Viser arkivet for stikkord jerusalem

Uri Avnery on the US kangoroo diplomacy in the Middle East

Uri Avnery
30.1.10

The Kangaroo

GEORGE MITCHELL looks like a kangaroo hopping around with an empty pouch.

He hops here and he hops there. Hops to Jerusalem and hops to Ramallah, Damascus, Beirut, Amman (but, God forbid, not to Gaza, because somebody may not like it). Hops, hops, but doesn’t take anything out of his pouch, because the pouch is empty.

So why does he do it? After all, he could stay at home, raise roses or play with his grandchildren.

This compulsive traveling reveals a grain of chutzpah. If he has nothing to offer, why waste the time of politicians and media people? Why burn airplane fuel and damage the environment?

THE DECLARED aim of Mitchell is to “get the peace process going again”. How? “Get the two sides to return to the negotiating table”.

There is a naïve American belief that all the problems of the world could be solved if only the parties would sit down at the table and talk. When reasonable people talk to each other, they will eventually arrive at a solution.

The trouble with this is that the people responsible for the fate of nations are not, in general, reasonable people. They are politicians with passions and prejudices and constituencies, who are driven by the mood of the masses. When one is dealing with a 130-year old conflict, the naïve belief in the value of talk borders on folly.

Decades of experience indicate that negotiations are useless if one of the parties is not interested in an agreement. Worse: negotiations can actually cause damage when one of the parties uses them to waste time while creating a false impression of progress towards peace.

In our conflict, peace negotiations have become a substitute for peace, a means to obstruct peace. They are an instrument used by successive Israeli governments to gain time – time to enlarge the settlements and entrench the occupation.

(In an interview with Haaretz published yesterday, Ehud Barak accused the “left” in general, and Gush Shalom and Peace Now in particular, of not supporting Netanyahu’s call for negotiations. He got close to accusing us of treason.)

Anyone who now proposes negotiations “without prior conditions” is collaborating with the Netanyahu-Barak-Lieberman government in a ploy to sabotage the chances of peace. Indeed, Mitchell has become – perhaps unwittingly – such a collaborator. When he exerts pressure on Mahmoud Abbas “to come back to the negotiating table”, he is playing the game of Netanyahu, who presents himself as the great peace-lover. Abbas is being pictured as a man who has “climbed a high tree and doesn’t know how to get down again”. There is no occupation, no ongoing settlement activity, no Judaization of East Jerusalem. The only problem is to get a ladder. A ladder for Abbas!

All this for what? What is the kangaroo hopping for? It’s all to help Obama, who is thirsting for a political achievement like a man in the desert thirsting for water. The start of negotiations, however meaningless, would be presented as a great diplomatic success.

THE OTHER day, Obama himself made a rare gesture: the President of the United States of America declared publicly that he had made a mistake and apologized for it. He admitted that he had not properly understood the difficulties involved in the restarting of the peace process.

Everybody praised the President. Such a courageous leader! Such nobility!

To which I would add: And such chutzpah!

Here comes the most powerful leader in the world and says: I was wrong. I did not understand. I have failed. For a whole year I have not achieved any progress at all towards a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Look how honest I am! Look how ready I am to admit mistakes!

That is chutzpah. That is chutzpah, because a whole year was lost due to this “mistake”, a whole year in which 1.5 million human beings in Gaza, men, women and children, have been suffering utter destitution, many of them without sufficient food, many of them without shelter in the cold and in rain. A whole year in which more than a hundred Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem were demolished while new Jewish housing projects sprang up at a crazy pace. A whole year in which settlements in the West Bank were enlarged, apartheid roads were built and pogroms, under the “price tag” slogan, were carried out.

So, with all due respect, Mr. President, the word “mistake” hardly suffices.

The Bible says: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Obama covereth not his “mistake”, and that is good. But it is the second half of the verse that counts: “confesseth and forsaketh”. No mercy for one who “confesseth” but not “forsaketh”. You have not hinted with a single word that you are about to forsake your old ways.

It is chutzpah for another reason, too: You say that you have failed because you did not properly appreciate the domestic problems of the two leaders, Netanyahu and Abbas. Netanyahu, you say, has an extreme right-wing coalition, and Abbas has Hamas.

Sorry, sorry, but what about your own “coalition”, which does not allow you to move an inch in the right direction? What about the two houses of Congress, which are completely subservient to the pro-Israel lobbies, both the Jewish and the Christian-Evangelical? What about your fear of your extreme right, which is supporting our own extreme right? What about your inability – or unwillingness – to exercise your leadership, invest political capital in a confrontation with the lobbies and move forwards according to the real interests of the United States (and Israel) – as did President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his time, and even, for a short period, Secretary of State James Baker?

THE TERRIBLE blow dealt to Obama in the Massachusetts by-election has dumbfounded many people. It has changed the texture of American politics and is endangering the health system reforms, the jewel in the crown he has put on his head. It threatens to turn him into a lame duck that may not only lose the midterm elections this year, but even fail to be reelected less than three years from now.

Many ask: what happened to the shining candidate who enchanted the entire United States and mobilized millions of enthusiastic new voters? Where is the man with a vision who aroused the masses with the battle-cry “Yes, We Can”?

How did the inspiring campaigner turn into a so-so president, one who does not excite anyone? How did the candidate, who always hit exactly the right note, turn into a president who is unable to touch the hearts of the people? How did the candidate, who made all the right decisions, turn into a president who cannot make decisions? How did the anti-Bush turn into another-Bush?

It seems to me that the answers lie in one of the fundamental paradoxes of the democratic system. I have thought about this many a time while sitting through boring speeches in the Knesset.

A democratic leader who has a vision and wants to realize it has to pass two tests: to win an election and to govern a country. If he does not get elected, he will not have a chance to realize his dream. If he fails in governing, his election victory loses its meaning.

The trouble is that these two tasks are very different. Indeed, they tend to contradict each other, because they demand very different talents.

The candidate must make speeches, excite the imagination, make promises and convince the voters that he is capable of fulfilling them. These talents can indeed be of help to the ruler – but they do not suffice to enable him to rule. The ruler must make hard decisions, withstand extreme pressures, manage a huge apparatus with many contradictory components, convince the public of his country and the leaders of foreign countries. He cannot satisfy all sectors of the public and all the interest groups, the way he tried to do as a candidate.

The most inspiring candidates often turn out to be disastrous heads of government. They are swept into power by the enthusiasm they evoke in their voters, and then suddenly find out that their brilliant speeches have no impact any more – not on the members of their parliament, not on the public, not on foreign leaders. Their brightest talent has become useless.

I have the impression that Obama’s numerous speeches are starting to tire people and are losing their appeal. When he turns his face from left to right and from right to left, from one teleprompter to the other, he starts to look like a mechanical doll. The millions viewing his speeches on TV see him turning to the left and turning to the right, but never really looking them in the eyes.

The candidate is an actor on stage playing the role of a leader. After the elections, when he actually becomes a leader, he can become helpless. The man who plays Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play can be a great actor – but if he were Caesar in real life, he would not have a clue what to do. (When I put this to an actor, his retort was: “But Caesar himself would not be able to play Caesar on the stage!”)

Barack Obama is no Caesar. Rather he is Hamlet, Prince of America. Enchanting, attractive, full of good intentions – but feeble and hesitant. To rule or not to rule, that is the question.

IT IS much too early to announce Obama’s political death. Contrary to Mark Antony, who declares in the play “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”, I am not yet ready to bury the great hope raised by him.

A year has passed since he entered the White House. A year wasted to a large extent. Three more years are left until the next elections. True, in the first year, after such a dramatic victory, it would have been much easier for him to do things than in the following three years, but Obama can still recover, draw the necessary conclusions from the experience and manage a comeback.

One of the roads there leads through Jerusalem. Obama must keep his kangaroo tied up at home and take the initiative into his own hands. He must announce a clear peace program, the one about which there is now a world-wide consensus (Two states for two peoples, a Palestinian state in all the occupied territories with its capital in East Jerusalem and the dismantling of the settlements in Palestinian territory) and call upon the two sides to adopt it in theory and practice – perhaps by a referendum on both sides. When the time is ripe, he may come to Jerusalem and address the Israeli people from the Knesset rostrum with a clear and unequivocal message.

In short: exit Hamlet, enter Julius Caesar.

Jeff Halper: The mounting despair in Palestine

OK, so the Palestinian Authority will not unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state. In fact, the whole issue seems a misunderstanding. Concerned that the US has backtracked on a two state solution based on the 1967 borders and that Israel was getting the world used to the “fact” that the settlements and the Wall, rather than ’67 borders, now defined the parameters of a future Palestinian state (on only 15% of historic Palestine), the PA simply wanted the Security Council to reaffirm that principle. “What should we do while the Israeli government is busy with fait accompli actions,” asked Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, “but to turn to the Security Council to preserve the option of two states? We want the Security Council to declare that the two-state solution is the only option and that it would recognize the state of Palestine on the ’67 borders and to live side by side with the State of Israel.” The PA hoped, perhaps even expected, that the US would go along. Through an escalation of rhetoric this simple clarification became the basis of speculation, against the background of President Mahmoud Abbas’s threatened resignation, that the Palestinians would attempt to force the hand of the international community and announce the establishment of their state.

But what if it did happen? What if Abbas would actually announce the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, ask the nations of the world to recognize it and then apply for admission to the UN?

The Palestinians are caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the steadily tightening noose that is the Israeli occupation. Israel’s concentration of settlers in strategic blocs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank destroy any Palestinian territorial contiguity, and do so even if Israel removes the dozens of tiny settlements within the densely populated Palestinian “cantons.” Those settlement blocs have already been incorporated into Israel proper through the construction of some twenty-nine major Israeli highways, meaning that Israel has expanded organically from the 1967 Green Line to the border with Jordan. Even if the Separation Barrier is dismantled, the entire country has been fundamentally reconfigured; there is simply no more room for a coherent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state. And the suffering grows progressively worse. Hostile, callous Israeli soldiers continue to man hundreds of checkpoints throughout the Occupied Territories – checkpoints that, when incorporated into the Wall, take the form of massive terminals in which tens of thousands of men, women and children are subjected to long hours of waiting and humiliating treatment. The pace of house demolitions increases daily; 24,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel in the Occupied Territories since 1967, while Israeli courts have forced at least another 10,000 homeowners to demolish their own homes under threats of unbearable fines. The Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, the heart of Palestinian religious, cultural, political and economic life, is rapidly disappearing under a concentrated policy of settlement, expulsion of Palestinian residents from their homes and land expropriation intended, as Israel declares explicitly, to “judaize” the city. Without a meaningful Palestinian presence in Jerusalem there is no possibility of peace; indeed, no possibility to reconciliation between the West, which is seen as enabling Israeli expansion, and the entire Muslim world.

The hard place is the unlikelihood that negotiations with Israel, supported by the US and a compliant Europe, will go anywhere. The Oslo Process, which lasted seven years (1993-2000), saw Israel’s settlement population double to 400,000, while Palestinians found themselves imprisoned in Areas A and B – some 70 islands on but 40% of the West Bank – and that largest prison of all, Gaza. Oslo was followed by the Road Map which was followed by the Annapolis Process,” all leading to the present impasse in which the Obama Administration has announced it has no plan. “Peace process” or not, negotiations or not, stalemate or not, Israel has never been prohibited from continuing to establish “facts on the ground” intended to foreclose a truly sovereign Palestinian state.

For the most part the Palestinian people have resisted. Two intifadas (four if you include the 1936-39 revolt against British immigration policies and the inability of the Palestinian majority to make its voice heard, and the 1948 war), plus ongoing armed struggle and thousands of non-violent actions from rebuilding demolished homes to the Beit Sahour tax strike. Occasionally the Palestinian leadership took a bold initiative, as when it succeeded in bringing Israel’s construction of the Separation Barrier before the International Court of Justice and, subsequently, the UN General Assembly, where it was condemned by both bodies. The current campaign of boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) against key Israeli pillars of the Occupation and companies profiting from it represents yet another pro-active initiative of Palestinian civil society.

And then there’s the idea of unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, which the Palestinian Authority has floated, intentionally or not, over the past few weeks. It’s not a new idea. The PLO declared Palestinian independence back in 1988, but without reference to borders such a move had little effect. During Oslo, a frustrated Arafat again threatened to unilaterally declare Palestinian sovereignty, but was dissuaded by Israel and the US. What would make another attempt more significant? Several things:

Rather than a general declaration of independence, the Palestinian Authority would declare a Palestinian state within specified borders, those of 1967 (the 1949 armistice line), which have already been recognized de facto over the years, from UN resolution 242 to the Road Map. Specifying the borders is what would differentiate this initiative from previous declarations based on principle of independence but without territorial claims, the latter supported even by Israel since it relieves it of pressures to end the Occupation by giving the Palestinians symbolic sovereignty.

The reasoning behind such an initiative is clear: to reverse both the balance of power and the dynamics of the negotiations. Because it occupies Palestinian territory, Israel is able to negotiate from a position of strength, while the Palestinians, with no leverage whatsoever, have no way to pressure Israel to meaningfully withdraw. Appeals to international law, which would have leveled the playing field, were nullified after the US, de facto supporting Israel’s claim that there is no occupation, classified the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as disputed territories. Instead of requiring Israel to relinquish its illegal settlements and other forms of control, this policy forces the Palestinians to negotiate every settlement, road and centimeter of land, unable in the end to compel Israel to make any concessions it does not want to make. By seeking international recognition of the Palestinian state within recognized borders, including membership in the UN, the Palestinians seek, finally, to end the Occupation while transforming Israel’s presence from that of an occupying power to one of an invader whose unilateral military and settlement activities, as well as its extension of its legal and planning systems into Palestine, constitute nothing less than an intolerable violation of Palestinian national sovereignty.

If the Palestinians’ declared their state within the boundaries accepted by the international community since 1967, it would be doing so not unilaterally but by agreement with the member states of the UN. The hope would be to secure American agreement, despite frantic Israeli attempts to head off such an initiative, after which the European countries would fall into place. The vast majority of countries in the rest of the world would at any rate recognize the Palestinian state.

Predictably, the US has rejected the rumoured (or floated) initiative. The State Department lost no time issuing a statement that “It is our strong belief and conviction that the best means to achieve the common goal of a contiguous and viable Palestine is through negotiations between the parties.” Two senators who happened to be in Israel, Kaufman and Lieberman, let it be known that the US would veto any such resolution in the Security Council. The EU immediately fell into lock-step, with the Swedish Foreign Minister, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, declaring that “conditions are not yet ripe” for such a move. Still, the Palestinians could decide to abandon – or at least balance – their long-standing American-centric approach to achieving self-determination by turning to the broader international community. Abbas is exploring such an option among the Arab, Muslim, Latin American, African and Asian blocs of nations. If the Security Council is unwilling to entertain such an initiative, the Palestinians, with broad-based international support, could turn to the UN General Assembly, which is empowered by a two-thirds majority to call a special emergency session and pass a resolution of approving the move, thus by-passing the US veto.

The Security Council cannot be by-passed completely; its approval is necessary before a state can become a member of the UN. But even a symbolic call from the majority of members in the General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and its urging the members of the Security Council to admit such a state into the UN would send a strong message to the Americans and their European clients. Unfortunately, the Palestinians’ declaration of statehood, in conformity to international agreements though it may be, conflicts with the concerns of other Security Council members regarding restive peoples in their own countries. Russia, which opposed the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, faces similar actions in Chechnya, South Ossetia and elsewhere. China has a similar problem with the Uigars; France with Corsica; Britain (perhaps) with Wales and Scotland; Turkey with the Kurds; and so on. The US, which did support the Kosovars unilateral action and thus has no grounds to deny the Palestinians, nevertheless faces the perpetual challenge of Puerto Rican independence, not to mention the struggles of insurgents throughout the world. And yet, having the issue of Palestinian statehood come up before the Security Council – potential sponsors from among the rotating members might be Libya, Burkina Faso or Uganda – would spur a useful debate and help focus on the responsibility of Israel, the US and Europe for disappearing Palestinian rights. And, again and again, the Palestinians have to drive home forcibly and repeatedly that their declaration of statehood stands in complete conformity to the internationally agreed upon end-game of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. It is defiant only in the sense of their asserting their right to self-determination after years of being let down by the international community and having nowhere else to go.

Most important, such a Palestinian initiative would force a solution to their conflict with the Israelis. If it were to be accepted, years of drawn-out pseudo-negotiations and the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis could be avoided. It would also go a long way towards redeeming Obama’s Cairo address and, as is likely, would facilitate better relations with the Muslim world which would open new possibilities in regards to withdrawing militarily and achieving accommodation and stability. If the US agreed, of course, Europe, and perhaps Russia and China, would fall into place.

It should be remembered that in a two-state solution represented by the Palestinian declaration, Israel would remain on 78% of historic Palestine, despite the Jews becoming a minority population with the return of even some of the refugees – a pretty generous Palestinian compromise. Hamas rejected Abbas’s initiative by stating: If you want to declare a state, do so from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. Yet, if a Palestinian state would actually emerge on all the Occupied Territories, it is likely that Hamas could not stand in the way of popular support for it – including in the refugee camps. The state that then arises would have sovereignty over its borders with Egypt and Jordan and the ability to enter into foreign alliances. It would possess a coherent territory, control of its natural resources (including water, its airspace and the communications sphere), a viable economy (especially given the inclusion of the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem as tourist venues) and East Jerusalem as its political, religious and cultural capital and the ability to repatriate refugees. None of these things will the Palestinians get in negotiations with Israel. Given an agreed upon quid pro quo such as a shared Jerusalem, an extra-territorial passage between the West Bank and Gaza and a qualitative exchange of territory, the Palestinians may cede to Israel certain symbolic sites: a special status in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and the historic core of the Etzion Bloc, making such a settlement more palatable to them. While the remaining settlements would become part of Palestine, though the Palestinians would earn points if they invited the settlers to stay and live in integrated communities.

A unilateral declaration, if refused by the US with no prospect of genuine negotiations aimed at a Palestinian state in all the occupied territory within a strict time-line, would signal the definitive end of the two-state solution. At that point the Palestinians could unite on a program of a one-state solution, be it a democratic state of equal citizens or, more workable, a bi-national state. Crucial to this shift would be a vigorous Palestinian campaign showing that it was Israel that created a bi-national situation through its settlement project and Israel that eliminated the two-state solution, which the PLO had accepted way back in 1988. If Israel implements the steps it has threatened in response to a Palestinian declaration of independence – in particular the annexation of Area C, some 60% of the West Bank containing the settlements – the apartheid situation that emerges is clear and unacceptable even to the US and Europe. Israel has thereby torn the veil from the de facto apartheid that already exists and which Israel seeks to perpetuate. By its own hand Israel has reconfirmed the bi-national reality of Palestine/Israel and driven the stake into the heart of the two-state solution.

For all the risks it involves, a declaration of Palestinian statehood within the 1967 borders – which would garner recognition from the vast majority of states in the world – would seem a win-win proposition. At least it would break the vessels of an impotent, ineffective and less than honest American-led “peace process” that is going nowhere – indeed, can’t go anywhere because it requires a level of assertiveness on Israel, perhaps even the imposition of a solution, that is completely lacking in either the American or European governments. It would also galvanize the civil society forces abroad, initiating a kind of ultimate BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaign. Given the failure of the Palestinian Authority to effectively communicate its case, a unilateral declaration would thrust the underlying issues of the conflict – and Israel’s responsibility in particular – into the limelight, generating the sort of discussion in the media and elsewhere that is sorely needed.

All this, of course, is a highly unlikely scenario, though given Abbas’s anger and frustration at the American’s failure to stop Israeli settlement building (as I write this the Israeli government has just announced the construction of 900 housing units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo), it is not altogether inconceivable. Although indicative of mounting Palestinian desperation, not all Palestinians support such a move. Hamas has rejected it, saying the Occupation must end before a state is declared. Palestinian policy-makers fear that the declaration, if it is seen as merely symbolic, could lock the Palestinians into a position where Israel could claim they now have self-determination but without the ability to actually claim their borders – a limbo reminiscent of the “state without borders” formulation of stage 2 of the Road Map, seen as a mortal danger by Palestinians. And supporters of the one-state solution, primarily in the Palestinian Diaspora but increasingly in the camps and the Occupied Territories themselves, have already moved on. But something must be done, and given the failure of the international community to either protect the Palestinians or reign in Israel, I, for one, am at a loss to suggest alternatives that address the urgency of a way out of Israel’s growingly genocidal occupation.

(Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He can be reached at <jeff@icahd.org>.)

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is based in Jerusalem and has chapters in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Please visit our websites:
www.icahd.org
www.icahduk.org
www.icahdusa.org

ICAHD CALLS FOR AN IMMEDIATE HALT TO ISRAEL’S POLICY OF HOME DEMOLITIONS

March 17, 2009

One can only describe Israel’s obsession with demolishing Palestinian homes in light of the exclusive Jewish claim to the entire Land of Israel harking back a century or more. It is not a policy specific to any particular time or place, nor is it confined to the Occupied Territories. In 1948 and for years after, Israeli governments systematically demolished more than 500 entire villages, towns, urban centers and neighborhoods, both to prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees and to take their lands and properties. Since the Occupation began in 1967, another 24,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished, including 4000 in the latest attack on Gaza. And in 2004, the Israeli government announced the establishment of a Demolition Administration within the Ministry of Interior; targeted for destruction are 20-40,000 homes of Israeli (Arab) citizens classified as “unrecognized villages.” (One Bedouin village in the Negev, al Twazil, has been demolished 18 times.)

It must be stressed that Israel has never explained or justified its long-standing practice of demolishing Palestinian homes by security. For the most part it has offered no explanations at all, treating the phenomenon as a purely internal matter. Occasionally it justifies the wholesale destruction of homes in military operations as “collateral damage.” According to Ha’aretz (15.2.09), “Israel Defense Forces investigations into last month’s offensive in the Gaza Strip indicate the army could face significant difficulties justifying the scale of destruction of civilian homes during the fighting. A military source involved in the investigation told Haaretz, “It’s clear to us that in a small portion of the combat sectors immeasurable damage was caused, and that is very difficult to justify from a legal perspective, particularly if such justifications are called for in legal proceedings with international organizations.” As for the thousands of homes demolished due to a lack of building permits, which Israel justifies on a legal basis, it neglects to say that its explicit policy since 1967 has been to deny permits to Palestinians, or to restrict them severely.

When one surveys the consequences of Israel’s house demolition policy from 1948 until the present, the conclusion is inescapable: a systematic and ongoing campaign is being waged to either rid the country of its Palestinian population or, failing that, to confine the remaining Palestinians to tiny, delimited, disconnected and impoverished enclaves, in Israel as well as in the Occupied Territories.

At this very moment, together with the “routine” demolitions that are the Palestinians’ daily fare, 88 homes in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem – the entire al Bustan quarter – are threatened with immediate destruction, as are two apartment buildings housing 34 families in the adjacent al Abbasiyya quarter. House demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, serve no obvious purpose, have severe humanitarian effects and fuel bitterness and extremism. They also violate the first phase of the Road Map. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) calls on the international community to enforce its stated opposition to this cruel policy and end it immediately.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is based in Jerusalem and has chapters in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Please visit our websites:
www.icahd.org
www.icahduk.org
www.icahdusa.org

Published with the permission of the ICAHD (The Israeli committee against house demolition)

Meget interessant på Spekter 040209: Hva var Israels alternativ til krigen på Gaza?

Programmet, som kan sees her, inneholdt flere intervju og rapporter fra flere forskjellige områder i Israel mens Gaza-krigen pågikk, samt et intervju med Shimon Peres der han forklarer Israels syn på striden og bakgrunnen for den. Det også mens krigen varte. I tillegg satt Nils Butenschøn og Hanne Eggen Røislien i studio og kommenterte/diskuterte programmet.

Jeg må si at Peres virket både klar og fornuftig. Han er president for et land i krig, men gir ikke inntrykk av å være preget av hat, snarere oppgitthet over den situasjonen landet er oppe i. Han gir inntrykk av å ha prøvd alt for å gi palestinerne mulighet til å styre sin egen situasjon, men til sin frustrasjon får Israel bare raketter tilbake. Retorikken mot Norge og andre land som kritiserer Israel er ganske klar ifølge Peres: Hvor lenge hadde vi tolerert raketter dag ut og dag inn fra nabolandet?

Faktisk så virker Peres mer optimistisk enn Butenschøn når spørsmålene dreier seg om framtiden i Midt-Østen. Der Peres forklarer hvorfor partene gjør som de gjør, gir ikke Butenschøn inntrykk av å ha noen som helst løsning på krigstilstanden mellom Israelerne og palestinerne. Peres sier rett ut at palestinerne ikke klarer å få til noe på tross av all støtten de har fått både gjennom avtaler som Oslo-avtalen og støtte til næringslivet fordi de gir sin stemme til en organisasjon som ikke ønsker fred med Israel. Han gir inntrykk av å ha en dialog med alle som ønsker dialog unntatt Hamas som ikke ønsker det, som han sier i intervjuet.

Da er jo spørsmålet som står ubesvart igjen fra Peres til kritikerne er: What should we do? What are our alternatives?

European Parliament passes Resolution regarding the Al-Kurd eviction

Fawzieh Al-Kurd

PRESS RELEASE

by

LUISA MORGANTINI

Vice-President of the European Parliament

A RESOLUTION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON THE CASE OF AL -KURD FAMILY IS ADOPTED, WHILE ISRAEL DESTROYS THE PROTEST TENT

Just after Israeli police evicted for the second time Um Kamel Al-Kurd from her protest tent and destroyed the tent and all its contents, an urgency was presented on the case of this family and a debate took place today in the Plenary Session of the European Parliament.

A resolution was adopted this afternoon by the Plenary, asking the Israeli authorities to stop their illegal actions.

The European Parliament, considering the Israeli action against international law and a danger for other 26 families living under the threat of eviction, called on Israel to immediately halt any expansion of settlements and called on the Council, the Commission and the international community, to protect Palestinian residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and other areas of East Jerusalem.

Affirming that East Jerusalem is not subject to the jurisdiction of Israeli courts, since the EU does not recognize the annexation by Israel of this part of the city, the European Parliament urged Israel to refrain from all unilateral measures that pre-empt the result of the final status negotiations. Such actions only damage the chances of reaching a peace agreement.

Luisa Morgantini, Vice President of the European Parliament, one of the author of the resolution which was presented by the political groups, in her intervention emphasized that this policy is not an incident but part of the colonial practice of the Israeli government evidenced in the increase of illegal settlements, the demolition of Palestinian houses, in the siege on Gaza and the blocking of movement with closures and check points all along the West Bank.

She also reported: “Two weeks ago, a European Parliament delegation to the Palestinian Occupied Territories, composed of members from different political groups and including myself, visited the Al-Kurd family in its home: we witnessed the violence and abuse suffered by the family because of settlers who live in the same courtyard. They no longer have that home and an Israeli bulldozer cruelly evicted them from the tent situated in the courtyard of a Palestinian-owned house”.

The Al-Kurd family includes Um Kamel, her husband – who is partially paralysed, and suffering from chronic heart disease – and their 5 children. This family, already refugees in 1948, when they were displaced from West Jerusalem, has once again been dispossessed of its home, where it has been living since 1956. A group of extremist settlers claim ownership to that house and 26 other houses in the same neighbourhood, on the basis of an Ottoman title deed dating from 1880, the authenticity of which is doubtful and which is also disputed by United States. The project of the Jewish associations is to build 200 hundreds colonial units that will replace the Palestinian homes.

Further information: Luisa Morgantini, 0039 348 39 21 465 or office 0039 06 69 95 02 17;

luisa.morgantini@europarl.europa.eu; www.luisamorgantini.net;

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

2004

2009

Session document

18.11.2008