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 May 2000 - Return to Complete Index    MiddleEast.Org         5/10/00
News, Information & Analysis that Governments, Interest
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 "Who would have believed then that one day a
 Palestinian leader would agree to sign an
 agreement that would entrench for many years
 the demographic superiority (80 percent to
 20 percent) of the Jews in a Zionist state?"

 "Yasser Arafat should be entitled to light a
 torch next [Israeli] Independence Day."

                From Israel's leading newspaper

MID-EAST REALITIES - Washington - 5-10-00:

In giving birth to the rump, deformed, and unreal "State" of Palestine on a small fraction of what was Palestine and everywhere surrounded and controlled by the Israeli army -- including at the all important "border" crossings -- Arafat is fulfilling the greatest dream of Zionism.

These is not the analysis of Arafat's detractors far and wide.  This comes right from the pages of Israel's leading newspaper Ha'artez.  But don't expect this to be translated into Arabic and made available to the poor Palestinian masses who are so blindly being led to their own dispossession and what is essentially a double occupation.

Ever wonder why Yasser Arafat was nearly instantly transformed from "hated terrorist" to Bill Clinton's White House guest soon after the Gulf War?   Ever wonder why many hundreds of millions of dollars have been transferred to private bank accounts controlled by Arafat and family and senior PA officials?  Even wonder why it is the Israelis and their American friends who have become so desperate to help Arafat create such a disfigured "Palestinian State" as they obviously are, no matter what they sometimes say in public?

If you're abit confused by all this -- and indeed confusion has been one of the goals of the Israelis all along -- just read this analysis in Ha'aretz.  It helps clear up what's really going on; and to the credit of the Israelis they at least feel so powerful and so in control that they dare tell at least some of the truths of the situation every once and awhile.

Ha'aretz - Tuesday, May 9, 2000


    By Akiva Eldar

If surprises are in store and agreement is reached in the coming year on the
establishment of a Palestinian state, Yasser Arafat should be entitled to light a torch next Independence Day.

Fifty-two years after the declaration of Israel's independence, this man holds the key to completing the victory of Zionism. The joy over the world's recognition of the Jewish state on November 29, 1947 will be incomplete until Arafat signs an agreement determining the border between Israel and Palestine.

Anwar Sadat gave Israel peace; King Hussein opened up its eastern border; and Hafez Assad can provide security for the north.  Arafat heralds recognition of the legitimate existence of the state of Israel within agreed borders.  Until it is relieved of the onus of occupation, Israel will not enjoy full independence, nor will it obtain full recognition from its neighbors. It will not be a state like all other states as long as it clings to the 1967 borders and the unilateral facts it created
in the territories.

A peace agreement signed with a government sitting in the capital of Palestine will transform Jerusalem from a capital in the eyes of the Jews to a capital like all others.  An arrangement solving the problem of the Palestinian refugees scattered across the Middle East will open up the region to the country that was a haven for the Jewish people.

An agreement establishing Palestine that announces the elimination of most claims made by our neighbors (except the Golan Heights) will reduce Israel's dependence on external patrons. It will not need to ask the Americans which plane to sell and which plane to buy and will not be the leper of Asia, forced to knock on European doors, begging to be conditionally accepted into their United Nations bloc.

The state's visionaries and founders did not dream of establishing a Palestinian state on parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  On June 3, 1967, not to mention the fifth of Iyar, 5708, we would have blindly bought an independent state spreading across 80 percent of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. At the time there were 630,000 Jews in Palestine and 540,000 Arabs.

Who would have believed then that one day a Palestinian leader would agree to sign an agreement that would entrench for many years the demographic superiority (80 percent to 20 percent) of the Jews in a Zionist state?

The establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be the culmination of the dream of Greater Palestine (even the centrist branch of the right wing has not spoken recently of "the stages plan"). This, of course, does not signify acceptance of the Zionist idea; rather, it is recognition of Israel's military, political and economic superiority and an act of coming to terms with the limitations of Arab power.

After being relieved of the occupation, Israel will be able to focus its resources on dealing with the social crises which politicians sweep under the security rug. Arafat's interest in establishing Palestinian independence will enable Israel to cope with questions of national and religious identity which are threatening to rip the internal fabric of Jewish society.  Routine relations with a Palestinian state will force the political echelons, academia and the media to deal with the appreciable gap between Jewish Israeli citizens and the Arab minority. The establishment of Palestine will be an opportunity to transform Israel into a country of all its citizens - if
not in declarative terms, at least in practical terms. Furthermore, agreed travel arrangements for Palestinian citizens to cross the border between the two countries could free Israel from the heavy ethical and social costs of employing hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers.

The Israeli prime minister should be eligible to light a torch at the ceremony to declare Palestinian independence.  Had Israel not captured the territories from Jordan and created the "enlightened occupation," it is possible that West Bank and Gaza Strip residents would have been second-class citizens of Jordan and Egypt to this day.  Thirty-three years under Israeli control, in its jails, kitchens and construction sites, have instilled a yearning for freedom in the hearts of Palestinians.  Alongside maltreatment and exploitation, they have also learned how persecuted refugees can set up an impressive state.  Fifty-two years after earning its independence, Israel can allow itself to welcome the establishment of a new independent state.

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