Re: [sixties-l] (no subject)

From: Ron Jacobs (
Date: 10/09/00

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    And here is one from a an international lawyer writing in the JOrdan Times:
    'Palestinians are people too'
     By John V. Whitbeck
     AS SERBS stormed and torched their parliament in an outburst of violence
     encouraged and cheered on by the Western powers, US President Clinton
     proclaimed: ^The United States stands with people everywhere who are
     fighting for their freedom.^
     It would, of course, be wonderful if this were true, but, as with every other
     principle which Americans purport to hold dear, Palestinians, who have also
     been fighting for their freedom in recent days (at far greater human
    cost), are
     a glaring exception. It seems that, in American eyes, Palestinians are not
     considered ^people.^ Indeed, no one who believes that Arabs are human
     beings could consider the transformation of the Arab land of Palestine into
     the Jewish state of Israel, necessarily requiring the dispossession and
     dispersal of the Palestinian people, to be a good thing, as almost all
     Americans do. Holding both views simultaneously is logically and
     intellectually impossible.
     History cannot be erased. Israel exists, and Israelis are also human beings.
     Yet it is inconceivable that a true peace, for both Palestinians and
     will ever be achieved unless the peoples of Palestine's only enemies, Israel
     and the United States, recognise in their hearts and minds the enormity of
     original sin ^ that the dispossession, dispersal and continuing oppression of
     the Palestinian people constitute a grave injustice, probably the gravest
     injustice inflicted on one people by another since the World War II ^ and
     that Palestinians are not simply a problem to be coped with but human
     beings entitled to basic human rights.
     Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli soldiers usually die in numbers but
     namelessly ^ at least in the Western media. Thanks to the presence of a
     French cameraman, 12-year-old Mohammad Durra did not die namelessly
     at Netzarim junction on Sept. 30. To most of those who watched him die in
     the comfort of their homes around the world, he probably looked like a
     human being. If so, are not all Palestinians human beings? If so, are they
     entitled to basic human rights? If so, why should Israel continue to be
     permitted to defy international law and UN resolutions and to deny them
     their basic human rights? Indeed, why should Israelis wish to do so and why
     should Americans, alone, wish to support them in doing so?
     If Americans and Israelis viewed Palestinians as human beings, they might
     also be capable of seeing through the propaganda fog and recognising that
     every Palestinian position or objective in the peace negotiations is fully
     consistent with international law and relevant UN resolutions, while
     every Israeli position and objective in the peace negotiations is
     with international law and relevant UN resolutions. Even for countries as
     notoriously hostile to international law and UN resolutions (except when, as
     a matter of convenience, they can be used as a stick with which to beat a
     particular adversary) as Israel and the United States, this is a fundamental
     reality which, if recognised, could not easily be brushed aside.
     Middle East peace will clearly require a moral and ethical transformation on
     the part of Americans and Israelis. However, moral and ethical
     transformations can occur abruptly, and it should not be forgotten that
     Americans and Israelis have high moral and ethical aspirations and that most
     of them genuinely believe that they act morally and ethically in the
    world. If
     the death of Mohammad Durra provokes such a moral and ethical
     transformation and helps a critical mass of Americans and Israelis to
     recognise that Palestinians are human beings, with all the consequences that
     inevitably flow from such a recognition, then this poor child will not have
     died in vain and a durable peace, necessarily requiring some measure of
     justice for Palestinians and some measure of repentance by Israelis, will, at
     last, be possible.
     The writer is an international lawyer who writes frequently on the
     Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
    At 04:35 PM 10/08/2000 -0700, you wrote:
    >Here is a look at the events in the Middle East from a soft left Israeli
    >> An Israeli Columnist Discusses the Fighting
    >> The fighting that erupted between Israelis and Palestinians sharply
    >> the public debate in Israel on issues of peace and attitudes toward the PLO
    >> and Yasser Arafat. The following article, "Yasser, Do Not Be Mistaken," by
    >> columnist Sever Plotzker, today in Yediot Ahranot, October 8, 2000,
    >> the change in public mood, especially among left-leaning commentators,
    >> regarding the peace process.
    >> "Yasser, do not make the same mistake as Nasser."
    >> "Let me tell you something.  Yesterday, my cellular phone range.  On the
    >> line was a friend, a bright computer engineer.  He is living now in Silicon
    >> Valley, enjoying America.  He owns a high-tech company that is worth
    >> hundreds millions dollars.  'I know you have good connections in the
    >> companies,' he said.  'Could you maybe arrange for me a seat on the first
    >> flight back home?  I cannot stay in California when my home is on fire,
    >> the Arabs again question our right to exist.  I must come back.'"
    >> "Our right to exist is the basis for our being Israelis.  Our right to
    >> as the sovereign state of the Jewish people in the Middle East.  It is a
    >> human, historic, and holy right.  We thought, we believed, we wanted to
    >> believe, that among the Palestinians and in the Arab community in Israel no
    >> one questions this right.  All the rest, we said, is open for negotiations.
    >> But not our home; just not our home.  It is possible we were mistaken."
    >> "Some people's world of ideas collapsed this week.  Many divorced the
    >> Left yesterday.  How could there be, they said, an Arab-Jewish coexistence
    >> when the Arab side does not recognize the existence of the Jewish side?
    >> Others claim to have predicted the future: we always told you that the
    >> want to throw us into the sea, they argue, and here is the proof.  Between
    >> these two extremes is the majority of our people.  A people with a heavy
    >> weight lying on its heart.  A people that feels a disaster is about to
    >> occur.  A disappointed, humiliated and embarrassed people.  What happened
    >> here?  Only a short two weeks ago we bought furniture in Ramallah, we
    >> gambled in the casino in Jericho, we imported vegetables from the villages
    >> in Samaria and we read about the plan to build six tax-free shopping malls
    >> for Israelis on the border of the autonomous area.  How does all of this
    >> square with the horrible outburst of hatred that flooded the territories
    >> the Arab community of Israel?  Where were we mistaken?  Where was the
    >> future hiding, and what is the truththe fire in Joseph^s tomb or the casino
    >> in Jericho?  War or peace?"
    >> "At moments of confusion and crisis, we look to our leaders.  We want clear
    >> answers, not additional deadlines and agendas.  We want a compass, not a
    >> weather vane.  Barak does not stutter, but he also does not guide.  He
    >> stands in front of Arafat like a teacher in a classroom facing a
    >> student.  He gives him another chance, and yet another.  This time, he
    >> him the absolute last chance to ask for forgiveness and to behave well, but
    >> the student spits in his face.  He spits in our face."
    >> "The events of the last week returned us to the atmosphere of the days of
    >> restraint on the eve of the Six Day War.  They returned us to old,
    >> expressions: 'A people have arisen to destroy us;' 'few against many;' 'the
    >> whole world is against us; 'we have nobody to talk to;' 'a war of no
    >> choice.'  The existential fear returned to live among us.  It is an ancient
    >> Jewish fear.  But do not be mistaken, Yassir.  This fear does not paralyze
    >> us.  It mobilizes and unifies us."
    >> "Israel is a democracy, and democracies move slowly.  They don^t rush to
    >> enter war until they have turned over every stone in a peace process.
    >> the democracies, prefer a fair compromise to spilling blood.  They must
    >> secure from the public the support that is not automatically given to every
    >> elected government.  Therefore, at first glance, democracies seem weak, but
    >> it is an illusion.  When a democracy eventually goes to war, it does so on
    >> the basis of the conviction of all of its citizens, which is why it wins.
    >> History is filled with the skeletons of defeated non-democracies.  Do
    not be
    >> mistaken, Yassir; do not be mistaken Nasrallah, there has never been a
    >> terror organization which has vanquished a democracy.  You will not defeat
    >> us, not on our doorstep."
    >> The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent,
    >> non-profit organization providing translations of the media of the
    Middle East
    >> and original analysis and research on developments in the region.
    >> Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information,
    >> are available upon request.

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