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Uri Avnery

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Printed Date: 29 July 2014 at 3:43am


Topic: Uri Avnery
Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Subject: Uri Avnery
Date Posted: 26 August 2006 at 1:56pm
America's Rottweiler

IN HIS latest speech, which infuriated so many people, Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad uttered a sentence that deserves attention: "Every new
Arab generation hates Israel more than the previous one."

Of all that has been said about the Second Lebanon War, these are
perhaps the most important words.

The main product of this war is hatred. The pictures of death and
destruction in Lebanon entered every Arab home, indeed every Muslim
home, from Indonesia to Morocco, from Yemen to the Muslim ghettos in
London and Berlin. Not for an hour, not for a day, but for 33 successive
days - day after day, hour after hour. The mangled bodies of babies, the
women weeping over the ruins of their homes, Israeli children writing
"greetings" on shells about to be fired at villages, Ehud Olmert blabbering
about "the most moral army in the world" while the screen showed a heap
of bodies.

Israelis ignored these sights, indeed they were scarcely shown on our TV.
Of course, we could see them on Aljazeera and some Western channels,
but Israelis were much too busy with the damage wrought in our Northern
towns. Feelings of pity and empathy for non-Jews have been blunted here
a long time ago.

But it is a terrible mistake to ignore this result of the war. It is far more
important than the stationing of a few thousand European troops along
our border, with the kind consent of Hizbullah. It may still be bothering
generations of Israelis, when the names Olmert and Halutz have long
been forgotten, and when even Nasrallah no longer remember the name
Amir Peretz.


IN ORDER for the significance of Assad's words to become clear, they
have to be viewed in a historical context.

The whole Zionist enterprise has been compared to the transplantation of
an organ into the body of a human being. The natural immunity system
rises up against the foreign implant, the body mobilizes all its power to
reject it. The doctors use a heavy dosage of medicines in order to
overcome the rejection. That can go on for a long time, sometimes until
the eventual death of the body itself, including the transplant.

(Of course, this analogy, like any other, should be treated cautiously. An
analogy can help in understanding things, but no more than that.)

The Zionist movement has planted a foreign body in this country, which
was then a part of the Arab-Muslim space. The inhabitants of the country,
and the entire Arab region, rejected the Zionist entity. Meanwhile, the
Jewish settlement has taken roots and become an authentic new nation
rooted in the country. Its defensive power against the rejection has
grown. This struggle has been going on for 125 years, becoming more
violent from generation to generation. The last war was yet another
episode.


WHAT IS our historic objective in this confrontation?

A fool will say: to stand up to the rejection with a growing dosage of
medicaments, provided by America and World Jewry. The greatest fools
will add: There is no solution. This situation will last forever. There is
nothing to be done about it but to defend ourselves in war after war after
war. And the next war is already knocking on the door.

The wise will say: our objective is to cause the body to accept the
transplant as one of its organs, so that the immune system will no longer
treat us as an enemy that must be removed at any price. And if this is the
aim, it must become the main axis of our efforts. Meaning: each of our
actions must be judged according to a simple criterion: does it serve this
aim or obstruct it?

According to this criterion, the Second Lebanon War was a disaster.


FIFTY NINE years ago, two months before the outbreak of our War of
Independence, I published a booklet entitled "War or Peace in the Semitic
Region". Its opening words were:

"When our Zionist fathers decided to set up a 'safe haven' in Palestine,
they had a choice between two ways:

"They could appear in West Asia as a European conqueror, who sees
himself as a bridge-head of the 'white' race and a master of the 'natives',
like the Spanish Conquistadores and the Anglo-Saxon colonists in
America. That is what the Crusaders did in Palestine.

"The second way was to consider themselves as an Asian nation returning
to its home - a nation that sees itself as an
heir to the political and cultural heritage of the Semitic race, and which is
prepared to join the peoples of the Semitic region in their war of
liberation from European exploitation."

As is well known, the State of Israel, which was established a few months
later, chose the first way. It gave its hand to colonial France, tried to help
Britain to return to the Suez Canal and, since 1967, has become the little
sister of the United States.

That was not inevitable. On the contrary, in the course of years there have
been a growing number of indications that the immune system of the
Arab-Muslim body is starting to incorporate the transplant - as a human
body accepts the organ of a close relative - and is ready to accept us.
Such an indication was the visit of Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem. Such was
the peace treaty signed with us by King Hussein, a descendent of the
Prophet. And, most importantly, the historic decision of Yasser Arafat, the
leader of the Palestinian people, to make peace with Israel.

But after every huge step forward, there came an Israeli step backward. It
is as if the transplant rejects the body's acceptance of it. As if it has
become so accustomed to being rejected, that it does all it can to induce
the body to reject it even more.

It is against this background that one should weigh the words spoken by
Assad Jr., a member of the new Arab generation, at the end of the recent
war.


AFTER EVERY single one of the war aims put forward by our government
had evaporated, one after the other, another reason was brought up: this
war was a part of the "clash of civilizations", the great campaign of the
Western world and its lofty values against the barbarian darkness of the
Islamic world.

That reminds one, of course, of the words written 110 years ago by the
father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in the founding document of
the Zionist movement: "In Palestine…we shall constitute for Europe a part
of the wall against Asia, and serve as the vanguard of civilization against
barbarism." Without knowing, Olmert almost repeated this formula in his
justification of his war, in order to please President Bush.

It happens from time to time in the United States that somebody invents
an empty but easily digested slogan, which then dominates the public
discourse for some time. It seems that the more stupid the slogan is, the
better its chances of becoming the guiding light for academia and the
media - until another slogan appears and supersedes it. The latest
example is the slogan "Clash of Civilizations", coined by Samuel P.
Huntington in 1993 (taking over from the "End of History").

What clash of ideas is there between Muslim Indonesia and Christian
Chile? What eternal struggle between Poland and Morocco? What is it that
unifies Malaysia and Kosovo, two Muslim nations? Or two Christian
nations like Sweden and Ethiopia?

In what way are the ideas of the West more sublime than those of the
East? The Jews that fled the flames of the auto-da-fe of the Christian
Inquisition in Spain were received with open arms by the Muslim Ottoman
Empire. The most cultured of European nations democratically elected
Adolf Hitler as its leader and perpetrated the Holocaust, without the Pope
raising his voice in protest.

In what way are the spiritual values of the United States, today's Empire of
the West, superior to those of India and China, the rising stars of the
East? Huntington himself was compelled to admit: "The West won the
world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather
by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget
this fact, non-Westerners never do." In the West, too, women won the
vote only in the 20th century, and slavery was abolished there only in the
second half of the 19th. And in the leading nation of the West,
fundamentalism is now also raising its head.

What interest, for goodness sake, have we in volunteering to be a political
and military vanguard of the West in this imagined clash?


THE TRUTH is, of course, that this entire story of the clash of civilizations
is nothing but an ideological cover for something that has no connection
with ideas and values: the determination of the United States to dominate
the world's resources, and especially oil.

The Second Lebanon War is considered by many as a "War by Proxy".
That's to say: Hizbullah is the Dobermann of Iran, we are the Rottweiler of
America. Hizbullah gets money, rockets and support from the Islamic
Republic, we get money, cluster bombs and support from the United
States of America.

That is certainly exaggerated. Hizbullah is an authentic Lebanese
movement, deeply rooted in the Shiite community. The Israeli government
has its own interests (the occupied territories) that do not depend on
America. But there is no doubt that there is much truth in the argument
that this was also a war by substitutes.

The US is fighting against Iran, because Iran has a key role in the region
where the most important oil reserves in the world are located. Not only
does Iran itself sit on huge oil deposits, but through its revolutionary
Islamic ideology it also menaces American control over the near-by oil
countries. The declining resource oil becomes more and more essential in
the modern economy. He who controls the oil controls the world.

The US would viciously attack Iran even it were peopled with pigmies
devoted to the religion of the Dalai Lama. There is a shocking similarity
between George W. Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The one has
personal conversations with Jesus, the other has a line to Allah. But the
name of the game is domination.

What interest do we have to get involved in this struggle? What interest do
we have in being regarded - accurately - as the servants of the greatest
enemy of the Muslim world in general and the Arab world in particular?

We want to live here in 100 years, in 500 years. Our most basic national
interests demand that we extend our hands to the Arab nations that
accept us, and act together with them for the rehabilitation of this region.
That was true 59 years ago, and that will be true 59 years hence.

Little politicians like Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are unable to think in
these terms. They can hardly see as far as the end of their noses. But
where are the intellectuals, who should be more far-sighted?

Bashar al-Assad may not be one of the world's Great Thinkers. But his
remark should certainly give us pause for thought.



Replies:
Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 28 August 2006 at 2:56am

Daniel, thanks for this long article. I have a bit of comments to some of it.--------

AFTER EVERY single one of the war aims put forward by our government had evaporated, one after the other, another reason was brought up: this war was a part of the "clash of civilizations", the great campaign of the Western world and its lofty values against the barbarian darkness of the Islamic world.

When someone or some people who is/are mute (no much knowledge) have no respect to the masses - they just bombarding them with repetitive formula as though the audience are stupid who have no right whatsoever to view their own opinion. Repeating the same word which has slipped in the eyes of the victim is self insulting.

The highest achievement in life is having knowledge or knowledges that others derived benefits from it.

It happens from time to time in the United States that somebody invents an empty but easily digested slogan, which then dominates the public discourse for some time. It seems that the more stupid the slogan is, the better its chances of becoming the guiding light for academia and the media - until another slogan appears and supersedes it. The latest example is the slogan "Clash of Civilizations", coined by Samuel P. Huntington in 1993 (taking over from the "End of History").

The same as above. There is no refutation, therefore for others it is meaningless computerized burp.

Huntington himself was compelled to admit: "The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."

It's true as anyone can see it but not entirely. The internet we are using is the western achievemnet, one of so many.

We want to live here in 100 years, in 500 years. Our most basic national interests demand that we extend our hands to the Arab nations that accept us, and act together with them for the rehabilitation of this region. That was true 59 years ago, and that will be true 59 years hence.

And certainly it will be more than just 6 millions, the land is needed. How will they fit the ever increasing population? simple 1400 years ago, simple today and simple still in the future. The jews in the time of the Prophet never walk away from Arabia, they dissolved:

Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (muslim) (3:64) 

Little politicians like Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are unable to think in these terms. They can hardly see as far as the end of their noses. But where are the intellectuals, who should be more far-sighted?

Sharon bolt out from a party he partly responsible in the past and created a new party that became an instant hit, on what promise?

Let see what happen.



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 28 August 2006 at 5:34am
Ideally this place should be a democratic federation with a law of return
applying to Palestinians as well as Jews. Demographics be damned.
What is the point of being jewish if you have to break every jewish law,
moral code and spiritual goal to do it?


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 28 August 2006 at 6:29pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Okay, I'm almost through being a drama queen and I'm going to get back
to work here. Heeeeeeeeeeere's URI!!!!!!

America's Rottweiler

IN HIS latest speech, which infuriated so many people, Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad uttered a sentence that deserves attention: "Every new
Arab generation hates Israel more than the previous one."

Of all that has been said about the Second Lebanon War, these are
perhaps the most important words.

The main product of this war is hatred. The pictures of death and
destruction in Lebanon entered every Arab home, indeed every Muslim
home, from Indonesia to Morocco, from Yemen to the Muslim ghettos in
London and Berlin. Not for an hour, not for a day, but for 33 successive
days - day after day, hour after hour. The mangled bodies of babies, the
women weeping over the ruins of their homes, Israeli children writing
"greetings" on shells about to be fired at villages, Ehud Olmert blabbering
about "the most moral army in the world" while the screen showed a heap
of bodies.

Israelis ignored these sights, indeed they were scarcely shown on our TV.
Of course, we could see them on Aljazeera and some Western channels,
but Israelis were much too busy with the damage wrought in our Northern
towns. Feelings of pity and empathy for non-Jews have been blunted here
a long time ago.

But it is a terrible mistake to ignore this result of the war. It is far more
important than the stationing of a few thousand European troops along
our border, with the kind consent of Hizbullah. It may still be bothering
generations of Israelis, when the names Olmert and Halutz have long
been forgotten, and when even Nasrallah no longer remember the name
Amir Peretz.


IN ORDER for the significance of Assad's words to become clear, they
have to be viewed in a historical context.

The whole Zionist enterprise has been compared to the transplantation of
an organ into the body of a human being. The natural immunity system
rises up against the foreign implant, the body mobilizes all its power to
reject it. The doctors use a heavy dosage of medicines in order to
overcome the rejection. That can go on for a long time, sometimes until
the eventual death of the body itself, including the transplant.

(Of course, this analogy, like any other, should be treated cautiously. An
analogy can help in understanding things, but no more than that.)

The Zionist movement has planted a foreign body in this country, which
was then a part of the Arab-Muslim space. The inhabitants of the country,
and the entire Arab region, rejected the Zionist entity. Meanwhile, the
Jewish settlement has taken roots and become an authentic new nation
rooted in the country. Its defensive power against the rejection has
grown. This struggle has been going on for 125 years, becoming more
violent from generation to generation. The last war was yet another
episode.


WHAT IS our historic objective in this confrontation?

A fool will say: to stand up to the rejection with a growing dosage of
medicaments, provided by America and World Jewry. The greatest fools
will add: There is no solution. This situation will last forever. There is
nothing to be done about it but to defend ourselves in war after war after
war. And the next war is already knocking on the door.

The wise will say: our objective is to cause the body to accept the
transplant as one of its organs, so that the immune system will no longer
treat us as an enemy that must be removed at any price. And if this is the
aim, it must become the main axis of our efforts. Meaning: each of our
actions must be judged according to a simple criterion: does it serve this
aim or obstruct it?

According to this criterion, the Second Lebanon War was a disaster.


FIFTY NINE years ago, two months before the outbreak of our War of
Independence, I published a booklet entitled "War or Peace in the Semitic
Region". Its opening words were:

"When our Zionist fathers decided to set up a 'safe haven' in Palestine,
they had a choice between two ways:

"They could appear in West Asia as a European conqueror, who sees
himself as a bridge-head of the 'white' race and a master of the 'natives',
like the Spanish Conquistadores and the Anglo-Saxon colonists in
America. That is what the Crusaders did in Palestine.

"The second way was to consider themselves as an Asian nation returning
to its home - a nation that sees itself as an
heir to the political and cultural heritage of the Semitic race, and which is
prepared to join the peoples of the Semitic region in their war of
liberation from European exploitation."

As is well known, the State of Israel, which was established a few months
later, chose the first way. It gave its hand to colonial France, tried to help
Britain to return to the Suez Canal and, since 1967, has become the little
sister of the United States.

That was not inevitable. On the contrary, in the course of years there have
been a growing number of indications that the immune system of the
Arab-Muslim body is starting to incorporate the transplant - as a human
body accepts the organ of a close relative - and is ready to accept us.
Such an indication was the visit of Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem. Such was
the peace treaty signed with us by King Hussein, a descendent of the
Prophet. And, most importantly, the historic decision of Yasser Arafat, the
leader of the Palestinian people, to make peace with Israel.

But after every huge step forward, there came an Israeli step backward. It
is as if the transplant rejects the body's acceptance of it. As if it has
become so accustomed to being rejected, that it does all it can to induce
the body to reject it even more.

It is against this background that one should weigh the words spoken by
Assad Jr., a member of the new Arab generation, at the end of the recent
war.


AFTER EVERY single one of the war aims put forward by our government
had evaporated, one after the other, another reason was brought up: this
war was a part of the "clash of civilizations", the great campaign of the
Western world and its lofty values against the barbarian darkness of the
Islamic world.

That reminds one, of course, of the words written 110 years ago by the
father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, in the founding document of
the Zionist movement: "In Palestine…we shall constitute for Europe a part
of the wall against Asia, and serve as the vanguard of civilization against
barbarism." Without knowing, Olmert almost repeated this formula in his
justification of his war, in order to please President Bush.

It happens from time to time in the United States that somebody invents
an empty but easily digested slogan, which then dominates the public
discourse for some time. It seems that the more stupid the slogan is, the
better its chances of becoming the guiding light for academia and the
media - until another slogan appears and supersedes it. The latest
example is the slogan "Clash of Civilizations", coined by Samuel P.
Huntington in 1993 (taking over from the "End of History").

What clash of ideas is there between Muslim Indonesia and Christian
Chile? What eternal struggle between Poland and Morocco? What is it that
unifies Malaysia and Kosovo, two Muslim nations? Or two Christian
nations like Sweden and Ethiopia?

In what way are the ideas of the West more sublime than those of the
East? The Jews that fled the flames of the auto-da-fe of the Christian
Inquisition in Spain were received with open arms by the Muslim Ottoman
Empire. The most cultured of European nations democratically elected
Adolf Hitler as its leader and perpetrated the Holocaust, without the Pope
raising his voice in protest.

In what way are the spiritual values of the United States, today's Empire of
the West, superior to those of India and China, the rising stars of the
East? Huntington himself was compelled to admit: "The West won the
world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather
by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget
this fact, non-Westerners never do." In the West, too, women won the
vote only in the 20th century, and slavery was abolished there only in the
second half of the 19th. And in the leading nation of the West,
fundamentalism is now also raising its head.

What interest, for goodness sake, have we in volunteering to be a political
and military vanguard of the West in this imagined clash?


THE TRUTH is, of course, that this entire story of the clash of civilizations
is nothing but an ideological cover for something that has no connection
with ideas and values: the determination of the United States to dominate
the world's resources, and especially oil.

The Second Lebanon War is considered by many as a "War by Proxy".
That's to say: Hizbullah is the Dobermann of Iran, we are the Rottweiler of
America. Hizbullah gets money, rockets and support from the Islamic
Republic, we get money, cluster bombs and support from the United
States of America.

That is certainly exaggerated. Hizbullah is an authentic Lebanese
movement, deeply rooted in the Shiite community. The Israeli government
has its own interests (the occupied territories) that do not depend on
America. But there is no doubt that there is much truth in the argument
that this was also a war by substitutes.

The US is fighting against Iran, because Iran has a key role in the region
where the most important oil reserves in the world are located. Not only
does Iran itself sit on huge oil deposits, but through its revolutionary
Islamic ideology it also menaces American control over the near-by oil
countries. The declining resource oil becomes more and more essential in
the modern economy. He who controls the oil controls the world.

The US would viciously attack Iran even it were peopled with pigmies
devoted to the religion of the Dalai Lama. There is a shocking similarity
between George W. Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The one has
personal conversations with Jesus, the other has a line to Allah. But the
name of the game is domination.

What interest do we have to get involved in this struggle? What interest do
we have in being regarded - accurately - as the servants of the greatest
enemy of the Muslim world in general and the Arab world in particular?

We want to live here in 100 years, in 500 years. Our most basic national
interests demand that we extend our hands to the Arab nations that
accept us, and act together with them for the rehabilitation of this region.
That was true 59 years ago, and that will be true 59 years hence.

Little politicians like Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are unable to think in
these terms. They can hardly see as far as the end of their noses. But
where are the intellectuals, who should be more far-sighted?

Bashar al-Assad may not be one of the world's Great Thinkers. But his
remark should certainly give us pause for thought.

Bismillah,

Yes, they should.  (Us being the Israeli Jewish community and maybe the community in the US?)



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 28 August 2006 at 6:30pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Ideally this place should be a democratic federation with a law of return
applying to Palestinians as well as Jews. Demographics be damned.
What is the point of being jewish if you have to break every jewish law,
moral code and spiritual goal to do it?

Bismillah,

Yes.  The means matter very much, especially to Allah.  Thanks for this article.  (I think we need a Uri Averny section under the middle east!)

Salaamu Alaykum



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 29 August 2006 at 3:42am
Bismillah,

Yes. The means matter very much, especially to Allah. Thanks for this
article. (I think we need a Uri Averny section under the middle east!)

Salaamu Alaykum

OKAY I'm on it


Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 29 August 2006 at 1:18pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Ideally this place should be a democratic federation with a law of return
applying to Palestinians as well as Jews. Demographics be damned.
What is the point of being jewish if you have to break every jewish law, moral code and spiritual goal to do it?

Yeah, nothing further than the truth. In the NT it is called as "lost". The son of Mary said in it: I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

"This is our land" so the claim announced. The question is according to whom or according to what?

"We are jews, better race than you". Again according to whom or according to what?

The sad side is - this what is stated in the Qur'an 1400 years ago. Without DO from religious point of view all this claims are invalid. If they do it properly than there is no much differences with Islam, infact they will be feel at home with Islam.



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 29 August 2006 at 3:24pm
With all do respect to history and "claims" Some of these people have no
where else to go. All parties should either stay home in safety or come home
and be helped to resettle. Those with 58 year old keys to the homes they
fled should be compensated. Settlements that were cynically set up in
Palestine as a land grabbing ruse should be dismantled. The inhabitants of
Itamar and Tapuach should be sedated like rogue polar bears and relocated
on fantasy Island with Richardo Montobon and Amir Peretz in his new job.
Everyone should get an electric car and a life supply of Prozac.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 01 September 2006 at 6:07am

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

With all do respect to history and "claims" Some of these people have no
where else to go. All parties should either stay home in safety or come home
and be helped to resettle. Those with 58 year old keys to the homes they
fled should be compensated.
Settlements that were cynically set up in
Palestine as a land grabbing ruse should be dismantled. The inhabitants of
Itamar and Tapuach should be sedated like rogue polar bears and relocated
on fantasy Island with Richardo Montobon and Amir Peretz in his new job.
Everyone should get an electric car and a life supply of Prozac.

Bismillah,

Even my father-in-law would love to go home accompanied by his children to live the rest of his long life and die there on his own land, knowing that his children and grandchildren could continue to live on the land that he and they love.

The electric car sounds good, but rather than Prozac, most of them would rather have strong cups of Arabic coffee sipped under their olive trees.

Salaamu Alaykum



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 02 September 2006 at 7:46am
I meant the settlers but now that I think about it Haldol (Antihallucinogenic)
seems more appropriate


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 02 September 2006 at 12:21pm
Uri Avnery
2.9.06

           When Napoleon Won at Waterloo

NAPOLEON WON the battle of Waterloo. The German Wehrmacht won
World War II. The United States won in Vietnam, and the Soviets in
Afghanistan. The Zealots won against the Romans, and Ehud Olmert won
the Second Lebanon War.

You didn't know that? Well, during the last few days the Israeli media has
paraded a long series of experts, who did not leave any room for doubt:
the war has brought us huge achievements, Hizbullah was routed, Olmert
is the great victor.

The TV talk-show hosts and anchormen put their microphones at the
service of professors, publicity experts, "security personnel" and
"strategists" (a title not denoting generals, but advisers of politicians). All
of them agreed on the outcome: an honest-to-goodness victory.

Yesterday I switched on the TV and saw a person radiating self-assurance
and explaining how our victory in Lebanon opens the way for the
inevitable war with Iran. The analysis, composed almost entirely of
clichés, was worthy of a high-school pupil. I was shocked to learn that
the man was a former chief of the Mossad. Anyway, we won this war and
we are going to win the next one.

So there is no need at all for a commission of inquiry. What is there to
inquire into? All we need is a few committees to clear up the minor slips
that occurred here and there.

Resignations are absolutely out. Why, what happened? Victors do not
resign! Did Napoleon resign after Waterloo? Did Presidents Johnson and
Nixon resign after what happened in Vietnam? Did the Zealots resign after
the destruction of the Temple?


JOKING ASIDE, the parade of Olmert's stooges on TV, on the radio and in
the newspapers tells us something. Not about the achievements of Olmert
as a statesman and strategist, but about the integrity of the media.

When the war broke out, the media people fell into line and and marched
in step as a propaganda battalion. All the media, without exception,
became organs of the war effort, fawning on Olmert, Peretz and Halutz,
waxing enthusiastic at the sight of the devastation in Lebanon and
singing the praises of the "steadfastness of the civilian population" in the
north of Israel. The public was exposed to an incessant rain of victory
reports, going on (literally) from early in the morning to late at night.

The government and army spokespersons, together with Olmert's spin
team, decided what to publish and when, and, more importantly, what to
suppress.

That found its expression in the "word laundry". Instead of accurate
words came misleading expressions: when heavy battles were raging in
Lebanon, the media spoke about "exchanges of fire". The cowardly
Hassan Nasrallah was "hiding" in his bunker, while our brave Chief-of-
Staff was directing operations from his underground command post
(nicknamed "the hole").

The chicken-hearted "terrorists" of Hizbullah were hiding behind women
and children and operating from within villages, quite unlike our Ministry
of Defense and General Staff which are located in the heart of the most
densely populated area in Israel. Our soldiers were not captured in a
military action, but "abducted" like the victims of gangsters, while our
army "arrests" the leaders of Hamas. Hizbullah, as is well known, is
"financed" by Iran and Syria, quite unlike Israel, which "receives generous
support" from our great friend and ally, the United States.

There was, of course, a difference of night and day between Hizbullah
and us. How can one compare? After all, Hizbullah launched rockets at us
with the express intent of killing civilians, and did indeed kill some thirty
of them. While our military, "the most moral army in the world", took
great care not to hurt civilians, and therefore only about 800 Lebanese
civilians, half of them children, lost their lives in the bombardments which
were all directed at purely military targets.

No general could compare with the military correspondents and
commentators, who appeared daily on TV, striking impressive military
poses, who reported on the fighting and demanded a deeper advance into
Lebanon. Only very observant viewers noticed that they did not
accompany the fighters at all and did not share the dangers and pains of
battle, something that is essential for honest reporting in war. During the
entire war I saw only two correspondent's reports that really reflected the
spirit of the soldiers - one by Itay Angel and the other by Nahum Barnea.

The deaths of soldiers were generally announced only after midnight,
when most people were asleep. During the day the media spoke only
about soldiers being "hurt". The official pretext was that the army had
first to inform the families. That's true - but only for announcing the
names of the fallen soldiers. It does not apply at all to the number of the
dead. (The public quickly caught on and realized that "hurt" meant
"killed'.)


OF COURSE, among the almost one thousand people invited to the TV
studios during the war to air their views, there were next to no voices
criticizing the war itself. Two or three, who were invited for alibi
purposes, were shown up as ridiculous weirdos. Two or three Arab
citizens were also invited, but the talk-masters fell on them like hounds
on their prey.

For weeks, the media suppressed the fact that hundreds of thousands of
Israelis had abandoned the bombarded North, leaving only the poorest
behind. That would have shaken the legend of the "steadfastness of the
rear".

All the media (except the internet sites) completely suppressed the news
about the demonstrations against the war that took place almost daily
and that grew rapidly from dozens to hundreds, and from hundreds to
thousands. (Channel 1 alone devoted several seconds to the small
demonstration of Meretz and Peace Now that took place just before the
end of the war. Both had supported the war enthusiastically almost to the
finish.)

I don't say these things as a professor for communications or a
disgruntled politician. I am a media-person from head to foot. Since the
age of 17 I have been a working journalist, reporter, columnist and editor,
and I know very well how media with integrity should behave. (The only
prize I ever got in my own country was awarded by the Journalists'
Association for my "life work in journalism".)

I do not think, by the way, that the behavior of our media was worse than
that of their American colleagues at the start of the Iraq war, or the British
media during the ridiculous Falklands/Malvinas war. But the scandals of
others are no consolation for our own.

Against the background of this pervasive brainwashing, one has to salute
the few - who can be counted on the fingers of both hands - who did not
join the general chorus and did indeed voice criticism in the written
media, as much as they were allowed to. The names are well-known, and
I shall not list them here, for fear of overlooking somebody and
committing an unforgivable sin. They can hold their head high. The
trouble is that their comments appeared only in the op-ed pages, which
have a limited impact, and were completely absent from the news pages
and news programs, which shape public opinion on a daily basis.   

When the media people now passionately debate the need for all kinds of
inquiry commissions and examination committees, perhaps they should
set a personal example and establish a Commission of Inquiry to
investigate the actions of the media themselves at the time of supreme
test.


I N GOETHE'S "Faust", the devil presents himself as the "force that always
strives for the bad and always produces the good." I do not wish, God
forbid, to compare the media to the devil, but the result is the same: by
its enthusiastic support for the war, the media deepened the feeling of
failure that came afterwards and which may in the end have a beneficial
impact.

The media called Hizbullah a "terror organization", evoking the image of a
small group of "terrorists" with negligible capabilities. When it became
clear that this is an efficient and well-trained military force with brave and
determined fighters, effective missiles and other weapons, that could
hold out against our huge military machine for 33 days without breaking,
the disappointment was even more bitter.

After the media had glorified our military commanders as supermen and
treated every one of their boasts with adulation, almost as if they were
divine revelations, the disappointment was even greater when severe
failures in strategy, tactics, intelligence and logistics showed up in all
levels of the senior command.

That contributed to the profound change in public opinion that set in at
the end of the war. As elevated as the self-confidence had been, so deep
was the sense of failure. The Gods had failed. The intoxication of war was
replaced by the hangover of the morning after.

And who is that running in front of the mob clamoring for revenge, all the
way to the Place de la Guillotine? The media, of course.

I don't know of a single talk-show host, anchorman. commentator,
reporter or editor, who has confessed his guilt and begged for
forgiveness for his part in the brainwashing. Everything that was said,
written or photographed has been wiped off the slate. It just never
happened.

Now, when the damage cannot be repaired anymore, the media are
pushing to the head of those who demand the truth and clamor for
punishment for all the scandalous decisions that were taken by the
government and the general staff: prolonging the war unnecessarily after
the first six days, abandoning the rear, neglecting the reserves, not
sending the land army into Lebanon on day X and sending them into
Lebanon on day Y, not accepting G8's call for a cease-fire, and so on.

But, just a moment ---

During the last few days, the wheel may be turning again. What? We did
not lose the war after all? Wait, wait, we did win? Nasrallah has
apologized? (By strict orders from above, the full interview of Nasrallah
was not broadcast at all, but the one passage in which he admitted to a
mistake was broadcast over and over again.)

The sensitive nose of the media people has detected a change of the
wind. Some of them have already altered course. If there is a new wave in
public opinion, one should ride it, no?


WE CALL this the "Altalena Effect".

For those who don't know, or who have already forgotten: Altalena was a
small ship that arrived off the coast of Israel in the middle of the 1948
war, carrying a group of Irgun men and quantities of weapons, it was not
clear for whom. David Ben-Gurion was afraid of a putsch and ordered the
shelling of the ship, off the coast of Tel-Aviv. Some of the men were
killed, Menachem Begin, who had gone aboard, was pushed into the water
and saved. The ship sank, the Irgun was dispersed and its members
joined the new Israeli army.

29 years later Begin came to power. All the careerists joined him in haste.
And then it appeared, retroactively, that practically everybody had been
on board the Altalena. The little ship expanded into a huge aircraft carrier
- until the Likud lost power and Altalena shrunk back to the size of a
fishing boat.

The Second Lebanon War was a mighty Altalena. All the media crowded
onto its deck. But the day after the war was over, we learned that this was
an optical illusion: absolutely nobody had been there, except Captain
Olmert, First Officer Peretz and Helmsman Halutz. However, that can
change any minute now, if the trusting public can be convinced that we
won the war after all.

As has been said before: in Israel nothing changes, except the past.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 04 September 2006 at 6:06am

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri Avnery
2.9.06

           When Napoleon Won at Waterloo

NAPOLEON WON the battle of Waterloo. The German Wehrmacht won
World War II. The United States won in Vietnam, and the Soviets in
Afghanistan. The Zealots won against the Romans, and Ehud Olmert won
the Second Lebanon War.

You didn't know that? Well, during the last few days the Israeli media has
paraded a long series of experts, who did not leave any room for doubt:
the war has brought us huge achievements, Hizbullah was routed, Olmert
is the great victor.

The TV talk-show hosts and anchormen put their microphones at the
service of professors, publicity experts, "security personnel" and
"strategists" (a title not denoting generals, but advisers of politicians). All
of them agreed on the outcome: an honest-to-goodness victory.

Yesterday I switched on the TV and saw a person radiating self-assurance
and explaining how our victory in Lebanon opens the way for the
inevitable war with Iran. The analysis, composed almost entirely of
clichés, was worthy of a high-school pupil. I was shocked to learn that
the man was a former chief of the Mossad. Anyway, we won this war and
we are going to win the next one.

So there is no need at all for a commission of inquiry. What is there to
inquire into? All we need is a few committees to clear up the minor slips
that occurred here and there.

Resignations are absolutely out. Why, what happened? Victors do not
resign! Did Napoleon resign after Waterloo? Did Presidents Johnson and
Nixon resign after what happened in Vietnam? Did the Zealots resign after
the destruction of the Temple?


JOKING ASIDE, the parade of Olmert's stooges on TV, on the radio and in
the newspapers tells us something. Not about the achievements of Olmert
as a statesman and strategist, but about the integrity of the media.

When the war broke out, the media people fell into line and and marched
in step as a propaganda battalion. All the media, without exception,
became organs of the war effort, fawning on Olmert, Peretz and Halutz,
waxing enthusiastic at the sight of the devastation in Lebanon and
singing the praises of the "steadfastness of the civilian population" in the
north of Israel. The public was exposed to an incessant rain of victory
reports, going on (literally) from early in the morning to late at night.

The government and army spokespersons, together with Olmert's spin
team, decided what to publish and when, and, more importantly, what to
suppress.

That found its expression in the "word laundry". Instead of accurate
words came misleading expressions: when heavy battles were raging in
Lebanon, the media spoke about "exchanges of fire". The cowardly
Hassan Nasrallah was "hiding" in his bunker, while our brave Chief-of-
Staff was directing operations from his underground command post
(nicknamed "the hole").

The chicken-hearted "terrorists" of Hizbullah were hiding behind women
and children and operating from within villages, quite unlike our Ministry
of Defense and General Staff which are located in the heart of the most
densely populated area in Israel. Our soldiers were not captured in a
military action, but "abducted" like the victims of gangsters, while our
army "arrests" the leaders of Hamas. Hizbullah, as is well known, is
"financed" by Iran and Syria, quite unlike Israel, which "receives generous
support" from our great friend and ally, the United States.

There was, of course, a difference of night and day between Hizbullah
and us. How can one compare? After all, Hizbullah launched rockets at us
with the express intent of killing civilians, and did indeed kill some thirty
of them. While our military, "the most moral army in the world", took
great care not to hurt civilians, and therefore only about 800 Lebanese
civilians, half of them children, lost their lives in the bombardments which
were all directed at purely military targets.

No general could compare with the military correspondents and
commentators, who appeared daily on TV, striking impressive military
poses, who reported on the fighting and demanded a deeper advance into
Lebanon. Only very observant viewers noticed that they did not
accompany the fighters at all and did not share the dangers and pains of
battle, something that is essential for honest reporting in war. During the
entire war I saw only two correspondent's reports that really reflected the
spirit of the soldiers - one by Itay Angel and the other by Nahum Barnea.

The deaths of soldiers were generally announced only after midnight,
when most people were asleep. During the day the media spoke only
about soldiers being "hurt". The official pretext was that the army had
first to inform the families. That's true - but only for announcing the
names of the fallen soldiers. It does not apply at all to the number of the
dead. (The public quickly caught on and realized that "hurt" meant
"killed'.)


OF COURSE, among the almost one thousand people invited to the TV
studios during the war to air their views, there were next to no voices
criticizing the war itself. Two or three, who were invited for alibi
purposes, were shown up as ridiculous weirdos. Two or three Arab
citizens were also invited, but the talk-masters fell on them like hounds
on their prey.

For weeks, the media suppressed the fact that hundreds of thousands of
Israelis had abandoned the bombarded North, leaving only the poorest
behind. That would have shaken the legend of the "steadfastness of the
rear".

All the media (except the internet sites) completely suppressed the news
about the demonstrations against the war that took place almost daily
and that grew rapidly from dozens to hundreds, and from hundreds to
thousands. (Channel 1 alone devoted several seconds to the small
demonstration of Meretz and Peace Now that took place just before the
end of the war. Both had supported the war enthusiastically almost to the
finish.)

I don't say these things as a professor for communications or a
disgruntled politician. I am a media-person from head to foot. Since the
age of 17 I have been a working journalist, reporter, columnist and editor,
and I know very well how media with integrity should behave. (The only
prize I ever got in my own country was awarded by the Journalists'
Association for my "life work in journalism".)

I do not think, by the way, that the behavior of our media was worse than
that of their American colleagues at the start of the Iraq war, or the British
media during the ridiculous Falklands/Malvinas war. But the scandals of
others are no consolation for our own.

Against the background of this pervasive brainwashing, one has to salute
the few - who can be counted on the fingers of both hands - who did not
join the general chorus and did indeed voice criticism in the written
media, as much as they were allowed to. The names are well-known, and
I shall not list them here, for fear of overlooking somebody and
committing an unforgivable sin. They can hold their head high. The
trouble is that their comments appeared only in the op-ed pages, which
have a limited impact, and were completely absent from the news pages
and news programs, which shape public opinion on a daily basis.   

When the media people now passionately debate the need for all kinds of
inquiry commissions and examination committees, perhaps they should
set a personal example and establish a Commission of Inquiry to
investigate the actions of the media themselves at the time of supreme
test.


I N GOETHE'S "Faust", the devil presents himself as the "force that always
strives for the bad and always produces the good." I do not wish, God
forbid, to compare the media to the devil, but the result is the same: by
its enthusiastic support for the war, the media deepened the feeling of
failure that came afterwards and which may in the end have a beneficial
impact.

The media called Hizbullah a "terror organization", evoking the image of a
small group of "terrorists" with negligible capabilities. When it became
clear that this is an efficient and well-trained military force with brave and
determined fighters, effective missiles and other weapons, that could
hold out against our huge military machine for 33 days without breaking,
the disappointment was even more bitter.

After the media had glorified our military commanders as supermen and
treated every one of their boasts with adulation, almost as if they were
divine revelations, the disappointment was even greater when severe
failures in strategy, tactics, intelligence and logistics showed up in all
levels of the senior command.

That contributed to the profound change in public opinion that set in at
the end of the war. As elevated as the self-confidence had been, so deep
was the sense of failure. The Gods had failed. The intoxication of war was
replaced by the hangover of the morning after.

And who is that running in front of the mob clamoring for revenge, all the
way to the Place de la Guillotine? The media, of course.

I don't know of a single talk-show host, anchorman. commentator,
reporter or editor, who has confessed his guilt and begged for
forgiveness for his part in the brainwashing. Everything that was said,
written or photographed has been wiped off the slate. It just never
happened.

Now, when the damage cannot be repaired anymore, the media are
pushing to the head of those who demand the truth and clamor for
punishment for all the scandalous decisions that were taken by the
government and the general staff: prolonging the war unnecessarily after
the first six days, abandoning the rear, neglecting the reserves, not
sending the land army into Lebanon on day X and sending them into
Lebanon on day Y, not accepting G8's call for a cease-fire, and so on.

But, just a moment ---

During the last few days, the wheel may be turning again. What? We did
not lose the war after all? Wait, wait, we did win? Nasrallah has
apologized? (By strict orders from above, the full interview of Nasrallah
was not broadcast at all, but the one passage in which he admitted to a
mistake was broadcast over and over again.)

The sensitive nose of the media people has detected a change of the
wind. Some of them have already altered course. If there is a new wave in
public opinion, one should ride it, no?


WE CALL this the "Altalena Effect".

For those who don't know, or who have already forgotten: Altalena was a
small ship that arrived off the coast of Israel in the middle of the 1948
war, carrying a group of Irgun men and quantities of weapons, it was not
clear for whom. David Ben-Gurion was afraid of a putsch and ordered the
shelling of the ship, off the coast of Tel-Aviv. Some of the men were
killed, Menachem Begin, who had gone aboard, was pushed into the water
and saved. The ship sank, the Irgun was dispersed and its members
joined the new Israeli army.

29 years later Begin came to power. All the careerists joined him in haste.
And then it appeared, retroactively, that practically everybody had been
on board the Altalena. The little ship expanded into a huge aircraft carrier
- until the Likud lost power and Altalena shrunk back to the size of a
fishing boat.

The Second Lebanon War was a mighty Altalena. All the media crowded
onto its deck. But the day after the war was over, we learned that this was
an optical illusion: absolutely nobody had been there, except Captain
Olmert, First Officer Peretz and Helmsman Halutz. However, that can
change any minute now, if the trusting public can be convinced that we
won the war after all.

As has been said before: in Israel nothing changes, except the past.

Bismillah,

Thanks for posting these, Daniel. 

Salaamu Alaykum



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 06 September 2006 at 11:29pm
Uri Avnery
6.9.06

                      "Left, But…"

I ONCE saw a nice sketch in a political cabaret: on the stage several
people were speaking in unconnected sentences, all of which ended with
the word "but". For example: "Some of my best friends are Jews, but…", "I
have nothing against blacks, but…", "I really detest racism, but…"

During the recent war, I frequently heard similar phrases: "I am a leftist,
but…" These words were invariably - but invariably! - followed by a
rightist statement.

It seems that we have a whole community of "leftists-but", who propose
the annihilation of entire Lebanese villages, the turning of Lebanon into a
heap of ruins, the destruction over the heads of its inhabitants of any
building where Hassan Nasrallah may (or may not) be staying. And, while
we are at it, also to wipe Gaza from the face of the earth.

Encountering such sentences on TV, on the radio and in the papers, I am
sometimes tempted to pray: Dear God, give me honest to goodness
fascists instead of these leftists-but.


WHILE ANALYZING the Second Lebanon War, it is impossible to ignore the
role played by the Leftists, with or without quotation marks, during the
fighting.

The day before yesterday I saw on TV an interview with the playwright
Joshua Sobol, a likeable person known as a regular leftist. He explained
that this war has brought us important benefits, and sang the praises of
the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz.

Sobol is not alone. When the government started this war, an impressive
line-up of writers supported it. Amos Oz, A.B.Yehoshua and David
Grossman, who regularly appear as a political trio, were united again in
their support of the government and used all their considerable verbal
talents to justify the war. They were not satisfied with that: some days
after the beginning of the war, the three published a joint ad in the
papers, expressing their enthusiastic backing for the operation.

Their support was not purely passive. Amos Oz, a writer with
considerable literary prestige throughout the world, wrote an article in
favor of the war, which appeared in several respected foreign
newspapers. I wouldn't be surprised if "somebody" helped to distribute it.
His two comrades, too, were active in propagating the war, together with
a long row of writers like Yoram Kaniuk, assorted artists and intellectuals,
real or imagined. All of them volunteered for the propaganda reserves
without waiting to be drafted.

I doubt that the war would have attained its monstrous dimensions
without the massive support of Leftists-but, which made it possible to
form a "wall to wall consensus ", ignoring the protest of the consistent
peace camp. This consensus carried away the Meretz party, whose guru
Amos Oz is, and Peace Now, in whose mass rallies Amos Oz used to be
the main speaker (when they were still able to stage mass rallies).

Some people are now pretending that this group was really against the
war. To whit: some days before the end they published a second tripartite
ad, this time calling for its termination. At the same time, Meretz and
Peace Now also changed course. But not one of them apologized or
showed remorse for their prior support for the killing and devastation.
Their new position was: the war was indeed very good, but now the time
has come to put an end to it.


WHAT IS the logic of this position?

The government decided on the attack in apparent response to the action
of Hizbullah, which captured two Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the
border and proposed exchanging them for Lebanese prisoners held in
Israel. In this action, several comrades of the captured soldiers were
killed, and some more soldiers died when their tank hit a mine while
pursuing the captors on the Lebanese side of the border.

The Israeli public reacted, of course, with fury and cries for revenge. But
one would have expected intellectuals, and especially "leftist" ones, to
keep a cool head, even - and perhaps especially - during times of
emotional upheaval. In similar circumstances, even Ariel Sharon avoided
extreme reactions and agreed to exchange prisoners.

Those who did not possess the courage for that ("oz" in Hebrew means
strength and courage), or those who really believed that the Hizbullah
action must be met with a strong reaction, could have justified a limited
military reprisal. On that day it was legitimate to join those who
demanded such a reasonable reaction. But already after 48 hours, it was
clear that the reaction was not proportional but massive. It was not
designed to "send a message" to Hizbullah and all the Lebanese people
that such a provocation would not go unpunished. It had quite different
aims.

On the second or third day of the war, it was already quite clear to any
thinking person - and don't intellectuals pride themselves on being just
that? - that this was a real war, which went far beyond the problem of the
two captured soldiers. The systematic bombardment of the Lebanese
infrastructure bore witness to the fact that it was prepared well in
advance and that its aim was the annihilation of Hizbullah and the
changing of the political realities in Lebanon. For that it was enough to
listen to the declarations of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz.


THAT WAS the real test of the intellectuals. One can forgive them for their
first reaction. One can say that they were carried away, as happens to
people at the beginning of a war. One can say that they did not
understand the context (a terrible accusation, when thrown in the face of
intellectuals). But from the third day on, such justifications and excuses
do not stand up anymore.

The army chiefs did not hide the horrible devastation they were causing
in Lebanon - on the contrary, they boasted about it. It was clear that
appalling suffering was being caused to hundreds of thousands, that
civilians were being killed in large numbers, that many, many people were
losing all their possessions in the villages and towns that were being
systematically destroyed. At the same time, great suffering was caused to
the population of Northern Israel.

How could writers with a conscience, and even more so "leftists" with a
humane outlook, keep quiet while these atrocities were being committed?
How could they go on serving the propaganda machine of the war?

True, the writers could not know that already on the sixth day of the war
the army chiefs had told the government that all achievable aims of the
war had by now been achieved, and that nothing more could be attained
(such as the return of the prisoners, the restoration of the army's
deterring power, the disarming of Hizbullah etc.) In other words, that
even from a purely military point of view, there was no point continuing
the horror, which nevertheless went on for another 27 days and nights.
But if any protest from the famous writers, even a faint one, had been
heard, it could have induced the political and military leaders to think
again. But there was no such protest.

When the writers did wake up after all, in the 5th (fifth!) week of the war,
and called for its termination, it was too late. There was no need for them
anymore. The cumbersome machinery of the UN was already engaged in
achieving the cessation of hostilities.

One tragic event was the death in combat of David Grossman's son, Uri,
in those last hours of the war.


WHAT CAUSED the "Left-but" to behave like that?

One can find superficial reasons. It is very hard for leftists to rise up
against a government in which the Labor party plays an important role.
That was also true in 2000, when the Labor leader, Ehud Barak, wrecked
the Camp David summit and returned with the fatal slogan: "We have no
partner! There is no one to talk with!"

But that was not true in the First Lebanon War, in 1982, when the Likud
was in power. Because even then the "Left-but", under the leadership of
Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, did support the war. During the siege of
Beirut, Rabin was the guest of Sharon, and, standing on the ruins,
proposed cutting off the supply of water and medicines to the population
of the besieged Western part of the city (where I was meeting with Yasser
Arafat at the same time). Only after the third week of the war, did Peace
Now join the protest against it.

After the Sabra and Shatila massacre, Peace Now called for the protest
rally on which its reputation has rested since - the rally with the fabled
400 thousand protesters. That was its brightest spot and the beginning of
its eclipse. Because, in order to assure the dimensions of the
demonstration, Peace Now made a pact - not with the devil, but with
hypocrisy. In return for the help of the Labor Party, they invited Peres and
Rabin to be the main speakers - in spite of the fact that on the eve of the
war, the two had met with Menachem Begin and publicly requested him to
invade Lebanon.


BUT THERE are more profound causes for the behavior of the "Left-but" in
times of war.

From the beginning of the Jewish Labor Movement in the country, the Left
has suffered from an internal contradiction: it was both socialist and
nationalist. Of the two components, nationalism was by far the more
important. Therefore, membership in the trade union organization
(Histadrut) was based on a strictly national classification: not a single
Arab was allowed to become a member in the body whose official name
was "The General Organization of the Hebrew Workers in Eretz-Israel".
Only years after the foundation of the State of Israel were Arabs allowed
to join.

One of the most important tasks of the Histadrut was to prevent by all
means, including violence, the employment of Arabs in Jewish working
places. For that, blood was shed.

That is true also for the most glorious of socialist creations: the kibbutz.
No Arab was ever allowed to become a member. That was no accident:
the kibbutzim saw themselves not only as a realization of a socialist
dream, but also as fortresses in the Jewish struggle for the country. The
creation of a new kibbutz, like Hanita on the Lebanese border in 1938,
was celebrated as a national victory.

The most leftist part of the kibbutz movement, Hashomer Hatsa'ir, (the
basis of the late Mapam party, now Meretz) had an official slogan: "For
Zionism, Socialism and the Brotherhood of Peoples". The order was not
accidental, either: it expressed the real priorities. Hashomer Hatsa'ir did
indeed adore Stalin, "the sun of the peoples", until his death, but its main
creations were the settlements, generally on land bought from rich
absentee landowners, after the Fellahin, who had tended them for
generations, had been evicted. After the founding of Israel, the Hashomer
Hatza'ir kibbutzim were settled on the lands of the refugees and lands
expropriated from the Arab citizens of Israel proper. The kibbutz Bar'am
is sitting on the land of the village Bir'am, from which the Arab
inhabitants were evicted after the end of the fighting in 1948. Much
Zionism, very little Brotherhood of Peoples.

In every real test, this internal contradiction of the "Zionist Left" (as they
like to call themselves) becomes obvious. That is the root of the split
personality of the "Left-but".

When the guns are roaring and the flag goes up the pole, the "Left-but"
stands at attention and salutes.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 07 September 2006 at 12:18am

I have been thinking for the past five years or so (since I have come to know Uri Avenry) what could we do or not do with this man?

Gush Shalom, if my life be spared for saying so, is doing far more for the struggle against occupations than all the Muselims of our world put together.

Jinkuye, Daniaal.



Posted By: Servetus
Date Posted: 08 September 2006 at 9:29am

Servie’s cryptogram (#23):

Gush Emunim (Avigdor Eskin) est Gush Shalom (Uri Avnery) inversus.  (Israel’s Gush Emunim, or ‘Block of the Faithful,’ as respresented by Avigdor Eskin (and others) is Gush Shalom, or ‘The Peace Block,’ inverted.)

 



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 08 September 2006 at 1:40pm
Originally posted by Servetus

<SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR:
black; FONT-FAMILY: 'Trebuchet MS'; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-
ansi-: EN">Servie’s cryptogram (#23):</SPAN>
<SPAN style="FONT-
SIZE: 7.5pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana"><?:namespace prefix
= o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></
SPAN>


<I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-
SIZE: 11pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: 'Trebuchet MS'; mso-bidi-font-
size: 12.0pt; mso-ansi-: EN">Gush Emunim (Avigdor Eskin) est Gush
Shalom (Uri Avnery) inversus.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </
SPAN></SPAN><SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: black;
FONT-FAMILY: 'Trebuchet MS'; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-ansi-:
EN">(Israel’s Gush Emunim, or ‘Block of the Faithful,’ as respresented by
Avigdor Eskin (and others) is Gush Shalom, or ‘The Peace Block,’
inverted.)</SPAN>


<SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY:
'Trebuchet MS'; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-ansi-: EN"><o:p></
o:p></SPAN>


<SPAN lang=EN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY:
'Trebuchet MS'; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt; mso-ansi-: EN"><SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN></SPAN><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE:
8pt; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size:
7.5pt"><o:p></o:p></SPAN>



Close Luke Skywalker.   Emunim believers means   Ameenim Faithful is


Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 08 September 2006 at 3:28pm

Quote:
This consensus carried away the Meretz party, whose guru Amos Oz is, and Peace Now, in whose mass rallies Amos Oz used to be the main speaker (when they were still able to stage mass rallies).

The hardest thing in life is when doing on the God side without end buckled. If the history can be trusted some of the early Christians used to be fed to the lions, and the famous Rosulallah's companion by the name Bilal was torured to renounce his belief. One of Allah character is Peace.

Quote:
From the beginning of the Jewish Labor Movement in the country, the Left has suffered from an internal contradiction: it was both socialist and nationalist. Of the two components, nationalism was by far the more important.

The labour party was a wrecked by Ehud Barak, and it seem to me look like bread crumb by now. 

Quote:
One of the most important tasks of the Histadrut was to prevent by all means, including violence, the employment of Arabs in Jewish working places. For that, blood was shed.

Racism is the method to protect the self from outsider. Therfore racism is a sign of insecurity by the people who have no confidence, therefore racism is a method adopted by the ill knowledge community.

Quote:
When the guns are roaring and the flag goes up the pole, the "Left-but" stands at attention and salutes.

The "Look at me" is in bussiness.

Thanks bro for the article, God bless the peace makers. I will read the other tomorrow hopefully.



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 09 September 2006 at 1:18pm
Uri Avnery
9.9.06

                      State of Chutzpah

IN EVERY language there are some words that cannot be properly
translated into any other. It seems that they express something intimately
connected with the speakers of that language and rooted in their history,
traditions and reality. Such words become international expressions,
appearing in other languages in their original form.

For example, the German word "Schadenfreude". Or the English word
"gentleman" and the American word 'business". Or the Russian word
"pogrom" (originally meaning devastation). Or the Japanese word
"kamikaze" (divine wind, the title given to suicide bombers). Or the
Mexican "manana" and the similar Arabic "bukra" (both meaning
tomorrow. The difference between them? The joke says: Bukra is not so
urgent.) And, lately, the Palestinian "intifada".
The most prominent Hebrew addition to this international lexicon is
"chutzpah", a word that has no equivalent in any other language. Some
English words may come close (impertinence, cheek, insolence,
impudence), but none conveys the full meaning of this Hebrew-Yiddish
expression. It seems that it reflects something that is especially
characteristic of Jewish reality, which was transferred to the State of
Israel, which defines itself as a "Jewish State".

THE PRESIDENT of Israel is supposed to symbolize the common
denominator of all our citizens. Therefore it is proper for him to
symbolize this trait, too.
And indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more quintessential chutzpah than
the behavior of His Excellency, President Moshe Katzav. He is the
supreme symbol of Israeli chutzpah.
Katzav has been accused of the sexual harassment of several women who
worked for him in the President's office, as well as in his earlier public
offices. At least three of them accused him of rape.
Such accusations are, of course, far from a conviction. The investigation
is still going on. The President, like any other citizen, must be presumed
innocent until found guilty in court. It is quite possible that in the end he
will not even be indicted, or - if this happens - that he will be acquitted,
though perhaps only for lack of proof.
But that is not the point. The point is that the President of the state, like
Caesar's wife, must be above suspicion. It is sufficient that there be
reasonable grounds for suspecting the President - such as a criminal
investigation - for him to resign his office. If he is later acquitted, so
much the better.
Let it be clear: I have nothing against Moshe Katzav personally. On the
contrary, I have praised him on TV for his readiness, in spite of belonging
to the Likud, to listen to Arab citizens. I once brought to him a delegation
of leaders from the West Bank, and he treated them with the utmost
courtesy.
But as a citizen of Israel I am ashamed. The affair in which he is involved
dishonors the office and, indirectly, the entire state. "Citizen Number 1"
has become the butt of jokes.
One thing can be said in his favor: in his chutzpah, too, he symbolizes
the state, or, at least, the ruling elite.

THE KING of chutzpah, its very personification, is the Prime Minister, Ehud
Olmert.
If he had a gram of shame, the minimum of decency, he would have
resigned the day after the cease-fire. There is no need for an inquiry to
decide the obvious: that he is guilty of a long line of disasters that have
caused the death of a thousand human beings, including almost 200
Israelis - men, women, old people and children.
It can be debated of what exactly to accuse Olmert: the starting of an
unnecessary and hopeless war (as I believe), or "only" the incompetent
conduct of the campaign from start to finish. But any one of these is
enough for a decent person to go home and wait there for the results of
the inquiries.
But Olmert does not even dream of doing that. He continues as if nothing
has happened. In the US this is called "stonewalling". He stands there
naked like the emperor in the children's story. All the promises he made
only a few months ago, during the election campaign, have dissipated like
smoke in the wind. He has no political plan left. He has not even the
ability to carry out any plan, if he had one. He has no time to think about
anything, except his political survival.
Winston Churchil once said about a former British Prime Minister: "The
right honorable gentleman sometimes stumbles on the truth, but he
always hurries on as if nothing has happened." Olmert, similarly, hurries
on his way.
He objects to the investigation of the war through the instruments
prescribed by law. He tries to set up a whitewash investigation by an
unquestioningly loyal group chosen by himself. He goes on using every
opportunity to make another of his banal, cliché-laden speeches, which
do not contain a single word of truth, or even of interest.
That is chutzpah. Not chutzpah in the harmless, jocular sense often
signified by this word, but a dangerous, rude and aggressive chutzpah. In
practice, the state remains without leadership. It is unable to take bold
decisions in a situation which demands them. His personal survival
overshadows everything else, from the problem of the prisoner exchange
to the daily killing of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
It must be stated again and again: the state is not private property. It is
not some booty that belongs to whoever has succeeded in laying his
hands on it, accidentally or not. It is a national treasure entrusted by the
citizens to a particular politician, which must be given back by him if he is
proven unable or incompetent to exercise his duties. Any other attitude is
chutzpah.

NO NEED to waste words on the chutzpah of Amir Peretz. It speaks for
itself.
He bears personal responsibility for all the blunders of the war, from the
unthinking decision to start it, up to the last military decision. From the
boastful beginning to the bitter end he showed a shocking inadequacy. A
decent person would have resigned the moment the guns fell silent. His
refusal is chutzpah.
The chutzpah of Peretz is almost bizarre. He achieved political power on
the basis of his explicit promise to carry out basic social reforms. Not
only did he ignore this promise, he did the very opposite. His effort to
continue now as if nothing has happened and even to present himself as
a social leader is pathetic.

BUT EVEN these three champions - Katzav, Olmert and Peretz - pale in
comparison with Dan Halutz.
Together with likeminded people I demonstrated opposite the Ministry of
Defense when he was sworn in as Chief-of-Staff. It was clear to us that
such a person, who had behaved as he did behave and who had said what
he did say was not fit to lead the Israeli army. But even we did not foresee
in our wildest imagination that in such a short time, and in such an
extreme manner, he would confirm our darkest forebodings.
From a purely military point of view, Halutz is the greatest failure in the
annals of the Israeli army. From a human point of view, he justified the
prophecy that he has a brilliant future in the court of The Hague. From a
political point of view, his understanding equals that of a primary school
pupil (if the pupil community will excuse me.)
The boastfulness of the Air force, the arrogance of an incompetent
general, the brutality of a person who is able to bring tragedy to
hundreds of thousands without batting an eyelid - all of these were
exposed during the war.
As has been published, he told the government on the sixth day of the
war that from that moment on there was no possibility of achieving
anything more. Said so and did not demand to stop, said so and went on
with the killing and destroying, day after day, night after night. On the
eve of the cease-fire he sent his soldiers into a militarily senseless,
completely unnecessary offensive, in which the lives of 33 of his soldiers
were sacrificed.
But Dan Halutz does not resign. It doesn't even enter his mind. This week,
at a meeting of former generals, accusations and even insults were slung
at him, and he did not budge.
A decent person would have resigned at once. It is clear that an officer
who has failed in this manner, who is so much distrusted by the army,
cannot carry out the general overhaul demanded now - the replacing of
the entire general Staff, and especially the replacing of all the
commanders who were in charge of the campaign. Can a person who
refuses to bear the responsibility for this entire bungled campaign
demand that his subordinates shoulder theirs?
When chutzpah is the norm in the army - what chance is there for its
rehabilitation?

I KNOW, there are several arguments for keeping the champions of
chutzpah in office. There are no obvious alternatives. The bad may be
replaced by worse. Olmert's resignation may lead to new elections, in
which the more extreme Right may win. His resignation may also lead to
the inclusion in the government of Avigdor Liberman, compared to whom
the Frenchman Le Pen and the Austrian Haider are bleeding-heart
liberals. Who can guess who and what might come after Halutz?
All these arguments are valid, but they must give way to one simple
demand: Chutzpah must not be allowed to reign. The acceptance of
personal responsibility by the directors of the government and the army
is an essential feature of a healthy society. It is a simple moral imperative,
like the categorical imperative of Kant, an imperative that does not allow
for any compromise.
The Talmud warns against "chutzpah towards heaven" (God). We must
warn against chutzpah towards civil society, the sovereign on earth.




Posted By: Servetus
Date Posted: 11 September 2006 at 1:16pm

Dear Danny,

 

Thank you for helping me to perfect my remarkably unremarkable 23rd cryptogram.  As always, you’re a sport.

 

Your friend,

 

Serv    



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 16 September 2006 at 2:16pm
Uri Avnery
16.9.06

                Help! Peacemongers!

GUESS WHOSE words these are: "Starting this war was a scandal…It was
possible to solve the problem of the missiles in South Lebanon by
diplomatic means…The offensive of the last two days of the war, in which
33 soldiers were killed after the cease-fire resolution had already been
accepted, was a spin of the Prime Minister…The Prime Minister, the
Minister of Defense and the Chief-of-Staff must resign…"

Right, it was Gush Shalom.

But that's not new. What is new is that yesterday, the former Chief-of-
Staff, Moshe Ya'alon, repeated these statements, almost word for word.

"Bogie" Ya'alon is the very opposite of Gush Shalom. Nobody could say
that he belongs to a "marginal group". He comes from the very center of
the establishment. He is a Rightist. He was responsible for some of the
most cruel acts of the occupation.

There is another difference: Gush Shalom spoke out when the events were
actually happening, in the midst of the war, when it was still possible to
save the lives of those 33 soldiers. At that time, these statements were
unpopular in the extreme, bordering on treason. Because no Israeli
medium was prepared to publish them, the Gush had to pay for them as
advertisements. Now Ya'alon comes and repeats them, after the wind has
changed and they have become popular.

Ya'alon's motives are not important. (As will be remembered, Ariel Sharon
removed him from office and replaced him with Dan Halutz a year ago, in
order to ease the way for the "Disengagement"). What is important is that
the things have now been said by a person with supreme military
credentials. When such a person declares that 33 soldiers were sacrificed
for no military purpose, for the personal interests of Ehud Olmert, that
the war itself was quite unnecessary, and that the problem of Hizbullah's
rockets could have been solved by diplomatic means - these things carry
weight.

This is not important only in regard to what happened a few weeks ago,
when the leadership spoke of a terrible danger looming on our northern
border, but even more so today, when the same leadership is warning of
an even more acute "threat" somewhere else.


IN THE corridors of power in Jerusalem the cry is going up: "Help! Peace is
upon you, Israel!"

A terrible enemy is conspiring to impose peace on us. He is advancing
against us from two sides, in a giant pincer movement.

One arm of this offensive is the Palestinian Unity Government that is
about to be set up.

The other is the decision of the Arab League to revive the Arab Peace
Plan.

From the point of view of the Government of Israel, this offensive is far
more dangerous then all of Hassan Nasrallah's rockets put together.


THE PALESTINIAN Government of National Unity is designed to solve, first
of all, domestic Palestinian problems.

Since the Palestinians elected Hamas, a state of anarchy has prevailed on
the Palestinian street. The constant clashes between the President, who is
the head of Fatah, and the Prime Minister, who belongs to Hamas, have
created a state of paralysis, just when the Palestinian people need unity in
the face of existential challenges.

Fatah has dominated the modern Palestinian national movement since its
foundation by Yasser Arafat almost 50 years ago. It is not resigned to
defeat. But a people fighting for its very existence cannot allow its two
main factions to fight against each other, instead of cooperating in the
struggle for national liberation.

To this must be added the blockade imposed on the Palestinian Authority
by Europe and America, by order of President Bush. This is an
unprecedented attempt to literally starve a whole people into removing its
democratically elected government.

The National Unity Government is designed to restore public order and to
break the international blockade.

For this to happen, the government must circumvent several obstacles.
For religious reasons, it is difficult for Hamas to recognize Israel officially.
This has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, as alleged, but with the fact
that according to Islam, Palestine is a "Waqf" (religious endowment)
belonging to Allah (similar to the Jewish fundamentalists' belief that God
has promised us the country, so that giving away any part of it is a mortal
sin.) But the Muslim religion opens a back door here by allowing for a
long-term "hudnah" (truce) that can last for decades or even centuries.

The way to solve this problem is to get the Unity Government, headed by
Hamas, to declare that it is committed to the "prisoners' document", the
UN resolutions, the agreements signed between Israel and the PLO and
the Arab peace plan - all of which are based on the recognition of Israel.
That should suffice for anybody who really wants to promote Israeli-
Palestinian peace.

As far as our government is concerned, there precisely is the rub.


THE SECOND arm of the peace offensive is the renewal of the Arab Peace
Plan.

This plan was originally devised by Abdallah, then the Crown Prince and
now the King of Saudi Arabia. It was adopted by the summit meeting of
the Arab heads of state in Beirut in March 2002.

This plan says, roughly: the entire Arab world will recognize Israel and
make peace with it, if it withdraws to the 1967 borders and makes it
possible to establish the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its
capital.

The government of Israel has rejected the initiative, as the Hebrew
expression goes, "on the threshold" (every peace initiative is rejected "on
the threshold", so as not to allow it, God forbid, to put a foot in the door.)
The plan was consigned to a pigeon hole and has been collecting dust
ever since. Now the evil Arabs have decided to dust it off and slap it back
on the table.


AGAINST THIS danger of the Arab peacemongers, the Olmert government
is calling up all its forces. In spite of the fact the entire political and
military leadership is now busy fighting for its survival after the Lebanon
fiasco, it is uniting in the face of this frightening menace.

Tzipi Livni was sent head over heels to the United States, in order to avert
the danger. She went to convince President Bush (who happened to "pass"
the room when she was talking with Condoleezza Rice and who calls her
"Tsiffi") to use the deadly American veto against any Security Council
resolution that might support peace. She is going to meet with some 20
heads of governments and foreign ministers to enlist their support
against this menace.

For this, she took down from the Foreign Office attic a diplomatic rag
called "the Road Map". It has never even entered the mind of the Israeli
government to carry out this agreement, whose sole purpose was, right
from the beginning, to create the impression that President Bush has
achieved something in the Middle East. From its inception, all the parties
knew that this was a document that cannot be implemented.

Israel and the US will, therefore, declare that the Arab peace plan is
damaging peace, because it contradicts the Road Map. The Palestinian
unity government, when it is set up, must be boycotted, because it does
not explicitly state that all its members recognize the State of Israel (as if
all the members of the Israeli government were prepared to recognize the
State of Palestine and its government, not to mention foreswearing
violence and accepting all the existing agreements.) Therefore, the
blockade of the Palestinian population must go on, until it sinks to its
knees.


WHY DOES the peace offensive frighten the Israeli government?

If somebody had come to us on June 4, 1967, and told us that the entire
Arab world was ready to make peace with us within the borders existing
on that day, and that the Palestinian leadership, too, was prepared to
declare an end to the historic conflict, we would have felt that the
Messiah had come.

But on June 5, 1967, we started a war that changed everything. We were
soon in control of the whole of Palestine and huge additional territories.
We declared that we were holding them temporarily in order to trade
them in, but, as is well known, appetite comes with eating. We started to
annex territories (East Jerusalem with its surroundings and the Golan
Heights), and to cover the West Bank with settlements.

In the eyes of the Israeli leadership, the peace initiative - any peace
initiative - is nothing but an evil conspiracy of the peacemongers to rob
us of these territories. It would compel us to put an end to the settlement
enterprise - which has not stopped for a moment since 1968, and which
is even now in full swing - and to dismantle the existing settlements.

The pincer movement of the peacemongers could gather momentum and
generate international pressure that would be difficult to withstand.
That's the reason for the panic in Jerusalem.


THE ARAB peace initiative could be successful if it puts in front of the
Israeli public the straight and unequivocal choice: peace without the
occupied territories - or the occupied territories without peace.

After six major wars and several minor ones, we may be inclined to
suspect that the price in blood and money is too heavy, and - more
importantly - that it does not bring victory, but multiplies the burdens on
Israeli society.

In the six years of folly between the 1967 and the 1973 wars, Moshe
Dayan coined the phrase: "Better Sharm al-Sheikh (on the southern tip of
the Sinai Peninsula) without peace than peace without Sharm al-Sheikh!"

Such slogans cost the lives of some 2700 Israeli soldiers (and who knows
how many Egyptians and Syrians) in the Yom Kippur war. Afterwards we
returned Sharm al-Sheikh and all of Sinai and got peace with Egypt.
Dayan himself played a role in achieving this peace.

How many soldiers and civilians, Israeli and Arab, must die before we
finally understand that peace with the Palestinian people and the entire
Arab world is immeasurably more important to Israel than trying to hang
on to the occupied territories and the settlements?


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 17 September 2006 at 7:27am

Your friend,

Serv 

I promise, I thought, you were my friend. If you are then Dany is our uncle.

He is simply . . . . will come back when I find the right word for him.



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 17 September 2006 at 11:04am
I'm tearing up sniff.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 18 September 2006 at 12:48pm

Unces, no need to do that.

Miss Ophra Haza at times. Wonder if I could access someof her music somehow from somewhere?

It's a pleasure to learn from U2



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 September 2006 at 4:35pm
Tower records

Also look for Mayaj "Weather" (My daughter's debut album) Release in two
months or google CD baby for mp3 sample tracks


Posted By: Servetus
Date Posted: 18 September 2006 at 5:41pm

I suspect that Danny Dworsky and the Rothchilds are conspiring to take over the world.  Although the odds are against him, I hope that Danny wins!  He won’t force us to eat ribah (usury), is probably the better musician, and dares to show his emotions in public.  Also, and to change the subject somewhat, I am at this point far more inclined to salute “Uncle Dan” (those familiar with the rudiments of demonology will appreciate this) than our usual Uncle Samael!

 

Continuing with demonology and all that, those of you who know and love -well, who at least appreciate- me know that each year, near this time (Halloween, naturally, because I am a non-Muslim Yank, affected by my crypto-Pagan culture), I become, like, totally freaked out about something which gives me the creeps.  This year, I am already starting to feel frightened when I consider those weird, pulsa dinura curses that Agivdor Eskin reportedly invoked upon PM Yitzhak Rabin prior to the latter’s assassination.  That stuff is scary!  On second thought, with potential enemies like that (Eskin) in Israel, I hope that Danny never does rise to world power, conspire to do so though he freely may (or may not)!

 

Whisper, I, too, miss Ofra Haza.  That Yemeni could sing (the soulful “slave song” comes to mind, which I practically wore out)!  It’s not that Barry Chamish is always the most reliable of Israeli reporters, though he certainly ranks among the more colorful, but have you read his assessment of the, well, dodgy circumstances which (are thought to have) surrounded her death?  The plot, as always with Mr. Chamish, thickens. 

 

(Danny, but seriously, all the best with your daughter's CD!)

 

 

Serv



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 September 2006 at 11:56pm
OOOOOWEEEEEOOOOO

My wife Zohar who is one of the most witty people I know once said to me
when I was upset about not finding my lucky shirt before a particularly
important gig, (Opening night) Zohar said, "Superstition causes bad luck"

In the end I performed with out the shirt in a black Jellaba left behind by a
US state department guy who interviewed Zohar and I regarding our
"Separate reality Politics"

No one bothered to tell me that only women wear black Jellabas of this
type (Embroidered) Although it had a wonderfully sliming effect really a
shame... Never mind
I Just thought it
was an extra long Dashiki (African Shirt) and never gave it a thought      
Interesting night. Mayaj (My baby girl) and Fouad Suliman were the hits of
the evening.
Several nice men left me their business cards. My daughter explained
everything to me after the show. I said. "I thought they were interested in
private performances."

"That's right Daddy" she said patting me sympathetically on the back.
"It's time for his nap now." She informed my band who had until that
moment controlled them selves the whole night with out openly laughing
at me. My point? Happy Halloween X-ray your loot.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 19 September 2006 at 2:10am

We can all see, spells do work!

How else would a Norte Americano, an Israeli and an Afghano just turn into a cofirmed if it were not for that Uri Avenry spell?

(No need to mail me a Haloween mask, I already look like a monstro!)

(Uncs, I am going straight to Tower Records, best of luck for Mayaj)



Posted By: Servetus
Date Posted: 19 September 2006 at 2:07pm

Concerning that black Jellaba and the business cards:  

Naturally, while that tale was being told, I was at least somewhat reminded of me and of that time in Tokyo when I decided to go native by buying an Issey Miyake outfit, light cotton shirt and trousers.  Only later, in the evening, when the otherwise formal and intensely private Japanese actually began to look at me and to break protocol by occasionally pointing in my direction did it occur to me that I might be walking about the Roppongi district in my p.j.'s (pajamas)!

Serv 

___________________________



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 21 September 2006 at 2:14pm
The essence of peace is to connect two opposites.

If you see somebody whose opinion is the very opposite of yours, don't
believe that it is impossible to be at peace with him.

Also, if you see two people (peoples) that are two opposites - don't say
that it is impossible to make peace between them.

On the contrary, that is the essence of the completeness of peace - to
make peace prevail between two opposites.


                           Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav

(Rabbi Nachman, 1772-1811, a mystic and ascetic, was one of the most
celebrated Ukrainian Hassidic rabbis. He has many enthusiastic followers
in Israel and elsewhere.)



www.gush-shalom.org
info@gush-shalom.org



                Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz,
                On the eve of the Jewish New Year
                September 22, 2006


Shana Tova to all the Jewish and Ramadan Mubarrak to all the Muslim
readers.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 21 September 2006 at 3:02pm

Uncs, you are uncs just because you always beat me to it. I was going to say Shana Tova to you. Going to London to join a few good friends there this weekend.

Best



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 23 September 2006 at 3:00pm
Uri Avnery
23.9.06

                            Muhammad's   Sword

Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the
relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have
undergone many changes.

Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306 - exactly
1700 years ago - encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire,
which included Palestine. Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern
(Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of
Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept
his superiority.

The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in
European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some
Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or
excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, "walked to
Canossa", standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the
Pope's castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each
other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope,
Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a
wonderful harmony. Last week's speech by the Pope, which aroused a
world-wide storm, went well with Bush's crusade against "Islamofascism",
in the context of the "Clash of Civilizations".


IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he
sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while
Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the
logic of God's actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the
actions of Allah.

As a Jewish atheist, I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is
much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope.
But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli
living near the fault-line of this "war of civilizations".

In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the
prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the
sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born
of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

To support his case, the Pope quoted - of all people - a Byzantine
Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At
the end of the 14th century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a
debate he had - or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt) - with an
unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the
Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will
find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the
sword the faith he preached".

These words give rise to three questions: (a) Why did the Emperor say
them? (b) Are they true? (c) Why did the present Pope quote them?


WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire.
He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once
illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish
threat.

At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the
Danube. They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece, and had
twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern
Empire. In *1452, only a few years after Manuel's death, his capital,
Constantinople (the present Istanbul) fell to the Turks, putting an end to
the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an
attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is
no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the
Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new
crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present
Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world
against the mainly Muslim "Axis of Evil". Moreover, the Turks are again
knocking on the doors of Europe, this time peacefully. It is well known
that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into
the European Union.


IS THERE any truth in Manuel's argument?

The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned
theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he
admitted that the Qur'an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by
force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 (strangely fallible, for a
pope, he meant verse 257) which says: "There must be no coercion in
matters of faith".

How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply
argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he
was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later
on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an
order does not exist in the Qur'an. True, Muhammad called for the use of
the sword in his war against opposing tribes - Christian, Jewish and
others - in Arabia, when he was building his state. But that was a political
act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the
spreading of the faith.

Jesus said: "You will recognize them by their fruits." The treatment of
other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the
Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the
power to "spread the faith by the sword"?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become
Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary,
Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman
administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other
European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and
clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims
and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But
nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in
order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim
and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus.
At that time, 400 years into the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims,
Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long
period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the
expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the
inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith - and
they were the forefathers of most of today's Palestinians.


THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the
Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a
bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost
our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great
Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In
Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together
and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That
was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the
Prophet decreed the "spreading of the faith by the sword"?

What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-
conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious
terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to
become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the
hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith,
escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim
countries. The Sephardi ("Spanish") Jews settled all over the Muslim world,
from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, from Bulgaria (then part of
the Ottoman Empire) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were
they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition,
the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions
that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the "peoples
of the book". In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and
Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They
had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service - a
trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that
Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by
gentle persuasion - because it entailed the loss of taxes.

Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a
deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty
generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried
many times "by the sword" to get them to abandon their faith.


THE STORY about "spreading the faith by the sword" is an evil legend, one
of the myths that grew up in Europe during the great wars against the
Muslims - the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and
the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that
the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that
the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own
right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new
Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of
"Islamofascism" and the "Global War on Terrorism" - when "terrorism" has
become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush's handlers, this is a cynical
attempt to justify the domination of the world's oil resources. Not for the
first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of
economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers' expedition becomes
a Crusade.

The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire
consequences?

* Constantinople fell in 1453


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 24 September 2006 at 3:34am
Gush Shalom

In a pre-dawn raid on Friday, 8 September 2006, Israeli security forces
closed down the offices of Ansar al-Sajin (The Prisoners' Friends
Association), an NGO registered under Israeli law which offers support to
Palestinian political prisoners. Police officers and General Security Services
agents confiscated computers and hundreds of documents from the
organization’s offices in the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum. Raids were
conducted also in Ansar al-Sajin offices in the West Bank. The raid
followed a formal declaration by the Israeli Minister of Defense that the
organization was illegal.
Ansar al-Sajin has been active since 1979, helping prisoners and their
families to cope with the difficulties they face during periods of
imprisonment. Thus, beyond providing legal aid to prisoners, the
organization has also helped Palestinian families to overcome
bureaucratic obstacles in organizing family visits and, in cases of
difficulties with the postal service, transferring letters from the Occupied
Territories to prisons located within the 1967 borders of Israel. It has also
cared for the health of prisoners and helped them to receive medical
treatment.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has taken on
the legal battle on behalf of Ansar al-Sajin and is challenging the Defense
Minister's decision. However, the legal battle is not enough. The decision
to shut down the organization's offices and the police raid are clear cases
of political harassment, consistent with previous attempts to obstruct and
hinder the work of any human rights organization dealing with the
welfare of Palestinian political prisoners. In this case, the order came in
the wake of the launch of a campaign by the organization, in which it
called for the inclusion of 1948 Palestinian prisoners (citizens of Israel) in
the current talks on the exchange of prisoners.

We call upon the international human rights community to protest against
Israel’s actions in this matter. Please call or write to the Israeli Embassy in
your country or directly to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Prime
Minister’s office expressing your concern about their blatantly anti-
democratic behavior.

The Ministry of Defense:
Tel: 972-3-6975423; Fax: 972-3-6976711
Email: pniot@mod.gov.il

The Prime Minister’s Office:
Tel. 972-33-6109898, 972-2-6705555; Fax: 972-2-6705475
Email: pmo.heb@it.pmo.gov.il


Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
The Israeli Action Committee for Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees
Women's Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 28 September 2006 at 1:21pm
Hi,
Hope this may interest you.
I am sending this earlier than usual, because of a short
vacation.
By the way, the question of the different numbers of the
verse quoted by the pope has been cleared up. In different
translations, the numbers are different, because some count
the obligatory opening verse (In the Name of Allah...) and
some don't. So the pope and I were both right and fallible.
Shalom,
uri

Uri Avnery
30.9.06

                Because of a Small Nail

HAD HAMLET been a reserve soldier in the Israeli army, he might now
declare: "Something is rotten in the State of Israel!"

And indeed, something is rotten -

- The President of the State refuses to suspend himself, in face of eight
individual accusations of sexual harassment. He whines about a
monstrous conspiracy against him and points at Netanyahu's men in the
Likud.

- The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense refuse to resign, in spite
of the overwhelming majority of the public's expressed lack of confidence
in Ehud Olmert (70%) and Amir Peretz (82%). Instead of agreeing to the
establishment of an independent judicial commission of inquiry, they
have set up an examining committee that has already lost the confidence
of the majority of the public - even before it has started to investigate the
events of the Lebanon War.

- The Chief-of-Staff, under attack from retired and serving generals,
declares that he "will not take off his uniform until somebody tears it off."

- The chairman of the Knesset Foreign and Military Affairs Committee is
indicted for fraud and perjury.

- The Minister of Justice is on trial for pushing his tongue into the mouth
of a female soldier.

According to the polls, the overwhelming majority of the population is
happy with their personal situation (80%) but depressed about the
situation of the state (59%).

So what to do?

Simple: just change the system.


THIS IS a typical Israeli reaction. Perhaps typically human.

When a crisis threatens to upset the foundations of our perceptions, we
tend to turn away from the main issue and concentrate all our attention
on some detail. Thus we are relieved from questioning our basic beliefs
and the world-view we are accustomed to. We take some detail, as small
as possible, and put all the blame on it. That’s it! Found it! That's the
guilty part!

As the old song goes: "All because of a small nail!" So when a major
disaster occurs, we find the small nail that caused it, and we need not
look further.

For example: the Yom-Kippur war. Why did this bloody war break out at
all? Why didn't we accept President Anwar Sadat's earlier offer of peace in
exchange for the return of the Sinai? Why did our Ship of Fools blithely
sail from the Six-day war to the Yom-Kippur war on a sea of arrogance?

No, such questions were not asked. But what was asked? Things like: Why
didn't the army intelligence department warn us that the Egyptians and
Syrians were about to attack? Why weren't the reserve units called up in
time? Why weren’t the "instruments" (tanks and artillery) moved to the
canal?

It was called "The Omission". That was the slogan of the mass protest
movement that sprang up and swept away Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan.

That's like emptying the ashtray when a car breaks down. Now something
similar is happening.


THE POLLS show that the public has no confidence in the leadership. But
the public does not say: We voted for these leaders, so we are to blame.
That would be an unpleasant admission. What they say is: It's not our
fault. So who is to blame? The "system", of course.

That's because our parliamentary democracy does not assure the Prime
Minister a full term of four years. He can fall before that. It also compels
him to include in his government leaders of the coalition parties, even if
they are quite incompetent to direct their ministries. The Prime Minister
cannot plan long-term policy, nor put capable experts in charge of the
ministries.

That's very bad. Therefore, we must adopt the American system. The
people will elect a president, who will serve at least four full years. He will
choose a cabinet composed of outstanding personalities, each one an
expert in his field. Thus Zion will be redeemed.


THIS IS the purest snake oil - one bottle to cure all illnesses, without pain
and without delay.

First of all, one cannot simply transfer a political system from one country
to another. Every state has its own tradition, its own specific culture, its
own social set-up. A political system must grow from within. It cannot be
imposed on another people. When one tries to do that, the society adapts
it to its own requirements and changes it beyond recognition. (Japan after
World War II springs to mind.) Only out-of-touch professors in ivory
towers could imagine that the illnesses of a society can be cured by an
ideal political system copied from another country.

That has already been proven in Israel: under the influence of some
professors, our "system" was changed some years ago. It was decided
that the Prime Minister would be elected directly, separately from the
Knesset elections. But soon it became obvious that this system was worse
than the one before it. So the Wise Ones took counsel and changed the
whole thing back again.

But there's no need for us to go through that experience ourselves. In
order to appreciate the advantages of the presidential system, it's enough
to look at the situation in its homeland: the United States.

What has this system achieved there? Indeed, the president has at least
four full years, but many would add "alas!" When it is discovered that a
complete idiot has been elected and embroils his country in disastrous
adventures, he cannot be removed. In our parliamentary system, as in the
United Kingdom, a Prime Minister can be removed with comparative ease.
Tony Blair will be gone within a year, while George Bush serves out his full
term.

Are the American ministers more competent than ours? Is Donald
Rumsfeld less of a disaster than Amir Peretz?

Moreover, in order to be elected president, a candidate needs huge sums
of money. Such heavy money can come only from interest groups, lobbies
and large corporations. The American system is corrupt to the core - a
corruption so deep and wide, it makes the sins of Olmert & Co. look
innocent.


BUT LOGIC is not the key to this discussion, because the demand for
system change is serving as a cover for something much more sinister:
the call for a Leader.

Such calls always arise in times of crisis. When there is a feeling of defeat
and a climate of distrust of the old leadership, people long for a strong
father. Democracy looks weak and rotten, especially faced with the legend
that the politicians have "prevented the army from winning." A strong
leader solves problems with an iron fist. A policy of dialogue and
agreements is something for weaklings.

It must be clear: the proposal to adopt the presidential system is nothing
other than a disguised call for an all-powerful leader. One has only to
look at those who propose it.

The foremost advocate of "system change" is Avigdor Liberman, the
leader of the "Israel Our Home" party, composed mainly of immigrants
from the former Soviet Union. This is a party of the radical Right - to use
an understatement. In other countries, they might be called by another
name.

"Israel Our Home" stands for unbridled nationalism and xenophobia. It is
more radical than Joerg Haider in Austria and Jean-Marie Le-Pen in
France. It calls for all Palestinians to leave the country, including the Arab
citizens of Israel proper, who constitute 20% of the population. That does
not prevent Ehud Olmert from declaring publicly that he would like to
have this party in his government. (When Haider joined the Austrian
government, Israel recalled its ambassador from Vienna.)

Liberman, who wants to be Minister of Defense, has set five conditions for
joining the government, headed by the demand for the adoption of the
presidential system. It is quite clear who his candidate for president is:
Avigdor Liberman.

The polls say that if elections were held now, Liberman's party would get
16 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (compared to 11 seats in the present
assembly). To this, one must add the nine seats occupied in the present
Knesset by the "National Union", whose leader, a knitted-kippa-wearing
general, publicly demands the expulsion of all Arabs from the occupied
Palestinian territories, and the withdrawal of democratic rights from the
Arab citizens of Israel itself. When such parties constitute a fifth of the
voting public, there is certainly cause for concern.


I BELIEVE in Israeli democracy. It is an incredible phenomenon,
considering where most Israeli citizens or their parents came from:
Czarist and Communist Russia, the Poland of Pilsudsky and his heirs,
Morocco, Iraq, Iran and Syria - in addition to those born in colonial
Palestine under the rule of the British High Commissioner. Like the
resurrection of the Hebrew language, which has no parallel in the world,
this democracy is a miracle. (This means, of course, democracy in Israel
proper. In the occupied territories, a very different situation prevails.)

I don't believe that there is a concrete danger of the rise of fascism at
present. But we have to be on our guard, every day and every hour.
Several factors may promote fascist tendencies here: the feeling of defeat
in war, the legend of the "the stab in the back of the army", lack of
confidence in the democratic system, a widening gap between rich and
poor, incitement against the national minority described as a Fifth
Column.

That is more than a small nail.





Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 05 October 2006 at 2:47am
Uri Avnery
7.10.06          ; 

                Lunch in Damascus

ONCE, WHILE traveling in a taxi, I had an argument with the driver - a
profession associated in Israel with extreme right-wing views. I tried in
vain to convince him of the desirability of peace with the Arabs. In our
country, which has never seen a single day of peace in the last hundred
years, peace can seem like something out of science fiction.

Suddenly I had an inspiration. "When we have peace," I said, "You can take
your taxi in the morning and go to Damascus, have lunch there with real
authentic Hummus and come back home in the evening."

He jumped at the idea. "Wow," he exclaimed, "If that happens, I shall take
you with me for nothing!"

"And I shall treat you to lunch," I responded.

He continued to dream. "If I could go to Damascus in my car, I could drive
on from there all the way to Paris!"


BASHAR AL-ASSAD has done it again. He has succeeded in confusing the
Israeli government.

As long as he voices the ritual threat to liberate the Golan Heights by
force, it does not upset anybody. After all, that only confirms what many
want to hear: that there is no way to have peace with Syria, that sooner or
later we shall have a war with them.

Why is that good? Simple: peace with Syria would mean giving back the
Golan Heights (Syrian territory by any definition). No peace, no need to
give them back.

But when Bashar starts to talk peace, we are in trouble. That is a sinister
plot. It may, God forbid, create a situation that would compel us to return
the territory.

Therefore, we should not even speak about it. The news must be buried
in some remote corner of the papers and at the end of the news on TV, as
just "another speech of Assad". The government rejects them "on the
threshold", adding that it cannot even be discussed until…

Until what? Until he stops supporting Hizbullah. Until Syria expels the
representatives of Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations. Until
regime change takes place in Syria. Until a Western-style democracy is
installed there. In short, until he registers as a member of the Zionist
organization.


THE RELATIONS between Israel and Syria have a documented history of at
least 2859 years. In the year 853 B.C. Israel is mentioned - for the first
time, it seems - in an authentic document outside the Bible. Twelve
monarchs of the region, led by the kings of Damascus and Israel, united
against the growing threat of Assyria, The decisive battle took place at
Karkar (in the north of today's Syria). According to an Assyrian document,
20 thousand soldiers and 1200 chariots of Damascus fought side by side
with 10 thousand soldiers and 2000 chariots of Ahab, king of Israel. It is
not quite clear which side won.

But that was a temporary alliance. For most of the time, Israel and Aram-
Damascus fought against each other for regional supremacy. Ahab died a
hero's death in one of these wars against Aram, just two years after the
battle against the Assyrians.

In modern times, the Syrians (although then still under French colonial
rule) strenuously opposed the Zionist enterprise right from the beginning.
But they also opposed the Palestinian national movement. That is
grounded in history: in the Arabic language, the name al-Sham ("the
North"), as Syria is called, includes the entire territory between Egypt and
Turkey. Therefore, in Arab consciousness, not only Lebanon, but Jordan,
Palestine and Israel as well are really part of Syria.

When Yasser Arafat created the independent Palestinian national
movement at the end of the 1950s, the Syrians demanded to be
acknowledged as the protectors of the Palestinian people. When he
refused, the Syrians threw the entire Palestinian leadership into prison.
(Only the wife of Abu Jihad, Intissar al-Wazir, remained at liberty and took
over the command of the Fatah fighters - thus becoming the first woman
in modern times to command an Arab fighting force.)   

Naturally, all the enemies of Arafat found refuge in Damascus, and that is
the original reason for the presence of some leaders of Hamas and other
organizations there. They were more of a threat to the PLO than to Israel.


IN THE 1948 war, the Syrian army was the only Arab army that was not
defeated. They continued to occupy some Israeli territory. Along this
border, many incidents took place (mostly initiated by an officer by the
name of Ariel Sharon). In the end, the Israeli army occupied the Golan
Heights in the Six-day war, for the outbreak of which Syria bears some
responsibility.

Since then, all the relations between Israel and Syria have been centered
on this occupied territory. Its return is a paramount Syrian aim. Israel has
applied Israeli law there (which, contrary to the accepted view, means less
than annexation). Hafez al-Assad re-conquered it in the 1973 war, but in
the end was pushed back to the approaches of Damascus. Since then, the
Syrians have been trying to harass Israel mostly by means of Hizbullah.

Once upon a time, the idea of an "Eastern Front" - a coordinated attack by
Jordan, Syria and Iraq - used to cause nightmares in Israel. The prophecy
of Jeremiah (1, 14), "Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the
inhabitants of the land", echoed through the war-rooms of the army High
Command. Since then we have made peace with Jordan, Iraq has been
blown to smithereens by the Americans, with the enthusiastic support of
Israel and its American lobby. But the Syrians are still considered a
menace, because they are allied with Iran and connected with Hizbullah.

Is it worthwhile for us to live in this situation in order to keep the Golan
Heights? Common sense says no. If we reach a peace agreement with
Syria, it will automatically entail an agreement with Hizbullah, too.
Without Syrian consent, Hizbullah cannot keep an efficient military force,
since practically all Hizbullah's arms have to come from Syria or pass
through Syria. Without Syrian support, Hizbullah will become a purely
Lebanese party and cease to constitute a threat to us.

Moreover, Syria is a thoroughly secular country. When the Muslim
Brotherhood rebelled against Assad Sr, he drowned them in blood. Also,
the great majority of Syrians are Sunni. When Syria makes peace with
Israel, it will have no reason to remain allied with the fanatical Shiite Iran.

So why don't we make peace with Syria?


AT THIS time, there are two reasons: the one domestic, the other foreign.

The domestic reason is the existence of 20 thousand settlers on the
Golan Heights, who are far more popular than the West Bank settlers.
They are not religious fanatics, and their settlements were set up under
the auspices of the Labor Party. All Israeli governments have been afraid
to touch them.

That is the real reason for the failure of all the attempts to negotiate with
Syria. Yitzhak Rabin thought about it and drew back. He argued that we
should first of all concentrate on settling the Palestinian issue. Ehud Barak
almost came to an agreement with Syria, but escaped at the last moment.
The only question that remained open was almost ludicrous: should the
Syrians reach the shoreline of the Sea of Tiberias (the situation prevailing
before the Six-day war) or stay at a distance of a few dozen meters
(according to the border fixed between the British, then ruling Palestine,
and the French, then ruling Syria). In popular parlance: will Assad dangle
his long feet in the water of the lake? For Assad Sr. that was a question of
honor.

Is it worthwhile to risk for this the lives of thousands of Israelis and
Syrians, who may die in another war?

Until Israel has a government ready to answer this question and to
confront the settlers, there will be no agreement with Syria.

The second reason for rejecting peace with Syria is connected with the
United States. Syria belongs to George Bush's "axis of evil". The American
president doesn't give a damn for the long-range interests of Israel, what
is important to him is to achieve some sort of victory in the Middle East.
The destruction of the Syrian regime ("a victory for democracy") will
compensate him for the Iraq fiasco.

No Israeli government - and certainly not that of Olmert - would dare to
disobey the American president. Therefore, it is self-evident that all
peace feelers from Assad will be rejected "on the threshold". Tsipi Livni,
who last week opened a new front against Olmert and presented herself
almost as a peace-lover, opposes the start of negotiations with Syria as
well.   


THIS AFFAIR throws some light on the complex relations between Israel
and the United States: who is wagging who - does the dog wag its tail or
the tail its dog?

Olmert says that we must ignore Assad's peace offers, because we must
not help him to escape Bush's wrath. Let's dwell on this utterance for a
moment.

An Israeli patriot would, of course, have said exactly the opposite: If
Assad is ready to make peace with us - even if only because he is afraid
of the Americans - we should jump at this opportunity and exploit this
situation to achieve at long last peace on our northern front.

Last week Olmert made a remarkable declaration: "As long as I am Prime
Minister, we shall not give up the Golan for all eternity!" What does that
mean? Either Olmert believes that his term of office coincides with God's
term of office, and he will rule in eternity - or in Olmert's world, eternity
extends to four years, at most.

Anyhow, until then, my taxi-driver and I shall have to wait for our lunch
in Damascus.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 21 October 2006 at 10:08am

Hi Beautiful people,

I hope this interests you.

URI On liberman


A BLACK FLAG!

When the racist Joerg Haider joined the Austrian government, the Israeli
government recalled our ambassador from Vienna.

Now there is an intention to invite Avigdor Liberman, a racist much worse
than Haider, to join the Israeli government itself.

The inclusion of Liberman in the government is not just a change in the
coalition. It raises a black flag over the State of Israel.

The very idea that such a person, which such views, can be a member of
the Government of Israel is shocking. It shames everyone who advocates
it.

Liberman is a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, a threat to a whole
sector of citizens, a threat to democracy, a threat to any chance for Israel
to achieve peace with its neighbors.

The proposed law for the change of the regime, which has been
introduced by Liberman in the Knesset, is not just a proposal for another
change in the mechanism of government. It is the first step towards the
establishment of a dictatorship, which will lead to national disaster.

This is a road of no return.

A cynical Prime Minister, out to save his skin, together with a gang of
corrupt and/or st**id politicians, are helping Liberman to put his foot in
the door of Israeli democracy.

Anyone who raises his hand in favor of Liberman and his proposals raises
his hand against the State of Israel as defined by the Declaration of
Independence, a state that was supposed to be democratic, peace-
oriented, with equality for all its citizens.

Each of them will be remembered forever with shame.


                                            GUSH SHALOM


972-3-5221732 - P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-
shalom.org - info@gush-shalom.org

------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------


Special large ad published in Haaretz
October 17, 2006


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 21 October 2006 at 7:06pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky


Hi Beautiful people,

I hope this interests you.

URI On liberman


A BLACK FLAG!

When the racist Joerg Haider joined the Austrian government, the Israeli
government recalled our ambassador from Vienna.

Now there is an intention to invite Avigdor Liberman, a racist much worse
than Haider, to join the Israeli government itself.

The inclusion of Liberman in the government is not just a change in the
coalition. It raises a black flag over the State of Israel.

The very idea that such a person, which such views, can be a member of
the Government of Israel is shocking. It shames everyone who advocates
it.

Liberman is a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, a threat to a whole
sector of citizens, a threat to democracy, a threat to any chance for Israel
to achieve peace with its neighbors.

The proposed law for the change of the regime, which has been
introduced by Liberman in the Knesset, is not just a proposal for another
change in the mechanism of government. It is the first step towards the
establishment of a dictatorship, which will lead to national disaster.

This is a road of no return.

A cynical Prime Minister, out to save his skin, together with a gang of
corrupt and/or st**id politicians, are helping Liberman to put his foot in
the door of Israeli democracy.

Anyone who raises his hand in favor of Liberman and his proposals raises
his hand against the State of Israel as defined by the Declaration of
Independence, a state that was supposed to be democratic, peace-
oriented, with equality for all its citizens.

Each of them will be remembered forever with shame.


                                            GUSH SHALOM


972-3-5221732 - P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-
shalom.org - info@gush-shalom.org

------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------------------------------------------------------ --
------------


Special large ad published in Haaretz
October 17, 2006

Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

This is to let you know that I've been reading as much as I can, and today I read your last three entries throughly.  Thanks!

It is obvious to those who are not blind that Bush doesn't care for America's long-term interest either!  Some call him st**id, but I think he's pure evil looking for advantage and profit in his own lifetime at anyone's expense.

*** This is funny.  I thought you had blocked the word stupi*d, but it seems that that word isn't allowed on IC anymore.  Hilarious!



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 22 October 2006 at 2:31am
No S**T!     
Just checking.


I don't think Bush is a bad guy His Dad may well be. I think evil people
are very very rare. Very few people get up in the morning and say to them
selves,"Hmm what kind of mischief can I get up to today?" Good people
are capable of doing evil by doing nothing to stop evil or compromising
the wrong things for what they believe to be the greater good. I know a
little something about evil. The real stuff. It has nothing to do with
politics, religion or disorderly people. It has to do with an absence of
tolerance. You don't have to love or forgive as much as you have to just
wait, think, talk or just start over sometimes.

Uri is on the rampage again

Uri Avnery
19.10.06

                        Ehud von Olmert

THE NAME of Franz von Papen is familiar to everyone who knows the
history of the German republic that was born after World War I and that
died when Hitler came to power.

What made him deserving of a place in history? Not his talents. On the
contrary, during his short term as Reichskanzler (chancellor), he was as
much a failure as his predecessors. Neither was he a very interesting
person - just an ordinary politician from the minor nobility ("von"), a
member of the "Zentrum", a German party like our own "National-
Religious Party", before it lost its mind.

No, the name of von Papen is remembered only because he paved the way
for the Nazis to take over Germany. It was he who advised the President
of the Reich, an almost senile Field Marshal, to appoint Hitler as
Reichskanzler. Von Papen told him that Hitler was just another
demagogue with a big mouth, who, once in power, was sure to moderate
his views. And anyhow, for safety's sake, all the important positions - War
Minister, Foreign Minister etc. - would be given to non-Nazis. Hitler
would be Kanzler in name only, unable to move.

Well, everybody knows what happened next. After getting his foot in the
door with the help of von Papen, Hitler stormed into the building,
instituted a reign of terror, threw his opponents (including the assistants
of von Papen himself) into concentration camps, changed the law and
established the dictatorship that led Germany to disaster.

Now there is a danger of Ehud Olmert becoming the Israeli von Papen.


I HAVE always been careful to avoid the example of the famous shepherd
who used to cry "Wolf! Wolf!" just to tease the others.

Many times, this or that Israeli politician has been accused of being a
fascist. But to be a fascist, it is not enough to espouse extreme nationalist
views or to carry out racist policies.

There is no scientific definition of fascism. But from experience one can
say that it is a combination of world view and personality type, radical
nationalism, racism, a cult of violence, dictatorship and more. When
asked who is a fascist, I answer: When you see one, you will know.

Or, as the Americans say: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it
is a duck.

More than once, Menachem Begin was called a fascist, but he was far
from it. He was indeed an extreme nationalist, but also a confirmed
democrat, with decidedly liberal views (like his guide and master, Vladimir
Ze'ev Jabotinsky). Rehavam Ze'evi, who advocated "voluntary transfer" of
the Arab population, came close to the definition, but he lacked the
special character that makes the fascist.

The only leader in the history of Israel who can accurately be defined as a
fascist was Meir Kahane. He did not grow up in this country but was an
import from the US. He was and remained alien in appearance and style,
and failed to impress the general public.

Now Israeli democracy is threatened by a much more dangerous
individual.


AVIGDOR LIBERMAN is a clever person. It is not easy to nail down his
views. They are always formulated in a slick and elusive way. But the rule
applies to him: When you see him, you will know.

When he came to Israel from the Soviet Union, he already brought with
him a racist outlook. He wants a purely Jewish state, with no Arabs. For
this, he is prepared, so he says, even to give up Israeli territory in which a
dense Arab population is living. He proposes to get these citizens out of
Israel, together with the land they are living on. Not a second Naqba, God
forbid: the Arabs will not be driven from their lands, as then, but will be
expelled together with their land. In return, Israel will annex the
territories on which the settlers, one of whom is Liberman himself, are
living.

What's wrong with that? The basic idea is wrong: the turning of Israel into
a state "cleansed" of Arabs. In German that would be called "Araber-rein".
(Actually, it's an inversion of the Nazi phrase: not Juden-rein, but Rein-
für-Juden. That is clearly a racist slogan, which appeals to the most
primitive instincts of the masses.

The chances of this actually happening are, of course, nil. But the very
voicing of this idea prepares the way for something even worse: the
simple expulsion of the masses of Arabs from Israel proper and the
occupied territories. Without euphemisms, without exchanges of territory,
without any kind of spin. Once the fascist genie gets out of the bottle, no
power can stop it before it leads to disaster.

The annexation of the settlements will, of course, put an end to any
chance of peace.

But the menace of Liberman lies not only in his acknowledged or
unacknowledged views. It is imprinted in his character. Witness: he is the
sole leader of his party, which is almost entirely composed of new
immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Like previous waves of
immigration, this is a group of people who did not grow up in a
democratic society, and tend to have an oversimplified view of the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.   

Many of them live in Israel as if on an island, read only the local Russian-
language press (almost entirely far to the right), and are isolated from the
liberal and democratic tendencies in the country. They have pushed out
Nathan Sharansky, who looks too weak, and vote for a tough,
authoritarian leader whose main election slogan, even in Hebrew-
language broadcasts, was "Da, Liberman!" (Yes, Liberman!) What does that
remind one of?

Liberman does not hide his intention of totally changing the structure of
the Israeli political system and establishing an authoritarian regime,
headed by a strong leader (himself). As a first step, he has submitted a
bill for the establishment of a "presidential" regime, in which the
president would have almost dictatorial powers. He would not be
dependent on the Parliament, which would become unimportant, and
would control all the instruments of power himself. The immediate model
is Vladimir Putin, the gravedigger of Russian democracy, but it seems that
Liberman is far more extreme.


WHY DOES Ehud Olmert court this man? Why does he insist on including
him in his government and agreeing to vote for his proposals? Why is
Libermania fast becoming the hottest topic in Israeli politics?

Simply: Olmert, completely bankrupt, is clutching at straws.

Only seven months after becoming Prime Minister by a stroke of luck -
Ariel Sharon's stroke - he is left with nothing, and right with nothing, too,
it seems:. The public already understands that the Lebanon War, in all its
facets, was a total fiasco. His refusal to appoint a Judicial Commission of
Inquiry has deepened the feeling of defeat. The central slogan of his
election campaign - "Convergence" - has become a bad joke. From the
famous "Social Agenda" nothing has remained. Olmert & Co. have been
left without any plan, any mission, except one: to hold on to power at any
price.

One of the hallmarks of a person like Liberman is a talent for sensing and
exploiting the weaknesses of others. He is making Olmert a seductive
offer: he would join the government and bring with him his 11 votes in
Parliament - without anything in return. Literally for nothing.

In the past he has demanded the post of Minister of Defense, or at least
Minister of Police (officially "Minister of Interior Defense"). Now he talks
about a nebulous title: "Minister in Charge of Long-Range
Strategy" (translation: the bombing of Iran). But he does not insist even
on that. He is prepared to be a minister without portfolio, not even
demanding that two or three of his colleagues also become ministers, as
the size of his party would justify.

An offer that cannot be refused. Liberman knows that the title is
unimportant. What is important is to get his foot in the door and gain
legitimacy as a minister. The rest will come in due course.

For the despairing Olmert, out to hold on to power, this looks like a gift
from heaven. He has opponents in the government, especially in the
Labor Party. His parliamentary majority is not safe. And here comes
Liberman and provides him with complete security in office. People have
sold their souls to the devil for less.

The official justification is: "One cannot reject any Zionist party" (a
wording that automatically counts out all Israeli Arab parties). Adapting
the famous words of Dr Samuel Johnson, it could be said: "Zionism is the
last refuge of a scoundrel."

Olmert wants to gain some more years - or months, or weeks - in power.
Power for its own sake. Power for no cause or purpose, for no idea, for no
action. In return, he is ready to open the door to the forces of darkness.
What does he care? After him the deluge.


I HAVE said more than once that I believe in Israeli democracy. The
immigrants from the Soviet Union are not the only ones who grew up in a
dictatorial system - almost all Israelis, or their parents, grew up under
tyrannical regimes. But Israeli democracy, the miracle that has no logical
explanation, is holding up even in these difficult circumstances.

However, we cannot ignore the dangers that threaten our democracy now.
Years of a brutal occupation have corrupted the state and the army,
racism is flourishing in our daily life - not only against the inhabitants of
the occupied territories, not only against the Arab citizens of Israel
proper, not only against foreign workers. There exist in our society deep
schisms that can be exploited by fascism in its search for power.

When Rome was in danger from the approaching Carthaginian army, the
cry went up: "Hannibal ante portas!" We should now raise the cry:
"Liberman at the gate!"

Ehud Olmert will be a passing episode in the annals of Israel. In a few
years, nobody will remember him. Unless he acquires the status of the
Israeli von Papen.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 28 October 2006 at 5:59am


Stormy Demonstartion in Bil'in

It was the stormiest demonstration in Bil'in for some time. Clouds of tear
gas, salvoes of stun grenades were showered on the 300 demonstrators -
Palestinians, Israelis and internationals - who marched again to protest
against the wall in this village, as they have done every Friday for than 20
months.

The army was ready. From early morning, all the roads to the village were
blocked. Yet all the demonstrators succeeded in reaching the village,
some on foot, some over paths known to the experienced Palestinians. At
the appointed time, the procession started on its way.

The creative abilities of the organizers, people of the village and
"Anarchists against Fences", who invent every week a new symbol for the
demonstration, did not disappoint this time either. At the head of the
procession, ladders were carried, with flags affixed with nails to both
sides, like flowers on moving flower-beds. Marching in front were
Palestinian leaders and Israeli public figures, including Knesset Members
Dov Chinin (Hadash), Gamal Zakhalkeh (Balad) and former Knesset
Member Uri Avnery (Gush Shalom).

It was obvious that the army had decided in advance on harsh treatment.
When the protesters were just approaching the fence, they were stopped
by rows of Border Police behind barbed wire. When the demonstrators
broke through and put the ladders to the wall, the first salvo of stun
grenades and tear gas was shot at them. Within minutes, the whole area
was covered by the stinging and choking gas.

For an hour, the confrontation went on, with the demonstrators shouting
at the soldiers - "Soldiers go home!" "No, no to the fence!" - and the
soldiers shooting grenades from time to time. The protesters retreated,
choking and coughing, but returned at once. Dozens of them knocked
with stones on an iron fence, a noise that could be heard for miles along
the wadis. Others entered into arguments with the soldiers.

Several times, stones were thrown from the crowds towards the fence.
There is a strong suspicion that this was done by undercover agents,
disguised as Arabs, in order to provide the army with a pretext to shoot
at the demonstrators. (This has happened several times before and has
been documented on camera.)

After about an hour, the soldiers started to shoot concentrated salvoes of
stun and gas grenades in all directions. The organizers of the
demonstration requested the protesters to retreat towards the village -
and then the soldiers started to shoot tear gas wildly. The grenades
exploded in front of the protesters, behind them, on both sides and in
the middle of the retreating crowd, so that there was no escape.

Several demonstrators were wounded. One was hit by a stun grenade on
his face and suffered deep cuts, another was hit by a gas canister on his
leg, a third was dragged by the soldiers on the rocks.

The army stated that two of its men were also wounded. No one of the
demonstrators had seen that. The joke went around that the army has
two soldiers, whose regular job it is to pretend to be wounded, and who
go from one demonstration to the next.


Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 28 October 2006 at 11:04pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri is on the rampage again

Many thanks to Uri and to you as well Daniel for letting us know. I have come to know few things that are not available in the common media.



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 11 November 2006 at 3:17pm
Uri Avnery
11.11.06

                 In One Word: MASSACRE!
                

"THANK GOD for the American elections," our ministers and generals
sighed with relief.

They were not rejoicing at the kick that the American people delivered to
George W. Bush's ass this week. They love Bush, after all.

But more important than the humbling of Bush is the fact that the news
from America pushed aside the terrible reports from Beit Hanoun. Instead
of making the headlines, they were relegated to the bottom of the page.


THE FIRST revolutionary act is to call things by their true names, Rosa
Luxemburg said. So how to call what happened in Beit Hanoun?

"Accident" said a pretty anchorwoman on one of the TV news programs.
"Tragedy", said her lovely colleague on another channel. A third one, no
less attractive, wavered between "event", "mistake" and "incident".

It was indeed an accident, a tragedy, an event and an incident. But most
of all it was a massacre. M-a-s-s-a-c-r-e.

The word "accident" suggests something for which no one is to blame -
like being struck by lightning. A tragedy is a sad event or situation, like
that of the New Orleans inhabitants after the disaster. The event in Beit
Hanoun was sad indeed, but not an act of God - it was an act decided
upon and carried out by human beings.


IMMEDIATELY AFTER the facts became known, the entire choir of
professional apologists, explainers-away, sorrow-expressers and
pretext-inventors, a choir that is in perpetual readiness for such cases,
sprang into feverish action.

"An unfortunate mistake… It can happen in the best families… The
mechanism of a cannon can misfunction, people can make mistakes…
Errare humanum est… We have launched tens of thousands of artillery
shells, and there have only been three such accidents. (No. 1 in the
Olmert-Peretz-Halutz era was in Qana, in the Second Lebanon War. No. 2
was on the Gaza sea shore, where a whole family was wiped out.) But we
apologized, didn't we? What more can they demand from us?"

There were also arguments like "They can only blame themselves." As
usual, it was the fault of the victims. The most creative solution came
from the Deputy Minister of Defense, Ephraim Sneh: "The practical
responsibility is ours, but the moral responsibility is theirs." If they launch
Qassam rockets at us, what else can we do but answer with shells?

Ephraim Sneh was raised to the position of Deputy Minister just now. The
appointment was a payment for agreeing to the inclusion of Avigdor
Liberman in the government (in biblical Hebrew, the payment would have
been called "the hire of a whore", Deut. 23,19). Now, after only a few days
in office, Sneh was given the opportunity to express his thanks.

(In the Sneh family, there is a tradition of justifying despicable acts.
Ephraim's brilliant father, Moshe Sneh, was the leader of the Israeli
Communist Party, and defended all the massacres committed by Stalin,
not only the gulag system, but also the murder of the Jewish Communists
in the Soviet Union and its satellites and the Jewish "doctors plot").

Any suggestion of equivalence between Qassams and artillery shells, an
idea which has been adopted even by some of the Peaceniks, is
completely false. And not only because there is no symmetry between
occupier and occupied. Hundreds of Qassams launched during more than
a year have killed one single Israeli. The shells, missiles and bombs have
already killed many hundreds of Palestinians.


DID THE shells hit the homes of people intentionally? There are only two
possible answers to that.

The extreme version says: Yes. The sequence of events points in that
direction. The Israeli army, one of the most modern in the world, has no
answer to the Qassam, one of the most primitive of weapons. This short-
range unguided rocket (named after Izz-ad-Din al-Qassam, the first
Palestinian fighter, who was killed in 1935 in a battle against the British
authorities of Palestine) is little more than a pipe filled with home-made
explosives.

In a futile attempt to prevent the launching of Qassams, the Israeli forces
invade the towns and villages of the Gaza Strip at regular intervals and
institute a reign of terror. A week ago, they invaded Beit-Hanoun and
killed more than 50 people, many of them women and children. The
moment they left, the Palestinians started to launch as many Qassams as
possible against Ashkelon, in order to prove that these incursions do not
deter them.

That increased the frustration of the generals even more. Ashkelon is not
a remote poverty-stricken little town like Sderot, most of whose
inhabitants are of Moroccan origin. In Ashkelon there lives also an elitist
population of European descent. The army chiefs, having lost their honor
in Lebanon, were eager - according to this version - to teach the
Palestinians a lesson, once and for all. According to the Israeli saying: If
force doesn't work, use more force.

The other version holds that it was a real mistake, an unfortunate
technical hitch. But the commander of an army knows very well that a
certain incidence of "hitches" is unavoidable. So-and-so many percent are
killed in training, so-and-so many percent die from "friendly fire", so-
and-so many percent of shells fall some distance from the target. The
ammunition used by the gunners against Beit-Hanoun - the very same
155mm ammunition that was used in Kana - is known for its inaccuracy.
Several factors can cause the shells to stray from their course by
hundreds of meters.

He who decided to use this ammunition against a target right next to
civilians knowingly exposed them to mortal danger. Therefore, there is no
essential difference between the two versions.

Who is to blame? First of all, the spirit that has gained ground in the
army. Recently, Gideon Levy disclosed that a battalion commander
praised his soldiers for killing 12 Palestinians with the words: "We have
won by 12:0!"

Guilty are, of course, the gunners and their commanders, including the
battery chief. And the General in charge of the Southern Command, Yoav
Gallant (sic), who radiates indifference spiked with sanctimonious
platitudes. And the Deputy Chief-of-Staff. And the Chief-of-Staff, Dan
Halutz, the Air-Force general who said after another such incident that he
sleeps well at night after dropping a one-ton super-bomb on a
residential area. And, of course, the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz, who
approved the use of artillery after forbidding it in the past - which means
that he was aware of the foreseeable consequences.

The guiltiest one is the Great Apologizer: Ehud Olmert, the Prime
Minister.

Olmert boasted recently that because of the clever behavior of his
government "we were able to kill hundreds of terrorists, and the world
has not reacted." According to Olmert, a "terrorist" is any armed
Palestinian, including the tens of thousands of Palestinian policemen who
carry arms by agreement with Israel. They may now be shot freely.
"Terrorists" are also the women and children, who are killed in the street
and in their homes. (Some say so openly: the children grow up to be
terrorists, the women give birth to children who grow up to be terrorists.)

Olmert can go on with this, as he says, because the world keeps silent.
Today the US even vetoed a very mild Security Council resolution against
the event. Does this mean that the governments throughout the world -
America, Europe, the Arab world - are accessories to the crime at Beit
Hanoun? That can best be answered by the citizens of those countries.


THE WORLD did not pay much attention to the massacre, because it
happened on US election day. The results of the election may sadden our
leaders more than the blood and tears of mothers and children in the
Gaza strip, but they were glad that the election diverted attention.

A cynic might say: Democracy is wonderful, it enables the voter to kick
out the moron they elected last time and replace them with a new moron.

But let's not be too cynical. The fact is that the American people has
accepted, after a delay of three years and tens of thousands of dead, what
the advocates of peace around the word - including us here in Israel -
were saying already on the first day: that the war will cause a disaster.
That it will not solve any problem, but have the opposite effect.

The change will not be quick and dramatic. The US is a huge ship. When it
turns around, it makes a very big circle and needs a lot of time - unlike
Israel, a small speed-boat that can turn almost on the spot. But the
direction is clear.

Of course, in both new houses of Congress, the pro-Israeli lobby
(meaning: the supporters of the Israeli Right) has a huge influence,
perhaps even more than in the last ones. But the American army will have
to start leaving Iraq. The danger of another military adventure in Iran
and/or Syria is much diminished. The crazy neo-conservatives, most of
them Jews who support the extreme Right in Israel, are gradually losing
power, together with their allies, the crazy Christian fundamentalists.

As former Prime Minister Levy Eshkol once said: when America sneezes,
Israel catches cold. When America starts to recover, perhaps there is hope
for us, too.   


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 14 November 2006 at 1:35pm
David Grossman is a man greatly admired and loved by my family. While
most of us here left of center were dead against the war from the onset,
David made surprising public statements in support of our governments
decision to send troops into Lebenon. I was profoundly shocked that he
did this. I felt downright marginal but set in my opinion.
David is a good person a brilliant talent (writer) Whose books for adults
young adults and children are moving, witty and wonderful in any
language.

Midway through the war David changed his mind about the war and a few
weeks later lost his son to the Hezbollah in Southern Lebenon. If there is
not a saying that "God punishes the righteous swiftly, brutally and with
out mercy." Then there should be after this.




Uri Avnery
18.11.06

                Grossman's Dilemma

THE KEY word was "Hamas". It was spoken from the tribune and appeared
on printed material - but in two very different ways.

On the tribune of the large annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin, two
weeks ago, the writer David Grossman, the sole speaker at the event,
gave an important speech. Coming to the climax, he advised the Prime
Minister: "Appeal to the Palestinians, Mr. Olmert. Appeal to them over
Hamas's head. Appeal to the moderates among them, to those who, like
you and me, oppose Hamas and its ideology!"

At the same time, dozens of Gush Shalom activists dispersed among the
100 thousand participants of the rally to distribute a sticker that said,
simply: "Peace is made with enemies - TALK TO HAMAS!" They later
reported that some refused to take the stickers, but the majority accepted
them willingly.

These two attitudes illustrate the dilemma which the Israeli peace camp is
now facing.


GROSSMAN'S SPEECH aroused many echos. It was a brilliant speech, the
speech of a writer who has a way with words. The speech lifted the spirits
of those present and was treated by the media as an important event.
True, Grossman did not mention that he had initially supported the war
and changed his view as it went on, but this fact did lend even more
credibility to his penetrating criticism of the government.

He did mention the personal tragedy that hit him, when his son, Uri, was
killed in the last hours of the war: "The calamity that my family and I
suffered…does not give me any special privileges in our national debate.
But it seems to me that facing death and loss brings with it a kind of
sobriety and clarity."

He coined a new phrase that gripped the imagination and took hold of the
public discourse. "Our leadership, both political and military, is hollow!"
he declared. And indeed, that is the general feeling since the war: that
this is a leadership empty of all content, devoid of any plan, lacking all
values, whose only aim is to survive. He spoke about the "leadership" and
not about Ehud Olmert personally, but this adjective fits the man himself
exactly: a party functionary whose entire talent consists of devising
tactical combinations and spins, without any intellectual depth, without
vision, without an inspiring personality.

Another image also caught the imagination. Speaking about the inclusion
of Avigdor Liberman in the government as Minister for Strategy, he said:
"This is the appointment of a compulsive pyromaniac to head the
country's firefighters."

I could wholeheartedly identify with 90% of his speech. I could identify
with everything he said about the state of the State, about the moral and
social crisis, about the stature of our leaders and the national need to
achieve peace. If I had stood on the tribune (something quite impossible,
as I shall explain later on) I would have said similar things, which indeed
my colleagues and I have been saying for decades.

The difference between us, and a profound difference it is, concerns the
other 10% of his speech. And, even more so, the things he did not say.

I don't mean tactical matters. For example, in the entire speech there was
no mention of the role of the Labor Party in the government, in the war
and in the appointment of Liberman. Olmert is to blame for everything.
Amir Peretz has disappeared.

No, I mean more substantial matters.


AFTER THE frontal attack on the "hollow" leadership, which lacks vision
and plans, one would have expected Grossman to lay before the tens of
thousand peaceniks assembled in the square his own vision and plan for
the solution of the problem. But, as much as his criticism was clear and
loud, his proposals were vague and banal.

What did he propose? To appeal to the "moderates" among the
Palestinians "over the head" of their elected government, in order to
restart the peace process. Not very original. That was said (but not done)
by Ariel Sharon, that was said (but not done) by Ehud Olmert and George
W. Bush.

This distinction between "moderates" and "fanatics" on the Arab side is
superficial and misleading. Basically, this is an American invention. It
evades the real problems. It contains a large measure of contempt for
Arab society. It leads to a dead end.

Grossman's proposal diverts the discussion onto the path of "who to talk
with" and "who not to talk with", instead of stating clearly what to talk
about: the termination of the occupation, establishment of the State of
Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, withdrawal to the pre-1967
border, solution of the refugee problem.

One could reasonably expect that in such a speech, at such a place, on
such an occasion, these statements would be voiced loudly and clearly,
instead of a repetition of intentionally blurred formulas. "Go to them with
the boldest, most serious plan that Israel is able to put forward, a plan
that all Israelis and Palestinians with eyes in their heads will know is the
limit of refusal and concession, ours and theirs." Sounds nice. But what
does it mean?

After all, it is clear that one has to make such a proposal to the elected
Palestinian leadership, whatever its composition. The idea that we can
talk with a part of the Palestinian people (now the minority) and boycott
the other part (now the majority) is false and misleading. It is also imbued
with the overbearing arrogance that is the hallmark of the occupation.

Grossman has much empathy for the poor and downtrodden in Israeli
society, and he expresses it in moving words. It is obvious that he tries,
really tries, to feel a similar empathy with the suffering Palestinian
society. But here he fails. His is an empathy without pathos, without real
feelings.

He says that this is "a people no less tortured than we are." No less than
we? Gaza like Tel-Aviv? Rafah like Kfar-Sava? The effort to create a
symmetry between occupier and occupied, which has become typical for
some of the peaceniks too, testifies to a basic fault. That is true even if
Grossman meant the untold suffering of the Jews throughout the ages -
even that does not justify what we are doing to the Palestinians now.

About the Palestinians, who voted for Hamas in a manifestly democratic
election, Grossman says that they are "hostages to fanatical Islam". He is
certain that they would change completely the moment Olmert "speaks
with them". That is, mildly put, a patronizing attitude. "Why did we not
use all our flexibility, all our Israeli creativity, to extricate our enemy from
the trap in which he ensnared himself?" Meaning: we are the thinking,
creative party, and we must liberate the poor Arabs from their mindless
fanaticism.

Fanaticism? As a genetic trait? Or is it the natural wish to free themselves
from a brutal, choking occupation, an occupation from whose devastating
grip they did not succeed in freeing themselves when they elected a
"moderate" government?

The same is true for Grossman's second proposal - the one concerning
Syria. On the face of it, a positive suggestion: Olmert must accept every
appeal from an Arab leader who proposes peace. Excellent. But what does
he advise Olmert to do in practice? "Offer him (Assad) a peace process
lasting several years, only at the end of which, if he meets all the
conditions, lives up to all the restrictions, will he get the Golan Heights.
Force him into a process of ongoing dialogue." David Ben-Gurion or Ariel
Sharon could not have put it better.

Bashar al-Assad certainly did not fall off his chair for sheer enthusiasm
when he read this.


IN ORDER to understand Grossman's words one has to remember their
background.

There is not one Israeli peace camp, but two - and the difference between
them is important.

The first camp, the Grossmanian one, calls itself the "Zionist peace camp".
Its strategic concept is that it is wrong to stray from what is called the
"national consensus". If we lose contact with the consensus, so they
believe, we shall not win over the public. Therefore we have to tailor our
message to what the public at large is able absorb at any time.

The "Peace Now" movement is located at the center of this camp, and
several other groups and personalities belong to it. It is a perfectly
legitimate strategy, if only it were successful in winning over the masses.
Unfortunately, that has not happened: "Peace Now", which succeeded in
1982 in mobilizing hundreds of thousands in the protest against the
Sabra and Shatila massacre, succeeded last week in attracting a mere 150
protesters against the Beit Hanoun massacre. (The other movements
which joined the demonstration brought a similar number. Altogether, we
were some 300.) About the same number appeared in other recent
demonstrations of "Peace Now", even those which had more time for
preparations.

This camp keeps in close contact with two political parties: Meretz and
Labor (at least with the left wing). Almost all the founders and leaders of
"Peace Now" were candidates of these two parties, and several of them
were elected to the Knesset. One of the founders is now the Minister of
Education in the Olmert-Peretz war government.


THE SECOND camp, usually called the "radical peace camp", carries out
the opposite strategy: to spell out our message loudly and clearly, even
when it is unpopular and far from the consensus (as it usually is). The
assumption is that the consensus will follow us when our message proves
right in the test of reality.

This camp, to which "Gush Shalom" (in which I am active) belongs,
together with dozens of other organizations, is engaged in strenuous
daily work: from the fight against the Wall and all the other evil doings of
the occupation up to the boycott of the settlements and the support for
soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories.

This camp differs from the other one also in its close contacts with the
Palestinians, from the leadership down to ordinary villagers who are
fighting against the wall that robs them of their land. Recently, "Gush
Shalom" started a dialogue with Hamas leaders. These contacts enable us
to understand the Palestinian society in all its complexity, feelings,
insights, demands and hopes.

Not being aligned with any party, this camp knows that it will not become
a mass movement. That is the price it has to pay. It is impossible to be
popular while taking stands and carrying out actions that are contrary to
the consensus. If so, how does it have an impact? How did it happen that,
in the course of the years, many of its stands have been accepted by the
general public, including luminaries like Grossman?

We call this the "small wheel effect". A small wheel with its own drive
pushes a larger wheel, which drives an even larger wheel, and so on, until
it moves the center of the consensus. What we say today "Peace Now" will
say tomorrow, and a large part of the public on the day after.

This has been proven dozens of times in the past, and was proven again
in the last few weeks during the Second Lebanon War. We called a
demonstration against the war on its first day, when the overwhelming
majority - including Amos Oz, David Grossman and others - supported it
openly and wholeheartedly. But when the real motives and the fatal
results started to become obvious, the consensus began to change. Our
demonstrations swelled from 200 to 10,000 protesters. Even "Peace now",
which had supported the war in the beginning, changed its stand, and
near the end of the war called its own anti-war demonstration, in
conjunction with Meretz. In the end, the entire "national consensus"
moved.

It may be true that the "radical peace camp" and the "Zionist peace camp",
while playing different roles, complement each other in the decisive fight
for public opinion.


GROSSMAN"S SPEECH should be judged in this spirit.

It was a moving speech, even a great speech. It did not contain all we
would have wished for, but for Grossman, and the camp he belongs to, it
was really a big step in the right direction.


Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 14 November 2006 at 10:42pm

Thanks Dan for the article. I am living in the snailing world of "Dial Up" now after making a hard decision to drop the broadband which kept me netting.-----

We call this the "small wheel effect". A small wheel with its own drive pushes a larger wheel, which drives an even larger wheel, and so on, until it moves the center of the consensus. What we say today "Peace Now" will say tomorrow, and a large part of the public on the day after.



Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 18 November 2006 at 9:42pm

He says that this is "a people no less tortured than we are." No less than
we? Gaza like Tel-Aviv? Rafah like Kfar-Sava? The effort to create a
symmetry between occupier and occupied, which has become typical for
some of the peaceniks too, testifies to a basic fault. That is true even if
Grossman meant the untold suffering of the Jews throughout the ages -
even that does not justify what we are doing to the Palestinians now.

About the Palestinians, who voted for Hamas in a manifestly democratic
election, Grossman says that they are "hostages to fanatical Islam". He is
certain that they would change completely the moment Olmert "speaks
with them". That is, mildly put, a patronizing attitude. "Why did we not
use all our flexibility, all our Israeli creativity, to extricate our enemy from
the trap in which he ensnared himself?" Meaning: we are the thinking,
creative party, and we must liberate the poor Arabs from their mindless
fanaticism.
Salaams and Bismillah,

During people's excitement here over the Democrats winning the majority of seats for a caucus in the House and the Senate, Beit Hanon was devastated by vicious attacks by Israel's powerful military on a few defenseless homes, which had no chance but to be destroyed along with the frail lives within and near them.

The comments I heard on NPR of a lovely sounding Israeli woman justifying those murders as just retaliation for bombings from near those homes was the most frightening sound I have ever heard.  The sound of smooth talk covering up bloody actions always terrifies me.  But everyone was so busy with the Euphoria of having "won."

These words of Uri's calm my soul from that painful experience.  Every life is precious.  An Arab life has value and the Phalasteenee have not forgotten their slogan of "Phalsteenee are like the stars in the sky" (numerous as), all valuable and yet replenishable and dedicated to the freedom of their land.

Thanks Uri.  Thanks Daniel.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 19 November 2006 at 2:34pm
It's sort of like the McArthy era here in Israel now. I've been slapped with yet
another tax audit as well as huge fines for past due parking tickets dug up
from almost a decade ago. I'm hearing similar stories from other activists
with cancelled credit cards hacked bank accounts and child pornography
links sent from fake email address's. I'm on more black lists now than I can
count. We have a government run by thugs and supported by riff
raff.

Regarding the shelling of Beit Hanon. There have been only three incidents
of accidental shellings in the entire history of the IDF all three of them have
been in the last 18 months.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 19 November 2006 at 8:04pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

It's sort of like the McArthy era here in Israel now. I've been slapped with yet
another tax audit as well as huge fines for past due parking tickets dug up
from almost a decade ago. I'm hearing similar stories from other activists
with cancelled credit cards hacked bank accounts and child pornography
links sent from fake email address's. I'm on more black lists now than I can
count. We have a government run by thugs and supported by riff
raff.

Regarding the shelling of Beit Hanon. There have been only three incidents
of accidental shellings in the entire history of the IDF all three of them have
been in the last 18 months.

Bismillah and Salaams,

We're sorry to hear that you are going through so much to be a decent person and do the right things.  May Allah, The Powerful, reward your efforts and guide your thoughts and actions.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 20 November 2006 at 4:22am
These are desperate acts by people with no future.
The good guys always win in the end.

Word is that the Beirut redundant raids on Nasrallah's empty bunker was an
IDFAF practice run for Iran's nuclear facilities. At least that is what my Piano
tuner (A Likudnik) told me not ten minutes ago. He's never lied to me
before. God help us if it's true. There's a word for this in psychology. It's
called catastrophizing


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 26 November 2006 at 3:46pm
Uri Avnery
25.11.06

                An Evening in Jounieh

DURING THE first Lebanon war, I visited Jounieh, a town some 20 km
north of Beirut. At the time, it served as a port for the Christian forces. It
was an exciting evening.

In spite of the war raging in nearby Beirut, Jounieh was full of life. The
Christian elite spent the day in the sun-drenched marina, the women
lounging in bikinis, the men slugging whisky. The three of us (myself and
two young women from my editorial staff - a correspondent and a
photographer) were the only Israelis in town, and so we were feted.
Everybody invited us onto their yachts, and one rich couple insisted that
we come to their home as guests of a family celebration.

It was indeed something special. The dozens of family members belonged
to the cream of the elite - rich merchants, a well-known painter, several
university professors. The drinks flowed like water, the conversation
flowed in several languages.

Around midnight, everybody was slightly drunk. The men got me into a
"political" conversation. They knew that I was an Israeli, but had no idea
about my views.

"Why don't you go into West Beirut?" one portly gentleman asked me.
West Beirut was held by Arafat's PLO forces, who were defending
hundreds of thousands of Sunni inhabitants.

"Why? What for?" I queried.

"What do you mean? To kill them! To kill everybody!"

"Everybody? Women and children, too?"

"Of course! All of them!"

For a moment, I thought that he was joking. But the faces of the men
around him told me that he was deadly serious and that everybody
agreed with him.

At that moment I grasped that this beautiful country, rich in history,
blessed with all the pleasure of life, is sick. Very, very sick.

The next day I indeed went into West Beirut, but for another purpose
altogether. I crossed the lines to meet with Yasser Arafat.

(By the way, at the end of the party in Jounieh my hosts gave me a parting
present: a big packet of hashish. On the morrow, on my way back to
Israel, after Arafat had made our meeting public, I heard over the radio
that four ministers were demanding that I should be put on trial for
treason. I remembered the hashish and it went sailing out of the car
window.)


I AM reminded of that conversation in Jounieh every time something
happens in Lebanon. This week, for example.

Much nonsense is being spoken and written about that country, as if it
were a country like any other. George W. Bush talks about "Lebanese
democracy" as if there were such a thing, others speak about the
"parliamentary majority" and "minority factions"' about the need for
"national unity" to uphold "national independence", as if they were talking
about the Netherlands or Finland. All these have no connection with
Lebanese reality.

Geographically, Lebanon is a torn country, and there lies a part of the
secret of its beauty. Snow-covered mountain chains, green valleys,
picturesque villages, beautiful sea-shore. But Lebanon is also torn
socially. The two schisms are inter-connected: in the course of history,
persecuted minorities from all over the region sought refuge between its
mountains, where they could defend themselves.

The result: a large number of big and small communities, ready to spring
to arms at any moment. At best, Lebanon is a loose federation of
mutually suspicious communities, at worst a battlefield of feuding groups
which hate each other's guts. The annals of Lebanon are full of civil wars
and horrible massacres. Many times, this or that community called in
foreign enemies to assist it against its neighbors.

Between the communities, there are no permanent alliances. One day,
communities A and B get together to fight community C. The next day, B
and C fight against A. Moreover, there are sub-communities, which more
than once have been known to make an alliance with an opposing
community against their own.

Altogether, a fascinating mosaic, but also a very dangerous one - the
more so since every community keeps a private army, equipped with the
best of weapons. The official Lebanese army, composed of men from all
communities, is unable to carry out any meaningful mission.

What is a Lebanese "community"? On the face of it, it's all about religion.
But not only religion. The community is also an ethnic tribe, with some
national attributes. A Jew will easily understand this, since the Jews are
also such a community, even if spread around the world. But for an
ordinary European or American, it is difficult to understand this structure.
It is easier to think about a "Lebanese nation" - a nation that exists only
in the imagination or as a vision of the future.

The loyalty to the community comes before any other loyalty - and
certainly before any loyalty to Lebanon. When the rights of a community
or sub-community are menaced, its members rise up as one in order to
destroy those who are threatening them.


THE MAIN communities are the Christian, the Sunni-Muslim, the Shiite-
Muslim and the Druze (who, as far as religion goes, are a kind of extreme
Shiites.) The Christians are divided into several sub-communities, the
most important of which are the Maronites (named after a saint who lived
some 1600 years ago.) The Sunnis were brought to Lebanon by the
(Sunni) Ottoman rulers to strengthen their hold, and were mainly settled
in the large port cities. The Druze came to find refuge in the mountains.
The Shiites, whose importance has risen over the last few decades, were
for many centuries a poor and down-trodden community, a doormat for
all the others.

As in almost all Arab societies, the Hamula (extended family) plays a vital
role in all communities. Loyalty to the Hamula precedes even loyalty to
the community, according to the ancient Arab saying: "With my cousin
against the foreigner, with my brother against my cousin." Almost all
Lebanese leaders are chiefs of the great families.


TO GIVE some idea of the Lebanese tangle, a few recent examples: in the
civil war that broke out in 1975, Pierre Gemayel, the chief of a Maronite
family, called upon the Syrians to invade Lebanon in order to help him
against his Sunni neighbors, who were about to attack his territory. His
grandson by the same name, who was murdered this week, was a
member of a coalition whose aim is to liquidate Syrian influence in
Lebanon. The Sunnis, who were fighting against the Syrians and the
Christians, are now the allies of the Christians against the Syrians.

The Gemayel family was the main ally of Ariel Sharon, when he invaded
Lebanon in 1982. The common aim was to drive out the (mainly Sunni)
Palestinians. For that purpose, Gemayel's men carried out the horrendous
massacre of Sabra and Shatila, after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel,
the uncle of the man who was murdered this week. The massacre was
overseen by Elie Hobeika from the roof of the headquarters of the Israeli
general Amos Yaron. Afterwards, Hobeika became a minister under Syrian
auspices. Another person responsible for the slaughter was Samir
Geagea, the only one who was put on trial in a Lebanese court. He was
condemned to several life prison terms and later pardoned. This week he
was one of the main speakers at the funeral of Pierre Gemayel the
grandson.

In 1982, the Shiites welcomed the invading Israeli army with flowers, rice
and candy. A few months later they started a guerilla war against them,
which lasted for 18 years, in the course of which Hizbullah became a
major force in Lebanon.

One of the leading Maronites in the fight against the Syrians was General
Michel Aoun, who was elected president by the Maronites and later driven
out. Now he is an ally of Hizbullah, the main supporter of Syria.

All this resembles Italy at the time of the Renaissance or Germany during
the 30-Years War. But in Lebanon this is the present and the foreseeable
future.

In such a reality, using the term "democracy" is, of course, a joke. By
agreement, the government of the country is divided between the
communities. The president is always a Maronite, the prime minister a
Sunni, the speaker of the parliament a Shiite. The same applies to all
positions in the country, at all levels: a member of a community cannot
aspire to a position suited to his talents if it "belongs" to another
community. Almost all citizens vote according to family affiliation. A
Druze voter, for example, has no chance of overthrowing Walid Jumblat,
whose family has ruled the Druze community for 500 years at least (and
whose father was murdered by the Syrians.) He doles out all the jobs
"belonging" to his community.

The Lebanese parliament is a senate of community chiefs, who divide the
spoils between them. The "democratic coalition" which was put in power
by the Americans after the murder of the Sunni Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri, is a temporary alliance of the Maronite, Sunni and Druze chiefs.
The "opposition", which enjoys Syrian patronage, is composed of the
Shiites and one Maronite faction. The wheel can turn at a moment's
notice, when other alliances are formed.

Hizbullah, which appears to Israelis as an extension of Iran and Syria, is
first of all a Shiite movement that strives to obtain for its community a
larger part of the Lebanese pie, as indeed is its due in accordance with its
size. Hassan Nasrallah - who is also the scion of an important family -
has his eyes on the government in Beirut, not on the mosques in
Jerusalem.


WHAT DOES all this say about the present situation?

For decades now, Israel has been stirring the Lebanese pot. In the past, it
supported the Gemayel family but was bitterly disappointed: the family's
"Phalanges" (the name was taken from Fascist Spain, which was greatly
admired by grandfather Pierre), were revealed in the 1982 war as a gang
of thugs without military value. But the Israeli involvement in Lebanon
continues to this day. The aim is to eliminate Hizbullah, remove the
Syrians and threaten nearby Damascus. All these tasks are hopeless.

Some history: in the 30s, when the Maronites were the leading force in
Lebanon, the Maronite Patriarch expressed open sympathy for the Zionist
enterprise. At that time, many young people from Tel-Aviv and Haifa
studied at the American University of Beirut, and rich Jewish people from
Palestine spent their holidays at Lebanese resorts. Once, before the
founding of Israel, I crossed the Lebanese border by mistake and a
Lebanese Gendarme politely showed me the way back.

During the first years of Israel, the Lebanese border was our only peaceful
one. Those days there was a saying: "Lebanon will be the second Arab
country to make peace with Israel. It will not dare to be the first". Only in
1970, when King Hussein drove the PLO from Jordan into Lebanon, with
the active help of Israel, did this border heat up. Now even Fuad Siniora,
the prime minister appointed by the Americans, feels compelled to
declare that "Lebanon will be the last Arab state to make peace with
Israel!"

All efforts to remove Syrian influence from Lebanon are bound to fail. In
order to understand this, it is enough to look at the map. Historically,
Lebanon is a part of the land of Syria ("Sham" in Arabic). The Syrians have
never resigned themselves to the fact that the French colonial regime tore
Lebanon from their land.

The conclusions: First, let's not get stuck in the Lebanese mess again. As
experience has shown, we shall always come out the losers. Second, in
order to have peace on our northern border, all the potential enemies,
and first of all Syria, must be involved.   

Meaning: we must give back the Golan Heights.

The Bush administration forbids our government to talk with the Syrians.
They want to talk with them themselves, when the time comes. Quite
possibly, they will then sell them the Golan in return for Syrian help in
Iraq. If so, should we not hurry and "sell" them the Golan (which belongs
to them anyhow) for a better price for ourselves?

Lately, voices have been heard, even of senior army people, that hint at
this possibility. It should be said loudly and clearly: Because of a few
thousands of settlers and the politicians who do not dare to confront
them, we are liable to be dragged into more superfluous wars and to
endanger the population of Israel.

This is the third conclusion: There is only one way to win a war in
Lebanon - and that is to avoid it.



Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 26 November 2006 at 5:46pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri Avnery
25.11.06

                An Evening in Jounieh

DURING THE first Lebanon war, I visited Jounieh, a town some 20 km
north of Beirut. At the time, it served as a port for the Christian forces. It
was an exciting evening.

In spite of the war raging in nearby Beirut, Jounieh was full of life. The
Christian elite spent the day in the sun-drenched marina, the women
lounging in bikinis, the men slugging whisky. The three of us (myself and
two young women from my editorial staff - a correspondent and a
photographer) were the only Israelis in town, and so we were feted.
Everybody invited us onto their yachts, and one rich couple insisted that
we come to their home as guests of a family celebration.

It was indeed something special. The dozens of family members belonged
to the cream of the elite - rich merchants, a well-known painter, several
university professors. The drinks flowed like water, the conversation
flowed in several languages.

Around midnight, everybody was slightly drunk. The men got me into a
"political" conversation. They knew that I was an Israeli, but had no idea
about my views.

"Why don't you go into West Beirut?" one portly gentleman asked me.
West Beirut was held by Arafat's PLO forces, who were defending
hundreds of thousands of Sunni inhabitants.

"Why? What for?" I queried.

"What do you mean? To kill them! To kill everybody!"

"Everybody? Women and children, too?"

"Of course! All of them!"

For a moment, I thought that he was joking. But the faces of the men
around him told me that he was deadly serious and that everybody
agreed with him.

At that moment I grasped that this beautiful country, rich in history,
blessed with all the pleasure of life, is sick. Very, very sick.

The next day I indeed went into West Beirut, but for another purpose
altogether. I crossed the lines to meet with Yasser Arafat.

(By the way, at the end of the party in Jounieh my hosts gave me a parting
present: a big packet of hashish. On the morrow, on my way back to
Israel, after Arafat had made our meeting public, I heard over the radio
that four ministers were demanding that I should be put on trial for
treason. I remembered the hashish and it went sailing out of the car
window.)


I AM reminded of that conversation in Jounieh every time something
happens in Lebanon. This week, for example.

Much nonsense is being spoken and written about that country, as if it
were a country like any other. George W. Bush talks about "Lebanese
democracy" as if there were such a thing, others speak about the
"parliamentary majority" and "minority factions"' about the need for
"national unity" to uphold "national independence", as if they were talking
about the Netherlands or Finland. All these have no connection with
Lebanese reality.

Geographically, Lebanon is a torn country, and there lies a part of the
secret of its beauty. Snow-covered mountain chains, green valleys,
picturesque villages, beautiful sea-shore. But Lebanon is also torn
socially. The two schisms are inter-connected: in the course of history,
persecuted minorities from all over the region sought refuge between its
mountains, where they could defend themselves.

The result: a large number of big and small communities, ready to spring
to arms at any moment. At best, Lebanon is a loose federation of
mutually suspicious communities, at worst a battlefield of feuding groups
which hate each other's guts. The annals of Lebanon are full of civil wars
and horrible massacres. Many times, this or that community called in
foreign enemies to assist it against its neighbors.

Between the communities, there are no permanent alliances. One day,
communities A and B get together to fight community C. The next day, B
and C fight against A. Moreover, there are sub-communities, which more
than once have been known to make an alliance with an opposing
community against their own.

Altogether, a fascinating mosaic, but also a very dangerous one - the
more so since every community keeps a private army, equipped with the
best of weapons. The official Lebanese army, composed of men from all
communities, is unable to carry out any meaningful mission.

What is a Lebanese "community"? On the face of it, it's all about religion.
But not only religion. The community is also an ethnic tribe, with some
national attributes. A Jew will easily understand this, since the Jews are
also such a community, even if spread around the world. But for an
ordinary European or American, it is difficult to understand this structure.
It is easier to think about a "Lebanese nation" - a nation that exists only
in the imagination or as a vision of the future.

The loyalty to the community comes before any other loyalty - and
certainly before any loyalty to Lebanon. When the rights of a community
or sub-community are menaced, its members rise up as one in order to
destroy those who are threatening them.


THE MAIN communities are the Christian, the Sunni-Muslim, the Shiite-
Muslim and the Druze (who, as far as religion goes, are a kind of extreme
Shiites.) The Christians are divided into several sub-communities, the
most important of which are the Maronites (named after a saint who lived
some 1600 years ago.) The Sunnis were brought to Lebanon by the
(Sunni) Ottoman rulers to strengthen their hold, and were mainly settled
in the large port cities. The Druze came to find refuge in the mountains.
The Shiites, whose importance has risen over the last few decades, were
for many centuries a poor and down-trodden community, a doormat for
all the others.

As in almost all Arab societies, the Hamula (extended family) plays a vital
role in all communities. Loyalty to the Hamula precedes even loyalty to
the community, according to the ancient Arab saying: "With my cousin
against the foreigner, with my brother against my cousin." Almost all
Lebanese leaders are chiefs of the great families.


TO GIVE some idea of the Lebanese tangle, a few recent examples: in the
civil war that broke out in 1975, Pierre Gemayel, the chief of a Maronite
family, called upon the Syrians to invade Lebanon in order to help him
against his Sunni neighbors, who were about to attack his territory. His
grandson by the same name, who was murdered this week, was a
member of a coalition whose aim is to liquidate Syrian influence in
Lebanon. The Sunnis, who were fighting against the Syrians and the
Christians, are now the allies of the Christians against the Syrians.

The Gemayel family was the main ally of Ariel Sharon, when he invaded
Lebanon in 1982. The common aim was to drive out the (mainly Sunni)
Palestinians. For that purpose, Gemayel's men carried out the horrendous
massacre of Sabra and Shatila, after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel,
the uncle of the man who was murdered this week. The massacre was
overseen by Elie Hobeika from the roof of the headquarters of the Israeli
general Amos Yaron. Afterwards, Hobeika became a minister under Syrian
auspices. Another person responsible for the slaughter was Samir
Geagea, the only one who was put on trial in a Lebanese court. He was
condemned to several life prison terms and later pardoned. This week he
was one of the main speakers at the funeral of Pierre Gemayel the
grandson.

In 1982, the Shiites welcomed the invading Israeli army with flowers, rice
and candy. A few months later they started a guerilla war against them,
which lasted for 18 years, in the course of which Hizbullah became a
major force in Lebanon.

One of the leading Maronites in the fight against the Syrians was General
Michel Aoun, who was elected president by the Maronites and later driven
out. Now he is an ally of Hizbullah, the main supporter of Syria.

All this resembles Italy at the time of the Renaissance or Germany during
the 30-Years War. But in Lebanon this is the present and the foreseeable
future.

In such a reality, using the term "democracy" is, of course, a joke. By
agreement, the government of the country is divided between the
communities. The president is always a Maronite, the prime minister a
Sunni, the speaker of the parliament a Shiite. The same applies to all
positions in the country, at all levels: a member of a community cannot
aspire to a position suited to his talents if it "belongs" to another
community. Almost all citizens vote according to family affiliation. A
Druze voter, for example, has no chance of overthrowing Walid Jumblat,
whose family has ruled the Druze community for 500 years at least (and
whose father was murdered by the Syrians.) He doles out all the jobs
"belonging" to his community.

The Lebanese parliament is a senate of community chiefs, who divide the
spoils between them. The "democratic coalition" which was put in power
by the Americans after the murder of the Sunni Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri, is a temporary alliance of the Maronite, Sunni and Druze chiefs.
The "opposition", which enjoys Syrian patronage, is composed of the
Shiites and one Maronite faction. The wheel can turn at a moment's
notice, when other alliances are formed.

Hizbullah, which appears to Israelis as an extension of Iran and Syria, is
first of all a Shiite movement that strives to obtain for its community a
larger part of the Lebanese pie, as indeed is its due in accordance with its
size. Hassan Nasrallah - who is also the scion of an important family -
has his eyes on the government in Beirut, not on the mosques in
Jerusalem.


WHAT DOES all this say about the present situation?

For decades now, Israel has been stirring the Lebanese pot. In the past, it
supported the Gemayel family but was bitterly disappointed: the family's
"Phalanges" (the name was taken from Fascist Spain, which was greatly
admired by grandfather Pierre), were revealed in the 1982 war as a gang
of thugs without military value. But the Israeli involvement in Lebanon
continues to this day. The aim is to eliminate Hizbullah, remove the
Syrians and threaten nearby Damascus. All these tasks are hopeless.

Some history: in the 30s, when the Maronites were the leading force in
Lebanon, the Maronite Patriarch expressed open sympathy for the Zionist
enterprise. At that time, many young people from Tel-Aviv and Haifa
studied at the American University of Beirut, and rich Jewish people from
Palestine spent their holidays at Lebanese resorts. Once, before the
founding of Israel, I crossed the Lebanese border by mistake and a
Lebanese Gendarme politely showed me the way back.

During the first years of Israel, the Lebanese border was our only peaceful
one. Those days there was a saying: "Lebanon will be the second Arab
country to make peace with Israel. It will not dare to be the first". Only in
1970, when King Hussein drove the PLO from Jordan into Lebanon, with
the active help of Israel, did this border heat up. Now even Fuad Siniora,
the prime minister appointed by the Americans, feels compelled to
declare that "Lebanon will be the last Arab state to make peace with
Israel!"

All efforts to remove Syrian influence from Lebanon are bound to fail. In
order to understand this, it is enough to look at the map. Historically,
Lebanon is a part of the land of Syria ("Sham" in Arabic). The Syrians have
never resigned themselves to the fact that the French colonial regime tore
Lebanon from their land.

The conclusions: First, let's not get stuck in the Lebanese mess again. As
experience has shown, we shall always come out the losers. Second, in
order to have peace on our northern border, all the potential enemies,
and first of all Syria, must be involved.   

Meaning: we must give back the Golan Heights.

The Bush administration forbids our government to talk with the Syrians.
They want to talk with them themselves, when the time comes. Quite
possibly, they will then sell them the Golan in return for Syrian help in
Iraq. If so, should we not hurry and "sell" them the Golan (which belongs
to them anyhow) for a better price for ourselves?

Lately, voices have been heard, even of senior army people, that hint at
this possibility. It should be said loudly and clearly: Because of a few
thousands of settlers and the politicians who do not dare to confront
them, we are liable to be dragged into more superfluous wars and to
endanger the population of Israel.

This is the third conclusion: There is only one way to win a war in
Lebanon - and that is to avoid it.

Salaams,

Complexity by definition surely.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 03 December 2006 at 4:46pm
Uri Avnery
2.12.06

                A Sparkling Bubble

A FRIEND of mine, who was brought up in Egypt, took part in the
interrogation of Egyptian officers captured in the 1956 Sinai war.

An Egyptian lieutenant-colonel told him: "Every time David Ben-Gurion
gave a speech declaring that he was holding out his hand for peace, we
put our forces on alert."

And, indeed, it was a typical method of Ben-Gurion: before launching a
military operation, he would make a speech culminating with "We are
holding out our hand for peace!" He frequently added that he was ready
to meet the Arab leaders face to face, that he was in favor of negotiations
without pre-conditions, and such.


NOW, BEN-GURION has an heir.

True, even in his darkest dreams Ben-Gurion could not have imagined an
heir like Olmert - a politician personifying all the traits that Ben-Gurion
detested. But, as the Bible says, "the dead praise not the Lord" (Psalm
115) nor can they choose their heirs.

Last week, Olmert went all the way to Ben-Gurion's grave in the remote
Negev and made a speech designed to establish his status as his
successor. No point wasting words on this pretension. But it is certainly
revealing to analyse the speech itself.

On the face of it, a peacenik speech the likes of which we have not heard
for some time. Some said that this was an answer to the words addressed
to him by the writer David Grossman at the Rabin memorial rally. And
indeed, there is a resemblance between the two: just as Grossman's
speech was rich in sublime values and poor in practical proposals, so
Olmert excelled in impressive phrases but failed the test of content.


WHAT DID he say, after all?

"If you (the Palestinians) set up a new government that will undertake to
fulfill the principles of the Quartet, a government that will realize the
Road Map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit - I shall propose to
Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to meet him immediately, with the aim of
conducting a real, open, sincere and serious dialogue between us and
you." (I have translated the words literally, since the official translation
has edited the text.)

Looks good. But if one looks again, one realizes that it is just a soap
bubble.

Since the days of Ben-Gurion, all our governments have used this tactic:
say "yes" to every peace proposal, and add a small prior condition that
turns "yes" into "no".

What does Olmert demand from the Palestinian government? Little things:
to recognize Israel's right to exist without fixed borders (and without
Israel recognizing the right of a Palestinian state to exist within the 1967
borders), to stop the violence (without a parallel commitment by Israel)
and to recognize all the agreements signed in the past (almost all of
which have been violated by Israel no less than by the Palestinians.)

On top of this, the Palestinian government must fulfill its "obligations"
under the Road Map. This ridiculous document, a product of Bush & Co.,
demands that the Palestinians' first step must involve dismantling all the
"terror organizations". Meaning: all the military organizations of the
Palestinian parties. As long as the occupation is in force, this is a
completely impossible and unreasonable demand and the Palestinians, of
course, do not agree. It's like demanding that Israel must dismantle the
IDF as a first step.

Olmert does not suggest that Israel, too, would follow the Road Map.
According to that document, parallel to the dismantling of the Palestinian
organizations, Israel must stop all settlement activities. In practice, these
were not suspended for a moment and are in full swing even now.

What will happen if the Palestinians fulfill all these one-sided conditions?
Olmert will agree to meet Abu-Mazen "immediately". What for? In order to
conduct a "real, open, sincere and serious dialogue."

The words were chosen meticulously. Not "negotiations", God forbid, but
"dialogue". A strictly non-committal term. If we eliminate from the text all
the nice words that only serve as decorations - "immediately", "real",
"open", "sincere", "serious" - all that remains is the agreement to a
meeting. Perhaps there are people who are eager to meet Olmert - it's a
matter of taste - but this has no political meaning at all.


OLMERT DOES not spare words. "In the framework of the dialogue (again
"dialogue" and not "negotiations") and in accordance with the Road Map
(see above) you (the Palestinians) will be able to establish an independent
and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and
Samaria (Olmert uses these occupation terms instead of the term "West
Bank", which has become a symbol of the opposition to the occupation), a
state with full sovereignty and defined borders."

Now that is really nice. No more "temporary borders", as in the Road Map,
but "defined borders". Only one little detail: where will these run?

Some might say: one does not disclose his final positions before the start
of the negotiations (sorry, dialogue). But the Palestinians are expected to
give everything before the start.

"We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories
and the settlements that we have established therein. This is extremely
difficult for us - akin to the Parting of the Red Sea (a Hebrew saying) - but
we will bear it, in exchange for true peace between us and you."

Sounds nice. But what does it mean? The evacuation of "many territories"
and not "all the territories", not even "most of the territories". (In Israeli
usage, "territories" means "occupied territories", a term official
spokesmen prefer to avoid.)

Also, not "the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War". Not
even "borders based on the Green Line", which would allow for small
changes and an agreed swap of territories. But a new border which would
annex to Israel the "settlement blocs", as defined by the Separation Wall.
That means the annexation of at least 10% of the West Bank, and perhaps
much more.

And what's to stop that? After all, at this stage the other side would
already be disarmed and would have agreed to recognize an Israel
without fixed borders.

That is the old plan of Ariel Sharon: to dismantle the small and dispersed
settlements, in which some 20% of the settlers live, in order to annex to
Israel the territories occupied by the remaining 80%. Olmert does not say
what would happen to the expanded Jordan Valley, which constitutes
about 20% of the West Bank and which is already completely cut off from
it (with the exception of Jericho). Nor does he mention East Jerusalem, in
which another 200 thousand settlers have established themselves.

He promises that with the release of the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, he
would be prepared "to release numerous Palestinian prisoners, including
ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, in order to increase
the trust between us and prove that we indeed hold out our hand for
peace."

After eliminating all the bla-bla from this sentence, what it says is that he
would agree to release veteran prisoners, with "blood on their hands",
which he and his predecessors have always refused to do, in return for
the soldier, as demanded by Hamas. That only confirms the Palestinian
view that Israel understands only the language of force and that it would
never give up anything unless compelled to do so.

It seems that Olmert was in an especially generous mood, so he added:
"(After) the cessation of terrorism and violence… we will significantly
diminish the number of road-blocks, increase freedom of movement in
the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both
directions, improve the operation of the border-crossings to the Gaza
Strip, and release your monies held by us, in order to alleviate the
humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer."

"Thank you, really thank you from the bottom of our hearts," a Palestinian
might reply. Not the end of the occupation, not even the lifting of the
blockade of Gaza. The dismantling of some road-blocks, leaving the
others where they are. Not the return of freedom of movement, but an
agreement to "increase" the permitted movement. And no opening of the
passage between the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as provided for in the
Oslo agreement 13 years ago.) But at least, we would give back the
Palestinian money "held" by us. "Embezzled" would be a more proper
term.

And what did Olmert not say in his speech? He did not propose a cease-
fire in the West Bank. Why? Perhaps because the army chiefs object. But
even a child can understand that without a cease-fire there, the cease-
fire in the Gaza Strip will not hold. The members of the organizations in
Gaza will not be able to sit still while their defenseless comrades in the
West Bank are being arrested, wounded and killed. Not to mention the
dismemberment implied in this proposal, contrary to the Oslo agreement,
which states unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
constitute "a single territorial unit".


SO HOW to define this speech?

It is easy to say what it is not: it is not a "turning point" in the policy of
the government. A "turning point" is a change of direction, which would
necessitate the preparation of the public, explaining the nature of the
change, its reasons and expected results. Nothing of the sort has been
done. Even the spokesmen of the extreme right did not get excited.

The correct definition is "spin" - just some more sleight of hand prepared
by "image advisors" and publicity experts.

True, even spin can have some positive value. Olmert has decided to
devote the spin to matters of peace, not matters of war. This shows that
he believes that Israeli public opinion is moving in this direction. The
Israeli peace camp can congratulate itself for that. But there is no cause
for dancing in the streets.


WHY DID Olmert make such a speech at all? And why now?

There is an internal reason. In Israel, the impression has (quite rightly)
gained ground that this is a government without an agenda, without a
political plan, a "hollow" government (to use Grossman's phrase), whose
only concern is political survival.

Olmert thought it necessary to fill the vacuum and to create the image of
a Prime Minister who knows what he is doing and is working towards a
clear goal.

And there is also an external reason, which may be more significant.
Olmert may be bankrupt, but President Bush is even more desperate. He
has come to the Middle East in order to convince the American voter that
he knows what he is doing in Iraq and in the whole region. He needs a
manifest achievement. He is carrying on the tradition of his predecessors
that an American president who does not know what to do turns to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieves a "breakthrough".

Bush demanded that Olmert make a gesture to impress the world. So he
made a gesture - delivering a speech full of nice phrases and promises
with nothing behind them.

It must be remembered: Bush wants to look like a resolute statesman,
who is constructing a front of "moderate" Arab leaders against the Evil
Axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. This is why he came to Amman,
instead of summoning his servants to Washington. But the leaders of
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan know the dangers of looking like Israeli
agents. So Bush demanded that Olmert include in his speech a reference
to the Saudi peace initiative, which was rejected out of hand by the Israeli
government after it had been endorsed by all the Arab states. This
initiative says that the entire Arab world would recognize Israel and
establish normal relations with it if it withdrew to the borders of June 4,
1967. Now, suddenly, Olmert declares that there are "positive" elements
in it. But he did not accept it this time either.

Bush has returned home and will forget the whole matter. Olmert's
speech will join the many others which were forgotten the day after they
were delivered. Just another speech by an Israeli leader "holding out his
hand for peace".




Posted By: superme
Date Posted: 07 December 2006 at 2:43pm

It was the best speeach this year for whatever the hidden intention which maybe lurking behind it. To me personaly who is not really in the know of the past history in that local area - I see hope for the hopeless and the despair. I can't see the point of humiliating the Palestinians on end, it is a pointless excercise.

I have strong belief that human do change, and human - any human - can change in an instant against all odds for reason or reasons that can confound human minds. Along the walk of my life I have seen this changes few times to different personalities - either in person or in distance.

Maybe it was just a speech to please the US President. Or maybe he was pressured by the invisible stronger arm somewhere. But also maybe it was genuine offer regardless how the speech was structured. I am not good in playing games, infact I have lost few times in the past because I took other people word as they were genuine.

Can a person or group of people be so cruel continously all his/their life? Can they always see the world from one reading glasses that they like - knowingly that there are number of reading glasses available which offer the world view from different angle? Can a person or people rely to the physical strength to prove the right and the wrongs?

Anyone who is willing to spend a bit of his time in silence and think about life will instantly see the meaningless life we have, what is it anyway. Human will become something as to what he created while still living. An arab won't retain his/her arabness in the grave. The whites the blacks and whatever colours tag used can't survive in death. That is the final fate for every human - including the jews who think they are different. In simple word there is nothing to gain once the death come or once the humanness has ceased from functioning.

Isaac newton did not have a gun and and never used one when he introduced his finding, yet he made every toms dicks and harrys walk in obediant to him with no question ask. We can't hate him because we need his formula desperately. Yet here there is/are section of people still struggle to understand such a basic example in conquering and dominating others and the world. Are the jews that claim to be jews themselves are so st**id?

There are more than 100 millions Arabs there in the Middle East so I heard.  Yet these people still as good as backward technologically, they invent nothing significant to be proud of. They have been in few wars and they can't produce even a rifle, yet they have the man power and money to burn. If I were a jew I know exactly what I am going to do.

My friend asked me one day:
If someone say to you that you are poor man will you get angry by it? I said no, of course not.

If someone tells you that you are an ugly man, will you get angry?
I am not ugly so there is no reason to be offended.

If someone say to you that you are an idiot a moron a st**id will it
offend you?
I thought that was very offensive.

It is really very hard to explain to people while having the panting breath syndrome. Time to cool down is a must until the breathing is back to normal. Sit back and relax until the mind is seeing something like the still pond in the middle of the forest.

While the mind is relax - rewind the human life back to the first couple  that start the humanity - and see what life is all about.

There are more than this when the person is relax. Zip the lips, close the eyes and seal the ears for few minutes - and take deep breath.

Thanks to Uri for the article, maybe I will give more comment later.



Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 09 December 2006 at 5:11pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri Avnery
2.12.06

                A Sparkling Bubble

A FRIEND of mine, who was brought up in Egypt, took part in the
interrogation of Egyptian officers captured in the 1956 Sinai war.

An Egyptian lieutenant-colonel told him: "Every time David Ben-Gurion
gave a speech declaring that he was holding out his hand for peace, we
put our forces on alert."

And, indeed, it was a typical method of Ben-Gurion: before launching a
military operation, he would make a speech culminating with "We are
holding out our hand for peace!" He frequently added that he was ready
to meet the Arab leaders face to face, that he was in favor of negotiations
without pre-conditions, and such.


NOW, BEN-GURION has an heir.

True, even in his darkest dreams Ben-Gurion could not have imagined an
heir like Olmert - a politician personifying all the traits that Ben-Gurion
detested. But, as the Bible says, "the dead praise not the Lord" (Psalm
115) nor can they choose their heirs.

Last week, Olmert went all the way to Ben-Gurion's grave in the remote
Negev and made a speech designed to establish his status as his
successor. No point wasting words on this pretension. But it is certainly
revealing to analyse the speech itself.

On the face of it, a peacenik speech the likes of which we have not heard
for some time. Some said that this was an answer to the words addressed
to him by the writer David Grossman at the Rabin memorial rally. And
indeed, there is a resemblance between the two: just as Grossman's
speech was rich in sublime values and poor in practical proposals, so
Olmert excelled in impressive phrases but failed the test of content.


WHAT DID he say, after all?

"If you (the Palestinians) set up a new government that will undertake to
fulfill the principles of the Quartet, a government that will realize the
Road Map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit - I shall propose to
Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to meet him immediately, with the aim of
conducting a real, open, sincere and serious dialogue between us and
you." (I have translated the words literally, since the official translation
has edited the text.)

Looks good. But if one looks again, one realizes that it is just a soap
bubble.

Since the days of Ben-Gurion, all our governments have used this tactic:
say "yes" to every peace proposal, and add a small prior condition that
turns "yes" into "no".

What does Olmert demand from the Palestinian government? Little things:
to recognize Israel's right to exist without fixed borders (and without
Israel recognizing the right of a Palestinian state to exist within the 1967
borders), to stop the violence (without a parallel commitment by Israel)
and to recognize all the agreements signed in the past (almost all of
which have been violated by Israel no less than by the Palestinians.)

On top of this, the Palestinian government must fulfill its "obligations"
under the Road Map. This ridiculous document, a product of Bush & Co.,
demands that the Palestinians' first step must involve dismantling all the
"terror organizations". Meaning: all the military organizations of the
Palestinian parties. As long as the occupation is in force, this is a
completely impossible and unreasonable demand and the Palestinians, of
course, do not agree. It's like demanding that Israel must dismantle the
IDF as a first step.

Olmert does not suggest that Israel, too, would follow the Road Map.
According to that document, parallel to the dismantling of the Palestinian
organizations, Israel must stop all settlement activities. In practice, these
were not suspended for a moment and are in full swing even now.

What will happen if the Palestinians fulfill all these one-sided conditions?
Olmert will agree to meet Abu-Mazen "immediately". What for? In order to
conduct a "real, open, sincere and serious dialogue."

The words were chosen meticulously. Not "negotiations", God forbid, but
"dialogue". A strictly non-committal term. If we eliminate from the text all
the nice words that only serve as decorations - "immediately", "real",
"open", "sincere", "serious" - all that remains is the agreement to a
meeting. Perhaps there are people who are eager to meet Olmert - it's a
matter of taste - but this has no political meaning at all.


OLMERT DOES not spare words. "In the framework of the dialogue (again
"dialogue" and not "negotiations") and in accordance with the Road Map
(see above) you (the Palestinians) will be able to establish an independent
and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and
Samaria (Olmert uses these occupation terms instead of the term "West
Bank", which has become a symbol of the opposition to the occupation), a
state with full sovereignty and defined borders."

Now that is really nice. No more "temporary borders", as in the Road Map,
but "defined borders". Only one little detail: where will these run?

Some might say: one does not disclose his final positions before the start
of the negotiations (sorry, dialogue). But the Palestinians are expected to
give everything before the start.

"We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories
and the settlements that we have established therein. This is extremely
difficult for us - akin to the Parting of the Red Sea (a Hebrew saying) - but
we will bear it, in exchange for true peace between us and you."

Sounds nice. But what does it mean? The evacuation of "many territories"
and not "all the territories", not even "most of the territories". (In Israeli
usage, "territories" means "occupied territories", a term official
spokesmen prefer to avoid.)

Also, not "the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War". Not
even "borders based on the Green Line", which would allow for small
changes and an agreed swap of territories. But a new border which would
annex to Israel the "settlement blocs", as defined by the Separation Wall.
That means the annexation of at least 10% of the West Bank, and perhaps
much more.

And what's to stop that? After all, at this stage the other side would
already be disarmed and would have agreed to recognize an Israel
without fixed borders.

That is the old plan of Ariel Sharon: to dismantle the small and dispersed
settlements, in which some 20% of the settlers live, in order to annex to
Israel the territories occupied by the remaining 80%. Olmert does not say
what would happen to the expanded Jordan Valley, which constitutes
about 20% of the West Bank and which is already completely cut off from
it (with the exception of Jericho). Nor does he mention East Jerusalem, in
which another 200 thousand settlers have established themselves.

He promises that with the release of the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, he
would be prepared "to release numerous Palestinian prisoners, including
ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, in order to increase
the trust between us and prove that we indeed hold out our hand for
peace."

After eliminating all the bla-bla from this sentence, what it says is that he
would agree to release veteran prisoners, with "blood on their hands",
which he and his predecessors have always refused to do, in return for
the soldier, as demanded by Hamas. That only confirms the Palestinian
view that Israel understands only the language of force and that it would
never give up anything unless compelled to do so.

It seems that Olmert was in an especially generous mood, so he added:
"(After) the cessation of terrorism and violence… we will significantly
diminish the number of road-blocks, increase freedom of movement in
the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both
directions, improve the operation of the border-crossings to the Gaza
Strip, and release your monies held by us, in order to alleviate the
humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer."

"Thank you, really thank you from the bottom of our hearts," a Palestinian
might reply. Not the end of the occupation, not even the lifting of the
blockade of Gaza. The dismantling of some road-blocks, leaving the
others where they are. Not the return of freedom of movement, but an
agreement to "increase" the permitted movement. And no opening of the
passage between the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as provided for in the
Oslo agreement 13 years ago.) But at least, we would give back the
Palestinian money "held" by us. "Embezzled" would be a more proper
term.

And what did Olmert not say in his speech? He did not propose a cease-
fire in the West Bank. Why? Perhaps because the army chiefs object. But
even a child can understand that without a cease-fire there, the cease-
fire in the Gaza Strip will not hold. The members of the organizations in
Gaza will not be able to sit still while their defenseless comrades in the
West Bank are being arrested, wounded and killed. Not to mention the
dismemberment implied in this proposal, contrary to the Oslo agreement,
which states unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
constitute "a single territorial unit".


SO HOW to define this speech?

It is easy to say what it is not: it is not a "turning point" in the policy of
the government. A "turning point" is a change of direction, which would
necessitate the preparation of the public, explaining the nature of the
change, its reasons and expected results. Nothing of the sort has been
done. Even the spokesmen of the extreme right did not get excited.

The correct definition is "spin" - just some more sleight of hand prepared
by "image advisors" and publicity experts.

True, even spin can have some positive value. Olmert has decided to
devote the spin to matters of peace, not matters of war. This shows that
he believes that Israeli public opinion is moving in this direction. The
Israeli peace camp can congratulate itself for that. But there is no cause
for dancing in the streets.


WHY DID Olmert make such a speech at all? And why now?

There is an internal reason. In Israel, the impression has (quite rightly)
gained ground that this is a government without an agenda, without a
political plan, a "hollow" government (to use Grossman's phrase), whose
only concern is political survival.

Olmert thought it necessary to fill the vacuum and to create the image of
a Prime Minister who knows what he is doing and is working towards a
clear goal.

And there is also an external reason, which may be more significant.
Olmert may be bankrupt, but President Bush is even more desperate. He
has come to the Middle East in order to convince the American voter that
he knows what he is doing in Iraq and in the whole region. He needs a
manifest achievement. He is carrying on the tradition of his predecessors
that an American president who does not know what to do turns to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieves a "breakthrough".

Bush demanded that Olmert make a gesture to impress the world. So he
made a gesture - delivering a speech full of nice phrases and promises
with nothing behind them.

It must be remembered: Bush wants to look like a resolute statesman,
who is constructing a front of "moderate" Arab leaders against the Evil
Axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. This is why he came to Amman,
instead of summoning his servants to Washington. But the leaders of
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan know the dangers of looking like Israeli
agents. So Bush demanded that Olmert include in his speech a reference
to the Saudi peace initiative, which was rejected out of hand by the Israeli
government after it had been endorsed by all the Arab states. This
initiative says that the entire Arab world would recognize Israel and
establish normal relations with it if it withdrew to the borders of June 4,
1967. Now, suddenly, Olmert declares that there are "positive" elements
in it. But he did not accept it this time either.

Bush has returned home and will forget the whole matter. Olmert's
speech will join the many others which were forgotten the day after they
were delivered. Just another speech by an Israeli leader "holding out his
hand for peace".

Salaams and Bismillah,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who can hear through the spin what the words mean.  It's great to read this from Uri.  NPR is great.  They present both sides equally, even though one side is incredibly wrong.  And the ability to spin evil rhetoric into winning people to your side was shown by the speakers on NPR by the, hmm, shall we say Pro-Olmert side?  Kudos to their truly deceptive speeches which to me were sickening to listen to since I know that many were convinced by them.

My continuing gratitude for your posts, Brother Daniel.




-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 09 December 2006 at 11:43pm
Uri Avnery
9.12.06

                      Baker's Cake

NO ONE likes to admit a mistake. Me neither. But honesty leaves me no
choice.

A few days after the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001,
I happened to go on a lecture tour in the US.

My message was optimistic. I expected some good to come out of the
tragedy. I reasoned that the atrocity had exposed the intensity of the
hatred for the US that is spreading throughout the world, and especially
the Muslim world. It would be logical not only to fight against the
mosquitoes, but to drain the swamp. Since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
was one of the breeding grounds of the hatred - if not the main one - the
US would make a major effort to achieve peace between the two peoples.

That was what cold logic indicated. But this is not what happened. What
happened was the very opposite.

American policy was not led by cold logic. Instead of drying one swamp, it
created a second swamp. Instead of pushing the Israelis and Palestinians
towards peace, it invaded Iraq. Not only did the hatred against America
not die down, it flared up even higher. I hoped that this danger would
override even the oil interests and the desire to station an American
garrison in the center of the Middle East.

Thus I committed the very mistake that I have warned others against
many times: to assume that what is logical will actually happen. A rational
person should not ignore the irrational in politics. In other words, it is
irrational to exclude the irrational.

George W. Bush is an irrational person, perhaps the very personification
of irrationality. Instead of drawing the logical conclusion from what had
happened and acting accordingly, he set off in the opposite direction.
Since then he has just insisted on "staying the course".

Enter James Baker.


SINCE I am already in a confessional mood, I have to admit that I like
James Baker.

I know that this will shock some of my good friends. "Baker?!" they will cry
out, "The consigliere of the Bush family? The man who helped George W
steal the 2000 elections? The Rightist?"

Yes, yes, the very same Baker. I like him for his cold logic, his forthright
and blunt style, his habit of saying what he thinks without embellishment,
his courage. I prefer this style to the sanctimonious hypocrisy of other
leaders, who try to hide their real intentions. I would be happy any time to
swap Olmert for Baker, and throw in Amir Peretz for free.

But that is a matter of taste. More important is the fact that in all the last
40 years, James Baker was the only leader in America who had the guts to
stand up and act against Israel's malignant disease: the settlements.
When he was the Secretary of State, he simply informed the Israeli
government that he would deduct the sums expended on the settlements
from the money Israel was getting from the US. Threatened and made
good on his threat.

Baker thus confronted the "pro-Israeli" lobby in the US, both the Jewish
and the Christian. Such courage is rare in the United States, as it is rare in
Israel.


THIS WEEK the Iraq Study Group, led by Baker, published its report.

It confirms all the bleak forecasts voiced by many throughout the world -
myself included - before Bush & Co. launched the bloody Iraqi adventure.
In his dry and incisive style, Baker says that the US cannot win there. In so
many words he tells the American public: Let's get out of there, before
the last American soldier has to scramble into the last helicopter from the
roof of the American embassy, as happened in Vietnam.

Baker calls for the end of the Bush approach and offers a new and
thought-out strategy of his own. Actually, it is an elegant way of
extricating America from Iraq, without it looking like a complete rout. The
main proposals: an American dialogue with Iran and Syria, an
international conference, the withdrawal of the American combat
brigades, leaving behind only instructors. The committee that he headed
was bi-partisan, composed half and half of Republicans and Democrats.


FOR ISRAELIS, the most interesting part of the report is, of course, the
one that concerns us directly. It interests me especially - how could it be
otherwise? - because it repeats, almost word for word, the things I said
immediately after September 11, both in my articles at home and in my
lectures in the US.

True, Baker is saying them four years later. In these four years, thousands
of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died for
nothing. But, to use the image again, when a giant ship like the United
States turns around, it make a very big circle, and it takes a lot of time.
We, in the small speed-boat called Israel, could do it much quicker - if we
had the good sense to do it.

Baker says simply: In order to stop the war in Iraq and start a
reconciliation with the Arab world, the US must bring about the end of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He does not say explicitly that peace must be
imposed on Israel, but that is the obvious implication.

In his own clear words: "The United States will not be able to achieve its
goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the
Arab-Israeli conflict."

His committee proposes the immediate start of negotiations between
Israel and "President Mahmoud Abbas", in order to implement the two-
state solution. The "sustainable negotiations" must address the "key final
status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and
the end of conflict."

The use of the title "President" for Abu Mazen and, even more so, the use
of the term "right of return" has alarmed the whole political class in Israel.
Even in the Oslo agreement, the section dealing with the "final status"
issues mentions only "refugees". Baker, as is his wont, called the spade a
spade.

At the same time, he proposes a stick and carrot approach to achieve
peace between Israel and Syria. The US needs this peace in order to draw
Syria into its camp. The stick, from the Israeli point of view, would be the
return of the Golan Heights. The carrot would be the stationing of
American soldiers on the border, so that Israel's security would be
guaranteed by the US. In return, he demands that Syria stop, inter alia, its
aid to Hizbullah.

After Gulf War I, Baker - the same Baker - got all the parties to the
conflict to come to an international conference in Madrid. For that
purpose, he twisted the arm of then Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir, whose
entire philosophy consisted of two letters and one exclamation mark:
"No!" and whose slogan was: "The Arabs are the same Arabs, and the sea
is the same sea" - alluding to the popular Israeli conviction that the Arabs
all want to throw Israel into the sea.

Baker brought Shamir to Madrid, his arms and legs in irons, and made
sure he did not escape. Shamir was compelled to sit at the table with
representatives of the Palestinian people, who had never been allowed to
attend an international conference before. The conference itself had no
tangible results, but there is no doubt that it was a vital step in the
process that brought about the Oslo agreement and, more difficult than
anything else, the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the
Palestinian people.

Now Baker is suggesting something similar. He proposes an international
conference, and cites Madrid as a model. The conclusion is clear.


            HOWEVER, THIS baker can only offer a recipe for the cake. The
question is whether President Bush will use the recipe and bake the cake.

Since 1967 and the beginning of the occupation, several American
Secretaries of State have submitted plans to end the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. All these plans met the same fate: they were torn up and thrown
in the trash.

The same sequence of events has been repeated time after time: In
Jerusalem, hysteria sets in. The Foreign Office stands up on its hind legs
and swears to defeat the evil design. The media unanimously condemns
the wicked plot. The Secretary of State of the day is pilloried as an anti-
Semite. The Israeli lobby in Washington mobilizes for total war.

For example: the Rogers Plan of Richard Nixon's first Secretary of State,
William Rogers. In the early 70s he submitted a detailed peace plan, the
principal point of which was the withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 borders,
with, at most, "insubstantial alterations".

What happened to the plan?

In face of the onslaught of "the Friends of Israel" in Washington, Nixon
buckled under, as have all presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man
of principle who did not need the Jewish votes. No president will quarrel
with the government of Israel if he wants to be re-elected, or - like Bush
now - to end his term in office with dignity and pass the presidency to
another member of his party. Any senator or congressman who takes a
stand that the Israeli embassy does not like, is committing Harakiri,
Washington-style.

The fate of the peace plans of successive Secretaries of State confirms, on
the face of it, the thesis of the two professors, John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt, that caused a great stir earlier this year. According to them,
whenever there is a clash in Washington between the national interests of
the United States and the national interests of Israel, it is the Israeli
interests which win.


WILL THIS happen this time, too?

Baker has presented his plan at a time when the US is facing disaster in
Iraq. President Bush is bankrupt, his party has lost control of Congress
and may soon lose the White House. The neo-conservatives, most of
them Jews and all of them supporters of the Israeli extreme Right, who
were in control of American foreign policy, are being removed one by
one, and this week yet another, the American ambassador to the United
Nations, was kicked out. Therefore, it is possible that this time the
President may listen to expert advice.

But that is in serious doubt. The Democratic Party is subject to the "pro-
Israeli" lobby no less than the Republican Party, and perhaps even more.
The new congress was indeed elected under the banner of opposition to
the continuation of the war in Iraq, but its members are not jihadi suicide
bombers. They depend on the "pro-Israeli" lobby. To paraphrase Shamir:
"The plan is the same plan, and the trash bin is the same trash bin."

In Jerusalem, the first reaction to the report was total rejection,
expressing a complete confidence in the ability of the lobby to choke it at
birth. "Nothing has changed," Olmert declared. "There is no one to talk
with," - immediately echoed by the mouth and pen brigade in the media.
"We cannot talk with them as long as the terrorism goes on," a famous
expert declared on TV. That's like saying: "One cannot talk about ending
the war as long as the enemy is shooting at our troops."

On the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis I wrote that "the dog is wagging the tail
and the tail is wagging the dog." It will be interesting to see which will
wag which this time: the dog its tail or the tail its dog.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 10 December 2006 at 12:30am
My dear sister,
These are articles and speeches that are intended for the Israeli public.
They are intended to persuade and anger us into at least considering
solutions other than war and apartheid to insure our survival.

The countries that surrounded us in every direction in 1967 are still only
a little farther away but less of an immediate danger than they were then.
The Palestinians enjoy little more love from their arab brothers than they
do from their Jewish cousins.

Palestine and Zion have been reduced to an excuse used by the worst
elements of both sides. We all have a future to plan for and the longer we
go on with our short sighted nonsense the more we allow the revengeful
and greedy to call the shots. All of us want to raise our families and be
safe. The solution lays here between civilians and friends on both sides.
Random acts of kindness. I fear for people who reside only in the "big
picture" for the "greater good". It is there that we loose our children.


Posted By: mariyah
Date Posted: 10 December 2006 at 9:56am

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

I meant the settlers but now that I think about it Haldol (Antihallucinogenic)
seems more appropriate

Asalaamu alaikum,

Brother Daniel, you are Muslim? It does not matter, but you sound as if your are.

May Allah (swt) keep you and your family safe.



-------------
"Every good deed is charity whether you come to your brother's assistance or just greet him with a smile.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 10 December 2006 at 2:16pm
Born and will die Jewish but Thanks for the compliment.
   
I'm afraid I would make a truly terrible Muslim


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 14 December 2006 at 11:59pm
                      Gush Shalom ad published in Haaretz,
                      December 15, 2006

The Supreme Court
Has approved
Extra-judicial executions.

This is
A black day
In the annals
Of Israeli law.



----------------------------------------------------


972-3-5221732.
P.O.Box 3322,
Tel-Aviv 61033.
www.gush-shalom.org
info@gush-shalom.org

          

.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 16 December 2006 at 2:58pm
Uri Avnery
16.12.06

                Back to the Scene of the Crime

WHEN THE Israeli government decided, in the space of a few hours, to
start the Second Lebanon War, it did not have any plan.

When the Chief-of-Staff urged the cabinet to start the war, he did not
submit any plan.

This was disclosed this week by a military investigation committee.

That is shocking.

A plan is not an optional extra, something nice you can do without. A war
without a plan is like a human body without a spinal column. Would
anyone think of building a house without a plan? To put up a bridge? To
produce a car? To hold a conference? After all, unlike a house, a bridge, a
car or a conference, a war is supposed to kill people. Its very essence is
killing and destroying.

Almost in every case, to initiate a war is a crime. To start such a war
without a plan and proper preparation is totally irresponsible - heaping
crime upon crime.


WHEN A STATE starts a war, the sequence is - in simplistic terms - as
follows:

(1) The government adopts a clear political aim.

(2) The government deliberates whether this aim can be achieved by war
- after it comes to the conclusion that it cannot be achieved by other
means.

From this point on, the emphasis moves from the political to the military
leadership. Its duty is:

(3) To draw up a strategic plan for attaining the aim decided upon by the
government.

(4) To translate the strategic plan into a tactical plan. Among others: to
decide what forces are needed, which forces will be employed, what is the
target of each force and within which time it must achieve it, as well as to
foresee possible moves by the other side.

(5) To prepare the forces for their tasks, in accordance with their training
and equipment.

A wise government will also think about the situation it would like to
have after the war, and will instruct the military to take this into
consideration while planning their operations.

Now it appears that nothing of this sort happened. There was no clearly
defined war aim, there was no political or military plan, there were no
clear objectives for the troops and they were not prepared for the tasks
they were given. Without a central plan, nothing of these was even
possible.

A war without a plan is no war at all, but an adventure. A government that
starts a war without a plan is no government at all, but a bunch of
politicians. A General Staff that goes to war without a plan is no General
Staff at all, but a group of generals.


THE WAY events developed, according to the inquiry committees, was like
this: the government decided on the war in a hurry, within a few hours,
without defining any aim.

In the following days, several war aims were thrown around. They
followed each other in quick succession and contradicted each other in
many ways. That by itself is a recipe for disaster: every aim demands its
own methods and means, which may be quite different from those
demanded by another.

Among the aims that were announced: the release of the two captured
soldiers, the destruction of Hizbullah, the elimination of the arsenal of
missiles in South Lebanon, the pushing of Hizbullah away from the
border, and more. Beyond that there was a general desire to have a
Lebanese government that was completely subservient to American and
Israeli interests.

If competent army officers had been instructed to draw up a plan for each
of these aims, they would soon have arrived at the conclusion that all of
them were unattainable by military means, certainly not under the
circumstances.

The idea that the two prisoners could be liberated by war is manifestly
ridiculous. Like going after a mosquito with a sledgehammer. The proper
means is diplomacy. Perhaps somebody would have suggested capturing
some Hizbullah commanders in order to facilitate an exchange of
prisoners. Anything - except a war.

The destruction of Hizbullah by a necessarily limited war was impossible,
as should have been clear from the beginning. This is a guerilla force that
is part of a political movement which is deeply rooted in Lebanese reality
(as can be seen these days on any television screen). No guerilla
movement can be destroyed by a regular army, and certainly not in one
single stroke and within days or weeks.

The elimination of the missile arsenal? If the army command had sat
down to elaborate a military plan, they would have realized that aerial
bombardment can achieve this only in part. A complete destruction would
have demanded the occupation of all of South Lebanon, well beyond the
Litani River. During that time, a large part of Israel would have been
exposed to the missiles, without the population being prepared for it. If
that conclusion had been presented to the government, would it have
taken the decision it took?

The pushing of Hizbullah from the border by a few kilometers north is
not a proper war aim. Starting a war for that purpose, leading to the
killing of masses of people and destroying whole neighborhoods and
villages, would have meant frivolity where serious deliberation was
required .

But the government did not have to go into such deliberations. Since It
did not define any clear aim, it did not demand nor receive any military
plan.



IF THE recklessness of the political leadership was scandalous, the
recklessness of the military leadership was doubly so.

The army command went to war without any clearly defined aim and
without any plan. There were some plans that had been prepared and
exercised beforehand, without any specific political aim in mind, but they
were ignored and abandoned as the war started. After all, who needs a
plan? Since when do Israelis plan? Israelis improvise, and are proud of it.

So they improvised. The Chief-of-Staff, an Air Force general, decided that
it was sufficient to bomb: if enough civilians were killed and enough
houses, roads and bridges destroyed, the Lebanese people would go
down on its knees and do whatever the Israeli government commanded.

When this failed (as should have been foreseen) and most Lebanese of all
communities rallied behind Hizbullah, The C-o-C realized that there was
no avoiding ground operations. Since there was no plan, he did without.
Troops were sent into Lebanon in a haphazard way, without clear
objectives, without time-tables. The same locations were occupied time
and again. The end result: the forces bit off small pieces of land on the
edges of Hizbullah territory, without any real achievement, but with heavy
losses.

It cannot be said that the war aims were not attained. Simply, there was
no war aim.


THE WORST part was not the lack of a plan. The worst part was that the
generals did not even notice its absence.

The investigators of the State Comptroller disclosed last week a startling
fact of utmost importance: most members of the General Staff have never
attended any of the high command courses which are the Israeli
equivalent of a military academy.

This means that they never learned military history and the principles of
strategy. They are military technicians, equivalent to engineering
technicians or bookkeepers. I assume that they are well versed in the
technical side of the profession: how to move forces, how to activate
weapon systems, and such. But they have not read books about military
theory and the art of war, have not studied how the leaders of armies
conducted their wars throughout the centuries, have not become
acquainted with the thoughts of the great military thinkers.

A military leader needs intuition. Certainly. But intuition grows from by
experience - his own experience, the experience of his army and the
accumulated experience of centuries of warfare.

For example: if they had read the books of Basil Liddell Hart, perhaps the
most authoritative military commentator of the last century, they would
have learned that the battle of David and Goliath was not a confrontation
between a boy with a primitive sling and a heavily armed and protected
giant, as it is usually presented, but quite on the contrary, a battle
between a sophisticated fighter with a modern weapon that could kill
from a distance and a cumbersome combatant equipped with obsolescent
arms.

In the Lebanon war, the role of David was played by Hizbullah, a mobile
and resourceful force, while the Israeli army was Goliath, heavy, routine-
bound, with inappropriate weapons.


ANYBODY WHO reads this column regularly knows that we blew the
whistle well before the war. But our criticism then was suspect because of
our opposition to the war itself, which we considered immoral,
superfluous and senseless.

Now we have several military inquiry committees, appointed by the chief-
of-Staff himself (about 40 of them!), and they, one after another, confirm
our criticism almost word for word. Not only confirm, but add a wealth of
details that paint an even darker picture.

It is a picture of utter confusion: improvised operations, an anarchic
command structure, misunderstanding of orders, orders that were issued,
cancelled and issued again, General Staff officers giving orders directly to
subordinate commanders bypassing the chain of command.

An army that was once one of the best in the world, an object of study for
officers in many countries, has become an inefficient and incompetent
body.

The committees do not answer a basic question: how did this happen?


EXCEPT FOR a few hints here and there, the committees do not say how
we got here. What has happened to the Israeli army?

This, too, we have said many times: the army is the victim of the
occupation.

Next June, the occupation of the Palestinian territories will "celebrate" its
40th anniversary. There is no precedent for such a long military
occupation regime. A military occupation is by its very nature a short-
term instrument. In the course of a war, the army conquers enemy
territory, administers it until the end of the war, when its fate is decided
by a peace agreement.

No army is happy with the role of an occupying force, knowing that this
destroys it, corrupts it from inside, damages it physically and mentally,
diverts it from its most important function and imposes on it methods
that have nothing to do with its real mission - to defend the state in war.

With us, the occupation became, almost from the beginning, a political
instrument for the attainment of objectives that are foreign to the
function of "Defense Forces". In theory, it is a military regime, but in
practice it is a colonial subjugation, in which the Israeli army mainly
fulfills the shameful task of an oppressive police force.

In today's army, there is no officer on active service who remembers the
Israel Defense Forces from before the occupation, the army that grew up
in the "small" Israel within the Green Line, that defeated five Arab armies
in six days, commanded by the brilliant General Staff under Yitzhak
Rabin. All the commanders of the Second Lebanon War started their
career when it was already an occupation army. The last military success
of the Israeli army was achieved early in the occupation period, a
generation ago, in the Yom Kippur war,

An army whose job is to uphold the occupation - "targeted
killings" (approved this week by the Supreme Court in a shameful
decision), demolition of homes, mistreating helpless civilians, hunting
stone-throwing children, humiliating people at innumerable roadblocks
and the hundred and one other daily doings of an occupation army - has
shown that it is not fitted for real war, even against a small guerilla force.


THE CORRUPTION of the Israeli army and the rot that has set in, exposed
in all their ugliness by the investigations of the war, are a danger for the
State of Israel.

It is not enough to remove the Chief-of-Staff (whose clinging to his post
is another scandal added to the scandals of the war), nor is it enough to
change the whole high command. There is a need for reform from the top
to the bottom, a change of the army in all sectors and all grades. But as
long as the occupation lasts, there is no point in even starting.

We have always said: the occupation corrupts. Now it has to be said with
a clear voice: the occupation is endangering the security of Israel.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 16 December 2006 at 4:24pm
Originally posted by Maryah

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

I meant the settlers but now that I think about it Haldol (Antihallucinogenic)
seems more appropriate

Asalaamu alaikum,

Brother Daniel, you are Muslim? It does not matter, but you sound as if your are.

May Allah (swt) keep you and your family safe.

Salaams and Bismillah,

Dear Sister Maryah,

I feel as if Daniel is my brother in spirit knowing full well that he is a sincere Jewish man.  Just as I feel about Angela.  They are both wonderful people and I'm glad to have the honor to know them.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 17 December 2006 at 10:10am
Write a letter to keep The Hope Flowers School accessible


17/12/06

I am kindly asking you and the Civil Administration NOT to continue with
your plans to demolish the cafeteria building of the first, and only, school
for peace and coexistence in the Palestinian Territories.

We are also concerned that the wall/fence that the Israelis authorities
started to build near the school will prevent Israelis from reaching the
school. We are asking you to create a Gate or Entrance in that wall near
the school to allow Israelis to reach the Hope Flowers School.

Attention: C/O: Subject: The Hope Flowers School in Al Khader, Case
Number related to demolition: 107/02

Date

Dear Sir,

We kindly request your attention to the following matter. For several years
we have supported a Palestinian school on the West Bank in Al Khader
village near Bethlehem. The name of the school is Al Amal, The Hope
Flowers School. We support this school because of its approach to peace
and democracy education. The Hope Flowers School was established in
1984 when the late founder of the school, Mr. Hussein Issa (may he rest
in peace), was confident that the Palestinian and Israeli conflict could not
be solved by violence. He believed that the only way to solve the conflict
was to create a new generation of Palestinians and Israelis that believed in
peace, coexistence and respecting the rights of each other. Mr. Issa
thought that by bringing Palestinian and Israeli children together and
teaching them to look beyond the fear that years of conflict and
stereotyping has created, then these children would grow and bond in
friendship. He also hoped that they would then create a peaceful solution
to the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Therefore, the school has many
contacts and partnerships with Israeli schools, teachers and students.
Israeli volunteers and teachers worked in the school before the
Palestinian uprising started in 2000.


1.     However, the Hope Flowers School received a demolition order for
the school cafeteria from the Israeli army (Case 107/02) on 5th
November, 2003. We are very concerned about this recent threat to
demolish the cafeteria building. I am kindly asking you and the Civil
Administration NOT to continue with your plans to demolish the cafeteria
building of the first, and only, school for peace and coexistence in the
Palestinian Territories.

2.     We are also concerned that the wall/fence that the Israelis
authorities started to build near the school will prevent Israelis from
reaching the school. We are asking you to create a Gate or Entrance in
that wall near the school to allow Israelis to reach the Hope Flowers
School. This will keep dialogue alive and will allow hope to flower for the
next Palestinian and Israeli generation.


Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely Yours,

Name. Address.

[Send it to:] a) Commander Israeli Civil Administration (Sub Committee for
Supervision of Building Activity in Beth El), Fax: (Israel) 2 997 7326.

b) Mr. Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister: E-mail: eulmert@knesset.gov.il
Fax: (Israel) 2 566 4838 or (Israel) 2 267 5475, Tel: (Israel) 2 670 5555.


3.     The Israeli Embassy / Consulate in your home country.


System Message: INFO/1 (<string>, line 36)
Enumerated list start value not ordinal-1: "c" (ordinal 3)

System Message: INFO/1 (<string>, line 39)
Possible title underline, too short for the title. Treating it as ordinary text
because it's so short.

d) Dr Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, address: U.S Department of
State, 2210 C Street N.W, Washington D.C 20520, USA. tel: (USA) 202 647
5291(Dr. Rice s office) / 202 647 4000 (State Dept. main number) Email:
http://contact-us.state.gov .


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 17 December 2006 at 3:12pm

Salaams and Bismillah,

Brother Daniel,

This says:  However, the Hope Flowers School received a demolition order for
the school cafeteria from the Israeli army (Case 107/02) on 5th
November, 2003.

So it is now three years after this order was issued.  What's going on?  Please elucidate.  Thanks.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 December 2006 at 12:21am
I'd like to say that we've been holding the Caterpillars at bay since then
but
the army doesn't always do "when" very well it's all about what, where and
how. We have our guys letting us know from the inside about the
"whens"

Our information is that the Army Engineers are ready to take it down in
the next few days.
Once the deed is done it's done.

I've been at demolitions, Nassalat Issa, where the army took down an
entire shopping center in Palestine. We had a stay of demolition from the
superior court (Israeli Superior Court) In our hands and when we
interfered we were beaten up by border guard. I personally am putting at
least once dental surgeon's child through college. this all depends on
wether I decide on implants or leaving the back teeth out. My wife says it
looks like the place you put a bit for a horse. I digress. The point is that
we need legal help outside of Israeli law. Here the law isn't so much an
ass as it is a little bunny rabbit. Really bad people are running things
here especially in the Israeli army right now.

Those two disasters to hit the US (Bush and 9/11) have coincided with or
caused a total disrespect for justice and even the law. Lately it has gone
as far as in the case of extra judicial executions, to pervert the law it's
self.

Capital punishment is a disgrace any where. To put it in the hands of the
government as a legal tool is banana republic stuff. When they say some
one is going "Bananas" this is what they mean. This isn't about st**id
policeman who are about this far from being criminals themselves or
bored soldiers who fire a round into a Palestinian water heater from half a
mile away after 8 hours of guard duty. No. These are politicians and civil
servants popping off people from behind a desk. Dispatching people like
they were Judy Dent and Pierce Brosnen. This is how they see themselves.
Romantically. I would say that animals behave like this but the insult is
too brutaI to the animals of course.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 December 2006 at 1:34am
Israfil,
In Israel. The police departments are sort of like protected workshops for
the mentally challenged. We have improved here on the buddy system.
We have three policeman in each car.
It used to be two like in the states so that one could need only read and the
other write.
Now with all the decent and human rights talk we need a third to keep an
eye on these two budding intellectuals...

That was a Joke... I think.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 December 2006 at 1:40am
Uri Avnery
23.12.06

                Sorry, Wrong Continent

A FEW weeks ago, the 15th Asian games, the "Asiad", was held in Qatar.

The Israeli media treated the event with a mixture of derision and pity.
Some kind of picturesque Asian circus. Our television showed an exotic
horseman with a keffiyeh at the opening ceremony, riding his noble Arab
steed up a steep staircase to light the Olympic flame. And that was that.

One question was not asked at all in any of the media: why are we not
there? Does Israel not lie in Asia?

That was not even considered. We? In Asia? How come?


WHEN I followed the event on Aljazeera television, I suddenly
remembered a private anniversary that had slipped my memory.

Exactly 60 years ago a small number of young people founded a group
that called itself in Hebrew "Young Eretz-Israel" and in Arabic "Young
Palestine". With money out of our own pockets (at the time we were all
quite poor) we published occasional issues of a periodical we called
Bamaavak ("In the struggle").

Bamaavak stirred up a lot of stormy waves, because it voiced infuriatingly
heretical opinions. Contrary to the dominant Zionist narrative, it asserted
that we, the young generation growing up in the country, constituted a
new nation, the Hebrew nation. Unlike the somewhat similar group of
"Canaanites", that preceded us, we proclaimed that (a) the new nation is a
part of the Jewish people, much as Australia is a part of the Anglo-Saxon
people, and (b) that we are a sister-nation to the resurgent Arab nation in
the country and throughout the region.

And, no less important: that since the new Hebrew nation was born in the
country, and the country belongs to Asia, we are an Asian nation, a
natural ally to all the Asian and African nations that strive for liberation
from colonialism.

On Wednesday, March 19, 1947, a few months after the first edition of
Bamaavak had appeared, the Hebrew daily Haboker reported: "On the
occasion of the opening of the Pan-Asian Conference (in New Delhi), the
group Young Eretz Israel has sent a cable to Jawaharlal Nehru reading:
'Please receive the congratulations of the Eretz-Israeli youth for your
historic initiative. May the aspirations for freedom of the peoples of New
Asia, inspired by your heroic example, become united. Long live the
united and arising Young Asia, the vanguard of fraternity and progress'."   

A similar news story appeared on the same day on the front page of the
Palestine Post (the predecessor of the Jerusalem Post), with the names of
the signatories: Uri Avnery, Amos Elon and Ben-Ami Gur.

Bamaavak appeared from time to time, whenever we had enough money,
up to the outbreak of the 1948 war. In the Hebrew press, more than a
hundred reactions were published, almost all of them negative, many of
them vituperative. The famous writer Moshe Shamir, then a left-winger,
made a neat play on words, calling us Bamat-Avak ("stage of dust").

When the war broke out, this whole chapter was overshadowed and
forgotten. But almost all we said 60 years ago remains relevant today.
And the most relevant question is: To what continent does the State of
Israel actually belong?


I BELIEVE that one of the most profound causes for the historic conflict
between us and the Arab world in general, and the Palestinian people in
particular, is the fact that the Zionist movement declared, from its very
first day, that it did not belong to the region in which we live. Perhaps
that is one of the reasons for the fact that even after four generations,
this wound has not healed.

In his book "The Jewish State", the founding document of the Zionist
movement, Theodor Herzl famously wrote: "For Europe we shall be (in
Palestine) a part of the wall against Asia…the vanguard of culture against
barbarism…" This attitude is typical for the whole history of Zionism and
the State of Israel up to the present day. Indeed, a few weeks ago the
Israeli ambassador to Australia declared that "Asia belongs to the yellow
race, while we are Whites and have no slit eyes. "

One can perhaps forgive Herzl, a quintessential European, who lived in an
era when imperialism dominated European thought. But today, four
generations later, those forming public opinion in Israel, people born in
the country, continue along the same path. Former Prime Minister Ehud
Barak declared that Israel is "a villa in the middle of the jungle" (the Arab
jungle, of course), and this attitude is shared by practically all our
politicians. Tsipi Livni likes to talk about the "dangerous neighborhood" in
which we are living, and the chief advisor of Ariel Sharon once said that
there will be no peace until "the Palestinians turn into Finns."

Our soccer and basketball teams play in the European leagues, the
Eurovision song contest is a national event in Israel, 95% of our political
activity is focused on Europe and North America. But the phenomenon
extends far beyond the political arena - this is a "world view" in the literal
sense. In our world, Israel is a part of Europe.

In the 50s, when I was the editor of the news magazine Haolam Hazeh, I
once published a cartoon that I am still proud of: it showed the map of
the Eastern Mediterranean, with an arm projecting from Greece and
holding scissors that cut Israel off from Asia. It is a pity that I did not add
a second drawing, showing Israel being attached to the shore of France
or, preferably, Miami.

These days it would be hard to find anybody who would assert that Asia -
India, China - is barbarian. But it is easy to find people in Israel, and
throughout the West, who believe that the Arab world, and indeed the
entire Muslim world, is a "jungle". With such an attitude, one cannot make
peace. After all, one does not make peace with poisonous snakes and
ravenous leopards.

In the Bamaavak days, we coined the slogan "Integration in the Semitic
Region". But how can one integrate oneself in a region that is seen as a
jungle?


A WORLD VIEW is not an academic matter. It has a huge impact on actual
life. It influences people when it is conscious, and even more so when it is
unconscious. It shapes the practical decisions, without the decision-
makers being aware of it. Politicians, too, are only human beings (if that),
and their actions are directed by their hidden beliefs.

In Israel we are used to consider unquestioned "conceptsias" as the
mother of all our mistakes and defeats. But is such an assumption any
different from the expression of an unconscious world-view?

The world-view influences many aspects of the state. It is the core of the
education system, which forms the mind of the next generation. We have
perhaps the only education system in the world that does not teach the
history of its homeland. In our schools, very little is taught about the past
of the country. Instead, what is taught is the history of "the Jewish
people". This starts with the ancient Israelite kingdoms before the sixth
century BC ("the First Temple"), then the Jewish community in the country
before the beginning of the Christian era and for some years after ("the
Second Temple"). Then it leaves the country and dwells on the Jewish
Diaspora for some thousands of years, until the beginning of the Zionist
settlement. For almost 2000 years, the annals of the country disappear
from the school.

I once talked about this in a speech in the Knesset. I said that an Israeli
child born in the country, whether Jewish or Arab, should study the
history of the country, including all its periods and peoples: Canaanites,
Israelites, Hellenists, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Turks,
British, Palestinians, Israelis and more. In addition they could be taught
the story of the Jews in the diaspora, too. The Minister of Education
responded humorously and insisted on calling me, from then on, "the
Mameluke".   


LATELY IT has become fashionable for politicians and commentators in
Israel to speak about the danger of annihilation that hovers, or so they
claim, over Israel. It is hardly believable: the State of Israel is a regional
superpower, its economy is robust and developing, its technological level
is one of the most advanced in the world, its army is stronger than all the
Arab armies combined, it has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. Even if
the Iranians were to obtain a bomb of their own, they would be mad to
use it, for fear of Israeli retaliation.

So where does this fear of annihilation come from in the 59th year of the
state? A part of it surely emanates from the memory of the Holocaust,
which is deeply imprinted in the national mentality. But another part
comes from the feeling of not belonging, of temporariness, of the lack of
roots.

That has, of course, domestic implications, too. Consciousness also
affects practical interests. The assertion that we are a European people
automatically reinforces the position of our ruling class, which is still
overwhelmingly Ashkenazi-European, over and against the majority of the
citizens of Israel, who are of Asian-African Jewish and Palestinian-Arab
descent. The profound disdain for their culture, which has accompanied
the state from its first day, facilitates discrimination against them in many
fields.


A CHANGE affecting the consciousness of a community is not a short-
term proposition. It cannot be achieved by decree. This is a slow and
gradual process. But at some stage we shall have to start it, and first of all
in the education system.

I started my booklet "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", which was
published in October 1947, just a few weeks before the outbreak of the
1948 war, with the words:    

"When our Zionist fathers decided to set up a 'safe home' in Eretz Israel,
they had the choice between two roads: they could appear in West Asia as
a European conqueror, who sees himself as a beachhead of the 'white'
race and a master of the 'natives'…(or) see themselves as an Asian nation
returning to its homeland."

When I wrote these words, the rise of Asia was still a dream. World War II
had ended just two years before, and the United States looked like an
omnipotent superpower. But now a quiet revolution of huge proportions
is taking place. The nations of Asia, with China and India in the lead, are
becoming economic and political powers. Should we not gradually move
toward this camp?

That brochure, 60 years ago, ended with the words of a Hebrew song:

"We stand and face the rising sun / To the East our homeward path…"


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 04 January 2007 at 1:58am
Uri Avnery
6.1.2007

                      Kiss of Death

SINCE JUDAS ISCARIOT embraced Jesus, Jerusalem has not seen such a
kiss.

After being boycotted by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert for years,
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was invited to the official residence of the
Prime Minister of Israel two weeks ago. There, in front of the cameras,
Olmert embraced him and kissed him warmly on both cheeks. Abbas
looked stunned, and froze.

Somehow the scene was reminiscent of another incident of politically-
inspired physical contact: the embarassing occurrence at the Camp David
meeting, when Prime Minister Ehud Barak pushed Yasser Arafat forcefully
into the room where Bill Clinton stood waiting.

In both instances it was a gesture that was intended to look like paying
respect to the Palestinian leader, but both were actually acts of violence
that - seemingly - testified to ignorance of the customs of the other
people and of their delicate situation. Actually, the aim was quite
different.


ACCORDING TO the New Testament, Judas Iscariot kissed Jesus in order
to point him out to those who had come to arrest him.

In appearance - an act of love and friendship. In effect - a death
sentence.

On the face of it, Olmert was out to do Abbas a favor. He paid him
respect, introduced him to his wife and honored him with the title "Mr.
President".

That should not be underestimated. At Oslo, titanic battles were fought
over this title. The Palestinians insisted that the head of the future
Palestinian Authority should be called "President". The Israelis rejected
this out of hand, because this title could indicate something like a state.
In the end, it was agreed that the (binding) English version would carry
the Arabic title "Ra'is", since that language uses the same word for both
President and Chairman. Abbas, who signed the document for the
Palestinian side, probably did not envisage that he himself would be the
first to be addressed by an Israeli Prime Minister as "President".

But enough trivia. More important is the outcome of this event. After the
imposed kiss, Abbas needed a big Israeli gesture to justify the meeting in
the eyes of his people. And indeed, why shouldn't Olmert do something
resounding? For example, to release on the spot a thousand prisoners,
remove all the hundreds of checkpoints scattered across the West Bank,
open the passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?

Nothing of the sort happened. Olmert did not release a single prisoner -
no woman, no child, no old man, no sick person. He did indeed announce
(for the umpteenth time) that the roadblocks would be "eased", but the
Palestinians report that they have not felt any change. Perhaps, here and
there, the endless queue at some of the roadblocks has become a little
shorter. Also, Olmert gave back a fifth of the Palestinian tax money
withheld (or embezzled) by the Israeli government.

To the Palestinians, this looked like another shameful failure for their
President: he went to Canossa and received meaningless promises that
were not kept.


WHY DID Olmert go through all these motions?

The naïve explanation is political. President Bush wanted some movement
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would look like an American
achievement. Condoleezza Rice transmitted the order to Olmert. Olmert
agreed to meet Abbas at long last. There was a meeting. A kiss was
effected. Promises were made and immediately forgotten. Americans, as
is well known, have short memories. Even shorter (if that is possible)
than ours.

But there is also a more cynical explanation. If one humiliates Abbas, one
strengthens Hamas. Palestinian support for Abbas depends on one single
factor: his ability to get from the US and Israel things Hamas cannot. The
Americans and the Israelis love him, so - the argument goes - they will
give him what is needed: the mass release of prisoners, an end to the
targeted killings, the removal of the monstrous roadblocks, the opening
of the passage between the West Bank and Gaza, the start of serious
negotiations for peace. But if Abbas cannot deliver any of these - what
remains but the methods of Hamas?

The business of the prisoners provides a good example. Nothing troubles
the Palestinians more than this: almost every Palestinian clan has people
in prison. Every family is affected: a father, a brother, a son, sometimes a
daughter. Every night, the Israeli army "arrests" another dozen or so. How
to get them free?

Hamas has a proven remedy: to capture Israelis (in the Israeli and
international media, Israelis are "kidnapped" while Palestinians are
"arrested"). For the return of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Olmert will
release many prisoners. Israelis, according to Palestinian experience,
understand only the language of force.

Some of Olmert's advisors had a brilliant idea: to give Abbas hundreds of
prisoners as a gift, just for nothing. That would reinforce the position of
the Palestinian president and prove to the Palestinians that they can get
more from us this way than by violence. It would deal a sharp blow to the
Hamas government, whose overthrow is a prime aim of the governments
both of Israel and the USA.

Out of the question, cried another group of Olmert's spin doctors. How
will the Israeli media react if prisoners are released before Shalit comes
home?

The trouble is that Shalit is held by Hamas and its allies, and not by
Abbas. If it is forbidden to release prisoners before the return of Shalit,
then all the cards are in the hands of Hamas. In that case, perhaps it
makes sense to speak with Hamas? Unthinkable!

The result: no strengthening of Abbas, no dialogue with Hamas, no
nothing.


THAT IS an old Israeli tradition: when there are two alternatives, we
choose the third: not to do anything.

For me, the classic example is the Jericho affair. In the middle 70s, King
Hussein made an offer to Henry Kissinger: Israel should withdraw from
Jericho and turn the town over to the king. The Jordanian army would
hoist the Jordanian flag there, announcing symbolically that Jordan is the
decisive Arab presence in the West Bank.

Kissinger liked the idea and called Yigal Allon, the Israeli foreign minister.
Allon informed the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin. All the top political
echelon - Rabin, Allon, the Defense Minister Shimon Peres - were already
enthusiastic supporters of the "Jordanian Option", as were their
predecessors, Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan and Abba Eban. My friends and I,
who, on the contrary, advocated the "Palestinian Option", were a marginal
minority.

But Rabin rejected the offer categorically. Golda had publicly promised to
hold a referendum or elections before giving back even one square inch
of occupied territory. "I will not call an election because of Jericho!" Rabin
declared.

No Jordanian Option. No Palestinian Option. No nothing.


NOW THE same is happening vis-à-vis Syria.

Again there are two alternatives. The first: to start negotiations with
Bashar al-Assad, who is making public overtures. That means being ready
to give back the Golan Heights and allow the 60 thousand Syrian refugees
to return home. In return, Sunni Syria could well cut itself loose from Iran
and Hizbullah and join the front of Sunni states. Since Syria is both Sunni
and secular-nationalist, that may also have a positive effect on the
Palestinians.

Olmert has demanded that Assad cut himself off from Iran and stop
helping Hizbullah before any negotiations. That is a ridiculous demand,
obviously intended to serve as an alibi for refusing to start talking. After
all, Assad uses Hizbullah in order to put pressure on Israel to return the
Golan. His alliance with Iran also serves the same purpose. How can he
give up in advance the few cards he holds and still hope to achieve
anything in the negotiations?

The opposite alternative suggested by some senior army commanders: to
invade Syria and do the same there as the Americans have done in Iraq.
That would create anarchy throughout the Arab world, a situation that
would be good for Israel. That would also renovate the image of the
Israeli army that was damaged in Lebanon and restore its "deterrence
power".

So what will Olmert do? Give the Golan back? God forbid! Does he need
trouble with the 16 thousand vociferous settlers there? What then, will he
start a war with Syria? No! Hasn't he had enough military setbacks? So he
will go for the third alternative: to do nothing.

Bashar Assad has at least one consolation: He does not run the risk of
being kissed by Olmert.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 13 January 2007 at 2:02pm
Uri Avnery
13.1.07

                Manara Square, Ramallah

IT WAS murder in broad daylight. Undercover soldiers disguised as Arabs,
accompanied by armored vehicles and bulldozers and supported by
helicopter gunships, invaded the center of Ramallah. Their aim was to kill
or capture a Fatah militant, Rabee' Hamid. The man was wounded but
managed to escape.

As always, the place was teeming with people. Manara Square is the heart
of Ramallah, full of life, both walking and driving. When people realized
what was going on, they started to throw stones at the soldiers. These
responded by shooting wildly in all directions. Four bystanders were
killed, more than 30 wounded.

The routinely mendacious army press release announced that the four
had been armed. Indeed? One of them was a street vendor named Khalil
al-Bairouti, who used to sell hot beverages from a small cart at this place.
Another was Jamal Jweelis from Shuafat near Jerusalem, who had come to
Ramallah to buy new clothes and sweets for the engagement party of his
brother, which was scheduled for the next day. Hearing that approaching
bulldozers were crushing vehicles in the street, Jamal ran out of the shop
to remove his car.

That happened nine days ago. A "routine" action, like so many others that
take place in the occupied Palestinian territories almost daily. But this
time it created an international uproar, because on that very day Ehud
Olmert was due to meet the President of Egypt, Husni Mubarak in Sharm
el Sheikh. The host was deeply offended. Do the Israelis despise him so
much, that they so lightly put him to shame in the eyes of his people and
the Arab world? At the end of the meeting, he gave vent to his anger in no
uncertain terms, in the presence of Olmert, who muttered some weak
words of apology.

In Israel, the usual game of passing the buck, known as "covering one's
ass", began. Who was responsible? As usual, someone low down in the
hierarchy. The Prime Ministers's people first suspected that the Minister
of Defense, Amir Peretz, had done it to trip up Olmert. Peretz denied any
prior knowledge of the action, and passed the buck on to the Chief-of-
Staff, who, he implied, wanted to bring about the downfall of both Olmert
and Peretz. The C-o-S transferred the responsibility to the Commander of
the Central Front, Ya'ir Naveh, a Kippa-wearing general known as
especially brutal, with extreme right-wing views. In the end it was
decided that some officer lower down had approved the action, and that
all the responsibility was his.

Even if you believe all these denials - and I most certainly do not - the
image is no less disturbing: a chaotic army, out of control, where every
officer can do as he sees fit (or unfit).


TWO DAYS later, my wife Rachel and I visited the place. It was early
evening. Under an intermittent drizzle, Manara ("lighthouse") Square was
again teeming with people. Traffic jams blocked all the six streets leading
to the square

Zacharia, the Palestinian friend who was accompanying us, was clearly
worried. He tried to persuade us not to go there so soon after the
incident. But nothing happened.

Posters of Arafat were hanging on the column in the center of the square
and on some walls. In a mini-market there were photos of Saddam
Hussein. One of the walls carried angry graffiti: "We Don't Need Your Aid!"
(You the Americans? The Europeans? The aid agencies?)

The four lions surrounding the column in the square looked to me forlorn
and helpless. One of them is wearing a watch on his leg. The designer
had added the watch as a joke and the Chinese who were contracted to
produce the lions according to the plan did precisely that.

In the end we entered a coffee shop. While we were sitting and enjoying
the coffee, all the lights went out. Before we could start to worry, people
around us used their cigarette lighters and cellular phones. After some
minutes, the lights went on again.

On the way home to the hotel in a side street, we took a taxi. The driver,
who did not know that we were Israelis, talked all the way with his brother
in Arabic on his phone. He ended the conversation with three words:
"Yallah. Lehitraot. Bye." Yallah (something like OK) in Arabic. Lehitraot
("see you again") in Hebrew. Bye in English.


WHEN WE told our friends in Tel-Aviv that we were off to a conference in
Ramallah, they thought that we had taken leave of our senses. "To
Ramallah? And now of all times, after what has just happened there?"

The organizers of the conference - Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace,
an international group of academics - also hesitated. True, the
conference was arranged several weeks ago, but perhaps it would be best
to postpone it for a week or two? Was it wise to bring to Ramallah dozens
of Israelis, less than 24 hours after the killing?

In the end, it was decided, quite rightly, that this was exactly the right
time and place to convene the conference. The representatives of 23
Palestinian, 22 Israeli and 15 international organizations were lodged for
three days in a Ramallah hotel, met, ate together and discussed the one
subject that was on everybody's mind: how to act together to put an end
to the occupation which produces daily horrors like the Manara Square
killing spree?

It was important to hold the conference precisely at this place for another
reason: Since the murder of Yasser Arafat, the connections between the
Israeli and Palestinian peace forces at the higher level had become
tenuous. Unlike Arafat [incidentally, Uri Dan, Sharon's confidant, recently
put to rest any doubt that the late Palestinian President was indeed
murdered], Mahmoud Abbas obviously does not think that they are
important. That is one of the reasons - one of many - for the pessimism
that has infected parts of the peace camp.

Therefore, the very fact that such a conference was taking place was
important. Israelis, Palestinians and international activists mingled and
sat together, proposed actions, stressed the common aim. On the second
day, the conference broke up into smaller workshops, where participants
from Tel-Aviv and Hebron, Nablus and New York, Barcelona and Kfar-
Sava put forward ideas for joint actions.

There were also some stormy debates, though not between Israelis and
Palestinians, but about differences of opinion that did not follow national
lines. The most important one: Should the main effort be devoted to
action in the country or abroad?

The representative of an Israeli group argued with much feeling that there
was nothing to be done inside the country, that all the efforts should be
focused on winning over international public opinion, on the lines of the
world-wide boycott that had been so successful against South Africa. In
response, a Palestinian activist argued that the only important thing was
to influence public opinion in Israel, which was, after all, the occupier. I
also argued that the main effort should be directed towards Israel, even if
actions abroad can be useful, too. I vigorously opposed the idea of a
general boycott against Israel, because - among other things - it would
push the public into the arms of the Right. (However, I do support the
idea of a boycott against specific targets that are clearly identified with
the occupation, such as the settlements, suppliers of certain military
equipment, universities with branches in the occupied territories etc.)


SOME DAYS later a comparable meeting took place in the capital of Spain.
But there was a difference between the two conferences - much like the
difference between Sun Square in Madrid and Manara Square in Ramallah.

Madrid saw a congregation of respectable personalities, Members of the
Knesset (including supporters of the government that is responsible for
the bloodshed in Ramallah, one of them a representative of a neo-Fascist
party) together with some notables from the Palestinian authority and
their colleagues from Arab and other countries. In Ramallah there came
together the veterans of the fight for peace, people who had stood fast
dozens of times in a cloud of tear gas and against rubber-coated bullets.
One group of Palestinians and Israelis, who arrived together late on the
first day, came straight from a demonstration in Bil'in, where the army
had used a water cannon, tear gas and also rubber bullets.

The guests in Madrid had come by plane. The guests in Ramallah had a
much tougher time getting there. The Israelis had to squirm through
checkpoints on their way in, and even more on the way back. Israelis
(except settlers) break the law when they travel to the occupied
territories. But for the Palestinians, it was ten times harder to get to
Ramallah. A guest from Nablus told us that he had left home at 2 AM in
order to reach the conference at 11 AM. The guest from Tubas, near
Nablus, spent eight hours on the road and at the checkpoints - much
more than the time needed to get from Tel-Aviv to Madrid.

The Madrid conference was covered extensively in the Israeli media, day
after day. The Ramallah conference was not mentioned with one single
word in any Israeli newspaper, TV or radio station, except for a single line
in the gossip column in Maariv, which said: "Uri Avnery has temporarily
gone to live in Ramallah".


THE MADRID conference was relevant mainly as proof that Israeli and
Palestinian politicians can sit together, even after all that has happened.
What was the importance of the meeting in Ramallah?

In the past, I have taken part in many similar conferences that have borne
no fruit. This time, too, the obstacles are enormous. But more than ever,
it is clear that action must be taken against the occupation, and that the
action must be joint, consistent and well planned.

In five months, the occupation will be 40 years old - perhaps the longest-
lasting military occupation regime the world has ever seen. At the
conference, there was general agreement that all forces must be
concentrated in a great public campaign to mark this shameful date and
draw attention to the injustices of the occupation, the harm it does not
only to the Palestinians but also to the Israelis, to bring the Green Line
back into the public consciousness, to act against the roadblocks and the
Annexation Wall, and for the release of the prisoners of both sides. For
this purpose, the conference decided to set up "an Israeli-Palestinian-
International Coalition to End the Occupation".

The continuation will depend on the willpower, courage and devotion of
all peace forces, and their ability to cooperate beyond the roadblocks,
walls and fences - one of whose aims is precisely to obstruct such
cooperation.

Time is pressing. Perhaps that is why one of the lions in Manara Square
has a watch.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 21 January 2007 at 1:21pm
Uri Avnery
20.1.07          ; 

                      A Freedom Ride

MAHATMA GANDHI would have loved it. Nelson Mandela would have
saluted. Martin Luther King would have been the most excited - it would
have reminded him of the old days.

Yesterday, a decree of the Officer Commanding the Central Sector,
General Yair Naveh, was about to come into force. It forbade Israeli
drivers from giving a ride to Palestinian passengers in the occupied
territories. The knitted-Kippah-wearing General, a friend of the settlers,
justified this as a vital security necessity. In the past, inhabitants of the
West Bank have sometimes reached Israeli territory in Israeli cars.

Israeli peace activists decided that this nauseating order must be
protested. Several organizations planned a protest action for the very day
it was due to come into force. They organized a "Freedom Ride" of Israeli
car-owners who were to enter the West Bank (a criminal offence in itself)
and give a ride to local Palestinians, who had volunteered for the action.

An impressive event in the making. Israeli drivers and Palestinian
passengers breaking the law openly, facing arrest and trial in a military
court.

At the last moment, the general "froze" the order. The demonstration was
called off.


THE ORDER that was suspended (but not officially rescinded) emitted a
strong odor of apartheid. It joins a large number of acts of the occupation
authorities that are reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa, such
as the systematic building of roads in the West Bank for Israelis only and
on which Palestinians are forbidden to travel. Or the "temporary" law that
forbids Palestinians in the occupied territories, who have married Israeli
citizens, to live with their spouses in Israel. And, most importantly, the
Wall, which is officially called "the separation obstacle". In Afrikaans,
"apartheid" means separation.

The "vision" of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert amounts to the
establishment of a "Palestinian state" that would be nothing more than a
string of Palestinian islands in an Israeli sea. It is easy to detect a
similarity between the planned enclaves and the "Bantustans" that were
set up by the White regime in South Africa - the so-called "homelands"
where the Blacks were supposed to enjoy "self-rule" but which really
amounted to racist concentration camps.

Because of this, we are right when we use the term "apartheid" in our
daily struggle against the occupation. We speak about the "apartheid wall"
and "apartheid methods". The order of General Naveh has practically
given official sanction to the use of this term. Even institutions that are
far from the radical peace camp did relate it to the Apartheid system.

Therefore, the title of former President Jimmy Carter's new book is fully
justified - "Palestine - Peace not Apartheid". The title aroused the ire of
the "friends of Israel" even more than the content of the book itself. How
dare he? To compare Israel to the obnoxious racist regime? To allege that
the government of Israel is motivated by racism, when all its actions are
driven solely by the necessity to defend its citizens against Arab
terrorists? (By the way, on the cover of the book there is a photo of a
demonstration against the wall that was organized by Gush Shalom and
Ta'ayush. Carter's nose points to a poster of ours that says: "The Wall -
Jail for Palestinians, Ghetto for Israelis".)

It seems that Carter himself was not completely happy with the use of this
term. He has hinted that it was added at the request of the publishers,
who thought a provocative title would stimulate publicity. If so, the ploy
was successful. The famous Jewish lobby was fully mobilized. Carter was
pilloried as an anti-Semite and a liar. The storm around the title displaced
any debate about the facts cited in the book, which have not been
seriously questioned. The book has not yet appeared in Hebrew.


BUT WHEN we use the term "Apartheid" to describe the situation, we have
to be aware of the fact that the similarity between the Israeli occupation
and the White regime in South Africa concerns only the methods, not the
substance. This must be made quite clear, so as to prevent grave errors in
the analysis of the situation and the conclusions drawn from it.

It is always dangerous to draw analogies with other countries and other
times. No two countries and no two situations are exactly the same. Every
conflict has its own specific historical roots. Even when the symptoms are
the same, the disease may be quite different.

These reservations all apply to comparisons between the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict and the historical conflict between the Whites and the
Blacks in South Africa. Suffice it to point out several basic differences:   

(a) In SA there was a conflict between Blacks and Whites, but both agreed
that the state of South Africa must remain intact- the question was only
who would rule it. Almost nobody proposed to partition the country
between the Blacks and the Whites.

Our conflict is between two different nations with different national
identities, each of which places the highest value on a national state of its
own.

(b) In SA, the idea of "separateness" was an instrument of the White
minority for the oppression of the Black majority, and the Black
population rejected it unanimously. Here, the huge majority of the
Palestinians want to be separated from Israel in order to establish a state
of their own. The huge majority of Israelis, too, want to be separated
from the Palestinians. Separation is the aspiration of the majority on both
sides, and the real question is where the border between them should
run. On the Israeli side, only the settlers and their allies demand to keep
the whole historical area of the country united and object to separation,
in order to rob the Palestinians of their land and enlarge the settlements.
On the Palestinian side, the Islamic fundamentalists also believe that the
whole country is a "waqf" (religious trust) and belongs to Allah, and
therefore must not be partitioned.

(c) In SA, a White minority (about 10 percent) ruled over a huge majority
of Blacks (78 percent), people of mixed race (7 percent) and Asians (3
percent). Here, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, there are
now 5.5 million Jewish-Israelis and an equal number of Palestinian-Arabs
(including the 1.4 million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel).

(d) The SA economy was based on Black labor and could not possibly have
existed without it. Here, the Israeli government has succeeded in
excluding the non-Israeli Palestinians almost completely from the Israeli
labor market and replacing them with foreign workers.    


IT IS important to point out these fundamental differences in order to
prevent grave mistakes in the strategy of the struggle for ending the
occupation.

In Israel and abroad there are people who cite this analogy without paying
due attention to the essential differences between the two conflicts. Their
conclusion: the methods that were so successful against the South
African regime can again be applied to the struggle against the
occupation - namely, mobilization of world public opinion, an
international boycott and isolation.

That is reminiscent of a classical fallacy, which used to be taught in logic
classes: an Eskimo knows ice. Ice is transparent. Ice can be chewed. When
given a glass of water, which is also transparent, he thinks he can chew it.

There is no doubt that it is essential to arouse international public
opinion against the criminal treatment by the occupation authorities of
the Palestinian people. We do this every day, just as Jimmy Carter is doing
now. However, it must be clear that this is immeasurably more difficult
than the campaign that led to the overthrow of the South African regime.
One of the reasons: during World War II, the people who later became the
rulers of South Africa tried to sabotage the anti-Nazi effort and were
imprisoned, and therefore aroused world-wide loathing. Israel is accepted
by the world as the "State of the Holocaust Survivors", and therefore
arouses overwhelming sympathy.

It is a serious error to think that international public opinion will put an
end to the occupation. This will come about when the Israeli public itself
is convinced of the need to do so.

There is another important difference between the two conflicts, and this
may be more dangerous than any other: in South Africa, no White would
have dreamt of ethnic cleansing. Even the racists understood that the
country could not exist without the Black population. But in Israel, this
goal is under serious consideration, both openly and in secret. One of its
main advocates, Avigdor Lieberman, is a member of the government and
last week Condoleezza Rice met with him officially. Apartheid is not the
worst danger hovering over the heads of the Palestinians. They are
menaced by something infinitely worse: "Transfer", which means total
expulsion.


SOME PEOPLE in Israel and around the world follow the Apartheid analogy
to its logical conclusion: the solution here will be the same as the one in
South Africa. There, the Whites surrendered and the Black majority
assumed power. The country remained united. Thanks to wise leaders,
headed by Nelson Mandela and Frederick Willem de Klerk, this happened
without bloodshed.

In Israel, that is a beautiful dream for the end of days. Because of the
people involved and their anxieties, it would inevitably turn into a
nightmare. In this country there are two peoples with a very strong
national consciousness. After 125 years of conflict, there is not the
slightest chance that they would live together in one state, share the
same government, serve in the same army and pay the same taxes.
Economically, technologically and educationally, the gap between the two
populations is immense. In such a situation, power relations similar to
those in Apartheid South Africa would indeed arise.

In Israel, the demographic demon is lurking. There is an existential angst
among the Jews that the demographic balance will change even within the
Green Line. Every morning the babies are counted - how many Jewish
babies were born during the night, and how many Arab. In a joint state,
the discrimination would grow a hundredfold. The drive to dispossess
and expel would know no bounds, rampant Jewish settlement activity
would flourish, together with the effort to put the Arabs at a disadvantage
by all possible means. In short: Hell.


IT MAY be hoped that this situation will change in 50 years. I have no
doubt that in the end, a federation between the two states, perhaps
including Jordan too, will come about. Yasser Arafat spoke with me about
this several times. But neither the Palestinians not the Israelis can afford
50 more years of bloodshed, occupation and creeping ethnic cleansing.

The end of the occupation will come in the framework of peace between
the two peoples, who will live in two free neighboring states - Israel and
Palestine - with the border between them based on the Green Line. I hope
that this will be an open border.

Then - inshallah - Palestinians will freely ride in Israeli cars, and Israelis
will ride freely in Palestinian cars. When that time comes, nobody will
remember General Yair Naveh, or even his boss, General Dan Halutz.
Amen.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 21 January 2007 at 2:56pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

Uri Avnery
23.12.06

                Sorry, Wrong Continent

A FEW weeks ago, the 15th Asian games, the "Asiad", was held in Qatar.

The Israeli media treated the event with a mixture of derision and pity.
Some kind of picturesque Asian circus. Our television showed an exotic
horseman with a keffiyeh at the opening ceremony, riding his noble Arab
steed up a steep staircase to light the Olympic flame. And that was that.

One question was not asked at all in any of the media: why are we not
there? Does Israel not lie in Asia?

That was not even considered. We? In Asia? How come?


WHEN I followed the event on Aljazeera television, I suddenly
remembered a private anniversary that had slipped my memory.

Exactly 60 years ago a small number of young people founded a group
that called itself in Hebrew "Young Eretz-Israel" and in Arabic "Young
Palestine". With money out of our own pockets (at the time we were all
quite poor) we published occasional issues of a periodical we called
Bamaavak ("In the struggle").

Bamaavak stirred up a lot of stormy waves, because it voiced infuriatingly
heretical opinions. Contrary to the dominant Zionist narrative, it asserted
that we, the young generation growing up in the country, constituted a
new nation, the Hebrew nation. Unlike the somewhat similar group of
"Canaanites", that preceded us, we proclaimed that (a) the new nation is a
part of the Jewish people, much as Australia is a part of the Anglo-Saxon
people, and (b) that we are a sister-nation to the resurgent Arab nation in
the country and throughout the region.

And, no less important: that since the new Hebrew nation was born in the
country, and the country belongs to Asia, we are an Asian nation, a
natural ally to all the Asian and African nations that strive for liberation
from colonialism.

On Wednesday, March 19, 1947, a few months after the first edition of
Bamaavak had appeared, the Hebrew daily Haboker reported: "On the
occasion of the opening of the Pan-Asian Conference (in New Delhi), the
group Young Eretz Israel has sent a cable to Jawaharlal Nehru reading:
'Please receive the congratulations of the Eretz-Israeli youth for your
historic initiative. May the aspirations for freedom of the peoples of New
Asia, inspired by your heroic example, become united. Long live the
united and arising Young Asia, the vanguard of fraternity and progress'."   

A similar news story appeared on the same day on the front page of the
Palestine Post (the predecessor of the Jerusalem Post), with the names of
the signatories: Uri Avnery, Amos Elon and Ben-Ami Gur.

Bamaavak appeared from time to time, whenever we had enough money,
up to the outbreak of the 1948 war. In the Hebrew press, more than a
hundred reactions were published, almost all of them negative, many of
them vituperative. The famous writer Moshe Shamir, then a left-winger,
made a neat play on words, calling us Bamat-Avak ("stage of dust").

When the war broke out, this whole chapter was overshadowed and
forgotten. But almost all we said 60 years ago remains relevant today.
And the most relevant question is: To what continent does the State of
Israel actually belong?


I BELIEVE that one of the most profound causes for the historic conflict
between us and the Arab world in general, and the Palestinian people in
particular, is the fact that the Zionist movement declared, from its very
first day, that it did not belong to the region in which we live. Perhaps
that is one of the reasons for the fact that even after four generations,
this wound has not healed.

In his book "The Jewish State", the founding document of the Zionist
movement, Theodor Herzl famously wrote: "For Europe we shall be (in
Palestine) a part of the wall against Asia…the vanguard of culture against
barbarism…" This attitude is typical for the whole history of Zionism and
the State of Israel up to the present day. Indeed, a few weeks ago the
Israeli ambassador to Australia declared that "Asia belongs to the yellow
race, while we are Whites and have no slit eyes. "

One can perhaps forgive Herzl, a quintessential European, who lived in an
era when imperialism dominated European thought. But today, four
generations later, those forming public opinion in Israel, people born in
the country, continue along the same path. Former Prime Minister Ehud
Barak declared that Israel is "a villa in the middle of the jungle" (the Arab
jungle, of course), and this attitude is shared by practically all our
politicians. Tsipi Livni likes to talk about the "dangerous neighborhood" in
which we are living, and the chief advisor of Ariel Sharon once said that
there will be no peace until "the Palestinians turn into Finns."

Our soccer and basketball teams play in the European leagues, the
Eurovision song contest is a national event in Israel, 95% of our political
activity is focused on Europe and North America. But the phenomenon
extends far beyond the political arena - this is a "world view" in the literal
sense. In our world, Israel is a part of Europe.

In the 50s, when I was the editor of the news magazine Haolam Hazeh, I
once published a cartoon that I am still proud of: it showed the map of
the Eastern Mediterranean, with an arm projecting from Greece and
holding scissors that cut Israel off from Asia. It is a pity that I did not add
a second drawing, showing Israel being attached to the shore of France
or, preferably, Miami.

These days it would be hard to find anybody who would assert that Asia -
India, China - is barbarian. But it is easy to find people in Israel, and
throughout the West, who believe that the Arab world, and indeed the
entire Muslim world, is a "jungle". With such an attitude, one cannot make
peace. After all, one does not make peace with poisonous snakes and
ravenous leopards.

In the Bamaavak days, we coined the slogan "Integration in the Semitic
Region". But how can one integrate oneself in a region that is seen as a
jungle?


A WORLD VIEW is not an academic matter. It has a huge impact on actual
life. It influences people when it is conscious, and even more so when it is
unconscious. It shapes the practical decisions, without the decision-
makers being aware of it. Politicians, too, are only human beings (if that),
and their actions are directed by their hidden beliefs.

In Israel we are used to consider unquestioned "conceptsias" as the
mother of all our mistakes and defeats. But is such an assumption any
different from the expression of an unconscious world-view?

The world-view influences many aspects of the state. It is the core of the
education system, which forms the mind of the next generation. We have
perhaps the only education system in the world that does not teach the
history of its homeland. In our schools, very little is taught about the past
of the country. Instead, what is taught is the history of "the Jewish
people". This starts with the ancient Israelite kingdoms before the sixth
century BC ("the First Temple"), then the Jewish community in the country
before the beginning of the Christian era and for some years after ("the
Second Temple"). Then it leaves the country and dwells on the Jewish
Diaspora for some thousands of years, until the beginning of the Zionist
settlement. For almost 2000 years, the annals of the country disappear
from the school.

I once talked about this in a speech in the Knesset. I said that an Israeli
child born in the country, whether Jewish or Arab, should study the
history of the country, including all its periods and peoples: Canaanites,
Israelites, Hellenists, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Turks,
British, Palestinians, Israelis and more. In addition they could be taught
the story of the Jews in the diaspora, too. The Minister of Education
responded humorously and insisted on calling me, from then on, "the
Mameluke".   


LATELY IT has become fashionable for politicians and commentators in
Israel to speak about the danger of annihilation that hovers, or so they
claim, over Israel. It is hardly believable: the State of Israel is a regional
superpower, its economy is robust and developing, its technological level
is one of the most advanced in the world, its army is stronger than all the
Arab armies combined, it has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. Even if
the Iranians were to obtain a bomb of their own, they would be mad to
use it, for fear of Israeli retaliation.

So where does this fear of annihilation come from in the 59th year of the
state? A part of it surely emanates from the memory of the Holocaust,
which is deeply imprinted in the national mentality. But another part
comes from the feeling of not belonging, of temporariness, of the lack of
roots.

That has, of course, domestic implications, too. Consciousness also
affects practical interests. The assertion that we are a European people
automatically reinforces the position of our ruling class, which is still
overwhelmingly Ashkenazi-European, over and against the majority of the
citizens of Israel, who are of Asian-African Jewish and Palestinian-Arab
descent. The profound disdain for their culture, which has accompanied
the state from its first day, facilitates discrimination against them in many
fields.


A CHANGE affecting the consciousness of a community is not a short-
term proposition. It cannot be achieved by decree. This is a slow and
gradual process. But at some stage we shall have to start it, and first of all
in the education system.

I started my booklet "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", which was
published in October 1947, just a few weeks before the outbreak of the
1948 war, with the words:    

"When our Zionist fathers decided to set up a 'safe home' in Eretz Israel,
they had the choice between two roads: they could appear in West Asia as
a European conqueror, who sees himself as a beachhead of the 'white'
race and a master of the 'natives'…(or) see themselves as an Asian nation
returning to its homeland."

When I wrote these words, the rise of Asia was still a dream. World War II
had ended just two years before, and the United States looked like an
omnipotent superpower. But now a quiet revolution of huge proportions
is taking place. The nations of Asia, with China and India in the lead, are
becoming economic and political powers. Should we not gradually move
toward this camp?

That brochure, 60 years ago, ended with the words of a Hebrew song:

"We stand and face the rising sun / To the East our homeward path…"

Salaams,

Jazzak Allah Khayr Brother Daniel.  An anti-racist speech like this one needs to be widely read and heard.  With all that he knows, Mr. Averny stilll hopes for a brighter future.  Amazing and Inspiring.

 



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 21 January 2007 at 4:15pm
Uri sent me a poem. It goes like this:

Dan Halutz
Has been ejected
From the office
Of the Chief-of-Staff.

What do we feel?

Not even
A slight bump
On the wing.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 21 January 2007 at 11:34pm

Jazzak Allah Khayr Brother Daniel.  An anti-racist speech like this one needs to be widely read and heard.  With all that he knows, Mr. Averny stilll hopes for a brighter future.  Amazing and Inspiring.

Dokhtar'em, he is the most amazing of all men, women and children (you know, they are the best ones in our world!) I have ever come to know or know of. I have no idea how and from where does he get all that noble energy. Just a gift of nature, perhaps.

It is not in the vested American interests to let the peoples in this area to live in peace or even evolve some decent or noble living systems. Their is good reason for the west to be dead scared of the combined energies and the natural resources of these people who have far more practice of living together than our Masters would have us believe.

This area will never be at peace as long as the Brits and the U S have their fingers in it.

BUT, all of this will change. One day, peace shall rise. I know this since I know the Uris and the Daniels of my world.

 



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 22 January 2007 at 12:52am
Just when I'm about to quit altogether you go and say something like that.
Ho boy.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 04 February 2007 at 11:19am
Uri Avnery
3.2.07

                      Fatal Kiss

IT SOUNDS like a promo for a second rate soap opera: a 21- year old
woman appears with a much older celebrity, who grabs her, forces a kiss
on her and pushes his tongue into her mouth.

This scene has been occupying the attention of the Israeli public for
months now, more than any other topic, except perhaps the allegation
that the President of the State sexually assaulted several of his
employees. The war and its consequences have been pushed aside.

The interest stems, of course, from the identity of kisser and kissee: Haim
Ramon was at the time Minister of Justice and a central figure in the
government; the young woman, who was identified only as H., was a
lieutenant in the office of the "military secretary" of the Prime Minister, an
important military-political liaison point. The fatal encounter took place
at the Prime Minister's office, shortly before a cabinet meeting.

This week, three judges - two female, one male - unanimously found
Ramon guilty of an indecent act. It seems that the prosecution will not
call for the maximum penalty - three years in prison - but the political
career of Ramon has, so it seems, come to an end.

This might have been nothing more than a juicy piece of gossip, except
for one small detail, which has hardly been mentioned: the fateful kiss
took place in the room adjacent to that where a cabinet meeting was due
to start, and in which it was decided to start the war in Lebanon.

A short time before that, the Chief-of-Staff, Dan Halutz, also found the
time and energy for an un-warlike act: he called his broker and instructed
him to sell his shares.

The background must be remembered: a few hours earlier, Hizbullah
fighters had crossed the border and captured two Israeli soldiers. Two
soldiers had been killed during the operation, and six more died in
pursuit of the captors. Obviously the cabinet was about to decide upon a
military operation in which many soldiers and civilians, Israeli and
Lebanese, would lose their lives. Yet the supreme commander of the army
was handling his shares and a prominent minister was handling a female
soldier.


IN THE course of the 1948 war, I wrote reports of the battles from the
point of view of a simple soldier. After the war, when I was collecting
these reports for a book, it crossed my mind that it would be interesting
to add a description of the war as seen from the point of view of the
commander, who had made the decisions that affected our fate.

I approached my brigade chief, a commander highly admired by all of us,
and he gave me a detailed description of the campaigns. Before my eyes,
a different war unfolded. True, the place names and the battles were the
same, but there was no similarity between our war, the war in which the
fighters' main concern was to survive from day to day, and the war of the
high command, which moved figures on the board in an intricate game of
chess with the enemy commanders. The difference between the two levels
fascinated me. Perhaps it was that which helped to make the book, "In the
Fields of the Philistines, 1948", into a run-away bestseller.

All the great writers who wrote about war - from Leo Tolstoy ("War and
Peace") to Erich Maria Remarque ("All Quiet on the Western Front") and
Norman Mailer ("The Naked and the Dead") highlighted this huge
difference. The soldier crawls through the thorns, sinks into the mud and
cowers in his foxhole; the commanders move arrows on the map.

For the simple soldier, and even more so for the civilian, it is difficult to
penetrate the mental world of a general who decides upon an operation,
knowing that there will be so and so many "casualties", dead and
wounded. But after all, that is his profession: to weigh the gains of a
move against the expected losses. He receives the order to capture Hill
246 and works out a plan, which he expects will cost the lives of a
hundred or so of his soldiers. While he is calculating, those hundred
soldiers are horsing around, talking with their parents on the phone,
trying to catch some sleep.


I AM not writing this in a philosophical or literary mood, but in order to
draw attention to the unbearable lightness with which politicians and
generals decide on starting a war. The shares of Halutz and the kiss of
Ramon are but symptoms of this phenomenon.

The day before yesterday, Ehud Olmert appeared before the Board of
Inquiry (which he had appointed himself) and described how his cabinet
decided to start the Second Lebanon War. The testimony is being kept
secret, but it may be assumed that Olmert did not forget to express his
condolences to the bereaved families and his hopes for the speedy
recovery of the wounded. But did any of his ministers really weigh the
price of the operation in human lives - on our side and on the other? Did
the Chief-of-Staff, who had just disposed of his shares, raise the subject?
Was the Minister of Justice, who had just enjoyed a little adventure with
consequences he could not dream of, in an appropriately serious mood?

This is not a uniquely Israeli problem. Did George W. Bush and his clique
of Neo-Conservatives really consider the casualties, when they decided to
invade Iraq? Let's ignore for a moment the lies they spread, the fabricated
stories about "weapons of mass destruction", the imaginary connections
between Saddam and Osama and all the other falsehoods and deceptions.
Let's concentrate only on the two real aims of the war (which we exposed
at the time): (a) to get their hands on the oil of Iraq and the entire region,
including the Caspian, and (b) to place an American garrison in the heart
of the Middle East.

If Bush had to face a Board of Inquiry in Washington DC as Olmert did in
Tel-Aviv, he would certainly be asked some questions (which this column
asked in real time): Did you consider how many soldiers and civilians
would be killed and wounded? What led you to think that the invading
army would be received with showers of flowers? Why did you believe that
the Air Force would determine the issue so that the ground forces would
have to play only a minor role? Did you imagine that the planned little war
would still be going on three years and more later? Did you take into
consideration that the Iraqi state would be blown to pieces and that the
three peoples living there would soon be at each other's throats? Did you
expect that the war would strengthen Iran's position in the Middle East? In
short, did you have any idea at all of the place that you were about to
invade?

Clearly, nobody with any influence in the US government raised these
questions at the time. A foolish and power-drunk president, a rapacious
vice-president and a cabal of arrogant and ignorant ideological fanatics
decided upon an adventure whose end is not in sight even now. And
afterwards the statesmen and strategists went to their elegant restaurants
to enjoy sumptuous meals, while the 3000 US soldiers who have been
killed up to now spent the day in blissful ignorance of what was going on
at the highest level. The media and the senators, of course, were ecstatic.


IT'S NOT the past I am writing about, but the future.

At this moment, people in Washington and in Jerusalem are thinking
about a war in Iran. Not if it should be started, but when and how.

If this is to be an American war, its consequences will be many times
more grievous than the war in Iraq. Iran is a very hard nut. The Iranian
people are united. They have a glorious national tradition, a highly
developed national pride and a tough religious ideology. One can bomb
their oil facilities, but it is a big country, not dependent on a
sophisticated infrastructure, and it cannot be subdued by bombing alone.
There will be no alternative to a military attack on the ground.

Bush is already preparing the war. This week he instructed his soldiers in
Iraq to hunt down and kill all "Iranian agents" there. That is reminiscent of
the infamous "Kommissarbefehl" of June 6, 1941, on the eve of the
German invasion of the Soviet Union, in which Adolf Hitler ordered the
summary execution of every captured political commissar of the Red
Army. Since the commissars were uniformed soldiers, every commander
who carried out the order became a war criminal.

It is quite certain that if the United States does go to war, the Iranian
people will rally behind their government. They will draw the conclusion
that everything their leaders told them about the West was true. The
opposition, which has lately raised its head, will fall silent and disappear.
The big-mouthed president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose wisdom is
now being questioned by many of his own people, will turn overnight into
a national hero. It will be a war of many years, and many thousands of
American soldiers - not to mention Iranians - will fall.

President Bush may hesitate and pass the task over to Israel. Lately,
Olmert has hinted that it was the Americans who pushed him into the
Lebanon war. They believed that the Israeli army would defeat Hizbullah
easily, and that this would help the American clients in Beirut. (A similar
foolish calculation caused the Americans to give their blessing to Sharon's
First Lebanon War in 1982.)

Nowadays, our politicians and generals speak freely about the inevitable
attack on Iran. The pro-Israeli lobby in the US, both Jewish and Christian,
is toiling mightily to push American public opinion in this direction. All
these gentlemen and ladies, in their comfortable villas far from the
prospective battlefields, yearn for a war which will cost the lives of the
sons and daughters - of other people.

The advocates of the war declare that it is necessary in order to prevent a
"Second Holocaust". That has already become a mantra. This week,
Jacques Chirac nearly exploded it, when he expressed the self-evident:
that if an Iranian nuclear bomb were launched at Israel, Israel would wipe
Tehran from the face of the earth. The Iranian rulers are not mad and the
"balance of terror" will do its job. But the "friends" of Israel and the USA
started to pelt Chirac with verbal rocks, and he hastily retracted.


LET'S ASSUME for a moment that the Israeli Air force, with the help of the
American naval forces that are now being steadily built up in the Persian
Gulf, succeeds in bombing targets in Iran. What will happen then?

Iranian missiles will rain down on Tel-Aviv and Haifa. The promise of our
Air Force to destroy them on the ground is worth no more than the
similar promises we heard about Lebanon. In order to defend Israel,
American soldiers would have to go into Iran. Israel's account would be
debited with every casualty. If Israel is, God forbid, the first to use a
nuclear bomb there, the shame will last forever.

The masses of the Arab - indeed the entire Muslim world, both Sunnis
and Shiites, will rally around Iran. The Sunni heads of state, who are
embracing Israel now in secret, will run away in panic. We shall be left
alone to face the revenge that will come sooner or later. Will we be able to
rely on the heirs of Bush, who may be less reckless and more inclined to
listen to world public opinion, which will inevitably blame us for this
whole adventure?

Iran is not a second Iraq, neither is it Hizbullah multiplied by ten. It is an
entirely different story.

But is anyone here thinking about it seriously? Will the successors of the
share-selling Chief-of-Staff and the tongue-pushing minister be more
thoughtful? Or will they decide upon a new military adventure with the
same unbearable lightness?


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 10 February 2007 at 1:40pm
Read and learn

Uri Avnery
10.2.07

                The Method in the Madness

WHEN A Prime Minister has just lost a war, is dogged by corruption
allegations and sees his popularity ratings in free fall - what can he do?

Why, he can initiate provocations.

A provocation diverts attention, generates headlines, creates the illusion
of power, radiates a sense of leadership.

But a provocation is a dangerous instrument. It can cause irreversible
damage.


PROVOCATION NO. 1: The northern frontier.

Along the northern border runs a fence. But not everywhere does the
fence coincide exactly with the recognized border (the so-called Blue
Line). For topographical reasons, some sections of the fence run a few
dozen meters south of it.

That is the theory of the situation. In the course of the years, both sides
have become accustomed to regarding the fence as the actual border. On
the Lebanese side, the villagers farm the fields up to the fence, fields
which may well be their property.

Now Ehud Olmert has decided to exploit this situation and reveal himself
as a great, invincible warrior. Some explosives recently found a few yards
from the Blue Line serve as a pretext. The Israeli army claims that they
were put there just days ago by Hizbullah fighters disguised as
goatherds. According to Hizbullah, they are old bombs that have been
there since before the recent war.

Olmert sent soldiers beyond the fence to carry out a "Hissuf" ("exposure")
- one of those new Hebrew words invented by the army's "verbal laundry"
to beautify ugly things. It means the wholesale uprooting of trees, in
order to improve vision and facilitate shooting. The army used the
trademark weapon of the State of Israel: the armored bulldozer.

The Lebanese army sent a warning that they would open fire. When this
did not have any effect, they indeed fired several salvoes over the heads
of the Israeli soldiers. The Israeli army responded by firing several tank
shells at the Lebanese position and lo - we have our "incident".

The whole affair is very reminiscent of Ariel Sharon's methods in the 60s,
when he was the chief of operations of the Northern Command. Sharon
became quite an expert at provoking the Syrian army in the demilitarized
zones that existed on the border between the two countries at the time.
Israel claimed sovereignty over these areas, while the Syrians asserted
that it was a neutral zone that did not belong to either state and in which
the Arab farmers, who owned the land, were allowed to tend their fields.

According to legend, the Syrians exploited their control of heights
overlooking the Israeli villages in the valley below them. Again and again
the evil Syrians (the Syrians were always "evil") terrorized the helpless
kibbutzim by shelling. This myth, which was believed by practically all
Israelis at the time, served as a justification for the occupation of the
Golan Heights and their annexation by Israel. Even now, foreign visitors
are brought to an observation post on the Golan Heights and shown the
defenseless Kibbutzim down below.

The truth, which has been exposed since then, was a bit different: Sharon
used to instruct the Kibbutzniks to go to their shelters, and then send an
armored tractor into the demilitarized zone. Predictably, the Syrians shot
at it. The Israeli artillery, just waiting for its cue, then opened up a
massive bombardment of the Syrian positions. There were dozens of such
"incidents".

Now the same method is being practiced by Sharon's successor. Soldiers
and bulldozers enter the area, the Lebanese shoot, the Israeli tanks shell
them.

Does this provocation make any political sense? The Lebanese army
answers to Fuad Siniora, the darling of the United States and the
opponent of Hizbullah. In the wake of the Second Lebanon War, this army
was deployed along the border, at the express demand of the Israeli
government, and this was proclaimed by Olmert as a huge Israeli
achievement. (Until then, the Israeli army commanders had adamantly
opposed the idea of stationing Lebanese or international troops in this
area, on the grounds that this would hamper their freedom of action.)

So what is the aim of this provocation? The same as with all Olmert's
recent actions: gaining popularity to survive in power, in this case by
creating tension.


PROVOCATION NO. 2: The Temple Mount.

Islam has three holy cities: Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. In Mecca this
week, the chiefs of Fatah and Hamas assembled in order to put an end to
the mutual killing and set up a unity government. While the attention of
the concerned Palestinian public was riveted there, Olmert struck in
Jerusalem.

As pretext served the "Mugrabi Gate", an entrance to the Haram-al-Sharif
("the Noble Sanctuary"), the wide plaza where the al-Aqsa mosque and
the Dome of the Rock are located. Since this gate is higher than the
Western Wall area below it, one can approach it only over a rising bridge
or ramp.

The old bridge collapsed some time ago, and was replaced with a
temporary structure. Now the "Israel Antiquities Authority" is destroying
the temporary bridge and putting in its place - so it says - a permanent
one. But the work looks much more extensive.

As could have been expected, riots broke out at once. In 1967, Israel
formally annexed this area and claimed sovereignty over the entire
Temple Mount. The Arabs (and the whole world) have never recognized
the annexation. In practice, the Temple Mount is governed by the Islamic
Waqf (religious endowment).   

The Israeli government argues that the bridge is separate from the
Temple Mount. The Muslims insist that the bridge is a part of it. Behind
this tussle, there is a lurking Arab suspicion that the installation of the
new bridge is just a cover for something else happening below the
surface.

At the 2000 Camp David conference, the Israeli side made a weird-
sounding proposal: to leave the area itself to the Muslims, but with Israeli
sovereignty over everything beneath the surface. That reinforced the
Muslim belief that the Israelis intended to dig beneath the Mount, in order
to discover traces of the Jewish Temple that was destroyed by the Romans
1936 years ago. Some believed that the real intention was to cause the
Islamic shrines to collapse, so a new Temple could be built in their place.

These suspicions are nurtured by the fact that most Israeli archaeologists
have always been the loyal foot-soldiers of the official propaganda. Since
the emergence of modern Zionism, they have been engaged in a
desperate endeavor to "find" archaeological evidence for the historical
truth of the stories of the Old Testament. Until now, they have gone
empty-handed: there exists no archaeological proof for the exodus from
Egypt, the conquest of Canaan and the kingdoms of Saul, David and
Solomon. But in their eagerness to prove the unprovable (because in the
opinion of the vast majority of archaeologists and historians outside
Israel - and also some in Israel - the Old Testament stories are but sacred
myths), the archaeologists have destroyed many strata of other periods.

But that is not the most important side of the present affair. One can
argue to the end of days about the responsibility for the Mugrabi walkway
or what it might be that the archaeologists are looking for. But it is
impossible to doubt that this is a provocation: it was carried out like a
surprise military operation, without consultation with the other side.

Nobody knew better what to expect than Olmert, who, as mayor of
Jerusalem, was responsible for the killing of 85 human beings - 69
Palestinians and 16 Israelis - in a similar provocation, when he "opened" a
tunnel near the Temple Mount. And everybody remembers, of course,
that the Second Intifada started with the provocative "visit" to the Temple
Mount by Ariel Sharon.

This is a provocation against 1.3 billion Muslims, and especially against
the Arab world. It is a knife in the back of the "moderate" Mahmoud
Abbas, with whom Olmert pretends to be ready to have a "dialogue" - and
this at exactly the moment Abbas reached an historical agreement with
Hamas for the formation of a national unity government. It is also a knife
in the back of the king of Jordan, Israel's ally, who sees himself as the
traditional protector of the Temple Mount.

What for? To prove that Olmert is a strong leader, the hero of the Temple
Mount, the defender of the national values, who doesn't give a damn for
world public opinion.


PROVOCATION NO. 3: After Haim Ramon was convicted of indecent
conduct, the post of the Minister of Justice fell vacant. In a surprise blow,
after laying down a smoke screen by dangling the names of acceptable
candidates, Olmert appointed to the post a professor who is the open and
vocal enemy of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General.

The Supreme Court is almost the only governmental institution in Israel
which still enjoys the confidence of the great majority. The last President
of the Court, Aharon Barak, once told me: "We have no troops. Our power
is based solely on the confidence of the public." Now Olmert has
appointed a Minister of Justice who has been engaged for a long time and
with a lot of noise in destroying this confidence. Indeed, it seems that this
is his main interest in life, ever since he failed to get a close friend, a
female professor, elevated to the Supreme Court.

One can see in this an effort by Olmert, a politician who is dragging
behind him a long train of corruption affairs (several of which are at
present under police and State Comptroller investigation), to undermine
the investigators, the Attorney General and the courts. It serves also as
revenge against the court that dared to convict Ramon, his friend and
ally. He did not, of course, consult with anyone in the judicial system: not
with the Attorney General (whose official title is "Legal Adviser of the
Government") nor with the President of the Supreme Court, Dorit Beinish,
whom he cannot stand.

I am not an unreserved admirer of the Supreme Court. It is a wheel in the
machinery of the occupation. It cannot be relied on in matters like the
targeted assassinations, the Separation Wall, the demolition of Palestinian
homes and the hundred and one other cases over which the false banner
of "security" is waving. But it is the last bastion of human rights inside
Israel proper.

The appointment of the new minister is an assault on Israeli democracy,
and therefore no less dangerous than the other two provocations.


WHAT DO the three have in common? First of all: their unilateral
character. Forty years of occupation have created an occupation mentality
that destroys all desire and all ability to solve problems by mutual
understanding, dialogue and compromise.

Both in foreign and domestic relations, Mafia methods reign: violence,
sudden blows, targeted eliminations.

When these methods are applied by a politician haunted by corruption
affairs, an uninhibited war-monger who is fighting for survival by all
means available - this is indeed a very dangerous situation.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 16 February 2007 at 5:21pm
Uri Avnery
17.2.07          ; 

                      Facing Mecca

MUST A Native-American recognize the right of the United States of
America to exist?

Interesting question. The USA was established by Europeans who invaded
a continent that did not belong to them, eradicated most of the
indigenous population (the "Red Indians") in a prolonged campaign of
genocide, and exploited the labor of millions of slaves who had been
brutally torn from their lives in Africa. Not to mention what is going on
today. Must a Native-American - or indeed anybody at all - recognize the
right of such a state to exist?

But nobody raises the question. The United States does not give a damn if
anybody recognizes its right to exist or not. It does not demand this from
the countries with which it maintains relations.

Why? Because this is a ridiculous demand to start with.

OK, the United States is older than the State of Israel, as well as bigger
and more powerful. But countries that are not super-powers do not
demand this either. India, for example, is not expected to recognize
Pakistan's "right to exist", in spite of the fact that Pakistan was
established at the same time as Israel, and - like Israel - on an ethnic/
religious basis.


SO WHY is Hamas required to "recognize Israel's right to exist"?

When a state "recognizes" another state, it is a formal recognition, the
acknowledgement of an existing fact. It does not imply approval. The
Soviet Union was not required to recognize the existence of the USA as a
capitalist state. On the contrary, Nikita Khrushchev promised in 1956 to
"bury" it. The US certainly did not dream of recognizing at any time the
right of the Soviet Union to exist as a communist state.

So why is this weird demand addressed to the Palestinians? Why must
they recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State?

I am an Israeli patriot, and I do not feel that I need anybody's recognition
of the right of my state to exist. If somebody is ready to make peace with
me, within borders and on conditions agreed upon in negotiations, that is
quite enough for me. I am prepared to leave the history, ideology and
theology of the matter to the theologians, ideologues and historians.

Perhaps after 60 years of the existence of Israel, and after we have
become a regional power, we are still so unsure of ourselves that we
crave for constant assurance of our right to exist - and of all people, from
those that we have been oppressing for the last 40 years. Perhaps it is the
mentality of the Ghetto that is still so deeply ingrained in us.

But the demand addressed now to the Palestinian Unity Government is far
from sincere. It has an ulterior political aim, indeed two: (a) to convince
the international community not to recognize the Palestinian government
that is about to be set up, and (b) to justify the refusal of the Israeli
government to enter into peace negotiations with it.

The British call this a "red herring" - a smelly fish that a fugitive drags
across the path in order to put the pursuing dogs off the trail.


WHEN I was young, Jewish people in Palestine used to talk about our
secret weapon: the Arab refusal. Every time somebody proposed some
peace plan, we relied on the Arab side to say "no". True, the Zionist
leadership was against any compromise that would have frozen the
existing situation and halted the momentum of the Zionist enterprise of
expansion and settlement. But the Zionist leaders used to say "yes" and
"we extend our hand for peace" - and rely on the Arabs to scuttle the
proposal.

That was successful for a hundred years, until Yasser Arafat changed the
rules, recognized Israel and signed the Oslo Accords, which stipulated
that the negotiations for the final borders between Israel and Palestine
must be concluded not later than 1999. To this very day, those
negotiations have not even started. Successive Israeli governments have
prevented it because they were not ready under any circumstances to fix
final borders. (The 2000 Camp David meeting was not a real negotiation -
Ehud Barak convened it without any preparation, dictated his terms to the
Palestinians and broke the dialogue off when they were refused.)


After the death of Arafat, the refusal became more and more difficult.
Arafat was always described as a terrorist, cheat and liar. But Mahmoud
Abbas was accepted by everybody as an honest person, who truly wanted
to achieve peace. Yet Ariel Sharon succeeded in avoiding any negotiations
with him. The "Unilateral Separation" served this end. President Bush
supported him with both hands.

Well, Sharon suffered his stroke, and Ehud Olmert took his place. And
then something happened that caused great joy in Jerusalem: the
Palestinians elected Hamas.

How wonderful! After all, both the US and Europe have designated Hamas
as a terrorist organization! Hamas is a part of the Shiite Axis of Evil! (They
are not Shiites, but who cares!) Hamas does not recognize Israel! Hamas
is trying to eliminate Mahmoud Abbas, the noble man of peace! It is clear
that with such a gang there is no need, nor would it make any sense, to
conduct negotiations about peace and borders.

And indeed, the US and their European satellites are boycotting the
Palestinian government and starving the Palestinian population. They
have set three conditions for lifting the blockade: (a) that the Palestinian
government and Hamas must recognize the right of the State of Israel to
exist, (b) they must stop "terrorism", and (c) they must undertake to fulfill
the agreements signed by the PLO.

On the face of it, that makes sense. In reality, none at all. Because all
these conditions are completely one-sided:

a) the Palestinians must recognize the right of Israel to exist (without
defining its borders, of course), but the Israeli government is not required
to recognize the right of a Palestinian state to exist at all.

(b) The Palestinians must put an end to "terrorism", but the Israeli
government is not required to stop its military operations in the
Palestinian territories and stop the building of settlements. The
"roadmap" does indeed say so, but that has been completely ignored by
everybody, including the Americans.

(c) The Palestinians must undertake to fulfill the agreements, but no such
undertaking is required from the Israeli government, which has broken
almost all provision of the Oslo agreement. Among others: the opening of
the "safe passages" between Gaza and the West Bank, the carrying out of
the third "redeployment" (withdrawal from Palestinian territories), the
treatment of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as one single territory, etc.
etc.

Since Hamas came to power, its leaders have understood the need to
become more flexible. They are very sensitive to the mood of their
people. The Palestinian population is longing for an end to the occupation
and for a life of peace. Therefore, step by step, Hamas has come nearer
to recognition of Israel. Their religious doctrine does not allow them to
declare this publicly (Jewish fundamentalists too cling to the word of God
"To your seed I have given this land") but it has been doing so indirectly.
Little steps, but a big revolution.

Hamas has announced its support for the establishment of a Palestinian
state bounded by the June 1967 borders - meaning: next to Israel and
not in place of Israel. (This week, ex-minister Kadura Fares repeated that
Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has confirmed this.) Hamas has given
Mahmoud Abbas a power of attorney to conduct the negotiations with
Israel and has undertaken in advance to accept any agreement ratified in
a referendum. Abbas, of course, clearly advocates the setting up of a
Palestinian state next to Israel, across the Green Line. There is no doubt
whatsoever that if such an agreement is achieved, the huge majority of
the Palestinian population will vote for it.

In Jerusalem, worry has set in. If this goes on, the world might even get
the impression that Hamas has changed, and then - God forbid - lift the
economic blockade on the Palestinian people.

Now the King of Saudi Arabia comes and disturbs Olmert's plans even
more.

In an impressive event, facing the holiest site of Islam, the king put an
end to the bloody strife between the Palestinian security organs and
prepared the ground for a Palestinian government of national unity.
Hamas undertook to respect the agreements signed by the PLO, including
the Oslo agreement, which is based on the mutual recognition of the
State of Israel and the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people.

The king has extracted the Palestinian issue from the embrace of Iran, to
which Hamas had turned because it had no alternative, and has returned
Hamas to the lap of the Sunni family. Since Saudi Arabia is the main ally
of the US in the Arab world, the king has put the Palestinian issue firmly
on the table of the Oval Room.

In Jerusalem, near panic broke out. This is the scariest of nightmares: the
fear that the unconditional support of the US and Europe for Israeli policy
will be reconsidered.

The panic had immediate results: "political circles" in Jerusalem
announced that they rejected the Mecca agreement out of hand. Then
second thoughts set in. Shimon Peres, long established master of the
"yes-but-no" method, convinced Olmert that the brazen "no" must be
replaced with a more subtle "no". For this purpose, the red herring was
again taken out of the freezer.

It is not enough that Hamas recognize Israel in practice. Israel insists that
its "right to exist" must also be recognized. Political recognition does not
suffice, ideological recognition is required. By this logic, one could also
demand that Khaled Mashal join the Zionist organization.


If one thinks that peace is more important for Israel than expansion and
settlements, one must welcome the change in the position of Hamas - as
expressed in the Mecca agreement - and encourage it to continue along
this road. The king of Saudi Arabia, who has already convinced the
leaders of all Arab countries to recognize Israel in exchange for the
establishment of the state of Palestine across the Green Line, should be
warmly congratulated.

But if one opposes peace because it would fix the final borders of Israel
and allow for no more expansion, one will do everything to convince the
Americans and Europeans to continue with the boycott on the Palestinian
government and the blockade of the Palestinian people.


The day after tomorrow, Condoleezza Rice will convene a meeting of
Olmert and Abbas in Jerusalem.

The Americans now have a problem. On one side, they need the Saudi
king. Not only does he sit on huge oil reservoirs, but he is also the
center-piece of the "moderate Sunni bloc". If the king tells Bush that the
solution of the Palestinian problem is needed in order to dam the spread
of Iranian influence across the Middle East, his words will carry a lot of
weight. If Bush is planning a military attack on Iran, as it seems he is, it is
important for him to have the united support of the Sunnis.

On the other side, the pro-Israel lobby - both Jewish and Christian - is
very important for Bush. It is vital for him to be able to count on the
"Christian base" of the Republican Party, which is composed of
fundamentalists who support the extreme Right in Israel, come what may.

So what is to be done? Nothing. For this nothing, Condi found an apt
diplomatic slogan, taken from up-to-date American slang: "New Political
Horizons".

Clearly, she did not ponder on the meaning of these words. Because the
horizon is the symbol of a goal that will never be reached: the more you
approach it, the more it recedes.


Posted By: Sign*Reader
Date Posted: 16 February 2007 at 8:41pm

Thanx Daniel & Uri of course for great dissection

-------------
Kismet Domino: Faith/Courage/Liberty/Abundance/Selfishness/Immorality/Apathy/Bondage or extinction.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 24 February 2007 at 1:39pm

                "You and I and the Next War"

"WE ARE ready for the next war," a reserve soldier told a TV reporter this
week, on the scene of a brigade-size maneuver on the Golan Heights.

What war? Against whom? About what? This was not stated, and not even
asked. The soldier saw it as self-evident that war will break out soon, and
it seems that he did not particularly care against whom.

Politicians are used to expressing themselves more cautiously, in words
like "If, God forbid, a war should break out…" But in Israeli public
discourse, the next war is seen as a natural phenomenon, like tomorrow's
sunrise. Of course, war will break out. The only question is against whom.


AND INDEED - against whom? Perhaps Hizbullah again?

Quite possibly. In the Knesset and the media, a lively debate took place
this week about whether Hizbullah has already regained all the
capabilities it had before the Second Lebanon War, or not yet. In a
Knesset committee, there was an altercation between one of the Army
Intelligence chiefs, who vigorously insisted that this was so, and the
Minister of Defense, who voiced his opinion that Hizbullah has only the
"potential" to get there.

Hassan Nasrallah, who has a wonderful talent for driving Israelis up the
wall, poured oil on the flames by announcing, in a public speech, that
arms were flowing to him from Syria, and that he transfers them to the
south in trucks "covered with straw". Let them all know.

Our commentators reacted by declaring that "no later than this summer"
the Israeli army will be compelled to attack in Lebanon in order to remove
the danger, and, on this occasion, also to eradicate the shame and restore
to the army the "deterrent power" that was lost on the battlefields of that
unfortunate war.


OR PERHAPS Syria, this time?

That is also possible. After all, this week's brigade maneuver, the first for
a long time, was held on the Golan and obviously directed against
Damascus.

True, the Syrians have offered peace. They are going out of their way to
tempt Israel to start negotiations.

But that is out of the question. President Bush has forbidden Israel to take
even the tiniest step in that direction. Bush is threatening Syria with war
(see below) and it is unthinkable that Israel, the loyal camp-follower,
would make peace with somebody America does not like. No, peace with
Syria is not on the cards. Forget it.

And, as the Romans did not say: "si non vis pacem, para bellum" - if you
do not want peace, prepare for war.

Preparations go well beyond training the forces on the ground. They also
have a psychological dimension. The day before yesterday, an extra-large
front page headline in Haaretz announced: "Syrian Arms Race With the
Help of Iran". The other media followed suit. It was said that Russia was
supplying Syria with huge quantities of anti-tank weapons, of the kind
that penetrated even the most advanced Israeli tanks in the recent war.
And, as if that was not enough, Russia is also providing Syria with anti-
shipping missiles that would be a real threat to our navy, and long-range
missiles that can reach every corner of Israel.

The news story puts together three countries - Syria, Russia and Iran -
which are, quite fortuitously, the three members of Bush's new "axis of
evil".

Clearly, this media campaign is being orchestrated by the army chiefs and
is connected with the maneuver. As a matter of fact, it is the first action
by the new Chief-of-Staff, Gaby Ashkenazi, who observed the maneuver
in the company of the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz. (A quick-witted
photographer caught Peretz viewing the action through binoculars. But
the lens caps were still on, and so he obviously saw nothing but black.)

Truth is that no danger lurks in that direction. There is not the slightest
possibility that Syria would attack Israel. The military capabilities of Syria,
even with all the Russian arms they may get, are vastly inferior to those of
the Israeli army. That is the considered view of the entire Israeli
intelligence community. If Syria rearms, it is for defensive purposes. They
are, quite justly, afraid of Israel and the United States.

But if one wants war, what does that matter?


AND PERHAPS these are simply diversionary tactics, in order to shift
attention away from the real target of the next war - Iran?

For many months now, our media have been voicing dark warnings about
Iran almost daily. Within a few years they are going to have the capability
to carry out a "Second Holocaust", as well as the will to do so. The picture
is of a crazy country, headed by a Second Hitler, who is prepared to have
Iran annihilated if this is the price of wiping Israel off the map.

Against such an enemy, of course, the old Hebrew adage applies: "He who
gets up to kill you, go and kill him first."


AFTER THE Six-Day War, a pacifist satire bore the title: "You and I and the
Next War". ("You" in the feminine form.) Perhaps it should be revived now.

During the last few days, a very large ad appeared in the newspapers,
signed by a group calling itself "The Reserve Soldiers" and claiming to
represent the disappointed reservists of the last war. The ad sets out all
the reasons for removing Olmert from power, and reaches its climax with
the dire warning: "He will remain on his chair and direct the next war."

Perhaps that is exactly what he has in mind. We never had a prime
minister mired so deeply in a quagmire of troubles. In a few weeks, the
Commission of Inquiry of the Second Lebanon War will publish its
findings. True, it was Olmert himself who appointed the commission and
handpicked its members, in order to avoid falling into the hands of a
judicial board of inquiry, whose members would have been appointed by
the Supreme Court, and who might have been much less considerate. But
even so, he may survive the findings of the commission only by the skin
of his teeth. At the same time, several corruption allegations against him
are being investigated by the police.

True, Olmert succeeded last week in appointing new police chiefs
(including a personal friend) as well as a new Minister of Justice to his
liking, but this also does not guarantee him full immunity.

In the meantime he only exemplifies an old truth: a clever person knows
how to extricate himself from a trap that a wise person would not have
fallen into in the first place.

He has no agenda. He said so himself. He is the chief of an amorphous
party, without members or institutions and without real roots in the
community. Public opinion polls show that his ratings are nearing the
bottom (only the Minister of Defense has sunk even lower.) Olmert
remains in power only because many believe that all the available
alternatives would be even worse.

A cynical Prime Minister, entrapped in such a situation, could easily be
tempted to start another military adventure, in the hope that it would give
him back his lost popularity and divert attention from his private and
political troubles. If this is the aim, it really does not matter much against
whom - Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians or Iranians. The main thing is that
it should happen as soon as possibly, preferably this summer at the
latest. What remains is to convince the public of the presence of an
existential danger, but in our country that is not too difficult.


ALL THIS reminds one, of course, of another outstanding leader - George
W. Bush. Amazing how these two find themselves in almost the same
situation.

The American political system is admired by many in Israel, and from
time to time the cry goes up that it should be adopted by us, too. A
strong leader, elected fairly directly by the people, who appoints
competent ministers - what could be better?

But it seems that the American system has created a terrifying situation:
President Bush has two more years in office - and in this time he can start
any war at will, even though now the American public has clearly shown
in the congressional elections that it loathes the Iraq war. As
Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military forces in the world,
he can widen and deepen the war in Iraq, and at the same time start a
new war against Iran or Syria.

The two houses of Congress can, in theory, stop him by cutting the
allocations for the armed forces, but most of the members of these two
august bodies are windbags who are terrified out of their wits (if they
have any) by the very thought. Any marine in Baghdad has more guts than
the whole bunch of Senators and Congressmen together. They would not
even dream of impeaching the President.

Thus, one single person can cause a world-wide catastrophe. He has no
brakes, but has a strong drive towards war: to fulfill his "vision" (dictated
to him by God Himself in private conversation) and to retouch his image
in history.

Is this practical? Well, the American army is too small to conduct another
major war on the ground. But Bush and his advisors believe that there is
no need for that. They are the successors to the American general who in
his time talked about "bombing Vietnam back to the stone age". After all,
it worked in Serbia and Afghanistan.

The neo-cons, who still reign supreme in Washington, are convinced that
a rain of many hundreds of smart bombs on all the nuclear, military,
governmental and public installations in Iran could "do the job". Their
friends in Israel will applaud, since that would relieve Israel of the need to
do something similar, if on a smaller scale.

But an American and/or Israeli adventure would be a disaster. Bombs can
devastate a country, but not a people like the Iranians. Only the wildest
imagination can foresee how the more than a billion Muslims in scores of
countries - including all our neighbors - would react to the destruction of
a Muslim country (even a Shiite one). This is playing with fire, which may
start a world-wide conflagration.

Bush and Olmert and the Next War - HELP!


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 25 February 2007 at 2:06pm
The 80 something year old white haired gentlman on ground with his
clothes being ripped off by water cannon is Uri Avneri Just got the film today

Friday Feb 23, some 300 Israelis joined the weekly protest in Bil'in which
non-violently resists already for 2 years the wall construction separating
them of more than half of their farmlands. The protesters found the army
prepared.
For full report & video and photos look at the website
http://www.gush-shalom.org - www.gush-shalom.org


Posted By: sulooni
Date Posted: 14 March 2007 at 5:52am

but then again......who actually LIKES israel??

http://www.islamquest.net - www.islamquest.net

 



-------------
www.insight-info.com/forum/default


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 14 March 2007 at 3:59pm

Originally posted by Daniel Dworsky

The 80 something year old white haired gentlman on ground with his
clothes being ripped off by water cannon is Uri Avneri Just got the film today

Friday Feb 23, some 300 Israelis joined the weekly protest in Bil'in which
non-violently resists already for 2 years the wall construction separating
them of more than half of their farmlands. The protesters found the army
prepared.
For full report & video and photos look at the website
http://www.gush-shalom.org - www.gush-shalom.org

Bismillah,

ISA Brother Uri is okay?



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 14 March 2007 at 4:00pm
Originally posted by sulooni

but then again......who actually LIKES israel??

http://www.islamquest.net - www.islamquest.net

 

Bismillah,

Did you know that Arabs, Christian and Muslim and Atheist, living in Israel proper, as they call it, consider themselves Israeli?  Maybe they like it.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 17 March 2007 at 8:49pm
Uri Avnery
17.3.07

                      Inshallah

NOT ONLY the Palestinians must be breathing a deep sigh of relief after
the swearing in of the Palestinian National Unity Government. We Israelis
have good reason to do the same.

This event is a great blessing, not only for them, but also for us - if
indeed we are interested in a peace that will put an end to the historic
conflict.


FOR THE Palestinians, the immediate blessing is the elimination of the
threat of civil war.

That was a nightmare. It was also absurd. Palestinian fighters were
shooting at each other in the streets of Gaza, gladdening the hearts of
the occupation authorities. As in the arena of ancient Rome, gladiators
killed each other for the amusement of the spectators. People who had
spent years together in Israeli prisons suddenly acted like mortal
enemies.

That was not yet a civil war. But the bloody incidents could have led there.
Many Palestinians were worried that if the clashes were not stopped
immediately, a fully-fledged fratricidal war would indeed break out. That
was, of course, also the great hope of the Israeli government - that
Hamas and Fatah would annihilate each other without Israel having to lift
a finger. The Israeli intelligence services did indeed predict this.

I was not worried on that account. In my view, a Palestinian civil war was
never in the cards.

First of all, because the basic conditions for a civil war are absent. The
Palestinian people are unified in their ethnic, cultural and historical
composition. Palestine does not resemble Iraq, with its three peoples who
are distinct ethnically (Arabs and Kurds), religiously (Shiites and Sunnites)
and geographically (North, Center and South). It does not resemble
Ireland, where the Protestants, the descendents of settlers, were fighting
the Catholic descendents of the indigenous population. It does not
resemble African countries, whose borders were fixed by colonial masters
without any consideration of tribal boundaries. It certainly had no
revolutionary upheaval like those that brought on the civil wars in
England, France and Russia, nor an issue that split the population like
slavery in the USA.

The bloody incidents that broke out in the Gaza Strip were struggles
between party militias, aggravated by feuds between Hamulahs (extended
families). History has seen such struggles in almost all liberation
movements. For example: after World War I, when the British were
compelled to grant Home Rule to the Irish, a bloody struggle among the
freedom fighters broke out at once. Irish Catholics killed Irish Catholics.

In the days of the struggle of the Jewish community in Palestine against
the British colonial regime ("the Mandate"), a civil war was averted only
thanks to one person: Menachem Begin, the commander of the Irgun. He
was determined to prevent a fratricidal war at all costs. David Ben-Gurion
wanted to eliminate the Irgun, which rejected his leadership and
undermined his policies. In the so-called "season", he ordered his loyal
Haganah organization to kidnap Irgun members and turn them over to
the British police, which tortured them and put them in prison abroad. But
Begin prohibited his men from using their weapons to defend themselves
against Jews.

Such a struggle among the Palestinians will not turn into a civil war,
because the entire Palestinian people oppose this strenuously. Everybody
remembers that during the Arab Rebellion of 1936, the Palestinian leader
at that time, the Grand Mufti Hadj Amin al-Husseini, butchered his
Palestinian rivals. During the three years of the rebellion (called "the
Events" in Zionist terminology) Palestinians killed more of each other than
they killed of their British and Jewish opponents.

The result: when the Palestinian people came face to face with their
supreme existential test, in the war of 1948, they were split and
splintered, lacking unified leadership and dependent on the mercies of
the bickering Arab governments, who were intriguing against each other.
They were unable to stand up to the much smaller organized Jewish
community, which rapidly set up a unified and efficient army. The result
was the "Naqba", the terrible historic tragedy of the Palestinian people.
What happened in 1936 still touches the life of every single Palestinian to
this very day.

It is difficult to start a civil war if the people are against it. Even
provocations from outside - and I assume that there has been no lack of
these - cannot ignite it.

Therefore I did not doubt for a moment that in the end a Unity
Government would indeed come about, and I am glad that this has now
happened.


WHY IS this good for Israel? I am going to say something that will shock
many Israelis and their friends in the world:

If Hamas did not exist, it would have to be invented.

If a Palestinian government had been set up without Hamas, we should
have to boycott it until Hamas was included.

And if negotiations do lead to a historical settlement with the Palestinian
leadership, we should make it a condition that Hamas, too, must sign it.

Sounds crazy? Of course. But that is the lesson history teaches us from
the experience of other wars of liberation.

The Palestinian population in the occupied territories is almost evenly
divided between Fatah and Hamas. It makes no sense at all to sign an
agreement with half a people and continue the war against the other half.
After all, we shall make serious concessions for peace - such as
withdrawing to much narrower borders and giving East Jerusalem back to
its owners. Shall we do so in return for an agreement that half the
Palestinian people will not accept and will not be committed to? To me
this sounds like the height of folly.

I shall go further: Hamas and Fatah together represent only the part of
the Palestinian people that lives in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East
Jerusalem. But millions of Palestinian refugees (no one knows for sure
how many) live outside of the territory of Palestine and Israel.

If we strive indeed for a complete end to the historic conflict, we must
reach out for a solution that includes them, too. Therefore I strongly
question the wisdom of TzipI Livni and her colleagues, who demand that
the Saudis drop from their peace plan any mention of the refugee
problem. Simply put: that is st**id.

Common sense would advise the exact opposite: to demand that the
Saudi peace initiative, which has become an official pan-Arab peace plan,
include the matter of the refugees, so that the final agreement will also
constitute a solution of the refugee problem.

That will not be easy, for sure. The refugee problem has psychological
roots that touch the very heart of the Palestinian-Zionist conflict, and it
concerns the fate of millions of living human beings. But when the Arab
peace plan says that there must be an "agreed upon" solution - meaning
agreed upon with Israel - it transfers it from the realm of irreconcilable
ideologies to the real world, the world of negotiations and compromise. I
have discussed this many times with Arab personalities, and I am
convinced that an agreement is possible.


THE NEW Palestinian government is based on the "Mecca agreement". It
seems that it would not have been possible without the energetic
intervention of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia.

The international background has to be considered. The President of the
United States is now busy with desperate efforts to bring his Iraqi
adventure to a conclusion that will not go down in history as a total
disaster. For this purpose he is trying to bring together a Sunni Front that
would block Iran and help to put an end to the Sunni violence in Iraq.

That is, of course, a simplistic idea. It disregards the enormous
complexity of the realities of our region. Bush has presided over the
setting up in Iraq of a government dominated by the Shiites. He has tried
to isolate Sunni Syria. And Hamas is, of course, a pious Sunni
organization.

But the American ship of state is beginning to turn around. Being a giant
ship, it can do this only very slowly. Under American pressure, the Saudi
king has agreed (perhaps unwillingly) to take upon himself the leadership
of the Arab world, after Egypt has failed in this task. The king has
persuaded Bush that he has to speak with Syria. Now he is trying to
persuade him to accept Hamas.

In this picture, Israel is a hindrance. A few days ago Ehud Olmert flew to
America and told the conference of the Jewish lobby, AIPAC, that a
withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster (contrary, by the way, to the
opinion of more than 80% of American Jews - who support early
withdrawal.) This week, the US ambassador in Tel-Aviv hinted that from
now on the Government of Israel is allowed to conduct negotiations with
Syria - and it may be assumed that this hint will turn into an order before
long. In the meantime, no change in the position of the Israeli
government is noticeable.


UNFORTUNATELY, JUST at this moment, with a newly formed Palestinian
government that has a good chance of being strong and stable, the
government of Israel is becoming more and more destabilized.

Olmert's support rating in the polls is approaching zero. The percentage
points can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Practically everybody
speaks about his political demise within weeks, perhaps after the
publication of the interim report of the Vinograd commission on the
Second Lebanon War. But even if Olmert manages to survive, his will be a
lame duck government, unable to start anything new, and certainly no
bold initiative vis-à-vis the new Palestinian government.

But if Bush supports us on one side, and the Saudi king on the other,
perhaps we shall after all take a few steps forward. As people in this
region say: in sha Allah, if God wills.




Posted By: Suleyman
Date Posted: 18 March 2007 at 12:59am

http://gush-shalom.org/water.jpg -



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 18 March 2007 at 3:33am
Thank you Suleyman a picture says a thousand words.


Here are some more words from Gush Shalom.


Congratulations on your new government
17/03/07


Gush Shalom sent telegrams to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu
Mazen) and to Prime Minister Isma’il Haniya, congratulating them for the
formation of the Palestinian Unity Government: “The creation of a
government representing all the main Palestinian factions, and which
commits itself to respect previous agreements and to open negotiations
with Israel, is an piece of good news – for Israelis as well as for
Palestinians. This government could and should be Israel’s partner for
negotiations and for peace.”
In a telegram sent to Prime Minister Olmert, Gush Shalom calls upon him
to end his policy of futile refusal and start immediate negotiations with
the new Palestinian government. “Your career is fast approaching its
ignominious end. If you still want to save something from this debacle,
Mr. Prime Minister, it is not enough to make pathetic speeches. If your
reaction to the new Palestinian government is to launch a new military
incursion and invasion into the heart of Nablus, then indeed your being
Prime Minister is unnecessary and harmful. Precisely a year ago you got
the voters' confidence, Mr. Olmert, on the strength of promising to act to
end the occupation. When you do the precise opposite, your government
has lost the last shred of justification for its continued existence.
Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson, adam@gush-
shalom.org



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 24 March 2007 at 1:19pm
Uri Avnery
24.3.07

                Without Borders

INCREDIBLE! In Palestinian schoolbooks, there is no trace of the Green
Line! They do not recognize the existence of Israel even in the 1967
borders! They say that the "Zionist gangs" stole the country from the
Arabs! That's how they poison the minds of their children!

These blood-curdling revelations were published this week in Israel and
around the world. The conclusion is self-evident: the Palestinian
Authority, which is responsible for the schoolbooks, cannot be a partner
in peace negotiations.

What a shock!

Truth is, there is nothing new here. Every few years, when all the other
arguments for refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership wear thin,
the ultimate argument pops up again: Palestinian schoolbooks call for the
destruction of Israel!

The ammunition is always provided by one of the "professional"
institutions that deal with this matter. These are foundations of the far-
right, disguised as "scientific" bodies, which are lavishly funded by
Jewish-American multi-millionaires. Teams of salaried employees apply a
fine-tooth comb to every word of the Arab media and schoolbooks, with a
pre-ordained objective: to prove that they are anti-Semitic, preach hatred
of Israel and call for the killing of Jews. In the sea of words, it is not too
difficult to find suitable quotes, while ignoring everything else.

So now it is again perfectly clear: Palestinian schoolbooks preach hatred
of Israel! They are breeding a new generation of terrorists! Therefore, of
course, there can be no question of Israel and the world ending the
blockade on the Palestinian Authority!


WELL, WHAT about our side? What do our schoolbooks look like?

Does the Green Line appear in them? Do they recognize the right of the
Palestinians to establish a state on the other side of our 1967 borders?
Do they teach love for the Palestinian people (or even the existence of the
Palestinian people), or respect for the Arabs in general, or a knowledge of
Islam?

The answer to all these questions: Absolutely not!

Recently, Minister of Education Yuli Tamir came out with a bombastic
announcement saying that she intends to mark the Green Line in the
schoolbooks, from which it was removed almost 40 years ago. The Right
reacted angrily, and nothing more was heard about it.

From kindergarten to the last day of high school, the Israeli pupil does
not learn that the Arabs have any right at all to any of this land. On the
contrary, it is clear that the land belongs to us alone, that God has
personally given it to us, that we were indeed driven out by the Romans
after the destruction of our Temple in the year 70 (a myth) but that we
returned at the beginning of the Zionist movement. Since then, the Arabs
have tried again and again to annihilate us, as the Goyim have done in
every generation. In 1936, the "gangs" (the official Israeli term for the
fighters of the Arab Revolt) attacked and murdered us. And so on, up to
this very day.

When he comes out of the pedagogic mill, the Jewish-Israeli pupil
"knows" that the Arabs are a primitive people with a murderous religion
and a miserable culture. He brings this view with him when he (or she)
joins the army a few weeks later. There, it is reinforced almost
automatically. The daily humiliation of old people and women - not to
mention everybody else - at the checkpoints would not be possible
otherwise.


THE QUESTION is, of course, whether schoolbooks really have that much
influence on the pupils.

From earliest childhood, children absorb the atmosphere of their
surroundings. The conversations at home, the sights on television, the
happenings in the street, the opinions of classmates at school - all these
influence them far more than the written texts of the books, which in any
case are interpreted by teachers who themselves have been subject to
these influences.

An Arab child sees on TV an old woman lamenting the demolition of her
home. He sees on the walls in the street the photos of the martyred
heroes, sons of his neighborhood, who have sacrificed their lives for their
people and country. He hears what has happened to his cousin who was
murdered by the evil Jews. He hears from his father that he cannot buy
meat or eggs, because the Jews are not allowing him to work and put
food on the table. At home there is no water for most of the day. Mother
tells about grandpa and grandma, who have been languishing for 60
years in a miserable refugee camp in Lebanon. He knows that his family
were driven out from their village in what became Israel and that the Jews
are living there now. The hero of his class is the boy who jumped on a
passing Israeli tank, or who dared to throw a stone from a distance of 10
meters at a soldier who was pointing a gun at him.

We once went to a Palestinian village in order to help the inhabitants
rebuild a house that had been demolished the day before by the army.
While the adults were working on finishing the roof, the local children
gathered around Rachel, my wife, showing a keen interest in her camera.
The conversation that sprung up went like this: Where are you from? From
America? No, from here. Are you messihiin (Christians)? No, Israelis.
Israelis? (General laughter.) Israelis are like this: Boom Boom Boom! (They
assume poses of shooting soldiers.) No, really, where are you from? From
Israel, we are Jews. (They exchange looks.) Why do you come here? To
help in the work. (Whispers and laughter.) One of the boys runs to his
father: This woman says that they are Jews. True, the embarrassed father
confirmed, Jews, but good Jews. The children draw back. They look
unconvinced.

What can schoolbooks change here?

And on the Jewish Israeli side? From the earliest age, the child sees the
pictures of suicide attacks on TV, bodies scattered around, the injured
being taken away in ambulances with blood-curdling shrieks from their
sirens. He hears that the Nazis slaughtered his mother's entire family in
Poland, and in his consciousness Nazis and Arabs become one. On every
day's news he hears bad things about what the Arabs are doing, that they
want to destroy the state and throw us into the sea. He knows that the
Arabs want to kill his brother, the soldier, without any reason, just
because they are such murderers. Nothing about life in "the territories",
perhaps just a few kilometers away, reaches him. Until he is called up, the
only Arabs he meets are Israeli Arab workers doing menial work. When he
joins the army, he sees them only through gun sights, every one of them
of them a potential "terrorist".

For a change in the schoolbooks to have any value, reality on the ground
must change first.


DOES THAT mean that schoolbooks have no importance? It should not be
underestimated.

I remember giving a lecture in one of the kibbutzim in the late 60s. After I
explained the need for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to
Israel (a fairly revolutionary idea at the time), one of the kibbutzniks
stood up and asked: "I don't understand it! You want us to give back all
the territories that we have conquered. Territories are something real,
land, water. What shall we get in return? Abstract words like "peace"?
What shall we get tachles (Yiddish for practical things)?"

I answered that from Morocco to Iraq, there are tens of thousands of
classrooms, and in every one of them hangs a map. On all these maps,
the territory of Israel is marked "occupied Palestine" or just left blank. All
that we need is that the name Israel should appear on these thousands of
maps.

Forty years have passed, and the name "Israel" does not appear in
Palestinian schoolbooks, nor, I assume, on any school map from Morocco
to Iraq. And the name "Palestine" does not appear, of course, on any
Israeli school map. Only when the young Israeli joins the army, does he
see a map of "the territories", with its crazy puzzle of Zones A, B and C,
settlement blocs and apartheid roads.

A map is a weapon. From my childhood in Germany between the two
World Wars I remember a map that was hanging on the wall of my
classroom. On it, Germany had two borders. One (green, if I remember
correctly) was the existing border, that was imposed by the treaty of
Versailles after the (first) World War. The other, marked in glowing red,
was the border from before the war. In thousands of classrooms all over
Germany (then governed by Social-Democrats) the pupils saw every day
before their eyes the terrible injustice done to Germany, when pieces
were "torn" from her on every side. Thus was bred the generation which
filled the ranks of the Nazi war machine in World War II.

(By the way, some fifty years later I was taken on a courtesy visit to that
school. I asked the principal about that map. Within minutes, it was
brought out from the archive.)


NO, I do not make light of maps. Especially not of maps in schools.

I repeat what I said then: the aim must be that the child in Ramallah sees
before his eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of
Israel is marked. And that the child in Rishon-le-Zion sees before his
eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of Palestine
is marked. Not by compulsion, but by agreement.

That is, of course, impossible as long as Israel has no borders. How can
one mark on the map a state which, from its first day, has refused,
consciously and adamantly, to define its borders? Can we really demand
that the Palestinian ministry of education publish a map on which all the
territory of Palestine lies inside Israel?

And on the other hand, how can one mark on the map the name
"Palestine", when there is no Palestinian state? After all, even most of
those Israeli politicians who profess - at least pro forma - to support the
"two-states solution" will go to great lengths to avoid saying where the
border between the two state should run. Tzipi Livni, the Foreign
Minister, is totally opposed to the announced intention of her colleague,
Minister of Education Yuli Tamir, to mark the Green Line, lest it be seen
as a border.

Peace means a border. A border fixed by agreement. Without a border,
there can be no peace. And without peace, it is the height of chutzpa to
demand something from the other side that we totally refuse to do
ourselves.     


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 29 March 2007 at 12:47pm
In Riyadh,
The assembled leaders
Of the Arab countries
Offered us
Peace with the Palestinians
And the entire Arab world
For generations to come.

In Homesh
The assembled settlers
Offered us
War with the Palestinians
And the entire Arab world
For generations to come.

We must choose.




                      Gush Shalom ad published in Haaretz,
                March 30, 2007
          

.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 07 April 2007 at 2:10pm
Uri Avnery
7.4.07

                      Shalom, Shin Bet

RECENTLY, THE CHIEF of the Shin Bet declared that the "Israeli Arabs", a
fifth of Israel's population, constitute a danger to the state.

He requested permission for the General Security Service to act against
anyone who aims at changing the official designation of Israel as a "Jewish
and democratic state" - even if they use nothing but completely legal
means.

It follows that In the view of the chief of the Security Service, a central
figure in the Israeli leadership, the task of the Shin Bet (now commonly
known in Israel as Shabak) is not only to protect the state from spies and
terrorists, but also from any challenge to its ideological designation, like
the KGB in the former Soviet Union and the Stasi in communist East
Germany. (The excellent Oscar-winning movie "The Life of the Others",
now screening in Israel, shows how this worked in practice.)


ALL THIS is reminiscent of things past. Rather naively, I had thought that
they belonged to bygone days which could never return.

Two weeks ago, the Israeli tabloid Yedioth Aharonoth published an
interview with the lawyer Arieh Hadar, nicknamed Pashosh, a former chief
of the interrogation department of the Shin Bet.

Pashosh disclosed that "In the 50s, the great enemies of the Labor Party -
and therefore of Issar Harel, the chief of the security services, the Shin Bet
and the Mossad - were Uri Avnery and his weekly magazine, Haolam
Hazeh. Avnery called the Shin Bet "the Apparatus of Darkness", and Issar
was convinced that Uri Avnery would destroy the state. Avnery and his
magazine were under constant surveillance. A colleague of mine earned
himself quick promotion by recruiting an employee of Haolam Hazeh's
printing press. Every week, this employee gave him a smuggled copy of
the magazine a day before its official publication date. My colleague gave
it to Issar, who brought it every week personally to Ben-Gurion."

Pashosh added: "Issar had the Shin Bet publish a competing magazine,
disguised as privately owned. The aim was to destroy Avnery."

These revelations were not news to me. Years ago, Issar Harel himself
disclosed that he regarded me as "Enemy No. 1 of the regime". It may be
remembered that in those days, three bombs were laid in our editorial
offices and printing plant and two employees were injured. The fingers of
both my hands were broken in an (unsuccessful) attempt to kidnap me.
None of these crimes was ever solved.

In 1977, after coming to power, Menachem Begin revealed in an interview
that at the end of the 50s Issar Harel approached him and told him that
he had proposed to the Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, to put me in
"administrative detention" - arrest without trial and without time limit.
Ben-Gurion agreed, but posed a condition: that Begin, then the leader of
the opposition, agree to it too, so that it could be done quietly. Begin
demanded that Issar show him the evidence that I was a traitor,
otherwise, he said, not only would he not agree, but he would raise hell.
Issar never mentioned the matter again.

Begin did not leave it at that. He sent me his trusted lieutenant, Yaakov
Meridor, to warn me. In spite of the extreme difference of opinion
between us, which found its expression many times in Knesset debates,
Begin accepted me, it seems, as an Israeli patriot.


THE QUESTION is, of course, why Ben-Gurion and the security service
chief considered me "Enemy No. 1 of the regime".    

That brings us to the subject now raised again by the Shin Bet chief.

I attacked Ben-Gurion on many subjects: the total domination of all
affairs in the country by the Labor Party (then called Mapai), the
corruption that was then starting to infect the ruling class, the
discrimination suffered by Jewish immigrants from Oriental countries, the
religious coercion, etc.

But the pivot of this struggle was the definition of Israel as a "Jewish
state".

What is a "Jewish state"? That was never made clear. A state whose
citizens are all Jewish? A state that belongs to Jews only? The "state of the
Jewish people", which also belongs to millions of Jews who do not live
here and are citizens of the US, Argentina and France? A state ruled by
the Jewish religion? A state that expresses Jewish values (and if so, which
ones?)

Furthermore - who is a Jew, in this context? After many hesitations, the
Knesset adopted the religious definition: a Jew is a person born to a
Jewish mother or who has converted to the Jewish faith, and who has not
adopted another religion. The contradiction between the definition of
Judaism as a religion and the assertion that the Jews are a nation was
solved by adopting the fiction that with us, unlike other nations, religion
and nation are one and the same.

The term "Jewish state" is nebulous. It can be interpreted in several ways.
When one adds the word "democratic", it becomes an oxymoron - if a
state belongs only to a part of its population it is not democratic, and if it
is democratic then it cannot belong to a part of its population, even if
they compose the majority.

Instructing the Security Service - our name for the secret police - to act
against those who strive by legal means to change the "Jewish state"
definition - simply means to cripple Israeli democracy. It is one of the
basic principles of democracy that everyone has the right to propagate
his views and convince people to change the laws and the constitution, as
long as only legal means are used. If he or she succeeds in convincing the
majority of the citizens, the desired change comes about.

Activating the secret police to abort this process would mean turning
Israel into a police state. Not a "democracy protecting itself", but, rather,
a state protecting itself from democracy.


I HOPE that the State of Israel remains a state with a Hebrew majority, that
the Hebrew language will remain its main language, that it will express
the modern Hebrew society and its culture and also keep alive the Jewish
tradition of generations past. (About the Arab side of the matter - see
below.)

But it must not do so by force, by way of oppression, by using the secret
police and other means of compulsion. Natural processes must be
allowed to work freely, whatever the results. We are not the only nation in
the world in this situation.

If Israel is an attractive country, natural increase will rise and many will
knock on its doors, people who desire to join our nation. The Israeli
nation - unlike the Jewish religion - can in principle absorb everyone who
wants to belong to it.

The relationship between a modern state and its citizens must be based
on one consideration only: citizenship. The state belongs to all its
citizens, and all of them must be equal before the law. That is what the
1948 Declaration of Independence promised: "The State of Israel… will
ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants
irrespective of religion, race or sex."

Some Israelis use the term "nation-state" as a pretext to oppress the Arab
minority. They think about a nation-state in the spirit of the late 19th and
early 20th century. In Poland, for example, where many of Israel's
founders were born, the state fought against large communities of its
own citizens - Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Jews and others.

The most extreme example was the Nazi state, which was based on the
idea that the individual exists only as a part of his nation, as a mere cell
in the national organism. This model drowned in blood and has been
besmirched for all eternity by the horrors of the Holocaust.

Today the model that appeals to many is the American one. The American
nation includes everybody who holds a US passport. A person who
receives American citizenship - whether Mexican, Korean, Indian or
Nigerian - at that moment joins the American nation and becomes an heir
to George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

All modern nations are moving towards this model, each according to its
own rhythm. Poland, too, now belongs to the EU, where millions of people
are moving from country to country without restrictions. In most
countries there now live millions of foreigners who are gradually being
absorbed into the national population. Their children grow up with the
local culture and the local language and study in the local schools.
Without this massive reinforcement, many Western societies could not
exist any more, as far as the economy and demography are concerned.

Will Israel, which misses no opportunity to describe itself as a Western
country, turn its back on this reality and adopt the model of Pakistan, a
state that was founded - at the same time as Israel - on an ethnic-
religious basis?


MY IDENTITY consists of many different layers.

I am a human being, and as a human being I am a citizen of the world,
bearing responsibility for the entire planet. I am committed to humanist
values, to the ecology of the globe, to freedom, peace and justice for all. I
hope that in the not too distant future, these values will be guaranteed by
an effective world order.

I am a member of the Israeli nation, together with all the other people
who hold an Israeli passport. Israel is my state. I want it living in peace,
secure, flourishing and respected throughout the world. I want a state in
which it is good to live, and of which I can be proud.

I am a son of the Jewish people. I am an heir to Jewish tradition, much as
Australians and Canadians are heirs to the Anglo-Saxon tradition. There
are Jewish values in which I believe, values of justice, peace and non-
violence, which are very different from the values of the settlers in Yitzhar
and Tapuah. I am close to the Jews around the world, and I am very glad
that Jews around the world feel close to Israel. That is an emotional
matter, which should not concern the state.

When the State of Israel really belongs, practically and officially, to all its
citizens, it will be much easier for the Arabs here to decide on their
status. If they choose to belong to the Israeli nation, much as Hispanics in
the US belong to the American nation, that will be fine. If they prefer the
status of a national minority, they should enjoy the rights of such a
minority in a modern state. Either way, the Arabic language and Arab
culture must be fully recognized by the state. The affinity of the Arab
citizens with the Palestinian people and the Arab world must be
considered just as legitimate as the affinity of the Hebrew citizens with
the Jewish people throughout the world.


THAT IS my view. I intend to advocate it by all the legal means at my
disposal in the democratic state that I helped to establish.

And if the Shin Bet does not like it, well, that is a pity. I just hope that
they will not put me under administrative detention because of it.







Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 15 April 2007 at 4:54am

Bismillah and Salaams,

We hope and pray so as well, Uri.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 28 April 2007 at 2:00pm
Uri Avnery
28.4.07

                           A Hope not Lost

ON THE MORROW of Independence Day, a newspaper reported that an
Arab child had refused to stand up while the national anthem was sung.
The paper was furious. I was not. In fact, it raised a childhood experience
from the depths of my memory.

It was in Hanover, Germany, some months after Adolf Hitler had come to
power. I was a pupil in the first class of a high school that bore the name
of the last German Empress, Auguste Victoria.

The rise of the Nazis to power did not, in general, cause immediate and
dramatic changes. Life went on. But in school there was a marked change:
every few weeks there was a celebration for one or another of the many
military victories that German history is richly endowed with. On such
days, all the pupils congregated in the big hall, the "aula", the principal
made a speech full of pathos and the pupils sang patriotic songs.

On one of these occasions - I think it was in celebration of the conquest
of Belgrade from the Turks by Prince Eugen in 1717 - we assembled
again in the aula, and at the end of the ceremony two anthems were
sung: the national anthem ("Deutschland ueber Alles") and the Nazi
anthem (The Horst Wessel song). The hundreds of pupils rose to their
feet, raised their right hands in the Nazi salute and sung devotedly.

I was 9 years old, a pupil of the most junior class, and the youngest child
in the class. I was also the only Jew in school. I had no time to think. I
rose to my feet, but I did not raise my hand and did not sing. One little
boy in a sea of raised hands. I was trembling with excitement.

Nothing awful happened. But afterwards, some of my class-mates
threatened that if I did this again, they would break my bones. I was
saved from this test. A few weeks later my family fled Germany and went
to Palestine, the land of my dreams.


HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Arab children are now facing a similar test.
They are expected to sing an anthem that ignores their very existence
and reminds them of the defeat of their people. This week, the publisher
of Haaretz, Amos Schoken, the son of an immigrant from Germany,
proposed changing the anthem.

"Hatikva" ("The Hope") was written more than a hundred years ago. At the
time, a small Zionist community already existed in this country, but the
song reflected the point of view of the Diaspora. "As long as deep in the
heart / A Jewish soul is yearning, / And towards the edge of the East, the
orient, / An eye is looking out towards Zion…" (My literal translation.)

Since then, the situation of the Jews and of this country have changed
radically. In the country, a large and strong Hebrew society has emerged.
Why should we sing about the "edge of the East" when we are living in
Zion?

True, the fact that a song has become obsolete, even ridiculous, does not
make it unfit to serve as a national anthem. The French anthem calls on
the sons of the fatherland to stand up against the bloody tyrants
(meaning Germans and others) and soak the fields with their impure
blood. The Dutch anthem speaks about the injustices committed by Spain
some 400 years ago. The British anthem prays to God to frustrate the
knavish tricks of the enemies of the monarch. So we Israelis may be
allowed not to lose our hope to be "a free people in our land" - as if we
were under occupation. (Whose, exactly? Jewish? British? Turkish?) In the
original text, by the way, the hope was "To return to the land of our
fathers, / The town where David camped." It was changed later.

No, the problem with Hatikva is not the text of the song, nor the melody,
which was swiped from Eastern Europe. The problem is that it excludes
the Arab citizens, who now constitute more than 20% of Israel's
population.

I don't want start another discussion of whether or not Israel is a "Jewish
state" (What does that mean? That it belongs to the Jewish religion? That
the majority is Jewish?) Even somebody who wants it to be so must ask
himself: Is it wise to make every Arab citizen feel that he or she does not
belong? That this is a foreign and hostile state?

Hatikva can well remain the anthem of the Zionist movement, and Jews
can sing it in Los Angeles or Kiryiat Malachy (both "cities of the angels").
But it should not be the anthem of the state.

In World War II, Stalin decided that the then national anthem - the
Internationale - did not serve his purpose anymore. He wanted to arouse
patriotism and needed the cooperation of his capitalist allies. So he
announced a competition for the writing of a new anthem. A rousing song
was chosen, which struck such deep roots that even after the collapse of
the Soviet Union, the Russians preferred it to the old anthem of the Czars
(familiar to us from Tchaikovsky's "1812").

The time has come to discuss changing our anthem, not only for the sake
of the Arab citizens, but also for our own sake: to have an anthem that
reflects our reality. 38 years ago in the Knesset I first submitted a bill In
this spirit. It was soundly defeated. Now is the time to revive the idea.


THAT IS also true for the flag.

The blue-white flag is the banner of the Zionist movement. It took the
Jewish prayer shawl, the tallith, added the Star of David (an old Jewish
symbol, which also appears in other cultures) and created a new national
flag. It has one obvious fault: the blue and the white do not stand out
against the background of the blue sky, the white clouds and the grey
buildings. It is enough to compare it to the jolly American Stars and
Stripes, the solemn British Union Jack and the esthetic French Tricolore.

But the main fault of the flag lies in the fact that it excludes the Arab
community from the family of the state. An Arab who salutes the flag is
lying to himself when he tries to identify himself with symbols like the
tallith and the Star of David that exclude him and don't speak to him.

(The more so as many Arabs believe that the two blue stripes stand for
the Nile and the Euphrates, and that the flag hints at the Zionist ambition
to create a Jewish state according to the Biblical promise (Genesis 15, 18):
"Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt into the
great river, the river Euphrates." This is an invention, but it makes the flag
even more difficult to accept.)

The aim of a national flag is to unite. This flag disunites. It does not touch
the heartstrings of an important community in the state. It pushes them
away. And not only them. As Gideon Levy wrote this week, it has been
expropriated by the extreme Right and is connected, in the eyes of
advocates of peace and justice, with the shame of the roadblocks, the
settlements and the occupation.   

Not so long ago, the Canadian state was facing a similar problem. The
national flag, based on the Union Jack, was pushing away the minority of
French-speakers. In spite of the fact that these constituted only 10% of
the population (to which could be added the offspring of mixed couples),
the majority decided, wisely, that the unity of the country was more
important than their own British sentiments. A new flag was decided
upon, a flag that has at its center a symbol every Canadian can identify
with: the maple leaf.


THE OPPOSITION to the changing of the anthem and the flag does not
emanate, of course, only from a devotion to existing symbols. It is mainly
an opposition to the changing of the Jewish identity of Israel.

The desire to preserve the "Jewish state" is strong and profound. Lately it
has been strengthened even more by the demand of Arab intellectuals,
citizens of Israel, to re-arrange the relationship between the state and the
Arab minority.

Almost daily, new proposals pop up. This week, Otniel Shneller, a
member of the Knesset and close friend of Ehud Olmert, proposed a new
idea: to turn over to the Palestinian state, once it is set up, the Arab
villages in the Triangle, an area on the Israeli side of the Green Line, in
return for the settlement blocs on the Palestinian side, which would be
incorporated into Israel. This way the proportion of Arabs in the state will
decrease and the proportion of Jews increase.

Unlike Avigdor Liberman, who proposed something similar, this Kadima
member of the Knesset does not propose to do it by force. He professes
to a desire to achieve an agreement with the inhabitants, so that they
would retain some of their social rights in Israel even after becoming
citizens of the Palestinian state. What is important for him is only that
they - and perhaps also the Arab inhabitants of Galilee - will cease to be
citizens, so that Israel will be more "Jewish and democratic", or, rather,
"Jewish and demographic".

Shneller and Liberman - both settlers, both belonging to the extreme
Right - do not propose to give up East Jerusalem, where almost a quarter
of a million Palestinians are living. That does not worry them, because
these Arabs have never been given Israeli citizenship anyhow. When they
were annexed to Israel in 1967, they were accorded only the status of
"permanent residents". Therefore, they are not required to hoist the blue-
white flag and to sing Hatikva.

By the way, these proposals show that these two Rightists have lost hope
for the Greater Israel, and resigned themselves to a Palestinian state
alongside Israel. Otherwise their proposals would be meaningless.


HOW DO the Arab citizens of Israel react to Shneller's ideas? They just
ignore them. Up to now, not a single Arab voice has been raised in
support of this proposal, much as not a single Arab voice has been heard
in support of Liberman's ideas.

That sheds light on a fact that has escaped many: the Arab citizens of
Israel are much more connected with the state than it seems. In spite of
their suffering discrimination in practically all fields of life, they are
connected with the political, economic and social system. They have no
desire whatsoever to give up Israeli democracy, social security benefits
and the economic advantages. They certainly want to order the relations
between them and the state on a new basis, but they definitely do not
want to be separated from it.

Many years ago, an Arab member of the Knesset, Abd-al-Aziz Zuabi,
coined the phrase "my state is at war with my people". That is the
dilemma of the Arab citizen of Israel. He is a part of this state, and at the
same time belongs to the Palestinian people.

Every "Israeli Arab" is faced with this reality, and every one is looking for
an answer of his or her own. The Azmi Bishara affair (which I shall
address in the near future) symbolizes this dilemma. As long as there is
no Israeli-Palestinian peace, the dilemma will endure.

A new anthem and a new flag will not solve the problem, but they will
constitute a significant step towards a solution that both sides can live
with.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 22 July 2007 at 12:29pm

I post these so that y'all can see that we are for the most part aware of
the situation in Palestine Gaza and Iraq. This is in no way an
endorsement of armed struggle. I still think that violence is the ultimate
"trap"

Zohar my wife is one of the smartest people I know and when I despair
about the situation here I take comfort in her observations.

One of them is this.
"It has always been this bad. I take heart in the fact that more people are
finally noticing. This in itself is the first step towards a real change for the
better."

America and the world are in sore need of responsible leadership. It's
coming.


Take it away Uri...


A Trap for Fools


21/07/07

IN A classical American western, the difference is as glaring as the midday
sun in Colorado: there are Good Guys and Bad Guys. The good ones are
the settlers, who are making the prairie bloom. The bad ones are the
Indians, who are blood-thirsty savages. The ultimate hero is the cowboy,
tough, humane, with a big revolver or two, ready to defend himself at all
times.

George Bush, who grew up on this myth, sticks to it even now, when he is
the leader of the world's only superpower. This week he presented the
world with an up-to-date western.

In this western - or, rather, middle eastern - there are also Good Guys
and Bad Guys. The good ones are the "moderates", who are the allies of
the US in the Middle East - Israel, Mahmoud Abbas and the pro-American
Arab regimes. The bad ones are Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran, Syria and al-
Qaeda.

It is a simple script. So simple, indeed, that an 8-year-old can understand
it. The conclusions are also simple: the good guys have to be supported,
the bad guys have to bite the dust. At the end, the hero - George himself
- will ride off into the sunset on his noble steed, while the music reaches
a crescendo.

THE CLASSICAL western, of course, does not show us the heroic pioneers
stealing the land from the Indians. Or the United States Cavalry attacking
the camps of the Indians, burning down the tents and killing their
inhabitants, men, women and children. How the US government, after
signing formal treaties with the Indian nations, breaks them one after
another. And how it drives the remnants into desolate regions, long
before the term "ethnic cleansing" was first used.

Denial runs through the classical western like a purple thread, as it does
through this speech of Bush's. This finds its main expression in a simple
fact: the occupation is hardly mentioned at all.

In the Palestinian community, for example, there is a struggle between
the "moderates" and the "extremists". The extremists are killers. Why are
they killers? There is no why. They are killers because they are killers. It's
in their nature. They were just born that way. The moderates are
moderates because they are moderates. Some people are just born good.

So the whole problem is a Palestinian problem. They must decide. They
must choose between moderates and extremists. If they choose the
moderates, they will get everything they can imagine: colorful glass beads
and gallons of whisky. If they choose the extremists, their end will be
bitter.

The Jewish Israelis do not have to choose between good and bad. Why?
Simply because there are no Bad Guys among them. They are just good.
They must help the good Palestinians. "Release" the Palestinian tax
moneys and give them to "Prime Minister (Salem) Fayad". Not to the
Palestinian government, but to one specific named person, the darling of
Bush.

What else is required from the Israelis? They must understand that their
"future lies in developing areas like the Negev and Galilee - not in
continuing occupation of the West Bank". (That's the only time the
occupation is mentioned at all.) They should remove unauthorized
outposts and end settlement expansion. Also, they may "find other
practical ways to reduce their footprint (in the West Bank) without
reducing their security". Meaning: the occupation can continue, but it
would be nice if we take some steps to make it less visible.

A long time ago, the United States viewed all settlements as illegal. When
the Israeli government continued to expand them, James Baker, the
Secretary of State under Bush the father, imposed financial sanctions
upon Israel. Bush the son at first demanded that all settlements
established after January 2001 should be dismantled. Later he withdrew
all opposition to the settlement blocs ("centers of population"). In the
"Road Map" he decreed that Israel must immediately freeze the
enlargement of the settlements. Now he is satisfied with a sanctimonious
request to "remove unauthorized outposts" (with no article) - that's to
say, some of those put up without the official authorization of the Israeli
government itself. All this without "or else" or any mention of sanctions.

In the last few years, only one such outpost, Amona, has been
dismantled, and this week Ehud Olmert decided to pardon all the fanatics
accused of attacking the police during that event. The Israeli government
knows that Bush is only paying lip service, and does not take him
seriously.

IN MANY classical westerns there appears a crook selling a patent
medicine to heal all ills: headaches and hemorrhoids, tuberculosis and
syphilis. George Bush has his own patent medicine, which appears in the
speech again and again. It will heal all diseases and ensure the final
victory of the Sons of Light over the Sons of Darkness.

The label on the bottle says "Building Palestinian Institutions".

How come we didn't think of this until now? Why did we go chasing off
after all kinds of solutions, and did not find this one, so simple, lying in
front of us for all to see?

It is an egg of Columbus, with a whiff of Alexander the Great's sword
cutting the Gordian knot. The Palestinians have no institutions. The two
good people, "President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayad…are striving to
build the institutions of a modern democracy." This means: "security
services…ministries that deliver services without corruption…steps that
unleash the natural enterprise of the Palestinian people…the rule of
law…"

All this under occupation, behind roadblocks, walls and fences, while the
main roads are barred to Palestinians, while the West Bank is chopped
into pieces and cut off from the rest of the world. By the way, in this
matter Bush has another patent medicine: all Palestinian exports will in
future go through Jordan and Egypt, not Israel.

In order to realize the vision of "building Palestinian institutions", Bush is
sending along his poodle. According to Bush, the sole task of Tony Blair
is indeed this: "to coordinate international efforts to help the Palestinians
establish the institutions of a strong and lasting free society." (Like which
example? Egypt? Saudi Arabia? Jordan? Pakistan? Morocco? Or perhaps
even Iraq?)

Let's hope no one is rude enough to mention the fact that the Palestinians
held democratic elections for their Parliament, not so long ago, under the
strict supervision of ex-President Jimmy Carter. As far as Bush is
concerned, that just did not happen, since the majority of the people
voted for Hamas. Therefore, Bush mentions only the elections held before
that, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected president, practically without
opposition. Everything else has been wiped off the slate.

So this is the up-to-date vision: "democratic Palestinian institutions" will
be in place, free of corruption (as in the US and Israel), and "capable
security forces" will be functioning, and Hamas will be eliminated, and the
armed factions will be dismantled, and all attacks on Israel will be
stopped, and the security of Israel ensured, and the incitement against
Israel ended, and everybody will recognize Israel's right to exist as "a
Jewish state and a homeland for the Jewish people", and all the
agreements that were signed in the past will be accepted - then "we can
soon begin serious negotiations towards the creation of a Palestinian
state." Wow!

What a wonderful sentence! "Soon" - without a timetable. "Serious
negotiations" - without fixing a date for their conclusion. "A Palestinian
state" (again, without the definite article, which Bush seems to detest) -
without specific borders. But a hint is given: "mutually agreed borders
reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually agreed
adjustments." Meaning: the settlement blocs and much else will be
annexed by Israel.

IT SEEMS as if the speech writers, after finishing the product, noticed that
it was pitifully devoid of content. Nothing new, nothing that could cause a
self-respecting newspaper to give it a headline.

I imagine the media advisor saying: "Mister President, we must add
something that will look new." Thus the "international meeting" was born.

"So I will call together an international meeting this fall of representatives
from nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize
Israel's right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the
parties. The key participants in this meeting will be the Israelis, the
Palestinians, and their neighbors in the region. Secretary Rice will chair
the meeting."

Wonderful. A meeting which has no date yet, but has a season of the year.
And for which no location has yet been fixed. And no list of participants.
And no planned conclusions, except the general statement: "She
(Condoleezza) and her counterparts will review the progress that has
been made towards building Palestinian institutions. They will look for
innovative and effective ways to support further reform. And they will
provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions
and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to a
Palestinian state." The meeting will not review the progress made towards
the removal of the outposts, for example.

It is not by accident that Bush omitted to identify the governments he
intends to invite. Clearly, he will try to fulfill one of the most cherished
dreams of Olmert: to meet publicly with a top representative of Saudi
Arabia. For Olmert this would be an immense achievement: an official
meeting with the most important Arab country which has no peace
agreement with Israel. A meeting for which he will not have to pay any
price. A free lunch.

It is dubious whether this wish will be fulfilled. The Saudis are very
cautious. They do not want to quarrel with any party in the Region - not
with Syria (which will not be invited, though it is a "neighbor" of the
Israelis and the Palestinians) and not with Hamas. Unlike Egypt, Jordan
and the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia cannot be bribed with money.
It has enough of its own.

THE FINAL objective is a "Palestinian state", the "two-state solution". That
is a far-far-off aim. Not for nothing is it called a "political horizon", since
a horizon, as is well-known, recedes in the distance as one tries to
approach it.

In his poem "If", Rudyard Kipling describes all the tests an Englishman has
to endure in order to be considered a "man". One of them is: "If you can
bear to hear the truth you've spoken / Twisted by knaves to make a trap
for fools…"

We, the small group of Israelis who raised the banner of the "two-state
solution" more than fifty years ago, now have to endure George Bush
turning it into a rag to cover his nakedness. In his mouth, it is an empty,
deceitful and mendacious slogan. Only a fool will fall into this trap.

As Chaim Weizmann, the prominent Zionist leader and first president of
Israel, once said: "No state is given to a people on a silver platter." The
Palestinians, too, will not get their state without struggle, not as
baksheesh from Bush nor as a '"gesture" from Olmert. Nations achieve
their freedom by political or military struggle. Every struggle, violent or
non-violent, is a matter of power.

And power means first of all: Unity.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 29 September 2007 at 4:47pm

Somebody has to start shouting
 
Adam Keller
 
September 27. Evening. Here we are again standing outside the Defence
Ministry and protesting the army's deadly actions in Gaza.  
 
In fact, we could have demonstrated nearly every other day, because 
every day brings its own ration of nasty news from Gaza. And it had
become markedly worse since Ehud Barak became Israeli Labour Party
leader, and Defence Minister, and with considerable energy is establishing
his credentials as the toughest of hawks.
 
Hardly a week passes without Barak making yet another threat of "a major
military operation into the Gaza Strip". Meanwhile, he is authorizing daily
"minor incursions" into the Strip, with an increasing death toll. And also
meanwhile, the economic siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip becomes
ever more tight.
 
The brilliant idea of cutting off the supply of water and electricity to the
Gaza Strip's 1,500,000  poverty-stricken inhabitants brought on a sharp
protest from UN Secretary General Ban, and a more muted one from the
US-led diplomatic "Quartet".
 
So, the government (so far?) did not cut off the water and electricity. But
they did make a legally binding legal declaration that "Gaza is a Hostile
Zone". This had the practical effect of making Bank Hapoalim, Israel's
largest, cut off all contacts with the Palestinian banks in Gaza, with
devastating results (among other things, making it impossible to transfer
money to those Gazans who still get some support from their former
bosses). Sherri Arison, multi-millionaire owner of the bank and an eager
devotee of "New Age" mysticism, has just a short time ago spent a lot of
money on an  advertising campaign on the theme that "Peace Begins
Inside Yourself"...)
 
For those who want to, it is not difficult to know what is happening in
Gaza. Plenty of detailed of reports are available online. But very little gets
to the Israeli public by the commonly used media outlets. (With a few
honourable exceptions, such as the Channel 10 TV News, which featured
items on critically ill patients desperately waiting for permission to get
treatment in Israel, and on the new wing of Gaza's Shifa Hospital whose
construction was stopped since building materials are not allowed in
through the border passes).
 
Anyway, most Israelis have little sympathy for Gazans, even if and when
happening to hear of their plight. Since Sharon's "Disengagement", official
Israel has taken a pose of injured innocence, massively disseminated by
politicians and columnists and editorial writers and taken up implicitly by
most of the public: Israel has withdrawn from the strip and dismantled its
settlements, and the perfidious Palestinians  responded with the shooting
of Qassam  missiles. Therefore, "they brought it upon themselves". Full
stop.
 
Complicating factors are hardly ever mentioned, such as the direct casual
relations between the killing of Palestinians (some 700 in the past year,
according to the recent proud boasting of PM Olmert) and the retaliatory
shooting of missiles (which cause destruction and panic but only  rarely
kill).
 
Everybody who listens to Israeli news broadcasts would unavoidably know
of the anguish of the inhabitants of Sderot, especially the town's children
- who never know a moment of true rest, ever ready to rush to shelter
when the dreaded alarm sounds.
 
This never-ending anxiety in  Sderot is all too real, even if there are very
few actual casualties. Yet the same media which covers it in heart-
rending full-page articles makes hardly any mention of Palestinian
children, who live in at least as much fear and who stand a far greater risk
of being blown to bits. The 16-year old boy crushed last week under the
threads of an Israeli bulldozer, which was engaged in "removing" orchards
which "may give cover to Quassam-shooting squads", got a bare laconic
remark from the army - "unfortunate collateral damage, he should not
have been there".
 
On the eve of the Jewish New Year, two weeks ago, there was a surprise 
from Ismail Haniyeh - Gaza-based Hamas leader and Prime Minister of
one of the two rival Palestinian governments. Through international
mediators, Haniyeh  proposed to discuss with the Olmert Government the
instituting of an immediate and bilateral ceasefire, and offered to impose
such a ceasefire on the smaller groups such as the Islamic Jihad (which do
most of the shooting).
 
Haniyeh's offer was not so much rejected as brushed aside. Indeed, there
was an immediate, noticeable notching up of both the military offensive
on the ground and the economic offensive through the banking
boardrooms (simultaneously with the continuing talks with Abu Mazen
and his team).
 
At least, the group of mainstream dovish writers headed by Amos Oz and
A.B. Yehoshua was aroused to action, prominently publishing a call for an
immediate ceasefire with Hamas.
 
And so we come to this day, Thursday, September 27, at noon, in the lazy
midst of the Sukkot Holiday, when some of  us were tempted to put off
the radio and cut ourselves off from the world for a bit. But the  urgent
phones broke in: "Did you hear? Eleven dead in Gaza! Eleven!  We must do
something!"
 
And the sickeningly familiar routine was on once again: hasty
consultations between peace groups, to determine place and time, and
then hours of phone calls, composing and sending of email action alerts
and press releases, placing of announcements on relevant websites and
online forums, drawing of signs and placards, and then off to downtown
Tel-Aviv. (At some moment during these hours the number of dead
Gazans rose to twelve.)  And  there we are - the activists of Gush Shalom
which initiated the action, and Anarchists Against Fences, and Women's
Coalition for Peace, and Hadash Young Communists, and the veteran Latif
Dori of Meretz, and quite a few people with no specific organizational
allegiance. Altogether, some 120 people turned up.
 
On the one side, the new Defence Ministry Tower with the distinctive
helicopter landing "saucer" on its roof - built at considerable expanse and
inaugurated in a festive ceremony last year. On the other side, the Azrielli
Twin Towers with their giant shopping mall, Tel Aviv's pride, the very
symbol and acme of the rich,  uncaring, corporate Israel which emerged
in the past two decades. In between, the Begin Road, a major artery
through which thousands of cars speed at all hours, and us waving signs
and flags and banners and chanting in unison at the top of our voices and
some making wild hand gestures at the passing cars and pedestrians:
"Blockade - NO! Ceasefire - YES!" -  "No Tanks and No Qassams -
Ceasefire Now!" - "End the Bloodshed - Ceasefire Now!" - "The Blockade
on Gaza is a War Crime!" - "End the Economic Strangulation of Gaza!" -
"There is No Military Solution in Gaza!" - "Ceasefire in Gaza and Sderot!" -
"Hamass Is a Partner for a Ceasefire!" - "I Am a Gazan, Too!" - "In Gaza
and Sderot, Children Want to Live!" - "Barak, Barak, hey hey hey, How
Many Kids Did You Kill Today?" - "Israel and Palestine, Two States for Two
Peoples!" - "Israel and Palestine, a Brotherhood of Peoples!" - "All the
Ministers are War Criminals" - "Ehud, Ehud, You Are Expected at the
Hague!" - "Ehud, Ehud, Both of You Are Expected at the Hague!" - "The
Occupation is a Disaster, Peace is the Solution!"
 
Two motorcycle riders who passed at great speed tried to grab a Gush
Shalom Two-States flag from a demonstrator.  A few minutes later, a
young woman was rather dangerously leaning out of an open car window
to call "Good luck, I am with you!".
 
The police which appeared soon afterwards - one patrol car, followed by
another two - held short negotiations, and were satisfied with the
promise that we would go away after an hour. The parked patrol cars
actually created a traffic-free zone beside the pavement, in which press
and activist photographers could stand and take photos of the straggling
line of protesters. And the police did politely lead away the middle aged
man who shouted, his face contorted "Why are you allowing these
traitors..."
 
Towards the end, a short dialogue with a bypassing older couple:
 
The man:      What are you demonstrating about?
Activist:        Did you not hear? Eleven people killed today in Gaza.
The woman:  Eleven? Of ours?
Activist:        We are the ones to blame.  
[A short silence.]
The man:      Yes, the government, but this will not help.
Activist:        Probably not, but somebody has to start shouting.


Posted By: Whisper
Date Posted: 29 September 2007 at 5:17pm
Uncs, Thank goodness, you have re-appeared.

-------------
Sasha Khanzadeh


Posted By: Cassandra
Date Posted: 01 October 2007 at 2:06pm

Daniel:

I second Whisper.  I do not post all that often these days, but I do "listen and learn".  Your voice has been much missed. Hope all is well with you.

Cassie



Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 09 October 2007 at 5:01pm
Thanks guys,
I've been really busy. The summer has been back to back performances.
I'm back to work teaching as well which I find much more fun. Over the
summer I had the pleasure of working with Wisam Asad a brilliant Ud
player from Nazareth. I'm featuring him on an energetic instrumental
piece recorded in front of a live audience. The Cd will be out in Dec or in
Jan - the 2008th year of their lord. : ).    Most of the album is recorded
live ( as opposed to what? Dead?) Another treat is the participation of
Garner Thomas If you haven't heard this guy you should. All three of us
were on fire Garner is incredible.
He has the best Tenor Sax sound I've ever heard. We had maybe two
rehearsals I just let him blow... It was unbelievable. Wisam conducts the
Palestine Israel Peace youth orchestra Edward Said of blessed memory
and Daniel Barenboim initiated this project a few years back with some
success. I'll keep You all posted when CD 5 is released The editing is
taking forever.   

Uri had some success in Biliin last month The Government actually gave
these people back some of their land. The news coming out of Gaza is
the same - not good. Rather than provoking the powers that be I've been
more concerned about getting chronic care patients in and out for
treatment. The political issues have never captured my imagination as
much as children in the middle of chemotherapy or receiving care for
injuries that have been inflicted on them by my people. Our national
health care is a lumbering bureaucratic nightmare to be sure for everyone
but these kids should not have to wait at check-posts. Its too much after
way too much.   


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 13 October 2007 at 11:23am
The Mother of all Pretexts


13/10/07


 

WHEN I hear mention of the "Clash of Civilizations" I don't know whether
to laugh or to cry.

To laugh, because it is such a silly notion.

To cry, because it is liable to cause untold disasters.

To cry even more, because our leaders are exploiting this slogan as a
pretext for sabotaging any possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian
reconciliation. It is just one more in a long line of pretexts.

WHY WAS the Zionist movement in need of excuses to justify the way it
treated the Palestinian people?

At its birth, it was an idealistic movement. It laid great weight on its moral
basis. Not just in order to convince the world, but above all in order to set
its own conscience at rest.

From early childhood we learned about the pioneers, many of them sons
and daughters of well-to-do and well-educated families, who left behind
a comfortable life in Europe in order to start a new life in a far-away and
- by the standards of the time - primitive country. Here, in a savage
climate they were not used to, often hungry and sick, they performed
bone-breaking physical labor under a brutal sun.

For that, they needed an absolute belief in the rightness of their cause.
Not only did they believe in the need to save the Jews of Europe from
persecution and pogroms, but also in the creation of a society so just as
never seen before, an egalitarian society that would be a model for the
entire world. Leo Tolstoy was no less important for them than Theodor
Herzl. The kibbutz and the moshav were symbols of the whole enterprise.

But this idealistic movement aimed at settling in a country inhabited by
another people. How to bridge this contradiction between its sublime
ideals and the fact that their realization necessitated the expulsion of the
people of the land?

The easiest way was to repress the problem altogether, ignoring its very
existence: the land, we told ourselves, was empty, there was no people
living here at all. That was the justification that served as a bridge over
the moral abyss.

Only one of the Founding Fathers of the Zionist movement was
courageous enough to call a spade a spade. Ze'ev Jabotinsky wrote as
early as 80 years ago that it was impossible to deceive the Palestinian
people (whose existence he recognized) and to buy their consent to the
Zionist aspirations. We are white settlers colonizing the land of the native
people, he said, and there is no chance whatsoever that the natives will
resign themselves to this voluntarily. They will resist violently, like all the
native peoples in the European colonies. Therefore we need an "Iron Wall"
to protect the Zionist enterprise.

When Jabotinsky was told that his approach was immoral, he replied that
the Jews were trying to save themselves from the disaster threatening
them in Europe, and, therefore, their morality trumped the morality of the
Arabs in Palestine.

Most Zionists were not prepared to accept this force-oriented approach.
They searched fervently for a moral justification they could live with.

Thus started the long quest for justifications - with each pretext
supplanting the previous one, according to the changing spiritual
fashions in the world.

THE FIRST justification was precisely the one mocked by Jabotinsky: we
were actually coming to benefit the Arabs. We shall redeem them from
their primitive living conditions, from ignorance and disease. We shall
teach them modern methods of agriculture and bring them advanced
medicine. Everything - except employment, because we needed every job
for the Jews we were bringing here, which we were transforming from
ghetto-Jews into a people of workers and tillers of the soil.

When the ungrateful Arabs went on to resist our grand project, in spite of
all the benefits we were supposedly bringing them, we found a Marxist
justification: It's not the Arabs who oppose us, but only the "effendis".
The rich Arabs, the great landowners, are afraid that the glowing example
of the egalitarian Hebrew community would attract the exploited Arab
proletariat and cause them to rise against their oppressors.

That, too, did not work for long, perhaps because the Arabs saw how the
Zionists bought the land from those very same "effendis" and drove out
the tenants who had been cultivating it for generations.

The rise of the Nazis in Europe brought masses of Jews to the country.
The Arab public saw how the land was being withdrawn from under their
feet, and started a rebellion against the British and the Jews in 1936. Why,
the Arabs asked, should they pay for the persecution of the Jews by the
Europeans? But the Arab Revolt gave us a new justification: the Arabs
support the Nazis. And indeed, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin
al-Husseini, was photographed sitting next to Hitler. Some people
"discovered" that the Mufti was the real instigator of the Holocaust. (Years
later it was revealed that Hitler had detested the Mufti, who had no
influence whatsoever over the Nazis.)

World War II came to an end, to be followed by the 1948 war. Half of the
vanquished Palestinian people became refugees. That did not trouble the
Zionist conscience, because everybody knew: They ran away of their own
free will. Their leaders had called upon them to leave their homes, to
return later with the victorious Arab armies. True, no evidence was ever
found to support this absurd claim, but it has sufficed to soothe our
conscience to this day.

It may be asked: why were the refugees not allowed to come back to their
homes once the war was over? Well, it was they who in 1947 rejected the
UN partition plan and started the war. If because of this they lost 78% of
their country, they have only themselves to blame.

Then came the Cold War. We were, of course, on the side of the "Free
World", while the great Arab leader, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, got his
weapons from the Soviet bloc. (True, in the 1948 war the Soviet arms
flowed to us, but that's not important.) It was quite clear: No use talking
with the Arabs, because they support Communist tyranny.

But the Soviet bloc collapsed. "The terrorist organization called PLO", as
Menachem Begin used to call it, recognized Israel and signed the Oslo
agreement. A new justification had to be found for our unwillingness to
give back the occupied territories to the Palestinian people.

The salvation came from America: a professor named Samuel Huntington
wrote a book about the "Clash of Civilizations". And so we found the
mother of all pretexts.

THE ARCH-ENEMY, according to this theory, is Islam. Western Civilization,
Judeo-Christian, liberal, democratic, tolerant, is under attacked from the
Islamic monster, fanatical, terrorist, murderous.

Islam is murderous by nature. Actually, "Muslim" and "terrorist" are
synonymous. Every Muslim is a terrorist, every terrorist a Muslim.

A sceptic might ask: How did it happen that the wonderful Western
culture gave birth to the Inquisition, the pogroms, the burning of witches,
the annihilation of the Native Americans, the Holocaust, the ethnic
cleansings and other atrocities without number - but that was in the past.
Now Western culture is the embodiment of freedom and progress.

Professor Huntington was not thinking about us in particular. His task
was to satisfy a peculiar American craving: the American empire always
needs a virtual, world-embracing enemy, a single enemy which includes
all the opponents of the United States around the world. The Communists
delivered the goods - the whole world was divided between Good Guys
(the Americans and their supporters) and Bad Guys (the Commies).
Everybody who opposed American interests was automatically a
Communist - Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Salvador Allende in Chile,
Fidel Castro in Cuba, while the masters of Apartheid, the death squads of
Augusto Pinochet and the secret police of the Shah of Iran belonged, like
us, to the Free World.

When the Communist empire collapsed, America was suddenly left
without a world-wide enemy. This vacuum has now been filled by the
Muslims-Terrorists. Not only Osama bin Laden, but also the Chechnyan
freedom fighters, the angry North-African youth of the Paris banlieus, the
Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the insurgents in the Philippines.

Thus the American world view rearranged itself: a good world (Western
Civilization) and a bad world (Islamic civilization). Diplomats still take
care to make a distinction between "radical Islamists" and "moderate
Muslims", but that is only for appearances' sake. Between ourselves, we
know of course that they are all Osama bin Ladens. They are all the same.

This way, a huge part of the world, composed of manifold and very
different countries, and a great religion, with many different and even
opposing tendencies (like Christianity, like Judaism), which has given the
world unmatched scientific and cultural treasures, is thrown into one and
the same pot.

THIS WORLD VIEW is tailored for us. Indeed, the world of the clashing
civilizations is, for us, the best of all possible worlds.

The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is no longer a conflict
between the Zionist movement, which came to settle in this country, and
the Palestinian people, which inhabited it. No, it has been from the very
beginning a part of a world-wide struggle which does not stem from our
aspirations and actions. The assault of terrorist Islam on the Western
world did not start because of us. Our conscience can be entirely clean -
we are among the good guys of this world.

This is now the line of argument of official Israel: the Palestinians elected
Hamas, a murderous Islamic movement. (If it didn't exist, it would have to
be invented - and indeed, some people assert it was created from the
start by our secret service.) Hamas is terroristic, and so is Hizbullah.
Perhaps Mahmoud Abbas is not a terrorist himself, but he is weak and
Hamas is about to take sole control over all Palestinian territories. So we
cannot talk with them. We have no partner. Actually, we cannot possibly
have a partner, because we belong to Western Civilization, which Islam
wants to eradicate.

IN HIS book "Der Judenstaat", Theodor Herzl, the official Israeli "Prophet
of the State", prophesied this development, too.

This is what he wrote in 1896: "For Europe we shall constitute (in
Palestine) a part of the wall against Asia, we shall serve as a vanguard of
culture against barbarism."

Herzl was thinking of a metaphoric wall, but in the meantime we have put
up a very real one. For many, this is not just a Separation Wall between
Israel and Palestine. It is a part of the world-wide wall between the West
and Islam, the front-line of the Clash of Civilizations. Beyond the wall
there are not men, women and children, not a conquered and oppressed
Palestinian population, not choked towns and villages like Abu-Dis, a-
Ram, Bil'in and Qalqilia. No, beyond the wall there are a billion terrorists,
multitudes of blood-thirsty Muslims, who have only one desire in life: to
throw us into the sea, simply because we are Jews, part of Judeo-
Christian Civilization.

With an official position like that - who is there to talk to? What is there to
talk about? What is the point of meeting in Annapolis or anywhere else?

And what is left to us to do - to cry or to laugh?


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 27 October 2007 at 2:49pm
Uri Avnery
27.10.07

                      12 Years Later

THE PRESIDENT of the Knesset invited me to take part in the special
Knesset session to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the
assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

I debated with myself whether to accept the invitation.

On the one hand, I would like to honor the man and the achievements of
his last years. I liked him.

On the other hand, I had no wish to listen to a eulogy delivered by
Shimon Peres, the man who pretended to follow Rabin's path and who
buried the Oslo agreement out of sheer cowardice. And even less to a
eulogy from Ehud Olmert, one of the people who led the incitement
campaign against the Oslo agreement and its authors. And still less to a
eulogy from Binyamin Netanyahu, who stood on the balcony while the
picture of Rabin in SS uniform was paraded below.


IN THE END, I DECIDED to stay away from this orgy of sanctimonious
hypocrisy. I did not go to the Knesset. Instead I sat at home watching the
sea and thinking about the man.

About the young Yitzhak Rabin, who joined the Palmach (the pre-
independence "regular forces"). The commander who drove the Arabs
from their homes in the 1948 war. The Chief of Staff who called, on us,
after the Six-Day War, to honor the enemy dead. The Prime Minister who
did more for education than any of his predecessors or successors. The
Prime Minister who allowed me to continue my secret contacts with the
PLO leaders, when this constituted a serious crime. The Defense Minister
who called on the soldiers to "break their arms and legs", an order that
was meticulously carried out. The man who recognized the PLO and
shook the hand of Yasser Arafat.

He was all of these, and the list goes on.

More than anything, he was the typical representative of my generation,
the "generation of 1948" - and not by accident was this generation
defined by a war. It was the era of innocence. The innocence of the
fighters and of the Yishuv (the Hebrew society in pre-state Palestine). In
retrospect, the events of that time - the actions of the underground
organizations, the operations of the war - take on a different aspect, a
picture with many shadows. But it must be remembered: that is not how
they looked to us when they happened. Not at all.

Rabin personified the innocence of the generation which believed with all
their hearts that they were sacrificing their lives for a cause more just
than any other - the existence of the Yishuv, the salvation of the Jews of
Europe, our fight for national independence. Without this absolute belief,
coupled with total ignorance of the other side, we would not have stood
the test of 1948 - a test in which a significant proportion of our age-
group was killed or wounded.

This generation idealized a certain personality type - the
"Sabra" (literally: prickly pear plant), a mythical figure that had an
immense influence in shaping the generation. (I myself played some part
in nursing this myth). The Sabra was supposed to be upright, both
physically and mentally, free of the complexes of the "exile" Jews (the
term "exilic" was the most insulting appellation in our lexicon). The
"Sabra" was honest, truthful, practical, natural, someone who always
comes straight to the point and despises hollow mannerisms, empty talk
and histrionic phrases, which we referred to colloquially as "Zionism".
Before we knew about the Holocaust, "exile" Jews and everything
connected with them were treated with scorn, even contempt.

As if all by itself, a clear terminological distinction appeared: the "Hebrew"
Yishuv and the "Jewish" religion, the "Hebrew" kibbutz and the "Jewish"
shtetl (in the Diaspora), "Hebrew labor (as in the name of the then
dominant trade union, "the General Organization of the Hebrew Workers
in Eretz-Yisrael") and "Jewish" luft-gesheften (Yiddish for nebulous
transactions), "Hebrew" workers and "Jewish" speculators.

Yitzhak Rabin was the ultimate Sabra: a handsome youngster who
sacrificed his private ambition (to study hydraulic engineering) in order to
serve the nation, to become a fighter and to command fighters, to act and
leave the discussion of ideology to the old people.

He was reputed to possess an "analytical mind", because of his ability to
examine a given situation and find practical solutions. The other side of
the coin was his lack of imagination. He dealt with reality, and could not
imagine a different reality. (Abba Eban, who hated his guts, told me in his
malicious way: "Analysis means dissecting. Rabin can take things apart,
but he cannot put them together again.")

He was withdrawn, perhaps shy, and drew back from bodily contact, slaps
on the back and public embraces. Some called him an "autist'. But he was
not overbearing, certainly not arrogant. After a few glasses (always
Scotch) he opened up a little, and at parties he could smile his somewhat
crooked smile and become quite friendly.


IF HE HAD died in 1970, we would remember him only as a soldier, a
successful brigade commander in the 1948 war, the best Chief-of-Staff
the Israeli army ever had, the architect of the incredible victory of the Six-
day War. But that was only one chapter in his eventful life. A rare thing
happened: at the age of 70 he did something that even 30-year olds are
generally unable to do: he completely changed his world view and
abandoned the certainties that had hitherto governed his life.

To this amazing change I was a witness. In 1969, when he was serving as
Israeli ambassador in Washington, we talked for the first time about the
Palestinian issue. He completely rejected the idea of peace with the
Palestinians. I still remember a sentence of his from this conversation: "I
don't care for secure borders, I want open borders." (In Hebrew, a play on
words: batuach means secure, patuach means open.) "Secure borders"
was at the time the slogan of annexationists. Rabin meant an open border
with Jordan, and once said: "I don't care if I need a visa to go to Hebron."

After that we met from time to time - in his office, in the Prime Minister's
residence, at his private home and at parties - and the conversation
always came back to the Palestinian issue. His attitude remained negative.

So I know how extreme a change it was. I don’t believe that it was I who
influenced him - at most I planted, perhaps, a few seeds. He himself
explained the change to me later as a series of logical deductions: when
he was Defense Minister, he met with local Palestinian personalities. In
one-to-one conversations they were amenable, but when they were in a
group, they were tough and told him that they took their directions from
the PLO. After that came the Madrid conference. Israel gave in to pressure
and agreed to negotiate with a Jordanian delegation that included
Palestinian members. Once there, the Jordanians refused to deal with
Palestinian issues, and so the Palestinians became in practice an
independent Palestinian delegation. Feisal Husseini, their real leader, was
not allowed into the conference room because he was a Jerusalemite. The
delegation members went to the other room from time to time to consult
with him, and at the end of every day, they told the Israelis that they had
to call Tunis to get instructions from Yasser Arafat.

"This became too ridiculous for me," Rabin told me in his straightforward
way, "If everything depends on Arafat anyhow, why not talk with him
directly?"

That was the background of Oslo.


HOW DID Rabin's Oslo ship get stuck on a sandbank?

I believe that much of the fault lies with Rabin himself. He really wanted
to achieve peace with the Palestinians. But before his eyes he had no
route to the objective, and no clear picture of the objective itself. The
change was too sharp. Like Israeli society in general, he was unable to
free himself overnight from the fears, mistrust, superstitions and
prejudices accumulated over 120 years of conflict.

That is why he did not do the one thing that could have led the ship of
Oslo to a safe haven: to use the momentum and achieve peace in a bold
and rapid move. He did not know the famous dictum of David Lloyd-
George concerning peace with Ireland: "You cannot cross an abyss with
two jumps."

The makeup of his personality had a negative impact on the process. He
was by nature cautious, slow, averse to dramatic gestures (unlike
Menachem Begin, for example). This resulted in the fatal weakness of the
Oslo agreement: the final aim was not spelled out. The two decisive
words - "Palestinian State" - do not appear at all. This omission led to its
collapse.

While the two sides wasted months and years haggling over every single
detail of the endless "interim" steps, the anti-peace forces in Israel had
time to recover and unite. Led by the settlers and the ultra-right, they
were sustained by the hatreds and anxieties bred by the long war.

In military terms: Rabin was like a general who succeeds in breaking
through the front - and, instead of pouring his forces into the breach and
forcing a decision, hesitates and stays put, allowing the opposing forces
to regroup and form a new front. In other words, he routed the forces of
war, but allowed them to reunite and mount a counter-attack.

For this he paid with his life.


THE MURDER of Rabin changed the history of Israel, much as the murder
of the Austrian crown-prince in Sarajevo in 1914 changed the history of
the world.

Nobody is irreplaceable, they say, but no second Rabin has been found -
no one with his honesty, with his courage, with his logical mind.

This week, Ehud Olmert declared that he was continuing on the path of
Rabin, but he represents the very opposite: the opposite of honesty, the
opposite of courage, the opposite of logic (not to mention his propensity
for embracing people and slapping them on the back.)

Rabin really wanted to move forward towards peace. Slowly-slowly, with
stubborn haggling, but also with consistency and persistence. Olmert's
aims are quite different. He wants a "peace process" that has no end -
babbling, meetings, conferences, without any movement, while in the
meantime the occupation is continuing, annexation is creeping forward,
settlements are enlarging and the hopes and chances for the two peoples
are evaporating.
ååå
The Annapolis conference fits perfectly into this scheme: hollow
declarations, another conference without results, a meaningless
exhibition.

Some say that the most important thing is to talk, because "when you are
talking you are not shooting." That is a dangerous illusion. In our case,
the opposite is true: when you talk for the sake of talking while the
occupation deepens, despair is gaining ground and the shooting has
never really stopped. The failure of Annapolis may well trigger the
outbreak of the Third Intifada.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 24 November 2007 at 2:08pm
Uri Avnery
24.11.07

                      Omelettes into Eggs         &n bsp;     

I WAS awakened from deep sleep by the noise. There was a commotion
outside, which was getting louder by the minute. The shout of excited
people. An eruption of joy.

I stuck my nose outside the door of my Haifa hotel room. I was told
enthusiastically that the United Nations General Assembly had just
decided to partition the country.

I went back into my room and closed the door behind me. I had no desire
to join the celebrations.

November 29, 1947 - a day that changed our lives forever.


At this historic moment, how could I feel lonely, alienated and most of all
- sad?

I was sad because I love all of this country - Nablus and Hebron no less
than Tel-Aviv and Rosh-Pina.

I was sad because I knew that blood, much blood, would be shed.

But it was mainly a question of my political outlook.

I was 24 years old. Two years before, I and a group of friends had set up
a political-ideological group that aroused intense anger in the Yishuv (the
Hebrew population in Palestine). Our ideas, which provoked a very strong
reaction, were regarded as a dangerous heresy.

The "Young Palestine Circle" ("Eretz-Yisrael Hatz'ira" in Hebrew) published
occasional issues of a magazine called "ba-Ma'avak" ("In the Struggle"),
and was therefore generally known as "the ba-Ma'avak Group")
advocating a revolutionary new ideology, whose main points were:

- We, the young generation that had grown up in this country, were a
new nation.

- Our language and culture meant we should be called the Hebrew
Nation.

- Zionism gave birth to this nation, and had thereby fulfilled its mission.

- From here on, Zionism has no further role to play. It is a hindrance to
the free development of the new nation, and should be dismantled, like
the scaffolding after a house is built.

- The new Hebrew nation is indeed a part of the Jewish people - as the
new Australian nation, for example, is a part of the Anglo-Saxon people
- but has a separate identity, its own interests and a new culture.

- The Hebrew nation belongs to the country, and is a natural ally of the
Arab national movement. Both national movements are rooted in the
country and its history, from the ancient Semitic civilization to the
present.

- The new Hebrew nation does not belong to Europe and the "West", but
to awakening Asia and the Semitic Region - a term we invented in order
to distance ourselves from the European-colonial term "Middle East".

- The new Hebrew nation must integrate itself in the region, as a full and
equal partner. Together with all the nations of the Semitic Region, it
strives for the liberation of the region from the colonial empires.


WITH THIS world view, we naturally opposed the partition of the country.

Two months before the UN partition resolution, in September 1947, I
published a pamphlet called "War or Peace in the Semitic Region", in
which I proposed a completely different plan: that the Hebrew national
movement and the Palestinian-Arab national movement combine into
one single national movement and establish a joint state in the whole of
Palestine, based on the love of the country (patriotism, in the real sense).

This was far from the "bi-national" idea, which had important adherents
in those days. I never believed in this. Two different nations, each of
which clings to its own national vision, cannot live together in one state.
Our vision was based on the creation of a new, joint nation, with a
Hebrew and an Arab component.

We hastily translated the essence of the pamphlet into English and Arabic,
and I went to distribute it to the editorial offices of the Arab newspapers
in Jaffa. It was no longer the town I had known from earlier days, when
my work (clerk in a law office) frequently took me to the government
offices there. The atmosphere felt dark and ominous.


WITH THE expected UN resolution looming, we decided to publish a
special issue of ba-Ma'avak devoted completely to it. A student of the
Haifa Technical University volunteered to supply a drawing for the front
page, and that's why I found myself at that fateful moment in that small
Haifa hotel.

I couldn't go back to sleep again. I got up and, in the excitement of the
moment, wrote a poem that was published in that special issue. The first
verse went like this:

"I swear to you, motherland, / On this bitter day of your humiliation, /
Great and united / You will rise from the dust. / The cruel wound / Will
burn in the hearts of your sons / Until your flags / Will wave from the sea
to the desert."

One of our group composed a melody, and we sang it in the following
days, as we bade farewell to our dreams.



THE MOMENT the UN resolution was adopted, it was clear that our world
had changed completely, that an era had come to an end and a new epoch
had begun, both in the life of the country and also in the life of every one
of us.

We hurriedly pasted on the walls a large poster warning of a "Semitic
Fraticidal War"' but the war was already on. When the first bullet was
fired, the possibility of creating the joint, united single country was
shattered.

I am proud of my ability to adapt rapidly to extreme changes. The first
time I had to do this was when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany
and my life changed abruptly and completely. I was then nine years old,
and everything that had happened before was dead for me. I started a
new life in Palestine. On November 29, 1947, it was happening again - to
me and to all of us.

As the well-known saying has it, one can make an omelette from eggs,
but not eggs from an omelette. Banal, perhaps, but how very true.

The moment the Hebrew-Arab war started, the possibility that the two
nations would live together in one state expired. Wars change reality.

I joined the "Haganah Battalions", the forerunner of the IDF. As a soldier
in the special commando unit that was later called "Samson's Foxes", I
saw the war as it was - bitter, cruel, inhuman. First we faced the
Palestinian fighters, later the fighters of the wider Arab world. I passed
through dozens of Arab villages, many abandoned in the storm of battle,
many others whose inhabitants were driven out after being occupied.

It was an ethnic war. In the first months, no Arabs were left behind our
lines, no Jews were left behind the Arab lines. Both sides committed many
atrocities. In the beginning of the war, we saw the pictures of the heads
of our comrades paraded on stakes through the Old City of Jerusalem. We
saw the massacre committed by the Irgun and the Stern Group in Deir
Yassin. We knew that if we were captured, we would be slaughtered, and
the Arab fighters knew they could expect the same.

The longer the war dragged on, the more I became convinced of the
reality of the Palestinian nation, with which we must make peace at the
end of the war, a peace based on partnership between the two peoples.

While the war was still going on, I expressed this view in a number of
articles that were published at the time in Haaretz. Immediately after the
fighting was over, when I was still in uniform convalescing from my
wounds, I started meeting with two young Arabs (both of whom were
later elected to the Knesset) in order to plan a common path. I could not
have imagined that 60 years later this effort would still not be over.   


NOWADAYS, THE IDEA appears here and there of turning the omelette
back into the egg, of dismantling the State of Israel and the State-of-
Palestine-to-be, and establishing a single state, as we sang at that time:
"from the sea to the desert".

This is presented as a fresh new idea, but it is actually an attempt to turn
the wheel back and to bring back to life an idea that is irrevocably
obsolete. In human history, that just does not happen. What has been
forged in blood and fire in wars and intifadas, - the State of Israel and the
Palestinian national movement - will not just disappear. After a war,
states can achieve peace and partnership, like Germany and France, but
they do not merge into one state.

I am not a nostalgic type. I look back at the ideas of my younger days,
and try to analyze what has been superseded and what is left.

The ideas of the "Ba-Ma'avak group" were indeed revolutionary and bold
- but could they have been put into practice? Looking back, it is clear to
me that the "Joint State" idea was already unrealistic when we brought it
up. Perhaps it would have been possible one or two generations earlier.
But by the middle of the 40s, the situation of the two peoples had
changed decisively. There was no escaping from the partition of the
country.

I believe that we were right in our historical approach: that we must
identify with the region we are living in, cooperate with the Arab national
movement and enter into a partnership with the Palestinian nation. As
long as we see ourselves as a part of Europe and/or the USA, we are not
able to achieve peace. And certainly not if we consider ourselves soldiers
in a crusade against the Islamic civilization and the Arab peoples.

As we said then, before the partition resolution: the Palestinian people
exists. Even after 60 years, in which they have suffered catastrophes
which few other peoples have ever experienced, the Palestinian people
clings to its country with unparalleled fortitude. True, the dream of living
together in one state is dead, and will not come to life again. But I have
no doubt that after the Palestinian state comes into being, the two states
will find ways to live together in close partnership. The walls will be
thrown down, the fences will be dismantled, the border will be opened,
and the reality of the common country will overcome all obstacles. The
flags of the country - the two flags of the two states - will indeed wave
side by side.

The UN resolution of November 29, 1947, was one of the most intelligent
in the annals of that organization. As one who strenuously opposed it, I
recognize its wisdom.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 22 December 2007 at 4:46pm
Uri Avnery
22.12.07

                Help! A Cease Fire!

FORGET THE Qassams. Forget the mortar shells. They are nothing
compared with what Hamas launched at us this week:

The chief of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, has
approached an Israeli newspaper and proposed a cease-fire. No more
Qassams, no more mortars, no suicide bombings, no Israeli military
incursions into the Strip, no "targeted liquidations" of leaders. A total
cease-fire. And not only in the Gaza Strip, but in the West Bank, too.

The military leadership exploded in anger. Who does he think he is, that
bastard? That he can stop us with such dirty tricks?


THIS IS the second time within a few days that an attempt has been made
to thwart our war plans.

Two weeks ago, the American intelligence community declared, in an
authoritative report, that Iran had stopped its attempt to produce a
nuclear bomb as early as four years ago.

Instead of heaving a sigh of relief, Israeli officials reacted with
undisguised anger. Since then, all the commentators in Israel, as well as
our huge network of hired pens around the world, have tried to
undermine this document. It is mendacious, without foundation,
motivated by a hidden, sinister agenda.

But miraculously, the report survived unscathed. It has not even been
scratched.   

The report, so it seems, has swept from the table any possibility of an
American and/or Israeli military attack on Iran. Now comes the peace
initiative of Haniyeh and endangers the strategy of our military
establishment towards the Gaza Strip.

Again, the army choir gets going. Generals in uniform and out of uniform,
military correspondents, political correspondents, commentators of all
stripes and genders, politicians from left and right - all are attacking the
Haniyeh offer.

The message is: it must not be accepted under any circumstances! It
should not even be considered! On the contrary: the offer shows that
Hamas is about to break, and therefore the war against it must be
intensified, the blockade on Gaza must be tightened, more leaders must
be killed - indeed, why not kill Haniyeh himself? What are we waiting for?

A paradox inherent in the conflict since its beginning is at work here: if
the Palestinians are strong, it is dangerous to make peace with them. If
they are weak, there is no need to make peace with them. Either way, they
must be broken.

"There is nothing to talk about!" Ehud Olmert declared at once. So
everything is alright, the bloodletting can go on.


AND IT IS indeed going on. In the Gaza Strip and around it, a cruel little
war is being waged. As usual, each side claims that it is only reacting to
the atrocities of the other side.

The Israeli side claims that it is responding to the Qassams and mortars.
What sovereign state could tolerate being bombarded by deadly missiles
from the other side of the border?

True, thousands of missiles have killed only a tiny number of people.
More than 100 times as many are killed and injured on the roads. But the
Qassams are sowing terror, the inhabitants of Sderot and the surrounding
area demand revenge and reinforcement for their houses, which would
cost a fortune.

If the Qassams were really bothering our political and military leaders,
they would have jumped at the cease-fire offer. But the leaders don't
really care about what's happening to the Sderot population, out on the
geographical and political "periphery", far from the center of the country.
It carries no political or economic weight. In the eyes of the leadership, its
suffering is, all in all, tolerable. It also has an important positive side: it
provides an ideal pretext for the actions of the army.


THE ISRAELI strategic aim in Gaza is not to put an end to the Qassams. It
would still be the same if not a single Qassam fell on Israel.

The real aim is to break the Palestinians, which means breaking Hamas.

The method is simple, even primitive: to tighten the blockade on land, on
sea and in the air, until the situation in the Strip becomes absolutely
intolerable.

The total stoppage of supplies, except the very minimum necessary to
prevent starvation, has reduced life to an inhuman level. There are
effectively no imports or exports, economic life has ground to a
standstill, the cost of living has risen sky-high. The supply of fuel has
already been reduced by half, and is planned to sink even lower. The
water supply can be cut at will.

Military activity is gradually increasing. The Israeli army conducts daily
incursions, employing tanks and armored bulldozers, in order to nibble at
the margins of the inhabited areas and draw the Palestinian fighters into
a face to face confrontation. Every day, from five to ten Palestinian
fighters are being killed, together with some civilians. Every day,
inhabitants are being abducted in order to extract information from them.
The declared purpose is attrition, to harry and wear down, and perhaps
also to prepare for the re-conquest of the Strip - even if the army chiefs
want to avoid this at almost any price.

One after another, the Palestinian leaders and commanders are being
killed from the air. Every point in the Strip is exposed to Israeli airplanes,
helicopter gunships and drones. Up-to-date technology makes it
possible to track the "children of death", those marked for killing, and a
wide net of informers and agents, some of them under duress, which has
been built up well in advance, completes the picture.

The army chiefs hope that by tightening all these screws they can push
the local population to rise up against Hamas and the other fighting
organizations. All Palestinian opposition to the occupation will collapse.
The entire Palestinian people will raise their hands in surrender and
submit to the mercies of the occupation, which will be able to do as it
pleases - expropriate lands, enlarge settlements, set up walls and
roadblocks, slice up the West Bank into a series of semi-autonomous
enclaves.

In this Israeli plan, the job reserved for the Palestinian Authority is to act
as subcontractors for Israeli security, in return for a stream of money that
will safeguard its control of the enclaves.

At the end of this phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinian
people are supposed to be cut to pieces and helpless in face of the Israeli
expansion. The historic clash between the unstoppable force (the Zionist
enterprise) and the immovable object (the Palestinian population) will end
with the crushing of Palestinian opposition.


IN ORDER to succeed in this, a sophisticated diplomatic game must be
played. Under no circumstances may the support of the international
community be lost. On the contrary, the entire world, led by the US and
EU, must support Israel and look upon its actions as a just struggle
against Palestinian terrorism, itself an integral part of "international
terrorism".

The Annapolis conference, and afterwards the Paris meeting, were
important steps in this direction. Almost the whole world, including most
of the Arab world, has fallen into step with the Israeli plan - perhaps
innocently, perhaps cynically.

Events after Annapolis developed as expected: no negotiations have
started, both side are just playing with images. The very first day after
Annapolis, the Israeli government announced huge building projects
beyond the Green Line. When Condoleezza Rice mumbled some words of
opposition, it was announced that the plans had been shelved. In fact
they continue at full speed.

How do Olmert and his colleagues fool the whole world? Benjamin Disraeli
once said about a certain British politician: "The Right Honourable
Gentleman surprised his opponents bathing in the sea and took away
their clothes." We, the pioneers of the Two-State Solution, can say this
about our government. It has stolen our flag and wrapped it around itself
in order to hide its intentions.

At long last, there now exists a world-wide consensus that peace in our
region must be based on the co-existence of the State of Israel and the
State of Palestine. Our government has slipped into it and is exploiting
this agreement with another aim altogether: the rule of Israel in the
whole country and the turning of the Palestinian population centers into a
series of Bantustans. This is, in fact, a One-State-Solution (Greater Israel)
in the guise of the Two-State Solution.


CAN THIS plan succeed?

The battle of Gaza is in full swing. In spite of the huge military superiority
of the Israeli army, it is not one-sided. Even the Israeli commanders point
out that the Hamas forces are getting stronger. They train hard, their
weapons are getting more effective and they show a lot of courage and
determination. It seems that the falling of their commanders and fighters
in a steady bloodletting is not affecting their morale. That is one of the
reasons why the Israeli army is shrinking back from re-conquering the
Gaza Strip.

Inside the Strip, both the main organizations enjoy wide public support -
the demonstration to commemorate Yassir Arafat organized by Fatah and
the counter-demonstration of Hamas each drew hundreds of thousands
of participants. But it seems that the great majority of the Palestinian
public wants national unity in order to fight together against the
occupation. They do not want religious compulsion, but neither will they
tolerate a leadership that cooperates with the occupation.

The government may be very mistaken in counting on the obedience of
Fatah. Competing with Hamas, Fatah may surprise us by becoming a
fighting organization once again. The stream of money flowing into the
Authority may not prevent this. Ze'ev Jabotinsky was wiser than Tony Blair
when he said 85 years ago that you cannot buy a whole people.

If the Israeli army invades Gaza in order to re-conquer it, the population
will stand behind the fighters. Nobody can know how it will react if the
economic misery gets worse. The results may be unexpected. Experience
with other liberation movements indicates that misery can break a
population, but it can also strengthen it.

This is, simply put, an existential test for the Palestinian people - perhaps
the most severe since 1948. It is also a test for the shrewd policy of Ehud
Olmert, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and the army chiefs.

So a cease-fire is not likely to come into effect. At first Olmert rejected
one out of hand. Then this was denied. Then the denial was denied.

The inhabitants of Sderot would probably have been glad to accept a
cease-fire. But then, who bothers to ask them.   




Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 21 January 2008 at 3:00pm
GAZA: AN ISRAELI CALL FOR URGENT ACTION

We, the Israeli organizations signed below, deplore the decision by the
Israeli government to cut off vital supplies of electricity and fuel (and
therefore water, since the pumps cannot work), as well as essential
foodstuffs, medicines and other humanitarian supplies to the civilian
population of Gaza. Such an action constitutes a clear and unequivocal
crime against humanity.
Prof. John Dugard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the
Palestinian Territories, called the Israeli government’s actions “serious
war crimes” for which its political and military officials should be
prosecuted and punished. The killing of more than 40 civilians this past
week violates, he said, “the strict prohibition on collective punishment
contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also violates one of the
basic principles of international humanitarian law that military action
must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.” Indeed,
the very legal framework invoked by the Israeli government to carry out
this illegal and immoral act – declaring Gaza a “hostile entity” within a
“conflict short of war” – has absolutely no standing in international law.
We call on the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to lead the
Security Council to a decisive decision to end the siege on Gaza when it
meets in emergency session on Wednesday.
We call on the governments of the world, and in particular the American
government and the European Parliament, to censure Israel’s actions and,
in light of recent attempts to revive the diplomatic process, to end all
attacks on civilians, including the continuing demolition of Palestinian
homes at an alarming rate.
We call upon the Jews of the world in whose name the Israeli government
purports to speak, and upon their rabbis and communal leaders in
particular, to speak out unequivocally against this offense to the very
moral core of Jewish values.
And we call upon the peoples of the world to let their officials and leaders
know of their repudiation of this cruel, illegal and immoral act – an act
that stands out in its cruelty even in an already oppressive Israeli
Occupation.
We condemn attacks on all civilians, and we acknowledge the suffering
of the residents of Sderot. Still, those attacks do not justify the massive
disproportionality of Israeli sanctions over a million and half civilians of
Gaza, in particular in light of Israel’s oppressive 40 year occupation. Such
violations of international law by a government are especially egregious
and must be denounced and punished if the very system of human rights
and international law is to be preserved.
The Israeli government’s decision to punish Gaza’s civilian population,
with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes State Terrorism
against innocent people. Only when Israeli policy-makers are held
accountable for their actions and international law upheld will a just
peace be possible in the Middle East.

The Alternative Information Center * Bat Tsafon * Gush Shalom * The
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) * Physicians for
Human Rights * The Women's Coalition for Peace


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 10 February 2008 at 5:22am
Uri Avnery
9.2.08

                      An End Foreseen

A WISE person once said: "A fool learns from his experience. An intelligent
person learns from the experience of others." To which one could add:
"And an idiot does not even learn from his own experience."

So what can we learn from a book which shows that we do not learn from
experience?

All this is building up to a recommendation for such a book. I don't
recommend books as a rule, not even my own. But this time I feel the
need to make an exception.

This is William Polk's book, "Violent Politics", which has recently appeared
in the United States.

Polk was in Palestine in 1946, at the height of the struggle against the
British occupation, and since then he has studied the history of liberation
wars. In less than 300 pages he compares insurgencies, from the
American Revolution to the wars in Afghanistan. His years on the
planning staff of the State Department involved him with the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict. His conclusions are highly illuminating.   


I HAVE a special interest in this subject. When I joined the Irgun at age
15, I was told to read books about previous liberation wars, especially the
Polish and Irish ones. I diligently read every book I could lay my hands
on, and have since followed the insurgencies and guerrilla wars
throughout the world, such as those in Malaya, Kenya, South Yemen,
South Africa, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Vietnam and more. In one of them,
the Algerian war of liberation, I had some personal involvement.

When I belonged to the Irgun, I worked at the office of an Oxford-
educated lawyer. One of our clients was a high British official of the
Mandate government. He was an intelligent, pleasant and humorous
person. I remember once, when he passed by, a thought crossing my
mind: How can such intelligent people conduct such a foolish policy?

Since then, the more I have become became engrossed in other
insurgencies, the stronger this wonderment has become. Is it possible
that the very situation of occupation and resistance condemns the
occupiers to st**id behavior, turning even the most intelligent into idiots?

Some years ago the BBC screened a long series about the process of
liberation in the former British colonies, from India to the Caribbean
islands. It devoted one episode to each colony. Former colonial
administrators, officers of the occupation armies, liberation fighters and
other eye-witnesses were interviewed at length. Very interesting and very
depressing.

Depressing - because the episodes repeated each other almost exactly.
The rulers of every colony repeated the mistakes made by their
predecessors in the previous episode. They harbored the same illusions
and suffered the same defeats. Nobody learned any lesson from his
predecessor, even when the predecessor was himself - as in the case of
the British police officers who were transferred from Palestine to Kenya.

In his compact book, Polk describes the main insurgencies of the last 200
years, compares them with each other and draws the obvious
conclusions.


EVERY INSURGENCY is, of course, unique and different from all others,
because the backgrounds are different, as are the cultures of the
occupied peoples and the occupiers. The British differ from the Dutch,
and both from the French. George Washington was different from Tito,
and Ho Chi Minh from Yasser Arafat. Yet in spite of this, there is an
amazing similarity between all the liberation struggles.

For me, the main lesson is this: from the time the general public
embraces the rebels, the victory of the rebellion is assured.

That is an iron rule: an insurgency supported by the public is bound to
win, irrespective of the tactics adopted by the occupation regime. The
occupier can kill indiscriminately or adopt more humane methods, torture
captured freedom fighters to death or treat them as prisoners of war -
nothing makes a difference in the long run. The last of the occupiers can
board a ship in a solemn ceremony, like the British High Commissioner in
Haifa, or fight for a place in the last helicopter, like the last American
soldiers on the roof of the American embassy in Saigon - defeat was
certain from the moment the insurgency had reached a certain point.

The real war against the occupation takes place in the minds of the
occupied population. Therefore, the main task of the freedom fighter is
not to fight against the occupation, as it may seem, but to win the hearts
of his people. And on the other side, the main task of the occupier is not
to kill the freedom fighters, but to prevent the population from embracing
them. The battle is for the hearts and minds of the people, their thoughts
and emotions.

That is one of the reasons why generals almost always fail in their
struggle against liberation fighters. A military officer is the least suitable
person for this task. All his upbringing, his whole way of thinking, all that
he has learned is opposed to this central task. Napoleon, the military
genius, failed in his effort to vanquish the freedom fighters in Spain
(where the word guerrilla, little war, was originally coined), no less than
the most st**id American general in Vietnam.

An army officer is a technician, trained to fulfill a particular job. That job
is irrelevant to the struggle against a liberation movement, in spite of its
superficial appropriateness. The fact that a house-painter deals with
colors does not make him into a portrait painter. An outstanding
hydraulic engineer does not become a skilled plumber. A general does
not understand the essence of a national insurgency, and therefore does
not come to grips with its rules.

For example, a general measures his success by the number of enemies
killed. But the fighting underground organization becomes stronger the
more dead fighters it can present to the public, which identifies with the
martyrs. A general learns to prepare for battle and win it, but his
opponents, the guerrilla fighters, avoid battle altogether.


THE ICONIC Che Guevara well defined the stages which a classic war of
liberation goes through: "At first, there is a partially armed band that
takes refuge in some remote, hard-to-reach spot [or in an urban
population, I would add]. It strikes a lucky blow against the authorities
and is joined by a few more discontented farmers, young idealists, etc.
It…contacts residents and conducts light hit-and-run attacks. As new
recruits swell the ranks it takes on an enemy column and destroys its
leading elements…Next the band sets up semi-permanent
encampments…and adopts the characteristics of a government in
miniature…" and so on.

In order to succeed all along the way, the insurgents need an idea that
fires the enthusiasm of the population. The public unifies around them
and provides aid, shelter and intelligence. From this stage on, everything
that the occupation authorities do helps the insurgents. When the
freedom fighters are killed, many others come forward and swell their
ranks (as I did in my youth). When the occupiers impose collective
punishment on the population, they just reinforce their hatred and their
mutual assistance. When they succeed in capturing or killing the leaders
of the liberation struggle, other leaders take their place - as the Hydra in
Greek legend grew new heads for every one that Hercules chopped off.

Frequently the occupation authorities succeed in causing a split among
the freedom fighters and consider this a major victory. But all the factions
go on fighting the occupier separately, competing with each other, as
Fatah and Hamas are doing now.


IT IS a pity that Polk did not devote a special chapter to the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, but that is not really necessary. We can write it
ourselves according to our understanding.

All along the 40 years of occupation, our political and military leaders
have failed in the struggle against the Palestinian guerrilla war. They are
neither more st**id nor more cruel than their predecessors - the Dutch
in Indonesia, the British in Palestine, the French in Algeria, the Americans
in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan. Our generals may top them all
only in their arrogance - their belief that they are the smartest and that
the "Jewish head" will invent new patents that all those Goyim could never
think of.

From the time Yasser Arafat succeeded in winning the hearts of the
Palestinian population and uniting them around the burning desire to rid
themselves of the occupation, the struggle was already decided. If we had
been wise, we would have come to a political settlement with him at the
time. But our politicians and generals are not wiser than all the others.
And so we shall go on killing, bombarding, destroying and exiling, in the
foolish belief that if only we hit once again, the longed-for victory will
appear at the end of the tunnel - only to perceive that the dark tunnel has
led us into an even darker tunnel.

As always happens, when a liberation organization does not attain its
objectives, another more extreme one springs up beside it or instead of it
and wins the hearts of the people. Hamas-like organizations take over
from Fatah-like ones. The colonial regime, which has not reached an
agreement in time with the more moderate organization, is in the end
compelled to come to terms with the more extreme one.

General Charles de Gaulle succeeded in making peace with the Algerian
rebels before reaching that stage. One and a quarter million settlers
heard one morning that the French army was going to pack up on a
certain date and go home. The settlers, many of them of the fourth
generation, ran for their lives without getting any compensation (unlike
the Israeli settlers who left the Gaza Strip in 2005). But we have no de
Gaulle. We are condemned to go on ad infinitum.

If not for the terrible tragedies we witness every day, we could smile at
the pathetic helplessness of our politicians and generals, who are rushing
around without knowing where their salvation should come from. What to
do? To starve all of them? That has led to the collapse of the wall on the
Gaza-Egypt border. Kill their leaders? We have already killed Sheik Ahmed
Yassin and countless others. To execute the "Grand Operation" and re-
occupy the entire Gaza strip? We have already conquered the Strip twice.
This time we shall encounter much more capable guerrillas, who are even
more rooted in the population. Every tank, every soldier will become a
target. The hunter may well become the prey.


SO WHAT can we do that we have not already done?

First of all, to get every soldier and politician to read William Polk's book,
together with one of the good books about the Algerian struggle.

Second, to do what all occupation regimes have done in the end in all the
countries where the population has risen up: to reach a political
settlement that both sides can live with and profit from. And get out.   

After all, the end is not in doubt. The only question is how much more
killing, how much more destruction, how much more suffering must be
caused before the occupiers arrive at the inescapable conclusion.

Every drop of blood spilt is a drop of blood wasted.



Posted By: Sign*Reader
Date Posted: 07 June 2009 at 10:17pm
It seems Daniel has left us after four years of hangin out; I found this Uri's archived articles for anyone who would like to peruse them till Dan comes back.......
 Uri Avnery's Columns
http://www.strike-the-root.com/archive/avnery.html - http://www.strike-the-root.com/archive/avnery.html
http://www.outlookindia.com/author.asp?mode=1section=&subsection=&id=&name=Uri+Avnery&pn=1 - http://www.outlookindia.com/author.asp?mode=1section=&subsection=&id=&name=Uri+Avnery&pn=1


-------------
Kismet Domino: Faith/Courage/Liberty/Abundance/Selfishness/Immorality/Apathy/Bondage or extinction.


Posted By: Daniel Dworsky
Date Posted: 05 September 2009 at 11:48am
Uri Avnery
5.9.09

                    The Boycott Revisited                    

THE PEOPLE of Sodom, the Bible tells us, were very wicked indeed.

They had a nasty habit of putting every passing stranger into one particular bed. If the stranger was too tall, his legs were shortened. If he was too short, his body was stretched to the required length.

In a way, each of us has such a bed, into which we put everything new. Confronted with a novel situation, we tend to equate it with a situation we have known in the past.

In politics, this method is especially pervasive. It relieves us of the irksome necessity of studying an unfamiliar situation and drawing new conclusions.

Once, the pattern of Vietnam was applied to every struggle around the world – from Argentina to North Korea. Nowadays, the fashion points to South Africa. Everything resembles the struggle against apartheid, unless proven otherwise.


SINCE SENDING out last week’s article, “Tutu’s Prayer”, I have been flooded with responses, some laudatory, some abusive, some thoughtful, some merely angry.

Generally, I don’t argue with my esteemed readers. I don’t want to impose my views, I just want to provide food for thought and leave it to the reader to form his or her own opinion.

This time I feel that I owe it to my readers to clear up some of the points I was trying to make and answer some of the objections. So here we go.


I HAVE no argument with people who hate Israel. That’s entirely their right. I just don’t think that we have any common ground for discussion.

I would only like to point out that hatred is a very bad advisor. Hatred leads nowhere, but to more hatred. That, by the way, is a positive lesson we can draw from the South African experience. There they overcame hatred to a remarkable extent, largely thanks to the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” headed by Archbishop Tutu, where people admitted their past offenses.

One thing is certain: hatred does not lead towards peace. Let me be quite explicit about this, because I sense that some people, in their righteous indignation over Israel’s occupation, have lost sight of this.

Peace is made between enemies, after war, in which awful things invariably happen. Peace can be made and maintained between peoples who are prepared to live with each other, respect each other, recognize the humanity of each other. They don’t have to love each other.

Describing the other side as monsters may be useful in waging war, but singularly unhelpful in waging peace.

When I receive a missive that is dripping with hatred of Israel, that portrays all Israelis (including myself, of course) as monsters, I fail to envision how the writer imagines peace. Peace with monsters? Angels and monsters living side by side in peace and harmony in one state, hating each other’s guts?

The view of Israel as a monolithic entity composed of racists and brutal oppressors is a caricature. Israel is a complex society, struggling with itself. The forces of good and evil, and many in between, are locked in a daily battle on many different fronts. The settlers and their supporters are strong, perhaps getting stronger (though I doubt it), but are far – even in their own view - from a decisive victory. Neve Gordon, for example, has been left unmolested in his post at Ben-Gurion University, because any attempt to remove him would have caused a public outcry.


I ALSO have no argument with those who want to abolish the State of Israel. It is as much their right to aspire to that as it is my right to want to dismantle, let’s say, the USA or France, neither of which has an unblemished past.

Reading some of the messages sent to me and trying to analyze their contents, I get the feeling they are not so much about a boycott on Israel as about the very existence of Israel. Some of the writers obviously believe that the creation of the State of Israel was a terrible mistake to start with, and therefore should be reversed. Turn the wheel of history back some 62 years and start anew.

What really disturbs me about this is that almost nobody in the West comes out and says clearly: Israel must be abolished. Some of the proposals, like those for a “One State” solution, sound like euphemisms. If one believes that the State of Israel should be abolished and replaced by a State of Palestine or a State of Happiness – why not say so openly?

Of course, that does not mean peace. Peace between Israel and Palestine presupposes that Israel is there. Peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people presupposes that both peoples have a right to self-determination and agree to the peace. Does anyone really believe that racist monsters like us would agree to give up our state because of a boycott?

The French and the Germans did not agree to live in one joint state, though the differences between them are incomparably smaller than those between Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians. Instead, they set up a European Union, composed of nation-states. Some 50 years ago I called for a similar Semitic Union, including Israel and Palestine. I still do.

Anyway, there is no sense in arguing with those who pray for the disappearance of the sovereign State of Israel, rather than for the appearance of the sovereign State of Palestine at its side.


THE REAL argument is among those who want to see peace between the two states, Israel and Palestine. The question is: how can it be achieved? This is an honest debate and is generally conducted in a civil manner. My debate with Neve Gordon is in this framework.

The advocates of boycott believe that the main, indeed the only way to induce Israel to give up the occupied territories and agree to peace is to exert pressure from the outside.

I have no quarrel with the idea of outside pressure. The question is: pressure on whom? On the government, the settlers and their supporters? Or on the entire Israeli people?

The first answer is, I believe, the right one. That’s why I hope that President Barack Obama will publish a detailed peace plan with a fixed timetable and apply the immense powers of persuasion of the USA to get both sides to agree. I don’t think that this is politically possible without the support of a large part of Israeli society (and, by the way, of the US Jewish community).

Some readers have lost all hope in Obama. That is, without doubt, premature. Obama has not surrendered to Binyamin Netanyahu – indeed, it is quite conceivable that the opposite is happening. The struggle is on, it is a hard struggle against determined opposition, and we should do all we can to help Obama’s peace policy to prevail. We must do this as Israelis, from inside Israel, and thereby show that this is not a struggle of the US against Israel, but a joint struggle against the Israeli government and the settlers.

It follows that any boycott must serve this purpose: to isolate the settlers and the individuals and institutions which openly support them, but not declare war on Israel and the Israeli people as such. In the 11 years since Gush Shalom declared a boycott of the products of the settlements, this process has been gaining momentum. We must laud the Norwegian decision, this week, to divest from the Israeli Elbit company because of their involvement with the “Separation Fence” that is being built on Palestinian land and whose main purposeis to annex occupied territories to Israel. This is a splendid example: a focused action against a specific target, based on a ruling of the International Court.

I think that far more can be done by a concentrated national and international campaign. A central office should be set up to direct this effort throughout the world against clear and specific targets. Such an effort could be helped by world public opinion, which recoils from the idea of boycotting the State of Israel, and not only because of the memory of the Holocaust, but will identify itself with action against the occupation and the oppression.

I have been asked about the Palestinian reaction to the boycott idea. At present, Palestinians do not boycott even the settlements, indeed it is Palestinian workers who are building almost all the houses there, out of economic necessity. Their feelings can only be guessed. All self-respecting Palestinians would, of course, support any effective measure directed against the occupation. But it would not be honest to dangle before their eyes the false hope that a world-wide boycott would bring Israel to its knees. The truth is that only the close cooperation of Palestinian, Israeli and international peace forces could generate the necessary momentum to end the occupation and achieve peace.

This is especially important because our task in Israel today is not so much to convince the majority of Israelis that peace is good and the price acceptable, but first that peace is possible at all. Most Israelis have lost that hope, and its revival is absolutely vital on the way to peace.


TO REMOVE any misconceptions about myself, let me state as clearly as possible where I stand:

I am an Israeli.

I am an Israeli patriot.

I want my state to be democratic, secular, and liberal, ending the occupation and living at peace both with the free and sovereign State of Palestine that will come into being next to it, and with the entire Arab world.

I want Israel to be a state belonging to all its citizens, without distinction of ethnic origin, gender, religion or language; with completely equal rights for all; a state in which the Hebrew-speaking majority will retain its close ties with the Jewish communities around the world, and the Arab-speaking citizens will be free to cherish their close ties with their Palestinian brothers and sisters and the Arab world at large.

If this is racism, Zionism or worse – so be it.




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