Arab Sources: Bishara on Palestine’s UN bid

Israel/Palestine
on 119 Comments
Bishara
Azmi Bishara earlier this year Following the Tunisian uprising

Azmi Bishara has emerged as the Arab world’s leading political analyst. A few years ago he anticipated that Tunisia would be the first Arab dictatorship to face a democratic revolution. His nightly coverage of the Arab uprisings on al-Jazeera has not only been intelligent and accurate, it has also affected the course of the revolutions in Egypt, in Libya, and in Syria. When Bishara speaks people pay attention and, I imagine, the remaining dictators tremble. I know Bishara personally and was not a big fan of his when he was a politician. But there is no better Arab political pundit. He has emerged as the intellectual of the Arab revolution.

In this post I will (quickly, sometimes roughly) translate  Azmi Bishar’s recent interview on al-Jazeera. The video in Arabic can be found here.

Bishara combines classical Arabic and some colloquial Arabic in the interview.  He talks about the Palestinian UN bid. That a two third majority is not guaranteed in the General Assembly. The need for a confrontational followup to a successful bid. The need for a change in the Palestinian leadership’s attitudes. Entertains the possibility of a third intifada as part of the general Arab uprising. Insists that the world has changed with the Arab spring.  And concludes with a brief discussion of Israeli Turkish relations.  

My translation of the interview is below.

Announcer: … recognition of the [Palestinian] state in the UN seems to be guaranteed … But what follows?

Bishara: I don’t think that success is guaranteed. There are American and now European pressures on some countries to withdraw their support. So the battle for the Palestinians will, to the last moment, be to guarantee a two thirds majority in the General Assembly. Mind you, there will be recognition [of Palestine] and not full membership [of the UN], which requires a decision by the Security Council  where there is the [US] veto. Nevertheless, recognition of the state in itself is extremely important not because it will establish a independent state! But because the Palestinians broke away from the process of bilateral negotiations and went internationally. They have with them the Arabs. This is an escalation.

Bishara: This worries Israel because we have returned the diplomatic struggle to these international levels. While Israel had earlier mitigated, limited, and blockaded [the diplomatic arena] into a situation where two negotiators meet, with the balance of power dictating that one side negotiates [Israel] and the other needs to ask for permission to even travel to negotiate. This was not normal. That reality was extremely bad.  

Bishara: Therefore now [the UN bid] is an announcement that this dynamic has failed and ended. Israel took advantage of the [power] dynamics [in bilateral negotiations] to increase settlements and Judaize Jerusalem. Further we had Barack Obama’s pledge, in September 2010, that he wants to see a Palestinian state in September 2011. Where is Obama now? The Quartet [said the same]. Where are they now? Where are they hiding now? Where have they disappeared? They said that Israel should halt the settlements, they did not stop. In fact [Israel] gave nothing in reality.  

Bishara: Faced with this reality we now have [the UN bid]. But here is the problem. The Palestinian leadership has taken an important escalatory step. This opens the door for other important steps also at an international level. In the sense of turning Palestine into an occupied country rather than occupied lands. This may open the possibility of say sanctions …[on Israel]… but all of this is not important.

Bishara: What is important is the following. Will the Palestinian authorities enter this new phase [of the struggle] with their old perspective and understandings? Or will [the leadership] change the way  it has been thinking?

Announcer: The [leadership] is still talking about the option of [bilateral] negotiations.

Bishara: Yes, indeed. The problem is what governs these new steps? The old thinking? … So you want to break the old dynamic but keep the old thinking and strategies? [Impossible] …. What is needed is a new Palestinian attitude: bilateral negotiations have failed; The United nations has given us recognition; Now we need to implement this recognition [on the ground].

Bishara: We must impose our sovereignty … This will lead to an end of relations with Israel such as security cooperation … Sadly, the head of the Authority [Abbas] recently in a meeting with intellectuals reaffirmed the continuation of security cooperation and [bilateral] negotiations. So the problem is the extent that the leadership has liberated itself from the past thinking.

Bishara: If we liberate ourselves from old thinking and attitudes, then this step [of going to the UN] becomes part of what is happening in the region. The Arab masses will adopt these new steps. If the Palestinians say start a new intifada or stop security cooperation or take steps towards [international] sanctions. Even if it is not armed resistance or [peaceful] intifada, just changing the dynamic into combativeness with Israel, then there is no doubt that the Arab world will adopt this change. It is an exit from the dynamic of bilateral negotiations.

Announcer: So this is a new step that moves away from the old and requires a new strategy? A confrontationist strategy? What does that mean? A third intifada?

Bishara: Why not? During this era of the Arab Spring. Why not? Who will blame [oppose] the Palestinians in such a case? Who can say that the Palestinians did not try to make peace? Gaza, well OK. But who will blame the people of the West Bank? [Can they say that] they are extremists? Why? Why not [have an intifada]? It is a battle in any case. The [Arab masses] will accept this … [After Egypt].

Who can withstand the uprising of the Palestinian people now?[insistent voice] 

Bishara: The [Arab] masses have adopted as their own the Syrian people’s uprising. [Why not the Palestinian uprising]. No one [in the world] can refuse/reject the mass movements of the [Arab] masses. [laughing] Do you think that anyone [Arabs/Muslims] will reject/refuse an uprising by the Palestinian people?

Bishara: [The world has changed] … Look at the escalation that has happened in the Turkish position. The excellent change in their position … Can Egypt maintain its cooperation [with Israel]? … Can you envisage a situation where Turkey escorts ships to Gaza and Egypt keeps the border with Gaza closed for instance? There is a new reality in the region.

Bishara: The Palestinian people are ready. They must be ready. Not like the … second (and first) intifada where they entered adventures. They must be ready. The aim must be success. It has to be organized for success. So we need a confrontational attitude [by the PA toward Israel]. At the very least, as a reaction to the Israeli escalation, which has treated the step [going to the UN] as though they are a Third World War.

Announcer: Going back to Turkey. It is seen by some that its change in attitude is a tactic aimed at making it easier for them to accept the installation of missile defenses in Turkey to protect from Iran and Russia and perhaps even Syria.

Bishara: Israel does not see it this way [as simply a tactic]. Israel perceives that there has been a decision in Turkey to change its historic frameworks. Only the military in Israel, [Ehud] Barak, the security establishment would like to side step/ignore these changes [and continue as though nothing has happened]. But the political leadership in Israel has understood that there has been an historic change in Turkey. So there is disagreement regarding this in Israel. Barak recently said, Why don’t we apologize to Turkey? He does not perceive the change as an historic change [in Turkey]. As though Turkey has been put in a corner by the behavior of Israel. The United States is trying to mend ties as an intermediary. Turkey, however, is insisting on principles. An apology from Israel will not work. If Israel apologizes, then Turkey will send more ships.

About Simone Daud

A Palestinian academic. A progressive internationalist with a wholly secular outlook. Meticulously pacifist and a militantly anti-reactionary perspective. An interest in progressive advocacy spanning gay rights, refugee rights.

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119 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    September 16, 2011, 8:56 am

    Thank you, Simone Daud, for this fine and timely translation.

    One thing that might mark a difference in PA attitude would be for PA to stop talking about a settlement “freeze” and to start talking about Israeli compliance with I/L which would require, for starters, removal of all settlers, dismantlement of the wall and of all settlements, ending the siege, and (perhaps, I am not clear on the I/L of this) proper sharing of the region’s naturally-occurring water supply.

    The point is not that such “talk” can by itself be effective, but to re-direct the international conversation. After all, if a principal (such as the PA) will not talk about I/L requirements, why should any other state step forward (against USA pressure) and do it for them?

    • Simone Daud
      September 16, 2011, 9:08 am

      It really depends on whether there is an uprising following the vote. If there is an uprising, then the PA/PLO will be compelled to take a more determined stand. I’m not sure what the PA will do if there is no uprising but there is a positive vote.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 10:49 am

        If there is an uprising it will show the true face of the Palestinian revolution. Just like the Egyptian, Libyan, and Syrian revolutions before them, it will prove that democracy is impossible in the Arab world.

        The only difference between this uprising and those uprising, is they will focus their aggression against Israel and the settler movement, which will no doubt result in bloodshed, albeit a lot less than we’ve seen in Libya, Egypt, Syria, or even Tunisia.

        What will that say about the Arab Spring and the Arab world as a whole when an occupier treats their uprising better than one which is internal?

      • Simone Daud
        September 16, 2011, 11:18 am

        I think that democracy will emerge in Egypt and Tunisia.

        The hope is that it one day emerges in Israel/Palestine. But that would require a dramatic shift in sectarian attitudes.

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 11:22 am

        DBG, it’s always refreshing to hear the unapologetic, brazenly racist point of view. So many others try to disguise their true feelings. When dictatorships filled Eastern Europe and Latin America, did you conclude that Eastern Euros and Latin A’s were incompatible with democracy? Did you blame democracy’s absence on character flaws of those suffering under the bootheels of their tormentors?

        Now Israeli democracy – that’s something to be proud of. Of course, Israel rules over 11 million people, 4 million of which cannot vote, and 1.5 million of which have second–class citizenship in every other way. But these are mere minor blemishes in the Jewish character, whose superiority over the Arab version of human being is plainly obvious for all to see except the anti-Semites.

        Unfortunately, the ignorant Arab hordes will not realize that Israel treats them better than their Arab brethren. With misplaced anger, they will imperil the security of their true benefactors, causing the Israelis to reluctantly use lethal force to protect themselves.

      • Kathleen
        September 16, 2011, 2:15 pm

        With El Baradei working it in Egypt I have little doubt

      • Walid
        September 16, 2011, 3:33 pm

        “With El Baradei working it in Egypt I have little doubt”

        El Baradei didn’t want to play ball on Iraq and he refused to play ball on Iran. There’s a limit to how many times you can say “no” to Uncle Sam. I think he would have made a good president.

      • Dex
        September 16, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Are you proud of being a complete racist?

        Question: are you American or Israeli? Or do you have dual citizenship? I am making the logical assumption that you are Jewish.

      • Hostage
        September 16, 2011, 5:37 pm

        If there is an uprising it will show the true face of the Palestinian revolution. . . .The only difference between this uprising and those uprising, is they will focus their aggression against Israel and the settler movement,

        The General Assembly has already declared the continued occupation of Arab territories captured in 1967 to be an example of aggression. The ICJ similarly found that Israel has facilitated the transfer of parts of its own population into the territory in violation of Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention. The overwhelming majority of UN member states (171) are state parties to Article 85 of the 1st Additional Protocol which affirmed that establishment of settlements by the occupying power is a grave breach and a war crime. So, you keep showing the true face of Zionism and the State of Israel and let the Palestinians worry about the nature of their demonstrations.

  2. Pedestrian
    September 16, 2011, 9:10 am

    I have been trying to find an answer to this but haven’t been successful at all: What will happen to right of return and status of refugees in the even that the bid does go forward?

    • Simone Daud
      September 16, 2011, 9:23 am

      The right of return is an individual right of return of refugees. No Palestinian can or will negotiate it away. That is impossible. The establishment of a Palestinians state does not negate it.

      The right of return of Palestinian refugees can be an issue discussed between the two states, Palestine and Israel, if the refugees want the Palestinian government to act as their representative.

    • Walid
      September 16, 2011, 9:36 am

      “What will happen to right of return and status of refugees in the even that the bid does go forward?”

      Abbas and friends don’t appear anxious to address this issue any more than the Israelis and from his handling of it from what we learned from the leaked Palestinian Papers, maybe it’s a good thing for now. Apart from Abunimah, few are talking about this critical issue that concerns the majority of Palestinians. This is why I don’t totally trust what Abbas is up to.

      • Simone Daud
        September 16, 2011, 10:16 am

        No Walid,

        We all talk about it. And every ambassador that I’ve met has been scared stiff to say anything out of line regarding the right of return. Though there is one from Nablus in random country I’m presently trying to get fired on this issue (honestly)

        The right of return is sacrosanct politically in Palestine. Afterall, we are all refugees.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 10:51 am

        The right of return is a lot less concrete when we are talking about 2nd, 3rd, and sometime fourth generation descendants of original refugees.

        What Simone is outlining is a 2 state solution which will still be hostile to Israel because of the ROR issue. Talk about wanting a perpetuation of the conflict.

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 11:06 am

        Good point, DBG. The right of return has to age very slowly before it becomes ripe. That’s why I, an American Jew, have the right to return to the land where my ancestors lived 2000 years ago (at least I think they were my ancestors), but the Palestinians have no right to return to the land from which their parents and grandparents were forcibly removed. If the Palestinians would only be patient and wait a millenium or two, they too would acquire the right of return.

      • Simone Daud
        September 16, 2011, 11:07 am

        Is Israel hostile to Germany? Was it hostile to Germany when survivors and their families were demanding reparations?

        We have rights, we have properties, we still own them.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 11:29 am

        That’s why I, an American Jew, have the right to return to the land where my ancestors lived 2000 years ago

        Your argument is nonsense because Israel, as a sovereign state, gets to dictate its own immigration policies. the ROR has zero to do with Israel’s immigration policy of The Law of Return.

        Once there is a Palestinian state they can make their own immigration policies.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 11:31 am

        so your right as a descendent (which doesn’t quite jive in your case because you are an Israeli citizen) supersedes that of an Israeli born in Israel? Show me the International Law for that.

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 11:42 am

        That’s right, DBG, Israel gets to dictate its own immigration policies, no matter how brazenly racist they are. Of course, the entire country was founded on the principle that Jews the world over should have the right to return to the land from which they were exiled thousands of years ago. That principle was not the immigration policies of a state, but was the foundation underlying the pre-state Zionist movement. Someone as fair and even-handed as yourself would no doubt criticize that pre-state idea of ROR for Jews as even much more unfair and unreasonable than the Palestinian ROR based on an infinitely more recent and provable connection with those exiled in the 1940’s and 1960’s. Right?

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 11:51 am

        This all proves the point I keep repeating that the settlements are not really the issue. It is the right of return.

        Simone,
        Demanding money is very different than demanding to return. If Jews would have demanded a state in Bavaria as compensation, they would not have gotten it. Are you willing to relegate the right of return to a financial compensation issue instead of a demand to return to Israel?

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 11:55 am

        David,
        There was no ROR for Jews pre 1948. There was immigration based on what the sovereign of the land decided. In addition, Jewish immigrants were not compensated, they bought or rented the properties they resided on. And of course, many Arabs also immigrated to Palestine during this period. Now the sovereign of the land has different immigration policies like all sovereigns have a right to put in place.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 12:04 pm

        Life isn’t fair David.

      • andrew r
        September 16, 2011, 12:08 pm

        Life isn’t fair = Might makes right

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 12:09 pm

        eee, do you really see no conflict between asserting that Jews had the right to “return” to Zion after 2000 years and establish their own state, and denying Palestinians the right to return to the land a generation or two after they were forcibly dispossessed? Of course there was no Jewish ROR before 1948 – but it was the principle behind the creation of Israel. Zionists claimed an ROR which they put into practice when the state was created. You and DBG are just being silly. It’s impossible to defend the right of Jews to return after 2000 years while denying that right to Palestinians because of the passage of a few decades. Not to mention that the goal of the Jewish returnees was to establish a state that required the forcible dispossession of a large percentage of the indigenous population — it could not be achieved otherwise — while Palestinian ROR would not require dispossession or create a state whose essential character was non-Jewish.

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 12:16 pm

        Once again, DBG, at least you do not adorn your opinion with false appeals to morality. “Life isn’t fair, and as long as I am the beneficiary of unfairness, I will support it.” Life isn’t fair could be the motto of whites in apartheid South African, white slaveowners in the 19th century U.S., or even Aryans in Nazi Germany. If this is your bottom line, DBG, why do you bother to comment here? Whom are you trying to convince? Most people, even those with whom you agree, at least try to fashion ethical arguments to support their position. If your “Life isn’t fair” is a joke, it ain’t funny; if it’s serious, it’s a concession that you’re wrong.

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 12:22 pm

        Andrew,

        “Life isn’t fair = Might makes right”

        No, that is not what DBG means. Each day in the US courts people are compensated for wrongful death or loss of property by cash. Is it fair that someone killed your son and all you get is some cash? No it isn’t. But life isn’t fair. Some things just can’t be undone. Just like you cannot revive your son, the Palestinians cannot get the ROR. Just because you think the ROR is possible, that doesn’t mean that it is. Is this fair? I understand why a Palestinian may think it is not fair. But then the world is not fair.

      • annie
        September 16, 2011, 12:27 pm

        Are you willing to relegate the right of return to a financial compensation issue instead of a demand to return to Israel?

        3e, just out of curiosity how much money would jews accept to abandon israel. i’d like to incorporate the financial worth you place on that homeland of yours before reacting to this question. just a ballpark figure please.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 12:27 pm

        David, you are whining about the past. Of course it isn’t fair, but what the hell are we going to do about it? kick the 70% Israelis who were born in Israel out of their country? You only care about what is fair to a single group of people, the Palestinians. You are a hypocrite, your care for the Palestinians is more driven by your hatred of Israel than anything. It is a common thread across this blog. This is why I comment here because you people are wrong and are as morally bankrupt as they come.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 12:30 pm

        Too bad the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, etc. etc. were afforded that same right when they were kicked out of their homes before and after 1948.

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 12:31 pm

        David,

        Jews did not have a “right” to return to Zion. They wanted to, and some were able to. So let’s leave the “rights” language aside.

        What you are ignoring is the following:
        1) Jews immigrated to Palestine because the sovereign allowed them to do so. They were not compensated for anything nor did they push anyone from their home. They bought or rented the land they resided on pre-1948.
        2) This is NOT what the ROR is about. The ROR involves kicking millions of Jews off their land and property. Further, it is not a gradual immigration taking decades, it is a doubling of the population of Israel over night.

        Should Palestinians be allowed to purchase real estate in Israel after a peace agreement? Sure, why not, as long as Israelis are allowed to purchase real estate in Palestine.

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Annie,

        Just out of curiosity, how much do you think the life of a Jew is worth? Should Israel be hostile to Germany until they resurrect the Jews they murdered? Or should we be reasonable and accept financial compensation?

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 1:10 pm

        Whining about the past? Actually, I’m complaining about the present and trying to find a solution that is fair enough that everyone can live with. Obviously, the past has a lot to do with the present, as anyone who argues for the necessity of a Jewish State based on centuries of persecution and the Holocaust would know. You don’t accuse them of whining about the past, do you? In fact, don’t you agree with them?

        Your argument is so morally indefensible that you prefer to falsely accuse me of wanting to kick Israelis out of their country. I think there’s been enough of that already, and making Israelis victim of the same cruelty that they forced on Palestinians is not the solution. The ROR may be realized without kicking anyone out of anywhere. It would start with Israeli Jews recognizing that their relationship with Palestinians must be founded upon true equality, and forgoing the superiority and domination that they have insisted upon since the birth of the state.

        And really, I must say that your line “You only care about what is fair to a single group of people, the Palestinians. You are a hypocrite” is the best case of projection I have ever seen. I care about what’s fair to both people, and you were only describing yourself to a tee, if you substitute Jews for Palestinians.

      • David Samel
        September 16, 2011, 1:20 pm

        eee, Zionist Jews fought for, and obtained, the “right of return” when they created their state. Why is that not comparable to the Palestinians seeking ROR now. True, it’s not equivalent, but every distinction makes the current Palestinian claim infinitely stronger. You believe the Jews were right to fight for ROR after 2000 years, and that they justly obtained it, but that the Palestinians are wrong to fight for ROR with more moral ammunition.

        As for this – “The ROR involves kicking millions of Jews off their land and property.” No it does not. You’re probably getting it confused with Zionism, which did involve kicking hundreds of thousands of Palestinians off their land and property, a historical fact that causes you no discomfort. But Palestinians’ demand for ROR may easily be satisfied without displacing anybody. There is a wide range of negotiated solutions to that demand, but Israel’s insistence on “not one refugee” is a non-starter.

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 1:44 pm

        David,

        I believe that Palestinians don’t need permission from anyone to ask for the ROR (let’s put the rights language on the side, I find it meaningless). But I think this request is unreasonable just like Jews asking Germany to bring to life the millions it murdered.

        I believe that Jews overcame long odds in getting a state and that it was touch and go most of the time. It also was a gradual process which took decades and that is why it succeeded. If the Palestinians want to insist on the ROR, they should go right ahead, who am I to tell them what they can or can’t do? But in my judgement, they will only make their situation worse and prolong the conflict. Their chances of obtaining it are zero. It took 100 years to get Israel to where it is now and the Israeli Jews will not agree to give up all that was built by accepting the ROR.

        As for your claim that there are a wide range of negotiated solutions, I haven’t seen one come from the Palestinian side. In fact, you claim that no one can negotiate the individual rights of the Palestinians away, so how can we even have a negotiation?

      • Kathleen
        September 16, 2011, 2:16 pm

        no excuse to not keep trying

      • lyn117
        September 16, 2011, 3:41 pm

        “Jews immigrated to Palestine because the sovereign allowed them to do so.”

        The terms under which Britain ruled Palestine were never accepted by the people or the political leadership. As such, Britain’s rule was not legitimate, in particular the immigration policies it imposed. Nor did Britain ever claim Palestine as part of its territory, so it wasn’t the sovereign. Had it made all the Palestinians it’s citizens it could have claimed sovereign status, had it held a referendum on its policies they might, or might not have achieved legitimacy. Britain had the right to allow unfettered Jewish immigration to its own territory, but it never did so.

        Nor is it accurate to say Jews who immigrated to Palestine didn’t push anyone from their homes prior to 1948. First, as land ownership law in Palestine was in a state of transition since 1856 or so, it’s a little dubious that Jews always bought the land from the rightful owners or persons who should have owned the land, and those rightful owners may not always had the wherewithal, cognizance of legal ownership on land they’d always farmed, or political connections, to assert their rights and thus lost them. Under the Ottomans, bribery could occasionally be used to simply make up deeds and hand them over to immigrant Jews, under the British, land which had always been farmed by certain villages might still have been considered “public” on the books, and thus could be sold to immigrants out from underneath them and themselves evicted, unless they had good, timely legal representation. Second, as the major Zionist organizations had a policy of only allowing Jews to live in or work land they bought, in many cases they evicted the Arab tenants simply because they weren’t Jewish. The resulting “landless peasants” became a serious problem.

        The land owned by Palestinian refugees in Israel should be returned to them, the same as buildings and property that has been returned to Jews who were forced from Austria, Germany, Poland and other places in which the Nazis were the sovereigns at one time. Now, who here wants to make the claim that forcing the Jews out of Austria and Germany and Poland, and the confiscation of their property, was legitimate?

      • Walid
        September 16, 2011, 3:51 pm

        “Too bad the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, etc. etc. were afforded that same right when they were kicked out of their homes before and after 1948.”

        Keep Lebanon out of your song, DBG, Jews there were never kicked out and in fact, after the creation of Israel, the Jewish population in Lebanon kept increasing all the way into the 60s when they started leaving the country along with other Lebanese for better economic opportunities eleswhere. Even with the invasion of Lebanon and Israel’s insistence on yanking them out, they kept refusing to leave, until of course, the Magen Avraham synagogue was hit by mysterious shell from an offshore ship that spooked them into leaving. It was a repeat of how the Iraqi Jews were “enticed” to leave after a few bombs were set off in Baghdad. With perhaps exception to Egypt, the Jews were not chased out of any Arab country.

      • Dex
        September 16, 2011, 4:24 pm

        Exactly, if I’m not mistaken, even Israel classifies Palestinians who were expelled from their homes in 1948, but remained within the Green Line as “internally displaced.”

        Yes, that means refugees…

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 6:19 pm

        Lyn117,

        What are you talking about? There were 3-4 million Jews in Poland before WWII and they had much real estate. There were major towns that were more than half Jewish. Basically none of the real estate has been returned. And after so many years have passed, I don’t expect it to be returned either.

      • Hostage
        September 16, 2011, 7:28 pm

        With perhaps exception to Egypt, the Jews were not chased out of any Arab country.

        Israel and Egypt concluded a final settlement that was completely silent about the subject of Jewish refugees. However both Israel and Egypt included provisions intended to confer the right of autonomy on the Palestinians. See Article 36 of the Treaty of Vienna on the Law of Treaties, “Treaties providing for rights for third States”.

        It’s odd that Israelis always divert attention to the unrelated issue of Jewish refugees from third states whenever their settlement with the Palestinians is under discussion. It’s axiomatic that treaties do not create rights or obligations for third states that are not a party to the treaty or without their consent. The Palestinians don’t legally represent any of the other Arab States. See Article 34 of the Treaty of Vienna on the Law of Treaties, “General rule regarding third States”: link to untreaty.un.org

        It’s very doubtful that states can conclude agreements that would explicitly validate mass deportation or displacement of entire ethnic groups, since those are crimes against humanity or an exceptionally serious war crime. See Article 53 of the Treaty of Vienna on the Law of Treaties, “Treaties conflicting with a peremptory norm of general international law (“jus cogens”) ” and Alexander Orakhelashvili, The Impact of Peremptory
        Norms on the Interpretation and Application of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, EJIL (2005), Vol. 16 No. 1, 59–88

      • RoHa
        September 16, 2011, 7:42 pm

        “But then the world is not fair.”

        It is our duty to try to make it as fair as possible.

      • lyn117
        September 16, 2011, 8:44 pm

        Jewish property has been returned this many years after the holocaust. And yes, Poland has been dragging its feet after coming out from communism, under which I guess private persons didn’t have the right to sue the state for their property. However, getting property returned to Jews is not out of the question, and suits are ongoing.

        I note your former statements that taking property away from Palestinians was moral. Do you agree also, that the Nazis confiscation of property belonging to Jews was moral? Do you disagree with the rabbi in the following article, who says not returning property is immoral?

        link to dw-world.de,,14922252,00.html

      • annie
        September 16, 2011, 8:48 pm

        Just out of curiosity, how much do you think the life of a Jew is worth?

        i’m not understanding where you’re coming up with this question eee. i don’t put monetary value on things that are priceless, that is you. you are the person who suggested a financial compensation for a homeland.this is your framing, not mine. so just answer up please.

        Are you willing to relegate the right of return to a financial compensation issue instead of a demand to return to Israel?

        3e, just out of curiosity how much money would jews accept to abandon israel. i’d like to incorporate the financial worth you place on that homeland of yours before reacting to this question. just a ballpark figure please.

      • Chaos4700
        September 16, 2011, 10:09 pm

        Let me get this straight, eee. Israeli society intends to combat cruel injustice targeted at Jews by… exacting the same cruel injustice but targeted at Palestinians?

      • Inanna
        September 16, 2011, 11:16 pm

        The Jews in Lebanon were not kicked out. The Jewish population actually rose in Lebanon after 1948 with Jews who did not want to go to Israel. Most Lebanese Jews now live in Paris, Montreal and New York and they left in the decades after 1948. In most cases it was due to the same reasons that many other groups emigrated from Lebanon – unrest, war and wanting a better life for themselves and their families.

        Before you continue with your talking points, you might want to check them out with Mizrahi Jews in Israel, many of whom do not identify as refugees since they were heeding the call of Zion.

      • Inanna
        September 16, 2011, 11:16 pm

        Sorry Walid, did not see your post. Posted the same below.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 11:44 pm

        Jewish property has not been returned by the Egyptians, Iraqis, Syrians, Morrocans, or Lebanese.

      • DBG
        September 16, 2011, 11:45 pm

        Just out of curiosity, how much do you think the life of a Jew is worth? in the case of Gilad Shalit it is worth more than 1000 Palestinians.

      • RoHa
        September 17, 2011, 12:03 am

        “Just out of curiosity, how much do you think the life of a Jew is worth?”

        No more than the life of a Gentile.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:14 am

        The whole point of the question was to make clear to Annie that we put financial value on things all the time, even lives. According to Annie’s logic, Israel and the Jews should never have compromised with Germany because lives are “priceless”. So yes, one can compensate Palestinians financially in lieu of the ROR just as Germany compensated with money for murdering 6 million Jews. Of course, if the Palestinians refuse compensation as an alternative, no one can force them. But that is the only viable solution.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:22 am

        And just to be clear. The Palestinians will not see one cent of compensation until Jews are compensated for their property in Arab countries and Poland. If we are rewinding history let’s do it for everybody. In fact, the way I see it, the Poles and Arabs should compensate the Palestinians directly. No need for the middle man. Since the property of 3-4 million Jews in Poland is worth more than the property of .75 million Palestinians in Israel, it is a good deal for the Palestinians. If you want justice, then let it be for everybody.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 1:26 am

        no, the whole point of your 2nd question was to divert from the topic you initiated which was the monetary value of a homeland.

        lol, you can’t answer your own question can you 3e? what do you think your homeland is worth to you on monetary terms?

        what is the difference between me asking you and you asking simone? lolol

        divert alert divert alert! eee thinks his homeland means more to jews than to palestinians

        come on eee, just answer your own question. cat got your tongue? what’s it worth to you in dollars? how much would jews sell israel for? in compensation?

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 1:31 am

        murdering 6 million Jews.

        do you have anything else to say?

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 1:35 am

        and what is this ‘if’ you speak of? how many times do the palestinian have to refuse an offer of compensation for their international right of return for you to understand it aint for sale? stop asking that redundant question that you and your hasbrat ilk keep asking time and again. just stop.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:37 am

        Annie,

        Your question does not make sense. Let’s say I wrongfully killed your child and I want to compensate you for that. Your answer it seems is to ask me how much I want so you can kill my child. Don’t you see that our situation is completely different? Your child is dead, there is nothing that can be done about it. My child is alive, therefore I would not accept any price to have him killed. The only way to reach a resolution is for me to compensate you. There is no symmetry in the situation.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:42 am

        Annie,

        What does it mean that the ROR is not for sale? Since the Palestinians do not have it for all practical purposes, what exactly are they not selling?

        If they receive compensation it does not mean that they love their homeland less than Jews. Again, take the case of the wrongful death. If you kill my child, and I get compensation from you does it mean you love your child more than I love mine? Of course not.

      • Chaos4700
        September 17, 2011, 1:43 am

        in the case of Gilad Shalit it is worth more than 1000 Palestinians.

        Exactly the racist thing we’ve come to expect from you and your ilk, DBG.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 1:45 am

        ror is very much alive, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

        eee, i didn’t ask you if you would give up israel. i only ask you to put a price on it so we could understand your sense of value. i’m not asking you to sell it. it’s just a hypothetical. just give me a ballpark figure what you think it is worth. if you want to make this about the worth of your child or a jewish child so be it.

        don’t be such a drama queen. set the price you think the homeland is worth and then we’ll talk bargain. what do you think your homeland is worth?

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:52 am

        Annie,

        Again, you are asking me while my child is alive, what is the price I would be willing to accept to have him killed. There is no price I will accept. But if tomorrow, you run one of my kids over, there will be a price I would be willing to accept as compensation because the situation is completely different.

        I have a homeland and will not sell it for any price. But the Palestinians are not in a symmetrical position, their homeland is gone, “run over” by Israel to continue the analogy. Therefore, they are in a position to receive monetary compensation while I am not. While it is a live option, a homeland is priceless. When it is not any more as in the ROR case, there is a price on it.

      • thankgodimatheist
        September 17, 2011, 1:52 am

        “This all proves the point I keep repeating that the settlements are not really the issue. It is the right of return.”

        It’s unequivocally BOTH. But you wouldn’t wouldn’t want to acknowledge this fact as that would be giving too much to the “enemy”.

      • Chaos4700
        September 17, 2011, 1:54 am

        Let’s say I wrongfully killed your child and I want to compensate you for that.

        That’s not even hypothetical, you’re a 10-year veteran of the IDF I recall you claiming. Tell us how much you’d want to compensate the Palestinian families you’ve sundered.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 1:56 am

        By the way, the ROR is completely dead. We are having this discussion not because the ROR is a possibility, but because the Palestinians are not willing to reach a monetary compromise over the issue and that is a major obstacle to peace.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:01 am

        Again, you are asking me while my child is alive

        actually i’m not eee. i was just asking you what your homeland was worth to you. oh look!!!!

        I have a homeland and will not sell it for any price.

        thank you!

        But the Palestinians are not in a symmetrical position, their homeland is gone

        really? did it fly away over the rainbow. oh, i understand..so iow when jews were not in a symmetrical position with muslims in the holyland it was not the homeland for the jews. it was ‘gone’.

        thanks for clearing that up eee.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 2:06 am

        Annie,

        Yes, the Palestinian homeland in Israel is gone, just as the 6 million Jews killed in Europe are gone. Neither can come back.

        During the British Mandate both homelands were viable options a fact that the UN partition resolution wanted to cement. But now, 63 years have passed, and a Palestinian homeland in Israel is not an option anymore.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:11 am

        the Palestinian homeland in Israel is gone

        hey everybody, according to eee homelands are not where ones ancestors are from. how illuminating!

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:12 am

        a Palestinian homeland in Israel is not an option anymore.

        hey everybody! eee thinks homelands are optional! how illuminating!

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:16 am

        During the British Mandate both homelands were viable options

        great, eee thinks the homeland for the jews is an ‘optional’ thing. now we are really getting somewhere. this is getting better all the time. anything else you care to say about homelands other than the fact that they can get killed and die and never come back?

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 2:18 am

        Annie,

        Come on. You know that is not what I mean. Two can play this game. If Israel is the Palestinian homeland and will always will be, then by accepting compensation in lieu of ROR Israel remains their homeland (because their ancestors are from it) and so they are not selling it, right? I know this is not what you mean.

        The Palestinians do not have an option of returning to Israel. They can continue demanding that at the expense of peace or they can agree to accept compensation just like Jews accepted compensation from Germany instead of being at war with it for decades.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:19 am

        the ROR is completely dead

        lol earth to eee lol i can’t stop laughing. rights die!

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 2:22 am

        Annie,

        Of course “rights” die. When somebody is murdered his “right” to life dies with him as well as all his other rights. Or do dead people have “rights” also?

        What I meant regarding the ROR is that it is not a viable option, just like the fact that the right to life is not a viable option for a dead person.

      • annie
        September 17, 2011, 2:27 am

        Of course “rights” die. When somebody is murdered his “right” to life dies with him

        i don’t want to burst your bubble but palestinians are still very much alive. and they still have their ror, that’s why we’re discussing this. if they weren’t it would not be a bone of contention in the ‘peace process’.

        you can stomp your feet all you want and pretend there is no longer an ror, that is drifted up into never never land. but you’d be wrong. it’s gonna take more than declarations to the contrary to make this go away. you know it and i know it and everyone knows it. especially all the people whose land you keep stealing.

        take the last word. you’re a joke.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 2:32 am

        Of course Palestinians are alive, but their option to return to Israel is not. We are discussing it, because their wrong belief is the main reason they have languished in refugee camps for generations and the reason most of the original refugees died as refugees. Of course, Palestinians can continue demanding it. They can also demand a sky scraper on Jupiter and believe they can get it. But it will never happen.

        I am not saying there is no ROR. That is not the issue. I am saying that Palestinians will never return to Israel. They haven’t for 63 years and they never will. If the diaspora Palestinians want to insist on returning to Israel as a condition for peace, they are more than welcome to do that, but it should be clear to them that it means they will just remain refugees for life. If that is what they want, that is their choice.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 2:43 am

        Annie,

        As for who is a joke, I think it is the people who give Palestinians false hopes and lead them to horrendous decisions. Imagine if the Palestinians accepted after the 1948 war that they would not return and demanded citizenship from the Arab countries. How much better would their situation have been? You would not have had 3 generations of refugees and counting.

      • john h
        September 17, 2011, 2:53 am

        Ah yes, eee, let me remind you of what you said of my apt analogy: “Your analogies are quite wrong”.

        The analogy I used was: “Somebody steals a child by force because he has none, and its parent uses force to get the child back. You are supporting the child kidnapper; we are supporting the parent the child belongs to.”

        Not content with kidnapping the child, you are claiming it is gone, and we are talking about a compensation price, a kind of ransom in reverse. And you would pay any price to keep something that is gone that isn’t yours?

        The fact is, the child is the same child, and it’s very much alive and has grown some. And as you said, a homeland is priceless.

        Time for Solomon to apply his wisdom. We can see the result. Who is the parent that has been prepared to give away so much? Remember the Palestine Papers?

      • Hostage
        September 17, 2011, 3:53 am

        And just to be clear. The Palestinians will not see one cent of compensation until Jews are compensated for their property in Arab countries and Poland.

        Your ambassador accepted the terms of Resolution 181(II) and 194(III) protecting the rights of Arabs in Israel and the refugees right to choose either return or compensation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Security Council imposes a solution, since Israel keeps dissembling along the lines you describe and trying to exercise rights and claims that have never been assigned to it by any of the third parties concerned.

      • Walid
        September 17, 2011, 4:19 am

        “Sorry Walid, did not see your post. Posted the same below.’

        Innana, it’s great that you posted the same thing and I’d wish you’d do it again and again; these guys don’t understand from the first time so the more it’s repeated to them, the better their chance of understanding. They love repeating that gimmicky slogan because they were officially told to do so as it’s part of a master plan designed way back in anticipation of one day having to face a court action forcing Israel to restitute the expelled Palestinians’ rights. The plan is to assert that for the 700,000 or so expelled Palestinians, the Arab countries collectively expelled an almost identical number of Jews and thereby, under some hocus-pocus logic, the claims of the expelled Palestinians are offset by the counterclaim of the expelled Jews.

        You mentioned those Jews that had voluntarily left to make their aliya, especially the very devout Iraqi ones. It made a big stink in Israel a few years back when they went public with this assertion and were told to shut up because they were jeopardizing any future counter claim Israel would be making against the Arab countries collectively. Of course this approach is flawed but regrettably, on June 24, 2004, Congress passed one its funny non-binding resolutions(HR Concurrent #460 by a vote of 407-9)) negating the Palestinians’ RoR, stating that Israel is a Jewish state and recognizing “new realties” on the ground about the presence of the settlements. This was made worse on April 3, 2008 when Congress passed another non-binding (HR concurrent #185) effectively recognizing the Israelis’ right to claim against Arab countries and absurdly twinning it to the Palestinians’ claims against Israel.

        This is why it has to be repeated over and over that the mass expulsion of Arab Jews was a big Zionist lie.

      • andrew r
        September 17, 2011, 5:24 am

        eee says: “1) Jews immigrated to Palestine because the sovereign allowed them to do so. They were not compensated for anything nor did they push anyone from their home. They bought or rented the land they resided on pre-1948.”

        While that last sentence is technically true, the previous two sentences don’t hold any water. In fact, Ottoman Palestine legally permitted only Ottoman Jewish subjects to buy land and later forbade them from buying it altogether. However, the purchasing agents were able to circumvent the restriction because the Certificate of Protection given to European nationals concealed their faith.

        (By the way, if you think I’d be in favor of such measures in the name of anti-zionism, this wasn’t the only way Ottoman Palestine was colonized. By the late 1800s European finance capital controlled all but one of the big banks in the Empire plus shipping, mining and railways. The Ottomans in their feeble attempt to stave off Zionist colonization took to a prototypical racial profiling because their economy at that point was based on foreign ownership.)

        More importantly, due to the murky nature of land privatization under the Tanzimat reforms, it was typical of the landowners to sell more land than they were really entitled to. And dispossession of the peasants on a small scale began from almost day one.

        Finally, additional conflicts were rooted in dispossession, real or intended.

        All these factors, in their multifarious entanglement, were present in the first mass attack on a Jewish moshava, directed by the Arab villagers of Yahudiya, in March 1886, against Petach Tikvah. The 14,200 dunams of this colony were purchased from Anton Bishara Tayan and Salim Kaser, two Christian Orthodox merchants and moneylenders from Jaffa, who acquired the land and retained its owners – the villagers of Umlabess and Yahudiya – as tenant farmers, when their land was sequestered by the authorities for being in arrears in the payment of taxes. Given the crude character of the tapu, the Ottoman land register, parts of the purchase were disputed: the Arab tenant farmers very likely were legally entitled to the possession of 2,600 dunams, though Tayan claimed to have sold the whole area to its new owners. But even the rest of the area could not be registered in the tapu because of the opposition of Rauf Pasha, the Mutasarrif of Jerusalem, who conscientiously enforced Ottoman restrictions on Jewish settlement. As long as the Jewish settlers cultivated only part of the land themselves and subleased other parts to its previous cultivators these animosities did not break into the open. This situation lasted a number of years, since the early settlers of Petach Tikvah, who came from the traditional Old Yishuv in Jerusalem, abandoned the colony and its settlement was renewed only upon joining a group of First Aliya immigrants from Bialystok.

        The new settlers, however, demanded in 1886 that the Arab tenant farmers of Yahudiya vacate some of the fields to which they claimed ownership. The latter invoked the traditional right of having already completed the first part of the two-year crop rotation and expected to be allowed to plant the fields with economically more valuable winter crop.
        (Shafir, Land and Labor, 200-201)

        So there you go: Some prima facie evidence that even the earliest settlers demanded removal of peasants from their land.

      • Sumud
        September 17, 2011, 7:33 am

        And just to be clear. The Palestinians will not see one cent of compensation until Jews are compensated for their property in Arab countries and Poland.

        Bloviation eee, and you’re exposing your disgustingly primitive ‘morals'; that you think Palestinians should be denied justice because of what the nazis did to Polish jews.

        Not even a biblical ‘an eye for an eye’. Just that somewhere in the past some of your tribe were wronged and you want someone to pay the price – and it doesn’t really matter who.

        You’re repulsive.

      • andrew r
        September 17, 2011, 9:07 am

        Sumud: “Just that somewhere in the past some of your tribe were wronged and you want someone to pay the price – and it doesn’t really matter who.”

        The best way for eee, “David Ben-Gurion” (DBG), hophmi, et. al to defend the Zionist project is to stop trying to defend the Zionist project.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 11:43 am

        Sumud,

        The one who is repulsive is you, since you want to deny Jews the “justice” you demand for Palestinians. My extended family owned property in Poland. My wife’s grandmother owned property in Poland and was never able to reclaim it (she tried many years till her death). This is not just someone in the past. Same goes for Jews from Arab countries living in Israel. Their families owned much property in Arab countries. How is this different from a Palestinian born in Lebanon to parents born in Lebanon? Why is the Palestinians relation to property in Israel less tenuous? You want to rewind history? Let’s rewind it for everybody.

      • eee
        September 17, 2011, 11:46 am

        “This is why it has to be repeated over and over that the mass expulsion of Arab Jews was a big Zionist lie.”

        This propaganda by anti-Zionists had been debunked by Martin Gilbert the famous British historian:
        link to amazon.com

      • andrew r
        September 17, 2011, 12:11 pm

        “The one who is repulsive is you, since you want to deny Jews the “justice” you demand for Palestinians.”

        Oh yea, more playing “ha-olam kulo negdeinu.” Because obviously you have a link to a mondoweiss comment where Sumud came out against Polish Jews reclaiming their property and simply forgot to post it.

        What is this crap supposed to accomplish? And is there someone who can defend Israel without failing to read/pretending to read something that isn’t there?

      • andrew r
        September 17, 2011, 12:37 pm

        “This propaganda by anti-Zionists had been debunked by Martin Gilbert the famous British historian:”

        Who the hell is going to shell out on Amazon just to make sure you’re right? Post a blockquote or link to a page on Google if you want anyone to take the bloody book seriously. Of course, anything trying to pass off Zionism as a liberation movement from Dhimmitude can not be taken seriously by anyone with a functioning brain.

        I read “Churchill and the Jews” by Sir Gilbert and remember it fondly as it was my first real exposure to the casual anti-semitism of the British ruling figures who supported Zionism. Good example of a book that buries Zionism even as it tries to be sympathetic.

      • Hostage
        September 17, 2011, 2:03 pm

        The one who is repulsive is you, since you want to deny Jews the “justice” you demand for Palestinians.

        If the state of Israel has a case for reparations from Poland, it would have to present it to a Court there or in the United Nations. In the meantime, it can’t hold the fate of another disinterested people hostage and continue to profit handsomely from its own considerable wrong doing against them. FYI many holocaust survivors still claim that the State of Israel has ripped them off under previous compensation agreements. So, I’d advise anyone against assigning their private claims to that state.

        I assume that the only reason you are still allowed to post here is because you are stereotypically repulsive. I couldn’t invent a better Zionist poster child for the purposes of anti-Zionist evangelism than someone like you.

      • Walid
        September 17, 2011, 2:54 pm

        ” Same goes for Jews from Arab countries living in Israel. Their families owned much property in Arab countries. How is this different from a Palestinian born in Lebanon to parents born in Lebanon? ”

        I agree with that, Jews that lost properties in Arab countries for whatever reason should be compensated and that includes Iraqi Jews that were coerced to sign away their rights by the Zionists and crooked Iraqi government agents.

      • RoHa
        September 17, 2011, 7:50 pm

        The analogy between a child and “homeland” is false. A “homeland” is not an entity that can die in anything like the way a child can die.

        “I have a homeland”

        How would the ROR take that away from you? ROR does not imply that you would be thrown out. You could still live in your home in the land.
        You already share the land with a lot of other people (Jews and non-Jews). In a two-state solution with ROR, you would share it with a few more non-Jews. In a one-state solution, your “homeland” would be bigger (all of Palestine) and you would share it with a lot more non-Jews. How would that take your “homeland” away from you?

      • Sumud
        September 18, 2011, 10:51 am

        The one who is repulsive is you, since you want to deny Jews the “justice” you demand for Palestinians.

        Straw man alert.

        You’re being thoroughly disingenuous eee. Please quote me with a link where I said that Polish jews or jews where were actually ethnically cleansed from arab lands (as opposed to those who left voluntarily to answer the call of zionism) should not receive compensation for their stolen property.

        I can absolutely positively guarantee that you will never be able to provide any such quote, because I don’t believe this and never have.

        As Hostage and Walid have both indicated, any such cases should be made, and appropriate compensation paid.

        What disgusts me about you is that you condition any such compensation for Palestinians on the outcome of totally unrelated other cases. This is not justice in the least, and I repeat, it’s monstrous to try and tie the issues together like that.

        But this is no surprise. I was raised to believe that two wrongs don’t make a right. It seems you weren’t.

      • Hostage
        September 16, 2011, 6:42 pm

        Abbas and friends don’t appear anxious to address this issue any more than the Israelis

        Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the PLO Executive Committee. She responded to the advisory opinion written by Guy Goodwin-Gill that appeared in AJ. See Ashrawi: UN statehood bid no threat to PLO link to maannews.net

        Francis Boyle also wrote an article which explained that Guy Goodwin-Gill had based his opinion on many erroneous assumptions. link to counterpunch.org

      • Walid
        September 17, 2011, 5:07 am

        “Hanan Ashrawi is a member of the PLO Executive Committee. She responded to the advisory opinion written by Guy Goodwin-Gill that appeared in AJ. See Ashrawi: UN statehood bid no threat to PLO link to maannews.net ”

        Saying UN membership would not jeopardize RoR does not imply that it’s being addressed. I was thinking more along the lines of hearing it yelled from the rooftops for all to hear. Israel that cares only about what America feels and not any other country already has a Congressional resolution negating the Palestinians R0R and saying more or less that the refugees are not Israel’s problem. Although the resolution is non-binding, it nonetheless gives Israel moral support from the American people and this is all Israel needs to shut its eyes, ears and mouths on anything to do with RoR. The same resolution declared that Israel was a Jewish state and that the settlements were established facts on the ground that have to be taken into account along with Israel’s security needs in the drawing of final borders. Now Netanyahu is saying that Israel needs its presence in the Jordan Valley to “feel safe”.

        Not bringing it up and out into the open at this stage is only making it much harder for later on.

  3. Citizen
    September 16, 2011, 9:10 am

    Bishara makes sense. A recent poll confirmed that Turkey’s latest incarnation is pleasing to most Arabs, and most pleasing to Saudi Arabia, which sees Sunni Turkey as emerging counterbalance to Sharia Iran.

    Israel appears to be concerned that if the Pals get “Vatican status,” Israeli officials, diplomats will be vulnerable to treatment as war criminals if they visit other countries, and hence may be subject to international criminal court jurisdiction. Israel’s greatest concern, it’s public image outside Israel & OT, will be (even more) tarnished. Eventually, even the US masses might become so “infected,” rather than “healthy” in their abject ignorance of the facts of Israeli conduct in the ME.

    • Simone Daud
      September 16, 2011, 9:27 am

      I think that the present government of Israel is concerned about any non-Israeli sovereignty in any part of Palestine.

      As for Turkey, I am very surprised by its transformation. And I don’t think the Saudi monarchy is actually impressed by this transformation. The Arab people however are cheering them on.

      • Walid
        September 16, 2011, 10:06 am

        “And I don’t think the Saudi monarchy is actually impressed by this transformation”

        The monarchy is impressed by any party that’s not friendly with apostates and heretics. The US pressure on the Iranians is more for their benefit than for Israel’s.

      • Simone Daud
        September 16, 2011, 10:13 am

        link to dailykos.com

        A link on this.

        But I don’t think the Saudis are impressed by Erdogan. Too much democracy etc.,

  4. thankgodimatheist
    September 16, 2011, 9:26 am

    Great insights from Bishara but what an irritating, infuriating even, interviewer. He would just not shut up for a minute and let him finish his sentences!

    So there’s this:
    “Sadly, the head of the Authority [Abbas] recently in a meeting with intellectuals reaffirmed the continuation of security cooperation and [bilateral] negotiations. So the problem is the extent that the leadership has liberated itself from the past thinking.”

    Exactly what’s generating a lot of skepticism. Little trust in Abbas and the PA. This is the main source of division nowadays between those Palestinians who back the initiative and those, many, who oppose it.

    • Simone Daud
      September 16, 2011, 9:33 am

      It’s more of a late night conversation. I really like the setting. We can’t have boring Azmi talking to himself like those religious Saudi lecture programs on tv.

      • thankgodimatheist
        September 16, 2011, 9:47 am

        BTW, thank you Simone for this effort. The translation is so impeccable I could hear his words behind your own written ones.

  5. seafoid
    September 16, 2011, 9:27 am

    This is the LAST SHABBAT that the settlers have full political coverage.
    The LAST SHABBAT that the world buys Israeli intransigence.
    The LAST SHABBAT that the settlers get to tell the Palestinians what to do.

    Shabbat Shalom !

    link to haaretz.com

    “This week, the chairwoman of his last party spoke about the path that leads to Masada, which may fall again after all, and mentioned the sense of disaster now felt by many people, including me. When I heard her words, which radiated despair and loss, I thought to myself: What will the public’s favorite say when the disaster occurs and his vision dies before its time? What will he tell his grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they ask, “Where were you when the world ended, Grandpa”

    • Simone Daud
      September 16, 2011, 9:36 am

      Shabat Shalom, I think there will be a few more years of occupation. But I do hope it falls appart quickly and unexpectedly. Like it did in Egypt in Tahrir square (I was so pessimistic to the last second).

      • seafoid
        September 16, 2011, 9:47 am

        I would be more pessimistic if the financial world wasn’t in meltdown mode.

        2011 is the year of institutional collapse

      • Simone Daud
        September 16, 2011, 10:20 am

        I agree. I hope it all goes to pot.

      • seafoid
        September 16, 2011, 10:36 am

        When Mubarak fell a friend of mine who used to work at BZU wrote “I hope it all falls apart and Israel sh*ts itself”

        Very pithy.

      • yourstruly
        September 16, 2011, 10:11 am

        it’s the “battle of algiers”, palestinian style, with the colonizers, who until very recently thought that they’d broken the insurrection, suddenly confronted & overwhelmed by mass uprisings. oh happy day!

      • eee
        September 16, 2011, 12:02 pm

        What exactly do you guys think will fall apart? Based on your strategy, the best the Palestinians can end up with is another Gaza. Only a negotiated solution will be peaceful and bring prosperity to the Palestinians. The West Bank and Israel need to be an integrated economic unity for the West Bank to be viable and that is why a negotiated solution is imperative. If the West Bank is hostile to Israel, it will quickly become a super-failed state.

      • Chaos4700
        September 16, 2011, 10:15 pm

        Based on your strategy, the best the Palestinians can end up with is another Gaza.

        So basically you’re saying Israelis will kill children on the West Bank if the UN vote goes through? Or are you only speaking for yourself, eee?

    • RoHa
      September 17, 2011, 12:06 am

      “Where were you when the world ended, Grandpa”

      The end of Israel is the end of the world?

      What a mindset!

  6. richb
    September 16, 2011, 10:44 am

    Last night Norman Finkelstein spoke at CU Boulder:

    link to i484.photobucket.com
    link to i484.photobucket.com

    The topic of the discussion was Gandhi and the I/P struggle and what should be done in a post Arab Spring world. Finkelstein had an interesting insight very similar to Bishara. Namely, non-violence in Gandhi’s thought was not enough it had to be what the public already had agreed upon. What the non-violence accomplishes is action. If you have non-violence but no consensus it doesn’t do any good. In the case of the conflict there is an international consensus based on international law which states that all the settlements including in East Jerusalem are illegal. This consensus is as follows:

    1. Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders.
    2. All settlements should be abandoned including in East Jerusalem
    3. A just right of return to the place of origin should be guaranteed

    Finkelstein documented this consensus amongst countries outside the U.S. noting that even amongst Jews that this was changing (due to the fact that Jews are fundamentally liberal and now Jews know too much) and that in the U.S. Israel viewed as a positive is now only a 50/50 proposition. He then documented the General Assembly votes that were everybody to two or seven that agreed to this consensus. And then he repeated it for the Arab League and for the 57 Islamic countries (including Iran). He noted the unanimous ICJ ruling on the wall was also based on the illegality of the settlements.

    He then dealt with some objections from the right and the left. The condition that the Palestinians need to recognize as a Jewish state is bogus since it wasn’t required of the Egyptians nor the Jordanians in their peace treaties. He also noted that Hamas’ attitude towards Israel is exactly analogous to Gandhi’s towards Pakistan. Gandhi believed partition was a sin but accepted the fact of Pakistan’s existence.

    He noted that land swaps have no basis in international law since the settlements are illegal. If the Israelis can convince the Palestinians to have land swaps that’s one thing but to have the Israel to have veto power over Palestine’s border established by international law is a different matter particularly since the “negotiations” are a proven stalling tactic.

    Finkelstein then addressed the proponents of the one state solution. The one state solution is not necessary because if you only look at the settlements rather than the settlement blocs it only comprises roughly 1% of the West Bank. Many of the settlers are quality of life and even the ideological settlers will have a change of heart once the army is gone.

    During Q&A time the question of the use of violence when non-violence hasn’t worked was raised. Finkelstein noted that the most effective resistance were during the First Intifada before the PLO messed it up. He speculated counter-factually that things would have been much different. Since then he noted that the PA has been trying to de-politicize the situation and are worrying if there was a real popular uprising ala the Arab Spring that they might go the way of other Arab autocrats.

    The event was much more peaceful than I expected. SayYesToPeace.org passed out “questions” to ask Dr. Finkelstein interestingly enough critical of the one state solution. The talk was concluded with a standing ovation and only one hostile question which I’m sure Simone Daud would find interesting. A young woman was offended by Finkelstein quoting the U.S. State Department vis-a-vis discrimination against Palestinian Israelis. She was at a school in Jerusalem where there was both Jews and Arabs. She tried to say how the U.S. discriminates possibly even more. Having seen American Radical I knew what was to follow. He noted how 60% of Israelis admit there is discrimination and how does one school make that not true? How is what you are saying credible? He then in rapid-fire succession had quote after quote and poll after poll showing the vacuousness of her position and as my debater daughter noted an argument from pathos. The other classic Finkelstein was on the question of having the Palestinians just wait just a little more where he responded in full rant. In it was the essence of the talk: the time for debate is over and the time for action is now. We should all go in one direction because the people — indeed all the people — are ready.

    • annie
      September 16, 2011, 12:51 pm

      thanks richb

    • Dex
      September 16, 2011, 4:34 pm

      I like Norman Finkelstein; I have seen him lecture 3 times and his heart is in the right place, but, as I’ve said before, this conflict has passed him by. He is, unfortunately, part of a two-state “peace industry” that does very little to statisfy Palestinian tenets of justice.

      Since the 2nd intifada, Palestinians have recentralized “justice” as the central theme of their struggle. The Oslo process forced them to sacrafice justice for “pragmatism,” as Joseph Massad once said, and this last decade shows that they are absolutely (and rightfully so) unwilling to give up their their rights for any pseudo-state, e.g. the right of return.

      We will see the final nail in the coffin of the two-state farce next week. Peace will only emerge when Palestinian society is able to reunite (those inside Israel, West Bank, Gaza, refugees, and Diaspora). Israel has no choice but to let this happen; it is inevitable.

      The solution: one democratic secular state for all. That means NO “Jewish-state” Israel, sorry…

  7. Leigh
    September 16, 2011, 11:40 am

    My experience from living in Gaza part-time is that at grassroots level there is little/no support for the statehood bid. So that’s one reason that I think there won’t be protests or an uprising. This regardless of constant irritating propoganda on Fatah/PA media. Honestly, if you leave home, you run into newspaper adds for statehood bid. If you stay at home, some radio/TV is on plugging it. It’s the first time in my life that I regret having learnt Arabic.

    Sorry, sidetracked. I was going to say that Gaza is a lot more politicised than the West Bank at this stage, and they don’t support the statehood bid. And believe me, it doesn’t have anything to do with Hamas. Many kids in Gaza are unemployed, learning English, getting on Facebook and Twitter, connecting with international activists, organising politics discussion groups, etc. They don’t support the bid because they have a highly developed understanding of what it is. The common attitude is that they want rights, not peace; and equality/dignity, not just statehood.

    I suspect that the Palestinians in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon don’t care much either because it doesn’t have much to do with what they’re campaigning for, namely right of return to the entirety of historic Palestine.

    And the chance of getting a protest going in the West Bank, as much as it hurts me to have to say this, is near zero. The protests in Cairo, London etc. were bigger than the one in Ramallah last month when Israel bombed Gaza. I understand the reasons for West Bank and Israeli Palestinian apathy very well; I spent some time there during the second intifada and the price they had to pay was beyond anything any outsider can ever grasp.

    Point? The people who are sufficiently motivated to put Egyptian-style people power behind the bid don’t support it, and those who do support it are too apathetic.

    • seafoid
      September 16, 2011, 12:17 pm

      It’s not going to change overnight. It’s going to take a lot more work.
      But the plates are shifting. The Israeli narrative is breaking.

  8. Seham
    September 16, 2011, 11:51 am

    Jesus, this is awesome. We now have a Mondoweiss regular translating Azmi Bishara for us.

  9. annie
    September 16, 2011, 12:59 pm

    Bishara: If we liberate ourselves from old thinking and attitudes, then this step [of going to the UN] becomes part of what is happening in the region. The Arab masses will adopt these new steps. If the Palestinians say start a new intifada or stop security cooperation or take steps towards [international] sanctions. Even if it is not armed resistance or [peaceful] intifada, just changing the dynamic into combativeness with Israel, then there is no doubt that the Arab world will adopt this change. It is an exit from the dynamic of bilateral negotiations.

    this gives me goosebumps. it’s so simple and yet so obvious. the thinking has to change. once the thinking changes the approach follows. throw out the whole ‘negotiations with the superpower’ structure, just throw it out. align with international law and hold your ground.

    it’s so thrilling having you here simone.

    • Kathleen
      September 16, 2011, 1:42 pm

      annie that paragraph jumped out at me as well
      link to theelders.org

      Former US President Jimmy Carter said:

      “Any future peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must start on a fresh basis, one based firmly on international law and universal human rights.

      “All settlements on occupied territories have repeatedly been declared by the international community to be illegal under international law.

      “To give peace in the Holy Land a chance, all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem intended solely for Jewish occupants must halt immediately.”

      Lakhdar Brahimi

      Former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi said:

      “The occupation must end. And the way the negotiations have been conducted until now cannot continue. Any return to business-as-usual is unacceptable and doomed to failure.

      “When they resume, future peace negotiations should be meaningful and serious, with clear parameters and an agreed deadline for their conclusion.”

      The Elders believe that any negotiations that resume following action at the UN should aim to define the boundaries of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. Such an accord could entail equal land swaps to allow for minor adjustments.

      Martti Ahtisaari

      Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari said:

      “Fair and robust external mediation will be an essential ingredient as under present circumstances, the parties are unlikely to be able to reach an agreement on their own.

      “In this regard, a positive and united stand over the anticipated UN resolution by the European Union, Israel’s largest trading partner, would give it leverage to play a bigger political role to help resolve the conflict.”

      Desmond Tutu

      Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders said:

      “For over two decades, negotiations have been more about process than real substance, leading to understandable disillusionment and frustration among Palestinians and all those who seek a just and lasting peace agreement.

      “It has been almost 65 years since the UN agreed to the creation of two states – this solution has been delayed for far too long.”

  10. Kathleen
    September 16, 2011, 1:40 pm

    This has made it much clearer Thank you Simone for your translation.

    Just hope the Palestinians focus on how powerful peaceful peaceful peaceful demonstrations continue to be. People here in the US have watched how MSNBC’s Richard Engel and RAchel Maddow,Andread Mitchell will turn their cameras and attention to violent rebels taking over in Libya. Killing, destroying etc allegedly for their freedom. Rachel and Richard continually celebrate this and have endlessly covered it. But we know that peaceful Palestinian protest have endlessly been ignored by the MSM. Different rules apply to the Palestinians. Basically they get no coverage. And that is the way it has been for decades in the US MSM

    Hopefully demonstrations stay peaceful peaceful peaceful and any coverage they may get will show how they have struggled so long and are trying hard to be non violent protesters.

  11. Kathleen
    September 16, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Lets hope this makes it up over at the Huff Po mini discussion going on.
    link to huffingtonpost.com

    HUFFPOST SUPER USER
    cathleen
    162 Fans
    1 second ago (1:55 PM)
    This comment is pending approval and won’t be displayed until it is approved.

    Want more in depth informatio­n about what the changes are if the Palestinia­n accomplish their goal at the UN. Read this
    Arab Sources: Bishara on Palestine’­s UN bid

    by Simone Daud on September 16, 2011
    link to mon­doweiss.ne­t
    Bishara: This worries Israel because we have returned the diplomatic struggle to these internatio­nal levels. While Israel had earlier mitigated, limited, and blockaded [the diplomatic arena] into a situation where two negotiator­s meet, with the balance of power dictating that one side negotiates [Israel] and the other needs to ask for permission to even travel to negotiate. This was not normal. That reality was extremely bad.

    Bishara: Therefore now [the UN bid] is an announceme­nt that this dynamic has failed and ended. Israel took advantage of the [power] dynamics [in bilateral negotiatio­ns] to increase settlement­s and Judaize Jerusalem. Further we had Barack Obama’s pledge, in September 2010, that he wants to see a Palestinia­n state in September 2011. Where is Obama now? The Quartet [said the same]. Where are they now? Where are they hiding now? Where have they disappeare­d? They said that Israel should halt the settlement­s, they did not stop. In fact [Israel] gave nothing in reality.

    Bishara: Faced with this reality we now have [the UN bid]. But here is the problem. The Palestinia­n leadership has taken an important escalatory step.

  12. Kathleen
    September 16, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Ok this comment and link made it up over at Huff Po. Should bring more folks this way hopefully to read what Bishara said
    link to huffingtonpost.com

    Palestine Statehood Bid: Mahmoud Abbas Announces He Will Ask Full U.N. Membership
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 13:48:36 in World
    “Admitting bi lateral negotiatio­ns have failed. Taking it out of the US and Israel’s court and turning it over to the internatio­nal.
    “Bishara: Therefore now [the UN bid] is an announceme­nt that this dynamic has failed and ended. Israel took advantage of the [power] dynamics [in bilateral negotiatio­ns] to increase settlement­s and Judaize Jerusalem. Further we had Barack Obama’s pledge, in September 2010, that he wants to see a Palestinia­n state in September 2011. Where is Obama now? The Quartet [said the same]. Where are they now? Where are they hiding now? Where have they disappeare­d? They said that Israel should halt the settlement­s, they did not stop. In fact [Israel] gave nothing in reality.

    Bishara: Faced with this reality we now have [the UN bid]. But here is the problem. The Palestinia­n leadership has taken an important escalatory step. This opens the door for other important steps also at an internatio­nal level. In the sense of turning Palestine into an occupied country rather than occupied lands. This may open the possibilit­y of say sanctions …[on Israel]… but all of this is not important.­”
    link to mon­doweiss.ne­t

  13. Kathleen
    September 16, 2011, 2:29 pm

    You know lots of folks have talked about Obama being able to play 11th dimensional chess (over at Emptywheels) what ever 11th dimensional chess is. But I have thought that after Israel kicked the Obama administration in the cajones after Obama/Biden said out loud that the settlements are a real roadblock for peace that Obama took another tactic. Besides believing that people in that part of the world who have been oppressed by US and European supported dictators really deserve justice and freedom (in the true sense) that he pushed for this “Arab Spring” the MSM got right behind it (except of course for Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Palestine) and helped it along in big ways really. That this was another way for Obama to change the dynamics in the middle east in the long run hopefully for the better and give the Palestinians the support that they need to push REAL negotiations which really support a fair and balanced agreement. That the Israeli’s refused to hear Obama and he took another tactic. Lets hope that all demonstrations in support of this vote next weak are PEACEFUL PEACEFUL

  14. Kathleen
    September 16, 2011, 2:35 pm

    “What is needed is a new Palestinian attitude: bilateral negotiations have failed; ”

    And Secretary of State Clinton, UN Amabassador Susan Rice etc are scrambling to re start unsuccessful bi lateral negotiations

  15. bijou
    September 16, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Whether you are for or against the Palestinians’ UN gambit, there is one aspect of it that is undeniably refreshing: Palestinians at long last have discovered that they, too, have agency. They can act on their own behalf to drive the dynamic forward in different ways. Up until now, for 60 years, it has felt as if they were passively waiting for Godot — waiting for the right circumstances to align and for their people to be “saved” by some deus ex machina.

    Thanks to a perfect storm of circumstances over the past year including the Palestine papers, Wikileaks, the Arab Spring, the incredible arrogance and blindness of Israel, the US’s clear one-sidedness, and more, it seems that the Palestinians have discovered how to act rather than just react. And that, more than anything, is what has the US and Israel up in arms with hysteria.

    To that I would say: Hell yeah!

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