Israel and Palestine: non-binary perspectives

people of Jewish ancestry have extra responsibility to speak for peace

This page is not a comprehensive analysis of Israel / Palestine -- there are far too many details, opinions, and news sources to be more than a surface level effort. This page highlight perspectives from both sides that rarely get the attention they deserve if there is a sane, just future for Palestinians and Israelis.

under construction January 4, 2024

meshuga (also meshugga or meshugah) adjective informal (of a person) mad; idiotic : either a miracle is taking place, or we're all meshuga. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Yiddish meshuge, from Hebrew.
"This is too big for anger,
it's too big for blame.
We stumble through history
so humanly lame"
- Bruce Cockburn, "Postcards From Cambodia"



news and groups with excellent coverage of Israel Palestine. It should be obvious that offering these links does not necessarily endorse everything these efforts say. Use discernment!

+972 Magazine

"+972 Magazine is an independent, online, non-profit magazine owned and run by a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists, providing fresh, in-depth reporting and analysis directly from the ground in Israel-Palestine.

"The magazine is committed to human rights, democracy, and freedom of information, and actively opposes the Israeli occupation. However, +972 Magazine does not represent any outside organization, political party, or agenda.

"Our goal is for our reporting to provide local and foreign readers alike a unique vantage point to examine the issues that are too often presented without context. We put a particular focus on elevating the voices of people working to end the occupation and those most affected by it, and on showcasing perspectives often overlooked in mainstream narratives.

"While we do not always adhere to traditional notions of "balance" by providing equal space or weight to all sides of an issue, we hold ourselves to high professional journalistic standards. We pride ourselves in maximum transparency and credibility in everything that we do. You can read our financial disclosures here.

"The name of the site is derived from the telephone country code that can be used to dial both Israel and Palestine."

Uri Avnery

archive of the writings of Uri Avnery (1923 - 2018), perhaps Israeli's most famous peace activist. He was a 1948 fighter, newspaper publisher, Knesset member and independent diplomat. He famously snuck behind "enemy" lines in Beirut in 1982 to meet with Yassir Arafat (after years of meeting with PLO officials to quietly dialogue with them about a two state solution). He was a founder of the peace group Gush Shalom.

B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

"Israel's regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B'Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea."

Breaking the Silence

"Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population's everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation."

Center for Jewish Nonviolence

"CJNV brings Jewish activists from around the world to Israel/Palestine to join in Palestinian-led nonviolent civil resistance to occupation, apartheid, and displacement."

Combatants for Peace

"We are a group of Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence in our region: Israeli soldiers serving in the IDF and Palestinians as combatants fighting to free their country, Palestine, from the Israeli occupation. We – serving our peoples, raised weapons which we aimed at each other and saw each other only through gun sights – have established Combatants for Peace on the basis of non-violence principles."
American Friends of Combatants for Peace

Democracy Now

Foundation for Middle East Peace

The Guardian

Haaretz newspaper (Israel)

Mehdi Hasan (MSNBC)

Holy Land Trust -

"Holy Land Trust is a non-profit Palestinian organization committed to fostering peace, justice and understanding in the Holy Land. We are deeply committed to exploring the root causes of violence and seek to develop solutions to address them. We believe that true peace and justice is achieved through nonviolent activism, personal and spiritual transformation. We believe in honoring the dignity and equal rights of all peoples."

House of Hope Palestine

elementary school in the West Bank teaching non-violence, empathy, conflict resolution and emotional intelligence to grade school students

If Not Now

"We are a movement of American Jews organizing our community to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis."

Israeli Committee Against House Demolition

Israeli Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace

"The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF) is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member to the ongoing conflict. Moreover, the PCFF has concluded that the process of reconciliation between nations is a prerequisite to achieving a sustainable peace."

Israelism movie

Jewish Currents

Jewish Voice for Peace

Owen Jones

Middle East Eye

Middle East Research and Information Project

Musalaha ("reconciliation")

"Musalaha is a faith-based organization that teaches, trains and facilitates reconciliation mainly between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and also international groups, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. "

Palestine Christian Alliance for Peace

"We are a non-sectarian, ecumenical alliance of Palestinian American Christians seeking to provide a clear voice and presence in faith-based communities in the United States."

Mazin Qumsiyeh "Sharing the Land of Canaan"

Rabbis for Human Rights

The Rational National

Standing Together

"Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of peace, equality, and social and climate justice. While the minority who benefit from the status quo of occupation and economic inequality seek to keep us divided, we know that we — the majority — have far more in common than that which sets us apart. When we stand together, we are strong enough to fundamentally alter the existing socio-political reality. The future that we want — peace and independence for Israelis and Palestinians, full equality for all citizens, and true social, economic, and environmental justice — is possible. Because where there is struggle, there is hope."

Tikkun magazine

"The Prophetic Jewish, Interfaith & Secular Voice to Heal and Transform the World"

Truah: the rabbinac call for human rights

Mordechai Vanunu

whistleblower who worked at the Israeli nuclear weapons factory at Dimona. He gradually got disillusioned and quit - but before leaving, he took dozens of photos inside the facility. In 1986, he gave the photos to a newspaper in London. The story they published was not significant because it revealed the barely kept secret that Israel was a nuclear power, but that their arsenal was more advanced than previously thought. The Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence agency, kidnapped him back to Israel and had him sentenced to 18 years in prison, which he mostly served in solitary confinement. After his release, he was, and is, prohibited from leaving Israel, which he would like to do.

Two States, One Democratic State or One Apartheid State?

Three options for Israel / Palestine:

  1. a democratic, Jewish state that allows the Palestinians to have their own country (the two-state solution)
  2. a Jewish state that maintains the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (the apartheid status quo)
  3. a democratic state in the post 1967 boundaries that is multi-ethnic (the one-state solution).



Being neither Israeli nor Palestinian, I am glad I don't have decision over whether the solution is one state or two states or twenty two states. One democratic state and two states each have merits, neither seems likely as long as the US continues to use Israel and vice versa regarding the "end game" of the Peak Oil Wars.

Whatever the Israelis and Palestinians agree to is to be supported. Both communities know whatever resolution would work would require some form of "land for peace" and "right of return" for refugees (the latter factor is probably the primary motivation of the Israelis who reject any peace efforts).

Some commentators think that the window of opportunity for a viable two state solution has probably passed due to the large number of settlements on the West Bank.

Neither the one-state nor two-state solution seem viable in the near term. In the absence of either solution, the status quo of racism is merely going to make the situation worse.

Justice is often a vague concept. There's no way to undo the harm of the Nakba and occupations. There's no way to undo the Holocaust. There's no way to undo the countless wars in the Middle East. Someone will have to be the last victim - in Gaza City, on a bus in Tel Aviv, in a Beirut apartment building, in a West Bank refugee camp. Perhaps seeing everyone as equally human is part of the solution.


Uri Avnery

was an independence fighter in 1948, then critic of Israeli militarism. Journalist, Knesset member, peace activist. He snuck into Beirut to meet with Yassir Arafat during the Lebanese civil war to discuss peace initiatives (at a time when Arafat was fully committed to terrorism / armed resistance - whatever term you like). Avnery supported Two States but was opposed to the idea of One Democratic State, since he thought that was far less workable. archives his weekly columns.


from Uri Avnery, "My Friend, the Enemy" Zed Books (1986)

Is there a solution to this conflict? Can it be brought to an end before it ends us?

Can these two highly intelligent peoples, the most dynamic peoples in the Middle East, who have both tasted the bitter experiences of exile and tragedy, be brought to live together peacefully in the country they both claim as their homeland and to which both are now indissolubly attached?

Many years ago, Eric Rouleau, the French journalist, arranged a meeting between a well-known Egyptian left-wing leader and me. After midnight we were sitting in La Coupole, the fashionable Paris restaurant, arguing about possible solutions. Using the paper cloth covering table, a bit soiled after the meal, we drew up a list of theoretical solutions. There were five: either one people annihilates the other, or one people subjugates the other, or one people drives the other out, or both people live together in one state, or the country is partitioned.

After that, we went about analyzing each possibility. We agreed that annihilation is out of the question, not only for moral but for practical reasons. In a war between nations, in this day and age, before a state is eradicated it will use weapons of mass destruction, thus turning the whole area into a graveyard.

The subjugation of one people by another is much more likely. As a matter of fact, after that conversation, Israel conquered all of Palestine, and is quickly turning it into a Middle Eastern South Africa. But even if it were possible for Israel to hold millions of Palestinians, an ever-growing minority, in total subjugation, denying them all national and most human rights, what kind of Israel would it be? It would be a very far cry indeed from the ideal commonwealth envisioned by Herzl in his second book Altneuland, the one he prefaced with the motto 'If You Will It, It Is No Legend.'

The idea of driving out all the Palestinians from Greater Israel - an idea which is becoming more and more popular in certain Israeli circles - is the only way of combining the ideas of a Greater Israel and the Jewish State, but is even more preposterous. Even if it were possible to evict the Palestinians, it would lead to an eternal war between Israel and the whole Arab world, thus reverting to possibility number one. Israel cannot throw the Palestinians into the desert, just as the Palestinians cannot throw the Israelis into the sea.

The idea of living together peacefully in one state may be more attractive but not more practical. No one can foresee how the relations between the two peoples will develop once peace comes about. The whole world may change, and we with it. Someday new forms of social existence may supersede nationalism, but we are still far from that time. The Israelis and the Palestinians are both intensely nationalistic peoples, traumatized by their experiences, the Israelis by the Holocaust and their national history of suffering, the Palestinians by the humiliation of colonialism and later by expulsion. After a total war lasting now for four generations, no total peace can come about overnight. No one can really believe that Israelis would enjoy equality in a Greater Palestine, nor that Palestinians could enjoy equality in Greater Israel. The idea of a democratic secular state in which Israelis and Palestinians would live peacefully together is at best premature, at worst a camoflage for quite different designs.

Thus, by a process of elimination, both of us, at our Paris table, reached the inescapable conclusion that there is no other solution than the one envisioned by the unusually intelligent resolution of the United Nations in 1947, even if history has changed the borders drawn then. When two peoples claim a country as their exclusive homeland, and each wants to express its personality in a state of its own, each living under its own flag, and its own government, partition is the only viable solution. It is also a good solution. pp. 22-23


Gideon Levy

Two-State Solution Debate | Gideon Levy

Rumbling Middle East fault lines make this Israel-Gaza war different
Jeremy Bowen BBC international editor


Dangerous talk by some of the extreme Jewish nationalists who are supporting the government of Benjamin Netanyahu about imposing another Nakba on Palestinians is alarming Arab states in America's camp, particularly Jordan and Egypt. One minister in Netanyahu's government even mused about dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza to deal with Hamas. He was reprimanded but not sacked. 

All that can be dismissed as the ravings of the lunatic fringe, but it is being taken seriously in Jordan and Egypt. Not nuclear weapons, of which Israel has a large and undeclared arsenal, but the prospect of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians being forced over their borders. 

As for the war itself in Gaza, senior western diplomats from countries that are firm allies of Israel's allies, told the BBC that ending the war, and dealing with the aftermath will be "difficult and messy". 

One said that "the only way through will be rebuilding a political horizon for Palestinians". That was a reference to an independent Palestine alongside Israel, the so called two-state solution, a failed idea that survives only as a slogan. 

Reviving it, perhaps in the context of a wider accommodation between Israel and the Arabs, is an ambitious plan, and perhaps the best idea around. But in the current atmosphere of pain, alarm and hatred it will be very difficult to deliver. 

It won't happen under the current leaderships of both Palestinians and Israelis. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu has not revealed his plan for the day after the fighting ends in Gaza, but he has rejected America's idea of installing a government led by the Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and ejected by Hamas from Gaza in 2007. 

The second part of the American plan is for negotiations on a two-state solution, something that Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed throughout his political life. 

Not only is Mr Netanyahu against independence for the Palestinians. His survival as prime minister depends on support from Jewish extremists who believe the entire territory between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean was given to the Jewish people by God and should all be inside Israel's borders.



Mazin Qumsiyeh "Sharing the Land of Canaan"

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine

He is also promoting ecological literacy, permaculture, nature regeneration in a region where these concerns are often overlooked by the immediate stresses of conflict.


"Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.....And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart...."
-- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (November 1938)

Peace cannot require Palestinians to acquiesce to the denial of what was done to them. Neither can it require Israeli Jews to view their own presence in Palestine as illegitimate or to change their belief in their right to live there because of ancient historical and spiritual ties. Peace, rather, must be based on how we act toward each other now. It is unacceptable for a Palestinian to draw on his history of oppression and suffering to justify harming innocent Israeli civilians. It is equally unacceptable for an Israeli to invote his belief in an ancient covenant between God and Abraham to justify bulldozing the home and seizing the land of a Palestinian farmer."
-- Ali Abunimah, "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse," Metropolitan Books (2006), pp. 8-9
(an important book advocating the "one state" solution to the conflict, similar, but not identical, to South Africa's transition from Apartheid)

One State or Two? Rashid Khalidi & Ali Abunimah on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Two leading Palestinian-American intellectuals discuss their new books: Rashid Khalidi's "The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood" and Ali Abunimah's "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse."
Challenging the Boundaries: A Single State in Israel / Palestine
London, 17 / 18 November 2007


Israeli intelligence leak details extent of warnings over Hamas attack This article is more than 1 month old
Officer who reviewed intelligence considered risk of big attack 'an imaginary scenario', leak suggests Israel-Hamas war – live updates
Peter Beaumont Tue 28 Nov 2023


Israel investigates claims investors made millions short-selling before Hamas attacks US professors detected unusual trading activity on Tel Aviv and US stock exchanges before 7 October Israel-Hamas war: live updates Jonathan Yerushalmy and agencies Mon 4 Dec 2023 19.26 EST




American Jews needed for a solution

Given the large role of the US government, military, media and the American Jewish community in supporting Israel, the key to Middle East peace is probably convincing American Jews that the United States must act to stop the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights. While no side in the conflict is blameless, American tax money is used to make the situation worse.

Perhaps the strongest similarity between the South African apartheid regime and Israel is that the Jews and the Arabs share a common fate: either they will resolve their differences in a relatively peaceful manner, or they will perish together. This decision has enormous consequences for the rest of humanity, since the nuclear nature of the conflict, the enormous oil resources of the Middle East, the proclivity of the world's imperial powers to intervene in that region, and the central focus of the three of the main religions of the world upon this slice of contested real estate suggests the rest of the human race needs to be involved in pushing for a relatively peaceful solution - if for no other reason than to prevent the triggering of a nuclear war.

No solution could be completely just, and no one will be completely happy with any outcome, but the obvious potential of a "land for peace" swap" is understood by most Israelis and Palestinians. The only question is how much unnecessary misery will be endured before some sort of solution is ultimately achieved.
Glenn Greenwald
New poll reveals how unrepresentative neocon Jewish groups are
(updated below - Update II)
A new survey of American Jewish opinion, released by the American Jewish Committee, demonstrates several important propositions: (1) right-wing neocons (the Bill Kristol/Commentary/ AIPAC/Marty Peretz faction) who relentlessly claim to speak for Israel and for Jews generally hold views that are shared only by a small minority of American Jews; (2) viewpoints that are routinely demonized as reflective of animus towards Israel or even anti-Semitism are ones that are held by large majorities of American Jews; and (3) most American Jews oppose U.S. military action in the Middle East -- including both in Iraq and against Iran.


"It is this working class alone that has the power to establish healthy relations with the Arabs, which is the most important political task of Zionism. Administrations come and go, but it is human relations that finally tune the scale in the lives of nations."
-- Albert Einstein, "Working Palestine," Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934, quoted in "Ideas and Opinions," p. 183

A Tribute to Albert Einstein, by Roger Tucker
He is mostly remembered as a great scientist, but as he said himself, "My life is divided between equations and politics." To my mind, he personified the wisdom inherent in modern humanistic philosophy. Generally thought of as the greatest physicist of the 20th century, he was among the most profound and influential social thinkers as well. Although he used the word "God" frequently, he used it in the metaphorical sense that genuinely spiritual people do (such people are overwhelmingly agnostic and/or secular, as he was - and rare as hen's teeth among the "religious.").
A strong internationalist, Einstein felt that "nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind" (page 144). He appreciated the need for state sovereignty to protect oneself from imperialism, but loathed the transformation of this need into the myth of nationalist chauvinism. A strong supporter of Israel, Einstein nonetheless felt that he would rather "see a reasonable agreement with the Arabs based on living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state." In a letter to Chaim Weizman, Israel's first President, Einstein wrote, "If we do not succeed in finding the path of honest cooperation and coming to terms with the Arabs, we will not have learned anything from our two-thousand-year ordeal and will deserve the fate which will beset us." When Weizman died in 1952, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion asked Einstein if he would be the President of Israel, but he declined. A few years later, Einstein noted presciently, "The most important aspect of [Israel's] policy must be our ever-present, manifest desire to institute complete equality for the Arab citizens living in our midst. The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people."


US - Israeli destructive alliance

The Israeli / US alliance is more about militarism, petroleum and geography than about religion. If the oil wasn't in the Middle East, the alliance would be much less important. There are certainly many cultural and religious components to the alliance, but the bottom line is "realpolitik" - a callous judgement by US elites that Israel is a useful military attack dog to have next to the world's largest oil fields. Israel is the "tail" to the US dog (and the tail does not wag the dog). Israeli collaboration with the empire usually meets the needs of the empire (due to oil geopolitics) but it would be an exaggeration to say that Israel controls the United States.

I prefer the paradigm that Israel uses its nuclear weapons to blackmail the United States. I'm not a fan of Seymour Hersh (most of the time), but the thesis of his book "The Samson Option" (about Israeli nukes) was compelling. He argued that their nukes are really aimed at the US so that they cannot oppose Israeli aggression, since Israel would threaten a nuclear crisis that the US certainly does not want (at least most of the US elites don't want it). One of the examples of this is the 1973 Arab - Israeli war (Yom Kippur war for the Israelis). In the first couple days, the Israelis lost ground after the Arab attack, and Israel reportedly unsheathed its nuclear missiles, leaving the silo hatches open for the US (and Russian) spy satellites to see. The implicit threat was if Israel was on the verge of losing the war, the nukes would be launched, which would probably trigger a global nuclear disaster. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ensured that extra weapons were immediately sent to Israel to resupply their forces to prevent this nuclear scenario.

Israel is probably also blackmailing the current regime since they undoubtedly know the full story of Cheney and 9/11. (Israel, however, did not run the air defenses over New York and Washington on the big day.) For more about Israel and 9/11, see

But the complicity goes in both directions - and the US treats Israel as an aircraft carrier, a place to project power from with "plausible deniability." That excuse wears thin in the Arab world, since everyone there assumes the two countries are in cahoots (and usually are).

Those who make racist allegations about the alliance fall into a trap set up by the defenders of that alliance and are easily discredited. has several examples.





"Zionism" as an epithet to shut down discussion

Bizarre attacks on by alleged "truth" activists:

you are a Zionist. That seems to be the most obvious claim anyone can make about you.
-- Charles Shaw, editor of Newtopia magazine
, June 2, 2005 (he obviously didn't read this site's page on Israeli war crimes - perhaps it is a reaction to the name "Robinowitz")

It is also quite possible that your allegiance to Israel has blinded you and distorted your worldview to the point of paranoia about who is out to get "the Jews". I'm not one of them, yet I do not accept the ADL mythology about history at face value.
-- Ray Duray, May 11, 2007 (in response to objections to false information being dissseminated by some 9/11 "truth" activists who trust white supremacists as credible sources - perhaps just another insecure person who can't move beyond an ethnic name to look at reality)

The word "Zionist" is usually misused - it merely refers to someone who thinks that there should be a State of Israel. It is a description vast enough to include liberal Israelis who support a two state solution with a viable Palestinian state as well as fascist, racist settlers on the West Bank who think the Palestinians should all be deported to Jordan. Zionist is not a synonym for extreme militarists who promote Israeli imperialism and ethnic cleansing, although those who support these nasty policies are by definition zionists.

I don't support the "right" of any State to exist, whether Israel, Palestine, a unitary state created for both Israelis and Palestinians, or any other. PEOPLE have the right to exist, States (governments) exist to serve people and have to earn their legitimacy through public participation.


Israel lobby


Let's zero in on AIPAC. It is controlled by right-wing, rich Jewish neo-conservatives. As one manifestation of the truth of this assertion one merely has to look at its annual meeting this past month. At a time when Vice President Cheney's popularity has dropped below 20 percent, the 4,500 delegates to the AIPAC convention gave him a standing ovation for almost a minute before he even opened his mouth and then proceeded to give him 48 rounds of applause in a 35-minute speech. (As my colleague Leonard Fein pointed out, that's once every 43.7 seconds). Considering that 75 percent of American Jews voted for Kerry, it is obvious that these people are out of the mainstream of Jewish thought. ....
AIPAC does not even represent the feelings of the average Israeli, let alone the average American Jew.



Double Standards: Beijing, China 1989 - Gaza, Palestine 2003
Jersualem Outer Beltway - a scheme to further fragment Palestinian communities in the West Bank


End the Suffering in the Middle East
By Rabbi Michael Lerner
Sunday 16 July 2006

It's not too late to say enough
By Yitzhak Laor

We're Being Set Up for Wider War in the Middle East
by Paul Craig Roberts
July 17, 2006

The Abyss Beckons
By Robert Parry
July 18, 2006
The Israel-Lebanon conflict has opened up a possible route for George W. Bush and his neoconservative strategists to achieve a prized goal that otherwise appeared to be blocked for them – military assaults on Syria and Iran aimed at crippling those governments.

The Arabs must help boost the moderates in Israel
Daily Star (Lebanon) Dec 9, 2003 (not at that webpage anymore)

The Arabs must help boost the moderates in Israel

By all yardsticks, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the March 2002 Beirut Arab League summit is the boldest move yet undertaken by the Arabs. The initiative, which proposed full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders as a quid pro quo for peace, normalization and security guarantees to Israel, is the recipe for lasting peace in our region. Unfortunately, the gallant initiative failed to gain momentum.
Reviving the Arab initiative requires full appreciation of the dynamics of peace in the Middle East. Hence, one needs to distinguish between necessary and sufficient conditions for peacemaking. The former refers to external factors that create a political atmosphere conducive to the success of a peace process. Had the Arab Peace Initiative been managed properly and wisely, it could have helped contribute to creating such a condition. The sad fact, however, is that the Arabs failed to launch an effective diplomatic offensive in order to win the approval of key players in the Middle East particularly the Bush administration. Notwithstanding US President George W. Bush’s lukewarm praise for the plan, he failed to embrace it as a blueprint for a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Surprisingly, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia the man behind the initiative neither addressed the Israeli public, nor did he do much to promote the plan internationally. More troubling, though, was that Egypt, a key player in any peace process, was irked by the fact that the idea came from Saudi Arabia (which is why President Hosni Mubarak was absent from the Beirut summit). For that reason, it was left to Jordan to promote the Arab initiative.
However, this necessary condition for creating an atmosphere conducive to peacemaking was by no means sufficient. The Arabs need to urgently address Israeli society and make subtle efforts to help bring moderate forces to power. We have to acknowledge that in Israel any peace that entails territorial compromise will be a burning topic and lead to internal divisions. Therefore, waiting for a national consensus to emerge there is a waste of time. We can only put hope in an Israeli majority that would back the principle of land for peace and normalization, as stated in the Arab initiative. To achieve this we need to cultivate Israeli public opinion, where a majority does not oppose peace. Israelis have genuine and legitimate security concerns; therefore without assuring them that their security is guaranteed, there can be little expectation that they will respond positively to such an initiative, particularly after electing the security-oriented government of Ariel Sharon.
Against this backdrop, the Palestinians should consider the positive impact on the Israeli public of bringing an end to their intifada. It goes without saying that the hawkish trend among Israelis has been caused and sustained by the persistence of Palestinian suicide bombings. Therefore, bringing the intifada to a halt will not only weaken this trend, but, equally important, it will impose different questions on Israeli society questions that the Sharon government is unlikely to be able to answer. By failing to internalize this logic, and given the absence of effective third-party intervention, we will only play into the hands of extremists on both sides.
Sharon’s government, due to its make-up, is committed to an ideology that bestows more importance on land than peace. As a corollary to this, it is incapable of making peace with the Arabs. Interestingly, in the Israeli government’s hesitant approval of the “road map,” one of its 14 reservations was the demand that any reference to the Arab Peace Initiative be deleted as a basis for future settlement, a reaction that suggests that a change in Israel’s configuration of power is demanded if peace is to be recognized as the ultimate objective.
Given the three years of bloodletting and Israel’s demonizing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, it is improbable that a genuine peace process can begin for as long as the Palestinians, too, do not change their current leadership. Arafat is totally unacceptable to the bulk of Israeli society and is considered a major impediment to peace. Thus, Israelis are reluctant to change their own leadership, despite its obvious failures in bringing about peace and security.
In short, a just peace will be beyond reach for as long as the right-wing Israeli government remains in place. The Palestinians could help provoke change inside Israel if they demilitarize the intifada, cease suicide bombings, change their leadership and launch a campaign to win over Israeli rejectionist forces. Only then can new dynamics be created that would bring about a moderate and pragmatic government that could respond positively to the Arab Peace Initiative.

Hassan A. Barari is a researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan and the author of Israeli Politics and the Middle East Process, 1988-2002. This article is part of a series on the Arab Peace Initiative published by THE DAILY STAR in partnership with the Common Ground News Service


The Israelization of America (habituating to terror)

ANNE GEARAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS - The United States could learn from compromises Israeli courts have struck to balance terrorism and human rights concerns, Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Friday.


Published on Thursday, March 9, 2006 by
Colonization of Palestine Precludes Peace
by Jimmy Carter

Published on Monday, February 20, 2006 by the Guardian/UK
Israel's Policies are Feeding the Cancer of Anti-Semitism
by Paul Oestreicher

.... the main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler's racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel's betrayal of its true heritage.
I began with the recognition that the cancer of anti-semitism has not been cured. Tragically, Israel's policies feed it - and when world Jewry defends Israeli policies right or wrong, then anger turns not only against Israel, but against all Jews. I wish it were mere rhetoric to say that Israeli politics today make a holocaust the day after tomorrow credible. If the whole Muslim world hates Israel, that is no idle speculation. To count on Arab disunity and Muslim sectarian conflict and a permanent American shield is no recipe for long-term security.
There are Israelis who know all that, and there are Jews around the world who know it. In Britain, Jews for Justice for Palestinians organises to give Jewishness a human face. Tell them they are anti-semites and they will laugh bitterly, for the charge hurts deeply and is a lie. Prophets such as Uri Avnery give all this eloquent expression, but are heard by only a few. The media are afraid of a lobby that is quite prepared to do them serious damage.


STEPHEN FARRELL, TIMES, UK - The road from Nazareth to Bethlehem begins by dropping down from a ridge south of Galilee into the Jezreel Valley, looking out across Jordan and Samaria. It is a 90-mile route defined by the journey of Mary and Joseph 2,000 years ago, although Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are unhelpful about the exact route, and the Bible does not mention the traditional nativity scene donkey.
Any direct route that foot passengers would have taken in the era of Caesar Augustus, retraced today, inevitably draws you into the tangled skein of modern Middle East politics, through Israel and the occupied West Bank, past Hamas strongholds and extremist Jewish settlements lying Islamic cheek by Zionist jowl. But first you slam into a checkpoint. The first, that is, of 15 Israeli military roadblocks and mobile checkpoints that now control passage along the roads south from Nazareth,. . .,,251-1957446,00.html

Israelis voting with their feet

760,000 Israelis have left the Promised Land
By Gideon Alon
Wed., November 19, 2003 Cheshvan 24, 5764

Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Secretary
"Why can't the Jews and Arabs just sit down together and settle this like good Christians?"

Former Mossad Director Calls for Unilateral Withdrawal from Gaza
12:45 Dec 09, '03 / 14 Kislev 5764
( With the ‘withdrawal momentum’ on the increase following recent statements by government ministers, former Mossad director Ephraim Halevy has joined in.
The former senior intelligence official is calling on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to bypass the Road Map plan and implement an Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in additional to the immediate removal of all unauthorized Yesha (Judea, Samaria & Gaza) outposts. Halevy also advocates relaxing restrictions on permitting PA residents into Green Line Israel to put the current situation to the test.
Halevy told a business forum that these steps are necessary in order to begin any serious dialogue with the PA.

Background / Would Israel ever give up the bomb?
By Bradley Burston, Haaretz Correspondent

Sun., December 28, 2003

Monday, 25 April, 2005, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Amnesty: West Bank farms poisoned

Palestinian farmers examine an animal near the West Bank village of Tuwani.
Amnesty International has called on Israel to investigate the deliberate contamination of Palestinian farmland - allegedly by Jewish settlers.
The human rights group said that toxic chemicals had been spread on fields in the Hebron region of the West Bank.
Farm animals had died and farmers had been forced to quarantine their flocks, the organisation said.
It also demanded that Israel put an end to "increasingly frequent" attacks on Palestinians by West Bank settlers.
"These poisoning incidents appear to be part of a deliberate attack on the livelihood of Palestinian farmers in the West Bank," said Kate Allen of Amnesty International UK.
"The Israeli authorities should mount a full investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice."
Rat Poison
The chemicals were spread on fields near the villages of Tuwani, Um Faggara and Kharruba in March and April, the group said.
Sheep, gazelle and other animals have been contaminated by the chemicals, and farmers livelihoods had been affected, the organisation said.
According to Amnesty, Israeli and Palestinian scientists who analysed the chemicals spread on the fields found two types of rat poison - one of which is banned in Israel.
Amnesty says that the Israeli authorities have made no attempt to remove the chemicals safely from the fields or to investigate the poisonings.
The villages affected are in a part of the West Bank that is under Israeli military control. Palestinian security services are forbidden by Israel from operating there.
Palestinians also complain of violent intimidation by Jewish settlers in the Hebron area.
In July 2004, Israeli police said they suspected Jewish settlers were responsible for poisoning a Palestinian well in the same area.

Last Update: 21/11/2003 00:38
State sends bad check to peace activist shot by IDF
By Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent

Ex-Shin Bet Chief - No Choice But To Trust Palestinians
By Haaretz Staff

Avraham Shalom, the Shin Bet chief forced to resign in the 1980s because of the Bus 300 affair, made an unprecedented TV appearance Tuesday evening to tell Channel Two's Ilana Dayan that "if we can't learn to trust one another, there will only be chaos here and nobody will be able to live here."
Shalom, who gave his first newspaper interview last weekend together with three other former Shin Bet chiefs, announcing in Yedioth Ahronoth that he was signing the Ayalon-Nusseibeh petition, and warning that Israel's "humiliation" of the Palestinians was no way to fight terror, told Dayan that he was motivated to speak out because of "the events and situation."
He said he is worried about what is happening to Israel as a "conquering occupying nation. We've become professional occupiers, not paying any attention to what is happening to the other side. I'm not talking about the war on terror. I am talking about how we treat the other side."
He said that "of course we should arrest the terrorists ... but there's no reason to make people strip at a checkpoint and there's no reason to stop an ambulance carrying a pregnant woman about to give birth.ä
He refused to give the current Shin Bet chief, Avi Dichter, any advice on how to fight terror, but noted that "if we drop heavy bombs on a house or send a missile or even an F-16 once or twice to kill one person or two, that looks out of proportion. If we did the work more secretly, we would have achieved results much more easily."
Asked if he believes the Palestinians enough to strike a deal with them, Shalom said "We're two peoples living on the same land and if we can't learn to trust one another, there will only be chaos here and nobody will be able to live here.",2763,916597,00.html

Flood of complaints as BBC postpones Israel investigation
Jason Deans
Tuesday March 18, 2003
Jane Root: decision 'will add fuel to conspiracy theorists'

The BBC received more than 1,000 complaints from viewers after a controversial film comparing Iraq with Israel was axed just minutes before it was due to air.
Israel's Secret Weapon, a Correspondent documentary for BBC2, investigated the state's secret nuclear bomb programme and compared it with Iraq's attempts to produce weapons of mass destruction.
The film was dropped from the BBC2 schedule at short notice on Sunday night because news coverage of the Azores summit on the Iraq war overran. But to the fury of viewers the programme was replaced with a repeat of a Fred Dibnah documentary about windmills.
Viewers angry with the decision to shelve the programme yesterday made 300 phone calls and sent 720 emails to the BBC.
The BBC said the show had been axed from its 7.15pm slot because BBC2's live coverage of the Azores press conference featuring Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush overran.
However, the production team for the film is reported to be "furious" about the decision not to show it.
A leaked BBC memo from the BBC2 controller, Jane Root, to the Correspondent team yesterday admitted the decision to drop the film "will add fuel to the conspiracy theorists".
Ms Root added: "But it is simply one of the decisions we have to take regularly to keep the channel running as smoothly as possible when news events disrupt the normal schedule."
The Correspondent documentary went out last night at 11.20pm after midnight.
However, it is understood the production team believe screening the programme in such a late timeslot will bury its important message.
The BBC claims the programme is a response to genuine concerns about "nuclear ambiguity" with regard to Israel and the policing of weapons of mass destruction.
Israel's Secret Weapon also claims the Israeli military used a new gas against Palestinians in Gaza in February 2001.
Jewish groups last week branded the film "one-sided" and "biased".
Neville Nagler, the director general of the board of deputies of British Jews, said: "I would suspect this film is one-sided and part of an agenda to liken Israel with rogue states in the Middle East."


`There isn't a target in Afghanistan worth a $1m missile' Mohamed Heikal 10 October 2001 The Guardian

"Whenever the US needs the Arabs, they are ready to offer a carrot," he says. "In 1991 the Arab world was lured into the Gulf war against Iraq because they were promised that they would be compensated by a just solution of the Palestinian problem. The Americans sent letters of reassurance to all the parties and the Arab states went to Madrid to negotiate on the basis of those assurances. It is 10 years since Madrid and nothing has happened. Now the same scenario is being repeated. Strangely enough, it is even the same people -- Cheney, Powell, a Bush. It is as if nothing has changed. People in the Arab world will see that our leaders are deceived again. Those who repeat their lessons are very bad pupils, and we are very bad pupils. We don't learn from our mistakes, so we are doomed to repeat them."