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One dissident Jew addresses the "Causes and Effects of the Al-Aqsa Intifada"

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, Number 59 31 October 2000 The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine / 2425-35 Virginia Ave., NW / Washington, DC 20037 / Tel:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31 3:20 PM

      Number 59 31 October 2000

      The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine / 2425-35 Virginia Ave., NW /
      Washington, DC 20037 / Tel: 202.338.1290 / Fax: 202.333.7742 /

      Causes and Effects of the Al-Aqsa Intifada

      At an October 26 CPAP lecture, Maxim Ghilan asserted that because
      Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was unable to force his proposals through
      at Camp David, he allowed Ariel Sharon's controversial East Jerusalem visit
      in order to provoke a Palestinian response. Ghilan, director of the
      International Jewish Peace Union, discussed the uprising that resulted, as
      well as the role of the Israeli peace movement and the United States
      government in responding to the current crisis. Ghilan relayed his fears
      that conditions may be right for a mass expulsion of Palestinians with
      Israeli citizenship.

      According to Ghilan, Barak went to Camp David with a "deliberate
      intention" to compel Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser
      Arafat "to bow to his approach" regarding final status issues. Arafat
      refused, so Barak moved to his backup plan. The "troubles broke out"
      ostensibly because of Sharon's visit to the Haram al-Sharif, said Ghilan,
      yet this was not accidental. Instead, the visit was an example of "political
      karate" by "Sharon and Barak [to try] to create a situation [in] which the
      Palestinians . . . would put themselves in the wrong." As a result of
      Sharon's visit, a popular uprising erupted.

      This uprising is a "joint" effort between Palestinians with Israeli
      citizenship and those in the Occupied Territories. Although Palestinians
      inside Israel receive far more economic benefits than their neighbors in the
      West Bank and Gaza, their "political situation [has been] very, very bad."
      In the 1950s, "every single Arab was under curfew inside the borders of
      Israel." More recently, the presence of foreign media in Israel has helped
      to improve the position of Palestinian Israelis. Palestinians became members
      of the Knesset and took on other leadership roles. In response to their
      empowerment and statements critical of the system, Israeli authorities
      started investigating Palestinian members of the Knesset, increased the
      demolition of Palestinian homes, "beat up more and more people," and in
      short, "created a situation" in which young Palestinian Israelis felt
      compelled to join the new intifada.

      This experience was similar to the first intifada, which was "started by
      that age group [in the Occupied Territories] which had nothing to
      lose"-those aged 9-14 who had no jobs, were "under curfew a great part of
      the time," and were willing to face the negative consequences of their
      protests. For similar reasons, Palestinians in Israel who had been
      "completely quiet for [more than] 50 years" ended their silence during this
      new uprising.

      The involvement of Palestinian Israelis in these clashes "reinforced"
      the Israeli government notion of an "exchange of populations between the
      territories" and Israel. "This is a very nice phrase but what does it mean?"
      Ghilan asked. When one considers Israel plans to annex the settlement blocks
      in the Occupied Territories, there really are no Jewish Israelis to
      exchange. In reality, this is "a plan to throw out as many Arab Israelis as
      possible, take over their land," and create the "famed, fabled, fortressed
      Israel, in which only Jews live." Ghilan fears that if there is no
      intervention by the United States, there is the "possibility" of a "new
      Nakba" in Israel, referring to the "catastrophe" in 1948 when 800,000
      Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes during the formation of
      Israel. Now, the roughly one million Palestinian Israelis "are targets" and
      "we will only have ourselves to blame for not intervening in time" if they
      are chased out.

      The U.S. government could prevent a Nakba from occurring, but it is
      unlikely to do so. The United States benefits from its support of Israel-it
      "does not have an ally" in Israel, "but an instrument." Ghilan referred to a
      "symbiotic relationship between the American military industrial complex and
      the Israeli military entrepreneur establishment" in which the "United States
      gives at least, apart from covert aid, $3.1 billion each year to Israel." Of
      this money, contended Ghilan, the vast majority is used to acquire "American
      planes, American military weaponry, American technology," and other
      equipment, so that the money returns to the United States. U.S. companies
      that produce military hardware profit tremendously. "As long as [this
      relationship] exists, America will not drop Israel." This arrangement helps
      to create employment, keep the dollar steady, and control Arab countries.

      Ghilan discussed how Israel might proceed with a plan to expel
      Palestinian citizens. Such a strategy would be similar to what occurred in
      1948 and 1967. There would be a massacre of about 400 or 500
      Palestinians-not thousands-committed in a "spectacular way," and horror
      stories would be disseminated to encourage people to flee in fear. In a
      similar way, the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin of more than 100 Palestinians
      by Jewish forces was "emblematic," and was used to frighten Palestinians.
      Israel would also expel prominent leaders in order to undermine Palestinian

      Ghilan evisions little Israeli resistance to such actions. He asserted
      that the Zionist peace movement is "for peace when there's peace and for war
      when there's war." This is why, he argued, Israeli peace activists have not
      been very forceful in the past few weeks. Rather than becoming stronger when
      there is a crisis-like the anti-Vietnam War peace movement-the opposite is
      occurring. One Israeli told him that Israel should kill 3,000 Arabs and
      then, perhaps, the Arabs would relent. Unfortunately, Ghilan said, 90
      percent of Israelis will back the government's policies "like sheep." As is
      typical in all societies, Israelis will be unlikely to pay much attention
      until too many of their own people die. This pattern is even more evident in
      a closed society like Israel.

      Turning to the more radical, non-Zionist Israeli peace activists who all
      along have raised concerns about Oslo, Ghilan said that he has "no
      illusions" about a "merry future," yet there are "small voices" from this
      community arguing their views on the Internet. Because the media is
      "pro-Israeli," particularly in the United States, "we [more radical peace
      activists] don't exist because they don't want us to exist." Still, "there
      is a future for people like us," but it will take a lot of blood before
      people say, "'yeah, you were right,'" and express regret that they had not
      listened earlier.

      The above text is based on remarks delivered on 26 October 2000 by Maxim
      Ghilan, director of the International Jewish Peace Union and founder and
      editor of the Israel and Palestine Political Report. His views do not
      necessarily reflect those of the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine or
      The Jerusalem Fund. This "For the Record" was written by CPAP Publications
      Manager Wendy Lehman; it may be used without permission but with proper
      attribution to the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine.

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