waz on 19 Nov 2000 01:07:24 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] [Fwd: PeaceWatch: More Myths and Facts]

I was quite upset by the thread not so long ago about the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Since it is a conflict in which I am
personally emotionally involved, I was guilty of posting stuff that I
probably ought not have done and talking complete bollocks in the same
way that most people on both sides seem to when discussing this
particular conflict.

The following is a 'Myths and Facts' article about the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict biased towards the side of peace, rather
than one of the particular sides of the conflict. I submit it as an
example of a rare kind of text - something that discusses this issue
without talking complete bollocks (or so it seems to me), and I
apologise in advance to those on each side who will be annoyed by the
bits of it with which they disagree.

Cheers etc.,


> ***************** PeaceWatch*********************
> Vol 2 #25                                            November 18, 2000
>     Produced by the PEACE Mid-East Dialog Group
> Ami Isseroff     Copyright 2000          Ameen Hannoun
> *************************************************
>                     More Myths and Facts
>                                by
>                          Ami Isseroff
> Below we will examine in detail some of the many myths that
> dominate discussions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
>                    Arab Brotherhood
>  Palestinians have assumed that Arab
> countries would line up behind them in their struggle against
> Israel. This does not seem to be the case, as was plainly
> evident at recent Arab and Islamic summit meetings that
> produced no practical result. Egypt and Jordan have benefited
> from close support by the United States and foreign aid owing
> to their peace agreements, and are not likely to do anything to
> upset the United States. Jordanian businessmen likewise
> oppose breaking ties with Israel. No Arab country is likely to
> pay more than lip service to Yasser Arafat's bid for a
> Palestinian state with sovereignty over East Jerusalem
> including the Haram as-Sharif (Temple Mount). This would put
> Arafat in position to claim pan-Arab leadership of the type
> once sought by Gamal Abdel Nasser for Egypt, and contested
> by other Arab countries. The Saudis cannot be enthusiastic
> about Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram as Sharif, which
> would make Jerusalem a rival to Mecca as a holy site and
> tourist attraction, as well as giving the Palestinians added
> importance in Muslim religious affairs. For that matter, King
> Abdallah of Jordan, whose Hashemite dynasty retains
> custodianship of the Muslim Holy Places in Jerusalem, is not
> likely to be happy to relinquish that title. Perhaps it was for
> this reason that Israel offered Muslim, and not Palestinian,
> sovereignty over the Haram as-Sharif.
> Economic interests may predominate over Muslim
> brotherhood. The Saudi's have indirectly invested in several
> Israeli and American hi-tech firms that want to establish
> industrial parks in the West Bank, where land is still relatively
> inexpensive. All Arab countries are aware that a war, like
> previous wars, may prove very costly to them in territories and
> lives lost. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that most Arab
> countries have not rushed off to join a holy war against Israel.
>                       The Camp David II Proposals
> A favorite Israeli myth is that
> Israel made a fair and viable proposal to the Palestinians at
> the Camp David talks, which the Palestinians refused for
> inexplicable reasons, or because they had already decided on
> violence beforehand. It is true that the Israeli proposals went
> farther than any previous ones, and were certainly more
> generous than those envisioned by Prime Minister Rabin
> when the Oslo accords were signed. It is also true that a
> majority of Israelis indicated they would vote against these
> proposals, as they understood them, if a referendum were
> held. It is also true that Israeli PM Barak won praise from US
> President Clinton for making far-reaching concessions.
> However, none of the above means that the proposals were
> fair and viable. Any fair reading of the proposals, as reported
> by various sources and summarized at
> http://www.mideastweb.org/campdavid2.htm would have to
> conclude that they were not a serious attempt at a permanent
> solution.
> The proposed Palestinian state would be divided into three or
> more enclaves in the West Bank separated by Israeli territory,
> with another half-dozen or so mini-enclaves given some form
> of sovereignty in East Jerusalem. There is no detailed
> account of how Palestinians would travel between these tracts
> of land, but it would probably involve a dreary system of
> checkpoints. The Palestinian border would be separated from
> Jordan by an Israeli presence, and Israelis would retain
> control of border crossings. This is not a recipe for founding a
> viable and sovereign state, nor is it in the interests of Israeli
> security. There is no way the Palestinian state would be able
> to maintain an independent economy and customs authority or
> provide protection to its citizens. The settlement would create
> numerous points of friction at the various checkpoints, and
> would endanger Israeli troops and settlers who could become
> trapped in the numerous small areas of Israeli control in the
> midst of Palestinian territory.
>           The Palestinians Need the Violence
> This morally bankrupt  and politically inept misconception
> has been advocated by  Israeli peace activists as well as by
> Palestinians, who believe that the Palestinians will achieve
> with violence what they could not achieve at the negotiating table.
> Whatever the Palestinians achieved since 1948 has been achieved at the
> negotiating table, and they only began to make progress
> toward a state after solemnly undertaking to relinquish
> violence at Oslo. The resumption of violence as an alternative
> to negotiations has robbed the Palestinian leadership of credit
> they had gained as a responsible international authority, and
> made it much more difficult to convince even moderate
> Israelis that the Palestinian leadership can be "peace
> partners."
>               Separation will Solve Everything
> The separation plan being prepared by Israel would supposedly
> render Israel  invulnerable to Palestinian attacks. However, the
> maps show that this is impossible without good will and a clear, final
> and contiguous border. In Jerusalem, Palestinian and Israeli
> neighborhoods are intertwined in a rather inseparable way.
> Many Israeli settlements, like the town of Ariel, are
> surrounded by Palestinian villages or towns. The small
> settlement in Hebron, which probably cannot be evacuated for
> political reasons, is located in the midst of a large Palestinian
> town. The tunnel bypass road to Efrat is surrounded by
> Palestinian territory and is subject to frequent closure
> because of the unrest.
> Israel could end the violence by force, but the
> government does not do it for political reasons - If Israel
> had a good plan for ending the violence, the Israeli
> government would have used it. It is becoming increasingly
> apparent that there is no plan and can be no plan. Any military
> solution must take into account the reaction of the U.S. and
> Arab countries, the probability of further escalation in
> response to Israeli retaliation, and the low tolerance of Israeli
> society to excessive casualties. Believe it or not, announcing
> that Israel is annexing Palestinian territory will not endear
> Israel to the Palestinians or to the world, and will not bring us
> closer to a solution.  Bombing Palestinian towns and starving
> them out is not going to make them love Zionism either, nor
> will it earn the support of the EU or the United States. Even
> supposing that the Palestinians could be starved and beaten
> into surrender, the facts of the situation would remain the
> same. Israel would eventually have to decide between giving
> up the territories or incorporating several million Palestinian
> citizens. The Palestinians would eventually have to decide
> between keeping their dreams of returning to Haifa and Jaffa
> and living in misery, or starting a new life in a state of their
> own.
>                               Some Conclusions
> It is remarkable that neither side has adopted strategies that
> could possibly have given them an advantage, because not
> only the political pundits, but the leaders themselves and
> even the so-called peace groups, are locked into thinking in
> terms of violence, force and an adversarial model. Palestinian
> non-violent protest would advance their cause much more
> than rocks and machine gun fire, but that course is unlikely to
> be adopted. Israel could do more to stop the violence and limit
> bad public relations by using non-lethal crowd control
> methods, rather than investing in public relations efforts and
> shooting kids between the eyes.
> There are no magic solutions for either side based on
> coercion. The political pundits who advocate such solutions
> instead of negotiations are selling snake oil. In the end, the
> sides will have to work out a solution based on mutual
> respect, and any violence that happens between now and that
> time will only make the solution more difficult.
> -------------------------------------------------------------
>      Dialog Meeting In London
> Palestinian and Israeli members of the Bereaved Families Forum met
> in London last week to formulate plans to carry on the struggle
> for peace despite the odds.
> Among other decisions they formulated a letter to be sent to PM Barak
> and PNA Chairman Arafat reiterating the need for a fair negotiated
> solution and an end to the violence.
> Details at http://www.mideastweb@mideastweb.org/Frmeeting1.htm
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
>                      Announcements
> November 24-25 gathering in Haifa sponsored by the Interfaith association.
> Contact
> Yehuda Stolov (msyuda@mscc.huji.ac.il).
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> At MidEastWeb:
>  News: http://www.mideastweb.org/mewnews.thm
>  The Camp David II proposals - what are we fighting about? Updated with
>  New maps November 18.
>     http://www.mideastweb.org/CampDavid2.htm
>  Bereaved Families' Forum:
>   Dialog meeting in London -
> http://www.mideastweb@mideastweb.org/Frmeeting1.htm
>   Settlements and Peace -
> http://www.mideastweb@mideastweb.org/Settlepeace.htm
> --------------------------------------------------------------
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