War and Peace in the Middle East

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 The continuing Israeli and Palestinian bloodshed, the human suffering and economic destruction brought about by this undeclared war must raise the call for action by people of conscience, by all those concerned about human and civil rights.

The pain of over a thousand Palestinian and 400 Israeli victims weighs on us as we condemn every act of terror aimed at civilians. But the cycle of bloodletting will not be broken till the central cause of the violence is addressed: the continued Israeli control of the Palestinian areas occupied in June 1967. The Israeli occupation, dragging on now for 35 years, including the establishment of 140 Israeli settlements, and the expropriation of more than a third of the land area of the West Bank and Gaza, continues to be illegal and immoral.

Sharon, who in his previous positions was responsible for the establishment of settlements, for the destruction of many houses, for the Lebanon war of 1982, including the slaughter at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, continues a policy of war and violence vis a vis the Palestinian people and their leadership. Sharon is stuck in a colonial conception, according to which military might can trample the right of a people to self determination. Occasionally he may pay lip service to the notion of a “Palestinian State”, in order to curry favor among world public opinion. As far as Sharon is concerned, the areas taken by force in 1967 by Israel will remain occupied forever. And as for the Palestinians, from the point of view of Sharon – they can have their “Bantustans” with self rule concerning only the sewage and roads. The vision of Sharon and the right wing in Israel is a 2002 version of Apartheid, where there is no room for an independent, sustainable Palestinian state, with it’s capital East Jerusalem.

The Sharon-Peres government is well aware of the popular Palestinian resistance to the occupation and its ambitions for national independence. The Israeli military has been given the mission of forcing the Palestinians to accept a “solution” offered by Sharon. This is why the Israeli army has re-occupied the refugee camps, conducted summary executions, besieged the cities, brought the civilian population to the verge of starvation, prevented medical care and closed the schools and universities.

In addition, the Israeli right wing has been waging a scare campaign calling for the mass deportation of Palestinians (transfer) as a final solution of the political (national) problem.

The criminal attack in N.Y. on September 11, 2001 and its exploitation by the Bush administration for reorganizing the world along the vision of American hegemony, has been seized by the Sharon-Peres government as an opportunity to win the support of the U.S. and others for its war against the Palestinians. Sharon and the leadership of the Israeli army decided to ride the wave of the “war on terror”, and under its cover dismantle the Palestinian Authority, defined by Sharon as the “Terror Authority”. The Sharon government also hopes that its support of a future (American) attack on Iraq will gain for it a legitimization for its attack on the Palestinian people and leadership. This cynical position, which casts a doubt on the very future of Israel in the region, is being shown as built upon moving sand.

The difficult images from the reoccupation of the Palestinian cities and refugee camps, as broadcast throughout the world, reawakened public opinion against Israel’s war crimes and forced the Bush administration to proclaim, that Sharon should “lower the flames”.  But even though the U.S. initiated U.N. resolution 1397, which includes the call for a Palestinian state in the future peace agreement, Bush still backs Sharon’s plans, blocking the road towards a permanent peace. Mitchel and Tenet proposals are irrelevant as long as Israeli army stays in the Palestinian cities or surrounding them.

As the occupation rolled on towards war, it sows fear and desperation among Israelis. In addition to the human cost, the Israelis are facing an economic and social price tag. The year and a half of turmoil have heightened the economic crises. Entire sections of the economy are in collapse, and unemployment has passed the 10% mark. The government is passing more and more of its budget to the military effort while cutting back child allowances, education, and health care. The minimum wage is being eroded and the number of Israelis, especially children, living beneath the poverty line is growing.

The effect on the nations’ psyche is complicated. Fear and despair lead part of the Jewish public to extreme nationalism and racism, while another section is fed up with the illusions created by power and is turning against the war crimes, participating in activities organized by the Left and the peace movements. A spreading phenomena of soldiers and officers refusing to serve in the occupied territories is creating a dynamic power, which legitimizes resistance in various forms to the dictates of the Army and the policies of the Sharon-Peres government. Especially evident is the growing number of women and mothers taking part in the struggle epitomized by the slogan “The Occupation Kills all of Us.”

The main role for the peace camp is Israel, besides demonstrating its solidarity with the Palestinians, victims of the occupation, is the work to shorten the days of the Sharon government and to throw it out of power. The major obstacle to this is the continued participation in the government by the Israel Labor party (Avoda). The ILP grants the government a coalition majority in the Knesset as well as the appearance of political moderation. In reality, the ILP is a full partner to the war crimes and brutal repression in the occupied territories.  ILP chairman, Benyamin Ben Eliezer, is the minister of Defense, the position directly responsible for the war, destruction, executions, and the siege of the Palestinian people. One of the first tasks, facing the Israeli peace movement, is bring about the withdrawal of the ILP from the Sharon government.

Another condition for the forces of peace to oust the Sharon right wing government from power is a Jewish/Arab coalition against war’ occupation and discrimination.  Without such cooperation,  based on equality and mutual respect, there is no chance for the left and the forces of democracy and civil rights. As the carrier of the standard of equality and unity in the struggle of Jews and Arabs for 83 years, the CP of Israel and HADASH see the struggle against racism and discrimination against Israeli Arabs as an inseparable part of the struggle for peace and democratic freedoms.

The struggle against the occupation and for a just,  lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capitol is East Jerusalem, along side Israel, has become for the last twenty years one of the most important regional and international issues. The focal point of a Middle East war is undoubtedly of concern to neighboring Europe.

AntiSemitic accidents, taking place in various countries, should be denounced. Such events are harmful for Democracy and for a joint struggle against occupation and war and for Peace in the Middle East.

We must all remember that the continuation of the occupation and the accompanying bloodshed, takes its price in human life, destroys the social fabric and endangers the Israeli democracy. Therefore, it is imperative that the forces of peace in the region, together with those from all over the world, repeat without stop the message that the occupation is a disaster to both peoples, the Israeli and Palestinian, that no people can build their future on the ruins of another, and that there is no military solution to this long continuing conflict.

The involvement of the peace forces in European states against the Israeli occupation and their solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Israeli peace movements, is of utmost importance for putting an end to the bloodshed.

We believe that in these critical days we must present several focused goals in the struggle to end the occupation and to attain peace and security. Removing all the restrictions on the movement of Yassir Arafat, chairman of the PA, is one such goal. International intervention in the conflict, that will separate the Israeli and Palestinian combatants is another. Recently a thousand Israelis signed and sent a letter to the U.N. general secretary calling for such forces. A third goal should be the boycott of products originating in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as a way of emphasizing that these settlements are stumbling blocks on the road to peace. A fourth goal should be pressure on the ILP (Avoda) to immediately withdraw from the Sharon government, bursting the myth that the ILP’s presence moderates Sharon. The fifth goal – immediate renewal of the peace talks at the point they stopped in the days of Barak and Clinton.

The continuing Israeli and Palestinian bloodshed, the human suffering and economic destruction brought about by this undeclared war must raise the call for action by people of conscience, by all those concerned about human and civil rights.

The pain of over a thousand Palestinian and 400 Israeli victims weighs on us as we condemn every act of terror aimed at civilians. But the cycle of bloodletting will not be broken till the central cause of the violence is addressed: the continued Israeli control of the Palestinian areas occupied in June 1967. The Israeli occupation, dragging on now for 35 years,  including the establishment of 140 Israeli settlements, and the expropriation of more than a third of the land area of the West Bank and Gaza, continues to be illegal and immoral .

Sharon, who in his previous positions was responsible for the establishment of settlements, for the destruction of many houses, for the Lebanon war of 1982, including the slaughter at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps, continues a policy of war and violence vis a vis the Palestinian people and their leadership. Sharon is stuck in a colonial conception, according to which military might can trample the right of a people to self determination. Occasionally he may pay lip service to the notion of a “Palestinian State”, in order to curry favor among world public opinion. As far as Sharon is concerned, the areas taken by force in 1967 by Israel will remain occupied forever. And as for the Palestinians, from the point of view of Sharon – they can have their “Bantustans” with self rule concerning only the sewage and roads. The vision of Sharon and the right wing in Israel is a 2002 version of Apartheid, where there is no room for an independent, sustainable Palestinian state, with it’s capital East Jerusalem.

The Sharon-Peres government is well aware of the popular Palestinian resistance to the occupation and its ambitions for national independence. The Israeli military has been given the mission of forcing the Palestinians to accept a “solution” offered by Sharon. This is why the Israeli army has re-occupied the refugee camps, conducted summary executions, besieged the cities, brought the civilian population to the verge of starvation, prevented medical care and closed the schools and universities.

In addition, the Israeli right wing has been waging a scare campaign calling for the mass deportation of Palestinians (transfer) as a final solution of the political (national) problem.

The criminal attack in N.Y. on September 11, 2001 and its exploitation by the Bush administration for reorganizing the world along the vision of American hegemony, has been seized by the Sharon-Peres government as an opportunity to win the support of the U.S. and others for its war against the Palestinians. Sharon and the leadership of the Israeli army decided to ride the wave of the “war on terror”, and under its cover dismantle the Palestinian Authority, defined by Sharon as the “Terror Authority”. The Sharon government also hopes that its support of a future (American) attack on Iraq will gain for it a legitimization for its attack on the Palestinian people and leadership. This cynical position, which casts a doubt on the very future of Israel in the region, is being shown as built upon moving sand.

The difficult images from the reoccupation of the Palestinian cities and refugee camps, as broadcast throughout the world, reawakened public opinion against Israel’s war crimes and forced the Bush administration to proclaim, that Sharon should “lower the flames”.  But even though the U.S. initiated U.N. resolution 1397, which includes the call for a Palestinian state in the future peace agreement, Bush still backs Sharon’s plans, blocking the road towards a permanent peace. Mitchel and Tenet proposals are irrelevant as long as Israeli army stays in the Palestinian cities or surrounding them.

As the occupation rolled on towards war, it sows fear and desperation among Israelis. In addition to the human cost, the Israelis are facing an economic and social price tag. The year and a half of turmoil have heightened the economic crises. Entire sections of the economy are in collapse, and unemployment has passed the 10% mark. The government is passing more and more of its budget to the military effort while cutting back child allowances, education, and health care. The minimum wage is being eroded and the number of Israelis, especially children, living beneath the poverty line is growing.

The effect on the nations’ psyche is complicated. Fear and despair lead part of the Jewish public to extreme nationalism and racism, while another section is fed up with the illusions created by power and is turning against the war crimes, participating in activities organized by the Left and the peace movements. A spreading phenomena of soldiers and officers refusing to serve in the occupied territories is creating a dynamic power, which legitimizes resistance in various forms to the dictates of the Army and the policies of the Sharon-Peres government. Especially evident is the growing number of women and mothers taking part in the struggle epitomized by the slogan “The Occupation Kills all of Us.”

The main role for the peace camp is Israel, besides demonstrating its solidarity with the Palestinians, victims of the occupation, is the work to shorten the days of the Sharon government and to throw it out of power. The major obstacle to this is the continued participation in the government by the Israel Labor party (Avoda). The ILP grants the government a coalition majority in the Knesset as well as the appearance of political moderation. In reality, the ILP is a full partner to the war crimes and brutal repression in the occupied territories.  ILP chairman, Benyamin Ben Eliezer, is the minister of Defense, the position directly responsible for the war, destruction, executions, and the siege of the Palestinian people. One of the first tasks, facing the Israeli peace movement, is bring about the withdrawal of the ILP from the Sharon government.

Another condition for the forces of peace to oust the Sharon right wing government from power is a Jewish/Arab coalition against war’ occupation and discrimination.  Without such cooperation,  based on equality and mutual respect, there is no chance for the left and the forces of democracy and civil rights. As the carrier of the standard of equality and unity in the struggle of Jews and Arabs for 83 years, the CP of Israel and HADASH see the struggle against racism and discrimination against Israeli Arabs as an inseparable part of the struggle for peace and democratic freedoms.

The struggle against the occupation and for a just,  lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capitol is East Jerusalem, along side Israel, has become for the last twenty years one of the most important regional and international issues. The focal point of a Middle East war is undoubtedly of concern to neighboring Europe.

AntiSemitic accidents, taking place in various countries, should be denounced. Such events are harmful for Democracy and for a joint struggle against occupation and war and for Peace in the Middle East.

We must all remember that the continuation of the occupation and the accompanying bloodshed, takes its price in human life, destroys the social fabric and endangers the Israeli democracy. Therefore, it is imperative that the forces of peace in the region, together with those from all over the world, repeat without stop the message that the occupation is a disaster to both peoples, the Israeli and Palestinian, that no people can build their future on the ruins of another, and that there is no military solution to this long continuing conflict.

The involvement of the peace forces in European states against the Israeli occupation and their solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Israeli peace movements, is of utmost importance for putting an end to the bloodshed.

We believe that in these critical days we must present several focused goals in the struggle to end the occupation and to attain peace and security. Removing all the restrictions on the movement of Yassir Arafat, chairman of the PA, is one such goal. International intervention in the conflict, that will separate the Israeli and Palestinian combatants is another. Recently a thousand Israelis signed and sent a letter to the U.N. general secretary calling for such forces. A third goal should be the boycott of products originating in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as a way of emphasizing that these settlements are stumbling blocks on the road to peace. A fourth goal should be pressure on the ILP (Avoda) to immediately withdraw from the Sharon government, bursting the myth that the ILP’s presence moderates Sharon. The fifth goal – immediate renewal of the peace talks at the point they stopped in the days of Barak and Clinton.

April 2002