Torpedoes against an Aircraft Carrier
Sunday, November 25 2001 @ 06:56 PM GMT
By Uri Avnery
Israel resembles a speedboat. It moves quickly and
easily. Israelis are proud of their talent for
which goes together with an inability to plan
These are two sides of the same coin.
The United States resembles a giant aircraft carrier.
moves heavily and can turn only in a very wide
cannot improvise and has to plan everything
On the morrow of the terrorist attack against the
Towers, it was clear that the Bush policy in the
East must change course. The slogan "let them bleed"
(meaning us and the Palestinians) disappeared. The US
must solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which
produces immense quantities of hatred and fury
America. We said this immediately after the outrage,
the weeks passed and nothing happened. Or so it
But the aircraft carrier is turning, very slowly,
almost imperceptible movement. On the 67th days after
the terrorist atrocity, Colin Powell was ready to
his speech, outlining the new American policy.
Clearly, the Secretary of State had to give in to
the immense pressures put on him. His remarks were
phrased cautiously, with maximum effort to satisfy
two sides, both substantially and emotionally. There
one-sided passages, some pro-Palestinian, many more
pro-Israeli. Even at the last moment Powell had to
some new sentences, which were not in the text
distributed in advance, to satisfy the pro-Israeli
But if we remove the frills and bare the skeleton of
plan, we find that it is logical and reasonable. Here
· The two-state solution: peace will be based on the
existence of two states, "Israel and Palestine". The
were chosen carefully: for the first time, the name
Palestine has been spelled out, instead of the less
"Palestinian state". We in Gush Shalom have already
doing this for a long time.
· Both states will have "secure and recognized
No longer Israel without fixed borders, no Palestine
· The (pre-1967) Green Line is not specifically
but Powell says that the borders will be based on
Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which are
rooted in the concept of land for peace". Resolution
does, of course, specifically mention the
of the acquisition of territory by war".
· The occupation must end. The passage, in which
describes the suffering of the Palestinians under
occupation, is one of the most forceful in the
"The Palestinians have "grown up with checkpoints and
raids and indignities?Too often they have seen their
schools shuttered and their parents humiliated ?Too
many innocent Palestinians, including children, have
killed and wounded?" These words balance the passage
about Palestinian violence: "The lynching of Israeli
soldiers?the assassination of the cabinet
directed against Israel?"
· "Settlement activity must stop". This pronouncement
forbids not only the setting up of new settlements,
all settlement activity whatsoever, including
houses on existing settlements.
· The future Palestinian State must be "viable".
not a group of enclaves, as designed by Barak and
Sharon, but a continuous state, with a sound economic
basis. The US promises to strengthen its economy.
· In return, the Palestinians must "accept the
of Israel as a Jewish state". This is right. We
debate among ourselves what our state should be like,
whether based on ethnicity or citizenship, a Jewish,
Hebrew or Israeli state ? but this is an internal
concerns neither America nor Palestine. The
must recognize the principle of "two states for two
peoples" ? meaning, an Israeli state representing the
personality of the Israeli people. (The national
the Arab citizens of Israel, too, is a matter for
· It is not specifically stated that Jerusalem will
capital of the two states, but is is said that the
has to take "into account the religious and political
concerns" of both sides. This seems to mean a shared
· No detailed plan for the solution of the refugee
is being put forward, but it is said that "the two
must strive for a just solution that is both fair and
realistic", a formula that almost repeats what Gush
Shalom said in its "80 Theses for peace": "The
solution of the problem will come about by agreement
based on just, fair and practical considerations."
Indeed, Powell?s words bear a remarkable resemblance
Gush Shalom principles (but without the details and
without a time-table.) It follows, therefore, that
part of the plan completely contradicts Ariel
designs. Hence he will undoubtedly try to torpedo it,
he has several torpedoes in stock: the Jewish and
fundamentalist-Christian lobbies, the two houses of
Congress and the friends in the American media.
Can a speedboat sink an aircraft carrier? Well, we
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