Monday, January 07, 2008

Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 18:29:32 -0800 (PST)
From: "WRITE! Action Alert"
Subject: Action Alert for articles in LA Times and Washington Post To:
WRITE! For Justice, Human Rights and International Law
in Palestine.

Greetings Everyone:

This action alert includes two articles to respond to
- a positive one from the LA Times, and an inadequate
article from the Washington Post. Of course you have
a choice to respond to both or one of them.

We need to send support to the Los Angeles Times for
publishing the following op-ed by John Mearsheimer and
Stephen Walt because we know that the Zionists are
blasting the Times for their attempts to allow all the
different views to express themselves. Mearsheimer
and Walt are the authors of a recent very powerful
book about the disproportionate and often corrupt
influence of the Israel lobby in American politics.

The most important thing about this article is that it
expresses the importance of overcoming the stigma
against criticizing Israel, and whether you are for a
one or a two state solution, supporting the open right
to criticize Israel in the American press is a goal we
can all join together in support of, and is a
necessary first step in the struggle to get the US to
stop its unconditional support of Israel, and to begin
to use its power to force Israel to change its illegal
and immoral policies toward the Palestinian people.

Please send your letter of support to Please include your full name,
mailing address and daytime phone number (your number
will not be published), but not attachments.

Israel's false friends
U.S. presidential candidates aren't doing the Jewish
state any favors by offering unconditional support.
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed
January 6, 2008
Once again, as the presidential campaign season gets
underway, the leading candidates are going to enormous
lengths to demonstrate their devotion to the state of
Israel and their steadfast commitment to its "special
relationship" with the United States.

Each of the main contenders emphatically favors giving
Israel extraordinary material and diplomatic support
-- continuing the more than $3 billion in foreign aid
each year to a country whose per capita income is now
29th in the world. They also believe that this aid
should be given unconditionally. None of them
criticizes Israel's conduct, even when its actions
threaten U.S. interests, are at odds with American
values or even when they are harmful to Israel itself.
In short, the candidates believe that the U.S. should
support Israel no matter what it does.

Such pandering is hardly surprising, because
contenders for high office routinely court special
interest groups, and Israel's staunchest supporters --
the Israel lobby, as we have termed it -- expect it.
Politicians do not want to offend Jewish Americans or
"Christian Zionists," two groups that are deeply
engaged in the political process. Candidates fear,
with some justification, that even well-intentioned
criticism of Israel's policies may lead these groups
to turn against them and back their opponents instead.

If this happened, trouble would arise on many fronts.
Israel's friends in the media would take aim at the
candidate, and campaign contributions from pro-Israel
individuals and political action committees would go
elsewhere. Moreover, most Jewish voters live in states
with many electoral votes, which increases their
weight in close elections (remember Florida in 2000?),
and a candidate seen as insufficiently committed to
Israel would lose some of their support. And no
Republican would want to alienate the pro-Israel
subset of the Christian evangelical movement, which is
a significant part of the GOP base.

Indeed, even suggesting that the U.S. adopt a more
impartial stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict can get a candidate into serious trouble.
When Howard Dean proposed during the 2004 campaign
that the United States take a more "evenhanded" role
in the peace process, he was severely criticized by
prominent Democrats, and a rival for the nomination,
Sen. Joe Lieberman, accused him of "selling Israel
down the river" and said Dean's comments were

Word quickly spread in the American Jewish community
that Dean was hostile to Israel, even though his
campaign co-chair was a former president of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Dean had
been strongly pro-Israel throughout his career. The
candidates in the 2008 election surely want to avoid
Dean's fate, so they are all trying to prove that they
are Israel's best friend.

These candidates, however, are no friends of Israel.
They are facilitating its pursuit of self-destructive
policies that no true friend would favor.

The key issue here is the future of Gaza and the West
Bank, which Israel conquered in 1967 and still
controls. Israel faces a stark choice regarding these
territories, which are home to roughly 3.8 million
Palestinians. It can opt for a two-state solution,
turning over almost all of the West Bank and Gaza to
the Palestinians and allowing them to create a viable
state on those lands in return for a comprehensive
peace agreement designed to allow Israel to live
securely within its pre-1967 borders (with some minor
modifications). Or it can retain control of the
territories it occupies or surrounds, building more
settlements and bypass roads and confining the
Palestinians to a handful of impoverished enclaves in
Gaza and the West Bank. Israel would control the
borders around those enclaves and the air above them,
thus severely restricting the Palestinians' freedom of

But if Israel chooses this second option, it will lead
to an apartheid state. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said
as much when he recently proclaimed that if "the
two-state solution collapses," Israel will "face a
South African-style struggle." He went so far as to
argue that "as soon as that happens, the state of
Israel is finished." Similarly, Israel's deputy prime
minister, Haim Ramon, said earlier this month that
"the occupation is a threat to the existence of the
state of Israel." Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy
Carter and Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have
warned that continuing the occupation will turn Israel
into an apartheid state. Nevertheless, Israel
continues to expand its settlements on the West Bank
while the plight of the Palestinians worsens.

Given this grim situation, one would expect the
presidential candidates, who claim to care deeply
about Israel, to be sounding the alarm and
energetically championing a two-state solution. One
would expect them to have encouraged President Bush to
put significant pressure on both the Israelis and the
Palestinians at the recent Annapolis conference and to
keep the pressure on when he visits the region this
week. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently
observed, settling this conflict is also in America's
interest, not to mention the Palestinians'.

One would certainly expect Hillary Clinton to be
leading the charge here. After all, she wisely and
bravely called for establishing a Palestinian state
"that is on the same footing as other states" in 1998,
when it was still politically incorrect to use the
words "Palestinian state" openly. Moreover, her
husband not only championed a two-state solution as
president but he laid out the famous "Clinton
parameters" in December 2000, which outline the only
realistic deal for ending the conflict.

But what is Clinton saying now that she is a
candidate? She said hardly anything about pushing the
peace process forward at Annapolis, and remained
silent when Rice criticized Israel's subsequent
announcement that it planned to build more than 300
new housing units in East Jerusalem. More important,
both she and GOP aspirant Rudy Giuliani recently
proclaimed that Jerusalem must remain undivided, a
position that is at odds with the Clinton parameters
and virtually guarantees that there will be no
Palestinian state.

Sen. Clinton's behavior is hardly unusual among the
candidates for president. Barack Obama, who expressed
some sympathy for the Palestinians before he set his
sights on the White House, now has little to say about
their plight, and he too said little about what should
have been done at Annapolis to facilitate peace. The
other major contenders are ardent in their
declarations of support for Israel, and none of them
apparently sees a two-state solution as so urgent that
they should press both sides to reach an agreement. As
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former U.S. national security
advisor and now a senior advisor to Obama, noted, "The
presidential candidates don't see any payoff in
addressing the Israel-Palestinian issue." But they do
see a significant political payoff in backing Israel
to the hilt, even when it is pursuing a policy --
colonizing the West Bank -- that is morally and
strategically bankrupt.

In short, the presidential candidates are no friends
of Israel. They are like most U.S. politicians, who
reflexively mouth pro-Israel platitudes while
continuing to endorse and subsidize policies that are
in fact harmful to the Jewish state. A genuine friend
would tell Israel that it was acting foolishly, and
would do whatever he or she could to get Israel to
change its misguided behavior. And that will require
challenging the special interest groups whose
hard-line views have been obstacles to peace for many

As former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami
argued in 2006, the American presidents who have made
the greatest contribution to peace -- Carter and
George H.W. Bush -- succeeded because they were "ready
to confront Israel head-on and overlook the
sensibilities of her friends in America." If the
Democratic and Republican contenders were true friends
of Israel, they would be warning it about the danger
of becoming an apartheid state, just as Carter did.

Moreover, they would be calling for an end to the
occupation and the creation of a viable Palestinian
state. And they would be calling for the United States
to act as an honest broker between Israel and the
Palestinians so that Washington could pressure both
sides to accept a solution based on the Clinton
parameters. Implementing a final-status agreement will
be difficult and take a number of years, but it is
imperative that the two sides formally agree on the
solution and then implement it in ways that protect
each side.

But Israel's false friends cannot say any of these
things, or even discuss the issue honestly. Why?
Because they fear that speaking the truth would incur
the wrath of the hard-liners who dominate the main
organizations in the Israel lobby. So Israel will end
up controlling Gaza and the West Bank for the
foreseeable future, turning itself into an apartheid
state in the process. And all of this will be done
with the backing of its so-called friends, including
the current presidential candidates. With friends like
them, who needs enemies?

John J. Mearsheimer is a professor of political
science at the University of Chicago. Stephen M. Walt
is a professor of international affairs at Harvard's
Kennedy School of Government. They are the authors of
"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," published
last year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


The article copied below from the Washington Post by
Steve Gutkin appears to try to be balanced, but misses
major points on the Palestinian side.

It fails to mention the following points which are
important to remind the Washington Post about so that
they print the whole truth about the Israel/Palestine

1. The article says Israel should give up some of the
settlements, but in fact all the Israeli settlements
are illegal, occupy stolen Palestinian lands and now
cut the West Bank in half making a Palestinian State
realistically impossible - why should Israel have the
right to keep any of them;

2. The article mentions that Palestinian refugees
should only be able to return to the areas of the
Palestinian State, but in fact it is a basic right by
international law and morality that the refugees of
1948 have complete right to return to their homes
within what is now Israel as per many UN resolutions -
that without this basic justice being fulfilled
realistically can there ever be true peace in the
region? Also, excluding the Palestinians is a way for
the Israelis to keep the true native majority out of
the country and thus from having a say in how to
govern their own homeland - that qualifies as a form
of ethnic cleansing, and is not the sign of a true
democracy. And how can the Israelis claim a right of
return after 1800 years and then deny it to another
people after only 60 years;

3. The article points out that the Palestinians will
soon be a majority in historic Palestine, when in fact
they have always been the majority in the region (as
per census counts by the British Mandate prior to
statehood), and are still today if you include the
Palestinian refugees stuck in refugee camps throughout
the region waiting to return to their homes (as per UN
counts afterwards), and thus the Israeli democracy has
always been dependent on keeping out the native

4. That the idea of a Jewish State is a formula for
discrimination by religion which has manifested as
law-based discrimination in Israel today that fulfills
the 6-part legal definition of apartheid as per
international law, and is dependent on exclusion of
the true native majority in the region.

A true democracy involves a non-secular government
that is responsive to all its citizens equally, led by
the majority, while maintaining minority protections
and rights, including the right to assemble and
organize, and Israel violates this ideal practically
at every point.

The international community has struggled to defeat
colonialism and racism and secularism, and promote and
protect human rights and equality through first the
League of Nations and then the United Nations for over
one-hundred years, and the question for the Washington
Post is why does it support this intentional and
well-organized long-term violation of that effort
which polarizes the world, spreads anti-Semitism and
anti-Western feelings, stimulates terrorism, and
undermines international law and order and cooperation
with its biased reporting?

Justice and our democracy and we the public are
dependent on our press reporting all the facts in an
unbiased way if we are to make informed decisions, and
the Washington Post is failing us in this
responsibility, and this hurts us all.

Please write to Letters should
be 200 words or less and include your name, address,
and a day and evening telephone number (for
identification purposes only).

And please don't send email attachments because they
don't read them.

Thanks again.

Israel, Palestinians Seek Elusive Peace


Washington Post
The Associated Press
Sunday, December 30, 2007; 8:04 AM

JERUSALEM -- In the afterglow of a high-profile peace
conference, Israeli and Palestinian leaders will try
in the coming year to resolve issues that have defied
solutions for decades.

For peace to work, Israel will have to give up most of
the West Bank, Palestinians must agree to resettle
refugees inside their own state and the two sides must
share the holy city of Jerusalem. None of that will
come easily _ and prospects for peace are hurt by the
growing power of extremists and the weakness of
leaders on both sides.

Weighing heavily on the Middle East is fear about the
influence of Iran and the ascendancy of Hamas
militants in the Gaza Strip. After Hamas violently
routed the more moderate Fatah movement in Gaza in
June, the big question now is whether the West Bank
will go the same way.

Israel fretted through a year of angst about Iran's
nuclear program only to be told in a new U.S.
intelligence report that Iran stopped it four years
ago. Israel isn't buying the claim, and is scrambling
to convince its allies that Iran remains a major
threat to the West.

Hamas' takeover of Gaza paradoxically opened the door
to peace talks between Israel and the moderate
Palestinian leadership now in charge of the West Bank.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders both say they hope to
sign a peace deal by the end of 2008.

On Nov. 27, the two sides got together in Annapolis,
Md., in the presence of some 45 nations _ including
leading Arab states _ to relaunch peace talks that had
been stalled during the past seven years of
Israeli-Palestinian violence.

All the main players have good reason to go for a
deal: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants to undo
the damage done by his inconclusive 2006 war in
Lebanon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs a
boost in his showdown with Hamas, President Bush would
like to offset his difficulties in Iraq, and moderate
Arab states need to counter Iranian-supported

Working against this new hope is weakness at the top:
a Palestinian president who only controls half his
territory and struggles to impose order in the part he
does control, and an Israeli leader who has done
little to confront domestic hawks intent on expanding
West Bank settlements and torpedoing any progress
toward peace.

While the contours of a peace deal have largely been
worked out in past talks _ a Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza, shared control of Jerusalem and a
recognition the need to settle the Palestinian
refugees _ every issue calls for excruciating

Negotiators will have to figure out how to share
Jerusalem, a task that must address key Israeli
security concerns and religious sensitivities on both
sides; and find a just solution for the Palestinian
refugees displaced in Israel's 1948 war of
independence without destroying the Jewish character
of Israel.

Both Israelis and Palestinians have a growing sense
that time is running out.

There will soon be more Muslims than Jews in the lands
comprising historic Palestine, and Israel will have to
make a deal if it hopes to remain both Jewish and
democratic. And without peace, moderate Palestinians
will likely lose their life-or-death struggle against
the extremists.

"If things don't work out it means that the voices
that are not in favor of ... a peaceful resolution of
the conflict will feel vindicated and they will be
strengthened and empowered," said independent West
Bank lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi.

Israeli Cabinet Minister Ami Ayalon went further,
saying that if peace talks fail "we shall see Hamas
controlling the West Bank and the right wing will
control Israel."

Israel might sign some sort of a peace treaty in the
coming year. But it's highly unlikely the deal would
be implemented unless Israel is assured that the lands
it evacuates won't be used as launching grounds for
attacks _ as happened after Israel withdrew from the
Gaza Strip in 2005.

In hopes of bolstering Abbas' forces in the West Bank,
the international community is expected to pledge
almost $2 billion a year in aid for the next three
years to help rebuild the Palestinian economy and
security forces.

There are no clear plans for Hamas-ruled Gaza, which
is internationally boycotted and can expect to remain
almost completely isolated and slide deeper into
poverty as long as the Islamic militants remain in

If the U.S. change of assessment on Iran was one
year-end surprise, Syria is another.

The country has long been under U.S. pressure over its
role in Lebanon and Iraq, and in September Israeli
warplanes struck a site in Syria that some believe was
a nascent secret nuclear site, an accusation denied by

But Syria improved ties with the U.S. by attending the
Annapolis conference, a thaw that U.S. officials hope
will dilute Iran's influence in the region. Damascus,
in turn, is hoping the next year will see a resumption
of stalled negotiations with Israel over the disputed
Golan Heights.


Steven Gutkin is The Associated Press' bureau chief
for Israel and the Palestinian territories.

© 2007 The Associated Press
Thank you,

The WRITE! Team


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