Category Archives: Plans, policies

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their Dream Come True

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.776450

My Parents Founded a Settlement, Now Trump Could Make Their
Dream Come True

Yair Svorai Mar 12, 2017 4:37 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump’s “two-state and one-state” pronouncement
last month effectively signaled the demise of the Oslo Agreements – a
significant reversal of the long-established U.S. position, now in
contrast with a near-universal international consensus. It also supports
the continuation of Israel’s colonization of the territories it has
occupied since 1967.

Indeed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the spirit of
occupation-as-usual by demanding “security control” over the entire area
west of the Jordan River, proclaiming, in the words of The Nation’s
Rashid Khalidi, “A permanent regime of occupation and colonization,
ruling out a sovereign independent Palestinian state, whatever fictions
of ‘statehood’ or ‘autonomy’ are dreamed up to conceal this brutal
reality. Trump’s subsequent silence amounts to the blessing of the U.S.
government for this grotesque vision of enduring subjugation and
dispossession for the Palestinians.”

The expansion of Jewish settlement in, and control of, Palestine has
followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement –
the replacement of Palestinians by Jews. It is crucial to understand the
timing of such expansion: whenever the opportunity arises. And, for
Israel, Donald J. Trump is a historical opportunity on a grand scale.

In 1907, the leadership of the World Zionist Organization sent Dr.
Arthur Ruppin on a fact-finding mission to Ottoman Palestine. Ruppin, a
German-Jewish economist and lawyer, subsequently developed a plan with
the ultimate goal of establishing Jewish self-rule in Ottoman Palestine,
where Jews were a small minority (between 6 and 9 percent).

The plan included establishing new settlements in such a way that over
time they would form a mass of settlements – Israel’s first settlement
bloc – to be used, much like today, as a geopolitical leveraging tool.

In the following three decades, prior to the Holocaust and before anyone
could imagine the horrific fate awaiting European Jews, the foundation
of the State of Israel was set in place via the creation of elaborate
pre-state institutions, buttressed by small waves of immigrants whose
political orientation ranged from Zionist socialists to right-wing
ultra-nationalists.

Among the latter were my parents, Moshe and Tova Svorai, arriving as
children from Eastern Europe in the early 1920s and belonging to the
most far-right elements of the Zionist movement – Betar and Brit
Habirionim, followed by the Irgun, and then the Lehi (Stern Gang); both
of these were pre-state Jewish terrorist organizations.

In the big-picture sense, left-wing and right-wing Zionists wanted the
same thing – a Jewish state in Palestine. The differences among them
were largely semantic: a matter of political style, timing and competing
approaches on how to reach that goal.

The elephant-in-the-room facing Zionism was – then, as now – ignored:
the land was already populated by Palestinian Arabs, who had been there
for centuries. Ignoring the physical reality, from early on Zionist
terminology was designed to perpetuate the myth of an empty land
awaiting its lost people: “A land without a people for a people without
a land.”

A dunam here and a dunam there

Following the original Ruppin Plan, the expansion of Jewish settlement
started with land acquisitions from absentee Arab landlords, culminating
in a military campaign to drive the native population off its land. As
the old Zionist saying goes, “A dunam here and a dunam there” (a dunam
is approximately equal to a quarter of an acre), whenever the
opportunity arises.

The same opportunistic vigor was used to remove the Palestinian people
from what was soon to become Israel.

The best known milestone in the removal of the Arab population was the
Deir Yassin massacre of April 9, 1948, conducted by Irgun and Lehi
forces, designed to scare Palestinians and cause them to flee their
homes, towns and villages.

Israel’s War of Independence consisted of other massacres, too. The war
itself followed Plan Dalet (Plan D), carefully developed by the
“moderate,” mainstream Haganah leadership to expand the territory of the
future state beyond the UN Partition Plan and to remove as much of
Palestine’s Arab population as possible. Then, as now, the goal of the
Jewish state has been to maximize its land area and to minimize the
Palestinian-Arab population residing in it.

This was the Nakba, the catastrophe – a term used by the Palestinian
people to describe the loss of their homeland: the disappearance of
entire communities totaling some 750,000 people, who were forced out of
their country. Post-1948 Palestine was a drastically changed land: about
500 Palestinian towns and villages had been emptied of their
inhabitants, their homes mostly razed and their lands divided among the
Jewish kibbutzim (communal farms) and villages.

The term Nakba, which is central to Palestinian nationhood as much as
the Holocaust is for Jews and slavery is for African-Americans, is
shunned by most Israeli Jews for obvious reasons: Even the mere
implication of responsibility for the Nakba war crimes is unacceptable.

Those Palestinians who managed to remain, now known as “1948
Palestinians,” were placed under military rule, with their basic civil
rights – such as the freedom to assemble, travel and claim their
properties – removed. In addition, most of their lands were confiscated
by the newly created Jewish state and transferred to kibbutzim and villages.

Military rule lasted until 1966 and assured that the dispossession of
the Palestinians could be carried out in a well-organized and highly
controlled manner – “a dunam here and a dunam there” – with the remnants
of the subject population confined to specific territories, in many
cases restricted to their villages, homes or jail cells.

‘This will belong to us’

The Green Line – the 1949 armistice line separating Israel from the West
Bank of Jordan – followed the line of Jewish settlements put in place
during the 1920s-’40s, in close adherence to the Ruppin Plan. It is
probably the first example of how “facts on the ground” proved to be
crucial for the success of the Zionist project, something that Ruppin
appreciated possibly before anyone else.

But the old Green Line was irregular and left a great deal of fertile,
hilly land on the other side. And then there was Jerusalem, whose
eastern parts, including Temple Mount, were also on the other side of
that border. Standing with my parents near the Montefiore Windmill in
the early ’60s, looking at the Old City on the other side of the
then-border, I vividly remember my astonished reaction to hearing my
mother say, “One day, this too will belong to us.” She was soon to be
proved right.

The swift military victory of the 1967 war offered an unprecedented
opportunity for Israel to expand in all directions. Jerusalem was the
nationalist-religious pinnacle; even more importantly, the last
remaining parts of old Palestine were now there for the taking – the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip, totaling 22 percent of historic Palestine.
Ditto the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights, and Sinai (which was
subsequently returned to Egypt under a separate “peace agreement”
following the 1973 war).

Since 1967, under the so-called “moderate” and “extreme” Israeli
governments led by the Labor and Likud parties, some 130 settlements and
100 outposts have been established in the West Bank, with a population
of some 400,000 Jewish settlers. Additionally, some 200,000 Israelis
live in East Jerusalem.

Any relocation of the occupier’s population into occupied territories,
whether into government-established settlements or so-called “rogue”
outposts, is considered illegal according to international law and
conventions.

When they were in their 60s, my own parents were among the founders of a
settlement in the northern West Bank, where they spent the rest of their
days. They were firm believers in the absolute and exclusive right of
the Jewish people to its biblical homeland, and remained committed to
making their personal contribution to their cause to the very end.

They were guided by Lehi’s “18 Principles of Rebirth” essay, which
defined biblical Israel as starting at the Nile and reaching to the
Euphrates River – a vast territory that includes parts of Egypt and
Saudi Arabia, most of Jordan and Syria, and all of Lebanon.
Incidentally, a large number of Israeli right-wingers, among them
Netanyahu and members of his government, admire Lehi and its principles
– including, at least in spirit, its territorial desires.

Immediately after the 1967 war, the Syrian population of the Golan
Heights (some 130,000 people) was forced out by Israel, 1948-style,
leaving the territory largely empty for Israeli colonization to take
root. Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights followed in 1981.
(Netanyahu is now seeking U.S. recognition from Trump of Israeli
sovereignty over the Golan Heights.)

Erasing the past

And the Nakba continued. The initial period after the 1967 war included
a number of known cases where West Bank villagers were expelled from
their homes by an Israeli military command attributed to Gen. Yitzhak
Rabin. Among them were the villages of Imwas, Yalo and Bayt Nuba in the
Latrun area, which were subsequently razed. (I visited the three
destroyed villages in August 1967. There was very little left other than
broken stones and fruit trees bursting with fruit left unpicked by
villagers, now turned refugees.) In an attempt to eradicate the villages
from history and erase them from public memory, the victors attempted to
conceal their crimes by planting a recreational forest, named Canada
Park, on the land formerly owned and cultivated by these villagers – a
concealment method that had been used before.

As for the rest of the West Bank, in a slow process that has lasted
nearly 50 years – and which continues to this day – the Palestinian
population has been stripped of much of its land and pushed into
Bantustan-like areas surrounded by Jewish settlements. The territory is
now dissected into enclaves designed by Israel to assure a discontinuity
of Palestinian land, thereby guaranteeing that a viable Palestinian
state cannot be established.

“Facts on the ground” work in both directions: the presence of one
population (Jewish) and the absence of another (Palestinian). Now, most
of the Jordan Valley has been cleared of the Palestinian population; in
hamlets of the poorest population – the Hebron Hills Bedouin – families
are routinely uprooted and forced out of their shacks.

And throughout the West Bank, bit by bit, “a dunam here and a dunam
there,” Palestinians are forced out by Jews. Houses are demolished, land
is taken or its cultivation is prevented; olive groves are uprooted by
settler thugs with full impunity, under the watchful gaze of Israel’s
occupation army – euphemistically called the Israel Defense Forces. And
Israeli government policy greatly restricts Palestinians in the West
Bank from using their land and natural resources, especially water
required to cultivate crops.

Thus, while Israeli settlements enjoy unrestricted water usage with lawn
sprinklers galore, Palestinian farmers who dig out a 10-foot-long
(3-meter) trench to collect and divert rainwater into a field or
vegetable garden risk punishment and the destruction of their fields and
gardens.

And the Nakba continues. A similar crackdown on Israel’s Palestinian
citizens takes place with predictable regularity along similar patterns
– as witnessed most recently by the destruction of the Bedouin village
of Umm al-Hiran, whose population is to be corralled elsewhere in the
Negev and its lands designated for a new Jewish settlement. The more
things change, the more they stay the same.

This is a very short list of the evils of Israel’s occupation – all of
this, and much more, has been widely reported over the past five
decades, and documented in great detail by UN agencies, multiple
international aid organizations, foreign consulate staff and local civic
organizations, both Palestinian and Israeli. (The death and destruction
in Gaza, its collapsed infrastructure, economy, essential public health
facilities, child nutrition and basic resources of livelihood require
separate coverage.)

The Oslo II (“Taba”) Agreement divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and
C – a division that is used by Israel to divide and rule, confine and
control the local Palestinian population.

The experience of 1948 and the early years of statehood have proven most
beneficial to Zionist colonialism. A slow and methodical acquisition of
land, this time by means that are entirely illegal, coupled with
strategic removal and confinement of the Palestinian population,
resulted in settlement blocs – vast land areas that are largely
Arab-free and a network of highways, other infrastructure projects and
state institutions serving the Jewish-only settlements.

This is nothing short of new-age apartheid, where the indigenous
population is not only of no value to its colonial masters – not even as
a source of cheap labor – but it is essential for the success of the
colonial project that it be removed: the more of “them” that are gone,
the better off “we” are. That people-removal process is called ethnic
cleansing, which is a crime against humanity under the statute of the
International Criminal Court.

All of this has been carried out mostly in plain view, under the world’s
watchful eye. It has also been made possible and indirectly funded by
the United States, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike
– notwithstanding outgoing President Barack Obama’s lame-duck UN
Security Council non-veto move, and various U.S. declarations about
Israeli settlements being “a threat to peace,” or making it “almost
impossible … to create a contiguous, functioning Palestinian state.”
Both true, but meaningless.

Despite the rhetoric, the United States has been the primary enabler of
Israel’s occupation: military aid (currently $38 billion over the next
10 years), including the very latest technologies, and close military
coordination; tax exemptions for donations to Israel, including to
organizations that fund settlements; global diplomatic protection; and
the lending of legitimacy to a state whose actions would have otherwise
made it a global pariah long ago.

Thus, under the guise of a never-ending “peace process,” the United
States has acted as a dishonest broker and purveyor of broken promises,
e.g., a “two-state solution” where the territory of the imagined state
is eaten up by the other, already existing regional-superpower state
while “peace talks” continue. It’s like the pizza analogy where two
parties engage in lengthy negotiations over the splitting of a pie,
while one of them keeps eating the slices. Over these past 50 years, the
United States has facilitated the replacement of the Palestinian people,
bit by bit, one dunam and one person at a time, as Israel grabs every
opportunity that arises, paid for by Uncle Sam.

For Israel, the election of Trump to the highest office in the land
presents a historical opportunity on a grand scale to accelerate both
settlement expansion and the process of people replacement.

Never before has a U.S. president expressed such unbridled support for
an Israeli government – especially one that is widely seen as the most
right-wing, aggressive Israeli government ever.

In light of the new opportunity, the Israeli government has unleashed a
wave of settlement construction permits in the West Bank and East
Jerusalem – so far totaling about 6,000 homes for Jewish settlers – and
announced the creation of a new settlement.

In addition, a new law allowing the confiscation of privately held
Palestinian land for the benefit of Jewish settlements was recently
passed. As journalist Jonathan Cook explained in The National, “In
practice, there has never been a serious limit on theft of Palestinian
land. But now Israeli government support for the plunder will be
explicit in law.” The Nakba continues, vigorously.

Reality could not be much uglier and the future could not look much
bleaker – most especially for Palestinians, but also for Israeli Jews.
As Haaretz writer and occupation expert Amira Hass noted, “It’s hard to
admit that the Zionist ideology and its product – Israel – have created
a thieving, racist, arrogant monster that robs water and land and
history, that has blood on its hands under the excuse of security, that
for decades has been deliberately planning today’s dangerous Bantustan
reality, on both sides of the Green Line.”

Perhaps hard to admit, but crucially important to recognize.

The writer, a former Israeli, has lived in the United States for 45 years.

Lieberman: Disloyal Israeli Arabs Should Be Beheaded

Lieberman: Disloyal Israeli Arabs Should Be Beheaded

MK Ahmad Tibi compares Yisrael Beiteinu head’s vision to a ‘Jewish ISIS’; foreign minister also reiterates support for transfer.
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/1.646076

Ha’aretz, 9.3.2015

Israeli Arabs who are disloyal to the State of Israel should have their heads chopped off, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at an elections conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya this week.

“Whoever’s with us should get everything – up to half the kingdom,” Lieberman said Sunday, in a reference to King Ahaseurus’ pledge to Queen Esther as described in the Book of Esther, which tells the story of the Purim holiday celebrated last week.

But Israeli Arabs who are disloyal to the state deserve a different fate, the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu said at the “Voting for Democracy – 2015 Elections” election conference, Channel 2 News reported.

“Those who are against us, there’s nothing to be done – we need to pick up an ax and cut off his head,” Lieberman said. “Otherwise we won’t survive here.”

Prominent Israeli Arab MK Ahmad Tibi, who is No. 4 on the Arab parties’ Joint List ticket, suggested a situation like that described by Lieberman would result in a Jewish version of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Joint List “will remove racists’ and fascists’ heads only through democratic means – bringing as many [Knesset] seats as possible and active participation in the election,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Tibi as saying Monday. “The stronger we are, the weaker the Jewish Islamic State will be.”

Lieberman also reiterated his position advocating the transfer of at least some of Israel’s Arab citizens.

“There is no reason for Umm al-Fahm to be part of the State of Israel,” Lieberman said about a northern Israeli town populated by Arab citizens of Israel, according to the Channel 2 report. “Citizens of the State of Israel who raise a black flag on Nakba Day – from my perspective, they can leave, and I’m very happily willing to donate them to Abu Mazen,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/1.646076

Destroying Syria: a Joint Criminal Enterprise

Destroying Syria: a Joint Criminal Enterprise

by Diana Johnstone, CounterPunch, October 4, 2016

Everyone claims to want to end the war in Syria and restore peace to the Middle East.

Well, almost everyone.

“This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York told the New York Times in June 2013. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here.”

Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, stressed the same points in August 2016:

“The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction… Allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys… Moreover, instability and crises sometimes contain portents of positive change… The American administration does not appear capable of recognizing the fact that IS can be a useful tool in undermining Tehran’s ambitious plan for domination of the Middle East.”

Okay, not exactly everyone.

But surely the humanitarian website Avaaz wants to end the war and restore peace.
Or does it?

Avaaz is currently circulating a petition which has gathered over a million signatures and is aiming at a million and a half. It is likely to get them, with words like this:

“100 children have been killed in Aleppo since last Friday.

“Enough is enough!”

Avaaz goes on to declare: “There is no easy way to end this war, but there’s only one way to prevent this terror from the skies — people everywhere demanding a no-fly zone to protect civilians.”
No-fly zone? Doesn’t that sound familiar? That was the ploy that served to destroy Libya’s air defenses and opened the country to regime change in 2011. It was promoted zealously by Hillary Clinton, who is also on record as favoring the same gambit in Syria.

And when the West says “no-fly”, it means that some can fly and others cannot. With the no-fly zone in Libya, France, Britain and the United States flew all they wanted, killing countless civilians, destroying infrastructure and allowing Islamic rebels to help themselves to part of the country.

The Avaaz petition makes the same distinction. Some should fly and others should not.

“Let’s build a resounding global call to Obama and other leaders to stand up to Putin and Assad’s terror. This might be our last, best chance to help end this mass murder of defenseless children. Add your name.”

So it’s all about mass murder of defenseless children, and to stop it, we should call on the drone king, Obama, to end “terror from the skies”.

Not only Obama, but other “good” leaders, members of NATO:

“To President Obama, President Erdogan, President Hollande, PM May, and other world leaders: As citizens around the globe horrified by the slaughter of innocents in Syria, we call on you to enforce an air-exclusion zone in Northern Syria, including Aleppo, to stop the bombardment of Syria’s civilians and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those most in need.”

The timing of this petition is eloquent. It comes exactly when the Syrian government is pushing to end the war by reconquering the eastern part of Aleppo. It is part of the massive current propaganda campaign to reduce public consciousness of the Syrian war to two factors: child victims and humanitarian aid.

In this view, the rebels disappear. So do all their foreign backers, the Saudi money, the Wahhabi fanatics, the ISIS recruits from all over the world, the U.S. arms and French support. The war is only about the strange whim of a “dictator”, who amuses himself by bombing helpless children and blocking humanitarian aid. This view reduces the five-year war in Syria to the situation as it was portrayed in Libya, to justify the no-fly zone: nothing but a wicked dictator bombing his own people.

For the public that likes to consume world events in fairy tale form, this all fits together. Sign a petition on your computer and save the children.

The Avaaz petition does not aim to end the war and restore peace. It clearly aims to obstruct the Syrian government offensive to retake Aleppo. The Syrian army has undergone heavy losses in five years of war, its potential recruits have in effect been invited to avoid dangerous military service by going to Germany. Syria needs air power to reduce its own casualties. The Avaaz petition calls for crippling the Syrian offensive and thus taking the side of the rebels.
Wait – but does that mean they want the rebels to win? Not exactly. The only rebels conceivably strong enough to win are ISIS. Nobody really wants that.

The plain fact is that to end this war, as to end most wars, one side has to come out on top. When it is clear who is the winning side, then there can be fruitful negotiations for things like amnesty. But this war cannot be “ended by negotiations”. That is an outcome that the United States might support only if Washington could use negotiations to impose its own puppets – pardon, pro-democracy exiles living in the West. But as things stand, they would be rejected as traitors by the majority of Syrians who support the government and as apostates by the rebels. So one side has to win to end this war. The least worst outcome would be that the Assad government defeats the rebels, in order to preserve the state. For that, the Syrian armed forces need to retake the eastern part of Aleppo occupied by rebels.

The job of Avaaz is to get public opinion to oppose this military operation, by portraying it as nothing but a joint Russian-Syrian effort to murder civilians, especially children. For that, they call for a NATO military operation to shoot down (that’s what “no-fly” means) Syrian and Russian planes offering air support to the Syrian army offensive.
Even such drastic measures do not aim to end the war. They mean weakening the winning side to prevent it from winning. To prolong a stalemate. It means – to use the absurd expression popular during the Bosnian war – creating an “even playing field”, as if war were a sports event. It means keeping the war going on and on until nothing is left of Syria, and what is left of the Syrian population fills up refugee camps in Europe.

As the New York Times reported from Jerusalem in September 2013, “The synergy between the Israeli and American positions, while not explicitly articulated by the leaders of either country, could be a critical source of support as Mr. Obama seeks Congressional approval for surgical strikes in Syria.” It added that “Israel’s national security concerns have broad, bipartisan support in Washington, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the influential pro-Israel lobby in Washington, weighed in Tuesday in support of Mr. Obama’s approach.” (This was when Obama was planning to “punish President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons without seeking to force him from power” – before Obama decided to join Russia in disarming the Syrian chemical arsenal instead, a decision for which he continues to be condemned by the pro-Israel lobby and the War Party.) AIPAC’s statement “said nothing, however, about the preferred outcome of the civil war…”

Indeed. As the 2013 report from Jerusalem continued, “as hopes have dimmed for the emergence of a moderate, secular rebel force that might forge democratic change and even constructive dialogue, with Israel, a third approach has gained traction: Let the bad guys burn themselves out. ‘The perpetuation of the conflict is absolutely serving Israel’s interest,’ said Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst for the International Crisis Group.”

The plain truth is that Syria is the victim of a long-planned Joint Criminal Enterprise to destroy the last independent secular Arab nationalist state in the Middle East, following the destruction of Iraq in 2003. While attributed to government repression of “peaceful protests” in 2011, the armed uprising had been planned for years and was supported by outside powers: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and France, among others. The French motives remain mysterious, unless linked to those of Israel, which sees the destruction of Syria as a means to weaken its archrival in the region, Iran. Saudi Arabia has similar intentions to weaken Iran, but with religious motives. Turkey, the former imperial power in the region, has territorial and political ambitions of its own. Carving up Syria can satisfy all of them.

This blatant and perfectly open conspiracy to destroy Syria is a major international crime, and the above-mentioned States are co-conspirators. They are joined in this Joint Criminal Enterprise by ostensibly “humanitarian” organizations like Avaaz that spread war propaganda in the guise of protecting children. This works because most Americans just can’t believe that their government would do such things. Because normal ordinary people have good intentions and hate to see children killed, they imagine that their government must be the same. It is hard to overcome this comforting faith. It is more natural to believe that the criminals are wicked people in a country about which they really understand nothing.

There is no chance that this criminal enterprise will ever arouse the attention of the prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, which like most major international organizations is totally under U.S. control. For example, the United Nations Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, who analyses and frames political issue for the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, is an American diplomat, Jeffrey Feltman, who was a key member of Hillary Clinton’s team when she was carrying out regime change in Libya. And accomplices in this criminal enterprise include all the pro-governmental “non-governmental” organizations such as Avaaz who push hypocrisy to new lengths by exploiting compassion for children in order to justify and perpetuate this major crime against humanity and against peace in the world.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

The nuts and bolts of racial discrimination, Zionist style

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2015/May-11/297484-israels-west-bank-housing-policy-by-numbers.ashx

Israel’s West Bank housing policy by numbers

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Since seizing the West Bank in 1967, Israel has held full control over all planning matters for both Palestinians and Jewish settlers in an area covering over 60 percent of the territory.

Although settlers can secure building permits with ease, the opposite applies for Palestinians who are forced to build illegally, with Israel bulldozing hundreds of such structures every year, rights groups say.

Villages vs. settlements Over 60 percent – around 360,000 hectares – of the West Bank is classified as Area C, which Israel aims to retain under any final settlement. This is where Israel has full control over security and also civilian affairs which are managed by the Civil Administration.

U.N. figures show there are an estimated 298,000 Palestinians living in Area C, in 532 residential areas. There are also 341,000 Israelis living in 135 settlements and 100 or so unauthorized outposts.

Less than 1 percent of Area C is designated for Palestinian development, compared to 70 percent which falls within the domain of local settlements, the U.N. says. Palestinian construction in the rest of Area C is subject to severe restrictions and almost impossible to carry out.

Demolition orders vs. permitsSince the 1993 Oslo autonomy accords were signed, Israel has issued more than 14,600 demolition orders, according to Israeli planning rights watchdog Bimkom.

So far, about 2,925 structures have actually been demolished.

Bimkom architect Alon Cohen Lifschitz estimates there are an average of two structures per order, meaning that over the past two decades, Israel has issued demolition notices to nearly 30,000 Palestinian-owned structures.

Last year, Israel issued 911 demolition orders on grounds of a lack of building permits. There are currently more than 9,100 outstanding demolition orders which can be implemented, Bimkom says.

Structures can include anything from a house to an animal shed, a road or fence, foundations, infrastructure, cisterns, cemeteries and solar panels. Since 1996, Israel has granted only a few hundred building permits for Palestinian structures.

According to Amnesty International, there were 76 building permits issued to Palestinians between 1996 and 1999. And from 2000-2014, only 206 building permits were issued, Bimkom says. In 2014, Israel granted a single permit.

Two-tier planning system

In Area C, a two-tier planning system operates based on ethnic-national background: a civil and representative system for Jewish settlers, and a military system without representation for Palestinians, Israeli NGO Rabbis for Human Rights says.

In planning for Palestinian villages, the objectives are to limit land use and encourage dense construction, whereas in the settlements, the trend is often the opposite – to include as much area as possible, producing low density, it says.

The quantum mechanics of Israeli totalitarianism

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/05/quantum-mechanics-israeli-totalitarianism-150507072609153.html

The quantum mechanics of Israeli totalitarianism

To understand how it feels to be a Palestinian, you need to think like a particle physicist, not a social scientist.

Mark LeVine, Al Jazeera, 7 May 2015

With the coalition government formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu easily the most ultranationalist and conservative government in Israel’s history, even the most cockeyed optimist would shrink from imagining that Oslo can still be revived, if only the right treatment were concocted.

The problem today is not that anyone but the most self-interested Israeli, Palestinian or US officials still pretends that the peace process is functioning. Rather, it’s that hardly anyone in a position of power can explain precisely when, how and especially why it died. To do so requires moving far more deeply into the dynamics of the endlessly troubled peace process than most policy-makers or commentators are willing to delve, into what I term the “quantum mechanics” underlying Oslo’s fatally flawed structures.

Israel has long claimed uniquely democratic credentials in a region besot with authoritarian regimes.

The unending occupation, the sheer chutzpah with which the Israeli government continues to expand its presence in the West Bank while sieging Gaza, the escalating protests by minorities inside the country’s 1967 borders, and the composition of the new government, all put the lie to such claims today.

Matrix of control

What’s still poorly understood by most non-Palestinians is just how deep the level of control has long been. Even if you’ve spent decades travelling through the West Bank and Gaza, the intensity of that control remains hard to grasp.

As I walked through the Jordan Valley last month near the front-line village of Fasayel, I began to understand how one reason why it’s been so difficult to explain the intensity and all-encompassing scope of Israel’s “matrix of control” over the Occupied Territories is that even its critics don’t use strong enough language to describe it.

Israel is not just an “occupier” or a “coloniser”. However democratic it may (or may not) be inside its 1967 borders, in the Occupied Territories Israel’s rule is nothing short of totalitarian.

In calling Israeli rule totalitarian, I am not arguing that the government mimics the worst policies of thought control and ideological purism practised by the 20th century’s Fascist and Communist states such as Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China (although Israel’s constant harassment and imprisonment of Palestinian activists does reflect a desire to control how Palestinians think and act, at least publicly).

Rather, I’m talking about a much deeper level of control, at what can only be described as the quantum level of Palestinian daily life.

To understand how it feels to live as a Palestinian today you need to think like a particle physicist, not a social scientist. Moving through the space of Israel/Palestine involves negotiating a host of forces that the average Palestinian has about as much control over as the average electron or proton does of the nuclear and quantum forces determining its path. And it’s through this near total control of the space that Israel is able, in George Orwell’s description of totalitarianism, to “control the past as well as the future”.

Israeli geographer Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) coined the “matrix of control” to describe these forces. The name evokes numerous overlapping layers of control, including the physical infrastructure of settlements and their security corridors and zones, bypass roads, closed military areas and even “nature reserves”. The matrix also includes the bureaucratic and legal/planning levels, and the use of large-scale violence and imprisonment to control people’s behaviour and movement.

With its matrix of control, Israel has achieved an unparalleled and uniquely successful synergy of “bio” and “necro”-politics, controlling life and death at most every scale of Palestinian existence. The matrix is continuously adjusted with as much care as Israel has adjusted the caloric intake of Gazans during its periodic intensifications of the Gazan siege.

Three, four and five dimensions

A look at the group of detailed maps created by ICAHD reveals upwards of two dozen parameters of control that can intersect at any given coordinate on the map. But the map is only a two dimensional representation of a multidimensional and multi-levelled reality. It’s not just various forces meeting on the ground. When you’re walking through the 97 percent of the West Bank that is in Areas B or C and thus under Israel security control, you realise that the matrix extends both under the ground you’re walking on and above your head.

Below ground, Israel controls all the water resources in the West Bank, and for 50 years has systematically taken most every possible well, stream, aquifer or other water source from Palestinians (in direct violation of international law, it must be remembered).

It also controls the airspace above Palestinians’ heads, as the constant buzz of Israeli fighter jets training overhead in the Jordan Valley, and the ubiquitous presence of drones and helicopters almost everywhere at any time, and the prohibitions on building new floors on existing structures makes clear.

In whatever direction Palestinians look or want to step or reach – left or right, forwards or backwards, above or below them – the land, air and water surrounding them is largely outside their permanent control.

Blink of an eye

But it is not just that most of their territory is out of Palestinian hands. The quantum physics of Israel’s matrix of control also has its own Heisenberg, or uncertainty principle.

In quantum mechanics this principle asserts that it is impossible to know with precision the exact state of a particle because the very act of observing it changes its state. In the same way, merely by changing their location Palestinians change the state of territory upon which they are moving.

On the one hand, despite the rockiness of the landscape, the geography of the West Bank can be among the most liquid on earth. It changes as one moves through it, depending on who you are – Jew or Palestinian, settler or refusnik, soldier or international. Spaces that seems open and free can suddenly be surrounded by military forces and closed off, declared off limits for any length of time for a variety of reasons merely because Palestinians moved into and through it or used it for grazing, water, or other normal activities.

Moreover, their very movement through the geography can change it not just for a moment, but permanently. At the same time, the uncertainty principle can also operate with a time lag. If Palestinians decide to walk through a Jordan Valley village, for example, or to plant trees on their land in the hills around Hebron or Jenin, it’s not at all uncommon for the Israeli military to issue demolition or confiscation orders a few days later.

In particular, the movement of Jews has an even more profound effect than Palestinians especially when establishing an outpost or settlement. Once land is claimed even on the flimsiest of pretexts the military usually moves in and declares a still larger area a security zone, making it impossible for Palestinians to access the land for months, years or even decades.

And so, it seems that land in Palestine can change states from liquid to solid almost instantly, freezing in place whatever Israel decides it wants frozen, from people to legal categories. The quantum physics of Palestinian geography can thus produce permanent changes not just in the three normal dimensions of space, but in the conflict’s “fourth dimension” as well, namely time.

But however many dimensions one considers, the goal remains the same: to achieve, in the words of the Palestinian-Israeli hip-hop group DAM, “Maximum Jews on maximum land; minimum Arabs on minimum land.”

Neoliberal policies

There is even a fifth, economic dimension in which the physics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict operates. The neoliberal policies imposed on the Occupied Territories under Oslo have ensured that when Palestinians aren’t being displaced by Israeli settlers or bombs, they are fixed in place as objects of development, whose economic life is confined to small spaces that remain largely under Israeli control. The possibility of their becoming subjects able to shape their own destinies is, it seems, outside the laws of physics operating in the Holy Land.

It is the changeling nature of the political, physical and economic geographies of the Israeli-controlled Occupied Territories that has made it so difficult for Palestinians and their supporters internationally (including in Israel) to develop effective strategies of resistance, nevermind transcending the occupation.

With Oslo’s final demise, Palestinians don’t just need new strategies for resisting an occupation without end; what’s needed is an entirely new physics as well.

Indeed, it has long been argued that Palestinians are still waiting for their Ghandi. It might well turn out that to overcome decades of totalitarian Israeli rule, a long-dead peace process, and ineptitude, corruption and authoritarianism internally, Einstein would be a far more useful figure.

Mark LeVine is a professor of Middle Eastern History at University of California, Irvine, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Lund University.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
 
Source: Al Jazeera

Eliminating the Palestinians as a political entity

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.604392

Eliminating the Palestinians as a political entity

The government is intent on destroying every political entity in the West Bank and turning the Palestinians into a marginalized, fragmented people.

By Yitzhak Laor | 05:28 11.07.14 | 1

Israel’s policies in the West Bank are turning the Palestinian people, at best, into a fragmented, marginalized people deprived of their rights. Photo by AFP
In the midst of events, with all the TV commotion enveloping the current crisis, one tends to forget the crux of the matter, the continuous chain linking it to previous steps – the foiling of negotiations with the Palestinians, refusal to release prisoners as agreed upon, incitement against their unity government and the expansion of settlements.

All of these are part of this right-wing government’s plan to destroy any political entity in the occupied territories, turning the Palestinian people, at best, into a fragmented, marginalized people deprived of their rights.

The conflict is costing little Jewish blood but much Arab blood. In any event, in the absence of significant opposition, Israel is intent on inheriting it all – as few Palestinians as possible, with maximal destruction, despair, poverty and real estate.

The Oslo Accords, with their implicit assent to the settlements, were signed by Israel after 25 years of occupation to the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which temporarily left the United States as the sole power in the region. Now, with the gradual disengagement of Washington, the right-wing government and its satellites are planning to rescind not only the Oslo Accords, but to abolish any political entity in Palestine.

This is the strategy carried out by the IDF in its “inter-war campaign.” It calls for a crisis from time to time, a Palestinian yearning for freedom, a few Israeli deaths with some grieving and much unity, with a drive to further break the Palestinians, in the name of deterrence or the Zionist vision. And what if Jihadists arise there on the ruins of the popular resistance movements? Very good! This will only further serve our territorial greed.

The blood is always the blood of innocents. The objective is always to maximize the opportunities for expansion with no internal dissent.

That is how the current crisis began – two youths and a young man were abducted in the occupied territories by terrorists, who come from the occupied nation. These facts were known from the outset, and apparently there was no reason for us to “unite as one nation, regardless of left or right.” We don’t go into around-the-clock televised mode when Israeli hikers disappear in Chile. We don’t gather around in a national grief session when a whole family is wiped out in a traffic accident on the Arava road. Only when it comes to the occupation – in which case a brutal murder is much more effective than a land mine – do we turn into a proud and tearful nation.

The State of Israel is the best military mobilizing officer in the democratic world. Every such crisis is exploited in order to turn the masses into a furious mob, while expanding destruction in the territories. At the head of the mob always appears the fascist leader of the moment, prepared to stoke the flames. This is how we got Ariel Sharon after his visit to the Temple Mount. Avigdor Lieberman acquired his national stature during the bloodbath of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008. Now, he and others are vying for the next achievement in the incitement campaign against Israel’s Arab citizens.

It’s a pity that of all times, it is during a crisis, such as during the search for the abducted teens, that the Israeli left stutters. Some among them obediently stand to attention, not comprehending what is actually transpiring in the occupied territories. Some of them actually explained that they would temporarily join the herd, emerging strengthened, since the herd will have sympathized with them. But the herd always smells blood, or reeks of it. Even when it is bloodied itself it will not reverse direction since there is no external force – an organized left that retains memories of past circumstances – that will hit again and again, saying: “Remember what we said? It’s the occupation!”

Gone are the days of street demonstrations attended by both Arabs and Jews, which ceased with “Cast Lead.” Up until the kidnapping crisis people here were occupied with MK Meir Shitreet’s housekeeper and her hush money. This was – for those who need reminding – during the hunger strike staged by administrative detainees. The silence continued during the search for the bodies, the mass arrests, the breaking into Palestinian homes and the torture.

Benjamin Netanyahu is not lying when he casts blame on the Palestinians. They are still there, and hence, as far as he is concerned, they pose an obstacle to peace. We are in the midst of a colonial story. Not the oppression of a nation but its elimination as a political entity. No opposition agenda can bypass this truth.

Reshaping territory: The story of Israel’s shifting borders

Reshaping territory: The story of Israel’s shifting borders

Does this country have an underlying strategy of expansion, or are its widening borders a natural consequence of the Arab-Israeli conflict? ‘Borderline Choices’ takes readers on a tour of some of the seminal decisions that have affected Israel’s de facto map.

By Yossi Melman |Ha’aretz,  Jan. 16, 2012

Hakhraot Gvuliot ‏(Borderline Choices‏), by Uri Neeman and David Arbel. Yedioth Books ‏(Hebrew) 271 pages, NIS 118.

This is an intriguing book about Israel’s borders. To be more precise, about the decisions about peace and security that led to the determination of its elastic and still shifting borders.

The Zionist movement and, afterward, the State of Israel, persistently refrained from setting definitive borders, and its de facto borders were born of wars and of Israel’s withdrawal from, and return of, territory. But if you’re expecting to see a pattern here, think again. Yes, the authors write, one would have thought that “the shaping of Israel’s borders, a process still taking place today, was influenced by basic aspirations, political processes and of course the worldviews and decisions of leaders who planned their actions with a view to the end result.” But in fact that often isn’t what happened, with Israel’s borders being shaped by changing opportunities rather than grand schemes or, even worse, conspiracies.

For example, the decision by Levi Eshkol’s government to go to war in June 1967 does not appear to have been intended to influence Israel’s borders, but in retrospect, it clearly had a decisive influence on them. Since the Six-Day War, Israel has returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty and withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, but it continues to hold onto the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

In “Borderline Choices,” David Arbel and Uri Neeman, both Mossad veterans, analyze eight situations in which Israeli leaders were required to deal with the issue of the state’s borders. They begin with David Ben-Gurion’s decision to adopt the partition plan accepted by the UN General Assembly in November 1947, and move on to the decisions to annex the land captured in the War of Independence ‏(which was meant to be part of a Palestinian state‏) and to start a preemptive war in 1967 but not in 1973. They also cover the peace agreement with Egypt and Israel’s 1982 withdrawal from Sinai ‏(in return for continued control of the West Bank and Gaza‏) and the decision the following year to destroy the semblance of a Palestinian state in Lebanon and to remove Fatah from there in order to ensure continued control of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the 1993 Oslo Accords, that document Israel’s willingness to return to a division of the land. The final topic is Ariel Sharon’s decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, in 2005.

Some of the authors’ opinions can be expected to generate controversy. For example, Neeman and Arbel claim that Menachem Begin was a full partner who knew about and sanctioned Sharon’s plan to invade Lebanon in 1982, in order to force the Palestinians to move from Lebanon into Jordan and encourage the establishment of a Palestinian state there. Another argument, taken from the field of conspiracy theory, says that on the eve of the Yom Kippur War, the military and political leadership hoped to exploit the Arab attack to perpetuate Israeli control of the territories captured in the 1967 war. And another of the book’s claims, although not particularly original, is that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin lacked sufficient information when he agreed to the open-ended Oslo process.

The book is written clearly and concisely. An entire chapter is devoted to each of the decisions under consideration, and a map makes it easier for readers to distinguish among the changes in Israel’s borders since the time of the partition plan. Most of the source material for the book comes from public sources. This is a pity. Because of the sensitivity of the subject under consideration, and since the writers are intelligence specialists practiced in the gathering of information, one might have expected that they would make a greater effort to locate primary sources, especially in the chapter on Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem.

Deciding on their own

The authors describe how some of the military and political decisions intended to shape Israel’s borders were made by premiers working with only a few select cabinet ministers and no in-depth discussion. In some cases the prime ministers decided on their own, as Rabin did when he accepted the Oslo map cooked up by aides to Shimon Peres, and Sharon did when he decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

In the book’s closing words, the authors quote from Ben-Gurion’s exhortation to exclude any mention of borders from Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which was being drafted at the time: “Since ancient times, the borders of the Jewish people’s autonomy have retreated and advanced in accordance with the permutations of history.” And indeed, the War of Independence, in the first days of the state, left borders that were different from those apportioned by the partition plan. And the situation continues to change.

Arab scholars and intellectuals see Ben-Gurion’s words, and the decisions about land and borders that have been made since, as proof that Israel always intended to expand. But mainstream Zionist historiographers disagree and see Israel as merely taking advantage of the opportunities created by historical processes to repeatedly reshape the country’s borders. It would have been better if the authors had devoted some attention to this issue and expressed an opinion on whether Israel has always had an underlying strategy of expansion or its widening borders are simply a natural consequence of the never-ending Arab-Israeli conflict.

The authors do, however, consider the question of whether Israel can continue to rule over the West Bank. The answer is no.

Reality dictates that the Land of Israel must be divided into two sovereign countries between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The principle of such a division is acceptable to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as to most Arab nations and the international community. There is some doubt, however, about whether the leaders of Israel and Palestine will display statesmanship and gather the political courage needed to agree on where to draw the border between them. The alternative to such a decision, the authors say, is a bloody clash that will in any case send both sides back to the starting line − the division of the Land of Israel into two nation-states.

Yossi Melman reports and comments on security and intelligence issues for Haaretz. His new book, “Running: An Autobiography,” was published last month ‏(in Hebrew‏) by Yedioth Books.

Why Israel will never show a map of its borders

 http://www.redress.cc/palestine

Why Israel will never show a map of its borders

By Alan Hart

17 October 2010

Alan Hart explains that Israel will never produce a map of its internationally-recognized borders because no Israeli leader would ever have the courage and leadership to stand up to and remove Jewish squatters from the occupied territories.

Better late than never! A very senior Palestinian official in Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has found the right way to challenge Israel and the US. As reported by AFP news agency on 13 October, he said: “We officially demand that the US administration and the Israeli government provide a map of the borders of the state of Israel which they want us to recognize.”

That’s a completely logical and totally reasonable demand.

If Israel was interested in peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, the map provided would show Israel with borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war. An accompanying note would say that, subject to agreement in final negotiations, Israel seeks minor border adjustments here and there. The note would also propose that Jerusalem should be an open, undivided city and the capital of two states.

If such a map with the note as above was presented, it would open the door to peace.

But the implementation of such land-for-peace deal would require the Israeli army to confront and forcibly remove illegal Jewish settlers who refused to leave; and that would open the door to a Jewish civil war – the price Israel’s Jews would have to pay for 62 years of contempt for and defiance of international law.

Of course it won’t happen. As I reveal in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, why not was explained to me as far back as I980 by Shimon Peres. At the time he was the leader of the Labour Party, the main opposition to Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s Likud-led coalition. Peres was hoping to win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term in office. (President Carter was hoping and possibly praying for such an outcome). My purpose in talking with Peres in private was to establish whether or not he was interested in me acting as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between himself and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat. Peres was interested but before I went off to Beirut to seek Arafat’s agreement to participate in a little conspiracy for peace, he said to me, “I fear it’s already too late”.

I asked Peres what he meant and this was his answer:

Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s stuffing the West Bank with settlers to create the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jews out of the West Bank. [pause] I’m not.

When Peres spoke those words to me there were 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank. If it was “too late” then, in 1980, how much more too late is it today when the number of illegal Jewish settlers is in excess of 500,000 and rising on a daily basis?

Some weeks after that conversation with Peres, I had reason to talk in private with Ezer Weizman, then serving as defence minister in Begin’s first-term government. He gave me extraordinary and frightening insight into why any future Israeli prime minister would not and possibly could not order the army to remove settlers from the West Bank by whatever force was necessary. At a point in our conversation he said the following, very slowly and with quiet emphasis:

This lunchtime Sharon convened a secret meeting of some of our generals and other top military and security people. They signed in blood an oath which commits them to join with the settlers and fight to the death to prevent any government of Israel withdrawing from the West Bank. [pause] I know that’s what happened at the meeting because I’ve checked it out and that’s why I was late for this appointment with you.

(I tell the full story of this conversation with Weizman in ”The Blood Oath”, Chapter 12, Volume Three, of the American edition of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews).

So no, there won’t be a Jewish civil war because no Israeli prime minister is ever going to risk provoking it.

So there will be no map. (I mean not one that could come even close to satisfying the Palestinian demand and need). Yasser Abed Rabbo knew that when he put the demand into words.

So what was the point of his challenge?

I presume he was hoping that Israel’s refusal to come up with a map based on more or less pre-June 1967 borders will help to convince more and more people, Americans especially, that Israel simply is not interested in peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, and for which there is universal support (minus only the opposition of the Zionists and the mad, fundamentalist Christians who support them right or wrong, an opposition which in numbers of people is only a tiny, almost invisible fraction of the global whole).

If it does that, the challenge will not have been made in vain.

Footnote

The day after Yasser Abed Rabbo issued the challenge, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had the gall (chutzpah) to say that Israel “has already made many gestures to the Palestinian Authority to facilitate restarting direct negotiations”, and now “the other side must show goodwill”. In one sense Lieberman was right. Israel has made many gestures to the Palestinians. But all of them have been of the “Go to hell” type.

Israelis covertly buy land in Sinai

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18365

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Global Research, March 28, 2010

Middle East Monitor – 2010-03-26

It has been alleged that foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula has been obtained through fraud. The claim was made by Egyptian writer and intellectual Fahmi Howeidi, who revealed that over “800 sq.km of the peninsula has been obtained by foreigners, including Israelis, by fraudulent means”. An additional 1000 residential units in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh’s have also come under foreign control fraudulently. The land deals in question have been concluded by an Egyptian corporation that is, claimed Mr. Howeidi, a front for a German company which used eleven lawyers to “fix 450 judicial rulings through which the registration and payments outside Egypt took place successfully”.

In an article published by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Row’ya (The Vision), Mr. Howeidi said, “The worst aspect of this case is that all these agreements were in favour of Israeli owners and companies.” In such a situation, he said, we are looking at something far more serious than “tourism and foreign investment; it becomes a scheme with political ramifications obvious to everybody”.

At a time when the Egyptian media has warnings about Palestinians crossing illegally into Sinai, he added, Israelis are working in secret to put their hands on whatever they can get from real estate and lands in the Egyptian Sinai.

Howeidi drew attention to the fact that this is not the first such case, “as the Syaj corporation was accused similarly when it bought 6500 square meters of land located on the Taba borders and it appeared that one of the financiers of the deal was the Israeli Lemerre Company”. It was later also discovered that one of the participants in this was a former Israeli general who had published two articles in American newspapers in 2000 and 2002 saying that the ruling in favour of Egypt on land in Taba did not help Israel’s national security and that it should be reviewed in order to address this “gap”

The contemplated territory of the Land of Israel

Since the establishment of the Jewish State, no government has been willing to designate the state's ultimate international borders.

The Land of Israel envisaged by Theodore Herzl (1904) and Rabbi Fischmann (1947)


In his Complete Diaries, Vol.II, Page 711, Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, says that the area of the Jewish state stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”.

A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties

Oded Yinon is an Israeli journalist and was formerly attached to the Foreign Ministry of Israel. To our knowledge, this document is the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East. Furthermore, it stands as an accurate representation of the “vision” for the entire Middle East of the presently ruling Zionist regime of Begin, Sharon and Eitan. Its importance, hence, lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it presents.

A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties

by Oded Yinon

This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14–Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem.

At the outset of the nineteen eighties the State of Israel is in need of a new perspective as to its place, its aims and national targets, at home and abroad. This need has become even more vital due to a number of central processes which the country, the region and the world are undergoing. We are living today in the early stages of a new epoch in human history which is not at all similar to its predecessor, and its characteristics are totally different from what we have hitherto known. That is why we need an understanding of the central processes which typify this historical epoch on the one hand, and on the other hand we need a world outlook and an operational strategy in accordance with the new conditions. The existence, prosperity and steadfastness of the Jewish state will depend upon its ability to adopt a new framework for its domestic and foreign affairs.

This epoch is characterized by several traits which we can already diagnose, and which symbolize a genuine revolution in our present lifestyle. The dominant process is the breakdown of the rationalist, humanist outlook as the major cornerstone supporting the life and achievements of Western civilization since the Renaissance. The political, social and economic views which have emanated from this foundation have been based on several “truths” which are presently disappearing–for example, the view that man as an individual is the center of the universe and everything exists in order to fulfill his basic material needs. This position is being invalidated in the present when it has become clear that the amount of resources in the cosmos does not meet Man’s requirements, his economic needs or his demographic constraints. In a world in which there are four billion human beings and economic and energy resources which do not grow proportionally to meet the needs of mankind, it is unrealistic to expect to fulfill the main requirement of Western Society, i.e., the wish and aspiration for boundless consumption. The view that ethics plays no part in determining the direction Man takes, but rather his material needs do–that view is becoming prevalent today as we see a world in which nearly all values are disappearing. We are losing the ability to assess the simplest things, especially when they concern the simple question of what is Good and what is Evil.

The vision of man’s limitless aspirations and abilities shrinks in the face of the sad facts of life, when we witness the break-up of world order around us. The view which promises liberty and freedom to mankind seems absurd in light of the sad fact that three fourths of the human race lives under totalitarian regimes. The views concerning equality and social justice have been transformed by socialism and especially by Communism into a laughing stock. There is no argument as to the truth of these two ideas, but it is clear that they have not been put into practice properly and the majority of mankind has lost the liberty, the freedom and the opportunity for equality and justice. In this nuclear world in which we are (still) living in relative peace for thirty years, the concept of peace and coexistence among nations has no meaning when a superpower like the USSR holds a military and political doctrine of the sort it has: that not only is a nuclear war possible and necessary in order to achieve the ends of Marxism, but that it is possible to survive after it, not to speak of the fact that one can be victorious in it.

The essential concepts of human society, especially those of the West, are undergoing a change due to political, military and economic transformations. Thus, the nuclear and conventional might of the USSR has transformed the epoch that has just ended into the last respite before the great saga that will demolish a large part of our world in a multi-dimensional global war, in comparison with which the past world wars will have been mere child’s play. The power of nuclear as well as of conventional weapons, their quantity, their precision and quality will turn most of our world upside down within a few years, and we must align ourselves so as to face that in Israel. That is, then, the main threat to our existence and that of the Western world. The war over resources in the world, the Arab monopoly on oil, and the need of the West to import most of its raw materials from the Third World, are transforming the world we know, given that one of the major aims of the USSR is to defeat the West by gaining control over the gigantic resources in the Persian Gulf and in the southern part of Africa, in which the majority of world minerals are located. We can imagine the dimensions of the global confrontation which will face us in the future.

The Gorshkov doctrine calls for Soviet control of the oceans and mineral rich areas of the Third World. That together with the present Soviet nuclear doctrine which holds that it is possible to manage, win and survive a nuclear war, in the course of which the West’s military might well be destroyed and its inhabitants made slaves in the service of Marxism-Leninism, is the main danger to world peace and to our own existence. Since 1967, the Soviets have transformed Clausewitz’ dictum into “War is the continuation of policy in nuclear means,” and made it the motto which guides all their policies. Already today they are busy carrying out their aims in our region and throughout the world, and the need to face them becomes the major element in our country’s security policy and of course that of the rest of the Free World. That is our major foreign challenge.

The Arab Moslem world, therefore, is not the major strategic problem which we shall face in the Eighties, despite the fact that it carries the main threat against Israel, due to its growing military might. This world, with its ethnic minorities, its factions and internal crises, which is astonishingly self-destructive, as we can see in Lebanon, in non-Arab Iran and now also in Syria, is unable to deal successfully with its fundamental problems and does not therefore constitute a real threat against the State of Israel in the long run, but only in the short run where its immediate military power has great import. In the long run, this world will be unable to exist within its present framework in the areas around us without having to go through genuine revolutionary changes. The Moslem Arab World is built like a temporary house of cards put together by foreigners (France and Britain in the Nineteen Twenties), without the wishes and desires of the inhabitants having been taken into account. It was arbitrarily divided into 19 states, all made of combinations of minorites and ethnic groups which are hostile to one another, so that every Arab Moslem state nowadays faces ethnic social destruction from within, and in some a civil war is already raging. Most of the Arabs, 118 million out of 170 million, live in Africa, mostly in Egypt (45 million today).

Apart from Egypt, all the Maghreb states are made up of a mixture of Arabs and non-Arab Berbers. In Algeria there is already a civil war raging in the Kabile mountains between the two nations in the country. Morocco and Algeria are at war with each other over Spanish Sahara, in addition to the internal struggle in each of them. Militant Islam endangers the integrity of Tunisia and Qaddafi organizes wars which are destructive from the Arab point of view, from a country which is sparsely populated and which cannot become a powerful nation. That is why he has been attempting unifications in the past with states that are more genuine, like Egypt and Syria. Sudan, the most torn apart state in the Arab Moslem world today is built upon four groups hostile to each other, an Arab Moslem Sunni minority which rules over a majority of non-Arab Africans, Pagans, and Christians. In Egypt there is a Sunni Moslem majority facing a large minority of Christians which is dominant in upper Egypt: some 7 million of them, so that even Sadat, in his speech on May 8, expressed the fear that they will want a state of their own, something like a “second” Christian Lebanon in Egypt.

All the Arab States east of Israel are torn apart, broken up and riddled with inner conflict even more than those of the Maghreb. Syria is fundamentally no different from Lebanon except in the strong military regime which rules it. But the real civil war taking place nowadays between the Sunni majority and the Shi’ite Alawi ruling minority (a mere 12% of the population) testifies to the severity of the domestic trouble.

Iraq is, once again, no different in essence from its neighbors, although its majority is Shi’ite and the ruling minority Sunni. Sixty-five percent of the population has no say in politics, in which an elite of 20 percent holds the power. In addition there is a large Kurdish minority in the north, and if it weren’t for the strength of the ruling regime, the army and the oil revenues, Iraq’s future state would be no different than that of Lebanon in the past or of Syria today. The seeds of inner conflict and civil war are apparent today already, especially after the rise of Khomeini to power in Iran, a leader whom the Shi’ites in Iraq view as their natural leader.

All the Gulf principalities and Saudi Arabia are built upon a delicate house of sand in which there is only oil. In Kuwait, the Kuwaitis constitute only a quarter of the population. In Bahrain, the Shi’ites are the majority but are deprived of power. In the UAE, Shi’ites are once again the majority but the Sunnis are in power. The same is true of Oman and North Yemen. Even in the Marxist South Yemen there is a sizable Shi’ite minority. In Saudi Arabia half the population is foreign, Egyptian and Yemenite, but a Saudi minority holds power.

Jordan is in reality Palestinian, ruled by a Trans-Jordanian Bedouin minority, but most of the army and certainly the bureaucracy is now Palestinian. As a matter of fact Amman is as Palestinian as Nablus. All of these countries have powerful armies, relatively speaking. But there is a problem there too. The Syrian army today is mostly Sunni with an Alawi officer corps, the Iraqi army Shi’ite with Sunni commanders. This has great significance in the long run, and that is why it will not be possible to retain the loyalty of the army for a long time except where it comes to the only common denominator: The hostility towards Israel, and today even that is insufficient.

Alongside the Arabs, split as they are, the other Moslem states share a similar predicament. Half of Iran’s population is comprised of a Persian speaking group and the other half of an ethnically Turkish group. Turkey’s population comprises a Turkish Sunni Moslem majority, some 50%, and two large minorities, 12 million Shi’ite Alawis and 6 million Sunni Kurds. In Afghanistan there are 5 million Shi’ites who constitute one third of the population. In Sunni Pakistan there are 15 million Shi’ites who endanger the existence of that state.

This national ethnic minority picture extending from Morocco to India and from Somalia to Turkey points to the absence of stability and a rapid degeneration in the entire region. When this picture is added to the economic one, we see how the entire region is built like a house of cards, unable to withstand its severe problems.

In this giant and fractured world there are a few wealthy groups and a huge mass of poor people. Most of the Arabs have an average yearly income of 300 dollars. That is the situation in Egypt, in most of the Maghreb countries except for Libya, and in Iraq. Lebanon is torn apart and its economy is falling to pieces. It is a state in which there is no centralized power, but only 5 de facto sovereign authorities (Christian in the north, supported by the Syrians and under the rule of the Franjieh clan, in the East an area of direct Syrian conquest, in the center a Phalangist controlled Christian enclave, in the south and up to the Litani river a mostly Palestinian region controlled by the PLO and Major Haddad’s state of Christians and half a million Shi’ites). Syria is in an even graver situation and even the assistance she will obtain in the future after the unification with Libya will not be sufficient for dealing with the basic problems of existence and the maintenance of a large army. Egypt is in the worst situation: Millions are on the verge of hunger, half the labor force is unemployed, and housing is scarce in this most densely populated area of the world. Except for the army, there is not a single department operating efficiently and the state is in a permanent state of bankruptcy and depends entirely on American foreign assistance granted since the peace.

In the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt there is the largest accumulation of money and oil in the world, but those enjoying it are tiny elites who lack a wide base of support and self-confidence, something that no army can guarantee. The Saudi army with all its equipment cannot defend the regime from real dangers at home or abroad, and what took place in Mecca in 1980 is only an example. A sad and very stormy situation surrounds Israel and creates challenges for it, problems, risks but also far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967. Chances are that opportunities missed at that time will become achievable in the Eighties to an extent and along dimensions which we cannot even imagine today.

The “peace” policy and the return of territories, through a dependence upon the US, precludes the realization of the new option created for us. Since 1967, all the governments of Israel have tied our national aims down to narrow political needs, on the one hand, and on the other to destructive opinions at home which neutralized our capacities both at home and abroad. Failing to take steps towards the Arab population in the new territories, acquired in the course of a war forced upon us, is the major strategic error committed by Israel on the morning after the Six Day War. We could have saved ourselves all the bitter and dangerous conflict since then if we had given Jordan to the Palestinians who live west of the Jordan river. By doing that we would have neutralized the Palestinian problem which we nowadays face, and to which we have found solutions that are really no solutions at all, such as territorial compromise or autonomy which amount, in fact, to the same thing. Today, we suddenly face immense opportunities for transforming the situation thoroughly and this we must do in the coming decade, otherwise we shall not survive as a state.

In the course of the Nineteen Eighties, the State of Israel will have to go through far-reaching changes in its political and economic regime domestically, along with radical changes in its foreign policy, in order to stand up to the global and regional challenges of this new epoch. The loss of the Suez Canal oil fields, of the immense potential of the oil, gas and other natural resources in the Sinai peninsula which is geomorphologically identical to the rich oil-producing countries in the region, will result in an energy drain in the near future and will destroy our domestic economy: one quarter of our present GNP as well as one third of the budget is used for the purchase of oil.9 The search for raw materials in the Negev and on the coast will not, in the near future, serve to alter that state of affairs.

(Regaining) the Sinai peninsula with its present and potential resources is therefore a political priority which is obstructed by the Camp David and the peace agreements. The fault for that lies of course with the present Israeli government and the governments which paved the road to the policy of territorial compromise, the Alignment governments since 1967. The Egyptians will not need to keep the peace treaty after the return of the Sinai, and they will do all they can to return to the fold of the Arab world and to the USSR in order to gain support and military assistance. American aid is guaranteed only for a short while, for the terms of the peace and the weakening of the U.S. both at home and abroad will bring about a reduction in aid. Without oil and the income from it, with the present enormous expenditure, we will not be able to get through 1982 under the present conditions and we will have to act in order to return the situation to the status quo which existed in Sinai prior to Sadat’s visit and the mistaken peace agreement signed with him in March 1979.

Israel has two major routes through which to realize this purpose, one direct and the other indirect. The direct option is the less realistic one because of the nature of the regime and government in Israel as well as the wisdom of Sadat who obtained our withdrawal from Sinai, which was, next to the war of 1973, his major achievement since he took power. Israel will not unilaterally break the treaty, neither today, nor in 1982, unless it is very hard pressed economically and politically and Egypt provides Israel with the excuse to take the Sinai back into our hands for the fourth time in our short history. What is left therefore, is the indirect option. The economic situation in Egypt, the nature of the regime and its pan-Arab policy, will bring about a situation after April 1982 in which Israel will be forced to act directly or indirectly in order to regain control over Sinai as a strategic, economic and energy reserve for the long run. Egypt does not constitute a military strategic problem due to its internal conflicts and it could be driven back to the post 1967 war situation in no more than one day.

The myth of Egypt as the strong leader of the Arab World was demolished back in 1956 and definitely did not survive 1967, but our policy, as in the return of the Sinai, served to turn the myth into “fact.” In reality, however, Egypt’s power in proportion both to Israel alone and to the rest of the Arab World has gone down about 50 percent since 1967. Egypt is no longer the leading political power in the Arab World and is economically on the verge of a crisis. Without foreign assistance the crisis will come tomorrow. In the short run, due to the return of the Sinai, Egypt will gain several advantages at our expense, but only in the short run until 1982, and that will not change the balance of power to its benefit, and will possibly bring about its downfall. Egypt, in its present domestic political picture, is already a corpse, all the more so if we take into account the growing Moslem-Christian rift. Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.

Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run.

The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization.

The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia. Regardless of whether its economic might based on oil remains intact or whether it is diminished in the long run, the internal rifts and breakdowns are a clear and natural development in light of the present political structure.

Jordan constitutes an immediate strategic target in the short run but not in the long run, for it does not constitute a real threat in the long run after its dissolution, the termination of the lengthy rule of King Hussein and the transfer of power to the Palestinians in the short run.

There is no chance that Jordan will continue to exist in its present structure for a long time, and Israel’s policy, both in war and in peace, ought to be directed at the liquidation of Jordan under the present regime and the transfer of power to the Palestinian majority. Changing the regime east of the river will also cause the termination of the problem of the territories densely populated with Arabs west of the Jordan. Whether in war or under conditions of peace, emigrationfrom the territories and economic demographic freeze in them, are the guarantees for the coming change on both banks of the river, and we ought to be active in order to accelerate this process in the nearest future. The autonomy plan ought also to be rejected, as well as any compromise or division of the territories for, given the plans of the PLO and those of the Israeli Arabs themselves, the Shefa’amr plan of September 1980, it is not possible to go on living in this country in the present situation without separating the two nations, the Arabs to Jordan and the Jews to the areas west of the river. Genuine coexistence and peace will reign over the land only when the Arabs understand that without Jewish rule between the Jordan and the sea they will have neither existence nor security. A nation of their own and security will be theirs only in Jordan.

Within Israel the distinction between the areas of ’67 and the territories beyond them, those of ’48, has always been meaningless for Arabs and nowadays no longer has any significance for us. The problem should be seen in its entirety without any divisions as of ’67. It should be clear, under any future political situation or mifitary constellation, that the solution of the problem of the indigenous Arabs will come only when they recognize the existence of Israel in secure borders up to the Jordan river and beyond it, as our existential need in this difficult epoch, the nuclear epoch which we shall soon enter. It is no longer possible to live with three fourths of the Jewish population on the dense shoreline which is so dangerous in a nuclear epoch.

Dispersal of the population is therefore a domestic strategic aim of the highest order; otherwise, we shall cease to exist within any borders. Judea, Samaria and the Galilee are our sole guarantee for national existence, and if we do not become the majority in the mountain areas, we shall not rule in the country and we shall be like the Crusaders, who lost this country which was not theirs anyhow, and in which they were foreigners to begin with. Rebalancing the country demographically, strategically and economically is the highest and most central aim today. Taking hold of the mountain watershed from Beersheba to the Upper Galilee is the national aim generated by the major strategic consideration which is settling the mountainous part of the country that is empty of Jews today.

Realizing our aims on the Eastern front depends first on the realization of this internal strategic objective. The transformation of the political and economic structure, so as to enable the realization of these strategic aims, is the key to achieving the entire change. We need to change from a centralized economy in which the government is extensively involved, to an open and free market as well as to switch from depending upon the U.S. taxpayer to developing, with our own hands, of a genuine productive economic infrastructure. If we are not able to make this change freely and voluntarily, we shall be forced into it by world developments, especially in the areas of economics, energy, and politics, and by our own growing isolation.

From a military and strategic point of view, the West led by the U.S. is unable to withstand the global pressures of the USSR throughout the world, and Israel must therefore stand alone in the Eighties, without any foreign assistance, military or economic, and this is within our capacities today, with no compromises. Rapid changes in the world will also bring about a change in the condition of world Jewry to which Israel will become not only a last resort but the only existential option. We cannot assume that U.S. Jews, and the communities of Europe and Latin America will continue to exist in the present form in the future.

Our existence in this country itself is certain, and there is no force that could remove us from here either forcefully or by treachery (Sadat’s method). Despite the difficulties of the mistaken “peace” policy and the problem of the Israeli Arabs and those of the territories, we can effectively deal with these problems in the foreseeable future.


Conclusion (by the translator, Prof. Israel Shahak)

Three important points have to be clarified in order to be able to understand the significant possibilities of realization of this Zionist plan for the Middle East, and also why it had to be published.

The Military Background of The Plan

The military conditions of this plan have not been mentioned above, but on the many occasions where something very like it is being “explained” in closed meetings to members of the Israeli Establishment, this point is clarified. It is assumed that the Israeli military forces, in all their branches, are insufficient for the actual work of occupation of such wide territories as discussed above. In fact, even in times of intense Palestinian “unrest” on the West Bank, the forces of the Israeli Army are stretched out too much. The answer to that is the method of ruling by means of “Haddad forces” or of “Village Associations” (also known as “Village Leagues”): local forces under “leaders” completely dissociated from the population, not having even any feudal or party structure (such as the Phalangists have, for example). The “states” proposed by Yinon are “Haddadland” and “Village Associations,” and their armed forces will be, no doubt, quite similar. In addition, Israeli military superiority in such a situation will be much greater than it is even now, so that any movement of revolt will be “punished” either by mass humiliation as in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or by bombardment and obliteration of cities, as in Lebanon now (June 1982), or by both. In order to ensure this, the plan, as explained orally, calls for the establishment of Israeli garrisons in focal places between the mini states, equipped with the necessary mobile destructive forces. In fact, we have seen something like this in Haddadland and we will almost certainly soon see the first example of this system functioning either in South Lebanon or in all Lebanon.

It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly progressive mass movement among them. It may be that those two conditions will be removed only when the plan will be well advanced, with consequences which can not be foreseen.

Why it is necessary to publish this in Israel?

The reason for publication is the dual nature of the Israeli-Jewish society: A very great measure of freedom and democracy, specially for Jews, combined with expansionism and racist discrimination. In such a situation the Israeli-Jewish elite (for the masses follow the TV and Begin’s speeches) has to be persuaded. The first steps in the process of persuasion are oral, as indicated above, but a time comes in which it becomes inconvenient. Written material must be produced for the benefit of the more stupid “persuaders” and “explainers” (for example medium-rank officers, who are, usually, remarkably stupid). They then “learn it,” more or less, and preach to others. It should be remarked that Israel, and even the Yishuv from the Twenties, has always functioned in this way. I myself well remember how (before I was “in opposition”) the necessity of war with was explained to me and others a year before the 1956 war, and the necessity of conquering “the rest of Western Palestine when we will have the opportunity” was explained in the years 1965-67.

Why is it assumed that there is no special risk from the outside in the publication of such plans?

Such risks can come from two sources, so long as the principled opposition inside Israel is very weak (a situation which may change as a consequence of the war on Lebanon) : The Arab World, including the Palestinians, and the United States. The Arab World has shown itself so far quite incapable of a detailed and rational analysis of Israeli-Jewish society, and the Palestinians have been, on the average, no better than the rest. In such a situation, even those who are shouting about the dangers of Israeli expansionism (which are real enough) are doing this not because of factual and detailed knowledge, but because of belief in myth. A good example is the very persistent belief in the non-existent writing on the wall of the Knesset of the Biblical verse about the Nile and the Euphrates. Another example is the persistent, and completely false declarations, which were made by some of the most important Arab leaders, that the two blue stripes of the Israeli flag symbolize the Nile and the Euphrates, while in fact they are taken from the stripes of the Jewish praying shawl (Talit). The Israeli specialists assume that, on the whole, the Arabs will pay no attention to their serious discussions of the future, and the Lebanon war has proved them right. So why should they not continue with their old methods of persuading other Israelis?

In the United States a very similar situation exists, at least until now. The more or less serious commentators take their information about Israel, and much of their opinions about it, from two sources. The first is from articles in the “liberal” American press, written almost totally by Jewish admirers of Israel who, even if they are critical of some aspects of the Israeli state, practice loyally what Stalin used to call “the constructive criticism.” (In fact those among them who claim also to be “Anti-Stalinist” are in reality more Stalinist than Stalin, with Israel being their god which has not yet failed). In the framework of such critical worship it must be assumed that Israel has always “good intentions” and only “makes mistakes,” and therefore such a plan would not be a matter for discussion–exactly as the Biblical genocides committed by Jews are not mentioned. The other source of information, The Jerusalem Post, has similar policies. So long, therefore, as the situation exists in which Israel is really a “closed society” to the rest of the world, because the world wants to close its eyes, the publication and even the beginning of the realization of such a plan is realistic and feasible.

Israel Shahak
June 17, 1982
Jerusalem

About the Translator

Israel Shahak is a professor of organic chemistly at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. He published The Shahak Papers, collections of key articles from the Hebrew press, and is the author of numerous articles and books, among them Non-Jew in the Jewish State. His latest book is Israel’s Global Role: Weapons for Repression, published by the AAUG in 1982. Israel Shahak: (1933-2001)


Notes

1. American Universities Field Staff. Report No.33, 1979. According to this research, the population of the world will be 6 billion in the year 2000. Today’s world population can be broken down as follows: China, 958 million; India, 635 million; USSR, 261 million; U.S., 218 million Indonesia, 140 million; Brazil and Japan, 110 million each. According to the figures of the U.N. Population Fund for 1980, there will be, in 2000, 50 cities with a population of over 5 million each. The population ofthp;Third World will then be 80% of the world population. According to Justin Blackwelder, U.S. Census Office chief, the world population will not reach 6 billion because of hunger.

2. Soviet nuclear policy has been well summarized by two American Sovietologists: Joseph D. Douglas and Amoretta M. Hoeber, Soviet Strategy for Nuclear War, (Stanford, Ca., Hoover Inst. Press, 1979). In the Soviet Union tens and hundreds of articles and books are published each year which detail the Soviet doctrine for nuclear war and there is a great deal of documentation translated into English and published by the U.S. Air Force,including USAF: Marxism-Leninism on War and the Army: The Soviet View, Moscow, 1972; USAF: The Armed Forces of the Soviet State. Moscow, 1975, by Marshal A. Grechko. The basic Soviet approach to the matter is presented in the book by Marshal Sokolovski published in 1962 in Moscow: Marshal V. D. Sokolovski, Military Strategy, Soviet Doctrine and Concepts(New York, Praeger, 1963).

3. A picture of Soviet intentions in various areas of the world can be drawn from the book by Douglas and Hoeber, ibid. For additional material see: Michael Morgan, “USSR’s Minerals as Strategic Weapon in the Future,” Defense and Foreign Affairs, Washington, D.C., Dec. 1979.

4. Admiral of the Fleet Sergei Gorshkov, Sea Power and the State, London, 1979. Morgan, loc. cit. General George S. Brown (USAF) C-JCS, Statement to the Congress on the Defense Posture of the United States For Fiscal Year 1979, p. 103; National Security Council, Review of Non-Fuel Mineral Policy, (Washington, D.C. 1979,); Drew Middleton, The New York Times, (9/15/79); Time, 9/21/80.

5. Elie Kedourie, “The End of the Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 3, No.4, 1968.

6. Al-Thawra, Syria 12/20/79, Al-Ahram,12/30/79, Al Ba’ath, Syria, 5/6/79. 55% of the Arabs are 20 years old and younger, 70% of the Arabs live in Africa, 55% of the Arabs under 15 are unemployed, 33% live in urban areas, Oded Yinon, “Egypt’s Population Problem,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, No. 15, Spring 1980.

7. E. Kanovsky, “Arab Haves and Have Nots,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, No.1, Fall 1976, Al Ba’ath, Syria, 5/6/79.

8. In his book, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that the Israeli government is in fact responsible for the design of American policy in the Middle East, after June ’67, because of its own indecisiveness as to the future of the territories and the inconsistency in its positions since it established the background for Resolution 242 and certainly twelve years later for the Camp David agreements and the peace treaty with Egypt. According to Rabin, on June 19, 1967, President Johnson sent a letter to Prime Minister Eshkol in which he did not mention anything about withdrawal from the new territories but exactly on the same day the government resolved to return territories in exchange for peace. After the Arab resolutions in Khartoum (9/1/67) the government altered its position but contrary to its decision of June 19, did not notify the U.S. of the alteration and the U.S. continued to support 242 in the Security Council on the basis of its earlier understanding that Israel is prepared to return territories. At that point it was already too late to change the U.S. position and Israel’s policy. From here the way was opened to peace agreements on the basis of 242 as was later agreed upon in Camp David. See Yitzhak Rabin. Pinkas Sherut, (Ma’ariv 1979) pp. 226-227.

9. Foreign and Defense Committee Chairman Prof. Moshe Arens argued in an interview (Ma ‘ariv,10/3/80) that the Israeli government failed to prepare an economic plan before the Camp David agreements and was itself surprised by the cost of the agreements, although already during the negotiations it was possible to calculate the heavy price and the serious error involved in not having prepared the economic grounds for peace.

The former Minister of Treasury, Mr. Yigal Holwitz, stated that if it were not for the withdrawal from the oil fields, Israel would have a positive balance of payments (9/17/80). That same person said two years earlier that the government of Israel (from which he withdrew) had placed a noose around his neck. He was referring to the Camp David agreements (Ha’aretz, 11/3/78). In the course of the whole peace negotiations neither an expert nor an economics advisor was consulted, and the Prime Minister himself, who lacks knowledge and expertise in economics, in a mistaken initiative, asked the U.S. to give us a loan rather than a grant, due to his wish to maintain our respect and the respect of the U.S. towards us. See Ha’aretz1/5/79. Jerusalem Post, 9/7/79. Prof Asaf Razin, formerly a senior consultant in the Treasury, strongly criticized the conduct of the negotiations; Ha’aretz, 5/5/79. Ma’ariv, 9/7/79. As to matters concerning the oil fields and Israel’s energy crisis, see the interview with Mr. Eitan Eisenberg, a government advisor on these matters, Ma’arive Weekly, 12/12/78. The Energy Minister, who personally signed the Camp David agreements and the evacuation of Sdeh Alma, has since emphasized the seriousness of our condition from the point of view of oil supplies more than once…see Yediot Ahronot, 7/20/79. Energy Minister Modai even admitted that the government did not consult him at all on the subject of oil during the Camp David and Blair House negotiations. Ha’aretz, 8/22/79.

10. Many sources report on the growth of the armaments budget in Egypt and on intentions to give the army preference in a peace epoch budget over domestic needs for which a peace was allegedly obtained. See former Prime Minister Mamduh Salam in an interview 12/18/77, Treasury Minister Abd El Sayeh in an interview 7/25/78, and the paper Al Akhbar, 12/2/78 which clearly stressed that the military budget will receive first priority, despite the peace. This is what former Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil has stated in his cabinet’s programmatic document which was presented to Parliament, 11/25/78. See English translation, ICA, FBIS, Nov. 27. 1978, pp. D 1-10. According to these sources, Egypt’s military budget increased by 10% between fiscal 1977 and 1978, and the process still goes on. A Saudi source divulged that the Egyptians plan to increase their militmy budget by 100% in the next two years; Ha’aretz, 2/12/79 and Jerusalem Post, 1/14/79.

11. Most of the economic estimates threw doubt on Egypt’s ability to reconstruct its economy by 1982. See Economic Intelligence Unit, 1978 Supplement, “The Arab Republic of Egypt”; E. Kanovsky, “Recent Economic Developments in the Middle East,” Occasional Papers, The Shiloah Institution, June 1977; Kanovsky, “The Egyptian Economy Since the Mid-Sixties, The Micro Sectors,” Occasional Papers, June 1978; Robert McNamara, President of World Bank, as reported in Times, London, 1/24/78.

12. See the comparison made by the researeh of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and research camed out in the Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University, as well as the research by the British scientist, Denis Champlin, Military Review, Nov. 1979, ISS: The Military Balance 1979-1980, CSS; Security Arrangements in Sinai…by Brig. Gen. (Res.) A Shalev, No. 3.0 CSS; The Military Balance and the Military Options after the Peace Treaty with Egypt, by Brig. Gen. (Res.) Y. Raviv, No.4, Dec. 1978, as well as many press reports including El Hawadeth, London, 3/7/80; El Watan El Arabi, Paris, 12/14/79.

13. As for religious ferment in Egypt and the relations between Copts and Moslems see the series of articles published in the Kuwaiti paper, El Qabas, 9/15/80. The English author Irene Beeson reports on the rift between Moslems and Copts, see: Irene Beeson, Guardian, London, 6/24/80, and Desmond Stewart, Middle East Internmational, London 6/6/80. For other reports see Pamela Ann Smith, Guardian, London, 12/24/79; The Christian Science Monitor 12/27/79 as well as Al Dustour, London, 10/15/79; El Kefah El Arabi, 10/15/79.

14. Arab Press Service, Beirut, 8/6-13/80. The New Republic, 8/16/80, Der Spiegel as cited by Ha’aretz, 3/21/80, and 4/30-5/5/80; The Economist, 3/22/80; Robert Fisk, Times, London, 3/26/80; Ellsworth Jones, Sunday Times, 3/30/80.

15. J.P. Peroncell Hugoz, Le Monde, Paris 4/28/80; Dr. Abbas Kelidar, Middle East Review, Summer 1979; Conflict Studies, ISS, July 1975; Andreas Kolschitter, Der Zeit, (Ha’aretz, 9/21/79) Economist Foreign Report, 10/10/79, Afro-Asian Affairs, London, July 1979.

16. Arnold Hottinger, “The Rich Arab States in Trouble,” The New York Review of Books, 5/15/80; Arab Press Service, Beirut, 6/25-7/2/80; U.S. News and World Report, 11/5/79 as well as El Ahram, 11/9/79; El Nahar El Arabi Wal Duwali, Paris 9/7/79; El Hawadeth, 11/9/79; David Hakham, Monthly Review, IDF, Jan.-Feb. 79.

17. As for Jordan’s policies and problems see El Nahar El Arabi Wal Duwali, 4/30/79, 7/2/79; Prof. Elie Kedouri, Ma’ariv 6/8/79; Prof. Tanter, Davar 7/12/79; A. Safdi, Jerusalem Post, 5/31/79; El Watan El Arabi 11/28/79; El Qabas, 11/19/79. As for PLO positions see: The resolutions of the Fatah Fourth Congress, Damascus, August 1980. The Shefa’amr program of the Israeli Arabs was published in Ha’aretz, 9/24/80, and by Arab Press Report 6/18/80. For facts and figures on immigration of Arabs to Jordan, see Amos Ben Vered, Ha’aretz, 2/16/77; Yossef Zuriel, Ma’ariv 1/12/80. As to the PLO’s position towards Israel see Shlomo Gazit, Monthly Review; July 1980; Hani El Hasan in an interview, Al Rai Al’Am, Kuwait 4/15/80; Avi Plaskov, “The Palestinian Problem,” Survival, ISS, London Jan. Feb. 78; David Gutrnann, “The Palestinian Myth,” Commentary, Oct. 75; Bernard Lewis, “The Palestinians and the PLO,” Commentary Jan. 75; Monday Morning, Beirut, 8/18-21/80; Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1980.

18. Prof. Yuval Neeman, “Samaria–The Basis for Israel’s Security,” Ma’arakhot 272-273, May/June 1980; Ya’akov Hasdai, “Peace, the Way and the Right to Know,” Dvar Hashavua, 2/23/80. Aharon Yariv, “Strategic Depth–An Israeli Perspective,” Ma’arakhot 270-271, October 1979; Yitzhak Rabin, “Israel’s Defense Problems in the Eighties,” Ma’arakhot October 1979.

19. Ezra Zohar, In the Regime’s Pliers (Shikmona, 1974); Motti Heinrich, Do We have a Chance Israel, Truth Versus Legend (Reshafim, 1981).

20. Henry Kissinger, “The Lessons of the Past,” The Washington Review Vol 1, Jan. 1978; Arthur Ross, “OPEC’s Challenge to the West,” The Washington Quarterly, Winter, 1980; Walter Levy, “Oil and the Decline of the West,” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1980; Special Report–“Our Armed Forees-Ready or Not?” U.S. News and World Report 10/10/77; Stanley Hoffman, “Reflections on the Present Danger,” The New York Review of Books 3/6/80; Time 4/3/80; Leopold Lavedez “The illusions of SALT” Commentary Sept. 79; Norman Podhoretz, “The Present Danger,” Commentary March 1980; Robert Tucker, “Oil and American Power Six Years Later,” Commentary Sept. 1979; Norman Podhoretz, “The Abandonment of Israel,” Commentary July 1976; Elie Kedourie, “Misreading the Middle East,” Commentary July 1979.

21. According to figures published by Ya’akov Karoz, Yediot Ahronot, 10/17/80, the sum total of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the world in 1979 was double the amount recorded in 1978. In Germany, France, and Britain the number of anti-Semitic incidents was many times greater in that year. In the U.S. as well there has been a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents which were reported in that article. For the new anti-Semitism, see L. Talmon, “The New Anti-Semitism,” The New Republic, 9/18/1976; Barbara Tuchman, “They poisoned the Wells,” Newsweek 2/3/75.

Sharon’s “Advisors”

Sharon’s "Advisors"

Paul de Rooij


Ariel Sharon is surrounded by a coterie of “advisors? who step in to develop, perfect and sell plans for the continued and inexorable dispossession of the Palestinians. What is surprising is that these advisors, the intellectual progenitors of continuing mass crimes, are an outspoken bunch; they don’t shy away from revealing their latest fiendish plans or their true intent. There is no need for conspiracy theories; their intent and plans are out in the open. Despite lame denials by the Israeli government or their media surrogates, the public pronouncements of these latter day Dr. Strangeloves reveal the plans they have in store for the Palestinians, Iraqis, and for that matter, the United States. It is therefore instructive to analyze their latest statements.

Dovi

For the past few years, Dov Weisglass has been frequently in touch with Condoleezza Rice, the next Secretary of State, and they are even on an affectionate first name basis. Condi calls him “Dovi”, and it would be rather quaint were it not for the issues they must have discussed. Furthermore, Dovi is doing the thinking for Sharon these days, and so, Dovi’s public pronouncements assume canonical status.

On Oct. 6, 2004, Ari Shavit interviewed Dov Weisglass for Haaretz [1]. Any article by Shavit, “a loyal mouthpiece of any leader in power?[2], should alert one that these were not meant to be ordinary ruminations by a key political advisor. In fact, Dovi’s revelations were shocking because they exposed the pretense that the US still supported the “road map”, or realize Bush’s “vision” of a Palestinians state. Dovi’s brutal pronouncements made it clear that there was no longer any prospect for a negotiated solution.

"The significance of our disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. It supplies the formaldehyde necessary so there is no political process with the Palestinians."

 ? Ha’aretz, Oct. 6, 2004.

 Dovi’s apt use of “formaldehyde”, the morticians’ essential fluid, was revelatory. While morticians are concerned with masking the unpleasant sight of death, Dovi, a grand mortician, seeks to push a stake through the heart of the already dead negotiations. He continues:

"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."

"What I effectively agreed to with the Americans [in talks leading to Bush’s endorsement of disengagement] was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns."

 ? Haaretz, Oct. 6, 2004.

Just in case the previous shocking statement was not blatant enough, Dovi spells it out clearly for an American audience ? always a bit interpretation-challenged. With US official connivance, the Israelis are blocking meaningful negotiations indefinitely.

Some further context is necessary to understand these statements. The Haaretz interview was published about a month before the US elections, a date that ranks in the Israeli calendar as super Xmas. While during other election years Israeli politicians would be busy drawing up wish lists of goodies like F16s, loan guarantees, loan forgiveness, this year with the Americans fighting Israel’s war in Iraq, such demands would be construed as a bit too crass. This year Dovi had only one item on his list: he wanted US agreement to terminate negotiations forever  [3]. By making such a radical demand, Dovi was daring any US politician to object in the middle of an election campaign, and of course, no US politician did. Yet again, the failure of the US government to protest indicated that it would neither confront Israel nor encourage negotiations. So much for the self-designated “honest broker? label.

One must also remember the April 14, 2004 Washington meeting where Bush blessed Israel’s so-called disengagement plan. Prior to his departure to Washington, Sharon waited on the airport tarmac in Tel Aviv until a deal could be struck on his terms. Surely during this unnerving wait Dovi must have been talking to Condi. Within an hour the US government capitulated giving Sharon everything on his wish list, i.e., anointing the “disengagement plan”. So, what more would they want? Dovi’s revealing statements provide the answer: embalming the negotiations with the Palestinians, implying that annexation of the West Bank could continue apace, the construction of the wall would continue, and the creation of two Bantustan-prisons would be unilaterally imposed. When on May 19, 2004 an AIPAC audience applauded president Bush’s statement about his vision for a “viable Palestinian state”, this revealed exactly what is intended: an open air concentration camp will be imposed [4].

 Dovi’s statements and their implicit endorsement by the US will create a few public relations complications. For years, Israel refused to enter into negotiations because supposedly there was “no one to negotiate with”. Now, after Dovi’s revelations we know that no matter who represents the Palestinians, the Israelis will sabotage negotiations. In the past, they played along with the “road map? charade, especially if such a gambit would force the Palestine “Authority? to repress its own people, but now even this pretense will be dispensed with. Arafat could now be dispensed with too; and he proved to have had a timely death. All the appearances and US assurances that the Quartet “road map? negotiations would culminate in a Palestinian state were clearly undermined. The US will once again bear some consequences for this, but never mind.

 Zionism for carnivores

Arnon Soffer, a professor of geography/demography at Haifa University, is another of Sharon’s advisors, advisor to the armx’s top brass, and is reputed to be the “intellectual father of the disengagement plan”. In addition, Soffer is also known as a demographic prophet and someone who considers that the “Palestinian womb is a biological weapon”. Taking as much land with as few Palestinians has been a key preoccupation of demographers in Israel and those drawing the path of the wall. This means that a recent Jerusalem Post interview with Soffer is of particular importance. Soffer provided some brutal and revealing answers [5]:

Ruthie Blum: How will the region look the day after unilateral separation?
Arnon Soffer: The Palestinians will bombard us with artillery fire ” and we will have to retaliate. But at least the war will be at the fence ? not in kindergartens in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

RB: Will Israel be prepared to fight this war?
AS: First of all, the fence is not built like the Berlin Wall. It’s a fence that we will be guarding on either side. Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them. 

Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

RB: While CNN has its cameras at the wall?
 AS: If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.

RB: What will the end result of all this killing be?
AS: The Palestinians will be forced to realize that demography is no longer significant, because we’re here and they’re there. And then they will begin to ask for “conflict management” talks ? not that dirty word “peace.” Peace is a word for believers, and I have no tolerance for believers ? neither those who wear yarmulkes nor those who pray to the God of peace. [?] Both are dangerous. 

Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee “peace? ? it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews; it guarantees the kind of safety that will return tourists to the country; and it guarantees one other important thing. Between 1948 and 1967, the fence was a fence, and 400,000 people left the West Bank voluntarily. This is what will happen after separation. If a Palestinian cannot come into Tel Aviv for work, he will look in Iraq, or Kuwait, or London. I believe that there will be movement out of the area.

* * *

It would be difficult to find a clearer exposition of what the Palestinians can expect, and what type of society Israel will become. It also becomes clear why Dovi was so determined to remove any prospect of negotiations, i.e., he sought to forestall any externally imposed solution. He knew that any intervention by a World Court or any assertion of the Palestinian right not to be expelled would interfere with Soffer’s plans. Besides, “peace? is for the moist-eyed liberals, and not for hard-nosed realists.

Drang nach East [6]

Zionist plans are not confined within the borders of Israel and the occupied territories, but they extend broadly into the region. Strong Arab nations operating with a unified voice would be able to stand up to Israel. In the Zionist calculus, to avoid the possibility of resistance, the countries in the region have to be brought to their knees, and included in an Israeli controlled sphere of influence. In this scenario, countries with large armies and with a potential to interfere have to be demolished. Arab nationalists who seek to forge unity or to develop the area have to be undermined, and in their place, atavistic Islamic religious forces have to be fostered. Weaken, divide and rule. Does this sound far-fetched? One only has to read Oded Yinon’s ruminations [7]:

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shiite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.

Oded Yinon was formerly a senior Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry official. Although not currently one of Sharon’s advisors, his comments made in 1982 have a prescient ring to them. One can find recent expositions of the same plan, and all indicate that the United States is currently fighting Israel’s wars. Creating an Israeli sphere of influence in the area is emerging as a key motive behind the latest US-Iraq war [8].

Jamboree of the carnivores

Every year a conference in Herzliya attracts Israeli state planners, think-tankers, and cheerleaders. It is a jamboree for the carnivores; Zionists of a vegetarian stripe need not apply. Here, plans are made on how Palestinians can be further dispossessed, how to handle the propaganda, or reveal the latest sadistic fantasy. Plans for the entire region are also proposed and discussed. Out in the open one can hear what the likes of Soffer, Dovi and Yinon are currently proposing. Of course, these plans are not presented in “Western? media; here one will continue hearing about Israel’s peaceful intent, and the “only democracy in the Middle East”.

Also present in Herzliya are wannabe advisors, and the only way for them to be noticed is to present ever more extreme plans. There is a dynamic among these operators to propose plans that veer ever more to the right. Whereas the likes of Soffer would have seemed extreme twenty years ago, now his position is centrist. Todax’s extremists may become the common ground in a few years time.

The Ivy League Apologist

One of the attendees at the 2003 Herzliya conference was Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law School professor and legal contortionist extraordinaire. He has a bit of a misplaced liberal reputation since he is keen to justify torture, compulsory ID cards, and overturning international law. Dershowitz is always eager to dispense advice, and it is of interest to listen to his ruminations at the conference.

"We have a joint project between Israel and the US, which lawyers must lead. Our project is to propose new rules of international law. Israelis are obliged to follow the rules of law in the democracy called Israel, as I am within the US. Your moral obligation to comply with international law is voluntary. You are not represented in the making or implementing of those laws. International law lives or dies by its credibility, not by the democracy by which it has been constructed. I am suggesting the change of the rule of law. Democracy should not have to justify its actions and show how the rule of human rights has become a weapon in promoting human wrongs? You are the lab for that process. You are contributing greatly. Do not allow the world to bully you into believing that you are the human rights violators?"
 ? Alan Dershowitz, Dec. 2003. [9]

To implement plans like those advocated by Soffer requires perpetrating crimes against humanity, and this obviously clashes with international law. The legal profession in Israel has long justified Israel’s actions by contorted arguments as those made by Dershowitz  [10]. Israeli lawyers have always been selective on which laws apply to it, and of course, the core humanitarian law has been excluded. Furthermore, it will use bits of law that are useful for its purposes, e.g., British Mandate period military law, or Jordanian law, and if all else fails specific military orders are passed [11]. The veneer of legality is kept, but, as the recent International Court of Justice ruling pertaining to the wall indicates, it is increasingly difficult for them to cover up the mass crimes that the Zionist project requires. Dershowitz recommendation: don’t worry about it and ignore international law. The same argument will be made for US actions in the war in Iraq, the torture of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisoners, the US military deaths squads, the use of depleted uranium munitions, etc.

The Consequences

The consequences of the Zionist project are stark and they are clear for all involved. The Palestinians are at the receiving end of a genocidal plan. Of course, any act of resistance will elicit hollers about “terrorism”, and they can expect to be blamed for the cruelty dispensed to them by the Israelis. Negotiations will amount to “conflict management” between military rulers and Palestinian collaborators.

 Israelis must decide if they want to become a nation of prison wardens, a fate that awaits them, their children, and their grandchildren. A permanent state of simmering war is very costly, and is only tenable thanks to Americ largesse and diplomatic cover. The Zionist project also entails interfering in all the countries in the area. This project raises further questions about what type of society it wants to become, and whether the US will continue supporting them. Israel cannot escape the consequences of a fundamentally unjust system; while this persists there will be continued strife, and all aspects of its society will be grotesquely distorted [12].

The costs for the United States are also high and the implications stark. The US is expected to continue funding Israel in ever increasing amounts, without a peep of gratitude from the recipient. The US also has to tarnish its international reputation by having to cover for Israel. And now the US has to pay a cost in blood; the war in Iraq is another contribution to Israel. Are Iran, Syria, <fill in the blank> next?

The US?s relation with Israel is also having distorting effects on American society. The fact that AIPAC is the most powerful lobby (aka, “the Lobby?) in Washington and that most politicians genuflect when the word Israel is mentioned indicates that the US political system may not represent the interests of the American people. Certainly, US foreign policy is not open to democratic debate, and currently it is the exclusive preserve of an unaccountable and reactionary elite. The debate about the US?s place in the world and hence what type of society it wants to become must urgently be brought out into the open. A simple issue must be addressed: whose interests is US foreign policy supposed to foster, and is it in the US?s interests to support a malevolent apartheid state in the Middle East?

Pariah state and ideology

In the 1990s, the United Nations attempted to condemn Zionism as a racist ideology. Alas, with US connivance and massive manipulation, this mild UN rebuke was not adopted. However, the manifest sadism to which Palestinians have been subjected indicates that there is a much deeper and serious objection to this ideology, i.e., the Zionist project, is inherently genocidal, and the plans of Sharon’s advisors and Israel’s history of ethnic cleansing make this abundantly clear. Zionism has to be considered a pariah ideology. Furthermore, the combination of pernicious ideologues with a dangerous war criminal requires that we treat Israel as a pariah state.

Endnotes
    1.      Ari Shavit, Top PM aide: Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process, Haaretz, Oct. 6, 2004.
    2.       Ran HaCohen Mid-Eastern Terms, DissidentVoice, June 19, 2003.
    3.       In reality, Israel received quite a few more goodies this year. First, an increase in aid and forgiven loans. Second, it also received thousands of J-Dam bombs, the type that could demolish Iran’s nuclear power plants. NB: This comes after the delivery of more than 100 special F16s capable of flying all the way to Iran.
    4.       Bush’s policy speech in front of AIPAC in 2004 was frequently interrupted by applause. It is curious that the word “viable? elicited applause. Key words and phrases are used that have a special meaning for US officials and this crowd. Analyzing where the AIPAC audience applauded will reveal the true meaning of many such terms.
    5.       Ruthie Blum, “ONE on ONE: It’s the demography, stupid”,  Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2004.
    6.       Nazi ideologues referred to the national imperative for expansion towards the Eastern Europe as “drang nach Osten”.
    7.       Oded Yinon, “Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties? Feb. 1982. Available online here: [http://www.corkpsc.org/db.php?aid=5345] This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in Kivunim (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; February 1982. The Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization in Jerusalem publishes the journal. Yinon’s article was translated by Dr. Israel Shahak and appeared in his Translations of the Hebrew press. Invariably statements about plans are more elaborate and open when written in Hebrew; it is also rare to see them translated in their entirety into English.
 NB: One could easily imagine the hysterics and indignation if any Arab ideologue were to publish designs for the region that would include an emasculated Israel. However, when Israeli ideologues discuss subjugating the region to its interests, then this is considered par for the course.
    8.       It is wrong to suggest that there is a single motive for wars. It is when there is a confluence of interests in fostering wars that opinion can be mobilized in favor of a war. Control of oil, armaments, post-war slices of the cake, all have constituencies who favored the war. The centrality of the Israeli motivation is made clear by the statements by the main actors pushing the war. See also Kathleen and Bill Christison’s “Too Many Smoking Guns to Ignore: Israel, American Jews, and the War on Iraq”, CounterPunch, January 25, 2003.
    9.       Quoted in Azmi Bishara, “Chutzpah: an avoidance strategy”, Al Ahram, Dec. 25, 2003, Issue 670. [http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/print/2003/670/op41.htm],
    10.       Azmi Bishara observes that Dershowitz isn’t stating anything new. What is reassuring to the Israeli legal profession is that even a Harvard professor is telling them to go on doing what they do at present, i.e., flout international law.
    11.       A good account of the legal sophistry can be found in Raja Shehadeh’s Occupier’s Law, IPS, 1985. Alternatively, Lisa Hajjar’s Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza, University of California Press, 2005.
    12.       Take one example: the construction of the wall is Israel’s largest infrastructure project. It will cost billions. Are they spending all this money and effort to imprison another people? The wall is compounding the unjust situation, and thus making matters worse.

 Paul de Rooij is a writer living in London. He can be reached at proox@hotmail.com

Paul de Rooij