“This conflict is the bone in the throat of the world”

Phil Weiss, who’s in Israel right now, sat down to talk with Jeff Halper, the Minnesota-born founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, to hear his thoughts on the conflict.

Halper would be happy living in a democracy with Palestinians. I asked him why so many Israelis don’t feel that way.

“There is a principle inculcated in Israelis and Jews from before 1948, by all politicians, newscasters, teachers, journalists, any official, and that is that the Arabs are our permanent enemies. And that’s it! And if you take that as an unchanging premise, then it doesn’t matter what is being done to Palestinians.They brought it on themselves.

“You can’t trust the Arabs. That makes everything else a non-issue… Yitzhak Shamir said, ‘The Jews are still the Jews, the Arabs are still the Arabs, and the sea is still the sea.’ Which means, it’s just the way it is, it’s nature. Arabs are what they are, and we are what we are, and nothing’s going to change that….”

But are Israelis even aware of the tapestry of suffering that is the occupation, and what this does to Palestinian lives?

“Israelis don’t care. Because they’re living the good life. Polls show that peace is the 8th issue in priority for Israelis. It’s like that cover ot Time magazine, Israel doesn’t want peace. I’ve been saying that for years…. And the Israeli government thinks it’s sustainable, they think they can keep this going for another 40 years. They have no idea that we’re living on borrowed time.

“And Israel is not going to cooperate and is not going to negotiate in good faith. Because of the Congress. The only way to go to some kind of peace is by exerting pressure on Israel, which the U.S. could do easily, but the president can’t do. And Israel feels completely protected. The U.S. can’t do anything to Israel, and it won’t let anyone else do anything to Israel. We start building settlements, and it’s, ‘So what?’”

I said that the status quo will bring on violence. Halper said he doubts it.

“It’s too sewn up. Israel is too much in control. Israeli soldiers are every ten feet in the West Bank… Israel is knocking off Palestinian leaders all the time.” And the natural source of Palestinian leadership is all in Israeli jails, 12,000 Palestinians– “I use the term warehousing”– and Palestinian society is rife with collaborators, from the Palestinian Authority on down.

Where’s the hope?

“I don’t use the word hope, I use the word struggle. There’s a struggle going on…”

The good news is that now it’s globalized: the United States is becoming more and more isolated on this issue.

“I don’t think Americans appreciate how isolated they are internationally. This is now a global conflict, and so you have the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. The irresistible force is– the EU can make things hard on Israel economically, and the whole Muslim world can be up in arms, and you have BDS, Turkey, isolating Israel, and the international community saying that this is too costly to accept forever. But then the immovable object is the U.S. Congress.”

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7 thoughts on ““This conflict is the bone in the throat of the world”

  1. Renfro

    Every word true.

    Illegal agression, including war crimes, and confiscation of land by Israel.
    All justified by the Jews because of their claimed victimhood exceptionalism.
    Supported, aided and enabled by the US congresspeople.
    For political money and advantage supplied by Jewish /Israeli special interest.
    Made possible by a broken and corrupted US political system.

    You have to work from the bottom up of this list to ever fix it.

  2. Christopher Hoare

    It’s clear that the Palestinians’ fight for freedom and justice is with the US, not Israel that has no need to give an inch.
    I suggest the Palestinian supporters work to have a UN resolution defining US actions as the instrument preventing their search for a just peace. The US will no doubt veto it, but the embarrassment will open more eyes and gain more supporters.

  3. Gracie

    Of course all of the diplomatic moves since and including September 1993 have been nothing more that a sham, a diversion. Israel’s land grab was predesigned long before any facsimile of a peace process ever took shape in Madrid, a peace process destined to facilitate Israeli takeover through an intentional division on the ground . This has meant loss of two thirds of the West Bank, dunum by dunam and a quasi encirclement and control of Gaza..
    In a geographical region prone to the development of Empires 60 years is but a blink in the eye. It has required a strong military counterincentive for Arab retaliation in the form of nuclear weapons. With weapons of mass destruction as a constant threat and metaphorical bludgeon against the alternative of a two state solution, the land between the Mediterranean has been stolen from children throwing rocks and landlocked hurlers of noisy firecrackers. For me, a disproportionate loss of life is proof enough.

  4. DE Teodoru

    The Israel Hasbara Crowd keeps pushing its “Pravda”-like propaganda on us on the deep faith that they’re such smart shysters and we’re “dumb goyim.” Yet, there’s no such thing as Jewish monolith. And that’s what’s keeping the Zionists from allowing Israel to become a normal Mideast country. Should it do so, the Zionists fear, Jews would cease to see it as “LAND OF THE JEWS” and live it to sink or swim on its own and only Jews seeking a great financial deal would move to Israel. That’s why, to this day, Israel can’t afford to accept any peace deal, no matter how good it would be for Israelis. I offer Prof. Danny Ben-Moshe’s version that makes more sense, explaining the failure of OsloPeaceProcess:
    ****************************************[start quote]
    “The first reason was the timing of the deal. In contrast to other periods, such as the 1982 peace agreement with Egypt, the Declaratio­n Of Princip­les negotiated in Oslo came at a time when Israel’s Jewish/Zionist identity was being challenged by post-Zionism [ie., Zionist self-doubt]

    “The second was that the Oslo process directly affected the Zionist mission of settlement in Greater Israel articulated by Gush Emunim and endorsed by Likud Governments.

    “Finally, the Oslo process meant a change in the Zionist belief in self-defense.”
    *****************************************************************[end quote]
    *****************************************************[start quote]
    “The Oslo process amplified the debate about contemporary Jewish identity in Israel. This occurred because the peace process affected issues seen as an integral part of the national identity and because issues of Jewish-Zionist identity in Israel have become intertwined with the definition of left and right. Research has shown that gap between the religious and the non-Orthodox widened as a result of Oslo process.”
    ***************************************************************[end quote]
    So, Oslo failed because, “In the absence of a post-peace Zionist vision, Rabin and Peres let the Oslo process become identified with goals of the secular materialistic post-Zionism.”

    Therefore, it all failed because Zionists were afraid that as “NORMAL” Mideast nation, Israel would no longer be a magnet for Diaspora Jews to join into Zionist-Right. Settlements are unpopulated and the great fear is that, with peace, Jews will cease giving to and coming to live in Israel as olims. The Zionist-Right is afraid of peace because it’s afraid of losing Jewish support. We’re stuck in the middle of a fight between Zionism and its inability to scare Diaspora Jews into militancy.

  5. Renfro

    DE Teodoru October 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Well, I think most people, those who pay attention, understand that Jews and Israel have a lot of ‘benefits’ to lose politically and in other considerations if Israel, as the the “Jewish State”, was not continuously at war and the victim rationale and justifications lost traction.

  6. Renfro

    Christopher Hoare October 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Right, but I doubt that would help…..you can find dozens of resolutions like the below, some even worse, suggesting any country that aids Palestine in gaining statehood be punished with trade sanctions and the like. Lots of really nasty resolutions like this from congress.

    [106th] H.CON.RES.131 : Condemning Palestinian efforts to revive the original Palestine partition plan of November 29, 1947, and condemning the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for its April 27, 1999, resolution endorsing Palestinian self-determination on the basis of the original Palestine partition plan.
    Sponsor: Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] (introduced 6/10/1999) Cosponsors (21)
    Committees: House International Relations
    Latest Major Action: 6/10/1999 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.

    36. S.CON.RES.36 : A concurrent resolution condemning Palestinian efforts to revive the original Palestine partition plan of November 29, 1947, and condemning the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for its April 27, 1999, resolution endorsing Palestinian self-determination on the basis of the original Palestine partition plan.
    Sponsor: Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] (introduced 5/27/1999) Cosponsors (16)
    Committees: Senate Foreign Relations; House International Relations
    Latest Major Action: 7/12/1999 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.

    I think the growing suggestions, calls for, Europe and others to take over or assert themselves in the I/P conflict and side line the too one sided and corrupted US on Israel are on the right track.
    Israel has to export 50 to 75% of their total production to stay afloat economically. Europe is their largest trading partner, accounting for almost 3/4’s.
    A European trade embargo would do it.
    And then the US congress sending Israel more of our taxpayer money to make up for it, as they undoubtly would, might hopefully turn the Israel support issue upside down for the public and affect elections and finally US policy on Israel.

  7. DE Teodoru

    Renfo, please don’t sell short most Diaspora and Israeli Jews. They’re two different people and know it despite the hasbara of a small Fundamentalist minority. The Holocaust Struggle State of 1948 lacks that traction in 2010 and beyond. Too many FUNDAMENTALIST Zio-killers have been found to be doing more shyster money-making than fighting to survive. The issue now is whether the “Iron Wall” Israel of the few will keep being capitalized if it becomes the normalized Israel of the many. Already the few that make it a tank have multiple passports and foreign bank accounts, just in case. I got to know both anti-Semitism and Zionism from the inside of both and both are shrinking in the rear mirror of the many. The attempt of the neocons and of the radicals in Islam and Zionism is the same: POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE! But the mere fact that you need to polarize shows you’re losing, whether alQaeda or Likud, because human metabolism gets tired of high-rev consumption. Only America is stimulating it by killing people in order to cover-up the shame of the criminal negligence of its Centurions that made 9/11 possible.

    The biggest blame goes to politicians who bow to both extremes in many states for opportunistic reasons, producing meaningless documents that make the governments they rule increasingly meaningless. Oh yes, they’ll leave a lot of official documentary monuments behind but these will be like the monuments of ancient Greek and Roman empires, ruins for archeologists to argue over. Least of these are the paper houses in the form of resolutions that our Congress promulgates merely to squeeze campaign cash out of Jewish billionaires for whom Zionism is just another tax-exempt charity but not something they would callus their hands building.

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