by Hank Roth
There are complexities in Israeli politics which are difficult to understand for Americans who are accustomed to the republican two party system although at times there is nothing very simple about it and corruption is something that can infect any system and none quite so much lately as the American two party system. It just so happens the American system has always been flawed. Any system calling itself a democracy which counts slaves as partial human (3/5th human) simply for the purpose of apportioning more electors in the electoral college and still descriminates against their descendants as it continues to keep the electoral college (a cogent reminder of past wrongs) because it is the racist's handy tool to nullify the will of masses, most especially poor blacks. That just can't be democratic. Just about anything is better than that and the moron in the White House insults our intelligence with silly and stupid claims that we're spreading democracy and "democracy is on the march." We don't even have a real democracy at home. Israel has complexities in her system and is also flawed but better than what we've got and better than anything the Arabs have anywhere else.
In Israel there are as many political parties as there are positions one can take so there are plenty of opportunities to vote for a position you like, even as with any vibrant and dynamic electoral system there will also be no shortage of backroom concessions and deals being made and a lot of compromising.
In Israel the political system has also been undergoing radical changes and extremist tendencies have to be kept in check through the ballot box and the Supreme Court. It is a process and not everyone is happy with the system as it is now and some changes have been tried. I also have to admit I don't pay strict attention to the nuances of Israeli election methodology because that is an internal decision that Israelis make about their government. I'm much more concerned with the results.
And like the "what is a Jew" question, the Israeli political system is also constantly redefining itself and defining my Jewishness. You see, the Israel system is based on multiple compromises which are the result of a fragmented populace which really means a populace with a lot of opinions, all of them trying to be heard and given some expression in the political system. In Israel that is also the reason behind the multi-party system and the coalitions necessary to reach agreements.
If there were no coalitions there would never be agreements and things would never get done and that only happens in democracies.
The problem with the U.S. two party system is the coalitions and compromising leads to more of the same and there are no margins beyond the two capitalist, pro-corporatist positions taken by the slightly different but more alike than different Republican and Democratic Parties.
Another problem with the multi-party parliamentary system is that some splinter groups may espouse very bad things and they still have a voice. That is democracy, but extremism can be moderated and it is in Israel which is why the Kahane political party was outlawed. That doesn't happen so much elsewhere, if at all. Look at the racist parties in France and Germany and England. In France racism has almost a 20% following and it is a growing phenomenon in other countries where migrants and the Jews are targets of hate.
In Israel as most other places where there are genuine choices (though moderated so those who espouse that which is considered hateful (decided by the Supreme Court) are banned), unlike what we have in America, everyone most people want quick solutions and answers and there are none. It is easier to reach agreements with two parties subservient to the same interests in America than it is in Israel where the entire political spectrum is represented. However in Israel the political attitude is more universal about peace because practically everyone supports it but just about everyone is undecided how to get there.
The public is divided between the religious camps and the secular, and between left and right. But the big question today is will any more compromises with the Arabs really lead to peace? There has been pressure to pull back from many settlements or put up walls or transfer the population, though this is not a serious consideration for the vast majority, although it probably should be because it has worked well in other places at other times and would likely work in Israel and there is also consideration, though many consider it impractical that Israel would simply annex those territories which are disputed. It seems more realistic to consider annexation with transfer of those who would wish to leave, as the best solution. There may not be many saying it but I think that there are more who are thinking it, as I am. WHY?
Look at the history of Arabs and Jews and see how currently Arabs continue to preach hate and the destruction of Israel. And then ask yourself, why not annex all of the territory and transfer the Arabs (with compensation)? I suspect the Fence will become the real border and Arabs will be isolated to their side where they can do what they want and any attacks on Israel will be responded to swiftly and with a clear message that terrorism against the citizens of Israel is unacceptable.
No To Terrorism
"Lies and distortions whose aim is to create revulsion and hatred toward Israelis and Jews are published and broadcast regularly in the Palestinian media....an article appeared in the official Palestinian Authority daily in which Israel is accused of using Palestinian body parts for evil purposes." via GAMLA - Itamar Marcus and Ruthie Blum - Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin
That libel is one of a series of false claims made by the PA against Israel over the years. Other examples include: the distribution of poisoned candy to Palestinian schools by means of helicopters; the export of radioactive belts to the Palestinian Authority; the sale of carcinogenic foods to Palestinians; the injection of AIDS, etc.
"The occupying authorities steal body parts from martyrs to use in hospitals" (Excerpts from the text of that false news item)
"When the occupying authority holds the bodies of martyrs. it does so in order to hide the traces of its crimes. The witnesses and evidence prove that the occupation forces torture the bodies of the martyrs on purpose and fire bullets into them at close range. There are clear indicators that the occupying authorities steal body parts of the martyrs during the holding process, in order to use them in Israeli hospitals, especially for Israeli patients in need of transplants. After they seize the body parts of the martyrs, they bury the corpses under dubious circumstances, scorning humanitarian values and moral and religious regulations. Legal authorities noted that the occupation's refusal to surrender the bodies of the martyrs to their families is intended to hide the truth of their non-humanitarian practices on the bodies of the martyrs." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 24, 2001)
Distorting truth, telling lies, are all part of the plan to create revulsion and disdain for the Israelis. When victimized by suicide bombers, and after every attack resulting in the death of Israeli citizens, the government of Israel is told that is their fault and Israel must put a halt to the "cycle of violence" in the Arab-Palestinian conflict with Israel. That slanderous lie has been disproved time and again. There is no cycle of violence. Israel does not initiate terrorism. It never has. When Israel strikes back it does so to eliminate the cause of violence. When Israel offers more than anyone else ever has, to give up what 95% of Samaria and Judea for peace those offers are answered with more violence because the Arab-Palestinians never, ever wanted peace. They want Israel to cease to exist. That is the only thing that will ever satisfy their blood lust.
Castigating the Jews
The Jews living in the Gaza Strip were expelled and Gaza was ethnically cleansed. Some who were expelled lived in Gaza for over three decades, some as long as 36 years and they were ordered out of their homes.
Some Jews lived in Gaza before the "War of Independence" in 48 but were forced out as a result of that war and other wars before then as they were in the Crusades, in the various conquests, and only able to finally return once again after 1967, only to be expelled once again in 2005, this time by Jews. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, before the expulsion began, presided over a large celebration in Gaza City where he made this declaration:
"Today we are celebrating the liberation of Gaza and the northern West Bank; tomorrow we will celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem." PA Civil Affairs Minister Muhammed Dahlan, who was there with Abbas and spoke also, said:
"The day of victory and the beginning of a new era that was achieved with the blood of our martyrs."
Hamas and Islamic Jihad also have had much to say. They declared the fight to destroy Israel will go on and they will pursue Jews even after "escape of the Zionist enemy" referring to those in the Gaza Strip who they say "fled" beaten-ed back by Palestinian martyrs and militants from Hamas, the Islamic Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad. And this is what it appears to be to Palestinians. It will only provoke more terrorism because to them it is working. But it won't stop with Jews leaving Gaza. It won't stop until there are no more Jews in Israel. That is their intention and their goal is the complete destruction of the State of Israel. They have said it. They have never recanted nor rescinded their vow to kill the Jews.
Palestinian terrorists declared their groups would not abandon their weapons (which should have been confiscated by the PA and if not them, then the IDF). A few days before the Jews were transferred out of Gaza, about 1,000 Hamas gunmen in their military fatigues and fully armed with their AK-47 rifles and their RPG rocket-propelled grenades staged a mock attack on an Israeli (village) settlement.
Ismail Haniyeh, one of the top Hamas leaders, said about the removal of Jews that this is an "achievement for the resistance..." and Islamic Jihad leader Muhammed al-Hindi told crowds of Palestinians that the Israeli withdrawal was a victory for Palestinian "resistance." He said, "the withdrawal was brought about by the resistance and our-fighters.." and "This is a victory not only for Islamic Jihad and the rockets, but for all the resistance groups here. The withdrawal is a national day that should be celebrated by all factions."
The Jews left Gaza out of strength, not weakness. As much as anyone may disagree or agree with that decision, there is a strategic advantage to sealing off the Gaza by separating Jews from Arabs there, by removing the Jews. It doesn't matter what it is though because Jews will be castigated either way and there will always be something to justify further violence against them.
"There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad... In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.... We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one to be dealt with on this premise.... 'I swear by that (sic.) who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad: I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I promise to assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.'" (Haniyeh) From the Palestinian National Charter (1968) - Articles 20:
"...claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is no an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a singe nation with an identity of its own; they are citizen of the states to which they belong."
That statement is truly astounding. Not only is it the kettle calling the pot black it is contrary to every Arab state which considers itself Islamic and functions according to Islamic law -- much more so than Israel functions as a religious or Jewish state. Israel is a secular state of the Jews and anyone else who chooses to live there.
They say in Article 22 that Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and that is really a stretch. Here is a nation that welcomes everyone, that has no aspirations on any Arab country, and the Palestinians are not a nation and never have been and all land there now is disputed but does not belong to any Arab country or people. The only sovereign is Israel.
Losing a War makes them Losers, not Victims
The Muslims in the region who consider themselves "Palestinians" are part of the pan-Islamic nationhood and are not a minority and not the victim.
Losing a war makes them losers but not victims. They have not been victimized by Jews. It is exactly the opposite. Jews were always the minority in Arab lands and were victimized as were all other minorities who lived there. Muslims often play the minority card but it does not wash. They are and have been part of a larger and more broader, greater-Islamic nationhood who turned this perception of being victimized and the minority, to their advantage as a propaganda ploy to win sympathy. It has worked. Many on the Left are aligned with Arab/Palestinian liberation.
Islamic strategy is to spread the Muslim religion and way of life globally and to dominate other cultures. Western influence in the Middle-East is antithetical to their goals and insulting to their culture. They wish to make Israel Judenrein just as Hitler attempted to get rid of the Jews in Europe.
Their use of terrorism intentionally targeting civilians is not a legitimate response to anything Israel does; it is an illegal response to Israel's existence and the Hudna is just another strategy to achieve that objective.
The Palestinians have never given up their dream of destroying Israel
"In an interview with Egypt's Orbit Television on April 18, (1998) Arafat recalled: "[On June 8] 1974, at the Palestinian National Council meeting in Cairo, we passed the decision to establish national Palestinian rule over any part of the land which is liberated." Moshe Kohn, "A Matter of Time" (05-29-1998) - Jerusalem Post
"That decision consists of a 10-point program known as the "Phased Plan" for Israel's destruction. Paragraph 2 declares that a "Palestinian" state is to be created on any territory vacated by Israel. Paragraph 8 says that that state will be a base for mobilizing a general Arab assault on Israel." (ibid)
"Asked why he has sometimes asked his followers in "the Palestinian street not to explode," Arafat referred to the instances of Muhammed, the founder of Islam....." (ibid)
"First he referred to Muhammed's pact with the Quraysh tribe of Mecca, the city he was determined to conquer early in his career.... In 627, five years after he fled from Mecca to Yathrib/Medina (622 is Year 1 of the Moslem calendar), Muhammed camped with a small army of followers at the Hudaibiyah oasis near Mecca. He informed the city's authorities that he wished to enter the city peacefully with 1,400 pilgrims to worship at the holy Kaaba." (ibid)
"The idolatrous Meccans, having earlier rejected Muhammad and his new religion, Islam, suspected rightly that his purpose was really conquest. So they suggested to him that he abandon his plan to enter that year, in exchange for which they would clear the city for three days every year to allow him and his followers to make the pilgrimage undisturbed." (ibid)
"Muhammad agreed, and drafted the text of the Truce of Hudaibiyah, which proclaimed a 10-year peace `without reservation or bad faith.'" (ibid)
"About two years later he used a brawl between a Bedouin tribe recently converted to Islam and some Qurayshis as a pretext to lay siege to Mecca. To Qurayshi emissaries who reminded him of the 10-year truce, he replied that they allowed brawls and in general disturbed the peace. And on January 1, 630 he marched on Mecca, which surrendered after a short skirmish in which a dozen Meccans were killed." (ibid)
"`By sabotage, by deceit, by the terror of Muhammed's name, the city had been weakened; and it fell into his hands, as he long ago suspected it would fall, like a ripe plum.'" (ibid) (From "The History of Islam" (Another good reference from this same author: "The Arabs in History") - by Robert Payne, Payne writes: "By sabotage, by deceit, by the terror of Muhammad' s name, [Mecca] had been weakened, and it fell into his hands... like a ripe plum" - The History of Islam) Arab Mandate to Destroy Israel
George Bush stated several goals for the Middle East. First he assured the coalition that he would "preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq" and secondly, he intends to achieve peace at apparently whatever the cost to Israel. (To preserve "territorial integrity" of Iraq also means the Kurds again are screwed.)
"Until the Six Day War in 1967, the term "Palestinian" meant a Jew living anywhere "between the river and the sea". Successful efforts of Arab propaganda resulted in an Orwellian switch of the definition. Today's "Palestinians" are simply Arabs who came from anywhere at all and settled on the land that belongs to Israel. This hardly makes them a people. However, the lack of common ethnic origin alone can hardly be used as a compelling argument against their right to a nation of their own. Nor does it explain the utter failure of all attempts to create such a nation. After all, the American people lack ethnic commonality to a much greater extent than Arabs calling themselves "Palestinians", and yet even the stupidest enemy of the United States would never deny that Americans are very much a people." [Yashiko Sagamori, "Genius and Evil", IsraelNN TV (Arutz 7) - Aug 17, 03]
"Today, as they did in Golda Meir's time, Arabs hate Jews more than they love their own children. Unfortunately, this is not a colorful metaphor. This is an exact description of the horrible reality of the Middle East. The intensity of Arab hatred of Jews exceeds the limits of human imagination. Arab mothers proudly send their children to die in exchange for a chance to murder a few Jews -- in the street, on a bus, at a restaurant..." [ibid]
"I can't forget the short documentary shown last year in the news: a mother says good-bye to her son. Her farewell is terse and unemotional. She knows her son isn't coming back: that's how it's been planned. She shares her most cherished dream with the reporters surrounding her: she has nine more children; she hopes they will all follow in their elder brother's footsteps. The shaheed-to-be is dressed in a military uniform and armed with an M-16. He is lanky and somewhat clumsy, like a teenager who grew up too fast and hasn't learned yet to be comfortable with his new body. He seems to be camera-shy and the final kiss he plants on his mother's cheek comes out a bit awkward. His tense smile is shy and, I have to admit to myself, not devoid of charm. In a different setting, he could've been mistaken for a Jewish teenager. He is about to walk out of the frame and go to a nearby yeshiva. There, he will open fire and kill five students before someone shoots him dead." [ibid] From the Koran: "Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home, an evil fate." (Sura 9:73)
"One should never underestimate the "Palestinian dream". Inspired by it, Islamic "martyrs" will shed much Jewish blood. But it shouldn't be overestimated either, for it encompasses nothing positive, nothing constructive. It is devoted solely to murder and destruction. It is incapable of creating anything but a terrorist organization. To put it bluntly, the "Palestinians" do not want independence. They do not want a country for themselves. They want to fulfill the mandate handed to them by the Arab world -- the mandate to destroy Israel. That's why they never vied for independence until the Arab defeat in 1967. That's why in 2000, when their state was brought to them at Camp David as a surprise gift, they responded with a new round of war. That's why today, in the Kafkaesque context of the "roadmap", they substitute hudna for peace and bluntly refuse to confront terrorist organizations on "their" territory: those organizations are as inseparable from the "Palestinian" Authority as barber-shop-neat puppet Mahmoud Abbas is [was] from his perennially unwashed handler Yasser Arafat." [ibid]
Nothing has changed. In the 80s I was the SE Representative for Disarmament in the very progressive New Jewish Agenda and I was in U.S. PeaceNow. The NJA is gone now; it faded away not from lack of will to establish a progressive agenda with Jews and Arabs but for many of us it was because we didn't have any real partners on the Palestinian side to talk with that would make a difference. The same thing happened to us that happened to many on the Israeli left, like Benny Morris. The Palestinians are changing but they are not moving toward peace. There still is no one to talk to. Nothing has changed since the 80s except the Arabs have become even more radicalized against Israel and more Islamist. The only solution is disengagement.
And where there has been democratic elections Arabs have voted in Islamist governments. Arabs on the West Bank and Gaza have elected HAMAS, which has sworn to destroy Israel. In 2005 Egyptians showed their support for the radical Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood. In Iraq the election went heavily for pro-Iranian Islamists and in Lebanon after Syrian troops pulled out radical Islamists did well in the elections there, as they did in Afghanistan. George Bush's democracy is most definitely "on the march."
The U.S. (George W. Bush) imposed "Hudna" is a one-sided truce, restraining the Israelis from taking care of business, had about as much efficacy and chance of being successful as the U.S. "roadmap" - as much as the perfidious "Truce of Hudaibiyah" did of surviving under Muhammad, where it was used as a subterfuge and scam just as it was being used by the Arafat and by those who succeeded him in the Palestinian leadership. Now there are no more pretences. The Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza have spoken.