The Harsh Reality of the Middle East Conflict

A century old conflict between the state of Israel and stateless Palestinians, many of whom have been dispossessed from lands that created the Israel state, has precipitated a argument: Is it preferable to have two states living side by side or have one state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River that includes Jews and Palestinians without prejudice and with equal rights for all?

Those who propose a single-state do so because they sense the two-state solution is nonviable and those who propose two-states do so because they sense the one-state solution is unacceptable. The argument is doomed to irresolution because Israel has overwhelming military power, faces no countervailing power, doesn’t intend for the Palestinians to have a viable state and won’t approve a single state for all. If Israel intended to allow a viable Palestinian state, would the Israeli government proceed in the continuous construction of West Bank settlements? Would the present Israeli government demand recognition as a Jewish state and then concede to evolve into a multi-ethnic state? The endless debate concerning the shape of a Palestinian state allows Israel to comfortably proceed with its own agenda — seizing most of the West Bank, populating desirable lands with its own citizens, capturing aquifers and reducing the Palestinians to impoverishment.

Israel proceeds with a “we must have all or we will someday have nothing” program, which insinuates Israel will be destroyed unless it destroys all of its antagonists. The Palestinians react with a “if we lose, we lose everything” program, which insinuates they will be destroyed unless they stop Israel. The two antagonists have succeeded in establishing a “no win-no win situation” that affects the security and stability of the world and must be resolved by the world’s institutions. Starting with more salient arguments might provide an approach that turns minds to a solution. If the arguments seem to favor one side it is only because oppression and threat favor one side; the side of the oppressed and the threatened.

   (1) Is Israel proceeding with an agenda that ignores destruction of the Palestinians?

   (2) Is this agenda part of a larger agenda that intends to reshape the Middle East regardless of the destruction committed against Arab people?

   (3) Will these policies threaten the peace and security of the entire world?

   (4) If the threat is real should the world’s international institutions, including the European Union, take immediate measures and force a solution.

Engaging in these arguments stimulates a dialogue that exposes the dangerous trajectory of the situation, and is preferably resolved before other arguments can be entertained and for a corrective solution to be learned and applied.

Is Israel proceeding with an agenda of oppression that ignores destruction of the Palestinian people? United Nations resolution 181 created an Israeli state which the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) sized at 498,000 Jews, many of whom were more recent immigrants to the region, and 407,000 indigenous Arabs. During the 1948 war, Israel captured territory, by which the new nation grew to an area that had contained 650,000 Jews and 900,000 Palestinians. After hostilities ceased, the population of the expanded Israel state, due to added Jewish immigration and Palestinian population transfer, contained 1,013,900 Jews and only 159,100 Palestinians. Regardless of the reasons for the dispossession of the 750,000 Palestinians, illegal dictates allowed few Palestinians to return to their legally owned lands. The Ben-Gurion government succeeded in creating an almost all Jewish state from lands in which Jews had been less than 40% of the population, and in which almost all Jews had arrived or been born in Palestine in the previous twenty seven years. Jewish population is given at only 83,790 in 1922 when Arab population reached 668, 258.

After the 6-day war in 1967, all Israeli administrations constructed settlements in the West Bank. The settlements, combined with bypass roads, checkpoints, guard posts and a separation wall have completely strangled the Palestinian economy and social fabric. The post 1967 history with reference to a map below describes the catastrophic situation.

   (1) Israeli military seized the Jordan valley and hills in the West Bank.

   (2) The Israeli government destroyed forests and agricultural lands to clear land for settlements. These actions desecrated a Biblical landscape, supposedly treasured by those who desired the new housing. West Bank Palestinian life received its initial confrontation and deterioration.

   (3) All Israeli governments constructed settlements with permanent infrastructure for settlers regardless of hindrance to Palestinians. The settlements, which are declared illegal in UN Security Council Resolution 446 and by Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, encroached upon the physical, social and economic well being of the Palestinians. Derogatory effects on their life angered the populace, motivated it to protective actions and impelled the more desperate to terrorist attacks

   (4) Israel constructed roads in order to enable settlers to bypass Arab villages.

   (5) Israeli military blockades many Palestinian village roads to prevent their interchange with Israeli only highways. These impediments hinder Palestinian exchanges and shipments of goods to markets. Palestinians who resist have been violently subdued. The subjugation prompted retaliation in form of more suicide attacks against Israeli military and civilians.

   (6) The Israeli military, citing a need to prevent additional suicide attacks, instituted checkpoints to secure use of all roads. The maneuver choked Palestinian movements and incited still more suicide attacks.

   (7) The Israeli government, beginning in 2002, and despite an International Court of Justice ruling on July 9, 2004, that declares Israel’s Separation Wall to be illegal under international law and demands that it be dismantled and all victims compensated, constructs the wall. The given reason for the wall is prevention of all suicide attacks. Nevertheless, the routing departs from the Green Line, expropriates Palestinian land and aquifers deep in the West Bank, separates the Palestinian population into several fenced enclaves and detours the wall so that major West Bank settlements are included in Israel. The plan incorporates the Jordan valley into Israel, enables Israeli forces to surround the West Bank cities of Jericho, Hebron, and Ramallah, and completely encloses the West Bank cities of Qalqiliya and Tulkharm, forcing inhabitants to enter or leave by only a guarded gate and at prescribed times. All of this occurs while Israel destroys the only airport in Gaza, consistently bombs Gaza factories and strangles Gaza commerce and links with the world by controlling airspace, sea lanes and passage to neighboring Sinai.

Israel must have planned the barrier long before starting construction in 2002. It takes years, possibly decades, to propose, discuss, design, ratify, develop, gather materials, allocate resources, budget (done in secret), pour concrete and construct a barrier of this enormous size; estimated at a final length of 703 KM. The route and shape of the “Separation Barrier,” its passage around Israeli settlements together with a network of roads, separates West Bank cities into enclaves. The complementary activities heighten the suspicions that the settlements, roads, checkpoints and the wall constitute a unified agenda. The agenda leads to a question: Is the barrier construction the final contributor to the economic and social destruction of the Palestinian people?

Reports and statistics tell the story; foreign aid is maintaining Palestinian existence. A World Bank report, West Bank and Gaza: Economic Developments and Prospects — March 2008, states that “Real GDP in 2007 is expected to be about $3,901 million, some 14 percent lower than its peak in 1999,” and foreign assistance is maintaining the Palestinian economy: “A combination of borrowing, remittances and increased aid that flowed around the PA has propped up GDP in the past two years and has allowed both public and private consumption to remain strong.” Nevertheless, “Despite large inflows of aid, the shrinking economy has led to increasing poverty. Unemployment in WB&G stands at nearly 22 percent up from only 10 percent before the beginning of the Intifadah in 2000.The percentage of Gazans who live in Deep Poverty has been steadily increasing, rising from 21.6% in 1998 to nearly 35% in 2006. With the continued economic decline in 2007 and the implementation of even more strict closures on Gaza, the current Deep Poverty rate is certainly higher.”

Excerpts from a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Consolidated Appeals Process: Humanitarian Appeal 2007 for Occupied Territories, 30 Nov. 2006 relate another part of the story.

Since the beginning of 2006, political, economic and social conditions have sharply deteriorated for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). A political impasse has taken hold, characterised by economic and military pressure by Israel including the withholding of Palestinian customs revenues, increasing divisions within the Palestinian Authority, and the diversion of direct international assistance away from key Palestinian Authority institutions.

Poverty rates stand at 65.8% and continue to rise; food insecurity has risen by 13% during 2006. Restrictions on the movement of Palestinian goods, workers, businessmen, officials and public service providers have intensified dramatically

The Gazan population is undergoing a virtual “siege” by historical standards. Normal market mechanisms have faltered and aid dependency has risen. Palestinian goods have consistently been unable to move out of the strip, businesses have closed and have moved elsewhere. Exports are a tiny fraction of what the Agreement on Movement and Access foresaw in November last year.

The number of checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank has increased by 40% through 2006. The West Bank is being divided into increasingly small pockets, the checkpoints diverting Palestinians off the main roads that are reserved for Israelis to reach their settlements. Jerusalem, the cultural and economic heart of Palestinian life, is open only for those who hold the correct permit which excludes the vast majority of Palestinians. And the Jordan Valley is now off-limits to all but a few Palestinians living there or working in Israeli settlements. In addition, over half of the 703 km-long Barrier route has been constructed, despite the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, which declared the route in contravention of international law.

…for most residents of the oPt, the situation at the end of 2006 was worse than in 2005 and holds little reason for hope in 2007. As explained in this document, the United Nations Country Team predicts that the current impasse will endure well into 2007.

Could the policies that have impoverished the Palestinians been intentional? It is impossible that Israeli governments remained unaware that their efforts in the West Bank and Gaza would impoverish the Palestinian people. It is inexcusable that once noting the obvious results of these efforts that a government would not amend its direction in order to prevent a total breakdown of a people’s life. It is inconceivable that a government would defy world institution laws and the appeal for a change in course in order to remedy the disastrous consequences inflicted upon the Palestinians. It is obvious that Israel’s polices have prepared the complete destruction of the Palestinian people.

Is this agenda part of a larger agenda that intends to reshape the Middle East regardless of the destruction committed against Arab people? The last sixty years have witnessed several wars in which Israel has expanded from the original partition plan to control of all Mandatory Palestine. The Golan has been seized from Syria and its territory cleared of almost all Syrian inhabitants and their previous villages. Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt during wars in 1956 and 1967 and was forced to relinquish its occupation. In several wars, Israel occupied Lebanon until the Litani River and was responsible for mass displacement of Lebanese civilians, almost 1 million in the 2006 war. The Christian Science Monitor reports that:

In the June 6-to-Aug. 25 period (1982) of fighting following the Israeli invasion, another 17,825 people were killed and 30,103 wounded in Lebanon, according to the best available sources. These figures do not include those killed in Israel’s overrunning of west Beirut in mid-September nor in the massacres in the city’s Palestinian camps a few days later. Nor is the continuing toll from internecine warfare in Tripoli, the Shouf region, and the Bekaa Valley taken into account.

Concurrent with the horrors inflicted by several wars, the political aspirations of Arab nations have been subdued. All pan-Arabic and nationalist movements, emphasized by Egypt’s Gamal Nasser, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi, Syria’s Hafez al-Assad, and others, have been suppressed. Sudan and Syria, two Arab nations that openly counter Israel’s policies, are stressed, the former with continuous civil war and threat of dismemberment; the latter with open military attacks that tend to weaken and destabilize the regime. Lebanon remains in a state of near anarchy, mainly due to western pressure to limit Hezbollah power, despite doubts of the present power sharing arrangement.

Iraq, that exhibited the greatest potential to become a Middle East power, has been almost completely destroyed and is in danger of being dismantled. Israel participation in this venture is obvious from its incessant promotion for toppling the Saddam Hussein regime, its closeness to the Neocons, who are accused of preparing the U.S. attack against Iraq, and reports of Israel’s training of Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

The latest interference in Middle East nations has Israel’s Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz threat to consider ”all options to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.” Israel’s urgings to the U.S. to take the necessary measures to prevent a nuclear equipped Iran, or it will perform the task, is a tactic for initiating regime change in Iran.

What do the years since Israel’s inception show? Clearly, the Middle East is being arranged in accord with western interests regardless of the turmoil, damage and loss of life to Middle East peoples.

Will these policies threaten the peace and security of the entire world? The policies have already resulted in damage to the world community. The terrorism in western nations is more directly related to western support of oligarchic Arab regimes and Israel’s oppressive actions.

Radical Islam terrorizes the western nations. Nevertheless, western policies create an anger in Middle East Muslims, which is slowly spilling over to worldwide Muslim protest, that compound the threats. A catastrophe that portends the destruction of an indigenous Arab people foments possible worldwide upheavals, assassinations and terrorism as responses from those who feel they have been victimized. The Middle East nations lack military power, but have economic clout to severely disturb western interests. Oil delivery is a potential weapon. The worldwide investment from petroleum income can be directed to unsettle financial institutions. The growing population and wealth of Middle East nations can be used to prejudice markets. A never ending Israel drive that increases antagonism is producing a fear that a nuclear catastrophe can occur from the clash with Israel’s attempt to secure a dominant position in the Middle East.

Should the world’s international institutions, including the European Union, take immediate measures and forcibly prevent Israel from accomplishing its purpose?

Middle East leaders don’t agree on many issues, but one issue in which they seem to concur is that a just solution of the Israel/Palestinian conflict precedes resolution to other Middle East political problems. Fifty nine percent of the European Community (EU) in a 2003 EU poll selected Israel as the major threat to world peace. Shouldn’t the EU listen to its citizens and respond to their pleadings?

What do nations and world authorities recommend when it has been indicated that crimes against humanity, uninterrupted killing and destruction of a community have been documented. United Nations Resolutions, institutional reports and International Court of Justice decisions have agreed that Israel has committed grevious crimes against the Palestinian people. Shouldn’t the world’s institutions act as they have always proposed to act against severe transgressions on human rights and possible genocide — sanctions, trade embargos, nullification of treaties, denial of economic and social assistance, end of diplomatic relations, support for the oppressed, and war crime tribunals — harsh language for harsh oppression.

The initial injustice was the dispossession by a newly formed Israel government of Palestinian land, bank accounts, businesses and other assets. UN Resolution 181 clearly stated: “No expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State (by a Jew in the Arab State) shall be allowed except for public purposes. In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court shall be paid previous to dispossession.”

The constant attempt by Israel authorities to depart from the original UN resolution and create a Jewish state from immigration while ignoring the rights of its Arab citizens aggravates the injustices. Although the UN Resolution characterized the two states as Jewish and Arab, the thrust had a Jewish state initially composed of a Jewish majority and an Arab state initially composed of an Arab majority, and “Persons over the age of eighteen years may opt, within one year from the date of recognition of independence of the State in which they reside, for citizenship of the other State.”

The Israel administrations have demonstrated an arrogance and lack of gratitude for the world community’s creation of the Israel state. The UN partitioned the land so that the Jews, who composed only 1/3 of the area’s population, and most of whom had arrived in the area in the previous 20 years, received 56% of Mandatory Palestine. This included the Negev, which housed few Jews, and which the Zionist claimed they needed for expansion, but have used for military purposes. Samioh K. Farsoun in his classic book: Palestine and Palestinians, (p.88) estimated that Jewish and Zionist organizations owned about 24% of the arable land and 7% of the total land. Most Jews lived in the cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. If the UN proclaimed a Jewish only state and population transfers occurred, the Jews would have had less than ½ of their allotted territory. The Zionists never contemplated transfer of Jews to a Jewish only state — just the opposite — they succeeded in the transfer of Palestinians out of the Jewish state, the incorporation of most of the planned Arab state into the Jewish state and the transfer of almost all Arabs out of their own planned state.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized the distinction between a state designated as Jewish and a Jewish state when he recognized the new state. The U.S. president crossed out the words “Jewish state” and substituted the words “state of Israel.”

Nations and international institutions behave more responsibly and act more effectively when they recive an impetus from their citizens. Chauvinism and cultural preference impede many who consider themselves progressive and champions of human rights from recognizing the perilous situation and responding to its tragic appearance. Human rights is not a selective mechanism where wrongs can only occur outside one’s camp. Permitting an oppression to its ultimate conclusion qualifies as permitting any crime, any injustice, any transgression on human life.

The solution starts with each individual recognizing the horrific consequences of the present trajectory of the crisis and being aware of the elements governing it:

Unproven narratives that are contradicted by history and archaeology are not factors in decisions. Biblical claims, even if true, are not relevant in the 21st century. Nevertheless, history and archaeology contend the biblical narrative that the Hebrews were a significant civilization in the Middle East and that Jews are definitely a common people, all of whom trace their heritage directly from biblical Hebrews.

Solutions to the crisis have always been biased towards consideration of effects on Israel and ignored the catastrophic effects on the Palestinians. The media constantly declares that Hamas will not recognize Israel, which is their right, but does not note that Israel has never recognized Hamas and has always tried to destroy the elected Palestinian leadership.

Stateless and displaced Palestinians cannot continue languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon as non-citizens and in Syria as limited citizens. Isn’t the right of return for dispossessed persons a legitimate right that is protected by UN General Assembly Resolution 194?

Religious extremists cannot have a role in resolution of the crisis. The Religious Right and Jewish extremists who quote prophecy to validate their positions cannot objectively seek a solution; they can only impede a solution.

Justice must prevail and injustices corrected. Isn’t that a given in the civilized world?

The solution evolves from the world governments and its citizens understanding the choices and forcing a decision. The international community has the choice of forcing Israel to return to the nation that the United Nations declaration intended or allowing an eventual destruction of the Palestinian people and worldwide disturbances. The former choice resolves the crisis. The latter choice provokes it forever. The provocation divides the world into those who want to preserve life and those who don’t care if they lose their soul.

Dan Lieberman publishes commentaries on foreign policy, economics, and politics at  He is author of the non-fiction books A Third Party Can Succeed in America, Not until They Were Gone, Think Tanks of DC, The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name, David L. McWellan). Read other articles by Dan.

31 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Rich Griffin said on May 3rd, 2008 at 5:21am #

    There is only one solution: the dissolution of Israel in favor of Palestine. The reason is not anti-semitism; the reason is that Israel does not deserve to exist based on its’ behavior as a terrorist nation.

  2. bozhidar balkas said on May 3rd, 2008 at 7:08am #

    since i finished last in my class; and thus having no face to lose i can posit the following.
    communist lands have stopped supporting israel soon after rewarding zionists for their crimes.
    do all christian lands still approbate all of US/IOF crimes? it seems to me that they all do, tho in various degrees.
    and that’s the only world that matters.
    all the salient and minor facts which lieberman adduces not only show but prove that all palestinians will be expelled.
    and US , the only law maker, must first issue a permit for expulsion.
    EU may not be comfortable with that at this time nor in a few decades.
    thus, delay.
    the problem being energy. but once renewable energy is obtained in sufficient degree, IOF will obtain its sooo desired goal: arabienfrei israel. thank

  3. sk said on May 3rd, 2008 at 8:36am #

    What if you who have no soul left to lose?

    Such a person wouldn’t particularly mind if “nature’s germens tumble all together,/ Even till destruction sicken”. Secretly perhaps they’re already “weary of the sun,/ And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone.”

    It’s for those of us still interested in sunshine and light to wrest controls away from these persons and set the course for a better destination.

  4. Mike McNiven said on May 3rd, 2008 at 11:51am #

    Mr. Griffin,

    Imagine, for one minute, if the same standard is applied to the G-8 governments…

  5. Kim Petersen said on May 3rd, 2008 at 2:33pm #

    sk, I received the following request from an anonymous reader:

    “I hope Kim that you’ll ask ‘SK’ to post source of quotation included in comment”

  6. John Hatch said on May 3rd, 2008 at 3:46pm #

    As long as America blindly and foolishly finances Israel and allows her to pursue the sadistic holocaust against the Palestinians and to threaten other nations such as Iran and Syria the world will be a very unafe place. It’s time to say to Israel ‘Never again!’

  7. John Hatch said on May 3rd, 2008 at 3:47pm #

    Sorry, unsafe*

  8. sk said on May 3rd, 2008 at 3:59pm #

    These lines were spoken by Macbeth, the ancient king of Scotland in Shakespeare’s play by the same name (I thought Google held all answers ;), but if anyone’s interested the scenes are here and here).

    Interestingly, a modern Scottish politico–who teaches ‘Faith and Globalization’ at Yale University these days–was also compared to him in a recent parliamentary debate (Search for ‘Macbeth’ here).

  9. Giorgio said on May 3rd, 2008 at 5:21pm #

    The hypocrisy of it all was that the creation of the state of Israel was the direct result of western nations guilt after the end of WWII. This Westen gigantic hypocrisy was made so obscenely dirty by, in effect, dumping the Jews into Palestine as if they, the Palestinians, had been criminally responsible for Jewish persecutions…
    I agree with Griffin’s only solution: dissolution of Israel. And I will go on step further: let the Jews dismantle all their revered sites, like the Wailing Wall, etc., pack them into containers and ship them off to the United States. The US government would then allocate to them a region in one of its deserts, approx. equal in size to present Israel, so they would settle there with all their goodies plonk in the middle of America, as the 51st state. Then they could get on with their business of praying happily for their long awaited Messiah undisturbed by terrorists and suicide bombers. Given even a little extra goodwill an artificial Dead Sea could be created for them so they would float and bob gently up and down on its waters during their summer vacations. Wouldn’t this be the perfect ultimate solution?

  10. Hugh said on May 3rd, 2008 at 6:09pm #

    Giorgio wrote: “Wouldn’t this be the perfect ultimate solution?”

    …Sounds like a FINAL solution to me, mine Fuhrer….

  11. Lloyd Rowsey said on May 4th, 2008 at 6:31am #

    Thanks, sk.

    The “soul” link sk provided above goes to a Counterpunch interview with Bennie Morris by Jim Holstun, dated 01.16.2004. A prefatory note to the Interview, by Ari Shavit, notes that Bennie Morris was “dean of Israeli ‘new historians’, who have done so much to create a critical vision of Zionism….But in an astonishing recent Ha’aretz interview… Morris…argue(s) for the necessity of ethnic cleansing in 1948.” I will not quote from the quotations in Holstun’s interview with Morris.

    James Holstun is an English professor. His most recent book is apparently very political and very erudite, and I intend to buy it and attempt to read it. It is listed at in hardback. Ehud’s Dagger: Class Struggle in the English Revolution by James Holstun (Paperback – Dec 15, 2003).

    I suggest that any knee-jerk, anti-American-Jews reader of this post join me in buying and reading Professor Holstun’s book.

  12. Lloyd Rowsey said on May 4th, 2008 at 6:43am #

    With regard to Dan Lieberman’s piece, it was once argued that an independent Palestine would not be viable, ECONOMICALLY. (From which it seems to me to follow as the night the day, that the Green Zone would not be economically viable.) Which is not unrelated to this country’s continuing embargo of Cuba.

    Personally, I’m repeatedly on record on the internet pointing out that Jews are presently and always have been on the battlelines of progressive change throughout the world as well as in Israel. And although I am neither a Christian nor a believer in any supreme being, my “Eleventh Commandment” — also on the internet — is: Thou shalt not confuse Israelis with Jews.”

    Thank you for this article, Dan Lieberman, and I hope my assumption from your last name that you are Jewish is not an error.

  13. Lloyd Rowsey said on May 4th, 2008 at 7:02am #

    Correction, and last post, I promise. The following book, reviewed by Professor Holstun, looks to be the best book on the subject of Israel-Palestine, presently available from and widely read in the United States.

    79 of 95 people found the following review helpful:
    Binationial Solidarity, February 23, 2004
    By JAMES R HOLSTUN (Buffalo, New York United States) – See all my reviews

    Pappe, the intellectually courageous Israeli “New Historian,” has written a superb history for general readers. What’s unusual about this book is (1) its attempt to present the histories of both peoples, (2) its effort to get outside the potted nationalist narratives of both peoples, and (3) its profound solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggles against expulsion and occupation. As Pappe says, “This book is written by one who admits compassion for the colonized, not the colonizer; who sympathizes with the occupied and not the occupiers; and sides with the workers not the bosses. He feels for women in distress, and has little admiration for men in command.”
    Pappe locates the struggle for land at the very center of this narrative, and he does not hesitate to call the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 an act of “ethnic cleansing,” proceeding under the aegis of the Zionist “Plan D,” which systematically drove 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their villages. At the same time, he notes the chronically ineffective Palestinian leadership, from the clan rivalries of Palestinian “notables” that made any unified resistance to British and Zionist encroachments impossible, to the top-down rule of the Palestinian Authority, which cooperated in the disaster of Oslo and sidelined average, suffering Palestinians in Israel, under occupation, and in exile. He notes the complexities of opinion and experience among Jews in Palestine and Israel, including those early Zionists who hoped from the beginning for a binational secular state, and the Mizrahi or Arab Jews, who faced considerable discrimination at the hands of Ashkenazi or European Jews. And with a realistic but hopeful eye on Palestine’s future, he highlights what “The Urge for Co-habitation” in Mandate Palestine, and even in Israel. He finds resources for hope in the history of his own Haifa during the 1920s, when it “became the site of the most exciting experience of class solidarity and bi-national, or even a-national cooperation.” For instance, Jewish workers and Arab workers (Palestinian, Syrian, and Egyptian) came together in the first Palestinian trade union, which united workers in the railway, telegraphic, and postal services against their British employers.

    Pappe’s keen, historians’ eye for the complexities of lived experience on both sides is particularly welcome today, when reductive scholar-warriors like Benny Morris are willing to present Palestine’s past and future as a conflict between Zionist “civilization” and Arab-Islamic “barbarism,” and when Ariel Sharon seems to see a wall of concrete tombstones festooned with guard towers as Israel’s last best hope.

  14. Lloyd Rowsey said on May 4th, 2008 at 7:16am #

    So, I lied.

    A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (Paperback), by Ilan Pappe.

  15. hp said on May 4th, 2008 at 9:15am #

    Lloyd, here’s my 11th Commandment.
    Thou shall not confuse Israelis with Americans.

  16. bozhidar balkas said on May 4th, 2008 at 11:43am #

    lloyd rowsey.
    thanx for the info.
    i’m glad t hear from a historian who concurs with my assertion that ashekenazim have no or little semitic blood. mizrahim, if not pure judeans/jews, may be pure semites.
    i also have noticed yrs ago that the dark jews are being used as cannon fodder for an euro-khazaro-semitic dream that’s become our nightmare. by our nightmare, i mean palestinian nightmare for a century now; and in future for mizrahim.
    thre’s no way that several bn people will accept judaist/zionist misteachings; least of all its crimes; and against yet another tinctured people.

  17. Giorgio said on May 4th, 2008 at 5:13pm #

    And here is my 11th Commandment:

    Thou shalt not (rampantly) ABUSE your POWER, be it financial, military or whatever.

  18. ashley said on May 4th, 2008 at 5:28pm #

    This excellent article misses a key point: the creation and ongoing existence of Israel are not due to UN resolutions, European guilt and suchlike but rather concerted political effort on the part of groups that have sufficient influence to achieve their aims. Such influence can only be derived from being plugged into dominant systems/networks etc. My suspicion is that this is to be found in the so-called ‘financial elites’ mainly found in the ‘banking sector’ and suchlike, often shorthanded into ‘corporate ruling elites’. I think ‘financial sector elites’ is more accurate although the two often overlap.

    In any case, as long as these amorphous whatever-they-are networks ‘control’ the leadership paradigms at play, Israel will continue as such. Clearly it is an illegal, immoral, unjustified State. As mentioned above, the very fact that non-jewish ‘jews’ with not a drop of ‘semitic’ blood have the right, under UN-sanctioned bla-bla-bla international law to displace indigenous peoples (most of whom are the actual, living descendants of the original ‘Jews’) demonstrates just how perverse the entire enterprise is.

    This doesn’t mean that most individual Israelis are anything other than 99% of ordinary people everywhere: fundamentally decent and desirous of leading decent lives with decent families in a decent society and overly influenced by global/national narratives that exaggerate their own purity and demonize their ‘enemies’ and so forth.

    But the fact is: as long as the current ruling elites exist as such, so will Israel.

    Now, I happen to believe that a bonafide one-state solution could be found, but not with the current ‘Zionist’ leadership. And since there is little likelihood of that leadership dissolving unless there is a far larger economic collapse along with a total breakdown of the current system, Israel will continue as such, and the Palestinians will continue to be unjustly colonized, abused, displaced and murdered.

    In other words, the creation of the state of Israel was due to forces far beyond the immediate location of the state and the solution to the current immoral, illegal dysfunction will similarly be found outside the immediate situation and the players involved on both sides. It’s a terrible, and fundamentally unworkable situation which, along with many other unfortunate aspects, undermined the viability and authenticity of the United Nations formed after the global Holocaust known as WWII.

    So just as Israel as such needs to be dissolved and either reconstituted properly or not, so also the UN, and so also the current world financial system.

  19. Hugh said on May 4th, 2008 at 7:28pm #

    So how would you “reconstitute” Israel?

    Ask them all politely to leave?

    Sounds like a Nazi plan to me. Either that or you’re brain dead.

  20. hp said on May 4th, 2008 at 9:02pm #

    You know what else sounds like a Nazi plan?

  21. sk said on May 5th, 2008 at 12:15am #

    Sounds like a Nazi plan? I wonder how that notion entered your mind…could this statement by an Israeli military officer have triggered the association?

    If our job is to seize a densely packed refugee camp or take over the Nablus Casbah, and if this job is to be given to an Israeli officer to carry out without casualties he must before all else analyse and bring together the lessons of past battles, even–shocking though this might appear–to analyse how the German Army operated in the Warsaw Ghetto.

  22. Giorgio said on May 5th, 2008 at 4:31am #

    Ashley made a good point which reminded of a joke told me by a jewish friend some years ago which went something like this: The jews, when Moses had led them out Egypt, lamented that he had taken them to the wrong place. He should have taken a turn and led them to the oil rich region of Arabia and settle them there.
    As for the ‘financial elites’ having a hand and control of the pie, wasn’t it Rothschild who put it neatly when he stated “give me control over a nation’s currency ( and by implication, its natural resources, like oil)and I care not who makes its laws” ?
    No wonder Ron Paul, if president, would abolish the Reverve Bank. Would you blame him?
    “So how would you “reconstitute” Israel?
    Ask them all politely to leave?
    Sounds like a Nazi plan to me. Either that or you’re brain dead.”

    YES, mate, ask them ‘politely to leave’ !
    And if they didn’t, KICK THEM OUT…just as they have been kicking the Palestinians out of their land for the last 60 years…
    If the treatment is good for the goose why shouldn’t it be just as good for the gander?
    Frankly, what’s so sacrosanct about that measly STATE of ISRAEL???
    As I pointed out earlier they should move out to America to a region similar in size and climate where they would live happily and left to multiply to their heart’s content, forever after…
    What’s so Nazi about that?

  23. Giorgio said on May 5th, 2008 at 6:59am #

    “Frankly, what’s so sacrosanct about that measly STATE of ISRAEL???”

    Indeed, why should the World show any respect for that miserly STATE of ISRAEL? A state that ignores all UN resolutions, is unprincipled and immoral, rides roughshod over any appeals for decency and restraint and uses the Holocaust as an open license to humiliate and murder other disadvantged people, shits on their doorstep as Amira Hass has reported, thinking that their shit is holier than anybody else’s, and to top it all show a wacko, weird meanness of character that would make Shylock look like a benevolent humanitarian when, for political convinience , they are forced to abandon unviable settlements, bulldoze the houses left behind so that the Palestinians won’t make use of them, and delight by a warped sense of humour watching them clearing the rubble and shit after they left.
    Is this the epitome of well over 5000 years of so called Judaic ‘civilization’ or a symptom of very serious collective derangement and insanity?
    The former Israel PM Begin self-diagnosed himself and his nation when he quipped:

  24. bozhidar balkas said on May 5th, 2008 at 2:22pm #

    lloyd rowsey
    re: 11th commandment, “Thou shall not confuse jews with israelis”.
    i respectfully point out that there are three distinct ethnic groups claiming to be jews:
    euroasian-semitic people, also known as ashkenazim, may have little semitic blood in their veins. some look more germanic/polish than germans or poles. also these are, to me, the real trouble makers; and not just since first zionist world congress at basle but ever since they spread from asia to europe.
    mizrahim may be considered jews along with some sephardim. and most mizrahim and possbibly sephardim, as far as i know, are in israel; used as a cannon fodder for eroasians. thank u.

  25. eileen fleming said on May 5th, 2008 at 4:59pm #

    “Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control.”-Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006 to me during one of my 5 trips to Israel Palestine.

    The problem is NOT with the Jews, but with the corrupted Zionist ideology that presupposes a particular people are superior, more chosen, more worthy and loved by God than any other.

    JUSTICE and ONLY JUSTICE: which means upholding International Law and equal human Rights for ALL can ever reap security for Israel and bring peace to our dysfunctional world.

    Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor WAWA:
    Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
    Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

  26. bozhidar balkas said on May 6th, 2008 at 5:15am #

    yes, i agree, israel is not democratic. just like to add that no land i know of is democratic.
    switzerland has, as far as i know, the fairest structure of governance.
    american structure of governance is one the best ever designed for controling domestic and world pops. thank u.

  27. Giorgio said on May 7th, 2008 at 12:54pm #

    ‘american structure of governance is one the best ever designed for controling domestic and world pops.’ EXACTLY!

    And the World is increasingly being dominated by a tiny minority of people, mainly zionists, Rothschilds, and their pliable goyms/gentiles…
    By the next century, I guess, 0.00000001 percent of these guys will be calling ths shots on the rest of us,i.e., the other 99.99999999% controlled by inbedded chips in ones body from birth, etc…
    George Orwell, I think, couldn’t even imagine this much. His 1984 is, by comparison, PARADISE!!!!

  28. ashley said on May 12th, 2008 at 7:29pm #

    Hugh, when I checked back here a while back there were no responses so I missed all the subsequent contributions including your question.

    First off: I am no expert on this! But one voices opinions in these places so here goes:

    I have followed on various lists the One-State initiative and think that, fundamentally, it is the only way to go. Simply put you have a homeland for Jewish people without displacing and oppressing the indigenous population which, both ironically and tragically, contains more truly semitic peoples who are the descendants of the original Jews who never occupied that territory continuously for all that long anyway, than the so-called Jewish peoples who are now sanctioned by international law to move there and displace them.

    The country was set up by international legal fiat via the newly constituted United Nations. The first few years of the UN were dominated by the Israel question – perhaps the main reason it was set up some might argue – and, tragically, the way they went about it violated the underlying principles of the UN charter which – I paraphrase from vague memory – has something to do with protecting the rights of people to live and determine their own nationhoods and so on, i.e. to protect the sovereignty of peoples, protect them against invasions and so forth. NONE of the Arab states voted in favor of creating this new State in the way it was done, the Palestinians were not granted Statehood nor absorbed into any existing state in the region which was still in turmoil following the recent collapse of the Ottoman Empire after which Western Powers basically managed the show. Most of the current states took birth first on a knapkin sketch made by Churchill on a dining table, for example.

    So one option – which I do not offer as being practical only worthy of intellectual consideration to put things into perspective – is simply that just as the State of Israel was constituted by the deus ex machina of international legal fiat, so also could a One-State solution be similarly mandated from on high and then enforced by the member states.

    Of course, given the way influence and power are distributed in the UN and the world in general, this is not feasible. However, a One State solution, a state wherein both Jewish and Palestinian citizens live together, could work. And indeed Switzerland – with its 16(?) distinct Cantons, might well be the correct model to follow since that way you can have distinct ‘Arab’ and ‘Jewish’ zones scattered throughout the ‘nation’ with more emphasis on local governance than a centralised National government which would be cause for constant conflict as one side might try to dominate the other forevermore.

    More practically speaking I think it is time – and it is now starting gradually – that more ‘liberal’ Jewish lobbies are formed, especially in the US, who push hard with concerted influence emulating the way the Likudniks have operated for decades in the US, to push America into no longer supporting a radical, extremist approach and, by withdrawing such support, allowing the people on the ground to come to a workable solution.

    The problem has always been the huge amount of international support, both financial and political, that the Zionist leadership networks have had which has empowered them to pursue essentially illegal, immoral and ultimately unsatisfactory policies in the country. Once that support system is undermined, hopefully in a positive way, things could change. As long as they are not, the situation is hopeless and nor will the people on the ground be able to self-determine their respective destinies, supposedly what the UN – which created this mess in the first place – was established to ensure.

  29. ashley said on May 12th, 2008 at 7:34pm #

    Hugh, I apologize for this answer which basically repeated what I had previously posted. I was confusing this thread with one on a recent Atzmon article and did not read my post here before responding!

  30. Lloyd Rowsey said on June 24th, 2008 at 11:11pm #

    Thanks, bozhidar. I appreciate your tri-furcation of the term “Jew.” I’m also certain from your posts that you do not think the average American has more than the foggiest notion of ashkenazim, mizrahim, or sephardim. No, to that most fortunate personage, a Jew is a Jew.

  31. Lloyd Rowsey said on June 24th, 2008 at 11:17pm #

    And thanks to Ashley and Eileen for joining Evie as opinionated and outspoken female contributors to posts here at Dissident Voice. (Assuming of course you are not males using female monikers.)