The blog is called ten percent because of what Kurt Vonnegut wrote when remembering Susan Sontag - She was asked what she had learned from the Holocaust, and she said that 10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and that 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and that the remaining 80 percent could be moved in either direction.-
And I'm writing it because I need the therapy and I lust for world domination.
The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners
This is the transcript of the Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture delivered by John J. Mearsheimer at the The Palestine Center today.
It is a great honor to be here at the Palestine Center to give the Sharabi Memorial Lecture. I would like to thank Yousef Munnayer, the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund, for inviting me, and all of you for coming out to hear me speak this afternoon.
My topic is the future of Palestine, and by that I mean the future of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or what was long ago called Mandatory Palestine. As you all know, that land is now broken into two parts: Israel proper or what is sometime called “Green Line” Israel and the Occupied Territories, which include the West Bank and Gaza. In essence, my talk is about the future relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Of course, I am not just talking about the fate of those lands; I am also talking about the future of the people who live there. I am talking about the future of the Jews and the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, as well as the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories.
The story I will tell is straightforward. Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.
Let me explain how I reached these conclusions.
Given present circumstances there are four possible futures for Palestine.
The Bush administration violated security related agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve the IDF’s qualitative edge over Arab armies, according to senior officials in the Obama administration and Israel.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the U.S. in September for a rushed meeting in which it was agreed that the two allies would discuss how to resolve the problems regarding this issue.
U.S. National Security Adviser General James Jones is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Tuesday for what is likely to be talks on the issue of the IDF’s qualitative edge. Senior sources in the current U.S. administration, and senior officials at the foreign and defense ministries in Israel, have suggested that during the last year of the Bush administration the U.S. sold advanced military equipment to moderate Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The Americans justified the arms sales with the need to bolster these countries against the perceived threat posed by Iran.
In an address before the National Jewish Democratic Council, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, commented on the matter. “We discovered that the qualitative edge of the IDF has been eroded,” Oren said. “We came to the Obama administration and said: ‘Listen, we have a problem.'”
According to Oren the response of the Obama administration was positive and immediate. “They said they are going to deal with this matter and ensure that the qualitative edge of the IDF is preserved,” he said. “Since then we have embarked on a dialogue [on preserving the IDF’s qualitative edge].”
The arms transfers that were particularly disturbing for Israel were of advanced air and naval systems. For example, the U.S. sold Saudi Arabia advanced F-15 fighter-bombers, similar to the ones it sold Israel. According to Israeli assessments, following the U.S. sales to the Saudi kingdom, the Saudi Air Force is currently in possession of 200-250 aircraft of this type.
In addition, the U.S. sold Saudi Arabia and other Arab states satellite-guided and laser-guided “smart bombs” for their fighter aircraft, as well as advanced anti-ship missiles and electronic suites for aircraft, all similar to the equipment in the IDF.
Toward the end of the Bush term in office, the defense establishment recommended to the political leadership to raise the issue with the incoming U.S. administration. Defense establishment officials warned that the U.S. is arming countries in the moderate Arab camp in “a way that erodes the qualitative edge of the IDF, especially in the air.”
In recent months officials close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began quiet exchanges with their U.S. counterparts on ways of retaining the IDF’s balance of arms. The negotiations are held at the highest levels, with the White House and the Pentagon.
In September, for example, a day before the start of the United Nations General Assembly conference in New York, Barak traveled to Washington and the purpose of his meetings there were kept under wraps. At the time, the defense minister’s office announced that Barak had met with Jones and other senior administration officials in order to discuss the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
In subsequent talks between the Obama administration and Israel, Israeli officials have stressed that the arms provided with the aim of bolstering moderate Arab states against Iran could be directed in the future against Israel. A number of meetings have taken place since, in an effort to “assess the damage” and find ways of securing the IDF’s qualitative edge. Last week, Haaretz reported that the Obama administration will sell advanced weapons systems to Arab states.
According to the weekly Jewish publication Forward, as a result of Israeli concerns the Obama administration intends to make changes to deals that the Bush administration signed with Arab states and are currently being implemented.
So further confirmation of the legal requirement the US imposed on itself to maintain Israel’s military superiority (22 USC Sec. 2776) and a rather predictable glimpse of the Bush regime’s fondness for money and aggression towards Iran, which apparently meant to the entitled Zionists superior arms sales were insufficiently centred on Israel even if they liked the Iran bashing (but it seems that is their gig and they do not trust Arabs to do it even if the neocons attempts to divide and conquer Shia and Sunni worked), so they whine and Obama promises to do better. Y’konw, the guy with the peace prize. That would be two sides of the peace talks promising to ensure the third party and all others in the region are militarily weak. Yes of course they seek peace, isn’t that what they said? And politician’s would never lie. Which is also perhaps why when the IAEA was ‘concerned’ over Israel’s rogue nukes, it was reported virtually nowhere and aid convoys can be delayed and attacked. Our country along with the US, Israel and Egypt are conspiring to besiege Gaza, which is also not a very peace seeking thing to do. And dutifully our media tell us about the peace process as if bullies’ conditions for submission are such a great deal.
Israel Defense Forces will try to “send Gaza decades into the past” in terms of weapon capabilities while achieving “the maximum number of enemy casualties and keeping Israel Defense Forces casualties at a minimum,” GOC Southern Command Yoav Galant said.
“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.There would be no mercy shown”- IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot
(Cairo) On December 27th, 2009, marking one year since the brutal Israeli invasion of Gaza, members of the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo will place 1,400 candles in the Nile River to commemorate the dead. The Gaza Freedom Marchers had hoped to be in Gaza to commemorate the war, but access to Rafah is being denied by the Egyptian authorities. The Marchers, coming from 43 countries, have appealed to President Mubarak to allow them to proceed. The delegation includes families of three generations, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, students, artists, rabbis, priests, imams, a women delegation, a Jewish contingent, a veterans group and Palestinians born overseas. The coalition spent seven months planning for their trip to Gaza. As they flood into Cairo with a longing to reach Gaza, they plan to remember the besieged strip while being trapped here. “We mark this date, December 27, with great saddess for those killed and wounded, and we call on the world’s leaders to hold Israel accountable,” said Medea Benjamin of the Gaza Freedom March. “We also call on Israel and Egypt to lift the blockade that is causing so much suffering in Gaza.”
Members of the Viva Palestina international aid convoy to Gaza will begin a hunger strike at 11.25 am today (27 th) in protest at the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the convoy entry onto its soil. Diplomatic negotiations are also taking place between the Turkish and Egyptian governments over the convoy’s entry to Egypt. IHH, Turkey’s main humanitarian aid agency, has 63 vehicles travelling on the convoy.
The Syrian government has also provided aid and vehicles, as has the government of Malaysia. More than 400 people from 17 countries are travelling on the 150 vehicle convoy, which is taking medical, humanitarian and educational aid to Gaza. The convoy departed London on 6 December and have travelled nearly 3,000 miles across Europe and the Middle East. However, the convoy and its cargo of aid is now stopped in the Jordanian port town of Aqaba, having been denied entry into Egypt.
Harpymarx has photos of the demo in London. Given that no real movement has been made to respect Palestinian human rights by Israel and its allies BDS must be employed and the US, which remains largely bewitched into a mythic simulacrum of Palestine and Israel and an almost wholly owned lobby disciplined political class, must be awoken from its slumber, it writes both the literal, ‘moral’ and political cheques that Israel cashes.
“There is a debate among Jews. I used to say the Jewish community then I got excommunicated. There is a debate among Jews–I’m a Jew by the way” that boils down to: “Never again to everyone, or never again to us?… [Some Jews] even think we get one Get away with genocide free card… There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that says, ‘Never again to anyone.’”
She has dealt with the hoards of journalists coming to hear and re-tell their story, the story of her area, the story of her killed aunts, uncles, cousins…The story of her dead father and 4 year old brother, shot point blank by the Israeli soldiers occupying the area. And for her it has become normal, reciting with impressive clarity, the events of those hellish days.
Without knowing the horror inflicted upon Amal, her mother, and the others in the extended Samouni family, one might think they were normal. Well, in Gaza, yes there are normal, for many. But their welcome and calm is deceptive, hides their history. They plod on, replanting, trying to move past the one-year anniversary mark…though every day is a reminder of their losses, the murders.
It’s always impossible to imagine living in the same area where my husband/son/brother/mother/infant… was murdered…let alone imagine the murder itself. But there they are, Amal and Zeinat, Helmi and the orphans, and the countless others in Palestine with stories to tell but stories which for them are normal.
One of the large mental health hospitals in Israel was recently surprised to receive a young, good-looking patient in a psychotic state who was accompanied by a personal security guard, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday. The doctors, who asked why the woman was accompanied by a guard, were shocked to learn that she was a Mossad agent and that the security guard was not assigned to her in order assure her safety or protect her life, but to ensure that she not reveal any state secrets in her shaky mental state.
The Mossad guard’s orders were clear: “It is forbidden that the organization’s secrets be passed on to those unauthorized to hear them.” The doctors, who are unaccustomed to the presence of a third party during their treatment sessions, were left with no choice but to acquiesce to their demands. In addition, the staff had to receive a security clearance before being allowed to work on her exceptional case. To their complete amazement, another young woman, also accompanied by a secret agent charged with ensuring that the she not leak any state secrets, arrived at the institution just a short time later. The doctors learned that she, too, is a Mossad agent.
Experts said Saturday that the nature of the young women’s work was most likely the cause of their psychosis.
A year ago today, tens of thousands demanded the release of Israel’s youngest prisoners of conscience, the Shministim.
These 12th graders courageously chose prison time over serving in the occupying Israeli army, and became heroes to us and the entire world.
Last Chanukah, just one day after Tamar Katz was released from solitary confinement, the young Shministim gathered to celebrate and to decide how to thank the 20,000 (and counting) Jewish Voice for Peace members who wrote letters, attended rallies, and wrote articles on their behalf.
This is the message they carefully wrote together. One year later, as Shministit Or Ben-David sits in prison in Israel, and as Jews around the world prepare to celebrate the last night of Chanukah, it seems appropriate to share it with you again. We can’t imagine a more important message during this festival of lights.
Dear friends and supporters,
During Chanukah the festive of lights, we, the Shministim, would like to take a moment to thank you for all you’ve done for us and for our struggle.
While we sit down with our families and light the first candle of the holiday, symbolizing the rebellion against an occupying army, some of us are still behind bars, denied the freedom to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones, denied the right to freedom of thought and political consciousness.
During this dark period of consecutive jail terms, military trials and attempts to break our beliefs, you were our light.
Each and every one of you who helped with the campaign, who sent a supporting letter, who sent the link of the website to a friend. You’ve let our struggle be heard around the world, the letters, the postcards and posters, the demonstrations, all of those actions fulfilled our wildest dreams.
We would like to thank you once again and wish you all a happy and free holiday.
Following the news that Tipi Livni, who served as Foreign Minister in the Israeli government that planned and executed Israel’s brutal bombing and massacre in Gaza, faced arrest if she entered Britain, tell the government there must be no impunity for Israeli war criminals.
Please act URGENTLY – if possible e-mail your MP today, and come to the vigil on 27 December to show the government that we will not let them forget Gaza.
2. Urgently contact the Foreign Office raising the following points:
The government has a duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ‘seek out and prosecute’ alleged war criminals. Under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, the UK has universal jurisdiction to arrest and try suspected perpetrators of “grave breaches” of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 (IVCG). War criminals should be pursued – Britain must not become a ‘safe haven’.
The judicial system is meant to be independent and the government’s role is not to intervene. If a judge believes there is sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant to be granted, it is irrelevant whether this embarrasses or causes problems for the British government.
The Goldstone Report detailed war crimes and potential crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. It was shameful that the government abstained on the vote for the Report at the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly.
Instead of responding to pressure from the Israeli government to end the right to charge and prosecute war criminals, the government should immediately change its position – it should support international law and justice, and act itself to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Britain cannot be a true and independent ‘partner’ for peace if its policies are one-sided, and it allows those responsible for war crimes against Palestinians to avoid justice.
Tzipi Livni is just the latest in a list of Israelis who have come under scrutiny over allegations of war crimes. Our government should reflect on this, and change its foreign policy, including ending its arms trade with Israel.
Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a government decision that bars Gaza Strip residents visiting relatives in Israeli jails, saying this is not a “basic humanitarian need.”
It is a violation of the Geneva conventions to imprison residents of an occupied territory outside of said territory.
Lily Sussman’s Macbook was destroyed by Israeli security, shot three times for being…erm ‘suspicious passanger luggage‘ but the goons were so rubbish the hard drive was recoverable! Read her story at her blog (ht2 Mondoweiss).
There are a number of other post-conflict issues in Gaza that need to be addressed. The land is dying. There are toxic deposits from all the munitions that have been dropped. There are serious issues with water—its depletion and its contamination. There is a high instance of nitrates in the soil that is especially dangerous to children. If these issues are not addressed, Gaza may not even be habitable by World Health Organization norms.
Desmond Travers, one of the four members of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
(via Facebook) This morning the judge, Eilata Ziskind, sentenced Ezra as follows:
– 30 days in prison
– 750 NIS fine which he will not pay and thus get extra 7 days in prison.
– 500 NIS to each of the border police officers he “assaulted”.
– 6 months if he violates law in the occupied territories in the next 3 years. The judge knew he would violate this parole.
Note the prohibition which is clearly meant to stop Ezra Nawi from demonstrating against ethnic cleansing and also to deter others from doing so.
Most of Ezra’s work and that of Ta’ayush in the occupied territories is about protest and nonviolently opposing the occupation, which in many cases translates to violation of law according to the Israeli legal system. In this way the state got, in my estimation, exactly what it was after.
Where are the US progressives who flock to associate themselves with Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela etc yet when it comes to supporting people in the here and now fighting oppression… they are Progressive Except for Palestine. Like polite white Southerners who professed to be liberally dismayed at segregation but hey, you should respect the police and not cause trouble.
On September 22, 2009, Mohammad Othman was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He was returning from a trip to Norway, where he was advocating for Palestinian human rights. Ask U.S. President Obama to press for his immediate release.
(If you are not in the U.S., consider joining this action alert. Hold President Obama. accountable for his Cairo speech. Ask him to live up to the promise of his Nobel Peace Prize by supporting Mohammad Othman.) Click Here.
Israeli arrests of Palestinian human rights activists aim at stopping grassroots activism and the global call for Israeli accountability in front of international courts and through boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) campaigns. We therefore call on all people all over the world to let Israel know: “If you want to arrest the BDS movement, you have to catch us all!”
18 days have passed since Mohammed Othman was arrested in reprisal for his ongoing advocacy against the Wall and occupation. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement and often undergoes up to 16 hours of continuous interrogation focusing on his international advocacy.
Mohammad was arrested on his trip back from Norway, where he spoke about Israeli human rights violations and welcomed Norwegian action to hold Israel accountable. Norway’s national Pension Fund recently divested from Elbit, the Israeli company which provides drones and other military technology for Occupation forces and security systems for the Wall and settlements. This was only one of many successes of the BDS movement among unions, parties, intellectuals, artists and governments.
…according to Israeli and Palestinian analysts, diplomatic arm-twisting was not the only factor in the PA’s change of heart. Haaretz newspaper reported last week that, behind the scenes, Palestinian officials had faced threats that Israel would retaliate by inflicting enormous damage on the beleaguered Palestinian economy.
In particular, Israel warned it would renege on a commitment to allot radio frequencies to allow Wataniya, a mobile phone provider, to begin operations this month in the West Bank. The telecommunications industry is the bedrock of the Palestinian economy, with the current monopoly company, PalTel, accounting for half the worth of the Palestinian stock exchange.
The collapse of the Wataniya deal would have cost the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties, blocked massive investment in the local economy and jeopardized about 2,500 jobs.
Omar Barghouti, a Jerusalem-based founder of a Palestinian movement for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, denounced the Palestinian Authority’s move: “Trading off Palestinian rights and the fundamental duty to protect the Palestinians under occupation for personal gains is the textbook definition of collaboration and betrayal.”
The deal to establish Wataniya as the second Palestinian mobile phone operator has been at the center of the international community’s plans to revive the West Bank’s economy and show that Palestinians are better off under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, than Hamas.
Tony Blair, the Middle East envoy representing the so-called Quartet of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, brokered the agreement last summer, saying Wataniya’s investment of more than $700 million over the next 10 years would “provide a much-needed boost to the Palestinian economy.”
Wataniya is a joint venture between Palestinian investors, including close allies of Abbas, and Qatari and Kuwaiti businessmen.
But while Netanyahu has welcomed the deal as part of his plans for an “economic peace,” an option he prefers to Palestinian statehood, Israel has been dragging its feet in allocating the necessary frequencies.
Wataniya’s planned launch earlier this year had to be pushed back and the company has threatened to pull out of the deal if the new 15 October deadline is missed. If it does, the Palestinian Authority will have to repay $140m in licensing fees and could be liable for hundreds of millions more that Wataniya has invested in building 350 communication masts across the West Bank.
This about Prof. Asa Kasher, the author of the IDF’s Code of Conduct is also alarming, this displays an institutional madness that will create even greater atrocities-
The army, Kasher thought, should have warned the civilians beforehand, and “whoever stayed, let the blood be on his head.” This is how generals who try to justify their criminal actions speak. But an intellectual? An expert on ethics?
A United Kingdom court on Tuesday deferred until further notice an appeal by local pro-Palestinian groups to issue an arrest warrant against visiting Defense Minister Ehud Barak. It is not yet clear whether the issue will be raised for deliberation while Israel’s top defense official is still in Britain. According to sources close to Barak, the British Foreign Ministry recommended to the London court that it treat the current appeal in the same manner it did when a similar appeal was issued in 2004 against Israel’s then defense minister, Shaul Mofaz.
A group of Palestinians in Britain sought earlier Tuesday to obtain the warrant for Barak as he visited the United Kingdom for talks with senior officials. The Palestinian group made the request at the Westminster Magistrates Court, the British paper The Daily Telegraph reported, regarding alleged war crimes perpetrated by Israel during its winter offensive against Hamas in Gaza. Barak’s bureau relayed in response to the move that the defense minister did not intend to change his plans.
“No arrest warrant has been issued, and in any event, he has immunity due to his being a minister in the government,” the bureau said in a statement. “Therefore, his program will continue without disturbance.” Barak was due to speak at Britain’s Labour party’s annual conference on Tuesday, at a fringe event for the Labour Friends of Israel lobby. He was also set to meet with Britain’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and foreign secretary, David Miliband, during the trip.
The appeal to arrest the defense minister comes as Richard Goldstone, the author of a United Nations report on Israel’s Gaza offensive, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday that the lack of accountability for war crimes committed in the Middle East is undermining any hope for peace in the region.