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Ending the Israeli-Palestinian impasse

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    Palestinians paying price for West s Holocaust guilt: Tutu Khaled Amayreh http://www.xpis.ps/Uploadarticles/166articles%20Palestinians%20paying%
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2008
      Palestinians paying price for West's Holocaust guilt: Tutu
      Khaled Amayreh

      GENEVA (AFP) - Palestinians are paying the price of the West's guilt
      over the Holocaust through its failure to pressure Israel to reach a
      just and lasting peace, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu said Thursday. "I
      think the West, quite rightly, is feeling contrite, penitent for its
      awful connivance with the Holocaust," the massacre of Europe's Jews
      by German Nazis in World War II, Tutu told journalists."Now when you
      are contrite, when you are penitent, you are then ready to make
      amends, and we call that penance. The West is penitent, the penance
      is being paid by the Palestinians," said the South African archbishop
      who was famed for his anti-apartheid activism.

      "I just hope that ordinary citizens in the West will wake up and
      say, 'we refuse to be part of this'," Tutu added after presenting a
      report on the Israeli shelling of the Palestinian village of Beit
      Hanoun to the UN Human Rights Council.Tutu had been mandated by the
      rights council to investigate the shelling in November 2006 which
      killed 19 civilians.

      His report concluded that "in the absence of a well-founded
      explanation from the Israeli military... the mission must conclude
      that there is a possibility that the shelling of Beit Hanoun
      constituted a war crime."In his address to the Council, Tutu also
      charged that "the international community is failing to fulfil its
      role in respect of the suffering of the people of Gaza."

      "It is the silence of the international community in the face of what
      is happening there which most offends. This silence begets
      complicity," he said.

      Following an internal investigation, Israel concluded that shelling
      the civilians' homes was "a rare and grave technical error of the
      artillery radar system," and announced in February that no charges
      would be brought against Israeli forces involved in the incident.But
      Tutu's report said that the "Israeli response of a largely secret
      internal military investigation is absolutely unacceptable from both
      legal and moral points of view."

      Tutu also condemned rocket fire by Palestinian militants based in
      Gaza against Israeli civilians and said the Islamist Hamas movement
      in power in the coastal strip was responsible for ensuring it ceased.

      "We long desperately for a situation in what many of us call the Holy
      Land where people can live in peace and in security," Tutu told
      journalists.But he stressed that "there's not the foggiest chance of
      peace ever happening until the human rights of all are respected and


      Ending the Israeli and Palestinian impasse
      Ali Abunimah
      By FinalCall.com News

      The son of Palestinian parents who fled the country in 1948, Ali
      Abunimah is an author, journalist and co-founder of the information
      resource Electronic Intifada. His is a leading academic voice on
      issues affecting the Middle East and Arab-American affairs. He
      recently sat down with The Final Call's Assistant Editor Ashahed M.
      Muhammad to share some of his thoughts regarding the conflict in the
      Occupied Territories, as well as solutions offered in his book "One
      Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse."

      The Final Call (FC): What was the catalyst that led to the creation
      of the Electronic Intifada?

      Ali Abunimah (AA): Very simply, the mainstream media in this country
      does not fairly represent the viewpoints and experiences of
      Palestinians, either in this country or in Palestine. It provides a
      very distorted picture, so the Electronic Intifada was an attempt to
      create our own media, where we were the editors. Where Palestinians
      and those who support human rights for Palestinians could have a
      forum to debate, discuss and to report. We do a lot of the original
      reporting from the ground in Palestine, that is not subject to the
      mainstream media censorship.

      FC: You've discussed the growing awareness and parallels between
      South Africa and apartheid, Jim Crow here in the United States and
      the occupation and Zionism that exist right now in the occupied
      territories. There are some subtleties there and then there are also
      some very obvious parallels when viewing what is going on there on
      the ground.

      AA: Well the parallel is one that is being noted by many people
      including Palestinians, Israelis and many prominent South Africans
      who really engaged heroically in the struggle against apartheid.
      Archbishop Desmond Tutu is perhaps one of the most famous in the
      world, but there are many. Basically, the thing that ties these
      things together, there are a couple. One is the notion that a
      minority of settlers and a community that has come from overseas and
      settled in this country has an inherent God-given right to rule over
      others because they are different in some ways—their skin is a
      different color, they are a different religion, and they do not
      belong to the group that has established its rule by force of arms.

      Entire ideologies get built around preserving, maintaining and
      justifying these differences in power. So in South Africa and in
      Israel, as well as in the United States, you see a discourse that
      talks about, on the one hand, civilization, and on the other hand,
      barbarism. Whereas those in power, are always the ones who define
      themselves as civilized and those who they exercise power over, they
      define them as being barbarians who need to be controlled; to be
      civilized. They say if we let them get control then all hell will
      break loose. So you see a very similar ideological premise for
      maintaining the privileged rule of one group.

      On the other hand, you see the methods used to maintain that control
      of violence—state violence—which is often rendered invisible.
      Violence is so ingrained in the system, that defines the Palestinians
      living on his or her own land as being illegal, as being illegally
      present; or the laws in Israel which prohibits a Palestinian who is
      in Israel (there are some Palestinians in Israel) from marrying a
      Palestinian and bringing that Palestinian to come and live in the
      country. So those laws, Palestinian civil rights organizations
      compare them to the laws that prevented Blacks and Whites from
      marrying in this country. There are legal barriers to Palestinians
      marrying Israeli citizens, to living in certain parts of the country
      and so on. An entire system of racial and ethnic discrimination and
      that is really the basis of why people have compared it.

      FC: You advocate the one state solution to solve the
      Israeli/Palestinian land question. What are the reasons some oppose
      the one state solution? Is it motivated by the fear of the
      demographic changes that could occur? I know that it is complex and
      there are many different layers to the different arguments of one
      state versus two states. Talk to us about the differences.

      AA: In the-two state solution, the basic premise is that Palestine
      should be divided between the indigenous people and the settlers.
      That division is inherently unjust and unfair, because it is based on
      the notion that Israel was established through the ethnic cleansing
      of three-fourths (75 percent) of the Palestinian population and the
      two-state solution says that we just forget about that. We establish
      a Jewish state on three-fourths of Palestine and a Palestinian state
      on less then a quarter of the territory. And all those Palestinians
      who were expelled or want to return, they just have to disappear.

      It is inherently unjust and the reason for it is that the Israelis
      want to maintain their power and privilege, understandably. Many
      people who have power and privilege do not want to give it up. Now in
      ending this situation there is the fear factor that Israelis
      say, "Well if we give up our absolute control, then what is to stop
      those who we have victimized, from victimizing us?" They will often
      argue that Palestinians are inherently less civilized or inherently
      less well behaved and therefore they cannot be trusted. "The moment
      that they get the opportunity, they will slaughter us in our beds."
      These are the same arguments that were made against ending apartheid
      in South Africa, "Well you may not like apartheid, but the moment it
      ends those savage Africans are going to slaughter us." In other
      words "It's easy for you Europeans and Americans to argue against
      apartheid, but you don't live here with these people." And exactly
      the same arguments are made today to defend Israel.

      What I argue in my book is that I believe that all human beings are
      equal and that in conditions of justice they can live together. What
      does justice mean? Justice means that you have to restore the rights
      and property to those who have been denied them. It does not mean
      that you just end the situation. You do not just say now, okay,
      everyone is equal and that is it. You have to actually make
      reparations and restore those who have been denied their rights to
      where they were, and their children, who have lost so many
      opportunities because of the generations of injustice, have to be
      given a proper chance in life and have to be made whole. That is a
      process that goes beyond simply writing a constitution in which
      everyone is declared equal. The equality has to have real roots in
      the ground and that means you have to shift the balance of wealth and
      power from those who have monopolized it, to those who have been
      denied it.

      That, I think, is also what makes this a universal challenge, because
      that is the same challenge that we still face in these United States;
      where that process has barely started. Where after 100 years of
      slavery and genocide against the native people, all of a sudden those
      in power say "okay, everyone is equal now." That does not work. It
      was just a few days ago, we passed the landmark of one percent of
      this country's population in prison. Who are those one percent? You
      can be sure that they are not drawn equally from all segments of the
      population. So the challenge in Palestine is tied to those broader
      struggles I think in that way, and we have to see it that way. The
      danger is that we all see ourselves as being part of little tribes
      that are struggling for our own patch and miss the universal
      significance of what we are fighting for.

      FC: Thank you.

      (For more information visit www.electronicintifada.net)



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