Third Party & Independents Archives

Calling a Bluff

Saddam called Bush’s bluff.
Will Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei do the same?
Getting help and preventing war with Iran….
what are the odds?

Did Saddam Hussein get the last laugh? Did his defiance to prove or disprove his ownership of WMD's get him what he truly wanted?
A war between the U.S.A. and Iran?
MidEast turmoil of the likes that have never been seen before?

"Iran is now in the superpower's sights, and the U.S. approach brings to mind the preparatory phase of the Iraq war - down to the last detail." -from 'Haaretz'

Hussein was given the opportunity to prevent the war. He chose to call Bush's bluff. Did he really believe that the U.S. was all bark and no bite? Did he not care either way?
Was he planning on sneaking off to Syria, or elsewhere, to live and watch what became of the war from afar, hoping the situation would escalate to the point that the U.S. has to attack Iran?

'U.S. not planning for war with Iran, Gates says'
"The United States is not planning for a war with Iran and instead is trying to stop them from contributing to the violence in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday.

"The President has made clear, the Secretary of State has made clear, I've made clear ... we are not planning for a war with Iran," he told reporters."

"The Pentagon has moved a second aircraft carrier into the Gulf as part of its effort to pressure Iran and show that the United States will stay active in the region." - from article linked above.

'Haaretz':
" The current state of Iran's nuclear program does not call for immediate military action. Instead, the focus should be on diplomatic efforts to detach Syria from Iran and isolate the Tehran regime."
"Tehran is afraid of regional and international isolation. Moreover, the recent municipal elections in Iran have shown that betting on diplomacy and a transformation of Iran from within is a realistic option."

(I was going to bring Chirac into this conversation just for fun, but we all know the man had a stroke.)

"Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Wednesday that it was the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not himself, that was responsible for making decisions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear activities." -from 'Iran Focus':

If it wasn't clear before, it is now. The people of Iran do no more than elect a talking head when they vote for their 'President'.
Ahmadinejad's political supporters did not do very well in last years elections.

'Iran: The Struggle for Change'
"President Mohammad Khatami has been trying to wrench politics and society out of the grip of Iran's highly conservative clerics. In his first term of office, he has failed to deliver. Those who voted for Mr Khatami, the 70% of the electorate who want radical reform of government, administration and the economy, are very frustrated."

"The time has come for a different policy on Iran – and a new approach to the Iranian opposition should be part and parcel of it. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian resistance, reiterated at a meeting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week, that the correct policy on Iran is neither appeasement nor foreign military invasion. Rather, what is needed is a change from within Iran, which can be assisted by the West providing moral and political support for the Iranians people and the main resistance movement. The recent unrest by Iranian university students and open defiance against Mr. Ahmadinejad was a clear indicator of a population ready for change."
Link here: 'Ending Iran’s threat will come through talking to the correct people, not shooting at them'
I believe I have heard President Bush say that same thing.

It isn't only in the best interest of the U.S. to deal with the stated goals of Iran.

'Egyptian state paper attacks Iranian policies'

"The editor of Egypt's most prestigious government newspaper said Iran was trying to spread Shi'a Islam in Arab countries that have no Shi'ites in an attempt to recreate an Iranian empire in the Middle East."
and...
"Saraya added: "That some people defend the Iranian position and deny Iranian ambitions over the Arab region, I see only as naivety and stupidity, coated with hatred for the American presence in the region."

However, Saraya did not advocate siding with the United States in a conflict with Iran. "It is true that the Arabs have many doubts and fears about the rise in Iranian influence but these fears will not be dispelled by military confrontation, which could have grave results," he said."

From 'Not easy prey' -
"Before meeting Condoleezza Rice in Cairo a few days ago, President Hosni Mubarak warned of Iran's link to sectarianism in the region. Speaking to Al-Osbou, the Egyptian president warned of Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms. "Egypt cannot stay silent while another regional power acquires nuclear weapons. The Arabs cannot live under a potential threat... This is something I cannot tolerate. I have a certain responsibility towards my people, and we cannot allow our security to be jeopardised... Egypt will not stand idly by. We will not remain inactive.""

I believe that war with Iran should be an ABSOLUTE last option.
I can only imagine the swarm of Iranians and Syrians moving into Iraq and wiping out our military.
We have actually been lucky that they haven't already done that - Or have they?
"In a front-page editorial in al-Ahram on Friday, editor Osama Saraya accused the Iranian government of infiltrating hundreds of thousands of Iranians into Iraq, some as militia members and others to give Iraqis military training."
I cannot actually find the editorial but this is where I found that statement.

Seems 'Bush and Co.' are doing their best to get nations in the Middle East to stand up to Iran.
Hopefully 'We' aren't just telling them what to do, but asking what they think we should ALL do.
They, the Iranian neighbors, are right there. They know that whatever WE do effects THEM. They know the turmoil in their Region has gone on long before we stuck our nose in it.
The U.S. can NEVER get the Muslims to tolerate each other.
Do they hate us more than they hate each other? OR Do they hate each other more than they hate us?
The day will never come when they can tolerate an infidel, if they can't even tolerate each other.

Heres hoping there are strong enough leaders in the Middle East who can get their people to stop fighting each other - and NOT by getting them to join forces against us.

Before publishing I came across this:
'The real origins of sectarianism'

I do not agree with all Hassan Nafaa had to say but this stood out to me.

"Iran's influence may have increased, but only as a result of the mistakes the Arabs and the Americans have made. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the Americans smashed two regimes that were among Iran's most determined foes. In Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, Tehran benefited from the errors of Arab policy. No one can deny that numerous Arab countries have helped the US -- much more than Iran did -- wreck Iraq.

Arab countries have failed to help the Iraqis overcome their crisis after Saddam's fall. Many Arab countries pressured Arafat to make concessions to Israel, but failed to provide him with the means to achieve an acceptable peace settlement. When the peace process collapsed, Arab countries declined to support the Palestinian resistance, and even colluded in the blockade against the Palestinian people."

And I liked this:
"Many in the Arab world believe that sectarianism is an integral part of the Arab mindset or culture. I disagree. The Arab mindset and culture, I would argue, are among the most tolerant in the world and the most accepting of others. Sectarianism must be blamed on despotism. It must be blamed on politics, not culture. Politics is what motivates the Palestinians or the Kurds to fight each other. Politics is what turns a Shia against a Sunni, or a Muslim against a Christian. Because our countries are ruled by regimes that are just as despotic as they are susceptible to foreign influence, that are as backward as they are ignorant, various political elites are tempted to use sectarianism for personal gain."

We have a form of 'sectarianism' going on right here in the 'Good Ol' U.S. of A.'. It's not between religions, it's between Democrats and Republicans.
The ONLY thing they work together on really well is keeping other parties from gaining political ground.
Seems like anytime another Party finds an issue that attracts voters, one of them, Blue or Red, claims it to be their own.

Posted by Dawn at February 3, 2007 7:59 AM
Comments
Comment #206444

“Saddam called Bush’s bluff.”

Have you not kept up with current events for the past 4 years? I’ll bet when he dropped through that trap door Saddam wasn’t thinking that anyone was bluffing.

Iran declared war on the U.S. in 1979. They have been conducting that war ever since. A response is long overdue.

Posted by: traveller at February 3, 2007 8:57 AM
Comment #206448

Dawn, I join you in what appears to be your praise of our State Department’s diplomatic efforts to pull neighboring Arab states into the equation regarding stabilizing Iraq’s future and countering Ahmadinejad’s bluster and efforts.

I just hope our military buttress to those efforts do not become a short circuit of those efforts, igniting a conflict which keeps the U.S. as the hub of middle eastern turmoil.

We need to extricate ourselves from the sectarian violence in Iraq and avoid the regional sectarian conflicts on the horizon.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 3, 2007 9:27 AM
Comment #206476

gw, an offensive attack on Iran which the rest of the world does not view as provoked, will destroy America’s leadership role in the world.

Already, some nations are looking to China, not the U.S. for leadership and assistance. It will be all to easy to turn much of the world to China’s lead if we are not protective and defensive of our leadership role, already damaged by Bush et.al., to a moderate degree.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 3, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #206509

David, as you know, nuclear weapons have been silent since 1945, when the US becames the first and only nation to us them against civilians.
Now, I’m not going into whether that was the right decision or now back then. However, despite the stresses and crises since, throughout the cold war, with the Soviet Union presenting a potentially massive danger, no one has pressed the button. If the US, or its surrogate Israel, attacks Iran with nuclear weapons, it will cause who knows how many deaths of civilians. More than this however, they will show themselves to be outlaw nations, international pariahs. If Americans think that 9/11 was an unconscionable attack on the US, how could they possibly support a US nuclear attack against a country that does not present a nuclear threat? Such an attack would make 9/11 pale by comparison. It would be a holocaust.

Of course there is only one answer to the use of nuclear weapons, and that is the use of nuclear weapons. The US will leave itself open to countless numbers of people with the ambition to wreak revenge on the US. And the US would deserve it. Iran is entitled under the Non Proliferation Treaty to develop a nuclear industry for peaceful purposes. There is not a shred of evidence that they have moved outside of that restriction. And of course, all of this talk about a nuclear armed Iran, and not a quibble about a nuclear armed Isreal, a status they enjoy since the 60’s.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 3, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #206521

Paul,

I found this article that supports what you say:

‘Iraq was invaded ‘to protect Israel’ - US official

Wasn’t that used, a little, in the list of reasons to invade Iraq?
Saddam was paying the families of suicide bombers.
You are right that the administration never came out and said directly that the war was to protect Israel.
I don’t think that would have gone over well with the American public.
We already give Israel technology, weapons and money to take care of themselves.

Here’s another interesting, but quite lengthy, article about the U.S./Israel relationship and how to win the war on terror.
‘Israel steps up when the United States steps down’

The following exerpt from the article gets my vote.
‘Israel must destroy Hezbollah. Hopefully this can be done with the active support of the Lebanese Maronite, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Christians and the tacit support of the Sunni and Druze Moslems in Lebanon and thereby establishing a secure Lebanon which would constitute a buffer against potential Iranian aggression. This objective will only be obtained by the shedding of Israeli blood. Israel is not unfamiliar with the concept of Blood Atonement.

With the elimination of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the removal or substantial reduction of U.S. troops from Iraq the Iraqis will be forced to make a decisive decision: Make peace with each other or to annihilate each other.’

It also says this, and I agree:

‘This history of a failed foreign policy crosses all party lines. While the United States faces the grave threat of chemical and/or nuclear attack upon our soil both republicans and democrats demonize each other. They are like the two lepers who continuously ague with each other over who has the most fingers left.’


Actually, I would recommend reading both articles in their entirety.


Posted by: dawn at February 3, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #206527

We do a lot to reign in Israel too. If they didn’t feel like we were watching their backs, they might just round up the Palestinians and march them across the borders with those Arab neighbors for whom the Palestinian problem is a way of diverting attention from their own failed states. It’s not like there is anything worse that the “international community” could do about Israel except pass the usual toothless and useless resolutions of condemnation.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 3, 2007 8:45 PM
Comment #206535

Wrong again LO. The international community could hump Israel totally onto your backs by launching an international boycott of Israel. With no means of Supporting themselves through trade with the rest f the world, the US would have to up its already profligate financial support of Israel. Imagine, one of the worlds richest countries getting 3 - 5 billion from the US every year. A nation of what, around 5 million people? More aid that all of Africa comibined, with all of its teeming starving millions, in fact, a third of all US foreign aid.

As for the US watching their backs? You bet. How about the US refusing UN attempts to end the destruction of Lebanon last summer, while at the same time speeding more bombs and weapons to Israel? How about the US vetoing UN Resolutions on Israel down the years? On illegal Israeli settlement in Palestine, contrary to the Geneva Convention? Of course, we know that GW doesn’t have much time for that anyway. How about Israeli terrorism carried out with US weaponry?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 3, 2007 10:09 PM
Comment #206537

Paul, you should start a list titled “Things That Will Never Happen” and on that list write all the tough things the “international community.” without the support of the US, might do against a country they don’t like. Israel is a US ally, and that means something. We support our friends.

Nations of Euroland, considering their completely one-sided sympathies and blind acceptance of every scrap of anti-Israel propaganda, real or made up, when it comes to the Palestinian question, might go along with such boycotts, but China, India, the United States and many others would never, and some of them might just decide to punish “Euroland” in kind for their insolence.

Missles were launched into Israel from Lebanaon. Any nation in the world—except those of Euroland, I assume, would retaliate against such prevocation. Most with far greater severity than did Israel.

Dwelling on Israeli wrongs while completely ignoring the history of several Arab-launched wars against Israel, and the ongoing and deliberate murders, kidnappings and sponsorship of terrorism perpetrated by Israel’s enemy consitutes a moral blindness without peer. As for UN resolutions? Well, they were veoted, as you said. Hence they are just paper. Which is all they’d be if they were passed, too.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 3, 2007 10:36 PM
Comment #206549

Loyal Opposition:

I agree. UN Resolutions are just paper. Especially the UN Resolution that created the State of Israel.

btw, can you point to any Arab atrocities committed against Jews before 1940?

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 4, 2007 12:35 AM
Comment #206553


Seems like the only time we are interested in talking to Iran is when we want to sell them weapons.

Posted by: jlw at February 4, 2007 1:19 AM
Comment #206554

Juan, that’s exactly right. There were UN resolutions that created Israel. But it wasn’t the paper they were written on but blood and steel that preserved the country against repeated Arab disregard for those resolutions in several wars. And today we have a tiny Jewish state surrounded by huge Arab countries, none of which will allow their beloved Muslim brothers into their countries, prefering instead to keep them for generation after generation in “refugee camps” in hopes of exploiting their condition to undermine Israel.

When you lose wars in which you are the agressor, you lose territory. I don’t see France returning to the Germany the lands they “stole” after WWII.

But I forgot. Europeans don’t have to live by the rules they insist on for the hated Jews. Perhaps Germany, France, and the others should return all the homes and other property that used to belong to Jews before Europe found it’s own “solution” to their Jewish problem. When that happens, then we can all talk about Palestinans returning to their great-grandparent’s farms that they’ve never even seen.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 4, 2007 1:23 AM
Comment #206562

Loyal Opposition:

Wrong again. Europe solved its Jewish problem by deporting them all to Palestine… those that were still alive anyway. That’s why when you see Israelis on TV, a lot of them have European names.

btw… that little post you made just justified Iran’s attempt to obtain a Bomb.

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 4, 2007 6:39 AM
Comment #206574

Juan dela Cruz,

“can you point to any Arab atrocities committed against Jews before 1940?”

The history of Islam is replete with Arab atrocities committed against Jews. Muhammad ordered it and his followers have obeyed. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of instances of Arab atrocities committed before 1940. It didn’t stop in 1940, either.
The Muslims were allied with Germany in WWII and it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who thought up the Final Solution. It was the Nazi’s hatred of the Jews that the Arabs found so appealing and they saw an opportunity to try to kill every Jew on earth…and they’re still trying.

How did LO’s post justify Iran’s attempt to get nukes?

Posted by: traveller at February 4, 2007 10:01 AM
Comment #206579

Notice that it would never occur to Juan to ask if you can point to Jewish atrocitites toward Arabs before the Arabs launched war after war on their country and then started targeting civilians in acts of terrorism. For those like Juan and “Paul from Euroland,” it’s all been just one long weepy story in which the Palestinians are innocent victims and the Jews are evil villains.

Traveller, isn’t it clear what Juan meant by justification for the Iranian bomb? The bomb would be used against Jews, hence it would be justified.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 4, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #206614

Lo,
For my entire life, I have believed all the “news” we have been spoon-fed by the MSM regarding the Palestine/Israel problem. But I have been fascinated to discover the intense pro-Israel bias on the part of the media. I have no dog in this race; I must say that I have always been sympathetic toward Israel. I’m not so sure anymore whether or not much of what I have read and listened to wasn’t, by and large, a huge crock of shit. It seems that a “neighborhood” is media code for an Israeli settlement in Palestine. You know, those things that all those U.N. resolutions have prohibited going back all those years. Tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by Israeli lobbyists to influence the reporting we see/read/hear. An Israeli soldier is a hero, with a loving family who mourn him. But the Palestinian is a shadowy murderer. Is that a little one-sided? I have always felt completely unsympathetic to those who would explode a bomb in front of a disco, killing teenage girls. But how is that different from the Israeli army planting a roadside bomb where elementary school children are known to play? There just might be more than one side to the story.

Posted by: steve miller at February 4, 2007 5:38 PM
Comment #206617

LO, you don’t live in Israel or Palestine, neither do I. So let’s hear what a Jewish Israeli, former member of the Knesset ( Israeli Parliament ) says;

http://www.strike-the-root.com/51/avnery/avnery14.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/avnery/avnery21.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/avnery/avnery9.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/avnery/avnery9.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/avnery/avnery34.html

Of course there are many more righteous Israelis and Jews around the world. But their voices are drowned out by the rabid zionists.
I imagine you believe you are a good person. Clearly however you do not have any depth of knowledge of what is actually happening in the mid east. It’s not enough to believe you are right, you have to collect the facts as widely as possible to ensure that you are not aiding oppression. What is happening in Palestine is a disgrace to the so called civilised world. And it will not be cost free. We do not deserve to live secure lives if we condone this savagery. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 4, 2007 6:15 PM
Comment #206618

LO, you don’t live in Israel or Palestine, neither do I. So let’s hear what a Jewish Israeli, former member of the Knesset ( Israeli Parliament ) says;

http://www.strike-the-root.com/51/avnery/avnery14.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/avnery/avnery21.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/avnery/avnery9.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/avnery/avnery9.html

http://www.strike-the-root.com/4/avnery/avnery34.html

Of course there are many more righteous Israelis and Jews around the world. But their voices are drowned out by the rabid zionists.
I imagine you believe you are a good person. Clearly however you do not have any depth of knowledge of what is actually happening in the mid east. It’s not enough to believe you are right, you have to collect the facts as widely as possible to ensure that you are not aiding oppression. What is happening in Palestine is a disgrace to the so called civilised world. And it will not be cost free. We do not deserve to live secure lives if we condone this savagery. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 4, 2007 6:16 PM
Comment #206620

Steve Miller, I was once like you. I believed in pluckly little Israel, up against all of these other countries who wanted to push her into the sea. That was until I started to ask myself some questions, and to study and research what is happening there. Below I provide some links which will help you gain more info on what’s happening.

http://www.strike-the-root.com/archive/avnery.html

http://www.btselem.org/English/

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/

http://www.bintjbeil.com/E/occupation/levy/

Of course there are many more. The ones I have cited above will no doubt be criticised as anti semitic, or written by self hating jews, as is the norm for those who criticise zionism. No doubt there are many others which show an opposite interpretation of what is happening, however, if you study both, you will no doubt draw you own conclusions. Whatever those conclusion may be, at least you will have taken the trouble to inform yourself of the real issues. Our world needs more people like you, prepared to question the monochromal news presented.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 4, 2007 6:30 PM
Comment #206644

To generally support the Israeli side in the confict, you don’t have to agree with or justify every single thing they do. Nor should you. But that does NOT mean that you should just whitewash the actions of the Arab states, the UN, the internationalist anti-semites or the Palestinian leadership.

There have been questionable actions on the part of Israel, and you have seen both the American public and government AND members of the Israeli public and government question them and reign them in. Not to the satisfaction of those who’ll only be satisfied if Israel doesn’t exist altogether, but it does happen.

We often see Europeans asserting that American is one-sided in their approach to Israel, but how often do you see the Europeans being anything but one-sided on the opposite end?

But having ackowledged Isreal’s imperfections, you have to recognize that we’re talking about a tiny country under enormous threat who has been attacked in several wars by forces intending to eradicate them, a country beside that composed of a people who have recently suffered perhaps the most terrible and racially-motivated crimes in history while the world sat back and for the most part looked the other way. If France, the UK, the US, China, India—anybody—faced actual extinction the way Israel does every day, what measures would they take?

Where in the world besides the “Palestinian territories” do dislocated people live for generation after generation without being absorbed by surrounding countries? You have oil-rich countries of the same ethnic and religious groups and large land masses surrounding them, but nobody will let them go anywhere else.

Why is this? It’s because the Palestinians are being deliberately kept in squalid conditions by those who have the power to help them but want to use them as pawns in an effort to undermine and eventually eradicate the state of Israel.

You can go back and question the decision to create an Israeli state if you wish, but it did happen and it was the UN and the international community that did it. Israeli civilians do not deserve to pay for accepting was was given.

Look. Clinton helped negotiate a settlement whereby the Palestinians would get everything they wanted—an independent state with the capital Jerusalem. Everything, that is, except the full right of return for so-called “refugees” who have never lived in the places they claim as home, and whose presence would have effectively voided the Israeli state.

And what was the Palestinian response? The Second Intifada. Bombings. Kidnappings. Deliberate attacks on civilians.

Those who can only stress the miseries of the Palestinians while ignoring the miseries of Israelis and the sinister motives of antisemitism and genocide of its enemies are far more one-sided in their understanding of events than the American government is accused of being.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 4, 2007 11:30 PM
Comment #206662

LO:

You’re pretty ignorant of Arab Culture if you wonder why the Palestinians were never absorbed into other countries. I COULD lecture you on Arab Tribal History and the Shiite/Sunni sects and the European division of the various Arab borders that guaranteed friction among the ethnic tribes…

I won’t lecture you on basic geo-political stuff. We are in Iraq and its people like you who got us there.

btw… I would like specifics on those “atrocities” Arabs did to Jews before 1940. You mentioned thousands? Well… you should have no problem then giving dates, names and places.

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at February 5, 2007 5:22 AM
Comment #206666

Why is this? It’s because the Palestinians are being deliberately kept in squalid conditions by those who have the power to help them but want to use them as pawns in an effort to undermine and eventually eradicate the state of Israel.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 4, 2007 11:30 PM

LO, It’s the Israelis who are keeping the Palestinians in squalid conditions. They are the occupying power. They are the power responsible under the Geneva conventions. Under the fourth Geneva Convention, they are proscribed from transferring people into the occupied territories. Yet they continue to build settlements for their own people on land which is not theirs, in contravention of the Geneva Conventions and UNSCR 242, which requires “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;” http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/un242.htm

The fourth Geneva Convention prohibits settlment of occupying powers population in the occupied territory; “It also prohibits the transfer of parts of the Occupying Power’s civilian population into the occupied territory, forcible transfer or deportation of protected persons from the occupied territory, and destruction of real or personal property, except when such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” - http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/5FLDPJ

You talk of questionable actions on the part of Israel. Well sorry, that hardly covers it at all, or is it the intention to cover it up? Massive violence against a civilian population? A policy of destruction of peoples homes? The settlement of hundreds of thousands of Israelis on occupied land contrary to Geneva Convention as above, the sequestration of water resources to the great suffering of the Palestinian people, while the settlers build swimming pools in their settlements. Making prisoners of the Palestinians in their own land, unable to move about, attetn hospitals, schools, colleges, visit family. What is happening is unconscionable, as many Israeli themselves recognise and protect strongly about. See just some of the links I provided in an earlier post. And you say that members of the American public and goverment question them and rein them in? Really? Please, do something for me. Provide me with proof that the US reins Israel in. Show me where any serving member of the US government, whether Congress or Senate, has even mildy rebuked Israel. Instead what you will find is uncritical and uniform expressions of fealty and support for for Israel. AIPAC takes out anyone who steps out of line.
http://www.ussliberty.org/findleybook.htm

The true history of this nasty business can be found here;

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=4&ar=10

As to who’s in control of US mid east policy? Try here;

http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

The material is out there for those who want to be informed, rather than just accept the propaganda like the Germans did with Goebbels. The price of freedom is eternal vigiliance.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 5, 2007 7:06 AM
Comment #206667

Why is this? It’s because the Palestinians are being deliberately kept in squalid conditions by those who have the power to help them but want to use them as pawns in an effort to undermine and eventually eradicate the state of Israel.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 4, 2007 11:30 PM

LO, It’s the Israelis who are keeping the Palestinians in squalid conditions. They are the occupying power. They are the power responsible under the Geneva conventions. Under the fourth Geneva Convention, they are proscribed from transferring people into the occupied territories. Yet they continue to build settlements for their own people on land which is not theirs, in contravention of the Geneva Conventions and UNSCR 242, which requires “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;” http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/un242.htm

The fourth Geneva Convention prohibits settlment of occupying powers population in the occupied territory; “It also prohibits the transfer of parts of the Occupying Power’s civilian population into the occupied territory, forcible transfer or deportation of protected persons from the occupied territory, and destruction of real or personal property, except when such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” - http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/5FLDPJ

You talk of questionable actions on the part of Israel. Well sorry, that hardly covers it at all, or is it the intention to cover it up? Massive violence against a civilian population? A policy of destruction of peoples homes? The settlement of hundreds of thousands of Israelis on occupied land contrary to Geneva Convention as above, the sequestration of water resources to the great suffering of the Palestinian people, while the settlers build swimming pools in their settlements. Making prisoners of the Palestinians in their own land, unable to move about, attetn hospitals, schools, colleges, visit family. What is happening is unconscionable, as many Israeli themselves recognise and protect strongly about. See just some of the links I provided in an earlier post. And you say that members of the American public and goverment question them and rein them in? Really? Please, do something for me. Provide me with proof that the US reins Israel in. Show me where any serving member of the US government, whether Congress or Senate, has even mildy rebuked Israel. Instead what you will find is uncritical and uniform expressions of fealty and support for for Israel. AIPAC takes out anyone who steps out of line.
http://www.ussliberty.org/findleybook.htm

The true history of this nasty business can be found here;

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=4&ar=10

As to who’s in control of US mid east policy? Try here;

http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

The material is out there for those who want to be informed, rather than just accept the propaganda like the Germans did with Goebbels. The price of freedom is eternal vigiliance.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 5, 2007 7:09 AM
Comment #206678

“I would like specifics on those “atrocities” Arabs did to Jews before 1940. You mentioned thousands? Well… you should have no problem then giving dates, names and places.”

An atrocity committed by Mohammad himself.(just one of many, and not his worst)

After he won the Battle of Bedr he “deported one of the three major Jewish groups from Medina and confiscated its property. The second Jewish group later suffered a similar fate; and because the third Jewish group was reputed to be hostile to Islam, Mohammad had the men (about 700) killed and the women and children sold into slavery.” [The Peace Encyclopedia: Blasphemy]

That’s just one early example. The next 1300 years or so (to the present day) of Islamic history is an unbroken line of hatred and violence that shows no sign of abating.
The truth is easy to find. All you have to do is look.

Posted by: traveller at February 5, 2007 9:25 AM
Comment #206688

Traveller, hold on there bald eagle! If you really want the truth, then look here;

http://www.strike-the-root.com/62/avnery/avnery9.html

The author of this piece is a Jewish atheist, and a former member of the Israeli Knesset. As you say, all you have to do is look.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 5, 2007 10:14 AM
Comment #206691

What are you guys doing?
A battle over History?
We all know that ‘history’ is nothing more than an author’s interpretation of an event.
You can battle back and forth over who is worse until the end of time.

One MAJOR reason why this conflict will NEVER end.

No one is trying to move forward towards a peaceful end because every wants to continue the ‘you started it first’ or ‘what he did is worse than what I did’ games.

Posted by: dawn at February 5, 2007 10:31 AM
Comment #206699

Paul of Euroland, you go on and on about the Geneva Conventions and United Nations Resolutions without even ONCE mentioning the absolutely massive and grotesque violations of those same measures by Israeli’s enemies. How can you just sweep under the rug the fact that Arab armies repeatedly tried to destroy Israel in separate illegal wars? That the Palestinians deliberately attack Israeli civilians in violation of all international law? That missles rain down on Israeli civilian targets from Lebanon? That Israel’s actions, even their excessive ones, are are a reaction to this environment? And again, you don’t seem to even acknowledge the Clinton-brokered offer of an independent state which the Palestinians responded to by stepping up terrorist activities.

The reason that many of us in the US have come to regard the Geneva Conventions, the UN, and the entire internationalist structure of laws as a sick joke is that they’re used to clobber one side of this dispute while the other side is allowed to just ignore them and violate them with impunity in the most disgusting manners imaginable.

After WWII, France, Russia and others siezed former German lands. Instead of the German citizensmoving further into Germany, perhaps the UN should have simply crammed them all into little camps where they could reproduce for generations as they did with the Palestinians. Closer to your own home, while we’re at it, I suppose the British could have just shoved Northern Irish Catholics into little camps too and made them wards of the “international community.” They too could have become a cause of celebration and the recepients of worldwide pity. It would have been a great propaganda tool for the IRA. Absurd, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s been done with the Palestinians.

Yes, there are plenty of former Knesset members and other Isreali citizens who vocally criticize Isreal too. That happens in a democracy. A Palestinian who disagrees with his leadership will keep his mouth shut or be lynched as a collaborator in the street by a rabid mob, a fairly regular occurence in Gaza and the West Bank, actually.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 5, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #206714

Paul in Euroland,
What’s your point? An essay by an anti Catholic atheist that contradicts everything I’ve ever read about Islam isn’t very convincing.

Posted by: traveller at February 5, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #206733

Paul,

In the name of intelligent debate I must point out a few flaws in your argument.

All of your sources that I read are bias and aimed at being anti-conservative. I bias argument is an opinion. Opinions carry very little weight on these blogs.

Also the term Jewish atheist is an oxymoron. Jewish means he is a Jew meaning he practices Judaism. If he is religious then he is not atheist. The correct term would be Israeli atheist.

The territorial rights. The Israelis originate from Iraq, the Palestinians originate from Iraq. They are the same people that migrated out of what is today Iraq after fall of the Assyrian nation. The land originally belonged to what is today Saudi Arabia who left it because it was a worthless and don’t want it back because it is still worthless.

So for everyone, arguing who is on whose side is ironic, because they are both invaders and neither of them deserve the land.

Israelis want it for foolish religious reasons. Palestinians want it for foolish religious reasons.

As for the U.N., they couldn’t stop this war any easier then they could the war in Sudan. When people want to fight they fight no matter what a group of diplomats say.

Also, the U.N. wouldn’t dare to boycott Israel because they own World Bank that is where every U.N. country has its money invested, including the United States. So if they did boycott Israel they wouldn’t have their money.

Loyal Opposition,

Iran isn’t going to fight us nor are we going to fight them. We own half the businesses in their country and nearly all of their money is invested into U.S. corperations and resources.

We might invade Syria; we don’t have anything to do with them, but who really cares the are small and don’t do anything useful to the world economy or well-being.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 5, 2007 5:56 PM
Comment #206734

LO, in fact the British did try to corral the Irish into a corner. Every Irish man and woman knows the words of Oliver Cromwell, “To hell or to Connaught” Irelands most westerly province and its most barren one.

As for your massive and grotesque violations of Geneva Conventions and UNSCR’s by Israel’s enemies, care to specify exactly what you are talking about? “That the Palestinians deliberately attack Israeli civilians in violation of all international law?” Well, given the alternative, eh, what alternative exactly? Extermination? Let’s get real here. Israel has the full panoply of US and indeed their own weapons. Tanks, artillery, apache and cobra and blackhawk helos, the latest US fighter jets, dumb bombs, smart bombs, cluster bombs hellfire missiles alongside Small arms, M16’s etc and so on. I’m sure i’ve left lots out. Now what do the Palestinians have? Kalasnikovs and explosives, together with primarily symbolic Katushas. It’s not pretty, but if that’s all that you have to resist and to defend yourself with, that’s what you will use. Just look at the numbers. The number of Palestinian civilians killed compared to Israeli civilians is off the board.

You seem to think that it’s ok for Israel to defy and breach the Geneva Convention. Well, I suppose you have that in common with your government. You seem to think it’s ok for Israel to steal Palestinian land and water and settle that land, despire UNSCR 242. Given that’s your position, I believe there is no point in appealing to your reason or sense of fair play. I believe it is those attitudes that make a fair settlement impossible, as long as they hold sway.

As to your gibes of making Irish Catholics wards of the international community? I assume this is a metaphor for the Palestinians. In fact, the Palestinians are not wards of the international community, they are the responsibility of the occupying power, Israel.

“Israel’s settlement policy in the Occupied Territories the past decade points up the real content of the “peace process” set in motion at Oslo. The details are spelled out in an exhaustive study by B’Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) entitled Land Grab. (40) Due primarily to massive Israeli government subsidies, the Jewish settler population increased from 250,000 to 380,000 during the Oslo years, with settler activity proceeding at a brisker pace under the tenure of Labor’s Ehud Barak than Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. Illegal under international law and built on land illegally seized from Palestinians, these settlements now incorporate nearly half the land surface of the West Bank. For all practical purposes they have been annexed to Israel (Israeli law extends not only to Israeli but also non-Israeli Jews residing in the settlements) and are off-limits to Palestinians without special authorization. Fragmenting the West Bank into disconnected and unviable enclaves, they have impeded meaningful Palestinian development. In parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the only available land for building lies in areas under Israeli jurisdiction, while the water consumption of the 5,000 Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley is equivalent to 75% of the water consumption of the entire two million Palestinians inhabitants of the West Bank. Not even one Jewish settlement was dismantled during the Oslo years, while the number of new housing units in the settlements increased by more than 50 percent (excluding East Jerusalem); again, the biggest spurt of new housing starts occurred not under Netanyahu’s tenure but rather under Barak’s, in the year 2000 - exactly when Barak claims to have “left no stone unturned” in his quest for peace.”

” An Introduction to the Israel-Palestine Conflict

(Updated: September 2002)

Background

To resolve what was called the “Jewish question” - i.e., the reciprocal challenges of Gentile repulsion or anti-Semitism and Gentile attraction or assimilation - the Zionist movement sought in the late nineteenth century to create an overwhelmingly, if not homogeneously, Jewish state in Palestine. (1) Once the Zionist movement gained a foothold in Palestine through Great Britain’s issuance of the Balfour Declaration, (2) the main obstacle to realizing its goal was the indigenous Arab population. For, on the eve of Zionist colonization, Palestine was overwhelmingly not Jewish but Muslim and Christian Arab. (3)

Across the mainstream Zionist spectrum, it was understood from the outset that Palestine’s indigenous Arab population would not acquiesce in its dispossession. “Contrary to the claim that is often made, Zionism was not blind to the presence of Arabs in Palestine,” Zeev Sternhell observes. “If Zionist intellectuals and leaders ignored the Arab dilemma, it was chiefly because they knew that this problem had no solution within the Zionist way of thinking…. [I]n general both sides understood each other well and knew that the implementation of Zionism could be only at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs.” Moshe Shertok (later Sharett) contemptuously dismissed the “illusive hopes” of those who spoke about a “‘mutual misunderstanding’ between us and the Arabs, about ‘common interests’ [and] about ‘the possibility of unity and peace between the two fraternal peoples.’” “There is no example in history,” David Ben-Gurion declared, succinctly framing the core problem, “that a nation opens the gates of its country, not because of necessity…but because the nation which wants to come in has explained its desire to it.” (4)


“The tragedy of Zionism,” Walter Laqueur wrote in his standard history, “was that it appeared on the international scene when there were no longer empty spaces on the world map.” This is not quite right. Rather it was no longer politically tenable to create such spaces: extermination had ceased to be an option of conquest. (5) Basically the Zionist movement could only choose between two strategic options to achieve its goal: what Benny Morris has labeled “the way of South Africa” - “the establishment of an apartheid state, with a settler minority lording it over a large, exploited native majority” - or the “the way of transfer” - “you could create a homogenous Jewish state or at least a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority by moving or transferring all or most of the Arabs out.” (6)

Round One - “The way of transfer”

In the first round of conquest, the Zionist movement set its sights on “the way of transfer.” For all the public rhetoric about wanting to “live with the Arabs in conditions of unity and mutual honor and together with them to turn the common homeland into a flourishing land” (Twelfth Zionist Congress, 1921), the Zionists from early on were in fact bent on expelling them. “The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings,” Tom Segev reports. “‘Disappearing’ the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer - or its morality.” The key was to get the timing right. Ben-Gurion, reflecting on the expulsion option in the late 1930s, wrote: “What is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times; and if at this time the opportunity is missed and what is possible in such great hours is not carried out - a whole world is lost.” (7)

The goal of “disappearing” the indigenous Arab population points to a virtual truism buried beneath a mountain of apologetic Zionist literature: what spurred Palestinians’ opposition to Zionism was not anti-Semitism in the sense of an irrational hatred of Jews but rather the prospect - very real - of their expulsion. “The fear of territorial displacement and dispossession,” Morris reasonably concludes, “was to be the chief motor of Arab antagonism to Zionism.” Likewise, in his magisterial study of Palestinian nationalism, Yehoshua Porath suggests that the “major factor nourishing” Arab anti-Semitism “was not hatred for the Jews as such but opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine.” He goes on to argue that, although Arabs initially differentiated between Jews and Zionists, it was “inevitable” that opposition to Zionist settlement would turn into a loathing of all Jews: “As immigration increased, so did the Jewish community’s identification with the Zionist movement…. The non-Zionist and anti-Zionist factors became an insignificant minority, and a large measure of sophistication was required to make the older distinction. It was unreasonable to hope that the wider Arab population, and the riotous mob which was part of it, would maintain this distinction.” (8)

From its incipient stirrings in the late nineteenth century through the watershed revolt in the 1930s, Palestinian resistance consistently focused on the twin juggernauts of Zionist conquest: Jewish settlers and Jewish settlements. (9) Apologetic Zionist writers like Anita Shapira juxtapose benign Jewish settlement against recourse to force. (10) In fact, settlement was force. “From the outset, Zionism sought to employ force in order to realize national aspirations,” Yosef Gorny observes. “This force consisted primarily of the collective ability to rebuild a national home in Palestine.” Through settlement the Zionist movement aimed - in Ben-Gurion’s words - “to establish a great Jewish fact in this country” that was irreversible. (emphasis in original) (11) Moreover, settlement and armed force were in reality seamlessly interwoven as Zionist settlers sought “the ideal and perfect fusion between the plow and rifle.” Moshe Dayan later memorialized that “We are a generation of settlers, and without the combat helmet and the barrel of a gun, we will not be able to plant a tree or build a house.” (12) The Zionist movement inferred behind Palestinian resistance to Jewish settlement a generic (and genetic) anti-Semitism - Jewish settlers “being murdered,” as Ben-Gurion put it, “simply because they were Jews” - in order to conceal from the outside world and itself the rational and legitimate grievances of the indigenous population. (13) In the ensuing bloodshed the kith and kin of Zionist martyrs would, like relatives of Palestinian martyrs today, wax proud at these national sacrifices. “I am gratified,” the father of a Jewish casualty eulogized, “that I was a living witness to such a historical event.” (14)

It bears critical notice for what comes later that, from the interwar through early postwar years, Western public opinion was not altogether averse to population transfer as an expedient (albeit extreme) for resolving ethnic conflicts. French socialists and Europe’s Jewish press supported in the mid-1930s the transfer of Jews to Madagascar to solve Poland’s “Jewish problem.” (15) The main forced transfer before World War II was effected between Turkey and Greece. Sanctioned by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and approved and supervised by the League of Nations, this brutal displacement of more than 1.5 million people eventually came to be seen by much of official Europe as an auspicious precedent. The British cited it in the late 1930s as a model for resolving the conflict in Palestine. The right-wing Zionist leader, Vladimir Jabotinsky, taking heart from Nazi demographic experiments in conquered territories (about 1.5 million Poles and Jews were expelled and hundreds of thousands of Germans resettled in their place), exclaimed: “The world has become accustomed to the idea of mass migrations and has almost become fond of them. Hitler - as odious as he is to us - has given this idea a good name in the world.” During the war the Soviet Union also carried out bloody deportations of recalcitrant minorities such as the Volga Germans, Chechen-Ingush and Tatars. Labor Zionists pointed to the “positive experience” of the Greek-Turkish and Soviet expulsions in support of the transfer idea. Recalling the “success” (Churchill) of the Greek-Turkish compulsory transfer, the Allies at the Potsdam Conference (1945) authorized the expulsion of some 13 million Germans from Central and Eastern Europe (around 2 million perished in the course of this horrendous uprooting). Even the left-wing British Labor Party advocated in its 1944 platform that the “Arabs be encouraged to move out” of Palestine, as did the humanist philosopher Bertrand Russell, to make way for Zionist settlement. (16)

In fact many in the enlightened West came to view displacement of the indigenous population of Palestine as an inexorable concomitant of civilization’s advance. The identification of Americans with Zionism came easily since the “social order of the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine] was built on the ethos of a frontier society, in which a pioneering-settlement model set the tone.” To account for the “almost complete disregard of the Arab case” by Americans, a prominent British Labor MP, Richard Crossman, explained in the mid-1940s: “Zionism after all is merely the attempt by the European Jew to build his national life on the soil of Palestine in much the same way as the American settler developed the West. So the American will give the Jewish settler in Palestine the benefit of the doubt, and regard the Arab as the aboriginal who must go down before the march of progress.” Contrasting the “slovenly” Arabs with enterprising Jewish settlers who had “set going revolutionary forces in the Middle East,” Crossman himself professed in the name of “social progress” support for Zionism. The left-liberal U.S. presidential candidate in 1948, Henry Wallace, compared the Zionist struggle in Palestine with “the fight the American colonies carried on in 1776. Just as the British stirred up the Iroquois to fight the colonists, so today they are stirring up the Arabs.” (17)

Come 1948, the Zionist movement exploited the “revolutionary times” of the first Arab-Israeli war - much like the Serbs did in Kosovo during the NATO attack - to expel more than 80 percent of the indigenous population (750,000 Palestinians), and thereby achieve its goal of an overwhelmingly Jewish state, if not yet in the whole of Palestine. (18) Berl Katznelson, known as the “conscience” of the Labor Zionist movement, had maintained that “there has never been a colonizing enterprise as typified by justice and honesty toward others as our work here in Eretz Israel.” In his multivolume paean to the American settlers’ dispossession of the native population, The Winning of the West, Theodore Roosevelt likewise concluded that “no other conquering nation has ever treated savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States.” The recipients of this benefaction would presumably have a different story to tell. (19)

Round Two: “The way of South Africa”

The main Arab (and British) fear before and after the 1948 war was that the Zionist movement would use as a springboard for further expansion the Jewish state carved out of Palestine. (20) In fact, Zionists pursued from early on a “stages” strategy of conquering Palestine by parts - a strategy it would later vilify the Palestinians for. “The Zionist vision could not be fulfilled in one fell swoop,” Ben-Gurion’s official biographer reports, “especially the transformation of Palestine into a Jewish state. The stage-by-stage approach, dictated by less than favorable circumstances, required the formulation of objectives that appeared to be `concessions.’” It acquiesced in British and United Nations proposals for the partition of Palestine but only “as a stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation” (Ben-Gurion). (21) Chief among the Zionist leadership’s regrets in the aftermath of the 1948 war was its failure to conquer the whole of Palestine. Come 1967, Israel exploited the “revolutionary times” of the June war to finish the job. (22) Sir Martin Gilbert, in his glowing history of Israel, maintained that Zionist leaders from the outset conceived the conquered territories as an undesired “burden that was to weigh heavily on Israel.” In a highly acclaimed new study, Six Days of War, Michael Oren suggests that Israel’s occupation of the Sinai, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza “came about largely through chance,” “the vagaries and momentum of war.” In light of the Zionist movement’s long-standing territorial imperatives, Sternhell more soberly observes: “The role of occupier, which Israel began to play only a few months after the lightning victory of June 1967, was not the result of some miscalculation on the part of the rulers of that period or the outcome of a combination of circumstances, but another step in the realization of Zionism’s major ambitions.” (23)

Israel confronted the same dilemma after occupying the West Bank and Gaza as at the dawn of the Zionist movement: it wanted the land but not the people. Expulsion, however, was no longer a viable option. In the aftermath of the brutal Nazi experiments with and plans for demographic engineering, international public opinion had ceased granting any legitimacy to forced population transfers. The landmark Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified in 1949, for the first time “unequivocally prohibited deportation” of civilians under occupation (Articles 49, 147). (25) Accordingly Israel moved after the June war to impose the second of its two options mentioned above - apartheid. This proved to be the chief stumbling block to a diplomatic settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The “Peace Process”

Right after the June war the United Nations deliberated on the modalities for achieving a just and lasting peace. The broad consensus of the General Assembly as well as the Security Council called for Israel’s withdrawal from the Arab territories it occupied during the June war. Security Council Resolution 242 stipulated this basic principle of international law in its preambular paragraph “emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” (emphasis in original) (26) At the same time, Resolution 242 called on Arab states to recognize Israel’s right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats and acts of force.” To accommodate Palestinian national aspirations, the international consensus eventually provided for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza once Israel withdrew to its pre-June borders. (Resolution 242 had only referred obliquely to the Palestinians in its call for “achieving a just resolution of the refugee problem.”)

Although Defense Minister Moshe Dayan privately acknowledged that Resolution 242 required full withdrawal, Israel officially maintained that it allowed for “territorial revision.” (27) Israel’s refusal in February 1971 to fully withdraw from the Sinai in exchange for Egypt’s offer of a peace treaty led directly to the October 1973 war. (28) The basic parameters of Israeli policy regarding Palestinian territory were set out in the late 1960s in the proposal of Yigal Allon, a senior Labor Party official and Cabinet member. The “Allon Plan” called for Israel’s annexation of up to half the West Bank, while Palestinians would be confined to the other half in two unconnected cantons to the north and south. Sasson Sofer notes generally the “fertile dualism” of Israeli diplomacy - one might rather say “fertile cynicism” - of “pointing to the uniqueness of the Jewish question in order to obtain legitimacy, and then stressing the normality of Israel’s sovereign existence as a state which should be accorded all the international rights and privileges of a national entity.” In the case at hand Israel demanded, like all sovereign states, full recognition yet also claimed a right, in the name of unique Jewish suffering and despite international law, to territorial conquest. As shown elsewhere, invocation of the Nazi holocaust played a crucial role in this diplomatic game. (29)

The United States initially supported the consensus interpretation of Resolution 242, making allowance for only “minor” and “mutual” adjustments on the irregular border between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank. (30) In heated private exchanges with Israel during the UN-sponsored mediation efforts of Gunnar Jarring in 1968, (31) American officials stood firm that “the words `recognized and secure’ meant `security arrangements’ and `recognition’ of new lines as international boundaries,” and “never meant that Israel could extend its territory to [the] West Bank or Suez if this was what it felt its security required”; and that “there will never be peace if Israel tries to hold onto large chunks of territory.” Referring to it explicitly by name, the US deplored even the minimalist version of the Allon Plan as “a non-starter” and “unacceptable in principle.” (32)

In a crucial shift beginning under the Nixon-Kissinger administration, however, American policy was realigned with Israel’s. (33) Except for Israel and the United States (and occasionally a US client state), the international community has consistently supported, for the past quarter-century, the “two-state” settlement: that is, the full Israeli withdrawal/full Arab recognition formula as well as the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The United States cast the lone veto of Security Council resolutions in January 1976 and April 1980 affirming the two-state settlement that were endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and neighboring Arab states. A December 1989 General Assembly resolution along similar lines passed 151-3 (no abstentions), the three negative votes cast by Israel, the United States, and Dominica. (34) Given this record of contempt for world opinion, it’s unsurprising that Israel set as a crucial precondition for negotiations that Palestinians “must drop their traditional demand” for “international arbitration” or a “Security Council mechanism.” (35) The main obstacle to Israel’s annexation of occupied Palestinian territory was the PLO. Having endorsed the two-state settlement in the mid-1970s, it could no longer be dismissed as simply a terrorist organization bent on Israel’s destruction. Indeed, pressures mounted on Israel to reach an agreement with the PLO’s “compromising approach.” Consequently in June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon, where Palestinian leaders were headquartered, to head off what Israeli strategic analyst Avner Yaniv dubbed the PLO’s “peace offensive.” (36)

Frustrated at the diplomatic impasse caused by US-Israeli obstructionism, West Bank and Gaza Palestinians rose up in December 1987 against the occupation in a basically non-violent civil revolt, the intifada. Israel’s brutal repression (compounded by the inept and corrupt leadership of the PLO) eventually resulted in the uprising’s defeat. (37) With the implosion of the Soviet Union, the destruction of Iraq, and the suspension of funding from the Gulf states, Palestinians suffered yet a further decline in their fortunes. The US and Israel seized on this opportune moment to recruit the already venal and now desperate Palestinian leadership - “on the verge of bankruptcy” and “in [a] weakened condition” (Uri Savir, Israel’s chief negotiator at Oslo) - as surrogates of Israeli power. This was the real meaning of the Oslo Accord signed in September 1993: to create a Palestinian Bantustan by dangling before Arafat and the PLO the perquisites of power and privilege, much like how the British controlled Palestine during the Mandate years through the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husayni, and the Supreme Muslim Council. (38) “The occupation continued” after Oslo, a seasoned Israeli observer, Meron Benvenisti, wrote, “albeit by remote control, and with the consent of the Palestinian people, represented by their `sole representative,’ the PLO.” And again: “It goes without saying that `cooperation’ based on the current power relationship is no more than permanent Israeli domination in disguise, and that Palestinian self-rule is merely a euphemism for Bantustanization.” The “test” for Arafat and the PLO, according to Savir, was whether they would “us[e] their new power base to dismantle Hamas and other violent opposition groups” contesting Israeli apartheid. (39)

Israel’s settlement policy in the Occupied Territories the past decade points up the real content of the “peace process” set in motion at Oslo. The details are spelled out in an exhaustive study by B’Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) entitled Land Grab. (40) Due primarily to massive Israeli government subsidies, the Jewish settler population increased from 250,000 to 380,000 during the Oslo years, with settler activity proceeding at a brisker pace under the tenure of Labor’s Ehud Barak than Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. Illegal under international law and built on land illegally seized from Palestinians, these settlements now incorporate nearly half the land surface of the West Bank. For all practical purposes they have been annexed to Israel (Israeli law extends not only to Israeli but also non-Israeli Jews residing in the settlements) and are off-limits to Palestinians without special authorization. Fragmenting the West Bank into disconnected and unviable enclaves, they have impeded meaningful Palestinian development. In parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the only available land for building lies in areas under Israeli jurisdiction, while the water consumption of the 5,000 Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley is equivalent to 75% of the water consumption of the entire two million Palestinians inhabitants of the West Bank. Not even one Jewish settlement was dismantled during the Oslo years, while the number of new housing units in the settlements increased by more than 50 percent (excluding East Jerusalem); again, the biggest spurt of new housing starts occurred not under Netanyahu’s tenure but rather under Barak’s, in the year 2000 - exactly when Barak claims to have “left no stone unturned” in his quest for peace.

“Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two different systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality,” the B’Tselem study concludes. “This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa.”

During the first 18 months of Sharon’s term of office, fully 44 new settlements - rebuked by the UN Commission Human Rights as “incendiary and provocative” - were established. (41) As settlements multiply, Israel is corralling West Bank Palestinians into eight fragments of territory each surrounded by barbed wire with a permit required to move or trade between them (trucks must load and unload on the borders “back-to-back”), thereby further devastating an economy in which unemployment already stands above 70 percent in some areas, half the population lives below the poverty line of $2 per day, and one-fifth of children under five suffer from malnutrition largely caused - according to a USAID report - by transport blockages. “What is truly appalling,” a Haaretz writer lamented, “is the blasé way in which the story has been received and handled by the mass media….Where is the public outcry against this attempt to divide the territories and enforce internal passports … [and] humiliate and inconvenience a population that can scarcely earn a living or live a life as it is?” (42)

After seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations and a succession of new interim agreements that managed to rob the Palestinians of the few crumbs thrown from the master’s table at Oslo, (43) the moment of truth arrived at Camp David in July 2000. President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak delivered Arafat the ultimatum of formally acquiescing in a Bantustan or bearing full responsibility for the collapse of the “peace process.” Arafat refused, however, to budge from the international consensus for resolving the conflict. According to Robert Malley, a key American negotiator at Camp David, Arafat continued to hold out for a “Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders, living alongside Israel,” yet also “accepted the notion of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory to accommodate settlements, though [he] insisted on a one for one swap of land of ‘equal size and value’” - that is, the “minor” and “mutual” border adjustments of the original US position on Resolution 242. Malley’s rendering of the Palestinian proposal at Camp David - an offer that was widely dismissed but rarely reported - deserves full quotation: “a state of Israel incorporating some land captured in 1967 and including a very large majority of its settlers, the largest Jewish Jerusalem in the city’s history, preservation of Israel’s demographic balance between Jews and Arabs; security guaranteed by a US-led international presence.” On the other hand, contrary to the myth spun by Barak-Clinton as well as a compliant media, “Barak offered the trappings of Palestinian sovereignty,” a special adviser at the British Foreign Office observed, “while perpetuating the subjugation of the Palestinians.” Although accounts of the Barak proposal significantly differ, all knowledgeable observers concur that it “would have meant that territory annexed by Israel would encroach deep inside the Palestinian state” (Malley), dividing the West Bank into multiple, disconnected enclaves, and offering land swaps that were of neither equal size nor equal value. (44) ” all above in quotes from;

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=4&ar=10

“Consider in this regard Israel’s reaction to the March 2002 Saudi peace plan. Crown Prince Abdullah proposed, and all 21 other members of the Arab League approved, a plan making concessions that actually went beyond the international consensus. In exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal, it offered not only full recognition but “normal relations with Israel,” and called not for the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees but rather only a “just solution” to the refugee problem. A Haaretz commentator noted that the Saudi plan was “surprisingly similar to what Barak claims to have proposed two years ago” at Camp David. Were Israel truly committed to a comprehensive withdrawal in exchange for normalization with the Arab world, the Saudi plan and its unanimous endorsement by the Arab League summit ought to have been met with euphoria. In fact, after an ephemeral interlude of evasion and silence, it was quickly deposited in Orwell’s memory hole. (45) Nonetheless, Barak’s - and Clinton’s - fraud that Palestinians at Camp David rejected a maximally generous Israeli offer provided crucial moral cover for the horrors that ensued.” - again from the above link.

Dawn, I take your point. It is fair enough in so far as it goes. However, in order to acheive a settlement, there must be a point of reference. The fact is that Israel does not want a settlement based on 242, and the Bush regime doesn’t want it either. The rest of the international community continues to demand 242 as the basis of settlement, and the Palestinians, and the wider Arab world has agreed to settle on this basis, with the Arab league offering peace and recognition to Israel in return for this. Isreal has totally ignored this offer.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 5, 2007 5:59 PM
Comment #206738

Paul,

As I stated above that land belongs to neither of them.

If they both die off it will only be karma for invading worthless land that was abandoned by the Saudis.

This arguement of who has rights to the land is pointless. They are both invaders, they are both bad-guys, they are both in the wrong, and they will both probably push each other into extinction.

If either of them were to do what is right, they would go back to southern Iraq where they are both from. Then they could live on the land they raped a couple millenia ago, kind of like how they are raping it today.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 5, 2007 6:17 PM
Comment #206762

Paul, you keep pointing out UNSCR 242, the security councel resolution of 1967 which called for the removal of Israel from the territories it occupied in the wars.

But as usual, you totally ignore anything in that resolution except what the Israelis are asked to do. What could possibly be your motivation for this? And YOU accuse others of only seeing one side to this debate?

This is ALSO in the text of UNSCR 242. It’s the second half, which you completly pretend isn’t there.

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force

Neither the Palestinians nor the Arab states who had lost territory recognized the rightful existence of Israel, much less their right to live in peace and be free from threats or acts of force. In fact, most of Israel’s enemies STILL have not given diplomatic recognition to Israel or acknowledged the legitimacy of their very existence, much less their borders either before or after 1967.

In fact, in 1970, AFTER the passage of 242, Egypt launched yet another invasion of Israel. After that, Egypt and Syria launced yet ANOTHER invasion, the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

So there we have it. Two wars were the Arab’s answer to 242, but Israel should honor it anyway?

And today, amidst acts of terrorism, missles lobbing in from Lebanon onto civilian targets, and foreign sponsorhip of Palestinian militants, you think that Israel should just hand over their security buffer in compliance to 242 while everybody else just ignores their end of the bargain.

Paul says:

The rest of the international community continues to demand 242 as the basis of settlement, and the Palestinians, and the wider Arab world has agreed to settle on this basis, with the Arab league offering peace and recognition to Israel in return for this. Isreal has totally ignored this offer.

And well they should ignore it. Land is a tangible asset. A “promise of peace” is words in the mouths of proven liars. Liars who twice launched wars against Israel AFTER 242 was enacted and to this day openly talk about extinguishing the entire Israeli state. To give up your security buffer when you live in a country as tiny as Israel, and when the Arab League hasn’t even recognized Israel’s very existence while talking war, beggers belief.

Rather than follow a million links to the commens of dissident Israelis, it would be far more fruitful to study the long and storied history of global antisemitism, especially that of so called “Christian” Europe. Then it becomes far clearer why the Jews are expected to commit suicide for a mere promise of peace from those who hate them and swear their destruction.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 5, 2007 9:37 PM
Comment #206763

OK, I get it LO. What you’re saying is that you can’t make peace with these people, so let’s just have perpetual war. And while we’re at it, we’ll steal the land and water, and ethnically cleanse the place whenever the world is not looking. Seems clear enough. Who’s the real warmonger then?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 5, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #206765

Paul, peace would be a nice option.

Can you make peace with those people? Good question. And an unresolved one when the people in question have repeatedly sent armies at you vowing to drive you into the sea.

Let’s start with the Arab League doing the bare minimum of acknowledging the existence of the state of Israel before demanding that Israel starts handing over land.

It’s utterly ridiculous to ask Israel to give up tangible real estate for a “promise of peace” from people who don’t even acknowledge their right to exist.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 5, 2007 10:16 PM
Comment #206780

Interesting article, dawn. Thanks.

Hussein was given the opportunity to prevent the war. He chose to call Bush’s bluff.

How so? Saddam always insisted he didn’t have WMD. The IAEA cleared him on nukes and were about to clear him on bio-chem weapons before Bush started the war.

Anyhow, while I believe Iran should never ever be allowed to develop nukes, I think sugar’s going to do us more good than vinegar in this case.

Ahmedinajad was dealt a serious blow in the last elections and the mullah’s are starting to criticize him. An attack — verbal or physical — by President Bush is the only thing that can save Ahmadinajad’s political career.

This may well be a case where if we ignore the problem, it’ll go away.

In any case, we could always nuke Tehran if we detect an Iranian nuclear test. That is, as long as Bush is gone by then. That guy is still allowing North Korea to build nukes, so I doubt he’d take any action against Iran.

BTW, remember how the Iranian defense minister endorsed Bush’s re-election in 2004? He obviously knew Bush was Iran’s best bet for a nuke.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 6, 2007 3:19 AM
Comment #206784

LO, the below extract from my previous post (from Norman Finkelstein), if you actually read it, actually deals with your call for the Arab League to recognise the existence of Israel.”Crown Prince Abdullah proposed, and all 21 other members of the Arab League approved, a plan making concessions that actually went beyond the international consensus. In exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal, it offered not only full recognition but “normal relations with Israel,” and called not for the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees but rather only a “just solution” to the refugee problem. A Haaretz commentator noted that the Saudi plan was “surprisingly similar to what Barak claims to have proposed two years ago” at Camp David. Were Israel truly committed to a comprehensive withdrawal in exchange for normalization with the Arab world, the Saudi plan and its unanimous endorsement by the Arab League summit ought to have been met with euphoria. In fact, after an ephemeral interlude of evasion and silence, it was quickly deposited in Orwell’s memory hole. (45) Nonetheless, Barak’s - and Clinton’s - fraud that Palestinians at Camp David rejected a maximally generous Israeli offer provided crucial moral cover for the horrors that ensued.” -

You keep talking about Arab attacks on Israel. In fact the last the time Arabs attacked (1973), they were backed by the Soviet Union. The cold war was buring brightly. Long since have the major Arab Nations become client or vassal states of the US and Britain. Israel is no more in danger from then than the man on the moon. That is, not unless the Arab peoples overthrow them and create governments that are truly independent. Even if these regimes had the inclination to attack Israel, they don’t have the means. Israel is well able to defend herself conventionally, never mind being the only played there with nukes. This is not about an existential threat to Israel, such a threat expired long ago from the Arabs. The greatest existential threat to Israel now comes only from itself. Tired of perennial war, many of the best Israelis are leavining and immigration has collapsed, meanwhile the Arab population of both Israel proper and the territories is rising rapidly. If Israel wants peace, it is clear all it has to do is to leave the occupied territories and finally there can be peace. It doesn’t want peace until the Zionist project is complete - the creation of eretz Israel.

“In his Complete Diaries, Vol. II. p. 711, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, said that the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” The “Brook of Egypt” may be another lesser waterway about 100 miles East of the Nile. Rabbi Fischmann, member of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared in his testimony to the UN Special Committee of Enquiry on 9 July 1947: “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”“
//www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/greater-israel.htm
The clear and obvious truth is that Israel does not want peace, having moved to sabotage peace initiatives many times.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 6, 2007 3:55 AM
Comment #206817

Paul,

The reason the Arab countries will always agree with Saudi Arabia is because they are the only ones who have actual rights to the land.

Everyone up there is an invader and that is why that can’t agree.

It is like if france and england started arguing over who is native to Canada.

Also, it doesn’t matter what Fischmann says because he is a joke in his own community. No matter what he says no one is actually listening to him.

Everyone over there tolerates him the same way we tolerate Gingrich and Moore.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at February 6, 2007 3:29 PM
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