File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0104, message 13

Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 17:04:07 +0300
Subject: BHA: WHERE DID WE GO WRONG / 80 theses draft for a new peace camp

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

The following document was published (in Hebrew) today April 13  as  a  whole
page ad in Ha'aaretz. You may have seen it already but we want to make sure 
that you don't miss it.  It can be downloaded in Hebrew (also English) from  
the  Gush  Shalom  website

We think time has come to take certain discussions out of the closet, to 
campaign widely for a revision of the myths of Zionist history and publicly 
facing the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If you have time and patience, it might be worthwhile to read  it
carefully. We shall welcome your thoughts, remarks and amendments.  
This  is intended to start a national and international debate.

        Gush Shalom Draft - 80 Theses for a New Peace Camp

1.The peace process has collapsed ^÷ and taken down with it a large part of the  
 Israeli peace camp.
2.Transient circumstances, such as personal or party-political matters, 
  failures of leadership, political self-interest, domestic and global political 
  developments ^÷ all these are like foam over the waves.  Important as they may 
  be, they cannot adequately explain the total collapse.
3.The true explanation can only be found beneath the surface, at the roots of 
  the historical conflict between the two nations.
4.The Madrid-Oslo process failed because the two sides were seeking to realize 
  conflicting goals.
5.The goals of each of the two sides emanated from their basic national 
  interests. They were shaped by their historical narratives, by their disparate 
  views of the conflict over the last 120 years. The Israeli national historical 
  version and the Palestinian national historical version are entirely 
  contradictory, on the whole and in every single detail.
6.The negotiators and the decision-makers on the Israeli side acted in 
  complete oblivion of the Palestinian national narrative. Even when they had 
  sincere good-will to come to a solution, their efforts were doomed to fail as 
  they could not understand the national desires, traumas, fears and hopes of the 
  Palestinian people. While there is no symmetry between the two sides, the 
  Palestinian attitude was similar.
7.Resolution of such a long historical conflict is possible only if each side 
  is capable of understanding the other^“s spiritual-national world and willing to 
  approach him as an equal. An insensitive, condescending and overbearing 
  attitude precludes any possibility of an agreed solution.
8.The Barak Government, which had inspired so much hope, was afflicted with 
  all these attitudes, hence, the enormous gap between its initial promise and 
  the disastrous results.
9.A significant part of the old peace camp (also called the ^”Zionist Left^‘ or 
  the ^”Sane Constituency^‘) is similarly afflicted and therefore collapsed along 
  with the government it supported.
10.Therefore, the primary role of a new Israeli peace camp is to get rid of 
  the false myths and the one-sided view of the conflict.  This does not mean 
  that the Israeli narrative should automatically be rejected and the Palestinian 
  narrative unquestionably accepted.   But it does require open-minded listening 
  and understanding of the other position in the historical conflict, in order to 
  bridge the two national narratives.
11.Any other way will lead to an unending continuation of the conflict, with 
  periods of ostensible tranquility and conciliation frequently interrupted by 
  eruptions of violent hostile actions between the two nations and between Israel 
  and the Arab world.  Considering the pace of development of weapons of mass 
  destruction, further rounds of hostility could lead to the destruction of all 
  sides to the conflict.
     The Root of the Conflict

12.The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the continuation of the historical 
  clash between the Zionist Movement and the Palestinian Arab people, a clash 
  that began at the end of the 19th century and has yet to end.
13.The Zionist Movement was, essentially, a Jewish reaction to the emergence 
  of the national movements in Europe, all of which were hostile to Jews. Having 
  been rejected by the European nations, some of the Jews decided to establish 
  themselves as a separate nation and, following the new European model, to set 
  up their own national State where they could be masters of their own fate. The 
  principle of separation, which formed the basis of the Zionist idea, had far-
  reaching consequences later on. The basic Zionist tenet, that a minority cannot 
  exist in a national-homogenous state according to the European model, let later 
  to the practical exclusion of the national minority in the Zionist state that 
  came into being after 50 years.  
14.Traditional and religious motives drew the Zionist Movement to Palestine 
  (Eretz Israel in Hebrew)  and the decision was made to establish the Jewish 
  State in this land. The maxim was ^”a land without a people for a people without 
  a land^‘.  This maxim was not only created out of ignorance, but also out of the 
  general arrogance towards non-European peoples that prevailed in Europe at that 
15.Palestine was not empty ^÷ not at the end of the 19th century nor at any 
  other period. At that time, there were half a million people living in 
  Palestine, 90% of them Arabs. This population objected, of course, to the 
  incursion of another nation into their land. 
16.The Arab National Movement emerged almost simultaneously with the Zionist 
  Movement, initially to fight the Ottoman Empire and later to fight the colonial 
  regimes created upon its destruction at the end of World War I.  A separate  
  Arab-Palestinian national movement developed in the country after the British 
  created a separate State called ^”Palestine^‘, and in course of the struggle 
  against the Zionist infiltration.
17.Since the end of World War I, there has been an ongoing struggle between 
  two nationalist movements, the Jewish-Zionist and the Palestinian-Arab, both of 
  which aspired to accomplish their goals ^÷ which entirely negate each other - 
  within the same territory. This situation remains unchanged to this day.
18.As Jewish persecution in Europe intensified, and as the countries of the 
  world closed their gates to the Jews attempting to flee the inferno, so the 
  Zionist Movement gained strength.  The Holocaust, which took the lives of six 
  million Jews, gave moral and political power to the Zionist claim that led to 
  the establishment of the State of Israel.
19.The Palestinian People, witnessing the growth of the Jewish population in 
  their land, could not comprehend why they were required to pay the price for 
  crimes committed against the Jews by Europeans. They violently objected to 
  further Jewish immigration and to the acquisition of lands by the Jews.
20.The complete oblivion of each of the two peoples to the national existence 
  of the other inevitably led to false and distorted perceptions that took root 
  deep in the collective consciousness of both.  These perceptions affect their 
  attitude towards each other to this day.
21.The Arabs believed that the Jews had been implanted in the country by 
  Western Imperialism, in order to subjugate the Arab world and take control of 
  its treasures. This conviction was strengthened by the fact that the Zionist 
  movement, from the outset, strove for an alliance with at least one Western 
  power (Germany, Great Britain, France, the U.S.A.) to overcome the Arab 
  resistance. The results were a practical cooperation and a community of 
  interests between the Zionist enterprise and imperialist and colonialist 
  forces, directed against the Arab national movement.
22.The Jews, on the other hand, were convinced that the Arab resistance to the 
  Zionist enterprise ^÷ intended to save the Jews from the flames of Europe ^÷ was 
  the consequence of the murderous nature of the Arabs and of Islam.  In their 
  eyes, Arab fighters were ^”gangs^‘, and the uprisings of the time were called 
  (Actually, in the 1920^“s, the most extreme Zionist leader, Ze^“ev Jabotinsky, 
  was almost alone to recognize that the Arab resistance to the Zionist 
  settlement was an inevitable, natural and from this point of view just reaction 
  of a ^”native^‘ people defending their country against foreign invaders. 
  Jabotinsky also recognized the fact that the Arabs in the country were a 
  separate national entity and derided attempts made to bribe the leaders of 
  other Arab countries to put an end to the Palestinian Arab resistance. However, 
  Jabotinsky^“s conclusion was to erect a ^”wall of steel^‘ against the Arabs and to 
  crush their resistance by force.)
23.This total contradiction in the perception of the facts affects every 
  aspect of the conflict.  For example, the Jews interpreted their struggle for  
  ^”Jewish Labor^‘ as a progressive social effort to transform a nation of 
  merchants and speculators into one of workers and farmers. The Arabs, on the 
  other hand, saw it as a criminal attempt by the Zionists to dispossess them, to 
  evict them from the labor market and to create, on their land, an Arab-free, 
  separatist Jewish economy. 
24.The Zionists were proud of their ^”Redemption of the Land^‘.  They had 
  purchased it for full value with money collected from Jews around the world. 
  ^”Olim^‘ (new immigrants, literally pilgrims) who had been intellectuals and 
  merchants in their former life, now earned their living with the sweat of their 
  brow.  They believed that they had achieved all this by peaceful means and 
  without dispossessing a single Arab.  For the Arabs this was a cruel narrative 
  of dispossession and expulsion:  The Jews acquired lands from rich absentee 
  Arab landowners and then forcibly evicted the fellahin who had, for 
  generations, been living on and earning their living from these lands. To help 
  them in this effort, the Zionists engaged the Turkish and, later, the British 
  police.  The Arabs looked on, despairingly, as their land was taken from them. 
25.Against the Zionist claim of having successfully ^”turned the desert into a 
  garden^‘, the Arabs cited the testimonies of European travelers who spoke of a 
  Palestine that, for several centuries, had described Palestine as a populated 
  and flourishing land, the equal of any of its regional neighbors.

Independence and Disaster

26.The contrast between the two national versions peaked in the war of 1948, a 
  war called ^”the War of Independence^‘ or even ^”the War of Liberation^‘ by the 
  Jews, and ^”El Naqba^‘, the disaster, by the Arabs.
27.As the conflict intensified in the region, and with the resounding impact 
  of the Holocaust, the United Nations decided to divide the country into two 
  States, Jewish and Arab. Jerusalem and its environs were supposed to remain a 
  separate unit, under international jurisdiction.  The Jews were allotted 55% of 
  the land including the unpopulated Negev. 
28.The Zionist Movement accepted the partition plan, convinced that the 
  crucial issue was to establish a firm foundation for Jewish sovereignty. In 
  closed meetings, David Ben-Gurion never concealed his intention to expand, at 
  the first opportunity, the territory given to the Jews.  That is why Israel^“s 
  Declaration of Independence did not define the country^“s borders and the 
  country has remained without definite borders to this day.
29.The Arab world did not accept the partition plan and regarded it a vile 
  attempt of the United Nations, which essentially was at the time a club of 
  Western and Communist nations, to divide a country that did not belong to it. 
  Handing over most of the country to the Jewish minority, which represented a 
  mere third of the population, made it all the more unforgivable in their eyes. 
30.The war initiated by the Arabs after the partition plan was, inescapably, 
  an ^”ethnic^‘ war; a kind of war in which each side seeks to conquer as much land 
  as possible and evict the population of the other side.  Such a campaign (which 
  later came to be called ^”ethnic cleansing^‘) always involves expulsion and 
31.The war of 1948 was a direct extension of the Zionist-Arab conflict in 
  which each side sought to fulfill its aims.  The Jews wanted to establish a 
  homogenous, national State that would be as large as possible.  The Arabs 
  wanted to eradicate the Zionist Jewish entity that had been established in 
32.Both sides practiced ethnic cleansing as an integral part of the fighting. 
  There were not many Arabs remaining in territories captured by the Jews and no 
  Jews remained in territories captured by the Arabs. However, as the territories 
  captured by the Jews were by far larger than those captured by the Arabs, the 
  result was unbalanced. (The ideas of ^”population exchange^‘ and ^”transfer^‘ were 
  raised in Zionist organizations as early as in the 1930^“s. Effectively this 
  meant the expulsion of the Arab population from the country.  On the other 
  side, many among the Arabs believed that the Zionists should go back to 
  wherever they came from.)
33.The myth of ^”the few against the many^‘ was cultivated by the Jews to 
  describe the stand of the Jewish community of 650,000 against the entire Arab 
  world of over a hundred million. The Jewish community lost 1% of its people in 
  the war.  The Arabs painted a completely different picture:  A fragmented Arab 
  population with no national leadership to speak of, with no unified command 
  over its meager forces, with poor, few and mostly obsolete weapons, confronting 
  an extremely well organized Jewish community that was highly trained in the use 
  of its weapons.  The neighboring Arab countries betrayed the Palestinians and, 
  when they finally did send their armies, they primarily operated in competition 
  with each other, with no coordination and no common plan. From the social and 
  military point of view, the fighting capabilities of the Israeli side were far 
  superior to those of the Arab states, which had hardly emerged from the 
  colonial era.
34.According to the United Nations plan, the Jewish  State was supposed to 
  include an Arab population amounting  to about 40%. During the war the Jewish 
  State expanded its borders and ended up with 78% of the area of the land.  This 
  area was nearly devoid of Arabs. The Arab populations of Nazareth and a few 
  villages in the Galilee remained almost incidentally; the villages in the 
  Triangle had been given to Israel as part of a deal by King Abdullah and, 
  therefore, could not be evacuated.
35.In the war a total of 750,000 Palestinians were uprooted.  Some of them 
  fled out of fear of the battle, as civilian populations do in every war.  Some 
  were driven away by acts of terror such as the Dir-Yassin Massacre. Others were 
  systematically evicted in the course of the ethnic cleansing.
36.No less important than the expulsion is the fact that the refugees were 
  not allowed to return to their homes when the battles were over, as is the 
  practice after a conventional war. Quite to the contrary, the new Israel saw 
  the removal of the Arabs very much as a blessing and proceeded to totally 
  demolish 450 Arab villages. New Jewish villages were built on the ruins, and 
  new Hebrew names were given to them. The abandoned houses in the cities were 
  repopulated with new immigrants. 

^”A Jewish State^‘

37.The signing of the cease-fire agreements at the end of the war of 1948 did 
  not bring an end to the historical conflict.  That was, in fact, raised to new 
  and more intensive levels.
38.The new State of Israel dedicated its early years to the consolidation of 
  its homogenous national character as a ^”Jewish State^‘. Large sections of land 
  were expropriated from the ^”absentees^‘ (the refugees), from those officially 
  designed as ^”present absentees^‘ (Arabs who physically remained in Israel but 
  were not allowed to become citizens) and even from the Arab citizens of Israel, 
  most of whose lands were taken over.  On these lands a dense network of Jewish 
  communities was created. Jewish ^”Immigrants^‘ were invited and even coaxed to 
  come in masses. This great effort fortified the State^“s power several times 
  over in but a few years. 
39.At the same time the State vigorously conducted a policy to obliterate the 
  Palestinian entity as a national entity. With Israeli help, the Trans-Jordan 
  monarch, Abdullah, took control over the West Bank and since then there is, in 
  effect, an Israeli military guarantee for the existence of the Kingdom of 
40.The main rationale of the treaty between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom, 
  which has been in effect for three generations, was to prevent the 
  establishment of an independent  Arab-Palestinian State,  which was considered 
  ^÷ then and now ^÷ as an obstacle to the realization of the Zionist objective.
41.A historical change occurred at the end of the 1950^“s on the Palestinian 
  side when Yasser Arafat and his associates founded the Fatah Movement designed 
  to free the Palestinian liberation movement from the custody of the Arab 
  governments. It was no accident that this movement emerged after the failure of 
  the great Pan-Arab concept whose most renowned representative was Gamal Abd-el-
  Nasser. Up to this point many Palestinians had hoped to be absorbed into a 
  united All-Arab Nation.  When this hope faded, the separate National 
  Palestinian identity re-emerged. 
42.The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was created by Gamal Abd-el-
  Nasser to prevent autonomous Palestinian action that might involve him in an 
  undesired war with Israel. The organization was intended to impose Egyptian 
  authority over the Palestinians. However, after the Arab defeat in the June 
  1967 war, Fatah, led by Yasser Arafat, took control over the PLO and has been 
  the sole representative  of the Palestinian people ever since.
  ^”The Six Day War^‘
43.The June 1967 war is seen in a very different light by the two sides, as 
  has every incident in the last 120 years.  According to the Israeli myth, this 
  was a desperate war of defense, which miraculously placed a lot of land in 
  Israel^“s hands. According to the Palestinian myth, the leaders of Egypt, Syria 
  and Jordan fell into a trap set by Israel in order to capture whatever was left 
  of Palestine.
44.Many Israelis believe that ^”the Six Day War^‘ was the root of all evil and 
  it was only then that the peace-loving and progressive Israel turned into a 
  conqueror and an occupier. This conviction allows them to maintain the absolute 
  purity of Zionism and the State of Israel up to that point in history and 
  preserve their old myths.  There is no truth to this legend.
45.The war of 1967 was yet another phase of the old struggle between the two 
  national movements.  It did not change the essence; it only changed the 
  circumstances. The essential objectives of the Zionist Movement ^÷ a Jewish 
  State, expansion, and settlement ^÷ were making great strides.  The particular 
  circumstances made extensive ethnic cleansing impossible in this war, but 
  several hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were nevertheless expelled.
46.Israel was allotted 55% of the land (Palestine) by the 1947 partition plan, 
  an additional 23% were captured in the 1948 war and now the remaining 22%, 
  across the ^”Green Line^‘ (the pre-1967 armistice line), were also captured.  In 
  1967 Israel inadvertently united the Palestinian people (including some of the 
  refugees) under its rule.
47.As soon as the war ended, the Settlement Movement began.  Almost every 
  political faction in the country participated in this movement ^÷ from the 
  messianic-nationalistic ^”Gush Emunim^‘ to the ^”leftist^‘ United Kibbutz Movement. 
   The first settlers received broad support from most politicians, left and 
  right, from Yigal Alon (the Jewish settlement in Hebron) to Shimon Peres (the 
  Kdumim settlement).
48.The fact that all governments of Israel cultivated and advanced the 
  settlements, albeit to differing extents, proves that the settlement aspiration 
  was restricted to no specific ideological camp and extended to the entire 
  Zionist Movement.  The impression that has been created of a small minority 
  driving the Settlement Movement is illusionary.  Only a consolidated effort on 
  the part of all Government Agencies since 1967 and till today could have 
  produced the legislative, the strategic and the budgetary infrastructure 
  required for such a long-lasting and expensive endeavor.
49.The legislative infrastructure incorporates the misleading assumption that 
  the Occupation Authority is the owner of ^”government-owned lands^‘, although 
  these are the essential land reserves of the Palestinian population. It is self-
  evident that the Settlement Movement contravenes International Law.
50.The dispute between the proponents of the ^”Greater Israel^‘ and those of 
  ^”Territorial Compromise^‘ is essentially a dispute about the way to achieve the 
  basic Zionist aspiration: a homogenous Jewish State in as large a territory as 
  possible.  The proponents of ^”compromise^‘ emphasize the demographic issue and 
  want to prevent the inclusion of the Palestinian population in the State.  The 
  ^”Greater Israel^‘ adherents place the emphasis on the geographic issue and 
  believe (privately or publicly) that it is possible to expel the non-Jewish 
  population from the country (code name: ^”Transfer^‘).
51.The General Staff of the Israeli army played an important role in the 
  planning and building of the Settlements. It created the map of the settlements 
  (identified with Ariel Sharon): blocs  of settlements and bypass roads, lateral 
  and longitudinal, so that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are chopped up into 
  pieces and the Palestinians are imprisoned in isolated enclaves, each of which 
  is surrounded by settlements and the occupation forces.
52.The Palestinians employed several methods of resistance, mainly raids 
  across the Jordanian and Lebanese borders and attacks inside Israel and 
  everywhere in the world. These acts are called ^”terrorist^‘ by the Israelis 
  while the Palestinians see them as the legitimate resistance of an occupied 
  nation.  The PLO leadership, headed by Yasser Arafat, had long been considered 
  a terrorist leadership by the Israelis but has gradually come to be 
  internationally recognized as the ^”sole legitimate representative^‘ of the 
  Palestinian people.
53.When the Palestinians realized that these actions do not put an end to the 
  settlement momentum, which gradually pulled the land from under their feet, at 
  the end of 1987 they launched the Intifadah ^÷ a grassroots uprising of all 
  sectors of the population. In this Intifidah, 1500 Palestinians were killed, 
  among them hundreds of children, several times over the number of Israeli 

The Peace Process

54.The October 1973 war, which commenced with the surprise victory of the 
  Egyptian and Syrian forces and culminated with their defeat, convinced Yasser 
  Arafat and his close associates that there is no military way to achieve the 
  national Palestinian objectives.  He decided to embark upon a political path to 
  reach agreement with Israel and to allow, at least, a partial achievement of 
  the national goals through negotiation.
55.To prepare the ground for this, Arafat created contact for the first time 
  with Israeli personalities who could make an impact on public opinion and on 
  government policy in Israel. His emissaries (Said Hamami and Issam Sartawi) met 
  with Israeli public figures, the peace pioneers who in 1975 established the 
  ^”Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace^‘. 
56.These contacts as well as the growing fatigue felt by the Israelis of the 
  Intifadah, the Jordanian withdrawal from the West Bank, changing international 
  conditions (the collapse of the Communist Bloc, the Gulf War) led to the Madrid 
  Conference and, later, to the Oslo Agreement.

The Oslo Agreement

57.The Oslo Agreement had positive and negative qualities.
58.On the positive side, this agreement brought Israel to its first official 
  recognition of the Palestinian People and its national leadership and brought 
  the National Palestinian Movement to its recognition of the existence of 
  Israel. In this respect the agreement (and the exchange of letters that 
  preceded it) were of paramount historical significance.
59.In effect, the agreement gave the National Palestinian Movement a 
  territorial base on Palestinian land, the structure of a ^”state in the making^‘ 
  and armed forces ^÷ facts that would play an important role in the ongoing 
  Palestinian struggle.  For the Israelis, the agreement opened the gates to the 
  Arab world and put an end to Palestinian attacks  ^÷ as long as the agreement 
  was effective.
60.The most substantive flaw in the agreement was that both sides hoped to 
  achieve entirely different objectives. The Palestinians saw it as a temporary 
  agreement paving the way to the end of the occupation, the establishment of a 
  Palestinian State in all the occupied territories.  On the other hand, the 
  respective Israeli governments regarded it as a way to maintain the occupation 
  in large sections of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinian 
  self-government filling the role of an auxiliary security agency protecting 
  Israel and the settlements.
61.Therefore, Oslo did not represent the beginning of the process to end the 
  conflict but, rather, another new phase of the conflict.
62.Because the expectations of both sides were so divergent and each remained 
  entirely bound to its own national ^”narrative^‘, every section of the agreement 
  was interpreted differently.  Ultimately, many parts of the agreement were not 
  carried out, mainly by Israel (the third withdrawal, the four safe passages, 
  and others).
63.Throughout the period of the ^”Oslo Process^‘ Israel continued its vigorous 
  expansion of the settlements, primarily by creating new ones under various 
  guises, expanding existing ones, building an elaborate network of ^”bypass^‘ 
  roads, expropriating land, demolishing houses and uprooting plantations etc. 
  The Palestinians, on their part, used the time to build their strength, both 
  within the framework of the agreement and without it. In fact, the historical 
  confrontation continued unabated under the guise of negotiations and the ^”Peace 
  Process^‘, which became a proxy for actual peace. 
64.In contradistinction to his image, which became more pronounced after his 
  assassination, Yitzhak Rabin kept the conflict alive ^”in the field^‘, while 
  simultaneously managing the political process to achieve peace, on Israeli 
  terms.  As he was a disciple of the Zionist ^”narrative^‘ and accepted its 
  mythology, he suffered from cognitive dissonance when his hopes for peace 
  clashed with his conceptual world.  It appears that he began to internalize 
  some parts  of the Palestinian historical narrative only at the very end of his 
65.The case of Shimon Peres is much more severe.  He created for himself an 
  international image of a peacemaker and even designed his language to reflect 
  this image (^”the New Middle East^‘) while remaining essentially a traditional 
  Zionist hawk.  This became clear in the short and violent period that he served 
  as Prime Minister after the assassination of Rabin and, again, in his current 
  acceptance of the role of spokesman and apologist for Sharon.
66.The clearest expression of the Israeli dilemma was provided by Ehud Barak 
  who came to power completely convinced of his ability to cut the Gordian knot 
  of the historical conflict in one dramatic stroke, in the fashion of Alexander 
  the Great. Barak approached the issue in total ignorance of the Palestinian 
  narrative and with disrespect to its importance.  He presented his proposals as 
  ultimatums and was appalled and enraged by their rejection.
67.In the eyes of himself and the Israeli side at large, Barak ^”turned every 
  stone^‘ and made the Palestinians ^”more generous offers than any previous Prime 
  Minister^‘.  In exchange, he wanted the Palestinians to sign off on ^”an end to 
  the conflict^‘. The Palestinians considered this a preposterous pretension since 
  Barak was effectively asking them to relinquish their basic national 
  aspiration, such as the Right of Return and sovereignty in East Jerusalem and 
  the Temple Mount.  Moreover, while Barak presented the claims for the 
  annexation of territories as matter of negligible percentages (^”Settlement 
  Blocs^‘), according to Palestinian calculations this amounted to an actual 
  annexation of 20% of the land beyond the Green Line.
68.In the Palestinian view, they had already made the decisive compromise by 
  agreeing to establish their State within the Green Line, in merely 22% of their 
  historical homeland. Therefore, they could only accept minor border changes in 
  the context of territorial swaps.  The traditional Israeli position is that the 
  achievements of the war of 1948 are established facts that cannot be disputed 
  and the compromise required must focus on the remaining 22%.
69.As with most terms and concepts, the word ^”concession^‘ has different 
  meanings for both sides.  The Palestinians believe that they have already 
  ^”conceded^‘ 78% of their land when they agreed to accept 22% of it.  The 
  Israelis believe that they are ^”conceding^‘ when they agree to ^”give^‘ the 
  Palestinians parts of those same 22% (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
70.The Camp David Summit in the summer of 2000, which was imposed on Arafat 
  against his will, was premature and brought things to a climax. Barak^“s 
  demands, presented at the summit as Clinton^“s, were that the Palestinians agree 
  to end the conflict by conceding the Right of Return and the Return itself; to 
  accept complicated arrangements for East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount without 
  achieving sovereignty over them; to agree to large territorial annexations in 
  the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to an Israeli military presence in other 
  large areas and to Israeli control over the borders separating the Palestinian 
  State from the rest of the world.  No Palestinian leader would ever sign such 
  an agreement and thus the summit ended in deadlock and the termination of the 
  careers of Clinton and Barak.

  The El-Aqsa Intifadah 
71.The breakdown of the summit, the elimination of any hope for an 
  agreement between the two sides and the unconditional pro-Israeli stance of the 
  Americans, inevitably led to another round of violent confrontations, which 
  earned the title of the El-Aqsa Intifadah. For the Palestinians, this is a 
  justified national uprising against the protracted occupation, which has no end 
  in sight and allows continual and daily pulling of their land from under their 
  feet.  For the Israelis, this is an outburst of murderous terrorism.  The 
  performers of these acts appear to the Palestinians as national heroes and to 
  the Israelis as merciless criminals who must be liquidated.
72.The official media in Israel no longer mention settlers but speak of 
  ^”residents^‘ upon whom any attack is a crime against civilians. The Palestinians 
  consider the settlers the forefront of a dangerous enemy force whose intention 
  is to dispossess them of their land and who must be defeated.
73.A great part of the Israeli ^”Peace Camp^‘ collapsed during the al-Aqsa 
  Intifadah and it turns out that many of its convictions had feet of clay. 
  Especially after Barak had ^”turned every stone^‘ and made ^”more generous offers 
  than any previous Prime Minister, the Palestinian behavior was incomprehensible 
  to this part of the ^”Peace Camp^‘, since it had never performed a thorough 
  revision of the Zionist ^”narrative^‘ and did not internalize the fact that there 
  is a Palestinian ^”narrative^‘ too.  The only remaining explanation was that the 
  Palestinians had deceived the Israeli Peace Camp, that they had never intended 
  to make peace and that their true purpose is to throw the Jews into the sea, as 
  the Zionist right has always claimed.
74.As a result, the dividing line between the Zionist ^”right^‘ and ^”left^‘ 
  disappeared.  The leaders of the Labor Party joined the Sharon Government and 
  became his most effective apologists (Shimon Peres) and even the formal leftist 
  opposition (Yossi Sarid) took part.  This again proves that the Zionist 
  narrative is the decisive factor unifying all facets of the political system in 
  Israel, making the distinctions between Rehavam Zeevi and Avraham Burg, Yitzhak 
  Levi and Yossi Sarid insignificant.
75.There is a notable decline in the Palestinian willingness to reopen a 
  dialogue with the Israeli peace forces, a consequence of the utter 
  disappointment from the ^”leftist government^‘ which had inspired so much hope 
  after the Netanyahu years, as well as a consequence of the fact that apart from 
  the small radical peace groups no Israeli outrage at the brutal reactions of 
  the occupation forces has been heard.  The tendency to tighten ranks, typical 
  to any nation in a war of liberation, makes it possible for the extreme 
  nationalistic and religious forces on the Palestinian side to veto any attempt 
  at Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.
  A New Peace Camp
76.The breakdown of the old peace camp necessitates the creation of a new 
  Israeli peace camp that will be real, up-to-date, effective and strong, that 
  can influence the Israeli public and bring about a complete re-evaluation of 
  the old axioms in order to effect a change in the Israeli political system.
77.To do so, the new peace camp must lead public opinion to a brave 
  reassessment of the national ^”narrative^‘ and rid it of false myths.  It must 
  strive to unite the historical versions of both people into a single 
  ^”narrative^‘, free from historical deceptions, which will be acceptable to both 
78.While doing this it must also educate the Israeli public that along with 
  all the beautiful and positive aspects of the Zionist enterprise, a terrible 
  injustice was done to the Palestinian people.  This injustice, which peaked 
  during the ^”Naqba^‘, obliges us to assume responsibility and correct as much of 
  it as is possible. 
79.With a new understanding of the past and the present, the new peace camp 
  must formulate a peace plan based on the following principles:
(i)An independent and free Palestinian State will be established alongside 
(ii)The Green Line will be the border between the two States.  If agreed 
  between the two sides, limited territorial exchanges may be possible.
(iii)The Israeli settlements will be evacuated from the territory of the 
  Palestinian State.
(iv)The border between the two States will be open to the  movement of people 
  and goods, subject to arrangements made by mutual agreement.
(v)Jerusalem will be the capital of both States ^÷ West Jerusalem the capital 
  of Israel and East Jerusalem capital of Palestine.  The State of Palestine will 
  have complete sovereignty in East Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif (the 
  Temple Mount).  The State of Israel will have complete sovereignty in West 
  Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter. Both States will 
  reach agreement on the unity of the city on the physical, municipal level.
(vi)Israel will recognize, in principle, the Palestinian Right of Return as an 
  inalienable human right.  The practical solution to the problem will come about 
  by agreement based on just, fair and practical considerations and will include 
  return to the territory of the State of Palestine, return to the State of 
  Israel and compensation.
(vii)The water resources will be controlled jointly and allocated by 
  agreement, equally and fairly.
(viii)A security agreement between the two States will ensure the security of 
  both and take into consideration the specific security needs of Israel as well 
  as of Palestine.
(ix)Israel and Palestine will cooperate with other States in the region, to 
  establish a Middle Eastern community, modeled on the European Union.

80.The signing of a Peace agreement and its honest implementation in good 
  faith will lead to a historical reconciliation between the two nations, based 
  on equality, cooperation and mutual respect.

Submitted by Gush Shalom as a draft for public debate. If you generally agree 
with the spirit of this document ^÷ please send comments and remarks. Gush 
Shalom ^÷  { HYPERLINK }  
P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033. Hebrew and English versions can be downloaded 
from { HYPERLINK } . Please help 
us to finance this campaign by sending a check to Gush Shalom.


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