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Israel’s Leaders Are Trying to Cancel the Debate Because They Know They’re Losing

BY BASHIR ABU-MANNEH

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition of anti-Semitism” has become a hot political topic, from Britain to the United States.

Though the IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial has described it as “non-legally binding,” the working definition is being used by governments, civil society groups, and political institutions as part of a concerted effort to suppress criticism of Israel.

The German parliament has recently passed a resolution condemning the BDS campaign as antisemitic and cutting off funding from any organization that supports it.

In the UK, the secretary of education has threatened universities — already reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — with funding cuts unless they adopt the IHRA definition.

Though such measures are facing increasing public scrutiny and challenge, they have had a chilling effect on those who seek justice for the Palestinians — and with good reason.

The IHRA definition does in fact actively constrain advocacy for Palestinian rights and criticism of Israel. The man who originally drafted it, Kenneth Stern, has even said as much and has argued against its adoption by the incoming Biden administration.

I recently participated in drafting a letter with other Palestinian and Arab writers and intellectuals, published in the Guardian, that shows exactly why the IHRA definition is a flawed tool for tackling rising antisemitism and should be discarded.

In what follows, I will set out the logic of the letter on the IHRA and the question of Palestine, and then examine what is behind Israel’s ideological assault on free speech.

Why is it so vicious, and why is it being imposed in a top-down fashion through institutions of state power?

Shutting Down Debate

Israel is silencing speech rather than engaging in argument because it has become extremely hard for that state and its backers to win the political argument in public. It is more and more difficult to conceal some basic facts.

It is clear to anyone who looks directly that the occupation has actually deepened and worsened during the period of the so-called peace process.

They can see that there is a huge power imbalance between Israel and the Palestinians — a nuclear power, armed to the teeth with the most advanced technology, facing a defenseless, occupied people who can barely muster primitive rockets — and that, as every human rights report shows, Israel is the one violating the rights of the Palestinians and denying them freedom — not the reverse.

Israeli soldiers take positions as Palestinians gathered for the March of Return on April 13, 2018. (Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images)

If you don’t want to rectify any of these facts, the only alternative is to cover them up. Israel bullies and criminalizes those who draw attention to such uncomfortable realities, accusing them of antisemitism and supporting terror. The intention is to weaken, confuse, and disorganize opposition to its ongoing colonial plans.

Does it work? If what happened in the British Labour Party — the ousting of a pro-Palestinian leadership — is representative of a broader trend, then it clearly does.

In the grand scheme of things, this silencing tactic keeps on delaying justice for the Palestinians.

Fundamental Questions

Before considering this political context in more detail, I want to say a couple of things about the Guardian letter, which also appeared in equally prominent venues in Arabic (al-Quds daily), Hebrew (Haaretz), and in newspapers in Germany and France.

Its signatories, who include many of the world’s most prominent Arab writers, took a robust public stance against growing antisemitism and voiced their support for teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides (many slave people and minorities) — including in the Arab world.

The spirit of the letter was universal, critical of exclusionary nationalism, and committed to international law and human rights as the best way to fight racism and oppression.

It called for an acknowledgement of the political realities of Israeli aggression, Israel’s national dispossession of the Palestinians, and its ongoing occupation, while at the same time affirming the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in security and safety.

It also advanced an understanding of self-determination as a form of non-domination over others — as the route to justice and peace for both peoples.

On the question of antisemitism, more specifically, the letter accepted the definition of antisemitism adopted by the IHRA “as hatred toward Jews.” But it objected to the examples that the IHRA provides as potential evidence for such hatred.

The key issue here is about whether you can state any or all of the following things (some of which are simply facts) without being accused of antisemitism.The strongest and most consistent trend in Britain has been the rise in support for the Palestinians: from 28 percent in 2003 to 35% in 2013.

First, Are you free to say that Israel as it actually exists is a racist state — that the state of Israel (not hypothetical state of Israel, as the wording of the IHRA example has it) was founded on ethnic exclusivity, expulsion, (ethnic cleansing, mass transfer of Palestinians since 1948) and military conquest against the wishes of the majority who then lived in Palestine?

Second, And can you say that those it expelled have a right of return to their homeland?

Third, is it acceptable to describe Israel as a state whose laws and practices since its foundation have been structured to benefit Jews over its non-Jewish citizens, which now constitute 20 percent of the population? Fourth, And to describe it as a state that allocates core rights based on ethnicity rather than citizenship?

Fifth, What else is the Nation-State Law in Israel today, if not the latest codification of Jewish supremacy in Israeli law?

Sixth, Other key issues are whether you can criticize Israel’s daily aggression against the millions of Palestinians it occupies, whether you can say that Israel’s wars and occupation contravene international law, violate Palestinian human rights, and deny Palestinians their internationally recognized right of self-determination…

Seventh, and whether Palestinians can engage in any of the forms of resistance (Intifada or disobedience resistance) explicitly granted to an occupied people by the UN — including nonviolent forms like BDS — without having their actions branded as antisemitic.

Israel and World Opinion

The IHRA examples conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, preventing us from posing such elementary questions. Drawing attention to some obvious facts can bring you with the accusation of being antisemitic.

The advocates of the definition have in fact mobilized it by weaponizing, exploiting, and abusing the concept of antisemitism in order to protect Israeli state power.

They brand anti-Zionism (which is a long tradition in the Jewish community) as antisemitic, and target progressives around the world, who call for peaceful forms of action to end the occupation. They seek to exempt Israel — with great success thus far — from criticism or sanctions for its illegal conduct.

Why are Israel and its supporters employing this aggressive strategy?

It is essential here to fill in the political context.

Since the invasion of Lebanon (in six pre-emptive wars) and the first intifada in the 1980s, Israel has steadily escalated its military attacks on Palestinians and has been losing popular support around the world as a result.

Its image has changed from that of a victim state to that of an intransigent, occupying power.

This shift in perception has been most dramatic since the Second Intifada that began in 2000. (Actually, the First Intifada took place during the British mandate period in 1936 because they refused to hold municipal election, on account that the Jews constituted only 20% of the population. this Intifada lasted till 1939 and England had to dispatch 100,000 soldiers to quell this mass disobedience)

In a BBC World Service poll conducted in 2013, Israel ranked as one of the world’s least popular countries, at the bottom of the scale with Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea, with 52% of respondents declaring its influence in world affairs to be negative. The equivalent figure for North Korea was 54 percent.

Another important example comes from the Pew Research Center and its Global Opinion Survey the same year:

The US is the only country surveyed where a majority expresses positive views of Israel: 57% of Americans have a favorable opinion and 27% have an unfavorable view of one of their country’s closest allies in the Middle East …

In predominantly Muslim countries, as well as in France, Germany, Britain and China, majorities or pluralities express negative opinions in Israel …

In Lebanon (99%), Jordan (96%), the Palestinian territories (94%), Egypt (92%), Turkey (86%), and Tunisia (86%) offer unfavorable views …

Majorities in China (66%), France (65%) and Germany (62%) also express negative opinions of Israel, as does a 44%-plurality in Britain.

The British case is important to note because of what has been happening in that country’s politics recently.

In answer to the question: “Now thinking about the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more, Israel or the Palestinians?”, sympathy for Israel has consistently hovered around the level of 20 percent, with ups and downs in different years.

But the strongest and most consistent trend in Britain has been the rise in support for the Palestinians: from 28 percent in 2003 to 35 percent in 2013. There was also an increase in such support in France from 36 to 44%, although the percentage of those sympathetic to Israel rose in the same period there as well.

The Failure of Hasbara

Another worrying fact for Israel has been the declining support for it among Jews in the United States. Israel’s ongoing occupation jars (anger) with liberal Jewish views and support for human rights.

There is an increasing trend of totally disengaging from Israel or being neutral about the conflict. Take, for example, a 2018 survey of the Jewish population in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018:

While far more (43 percent) said they sympathized with Israelis than those citing the Palestinians (8 percent), almost half said they either sympathized with both sides, neither or were not sure.

Most troubling for Israel are the views among the new generation of Jews: “Among 18-to-34-year-olds, only 11 percent described themselves as very attached to Israel, [and only] 37 percent said they felt the existence of a Jewish state was very important.”Weaponizing charges of antisemitism is part and parcel of Israel’s efforts to hold on to the occupied territories and obstruct Palestinian statehood.

For a state that spends so much money and effort on public relations and hasbara, such results make stark reading.

Increasingly, key populations and core constituencies around the world are either neutral or have negative views of Israel, and strong sympathies with the Palestinians.

If you combine these statistics with the hard political facts that an overwhelming majority of states in the UN still support the right of Palestinian self-determination, Israel has a serious diplomatic and political problem on its hands.

It is Israel’s loss of prestige and public sympathy that ultimately explains the aggressive efforts to silence discussion of its conduct. Weaponizing charges of antisemitism is part and parcel of Israel’s efforts to hold on to the occupied territories and obstruct Palestinian statehood.

Invocations of antisemitism also perform another ideological role: they obscure the realities of the conflict and allow Israel to present itself as a victim of discrimination — as the injured party that is only trying to protect its fearful people from attack by supporters of terrorism and spreaders of hate.

Netanyahu’s Rhetoric of Victimhood

In 2016, in response to comments from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that presented Palestinian violence as an expression of despair at their long experience of occupation and oppression, Benjamin Netanyahu accused him of “stoking terror” and claimed:

The Palestinian terrorists don’t want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.

Once again, Israel’s leaders claim that their state is merely defending itself against terrorists who want to destroy it. Once again, they erase from history the fact that the PLO had already recognized Israel as far back as 1988, and that its rival Hamas has de facto accepted a two-state solution for well over a decade now, having won an election on the strength of this new political moderation in 2006.

Netanyahu totally inverts the reality that it is Israel that is blocking statehood for the Palestinians and denying them basic human rights.

Netanyahu does not care about Viktor Orbán’s antisemitic demonization of George Soros, or the Polish government’s denial of any Polish responsibility for the fate of the Jews during World War II.

What matters is the support of these governments for his right-wing, expansionist policies.

For Netanyahu, resistance to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza is the same as antisemitic terror attacks in countries like France. They are simply two varieties of Islamic, antisemitic terrorism.

The message is repeated endlessly: we in Israel are just like you in the West, fighting the supposedly murderous hatred of Islam.

In January 2015, for example, Netanyahu said the following:

Israel is being attacked by the very same forces that attack Europe … they might have different names — ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, Al Shabab, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah — but all of them are driven by the same hatred and bloodthirsty fanaticism.

While Netanyahu bandies these false and deeply Islamophobic conflations around, he is forging alliances with well-known antisemites like the rulers of Hungary and Poland.

Israel’s main historian of European nationalism, Zeev Sternhell, has attacked Netanyahu for this and stated that Israel now “sees itself as an integral part of this anti-liberal bloc led by nativist xenophobes who traffic in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”

This is all part of Netanyahu’s strategy to divide the EU in its stance toward Israel’s occupation.

. As far as Netanyahu is concerned, what is good for Israel is by definition good for Jews everywhere.

The controversy over the IHRA definition is another reminder that this is not the case. Progressives should oppose antisemitism everywhere it appears as well as taking a stand against Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

Far from being in contradiction with each other, these stances should go hand in hand. And no state should be insulated from criticism for its abuses of human rights.

Cultural boycott of Israel institutions disseminating misleading propaganda positions

On Monday, CounterPunch ran an article by Omar Robert Hamilton that responded to JK Rowling’s joint letter to defend Israel.

This was one amongst many responses to her letter. JK Rowling responded, and Omar responded to her. We run both below.

JK Rowling Responds:

I’ve had a number of readers asking for more information about why I am not joining a cultural boycott of Israel, so here it is:

As the Guardian letter I co-signed states, the signatories hold different views on the actions of the current Israeli administration.

Speaking purely for myself, I have deplored most of Mr Netanyahu’s actions in office. However, I do not believe that a cultural boycott will force Mr Netanyahu from power, nor have I ever heard of a cultural boycott ending a bloody and prolonged conflict.

If any effects are felt from the proposed boycott, it will be by ordinary Israelis, many of whom did not vote for Mr Netanyahu.

Those Israelis will be right to ask why cultural boycotts are not also being proposed against – to take random examples – North Korea and Zimbabwe, whose leaders are not generally considered paragons by the international community.

The sharing of art and literature across borders constitutes an immense power for good in this world.

The true human cost of the Palestinian conflict was seared upon my consciousness, as upon many others’, by the heart-splitting poetry of Mahmoud Darwish.

In its highest incarnation, as exemplified by Darwish, art civilises, challenges and reminds us of our common humanity.

At a time when the stigmatisation of religions and ethnicities seems to be on the rise, I believe strongly that cultural dialogue and collaboration is more important than ever before and that cultural boycotts are divisive, discriminatory and counter-productive.

Omar Robert Hamilton Responds:

Dear Ms Rowling,

I don’t know if you read my response in Counterpunch to your signing the Cultures of CoExistence letter.

I hope you will take the two minutes it asks of you. You’ve since expanded on your position and so, although I may be speaking to an empty room here, I feel I should step in again.

Firstly, the cultural boycott is not designed to force Mr Netanyahu from power.

If it were not Mr Netanyahu in power it would have been Mr. Herzog and his track record leaves us no reason to hope he would be the kind of visionary leader needed to bring a just resolution to the great injustices that Zionism has wrought upon Palestine.

The cultural boycott is designed to isolate institutions that are directly collaborating with the Israeli government in the on-going occupation and colonization of Palestine.

The cultural, economic and political boycott is designed to bring justice for the Palestinian people.

It is misrepresentative to suggest that BDS is a blunt instrument that blindly targets people based on their ethnicity. That’s what Israel does.

BDS, on the other hand, is a carefully considered campaign based on ethical principles.

It does not target individuals, it does not target people for their beliefs; it targets institutions that profit from death and their brand ambassadors, it targets people who, by accepting money, make themselves complicit with the Israeli state.

Let’s take two examples.

Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress soon to be an international star for playing Wonder Woman.

She served in the Israeli Army and has no problem acting as a representative of her country. However, as no Israeli state institutions contributed to the financing of her films, she is not someone that would be targeted by BDS.

Idan Raichel, on the other hand, has hosted gala fundraisers for the Israeli Army and provided morale boosting entertainment for soldiers on active duty in the most recent assault on Gaza.

In his own words, Raichel said “I believe that our role as artists is to be engaged in the Israeli propaganda campaign [Hasbara].”

Mr Raichel is the kind of artist that BDS targets.

It is laid out very clearly on the website for the Palestinain Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

BDS targets artists, companies and institutions that are in the service of the state and its policy of ethnic cleansing.

You ask why we don’t boycott North Korea?

This is a question often asked by Israeli apologists and the answer is simple: North Korea has no international cultural propaganda programme to boycott. How many state-sponsored celebrations of North Korean culture are happening this year?

How many North Korean lobbyists are at work in Washington DC? How many popstars have had to rescind tweets against North Korea? The answer is zero.

BDS does not stop the sharing of art or of literature across borders.

BDS stops government-sponsored propaganda from masquerading unchallenged as art.

BDS demands that art be art and that artists speak for themselves and not be mouthpieces of an apartheid regime.

Real cultural dialogue between individuals or institutions not affiliated with the state is of no interest to this campaign.

What BDS targets is state-sponsored smokescreening designed to buy Israel more time to conquer more land.

As a signatory to BDS there would be no preventing you from talking and working with as many ‘ordinary Israelis’ as you like.

In fact, it would guarantee that this sector about whom you are so concerned is identified.

Israelis resistant to their state’s policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid are welcomed with open arms.

But those that profit from it: they are the ones that we are no longer interested in dialogue with.

I believe that if you consider this carefully you will find that it is actually BDS, and not the Cultures of Co-Existence Clan, that is in line with your stated principles.

Israeli intelligence veterans’ letter in full to Netanyahu and military chiefs 

34 reserve soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 explained why they refuse to serve in Palestinian territories

To: Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi

Commander of Unit 8200

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Israel prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defence minister Moshe Ya'alon, chief of staff Benny Gantz

R to L: Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defence minister Moshe Ya’alon and chief of staff Benny Gantz look at maps of Gaza during the recent conflict. Photograph: Ariel Hermoni/Israel Defence Forces/EPA

It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people.

However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel‘s military occupation over the territories.

The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection.

There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence.

Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself.

In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed.

Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years.

This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement.

This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security.

The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act.

We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state’s actions against Palestinians.

We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end.

We believe that Israel’s future depends on it.

Senior Academic Officer Or

First Sergeant Ori

Sergeant Ella

Sergeant ***

Sergeant First Class Amitai

Captain Assaf

Lieutenant Assaf

First Sergeant Ariel

First Sergeant Guy

Sergeant First Class Galia

Lieutenant Gilad

First Sergeant Doron

Captain D

Professional Academic Officer H

First Sergeant T

First Sergeant Tal

Sergeant First Class Yair

First Sergeant Yoav

First Sergeant Yuval

Lieutenant Yonatan

Sergeant First Class Lior

Sergeant Liron

Sergeant Maya

Sergeant Michal

First Sergeant Menahem

First Sergeant Nadav

Sergeant Noa

First Sergeant Sa’ar

First Sergeant Eden

Sergeant Idan

Professional Academic Officer Amir

First Sergeant Amit

Sergeant K

Sergeant Keren

Sergeant First Class Regev

First Sergeant Roi

Sergeant R

First Sergeant Rotem

First Sergeant Shira

Major Shmulik

First Sergeant Schraga

Sergeant Sheri

Senior Academic Officer Tomer

 

It is good: A single lusty scene per movie…
Excellent for constipated people.
Two erotic scenes would not add much benefit to the constipation condition.
Three scenes is tantamount to risking a generalized diarrhea.
Better than lust, the extreme Israelis discovered a superior remedy to constipation.
If the Israelis don’t get their daily dose of sadistic behaviors and actions against the Palestinians, they get constipated. And they begin harassing the world community of “Anti-Semitic” trends.
Australian documentary on Israel torture techniques against Palestinian children  a link.
Germany Angela Merkel PM, a staunch Zionist,  (see link in note 1) and 17 of her cabinet ministers have landed in Israel today for discussion. What do you think would be the objective of this mass transfer of Germany top officials to Israel?
Netanyahu PM knows exactly that the EU has demanded a complete stoppage of settlement building and expansion, and Merkel made sure that Israel gets the message loud and clear.
Is Germany preparing Netanyahu  for his meeting with Barack Obama? Kind of extracting small tangible “concessions” to ratify a totally biased “peace treaty” with the Palestinians in exchange of a couple $billion in financial aids?
The Palestinians should try this alternative to increase Israelis constipated condition: Stay at home for a couple of days and refrain from crossing any of the Zionist military check-points.
Most probably, the Israelis will find all kinds of excuses to barge into peaceful Palestinian houses and get their daily dose of “laxative”.  And make a dash to the nearest WC “Oh, Oh. I got so excited and almost dirtied my pants“.
Or they may run to the closest olive tree, get their pants down and cut the tree: The tree is now impure and should be taken down and burned…
These kinds of insane archaic behaviors that only an apartheid religious ideology can generate.
Note 2: Stoned and dangerous https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/stoned-naked-armed-and-dangerous-disturbing-images-from-israeli-soldiers-instagram/
Note 3: Kill-goyim-children https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/israel-legalizes-crimes-of-hate-in-wartime-jews-should-kill-goyim-children/

I have a position: I am voting today (June 7, 2009)

It is 4 a.m. and in four hours I am going to vote; I will be giving a ride to my parents, both are way over 80 years; we will vote as the urns open and we will resume our day, flushed with hope that a new bright dawn is breaking out.

It has been a tough month, fraught with international meddling in our internal politics. It has been disgusting listening to the frequent US reminders that the Obama Administration will deny Lebanon aids if the Lebanese fails the wishes of Hillary Clinton to maintaining the status quo. I didn’t hear Hillary warning the Israelis that Netanyahu and Israel ultra right wings are roadblock to peace in the region. I am voting against Hillary for humiliating the Lebanese.

It has been nauseating witnessing the Saudi Arabia monarchy pouring over $300 millions to buy off the vote of 10,000 citizens who might make a difference in the majority of the Parliament by a couple more of deputies.  I am voting against the monarchic, obscurantist, and Wahhabi extremist oligarchic system.

The Lebanese citizens have been subjugated by foreign threats of “black listing” Lebanon as a State “supporting terrorism” and, accordingly, enforcing economic and financial embargo because the opposition is proud of the acquired regained dignity for standing tall against Israel’s blackmailing military maneuvers and frequent incursions into our land.  I am voting against foreign interference in our regained independence as a Nation.

The Lebanese have been subdued by a few internal confessional and “colonial minded” political parties, which own most of the media, that Lebanon is squandering its independence, autonomy of decision, and its future “promised” aids to balloon to over $60 billions, a debt that each new-born has to pay $14,000 to satisfy a defunct service economy within a crumbling capitalist monetary policy. I am voting for the cancellation of foreign debts tendered on political grounds.

Behind all that smoke screen I am confident that Lebanon will be governed by a unified block that will strengthen our autonomy and defend the Constitution.  Lebanon regained partial dignity after Israel’s withdrawal from part of our land in May 2000 without any pre-conditions. Lebanon regained another partial dignity by the withdrawal of the Syrian troops in April 2005. Lebanon will regain its total dignity by the coming to power of the block unified under the motto “A unified Lebanon, at peace with Syria and intent of safeguarding the rights of the Palestinians to return to their homeland, can resist and win over the isolationist weak-minded forces, constantly seeking foreign interventions to maintain our social, religious, and political caste system.”   The opposition forces will not cow and will stand tall against the humiliating dictates that refuse change and reforms in Lebanon.

Behind all that smoke screen that “political security and social stability will attract investment for the re-construction of a viable Lebanon” we have learned that money never flowed into countries flapping in the wind but to strong and unified States.

Behind all that smoke screen that “Israel will finally stop all plans to invade Lebanon or hold on to the Shebaa Farms and the Hills of Kfarshouba” we intend that the water of Lebanon will no longer flow into the sea so that Israel put claim on wasted resources; that a clean environment will be the policy of the land, tiny but worth preserving for giant spirits recovering from centuries of indignities.

The struggle is long and fraught with dangers for a secular and free Lebanon. I can deal with climbing summits; I cannot backtrack into obscure precipices. Today I am at peace. I can see a future worth fighting for; I can feel a dignity that can move mountains; I can reach out for every Lebanese to re-establishing communication among closed communities and vent out the stagnate air.  A powerful sun is infiltrating foul enclosed spirits decaying for three decades; I am confident that cleansed mold will have tough time sticking.  Sweet revolution, it is a good day to advance and face the glorious sun of change and reform.

The State of Palesrael: a future plausible resolution (November 12, 2008)

There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to containing this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel by displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as so many monstrosities in this century.

There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

The Israeli Olmert PM has lately declared that the time to facing truth has come.

Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the Arab and Israeli delegations and mediated by the US Administration, during the tenure of Bush Sr. for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and preemptive wars, is no longer tenable.

A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to invade Iraq before resolving this conflict.

The Bush Jr. “Son” administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq. This invasion has failed miserably but Israel is no longer necessary for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arab Gulf, it has many heavy weight allies among the Arabic States, and the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq or elsewhere or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.

The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases:

1. The first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledge State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.

At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should.

2. The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.

I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).

I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, and the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.

The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equitably distributed, including genders, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis and a rotation of key positions imposed.

The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel let Lebanon experience without foreign interventions the full extent of its caste structure so that the State of Palesrael might study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (no preemptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.

Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure the same neutrality status.  Amen.

Note: John Kerry, State Department chief, has been shuffling between Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas since 2013, trying to find a resolution to the Palestinian problem.

So far, Kerry failed. Israel has been building more settlements than ever before, annexing Jerusalem to become totally Jewish, and demanding that the Palestinians and the Arab leaders agree that Israel is a pure Jewish State.


adonis49

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