(TOI-Billboard) Not Inevitable & In No One's Interest

Submitted by Editor on Sat, 07/08/2004 - 23:42

(headline paraphrased from Tony Klug's The "Wall": A Barrier to Peace appearing below)

() The week that was (chronicle of peace events)

() From the Israeli press, main topics & link of the week:
Nir Hasson about economic hardships of the Gaza Strip

() Must read articles from outside

# The "Wall": A Barrier to Peace - Dr. Tony Klug
Powerfull appeal to common sense originally in Jewish Chronicle written by a veteran of Jewish-Arab dialogue

# Palestinian-Arab relations: Only sympathy remains - Riad Kahwaji a link to an article appearing in the latest Bitter Lemons

The Other Israel

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August 7, 2004


() The week that was (chronicle of peace events)

-- Aug. 1, (and much publicized later in the week) Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, together with Palestinian health organizationstrip, petitioned the Israeli High Court; demanding that the Israeli army immediately find an acceptable solution to the crisis at the Rafah crossing, with 2500 Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the border. (from Shabtai Gold )

(A demonstration to be held on Sunday, Aug. 8, was being prepared by the Women's Coalition, but canceled after the Border Crossing was actually opened on Friday - from Gila Svirsky )

-- Aug. 2, Israeli and international peace activists, together with Palestinians break open gate in "separation fence" north of Tulkarm (from: Anarchists Against The Wall )

-- Aug. 3, IDF reservist Danny Broitman was sentenced to 21 days detention (Military Prison #4) for refusing to serve in the occupied territories.  Broitman (36), married with two children, is a software engineer from Kibbutz Magal. In the past he served two 14 day sentences for the same "offence" during "Operation Defensive Shield". (from: Peretz Kidron )

--Aug 5, Italian woman, Giulia Palego, is being detained at the Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion airport. She has been told that she is "not welcome" in
Israel and will be deported tomorrow, Friday at 4:00pm.
(From International Solidarity Movement )

--Aug. 6 - 59th Hiroshima Day - the Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons held a march started at the Ministry of Defence in the Kiryah in Tel Aviv, proceeding past the Japanese Embassy and ending in front of the United States Embassy. The demonstration called upon Israel to sign the International Non-Proliferation Treaty, opening the Dimona reactor to international inspection, as well as the Nes Ziona Institute of Biology, promoting a Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction etc. - from Gideon Spiro

-- During the entire week, on different days, Israelis were coordinating via email, to collectively join on the next day the Walk Against the Wall

() From the Israeli press, main topics & link of the week:
# Nir Hasson about economic hardships of the Gaza Strip

-- the most unprincipled coalition talks went on (Labor Party in?, ultra-Religious in?, Shinuy party out?)

-- the longest port strike ever ended with no clear result

-- the strike of the burial companies after promise that they would receive their salaries

-- the Defence Minister announced to expand the IDF's Gaza operations ignoring recommendations of the IDF intelligence

-- and Friday, Aug. 6 Israelis were informed by the media that the government

"is undertaking a series of steps meant to ease local and regional tensions in the territories, including opening the Rafah border crossing to Egypt. This, in response to U.S. pressure on Israel as expressed in public opposition to the new construction in Maaleh Adumim and to the obvious failure of the Sharon administration to make good on its promise to evacuate wildcat outposts in the West Bank."

(The measure, most interesting to the media, is the "allowing the PA police to bear arms". How this solves the settlement expansion and the rest of the government's failures is not clear to us...)

more in: http://www.ezinester.com/lr2/18541

# Nir Hasson about economic hardships of the Gaza Strip

Dark cloud of closure hangs over Erez

By Nir Hasson


The Erez industrial zone is a sad place these days. Almost all of its 150 plants have shut down and just 25 are still partly operative.

full article: http://www.ezinester.com/lr2/18536

# The "Wall": A Barrier to Peace - Dr. Tony Klug

Powerfull appeal to common sense originally in Jewish Chronicle written by a veteran of Jewish-Arab dialogue

This article was published in: Jewish Chronicle (UK), 16 July 2004
Jewish Voice for Peace (US), August 5, 2004

The "Wall": A Barrier to Peace

Tony Klug

It doesn't seem so long ago when an explosion of joy consumed Israel and the wider Jewish world as the barricades that had divided Jerusalem for 19 suffocating years were triumphantly dismantled in the wake of Israel's military victory in the 1967 war. Now the barbed wire, fences and concrete barriers - eight metres high in some places - are back, courtesy of Israeli politicians and engineers, not only in the capital city but all over the captured territories.

As a researcher, I used to move about virtually unhindered through the West Bank in the 1970s as, mostly, did its Palestinian inhabitants. There were few Jewish settlements, few roadblocks and few terror attacks. Even travel across the old Green Line border was barely monitored. The official Israeli approach was to let the Palestinians see the Jewish state for what it was - not as "mendacious Arab propaganda" had projected it for two decades.

Once Palestinian attitudes had changed, the argument ran, the territories would be returned. Indeed, Palestinian attitudes and policy did go through a steady, profound transformation. The Israeli strategy was not unsuccessful. Peace was on the horizon - until the settlements policy started in earnest.

With it came the waning of Palestinian hope for eventual independence and the onset of despair and fear for the future.

The fine sentiments of the Oslo Accords restored hope for a while. But the concomitant division of the West Bank into three security areas, giving rise to a major expansion in the number of Israeli checkpoints (currently estimated at nearly 500), severely curtailed the Palestinian' freedom of movement between their own towns and villages. Humiliating searches by young Israeli recruits became commonplace.

The enforced requisition of Palestinian land and other resources to accommodate the burgeoning Jewish settlement programme continued apace. Palestinian resistance grew in tandem, at times involving murderous attacks on Israeli civilians.

And now, in apparent response, we have the monstrous "wall". Were its route to trail the markedly shorter "Green Line", as envisaged by its original architects, this would at least lend credence to the security argument (and keep it within international legality). Instead, it has been weaving its way around settlement blocs deep into the West Bank, effectively annexing huge chunks of Palestinian land and separating Palestinians from their fields, workplaces, schools, universities, hospitals, places of worship, and their families and friends.

This is the other side of Sharon's "Gaza withdrawal" scheme.

An entire population is being brutalized and alienated beyond endurance, and the future welfare of the Israeli people and state is being put at risk, to satisfy a dangerous ideological urge and reward a militant settler constituency.

It will be argued, fairly, that attacks on civilians have dropped significantly since the erection of the wall. Even if we accept a direct, causal connection in the short term, where does this leave us in the longer term?

If the Palestinians fail to gain their place in the sun, the Israelis will never be left in peace to enjoy theirs. Each holds the key to the other's destiny. The answer to Israel's security problems is not to tighten the screw and further inflame the passions. This will invite perpetual conflict.

The erection of the wall is tantamount to giving up on peace - probably still attainable on well-rehearsed terms - and to an acceptance by Israel of a permanent international pariah status. This is not inevitable and is in no one's interests. We should not blindly be supporting it.

Imagine that we switched on our radios one morning to learn that the Israeli government had stopped all work on building the new (very un-Zionistic) ghetto and declared instead its willingness in principle to terminate in full its 37-year occupation of Palestinian lands, subject to mutually agreed equitable land swaps and assurances on security.

The local and global repercussions of an Israeli invitation to its neighbours to agree the modalities of such a withdrawal in the context of a full peace arrangement would be swift and profound. It would almost certainly trigger a new momentum. Why, then, do we not hear it?


Dr Tony Klug is an international relations specialist and co-vice chair of the Arab-Jewish Forum.

Earlier articles by the same writer:

The West Bank and Gaza Strip: an international protectorate?
Tony Klug 7-5-2003

The Infernal Scapegoat
Tony Klug, Sept. 25, 2001

This was Klug's commentary on the end of the Oslo Peace Process

# Qalqilya, Israeli occupation in a nutshell

Thirsting to breathe

The West Bank city of Qalqilya and its water are a metaphor for Israeli occupation

By Gary Fields,
The San Diego Union-Tribune

August 1, 2004


# Palestinian-Arab relations - Only sympathy remains, by Riad Kahwaji
a link to an article appearing in the latest Bitter Lemons

Bitterlemons, 5 Aug 2004
Only sympathy remains

Riad Kahwaji

Many Arabs can still remember the days when big banquets and luncheons were held in luxury hotels to raise funds for the Palestinian cause. Men emptied their pockets and women took off expensive jewelry to donate to the Palestine resistance, later embodied in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Such occasions were frequent and ordinary in most Arab countries back in the 60's and up to the late 70's. Supporting the Palestinian cause was a noble deed and the duty of every Arab person. Less than half a century later, however, all that is left is sympathy.

Full text http://www.ezinester.com/lr2/18535

TOI-Billboard is the 'ezine' of the independent English-language newsletter THE OTHER ISRAEL, existing since 1983, and published by its editors Adam Keller & Beate Zilversmidt from a Tel-Aviv suburb.

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