Tanya Reinhart, _Israel/ Palestine: How to End the War of 1948_

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Nov 16 21:22:31 MST 2002

*****   _Israel/ Palestine: How to End the War of 1948_
Tanya Reinhart
Paperback - $11.95

"Tanya Reinhart's _Israel/Palestine_ is the most devastating critique
now available of Israel's policy toward the Palestinian people.
Written with urgency and an unflinching clarity, it deserves to be
read by every American who, unknowingly perhaps, has been subsidizing
Israel's 35-year-old military occupation.  Today Palestinians face
either ethnic cleansing or apartheid.  Reinhart compellingly shows
why and how both must be opposed." -- Edward W. Said

"Tanya Reinhart's informative and chilling analysis could hardly be
more timely.  It should be read and considered with care, and taken
very seriously." -- Noam Chomsky

"Tanya Reinhart is an Israeli scholar who is known for her works in
linguistics, but also as the author of a biweekly column in the daily
newspaper Yediot Aharonot.  Her book demonstrates the hoax suffered
by the Palestinians, sometimes with the complicity of their own
Authority.  It also shows that, behind the semantic and cartographic
contortions, the main objective of the Israeli governments has been
to give up as little as possible and to accept but a truncated
Palestinian autonomy.  According to her, the solution is simple: 'In
order to initiate true negotiations, Israel has to withdraw
unilaterally' from the occupied Palestinian territories." -- Le Monde

"Dense and precise" -- Agnés Gruda, La Presse

"Tanya Reinhart's book is a gem, combining analytical precision with
in-depth understanding of her own society.  She doesn't just blow
apart the myth of Barak's "generous offer" -- she gives us a
plausible interpretation of Barak's strategic reasoning.  The
fundamental question in Israeli society right now is, as she says,
"How to finish the War of 1948."  Her counterposition of the two
options -- Oslo-style apartheid vs. "transfer" -- is right on the
money, but she goes further, exploring the civilian-military split at
the heart of the question.  Her analysis that Barak, like Sharon, is
an advocate of transfer, and that both his non-negotiations with
Syria and his non-offer at Camp David were deliberately designed to
manipulate Israeli public opinion is original and compelling.  The
suggestions of high-level Israeli military collusion are intriguing,
although likely the full story will come out only years later.  Tanya
Reinhart has not just repackaged standard analysis of the occupation
-- she has seen deeper into the past five years of Israeli state
policy than anyone else writing in English." -- Rahul Mahajan, author
of _The New Crusade_

<http://www.sevenstories.com/Book/index.cfm?GCOI=58322100716180>   *****

*****   [excerpt]
Israel / Palestine: How to End the War of 1948
by Tanya Reinhart

For true negotiations to occur, Israel must first withdraw
unilaterally-as it did in Lebanon. It is astounding how simple it
would be to do this. Most of the occupied territories can be
evacuated immediately, within two or three months. The only way out
is to begin right now.

[At the Camp David negotiations in June 2000], Barak intended to
formally annex to Israel about 6 to 10 percent of the West Bank,
where the large Israeli settlement blocs are, populated with about
150,000 residents. But the biggest fraud in Barak's Camp David plan
was the fate of the 90 percent of the West Bank that was supposedly
earmarked to belong to the "Palestinian state." These lands are cut
up by isolated Israeli settlements, which were purposely built in the
midst of the Palestinian population to enable Israeli control of
these areas in the future. These isolated settlements are now
inhabited by about 40,000 Israeli settlers. Still, they control 40
percent of the land of the West Bank. As a result, two million
Palestinians are crowded in enclaves that consist of about 50 percent
of the West Bank.

Israel can and should evacuate at least this 90 percent of the West
Bank, along with the whole of the Gaza Strip. Many of the residents
of the isolated Israeli settlements are speaking openly in the
Israeli media about their wish to leave. It is only necessary to
offer them reasonable compensation for the property they will be
leaving behind. The rest are hard-core "land redemption" fanatics --
a negligent minority that will have to accept the will of the
majority. They can be evacuated forcefully, as was done in Yamit, on
the eve of the peace agreement with Egypt. Following the evacuation
of the settlements, the complete and immediate withdrawal of the
Israeli army from all its bases and outposts in these Palestinian
territories could commence.

Such a withdrawal would still leave under debate the 6 to 10 percent
of the West Bank with the large settlement blocs that cannot be
evacuated overnight, as well as the issues of Jerusalem and the right
of return. Negotiations will still be needed to resolve those
problems. However, during such negotiations Palestinian society could
begin to recover, to settle the lands that the Israelis evacuated, to
construct democratic institutions, and to develop its economy based
on free contacts with whomever it wants. Under these circumstances,
it should be possible to conduct negotiations with mutual respect,
and to address the core issue: What is the right way for two peoples
who share the same land to jointly build their future?

This plan should not be confused with the various "unilateral
separation" proposals that call for freezing and preserving the
situation in the West Bank, using the model of the Gaza Strip. They
involve building fences around the Palestinian enclaves to "separate"
them from the neighboring Israeli settlements, and from each other....

Doubts regarding immediate withdrawal of this kind are sometimes also
voiced by opponents of the occupation. They fear that the first
withdrawal from Gaza and most of the West Bank would dictate a
permanent two-state situation, without a solution to the crucial
questions of Jerusalem and the right of return. However, I believe it
would be a grave oversight to give up the concrete chance to get back
much of the Palestinian lands now, in the hope that in the future one
could get more. Whatever solution the two peoples arrive at in the
future, it must be based on Palestinians having land, resources, and
the freedom to develop anyway. So the process of acquiring these
basics should start now, regardless of the final vision.

This plan is now becoming realistic. Despite the declared "success"
of the latest military oppression, it becomes clearer that Israeli
military force against the Palestinians is not a solution. As in
Lebanon, the price of the occupation is again becoming intolerable
for the army and Israeli society, which also has to endure the
terrible and unforgivable terror attacks of desperate Palestinians.
The Israeli economy is on the verge of collapse, and it is not clear
how long it can continue to pay the price of the occupation.

At the same time, an amazing and encouraging fact is that support for
peace and reconciliation is still strong among the Palestinian
people. A survey by the Development Studies Program at Bir Zeit
University in the West Bank that was conducted in February 2002 found
that "77 percent believe that both Palestinians and Israelis have the
right to live in peace and security. 73 percent find it necessary for
Palestinians and Israelis to work together to achieve peaceful
coexistence once a Palestinian state is established."

By February 2002, after a year and a half of unbearable suffering,
the Palestinian majority was still striving only for its own
liberation, and was not transforming its struggle into hatred and
denial of the other side. This stands in sharp contrast to the
official Israeli propaganda that "there is no partner for peace."

And on the other side of the barricades, opposition is mounting in
Israel, and not just in terms of the cost of the occupation, but on
moral grounds and the loss of human values. Most notable is Israeli
draft resistance, there from the very first day of the uprising, but
which has since grown and spread. At the end of January 2002, a group
of reservists issued the following call, which has presently been
signed by over four hundred reservists:

We, reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense
Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice and
giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have
always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out
any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel
and strengthen it....We hereby declare that we shall not continue to
fight this War of the Settlements. We shall not continue to fight
beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and
humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue
serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves
Israel's defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not
serve this purpose and we shall take no part in them.

By February 2002, it seems that for the first time, the idea of an
immediate unilateral withdrawal was also beginning to gain support in
the Israeli mainstream. Ami Ayalon, who comes from the heart of the
security system (as former head of the Security Service), has had a
significant effect. Ha'aretz reported that, "After four months of
intense discussion, the Council for Peace and Security, a group of
1,000 top-level reserve generals, colonels, and Shin Bet and Mossad
officials, are to mount a public campaign for a unilateral Israeli
withdrawal from all of Gaza and much of the West Bank...."

To judge by the polls, this solution has enormous popular support.
Since mid-2002, the polls have shown a 60 percent or more majority in
favor of dismantling settlements, even in the framework of a
unilateral separation. The questions in the polls are not always
unequivocal, but in a Dahaf poll on May 6, 2002, solicited by Peace
Now, the questions were clear, and so were the answers: 59 percent of
the Jewish Israelis support a unilateral withdrawal of the Israeli
army from most of the occupied territories, and dismantling most of
the settlements. They believe that this will renew the peace process,
and this solution gives them hope....The tens of thousands of
Israelis who showed up at the demonstration of the peace coalition on
May 11, 2002, responded to this call.

Nevertheless, this majority does not yet have a substantial political
voice. Instead of calling for immediate withdrawal, the spokespeople
for the peace camp are talking about separation and fences....

But for the first time since Oslo, there is also a growing Israeli
peace movement that no longer obeys the political leaders of the
peace camp. At its core, there are many local protest groups that
became active from the onset of the uprising. This is the kernel of
the Israeli left that did not get confused, and stood up immediately
against the new phase of the occupation. Among them are Yesh-Gvul
("there is a limit") -- the old draft resistance movement, which
resumed activity in the first month of the Intifada and has already
supported tens of its members in jail; New Profile, a women's
organization in support of draft resistance; the coalition of Women
for Just Peace, which comprises several women's organizations and
whose members were demonstrating in Tel Aviv as early as October 1,
2002; Ta'ayush Arab Jewish -- a movement of Israeli Palestinians and
Jews which focuses on solidarity work with the Palestinians in the
occupied territories; Gush Shalom; Israeli members of the
International Solidarity Movement; and many others.

A basic principle of these groups is that the movement for peace and
against the occupation is a joint Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Right
from the start, Israelis and Palestinians have co-organized peaceful
demonstrations, extending hands to each other across the [Israeli
Defense Forces'] barricades and checkpoints. On the Palestinian side,
more voices have gradually been heard calling for a return to a
popular and civil uprising and away from armed struggle. Among these
voices are Bir Zeit University and many others, calling to coordinate
with Israeli anti-occupation activists, as in the previous uprising.

>From the Palestinian diaspora, Edward Said phrased the clear spirit
of this message. In an article published in March 2001 he quotes
Mandela's words: "The struggle of the Blacks in South Africa could
attract the imagination and dreams of the entire world, because it
offered the whole society-even the Whites who apparently benefited
from the Apartheid-the only way that enables the preservation of
basic human values." The Palestinian struggle, says Said, must be
based on the understanding that the Jewish people are here to stay.
The struggle must strive towards a settlement that will enable
coexistence based on human dignity, a settlement that "will capture
the imagination of the world."

On the Israeli side, on March 20, 2001, 140 academics published an ad
in three Palestinian newspapers that said: "We extend our arms to you
in solidarity with your just cause...and wish to cooperate with you
in opposing the IDF's brutal policy of siege, closure and curfews."
In the spirit of Mandela and Said, they too believe that this
cooperation "may serve as a precedent-setting example for future
relations between the two communities in this country, our shared

On March 2001, in the village of Rantis near Tul Karem, I watched,
bewildered, as approximately two hundred Israelis -- youth along with
old veterans -- demolished with their bare hands the stone and earth
barricade erected by the IDF -- just one of the dozens of events of
this kind that have taken place since the current round of Israeli
oppression began. The people knew that as soon as they left, IDF
bulldozers would return to reconstruct the barricade. Still, they
looked happy. Because they knew that they too will be there again.
They will be there for the only future worth living -- a future based
on basic human values.

Tanya Reinhart is a professor of linguistics and cultural studies at
Tel Aviv University and the University of Utrecht. She contributes a
regular critical column to Yediot Aharonot, Israel's biggest daily,
and published widely online and in the international media. For more
information about her, please visit: http://www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart.

Excerpted with publisher's permission from Chapter 10, "The Way Out."

L i P : Media Dissidence & Uncivil Discourse Since 1996
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