2006 war still pollutes Lebanese and Israeli coasts


This 2006 video is called Lebanon: The Oil Spill.

From National Public Radio in the USA, with audio file:

Lebanon Oil Spill a Byproduct of War

Listen to this story… by Peter Kenyon

Weekend Edition Sunday, February 18, 2007 · The 2006 conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon had a lasting environmental impact.

The [Israeli] bombing of a [South Lebanese] coastal power plant caused an oil spill that may take years to clean up.

A new study finds that microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic ingested by aquatic life — are present in solitary ascidians, sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders, all along the Israeli coastline. The research also confirmed the presence of plastic additives, i.e. ‘plasticizers,’ in ascidians: here.

9 thoughts on “2006 war still pollutes Lebanese and Israeli coasts

  1. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/839110.html

    Tanya Reinhardt, linguist and peace activist, dies at 63

    By Haaretz Staff

    Linguist and left-wing peace activist Professor Tanya Reinhardt died in New York on Saturday at age 63.

    Reinhardt, an outspoken representative of the radical Israeli left, sharply criticized the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying they perpetuated the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. She favored an academic boycott of Israeli universities to protest the occupation.

    After receiving a master’s degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Reinhardt wrote her doctoral thesis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under renowned linguist Noam Chomsky.

    >From 1977, she taught linguistics and literature at Tel Aviv University, including classes on critical reading of the media and the analysis of discourse based on Chomsky’s methods.

    For the last 15 years she also taught at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

    In December, Reinhardt left Israel and settled in New York to teach at New York University.

    Reinhardt and those close to her said the university’s relationship to her changed after she called for an academic boycott of Israel.

    Reinhardt was married to poet and translator Aharon Shabta

    =====================================

    http://www.counterpunch.org/reinhart03192007.html

    March 19, 2007
    She Drew Away the Veil on Criminal and Outrageous Conduct
    In Memory of Tanya Reinhart

    By NOAM CHOMSKY

    ——————————-
    Editors’ note: We have lost an outstanding intellect and one of the bravest
    voices from Israel with the death of Tanya Reinhart. Last October, on this
    site, we published Eric Hazan’s interview with Tanya Reinhart on the
    occasion of the publication of her latest book, Roadmap to Nowhere. In
    conclusion Haas asked her,

    Despite the grim events described in the book, the overall feeling that
    comes through is that of hope. Why?

    Reinhart: “I argue that the reason that the U.S. exerted even limited
    pressure on Israel, for the first time in recent history, was because at
    that moment in history it was no longer possible to ignore world discontent
    over its policy of blind support of Israel. This shows that persistent
    struggle can have an effect, and can lead governments to act. Such struggle
    begins with the Palestinian people, who have withstood years of brutal
    oppression, and who, through their spirit of zumud–sticking to their land –
    and daily endurance, organizing and resistance, have managed to keep the
    Palestinian cause alive, something that not all oppressed nations have
    managed to do. It continues with international struggle–solidarity
    movements that send their people to the occupied territories and stand in
    vigils at home, professors signing boycott petitions, subjecting themselves
    to daily harassment, a few courageous journalists that insist on covering
    the truth, against the pressure of acquiescent media and pro-Israel lobbies.
    Often this struggle for justice seems futile. Nevertheless, it has
    penetrated global consciousness. It is this collective consciousness that
    eventually forced the U.S. to pressure Israel into some, albeit limited,
    concessions. . The Palestinian cause can be silenced for a while, as is
    happening now, but it will resurface.”

    Tanya Reinhart was one of those whose determined voice and writings did just
    that: change global consciousness. AC / JSC
    ——————————-

    It is painful, and hard, to write about the loss of an old and cherished friend. Tanya Reinhart was just that.

    Tanya was a brilliant and creative scientist. I can express my own evaluation of her work most concisely by recalling that years ago, when I was thinking about the future of my own department after my retirement, I tried to arrange to offer Tanya the invitation to be my eventual replacement, plans that did not work out, much to my regret, mostly for bureaucratic reasons.

    I will not try to review her remarkable contributions to virtually every major area of linguistic studies. Included among them are original and highly influential investigations of syntactic structure and operations, referential dependence, principles of lexical semantics and their implications for syntactic organization, unified approaches to cross-linguistic semantic interpretation of complex structures that appear superficially to vary widely, the theory of stress and intonation, efficient parsing systems, the interaction of internal computations with thought and sensorimotor systems, optimal design as a core principle of language, and much else. Her academic work extended well beyond, to literary theory, mass media and propaganda, and other core elements of intellectual culture.

    But Tanya’s outstanding professional work was only one part of her life, and of our long and intimate friendship. She was one of the most courageous and honorable defenders of human rights whom I have ever been privileged to meet. As all honest people should, she focused her attention and energy on the actions of her own state and society, for which she shared responsibility including the responsibility, which she never shirked, to expose crimes of state and to defend the victims of repression, violence, and conquest.

    Her numerous articles and books drew away the veil that concealed criminal and outrageous actions, and shone a searing light on the reality that was obscured, all of immense value to those who sought to understand and to react in a decent way. Her activism was not limited to words, important as these were. She was on the front line of direct resistance to intolerable actions, an organizer and a participant, a stance that one cannot respect too highly. She will be remembered not only as a resolute and honorable defender of the rights of Palestinians, but also as one of those who have struggled to defend the moral integrity of her own Israeli society, and its hope for decent survival.

    Tanya’s passing is a terrible loss, not only to her family and those fortunate enough to come to know her personally, and to those she defended and protected with such dedication and courage, but to everyone concerned with freedom, justice, and an honorable peace.

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  2. Israel’s Peres says wouldn’t have entered Lebanon war
    Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:13PM EDT

    Israel’s Peres says wouldn’t have entered Lebanon war

    By Jeffrey Heller

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Deputy Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, in testimony to a Lebanon war inquiry released on Thursday, said he would not have entered last year’s war if the decision had rested with him.

    The government-appointed Winograd commission is examining how Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his cabinet and the military brass handled the inconclusive war that Israel fought against Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas last year.

    The release of the commission’s interim findings could determine Olmert’s political future. Many Israelis see the war as a failure and say Olmert’s objectives were never met.

    “If it were up to me, I would not have entered into this war. If it was also up to me, I would not have made a list of objectives for the war… We were attacked and we needed to repel the attack. That is it,” Peres said in testimony last year to the commission.

    Peres, a former prime minister and defense minister, added: “I thought that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) was not prepared for this war.”

    Excerpts of his testimony were released by the panel.

    The inquiry board plans to issue its interim report in the second half of April, largely focusing on the decision to go to war after Hezbollah seized two Israeli soldiers in a border raid on July 12

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  3. Without Borders

    Uri Avnery 24.03.07

    INCREDIBLE! In Palestinian schoolbooks, there is no trace of the Green Line! They do not recognize the existence of Israel even in the 1967 borders! They say that the “Zionist gangs” stole the country from the Arabs! That’s how they poison the minds of their children!

    These blood-curdling revelations were published this week in Israel and around the world. The conclusion is self-evident: the Palestinian Authority, which is responsible for the schoolbooks, cannot be a partner in peace negotiations.

    What a shock!

    Truth is, there is nothing new here. Every few years, when all the other arguments for refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership wear thin, the ultimate argument pops up again: Palestinian schoolbooks call for the destruction of Israel!

    The ammunition is always provided by one of the “professional” institutions that deal with this matter. These are foundations of the far-right, disguised as “scientific” bodies, which are lavishly funded by Jewish-American multi-millionaires. Teams of salaried employees apply a fine-tooth comb to every word of the Arab media and schoolbooks, with a pre-ordained objective: to prove that they are anti-Semitic, preach hatred of Israel and call for the killing of Jews. In the sea of words, it is not too difficult to find suitable quotes, while ignoring everything else.

    So now it is again perfectly clear: Palestinian schoolbooks preach hatred of Israel! They are breeding a new generation of terrorists! Therefore, of course, there can be no question of Israel and the world ending the blockade on the Palestinian Authority!

    WELL, WHAT about our side? What do our schoolbooks look like?

    Does the Green Line appear in them? Do they recognize the right of the Palestinians to establish a state on the other side of our 1967 borders? Do they teach love for the Palestinian people (or even the existence of the Palestinian people), or respect for the Arabs in general, or a knowledge of Islam?

    The answer to all these questions: Absolutely not!

    Recently, Minister of Education Yuli Tamir came out with a bombastic announcement saying that she intends to mark the Green Line in the schoolbooks, from which it was removed almost 40 years ago. The Right reacted angrily, and nothing more was heard about it.

    From kindergarten to the last day of high school, the Israeli pupil does not learn that the Arabs have any right at all to any of this land. On the contrary, it is clear that the land belongs to us alone, that God has personally given it to us, that we were indeed driven out by the Romans after the destruction of our Temple in the year 70 (a myth) but that we returned at the beginning of the Zionist movement. Since then, the Arabs have tried again and again to annihilate us, as the Goyim have done in every generation. In 1936, the “gangs” (the official Israeli term for the fighters of the Arab Revolt) attacked and murdered us. And so on, up to this very day.

    When he comes out of the pedagogic mill, the Jewish-Israeli pupil “knows” that the Arabs are a primitive people with a murderous religion and a miserable culture. He brings this view with him when he (or she) joins the army a few weeks later. There, it is reinforced almost automatically. The daily humiliation of old people and women – not to mention everybody else – at the checkpoints would not be possible otherwise.

    THE QUESTION is, of course, whether schoolbooks really have that much influence on the pupils.

    From earliest childhood, children absorb the atmosphere of their surroundings. The conversations at home, the sights on television, the happenings in the street, the opinions of classmates at school – all these influence them far more than the written texts of the books, which in any case are interpreted by teachers who themselves have been subject to these influences.

    An Arab child sees on TV an old woman lamenting the demolition of her home. He sees on the walls in the street the photos of the martyred heroes, sons of his neighborhood, who have sacrificed their lives for their people and country. He hears what has happened to his cousin who was murdered by the evil Jews. He hears from his father that he cannot buy meat or eggs, because the Jews are not allowing him to work and put food on the table. At home there is no water for most of the day. Mother tells about grandpa and grandma, who have been languishing for 60 years in a miserable refugee camp in Lebanon. He knows that his family were driven out from their village in what became Israel and that the Jews are living there now. The hero of his class is the boy who jumped on a passing Israeli tank, or who dared to throw a stone from a distance of 10 meters at a soldier who was pointing a gun at him.

    We once went to a Palestinian village in order to help the inhabitants rebuild a house that had been demolished the day before by the army. While the adults were working on finishing the roof, the local children gathered around Rachel, my wife, showing a keen interest in her camera. The conversation that sprung up went like this: Where are you from? From America? No, from here. Are you messihiin (Christians)? No, Israelis. Israelis? (General laughter.) Israelis are like this: Boom Boom Boom! (They assume poses of shooting soldiers.) No, really, where are you from? From Israel, we are Jews. (They exchange looks.) Why do you come here? To help in the work. (Whispers and laughter.) One of the boys runs to his father: This woman says that they are Jews. True, the embarrassed father confirmed, Jews, but good Jews. The children draw back. They look unconvinced.

    What can schoolbooks change here?

    And on the Jewish Israeli side? From the earliest age, the child sees the pictures of suicide attacks on TV, bodies scattered around, the injured being taken away in ambulances with blood-curdling shrieks from their sirens. He hears that the Nazis slaughtered his mother’s entire family in Poland, and in his consciousness Nazis and Arabs become one. On every day’s news he hears bad things about what the Arabs are doing, that they want to destroy the state and throw us into the sea. He knows that the Arabs want to kill his brother, the soldier, without any reason, just because they are such murderers. Nothing about life in “the territories”, perhaps just a few kilometers away, reaches him. Until he is called up, the only Arabs he meets are Israeli Arab workers doing menial work. When he joins the army, he sees them only through gun sights, every one of them of them a potential “terrorist”.

    For a change in the schoolbooks to have any value, reality on the ground must change first.

    DOES THAT mean that schoolbooks have no importance? It should not be underestimated.

    I remember giving a lecture in one of the kibbutzim in the late 60s. After I explained the need for the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel (a fairly revolutionary idea at the time), one of the kibbutzniks stood up and asked: “I don’t understand it! You want us to give back all the territories that we have conquered. Territories are something real, land, water. What shall we get in return? Abstract words like “peace”? What shall we get tachles (Yiddish for practical things)?”

    I answered that from Morocco to Iraq, there are tens of thousands of classrooms, and in every one of them hangs a map. On all these maps, the territory of Israel is marked “occupied Palestine” or just left blank. All that we need is that the name Israel should appear on these thousands of maps.

    Forty years have passed, and the name “Israel” does not appear in Palestinian schoolbooks, nor, I assume, on any school map from Morocco to Iraq. And the name “Palestine” does not appear, of course, on any Israeli school map. Only when the young Israeli joins the army, does he see a map of “the territories”, with its crazy puzzle of Zones A, B and C, settlement blocs and apartheid roads.

    A map is a weapon. From my childhood in Germany between the two World Wars I remember a map that was hanging on the wall of my classroom. On it, Germany had two borders. One (green, if I remember correctly) was the existing border, that was imposed by the treaty of Versailles after the (first) World War. The other, marked in glowing red, was the border from before the war. In thousands of classrooms all over Germany (then governed by Social-Democrats) the pupils saw every day before their eyes the terrible injustice done to Germany, when pieces were “torn” from her on every side. Thus was bred the generation which filled the ranks of the Nazi war machine in World War II.

    (By the way, some fifty years later I was taken on a courtesy visit to that school. I asked the principal about that map. Within minutes, it was brought out from the archive.)

    NO, I do not make light of maps. Especially not of maps in schools.

    I repeat what I said then: the aim must be that the child in Ramallah sees before his eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of Israel is marked. And that the child in Rishon-le-Zion sees before his eyes, on the wall of his classroom, a map on which the State of Palestine is marked. Not by compulsion, but by agreement.

    That is, of course, impossible as long as Israel has no borders. How can one mark on the map a state which, from its first day, has refused, consciously and adamantly, to define its borders? Can we really demand that the Palestinian ministry of education publish a map on which all the territory of Palestine lies inside Israel?

    And on the other hand, how can one mark on the map the name “Palestine”, when there is no Palestinian state? After all, even most of those Israeli politicians who profess – at least pro forma – to support the “two-states solution” will go to great lengths to avoid saying where the border between the two state should run. Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister, is totally opposed to the announced intention of her colleague, Minister of Education Yuli Tamir, to mark the Green Line, lest it be seen as a border.

    Peace means a border. A border fixed by agreement. Without a border, there can be no peace. And without peace, it is the height of chutzpa to demand something from the other side that we totally refuse to do ourselves.

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

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  4. THE LIVNI-RICE PLAN: TOWARDS A JUST PEACE OR APARTHEID?

    by Jeff Halper

    For years I have been one of the doomsayers, arguing that the two-state solution is dead and that apartheid has become the only realistic political outcome of the Israel-Palestine conflict– at least until a full-blown anti-apartheid struggle arises that fundamentally changes the equation. I based my assessment on several seemingly incontrovertible realities. Over the past 40 years, Israel has laid a thick and irreversible Matrix of Control over the Occupied Territories, including some 300 settlements, which effectively eliminates the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. No Israeli politician could conceivably be elected on the basis of withdrawing from the Occupied Territories to a point where a real Palestinian state could actually emerge, and even if s/he was, the prospect of cobbling together a coalition government with the requisite will and clout to carry out such a plan is highly unlikely, if at all possible. And given the unconditional bi-partisan support Israel enjoys in both houses of Congress and successive Adminstrations, reinforced by the Christian Right, the influential Jewish community and military lobbyists and a lack of will on the part of the international community to pressure Israel into making meaningful concessions, a genuine two-state solution seems virtually out of the question – even though it is the preferred option espoused by the international community in the moribund “Road Map” initiative.

    Now if it is true that the two-state solution is gone, the next logical alternative would be the one-state solution, particularly since Israel conceives of the entire country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River as one country – the Land of Israel – and has de facto made it one country through its settlements and highways. Seeing that Israel has been the only effective government throughout the land these past 40 years, why not go all the way and declare it a democratic state of all its inhabitants? (After all, Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East .) The answer is clear: a democratic state in the Land of Israel is unacceptable (to Israel) because such a state, with a Palestinian majority, could not be “Jewish.”

    Which leads us back, then, to apartheid, a system in which one population separates itself from another and then proceeds to dominate it permanently and structurally. Since the dominant group seeks control of the entire country but wants to get the unwanted population off its hands, it rules them indirectly, by means of a bantustan, a kind of prison-state. This is precisely what Olmert laid out to a joint session of Congress last May when he presented his “convergence plan” (to 18 standing ovations). And this is precisely what Condoleezza Rice, together with Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, have been working on during Rice’s monthly visits to the region.

    The plan embodies the worst nightmare of the Palestinians. Phase II of the Road Map presents the “option” of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders, “as a way station to a permanent status settlement.” Livni is publicly pushing for Phase II to replace Phase I, raising Palestinian fears of being frozen indefinitely in limbo between occupation and a “provisional” state with no borders, no sovereignty, no viable economy, surrounded, fragmented and controlled by Israel and its ever-expanding settlements.

    For their part, Livni and Rice are proceeding very quietly, in stark contrast to the bluster of their male bosses. They have even refrained from giving a name to their plan, which Livni calls simply and innocuously ” Israel’s peace initiative for a two-state solution.” Ari Shavit, a leading journalist in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, asks: “Does Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have a clear diplomatic plan that she is trying to promote? Livni implies that she does, but refuses to explain. She speaks of the two-state vision. She talks about the need to divide the country politically….However, she does not explain what the plan really is.”

    The plan is simple but far below the public radar. (The New York Times recently took Rice to task for “humiliating” herself by going to Israel frequently with no apparent plan). In order to seemingly conform to the Road Map initiative ostensibly led by the US, Livni talks of the two-state solution arrived at through negotiations. But the Road Map requires Israel to freeze its settlement building, something Israel steadfastly refuses to do. How can this be reconciled? How can Israel pursue a two-state solution while at the same time expanding its settlements and infrastructure in the very territories in which a Palestinian state would emerge?

    The answer lies in a little noticed but fundamental change in US policy, announced by President Bush in April, 2004, and ratified almost unanimously by both houses of Congress. ” In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers [which is what the Bush Administration calls Israel’s massive settlement blocs],” he stated, “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” In one fell (but immensely significant) swoop, Bush fatally undercut the very basis of international diplomacy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict, including his own Road Map: the withdrawal of Israel to the 1967(1949) borders to make space for a genuine Palestinian state. Israel thus claims that settlement building within these settlement blocs does not violate the Road Map, since that territory has been unilaterally recognized by the US as belonging permanently to Israel. In this way between 15-25% of the West Bank has been removed from negotiations and annexed de facto to Israel, while the “occupied territories” have been redefined as only that area outside the settlement blocs – and that to be negotiated and “compromised.”

    What Israel expects of the Palestinians, then, is a type of occupation-by-consent made possible by “negotiations” in which a priori the Palestinians lose up to 85% of their historic homeland. Now this is patently unacceptable to the Palestinians. Israel’s initial attitude was: Who cares? The Palestinians have always been irrelevant, including in the Oslo “peace process.” In his congressional address, Olmert was explicit in Israel’s intention to impose a Pax Israeliana unilaterally if need be: “We cannot wait for the Palestinians forever. Our deepest wish is to build a better future for our region, hand-in-hand with a Palestinian partner. But if not, we will move forward — but not alone. We could never have implemented the disengagement plan without your [ America’s] firm support. The disengagement could never have happened without the commitments set out by President Bush in his letter of April 14th, 2004, endorsed by both houses of Congress in unprecedented majorities.”

    But here Olmert hit a snag. The Road Map – to which lip service must be paid – clearly calls for a negotiated end to the Occupation and the conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says the text, must be resolved “through a negotiated settlement leading to a final and comprehensive settlement.” Both Bush and Blair grabbed Olmert and told him that the “convergence plan” could not be imposed unilaterally. He would have to “pretend” (and I know that word was used by the British government) to negotiate with Abbas for a year. That is what lies behind the occasional meetings Olmert has had with Abbas, which Olmert has publicly limited to strictly “practical issues.” The Boston Globe reported on April 15, 2007, “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched a U.S.-initiated series of meetings on Sunday, bypassing some of the most contentious issues of the Middle East conflict….’We will not discuss the core issues of the conflict – the issue of (Palestinian) refugees, Jerusalem and borders,’ Olmert said in broadcast remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting.”

    And here is where Tzipi Livni’s idea of substituting Phase II for Phase I comes in. After the year is over (in May 2007) and it is clear that the Palestinians have not been “forthcoming,” Israel will be allowed to declare the route of the Separation Barrier its “provisional” border, thus annexing about 10% of the West Bank. That may not sound like much, but it incorporates into Israel the major settlement blocs (plus a half-million Israeli settlers) while carving the West Bank into a number of small, disconnected, impoverished “cantons.” It removes from the Palestinians their richest agricultural land and all their water. It also creates a “greater” Israeli Jerusalem over the entire central portion of the West Bank, thereby cutting the economic, cultural, religious and historic heart out of any Palestinian state. It then sandwiches the Palestinians between the Barrier/border and yet another “security” border, the Jordan Valley, giving Israel two eastern borders. This prevents movement of people and goods into both Israel and Jordan, but also internally, between the various cantons. Israel also retains control of Palestinian airspace, the electro-magnetic sphere and even the right of a Palestinian state to conduct its own foreign policy.

    In that way the Palestinians get their state, albeit with “provisional borders,” Israel expands onto 82-85% of the country while still conforming to the Road Map and apartheid – in the guise of a “two-state solution” – becomes political reality. And that’s where we stay forever.

    But here I hit a snag. Make your case as persuasive as you might, neither Israelis nor Palestinians nor governments are willing to give up on the two-state solution, seeing nowhere to go from there. So I have to cut it some slack. Tzipi Livni herself, one of the few truly thinking government officials we Israelis have, has uttered some hopeful phrases lately, going further in tone and content than anyone in the Labor Party. ” On the one hand, I want to anchor my interests on the security issue, demilitarization and the refugee problem,” she said recently, “and on the other I want to create a genuine alternative for the Palestinians that includes a solution to their national problem.”

    She has even criticized male approaches to the conflict over the years. “Did you see male hormones raging around you?” she was asked in a Ha’aretz interview (December 29, 2006). “Sometimes there are guy issues,” she answered candidly. “Was there a guy problem in the conduct of the [Lebanon] war?” pressed the interviewer. “Not only in the war,” she responded. “In all kinds of discussions, I hear arguments between generals and admirals and such and I say guys, stop it. There’s something of that here….During those days [of the war], the thinking was too militaristic….At the beginning of the war, some people thought that the diplomatic role was to provide the army with time. That’s understandable: In the past we always achieved, we conquered, we released, we won, and then the world came and took away from us. The victory was military and the failure political. But this time it was the opposite.”

    Livni, like most Israelis, cannot abandon the two-state plan. The alternatives – one state or apartheid – are clearly unacceptable. The existence of a Jewish state depends on that of a Palestinian one. Yet that has not constrained Israeli settlement expansion, which continues apace even as I write. Livni appears to believe, with most Israelis, that there is a thin magic overlap between the minimum the Palestinians can accept and the minimum Israel can concede – especially if emphasis is given to the Palestinian state and territory rather than to genuine sovereignty and economic viability. I doubt this, particularly in light of the fact that more than 60% of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are under the age of 18 and need a truly viable future.

    Failing the carrot, Israelis – and here I’m not really sure where Livni stands – turn to the stick, to military pressures, economic sanctions and daily hardship that, they believe, can compel the Palestinians to accept a truncated, semi-sovereign, non-viable mini-state. All that is needed is continued pressure on the part of Israel, combined with some “sweetening of the pudding” designed to make apartheid palatable to the international community. Giving the Palestinians 90% of the Occupied Territories, for example. Though all the resources, sovereignty and developmental potential are found in the 10% Israel would keep, simply offering them such a “generous offer” would place irresistible pressures on them to accept. Who, after all, really cares about “viability?”

    I think the two-state solution is gone and apartheid is at the door. I do not see any way that “finessing” will liberate enough qualitative land for a viable Palestinian state to emerge. But if we are stuck with it for the meantime, I would then contend that three absolutely indispensable criteria have to be met to give any two-state solution at least a shot at success: (1) the Palestinians must obtain Gaza, 85-90% of the West Bank in a coherent form (including its water resources) and an extra-territorial land connection between them; (2) they must have unsupervised borders with Arab States (the Jordan Valley and the Rafah crossing in Gaza), plus unrestricted sea- and airports; and (3) a shared Jerusalem must be an integral part of a Palestinian state with free and unrestricted access.

    I fear that the Livni-Rice plan falls far short of this. I don’t doubt Livni’s sincerity (something unusual for me to say about any politician, let alone one from Likud-Kadima), but I fear she, like almost all Israelis who seek peace, minimize what the Palestinians can accept beyond what they are capable of. And when they don’t accept, they are, of course, to blame. Thus Livni herself has said tellingly: “Abbas is not a partner for a final-status agreement, but he could be a partner for other arrangements, on the basis of the road map’s phased process.”

    Can Livni pull it off? It all depends on her sincerity, her ability to maneuver an extremely right-wing Olmert government onto a path of true peace or, failing that, to get elected Prime Minister on her own and then establish a government that could take the momentous decisions a true and just peace with the Palestinians would require. A pretty tall order, but keep Tzipi Livni, not a name most people recognize today, in mind.

    In the meantime, the no-name, no-publicity, Livni-Rice non-plan proceeds on its course, concealed by seemingly larger events such as the Arab League initiative. But wait! What about the Arab League/Saudi initiative? Doesn’t that call for a two-state solution and a return of refugees? It does, of course, but few in the Arab world take it seriously. People there understand that justice for Palestinians means far less to the Arab governments than relations with the US and, yes, Israel, especially given the common Iranian threat. So the Arab League initiative is intended more to placate the Arab Street than as an actual political position that will adversely affect the Livni-Rice plan.

    We in the peace camp must closely monitor the doings of Livni and Rice. There is nothing really secret; everything reported above has been said or reported upon in the Israeli press. It is simply a matter of connecting the dots, of picking up the hints and half-statements. We must develop the ability to comprehend the significance of bland non-news statements such as “Abbas is not a partner for a final-status agreement but…” if we, unlike the New York Times, want to “get it.” As it is, the Livni-Rice initiative is significant in exactly the reverse proportion to how it is perceived as newsworthy.

    (Jeff Halper is the Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a candidate, with the Palestinian peace activist Ghassan Andoni, for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. He can be reached at ).

    ______________________________
    Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
    PO Box Jerusalem, Israel
    http://www.icahd.org
    email: info@icahd.org
    Tel:+972-2-624-5560

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  5. Why Israel is after me
    By Azmi Bishara

    AZMI BISHARA was a member of the Knesset until his resignation in April.

    May 3, 2007

    Amman, Jordan – I AM A PALESTINIAN from Nazareth, a citizen of Israel
    and was, until last month, a member of the Israeli parliament.

    But now, in an ironic twist reminiscent of France’s Dreyfus affair – in
    which a French Jew was accused of disloyalty to the state – the government of
    Israel is accusing me of aiding the enemy during Israel’s failed war
    against Lebanon in July.

    Israeli police apparently suspect me of passing information to a foreign
    agent and of receiving money in return. Under Israeli law, anyone – a
    journalist or a personal friend – can be defined as a “foreign agent” by
    the Israeli security apparatus. Such charges can lead to life imprisonment or
    even the death penalty.

    The allegations are ridiculous. Needless to say, Hezbollah – Israel’s enemy
    in Lebanon – has independently gathered more security information about
    Israel than any Arab Knesset member could possibly provide. What’s more,
    unlike those in Israel’s parliament who have been involved in acts of
    violence, I have never used violence or participated in wars. My
    instruments of persuasion, in contrast, are simply words in books, articles and
    speeches.

    These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the
    latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the
    struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of
    all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies
    to non-Jews.

    When Israel was established in 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were
    expelled or fled in fear. My family was among the minority that escaped
    that fate, remaining instead on the land where we had long lived. The Israeli
    state, established exclusively for Jews, embarked immediately on
    transforming us into foreigners in our own country.

    For the first 18 years of Israeli statehood, we, as Israeli citizens, lived
    under military rule with pass laws that controlled our every movement. We watched
    Jewish Israeli towns spring up over destroyed Palestinian villages.

    Today we make up 20% of Israel’s population. We do not drink at separate
    water fountains or sit at the back of the bus. We vote and can serve in the
    parliament. But we face legal, institutional and informal discrimination in
    all spheres of life.

    More than 20 Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews. The Law
    of Return, for example, grants automatic citizenship to Jews from anywhere
    in the world. Yet Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to
    the country they were forced to leave in 1948. The Basic Law of Human Dignity
    and Liberty – Israel’s “Bill of Rights” – defines the state as “Jewish”
    rather than a state for all its citizens. Thus Israel is more for Jews living in
    Los Angeles or Paris than it is for native Palestinians.

    Israel acknowledges itself to be a state of one particular religious group.
    Anyone committed to democracy will readily admit that equal citizenship
    cannot exist under such conditions.

    Most of our children attend schools that are separate but unequal.
    According to recent polls, two-thirds of Israeli Jews would refuse to live
    next to an Arab and nearly half would not allow a Palestinian into their home.

    I have certainly ruffled feathers in Israel. In addition to speaking out on
    the subjects above, I have also asserted the right of the Lebanese people, and
    of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to resist Israel’s illegal
    military occupation. I do not see those who fight for freedom as my
    enemies.

    This may discomfort Jewish Israelis, but they cannot deny us our history
    and identity any more than we can negate the ties that bind them to world
    Jewry. After all, it is not we, but Israeli Jews who immigrated to this land.
    Immigrants might be asked to give up their former identity in exchange for
    equal citizenship, but we are not immigrants.

    During my years in the Knesset, the attorney general indicted me for
    voicing my political opinions (the charges were dropped), lobbied to have my
    parliamentary immunity revoked and sought unsuccessfully to disqualify my
    political party from participating in elections – all because I believe
    Israel should be a state for all its citizens and because I have spoken out
    against Israeli military occupation. Last year, Cabinet member Avigdor Lieberman –
    an immigrant from Moldova – declared that Palestinian citizens of Israel
    “have no place here,” that we should “take our bundles and get lost.” After
    I met with a leader of the Palestinian Authority from Hamas, Lieberman called
    for my execution.

    The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate not just me but all
    Palestinian citizens of Israel. But we will not be intimidated. We will not bow to
    permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from
    our natural connections to the Arab world. Our community leaders joined
    together recently to issue a blueprint for a state free of ethnic and
    religious discrimination in all spheres. If we turn back from our path to freedom
    now, we will consign future generations to the discrimination we have faced for
    six decades.

    Americans know from their own history of institutional discrimination the
    tactics that have been used against civil rights leaders. These include
    telephone bugging, police surveillance, political delegitimization and
    criminalization of dissent through false accusations. Israel is continuing
    to use these tactics at a time when the world no longer tolerates such
    practices as compatible with democracy.

    Why then does the U.S. government continue to fully support a country
    whose very identity and institutions are based on ethnic and religious
    discrimination that victimize its own citizens?

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-bishara3may03,0,2351340.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

    Like

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