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Copyright 1998 by the authors and PEACE. All materials are the intellectual property of the respective contributors. Unless noted otherwise, they may be reproduced provided that credit is given to the authors, and to PEACE - a Mid-East Dialog Group. Email/Web postings should include these addresses:
Ami Isseroff;
Ameen Hannoun;
Mid East Viewpoints:


July, 10, 1998

Palestinians for Peace / Governments Versus Peace


Writing to the PNA - How to do it

Daoud Kuttab: A Palestinian Voice for Peace - Ami Isseroff

A Dream - Saida Nusseiba

No to Palestinian Marshall Plan - J. Metelitsa

Change in Israeli Attitudes - not so fast - Eran Segev

The PNA and Israel versus Peace - Dianne Jarvis & A. Abu-Daya

Writing to the PNA - How to do it

Some of us may - all of us should in my view - want to write to the PNA to congratulate them on the elevation of the status of their delegation at the U.N., but also to tell them that they can better serve the Palestinian cause by adopting a non-violent and non-belligerent stance, and by democratizing their institutions.
Here’s How To do it:

PNA e-mail OR

H.E. Yasser Arafat
Abu Khadra Building
Omar Al Mukhtar Street
Gaza, Palestine
Fax Nos: 972-7-822365 972-7-822366


UN Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwe Fax No:212-517-2377



Daoud Kuttab: A Palestinian Voice for Peace - Ami Isseroff

Daoud Kuttab is a gifted and renowned Palestinian journalist who has been fearlessly popularizing the message of peace.

His efforts for peace got him kidnapped by the Palestinian GSS last year. At his web site he has posted numerous articles about the peace process, about the PNA, about the hopes and frustrations of people who are genuinely for peace, including open letters to Vice President Al Gore and to Newt Gingrich. Here
is a small quote from an Op-Ed piece of his that appeared in the Washington post.

|Today, Israelis facing an ugly act of terrorism cannot support a |solution that fails to guarantee their personal security. And Palestinians yearning for a peaceful future cannot see any hope while bulldozers tear up Palestinian land to build housing for Israelis.

Here is his web site - visit, enjoy, link to it!


A Dream - Saida Nusseiba

I was going home to Jerusalem to visit. An aunt was with me mine- her name is Bassema (which means smiling ). The entrance to Jerusalem was the Gate next to the Wailing Wall. The Israeli border police was there- lots of shops as in an airport. As we came in I saw a group of people on one side of that street, sitting on the ground, all covered in rough material, all singing the praise of God. Further on I saw on the other side of the road a similar sight: people all covered with rough materials praising God in a different language, and further on the same thing, three lots of people- doing the same thing I turned around and spoke with the people around me and asked them "Can you not realize you are all saying the same thing- you are all praising God- - can you not hear that all of you are doing the same thing?" No one heard. A little Hassidic boy came to me and asked me why did I come? Is not the Arab world big enough for me? I knelt down and explained to him, that although the Arab world is big enough, still it is not my
home, we spoke for a very long time, then my knees were killing me from squatting, I said good bye to him- and followed my aunt into the shops. My aunt wanted to buy some shoes- she asked me what kind of money can be used- I said both the shekel and the Palestinian Dinars- then the little Hassidic boy came to ask me for a change, and I looked up to see his father rushing towards me. He insisted that we should sit and talk in the cafe. His wife was behind him. He
wanted to thank me for taking time to talk with his son. I excused myself and told him mother is waiting- and she would know what time I arrived, and will be upset if I don't arrive home on time ( the guilt feelings that mothers in both Nations make us aware of). He insisted, although his wife was telling him to let go. So I sat and
spoke with him- he stood up and said "Let's tell the world what we talked about." He stood up and started to talk. I felt shy and wanted to leave, as I am not a public person. The dream ended there, yet I can see it now vividly.

No to Palestinian Marshall Plan - J. Metelitsa

(Background - Mervyn Cassidy wrote that there ought to be the equivalent of the Marshall Plan for the new Palestinian state, to get its economy going. I agree. In the exchange of letters, I wrote among other things that Jacob and other members of the Israeli right seem to feel that that we- the 'Israeli Left' as he styles us - are
the enemy, rather than the Arab states. This is a response from J.M. By the way, per-capita G.D.P. of Jordan was $4,700 in 1997, according to the World Almanac, not $600 as Jacob states. - The editor-).

Jacob writes:
Mervyn Cassidy and you agree on the "Marshall Plan". Mervyn refers to the real Marshall Plan and Germany as the model. If one wants to make a historical parallel, one needs to be accurate with historical facts. (...) "Following the cessation of hostilities, the occupying forces were subsequently withdrawn..." - this is how Mervyn relates his new version of history referring to Germany of
1945. What he calls "the cessation of hostilities" was an UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER of Germany. The country was CRUSHED and laid waste. People were literally starving and had no roof. The allies were occupying the country. The Soviets stripped their zone of all valuable industrial objects. Contrary to Marvyn's statement, the Allies continue to occupy Germany to this very moment. An elaborate structure - NATO - was created in order to contain Germany burdened by all kinds of restrictions.

The Allies shaped the post-war Germany to their liking, de-nazifying it and creating a strong democratic state. Germany had to forever forgo nuclear weapons although the neighboring states - France and Britain possess them. (...)

All this magnanimity because the Western Allies needed Germany to serve as barrier against the Soviet Empire. Otherwise, Germany would have been dismembered and turned into an archipelago of small weak ministates - or worse. This is what happens when you start an aggressive war attempting to exterminate the population.

Now, going back to Palestine - I have not noticed any movement to "de-PLOizize" or "de-HAMASize" it. The same war criminals responsible for murder and terror against the civil population of Israel are in power. I may be wrong, but it
seems unlikely to me that Germany would have received the Marshall Plan had Hitler stayed in power there. Germany was able to use the assistance because a democratic and non-corrupt government was in place there. Providing a massive cash infusion to a dictatorial and rotten to the core PLO clique will only result in
further enrichment of the brutal gang in power and arming their military force posed against the vital centers of Israel only a few kilometers away. Making Israel responsible for the economic well-being of a future independent state is simply absurd. If a state is independent, it is responsible for itself and nobody else is. One of the points of separation for Israel is to free herself from the burden
and responsibility for another people - which it would have with a one-state solution. Can you have a cake and eat it too?

Ami states that "it is impossible to imagine peace for a very long time between a very very poor state and one that is getting constantly richer." In  that case what about Israel and Jordan? Israel and Syria? Israel and Lebanon? Israel and Egypt?
The Jordan GDP, for example, is $600 per capita a year. Does this mean Israel is responsible for these neighboring states too? Does Israel have to provide
reparations to these countries? Is peace possible between Israel and all these very very poor states? But there is a real way to help the Palestinian economy. Just open the gate to Israeli business there. In a matter of a several years it will create a booming economy there. When Arabs stop looking at Jews as targets for a knife attack, but neighbors and friends, all things will be possible. Infusion of private Israeli capital is the only thing that can contain corruption and provide jobs for Palestinians. And the last thing. Ami states that the "right" have more disagreement with left than with Arabs. This is true, as the only thing that can destroy Israel is internal problems - not Arabs.

Editor's comment:

What may destroy Israel is the rot created by prolonged subjugation of another people, coupled with the spread of a messianic type of anti-Zionist Judaism (I am speaking of Habad) that believes that we should keep territories, but should send our children to Yeshivot instead of to the Army, and that Jews ought to fight to liberate Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Israel is not as rich as you assume, nor Jordan as poor (see background comment). Israel is thirtieth in ranking by per-capita GDP, behind, for example, the
UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Italy. And the Israeli economy is small. Iran is 19th on the list of overall GDP, Saudi Arabia 30th and Egypt 34th. So the U.S., Arab and EU countries will have to help.

Arafat - unlike Hitler - did not commit Genocide. Arafat was not at war with Israel at any time - the Palestinians have no state, so they cannot surrender anything. I do not care for the 'war criminals' epithet. I do not like it either when anti-Zionists accuse Israel of 'Genocide' and 'Heinous Crimes against Humanity' or 'Ethnic Cleansing.' In Israel, Shamir, Begin and other Irgun 'terrorists' were in power too. Israel was not de-Irgunized by any stretch of the imagination. As for democratizing the PNA, you know what I think - Palestinians must do this.

Denazification of Germany - There was a lot of handwaving. But many war criminals escaped. Many remained in the government. German awareness of the holocaust is poor, and there are neo-Nazis. Der Tag may come yet.

Change in Israeli Attitudes - not so fast - Eran Segev

The latest PeaceWatch looks forward to a shift in Israeli public opinion. I am afraid that for all of the revelations about Bibi since he came to office, there has not been a significant, large scale move to the alternative - the left. Of course, those who opposed Bibi from the beginning, be it for his ambiguous statements on the peace process or for his lack of political seniority or experience, follow his every move and look for ways to criticize him (a relatively easy task).

But I am not convinced that among those who voted Bibi into office, there has been a significant change of allegiance. allegiance to the Bibi-camp that is, as there are definitely signs that members of the right now accept policies they claimed they never would just two years ago. Bibi was voted into power by two main segments of society: those opposing a withdrawal from Palestinian territories (or hoping for a better bargain if there is a withdrawal), and the religious bloc. We have yet to see a change in the attitudes of these two groups. Among Likud supporters who voted for Bibi in order to slow down the transfer of territories, there is little to suggest that they would shift their vote to the left. They ignore the bad faith and double-talk that is revealed every day, and are only happy that the peace camp is not getting its way. Even if the peace process does move
forward, it is reasonable to assume that it is not on the scale and at the pace that a labor-led government would have achieved.

The other group, the religious voters, remain loyal to the present government as long as they receive preferential treatment and funding - which they are. They are more concerned with the construction of a particular Yeshiva dorm, or Shabbat law, then they are with the day-to-day lies that Bibi tells the world about the
peace process. David Levy did not leave the government as a result (at least directly) of Bibi's lies to Mubarak. He left because of the government's insensitive social policies. In the same way, religious voters would only withdraw their support for Bibi if they felt they could get a better financial deal from someone else. As you
wrote in PeaceWatch, "Bibi first convinced every foreign leader (perhaps excepting the government of Micronesia) that he cannot be trusted." Some members of his cabinet learned this too, as did President Weizman. But when will the masses who voted for Bibi realize the falseness of his promises, and the emptiness of his slogan "Peace with Security"

The ditor's comment:

I am with you when you say that coalition partners are glued to their seats. But they will also be glued to their seats in a Labor coalition. As for Bibi's lies, what we are looking for is a long term shift in political attitudes, not a matter of personalities. Bibi just happens to be a jerk. Shamir was a jerk of a less marketable kind. We do not need a big shift - remember that Peres lost by a few thousand votes. After PeaceWatch came out, Barak made a great speech in the Knesset Foreign Relations debate, in which he hit at every point I had made, and told Bibi that nobody would talk to him any more, except his media adviser Finkelstein - whereupon he gave Finkelstein's telephone number.


The PNA and Israel versus Peace - Dianne Jarvis & A. Abu-Daya

From a letter from Dianne Jarvis:

The main point I was making is that since the Palestinians have no political representation under the Israeli occupation and no option of using force, since all forms of violence are forbidden, it doesn't matter what their leaders do, and anyway the only thing Arafat is going to do next is die. It is really up to the Israeli leaders. The main thing the Israeli leaders seem intent on right now is replacing
current paper Palestinian IDs with electronic ones, requiring everyone in Jerusalem to come forward and independently prove his or her right to be there under a set of rules which would exclude Netanyahu and the overwhelming majority of other Israelis if these were ever applied to them, so the next thing we will see is the Israelis trying to deport half the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Dianne Jarvis

Anita Abu-Daya Replies:

Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that Dianne's argument can be summarized as "Israel is by far the more powerful partner therefore what happens in the peace process depends on Israel, Arafat is irrelevant". To a certain degree I agree with part one. Most of Arafat's violations of the peace process consist of saying this, or
this being shown on tv or naming a square after Ayyash. Netanyahu's violations include confiscating land, building settlements and general "facts on the ground creation".

But then all the other people I mentioned, who I think we all admire, Ghandi, Mandela, King were in exactly the same situation. In all cases they were facing "whites" who had all the power. In fact compared to them Arafat is quite powerful. The only thing these liberation leaders had was a their people and they used them to a great advantage. Of-course right doesn't always win over might but do you think the equal rights struggle would have been successful if instead of Martin Luther King Jr. it was led by Louis Farrakhan?

Whatever the power balance, I think anybody who genuinely cares about the Palestinian cause must cringe every time they see Arafat on TV. Arabs are always complaining about the biased coverage in the media, stereotypes in Disney movies etc. Well complaining is not enough. A while ago I used to hear ad-nauseum about how you couldn't compare suicide bombings to building apartments. Whatever news program you were watching on TV somebody
would make that great observation. Well they are right, nothing justifies suicide bombings. But then why did nobody from the Palestinian side appear on TV and explain what "building apartment blocs" really was all about. Don't you think that praising suicide bombers in speeches, naming squares after them etc. is the
height of idiocy? Do you think it helps the Palestinian cause? If you are on the weaker side you have to be a lot more clever than the other guy. Perhaps even if Arafat behaved like the personification of peace, the Palestinians would still be oppressed (after all Israel has all the power) but that's like saying that Mandela, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. etc. were irrelevant because the whites held
all the power.
Anita Abu Daya

The editor's cpmment:

All forms of force are forbidden' - The PNA used (uses) violence to kidnap people, and PNA police closed off a road. There are also firebombs and stabbing and (as on May 14) mass riots. Israeli settlers went on a rampage of their own, and the Israeli government destroys houses. If this is what happens when violence is forbidden - what would happen when it was allowed?

Jerusalem Policy - The point Dianne was making (I think) is that the Israeli government has begun a systematic policy of finding excuses - or reasons for kicking Palestinians out of Jerusalem, by not renewing their Permanent Resident permits. Of course, they could opt for Israeli citizenship - but that is not exactly fair.



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