Monday, April 23, 2007

1991 - Can Anyone Freeze the Flow of Squatters? - Part 3

Today is Day 14,254 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

The following are excerpts from the December 6, 1991, Issue of The Journal of the North Shore (of Massachusetts) Jewish Community

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(A) majority (of the board members of the Council of Jewish Federations in November, 1991) support territorial compromise and a freeze on settlements, as well. An Israeli public opinion poll taken in November reports 74 percent of Israelis are ready to swap land in the West Bank and Gaza for peace.

Ron Fox of Marblehead is a member of a monthly discussion group which focuses on Tikkun magazine, a liberally slanted publication, considered radical by some (emphasis obviously added). A member of the New Jewish Agenda for ten years, Fox, a lawyer, finds the discussion an outlet for ideas which are not generally accepted by the majority in the community, he said. Fox objects to some of Prime Minister Shamir’s policies in Israel which, he says, deprive Palestinians living in the occupied territories of their civil rights.

“It is difficult to support a state whose policies are inconsistent with the views of universality, good will to an, justice and peace which are inherent to the ideals of Judaism”, Fox says, “Israel is about self-interest. Judaism is about hope, universality.”

The Holocaust left the people of Israel unable to trust anyone else, Fox said. “There is an arrogance, a self-righteousness on the part of the Israelis … a lack of concern for’the other’”.

Fox is a proponent of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “There is no justification in saying ‘this is our country’ and the Palestinians have no claim to the land. There is no inherent difference with the way the United States displaced Native Americans and what Israel did to the Palestinians. Palestinians are decent people just wanting to live in peace and trying to overcome the discrimination they’ve been subjected to,” he said.

Communications is a beginning. Fox said. “But Israel continues to put up roadblocks for discussion. There is no security lost in sitting down and talking with the Palestinians. I believe people can work together if they want peace, and Judaism teaches us to work toward that goal,” Fox said.
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Interestingly enough, even though my local Jewish community is perceived to be one that always supports and promotes whatever action is taken by the Israeli government, I only became aware of one negative response to my comments. At a social gathering in a friend's home while I was engaged in a conversation with two others, a neighbor joined us and greeted me with the words "Palestinian lover".
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Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

4 comments:

Rojelio said...

Like the blogger, I am a 65 yr old Jew from the Boston area. When I asked myself the same question a few years ago, "What else can I do," I came up with a website. It is, at this writing, the only website on the Web devoted to advocating One State for all the people between the river and sea. It's at www.one-state.net. Please come visit.

There's an article about Gravel there, at www.one-state.net/gravel.html. He could be one of that endangered species, an honest, decent human being who is also a politician.

Roger Tucker

Ron Fox said...

Hello Roger Tucker

Thank you for posting a comment on my Blog.

Attached below is Michael Tarazi’s article “Two Peoples, One State” which appeared in the New York Times as an op-ed on October 4, 2004.

After that there is a related message I sent to members of a study group I was in for many years that met monthly as a “safe haven" to discuss the Israeli Palestinian conflict as well as other issues of Judaism.

I became aware of Michael Tarazi when he appeared on a radio interview show with Rabbi Everett Gendler, a close friend of mine and a dear friend of Michael’s from the days when Michael was a student at Phillips Andover and Everett was the Jewish Chaplain. With Everett’s guidance in 1971 my wife and I, with six other couples, formed one of the first havurah with children, including eventually, the Gendler family.

If you are so inclined, make others aware of this Blog. I will do the same for www.one-state.net

I also invite you, of course, to continue to post comments on the Blog.

I haven’t gone through all that is on your website (although I must admit to taking personally the following “Real (not Fox) Reporting on Israel / Palestine)” to see what you have about Hebron but, in any event, I invite you to read the posts about Hebron and submit your thoughts and comments.

Thanks again,

Ron Fox


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/04/opinion/04tarazi.html
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Two Peoples, One State
By MICHAEL TARAZI

Published: October 4, 2004
Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory.

Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: it wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.


As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible. They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution.


To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000 Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies, many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Mr. Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza - but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the number of Palestinians on the other.

Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat, they are creating a democratic threat. After years of negotiations, coupled with incessant building of settlements and now the construction of the wall, Palestinians finally understand that Israel is offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of water and arable soil, economically dependent on Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.

As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals. Recent polls indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the secular one-state solution - a surprisingly high number given that it is not officially advocated by any senior Palestinian leader.

Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders. There are no road signs reading "Welcome to Occupied Territory" when one drives into East Jerusalem. Some government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's 1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a fifth of the population. In the words of one Palestinian farmer, you can't unscramble an egg.

But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates, and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the Middle East's only democracy.

Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the way Jews have treated Palestinians. They fear the destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The one-state solution, however, neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character.

For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish national liberation. In practice, it has been a movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of one ethnic or religious group over another that must be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians have a unique claim on this sacred land.

The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the world's imagination, organize the international community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating for their rights.

But the struggle against South African apartheid proves the battle can be won. The only question is how long it will take, and how much all sides will have to suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but as fellow citizens.

Michael Tarazi is a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
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In late 2004, I forwarded Michael Tarazi’s article to a few people. I received this response: “This would spell the end to the Zionist experiment.”

I wrote back saying:

….. and, should that happen, would not it be the predictable and foreseeable consequence of the 36 year effort by Israeli government after Israeli government: to promote and expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank; to ignore and violate international law and United Nations resolutions; to oppress and humiliate the Palestinians while ignoring their civil rights and human rights complaints; and to frustrate, delay, stonewall and thwart fair, reasonable and just peace negotiations.

The latest statements by Dov Weisglass, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior advisor, in an interview to Haaretz, make quite clear what most of the world has known for years - the Israeli government has no intention of agreeing to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process," Weisglass, one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, said in an interview for the Friday Magazine. ….. “And when you freeze that process," Weisglass added, "you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. …..Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission … All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. ….. The disengagement is actually formaldehyde," he said. "It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."

For 17 years, I have usually included in my presentations and articles the following from Deuteronomy XVI 20 “Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Follow That Thou Mayest Live and Inherit the Land which the Lord Thy God Giveth Thee” and excerpts from the applicable footnoted material from the Hertz Edition including this sentence “And even as there is social justice, prescribing the duties of class to class, so there is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of each and every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage. “

If the Israeli government has indeed rejected the two-state solution, is there any option consistent with the Jewish principle of Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Pursue other than the one-state solution with Jews, Christians, Muslims and others all having equal rights?

Rojelio said...

Yes, I posted it when it came out in the Times. It's at http://one-state.net/tarazi.html. I hope he's doing well; haven't heard a peep out of him since.

You're blog is now on my links page at http://one-state.net/links.html.

Since you're in Boston, you should know that Dan Burnstein is thinking about starting a local one state solution group there, and I'm strongly encouraging him to do that. It's kind of a hotbed of such activity, as I'm sure you know, and if you like I'll send some contacts I have there that you may not be aware of.

Roger

npro said...

Its a small world. I am a long-time friend of Ron Fox - and we have worked together on various small law-related projects - such as trying to make Harvard Law School more progressive. Roger and I are more recent buddies trying to make the ONe State group more active. Do we see a pattern here?