Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Responding to Palestinian Remorse Over Cut-off of funds to the PA Educational System

To refute what Marcus says does not necessitate attacks on his persona, but a systematic refuation, point by point, of his claims. The fact that you “find no evidence” does not mean that these is none, but that either you did not look in the right places (precisely referenced by Marcus) or you did not want to see it. Sontag is the last witness I would bring, for one thing because she does not understand Arabic and she certainly cannot judge what is said in a classroom.

Going back to the mentality of victim and whining about the poor Palestinian kids who are killed and besieged, does not address the issue either. Because they are killed when they go to the frontlines to confront soldiers with rocks (which kill) or incendiary bombs (which burn), instead of going to school or being at home where no Israeli soldier pursues them.

The siege began after the intifadah broke out, not before. The siege is NOT against the children but against the saboteurs who smuggle their men and ammunition from town to town, and it is the right and duty of the Israeli army to monitor them. In the process, many innocent people are hurt, including children, and that is very painful. Instead of expecting the whole world to pay for your self-inflicted miseries, roll up your sleeves and start working. You make children and expect the UN to feed them. You set up 13 various security apparatuses and want the donor countries to finance them. You spend the little money you have on arms and corruption and want the Arabs and the Americans to foot the bill.

Stop the violence, send people back to work, absorb and settle down your refugees the way Israel did instead of feeding them with the illusions of the right of return, and perhaps there is hope.

Educating for violence is only one aspect of this unfortunate situation. One first has to heal the refugee state of mind which thinks that the world owes you everything instead of taking your fate in your hands and start doing something about it by eradicating corruption and hatred and begin to think and act constructively.

The writer is a senior professor at the Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University.

Should the PA be Asked to Cancel its Death Sentence for “Settlements”

When you demonize a person, he is no longer a person.The transformation of thousands of Israeli citizens into “settlers”, a term that now connotes a “stealing squatter”, has resulted in the sudden demonization of entire Jewish communities in Israel.

Israel’s ‘peace movement’ scapegoats the “settlers” as THE reason for the the last six months of rioting.

One of those ‘peace activists’, Yitzhak Frankenthal, characterizes the residents of Katif as the “sons of Satan” who cause the death of Israel’s soldiers.

In July, 1990, I covered the visit of a delegation of US citizens from Efrat, Alon Shvut and Tekoa to visit the US consul in Jerusalem.

They posed a question:

“What about the human rights of Jews who live in our communities, from the American point of view”.

The consul’s clear answer: You have no human rights if you live there.

In other words, the US considers them to be less than human. That is what demonization means – less than human.

In October 1993, following the murder of Haim Mizrachi of Beit El, the provisional council of the nascent Palestinian Authority made one of is first declarations: permission to murder any Jew who lives in the area of a future Palestinian state. (That declaration was distributed by the Arab-run JMCC -Jerusalem Media and Communications Center -to the foreign press based at Beit Agron Press Center in Jerusalem).

The US raised no objection to such a declaration. Neither did the Rabin government at the time.

That PA death sentence does not only apply to Jews from Judea, Samaria and Katif.

It also applies to the Jewish neighborhoods added to Jerusalem since 1967 and to the Jewish residents who have taken the place of Arab neighborhoods in west Jerusalem and, for that matter, to any of the Israeli communities that rest on lands of villages where Arabs fled from in 1948.

That is why the official VOICE OF PALESTINE radio praises terror attacks in “Kafer Sabba”, the pre-1948 Arab name for what since 1949 has been Kfar Saba.

The PA settlement map sold at the PLO’s Orient House in Jerusalem delineates these areas of Israeli “settlements” – in all sections of the country.

Yet the way in which the media often reports the killing of “Israeli settlers” seem to be acceptable.

At a time when the Israeli government has asked for the cessation of Arab violence as a condition for the resumption of negotiations, perhaps it would be appropriate for the Israeli government to demand the unconditonal cancellation of the Palestinian Authority death sentence for Jewish “settlers”, even if the world tacitly endorses their death.

When the EU Facilitates Israeli Organizations in Support of the Oslo Process

The Middle East peace process initiated with the Oslo Accords has attracted many supporters of which the European Union is pre-eminent, with a financial aid program from the EU and the European Investment Bank amounting to three billion dollars since 1994.

So said Jean Breteche, Representative of the European Union Commission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip who is in effect both Ambassador and administrative officer- coordinator for the E.U. to the Palestinian Authority (a so-called “developing nation” in the terminology of aid programs). What is not widely known is that the EU delegation has become deeply involved in funding Israeli political projects that work closely with the Palestinian Authority.

I spoke with Mr. Breteche at the European Commission headquarters in the Sheikh Jarrah Israeli Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem where a number of other Representative Offices and Consulates are to be found, among them the Italian, Swedish and Swiss offices all of which act as liaisons to the nascent Palestinian Authority

Mr. Breteche defined the mandate of the E.U., to “instill humanitarian principles, respect for human rights, and the concepts of a viable democracy”. “The EU in Palestine”, as he designates what Israel considers to be the Palestinian Authority, he says “is working predominantly in two sectors, namely education and health…”. He notes that they yet have a long list of new projects, are by far the most active in supporting development in Gaza, and are now financing many N.G.O’s, including a variety of agencies that are sponsored under the ‘People to People’ program to improve communication between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet among those agencies one finds a list of political organizations that are bonafide grass roots left wing Israeli organizations.

For one, Mr Breteche confirmed that Peace Now has been and will continue to be funded by the EU, and stated that its program would help to create contact between groups of Israeli and Palestinian people. However Peace Now is hardly a social work organization or an institute for reconciliation. Peace Now is a long standing indigenous left wing Israeli organization which has strongly criticized the Oslo process and the Israeli government for not demanding the removal of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. “Peace Now” takes a political position that Jewish communities beyond the Green Line are the single most important impediment to peace.

In its 1999 report to the European Commission, Peace Now acknowledged that it had used EU funds for a massive program to reach out to new immigrants to bring them to their political demonstrations, and to print up their fliers and pamphlets in several languages.Meanwhile, Peace Now has never addressed itself to the longstanding issues of human rights abuses or, anti-democratic tendencies that permeate the Palestinian Authority, which would most certainly have been within the purview of the EU’s agenda for human rights and democracy.

Meanwhile, EU Commission in Tel Aviv affirms that the Peace Now program “Israeli-Palestinian Peace Campaign” will continue to receives ongoing funds from the EU. The EU is also allocating another 400,000 EURO for MADA, the political organization that supports the Member of Knesset Roman Bronfman, the Russian Israeli legislator who broke from Sharansky’s faction shortly after the May 1999 election. A source at the EU wrote that the EU aims to find ways to encourage newly arrived Russian Jews to participate in the political activities of Israel’s peace movement. When the Peace Now demonstrations are publicized in European media, this in turn influences international public opinion including the EU constituency regarding the settlements, although nowhere in the Declaration of Principles is there made any mention anywhere of restriction of Israeli building beyond the green line.

‘Mr. Breteche also confirmed that the EU has been supporting the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions for the past few years. The record shows that the EU allocated 250,000 Euro (approximately U.S.$221550) to this group. which organizes press campaigns and public demonstrations against the practice of land expropriation and house demolitions by the Israeli Army,. When asked whether there have been any political reactions to the funding Mr. Breteche stated that there have not been. Jeff Halper, the director of the Committee Against House Demolitions, acknowledged the EU funding and noted that his organization operates under an umbrella of about fifteen other political organizations, among them Peace Now. Halper describes the EU as dedicated to “peace education of the Israeli public”. However, Halper has been known to grossly exaggerated Israeli policy in regard to home demolitions. claiming that Israel was set to destroy 6,000 homes in Jerusalem when the number was between 129 and 152. Speaking on March 22 to an interfaith forum, Halper claimed that the bypass roads in the West Bank were restricted to Jews only – a falsfified statement. On a recent lecture tour in the US, Halper described the Israeli government as a Nazi-like regime.

Breteche also confirmed that in the past year the EU had agreed to fund the program the “Four Mothers Movement to leave Lebanon in Peace”.

The program was to have provided a platform for Israeli and Lebanese women to develop further contacts and understandings after a potential Israeli withdrawal.

However, Breteche noted, since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, funding the “four mothers” organization was no longer considered by the EU to be necessary;

In fact, one wonders why the funding of this project was dropped after the IDF withdrawal, since the creation of a peaceful ambience in the border zone was certainly within the mandate of the EU and might have been strongly advantageous to an ultimate true peace.

Breteche confirmed that among other organizations to be funded by the EU Commission are the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), MEILER, Ir Shalem, and Macon Mifne.

The purpose of the CFR project is for ‘Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions’, a project run by Henry Siegman, a man who has made a career out of writing anti Israel op-eds for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Breteche referred to Seigman’s latest report to the EU which criticized the P.A, but was vague about whether.it would be ever be publicized.

Bretheche confirmed that the EU has also helping to finance the Tel Aviv based MEILER, The Middle East Center for Legal and Economic Research which surveys Palestinian refugee real estate holdings throughout Israel.

The project provides precise identification of pre-1948 Arab holdings throughout Israel, working with a supercomputer funded by the EU and situated at the Orient House, designed to help Arabs who live in refugee camps to establish their claims for compensation for property lost in 1948 from 531 Arab villages.

However, a visit to the Orient House clarified that this is also aiding Arabs in locating, reclaiming, and making actual plans to move back to these villages, even if they have been replaced by Israeli cities, farms and woodlands.

Breteche also noted the EU role in financing the full costs of legal services of “Ir Shalem”, in its program to stop Israeli government expansion in East Jerusalem, and to stop the Israeli eviction order of Palestinian Authority personnel from Orient House, which the Israeli authorities claimed had been functioning as an illegal P.A. “embassy” in Jerusalem.

Breteche confirmed that the EU financed the full cost of the litigation against Israeli building projects throughout East Jerusalem including Har Homa, Ras El Amud at the Mount of Olives, and against the purchase of former Jewish homes in the Moslem quarter of Jerusalem.

Another Israeli grass roots organization of some interest also funded by the EU is Macon Mifne, which defines its tasks as “education for peace and democracy of the Jewish settlers and their right wing supporters within Israel; Yet the founder and operator of Machon Mifne Zvia Greenfield, has made her name by appearing on regular T.V. and radio talk shows, while conducting haranguing, scurrilous attacks on the settlers as the cause of the current Israeli-Palestinian problems. Her capacity for “conflict resolution” and education of settlers seems lacking indeed.

The common thread of each of these native Israeli groups is that they all have been able to get a lion’s share of media attention, mostly outside Israel, with the generous help of the EU.

Dr. Daphne Burdman is a Psychiatric Research Analyst, Jerusalem, Israel

Peres Opposes It. Not Clear If and When It Will Be Released

The Israel Defense Forces has recently completed a new “White Paper,” which criticizes the Palestinian Authority and its chairman, Yasser Arafat. The document forms a basis for an international information campaign aimed at undermining the PA’s global image.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who learned of the IDF’s initiative from Ha’aretz, is adamantly opposed to the document. His bureau said, “The army’s role is to defend the country, and not to write books or undertake such information campaigns.”

Peres discussed the matter with Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who said he did not approve of the White Paper or any other such propaganda campaign against the Palestinians.

The new white paper is an update of a similar document released in November 2000 under the Barak government, and written at the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The new edition contains many more details of the institutional and personal corruption of the PA and its officials, as well as reproductions of inciting articles that have appeared in the PA’s media, and photographs of terrorist attacks carried out since the last edition was completed.

The document also contains a chapter on the PA’s abrogation of human rights. The new White Paper was put together by IDF Colonel Eran Lerman, assistant to the head of the IDF’s manpower research department, Colonel Amos Gilad.

A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said yesterday that the document’s date of release would have to be carefully weighed, depending of the Palestinians’ behavior in the immediate future, as well as other factors. The revelation of the personal corruption within the PA, in particular, raises a problem, since many PA officials have business links inside Israel.

A Jewish Resident of Katif Under Fire

Wednesday:

At 6:10 this morning the first mortar shell fell on Neve Dekalim. I and several others ran out of shul — amazing how some people will use any excuse to get out of shul — but, though the explosion had been very loud, there was nothing to be seen. Not a minute passed before a second explosion, somewhat more distant, was heard. Still no clue as to the site. Thirty seconds later, while we stared at each other in perplexity, the third and loudest explosion occured. Still no smoke, flying debris, any sign that it wasn’t more than sound effects. For a moment I remembered a “Lights Out!” radio play from my youth in which a record of a train is played to scare an elderly couple living near abandoned railroad tracks. Could our hot-for-peace-partners be doing that to us?

I ran home to find La Passionara, [ed: wife, Rachel] standing in front of the house. “Are those doors slamming, dear?” she said in her most sarcastic tones. This was to put me in my place for trying to convince her on earlier occasions that the loud noises she took for explosions were merely doors being slammed.

A moment or two later a security jeep came by. The driver said one shell had fallen in Kfar Yam, a kilometer away, and two shells had fallen in the outsized petting zoo we have at the entrance to our settlement. I had barely begun making ill-considered jokes about ‘Mourning for Mongoose’ and ‘Sitting Shiva for Sheep’ when another vehicle pulled up. The driver said he had just come from the sites of the explosions. I asked about the animals. “What animals?” he said. “One shell fell on the basketball court in the schoolyard. The second hit the bus stop outside the school. The third landed across the road from the guardpost at the entrance to the settlement.” He drove off with a cheery “Now we can hold our heads up. We’ve been hit, too!” [As of this writing, 10 a.m., I have no idea where the shells landed. Maybe they were a fignewton of our imagination?]

At 7, fully forty-five minutes after the third and last bomb, the loudspeakers came on telling everyone to remain under cover. At 7:20 the loudspeakers came on again telling us to return to normal. But what is ‘normal’ for us?

The shelling of Neve Dekalim was the fourth item on this morning’s news. The third was that three mortar shells were fired at IDF checkpoints from the area of Beit Hanun the IDF evacuated last night, the same area from which shells had been fired on Sderot. [The first two items concerned shooting in Israel (im)proper.]

It is clear, at least to me, that today’s shelling is the response to Israel’s craven capitulation to American pressure. The spinmeisters may pretend that the decision to withdraw was made before American criticism. This is clearly nonsense. It is difficult to exaggerate the psychological damage done to us by this withdrawal. I had spent the better part of the afternoon arguing that our entry into Beit Hanun was a sign that Sharon was on the right track. The withdrawal showed that if, indeed, Sharon was on the right track, then he has been derailed.

More than ever it is clear that in the view of the government, and of many of our fellow citizens, we are a legitimate target for terrorist attacks. We can expect little in the way of protection, and less in the way of deterrence of our attackers.

It wouldn’t upset me if I came back as a duck in some future life. I just hadn’t expected to be a [sitting] duck in this one.

The writer is an IDF veteran, handicapped from the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and is a Resident of Neve Dekalim, Katif, South of Gaza

Interview With Marwan Bargouti, Tanzim leader

This week “Palestine Report” interviewed Marwan Barghouti, General Secretary of Fateh higher committee in the West Bank, on the escalating crisis between Palestinians and Israel.

PR: Some people are saying that Palestinians have not learned from the mistakes they made in the last Intifada and are repeating them in this one. Do you think this is true?

Bargouti: There has been extensive study of the negative aspects of the last Intifada. Some of these aspects included banning workers from going to their workplaces, closing shops and allowing schools to participate in Intifada activities. Presently we are seeing these same actions, but it is Israel who is carrying them out. Israel has closed a number of schools and people have been forced to take classes during the evening hours. As you can see, we have reduced the commercial strikes and boycott of Israeli products.

Another change is that today, it is the law that is in charge of dealing with collaborators. This Intifada is different in a number of ways from the first Intifada. For one, it is more organized and it is more painful for the other side. There is also a kind of balance in dealing with the [Palestinian] people and their personal liberties. The door is always open for free participation from the various sectors.

PR: What about the mistakes Palestinians have made in terms of shooting?

Barghouti: Shooting is being used in the Intifada for the first time. We do not have experience in this. This issue has been discussed and suggestions have been made. But as our overall position developed and the need to stop the shooting from homes and residential areas became apparent, we became committed to this decision.

You must remember that when we talk about the phenomenon of shooting, we are talking about a totally new phenomenon that did not exist previously. It is not conducted under any official directives, nor is there a leadership for these armed men. It more or less relies on personal initiative, which doubtless has meant that some less-than-aware elements have participated in the name of carrying out a noble goal. [Nevertheless], the phenomenon of gunmen is for the most part one happening among disciplined elements.

PR: Why is armed resistance largely limited to those who are followers of Fateh? For the most part, other forces have not participated in this movement.

Barghouti: There is no law or system to govern this phenomenon, even from inside Fateh. The movement doesn’t have a military wing for dealing with these circumstances and the phenomenon is basically a self-sustaining one. In this regard, you cannot talk about one movement without the other. The only thing is that Fateh is the largest popular movement and has led the Intifada from its start. Overall, the movement has taken the lion’s share of responsibility in all aspects, including that of armed confrontations.

PR: There are some who believe that any future agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel could make Fateh’s fighters the scapegoats for what has happened. Do you think this is a possibility?

Barghouti: The period of us paying dearly for an agreement, political or otherwise, is over. We have offered all these martyrs for a solution, not to pay a greater price. It must be a solution that will provide security and quiet for everyone in the region. We will not accept any partial solution that might be postponed.

The Israeli side is always seeking more victories. It separates the people between “terrorists” and “citizens” and says it will reward the latter and punish the former. And Israel will no doubt continue in these endeavors. But the Palestinian people have learned from their past experiences and will not allow the repetition of what happened in the past. What happened to the prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons is bad enough.

PR: You have recently voiced criticism for what you called “shortcomings” of certain lead officials in the movement. Have you followed up on this charge?

Barghouti: There is no doubt that some top officials have not carried out their duties to the best of their abilities during these circumstances. I do not want to get into why, but I can say that everyone should be participating, carrying out an individual role. Hundreds of citizens have raised their voices and complained about the shortcomings and the lack of any active role from these officials.

The Ten Demands of the Palestinian National Authority

A little more than a year ago, at the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on permanent status, the almighty Israeli Security Services, the famous Shin-Bet, handed over to the prime minister a report incorporating its own prospective on the outcome of negotiations.

According to Israeli newspapers, the substance of the report was that an independent and viable Palestinian State was the best interest of Israel’s security, and the essence of the recommendation was the following: Israel should not press its advantage and try to make use of its overwhelming superiority on the ground to impose an unfair, imbalanced settlement upon the Palestinian leadership, because even though this might look very good for Israel in the short run, it might be catastrophic in the long run. It did not take long before this piece of professional advice was confirmed by the tragic events of the last six months. To this difference, however, that Israel even failed to impose an unfair settlement. History will one day, maybe, tell when did Barak lied more: when he claimed to have offered unbelieveably “generous” concessions in Camp David, or when he asserted, after his return, that he never offered anything at all, and only went to Camp David to corner Arafat and to unmask the Palestinian position. To be quite explicit, let us state our conviction that Ehud Barak never intended to reach an agreement, which explains why he had deliberately undermined any possible accord on other issues with such impossible conditions as Israeli sovereignty on Muslim holy shrines or a solemn Palestinian renunciation to the Right of Return.

Historians, however, will probably confirm the Palestinian perception that it was the assassination of the late Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin which derailed the whole “Oslo” process. It did away with the very Israeli will to implement the signed agreements, and the credibility of the stalled peace process became a secondary objective in the political agenda of the successive and structurally instable Israeli governments. Thus, the lack of implementation of the Interim agreements, combined with ongoing settlement drive on the ground, and a total stalemate in negotiations due to the Israeli refusal to carry on talks so long as Palestinians insisted on demanding their legally recognized rights, all of it fueled by murderous brutality and excessive use of force to quell popular protest, led to the present situation. Thus did we move from almost-peace to this undeclared state of war, thus did the whole area regress from the hope of a “new Middle-East” to the all too familiar sound of threats and war talk.

The Israeli government knows – even if Israeli media are prompt to put the blame on Sharon’s Labour partners – that it cannot substantially escalate the level of its current military aggression against the Palestinian people without provoking some form of international, Arab, European and American reactions.

Having measured from its first days of office the objective – even though fluctuating – limits imposed upon the materialization of his pre-election ultra-militaristic boasting, and knowing that the management of Barak’s policy of siege and assassinations would not bring any decisive victory, the new Israeli Prime minister has now embarked on a targeted propaganda and slander campaign against Palestinians, against the PNA, against Fatah, against Palestinian Security Forces in general and against President Arafat personally. Sharon’s recent visit to the US was the inaugural act in this diplomatic-propaganda offensive. It is noteworthy that public calls for the assassination of President Arafat are voiced in Israel without any public condemnation, while much of the official discourse is a hardly veiled called to murder. Speculations about the PNA’s imminent collapse, in this context, do not only reflect anguish for the future or wishful thinking on the part of the occupier. They are also part of a deliberate attempt to de-legitimize the Palestinian leadership by claiming all at once that it is responsible for everything that happens on the ground and that it has lost control.

Israeli Chief-of-Staff Shaul Mofaz’s characterization of the PA as a “terrorist entity”, and the Israeli police allegations of “Force 17” involvement in terrorist activities inside the Green Line are only indicators of the Israeli will to project this construction.

The aim of this ongoing campaign, which prolongs the campaign undertaken by Netanyahu in 1996 and has undergone ups and downs, but has never completely stopped since then, is now to try and convince Western public opinions and governments that the PLO leadership is responsible for the present state of “violence” in our area. It aims both at foiling Palestinian current attempts to reinforce the trend towards international protection and at obtaining American and European endorsement of the Israeli conditions to renew negotiations.

Looking at the vagueness of the US discourse and the hesitations and ambiguities of European diplomacy in this respect, there is no doubt that this campaign has already met a limited measure of success. This is why we must recall some basic facts, and thus contribute to restore the truth.

Ten Points to Understand the Present Situation

1. Who turned his back to negotiations?

We have never said no to negotiations. In the summer of 2000, we left Camp David with a clear and publicized will to continue and go further in the search for a permanent settlement of the conflict. It is the Israeli Prime minister, then, who spoke of a “time-out” of the peace process. It is the Israeli government which declared, in October, that we were no longer “partners”. Even after that, we went to Sharm El Sheikh, and even after months of aggression, we went to Taba, and still last week, in the PLC, President Arafat declared our absolute commitment to peace and our readiness to negotiate. Unlike the Israelis, we know one does not choose one’s partner. The Israeli claim that “Palestinians should go back to the path of negotiations” is an absolute counter-truth. Reality is that the government of Israel stopped negotiating when it discovered that Palestinians were not ready to accept their “take-it-or-leave-it” package deal in Camp David.

2. Who started violence?

First of all one must recall that military occupation is violence and that Israeli armed forces, Israeli government agencies and Israeli settlers have been exerting uninterrupted and massive violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for more than three decades.

Concerning the events of the last five-and-a-half months, the initiative of violence has been purely Israeli. The PNA officially informed the Israeli government that Sharon’s planned visit to the Haram El Sharif on September 28th 2000 would provoke popular anger and protest. Not only did the provocative visit take place, under even more provocative massive military protection, but protesters were met with utmost brutality, excessive use of force, and murderous repression. The ensuing protest encountered even more violence, and the movement spread throughout the whole Palestinian occupied territory, fueled and fed by the daily toll of victims. The killing of two Israelis – alleged reservists whose presence in Ramallah is still a riddle – on October 12th, even though condemned in no uncertain terms by the PNA, was used by Israel to inaugurate the policy of air raids against buildings, institutions, vehicles and individuals, including supposedly “targeted” assassinations.

Measures of collective punishment such as border closures, siege, blockade, encirclement of localities, destruction of roads, etc. are manifestations of increased daily violence against the Palestinian population. All of them fuel the anger and resentment of the people and their readiness to continue resisting.

3. Occupation is illegal

Occupation is a violation of international law, which recognizes the legitimacy of armed resistance to foreign occupation. Legitimate does not mean compulsory. It is a political decision to engage or not in armed struggle. But we cannot accept the characterization of legitimate resistance to the tyranny of occupation as criminal violence.

4. Settlements are illegal

Settlements are racist institutions which have been built by force, on stolen land, for aggressive annexation purposes. Palestinian opposition to settlements is both legal and defensive, and in no way constitutes an aggression.

Armed settlers are not civilians, but constitute paramilitary units and militias involved in terror against Palestinian civilians. In the course of the events of the last month, settlers have been at the forefront of Israeli terrorist violence against Palestinians, most of the time under the protective wing of official Israeli occupation forces, as is the daily occurrence in Hebron.

5. Resistance is legitimate

In these conditions, isolated actions against armed settlers and occupation forces by Palestinian individuals or organizations cannot be considered but as legitimate self-defense, which express Palestinian popular determination to resist illegal occupation and dispossession. But at any rate, armed resistance does not sum up the substance or the ongoing Intifada, which started with peaceful mass protest, and has, all along, included a fundamental non-violent component, which has recently been striving for increased visibility. But it is crucial to understand that, at the eyes of most Palestinians, as recent opinion polls clearly indicate, armed resistance and peaceful protest are complementary, not contradictory.

6. We condemn attacks against civilians

Since December 1985, the PLO has been committed to fight against terrorism. The PNA has condemned, and condemns, attacks against civilians, children, and generally speaking “non-combatant populations”. It is bound by the letter and spirit of the Hague and Geneva Conventions in this respect, and demands Israeli compliance with the same principles. Attacks against civilians inside Israel, however, can often be the fruit of individual, unorganized despair, as was recently the case with the Ashkelon bus, and short of uprooting the causes of despair, there is no full-proof method of prevention.

7. We need a mechanism to de-escalate

To break down the spiral of confrontation, the end of the state of siege is a pre-condition, but we must be aware that a return to the status quo ante of last September cannot in itself calm the situation. The core issue here is the principle of reciprocity: unless a significant reduction of Israeli violence takes place, there is no ground for the PNA to try and bring about an end to resistance operations. Reciprocity implies measures to disarm the settlers and put an end to their aggressions, and it also means to impose a total freeze in settlement activities. Likewise in the field of “incitement”: anti-Palestinian and racist anti-Arab talk runs high in Israeli public and private discourse, in the media and the school-curricula, without mentioning what is uttered and taught in synagogues and religious schools. Unless some reciprocity is injected in this domain, no significant progress can be achieved.

8. Implement signed agreements

The implementation of signed agreements (redeployment, safe passage, prisoners’ release, etc.) is indispensable to restore confidence and create propitious conditions for successful negotiation, especially because it will remove the Israeli temptation to sell the same items twice and use interim arrangements already negotiated and signed as bargaining chips in permanent status talks.

9. Revive the political process

The sole sound basis upon which a serious and fruitful return to negotiations is possible is the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference: 242 and 338, which are an integral, indivisible part and parcel of international legality, including 194. Note that the Palestinian proposal to resume negotiations where they were left in Taba constitutes proof of a remarkable flexibility, since the proposals studied are built upon the idea that practical arrangements could be worked out (such as Land swaps) which would be more accommodating to Israeli demands and concerns than the stern and unmitigated application of international law.

10. We want international protection

So long as the Israeli government persists in its futile attempt to impose a solution by the force of arms, pursues its policy of collective punishment against the Palestinian population and continues to put unreasonable and impossible conditions for a rebirth of the political process, we will continue to demand international protection, and more UN involvement, with a view to materialize the fact that the sole alternative to the Madrid-Oslo process now officially on hold is the return to the UN-sponsored International Conference provided for in UNSC Resolution 338.

Commentary on a Child Who Died in the Intifada

The following is an example of the many articles appearing in the Palestinian press praising children who die in the Intifada and holding them up as objects of admiration for their peers. It appeared in the Al A’yam, one of the official newspapers of the Palestinian Authority, on April 4, 2001.

“Mohammed Abu A’atzi is a Martyr of Al Aqsa”.

“[Mohammed] refused to eat. His mother thought that he didn’t like the food that she had prepared, so she sent his older brother to buy him a can of meat. When he saw it, Mohammed threw it down and said, “They are murdering us and we go on eating.The hell with it!”

On Monday Mohammed went to the nest of iniquity, Netzarim [a Jewish Settlement in the Gaza Strip] in order to express his anger. He found a ride, then apologized to the owners [of the car] saying, “I wish to die as a martyr. Please excuse me for not paying you.”

He [the driver] answered. “Go with Allah beside you.”

Muhammad was then hit in the chest in a residential building near the Netzarim Army Base. The bullet was shot from an Apache helicopter which was hovering in the skies of “Martyrs Junction” in order to strike at [literally to stand against-PMW] the bare-chested Mohammed so that he would fall as a martyr.”

Al A’yam 4/4/01

Source of Research:
Palestinian Media Watch
59 King George St., Jerusalem, Israel
phone: 972- 2- 625-4140 fax: 972-2- 624-2803
p.m.w@netvision.net.il
for further information, contact PMW Director, Itamar Marcus material may be quoted, citing PMW as the source

The Former Israeli Peace Camp: Trouble Coping with Reality

Amos Asael, veteran left wing columnist for the Jerusalem Post, was asked, shortly after the Israeli election in February, as to whether he would define himself as a “former peace activist”.

Amos retorted that he is part of the “former peace camp”.

The ideology of that “former peace camp”, whose motto, “territories for peace”, had long advocated that the Israeli government cede the west bank and Gaza in exchange for a peace deal with representatives of the Palestinian Arabs.

That “peace now” formula was dealt a fatal blow during the Camp David negotiations during the summer of 2000, when Barak offered 92% of the west bank and Gaza along with the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Arafat, an idea which was soundly rejected by Arafat and the PLO.

Senior Israeli negotiator, the Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, Dan Meridor, told me that the PLO resisted the generous “peace now” offer of the Israeli negotiating team, since Barak would not give Palestinian Arab refugees the option to return to their homes and villages from 1948. Meridor mentioned how the senior members of the Israeli negotiating team, most of whom emanated from the “peace now” movement, had universally assumed that the PLO would welcome the “land for peace” offer. Meridor described just how surprised the dovish delegation was to discover that the Palestinian delegation was serious about their demand for the “right of return”.

The concept of “land for peace” first entered the mainstream of Israeli political parlance after it was endorsed by IDF Intelligence Chief General Aharon Yariv following the Yom Kippur, After Yariv successfully negotiated a cease-fire with Egypt at the famous #101 kilometer post, an agreement that would pave the way for the Sadat visit and formal territory for peace agreement between Israel and Egypt in 1979.

Yariv, however, was prophetically skeptical about the chances for the current negotiation process with the PLO to succeed. Shortly before his death in 1994, Yariv told me that That he feared the Oslo process because he favored “Territory for peace”, not handing over “territory before peace”

With the demise of the “peace now” formula at the Camp David summit, there were those who pronounced premature eulogies of the “peace now” movement and its allies.

However, in October, following the outbreak of riots, Senior Peace Now activist Janet Aviad: dispatched a wide-ranging proposal to members and supporters of her organization, calling for a $675,000 budget to focus the energies of the Israeli public on the one main impediment towards peace, in her view, which remained the Israeli Jewish “settlers’ of Judea, Samaria and Katif.

In late October. After receiving more than $100,00 from the Americans for Peace Now, Peace Now in Jerusalem ran ads in all the major Israeli papers, and, for the first time, in Palestinian Authority papers, in which Peace Now declared that the settlements in the west bank and Gaza remained the greatest impediment to peace.

With the influx of journalists as a result of the riots, Peace Now initiated tours of the settlements for journalists, stopping off near Nablus to show underground caves where Peace Now claimed that settler families were living in so that they could stage surprise attacks on passing Arabs. Peace Now confirmed this, only after I showed Peace Now the pictures taken of such caves and testimonies of journalists who had been fed that line from Peace Now tour guides.

The ads called for the Israeli government to unilaterally dismantle at least 40 of these Jewish communities as a confidence building measure for peace.

In early November, Peace Now convened a press conference in which it presented the updated statistics on the expansion of settlements.

Speaking on behalf of Peace Now, Ben Gurion University Professor Aryeh Arnon stated the passionate position of Peace Now that if Israel were to immediately withdraw from these 40 settlements then the Palestinian Authority would stop the shooting – in the direction of Gilo in Jerusalem, he added.

I asked Prof. Arnon if any official in the Palestinian Authority had ever made a statement at any time in Arabic to express his willingness to accept a two-state solution and to recognize the state of Israel at any time.

Arnon said that he could not answer that question.

I dispatched that same question to more than 100 agencies that have been involved in covering or researching the peace process: Does anyone have any record of any statement in the Arabic language at any time in which an official of the PLO or the PA states their recognition of a two-state solution – in other words, of territories for peace. Nobody has any record of such.

Peace Now is not alone in its continuing campaign against the settlements in the west bank and Gaza. Defining the settlement defines set as colonists, the European Union, the EU, allocated $250,000 to the “peace now” campaign against the settlements.

To augment the effort to target settlers as the problem of the peace process, the EU commissioned the Israeli Human Rights Organization “Bitzelem” on “settler violence”, in which “Bitzelem” hired Arab staffers who interviewed Arab residents of the west bank and Gaza, and, as a matter of policy, Bitzelem would interview no Jewish residents of the west bank or Gaza.

Meanwhile,, in conjunction with Peace Now, the Rabbis for Human Rights has conducted an international campaign to expose West Bank settlers who uproot trees from Arab villages as a matter of policy. The Rabbis have conducted a campaign to raise funds for every tree that has been uprooted by settlers, and have made regular appearances on CNN and BBC to advance the cause. Yet when these Rabbis are asked if they can point to a specific time, witness or police complaint to the fact that settlers uprooted Arab trees, the Rabbis could not cite a single instance, eyewitness, or police complaint of such. “We just know that this goes on”, said the spokesman for the Rabbis for Human Rights.

What upsets the Peace Now settlement apple cart remains that the official PLO definition of settlements includes any area where Israel placed its civilians in place of Arab civilians where Arab villages were overrun. That is in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids a conquering nation from doing just that. In other words, the PLO definition of illegal settlements includes the Israeli cities, collective farms and woodlands that replaced Arab villages in 1948 – places like Ramle, Lod, Jaffa and Ashkelon.

For that reason, the Voice of Palestine radio news described Netanya and Hadera as illegal settlements when bombs were detonated in these Israeli cities, both of which annexed neighboring Arab villages following the 1948 war.

Since the Palestinian Authority declared a “death sentence for settlers”, it would surprise many of the people in the Peace Now camp to know that most of the population of Israel now lives under the threat of a nascent regime that will justify, rationalize and condone the murder of most Jews in Israel, even if they do not live in the west bank or Gaza.

Surprisingly, The Peace Now position has not been shaken. Their position remains that the way to peace is to cede the west bank and Gaza to the PLO, even though the PLO does not accept any such formula for peace.

An icon is not easily broken. The Peace Camp has been transformed into an ideological dinosaur.

Should Daniel Kurtzer Be America’s Next Ambassador to

There are hopeful signs regarding the Bush administration’s policy toward Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Unlike his predecessor, President Bush refrained from interfering in the Israeli election and has said that he will not impose deadlines on the Arab-Israeli negotiating process. He has called upon Yasir Arafat to publicly condemn anti-Jewish terrorism, in Arabic, to Arab audiences. And he has used the U.S. veto at the United Nations to block an anti-Israel resolution.

At the same time, there are troubling signs coming from the State Department–it has criticized Israel’s counter-terrorism tactics; it has pressured Israel to give funds to the Palestinian Authority, even though the PA is waging war against the Jewish State; it has implied a moral equivalence between Palestinian Arab aggression and Israeli self-defense; it has not yet offered a single reward for information leading to the capture of Palestinian Arab killers of Americans, even though it routinely offers such rewards to capture terrorists who kill Americans elsewhere around the world.

There seems to be a struggle underway between competing views within the administration regarding Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. In this context, the selection of America’s next ambassador to Israel is especially important. The ambassador’s reports to Washington play a crucial role in shaping the administration’s policies.

That’s why it is so disappointing to hear that veteran State Department official Daniel Kurtzer is a leading candidate for the post of ambassador to Israel.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with someone who has had considerable personal experience with Kurtzer: Yitzhak Shamir, who served as prime minister of Israel for most of the period from 1983-1992. Mr. Shamir told me: “Kurtzer frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs; he constantly blamed Israel for the absence of Mideast peace, and paid little or no attention to the fact that the Palestinians were carrying out terrorist attacks and openly calling for the destruction of Israel.”

In fact, Kurtzer’s bias goes all the way back to his graduate school days. In his Ph.D. dissertation (Columbia University, 1976), Kurtzer said Israel’s counter-terror actions were the “catalysts to interstate violence,” and blamed Israel for “the radicalization of the Palestinians to violence” (p.253). Throughout the dissertation, Kurtzer referred to Palestinian Arab terrorists as “guerrillas,” not as terrorists–even though he was discussing the groups that carried out such horrific massacres as the Lod Airport massacre of Puerto Rican tourists and the slaughter of Israeli athletes (including an American) at the Munich Olympics.

After joining the State Department, Kurtzer had the opportunity to put his opinions into practice. According to the New York Times (January 13, 1989), during 1988, when the PLO was engaged in constant terrorism against Israel, Kurtzer was insisting “that the PLO under Yasir Arafat was moving in a moderate direction.” Kurtzer became “a key figure in the process of formulating” the U.S. decision to recognize the PLO in December 1988. (Kurtzer’s claim of PLO “moderation” proved to be completely mistaken, because the PLO continued its terrorism and in early 1990, the U.S. broke off its dealings with Arafat.)

In 1992, syndicated columnist Douglas Bloomfield revealed (Washington Jewish Week, December 17, 1992) that in a recent meeting, Kurtzer “lectured Israeli negotiators” that “they should make additional concessions to the unresponsive Palestinians. Kurtzer and the other Jewish State Department officials told the Israelis they were speaking to them as ‘family’ and in their best interest. The Israelis were outraged and the session got very heated.”