Lebanon, ‘more people will die from war pollution than from war itself’

This video says about itself:

22 September 2016

As private developers have gobbled up seafront land and families complain of ever-more polluted waters, many Lebanese say it is cheaper and cleaner to fly abroad than go to the beach at home.

From the New Zealand Herald:

War in Lebanon leaves poisonous legacy

Monday September 11, 2006

BEIRUT – More people will die as a result of pollution unleashed by Israel’s bombing of the Lebanon than perished in the month-long war itself, the Lebanese Government believes.

Yacoub Sarraf, its Environment Minister, said that “deliberate” bombing of a fuel tank caused a fire that burned for 12 days, releasing a poisonous cloud over a third of the country.

The smoke contains high levels of lead and mercury, and would affect agriculture and the water supply.

The same bombing released about 15 million litres of oil into the Mediterranean.

Israel ridiculed any suggestion of deliberate environmental damage, saying it it targeted only facilities relevant to Hizbollah.

Even in the case that this is technically true, by far most ‘facilities relevant to Hizbollah’ (or any other organization), like electricity and water, are still far more relevant to the civilian population.

This reminds me of bitter jokes in Yugoslavia, when it was bombed by NATO in 1999: “A drinking water plant is a military target, as soldiers sometimes drink water … A cigarette plant is a military target, as soldiers sometimes smoke …”

The government of Israel should also recognize that pollution does not respect borders, including the Israeli-Lebanese border.

The environment, living things, including humans, of especially northern Israel, will suffer along with Lebanon.

Phosphorus bombs: here.

Chemical weapons: here.

Qana, Lebanon civilian deaths and Raytheon: here.

16 thoughts on “Lebanon, ‘more people will die from war pollution than from war itself’

  1. Don’t worry, we have brought a broom

    TOI-Billboard, October 7, 2006
    The Other Israel’s email updates

    –TOI’s selection of this week’s Occupation Magazine’s daily picks
    –Today’s pics http://www.kibush.co.il/ (constantly renewed)

    Through the fire — by Adam Keller
    The Other Israel’s editorial overview of the
    dramatic past months – now online:

    Here follows TOI’s selection of this week’s Occupation Magazine’s daily picks

    Women activists harvest/expose the Rabin Square olive trees
    Adam Keller – kibush.co.il – “You have no permit to demonstrate here, you must disperse!” “We are not demonstrating, we are harvesting olives.” “What?” For once, the tough Tel Aviv Municipal Marshals were caught unready. Nobody had ever thought of passing a municipal ordinance or by-law forbidding the picking of olives. “But you are littering, the pavement is full of leaves! This is forbidden!” “Don`t worry, we have brought a broom.

    Bil’in defiant in midday sun-invaded later
    ISM updates – http://www.palsolidarity.org – A few hours after the demonstration yesterday Israeli soldiers eventually managed to invade the village shooting rubber bullets and firing sound bombs at Palestinian children who threw stones at them to defend their village. Three houses were damaged. Reuters cameraman Emad Bornat (who is also a resident of the village), who was the only person present filming this, was arrested and beaten.

    We need to switch gears
    Manuela Dviri – Haaretz – Whatever the conclusions of the committee of inquiry, at present we have no need for a weak government and a prime minister busy defending himself on a personal level, and certainly not for cheap demagoguery and belligerent populism, negative energy, self-righteousness and eye-rolling. We are in need of hope: of a broad forward perspective (rather than always just looking back in anger), a comprehensive and creative view, a practical plan of action. But mainly we are in need of a break, in order to give the prime minister and the entire government time and opportunity to prove whether they do in fact have the necessary courage, strength, depth of thinking and will to repair the mistakes of the past and lead the nation – this time, to a diplomatic step that will be as great as was the disappointment with the war (see the signals from Syria).

    Haniyya will not recognize occupation, offers extended truce
    IMEMC staff/agencies – IMEMC/Ha`aretz – The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, a member of the Hamas party, said during a speech in front of tens of thousands of residents in Gaza that Hamas will not recognize the Israeli occupation over Palestine, and offered a 10-year truce with Israel. The Ha`aretz account makes no mention of this offer and emphasizes that “Hamas won`t recognize Israel”.

    Guests on a frail planet – Sukkot as a reminder of human unity
    Rabbi Lewis Weiss – btvshalom.org – As anyone has built a sukkah can attest, it is a frail home, a place where it doesn`t do to depend on material security. We are required to be able to see the stars through its roof — a potent reminder that we lie beneath the heavens shared by all God`s creatures. The message is clear: We are all but guests on a frail planet. If we don`t work together, our future is endangered, our temporary structure will collapse.

    ICG: “Now is the time to launch an Arab-Israeli peace initiative” Report
    International Crisis Group-electronic intifada-“…security and full recognition to the state of Israel … an end to the occupation for the Palestinian people in an independent, sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital, recovery of lost land to Syria and a fully sovereign and secure Lebanese state.”

    Bad faith and the destruction of Palestine
    Jonathan Cook-Arab Media Internet Network-“The occupation of Gaza did not begin this year, after Hamas was elected, nor did it end with the disengagement a year ago. The occupation is four decades old and still going strong …. Israel has followed a consistent policy of subjugating the Palestinian population, imprisoning it inside ever-shrinking ghettos, sealing it off from contact with the outside world, and destroying its chances of ever developing an independent economy.”

    The Golan in the role of Sharm
    Danny Yatom and Moshe Amirav-Ha`aretz-“The leadership explains its inflexibility with the slogan: “Syria has not changed.” This judgment ignores important developments, the most significant of which was the Arab League`s decision (endorsed by Syria) in Beirut, supporting full peace and normalization of relations with Israel in return for the territories it has captured.”

    Refuseniks: IDF employs apartheid regime
    Yael Ivri-YNet News- “Instead of Gaza becoming part of a future Palestinian state, it became a prison. Nothing enters and nothing leaves, and the Palestinian population is being starved. The solution is negotiations, not one-faceted steps.”

    Assessment of damages caused bei the IDF operations in the Gaza Strip : 26.6. – 28.8.06
    UNDP – “Following the kidnapping of an IDF soldier by three Palestinian militants, the IDF launched a military offensive in the Gaza strip on 28 June 06 codenamed “Operation Summer Rains”. In addition to killing 200 Palestinians including 44 children, the operation resulted in extended damage to Palestinian infrastructure and economy in the Gaza strip”

    Click to access DamagesGaza_UNDP.pdf

    Joint Alert by Palestinian Human Rights Organisations to Representatives of the International Community
    Al-Haq and others – “It must be recognised that the current crisis stems from the almost 40-year-long Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and the fact that both Israel and the international community have repeatedly failed to meet their obligations under international law with regard to the OPT.”

    The settlers are not resting
    Editorial – Haaretz – “t Is difficult to know whether the settlements are continuing to grow because of government indifference or as part of an effort to buy quiet on the right.”

    Not an internal Palestinian matter
    Amira Hass – Haaretz – ” The experiment was a success: The Palestinians are killing each other.”

    Olive Harvest – Soldiers Interrupt Harvest at Kufr Qalil
    Josie – (IWPS) – “The farmer, myself and another international woman approached them and were told that the family could not harvest today as they had not consulted with the army first to arrange it.”

    Peace Now: Outposts expanded during war
    Efrat Weiss – Ynet – The report enumerates the outposts in which expansion works have been undertaken: three trailers were added in Derech Avot in Hebron; in Gilad Farm and Yair Farm in Samaria, two more were added. One trailer each was added in Gush Etzion, Bat-Ein, Nofei Nahamia (near Tapuah Junction), Neveh Daniel and Point 468 (north of Jerusalem).

    Judge: Police officers lied while testifying against left-wing activists
    Nir Hasson – Haaretz – Oct. 3 – Judge Muki Landman harshly criticized the police`s behavior in his ruling. “A feeling of serious discomfort has arisen from the mighty gap between the officers` testimony and what is seen in the video tapes,” Landman wrote. “I cannot rule out the possibility that had it not been for the videotapes, I would have reached a different result regarding the defendants.”

    Talking to Syria – on the condition of no conditions
    JP staff & AP – Jerusalem Post – PM Olmert would agree to hold negotiations if the Syrians entered without pre-conditions and only if the recognition of Israel`s right to exist were promised, Army Radio reported.

    Anti-war struggle in war zone (report from Haifa)
    Iris Bar – The Other Israel – And then, on August 14, at 8:00 am, the Open War stopped, as suddenly as it began, putting an end to a really strange period. Despite the fact that we were active almost every day (we organized and participated in protests three to four times a week, and also did more social activity than usual) I felt, more than ever, that the real politics, the real changes in the world, are achieved by other people who use other means.

    Ilan Pappe: Israeli academia deserves to be boycotted
    Ilan Pappe – Irish Times – Oct 03, 2006 – Israeli academia is guilty as charged by the Palestinian academics. By not raising their voices in protest, Israeli academics allow the atrocities to continue. Moreover, Israeli academia is providing the moral infrastructure for the occupation and key members of it assist in its daily praxis.

    Occupation Magazine http://www.kibush.co.il/ (articles and action news, look at it daily – includes a useful archive)

    ISM website http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/ (informing especially about joint Palestinian-Israeli-international anti-Wall struggle in the villages)

    Robert Rosenberg’s summary of “peace” issues in the Israeli media http://www.ariga.com/ (on workdays)

    http://www.theheadlines.org/ (a variety of papers, followed dayly by Shadi Fadda)

    http://electronicintifada.net/new.shtml (Palestinian press agency, including own research)

    http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php (Palestinian on-line News agency that publishes news and articles in English from it’s own as well as other sources, including from the Hebrew press)


  2. nternational release
    October 17, 2006

    Gush Shalom warns for letting “a racist much worse than Haider” join the government
    The following is the translation of what appeared today as ad in Haaretz

    עברית מצורפת

    When the racist Joerg Haider joined the Austrian government, the Israeli government recalled our ambassador from Vienna.

    Now there is an intention to invite Avigdor Liberman, a racist much worse than Haider, to join the Israeli government itself.

    The inclusion of Liberman in the government is not just a change in the coalition. It raises a black flag over the State of Israel.

    The very idea that such a person, which such views, can be a member of the Government of Israel is shocking. It shames everyone who advocates it.

    Liberman is a threat to the fabric of Israeli society, a threat to a whole sector of citizens, a threat to democracy, a threat to any chance for Israel to achieve peace with its neighbors.

    The proposed law for the change of the regime, which has been introduced by Liberman in the Knesset, is not just a proposal for another change in the mechanism of government. It is the first step towards the establishment of a dictatorship, which will lead to national disaster.

    This is a road of no return.

    A cynical Prime Minister, out to save his skin, together with a gang of corrupt and/or stupid politicians, are helping Liberman to put his foot in the door of Israeli democracy.

    Anyone who raises his hand in favor of Liberman and his proposals raises his hand against the State of Israel as defined by the Declaration of Independence, a state that was supposed to be democratic, peace-oriented, with equality for all its citizens.

    Each of them will be remembered forever with shame.

    signed: GUSH SHALOM

    GUSH SHALOM p.o.b. 3322 Tel Aviv 61033


  3. Robert Fisk: Mystery of Israel’s secret uranium bomb
    Alarm over radioactive legacy left by attack on Lebanon
    Published: 28 October 2006

    Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon
    this summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese
    lives, most of them civilians?

    We know that the Israelis used American “bunker-buster” bombs on
    Hizbollah’s Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern
    Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of
    thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week.
    And we now know – after it first categorically denied using such munitions –
    that the Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are
    supposed to be restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva
    Conventions, which neither Israel nor the United States have signed.

    But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam
    and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and
    Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions
    may now also be included in Israel’s weapons inventory – and were used
    against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British
    Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil
    samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed “elevated
    radiation signatures”. Both have been forwarded for further examination to
    the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry – used by the
    Ministry of Defence – which has confirmed the concentration of uranium
    isotopes in the samples.

    Dr Busby’s initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the
    contamination. “The first is that the weapon was some novel small
    experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a
    thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation
    flash … The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional
    uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than
    depleted uranium.” A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows
    large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

    Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel
    for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted
    uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for
    penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural
    uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.

    Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of weapons in
    Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian areas –
    until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds caught
    fire when exposed to air.

    I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West
    Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames.
    Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the
    summer – except for “marking” targets – even after civilians were
    photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with
    phosphorous munitions.

    Then on Sunday, Israel suddenly admitted that it had not been telling the
    truth. Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of government-parliament
    relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks
    against Hizbollah, adding that “according to international law, the use of
    phosphorous munitions is authorised and the (Israeli) army keeps to the
    rules of international norms”.

    Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-
    based munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign
    Ministry spokesman, said: “Israel does not use any weaponry which is not
    authorised by international law or international conventions.” This, however,
    begs more questions than it answers. Much international law does not
    cover modern uranium weapons because they were not invented when
    humanitarian rules such as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and
    because Western governments still refuse to believe that their use can
    cause long-term damage to the health of thousands of civilians living in the
    area of the explosions.

    American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium
    (DU) shells in Iraq in 1991 – their hardened penetrator warheads
    manufactured from the waste products of the nuclear industry – and five
    years later, a plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq.

    Initial US military assessments warned of grave consequences for public
    health if such weapons were used against armoured vehicles. But the US
    administration and the British government later went out of their way to
    belittle these claims. Yet the cancers continued to spread amid reports that
    civilians in Bosnia – where DU was also used by Nato aircraft – were
    suffering new forms of cancer. DU shells were again used in the 2003
    Anglo-American invasion of Iraq but it is too early to register any health

    “When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the
    explosion are very long-lived in the environment,” Dr Busby said yesterday.
    “They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs. The
    military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it is.”
    Yet why would Israel use such a weapon when its targets – in the case of
    Khiam, for example – were only two miles from the Israeli border? The dust
    ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders, just as
    the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War often
    blew back on its perpetrators.

    Chris Bellamy, the professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield
    University, who has reviewed the Busby report, said: “At worst it’s some
    sort of experimental weapon with an enriched uranium component the
    purpose of which we don’t yet know. At best – if you can say that – it shows
    a remarkably cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear waste products.”

    The soil sample from Khiam – site of a notorious torture prison when Israel
    occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline
    Hizbollah stronghold in the summer war – was a piece of impacted red earth
    from an explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of
    enriched uranium. “The health effects on local civilian populations following
    the use of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable
    uranium oxide particles in the atmosphere,” the Busby report says, “are
    likely to be significant … we recommend that the area is examined for
    further traces of these weapons with a view to clean up.”

    This summer’s Lebanon war began after Hizbollah guerrillas crossed the
    Lebanese frontier into Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three
    others, prompting Israel to unleash a massive bombardment of Lebanon’s
    villages, cities, bridges and civilian infrastructure. Human rights groups
    have said that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked civilians, but
    that Hizbollah was also guilty of such crimes because it fired missiles into
    Israel which were also filled with ball-bearings, turning their rockets into
    primitive one-time-only cluster bombs.

    Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war
    was a weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who
    respectively supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions. Just as Israel used
    hitherto-unproven US missiles in its attacks, so the Iranians were able to
    test-fire a rocket which hit an Israeli corvette off the Lebanese coast, killing
    four Israeli sailors and almost sinking the vessel after it suffered a 15-hour
    on-board fire.

    What the weapons manufacturers make of the latest scientific findings of
    potential uranium weapons use in southern Lebanon is not yet known. Nor
    is their effect on civilians.

    Chris Bellamy: An enigma that only the Israelis can fully explain
    Published: 28 October 2006

    The initial tests on samples taken from the site of the Israeli strike on
    Khiam present an enigma which will only be solved when the people who
    produced and deployed the weapon explain themselves. Speculation that
    the device was some form of “dirty bomb” or micro-yield nuclear weapon
    can probably be dismissed. The radiation levels and the amount of
    Uranium-235 in the sample clearly indicate that it was not a nuclear fission

    Uranium has been widely used in conventional weapons – and on the
    battlefield – for the past 30 years, for three reasons. Firstly, uranium is very
    dense – 70 per cent denser than lead. Therefore, a smaller projectile
    delivers more kinetic energy, making it ideal for armour-piercing shot.
    Secondly, it is pyrophoric, which means that when slammed into a target at
    high speed it liquefies and ignites spontaneously. Thirdly, the type of
    uranium most widely used in weapons, depleted uranium (DU), is plentiful.
    It is a by-product of uranium enrichment, which produces the fuel for
    nuclear power stations and nuclear weapons. Because there is so much of
    it about, it makes sense for those who have it to turn DU into armour-
    piercing munitions.

    The only logical military reason for the presence of traces of uranium, of
    any kind, would be the use of that element to make a hard, dense
    penetrator for an armour-piercing or “bunker-busting” device. Natural
    uranium consists of three isotopes – Uranium-238 (99.27 per cent), U-235 –
    the crucial component of fissionable material (0.72 per cent) and U-234
    (0.0054 per cent). To make the fuel for a nuclear reactor this needs to be
    enriched to three or four per cent U-235, and the resulting waste product,
    with only 0.25 per cent U-235 and 99.8 per cent U-238, is DU. To make a
    bomb you would need up to 90 per cent U-235 – hence the concern about
    Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.

    The Khiam sample, with 108 parts U-238 to one of U-235 – just under one
    per cent – is clearly enriched – but not much. So, in the absence of any
    palpable military advantage, in terms of its mass and its ability to generate
    heat and fire compared with DU or natural uranium, why was this enigmatic
    material used? There are several possibilities. The first is that there was a
    simple mistake – that uranium with an elevated U-235 content was used
    instead of DU or natural uranium. The Khiam sample was very small – 25
    grams. Contamination with soil could easily obscure a higher degree of
    enrichment. Spent nuclear fuel – after the power has been generated –
    typically contains 2.5 per cent U-235, but it can be as low as 1.5 per cent –
    close to the Khiam sample level. So the uranium in the Khiam projectile
    could just have been spent nuclear fuel.

    One way to dispose of enriched uranium safely is to blend it with natural
    uranium, in such a way that the U-235 is extremely difficult to re-extract.
    That might well produce a substance with just under one per cent U-235,
    which was a component of the Israeli Khiam bomb.

    It is also uncertain whether the munition was made in the US or by the
    Israelis themselves. If the Israelis or the Americans want to avoid
    accusations, at the very least, of a cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear
    waste products, they need to explain what was in that bomb and why it was

    Chris Bellamy is professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield


  4. http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/795631.html שימו לב גם

    See also: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/795671.html

    and: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/795387.html

    Uri Avnery

    A Sparkling Bubble

    A FRIEND of mine, who was brought up in Egypt, took part in the interrogation of Egyptian officers captured in the 1956 Sinai war.

    An Egyptian lieutenant-colonel told him: “Every time David Ben-Gurion gave a speech declaring that he was holding out his hand for peace, we put our forces on alert.”

    And, indeed, it was a typical method of Ben-Gurion: before launching a military operation, he would make a speech culminating with “We are holding out our hand for peace!” He frequently added that he was ready to meet the Arab leaders face to face, that he was in favor of negotiations without pre-conditions, and such.

    NOW, BEN-GURION has an heir.

    True, even in his darkest dreams Ben-Gurion could not have imagined an heir like Olmert – a politician personifying all the traits that Ben-Gurion detested. But, as the Bible says, “the dead praise not the Lord” (Psalm 115) nor can they choose their heirs.

    Last week, Olmert went all the way to Ben-Gurion’s grave in the remote Negev and made a speech designed to establish his status as his successor. No point wasting words on this pretension. But it is certainly revealing to analyse the speech itself.

    On the face of it, a peacenik speech the likes of which we have not heard for some time. Some said that this was an answer to the words addressed to him by the writer David Grossman at the Rabin memorial rally. And indeed, there is a resemblance between the two: just as Grossman’s speech was rich in sublime values and poor in practical proposals, so Olmert excelled in impressive phrases but failed the test of content.

    WHAT DID he say, after all?

    “If you (the Palestinians) set up a new government that will undertake to fulfill the principles of the Quartet, a government that will realize the Road Map and bring about the release of Gilad Shalit – I shall propose to Abu-Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) to meet him immediately, with the aim of conducting a real, open, sincere and serious dialogue between us and you.” (I have translated the words literally, since the official translation has edited the text.)

    Looks good. But if one looks again, one realizes that it is just a soap bubble.

    Since the days of Ben-Gurion, all our governments have used this tactic: say “yes” to every peace proposal, and add a small prior condition that turns “yes” into “no”.

    What does Olmert demand from the Palestinian government? Little things: to recognize Israel’s right to exist without fixed borders (and without Israel recognizing the right of a Palestinian state to exist within the 1967 borders), to stop the violence (without a parallel commitment by Israel) and to recognize all the agreements signed in the past (almost all of which have been violated by Israel no less than by the Palestinians.)

    On top of this, the Palestinian government must fulfill its “obligations” under the Road Map. This ridiculous document, a product of Bush & Co., demands that the Palestinians’ first step must involve dismantling all the “terror organizations”. Meaning: all the military organizations of the Palestinian parties. As long as the occupation is in force, this is a completely impossible and unreasonable demand and the Palestinians, of course, do not agree. It’s like demanding that Israel must dismantle the IDF as a first step.

    Olmert does not suggest that Israel, too, would follow the Road Map. According to that document, parallel to the dismantling of the Palestinian organizations, Israel must stop all settlement activities. In practice, these were not suspended for a moment and are in full swing even now.

    What will happen if the Palestinians fulfill all these one-sided conditions? Olmert will agree to meet Abu-Mazen “immediately”. What for? In order to conduct a “real, open, sincere and serious dialogue.”

    The words were chosen meticulously. Not “negotiations”, God forbid, but “dialogue”. A strictly non-committal term. If we eliminate from the text all the nice words that only serve as decorations – “immediately”, “real”, “open”, “sincere”, “serious” – all that remains is the agreement to a meeting. Perhaps there are people who are eager to meet Olmert – it’s a matter of taste – but this has no political meaning at all.

    OLMERT DOES not spare words. “In the framework of the dialogue (again “dialogue” and not “negotiations”) and in accordance with the Road Map (see above) you (the Palestinians) will be able to establish an independent and viable Palestinian state, with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria (Olmert uses these occupation terms instead of the term “West Bank”, which has become a symbol of the opposition to the occupation), a state with full sovereignty and defined borders.”

    Now that is really nice. No more “temporary borders”, as in the Road Map, but “defined borders”. Only one little detail: where will these run?

    Some might say: one does not disclose his final positions before the start of the negotiations (sorry, dialogue). But the Palestinians are expected to give everything before the start.

    “We, the State of Israel, will agree to the evacuation of many territories and the settlements that we have established therein. This is extremely difficult for us – akin to the Parting of the Red Sea (a Hebrew saying) – but we will bear it, in exchange for true peace between us and you.”

    Sounds nice. But what does it mean? The evacuation of “many territories” and not “all the territories”, not even “most of the territories”. (In Israeli usage, “territories” means “occupied territories”, a term official spokesmen prefer to avoid.)

    Also, not “the borders that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War”. Not even “borders based on the Green Line”, which would allow for small changes and an agreed swap of territories. But a new border which would annex to Israel the “settlement blocs”, as defined by the Separation Wall. That means the annexation of at least 10% of the West Bank, and perhaps much more.

    And what’s to stop that? After all, at this stage the other side would already be disarmed and would have agreed to recognize an Israel without fixed borders.

    That is the old plan of Ariel Sharon: to dismantle the small and dispersed settlements, in which some 20% of the settlers live, in order to annex to Israel the territories occupied by the remaining 80%. Olmert does not say what would happen to the expanded Jordan Valley, which constitutes about 20% of the West Bank and which is already completely cut off from it (with the exception of Jericho). Nor does he mention East Jerusalem, in which another 200 thousand settlers have established themselves.

    He promises that with the release of the captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, he would be prepared “to release numerous Palestinian prisoners, including ones who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, in order to increase the trust between us and prove that we indeed hold out our hand for peace.”

    After eliminating all the bla-bla from this sentence, what it says is that he would agree to release veteran prisoners, with “blood on their hands”, which he and his predecessors have always refused to do, in return for the soldier, as demanded by Hamas. That only confirms the Palestinian view that Israel understands only the language of force and that it would never give up anything unless compelled to do so.

    It seems that Olmert was in an especially generous mood, so he added: “(After) the cessation of terrorism and violence… we will significantly diminish the number of road-blocks, increase freedom of movement in the territories, facilitate movement of people and goods in both directions, improve the operation of the border-crossings to the Gaza Strip, and release your monies held by us, in order to alleviate the humanitarian hardship which many of you suffer.”

    “Thank you, really thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” a Palestinian might reply. Not the end of the occupation, not even the lifting of the blockade of Gaza. The dismantling of some road-blocks, leaving the others where they are. Not the return of freedom of movement, but an agreement to “increase” the permitted movement. And no opening of the passage between the Gaza strip and the West Bank (as provided for in the Oslo agreement 13 years ago.) But at least, we would give back the Palestinian money “held” by us. “Embezzled” would be a more proper term.

    And what did Olmert not say in his speech? He did not propose a cease-fire in the West Bank. Why? Perhaps because the army chiefs object. But even a child can understand that without a cease-fire there, the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip will not hold. The members of the organizations in Gaza will not be able to sit still while their defenseless comrades in the West Bank are being arrested, wounded and killed. Not to mention the dismemberment implied in this proposal, contrary to the Oslo agreement, which states unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip constitute “a single territorial unit”.

    SO HOW to define this speech?

    It is easy to say what it is not: it is not a “turning point” in the policy of the government. A “turning point” is a change of direction, which would necessitate the preparation of the public, explaining the nature of the change, its reasons and expected results. Nothing of the sort has been done. Even the spokesmen of the extreme right did not get excited.

    The correct definition is “spin” – just some more sleight of hand prepared by “image advisors” and publicity experts.

    True, even spin can have some positive value. Olmert has decided to devote the spin to matters of peace, not matters of war. This shows that he believes that Israeli public opinion is moving in this direction. The Israeli peace camp can congratulate itself for that. But there is no cause for dancing in the streets.

    WHY DID Olmert make such a speech at all? And why now?

    There is an internal reason. In Israel, the impression has (quite rightly) gained ground that this is a government without an agenda, without a political plan, a “hollow” government (to use Grossman’s phrase), whose only concern is political survival.

    Olmert thought it necessary to fill the vacuum and to create the image of a Prime Minister who knows what he is doing and is working towards a clear goal.

    And there is also an external reason, which may be more significant. Olmert may be bankrupt, but President Bush is even more desperate. He has come to the Middle East in order to convince the American voter that he knows what he is doing in Iraq and in the whole region. He needs a manifest achievement. He is carrying on the tradition of his predecessors that an American president who does not know what to do turns to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieves a “breakthrough”.

    Bush demanded that Olmert make a gesture to impress the world. So he made a gesture – delivering a speech full of nice phrases and promises with nothing behind them.

    It must be remembered: Bush wants to look like a resolute statesman, who is constructing a front of “moderate” Arab leaders against the Evil Axis of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas. This is why he came to Amman, instead of summoning his servants to Washington. But the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan know the dangers of looking like Israeli agents. So Bush demanded that Olmert include in his speech a reference to the Saudi peace initiative, which was rejected out of hand by the Israeli government after it had been endorsed by all the Arab states. This initiative says that the entire Arab world would recognize Israel and establish normal relations with it if it withdrew to the borders of June 4, 1967. Now, suddenly, Olmert declares that there are “positive” elements in it. But he did not accept it this time either.

    Bush has returned home and will forget the whole matter. Olmert’s speech will join the many others which were forgotten the day after they were delivered. Just another speech by an Israeli leader “holding out his hand for peace”.

    Soon available on http://www.gush-shalom.org


  5. Amos Harel & Avi Issacharoff

    North and South

    There will be a war next summer. Only the sector has not been chosen yet. The atmosphere in the Israel Defense Forces in the past month has been very pessimistic. The latest rounds in the campaigns on both fronts, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, have left too many issues undecided, too many potential detonators that could cause a new conflagration. The army’s conclusion from this is that a war in the new future is a reasonable possibility.

    1. The Third Lebanon War

    As Amir Oren reported in Haaretz several weeks ago, the IDF’s operative assumption is that during the coming summer months, a war will break out against Hezbollah and perhaps against Syria as well.

    At the same time, the IDF does not anticipate a long life for the cease-fire achieved last Saturday night with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. When the present tahdiya (lull) joins its predecessors that fell apart – the hudna (cease-fire) of summer 2003 (which lasted for a month and a half) and the tahdiya of winter 2005 (which was in its death throes for months until its final burial at the end of the disengagement) – there is a danger that the big bang will take place in Gaza. At its conclusion, like a self- fulfilling prophecy, IDF soldiers will return to the heart of Rafah for the first time in 13 years.

    Of the two worrisome scenarios, the IDF speaks more in public about a conflagration in Gaza, but is also genuinely worried about a war in the North, mainly in light of the army’s dubious achievements in the previous round there. Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky has recently spoken about a war in the North in the summer, in several closed military forums. The army is already undergoing an intensive process of preparation, which is based in part on lessons already learned from the second Lebanon war. The announcement this week of a renewal of reservist training at the Tze’elim training base is a signal to neighboring countries that the IDF is reinforcing and rehabilitating itself, but it was also meant for internal consumption: It broadcasts to the public and to the army that the process of post-war rehabilitation is being conducted with the requisite seriousness.

    Do all signs lead to war? One senior defense official says the answer to this question is no. He says that what we are dealing with is more a question of image than of substance. The extremist assessment of the good chances of a conflict in the North is designed to present the army with a target (and more important, with a target date). By summer preparations will be completed, and the IDF will brush itself off and restore the professional capability that it mistakenly thought it had when Israel so hastily went to war last summer.

    The process of rehabilitating the army’s preparedness is combined with efforts by Chief of Staff Dan Halutz to present the investigation of the recent war (which is supposed to end in about two weeks) as his crowning achievement. In spite of his denials, Halutz is seriously considering resigning, but is looking for the proper context. The conclusion of the inquest, which Halutz describes as the most thorough and honest that the IDF has ever conducted, is likely to provide such a context. The chief of staff can say that he is leaving his successor with a clean desk and that after comprehensive rehabilitation, the army is once again on the right path.

    In view of the risk of war against Syria, chief of Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin is talking about Israel’s obligation to examine the possibility of renewing peace negotiations with Damascus. In this, Yadlin is joining his predecessor, Major General Aharon Ze’evi Farkash. And like his own predecessor, Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is also reacting with displeasure to this talk, and wondering aloud whether the head of MI is not exceeding the bounds of his authority. Nevertheless, at least in the Lebanese arena, Olmert recently reexamined the possibility of compromising with the Siniora government on the question of the Shaba Farms (Har Dov). With or without any connection, a UN team has begun a project to map the area in order to decide on the size of the controversial region. The mapping work is being done at UN headquarters in New York, on the basis of maps and satellite photos.

    Olmert has been told that there is little chance that Syria would agree to an arrangement in which Israel would transfer this area to Lebanon. According to this assessment, Syrian President Bashar Assad is not enthusiastic about the possibility. When proposals for a remapping of the Syrian-Lebanese border were made to Assad, he replied that he would agree to that only if it began in the area of Tripoli in the north. In other words: as far as possible from the Shaba farms.

    2. Palestinian Freeze
    In the Palestinian arena, the sides are returning to square one at the end of this week. Although the firing of Qassams has lessened in recent days, the Hamas government of Ismail Haniyeh refuses to give up its place. Haniyeh has embarked on a visit to Arab countries that will last for about two weeks. Until his return, no practical negotiations are taking place between Fatah and Hamas over the establishment of the national unity government.

    At the beginning of the week, in the wake of the cease-fire, the Israeli side drew up complex, multi-stage scenarios regarding an overall deal that also involves the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit and the establishment of a new Palestinian government. However, as usual, the internal Palestinians arena is even more chaotic than Israel realizes. Apparently nothing has been decided yet in the Shalit affair. And the fate of the government of technocrats, which Haniyeh and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) have been discussing for months, is still unclear.

    In the office of the chairman they were angry this week, but not only at Hamas. Abbas vented his frustration at a meeting that he held with Haniyeh on Monday. The chairman told the prime minister that he would no longer discuss a national unity government with him. If you think you’ll succeed in removing the siege on your government without my help, he told him – tfadal (be my guest). The frustration in Abbas’ circle is directed to a great extent against the Egyptians, who went out of their way this week to flatter Khaled Meshal, head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus. It began with a press conference convened by Meshal in the Cairo press club, continued with an interview he gave to Egyptian television, and ended with a visit by Haniyeh and his entourage in Cairo, the first stop on the prime minister’s journey. One of Abbas’ men mentioned in disappointment that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman himself had promised the chairman that Egypt would not allow Haniyeh to travel abroad via the Rafah crossing for the purpose of raising money for the Hamas government.

    The price of Haniyeh’s trip is clear to Abbas. Only last week two Hamas senior officials brought $25 million into the Gaza Strip in suitcases via the Rafah crossing. That is a huge sum in terms of the present Gazan economy, and not a single dollar of it will reach the coffers of the PA. The entire sum is earmarked for the Hamas charity apparatus and for the organization’s military arm. At present, the return of Haniyeh’s entourage from abroad means additional millions of dollars for Hamas, whereas Fatah is suffering from mounting budgetary distress.

    Abbas’ people are afraid that if the Shalit deal is finally completed, only Hamas will benefit from it. The release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons will be attributed to the force of Hamas’ arms, rather than to the conciliatory approach of Abbas – in spite of Olmert’s promises to release the prisoners into his arms. Abbas’ men made a last, almost desperate attempt this week to get things to work for their benefit. They secretly turned to the two splinter groups that helped Hamas to kidnap Shalit – the Popular Resistance Committees and Jish al-Islam (the Army of Islam) – and suggested that they hand the soldier over to the chairman. The chances of success for such a move are slight.

    As things look at the moment, Hamas is emerging strengthened from the cease-fire, and its position will continue to improve after the Shalit deal. The surprising support from Egypt will further solidify the position of Haniyeh and Meshal in the unity government contacts.

    Fatah is nevertheless likely to register one achievement from the completion of a prisoner-release deal – if senior Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti is among those freed. The release of Barghouti, who was sentenced in Israel to five cumulative life sentences, will ease the sting of the Hamas achievement and will restore Fatah’s men in the field to public awareness. Israel has been discussing the possibility of his release for several years, in the hope of igniting a political move together with the Fatah leadership. A number of IDF generals have even expressed their support of this. On the other hand, the idea was sharply opposed by former Shin Bet security services chief Avi Dichter and his successor Yuval Diskin. This week someone in Jerusalem made sure to brief the political correspondents about Barghouti’s substantial contribution, from his prison cell, to bringing about the cease-fire agreement.

    Dichter and Diskin have a convincing argument: Barghouti was involved in the murder of Israelis. The leading gang of the Fatah military wing in the West Bank gathered around him and were inspired by him in their operations at the start of the intifada. The courts were convinced by the materials collected by the Shin Bet and MI, and convicted Barghouti of acts of murder. On the other hand, Barghouti has been actively involved for years in steps to achieve a cessation of the fighting. Yet this time it was urgent for political bodies in Israel to give credit to the senior prisoner. Perhaps this can be seen as preparing the ground for his release in a future deal.

    While Olmert, in taking the dual steps of agreeing to the cease-fire and making the hopeful speech at the grave of David Ben-Gurion, created the appearance of a diplomatic process with the Palestinians, security elements are skeptical about the chances of survival of the agreement with the PA. Halutz hinted at that in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, when he said that the political leadership had “consulted partially” with the IDF about the agreement.

    The army and the Shin Bet see eye to eye concerning the processes taking place in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is building in Gaza a southern version of Hezbollah-land, and the cease-fire will enable it to increase its strength without interference, by carrying on with the arms-smuggling industry. The calm will collapse at the time most convenient for the enemy, not for Israel. For the present, in order to defend itself from claims that it caused the cease-fire to fail, the IDF is awaiting precise instructions from the political leadership. These have not been forthcoming, and the army has to guess the intentions of the politicians and, based on them, to determine its instructions for opening fire.

    3. Ofra Is Expanding
    A Peace Now report about the settlements, which merited only limited coverage in the Israeli media, made considerable waves abroad. The New York Times thought that the revelations by Dror Etkes – the head of the organization’s Settlements Watch program, who said that 40 percent of the settlement areas in the West Bank are located on private Palestinian land – was a front-page story. The detailed data gathered by Peace Now, which are backed by aerial photos and information about the legal status of each plot of land, indicate that no fewer than 130 settlements were built on private Palestinian property.

    Senior officials in the Israeli Civil Administration confirm the reliability of the data and the conclusion to be drawn from them: The most significant violation of the law in the territories is not related so much to the outposts, but rather to the large and well- established settlements, which in Israeli discourse are considered legitimate. (The Judea and Samaria Regional Council denies this, and claims that all the construction in the settlements is done on state land.)

    The settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah, is a good example. Seen as the flagship of Gush Emunim (the original settlers’ movement), this community sits on Palestinian land, according to the report. Not all of it, it’s true. Only 93 percent. In light of this, the debate about last February’s demolition of nine houses in its satellite outpost, Amona, seems somewhat marginal.

    Etkes’ team obtained aerial photos that document the development of Ofra in four stages, from its establishment in 1969 until today. Almost all the construction has been carried out on land belonging to Palestinians from the neighboring villages. Peace Now relies on a databank similar to the one coordinated by deputy defense minister Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, whose main principles were published in Haaretz about two months ago. The U.S. administration, which keeps close track of any information about the settlements, has since asked for clarifications from the defense establishment. But Big Brother’s surveillance does not really affect what happens on the ground. On the contrary: The present days of the shaky Olmert government are good for the settlers. The tractors are once again working energetically on the hills of Samaria, while Defense Minister Amir Peretz continues to issue weekly notices about his intention of dealing soon and with utmost seriousness with the construction in the outposts.


  6. The Supreme Court
    Has approved
    Extra-judicial executions.

    This is
    A black day
    In the annals
    Of Israeli law.
    Hebrew http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/he/channels/weekly_ad/1166137258 המודעה בעברית

    Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz, Dec. 15, 2006
    אורי אבנרי


    חזרה למקום הפשע

    טכסט מלא בעברית http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/he/channels/avnery/1166311713

    Uri Avnery


    Back to the Scene of the Crime


    WHEN THE Israeli government decided, in the space of a few hours, to start the Second Lebanon War, it did not have any plan.

    When the Chief-of-Staff urged the cabinet to start the war, he did not submit any plan.

    This was disclosed this week by a military investigation committee.

    That is shocking.

    A plan is not an optional extra, something nice you can do without. A war without a plan is like a human body without a spinal column. Would anyone think of building a house without a plan? To put up a bridge? To produce a car? To hold a conference? After all, unlike a house, a bridge, a car or a conference, a war is supposed to kill people. Its very essence is killing and destroying.

    Almost in every case, to initiate a war is a crime. To start such a war without a plan and proper preparation is totally irresponsible – heaping crime upon crime.

    WHEN A STATE starts a war, the sequence is – in simplistic terms – as follows:

    (1) The government adopts a clear political aim.

    (2) The government deliberates whether this aim can be achieved by war – after it comes to the conclusion that it cannot be achieved by other means.

    From this point on, the emphasis moves from the political to the military leadership. Its duty is:

    (3) To draw up a strategic plan for attaining the aim decided upon by the government.

    (4) To translate the strategic plan into a tactical plan. Among others: to decide what forces are needed, which forces will be employed, what is the target of each force and within which time it must achieve it, as well as to foresee possible moves by the other side.

    (5) To prepare the forces for their tasks, in accordance with their training and equipment.

    A wise government will also think about the situation it would like to have after the war, and will instruct the military to take this into consideration while planning their operations.

    Now it appears that nothing of this sort happened. There was no clearly defined war aim, there was no political or military plan, there were no clear objectives for the troops and they were not prepared for the tasks they were given. Without a central plan, nothing of these was even possible.

    A war without a plan is no war at all, but an adventure. A government that starts a war without a plan is no government at all, but a bunch of politicians. A General Staff that goes to war without a plan is no General Staff at all, but a group of generals.

    THE WAY events developed, according to the inquiry committees, was like this: the government decided on the war in a hurry, within a few hours, without defining any aim.

    In the following days, several war aims were thrown around. They followed each other in quick succession and contradicted each other in many ways. That by itself is a recipe for disaster: every aim demands its own methods and means, which may be quite different from those demanded by another.

    Among the aims that were announced: the release of the two captured soldiers, the destruction of Hizbullah, the elimination of the arsenal of missiles in South Lebanon, the pushing of Hizbullah away from the border, and more. Beyond that there was a general desire to have a Lebanese government that was completely subservient to American and Israeli interests.

    If competent army officers had been instructed to draw up a plan for each of these aims, they would soon have arrived at the conclusion that all of them were unattainable by military means, certainly not under the circumstances.

    The idea that the two prisoners could be liberated by war is manifestly ridiculous. Like going after a mosquito with a sledgehammer. The proper means is diplomacy. Perhaps somebody would have suggested capturing some Hizbullah commanders in order to facilitate an exchange of prisoners. Anything – except a war.

    The destruction of Hizbullah by a necessarily limited war was impossible, as should have been clear from the beginning. This is a guerilla force that is part of a political movement which is deeply rooted in Lebanese reality (as can be seen these days on any television screen). No guerilla movement can be destroyed by a regular army, and certainly not in one single stroke and within days or weeks.

    The elimination of the missile arsenal? If the army command had sat down to elaborate a military plan, they would have realized that aerial bombardment can achieve this only in part. A complete destruction would have demanded the occupation of all of South Lebanon, well beyond the Litani River. During that time, a large part of Israel would have been exposed to the missiles, without the population being prepared for it. If that conclusion had been presented to the government, would it have taken the decision it took?

    The pushing of Hizbullah from the border by a few kilometers north is not a proper war aim. Starting a war for that purpose, leading to the killing of masses of people and destroying whole neighborhoods and villages, would have meant frivolity where serious deliberation was required .

    But the government did not have to go into such deliberations. Since It did not define any clear aim, it did not demand nor receive any military plan.

    IF THE recklessness of the political leadership was scandalous, the recklessness of the military leadership was doubly so.

    The army command went to war without any clearly defined aim and without any plan. There were some plans that had been prepared and exercised beforehand, without any specific political aim in mind, but they were ignored and abandoned as the war started. After all, who needs a plan? Since when do Israelis plan? Israelis improvise, and are proud of it.

    So they improvised. The Chief-of-Staff, an Air Force general, decided that it was sufficient to bomb: if enough civilians were killed and enough houses, roads and bridges destroyed, the Lebanese people would go down on its knees and do whatever the Israeli government commanded.

    When this failed (as should have been foreseen) and most Lebanese of all communities rallied behind Hizbullah, The C-o-C realized that there was no avoiding ground operations. Since there was no plan, he did without. Troops were sent into Lebanon in a haphazard way, without clear objectives, without time-tables. The same locations were occupied time and again. The end result: the forces bit off small pieces of land on the edges of Hizbullah territory, without any real achievement, but with heavy losses.

    It cannot be said that the war aims were not attained. Simply, there was no war aim.

    THE WORST part was not the lack of a plan. The worst part was that the generals did not even notice its absence.

    The investigators of the State Comptroller disclosed last week a startling fact of utmost importance: most members of the General Staff have never attended any of the high command courses which are the Israeli equivalent of a military academy.

    This means that they never learned military history and the principles of strategy. They are military technicians, equivalent to engineering technicians or bookkeepers. I assume that they are well versed in the technical side of the profession: how to move forces, how to activate weapon systems, and such. But they have not read books about military theory and the art of war, have not studied how the leaders of armies conducted their wars throughout the centuries, have not become acquainted with the thoughts of the great military thinkers.

    A military leader needs intuition. Certainly. But intuition grows from by experience – his own experience, the experience of his army and the accumulated experience of centuries of warfare.

    For example: if they had read the books of Basil Liddell Hart, perhaps the most authoritative military commentator of the last century, they would have learned that the battle of David and Goliath was not a confrontation between a boy with a primitive sling and a heavily armed and protected giant, as it is usually presented, but quite on the contrary, a battle between a sophisticated fighter with a modern weapon that could kill from a distance and a cumbersome combatant equipped with obsolescent arms.

    In the Lebanon war, the role of David was played by Hizbullah, a mobile and resourceful force, while the Israeli army was Goliath, heavy, routine-bound, with inappropriate weapons.

    ANYBODY WHO reads this column regularly knows that we blew the whistle well before the war. But our criticism then was suspect because of our opposition to the war itself, which we considered immoral, superfluous and senseless.

    Now we have several military inquiry committees, appointed by the chief-of-Staff himself (about 40 of them!), and they, one after another, confirm our criticism almost word for word. Not only confirm, but add a wealth of details that paint an even darker picture.

    It is a picture of utter confusion: improvised operations, an anarchic command structure, misunderstanding of orders, orders that were issued, cancelled and issued again, General Staff officers giving orders directly to subordinate commanders bypassing the chain of command.

    An army that was once one of the best in the world, an object of study for officers in many countries, has become an inefficient and incompetent body.

    The committees do not answer a basic question: how did this happen?

    EXCEPT FOR a few hints here and there, the committees do not say how we got here. What has happened to the Israeli army?

    This, too, we have said many times: the army is the victim of the occupation.

    Next June, the occupation of the Palestinian territories will “celebrate” its 40th anniversary. There is no precedent for such a long military occupation regime. A military occupation is by its very nature a short-term instrument. In the course of a war, the army conquers enemy territory, administers it until the end of the war, when its fate is decided by a peace agreement.

    No army is happy with the role of an occupying force, knowing that this destroys it, corrupts it from inside, damages it physically and mentally, diverts it from its most important function and imposes on it methods that have nothing to do with its real mission – to defend the state in war.

    With us, the occupation became, almost from the beginning, a political instrument for the attainment of objectives that are foreign to the function of “Defense Forces”. In theory, it is a military regime, but in practice it is a colonial subjugation, in which the Israeli army mainly fulfills the shameful task of an oppressive police force.

    In today’s army, there is no officer on active service who remembers the Israel Defense Forces from before the occupation, the army that grew up in the “small” Israel within the Green Line, that defeated five Arab armies in six days, commanded by the brilliant General Staff under Yitzhak Rabin. All the commanders of the Second Lebanon War started their career when it was already an occupation army. The last military success of the Israeli army was achieved early in the occupation period, a generation ago, in the Yom Kippur war,

    An army whose job is to uphold the occupation – “targeted killings” (approved this week by the Supreme Court in a shameful decision), demolition of homes, mistreating helpless civilians, hunting stone-throwing children, humiliating people at innumerable roadblocks and the hundred and one other daily doings of an occupation army – has shown that it is not fitted for real war, even against a small guerilla force.

    THE CORRUPTION of the Israeli army and the rot that has set in, exposed in all their ugliness by the investigations of the war, are a danger for the State of Israel.

    It is not enough to remove the Chief-of-Staff (whose clinging to his post is another scandal added to the scandals of the war), nor is it enough to change the whole high command. There is a need for reform from the top to the bottom, a change of the army in all sectors and all grades. But as long as the occupation lasts, there is no point in even starting.

    We have always said: the occupation corrupts. Now it has to be said with a clear voice: the occupation is endangering the security of Israel.


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