Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinians|
|05/22/01 at 22:21:07|
|an email I received recently...|
Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinians
by Alisa Solomon 5:31am Sat May 19 '01
address: n/a phone: n/a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinians
Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on
‘Not in My Name’
by Alisa Solomon
When thousands of New Yorkers march up Fifth Avenue in fervent
support of Israel on Sunday in the annual solidarity parade, a
growing group of Jewish dissenters and their allies will try to add
an alternative message, calling for an end to the Israeli occupation
of Palestinian territories. Like Jewish protesters at the march in
years past, they can expect to be called vicious names, spat at,
and even physically attacked by parade-goers. But quite simply
they feel, as Brooklyn filmmaker Lorne Lieb, 25, puts it, that "as a
Jew, I can't stand by and let violence be done in my name."
As the massive Israeli crackdown on the Palestinian uprising
continues, Jewish opposition in the U.S. is finding its voice again.
Along with a dozen other New Yorkers, Lieb joined some 180
Jewish activists from around the country (and from Canada, Israel,
Germany, France, and Brazil) in Chicago from May 4 through 6 to
trade strategies, deepen analyses, and hear on-the-ground reports
from their Israeli counterparts. Out of all the talk, they hoped, would
come a coordinated campaign to widen support for ending the
The conference—Jewish Unity for a Just Peace (or "Junity," as
organizers quickly nicknamed it)—brought together folks from their
teens to their seventies. Some had been active on the issue since
occupation began in 1967; others had been stirred to protest in the
last few months. Well over half of the participants were women,
and banners decorating the hall ranged from "Queers for a Free
Palestine" to a São Paulo organization's "Shalom-Salam-Paz."
There was plenty of political diversity, too—from, say, Jewish
communal professionals working to support a "viable Palestinian
state alongside a secure Israel" to socialists holding out for a
"single binational secular state." Still, the bottom-line principles
were resoundingly clear: End the occupation (including of East
Jerusalem), stop abuses of Palestinians' human rights, and
reverse Israel's settlement policy. Consensus broke down during
efforts to add to this call to action—over the fine points of
Palestinian refugee rights, for instance—with misgivings
expressed from both the "right" and the "left" of the gathering. But
even debating a statement that included a phrase about "the rights
of refugees"—not to mention coming very close to winning a 75
percent majority for it—shows how far the movement has come
since the first intifada in the late 1980s, when the subject was
largely taboo, even among lefty Jews.
For Marcia Freedman, a former Knesset member and one of
Junity's keynote speakers, the conference mirrored recent efforts
among Israeli peace activists, especially the women's groups, to
build an effective national coalition; that, she said, provides "a little
glimmer of hope in a very black sea of despair." Whether Junity will
become a national membership organization was left unresolved
at the end of the 48 nearly nonstop hours of debating and plotting.
But pulling together a network is itself a powerful achievement,
People who have been holding regular anti-occupation vigils in
Boston since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada, for example,
had no idea that others had been doing the same from Syracuse,
New York, to Petaluma, California. Simply knowing that they are
not alone, vigil organizers said, fortifies them against the hostilities
of mainstream Jews in their home communities. More concretely,
activists who have been bringing Palestinian and Israeli speakers
to their towns made plans to coordinate national tours, while others
discussed synchronizing actions in far-flung places.
Representatives from 20 cities, for instance, signed up to organize
women's vigils on June 8, in solidarity with a mass demonstration
planned by Israel's Women in Black in Jerusalem on that day, the
34th anniversary of Israel's seizure of East Jerusalem. A national
mass action was also hatched—a High Holiday demonstration in
New York in September, where some Jewish participants would
relinquish their "right of return," the privilege of automatic
citizenship in Israel.
Meanwhile, loose groups formed to produce and disseminate a
range of educational materials, whether for Hebrew school
students or the mass media. Others shared skills for lobbying
members of Congress, especially on the once unmentionable
subject of cutting the $3 billion in annual aid the U.S. gives to Israel.
"There's a passionate sense of urgency here," said longtime
activist Melanie Kaye/ Kantrowitz, who spoke on a panel
addressing the lessons of Jewish organizing on Israel-Palestine in
the '70s and '80s. And that urgency will be essential "in our work in
the Jewish homeland of the U.S., New York, as we try to win back
mainstream Jews who had supported the peace process but
retreated to an Israel-right-or-wrong defensiveness when the
Getting through to those Jews who abandoned even a shallow
support for Palestinian rights was one constant theme of the Junity
conference. An ossified narrative, repeated over and over by
mainstream Jewish leaders, is getting harder and harder to crack,
explained Irena Klepfisz, another two-decade veteran on this issue,
who spoke in an opening panel on secular and religious Jewish
traditions of social justice activism. "The line is 'We tried a
two-state solution, we made an offer, they answered with violence,
and now we have no choice.' What that completely leaves out is
the fact of occupation. The occupation continued all through the
Oslo process, with house demolitions, land confiscations,
roadblocks, and all the rest."
What is more, argued Jeff Halper, coordinator of the Israeli
Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel has continued to
strengthen its "matrix of control" in the territories. Even during the
"peace process," it expanded settlements in the occupied
territories and constructed a vast network of Jewish-only bypass
roads. While Israel crowed about the generosity of its offer to give
up 95 percent of the West Bank, he explained, it was using the
remaining 5 percent to hold sway over the economy and natural
resources, and over the movement of Palestinians. Think of a
prison, he suggested. "There, 95 percent of the space is used for
the prisoners—they have cells, exercise yards, work areas, and
dining areas. It takes only the other 5 percent to contain and control
While Halper described the current situation as "the worst since
1948," his colleague Rela Mazali offered some cause for hope in
her presentation about the deep militarization of Israeli society. A
founding member of the Israeli feminist organization New Profile
and an organizer of various peace and resistance activities against
the occupation, Mazali pointed out that 25 percent of 17-year-old
Israelis are currently finding excuses not to enlist in the army,
though the law requires that they do so, and a full third of those
who do enlist find reasons for early discharge. (Conscientious
objection is illegal for men in Israel.) Meanwhile, an astonishing 70
percent of reserve soldiers—essentially all Jewish Israeli men up
to the age of 49—are simply failing to show up when called for
duty. Though they are hardly organized into a coherent movement
of draft resistance, Mazali sees their neglect as a tacit rejection of
Linking up with the Israeli peace movement is one of the most
important ways U.S. activists can be effective, Halper insisted.
"Peace is not going to come from within Israel," he said. "We can't
do it alone."
For further information on the future of Junity, see www.junity.org.
For information on the May 20 protest in New York, contact Jews
Against the Occupation at email@example.com.
by X 8:21pm Mon May 14 '01
address: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654 phone:
KNOW THE FACTS , KNOW THE
Revolutionary Worker #1079
Israel: A State of Occupation
What are the real roots of the conflict between the state of Israel
and the Palestinian people? The truth has been lied about, twisted,
and suppressed by the U.S. government and media. Often they
picture the conflict as a battle between religions. Sometimes they
portray any opponents of Israel as anti-Semites. The U.S. puts
itself forward as a "honest broker" between the two sides who
should "make peace" and "share the land." At the same time, the
U.S. blames the current clashes on the Palestinians--even though
almost all the casualties have been Palestinians killed and
wounded by the heavily armed Israeli forces.
But a look at the history of Israel shows that this state was created
through the violent dispossession, expulsion, and suppression of
the indigenous people of the land--the Palestinians. The history
reveals that this is a state based on the continuing oppression of
the Palestinian people and occupation of their land. It is a state that
is backed by major imperialist powers, especially the U.S., and that
serves imperialist interests.
The following is an outline of the roots and development of the
state of Israel.
The Beginnings of Zionist Settlement
• Israel is a Zionist state--a state based on the political ideology
known as Zionism. Israel was founded by Zionist Jews from
Europe, who began to colonize historic Palestine (what is now
Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank) in the late 1880s. At that time,
there were small Jewish communities that had long existed in the
Middle East, but Jews had not been a large part of the population in
Palestine for some two thousand years. Most Jews who lived in
the area in the ancient times had migrated to other parts of the
world following the fall of the last Jewish kingdom in Palestine to
the Roman Empire, around 70 AD. By the time the Zionist
movement arose in the late 1800s, there had been many centuries
of Jewish migrations, persecutions, and inter-marriage with other
people. Most Jews lived in Europe, and they were a very diverse
group which included many different nationalities as well as
religious and political viewpoints.
• The Zionists based their movement on the claim that Jews were
god's "chosen people" and that Palestine was the land god
promised them. They said that Jews could never assimilate into
other societies and could only deal with anti-Semitism by having
their own state. Zionism did not reflect the views of many Jews
who saw themselves as part of the life and struggles of the people
in the countries where they lived. The Zionist movement reflected
the interests of bourgeois Jews in Europe, and from the beginning
it was based on allying with imperialism against the masses in the
Middle East. Theodor Herzl, a founder of Zionism, wrote that Israel
"would be the advance post of civilization against barbarism."
• The Zionists promoted the myth that Palestine, which is about the
size of the state of Maryland, was a barren desert, "a land without
people for a people without land." In truth, some of the first urban
societies in the world originated in historic Palestine, and
Palestinians had lived and farmed there for centuries. In 1947
some Palestinians could trace their land ownership back a
thousand years. (Guyatt, p. 1)
• From the start, the Zionist plan was expulsion and conquest. R.
Weitz, the head of the colonization department of the Jewish
Agency, a leading Zionist organization, wrote to other Zionists:
"Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both
peoples together in this country... There is no other way than to
transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, to transfer
all of them: Not one village, not one tribe, should be left." (Said &
Hitchens, p. 239)
• By 1918, there were 680,000 Palestinians living in Palestine, in
contrast to 56,000 Jews, and Palestinians owned 97 percent of the
land. (Basic Facts, Quaker Newsletter) But the imperialists had
plans for this region. After World War 1, various imperialist powers
scrambled to scoop up the lands ruled by the defeated Ottoman
Empire, including Palestine. The rivalry was intense because oil
was now a precious economic and military commodity. Britain
calculated that establishing a state of Zionist settlers--a
settler-colonial state similar to South Africa--could help in digging
its claws more deeply into the Middle East. The British also wanted
to undercut Jewish support for the newly established Soviet Union,
then a revolutionary socialist country. In 1917 British Foreign
Secretary Balfour declared: "The four great powers are committed
to Zionism, and Zionism...is rooted in age-long tradition, in present
needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires
and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient
land." (Sin, p. 10)
• During World War I, the British had promised independence to
Palestinians and other Arabs. But Britain quickly broke those
promises. In 1922, the British imperialists got the League of
Nations to give them a "mandate" to rule Palestine as a colony.
The British worked to "secure the establishment of the Jewish
national home" by encouraging Jewish immigration, allowing the
Jewish Agency to share the administration of Palestine, and by
suppressing Palestinian resistance. (Said & Hitchens, p. 242,
quoting British Parliamentary papers)
• Between 1933 and 1945, Britain, along with its U.S. imperialist
ally, severely restricted Jewish immigration into their own
countries. This policy, aimed at pushing Jews to immigrate to
Palestine, was carried out while the Jewish people in Europe faced
the Holocaust. (During World War 2, the U.S. and Britain also
refused to bomb the tracks leading to the Nazi concentration
camps.) Zionist leaders also cut deals with the Nazis--such as the
Havara Agreement--allowing some wealthier Jews to escape to
Palestine and undercutting Jewish resistance in Nazi-controlled
• There was Palestinian resistance to the Zionist settlers as early
as the turn of the twentieth century. In 1936 Palestinians launched
an armed uprising against the British authorities and the Zionist
settlers. The British brutally crushed the uprising in 1939 and
passed emergency laws condemning to death any Palestinian
found with a gun. (Roots, p. 68).
• Zionist leader David Ben Gurion wrote at the time: "In our political
argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us...[but] let us
not ignore the truth among ourselves... Politically we are the
aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs,
because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle
down, and in their view we want to take away from them their
country...." (Chomsky, pp. 90-91)
The Founding of Israel
• Through World War 2, the United States had emerged as the top
imperialist power in the world; and the U.S. was eager to replace
Britain as the main power in the Middle East. In November 1947,
the U.S. helped push through a UN resolution partitioning Palestine
into a Zionist state and an Arab state. At that time, the Palestinians
still outnumbered Zionist settlers two to one and owned 92 percent
of the land. But the partition gave Israel 54 percent of the land.
• On May 14, 1948--after the Palestinians and the Arab countries
refused to accept the UN partition--the Zionists proclaimed the
state of Israel and launched a war against Palestinians. At the
village of Der Yassin, Israeli forces massacred 250 defenseless
villagers, including 100 women and children. Israel used this
atrocity to spread terror among the Palestinian people, and many
fled their homes in panic. When the war ended in January 1949,
nearly 800,000 Palestinians --two-thirds of the population--had
been forcibly driven into exile in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza, and
the West Bank. Israel had seized 77 percent of the land.
(Chomsky, p. 95)
• Israel used the Arab intervention on the side of the Palestinians
as an excuse for the war. The Zionists claimed that they were only
"defending" themselves from an unprovoked attack. But David Ben
Gurion, now a top Israeli leader, spelled out Israel's real aims: "The
issue at hand is conquest not self-defense. As for the setting of
borders--it's an open-ended matter.... In each attack, a decisive
blow should be struck, resulting in the destruction of homes and
the expulsion of the population." (Sin, p. 16)
Wars of Aggression and Brutal Occupation
• After the 1948 war Israel began systematically destroying
Palestinian society --its towns and villages, its historical and
cultural sites, its social infrastructure. By 1988, Israel had
destroyed 385 of the 475 Palestinian villages inside the 1948
borders. (Middle East Reports 5/6/88). Israeli leader Moshe Dayan
admitted, "There is not a single Jewish village in the land which
was not built on the site of an Arab dwelling place." (Sin, p. 15)
• In 1967 the Israelis launched the so-called "Six Day War," aimed
at grabbing more land and establishing Israel as a regional power.
Israel seized the remaining 23 percent of historic Palestine--the
West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem--along with Egypt's Sinai
Peninsula and Syria's Golan Heights.
• Israel again claimed it was just defending itself against Arab
aggression. But Israeli leader Menachem Begin revealed, "In June
1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in
the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian leader] Nasser
was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves.
We decided to attack him." (Chomsky, p. 100)
• The 1960s saw a powerful revolutionary upsurge among
Palestinians. Many were influenced by the war of liberation waged
by the Vietnamese against the U.S. and Mao Tsetung's teachings
on people's war. In 1965 Palestinian guerrilla organizations
launched an armed struggle against Israel, with the aim of creating
a democratic, secular (non-religious) state throughout Palestine. In
March 1968 Palestinian fighters held off a major Israeli attack at
Karameh, Jordan--an inspiring battle that showed the potential for
a people's war against Israel. (Roots, p. 9)
• After the 1967 war, the UN passed Resolution 242, calling on
Israel to withdraw from all areas seized during the war, in return for
Arab recognition of Israel. Instead of withdrawing from those newly
seized territories, the Israelis, with U.S. backing, began to build
heavily armed Zionist settlements on those areas and to
incorporate them into Israel.
• Since 1967 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have lived
under harsh military occupation, with basic freedoms suspended
and their economy under siege. By 1988 Israel had confiscated
over 52 percent of the West Bank and 30 percent of Gaza for its
military and settlers, while destroying thousands of Palestinian
homes. Israeli troops have used extreme brutality and armed
reprisals against Palestinian protesters--as in the "intifada"
(uprising) of the late 1980s and the current clashes in the West
Bank and Gaza.
• Israel has served as U.S. imperialism's attack dog against
threats to U.S. interests. In the Middle East, those interests center
on controlling this strategic crossroads between Europe, Asia, and
Africa and its vast oil reserves. This is why the U.S. has given
Israel $2 to $3 billion a year in aid for decades. The aid allows the
Israeli military to acquire the weapons used to wage wars of
aggression and to suppress the Palestinian resistance. Without
U.S. backing, the state of Israel could not survive.
• Since its founding in 1948, Israel has carried out many vicious
assaults on the masses in the region and around the world. In
1956 Israel aided the U.S. in the war for control of the Suez Canal.
In 1976 Israel invaded Lebanon to prevent the government from
being controlled by forces that the U.S. and Israel opposed. Israel
invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and killed over 20,000 Lebanese
and Palestinians. Israel seized the southern part of Lebanon
through that invasion and held the territory until the year 2000. In
1982, Israeli warplanes bombed a nuclear reactor in Iraq; and in
1991 Israel supported the U.S. in the Persian Gulf War against
Iraq. Israeli agents have trained torturers from Guatemala to South
Africa and sold weapons to reactionary pro-U.S. governments all
over the world. ("Fort Apache," Chomsky)
The "Peace Process"
• U.S. and Israeli attacks on the Palestinians and other peoples of
the Middle East has given rise to deep popular anger and sharp
contradictions. In order to keep these explosive conflicts in check,
stabilize its grip on the region, and strengthen Israel, the U.S. has,
over the years, attempted to broker and enforce various "peace"
agreements. In 1978, the U.S. oversaw the "Camp David Accords"
between Israel and Sadat of Egypt, which became the first Arab
country to officially recognize the Zionist state.
• A key part of U.S. strategy has been the "two-state" solution: the
Palestinians would recognize Israel and cease their struggle in
return for a "mini-state" of their own centered in the West Bank and
Gaza. By the late 1980s Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO), had basically agreed to recognition
of Israel and the acceptance of a "mini-state."
• The U.S. and Israel never had any intention of allowing a truly
independent Palestinian state. Under the "peace" deal hammered
out in Oslo in 1993 (and later in the 1998 Wye agreement), Israel
was supposed to eventually transfer about 40 percent of the
occupied West Bank to full or partial control of the Palestinian
Authority. Even if this agreement were to be carried out, the
Palestinians would have been left with just a small part of their
historic homeland. As one writer noted, "The Palestinians would
therefore be offered not a 50/50 split, but 50 percent of less than
one quarter of what had once been their land.... Palestinians would
thus be crammed into just over 10 percent of the territory, while
Israelis enjoyed the other 90 percent." (Guyatt, p. xii)
• Under the U.S.-brokered agreement, the Palestinian areas would
be broken up into small, separate pieces, surrounded by Israel and
its military and easily isolated. The economy in these areas would
be very dependent on Israeli or U.S. and other imperialist "aid."
Israel would continue to monopolize key resources such as water,
which is crucial to agriculture, industry, and daihy life.
• The Oslo agreement made no provisions for the return of (or
compensation for) the four million Palestinian refugees living
outside of what is now Israel, West Bank, and Gaza. These
refugees are "now the largest and longest existing such population
anywhere." ("The End of Oslo") Jerusalem, which Palestinians
consider their capital, would remain under Israeli control.
• As many Palestinians and others around the world have
remarked, the Palestinians now live under a condition of Israeli
apartheid--and the "peace process" would not bring a fundamental
change to this situation. In reality, the "peace process" is the
continuation of U.S.-Israeli efforts to suppress the Palestinian
people, strengthen Israel, and tighten U.S. imperialism's grip on the
Middle East. The state of Israel was founded through a great
injustice--and this injustice continues to the present day.
V. K. Sin, "Israel: Imperialism's Attack Dog in the Middle East," A
World To Win, 1988/11.
"Palestine: A History of Occupation and Resistance,"
Revolutionary Worker, November 10, 1991
"Fort Apache: The Middle East" a 4-part series, Revolutionary
Worker, January 6-27, 1984, citing Israel Shahak, Israel's Global
Role (Belmont, MA: Arab American University Graduates, 1992);
Fateful Triangle; and Maxime Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler
State? (New York: Monad Press 1973)
The Fateful Triangle, Noam Chomsky (Boston: South End Press,
Joy Bonds, Jimmy Emerman, Linda John, Penny Johnson, Paul
Rupert, Our Roots Are Still Alive--The Story of the Palestinian
People, (New York: Institute for Independent Social Journalism,
Nicholas Guyatt, The Absence of Peace--Understanding the
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York: Zed Books, 1998)
"Palestine for Beginners," Middle East Report, September-October
"Israel and the Palestinians," Middle East Report, May-June 1988
"Who Are the Palestinians," Quaker Middle East Representatives
Edward W. Said, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Abu-Lughod,
Muhammad Jallaj, Elia Zureik, "A Profile of the Palestinian People,"
in Edward Said & Christopher Hitchens, eds., Blaming the
Victims--Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question (New
York: Verso, 1988
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)
|Re: Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinians|
|05/29/01 at 13:17:51|
I found the following article to be pretty [i]courageous[/i] for
a non-muslim to writing in a major newspaper:
Mideast peace process dead -- no hope for revival
Published May 8, 2001
The key to peace in the Middle East is in Washington, not Jerusalem. It is our government that empowers the Israeli government.It is vain for people to keep saying, "Renew the peace talks." The peace process in the Middle East is dead. Kaput. Finished.
People should take Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his word. In recent interviews he has made it clear: There will be no permanent agreement with the Palestinians; all Jewish settlements remain; the Golan and East Jerusalem belong to Israel; and no Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return or be eligible for compensation.
Can people not understand plain Hebrew translated into plain English?
The peace process is dead. Sharon and a majority of Israelis don't want peace. They want the territory they have, and they want a defeated, despairing and docile Palestinian population living in isolation.
If they wanted peace, they wouldn't have killed more than 400 Palestinians, wounded more than 13,000, destroyed God knows how many homes, businesses and orchards. They would not have continued to expand settlements. They would not have continued to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and defy some 60-plus United Nations resolutions.
So what's going to happen?
It's simple. The Palestinians will continue to suffer and die and will continue to try to kill as many Israelis as their limited means permit. What you have is the military occupation by a regional superpower of a largely unarmed population. Palestinians, like people everywhere and for all time, have the right to resist military occupation by a foreign power. What you are seeing are the final acts of European colonialism being played out in Palestine, which was never Europe's to give away in the first place.
This will go on until Sharon's need for enemies provokes a regional war or until the conscience of individual Americans is aroused. The key to peace in the Middle East is in Washington, not Jerusalem. It is our government that empowers the Israeli government to defy international law and human decency. The Israelis wouldn't last six months without American backing, and they know that.
The old canard that the Israelis and Palestinians must settle their differences themselves is just an Israeli-dictated ploy to make sure nobody interferes with their treatment of the Palestinians. It's the same as if the police told a child rape victim, "Go work it out with your rapist."
There can never be negotiations between a strong party and a powerless party. To pretend otherwise is to engage in public deception. For years, Israelis would say that force is the only language the Palestinians understand. Now the Palestinians are saying the same thing about the Israelis. It's ugly stuff. If you love violence, then get a satellite dish and you can watch them kill each other on Arab television indefinitely.
You may not like this, but the lives of 2 million Palestinians, many of them children, depend on us. Their deaths will be on our conscience. They do not have the power to stop the Israelis from occupying their land and brutalizing them. Our president and our Congress do. But they are afraid of the Israeli lobby. Therefore, if we do not give the American politicians some backbone by letting them know Americans are tired of being accessories to Israeli aggression, their misery will be unending.
Think about what it's like to be poor in a devastated landscape with no hope of relief. Then think what it's like to be blinded or paralyzed by an Israeli bullet with utterly no safety net. The Palestinian people do not deserve what is happening to them. Their plight puts us in the uncomfortable position of standing either by the innocent victims or by the oppressors.
There is no longer any neutral ground for people with an ounce of morality left in them. One way or another, we will all have to choose. "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee," said the poet John Donne.
Indeed it does, for with every Palestinian death a little bit of our own souls will die as long as we do nothing, say nothing, think nothing as if we could hide from our own conscience.
The most damned will be those in Washington who let their own fears and lust for the comfortable position condemn a whole people to a hellish existence when all along they had the power to relieve them with simply a frown and a stern word.
|Re: Jews Gather to Organize Against Israel’s Crackdown on Palestinians|
|05/30/01 at 22:29:44|
|The Altered Bible|
29 May 2001
By Nour Odeh: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Palestine Media Center
Since its formal announcement on 21 May, the Mitchell Report (Report) has
almost turned into the Middle East’s newest Bible. However, since it is
not really a holy book, inspired by God, it has been altered and
shockingly as well as unethically misrepresented by its American and
Originally, the Report called on the government of Israel and the
Palestinian Authority to implement “an immediate and unconditional
cessation of violence”. It also stated, “Israel must freeze all settlement
activities including ‘natural growth’. It must lift closures, transfer to
the Palestinian Authority all revenues held and refrain the ‘IDF’ [Israeli
“Defense” Forces] and settlers from destroying agricultural land, trees,
Unfortunately, the well-oiled Israeli propaganda and disinformation
machine began spewing out statements declaring “a unilateral Israeli
ceasefire” and a supposedly honest call on the Palestinian leadership to
“end the violence and terror”. All the while, this machine also declared
that Israel would not end its settlement activities, seeing how they could
not stop these illegal colonies’ “natural growth”, stressing at the same
time that settlements were not in any way connected to the current
explosive situation in the Middle East.
On 21 May, US Secretary of State Colin Powel announced his government
would send its newly appointed Middle East envoy, William Burns, to bridge
the gap between both parties.
Mr. Burns arrived to the besieged West Bank town Ramallah on 27 May. After
meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, he declared, “I asked
Chairman Arafat to do everything he can to bring the violence and
terrorism to an end.” He did not keep in mind that unlike the Israeli
government, Palestinians accepted the entire Mitchell Report, without
excluding any of its recommendations.
Burns also did not address the 96 Israeli breaches of the “unilateral
Israeli ceasefire”, resulting in the murder of two Palestinian civilians
and injury of 84, as well as razing hundreds of dunams of cultivated land.
During this “ceasefire”, Israel also assassinated a Palestinian and
injured 9 others, three of them critically. Burns also ignored Israel’s 21
incursions into and continued shelling of Palestinian-controlled areas
since its declaration of the fantastic “ceasefire” on Tuesday 22 May. Mr.
Burns ignored Israel’s building of new settlements in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
But ignoring a fact does not make it disappear or change. On the contrary,
it shows the ignorer as biased, blind, or simply shamefully ignorant.
After meeting Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, William Burns advised
Israel to continue exercising its policy of “self-restraint”!
A spokesperson for the Israeli grassroots organization Peace Now declared
on 28 May, “Since the election of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli government has
offered 700 bids for settlement construction. Presently, there are 3,700
empty units in the Israeli settlements”, The organization’s recently
published report unveiled that since Sharon’s new government took office,
at least 15 new settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been
built. It also stressed that the unoccupied units already present in the
settlements would be plenty to meet “actual demographic needs” for at
least four more years.
In a defiant statement on 11 May, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Finance Silvan Shalom declared, “We are not concerned by the
US about settlements”. Shalom is also not concerned with the numerous
binding UN resolutions that call on Israel to halt all settlement
activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and declare them illegal
and in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. That is apparent in
his refusal to as much as address his government’s defiance of the UN’s
position on Israeli settlements.
The United States, the United Nations, and the European Union (EU)
endorsed the Mitchell Report, published by an international Fact Finding
Mission. In a statement published on 21 May, the EU called on both parties
to accept all the recommendations of the Mitchell Report. The statement
also stressed that Israel must stop all its settlement activities. The
United Kingdom’s Foreign Minister Robin Cook welcomed the Report and
stressed that Israel must “completely freeze settlements and end the
economic siege against Palestinians”. Regional powers, such as Turkey,
Egypt, and Jordan, all of whom have diplomatic relations with Israel,
expressed the same position.
One cannot blame an ignorant person’s confusion and naïve statements
regarding the Middle East. However, unless he has a different agenda from
that which was pronounced, a learned and experienced man in Middle East
politics such as William Burns is expected to weigh his statements
Based on Burns’ performance and blindness so far, one can only conclude
that his trip to the Middle East is simply an effort to cover up Israel’s
distortions and alterations of the Mitchell Report, the newest Bible in
the Middle East. Further, the American Middle East Envoy’s mandate seems
to be to coerce the Palestinian leadership into accepting the altered
Bible while supporting Israel in its defiance of international law and the
report it alleges to accept. Such an undeclared agenda cannot be covered
up, even with Mr. Burns’ eloquent and diplomatic statements.
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