Dialogue no 36 - Presentation

This issue of Dialogue presents several documents published during the recent Israeli offensive against the population of the Gaza Strip.

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The facts have been widely publicised: 2,150 people killed, 80% of them civilians, among whom 500 children; housing districts razed to the ground; tens of families blown to death in their homes by guided missiles. The total reckoning amounts to 20,000 people injured, many of whom will remain disabled for life,and 30% of the population has been displaced. Thephotos recall the bombings at the end of World War II. 134 factories have been destroyed, schools, hospitals have been destroyed, and practically the entire drinking water distribution system is now unusable. People worldwide as well as significant layers of the Jewish population have been shocked by this barbaric act and the relentless shelling and bombing widely shown in the media and supported by the major powers.

Making use of the historical sufferings of Jews to justify the policies of Israel and, consequently, the crimes against the Palestinian people is increasingly being publicly disapproved of. This is what the 350 survivors and descendants of victims of Nazi extermination camps have stated in a very dignified way. We are publishing their appeal in this issue. Something is changing.

Meanwhile, in the increasingly poorer and more violent Israeli society, contradictions are mounting to an explosive dimension between those who, in a vagueand undefined way would like to imagine a peaceful future and those who demand the extermination of the Palestinians. The army is dominated by fundamentalist commanding staff bred in the West Bank settlements. Intolerance and hatred are growing to unheard-of proportions among some layers of the Jewish population.

Meanwhile, three weeks after the end of the aggression called Protective Edge an opinion rating presented on the Israeli second TV channel showed that one third of the Israelis were considering emigrating from Israel.

In spite of its military power and destructive capacity, the State of Israel has never been so weak. Its claim to stand for democratic values has been rejected by wide sections of the Jewish people world wide.

Something is changing, as is illustrated by the letter countersigned by 43 Israeli veterans of the 8200 unit specialising in mass spying on populations. Such a group initiative stemming from a prestigious unit of the Israeli army is unprecedented. These intelligence specialists declare they refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories . They confirm that “ Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state's efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

Palestinian people imprisoned behind walls and barbed wire and a military blockade are subjected to jail-like surveillance of their every move with constant inside oppression. Imprisoned, put under control for 47 years for some, and for over 66 years for the Palestinians inside Israel.

In the State of Israel, some advocate massive expulsions and deepening control and imprisonment of the Palestinian population. Netanyahu demands that Palestinians recognise Israel as the Jewish State as a pre-condition for any negotiation. Writers and officials worry that the two state solution should be put aside as it would imperil the future of the Hebrew State. But what is the two state solution if not the continued imprisonment of all the components of the Palestinian people?

How could a territorial entity, derisively called the Palestinian State , co-existing alongside a dominant and ultra-powerful State of Israel, be anything but a rump State deprived of the prerogatives of any other State? The Palestinian State proposed by the major powers is nothing more than a revamping of a largely rejected Palestinian Authority. Could it be otherwise?

Can just and lasting peace exist in the framework of continued partition ofPalestine and rejection of the refugees' right to return? What would be the fate of the refugees in the countries they are living in if a so-called Palestinian State should be created? Would they be forcibly naturalised? Does this not open the way to new expulsions, new massacres?

After 50 days of unrestrained brutality, governments the world over have called a ceasefire and then turned their eyes again to Iraq and Syria. The state of Israel continues its repressive agenda just as after every ceasefire. In practise, ceasefire puts aggressors and their victims on the same level and only results in the continued siege of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military blockade (Egyptian in the south) is still on. It prevents any reconstruction, forbids people from moving, strangles the people of Gaza and makes already dire living conditions still worse. Unconditional lifting of the blockade is a democratic demand.

Unconditional lifting of the blockade is a democratic demand.

The crises in Israeli society and among its traditional sponsors, the affirmation of the unity of the Palestinian people are major elements in the present situation. Activists, groups or even whole populations who affirm their right to live, their refusal of barbarism are seeking solutions. Can they be offered another answer to their democratic aspirations outside the institution of equal rights throughout the territory of historical Palestine? Feeding the reflection and debate between worker and democratic activists on the solution to this situation is the objective of the Dialogue Review.

Sommaire :

Page 1
Presentation by Dialogue Review
Page 3
Interview with a Palestinian Activist in the 1948 Territories at the Onset of Israeli Offensive
Page 5
Arab Workers Union Appeal to Labour Unions and Civil Society Organisations (based in Nazareth)
Page 8
Interview with Professor Haim Bresheeth , Initiator of the Open Letter to Israeli Academics, on the Current Situation in Palestine and the Israeli Society
Page 12
More Than 350 Survivors and Descendents of Nazi Genocide Condemn the Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza
Page 13
But Is It Good for the Jews? by Lawrence Davidson
Page 16
Handala Will Soon Be Able to Turn Around! by Jacques Werstein
Page 18
DOCUMENT: The Palestinian Revolution and the Jews — Published in Beirut in May 1970 in Fateh newspaper
Page 24
DOCUMENT: The Palestinian National Charter adopted in by the First Palestinian Conference (Jerusalem, 2 June 1964)
Page 27
DOCUMENT: PLO Charter of 1968 (adopted by the Palestine National Council in Cairo on 17 July 1968)

From DIALOGUE REVIEW ( www.dialogue-review.com )