Viser arkivet for stikkord arab

Arab countries and EU propose a UN resolution on Syria

Russia, a long time ally of the regime in Syria, is against the resolution, and might block a vote on in the UN Security Council.

The draft resolution from some Arab countries and the European Union, will, hopefully, block Russia from selling arms and ammunition to the regime in Syria, and might be one of the reasons why Russia is against the resolution.

You’ll find the resolution text suggested by Arab nations and the European Union here.

The web news site EU Observer brings the news of the resolution here.

The partition of Palestine 29th November 1947

THIS TUESDAY will be the 64th anniversary of a fateful day for our lives.

A day in November. A day to remember.

On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted, by 33 votes against 13 (with 10 abstentions), the Palestine Partition Plan.

This event has become a subject of endless debates, misinterpretations and outright falsifications. It may be worthwhile to peel away the myths and see it as it was.

BY THE end of 1947, there were in the country – then officially named Palestine – about 1.2 million Arabs and 635 000 Jews. The gap between the two population groups had turned into an abyss. Though geographically intertwined, they lived on two different planets. With very few exceptions, they considered each other as mortal enemies.

This was the reality that the UN commission, charged with proposing a solution, found on the ground when it visited the country.

One of the great moments of my life is connected with this UNSCOP (“United Nations Special Committee on Palestine”). On the Carmel mountain chain, near kibbutz Daliah, I was attending the annual folk dance festival. Folk dances played a major role in the new Hebrew culture we were consciously striving to create. Most of these dances were somewhat contrived, even artificial, like many of our efforts, but they reflected the will to create something new, fresh, rooted in the country, entirely different from the Jewish culture of our parents. Some of us spoke about a new “Hebrew nation”.

In a huge natural amphitheater, under a canopy of twinkling summer stars, tens of thousands of young people, boys and girls, had gathered to cheer on the many amateur groups performing on the stage. It was a joyous affair, imbued with camaraderie, radiating feelings of strength and self-confidence.

No one of us could have guessed that within a few months we would meet again in the fields of a deadly war.

In the middle of the performance, an excited voice announced on the loudspeaker that several members of UNSCOP had come to visit. As one, the huge crowd stood up and started to sing the national anthem, Hatikvah (“the Hope”). I never liked this song very much, but at that moment it sounded like a fervent prayer, filling the space, rebounding from the hills of the Carmel. I suppose that almost all of the 6000 Jewish youngsters who gave their lives in the war were assembled for the last time on that evening, singing with profound emotion.

IT WAS in this atmosphere that the members of UNSCOP, representing many different nations, had to find a solution.

As everybody knows, the commission adopted a plan to partition Palestine between an independent “Arab” and an independent “Jewish” state. But that is not the whole story.

Looking at the map of the 1947 partition resolution, one must wonder at the borders. They resemble a puzzle, with Arab pieces and Jewish pieces put together in an impossible patchwork, with Jerusalem and Bethlehem as a separate unit. The borders look crazy. Both states would have been totally indefensible.

The explanation is that the committee did not really envision two totally independent and separate states. The plan explicitly included an economic union. That would have necessitated a very close relationship between the two political entities, something akin to a federation, with open borders and free movement of people and goods. Without it, the borders would have been impossible.

That was a very optimistic scenario. Immediately after the committee’s plan was adopted by the General Assembly, after much cajoling by the Zionist leadership, war broke out with sporadic Arab attacks on Jewish traffic on the vital roads.

When the first shot was fired, the partition plan was dead. The foundation, on which the whole edifice rested, broke apart. No open borders, no economic union, no chance for a union of any kind. Only abyssal, deadly, enmity.

THE PARTITION plan would never have been adopted in the first place if it had not been preceded by a historical event that seemed at the time beyond belief.

The Soviet delegate to the UN, Andrei Gromyko, suddenly made what can only be described as a fiery Zionist speech. He contended that after the terrible suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust, they deserved a state of their own.

To appreciate the utter amazement with which this speech was received, one must remember that until that very moment, Communists and Zionists had been irreconcilable foes. It was not only a clash of ideologies, but also a family affair. In Tzarist Russia, Jews were persecuted by an anti-Semitic government, and young Jews, both male and female, were in the vanguard of all the revolutionary movements.

An idealistic young Jew had the choice between joining the Bolsheviks, the social-democratic Jewish Bund or the Zionists. The competition was fierce and engendered intense mutual hatred. Later, in the Soviet Union, Zionists were mercilessly persecuted. In Palestine, local Communists, Jewish and Arab, were accused of collaborating with the Arab militants who attacked Jewish neighborhoods.

What had brought about this sudden change in Soviet policy? Stalin did not turn from an anti-Semite into a philo-Semite. Far from it. But he was a pragmatist. It was the era of medium-range missiles, which threatened Soviet territory from all sides. Palestine was in practice a British colony and could easily have become a Western missile base, threatening Odessa and beyond. Better a Jewish and an Arab state, than that.

In the following war, almost all my weapons came from the Soviet bloc, mainly from Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union recognized Israel de jure long before the United States.

The end of this unnatural honeymoon came in the early fifties, when David Ben-Gurion decided to turn Israel into an inseparable part of the Western bloc. At the same time, Stalin recognized the importance of the new pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abd-al-Nasser and decided to ride on that wave. His paranoid anti-Semitism came again to the fore. All over Eastern Europe Communist veterans were executed as Zionist-imperialist-Trotskyite spies, and his Jewish doctors were accused of attempting to poison him. (Luckily for them, Stalin died just in time and they were saved.)

TODAY, THE partition resolution is remembered in Israel mainly because of two words: “Jewish state”.

No one in Israel wants to be reminded of the borders of 1947, which gave the Jewish minority in Palestine “only” 55% of the country. (Though half of this consisted of the Negev desert, most of which is almost empty even now.) Nor do Jewish Israelis like to be reminded that almost half the population of the territory allotted to them was Arab.

At the time, the UN resolution was accepted by the Jewish population with overflowing enthusiasm. The photos of the people dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv belong to this day, and not – as is often falsely claimed, to the day the State of Israel was officially founded. (At that time we were in middle of a bloody war and nobody was in the mood for dancing.)

We know now that Ben-Gurion did not dream of accepting the partition plan borders, and even less the Arab population within them. The famous army “Plan Dalet” early in the war was a strategic necessity, but it was also a solution to the two problems: it added to Israel another 22% of the country and it drove the Arab population out. Only a small remnant of the Arab population remained – and by now it has grown to 1.5 million.

But all that is history. What concerned the future are the words “Jewish state”. Israeli rightists, who abhor the partition resolution in any other context, insist that it provides the legal basis to Israel’s right to be recognized as a “Jewish state” – meaning in practice, that the state belongs to all the Jews around the world, but not to its Arab citizens, whose families have been living here for at least 13 centuries, if not far longer (depends who does the counting).

But the UN used the word “Jewish” only for lack of any other definition. During the British Mandate, the two peoples in the country were called in English “Jews” and “Arabs”. But we ourselves spoke about a “Hebrew” State (medina Ivrit). In newspaper clippings of the time, only this term can be seen. People of my age-group remember dozens of demonstrations in which we invariably chanted “Free Immigration – Hebrew State”. The sound of it still rings in our ears.

The UN did not deal with the ideological makeup of the future states. It certainly assumed that they would be democratic, belonging to all their inhabitants. Otherwise they would hardly have drawn borders that left a substantial Arab population in the “Jewish” state.

Israel’s declaration of independence bases itself on the UN resolution. The relevant sentence reads: “…AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, (WE) HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.”

The ultra-rightists who now dominate the Knesset want to use these words as a pretext for replacing democracy with a doctrine of Jewish nationalist-religious supremacy. A former Shin-Bet chief and present Kadima party MK has submitted a bill that would abolish the equality of the two terms “Jewish” and “democratic” in the official legal doctrine, and state clearly that the “Jewishness” of the state has precedence over its “democratic” character. This would deprive the Arab citizens of any remnant of equality. (At the last moment, in face of the public reaction, the Kadima party compelled him to withdraw the bill.)

THE 1947 partition plan was an exceptionally intelligent document. Its details are obsolete now, but its basic idea is as relevant today as it was 64 years ago: two nations are living in this country, they cannot live together in one state without a continuous civil war, they can live together in two states, the two states must establish close ties between each other.

Ben-Gurion was determined to prevent the founding of the Arab Palestinian state, and with the help of King Abdallah of Transjordan he succeeded in this. All his successors, with the possible exception of Yitzhak Rabin, have followed this line, now more than ever. We have paid – and are still paying – a heavy price for this folly.

On the 64th anniversary of this historic event, we must go back to its basic principle: Israel and Palestine, Two States for Two Peoples.

Uri Avnery
November 26, 2011

Uri Avnery on the Egypt uprising

A Villa in the Jungle?

WE ARE in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.

People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.

Israelis are no exception. While in neighboring Egypt earth-shattering events were taking place, Israel was absorbed with a scandal in the army high command. The Minister of Defense abhors the incumbent Chief of Staff and makes no secret of it. The presumptive new chief was exposed as a liar and his appointment canceled. These were the headlines.

But what is happening now in Egypt will change our lives.

AS USUAL, nobody foresaw it. The much-feted Mossad was taken by surprise, as was the CIA and all the other celebrated services of this kind.

Yet there should have been no surprise at all – except about the incredible force of the eruption. In the last few years, we have mentioned many times in this column that all over the Arab world, multitudes of young people are growing up with a profound contempt for their leaders, and that sooner or later this will lead to an uprising. These were not prophesies, but rather a sober analysis of probabilities.

The turmoil in Egypt was caused by economic factors: the rising cost of living, the poverty, the unemployment, the hopelessness of the educated young. But let there be no mistake: the underlying causes are far more profound. They can be summed up in one word: Palestine.

In Arab culture, nothing is more important than honor. People can suffer deprivation, but they will not stand humiliation.

Yet what every young Arab from Morocco to Oman saw daily was his leaders humiliating themselves, forsaking their Palestinian brothers in order to gain favor and money from America, collaborating with the Israeli occupation, cringing before the new colonizers. This was deeply humiliating for young people brought up on the achievements of Arab culture in times gone by and the glories of the early Caliphs.

Nowhere was this loss of honor more obvious than in Egypt, which openly collaborated with the Israeli leadership in imposing the shameful blockade on the Gaza Strip, condemning 1.5 million Arabs to malnutrition and worse. It was never just an Israeli blockade, but an Israeli-Egyptian one, lubricated by 1.5 billion US dollars every year.

I have reflected many times – out loud – how I would feel if I were a 15 year-old boy in Alexandria, Amman or Aleppo, seeing my leaders behave like abject slaves of the Americans and the Israelis, while oppressing and despoiling their own subjects. At that age, I myself joined a terrorist organization. Why would an Arab boy be different?

A dictator may be tolerated when he reflects national dignity. But a dictator who expresses national shame is a tree without roots – any strong wind can blow him over.

For me, the only question was where in the Arab world it would start. Egypt – like Tunisia – was low on my list. Yet here it is – the great Arab revolution taking place in Egypt.

THIS IS a wonder in itself. If Tunisia was a small wonder, this is a huge one.

I love the Egyptian people. True, one cannot really like 88 million individuals, but one can certainly like one people more than another. In this respect, one is allowed generalize.

The Egyptians you meet in the streets, in the homes of the intellectual elite and in the alleys of the poorest of the poor, are an incredibly patient lot. They are endowed with an irrepressible sense of humor. They are also immensely proud of the country and its 8000 years of history.

For an Israeli, used to his aggressive compatriots, the almost complete lack of aggressiveness of the Egyptians is astonishing. I vividly remember one particular scene: I was in a taxi in Cairo when it collided with another. Both drivers leapt out and started to curse each other in blood-curling terms. And then quite suddenly, both of them stopped shouting and burst into laughter.

A Westerner coming to Egypt either loves it or hates it. The moment you set your foot on Egyptian soil, time loses its tyranny. Everything becomes less urgent, everything is muddled, yet in a miraculous way things sort themselves out. Patience seems boundless. This may mislead a dictator. Because patience can end suddenly.

It’s like a faulty dam on a river. The water rises behind the dam, imperceptibly slowly and silently – but if it reaches a critical level, the dam will burst, sweeping everything before it.

MY OWN first meeting with Egypt was intoxicating. After Anwar Sadat’s unprecedented visit to Jerusalem, I rushed to Cairo. I had no visa. I shall never forget the moment I presented my Israeli passport to the stout official at the airport. He leafed through it, becoming more and more bewildered – and then he raised his head with a wide smile and said “marhaba”, welcome. At the time we were the only three Israelis in the huge city, and we were feted like kings, almost expecting at any moment to be lifted onto people’s shoulders. Peace was in the air, and the masses of Egypt loved it.

It took no more than a few months for this to change profoundly. Sadat hoped – sincerely, I believe – that he was also bringing deliverance to the Palestinians. Under intense pressure from Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter, he agreed to a vague wording. Soon enough he learned that Begin did not dream of fulfilling this obligation. For Begin, the peace agreement with Egypt was a separate peace to enable him to intensify the war against the Palestinians.

The Egyptians – starting with the cultural elite and filtering down to the masses – never forgave this. They felt deceived. There may not be much love for the Palestinians – but betraying a poor relative is shameful in Arab tradition. Seeing Hosni Mubarak collaborating with this betrayal led many Egyptians to despise him. This contempt lies beneath everything that happened this week. Consciously or unconsciously, the millions who are shouting “Mubarak Go Away” echo this contempt.

IN EVERY revolution there is the “Yeltsin Moment”. The columns of tanks are sent into the capital to reinstate the dictatorship. At the critical moment, the masses confront the soldiers. If the soldiers refuse to shoot, the game is over. Yeltsin climbed on the tank, ElBaradei addressed the masses in al Tahrir Square. That is the moment a prudent dictator flees abroad, as did the Shah and now the Tunisian boss.

Then there is the “Berlin Moment”, when a regime crumbles and nobody in power knows what to do, and only the anonymous masses seem to know exactly what they want: they wanted the Wall to fall.

And there is the “Ceausescu moment”. The dictator stands on the balcony addressing the crowd, when suddenly from below a chorus of “Down With The Tyrant!” swells up. For a moment, the dictator is speechless, moving his lips noiselessly, then he disappears. This, in a way, happened to Mubarak, making a ridiculous speech and trying in vain to stem the tide.

IF MUBARAK is cut off from reality, Binyamin Netanyahu is no less. He and his colleagues seem unable to grasp the fateful meaning of these events for Israel.

When Egypt moves, the Arab world follows. Whatever transpires in the immediate future in Egypt – democracy or an army dictatorship – It is only a matter of (a short) time before the dictators fall all over the Arab world, and the masses will shape a new reality, without the generals.

Everything the Israeli leadership has done in the last 44 years of occupation or 63 years of its existence is becoming obsolete. We are facing a new reality. We can ignore it – insisting that we are “a villa in the jungle”, as Ehud Barak famously put it – or find our proper place in the new reality.

Peace with the Palestinians is no longer a luxury. It is an absolute necessity. Peace now, peace quickly. Peace with the Palestinians, and then peace with the democratic masses all over the Arab world, peace with the reasonable Islamic forces (like Hamas and the Muslim Brothers, who are quite different from al Qaeda), peace with the leaders who are about to emerge in Egypt and everywhere.

Uri Avnery
February 5, 2011

Uri Avnery on the post election process in Israel

Uri Avnery
14.2.09
Ms Tantalus

TANTALUS IS punished by the Gods for reasons that are not entirely clear. He is hungry and thirsty, but the water in which he stands recedes when he bends down to drink from it and the fruit above his head continually evades his hand.

Tzipi Livni is now undergoing a similar torture. After winning an impressive personal victory at the polls, the political fruit keeps slipping from her grasp when she stretches out her hand.

Why should she deserve that? What has she done, after all? Supported the war, called for a boycott of Hamas, played around with empty negotiations with the Palestinian Authority? OK, she has indeed.. But such a terrible punishment?

HOWEVER, THE results of the elections are not as clear as they might seem. The victory of the Right is not so unambiguous.

Central to the election campaign was the personal competition between the two contenders for the Prime Minister’s office: Livni and Netanyahu (or, as they call themselves, as if they were still at kindergarten, Tzipi and Bibi.)

Contrary to all expectations and all polls, Livni beat Netanyahu. Several factors were involved in this. Among others: the masses of the Left were terrified by the possibility of Netanyahu winning, and flocked to Livni’s camp in order to “Stop Bibi!” Also, Livni – who was never identified with feminism – remembered at the last moment to call Israel’s women to her banner, and they hearkened to her call.

But it is impossible to ignore the main significance of this choice: Netanyahu symbolizes total opposition to peace, opposition to giving back the occupied territories, to the freezing of the settlements and to a Palestinian state. Livni, on the other hand, has declared more than once her total support for the “Two-Nation-States” solution. Her voters opted for the more moderate line.

True, the big winner in the elections was Avigdor Liberman. But his triumph is far from the fateful breakthrough everyone foresaw. He did not win the 20 seats he had promised. His ascent from 11 to 15 seats is not so dramatic. His party is indeed now the third largest in the Knesset, but that is less due to its own rise than to the collapse of Labor, which fell from 19 to 13. By the way, not one of the parties won even 25% of the vote. Israeli democracy is now very fragile indeed.

The Liberman phenomenon is ominous, but not (yet?) disastrous.

HOWEVER, THERE is no way to deny the most significant message of these elections: the Israeli public has moved to the right. From Likud to the right there are now 65 seats, from Kadima to the left only 55. One cannot argue with numbers.

What has caused this shift?

There are several explanations, all of them valid.

One can consider it as a passing phase after the war. A war arouses strong emotions – nationalist intoxication, hatred of the enemy, fear of the Other, longing for unity and for revenge. All these naturally serve the Right – a lesson sometimes forgotten by the left when it starts a war.

Others see in it a continuation of a historical process: the Zionist-Palestinian confrontation is becoming wider and more complex, and such a situation feeds the Right.

And then there is, of course, the demographic factor. The rightist bloc attracts the votes of three sectors: the Oriental Jews (a majority of whom vote for Likud), the religious (who mostly vote for the fundamentalists) and the Russians (most of whom vote for Liberman). This is a group vote, almost automatic.

Two sectors in Israel have an especially high birth-rate: the religious Jews and the Arabs. The religious vote almost unanimously for the Right. True, the Orthodox and the National-Religious parties have not increased their strength in the elections, probably because many of their natural voters chose Likud, Liberman or the even more extreme National Union. The Arab citizens almost completely abstained from voting for Jewish parties, as many of them used to in the past, and the three Arab parties together gained one more seat.

The demographic development is ominous. Kadima, Labor and Meretz are identified with the old-established Ashkenazi sector, whose demographic strength is in steady decline. Also, many young Ashkenazis gave their votes – at least four seats worth – to Liberman, who preaches a secular fascism. They hate the Arabs, but they also hate the religious Jews.

The conclusion is quite clear: if the “center-left” does not succeed in breaking out of its elitist ghetto and striking roots within the Oriental and Russian sectors, its decline will continue from election to election.

NOW MS TANTALUS must choose between two bitter options: to retire to the desert where there is neither water nor fruit, or to serve as a fig-leaf for an obnoxious coalition.

Option No. 1: to refuse to join Netanyahu’s coalition and to go into opposition. That is not so simple. The Kadima party came into being when Ariel Sharon promised its members – refugees from right and left – power. It will be very hard for Livni to hold the lot together in opposition, far from the seat of power, far from the posh ministers’ offices and from luxurious official cars.

That would give us a rightist government which includes open fascists, pupils of Meir Kahane (whose party was banned because of his racist teachings), the advocates of ethnic cleansing, of the expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens and the liquidation of any chance for peace. Such a government would inevitably find itself in confrontation with the United States and in worldwide isolation.

Some people say: that’s good. Such a government will necessarily fall soon and break apart. Thus the public will be persuaded that there is no viable rightist option. Kadima, Labor and Meretz will stew in opposition, and perhaps a real center-left alternative will come into being.

Others say: Too risky. There is no limit to the disasters that a Netanyahu-Liberman-Kahanist government can bring upon the state, from the enlargement of the settlements that will torpedo any future peace, to outright war. We can’t stake everything on one card, when the chip is the State of Israel.

Livni’s option No. 2: To swallow the bitter pill, give in and join the Netanyahu government as a second, third or fourth wheel. In that case, she must decide at once, before Netanyahu establishes a fait accompli with an extreme-right coalition which Livni would then be invited to join as a junior partner.

I shall not be surprised if president Shimon Peres takes the initiative unofficially and promotes this option – before starting, in a week’s time, the official process of consulting with the Knesset factions and entrusting one of the candidates with the task of forming a government.

Could such a government move towards peace? Conduct real negotiations? Agree to the dismantling of settlements? Accept a Palestinian state? Recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas?

Hard to imagine. In the best case, it will go on with the charade of meaningless negotiations, quietly enlarge the settlements, lead Barack Obama by the nose and mobilize the pro-Israel lobby in order to obstruct any real American moves towards peace. What was will be.

CAN ISRAEL change course? Can a real peace-oriented alternative arise?

The two “Zionist Left” parties have been decisively beaten. Both Labor and Meretz have collapsed. Their two leaders who called for the Gaza War and supported it – Ehud Barak of Labor and Haim Oron of Meretz – have received the punishment they richly deserve. In a normal democracy, both would have resigned the day after the elections. But our democracy is not normal, and both leaders insist on staying on and leading their party to the next disaster.

Labor is a walking corpse – the only “social-democratic” party in the world whose leader’s sole aim is to stay on as war minister. When Barak spread the mantra “there is no one to talk with” he overlooked the logical conclusion “therefore we don’t need anyone to talk with them”.

The Labor Party has no party, no members, no political program, no alternative leadership. It will fail in opposition as it failed in government. Barring a miracle, it will end up in the junkyard of history.

It will find Meretz already there. A socialist party that lost its way a long time ago: a party without any roots in the classes at the foot of the socioeconomic ladder, a party that has supported all our wars.

Some believe in easy solutions: a union of Labor and Meretz, for example. That is a union of the lame and the blind. No reason to expect that they would win the race.

THE REAL task is far more difficult. A completely new building must be erected in place of the one which has collapsed.

The need is for a new Left that will include new leaders from the sectors that have been discriminated against: the Orientals, the Russians and the Arabs. A new Left that will express the ideals of a new generation, people of peace, advocates of social change, feminists and greens, who will all understand that one cannot realize one ideal without realizing all of them. There can be no social justice in a military state; no one is interested in the environment while the cannons are roaring, feminism is incompatible with a society of machos riding on tanks, there can be no respect for Oriental Jews in a society that despises the culture of the Orient.

The Arab citizens will have to leave the ghetto in which they are confined and start to talk with the Jewish public, and the Jewish public must talk with the Arabs on equal terms. The Liberman slogan “No Citizenship Without Loyalty” must be turned around: “No Loyalty Without Real Citizenship”.

As Obama has done in the US, a new language, a new lexicon must be created, to replace the old and tired phrases.

Much, much must be changed if we want to save the state.

AS FOR Ms. Tantalus: she can contribute to this process of change, or her torture will continue.

Echoing Pyrrhus, king of Epirus and Macedon, she can well say: Another such victory and we are undone.

Published with the permission of Uri Avnery.

Depressing news from the war zone

The prospect for peace and security for the Palestinians is slimmer than it has been for more than a decade.

Fatah rules the West Bank. Hamas rules in Gaza. The Israeli Army (IDF) controls both areas.

The Fatah of the West Bank are on the brink of becoming Palestinian quislings. Hamas in Gaza is isolated, boicotted by Israel and most of the world, starved and desperate.

The international community is fed up with the arrogant, brutal Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. But with the USA government bending over to support the Israeli government, whatever foolishness the government cooks up, the rest of the world is paralyzed.

This is the backdrop, just before the coming negotiations in Annapolis in USA. But president Bush and his dangerously incompetent administration have been stripping away opportunities for peaceful solutions, ever since 9/11.

If the Bush administration really do want to make a difference in the Middle East, they have to confront the Israeli government and the IDF, as well as the extreme and hysterical religious rigth, in both Israel and the USA. They have to force the Israelis to give up all occupied land, give the Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 the right to return, and compensate what was stolen from them. All the Palestinian children, parlamentarians and other political prisoners, must be set free. All the illegal settlements must be removed.

The Arab world has offered Israel peace. The conditions are modest, in line with countless UN resolutions, the Geneva convention and the Human Rights Charter.

It is up to Israel to choose peace. But again and again, different Israeli governments have pretended to want peace, but in reality, they have chosen war, terror and humiliation. And the majority of Israeli voters have been unable to produce a political leader with the integrity and moral courage to fight for peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.

For many years, clever PR staffs and diplomats made the world believe in the brave, little democracy, fighting to survive in a hostile environment. They could fool us all, for a while. But the falsified image have melted away, long ago. Today, Israels real image is emerging: A brutal, aggressive, immoral occupant.

What can we do?