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The Conflict

Arab Israeli

Amnesty International

Second Half of '48

Rise of Israeli Anti-Americanism


Home Demolitions

Gush Shalom Peace Bloc

Gush Shalom Barak Plan


Bet T'selem

Peace Now



Secrets and Democracy


Background of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Honking The Rebus

TERRORISM - The other side

Salon Magazine.

GUSH EMUNIM (Baruch Goldstein - this one written by one of the Jewish settlers in Kiryat Arba - well worth reading, a very thoughtful analysis of the situation.)

DEIR YASIN (A scholarly article on the subject of the 1948 massacre at the Arab village).



Reparations should be demanded for Palestinians who have had their land and homes confiscated in Israel and the West Bank. This is not only fair, but it will focus world attention on the real facts of the Nakba. For too long, much of America has bought into the ridiculous cover story that 3/4 of million Palestinians left "voluntarily." Anyway; if they left "voluntarily," why can't they return voluntarily? Reparations are much in the news these days as the victims of the Nazi Holocaust are being paid their reparations, Japanese internees have received their reparations and African-Americans are demanding theirs.

As a bonus, it will help address fears on both sides concerning the "Right of Return." The Right of Return is guaranteed in the Israeli Constitution, for people of the "correct" race. Denying the Right of Return for Palestinians is now the major focus of the right wing in Israel. Can you imagine if the US Congress passed a law prohibiting imigration of people of color in order to preserve the "white nature of America?" It would be a world scandal; and yet everyone seems to think that "preserving the Jewish nature of Israel" is a perfectly acceptable and natural goal.

Focusing on this issue will bring out absurdites of Israeli confiscation tactics such as "present absentees." After the indigenous Arabs fled the fighting in the War of 1948/49 (as one would expect civilians to do) they were denied the right to return to their homes (direct contravention of the Geneva Convention). The Israeli government then declared their homes and land "abandoned" as they were "absentees." In the final twist of this legalistic trick, Arabs who were still in Israel but in another part of the country were not allowed to return to their homes and were declared "present absentees," and their land was also confiscated.

For decades, one of the most heart-warming ways to support Israel was to pay to have a tree planted - on the surface, it would seem to be a perfectly reasonable symbolic act. This was seen as solidarity with Israel and as helping to "make the desert bloom." What the world did not know is that the majority of the "forests" in which these trees are planted are the plowed-under sites of former Palestinian villages. As such, it was also a symbol of "claiming" the land and establishing Israeli "ownership." It was all part of the ongoing campaign to "erase" Palestinian history — a quite successful program worthy of "1984."

Since 1968, 250,000 olive trees have been uprooted on the West Bank (source: Amnesty International). The cover story is that "they provide cover for snipers." Perhaps a few did, but not all 250,000. Preventing the villagers from harvesting the olives is a major means of harrassment and part of the overall strategy of making life so miserable for the Palestinians that again they will leave "voluntarily." The lastest twist is that the most militant armed settlers come out to threaten and drive off the local villagers who come to collect the olives - often their only remaining source of income (it was in the LA Times last week). I propose a campaign of planting olive trees throughout America, Europe and other places as a symbol of solidarity with people who are fighting not only for their freedom (something you would think Americans can identify with) but also for their economic freedom and viability as an economic society. Olive trees are also beautiful and productive (one of the three sacred trees that used to grow in the Forum in Rome.)

Now that the Cheney/Rumsfeld administration has placed such life-or-death emphasis on enforcing UN Security Council Resolutions, it is time to remind the world that the the most prominent Security Council Resolution still being defied is #242, which demands that Israel withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza. For years they have relied on the silliest of excuses: that the resolution calls for immmediate withdrawal from "occupied territories" not "the occuppied territories." Utterly ridiculous; particularly as the article does appear in the French translation and there is no article "the" in the Russian language.

They are not "settlements" they are colonies.

"Zionism is racism" is a popular battle cry, but it is too easy for them to dismiss it as "Israeli bashing" and anti-Semitism. Instead, change it to "Zionism is colonialism." Colonialism is not as powerful an indictment as racism, but this charge is almost impossible to defend against. Even Israeli writers have frequently referred to the enclaves as colonies.

Calling someone an anti-Semite if they criticize Israel has lost all it's moral force. The word has become meaningless through careless overuse. It has no more meaning than Al Sharpton calling someone a racist. We have to talk about this battle for freedom. We have to stop letting Israeli apologists only talking about terrorism and nothing more: it's a fight for freedom and human dignity.

Let's take the total area of the West Bank as a base: whatever the Israeli's take in colonial enclaves on the West Bank, they have to give up in some other area to increase the total area of the State of Palestine equal to what the area of the West Bank and Gaza was in 1967. Ever notice how every time there is need for a "buffer zone" or a "security area" it NEVER comes out of Jewish held territory? However, it is important to recognize that the colonial settlements are not ONLY about territory; nor are they placed at random. The illegal Israeli settlements (not even the US recognizes them as legitimate) are all carefully sited to control nearly all of the water resources of the West Bank. In previous offers, the Israeli's have offered "exchange" lands that were the most barren and desolate parts of the Negev desert. Why shouldn't Israel just go back to the Green Line — there is absolutely no reason not to. It has nothing to do with "security" or borders or anything of the sort. The only just and equitable solution is to return to the borders as they existed in 1976: always keep in mind that Israel started that war. Justified or not, they started that war and invaded the West Bank. (Jordan did not even join the fighting until the third day; after Israel had invaded the West Bank.)

Intifada is an unknown word to most people. Call it the War of Liberation. The Palestinians have never been very good at public relations; they don't understand that many Americans just see them as pure evil: terrorists. We must focus attention on the fact that they are fighting for freedom, liberty and the expulsion of a brutal oppressor.