CURRENT CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
By Professor Noam
|MIT must be relaxing its standards if
this many people can show up right on the eve of finals
Well, just how dangerous is the crisis in the Middle
East? There is a UN Special Envoy, a Norwegian, Roed-Larson. A couple of
days ago, he warned that Israel's blockade of the Palestinian areas is
leading to enormous suffering and could rapidly detonate a regional war.
Notice that he referred to the blockade. He didn't
refer to the killings, and the other atrocities. And he's right about that.
The blockade is the crucial tactic. There can be a blockade which
is very effective because of the way the so-called 'peace' process has
evolved under U.S. direction, meaning hundreds of isolated Palestinian
enclaves, some of them tiny, which can be blocked off and strangled by
the Israeli occupying forces. That's the basic structure of what's called
here the peace process. So, there can be an extremely effective blockade.
And a blockade is a sensible tactic for the United States and Israel, and
it's always together. Remember that anything that Israel does, it does
by U.S. authorization, and usually subsidy and support.
The blockade is a tactic to fine-tune the atrocities
so that they don't become too visible, visible enough to force Washington
or the West (which means Washington essentially) to make some kind of response.
There have been mistakes in the past and the United
States and Israel have certainly learned from them. So in 1996 for example,
when Shimon Peres launched yet another attack on Lebanon, killing large
numbers of people and driving hundreds/thousands out of their home, it
was fine and the U.S. was able to support it and Clinton did support it,
up until one mistake, when they bombed a UN Camp in Qana, killing over
a hundred people who were refugees in the camp. Clinton at first justified
it, but as the international reaction came in, he had to back off, and
Israel was forced, under U.S. orders in effect, to call off the operation
and withdraw. That's the kind of mistake you want to avoid. So, for those
of you going into the diplomatic service, you can't allow that kind of
mistake to happen. You want low level atrocities, fine-tuned, so that an
international response is unnecessary. [Laughter]
The same thing happened more recently, just a year
ago, last September, when the U.S.-backed slaughter in East Timor, which
had been going on nicely for about 25 years, finally got out of hand to
such a degree that Clinton was compelled, after the Country was virtually
destroyed, to essentially tell the Indonesian generals that the game is
over, and they instantly withdrew. So that, you want to avoid.
In this particular case, there is a clear effort
to keep killings, which is what hits the front pages, at roughly the level
of Kosovo before the NATO bombing. In fact, that's about the level of killings
right now, so that the story will sort of fade into the background.
Now, of course, the Kosovo story was quite different.
At that time, the propaganda needs were the opposite. The killings were
under fairly similar circumstances and the level of Serbian response was
approximately like Israel's response in the occupied territories. (Then,
in fact, there were attacks from right across the border, so it would be
as if Hizbollah was carrying out attacks in the Galili, or something like
that). That time, the propaganda needs were different, so therefore, it
was described passionately as genocide. A well designed propaganda system
can make those distinctions. So in that case it was genocide, and in this
case it's unnoticeable and justified reprisal.
The general idea, and I think you can expect this
to continue for awhile, is for the tactics to be restricted to: assassination;
lots and lots of people wounded (severely - many of them will die later,
but that doesn't enter into consciousness); starvation (according to the
UN, there are about 600,000 people facing starvation, but again that is
below the level); and curfews (24 hour curfews, like in Hebron, for weeks
at a time, while a couple of hundred Israeli settlers strut around freely,
but the rest of the population, tens of thousands of people, are locked
in their homes, allowed out a couple of hours a week).
The isolation in the hundreds of enclaves, and
so on, is so that suffering can be kept below the level that might elicit
a Western response. And the assumption, which is pretty plausible, is that
there is a limit to what people can endure, and ultimately they will give
Well, there is, however, a problem in the Arab
world, which is more sensitive to these massive atrocities, and it could
explode, and that's what Roed-Larson is warning about. The governance in
the Arab world is extremely fragile, especially in the crucial oil producing
region. Any popular unrest might threaten the very fragile rule of the
U.S. clients, which the U.S. would be unwilling to accept. And it might,
equally unacceptably, induce the rulers of the oil monarchies to move to
improve relations (particularly with Iran, which, in fact, they've already
been doing), which would undermine the whole framework for U.S. domination
of the world's major energy reserves.
Back in 1994, Clinton's National Security Advisor,
Anthony Lake, described what he called a paradigm for the post cold war
era, and for the Middle East. The paradigm was what's called "dual containment",
so it contains Iraq and Iran, but as he pointed out, dual containment relies
crucially on the Oslo process, the process that brings about relative peace
between Israel and the Arabs. Unless that can be sustained, the dual containment
can't be sustained, and the whole U.S. current policy for controlling the
region will be in serious danger. That's happened already.
Just two years ago in December 1998, the U.S. and
Britain bombed Iraq with outright and very explicit contempt for world
opinion, including the UN Security Council. Remember that the bombing was
timed just at the moment when the Security Council was having an emergency
session to consider the problems of inspection in Iraq, and as they began,
they got the announcement that the U.S. and Britain had pre-empted it by
bombing. That, and the events before it, lead to a very negative reaction
in the Arab World, and elsewhere for that matter, and did lead to very
visible steps, particularly by the Saudi ruling monarchy, but also others,
towards accommodation to Iran, and indication of some degree of acceptance
of an Iranian position that has been around for awhile, that there should
be a strategic alliance in the region that's independent of Western (meaning
primarily U.S.) power. That is something that the U.S. is highly unlikely
to accept and could lead to very dangerous consequences.
Furthermore, on top of this, the countries in the
region, Iran and Syria in particular, are testing missiles, which might
be able to reach Israel. The United States and Israel are working not only
on missiles, but also on an anti-missile system, the Arrow anti-missile
system. When armaments are at that level, tensions can easily break out
suddenly and unpredictably and lead to a war with advanced weapons, which
can get out of hand pretty quickly.
Well, how dangerous is that? Turn to another expert,
General Lee Butler, recently retired. He was head of the Strategic Command
at the highest nuclear agency under Clinton, STRATCOM. He wrote a couple
of years ago that it's dangerous in the extreme that in the cauldron of
animosities that we call the Middle East, one nation has armed itself,
ostensibly with stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the hundreds, and that
inspires other nations to do so as well, and also to develop other weapons
of mass destruction as a deterrent, which is highly combustible and can
lead to very dangerous outcomes. All of this is still more dangerous when
the sponsor of that one nation is regarded generally in the world as a
rogue state, which is unpredictable and out of control, irrational and
vindictive, and insists on portraying itself in that fashion. In fact,
the Strategic Command under Clinton has, in its highest level pronouncement,
advised that the United States should maintain a national persona, as they
call it, of being irrational and vindictive and out of control so that
the rest of the world will be frightened. And they are. And the U.S. should
also rely on nuclear weapons as the core of its strategy, including the
right of first use against non-nuclear states, including those that have
signed the Non-Proliferation treaty. Those proposals have been built into
presidential directives, Clinton-era presidential directives, that don't
make much noise around here, but it is understood in the world, which is
naturally impelled to respond by developing weapons of mass destruction
of its own in self defense. But these are prospects that are indeed recognized
by U.S. intelligence and high level U.S. analysts. About two years ago,
Harvard professor Samuel Huntington wrote an article in a very prestigious
journal, Foreign Affairs, in which he pointed out that for much of the
world, he indicated most of the world, the United States is considered
a dangerous rogue state, and the main threat to their national existence.
And it's not surprising, if you look at what happens in the world from
outside the framework of the U.S. indoctrination system. That's very plausible
even from documents, and certainly from actions, and much of the world
does see it that way, and that adds to the severe dangers of the situation.
|Well, the recent history of the Middle
East provides quite a few further warnings. I'll just mention one example,
which is very crucial in the present context right now - that's 1967, in
the June 1967 war when Israel destroyed the Arab armies, the armies of
the Arab states, Egypt most importantly, and it conquered the currently
occupied territories. That set the stage for what's still going on right
now. At that time, the Soviet Union was still around, and the conflict
there became serious enough so that it almost led to a war - a nuclear
war, which would have been the end of the story. Then Defense Secretary
Robert McNamara later observed, in his words, "we damned near had war".
At the end of the June war there were hot line communications, apparently
President Kosygin warned that if you want to have war, you can have it.
There were naval confrontations between the Russian and the U.S. fleets
in the Eastern Mediterranean.
There was also another case. There was an Israeli
attack on a U.S. spy ship, USS Liberty, which killed about 35 sailors and
crewman and practically sank the ship. The Liberty didn't know who was
attacking it. The attackers were disguised. Before they were disabled,
they got messages back to the 6th Fleet Headquarters in Naples, who also
didn't know who was attacking it. They sent out Phantoms, which were nuclear-armed,
because they didn't have any that weren't nuclear-armed, to respond to
whoever was attacking it, and they didn't know who they were supposed to
bomb - Russia, Egypt, you know, anybody. Apparently the planes were called
back directly from the Pentagon sort of at the last moment. But that event
alone could have lead to a nuclear war.
All of this was understood to be extremely hazardous.
Most of this probably had to do with Israel's plans to conquer the Golan
Heights, which they did after the ceasefire. And they didn't want the United
States to know about it in advance because the U.S. would have stopped
them, and probably that's what lies behind most of this. Documents aren't
out, so we can only speculate, and they will probably never come out. Anyhow,
the situation was ominous enough so that the great powers on all sides
figured that they better put a stop to it, and they very quickly met at
the Security Council and accepted a resolution, UN 242, the famous UN 242
from November 1967, which laid out a framework for a diplomatic settlement.
And it's worth paying close attention to what UN
242 was and is. It's different now from what it was then. The information
about this is public technically, but barely known and often distorted,
so just pay attention to what it is. You can easily check it if you like.
UN 242 called for - the basic idea was full peace
in return for a full withdrawal. So, Israel would withdraw from the territories
that it just conquered, and in return, the Arab states would agree to a
full peace with it. There was kind of a minor footnote, that the withdrawal
could involve minor and mutual adjustments. So, for example, regarding
some line or curve, they could straighten it out, that sort of thing. But
that was the policy, and that was U.S. policy - it was under U.S. initiative.
So, full peace in return for full withdrawal. Notice that this very crucially,
and it's very crucial now, that UN 242 was completely "rejectionist".
I use the term "rejectionist" now in a slightly
non-standard sense, in a non-racist sense. It is usually used in a completely
racist sense. So the rejectionists are those who deny Israel's right to
national self-determination. But, of course, there are two national groups
contesting, and I am using the term rejectionist in a neutral sense, hence
non-standard, to refer to a denial of the rights of either of the two contestants,
including denials of Palestinian rights. That terminology is never used
in the United States, and can't be used, because if it is used, it will
turn out that the United States is the leader of the rejectionist camp,
and we can't have that. So therefore the term is always used in a racist
sense. So, you will understand that I'm switching from normal usage now.
UN 242 was completely rejectionist. It offered
nothing to the Palestinians. There was no reference to them, except the
phrase that there was a refugee problem that somehow had to be dealt with.
That's it. Apart from that, it was to be an agreement among the states.
The states were to reach full peace treaties in the context of complete
Israeli withdrawal from the territories. That's UN 242.
Well, without proceeding, for the local people
in the region, the Israelis and the Palestinians, the crisis is obviously
extremely grave. It could lead to a regional war that could easily escalate
to a global war with weapons of mass destruction with consequences that
are unimaginable, and that could happen at almost any time.
Secondly, the U.S. role is highly significant.
That's always true throughout the world just because of U.S. power, but
it's particularly true in the Middle East, which has been recognized in
high level planning for 50 years (and goes back beyond that, but explicitly
for 50 years) as a core element in U.S. global planning. Just to quote
documents from 50 years ago, declassified documents, the Middle East was
described as the "strategically most important region of the world", "a
stupendous source of strategic power", "the richest economic prize in the
world", and, you know, on and on in the same vein. The U.S. is not going
to give that up. And the reason is very simple. That's the world's major
energy reserves, and not only are they valuable to have because of the
enormous profit that comes from them, but control over them gives a kind
of veto power over the actions of others for obvious reasons, which were
recognized right away at the time. So, that's a core issue. It's been the
prime concern of U.S. military and strategic planning for half a century.
The gulf region, the region of major energy reserves, has always been the
target of the major U.S. intervention forces, with a base system that extends
over a good part of the world, from the Pacific to the Azores, with consequences
for all of those regions because they are backup bases for the intervention
forces targeting the gulf region, also including the Indian Ocean.
And this is a big issue right now, in England at
least, and much of the world, but not in the United States. The inhabitants
of an Indian Ocean island, the Diego Garcia, that were kicked out and unceremoniously
dumped on another island, Mauritius, some years ago, and those who managed
to survive it, have been fighting through the British Courts (this was
a British dependency) to try to gain the right to return to their homes.
They finally won a couple of months ago in the High Court in England and
were granted the right to return, except that the U.S. won't relinquish
the Island, where it has a major military base that's used for the Middle
East targeted forces. Just a couple of days ago, they asked for indemnity
of about 6 billion dollars, and the U.S. is refusing, of course. Madeline
Albright commented on it. She said it's just an issue between Britain and
Mauritius. We don't have anything to do with it, even though we hold the
Island and refuse to allow them to return, and refuse to pay indemnities.
I think you'll search pretty far to find some discussion of this in the
U.S. press, but that's part of the base system for targeting the Middle
Well, for years, there was a kind of a public pretext
for all of this. The public pretext was that we had to defend ourselves
against the Russians. That was the pretext for everything, and the pretext
for this in particular. There is a pretty rich internal record, bequest
by documents, which tells quite a different story, however. The story it
tells is that the Russians were, at most, a marginal factor, often no factor.
But, fortunately there is no need to debate the matter anymore because
it has been conceded publicly. It was conceded, in fact, immediately after
the fall of the Berlin Wall, which sort of got rid of the pretext. You
can't appeal to the Russian threat anymore.
A couple of weeks after the fall of the Berlin
Wall, the Bush Administration submitted its annual message to Congress,
calling for a huge military budget, and it was a very interesting document.
Unfortunately it wasn't reported, but it was very important obviously -
the first call for a huge military budget after the fall of the Berlin
Wall, when you can't appeal to the Russians anymore. So, therefore, it's
revealing and tells you what's really going on. As expected, the Russian
threat was gone. We don't need a huge Pentagon budget because of the Russians
who aren't around anymore, but we still need it. In fact, it turned out
to be exactly as it was in the past, and we needed it for reasons which
are now frankly expressed. We needed it because of what they called the
technological sophistication of Third World countries, which is a way of
saying they pose a danger of becoming independent. And, we need it because
we have to maintain what's called the defense industrial base, which is
what pays our salaries among other things. The defense industrial base
is just a term for hi-tech industry, which has to be funded by the public,
which has to bear the costs and risks of development. MIT is one of the
funnels for that. That has to be maintained. We have to keep the source
of the dynamic sectors of the economy, which are substantially in the public
sectors, so we have to maintain the defense industrial base. And we also
have to keep the intervention forces that we've always had still targeting
the Middle East, the gulf region. Then it adds (where the threat to our
interests that involve possible military action could not be laid at the
Kremlin's door - contrary to half a century, forty years, of lies), sorry,
folks, we've been lying to you, but we still need them there because of
the technological sophistication of Third World powers, that is, the threat
that they may become independent.
Notice that the threat to our interests could also
not be laid at Iraq's door at that time because Saddam Hussein was still
a nice guy. He had only been gassing Kurds, and torturing dissidents, and
that sort of thing. But he was considered obedient, so he was a friend
and ally. This is early 1990. It changed a few months later.
So, we don't have to debate the question of the
war with the Russians. It's now conceded that that was not a significant
threat, could not be laid at the Kremlin's door, and the threat, in fact,
is what it is all over the world, and has been right through the cold war,
the threat of what's called "radical nationalism" or "independent nationalism".
It doesn't make much of a difference where it is in the political spectrum.
But, if it's independent, it's a danger and you have to undermine it as
a way of threatening what's called stability, that is, the subordination
of the world to the dominant interests that the U.S. represents.
Actually U.S. relations with Israel developed in
that context. The 1967 war was a major step forward, when Israel showed
its power and ability to deal with Third World radical nationalists, who
were, at that time, threatening, particularly Nasser. Nasser was engaged
in a kind of proxy war with Saudi Arabia, which is the most important country,
that's where all the oil is, and the Yemen. And Israel put an end to that
by smashing Nasser's armies and won a lot of points for that, and U.S.
relations with Israel really became solidified at that point. But it had
been recognized 10 years earlier and the U.S. intelligence had noted that
what they called the logical corollary to opposition to radical Arab nationalism
is support for Israel as a reliable base for U.S. power in the region.
And Israel is reliable because it's under threat, and therefore it needs
U.S. support, which has another logical corollary, that for the U.S. interests',
it's a good idea for Israel to be under threat. That essentially continues,
and a good deal of the relationship is based on the way that context developed.
If there was time, I could talk about it, but I'll skip it.
Anyhow, we can thankfully put the pretext aside
at this point, and just look at the reasons which are now on the table
- it's the threat of independent nationalism, and in the case of the Gulf
region, that's particularly important because that's the world's major
|Well, the final consideration, on to
the topic, is that the U.S. role is not the only one, of course. It's one
factor in a complicated mixture, but it is a decisive factor, and crucially,
it's the one factor that's under our control. We can directly influence
it. So, we can bewail the terrible actions of other people, but we can
do something about our own actions. That's a rather critical difference,
in personal life and in international affairs. And it's illuminating to
observe how much attention is given to the crimes of others, which most
of the time we can't do anything about, and compare it with the amount
of attention that is given to our own crimes, which we can do a great deal
about. That's an instructive comparison, and if you take the trouble to
work it out, you learn a lot about the intellectual culture in which we
live and to which we're expected to contribute. For that reason alone,
and it's far from the only one, we ought to be discussing primarily the
U.S. role. And furthermore, that role is little understood. It's often
just suppressed, which is another reason to focus on it.
Well, let me illustrate the things that are happening
right at this moment. The Intifada, the current uprising, began on September
29th, that was the day after General Ariel Sharon appeared at the Haram
al Sharif with a lot of troops. That event alone was provocative, but it
probably would have gone by without any reaction. What happened the next
day, however, was different. The next day is the Friday, the day of prayers,
and there was a huge military presence, mostly border guards who were kind
of like the paramilitaries, the ones you farm out atrocities to, and they
were there in force, and as people came out of the Mosques, it was obviously
extremely provocative. Some rock throwing took place. They shot into the
crowds, killed four or more people, wounded over a hundred. And after that,
it just took off. This is incidentally Barak, not Sharon. It's easy to
blame Sharon, and there's plenty to blame on him for fifty years of atrocities
but this happened to be Barak's planning.
Let me just consider one aspect of what has gone
on since, mainly the use of helicopter gunships. On October 1st, right
after this, Israel military helicopters, meaning U.S. helicopters with
Israeli pilots, killed two Palestinians in Gaza. On October 2nd, the next
day, they killed 10 Palestinians, wounded 35 others in Gaza at Netzarim,
which if you follow this closely, you'll notice is the scene of many of
the major atrocities, including the famous photo of the 12 year old boy
who was killed. What's Netzarim? Well, the fact is, Netzarim is just an
excuse to split the Gaza Strip in two. There's a small settlement south
of Gaza, the only purpose of which is to require a big military outpost
to protect it, and the military outpost then requires a road, a huge road,
which cuts the Gaza Strip in two, so that separates Gaza City, the main
population concentration, from the Southern part of the strip, and Egypt,
and insures that in any outcome, Gaza will be imprisoned inside Israel
in effect. There are other breaks down farther South, but Netzarim is the
main one, and that is where a lot of the atrocities have been. So this
October 2nd killing of 10 and wounding of 35 at Netzarim by helicopters
is just one of these many incidents.
On October 3rd, the next day, the Defense Correspondent
of Ha'aretz, which is the major serious Hebrew newspaper, reported the
largest purchase of military helicopters in a decade - that means U.S.
military helicopters. These were Blackhawks, and spare parts for Apaches.
Apaches are the main attack helicopters. These had been delivered a few
weeks earlier. They were getting spare parts, also jet fuel.
The next day, October 4th, Jane's Defence Weekly,
which is the major military journal in the world, the British military
journal, reported that the Clinton administration had further approved
a new sale of attack helicopters, Apache attack helicopters, because they
had decided that upgrading the ones that they had just sent would not be
sufficient, so they really had to send new, more advanced ones. The same
day the Boston Globe reported that Apache attack helicopters were attacking
apartment complexes with rockets, again in Netzarim. The international
press agencies at that time quoted Pentagon officials, as saying, and I'm
quoting a Pentagon official, "U.S. weapon sales do not carry a stipulation
that the weapons cannot be used against civilians. We cannot second guess
an Israeli commander who calls in helicopter gunships." Okay, so, the story
so far - U.S. helicopter gunships are being used to attack civilians, but
they aren't advanced enough, and Israel doesn't have enough of them, so
therefore, the Clinton administration had to move in with the biggest purchase
in a decade. Purchase means American taxpayers pay for it in some indirect
fashion. And then it had the next day to extend it further, sending them
more advanced Apache helicopters, and there's no stipulation going along
with them that they can't be used against civilians. Well, that carries
us up to October 4th.Then come more and more attacks on civilians, and
I'll skip them.
The first reference in the U.S. press to any of
this is on October 12th. There was an opinion piece in the Raleigh North
Carolina newspaper, which said they thought this was kind of a bad idea.
That's also the last reference to it in the U.S. press, meaning the only
reference. It's not that editors don't know about this. Of course they
know about it. In fact, it has been explicitly brought to the attention
of editors of leading newspapers, as if they didn't know already. And it's
not that it's unimportant, because it is obviously very important. It's
just the kind of news that's not fit to print. And that's very typical,
not only in this part of the world, but everywhere. It's extremely important
that the public be kept in the dark about what's being done, because if
they know about it, they're not going to like it. And if they don't like
it, they might do something about it. So, there's a grave responsibility
on the media, and on intellectuals generally, the educational system and
so on, to ensure that people are kept in the dark about things that it's
better for them not to know, like this for example. And the task is carried
out with very impressive dedication. This is not an untypical example.
On October 19th, Amnesty International published
a report condemning the United States for providing new military helicopters
to Israel. They were also reporting the atrocities. That was not reported
in the United States. It was elsewhere. On November 10th, Amnesty International
published a much broader condemnation of the excessive use of force and
terror, and so on, that was barely mentioned.
So it continues.
Well, let's turn to the question what can we do?
The answer is we have choices. We can do a lot. So, for example, we can
continue to provide helicopter gunships and other military support to ensure
that Israel is able to attack civilians, maintain a blockade, starve them
to death, and so on. And we can provide the funding that allows Israel
to continue to integrate the occupied territories within Israel proper
as it has been doing, settlements, infrastructure, etc. It doesn't matter
which government is in office. It goes on under Barak about the same way
it did under Netanyahu. And it's anticipated to go on next year. The budget
provisions have already been made for next year. So we can continue with
that if we'd like. Or, we can act to stop their participation in these
activities, which is pretty straightforward. It doesn't require bombing
or sanctions. It just means stop participating in atrocities, the easiest
thing to do. That's a choice. And, in fact, we may even go further and
call them off, as is pretty easily done when a country has the power that
the United States has. I gave a couple of examples.
Well, if we decide on the latter choice, which
is always open here and elsewhere, there's a prerequisite. The prerequisite
is that we know what's going on. So you can't make that choice, say to
stop providing military helicopters (and you know the helicopters are just
an illustration of a much bigger picture) unless you know about it. Again,
the grave responsibility of the intellectual world, the media, journals,
universities, and others, is to prevent people from knowing. That takes
effort. It's not easy. As in this case, it takes some dedication to suppress
the facts and make sure that the population doesn't know what's being done
in their name, because if they do, they aren't going to like it, and they'll
respond. Then you get into trouble.
Well, the very same applies to the diplomatic record.
Let me turn to that. Let's begin with the current phase of diplomacy, what
started in September 1993, that's the famous Oslo process. In September
1993, there was a meeting on the White House lawn, very august, with the
Boston Globe having a headline describing it as "a day of awe". The Israelis
and the Palestinians agreed, under Clinton's supervision, to what's called
a Declaration of Principles. There were at that time a number of issues,
and it's crucial to understand how the Declaration of Principles dealt
Okay, so one issue, was territory - what's going
to happen with the occupied territories, how they are going to be assigned
- that's issue number one.
Number two, is the issue of national rights. Now
that issue only arises for Palestinians. There is no question in the case
of Israel, that's just not in question and hasn't been in question at all.
The only question is what about the rights of the Palestinians?
The third question is what about the right to resist?
And do the Palestinians, or the Lebanese for that matter, have the right
to resist military occupation. That's the third question.
The fourth question, which is kind of a counterpart
to that, is whether the occupying power (does Israel, which means the U.S.
here) have the right to attack in the occupied territories and in Lebanon?
Those are the four main questions.
There were answers in the Declaration of Principles.
With regard to territory, the Declaration of Principles stated that the
permanent settlement would be on the basis of UN 242, but that raises a
question. What does UN 242 mean? Here, we have to go to the earlier diplomatic
record. I'll return to it in a moment.
The second, with regard to national rights, again,
is settled in terms of UN 242. And anyone who is paying attention in September
1993 could see exactly where this was going. The Declaration of Principles
states that the permanent settlement, long term outcome, you know, the
end of the road, will be based upon UN 242 alone. Now for 20 years, the
issue in international diplomacy had been the rejectionism of UN 242. Remember,
UN 242 says nothing about the Palestinians. For 20 years there have been
a series of efforts by the whole world to supplement UN 242 to include
Palestinian rights alongside the rights of Israel, which were never in
question. That was the issue from the mid-70's right up until Oslo, and
the U.S. won flat out on that one. Palestinian rights are not to be considered.
It's just UN 242, no Palestinian rights. They are not mentioned and that's
the permanent settlement. So, territories, it's UN 242, which means what
the U.S. decides (I'll come back to that), national rights - U.S. wins
flat out, the rest of the world capitulates. What about the right to resist?
Well, Arafat agreed at the signing of the Declaration
of Principles to abandon any right to resist, and it's taken for granted
that in Lebanon the population also has no right to resist. It's called
terrorism if they resist. Why did Arafat have to state this? He actually
said it over and over again. You know, he made solemn pronouncements to
that effect over and over, but the purpose here was just pure humiliation.
You have to make sure you humiliate the lower breeds to make sure that
they don't get too big for their britches. George Schultz, Secretary of
State, who is considered something of a dove, put it pretty plainly. He
said it's true that Arafat has said unc, unc, unc, and he said oh, oh,
oh, but he hasn't said uncle, uncle, uncle in a sufficiently submissive
tone, and we ought to make sure that he does, over and over again. That's
the way you treat the lower breeds. So, once again, Arafat had to say uncle,
loudly and submissively, and thank you Massa, and sign a statement saying,
you know, once again, we reject the right to resist. Same in Lebanon, it
isn't even a question.
What about the fourth question, the right to attack?
A counterpart is Israel's right to attack. Well, they've retained that
right, and Israel continues to use it repeatedly with U.S. support before
and after. Notice that over this period there is virtually no defensive
pretext, contrary to what you read in U.S. commentary. That goes way back.
But, contrary to propaganda, almost the entire series of U.S./Israeli attacks,
certainly in the occupied territories, but in Lebanon as well, were not
for any defensive purpose. They were initiated. That includes the 1982
invasion, and that's no small matter. I mean, it's not considered a big
deal here, but during the 22 years that Israel illegally occupied Southern
Lebanon in violation of Security Council orders (but with U.S. authorization),
they killed about maybe 45,000 or 50,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, not
a trivial number. This included many very brutal attacks going on after
the Oslo accords as well, in 1983, 1986, and so on.
Incidentally, you might again want to compare this
with Serbia and Kosovo. The comparison in this case has to be kind of like
a thought experiment, because it never happened. But, imagine if Serbia
had been bombing Albania to the extent that Israel was bombing Lebanon,
that would be an analogy. It didn't happen, but you can just imagine what
the reaction would have been. It tells you again something about our values
and of the need to maintain discipline on these issues, so that people
don't think it through.
Well, the PLO accepted all this, just abjectly.
Israel in return and the Declaration of Principles committed itself to
absolutely nothing. You should take a look back at what happened on the
White House lawn, on "the day of awe". Prime Minister Rabin made a very
terse comment, a couple of lines, in which, after Arafat agreed to all
of this stuff, he said that Israel would now recognize the PLO as the representative
of the Palestinians - period. Nothing about national rights. Nothing. We
just recognize you as the representative of the Palestinians, and his Foreign
Minister, Shimon Peres, considered a dove, explained why right away in
Israel, in Hebrew. He said, well, yeah, we can recognize them now because
they've capitulated, so there is no problem in recognizing them. They can
now become a kind of junior partner in controlling the Palestinian population,
which follows a traditional colonial pattern.
Israel and the United States had made a rather
serious error in the occupied territories. It's not a good idea to try
to control a subject population with your own troops. The way it is usually
done is, you farm it out to the natives. That's the way the British ran
India for a couple of hundred years. India was mostly controlled by Indian
troops, often taken from other regions, you know like the Gurkhas and so
on. That's the way the United States runs Central America, with mercenary
forces, which are called armies, if you can keep them under control. That's
the way South Africa ran the Black areas. Most of the atrocities are carried
out by Black mercenaries, and in the Bantustans, it was entirely Blacks.
That's the standard colonial pattern and it makes a lot of sense. If you
have your own troops out there, it causes all kinds of problems. You know,
first of all they suffer injuries, and these are people who don't like
to feel good about killing people, and their parents get upset and so on
and so forth, but if you have mercenaries or paramilitaries, you don't
have those problems. So, Israel and the United States were going to turn
to the standard colonial pattern and have the Palestinian forces, who in
fact mostly came from Tunis, control the local population - control them
economically and politically, as well as militarily. That was the idea,
a sensible reversion to standard colonial practice.
Well, let's move a little back to the earlier diplomatic
record, which helps put all of this in context. So, what about the right
to resist? The right to resist military occupation in the territories,
and in Lebanon? That actually has been discussed in the international community,
though you wouldn't know it here. In December 1987, which was right at
the peak of all of the furor about international terrorism, you know, the
plague of the modern world, and so on and so forth, the UN General Assembly
considered and passed a resolution condemning terrorism very strongly,
you know, international terrorism is the worst crime there is, and had
all of the right wording in it and so on and so forth. The resolution was
passed 153 to 2, which is actually pretty normal. The two were the usual
ones, the United States and Israel. One country only abstained, Honduras,
for unknown reasons, so it was essentially unanimous except for the United
States and Israel. Now, why would the United States and Israel reject,
and that means veto since it's a U.S. vote against, a resolution denouncing
terrorism? Well, the reason is because it contained one paragraph which
said that nothing in this resolution prejudices the right of people to
struggle against racist and colonialist regimes and foreign military occupation
and to gain the support of others for their struggle for freedom under
these conditions. Well that, the U.S. won't accept of course. For example,
that would have given the A.N.C. in South Africa the right to resist the
South African regime, which is unacceptable. It would have given the Lebanese
the right to resist Israeli military occupation and attacks which can't
be accepted, and it would have extended to the occupied territories as
well. So, therefore, the U.S. and Israel rejected it, and in fact, as usual,
it is vetoed from history. It was never reported here, it was never mentioned,
it might as well not exist unless you read this in the literature. It's
there, I mean if you go to the UN's dusty records you can find it. But
that's the right to resist, which was blocked by the United States in 1987
and is out of history. What about the right to attack? Well, that exists
by U.S. fiat, as I mentioned during the 22 years of Israeli occupation
of Southern Lebanon. With U.S. authorization, they killed tens of thousands
of people, probably 40,000 to 50,000, and there are plenty of atrocities,
terrorist iron fist operations in 1985 for example. But, it's not only
there. The right extends much further. So 1985 and 1986 are interesting
years. That was the peak of the hysteria about international terrorism,
you know, the top story and so on and so forth. And, in fact, there was
plenty of international terrorism in those years. For example, in 1985
Israel bombed Tunis, killing 75 people, Tunisians and Palestinians, no
The United States publicly backed it, although Schultz, then Secretary
of State, backed off when the Security Council condemned it unanimously
as an act of armed aggression, namely a war crime, with the U.S. abstaining.
The U.S. was directly involved. The 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean sort
of pulled back so that the Israeli planes would be able to refuel with
the 6th Fleet pretending not to notice them, and the United States did
not warn Tunisia, an ally, that this bombing attack was coming. So that's
a major act of terrorism outside the local area of the Middle East, and
there are many others. In fact, the main act of terrorism in that year,
sort of garden variety terrorism, was a car bombing in Beirut which killed
80 people and wounded about 200, set off by the C.I.A., British Intelligence,
and Saudi Intelligence, in an effort to kill a Muslim cleric who they missed,
but they got a lot of their people. It was a car bombing right outside
a mosque, timed to go off right when everybody would be coming out, so
you get maximum killing of civilians.
That's there, but also not in the annals of terrorism,
anymore than the bombing of Tunis, or for example, the U.S. bombing of
Libya the next year, which is another act of armed aggression, but considered
I should say that Arab opinion in the Middle East,
and here too, is very misled about all this in my opinion, pretty clearly
in fact. It very consistently, if you read it now or in the past, claims
that the United States overlooks Israeli terrorism because of the Jewish
influence or Jewish lobby, or something like that. And this is simply untrue.
It's missing the fact that a much more general principle applies to this
case and to many others. The principle is that the United States has the
right of terrorism and that right is inherited by its clients, and it doesn't
matter who they are. So, Israel happens to be a U.S. client, so it inherits
the right of terror.
And you can see this very easily in other parts
of the world. Just to give one illustration from a different part of the
world at the same time, 1987, the State Department conceded what anyone
paying attention knew, that the U.S. terrorist forces attacking Nicaragua
were being directed, commanded, and trained to attack what were called
"soft" targets, meaning defenseless civilian targets, like agricultural
cooperatives and health centers and so on. And they were able to do this
because the U.S. had total control of the air, and surveillance, and was
able to communicate the position of the Nicaraguan army forces to the local
terrorist forces attacking from Honduras, that they could go somewhere
else, and so on. That was all conceded publicly, but nobody paid much attention
except those who are interested in these things. But the human rights groups
did protest. Americas Watch protested against this, and said this was really
And there was a response, an interesting response
that you should read, by Michael Kinsley, who was a kind of representative
of the dovish left in mainstream commentary, and still is. He had an article
in which he pointed out, speaking from the dovish left, that it's perfectly
true that these terrorist attacks against undefended targets, in his words,
"caused vast civilian suffering but they may nevertheless be sensible and
legitimate", and the way we decide this is by carrying out "cost benefit
analysis", namely, and I'm quoting all through this, we have to measure
"the amount of blood and misery that we will be pouring in" and compare
it with the outcome, you know, democracy in our sense, meaning ruled by
the business world with the population crushed. And if the cost benefit
analysis comes out okay, then it's right to pour in blood and misery and
cause vast suffering. In short, aggression and terror have to meet a pragmatic
criterion, and we are the ones who decide whether it's met, not anybody
else, and U.S. clients inherit that right - and it doesn't have to be Israel.
It can be anybody else. So, it can be Arabs for example. Saddam Hussein
is a striking case. In 1988 remember, Saddam Hussein was still a loyal
friend and ally, and that's when he committed his worst crimes, that's
the gassing of the Kurds, and so on. The U.S. thought that was okay and
they continued to support him. They downplayed it, and provided him with
military equipment, sent agricultural assistance which he badly needed.
The Kurds were in an agricultural region, so Iraq was short of food, so
the Bush Administration moved in and that continued. In fact, Iraq, an
Arab state, was allowed to do something that up until then only Israel
had been allowed to do, mainly attack a U.S. ship and kill sailors. Iraq
was permitted to attack the USS Stark, the destroyer, and kill 37 crewmen
with missiles, and didn't even get a tap on the wrist. That means you're
really privileged if you are allowed to do that. Up until then, the only
country that had been allowed to do that was Israel in 1967 in the case
of the USS Liberty. And remember, this is an Arab state. That was important.
Again, nobody pays much attention here, but in the region people paid attention.
In particular, Iran paid attention. This was part of what convinced Iran
to capitulate to Iraq as the U.S. wanted. The other major event that convinced
Iran that the U.S. was really serious was the shooting down of an Iranian
airliner. Killing 290 people by an American warship in Iranian airspace,
it wasn't even a problem. Again it's kind of fluffed off here, not very
important, but for the Iranians, that was important, and they understood
from these acts that the U.S. was going to go to any lengths to ensure
that Saddam Hussein won, so they capitulated, not a small point in the
politics of the region. Here, people don't want to think about it, but
elsewhere in the world they do.
So, I think the thing to be recognized is, contrary
to a lot of the Arab commentary abroad and here, Washington really is an
equal opportunity employer. That is, it adheres pretty well to a policy
of non-discrimination in advocacy of terror and war crimes, and so on.
Other issues are involved, not, you know, who you are.
Well, let's go a couple of steps back further,
to 242. Remember that UN 242, the basic document and the permanent settlement
according to the current process, was strictly rejectionist, nothing for
the Palestinians. It was taken really seriously. There was a threat of
war at the time, nuclear war. It called for full peace in return for full
withdrawal. There was a deadlock. Israel refused full withdrawal, the Arab
states refused full peace. That deadlock was broken in 1971, when President
Sadat of Egypt, who had just come into office, offered to accept the official
U.S. position. So, he said, yeah, he'll accept full peace with Israel in
return for partial withdrawal, didn't even go as far as 242, namely withdrawal
from Egyptian territory. So, if Israel would withdraw from the Sinai, Sadat
would agree to full peace. Didn't say anything about the Palestinians,
nothing about the West Bank. Israel recognized that officially in response
as a genuine peace offer. Rabin in his memoirs later called it a "famous
milestone on the path to peace".
Internally in Israel it was understood that they
could have peace at this point, general peace. One of the leading Labor
Party officials, a retired general, Haim Bar-Lev, wrote in a Labor Party
journal at the time, that's okay, with this offer we can have full peace.
The conflict's over, if we decide it's over, but I think we should refuse,
because if we hold out, we can get more. This would require us to withdraw
from the Sinai, and I don't think we have to. So therefore, we should hold
out and abandon peace, and that's what Israel did. Its response was that
it would not withdraw to the pre-June borders.
Well, the U.S. was then in a dilemma. Should it
continue with its official policy, the policy which in fact it had initiated,
UN 242, or should it abandon it, and that means siding with Sadat-Egypt
against Israel, or should it abandon its policy and side with Israel against
Egypt, but that means rescinding UN 242 in effect? And there was an internal
conflict. The State Department was in favor of keeping to this policy.
Kissinger, National Security Advisor, wanted what he called stalemate,
meaning no diplomacy, no negotiations, just force. And in the internal
conflict, Kissinger won out. The U.S. effectively rescinded UN 242, which
no longer exists and people should understand that.
UN 242 now means what the United States says it
means, as do other things, that's the meaning of power. It means withdrawal,
insofar as the U.S. and Israel determine, and that's what it's meant ever
since. So when Palestinians or Arab states now complain that Israel isn't
living up to 242, they are just choosing to ignore the historical record
and blindness is not a helpful position if you are in world affairs. You
might as well have your eyes open. UN 242 since February 1971 does not
exist. It exists only in the Kissingerian sense. Now, here you have to
be a little nuanced, because officially the U.S. continues to endorse UN
242 in its original sense. So you can find statements by Jimmy Carter and
Ronald Reagan, or you know speechwriters, and George Bush, saying yeah,
we insist on 242 in its original sense. You can't find statements by Clinton.
Clinton, I think, is the first president not even having given lip service
to it. But the fact is that the lip service is pure hypocrisy, because
while they are adhering to it for public purposes, they are also providing
Israel with the wherewithal, the funds, the military support, the diplomatic
support, to violate it, namely to act to integrate the occupied territories
within Israel, so the endorsement of it is hypocritical and you should
compliment Clinton on having the honesty simply to withdraw it, in effect.
Well, that brings us up to February 1971. The United
States has also blocked all other UN resolutions, except for one, UN resolution
194, December 11, 1948, which called for the right of return of refugees,
or a compensation. That was technically endorsed by the United States,
like they voted for it at the UN every year, but pure hypocrisy. And again
Clinton overcame the hypocrisy. He withdrew support for it. So the last
vote was unanimous with Israel and the United States opposed, and the Clinton
Administration also declared all other related UN resolutions null and
void. It will now only be the Oslo process, so that's honesty again.
Sadat in 1971 made it very clear, and continued
for several years, to make it clear that if the United States refused to
accept a negotiated settlement, he would be forced to go to war. Nobody
took him seriously. A lot of racism here, it was assumed that Arabs didn't
know which end of the gun to hold and that sort of thing. Finally war came
in 1973, and it turned out to be a very close thing, and it scared everyone.
There was another near nuclear confrontation and Israel was in deep trouble
for awhile. And it was understood that Egypt can't just be written off.
They're not just a basket case. So, Kissinger moved to the natural fall
back position, namely exclude Egypt from the conflict. It's the only Arab
deterrent, so we can't just ignore it, so exclude it from the conflict,
then you get shuttle diplomacy. In 1977, comes Sadat's famous trip to Jerusalem,
where he was hailed as a kind of a saint for being the first Arab leader
to be willing to talk to Israel. In fact, in Jerusalem, if you look at
his speech, it was less forthcoming than his offer in February 1971. In
February 1971, he offered full peace, with nothing about the Palestinians.
In his trip to Jerusalem, he insisted on rights for the Palestinians. But
that's allowed to enter history. February 1971 is out of history. I mean
you can't even find it in the scholarly literature. But, the trip to Jerusalem
is in history because at that time the U.S. was compelled to accept the
offer, whereas in February of 1971 it was able to reject the offer. So
one is out of history, the other is in history. Sadat is a secular saint
because of his trip in 1977, not because of his more forthcoming offer
in February 1971.
Well, that goes on to Camp David in 1978 and 1979,
under Carter, and it's considered a grand moment of the peace process.
Israel did agree to withdraw from Sinai as Egypt had offered seven years
earlier, and the U.S. at this point had no choice but to agree. The result,
however, was understood very clearly in Israel. One leading Israeli military
strategic analyst, Avner Yaniv, pointed out right away that the Camp David
settlement eliminates the only Arab deterrent and therefore allows Israel
to continue at will to integrate the occupied territories into Israel and
to attack its northern neighbor, to attack Lebanon, with massive U.S. support
in both cases. The Carter Administration rapidly increased support to more
than half of the total U.S. aid overseas, to make sure that these ends
could be achieved.
Well, while all this was going on, there was another
current. The international consensus on the issue had shifted. In 1967,
there was nothing for the Palestinians, no Palestinian rights. By the early
70's that was changing. By the mid-70's there was an extremely broad international
consensus, including just about everybody, calling for Palestinian national
rights, alongside of Israel. It included the Russians, it included Europe,
it included Asia, Latin America, virtually everyone.
That came to a head in January 1976, another very
important event, crucial for understanding what's happening now, but out
of history, because it tells the wrong story. You can find it, but you
know, it's out of history, again even out of scholarship. In January 1976,
the United Nations Security Council considered a resolution calling for
a two state settlement. It included all the wording of UN 242, so everything
about Israel's rights and so on, but it added national rights for the Palestinians
in the territories that had been occupied, from which Israel was to withdraw
according to the original understanding of 242. Well, what happened to
that? Well that resolution was actually brought by what are called the
confrontation states, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. It was strongly supported
by the PLO, though they may have forgotten that. In fact, I suspect they
have. But in fact according to Israel's UN representative, Chaim Herzog
(later President), the resolution was actually prepared by the PLO. I don't
think that's likely, but that's what Israel perceives at least. Anyhow,
it was certainly supported by them, and by the confrontation states, and
indeed, by virtually the entire world. Maybe Khaddafi didn't support it,
I don't remember, but essentially the whole world supported it.
And Israel and the United States had to react.
Israel reacted in a typical way, by bombing Lebanon. It bombed Lebanon,
killing 50 people in some village that was chosen at random. That was reported
here, but considered insignificant. It was retaliation against the United
Nations, in effect. The United States reacted in a simpler way, namely
by vetoing the resolution, so it was vetoed by Carter, and that means vetoed
from history. Remember, it's very common for the U.S. to veto Security
Council resolutions. In fact, it's the champion of the world by a long
shot. But they disappeared from history as well. Carter did the same thing
in 1980, same resolution. But, meanwhile, the international consensus persisted.
Here you can begin to understand the significance
of the fact that the Declaration of Principles in September of 1993 referred
to UN 242 and nothing else. Because by then, there is a whole raft of resolutions
vetoed by the U.S. at the Security Council, but passed at the General Assembly,
calling for Palestinian national rights, and they were not to be part of
the permanent settlement under the U.S. version of the peace process. The
General Assembly had votes year after year, I won't run through the details,
but their wording varied a little bit, but they were more or less the same,
you know, kind of a two state settlement, national rights for both groups.
The votes were 150 to 2, or something like that. Occasionally the U.S.
would pick up another vote, from El Salvador, or somebody, but that was
year by year, essentially never reported. They will, in fact, probably
never report it.
The last vote was December 1990, 144 to 2, and
the date is important. Shortly after that, a couple of weeks after, the
United States and Britain bombed Iraq. Saddam, remember, had shifted from
loyal friend and ally to reincarnation of Hitler, not because of any crimes,
the crimes were fine, but because he had disobeyed orders, or maybe misunderstood
orders, and that's not permitted, so that's a standard transition, and
therefore, you had to get rid of the beast of Baghdad, and you know, it's
obvious where the power was, so that worked. During the bombing, George
Bush announced, probably the coming of the New World Order. He defined
it very simply. What we say goes, said it sort of clearly, certainly with
regard to the Middle East. The rest of the world understood that. Everybody
backed off. Europe disappeared, the Third World was in disarray, Russia
At this point, the U.S. could simply ram through
its own extreme rejectionist position, and it did. The Madrid conference
took place a few months later, and then you go straight on to Oslo. Then
come successive agreements and the integration of the territories continues
right through the Oslo period. The various agreements - it's late so I
won't run through them, authorize this, the U.S. funds it, it protects
it diplomatically, which brings us up to Camp David and the year 2000.
Regarding the public discussion about Barak's remarkable
offers and, you know, forthcoming this and that, and willing to give away
everything - there is absolutely no basis for any of that.
There was a focus on Jerusalem, and for good reasons.
Jerusalem is probably the easiest of all of the problems to solve, and
for Clinton and Barak it made good sense to focus on Jerusalem because
then you would divert attention away from what's important, namely what's
going on in the occupied territories, the settlement, the infrastructure
development, the enclaves, and so on. For Arafat it also made good sense
to focus on Jerusalem because he is desperately eager to get support from
the Arab states, and the Arab states don't give a damn what happens to
the Palestinians. Their populations may, but certainly not the leaders.
On the other hand, they will find it difficult to abandon control over
the religious sites, because if they do that, their populations will blow
up. So, by focusing on the religious sites, it's kind of a negotiating
ploy for Arafat, so they all focused on that, neglecting the crucial problem,
what's gone on elsewhere.
I have a couple of Israeli maps with me. These
are final status maps, you know, what it's supposed to look like in the
long term. And what it looks like in the long term, briefly, is what's
called Jerusalem extends all the way to the Jordan river, so that splits
the West Bank in two, with a substantial city, Ma'ale Adumim in the middle
and extension all the way. There is another break in the North right through
Samaria, includes towns that are settled there. Israel keeps the Jordan
river. Jericho is isolated. You end up with four Palestinian camptowns,
separated from one another, separated from Jerusalem, but there's some
hint that in the long term, some meaningless connection will be established
between them, but they are essentially completely controlled and surrounded.
What's called Jerusalem extends north of Ramallah, and south of Bethlehem.
If you look at the map, that's the area which splits the northern and central
and southern settlement areas. It's kind of modeled on South Africa's policies
in the early 60's. The population concentrations should be under local
administration, but everything else is taken over by the dominant power,
the resources, the useable land, and so on. And there is massive infrastructure
developments that sort of lie behind this.
The U.S. is paying for all of it, of course. That's
the marvelous offer that was given. And apart from what's talked about,
what actually counts, of course, is what's happening on the ground. And
what's happening on the ground has been implementing this. Finally you
can't spend half a day driving through the West Bank without seeing it.
It's a little harder to drive through Gaza, because it's usually closed
off, but essentially the same thing is happening there.
And the situation is extremely serious. Right through
the occupation from 1967 to 1993, Israel was making sure, and again, when
I say Israel, I mean the United States, was making sure that there would
be no development in the occupied territories. So, right after 1993, when
Israeli journalists who had covered the territories were finally able to
go to Jordan, they were shocked by what they saw and they wrote about it
in the Hebrew press. Jordan is a poor country, and Israel is a rich country.
Before the 1967 war, the populations in Jordan and the Palestinian populations
were pretty comparable, in fact, there was more development in the West
Bank. By 1993, it was totally different. In the poorer country Jordan,
there were agricultural development, universities, schools, roads, health
services, all sorts of things. In the West Bank there was essentially nothing.
The people could survive by remittances from abroad, or by doing dirty
work in Israel, but no development was allowed, and that was very shocking
to Israeli reporters, and it is also backed up in the statistics. The most
important work on this topic, if you want to learn about, is by Sara Roy,
a researcher at Harvard who has spent an awful lot of time in the Gaza
Strip. Just to give you a couple of her figures, current ones, in 1993
electric power usage in the West Bank and Gaza was two thirds that of Egypt,
half that of Jordan - and those are poorer countries, remember. Israel
is a rich country. Sanitation and housing in the West Bank and Gaza was
about 25 percent for Palestinians, 50 percent in Egypt, and 100 percent
in Jordan, and the figures run through that way. GDP, per capita, and consumption
per capita declined and then it got worse. After 1993, it's been the worst.
So GDP, per capita, and consumption per capita have dropped, according
to her, about 15 percent in the West Bank and Gaza since 1993 - that's
even with large foreign assistance pouring in, from Europe, mostly.
It's gotten worse in other respects. Up until 1993,
the U.S. and Israel permitted humanitarian aid to come into the territories.
UN humanitarian aid was permitted into the West Bank and Gaza. In 1993,
that was restricted. This is part of the peace process. After Oslo, heavy
customs duties were imposed, lots of other restrictions were imposed, you
know various kinds of harassment. Now, it's blocked. Right now, humanitarian
aid is blocked. The UN is protesting, but it doesn't matter. If the UN
protests the blocking of humanitarian aid, and it doesn't register here,
it doesn't matter. And it doesn't register here because it's not reported.
So, they can say, yeah the Israelis are stopping humanitarian aid from
coming in, and people are starving, and so on, but what does it matter
as long as people in the United States don't know about it. They can know
in the Middle East, they can know in Europe, but it makes no difference.
These are our choices again.
For the Palestinians themselves, they are under
a dual repression, very much like the Bantustans again, the repression
of Israel and the United States, and then the repression of the local mercenaries
who do the work for the foreigner, and enrich themselves. It's again a
standard, colonial pattern. Anyone who has ever taken a look at the Third
World sees it.
As for the goals of Oslo, they were stated very
nice and neatly by one of the leading Israeli doves, who is now the Minister
of Security in the Barak government, and a temporary foreign minister,
known as an academic dove, Shlomo Ben-Ami. In an academic book, 1998, so
before he got into the government, he described the goals of Oslo as to
impose what he called a permanent neo-colonialist dependency in the West
Bank and Gaza. And that's pretty much accurate, that's what the U.S. has
been aiming for through the peace process - period.
As for the population, it's kind of hard to improve
on a description by Moshe Dayan about 30 years ago. He was in the Labor
Party, and among the Labor Party leaders, he was one of those most noted
for his sympathetic attitude towards Palestinians, and also his realism.
And he described what Israeli policy ought to be, U.S. policy as well.
He said the Palestinians should live like dogs and whoever wishes may leave,
and we'll see where this leads. Reasonable policy, and that's U.S. policy
as well, and it will continue that way as long as we agree to permit it.