Wanted - New Readers and
Participants for PEACE
and Arafat - Why we did it
More About the
Final Settlement - from Prof. Ilan Peleg and
Dialog Center - Judith Green tells of the activities
of this Jerusalem-based Group.
Sitings - Featured Web sites
Wanted - New Readers and
Participants for PEACE
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Dialog is what makes peace interesting - and helps change opinions.
Peace is not a spectator sport.
PeaceWatch - Watching Yasser Arafat - Ami
The latest edition of PeaceWatch did not deal with Bibi
Netanyahu or with the Israeli government at all - but rather with Yasser Arafat. It was
not even written by an Israeli - but by Anita Abu-Daya. We have taken up the advice of one
reader to 'watch the other side too,' for the Palestinian leadership shares the
blame with the Israeli government for the present state of the Oslo negotiations.
Israelis and Jews are willing to demonstrate against the government, to write articles and
publish petitions in newspapers in support of peace. We wanted to show that there are also
Arabs and Palestinians who have the courage to criticize their leadership, to say that
Chairman Arafat is not acting in the best interests of the Palestinian people when
he adopts bellicose and extreme positions, and to point out that torture and repressive
methods used by the PNA do not serve the Palestinian cause. Readers from 'the other
side' should understand from this that
we are trying to create a third 'side' - the side of peace.
Several readers expressed the position that since the PNA has been acting in an
irresponsible way, and since there is an element in Arab society that will never accept
Israel, therefore Israel should not return any territories or negotiate a compromise on
This might be a tenable thesis if it could be shown that holding on to the territories was
vital to Israeli security or even helped it in any way, or that the PNA itself could
become a military force that would destroy Israel. But the territories have become a
security liability, and the PNA could not seriously threaten Israeli security. Indeed, a
full scale 'war' could well serve as an excuse for Israel to retake all of the
territories, if the government wanted to be saddled with the governance
of three million Palestinians.
And here is the rub: what was completely anathema to the Israeli right in 1991 has become
a matter of total national consensus. Almost nobody in Israel wants to retake Gaza or
Nablus or Jericho. Why? Because it is not in our interest. Peace is in our interest too -
in the interest of both 'sides'. Yasser Arafat may make off-the-wall statements about
Jerusalem, posture as if he leads the most powerful army in the world and run the PNA on
the model of an Eastern European Soviet Satellite from the bad old days. But Israel must
do its best to make peace,
and to eliminate the conditions that have made the Palestinian people a fertile breeding
ground for demagoguery and terrorist movements.
The actions of the Palestinian leadership are the responsibility of the Palestinian
people, and it is they who will have to pay the price of the mistakes of bad leadership.
But the actions of the Israeli leadership are the responsibility of Israelis, and we will
have to pay for the mistakes of our leaders.
THE FINAL SETTLEMENT EXCHANGE - Prof. Ilan Peleg
Mervyn Cassidy's scenario is reasonable. Bibi will refuse to
recognize the Palestinian State, if and when it is announced. Yet, his refusal will be
laughed out of the court of world public opinion, especially after at least 150 states
have recognized this "illegal" state. And why will they do so? Because by May
1999, the expected date for the announcement of the Palestinian state, the vast majority
of the states will be thoroughly convinced that the Likud Government has not negotiated in
If Bibi gives the order to re-occupy the "Territories"--as Cassidy reasonably
predicts--three likely reactions will occur:
1. The entire world, including the US, will condemn Israel, and 52
years after a Jewish State in the Middle East was endorsed by the UN--it may find itself
OUT of the UN (for reference: see Yugoslavia/Serbia).
2. It is possible that many Israelis would refuse to march into
Nablus under the leadership of Bibi and Sharon (just as many refused to march into Beirut
under the Begin/Sharon duo).
3.The Palestinians--I predict--will not accept an Israeli invasion
lying down, and will resist with all of their LIMITED power. Now, I hope no one will dare
pose the question: "But how many divisions does Arafat have?!". Israel may win
the war to
reoccupy the Territories, just as it "won" the 1973 (Yom Kippur), 1982
(Lebanon), or 1987 (Intifada) wars.
An Israeli reoccupation of the major Palestinian cities is militarily possible, but it
will lead not only to a bloodshed but to a real BLOODBATH. And although many more
Palestinians will die than Israelis, Israeli soldiers and civilians in great number will
die. This scenario, almost inevitable if Bibi orders reoccupation, could lead to Bibi's
defeat in the election of 2000, unless Labor saves him by agreeing--
under the impression of the war--to form a National Unity Govt...
Worse of all, if this scenario unfolds, the UN, US and others will dictate to Israel an
agreement, which in all likelihood will be a lot worse than anything we could get through
I find Likud Member Lerner's letter worrisome, because it reflects dangerous naivete. On
technicality Lerner is right: Oslo doesn't obligate Israel to accept a Palestinian State
within 5 years. But, Oslo obligates Israel to negotiate in good faith--something
Bibi has not done--and to reach a final settlement within 5 years of the initial
withdrawal. Politically, morally, and indirectly even legally, Oslo DOES mean a
Palestinian State. Why? In Oslo we (finally...) recognized the Palestinian people;
every nation is entitled to self-determination; the Palestinian people are entitled to a
full-fledged state, as recognized also by the UN 51 years ago in a resolution which is
Frankly, Mr. Lerner, your "plan" is at the best tradition of colonialism, and it
is likely to meet the same fate as other racist "plans". You will never find one
Palestinian to adopt your autonomy plan, and we progressive Jews who believe in
co-existence, will reject it as well.
for a Final Settlement - Mervyn Cassidy
I agree with Professor Peleg's comments on my previous discussion of the final settlement,
and his objections to Aaron Lerner's alternative proposal.
In my previous article, I urged the Israeli government to take the initiative in
negotiations to reach a solution satisfactory to both sides rather than to procrastinate
to the point when a solution would be imposed on them which would be less to Israel's
For such initiative to have any hope of success, I believe that Israel must accept certain
" facts on the ground " which may be unpalatable, but are inescapable.
The present relationship with the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular, is
greatly influenced by events which took place in the formative stages of the State of
Israel. It must be conceded that what was a triumph for the Jews was a catastrophe for the
indigenous Palestinians. .
While appreciating the mind set which these events caused, it is the present and the
future we should be debating rather than endlessly rehashing the past.
The Palestinians who were evicted from their homes or left to protect their lives, will
never be permitted to return short of the conquest of Israel by Palestinian forces. This
will never happen as any Palestinian "army " would never be any match for a
sophisticated Israeli army and their Arab friends have shown
no military support for their cause.
Should they be entitled to reparations or compensation for their losses ? Of course they
An independent Palestinian State must be established to which Israel must give massive aid
in acknowledgment of its obligation to right the wrongs of the past. All Palestinians in
exile must have the right of return to the new state which the world powers must support
to ensure its economic viability.
To propose a " one state solution " is a hypothetical absurdity. The Israelis do
not want it and would never countenance it. It is pointless to discuss it.
For an independent Palestinian State to be able to sustain its optimum population, it must
encompass the whole of the West Bank and Gaza and these must be connected. There is no
justification for Jewish enclaves in these areas from considerations of security or
required living space and any continued Jewish
presence can only bring insuperable problems. The justification on religious grounds can
be dismissed out of hand.
A shared Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine. The concept of
" Jerusalem, united and undivided, the capital of the Jewish Nation " is a myth.
It is already a shared city with three major religious groups, with about one third of its
population being non-Jewish, and will continue to be so. World opinion
supports this view and will not continue to idly stand by and permit gross violations of
fundamental human rights without tangible protest.
All these areas are emotionally charged but the decision must be made. What is best for
Israel, forever a state of war or the possibility of peace?
Dialog Center - Judith Green
(Anyone wishing to join this group based in
Jerusalem, please write
to me - Ami Isseroff )
We have been involved in various phases and types of dialogue-action groups since l988
(Intifada related!) particularly in Beit Sahur, near Bethlehem and in Nablus; now we
are also starting a project with a youth group in Gaza. We see ourselves as a kind
of mother organization, that is to nurture new initiatives, to consult with people who are
trying new contacts and outreach, making connections between people, etc., as well as
running our own groups.
Right now we have bi-weekly dialogue meetings in the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement
between Peoples in Beit Sahur and this is open to anyone, very informal, returning about
20:30. In Beit Sahur we also have a young women's' group that meets about once a
month. New people are welcome. We have done a great deal of work with this
community, including organizing resistance to
the Har Homa settlement, large scale meetings like the Prayer for Peace in a church in
Beit Sahur with 1000's participating.
In Nablus, we have a project called "Face to Face Transformative Dialogue" which
takes place one a month, each workshop being 2 days, staying overnight in people's homes.
We are trying to make this reciprocal in the coming year, and finally succeeded
this weekend in bringing 20 people to Jerusalem with permits. The workshop is more
on the inner experience of the conflict, it is limited to about 15 on each side, and tries
to touch on the pain on both sides - with the object of helping people transform this pain
into positive action either communally/politically/personally. There are
facilitators, mainly from mental health background. The next one will be in Nablus
on July 21-2.
In Nablus we are also running a health education project for the 2nd year in a women's
center. It is intended to train childbirth and sex educators in Nablus and the
surrounding villages. There are about 15 women being trained by an Israeli
Childbirth organization called "Birthing together." We are probably going to run
a similar program in East Jerusalem.
WE are also at the beginning of a project called "Flashback to the Future" which
is involved with the issue of the 3 villages which were destroyed in 1967 in the Latrun
area and on whose land Canada Park was built. We are working with a group of
Israelis and Palestinians, including representatives from the destroyed villages now
living in the Ramallah area to design some sort of reconciliation model through education
about history. There will be some attempt at reparation by perhaps restoring the
Moslem cemetery, preparing educational materials about what happened, media coverage,
setting up new signs in the Park to acknowledge the former inhabitants, etc.
Izio Rosenman writes from Paris to tell us of the
Commitee for Safeguarding the Oslo Accords (Comite Pour la Sauvegarde des Accords D'Oslo)
The Commitee has circulated a petition with thousands of signatures calling on Jewish
people to protest violations of the Oslo Agreements by the Netanyahu Government:
E-mail : oslo_Committee@geocities.com
Web site : http://come.to/Oslo.committee
The petition has been published in several newpapers, including
Le Monde and the New York Times.
Ziad Alkabanni is a long-time BibiWatcher and is now a participant in PEACE. Ziad is a
Syrian expatriate living in Sweden, where he has set up Syria's Friends On-Line at
His e-mail: email@example.com , Z_alkabbani@hotmail.com
The Mid-East Review of International Affairs (Meria) is a scholarly e-mail journal
published by the BESA Institute of Strategic studies. Their Web Site is at:
In addition to subscriptions to MERIA they offer free books. See the web site or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Newe Shalom, the Arab/Jewish Israeli village hosts dialog groups (members of the Qalqilya
dialog group will be going there next weekend) and has a web site telling about Newe
Shalom and their activities at