Bulletin #16

From: Francis Feeley <Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>

18 April 2002
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues :

The Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and
Social Movements has just received this essay by Norman G. Finkelstein,
forwarded to us from Belgium by Jean Bricmont, an Associate Research
Director at our Center.

This summary of historical events leading up to the current civilian
massacres by the Israeli armed forces should be useful for future legal and
historical research on this tragic international event now under way....


Professor Francis Feeley
Director of Research
Université Stendhal
Grenoble, France

Francis, Sorry if you have already received this, but it is an excellent
summary by Norman G. Finkelstein.
Jean Bricmont

First the Carrot, Then the Stick: Behind the Carnage in Palestine
by Norman G. Finkelstein
14 April 2002

During the June 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza,
completing the Zionist conquest of British-mandated
Palestine.  In the war's aftermath, the United Nations debated the
modalities for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict.  At the Fifth
Emergency Session of the General Assembly convening in the war's immediate
aftermath, there was "near unanimity" on "the
withdrawal of the armed forces from the territory of neighboring Arab
states occupied during the recent war" since "everyone
agrees that there should be no territorial gains by military conquest."
(Secretary-General U Thant, summarizing the G.A.
debate)  In subsequent Security Council deliberations, the same demand for
a full Israeli withdrawal in accordance with the
principle of  "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war"
was inscribed in United Nations Resolution 242, alongside
the right of "every state in the region" to have its sovereignty respected.
A still-classified State Department study concludes
that the US supported the "inadmissibility" clause of 242, making allowance
for only "minor " and "mutual" border adjustments.  (Nina J. Noring and
Walter B. Smith II, "The Withdrawal
Clause in UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967")
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan later warned Cabinet ministers not
to endorse 242 because "it means withdrawal to
the 4 June boundaries, and because we are in conflict with the Security
Council on that resolution."

Beginning in the mid-1970s a modification of UN Resolution 242 to resolve
the Israel-Palestine conflict provided for the
creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza once Israel
withdrew to its pre-June 1967 borders.  Except for the
United States and Israel (and occasionally a US client state), an
international consensus has backed, for the past quarter
century, the full-withdrawal/full recognition formula or what is called the
"two-state" settlement.  The United States cast the
lone veto of Security Council resolutions in 1976 and 1980 calling for a
two-state settlement that was endorsed by the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and front-line Arab states.  A
December 1989 General Assembly resolution along
similar lines passed 151-3 (no abstentions), the three negative votes cast
by Israel, the United States, and Dominica.

 From early on, Israel consistently opposed full withdrawal from the
Occupied Territories, offering the Palestinians instead a
South African-style Bantustan.  The PLO., having endorsed the international
consensus, couldn't be dismissed, however, as
"rejectionist" and pressure mounted on Israel to accept the two-state
settlement.  Accordingly, in June 1982 Israel invaded
Lebanon, where the PLO was headquartered, to fend off what an Israeli
strategic analyst called the PLO's "peace offensive."
(Avner Yaniv, Dilemmas of Security)

In December 1987 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza rose up in a
basically non-violent civil revolt (intifada) against the
Israeli occupation.  Israel's brutal repression (extra-judicial killings,
mass detentions, house demolitions, indiscriminate torture,
deportations, and so on ) eventually crushed the uprising.  Compounding the
defeat of the intifada, the PLO suffered yet a
further decline in its fortunes with the destruction of Iraq, the implosion
of the Soviet Union, and the suspension of funding
from the Gulf states.  The US and Israel seized this occasion to recruit
the already venal and now desperate PLO leadership
as surrogates of Israeli power.  This is the real meaning of the "peace
process" inaugurated at Oslo in September 1993: to
create a Palestinian Bantustan by dangling before the PLO the perquisites
of power and privilege.

"The occupation continued" after Oslo, a seasoned Israeli commentator
observed, "albeit by remote control, and with the
consent of the Palestinian people, represented by their `sole
representative,' the PLO."  And again: "It goes without saying
that  `cooperation' based on the current power relationship is no more than
permanent Israeli domination in disguise, and that
Palestinian self-rule is merely a euphemism for Bantustanization."  (Meron
Benvenisti, Intimate Enemies)

After seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations and a succession of
new agreements that managed to rob the
Palestinians of the few crumbs thrown from the master's table at Oslo (the
population of Jewish settlers in the Occupied
Territories had fully doubled in the meanwhile), the moment of truth
arrived at Camp David in July 2000.  President Clinton
and Prime Minister Barak delivered Arafat the ultimatum of formally
acquiescing in a Bantustan or bearing full responsibility for
the collapse of the "peace process."  As it happened, Arafat refused.
Contrary to the myth spun by Barak-Clinton as well as
a compliant media, in fact "Barak offered the trappings of Palestinian
sovereignty," a special adviser at the British Foreign
Office reports, "while perpetuating the subjugation of the Palestinians."
(The Guardian, 10 April l 2002; for details and the
critical background, see Roane Carey, ed., The New Intifada)

Consider in this regard Israel's response to the recent Saudi peace plan.
An Israeli commentator writing in Haaretz observes
that the Saudi plan is "surprisingly similar to what Barak claims to have
proposed two years ago."  Were Israel really intent on
a full withdrawal in exchange for normalization with the Arab world, the
Saudi plan and its unanimous endorsement by the
Arab League summit should have been met with euphoria.  In fact, it
elicited a deafening silence in Israel. (Aviv Lavie, 5 April
2002)  Nonetheless, Barak's - and Clinton's - fraud that Palestinians at
Camp David rejected a maximally generous Israeli
offer provided crucial moral cover for the horrors that ensued.

Having failed in its carrot policy, Israel now reached for the big stick.
Two preconditions had to be met, however, before Israel
could bring to bear its overwhelming military superiority: a "green light"
from the U.S. and a sufficient pretext.  Already in
summer 2000, the authoritative Jane's Information Group reported that
Israel had completed planning for a massive and
bloody invasion of the Occupied Territories.  But the US vetoed the plan
and Europe made equally plain its opposition.  After
11 September, however, the US came on board.  Indeed, Sharon's goal of
crushing the Palestinians basically fit in with the
US administration's goal of exploiting the World Trade Center atrocity to
eliminate the last remnants of Arab resistance to total
US domination.  Through sheer exertion of will and despite a monumentally
corrupt leadership, Palestinians have proven to
e the most resilient and recalcitrant popular force in the Arab world.
Bringing them to their knees would deal a devastating
psychological blow throughout the region.

With a green light from the US, all Israel now needed was the pretext.
Predictably it escalated the assassinations of
Palestinian leaders following each lull in Palestinian terrorist attacks.
"After the destruction of the houses in Rafah and
Jerusalem, the Palestinians continued to act with restraint," Shulamith
Aloni of Israel's Meretz party observed.  "Sharon and
his army minister, apparently fearing that they would have to return to the
negotiating table, decided to do something and
they liquidated Raad Karmi.  They knew that there would be a response, and
that we would pay the price in the blood of our
citizens."  (Yediot Aharonot, 18 January 2002)  Indeed, Israel desperately
sought this sanguinary response.  Once the
Palestinian terrorist attacks crossed the desired threshold, Sharon was
able to declare war and proceed to annihilate the
basically defenseless civilian Palestinian population.

Only the willfully blind can miss noticing that Israel's current invasion
of the West Bank is an exact replay of the June 1982
invasion of Lebanon.  To crush the Palestinians' goal of an independent
state alongside Israel - the PLO's "peace offensive"
- Israel laid plans in August 1981 to invade Lebanon.  In order to launch
the invasion, however, it needed the green light
from the Reagan administration and a pretext.  Much to its chagrin and
despite multiple provocations, Israel was unable to
elicit a Palestinian attack on its northern border.  It accordingly
escalated the air assaults on southern Lebanon and after a
particularly murderous attack that left two hundred civilians dead
(including 60 occupants of a Palestinian children's hospital),
the PLO finally retaliated killing one Israeli.  With the pretext in hand
and a green light now forthcoming from the Reagan
administration, Israel invaded.  Using the same slogan of "rooting out
Palestinian terror," Israel proceeded to massacre a
defenseless population, killing some 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese,
almost all civilians.

The problem with the Bush administration, we are repeatedly told, is that
it has been insufficiently engaged with the Middle
East, a diplomatic void Colin Powell's mission is supposed to fill.  But
who gave the green light for Israel to commit the
massacres?  Who supplied the F-16s and Apache helicopters to Israel?  Who
vetoed the Security Council resolutions calling
for international monitors to supervise the reduction of violence?  And who
just blocked the proposal of the United Nation's
top human rights official, Mary Robinson, to merely send a fact-finding
team to the Palestinian territories? (IPS, 3 April 2002)

Consider this scenario.  A and B stand accused of murder.  The evidence
shows that A provided B with the murder weapon,
A gave B the "all-clear" signal, and A prevented onlookers from answering
the victim's screams.  Would the verdict be that A
was insufficiently engaged or that A was every bit as guilty as B of

To repress Palestinian resistance, a senior Israeli officer earlier this
year urged the army to "analyze and internalize the
lessons ofShow the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto." (Haaretz, 25
January 2002, 1 February 2002)  Judging by
the recent Israeli carnage in the West Bank - the targeting of Palestinian
ambulances and medical personnel, the targeting of
journalists, the killing of Palestinian children "for sport" (Chris Hedges,
New York Times former Cairo bureau chief), the
rounding up, handcuffing and blindfolding of all Palestinian males between
the ages 15 and 50, and affixing of numbers on
their wrists, the indiscriminate torture of Palestinian detainees, the
denial of food, water, electricity, and medical assistance to
the Palestinian civilian population, the indiscriminate air assaults on
Palestinian neighborhoods, the use of Palestinian
civilians as human shields, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes with the
occupants huddled inside - it appears that the Israeli
army is following the officer's advice.  Dismissing all criticism as
motivated by anti-Semitism, Elie Wiesel - chief spokesman for
the Holocaust Industry - lent unconditional support to Israel, stressing
the "great pain and anguish" endured by its rampaging
army. (Reuters, 11 April; CNN, 14 April)

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Nobel laureate in literature, Jose Saramago,
invoked the "spirit of Auschwitz" in depicting the
horrors inflicted by Israel, while a Belgian parliamentarian avowed that
Israel was "making a concentration camp out of the
West Bank." (The Observer, 7 April 2002)  Israelis across the political
spectrum recoil in outrage at such comparisons.  Yet, if
Israelis don't want to stand accused of being Nazis they should simply stop
acting like Nazis.