Posts Tagged ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

The Simplicity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

May 25, 2010

By Jeremy R. Hammond, World Policy Journal, May 25,  2010


Israel-Palestine Map

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This article was originally published at the Palestine Chronicle.

There is a general perception that the reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued for so long is because it is extremely complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. Placed in historical context, understanding the root cause of the conflict is simple, and in doing so, the solution becomes apparent.

During the late 1800s, a movement known as Zionism arose to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, then a territory under the Ottoman Empire. As a result of World War I, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved and Great Britain and France conspired to divide the territorial spoils of war between themselves. The British became the occupying power of Palestine. The League of Nations issued a mandate effectively recognizing Great Britain as such.

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Jimmy Carter: Palestinians ‘seriously considering’ one-state

September 7, 2009

Yahoo! News, Sep 6. 2009

AFP

AFP/File – Former US president Jimmy Carter stands in front of the controversial Israeli separation barrier during …


WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former US president Jimmy Carter said Sunday Palestinian leaders were “seriously considering” a one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following a visit to the Middle East.

“A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” Carter wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.

“By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy,” he explained. “In this non-violent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.”

Carter noted that in doing so, Palestinian leaders were taking into consideration current demographic trends.

He said non-Jews were already a slight majority of total citizens in this area, “and within a few years Arabs will constitute a clear majority.”

Carter added that a two-state solution for the conflict was “clearly preferable” and had been embraced at the grass root level but that a one-state solution was “a more likely alternative to the present debacle.”

Obama’s Cairo speech

June 15, 2009

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, chedet.co, June 15, 2009

Finally Obama, the black President of the United States has made his much awaited speech  outlining his views and policies on Islam, the Muslims and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a carefully crafted speech and certainly it is different from those of George W. Bush or even other US Presidents.

2. The arrogance and the preachings are out but two things American still stand out, and that is the United States is a world super power and that American loyalty to Israel is undiminished. Other things can change but not these two.

3. Hamas is asked to give up terrorism because like the struggles of the blacks of America and South Africa, violence achieves nothing. This is not quite true, at least with other national struggles for freedom and justice. The white Americans themselves fought a war against the British and another war to prevent the break-up of the United States.

4. Elsewhere the struggles for freedom and justice e.g. the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution just to name two, all involve violence.

5. It is not the Palestinians who choose violence. It was the Jews who violently seized Palestinian land, massacred the Arabs and expelled them from their country. With no one prepared to restrain the Jews, the beleaguered Palestinians had to resort to violence. The world, the United Nations, even fellow Muslims have deserted them.

6. I am against violence but when Israel seized more Palestinian land, build settlements, impose military rule, divide the Palestinians with high walls, barred the Palestinians from using roads built by the Israelis on Palestinian territory, denied the Palestinian right to a homeland, denied the right of return of the expelled Palestinian while upholding the rights of return of Jews who for centuries had been citizens of other countries, labelled Palestinians as terrorists while exonerating the Israelis for the massive attacks on Gaza and other places, left the Palestinians helpless when attacked by the Western-armed Israeli Military Forces, incarcerated thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails, unnecessarily provoke the Palestinians by Sharon’s visit to Jerusalem and many, many more assaults and provocations, is it any wonder that the Palestinians resorted to violence?

7. And now they are asked to stop violence to respect agreements. But what about the Israelis? Shouldn’t they be told to stop their massive violence; shouldn’t they be told to respect agreements and all the UN resolutions, such as those against their setting up settlements on Palestinian soil, the occupation of land beyond the UN set boundaries for Israel?

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The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

May 18, 2009

by Stephen Lendman | Global Research, May 17, 2009

After two years of “underground” work, it was launched with a “successful press conference” and announcement that:

“The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Its work will focus on “the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant) “International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine.”

This Tribunal will “address the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified.” It begins where the ICJ “stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations.”

The Russell Tribunal is part of the larger BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1972 – 1970). Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, it’s a hearing committee, most recently on the Iraq war and Bush administration imperialism. Its work continues as “the only game in town for the anti-war movement in America, Britain and Europe” – to unite non-violently for peace on various world’s hot spots, now for Occupied Palestine to expose decades of injustice against a defenseless civilian population.

National committees will be formed globally, including expert ones composed of jurists, lawyers, human rights and international law experts, weapons experts, and others “to work on the evidence against Israel and third parties” to be presented in Tribunal sessions. Two are planned, “the earliest….by the end of this year.”

Frank Barat of the Organizing Committee urges activists to spread the news and offer support for this vital project. After Israel’s unconscionable Gaza attack, it’s never been more vulnerable given mass world public outrage. It’s long past time to hold Israel accountable for its decades of crimes of war and against humanity,  flaunting international humanitarian law, waging aggressive wars, continuing an illegal occupation, expropriating Palestinian land, and committing slow-motion genocide, so far with impunity. No longer can this be tolerated. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is dedicated toward that end.

The Tribunal’s Declaration on Iraq applies to Palestine. Substituting Israel for America and Palestine for Iraq, it reads as follows:

“The (Israeli) occupation of (Palestine) is illegal and cannot be made legal. All that has derived from (it) is illegal and illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy. The facts are incontrovertible. What are the consequences?”

“Peace, stability and democracy in (Palestine) are impossible under occupation. Foreign occupation is opposed by nature to the interests of the occupied people, as proven” by:

— the forced diaspora;

— many others internally displaced or in refugee camps for decades;

— harsh military subjugation;

— a regimented matrix of control;

— the genocidal Gaza siege;

— state-sponsored mass incarceration, violence, and torture;

— the flaunting of international law and dozens of UN resolutions;

— targeted assassinations;

— the many tens of thousands of Palestinians killed, injured, or otherwise grievously harmed;

— massive land theft and home demolitions;

— the lack of judicial redress;

— denying all rights to non-Jews; and

— a decades-long reign of terror against defenseless Palestinian civilians.

Western propaganda tries to justify the unjustifiable, vilify ordinary people, call the legitimate government “terrorist,” rationalize savage attacks as self-defense, reject the rights of the occupied, and deny their self-determination.

“In (Palestine, people) resist the occupation by all means (including armed struggle), in accordance with international law. “The Commission on Human Rights has routinely reaffirmed” it. So have numerous General Assembly resolutions. The March 1987 Geneva Declaration on Terrorism states:

“Terrorism originates from the statist system of structural violence and domination that denies the right of self-determination to peoples….that inflicts a gross and consistent pattern of violations of fundamental human rights….or that perpetuates military aggression and overt or covert intervention directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of other states,” such as Palestine.

The UN General Assembly has “repeatedly recognized” the rights of “peoples who are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination (to) have the right to use force to accomplish their objectives within the framework of international humanitarian law.”

It also recognizes the legitimacy of self-determination seeking national liberation movements and their right to strive for and receive appropriate support for their struggle. Further, under the UN Charter’s Article 51, “individual or collective self-defense (shall not be “impair(ed) to respond against) an armed attack.”

In other words, armed force is a legitimate form of self-defense as distinguished from “acts of international terrorism,” especially by one state against another or any group, organization, or individual. Israel refuses to accept this. It continues an illegal occupation, calls armed resistance “terrorism,” and imposes its will oppressively and illegally.

World leaders “continue to justify the negation of popular sovereignty under the rubric of (fighting terrorism), criminalizing not only resistance but also humanitarian assistance to a besieged (and beleaguered) people. Under international law, (Palestinian freedom-fighters) constitute a national liberation movement. Recognition of (them) is consequently a right, (an obligation, and) not an option.” World leaders have a duty to hold Israel accountable under the law and no longer support its crimes.

Palestine “cannot recover lasting stability, unity and territorial integrity until its sovereignty is (recognized, affirmed,) guaranteed,” and enforced by the world international community.

“If (world leaders) and (Israel want) peace, stability and democracy in (Palestine), they should accept that only the (Palestinian) resistance – armed, civil and political – can achieve these by securing the interests of (their) people. (Their) first demand….is the unconditional withdrawal of (Israeli forces) illegally occupying” their land.

Palestinians are the only legitimate force to secure their own security and rights under international law. “All laws, contracts (and other occupation-related) agreements….are unequivocally null and void. According to international law and the will of the (Palestinian) people, total sovereignty” over Palestine, its resources, culture, and all else (past, present, and future) rests in (their own) hands.

Further, international law demands that full “compensation….be paid” to compensate for what Israel plundered and destroyed. Palestinians want self-determination and “long-term peace” and security. They have every right to expect it. “We appeal to all peace loving people in the world to work to support” their struggle. Regional “peace, democracy, progress” and justice depend on it. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is committed to work toward this end. Nothing short of it is acceptable.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

MIDEAST: ‘Hamas Against Zionist Ideology, Not Judaism’

May 14, 2009

By David Cronin | Inter Press Service

GAZA CITY, May 14 (IPS) – A founding member of Hamas says he hates all weapons and insists that his organisation is not anti-Jewish.

In an interview with IPS, Sayed Abu Musameh described frequent claims in the European and U.S. press that Hamas’s charter is based on enmity towards Jews as a “big lie”.

Speaking in the remains of the Palestinian Legislative Council headquarters in Gaza City – bombed by Israel on the third day of the offensive against Gaza it launched in late 2008 – Husameh drew a distinction between followers of Judaism and the Zionist ideology to which most politicians in Israel’s main political parties subscribe. Such an ideology, he said, has led Israel to tighten its control of the Palestinian territories and their most important natural resources, including water.

“In our culture, we respect every foreigner, especially Jews and Christians,” he said. “But we are against Zionists, not as nationalists but as fascists and racists.”

Musameh also contended that Hamas has long been ready to agree a truce – known in Arabic as a hudna – with Israel but that Israel had refused all offers and imposed a crippling economic blockade on Gaza. The firing of Qassam rockets on the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Sderot was designed “not to destroy Israel or to destroy Israeli people” but to “make them notice our siege.”

Described by some observers of Middle Eastern affairs as one of the key “moderates” in the Islamic resistance movement, Musameh has expressed a strong interest in visiting Belfast to study whether lessons learned from the Irish peace process could be used to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hamas leaders recently held discussions with Gerry Adams, who as leader of the political party Sinn Féin has convinced the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to cease using violence.

“I hate all kinds of weapons,” said Musameh. “I dream of seeing every weapon from the atomic bomb to small guns banned everywhere.”

Since Hamas won a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in January 2006, 40 of Musameh’s fellow members of the legislative council, including chairman Aziz Duwaik, have been jailed. Contact with his imprisoned colleagues – or with the 11,000 other Palestinians held by Israel – is impossible, Musameh said.

The destruction of the council’s building has meant that video conferences between Hamas and its rival Fatah can no longer take place. Yet even before the attack, the council (described as a parliament by many Palestinians) was unable to operate properly as Israel had prevented Fatah politicians in the West Bank from travelling to Gaza for meetings.

After a joint Fatah-Hamas government – that was shunned by the U.S. and European Union – collapsed, Hamas took charge of running the Gaza Strip in 2007. Local human rights activists have protested strongly at some of the measures it has undertaken, particularly how it closed down more than 200 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that it accused of being affiliated to Fatah. Most have subsequently been allowed to resume their activities.

Despite speaking out against Hamas’s tactics, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza says it is vital that Europe and the U.S. encourage reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. “If the coalition government had been accepted by the international community or at least by Europe, we wouldn’t have an internal conflict (in the Palestinian territories),” said the PCHR’s Hamdi Shaqqura.

Governments that have refused to deal with Hamas because they consider it extremist are displaying double standards now that they agree to have contacts with an Israeli government that includes Avigdor Lieberman, who is seeking that Arabs within Israel’s internationally recognised boundaries should be stripped of their rights as Israeli citizens unless they pass a ‘loyalty test’ to the state, Shaqqura said.

“Europe can do a lot in terms of Palestinian dialogue,” he added. “It must encourage Palestinians to reach a compromise, and if parties can reach a compromise, it must be respected by the international community. The international community must end its hypocrisy. It has accepted Lieberman, it has accepted a racist.”

Khalil Abu Shammala, director of the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, said: “Hamas won the (2006) election. This was the Palestinians’ democratic choice, so the international community should accept it. Why not give Hamas the chance to govern and give people the choice of whether they trust it or not?”

Some analysts believe that hawkish politicians in Israel and their allies in the previous U.S. administration led by George W. Bush deliberately sought to foment strife between Fatah and Hamas as part of a colonialist ‘divide and rule’ strategy.

Amjad Shawa from the Palestinian NGOs Network said that bickering between the political parties “suits completely” the agenda being pursued by the Israeli government. Still, he argued that human rights activists should denounce any violations that occur regardless of who perpetrates them.

“I cannot say that Hamas has prevented the right to association but there is a violation,” he added. “We will face any violations by Hamas or Fatah or whoever. We will not keep silent.”

Return of the War Party

February 28, 2009
Patrick J. Buchanan
Human Events.com, Feb 27, 2009

“Real men go to Tehran!” brayed the neoconservatives, after the success of their propaganda campaign to have America march on Baghdad and into an unnecessary war that has forfeited all the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Now they are back, in pursuit of what has always been their great goal: an American war on Iran. It would be a mistake to believe they and their collaborators cannot succeed a second time. Consider:

On being chosen by Israel’s President Shimon Peres to form the new regime, Likud’s “Bibi” Netanyahu declared, “Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence.”

Echoing Netanyahu, headlines last week screamed of a startling new nuclear breakthrough by the mullahs. “Iran ready to build nuclear weapon, analysts say,” said CNN. “Iran has enough uranium to make a bomb,” said the Los Angeles Times. Armageddon appeared imminent.

Asked about Iran’s nukes in his confirmation testimony, CIA Director Leon Panetta blurted, “From all the information I’ve seen, I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.”

Tuesday, Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a front spawned by the Israeli lobby AIPAC, was given the Iranian portfolio. AIPAC’s top agenda item? A U.S. collision with Iran.

In the neocon Weekly Standard, Elliot Abrams of the Bush White House parrots Netanyahu, urging Obama to put any land-for-peace deals with the Palestinians on a back burner. Why?

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now part of a broader struggle in the region over Iranian extremism and power. Israeli withdrawals now risk opening the door not only to Palestinian terrorists but to Iranian proxies.”

The campaign to conflate Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria as a new axis of evil, a terrorist cartel led by Iranian mullahs hell-bent on building a nuclear bomb and using it on Israel and America, has begun. The full-page ads and syndicated columns calling on Obama to eradicate this mortal peril before it destroys us all cannot be far off.

But before we let ourselves be stampeded into another unnecessary war, let us review a few facts that seem to contradict the war propaganda.

First, last week’s acknowledgement that Iran has enough enriched uranium for one atom bomb does not mean Iran is building an atom bomb.

To construct a nuclear device, the ton of low-enriched uranium at Natanz would have to be run through a second cascade of high-speed centrifuges to produce 55 pounds of highly enriched uranium (HUE).

There is no evidence Iran has either created the cascade of high-speed centrifuges necessary to produce HUE or that Iran has diverted any of the low-enriched uranium from Natanz. And the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors retain full access to Natanz.

And rather than accelerating production of low-enriched uranium, only 4,000 of the Natanz centrifuges are operating. Some 1,000 are idle. Why?

Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the IAEA, believes this is a signal that Tehran wishes to negotiate with the United States, but without yielding any of its rights to enrich uranium and operate nuclear power plants.

For, unlike Israel, Pakistan and India, none of which signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and all of which ran clandestine programs and built atom bombs, Iran signed the NPT and has abided by its Safeguards Agreement. What it refuses to accept are the broader demands of the U.N. Security Council because these go beyond the NPT and sanction Iran for doing what it has a legal right to do.

Moreover, Adm. Dennis Blair, who heads U.S. intelligence, has just restated the consensus of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not now possess and is not now pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

Bottom line: Neither the United States nor the IAEA has conclusive evidence that Iran either has the fissile material for a bomb or an active program to build a bomb. It has never tested a nuclear device and has never demonstrated a capacity to weaponize a nuclear device, if it had one.

Why, then, the hype, the hysteria, the clamor for “Action This Day!”? It is to divert America from her true national interests and stampede her into embracing as her own the alien agenda of a renascent War Party.

None of this is to suggest the Iranians are saintly souls seeking only peace and progress. Like South Korea, Japan and other nations with nuclear power plants, they may well want the ability to break out of the NPT, should it be necessary to deter, defend against or defeat enemies.

But that is no threat to us to justify war. For decades, we lived under the threat that hundreds of Russian warheads could rain down upon us in hours, ending our national existence. If deterrence worked with Stalin and Mao, it can work with an Iran that has not launched an offensive war against any nation within the memory of any living American.

Can we Americans say the same?

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, “The Death of the West,”, “The Great Betrayal,” “A Republic, Not an Empire” and “Where the Right Went Wrong.”

Chomsky on Gaza and Zionist Israel

February 23, 2009

Following is an excerpt of Professor Chomsky’s interview with Christiana Voniati, who is head of International News Department POLITIS Newspaper, Nicosia, Cyprus.

By Christiana Voniati | Countercurrents.org, Feb 16, 2009

Voniati: The international public opinion and especially the Muslim world seem to have great expectations from the historic election of Obama. Can we, in your opinion, expect any real change regarding the US approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Chomsky: Not much. Quite the contrary: it may be harsher than before. In the case of Gaza, Obama maintained silence, he didn’t say a word. He said well there’s only one president so I can’t talk about it. Of course he was talking about a lot of other things but he chose not to talk about this. His campaign did repeat a statement that he had made while visiting Israel six months earlier –he had visited Sderot where the rockets hit- and he said “if this where happening to my daughters, I wouldn’t think of any reaction as legitimate”, but he couldn’t say anything about Palestinian children. Now, the attack on Gaza was at time so that it ended right before the inauguration, which is what I expected. I presume that the point was so that they could make sure that Obama didn’t have to say something, so he didn’t. And then he gave his first foreign policy declaration, it was a couple of days later when he appointed George Mitchell as his emissary, and he said nothing about Gaza except that “our paramount interest is preserving the security of Israel”. Palestine apparently doesn’t have any requirement of security. And then in his declaration he said of course we are not going to deal with Hamas -the elected government the US immediately, as soon as the government was elected in a free election the US and Israel with the help of European Union immediately started severely punishing the Palestinian population for voting in the “wrong way” in a free election and that’s what we mean by democracy. The only substantive comment he made in the declaration was to say that the arab peace plan had constructive elements, because it called for a normalization of relations with Israel and he urged the arab states to proceed with the normalization of relations. Now, he is an intelligent person, he knows that that was not what the arab peace plan said. The arab peace plan called for a two state settlement on the international border that is in accord with the long standing international consensus that the US has blocked for over 30 years and in that context of the two state settlement we should even proceed further and move towards a normalization of relations with Israel. Well, Obama carefully excluded the main content about the two state settlement and just talked about the corollary, for which a two state settlement is a precondition. Now that’s not an oversight, it can’t be. That’s a careful wording, sending the message that we are not going to change their (Israel’s) rejectionist policy. We ‘ll continue to be opposed to the international consensus on this issue, and everything else he said accords with it. We will continue in other words to support Israel’s settlement policies- those policies are undermining any possible opportunity or hope for a viable Palestinian entity of some kind. And it’s a continued reliance on force in both parts of occupied Palestine. That’s the only conclusion you could draw.

Voniati: Let us talk about the timing of the assault on the Gaza Strip. Was it accidental or did it purposefully happen in a vacuum of power? To explain myself, the global financial crisis has challenged the almost absolute US global hegemony. Furthermore, the attack on Gaza was launched during the presidential change of guard. So, did this vacuum of power benefit the Israeli assault on Gaza?

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Amy Goodman: Media silence doesn’t mean all’s well in Gaza

November 28, 2008

Amy Goodman | The Capital Times, Nov 27, 2008

As President-elect Barack Obama focuses on the meltdown of the U.S. economy, another fire is burning: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You may not have heard much lately about the disaster in the Gaza Strip. That silence is intentional: The Israeli government has barred international journalists from entering the occupied territory. Last week, executives from the Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters, CNN, BBC and other news organizations sent a letter of protest to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticizing his government’s decision to bar journalists from entering Gaza.

Israel has virtually sealed off the Gaza Strip and cut off aid and fuel shipments. A spokesman for Israel’s Defense Ministry said Israel was displeased with international media coverage, which he said inflated Palestinian suffering and did not make clear that Israel’s measures were in response to Palestinian violence.

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that won Palestinian elections nearly three years ago and controls Gaza, broke down after an Israeli raid killed six Hamas militants two weeks ago. More Israeli raids have followed, killing approximately 17 Hamas members, and Palestinian militants have fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, injuring several people.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has criticized Israel over its blockade of the overcrowded Gaza, home to close to 1.5 million Palestinians. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is warning that Gaza faces a humanitarian “catastrophe” if Israel continues to blockade aid from reaching the territory.

The sharply divided landscape of Israel and the occupied territories is familiar ground for South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa. Tutu was in New York last week to receive the Global Citizens Circle award. I sat down with him at the residence of the South African vice consul.

Tutu reflected on the Israeli occupation: “Coming from South Africa … and looking at the checkpoints … when you humiliate a people to the extent that they are being — and, yes, one remembers the kind of experience we had when we were being humiliated — when you do that, you’re not contributing to your own security.”

Tutu said the embargo must be lifted. “The suffering is unacceptable. It doesn’t promote the security of Israel or any other part of that very volatile region,” he said. “There are very, very many in Israel who are opposed to what is happening.”

Tutu points to the outgoing Israeli prime minister. In September, Olmert made a stunning declaration to Yedioth Ahronoth, the largest Israeli newspaper. He said that Israel should withdraw from nearly all territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for peace with the Palestinians and Syria: “I am saying what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: We should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights.” Olmert said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 War of Independence. He said: “With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless.”

Olmert appears to have come closer to his daughter’s point of view. In 2006, Dana Olmert was among 200 people who gathered outside the home of the Israeli army chief of staff and chanted “murderer” as they protested Israeli killings of Palestinians (Archbishop Tutu was blocked from entering Gaza in his U.N.- backed attempts to investigate those killings). Ehud Olmert recently resigned over corruption allegations, but remains prime minister until a new government is approved by parliament.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al- Maliki criticized Olmert for waiting until now to call for an end to the settlements: “We wish we heard this personal opinion when Olmert was prime minister, not after he resigned. I think it is a very important commitment, but it came too late. We hope this commitment will be fulfilled by the new Israeli government.”

Israel is a top recipient of U.S. military aid. Archbishop Tutu says of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, “When that is resolved, what we will find (is) that the tensions between the West and … a large part of the Muslim world … evaporates.” He said of Obama, “I pray that this new president will have the capacity to see we’ve got to do something here … for the sake of our children.”

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 700 stations, including WYOU cable access TV and WORT-FM/89.9 radio here. You can hear her podcast at captimes.com. Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.


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