October 31, 2000
Subject: Stunning Revelations on the Middle East Crisis: AL-AQSA INTIFADA by Noam Chomsky + STOP BARAK! by Tanya Reinhart + Ralph Nader on the Middle East + The PLO Through Israeli Eyes + Statement on Palestinian Violence by US Generals
I received the following from Neal Owen Kruse which contains some really stunning revelations about Israel's plan to "ethnically cleanse" Palestinians from their ancestral lands. It is long but really worth considering. The sources appear trustworthy and the unreported (under the "cover" of the US elections detracting everyone's attention from the Middle East "ball") alleged strangling of all Palestinian towns - if proven accurate - is a terribly disturbing and dangerous development. The question, faced with this cruel and deliberate, planned, slow and stealth eviction of Palestinians from their territories, is "Can we do anything about it to help prevent such a tragic outcome?"
Your thoughts and suggestions are welcomed...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000
From: Neal Owen Kruse <email@example.com>
Subject: Noam Chomsky, Tanya Reinhart, Ralph Nader on the Middle East
Due to the current crisis in the Middle East, and the incredible lack of
accurate or truthful coverage by our media, I am forwarding the following
three articles, which may shed some light on what is really going on there.
It should be evident from below, our national media has little useful
information to convey about the true situation in the Middle East. You
might do as I do and suggest that people put down their newspapers and turn
off their TV's and search for meaningful dialogue on the Internet or
alternative views presented from other international news sources, for
example - http://www.MiddleEast.Org.
I have seen numerous, what are being termed "meddlesome" movements
originating in the US to "save" the Middle Eastern countries. They all
appear to proceed from unclear understandings of the true nature of the
Middle East crisis. Chomsky, Tanya ReinharT, and Nader, authors (or
subjects) of the three articles below, would appear to share a remarkably
similar view of current events, namely, that the United States support of
Israel, and Israel's tactics are the most likely source of the current
violence in the Middle East.
If true, I would suggest that instead of creating declarations to declare
Jerusalem an International City of Peace, a more productive approach would
be as Ralph Nader has done, to ask the United States to cease supporting the
current, and apparently, unnecessary and unfounded use of violence in the
I forward this information to stimulate further discussion and understanding.
-- NOAM CHOMSKY
By Noam Chomsky*
After three weeks of virtual war in the Israeli occupied territories, Prime
Minister Ehud Barak announced a new plan to determine the final status of
the region. During these weeks, over 100 Palestinians were killed,
including 30 children, often by "excessive use of lethal force in
circumstances in which neither the lives of the security forces nor others
were in imminent danger, resulting in unlawful killings," Amnesty
International concluded in a detailed report that was scarcely mentioned in
the US. The ratio of Palestinian to Israeli dead was then about 15-1,
reflecting the resources of force available.
Barak's plan was not given in detail, but the outlines are familiar: they
conform to the "final status map" presented by the US-Israel as the basis
for the Camp David negotiations that collapsed in July. This plan,
extending US-Israeli rejectionist proposals of earlier years, called for
cantonization of the territories that Israel had conquered in 1967, with
mechanisms to ensure that usable land and resources (primarily water) remain
largely in Israeli hands while the population is administered by a corrupt
and brutal Palestinian authority (PA), playing the role traditionally
assigned to indigenous collaborators under the several varieties of imperial
rule: the Black leadership of South Africa's Bantustans, to mention only the
most obvious analogue. In the West Bank, a northern canton is to include
Nablus and other Palestinian cities, a central canton is based in Ramallah,
and a southern canton in Bethlehem; Jericho is to remain isolated.
Palestinians would be effectively cut off from Jerusalem, the center of
Similar arrangements are likely in Gaza, with Israel keeping the southern
coastal region and a small settlement at Netzarim (the site of many of the
recent atrocities), which is hardly more than an excuse for a large military
presence and roads splitting the Strip below Gaza City. These proposals
formalize the vast settlement and construction programs that Israel has been
conducting, thanks to munificent US aid, with increasing energy since the US
was able to implement its version of the "peace process" after the Gulf war.
For more on the negotiations and their background, see my July 25
commentary; and for further background, the commentary by Alex and Stephen
Shalom, Oct. 10. The goal of the negotiations was to secure official PA
adherence to this project. Two months after they collapsed, the current
phase of violence began. Tensions, always high, were raised when the Barak
government authorized a visit by Ariel Sharon with 1000 police to the Muslim
religious sites (Al-Aqsa) on a Thursday (Sept. 28). Sharon is the very
symbol of Israeli state terror and aggression, with a rich record of
atrocities going back to 1953. Sharon's announced purpose was to
demonstrate "Jewish sovereignty" over the al-Aqsa compound, but as the
veteran correspondent Graham Usher points out, the "al-Aqsa intifada," as
Palestinians call it, was not initiated by Sharon's visit; rather, by the
massive and intimidating police and military presence that Barak introduced
the following day, the day of prayers. Predictably, that led to clashes as
thousands of people streamed out of the mosque, leaving 7 Palestinians dead
and 200 wounded.
Whatever Barak's purpose, there could hardly have been a more efficient way
to set the stage for the shocking atrocities of the following weeks. The
same can be said about the failed negotiations, which focused on Jerusalem,
a condition observed strictly by US commentary. Possibly Israeli
sociologist Baruch Kimmerling was exaggerating when he wrote that a solution
to this problem "could have been reached in five minutes," but he is right
to say that "by any diplomatic logic [it] should have been the easiest issue
to solve (Ha'aretz, Oct. 4). It is understandable that Clinton-Barak
should want to suppress what they are doing in the occupied territories,
which is far more important. Why did Arafat agree? Perhaps because he
recognizes that the leadership of the Arab states regard the Palestinians as
a nuisance, and have little problem with the Bantustan-style settlement, but
cannot overlook administration of the religious sites, fearing the reaction
of their own populations. Nothing could be better calculated to set off a
confrontation with religious overtones, the most ominous kind, as centuries
of experience reveal.
The primary innovation of Barak's new plan is that the US-Israeli demands
are to be imposed by direct force instead of coercive diplomacy, and in a
harsher form, to punish the victims who refused to concede politely. The
outlines are in basic accord with policies established informally in 1968
(the Allon Plan), and variants that have been proposed since by both
political groupings (the Sharon Plan, the Labor government plans, and
others). It is important to recall that the policies have not only been
proposed, but implemented, with the support of the US. That support has
been decisive since 1971, when Washington abandoned the basic diplomatic
framework that it had initiated (UN Security Council Resolution 242), then
pursued its unilateral rejection of Palestinian rights in the years that
followed, culminating in the "Oslo process." Since all of this has been
effectively vetoed from history in the US, it takes a little work to
discover the essential facts. They are not controversial, only evaded.
As noted, Barak's plan is a particularly harsh version of familiar
US-Israeli rejectionism. It calls for terminating electricity,
water,telecommunications, and other services that are doled out in meager
rations to the Palestinian population, who are now under virtual siege. It
should be recalled that independent development was ruthlessly barred by the
military regime from 1967, leaving the people in destitution and dependency,
a process that has worsened considerably during the US-run "Oslo process."
One reason is the "closures" regularly instituted, most brutally by the more
dovish Labor-based governments. As discussed by another outstanding
journalist, Amira Hass, this policy was initiated by the Rabin government
"years before Hamas had planned suicide attacks, [and] has been perfected
over the years, especially since the establishment of the Palestinian
National Authority." An efficient mechanism of strangulation and control,
closure has been accompanied by the importation of an essential commodity to
replace the cheap and exploited Palestinian labor on which much of the
economy relies: hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from around the
world, many of them victims of the "neoliberal reforms" of the recent years
of "globalization." Surviving in misery and without rights, they are
regularly described as a virtual slave labor force in the Israeli press.
The current Barak proposal is to extend this program, reducing still further
the prospects even for mere survival for the Palestinians. A major barrier
to the program is the opposition of the Israeli business community, which
relies on a captive Palestinian market for some $2.5 billion in annual
exports, and has "forged links with Palestinian security officials" and
Arafat's "economic adviser, enabling them to carve out monopolies with
official PA consent" (Financial Times, Oct. 22; also NYT, same day). They
have also hoped to set up industrial zones in the territories, transferring
pollution and exploiting a cheap labor force in maquiladora-style
installations owned by Israeli enterprises and the Palestinian elite, who
are enriching themselves in the time-honored fashion.
Barak's new proposals appear to be more of a warning than a plan, though
they are a natural extension of what has come before. Insofar as they are
implemented, they would extend the project of "invisible transfer" that has
been underway for many years, and that makes more sense than outright
"ethnic cleansing" (as we call the process when carried out by official
enemies). People compelled to abandon hope and offered no opportunities for
meaningful existence will drift elsewhere, if they have any chance to do so.
The plans, which have roots in traditional goals of the Zionist movement
from its origins (across the ideological spectrum), were articulated in
internal discussion by Israeli government Arabists in 1948 while outright
ethnic cleansing was underway: their expectation was that the refugees
"would be crushed" and "die," while "most of them would turn into human dust
and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab
countries." Current plans, whether imposed by coercive diplomacy or outright
force, have similar goals. They are not unrealistic if they can rely on the
world-dominant power and its intellectual classes.
The current situation is described accurately by Amira Hass, in Israel's
most prestigious daily (Ha'aretz, Oct. 18). Seven years after the
Declaration of Principles in September 1993 -- which foretold this outcome
for anyone who chose to see -- "Israel has security and administrative
control" of most of the West Bank and 20% of the Gaza Strip. It has been
able "to double the number of settlers in 10 years, to enlarge the
settlements, to continue its discriminatory policy of cutting back water
quotas for three million Palestinians, to prevent Palestinian development in
most of the area of the West Bank, and to seal an entire nation into
restricted areas, imprisoned in a network of bypass roads meant for Jews
only. During these days of strict internal restriction of movement in the
West Bank, one can see how carefully each road was planned: So that 200,000
Jews have freedom of movement, about three million Palestinians are locked
into their Bantustans until they submit to Israeli demands. The bloodbath
that has been going on for three weeks is the natural outcome of seven years
of lying and deception, just as the first Intifada was the natural outcome
of direct Israeli occupation."
The settlement and construction programs continue, with US support, whoever
may be in office. On August 18, Ha'aretz noted that two governments --
Rabin and Barak -- had declared that settlement was "frozen," in accord with
the dovish image preferred in the US and by much of the Israeli left.
They made use of the "freezing" to intensify settlement, including economic
inducements for the secular population, automatic grants for ultra-religious
settlers, and other devices, which can be carried out with little protest
while "the lesser of two evils" happens to be making the decisions, a
pattern hardly unfamiliar elsewhere. "There is freezing and there is
reality," the report observes caustically. The reality is that settlement
in the occupied territories has grown over four times as fast as in Israeli
population centers, continuing -- perhaps accelerating --under Barak.
Settlement brings with it large infrastructure projects designed to
integrate much of the region within Israel, while leaving Palestinians
isolated, apart from "Palestinian roads" that are travelled at one's peril.
Another journalist with an outstanding record, Danny Rubinstein, points out
that "readers of the Palestinian papers get the impression (and rightly so)
that activity in the settlements never stops. Israeli is constantly
building, expanding and reinforcing the Jewish settlements in the West Bank
Israel is always grabbing homes and lands in areas beyond the 1967 lines -
and of course, this is all at the expense of the Palestinians, in order to
limit them, push them into a corner and then out. In other words, the goal
is to eventually dispossess them of their homeland and their capital,
Jerusalem" (Ha'aretz, October 23).
Readers of the Israeli press, Rubinstein continues, are largely shielded
from the unwelcome facts, though not entirely so. In the US, it is far more
important for the population to be kept in ignorance, for obvious reasons:
the economic and military programs rely crucially on US support, which is
domestically unpopular and would be far more so if its purposes were known.
To illustrate, on October 3, after a week of bitter fighting and killing,
the defense correspondent of Ha'aretz reported "the largest purchase of
military helicopters by the Israeli Air Force in a decade," an agreement
with the US to provide Israel with 35 Blackhawk military helicopters and
spare parts at a cost of $525 million, along with jet fuel, following the
purchase shortly before of patrol aircraft and Apache attack helicopters.
These are "the newest and most advanced multi-mission attack helicopters in
the US inventory," the Jerusalem Post adds. It would be unfair to say that
those providing the gifts cannot discover the fact. In a database search,
David Peterson found that they were reported in the Raleigh (North Carolina)
press. The sale of military helicopters was condemned by Amnesty
International (Oct. 19), because these "US-supplied helicopters have been
used to violate the human rights of Palestinians and Arab Israelis during
the recent conflict in the region." Surely that was anticipated, barring
Israel has been condemned internationally (the US abstaining) for "excessive
use of force," in a disproportionate reaction" to Palestinian violence.
That includes even rare condemnations by the ICRC, specifically, for
attacks on at least 18 Red Cross ambulances (NYT, Oct 4). Israel's response
is that it is being unfairly singled out for criticism. The response is
entirely accurate. Israel is employing official US doctrine, known here as
"the Powell doctrine," though it is of far more ancient vintage, tracing
back centuries: Use massive force in response to any perceived threat.
Official Israeli doctrine allows "the full use of weapons against anyone who
endangers lives and especially at anyone who shoots at our forces or at
Israelis" (Israeli military legal adviser Daniel Reisner, FT, Oct. 6).
Full use of force by a modern army includes tanks, helicopter gunships,
sharpshooters aiming at civilians (often children), etc. US weapons sales
"do not carry a stipulation that the weapons can't be used against
civilians," a Pentagon official said; he "acknowleged however that anti-tank
missiles and attack helicopters are not traditionally considered tools for
crowd control" -- except by those powerful enough to get away with it, under
the protective wings of the reigning superpower. "We cannot second-guess an
Israeli commander who calls in a Cobra (helicopter) gunship because his
troops are under attack," another US official said (Deutsche
Presse-Agentur,October 3). Accordingly, such killing machines must be
provided in an unceasing flow.
It is not surprising that a US client state should adopt standard US
military doctrine, which has left a toll too awesome to record, including
very recent years. The US and Israel are, of course, not alone in adopting
this doctrine, and it is sometimes even condemned: namely, when adopted by
enemies targeted for destruction. A recent example is the response of
Serbia when its territory (as the US insists it is) was attacked by
Albanian-based guerrillas, killing Serb police and civilians and abducting
civilians (including Albanians) with the openly-announced intent of
eliciting a "disproportionate response" that would arouse Western
indignation, then NATO military attack. Very rich documentation from US,
NATO, and other Western sources is now available, most of it produced in an
effort to justify the bombing. Assuming these sources to be credible, we
find that the Serbian response -- while doubtless "disproportionate" and
criminal, as alleged -- does not compare with the standard resort to the
same doctrine by the US and its clients, Israel included.
In the mainstream British press, we can at last read that "If Palestinians
were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to economic sanctions
led by the United States [which is not accurate, unfortunately]. Its
development and settlement of the West Bank would be seen as a system of
apartheid, in which the indigenous population was allowed to live in a tiny
fraction of its own country, in self-administered `bantustans', with
`whites' monopolising the supply of water and electricity. And just as the
black population was allowed into South Africa's white areas in
disgracefully under-resourced townships, so Israel's treatment of Israeli
Arabs - flagrantly discriminating against them in housing and education
spending - would be recognised as scandalous too" (Observer, Guardian,
Such conclusions will come as no surprise to those whose vision has not been
constrained by the doctrinal blinders imposed for many years. It remains a
major task to remove them in the most important country. That is a
prerequisite to any constructive reaction to the mounting chaos and
destruction, terrible enough before our eyes, and with long-term
implications that are not pleasant to contemplate.
* Noam Chomsky is known throughout the world. He teaches Linguistics at
More about Chomsky including the special video documentary "THE NEW WORLD
ORDER, LATIN AMERICA, AND THE MIDDLE EAST", can be found at
MiD-EasT RealitieS - www.MiddleEast.Org
Phone: 202 362-5266 Fax: 815 366-0800
To subscribe email to MERLIST@MiddleEast.Org with subject SUBSCRIBE
-- TANYA REINHART
PLEASE FORWARD TO GROUPS YOU ARE A MEMBER OF
Please read this urgent message with its terrifying implications and let
your elected officials know of your opposition to this carnage and insane
response of the U.S. and Israel against the Palestinian people. Our
friends who live and work there (as Christian missionaries) have moved twice
to avoid being in direct line of tank fire, and they agonize over whether
they should leave (if they still can) or stay with family and friends.
This IS ethnic cleansing. This IS genocide. This IS holocaust against the
Palestinians. This will be utter shame for the U.S. and Israel to repeat
the attrocities of the 20th century so soon in the New Millennium. Neither
the world community nor the people of the U.S. are behind such a vile and
despicable course of action as is now occurring in the Palestinian
Please take action to help end this senseless violence and mayhem.
Rick Mitchell Ecumenical News Concord, CA
[Forwarded by a member of Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group.]
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2000
Subject: Reinhart: STOP BARAK! Extremely Urgent.
Dear Friends, Events unfolding as described in this article are very real.
Palestinians are on the verge of another "Nakba" and possible mass slaughter
and forced expulsion. This is the worst Israeli government we have seen
The generals are back in power, thirsty for more blood and intoxicated with
massive firepower and a blind with US support. The likelihood of major war
in the Middle East is very very high.
Prof. Tanya Reinhart Indymedia News, October 25, 2000
The second stage in Israel's assault on the Palestinians has started already.
They waited for the Arab League summit to end and then,
away from the cameras, Barak started executing the big plan.
There is hardly any media coverage of what is actually happening.
The propaganda technique for this week is to keep the issue in the news,
creating an impression of coverage, but in fact, provide no actual
information, or keep us busy with trivia -like the Israeli coalition
negotiations (as if there is any difference between Barak and Sharon).
Another smoke-screen is the heated discussion of Barak's plan for
'unilateral separation' -a recycled motive which has been brought up many
times already in the past. As disgusting as this plan is, it has nothing to
do with what is actually going on now, beside giving the impression that
business is, essentially, as usual.
But the picture which emerges from Palestinian (and other) electronic
reports of the last two days is different and terrifying.
Already since last week "The West Bank and Gaza Strip is under complete
siege. Every village and town has been cut off, making travel between
regions impossible. The closure has gravely impacted health service
delivery to Palestinians. Patients with serious injuries requiring referral
to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt for specialized care are unable to be
transported. UPMRC's and other health organizations' medical teams are
facing incredible difficulties reaching sick patients. The Primary Health
Care system in Palestine has become paralyzed since doctors cannot access
clinics and patients in rural areas cannot access city hospitals". (Report
of Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief
In the last two days the siege was severed. "In a highly dangerous step,
the Israelis have been enforcing the siege imposed upon the Palestinian
population centers especially the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank.
This morning the belligerent Israeli
Occupation Forces have blocked the entrances of the two cities by cement
walls. The imposition of siege upon the Palestinian cities and blocking the
roads connecting them together leads to separating them from each other"
(AL-MEZAN Center report, 23.10).
The Israeli army prevents any movement in or out of the sealed areas. There
are reports on people going to work in the fields and getting shot on their
way. It is now up to Israel whether the locked people will have food and
water in the coming days, when the diminishing supply ends. Planes carrying
aid are denied entrance. Israel controls also their electricity and
telephone lines. Their disconnection is being discussed in Israeli media.
With the majority of Palestinians locked defenseless in their towns, israel
can turn undisturbed to the job of 'evacuation' (transfer). They started
with Palestinian neighborhoods in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Beit Jala is
already a ghost town.
Hundreds have fled. There is no telephone contact. Same with the
neighboring Aida refugee camp. Those who resisted Israel's earlier call to
evacuate "for their own protection" had to flee when their homes got
On Monday, Col. Raanan Gissin, an Israel army spokesman, promised proudly
that "Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and other (Palestinian) places will turn into
Beirut" (AP, 23.10). Beit Sahour, then, is probably next. As for the
'other Palestinian places', Israel is now bombarding several residential
areas with rockets from attack helicopters, tanks, heavy machine gun
ammunition, and 'launched' grenades. "Israeli helicopters shelled Bethlehem
in the West Bank and ordered the residents of the eastern parts of the city
to evacuate their houses because they were to be shelled". (AL-MEZAN Center
report, 23.10). It appears that in Hebron, they are trying to expand the
"Jewish quarters" and drive residents out of neighboring areas.
Still, they view all this as just the beginning. Dan Halutz, commander of
the Israeli Army force " has threatened to bring the weight of the air force
down on the Palestinians if the current unrest escalates" And he provides a
detailed reasoning for sending the air-force against unarmed civilians: "So
far, Halutz said,the risks of using the air-force have not outweighed the
benefits. No helicopters have been at risk. He added that the IAF has no
information that the Palestinians have shoulder-held anti-
aircraft missiles" ('Jerusalem Post, 24.10). Safe and clean slaughter -lots
of benefits. That's how they talk now in power drunk Israel.
Trying to figure out the full picture, it is hard to avoid comparison to
1948, when the Israeli army, under Ben Gurion's orders, drove hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians out of their homes, and confined the remaining to
closed, restricted areas, governed for years by military rule. Barak
declared many times that his role-model has always been Ben-Gurion. Perhaps
we are beginning to get a glimpse of what he meant.
1948 is already "in the air" in the public discourse in Israel.
The pervert Israeli self image, guided by massive propaganda, is that it is
the Israelis who are being under siege, fighting for their independence,
threatened by the Palestinian empire and the whole Arab world, just like in
48. And we already hear main stream commentators saying that "The
Palestinians are using the same tactics as in 48" (Zeev Shif to Amikam
Rothman in radio B morning program, 24.10).
Even the shamefully little that the Palestinians got in the Oslo accords is
too much for Barak. If we let him, Barak will carry out his Ben Gurion
vision. And it won't necessarily stop in one front. Assured of US support,
fascinated by his own power, he may drag the whole area into a horrible war.
Some analysts have always warned that world war III - the final one - may
start in the Middle East. Israel is led now by a lunatic, megalomaniac
general, who keeps his plans secret even from his government. And it is
this general who is authorized to unleash Israel's nuclear arsenal. This is
not a risk the world can take.
But he can still be stopped. This time it is not like Iraq or Kosovo.
Opposition to Israel around the world is enormous. The US has not managed
to mobilize even the Western world around this new crusade, as it did then.
They didn't prepare it carefully enough. The propaganda machine did not
start on time, and even if it had, it is difficult to sell the world that it
is the Palestinians who are committing atrocities against the Israelis.
Empires fell in history precisely when they started to believe they are
Tanya Reinhart is a professor of linguistics and cultural studies at Tel-
Aviv University and the University of Utrecht.
RALPH NADER AND THE MIDDLE EAST
NOTE FROM JEAN: I include only a few quotes below because most of the
article is about Jewish people saying they will still vote for Nader
despite his stand against Israel because they support "his views on the
environment, corporate accountability and opposition to standing global
trade agreements." There are also activists from the Democratic party
"calling the Green Party's statement one of the most anti-Israel ever
attributed to a party engaged in a presidential campaign." in a blatant
effort to discredit Nader who is polling as high as 11% in several key
states and worrying Democratic activists who fear he is draining support
from Mr. Gore.
To read it entirely, please go at:
Nader's Green Party Calls For Halt of Aid to Israel
Gadfly Charges Gore, Bush 'Taking Sides' for Israel
By NACHA CATTAN
Ralph Nader's Green Party called this week for a suspension of United States
aid to Israel and blamed the Jewish state for the current violence in the
The statement by the Association of State Green Parties "condemns the
excessive use of force against Palestinians" in the current conflict and
lays the "greater responsibility [on] Israel for the conflict both in this
immediate crisis and in Israel's continuing history of non-compliance with
international law and U.N. resolutions." The statement calls for a cessation
of all further aid to Israel until the Jewish state agrees to withdraw from
land acquired since 1967, transform Jerusalem into a "shared city" and honor
the Palestinians' "inalienable rights to return."
In an October 6 interview with Columbia University's Columbia Daily
Spectator, Mr. Nader is quoted as saying, "The idea of using lethal force
against people who are throwing rocks - youngsters - is abhorrent; I don't
think anybody can justify that kind of bloodshed when one party has such
huge military superiority over the other."