June 25, 2004

"No-one To Talk To"

There were calls last week by legislators for an inquiry into whether their country was led into war unnecessarily, on the basis of manipulated intelligence data. No, it's not American, British, Australian or Micronesian lawmakers questioning the invasion of Iraq, it's members of the Israeli Knesset questioning the rationale behind the Israeli government's policy of pursuing a solely military solution to its conflict with the Palestinians, and eschewing negotiations on the grounds that "there is no-one to talk to".

The failure of the Camp David Summit in July 2000 was bound to be a watershed in Israeli-Palestinian relations, but it didn't have to lead to a bloody war of attrition. It had to be a watershed because it marked the end of the road for Israeli attempts to have the Palestinians settle for "autonomy" rather than full independence. Palestinian autonomy under ultimate Israeli control had been the preferred outcome for Israel in the Occupied Territories ever since the first Camp David Summit that brought peace to Israel and Egypt in 1978. Camp David II was the culmination of that process, as it represented probably the most generous offer that Israel could make to the Palestinians, without finally giving up control over them. If the Palestinians could not be induced to accept the autonomy that was on the table at Camp David (which they couldn't), then there was no autonomy that they were going to sign on for, period.

With autonomy finally rejected as an end goal of negotiations, Israeli policy towards the Palestinians could go one of two ways:

1. Israel (and the US) could finally come to terms with a genuine two state solution based on two fully independent nations and the implementation of international law. This was the direction that President Clinton moved in, when he prepared the Clinton Parameters that were the basis of the Taba talks and, subsequently, the basis of the Geneva Accords.

2. Armed with overwhelming military superiority, Israel had the option of holding the Palestinians solely responsible for the failed peace process, and attempting to impose upon them by force the kind of autonomous arrangement that they would not voluntarily sign up for at Camp David. For PM Ehud Barak, the option of blaming Arafat was attractive because it allowed him to evade any responsibilty for the failure of Camp David: "It was convenient for him to explain his failure by a distorted description of the reality", as the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence put it. Although that didn't save Barak in the Feb 2001 elections, it did allow him to preserve his political career (he apparently sees himself returning to the Israeli premiership in 2006). For Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, this option was appealing as Sharon has never believed in a two state solution anyway. It allowed him to evade negotiations, which he knew would lead him somewhere he had no intention of going, and to resort instead to the imposition of a unilateral "one-and-a-half-state solution". And for those Israelis who wanted peace, but were not truly reconciled to the fact that this really did demand an end to Occupation, this alternative had its attractions too.

Justification for resorting to the military option over negotiations relied on two myths: "The Generous Offer" and "We Have No Partner For Peace/No-One To Talk To". The logic goes like this: "Barak offered the Palestinians at Camp David everything they said they wanted in an independent state alongside Israel. Arafat turned it down and resorted to violence instead, by launching the intifada. By turning down Barak who offered him everything, Arafat showed he did not want the two state solution, but wants it all. You cannot negotiate with someone whose real goal is the destruction of Israel, therefore we have no-one to talk to. So negotiation is pointless, and we have no choice but to use force".

So the two myths are separate, but part of a single rationale. This is the rationale that has dominated Israeli government policy towards the Palestinians, and been the dominant view in Israeli public opinion, for the last three-and-a-half years.

I'm not going to dissect the "Generous Offer" here, as this post deals specifically with the "no-one to talk to" myth. Besides, the "Generous Offer" has been debunked amply elsewhere, including these online offerings:

Camp David: The Tragedy Of Errors by Robert Malley; The New York Review of Books, 9 Aug 2001

Fictions About the Failure at Camp David by Robert Malley; NY Times, 8 July 2001

The Real Deal: Israel's View That Arafat Missed A Chance For Peace Under Barak Is Dangerously Deluded, by Ewen McAskill; The Guardian, 14 Apr 2001

Was Arafat The Problem At Camp David 2000? by Robert Wright; Slate, 18 Apr 2002

The Palestinian Peace Offer by Jerome M. Segal; Ha'aretz, 1 Oct 2001

Misrepresentation Of Barak's Offer At Camp David As "Generous" And "Unprecedented" by Nigel Parry; ei, 20 Mar 2002

Generous To Whom? by Mustapha Barghouti; al-Ahram, 10 May 2001

Just Half A Loaf For Arafat by Sunanda K. Datta-Ray; The Hindu Business Line, 2 Aug 2000

The Israeli Camp David II Proposals for Final Settlement; Mid East Web, 2002

Camp David Peace Proposal of July, 2000: Frequently Asked Questions, by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, 26 Jul 2001

The Reality of Barak's "Generous" Offers (Flash); by Gush Shalom

Ending the Death Dance by Richard Falk; The Nation, 29 Apr 2002

The Brilliant Offer Israel Never Made by David Clark; The Guardian, 10 Apr 2002

Camp David Diaries
by Saeb Erekat; Al-Hayat/Al-Ayyam, 9 Aug 2000

A Different Take on Camp David Collapse by Lee Hockstader; Washington Post, 24 Jul 24, 2001

This Peace Offer Is An Insult To Palestinians by Scott Burchill; The Australian, 12 Oct 2000

The 94 Percent Solution: A Matrix of Control by Jeff Halper; Middle East Report #216, Fall 2000

So much for the "Generous Offer".

The second myth, "no-one to talk to", has its roots in the intelligence assessments prepared by Israeli Military Intelligence (MI) on the subject of Arafat’s strategic goals and negotiating aims, as briefed to the Israeli Cabinet in the run-up to Camp David and through to Taba by the then-head of the MI Research Division (and second-in-command of MI), Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad. Gilad briefed successive Israeli governments that Arafat was a strategic threat to Israel, who never believed in the two-state solution, but in the destruction of Israel through terror and an unrestricted right of return; he entered negotiations only as a ploy to deceive Israel, not as a genuine interlocutor seeking a solution to the conflict.

This assessment by MI was not undisputed. Israel's General Security Service (GSS/Shin Bet) disagreed with the claim that Arafat was seeking the destruction of Israel through demographics rather than a two-state solution by negotiation, as well as with the assessment that the intifada was deliberately launched to try to bring this about. The GSS warned as early as the Netanyahu government of 1997 that if Arafat seemed reluctant to take on Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it was not because he shared their strategic goal of the destruction of Israel, but because the Netanyahu government was very visibly backsliding on its own Oslo obligations: Arafat had no incentive to cooperate with Israel on fighting terror, if Israel at the same time was reneging on its own commitments and boosting incentives for Israelis to settle the land that was supposed to become the Palestinian state (Schiff: "A Flaw in Strategic Thinking", Ha'aretz 14 Nov 97; cit. Shlaim "The Iron Wall", Ch 15 note 12). Taking on Hamas and Islamic Jihad under these circumstances would have simply made Arafat in the eyes of his own people a security contractor for Israel's ongoing occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Throughout the Oslo years, Israeli journalists such as Amira Hass of Ha’aretz also warned repeatedly that the peace process looked very different to Israelis (whose quality of life generally improved) than it did to Palestinians, for whom the “peace” years saw greater illegal settlement of their land than the previous 20 years of occupation had done, and who were subject to a much more intrusive military regime of restrictions, permits and closures than they had experienced at any time since 1967. Danny Rabinowitz took up the theme of the intifada as a grassroots uprising against this reality, rather than a ploy by the Palestinian leadership, in Before and after Oslo, commenting:

Many people in Israel and elsewhere believe that the Oslo process was a correct step that failed because of unworthy Palestinian leadership and increasing religious extremism. This view, which depicts the 1990s as an interlude of peace between two blood-soaked periods, requires reexamination.

..[A]part from the elite around Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, most Palestinians have not experienced Oslo as a peace process. Instead of hope, they received militaristic strangulation from Israel, a corrupt self-government that depends on Israel in a humiliating way, and prolonged poverty. The long and the short of it is that the Palestinian hope for peace and independence had collapsed long before September 2000. The movement of tanks into positions in the slopes of the cities was for them a direct continuation of a process that began in 1994.

The possibility that the intifada came as a reaction to fundamental flaws in the Oslo process, and not as Palestinian madness that truncated an era of peace and roses before its time, is interesting not only as an intellectual exercise. It is also important for the purpose of more successful planning of a peace process in the medium and long run. And it is no less important in the immediate run in order to understand the absence of any connection between the Sharon-style unilateral disengagement and peace.

And, in the wake of the Knesset’s investigation into the poor quality of MI assessments of Iraqi capabilities immediately before Gulf War II, Uzi Benziman wondered in December 2003 about the possibility that ideologically-driven intelligence was driving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He pointed out that the very same intelligence “experts” who produced the false estimates of Iraq's non-conventional weapons capability were responsible for keeping Israel’s political leadership informed about prevailing trends in the Palestinian Authority. These officials enjoy a presumption of credibility, professionalism and objectivity in Israeli society, and are assumed to deploy highly sophisticated means of keeping tabs on what's going on with the enemy. And yet,

[t]he very same officials who concluded emphatically that Saddam possessed chemical-biological weapons, and who even warned about the possible use of such weapons against Israel, warn today that Yasser Arafat's master plan is to destroy Israel. The same officials who forecasted definitively that the "ground will shake" when American troops reach Iraq and uncover weapons of mass destruction are today warning, with great internal conviction, that Arafat views himself as a latter-day Saladin, whose purpose is to drive the Jews from the Holy Land.

The layman assumes that such emphatic diagnoses of Arafat's aims are based upon wiretapped recordings, systematic analyses of his statements, and reliable leaks about his conversations with associates. The same measure of credence was in effect when people believed that intelligence estimates of the threat posed by Iraq had a solid evidentiary foundation; but it now turns out that these estimates about Iraq had no empirical basis. Rather than being founded on solid information, the estimates relied on probability and circumstantial evidence. This experience regarding Iraq raises questions about the empirical foundations of intelligence reports that purport to unveil Arafat's inner world, his aims, goals and hopes.

-- Uzi Benzimann, When The Army Takes Off Its Uniform

So there have been Israeli voices raised in opposition to Amos Gilad's "no-one to talk to" axiom over the past four years, but not many of them. In the heightened tension of the intifada, "no-one to talk to" has been readily accepted by an Israeli public receptive to an explanation that demonizes Arafat as the source of all Israel's woes, and it has been wholeheartedly embraced by a Likud government that has no use for peace talks anyway, and therefore requires no partner for peace. In the words of IDF General Amos Malka: "What Gilad said suited them better, and therefore they adopted it." The result is that "no-one to talk to" has become so established in Israeli thought, it even has it's own epithet in the intelligence community: it is simply the konseptzia (the concept).

This near-consensus view was recently rudely broken, however, by the aforementioned Gen. Malka, who was head of Military Intelligence (and therefore Gilad’s superior) during the last days of peace negotiations and the first days of the intifada. He publicly revealed on 11 June 2004 that the apocalyptic view of Arafat and the Palestinians that Gilad apparently briefed to the Israeli Cabinet was not actually based on the professional assessments of MI at all, but on Gilad’s own hardline political opinions, which were readily adopted by Prime Ministers Barak and Sharon because they fit so well their respective political needs. Malka accused Gilad of presenting his own views as being the professional assessment of MI, when in fact they were diametrically opposed to what MI’s official assessments really indicated. Gilad’s oral presentations to the Cabinet were much more influential than MI’s written reports, because in the Israeli Cabinet only the PM and Defense Minister had access to the written reports, while everyone received Gilad’s briefings.

So, according to Gen. Malka, what was the official MI assessment of Arafat at the time when Gilad was insisting that Arafat had deliberately sabotaged the peace process and resorted to violence to destroy Israel? Malka indicated that MI’s considered opinion was that “Arafat prefers a diplomatic process”. He is not intrinsically opposed to using limited violence as a shock tactic when all diplomatic avenues are closed (e.g. as Shin Bet noted, he would not clamp down on Hamas while the Netanyahu government systematically failed to meet its Oslo obligations), but he had no strategic plan for a violent confrontation with Israel. He was primarily interested in making real progress through negotiations, and far from trying to destroy Israel through an unlimited right of return, was willing to settle for a token return of refugees so long as this was within the context of an overall agreement. When the intifada erupted, MI believed it to be spontaneous, and not planned by the Palestinian leadership. Arafat may have hoped to exploit it as a shock tactic, but if so he misjudged it, because within two or three days the intifada had gained so much momentum from pent-up grassroots anger that it would have been impossible for Arafat to oppose the street by trying to fight it.

MI believed that a negotiated agreement with Arafat was eminently possible: "We assumed that it is possible to reach an agreement with Arafat under the following conditions: a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and sovereignty on the Temple Mount; 97 percent of the West Bank plus exchanges of territory in the ratio of 1:1 with respect to the remaining territory; some kind of formula that includes the acknowledgement of Israel's responsibility for the refugee problem and a willingness to accept 20,000-30,000 refugees. All along the way ... it was MI's assessment that he had to get some kind of statement that would not depict him as having relinquished this [ie the right of return], but would be prepared for a very limited implementation." In other words, MI’s professional assessment was that Arafat was seeking exactly the kind of deal that was being crafted at Taba when those talks were suspended, and whose contours were subsequently outlined in the Geneva Accord.

Malka insists that MI always believed that Arafat wanted a negotiated deal: its assessment was not altered by the outbreak of the intifada, and was shared by other Israeli agencies including Shin Bet, the Mossad, the Foreign Ministry and the office of the coordinator of activities in the Occupied Territories. Malka is convinced that today too, if Israel offers Arafat a state in 97 percent of the territories, with East Jerusalem/al-Quds as the capital, exchanges of territory and the return of 20,000-30,000 refugees, he will accept. Malka asserts, in conclusion: I say, with full responsibility, that during my entire period as head of Military Intelligence, there was not a single research department document that expressed the assessment that Gilad claims to have presented to the prime minister.

And what was Maj. Gen. Gilad’s response to Malka’s accusations that Gilad’s briefings represented only himself and not the intelligence community whose views he was supposed to be presenting? "I would have no problem if 1,000 people thought differently than I. That still doesn't mean that they're right.”

Well, 1000 people didn’t come forward to accuse Gilad, but on 13 June IDF Colonel Ephraim Lavie spoke out. Lavie was the head of the Palestinian section in the research division of MI (and therefore Gilad’s direct subordinate) from 1998 to 2002, and was closely involved in all the stages of the final status negotiations, and in formulating MI’s intelligence assessments, right through to the collapse of the political process and the outbreak of the intifada. Lavie’s comments were devastating to Gen. Gilad, backing up in every respect Gen. Malka’s claims that in his briefings to the Israeli cabinet Gilad had manipulated MI’s intelligence findings to suit the political preferences of the government of the day.

Lavie commented:

During the last three years we have developed as an axiom the concept that Arafat rejected Israel's generous offer during negotiations and went to a war that Arafat planned and initiated as part of a plan exposed at Camp David and in the intifada - to defeat Israel through the right of return and the demographic advantage and constitute `Greater Palestine.' Based on that concept, Israel set its policies toward the Palestinians, with the general result being a political and security deadlock with the Palestinians.

The question is whether that concept is really based on credible, accurate foundations.

I can unequivocally state that the written, official assessments of the research division, as formulated during my service from the summer of 1998 to February 2002, there was no intelligence foundation for the prevailing concept nowadays.

In fact, MI’s considered opinion of Arafat’s intentions was in direct contradiction to the line that Gilad was pushing, and indicated that the goal of the Palestinian leadership was not a strategic conflict with Israel but was: “to get what could be gotten out of the political process, to reach a two-state solution as based on the known Palestinian position determined by the PLO in 1988: a state in the 1967 borders, including Arab Jerusalem, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and a fair solution to the refugee problem on the basis of UN General Assembly decision 194.” In other words, MI believed that Palestinian intentions towards Israel and the peace process were exactly what the Palestinians maintained they were. Even as late as the Taba talks, MI assessed that Arafat was hopeful of negotiating a peace deal before Barak and Clinton left office; and after the Taba talks were suspended, Arafat still aspired to continue the negotiations from where they left off, with the new Israeli administration.

Lavie also confirmed it was MI’s view that Arafat believed limited violence was a legitimate tactical move, but he did not launch the intifada as a strategic weapon to destroy Israel through terror, as conventional wisdom insists. Arafat shared responsibility for the escalation of the intifada, because he did not throw his full weight behind an end to the conflict while it was still in its earliest stages. He did not however plan or launch the violence – As in the case of the first intifada, this one also broke out at the grassroots level, as a result of anger toward Israel, toward Arafat and toward the Palestinian Authority - but simply rode on its back once it quickly generated a momentum of its own.

Col. Lavie maintained that MI was not immediately aware that Gilad was briefing Ministers with his own opinions rather than hard intelligence:

Only over time did we learn to understand that there were gaps between what the reports prepared and documented by division and what was presented to the decision makers, and that was because in most case, things were said in closed session of the General Staff and the political echelon….

… Sometimes, and apparently this is what happened in the Palestinian case, the assessments that were presented were departures from the official assessments and included statements that were the fruit of personal impressions alone, not based on precise intelligence information….

…That could turn into a real failure in light of the fact that most of the ministers are not allowed to read MI written reports while those who do get the material are limited in time and in their ability to delve deeply into it, and therefore they are more influenced by the appearance of the intelligence officer. If we add to that the forceful manner of the officer, then we have a case of real danger that there will be distortion of intelligence work, and maybe even tendentiousness. That risk worsens when it's a consistent process.

The result of the process under conditions I described could be disastrous. A mistaken concept can take hold, which will mislead the leadership when the time comes to formulate policy. Moreover, there is also the risk that the mistaken concept will fit the leadership's political and diplomatic considerations and therefore [it will] adopt the concept unhesitatingly, to the satisfaction of the intelligence officer. From there on, it's a very short road to the research becoming a tool for the leadership to explain its policy or support it.

Three days after Lavie spoke out in support of Malka’s accusations against Gilad, Danny Rubinstein interviewed Mati Steinberg, an expert on Palestinian affairs who served as adviser to the head of Shin Bet through the peace process, and relinquished that position only last year. In contrast to Gilad’s alarmist assessments of Palestinian intentions towards Israel, Steinberg’s professional assessment of Arafat’s behavior throughout the years of negotiations was that Arafat was indeed committed to the diplomatic route to a settlement, and had displayed a commitment to the two-state solution (and a flexibility on the right of return) that had earned him considerable suspicion and criticism from the less-flexible parties in the Palestinian spectrum. Steinberg concluded, in support of Malka and Lavie, that Amos Gilad’s “no-one to talk to” mantra had no factual basis; he also opined that Amos Gilad, as an intelligence professional, should have based his views upon professional criteria, rather than personal political inclination.

With such senior members of the military intelligence establishment maintaining that their professional assessments had been misused for political ends, several opposition MKs called for an investigation into the “erroneous” intelligence evaluations that Amos Gilad had passed off as MI assessments in his briefings to the Cabinet. Labour leader Shimon Peres characterized the issue as extremely severe, and noted that Gilad’s “stupid, exaggerated theories” had had huge repercussions, contributing to a large extent to the defeat of the Labour government in 2001 and the victory of the Likud, and providing a rationale for PM Sharon’s determination to employ unilateral solutions to the Palestinian conflict, and a justification for his refusal to enter into negotiations. Malka, Lavie and Steinberg all support the call for a thorough investigation into how personal opinion managed to get passed off as military intelligence at the highest levels of government, and with such far-reaching consequences.

So why does any of this matter? Nearly four years after the collapse of the peace process and the beginning of the intifada, why do a post mortem to deconstruct the myths and assess why it really went wrong?

Well, firstly because sooner or later Israelis and Palestinians will have to return to peace negotiations, and they are going to relive the failures of the Oslo process if they don’t get beyond demonizing Arafat and assess honestly what the real causes of the failures were. As Danny Rabinowitz put it:

The possibility that the intifada came as a reaction to fundamental flaws in the Oslo process, and not as Palestinian madness that truncated an era of peace and roses before its time, is interesting not only as an intellectual exercise. It is also important for the purpose of more successful planning of a peace process in the medium and long run.

Most independent analysts who look back at Oslo would probably agree that its major failing was that it put off to an unspecified future date all the issues that really mattered (especially to the Palestinians) – sovereignty, borders, refugees and Jerusalem. For most of the Oslo years (i.e. after the fall of the Peres government), Israel was led by PMs who had not supported the signing of the Oslo Accords: MKs Netanyahu and Sharon voted against Oslo; Barak as Chief of Staff abstained. Seeing the rapid expansion of settlement activity that these three leaders carried out in the Occupied Territories, and in the absence of written guarantees in the Oslo Accord that they were really heading for independence, Palestinians quickly began to wonder whether Israel was using the peace process to end the occupation, or to entrench it. That was the origin of the disillusionment that eventually erupted in the form of the intifada. If a successful peace process is to be resurrected, this time it will need to specify from the beginning that its end goal is a genuine two state solution and an end to occupation, and there will have to be a clear timetable of when these things are going to take place. That kind of peace process is not going to come about without a recognition that it was the lack of these elements in Oslo that were a disaster to the peace process, rather than the evil machinations of the demonized Arafat.

Secondly, Israel needs to know if its intelligence was misused, because the integrity of its entire military intelligence process is in question. MI is meant to be a professional and reliable source of hard intelligence, that decision-makers can rely upon in making life-and-death decisions. It is not meant to be cherry-picked or manipulated as a PR tool for the more hawkish elements of Israeli government. If intelligence information is uncovered that conflicts with existing conceptions, it is the conceptions need to be reconsidered, not the intelligence that needs to be massaged. Otherwise, there will be an inevitable and growing disconnect between the prevailing dogma and reality, and that is not in Israel’s own national interest (nor in the interest of the region as a whole, as Israel is the dominant power). Col. Lavie illustrated how dangerous this situation can be for Israel by citing the example of the run-up to the 1973 War. At that time, there was also a prevailing konseptzia, i.e. that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat would never dare to attack Israel. This idea was so dominant that hard intelligence about his preparations for war were disregarded by the Israeli government du jour, right up until Yom Kippur 1973, when Sadat launched the invasion that eventually cost 3,000 Israeli lives.

Malka, Lavie and Steinberg all pointed out too that the gap between dogma and reality is particularly dangerous in an asymmetric relationship such as that between Israel and the Palestinians, because the party that holds the power to a large extent creates the reality. Once Israel was convinced by Gilad’s dire assessments that it was facing in the intifada not a grassroots protest, but a war for survival, it launched a massive military response, bringing war about anyway, whether the Palestinians were really seeking one or not. Furthermore, because the prevailing concept was that Arafat was intent upon the destruction of Israel, the Israelis directed their assault against his (moderate) PA, leaving a vacuum in the center of Palestinian society that has been filled largely by Hamas, i.e. by a movement that really does seek the destruction of Israel! Steinberg remarks that by buying the mistaken claim that the Palestinians were not seeking peace but launching an existential war against Israel, the Israelis inevitably turned the claim into “a self-fulfilling prophecy”. Even when the Palestinians offered Israel a comprehensive peace settlement on the basis of the Arab League statement of March 2002 (i.e. full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world, in exchange for a withdrawal from the Occupied Territories), Israel did not offer any serious consideration to what should have been a landmark offer, because it did not fit the dominant preconception that there was “no-one to talk to and nothing to talk about”. Steinberg concludes:

Because it [didn’t] fit the mistaken conception, it was subjected to the `delete button'.... A change which one refuses to recognize as a change is not a change - that is because you are the side which decides…Once you uphold a mistaken view you become captive to it, and a vicious circle perpetuates reality. The only way to escape from it is to review the mistaken conception critically, and to replace it with a conceptual framework which, I believe, is better suited to the facts, and whose implications are more tenable.

The third, and most urgent, reason why Israel needs to come to terms with the speciousness of the “no-one to talk to" myth is that PM Sharon is right now using that same discredited axiom to justify his annexation of half of the West Bank, under the cover of “unilateral disengagement”. As Rabinowitz puts it: The possibility that the intifada came as a reaction to fundamental flaws in the Oslo process, and not as Palestinian madness that truncated an era of peace and roses before its time, is…important in the immediate run in order to understand the absence of any connection between the Sharon-style unilateral disengagement and peace.

Ariel Sharon has always believed in a bantustan system rather than a two-state solution; he has been saying for 20 years that the right model for the Palestinians is to confine them to South African-style “tribal homelands” , on the 40% or so of the West Bank where they are most concentrated. Sharon is willing to give up the Gaza Strip (which is demographically a lost cause for Israel), if in return he can annex the most productive 55% of the West Bank, leaving the Palestinians divided, impoverished and enclosed behind walls and fences in the remaining 45%. This, not the security of Israel, is the purpose of the Wall, and the land theft, and the home demolitions that have become the hallmark of his premiership. The annexation of so much occupied land is of course the end of the possibility of the two state solution and Palestinian independence, and there is no Palestinian leader (or international forum) that will ever agree to it. That is why Sharon has to avoid negotiations - bilateral or international - at all cost, and that is where “we have no-one to talk to” has come in very useful for him. As Yoel Marcus summed it up:

In practice, the plan to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza is an attempt to retain our hold on most of the West Bank. Sharon rejects Arafat as a partner for dialogue not because army intelligence whispered in his ear that the guy is a bastard. It's because he knows the conditions for an agreement with Arafat (or any other Palestinian leader) are the same as those insisted on by Sadat - withdrawal to the `67 borders and saying goodbye to the settlements. And that is not on Sharon's agenda, even in his worst nightmares.

Hence from Arafat's perspective, Sharon is not a peace partner either. Sharon is focused on Gaza, and he is not preparing the Israelis for the great exodus that will enable the two peoples to live side by side in peace.

-- Yoel Marcus, Don't knock the power of words

And that is why it is most important to establish just how and why Israel’s military intelligence was manipulated to provide a justification for making war over negotiating peace. An inquiry will not be able to do anything for the 4,000 people killed in the three-and-a-half years since negotiations were abandoned because “there is no-one to talk to”. But it’s not too late to stop the same lie that underpinned their deaths from being used to destroy the hope of a negotiated two-state solution and to entrench the Occupation for yet another generation, with all the death and misery that that is going to entail for Palestinians and Israelis alike.


Endnotes:

1. This post is by necessity a brief introduction to a complex issue. The interviews cited are well worth studying in full, and are linked here:

-- Popular Misconceptions by Akiva Eldar (Interview with Amos Malka) Is Yasser Arafat really aiming for the destruction of Israel, rather than a solution to the conflict? This perception has been turned into conventional wisdom in Israel - but many in the intelligence community just don't believe it...
-- Following the stretch from concept to dogma to axiom by Yoav Stern As head of the Palestinian section in the research division of Military Intelligence, Col. (res.) Ephraim Lavie accompanied the peace process - and its collapse. He now joins the demands to investigate the `no partner' for talks concept.
-- The stronger side creates reality by Danny Rubinstein. Interview with Mati Steinberg: with useful insight into Palestinian priorities for a final settlement, and the radicalising effect that Israel's resort to force alone has had on Palestinian political movements. (This article contains two important typos. 1. The answer to the question, "Were these assessments accepted in the period that preceded...?" should read "Personally, I thought that the moment PM Ehud Barak decided not to carry out the third phase withdrawal... and 2. The second half to the last answer should read, "Because it didn't fit the mistaken conception...". i.e. there is a negative missing from each sentence).
-- A Jewish state? "Definitely" by David Landau and Akiva Eldar. Arafat is ready to sign an agreement that would give Palestinians 97 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza - with the rest in a land swap, and the right of return of not all, but at least some refugees. In a free-ranging interview with Haaretz, conducted in the carefully preserved ruins of the Muqata, the PA Chairman also spoke of the historical family bonds between the two peoples...

Associated articles:

-- Confronting Myths and Deadly Power by Amira Hass
-- Foreign Affairs panel MK: Gilad didn't shun Arafat as partner
-- Opposition demands probe of Gilad's "erroneous" evaluations
-- More than a million bullets by Reuven Pedatzur
-- Sharon and Hamas Dream Together by Jackson Diehl; Washington Post, 10 Dec 2001
-- Irreversible Mental Damage by Uri Avnery
-- Imperial Misconceptions by Roni Ben Efrat; Challenge magazine, 13 Jul 2004
-- The Second Intifada - An Israeli Strategy by Khalid Amayreh; Al-Jazeera, 4 Jul 2004
-- Helping Israel on a False and Dangerous Course by Ira Chernus
-- Who needs concepts? by Doron Rosenblum (via Jewschool)
-- The collaborator of Amos Gilad from within the Zionist Left, by Yehudith Harel. A condemnation of how quickly Israel's "peace camp" adopted the "no-one to talk to" mantra after Camp David.


2. The "inside" version of Camp David II is best told in Charles Enderlin's Shattered Dreams: The Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995-2002, which is based on the notes and recollections of the negotiators who participated there. Shattered Dreams was also made into a 3-hour documentary (La Reve Brisee) for French TV. A cut-down 2-hour English-language version was made into a Frontline documentary for a US audience. Unfortunately, the Frontline version includes only interviews that support the official "generous offer" version of Camp David: the 60 minutes that were cut from La Reve Brisee to make Frontline's 2-hr documentary included those interviews that offered the counter-argument.


3. Lia at Haramlik has already summarised the key points of the "no-one to talk to" Israeli Military Intelligence scandal, in a 17 June 2004 post: Camp David 2000 e la demonizzazione di Arafat. (In Italian)


June 25, 2004 at 11:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2004

The Other Side Of History

honor_grd indep
Left: An honor guard of Israeli soldiers observe a minute of silence at the beginning of Memorial Day for fallen soldiers (25 April); the following day the state will celebrate its 56th Independence Day. (AFP/Gali Tibbon)
Right: An Israeli boy plays with weapons during an army weapon display to mark the 56th anniversary of the Israel's Independence in the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim. (AFP/Pedro Ugarte)


Two weeks ago, Israel celebrated Independence Day, marking the 56th anniversary of its emergence as a independent nation.

Tomorrow, Palestinians will observe Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, when they commemorate the lesser-told side of the 1948 war of Israeli independence. Nakba Day commemorates the uprooting and exile of about 60% of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine who, along with their descendants, continue to be excluded from their ancestral home in order that Israel might remain a "Jewish democracy".


safad
May 14, 2004. Palestinian refugee Hasna al-Jardat displays deeds to her land in the Safad area (now in northern Israel), issued by Palestinian authorities in 1946. Jardat fled to Syria in 1948, the year Israel was created. More than 350,000 Palestinian refugees live in Syria.
(REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri)


The failure of Israel, and the wider world community, to recognise the enormity of the catastrophe that befell Palestinian society when a Jewish state was created in its midst, has ensured that the refugee question remains an open wound that poisons Israeli-Palestinian relations perhaps more than any other. Without an honest recognition of how the Palestinians were made refugees, and a creative and empathetic approach to resolving their grievances, there will never be a peace settlement. I considered the main issues in the Palestinian refugee crisis, and how they might be resolved in final status talks, in a February 2004 post: The Right Of Return.

May 14, 2004 at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

Peace In Our Time

BBC NEWS: Mr Sharon 'got everything 'he wanted'.


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Left - Czechoslovakia 1938, click image to enlarge (Attribution);
Right - Palestine 2004, click image to enlarge (Attribution)


April 14, 2004 at 01:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 01, 2004

The Right of Return

We Israelis need a scarecrow to frighten ourselves, one frightening enough to pump adrenaline into our national bloodstream. Otherwise, it seems, we cannot function…The new scarecrow is the “Right of Return”. Not as a practical problem, to be dealt with in rational terms, but as a hair-raising monster: now the Palestinians’ sinister design has been revealed! They want to eliminate Israel by this terrible ploy! The want to throw us into the sea! …The end of our state! The end of the vision of generations! A second Holocaust! It seems that the abyss is unbridgeable.

The Arabs demand that each and every Palestinian refugee return to his home and land in Israel. The Israelis staunchly object to the return of even one single refugee. On both sides, everything or nothing. There goes the peace. (Uri Avnery, Right of Return).

It might sound as if Avnery is exaggerating in the piece quoted above, but there is no subject in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seems less open to rational discourse than the Right of Return. Conventional wisdom asserts that the possibility of Palestinian refugees returning to their former homes in what is now Israel is, at best, a non-starter. At worst, the demand to return is interpreted as a deliberate PLO ploy to destroy Israel: They want to flood Israel with refugees that have been taught to hate Israel for their entire lives!, as one participant summed it up when I once dared mention the Right of Return in a Middle East discussion forum.

Background:

At the end of the British Mandate, there were some 1,237,000 Palestinian Arabs and 608,000 Jews living in Palestine [1]. During the course of the 1948 war, started by the Arab side to prevent the partition of the country, more than half of the Palestinian people, around 750,000 persons, were uprooted. Some were driven out by the conquering Israeli army, others fled when the fighting neared their homes, as civilians do in every war.

Immediately after the war, the new State of Israel refused to allow the refugees to come back to their homes in the territories it had conquered. We must do everything to ensure they never do return, as David Ben-Gurion confided in his diary entry for 18 July 1948. [2]

The Ben-Gurion government housed new Jewish immigrants in the abandoned homes in some of the formerly Arab towns. It also eradicated about 450 abandoned Palestinian villages and put up Jewish settlements on their sites. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population. (Moshe Dayan). [3]

In the 1967 war, some events repeated themselves. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out, by force or intimidation, from the huge Jericho refugee camps in the Jordan Valley, and eastward from Tulkarm, Qalqilya and Latrun, near the Green Line.

This is the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem. According to official UN statistics, the number of Palestinian refugees now stands at 3.7 million people, mostly dispersed in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

International Law:

The right of these Palestinian refugees to return to the homes they had left was made explicit in UNGAR 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, in which the General Assembly

Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible…

Their right to go home is also enshrined elsewhere in international conventions governing the status of refugees in general, e.g.:

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

- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, Article 13(2)

Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own….No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966, Article 12, paras 1 & 4. (The Nov 1999 Human Rights Committee General Comment on the ICPPR makes clear that in Article 12 “his own country” applies to … individuals whose country of nationality has been incorporated in or transferred to another national entity, whose nationality is being denied them.)

International protection for a refugee ceases only when he has …voluntarily re-established himself in the country which he left or outside which he remained or he is …able to return to the country of his former habitual residence

- (Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Article 1C, 28 July 1951)

So the Right of Return is not a cunning invention by the PLO to swamp Jewish Israel with Palestinian returnees and their children. It is an established principle of international law, which the world community has insisted must be honored in the case of other displaced people, such as Muslim Kosovars displaced in the wars accompanying the break-up of Yugoslavia and the East Timorese who fled Indonesian invasion and occupation. It is also a natural priority for the PLO, which Israel recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, whether they are in exile or in the Occupied Territories. The 3.7 million Palestinians in refugee camps make up almost half of the entire Palestinian population. If you are a PLO negotiator, charged with representing Palestinian interests, the refugees constitute half of all your constituents, and their rights properly occupy an important place in your priorities.

What the PLO wants:

Having said all that, 3.7 million people is still 3.7 million people, and realpolitik dictates that we recognize that regardless of the legal basis for return there is no prospect whatsoever of Israel (pop. 6.5m) agreeing to allow that many refugees back into Israel proper. So why does the PLO insist upon it? Well, actually they don’t, and they never have at any time during the peace process: Never, despite the claims of certain Jewish organizations, did the Palestinian negotiators demand the return to Israel of 3,000,000 refugees. The figures discussed in the course of the talks varied from several hundred to several thousand Palestinians to be allowed to return with Israel’s authorization [4]. Gilad Sher, Israel’s chief negotiator during the premiership of Ehud Barak, was very clear that the Palestinians are not demanding the practical Right of Return to Israel - which, in my opinion, is not an element of their 'core position'. [5]

And the consistent statements of the PLO leadership make clear that when they demand recognition of the Right of Return they are thinking of something more nuanced than a simple return to Israel for the refugees:

We seek a fair and just solution to the plight of Palestinian refugees who for 54 years have not been permitted to return to their homes. We understand Israel's demographic concerns and understand that the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees, a right guaranteed under international law and United Nations Resolution 194, must be implemented in a way that takes into account such concerns.

- Yasir Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, The Palestinian Vision of Peace, NY Times, 3 Oct 2002.

Whereas the Palestinian side considers that the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes is enshrined in international law and natural justice, it recognizes that the prerequisites of the new era of peace and coexistence, as well as the realities that have been created on the ground since 1948, have rendered the implementation of this right impracticable.

- Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Sec-Gen of the PLO-Executive Committee & former PA Prime Minister, Article VII of the Beilin-Abu Mazen Document, 31 Oct 1995.

The refugee problem is a major one. We want to establish the Right of Return, but a balance must be struck between the establishment of the Right of Return and Israel's concerns and interests.

- Dr. Saeb Erekat, Head of PLO Negotiation Affairs Dept, statement to the Council of Europe, January 2002.

[At Taba, w]e asked for the principle of the Right of Return, but the implementation of it, it should be discussed in a very practical and even pragmatic way, without affecting…the Jewish nature of the state of Israel…You want me, as a Palestinian who was born in Jaffa, to forget my personal thing, my attachment as a person to the place of my birth? I will not do that. But you want me, as a serious politician responsible for the future of my people, and as a person who wants, really, to put an end to these agonies, to take a position which hurts me - I should take it. I will do that. This is the difference.

- Yasser Abed Rabbo, FIDA Sec-Gen & former PA Cabinet Minister, Brookings Institute Debate on the Right of Return, cited in Ha’aretz, 22 Nov 2001.

I believe that the Palestinians understand that they cannot simultaneously demand both the right of refugees to return (to Israeli territory) and a Palestinian state. The refugee problem will be solved within the framework of a Palestinian state, which will provide the refugees a solution to their problem...I believe that the refugees need to return to a Palestinian state that will give them the possibility to return and build new lives, and the Palestinians need to recognize that. The Palestinian dream of the past needs to be replaced with the (new) dream, that we need to create for the future.

- Professor Sari Nusseibeh, Pres. of Al-Quds University, formerly PLO rep. in East Jerusalem, Palestinian State Will Solve Refugee Problem, reported in Ha’aretz, 21 Dec 2001.

So although still asserting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine, the PLO is signaling that the implementation of that right can be flexible enough to preserve Israel as a Jewish state by having refugees “return” to the new Palestine that will arise from the Occupied Territories, not to Mandate Palestine. In fact, senior Palestinian officials have already been quietly warning the refugee population not to hold on to the hope of returning to an old Palestine that no longer exists.

I'm sure that you all want to go back to Palestine, to the homes your families left in the Galilee, Jaffa and Haifa. Indeed, the Israelis expelled us from our lands, and I and my friends in the leadership will insist on our right to return. But it is important for you to know what is awaiting all those who choose to realize that right and prefer it over the option to settle in the new state of Palestine or to emigrate to Canada, or Europe, or to join families in other countries. You won't be going back to your home, nor to the neighborhood or the village. The houses, neighborhoods, and villages are all gone. New cities have been built on your lands, and in your houses, Jewish babies have been born. You will join a Palestinian minority in a country where the language of the state is not their language, its culture is not theirs, its flag is not theirs, and the anthem is not theirs. No jobs await you, nor a welcome home.

-- Abu Mazen, to the refugees of Yarmuk Camp, Syria. [6]

I told them that if anyone tells them it is their duty [to try to return to Israel] and not only a right, they should slap them back. I told them they won't find their homes in Sheikh Munes, and that nowadays it's called Ramat Aviv.

– Dr. Nabil Sha’at, Palestinian Foreign Minister, to the refugees of Rashadiyeh Camp, Jordan. [6]

If the PLO is not actually expecting refugees to return to Israel, what exactly are they asking for in asserting the Right to Return? The key lies in the Sari Nusseibeh article cited above, Palestinian State Will Solve Refugee Problem, in which Nusseibeh explains that an important component to a solution to the Right of Return is some level of Israeli recognition that it is responsible for the Palestinian refugee problem:

The Palestinians need Israeli recognition and admission of the pain that was caused them - even partial recognition or [recognition] that it was unintentional. Such a recognition would have psychological importance that the Palestinians need, and cannot be measured in price.

Israeli recognition:

Isaac Deutscher, a Polish Jew, described the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in terms of a man who jumps from a burning building. Europe’s Jews were trapped in the 1930’s and 40’s in an inferno not of their own making. The only way to save themselves was to jump. The act of jumping was Zionism, and the place they landed was Palestine. Unfortunately, in jumping to safety, Europe’s persecuted Jews landed on an innocent passerby, who had nothing to do with setting the fire that was killing the Jews. The passerby was the Palestinian people. In saving themselves, the Jewish immigrants to Palestine landed on the Palestinian passerby and broke his arms and legs. They then got up and walked to safety without even acknowledging the plight of the passerby. It is this reality – of the disaster that befell an existing Palestinian people and culture when a new state was established in their midst - that the PLO is asking Israelis to acknowledge, when it asks for Israel to at least recognize that Palestinian refugees have a theoretical right to return to the homes that they lost in the founding of Israel.

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy understood how fundamental is the need for Israeli recognition, as he meditated on the Pope’s historical visit to Yad Vashem and his apology to the Jewish people for centuries of Catholic anti-Semitism:

As far as can be recalled, Israel has never apologized for anything, as though it were a state that has never done anything that merits an apology. Not the "small" injustices of the occupation and not the great historic injustice done to the Palestinians…. An Israeli apology? Forget it. A request for forgiveness? Don't make us laugh.

Is there anyone in Israel who seriously thinks that the Palestinians do not deserve an apology? Israel will one day have to set up its own truth and reconciliation commission, like the one in South Africa - particularly for what it has wrought in the last 10 years - as part of a process of internal conciliation and purification. This will be even more necessary with regard to the great historical injustice. We may have been righteous victims in 1948, but on the road to realizing our claim to justice we perpetrated a terrible wrong on another people who had absolutely no connection with our calamity. That wrong continues to bleed in the refugee camps, in the occupied territories and in the Palestinian diaspora, and it will continue to haunt us and prevent the achievement of a genuine settlement. For the most part it is irrevocable; no reparations will atone for it. But Israel is unwilling, to this day, to even acknowledge its existence, not to speak of taking responsibility for it.
(Ask Forgiveness? Who, Us?, Ha'aretz, 26 March, 2000).

Indeed, for much of their history, Israelis – and before them, the pioneers of Zionism - have studiously ignored the very presence of a pre-existing population in Palestine. For the first fifty years of the Zionist enterprise, Palestine was sold as a land without people, waiting for people without a land [7]. As late as 1969, Israeli PM Golda Meir could exclaim, Who are the Palestinians? There was no such thing as a Palestinian people in Palestine. It was as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist [8]. Even as recently as the premiership of Ehud Barak, the Israeli government continued to maintain publicly that the Palestinian refugee crisis was nothing to do with Israel. It is this denial of Palestinian existence and Palestinian history that the PLO is seeking to end once and for all by asserting the Right of Return. The Palestinians are asking Israelis to recognize that when Israel was founded Palestine was already home to a people with a history and a culture, who did not give it up by choice.

If this is what the Palestinian Right of Return really means, why doesn’t the PLO leadership come out openly and acknowledge unequivocally that the refugees are never going to return to Israel proper? This would lay to rest the Israelis’ fear, well exploited by those on the right who oppose a negotiated solution with the Palestinians anyway, that the PLO is seeking to destroy Israel by swamping it with refugees. But this underestimates the importance of the Right of Return to the Palestinian side. In Avnery’s words: The Right of Return expresses the very core of the Palestinian national ethos. It is anchored in the memories of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, and the feeling that a historic injustice was committed against the Palestinian people. The PLO could no more sell a unilateral concession of this size to the Palestinians than an Israeli government could sell to the Israeli public a unilateral renunciation of its claim to sovereignty over all Jerusalem.

The PLO insists that the detailed solution to the refugee problem can only be made at the negotiating table, because concessions of this magnitude can only be swallowed in a comprehensive agreement in which mutual compromise lessens the pain of what is being given up. French journalist Charles Enderlin recognized the impossibility of treating the refugee issue in isolation from the wider issue of the Occupation when he wrote, in refutation of the “Generous Offer” myth: It’s an insult to human intelligence to imagine, as some propaganda makes out, that the Palestinian leadership thought it possible to conclude a peace deal that included the return to Israel of 3.7m refugees. The truth is that they could only have agreed to drop this historic PLO claim in exchange for a viable Palestinian state on virtually the whole of the West Bank and Gaza, with the Arab part of Jerusalem as capital [9].

A Compromise Solution:

What kind of Right of Return might emerge from a negotiated peace leading to a two-state solution? Well, we don’t need to resort to guesswork here, as considerable progress was made on the refugee issue in the negotiations that followed the failed Camp David summit - certainly enough to show what a final settlement of the issue is going to look like. The most important breakthrough came at Taba in January 2001, where the Israeli negotiators offered this declaration to their Palestinian counterparts:

The issue of the Palestinian refugees is central to Israeli-Palestinian relations. Its comprehensive and just resolution is essential to creating a lasting and morally scrupulous peace. … The State of Israel solemnly expresses its sorrow for the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees, their suffering and losses, and will be an active partner in ending this terrible chapter that was opened 53 years ago.

Despite accepting United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 [calling for the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish, one Arab], the emergent State of Israel became embroiled in the war and bloodshed of 1948-49, that led to victims and suffering on both sides, including the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian civilian population who became refugees… . A just settlement of the refugee problem in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 must lead to the implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

In this declaration, Israel recognized for the first time that it shared responsibility for the problem of the Palestinian refugees. It agreed to contribute directly to a solution to the problem, and it affirmed that this must lead to the implementation of UN resolution 194, which stipulates that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.

Having finally received Israeli recognition of the right to return, how did the Palestinians propose to implement that right? Well, the Taba negotiations produced the following framework. Under the auspices of an international commission that would organize and fund the resettlement package, Palestinian refugees would have a choice of:

- Repatriation to Israel proper;

- Repatriation to the “swapped territories” (i.e. the small areas of Israel to be transferred to Palestine, in return for the annexation to Israel of the largest Jewish settlements contiguous to Israel);

- Resettlement in the new Palestinian state, created out of the Occupied Territories;

- Absorption by the host states that have housed them since 1948 (a proposal which is raised again in the Saudi peace proposal of January 2004);

- Resettlement in a third country (Canada and some European states offered to accept Palestinian refugees willing to relocate there, as part of a comprehensive peace package).

The new state of Palestine would be regarded as the natural destination for most refugees, and repatriation to Israel proper would require in each case the approval of the Israeli government. With compensation and resettlement packages designed to make the non-Israeli options most appealing, how many of the 3.7m refugees would ultimately return to Israel proper? Well, no final figure was agreed, but the numbers under consideration varied from about 25,000 (to be admitted over a three-year period) to a maximum of 40,000 over five years.

So, in the end, the Palestinian Right of Return does not involve the destruction of the Jewish state under a flood of 3.7 million refugees. In reality, it comes down to maybe 40,000 returnees, several billion dollars’ worth of international funding, and five letters: S-O-R-R-Y.


Footnotes:

[1] According to the British government’s A Survey of Palestine - Supplement, pub. Jerusalem (1947), p. 10.

[2] Quoted in Michael Bar Zohar's Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, pub. Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.

[3] From a speech to the Haifa Technion, reported in Ha’aretz, April 4, 1969.

[4] Charles Enderlin, Shattered Dreams: The Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995-2002. Pub. Other Press, 2003; p.324.

[5] Gilad Sher, Just Beyond Reach: The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations 1999-2001, p 156.

[6] Both quoted in Abu Mazen and Nabil Sha’at to Palestinian Refugees: You Aren’t Going Back to Israel, by Akiva Eldar; Ha'aretz, September 5, 2002.

[7] Israel Zangwill, The Return to Palestine, New Liberal Review II, Dec. 1901, p.627.

[8] Golda Meir: Interview with The Sunday Times [of London], 15 June, 1969; quoted in Palestinians: The Making of A People, by Baruch Kimmerling & Joel S. Migdal.

[9] Charles Enderlin, Shattered Dreams: The Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995-2002. Pub. Other Press, 2003.

February 01, 2004 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack