Newsletter 6 Apr 2008
(a) Olmert and Settlements: Lofty Goals Betrayed by Actions on the Ground by Geoffrey Aronson
(b) Permanent Settlements or “Temporary Outposts” — Is There a Difference?
(c) Grab more hills, expand the territory by Henry Siegman
(a) I am Bassam Aramin by Rami Elhanan
(b) Bassam’s letter to the Israeli TV: So Sad
The Next War
(a) The senator, his pastor and the Israel lobby by Ali Abunimah
(b) The Strange Case of Robert Malley by Gershom Gorenberg
(c) Dozens of Jewish Super-Delegates May Hold Key to Democratic Race by Jennifer Siegel
(d) The new dovish Jewish lobby, an item in Rosner’s blog
(a) Mossawa Center releases Racism Report
(b) High Court ruling closes off Route 443 to Palestinians by Akiva Eldar
(c) Israel: End Systematic Bias Against Bedouin says Human Rights Watch
Whose state or states?
(a) One State or Two? Neither. The Issue is Zionism by Jonathan Cook
(b) One State or Two? by Mick Dumper
(c) Death to the Arabs by Uri Avnery
(a) Olmert and Settlements: Lofty Goals Betrayed by Actions on the Ground by Geoffrey Aronson of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Feb-Mar 2008
“In stark contrast to Olmert’s rhetoric, however, the settlement machine grinds on. Many Israelis and others are now asking whether Olmert means what he says when he voices a need to end occupation, evacuate settlements, and agree to the creation of a Palestinian state.”
Full report at http://fmep.org/reports/vol18/no2/01_olmert_and_settlements.html
(b) Permanent Settlements or “Temporary Outposts” — Is There a Difference?
Settlement Report | Vol. 18 No. 1 | January-February 2008 at http://fmep.org/reports/vol18/no1/06_Permanent_Outposts.html
(c) Grab more hills, expand the territory by Henry Siegman, London Review of Books, 10 April 2008
An important review of two recently published books on the settlement enterprise: The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-77 by Gershom Gorenberg and Lords of the Land: The War over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar
“These books give the lie to the carefully cultivated narrative that has sustained the occupation. According to that narrative, the government of Israel offered peace to the Palestinians and to its Arab neighbours in the aftermath of the war of 1967 if they would agree to recognise the Jewish state. But at a meeting of the Arab League in Khartoum on 1 September 1967, the Arab world responded with ‘the three “no”s of Khartoum': no peace, no recognition and no negotiations. This left Israel no choice but to continue to occupy Palestinian lands. Had Palestinians not resorted to violence in resisting the occupation, the story goes, they would have had a state of their own a long time ago. The story is a lie.”
Full review at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n07/sieg01_.html
(a) I am Bassam Aramin by Rami Elhanan, Common Ground News Service, 27 March 2008
Rami Elhanan is the father of Smadar, who was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in September, 1997. Bassam Aramin is a co-founder of Combatants for Peace. His daughter Abir was killed leaving school on 9 February 2007.
This report provides a moving account of Rami’s trip to Warsaw with Bassam – except that Bassam was not allowed to ravel because he is a Palestinian. Rami also recalls the curious behaviour of the Israeli ambassador: “He stands and takes the single microphone, and everyone, including the Palestinian ambassador, sits admonished like disobedient children, listening to the words of His Lordship.”
And then Rami Elhanan speaks: “That same morning, across from the remains of the Warsaw ghetto wall, I had asked myself how I, as a Jew, as an Israeli and as a human, could express my feelings about Bassam’s loss. Then, I was not able to come to any conclusion. And now, in a split-second decision, I said to those assembled at the screening, “I am Bassam Aramin! I represent here the missing character of this brave and noble combatant for peace.”
I told them that the fact that Palestinians are missing from nearly every international forum that speaks about the conflict is a source of embarrassment. I said that this absent bereaved father, this ex-prisoner who chose the path of reconciliation and peace, is a powerful voice against the glaring injustice that continues to assert that there is no one to talk with, that there is nothing to talk about, and that we should give up talking.
At that point, the ambassador assembled his bodyguards and left in a suitably royal huff…”
Full report at http://www.commongroundnews.org/article.php?id=22853&lan=en&sid=0&sp=0
(b) Nurit Peled writes:
There is going to be A play in Israel about Bassam Aramin, with actor Shlomo Vishinsky (bereaved Jewish father) as Bassam. In a morning talk show in the Israeli prime channel, Bassam and Shlomo were interviewed together but the talk was mostly about the courage of the actor to play ‘an Arab’ (with a wide consent of all but Bassam, that “it will not do in the Arab sector”). Bassam’s daughter, Abir, was murdered in cold blood by an Israeli soldier last year at 10 years old. Bassam is a co-founder and activist of Combatants for Peace. At the end of the show, a photograph of Shlomo Vishinsky’s son, fallen on duty as a soldier in Gaza. Not a photo of little Abir, who was neither a soldier nor a killer, just a frightened little girl who stood by her school’s wall, hoping to escape the soldiers’ attention, but in vain. She was shot in the head from a well-protected Jeep. No inquiry , trial or punishment will ever occur.
I attach Bassam’s letter to the Israeli TV. A document of sadness and greatness.
Subject: So Sad
My name Bassam Aramin, I want to say to you in RASHET, that I am very sad because I don’t see my Abir’s picture at your TV show during the interview with me and Mr. Shlomo Vishinski, I want to ask you when the Israeli media will have the courage to defend the humanity of the Palestinian children as children, equal to the Israeli children. Abir is a child and not a fighter or a warrior. I received a lot of emails which protest against your TV policy, not against me, because they know me. I respect my message and my self. Kids are kids according to me. I hope that you will change your mind one day, and understand that its our responsibility to fight against the occupation and the slavery.
Together we must put an end to our suffering.
All the best, and believe me the Palestinian Israeli conflict is more important than your other programs.
The Next War by M.J.Rosenberg, March 28, 2008
M.J. Rosenberg assesses the possibilities for peace – and war – in his weekly column in IPF Friday, Washington, DC, | Issue # 361
“According to a report in Yedioth Achronoth this week, Israel’s Emergency Economic Administration has produced a report about what the next Arab-Israeli war will look like. The report comes at a time when Israeli military and intelligence circles are expecting some sort of Hezbollah attack in response to the assassination of its leader, Imad Mughniyeh on February 12th. The report describes a ‘reasonably grave’ situation rather than a ‘worst case scenario.’ But it’s quite bad enough. The Emergency Economic Administration predicts that the next war would last a month. There would be ‘missile barrages hitting the greater Tel-Aviv area and other urban conglomerates, a total shut-down of Ben-Gurion Airport, roads bombed incessantly, nationwide power cuts for many hours and the collapse of the water supply. . . .’ This is not the Iran nuclear nightmare scenario, the realization of which requires a technological breakthrough. It is rather an attack that could happen right now. So what is Israel doing about it? ”
Full article at http://www.israelpolicyforum.org/display.cfm?rid=2591
Something is moving in American politics. Below are four separate items which have appeared very recently, all relevant in one way or another to the Israel lobby.
(a) The senator, his pastor and the Israel lobby by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 31 March 2008
Interesting comments on the role of Israel in American politics and the partisan role of the ADL, by Ali Abunimh, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada.
Article at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9427.shtml
(b) The Strange Case of Robert Malley by Gershom Gorenberg, The American Prospect, 27 March 2008
The recent hounding of Barack Obama for the supposed anti-Israel stance of his informal adviser Robert Malley is just the most recent of the outsized attacks that have marked the Democratic primary. Full article at http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_strange_case_of_robert_malley
(c) Dozens of Jewish Super-Delegates May Hold Key to Democratic Race
by Jennifer Siegel, The Forward 20 March 2008
“According to a new survey conducted by the Forward, a disproportionately large share of the Democratic party’s super-delegates are Jewish. Many of them have declared their support for Hillary Clinton, accounting for more than 15% of her current backers.”
Full article at http://www.forward.com/articles/12998/
(d) The new dovish Jewish lobby, an item in Rosner’s blog, Haaretz 27 March 2008
“According to James Besser of the Jewish Week, the new dovish pro-Israel-pro-peace looby is ready to launch… Almost a year after reports of an ‘alternative AIPAC’ emerged in the middle of the Jewish political world, many of the same players are on the verge of announcing a revised initiative intended to get the message to politicians that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is not the only pro-Israel voice in town.”
More at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=865078
(a) Mossawa Center releases Racism Report detailing over 169 cases , Haifa, 18 March 2008
The Mossawa Center released its annual Racism Report at a press conference in Nazareth today detailing 169 incidences of racism against Arab minority of Israel, including the killings of Arab citizens. In preparation for the report, Mossawa staff examined and detailed hundreds of reports of racism, in particular cases against Arab citizens. The report also deals with incidences of racism against refugees, labour immigrants and Jewish immigrants, especially Ethiopians. “Lack of indifference towards racism against Arabs leads to amplified racist events against marginalized Jewish groups,” says Rabbi Gilad Kariv, associate director of the Israel Religious Action Center. “As a rabbi, I’m concerned by religious personalities that are involved in incitement. It’s alarming that Rabbis who receive their salaries from the state budget speak against renting apartments to Arabs, and send inspectors to look for Arab workers in stores.” The Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote equality for the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel. Established in 1997, the Mossawa Center strives to improve the social, economic and political status of the Arab citizens of Israel, while preserving their national and cultural rights as Palestinians.
Full report at http://www.mossawacenter.org/default.php?lng=3&dp=2&fl=25&pg=1
(b) High Court ruling closes off Route 443 to Palestinians by Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 20 March 2008
The interim decision issued 10 days ago by the High Court of Justice on the use of Route 443 marks the first time the justices have issued a ruling to close a road traversing occupied territory to Palestinian use, for the convenience of Israeli travelers… ACRI officials say they fear the High Court stamp of approval for the illegal and immoral policy regarding Route 443 could be cited as a precedent for additional human rights violations. The petitioners protest what they call a lack of judicial process, noting that even though the decision was on an important principle, it was issued without any accompany explanation and with absolutely no reference to the points raised by the petitioners. In addition, they note, the alternative road will not provide for the needs of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in areas bordering Route 443.
Full report at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/965778.html
(c) Israel: End Systematic Bias Against Bedouin says Human Rights Watch, 31 March 2008
Israel should declare an immediate moratorium on demolitions of Bedouin homes and create an independent commission to investigate pervasive land and housing discrimination against its Bedouin citizens in the Negev, Human Rights Watch said in a new 130-page report, Off the Map: Land and Housing Rights Violations in Israel’s Unrecognized Bedouin Villages. The report documents how discriminatory Israeli laws and practices force tens of thousands of Bedouin in the south of Israel to live in unrecognized shanty towns where they are under constant threat of seeing their homes demolished and their communities torn apart.
Full report at http://hrw.org/reports/2008/iopt0308/
– the key recommendations can be viewed at http://hrw.org/reports/2008/iopt0308/1.htm#_Toc193705062
Whose state or states?
(a) One State or Two? Neither. The Issue is Zionism by Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch 12 March 2008
(b) One State or Two? by Mick Dumper, Comment is Free, 31 March 2008
Two articles have appeared within a few weeks of one another, arguing in their ways that the issue of one state or two is a diversion. Jonathan Cook argues that the real issue of Zionism and its ethnic exclusivism: “Without Zionism, the obstacle to creating either one or two states will finally be removed. And if that is the case, then why not also campaign for the solution that will best bring justice to both Israelis and Palestinians?” For Mick Dumper “What has not been taken on board by the wider public is that a binational state does not mean the eradication of the nations involved… The argument being made is that the binationalism, or the one state solution, is simply the two-state solution that works well and works fairly.” And Uri Avnery’s article Death to the Arabs (below) raises questions which are directly connected to those discussed by Cook and Dumper.
Jonathan Cook at http://www.counterpunch.org/cook03122008.html
Mick Dumper at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/mick_dumper/2008/03/one_state_or_two.html
(c) Death to the Arabs by Uri Avnery, 29th March 2008
On the 32nd anniversary of the “Day of the Land” Avnery has written vigorous and moving account of how those Palestinians who remained in Israel after 1948 have been treated over time. At the end he outlines what he sees as the only two solutions to the current discrimination they face: “The first way says: Israel is a Jewish state, but a second people also live here. If Jewish Israelis have defined national rights, Arab Israelis must also have defined national rights. For example, educational, cultural and religious autonomy (as the young Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky demanded a hundred years ago for the Jews in Czarist Russia). They must be allowed to have free and open connections with the Arab world and the Palestinian people, like the connections Jewish citizens have with the Jewish Diaspora. All this must be spelled out in the future constitution of the state. The second way says: Israel belongs to all its citizens, and only to them. Every citizen is an Israeli, much as every US citizen is an American. As far as the state is concerned, there is no difference between one citizen and another, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, Arab or Russian, much as, from the point of view of the American state, there is no difference between white, brown or black citizens, whether of European, African or Asian descent, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. In Israeli parlance, this is called “a state of all its citizens”. It goes without saying that I favor the second alternative, but I am ready to accept the first…”
Full article at http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1206829001/