Saturday, 1 May 2010

Israel will not be a Jewish state - Gilad Atzmon

Well Done Frankie Boyle!!! By Gilad Atzmon

Scottish hero comedian Frankie Boyle has accused the BBC Trust of cowardly behaviour.

Boyle published an open letter describing the situation in Palestine as "in essence, apartheid" and lamenting the fact that the BBC was "now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well-drilled lobbying".

Back in 2008 Boyle made an astute joke on BBC’s Radio 4 programme Political Animal. "I've been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well … that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew."

In fact, no one can describe the barbarism and collective sadism performed by the Jewish State more accurately.

Following a complaint from a listener who said the comments were "disgusting" and "anti-Semitic", the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee investigated and apologised. The committee said it endorsed the editorial complaints unit's finding into the use of the word "Jew".

So here we are again. Someone out there in the BBC insists on telling us all how to employ the word ‘Jew’. Clearly it is not going to work. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state. It commits colossal crimes in the name of world Jewry. With all due respect to Jews, their pride and their sensitivities, the English language is not yet a possession of the Israeli Government or the Labour Friends Of Israel or the BBC. Every crime committed by the Jewish state is engraved within our lingual symbolic notion of the ‘Jew’. As much as Jews love to regard themselves as the ‘light onto the nations’, their Jewish state presents us with one of the darkest phases in the history of humanism.

Boyle wrote "I think the problem here is that the show's producers [not the BBC line managers] will have thought that Israel, an aggressive, terrorist state with a nuclear arsenal, was an appropriate target for satire". I would add here that the attempt to block any discussion on Israel is just another symptom of Jewish power. However this power falls apart once challenged publicly by people such as Boyle and others.

Well done Frankie Boyle, and do not forget, if they really manage to upset you out there in the BBC, you can always join my jazz band and scat with us all the way till the end of bop.

Palestinians need real freedom, not a deformed state

[ 01/05/2010 - 11:04 AM ]

Day after day, it is becoming amply clear that the Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah is implicated in the gradual implementation of conspiratorial designs devised by the U.S. and Israel and aimed at liquidating the Palestinian national cause.

Today, the United States is belatedly discovering that its protracted dark embrace of Israeli apartheid which is morphing itself in many respects into a sort of home-grown Nazism, is costing America dearly in terms of its reputation and vast geopolitical interests in the Muslim world.

This is obviously what has prompted some American officials to remark that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a vital U.S. strategic interest.

In the meantime, it is equally obvious that in order for Washington to maintain Israel as the undisputed military master of the region, the U.S. would have to enlist the support and unhesitating backing of most if not all of the Arab world behind the current American crusade against Iran.

But in order to do the job successfully, the U.S. must at least appear to be carrying out genuine efforts to get the Arab-Israeli "peace process" moving, even if only seemingly.

In short, we are witnessing another affronting replay of the deceptive American tactics that we had witnessed in the early 1990s when then US Secretary of State James Baker convinced certain Arab states to back the war on Iraq in return for pressuring Israel to give up the spoils of the 1967 war.

Eventually, the mostly gullible Arab regimes obliged, and Israel remained quiet for a while, while Zionist efforts to arrogate more and more Arab land in the West Bank continued unabated.

Today, the same stupidity, same gullibility and probably same treachery as well are being played out as the American-funded PA is reacting nearly euphorically to manifestly false American promises about pressuring Israel to end its Nazi-like occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

First of all, it is highly unlikely that a U.S. administration that has been utterly unable to force Israel to stop demolishing even a single Arab home at the Sheikh Jarrah or Silwan neighborhoods will be able to force Israel to end the occupation and give up the spoils of the 1967 war.

Indeed, it is almost a foregone conclusion that for purely domestic American factors, the Obama administration will be neither able nor willing to do what it takes to end the chronic stalemate in occupied Palestine, namely forcing Israel to return to the pre-1967 borderlines.

The American political environment is simply too Zionized and too infested with and prostituted by virulent Zionist influence that a pro-active and genuine American effort to control the Zionist devil is simply unlikely and unexpected, at least in the foreseeable future.

Yes, we might very well hear some un-classical remarks from this or that American official about endangerment to American national interests in the Middle East and beyond as a result of Israeli policies. But these remarks, music to some naïve Arab ears, are utterly unlikely to lead to any substantive change in the basic American embrace of Israeli Nazism.

The US realizes too well that the Palestinian issue is not and won't soon be a first-degree preoccupation for most if not all tyrannical Arab regimes whose ultimate strategic goal is to remain in power for as long as possible. Just look how Mubarak, the emperor of Egypt, is striving to please the Americans, even at the expense of impoverishing, humiliating and even murdering his own people.

And since the US is the ultimate "power broker" in the region, at least as far as these corrupt and decadent despots are concerned, the US is likely to continue pursuing the same whoring policy, namely keep the regimes in power in return for getting them to pay little or no attention to what Israel is doing to Palestine and its people.

Now, it is not only the hypocritical Arabs that are harrowing after the American mirage, the increasingly disconcerted PA is also jumping out of its skin to laude the disingenuous American efforts as if Obama were ushering the Second Advent of Christ.

I think the PA is being deceived and tricked. First of all, the eyes of the U.S. are being focused on Iran, not the Palestinian issue which is only being used to isolate Iran by depriving it of a credible "propaganda asset" or "red herring" that help divert attention from the Iranian nuclear program, as the Americans seem to think.

Yes, Iran , and nothing else, is the driving and main motive behind accelerated U.S. efforts to woo states such as Syria and also to induce false euphoria in occupied Palestine similar to that which was fostered prior and after the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991 when frustrated but utterly gullible Palestinian rabbles were duped to break their own olive trees into shreds in order to hoist olive branches on the hoods of Israeli military jeeps and armored vehicles that didn't hesitate to shoot them.!!

Today, some Palestinians are acting very much like a whore during the Holy Month of Ramadan, as the adage goes. They are so desperate that they want to see a state, even, a deformed or hollow one, established and recognized by the West as if such a brat would finally come up with a magical solution for all Palestinian ills.

The Obama administration reportedly has privately promised PA leader Mahmoud Abbas a state within two years. Well, this joke reminds me of a Quranic verse about Satan and his false promises. "Like Satan when he said to man: Disbelieve, but when man disbelieved, Satan said: I am surely clear of you; surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds" (suratul Hashr-59-16).

How many times do we have to remind ourselves of the utter worthlessness of American pledges and promises?

They promised to protect our people in Lebanon, following the withdrawal of PLO forces from there in 1982, and the result was a genocidal slaughterhouse for our helpless refugees in Sabra and Shatila, at the hands of the Nazis of our time, the very people who continue to cry "Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen, holocaust, gas chambers, suicide bombing" at any gesture of dissatisfaction directed at Israel while indulging themselves in actions befitting the Gestapo, SS and the Wehrmacht.

George W. Bush, the former Fuhrer of Washington, promised us a state in 2005 and 2006, but his promises eventually landed in the dustbin of history. This is the man who invaded, occupied and destroyed two Muslim countries and killed, or caused the death, of millions of innocent people because "God told me to do it."

And then came the hapless "roadmap" or more correctly "lie-map" which promised us a breakthrough. However, instead of ending the occupation, the roadmap saw a phenomenal expansion of Jewish-only settlements on the very land that is meant to be home for a future Palestinian state.

And now we are being affronted with another scheme, another deception, and another lie while our leaders are mistaking their gullibility and stupidity for statesmanship and brinkmanship.

Well, has it not occurred to them that the thoroughly savaged Palestinians won't accept anything less than real freedom after all these years of brutalization, humiliation and homelessness?

Has it not occurred to them that the state being promised by Hillary Clinton is actually a whore of a state, a brat as deformed as the international order that allows Israel commit every conceivable crime under the sun with impunity thanks to American protection?

Well, let me be clear. The "state" we are being offered is a state that is not worth the name; it is a state without the bulk of Jerusalem, without the repatriation of the refugees, but with most of these satanic settlements and settlers remaining in place, a perpetual thorn in our side.

It is a state that would be made up of territorially discontinuous cantons whereby traveling from one canton to the other would have to be okayed by the ultimate master, Israel.

It is a state that has no real sovereignty or authority and certainly not a modicum of dignity. It is a state that would perpetuate and even consolidate the Israeli occupation and domination of our land and our lives.

For God's sake, we decline to accept such a state. History after all shall not expire upon the end of the Obama administration's term in office. And the Palestinians, who have survived despite history and kept up the struggle for decades, can still go on and on and on.

We shall not commit adultery with our just cause just to please and appease some immoral politicians in Washington.

We never will.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

"The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners" with Professor John J. Mearsheimer

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Transcript No. 327 (29 April 2010)

To view the video of this briefing online, go to
The Palestine Center
Washington, D.C.
29 April 2010

Professor John Mearsheimer:

It is a great honor to be here at the Palestine Center to give the Sharabi Memorial Lecture. I would like to thank Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund, for inviting me, and all of you for coming out to hear me speak this afternoon.

My topic is the future of Palestine, and by that I mean the future of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or what was long ago called Mandatory Palestine. As you all know, that land is now broken into two parts: Israel proper or what is sometime called “Green Line” Israel and the Occupied Territories, which include the West Bank and Gaza. In essence, my talk is about the future relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Of course, I am not just talking about the fate of those lands; I am also talking about the future of the people who live there. I am talking about the future of the Jews and the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, as well as the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories.

The story I will tell is straightforward. Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy. Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term. In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens. In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

Let me explain how I reached these conclusions.

Given present circumstances there are four possible futures for Palestine.

The outcome that gets the most attention these days is the two-state solution, which was described in broad outline by President Clinton in late December 2000. It would obviously involve creating a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. To be viable, that Palestine state would have to control 95 percent or more of the West Bank and all of Gaza. There would also have to be territorial swaps to compensate the Palestinians for those small pieces of West Bank territory that Israel got to keep in the final agreement. East Jerusalem would be the capital of the new Palestinian state. The Clinton Parameters envisioned certain restrictions on the new state’s military capabilities, but it would control the water beneath it, the air space above it, and its own borders – to include the Jordan River Valley.

There are three possible alternatives to a two-state solution, all of which involve creating a Greater Israel – an Israel that effectively controls the West Bank and Gaza.

In the first scenario, Greater Israel would become a democratic bi-national state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights. This solution has been suggested by a handful of Jews and a growing number of Palestinians. However, it would mean abandoning the original Zionist vision of a Jewish state, since the Palestinians would eventually outnumber the Jews in Greater Israel.

Second, Israel could expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, thereby preserving its Jewish character through an overt act of ethnic cleansing. This is what happened in 1948 when the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes. Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. The scale of the expulsion, however, would have to be even greater this time, because there are about 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The final alternative to a two-state solution is some form of apartheid, whereby Israel increases its control over the Occupied Territories, but allows the Palestinians to exercise limited autonomy in a set of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves.

It seems clear to me that the two-state solution is the best of these alternative futures. This is not to say that it is an ideal solution, because it is not; but it is by far the best outcome for both the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as the United States. That is why the Obama administration is intensely committed to pushing it.

Nevertheless, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state anytime soon. They are instead going to end up living in an apartheid state dominated by Israeli Jews.

The main reason that a two-state solution is no longer a serious option is that most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state, and there is little reason to expect them to have an epiphany on this issue. For starters, there are now about 480,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories and a huge infrastructure of connector and bypass roads, not to mention settlements. Much of that infrastructure and large numbers of those settlers would have to be removed to create a Palestinian state. Many of those settlers however, would fiercely resist any attempt to rollback the settlement enterprise. Earlier this month, Ha’aretz reported that a Hebrew University poll found that 21 percent of the settlers believe that “all means must be employed to resist the evacuation of most West Bank settlements, including the use of arms.” In addition, the study found that 54 percent of those 480,000 settlers “do not recognize the government’s authority to evacuate settlements”; and even if there was a referendum sanctioning a withdrawal, 36 percent of the settlers said they would not accept it.

Those settlers, however, do not have to worry about the present government trying to remove them. Prime Minister Netanyahu is committed to expanding the settlements in East Jerusalem and indeed throughout the West Bank. Of course, he and virtually everyone in his cabinet are opposed to giving the Palestinians a viable state of their own. Larry Derfner, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, succinctly summed up Netanyahu’s thinking about these matters in a recent column: “For him to divide the land, to divide Jerusalem, to give up Hebron, to send 100,000 settlers packing – that would be treason in his eyes. That would be moral suicide. His heart isn’t in it; everything in him rebels at the idea. Our prime minister is constitutionally incapable of leading the nation out of the Palestinians’ midst, of fighting the settlers and the Right in a virtual or literal civil war, of persuading Israelis to admit that on the crucial endeavor of their national life for the past 43 years, they were wrong and the world was right.”

One might argue that there are prominent Israelis like former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who openly disagree with Netanyahu and advocate a two-state solution. While this is true, it is by no means clear that either of them would be willing or able to make the concessions that would be necessary to create a legitimate Palestinian state. Certainly Olmert did not do so when he was prime minister.

But even if they were, it is unlikely that either of those leaders, or anyone else for that matter, could get enough of their fellow citizens to back an effective two-state solution. The political center of gravity in Israel has shifted sharply to the right over the past decade and there is no sizable pro-peace political party or movement that they could turn to for help. Probably the best single indicator of how far to the right Israel has moved in recent years is the shocking fact that Avigdor Lieberman is employed as its foreign minister. Even Martin Peretz of the New Republic, who is well known for his unyielding support for Israel, describes Lieberman as “a neo-fascist,” and equates him with the late Austrian fascist Jorg Haider. And there are other individuals in Netanyahu’s cabinet who share many of Lieberman’s views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; they just happen to be less outspoken than the foreign minister.

But even if someone like Livni or Olmert was able to cobble together a coalition of interest groups and political parties that favored giving the Palestinians a real state of their own, they would still face fierce resistance from the sizeable forces that stand behind Netanyahu today. It is even possible, which is not to say likely, that Israel would be engulfed by civil war if some future leader made a serious attempt to implement a two-state solution. An individual with the stature of David Ben-Gurion or Ariel Sharon – or even Yitzhak Rabin – might be able to stand up to those naysayers and push forward a two-state solution, but there is nobody with that kind of standing in Israeli politics today.

In addition to these practical political obstacles to creating a Palestinian state, there is an important ideological barrier. From the start, Zionism envisioned an Israeli state that controlled all of Mandatory Palestine. There was no place for a Palestinian state in the original Zionist vision of Israel. Even Yitzhak Rabin, who was determined to make the Oslo peace process work, never spoke about creating a Palestinian state. He was merely interested in granting the Palestinians some form of limited autonomy, what he called “an entity which is less than a state.” Plus, he insisted that Israel should maintain control over the Jordan River Valley and that a united Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Also remember that in the spring of 1998 when Hillary Clinton was First Lady, she was sharply criticized for saying that “it would be in the long-term interests of peace in the Middle East for there to be a state of Palestine, a functioning modern state on the same footing as other states.”

It was not until after Ehud Barak became prime minister in 1999 that Israeli leaders began to speak openly about the possibility of a Palestinian state. But even then, not all of them thought it was a good idea and hardly any of them were enthusiastic about it. Even Barak, who seriously flirted with the idea of creating a Palestinian state at Camp David in July 2000, initially opposed the Oslo Accords. Furthermore, he has been willing to serve as Netanyahu’s defense minister, knowing full well that the prime minister and his allies are opposed to creating an independent Palestine. All of this is to say that Zionism’s core beliefs are deeply hostile to the very notion of a Palestinian state, and this makes it difficult for many Israelis to embrace the two-state solution.

In short, it is difficult to imagine any Israeli government having the political will, much less the ability, to dismantle a substantial portion of its vast settlement enterprise and create a Palestinian state in virtually all of the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Many advocates of a two-state solution recognize this problem, but think that there is a way to solve it: the Obama administration can put significant pressure on Israel to allow the Palestinians to have their own state. The United States, after all, is the most powerful country in the world and it should have great leverage over Israel because it gives the Jewish state so much diplomatic and material support. Furthermore, President Obama and all of his principal foreign policy advisors are dedicated to establishing a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel.

But this is not going to happen, because no American president can put meaningful pressure on Israel to force it to change its policies toward the Palestinians. The main reason is the Israel lobby, a remarkably powerful interest group that has a profound influence on U.S. Middle East policy. Alan Dershowitz was spot on when he said, “My generation of Jews … became part of what is perhaps the most effective lobbying and fund-raising effort in the history of democracy.” That lobby, of course, makes it impossible for any president to play hardball with Israel, especially on the issue of settlements.

Let’s look at the historical record. Every American president since 1967 has opposed settlement building in the Occupied Territories. Yet no president has been able to put serious pressure on Israel to stop building settlements, much less dismantle them. Perhaps the best evidence of America’s impotence is what happened in the 1990s during the Oslo peace process. Between 1993 and 2000, Israel confiscated 40,000 acres of Palestinian land, constructed 250 miles of connector and bypass roads, doubled the number of settlers, and built 30 new settlements. President Clinton did hardly anything to halt this expansion. Indeed, the United States continued to give Israel billions of dollars in foreign aid each year and to protect it at every turn on the diplomatic front.

One might think that Obama is different from his predecessors, but there is little evidence to support that belief. Consider that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama responded to charges that he was “soft” on Israel by pandering to the lobby and repeatedly praising the special relationship. In the month before he took office, he was silent during the Gaza massacre – when Israel was being criticized around the world for its brutal assault on that densely populated enclave.

After taking office in January 2009, President Obama and his principal foreign policy advisors began demanding that Israel stop all settlement building in the Occupied Territories, to include East Jerusalem, so that serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians could begin. After calling for “two states for two peoples” in his Cairo speech in June 2009, President Obama declared, “it is time for these settlements to stop.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had made the same point one month earlier when she said, “We want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth – any kind of settlement activity. That is what the President has called for.” George Mitchell, the president’s special envoy for the Middle East, conveyed this straightforward message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his lieutenants on numerous occasions.

In response, Netanyahu made it equally clear that Israel intended to continue building settlements and that he and almost everyone in his ruling coalition opposed a two-state solution. He made but a single reference to “two states” in his own speech at Bar Ilan University in June 2009, and the conditions he attached to it made it clear that he was talking about giving the Palestinians a handful of disconnected, apartheid-style Bantustans, not a fully sovereign state.
Netanyahu, of course, won this fight. The Israeli prime minister not only refused to stop building the 2500 housing units that were under construction in the West Bank, but just to make it clear to Obama who was boss, in late June 2009, he authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank. Netanyahu refused to even countenance any limits on settlement building in East Jerusalem, which is supposed to be the capital of a Palestinian state. By the end of September 2009, Obama publicly conceded that Netanyahu had beaten him in their fight over the settlements. The president falsely denied that freezing settlement construction had ever been a precondition for resuming the peace process, and instead he meekly asked Israel to please exercise restraint while it continued colonizing the West Bank. Fully aware of his triumph, Netanyahu said on September 23, “I am pleased that President Obama has accepted my approach that there should be no preconditions.”

Indeed, his victory was so complete that the Israeli media was full of stories describing how their prime minister had bested Obama and greatly improved his shaky political position at home. For example, Gideon Samet wrote in Ma’ariv: “In the past weeks, it has become clear with what ease an Israeli prime minister can succeed in thwarting an American initiative.”

Perhaps the best American response to Netanyahu’s victory came from the widely read author and blogger, Andrew Sullivan, who wrote that this sad episode should “remind Obama of a cardinal rule of American politics: no pressure on Israel ever. Just keep giving them money and they will give the US the finger in return. The only permitted position is to say you oppose settlements in the West Bank, while doing everything you can to keep them growing and advancing.”

The Obama administration was engaged in a second round of fighting over settlements last month, when the Netanyahu government embarrassed Vice President Biden during his visit to Israel by announcing plans to build 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. While that crisis was important because it clearly revealed that Israel’s brutal policies toward the Palestinians are seriously damaging American interests in the Middle East, Netanyahu rejected President Obama’s request to stop building settlements in East Jerusalem. “As far as we are concerned,” he said on March 21, “building in Jerusalem is like building in Tel Aviv. Our policy on Jerusalem is like the policy in the past 42 years.” One day later at the annual AIPAC Conference he said: “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement; it’s our capital.” And just last week, he said “there will be no freeze in Jerusalem,” although it does appear that Israel is not building in East Jerusalem for the moment. Meanwhile, back in the United States, AIPAC got 333 congressmen and 76 senators to sign letters to Secretary of State Clinton reaffirming their unyielding support for Israel and urging the administration to keep future disagreements behind closed doors.

In short President Obama is no match for the lobby. The best he can hope for is to re-start the so-called peace process, but most people understand that these negotiations are a charade. The two sides engage in endless talks while Israel continues to colonize Palestinian lands. Henry Siegman got it right when he called these fruitless talks “The Greater Middle East Peace Process Scam.”

There are two other reasons why there is not going to be a two-state solution. The Palestinians are badly divided among themselves and not in a good position to make a deal with Israel and then stick to it. That problem is fixable with time and help from Israel and the United States. But time has run out and neither Jerusalem nor Washington is likely to provide a helping hand. Then there are the Christian Zionists, who are a powerful political force in the United States, especially on Capitol Hill. They are adamantly opposed to a two-state solution because they want Israel to control every square millimeter of Palestine, a situation they believe heralds the “Second Coming” of Christ.

What this all means is that there is going to be a Greater Israel between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. In fact, I would argue that it already exists. But who will live there and what kind of political system will it have?

It is not going to be a democratic bi-national state, at least in the near future. An overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews have no interest in living in a state that would be dominated by the Palestinians. And that includes young Israeli Jews, many of whom hold clearly racist views toward the Palestinians in their midst. Furthermore, few of Israel’s supporters in the United States are interested in this outcome, at least at this point in time. Most Palestinians, of course, would accept a democratic bi-national state without hesitation if it could be achieved quickly. But that is not going to happen, although as I will argue shortly, it is likely to come to pass down the road.

Then there is ethnic cleansing, which would certainly mean that Greater Israel would have a Jewish majority. But that murderous strategy seems unlikely, because it would do enormous damage to Israel’s moral fabric, its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora, and to its international standing. Israel and its supporters would be treated harshly by history, and it would poison relations with Israel’s neighbors for years to come. No genuine friend of Israel could support this policy, which would clearly be a crime against humanity. It also seems unlikely, because most of the 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean would put up fierce resistance if Israel tried to expel them from their homes.

Nevertheless, there is reason to worry that Israelis might adopt this solution as the demographic balance shifts against them and they fear for the survival of the Jewish state. Given the right circumstances – say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest – Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions.

We should not underestimate Israel’s willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself. It is apparent from public opinion surveys and everyday discourse that many Israelis hold racist views of Palestinians and the Gaza massacre makes clear that they have few qualms about killing Palestinian civilians. It is difficult to disagree with Jimmy Carter’s comment earlier this year that “the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings.” A century of conflict and four decades of occupation will do that to a people.

Furthermore, a substantial number of Israeli Jews – some 40 percent or more – believe that the Arab citizens of Israel should be “encouraged” to leave by the government. Indeed, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has said that if there is a two-state solution, she expected Israel’s Palestinian citizens to leave and settle in the new Palestinian state. And then there is the recent military order issued by the IDF that is aimed at “preventing infiltration” into the West Bank. In fact, it enables Israel to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank should it choose to do so. And, of course, the Israelis engaged in a massive cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and again in 1967. Still, I do not believe Israel will resort to this horrible course of action.

The most likely outcome in the absence of a two-state solution is that Greater Israel will become a full-fledged apartheid state. As anyone who has spent time in the Occupied Territories knows, it is already an incipient apartheid state with separate laws, separate roads, and separate housing for Israelis and Palestinians, who are essentially confined to impoverished enclaves that they can leave and enter only with great difficulty.

Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at the comparison to white rule in South Africa, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land. Indeed, two former Israeli prime ministers have made this very point. Ehud Olmert, who was Netanyahu’s predecessor, said in late November 2007 that if “the two-state solution collapses,” Israel will “face a South-African-style struggle.” He went so far as to argue that, “as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who is now Israel’s defense minister, said in early February of this year that, "As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."

Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, have warned that if Israel does not pull out of the Occupied Territories it will become an apartheid state like white-ruled South Africa. But if I am right, the occupation is not going to end and there will not be a two-state solution. That means Israel will complete its transformation into a full-blown apartheid state over the next decade.

In the long run, however, Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians. Of course, this means that Israel faces a bleak future as a Jewish state. Let me explain why.

For starters, the discrimination and repression that is the essence of apartheid will be increasingly visible to people all around the world. Israel and its supporters have been able to do a good job of keeping the mainstream media in the United States from telling the truth about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. But the Internet is a game changer. It not only makes it easy for the opponents of apartheid to get the real story out to the world, but it also allows Americans to learn the story that the New York Times and the Washington Post have been hiding from them. Over time, this situation may even force these two media institutions to cover the story more accurately themselves.

The growing visibility of this issue is not just a function of the Internet. It is also due to the fact that the plight of the Palestinians matters greatly to people all across the Arab and Islamic world, and they constantly raise the issue with Westerners. It also matters very much to the influential human rights community, which is naturally going to be critical of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians. It is not surprising that hardline Israelis and their American supporters are now waging a vicious smear campaign against those human rights organizations that criticize Israel.

The main problem that Israel’s defenders face, however, is that it is impossible to defend apartheid, because it is antithetical to core Western values. How does one make a moral case for apartheid, especially in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned? It is hard to imagine the United States having a special relationship with an apartheid state. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the United States having much sympathy for one. It is much easier to imagine the United States strongly opposing that racist state’s political system and working hard to change it. Of course, many other countries around the globe would follow suit. This is surely why former Prime Minister Olmert said that going down the apartheid road would be suicidal for Israel.

Apartheid is not only morally reprehensible, but it also guarantees that Israel will remain a strategic liability for the United States. The recent comments of President Obama, Vice President Biden and General David Petraeus make clear that Israel’s colonization of the Occupied Territories is doing serious damage to American interests in the Middle East and surrounding areas. As Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March, “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace.” This situation will only get worse as Israel becomes a full-fledged apartheid state. And as that becomes clear to more and more Americans, there is likely to be a serious erosion of support for the Jewish state on strategic grounds alone.

Hardline Israelis and their American supporters are aware of these problems, but they are betting that the lobby will defend Israel no matter what, and that its support will be sufficient to allow apartheid Israel to survive. It might seem like a safe bet, since the lobby has played a key role in shielding Israel from American pressure up to now. In fact, one could argue that Israel could not have gotten as far down the apartheid road as it has without the help of organizations like AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League. But that strategy is not likely to work over the long run.

The problem with depending on the lobby for protection is that most American Jews will not back Israel if it becomes a full-fledged apartheid state. Indeed, many of them are likely to criticize Israel and support calls for making Greater Israel a legitimate democracy. That is obviously not the case now, but there are good reasons to think that a marked shift in the American Jewish community’s thinking about Israel is in the offing. This is not to deny that there will be some diehards who defend apartheid Israel; but their ranks will be thin and it will be widely apparent that they are out of step with core American values.

Let me elaborate.

American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories. The first two are what I call “righteous Jews” and the “new Afrikaners,” which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways. The third and largest group is comprised of those Jews who care a lot about Israel, but do not have clear-cut views on how to think about Greater Israel and apartheid. Let us call this group the “great ambivalent middle.”

Righteous Jews have a powerful attachment to core liberal values. They believe that individual rights matter greatly and that they are universal, which means they apply equally to Jews and Palestinians. They could never support an apartheid Israel. They also understand that the Palestinians paid an enormous price to make it possible to create Israel in 1948. Moreover, they recognize the pain and suffering that Israel has inflicted on the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories since 1967. Finally, most righteous Jews believe that the Palestinians deserve a viable state of their own, just as the Jews deserve their own state. In essence, they believe that self-determination applies to Palestinians as well as Jews, and that the two-state solution is the best way to achieve that end. Some righteous Jews, however, favor a democratic bi-national state over the two-state solution.

To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category. The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few. I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone. Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

On the other side we have the new Afrikaners, who will support Israel even if it is an apartheid state. These are individuals who will back Israel no matter what it does, because they have blind loyalty to the Jewish state. This is not to say that the new Afrikaners think that apartheid is an attractive or desirable political system, because I am sure that many of them do not. Surely some of them favor a two-state solution and some of them probably have a serious commitment to liberal values. The key point, however, is that they have an even deeper commitment to supporting Israel unreservedly. The new Afrikaners will of course try to come up with clever arguments to convince themselves and others that Israel is really not an apartheid state, and that those who say it is are anti-Semites. We are all familiar with this strategy.

I would classify most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby’s major organizations as new Afrikaners. That list would include Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress, and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, just to name some of the more prominent ones. I would also include businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Lester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman as well as media personalities like Fred Hiatt and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, and Martin Peretz of the New Republic. It would be easy to add more names to this list.

The key to determining whether the lobby can protect apartheid Israel over the long run is whether the great ambivalent middle sides with the new Afrikaners or the righteous Jews. The new Afrikaners have to win that fight decisively for Greater Israel to survive as a racist state.

There is no question that the present balance of power favors the new Afrikaners. When push comes to shove on issues relating to Israel, the hardliners invariably get most of those American Jews who care a lot about Israel to side with them. The righteous Jews, on the other hand, hold considerably less sway with the great ambivalent middle, at least at this point in time. This situation is due in good part to the fact that most American Jews – especially the elders in the community – have little understanding of how far down the apartheid road Israel has travelled and where it is ultimately headed. They think that the two-state solution is still a viable option and that Israel remains committed to allowing the Palestinians to have their own state. These false beliefs allow them to act as if there is little danger of Israel becoming South Africa, which makes it easy for them to side with the new Afrikaners.

This situation, however, is unsustainable over time. Once it is widely recognized that the two-state solution is dead and Greater Israel is a reality, the righteous Jews will have two choices: support apartheid or work to help create a democratic bi-national state. I believe that almost all of them will opt for the latter option, in large part because of their deep-seated commitment to liberal values, which renders any apartheid state abhorrent to them. Of course, the new Afrikaners will fiercely defend apartheid Israel, because their commitment to Israel is so unconditional that it overrides any commitment they might have to liberal values.

The critical question, however, is: what will happen to those Jews who comprise the great ambivalent middle once it is clear to them that Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state and that facts on the ground have made a two state solution impossible? Will they side with the new Afrikaners and defend apartheid Israel, or will they ally with the righteous Jews and call for making Greater Israel a true democracy? Or will they sit silently on the sidelines?

I believe that most of the Jews in the great ambivalent middle will not defend apartheid Israel but will either keep quiet or side with the righteous Jews against the new Afrikaners, who will become increasingly marginalized over time. And once that happens, the lobby will be unable to provide cover for Israel’s racist policies toward the Palestinians in the way it has in the past.

There are a number of reasons why there is not likely to be much support for Israel inside the American Jewish community as it looks more and more like white-ruled South Africa. For starters, apartheid is a despicable political system and it is fundamentally at odds with basic American values as well as core Jewish values. This is why the new Afrikaners will defend Israel on the grounds that it is not an apartheid state, and that security concerns explain why Israel has to discriminate against and oppress the Palestinians. But again, we are rapidly reaching the point where it will be hard to miss the fact that Greater Israel is becoming a full-fledged apartheid state and that those who claim otherwise are either delusional or disingenuous. Simply put, not many American Jews are likely to be fooled by the new Afrikaners’ arguments.

Furthermore, survey data shows that younger American Jews feel less attachment to Israel than their elders. This is surely due to the fact that the younger generations were born after the Holocaust and after anti-Semitism had largely been eliminated from American life. Also, Jews have been seamlessly integrated into the American mainstream, to the point where many community leaders worry that rampant inter-marriage will lead to the disappearance of American Jewry over time. Not surprisingly, younger Jews are less disposed to see Israel as a safe haven should the goyim go on another anti-Semitic rampage, because they recognize that this is simply not going to happen here in the United States. That perspective makes them less inclined than their elders to defend Israel no matter what it does.

There is another reason why American Jews are likely to feel less connected to Israel in the years ahead. Important changes are taking place in the demographic make-up of Israel that will make it more difficult for many of them to identify closely with the Jewish state. When Israel was created in 1948, few ultra-orthodox Jews lived there. In fact, ultra-orthodox Jews were deeply hostile to Zionism, which they viewed as an affront to Judaism. Secular Jews dominated Israeli life at its founding and they still do, but their influence has been waning and is likely to decline much more in the decades ahead. The main reason is that the ultra-orthodox are a rapidly growing percentage of the population, because of their stunningly high birthrates. It is estimated that the average ultra-orthodox woman has 7.8 babies. As many of you know, the Jewish areas of Jerusalem are increasingly dominated by the ultra-orthodox. In fact, in the 2008 mayoral election in Jerusalem, an ultra-orthodox candidate boasted, "In another 15 years there will not be a secular mayor in any city in Israel.” Of course, he was exaggerating, but his boast is indicative of the growing power of the ultra-orthodox in Israel. One final piece of data: about one half of Israeli school children in first grade this year are either Palestinian or ultra-orthodox. Given the high birthrates of the ultra-orthodox and the Palestinians, their percentage of the first-graders – and ultimately the population at large – will grow steadily with time.

Varying birthrates among Israel’s different communities are not the only factor that is changing the makeup of Israeli society. There is another dynamic at play: large numbers of Israelis have left the country to live abroad and most of them are not expected to return home. Several recent estimates suggest that between 750,000 and one million Israelis reside in other countries, and most of them are secular. On top of that, public opinion surveys indicate that many Israelis would like to move to another country. This situation is likely to get worse over time, because many secular Jews will not want to live in an apartheid state whose politics and daily life are increasingly shaped by the ultra-orthodox.

All of this is to say that Israel’s secular Jewish identity – which has been so powerful from the start – is slowly eroding and promises to continue eroding over time as the ultra-orthodox grow in number and influence. That important development will make it more difficult in the years ahead for secular American Jews – who make up the bulk of the Jewish community here in the United States – to identify closely with Israel and be willing to defend it when it becomes a full-blown apartheid state. Of course, that reluctance to back Israel will be further strengthened by the fact that American Jews are among the staunchest defenders of traditional liberal values.

The bottom line is that Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state over the long term, because it will not be able to depend on the American Jewish community to defend its loathsome policies toward the Palestinians. And without that protection, Israel is doomed, because public opinion in the West will turn decisively against Israel, as it turns itself into a full-fledged apartheid state.

Thus, I believe that Greater Israel will eventually become a democratic bi-national state, and the Palestinians will dominate its politics, because they will outnumber the Jews in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

What is truly remarkable about this situation is that the Israel lobby is effectively helping Israel commit national suicide. Israel, after all, is turning itself into an apartheid state, which, as Ehud Olmert has pointed out, is not sustainable in the modern era. What makes this situation even more astonishing is that there is an alternative outcome which would be relatively easy to achieve and is clearly in Israel’s best interests: the two-state solution. It is hard to understand why Israel and its American supporters are not working overtime to create a viable Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories and why instead they are moving full-speed ahead to build Greater Israel, which will be an apartheid state. It makes no sense from either a moral or a strategic perspective. Indeed, it is an exceptionally foolish policy.

What about the Palestinians? I believe that the two-state solution is the best outcome for them as well as the Israelis. However, the Palestinians have little say in whether there will be two states living side-by-side, because they are presently at the mercy of the Israelis, who are the lords of the land. This means that the Palestinians are going to end up living in Greater Israel, which will be an apartheid state. Again, one might even argue that they have already reached that point. Regardless, the Palestinians will obviously have a vested interest in moving away from apartheid and toward democracy as quickly and painlessly as possible. Of course, that will not be easy, but there are better and worse ways to achieve that end.

Let me conclude with a few words of advice to the Palestinians about how they should go about turning Greater Israel into a democratic bi-national state.

First, it is essential to recognize that the Palestinians and the Israelis are engaged in a war of ideas. To be more specific, this is a war about two competing visions of the Middle East: a Greater Israel that is an apartheid state and one that is a democracy. There is no question that the Palestinians have the easier case to make, as it is impossible to sell apartheid in the modern world.

Second, to win this war the Palestinians will have to adopt the South Africa strategy, which is to say that they will have to get world opinion on their side and use it to put enormous pressure on Israel to abandon apartheid and adopt democracy. This task will not be easy because the new Afrikaners will re-double their efforts to defend Israel’s heinous policies. Fortunately, their ability to do this is likely to diminish over time.

Third, the Palestinians most formidable weapon in this war of ideas will be the Internet, which will make it easy for them to document what Israel is doing and to get their message out to the wider world.

Fourth, the Palestinians will need to build a stable of articulate spokespersons who can connect with Western audiences and make a compelling case against apartheid. In other words, they will need more Mustafa Barghoutis. The Palestinians will also need allies, and not only from the Arab and Islamic world, but from countries in the West as well. Many of the Palestinians best allies will surely be righteous Jews, who will play a key role in the fight against apartheid in Israel as they did in South Africa.

Fifth, it is essential that the Palestinians make clear that they do not intend to seek revenge against the Israeli Jews for their past crimes, but instead are deeply committed to creating a bi-national democracy in which Jews and Palestinians can live together peacefully. The Palestinians do not want to treat the Jews the way the Jews have treated them.

Finally, the Palestinians should definitely not employ violence to defeat apartheid. They should resist mightily for sure, but their strategy should privilege non-violent resistance. The appropriate model is Gandhi not Mao. Violence is counter-productive because if it gets intense enough, the Israelis might think that they can expel large numbers of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinians must never underestimate the danger of mass expulsion. Furthermore, a violent new Intifada would undermine support for the Palestinian cause in the West, which is essential for winning the war of ideas, which is ultimately the battleground on which Palestine’s future will be determined.

In sum, there are great dangers ahead for the Palestinians, who will continue to suffer terribly at the hands of the Israelis for some years to come. But it does look like the Palestinians will eventually get their own state, mainly because Israel seems bent on self-destruction. Thank you.

Professor John J. Mearsheimer
is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.

This transcript may be used without permission but with proper attribution to The Palestine Center. The speaker's views do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jerusalem Fund.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

نتنياهو في مصر: لا اهلا ولا سهلا

نتنياهو في مصر: لا اهلا ولا سهلا
عبد الباري عطوان

من المفترض ان يلتقي الرئيس حسني مبارك رئيس وزراء اسرائيل بنيامين نتنياهو يوم الاثنين في مقر اقامته المفضل في منتجع شرم الشيخ على ساحل البحر الاحمر، لبحث كيفية تحريك عملية السلام، واستئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة بين الطرفين الفلسطيني والاسرائيلي.

الرئيس مبارك رجل مريض، عائد لتوه من رحلة استشفاء في المانيا، اجرى خلالها عملية جراحية ما زالت هناك الكثير من التكهنات حول طبيعتها، ومع ذلك يصرّ الطرف الاسرائيلي على 'ابتزاز' الرجل واستغلال 'صداقته' بكل الطرق والوسائل، وحتى النقطة الاخيرة من عرقه ودمه.

اللقاء سيتم في توقيت 'ملغوم'، حيث تتصاعد التهديدات الاسرائيلية المدعومة امريكيا، بغزو جديد للبنان، وحرب ساحقة ضد سورية لاعادتها الى العصر الحجري، بسبب 'تهريبها' صواريخ 'سكود' الى 'حزب الله' اللبناني، وهي الصواريخ التي ستؤدي الى تغيير موازين القوى العسكرية في المنطقة، حسب تصريحات السيدة هيلاري كلينتون وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية في المؤتمر الامريكي اليهودي يوم الجمعة.

نخشى ان يكون نتنياهو يريد استخدام اللقاء مع الرئيس المصري وفي مثل هذا التوقيت كغطاء للحرب المقبلة، من خلال الايحاء بأن مصر تقف مع اسرائيل في الخندق نفسه، وتؤيد اي هجوم تشنه على سورية ولبنان، تماما مثلما فعلت السيدة تسيبي ليفني وزيرة الخارجية الاسرائيلية السابقة التي زارت منتجع شرم الشيخ والتقت الرئيس مبارك عشية العدوان على قطاع غزة.
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نتنياهو معزول، بل 'منبوذ' بسبب سياسته الاستفزازية، واصراره على تخريب عملية السلام، وتحدى العالم بأسره بالاستمرار في تهويد القدس المحتلة ومقدساتها الاسلامية والمسيحية، ومن المؤسف انه يلجأ دائما الى مصر، والرئيس مبارك بالذات، لكسر عزلته، ويجد البساط الاحمر مفروشا له في كل مرة تطأ قدمه ارض الكنانة.

لا نفهم هذا الغرام بنتنياهو الذي لم يتوقف مطلقا، وحكومته، عن توجيه الصفعات لمصر وشعبها وللأمتين العربية والاسلامية من خلالهما، فقد كذب على الرئيس مبارك شخصيا عندما وعده بدعم السيد فاروق حسني وزير الثقافة الحالي اثناء خوضه انتخابات رئاسة اليونسكو، ولم يف بالوعد على الاطلاق، وسقط السيد حسني بسبب الحملات التي شنتها شخصيات يهودية بارزة في فرنسا والعالم، تعتبر مقربة جدا من اسرائيل.

والاخطر من كل ذلك ان مؤامرة خنق مصر وتعطيش شعبها، وتدمير اقتصادها، وتحريض دول منابع النيل لتقليص حصتها المائية، تتم بدعم من حكومة نتنياهو التي ارسلت وزير خارجيتها افيغدور ليبرمان في جولة افريقية لتقديم صفقات اسلحة وخبرات هندسية في بناء السدود، ووفداً من رجال الاعمال وممثلي البنوك لتقديم عروض مالية وقروض مغرية لتمويل اي مشاريع لتحويل مياه النيل.

الرئيس مبارك يفرش السجاد الاحمر لنتنياهو بينما يماطل في استقبال الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد الذي اعرب عن رغبته بعيادته، مثلما تقتضي الاصول والاعراف، بل والاخلاق العربية والاسلامية، ونعتقد انه ليس من اللائق ان يعود نتنياهو زعيم اكبر دولة عربية واسلامية، قبل ان يعوده مثلا العاهل السعودي الملك عبدالله بن عبد العزيز، حليف مصر الاوثق الذي من المفترض وحسب الاعراف ايضا، ان يكون اول الزائرين.
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من المؤسف ان النظام المصري يتعرض لإهانات متواصلة من قبل اسرائيل، ويبتلع هذه الإهانات لان هناك مجموعة في قمة الحكم لا تقيم اي اعتبار لكرامة مصر او مكانتها، وكل ما يهمها هو مصالحها الضيقة التي يجب ان تتقدم على مصالح ثمانين مليون مصري، تعيش الغالبية منهم تحت خط الفقر، وتواجه في المستقبل القريب خطر الموت عطشا.

ان زيارة نتنياهو لشرم الشيخ تؤكد مرة اخرى ان النظام الحاكم في مصر دخل في تحالف استراتيجي مع اسرائيل، مهما فعلت ضد العرب، بل ومصر نفسها.
الايام الاخيرة شهدت مجموعة من الاحداث والتصرفات التي تؤكد ما نقوله آنفا، نوجزها في النقاط التالية:

اولا: اقدام قوات الامن المصرية على استخدام 'غاز سام' لقتل اربعة شبان فلسطينيين في نفق على الحدود مع مصر، وتدمير النفق فوق رؤوسهم، في خطوة وحشية لا تستخدم حتى مع الحيوانات. وهذا التصرف غير مستبعد اذا وضعنا في اعتبارنا قتل رجال الشرطة المصريين، وبصفة يومية، افارقة متسللين الى اسرائيل عبر الحدود في سيناء من اجل حماية الدولة العبرية وامنها، حتى لو جاءت هذه الخدمة على حساب علاقات مصر مع دول افريقية.

ثانيا: بعث الرئيس المصري رسالة تهنئة الى نظيره الاسرائيلي بمناسبة قيام دولته على ارض فلسطين وعلى حساب تشريد شعبها، وهي الدولة التي قتلت آلاف المصريين، ودمرت مدن القناة اثناء حرب الاستنزاف، واحتلت سيناء، واعتدت على لبنان وغزة، وما زالت تحتل اراضي عربية.

ثالثا: اقدام اسرائيل على اجبار السيد احمد ابو الغيط وزير خارجية مصر على الاعتذار وتوضيح تصريحات ادلى بها في لبنان، اثناء زيارته الاخيرة، ووصف فيها اسرائيل بـ'العدو'، والتهديد بخطوة انتقامية اذا لم يفعل، وقد فعل الرجل ما هو مطلوب منه واكثر وبسرعة قياسية.

رابعا: اصدار احكام جائرة على ما سميت بخلية 'حزب الله' من قبل محكمة امن الدولة طوارىء، تراوحت بين السجن المؤبد والحبس لعدة اشهر، ووفق ادلة مفبركة، بل ومضحكة، وتحت ذريعة انتهاك سيادة مصر.
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نشعر بمرارة ممزوجة بالألم لهذا الوضع المؤسف الذي تنحدر اليه مصر العزيزة علينا، مثلما هي عزيزة على مئات الملايين من المسلمين في شتى انحاء المعمورة. فماذا يمكن ان يخسر الرئيس مبارك لو امتنع ولو مرة واحدة عن ارسال برقية تهنئة الى الرئيس الاسرائيلي في يوم اغتصاب فلسطين، وماذا ستستفيد مصر من تفجير نفق فوق رؤوس العاملين فيه الذين يريدون ايصال الطعام والمواد الضرورية لأهلهم المحاصرين في قفص غزة؟

ثم لماذا يسارع السيد ابو الغيط لكي يوضح ويبرر عبارة وردت على لسانه، وتأكيد صداقة بلاده لدولة مارقة منبوذة تهدد بالعدوان على بلدين عربيين وقتل الملايين من ابنائهما، تحت ذريعة كاذبة عنوانها تهريب صواريخ الى حزب الله؟

ان هذا الحزب الحاكم الذي يضم رؤوس مافيا الفساد ونوابا يطالبون باطلاق الرصاص على المتظاهرين المطالبين بالتغيير من ابناء الشعب المصري، لن يتورع مطلقا عن استخدام الغاز السام لقتل ابناء غزة المحاصرين.

كنا نتمنى لو ان رئيس مصر هو الذي انتصر لسورية ولبنان في وجه عمليات الارهاب الاسرائيلية ـ الامريكية، وليس نائب الرئيس الايراني الذي هدد بقطع رجل كل من يعتدي عليهما. ولكن، ونقولها بحسرة، ان ما نتمناه شيء، وما يحدث في مصر ومن حكامها، على وجه الخصوص، شيء آخر مختلف تماما.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Playing peace to target Iran

Israel’s nuclear bombs are the problem in the Middle East

[ 07/06/2008 - 05:15 PM ]

Once again, Israel is pushing the Middle East to the brink of war, with predictably disastrous consequences. In recent days, Israeli leaders markedly escalated their war of words against Iran. A leading Israeli cabinet minister was quoted on Friday, 6 June as saying, “attacking Iran will be unavoidable.”

Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, just back from a meeting with George W. Bush in Washington, sounded almost euphoric when he spoke of an “American-Israeli consensus on the need to stop Iran’s nuclear program by whatever means necessary.”

Needless to say, an Israeli or American-Israeli attack on Iran would be a blatant and unprovoked aggression on a sovereign nation. It would also plunge the world into an unpredictable phase of violence and turbulence, with deep and far-reaching ramifications.

Iran, although hostile to Israel because of the latter’s Nazi-like occupation of Palestine and oppression of the Palestinian people, has never attacked Israel.

True, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often makes rhetorical remarks about wiping Israel off the map, thus giving the Zionist regime ample hasbara ammunition to incite and blackmail the West into boycotting and isolating the Iranian republic. However, Ahmadinejad himself and other Iranian officials have made it abundantly clear that Iran is not against Jews or Judaism, but rather against Zionism, an inherently racist and manifestly criminal ideology based on mass murder and ethnic cleansing.

This seems a plausible explanation because if Ahmadinejad were truly hostile to Jews or Judaism, let alone if he harbored genocidal designs against the Jewish people, as the Zionist propaganda machine keeps telling us, he would start with tens of thousands of Iranian Jewish citizens who enjoy religious and civil freedoms and are represented in the Iranian parliament.

Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This is exactly the maxim being adopted by Zionist leaders who are spreading lies, disinformation and half-truths about Iran in order to get the madman in Washington D.C. and his gang of neocons and war criminals to attack another Muslim country on Israel’s behalf.

Unlike most Arab states in the region, Iran is a dignified country that respects itself and values its independence. It adamantly refuses to be at America’s beck and call and rejects the western rationale that the Nazi holocaust against Jews during WWII justifies the dispossession and destruction of the Palestinian people at the hands of Zionist Jews.

Iran, despite all the disinformation to the contrary, is not really against peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. However, Iran, mainly because of moral considerations, can’t accept the perpetuation of Palestinian suffering and dispossession through the creation of a deformed and truncated Palestinian “state” on less than 20% of the Palestinian homeland while allowing the apartheid Israeli regime to keep the rest of the spoils of theft. In other words, Iran says that ethnic cleansing must never be allowed to triumph.

Well, isn’t that compatible with the views of most men and women of honesty and conscience all over the globe?

Nonetheless, the main Israeli motive behind its hostility to Iran stems from Israeli worries that a technologically advanced and militarily strong Iran might pose a credible challenge to Israel’s strategic supremacy in the region.

Israel is believed to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads, ready with delivery systems, in addition to a huge arsenal of state-of-the-art of American weapons of death. Israel also tightly controls American politics, policies, political parties and media, especially the so-called agenda-setters.

Indeed, one exaggerates very little by saying that the United States of America is subservient to Israel and that American politicians, including members of Congress and the Senate as well as presidential candidates are more answerable to the Jewish lobby, especially AIPAC, than they are to their own American constituents.

The recent speech by the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during AIPAC’s convention last week is very telling. It proves once again that the international Zionist cartel, of which AIPAC constitutes the American chapter, tightly controls the American political discourse and that any American politician who dares speak his or her mind about Israel’s slow-motion genocide of Palestinians or more recently about America’s relations with the Muslim world, will be committing political suicide.

So, how can an essentially third world country like Iran possibly pose a real threat to nuclear Israel that is backed by the only superpower in the world, its guardian-ally, the United States?

Besides, Iran has a natural right to harness nuclear technology, even for military purposes. Indeed, if Israel had the right to possess and stockpile hundreds of nuclear warheads, that are being trained at Muslim cities such as Cairo, Istanbul, Tehran and Damascus and probably Makkah and Medina as well, why on earth would Muslim states such as Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia not have such a right?

After all, are Jewish nuclear bombs kosher? Are they altruistic? Are they innocuous?
I am not and will never be a fan of nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction. And I think the invention of these ugly tools of mass extinction represented the lowest point in human morality if only because these weapons are capable of annihilating the human race.

Having said that, however, I believe that a situation where certain states are allowed to possess the nuclear technology (and nuclear weapons) while others are not, is inherently unjust and unacceptable.

This situation allows criminal states like Israel to coerce and bully other states and other peoples and even blackmail the entire world. It allows Israel to bomb Tunis, Baghdad, Syria and threaten to bomb the Egyptian Aswan Dam and then tell the helpless victims “hit me back if you dare.”

Hence, Israel must bring itself to understand that this situation where Israel keeps bullying hundreds of millions of Muslims by brandishing her nuclear bombs in their faces and telling them “hit me back if you dare” is intolerable and unacceptable, to say the least.

Muslims around the world are watching helplessly the despicable treatment Israel is meting out to the Palestinians. And in their hearts and minds they realize that if they don’t acquire military strength, or at least enough of it to deter Israel’s genocidal whims, their turn will eventually come because Israel’s ambitions go far beyond Gaza and the West Bank.

Don’t tell me I am exaggerating. A state that dropped 3 million cluster bomblets on Lebanon two years ago is capable of carrying out the unthinkable, especially in light of the fact that the main capitals of Europe and North America are more or less Israeli-occupied territories.

This is a message that not only Iran ought to understand and internalize. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and even Turkey must also get busy.

In a jungle where strength respects strength, one has to be a tiger, a fox or a venomous cunning snake in order to survive.

Palestinian youths confront Israeli police in the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan after ultra-nationalist Jews carrying Israeli flags marched through Silwan to assert Jewish sovereignty over all of Jerusalem

In the last month Barack Obama has engaged in a blitz of nuclear diplomacy. He has reiterated his commitment to "a world without nuclear weapons"; issued a new military doctrine that reduces the amount and role of nuclear weapons in the United States security strategy; hosted an international conference to secure vulnerable nuclear materials; and pledged to reinvigorate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

At all points he has tried to keep attention focussed on the dangers posed by the small or potential nuclear arsenals of North Korea and Iran while keeping it away from the mammoth arsenals of the five declared nuclear weapon states and growing arsenals of the non-NPT nuclear weapon states India, Pakistan and Israel.

It's a balance he may not be able to hold much longer.

The NPT is up for its five-yearly review next month at the United Nations in New York. Among US-backed proposals are greater UN oversight of nuclear programmes of non-nuclear weapon states; penalties for any country that quits the treaty (as North Korea did in 2003); and UN- controlled fuel-banks to supply uranium to non-nuclear weapons states seeking civilian nuclear energy. Presented as "universal" protocols, all three are in fact means to contain and slow Iran's nuclear programme.

On 19 April Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Libya and Kuwait all said they would oppose these proposals. They have ample reason. Since the 2005 review conference, not only have France, Britain and China — three of the five declared nuclear weapon states — made no significant reductions in their nuclear arsenals: like the US and Russia, they have granted exemption to India, Pakistan and Israel to pursue their nuclear weapons programmes unmonitored, unhindered and, in Israel's case, unacknowledged.

"States outside the treaty are reaping the benefits of the treaty", said Egypt UN Ambassador Maged Abdel-Aziz.

For Arab countries another complaint is that no movement has been made on a 1995 NPT resolution pledging "a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction", despite its unanimous endorsement by the treaty's 189 signatories, including the US. Egypt is pushing for this year's conference to resurrect it.

In a working paper submitted to the review Cairo calls for an "international treaty conference" on the resolution by 2011. The aim would be to "launch negotiations, with the participation of all the states of the Middle East, on an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East".

Israel has been invited to attend but would first have to sign up to the NPT "as a non- nuclear weapon state" and submit "all its nuclear facilities" to UN inspection.

There is nothing new in Egypt's call: it has been repeatedly made since 1995. The difference is in the traction it has received. The US, Britain, France, Russia and China have all said they might support such a conference, even though they balk at its treaty- making powers. The US, France and Britain said they would encourage Israel to attend, despite what (for Tel Aviv) would be onerous conditions.

Why this apparent shift in the West's attitude to Israel's "ambiguous" nuclear status, since even a symbolic conference would rip it apart? The short answer is Iran.

On the sidelines of the NPT conference the US is trying to fashion a fourth UN Security Council sanctions resolution against Tehran. It knows Iran will try to drag those discussions into the conference as an example of Western nuclear weapon states denying a southern non-nuclear weapon state its NPT sanctioned "right" to nuclear energy. Such cries will resonate, especially among the 118 countries of the Non- Aligned Movement.

But the critical vane is China, the sole permanent "developing" nation on the UNSC. While Beijing has agreed to join discussions on a new sanctions resolution, it has opposed a complete arms embargo on Iran as well as any hard penalties on its energy sector. It is wary of broad sanctions against Iran's finance, commerce, shipping sectors and Revolutionary Guard, all adumbrated in the US drafted resolution.

China is reticent because it is energy- hungry and Iran is a critical source of oil and gas. But China also sees itself as a defender of national sovereignty and tribune of the developing world, where sanctions are mostly viewed as a blunt instrument to secure US military hegemony in the Gulf.

The Chinese calculus could change if Arab states — including Gulf Arab states — were to back sanctions against Iran at both the UNSC and NPT conference. But that won't happen without at least a token action against Israel's nuclear arms, says a Western diplomat. "If the Arabs get something they want on Israel, they'll be more supportive on Iran's nuclear programme and further sanctions. Israel would benefit from that."

It's not clear whether the US would press Israel to make that link. But even the suggestion will set alarms ringing in an Israeli government that already views the current US administration as the most hostile in recent memory. In an interview on ABC News on 19 April Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel would no more join the NPT than it would cease settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.

"If the Middle East one day advances to a messianic age where the lion lies down with the lamb, you can ask me this question again," he said.

Despite the impression that some in the government are eager to convey, Israel is deeply divided over the prospect of any strike against Iran, writes Saleh Al-Naami

Although many Israeli commentators have tried to explain Minister of Defence Ehud Barak's decision not to reappoint General Gabi Ashkenazi as chief of staff of the country's armed forces for a fifth year as a result of a personality conflict, others well connected to decision-making circles in Tel Aviv say that the decision has been caused by Ashkenazi's rejection of possible military action against Iranian nuclear installations.

One such commentator is Ben Kasbet, a senior political and security analyst at Maariv, the second-largest newspaper in Israel. Kasbet wrote that Barak was fed up with the armed forces' reluctance to strike at the Iranian nuclear programme, which is in direct contrast to Barak's own position.

However, Barak's decision not to reappoint Ashkenazi does not mean that there is now any general in the Israeli army who would be prepared to support a strike against Iran's nuclear programme.

Ashkenazi's predecessor, General Dan Halutz, has stated in recent interviews that Israel is incapable of attacking Iran, based on his knowledge of the Israeli army's capabilities and the nature of the Iranian targets.

According to Halutz, Iranian nuclear installations are spread over a large area, and they are built deep under ground, limiting the ability of the Israeli air force to reach them. At the same time, Israel would need immense logistical capabilities before it could cause any real damage to Iran's nuclear programme.

Retired Israeli Reserve General Yigal Shauli believes that Israel would only be successful in destroying Iran's nuclear installations if neighbouring Arab countries cooperated in any attack by allowing Israeli to use their airspace.

However, Shauli has said that even if Israel were able to overcome such obstacles, there would still be no guarantee that Iran would not be able to destroy many Israeli fighters. This would make the operation a failure from Israel's point of view, even if it destroyed a number of Iranian targets.

There is a consensus in Israel that the implications of attacking Iran would be very serious, since Tehran would respond in a manner that could threaten both the security of the region and that of the world as a whole.

Many Israelis believe that attacking Iran would be a gamble because an Iranian response could cause the US to interfere, and one of the reasons why the US is currently preventing Israel from striking Iran is because US president Barack Obama is concerned that Tehran would deliver a painful blow to the US presence in Iraq in return, presenting a grave danger to US interests.

The possibility of the US having to interfere in an Israeli conflict with Iran is one that the Obama administration wants to avoid, since it knows it was not elected to start any new wars, but rather to correct the mistakes of the previous administration, which launched wars that have harmed Washington's international standing.

Meanwhile, a number of Israeli studies have warned against any conflict between Israel and Iran because this could be destructive and prolonged and could expand to include several fronts. According to a study by Israeli analyst Moshe Ferd published by the Begin-Sadat Research Centre, if war broke out between the two countries it would not be because of the Iranian nuclear programme alone, but would also be due to religious and political animosities.

Ferd's study predicts that if it attacks Iran, Israel will likely become involved in a prolonged war similar to the first war in Lebanon in 1982, especially if it decides to invade Lebanon as well in order to prevent missile attacks by the Lebanese resistance movement, which would be launched in response to an Israeli attack on Iran.

The study further indicates that Iran would also attempt to shore up its strength by sending large military reinforcements to Syria and Lebanon to participate in the fighting and that it would seek to make use of the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of this year.

Iran might also seek to manipulate regional shifts in order to send supplies, weapons and volunteers to Syria via Iraq and Turkey. Ferd's study warns that this would make it difficult for Israel to conclude a war on land and would likely lead to a prolonged conflict in which Iran might seek to target Israeli vessels in the Red Sea and Israeli international interests.

Some in Israel also believe that it would be unwise for Israel to strike Iran because of the advances the latter has already made in its nuclear programme. Israel's former air force chief of staff Raoufian Bedihstor believes that an Israeli strike, no matter how successful, would only delay the Iranian nuclear programme by a few years and that Iran would use the strike as an excuse to intensify its activities.

Writers in the Israeli media have reported that there is a realisation in Tel Aviv of the grave dangers involved in attacking the Iranian nuclear programme, but at the same time Israel has refused to promise Washington that it will not carry out such an attack. This is because, such commentators believe, Israel is trying to manipulate the US into agreeing to lead international efforts to recruit more countries to support further sanctions against Iran.

Israel is also aware that the Obama administration fears the negative repercussions of any Israeli strike against Iran on American interests. The US is currently undertaking unprecedented international efforts to convince China not to veto UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, and in order to render such efforts more effective the US has not hesitated to threaten China and other countries with the prospect of an Israeli attack on Iran that could put oil supplies at risk.

However, Israel and the US have not made much progress in convincing the rest of the world of the importance of imposing further sanctions against Iran, even if all the signs suggest that decision-makers in Tel Aviv believe that the risks of an Israeli strike against Iran outweigh the benefits.

Some in Israel are calling on Tel Aviv to accept the idea that Iran has the ability to become a nuclear power and to find alternatives to guarantee its own security.

Eitan Haber, a journalist and former bureau chief of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabbin, believes that Israel must be ready to accept the idea that Iran is capable of producing a nuclear weapon in the near future, since Israel can do nothing to prevent it.

Haber is more concerned about a possible alliance between Iran, Syria and Turkey, and in a recent article that appeared in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, he wrote that the recent arrest of a number of senior Turkish army officers confirmed that it was no longer possible to rely on contacts between Israel and senior Turkish army officers to prevent any such scenario.

Haber advised Israeli decision-makers to sign a defense pact with the US, saying that this step should be taken as soon as possible despite fears that Washington would impose restrictions on Israel by limiting its ability unilaterally to carry out military operations against its enemies.

Many commentators in Israel have urged that the dangers posed to the country by Iran should convince the present Israeli government not to antagonise the Obama administration on the issue of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) as only Washington can stand up to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Former Israeli minister of justice Yossi Beilin has criticised Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's challenge to Obama by continuing the Israeli settlement building in Jerusalem and the West Bank and embarrassing the US in front of its Arab allies, while at the same time expecting the US to take charge of the threat facing Israel's very existence represented by the Iranian nuclear programme.

There are many inside Israel who are calling on Netanyahu to abandon his right-wing allies and to include the Kadima Party in government, as well as to adopt a different policy with regard to negotiations with the PA in order to convince Washington to continue its efforts to frustrate the Iranian nuclear programme.

However, despite the impression of strength which it is trying to convey, Israel's options in dealing with Iran's nuclear programme are very limited. Tel Aviv does not seem confident about the military option, but at the same time the Israeli government is unlikely to be prepared to pay the political price of Washington's taking the lead in imposing further sanctions against Iran.

Obama needs Palestine merely to pursue his scheme to isolate Iran, says Khaled Amayreh cynically in occupied Jerusalem

Desperate to achieve progress of any kind on the Israeli- Palestinian track, the Obama administration is pressuring, even bullying the weak and vulnerable Palestinian Authority (PA) to agree, at least in principle, to an Israeli proposal that would see the creation of a Palestinian "state" on some 60 per cent of the West Bank.

However, such an entity as proposed by the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent talks with US officials, would be devoid of any semblance of sovereignty and conspicuously lacking control of its borders, which would be temporary in any case and tightly controlled by Israel.

Israel reportedly ensured the American administration that negotiations over the fate of the remaining 40 per cent of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and land located west of the Apartheid Wall, would ensure the creation of a viable mini- Palestinian state.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, utterly desperate and confused as to the best approach to adopt, fears that Israel is only trying to trick the Palestinians (and the Americans) into accepting a vague arrangement that would eventually enable Israel to arrogate up to half of the West Bank under the rubric of a cumulative peace process and Palestinian statehood.

For its part, the Obama administration's representative George Mitchell has been holding several rounds of inconclusive talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. It seems desperate and determined to achieve something that would help isolate Iran and also enhance the Democratic Party's chances in the next Congressional elections in November.

The administration officials have been arguing that the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is of the utmost importance to American interests and affects US global strategic standing.

However, these statements are being interpreted by many experts as part of the administration's posturing to resist mounting pressure by pro-Israeli groups, including Congress. Congress is widely considered another "Israeli occupied territory" and is strongly trying to undercut President Obama's efforts to get Israel to freeze settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which is widely seen as a sin-qua-non for a successful peace process, let alone for the conclusion of a final peace agreement.

An expression of Abbas's confusion and desperation loomed large this week when he admitted that he had asked the US to "impose a solution on the sides". The admission is very telling since it presumed that Abbas believed that an American-imposed solution would be somewhat evenhanded.

Speaking in Ramallah before a meeting of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, Abbas said: "We've asked the American administration more than once to impose a solution."

Abbas said he would reject the creation of a Palestinian state with temporary borders. "The Palestinians were being asked to take a state with temporary borders on 40 or 50 per cent of the West Bank and then they the Israelis tell us 'we will see what comes up next.'"

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad continued to promise the Palestinians, even in a euphoric way, that a state would be born around this time next year with or without agreement with Israel.

Speaking at a conference "The Present and Future of Jerusalem" at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis on 26 April, Fayyad said Palestinian statehood was already a de facto reality and that the international community would soon come to the conclusion that a formal recognition of that reality was inescapable.

"Without a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders, there can be no stability or security in this region. The creation of a Palestinian state is not only a Palestinian interest, but is also an Israeli and world interest," Fayyad told Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials and a group of Palestinian intellectuals and academics present at the conference.

However, a few hours later, Abbas was quoted as saying that the PA wouldn't declare Palestinian statehood without Israeli consent. "We stand by agreements. We will not declare Palestinian state unilaterally."

The Palestinian leader, who was being interviewed by the Israeli TV Channel-10, said he was extending his hand in peace to the Israeli people, saying that he was willing to work with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

He also added that he would be willing to return to the negotiating table next month, saying he hoped to get Arab League approval for the proposed proximity talks.

Nonetheless, Abbas is unlikely to obtain Arab League approval for speedy but nearly unconditional talks with the Netanyahu government if only because such talks had been tried before ad nauseam but to no avail.

Abbas had been vowing not to resume talks with Israel unless the Jewish state froze settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

According to Arab sources in Damascus and Cairo, the 22-state body, which is struggling to overcome an erstwhile notorious image of incompetence and reconstruct a more positive image, will reject any unconditional resumption of talks with Israel in the absence of guarantees regarding halting Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

The League's Monitoring Committee, which is entrusted with following up on the Arab Peace Initiative, is expected to meet next week in order to vote on the proposal.

Despite repeated assertions rejecting a state with temporary borders, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is still reluctant to say a clear-cut no to the Americans, calculating that the Obama administration represents a rare opportunity that must not be allowed to be wasted or missed, and that it would be politically inexpedient for the overall Palestinian cause to reject outright the latest American proposals.

Indeed, it is likely that it was in this context that Abbas had asked the Obama administration to impose a solution on the sides.

There are those who are profoundly convinced that the extremist government of Binyamin Netanyahu is only prevaricating and playing tactics with both the Obama administration and the PA leadership.

One PA official present at the Al-Quds University conference described Mitchell's talks with PA officials in Ramallah as "a tedious repetition of the same old platitudes about the beauty of peace and need to restart talks."

"The Americans, unable or reluctant to pressure Israel, are trying to pressure us, given the fact that we are the weaker party. They think that the key to isolate Iran in the current standoff with the West lies in far-reaching Palestinian concessions to Israel on cardinal issues such as Jerusalem and the refugees. And I want to tell you something. Even if all Arab states say yes for such concessions, we, the mother of the child, will say a clarion no because this is our land, our future."

The official, who demanded that his name not be mentioned, said the bulk of the PA leadership was fully aware of "Netanyahu's tricks, deception, mendacity and stalling tactics".

"Netanyahu wants to gain more time to create more irreversible facts in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and the Americans have come to think that we are merely obsessed with the symbol of statehood, even at the expense of losing Jerusalem and one third of the West Bank, in addition to the right of return for the refugees. Well, all I can tell you is that they are dreaming if they think that we will succumb to their designs and wishful thinking."

Needless to say, the Palestinian official's scepticism is more than justified. Netanyahu, while telling Mitchell and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he is willing to conduct "frank and honest discussion" over all core issues, has been telling settlers, leaders and his own coalition partners that there is no way Israel would leave any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians and that settlements west and east of the Annexation Wall would continue to grow irrespective of the peace process with the Palestinians.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian