The realization, "perhaps the dream"
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The realization, "perhaps the dream"

February 16, 2001


Opening the Zionist Trap Door

"Out of the cycle of violence the gradual, hesitant understanding - perhaps the dream - will grow, that the only way is through a struggle to create a land of Israel/Palestine that is undivided in both physical and human terms, pluralistic and open; a land in which civilized relations, human touch, intimate coexistence and a link to a common homeland would be stronger than militant tribalism and the separation into national ghettoes."

Palestinians are suffering terribly; but Israelis are in crisis. Meron Benvenisti comes from the heart of the Zionist establishment. He was the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in the days of Teddy Kolleck. And now...after so much anguish, so much bloodshed, and propelled by so much fear of what may lie ahead, he is using terminology and concepts that go to a post-Zionist Israel, to a "undivided", "pluralistic", "common" homeland.

Is this the evolution from the remnants of the Zionist humanist left of what was once the "democratic, secular State" of Palestinian ideological evolution?

Is this the return -- if even by only by a few courageous and tortured souls at the moment -- to the early thinking of a different kind of Jewish leadership, Matin Buber and Nahum Goldman among them, who cried out for a bi-national state with full equality for all persons of Arab ancestry while so rightly warning of the corrupting dangers of narrow nationalism with any attempt to forceably expel and militarily control the Arab population? Have we all been hijacked of late by others who co-opted the terminology of peace and coexistence but turned the Holy Land into barbed-wire, military checkpoints, and Apartheid "separation"?

There have been others in recent years before Benvenisti, many also from well within the heart of the Zionist establishment -- Simha Flapan the writer, General Matti Peled the first military GOvernor of Gaza, Dan Almagor the playwright, Natan Zacht the famous poet, are all names that come to mind. Now Benvenisti has boldly opened the Zionist trap door to what in the end may be the only sane alternative to mutual annihilation.

By Meron Benvenisti

How tempting it is to mock those who preached in favor of a crusade against Ariel Sharon: "fanatic nationalist," "blood-shedder," "yesterday's man" (Amos Oz, The Guardian, February 8), who find themselves facing the crawling of Ehud Barak (who was "ahead of [his] time" and had "the courage to compromise and make peace") and his party toward a national unity government. A few of them express fierce opposition "to the betrayal of the way of peace," but others "feel a great yearning for unity, in light of the intensification of the terror" and find solace in the agreed-upon platform of the government, according to which the "effort toward a final agreement" would continue, as well as its opposite: "advancing peace through interim agreements."

But the mockery over the sermonizing of the "Council of Leftist Sages," which evaporated in the emptiness of its words, was erased by the terrible tragedy that occurred yesterday in these parts. Now "national unity" - that tribal closing of ranks against the murderous Other - has become a necessity that no one can oppose, and any attempt to control events, even by proposing a realistic diplomatic alternative, is hopeless.

The worst script is about to take place: severe retaliatory actions will lead to acts of blood revenge whose motives are personal; these in turn will prompt even harsher collective punishment, which will ruin the remnants of authority remaining to the Palestinian Authority. Attempts to consolidate a rational approach that aspires to launch a joint effort to manage the crisis will run into internal disagreements, which will be won by those who always thrive on the rotting bed of hate and bloodletting.

The atmosphere, which enables only the increasing use of force, will lead to an extreme escalation that will create pressure for international intervention. The chances for external intervention along the lines of Bosnia or Kosovo are extremely slight, both because the world's cop is shrugging off its duties, with the United States increasingly isolating itself, and also because the intervention - which would restrain the actions of the Jewish State - would be seen as an anti-Semitic act and thus there would be hesitation to initiate it. The situation that will be created will make all the usual "solutions" - two states for two peoples, an end to the occupation, the dismantling of settlements, final status agreements, interim agreements, and others - laughable.

Reality would be exposed in all its nakedness not as a "problem" but as a "condition": a reality that was described nearly 20 years ago, earning a torrent of ridicule and the name "the theory of irreversibility." "A basic, almost primitive conflict, not an international conflict; a conflict that raises existential and meta-political questions of self-identity, denial of the identity of the opposing side, atavistic fears of physical annihilation, deep feelings of absolute justice that brooks no compromise and feelings of exclusive possessiveness; a dynamic, violent and unstable conflict - as in every binational or multi-ethnic state where the ruling group has a monopoly on the power of enforcement, the group that is ruled turns to violent civil disobedience to which the ruling group responds with violence. The confrontation escalates but it is confined to its internal, Israeli-Palestinian framework."

It's not generally accepted for someone to quote himself, but perhaps these harsh words will serve as food for thought for anyone who was drawn to illusions concerning the "end of the conflict" and is now hopeless in the face of the collapse of his illusions.

Out of the cycle of violence the gradual, hesitant understanding - perhaps the dream - will grow, that the only way is through a struggle to create a land of Israel/Palestine that is undivided in both physical and human terms, pluralistic and open; a land in which civilized relations, human touch, intimate coexistence and a link to a common homeland would be stronger than militant tribalism and the separation into national ghettoes. Many years may have to pass until the notion of a binational framework - federated or otherwise - will become a legitimate topic for Israeli and Palestinian political discourse. In the meantime, we can certainly expect a great deal of sermonizing regarding "separation" and "the establishment of a Palestinian state" as indispensable solutions; at least this preaching should be carried out with the humility dictated by events and not with the arrogance of know-it-alls. [published in Ha'aretz, 15 Feb]

February 2001


(February 27, 2001)
Was it the Likud Party, or the Labor Party, that authorized more illegal settlements in the occupied territories since the Gulf War and the Madrid Peace Conference?

(February 26, 2001)
For those who still needed proof of the cravenness and duplicity of Israel's Labor Party, the party that spawned "Peace Now" and "Oslo" among other gross deceptions, it came today.

Defectors say Iraq tested Nuclear Bomb
(February 25, 2001)
When Iraq was more overtly building nuclear weapons, the Israelis struck in 1981 destroying the Osirak reactor near Baghdad that could have provided the crucial processed uranium fuel.

"Go back, we don't want you"
(February 24, 2001)
General Colin Powell, now combining even more closely than usual the Pentagon with the State Department, was afraid to go to Gaza; and rightly so.

The Hebron MASSACRE - 7 long years ago
(February 24, 2001)
Abraham's dysfunctional family has had unbelieveable historical ramifications for which the focal point today is Hebron, site of Abraham's burial place, a religious site to both Jews and Muslim alike who are today quite literally at each other's throats.

Council on foreign relations help legitimize Sharon
(February 23, 2001)
The Council on Foreign Relations, New York-power elite-based but in recent years integrating more with the Washington government and corporate elite, has been for quite some time, to put it bluntly, a rather tricky and chicanery Israeli-oriented Zionist center when it comes to matters relevant to Israel.

Iraq - The great Cover-Up
(February 23, 2001)
As terrible as what the Israelis, with their superpower American ally (and European connivance), are doing to the Palestinians, what has been and is being done to the Iraqis and the Chechnyans is also truly appauling.

Arab expulsion admitted by Sharon Ally
(February 22, 2001)
One day maybe Israel -- like South Africa and Chile before it -- will have some kind of "truth finding" commission to try to purge itself of the past.

Protests in Jordan
(February 22, 2001)
If it weren't for the Hashemite Regime in today's Jordan, yesterday's Transjordan, and before that the East Bank of Palestine, the Israelis would never have been able to vanquish the Palestinian people in days past and would never be able to do to the remaining Palestinians what is happening today.

Powell and Sharon - Street protests?
(February 21, 2001)
Clearly, the US is rushing to court unpopularity across the world, contrary to expectations that the Bush national security establishment would conduct itself with a degree of sophistication.

"This is only the beginning"
(February 21, 2001)
The crippling is not just physical. Psychologically, culturally, economically, and even morally, the Palestinian people are being twisted and tortured beyond all recognition of their former selves.

Gaza Ghetto, Gaza Concentration Camp, Gaza Prison
(February 19, 2001)
For four months, the Gaza Strip has been effectively isolated from the world. Over 1 million Palestinians are caged in an area of not more than 365km2.

Locked in an Orwellian eternal war
(February 19, 2001)
President Bush Jr didn't seem so confident the other day as he told the world of the newly increased bombing of Iraq. But he made it clear that "until the world is told otherwise" the Americans are convinced they run the world and it is up to them to decide whom to bomb, whom to favor, whom to take out, whom to reward.

Arafat collapsing
(February 16, 2001)
The Arafat Regime is collapsing. Here are some of the details, twisted somewhat of course because the reports are from Israel's best newspaper, Ha'aretz, in view of the fact that Palestinian and Arab news sources are unable and unwilling to provide such insights.

The realization, "perhaps the dream"
(February 16, 2001)
Out of the cycle of violence the gradual, hesitant understanding - perhaps the dream - will grow, that the only way is through a struggle to create a land of Israel/Palestine that is undivided in both physical and human terms, pluralistic and open; a land in which civilized relations, human touch, intimate coexistence and a link to a common homeland would be stronger than militant tribalism and the separation into national ghettoes.

"Collective suicide" or Zionism united?
(February 15, 2001)
If there is a national unity government, it will be evident that the differences between Labour as the main branch of the left and the Likud as the main branch of the right are not that big.

Death and assissination
(February 14, 2001)
It didn't take long for the Israelis, now Sharon-led, to start creating the escalating provocations that will then bring about still more Palestinian rage which will then give the Israelis the excuse they seek to pulverize the Palestinians still harder, possibly destroying the regime they earlier created, and possibly leading to another Palestinian "nakbah" (disaster).

Israelis strike, Palestinians without strategy
(February 13, 2001)
The Israelis have had a long-term strategy for a very long time; and they have pursued it regardless of what party was in power and who happened to be Prime Minister of the moment.

Dozens of Palestinians wounded
(February 12, 2001)
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in the West Bank Monday as Israel's rightwing Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon sought to forge a unity government.

"Holy war" is forever
(February 12, 2001)
Fifty four years ago when an international commission of that day was hearing from Jews and Arabs about what the new U.N. should do about Palestine there was testimony from very credible and very establishment Jewish Zionist sources opposing creation of a "separatist Jewish State" precisely because it would bring about an unending conflict with the Palestinian Arab population.

War preparations continue
(February 11, 2001)
The Arafat Regime, the "Authority", is near collapse -- not just financially, but credibility wise as well. The Israeli government is near "unity" -- with General Sharon in charge.

The PA is about to collapse
(February 10, 2001)
How ironic history can be. After generations of struggle and such suffering the regime that rules the Palestinians is now in the hands of Ariel Sharon representing Israel, the U.S. Congress representing the financial levers of the American Empire, and the European governments which in this situation operate on the pretense that they are better than either of the above.

Rocking Israel to its Biblical core
(February 9, 2001)
Well if King David was a nebbish (modern translation might be "nerd"), one has to wonder how history will record Ariel Sharon, the man with such a past whom the Jews of Israel have just overwhelming elected their leader.

Sharon maneuvers for starting position
(February 9, 2001)
It's time for serious political confusion and disinformation now. As the armies prepare themselves for the clashes likely to come in one form or another, the politicians maneuver for new starting positions.

Clinton pardoned Mossad spy for Israelis
(February 9, 2001)
The Israelis adore Bill Clinton, as all the pollsters know. Deep down even the common everyday Israelis know he was their man in the White House.

The many crimes of Ariel Sharon
(February 8, 2001)
Some incorrigible optimists have suggested that only a right-wing extremist of the notoriety of Likud leader Ariel Sharon will have the credentials to broker any sort of lasting settlement with the Palestinians.

Sharon wastes no time - Arafat bows
(February 7, 2001)
We will give him the benefit of the doubt. If he comes with good ideas that will bring us closer to the peace process, why not? The world has seen many such situations before.

Holy war for Jerusalem
(February 7, 2001)
We're on the way now to a new and expanded struggle, maybe even a religious war, Jerusalem the focalpoint.

The cold logic of Sharon
(February 7, 2001)
Many Israelis just stayed home. Others cast a blank vote. But a considerable minority thrust Ariel Sharon into the greatest electoral landslide in that country's history -- obviously as well an overwhelming majority of those who did vote.

Sharon wins and Peres wants in
(February 6, 2001)
He may be a brutish thug, he may fit the definition of war criminal, he may be a Jewish racist -- but now he is also the Prime Minister-elect of Israel, overwhelmingly swept into power in a way few imagined possible just a year ago.

All sides now committed to escalation
(February 6, 2001)
Now the real craziness begins. The Palestinians are committed to heating things up to demonstrate their resolve and their capabilities. The Israelis are committed to "stopping the violence" which means clamping the boot down on the Palestinians even more harshly.

The legacy of Ariel Sharon
(February 5, 2001)
This is a place of filth and blood which will forever be associated with Ariel Sharon. In Israel today, he may well be elected prime minister.

BBC casts doubt of Pan AM convictions
(February 5, 2001)
In advance of whatever the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is going to produce as "evidence" of innocence today, the BBC has published the following story quoting the very Scottish law professor who arranged the trial in The Netherlands casting great doubt about the veracity of the verdict reached:

What's left of Israel's left
(February 5, 2001)
What's left of Israel's left is in a fractured and demoralized state of affairs. Not only is Ariel Sharon about to become Israel's Prime Minister, but in all likelihood he is to be swept into power tomorrow in a landslide unprecedented in Israel's history.

The Pan Am 103 Verdict
(February 3, 2001)
The papers are filled with pictures of happy relatives of the victims of the 1988 bombing of PanAm 103. A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was just found guilty of the bombing by a Scottish court in the Hague, his co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted... What's wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi is thin to the point of transparency.

Rivers of blood
(February 2, 2001)
The bloodiness and racism of Sharon's past is fact. And these two articles help bring that past forward to the present.

Waiting for Sharon
(February 2, 2001)
They believe a Sharon victory will be a boon for their cause. 'He will expose the true face of Israel,' says an activist in Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement in Nablus, 'and force the world, including the US, to address its real responsibilities to the peace process...

Israeli Arabs boycott Barak, await Sharon
(February 1, 2001)
As the extreme right-wing revolution in Israel nears, as Ariel Sharon and friends prepare to take over political power, the "Israeli Arab vote" will not be enough to save Ehud Barak, and in fact it will not even be mobilized on his behalf this time, though Yasser Arafat and his friends have surely tried.

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