Is there an anti-Hamas plot?

Steve Erlanger has an important
piece

in today’s NYT about joint US-Israeli governmental plotting to overthrow
the new leadership that was recently freely elected by voters in (still-occupied)
Palestine.

We should all be quite clear that this heinous, anti-democratic plotting
should be halted immediately.

Here’s Erlanger’s lead:

The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize
the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail
and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western
diplomats.

The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international
connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud
Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians
will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a
reformed and chastened Fatah movement.

Erlanger quotes Israeli Foreign Ministry flack Mark Regev as denying the
existence of any such plan.  (What’s the guy going to say, anyway?)

So “the plan”– as described to the well-connected Erlanger by, let’s repeat,
more than one Israeli official and more than one Western (ok, make that American)
diplomat– is to impoverish the Palestinians even more, and squeeze them even
more through Israel’s existing systems of movement controls, to the point
where either Hamas ‘cries uncle’ and bows to Israel’s demands that it ” recognize
Israel’s right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli
agreements” — or, a new revivified Fateh will come along, riding on a wave
of popular discontent with the general impoverishment, demand a new election,
and sweep back to victory…

I can’t even begin to tell you on how many points this totally ignorant
and idiotic “plan” is doomed to fail.  (Okay, shortly I’ll start to
enumerate them.)  But first, just reflect for a moment on the sheer,
colonial-style chutzpah of these plotters!

Re ignorance, I see that up at the top of the story Erlanger writes:

The officials also argue that a close look at the election results
shows that Hamas won a smaller mandate than previously understood.

Like, duh!!!  I was writing in the CSM
here,

on January 31, that despite its huge majority in terms of seats, Hamas had
only gotten 44% of the actual popular vote…  And I had written about
that even earlier, on JWN.  But it takes these “officials” this long
to suddenly “understand” this?

Also, Hamas got 44% of the vote in a strong turnout of– was it around 75%
of eligible voters?  (= 33% of eligible voters who voted for them.) And
George W. Bush won in 2004 with just over 50% of a turnout of 60% (= 30%
of eligible voters.)  In both cases, the electoral system used allowed
the frontrunner to virtually “take all”.

If we live in a “rule of law world” where there is a single rule for everyone,
is the US saying that it’s okay to “take down” Hamas because it won support
from only a minority of eligible voters….  And therefore, it should
be equally legitimate to do this in the US, too? Right?

Erlanger also has this quote from “a senior Western diplomat” (= journo-speak
for the local US ambassador):

“The point is to put this choice on Hamas’s shoulders… If
they make the wrong choice, all the options lead in a bad direction.”

Okay, let’s just move beyond the fact that this plan is wrong, arrogant,
extremely coercive, actually and quite predictably  lethal to a number
of its targets, anti-democratic, and colonialistic….  Here’s why it
won’t work:

  1. The Palestinian people have been dealing with a situation of
    tight economic siege for the past five years.  They have survived it.
     They can certainly survive whatever further economic tightening the
    US and Israel might cook up.
  2. The US and Israel cannot starve the Palestinians to death unremarked
    and unhalted by the outside world.  The UN has a huge presence throughout
    occupied Palestine, and in bad times supplies basic foodstuffs to the majority
    of Palestinians (as well as a broad range of other services to that large
    portion of Palestinians who are registered refugees.)  The US and Israel
    cannot alone stop the UN from providing these services.  Certainly,
    Israel has hampered the UN from providing basic services to Palestinians
    on many occasions, and might be expected to continue to do so.  But
    other powers on the Security Council will, if necessary, ensure that basic humanitarian
    aid gets through.
  3. During the previous situations of tight economic siege, Hamas
    has proved it was far, far better at delivering basic services to the Palestinians
    than Fateh.  So how, again are the political dynamics of this reported
    plan supposed to work during the period of further economic punishment??
  4. They think that Fateh is “reformable” within just a “few months”?
  5. They think Fateh has a base that could be organizable into becoming a
    pro-Israeli Fifth Column within the Palestinian community??
  6. The OPTs are well-wired, both technologically and ideologically
    , to neighboring countries and the outside world.  Attempts to “starve”
    Hamas into submission can be expected to be met with a much broader and smarter
    campaign of pan-Muslim resistance than all previous attempts to use economic
    siege to cow the not terribly well-loved Fateh.
  7. Just perhaps, large portions of the US and Israeli peoples might
    consider that starving a whole national community into submission is not
    quite how they want to pursue worldwide “democratization”?

Well, I see that today there have been further
cascades of denials

from Israel and from Washington:

In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “There’s
no plot.”

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he was “puzzled”
by the report.

“We are not having conversations with the Israelis that we are
not having with others, including the Quartet. There is no plan, there is
no plot,” he said.

… Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon told The Associated Press:
“There are no ongoing discussions with the U.S. designed to bring down the
Palestinian government.”

“There is no conspiracy between Israel and the United States to
hurt the Palestinian people and there is no plan whatsoever to compromise
the well-being of the Palestinian people,” he said.

My inclination is to trust Erlanger’s earlier reporting of what he had earlier
(over)heard.  But it looks as if, subsequent to those reported utterances
having been made, the officials in Washington and Israel may have had second
thoughts?  (Or not?)

Well, as you know, they never take my advice.  But if they were to,
I’d urge them to look at the points I listed in numbers 1-7 above.

What a load of bumbling incompetents, really.  But as Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. said
, “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”  I think
it is bending towards justice as we speak.

66 thoughts on “Is there an anti-Hamas plot?

  1. Jonathan Edelstein

    Given the timing and sourcing of this story, it sounds a lot like a strategic leak. Note that all the sources are unnamed, and that this story broke within days after Hamas was invited to Russia and Venezuela. My guess is that Israeli diplomats leaked the story in order to (1) match Hamas’ hardball rhetoric with some of their own, (2) take back the initiative after a string of Hamas diplomatic successes, and (3) warn Hamas not to get cocky just because it’s been invited to Moscow. In other words, it’s more a heavy-handed attempt at intimidation and message-sending than anything else, and Erlanger is playing exactly the role he was intended to play.
    For many of the reasons you point out, I can’t imagine this program actually being put into effect. The Palestinians aren’t stupid, and an attack like this wouldn’t drive them into the arms of Fatah – it would only make them mad. The Israeli government isn’t stupid either, and it knows exactly how badly this would backfire.
    Also, as Erlanger points out in the article, this strategy would require European cooperation in order to work. And if you think the EU will go along with the program, I have a bridge-and-tunnel complex in Virginia to sell you. It’s much bigger than the one in Brooklyn, and you can have it at a discount.

  2. Joshua

    To the extent that the Israelis and Americans would foment violence to overthrow a government, I agree that this is wrong. It also is farfetched.
    To the extent that this means that Hamas will receive no diplomatic or economic support so long as it retains its eliminationist goals, then it’s in accordance with what the entire “quartet” agreed to.

  3. Helena

    Jonathan, I agree with you it was probably a strategic leak and that Erlanger played the role prescribed for him. But I’m thinking the ‘strategy’ of the leakers may have been a little different from what you guess. I suspect, more likely, it was people on primarily the US but also perhaps the Israeli side who leaked it– not with any intention that the leak would intimidate or deter Hamas (since they must have known it would not succeed in doing that) but in order to have people like, um, me, write things like the above which would show the “plan” (which probably did exist in some Cheyfeldian circles and may still do so?) to be the nonsense it is and get it even more thoroughly shot down than it would be by simply being revealed.
    I also agree with you that the Israeli political elite is far, far more realistic than most of what passes for a political elite in the US on the extent and limits of what is possible in this field.
    (Re bridge-and-tunnel complex: I could sell you one in New Orleans?)

  4. menno hert

    Israel might actually like a Hamas government; it makes it easier for them not to talk to a Palestinian government and do things ‘unilaterally’, which they much prefer. The favorite song of Israeli governments, after all, is “there is no partner to talk with”. It was their number 1 hit in Arafat’s time, and though they couldn’t sing it aloud when Abbas became president (who was, after all, the man chosen by themselves and the USA), they didn’t stop humming it, one might guess. They had to have some talks with Abbas of course, but took care that those talks were meaningless, so they could continue building their Wall (sorry! fence!) and enlarging their settlements. This, of course, contributed immensely to the election defeat of Abbas.
    With any luck, they can soon sing their favorite song openly again.

  5. Henry James

    Hamas and Israel are in the state of cold war with occasional hot outbreaks. No, this is not going to change.
    So, this leak is completely understandable. All it says is that Israelis are not going to kiss and hug Hamas. Who would expect then to do so?

  6. Timothy L

    Starvation is a method of genocide. Since it is intended to kill civilians, it is a method of terrorism.
    Starvation may be effectuated directly (taking food away, destroying crops, etc.) or indirectly (deprivation of funds to buy food). The US and Israel are reportedly plotting indirect starvation of Arabs (although I would see it as consistent Israeli behavior to eventually impose a permit system for infant formula for Arab babies).
    “Pro-starvation” members of Congress are led by Zionist Organization of America members Tom Lantos and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, sponsors of a Palestinian starvation bill cruelly named “The Palestinian Democracy Support Act of 2006”.
    The US and Israeli aggressions against native Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza have, from 1967, effectuated one method of genocide :
    “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.[UN Convention on Preventing Genocide].
    Israel’s past behaviors to this end are too numerous and obvious to need detailed recitation. Genocide by deliberate starvation is entirely consistent with genocide by economic ruination, crop destruction, land confiscation, home demolitions, deprivation and obstruction of medical care and education, and many other piecemeal cruelties, all of which cumulatively are bringing about the real physical destruction of Arab society in the West Bank and Gaza.
    “Pro-Israel” now not only means “pro-occupation” and “pro-genocide” – we can add “pro-starvation”. It is not much of a stretch to accept that the same Congress that once “genocided” the peaceful Cherokee [Indian Removal Act of 1830]would again abuse the power of populist democracy to starve an Arab polulation.
    All this reminds me of the similarity of Israel today and the “white South” in post-civil war years. In the American South in 1866-67, the defeat-shocked whites sought to retain power over the freed slaves by laws which sorted the citizenry by skin color (white and non-white, the latter being mostly freed blacks). Israel sorts all its citizens by nationality (printed on one’s ID card: Jewish, Arab, etc.) That way, when a cop stops you, or you apply for some kind of permit, your ID card tells the Israeli cop or bureaucrat your “color” and you are treated (or mis-treated) accordingly.
    Starvation was one threat the sorting “Black codes” levied against the helpless former slaves.
    Unless they accepted a life of near-penniless servitude on “white terms” as “laborers” to white landowners, they had no way to stay alive.
    Israel has zealously sorted its citizens by nationality as the way to identify who shuld be the object of official prejudice, which now will include starvation in teh West Bank and Gaza.
    And our pro-starvation members of Congress are there, ready to lend a hand!

  7. rozele

    joshua:
    philippines 1898, cuba 1898, haiti 1930s-present, iran 1953, guatemala 1954, cuba 1959-present, chile 1973, grenada 1983?, panama 1990, nicaragua 1979-1990, iraq 1991-present, afghanistan 2001-present. among others.
    panama, iraq, and afghanistan being special cases because the u.s. government also helped establish and support the murderous regimes it later undermined or attacked. the others all being progessive governments with both broad popular support and electoral mandates.
    not to mention venezuela, bolivia, iran, north korea, china, and others currently mentioned in public as targets for ‘destabilization’.
    in my world, “reasonably well-informed” comes under both “courteous” and “helpful”.
    rozele

  8. Peter K

    The part in the NYT article that Hamas’ mandate is not as great as it seems because they only got 44% of the vote is glib and completely disingenuous. Its also misleading.
    In elections that have single-member constituencies its common for winning parties to get a greater percentage of seats than the percentage of the vote they normally get.
    Tony Blair’s Labour Party won 356 out of 646 seats in the UK general election last year, even though Labour only got 35% of the vote. Does that mean that Blair “doesn’t really have a mandate?”
    Anyway part of the Palestinian assembly is elected by proportional representation, which provided some balance against a completely skewed result which happens alot in first past the post systems.
    I can just see the glib talking points being prepared now along the lines that 56% didn’t vote for Hamas, so therefore Hamas has no right to govern.
    The article also assumes that Palestinians will just turn away in droves from Hamas if the PA is bankrupted and Abbas calls another election. Says who? Do they mean just like how the Iraqis were supposed to vote in droves for Ahmad Chalabi because some people said so.
    When are those people, they know who they are, going to learn that saying so doesn’t make it so?

  9. rozele

    i’m a bit sceptical about your #2 and #7, though the rest is reason enough for the project to fail.
    #7 presumes large numbers of u.s. and israeli citizens get actual information about what is happening in the occupied territories – which is always an open question, especially in the u.s.
    #2 seems to me to go entirely against recent experience with the UN in relation to palestine. various governments have paid good lip service now and again, but there’s been no actual concrete restraint put on israeli or u.s. actions at all. and the u.s. has a veto in the security council, which it has used on behalf of its favorite client state in the past.
    but in all, this just seems like a new wrinkle in a longtime basic part of israeli (and u.s.) government strategy towards palestinians in the west bank, gaza, and east jerusalem: “voluntary transfer”. squeeze and squeeze and squeeze some more, using whatever excuses are to hand (arafat is a roadblock! abu mazen isn’t cooperative enough! hamas is irredentist! barghouti’s hair is too long!), and try to get as many palestinians as possible to emigrate.
    whether there’s an ‘official’ plan or not, the erlanger story only adds a tiny bit to what the u.s. government has been quite openly saying: hamas’ electoral victory is a good opportunity for the occupiers and their fiscal sponsor to turn the screws a few more times.
    rozele

  10. Joshua

    Rozelle,
    Given the level of involvement of numerous parties, a secret coup in Palestine is just not believable. Nice way to change the subject as well as make an ad hominem attack. I accept your apology.
    Timothy.
    Interesting. Hamas has a right to U.S. and other international aid even as it explicitly calls for an eliminationist platform. And if we don’t agree with your warped and bigoted worldview, we are “pro genocide” and “pro starvation.”
    You come straight out of Orwell’s central casting.

  11. WarrenW

    1: it was I who invented the idea in the first place. The US probably got it from reading my email, along with everybody else’s.
    2: You don’t have to actually starve anybody, just annoy them enough to make them wish for a different government.
    3: This could be just sanctions (boycotts), like the sanctions against South Africa or Sadaam’s Iraq. It could involve more than sanctions, like closing the Rafah crossing.
    4: You can try it against the US if you like.
    5: Most peace treaties are installed by force. Using coercive methods, Israel may be able to coerce the Hamas-led PA into signing a peace treaty.
    6: I would love to know more about the process of calling new elections under Palestinian rules. Can the government “Fall” after a no-confidence vote, or is the new government guaranteed a certain number of years in power?
    7: Fatah doesn’t have to become pro-Israeli, it just has to benefit from the fall of Hamas without seeming to be on the side of destabilization.
    8: It seems appropriate. After all, isn’t Hamas bent on “Destabilizing” Israel?
    My exact email to my nephew, discussing the meaning of the Putin invitation, was:

    The threat to Hamas rule is a destabilization campaign by Israel: stopping trade, closing the ports, shutting the water and electricity and so on. A campaign like this before the next election could be built up to get the Palestinians to throw out Hamas. If Hamas can strengthen itself enough, it can live through such a campaign.

    Maybe my nephew forwarded the email to Washington?
    You have to respect a democratically elected government. But you might have to respect it while you wage war against it. Perhaps two democracies can fight each other.

  12. WarrenW

    Here’s an interesting debka article on the destablization plan.
    By they way, if the destablization gets going, I wouldn’t sell any life insurance to Abu Mazen. Do you think Fatah can protect him against a raging Hamas?
    And yes, I think the EU could provide crucial support for a Hamas government in the face of sanctions or destabilization. Could the US counter this?

  13. Timothy L

    Joshua:
    “Switch and refute?” – I did not write Hamas had a “right” to US aid, you must be confusing this with the view of our Congressional Zionists toward aid to Israel.
    Whether you are “pro-genocide” or “pro-starvation” or pro-something else, has nothing to do with me, and all to do about some members of Congress.
    Orwell’s central casting is a relevant reference for Israel, thanks: “All citizens are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

  14. Inkan1969

    Joshua was right about Timothy L’s post. Timothy L pounced on the phrase “starve the PA of money” and warped it into “starve the people of food”. Timothy L. counted on people making the word association of “food” with “starvation” so that they would then make the non-sequitor conclusion of the plan being to starve people to death. They would do that if they didn’t read Helena’s posts clearly enough. The money people are talking about does not go to buying food for the people AFAIK and is not the only source of income for food in Palestine. Timothy L then makes more word association from “starve of money” to “food starvation” to “genocide”. It’s all then sneaky wordplay on his part in order to get an inflamatory word like “genocide” into the argument.

  15. Helena

    I was just re-reading these words from our friend Joshua: To the extent that the Israelis and Americans would foment violence to overthrow a government, I agree that this is wrong.
    Readers might note that I never mentioned (nor did Erlanger) the use of violence to overthrow Hamas. What I did mention in the post a number of times was a reported plan to impose starvation on the Palestinians to overthrow Hamas.
    So on my reading of what Joshua actually wrote, he seems to be saying that that would be, well, just fine by him…
    Or did I miss something there, Joshua? Do tell.

  16. edq

    Inkan1969,
    Of course if this policy were put into effect it would deprive people of food. There is currently widespread malnutrition in the OT and this would make the situation much worse. Incidently, as Sara Roy has documented, Israel has pursued a policy of tearing apart the economy of the Palestinians.
    This policy resembles the sanctions on Iraq which at one point were reported by UNICEF to have killed half a million Iraqi children.
    This kind of collective punishment would of course be illegal, although these days the law only applies to dark-skinned people.
    The definition of genocide is broader then the physical liquidation of people. It includes the destruction of a society by dispersing its population. By this standard Israel’s destruction of Palestine in 1948 or its gradual ethnic cleansing efforts since then could be construed as genocide.

  17. Helena

    Vadim, I concur with what edq said in those first three paras of his.
    A question for you, Vadim: Have you ever been to Palestine? Do you actually know much at all about how the people there live… and in the present connection, how deeply, deeply reliant they are on external aid?
    The vast majority of Palestinians are quite unable to make a living from agroculture– given the fact that Israel “proper” has most of the fertile plain, and that the Palestinian residents of the OPTs are crammed in very tight between the ever-expanding israeli “settlements” (i.e. colonies). Also, for those who can pursue agriculture or a trade or manufacture, the capricious and strict Israeli movement-control and lockdown regimes (in the West Bank) make the pursuit of even a basic livelihood impossible.
    In Gaza, things are a little different now– at least there are no checkpoints inside the Strip. But still, the entire Strip with its population of 1.2 million, most of whom are refugees, has no free access at all to the outside world in terms of connections with international markets or normal economic life.
    Sp yes, they are highly dependent on aid, and yes cutting that aid will increase the existing levels of malnutrition and cause deaths and stuntings. Plus the checkpoint systems kill people in other ways, too– e.g., by denying access to hospitals. But cutting the aid will quite predictably kill people– and of course, under such circumstances the youngest, sickest, and weakest succumb first. (As in Iraq under sanctions.)
    I could certainly adduce figures, links to NGO and INGO reports etc from earlier rounds of v. tight economic controls on the OPTs.
    But tell us– you seem to have such firm ideas about everything!– what is the basis of your information on this?

  18. TT

    For the record, I also hope there’s an anti-Netanyahu/Likud plot and an anti-Shas/Religious party plot and an anti-Settler movement plot.
    Here’s to more anti-anti-peace plots.

  19. vadim

    HC:But tell us– you seem to have such firm ideas about everything!– what is the basis of your information on this?
    my question: do you honestly consider “withdrawing aid” tantamount to “imposing starvation?”
    your ‘answer:’ I could certainly adduce figures, links to NGO and INGO reports etc from earlier rounds of v. tight economic controls on the OPTs.
    That would be interesting, but I don’t think it would answer my question (note: you may notice I was asking a question, not making a declarative statement.) Your linked story doesn’t imply that any sort of “tight economic controls” ie comprehensive embargo or blockade is in the offing. And in my view, the US isn’t responsible for Israeli checkpoints, nor is it responsible for Palestinian poverty or dependence on external aid. It certainly isn’t responsible for the policies and actions of HAMAS that precipitated this dilemma. No amount of adduced data will resolve what to me is a definitional impasse. If you believe that “withdrawing US aid” is morally or logically equivalent to “imposing starvation” you simply have a notion of both “responsibility” and “sovereignty” that is irreducibly [and permanently] incompatible with mine.
    The sanctions on Iraq (unlike what’s been discussed here) were at the very core of “containment,” a policy that you seem to have supported (judging from your inaugural post at JWN.) I’m thoroughly familiar with the mechanics of sanctions and would be happy to spell out exactly why I believe the comparison is inapt. But besides being off topic I doubt it would prove anything, since sanctions were introduced and enforced by the UNSC and thus part of international law.

  20. edq

    Vladim,
    Lets be clear here: what the article discusses is much more than withholding U.S. aid. The main threat is to withold Palestinian taxes which are collected by Israel:
    “The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of
    money and international connections to the point where,
    some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is
    compelled to call a new election…
    …The officials said the destabilization plan centers
    largely on money. The Palestinian Authority has a monthly
    cash deficit of some $60 million to $70 million after it
    receives between $50 million and $55 million a month from
    Israel in taxes and customs duties collected by Israeli
    officials at the borders but owed to the Palestinians.
    Israel says it will cut off those payments once Hamas
    takes power, and put the money in escrow. On top of that,
    some of the aid that the Palestinians currently receive
    will be stopped or reduced by the United States and
    European Union governments, which will be constrained by
    law or politics from providing money to an authority run
    by Hamas. The group is listed by Washington and the
    European Union as a terrorist organization.
    Israel has other levers on the Palestinian Authority:
    controlling entrance and exit from the West Bank and the
    Gaza Strip for people and goods, the number of workers who
    are allowed into Israel every day, and even the currency
    used in the Palestinian territories, which is the Israeli
    shekel.
    Israeli military officials have discussed cutting Gaza off
    completely from the West Bank and making the Israeli-Gaza
    border an international one. They also say they will not
    allow Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament, some of
    whom are wanted by Israeli security forces, to travel
    freely between Gaza and the West Bank.”
    This plan constitutes an attack on the civilian popoulation. It is illegal, although this is surely nothing new.
    As far as the U.S. is concerned, it is up to its neck in responsibility since it bankrolls the occupation, provides Israel with the latest miltary equipment, and prevents the U.N. from implementing 60+ U.N. resolutions against Israel.
    I hope Jonathan is right and this plan is just hot air. However, either way Israel is surely brewing up some sort of pressure to use against the Palestinians.

  21. edq

    Vladim,
    Lets be clear here: what the article discusses is much more than withholding U.S. aid. The main threat is to withold Palestinian taxes which are collected by Israel:
    “The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of
    money and international connections to the point where,
    some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is
    compelled to call a new election…
    …The officials said the destabilization plan centers
    largely on money. The Palestinian Authority has a monthly
    cash deficit of some $60 million to $70 million after it
    receives between $50 million and $55 million a month from
    Israel in taxes and customs duties collected by Israeli
    officials at the borders but owed to the Palestinians.
    Israel says it will cut off those payments once Hamas
    takes power, and put the money in escrow. On top of that,
    some of the aid that the Palestinians currently receive
    will be stopped or reduced by the United States and
    European Union governments, which will be constrained by
    law or politics from providing money to an authority run
    by Hamas. The group is listed by Washington and the
    European Union as a terrorist organization.
    Israel has other levers on the Palestinian Authority:
    controlling entrance and exit from the West Bank and the
    Gaza Strip for people and goods, the number of workers who
    are allowed into Israel every day, and even the currency
    used in the Palestinian territories, which is the Israeli
    shekel.
    Israeli military officials have discussed cutting Gaza off
    completely from the West Bank and making the Israeli-Gaza
    border an international one. They also say they will not
    allow Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament, some of
    whom are wanted by Israeli security forces, to travel
    freely between Gaza and the West Bank.”
    This plan constitutes an attack on the civilian popoulation. It is illegal, although this is surely nothing new.
    As far as the U.S. is concerned, it is up to its neck in responsibility since it bankrolls the occupation, provides Israel with the latest miltary equipment, and prevents the U.N. from implementing 60+ U.N. resolutions against Israel.
    I hope Jonathan is right and this plan is just hot air. However, either way Israel is surely brewing up some sort of pressure to use against the Palestinians.

  22. Kassandra

    Timothy L is quoting the UN Convention on Preventing Genocide, which says “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”
    This definition is wholly compatible with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, as he points out. Are you denying that no home demolitions, land confiscations, etc. have taken place? Taking away someone’s land and home seems like a big step toward their physical destruction.
    The US is absolutely responsible for Israeli checkpoints. It allocated 50 million USD for them this year, which 50 million USD sum was presented as “aid” to the Palestinians. New checkpoints are being built with funds earmarked as “aid” to the PA. I imagine this funding would not be affected.
    And the fact that the US, with its unconditional Congressional support for Israel and its allocation of more than one third of its foreign aid budget to Israel, some three billion USD annually, is not responsible for Palestinian poverty, is just laughable.

  23. JES

    New checkpoints are being built with funds earmarked as “aid” to the PA. I imagine this funding would not be affected.
    Are those “checkpoints” or border crossings?
    If there is to be a Palestinian state along side an Israeli state, then I think that organized border crossings are perfectly legitimate.

  24. JES

    If we live in a “rule of law world” where there is a single rule for everyone, is the US saying that it’s okay to “take down” Hamas because it won support from only a minority of eligible voters…. And therefore, it should be equally legitimate to do this in the US, too? Right?
    Interesting. Think for the momment about the converse proposition!

  25. Jonathan Edelstein

    Taking away someone’s land and home seems like a big step toward their physical destruction.
    In that case, why not say that it’s genocide to shake a stick at people and call them mean names? Anything can be characterized as a “step” toward destruction if you try hard enough.
    There’s really no doubt about what “physical destruction” means in the Genocide Convention. It means death – concentration camps, massacres of entire peoples, engineered famines and the like. It means what happened to the Armenians, Rwandan Tutsis and Ukrainians. Oppressing people, making them poor, restricting their movement or even expelling them isn’t genocide, although such acts might constitute other crimes against international law. For pete’s sake, the UN ruled that Darfur isn’t genocide within the Convention, so the term obviously doesn’t apply to land confiscations.
    One of the things I can’t stand about political polemic is the way that words are devalued. We’ve already seen “apartheid” converted into a synonym for “bad things perpetrated by a disliked government,” so do we really have to do the same thing to “genocide?” If it’s genocide to confiscate land – which means that just about every country on earth is guilty of it – then what word is left to describe Rwanda? Trivializing genocide in this manner is just another way of denying it.

  26. Joshua

    As inkan points out, both Helena and others are dishonestly turning the phrase “starve” in the article into a literal call for “starvation” rather than cutting it off from international funds.
    As for the taxes, the arrangement has been in place for a long time whereby Israel collects the taxes in the territories and transfers them to the PA. This was done to ensure that the money is not used for violence against Israel. With Hamas in power, Israel can reasonably assume that the money will, in fact, be used to support violence against Israel.
    What’s amazing is that Hamas explicitly stated that they don’t accept Israel’s right to exist and that they plan to “liberate” all of Palestine. Yet there is talk of Israelis or Israeli supporters somehow being paranoid when they point this fact out, even though it is out in the open. Instead they fret about vague reports from anonymous sources that, gee, Israel and the U.S. might make sure that Hamas doesn’t get hands on money so they can effectuate their plan.

  27. vadim

    And the fact that the US, with its unconditional Congressional support for Israel and its allocation of more than one third of its foreign aid budget to Israel, some three billion USD annually, is not responsible for Palestinian poverty, is just laughable.
    The US is responsible neither for the policy decisions nor the poverty of Egypt, Jordan or the PA (because these governments also accept large quantities of US financial aid.) Or for those nations accepting its food aid like North Korea. I don’t think you want the US taxpayer asserting her sovereign rights and responsibilities with regard to any of these governments. This strikes me as a colonial & paternalistic position, another manifestation of the “US as prime mover”cosmological worldview (cf al-kindi or aquinas, substituting ‘the US taxpayer’ for ‘God.’)

  28. edq

    As I understand the genocide convention, the basic idea is that any act which liquidates a society is “genocide”. I think this can include mass expulsion. It doesn’t impress me that the security council has declined to label the Dafur situation “genocide”, because the SC is made up of powerful nations who have shown their contempt for international law.
    It is true that most people think of “genocide” as implying a mass extermination. Nevertheless, I think that technically a lawyer could make a case that Israel has committed genocide. At any rate the international community won’t be taking Isreal to task any time soon for committing genocide.
    I have no problem accusing Israel of “apartheid”. The Guardian recently discussed this issue in a series of two articles:
    Worlds apart, Chris McGreal, The Guardian (6 February
    2006)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1703245,00.html
    Brothers in arms – Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria,
    Chris McGreal, The Guardian (7 February 2006)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1704036,00.html
    This article describes a new twist in Israel’s apartheid policies:
    http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/682936.html

  29. EDQ

    Gosh, Joshua, given that Israel murders Palestinians, steals their land, tortures them, restricts their movement, and destroys their economy, I wish Palestinians could control Israel’s taxes.

  30. WarrenW

    Hamas acknowledged plan for Israel is more violent and destructive than the imaginary plan against Hamas. Hamas plans to eliminate the nation while Israel is accused of destabilizing just a government.
    The quoted UN definition of “Genocide” pretty much defines modern warfare. It would be nice if a UN definition could abolish warfare but that isn’t the case.
    We know for a fact that if Hamas had military superiority they would commit genocide or something very close to it against the Israelis, and that the UN could not and would not protect the Israelis. Given this reality, Israel is going to ignore the UN and will not regard the UN as a neutral party nor as an honest broker. Rather, the UN is now seen as at best a nuisance or perhaps a forum for communications. That is the reality.
    The increased political power of Hamas makes containing the Iranian nuclear warhead effort that much more important.
    A genuine mideast war involving Israel is now more likely than it was 3 months ago.

  31. rozele

    just to feed the trolls a bit, though i’m not entirely sure how the topic came in:
    according to the geneva convention definition,
    Genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:
    – Killing members of the group;
    – Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    – Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    – Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    – Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    forced displacement pretty clearly falls under the second and third of those “acts”, as long as its intent is to “destroy, in whole or in part” its target group “as such”.
    the crime of genocide does not require success to be a crime. nor does it require an aim of total elimination – only an intent to destroy some part of a targetted group’s ability to retain its coherence as a group.
    in other words, if you think palestinians living in jordan or lebanon should “just accept being jordanians or lebanese”, you’re advocating genocide under the geneva convention. destroying a national or ethnical group as such, in part.
    rozele

  32. Henry James

    And the fact that the US, with its unconditional Congressional support for Israel and its allocation of more than one third of its foreign aid budget to Israel, some three billion USD annually, is not responsible for Palestinian poverty, is just laughable.
    More exactly, since Israel still controls WBG militarily, they are naturally responsible for WBG economy as well. US gets its share of this responsiblity indirectly, through US-Israeli alliance.

  33. vadim

    This article describes a new twist in Israel’s apartheid policies:
    Muslim countries not accepting Israeli passports are:
    * Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia (except with written permission from the Malaysian government), Oman, Maldives, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (Jewish persons are not allowed entry, regardless of nationality), Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (sources conflict over whether or not passports with Israeli stamps are accepted), Yemen.

  34. vadim

    in other words, if you think palestinians living in jordan or lebanon should “just accept being jordanians or lebanese”, you’re advocating genocide under the geneva convention. destroying a national or ethnical group as such, in part.
    rozele does the same clumsy rule apply to those who claim Israelis should accept being russians and germans? to those who use “zionist” as a pejorative expression (ie most of the people on this board?)

  35. Helena

    Inkan, re your: The money people are talking about does not go to buying food for the people AFAIK and is not the only source of income for food in Palestine. I appreciate your modesty (AFAIK) there, not shared by many others here who opine based on little knowledge.
    The PA has had a huge, overbloated bureaucracy, supposedly dedicated to providing “security” but actually under Fateh often contributing to massive insecurity for Palestinians. The broader social “point” of the bureacracy is to provide salaries to people who have large families. Those salaries constitute a huge proportion of the income that people get in the OPTs on account of the economic-stragnulation policies followed consistently against the “civilian” Palestinian economy for 5 years, and even prior to that since as long ago as 1967.
    You have to understand that this is a totally dependent economy that the Israelis control in every way, including they dump their own goods there freely and exercize tight control over all checkpoints not only “at” the borders between Israel and Palestine but also deep within the Palestinian West Bank, around Palestinian E. Jerusalem, etc etc.
    So yes, stopping the aid monies to the PA would have a huge impact on the nutritional status of family members of the I believe it’s 150,000 PA employees. (Multiply that by 5 or 7 for average number of dependents.) And since this nutritional status is already low, yes, vulnerable at-risk people will die who wouldn’t otherwise have. You can find many studies by the World Food Program, Save the Children, etc., that spoke to this question during past nutritional crises.

  36. Kassandra

    There seems to be a state of Israel, but apparently no Israelis. Everyone in Israel is obligated to carry an ID card at all times. ID cards list the official “nationality” of a person, which can be “Jewish”, “Arab”, “Druze”, and the like, with the significant exception of “Israeli”. Attempts to force the Interior Minister to allow Israelis wishing to be officially described as “Israeli”, or even as “Israeli-Jew” in their ID cards have failed. Those who have attempted to do so have a letter from the Ministry of Interior stating that “it was decided not to recognise an Israeli nationality”. The identification is no longer printed, but it is in the bar code.
    If Israel does not accept “Israelis”, what’s the point regarding Russians? There have always been Jews and Arabs, I presume, in Russia and Germany.

  37. WarrenW

    rozele
    Your analysis aptly demonstrates why the UN definition of genocide is so dumb.
    Kassandra:
    A little googling shows me that Israeli ID cards don’t have a bar code, at least according to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teudat_Zehut.
    Wikipedia has a different version of your story on nationality…

  38. Jonathan Edelstein

    I have no problem accusing Israel of “apartheid”. The Guardian recently discussed this issue in a series of two articles
    There are a good few factual errors and conflations of varying situations in that series, along with many true statements. I don’t want to hijack Helena’s thread further by stating them in detail, although I’m willing to discuss them if you e-mail me privately.
    Three things, however, stand out in my mind as deficiencies in the series. First, Mr. McGreal interviews exactly one Arab – that’s right, one – with one more whose story is told but who doesn’t get to speak. I admire Hassan Jabarin and I’m glad he was interviewed, but given that the Arabs are the ones allegedly living under apartheid, one would think that their opinions and experiences are important. Instead, the series is basically a dialogue between Mr. McGreal, a few Israeli Jewish acquaintances and Ronnie Kasrils. That seems terribly patronizing – on the order of writing an article on South African apartheid without interviewing any black people – and it also misleads by hiding the diversity of Arab experiences and achievements in Israel.
    Second, about midway through the second article (in the part entitled “colonial disposession”), Mr. Mc Greal argues that Israelis “have come to support the creation of a Palestinian state as a means of ridding themselves of responsibility from the bulk of Arabs. Separation. Apartheid.” In other words, he’s basically arguing that any two-state solution is an “apartheid” solution rather than a means of decolonization. Yes, the literal translation of “apartheid” is “separation,” but few people would characterize, say, France’s separation from Algeria that way. By this standard all partitions are apartheid, which does an injustice to the common meaning of the word.
    And finally, Mr. McGreal recounts a conversation he had “shortly after arriving in Jerusalem” in the home of a “liberal Jewish family,” in which the guests opined that the Palestinians “didn’t deserve a state” because of suicide bombings. He argues that this “was all very reminiscent of conversations in South Africa.” What he doesn’t say, however, is that he has been a correspondent in Jerusalem for four years, so this conversation would have occurred in the spring of 2002. In other words, it happened in the middle of the largest sustained wave of suicide bombings ever perpetrated during the I-P conflict, including the murder of 20 senior citizens at the Netanya seder.
    It’s hardly surprising that liberal Israelis might have said things then that they wouldn’t have said earlier or later, in much the same way that many liberal Americans voiced atypical opinions on September 12, 2001. The fact that Mr. McGreal doesn’t think the audience needs to know this is fundamentally dishonest and, in my experience, such intellectual dishonesty is quite typical of Israel-apartheid analogies. There are so many differences in the causes and effects of the conflict (not to mention its mutuality) that equating the two situations in their entirety, as opposed to comparing specific phenomena like bantustans, can’t be done without tortured logic and elimination of context.
    Keep in mind, also, that apartheid is the only form of institutional racism that the United Nations has seen fit to classify as a crime against humanity. As such, I think people should be careful about throwing the word around casually.
    As for genocide: I’m a lawyer myself, and I agree that a good lawyer could characterize practically anything as genocide under the Convention. If I walked out on the street with intent to eliminate ethnic group X but succeeded only in giving one of them a bloody nose before I was stopped, I could technically be charged with genocide. Using the term in that situation, however, would be self-evidently ridiculous under any common usage – as would using it with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    I’ll stop now – this is Helena’s thread and I won’t hijack it further with off-topic lawyering. Please don’t hesitate to get the last word.

  39. Jonathan Edelstein

    BTW, back on the original subject, it seems that the Israeli cabinet has decided against blocking international aid to the PA, and Hamas has made some interesting parliamentary appointments. It looks like there’s a lot of hardball rhetoric coming from both sides, but that they’re being somewhat more moderate in practice. Hopefully this could lead to some movement after Hamas finishes forming a government and Israel has its election.

  40. Kassandra

    The ID card was discussed in The Guardian’s article. It has also been discussed in several blogs by people who have those ID cards. But there indeed is no bard code, The “nationality” is marked in a numeric code. My mistake.
    Now, in an article about the similarities between Israel and apartheid South Africa, such as The Guardian’s, it makes sense to talk to individuals who have had experience with both apartheid South Africa and the situation in Palestine. What would a Palestinian who is not permitted by Israel to travel out of Nablus know about life in apartheid South Africa? Further, he would most certainly be stamped as a Muslim fanatic by many readers were he to express his views.
    Instead,Chris McGreal concentrated on talking with Jewish lawyers, such as Daniel Seidemann, who has spent years fighting legal cases on behalf of Jerusalem’s Arab residents and Ronnie Kasrils, who also happened to be South Africa’s intelligence minister.
    Are we to believe that Jewish attorneys are not truthful, don’t know what they’re talking about, and somehow bend the facts?
    To further enforce the similarities between the two regimes, take a look at the European Union Report on East Jerusalem dated 24 Nov 2005. This is the report that Israel surpressed, but it is available all over the internet. This report, in dry legalese, is much more damning than McGreal’s articles.

  41. Donald Johnson

    I agree that the legal definition of genocide is much looser than the layperson’s definition. And it’s intellectually dishonest, in my opinion, to use the legal definition in this case, knowing that its emotional impact comes from the layperson’s definition. Israel hasn’t committed genocide against the Palestinians in the layman’s sense. If they actually tried to starve them into overthrowing Hamas and massive numbers died, that would be close to the layperson’s definition and I’d use the term myself. Presumably the Israelis have too much sense to do this.
    I already use the term “ethnic cleansing” for what Israel did in 1948 and “apartheid” for how the Palestinians in the occupied territories (not in Israel proper) are treated, because in both cases it seems to me that the ordinary layperson’s definition of the terms fits how Israel acts (or acted, back in 1948). I don’t have a cite handy, but I think Desmond Tutu sees it the same way with respect to the term “apartheid”. And if Hamas had enough power to slaughter Jews on a massive scale, or drive them out in large numbers or force them to live as Palestinians have been forced to live, which I suspect many would want to do, then I’d use the appropriate terms for their actions–genocide, or ethnic cleansing, or apartheid, depending on the crime committed.

  42. Donald Johnson

    Forgot to mention that the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem itself compares Israeli policies in the occupied territories to the behavior of white South Africa.

  43. Jonathan Edelstein

    I already use the term “ethnic cleansing” for what Israel did in 1948 and “apartheid” for how the Palestinians in the occupied territories (not in Israel proper) are treated, because in both cases it seems to me that the ordinary layperson’s definition of the terms fits how Israel acts (or acted, back in 1948).
    Agreed on “ethnic cleansing.” All the parties to the 1948 war, including Israel, did such ethnic cleansing as was within their power.
    I’m not sure, though, that the ordinary layman’s definition of “apartheid” contemplates a mutual conflict between nations. I’d guess that most laymen, when they heard the word, would think more of conduct directed against a quiescent domestic population – and that the layman’s perception would include ideology as well as mechanics. The layman’s definition, here, would be misleading in that it would entirely discount terrorism as a contributing cause (I did not say the only cause) of the current policies. Not to mention that McGreal argues that Israel is an apartheid state domestically, which I don’t think is a serious proposition under any usage of the term.
    It seems obvious to me that the term “apartheid” is thrown around mostly for its polemic value, given that there are more accurate terms like “colonialism” that aren’t exactly complimentary to Israel. And like most polemic terms, it has serious potential to inflame and mislead, which is why it should be used carefully.

  44. edq

    This webpage lists some social scientists’ definitions of genocide
    http://www.isg-iags.org/references/def_genocide.html
    Most of these definitions are of the limited “mass-killing” sort. Nevertheless, as I discussed earlier, Israel’s actions probably do meet the UN criteria. I think there is a chapter in Ward Churchill’s book “A Little Matter of Genocide” where he discusses what the authors of the convention intended.
    So the situation seems to be murky and one could argue either way. Whatever one wants to call it the destruction of a society by the transfer of its population is a grave crime.

  45. Timothy L

    Re: Genocide and J. Edelstein’s “good lawyer”
    The legal definition of genocide in the UN’s Genocide Convention says what it says. That is THE DEFINITION. No judge says to the jury “Well, I’ve just read you the legal definition of robbery, now you just go ahead and work up your own “layman’s definition” to decide if the defendant is guilty – don’t pay any attention to the legal definition.”
    A “good” contributor to these pages would, as would a “good” lawyer, start with the one and only UN legal definition of genocide – so we all are talking about the same thing. Arguments based on a pot-pourri of personal definitions are just so much hot air. Any quack lawyer, or quack layman for that matter, can cook up a “definition” to serve a quacky argument – and that’s pretty routine in the world of blogs. It just muddies the waters.
    So let’s be clear. In my opinion, based on the official UN definition of genocide, the facts would support a court’s verdict of “guilty of genocide” against Israel and “guilty of facilitating genocide” against the US.
    You may differ, but that’s what lawyers do, isn’t it?

  46. JES

    There seems to be a state of Israel, but apparently no Israelis. Everyone in Israel is obligated to carry an ID card at all times. ID cards list the official “nationality” of a person, which can be “Jewish”, “Arab”, “Druze”, and the like, with the significant exception of “Israeli”.
    As I pointed out elsewhere, this is a bogus argument. The term “nationality” on Israeli ID cards is a translation of the Hebrew “le’om”, which, according the the Even Shushan Dictionary indicates the common cultural, language and history of a people.
    On the Israeli ID, the “ha-le’om” is accompanied by the Arabic “al-qaumiyah”. The word “nationality” does not appear anywhere on the ID (at least not on mine, which I have in front of me now).
    There is no Israeli “nationality”, because the state is committed, according to the Declaration of Independence, to “complete equality…[and] freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture”. In other words, Israel has declared itself to be multi-ethnic – or multi-cultural, or multi-national, if you will. The “multi-” here is what the le’om, or al-qaumiya refer to.
    There is, however, Israeli citizenship (ezrahut). The ID does not state citizenship. In this regard, there is no difference between the passport of an Israeli Jew and an Israeli Arab.
    This also brings into issue Israeli Arabs who refuse to define to themselves, nationally, as “Israeli”, instead insisting that their nationality is Arab, Muslim or Palestinian. (The designation “1948 Arabs” that is used when they appear publicly in Arab countries, for example.)

  47. WarrenW

    I think that the forced movement of populations is a necessary part of mideast peace. Two Peace Walls, a kilometer apart, keeping the Arabs and the Jews away from each other. This restricts trade and hence prosperity but it should dramatically lower the body count. First lower the body count on both sides, then build the economy. In that order. That’s my solution, or the gist of it.
    Consider the recent Israeli actions in Amona and Gaza of forcibly removing Jews — is that genocide? Would it be genocide if the PA had done it?

  48. zarzur

    I guess all the ostdeutsch are genocide victims then, and poland and czechoslovakia are guilty of genocide for expelling them?

  49. menno hert

    Jonathan Edelstein wrote:
    “Agreed on “ethnic cleansing.” All the parties to the 1948 war, including Israel, did such ethnic cleansing as was within their power.”
    And: “I’m not sure, though, that the ordinary layman’s definition of “apartheid” contemplates a mutual conflict between nations.”
    So here we have it. Ignore the power relations between “the nations” that have their “mutual conflict” over well, whatever, and take the sting out of Israel’s ethnic cleansing in 1948 by suggesting that ethnic cleansing was, well, what “all parties” did in those days.
    It’s a little bit like talking about the mutual conflict between some other nations some time ago that led to the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, and has been resolved since.

  50. WarrenW

    menno hert:
    I suppose we could also revisit the passionate issues of the day behind the Battle of Waterloo. After, all, England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands still exist!

  51. zarzur

    take the sting out of Israel’s ethnic cleansing in 1948 by suggesting that ethnic cleansing was, well, what “all parties” did in those days
    how many jews were there in arab-held areas of palestine at the end of the war?

  52. Timothy L

    JES:
    Pardon me, but on the ID card issue you are full of crap! An image of the ID cards can be seen at
    http://www.osa.ceu.hu/galeria/the_divide/cpt09files/jm_part4.pdf
    Clearly pointed out is the identity of Arab or Jew (in Hebrew of course). I understand that on newer cards the Hebraic words Arab and Jew have been supplanted with bar code.
    As for the promise of future “equality” in the Declaration of Independence: (1) the Declaration is not a law or constitution, and creates no legal rights (same with the US Declaration of Independence); (2) the Basic Laws omit any right to equality of persons in Israeli law; and (3) virtually every person (other than those who had a lobotomy) in Israeli would admit that there is active official and unofficial discrimination against the Arab population in virtually every sphere of life.

  53. JES

    Timothy,
    You my friend are the one who is full of crap!
    Go back, please, and read what I wrote. What I said was that “nationality” – le’om/qaumiya – were included on the card. I further stated that the identity card does not include the “citizenship” of the bearer. And it does not! What the photos misleadingly point to (and I am looking at my own identity card at the moment) is what is known as the “sefah” or “appendix” to the card that includes the bearer’s spouse and minor children. Under the spouse’s details, is included their citizenship. (Apparently in the example that they show, the cleverly picked someone whose spouse is not an Israeli citizen.)
    The issue about different colored card cases is also interesting. However, all that an orange card signifies is that the bearer is a temporary resident of Israel and not a citizen. Jewish immigrants who arrive with a foreign citizenship, for example, also receive orange identity cards until they are given citizenship.
    As for the rest of your post, this is just crap. The Declaration of Independence is considered law by Israeli courts, as well as considered the basis of a constitution, and it has been used as the basis of decisions by the High Court of Justice. The Basic Laws, particularly those on the right of employment and the right to dignity, do in fact apply universally to all Israelis – Arabs and Jews. As to your point 3, this is just more brutish, inaccurate, idiotic crap on your part (but quite typical of the crude discourse I’ve seen eminating from you over the past few months).

  54. Salah

    ” Israeli laws, structure and politics are the contents for Israel’s policy guidelines vis-a-vis the nature of the State and how it relates to its Jewish and Arab citizens. These include Israel as a Jewish State, which is defined by law as a state for Jewish people in and outside of Israel, but not a state of all of its citizens; Israel as a Democracy, but democracy cannot be fully extended to the Palestinian citizens since that could defeat the raison d’etre of Israel as a State for the Jewish people; and Israel as a State with strong security concerns, which concerns mean that any action relative to limiting the Palestine citizens can be justified on the basis of security needs.”

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2501/is_2_21/ai_55683889#continue

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