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Israeli plans for the West Bank
by Syed Khurram Husain
19 April 2002 10:07 UTC
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The following article by Norman Finkelstein taken from his website argues
that a systematic plan for the capitulation of the Palestinian population
is being unfolded.  Israel's war in Palestine may have done more to give
shape and direction to the US war on terrorism than bin Laden has been able
to do.  The ending is particularly hard hitting.  It shows that Sharon has
completed the transformation of Zionism into an indeology resembling
National Socialism of 1930's Germany.  If its true that Sharon shows Bush
the future, what should we expect the declining hegemon to look like as its
decline progresses?


First the Carrot, Then the Stick: Behind the Carnage in Palestine 

Norman G. Finkelstein

14 April 2002

During the June 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza,
completing the Zionist conquest of British-mandated Palestine.  In the
war's aftermath, the United Nations debated the modalities for settling the
Arab-Israeli conflict.  At the Fifth Emergency Session of the General
Assembly convening in the war's immediate aftermath, there was "near
unanimity" on "the withdrawal of the armed forces from the territory of
neighboring Arab states occupied during the recent war" since "everyone
agrees that there should be no territorial gains by military conquest."
(Secretary-General U Thant, summarizing the G.A. debate)  In subsequent
Security Council deliberations, the same demand for a full Israeli
withdrawal in accordance with the principle of  "the inadmissibility of the
acquisition of territory by war" was inscribed in United Nations Resolution
242, alongside the right of "every state in the region" to have its
sovereignty respected.  A still-classified State Department study concludes
that the US supported the "inadmissibility" clause of 242, making allowance
for only "minor " and "mutual" border adjustments.  (Nina J. Noring and
Walter B. Smith II, "The Withdrawal Clause in UN Security Council
Resolution 242 of 1967")  Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan later warned
Cabinet ministers not to endorse 242 because "it means withdrawal to the 4
June boundaries, and because we are in conflict with the Security Council
on that resolution."

Beginning in the mid-1970s a modification of UN Resolution 242 to resolve
the Israel-Palestine conflict provided for the creation of a Palestinian
state in the West Bank and Gaza once Israel withdrew to its pre-June 1967
borders.  Except for the United States and Israel (and occasionally a US
client state), an international consensus has backed, for the past quarter
century, the full-withdrawal/full recognition formula or what is called the
"two-state" settlement.  The United States cast the lone veto of Security
Council resolutions in 1976 and 1980 calling for a two-state settlement
that was endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and
front-line Arab states.  A December 1989 General Assembly resolution along
similar lines passed 151-3 (no abstentions), the three negative votes cast
by Israel, the United States, and Dominica.  

From early on, Israel consistently opposed full withdrawal from the
Occupied Territories, offering the Palestinians instead a South
African-style Bantustan.  The PLO., having endorsed the international
consensus, couldn't be dismissed, however, as "rejectionist" and pressure
mounted on Israel to accept the two-state settlement.  Accordingly, in June
1982 Israel invaded Lebanon, where the PLO was headquartered, to fend off
what an Israeli strategic analyst called the PLO's "peace offensive."
(Avner Yaniv, Dilemmas of Security)

In December 1987 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza rose up in a
basically non-violent civil revolt (intifada) against the Israeli
occupation.  Israel's brutal repression (extra-judicial killings, mass
detentions, house demolitions, indiscriminate torture, deportations, and so
on ) eventually crushed the uprising.  Compounding the defeat of the
intifada, the PLO suffered yet a further decline in its fortunes with the
destruction of Iraq, the implosion of the Soviet Union, and the suspension
of funding from the Gulf states.  The US and Israel seized this occasion to
recruit the already venal and now desperate PLO leadership as surrogates of
Israeli power.  This is the real meaning of the "peace process" inaugurated
at Oslo in September 1993: to create a Palestinian Bantustan by dangling
before the PLO the perquisites of power and privilege.  

"The occupation continued" after Oslo, a seasoned Israeli commentator
observed, "albeit by remote control, and with the consent of the
Palestinian people, represented by their `sole representative,' the PLO."
And again: "It goes without saying that  `cooperation' based on the current
power relationship is no more than permanent Israeli domination in
disguise, and that Palestinian self-rule is merely a euphemism for
Bantustanization."  (Meron Benvenisti, Intimate Enemies)  

After seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations and a succession of
new agreements that managed to rob the Palestinians of the few crumbs
thrown from the master's table at Oslo (the population of Jewish settlers
in the Occupied Territories had fully doubled in the meanwhile), the moment
of truth arrived at Camp David in July 2000.  President Clinton and Prime
Minister Barak delivered Arafat the ultimatum of formally acquiescing in a
Bantustan or bearing full responsibility for the collapse of the "peace
process."  As it happened, Arafat refused.  Contrary to the myth spun by
Barak-Clinton as well as a compliant media, in fact "Barak offered the
trappings of Palestinian sovereignty," a special adviser at the British
Foreign Office reports, "while perpetuating the subjugation of the
Palestinians." (The Guardian, 10 April l 2002; for details and the critical
background, see Roane Carey, ed., The New Intifada)

Consider in this regard Israel's response to the recent Saudi peace plan.
An Israeli commentator writing in Haaretz observes that the Saudi plan is
"surprisingly similar to what Barak claims to have proposed two years ago."
 Were Israel really intent on a full withdrawal in exchange for
normalization with the Arab world, the Saudi plan and its unanimous
endorsement by the Arab League summit should have been met with euphoria.
In fact, it elicited a deafening silence in Israel. (Aviv Lavie, 5 April
2002)  Nonetheless, Barak's - and Clinton's - fraud that Palestinians at
Camp David rejected a maximally generous Israeli offer provided crucial
moral cover for the horrors that ensued.

Having failed in its carrot policy, Israel now reached for the big stick.
Two preconditions had to be met, however, before Israel could bring to bear
its overwhelming military superiority: a "green light" from the U.S. and a
sufficient pretext.  Already in summer 2000, the authoritative Jane's
Information Group reported that Israel had completed planning for a massive
and bloody invasion of the Occupied Territories.  But the US vetoed the
plan and Europe made equally plain its opposition.  After 11 September,
however, the US came on board.  Indeed, Sharon's goal of crushing the
Palestinians basically fit in with the US administration's goal of
exploiting the World Trade Center atrocity to eliminate the last remnants
of Arab resistance to total US domination.  Through sheer exertion of will
and despite a monumentally corrupt leadership, Palestinians have proven to
be the most resilient and recalcitrant popular force in the Arab world.
Bringing them to their knees would deal a devastating psychological blow
throughout the region.

With a green light from the US, all Israel now needed was the pretext.
Predictably it escalated the assassinations of Palestinian leaders
following each lull in Palestinian terrorist attacks.  "After the
destruction of the houses in Rafah and Jerusalem, the Palestinians
continued to act with restraint," Shulamith Aloni of Israel's Meretz party
observed.  "Sharon and his army minister, apparently fearing that they
would have to return to the negotiating table, decided to do something and
they liquidated Raad Karmi.  They knew that there would be a response, and
that we would pay the price in the blood of our citizens."  (Yediot
Aharonot, 18 January 2002)  Indeed, Israel desperately sought this
sanguinary response.  Once the Palestinian terrorist attacks crossed the
desired threshold, Sharon was able to declare war and proceed to annihilate
the basically defenseless civilian Palestinian population.

Only the willfully blind can miss noticing that Israel's current invasion
of the West Bank is an exact replay of the June 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
To crush the Palestinians' goal of an independent state alongside Israel -
the PLO's "peace offensive" - Israel laid plans in August 1981 to invade
Lebanon.  In order to launch the invasion, however, it needed the green
light from the Reagan administration and a pretext.  Much to its chagrin
and despite multiple provocations, Israel was unable to elicit a
Palestinian attack on its northern border.  It accordingly escalated the
air assaults on southern Lebanon and after a particularly murderous attack
that left two hundred civilians dead (including 60 occupants of a
Palestinian children's hospital), the PLO finally retaliated killing one
Israeli.  With the pretext in hand and a green light now forthcoming from
the Reagan administration, Israel invaded.  Using the same slogan of
"rooting out Palestinian terror," Israel proceeded to massacre a
defenseless population, killing some 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese,
almost all civilians.

The problem with the Bush administration, we are repeatedly told, is that
it has been insufficiently engaged with the Middle East, a diplomatic void
Colin Powell's mission is supposed to fill.  But who gave the green light
for Israel to commit the massacres?  Who supplied the F-16s and Apache
helicopters to Israel?  Who vetoed the Security Council resolutions calling
for international monitors to supervise the reduction of violence?  And who
just blocked the proposal of the United Nation's top human rights official,
Mary Robinson, to merely send a fact-finding team to the Palestinian
territories? (IPS, 3 April 2002)

Consider this scenario.  A and B stand accused of murder.  The evidence
shows that A provided B with the murder weapon, A gave B the "all-clear"
signal, and A prevented onlookers from answering the victim's screams.
Would the verdict be that A was insufficiently engaged or that A was every
bit as guilty as B of murder?

To repress Palestinian resistance, a senior Israeli officer earlier this
year urged the army to "analyze and internalize the lessons of…how the
German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto." (Haaretz, 25 January 2002, 1
February 2002)  Judging by the recent Israeli carnage in the West Bank -
the targeting of Palestinian ambulances and medical personnel, the
targeting of journalists, the killing of Palestinian children "for sport"
(Chris Hedges, New York Times former Cairo bureau chief), the rounding up,
handcuffing and blindfolding of all Palestinian males between the ages 15
and 50, and affixing of numbers on their wrists, the indiscriminate torture
of Palestinian detainees, the denial of food, water, electricity, and
medical assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, the
indiscriminate air assaults on Palestinian neighborhoods, the use of
Palestinian civilians as human shields, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes
with the occupants huddled inside - it appears that the Israeli army is
following the officer's advice.  Dismissing all criticism as motivated by
anti-Semitism, Elie Wiesel - chief spokesman for the Holocaust Industry -
lent unconditional support to Israel, stressing the "great pain and
anguish" endured by its rampaging army. (Reuters, 11 April; CNN, 14 April)

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Nobel laureate in literature, Jose Saramago,
invoked the "spirit of Auschwitz" in depicting the horrors inflicted by
Israel, while a Belgian parliamentarian avowed that Israel was "making a
concentration camp out of the West Bank." (The Observer, 7 April 2002)
Israelis across the political spectrum recoil in outrage at such
comparisons.  Yet, if Israelis don't want to stand accused of being Nazis
they should simply stop acting like Nazis.


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