim into the public discourse. Two of its leaders, Sa'adia Marciano and Charlie Biton, went on to serve in the Knesset representing other left-wing parties.

The Black Panther movement is also credited with helping to bring Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin to power in 1977, breaking the hegemony of the Labor party that represented secular Ashkenazic Zionist ideology. Although Begin was Ashkenazic, the Mizrahi vote enabled him to topple the Labor party that had been in control of Israeli politics since the beginning of the state. In his campaign, Begin appealed to Mizrahim by portraying himself as a humble and pious person with socially conservative and economically liberal values, who would change the status quo that had been established by the Ashkenazic socialist elite.

Mizrahi Jews Today
Today, Mizrahim remain significantly poorer than Ashkenazim in Israel. Many still live in the same development towns where they settled in the 1950s and 1960s, and work blue collar jobs.

But the role of Mizrahim in Israeli society is changing. Mizrahim now hold positions of power in the Israeli government and army, although these institutions are still dominated by Ashkenazim. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel, has run a widely publicized campaign on both religious and political fronts to restore power to Sephardim, a term which he uses in the larger, religious sense to include Mizrahim. Rav Ovadia's religious campaign, whose motto is to "restore the crown to its rightful place," strives to restore Sephardic halakhah (Jewish law) and minhag (custom) to its former centrality in Israel, where it had dominated Jewish life for hundreds of years.

Rav Ovadia is also the spiritual leader of the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, whose main constituents are secular Mizrahim, mostly Morroccan. Shas has had significant political success, often controlling several seats in the 120-member Knesset, but, perhaps more importantly, the party has set up a vast network of schools and social services that promote Sephardic culture. For a monthly fee that is smaller than that of public schools, Shas schools, which are partially funded by the state and partially funded by the party’s private funds, provide a school day that is three hours longer than standard, hot lunches, transportation, education in the Sephardic tradition, and numerous social programs for the students' families.
The Third Generation
The third generation of Mizrahim in Israel, those born in the 1970s whose parents and grandparents immigrated to Israel with the large wave of immigration in the 1950s, has mixed feelings toward its Mizrahi identity. For many, the lines between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim are blurring. Mizrahim and Ashkenazim, for the most part, study together, are enlisted together in the army, and often marry one another.

The younger generation of Mizrahim often does not understand why the older generation sees Mizrahi culture as such a central part of their identity. Many argue that the unique Mizrahi culture is being replaced by a uniform Israeli culture based on Jewish religion and nationalism, Hebrew culture, and certain local behavior and ethics.

Some young Mizrahim, however, are reclaiming their Mizrahi heritage. Nonprofit organizations such as Mi-Mizrah Shemesh work to empower Mizrahi youth and teach them about their heritage. Publications such as Tehudot Zehut: Ha-Dor ha-Shlishi Kotev Mizrahit (Identity Impact: The Third Generation Writes Mizrahi) give voice to the third generation's unique experience of being Mizrahi. Young Mizrahim are also fighting to transform the nation's public schools, where Ashkenazim and Mizrahim study together, by bringing Mizrahi history and culture into the classroom alongside Ashkenazic.

Their vision is not one of Mizrahi dominance, like that of the Shas school system, but of different cultures co-existing. They hope that these efforts will ensure that the fourth generation of Mizrahim in Israel will see their heritage, not as a stumbling block, but as a source of pride.

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 7:45 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

I may be able to help with more than just what money I can put together, but it will be a while. I'm working with some friends on a model for social / economic development and integration. Our focus is the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (partly because one of my friends has access very high up in the Bangladeshi government), but our approaches to education and economic development should be applicable in any extremely poor community. The same friend has contacts high up in the U.N. and we've been preparing a presentation for Vijay Nambiar. If we can get U.N.-backing on it and demonstrate efficacy, we may be looking at a whole lot more, and more effective, development-assistance in a few years.

I answered Fadi's question as well as I can. It really looks like the Ashkenazi dominance of Israeli politics came from the level of organization prior to 1948 and the cultural division which produced a segment of the Ashkenazi population better-suited to modern politics. That, and the fact that aside from those already involved prior to 1948, the only PMs were Netanyahu, Olmert, and Barak, a very small sample. Basically, the changing status described in the article about the Mizrahi (which literally translates as Eastern") are natural and should continue until there is a Mizrahi PM. The change just hasn't finished yet. Also, it's not exactly Ashkenazi dominance: Israeli and European Ashkenazi culture, outside of religious practice, are pretty different.

It was actually common practice for Jews who moved to Israel to change their family-names as a symbolic way of starting fresh, establishing themselves as being of their new homes and integrating, cutting ties with where they had come from. His family-name had been Netanyahu certainly long before the artifact was unearthed. Also, the question of "who built Jerusalem" is almost a funny one: The city has been destroyed, rebuilt, expanded, and remodeled many times. One could easily say the proto-Canaanites built it, or that the Egyptian military built it when they established it as a fortress, or that the Jebusites built it, or that Jews built it, or that Babylonians, Greeks, or Romans built it. One could also sayl the Caliphate built it, or the Crusaders, or Kurds, or Ottomans (though it really decayed under the Ottomans), or British, or modern Israelis. However, it was last converted from a fortress into a city under the Jebusites and expanded as the capital of a region extending beyond itself under the Jews. The rest mostly just remodeled.

You're right that I'm not there. I don't really see what's happening on the streets in the West Bank, Gaza, or Israel. I just saw that not a single attack is attributed to any organized Palestinian militia based in the West Bank in five years, nor were there any major Israeli military strikes in the West Bank in that time, and that Fatah demonstrably made an effort to police other militias at that time. I figured that when bullets and bombs aren't flying in full-up military confrontation, tensions are lower than when they are.

The story about the Russian Revolution makes very little sense: Communists, aside from Trotsky and a few others, did not generally get along well with bankers. The Russian Revolution was about as far from the interests of the bankers as was imaginable. Anybody competent enough to run a bank is competent enough to realize that people who oppose private finance entirely are not going to make good business-partners.

Sam H (410)
Saturday May 17, 2014, 9:24 pm
Now, Ros, you need to cut a 29-year old kid some slack. You can’t say he’s not trying, though!

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 12:11 pm

Hi Stephen ;-),

(I'm slow as I have barely my head over water - sorry! But I feel I owe you some answers before we put this discussion to rest.)

In my posting of Tuesday May 13, 2014, 5:17 pm I stated:

“– you sure know that any public display of any Naqba commemoration is forbidden in Israel and severely punished.”

You corrected me on this one and I agree that I was wrong – my apologies. My brain had it ingrained from the original version of the bill submitted to the Knesset which went as far as demanding a 3-years jail sentence for those who commemorate Naqba.

A public outcry within and outside Israel as well as strong opposition from many Knesset members forced the initiators to re-phrase and tune down considerably the drafted bill. Ultimately it was adopted on March 22nd, 2011 by a vote of 37 to 25 after an angry debate among right and left-wing lawmakers.

Israel's High Court rejected on Jan. 5th, 2012 a petition against the controversial Nakba Law passed by the Knesset in March 2011, which fines bodies who openly reject Israel as a Jewish state or mark the Israel's Independence Day as a day of mourning.

As Hannan Zoabi (Knesset Member) said so succinctly: “Behind this law is a fear, the fear of the victim. Behind this law is the ability of the memory of the victim to threaten the legitimacy of Zionism.”

It is noteworthy how scared polit-Israel is of any mention of the Naqba; e.g. in 2008 Israel saw it fit to protest officially after Ban Ki-Moon dared to express solidarity with the Palestinians on the day they mark the Naqba.
The Israeli mission to the United Nations is seeking clarifications after an official communique released by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's bureau made specific reference to the word "nakba," according to a report broadcast on Israel Radio early Friday morning.

The report said the UN chief telephoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express his solidarity with the Palestinians on the day they mark the "nakba," the Arabic word meaning "catastrophe" that is used in reference to the founding of the state of Israel.

Danny Carmon, Israel's deputy ambassador to the UN, told Israel Radio that the term "'nakba' is a tool of Arab propaganda used to undermine the legitimacy of the establishment of the State of Israel, and it must not be part of the lexicon of the UN."”

Just imagine for a split-second if Germany would protest that the word Holocaust is part of the lexicon of the UN!

While it can be understood that Israel doesn’t want to spend state's money (which is taxpayers money) on official commemorations of their atrocities committed against the Palestinians although some ¼ of the taxpayers money comes from Arab Israelis who happen to be Palestinians … why is it then OK that the State of Israel is allowed to use Arab Israelis taxpayers money to finance the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories and the continuing oppression and depossession of the Palestinians?

And why is is not only OK but demanded that Germany spends each year xxx amount of Euro to commemorate the Holocaust - what would happen if Germany would one day pass a law refusing taxpayers money to be spent on yearly basis on the commemoration of their attrocities?

In line with this more question arise: Why is it OK that American taxpayers money is spent on one week commemoration of the Holocaust? Or the Canadian taxpayers money? Or … where ever in the world monuments had to be erected (and still are to be erected) with partial taxpayers money commemorating the Holocaust on the Jews? And why is it OK that any memorial and commemoration day is still denied for the almost 2 Mio Roma and Sinti which equally perished alongside the Jews, the Socialists, the Communists and so many others? Where are the memorials and commemoration days for the 20-30 Mio who perished during the Holodomor? The Rwandans et al.?

Sam H (410)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 12:31 pm
Well, Eleonora, if the word “chosen” didn’t carry all these privileges, it would be such an empty word!

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 2:08 pm

Hi Stephen :-),

You stated further up in the discussion that: “An attack just before a truce goes into effect certainly implies bad faith, but sadly, these things are very common.”

No, Stephen, these things are not common if one is truly committed to peace or at least wants to make an effort to reach peace. Definitely not by the dominating party. And it is not a one time event – it repeats throughout the 66 years history of Israel. The events listed below can independently be verified in various docs and newspapers.

Israel's history of breaking ceasefires

Since Israel's creation in 1948, Israeli political and military leaders have demonstrated a pattern of repeatedly violating ceasefires with their enemies in order to gain military advantage, for territorial aggrandizement, or to provoke their opponents into carrying out acts of violence that Israel can then exploit politically and/or use to justify military operations already planned.

The following fact sheet provides a brief overview of some of the most high profile and consequential ceasefire violations committed by the Israeli military over the past six decades.

2012 - On November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to a truce following several days of violence, Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed Jabari, threatening to escalate the violence once again after a week in which at least six Palestinian civilians are killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks.

2012 - On March 9, Israel violates an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assassinates the head of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, sparking another round of violence in which at least two dozen Palestinians are killed, including at least four civilians, and scores more wounded. As usual, Israel claims it is acting in self-defense, against an imminent attack being planned by the PRC, while providing no evidence to substantiate the allegation.

Following the assassination, Israeli journalist Zvi Bar'el writes in the Haaretz newspaper:
"It is hard to understand what basis there is for the assertion that Israel is not striving to escalate the situation. One could assume that an armed response by the Popular Resistance Committees or Islamic Jihad to Israel's targeted assassination was taken into account. But did anyone weigh the possibility that the violent reaction could lead to a greater number of Israeli casualties than any terrorist attack that Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, could have carried out?

"In the absence of a clear answer to that question, one may assume that those who decided to assassinate al-Qaisi once again relied on the 'measured response' strategy, in which an Israeli strike draws a reaction, which draws an Israeli counter-reaction."

Just over two months prior, on the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz tells Israel's Army Radio that Israel will need to attack Gaza again soon to restore its power of "deterrence," and that the assault must be "swift and painful," concluding, "We will act when the conditions are right."

2011 - On October 29, Israel breaks a truce that has maintained calm for two months, killing five Islamic Jihad members in Gaza, including a senior commander. The following day, Egypt brokers another truce that Israel proceeds to immediately violate, killing another four IJ members. In the violence, a total of nine Palestinians and one Israeli are killed.

2008 - In November, Israel violates a ceasefire with Hamas and other Gaza-based militant groups that has been in place since June, launching an operation that kills six Hamas members. Militant groups respond by launching rockets into southern Israel, which Israel shortly thereafter uses to justify Operation Cast Lead, its devastating military assault on Gaza beginning on December 27. Over the next three weeks, the Israeli military kills approximately 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 300 children. A UN Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone subsequently concludes that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the fighting, a judgment shared by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

2002 - On July 23, hours before a widely reported ceasefire declared by Hamas and other Palestinian groups is scheduled to come into effect, Israel bombs an apartment building in the middle of the night in the densely populated Gaza Strip in order to assassinate Hamas leader Salah Shehada. Fourteen civilians, including nine children, are also killed in the attack, and 50 others wounded, leading to a scuttling of the ceasefire and a continuation of violence.

2002 - On January 14, Israel assassinates Raed Karmi, a militant leader in the Fatah party, following a ceasefire agreed to by all Palestinian militant groups the previous month, leading to its cancellation. Later in January, the first suicide bombing by the Fatah linked Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade takes place.

2001 - On November 23, Israel assassinates senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. At the time, Hamas was adhering to an agreement made with PLO head Yasser Arafat not to attack targets inside of Israel. Following the killing, respected Israeli military correspondent of the right-leaning Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Alex Fishman, writes in a front-page story: "We again find ourselves preparing with dread for a new mass terrorist attack within the Green Line [Israel's pre-1967 border]... Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman's agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line..." A week later, Hamas responds with bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa.

2001 - On July 25, as Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials meet to shore up a six-week-old ceasefire, Israel assassinates a senior Hamas member in Nablus. Nine days later, Hamas responds with a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria.

1988 - In April, Israel assassinates senior PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir in Tunisia, even as the Reagan administration is trying to organize an international conference to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The US State Department condemns the murder as an "act of political assassination." In ensuing protests in the occupied territories, a further seven Palestinians are gunned down by Israeli forces.

1982 - Following Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June, and after PLO fighters depart Beirut under the terms of a US-brokered ceasefire, Israel violates the terms of the agreement and moves its armed forces into the western part of the city, where the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila are located. Shortly thereafter, Israeli soldiers surround the camps and send in their local Christian Phalangist allies - even though the long and bloody history between Palestinians and Phalangists in Lebanon is well known to the Israelis, and despite the fact that the Phalangists' leader, Bashir Gemayel, has just been assassinated and Palestinians are rumored (incorrectly) to be responsible. Over the next three days, between 800 and 3500 Palestinian refugees, mostly women and children left behind by the PLO fighters, are butchered by the Phalangists as Israeli soldiers look on. In the wake of the massacre, an Israeli commission of inquiry, the Kahan Commission, deems that Israeli Defense Minister (and future Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon bears "personal responsibility" for the slaughter.

1981-2 - Under Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel repeatedly violates a nine-month-old UN-brokered ceasefire with the PLO in Lebanon in an effort to provoke a response that will justify a large-scale invasion of the country that Sharon has been long planning. When PLO restraint fails to provide Sharon with an adequate pretext, he uses the attempted assassination of Israel's ambassador to England to justify a massive invasion aimed at destroying the PLO - despite the fact that Israeli intelligence officials believe the PLO has nothing to do with the assassination attempt. In the ensuing invasion, more than 17,000 Lebanese are killed.

1973 - Following a ceasefire agreement arranged by the US and the Soviet Union to end the Yom Kippur War, Israel violates the agreement with a "green light" from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. According to declassified US documents, Kissinger tells the Israelis they can take a "slightly longer" time to adhere to the truce. As a result, Israel launches an attack and surrounds the Egyptian Third Army, causing a major diplomatic crisis between the US and Soviets that pushes the two superpowers to the brink of nuclear war, with the Soviets threatening to intervene to save their Egyptian allies and the US issuing a Defcon III nuclear alert.

1967 - Israel violates the 1949 Armistice Agreement, launching a surprise attack against Egypt and Syria. Despite claims Israel is acting in self-defense against an impending attack from Egypt, Israeli leaders are well aware that Egypt poses no serious threat. Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army during the war, says in a 1968 interview that "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it." And former Prime Minister Menachem Begin later admits that "Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."

1956 - Colluding with Britain and France, Israel violates the 1949 Armistice Agreement by invading Egypt and occupying the Sinai Peninsula. Israel only agrees to withdraw following pressure from US President Dwight Eisenhower.

1949 - Immediately after the UN-brokered Armistice Agreement between Israel and its neighbors goes into effect, the armed forces of the newly-created Israeli state begin violating the truce with encroachments into designated demilitarized zones and military attacks that claim numerous civilian casualties.

Remark: In this context we should also not obliterate the fact that BEFORE the creation of the State of Israel the Zionists stole under “Plan Dalet” another portion of the territories allotted to the Palestinians; some 22% of it. See also the “The History of the Palmach” (HaSepher HaPalmach) which was released in portions in the 1950s (and in full in 1972) which details the efforts made to attack the Palestinian Arabs and secure more territory than alloted to the Jewish state by the UN Partition Plan (Kibbutz Menchad Archive, Palmach Archive, Efal, Israel).

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, captured in 1967, comprise 22% of pre-1948 Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept only these 22% and recognize Israel within the Green Line borders.

Wouldn't you say that conceding 78% of the land was a historical Palestinian compromise and there shouldn't be any further territorial demands from Israel's side? But that's water under the bridge as all what's realistically left today is the one state solution - which will never see the light of the day as Israel will never ever agree to this. The next bloodbath is programmed and who will be blamed? ...

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 2:23 pm

Hi Stephen – here’s some more to ponder on if you wish. But first I’d like to thank you for our civilized exchange we’ve had so far and which hopefully will continue here or elsewhere. It is in a way heartening to see how you always find a way to indirectly and directly defend the indefensible: the simple fact that at any cost polit-Israel doesn’t want peace.

I take notice that you avoid to further comment on the complete document of the Road Map Status Report, Phase I; a document which shows clearly where the onus laid.

Let me just address a few noteworthy points from your last postings … yet, there would be so many more …

You say: “The other way around, with Palestinian militias attacking Israeli military targets in way that would reduce Israel's future ability to strike at them just before a truce goes into effect while their leaders have no reason to hope for peace?”

Are you truly serious? Have you ever seen any of these rockets and “missiles”? They’re a laugh and a half … so to say. I’m not trying to defend their launching into civilian areas by any means (let there be no misconception here) but to conclude that these attacks “would reduce Israel's future ability to strike at them” is … I don’t know how to term it … a joke I guess.


I leave the fact that you don’t address much significance to false flag operations … alone. But the way you view the premeditated and deliberate attack on the USS Liberty is rather shocking. Your comment on this is: “It was a friendly fire-event in the six-day war. These things are tragic, but surprisingly common.” No, sorry, but it is NOT common to deliberately attack and kill a ship of your ally! Never! Read up on it - if the most blinded person on both sides today see this attack for what it was. The way you view the whole issue of pinning heinous crimes on others makes me speechless and I can’t really understand it.


You say:
“First, they normally only enter into negotiations under circumstances where peace can, at least theoretically, be achieved under existing conditions. There are two separate conditions preventing it, disunity among armed Palestinian factions and a lack of clarity regarding the actual balance of power due to foreign meddling. (On site, Israel obviously dominates, but both sides are so tiny compared to foreign powers like the U.S..that favour from it can tip the balance, and its politics change every few years.)”

Again you overlook or ignore the fact that since 1949 Israel refuses a peace settlement. The best one could get from Israel was an armistice agreement. The UN docs are clear on that and written in no ambiguous way – the peace negotiations of 1949 failed “due to the intransigence of Israel”. Then there were no Palestinian factions, no lack of clarity regarding balance of power etc. Your insinuation that the US would ever change side is rather … funny. Polit-US even puts their own interests behind those of polit-Israel.

In this context you should invest the time and read:
The Israeli Committee against House Demolitions
By Jeff Halper

A deliberate structure put and held in place - and expanded - to make any future just settlement impossible. Everyone knows this and all the more the continued "peace talks" are ... like a repeated slap in the face of the victims.

We can even go more than one step back and ask the question (if peace is all what polit-Israel wants) why were the umpteen reports and warnings not heeded? Starting with Asher Ginsberg's "The wrong way" over to the King Crane Commission’s report on to Martin Buber and so many others long before the State was founded? Incidentally – did you ever ask yourself why the full text of the KCC of 1919 was only published in 1953 if memory serves me right? After all the porcelain had been broken and shattered?

Just imagine how much blood and sufferings on both sides - but mainly on Palestinian side - could have been prevented? How distrust and hatred on both sides would have had no chance? Not no chance - there would hav been no reason! So many question and no answer other than … you can fill in the dots.


A last remark on Balfour: this declaration was made to a private person (Rothchild) by a State who had no right to give away the possessions of a third party and can, therefore, in no legal way constitute an agreement between Palestinians and Jews. The best “New York Shyster” (sorry for me using this word but you know what I want to say, right – LOL) couldn’t defend such a case successfully.

In the same light it is understandable – but not acceptable – that everything was done to stop the case of the Partition of Palestine to go to the International Court of Justice. Especially the 8 questions which the Sub-Committee 2 wanted to be clarified by the CoJ, of which question #8 would have been the downfall of any partition of Palestine.

From the UN document: “At the beginning of the thirty-second meeting, the Chairman put to the vote the first draft resolution proposed by Sub-Committee 2, providing for the reference to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion of eight legal questions connected with or arising from the Palestine problem. At the request of the representative of France, two votes were taken, one on the first seven questions, the other on the eighth question which read as follows:
"Whether the United Nations, or any of its Member States, is competent to enforce, or recommend the enforcement of, any proposal concerning the constitution and future government of Palestine, in particular, any plan of partition which is contrary to the wishes, or adopted without the consent, of the inhabitants of Palestine". (UN Doc A/516, 25 November 1947 ORIGINAL: ENGLISH)”

It was naturally rejected as the legal opinions were clear on this issue before the voting took place. Partition was ILLEGAL. Therefore, everything was done to stop the notion of bringing this to the International Court of Justice.

See, if this kind of history is not addressed and recognized than no reconciliation, justice and peace can come about. It’s not eloquent joggling with words around an issue or picking up the thread of history where it suits an agenda that brings peace and solutions – it’s rather honesty and justice as well as the true will to solve the situation.

Does this ultimately mean that Israel should be dismantled? No – at least not in my opinion as two wrongs don’t make a right. But we should stop to view everything and all through the prism of the Zionist hasbara and take on the responsibility for an injustice which was committed in all our names onto the Palestinian people.

Stay safe!

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 7:49 pm
Hi Ros :)

I know in 1917 Russia wasn't communist. The revolutionaries that the bankers supposedly bankrolled were. That's what doesn't make sense. If there had been a revolution against communists, the story might have made more sense.

Hi Eleonora :)

The problem with a lot of these ceasefires stems directly from what I've been pointing out here: The two sides had different definitions of the parties of the ceasefires: On the Palestinian side, only the party at the negotiating table is seen as obliged under the ceasefires, but Israelis regularly treat "the Palestinians" as a monolith for purposes of negotiations, treating all Palestinians as a party to the ceasefire. Israelis who support the negotiations are stuck in a pretty brutal dilemma: Either they recognize that the people with whom they negotiate can't actually promise them peace from other factions, accepting one of the "no partner for peace" arguments which delegitimize the entire process, or they accept ceasefires which are meaningless from the Israeli side and doomed to fail. They choose the latter, Israelis see the ceasefires as having been violated from the Palestinian end even while many others see those ceasefires as still valid, and respond, coming across to others as having violated the ceasefire. I remember following the events as they occurred since the mid-90s, and that's what happened in all of the cases you mentioned from 2001 on. The same is true of 1949: The classic "encroachment" was towards Syria, where Israel claimed land from which it had been a common Syrian sport to shoot at Israeli farmers. Those ceasefires are much like the Indian/Pakistani "ceasefires" of the 1990s: They prevented full-up military engagement, but there was still "low-level" combat ongoing.

I'm not surprised by the killing in 1988. Israel still saw the PLO as just a militia with which it was engaged in war. The West Bank was still legally under Jordanian jurisdiction, Israel and Jordan were still technically at war, and not-so-technical attacks across the 1948-line had been going on for a while, including the Mothers' Bus Attack the previous month. The bright side of this is that even though peace cannot be achieved under current conditions, a lot of progress has been made since 1988.

U.N. truces in Lebanon were never worth the paper they were written on. The "observer force" had a history of observing Lebanese militias firing on Israel with no attempt at intervention, totally contradictory to the basic strategy of peacekeeping. Those things were one-way ceasefires, never legitimate. As for Sabra and Shatilla, the Lebanese Christian forces caught the Israeli ones off-guard with the massacre. I think I went into this in detail when we discussed the issue of having longstanding attack-plans.

In 1973, the Egyptian Third Army was inside territory claimed by Israel following the war in 1967. They took "slightly longer" because there were Egyptians on what was at the time Israeli-claimed soil.

In 1967, there had been open declarations of war from Nasser, a standing treaty with other Arab states to support invasion, massing of forces on the border, the works. (I once counted no less than two dozen statements of intent to resume war with Israel coming from Nasser directly or through formal Egyptian government-channels during the time leading up to the war.) It was a textbook-case of preemptive strike in the full knowledge of an upcoming war. That ceasefire was long-gone by the time Israel attacked. There is an interesting point in this: The difference between ceasefire and peace, legally, is that in a ceasefire, either side has much more leeway in interpreting acts as violations and resuming violence. Really anything that throws the eventual achievement of peace into question can be seen as a violation permitting immediate resumption of violence. That is, legally speaking, what makes peace so much more secure. Likewise earlier, Egypt's nationalization of the Suez was seen by Israel as a violation, a change of facts on the ground which would permit Egypt to seriously strike at Israel's economy, which supports its military's technological superiority upon which it relies for effective defense so a serious strike there would, long-term, cripple Israel's ability to deter another attack.

I remember reading the orders for Plan Dalet a while back. It targeted specifically locations from which attacks could be launched so close to major targets in what would become Israel that no effective defense would be possible. Its expulsions were only in cases where opposing forces based within the population-center could not otherwise be eliminated.

Part of the problem with the "78% offer" is that Palestinians never made that compromise. They fought against it and lost a war. The result of fighting a war is the use of the new facts on the ground as a starting-point for further negotiations. That's a major reason why nations traditionally do not pick fights with others that possess massively superior force. Without this, deterrence collapses and war just goes rampant.

The next bloodbath, unfortunately, is coming. I expect to see it by the end of this year in the form of the "outbidding" strategy (as described by Walter and Kydd) among the Palestinian political parties through their militias, as part oft he Palestinian election-campaign. It will be a repeat of the Second Intifada, and I expect Israel will be blamed.

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 10:55 pm
Hi again Eleonora :)

I'm polite because there is absolutely no reason to be impolite with you. In fact, I can't imagine there ever being one. I've been impolite in the past with people who explicitly cheered on murders, and even with one who insisted, against all evidence, that certain people understand societies well enough to predict the future. I even had a fairly infamous (on Care2) series with someone who "opposed all violence" including that of law-enforcement, but would regularly claim that specific killings of Westerners and Israelis were not immoral. (She never admitted it directly, but I think she was so severely racist that she did not consider Arabs to have moral agency, thinking of them all as criminally insane and not really responsible for their own actions.)

I checked out the Road Map Status Report and actually commented on claims that the Palestinians had upheld their side. The problem is that the onus for achieving a part of the goal lies with those who have the power to do so while acting within reason and in accordance with the overall objective of the plan. It lays onus on Israel for the end of Palestinian attacks. The only way Israel can practically manage that is genocide, not exactly in accordance with the goals of the Road Map. Wherever the Status Report says the onus lies, I just can't accept the idea that the onus for that half of it lies on the Israeli side, because that really means either calling support for peace a fantasy unrelated to the real capabilities of either side, or endorsing genocide.

About Palestinians launching a strike to disable Israeli military power, my comment there was in response to your question about whether I would say the same if a specific attack had been the other way around. I don't actually believe they can manage it, even with rockets that happen to look and act exactly like Iranian long-range artillery-rounds. Even the Qassam 4s are no joke.

The USS Liberty attack was investigated by both sides and independently. It was was a communication-failure between the pilot and ground-based coordination. It is certainly not normal specifically to bomb a friendly ship, but it is also not normal to bomb allies in training, private contractors hired by one's own army, shoot ones own general, etc. However, altogether, these are not overly rare events. This list is obviously far from exhaustive, with all the wars it does not include.
(I should point out that the "shoot one's own general" example was actually Israeli, from 1948. Seriously, if these guys can shoot their own first general, they can mess up pretty badly.)

The Balfour Declaration itself was certainly no treaty. The endorsement of non-treaty documents can, however, carry obligations. Technically, the Geneva Conventions are not written in the form of a mutual treaty. However, unilateral endorsements can be withdrawn at any time at no cost. If we're not looking at the endorsement of the Balfour Declaration as acceptance of the terms of a treaty, complete with enforcement, then why did you bring it up at in the first place? Violation of something is meaningless when it can just be abandoned like that.

What peace-proposals were there in 1949? The Arab states refused to negotiate directly with Israeli negotiators at Lusanne. With a refusal to so much as establish direct diplomatic relations, peace is normally not in the cards. There was no chance of peace then either, though conditions were much closer then with Israel and the Arab states than they are today with Israel and the Palestinians.

Also, I don't think you've seen the facts on the ground in the U.S. I was there until last year and yes, a switch is very much possible. Kerry recently tried to organize a European boycott of Israel. The U.S. regularly declares itself to be a great friend of Israel, but a large portion of its voting population is remarkably less friendly, and even among those who are friendly, many simply do not believe Israel's security-concerns. Also, the U.S. has much greater interests in Israel than are normally broadly recognized. It's not going against its own interests there. I went into a bit of detail on that earlier, but I can describe even more interests (or at the very least, commonly perceived ones) if you want.

I read the article to which you linked, and it has a severe flaw: It totally ignores half of the process which must occur concurrently with the dismantling of the control, the end of Palestinian attacks. Dismantling the control before then would be a seriously bad idea for all involved. Israel would end up just rebuilding it, and you can imagine how bloody both the interim and the reconstruction of that matrix would be.

The question of U.N. enforcement of partition was brought before the ICJ by France. With France's history of intervention in its former colonies and mandates, I am not surprised to see that question raised. It's certainly troubling, but I also suspect it would have been moot. Israel was established in large part because Jews, and particularly Zionist Jews, had lost faith in the international community. There's no way they would entrust something security-related like that to the U.N.

History must absolutely be considered in its entirety, and I would even go beyond that: The dynamics of the issues of historical events and conditions must be included too. For example, one cannot consider the history of war without understanding war itself, nor the history of trade, economics, and culture without understanding the timeless underlying dynamics of those either. Only when all of these and more, complete with history and dynamics, are considered, can we produce a an effective guide to justice and peace. Short of that enormous complexity, unfortunately, we are looking at oversimplification and nonsense or propaganda.

I hope you stay safe too. I understand there is going to be another election very soon and I'm worried about religious groups trying to disrupt things, with the Muslim Brotherhood effectively being barred.

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 11:02 pm
Hi Ros :)

I'm trying to understand your post: What was the connection between the bankers and the revolutionaries of 1905? I know there was a non-integration problem prior to the rebellion, but the real fighters of the rebellion were socialists, not exactly bankers' allies. How would paying the bankers do anything for the Tsar?

Sam H (410)
Monday May 19, 2014, 10:28 pm

cannot but admire the effort that went
into those thoughtful posts here. I do regret that your work is
attached to a
news story that's bound to get outdated in a matter of days.

was thinking that maybe we can transfer those
exchanges to a friendlier forum that will allow us to further our

particular, I'm wondering if opposing
views can be culled to produce some common ground among the
participants the
benefits of which can hopefully be extended well beyond the confines of

10 years ago, we formed a group that
we called "Reforming
our Democracy
We were active for a good length of time, inspired by the
hope of ridding the world of the likes of George W. Bush.

then, we became less active. Maybe we
gave up on the idea! But I'm sure other factors led to a reduced level

considering inviting the participants
on this thread to join the group in the hopes of continuing our
conversation about
the Middle East.

hoping we can filter out the ping-ponging
effect to concentrate on a resolution, an end goal that both parties to
conflict can accept.

this idea interest any of you?


Sam H (410)
Monday May 19, 2014, 10:31 pm
Oh boy! I thought I checked my html before posting.

Sam H (410)
Monday May 19, 2014, 10:34 pm

cannot but admire the effort that went
into those thoughtful posts here. I do regret that your work is
attached to a
news story that's bound to get outdated in a matter of days.

was thinking that maybe we can transfer those
exchanges to a friendlier forum that will allow us to further our

particular, I'm wondering if opposing
views can be culled to produce some common ground among the
participants the
benefits of which can hopefully be extended well beyond the confines of

10 years ago, we formed a group that
we called "Reforming
our Democracy
We were active for a good length of time, inspired by the
hope of ridding the world of the likes of George W. Bush.

then, we became less active. Maybe we
gave up on the idea! But I'm sure other factors led to a reduced level

considering inviting the participants
on this thread to join the group in the hopes of continuing our
conversation about
the Middle East.

hoping we can filter out the ping-ponging
effect to concentrate on a resolution, an end goal that both parties to
conflict can accept.

this idea interest any of you?

Abo r (107)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 12:49 am

Briefly , Zionest IDF do not want peace exists , thats why they killed both ( Rabin and ARAFAT ) the peace men who took the peace priz .
Always put obsticles in front of the talks
DIAN SAID IT CLEARLY BUILT villegesbuilt on the Arabs villeges .......etc.)
David Ben Gorion Said ( We have taken their country ....... we stolen their country ...etc.)
They want the planet as a whole without humans , they want to establish the zionest empire over .
US UK EU Canada ... etc. awake up , stop supporting the IDF , its time before your land be occupied by the IDF .

Palestinians wants peace love peace love thier children and ready to live with JEWS and Christians who were before the British mandad in Palestine as they were together in one state... THa rest whos fathers mothers grands came from other countries to return back ( those called OOLIM HADDASHIM ) the new immegrants .

UK its time to correct the historical mistake your minister Belfoure did .
US its enough support and playing two faces.
No time to spend aurgoing with aensless aurguments


Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 7:09 am
Hi Sam :)

That would interest me greatly.

Sam H (410)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 7:20 am
O.K. I'll send out some invites.

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 12:35 pm
What would be great would be if we could share documents, instead of copying & pasting them into the discussion - which makes it really hard going to follow through, and reflect on all the exchanges here!

Sam answered much as I would have done earlier -
And the idea of a "friendlier" space is interesting.

My friends - I spend so much time tied to reading docs - on line or on screen from my files - for work, that I can't cope with trying to follow lines of thought, points made etc - particularly when many postings here cover multiple points, then others reply to each (or most) of them, & open other lines - the resulting jumping around makes it difficult to respond (which probably explains quite a bit of reiteration of same points (points of view, & points of history, & points believed by some to be "fact" but not by others)

Stephen, you are quite a challenge! At times you repeat ideas that you consider to be fact - but others hear the tone of Zionist propaganda, some of which have been countered by knowledgeable people such as Miko Peled .... and sometimes you come across with very sensitive ideas, and even, sometimes, insights into perspectives that at not at all in the Zionist line. Indeed, sometimes you even seem to shift 180°, contradicting standard lines given earlier. But just as one begins to think " there's real thinking and exchange here", you knock me for six by switching to the jargon of anti-Palestine ... & I start to think "no, his mind is closed on critical considerations - I give up" ..... Then you come out again with more tolerant comments, & off we swing again! As Ros says: there's hope ..... and, I believe, potential tolerance & good will that can allow contructive thinking.

Moving this out of the frame of the original post makes a lot of sense ....

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 2:08 pm

Hi Stephen,

Let me first put the USS Liberty to rest – at least between us!

Believing that the attack on the USS Liberty was a “friendly unfortunate fire” accident is like believing that the attack on the Twin Towers were planned and organized by a boogey man in the caves of Afghanistan (which means he would also have had control over NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command – LOL) or that Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack unbeknownst to the US Admin or that dropping the two A-bombs on Japan were necessary to defeat Japan – the list is by far not complete. Sorry for me being so blunt.

“Indeed the attack on the Liberty is the only maritime incident in U.S. history where our military forces were killed that was never investigated by the Congress. While few would dispute that the United States and Israel share vital strategic interests, all too often it has been Israeli intransigent policies rather than U.S. interests which have dominated our bilateral relationships.” The Brookings Institute on the USS Liberty (

“What I Saw That Day” is a story of America turning its back on its service-men. It is a story about Israelis slaughtering in cold blood American sailors on the high sea. But it is also a story about a man who battles with wounds and scars that have refused to heal for forty five years. It is a book about the American serviceman being deceived and neglected by American political and military elite. “What I Saw That Day” is also a personal painful account of the tragic consequences of Israeli and Jewish lobby domination in America.” (

See also

You may want to watch any of theses videos too:
USS Liberty - Israeli Pilot Speaks Up
Even the Navy states: “…though CLEARLY marked as a U.S. Navy ship, was struck by Israeli aircraft. After suffering damage and many personnel casualties from gunfire, rockets and bombs, she was further attacked by three Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats. One torpedo hit her on the starboard side, forward of the superstructure, opening a large hole in her hull. In all, thirty-four men were killed in the attacks and nearly 170 wounded. Israel subsequently apologized for the incident, EXPLAINING THAT ITS AIR AND NAVAL FORCES HAD MISTAKEN THE LIBERTY FOR A MUCH SMALLER EGYPTIAN NAVY SHIP.” [Emphasis added].

In view of these overwhelming testimonies and statements I can’t help but NOT believe the official US and Israel version re the USS Liberty (neither on the other false flags) as I can’t find the switch to my brain … ;-).


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 3:48 pm

Hi Stephen :-),

I agree with Sam’s idea and hope we can continue our exchange in that forum. Nevertheless, I’d like to answer some of your points of your last posting in order for readers not to lose the context.

Upfront – my appreciation for your politeness stems from the experiences I’ve had in the past. The first one being that my mailbox in Switzerland kept being sprayed with “Jewish whore” (all because I stood up in a letter to the editor of a newspaper against anti-Judaism which resulted just in me re-painting my mailbox trice – LOL) all the way over to being told that I’m a “brainwashed Muslim convert” (lately in a C2 forum); quite a career irrespective of the facts that neither is true. It doesn’t bother me – on the contrary: it shows me that the opposite parties simply have no valid or solid counter argument and that’s when they have to resort to ad hominem attacks. This in mind I thought it correct to tell you …

The female you had an unpleasant encounter with seemed – going by your narrative – a rather confused mind to say the least. It bares any logic and I’m NOT hinting at the at times illogical female logic … ;-) …


“… look … exactly like Iranian long-range artillery-rounds” ??? I thought that myth has been quite a long time ago debunked given the fact that that vessel was not bound for Gaza. But even if … how would it ever have entered Gaza?!


Balfour Declaration: I brought it simply up as another valid example of how agreements of any sort are “honored” NOT by Israel respectively then Israel-to-be. I thought that this was clear from the context in which I mentioned it initially which you then choose to divert to the Jewish population’s right in other countries.


Lausanne Conference: It is not uncommon that parties which are at odds negotiate through 3rd parties. The best example is Israel. Do you mean to say what’s good and standard for Israel is not to be allowed for other parties?! The proposal on the table was clear – see UN docs of the time or simply check Wikipedia if you don’t have access to the UN archive – it gives a rudimentary overview at least:

Interesting in this context is also the fact that Israel gained admission to the UN with the promise of settling the refugee problem … still pending too. Technically and legally, the membership of Israel should be either revoked or at least be suspended.


International Court of Justice: I’ve been combing through the UN docs available to me and nowhere is a reference that the eight question of Sub-Committee 2 had been put in front of the International Court of Justice and, therefore, decided on – the opposite is the case. Would you happen to have a reference? Or is it that you’re mistaken and have the GA Res ES-10/14 in mind? “The Court [ICJ] has also held that the right of self-determination as an established and recognized right under international law applies to the territory and to the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the exercise of such right entitles the Palestinian people to a State of their own as originally envisaged in resolution 181 (II) and subsequently confirmed."

What I did find though is the following:

“Draft Resolution III of the sub-committee concerning a unitary state provided for freedom of religion, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, equal political representation, non-discrimination, and guarantees for the rights of minorities. Under the partition plan, the constitutions of the two states were to guarantee to all persons equal and non-discriminatory rights in civil, political, economic and religious matters and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms along with specific provisions for minority as well as property rights. Arbitrary expropriation of land moreover, was prohibited. In cases where land expropriation was deemed necessary for public purpose, full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court was to be paid upon dispossession. The plan made further provisions for unsettled disputes to be heard by the International Court of Justice.

For other members of the General Assembly, however, a much broader set of legal issues was at stake in relation to Palestine and the role of the UN. Already in the first meeting of the Assembly on the future of Palestine in April 1947, several Arab states, including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria - two of whom had emerged as independent states after a period as non-self-governing territories under Article 22 of the League of Nations - recommended that the General Assembly submit a request, under Article 96 of the UN Charter, to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion. In the view of these states, any decision adopted by the United Nations on the issue of Palestine should be consistent with international law, under which they believed Palestine should be accorded independence at the end of the mandatory period. This proposal was rejected by the General Assembly, which proceeded to send a special investigative committee to the region in the summer of 1947 without a clear understanding of its legal authority to make and enforce recommendations about the status of Palestine.

The legal issue resurfaced in the fall of 1947 during discussions in the General Assembly regarding the two proposals of the special committee consisting of a majority proposal to partition Palestine and a minority proposal recommending a unitary state. The majority proposal completely disregarded the international legal implications of partitioning Palestine into two states. The minority proposal, on the other hand, revisited the earlier legal proposals and submitted a resolution detailing eight legal questions to be submitted to the International Court of Justice for guidance. The questions addressed issues related to the rights of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, the legal status of the Balfour Declaration and its inclusion as a frame of reference in the Mandate for Palestine, as well as the legal authority of the United Nations to recommend and enforce future arrangements in Palestine pending the end of the British mandate without the consent of the majority of the inhabitants of the country.

ONCE AGAIN THE RECOMMENDATION TO OBTAIN AN ADVISORY OPINION FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO HELP GUIDE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ITS DELIBERATIONS WAS REJECTED. The Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee of the General Assembly held the view that raising matters of principle would not assist in the process of bringing the parties together to reach a solution to the Palestine question. As the situation in Palestine deteriorated in the spring of 1948, however, even the United States which had strongly lobbied for the adoption of the partition plan began to argue that the General Assembly did not have the legal authority to implement Resolution 181.

Implementation and the UN Partition Plan
Regardless of the question of whether or not the General Assembly had the legal authority to recommend and enforce the partition of Palestine, the practical aspects of implementation surfaced throughout the deliberations in the United Nations from September 1947 through to the very last days of the British Mandate in mid-May 1948. The United States, in fact, was one of the first member states to notify the UN of its reluctance to participate in any peacekeeping operation in Palestine. This reluctance had led the US delegation to refrain from endorsing the majority proposal of the UN Special Committee to partition Palestine until it was clear that such an endorsement did not imply American willingness to send its troops to the Middle East. British officials meanwhile had made it clear that the UK would not assist in the implementation of any resolution that did not have the support of both the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine.

When UN Resolution 181 was finally adopted, endorsing the majority proposal for the partition of Palestine, it did include provisions for United Nations action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter concerning threats to international peace and security, despite unresolved legal questions about the authority of the UN to partition Palestine. In any case, the resolution only included measures under Article 41 (economic sanctions, severance of diplomatic relations). Reference to armed intervention under Article 42 of the Charter was excluded. The General Assembly resolution was sent to the Security Council for further deliberations regarding Chapter VII measures, but without effect even though the situation on the ground in Palestine had begun to deteriorate further following the adoption of the partition plan.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD IN EARLY 1948 CONTINUED TO STRESS THE URGENCY OF DEPLOYING INTERNATIONAL FORCES IN PALESTINE TO HELP STABILIZE THE SITUATION. The Palestine Commission, for example, strongly recommended in a mid-February special report on the problem of security in Palestine, that a special force should be immediately deployed following the withdrawal of British troops. Without such a stabilizing force, the Commission warned that a period of "uncontrolled, widespread strife and bloodshed" would follow. "This would be a catastrophic conclusion to an era of international concern for that territory." Several weeks later, the Commission once warned the General Assembly that the "calamitous results for the people of Palestine will be intensified" without adequate forces "to restore and maintain law and order."

By this time the US delegation at the United Nations and State Department staff was also beginning to reveal serious reservations about the partition plan. In early March, the US delegation submitted a proposal to the Security Council to enable it to act on the partition resolution. The proposal failed and with the situation increasingly falling apart on the ground including a growing refugee problem, US officials concluded that 181 could not be implemented by peaceful means. The United States thus submitted a working paper for a Temporary Trusteeship in Palestine as provided for under Chapter XII of the UN Charter, a proposal that had been raised a year earlier by Syria. While the proposal was rejected by the Security Council, it found support in the General Assembly. By the time the Assembly had developed a detailed proposal on Trusteeship, however, it was too late and the consequences of inaction by the UN unfolded as had been predicted.

I hope you can see how deliberately and knowingly the Palestinians were left to be massacred and/or driven out of their homeland.

Did you ever ask yourself in a quiet moment why the US refuses(d) and vetoed any request for Peacekeeping troops between the Israelis and the Palestinians whereas and although this is the most common practice in conflict situations?


“Also, I don't think you've seen the facts on the ground in the U.S. I was there until last year and yes, a switch is very much possible.” This was your answer to me regarding the “possibility” of the US switching side and dropping its support for Israel. I don’t believe that your intention is to insult my (or the readers) intelligence – I believe you just got carried … or Kerry-ied … away :-).

This reminds me very much of good old Hosni Mubarak who always undusted the Muslim Brotherhood and waved the little white ghost in everybody’s face if any human rights issues or the absolute oppression of the Egyptian people (Muslims and Christians alike) or the total corruption … or whatever criticism … came up. What Hosni never mentioned though where all the shabby deals which were all the time cut with exactly those bearded buddies of his. Equally it is to be kept hush-hush that the MBs were received by the White House since 2005 although through the side entrance. But the pics and videos and later admissions are unmistakable. But that’s another story.


Regarding your last para about peace: It is neither possible nor required to construct a guide for justice and/or peace. Everybody can distinguish peace from belligerence and justice from injustice. It is only that one needs to determine whether one truly wants peace and justice or one has other interests that rank higher in ones list of priorities.


Thanks for your wishes about my safety. I got pretty much used to the situation and know now how to handle a shotgun and a pistol although I hope I’ll never have to use any one of them. The shotgun would probably blow me off my feet – LOL.

As for the MBs disrupting our daily life – they’re effectively doing this already and will continue doing so as long as the US Admin is supporting these bearded retards which are nothing but useful idiots blinded by greed and power hunger and trying to hide - unsuccessfully - behind “religioin”.

I know the US is whining about them being barred from the election process but as long as I don’t see that International Terrorist Groups can run for the White House … I would suggest that the US gets over it and leaves Egypt and its people alone. I know I’m a dreamer … this will never happen.

The Lybian coup a few days ago is another clear answer to the US to stop installing the bearded guys in every Arab state. The people just DON’T want them. The US Admin and with it Israel will have to re-think their plans for carving out “The New Middle East” – long live the will of the people!!!

You stay safe wherever you are … thought from your profile that you’re in the States?

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 3:54 pm

Sorry, Stephen, that you have to read so much - got carried away and just saw that this reference didn't make it into my posting - here it is:

" ...Palestine issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague was defeated by a single vote, twenty one votes against twenty." (The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities by Simha Flapan, p. 123)

Sleep well ;-)!

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 10:27 pm
Hi Evelyn :)

Yeah, it's fun surprising people like that. Seriously though, a lot of the "anti-Palestine" ideas out there are actually quite reasonable. What's going on, I think, is a difference very early in our analyses of the situation which leads us to find different degrees of credibility in different sources, interpret what people say differently, etc., leading to very different understanding even with the same raw information available. Our overall desire however, is the same, to see peace, safety, and self-determination for all. It's just that different understandings of the situation suggest almost diametrically opposite immediate policy-prescriptions.

Hi Eleonora :)

I've seen a lot of the information about the USS Liberty, and those other matters before. No, NORAD was not even remotely involved in the 9/11 attacks. It would seriously require an act of God to keep things secret within the NORAD bureaucracy, or any U.S. agency. The Pearl Harbor attacks really did effectively catch the U.S. by surprise. It's really not that hard to do: I understand that during the war in Vietnam, American interrogators asked North Vietnamese prisoners whether they believed North Vietnam could win the war. Those prisoners regularly said no, but that they would continue fighting anyways. The Americans heard "no", stopped listening, and genuinely believed that North Vietnamese morale was about to break and that the war would end very soon. This went on for years.

Specifically regarding the Liberty: Try looking out of an airplane and identifying a ship by sight. When you're not used to flying at a particular altitude, you can't even tell, without prolonged examination, how big it is. Now imagine doing it at the speed and range that a pilot must identify an enemy ship to attack without getting shot down. "Clear markings" and obvious differences are great when you're up close, but not so much from so far away that the ship looks like a dot. Things are worse today: Now over-the-horizon combat dominates, so unless their instruments can clearly pick up radio signatures, aircraft shoot at whatever their off-site commanders tell them needs destroying.

When I referred to rockets that looked exactly like Iranian artillery, I meant the Fajir-5s that were seen being launched from Gaza and striking Israel in 2008. I wasn't talking about any boat.

My point about Balfour is that for there to be an agreement, there must be multiple sides to that agreement. The general idea of an agreement is that each side is held to its obligations by the threat of releasing the other from corresponding obligations. If the Balfour Declaration were a fair example of an agreement, then the obligations on the Arabs' side had been thoroughly violated, relieving Israel of its obligations. Seeing agreements as already having been broken, in letter or intent, is generally the reason why Israel finds itself ignoring its agreements.

It is normal for parties to negotiate through third-parties, at very early stages of negotiation when tensions are very high. This is not the case when peace is an immediate possibility. Direct negotiations begin long before that point.

Israel gained admission to the U.N. for the same reason as every other country: It was recognized as holding effective control over its territory, preventing others from taking that control, and speaking for that territory's population. Those and the desire for full membership are both the necessary and sufficient conditions, practically and legally, to get a country full admission to the U.N. No promises matter for that purpose.

My source for the question was here:
In paragraph 24, it identifies the representative of France as the one who proposed the question to the committee. It was not brought to the ICJ at that time.

The problem with the Partition Plan is that it never went into effect, nor could the establishment of a state be based directly upon a U.N. resolution. The objective of the plan was to achieve the real conditions peacefully by keeping others from taking control of territory through diplomacy and compromise rather than force. That obviously failed. Ultimately, the establishment of a state depends on two of the three conditions for membership in the U.N. (as a state can be established without seeking membership).

The Palestinians were left to suffer by the U.N. in large part because it can't do anything quickly. As General Dallaire, commander of the U.N. forces in Rwanda, later revealed, it takes six months for the UNSC to respond to changes on the ground in the middle of a deployment. Even if the General Assembly did its best to help, it probably would have been years before forces would have been deployed. That's why it pretty much subcontracts all deployments out to NATO now.

I think I know why peacekeepers were never sent to handle matters in the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Do you know how they traditionally work? They set up along the border and absolutely prevent any transit across their held territory. They use force to stop any such transit, and attack any forces near them which fire across their territory at the other side. Their primary protection is supposed to be their uniforms and the fact that any attack on them would constitute an act of war on the countries which sent them. If they did their jobs, they would have been worse than the Wall. The problem is that they couldn't have done their jobs even if they arrived in the first place: To send forces, a peacekeeping country must be recognized as neutral by both sides. Which country on Earth both sends forces for these operations and is seen as neutral in the conflict? The U.S.? Pakistan? No regular contributor could even have legally sent forces. If they somehow managed it, one side or the other would quickly deem them to have "crossed the Mogadishu Line" and those uniforms would fail to protect them. The peacekeepers probably wouldn't have ended up worse than the Wall because they would have been targeted and killed or driven off.

When I talk about the possibility of the U.S. switching sides, I'm looking at new and growing voting blocs. Anti-Israel sentiment is common at U.S. universities. A quarter of the country now holds a university-degree and that number is rising. A large chunk of the Democrat Party base is quite anti-Israel, and multiple "Occupy" organizations included strong anti-Israel sentiment. On top of that, like you mentioned, the MBs were accepted at the White House.

The difference between belligerence and peace has a small gray area and is normally distinguishable. Justice and injustice, however, regularly leave people confused. Here's a classic example:
"What do you call it when an organization sends its trained thugs to break into somebody's home and abduct him at gunpoint, confirms that he was the intended target, and then keeps him in captivity for decades, doing all of this with impunity?" ... "Arrest, trial, and a prison-sentence for a major crime."

The U.S. is really, really bad at understanding other countries' affairs. I think it's a cultural thing, with internal tiered diversity so that after living in a single community, Americans tend to think that the rest of the U.S. is as diverse as the world gets. It should either improve massively in that regard, or cut its meddling.

If you're worried about the kick from a shotgun, might I recommend an assault rifle? Those things are designed entirely around kick-reduction. The guy who taught me how to handle an M-16 referred to it as "the little girl's gun" because its kick is so low that a little girl could use it. :)

Have a nice day! :)

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday May 21, 2014, 12:01 am

Hi Stephen - you gave me some stuff to work on again ;-( - just dropping by to give you some more "food for thought" and I'll be back later. I got this in from a good friend of mine this morning and place it here without further comment:


Subject: Trees at Tent of Nations--Bethlehem

Date: May 20, 2014 at 5:51:29 PM EDT

Dear Friends,

I just finished listening to a telephone conference call--planned for some time for 4pm Tues May 20--by Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) interviewing Daoud Nassar--Lutheran Christian from Bethlehem and director of Tent of Nations.

With great sadness I pass on to you that yesterday--Yes, Monday, May 19-- Israeli military bulldozers removed 1500 apricot, apple, and almond trees in the valley at Tent of Nations, the Nassar family farm outside Bethlehem. Many of you know the Nassars have been involved for many years in Israeli court maintaining control of the land that their family has held and has papers of ownership for since early 20th century. This is the first violence since 2002 when settlers removed trees that were subsequently replaced by a Jewish peace group in Britain.

With the loving and gentle way he is known for, Daoud (and also George, I've talked with him on the phone) say we must respond in Jesus' way--love them, for they don't know what they are doing. There was no warning nor legal action before this violent angry act was committed. I believe the Nassars are in shock, but refuse to return violence with violence continuing to do as they say, "We refuse to be enemies." George said if someone comes to you, give him some coffee or tear or feed him, he just doesn't know about Christ and the Bible.

I pray that you will join me in prayer for peace, reconciliation, faith, hope and love. May we show a portion of the peace and patience that God seems to give to the Nassars in their trying situation.

Peace in the Risen Christ---let's be "Living Stones"

Pastor XYZ

(Nota Bene: For privacy reason I've taken out the name of the Pastor as I couldn't find yet any official news source referencing this incident)

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday May 21, 2014, 4:16 pm

Hi Stephen :-),

Sorry but it can’t work that way.

In my posting of Sunday May 18, 2014, 2:23 pm I stated clearly that:
“In the same light it is understandable – but not acceptable – that everything was done to stop the case of the Partition of Palestine to go to the International Court of Justice. Especially the 8 questions which the Sub-Committee 2 wanted to be clarified by the CoJ, of which question #8 would have been the downfall of any partition of Palestine.”

To which you replied on Sunday May 18, 2014, 10:55 pm:
“The question of U.N. enforcement of partition was brought before the ICJ by France.” In other words - you insisted that they were reviewed by the ICJ.

To which I replied on Tuesday May 20, 2014, 3:48 pm and even put it in capital letters for you not to overlook it:

To which you now (Tuesday May 20, 2014, 10:27 pm) reply:
“In paragraph 24, it identifies the representative of France as the one who proposed the question to the committee. It was not brought to the ICJ at that time.”

I’m not assuming that you’re trying to obfuscate the discussion but it looks to me rather that you have to win an argument at any cost ... ;-) ... (?)

Why can’t you simply admit that you’re mistaken on that issue – i.e. that the questions were blocked from being presented to the International Court of Justice – rather than making it look like … you know … and … ??!!

I’m not into scoring points; I’ve got no problem with admitting my mistakes (see Naqba discussion) which can happen in the “heat of the night” … ehhmm … typing – that’s how I’m used to. Could we agree to this method?


USS Liberty: Did I say that NORAD was involved? I stated that he (the boogey man in the caves of Afghanistan) would have had to have CONTROL over NORAD. You know the very same way Dick Cheney took control over NORAD just for that one single day today known as “9/11” and in which all the defense mechanisms were cancelled ... which then kept all the US military planes on the ground … although the standing orders were clear in case an airplane enters certain airspaces? Yes, exactly – that’s what I meant – (bitter) LOL.

(Let’s leave Pearl Harbor out of the discussion (I know I brought it up – mea culpa) but there too the evidence to the contrary of your statement is simply overwhelming.)

You’re statement about identifying the USS Liberty holds at first glance if you and I were to look out of a commercial airplane but we’re talking about low circling fighter planes which is a different ballgame … and more importantly is refuted by the testimonies that there was desperate voice contact. I quote from the sources provided to you above:

“Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.

Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery. [Washington Report]

Israel attacked the USS Liberty using UNMARKED AIRCRAFT. This is the single fact which proves Israel knew exactly who they were attacking. Israel's story is that they thought USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship and therefore a legitimate target of war. Were that true, there would be no reason to attack a supposedly Egyptian ship with unmarked aircraft. The only possible reason to use unmarked aircraft to attack the ship is that Israel knew it was an American ship and intended to sink it, then to blame the attack on Egypt.
Moorer, who as top legal council to the official investigation is in a position to know, agrees that Israel intended to sink the USS Liberty and blame Egypt for it, thus dragging the United States into a war on Israel's behalf.

As the “Washington Report” states: “Israel and its defenders continue to stand by their claim that the attack was a "tragic accident" in which Israel mistook the most modern electronic surveillance vessel in the world for a rusted-out 40-year-old Egyptian horse transport.

"Funny" that this is the one and only incident in the Naval history that was not investigated by Congress - if memory serves me right.

To me it has the very same stench as the bodged "investigation" of 9/11.


Balfour Declaration: you say “If the Balfour Declaration were a fair example of an agreement, then the obligations on the Arabs' side had been thoroughly violated, relieving Israel of its obligations.”. Not quite IMO as the protective affirmation made in the Declaration (“IT BEING CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT NOTHING SHALL BE DONE WHICH MAY PREJUDICE THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS RIGHTS OF EXISTING NON-JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN PALESTINE”) towards the Palestinian was time and again violated by the pre-State Zionist forces (Plan Dalet which is all too well documented in the IDF archives) as well as by the Israeli state after May 15, 1948.

What was there for the Palestinian to really respect?


Regarding negotiations: you’re hung-up on direct or indirect negotiations – I’m not. If one truly wants peace then it’s simply irrelevant. As Uri Avnery says ever so often: one negotiates peace with enemies - not with friends. That is … if one truly wants.


You state: “Israel gained admission to the U.N. for the same reason as every other country.”

Sorry, but this was not my point as you can see in my posting above (Tuesday May 13, 2014, 5:17 pm). My point was how “[Israel] ignoring the conditions for UN admission as a full member…”. Let me quote from outside sources:

"[At Lausanne,] Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians were trying to save by negotiations what they had lost in the war--a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Israel, however... [preferred] tenuous armistice agreements to a definite peace that would involve territorial concessions and the repatriation of even a token number of refugees. The refusal to recognize the Palestinians' right to self-determination and statehood proved over the years to be the main source of the turbulence, violence, and bloodshed that came to pass." Israeli author, Simha Flapan, "The Birth Of Israel."

Israel was admitted to UN but then reneged on the conditions under which it was admitted:
"The [Lausanne] conference officially opened on 27 April 1949. On 12 May the [UN's] Palestine Conciliation ,Committee reaped its only success when it induced the parties to sign a joint protocol on the framework for a comprehensive peace. . Israel for the first time accepted the principle of repatriation [of the Arab refugees] and the internationalization of Jerusalem. . .[but] they did so as a mere exercise in public relations aimed at strengthening Israel's international image...Walter Eytan, the head of the Israeli delegation, [stated]..'My main purpose was to begin to undermine the protocol of 12 May, which we had signed only under duress of our struggle for admission to the U.N. Refusal to sign would...have immediately been reported to the Secretary-General and the various governments.'" Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, "The Making of the Arab-Israel Conflict, 1947-1951."

"The Preamble of this resolution of admission included a safeguarding clause as follows:
'Recalling its resolution of 29 November 1947 (on partition) and 11 December 1948 (on reparation and compensation), and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the ad hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions, the General Assembly...decides to admit Israel into membership in the United Nations.'
"Here, it must be observed, is a condition and an undertaking to implement the resolutions mentioned. There was no question of such implementation being conditioned on the conclusion of peace on Israeli terms as the Israelis later claimed to justify their non-compliance." Sami Hadawi, "Bitter Harvest."


The rest of your raised points will have to wait until tomorrow if you don’t mind as it’s past 2am and I should get an eye full of sleep. 4 hrs only are tough if I should be productive tomorrow ;-).

Stay safe!

Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday May 21, 2014, 5:46 pm
Hi Eleonora :)

You are absolutely correct: The matter was brought before the sub-committee, and not the ICJ, by France. I misread initially, thinking the sub-committee was a body of the ICJ. It was one f the U.N. I am here to check for valid challenges to my perceptions of the situation there and refine or alter them as necessary, to learn more, and to help others do the same, not to "score points". I am confused, however, as to why France would want to sabotage the Partition Plan. It too was a mandate-power, and has a tradition of maintaining strong political and economic to its former colonies and mandate-territories, so I would see it as one to promote peace in the vicinity of its allies and investments.

I was also referring to 9/11 when mentioning NORAD. Why would you ever believe that Cheney did, or even could, take control of NORAD, or that he could have any motive to attack the U.S. like that? I know the story about the oil, but its numbers simply don't add up: There were ridiculously cheaper, faster, and less risky ways of gaining access to the same oil. On top of that, do you have any idea how difficult it is to keep a secret in a U.S. agency, let alone a joint Canadian / U.S. operation like NORAD? I also know the story about the hijackers and planes in greater detail than many posters here, and after very careful investigation, it actually makes a lot of sense.

The failure of the investigation after the fact was to hide incompetence, not malevolence. The problem was that the law-enforcement agencies upon which the investigation depended had screwed up badly and their leaders didn't want to admit it. Theoretically, each U.S. law-enforcement agency has separate responsibilities, depending on the nature of the crime, but in reality they just jump on whatever case they can find. their competition and bureaucratic infighting led them to stop sharing information, impeding each other from doing their jobs. (Whichever one handles more high-profile cases gets more funding and its leaders get fast-tracked to whatever higher positions they want.) Essentially, the investigations depended on getting people not only to admit they had regularly engaged in illegal overreach and effectively interfered in each other's duties, but to give details. Eventually, the best solution the Bush administration could find was to put them all under the same authority, that of the Department of Homeland Security, and to prevent the same failure by creating the Transport Safety Administration which theoretically handles all aircraft-related matters. Now they have another layer of potential advancement for overly ambitious bureaucrats and another competing agency, exactly the opposite of what was needed.

I see where the confusion about the Liberty comes in: It was overflown and even identified nearly five hours earlier, at about 9:00 am. This was all reported. However, with such a small engagement-zone relative to ship-speeds, the Israelis deemed the information stale, assuming the ship had moved on. When they later spotted a ship at the same location, they did not identify it as the same ship. For an everyday example of the same thing, imagine seeing a red car a block away, driving past. If you look back five minutes later and see a red car a block away, even if it's a similar model, it's probably not the same one because that first car is long gone. With modern technology and infrastructure, with satellite-tracking, this sort of thing would not occur, but Israel certainly didn't a 2014-setup in 1967. At the time, the IAF had orders to attack any unidentified ships moving at speeds which suggested military nature (over 37 km/hour) too close to the shore, so when an Israeli plane checking the area in response to reports of shelling nearby spotted the Liberty, and was unable to identify it, it was assumed to be an Egyptian navy-ship. An Israeli commander asked a U.S. commander where the Liberty was, and the U.S. commander didn't know so he could not confirm that it was the Liberty. During the attack, the Liberty's communication-system was damaged so it could not properly identify itself. At one point, crew even returned fire because they had not identified their attackers.

There were multiple flyovers prior, but those were not about scouting the Liberty. It was sitting just off the coast in the middle of the engagement-zone, and the flyovers were by the transport/reconnaissance planes that originally identified it hours earlier. There was no specific Congressional investigation, but aspects of hte incident were covered in several other investigations: The communications-failure on the U.S. side was documented in part of a general Congressional investigation on communications-failures.
Here is something apparently even more credible than a Congressional investigation, a Naval investigation which was kept secret at the time:
Nobody had anything to lose with that investigation.

The problem with investigations in general is that the story you get can depend on who tells it. When there is a communications-failure among those involved, general investigations tend to fail miserably. The expectation of getting politics mixed into that specific problem may be why there was no Liberty-specific Congressional investigation.

In the Balfour declaration, what there was for Palestinians to respect was the part you left out, the rest of the sentence. Please do not pull quotes out of context like that. That too was violated extensively, both in the lead-up to the war and well before, including notoriously in the massacres of 1929. (Looking straight at the death-numbers, it looks like just intense two-way fighting, until you realize the Arab deaths came from the British opening fire on riots.)

My point about direct or indirect negotiations is that when one is ready for peace, one is more than ready for direct communication. Indirect negotiations can help, but a refusal to engage in direct communication indicates that success is at least very, very far off.

There is a difference between conditions of acceptance and events influencing politics relevant to acceptance. Strictly speaking, Israel had every right to a place at the U.N. However, rights don't assure anything where politics is involved. That's why it was seen as a "condition of acceptance". However, going back on something that should by all rights not be required does not reverse any right to anything.

I hope you got some good rest. Good morning! :)

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Thursday May 22, 2014, 3:08 am
Coming back to this thread after 14 days from my previous comment on May 8, 2014. Due to slight health problems I couldn't be back except for few minutes to read some of the comments posted here. However,I don't think I have the time and ability right now to read all the comments above specially the too long comments posted by Stephen, I hope you will excuse me for that.

I have a simple question to Stephen and hope he can summarize the answer in one or two paragraphs. The question is : How can you see the way out of this problem ?

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Thursday May 22, 2014, 3:43 am
I have recently read an article by Alan Hart . I thought it might be useful to share here . In that article the writers says "
The truth of history is that the Palestinian leadership demonstrated the political will and took the tough decisions necessary for peace on terms any rational government in Israel would have accepted with relief more than 34 years ago. It happened in 1979 when, by 296 votes in favour and only 4 against, the pragmatic Arafat persuaded the PNC, the Palestine National Council (more or less a parliament-in-exile) and then the highest decision-making body on the Palestinian side, to approve his policy of politics and what had been until then unthinkable compromise with Israel.

The true nature of the compromise for which Arafat secured overwhelming PNC support more than 34 years ago can be simply stated. It required the Palestinians to make peace with Israel in exchange for its withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip (land grabbed in a war of Israeli aggression not self-defence) to make the space for a Palestinian mini state with East Jerusalem its capital and/or the whole of Jerusalem an open, undivided city and the capital of two states. In other words, the Palestinians were ready to make peace with Israel in exchange for the return of only 22 percent of their land. While not recognizing Israel’s “right to exist”, they were recognizing its actual existence on the other 78 percent of their land.

Only Arafat (no other Palestinian leader) could have persuaded the PNC to be ready to make peace on that basis. What he needed thereafter was an Israeli partner for peace and there wasn’t one.

There’s a case for saying that Prime Minister Rabin might have been the Israeli partner for peace Arafat needed but he was assassinated by a Zionist zealot who knew exactly what he was doing – killing the peace process that had been set in motion by the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the lawn of the Clinton White House.

One indication of how troubled Zionism was by Arafat’s success in preparing the ground on his side for peace on the basis of a viable mini state for the Palestinians was the decision in 1982 by Israeli Defence Minister Sharon to order an invasion of Lebanon all the way to Beirut for the prime purpose of exterminating the entire PLO leadership and destroying the organization’s infrastructure. (The PLO as a “terrorist” organization was something Zionism could live with. The PLO as a partner for peace was not).
The honest explanation for Kerry’s failure to get a real peace process going can also be simply stated. Obama lacks the political will to confront the Zionist lobby and its traitor agents in Congress. That is what he would have to do in order to use the leverage America has to try to oblige Israel to be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept, and which would be in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and international law. (I think it is correct to describe the Zionist lobby’s stooges in both houses of Congress as traitor agents for the simple reason that it’s not and never has been in America’s own best interests to support the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong).


Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 22, 2014, 2:56 pm
Hi Abdessalam :)

I'm glad you're feeling better. Here is my quick answer to your overall question:

Do nothing for now. No negotiations, no external pressure on either side, nothing. Conditions are already naturally changing towards ones more conducive to peace. All that deliberate attempts at peace can do now is fail, and their failure brings more violence, delaying progress of the underlying conditions towards those of peace. It will take a long time, perhaps decades, but impatience will only make it take longer.

About the "Information Clearing House" article: The whole thing, each paragraph is just plain wrong. You barely even need to look at facts beyond its content to see how ridiculous it is.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Thursday May 22, 2014, 3:46 pm

Hi Stephen - you get a point for not wanting to score points … ;-)!

In view of the fact that Sam opened a new discussion thread of which most of us are party to I keep the rest of my promised answer as short as possible if that’s OK with you.

As to the reason(s) why France had second thoughts (not sabotage) on the Partition Plan – they are all rather speculative and I don’t think that either one of us will find the ultimate truth i.e. motives. Suffice to say that in those days (the end of the mandate and withdrawal) there wasn’t much of an investment anymore to protect. That peace will not be feasible for a very long time to come was already clear and known to all parties involved, mainly the UK, the US and France - just read the King Crane Commission Report of 1919. My assumption is that they tried “to cut their losses” as much as possible not really knowing what the near future will bring.

Regarding 9/11 and the USS Liberty: You say as a kind of summary: “The problem with investigations in general is that the story you get can depend on who tells it.” Agreed – but not if you have solid evidence which supports one or the other side of the narrative ... but one chooses to either ignore it or classify the info in order to protect ulterior political interests i.e. Israel’s attempt to pin the attack on Egypt (USS Liberty) or to pin it on the Muslims in general (9/11).

I have to assume that we’ll never see eye to eye on these 2 issues or related ones (false flag ops). As this is not the topic of our exchange I suggest we put it on the backburner. You’re able to find reasons and “excuses” in the face of irrefutable evidence (IMO) although you don’t seem to be close minded – reasons which I can’t follow. But that’s OK with me and we can amicably agree that we don’t agree ;-).

Balfour: “In the Balfour declaration, what there was for Palestinians to respect was the part you left out, the rest of the sentence. Please do not pull quotes out of context like that.”

That was not my intention, Stephen. I just thought we had addressed this issue to some length; my last response on that was on Thursday May 15, 2014, 4:38 pm above. You refer to the violence in 1929 which you call massacres. For fairness one should mention why these clashes broke out everywhere? Just to re-cap a piece of history:

On August 15, 1929, members of the Betar Youth Movement (part of the Revisionist Zionists) demonstrated and raised a Zionist flag over the Wailing Wall. The Palestinians feared that their Noble Sanctuary is in danger and responded with attacks against the Jews throughout the country. In the course 64 Jews were killed in Hebron while others got saved by Muslims (Jewish narrative). The surviving Jews left and went to Jerusalem. All in all, during a week of fierce clashes 133 Jews and 115 Palestinians were killed and who knows how many wounded.

In the aftermath the British set up the Shaw Commission; which resulted in the Hope-Simpson Report along with the Passfield White Paper – as they all were viewed as pro-Arab strong protests from Jews all over the world followed. But let’s not forget that the British – contrary to what they said in these reports – still seemed to be saying to each group what each wanted to hear irrespective of the facts on the ground.

E.g. at a meeting of the Mandates Commission in Geneva in 1930 the British rep said (keep in mind that the Shaw Report recommended a change in immigration policy = curbing Jewish immigration): “We fully realize the important part played by immigration in the policy which we are carrying out under the mandate, as approved by the Council of the League of Nations, namely, that of setting up in Palestine a National Home for the Jewish people. As has been stated repeatedly we have no intention of departing from that policy, or of acting otherwise than in accordance with the terms of the mandate.”. The British never really stopped playing double-games at the expense of others – up until today.

But I’d like to reiterate my belief that by no means can a party (A = Palestinians) which was not even consulted leave alone involved in the giveaway of their land by (B = England) to a third party (C = Zionists) being held to any obligation in any piece of paper which was exchanged between (B) and (C). But especially not if 2 years prior (A) was promised independence and their own state by party (B) ...

Honesstly - wouldn't you in the very same situation not get at least a little bit ... angry?!

“My point about direct or indirect negotiations is that when one is ready for peace, one is more than ready for direct communication.” Hhmm – maybe you should address this point once to the Israeli leaders? After all – when Fatah and Hamas are not united … there’s not a united front we can negotiate with (says Israel) … when they unite … we don’t talk to terrorist Hamas (says Israel) … when they cease to exist … then Israel will suddenly find that it was more than willing for peace but unfortunately there are no more Palestinians to negotiate with as they all left or died … or where “accidentally” killed.

Regarding the failure to leave up to the conditions of becoming a member of the UN – well, I lost my bet. I was convinced that at least on this point we could agree as for me a promise made is a promise I keep. But reading what Walter Eytan said as justification … he at least seemed not to have heard about such a thing …


I did have a much too short of a rest – eventually I got something short of 3 hrs sleep :-(. But I’m used to not getting my beauty sleep (it’s too late for that anyway – LOL).

Stay safe!

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 23, 2014, 1:01 am
Hi Eleonora :)

I'll keep this really brief now, and then move on to the other thread entirely (unless Abdessalam wants to chat about my reply to his latest comment).

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about false flags for the moment. I just hope you see eventually how ridiculously difficult it is to pull those off in North America, and how much easier it is to achieve any relevant ends just by pushing media-spin without any sparking event. Likewise in Israel, a prime minister couldn't manage to keep corrupt real-estate dealings secret, let alone military operations involving an entire chain of command, supposedly used to achieve a goal which was, even at the time, demonstrably unnecessary as Israel was already crushing the Egyptian army. I mean, would you commit a crime which could easily leave you in prison for the rest of your life and if discovered potentially end the physical security of your entire family and country, without any real need to do so? Any Israeli smart enough to pull off a false-flag attack on the U.S. navy to bring it into a war that Israel was already dominating was not stupid enough to try.

In the Palestinians' place, I certainly would be angry with Britain. It made conflicting promises and inevitably reneged. Depending on how bad it was, I might even think that justified war. However, following such a war, I would abide by the Western (post-Imperial rather than post-Caliphate) tradition of conflict-resolution and the that would be the end of the conflict.

Regarding Netanyahu not negotiating when Fatah and Hamas were separate: There were negotiations in 2012 and 2013, and even with Olmert and Abbas. That separation was not seen as a reason to avoid negotiations.

I agree that a promise made is a promise to be kept, normally. However, a promise made under duress as others threaten to use discretionary power to act, or refuse to act, contrary to their mandates and promises, is worth roughly the paper it's written on. Not quite worthless, but to be abandoned should it conflict with any real interests. I also consider promises made by a party to groups that regularly violate their own obligations to that party to be worthless in general.

I hope you get some better sleep tonight. Let's switch to the other thread now.

Have a nice day! :)

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Friday May 23, 2014, 3:34 am
Hi Stephen

So you see the way out requires " Do nothing for now. No negotiations, no external pressure on either side, nothing. " It also will take decades to solve the problem.

1 - Why didn't you add No more settlements in the occupied territories including East Jerusalem? No more Israeli extension under any allegations such as the natural growth? No more Zionist immigration to the Zionist entity which will be interpreted as natural growth?

2 - Considering Zionism greed, Zionism will say that natural growth in the Zionist entity requires kicking Palestinians out of their land and applying the apartheid transfer policy upon Palestinians which constitutes another Nakba and will certainly cause more violence and may be an other war.

3 - Talking about decades to find a solution, Aren't SIXTY years of suffering enough? Only someone naif can accept this idea. The Zionist entity will continue swallowing Palestinians land till the last inch.

4 - For all these reasons and more,Palestinians must return to 1947/1948 point of view . ONE STATE called PALESTINE ( the official name of this land as mentioned in League of Nations decision to put " PALESTINE " under British mandate) A democratic state where citizens have equal rights regardless of their religions.

This is the only way out as I see it. I know pretty well that Zionism,in the first place will oppose this solution. Some others will also oppose it but it is the only way out if we sincerely want peace to prevail in this part of the world which also effects peace around the world.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday May 23, 2014, 12:40 pm

Thanks Abdessalam for this - as always - excellently article written by Alan Hart which is easy to check for its truthfulness via other credible sources. I (don't) understand why Stephen doesn't like it ...

Here's another piece directly from the "horse's mouth" in Israel (written by Adam Keller of Gush Shalom):

Suicidal government

This week opened with big headlines, informing us that if negotiations with the Palestinians collapse, the Europeans will lay the blame on the State of Israel - specifically, on the Netanyahu Government’s insistence upon announcing spectacular settlement construction projects. Such assigning of blame by the EU might have far-reaching consequences to the Israeli economy. The logical response of a rational Israeli government should have been an intense diplomatic effort in the capitals of Europe, in order to gain support for the Israeli point of view.

Conversely, what was the actual reaction of the actual government which governs Israel nowadays? Adding insult to injury, piling provocation upon provocation, as if on purpose to conclusively convince the Europeans that they were right in determining the identity of the culprit. The immediate response of the Netanyahu Government to the storm clouds in the European sky was to approve (so far, only in a ministerial committee) a bill to annex the Jordan Valley . In the past month, the Jordan Valley became the focus of negotiations and debate - between Israel and the Palestinians, between Israel and the United States, as well as among factions of Israelis. This was not by chance, nor is it the first time. One of the main reasons for the failure of the Camp David summit in 2000 was the demand of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak to maintain a long term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley.

Among the Israel public, the full implications of such as demand, made in the name of "security", are not always fully understood. The Jordan Valley constitutes in effect a huge cork, bottling in the Palestinians and blocking their free access to the outside world. Israeli control of the Jordan Valley means that it would be Israel which is in control of the borders of the State of Palestine, determining who will go and out and who will be banned, which goods may or may not be imported and exported. It would mean that Palestine will not be a truly independent state, but an enclave under a continued Israeli rule. It would mean that Israeli occupation of the Palestinians will go on - and if the occupation goes on, so will the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians.

According to various unofficial reports, the security plan submitted by the Americans to the parties includes a continued Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley for quite a few more years - a very bitter pill for the Palestinians to swallow. They just might agree to sign, reluctantly and with a gnashing of teeth, an agreement specifying a long transition period before the termination of occupation in the Jordan Valley – provided that it is a binding agreement with a clear-cut date by which the last Israeli soldier will depart from that region. But is there an Israeli partner ready to make such a commitment? I rather doubt it.

According to the same unofficial leaks, the American proposal does not include any provision for the continued existence of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. Nor is there a reason to include such a clause. The security arguments brought up by Netanyahu and others certainly do not require the presence of Israeli farmers in the Jordan Valley. Israeli settlements in the valley do maintain a flourishing agriculture, based on intensive drilling of water which causes the drying up of the springs which had been used for generations by the nearby Palestinian villages. A security value to these settlements cannot be detected even with a magnifying glass. There is one purpose and one only to these settlements: to make a clearly visible statement that the Jordan Valley is to remain an Israeli territory for decades and centuries to come.

That is also the precise message conveyed by the bill which was authored by Knesset Member Miri Regev and enthusiastically endorsed by Gideon Saar and senior ministers of the Likud and Jewish Home parties, at the vote in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. The message is loud and clear: Your attention please, Palestinians and Europeans and Americans! If any of you still entertained any of shadow of a doubt, please get rid of it: we have no intention whatsoever of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

How would you define a government which behaves like that? The definition which naturally comes to mind is: a suicidal government.

Adam Keller
The Hebrew version was published at

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday May 24, 2014, 4:30 pm
Hi Abdessalam :)

There is actually a good reason why I didn't include those things. I see the settlements as opportunities for two things:

First, they are economic hubs of the West Bank. A Palestinian state, without an economy, would be a disaster. Ever wondered how well peace gets maintained while one side starves? Second, they are assurance of an eventual multi-ethnic, rather than mono-ethnic, Palestinian state. This is vital, because without it, peace collapses exactly the same way it did in Ukraine (with Russian local majorities in Ukraine and not vice-cersa) and the same way irridentism promoted war prior to WWI. Those settlements must be left in place.

Considering the direction of technology in Israel, additional land-requirements for purposes of greed are a non-issue. It is now easier for Israelis to make previously non-productive land productive than to try to take other land.

Forty-seven years, since 1967, are more than enough suffering. In fact, I suspect that had there been patience rather than protests, violence, and useless negotiations, peace would already have been established.

The one-state solution you described is a recipe for genocide. Not a single Palestinian would be left alive within a few months of its implementation. (My estimate is actually about three weeks.)

Hi Eleonora :)

Here are the problems with the article:
A Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital is not viable with Israel holding West Jerusalem as its capital, nor is the reverse true. The PNC might have had some goodwill, but come implementation-time, things would inevitably have collapsed. I can count on one hand how many times in history countries have given up control extending into their capitals without surrender following defeat in war. In fact, I don't need that one hand. It's zero. There is a good reason for this. Also, recognizing a country's existence without its right to exist means giving no assurance of lasting peace. Can you imagine the impact of a breakdown of peace, or how quickly things would escalate, when two countries share a single city as their capital?

Even Arafat could not convince the PNC to really be ready for peace on that basis. It's a matter of ability, not even will, and the PNC did not have the power to uphold its end of peace.

The peace-process was not set in motion by the handshake. It had been going on for some time prior, just privately. Arguably,the handshake may have done a large part in killing the peace process as U.S. involvement, with its impatient presidents who insist on making peace in the Middle East their legacy.

It takes something seriously twisted to interpret an attack as a sign of progress towards peace. When tensions are high enough for an invasion and destroy-order, peace is not really on the table. It also takes some serious blindness not to notice U.S. national interests in Israel.

The Gush Shalom article also looks like a failure:
The E.U. has always blamed Israel for every breakdown. Why should this time be any different? Israelis, for the most part, have given up on trying to gain favour in Europe through direct diplomacy. There is just no point. A large part of why Israel exists is because Jews don't trust Europeans to stop hating them. Here's an actual valid way to get European support: Annihilate all Palestinians and then erect a memorial. Europeans don't really care about genocide. They love drama, and then with the memorial, the "new" Israel would come out as the undisputed "good guys". Seriously,there is more hope for that abominably evil strategy to sway Europeans than normal reasonable diplomacy.

I remember discussions of such an annexation in the past: It was under consideration as part of the Road Map. The problem is that one of the biggest impediments to Palestinian sovereignty is the Israeli fear that Palestine would invite forces from other Arab states onto its soil so they could use it as a staging ground to attack Israel from a distance at which Israel could not defend itself. Israeli continued presence on all Palestinian borders, preventing such a deployment, with assurances of Palestinian transit and trade across those borders, was recommended as a way around that obstacle. The problem is that putting a timeline on it, as would be expected in a peace-agreement, may only delay the problem, much like the timeline on American withdrawal from Iraq just left the insurgency there dormant, emerging afterwards with such strength that the Iraqi government actually considered asking the U.S. to return.

The central problem is that these writers are ideologues, thinking in terms of morals and objectives, not in terms of implementation. They're just completely missing the central challenges.

Bruce C D (89)
Sunday May 25, 2014, 5:26 pm
Not having peace negotiations leads to peace. Continued land grabs by Israel leads to peace. Not giving up any settlements leads to peace. Denying the apartheid system imposed under Israeli occupation of the West Bank leads to peace. Denial of the oppression that prevents Palestinians from developing any viable economy of their own leads to peace. Denial of Palestinian's rights leads to peace. Israel's criminal acts are legal. Black is white. Up is down. Planets orbit their moons. The future is the past.

Because in the skewed perspective of hasbara sophistry, we have gone Through the Looking Glass into another alternate reality that defies the natural laws of the Universe. All that is seen is the same kind of far-right extremism found in Israel; no real consideration for the humanity and well being of Palestinians, only a thin façade that cannot mask the misguided attempts to justify the unjustifiable, to defend the indefensible. The goal isn't cohabitation and peace, it is total domination, dispossession, and humiliation of Palestinians. In other words, continued maintenance of the status quo.

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 26, 2014, 9:37 am
Hi Bruce :)

Do you know what an apartheid system is, and why it is wrong? If you did, then there is no way on Earth you would bring that up here. As for land-grabs, who said the settlements constituted land-grabs? A Palestinian homeland needs economic hubs and, for peace to be viable, ethnically Israeli communities. About that oppression preventing viable economic development, have you noticed the economic development in the West Bank?
The chart doesn't go past 2009 when the global recession started, but did you notice the doubling of GDP (PPP) between the exist of Hamas from the West Bank and the start of the global economic trouble? It actually kept going with a slight dip due to inflation in 2009, but growth to the tune of 10% per year afterwards. Yeah, that's obviously an oppressed, non-viable, economy. What you say generally makes sense internally,but has nothing to do with reality as is visible in the numbers.

Hi Ros :)

Not every Israeli Jew has the capacity to become a "mass murderer", but, like Europeans, the minute a demographic group becomes seen as an exustential security-threat, they react very, very harshly. It wouldn't just be a perception either: Imagine what would happen with Palestinians and Israelis living in close contact, side-by-side. Does "Peace" really spring to mind for you?

Perhaps it's time for me to reiterate the precise difference between traditions of political conflict-resolution between the two cultures and its implications. This will look like a diversion, but my point below can only be understood if you understand how important this difference, which I think is the greatest challenge to peace in the conflict, really is. Here's the history:

Nearly six thousand years ago, there was a massive global aridification-event. Food became scarce, and tribes fought over which would eat and which would die. Those fights, due to the specific stakes, had to be wars of annihilation. Long after infrastructure and economies improved enough for everyone to eat, wars remained to annihilation because defeated sides never stopped fighting, expecting to be wiped out if they did, and the victorious sides expected the defeated ones to keep fighting or rebel in expectation of annihilation, so they kept fighting to the end to. Fortunately, because expansion of population by war was impossible under this paradigm, no purely genocidal tribe ever grew quickly enough to compete with those that found a way around this problem, and two such ways were found.

Classical empires' terms of conquest generally ran as follows: The defeated party will not raise arms, will abide by what laws the victors deem necessary, and will pay taxes to the victors. In exchange, the victors will permit the defeated part to survive intact under conditions favourable enough that rebellion (breach of the terms of conquest) would be unattractive. This is the basis of modern democracy and most peace-treaties. Post-imperial cultures (those deriving from classical Western empires stretching specifically from Babylon to Rome, empire of Warring States Middle Kingdoms (China), the Songhai and other African empires, etc., use this model. We can see this in democratic republics' constitutional protection of dissenting political parties, the tradition loyal opposition, and in every single peace-treaty in modern Western history. The examples are easily available and almost endless.

Those empires never spread to the Arabian Peninsula, where food was still scarce and people did not trust the imperial tradition enough for it to take hold. Mohammed ended a series of wars of annihilation stretching back to time immemorial with a different model. He redefined the tribe by religion, so that the defeated side could, at a core-level, be incorporated into the victorious one, leaving no intact group to rebel afterwards. In reality, this did not work perfectly. Instead, the defeated parties were simply not incorporated as subjects of the state, instead being clients who had to pay extra for services like protection under the law and from foreign powers (Jizya-payments), did not share all rights of the real subjects, and were subject to conditions and social exclusion which encouraged assimilation into the victorious side. A central difference here is that the defeated side is not, ultimately, intended to be left intact, nor does a defeated party ever trust a victorious one to leave it so. Examples of this stretch through the Caliphate's laws, but actually arise far more recently in regions that previously held a Caliphate or successor-state. The Ottoman policies following conquest of the Balkans, the equation of apostasy and treason, leading to capital punishment, in Pakistan and other cultural successors to the Caliphate, enforcement of versions of Sharia as law of the land, and even the conditions imposed by rebels in Mali who came from a region so heavily influenced by the Caliphate that is was previously known as "the Sokoto Caliphate", are examples. The Lebanese power-sharing peace-treaty following its war which incorporated all sides into a single body of government, the failure of democracy in the Arab world as opposition is either disloyal or seen as such,

The backup-method in each of these traditions, should the preferred one fail to prevent rebellion, is still annihilation, as seen in examples up to and including the Armenian genocide. With one side not accepting the terms of the other's tradition, and the other not accepting the terms of the first, neither preferred method can possibly succeed. The difference comes down to the treatment of the defeated side's culture: When Israelis conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they made no attempt to dismantle the al Aqsa Mosque complex or otherwise restrict the practice of Islam, leaving Palestinians intact with no traditional recourse at htat point but war. Should Palestinians find themselves in control ever, do you somehow believe that people who voted for Sharia-enforcing Hamas as legislators would suddenly turn around and become so tolerant? Tee one-state solution means a breakdown of democracy which would lead to a civil war where neither preferred method of establishing victory can possibly work, which leaves only the backup. In an open war of annihilation, Israelis absolutely would fight to the death, and with superior technology, organization, training, etc., it would be that of Palestinians. Orders need not even be given at that point.

Also, what is this about the world turning its back? Israel's diplomatic standing has risen steadily since its oil and gas-extraction began. It only took its major diplomatic fall with the Oil Weapon. No government on Earth really cares about the Palestinians: They're in it for Arabs' oil, but with an alternative, the whole "starting to question and turn it's back" doesn't look any more related to reality than Bruce's crazy idea that people who suddenly double their GDP in two years once a bunch of fringe-religious nutcases are gone are only poor due to foreign oppression.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Monday May 26, 2014, 11:16 am
Hi Bruce - you put yourself in a hot spot ;-)! You'll have to accept that a lot of the terminology we were used to has been re-defined to suit circumstances. Stephen's answer made me curious and I followed his provided link which states as a source the CIA World Factbook. A quick check with CIA Factbook ( revealed the following (update May 12, 2014):

"The West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories - has sustained a moderate rate of economic growth since 2008. Inflows of donor aid and government spending have driven most of the gains, however. Private sector development has been weak. After a multiyear downturn following the start of the second intifada in 2000, overall standard-of-living measures have recovered and now exceed levels seen in the late 1990s. Despite the Palestinian Authority's (PA) successful implementation of economic and security reforms and the easing of some movement and access restrictions by the Israeli Government, Israeli closure policies continue to disrupt labor and trade flows, industrial capacity, and basic commerce, eroding the productive capacity of the West Bank economy. The biggest impediments to economic improvements in the West Bank remain Palestinians' inability to access land and resources in Israeli-controlled areas, import and export restrictions, and a high-cost capital structure. The PA for the foreseeable future will continue to rely heavily on donor aid for its budgetary needs, and West Bank economic activity will depend largely on the PA's ability to attract such aid."

But yes, if I have 2 $ per month and get an increase of 10% ... that sounds darn good in terms of percentage ... but I still wouldn't be able to feed myself leave alone my family.

As for you mentioning Apartheid, dear Bruce, ... that's a no-no. I don't believe you either. I'd rather believe Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu - after all he lived under SA Apartheid System and knows perfectly well what he's talking about. Or ... maybe ... after all ... he was just playing the role of an Apartheid victim? Could be too ...

Anyway - he said: "I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces," ... "Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government." (in JP of March 10, 2014)

Stay safe!

Hi Stephen - I may come back to your last answer later (time permitting). I still owe you an answer in the "I/P - what's next?" forum and I can't wear "two hats at the same time" :-)! I just notice one streak throughout your comments here - whoever says or posts interesting articles by renowned public figures in Israel and abroad (many of them highly respected also inside Israel although they dissent) gets "shredded" by you; either the author/article is a failure, plain wrong or anything of that nature. Doesn't say much for whom ... LOL. Til later.


Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 12:23 pm
@Stephen Brian--
I find it highly amusing that someone who wasn't even a glint in their daddy's eye when I was fighting against apartheid in South Africa would presume to tell me about apartheid. Where I come from, there's a crude phrase to describe the sophistry in which you've been engaging; one would say 'you're talking out of your ass.' I would add that you're fooling yourself and no one else here, however, you obviously have some intelligence, so I don't think you're even fooling yourself. While hasbara typically engage in intellectual dishonesty, I know most Israeli apologists know in their heart of hearts what they're supporting is morally wrong. What you are condoning and supporting is the denial of the basic rights of a people. It can't be justified, and it can't be defended, no matter how many disingenuous, twisted arguments are presented.

A delegation of South Africans traveled to the occupied territories to see for themselves what conditions were like there. The group, which included South African Jews, had all lived through conditions under the South African practice, and so were naturally quite familiar with it. They were appalled by what they found, and described the conditions in the occupied territories "even worse than what we experienced." What Israel has created is their own uniquely vile and horrific form of apartheid. And while Zionists are guilty of the ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians, the practice has continued to the present day using more subtle, insidious methods.

Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 12:45 pm
I call them like I see them, and what Israel is doing needs to be recognized for what it is. I'm hardly alone in describing the situation in the West Bank as constituting apartheid. I won't apologize for it, nor will I discontinue using the term until Israel ends the practice. It isn't necessary to wipe out an entire race to be considered genocide. It isn't necessary to cause the removal of an entire ethnicity to be considered ethnic cleansing. By the same token, the term apartheid isn't confined in usage to applying solely to the Afrikaner imposed form of segregation on South African blacks, where it was first coined.

Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 12:50 pm
Israel Declares War On Palestinian Banks
May 25, 2014 by Sam Bahour

Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip use the Israeli currency, the New Israeli Shekel, for their daily business. However, as the peace negotiation efforts of Secretary John Kerry stumbled (many would say failed) in late April, Israel took many punitive measures to punish Palestinians for not accepting full political submission.
One such measure is that Israel informed the Palestinian side that it would no longer allow Palestinian banks to transport their surplus Israeli currency to the Israeli Central Bank, an act that is unheard of in the world of banking. Israel is refusing to serve its own currency. In effect, Israel is declaring war on the Palestinian economy, risking the collapse of the thriving Palestinian banking sector, and disrupting the flow of basic goods such as electricity, petroleum, and natural gas into Palestine.
Given the Palestinian economy is an extension of the Israeli one, due to the prolonged state of military occupation, Palestinians import over 85 percent of their goods and services from Israel and sell over 80 percent of their exports to Israel. From a purely economic perspective, given Palestine is still a state in the making and, as such, lacks its own currency, using the Israeli currency is expected.
The Palestinian economy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was purposely made structurally dependent on Israel ever since the Israel military occupied the area in 1967. This Israeli-crafted structural dependency took many shapes and forms, starting with Israel creating a captive Palestinian consumer base for its products and services by militarily controlling all the borders between the occupied territory and the outside world, all the way to installing the Israeli currency, the Israeli Shekel, as the daily currency among Palestinians. Before the Oslo Peace Accords, within the Accords itself, and all the way through today, this forced dependency has been maintained.
The Israeli currency enters Palestine from multiple sources, primary among them being the salaries received from Palestinian workers who receive Israeli military permits to seek employment in Israel. There are 47,350 Palestinian workers who enter Israel legally (quota as of March 2014) with an estimated additional 15,000-20,000 who enter illegally without permits. Prior to the era of the Oslo peace process, which introduced a physical separation barrier between the two economies, the total number of Palestinian workers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who used to work in Israel reached 120,000. These workers are paid in New Israeli Shekels and usually return home to the occupied territory every night where they spend their money in the Palestinian economy.
When Palestinians purchase the goods and services they consume, such as electricity, petroleum, natural gas, foodstuffs, medical care at Israeli hospitals, etc., they are required to pay Israeli suppliers in their home currency, the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). These payments are made on behalf of Palestinian clients from the Palestinian banking system to Israeli suppliers via the Israeli banking system. For example, the Palestinian Authority (PA) consumes 70-80 million NIS every month from the Israeli electric company for the electricity that is purchased for the occupied territory, including Gaza; 500-600 million NIS is purchased from the Israeli petroleum refineries every month to cover all the petroleum products consumed; and 25 million NIS is paid monthly to Israeli health care providers. As can be seen, the magnitude of these purchases is enormous given the $6 billion Palestinian economy purchases over 85% of its goods and services from Israel.
As these Israeli-supplied goods and services are sold in the Palestinian market, retailers collect and accumulate New Israeli Shekels and then deposit them in their bank accounts. Subsequently, either the Palestinian retailers or their Palestinian suppliers (the PA in the case of electricity and petroleum since these are centrally bought by the PA government and resold to Palestinian retailers), request their banks to make payments to their Israeli suppliers.

When Palestinian banks make an electronic transfer to Israeli banks they must back up such a transfer with actual cash, New Israeli Shekels. It is common practice in the world of banking that countries respect their own currency. Actually, not only is it common practice that a country respect its own currency but the norm is for it to actually pay what is called seignorage to other counties who adopt their currency to compensate for the profits the home country makes from others using their currency, thus increasing its value. Israel has always refused to pay seignorage to Palestinians and now has gone one step further and has declared that Palestinians cannot physically transfer their surplus Israeli currency to the Israeli Central Bank.
The expected results of this punitive measure are many. First, given the Palestinian bank safes are now overflowing with their clients’ Shekels the banks will need to stop accepting deposits. Secondly, as Palestinian businesses will not be able to make electronic transfers, they will be forced to move large sums of cash directly to their Israeli suppliers. Given most Palestinians do not have access to cross the illegal Israeli separation wall, they will need to look for intermediaries to transfer the cash to their Israeli suppliers, causing not only the creation of a black market, but a dangerous security situation.
The equivalent of a central bank in the Palestinian Authority is the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) and they are not accepting this Israeli administrative punishment sitting down. The PMA Governor, Dr. Jihad Al-Wazir, has made it public that he is looking to use this regrettable situation to further advance structural changes in the Palestinian monetary system. One such immediate change is the possibility to “dollarize” the Palestinian economy and stop using Israeli currency altogether Another possibility is the issuing of an independent Palestinian currency, which is a much larger project that has been in the works for quite some time and may be accelerated in response to these latest Israeli measures.
In the meantime, the Israeli “Civil” Administration (the branch of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for managing the occupied territory) is negotiating with Palestinian authorities and bankers to restart, incrementally, the flow of Shekels to the Israeli Central Bank. Sadly, Palestinians are all too familiar with having to negotiate these administrative issues just in order to survive.
It is not a secret that Israel and Israeli banks have used Israel’s occupation to not only reap huge financial benefits, but also to allow Israeli banks to further advance the occupation itself. The Coalition of Women for Peace, an Israeli organization of women activists which created the Who Profits from the Occupation website, has addressed this Israeli banking complicity with the occupation in their report, Financing the Israeli Occupation (October 2010). Since this report was issued many things have changed, mainly, the Palestinian side has since been recognized as a member state in the United Nations, which places at its disposal many more diplomatic tools to hold Israelis directly accountable for its illegal practices.
Many believe that the Israeli military occupation is comprised only of tangible items, like settlements, walls, checkpoints, warplanes and the like, whereas the reality is that the weight of the occupation is actually comprised of myriad administrative rules and restrictions. These administrative elements of the occupation are ones that cannot be photographed, things like a permit system, which dictates Palestinian movement and access; control of Palestine’s electromagnetic spectrum, which deprives Palestinians of 3G mobile services; prohibitions on the ability to dig wells, which limits not only our ability to build a proper agricultural sector, but deprives many of us of drinking water; and, of course, military dictates that have the power to collapse an entire banking sector.
The international community is starting to wake up to the three-dimensional reality of the Israeli military occupation. For those who prefer to remain in their deep slumber, Palestinians, acting in their capacity as a state, will be reminding them of their obligations under international law to not allow Israel to continue to act in the rogue fashion that has become commonplace. Israel’s ongoing actions are jeopardizing any possibility for a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis.
Israel Declares War on Palestinian Banks

Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 12:54 pm
The Palestinian Economy
Palestine is a poor country mainly as the result of neglect during the time it was ruled by Israel. Combined with the virtual constant state of war that has existed the economic growth has been very slow. There is virtually no industry in the territory and they have few resources. Getting the country onto a strong footing is going to be a major challenge. Right now the country is almost totally dependent on foreign aid to keep the economy going. Ideally an arrangement will eventually be made with Israel to integrate the economy of the two countries. However given all of the tension that has existed over the years this doesn’t seem to likely in the near future.

During the years of Israeli rule there was almost no effort put into building the infrastructure in Palestine. This has left the country in a very difficult position in terms of economic growth. Almost everything is going to have to be built from scratch. There isn’t even an airport in Palestine so if you decide to travel to Palestine the only way you can get in is through Israel. Obviously this seriously limits the options for trade. Given that the country needs to import almost everything that they use this is a serious handicap.

The biggest problem that Palestine faces is that they are not even recognized by most countries. They are not part of any international trade agreements. This makes it almost impossible for them to trade with other countries. Joining the international organizations that would allow them to trade with the rest of the world is going to be a problem as long as Israel opposes their joining. In general trade for Palestine is limited to nearby Arab countries. This seriously limits the amount of trade that can be done. The lack of recognition by the world community also makes it nearly impossible for Palestine to attract foreign investors. This limits the amount of money that they have available to grow the economy.
Palestinian Economy

Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 1:11 pm
These days, the economic health of any country relies on that of others - but the Palestinian Territories are exceptionally dependent on factors outside of them. On what do Palestinian economic fortunes rely on and how does the future look?


Israeli occupation in Palestinian territories, the barrier it has constructed along and within the West Bank as well as its land, air and sea blockades in the Gaza strip have placed severe limitations on the success of Palestinian economic policies.

A complex web of checkpoints and roadblocks make it difficult for Palestinians to travel within the Palestinian Territories for jobs, to bank or to trade. Farmers whose land is now behind the barrier are required to apply for 'visitor permits' which Israel regularly rejects - in Akkaba it approved 49% of applications in 2011, and just 20% by 2012. More recently, a report from the World Bank found that Israeli restrictions in the West Bank alone cost the Palestinian economy $3.4bn (£2.1bn) a year, or 35% of its GDP.
OCHA Image: UN OCHA. Click to view full interactive

Israel's reach in the Palestinian Territories means it can exert enormous power over Palestinian livelihoods. Oxfam estimates that 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli authorities since 1967. As a result, the 80,000 Palestinian families that the UN claims are economically reliant on the olive harvest lose $12.3m each year To show the impact of this, Visualizing Palestine showed what an area with one thirty-third the amount of trees - Central Park - would look like if it were destroyed.
Palestine Image: Visualizing Palestine. Click to see full infographic

Israel may have policies that hamper the Palestinian economy, but it is also a major source of Palestinian livelihoods. Unemployment is exceptionally high in the West Bank and the Gaza strip where almost 1 in 4 adults are jobless. According to the latest report from the International Labour Office, some 87,000 Palestinians aged over 15 (around 10% of all those with jobs) are employed in Israel and its settlements.

The majority of these Palestinians are employed in the construction sector, followed by manufacturing and agriculture - all of which tend to be characterised by insecurity. A survey by Palestine's main trade union found that only 11% of workers in Israeli settlements said they had job security, over half received less than the minimum wage and 65% had been exposed to toxic substances.

Palestinian authority

Corruption is rampant inside many of Palestine's institutions. In its latest report, the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (part of the Transparency International Secretariat) produced a catalogue of corruption cases within Palestine's public bodies. In just over six months, the Corruption Crimes Court received 41 cases, which they say:

included embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, and exploitation of position for personal gain. Those involved in these crimes were high-level employees, such as heads of government divisions, who were conspiring with lower and intermediate level employees.

Pharmaceutical companies and their agents have also been accused of distributing expired food and medicine - though the risks of obtaining evidence on this means that often these crimes go unpunished.

In a 2012 opinion poll, 40% of Palestinians said they had used various forms of corruption to receive a certain public service. In 2011, 47 thousand traffic tickets had not been paid and tax evasion represented 40% of all tax revenues.
corruption Image: AMAN. Ministries most prone to corruption in Palestine during 2012

International aid

The Palestinian economy is dependent on international aid and around 4 in 5 Gazans rely on donations for their survival. As a result, when aid falls short of expectations and stated commitments as it did in 2012 (the Palestinian Authority received 80% of the US$1 billion it was expecting in direct budget support), the results are deeply felt. The decline in international aid is cited as one of the key reasons that the West Bank's GDP shrank in early 2013, for the first time in a decade.

In 2011, the single biggest donor to Palestine was the United States followed by the EU who gave $281m and $206m respectively.


Israeli blockades mean that illegal activity is essential for Palestine's economic survival. Weapons, fuel, food, people and even vehicles regularly flow through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border. But turbulence since the military takeover in Egypt has meant that these can no longer be relied upon to bolster the weak Palestinian economy. Gaza's deputy economy minister stated that economic activity had declined by around 80-90% since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood and the declining availability of basic produce has resulted in a sharp rise in prices.

Palestinian diaspora

The estimated one million Palestinians who have emigrated since 1948 (as well as their children) serve as a vital lifeline for Palestinians who remain in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a percentage of its GDP, the Palestinian territories are one of the most dependent economies in the world on remittances. The latest data from IMF in 2010 shows US$ 431m being transferred by workers employed abroad.

Israel's reach in the Palestinian Territories means it can exert enormous power over Palestinian livelihoods. Oxfam estimates that 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted by Israeli authorities since 1967. As a result, the 80,000 Palestinian families that the UN claims are economically reliant on the olive harvest lose $12.3m each year To show the impact of this, Visualizing Palestine showed what an area with one thirty-third the amount of trees - Central Park - would look like if it were destroyed.

Israel may have policies that hamper the Palestinian economy, but it is also a major source of Palestinian livelihoods. Unemployment is exceptionally high in the West Bank and the Gaza strip where almost 1 in 4 adults are jobless. According to the latest report from the International Labour Office, some 87,000 Palestinians aged over 15 (around 10% of all those with jobs) are employed in Israel and its settlements.
The majority of these Palestinians are employed in the construction sector, followed by manufacturing and agriculture - all of which tend to be characterised by insecurity. A survey by Palestine's main trade union found that only 11% of workers in Israeli settlements said they had job security, over half received less than the minimum wage and 65% had been exposed to toxic substances.
Palestinian authority
Corruption is rampant inside many of Palestine's institutions. In its latest report, the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (part of the Transparency International Secretariat) produced a catalogue of corruption cases within Palestine's public bodies. In just over six months, the Corruption Crimes Court received 41 cases, which they say:
included embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, and exploitation of position for personal gain. Those involved in these crimes were high-level employees, such as heads of government divisions, who were conspiring with lower and intermediate level employees.
Pharmaceutical companies and their agents have also been accused of distributing expired food and medicine - though the risks of obtaining evidence on this means that often these crimes go unpunished.
In a 2012 opinion poll, 40% of Palestinians said they had used various forms of corruption to receive a certain public service. In 2011, 47 thousand traffic tickets had not been paid and tax evasion represented 40% of all tax revenues.

International aid
The Palestinian economy is dependent on international aid and around 4 in 5 Gazans rely on donations for their survival. As a result, when aid falls short of expectations and stated commitments as it did in 2012 (the Palestinian Authority received 80% of the US$1 billion it was expecting in direct budget support), the results are deeply felt. The decline in international aid is cited as one of the key reasons that the West Bank's GDP shrank in early 2013, for the first time in a decade.
In 2011, the single biggest donor to Palestine was the United States followed by the EU who gave $281m and $206m respectively.
Israeli blockades mean that illegal activity is essential for Palestine's economic survival. Weapons, fuel, food, people and even vehicles regularly flow through the tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border. But turbulence since the military takeover in Egypt has meant that these can no longer be relied upon to bolster the weak Palestinian economy. Gaza's deputy economy minister stated that economic activity had declined by around 80-90% since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood and the declining availability of basic produce has resulted in a sharp rise in prices.

Palestinian diaspora
The estimated one million Palestinians who have emigrated since 1948 (as well as their children) serve as a vital lifeline for Palestinians who remain in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a percentage of its GDP, the Palestinian territories are one of the most dependent economies in the world on remittances. The latest data from IMF in 2010 shows US$ 431m being transferred by workers employed abroad.
(Note: Helpful interactive map, picture and graph included worth checking out.)
How Does Palestinian Economy Work?

Bruce C D (89)
Monday May 26, 2014, 1:26 pm
Sorry for the double post above within the comment above--apparently a glitch in the system, as it was posted correctly. This is the last article I'm posting; these four amply demonstrate the point made earlier, which should have already been obvious to anyone familiar with this conflict, anyway. As pointed out before, it isn't that these things aren't known when denied or obfuscated--the integrity and honesty to admit the truth is what is lacking, not knowledge.

Israel's West Bank control 'costing Palestinian economy billions'
World Bank says allowing Palestinians to use the 61% of the West Bank under full Israeli control would boost the economy
Harriet Sherwood
The Guardian, Tuesday 8 October 2013 03.31 EDT

Israel's control of a huge swath of the West Bank is costing the Palestinian economy $3.4bn (£2.1bn) a year, or 35% of its GDP, according to a report from the World Bank.

Restrictions on Palestinian access and movement within Area C, the 61% of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, is stunting the Palestinian economy, says the report. Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy, published on Tuesday, is the first comprehensive study of the potential impact of land restrictions in the region, according to the World Bank.

"Unleashing the potential from that 'restricted land' … and allowing Palestinians to put these resources to work, would provide whole new areas of economic activity and set the economy on the path to sustainable growth," said Mariam Sherman of the World Bank.

About 180,000 Palestinians, or 6.6% of the population, live in Area C, the report says. Most Palestinians live in Area A, which is under full Palestinian control, and Area B, which is under shared Palestinian and Israeli control.

Agriculture would be massively boosted if restrictions on access and water supply were eased, the report says. Most of the farmland in Area C belongs to Palestinians, 326,400 dunams (80620 acres), compared with 187,000 dunams that are attached to Israeli settlements. All Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, are situated in Area C.

Access to the Dead Sea would provide opportunities for mineral extraction and tourism. The Palestinian economy could earn $918m (£571m), 9% of 2011 GDP, if minerals such as potash and bromine were harvested from the Dead Sea. The Palestinian tourism sector could be boosted by $126m (£78m) annually or 1% of GDP, by creating Dead Sea hotel resorts, similar to those in Israel and Jordan.
Stone mining and quarrying, construction, and telecommunications industries could develop if Israel lifted restrictions, the report said.

"Access to Area C will go a long way to solving Palestinian economic problems," said Sherman. "The alternative is bleak. Without the ability to utilise the potential of Area C, the economic space will remain fragmented and stunted. Lifting multiple restrictions could transform the economy and substantially improve prospects for sustained growth."
Palestinian Territories: Israel Control Hurting Economy

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 27, 2014, 3:14 pm
Hi everybody :)

There certainly are economic problems in the West Bank arising from Israeli military control. However, if foreign donations drive moderate economic expansion both directly and by giving the PA sufficient borrowing-credit to allow for years while the rest of the world faces the initial U.S.-driven crisis, the E.U. debt-crisis, massive destruction in southeast Asia, etc., on balance, I would say Palestinians are experiencing the exact opposite of foreign economic oppression.

The treatment of Palestinians looks, on the surface, like that of victims of Apartheid, like Tutu noted. However, neither the substance nor context is there. The institutions denied to those victims, like that of public education, are very much in place for Palestinians. In fact, looking through Wikipedia's list of Palestinian universities, every full-fledged recognized university in those territories either was established, or achieved that status, under Israel. That's not exactly indicative of apartheid-treatment. The other problem is the context: The mandate of a government is to serve the interests of its citizens in a manner consistent with their norms. Is South Africa, the victims of apartheid were citizens of the state which imposed it upon them. Palestinians are not Israeli citizens, so while the treatment is harsh, it is not the sort of betrayal that Apartheid is..

I do "shred" articles and scholars on the matter, but I don't think that has too much to do with their general intellect. The problem is complicated by two things:

First, the ones directly involved, the ones who write the most, have the mot trouble getting out of their own skin and seeing the other side not only objectively, but understanding the lenses through which the other side views things. The narratives of Palestinians leaving their homes in 1948 is a great example: The Palestinian narrative is that they fled the oncoming Jewish forces, or were driven from their homes by violence. The Israeli narrative is that the Palestinians who left either answered a call to arms from Jordan to join a force organized from there or to clear a path for genocide (so that Arab forces could wipe out Jews in the area without worrying about catching Palestinians), but certainly did not flee Israeli forces. They're both wrong, and so are all the authors informed by those narratives. There was such a call to arms, which was answered, and there was a genocide-threat, but Palestinians mostly fled in the mistaken belief that they would otherwise be massacred. The problem is that they never differentiated between the Jewish militias, the two fringe ones that regularly attacked civilians, and the main one which eventually expanded into the Israeli army, from which they split over its refusal to do that, and which destroyed them. Israelis knew they were no threat to Palestinian communities that did not shelter irregular forces, so they filled in the motivations with what remained, and Palestinians' misunderstanding at the time plays havoc with their narrative. This sort of problem repeats endlessly.

The second problem is a basic issue with much of academia: Academics tend to assume that cultural differences don't matter, or don't have indirect effects because when one insists on considering those, analysis, and even gathering of relevant data, can become impractically difficult. This means they miss the lenses too, among countless other relevant issues like the difference in models of conflict-resolution which is the greatest challenge to peace. On top of that, again to keep things simple, they don't really look outside their fields. Juan Cole, for example, is a historian who looks at violent conflicts, but has never really studied the practice of war (as is evident in his works). Because a real situation involves elements from many disciplines, there are often errors in their works coming from outside of their fields of study.

The issue is so complicated that it takes a "visiting Martian" approach to really get anywhere, but with the well-being of so many people on the line, nobody wants to take that long. That, and the moral implications of some truths make many people very uncomfortable.

Hi Bruce :)

If I'm somehow "talking out of my ass", would you mind pointing out exactly where I'm wrong, and explaining how and why my logic is wrong, either pointing out a logical inconsistency or directly contradictory evidence? I'll address your article when I have time to read it.

Hi Ros :)
The Chinese want access to Russian oil, and Russia may actually be near the beginning of a massive diplomatic upswing. Its overall plan is to keep access to both Asian and European markets for its oil. That way, Europe would depend upon it for oil, but it would not depend on Europe for money. A while back, a problem witha Russian pipeline shut down half the German economy, upon which the E.U. depends. That's why Europe went in so heavily to secure control over a new Libyan government and sought a trade-deal with Ukraine. That's also why Russia wants Crimea so badly: Ukrainian oil-reserves are mostly along the Russian border (in a shared reserve with Russia so it holds some legal power there over Ukrainian extraction) and in Crimea, so without Crimea, Ukrainian oil cannot be used to supplant Russian oil in Europe and Russia's control over European energy isn't broken. If Russia can get Crimea and trade with Asia, it will have an asymmetric trade-relation with the E.U. Then watch how pro-Russian Europe suddenly gets, unless it can find its oil elsewhere.

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 27, 2014, 3:18 pm
Quick addendum:

My noting that so many scholars misunderstand something is not meant to imply that I actually understand it completely, nor that I am a great expert in their fields. It's just a lot easier to show that a given theory is wrong than to come up with a right one. The situation is very complicated.

Bruce C D (89)
Tuesday May 27, 2014, 4:58 pm
Below is a link to the video of a talk Norman Finkelstein gave at the University near where I live a few years back. At the beginning of this and throughout, Finkelstein, in his inimitable fashion, destroys the myth of this conflict being complicated (and a number of other common myths, as well). But what I wanted to point your attention to is where he discusses analogies and South African apartheid. This begins at the 1:14:00 mark. He digresses for a time but returns to the topic when discussing President Jimmy Carter's book, 'Palestine: Peace not Apartheid,' at the 1:37:50 mark.

Norman Finkelstein - Excellent talk on the Israel-Palestinian conflict

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday May 28, 2014, 12:44 am

Further to my post of Wednesday May 21, 2014, 12:01 am - here's an update with my hope that those of you who believe in true justice and peace would sign the petition. I got this mail this morning from Jewish Voice for Peace:

"The Tent of Nations Peace Project came under an unwarranted, illegal and unannounced attack on May 19, 2014 by the Israeli Military. They brought in bulldozers and destroyed between 1,500 and 2,000 mature, fruit-bearing apricot and apple trees and grape vines in the lower valley on the farm. In addition, they reduced the terraced land to rubble in order to prevent any future planting from taking place any time soon.

Please consider signing the petition letter, and if you are inclined, add your own personal note of protest and request for action/inquiry on behalf of the Nassar family. We encourage you to forward this letter far and wide.

For background on this, see Ben White's article on the Electronic Intifada.

In Solidarity,
Shelly Altman
Jewish Voice for Peace - New Haven"

The link to the petition is:

Thank you all and stay safe!


Bruce C D (89)
Wednesday May 28, 2014, 5:55 am
Signed, commented, naturally. Thank-you for the heads-up. Yet another sad reminder of the daily humiliations and injustices that Palestinians are forced to endure under Israel's brutal apartheid occupation.

Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday May 28, 2014, 8:21 pm
Hi Bruce :)

I finally got a chance to start reading the articles, and it seems to neglect a very central aspect of the situation there. Specifically, while discussing the conflict, it somehow manages to neglect the conflict itself.

The treatment of Palestinian banks is unknown in the world of banking, but it's totally normal in the world of territories at war, and Israel is at war with any territory over which Hamas holds jurisdiction. The establishment of economic control, again, cannot be considered in a vacuum: Israel militarily controls the borders and restricts trade because it is at war with Palestinian groups which could easily arm themselves through such trade-routes. The economic control is a natural result of the conflict, and certainly bolstered by the only known reliable method of promoting domestic growth and independence, that of micro-loans, only came out of testing recently. Before that, all aid created dependence. Should Israel instead have denied Palestinians any access to aid? I think that would have been horrible.

About that lack of Palestinian airports:
More importantly, while Palestinian infrastructure certainly isn't on-level with Israeli, but it has certainly improved substantially since 1967. There are a lot of other factors driving its economic problems. What do you think happens to regions with such ridiculously child-heavy age-structures? Even in the U.S., the baby-boom destroyed the education-system, and that bulge was far smaller than the child-bulge in the Palestinian age-structure. (Due to a need for warm bodies, teacher-certification became a two-year program for students straight out of high school rather than a professional graduate program. The prestige of the profession still hasn't recovered, and it now attracts close to the bottom-end of students among those who make it into college.) There are other reasons as well, but I hope that's enough to give an idea of how much the article omits.

I'll go through the Guardian article later.

Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday May 28, 2014, 10:06 pm
I just realized that my last comment about the age-structure needs some serious explanation:

That enormous low-end bulge in the Palestinian age-structure has been around for over a generation, and is more than it took to cripple the already-functioning education-system in an immensely wealthy country. After a generation without widespread education of even moderate quality being viable, even if some people got to go to university, there is no way to domestically sustain a modern economy or modern infrastructure. Obviously, Palestinians face many other problems as well, like trade-restrictions, severe corruption, the psychological impacts of conflict and dependence on aid, inconsistent business-environments between the West Bank and Gaza Strip (down to different legal systems stemming from pre-1967 separation), and infrastructure-destruction, but to simply blame Israel for their economic trouble and poor infrastructure is some severe oversimplification.

The Guardian article certainly gives a fuller picture, but even there, problem that are difficult to quantify (like the impact of the relatively enormous child-population on education) were, probably by necessity, left out. Despite what it could not really get into, it's an interesting article. I hadn't realized Palestinians were so reliant on remittances. With so much wealth coming in from abroad, in the form of foreign currency, the banking-restrictions are probably even more damaging than I had thought.

Fadi M (37)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 5:53 am
Dears Eleonora and Ros, thank you very much for your insights and the information you shared. Special thanks to Bruce C D. and to everyone else who shared valuable information and oppose injustice in all its forms. I wouldn't exaggerate by saying that the world today is counting on awakened and caring souls like yours, so thank you for being who you are.

Eleonora, I apologize for the late reply. You seem to have put your finger on the Ashkenazi supremacy in Israel without my help, however, I highly recommend you read the following to learn more about racism in Israel from the perspective of an American-Ashkenazi Jew who married an Iraqi- Sephardi Jew. He explains it all in a way I would never be capable of. He also touches all sides of the story and takes you back in history to the roots of the problem and the complicated evolution of this particular race which has led to today's racist Israel. It's a bit long but I promise it will be worth your time. (This is not a religious document, trust me)

Ros, I hope you had the time to read the link I posted earlier, but again, reading your posts tells me we are already on the same page.

All the best!

Fadi M (37)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 6:29 am
Stephen, thank you for the short version. You wrote "The sort of elite cabal you described would produce an entirely different kind of world. For the most part, the official leaders really are in control, and they're doing what they honestly believe is right, whether Israeli, Palestinian, Pakistani, Mexican, or Nigerian. This is true of politics, industry, science, all of them. Really, very few of them have are bought or controlled."

Did you really think I was referring to a totalitarian type of rule such as Saddam Hussein's or Hitler's for example? Absolutely not. Those who pull the strings are pioneers in psychology, sociology and philosophy, that's why they rule/enslave in a unorthodox manner where an individual is given the illusion of freedom and right of choice. It is a combination of mental and physical slavery where a great deal of psychology is applied through a system that shapes our perceived reality. Take for example the Presidential elections in The U.S., no matter which president won they will find themselves obliged to serve Israel and put its best interest above the interests of the American people. In fact, there's usually a cheap and humiliating kind of race between each candidate as to who can kiss Israel's ass more than the other in order to win the support of the well organised Zionist organizations (Even though this is usually for public consumption and does not influence the decision of such anti-American groups). Why? that's a very long story and I'm sure you already know it. Can we call this democracy? Is it freedom of choice? Is it independence? Can we say Americans elected a president that looks after their best interest? Certainly not. Does this Presidential race give many Americans the illusion of being in-charge? Most probably yes.

Now back to your sentence "The sort of elite cabal you described would produce an entirely different kind of world."
I would say you are right, as this sentence would make more sense several years down the line when all the super powers have been broken down, mainly Russia and China, in order to give rise to a much powerful unilateral world power that is very much under the control of the Elite. Only then will people realize who the true rulers of the world are. And only then we will realize that the master plan has always been to bring the human race under complete control where there's very little to no room for surprises, independence and freedoms. Religion, Nationalism, Marxism, Nazism, Globalism, Capitalism, etc. are only examples on how the masses can be controlled when a virus called "ism" enters their belief system.
The recent crisis in Ukraine tells you that the so-called "elite" do not joke around. It tells you how little they value the human life and how they think in terms of superiority and goal setting, and in the saying "The end justifies the means." If the goal was to break Russia then to hell with the Georgians, Ukrainians, Syrians and Europeans. We will break Putin's Russia at all costs. Why? I believe the answer is deeply rooted in their belief system and secret history.

You also said: "The only three PMs not of the European organization were Barak, Olmert, and Netanyahu"
Can you please explain! Did you just take Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine out of Europe? I hope you do understand that the term Ashkenazi is a relatively new one and that all Asjkenazi Jews originate from Khazaria, hence, are not the Jews of the Torah and have ZERO blood and historical ties with Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. And since we know Judaism is not a faith-based religion but a race-based one then none of those Caucasian Jews (converted in 740 AD) have the right to claim Palestine, let alone call themselves Jews. They are fake Jews who have hijacked Judaism for political gains, and if I was Jewish I would be standing up against them with all my might for all the crimes they committed in my name.

Fadi M (37)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 6:33 am
I apologize for my late reply and for the long post.

Love to all.
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