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The Palestinians, in Israeli officials’ own words

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Anees, our Jerusalem correspondent, offers this roadmap of the Israeli relationship to the Palestinian minority:

Early 1970's: "We
have no solution… You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like
dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process

– Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, defense minister, and leader of the Labor party in Israel. He said these words in a talk with members of his Labor cabinet. Noam Chomsky cites as source of this quote: Yossi Beilin, Mehiro shel Ihud (Revivim, 1985), 42; an important review of cabinet records under the Labor Party. Books that cite these words (excluding Chomsky's)

May 3, 1983:
"When we have settled the land, all the
Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged
roaches in a bottle."

– Rafael Eitan (1929-2004) served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, and later as Knesset member and government minister. Sources

October 8, 2004:
"The significance of the [Gaza Strip disengagement] plan is the freezing of the peace process," Dov Weisglass told Haaretz newspaper, adding the US had given its backing. … "It
supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not
be a political process with the Palestinians … When you freeze [the
peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state,
and you prevent a discussion on the [Palestinian] refugees, the borders
and Jerusalem.
… Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with
all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. …
And all this with authority and permission. All with a [US]
presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."

– Dov Weisglass, then adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Source

February 2006:
"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger."

– Dov Weisglass, adviser to now-Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert, talking about Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip. Source 1, 2

February 29, 2008:
"The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range,
they will bring upon themselves a bigger 'shoah' [Holocaust] because we will use
all our might to defend ourselves."

– Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defense minister. Source

Jan 12, 2009:
"Gaza is a laboratory of catastrophization."
– Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy and critical theory at Tel Aviv University. Link

Finally a 'longish' quote by Yitzhak Laor, Israeli poet and novelist. From an op/ed page in the London Review of Books, Jan 2009:

We've been here before. It's a ritual. Every two or three years, our
military mounts another bloody expedition. The enemy is always smaller,
weaker; our military is always larger, technologically more
sophisticated, prepared for full-scale war against a full-scale army.
But Iran is too scary, and even the relatively small Hizbullah gave us
a hard time. That leaves the Palestinians.

Israel is engaged in a
long war of annihilation against Palestinian society. The objective is
to destroy the Palestinian nation and drive it back into pre-modern
groupings based on the tribe, the clan and the enclave. This is the
last phase of the Zionist colonial mission, culminating in inaccessible
townships, camps, villages, districts, all of them to be walled or
fenced off, and patrolled by a powerful army which, in the absence of a
proper military objective, is really an over-equipped police force,
with F16s, Apaches, tanks, artillery, commando units and hi-tech
surveillance at its disposal.

The extent of the cruelty, the lack
of shame and the refusal of self-restraint are striking, both in
anthropological terms and historically. The worldwide Jewish support
for this vandal offensive makes one wonder if this isn't the moment
Zionism is taking over the Jewish people.

But the real issue is
that since 1991, and even more since the Oslo agreements in 1993,
Israel has played on the idea that it really is trading land for peace,
while the truth is very different. Israel has not given up the
territories, but cantonised and blockaded them. The new strategy is to
confine the Palestinians: they do not belong in our space, they are to
remain out of sight, packed into their townships and camps, or swelling
our prisons. This project now has the support of most of the Israeli
press and academics.

We are the masters. We work and travel. They
can make their living by policing their own people. We drive on the
highways. They must live across the hills. The hills are ours. So are
the fences. We control the roads, and the checkpoints and the borders.
We control their electricity, their water, their milk, their oil, their
wheat and their gasoline. If they protest peacefully we fire tear gas
at them. If they throw stones, we fire bullets. If they launch a
rocket, we destroy a house and its inhabitants. If they launch a
missile, we destroy families, neighbourhoods, streets, towns.

doesn't want a Palestinian state alongside it. It is willing to prove
this with hundreds of dead and thousands of disabled, in a single
'operation'. The message is always the same: leave or remain in
subjugation, under our military dictatorship. We are a democracy. We
have decided democratically that you will live like dogs.

On 27
December just before the bombs started falling on Gaza, the Zionist
parties, from Meretz to Yisrael Betenu, were unanimously in favour of
the attack. As usual – it's the ritual again – differences emerged only
over the dispatch of blankets and medication to Gaza. Our most fervent
pro-war columnist, Ari Shavit, has suggested that Israel should go on
with the assault and build a hospital for the victims. The enemy is
wounded, bleeding, dying, desperate for help. Nobody is coming unless
Obama moves – yes, we are all waiting for Godot. Maybe this time he
shows up.

– Yitzhak Laor lives in Tel Aviv. He is the editor of Mita'am.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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