CoC statement on Palestine/Israel

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Sat Oct 21 08:54:59 MDT 2000


by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

We are pained and outraged at the carnage in the Middle East, which has now
claimed over one hundred lives, overwhelmingly Palestinian.  While every
death must be mourned, there is absolutely no moral equivalence between
Israel's use of its heavy weapons and advanced sniper equipment against
largely unarmed civilians.  No rationalization or media spin can justify this
one-sided use of force, unprecedented in the history of the region, to
vanquish stone-throwers.


1. The US Administration must urgently prevail upon Israel to honor a cease
fire, pull back its troops from confrontation points, and end the massacre
that its armed forces have been carrying out.

The United States is Israel's one and only patron.  There is no way Israel
can resist even a minimal exertion of US will.  In 1998 Israel received $2.8
billion in economic aid, more than any other country.

2. In view of the now-obvious failure of the US-brokered Oslo peace process,
the focus of mediation between Israel and the Palestinians must promptly
revert to the United Nations and be carried out according to the terms of the
new Security Council resolution (no. 1322, adopted October 7), which
incorporates relevant earlier resolutions.

The Oslo Peace Accords were signed by Israel and the PLO in September 1993
after being negotiated secretly under Norwegian auspices.  The Accords did
begin a needed dialogue, but were fatally undermined when the United States
assumed control over the negotiations.  This contributed to a long term
process whereby the US has been drawing responsibility for Middle East issues
out of the hands of the UN, the international authority whose Partition
Resolution of 1947 had provided for two states to be set up in Palestine.
The Oslo Accords postponed into the indefinite future implementation of UN
Resolutions 242 and 338.  Adopted in 1967 and 1973, these resolutions called
unambiguously for Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories it had
occupied in 1967.  The new Security Council resolution reaffirms these older
resolutions as the basis for "a just and lasting solution" of the conflict.

The Oslo Accords were adopted by negotiating partners severely unequal in
power.  Washington did nothing to maintain a balance in the negotiations.
This was to prove disastrous for peace; the Israeli Right was emboldened to
warp the negotiations so that the prospects for a sovereign Palestinian state
withered.  The final outcome was intact Israeli control over vanquished
Palestinians, who were to have limited "self rule" within an area carved by
Israeli roads and surrounded by Israeli settlements.  The Palestinians were
left with no state, no capital in East Jerusalem, no adequate access to water
and no right of return for refugees who had been expelled.  The frustration,
humiliation and anger wrought by unemployment, expulsions, home demolitions
and jailings without trial under the occupation finally burst on September
28.  On that day, Ariel Sharon, organizer a generation earlier of the
massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, was allowed by the Barak
leadership to venture with over 1,000 armed police onto Haram al Sharif, an
Islamic holy place, to emphasize Israel's claimed sovereignty over all
Jerusalem.  And Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, alone among world
leaders, was unable to condemn this action or comprehend the explosion of
anger by the Palestinians.

3.  There must be an international investigation.  On October 9 Amnesty
International called on the UN to "establish urgently an independent
international investigation, to include criminal justice experts known for
their impartiality and integrity, to investigate all killings of civilians
that took place since 29 September in Israel, the Occupied territories and
South Lebanon."  In the context of strong support, we also urge that the
scope of the investigation be enlarged to include responsibility for the
crisis as a whole.

Finding the truth is essential for ending the conflict and bringing peace
with justice to the peoples of the region.  Accordingly, the emergency summit
on October 17 provided for the US to preside over an investigation.  However,
the US, having demonstrated its bias many times over in the past, is not a
fit arbiter in the new situation.

The National Executive Committee of the CofC urges its members--and
activists everywhere--to send this statement to local media, reprint it
for distribution at local meetings and discussions, and to publicize this
point of view wherever possible.

October 20, 2000

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