Can the Palestine-Israel Stalemate be Broken?

THE CREATION OF ISRAEL

In 1948 there was an expulsion of Palestinians residents from the area that is now Israel (see map).  In 1967 during the six-day War, more Palestinians had to flee and the whole of the West Bank was occupied and controlled by Israeli soldiers.  In June 1997, the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu presented its “Allon Plus Plan”.  This plan outlines the retention of some 60% of the West Bank including the “Greater Jerusalem”, the entire Jordan Valley and a network of Israeli only bypass-roads.

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Since September 29th 2000, 9,128 Palestinians have been killed while 1,195 Israeli were killed in different incidents on the West Bank; 6,200 Palestinians are now imprisoned in Israeli jails.  There are currently 262 Jewish-only settlements built on confiscated Palestinian land on the West Bank.

On January 2015, the Israeli’s Interior Ministry gave figures of 389,250 Israelis living in the West Bank and a further 375,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem: this compared to about 120,000 settlers in 2006 in the two areas.

In 2002, Israel’s official policy was that no new settlements were to be built, but at least one hundred unauthorized outposts were established with state funding since 2002.

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Time of February 29th 2015 said: “Israeli settlements in the West Bank dishonor the nation’s democracy.” To illustrate, he interviewed Mahmood Ahmed, a Palestinian farmer near Sinjil on the West Bank. “We planted 5,000 trees last year, settlers cut them all down with shears or uprooted them.”

In a conversation with 69-year-old Abed-al-Majeed who has sent all of his 12 children to university, he told the journalist that he used to have 300 sheep grazing on family land in Ousra but that nearby settlers often attack him when he is on his own land; now he is down to 100 sheep. “I can’t graze my sheep on my own land”, he said, “if I go there settlers will beat me.”

Nearly 70 years ago an Israeli intelligence officer witnessed a Palestinian village being demolished to make way for the new Jewish state.

Yaznar Smilansky was so moved by what he saw that he wrote a book in Hebrew in 1949 called “Khirbet Khizeh”: in it he described the forced expulsion of civilians mostly old men, women and children, the young men having already fled.  “They were put in trucks and carried away”.

The Palestinians refer to that period of 1948 as “al-Nakba” i.e. the great catastrophe.  Some 70,000 Palestinians were deported or forced to flee from their homes into refugee camps.  No compensation by Israel was ever offered to the dispossessed and of course their right of return was denied.

APPENDIX B

Palestinian refugees and locations from the time of their expulsion in 1948 as well as   from the War of 1967 [1]

Country or region                   Camps         Refugees           % of total                     Total

                                                                                                population                population     

              Jordan                          10                 2,034,641            31%                       6,500,000

              Lebanon                       12                 455,000               10%                   4,500,000      

              Syria                              9                   526,744               2.8%                      23,000,000

              Gaza Strip                     8                   1,260,000           71.5%                    1,760,000

              West Bank                   19                 750,000              31.2%                    2,400,000

                                                    58                5,026,385            11.3%                    38,160,000

The adjacent countries to Israel became the obvious outlet for refugees from the expulsion of 1948 to the War of 1967(The Six Day War). These refugees have been helped by the host countries, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria but mainly by an agency of the United Nation called UNRWA short for “United Nation Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.” The large proportion of refugees in Jordan created instability in that country which was overcome eventually by King Hussein’s policies of integration.  Lebanon was also in turmoil in two civil wars brought about in part by the new minority status of Christians caused by the influx of refugees with the Islamic faith and by the interference of the Syrian government.

THE MARCH 3RD 2015 SPEECH OF NETANYAHU AT THE U.S. CONGRES

At the end of his speech mainly addressed to those in the U.S. government “naïve” enough to negotiate with Iran to restrain its attempts at nuclear capabilities and I quote: “A normal country should behave like a normal country: Israel is a normal country but Iran is not.”

The hypocrisy of the prime minister of Israel is staggering.  According to the

London-based JANE’s it is estimated “that the Israeli arsenal may contain as many as 400 nuclear weapons with a total combined yield of 50 megatons”. JANE’s

Intelligence Review reported on September 1st 1998 that satellite reconnaissance

indicated that Israel had stored around 150 nuclear warheads and 50 Jericho 11 intermediate range missiles at Zachariah air force base southeast of Tel-Aviv.

Zachariah means in Hebrew “God remembers with vengeance.”

Martin Sieff of the Washington Time reported on July 1st 1998 that Israel is buying three large submarines (Dolphin Class) from Germany capable of carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles.  On June 3rd, 2012 Der Spiegel reported that three German submarines sold to Israel are capable of staying submerged for 18 days and are now equipped with nuclear missiles: Germany has long known about this (it has financed the sale of these submarines to Israel) but has chosen not to publicize the fact.

The submarines according to Der Spiegel are equipped with Israeli-designed

Popeye missiles with a 1,500 miles range and the nuclear warheads are produced at Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

As we listened to Netanyahu speech at the U.S. Congress, it is believed that at least two nuclear missiles carrying submarines were patrolling 24 hours a day underwater far from Israel, in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea facing Iran waiting for a signal to strike[2]. “The Germans can be proud to have secured the existence of Israel for many years.” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Der Spiegel on June 2012.  These submarines will be used as “second strike” to wipe out enemies who would have attacked Israel first with nuclear weapons. (See photograph) “Given Israel’s small size, a nuclear deterrent promises massive retaliation if Israel’s homeland is threatened”[3].  

 

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So far Israel has refused to admit to its nuclear capabilities. They have also refused to sign together with Pakistan, India and Sudan the United Nation-sponsored resolution of non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapon of 1970 whose aim is to reduce the possibility of a nuclear war and the ultimate elimination of nuclear arsenals.

Is Israel a normal country as opposed to Iran especially in the face of their illegal occupation of the West Bank? Despite a vote by the U.N. Security Council through resolution 242 on “the withdrawal of Israel armed forces from the territories occupied in the recent 1967 conflict”, Israel today occupies militarily all of the West Bank, after 48 years, it is the longest occupation in modern history.

When a country, Islamic or otherwise is facing possible hostilities with Israel, it is also facing a pro-Israel Lobby so powerful that it can magically create an invitation to the prime minister of Israel in the U.S. Congress without going through normal diplomatic channels and without the consent of the U.S. President.

The situation is without precedent; no similar invitations have ever been offered to the presidents of Egypt or to past and present presidents of the Palestinian Authority. (See cartoon)

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Recently in a pique over the Palestinian Authority decision to appeal to the International Court on possible war crimes in the recent Gaza war, Israel has withheld $100 million a month of custom fees that belong to the Palestinians.

Without this amount the Palestinian Authority administration will soon cease to exist but negotiations are being held at this time to solve the situation with Israel being prompted by the U.S. to stop withholding the money.

In 1978 at the Camp David conference, President Carter persuaded Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to sign the first peace treaty in the modern Middle East, which give back to Egypt the conquered territory of Sinai.

At that conference where there was nobody to represent the Palestinians, the restitution of land in the West Bank became a “side issue”; Begin had always refused to call the West Bank Palestine, instead referring to it as Judea and Samaria.  Without committing himself to any specific action, Begin said he would provide the Palestinians some degree of peaceful political activity; this was the last day of the Camp David conference which had lasted 13 days and  an exhausted Jimmy Carter resigned himself to accept the vague promise[4] in order to announce the peace deal in Washington the following day.  The Palestinian cause was left in limbo where it remains to this day.

When the Israeli army invaded West Beirut in August 1982, two targets in particular seemed to interest General Ariel Sharon’s army, Thomas Friedman then a correspondent for the New York Times later wrote.  One was an archive of Old Palestine-books, land deeds, photographs of Arab life and maps that marked every Arab village that stood before Israel was created.  Friedman observed the graffiti the Israeli soldiers left behind in the room where the archives had been kept.

“Palestinians? What’s that? And Palestinians f___ you”.  The other targets were the two Palestinian refugee camps called Sabra and Shatila.  Sharon’s troops sealed off the camps and then let a local militia enter and take revenge for the death of their leader.  Over the next three days, the terrorists killed more than 700 refugees in camps; men, women and children while the Israelis had a clear view of the slaughter from the rooftop of the Kuwaiti embassy that they occupied.

That same general became the next Prime Minister of Israel on March 7th 2001, and was in office for five years until a stroke incapacitated him.

Looking back at all those years since 1967 it is obvious that Israel had no intention of ceasing the occupation of the West Bank and stopping the building of new settlements; as a matter of fact there has been an acceleration of new buildings for settlers in the West Bank during the Netanyahu government.

On March 30th, 2015, I attended a conference at Concordia University in Montreal given by the editor and journalist Gideon Levy of Haaretz, the oldest Israeli newspaper founded in 1918.

Mr. Levy is pessimistic about the possible creation of a Palestinian state without the active support of the U.S. which is unlikely thanks to the Republican support for Israel conduct in the occupied territories.  Mr. Levy is also worried about a new racist attitude by the Israeli, who consider non-Jews as somewhat inferior human beings and not to be trusted as neighbors.

He did recall an incident a few years ago where he had to go to Ramallah to speak to a Palestinian journalist; at the checkpoint he noticed an ambulance with its red lights flashing, immobilized before the guards’ gate: he went to inquire to the ambulance driver who told him that he had a sick elderly male patient in the back of his vehicle but that he was used to waiting to reach the hospital in Ramallah for at least an hour each time at that particular checkpoint.  Mr. Levy went to the guardhouse where he was cleared to enter with his Israeli passport.  He then saw that three soldiers were inside the guard house, two playing backgammon and one reading a magazine.  Somewhat disturbed by their attitude toward the Palestinian ambulance, he asked them if they would delay an Israeli ambulance for an hour if it was their father inside.  The soldiers were so startled by this incredible question that by instinct they raised their weapons at Gideon Levy as if he was a threat to their safety!

Another anecdote relates to an interview done in 1994 with the Chief of the General Staff Ehud Barak, who later became prime minister.  Asked by Mr. Levy what he would do as an 18 year old Palestinian in the face of the occupation by the Israeli army: “I would become a terrorist” said Barak spontaneously.  The declaration reported in the press created a political storm in Israel: later General Barak denied that he had said that to Mr. Levy.

For the Palestinians, those who resist the occupation by Israel are freedom fighters: Israeli should remember that they too had their own freedom fighters in the summer of 1944 in Warsaw.

According to Levy’s explanations of Israeli thinking, the Palestinians being mostly Muslims cannot be trusted: they are also poor and sometimes illiterate so they do not qualify as human beings on the same level as Israeli Jews.  So Mr. Levy is worried that a system of apartheid is slowly but surely being created inside Israel proper and also on the West Bank where the dream of a Palestinian State still exists.

THE BRIDGE GAME THAT SAVED A FAMILY FROM AUSCHWITZ

In 1942, Romania - which had been so far a faithful ally of Germany - had to start considering what to do with its Jewish population mainly located around Bucharest.  Their previous political stance was “we will handle our own Jews”, but the pressure on Romania by the Nazis to eliminate all Jews from Eastern Europe was growing.

At that time my wife’s father-in-law was a prosperous merchant living in a big house in Bucharest that had to be shared with three other families because the Romanian authorities had deemed their home too big for a single family.

So Elias Goldstein and his wife Esther were living in a wing of the big house, their son Mordecai (my wife’s future husband) and their sister Rebecca having already left the country.

Every Wednesday a bridge game took place at the house with other ladies, one of them the mother of an Iron Guard officer, the equivalent of the German SS.

One day at a Wednesday bridge game, the kind neighbor warned Mrs. Goldstein that a raid against them was planned for the following day.  Immediately the Goldstein couple gathered a few belongings and was able to flee by car to a port on the Black Sea.  With a few well-placed bribes the couple managed to get on a passenger ship at Constanta steaming for Istanbul and from there they were able to reach Israel where relatives were waiting for them.

So the Goldstein family escaped unharmed from the horrors of the Holocaust, a rare event in the history of Eastern European Jews.

According to the Wiesel Commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, Romania murdered in various ways between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews in Romania and in the war zone of Bessarabia and of Bukovina.

The Jews have often been the victims of persecution, pogroms and more recently the annihilation of six million Jews in Eastern Europe.

The creation of Israel was their hope of a permanent homeland but its border of 1948 did not include the West Bank.  The war of 1967, when the Israeli Air Force made a sudden attack on Egypt destroying 450 of their planes on the ground and rendering Nasser helpless, was a great victory for Israel.  Unfortunately their desire for an enlarged state violated the legal and international rules obligating Israel to return to their original border of 1948 as established by the United Nations.

Israel - of all nations - should be particularly sensitive in avoiding the creation of ghettos (Gaza and the many Palestinians refugee camps) as in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and of treating the Palestinians and Arab Israeli as second class citizens.

The Biblical evocation of” the chosen people” taken to the letter makes the Israelis feel superior to the Palestinians while creating a ‘de facto apartheid state.’  Because of past Jewish suffering, Israel ought to be more sensitive towards its Arab neighbors who are poorer, less educated and of a different religion. 

 

2014 GDP in $U.S. per capita[5]

Israel                    European Union                  West Bank               Gaza Strip

$37,704               $27,300                                 $1924                       $974

Israel’s prosperity has also been helped by donations to their excellent health and educational institutions by wealthy American Jews who took advantage of the U.S.-Israel Income Tax Treaty (article 15-A).

THE SAGA OF DR. NORMAN G. FINKELSTEIN

The terrible event where close to six million Jews, gypsies and other minorities were slaughtered by Nazi Germany has defined the public opinion war especially in the U.S. and used to justify the illegal occupation of the West Bank (Palestine).

A book by Dr. Norman Finkelstein entitled “The Holocaust Industry” (first published in 2000 with a second edition in 2003) examined the relentless public relations campaign to keep the Holocaust event alive and omnipresent in U.S. media.

The book described in tedious and well- documented details the diplomatic and financial maneuvers that forced the Swiss Banks to pay to Jewish organizations the enormous sum of $1.2 billion in 1999 for dormant accounts owned by Jews despite the facts than an accounting done by the Volker commission found that the current value of accounts for which some information was available run from a probable $170- to a maximum of $260 million (page 13 and 14).  This was much higher than the $32 million originally estimated by the Swiss Banks that were forced to pay to avoid a political backlash and the threat of not being permitted to operate in the State of New York.

In Finkelstein’s book we find that the Swiss banks and the German government had to pay sizeable amount to survivors of slave labor while the U.S. government paid out the pittance of $500,000 to Jewish owners of dormant American bank accounts.

The book is a recitation of the “Shakedown” tactics utilized to extract vast sums of money mainly from Switzerland and Germany.

The facts in Finkelstein’s book are well documented and all the sources are rigorously cited, somewhat like a Ph.D. thesis.  The outcry against the book published in 2000 described as a “Reflection on the Exploitation of Jewish suffering” was immediate: the writer whose own mother was a Holocaust survivor, became an outcast among American Jews and vilified as a self-hating Jew.  Meanwhile Mr. Finkelstein with a Ph.D. In Political Science from Princeton University became assistant professor in 2000 at De Paul University in Illinois where he had obtained his tenure.  A sometimes violent campaign led by Alan Dershowitz (of O.J. Simpson fame) against his stand on the Holocaust and the Palestinian conflict led to the denial of his tenure at De Paul in 2007-2008.

He was placed on administrative leave: finally on September 5th 2007 Professor Finkelstein announced his resignation after coming to a settlement with the university on confidential terms.  An official statement from De Paul stated that outside influences played no role in the decision.

 A year later Professor Finkelstein was officially banned from entering Israel.  On May 23rd 2008 upon entering Israel at Ben-Gurion International Airport, he was detained for 24 hours and then sent back to the U.S.

One has to admire Alan Dershowitz for his relentless attacks on Finkelstein, which resulted in the first-ever firing of a professor from an academic institution because of his opinion. Here is how Professor Matthew Abraham described the firing of Dr. Finkelstein: “the case demonstrates the substantial pressure outside parties can place on a mid-tier religious institution when the perspectives advanced by a controversial scholar threaten dominant interests.”

THE NETANYAHU CONFERENCE IN MONTREAL

Closer to home, as the head of a Foundation granting scholarships to graduate students in the Montreal area, I had an interview with the new president of Concordia University in the fall of 2003.

She admitted that the University’s financial situation was difficult in particular because of what happened on September 9th 2002 when Mr. Netanyahu was scheduled to give a speech at Concordia University.  A riot broke out between pro-Palestinian protestors and the event ticket holders.  The lecture was cancelled and Netanyahu stayed at his hotel, the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal; later on he accused the activists of supporting terrorism and “mad zealotry.”

The head of Concordia admitted to me that since 2003, all the traditional Jewish donors had stopped giving to Concordia University after the anti-Netanyahu riot: she was hoping that with the passage of time that donations would return.

“L’AFFAIRE MICHAUD” DECEMBER 2000 IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC

In a telephone interview with CKAC radio, Mr. Yves Michaud, an aspiring M.P. for the Parti Québécois related a conversation with a Jewish senator, Leo Kolber, where he (Michaud) had said in relation to suffering of the Jews:  “The Armenians did not suffer, the Palestinians did not suffer, and the Rwandans did not suffer.  It is always (just) you.  You are the only people who suffered in the history of humanity.”[6] He said sarcastically.  On December 12th 2000 the director of B’nai B’rith’s Quebec Chapter, Robert Libman sent a memo to then Premier Lucien Bouchard requesting that he stops Yves Michaud from being the PQ’s candidate in the Mercier riding.

Soon after, Lucien Bouchard condemned the remarks of the telephone interview as well as Michaud’s speech to the Quebec Estate General on the situation of the French Language.  In a humorous fashion, Michaud had suggested to rename the subway station Lionel Giroux as the “Mordecai Richler” station and for the René Lévesque Boulevard to be renamed the “Ariel Sharon” Boulevard.

Lucien Bouchard the premier, incensed by Michaud’s speech condemned the remarks in the name of his party and the government of Quebec.  The motion was unanimously adopted by the Quebec National Assembly.  It was the first time in the history of Quebec that a citizen speech and remarks were so condemned.

THE UNITED NATIONS’ IMPOTENCE

On December 11th 1948 the U.N. General Assembly voted a non-binding resolve: “that refugees wishing to return to their home and live at peace with their neighbor should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This non-binding United Nations’ General Assembly article 11 of Resolution 194 has been annually re-affirmed but Israel has refused the application of that resolution.

Israel has also steadfastly refused to compensate Palestinians who have lost their homes and possessions in the expulsion of 1948 soon after the creation of Israel and from the Six-day war in 1967.  Also, Israel has so far refused to abide by United Nation resolution #3236 of November 22nd 1974, which recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people including the right of self-determination and the right of return.  The U.S. veto has repeatedly prevented this resolution from being binding on Israel.

It is in Israel’s long-term interest to bring peace to Palestine and abide by international rules. The West does not want anti-Israel sentiments to degenerate into anti-Semitism especially among the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.

A JEWISH SUCCESS STORY

The Jewish communities in the West have fared exceptionally well since the end of World War II.  In the U.S., anti-Semitic barriers have fallen while Jews rose to preeminence.  According to Lipset and Raab[7] in 1997, per capita Jewish income was almost double that of the non-Jews; 40% of American Nobel Prize winners in science and economics were Jewish, as were 20% of professors at major universities; and 40% of partners in the leading laws firms in New York and Washington. I take my hat off to these spectacular achievements.

The prosperous Jews of America and Israel should cultivate compassion when dealing with their less educated and poorer neighbors.  The wealth of the Jews should not be used to oppress but to nurture.  Let us hope that American Jews lean on Israel and on the U.S. government to abide by human rights and international law regarding the Palestinians and the occupied territories.

The alternative is an apartheid system as the Islamic population in Israel and Palestine is out growing the Jewish-Israeli population. As an example in 1995, the percentage of Jews in Israel and Palestine was 56.7%; in 2005 it was 50.7%[8]. As a humanitarian alternative to an apartheid state which no Israeli wants, there is only one solution left: a two state solution and a negotiated agreement for land and refugees and a stop to the building of Jewish settlements in Palestine (the West Bank) which exacerbate an already tense situation.

CONCLUSION

   Israel was the homeland of the Jews for close to 3000 years until the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, by the Romans.

Since then, through bouts of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, culminating in the Nazi extermination camps of World War II, the Jews have wandered around the world in search of peace and security.

Israel is now their home as it was 2000 years ago and most Jews consider it their spiritual haven as well as their home country where they can immigrate at will.

   The economic and scientific achievements of Israel are in contrast to the poverty in the occupied territories of the West Bank. This negates somewhat the glowing achievements of Israel whose long term future will brighten up once peace is achieved with the Palestinians and the occupation of the territories ends.

APPENDIX A

This article was written in April 2006: since then not much has changed in Palestine save for a tripling of the settlers’ population in the West Bank.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE – AN ANALYSIS AND A SOLUTION

The West Bank was probably part of Israel when Titus in 70 A.D destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and expelled most of the Jews who resettled eventually across the Roman Empire, thus the justification for a greater Israel and the return of all Jews to the Holy Land.

From the Palestinian perspective, Israel was created by the U.N. in 1947, over the opposition of Arab countries, in order to alleviate the bad conscience of Europe whose action or inaction created the Holocaust: Israel became a refuge for persecuted Jews but in the process expelled or made some of the local Palestinian population to flee.  After 1948, refugee camps were set up which over the years bred more resentment and anger.

No attempt was made by Israel to compensate the refugees for the loss of their homes and lands or obviously to accept their return on their land already given to Israeli Jews.  When Israel occupied Beirut in 1983 the first thing they did was to burn the building that contained the title deeds of properties stored inside by Palestinians relating to their former properties in Israel.

Then, in 1967 taking advantage of the war waged against Israel by its neighbors, Israel took control of the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights and started to offer low interest rates loans to settlers to purchase housing set up by the government in new settlements in the West Bank.

To this day Israel is still the occupier with the implied “blessing” of the U.S. despite at least two resolutions by the U.N. to abide by the U.S. Charter and leave the occupied land.  The opposing voices of these U.N. resolutions were the U.S. and Guam and of course Israel.  That is why the U.S. is seen as an extension of the Israel government (or vice versa) by most Islamic countries.

Or course the three great monotheist religions are using their religious books to justify their positions: the Old Testament to justify the greater Israel and for the Christian right the existence of Israel will accomplish the Apocalypse prophecies while the Koran proclaims Jerusalem as its most holy site after Mecca and Medina.

Unfortunately, the Islamic world seems to be governed by religious edicts from the Middle Ages (in the recent cartoon incidents the few reasonable voices from the Muslims world have been either silenced or jailed) but the perceived absence of justice in the Palestine situation has exacerbated their loss of faith in the fairness of the West and in the U.S. with its ever approving stance toward Israel.

When the most powerful secular nation on earth supports the untenable position of Israel regarding the occupied territories, resentment, then anger and finally despair make the Islamic World abandons reason to take refuge in a faith that often breeds violence and revenge.

Close to 60 years have elapsed since the creation of Israel and hardly any progress has been made to correct glaring injustices: the 1948 refugees have not yet been compensated, the West Bank is still occupied with a now permanent wall encroaching on Palestinian territories, the main Jewish colonies are still being expanded: Jerusalem including East Jerusalem is in total control of Israel, the newly freed Gaza strip is a virtual jail cut off from both Israel and the West Bank and now Israel and the U.S. are stopping revenues to the Palestinian Authority to punish its population for having elected Hamas.

Other events have offended the Muslim communities but the festering conflict in Palestine is a catalyst for the mounting religious fanaticism breeding more violence against the main supporter of Israel, the U.S. and its main allies.  One billion angry Muslims constitute a limitless reservoir of potential suicide bombers able to attack western lives and property for a long time unless a peaceful solution in Palestine is found.

Extremism and unreason will continue to take precedence over rationality in the Muslim world because of the unsolved Palestinian situation: the refusal of Israel to yield and the corresponding support of the U.S. is putting the whole World in grave danger.

With the strongest army in the Middle East and with nuclear capabilities, Israel could certainly assure their own security while a small Palestine State would exist next door, following a final and just treaty brokered by the U.S. and the U.N.

AFTERWORD

Since April 2006, the situation has hardly changed save for another peace talk sponsored by the U.S. During that time, the population of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories has gone from 250,000 to 420,000 – a fact which makes negotiations more delicate for Israel.  Some Israeli settlers have found a new way to hurt the Palestinians: one of the most valuable assets of Palestinians farmers is their olive trees which take as much as 100 years to reach full maturity.  Recent news taken from Time Magazine (European edition of November 15, 2010). “A group of extremist Jewish settlers from Yitzhak torched at least 200 olive trees that belong to residents of a village near Nabs in the West Bank and also torched a number of nearby farms.”

 November 2010, Palestinian farmers trying to squelch the flames

November 2010, Palestinian farmers trying to squelch the flames

[1] United Nations Report on Refugees and Wikepedia

[2] Vladimir Platov for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” – 17/04/2015

[3] Robert Beckhusen – August 17, 2014.

[4] Lawrence Wright, Thirteen Days in September, Alfred A. Knopf 2014

[5] Source: Wikipedia

[6] Wikipedia translation

[7] *Jews and the New American Scene

[8] *Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics