The Power of Nonviolent Persistent People

In a verdict released on Sept 4, 2007, justice ruled in the Holy Land!

In the petition of the village of Bil’in against The Wall (HCJ 8414/05), which in that area of the occupied territory of the West Bank, is mostly an electrified fence with miles of rolled barbwire that prevents the indigenous landowners access to their olive groves, Judges Beinish, Prokachya and Rivlin, of the Supreme Court ruled against the current route of The Wall/separation barrier and ordered the State to prepare a proposal for an alternative route.

Due to the power of nonviolent persistent people the empire and military occupation of Israel has now been justly ordered to leave the agricultural lands of Bil’in on the legally owned Palestinian side of the apartheid-separation barrier!

Dr. Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, explained that the steadfast peaceful resistance of the villagers of Bil’in resulted in the decision to partially remove the wall in the village. He also commended the heroic struggle of the people; local families and foreign sympathizers who maintained a peaceful popular struggle against the apartheid/separation wall that weekly occurred every Friday afternoon as a ritual over the last two and a half years. The persistence of nonviolent people forced the Israeli High Court of Justice to issue a just decision that ordered the removal of the wall from the village of Bil’in. Dr. Barghouthi added that the struggle must continue until the wall is fully removed from Bil’in and all legally owned Palestinian land.

Dr. Barghouthi explained that this decision of the Israeli High Court of Justice proves the effectiveness of the strategy of nonviolent resistance and international solidarity. Dr. Barghouthi has also called for all Palestinians to continue the struggle against The Wall, the settlements and the annexation of East Jerusalem; citing the ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which has deemed them all illegal.

“Residents of the village of Bilin went to court arguing that the current route, built on village land, kept them from their fields and orchards, which remained on the other side of the barrier. Villagers and their Israeli and foreign supporters have protested at the barrier every Friday for the past 2½ years…The Israeli government argued that the route was necessary to protect residents of the nearby settlement of Modiin Illit, and completed the section of fence that cut through Bilin despite the protests. A three-judge Supreme Court panel unanimously rejected the government’s argument Tuesday, ordering defense planners to change the barrier’s route so it causes less harm to the village’s residents.

“We were not convinced that it is necessary for security-military reasons to retain the current route that passes on Bilin’s lands,” Chief Justice Dorit Beinish wrote in the decision. The judges specified that “this will require destroying the existing fence in certain places and building a new one,” and ordered the government to come up with a new route in a “reasonable period of time.”

“Israel began building the 425-mile barrier along the West Bank in 2002, saying it was a necessary weapon in its war against Palestinian suicide bombers. But the barrier juts into West Bank territory, provoking Palestinian claims that Israel is using security arguments to mask a land grab.”

This most embarrassing blow against the empire and military occupation of Palestine just may be the second domino to fall in the occupation and apartheid/separation policies of the ethnocracy [human rights for Jews, but nobody else] of Israel.

Now that the highest court in Israel; the Supreme Court has ordered the State to redraw the route of its West Bank, what happened in Budrus and now Bil’in is all due to the persistence of people power and anarchy.

Palestinian farmers, workers, mothers, and students, together with Israeli and international volunteers, have been braving teargas, beatings, bullets, arrest, and even death to block the construction of The Wall with nothing more than their bodies.

Two Anarchists Against the Wall, Palestinian Ayed Morrar and Israeli Jonathan Pollak toured the United States in 2005 to wake up Americans about the persistent struggle and nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation and their illegal actions in Palestine. This reporter attended their Gainesville, Florida session and learned from Ayed Morrar, a community leader from the West Bank village of Budrus, how a few committed, thoughtful, persistent and nonviolent citizens changed their part of the world.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that The Wall is a violation of international law because it cuts through the West Bank appropriating Palestinian land and destroying Palestinian villages to make way for further Israeli settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

Soft-spoken and humble, Ayed Morrar, led his village of Budrus in a nonviolent David versus Goliath victory over the Israeli military in 2003-2004. Through a campaign of 50 protests, the village of Budrus pushed The Wall’s path off of the village’s land and onto the Green Line. Day after day, the people of Budrus; men, women and children, with only their bodies resisting the might Israeli army, blocked the destruction of their homeland and the illegal construction of The Wall by marching onto their legally owned land. Despite the Israeli soldiers’ attempts to stop them, these few thoughtful, committed nonviolent activists placed their bodies in front of the Caterpillar/Caterkiller bulldozers and took the punishment.

Hundreds of residents were injured during the campaign by Israeli soldier’s billy clubs, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Ayed was jailed for eight days by the Israeli authorities, but was released due to the international outcry that erupted because his only offense was organizing nonviolent protests.

The nonviolent resistance against the illegal actions of the Israeli government in Budrus was supported by justice and peace activists from ISM (International Solidarity Movement) and from Israeli groups such as the Anarchists Against the Wall. The strategy implemented in Budrus served as a model for Bil’in and other Palestinian communities have joined in, to nonviolently resist Israel’s military occupation and the confiscation of their legally owned land.

Twenty-three-year old secular Jew Jonathan Pollack was one of the first Israelis to begin protesting regularly in the West Bank with Palestinians and internationals against the construction of the Wall in 2002. Pollack is one of the founders of Anarchists Against the Wall which has played a vital role in supporting Palestinians in nonviolent protest. Jonathan has participated in hundreds of nonviolent West Bank protests and has mobilized hundreds of Israelis to join Palestinians in resisting The Wall and the Occupation. As a result, Jonathan has been arrested and jailed repeatedly by the Israeli authorities. In April 2005, during a quiet protest in the village of Bil’in, he was shot in the head from 40 meters by an Israeli soldier with a tear gas canister fired from an M16 rifle. He suffered internal hemorrhaging and wounds requiring 23 stitches. He has endured much more since then and still persists.

Despite Israeli government efforts to stop them, Ayed, Jonathan and their Palestinian, Israeli and international colleagues remain determined to continue their joint, nonviolent campaign against Israeli occupation and the denial of rights of the Palestinian people.

In Ayeed’s village of Budrus, the people chanted in English “WE CAN DO IT!”

And they did!

And so have they in Bil’in! Woman, children, farmers, just regular people have persistently stood up to the Caterpillar/Caterkiller bulldozers and the IDF who wield billy clubs and shoot off tear gas canisters that can cause spasticity for weeks and which have even caused death. Regular people fed up with injustice have stood up to guns that shoot rubber coated bullets and have proved that non-violent activism works against even one of the mightiest and most well equipped armies the world has ever known.

Regular people have risen up and have told the Israeli government to back off from their land, back off from their trees, and back off from denying food to their children. In Budrus — and soon to be in Bil’in — The WALL is now on the GREEN LINE because regular people stood up to military occupiers and said:

Enough! This was never a land without a people; this has always been our home. If you want an apartheid wall, put it on your property, quit stealing ours! Put yourself in the ghetto, we will stand firm for freedom for right is on our side and the Geneva Convention and International Law affirms that occupied people have every right to rise up militarily against their oppressors! We will not be ethnically cleansed from the land of our ancestors, and these olive trees you uproot are our family! Every little child knows the name of every tree and we will not allow your illegal apartheid/separation wall to tear our families apart.

When this reporter attended a ritual Friday afternoon in Bil’in, regular people chanted: “The wall fell in Berlin! The wall will fall in Bil’in!”

It once looked hopeless that apartheid would fall in South Africa, but that was before regular people persistently and nonviolently took direct action and only then, justice was served .

For more information, contact Dr Barghouthi: 0599201528

Eileen Fleming is the author of Keep Hope Alive and Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory and the producer of 30 Minutes With Vanunu. Email her at Read other articles by Eileen, or visit Eileen's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Eileen Fleming said on September 5th, 2007 at 7:27am #

    From an email received from an Anarchist Against the Wall Sept. 5, 2007:

    Yesterday (4/9/07) the High Court released its verdict in the petition of the village of Bil’in against the separation barrier constructed on its land. More than two and a half years of joint struggle finally prevailed on the High-Court to deviate from its normal pattern of facilitating every move to dispossess Palestinians. The court decided that the present route of the fence is illegal and that the State must propose and alternative route within a reasonable period. According to the decision, the alternative route must retain Bil’in agricultural land on the Palestinian side of the barrier. Moreover, the court has decided that the benefits of the present route is disproportional to the benefit it provide, and ordered the state to consider refraining from including the planned eastern section of the “Matitiahu-Mizrah” neighborhood on the “Israeli” side of the fence.

    In the words of the judges “The present route raises grave questions also in regards to the security advantages it was said to provide…and the selected route cannot be explained other then by the intention to include the eastern section of “Matitiahu-Mizrah” on the west side of the separation barrier”. This means that the route cannot be rationalized except by the efforts to steal and confiscate the land, consideration forbidden even by the criterions endorsed by the court.

    Even with the best legal representation the ruling could not have arrived at without the unrelenting struggle mounted by the village of Bil’in against the construction of the barrier. The residents of Bil’in had raised the flag of the joint non-violent struggle from the very beginning of construction on the barrier and did not forsake it for a moment. All of us, who shared the struggle, are fortunate to have participated in an event unprecedented in its importance. We were privileged to have formed very meaningful bonds as well a sense of empowerment that is the prize of those who persists in confronting violent oppression and overcome it.

    The journey is still long. The High-Court, failed to rule that the wall should be moved to the Green-Line, and of course did not abolish the separation it produces. The present ruling is indeed an achievement and reinforces the popular struggle against the wall. The common struggle against the occupation shall go on! Palestinians and Israelis shall join hands and shall behold, through their deeds, that the apartheid shall fail and the robbery shall not pass!

    On this coming Friday We shall all arrive to Bil’in to show the occupation system that the struggle against the apartheid and theft, and for justice and equality is well alive!

    Transportation will leave from Tel Aviv – Arlozorov train station and Jerusalem – Bell park, Gan Hapa’amon. Please sign up for the demo in advance, and no later than Thursday afternoon.

  2. Neal said on September 5th, 2007 at 8:01am #

    An interesting article except… . If, as the article indicates, there are human rights in Israel *only* for Jews, then why would the country’s highest court rule against the preferences of the government? In other words, the premise of the article is contradicted by its own evidence.

    In addition, the article refers to Israel as an empire. That is an absurd position that suggests a failure to understand the English language, not to mention what is occurring in Israel. A more accurate explanation would be a small country that has a dispute regarding its borders.

    Regarding borders, it is worth noting that Ms. Fleming refers to the Green Line. The Green Line is the Israeli phrase to define the Armistice Line from the 1948 War – which Israelis refer to as the War of Independence. An armistice came into being because Israel’s neighboring countries refused to make a peace treaty at the end of that war, just as they all voted against UN 181, UN 194, etc., etc.

    Perhaps Israel should withdraw to the Armistice Line. But, those who write about the matter should be honest about what that line really is, just as they should be honest about why the Israelis are building a barrier.

    Were there only civil disobedience against policies that offend Palestinian Arab rights, there would be neither a reason nor even a pretext to build a barrier. However, the fact that around a thousand Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinian Arabs and their supporters is both reason and pretext to build a barrier.

    One might add, since Ms. Fleming makes the point of noting the barrier’s supposed illegality – due to its route -, that the building of the barrier coincides with an abatement of attacks on Israelis, so that fewer Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are dying. Whether or not legal as routed – and I offer no opinion but do note that the judgment of the ICJ included the opinion of one or more judges who had stated their opinions before hearing the case (i.e. they were not impartial judges), was not based on a complete presentation of facts, etc., etc. -, the barrier is, in fact, saving lives and, with that in mind, is properly supported on moral grounds.

    There is also the point there will not be a settlement between the parties unless calm is returned. And, the barrier helps create a calmer atmosphere where, with a bit of luck, saner minds on both sides can work to overcome differences.

    Lastly, the notion that the Israeli system is an apartheid system is contradicted by the premise of the article, which is that the Israeli court sided with Palestinian Arabs and against the position of the Israeli government – possibly to the disadvantage of Israelis, including the possibility that a greater number of Israelis might die as a result of the re-rerouting of the barrier. The apartheid theory is also contradicted by the fact that Palestinian Arabs in Israel are citizens with the vote, have held cabinet positions in the Israeli government, have held ambassadorships representing the country and have had judges on the bench including a judge on the country’s highest court.

    In the captured territories, if Palestinian Arabs want to live in a separate country, then taking the view that Israel refuses them the vote is disingenuous. It is one way or the other. If they want to be Israelis, then demanding a vote makes sense. If they do not want to be Israelis, then such is just politicking and propaganda by Ms. Fleming.

    My contention is that the greater injustice is to be killed. The Hamas party takes the opposite view. According to the group’s covenant, dying in the name of the almighty is the highest duty and killing Jews, as a political program, is a major objective. In that regard, they sound much like Talaat Pasha, in speaking about killing off the Armenians. Fortunately, the land ruled by Hamas thus far lacks the ability to advance its stated political agenda, which is far more sinister and degenerate than anything that can be said about Israel and its government.

    Lest there be any doubt, read the Hamas Covenant at . Note the references to dying in the name of he Almighty. Note the references to Jews being behind all wars since the French Revolution (i.e. the very argument made by the Nazis). Note the positive reference to the forgery called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – also a favorite of the Nazis. Note the statement that, as a current political program, the very last Jew should be killed. And Palestinian Arabs are the group to which Ms. Fleming might extend sympathy as the victim? She must be kidding.

  3. Eileen Fleming said on September 5th, 2007 at 12:02pm #

    Dear Neal,

    Thank you for the interesting input-and i will respond point by point in CAPITOLS-except where i have excerpted from my blog –

    Neal wrote:
    An interesting article except… . If, as the article indicates, there are human rights in Israel *only* for Jews, then why would the country’s highest court rule against the preferences of the government? In other words, the premise of the article is contradicted by its own evidence.


    Excerpted FROM January 5, 2006 WAWA BLOG:

    My last day in the West Bank I traveled the potholed unpaved road to Billin, a village near Ramallah where villagers and Internationals have been nonviolently and creatively resisting The Wall, The Occupation and the fact that more than half of their land has been illegally annexed by the Israeli government.

    In Billin, the Green Line is five miles from the electric fence being erected with sensors and cameras upon Palestinian land. The fence runs out a few yards from our van and we easily make our way over the rocky land to the Billin outpost.

    The indigenous peoples began nonviolently resisting The Wall/Fence over one year ago. Thus far, 300 nonviolently resisting locals have been injured by the IDF more than three times and return for more….

    The indigenous people of Billin brought their case against the colonists to the Municipal Court and that Court agreed the building of the settlement dwellings was illegal and ordered construction to cease. The case is now pending the Supreme Court decision.

    SO, ALTHOUGH JUSTICE WAS RENDERED IN 2005 BY THE LOWER COURT-JUSTICE WAS IGNORED FOR IN JAN. 2005, Abdullah, Coordinator of Against The Wall in Billin informed me that there are 1,600 people who call home Billin and legally own 4,000 dunums of property. The Israeli government confiscated 2,003 dunums of agricultural land and is building apartments that Palestinians are forbidden to approach. The Israeli government continues the building of the illegal electric fence that prevents the indigenous land owners from accessing what is legally theirs.

    I ALSO SPOKE WITH: Forty year old Ratebaburabeme, a member of the Popular Committee, Stop The Wall Campaign and a delegate with Seeds of Peace in 2003 who told me he was shot and jailed for two weeks because of his nonviolent resistant activities.

    “The Judge said he would investigate the soldier who shot me, but the soldier lied and denied he shot. The matter was quickly forgotten by the Israelis…I teach Social Work and Psychology at El Quds Open University…Three weeks ago we could not come in here, but when the court admitted the settlement buildings were illegal we put the caravan on the property and when the IDF destroyed that, we built this room.’

    In addition, the article refers to Israel as an empire. That is an absurd position that suggests a failure to understand the English language, not to mention what is occurring in Israel. A more accurate explanation would be a small country that has a dispute regarding its borders.


    Neal wrote:

    Perhaps Israel should withdraw to the Armistice Line. But, those who write about the matter should be honest about what that line really is, just as they should be honest about why the Israelis are building a barrier.


    Neal wrote:
    Were there only civil disobedience against policies that offend Palestinian Arab rights, there would be neither a reason nor even a pretext to build a barrier. However, the fact that around a thousand Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinian Arabs and their supporters is both reason and pretext to build a barrier.


    118 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 952 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.
    1,024 Israelis and at least 4,228 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000.

    7,633 Israelis and 31,531 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000.

    1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.

    0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 4,170 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since September 29, 2000.

    Neal wrote:
    Lastly, the notion that the Israeli system is an apartheid system is contradicted by the premise of the article, which is that the Israeli court sided with Palestinian Arabs and against the position of the Israeli government – possibly to the disadvantage of Israelis, including the possibility that a greater number of Israelis might die as a result of the re-rerouting of the barrier. The apartheid theory is also contradicted by the fact that Palestinian Arabs in Israel are citizens with the vote, have held cabinet positions in the Israeli government, have held ambassadorships representing the country and have had judges on the bench including a judge on the country’s highest court.


    Prophets on Apartheid: Part 1

    Prophets on Apartheid: Part 2

    Neal wrote:
    In the captured territories, if Palestinian Arabs want to live in a separate country, then taking the view that Israel refuses them the vote is disingenuous. It is one way or the other. If they want to be Israelis, then demanding a vote makes sense. If they do not want to be Israelis, then such is just politicking and propaganda by Ms. Fleming.


    In 1948 when most of the indigenous population fled their homes and property, some citizens held their ground, dug in and have nonviolently endured being treated like sub-human beings.

    The Unrecognized Villages are not on any map and yet these people all have Israeli citizenship, pay taxes but receive no services. The Israeli government had deemed these scattered villages as military zones and agricultural areas so homes were demolished, and people live without water, electricity, schools or medical care. Yet the settlers 400 meters away have swimming pools and every comfort known to man.

    On the fortieth anniversary of The Declaration of Human Rights in 1998 Mohammed and others formed the “Association of 40″ and they have worked in solidarity and nonviolently through the court system to be recognized, to receive water, electricity, roads and human rights.
    100 villages with over 100,000 people living in third world conditions in Israel remain unrecognized to this day.







  4. gerald spezio said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:39pm #

    Israeli cyber typist Neal refers us to the Yale Law School for a major dose of not-so-slick Israel/First propaganda.

    If you thought that the Protocols of Zion was bad, try a dose of the Hamas Covenant out of the Avalon Project at sacred Yale Law School.

    Let’s check with Alan Dershowitz and Noah Feldman, Harvard Law faculty, for an “objective legal” opinion.

    We can then ask mad dog kill-en-all Yalie lawyers Joe Lieberman, Michael Chertoff, and Bruce Fein to check over the legal facts and express their Ivy League opinion.
    Boola, boola, give the schmuckery the hoopla.

  5. Neal said on September 5th, 2007 at 7:44pm #

    Ms. Fleming,

    I prefer not to cite to propaganda or to advocacy websites. With that in mind, I have difficulty accepting most of what you write as being factually accurate. If the facts cited on such cites can be verified on more objective websites, I can evaluate your evidence. Absent such evidence, I do not accept evidence from, for example, a website with the title “If Americans Knew.”

    I note the comment of Mr. Spezio who thinks that an official project of Yale University is propaganda. Clearly, there is no point of conversing with a person who refuses first hand information on the ground that it is propaganda.

    And, I trust that you understand that, in fact, the Hamas’ covenant is not Israeli propaganda but a translation of an authentic document created by Hamas to define itself. Which is to say, it is not only authentic but important.

    Now, you claim to have first hand knowledge of facts. I shall accept your sincerity if not your interpretation of your own personal observations. I would, however, note a few points.

    First and foremost, it seems to me that one has to acknowledge that the violent deaths of nearly all Palestinian Arabs who have died since 2000 are connected somehow with the Intifadah. That word means, more or less, an “uprising.” In fact, it is not an Israeli uprising but a Palestinian Arab uprising, with Palestinian Arabs having largely – although there are exceptions – decided to employ violence to advance Palestinian Arab political objectives.

    Were Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. to all declare a change of tactics to what you say you advocate – and note that your tactics are not the tactics of the Palestinian Arabs who, as you state, voted for the violent group Hamas, a group which advocates massacres as a legitimate tactic -, the number of Palestinian Arabs dying from violence by Israelis would likely abate if not entirely cease.

    And, had Palestinian Arabs not commenced an uprising in 2000, there would not be large numbers of Palestinian Arabs who had died. I think that is a fact, since there is no evidence that Israel planned to start shooting at large number of Palestinian Arabs back in 2000.

    So, it has to be admitted that some of what has occurred to Palestinian Arabs is connected with political decisions made by Palestinian Arabs. Which is to say, Palestinian Arabs are marked by their decision to employ violence as a tactic. And note: that tactic included blowing up elderly people celebrating a religious holiday, families celebrating a wedding and a religious ceremony, children riding on buses, etc., etc. So, Palestinian Arabs do not have much here about which to be proud.

    It is not a pretty picture, no matter how much you want to help Palestinian Arabs. In fact, if you are an honest person, you have to admit that the tactics employed by Palestinian Arabs are not readily squared with just war theory. In fact, the opposite is the case.

    I think it is important that you admitted that Palestinian Arabs elected Hamas. Yet, you think I should respect the choice. On what basis should I respect a group that sees fit to make the Protocols of the Elders of Zion part of its holy covenant? Do you respect the choice, back in the 1930’s, of the Germans to vote for the Nazi party? I trust not.

    What the election of a group like Hamas tells me is that Palestinian Arabs in large measure refuse the legitimacy of Jews not only as Israelis but as people. And that is entirely consistent with the strategic choice to employ the massacre as the tactic of choice. So, frankly, I have no respect for the current choices made by Palestinian Arabs.

    I, lastly, take your point about indigenous people. My reply is to ask you the indigenous place for Jews. Or, if one does not have a homeland, why should one respect the homeland of others? It seems to me that one has to concede that the indigenous place of Jews is, certainly at this point, Israel. And, I might add: for those Jews born in Israel, they are by any definition indigenous to Israel, just as much as anyone else born in the country. Or, do you deny such rights to Jews?

    My view: the indigenous argument is nonsensical. People are largely migratory, with Jews having been forced to be more migratory than most other peoples. In the Ottoman Empire, the custom was for the government to move the population of entire cities from place to place, as the needs of the empire dictated. Among the places that people were moved from and to was what is now Israel. I note this point as there was, in fact, a large migration of refugees in the early to mid 19th Century from the Balkans to Asia Minor including to Northern Israel – most particularly to Acre. The refugees were Muslims who fled from the violence associated with the difficulties faced by the Ottoman Empire. There were also a large number of Christian refugees who fled the violence committed by Sultan Abdul Hamid II against Armenians and other Christians at the end of the 19th Century. Such groups are a large percentage of those who you would have to claim, on your theory, to be indigenous in Israel. I trust you see the logic problem with your theory.

    I have a very different theory. I think the right of oppressed people to settle where refuge is made available by a government is the most basic of all human rights. That right traces as far back as recorded history. I also think that the right to organize politically and to support political programs is a basic human right. As I see the matter, Palestinian Arabs entirely reject such rights for Jews and that is an underlying problem that, among other problems – some the doing of Israel – prevents any settlement. In simple terms – and as Hamas, the party you say won an election says -, the Palestinian Arab position is that Jews have no legitimate political rights. And, unless that problem is solved, there will be no peace.

    I note you are correct that taking property to build a barrier is a problem. But, in the scheme of things, I believe that human life is more important than property rights. So, if a wall or barrier makes someone miserable by taking that person’s property, that is, while truly regrettable, better than a person being dead. The opposite view – and this is something to consider – has traditionally been the view of reactionary conservatives, not progressives. I gather you are part of that revaluation of values that calls extreme conservatism by a new name: progressivism.

  6. Jeannine S Curry said on September 6th, 2007 at 4:21am #


    I have been listening to the arguement over Palestine/Isreal for most of my life – it all boils down to the following from my point of view:

    Isreal wants Palestinians to recognize Isreal, yet Isreal will NOT recognize or respect any boarders, let alone a certain percenatege of it’s own residents as citizens (Palestinian native Muslims & Chrsitians, non-Jews), and has been routinely treating them all as terrorosts. Admittedly it may become a self-fulfilling prophesy, however, as human beings can only take so much abuse before going berserk. How can one trust enough to agree upon anything with an entity which refuses to permanently set it’s boarders and for all practical purposes refuses to recognize the humanity and being of non-Jews within the territory it claims (I don’t even like to think of what is thought of those who want “the right of return”)?

    The number of deaths stated by both sides illustrates the most telling issues. They are fairly well documented by news agencies and though perhaps not exact, can not be accurately counted as far as I know because even the social services given to the Palestianians do not appear to be officially recognized due to thier lack of incorporation into any formal statehood, a statehood which has been pounded over and over again into a humiliated non-entity. So as far as accuracy of information goes, it is a factor of splitting hairs due to the “un-official” capacity of the “un-official” Palestinian government – this is well beyond “separate but equal” from what I can see.

    The Palestinain people are not wholly victims here, but as they do not have any officially recognized boarder either, how can one side recognize the other? I think this is a very sad arguement that would be funny if lives on both sides weren’t in the balance – though apparently Palestinian lives are more on the line than Isreali since they want a little more human rights than they are experiencing and are willing to stand thier ground (mostly un-armed) to armored tractors and the like. The bullying of the more powerful Isreali government towards the less powerful land owners of Palestine is pitifully mean and does indeed look like imperialistic designs upon the holdings of others.

    How can an outsider who has seen this drag on year ofter year not begin to see it as Aparteid?

  7. Eileen Fleming said on September 6th, 2007 at 5:00am #

    Dear Neal,

    Although FACTS do not sway you, nor have you ever been to Occupied Territory-but I have 5 times in two years seeking and reporting the facts on the ground that the USA MSM and government do not want we the people to know about-all I can do is offer you is history:

    1. On May 14, 1948, Declaration of the establishment of Israel proclaimed:

    “On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.”

    2. Israel’s statehood was contingent upon upholding the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS-which are INALIENABLE rights-meaning NO GOVERNMENT has any right to deny them-yet the state of Israel does, to name but a few:

    Article 1.
    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 17.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

    Article 13.
    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 30.
    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

    In 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes when the secular militant Zionists pushed them off their land, they thought it would be temporary. UN Res. 194 has never been honored and those refugees now number in the millions.

    I can hear you know Neal-that they left on their own accord, or were paid for their property.

    I also hear you that the Arab states failed them-and totally AGREE!

    I offer you an excerpt from: “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”

    The Red House

    “On March 10, 1948, in Tel Aviv, eleven men had a meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.”-Dr. Ilan Pappe.

    Dr. Ilan Pappe is Israeli born and a graduate of Hebrew University and Oxford who teaches at Haifa University. He is a well known revisionist or “post-Zionist” Israeli historian who has been both acclaimed and demonized. His most recent work is A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples which documents the expulsion of Palestinians as an orchestrated crime of ethnic cleansing.

    On Nov. 8, 2006, on the seventh day of Sabeel’s 6th International Conference; The Forgotten Faithful, Dr. Pappe spoke to over 330 International ecumenical Christians in the Ramallah Cultural Palace. His topic was the “Dynamics of Forgetting” and because of the “fierce urgency of now” [Rev. MLK, Jr.] the world is beginning to remember that once there was a Red House, where a most diabolical plan was hatched.

    Dr. Pappe informed the crowd, “The Red House in Tel Aviv is gone now. It was a typical building in Tel Aviv that had all the characteristics of Mediterranean homes but with the local Palestinian architecture of the ’20’s. Today a USA Sheraton Hotel stands in its place. The Red House was the home of the Hagganah; a Jewish underground organization but before 1948 it was the home of a socialist movement, from which it received its name.”

    Haganah is Hebrew for “The Defense” and was a Jewish paramilitary organization formed in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. It began as a small group of “Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members until after the Arab riots of 1920 and 1921. The Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, whom the League of Nations had given the Mandate of Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront the Arabs about attacks on the Palestinian Jews, and thus created the Haganah to protect their farmers and settlements. The initial role of the Haganah was to guard the Jewish Kibbutzim and farms, and to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs.

    In the period between 1920 and 1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah “units” were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim. Following the Arab 1929 Hebron massacre that led to the ethnic cleansing by the British authorities of all Jews from the city of Hebron, the Haganah’s role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment. It went from being an untrained militia to a capable army.”

    The British did not officially recognize the Haganah,but the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Auxiliary Forces and Special Night Squads. By 1931, the most right-wing elements of Haganah branched off and formed Irgun Tsva’i-Leumi (the National Military Organization), better known as “Irgun” (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced “HaEtsel”). The members were discontented with the policy of restraint when faced with British and Arab pressure and “terrorists” in their own right. Irgun later split in 1940, and their off-shoot became known as the “Lehi” (Hebrew acronym of Lochamei Herut Israel, standing for Freedom Fighters of Israel, and also known by the British as the “Stern Gang” after its leader, Abraham Stern. Because the British severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, in 1939 the Haganah created the Palmach – the Haganah’s strike force, which also organized illegal Jewish immigration of over 100,000 Jews to Palestine.

    In 1944, in response to the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, by members of the Jewish Lehi underground, the Haganah worked with the British to round up, interrogate, and, in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action was called the Saison (or hunting season), and seriously demoralized the Irgun and reduced its activities.

    But, the Saison could not stop the Irgun, Haganah and the Stern Group from working together. The three groups had different functions, which served to move the British out of Palestine and to make Palestine a Jewish state rather than create a Jewish home in Palestine.

    Menachem Begin, an Irgun commander, stated in a 1944 meeting: “In fact, there is a division of roles; one organization advocates individual terrorism (the Lehi), the other conducts sporadic military operations (the Irgun) and there is a third organization which prepares itself to throw its final weight in the decisive war.”

    Dr. Pappe’s opening remark on November 8, 2006, still sends chills though me, “On March 10, 1948, eleven men had a fateful meeting in the Red House headed by Ben Gurion. The eleven decided to expel one million Palestinians from historical Palestine. No minutes were taken, but many memoirs were written about that fateful meeting. A systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine began and within seven months the Zionists managed to expel one half of all the Palestinian people from their villages and towns.

    “The New York Times followed Israeli troops and reported the truth of the expulsion and separation of men and women, and of the many massacres. The world was well informed in 1948, but a year later not a trace was reported in the USA press or books. It was as if nothing ever happened.

    “From March to October 1948 the USA State Department stated what was happening was a crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing. When ever one ethnic group expels another group they should be treated as War Criminals and the victims should be allowed to return. This is never mentioned in the USA about Palestine.

    “Israel is so successful in their ethnic cleansing because the world doesn’t care! The ethnic cleansing continues via the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and because of the denial of the truth by the USA media.

    “To claim Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East is bullshit! The Six Day War of 1967 escalated the ethnic cleansing and today in Jerusalem every Palestinian who fails to pay taxes, or has a minor infraction will loose their citizenship.

    “In 1948 the mechanism of denial and ethnic cleansing as an IDEOLOGY, not a policy but a formula began. When Zionism began in the 19th century it was meant to be a safe haven for Jews and to help redefine Judaism as a national movement, not just a religion. Nothing wrong with either of those goals! But by the late 19th Century it was decided the only way these goals could be achieved was by ridding the indigenous population and it became an evil ideology.

    “Israeli Jewish life will never be simple, good, or worth living while this ideology of domination, exclusiveness and superiority is allowed to continue. The mind set today is that unless Israel is an exclusive Jewish State, Palestinians will continue to be obstacles. However, there has always been a small vocal minority challenging this.

    “The only thing that can save Palestinians is for the world to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH!” The way to challenge and change the ethnic cleansing is to pursue true democracy and the use of sanctions and divestment, for money talks.”

    Since 1948, USA taxpayers have provided nearly 100 Billion dollars to Israel. However, America’s $84.8 billion in aid to Israel just from fiscal years 1949 through 1998, and the interest the U.S. paid to borrow this money, has cost U.S. taxpayers $134.8 billion, not adjusted for inflation.

    The original hope of Zionism was that the Jewish people would have a safe and peaceful dwelling place. Jews remain a traumatized people and their Holocaust hangover affects all of us. For millennia the Jewish people have been threatened and oppressed, but in the 21st century, they have become the oppressors. In the 60’s the comic strip Pogo critiqued Vietnam, and the words still echo four decades later, “We have seen the enemy and he is US.”

    If America had forced Israel to abide by International Law and not supplied billions of weapons of destruction at bargain basement prices and financial aid, Israel would have made peace with her neighbors long ago. A safe and peaceful dwelling place cannot be had through the barrel of a gun. Nonviolent Palestinians must be supported and encouraged, and all violence must be unequivocally renounced. During World War II the Nazis cold bloodedly murdered six million innocent Jews because good people did nothing for far too long. Afterwards, the UN, the USA, and the European states decided to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

    In 1947, with the termination of the British Mandate and rising violence and terrorism between Jews and Palestinians, the UN called for a Jewish-Arab partition of Palestine. Neither side liked the deal, but the secular Zionists jumped at the chance while the Palestinians and Arabs opposed it, citing the injustice of demanding Palestinians pay for Hitler’s atrocities.

    Israel proclaimed it’s independence in May 1948 by affirming: “One the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.”

    Britain withdrew from the land and war erupted. The well equipped Israeli forces created a triumph for the Jews and birthed the ongoing disaster for Palestinians and the world. Over 750,000 Palestinians became refugees and the roots of 21st century terrorism began. There is one small piece of property that two peoples who have been victimized, terrorized and oppressed are fighting over and neither side will ever give up.

    There can be no remedy, no winning any war on terrorism without going to the root: the history and suffering of both people must be addressed and only with an honest third party seeking justice will there ever be security and peace. World leaders have failed at the task and both sides distrust the other, but repeated polls in Israel and Palestine prove the people are way ahead of their leaders. Majorities on both sides want a negotiated peace, but compromise on both sides must occur.

    The bad news is that many Israelis and Palestinians lack HOPE that peace is possible. Peace requires justice and that demands dialogue not unilateral action and open hearts to feel and acknowledge the pain of the other. Everything is connected and the law of karma is what ever we send out will return to us. USA and Israel are best friends, and the rise of fundamentalism within all faiths, the increasing spread of Antisemitism and the fear of Islam in America are wake up calls to all people of good will to do something. A change in course must be chartered, or we will pass onto our innocent children a legacy of endless war.

    Six decades ago six million innocent Jews were cold-bloodedly murdered because good people did nothing for far too long.

    In 1973, Ariel Sharon told Winston Churchill III, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    But all things are possible and miracles do occur. Imagine if we the people in the USA held our leaders accountable to the promises they make, and President Bush made a noble one:

    “In the long run, there is no justice without FREEDOM. There can be no human rights without LIBERTY. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we stand with you.”-President George W. Bush, Second Inaugural Address

    When candidate Bush claimed his favorite philosopher was Christ, I believed him. Thomas Jefferson weeded out the miracle stories from the gospels and clarified the teachings of Christ in The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which clarify what Christ was really all about:

    To be just and justice comes from virtue which comes from the heart. To treat people the way we want to be treated. To always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION. To not judge others and bear no grudges, and those who think they know the most are the most ignorant.

    The most radical and revolutionary of all of America’s founding fathers was Tom Paine, who wrote, “Soon after I had published the pamphlet “Common Sense” [on Feb. 14, 1776] in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion… The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

    Christ’s other name is “The Prince of Peace” and he walked and preached the good news that God is within all people. To truly follow Christ means one will rise up in defense of the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the prisoner and refugees. Christ taught that we are to pursue justice, and justice is the only way to security and peace…

    The “war on terror” must be fought at the root and all roads do indeed, lead to Jerusalem.

    Common sense understands that democracy nor security can ever be achieved through the barrel of a gun. Justice and equal human rights for all people is the only way to security and peace. May we all do something as Americans and rise up and demand this Congress and Administration uphold the promise of President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address. For then, we truly can bring into this reality Tom Paine’s vision of what America was originally based upon.

    PS-“Imagine All the People Sharing All the World.”-John Lennon

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 6th, 2007 at 5:09am #

    Neale, how about some honesty. When you say you believe human life is more important than property, you mean Jewish life. The Jewish racist state could just as easily protect its people and its colonial project by building their concentration camp wall along the Green Line, as fourteen out of fifteen justices of the International Court of Justice said they ought. But of course the wall is part of a land grab, and a device designed to fragment Palestinian society and make Palestinian life intolerable. It’s a symbol of racist cruelty by an all powerful and endlessly vindictive state that believes its victims are untermenschen. As with torture, ubiquitous in Israeli prisons holding Palestinians, it’s part of a carefully and infinitely cruel process of dehumanisation and disempowerment. It exactly mirrors the horrors inflicted by earlier colonial powers on those held by the various Master Races to be lesser beings. Anyone familiar with the writings of Zionist and Israeli leaders over the decades will know how deep the loathing of the Palestinians runs throughout Israeli society and its political leadership. I note that you seem less concerned with Palestinian deaths, that far outnumber Israeli deaths, than you do about Israeli deaths. Hardly surprising given the detestation of Palestinians so common amongst the worst type of Israeli and their supporters amongst the global racist fraternity, an hatred based entirely on the Palestinian’s existence and their unforgivable presence on what is, after all, Israel’s lebensraum in the East.

  9. Neal said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:30am #

    Ms. Fleming,

    You cite Pappe as if he were presenting historical events that can be relied upon as essentially beyond question. However, by his own explanation of his own historical methodology, he does not believe anyone can use historical facts in the sense you employ them.

    By Pappe’s own explanation of his approach, what you are doing is misusing his writing to suggest universal validity that he claims does not exist. He only claims to present a subjective narrative, WITH ALL NARRATIVES BEING EQUALLY VALID.

    Pappe, in fact, argues vehemently that there is no such thing as historical truth, only collections of narrative points of view, EACH BEING EQUALLY VALID. As he states: “Mine is a subjective approach…” [source: A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples by Ilan Pappe] In fact, according to Pappe [and from the same source], his own pro-Palestinian Arab “bias is apparent despite the desire of my peers that I stick to facts and the ‘truth’ when reconstructing past realities. I view any such construction as vain and presumptuous.” So, he does not see it as important even to attempt to reconstruct historic truth.

    So, basically, you are taking as Gospel the views of an historian who, by his own methodology, does not believe that facts must be accurately set forth, taking into account all of the available evidence and sorting through what is and is not credible. Rather, he believes that there are only an assortment of narratives, all equally valid.

    With such an approach to historical analysis, it is worth questioning the accuracy of some, if not all, of what Pappe states. Other historians, in fact, have examined his claims and found egregious factual errors, with his claims being, according to historian Benny Morris, contradicted, for example, even by the records of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group.

    Now, you are certainly free to read Pappe. But, he is not the be all and end all. He is not even the beginning of an analysis designed actually to understand events as they occurred, since he does not aspire to provide such an analysis.

    One simply cannot use Pappe’s narratives as you have, asserting such as a simple description of events for all to accept as valid since, on his on express telling, ALL NARRATIVES ARE EQUALLY VALID.

    I suggest reading other prominent historians who have examined the events. Such might round out your perspective.

    According to you: “In 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes when the secular militant Zionists pushed them off their land, they thought it would be temporary.” Now, aside from the fact that fleeing differs from being pushed off of land – meaning you contradict yourself -, the events are a whole lot more complicated than you would have it.

    Closer to the truth, in connection with the war of 1948, some number of Palestinian Arabs left what is now Israel before fighting began. Some number fled, in some cases, fearing possible massacre and in some case merely to avoid fighting. Some number was pushed off the land by the Israelis. Some number joined the fighting aimed, as the leader of the Arab side stated, to massacre the Jews. Some number, most particularly in Haifa, were removed on trucks by the British. Some number, most particular in Jaffa, left because their religious leaders told them that it was wrong for a Muslim to live under non-Muslim rule.

    The number of people who left is a subject that has yet to receive sufficient historical attention. It may be as high as the 750,000 people as you claim or it may be closer to the 450,000 person range as was claimed by sources at the time and by some even still. It was, in any event, a rather large number of people, no matter what is the correct figure.

    At the same time, roughly 35,000 Jews fled or were driven from their homes in what was Jerusalem and from what came thereafter to be called the West Bank. Another large group of Jews began fleeing from Iraq most particularly beginning after a massacre in 1941 – a large massacre instigated in part by the leadership of the Palestinian Arab movement. By 1952, 120,000 Jews had fled from Iraqi oppression to Israel.

    I should add, roughly 856,000 Jews eventually fled from oppression, persecution and assorted massacres that occurred in Arab lands, with most such people ending up in Israel. Presumably, that is also part of the history, if one wants to give a fair account. I do not hear such in your version of facts. Yet, there are innumerable eyewitness accounts of these massacres and the accompanying oppression and the anti-Jewish pogroms that occurred. And yes, Zionist groups did hope and advocate for Jews to leave Arab countries, just as Arabs did in Israel (e.g. in Jaffa). Most Jews, however, were effectively expelled; and the expulsions were not to a nearby land but, for many, a great distance from home. And, the Arab governments confiscated the belongings of their Jewish population, so such people landed in Israel as paupers and were, at first, housed in tent cities that existed for a long time.

    I note that on your account, only violence against Arabs matters. Violence against Jews – i.e. the 856,000 Jews who were displaced by Arabs, the 6,370 or so Jews killed in the 1948 war (i.e. about 1 percent of Israel’s then entire population), etc., etc. – seems not to be remembered. How is that?

    How is it that Arabs have not settled their own refugees? What sort of people allow their own to rot for generations in decrepit refugee camps? What message does that behavior send to the Israelis? Since Israel resettled millions of Jewish and, at this point, Buddhist and Christian refugees – and at great hardship, as I mentioned (i.e. large numbers of people lived for years in tent cities) , it tells Israelis that the Arab side is playing politics, using generations of Arabs as pawns in a war against Israel. That hardly is an inviting message.

    Your narrative makes it sound as if there really was a pre-meditated effort to drive off the Arab population – something not shown by any careful historical study that uses a more fact based methodology -. I believe the assertion of such a plan to be a fabrication – even a lie – that is contradicted by the known facts.

    Had the Zionist leadership really wanted to, it actually was in a position to have expelled the entire Arab population – e.g. as occurred when Poland expelled its entire Sudeten population after WWII – during and at the end of the 1948 war. No one said booh at about the expulsion of the Sudetens. So, clearly, such could have been accomplished without upsetting world opinion all that much.

    In fact, given that there were hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees living at the time in tent cities in the newly founded Israel, it would have been really advantageous to do so. But, in fact, a substantial non-Jewish population remained. And that fact really cannot be squared with the view that Israel sought to expel its Arab population. After all, if the leadership were really as militant as you claim, they would have done what you say they planned, as real militants tend to do. That, however, did not occur.

    So, I think Pappe’s argument on this point has no historical validity whatsoever and has no relationship to the reality. And, I note that nearly all historians who have examined the issue closely, including examining the actual records kept by the Zionist leadership – which does not show they intended to expel the Arab population -, agree with my assessment. Such a plan was not carried out nor was there any intention to carry out such a plan.

    One might, with what most historians believe, reasonably ask why Israel did not simply permit the return of the refugees after the war. There are, in fact, multiple reasons.

    The most obvious are: the Arab side refused to accept Israel on any terms and refused even to discuss anything but an armistice; the Arab side even refused to accept UN 194 – unanimously voting against it -, which expressly addressed the issue of refugees. The publicly stated reason for the Arab rejection of UN 194: the resolution did not actually require Israel to accept the return of any refugees.

    [Note: On this, the Arab side was actually correct since the resolution states two suggestions (not requirements), namely, that those refugees willing to live at peace with their neighbors be allowed to return (and note: the resolution was not even addressed solely to Arab refugees but to refugees, of which there were large numbers on both sides) and that for those not so willing, compensation ought be paid – something Israel offered to do, by the way.]

    The bottom line was that the issue became, as a practical matter, a dead letter because there was no existing context at the time to deal with the matter. The Arab side took the position that Israel was not legitimate and Israel, which had hundreds of thousands of people living in tent cities (i.e. the refugees from all over the world including the Arab regions) and had no capacity to feed and house any more people, most especially the people with whom they were still, more than technically, at war.

    There is lastly the point that at the time, Jews were not particularly trusting of the non-Jewish world which had stood by and done nothing at all to prevent the literal destruction of European Jewry during WWII and, after the war, had stood by when those Jews who tried to return to their homes in, for example, Poland were massacred – even after WWII. Universal propositions were not being applied anywhere at the time.

    Large numbers of WWII Jewish refugees were placed into what were then known as displaced persons camps. And, they lingered there for years. So, the Zionist leadership, which you call militant – but which was actually mostly not all that militant -, would have had a skeptical mindset about world intentions, to say the least. And, given what Arab leaders were saying, they had no reason to think that Arab refugees intended to return as good neighbors.

    Now, you assert universal standards and claim that Israel fails to abide by them. But, in fact, Israel does basically abide by such standards, at least as well as any country in Europe, the Americas and most especially in the Arab regions. Take France, for example. Do you really think that non-ethnic “French” – e.g. those of North African origin – are afforded anything akin to equal rights, in any but the formal sense, in France? Europe, including France, has never even sorted out providing true equal rights for Jews – now only a remnant population, thanks to French kindness (or the lack thereof) -. Do you really think that a European country will ever really provide something akin to equality for its newest “citizens”? Such certainly has not occurred up to now. It is not likely to occur anytime soon.

    In Arab countries, non-Muslims are, at best, second class citizens, except in Lebanon. And, in Lebanon, political matters are sorted out with each ethnic group assigned designated roles in the government. In Egypt, the Christian Copt population is severely persecuted. In Saudi Arabia, there is not only an official state religion but other religions are outright banned. Needless to say, Jews were mistreated in Arab countries to the extent they had to flee. Yet, you think that Israel is the major bad guy here.

    You claim that I have not visited the West Bank. How would you know where I have been? Frankly, you do not know.

    And, being a witness to certain events does not mean you understand them in context. I can walk into a fire without knowing what caused the fire or why the fire persists. I can describe the horrors caused by the fire. But, that is not sufficient to understand the matter. It is merely a narrative, not history.

    In your case, you have latched onto a radically distorted view that ignores large numbers of facts – inconvenient facts – and relies on writers who are not dedicated to getting at facts, only pushing their own political agendas. That does nothing for Palestinian Arabs. It does nothing for Israelis. It does nothing for anyone and, in my humble estimation, actually gets people killed.

    My suggestion: unless you have a narrative that sufficiently explains both sides and is not contradicted by non-controversial facts, is that you read some writers with a different perspective and approach. Such, after all, is what an approach such as Pappe’s approach to history demands. You will discover that things are not as simple as you believe they are relative to the fire you have walked in on but do not sufficiently understand.

    You also changed the subject, writing: “There can be no remedy, no winning any war on terrorism without going to the root …” I agree. But, that means getting at the roots. And the roots differ, in my view, from what you believe they are.