An Israeli Love Story By Uri Avnery

An Israeli Love Story

By Uri Avnery

07/08/07 “ICH

NOT SINCE the resurrection of Jesus Christ has there been such a miracle: a dead body buried in a cave has come to life again.

The “Jordanian Option” gave up its ghost almost twenty years ago. Even before that, it never was very healthy. But in 1988, some time after the outbreak of the first intifada, it was officially buried by none other than His Majesty, King Hussein, himself. He announced that he had given up any claim to the West Bank.

It was a pitiful death. There was no proper funeral. Shimon Peres, one of its parents, pretended not to know the deceased. Yitzhak Rabin turned his back. >From dust it came, to dust it returned.

And now, suddenly, it seems to have sprung to life again. Three wandering scribblers claim to have seen it with their own eyes. Not in Emmaeus, where the three apostles of Jesus saw their resurrected master, but in Washington, capital of the world!

THE ISRAELI love story with the Hashemite dynasty started three generations ago. (Hashem was the founder of the Mecca family to which the prophet Mohammed belonged.)

In World War II, Iraq rebelled against the Hashemite king, who was imposed on them by the British at the time they installed another branch of the family in Transjordan. The Iraqi king and his entourage fled to Palestine. Here he was warmly received by the Zionist leadership, which provided him with a secret radio station on Mount Carmel. Many years later, I heard this from one of the people directly involved, Minister Eliyahu Sassoon.

The British army returned the Hashemites to power in Baghdad. But, as Sassoon added in sorrow, they repaid good with bad: immediately after their restoration they adopted an extreme anti-Zionist line. By the way, the Irgun underground organization was cooperating with the British at the time, and its commander, David Raziel, was killed in Iraq in the course of the operation.

Issam Sartawi, one of the PLO leaders, a refugee from Acre who grew up in Iraq, later claimed that when the Hashemites returned to Baghdad, the British organized a massacre of the Jews in order to gain them nationalist popularity. The documents about this infamous episode are still kept under wraps in the British archives.

But the relations with the Hashemites continued. On the eve of the 1948 war, the Zionist leadership kept in close contact with King Abdallah of Transjordan. Between the King and Golda Meir, several secret plans were hatched, but when the time came, the king did not dare to break Arab solidarity, and so he also invaded Palestine. It has been claimed this was done in close coordination with David Ben-Gurion. And indeed, the new Israeli army avoided attacking the Jordanian forces (except in the Latrun area, in an attempt to open the way to besieged West Jerusalem.)

The cooperation between Abdallah and Ben-Gurion bore the hoped-for fruit: the territory that was allotted by the UN to the putative Palestinian Arab state was partitioned between Israel and the renamed Kingdom of Jordan (the Gaza Strip was given to Egypt). The Palestinian state did not come into being, and Israeli-Jordanian cooperation flourished. It continued after King Abdallah was assassinated at the holy shrines of Jerusalem, and his grandson, the boy Hussein, took his place.

At that time, the tide of pan-Arab nationalism was running high, and Gamal Abd-el-Nasser, its prophet, was the idol of the Arab world. The Palestinian people, who had been deprived of a political identity, also saw its salvation in an all-Arab entity. There was a danger that the Jordanian king might be toppled any minute, but Israel announced that if this happened, the Israeli army would enter Jordan at once. The king continued to sit on his throne supported by Israeli bayonets.

Things reached a climax during Black September (1970), when Hussein crushed the PLO forces in blood and fire. The Syrians rushed to their defense and started to cross the border. In coordination with Henry Kissinger, Golda Meir issued an ultimatum: if the Syrians did not retreat at once, the Israeli army would enter. The Syrians gave up, the king was saved. The PLO forces went to Lebanon.

At the height of the crisis, I called upon the Israeli government in the Knesset to adopt the opposite course: to enable the Palestinians in the West Bank to set up a Palestinian state side by side with Israel. Years later, Ariel Sharon told me that he had proposed the same during the secret deliberations of the army General Staff. (Later, Sharon asked me to arrange a meeting between him and Yasser Arafat, to discuss this plan: to topple the regime in Jordan and turn the country into a Palestinian state, instead of the West Bank. Arafat refused to meet him and disclosed the proposal to the king.)

THE JORDANIAN OPTION was more than a political concept – it was a love story. For decades, almost all Israeli leaders were enamored of it – from Chaim Weizmann to David Ben-Gurion, from Golda to Peres.

What did the Hashemite family have that enchanted the Zionist and Israeli establishment?

In the course of the years I have heard many rational-sounding arguments. But I am convinced that at root it was not rational at all. The one decisive virtue of the Hashemite Dynasty was – and is – quite simple: they are not Palestinians.

From its first day, the Zionist movement has lived in total denial of the Palestinian issue. As long as possible, it denied the very existence of the Palestinian people. Since this has become ridiculous, it denies the existence of a Palestinian partner for peace. In any case, it denies the possibility of a viable Palestinian state next to Israel.

This denial has deep roots in the unconscious of the Zionist movement and the Israeli leadership. Zionism strove for the creation of a Jewish National Home in a land in which another people was living. Since Zionism was an idealistic movement imbued with profound moral values, it could not bear the thought that it was committing a historical injustice to another people. It was necessary to suppress and deny the feeling of guilt engendered by this fact.

The unconscious guilt feelings were deepened by the 1948 war, in which more than half the Palestinian people were separated from their lands. The idea of turning the West Bank over to the Hashemite kingdom was built on the illusion that there is no Palestinian people (“They are all Arabs!”), so it could suffer no injustice.

The Jordanian Option is a euphemism. Its real name is “Anti-Palestinian Option”. That’s what it’s all about. Everything else is unimportant.

THAT MAY explain the curious fact that since the 1967 war, no effort has been made to realize this “option”. The High Priests of the Jordanian Option, who preached it from every hilltop, did not lift a finger to bring it about. On the contrary, they did everything possible to prevent its realization.

For example: during Yitzhak Rabin’s first term as prime minister, after the 1973 war, Henry Kissinger had a brilliant idea: to return the town of Jericho to King Hussein. Thus a fait accompli would have been established: the Hashemite flag would wave over West Bank territory.

When Foreign Minister Yigal Allon brought the proposal to Rabin, he was met with an adamant refusal. Golda Meir had promised in her time that new elections would be held before any occupied territory was returned to the Arabs. “I am not prepared to go to elections because of Jericho!” Rabin exclaimed.

The same happened when Shimon Peres reached a secret agreement with King Hussein and brought the finished product to the then prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir threw the agreement into the waste bin.

(“You face a difficult choice,” I once joked in a Knesset debate, “Whether not to return the occupied territories to Jordan or not to return them to the Palestinians.”)

ONE OF the interesting aspects of this long love story was that not one of the Israeli lovers ever took the trouble to look at the problem from the other side. In the depths of their heart, they despised the Jordanians as they despised all Arabs.

In the middle of the 80s, I received an unofficial invitation to Jordan, then officially still an “enemy country”. True, I entered with a rather dubious passport, but, once there, I registered as an Israeli journalist. Since I was the first Israeli to go around Amman openly, declaring my identity, I attracted quite a lot of attention in higher circles.

A senior government official invited me to dinner in a posh restaurant. On a paper napkin he drew the map of Jordan and explained to me the whole problem in a nutshell:

“We are surrounded by countries which are very different from each other. Here is the Zionist Israel, and here the nationalist Syria. In the West Bank, radical tendencies flourish, and in close-by Lebanon there is a conservative sectarian regime. Here is the secular Iraq of Saddam Hussein, and here the devout Saudi Arabia. From all these directions, ideas and people flow into Jordan. We absorb all of them. But we cannot quarrel with any of our neighbors. When we move a bit towards Syria, on the following day we have to make a gesture towards Saudi Arabia. When we come closer to Israel, we must appease Iraq quickly.”

The obvious conclusion: the Jordanian Option was a folly right from the beginning. But nobody in the Israeli leadership grasped that. As the wise Boutros Boutros-Ghali once told me: “You have in Israel the greatest experts on Arab affairs. They have read every book and every article. They know everything, and understand nothing – because they have never lived for one day in an Arab country.”

OLD LOVES do not die. True, the first intifada pushed aside the Jordanian Option and the leaders of Israel flirted with the Palestinian Option. But their heart was not in the new love, and they acted as if driven by a demon. That explains why no serious effort was made to fulfill the Oslo agreement and to bring the process to its logical conclusion: a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Now, suddenly, people are once more talking about Jordan. Perhaps one could ask King Abdallah II to send his army into the West Bank to fight Hamas? Perhaps we could bury the “Two-State Solution” in a Jordanian-Palestinian federation that would allow the Jordanians to take over the West Bank again?

The King was appalled. That is just what he needs! To incorporate the turbulent and divided Palestinian population in his kingdom! To open the border to a new flood of refugees and immigrants! He hastened to deny any part in the scheme.

Federation? That is quite possible, he said – but only after a free Palestinian state has come into being, not before, and certainly not instead. Then the citizens may decide freely.

A famous book by the Israeli author Yehoshua Kenaz is called: “Returning Lost Loves”. But it seems that this old love is gone forever. Uri Avnery is an Israeli author and activist. He is the head of the Israeli peace movement, “Gush Shalom”.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


The Palestinian Left: A Lost Opportunity for Relevance by Ramzy Baroud

by Ramzy Baroud
Global Research, July 8, 2007

When Hamas members were elected as the majority bloc of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and as it became apparent that a US-led international embargo would be an adjoining price to that victory, I contacted many intellectuals and writers in Palestine, mostly those who often positioned themselves as part of the Palestinian Left. I asked them to solidify behind the collective choice of the Palestinian people and to shield Palestinian democracy at any cost.

An exact paragraph in my appeal was the following: “This is the first time in our history that a leadership is chosen from our midst to lead the way forward, chosen by our downtrodden, poor and dispossessed. I have no illusions that the current Parliament is not an expression of a truly democratic experience since no true democracy can take roots under occupation, and I am equally clear on the fact that the Council doesn’t represent but a minority of our people, but there is no denial in the fact that there is a great hope in seeing refugees, members of humble families, elementary school teachers and the working class claiming their rightful position as community leaders. Regardless of how the US wishes to interpret such a collective act, it is important that we defend it by articulating the realities in Palestine as they are, not as the mainstream media so readily misrepresents it.”

This was in response to my initial reading that the Hamas government was losing the battle at the media front. The reason was simple: they possessed neither the experience nor the even-handed platform to reach out to international media to articulate their position in any convincing shape or form. Knowing this, and also aware of the political polarization in Palestine, I feared that the battle of articulation would be formulated around the theme of Hamas vs. Fatah, or Islamic government vs secularism, which indeed proved to be the case.

As someone who defines himself as a secular humanist, I didn’t interpret the debate in Palestine as such, and I believe the bulk of Palestinian intellectuals in Diaspora – something I am very proud of – also used a similar line of logic: the debate for me was that of genuine democracy facing early abortion as a result of a most sinister union that brought together many world governments, Israel and corrupt Palestinians. Nonetheless, the irate response was comprehensible. The Palestinian vote was a collective act of epic proportions that eradicated, almost instantly, the Bush administration’s charade of the Great Middle East Democracy Project, itself an extension of the old New Middle East Project of the late 1990’s. The US government tailored a specific project, which included a pretence democracy which would serve its long-term interests in the region and position itself as the protector of the people’s will for many years to come, now that its declared aims in Iraq completely faltered.

Internally, the elections also meant that Palestinians — terrorized for six decades by the Israeli army, and as of late, by the Israel-backed Palestinian ‘security’ branches and their warlord-like bosses – still possessed the strength to fight back and insist on their right to defy the status quo. It was one of the most potent non-violent victories achieved by the Palestinian people, compared only to their First Uprising of 1987.

Following the elections, the movement’s leadership insisted on governing in accordance to the norms of democracy and civil society, and quickly issued calls for all Palestinian groups to join in forming a unity government.

Fatah refused. No surprises there. But why did the so-called Palestinian Left refuse to take part in the government as well – despite their insignificant popularity among Palestinians — an act that could’ve served Palestinian democracy in more ways than one?

In the early weeks and months, following Hamas lonely ascent to power in March 2006, we began seeing respected Palestinian intellectuals making some disturbing statements to the media, attacking Hamas as if it’s some alien body, shipped from Tehran, and thus, affectively, validating the international embargo. I had, at times, shared stage with many of those people, proudly, at international forums; some even posed as socialists and spoke fervently of the collective fight against international imperialism and the need to activate civil society in the fight against injustice and so forth. The Hamas victory had indeed exposed the chasm between words and actions, between national priorities and ideological and even individual rigidity and limitations. When Hamas entered into rounds of talks with Palestinian ‘socialist’ groups, I was most certain that the latter would appreciate the intensity of the challenge and would take part in a unity government even if a union with a religious grouping stands at odds with its overall principals. I thought, the situation is too grave for superficial manifestos and party programs to stand in the way. I was wrong.

Following the armed resistance of the 1970’s in Gaza, led, partly, by various socialist groups, there was no truly popular left that appealed to a large segment of the Palestinian popular imagination. Although some of these groups held on truly principled stances opposing Oslo, for example, they remained largely confined to university campuses, spotted in urban centres as artists, academics and middle class – and sometimes upper class – intellectuals.

The bizarre twist is that Hamas, by a practical definition, is much closer to socialist principals than the urban ‘socialist’ intellectuals.

By defending Hamas and the democratic will of Palestinians, I’ve hardly felt as if I was deviating from of my own principles. My letter to the Palestinian Left hardly generated any response — my communications with progressives in the West generated much greater enthusiasm. Now that the split between Hamas and Fatah has elevated to almost a geographic split as well – a complete departure from the Palestinian national objectives, many in the Left are still parroting old mantras, still fighting for irrelevant appearances on BBC, making demands on Hamas and using such terms as a ‘coup against Palestinian democracy’.

There was hardly a Palestinian Left to begin with; they lost the only opportunity that could’ve made them relevant, and now they continue to pander to the status quo, yet posing as the wise ones in an ocean of dim-witted multitudes: the precise definition of intellectual elitism.

Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian American writer, editor of PalestineChronicle.com and author, most recently, of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London, 2006)

Ramzy Baroud is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Ramzy Baroud


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al-Qu’eda or al-a’diversion? by William Bowles (2005)

by William Bowles

Global Research, July 8, 2005

williambowles.info

al-Qu’eda or al-a’diversion?

Of course it’s too early to say with any certainty who set off the four bombs that caused death and chaos in London today but predictably Tony Blair says “they were obviously designed to coincide with the G8 summit”. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?

My immediate reaction is to be suspicious not about the timing of the bombs, this is the most obvious aspect, but who exactly is behind them.

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7/7 Mock Terror Drill: What Relationship to the Real Time Terror Attacks? by Michel Chossudovsky (2005)

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, August 8, 2005

A fictional “scenario” of multiple bomb attacks on London’s underground took place at exactly the same time as the bomb attack on July 7, 2005.

Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, a private firm on contract to the London Metropolitan Police, described in a BBC interview how he had organized and conducted the anti-terror drill, on behalf of an unnamed business client.

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The Conquest Continues

Dandelion Salad

Coordinadora Nacional Indigena y Campesina
57 min 47 sec – Jul 2, 2007

In order to fund further wars for resources, capitalists need the resources of Land and Labor. Imagine a SUPERSTATE a single economic and military government that stretches from Canada to the ends of South America. This nightmare is the “Free Trade Area of the Americas” or (FTAA.)

This documentary is about the Plan Puebla Panama or (PPP). The PPP is the main infrastructural backbone of the FTAA. The PPP is the ten-lane highway, the energy corridor, and bio piracy corridor that may make it all possible. Behind this threat stands the looming specter of violent western hemispheric military integration.

Together we stand at a turning point in the story of humanity. Witness this important documentary and talk with friends. Conspire for justice, end the next 100 years of war, and US expansionism.

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Those So-Called Oil Contracts in Iraq-Questions Without Answers By JEAN GERARD

Weekend Edition
July 7 / 8, 2007

By JEAN GERARD

So-called “oil contracts” have been on the table of the Iraqi Parliament for months, and the fluff of lies printed about them in U..S. media is nauseating.
Every report I have been able to find in the general media has been long on inferences and short on facts. The result is that the average American knows nothing about them, and even those of us who try to follow important policy matters cannot find out more than the simple assertion that there are such things as Production Sharing Agreements, and that their signing is one of the “benchmarks” the US has put up as a requirement for our withdrawal of military forces.

These “contracts” are literally a matter of life and death in Iraq, admitted by Prime Minister Maliki himself to be “the most important law in Iraq.” They are proposals for agreements between the Iraqi government such as it is and the world’s largest energy corporations which will determine for a decade or more just how much oil can be pumped out of which fields by whom and how the enormous profits will be shared.

Traditionally the revenue from these fields has been controlled by the Iraqi government as a state-owned resource. Present proposals will probably reduce the amount of control the Iraqi state maintains, while the oil companies are likely to benefit from Iraq’s present weakness which will force them to sign agreements to their disadvantage. Making agreement on the contracts one of the “benchmarks” for the US military departure from Iraq is a form of arm-twisting pressure, saying, in effect: “If you want us out, sign the proposals!”.

The most recent report in the New York Times (7/3/07) says “Maliki’s Cabinet Approves Oil Law Draft” and goes on to state that this means the Parliament can now begin to debate the proposed contracts. This is touted as “a major sign of progress” and will work “to boost reconciliation between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites.” Without stating any particulars at all, the article denigrates the disagreements among Iraqi factions as “bickering” and states that negotiations have been “plagued by squabbling.” Use of such prejudicial words minimizes the importance of the proposals at the same time it tells nothing about what those proposals are.

Whatever figures are given on how oil resources are to be shared, are practically meaningless because they have no context. We are told that Kurds will be allotted l7 of the net revenues after deducting federal government expenditures.” 17 what? How much “net revenue”? How much “federal government expenditures?” And totally excluded from the account what will be the rake-off of the international oil companies?

We are told that the decision in the Cabinet to discuss the proposals was “unanimous.” However, of the 37 members, only 24 were present to vote. The Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front and the Shiite Sadrist movement “boycotted” the meeting. Then the article admits that the “key sticking point” is “who should control lucrative untapped fields.” Such a statement indicates that decisions regarding control of development would be done by “a yet-to-be-established national oil company,” implying (but not clearly stating) that the resources will stay in the hands of the Iraqi government and not be placed in the hands of foreign corporations. One cannot help but wonder who this “yet-to-be-established national oil company” will be, and how easy or difficult it might be to form it and to make it effective in dealing with the powerful oil-hungry foreign energy interests

Rather than pointing out the importance of these agreements to the daily livelihood of the Iraqi people, the article stresses that agreement itself will “help convince the US public and Congress that Iraqi leaders are doing what’s needed to halt the violence.” This, of course, implies that the continuing violence in Iraq is caused by lack of agreement on oil contracts which is not true. Discussions over the details of the proposed contracts are not the cause of the war’s continuing and hence the “need” for US troops to remain. Rather, the US does not want to withdraw till it is assured of control over Iraq’s oil.

Under such a cloud of obfuscation and lack of on-going specific information it is easy for reporters to rely on handouts presenting only the US government’s point of view. The interests of the Iraqi people simply do not matter. And concerned Americans can’t find out enough solid information about what is going on to object.

Yet questions arise: Is it really about the disagreements among Iraqi factions, or disagreements about the amount that foreign companies will be allowed to extract? Is it really “unanimous” when only 2/3 of the members are present to vote? Is it likely that the Kurds, who are 20% of the Iraqi population, will be satisfied with 17 (and is it per cent, or what?) of the oil revenues AFTER deducting federal government expenditures? Judging from our own experience here at home, will “federal government expenditures” have any limit? If so, who will limit them, and how?

Questions, questions and no answers. All the cabinets and parliaments in the world will not make it come out right so long as people of ordinary intelligence are excluded from information about what is really going on behind the scenes.

Jean Gerard lives in Los Osos, California.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.