A friend's comment:
"How does this Charlie Reese guy keep his job?? Does he own the paper?"
Only thing to negotiate is timetable for Israel's withdrawal
Published June 21, 2001
It's the occupation.
That's the complete summation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In
1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
For 34 years, Palestinians have lived under Israeli military rule. They
are now determined to be free of it.
Unfortunately, the Palestinians have only the facts, morality and
international law on their side. The Israelis have a powerful army and
the U.S. government, which not only gives Israel an annual $3 billion
subsidy but also blocks any and all international efforts to make Israel
comply with United Nations resolutions and the Geneva Convention.
(Americans ought to ask themselves why their children are expected to
die to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions directed at other
countries if the United States is going to block enforcement of all
those directed at Israel.)
Right now the Israelis are spinning the line that they made a generous
offer and that, because the Palestinians rejected it, why, they must not
want peace. The fly drowning in that glob of salad dressing is that it
wasn't a generous offer. It was, in fact, an offer that no Palestinian
could have accepted.
First, Palestinians would have had to kiss goodbye West Bank and Gaza
land already confiscated by the Israelis. They would have had no control
over their borders or the water under their feet. They would have had to
endure Israeli "military supervision" for an indefinite period. They
would have had to write off the rights of Palestinian refugees,
acknowledge Jewish ownership of the land underneath the third holiest
site in Islam, and they would have gotten, in return, a non-viable
country cut into giblets and at the mercy of the Israelis.
In fact, the only thing to be negotiated is the timetable for Israel's
complete withdrawal and dismantling of all the Jewish settlements.
Palestinians already have conceded 78 percent of their country. They are
not going to concede hunks of the remaining 22 percent.
Furthermore, the Palestinians are daily victims of war crimes. The score
card, according to Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, director of the Health,
Development, Information and Policy Institute, runs thus since the
More than 500 Palestinians killed, a third of them children; 27,000
trees uprooted; 12,000 dunums of land (a dunum is 1,000 square meters)
leveled in the Gaza Strip; 3,200 buildings destroyed, of which 1,200
were homes; and 23,000 Palestinians wounded. In comparison, he said, 106
Israelis have been killed and 760 injured. The numbers may have changed
since he addressed the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, a
Washington think tank. I've never seen in the Middle East any two sets
of numbers that agree, but you can verify the approximate accuracy of
these with Amnesty International and the U.N. Commission on Human
It's not fair to call Palestinians terrorists. It is not they who have
used tanks, advanced war planes and helicopter gunships against
civilians; it is not they who use death squads and assassinations; it is
not they who imposed collective punishments on innocent civilians. The
Israelis are doing all of these things, which are war crimes, to the
Palestinians with American-made military equipment.
I know that it's hard for Americans to undo so many years of pro-Israeli
brainwashing. Just remember that the Palestinians, like the Founding
Fathers of this country, are trying to throw off a foreign occupier of
It is equally absurd to say the Palestinians don't want an end to the
conflict. It is they, not the Israelis, who are suffering. Israel has
become a rich country; the West Bank and Gaza are incredibly poor. Some
of the Jewish settlements have plush lawns, gardens and even a swimming
pool while, at the bottom of the hill, Palestinians have to get water
from a communal pump for cooking and washing.
Israelis live in houses, apartments and villas. Millions of Palestinians
are jammed in sordid refugee camps. Other than the loss of tourist
business, a loss they deserve given the destruction they've laid on the
Palestinians, Israelis are leading normal lives behind the green line.
If they're nervous because of an occasional suicide bomber, they should
think how nervous they would be if they had to face tanks, helicopter
gunships and assassins.
I'm sorry our government is an accessory to war crimes and is such a
world-class hypocrite. So long as we ignore the terrible plight of the
Palestinians, no American should open his or her mouth about human
rights, the rule of law or democracy. Such hypocrisy stinks in the
nostrils of every sensible man and woman in the world.
One day God will free the Palestinians. I wonder what he will do to us.
At least those who had the courage to stand up for human rights and
justice will be able to look at themselves in a mirror without gagging.
Reach Charley Reese at email@example.com