Making sense of Russian political ambiguities

The Saker: Making Sense Of Russian Political Ambiguities

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

Introduction: the world is not Hollywood

The past couple of weeks saw a number of truly tectonic events taking place simultaneously in the USA, in Russia, in Israel, in Syria, in Iran and in the EU. I think that it would also be reasonable to say that most of those who opposed the AngloZionist Empire have felt feelings ranging from mild disappointment to total dismay. I sure did not hear many people rejoicing, but if somebody was, they were in the minority (uncharacteristically, Mikhail Khazin, for example). These reactions are normal, we all form expectations which can be, and often are, disappointed. Still, even when the news is clearly bad it is helpful to keep a number of things in mind.

First, people, countries and events are not frozen in time. They are processes. Processes, by definition, are subject to change, evolution and (even radical) changes in direction.

Second, each process carries within itself the seeds of its own contradiction. This is what makes processes dynamic.

Third, people are imperfect. Even good people make mistakes, sometimes with tragic consequences. Yet it would be wrong to separate them all into either “infallible hero” or “abject villain and loser”. In fact, I would argue that any kind of mistake, especially a serious one, carries within itself its own contradiction which, in turn, can end up “energizing” the original process by creating a different set of circumstances.

All this is to say that the real world is not like Hollywood when the outcome of the story is only 90 minutes or so away. The real world is at war with the Empire and in this war, like in any other wars, there are mistakes and losses on both sides Both sides make mistakes and the results of these mistakes affect the future course of the war.

I would argue that in the past couple of weeks Russia suffered not one, but several PR disasters. I would also argue that the Zionists have had some tremendous PR successes. I will list them further below, but I want to suggest to you that PR disasters and successes are not quite the same as real-world, tangible victories. Furthermore, PR disasters and successes can sometimes be useful, as they reveal to the world previously overlooked, or underestimated, weaknesses. Finally, PR disasters and successes, while existing mostly in the realm of perceptions, can have a real-world effect, sometimes a dramatic one.

The usual chorus of Putin-haters who immediately declared final victory is completely mistaken and their reaction is the reflection of an infantile understanding of the complex world we live in. In the real world, a person like Putin can, and usually does, commit mistakes (PR and real-world mistakes) and the enemy can mount very effective counter-attacks. But the outcome of the war is not decided on a single battle. Furthermore, in politics, like in regular warfare, tactical mistakes and successes do not at all imply operational or, even less so, strategic successes. During WWII the German military usually performed better than the Soviet one on the tactical level, but the Soviets were superior on the operational and strategic levels. We all know how that war ended. If you want to read a good analysis and debunking of the “Putin caved in” nonsense, I recommend the article ”Russia Betrayed Syria”: Geopolitics through the eyes of a fearful “pro-Russia” Westerner” by Ollie Richardson.

The other extreme is to deny, against all evidence, that there is a problem or that mistakes have been made. That kind of stubborn flag-waving is actually unhelpful as mistakes are inevitable, and the first step towards mitigating them is to recognize them. The extreme version of that kind of flag-waving (pseudo-)patriotism is to denounce a person brining up problems as a traitor or a defeatist.

It is with all this in mind that I would like to revisit what has taken place and try to gauge what the real-world consequences of these PR events might be.

Part one: Putin disappoints

Quick summary: Putin re-appointed Medvedev, appointed Alexei Kudrin as Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of Russia and Vitalii Mutko as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of construction, he then hosted Bibi Netanyahu in the Kremlin while the latter bombed Syria right before, during and after Netanyahu’s visit. Finally, there is the disgraceful zig-zag about the S-300 for Syria: first, yes we will do it, then, no we won’t. All these events can, and should, be carefully analyzed and explained, but I don’t think that it makes sense to deny that most people feel a sense of disappointment over it all (except, of course, the bright geniuses who will claim that they knew all along that Putin was “fake”, but this is precisely the “Hollywood-thinking” types on whom any real analysis would be lost in the first place).

I would argue that even those who think that this is no big deal and that nothing terrible happened will not, if they are honest, deny that Putin must have known, without any doubt, that his decisions would be unpopular with the Russian public and that, very uncharacteristically for him, he deliberately chose to ignore his only public opinion and favor other considerations. That is something very new and, I think, something important.

There are roughly two camps vying for power inside the Kremlin: I call them the Atlantic Integrationists and the Eurasian Sovereignists. The former group is a pure product of the 1990s. We can think of them as “liberals”, IMF/Washington Consensus/WTO/WB types; folks who came to power thanks to the regime of oligarchs which ran Russia from about 1990 to 2000 and which was both deeply pro-American and which had extremely close ties to Israel and the various political Jewish and Zionist organizations in the West. The latter group is primarily a product of the armed forces and the security services. The “bridge” between the two is, by the way, the Russian military industrial complex in which both groups are represented. Unsurprisingly, most Russian “elites” (defined simply as people who made their fortune or, at least, a good living in the 1990s and after) support the Atlantic Integrationists, while most “regular” Russian people overwhelmingly support the Eurasian Sovereignists. This is why Putin is so popular and Medvedev never was. What is interesting is to look into how these groups relate to Israel and Zionism.

In a past article, I have already looked at the complex and multi-layered relationship between Israel and Russia. At this point we need to look a little deeper and see how each of these groups relates to Israel and Zionism.

Atlantic Integrationists: unsurprisingly, they are pro-Israeli to the hilt. For them, Israel is a totally normal country, even to be admired, as they all have personal/family and business ties to Israelis in Israel and in the USA. While there is no official version of AIPAC in Russia, let’s just say that the ADL would give the Atlantic Integrationists a perfect score for loyalty and service.

Eurasian Sovereignists: here, things are much more complicated. Some Eurasian Sovereignists are profoundly anti-Zionist ideologically, while others don’t really care. But even for those who have no love for Israel, or who are deeply opposed to the Zionist influence in Russia in the 1990s or even today (especially in the Russian media), do not necessarily find it useful to say much about it. Why? Primarily because they think, and I would say correctly so, that being pro-Russian (in the sense of patriotic and wanting a truly sovereign Russia) does not have to entail being anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish. Furthermore, there are, and have always been, patriotic Russian Jews who have been an integral part of the Russian culture and history. Just like I often write that for Russians, Muslims are not “aliens” in the way many westerners perceive them, and Jews are not “aliens” for Russians either. This is why you can often meet the following Russian type: they will bitch and complain about all the Jewish “crooks and politicians”, but have “good” Jews as their closest and best friends. This is not blindness at all, this is the expression of the fact that to loathe an ideology is one thing, but to collectively feel hostility towards a group of people you know very well is a completely different proposition. I will never cease to repeat it: Russia is, has always been, and still remains a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society in which the presence of “others” simply is a fact of life.

Then there is the WWII factor, which the Israelis and Russians Zionists have been extremely skilled at exploiting to the max: Russians and Jew are united in a common memory of the horrors the Nazis inflicted upon them and they also often sense that West Europeans and US Americans are, well, maybe not quite as sincerely sympathetic to their plight even if political correctness forces them to pretend to be. As a result, you will find that most anti-Zionist Russians, while surely not “ADL compatible” in their views, hate the Nazis and everything western racism stands for no less than Jews would. If fact, when faced with the modern wave of rabid russophobia, many Russians say “we are the new Jews”, meaning that everything evil on the planet is blamed on them regardless of fact or logic. Like it or not, but that common memory does bind Russians and Jews in a profound way.

I can already imagine the rage and disgust my words above will trigger in western Jew-haters for whom the world is split into two groups: Jew-haters (good) and all those who “sold out” to “the Jews” (as if there was such monad as “the Jews”). All I can tell them is this: don’t project your reductionist world view on others, especially not on Russia. If you do, you will never “get” Russia and you will be stuck with the kind of proverbial nonsense like “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.

Part two: The Empire Strikes back

The past couple of years have been terrible for the Zionists, both in the USA and in the rest of the world. First, there was the crushing defeat of their candidate in the USA and the election of a candidate they rabidly hated. Then there was the Russian military intervention in Syria which prevented them from overthrowing the last secular “resistance” regime in the Arab world. In Russia, “their” Atlantic Integrationists were slowly but surely losing power and all in all, the western sanctions turned out to be a blessing for Russia. Putin’s popularity was soaring to new heights and the the global “Zionist house” was on fire. In the USA, the Zionists counter-attacked with lightening speed and with a devastating effectiveness, breaking Trump in about 30 days (as shown by Trump’s betrayal of Flynn and later Bannon). After that, Trump made appeasing AIPAC his full-time job.

But that left another problem: while the US was re-taken under control, Russia, in the meantime, had succeeded in developing the capabilities to completely negate the entire US ABM system, to make much of the surface fleet obsolete and severely to impair the ability of US airpower to operate in airspace contested by modern Russian air defenses. In other words, in purely military terms, this was “game, set, match for Russia”.

[Sidebar: to those shocked by this statement and who would dismiss this as “Russian propaganda” I will submit the following: US military power is predicated on the following:

  1. The ability to deploy a carrier strike group anywhere on the planet.
  2. The ability to protect that carrier strike group from any major counter-attack.
  3. The ability to strike any country in the world with enough missile and airstrikes to break its will to continue to fight.
  4. The complete and total control of the skies (air supremacy). US forces simply never train for a combat scenario where they don’t control the skies or, even less so, when their enemy does.
  5. The very strong belief that no enemy would dare attack major overseas US bases.
  6. The very strong, quasi religious, belief that US military technology is superior.
  7. The absolute certitude that the US mainland would never be hit in a counter-attack.

None of the previous beliefs are based in reality anymore and, in fact, their opposite is true. This is why when dealing with a near-peer or peer enemy the US armed forces are more or less useless. The only very notable exception is the US nuclear triad and the US submarine fleet. The current situation in Syria (and by implication, Iran and Russia) is finally gradually bringing this new reality to the awareness of US decision-makers and military commanders.]

This is why Russia, albeit with only a tiny contingent, succeeded in turning the tide of the war in Syria and even now presents the AngloZionists with a frustrating challenge:

a (comparatively) tiny contingent of Russian forces completely derailed the Empire’s plans for the entire Middle-East: not only is there a real change of peace breaking out in Syria, but the situation is far from having the Takfiris and Shia killing each other in Syria and Lebanon (a key part of the Israeli plan for the region). Hezbollah, Iran and the Syrians are now in a victorious coalition on the ground with the “Axis of Kindness” forces roundly defeated.

So the Israelis decided on a simple, very effective and very dangerous counter offensive plan: 1) start a war between the USA and Iran by creating an acute crisis as a result of the US reneging on its legal obligations and 2) bait Iran into a counter-attack in response to Israel air operations against Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in Syria. But for that plan to succeed, Russia needed to stay out.

So far, at least, it looks like the Israelis have convinced the Russians to stay out. But is that perception really well founded?

Part three: factors inhibiting Russia

First and foremost, as I have already explained in great detail in the past, Russia has absolutely no legal or moral obligation to support, protect, arm, train or otherwise assist anybody in the Middle-East. None. Russia has already done more for Syria than the entire Arab/Muslim world combined with the notable exception of Iran and Hezbollah. As for the Arab/Muslim world, it has never done anything for Russia and still is doing nothing. So those who like to whine about Russia not doing enough simply have no case whatsoever.

Second, the Russian air defense and air forces in Syria have only one mission: to protect the Russian task force in Syria. Whoever got the idea that Russia is supposed to shoot down Israeli aircraft or missiles over Syria has not been paying attention to public Russian statements about this. The notion that the Russian task force in Syria is there to engage US/NATO/CENTCOM forces is just as ridiculous.

Third, and contrary to a frequently held misconception, the Syrian government, Iran, Hezbollah and Iran have different agendas in the Middle-East. Yes, they are de-facto allies. They also have the same enemies, they often work together, but they all think of their own interests first. In fact, at least in the case of Iran and Russia, there are clear signs that there are several ‘camps’ inside the Russian and Iranian government and the ruling elites which have different agendas (I highly recommend Thierry Meyssan’s recent articles on this topic here and here). To think that any or all of them will instantly come to the defense of any one of them is supremely naïve, especially when the aggressor (Israel) is backed by the full power of an already warmongering Empire run amok.

Fourth, the sad reality is that Russia, unlike Iran, never took a principled position concerning the nature and behavior of the state of Israel. I very much deplore that, and I consider it a shame, but I hasten to add that this shame is shared by every single country on the planet except Iran, Bolivia and, maybe, to some extent Turkey. Not to excuse anything, but only to explain, there is very little awareness amongst Russians about the true nature and behavior of the Israelis, and most of what makes it to the media is hopelessly pro-Israeli (hence the almost constant presence of the likes of Iakov Kedmi, Avigdor Eskin, Evgenii Satanovskii and other Israeli agents – they don’t even really bother to deny it – on Russian TV). The Russian media, especially the TV stations, could easily get a “ADL seal of approval”. Simply put: the vast majority of Russians don’t feel that the plight of the Palestinians or the constant Israeli attacks on neighboring countries is their problem.

[Sidebar: such a view can appear very self-centered until you recall the kind of “gratitude” Russia got in the past from her former interventions. There are countries out there who exist only because Russia decided that they should exist and which today are members of NATO. I won’t even go into the “Slavic brotherhood” or, for that matter, “Orthodox brotherhood” nonsense. The only people with whom Russia truly has a strong bond are the Serbs. The rest of them were more than happy to backstab Russia as soon as convenient. Thus history has taught Russia a painful lesson: give up on any naïve notions of gratitude or brotherhood. Very sad, but true. Today, even countries like Kazakhstan, Armenia or Georgia are showing a very ambivalent (and even ambiguous) attitude towards Russia. As a result the idea that Russia owes some form of protection to anybody out there has almost no support in Russia.]

Fifth, even the Eurasian Sovereignist’s analysts and media in Russia have this absolutely amazing “blind spot” about Israel and the Zionist ideology: I think of analysts whom I sincerely admire and respect (like Sergei Mikheev or Ruslan Ostashko) and whose analysis is superb on pretty much everything and who simply never mention the power and influence of what is clearly a powerful pro-Israeli lobby inside Russia, especially in the Russian media (even when they mention the power of the Israel lobby in the USA). Considering how different the tone of much of the Russian Internet is, the only explanation I have for this situation is that any public anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist statements are career-terminators in Russia (we also clearly see the same phenomenon at work with RT and Sputnik). You can completely forget about any Russian religious figures speaking up, and that goes both for the Orthodox and Muslims: they all take their orders from the Kremlin and have no personal opinion on anything (I am only talking about the “official” senior religious leaders – the rank and file faithful do not display this type of behavior).

Sixth, there are plenty of people in Russia who fully realize two simple things: first, a war between Iran and the Empire would be disastrous for the Empire (and therefore great for Russia) and, second, the Iranians are also “problematic” allies at best who have their own version of “Atlanticists” (remember the “Gucci Revolution”?) and “Sovereignists”, which means that tensions, or warfare, between Iran and the USA would be greatly advantageous for the anti-US camp inside Iran (just like the rabid russophobia of western politicians did more to re-elect Putin than any of his own campaign rhetoric). To put it crudely, if the Israelis are dumb enough to attack the Iranians, and if the US Americans are subservient enough to Israel to join into the fight – why should Russia take great risks and openly stand in the way? Finally, any conflict with Iran (which will most likely also involve the KSA) will have oil prices skyrocket. What do you think this will do to the Russian economy?

Seventh, the war which Israel is currently waging against Iran and pro-Iranian forces in Syria is entirely a symbolic war. Even the Pantsir which was recently destroyed by the Israelis (with the usual pro-Israeli PR campaign) was not even on combat alert: the unit was not even camouflaged and its crew was standing around and smoking. The Israelis are masters at making this look all very impressive and heroic, but in military terms, this is nonsense: they clearly hit a unit which was not even part of the action (whatever that “action” was).

The basic rule of warfare still remains valid today: unless you can put boots on the ground, your efforts will never have a decisive military effect. And thank God for the fact that nobody in the “Axis of Kindness” has any credible ground forces; not the Israelis (remember 2006?); not the Saudis (look at Yemen); and most definitely not the USA (when is the last time they beat somebody capable of resisting?). That is why the AngloZionist Empire always tries to use proxies like the Kurds or the “good terrorists” to fight on its behalf. Thus the Russian military specialists fully understand that even if the Israelis bombed Syria for the next several months, they would not be able to change the fundamental correlation of forces on the ground. Hence, the Israeli strikes are mostly about PR.

Still, for all these reasons, and more, we all have to come to terms with the fact that Russia is what I would call a “limited actor” in the Middle-East. I have been saying from day 1 – when some were having visions of Russian airborne divisions (supported by MiG-31s!) landing near Damascus – that “the Russians are not coming” (see herehereherehere and here). Furthermore, I tried to explain that the Russians are under no obligation whatsoever to protect or save anyone anywhere, including in the Middle-East (see here). Finally, I tried to explain that the Russian-Israeli relationship is a multi-layered and complex one (see here) and that Putin is facing some tremendous internal opposition which he has failed to successfully tackle (see here). But trying to describe a complex reality is often a futile task in a world in which simple, black and white, binary-kind of representations are the rule and where every complex argument is immediately turned into a long list of straw-man misrepresentations. This is still very much the case with the latest developments.

Those who say that “Putin sold out” are wrong, but so are those who think that “the Russians are coming” to save anybody. It is just not going to happen. Russia will not fight a war against Israel (unless she is attacked first) and Russia will only support Iranian operations and policies insofar as the Iranians negotiate a deal with the Russian and coordinate their efforts. As soon as Iran, or Hezbollah, make a move without prior consultations with Moscow, they will be on their own to deal with the consequences.

Part four: is Russia caving in to Western and Israeli pressure?

Setting aside the issue of the Russian role in the Middle-East, there remains the issue of why Putin failed to deliver on what was clearly a mandate of the Russian people to get rid of at least of the most hated personalities in the Russian government. Most folks in the West know how toxic Kudrin is, but the promotion of Mutko is nothing short of amazing too. This is the man who is most to blame for the gross mismanagement of the entire “Russia doping scandal” operation and who is absolutely despised for his incompetence. Now he is in charge of construction. There is even a good joke about this: Putin put Mutko in charge of the construction industry because the Russian construction market badly needs some doping. Funny, sure, but only so far. When I see Rogozin removed for his “poor management” (now put in charge of the Russian rocket and space industry) and Mutko promoted, I wonder if they have all gone crazy in the Kremlin.

We can all argue ad nauseam why exactly this has happened, but let’s first agree on one simple fact: Putin has failed to purge the Atlantic Integrationists. The big expectation of him getting a strong personal mandate from the people and then finally kicking them out of the Kremlin has, alas, been proven completely unfounded. There are a couple of interesting explanations out there such as:

  • Objectively, the Medvedev government has done a very decent, if not good job, with the economy. True, some/many believe that mistakes were made, that there were better economic policies available, but it would be hard to argue that the government completely failed. In fact, there are some pretty strong arguments which indicate that the Medvedev government (see this article discussing this in detail and it’s machine translation here and this article and its machine translation here)
  • Putin’s very ambitious internal economic growth program needs the support of the interests represented by the Atlantic Integrationists. In fact, internal development and economic growth are the core of his very ambitious political program. Possibly not the best time to purge the Kremlin from those who represent the interests of Russian big business.
  • The Medvedev “clan” has been weakened (see here for details) and now that it has been put on a much shorter “technocratic” leash, it is far less dangerous. In fact, it has been been subdued by Putin and his allies. Lavrov and Shoigu are both staying, by the way.
  • Trump’s reckless behavior is deeply alienating the Europeans to whom Putin is now presenting negotiation partners which they would trust (imagine Merkel and Rogozin in the same room – that would not go well!). Check out this excellent article by Frank Sellers in The Duran looking at the immense potential for Russia-EU cooperation.

Meh. I am personally unconvinced. How can Putin say that he wants serious reforms while keeping the exact same type of people in command? If indeed the Medvedev government did such a great job, then we is there any need for such major reforms? If Putin’s power base is indeed, as I believe it to be, in the people, then why is he trying to appease the financial elites by catering to their interests and agenda? Most crucially, how can Russia free herself from the financial and economic grip of the Empire when the Empire’s 5th column agents are (re-)appointed to key positions? And in all of Russia was there really nobody more qualified than Mutko or Kudrin to appoint to these positions?

Of course, there always this “Putin knows something you don’t” but I have always had a problem with that kind of logic which is essentially an open-ended universal cop-out. I hope that I am wrong, but to me this does strongly suggest that Putin is on the retreat, that he has made a major mistake and that the Empire has scored a major victory. And I will gladly admit that I have yet to hear an explanation which would explain this, never mind offer one of my own.

On the external front, has Russia caved in to Israeli pressure? Ruslan Ostashko offers a very good analysis of why this is hardly the case: (I don’t necessarily agree with his every conclusion, but he does make a very good case:

Yes, Netanyahu *did* with his repeated strikes on Syria, thumb his nose at Putin (that famous Israeli chutzpah at work for you!), and yes, Putin wining and dining Netanyahu was a painful sight and a PR-disaster. But on substance, did Israel get Russia to “betray Iran”? No, and not because the Russians are so heroically principled, but because Israel really has nothing to offer Russia. All Israel has is a powerful pro-Isreal lobby inside Russia, that is true. But the more they use that lobby the more visible it becomes, the more questions at least Eurasian Sovereignists will ask.

The Israelis sure don’t want to give the impression that the run Russia the way they run the USA, and Netanyahu’s reception in the Kremlin recently has already raised a lot of eyebrows and the impression that Putin caved in to the demands of this arrogant bastard are not helping Putin, to put it mildly. A lot of Russian analysts (Viktor Baranets, Maksim Shevchenko, Leonid Ivashov) wonder what kind of arguments Netanyahu used with Putin, and the list of possibilities is an outright uninspiring one.

Part five – another truism: there is a difference between excellent, good, average, bad and terrible

Even if the situation in Russia has changed for the worse, this is hardly a reason to engage in the usual “Putin sold out” hysteria or to declare that “Russia caved in”. Even when things are bad, there is still a huge difference between bad and worse. As of right now, Putin is not only the best possible person to be the President of Russia, Russia also continues to be the objective leader of the resistance to the Empire. Again, the black-and-white “Hollywood” type of mindset entirely misses the dynamic nature of what is going on. For example, it is quite clear to me that a new type of Russian opposition is slowly forming. Well, it always existed, really – I am talking about people who supported Putin and the Russian foreign policy and who disliked Medvedev and the Russian internal policies. Now the voice of those who say that Putin is way too soft in his stance towards the Empire will only get stronger. As will the voices of those who speak of a truly toxic degree of nepotism and patronage in the Kremlin (again, Mutko being the perfect example). When such accusations came from rabid pro-western liberals, they had very little traction, but when they come from patriotic and even nationalist politicians (Nikolai Starikov for example) they start taking on a different dimension. For example, while the court jester Zhirinovskii and his LDPR party loyally supported Medvedev, the Communist and the Just Russia parties did not. Unless the political tension around figures like Kudrin and Medvedev is somehow resolved (maybe a timely scandal?), we might witness the growth of a real opposition movement in Russia, and not one run by the Empire. It will be interesting to see if Putin’s personal ratings will begin to go down and what he will have to do in order to react to the emergence of such a real opposition.

Much will depend on how the Russian economy will perform. If, courtesy of Trump’s megalomaniacal policies towards Iran and the EU, Russia’s economy receives a massive injection of funds (via high energy prices), then things will probably stabilize. But if the European leaders meekly cave in and join the sanctions against Iran and if the US succeeds in imposing even further sanctions on Russia, then the Medvedev government will face a serious crisis and the revival of the Russian economy promised by Putin will end up in an embarrassing failure and things could also go from bad to even worse. As for right now, our always courageous Europeans are busy handing the latest Eurovision prize to an Israeli (Eurovision prizes are always given to countries the EU leaders want to support) while the self-same Israelis “celebrate” the new US Embassy in Jerusalem by murdering 55 Palestinians (and promised to kill many more). So let’s just say that I am not very hopeful that the Europeans will grow a spine, some balls, a brain or, least of all, acquire some moral fiber anytime soon. But maybe they will be greedy enough to reject some of the most outrageous US demands? Maybe. Hopefully. After all, the European supine subservience to the USA has to the EU billions of dollars already…

Part six: dealing with the S-300 fiasco

The entire S-300 business for Syria has been an ugly mess but, again, more in the PR realm than in the real world. The constant “we will deliver, no we won’t, yes we will, no we won’t” creates a terrible impression. The explanations for this zig-zag make things only worse. Let’s take a look at what those who do not disapprove of this zig zag are saying. Their arguments go more or less as follows.

  • The S-300s would place the Israeli Air Force at risk not only over Syria, but also over Lebanon and even Israel. This is overkill because Russia never moved into Syria to fight a war against Israel. So the entire idea of delivering S-300s to Syria was a bad idea in the first place.
  • Syria does not really need S-300s. Lavrov and others mention the S-300s as a threat (because the Israelis really fear these systems), but in reality what Syria needs are Buk-M2E (see analysis in Russian and it’s machine translation here).
  • The Russians made a deal with Israel and in exchange for the non-delivery of the S-300s (see analysis in Russian here and the machine translation here) they are getting something very tangible: Israel will stop supporting the “good terrorists” in Syria thereby making it much easier for Damascus to finish them off.

I don’t like these arguments very much except for the 2nd one. First, I do agree that the Buk-M2E is a very modern and capable system with some advantages over the S-300 in the Syrian context, but I would still add that the infamous sentence “Syria has got all it needs” is an absolutely terrible and ridiculous statement (read Marko Marjanović devastating critique of it in his article “Israel Took out a Syrian Pantsir Air Defense Unit, S-200 Radars. Russia: ‘No S-300 Transfer, Syria Has All It Needs’” for Russia Insider). I think that this “Syria has all it needs” is yet another of these self-inflicted PR disasters and an absolutely ridiculous statement until you take it one step deeper.

So, if by “Syria has all it needs” you mean “Syria has no need for any other help” or “the Syrian air defenses can deal with any Israeli or US attack” – then this is total nonsense. Agreed. But if you just rephrase it and say “Syria has all the types of weapons it needs”, then I think that this is basically true. By far the single most important air defense system for the Syrians is the Pantsir-S1, not the S-300 or any other system.

As early as June of last year I wrote a column for the Unz Review entitled “Russia vs. America in Syria” in which I had a section entitled “Forget the S-300/S-400, think Pantsir”. I wrote that at a time when most observers were paying no attention to the Pantsir at all, and the entire world seemed obsessed with the S-300 and S-400s. I still believe that the Pantsir is the key to the outcome of the struggle for the Syrian airspace. But Syria, and Iran, need many more of them. Basically, the ideal situation is numerous Russian, Iranian and Syrian Pantsirs all over Syria, all of them integrated with already existing Russian long radar capabilities and supported by modern electronic warfare. With enough Pantsirs deployed and on full alert (not like the one the Israelis recently destroyed) and fully integrated into a single air defense network, the Syrians would be able to mount a very robust air defense capability, at a relatively cheap cost, without offering the Israelis any high value and lucrative targets.

Pantsirs can deal with most of the US and Israeli threats even if, unlike their S-300/S-400 counterparts, they cannot engage aircraft at long distance (hence the suggestion to deploy some Buk-M2E’s to approximate that capability). The truth is that S-300’s were never designed to operate more or less autonomously or to intercept cruise missiles or bombs. Yes, they *can* do that, but they were designed to deal with long range high value targets and within a multi-layered system which included many other systems, such as the Buks, Tors, Pantsirs and even Iglas and Verbas MANPADs. That multi-layered air defense system is currently abscent in Syria and would take a lot of time and money to deploy. In contrast the Pantsirs can function completely autonomously, can detect any target up to 50km away, track and engage it 20km away, protect itself and others with its 30mm guns up to 3km away. Pantsirs can even do that while moving up to 30km/h on rough terrain. This makes it an extraordinarily effective and survivable air defense system, which is relatively easy to hide, deploy and engage with no warning for the enemy. By the way, the Pantsir can also use both its 30mm canons and its missiles against ground targets, including tanks. No current air defense system can boast such a combination of capabilities.

Russia needs to deliver as many of those Pantsir-S1 systems to Syria as physically possible. A large number of Pantsir’s in Syria would present Israel and the USA with a far bigger headache than a few S-300s. Currently there is something in the range of 40-60 of such Pantsir’s in Syria. This is far from enough considering the magnitude of the threat and the capabilities of the threat. That number needs to be at least doubled.

However, and regardless of the real-world technical and military aspects of the issue, the Russian zig-zags gave the world a terrible impression: the Israelis attack a Russian ally, then the Russian promise to do something about it, then Netanyahu goes to Russia, and Putin meekly caves in. This is all a massive self-inflicted political faceplant and yet another major mistake by Putin and other Russian leaders.

Frankly, the main Russian mistake here was to *ever* mention S-300s deliveries to the Syrians.

Part Seven: the lessons from the Divine Victory of 2006 – survival is victory

In 2006 Hezbollah inflicted a massive and most humiliating defeat upon Israel. And yet, there is some pretty good evidence that it all began by a mistake. Not by Israel, by Hezbollah. Check out this now often forgotten statement made by Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah:

“We did not think, even one per cent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not”

Amazing, no? Hassan Nasrallah spoke these words after Hezbollah’s superb victory against the “invincible Tsahal”. The truth is that Hezbollah had underestimated the violence and magnitude of the Israeli attack. Not only that, but Israel did not lose a single inch of its territory while all of Lebanon, not just the south, was viciously bombed and scores of civilians died. Hezbollah did destroy a few “indestructible” Merkava tanks and almost sank the Israeli Navy’s flagship. But compared to the damage and pain inflicted by the Israelis, this was nothing. Even Hezbollah’s missiles had a comparatively small effect on the Israeli population (mostly just the typical Israeli panic). And yet, even if politicians did not want to admit it, it was as clear as can be for both sides:

Hezbollah had won a “Divine Victory” while the Israelis had suffered the worst defeat in their history. Why? For a very simple reason: Hezbollah survived.

That’s it and that’s crucial. Olmert and his goons had set out to destroy Hezbollah (or, at least, disarm it). This is what Trump will probably try to do to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this is what the AngloZionist Empire is trying to do to Russia: eliminate it.

Once the goals are thus defined, then the definition of victory is also obvious: surviving. That’s it.

For Hezbollah, Iran or Russia to defeat Israel, the USA or the entire Empire, there is no need to plant a flag on the enemy’s main symbolic building like what Soviet soldiers did in Germany. All they need to do to win is simply to survive because the other’s sides survival is predicated upon their elimination, it’s really that simple. Israel cannot claim victory as long as Hezbollah exists, the USA cannot claim world Hegemony if Iran openly defies it, and the AngloZionist Empire cannot clain world hegemony over the our planet as long as the Russian civilizational realm openly challenges it. So while all the talk about the Iranians wanting to “wipe Israel off the map” is just a typical ziomedia invention, it is true that by their very existence Hezbollah, Iran and Russia do represent an existential threat to Israel, the USA and the Empire.

This is the biggest and the fatal weakness of the AngloZionist Empire: its survival depends on the colonization or destruction of every other country out there. Every independent country, whether big and powerful, or small and weak, represents an unacceptable challenge to the hegemony of the “indispensable nation” and the “chosen people”, which now try to rule over us all. This might well be the ultimate example of Hegelian dialectics at work in geopolitics: an Empire whose power generates it’s own demise. Many empires have come and gone in history, but the globalized world we live in, this dialectical contradiction is tremendously potentialized by the finite conditions in which empires have to operate.

Conclusion one: support for Putin and Russia must only be conditional

Over the past few years, Putin and Russia haters were predicting doom and gloom and all sorts of betrayals (or Novorussia, Syria, Iran, etc.) by Putin and Russia. Then time passed and all their predictions proved false. Instead of just talking, the Russians took action which proved the nay-sayers wrong. This time however, the Russians said and did a number of things which gave *a lot* of fuel to the Putin-haters and the only way to undo that is to take real action to prove them wrong. Right now as a result of these self-inflicted PR-disasters Russia looks very bad, even inside Russia were many Putin supporters are confused, worried and disappointed.

Externally, the Syrian and, especially, the Iranians need to come to terms with the fact that Russia is an imperfect ally, one which sometimes can help, but one which will always place its personal interests above any other consideration. In a personal email to me Eric Zuesse wrote “I think that Putin and Netanyahu are negotiating how far Israel can go and what Russia can accept — and what cooperation each will provide to the other — drawing the red lines of acceptability, for each side”. I think that he is spot on, but I also think that Putin is wrong in trying to make a deal with Israel, especially if a deal is at the expense of Iran. Ostashko is right. Objectively Israel has very little to offer Russia. But if this kind of collaboration between Russia and Israel continues, especially if Iran is attacked, then we will know that the Israel lobby inside Russia is behind these policies which go counter to the Russian national interest. We will soon find out.

In the meantime, Lavrov can’t try to get a deal going with Israel and, at the same time, whine about the “US Plan on Arab Troops Deployment in Syria ‘Sovereignty Violation’”! How about the never-ending violation by Israel of Syria’s sovereignty? How it is less repugnant than the one being perpetrated by the USA? Are such statements not fundamentally hypocritical?

We can observe a paradox here: Putin has criticized the evil immorality of the western society and imperial policies many times (most famously in Munich and at the UN). But Putin has never said anything about the evil immorality of the state of Israel. And yet Israel is the center of gravity, the nexus, of the entire AngloZionist Empire, especially since the Neocons turned Trump into their subservient lackey. In this, and in so many other areas, Russia needs to follow the example of Iran whose leaders have shown far more morality and principled policies in spite of Iran being much smaller and comparatively weaker than Russia.

In 2006 a thousand men or so of Hezbollah dared to defy the entire AngloZionist Empire (the US was, as always, backing Israel to the hilt) and they prevailed. Russian soldiers have shown time and again, including recently in Syria, they they have the same type of courage. But Russian politicians really seem to be of a much more tepid and corruptible type, and there is always the risk that Putin might gradually become less of an officer and more of a politician. And this, in turn, means that those of us who oppose the Empire and support Putin and Russia must imperatively make that support conditional upon a clearly stated set of moral and spiritual principles, not on a “my country right or wrong” kind of loyalty or, even less so, on a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of fallacy. Should Putin continue in his apparent attempts to appease the Israelis a new type of internal opposition to his rule might gain power inside Russia and new internal tensions might be added to the already existing exernal ones.

Right now Putin still has a lot of “credibility capital” left in spite of his recent mistakes. However, Putin recent decisions have raised a lot of unpleasant questions which must be answered and will so in time. In the meantime, as they say in the USA, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and settle for anything in the middle”. The Scripture also warns us not to make idols of leaders: “Trust not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no safety” (Ps 145:3 LXX). The worldly evil we are fighting, today in the shape of the AngloZionist Empire, is but a manifestation of a much deeper, spiritual evil: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). The young men and women from the Shia movement Amal got it right when they chose the name “Party of God” for their movement when they created Hezbollah in 1985. And Iran was right when it became an Islamic Republic: if we want to defeat the Empire we need to always let spiritual matters and moral crieria remain above any of our “pragmatic” worldly political considerations or national/ethnic loyalties: that is how we can defeat those who place a dollar value on absolutely everything they see in their narrow materialistic worldview.

Conclusion two: the quest for “Russian values”

Russian political ambiguities are the direct result of the fact that Russia, as whole, has yet to define what “Russian values” really are. The historical Russia was founded on Patristic Christianity and the Roman civilizational model and the Soviet Union on Marxism-Leninism. The 1990s marked the total triumph of materialism run amok. But unlike Hezbollah or Iran, the “New Russia” (as I like to call it) is not based on anything other than a Constitution written mostly by US advisors and their proxies and a general opposition to the western civilizational model (especially since 2014). Being against something is not an inspiring, or even tenable, political or moral stance (as the White Guards discovered during the Russian civil war). Furthermore, in her confrontation with an AngloZionist Empire which stands for absolutely nothing besides base instincts, Russia needs to stand *for* something, not just against something else. As long as Russia will not firmly define and proclaim a set of spiritual/moral values she stands for, the current zigs-zags will continue and Russian policies will prove to be inconsistent, at best.

[Sidebar: here I want to contrast the Russian society at large with the Russian armed forces who, besides having a lot of good equipment, have a very strong and clear ethos and a rock solid understanding and clarity about what they stand for. This is why Russian soldiers have consistently and spontaneously been willing to sacrifice their lives. The Russian civilian society still lacks that kind of clarity, and Russian politicians, who are no better in Russia than elsewhere, often make use of that. The Russian armed forces are also the one institution with the strongest historical memory and the deepest roots in Russian history. I would argue that they are the only institution in modern Russia whose roots truly go back to before the 1917 Revolution and even much further back than that. As descendant of “White Russians” myself I have always found it uncanny and, frankly, amazing how much closer I have felt to Russian military officers than to Russian civilians. To me it often feels as if there were two types of Russians simultaneously coexisting: the “new Russian” type (still in the process of being defined) and the military officer corps (Soviet or post-Soviet). That latter type almost instinctively made sense to me and often felt like family. This is hardly a scientific observation, but this has been my consistent personal experience].

There is a very high likelihood that Israel will succeed in triggering a US attack on Iran. If/when that happens, this will trigger a political crisis inside Russia because the space for the current political ambiguities will be dramatically reduced. On moral and on pragmatic grounds, Russia will have to decide whether she can afford to be a bystander or not. This will not be an easy choice as their shall be no consensus on what to do inside the ruling elites. But the stakes will be too high and the consequences of inaction prohibitive. My hope is that a major military conflict will result in a sharp increase of the power and influence of the military “lobby” inside the Kremlin. Eventually and inevitably, the issue of Israel and Zionism will have to be revisited and the pro-Israeli lobby inside Russia dealt with, lest Russia follow the same path to self-destruction as the USA. For this reason the concept of “true sovereignization” is the one patriotic slogan/goal that Eurasian Sovereignists must continue to promote (regardless of the actual terminology used) because it points towards the real problems in Russian internal and foreign policies which must be addressed and resolved. This will be a long and difficult process, with victories and setbacks. We better get used to the idea that what happened in the past couple of weeks will happen again in the future.

The Saker

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Mrs Merkel Goes to Warshington. Nothing Happens. But That Means Something.

by Sergio Weigel for the Saker Blog

May 11, 2018

When Angela Merkel had visited Trump in Warshington on April 27 nothing really happened. Both put a good face on things and declared a yawn inducing “unity despite differences”. Despite all the pressure Warshington had built up so thoroughly, the vassal did not rebel against his master, but left him empty handed. I am not a Merkel fanboy, quite the contrary, but right now her Teflon qualities come quite in handy. Let me explain.

Blow the trumpet with empty pressure

Trump had threatened German car makers with a 35% import tariff. This is a “smart” move in so far as that the car industry indeed is Germany’s biggest industry, but if he really ever did that, it wouldn’t hurt German economy too much. The market share of the US for German car manufacturers in 2016 was 10%, which is a lot. They sold 1.33 million cars in the US (not “millions” like Trump claimed). However, 800.000 of those were already produced in the US. The rest has been manufactured in Mexico, which is a NAFTA country. Even if Trump were to negotiate, pardon, extort a harsher NAFTA deal, it would be hurting American companies as well and certainly not leading to 35% tariffs. BMW, Mercedes, VW, they all have plants in the US, however and ironically, most cars built in the US by German car manufacturers are exported overseas. There is no reason to think the industry couldn’t stomach tariffs that affect only a few cars manufactured in Mexico at best. So, Trump might have thought he was practising his martial art of the deal by using extortion, but I’m sure Merkel was briefed accordingly.

What’s more interesting are the goods the EU is contemplating to retaliate with just in case: bourbon, Levi’s, Harley Davidson. Is there a better indicator about the state the US economy is in? If the US wants to go to trade war, fine, but it is usually commendable to pack suitable weapons before entering the battlefield. There is absolutely nothing the US could fight a trade war with. Besides, and this is something I hope German and Chinese strategists take into consideration: essentially they’re giving away their goods for free. What do they get in return? A currency that is most likely soon to be worthless junk. And even worse, the bulk of consumer spending in the US, 70% of its GDP after all, is based on debt. Housing debt is skyrocketing again. Essentially we are exactly where we were short before the crash of 2008. Germany alone had lost about €1 trillion in worthless US junk in 2008, which the banks had bought repackaged and camouflaged as “investments”. I doubt the bankers have been smarter this time, because investment bankers are major idiots who see the world through Excel sheets. And then there is the big question: how many crashes can the US economy still land before it will stay down, knocked out dead? Or before all of its citizens but a few gated communities live in tents? The biggest debtors of the US are Japan, China and Germany. They should really find ways to get rid of this toxic waste and convert it to gold instead. Alchemy! The best way for the EU to retaliate would be to sanction US bonds and thus force European investors to invest in Europe instead, or find other incentives for them to avoid the toxic waste coming out of the US.

Anyway, Trump exempted the EU from his bogus, extortionary trade tariffs – for now at least, he says. All other differences between Germany and Warshington remained intact. All these issues go so completely against the heart of German economic and geopolitical interests but also against Germany’s self-concept of its role on the international stage and German diplomacy, that I just can’t see them falter. It would be like firing a gun at the inside of your knee. German elites might slap themselves in the face to please their American masters, for example by sanctioning Russia, but not the knee, never the knee. Vassal or not, standing firmly on the ground is at the core of German mentality. Also, Germany is not the meek, guilt-ridden nation it once was anymore.

Defense spending to the rescue of US economy

There is, however, one self-slap Germany could do without hurting its legs. It wouldn’t even do much more than tickle the face a little and that would be to increase the defense budget to the demanded 2% of the GDP. There surely are political forces in Germany who would love to see that. Atlanticists and Russophobes, who have infected all of German political, academic and public life like in no other western (!) European country. Ursula von der Leyen, our mother-of-seven career girl and defensive ministress, for example. However, the center of the Atlanticist epidemic sits among our mainstream media hacks. This is the biggest leverage Warshington has on Germany, because the media essentially controls the politicians.

Therefore, consequently, since the Ukraine crisis we’ve been bombarded with doomsday news about the deplorable state of the Bundeswehr’s military hardware. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know, but it’s curious that such news comes simultaneously with demands on increasing the German defense budget by American think tanks like the German Marshall Fund and now by Donald Trump. If it is true, helicopters and aircraft must have been inoperable long before. It wouldn’t surprise me, because from what I’ve heard from friends who’ve been in service, the management of the Bundeswehr is, well, unfortunate to say the least.

However, Merkel’s lip service to increase the defense budget in 2019 has already been invalidated in practice when finance minister Olaf Scholz published his budget plan for the next four years just five days after Merkel’s flying visit. The defense budget will indeed be increased, from €37 billion to €38.5 billion this year, and it is planned to be increased to €42 billion by 2021 which amounts to €1.25 billion increase per year. Measured against Germany’s 2017 GDP of €3,686.6 billion this would be a “massive” increase from 1.0% to 1.04% for this year, a ridiculous two fifth of a tenth of a percentage point. However, if you consider GDP growth of recent four years you will find the numbers 1.9%, 1.7%, 1.9% and 2.2% respectively. All economic indicators look great for Germany, so growth rates around 2% for the future are realistic. Let’s do a silly thought experiment and project linearly for ten years and see how an increase of 2% in GDP and an annual increase of €1.25 billion in defense budget will work out regarding his master’s wishes for the lackey’s defense budget. Mind you, this is truly a silly thought experiment, because lineary projection in Excel sheets is what bankers do and they are, as mentioned above, idiots. Also, we simply don’t know what will happen. I expect to hear the Death Knell of the Anglo-American empire far earlier, for example, by failure of its most vital organ, the Dollar, and that would change everything in ways we cannot even anticipate. But here are the numbers. All monetary values are in billion euro, the last column is the interesting one:

Year GDP GDP Incr. (2%) Defense Budget DB Incr. Def. Bud. % of GDP
2017 3,686.60 73.73 37 1.25 1.00
2018 3,760.33 75.21 38.25 1.25 1.02
2019 3,835.54 76.71 39.5 1.25 1.03
2020 3,912.25 78.24 40.75 1.25 1.04
2021 3,990.49 79.81 42 1.25 1.05
2022 4,070.30 81.41 43.25 1.25 1.06
2023 4,151.71 83.03 44.5 1.25 1.07
2024 4,234.74 84.69 45.75 1.25 1.08
2025 4,319.44 86.39 47 1.25 1.09
2026 4,405.83 88.12 48.25 1.25 1.10

Can you see how ridiculous this is? Even if Trump gets a second term, which personally I doubt very much at the moment, he won’t see his wet dream for Germany fulfilled. Besides, even if it was going to be the case, Germany wouldn’t be making large arms purchases in the US. It’s not as if Germany and her neighbors didn’t have their own efficient arms industries. By far the most weapons of the Bundeswehr, from aircraft, submarines, ships, tanks and guns, are European made and often technologically superior (mainly German submarines and tanks) to what the US can offer. Would France and Germany stop their plans to develop their own 5th generation fighter jet and buy F-35s instead? Nah, remember the knee. Why buy terribly expensive foreign hardware and be left behind technologically when you can develop your own and both use and sell it? Trump desperately wants to create jobs – or so he says, he is actually destroying them should trade tariffs be implemented – so he seeks to sell weapons because what he and his employers really want is to strengthen the notoriously weak US military industrial complex. Either way, the bottom line of the meeting is: Germany shrugs, defies his master’s demands and rather concentrates on completing Nord Stream 2, which will provide for tremendous income and political leverage.

Personally, I think Germany should work on its own version of an S-400 anti-aircraft defense, Kalibr cruise missile, and similar electronic warfare systems like Russia appears to have. I’m convinced German engineers could do that. Such technological advance would be beneficial in any case, but I absolutely see it as a possibility that in a not too distant future, Germany might have to fight off the occupation forces of the United States. But that’s just me and my male intuition, I hope I’m wrong. Other than the US, or rather the US regime, Germany has no enemies and thus doesn’t need to raise anything. A proper, working (!) defensive military like that of Switzerland would be all that’s needed – just in case. For that purpose such formidable weapon systems in domestic production would be perfect. It could also satisfy the powerful German arms industry as it would mean big domestic contracts as a substitute to unmet Atlanticist demands.

German-Russian cooperation – that which must not, can not be

One word about Nord Stream 2. I dunno if it is reported in any international media, it hardly is in German media, but the EU circus around it is a ham-handed joke. I can’t prove it but it smells heavily of US meddling. Now that Germany has started to build the pipeline, the usual suspects, that is the UK, Denmark and what I like to refer to as the Idiot Belt (Baltics, Poland, Ukraine, often extended by the Scandinavian countries – Finland has permitted construction though) are going bezerk, trying to sue for stopping the project etc. The Baltic idiots have even been to Warshington in March because of it. For what? Suggesting more tariffs? Seeking reassurance that the Americans are willing to frack their country to Swiss cheese for their LPG energy security? Their Russophobia is, as always, baseless. Russia has never used its gas or oil to pressure the EU into anything. Europe has been buying Russian/Soviet gas since the 1960s and it has always been delivered reliably. The only exceptions happened when the ever so smart Ukrainians had sudden outbursts of PMS. This thing is gonna be built, regardless of what the former empire now US aircraft carrier or the Idiot Belt think. Europe is dependent on Russian gas, that is simply a reality. Russia is an absolutely reliable partner relying on revenue from that gas, so where is the problem? Maybe it really takes 70+ years under US occupation to understand who’s reliable and who isn’t, so the Baltics and Poland might come to their senses by 2060 – given Warshington can hang on for so long.

The real reason Warshington and London oppose Nord Stream 2 is the same why two world wars and a Cold War with all its devastating side effects all over the world have been fought until today. The whole geopolitical arc of suspense since the late 19th century is about the Anglo-American establishment, sea powers, trying to prevent Germany and Russia – now extended by Iran and China, land powers, from cooperating and thus establishing Eurasian integration with the Americans left out (Britain will be on board, they’re already member of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). As the first Secretary General of NATO Lord Ismay described the purpose of NATO in 1952: to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. This has been Anglo-American policy since about 150 years. Now they’re wetting their pants because Nord Stream 2 is a major step forward in German-Russian rapprochement and cooperation. Since they cannot crap all over China’s One Belt, One Road project, they are trying it with Nord Stream 2. The Idiot Belt is always willing to dance to their tune and thus rabble-rouses against it. In the end they won’t be able to prevent Eurasian integration anyway, and the Idiot Belt will bashfully ask to be integrated as well. The world is approaching a multipolar world with a German-Russian-Chinese juggernaut as its cornerstone.

The cranky bully and the happy lackey

Is it any wonder the US is cranky? Year by year, Germany and China switch places as the world richest exporter. Even more so, Germany’s current account balance (CAB), that is the trade balance, is by far the largest in the world in absolute amount. In contrast, that of the US is by far the lowest despite them ranking 2nd in total exports. That, of course, must hurt their pride given that Anglo-Saxons are always so keen on rankings and hierarchy. Although, it should be added that this doesn’t go without problems for Germany domestically, let alone for the Euro zone. But that’s an issue for a different article.

With its enormous economic power and magnificent diplomatic relations in every direction Germany can very well be counted as a global power of its own right, even if completely different from the other three, namely America, Russia, and China. What the apostles of raising Germany’s defense budget, be it domestic Atlanticists, the arms lobbies or King Parting himself, don’t understand is the special kind of power Germany has, which would be undermined by military adventurism. Our military alpha mom Ursula von der Leyen and her buddies from all the Atlanticist think tanks always talk about that if Germany wants to take more international responsibility, it will need more military power for reassurance, usually followed by the snippy remark to stop leaving the dirty work to others. This is complete bollocks, and here’s why:

First, every single war the “West” has fought since the bombing of Serbia has been fought in the interest of the chief-boss of colonial war nations: the US, usually followed by a fawning UK. If it goes against one of its former colonies, the French usually feel committed to throw a few bombs into the mix as well. Therefore, it is safe to say that since about 20 years the “West” is fighting FUKUS wars. This is not to say, Germany wasn’t part of it, it played a vicious role in breaking up Yugoslavia and bombing Serbia, it was and still is part of pummeling Afghanistan for something they haven’t done, they provided AWACs in the bombing of Syria, and of course they’ve been a massive force behind the Maidan putsch. But except for breaking up Yugoslavia, none of it was in the interest of German power politics, not even slicing Kosovo out of Serbia. Had Germany been in the lead, the Middle East would still be intact. So what dirty work are they talking about? I’d rather say that Germany managed to stay mostly out of other people’s dirt. What the apostles of more defense spending actually mean when they say “taking more international responsibility” is doing more dirty work for an increasingly broke Warshington.

Second, German power lies in its massive economy and silent but brilliant diplomacy, which could be much, much better if we didn’t have this cranky bully sitting on our shoulders, shouting commands in our ears. After the war Germany was not only in ruins, its reputation was understandably FUBAR. While the Soviet occupational zone, the DDR, didn’t have much freedom, they still managed to reconcile with East European countries and soon played the second most important role within the context of Soviet imperialism. The same is true for the Anglo-American occupational zone, the BRD, and the context of Anglo-American imperialism. Ironically, during the Cold War the Anglo-American occupiers gave West Germany much more freedom than they did afterwards or try to withhold now. This very often led to terrible results as well. West Germany was one of Pinochet’s closest allies and trade partners, it sold the chemicals and knowhow to Saddam Hussein necessary to gas Iranians and Kurds, and still today it is one of Saudi Barbaria’s main weapons suppliers, not to mention the submarines that gave the Zionist colony second strike capability. Nonetheless, Germany’s success is based on trust, on building and maintaining trust, and it was and still is hugely successful. Why should it put that in jeopardy by becoming a military bully like the FUKUS countries?

Third, why should Germany ignore its history? I don’t mean any past guilt for Nazi crimes, I mean a simple look at it. Weimar republic aside, Germany has always prospered in peace time yet terribly suffered in war time, from the Thirty Years War to both world wars, and blatantly failed when it tried to militarily bully others. The only thing Germany needs right now is freedom from the Anglo-American empire to remember and develop its true, mostly benevolent nature.

Applause, Mr President, applause

If it wasn’t for the serious looming danger of war, we should all thank Trump and his administration for their efforts. O’Bomber brought Russia and China together, Trump has brought the two Koreas to what seems to be serious reconciliation and, with pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, he not only managed to ruin even the last residue of US credibility but also to put Germany into the “West’s” driver’s seat and thus to bring it closer to Russia, China, and of course Iran. Ha! The irony… it’s like when somebody tries to be gravely serious and ends up being involuntarily funny.

What Trump needs to learn is that his business tactics a) don’t work very well in politics and b) they only work in America. It’s a cultural thing. I’ve been working for two different American owned companies for almost three years in total, so I learned a thing or two about how the American mindset works in business, mostly by observation. First, they demand a lot, so the best tactic is to offer them as little as possible and never to make any concessions or promises. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to stay below of what you can deliver. Second, never expect them to keep their promises. I am not saying they’ll never keep them, but it’s just better not to expect anything. They like to pretend something else was agreed upon if they want to see a deal altered, or that it was a misunderstanding, or whatever. Just don’t expect that a deal is a deal, it’s not, it is just something temporary along the line. Third, they want everything done quickly. Just be patient, remain calm, and stoically stand your ground. It’ll drive them crazy as they don’t understand the concept of quality, but again, remain calm and be friendly. Fourth, they tend to be disproportionately confident and beyond any criticism, so it’s best to pretend to criticize someone or something else or learn the artful skill of making your criticism sound like praise. Just don’t shy away if criticism is needed. The worst thing to do in the face of a narcissist is to succumb to their ways as it just enables them. You need to trick them.

These are just my own personal observations of American businessmen, not of Americans in general, and surely not meant to offend anyone (except American businessmen perhaps). However, I believe Merkel has been coached by someone, because Trump truly is a caricature of what I’d just described. She has handled him very well. I’m not saying he is a joke, not at all, but his narcissism is written all over his hairdo and behavior. It needs a Teflon lady who might be many things, but narcissistic or easily impressed are not any of them.

His obnoxiousness just doesn’t work and apparently neither he nor anyone around him seems to get it. With Germans, or Europeans in general, you have to deal differently if you want to achieve something. Business is based on trust and trust is based on friendliness and reliability, not on demands and extortion. If you still can’t leave it and want to twist arms, you will have to make sure that your arm is strong enough. Right now America’s arms (pun intended) are weaker than they have ever been in history. This is a new experience they cannot handle, which makes it dangerous, because their other arms are still dangerously strong, and narcissistic rage is almost impossible to contain once in motion. Right now, Warshington makes the impression of a narcissistic bully ready to go off at any moment, while his friends are turning away one by one in shrugging nonchalance.

The staffers of the White House should do a little soul-searching, maybe early morning meditation circles with incense and yoga in the garden, and earnestly ask themselves if there really is anything left they can threaten countries like Germany, China, Russia, and Iran with that can yield results other than mutual destruction, and whether it is even worth it. The Dollar has an expiry date stamped all over its face and they should rather make use of it as long as there still is something left by diverting military spending into domestic investments in infrastructure (a converse Berlin Wall to Mexico doesn’t count) and education (direly needed) among other things. But they are doing the exact opposite. Right now it seems that Trump is slashing all governmental structures and putting everything on the military. This is a very dangerous sign. What if Warshington is willing to go all alone, I mean only with their symbiotic Zionist and Saudi partners in crazy, against Iran as the empire’s last defiant struggle?

In mainstream media coverage it appeared as if the meeting between Merkel and Trump was futile because nothing had happened, but in truth, Trump achieved nothing, yet Merkel and her Teflon style achieved everything. No tariffs, no sanctions on Nord Stream 2, that’s all Germany needed. That Trump would perform a pactum interruptum and pull out of the Iran nuclear deal was to be expected. I doubt Merkel was delusional enough to think otherwise. Germany is now as independent and sovereign as it hasn’t been in 73 years – I hope they’ll seize the opportunity and not once again duck away in fear of a leadership role. The US is as isolated as it has never before been in its history, standing there with egg in their face, brooding and fuming over why no one loves them anymore.

Sergio’s Bio:  A child of the Cold War, Sergio’s political imprint started early when his parents became activists of the 1980s peace movement. With a Portuguese-German background he grew up to become a patriot but not right, left but not liberal, a fan of Marx but not a socialist, and many more of such but-nots. An ardent reader of books, he despises groupthink, hypocrisy, euphemisms and ideology. He prefers clarity, sincerity, history, geopolitics, philosophy, and economic/monetary theory. He makes a living as a programmer and IT consultant, but his passion lies in intellectual sparring, culinary delight, music, traveling and cycling.

Eurasia torn between war and peace

The Saker

May 02, 2018Eurasia torn between war and peace

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Iran’s top trading partner is China, while Tehran and Moscow have been improving ties as the three countries move closer to cementing a solid alliance

Two summits – the cross-border handshake that shook the world between Kim and Moon in Panmunjom and Xi and Modi’s cordial walk by the lake in Wuhan – may have provided the impression Eurasia integration is entering a smoother path.

Not really. It’s all back to confrontation: predictably the actual, working Iran nuclear deal, known by the ungainly acronym JCPOA, is at the heart of it.

And faithful to the slowly evolving Eurasia integration roadmap, Russia and China are at the forefront of supporting Iran.

China is Iran’s top trading partner – especially because of its energy imports. Iran for its part is a major food importer. Russia aims to cover this front.

Chinese companies are developing massive oil fields in Yadavaran and North Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) took a significant 30% stake in a project to develop South Pars – the largest natural gas field in the world. A $3 billion deal is upgrading Iran’s oil refineries, including a contract between Sinopec and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to expand the decades-old Abadan oil refinery.

In a notorious trip to Iran right after the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, President Xi Jinping backed up an ambitious plan to increase bilateral trade by over tenfold to US$600 billion in the next decade.

For Beijing, Iran is an absolutely key hub of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A key BRI project is the $2.5 billion, 926 kilometer high-speed railway from Tehran to Mashhad; for that China came up with a $1.6 billion loan – the first foreign-backed project in Iran after the signing of the JCPOA.

There’s wild chatter in Brussels concerning the impossibility of European banks financing deals in Iran – due to the ferocious, wildly oscillating Washington sanctions obsession. That opened the way for China’s CITIC to come up with up to $15 billion in credit lines.

The Export-Import Bank of China so far has financed 26 projects in Iran – everything from highway building and mining to steel producing – totaling roughly $8.5 billion in loans. China Export and Credit Insurance Corp – Sinosure – signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese companies invest in Iranian projects.

China’s National Machinery Industry Corp signed an $845 million contract to build a 410km railway in western Iran connecting Tehran, Hamedan and Sanandaj. And insistent rumors persist that China in the long run may even replace cash-strapped India in developing the strategic port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea – the proposed starting point of India’s mini-Silk Road to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

So amid the business blitz, Beijing is not exactly thrilled with the US Department of Justice setting its sights on Huawei, essentially because of hefty sales of value-for-money smart phones in the Iranian market.

Have Sukhoi will travel

Russia mirrors, and more than matches, the Chinese business offensive in Iran.

With snail pace progress when it comes to buying American or European passenger jets, Aseman Airlines decided to buy 20 Sukhoi SuperJet 100s while Iran Air Tours – a subsidiary of Iran Air –  has also ordered another 20. The deals, worth more than $2 billion, were clinched at the 2018 Eurasia Airshow at Antalya International Airport in Turkey last week, supervised by Russia’s deputy minister of industry and trade Oleg Bocharov.

Both Iran and Russia are fighting US sanctions. Despite historical frictions, Iran and Russia are getting closer and closer. Tehran provides crucial strategic depth to Moscow’s Southwest Asia presence. And Moscow unequivocally supports the JCPOA. Moscow-Tehran is heading the same way of the strategic partnership in all but name between Moscow and Beijing.

According to Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, the 2014  Moscow-Tehran oil-for-goods deal, bypassing the US dollar, is finally in effect, with Russia initially buying 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day.

Russia and Iran are closely coordinating their energy policy. They have signed six agreements to collaborate on strategic energy deals worth up to $30 billion. According to President Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov, Russian investment in developing Iran’s oil and gas fields could reach more than $50 billion.

Iran will become a formal member of the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) before the end of the year. And with solid Russian backing, Iran will be accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) by 2019.

Iran is guilty because we say so

Now compare it with the Trump administration’s Iran policy.

Barely certified as the new US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip  to Saudi Arabia and Israel amounts in practice to briefing both allies on the imminent Trump withdrawal of the JCPOA on May 12. Subsequently, this will imply a heavy new batch of US sanctions.

Riyadh – via Beltway darling Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, (MBS) – will be all in on the anti-Iran front. In parallel, the Trump administration may demand it, but MBS won’t relinquish the failed blockade of Qatar or the humanitarian disaster that is the war on Yemen.

What’s certain is there won’t be a concerted Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) front against Iran. Qatar, Oman and Kuwait see it as counterproductive. That leaves only Saudi Arabia and the Emirates plus irrelevant, barely disguised Saudi vassal Bahrain.

On the European front, French president Emmanuel Macron has stepped up as a sort of unofficial King of Europe, leveraging himself to Trump as the likely enforcer of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as dictating Iran to stay out of Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Macron has made a direct – and patently absurd  connection between Tehran abandoning its nuclear enrichment program, including the destruction of uranium stockpiles enriched to less that 20%, and being the guilty party helping Baghdad and Damascus to defeat Daesh and other Salafi-jihadi outfits.

No wonder Tehran – as well as Moscow and Beijing – is connecting recent, massive US weapons deals with Riyadh as well as MBS’s hefty investments in the West to the Washington-Paris attempt to renegotiate the JCPOA.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been adamant; the JCPOA  was the product of a strenuous seven-country negotiation over many years: “The question is, will it be possible to repeat such successful work in the current situation?”

Certainly not

Thus the suspicion widely floated in Moscow, Beijing and even Brussels that the JCPOA irks Trump because it’s essentially a multilateral, no “America First” deal directly involving the Obama administration.

The Obama administration’s pivot to Asia – which depended on settling the Iranian nuclear dossier – ended up setting off a formidable, unintended chain of geopolitical events.

Neocon factions in Washington would never admit to normalized Iranian relations with the West; and yet Iran not only is doing business with Europe but got closer to its Eurasian partners.

Artificially inflating the North Korea crisis to try to trap Beijing has led to the Kim-Moon summit defusing the “bomb the DPRK” crowd.

Not to mention that the DPRK, ahead of the Kim-Trump summit, is carefully monitoring what happens to the JCPOA.

The bottom line is that the Russia-China partnership won’t allow for a JCPOA renegotiation, for a number of serious reasons.

On the ballistic missile front, Moscow’s priority will be to sell S-300 and S-400 missile systems to Tehran, sanctions-free.

Russia-China might eventually agree with the JCPOA 10-year sunset provisions to be extended, although they won’t force Tehran to accept it.

On the Syrian front, Damascus is regarded as an indispensable ally of both Moscow and Beijing. China will invest in the reconstruction of Syria and its revamping as a key Southwest Asia node of the BRI. “Assad must go” is a non-starter; Russia-China see Damascus as essential in the fight against Salafi-jihadis of all stripes who may be tempted to return and wreak havoc in Chechnya and Xinjiang.

A week ago, at an SCO ministerial meeting, Russia-China issued a joint communiqué supporting the JCPOA. The Trump administration is picking yet another fight against the very pillars of Eurasia integration.

Examples of hate speech by israel against Palestine

Source

1. “There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies, not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.” Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. ” [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”. New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. “The Palestinians” would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ” Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

7. “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

8. “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war.” Israeli General Matityahu Peled, Ha’aretz, 19 March 1972.

9. David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti – Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

10. Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : “We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return.” Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. “The old will die and the young will forget.”

11. “We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves.” Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

12. “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI’s cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)

13. “We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel… Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces – Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983.

14. “We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return” David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar’s Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.

15. ” … we should prepare to go over to the offensive with the aim of smashing Lebanon, Trans-jordan and Syria… The weak point in the Arab coalition is Lebanon [for] the Moslem regime is artificial and easy to undermine. A Christian state should be established… When we smash the [Arab] Legions strength and bomb Amman, we will eliminate Transjordan, too, and then Syria will fall. If Egypt still dares to fight on, we shall bomb Port Said, Alexandria, and Cairo.” ” David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

16. “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” Israel Koenig, “The Koenig Memorandum”

17. “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969.

18. “We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!'” Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

19. Rabin’s description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet. “We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters” Uri Lubrani, PM Ben-Gurion’s special adviser on Arab Affairs, 1960. From “The Arabs in Israel” by Sabri Jiryas.

20. “There are some who believe that the non-Jewish population, even in a high percentage, within our borders will be more effectively under our surveillance; and there are some who believe the contrary, i.e., that it is easier to carry out surveillance over the activities of a neighbor than over those of a tenant. [I] tend to support the latter view and have an additional argument:…the need to sustain the character of the state which will henceforth be Jewish…with a non-Jewish minority limited to 15 percent. I had already reached this fundamental position as early as 1940 [and] it is entered in my diary.” Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department. From Israel: an Apartheid State by Uri Davis, p.5.

21. “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

22. “It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism,colonialization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.” Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of 14 July 1972.

23. “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

24. “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” — Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994 [Source: N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1]

25. “We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. We will forever destroy because we want a world of our own.” (You Gentiles, by Jewish Author Maurice Samuels, p. 155).

26. “We will have a world government whether you like it or not. The only question is whether that government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” (Jewish Banker Paul Warburg, February 17, 1950, as he testified before the U.S. Senate).

27. “We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not…You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.” (Chaim Weizmann, Published in “Judische Rundschau,” No. 4, 1920)

28. “Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.” – Israeli prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech to the Knesset [Israeli Parliament] quoted by Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts,” New Statesman, June 25, 1982

29. “Tell me, do the evil men of this world have a bad time? They hunt and catch whatever they feel like eating. They don’t suffer from indigestion and are not punished by Heaven. I want Israel to join that club. Maybe the world will then at last begin to fear us instead of feeling sorry. Maybe they will start to tremble, to fear our madness instead of admiring our nobility. Let them tremble; let them call us a mad state. Let them understand that we are a savage country, dangerous to our surroundings, not normal, that we might go wild, that we might start World War Three just like that, or that we might one day go crazy and burn all the oil fields in the Middle East. Even if you’ll prove to me that the present war is a dirty immoral war, I don’t care. We shall start another war, kill and destroy more and more. And do you know why it is all worth it? Because it seems that this war has made us more unpopular among the civilized world.We’ll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality. No more talk about a unique people being a light upon the nations. No more uniqueness and no more sweetness and light. Good riddance.” –Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

30. “The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century.” -Yuri Slezkine, Professor of History at University of California, Berkeley, “The Jewish Century”; Princeton University Press

31. “What shocks and worries me is the narrow-mindedness and the shortsightedness of our military leaders. They seem to presume that the State of Israel may or even must-behave in the realm of international relations according to the laws of the jungle- -the long chain of false incidents and hostilities we have invented, and so many clashes we have provoked;” – From Diary of Moshe Sharett, former Primer Minister of Israel in Livia Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism published 980

32. Hebrew essayist Achad Ha-Am, after paying a visit to Palestine in 1891: “Abroad we are accustomed to believe that Israel is almost empty; nothing is grown here and that whoever wishes to buy land could come here and buy what his heart desires. In reality, the situation is not like this. Throughout the country it is difficult to find cultivable land which is not already cultivated.”

33. The Balfour Declaration to Baron Rothchild, on the 2nd of November, 1917: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

34. Lord Sydenham, Hansard, House of Lords, 21 June 1922: “If we are going to admit claims on conquest thousands of years ago, the whole world will have to be turned upside down.”

35. Vladimir Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923: “Zionist colonization must either be terminated or carried out against the wishes of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, be continued and make progress only under the protection of a power independent of the native population – an iron wall, which will be in a position to resist the pressure to the native population. This is our policy towards the Arabs…”

36. Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism (precursor of Likud), The Iron Wall, 1923: “A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in the future. If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find some rich man or benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf. Or else-or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible, not difficult, not dangerous, but IMPOSSIBLE!… Zionism is a colonization adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important… to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonizing.”

37. David Ben Gurion, future Prime Minister of Israel, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985: “We must expel Arabs and take their places.”

38. Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department in 1940. From “A Solution to the Refugee Problem”: “Between ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries – all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.”

39. Israeli official Arthur Lourie in a letter to Walter Eytan, director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry (ISA FM 2564/22). From Benny Morris, “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-49”, p. 297: “…if people become accustomed to the large figure and we are actually obliged to accept the return of the refugees, we may find it difficult, when faced with hordes of claimants, to convince the world that not all of these formerly lived in Israeli territory. It would, in any event, seem desirable to minimize the numbers…than otherwise.”

40. David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben- Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978: “We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai.”

41. David Ben-Gurion, one of the father founders of Israel, described Zionist aims in 1948: “A Christian state should be established [in Lebanon], with its southern border on the Litani river. We will make an alliance with it. When we smash the Arab Legion’s strength and bomb Amman, we will eliminate Transjordan too, and then Syria will fall. If Egypt still dares to fight on, we shall bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo… And in this fashion, we will end the war and settle our forefathers’ account with Egypt, Assyria, and Aram”

42. [Begin, and Yitzhak Shamir who were members of the party became Prime Ministers.] Albert Einstein, Hanna Arendt and other prominent Jewish Americans, writing in The New York Times, protest the visit to America of Menachem Begin, December 1948: “Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created State of Israel of the Freedom Party (Herut), a political party closely akin in its organization, method, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.”

43. Martin Buber, Jewish Philosopher, addressed Prime Minister Ben Gurion on the moral character of the state of Israel with reference to the Arab refugees in March 1949. “We will have to face the reality that Israel is neither innocent, nor redemptive. And that in its creation, and expansion; we as Jews, have caused what we historically have suffered; a refugee population in Diaspora.”

44. Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense and Foreign Minister), on February 12 1952. Radio “Israel.”: “It lies upon the people’s shoulders to prepare for the war, but it lies upon the Israeli army to carry out the fight with the ultimate object of erecting the Israeli Empire.”

45. Martin Buber, to a New York audience, Jewish Newsletter, June 2, 1958: “When we [followers of the prophetic Judaism] returned to Palestine…the majority of Jewish people preferred to learn from Hitler rather than from us.”

46. Aba Eban (the Israeli Foreign Minister) stated arrogantly. New York Times June 19, 1967: “If the General Assembly were to vote by 121 votes to 1 in favor of “Israel” returning to the armistice lines– (pre June 1967 borders) “Israel” would refuse to comply with the decision.”

47. Dr. Israel Shahak, Chairperson of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, and a survivor of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, Commenting on the Israeli military’s Emergency Regulations following the 1967 War. Palestine, vol. 12, December 1983: “Hitler’s legal power was based upon the ‘Enabling Act’, which was passed quite legally by the Reichstag and which allowed the Fuehrer and his representatives, in plain language, to be what they wanted, or in legal language, to issue regulations having the force of law. Exactly the same type of act was passed by the Knesset [Israeli’s Parliament] immediately after the 1067 conquest granting the Israeli governor and his representatives the power of Hitler, which they use in Hitlerian manner.”

48. Joseph Weitz, Director of the Jewish National Fund, the Zionist agency charged with acquiring Palestinian land, Circa 194. Machover Israca, January 5, 1973 /p.2: “The only solution is Eretz Israel [Greater Israel], or at least Western Eretz Israel [all the land west of Jordan River], without Arabs. There is no room for compromise on this point … We must not leave a single village, not a single tribe.”

49. Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Inferring that killing isn’t murder if the victim is Gentile. Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989: “Jewish blood and a goy’s [gentile’s] blood are not the same.”

50. Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, tells students at Bar Ilan University, From the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989: “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

51. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declares at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service: “The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the Jordan River for future generations, for the mass aliya [immigration], and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”

52. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000: “If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”

53. Ben Gurion: In 1899, Davis Triestsch wrote to Herzl: ” I would suggest to you to come round in time to the “Greater Palestine” program before it is too late… the Basle program must contain the words “Great Palestine” or “Palestine and its neighboring lands” otherwise it’s nonsense. You do not get ten million Jews into a land of 25,000 Km2″. ” The present map of Palestine was drawn by the British mandate. The Jewish people have another map which our youth and adults should strive to fulfill — From the Nile to the Euphrates.”

54. Vladimir Jabotinsky (the founder and advocate of the Zionist terrorist organizations), Quoted by Maxime Rodinson in Peuple Juif ou Problem Juif. (Jewish People or Jewish Problem): “Has any People ever been seen to give up their territory of their own free will? In the same way, the Arabs of Palestine will not renounce their sovereignty without violence.”

People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful – very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust. Injustice and oppression will never prevail. Those who are powerful have to remember the litmus test that God gives to the powerful: what is your treatment of the poor, the hungry, the voiceless? And on the basis of that, God passes judgment. We should put out a clarion call to the government of the people of Israel, to the Palestinian people and say: peace is possible, peace based on justice is possible. We will do all we can to assist you to achieve this peace, because it is God’s dream, and you will be able to live amicably together as sisters and brothers.
(Desmond Tutu, April 2002)
[T]here is no single fixed method for murder and not even for genocide. The author Y. L. Peretz wrote about “the righteous cat” who does not spill blood, but only suffocates. The government of Israel, using the military and its instruments of destruction, is not only spilling blood, but it is also suffocating. … Of course with our self-righteousness, with our self-adoration in our “Jewish ethics” we make sure to advertise how beautifully the doctors take care of Palestinian victims in the hospitals. We do not advertise how many of those are executed in cold blood in their own homes. So it’s not yet genocide of the terrible and unique style of which we were past victims. And as one of the smart Generals told me, we do not have crematoria and gas chambers. Is anything less than that consistent with Jewish ethics? Did he ever hear how an entire people said that it did not know what was done in its name?
(Shulamit Aloni, March 2003)
Exploiting the genuine security related worries of the Israeli people and the majority’s wish for a political parting from the Palestinians, the Sharon government is constructing a system of fences that will not achieve separation, that will not draw a border, and that will not, eventually, bring security. What we are facing in the “fence” is yet another typical, thoroughly calculated “Sharonic” act of deception. The real purpose of the walls is very different. They are intended as another layer–maybe the ultimate one–in the complex matrix of control which constitutes the Israeli occupation: the settlements, the roads, the roadblocks, the curfews, the closures, and the use of brute military force. The walls that Sharon is building now are intended to render Israel’s hold over the land it captured in 1967 irreversible. They are the last nail in the coffin of the two-states solution. We shall wake up, in another year and a half from now, to a drastically different reality: a cruel state consisting of pens enclosures will stretch between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean.
(Yigal Bronner, 23 September 2003)
When AIPAC sells Israel to Congress, it doesn’t go to Congressmen and ask them to support Israel because it is Judeo-Christian, or because it is the ‘only democracy in the Middle East,’ which it also does. It sells it on this basis: ‘You are a member of Congress and it is your responsibility to support Israel, because this is how many industries in your state have business links to Israel, this is how many military research people are sitting in universities in your district, this is how many jobs in your district are dependent on the military and the defence industry,’ and they translate it down to the extent to which your district is dependent on Israel. Therefore, if you are voting against Israel, you are voting against the goose that lays the golden egg. In most of the districts in the United States, members of Congress have a great dependence on the military. More than half of industrial employment in California is in one way or another connected to defence. Israel is right there, right in the middle of it all. And that is part of its strength.
(Jeff Halper, 20 September 2003)
Israel is very important, because on the one hand it is a very sophisticated, high-tech, arms developer and dealer. But on the other hand, there are no ethical or moral constraints: there is no Congress, there are no human rights concerns, there are no laws against taking bribes – the Israeli government can do anything it wants to. So you have very sophisticated rogue state – not a Libyan rogue state, but a high tech, military-expert rogue state. Now that is tremendously useful, both for Europe and for the United States. For example, there are American Congressional constraints on selling arms to China because of China’s human rights problems. So what Israel does is it tinkers with American arms just enough that they can be considered Israeli arms, and in that way bypasses Congress.
(Jeff Halper, 20 September 2003)
I don’t think we can dismantle the matrix of control. I think it has gone too far, and that the occupation is permanent. We are in a state of apartheid. But not everybody agrees with me – Uri Avnery doesn’t agree with me, the people who are in favour of a two-state solution still think that we can end the occupation, or that we can roll it back enough that a Palestinian state will emerge. But the danger in being for a Palestinian state is that if you don’t understand the control dimensions, then you are actually agitating for a Bantustan. I mean, Sharon also wants a Palestinian state; he wants a state that is completely controlled by Israel. So if you only look at territory and you don’t look at the issue of control, you end up advocating a Bantustan.
(Jeff Halper, 20 September 2003)
DiY media analysis: It is relatively easy to locate bias and imbalances in the media. An obvious way into it is to note the language used to describe news actors and assess whether the same words are used for similar actions or behaviours. Look for the language used to describe political stories. Who are the ‘terrorists’?; and who the ‘activists’, ‘fighters’ or ‘guerrillas’? Which governments are described in negative terms as ‘extreme’ or ‘corrupt’ and which in more positive terms? Check which side in a conflict are said to ‘kill’, ‘murder’ or commit ‘massacres’ and which are said simply to ‘respond’, ‘strike’ or commit actions which result in ‘deaths’? Is it always the case that these descriptors are simply factual terms?
(David Miller, 2003)
The issue of Palestinian refugees resonated with me because I myself was a refugee. … We came to the U.S. in August 1944 as part of a token group of about 1,000 mostly Jewish refugees … In 1987, when I read Simha Flapan’s The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, I was so shocked and disbelieving that it took me a second reading of his book to come to terms with what he wrote at the outset: that the 1948 war was as needless and unnecessary for the “security” of Israel as was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon of 1982. I learned that … the 1948 war was not defensive, but a war to gain more territory than the U.N. had allotted for the Jewish state and to “cleanse” the area of Palestinian Arabs. I learned that even before the May 15 invasion by Arab armies, Jewish forces had succeeded in expelling some 300,000 Palestinians from their homes, but another 400,000 Palestinians remained in areas that the Jews coveted. Since the Jewish population of Palestine in 1948 was only about 600,000, the Ben-Gurion leadership required war in order to rid the new Jewish state of most of its Arab population.
(Ronald Bleier, November 1992)
Indeed, the most pernicious aspect of a political philosophy like Zionism that masquerades as democratic is that it requires an enemy in order to survive and, where an enemy does not already exist, it requires that one be created. In order to justify racist repression and dispossession, particularly in a system purporting to be democratic, those being repressed and displaced must be portrayed as murderous and predatory. And in order to keep its own population in line, to prevent a humane people from objecting to their own government’s repressive policies, it requires that fear be instilled in the population: fear of “the other,” fear of the terrorist, fear of the Jew-hater. The Jews of Israel must always be made to believe that they are the preyed-upon. This justifies having forced these enemies to leave, it justifies discriminating against those who remained, it justifies denying democratic rights to those who later came under Israel’s control in the occupied territories.
(Kathleen Christison, 8 November 2003)
The penalty for succumbing to the settlers’ single-minded pursuit of Greater Israel is the dissolution of the Jewish state. … Many Israelis, and other Jews, will argue that historic justice demands a Jewish state. They will insist that, particularly after centuries of horrendous Jewish suffering culminating in the Holocaust, there should be one place on Earth where the Jews can exercise their natural right to sovereignty. They are absolutely right, but, unfortunately, given the choice between sovereignty and land, we chose land. We have manifestly preferred settlement in the whole Land of Israel to a state of Israel in part of the land. It is irrelevant that the settlers are a small minority. The rest of us have permitted them to do what they wanted.
(Daniel Gavron, December 2003)
Concerning the name, we gave this law the name Basic Law: Israel-Lands. There were a number of proposals about the name. MK Harari proposed to name it “The People’s Lands”. On the face of it, I do not see any great difference between the two names. I admit that neither name hits the target. What is it that we want? What we want is difficult to define. We want to make it clear that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. The “people of Israel” is a concept that is broader than that of the “people resident in Zion”, because the people of Israel live throughout the world. On the other hand, every law that is passed is for the benefit of all the residents of the state, and all the residents of the state include also people who do not belong to the people of Israel, the worldwide people of Israel.
(Zerah (Zerach or Zorah) Warhaftig, 19 July 1960)
My job was to take….. [each Palestinian’s] thumb and immerse its edge in ink and fingerprint them on the departure statement….Every day tens of buses arrived. There were days on which it seemed to me that thousands were departing ……there were also not a few people who were simply expelled….We forced them to sign. I will tell you how exactly this was conducted: [for instance] a bus [carrying men] was arriving and only men were getting off,…–only men, aged 20 to 70, accompanied by borderguard soldiers. We were told that these were saboteurs, fedayeen, and it would be better that they would be outside the state…….[The Palestinian men] did not want to leave, and were dragged from the buses while being kicked and hit by revolver butts. By the time they arrived to my [signing] stall, they were usually already completely blurred [as a result of beatings] at this stage and did not care much about the signing. It seemed to them part of the process. In many cases the violence used against them was producing desirable results from our point of view. The distance between the border point and the [Allenby] Bridge was about 100 metres and out of fear they were crossing to the other side running; the borderguard men and the paratroopers were all the time in the vicinity. When someone refused to give me his hand [for finger printing] they came and beat him badly. Then I was forcibly taking his thumb, immersing it in ink and finger printing him. This way the refuseniks were removed….I have no doubt that tens of thousands of men were removed against their will.
(Former Israeli soldier inverviewed by Kol Ha’ir in 1991, November 1991)
It is often said that the Arabs fled, that they left the country voluntarily, and that they therefore bear the responsibility for losing their property and their land. It is true that in history there are some instances – in Rome and in France during the Revolutions when enemies of the state were proscribed and their property confiscated. But in general international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his rights of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the Jews. Just because the Arabs fled? Since when is that punishable by confiscation of property and by being barred from returning to the land on which a people’s forefathers have lived for generations? Thus, the claim of the Jews to the land of Israel cannot be a realistic political claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territories in which their forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse. … there is only one solution for Israel, namely, the unilateral acknowledgement of the obligation of the state toward the Arabs – not to use it as a bargaining point, but to acknowledge the complete moral obligation of the Israeli state to its former inhabitants of Palestine.
(Erich Fromm, 19 May 1958)
We have a joint project between Israel and the US, which lawyers must lead. Our project is to propose new rules of international law. Israelis are obliged to follow the rules of law in the democracy called Israel, as I am within the US. Your moral obligation to comply with international law is voluntary. You are not represented in the making or implementing of those laws. International law lives or dies by its credibility, not by the democracy by which it has been constructed. I am suggesting the change of the rule of law. Democracy should not have to justify its actions and show how the rule of human rights has become a weapon in promoting human wrongs… You are the lab for that process. You are contributing greatly. Do not allow the world to bully you into believing that you are the human rights violators …
(Alan Morton Dershowitz, December 2003)
One of the most important changes that the Oslo process brought about was the de facto transformation, indeed the ultimate corruption, of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, from a liberation movement representing the entire Palestinian people, into a vassal regime called the Palestinian Authority (PA), representing only one third of the Palestinian people. What is quite insidious in this process is how the PA, conscious of this transformation, continues to speak of the “Palestinian people”, which had been reduced through the Oslo Accords to those West Bank and Gaza Palestinians it now represents. Diaspora Palestinians are simply referred to, in accordance with US and Israeli parlance, as “refugees”, and Israeli Palestinians are referred to by Israeli diktat as “Israeli Arabs”. In doing so, not only has the scope of the Palestinian leadership and its representative status of the whole Palestinian people (achieved in international fora in 1974 after a strenuous struggle) been substantially reduced, but the Palestinian people themselves were diminished demographically by the PA’s appropriation of the designation “Palestinian people” to refer to a mere third of Palestinians.
(Joseph Massad, 25 December 2003)
I ran toward them and punched the Arab right in the face, never before did I do such a thing, he collapsed on the road . I dragged him over behind the jeep, pushed him in . We sat in the back seat . Our Arab lay down there and just wept quietly to himself . and he bled and made a puddle of blood and saliva, which angered and disgusted me, so I grabbed him by the hair and twisted his head to the side. He cried out loud . He didn’t stop crying and someone said his hands hurt from the handcuffs. One of the soldiers approached him and punched him in the stomach. The Arab suffered from pain and grunted, we all giggled, it was funny . I kicked him real hard in the bottom and he whirled inside, just as I planned. They shouted that I am crazy and laughed – and I felt great.
(Liran Ron-Forer, December 2003)
Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shiite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.
(Oded Yinon, February 1982)
Before we turn to the old catch-all labels of the past, we need to take a good look at the singer as well as the song. “The best solution to anti-Semitism,” Sharon said in Rome last week, “is immigration to Israel.” …
There has always been a debate among Jews about the importance of anti-Semitism in Europe, and Zionists for obvious reasons have tended to emphasise the threat it poses. But today Israel itself looks more like a source of danger for Jews worldwide than a refuge, and even Israelis – though the emigration statistics remain a closely guarded official secret – are voting with their feet.
If Sharon is seriously concerned about anti-Semitism, there is no one better placed than he to do something about it by changing his Government’s policies towards the Palestinians.

(Mark Mazower, 27 November 2003)
The Jews have become accustomed to being victims. This is a perception that is being inculcated in children in Israel by hundreds of different methods, from the national holidays to visits to Auschwitz. … Those in our country who talk about a “Jewish state” – as opposed to an “Israeli state” – mean this, too. The commander of an armored division reveals that he is the son of Holocaust survivors, but continues to enforce the oppressive occupation. … Non-conformists may argue that we have long since become a nation of occupiers, that the appellation “nation of victims” now belongs to our neighbors. Such talking revolts the national psyche, it is upsetting and infuriating. It hurts the sense of belonging. There is only one nation of victims. If somebody else wants to claim this crown of thorns for himself, we will bash in his head.
(Uri Avnery, 31 January 2004)
The early [Israeli[ textbooks tended to describe acts of Arabs as hostile, deviant, cruel, immoral, unfair, with the intention to hurt Jews and to annihilate the State of Israel. Within this frame of reference, Arabs were delegitimized by the use of such labels as ‘robbers,’ ‘bloodthirsty,’ and ‘killers’. … [Israeli textbooks continue to present Jews as] improving the country in ways they believe the Arabs are incapable of. … This attitude served to justify the return of the Jews, implying that they care enough about the country to turn the swamps and deserts into blossoming farmland; this effectively delegitimizes the Arab claim to the same land. … The message was that the Palestinians were primitive and neglected the country and did not cultivate the land. … [The texts featured Arabs as] unenlightened, inferior, fatalistic, unproductive and apathetic, …, tribal, vengeful, exotic, poor, sick, dirty, noisy, colored [claiming that] they burn, murder, destroy, and are easily inflamed.”
(Daniel Bar-Tal, September 1999)
the Likud rank and file, in their internal party democratic process, won’t be asking if it is democratic for some 7,000 people to dictate the living conditions of nearly 1.5 million people. From that perspective, the referendum [on Sharon’s 2004 proposal to unilaterally withdraw Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip] is a brief history of Israeli democracy since 1967. It’s a democracy in which the citizenry, through their votes, decide on the living conditions of another 3.7 million people who are not allowed to take part in the democratic vote so are not allowed to determine how their lives will be led. This is a democracy that obliges its youth to obey democratic decisions and serve in the army, which is in charge of implementing the decisions by those same citizens to effectively annex most of the available Palestinian land. This is a democracy that learned to regard as naturally self-evident that in the same piece of land, between the sea and the river, two unequal legal systems of unequal rights be in place: one for the citizens who vote and decide, and the second for the residents who don’t vote and whose fates are determined by those who do have the right to vote. Like the Likud rank and file.
(Amira Hass, 14 April 2004)
Israel is special, it is a place to be guarded and to be cherished by all. And I want you to know that as president, my promise to people of Israel is this: I will never force Israel to make concessions that cost or compromise any of Israel’s security. The security of Israel is paramount. We are an ally, we are a friend, we have a special relationship, and we must remember that. We will also never expect Israel to negotiate peace without a credible partner. And it is up to the United States, in my judgment, to do a better job to help the Arab world to help that partner to evolve, and to develop. And we should be engaged in that effort. And we will always work to provide the political, the military, and the economic help, for the fight against terror because it is our fight.
(John Kerry, 3 May 2004)
If victimhood is central to you, you are going to be looking for opportunities to have it confirmed. Building the walls around Israel is recreating a concentration camp. It’s literally confirming the setting of the major sites of victimhood, but espousing victimhood as one’s own identity carries its own rewards, because it seems to guarantee a kind of moral infallibility and that’s true, whether you’re talking about some radical feminism, whether you’re talking about some Jewish people, whether you’re talking about radical black movements, and so on, there’s a feeling that if you centre your identity within that kind of ‘I am the victim’ the rest of you can all sod off because ‘You can’t tell me, I know’, and of course it’s true for Palestinians. So it’s true for everybody who decides to identify themselves as a victim.
(Graham Richards, 22 February 2004)
America and Americans are the best allies of the Zionist movement and of the State of Israel since it was established, and we have to listen very carefully to the voices coming from the different American administrations.
This is a major factor in the decision-making process of every government in Israel. But Israel still has to keep its independence and to make sure that its important interests – especially defense ones – will not be compromised.
To the best of my knowledge, as far as the disengagement plan is concerned, the Bush administration never pressed Israel at any point to adopt this idea. On the contrary, it’s Prime Minister Sharon who imposed this plan on President Bush at one of the less convenient moments for the American administration – in an election year.

(Effi Eitam, 8 July 2004)
As a Palestinian Jew (person of Jewish parents born in Palestine at the time of the British Mandate), I have at times been flabbergasted by the pro-Israel bias of the BBC and its reluctance to deal with Israeli policies of outright racial discrimination (as defined in international human rights treaties) and with the racist nature of Zionism as the state ideology permeating Israeli legislation and practice. I have not the financial capacity to undertake an assessment of BBC coverage but wish to urge the BBC not to let itself be bullied by the oppressors of my Palestinian brothers and sisters, whom the world should regard as the “Jews of the Jews”. I urge the BBC to give voice to those courageous Israelis and Palestinians who work together on the basis of equality against the occupation and for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, for justice and peace in their common homeland.
(Elias Davidsson, 30 September 2002)
Meantime among those who still deny Zionist power in US foreign policy, one only has to read the accounts of the AIPAC conference in Washington in May 2004. At a time when Israel was killing children in the streets of Rafah and destroying hundreds of homes under the horrified eyes of the entire civilized world, when an indignant UN Security Council finally rose to its feet and unanimously condemned Israel, US Congressional leaders and the two major Presidential candidates pledged unconditional support to Israel, evoking the bloodthirsty cheers of investment brokers, dentists, doctors, lawyers – the cream of the cream of American Jewish society. “The cause of Israel is the cause of America” rings out from the mouth of every candidate as the Israelis bulldoze homes and snipers shoot small girls on their way to buy candy. Its almost as if Sharon wanted to demonstrate the power of the Zionists in the US, timing the vile destruction of Rafah to coincide with the AIPAC convention and the disgusting appearance of the spineless American politicians supporting ongoing crimes against humanity. Not one voice was raised in even meek protest. To those who claim that the Zionist are just one of a number of “influential lobbies” – try explaining the unconditional support for Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people by the most powerful politicians in the US.
It is almost a perverse pleasure to watch Sharon smear the muck and gore of Rafah on the groveling faces of US politicians – they deserve each other. But for those of us who support a democratic anti-imperialist foreign policy this is one of the most humiliating moments in US history.

(James Petras, 25 May 2004)
How will the region look the day after unilateral separation?
The Palestinians will bombard us with artillery fire – and we will have to retaliate. But at least the war will be at the fence – not in kindergartens in Tel Aviv and Haifa.Will Israel be prepared to fight this war?First of all, the fence is not built like the Berlin Wall. It’s a fence that we will be guarding on either side. Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them.

Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.

While CNN has its cameras at the wall?

If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.

What will the end result of all this killing be?

The Palestinians will be forced to realize that demography is no longer significant, because we’re here and they’re there. And then they will begin to ask for “conflict management” talks – not that dirty word “peace.” Peace is a word for believers, and I have no tolerance for believers – neither those who wear yarmulkes nor those who pray to the God of peace. There are those who make pilgrimages to the Baba Sali and the tombs in Hebron, and those who make pilgrimages to Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv. Both are dangerous.

Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee “peace” – it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews; it guarantees the kind of safety that will return tourists to the country; and it guarantees one other important thing. Between 1948 and 1967, the fence was a fence, and 400,000 people left the West Bank voluntarily. This is what will happen after separation. If a Palestinian cannot come into Tel Aviv for work, he will look in Iraq, or Kuwait, or London. I believe that there will be movement out of the area.


(Arnon (Soffer) Sofer, 10 May 2004)

 

 

Let’s take a look at the record, Mr. Speaker, and see what happened in the UN Assembly meeting prior to the vote on partition. A two-thirds vote was required to pass the resolution. On two occasions the Assembly was to vote and twice it was postponed. It was obvious that the delay was necessary because the proponents (the USA and the USSR) did not have the necessary votes. In the meantime, it is reliably reported that intense pressure was applied to the delegates of three small nations by the United States member and by officials ‘at the highest levels in Washington.’ Now that is a serious charge. When the matter was finally considered on the 29th, what happened? The decisive votes for partition were cast by Haiti, Liberia and the Philippines. These votes were sufficient to make the two-thirds majority. Previously, these countries opposed the move.the pressure by our delegates, by our officials, and by the private citizens of the USA constitutes reprehensible conduct against them and against us.
(Lawrence H. Smith, 18 December 1947)
Each national narrative is in a way based on a fundamental negation of the other’s. For the Israelis, to accept the central piece of the Palestinian narrative that Palestine was indeed populated by indigenous people who were gradually and systematically dispossessed and replaced by newcomers means that the Jewish state was born in sin. Thus, the Israeli narrative denies this Palestinian account. For the Palestinians, to accept the central part of the Zionist narrative that the Jews are not to be seen as newcomers but a people returning to their own homeland – albeit after 2,000 years – means that Palestinians were aliens in their own land, a view that they by definition reject. Thus, both Israeli and Palestinian narratives emphasize different aspects of the conflict, provide divergent interpretations to the same events, and produce a coherent narrative that supports its own claims and is fully supported by the public
(Nadim Rouhana, July 1998)
Consider this analogy: a group of well-meaning activists in late 1850’s America hope to bring an end to the horrors of slavery without war. They propose that the two sides strive for reconciliation, that slaves sit down at the negotiating table with slave owners and attempt to work out their differences through negotiation. The activists believe that the institution of slavery is oppressive, a violation of human rights, and that it must end, but they also recognize the property rights of owners to their slaves, as well as the owners’ right to their lives and their livelihoodstheir right to exist and not be murdered in a slave uprising. The activists propose a middle way between the two sides, recognizing that both are responsible for the conflict (slaves have shown a propensity to rebel, causing the slave owners to tighten their oppressive grip) but believing that both slaves and owners have a right to free, peaceful, and secure lives and that the only way to achieve this is to avoid blaming either side. Do we think this is absurd? Imagine a similar scenario involving an attempt to mediate in a balanced, blame-free atmosphere between Catholic priests and the children they have sexually abused. The absurdity of neutrality is equally obvious in this situation. What is most absurd in these scenarios and what links them is the notion of treading a middle or supposedly neutral path between two sides when there exists a total imbalance of power. Could anyone seriously suggest that slaves, utterly powerless except for the ability occasionally to rebel, should seek some kind of equitable solution between themselves and their overlords? Could anyone seriously suggest that abused children, utterly powerless except for the ability to kick and scream, should negotiate with their abusers?
(Kathleen Christison, 10 July 2004)
Deir Yassin is as important a part of Jewish as it is of Palestinian history. Deir Yassin, coming in April 1948, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945, marks a Jewish transition from enslavement to empowerment and from abused to abuser. Can there ever have been such a remarkable shift, over such a short period, in the history of a people?
Deir Yassin also signalled the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians leading to their eventual dispossession and exile and was just one example of a conscious and premeditated plan to destroy the Palestinians as a people in their own homeland. For the fifty-odd years since the establishment of the state of Israel, successive Israeli governments whether Labour or Likud, and whether by force as at Deir Yassin, or by chicanery as at Oslo and Camp David, have followed the same policy of oppressing and dispossessing Palestinians to make way for an exclusively Jewish state. Even now, when Israel could have peace and security for the asking, Israeli governments persist in their original intention of conquering the whole of Palestine for the use of the Jewish people alone. And all this was done, and is still being done, by Jews, for Jews and in the name of Jews.

(Paul Eisen, January 2003)
But as a result, there are those who delude themselves that, if there is correct education, it will be possible to make the checkpoints humane. This is the same type of illusion as that held by those who in the 1970s believed that the settlements in the territories were indeed set up for security purposes. Those who delude themselves today like to forget that the checkpoints are not located on the border of a sovereign state, but rather deep in the occupied territory of the West Bank. How much military manpower – which would be able to protect the civilian hinterland much better from the actual border – is required for these roadblocks? Those who prefer to delude themselves that a checkpoint can be humane ignore its role in maintaining the settlement enterprise.
(Amira Hass, 2 September 2004)
The soldiers can study appropriate behavior at dozens of seminars, but their objective will not change: to ensure the regime of excessive rights for the Jews – basically the sole right of the Jews to move from Tel Aviv and to live in the West Bank while the Palestinians are not permitted to move and live in Tel Aviv. In order to challenge the immoral principles of this reality, the soldiers have to deal with the conventions, explanations and excuses of Israeli society. This is a difficult task for 50-year-olds, so why should it be possible for those who were born 17 years after the occupation of the territories? If the soldiers were to treat those passing through the roadblocks like equal human beings, they might be forced to ask questions about their own service.
(Amira Hass, 2 September 2004)
The anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism argument amounts to this: If you do not agree with the right of Jews to go to Palestine, settle there en masse against the wishes of the indigenous population, expel this population from 75% of their land and then, for the next fifty years and more, continue this assault on the remaining land and population, then you are an anti-Semite. Similarly, if you do not support the existence of an ethnically based state which defines itself as being for Jews only and discriminates officially both inside and outside its borders against non-Jews, then, again, you are an anti-Semite. This would be laughable if it came from any other group of people, yet coming from Jews, even though not always agreed with, it is still seen as legitimate. So how do they get away with it? No-one else does, so what’s special about Jews?
(Paul Eisen, March 2004)
Our lives come first.
(Rabbi Akiba (Akiva) ben Joseph, uttered around AD 132, but cited as justification for killing Palestinian civilians by Zionist rabbis in 2004)
Sharon says terrorism is an epidemic that “has no borders, no fences”, but this is not the case. Terrorism thrives within the illegitimate borders of occupation and dictatorship; it festers behind security walls put up by imperial powers; it crosses those borders and climbs those fences to explode inside the countries responsible for, or complicit in, occupation and domination.
.
If we want to see where the Likud doctrine leads, we need only follow the guru home, to Israel, a country paralysed by fear, embracing policies of extrajudicial assassination and illegal settlement, and in denial about the brutality it commits daily. It is a nation surrounded by enemies and desperate for friends – a category it narrowly defines as those who ask no questions, while offering the same moral amnesty in return. That glimpse of our collective future is the only lesson the world needs to learn from Sharon.

(Naomi Klein, 10 September 2004)
In Palestine, curfew is a matter of life and death, especially for children, who don’t carry a radio or a mobile phone to receive news of the curfew. This is the penalty here: anyone seen by soldiers on the street during curfew will be shot. This has happened to dozens of children and it was particularly poignant in Beit Lahim (Bethlehem) at Christmas when several children were murdered this way. You can be watching children running to safety, and in a moment they are bleeding on the road. What is extraordinary is that the military can justify this murder on the grounds that there is curfew. A child is killed because he is on the street at a forbidden moment. Can anyone feel that this penalty is proportionate?
The response to any protest at their actions is rote-learned – a shrug, a sneer and a snarled – ‘Not my problem’.

(Anne Gwynne, 13 September 2004)
For many Israelis it was easier to find consolation in the lie, that the Arabs left the country under orders from their leaders. This is an absolute fabrication. The fundamental cause of their flight was their fear from Israeli retribution and this fear was not at all imaginary. From almost each report in the IDF archives concerning the conquest of Arab villages between May and July 1948 – when clashes with Arab villagers were the fiercest – a smell of massacre emanates. Sometimes the report tells about blatant massacres which were committed after the battle, sometimes the massacres are committed in the heat of battle and while the villages are “cleansed”. Some of my colleagues, such as Me’ir Pa’il, don’t consider such acts as massacres. In my opinion there is no other term for such acts than massacres. This was at the time the rule of the game. It was a dirty war on both sides. This phenomenon spread out in the field; there were no explicit orders to exterminate. In the first phase a village was usually subjected to heavy artillery from distance. Then soldiers would assault the village. After giving up resistance, the Arab fighters would withdraw while attempting to snipe at the advancing forces. Some would not flee and would remain in the village, mainly women and old people. In the course of cleansing we used to hit them. One was ‘tailing the fugitives’, as it used to be called (‘mezanvim baborchim’). There was no established battle procedure as today, namely that when blowing up a house, one has first to check whether civilians are still inside. In a typical battle report about the conquest of a village we find: ‘We cleansed a village, shot in any direction where resistance was noticed. After the resistance ended, we also had to shoot people so that they would leave or who looked dangerous.
(Aryeh Yitzhaki, 6 May 1992)
I maintain that even before the establishment of the State, each battle ended with a massacre. In all Israel’s wars massacres were committed but I have no doubt that the War of Independence was the dirtiest of them all. … In the War of Independence everybody massacred everybody, but most of the action happened between Jews and Palestinians. … ‘In my opinion, the regular armies of Arab states were less barbaric than the Jews and the Palestinians. Until the entry into the battle of the Arab armies, the concept of taking prisoners was unknown. The regular armies, especially that of Jordan and Egypt, were the first in the region who did not kill prisoners, as a matter of principle. Not that they were exceptional, but they killed the least of all, relatively speaking. The Jordanian Legion even succeeded to stop Palestinians of massacring Jews in Gush Etzion, at least in a part of this area. The education in the Yishuv at that time had it that the Arabs would do anything to kill us and therefore we had to massacre them. A substantial part of the Jewish public was convinced that the most cherished wish of say, a nine-year old Arab child, was to exterminate us. This belief bordered on paranoia.
(Aryeh Yitzhaki, 6 May 1992)
‘The Archivist refused to let me see the report and I went then to the Supreme Court. According to the [State] Archives Law (1953), access is open to documents concerning [government] policies and political matters after 30 years and documents related to security matters after 50 years. As the report by the Shapira committee [on killings in the 1948 War] is a political document issued by the Ministry of Justice, it was to be accessible by the public. But after I entered my request to the State Archivist and to the courts, the State Prosecutor and the Archivist made me a trick. It appeared that by convening a special meeting of at least two Cabinet members – in this case Arens and Sharir – it was possible to extend indefinitely the classified status of any archived document by arguing that disclosure might endanger state security. The meeting was duly convened and the document was reclassified
(Benny Morris, 6 May 1992)
In my childhood I have suffered fear, hunger and humiliation when I passed from the Warsaw Ghetto, through labour camps, to Buchenwald. Today, as a citizen of Israel, I cannot accept the systematic destruction of cities, towns and refugee camps. I cannot accept the technocratic cruelty of the bombing, destroying and killing of human beings.

I hear too many familiar sounds today, sounds which are being amplified by the war. I hear “dirty Arabs” and I remember “dirty Jews”. I hear about “closed areas” and I remember ghettos and camps. I hear “two-legged beasts” and I remember “Untermenschen” (subhumans). I hear about tightening the siege, clearing the area, pounding the city into submission and I remember suffering, destruction, death, blood and murder. Too many things in Israel remind me of too many things from my childhood.”
(Shlomo Shmelzman, August 1982)

Sharon wants to destroy UNRWA, the special United Nations Relief and Works Agency that moderates the misery of the four millions of Palestinian refugees. It is a big organization with some 25 thousand employees, including teachers, social workers and physicians, almost all of them, of course, Palestinians. It provides the refugees with food, education, health services and, in case of need, a roof over their head. Without it, the refugees would long ago have descended into an abyss of hunger and despair. At present, while our army is destroying whole Gaza neighborhoods and their infrastructure, UNRWA is providing food, tents and medical care to needy Palestinians who are not refugees. The very existence of this organization disturbs Sharon and his generals, who want to break the resistance of the Palestinians by turning their life into hell. After working systematically to smash the Palestinian National Authority, they are now trying to crush UNRWA. As reported in the media, Sharon ordered his generals to supply the Foreign Office’s propaganda department with secret army photos, in order to prove that UNRWA cooperates with the “terror organizations”.
(Uri Avnery, 9 October 2004)
No Palestinian organization would have thought of provoking the Egyptian government. Therefore, it appears that something new has happened. We have warned many times that the young Arab and Muslim generation in the world will not stand aside forever while the TV brings reports every day that show how the Arab nation is humiliated. The apathy of the Arab and Muslim governments towards the events in the occupied Palestinian territories looks to them like humiliating cowardice or rank treason. The mistreatment of the Palestinian people by Sharon and his predecessors has created an explosive situation. The invasion of Iraq by Bush has provided the spark. An Arab-Muslim resistance movement is coming into being, a resistance that sees no difference between Iraq and Palestine, between Israel, the US and the Arab governments. That, it seems, is the message of Taba [bombings].
(Uri Avnery, 9 October 2004)
After decades of ever-solidifying ties, Israel is now so closely linked to the United States in concrete ways that it is actually a part of the U.S. military-industrial complex. Israel sells military equipment, with our knowledge, to countries to which the U.S. is restricted by law from selling – for instance, to China. So many arms and types of arms are produced in the U.S. for Israel that it has become quite easy for Israel’s lobbyists in Washington to go to individual congressmen and point out to them how many jobs in a given district depend on this arms industry and on not withholding arms from Israel. In this way, Israel becomes a direct factor in sustaining the U.S. military-industrial complex, in maintaining jobs in the U.S., and in keeping congressmen and other politicians in office.
(Bill Christison, 12 October 2004)
With the kind of pro-Israeli activists who people the policymaking ranks of the Bush administration, it has come to the point that the U.S. gears much of its foreign policy to furthering Israel’s interests as much or more than to furthering our own interests. Bush policymakers have as little interest in actually resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the voters in the Council on Foreign Relations poll whom they are supposed to be leading; their interest is in dealing with the conflict in whatever way Israeli sees fit. One of the primary reasons we went to war in Iraq was to benefit Israel. This reality is so frightening that it needs to be trumpeted whenever motivations for the war are discussed. The United States’ own pursuit of global hegemony was obviously another major motivation, as was oil, but U.S. and Israeli goals in the Middle East are so intertwined that it is impossible to determine where a policymaker like Paul Wolfowitz, for instance, or Donald Rumsfeld or the many neo-conservatives in the Defense Department stop thinking of Israeli interests and begin to think exclusively of U.S. interests. Policy and policymakers are so closely interlinked that there probably is no such point. This needs to be discussed loudly and often.
(Bill Christison, 12 October 2004)
One problem with treating Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians as a sideshow, with no direct impact on U.S. interests, is that the more Israel is ignored as a factor, as an ingredient in U.S. empire-building, the stronger Israel becomes, the stronger its ties to the military-industrial complex, the more it is able to stand up to the United States and resist any U.S. demands – in the peace process for instance – the more it is able to kill Palestinians, pursue its territorial aggrandizement, and ultimately endanger the United States. Everything Israel does in the Middle East is perceived throughout the world, and accurately so, as having been condoned, encouraged, and enabled by the United States, with the result that any terrorists able to concoct an attack like September 11 will target us before they will target Israel.
(Bill Christison, 12 October 2004)
It is an obscene comparison – you know I am not sure I like it – but you know there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tyres around people’s necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tyre of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions. … It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole – and for all the right reasons – felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: ‘I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.’
(Dan Rather, 16 May 2002)
Whether at the checkpoints, in their classrooms, in their living rooms or in the streets, Palestinian children have long lost any immunity they might have enjoyed under an occupation that used to be particularly sensitive to its image in the western public opinion. Alas, that was before 9/11. Since then, however, with the effective Israelization of US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, Israelis felt they had a “windfall”, as Netanyahu called the 9/11 crimes in his first public reaction. Indeed, Israel has steadily moved close to a combination of the French colonial model in Algeria and the apartheid model in South Africa, while enjoying unwavering protection from the new empire and a hypocritical, subservient attitude from most European governments which continue to treat Israel as a preferred partner and as a western outpost in the near east. Thanks to this shameful collusion, Palestinian children are no longer spared Israel’s worst crimes, committed with revolting impunity.
(Omar Barghouti, 25 October 2004)
I know the majority of readers of these lines will raise an enormous outcry regarding the extent of racism dripping from my statements about the danger to democracy inherent in the slaughter of the holiest cow. I would answer them, `The survival of the people of Israel in the entire world depends on the continued strength, security and perpetuity of the Jewish State of Israel.’ … National insurance benefits will be given only to citizens who respect government and municipal tax laws … Every citizen who does not appear for mandatory service in the IDF will be eligible to vote only in municipal elections … Every Arab citizen or non-Jewish immigrant who was convicted in a court of law of engaging in activity against the state or inciting others to do so will be deported following the completion of his sentence. In less severe cases, their status will be changed from that of full citizenship to foreign residence without the right to vote in Knesset elections. If these recommendations are adopted, it will be possible to improve civic rights with the purpose of achieving full and real equality in all aspects related to living conditions and quality of life, in regard to the minorities that present a demographic danger.
(Yitzhak Caspit, Spring 2003)
What do the young soldiers and the petty officers internalize today? They leave the army with the knowledge that human life, when the life is not a Jewish one, is extremely cheap. The death of a Jew by the hands of a Palestinian is a tragedy, the death of a Palestinian by the hands of a Jew is no big deal. They learn that the killing of Palestinian children, women and old people, the destruction of their homes and their property, is permitted not only in cases of self-defense, but even for the sake of operational convenience. They learn that the Palestinian population is of no interest to anyone and force can be used against it unrestrainedly, even when the only real purpose is revenge and scare tactics. From the affair of the commander of the Gaza Division and the company commander from the Girit outpost, they have learned the lesson that might makes right. Because the only sin lies not in committing crimes but in failing to conceal them.
(Ze’ev (Zeev) Sternhell, 12 November 2004)
it is simply an affront to common sense to claim that the Palestinians’ plight – or, for that matter, Israel’s problems with the Palestinians – stems from a lack of democracy. The Palestinians have a tradition of political pluralism stretching back decades, while the Palestinian authority in the occupied territories barely has the powers of a proper local authority, let alone those of a state – and the scope for meaningful democracy under military occupation is severely limited. The authority’s failures arose largely from the weaknesses of the Oslo peace process, which gave it the role of middleman and security contractor for Israel, while closures and settlement expansion made Palestinians’ lives ever more grim. The Palestinian problem is instead primarily one of colonisation and occupation – and the denial of self-determination and refugee rights.
(Seumas Milne, 18 November 2004)
First of all, the fence is not built like the Berlin Wall. It’s a fence that we will be guarding on either side. Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them. Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day. … If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings. … The Palestinians will be forced to realize that demography is no longer significant, because we’re here and they’re there. And then they will begin to ask for “conflict management” talks – not that dirty word “peace.” Peace is a word for believers, and I have no tolerance for believers – neither those who wear yarmulkes nor those who pray to the God of peace. … Both are dangerous. Unilateral separation doesn’t guarantee “peace” – it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews; it guarantees the kind of safety that will return tourists to the country; and it guarantees one other important thing. Between 1948 and 1967, the fence was a fence, and 400,000 people left the West Bank voluntarily. This is what will happen after separation. If a Palestinian cannot come into Tel Aviv for work, he will look in Iraq, or Kuwait, or London. I believe that there will be movement out of the area.
(Arnon Soffer, 10 May 2004)
‘You are actually, by the language you are using, encouraging people to oppose you and to find Israel more militant. I don’t understand why the army spokespeople in this country appear in uniform, when it only emphasizes the fact that Israel is a military power,’ he said. ‘Language is everything,’ according to Luntz, who called on the government to strike the word ‘incitement’ from its vocabulary. ‘What the heck is the problem with Israel, with Israelis and spokespeople who use words that Americans do not understand, do not comprehend, and they don’t internalize?’ He suggested using the term ‘culture of hatred’ instead, and that the disengagement plan be referred to as ‘voluntary’ or a ‘first step’ instead of unilateral.
(Frank Luntz, 16 December 2004)
The population of Palestine was basically composed of Moslem and Christian Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinians had lived in the country since the dawn of history. They did not come to Palestine with the Moslem Arab invasion of the seventh century as is sometimes erroneously thought. They are the earliest and the original inhabitants of Palestine. The Palestinians of today are the descendants of the Canaanites, the Philistines, and the other early tribes which inhabited the country. Professor Maxime Rodinson points out that the Arab population of Palestine was native in all senses of that word. There were infusions of other racial elements into the Palestinian stock, mainly from the Greeks, the Romans, the Moslem Arabs and the Crusaders. But this Palestinian stock, which comprises both Moslems and Christians, continued to constitute the main element of the population until the majority of the original inhabitants of Palestine were displaced by the Israelis in 1948.
(Henry Cattan, 1973)
If the views of the advanced Zionists prevail there is trouble ahead. Many, very many, intelligent and informed Jews admit this. It is conceded that the present inhabitants of Palestine have occupied their lands for centuries; indeed, some of the Syrian communities claim descent from the Hittites who were in possession at the dawn of history.

Be this as it may, all who know the situation from actual contact and not merely from propaganda leaflets admit that these people have dwelt in their present homes for two thousand years, that the occupancy of the Jews does not go back to immemorial times, and that their sojourn before the Dispersion was brief. Why should these “old settlers” be expelled, they ask, to make room for newcomers who are ill informed as to the way of life that would be imposed upon them in the promised land of dreams, which in actual experience would prove a great disappointment?”
(Stephen Bonsal, January 1919)

If the views of the advanced Zionists prevail there is trouble ahead. Many, very many, intelligent and informed Jews admit this. It is conceded that the present inhabitants of Palestine have occupied their lands for centuries; indeed, some of the Syrian communities claim descent from the Hittites who were in possession at the dawn of history.

Be this as it may, all who know the situation from actual contact and not merely from propaganda leaflets admit that these people have dwelt in their present homes for two thousand years, that the occupancy of the Jews does not go back to immemorial times, and that their sojourn before the Dispersion was brief. Why should these “old settlers” be expelled, they ask, to make room for newcomers who are ill informed as to the way of life that would be imposed upon them in the promised land of dreams, which in actual experience would prove a great disappointment?”
(Stephen Bonsal, January 1919)

Far worse than the more celebrated King David Hotel attack, which only killed 95 British and Arabs, and which led to the garroting of two British sergeants at Nathanya, was the attack on the small Arab village of Deir Yassin, in which 254 women, children, and old men were killed and their bodies thrown down a well on April 9, 1948. This particular village… west of Jerusalem, had managed to keep out of the fighting until that moment when the Haganah Commander David Shaltiti noted that Deir Yassin had been quiet since the beginning of the disturbances… not mentioned in any attacks on Jews, and one of the few places which had not given a foothold to terrorist bands.

Deir Yassin had done nothing to provoke an Israeli attack and had lived in peace with it’s Israeli neighbors. They had even cooperated with the Jewish Agency and was said by Jerusalem newspapers to have driven out some Arab militants.

No warning was given of an impending attack, although Begin said, ‘the villagers had been warned beforehand.’ The initial resistance of Deir Yassin was easily overcome, and all the inhabitants were ordered into the village square. Here they were lined up against a wall and shot, one eye witness said her sister who was 9 months pregnant was shot in the back of the neck. Her assailants then cut open her stomach with a butcher knife and extracted the unborn baby. When an Arab woman tried to take the baby, she was shot. According to eye witnesses, female members of this Jewish gang, matched the savagery of their male counterparts. Women were raped before the eyes of their children, before being murdered and dumped down the well and even representatives of the International Red Cross who were inured to scenes of violence became nauseated by what they saw.”
(Harry Levin, 1950)

Consider the question of the Soviet Jews. It does not seem to be understood in the West the Jews are not discriminated against as Jews in the allocation of exit permits. Not only comparatively but absolutely, very many more Jews have been allowed to emigrate than have members of any other group. Last year 33,000 arrived in Israel (not to mention others who set out in that direction and switched destination en route).

The rate is now running at 3,000 a month. But it would not be possible to find even one hundredth of that number who were granted visas among Tartars or Ukrainians or Armenians. Or even plain Russians.

When ordinary Soviet citizens are told that a vital trade agreement awarding their country most-favoured-nation status with the US is being blocked in Congress because Soviet Jews are demanding as an absolute right something few other inhabitants can expect as a special privilege – then the result is likely to be spontaneous outbreaks of anti-Semitism.”
(Alan Brien, 9 September 1973)

the basic story here is not one of two national movements that are confronting each other; the basic story is that of natives and settlers. It’s the story of natives who feel that people who came from across the sea infiltrated their natural habitat and dispossessed them.

The result is that the conquering immigrants are victorious in every battle because they utilize the technological and cultural advantages that Western civilization has made available to them. But these settler immigrants are unable to enjoy the fruits of their victory. They take over the land but fail to achieve tranquillity, fail to entrench peace for themselves.”
(Meron Benvenisti, 8 August 2003)

Only a bi-national state and a right of return for the Palestinian refugees will come close enough to rectifying some of the injustices committed in 1948 and since. Having been ethnically cleansed, this is also what the Palestinians are entitled to under international law and common human decency. This could be Israel`s atonement. It will also be Israel`s opportunity to free itself from carrying this burden of guilt that I believe is making their lives and the lives of the Palestinians a nightmare. Yes, it will be a challenge. But it will offer a possibility of real and sustainable peace both for Israelis and for Palestinians, possibly for the entire region. Continuing with the mentality and policy of denial will lead nowhere, and will continue to cost the lives and wellbeing of many more people and communities.
(Avigail Abarbanel, 19 January 2005)
The story of the Negev Bedouin is the story of a cruel battle, a battle declared by the state almost from the day of its inception, against the tribes that lived in the south. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Arabs who were citizens, including the Bedouin, were kept under a military administration. The Bedouin were forcibly transferred from all parts of the Negev to an area defined as “the barrier region,” which stretched over the area between Be’er Sheva, Arad, Dimona and Yeruham. In 1965, the Planning and Construction Law was passed, and a national master plan was set. The Bedouin were in the area, but not in the plan. Thus they became “unrecognized.” The state began to concentrate them into urban communities. Between 1968 (when Tel Sheva was established) and 1980, seven towns were built, which the Bedouin call “concentration towns” or “ghettos.” Those who moved to them were mainly Bedouin who in any case had been uprooted from their lands and had been transferred to the barrier region during the first years of the state. Most of the others stuck with their lands. The state didn’t like that.
(Aviv Lavie, 30 January 2004)
The conclusion is that the seemingly rational solution of two states for two nations can’t work here. The model of a division into two nation-states is inapplicable. It doesn’t reflect the depth of the conflict and doesn’t sit with the scale of the entanglement that exists in large parts of the country. You can erect all the walls in the world here but you won’t be able to overcome the fact that there is only one aquifer here and the same air and that all the streams run into the same sea. You won’t be able to overcome the fact that this country will not tolerate a border in its midst. In the past year, then, I reached the conclusion that there is no choice but to think in new terms. There is no choice but to think about western Palestine [the land between the River Jordan and the Sea] as one geopolitical unit.
(Meron Benvenisti, 8 August 2003)
This is where I am different from my friends in the left: because I am truly a native son of immigrants, who is drawn to the Arab culture and the Arabic language because it is here. It is the land. And I really am a neo-Canaanite. I love everything that springs from this soil. Whereas the right, certainly, but the left, too, hates Arabs. The Arabs bother them – they complicate things. The subject generates moral questions and that generates cultural unease.

That’s why the left wants this terrible wall, which in my view is anti-geography, anti-history and anti-human. That’s why the left wants to hide behind this wall, which in my view is the rape of the land. That’s why they are fleeing from Jerusalem and fleeing from the landscape and the soil and huddling in Tel Aviv and concentrating only on how to screw Vicki Knafo, how to lord it over the Moroccans.”
(Meron Benvenisti, 8 August 2003)

The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant of the League of Nations and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation of Palestine than in that of the independent nation of Syria. For, in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land. In my opinion that is right. What I have never been able to understand is how it can be harmonised with the Anglo-French declaration, the Covenant, or the instructions to the commission of Enquiry… In fact, so far as Palestine is concerned, the powers have made no statement of fact that is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which, at least in the letter, they have not always intended to violate.
(Arthur James Balfour, August 1919)
There arises the further question, what is to become of the people of this country [Palestine], assuming the Turk to be expelled, and the inhabitants not to have been exterminated by the War? There are over half a million of these, Syrian Arabs – a mixed community with Arab, Hebrew, Canaanite, Greek, Egyptian, and possibly Crusaders’ blood. They and their forefathers have occupied the country for the best part of 1500 years. They own the soil, which belongs either to individual landowners or to village communities. They profess the Mohammedan faith. They will not be content either to be expropriated for Jewish immigrants, or to act merely as hewers of wood and drawers of water to the latter. Further, there are other settlers who will have to be reckoned with. There are 100,000 Christians, who will not wish to be disturbed; east of the Jordan are large colonies of Circassian Mohammedans, firmly established; there are also settlements of Druses and Moslems from Algeria, Bulgaria, and Egypt.
(George Nathaniel Curzon, around 1919)
The Pan-Islamic danger is a real and permanent one. … We cannot get rid of it altogether, but we have the opportunity now [that the Ottoman Empire has entered the war on Germany’s side]… of immensely diminishing it by reducing to impotence the only existing organised government that can further the pan-Islamic idea; and when we see the progress which that idea has made in India, under Turkish influence, in the last 10 years, does not common prudence require that we should do so? … It is on Mesopotamia and not on Europe that attention is fixed in the Persian Gulf… a merely diplomatic defeat of Turkey will not count in Arabia. … In India itself the vernacular press loses no opportunity of admiring the feats of Turkish arms. With all these people we shall have to deal after the war, and to live with them on terms of moral supremacy. We shall have to govern India itself – where, besides the Moslem problem, the fact has to be reckoned with that the educated Hindus… are not averse to seeing British pride humbled, and humbled by an Asiatic Power – and to convince the peoples of India that a handful of white men can still control them.
(Frederick Arthur Hirtzel, 23 May 1916)
The fact that an average salary in the Gaza Strip amounts to only 20% of an average Israeli salary is pregnant with political consequences. But it should be also noted that the salaries of agricultural workers are even lower than that average. According to my sources, the Gazan workers employed by Jewish settlers in the Strip tend to earn less than 10% of the average Israeli salary. Other categories of workers can also be worse-off than the statistics would indicate. Cases are known, for example, in which Gazan workers who had lost their work in Israel, were subsequently offered work in Gaza for a salary of 12-15% of what they had been earning before. There can be no doubt that profits from exploiting cheap Gazan labor are one of the reasons of the stubborn opposition of Rabin and of the majority of Israeli ministers to withdrawal from the Strip in any form.
(Israel Shahak, 9 March 1993)
Yet we have continued to steal the Strip’s water, even though its quality deteriorated from year to year. We have continued to steal the Strip’s tiny land resources, in order to found there more and more [Jewish] settlements as if we deliberately wanted to make the inhabitants despair and in their despair think in terms of having nothing to lose. It is of our own doing that the Strip’s workers must now spend for travelling to their workplaces almost as much time as the whole day of work. From the military point of view, we have kept controlling no more than a half of the Strip’s area at an increasingly exorbitant price in expenditure of resources and energy by the Israeli army. About a year before Moshe Arens left [the Defense ministry], I already heard him saying that we should withdraw from the Strip, irrespective of its being a part of the Land of Israel. His argument was that Israel sinks into the Strip ever deeper and deeper. He told me he had made a motion to this effect to Yitzhak Shamir but the latter rejected it.
(Ze’ev Schiff, 5 March 1993)
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit today [8 February 2005] will be a show of strength for the realists. Mubarak, who is approaching a fifth term as president, convened the meeting as a response to Bush’s State of the Union challenge to Egypt: “And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.”

The deal is simple: Sharon grants legitimacy to the Egyptian regime and the existing regional order, against the “tsunami” of elections in Iraq and the American call for democratization. In exchange, Sharon will receive public recognition in the Arab world, where he was rejected until now as an oppressor of the Palestinians.”
(Aluf Benn, 8 February 2005)

insistence on the dream of the Greater Land of Israel could, because of the absence of Palestinian emigration eastward and the impossibility of separation on demographic grounds that exist nowadays, be turned into a nightmare where the State of Israel maintains an apartheid regime, with the Jews rejecting the demand by a majority of the Arabs for equal civil rights.

The international excommunication and pressure to change the situation could lead to a binational state led by an Arab majority in the Knesset that hurries to cancel the Law of Return and open the gates of the country to Palestinians from the world over. The economic fate of a state of Palestine-Israel, which would still be better than its neighbors, would turn into a magnet for the poor in the region, something that would motivate that Jewish population that could afford it to emigrate. The Zionist dream would turn into a 100-year-old episode in the 1,500 year history of Muslim rule in the Land of Israel.”
(Shaul Arielli, 9 February 2005)

That is the power of the Yesha Council and the messianic zealots in the public debate, despite their numerical weakness: the agreement between “doves” and “hawks” that the Land belongs to “us,” the Jews, and the only relevant nation to decide on the fate of the Land is the Jewish nation. According to that approach, the Palestinian residents of Gaza need not be asked what the fate of Gaza will be. It’s up to the “nation in Zion,” Israelis living inside the 1967 borders and the Jews living in Gaza and the West Bank, to decide. That is the approach of a “master nation”: The Jews will decide what is best for the Palestinians. The consensus between the Yesha zealots and the “dovish left” is called “a democratic Jewish state.” See the Kinneret Covenant for proof.

That is not a democratic state with a Jewish character and culture, but a discriminatory regime that grants more rights to Jews, and denies equal rights to Arabs. No democracy in the world has one nation deciding what is good for another nation. Such a regime has been called by Prof. Oren Yiftahel an “Ethnocracy” and it is the wish of “the nation in Zion”: to be the masters of the entire land.”
(Lev Greenberg, 9 February 2005)

Every discussion of the Palestinians as equal human beings born in the image of God is termed “treasonous,” the language of “Arab lovers.” Therefore, there is no language or democratic discourse that supports disengagement and rejects a referendum.

The racist view that ignores the existence of occupied peoples or represents them as inferior, wild and dangerous emerged in Europe of past centuries to justify the white man’s takeover of land and natural resources he did not own in Africa, America and Asia. That’s how they sought to legitimize their acts of plunder, looting, repression and killing. In Europe, that racist approach was applied to “the Semitic” nations “invading” Europe, starting with the Jews. We were the victims of that racism, and history – or divine intervention – has now given us a difficult test.”
(Lev Greenberg, 9 February 2005)

At the same time, acceptance of the resolution [UNGA Resolution 181] in no way diminished the belief of all the Zionist parties in their right to the whole of the country. Their responses provide an instructive background against which subsequent events can be measured. … As for those parts of the resolution less favorable to Zionist interests, Ben-Gurion unhesitatingly rejected them — beginning with the projected borders of the Jewish state and the transition period for the implementation of the various stages of partition (designed to ensure a proper transfer of vital services from the British to the two new states), and ending with the establishment of the proposed Arab state.

By some twist of vision, historians have generally taken Ben-Gurion’s acceptance of the idea of a Jewish state in less than the whole of Palestine as the equivalent of an acceptance of the entire UN resolution. Yet, as we have seen, Ben-Gurion had always viewed partition as the first step toward a Jewish state in the whole of Palestine, including Transjordan, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon.”
(Simha Flapan, August 1987)

Every so often there is a bold crew of Israeli journalists who will film something. One such crew had heard that some of the Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint (Erez is the highly militarized checkpoint which is the sole entry and exit point to the Gaza strip) were playing a game of roulette with the lives of Palestinians. This was a time when a very small number of Palestinians were being allowed to enter Israel through the checkpoint in order to go to work. The gate at the Erez checkpoint is an electric fence, with interlocking ‘teeth’ that make a complete seal, controlled by remote control. The soldiers would play a game to see if they could catch a Palestinian worker in the gate. One worker had died this way. The film crew investigated and filmed the game being played in secret. When the film was broadcast, the studio got hundreds of letters – protesting that the crew should not have filmed this, that it was helping the enemy and sapping the morale of our soldiers when they need support! This is another way of denial, of not facing the barbarization of society. This is very similar to the American public reaction to what happened in Abu Ghraib.
(Ilan Pappe, 20 February 2005)
There is a music show that is on Israeli television, called Taverna. It is Israeli music, which means it is Greek music with Hebrew lyrics. After the Israeli Army committed the massacre in Jenin in April 2002, the producer – another ‘leftist’ from the ‘peace camp’ – wanted to do a music show in order to give some comfort to the troops in this trying time. So the producers set up a stage in the zone of total destruction in Jenin. If you have been to Jenin or seen films about it, you know there was a hole in the middle of the camp – everything had been destroyed and reduced to rubble, people had been killed, people were buried in the rubble. They set up a stage in the midst of that rubble and had their music show. I talked to the producer afterwards, I asked him – ‘don’t you see a problem with having the stage in the middle of the hole’? He said: ‘no, the stage worked fine’ – as if my question had been about the technical aspects of the stage rather than the macabre scene.
(Ilan Pappe, 20 February 2005)
It is irrational to give up defending yourself when the other side continues its aggression. Were there a complete settlement freeze, at least time would not daily make even the occupied territories, the rump of Palestine, less and less a place where Palestinians can hope to build a society.
It is rational to continue resistance, to continue making the settlers uncomfortable, to continue the pressure that brought Israeli concessions in the first place. Unless that pressure is maintained, the settlers will burrow ever deeper into Palestine, leaving ever less land and hope for the Palestinians.
This is not to say that keeping up the attacks is the best policy. Perhaps the best policy is to march peacefully with flowers in one’s hair–anything is possible. But keeping up the attacks is a rational policy, one with at least as much chance of succeeding as any other.
To understand this response, it is not necessary to understand anything about Islam or Islamic fundamentalism or any special features of Palestinian culture, much less the psychology of hate. It is necessary only to see the Palestinians as rational human beings.

(Michael Neumann, 21 February 2005)
The thing that really bothers me is not the well-known Israeli position, but the helplessness of the Palestinians and their failure to cope with Israeli logic and arguments. The absurdity is that there is Palestinian consensus with regard to the need to release all the veteran prisoners first, while in Israel there are certain differences of opinion on the same matter. The Palestinian leadership continues to ignore the lessons of the past. Abu Mazen and his people are continuing to pass on secretly the name of this or the other prisoner whose release they require. This list of individuals undermines a human and political principle – the principle of equality in freedom. How can the Israelis respect the Palestinian leadership when it doesn’t respect itself and its prisoners? How can we expect the Israelis to act in keeping with the principle of justice when our leadership does not? My heart fills with anger for our negotiators and Abu Mazen.
(Palestinian prisoner, 2005)
These operative’s push for an invasion of Iraq in 2002/03 is now being renewed against Syria and Iran, while a new formula for a Lebanon minus Hizbullah is being geared up. Such a formula would enable Israel to achieve two of the strategic goals of its 1982 invasion, which had been foiled by the Lebanese resistance. That is why Lebanon without Syrian troops and impotent Hizbullah is now a US and Israeli declared objective. A greatly weakened Syria is crucial as long as both Israel and the US are determined to see a nuclear-free Iran. We are a great distance away from Bush and Baker’s “Dual Containment” of Iran and Iraq. Washington’s various operatives make no secret about the need to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. President Bush himself pledged to back Israel in the event it launched an aerial strike against Iran. Thus a liquidation of Hizbullah is seen as a necessary step for subduing Iran as well as Syria.

Hariri’s death, no matter who arranged it, is the perfect opportunity to implement the Israeli/US strategy, and revisit Israel’s frustrated plans of 1982. What better circumstances could enable Israel to reap the benefits of Hariri’s murder? Unlike 1982, Maronites, Druze, and Sunnis are all lined up against Syria, and once Syria is weakened, they would line up against Hizbullah too.”
(Naseer Aruri, 22 February 2005)

Hours after the early morning massacre [of Palestinians], Israeli reporter Yigal Sarna visited the killing field, universally known as the “slave market,” except to the New York Times, where this revealing fact was suppressed. Sarna witnessed an Israeli man get out of his car and jubilantly dance on the blood-stained ground, asking rhetorically, “Why only seven?” The question was a common one in Israel, as Sarna and other Israeli reporters discovered. On a visit to the gunman’s neighborhood, located only a short walk from the scene of the massacre, Sarna found Popper’s friends were in agreement that he “had made only two mistakes: One, he didn’t kill all [of the Arabs] who were there; and two, he turned himself in instead of making a run for it.”
(Nabeel Abraham, August 1990)
While engaging in the honey-sweet military jargon of “humanitarian passes,” Israel is turning blooming Palestinian territories into wasteland, in a cynical reversal of the ancient lie. While talking incessantly of temporality, the fence is demarcating the border between Israel and the state of prison compounds, and between the compounds and the settlements.
The constructed fence is continuing in its energetic destruction, but the fence will never be completed. because even after its construction is finished, it will perpetuate the policy of annexation, usurpation and severance. It will continue to cause disasters all around it. And again, especially during the talks of IDF pullout from this town or another, the Palestinians sometimes give the impression that they have grown accustomed to their disinheritance and have accepted it. But after a period of adjustment, the prolonged banishment will beget a new period of rebellion, which will lead to even more condescending Israeli “solutions” that will drive any chance of a just peace agreement further and further away.

(Amira Hass, 9 March 2005)
The construction of the separation fence is being carried out in the language of control that has evolved here since 1947, and has not been altered even in the years of the political negotiations at the end of the 20th century. In Israeli propaganda, Israel is the attacked victim, and therefore may do anything to protect itself. There is no correlation between the subjective feeling of the victim and Israel’s objective – military – power and strong international status. The fence’s route – with or without the High Court’s kashrut stamp – clearly promotes the intentions to annex Palestinian land. These intentions were not stopped in 1994, with the Oslo Accords, but accelerated. Israel usurped the lands of the Israeli Arabs and gave them to Jews, deprived the Arabs access to lands defined as state lands, and banished Palestinian residents of the West Bank from lands that have become synonymous with lands for Jewish settlers. In the same way, it is fatally damaging the private and public Palestinian lands along the fence. The process of construction and uprooting trees and saplings and demolishing greenhouses and water wells combines arrogance with contempt toward anyone who is not Jewish, and toward the international position. It does so as part of a basic, both open and concealed, master plan of usurpation.
(Amira Hass, 9 March 2005)
She [Thatcher] said, if the northern [Catholic] population want to be in the south, well why don’t they move over there? After all, there was a big movement of population in Ireland, wasn’t there?

Nobody could think what it was. So finally I said, are you talking about Cromwell, prime minister? She said, that’s right, Cromwell.”
(David Goodall, 2001)

In almost all the cities that the Israel Defense Force has occupied, there has been severe damage to the water infrastructure through systematic targeting and sabotage. The destruction is done either by digging up the water pipes or by destroying the electrical lines to the water pumps. Most attempts to repair the infrastructure or to deliver water to the curfewed residents are blocked. Just a few hours ago, I attempted to deliver a truckload of bottled water into Nablus and I was turned away at an IDF checkpoint. Municipal workers who try to repair the damage are often either arrested or shot at by the IDF. In one case, a tank rolled over the repair truck with the municipal worker still inside the truck; in another case seven municipal workers were arrested while trying to repair the pipes. Some people had on-and-off access to running water but we estimate that 50,000 people have been continuously without access — this includes hospitals. Just yesterday in Bethlehem, the sewer lines backed up. This creates the danger of cross-contamination from the backed-up sewer lines into the damaged water pipes. This is a disaster.
(Mark Zeitoun, 17 April 2002)
This widely covered event shows that Israel has turned the liquidation of Europe’s Jews into an asset. Our murdered relatives are being enlisted to enable Israel to continue not giving a damn about international decisions against the occupation. The suffering our parents endured in the ghettoes and concentration camps that filled Europe, the physical and mental anguish and torment that our parents were subjected to every single day since the “liberation,” are used as weapons to thwart any international criticism of the society we are creating here. This is a society with built-in discrimination on the basis of nationality, and the discrimination is spreading on either side of the Green Line. This is a society that is systematically continuing to banish the Palestinian nation from its land and usurp its rights as a nation and its chances for a humane future.
(Amira Hass, 16 March 2005)
Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money. Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine human rights concerns. To be sure, if you are dealing with a human rights situation in a country that is at odds with the United States or Britain, it gets an awful lot of attention, resources, man and womanpower, publicity, you name it, they can throw whatever they want at that. But if it’s dealing with violations of human rights by the United States, Britain, Israel, then it’s like pulling teeth to get them to really do something on the situation. They might, very reluctantly and after an enormous amount of internal fightings and battles and pressures, you name it.
(Francis Boyle, Summer 2002)
The area of Judea and Samaria and the area of the Gaza region are held by Israel under `combative takeover,’ which is necessarily limited in time. The status of the Israeli communities established in these areas derives from the status of the territory, which is held under `combative takeover. … When the settlers settled in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria, they did so knowing they were settling on territory held by the state under combative takeover. They were aware the Israel Defense Forces is sovereign over the area, and that all contacts regarding their routine life were conducted in accordance with it. The status of the territory, and the status of the Israeli communities within it obligated the settlers to anticipate the possibility of their evacuation someday.
(Israeli State Prosecutor Office, 21 March 2005)
Mr. Churchill opened the subject confidently wielding the big stick. Great Britain had supported and subsidized me for twenty years, and had made possible the stability of my reign by fending off potential enemies on my frontiers. Since Britain had seen me through difficult days, she is entitled now to request my assistance in the problem of Palestine where a strong Arab leader can restrain fanatical Arab elements, insist on moderation in Arab councils, and effect a realistic compromise with Zionism. Both sides must be prepared to make concessions and he looks to me to help prepare the Arab concessions. I replied that, as he well knows, I have made no secret of my friendship and gratitude to Great Britain, a friend I have always been ready to help and I shall always help her and the Allies against their enemies. I told him, however, that what he proposes is not help to Britain or the Allies, but an act of treachery to the Prophet and all believing Muslims which would wipe out my honor and destroy my soul. I could not acquiesce in a compromise with Zionism much less take any initiative. Furthermore, I pointed out, that even in the preposterous event that I were willing to do so, it would not be a favor to Britain, since promotion of Zionism from any quarter must indubitably bring bloodshed, wide-spread disorder in the Arab lands, with certainly no benefit to Britain or anyone else. By this time Mr. Churchill had laid the big stick down. In turn I requested assurance that Jewish immigration to Palestine would be stopped. This Mr. Churchill refused to promise, though he assured me that he would oppose any plan of immigration which would drive the Arabs out of Palestine or deprive them of the means of livelihood there. I reminded him that the British and their Allies would be making their own choice between (1) a friendly and peaceful Arab world, and (2) a struggle to the death between Arab and Jew if unreasonable immigration of Jews to Palestine is renewed. In any case, the formula must be one arrived at by and with Arab consent.
(Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, February 1945)
I want to argue that now, 60 years after the end of the Holocaust, it is time to grow out of all this. The time has come to turn the memory of the Holocaust from an exclusively Jewish property into a world-wide human possession. The mourning, the anger and the shame must be turned into a universal message against all forms of genocide. The struggle against anti-Semitism must become a part of the fight against all kinds of racism, whether directed against Muslims in Europe or Blacks in America, Kurds in Turkey or Palestinians in Israel, or foreign workers everywhere. The Jews’ long history as the victims of murderous persecution must not cause us to wrap ourselves in a cult of self-pity, but, on the contrary, should encourage us to take the lead in the world-wide struggle against racism, prejudice and stereotypes that begin with incitement by vile demagogues and can end in genocide.
(Uri Avnery, 20 March 2005)
That the Columbia University administration acted as a collaborator with the witch-hunters instead of defending me and offering itself as a refuge from rightwing McCarthyism has been a cause of grave personal and professional disappointment to me. I am utterly disillusioned with a university administration that treats its faculty with such contempt and am hoping against hope that the faculty will rise to the task before them and force President Bollinger to reverse this perilous course on which he has taken Columbia’s faculty and students. The major goal of the witch-hunters is to destroy the institution of the university in general. I am merely the entry point for their political project. As the university is the last bastion of free-thinking that has not yet fallen under the authority of extreme rightwing forces, it has become their main target. The challenge before us is therefore to be steadfast in fighting for academic freedom.
(Joseph Massad, 14 March 2005)
We said things without meaning them, and we didn’t carry them out, we said over and over that we would equalize the rights of the Arabs to the rights of the Jews in the city-empty talk. … Never have we given them a feeling of being equal before the law. [As mayor of Jerusalem, I] nurtured nothing and built nothing [for the Arabs]. For Jewish Jerusalem I did something in the past 25 years. For [Arab] East Jerusalem? Nothing! What did I do? Nothing! Sidewalks? Nothing. Cultural Institutions? Not one. Yes, we installed a sewage system for them and improved the water supply. Do you know why? Do you think it was for their good, for their welfare? Forget it! There were some cases of cholera there, and the Jews were afraid that they would catch it, so we installed [a] sewage and a water system against cholera.
(Teddy Kollek, 10 October 1990)
[F]or now the disengagement the Gaza pullout – exists only on paper. … [T]hree and a half months before the projected date of evacuation, it is still not clear where the evacuees will be housed until the discussions regarding their final relocation destination are concluded. Contrary to the prevailing impression, no infrastructure has been set up even for their temporary dwellings. … If Sharon intends to evacuate the Gaza settlements, he is doing so with outrageous inefficiency. He is far more efficient in the West Bank. There, plans are carried out precisely as scheduled. Right from the start, during the first agreements between Sharon and Netanyahu one year ago about the disengagement plan, it was agreed that the disengagement would not be put into effect before the “separation fence” was completed on the western side of the West Bank. Indeed, the construction of the wall is moving towards completion. In July the announced date for the beginning of the Gaza evacuation the wall surrounding East Jerusalem and cutting it off from the West Bank will be in place. The Palestinians who live there will be able to leave only with permits. The centre of life in the West Bank will become an enclosed prison.
(Tanya Reinhart, 14 April 2005)
The farmers of Gush Katif are demanding an increase to the compensation offered them. They have forgotten the generous government assistance they received when they came to the Gush: Grants, loans and free land. Nor are they talking about what pains them the most: The cost of labor. At present, they pay residents of Khan Yunis who work in their hothouses NIS 40 for a long and hard day’s work: Shameful exploitation in conditions of slavery. When they move northward they will be forced to pay the minimum wage. Is such a scandal possible?

Therefore, before we pity them, we should pity the Jewish people, which has paid for this superfluous adventure in blood and money, and only now, belatedly, has decided to put an end to the disgraceful apartheid in the Gaza Strip.”
(Nehemia Strasler, 22 April 2005)

We, the (undersigned) professors and lecturers in British universities in consultation with the Anti-Apartheid Movement:

  1. Protest against the bans imposed on Professors Simons and Roux;
  2. Protest against the practice of racial discrimination and its extension to higher education;
  3. Pledge that we shall not apply for or accept academic posts in South African universities which practise racial discrimination.


(Various British academics, 1965)

 

 

I think that it [the academic boycott of South Africa] has certainly made a number of people sit up and take notice, especially the so-called liberal universities. They thought that just as a matter of right they would find acceptance because they were allowing blacks into their establishments. I mustn’t belittle them too much, I think that they did stand up for academic freedom and so forth, but I don’t think myself actually that they were sufficiently vigorous and the boycott helped to knock sense into their heads, to realise that they did have a role in seeking to undermine that vicious system [apartheid].

I would, I think, now still say that we maintain [the academic boycott] insofar as, if for instance academics from here [Britain] want to go to South Africa then you want to look at who is inviting them. Under whose auspices are they going? Are they going to institutions that have a good track record in their opposition to apartheid? But I would say that as things begin to ease up, this ought perhaps to be one of the first of the constraints that goes to give some of these people the reward.

But I would myself say it is important for academics outside of South Africa also to say they want to reward places like UWC [University of the Western Cape] which stuck their necks out and then let these others get the crumbs that remain from the table.

… [UWC has made] a quite deliberate political commitment [to support the liberation struggle.] … The present Vice-Chancellor, Professor [Jakes] Gerwel, at his installation … said it was going to become the intellectual home of the left, which obviously put many cats amongst several pigeons. But what he was really saying was that too many of our … institutions have pretended that there is a kind of neutrality, which people claim is the right position for intellectual educational institutions, whereas that neutrality or supposed neutrality is really a support of the status quo. … Jakes was saying, especially at a time when it was unpopular, ‘We are on the side of the downtrodden, we are going to work for the upliftment of our people.’ We [Tutu was Chancellor of the UWC] were the first university to give an honorary degree to someone who in popular parlance amongst whites had been a terrorist, Mr Govan Mbeki. Now of course other places are suddenly getting onto that particular bandwagon. One university has decided that it is going to give an honorary degree to Nelson Mandela. But of course now it is popular to do so.”
(Desmond Tutu, June 1990)

Someone up there in the occupation echelons must have studied Ben Kingsley’s film long before “the Gandhi Project” got started and reached the conclusion that nonviolent resistance is not in Israel’s interest. To thwart this threat, Israel employs soldiers whose task is to turn a peaceful demonstration into a violent one, by infiltrating it undercover and throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. During the demonstration, the army uses these stones as a pretext to break the demonstration by force, using tear gas, salt, or rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. In the aftermath, this stone-throwing – pictured by army photographers who surely don’t miss the stones thrown by their own comrades – enters the world media as propaganda, depicting the peaceful demonstrators as dangerous stone-throwers.
(Ran HaCohen, 2 May 2005)
What did bring down the racist regime in South Africa was the general boycott – economic, political, military and cultural – a boycott of which the academic component was minuscule, and not a separate element.

If we cannot rid ourselves of the affliction of the occupation itself – and by the way, in South Africa an effective white anti-apartheid movement did crystalize, completing the external pressure that brought down the system – it is better to initiate a widespread external form of pressure, not a boycott that will further weaken Israeli civil society.

Ostensibly, a general boycott of the regime in Israel is not possible as long as the (almost) total support of the U.S. in our self-destructive policy is assured.

Nevertheless, there are signs that even this situation might change gradually, especially if the regime continues to commit systematic and systemic acts of stupidity like the upgrading of the Ariel College. If so, there is a real chance for a change in internal public opinion as well, which may make it worthwhile even for Israeli academe to suffer from the boycott until we purify ourselves completely from the impurity of the occupation.”
(Baruch Kimmerling, 17 May 2005)

It is important to see the utilitarian logic behind the Zionist stance: As the ultimate goal was to populate Palestine with multitudes of Jews, they tried to target weak Jewish populations. Strong communities were less interested in Palestine immigration: When things are good, as they were in America (relatively speaking, of course), why move to a war zone? Thus a decision was made to focus on the Jewish DP camps, and envoys were dispatched to Germany, driven by Ben-Gurion’s vision to bring 250,000 survivors from Germany to Palestine. If this is the goal, then a Jew heading west is not an asset. This is why the Zionists objected to initiatives aimed at evacuating Jewish child survivors from Germany right after the war. This is a shocking affair. Several thousand sick, malnourished, and vulnerable orphans, still at great risk, were forced by the Zionists to stay in the camps, even though arrangements were made for them to arrive to safety in England and France.
(Yosef (Yosi) Grodzinsky, 7 June 2005)
Serious manpower shortages led the Israelis to look for volunteers for the IDF in the DP camps. Survivors were reluctant: “We have already smelled fire,” said many “let others smell it now.” The failure to recruit volunteers led to a forced conscription, officially enacted on April 11th, 1948. It brought 7,800 new draftees to Palestine, a significant addition to the fighting army. I recognize that the thought of a Zionist forced conscription in the U.S. controlled zone of Germany sounds insane. Yet it actually happened, as massive documentation I discovered in the Jewish DP archives in New York and Tel Aviv indicates: The American military government quite generously let the DPs run their camps as almost fully autonomous localities; Zionist survivors, together with envoys from Palestine, organized and took control of these camps early on, as I detail in the book. When the time came, they could exercise this control, sending holocaust survivors to fight in a land they had never seen, whose language they did not speak, and most importantly, for a cause they did not necessarily support.
(Yosef (Yosi) Grodzinsky, 7 June 2005)
The Palestinian people today have all the attributes of nationhood. They have national consciousness. They have territorial continuity where most of the Palestinians live. They have a Palestinian history of decades, marked by struggles and wars. They have a diaspora with a strong affinity to their birthplace. They have national awareness of a common disaster, common victims, sufferings and heroes. The nation has a vision, its own literature and poetry. The Arab Palestinian nation is perhaps the nation with the most obvious signs of identity and the strongest national unity, among the Arab nations. This nation consists of some two million Arabs, half of them in the occupied territories on the western bank of the Jordan and the other half on the eastern bank of the Jordan. Some of them are dispersed throughout the Arab world. … [It is paradoxical] that Zionism was the reason for the creation of the Palestinian nation, but the Palestinian nation must be seen as a fait accompli. … [In 1967, Israel went to war against neighbouring countries but] the problem of our ties with the Palestinian Arabs now takes precedence in the complex of our ties with the Arab world. It is more important than the problem of our ties with the Arab world and therein lies the key to solving our problems with the countries of the region.
(Aryeh/Arie (Lova) Eliav, November 1968)
The difference in the attitudes about non-Jews in the Halacha and the Cabbala is well illustrated by the difference expressed specifically in regard to non-Jews who have converted to Judaism. The Halacha, although discriminating against them in some ways, treats converts as new Jews. The Cabbala is unable to adopt this approach because of its emphasis upon the cosmic difference between Jews and non-Jews. The Cabbala explains that converts are really Jewish souls consigned firstly to non-Jewish bodies as punishments and later redeemed by conversion to Judaism either because the punishment ended or because a holy man interceded. This explanation is part of cabbalistic belief in metempsychosis, which is absent in the Halacha. According to the Cabbala, a satanic soul cannot be transformed into a divine soul by mere persuasion.
(Israel Shahak, 1999)
And there is yet another abomination that even the Berlin Wall did not lay claim to: the intention of ethnic dilution. It was not accidental that the line was chosen to leave on the other side 130 thousand registered Jerusalemites. 55 thousand of them actually live inside the Metropolitan area, 70 thousand in the periphery. It was not unintentional to increase the burden on the Palestinians on both sides. And it was not unintentional that the government established a ‘Community Administration’ to treat this population, a decision that is a cynical and hypocritical joke. ‘Hospitals will be erected, travel will be organized, the border crossings will be made easier, post office branches will be set up along with representative offices of the Ministry of Interior..’ Everything that has not been done over the last thirty years will now be done, to celebrate the completion of the wall.
(B. Michael (pen name for Michael Barizon), 12 July 2005)
Since it is difficult for the refugees here to communicate with the outside world, we have an obligation to convey what we can of their opinions and thinking at the present time…

Above all else, they desire to go home — back to their lands and villages which, in many cases, are very close. Apparently, they do not hesitate to go back to the changed culture which is growing in Israel. This desire naturally continues to be the strongest demand they make; sixteen months of exile has not diminished it. Without it, they would have nothing for which to live. It is expressed in many ways and forms every day. ‘Why keep us alive?’ — is one expression of it. It is as genuine and deep as a man’s longing for his home can be. In the minds of the refugees resettlement is not even considered.”
(AFSC Gaza Unit, 12 October 1949)

Regarding the Galilee, Mr. [Moshe] Sharett already told you that about 100,000 Arabs still now live in the pocket of Galilee. Let us assume that a war breaks out. Then we will be able to cleanse the entire area of Central Galilee, including all its refugees, in one stroke. In this context let me mention some mediators who offered to give us the Galilee without war. What they meant was the populated Galilee. They didn’t offer us the empty Galilee, which we could have only by means of a war. Therefore if a war is extended to cover the whole of Palestine, our greatest gain will be the Galilee. It is because without any special military effort which might imperil other fronts, only by using the troops already assigned for the task, we could accomplish our aim of cleansing the Galilee.
(David Ben-Gurion, 1948)
Take, for example, Hosni Zaim [the Syrian chief of staff who took over the government in 1949 and was deposed a few months later]. He said that his ambition was to be the first Arab leader to make peace with Israel. He proposed an exchange of ambassadors, agreed to absorb a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees in Syria, but demanded that the border pass through the middle of Lake Kinneret. He didn’t issue any ultimatum about the rest of the refugees. I was astonished by the Israeli reaction. Ben-Gurion said: First we’ll sign a cease-fire agreement with Syria, then we’ll see. That destroyed my childhood version. It’s not that Ben-Gurion didn’t want peace, he wanted peace, but on the basis of the status quo. Israel said at the time that there was nobody to talk to. The truth is that Israel was actually saying that there was nothing to talk about.
(Avi Shlaim, August 2005)
The book [Avi Shlaim’s “Iron Wall”] gives a clear sense of a state that could not get enough. Moshe Dayan, then chief of staff, pressed for war with Egypt to capture the Gaza Strip and Sharm el-Sheikh, and “raised a suggestion” to capture the West Bank. Yigal Allon pressed for remedying the “long-term mistake” made in 1948, by capturing and annexing the West Bank. Ben-Gurion toyed with this idea and once with another idea; in 1956, a moment before the Sinai Campaign, he explained his great dream to his new friends from France: Israel would occupy the Sinai Peninsula, take over the West Bank and dismantle the Kingdom of Jordan, and reach the Litani River in Lebanon, establishing a Maronite state in northern Lebanon. The entire Israeli leadership (with the exception of Moshe Sharett), says Shlaim, adopted the idea of the “iron wall.” The only argument was about where to place it.
(Meron Rapoport, 11 August 2005)
All of this crept up unawares on the left, which in my lifetime has changed its tune on Israel and Palestine in a way that might even seem capricious. Anyone younger than 40 might not guess how popular Israel and Zionism once were on the left. An adulatory profile of David Ben-Gurion written in 1955 treated him as a noble hero, and reproached him only for having devoted his military force to conquering the empty Negev desert in 1948, when he ‘might have cleared the hills of Samaria’. It also sympathised with Ben-Gurion’s dread that Israelis might be ‘Levantinised’. This did not appear in the Jewish Chronicle or a rabid Israeli publication, but in the NS. That was the spirit of the age. If you wanted to read anti-Zionist polemics at that time you had to turn to the far right, to a magazine such as the Mosleys’ European.
(Geoffrey Wheatcroft, 18 October 1999)
Yet, the importance of Hebron is not only due to the history of the forefathers and mothers of our nation. After Saul, the first king of Israel, fell on his sword during the war with the Philistines,… David, who succeeded him as king, had asked G-d: “Shall I advance towards one of the cities ofJudea?” G-d answered him: “Advance!” then David asked: “Where to shall I go?” and G-d answered: “To Hebron.” And David went upthere, and Judah’s people came and anointed David there as king of the House of Jehuda (II Samuel 2:4) …So all the elders of Israel came to the king, to Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David King of Israel” (II Samuel 5: 13),and in Hebron indeed was the greatest kingdom Israel has had until this day. …We shall make a terrible mistake if we are notgoing to settle Hebron, the earlier forerunner and neighbour of Jerusalem, with an ever-growing Jewish community in the shortest time! This will also bring a blessing to its Arab neighbours. Hebron is worthy of being Jerusalem’s sister.
(David Ben-Gurion, 25 January 1970)
Yet, the importance of Hebron is not only due to the history of the forefathers and mothers of our nation. After Saul, the first king of Israel, fell on his sword during the war with the Philistines,… David, who succeeded him as king, had asked G-d: “Shall I advance towards one of the cities ofJudea?” G-d answered him: “Advance!” then David asked: “Where to shall I go?” and G-d answered: “To Hebron.” And David went upthere, and Judah’s people came and anointed David there as king of the House of Jehuda (II Samuel 2:4) …So all the elders of Israel came to the king, to Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David King of Israel” (II Samuel 5: 13),and in Hebron indeed was the greatest kingdom Israel has had until this day. …We shall make a terrible mistake if we are notgoing to settle Hebron, the earlier forerunner and neighbour of Jerusalem, with an ever-growing Jewish community in the shortest time! This will also bring a blessing to its Arab neighbours. Hebron is worthy of being Jerusalem’s sister.
(David Ben-Gurion, 25 January 1970)
There are countries—and I was referring to North Africa— from which not all Jews need to emigrate. It is not so much of quantity as of quality. Our role in Israel is a pioneering one, and we need people with certain strength of fiber. We are very anxious to bring the Jews of Morocco over and we are doing all we can to achieve this. But we cannot count on the Jews of Morocco alone to build the country, because they have not been educated for this. We don’t know what may yet happen to us, what military and political defeats we may yet have to face. So we need people who will remain steadfast in any hardship and who have a high degree of resistance. For the purpose of building up our country, I would say that the Jews of Eastern Europe are the salt of the earth.
(Moshe (Sharret/Sharet) Sharett, 12 December 1948)
Moshe Sharett, in speaking with the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, put it differently:
‘There are countries—and I was referring to North Africa— from which not all Jews need to emigrate. It is not so much of quantity as of quality. Our role in Israel is a pioneering one, and we need people with certain strength of fiber. We are very anxious to bring the Jews of Morocco over and we are doing all we can to achieve this. But we cannot count on the Jews of Morocco alone to build the country, because they have not been educated for this. We don’t know what may yet happen to us, what military and political defeats we may yet have to face. So we need people who will remain steadfast in any hardship and who have a high degree of resistance. For the purpose of building up our country, I would say that the Jews of Eastern Europe are the salt of the earth.’

(Tom Segev, April 1998)
At the first session of the first Knesset there were three Arab members out of the 120: the Arabs of Israel had been allowed to vote and be elected. One of the Arab MKs appeared in the assembly wearing a tarboosh, another wore a traditional keffieh and aqqal (all traditional Arabic headdresses). Yosef Weitz, of the Jewish National Fund, who was among the guests, saw this as a bitter insult. ‘It chilled the heart and angered the soul,’ he noted later in his diary. He asked himself what those Arab MKs felt when they swore allegiance to the state. ‘Isn’t it filled with lies and deceit? No. Nevertheless, I do not want there to be many of them. Perhaps they will integrate into society. But it will take several generations before they become loyal to the state.’
(Tom Segev, April 1998)
[Agriculture Minister] Aaron Tsizling promulgated the Emergency Regulations regarding the Cultivation of Fallow Lands and Unexploited Water Sources in October 1948. This legislation was the first to legalize the seizure and reallocation of appropriated Arab land and served as a key component of the sophisticated mechanism that gradually turned temporary possession into unrestricted Jewish-Israeli ownership. The regulations were characteristic of most early legislation on the appropriated Arab land in that they legalized its past and future transfer to Jewish possession. They empowered the Agriculture Minister to authorize past seizure and reallocation retroactively. As for future acts, the regulations were employed in conjunction with Section 125 of the Defense Regulations of 1945, under which military commanders could close certain areas for security reasons. Closure prevented Arab cultivators from reaching their land, which would eventually be declared ‘fallow’ and transferred to Jewish possession. … In 1952, Arab Affairs Advisor Yehoshua Palmon warned that Section 125 was all that prevented the owners of 250000 dunams of appropriated land from reclaiming their land in court.
(Geremy Forman, 2004)
The 1929 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine taught me that we had only two alternatives before us: surrender or the sword. I chose the sword. I was not surprised that the Arabs fled. It was natural reaction. It was the best of them who fled—the leaders, the intelligentsia, the economic elite. Only the small fry remained. I behaved toward them as a wolf in sheep’s clothing—harsh, but outwardly decent. I opposed the integration of Arabs into Israeli society. I preferred separate development. True, this prevented the Arabs from integrating into the Israeli democracy. Yet they had never had democracy before. Since they never had it, they never missed it. The separation made it possible to maintain a democratic regime within the Jewish population alone. I was not a member of the MAPAI, but I thought that if Ben-Gurion did not remain in power it would be a catastrophe for the state. My policy … was not designed to provide votes for the MAPAI, but instead for Ben-Gurion’s rule. At least, that was how I saw it at the time. … The main problem was that of the infiltrators. We expelled a few thousand, but we failed to expel tens of thousands. In that sense we failed—the number of [Palestinian] Arabs in the country continued to rise steadily.
(Yehoshua (Josh) Palmon, 6 June 1983)
The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was ‘given’ by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.
(Bertrand Russell, 23 February 1970)
Sharon said that we cannot hold onto Gaza forever, contrary to what he once believed. Because of the population explosion there. That’s true, but when Sharon said that, it sounded like an admission of surrender, not like something that is proper and moral after so many years of occupation and oppression, or even a step on the way to an agreement with the Palestinians. Had he been able to, he would have remained in the Gaza Strip.

The hilltop youth can learn only one thing from his words: that he is too old and too weak to fulfill the true Zionist dream. They will learn from the speech that we simply have to empty the Gaza Strip of its inhabitants, just as Levi Eshkol thought in his time: He believed that they could be transferred to Iraq. That is the danger of the evacuation from Gush Katif: It is liable to serve as a precedent for the expulsion of Arabs.”
(Tom Segev, 18 August 2005)

“And of course, from my little Baghdad eyrie I’ve been watching the eviction of Israelis from their illegal settlements in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The word “illegal” doesn’t pop up on the BBC, of course; nor the notion that the settlers – for which read colonisers – were not being evicted from their land but from land they originally took from others. Nor is much attention paid to the continued building in the equally illegal colonies within the Palestinian West Bank which will – inevitably – make a “viable” (Lord Blair’s favourite word) Palestine impossible.

In Gaza, everyone waited for Israeli settler and Israeli soldier to open fire on each other. But when a settler did open fire, he did so to murder four Palestinian workers on the West Bank. The story passed through the television coverage like a brief, dark, embarrassing cloud and was forgotten. Settlements dismantled. Evacuation from Gaza. Peace in our time.


(Robert Fisk, 20 August 2005)

 

 

I know how at least 80% of the incidents began there. In my opinion, more than 80%, but lets talk about 80%. It would happen like this: We would send a tractor to plow someplace of no value, in the demilitarized zone, knowing ahead of time that the Syrians would begin to shoot. If they did not start shooting, we would tell the tractor to keep going forward, until the Syrians in the end would get nervous and start shooting. And then we would start firing artillery, and later also the airforce and this was the way it was. I did this and Laskov and Tzur (two previous commander-in-chiefs) did it, Yitzhak Rabin did it when he was there (as commander of the northern district at the beginning of the sixties), but it seems to me that it was Dado, more than anyone else, enjoyed these games.
(Moshe Dayan, 22 November 1976)
The reaction of the multitudes, those located in the space between the immolator and the victims, is characterized by indifference, conformity, and opportunism. The Jews, too, in the circumstances of time and place, do not go beyond this banality, with several exceptions. In Israeli society, there are many people who would prefer not to know about the genocide of the Armenians and the genocide of the Gypsies. … In Israeli historical consciousness, the Holocaust plays a central role–becoming increasingly stronger over the years. This consciousness stresses the singularity of the Holocaust. It contains, in my opinion, an extreme and almost utter focus on the Jews as victims, and a disregard–consciously or not, intentionally or not–of acts of genocide that have taken place in the twentieth century, among them the murder of the Armenians and the extermination of the Gypsies
(Yair Auron, 1 January 2002)
Something exciting did happen several weeks ago to a Palestinian, but this too went virtually unnoticed in the media. A group of teenage Israeli settlers from the West Bank, come to Gaza to protest the impending disengagement, nearly beat to death a Palestinian teenager as he lay unconscious on the ground, in full view of a group of Israeli soldiers who did nothing and an international press contingent. Newspapers throughout Israel had the grace to be horrified and termed the event a lynching, but the U.S. media ignored it. One has to wonder if the old puzzle about whether a tree falling in the forest makes any noise if there’s no one there to hear it can be applied to the Palestinians: do Palestinians suffering oppression under Israeli occupation really suffer if the media fail to report it?
(Kathleen Christison, 26 August 2005)
Everyone takes the easy way. Antiwar activists focus on the war where Americans are dying, not where Palestinians are dying and believe that for tactical reasons they should avoid introducing disunity by talking about this issue. Far too many moviemakers who turn out anti-Bush films ignore the Palestinian issue and Israel’s role in U.S. politics altogether. Tikkun and its leader Rabbi Michael Lerner, who for years put themselves forward as the progressive religious voice opposing the occupation, have apparently concluded that they were getting nowhere with their effort to strike a balance between Israel and the Palestinians – always a futile effort in this most unbalanced of conflicts – and have now turned away almost completely, concentrating instead on a campaign to inject spirituality into U.S. politics.
(Kathleen Christison, 26 August 2005)
Very little of what was seen on television was real. It is hard to believe how non-credible a live broadcast from the scene of an event can be. The reporters knew there was not going to be any violence, that the army had reached a prior agreement with the rabbis about what every minute would look like, when they would take out the handcuffs, when Rabbi Dov Lior would be evacuated in a container everything was staged down the last detail. The settlers wanted to come out of it big-time, evacuated by force but without violence, and that is just what they did. TV, which constantly seeks new faces, new stars, was thrilled by the ecstatic chanters of prayers, by the charismatic bearded men who dominated the cameras as though they had been trained for that their whole life, projecting love and security in their way and having their every request fulfilled immediately. Now we will pray and only afterward we will leave. Now we will sing together with you. Now we will sit with hands interwoven tightly and you will remove us with restrained force. Now a break. Cut. Action. We will talk only to Yinon Magal from Channel 10. We will be evacuated only by soldiers and under no circumstances by the police. It’s true that just two weeks ago we demanded the opposite, but in the meantime we discovered the potential latent in embracing soldiers.
(Orit Shohat, 26 August 2005)
Between the hugs and pats he has been sending Ariel Sharon since the pullout from the Gaza Strip, behind the scenes, President Bush is twisting the prime minister’s arm. More than all the compliments, it is important for Sharon that the U.S. administration recognize Israel’s departure from the Gaza Strip as the official end of the occupation in that area. From there it is just a short way to a UN declaration that Israel no longer bears responsibility for what happens in the Gaza Strip. So long as the international community, led by the U.S., does not recognize the withdrawal as the end of the occupation, it means Israel lost the communities there, ceded military control there and still continues to be seen as the occupier, with all the legal and political ramifications of that status. Bush, with all his friendship for Sharon, is not offering any free lunches; the price for recognizing the end of the occupation in Gaza will be allowing freedom of movement in the West Bank and free passage between it and Gaza.
(Akiva Eldar, 30 August 2005)
Sharett knew that we had agreed with ‘Abdullah that he will take and annex the Arab part of Palestine and Sharett could not support this ludicrous, impotent, and abortive attempt made by the Egyptians against ‘Abdullah. This attempt had nothing to do with us. It was a tactical move by ‘Abdullah’s enemies to interject something against his creeping annexation. At that time there was no annexation. Formal annexation only occurred in April 1950. But he had started taking and preparing for annexation. So they tried, without any success, to build a countervailing force.

The second point is that at that time Sharett and our men knew what the powerful State of Israel has forgotten in recent years. He understood the meaning of diplomacy and knew how to conduct it. Sharett was definitely aware that publicly we were obliged to accept the Palestinian Arab state and could not say that we were opposed to the establishment of such a state. In the first place, we had accepted the UN resolution which included a Palestinian Arab state. Secondly, this was the right, fair, and decent course and we were obliged to agree to it. The fact that below the surface, behind the curtain, by diplomatic efforts, we reached an agreement with ‘Abdullah–an agreement which had not been uncovered but was kept secret at that time–was entirely legitimate but we did not have to talk about it. Sharett knew that our official line had to be in favour of a Palestinian state if the Palestinians could create it. We could not create it for them. But if they could create it, certainly, by all means, we would agree. The fact that he made a deal with ‘Abdullah on the side to prevent the creation of such a state, that is diplomacy, that is alright. Sharett behaved in accordance with the rules of diplomacy and politics that are accepted throughout the world.”
(Yaacov (Yaakov) Shimoni (Shim’oni), some date after 1948)

It is interesting to compare the way Britain suppressed the two revolts that took place in Mandatory Palestine, the Arab revolt of 1936-39 and the Jewish revolt following World War II. The suppression of the Arab revolt was brutal and cruel, and was suppressed in ways that even some British officials described as not shaming the Nazis. These methods included the indiscriminate killing of villagers near where British soldiers had been the victims of terrorist acts, the stripping of women to make sure that they were not men in disguise, and tying village leaders on trains as human shields. Such acts against Jews would have been inconceivable. Indeed, the suppression of the Jewish revolt was almost a Boy Scout affair. The worst moment of this suppression was the so-called Black Saturday of June 1946, in which the British army searched for hidden weapons and arrested some second-rank Zionist leaders, who were held for a number of months and never brought to trial. Compare to this large numbers of executions of the leaders of the Arab revolt and the forced exile of countless others for years on end.
(Haim Gerber, Fall 2003)
Britain’s differential treatment of the two communities in that domain is important both symbolically and practically, and it helps explain the collapse of Palestinian society in 1948. Whereas the education for the Palestinians was provided in the manner of a conquering power, the Jewish-Zionist community was given special treatment: it was accorded complete autonomy to handle its educational affairs as it saw fit. This obviously had some ideological background, insofar as the Jews were seen not as being under occupation so much as partners. This differential treatment had grave consequences for the nation-building processes in the two communities: while the Palestinians received a traditional and conservative education that stamped out any nationalist and anti-imperial overtones, Jewish education was characterized by an ultra-nationalism that put the nation above the individual and inculcated in students self-sacrifice as the highest value. Hatred and contempt for the British and complete discursive obliteration of the Palestinians were part and parcel of this educational system. Thus, the educational system under the Mandate superbly prepared the Jews for the day of reckoning, while it effectively tied the (cultural) hands of the Palestinians behind their backs in preparing for 1948.
(Haim Gerber, Fall 2003)