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 COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The Impact of Israel’s Ongoing Military Incursions into Palestinian “Areas A”: A Naked Assault on the Rule of Law in Palestine
Gail J. Bolding
Senior Legal Researcher
Birzeit University Institute of Law
Birzeit, Palestine

Israel’s massive military offensive throughout the entire West Bank begun on 29 March 2002 (and continuing as of this writing) which Israel has code-named “Operation Defensive Shield” has again raised serious questions about Israel’s ability to tolerate the establishment of democracy and rule of law in Palestine.

The extent of the damage inflicted upon the Palestinian civil society infrastructure - estimated to range between $300 to $500 million - is staggering. Analysts are uniform in commenting that it will take “years” to rebuild what Israel has destroyed in one month.

It should be noted here at the outset that the international community has recognized unequivocally that Israel’s military occupation of the 1967 occupied territories is illegal. The illegality stems from the rule of customary international law (binding upon all nations and codified in the UN Charter) known as the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. This is why UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967) unambiguously calls upon Israel to withdraw from territory it occupied in 1967. It is already understood that the customary rule of international law prohibiting the acquisition of territory by force requires Israel to withdraw from all the territory it occupied in 1967. In addition, Israel’s occupation is illegal on a separate ground that it violates the Palestinian people’s fundamental collective human right of self-determination, which has also been codified in the UN Charter as well the major human rights treaties.

The obvious conclusion that flows from this fundamental observation that Israel’s occupation is illegal is that Israel is obligated to remedy this illegality by withdrawing from the 1967 occupied territories immediately, unconditionally and completely. From a legal point of view, the obligation upon Israel to withdraw is absolute and not subject to negotiation.

Having established the underlying illegality of Israel’s entire presence in the 1967 occupied territories, it becomes almost redundant to discuss specific actions that Israel perpetrates - and has done so continuously for the past 34 years - in these areas. However, “Operation Defensive Shield” and Israel’s actions during the preceding 19 months of escalated assaults upon Palestinian civil society are so extreme that such further scrutiny is, of course, required.

Of particular concern to the community of legal professionals should be the Israeli military’s deliberate targeting of essential Palestinian rule of law institutions throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are so necessary to the healthy growth of democracy and civil society in Palestine, including in the future fully sovereign Palestinian state. Israel’s deliberate targeting of these institutions raises profound questions about whether Israel might actually be more afraid of the growth of Palestinian democracy and rule of law than it is of violent attacks. Furthermore, Israel’s assaults raise additional questions about prospects for respect for the rule of law inside Israel itself.

Consider the extent of damage and the comprehensiveness of the pattern of Israel’s attacks.

First, primary judicial institutions were targeted. During “Operation Defensive Shield,” the Israeli military broke into the Palestinian Court of Appeals in Ramallah and ransacked files. Such an assault is a blatant violation of the independence of the judiciary. In addition, due to the severe “closure” policies which the Israeli army imposes on all “Areas A,” including Ramallah, no West Bank ID-holders are permitted to enter Ramallah. (This rule has even been applied to some Ramallah residents who have been told, paradoxically, that once they leave Ramallah, they are not allowed back in, and vice versa.) This severe movement restriction has prevented judges from the Palestinian Court of Appeals from reaching their place of work in Ramallah.

Similarly, Israel’s severe closure policies imposed since September 2000 on the entire Gaza Strip have also crippled the functioning of the Palestinian High Court of Justice. The Gaza “external closure” policy prevents all Palestinian West Bank ID-holders from entering the Gaza Strip. Additional “internal closure” policies imposed inside the Gaza Strip have similarly prevented Gaza residents from reaching the High Court. The result is that judges, attorneys, clients and witnesses are almost completely barred from accessing this important legal institution, whose work has consequently ground to a virtual standstill.

Israel’s widespread and longstanding closure policies, it should be noted, comprise an obvious form of “collective punishment,” which is categorically prohibited under customary international humanitarian law binding upon all states in cases of military occupation (specifically, Article 50 of the Hague Regulations of 1907).

On the legislative front, the picture is no less grim. The Palestine Legislative Council, which has representatives from both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, has been unable to meet in a single unified session since September 2000. Attempts to convene via teleconference have been made, but Israel’s severe movement restrictions have impeded even this remedial approach, as Palestinian representatives are still obstructed by “internal closures” from reaching the teleconference sites. These movement restrictions have also paralyzed the functioning of the Diwan al-Fatwa wa al-Tashri (the legislative drafting committee).

Many other Palestinian governmental offices related to civil society and the rule of law were also targeted during “Operation Defensive Shield,” most by direct shelling. In Nablus, the governor’s office was demolished, eradicating important official records including land registration forms. In Ramallah, the population registry and passport office were similarly destroyed.

In the private sector, Israel’s systematic pattern of attack on Palestinian rule of law institutions is continued. During “Operation Defensive Shield,” Israeli military personnel broke into and ransacked numerous human rights NGOs, offices of private law firms and even university premises. Computer hard drives were stolen, equipment was destroyed and interiors were smashed with sledgehammers. Systematic looting and vandalism of such crucial rule of law institutions is difficult to justify under any circumstances.

Finally, Israel’s massive military assaults on the Palestinian police force and preventive security services have severely eroded the ability of Palestinian society to police and govern itself, including enforcing legal judgments issued by courts. By the time “Operation Defensive Shield” had reached its peak, the Israeli military had shelled virtually every building related to technical operations and administration of the Palestinian police and security establishments. The targets included prisons, office complexes and even the Palestinian Security Court in Ramallah. A new forensics laboratory in Ramallah was reportedly blown up with demolition charges. One Ramallah police chief estimated that at least 80 percent of the police infrastructure in Ramallah had been wiped out in the past 19 months. Even if criminals are captured, there is no place to hold them.

How can Palestinian civil society be expected to govern and police itself when the institutions charging with carrying out these functions have been militarily attacked and functionally paralyzed? Obviously it’s extremely difficult. One could conclude that this is exactly what the Israeli leadership hoped to achieve, i.e., to cause the break-down of Palestinian civil society into localized ad hoc “policing” arrangements, or even near anarchy. In this view, Israel appears to be trying the classic “divide and rule” approach to achieve implosion of Palestinian civil society through the systematic “assisted disintegration” of its rule of law institutions.

As already noted, Israel’s efforts to retard the growth of Palestinian civil society and rule of law institutions predate “Operation Defensive Shield” and events following September 2000, although these policies have manifested themselves in more extreme forms in the last 19 months, and especially since 29 March 2002. Indeed, Israel has imposed its crippling “closure” policies throughout the entire “Oslo process” since 1993. More fundamentally, throughout its entire 34-year-long belligerent military occupation, Israel has deliberately strangled the creation and functioning of independent Palestinian civil society institutions - including even institutions of higher education, as well as the very economic support base for Palestinian civil society itself - in an obvious effort to prevent the growth of democracy and rule of law institutions in Palestine. Palestinian democracy is the very antithesis of Israeli military occupation, which perhaps accounts for Israel’s strong aversion to it and continuous attempts to suppress its growth.

In light of the systematic nature of Israel’s most recent violent military attacks upon Palestinian rule of law institutions - the inevitable logical outcome of Israel’s 34-year-long effort to suffocate Palestinian civil society - it is now more incumbent than ever upon legal professionals to speak out and protest against Israel’s actions.

Democracy and the rule of law are the only options for the healthy development of Palestinian society, including the future fully sovereign Palestinian state. No supporter of democracy, human rights, civil rights or the rule of law can stand idly by while Israel continues to carry out its blatant assault upon the nascent institutions of Palestinian democracy and rule of law. We are all harmed by such attacks.

Gail J. Bolding, J.D., is Senior Legal Researcher and Assistant Editor of the Palestine Yearbook of International Law at Birzeit University Institute of Law, Birzeit, Palestine.

May 9, 2002

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What are your views on the issues raised by this JURIST column?

  • Friday May 10, 2002 at 11:37 am
    I don't think Operation Defensive Shield can be called a naked assault, or an assault at all, on the rule of law in Palestine. Quite simply, there is no Palestinian consitution, and the laws that are in effect in Palestine are a hodge podge of customs and laws previously instituded by foreign governments. There is accordingly no uniformity to laws anywhere in Palestine as a result. Additionally, the ability of President Arafat to "confirm, ease, or stiffen" criminal sentences eliminates the judiciary's independence on its own. We have already seen this in the convictions of the murderers of Israeli Tourism Minister Ze'evi; the judge was a security officer with no previous legal background selected on an emergency basis. In an ideal world, for Israel at least, none of this would matter. But aside from failing to provide a positive legal, social and economic framework for Palestinian society to grow in, it has also allowed and even promoted the murder and massacre of innocent Israeli citizens. The proof of the former is obvious, the proof of the latter has come by way of Defensive Shield. Ms. Bolding is correct in surmising that democracy and the rule of law are the only options for the healthy development of Palestinian society. But it is disengenuous to ignore Israel's basic need for security. Whatever the political background, it can not be argued that terrorist strikes against Israeli civilians are acceptable. And if the unfortunately long history of terrorism against the Israeli people isn't enough cause for alarm, then the Palestinian Authority's recent sponsorship of terrorism certainly is. The goal from here should be a determined effort on behalf of the Palestinian people, with and prodded by international assistance, to make a determined effort at establishing a legitimate government and the rule of law. The most obvious implication of this is a constitution, and the establishment of a truly independent judiciary therein. Only when a working and responsible government are established in Palestine will there be a sense of hope for the Palestinian people, and a chance for them, and Israelis, to share and benefit from a lasting peace.

    Michael Cartine
    Massachussetts, U.S.

  • Monday May 13, 2002 at 9:48 am
    you say: "It should be noted here at the outset that the international community has recognized unequivocally that Israel's military occupation of the 1967 occupied territories is illegal. The illegality stems from the rule of customary international law (binding upon all nations and codified in the UN Charter) known as the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. This is why UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967) unambiguously calls upon Israel to withdraw from territory it occupied in 1967." You're a very strange man. You cliam to be interested in the law. Eeveryone knows this is an ongoing controversy. Some say international law is exactly what does support Israel, since the land was captured in a defensive war, and there has been NO treaty to settle that war. No amount on pretended legal decrees by you will change that.

    Steve M
    AFSI
    NYC, USA

  • Friday May 17, 2002 at 1:28 pm
    Law? What law? If the “law” is not applied to all parties evenly, the “law” defies its purpose. Laws are coming with responsibilities, not handouts! For how long will the world allow the “Palestinian” leadership to get away from obeying the law! See Jordan! See Lebanon! See Kuwait! And now Israel! If we discuss about “occupation”; what about the “occupation” between 1948 till 1967… almost 20 years. Or, is that different, legally? Do we have one set of laws for Arabs and another one for Jews! I am really disappointed to see this article here! I thought this is a respectable site not a propaganda window to the world!

    Nicolas Migo
    Ontario/Canada

  • Friday May 31, 2002 at 3:25 am
    Ms Bolding, Assistant Editor of the Palestine Yearbook, unwisely claims in her biased articled that "No supporter of democracy, human [and] civil rights or the rule of law can stand idly by while Israel … assault[s] … the nascent institutions of Palestinian democracy…. We are all harmed by such attacks." I would like to note that the institutions of Palestinian democracy have been many thing throughout their desolate history, however, not even their most stubborn supporters would have the audacity to assert that Palestinian institutions have had any indications or desire to operate in a democratic manner. Not then, and not now--but hopefully tomorrow. However, the fact that the Palestinian society fails to, or opts not to, maintain itself by means of a democracy is insignificant. I simply wish to point out that it is, to say the least, unscholarly to claim that supporters of democracy and all other things decent should not stand idly by while Israel assaults Palestinian institutions. The same institutions whose President signed contracts for the purchase of and smuggling of terrorist weaponry from Iran (unequivocally illegal under any interpretation of the international and other laws--while the legality of the “occupation” of the land acquired in 1967 has been an on-going issue and never settled). This was not the first instance that President Arafat, Chairman of one of the largest terrorist organization in the world, second only to Al Qaeda, has been proven to be involved in terrorist activities. Arafat’s abhorrent pursuit of terrorism, against the state of Israel and others, has been well documented over the last 35 years. I urge readers to bear in mind the current state of affairs taking place in the world. The American Government declared war on and destroyed the ruling regime in Afghanistan, the Taliban, because it indirectly supported terrorism by providing refuge to a known terrorist. And since September 11th, our Government has received nothing but support from civilized nations in our fight against terrorism; moreover, the vast majority of the less advanced countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia have expressed their sympathies as well. And rightly so! So why is Ms Bolding so surprised and disturbed that the Israeli government, in self defense, is doing everything in its power to stop a known terrorist from operating his institutions that are not nascent institutions of democracy, but rather tools used to penetrate violence and terrorism? If not for the ignorance and anti-semitism of some indivuals (including most heads of state in Islamic regimes and Arafat and his aides), the Israelis and the unfortunate Palestinian people who have been plagued by a corrupt “government” and the foolish acts of the few would be able to come closer to understanding each other. Of course understanding is not the end we all hope to achieve; but I propose that such mutual understanding and consideration is the best means to achieve the common goal: to have the State of Israeli living in peace along side an independent, and hopefully democratic, Palestinian State. On a side note, Ms Bolding may wish to read the text and legislative history of the U.N. Charter along with the Resolutions she finds pertinent before citing them erroneously to support a proposition that they do not.

    Pejman N.
    Law Student
    NYC

  • Sunday June 02, 2002 at 10:28 pm
    In reforming the current Palestinian Government, with the hopes of making it more democratic, Arafat has offered Government positions to the Al Aqsa Brigades, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The first two have denied the offer, Hamas has stated that it is still considering the option and must first consult with its "colleagues" outside of Palestine. Apparently, contacting Mr. Bin Laden has become a bit more difficult lately. As such, I hope that the rule of law the current Palestinian officials are attempting to create never comes to fruition. Furthermore, if for some reason Israel is no longer capable of suppressing such a regime, the international community has a duty make sure that any State or government to fruition is a democratic and non-terrorist one. See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514
    &ncid=716&e=3&u=/ap/20020602/
    ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians_4509

    W. Bidwell
    Oxford
    UK

  • Thursday June 20, 2002 at 4:42 pm
    "make sure that any State or government to fruition is a democratic and non-terrorist one"
    What this naive point of view supposes is that a democratic government will embrace Israeli and American objectives.
    Palestinian poeple as all the polls suggest feel that they have a right to defend their land and livelihood from capricious attacks by Israel.
    It seems more likely that a democratic government will be far less accomodating to Israel than the current PA.
    Unless you beleive that Palestinians are inherently evil or misinformed you should think for a minute what drove them to such extremes.

    Shibl
    Mourad
    Canada

  • Friday June 21, 2002 at 1:52 am
    I definitely do not believe that the Palestinian people are inherently evil. Misinformed, most likely. For that reason my heart drops everytime I see a Palestinian child crying or hurt--just as it does when I see my neighbors' children or Israeli children in the same state. The unfortunate thing is that a relatively few Palestinian individuals, call them the PA or whatever you like, who have been entrusted with the duty to look after their fellow Palestinians are evil and have been corrupted by greed. If those 16 year old suicide bombers had been educated, if they had been tought that there is more to life than what the local Jihad/Hamas representative tells them, I truly believe the chances of them committing such an evil act would be significantly less. Now I'm sure you can't wait to come back with a statistic suggesting that some of those suicide bombers, like the one that struck 2 days ago, were educated and were in fact enrolled in college. I will not disagree, but ask yourself what that person had been tought up to that point. These people have been ignorantly taught for decades that the Jews are evil people and it is the Muslims' duty to extinguish them from the earth, or at least the middle east. Should you wish to dispute this fact please conduct some preliminary research. What drives these unfortunate Palestinians to such extremes is desperation (as a result of being exploited and taken advantage of by community leaders) combined with a lack of money (which is conviniently taken care of once you kill yourself and innocent people when Iraq/Iran/Syria/SA gives your family money) and a good brain-washing (70 beautiful virgins all to yourself does not sound too bad if you really believe it). And as for my comment that any state or Government to develope from the current PA should be a "democratic and non-terrorist one," I quite frankly don't care what type of government comes to fruition, democracy, monarchy or whatever, I further don't care if they "embrace" Israel or the US either--those countries have been doing pretty well for years without the Palestinians' embrace. The only concern is to have a non-terrorist Government, and have non-corrupt individuals running such Government.

    W. Bidwell
    Oxford
    UK

  • Friday June 21, 2002 at 12:00 pm
    In response to Bidwell. Of course there are some cultural factors that encourage suicide terrorism. Mainly the beleif of the after-life.
    But as for blaming armed struggle on brain-washing etc, I think none is required. If you have been thrown out of your country and replaced with a collection of individual coming from all over the world because they beleive they are the "chosen poeple" and have been given this land by god, you do not need a lot of brain-washing to conclude that some fighting is required.
    What requires more brain washing in your opinion:
    1) Desire to fight for your country and poeple
    2) Desire to leave your place of birth and that of your ancestors for generations to go to a place that was "promised to you by god". And in the process to deprive millions of their land and livelihood?
    3) Belief that poeple choosing option 2 have every right to do so at the expense of others and should be supported by your tax money, army and government

    Having said that, it is clear that any sane individual wants a non-terrorist, non-corrupt government. But saying that Palestinians are misguided rather than addressing their concerns is a sure way not to reach that goal.

    Shibl Mourad
    Canada

  • Thursday July 04, 2002 at 8:55 am
    What appears lost on Mr. Mourad is that no fighting is necessary in the first place, let alone that even if fighting was necessary not all means are acceptable. There can be no justification for the campaign of terrorism and blowing up innocent civilians.

    The self-proclaimed aim of the terrorists is the destruction of Israel. They aren't fighting against Israeli "occupation" or "oppression". As Hamas' Sheik Yassin recently told the Daily Mirror (13 May 2002), "We will continue our fight until Israel is an Islamic state." The terrorists are fighting against the peace process that the PA feigned to embrace in English while Arafat sat on the fence and in Arabic encouraged violence, never leading his people toward the acceptance of a negotiated compromise and peace.

    Hopefully the irony that the "reform" of the PA was enabled by the Israeli military operation is not lost on Ms. Bolding.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Monday July 22, 2002 at 1:45 pm
    "What appears lost on Mr. Mourad is that no fighting is necessary in the first place"

    It has been a long tradition in human history that:
    "occupied terretories" => "resistance movement".

    I agree that not all forms of fighting are justified. But I hope you agree that no occupation is justified either.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Wednesday July 24, 2002 at 6:53 pm
    Of course occupation is justified under certain circumstances; for example, when doing so to prevent terrorist attacks. And please don't argue that these attacks are perpetuated only in response to the occupation--Israel has been under constant attack by the same terrorist organizations for over 50 years. Also, Mourad, next time leave out the arrows and write out what you mean.

    Ali H.
    student
    Tehran, Iran

  • Tuesday July 30, 2002 at 2:34 pm
    Hi Ali, I apologize about the arrows if they confused you.
    It seems we are stuck in a chicken and eggs problem.
    That Israel occupied the West Bank to reduce terrorist attacks on its civilians might sound logical. It seems more probable however that it did so to pursue its simple plan of making Palestine the homeland of the Jews.
    I do not see how moving poeple from inside your borders into the location where terrorism is said to start will help. Except by saving the terrorist from the trouble of actually making a trip to its target.
    Think carefully, are the settlements helping the security of Israel? Would terrorism increase or be reduced if they were not there? Are they a human shield?
    Of course Israelis hate terrorism and want to stop it, but I suspect that a lot of hard core Zionist like Ariel Sharon are actually pushing expansionist agenda through the guise of anti-terrorism.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Wednesday July 31, 2002 at 6:18 pm
    Mourad, my friend, I agree with you for the most part and I don't think you essentially dissagree with I wrote earlier. I wish to clarify, though, that Israel is not occupying the West Bank to reduce terrorism on its citizens; it's occupying the rest of the Palestinian land and refugee camps to achieve that end. And they have been very successful. Think objectively: Would you want your country to act any differetly? Of course not. Settlements do not, in any way, help to promote peace or understanding. Their only purpose is to gain control of more land. I don't think any Jews would deny this--myself included. However, this is an issue to be resolved by way of negotiations, politics, international votes and the such. Terrorism (blowing up students while they eat in the cafeteria) on the other hand, is something that can only be responded to by military action. It is the only thing that works. And before you jump to the argument that Israel os commiting terrorist acts like killing 9 children a few weeks ago in an assault consider this: that man was responsible for killing scores of innocent civilians, he was the head of the military wing of one of the most viscious terrorist organizations in the world, he showed no indications of stoping such actions. Is it not normal, expected even, that a country would want to defend itself by killing this man?

    Ali H.
    Student
    Tehran

  • Friday August 02, 2002 at 5:35 pm
    Again the problem I think is that there are 2 objectives that Israel is seeking: peace, and expnasion.
    The Palestinians have are split into 2 factions: extremists and moderates.
    I personally think that Sharon is an expansionist and Arafat is a moderate. (I might be wrong)
    It seems that the actions of the IDF and Hamas are in concert helping the extremists on both sides, but I would blame the Israeli government more than the PA. Simply looking at their political beleifs would show that the PA leaders would be happy with an honorable compromise while the current Israeli leadership is not into giving any inch of the "historical land of Israel" away.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Friday August 02, 2002 at 5:42 pm
    As for Ali's question "Would you want your country to act any differetly?", which I assume to mean that each nation has a duty to pursue national interests regardless of impact on others.
    I personally disagree, I have no desire to see others suffer to enhance my national goals. And even if I did, I think that those actions usually bite you back. In the case of Israel, if I was an Israeli I would do my best to defuse the problem, even if I lost on some issues like settlments and minor border adjustments, if in exchange I could be integrated into the region, culturally and economically. I think the grand grand children of the current Israelis will benefit more from being part of the middle east, than from owning 20 km more or less from the current borders.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Saturday August 03, 2002 at 9:26 am
    Do you seriously not see that Israel is fighting for its life, not for some 20kms more. That overwhelming majority of Palestinians (and islamic world in general) do not recognize Israel's right to exist. This is the fundamental problem. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. Is it that difficult for you to see the truth here? Honestly, do you believe Israel has the right to exist (even owning 40 km less)? The overwhelming majority of Israelis support 2 state solution, while overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe that the goal of intifadeh is the destruction of Israel (read the freaking polls). Also, really, it is a total lunacy to equate IDF and Hamas. Hamas is a medieval blood cult fighting for elimination of Israel and for establishment of islamic state in its place. As for its methods, it is desperately trying to kill as many israelis as it can. And it is a mainstream organization in Palestinian society, not a fringe. Would IDF use HAMAS methods, there would be no Palestinian problem (and no Palestinians) anymore. IDF routinely risks life of its soldiers to minimize civillain casualties.

    Why am I wasting my time here
    USA

  • Wednesday August 07, 2002 at 7:01 pm
    "Also, really, it is a total lunacy to equate IDF and Hamas"
    Absolutly, one is an occupying army and the other is a freedom movement.
    What they do have in common is that both are the fighting force of a religo/racist political movement. One wants a Jewish state, the other wants an Islamic state.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Thursday August 08, 2002 at 5:57 pm
    Ooooh, I don't know about that. Mourad, you previously suggested that you were a moderate, and to compare Hamas to the IDF is a pretty ballsy thing to do--seriously. I have friends who consider themselves "light-extremists" and I don't think even they would have the audacity to imply that what the IDF does is in anyway equivalent to the destruction that Hamas causes. What the IDF does is try to actively defend the civilians living inside its country's borders, and they sometimes have to do that by "invading" into Palestinian land. Do you think they want to be there--risking their lives? I'm would think not--they're taking defensive measures. But tell me what's defensive about sneaking into another country to blow up a cafeteria full of Arab, Israeli, and other students? While we're on the subject, do you really consider the PA (headed by the known terrorist Arafat--this is no longer speculation or rumor)"moderates"? I don't agree that Sharon is an extremist (although he certainly comes close), but I can surely understand why someone would. But do you honestly (please just take a minute and think objectively and answer me honestly)think the PA are moderates? If Palestinian supporters really believe that "PA leaders would be happy with an honorable compromise" maybe that is a problem in itself. These poor Palestinian people, who along with the victims of these terrorist attacks have suffered the most in this whole ordeal, are suffering at the hands of the PA. I wholeheartedly believe that the PA is 100% responsible for every drop of blood.

    Ali
    Tehran

  • Friday August 09, 2002 at 9:43 am
    In response to Ali. I think we attach too much importance to words like moderates or extremist, as we do to terrorist. ie moderate good, extremist bad. When I call a person moderate I mean that he falls in the center of the opinion spectrum comapred to the group being discussed. Being a moderate (the way I use the word) is a simply a comparative measure. So you can have a moderate Maoist who is an extremist Communist, and so on.
    Using this measure, I think you would agree that Arafats demands for a final settlment are in the center of the Palestinian public opinion. Sharone would fall in the most demanding 25%. Hence my calling them moderate and extreme. Again this does not give a higher moral branding to either (that would be another discussion).
    As for IDF defending its territory, the simple fact is that they are occupying a foreign country. If you are part of those who think that the West Bank is not an occupied territory, then how come West Bankers can not vote in the Israeli parliment?
    If you think that Israel is holding onto the west bank to protect itself from those nasty suicide bombers, you should check the statistics and see that 100s of Palestinians were killed before a single suicide bomber exploded.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Saturday August 10, 2002 at 1:49 am
    This is an outrageous lie. Israel stopped handing over territory to PA and then reoccupied West Bank only because of terror attacks. "Those nasty suicide bombers" (your sarcasm is noted btw, Mr. Moderate) continued to menace Israel throughout the Oslo process - even when Israel was handing parts of West Bank and Gaza over to PA. Israel exercised restraint for a long time, there were numerous deadly attacks in 2000 and 2001 (see timeline at, e.g., http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1197051.stm). It is only after Passover Massacre in March 2002 in Netaniya that IDF reoccupied West Bank. These are the facts. So, it is you who should check the "statistics". As for you continued reference to occupation as primary reason for violence - Truth of the matter is that Yassir Arafat's PLO was founded BEFORE 1967, i.e., BEFORE the territories you are talking about were occupied in the first place. And the goal was ELIMINATION of Israel. WHEN PLO WAS FOUNDED? BEFORE OR AFTER 1967? WHAT WAS THE GOAL? HAVE YOU SEEN THE PLO CHARTER? So, Mr. Mourad, have the courage to see the facts instead of inventing lies. Not occupation and then violence, but, just the opposite, first violence and then occupation. When violence stops - only then occupation will end. This is how it is going to be. Do you understand? BTW, you are saying that Israel is occupying another country. What country is that, Mr. Mourad? Can you tell me its name? These territories are not occupied country, these are disputed territories. The last recognized sovereign there was Ottoman Empire which disintegrated in 1918. State Of Palestine was never created so far, even though Arabs could do it before 1967. Well, you choose to attack Israel instead... So, is it not time to stop blaming others for your misery. Is it not time to take responsibility for your actions? There is no question that would your people stop behaving like animals, they would have their state in the West Bank and Gaza long ago. Well, these territories would not be captured in the first place. And even now you still have a chance for a state there, but only AFTER you stop your delusions and savagery.

    When do you stop blaming others for your misery
    USA

  • Saturday August 10, 2002 at 9:59 am
    In reply to anonymous above, first a very a little side note, I am not blaming anybody for my misery, since I am not miserable (thank god).
    As for the misery of the Palestinian refugees, and those under occupation, there are a lot of parties to blame including the Europeans, Arabs, Americans and Palestinians themselves.
    What we are debating is not who is to blame, but who is withholding the rights of others.
    In this case it is my opinion, that in the absolute moral sense, Israel is withholding Palestinian territory and preventing refugees to come back to their homes.
    As for "So, it is you who should check the "statistics"", I propose you find a simple breakdown of the number of civilians killed and injured on both sides since 1985.
    You ask "WHEN PLO WAS FOUNDED?"
    The PLO was founded in 1964. Remember that in 1948, 800,000 refugees left their homes out of 900,000 Palestinians living in the then created Israel.
    I have seen the PLO charter, have you seen the proceedings of various Zionist conferences? You sould.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Sunday August 11, 2002 at 11:32 pm
    I hope everybody sees now that when Mr. Mourad talks about occupation, he is talking about not territories occupied in the war of 1967 (3 years after creation of PLO) - i.e., not about "occupied territories" in the meaning of Oslo agreement (signed btw by Mr. Arafat and Co) and UNSCAR 242. His point of reference is 1948 (see above), i.e., he is talking about territories on which Israel was created in 1948. Just as PLO charter, Mr. Mourad has in mind elimination of Israel. I am going to saying this only one time more: vast majority of Israelis support 2 state solution while vast majority of Palestinians do not recognize Israel's right to exist. This is the fundamental problem. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

    I am out of here
    USA

  • Monday August 12, 2002 at 8:48 am
    Dear I am out of here, actually when I mention occupied territories I am talking about the one in UNSCAR 242. However, I still think that the refugee situation is another issue to be resolved.
    Furthermore, according to a May 2002 conducted by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research:
    A majority of 66% supports the Saudi peace plan calling for the establishment of two states, Palestine and Israel, an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, and the establishment of full normal relations and full peace between Israel and the Arab states. A majority of 54% also supports Palestinian participation in the peace conference called for by the US.
    A majority of 70% supports reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples after reaching a peace agreement based on the establishment of a Palestinian state recognized by Israel.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday August 13, 2002 at 2:44 pm
    I'm still a bit caught up in the comparison Mourad made between the IDF/Sharon and Hamas. Although I understand the point you're trying to make, this claim still seems completely outrageous. I think the 1st step Palestinians and Muslims in general have to take is recognizing that Hamas personifies a great portion of the bad and evil infecting the middle east. Were it not for them, there would be many more Palestinians and Israelis alive today. Many. But instead, most Palestinians and Muslims jump up defend Hamas, Jihad and those other lunatics when the issue comes up as if this were the cause being faught for: the right to kill Israelis. Palestinian statehood would be more readily attainable were these terrorist organizations dismantled. As long as you have Hamas and it's idiot "spiritual leader" around, Palestinians will suffer the consequences. For example, "according to Ismail Haniya, a close confidant of Hamas's spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, 'There is much common ground between Hamas and the other organizations, and the intifada has reinforced this. . . ." Haniya explicitly said, however, that Hamas supported "the establishment of a Palestinian state on all parts of the land of Palestine, without forgoing the rest and without recognizing the state of the Zionist entity." 8/13/02 If this is the goal Palestinians and Muslims contine to fight for, both sides will continue to suffer the consequences. The "ball" is in the Palestinian People's court--they have the duty and the obligation to tak the first step--which should be establishing a non-corrupt government. There are thousand of Palestinian children sick and dying of malnutrition while Arafat's personal Assets saw an increase this year to reach $1.3 billion. BILLION!!! How can anyone argue that that's not the result of corruption?

    Ali
    Tehran

  • Monday August 19, 2002 at 11:42 am
    All the points made by Ali are correct. Palestinians have a duty to themslves to remove corruption, religious bigotery and unnecessary violence from their society.
    However some comments:
    1) You are framing the issue as a muslim problem, while it is not, there are many Christian Palestinians that are suffering as much as the muslims and are as radical in their view of conflict. More generally I think it is an issue of justice and human suffering and should concern any person who cares about those things.
    2) The request for Palestinians to establish a western style democracy is very hypocritical coming from the US whose major allies were Saddam Husein when he was fighting Iran, Usama Bin Laden when he was fighting the Soviets, currently the Saudi and Egyptian regimes. Arafat with all his flows is the most democratically elected leader in the Arabic world. Again the idea is not to defend Arafat's corruption or Hamas bigotery, but to provide a context and unmask efforts to use the above as excuses for Israeli aggression.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Friday August 23, 2002 at 8:38 am
    Nice spin. So, it is "bigotry" that Israel faces and uses as an excuse for its "agression"??? Again trying to sweep Palestinian VIOLENCE under the carpet, Mr. Spinmeister? You know very well, that it is not "bigotry", but dead babies in strollers with rat poisoned nails sticking out of their bodies SPECIFICALLY TARGETED by your defendents - this is what Israel has to DEFEND its citizens against. When Palestinians stop trying to destroy Israel, they'll get their state. This is the fact. So, by trying to hide and spin you personally contribute to the perpetuation of this tragedy. The choice is yours.

    Stop spinning
    USA

  • Friday August 23, 2002 at 7:20 pm
    "When Palestinians stop trying to destroy Israel, they'll get their state."
    Don't forget that they have to create a democratic country, get rid of their current leader, improve their education system, provide for equal rights to women, love their neighbours, join the information superhighway, stop their alliances with suspect regimes, and other assorted conditions.

    Israel is occupying a country it should not. When the last Israeli soldier leaves any area that has no voting right today in the Israeli parliment, they can start to complain.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday September 24, 2002 at 3:45 am
    S Mourad stated: "looking at their political beleifs would show that the PA leaders would be happy with an honorable compromise."

    So why did they reject the Clinton plan offered at Taba which called for an Israeli withdrawal from 100% of Gaza and a contiguous 97% of Jordan's former "West Bank" (including the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem and shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount)? This compromise, accepted by Israeli P.M. Barak, would have created an internationally recognized Palestinian Arab state. Arab refugees could have "returned" to this state or benefitted from a $30 Billion fund.

    Yet Arafat's counter-offer was murderous violence and terrorism.

    Now Mr. Mourad attempts to excuse, justify and rationalize such attacks as the logical results of an "occupation". As if peace negotiations to end the Israeli administration were not on-going at the time the latest wave of Arab violence began 2 years ago this week.

    From 1949 to 1967 Gaza was occupied by Egypt, Judea and Samaria by Jordan (these regions then became known as Jordan's "West Bank"). Surely if "occupation" were the real reason for such terrorism then prior to 1967 the "Fedayeen" would have been attacking Egypt and Jordan. Yet then - as now - they attack Israel, for exactly the same reason that the Arabs attacked the newly founded state of Israel in 1947-48, in contravention to the UN compromise: their aim is to destroy Israel.

    I'm glad to see Mr. Mourad quote polls. I'm sure he realizes that a majority of Palestinian Arabs view the intifadah not as a way of ending the "occupation" but as an effort to destroy Israel. Hmmm.

    Indeed, at the time the intifadah began, Israel had already withdrawn from 42% of the disputed territories, the area in which 98% of the Arab population resided. These Arabs were living under the rule of the PA, not under Israeli "occupation".

    It is furthermore odd that Mr. Mourad wishes to tarnish Israel as "expansionist". Israel has withdrawn from 95% of the territories it gained in a defensive war in 1967 and has offered to withdraw from virtually all of the balance in exchange for peace. Israel has completely withdrawn from Lebanon, even clearing a 10 KM strip it had retained for security purposees. In 1956 Israel withdrew from territories it gained in war thinking that such a gesture might generate similar good will and peace. In 1973, after Israel was brutally attacked on 2 fronts and pushed back the attackers, nearly reaching Cairo and Damascus, Israel withdrew from all the territories it gained.

    The French philosopher Revel ("How Democracies Perish") writes that the best way to determine if a country is expansionist is to see if expansionism takes place. When we look at the mideast since 1947, what we see is that Israel has gained territory when attacked by its neighbors and that it has offered to exchange these for peace. It appears to be the Arab parties that have rejected compromise and peace in order to maintain a state of war by which they could pursue their agenda: the destruction of Israel.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Thursday September 26, 2002 at 9:24 pm
    yes my family has been in texas for five generations and we have all love israel and know what ya are doing is rigth to protech your great country and people. yours truely the bisby.

    robert elliott bisby
    none
    texas ,usa.

  • Monday September 30, 2002 at 1:07 pm

    Leeron Kopelman

    "So why did they reject the Clinton plan offered at Taba which called for an Israeli withdrawal from 100% of Gaza and a contiguous 97% of Jordan's former "West Bank" (including the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem and shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount)? "

    At Taba, January 2001, the offer was http://www.passia.org/palestine_facts/MAPS/taba2001.html

    At Camp David II, July 2000, the Clinton offer was http://www.passia.org/palestine_facts/MAPS/wbgs_campdavid.html One of reasons given by the Palestinians is the Israeli network of roads or throughfares criss crossing the West Bank.... leading to the Palestinian view that the West Bank is not contiguous in substance and essence : "Swiss Cheese" state?

    42nd president of the United States: 1993-2001

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday September 30, 2002 at 1:13 pm

    Leeron Kopelman

    Was it that President Barak of Israel lost the election shortly after Taba January 2001 and thus Israel withdrew the Taba offer?

    The aftermath was President Sharon's offer http://www.passia.org/palestine_facts/MAPS/sharon-2001.html

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday September 30, 2002 at 1:43 pm

    Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe IV on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas….When Bill was 15. … Bill had his last name legally changed to Clinton…..William Jefferson Clinton ….”In foreign policy, …. did help Israel and Jordan achieve an historic peace treaty and assisted in the creation of an accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Furthermore, he contributed to the cease-fire in Northern Ireland.” http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/bc42/about/clintonbio.htm

    History or rather the FUTURE awaits Bush’s Plan for the Palestinian state in 3 years. Bush, George Walker

    Bush's father, George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-...), served as president from 1989 to 1993.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday October 01, 2002 at 10:30 am
    Leeron Kopelman writes:
    Now Mr. Mourad attempts to excuse, justify and rationalize such attacks as the logical results of an "occupation".

    What do you think these poeple are dying for?
    Are they simply evil? So evil that they are willing to live in misery, lose their property and see their children die every day, simply for the pleasure of blowing up cafes?

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday October 01, 2002 at 4:22 pm
    Yi Ling: Was it that President Barak of Israel lost the election shortly after Taba January 2001 and thus Israel withdrew the Taba offer? --------->I don't think so. If you recall, this 2nd "intefadeh", or "tantrum" as I like to call it, started, as a result of the mere fact of Mr. Sharon showing his face on the Temple Mount. At the time it was very evident that the Arafat had already rejected Taba.

    Suds
    USA

  • Wednesday October 02, 2002 at 8:53 am

    Suds of USA,

    IF I am not mistaken, the dates could be -

    (1) Camp David II, July 2000

    (2) The incident that sparked the Second Intifida, late September 2000

    Taba, as the date shows January 2001

    Thus your assertion may possibly and probably be mistaken, as the issue of rejection of Taba cannot have taken place in September 2000. It would be a peep into the future as at September 2000 of Taba, January 2001

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday October 02, 2002 at 8:58 am

    S Mourad of Canada

    While it is true that a segment of the Palestinian society perceive they have to carry out suicide bombing, for their perceived valid reasons, it nonetheless does NOT justify it nor legalise it- suicide bombing killing innocent civilians

    Maybe the deeper issue is, has the activity of suicide bombing helped Palestinian society?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday October 02, 2002 at 9:56 am

    S Mourad of Canada

    It is my contention and carefully considered assessment that SUICIDE BOMBING is from the UTILITARIAN angle, counter productive.

    It has caused needless damage to both Israelites and Palestinians. Neither side has benefited. (Likewise 'occupation' by Israel has also benefited neither side, and they should withdraw, if they can withdraw.)

    Likewise suicide bombing should stop IF IT CAN STOP for the sake of BOTH, Palestine included.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday October 02, 2002 at 10:08 am

    Suds of USA

    Below is part of the Mitchell Plan, a report to President Bush on a point you raised "If you recall, this 2nd "intefadeh", or "tantrum" as I like to call it, started, as a result of the mere fact of Mr. Sharon showing his face on the Temple Mount"

    "The Sharon visit did not cause the "Al-Aqsa Intifada." But it was poorly timed and the provocative effect should have been foreseen; indeed it was foreseen by those who urged that the visit be prohibited. More significant were the events that followed: the decision of the Israeli police on September 29 to use lethal means against the Palestinian demonstrators; and the subsequent failure, as noted above, of either party to exercise restraint."

    "However, there is also no evidence on which to conclude that the PA made a consistent effort to contain the demonstrations and control the violence once it began; or that the GOI made a consistent effort to use non-lethal means to control demonstrations of unarmed Palestinians. Amid rising anger, fear, and mistrust, each side assumed the worst about the other and acted accordingly."

    http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/mitchell_plan.htm

    The authors of this report are

    (1) Suleyman Demirel 9th President of the Republic of Turkey

    (2) Thorbjoern Jagland Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway

    (3) George J. Mitchell, Chairman Former Member and Majority Leader of the United States Senate

    (4) Warren B. Rudman Former Member of the United States Senate

    (5) Javier Solana High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Union

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Thursday October 03, 2002 at 8:30 pm

    S Mourad of Canada says "What do you think these poeple are dying for? Are they simply evil? So evil that they are willing to live in misery, lose their property and see their children die every day, simply for the pleasure of blowing up cafes?"

    Reply: They are dying out of misguidance, however well intended their intentions may be. Suicide bombing is a severely grossly misguided action and intention that is NOT beneficial to the suicide bombers, their victims, nor the past current and future inhabitants in the Middle East, esp the Mandate area or ex Mandate area of Palestine.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Friday October 04, 2002 at 2:02 am

    I refer to anonymous post, para (1) and (2) of USA, of the intent of PLO to destroy Israel. History records that, PLO has changed their position to one acceptable by both Israel and USA since 9 September 1993 Letter of Mutual Recognition with Israel, and PLO RESOLUTIONS of the amendment to the PLO Charter of 25 April 1996, communicated to Israel on 4 May 1996 and communicated to USA on 18 January 1998. (please see note at para (3) below for the details)

    (1) Saturday August 10, 2002 at 1:49 am When do you stop blaming others for your misery, USA- “…Truth of the matter is that Yassir Arafat's PLO was founded BEFORE 1967, i.e., BEFORE the territories you are talking about were occupied in the first place. And the goal was ELIMINATION of Israel. WHEN PLO WAS FOUNDED? BEFORE OR AFTER 1967? WHAT WAS THE GOAL? HAVE YOU SEEN THE PLO CHARTER?”

    (2) Sunday August 11, 2002 at 11:32 pm I am out of here, USA,”…Just as PLO charter, Mr. Mourad has in mind elimination of Israel”

    (3) In chronology-

    (A) Firstly, there were letters of MUTUAL RECOGNITION between Israel and PLO of 9 September 1993

    (B) Secondly, parties then on 13 September 1993 signed the Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization Agreement : 1993 (OSLO I) “The Government of the State of Israel and the Palestinian team representing the Palestinian people agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process. Accordingly, the two sides agree to the following principles. …..http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/isrplo.htm”

    (C ) Thirdly PLO has informed Israel of the “The Amendment of the Palestinian Covenant” via a Letter from Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to Prime Minister Shimon Peres Prime Minister of Israel of May 4, 1996 “ I convey my best wishes to your excellency, and I would like to convey to you the recent historic resolution adopted by the Palestinian National Council at its 21st session held in Gaza city. As part of our commitment to the peace process, and in adhering to the mutual recognition between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel, the P.N.C. was held in Gaza city between 22-25 of April 1996, and in an extraordinary session decided that the Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by cancelling the provisions that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the P.L.O. and the government of Israel on 9/10 Sept. 1993.” http://www.jmcc.org/politics/amendcharter.htm

    (D) Fourthly, PLO informed His Excellency President William Clinton President of the United States of America Washington, D.C. on January 18, 1998 of the Amendments to the Palestine National Charter “ Letter From Chairman Arafat to US President William Clinton on the Amendments to the Palestine National Charter

    January 18, 1998

    His Excellency President William ClintonPresident of the United States of AmericaWashington, D.C.

    Dear Mr. President,

    In the mutual recognition letters between myself and the late Prime Minister Itzhaq Rabbin of September 9/10, 1993, the PLO committed to recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security, to accept UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two ides. The PLO also agreed to secure the necessary changes in the Palestinian Covenant to reflect these commitments.

    Accordingly, the P.N.C. was held in Gaza city between 22-25 of April 1996, and in an extraordinary session decided that the "Palestine National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the P.L.O and the Government of Israel on 9/10 September 1993".

    It should be noted that the above mentioned resolution acquired the consent of both the American Administration and the Israeli Government. Afterwards I sent letters concerning this historic resolution to your Excellency and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and later a similar letter was sent to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

    Both your Excellency and Prime Minister Peres warmly welcomed the P.N.C. Resolution.

    The Israeli Labor Party, and in appreciation of the P.N.C. resolution dropped its objection to the establishment of a Palestinian State from its political platform.

    From time to time questions have been raised about the effect of the Palestine National Council's action, particularly concerning which of the 33 articles of the Palestinian Covenant have been changed.

    We would like to put to rest these concerns. The Palestine National Council's resolution, in accordance with Article 33 of the Covenant, is a comprehensive amendment of the Covenant. All of the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the P.L.O. commitment to recognize and live in peace side by side with Israel are no longer in effect.

    As a result, Articles 6-10,15, 19-23, and 30 have been nullified, and the parts in Articles 1-5, 11-14, 16-l8, 25-27 and 29 that are in consistent with the above mentioned commitments have also been nullified.

    I can assure you on behalf of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority that all the provisions of the Covenant that were inconsistent with the commitments of September 9/10, 1993 ) to Prime Minister Rabin, have been nullified.

    Nablus : January 13, 1998

    Yasser Arafat Chairman of the Executive Committee of the P.L.O.President of the P.N.A. http://www.palestineaffairscouncil.org/documents/charter_amendment.htm

    There is some issue raised b y Israel whether PLO executive committee meeting did ratify the letter from Arafat to Clinton, and whether is this is because PLO expect a quid pro quo from Israel similar Israeli fulfillment of their contractual obligations under the Oslo Accords.

    To S Mourad’s note “1) You are framing the issue as a muslim problem, while it is not, there are many Christian Palestinians that are suffering as much as the muslims and are as radical in their view of conflict. More generally I think it is an issue of justice and human suffering and should concern any person who cares about those things.”

    Reply : There are 3% Palestinian Christians(Protestant and Catholics ) in Palestine. Given the long and continuing conflict, there is grave concern that in 25 years there could be very few Christians in Palestine, and the Christian Holy Land could be devoid of native Christians, save for the priests and custodians of the Church.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Friday October 04, 2002 at 2:10 am

    Gail J. Bolding, Senior Legal Researcher, Birzeit University Institute of Law

    While your article is informative, it does present one side of the legal arguments. If you presented two sides and then provided us your final views, it may come across better, even if you came to same legal conclusion.

    In exploring the legal arguments from both sides (Israel and PLO), and that of USA and EU and OIC, and even UN , you would have helped us (those of us who have not the time , resources nor the skills to do so) understand the complexities of this Middle East Conflict and the international law in the making in the 21st Century.

    Good-bye.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Friday October 04, 2002 at 10:16 am

    MOELLER (Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, Danish presidency of 15 nations EU- Denmark currently holds the rotating EU presidency) SAID HE BELIEVED IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE PALESTINIANS TO CARRY OUT INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS DEMANDED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND STOP SUICIDE BOMBINGS WITHOUT HAVING A CLEAR GOAL IN FRONT OF THEM. http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10-35_1248949,00.html

    The move by EU of 29 August 2002 for a provisional state of Palestine by August 2003 and a final state by 2005 is welcomed and so too that of the QUARTET – EU, USA, RUSSIA, UN, of 17 September 2002 agreeing on a provisional state of Palestine by 2003 and a final state by 2005.

    Under the EU proposals,29 Aug 2002 , Israel and the Palestinians would share Jerusalem, while their territories would return to those of 1967, with a few "proportionate exchanges" of territory. http://www.jerusalem.indymedia.org/print.php?id=69671

    Under the QUARTET agreement, 17 Sep 2002 the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties and based on UN resolutions 242 and 338, with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognised borders. http://www.jmcc.org/new/02/sep/quartetstat.htm

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Sunday October 06, 2002 at 12:25 pm

    Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)4 October 2002-- Foreign Minister Peres noted that joint efforts relating to points contained in the Quartet's communique (September 17, 2002) that are acceptable to all sides should be continued. http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0mgm0

    Communiqué issued by the Quartet / New York, 17 September 2002 -United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten met today in New York. “In its final phase (2004-5), the plan envisages Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at a permanent status solution in 2005. Consistent with the vision expressed by President Bush, this means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties and BASED ON U.N. RESOLUTIONS 242 AND 338, WITH ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL TO SECURE AND RECOGNIZED BORDERS.” …..http://www.un.org/news/dh/mideast/quartet_communique.htm

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Sunday October 06, 2002 at 12:54 pm

    (1)This appears to be a seriously inconsistent development

    of proceeding on 242 and 338 on 17 September 2002 and

    proceeding unilaterally contrary to 242 and 338 on 1st October 2002-

    (1)(a) “On September 30, US President George Bush signed the State Department Authorization Act (H.R.1646), which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The bill changes the status of Jerusalem by a series of provisions, which demand that the American consulate in East Jerusalem (serving mostly Palestinians and directly answerable to the US State Department) go under the American Embassy in Tel Aviv; in effect, creating a dejure branch of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, under the direction of America's Ambassador to Israel.

    The bill further demands that all US government maps and official documents identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while also giving American citizens born in Jerusalem the right to demand that their U.S. government-issued documents, such as passports and birth certificates, identify Israel as their birthplace.

    However, today (October 1, 2002) after signing the bill, US President Bush rejected efforts to begin measures moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with the State Department spokesperson, Richard Boucher noting, "Our view on Jerusalem is unchanged. Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be negotiated between the parties.''

    In 1995, US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, requiring the US Embassy move to Jerusalem by 31 May 1999. However, the bill included a national security waiver, and presidents have postponed the move every six months since the law was enacted.” http://www.lawsociety.org/Press/Preleases/2002/oct/oct1.html

    (1)(b) “Along with many other countries, the United States maintains its embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv to reflect the contested nature of Arab East Jerusalem, which the Jewish state occupied totally in 1967 and later annexed.

    Israel's annexation of the city has never been recognized by international community and the United States has consistently held that a resolution to the city's status must be negotiated by the Israelis and Palestinians in the context of a final peace deal.” http://www.palestine-pmc.com/news/2002/oct/new-1a-10-02.html

    (2) Just on 17 September, 2002 US together with the other 3 members of the Quartet signed the Communique - ….Consistent with the vision expressed by President Bush, this means that the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 will be ended through a settlement negotiated between the parties and BASED ON U.N. RESOLUTIONS 242 AND 338, WITH ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL TO SECURE AND RECOGNIZED BORDERS.” …..http://www.un.org/news/dh/mideast/quartet_communique.htm, and then on 1st October 2002 US passes the bill on Jerusalem .

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday October 07, 2002 at 11:28 pm
    Yi Lang: You posted passia as a source of information regarding Clinton's proposals at Camp David and at Taba. As you read through Arab sources, you will find different versions of this story. Yet if you listen to American and Israeli sources, you get pretty much the same -- and much of that has also been confirmed by Arab sources.

    Recommended viewing/reading:

    http://foxnews.com/story/0,2933,50830,00.html

    http://i.timeinc.net/time/covers/1101020325/popup/images/2000a.gif

    Note that all brown areas (both light and dark) would have been part of the Palestinian Arab state to be formed. This area in Jordan's former "West Bank" is CONTIGUOUS. Settlements in this region would have been dismantled, so there would not have been any "by-pass roads". Lastly, after 6 years, the green strip on the east along the Jordan river would also become part of the Palestinian State. Suffice it to say that allegations of "40 Cantons" or "Swiss cheese" are not accurate portrayals. (There is no map of Gaza because 100% of it was to be ceded by Israel to the PA under the Clinton plan.)

    Much as Arab apologists have stated that Clinton's generous plan was "not generous enough" (couldn't this be said about anything?), it is worth noting that some PA negotiators were willing to accept it but were over-ruled by Arafat. So I repeat my question: why only a violent counter-offer?

    S. Mourad: I had stated:

    >> Now Mr. Mourad attempts to excuse, justify and rationalize such attacks as the logical results of an "occupation".

    > What do you think these poeple are dying for?

    First, it should be understood that as part of the Oslo Agreements Israel has already withdrawn from the disputed territories in which 98% of the Arab populace resides. (Note that Israel has RE-occupied some of these territories in recent months.) Note further that Arafat's goal for many years (see Hart's biography) was to get fighters into the territories -- he had a difficult time recruiting the very population that some claim was "brutally occupied". Should we be shocked that he was successful recruiting fighters amongst Arabs living under Arab rule in Arab countries? Or that the "moderate" Feisal Husseini, just prior to his recent death, described the Oslo process as a "Trojan Horse" designed to get Arab fighters into the territories, to fight Israel from within?

    In an interview this summer, Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheik Yassin, gave a much different answer to your question. He stated that terrorism would continue until Israel became a Muslim state. In other words, until Israel as we know it would cease to exist. In other words, terrorists attack Israel today for the same reason they attacked Israel prior to 1967; not because of "occupation" but because it exists. Arafat himself has often stated that the road to Jerusalem goes through Haifa and the PA officially depicts Palestine as "from the river to the sea". Despite agreements to modify the PLO Covenant, it continues to call for Israel's destruction. Why?

    Yi Ling states that the PLO Covenant was modified. I don't fault her, for even President Clinton was fooled by this carefully constructed deception. The Covenant specifies how it must be amended and the process was not followed. You might as well claim that the US Constitution was amended because President Bush wrote a letter -- it can't happen that way. If you think it did, I invite you to point out for us the modified version of the PLO Covenant; it simply doesn't exist!

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 7:15 am

    Leeron Kopelman, what would you say to this -

    Under the EU PROPOSALS,29 AUG 2002 , ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS WOULD SHARE JERUSALEM, while their territories would return to those of 1967, with a few "proportionate exchanges" of territory. http://www.jerusalem.indymedia.org/print.php?id=69671

    so that i can revert in a wholistic manner, after further reading the references you have kindly provided above.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 12:46 pm
    As a reply to my question "What are poeple daying for?", Leeron Kopelman proposes: "In an interview this summer, Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheik Yassin, gave a much different answer to your question. He stated that terrorism would continue until Israel became a Muslim state." So in other words the Palestinian population, who is unanimous in its desrie for autonomy, has only one goal in mind and that is religious conversion and is ready to sacrifice its livelihood and the chance of statehood for the sake of expanding the role of Islam.
    How do you explain that the most hard line Palestinian factions besides Hamas are the communists who include a number of Christians and ethiests?

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 12:58 pm
    As a futher note to the theory that the Palestinian cause is driven by religious purposes. A view of the most popular Palestinian organisation Fatah will simply prove the opposite. In 1968 the slogan of the Fatah group was "the establishment of a democratic, secular Palestine".
    As for the idea that the goal was to send the Jews to the sea or to convert them to Islam here are some quotes from the Arch-Terrorist Anti-Christ himself, Yasser Arafat:
    "We were saying “no” to the Zionist state, but we were saying “yes” to the Jewish people of Palestine. To them we were saying, “You are welcome to live in our land, but on one condition - You must be prepared to live among us as equals, not as dominators.”

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 2:40 pm

    S Mourad, what was the date and place or circumstances, this statement was made, “You are welcome to live in our land, but on one condition - You must be prepared to live among us as equals, not as dominators.” ?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday October 09, 2002 at 11:39 am
    The program for a "Democratic, Secular Palestine" was proposed by Fateh under Arafat leadership in 1969.
    The "you are welcome" comment was in conversation with Alain Hart an Arafat biographer discussing the above program. ("Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker," Sidgwick and Jackson, 1985, p. 275)
    The quote continues: 'I myself have always said that there is only one guarantee for the safety and security of the Jewish people in Palestine- and that is the friendship of the Arabs among whom they live'
    The program described above was presented by Fatah to the Second World Congress on Palestine in September 1970: "All the Jews, Moslems and Christians living in Palestine or forcibly exiled from it will have the right to Palestinian citizenship. ... This means that all Jewish Palestinians - at the present Israelis - have the same rights provided, of course, that they reject Zionist racist chauvinism and fully agree to live as Palestinians in the new Palestine."
    Of course Zionist will complain that a welcoming hand was not extended to all Jews worldwide, but I have not heard of a society in history that will tolerate immigration on the level that the Palestinians have lived and ask for more.
    Note that the above view was and is shared by all socialist leaning arab movements including the Syrian, Egyptian and Iraqi regimes. And was the consistent view of the PLO for the past 30 years.
    Hamas is a newcomer to the equation and is supported by some Palestinians who suffered the failure of the secular movements, the international community and the moderate approach.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Wednesday October 09, 2002 at 6:22 pm

    S Mourad Canada

    Your analysis, "Hamas is a newcomer to the equation and is supported by some Palestinians who suffered the failure of the secular movements, the international community and the moderate approach."

    Can you tell us when , why, and how Hamas came into the equation? What is the size of its following? What is its appeal? How did it take root? What are its roots? How does PLO regard Hamas?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Wednesday October 09, 2002 at 8:10 pm
    Regarding your questions Yi Ling I am not an expert. My limited knowledge is that the surge of Hamas was related to 4 factors: 1) Secular, leftist, pan-arab or royalist politicians who came into power in the region proved to be corrupt and ineffective in dealing with Israel. Hatred of their policies created a rise in the Islamic movement in all countries including Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, and of course Iran.
    2) Hizboullah was very effective in dealing with Israel for whatever reason, and it managed to do what all the Arab armies, politicians and international community was unable to do. (at least in the perception of Palestinians).
    3) Israel actually encouraged Hamas in the early days in order to create an opposition to Arafat. Thus Hamas was able to fund schools, hospitals and a humanitarian infrastruture while the PLO was blocked from doing same.
    4) The sense of dispair the Palestinians live in, the feeling of lack of control over their destiny, the injustice they beleive they have suffered while the world and their neighbours are watching make them more willing to look for help in other sources. If religion is the Opiate of the poeple, then those who suffer most will seek it more ardently.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Wednesday October 09, 2002 at 8:18 pm
    As for the other questions again from a non-expert I beleive the following is between 30% and 50% and very near to PLO following.
    I beleive that the PLO sees Hamas as its worst political enemy. It is unable to crush the movement, since that would be viewed as a diversion from the conflict with the main enemy Israel. Hamas is dangerous for the PLO on 2 levels:
    1) Internally it is the main political opposition
    2) It frustrates PLO efforts to deal with Israel, as Hamas cannot be controlled and will perpetuate terrorist acts when it is politically inconvenient and thus allow Israel to justify the violence on its side.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Thursday October 10, 2002 at 4:28 am
    S Mourad asks:

    > How do you explain that the most hard line Palestinian factions besides Hamas are the communists who include a number of Christians and ethiests?

    Like Hamas, these hard liners state that their goal is the destruction of Israel, and it is toward this goal that they are sacrificing their lives. Not for the end of an "occupation" which was already largely achieved through negotiation when the violence began (98% of the Arabs in the disputed territories were governed by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, before Israel RE-occupied some of the territories in RESPONSE to Arab terrorism earlier this year). Surely it would be better to negotiate rather than sacrifice, no? But these hardliners have nothing to gain by negotiations since they reject any compromise. Where they differ from Hamas (or Islamic Jihad) is in their vision of the type of state with which Israel would be replaced.

    How many of the roughly 150 Arab suicide bombers were Christian? Zero?

    The 1970 Arafat quote is not particularly relevant. Arafat has made a career of speaking out of both sides of his mouth in an effort to please everyone. But actually you confirm exactly what I said. The goal wasn't to end "occupation", it was "no" to the "Zionist state" = Israel. So, as I said, Arafat was talking about the destruction of Israel as we know it.

    S Mourad talks about the "despair" of the Palestinian Arabs, but then tells us how Israel initially helped Hamas in establishing social programs. It should be noted that Arabs in the territories gained tremendous economic prosperity and political freedoms when the Israeli administration replaced the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes in 1967. Education, medical care and quality of life also increased. For nearly 20 years the economy grew at unprecedented levels. Then came the first intifadah. Then corrupt PLO/PA rule. In 1997 a 3 year economic recovery began, only to be smashed by the second intifadah.

    Contrary to S Mourad's thesis, it is terrorism that causes poverty and despair.

    If S Mourad's thesis were correct, one would expect that from 1949-1967 Palestinian Arab forces (Fedayeen, Fatah, etc.) would have attacked their occupiers and oppressors: Egypt and Jordan. They didn't, choosing instead to attack Israel. Their goal then was to destroy Israel. That didn't change in 1967.

    As Walter Laqueur wrote in "The Terrorism Reader: A Historical Anthology from Aristotle to the IRA and the PLO" back in 1978: "A comparison of terrorist activities over the last century shows, beyond any shadow of doubt, that violent protest movements do not appear where despotism is worst but, on the contrary, in permissive democratic societies or ineffective authoritarian regimes." (p. 255). To a large extent, the existence of terrorism dispels the allegations of a "brutal occupation". (For more on this thread, read up on "Hama Rules": http://www.mafhoum.com/press2/63P58.htm )

    I'm still waiting for someone to come up with the revised PLO Covenant. If you can't do so, please admit that its amendment was a charade. Why would Arafat do that?

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Thursday October 10, 2002 at 7:42 am

    Leeron Kopelman Ann Arbor, MI, USA, says, "I'm still waiting for someone to come up with the revised PLO Covenant. If you can't do so, please admit that its amendment was a charade. Why would Arafat do that?"

    I would draw to your attention my reply to your earlier post, of Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 7:15 am "Leeron Kopelman, what would you say to this -

    Under the EU PROPOSALS,29 AUG 2002 , ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS WOULD SHARE JERUSALEM, while their territories would return to those of 1967, with a few "proportionate exchanges" of territory. http://www.jerusalem.indymedia.org/print.php?id=69671 so that i can revert in a wholistic manner, after further reading the references you have kindly provided above."

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Thursday October 10, 2002 at 11:26 am
    Yi Ling, I'm not sure I understand your point. What does an EU proposal have to do with the official stance of the PLO/PA?

    My argument is that, despite a charade of doing so, the PLO Covenant was not amended as required by the Oslo Agreements. The stated goal of Arafat and the PLO, and a slim majority of the Palestinian Arabs, remains the destruction of the State of Israel.

    Previously you (and, I think, S Mourad) argued that the PLO Covenant had been amended. I already pointed out (Monday October 07, 2002 at 11:28 pm) that neither Arafat's letter nor the vote concocted for Clinton's amusement were proper methods for modifying this document. Yet if one were to argue that it was modified, surely one can find a copy of the amended document, no?

    Here's what I can find: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/plocov.htm http://www.iris.org.il/plophase.htm http://www.iris.org.il/quotes/orbittv.htm

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Thursday October 10, 2002 at 2:29 pm
    I agree with many points Leeron makes, for example the idea that terrorism is a symptom of partial tolerence by the oppressor.
    I agree as well that Israel has tried to provide humane conditions to the Palestinians as long as those conditions did not interfere with its mission of creating a "homeland for the Jewish poeple".
    As for why do the Palestinians and other arabs have a particular hatred for Israel rather than their own oppressive regimes. The answer lies in colonisation. Military occupation is detestable but can be viewed as a temporary evil that can be reversed at any time, colonisation and the flux of immigrants that accompanies it is more detested usually because the poeple see an unreversable irrosion of their rights. The same can be said for expulsion. So while regimes and armies come and go and especially in the middle east the populations have learned to endure them. The influx of settlers, the deportations, the creation of permenant refugees, and the confiscation of land is seen as touching poeple and nations at a deeper level.
    As for how many suicide bombers are christian? Probably none. As Christians are more prominent in the leftist wing of the Palestinian and Arab politics. Here are some example:
    1) PFLQ the second largest PLO faction after Fateh was founded and led until 2000 by George Habash. PFLQ backed some of the most deadly terrorist actions in the 70s and was totally against the peace process.

    2) DFLQ the 3rd largest group was founded and is lead until today by a christian Nayef Hawatmeh. The DFLQ restricted its terrorist activities to Israel, its claim to fame (sadly) is the killing of 25 Israeli teenages in 1979. (see http://www.terrorismanswers.com/groups/pflp.html)

    3) In the Arab scene, the founder of the Baath party, was a Michel Aflaq a christian. The Baath party is one of the most anti-Israel political forces. It has the ruling party for the last 30 years in Syria and Iraq.

    Please understand that I am not trying to endorse the ideas or actions of any of the above simply to point out that framing the conflict as a relegious war is false; in spite of the efforts of the Zionists, Hamas and the Bin Ladens of this world. The conflict is about poeple (the Palestinians) who lost their homes, livelihood and freedoms, to accomodate other poeple (the Jews) who lost their homes, livelihood, freedom (and sometimes life).

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Friday October 11, 2002 at 3:05 am
    Much of what you say in sensible. I do agree with you that the conflict is not only religious, but I think you have to admit that it is a component, and likely the most intractable one at that.

    But I have a few questions:

    1. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (amongst other sources) mentions that Egyptian "colonists" who came up (with M Ali) in the 1840s were still distinguishable in their villages from Arabs of Greater Syria (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel & the territories). There was a Bosnian "colony" in Caesarea, Persians and Algerians in the Galilee, Kurds in the Hula Valley, even an Afghan colony in Jaffa. One could go back and mention that Ramallah (the only city in the "Holy Land" founded by Arabs) was itself established by Christian immigrants/"colonists" from Trans-Jordan some 400 years ago. More recently, during the first half of the 19th century, there were the scores of thousands of Arab immigrants, drawn from surrounding Arab territories by British and Jewish development in Mandate Palestine. (Recall that, at the insistence of Arab countries which wanted to maximize the number of people who would qualify for international assistance, an Arab refugee from Mandate Palestine was defined as any Arab who had lived there for a mere 2 years.)

    It should be further noted that according to the Peel commission (1937), Arabs were being displaced not by Jews but by other Arabs! The Arab population between the World Wars grew precisely in areas of Jewish development: 290% in Haifa with its new port vs. 42% in Nablus.

    So why is it that only the Jewish "colonists" are violently rejected while Arab and Muslim "colonists" are welcomed?

    2. You correctly point out that Iraqi and Syrian (secular) Baathists are amongst the most rabid anti-Israel forces (alongside the Islamic front represented by Hamas, IJ, Hezbollah and Iran). But why? If not religious, what is the source of their hatred?

    I'm glad that we agree that violence and terrorism is a recipe only for (further) human suffering. Arafat must do what he failed to do in Jordan in 1970 and in Lebanon in 1980: move against his own groups who defy his orders rather than sit on the fence, one day supporting terrorism and the next calling for negotiations.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Friday October 11, 2002 at 1:16 pm

    Leeron Kopelman ,

    The answer to your question of Thursday October 10, 2002 at 11:26 am “Yi Ling, I'm not sure I understand your point. What does an EU proposal have to do with the official stance of the PLO/PA?” arises from the two issues in your post of Monday October 07, 2002 at 11:28 pm, Yi Ling: (ISSUE 1 ) You posted passia as a source of information regarding Clinton's proposals at Camp David and at Taba. As you read through Arab sources, you will find different versions of this story. Yet if you….... Yi Ling (ISSUE 2) states that the PLO Covenant was modified. I don't fault her, for even President Clinton was fooled by this carefully constructed deception

    I was going to handle the TWO issues you raised to me IN 1 POST, together with the INTERLINKED ISSUE TO ISSUE 1 (see post of Friday October 04, 2002 at 10:16 am, Sunday October 06, 2002 at 12:25 pm, Sunday October 06, 2002 at 12:54 pm) that stood between my post on Monday September 30, 2002 at 1:07 pm, and yours of Monday October 07, 2002 at 11:28 pm one day, IN A WHOLISTIC MANNER, which is why I asked on Tuesday October 08, 2002 at 7:15 am, “ Leeron Kopelman, what would you say to this - Under the EU PROPOSALS,29 AUG 2002 , ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS WOULD SHARE JERUSALEM, while their territories would return to those of 1967, with a few "proportionate exchanges" of territory. http://www.jerusalem.indymedia.org/print.php?id=69671 , so that i can revert in a wholistic manner, after further reading the references you have kindly provided above.”

    Thus I repeat, “Leeron Kopelman, what would you say to this - Under the EU PROPOSALS,29 AUG 2002 , ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS WOULD SHARE JERUSALEM, while their territories would return to those of 1967, with a few "proportionate exchanges" of territory.”

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Sunday October 13, 2002 at 2:28 pm
    Yi Ling, I find the EU resolution of August 2002 irrelevant, both in terms of current events but especially with respect to understanding the issues of August 2000.

    Now please answer the questions/issues that you have identified but avoided:

    1. American and Israeli versions of the proposals at Camp David and Taba are very similar, parts being corroborated by primary Arab sources such as Abu Ala and Abu Mazen in articles that appeared in the NY Times and Washington Post. Even the oft-quoted (yet misunderstood) account by Robert Malley does not contradict the basic facts provided by the sources I referenced.

    2. If you maintain that the PLO Covenant was amended, please provide a link to the modified text.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Monday October 14, 2002 at 6:00 am

    Leeron Kopelman of Ann Arbor, MI, USA,

    (1) To revert in a wholistic manner, it would require something along these lines as in para 2 below, going backward and forward in time, where and if necessary. I appreciate your web site references to “American and Israeli versions of the proposals at Camp David and Taba are very similar, parts being corroborated by primary Arab sources such as Abu Ala and Abu Mazen” and have yet to check them out as they would require some follow through, if, as you say they show that the plan is different from that as averred by Passia. I would seek your understanding that due to time constraints and priorities, I would prioritise my piece on AFTA and WTO for 40,000 small medium enterprises in Malaysia, then the two outstanding issues of the next board, http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/israelborders.php on the legal borders of the City of Jerusalem, and the law of trust, its historical development in UK, USA reception of the UK law of trust or USA independent development of the law of trust, so that with a basic and clear understanding of the law of trust in UK and USA, it would form the foundation for my reviewing your manner of parsing an international agreement (Palestine Mandate in this instant) which is stated or deemed to be a trust (The Palestine Mandate is a trust), before attending to the 2 issues and the interlinked issue to the first issue.

    (2) Meanwhile I take note of your treatment of the August EU proposals as “irrelevant ” even though the EU proposals in Europe of 29 Aug 2002, appears to be the FORE RUNNER of the Communiqué issued by the Quartet in New York on 17 September 2002, with the latter ( joint proposal of US and UN, Russia, EU September ) following closely on the heels of the former (EU proposal, August). The Quartet Communique http://www.un.org/news/dh/mideast/quartet_communique.htm appears to be issued by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Affairs Chris Patten met today in New York. THE QUESTION IS TO WHAT EXTENT WAS THE EU PROPOSAL ENDORSED BY THE QUARTET? Further “The Quartet also met and discussed these issues with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, as representatives of the Arab League Follow-up Committee, and with representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Quartet looks forward to continuing consultations.”

    (3) If you care to elucidate the context in which you deem the EU proposals in Europe of 29 Aug 2002, as irrelevant , that would be very helpful to understanding your point of view, or worldview and the foundation and ambit of your point of view or worldview, more so when there are many parallels between the EU and Quartet (of which USA is a party, too) proposal.

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Monday October 14, 2002 at 2:31 pm
    In reply to Leeron comments: 1) The dislike for the Jewish immigration in 1920-1940, and the dislike for Israeli settlments in 2002 come from the same legitimate fear that was actually proven right by history. The perceived dogma driving these population movement is not desire for a better life in a freindly land, but desire for displacing the existing inhabitants and establishing themselves as the masters of the land. This desire was and is the outspoken purpose of the Zionist movement and of a significant segment of the Israeli society today.
    2) Why is the Baath party highly anti-Israel and anti-Zionist?
    The pragmatic reason is that the Arab-Israeli war has been used for the last 50 years for political gain and as a distration from domestic issues, in the same fashion the "war against terrorism" is used by the Bush administration. On a more theoretical level the three tenets of the Baath are: Freedom, Arab Unity, and Socialism. Israel becomes the "evil force" on the 3 fronts:
    a) It is depriving Palestinians from their freedom, and is seen as the last colonial power in the middel east.
    b) From a pan Arab point of view the suffering of the Palestinians is equal to the suffering of Syrians and Iraqis.
    c) Israel, seen as an American outpost, is the natural enemey of (the then) pro-soviet socialist regimes.
    Additionally since the Baath philosophy is highly secular it has a high disdain for a state that is seen as created by relegious and racial instincts.

    PS Your comment about the variety of races and religion that have inhabited the area without creating any issues for the population should be a indicator that there is an additional factor for the deep hostility againt Israel and the Jewish immigration.
    Another example is massive Jewish immigration to North Africa following the first spasm of European anti-semetism. Armenians (obviously Christian) immigration to Syria in the following Turkish massacres. All those communities managed to settle in the Arab countries and maintain their culture and identity. They differ from the Palestinian case by their desire for a better life within the country they immigrated to and not for the creation of a new country that is itself based on racism and religious intolerence.

    S Mourad
    Canada

  • Tuesday October 15, 2002 at 4:49 am
    Yi Ling: The parties involved (Arabs and Israelis) must sit down and negotiate a settlement, regardless of opinions voiced by some 3rd parties. The international community recognized this in 1967 with the passage of UNSCR 242 (which emphatically did not stipulate specifics, leaving those to be determined by the parties) and reaffirmed in 1973 by UNSCR 338. It should be noted that UNSCR 242 served as the basis of the Camp David I agreement between Israel and Egypt and also serves as the underlying basis of the Oslo DOP between Israel and the representatives of the Palestinian Arabs.

    S Mourad: Please explain how the massacre of the ancient Jewish community of Hebron in 1929 supports what you say in part (1). Surely the Jews didn't attempt to replace the Turks as the "masters of the land" prior to 1917 or to replace the British in 1921? (Which by the 1940s was not true, but that doesn't explain events 2 decades earlier.) To the contrary, in the 1840s the Egyptians did become the "masters of the land", yet Egyptian Arabs were welcome at a time that Jews were not? Why is it perfectly OK for an Iraqi Arab to settle in Hebron but not for an Iraqi Jew to do the same -- even today?

    On the second point, you seem to tilt between two positions. First that Israel is a necessary distraction for the Baathists and that they are supporting legitimate grievances: 2A) Arabs living in Israel (even those who lived under Israeli rule in the territories) have more freedoms than those, especially Palestinians, living in Syria and Iraq. 2B) Pan Arabism seems to be a euphemism for racist exclusion of Jews. 2C) dispels the thought that America is hated for supporting Israel rather than that Israel is hated because it is supported by America. How curious.

    > the creation of a new country that is itself based on racism and religious intolerence.

    You speak only of a mis-perception. Of all mideast countries, the only one with racial and religious tolerance is Israel. Jews aren't even allowed in Saudi Arabia and are repressed in Syria, ask Christian Copts about their tolerance in Egypt, or Chaldeans in Iraq, and recall that the Bahaiis fled Iran for Israel. (It is too early to tell if this is a decade where we can mention Lebanon as a good or a bad example.) Oddly it is the Palestinian Arabs who are victims of organized racism in other Arab countries: they are denied the opportunity of education, freedom of movement, right to work and the possibility of gaining citizenship.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Tuesday October 15, 2002 at 8:38 am

    Leeron Kopelman of Ann Arbor, MI, USA

    Thank you for your elucidation, of the "irrelevant EU proposal" placed in the context of your view point that "The parties involved (Arabs and Israelis) must sit down and negotiate a settlement, regardless of opinions voiced by some 3rd parties."

    Given the events since late September 2000, of past 2 years, if your point was practically and realistically possible to implement, there may have been no necessity for "opinions or proposals of the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY" Thus the relevance of International Intervention, which also took into account your point at a more appropriate later stage where "The Quartet also met and discussed ....with representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Quartet looks forward to continuing consultations.”

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Sunday October 27, 2002 at 7:05 am
    A solution cannot be imposed. The majority of Palestinian Arabs see the intifada as a means to destroy Israel. As long as that is their goal (as espoused by the unmodified PLO Covenant, the Hamas Covenant, and by leaders -- including Arafat -- in Arabic), no solution is possible.

    I fear the travesty of the peace process, part and parcel with Arafat's inability to compromise and end the conflict at Camp David, was that during 7 years Arafat and the PA did little to prepare and lead their people to peace. (Perhaps because that was not their true intention: the "moderate" Feisal Husseini described Oslo as a "Trojan Horse" designed to get Arab fighters into the disputed territories).

    After years of preaching that "the road to Jerusalem runs through Haifa", Arafat is hiding behind (rather than leading) his own people, as if he simply can't go against the wishes of the "Arab street" which he himself developed.

    Will the international community investigate whether Arafat "can't" or "won't" stop the terrorism -- or if he is behind much of it?

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, MI, USA

  • Wednesday October 30, 2002 at 10:12 am

    Later when time permits, I will respond wholistically as said earlier.

    Meanwhile it is 'interesting' to note a SERIOUS tone of division of 29th October 2002 between the CIA and US Administration over the issue of the 'leadership of Arafat'.

    The AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE on 29th October 2002 Tuesday published, inter alia, that:-

    (1) "With violence raging in the Middle East, Bush is also pushing for leadership change in the Palestinian Authority, accusing its leader, Yasser Arafat, of failing the peaceful aspirations of his own people.

    (2) But according to the CIA, Arafat's departure will have quite the opposite effect.

    (3) It said a successor to Arafat "will have neither the power base nor the leadership qualities necessary to wield full authority."

    (4) "Challenged to consolidate control and unable to match Arafat's ability to unite Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Diaspora, a new leadership would be more beholden to the sentiment of the Palestinian "street" and less likely to show moderation toward a Palestinian-Israeli peace process," the CIA warned.

    The question then is, who is more accurate in their 'intelligence' assessment?

    The Bush Administration or the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ("CIA")of USA?

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Saturday November 09, 2002 at 4:22 am
    I'm not sure that the "CIA's assessment" is really the CIAs rather than a leak from one person, but what is stated in point (3) is certainly correct.

    The operative point, however, is that Arafat has repeatedly failed to weild the power that he has in the pursuit of peace, instead hiding behind the excuse that he cannot control the terrorists in his midst.

    If Arafat won't/can't deliver, then its time to bet on a different horse, even if it doesn't look as strong.

    Leeron Kopelman
    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

  • Sunday November 10, 2002 at 1:10 am

    The post of 30 October 2002 was obtained from what was published on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 by Agence France Presse - CIA Concerned US War on Terror is Missing Root Causes

    Before the quote of 30 Oct 02, inter alia, "....The grim assessment was made in a series of written answers to questions posed by members of the US Congress last April that were released to the general public on Tuesday."

    Yi Ling
    Malaysia

  • Saturday September 27, 2003 at 9:02 pm
    Like usual, Leeron Kopelman gets his facts wrong. Both U.S. and Israeli negotiators who participated in Camp David II recognize that the supposedly "generous" offer that Arafat turned down did not offer 100% of the West Bank and Gaza; Arafat never rejected Israel's right to exist in Camp David II. Israel did not offer a continguous territory for the Palestinian state. Israel's offer was indeed of Palestinian enclaves surrounded by Jewish settlements. See Robert Malley's article (5/27/02), "Why Barak is Wrong," on his reflections of the terms of the negotiations at Camp David II: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,722783,00.html See also, Menachem Klein's (adviser to Ehud Barak for the final negotiations at Camp David II) article (5/10/02), "Give Us An Alternative": http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,713078,00.html

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Saturday September 27, 2003 at 9:04 pm
    Boston Globe May 3, 2002 How Middle East peace process was killed By H.D.S. Greenway, 5/3/2002 BOOKS ARE being written about what went wrong with the Oslo peace process in the Middle East, and there will be as many theories as there are authors. But one of the most persistent myths is that Yasser Arafat turned down the most generous offer any Israeli leader had ever made and decided to return to armed struggle. It is true that Arafat didn't accept Israel's offer at Camp David, but the Palestinians didn't stop negotiating. The fact is that negotiations went on at the Red Sea resort of Taba after Camp David, bringing the two positions even closer, even after riots had broken out following Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. That round of negotiations ended when Israel's Ehud Barak closed them down in order to begin his election campaign. When Oslo's archenemy, Sharon, came to power, Oslo died. Israel's offer at Camp David was indeed the most generous offer Israel had ever made, but it was not an offer of a viable Palestinian state. The Palestine on offer was chopped up into sectors with no access to each other - separated by Israeli settlements, settlement roads, and Israeli-controlled areas. The same was true of East Jerusalem, where Israelis have been trying to force Palestinians to leave. It was if the Palestinian state were to get the spots while the rest of the leopard would remain in Israeli hands. And during the Oslo years Jewish settlements doubled. Another mistake was for President Clinton and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak to insist that this was an all-or-nothing deal that had to be signed before either of their terms were up. It would have been better to end negotiations by saying that everything agreed upon up to then was settled and the areas of disagreement put off until later. As it was, the burst of Palestinian anger that developed after Sharon's famous Temple Mount visit was encouraged by many of the younger Palestinian leaders frustrated not only with Oslo but with Arafat himself. And Arafat chose not to stop it when he still could. But long before those tantalizingly close Taba negotiations were ended, the Oslo process was in trouble. What the Israelis most wanted was security. What the Palestinians most wanted was an end to the occupation and their own state. And although there was progress on both fronts, it was not enough, so both sides felt betrayed. Yitzhak Rabin's only precondition was that Yasser Arafat promise to give up armed struggle. Arafat pledged to do so, and in a historic shift, renounced Palestinian claims over Israel proper and agreed to a two-state solution. And for a while, Israelis today agree, Arafat kept his promise and began locking up terrorists. Security had seldom been better. For Israel, however, it was a sign-now-and-we'll-negotiate-later arrangement, while what Palestinians thought they were getting was the same deal Egypt's Anwar Sadat got - a wrapping up of the settlements and an end to the occupation with all deliberate speed. What the Israelis, the Americans, and even Arafat didn't perceive was that delays and foot-dragging over timetables for implementing the agreement and the never-ending Jewish settlement expansion would prove fatal. Dividing up occupied territories into different A zones and B zones of Palestinian control just meant more checkpoints, more humiliations, and more disruption to the economy. Too many Palestinians got poorer instead of richer, more harrassed instead of less, adding to the growing disillusionment. Arafat didn't help matters by running a corrupt and undemocratic administration that turned off even more Palestinians to the peace process. The lack of swift progress meant that the lid on violence began to lift. There were approximately 36 bombings during the Oslo years. Arafat may have permitted some of them, but, as President Clinton said, there was never ''just one source of violence'' in the occupied territories. Arafat could never deliver every armed faction once popular opinion in the occupied territories began to turn against Oslo. Arafat needed swift progress toward a Palestinian state, which he never got. And the Israelis never got the security they needed. When Rabin was murdered by an Israeli who objected to the peace process, the foot-dragging got worse. The dovish Labor Party lost to the hawkish Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu, who despised the Oslo process but could not run on a platform against peace. So he put as many impediments to Oslo as he could once in office. During the Oslo years, starting in 1993, too few Palestinians thought the process was working for them, and they saw Israeli betrayal in every delay, while Israelis never got the security they had a right to expect. When Ariel Sharon came to power he began dismantling the Palestinian Authority piece by piece, thus reducing Arafat's ability to maintain order, all the while calling upon Arafat to do more. Israelis and Palestinians will argue forever over who was to blame for the Oslo failure, but former senator George Mitchell's commission found enough fault to go around. Mitchell spoke recently of the lack of ''economic growth and job creation'' in the occupied territories as one of the major factors and of the ''high correlation'' between violence and a declining economy throughout history. Palestinian violence, however, got hard-liners Netanyahu and Sharon elected and discredited the Israeli peace camp. As for the Israelis, the shortsightedness of Sharon's policies in the occupied territories is not just that ''each death creates a new demand for revenge,'' as Mitchell said, but that the levels of West Bank destruction will create the perfect conditions for future economic decline leading to more violence. By burning down the Palestinian house, Sharon has guaranteed that more fire will spread next door to his, and maybe to the Arab states that recognize Israel as well. H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe. This story ran on page A23 of the Boston Globe on 5/3/2002.

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Sunday September 28, 2003 at 1:01 pm
    "A Failed Israeli Society is Collapsing" By AVRAHAM BURG International Herald Tribune - September 6 2003 The end of Zionism? JERUSALEM - The Zionist revolution has always rested on two pillars: a just path and an ethical leadership. Neither of these is operative any longer. The Israeli nation today rests on a scaffolding of corruption, and on foundations of oppression and injustice. As such, the end of the Zionist enterprise is already on our doorstep. There is a real chance that ours will be the last Zionist generation. There may yet be a Jewish state here, but it will be a different sort, strange and ugly. There is time to change course, but not much. What is needed is a new vision of a just society and the political will to implement it. Nor is this merely an internal Israeli affair. Diaspora Jews for whom Israel is a central pillar of their identity must pay heed and speak out. If the pillar collapses, the upper floors will come crashing down. The opposition does not exist, and the coalition, with Arik Sharon at its head, claims the right to remain silent. In a nation of chatterboxes, everyone has suddenly fallen dumb, because there's nothing left to say. We live in a thunderously failed reality. Yes, we have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or anti-missile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed. It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents' shock, that they do not know. The countdown to the end of Israeli society has begun. It is very comfortable to be a Zionist in West Bank settlements such as Beit El and Ofra. The biblical landscape is charming. From the window you can gaze through the geraniums and bougainvilleas and not see the occupation. Traveling on the fast highway ›hat takes you from Ramot on Jerusalem's northern edge to Gilo on the southern edge, a 12-minute trip that skirts barely a half-mile west of the Palestinian roadblocks, it's hard to comprehend the humiliating experience of the despised Arab who must creep for hours along the pocked, blockaded roads assigned to him. One road for the occupier, one road for the occupied. This cannot work. Even if the Arabs lower their heads and swallow their shame and anger forever, it won't work. A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself. Note this moment well: Zionism's superstructure is already collapsing like a cheap Jerusalem wedding hall. Only madmen continue dancing on the top floor while the pillars below are collapsing. We have grown accustomed to ignoring the suffering of the women at the roadblocks. No wonder we don't hear the cries of the abused woman living next door or the single mother struggling to support her children in dignity. We don't even bother to count the women murdered by their husbands. Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centers of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated. We could kill a thousand ringleaders and engineers a day and nothing will be solved, because the leaders come up from below — from the wells of hatred and anger, from the "infrastructures" of injustice and moral corruption. If all this were inevitable, divinely ordained and immutable, I would be silent. But things could be different, and so crying out is a moral imperative. Here is what the prime minister should say to the people: The time for illusions is over. The time for decisions has arrived. We love the entire land of our forefathers and in some other time we would have wanted to live here alone. But that will not happen. The Arabs, too, have dreams and needs. Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state — not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish. Do you want the greater Land of Israel? No problem. Abandon democracy. Let's institute an efficient system of racial separation here, with prison camps and detention villages. Qalqilya Ghetto and Gulag Jenin. Do you want a Jewish majority? No problem. Either put the Arabs on railway cars, buses, camels and donkeys and expel them en masse — or separate ourselves from them absolutely, without tricks and gimmicks. There is no middle path. We must remove all the settlements — all of them — and draw an internationally recognized border between the Jewish national home and the Palestinian national home. The Jewish Law of Return will apply only within our national home, and their right of return will apply only within the borders of the Palestinian state. Do you want democracy? No problem. Either abandon the greater Land of Israel, to the last settlement and outpost, or give full citizenship and voting rights to everyone, including Arabs. The result, of course, will be that those who did not want a Palestinian state alongside us will have one in our midst, via the ballot box. That's what the prime minister should say to the people. He should present the choices forthrightly: Jewish racialism or democracy. Settlements or hope for both peoples. False visions of barbed wire, roadblocks and suicide bombers, or a recognized international border between two states and a shared capital in Jerusalem. But there is no prime minister in Jerusalem. The disease eating away at the body of Zionism has already attacked the head. David Ben-Gurion sometimes erred, but he remained straight as an arrow. When Menachem Begin was wrong, nobody impugned his motives. No longer. Polls published last weekend showed that a majority of Israelis do not believe in the personal integrity of the prime minister — yet they trust his political leadership. In other words, Israel's current prime minister personally embodies both halves of the curse: suspect personal morals and open disregard for the law — combined with the brutality of occupation and the trampling of any chance for peace. This is our nation, these its leaders. The inescapable conclusion is that the Zionist revolution is dead. Why, then, is the opposition so quiet? Perhaps because it's summer, or because they are tired, or because some would like to join the government at any price, even the price of participating in the sickness. But while they dither, the forces of good lose hope. This is the time for clear alternatives. Anyone who declines to present a clear-cut position — black or white — is in effect collaborating in the decline. It is not a matter of Labor versus Likud or right versus left, but of right versus wrong, acceptable versus unacceptable. The law-abiding versus the lawbreakers. What's needed is not a political replacement for the Sharon government but a vision of hope, an alternative to the destruction of Zionism and its values by the deaf, dumb and callous. Israel's friends abroad — Jewish and non-Jewish alike, presidents and prime ministers, rabbis and lay people — should choose as well. They must reach out and help Israel to navigate the road map toward our national destiny as a light unto the nations and a society of peace, justice and equality. The writer was speaker of the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, from 1999 to 2003 and is currently a Labor Party member of the Knesset.

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Wednesday October 08, 2003 at 11:33 pm
    Leeron Kopelman cites Walter Laquer as his reference on the causes of terrorism. The big criticism of Laquer is that he does not address Western state-sponsored terrorism, which has caused far more deaths than private terrorist networks and political movements of the weak and dispossesed. For other references on the causes of terrorism, see: Edward Herman, Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda. Boston: South End press, 1982. Alexander George, ed. Western State Terrorism. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1991. Noam Chomsky. 9/11. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001.

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Wednesday October 08, 2003 at 11:41 pm
    The late renowned professor of international relations, Eqbal Ahmad, identified five causes of terrorism, in his essay "Terrorism: Theirs and Ours" (http://www.irr.org.uk/2001/october/ak000004.html): "I have identified in my work five types of terrorism. First, state terrorism. Second, religious terrorism: terrorism inspired by religion, Catholics killing Protestants, Sunnis killing Shi'ites, Shi'ites killing Sunnis. God, religion, sacred terror, you can call it what you wish. Third, there is crime, the mafia. All kinds of crimes commit terror. Fourth, there is pathology. You're pathological. You're sick. You want the attention of the whole world. You've got to kill a president. You will. You terrorise. You hold up a bus. Fifth, there is political terror of the private group, be they Indian, Vietnamese, Algerian, Palestinian, Baader-Meinhof or the Red Brigade. Political terror of the private group is oppositional terror. Keep these five in mind. Keep in mind one more thing. Sometimes these five can converge on each other. You start with protest terror. You go crazy. You become pathological. You continue. They converge. State terror can take the form of private terror. For example, we're all familiar with the death squads in Latin America or in Pakistan. Government has employed private people to kill its opponents. It's not quite official. It's privatised. Convergence. Or the political terrorist who goes crazy and becomes pathological. Or the criminal who joins politics. In Afghanistan and in Central America, the CIA employed drug pushers in its covert operations. Drugs and guns often go together and smuggling, of all things, often goes together. Of the five types of terror, the focus is on only one - political terror - the least important in terms of cost to human lives and human property. The highest cost is from state terror. The second highest cost is from religious terror, although, in the twentieth century, religious terror has, relatively speaking, declined. If you are looking historically, there are massive costs. The next highest cost is from crime. And the next highest is the pathological. A Rand Corporation study by Brian Jenkins, for a ten-year period up to 1988, showed that 50% of terror was committed without any political cause at all. No politics; simply crime and pathology. So the focus is on only one, the political terrorist, the PLO, the Bin Laden, whoever you want to take."

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Wednesday October 08, 2003 at 11:53 pm
    Another excerpt from Eqbal Ahmad's "Terrorism: Theirs and Ours" (http://www.irr.org.uk/2001/october/ak000004.html) on the motivations of political terrorists: "Why do they do it? What makes the terrorist tick? I would like to knock this out quickly to you. First, there is the need to be heard. Imagine we are dealing with a minority group, the political, private terrorist. Normally, and there are exceptions, there is an effort to be heard, to get your grievances heard by people. They're not hearing it. A minority acts. The majority applauds. The Palestinians, for example, the super-terrorists of our time, were dispossessed in 1948. From 1948 to 1968 they went to every court in the world. They knocked at every door in the world. They were told that they became dispossessed because some radio told them to go away - an Arab radio - which was a lie. Nobody was listening to the truth. Finally, they invented a new form of terror, literally their invention: the airplane hijacking. Between 1968 and 1975 they pulled the world up by its ears. They dragged us out and said, Listen, Listen. We listened. We still haven't done them justice, but at least we all know. Even the Israelis acknowledge. Remember Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, saying in 1970, 'There are no Palestinians' - they do not exist. They damn well exist now. We are cheating them at Oslo. At least there are some people to cheat now. We can't just push them out. The need to be heard is essential. One motivation is there: the mix of anger and helplessness produces an urge to strike out. You are angry. You are feeling helpless. You want retribution. You want to wreak retributive justice. The experience of violence by a stronger party has historically turned victims into terrorists. Battered children are known to become abusive parents and violent adults. You know that. That's what happens to peoples and nations. When they are battered, they hit back. State terror very often breeds collective terror. Do you recall the fact that the Jews were never terrorists? By and large, Jews were not known to commit terror except during and after the Holocaust. Most studies show that the majority of members of the worst terrorist groups in Israel or in Palestine, the Stern and the Irgun gangs, were people who were immigrants from the most anti-Semitic countries of Eastern Europe and Germany. Similarly, the young Shi'ites of Lebanon or the Palestinians from the refugee camps are battered people. They become very violent. The ghettos are violent internally. They become violent externally when there is a clear, identifiable, external target, an enemy where you can say, 'yes, this one did it to me'. Then they can strike back. Example is a bad thing; example spreads. There was a highly publicised Beirut hijacking of a TWA plane. After that hijacking, there were hijacking attempts at nine different American airports. There were pathological groups or individuals modelling themselves on others. Even more serious are examples set by governments. When governments engage in terror, they set very large examples. When they engage in supporting terror, they engage in other sets of examples. Absence of revolutionary ideology is central to victim terrorism. Revolutionaries do not commit unthinking terror. Those of you who are familiar with revolutionary theory know the debates, the disputes, the quarrels, the fights within revolutionary groups of Europe, the fight between anarchists and Marxists, for example. But the Marxists have always argued that revolutionary terror, if ever engaged in, must be sociologically and psychologically selective. Don't hijack a plane. Don't hold hostages. Don't kill children, for God's sake. Have you recalled also that the great revolutions, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Algerian, the Cuban, never engaged in the hijacking type of terrorism? They did engage in terrorism, but it was highly selective, highly sociological, still deplorable, but there was an organised, highly limited, selective character to it. So the absence of revolutionary ideology, that begins more or less in the post-World War II period, has been central to this phenomenon. My final question is - these conditions have existed for a long time. But why, then, this flurry of private political terrorism? Why now so much of it and so visible? The answer is modern technology. You have a cause. You can communicate it through radio and television. They will all come swarming if you have taken an aircraft and are holding 150 Americans hostage. They will all hear your cause. You have a modern weapon through which you can shoot a mile away. They can't reach you. And you have the modern means of communicating. When you put together the cause, the instrument of coercion and the instrument of communication, politics is made. A new kind of politics becomes possible."

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Friday October 10, 2003 at 8:19 pm
    Excerpt from international law professor, Richard Falk's "Ending the Death Dance (4/11/02 The Nation article: http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020429&s=falk&c=1): "There is little doubt that part of the recent escalation can be traced back to President Bush's overplaying of the antiterrorist card since Day One of the response to Al Qaeda. By overgeneralizing the terrorist threat posed by the September 11 attacks, Bush both greatly widened the scope of needed response and at the same time gave governments around the planet a green light to increase the level of violence directed at their longtime internal adversaries. Several important governments were glad to merge their struggle to stem movements of self-determination with the US war on global terror, and none more than Ariel Sharon's Israeli government. The Bush Administration has made several costly mistakes. By not limiting the response to the Al Qaeda threat, it has taken on a mission impossible that has no end in sight; even worse, the Administration embraces war in settings where it has no convincing relationship either to US or human security. Related to this broadening of the goal is the regressive narrowing of the concept of terrorism to apply only to violence by nonstate movements and organizations, thereby exempting state violence against civilians from the prohibition on terrorism. Indeed, this statist approach has been extended so far that it calls nonstate attacks on military targets such as soldiers or warships terrorism, while not regarding state violence as terrorism even when indiscriminately directed at civilian society, as seemed the case at times during the Russian response to Chechnya's drive for independence and with respect to Israel's approach to occupation. Such a usage is ethically unacceptable, politically manipulative and decidedly unhistorical. It is important to recall that the usage of the word "terrorism" to describe political violence derives from the government excesses that spun out of control during the French Revolution. The issue here is not one of political semantics but of analysis and prescription. By designating only Palestinian violence as terrorism, Israel's greater violence not only avoids stigma in the American context but has been officially validated by being treated as part of the struggle against terrorism. The point here is not in any way to excuse Palestinian suicide bombers and other violence against civilians, but to suggest that when a struggle over territory and statehood is being waged it can and should be resolved at the earliest possible point by negotiation and diplomacy, and that the violence on both sides tends toward the morally and legally impermissible."

    Ricardo Miranda
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Thursday November 20, 2003 at 9:34 am
    Mr. Miranda Thank you profoundly for these great articles.

    Miles Tompkins
    none
    Canada

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