By Israel Shahak

At the time of this writing the end of the "peace process"

initiated in Madrid and Oslo is all too evident. It has failed

primarily because the Israeli government did nothing to make the

majority of the Palestinians in the Territories support it, at

least temporarily, although it could have obtained their support

without sacrificing any major imperial Israeli interests. Many

commentators, including some well-intentioned ones, are wringing

their hands imploring Rabin to refrain from taking another

provocative step - e.g the further confiscation of land in East

Jerusalem as decided on April 30, 1995. Those commentators fail

to take into account that Rabin's policies have an internal logic

and consistency based on the consensus of Labor Zionism as formed

already in the 1920s. This report will describe those policies,

to conclude that their analysis and prediction are very easy to

make on the assumption that they constitute an application of the

Zionist ideology which tends to override pragmatic

considerations. The apparent exceptions to this rule, e.g.

Israeli withdrawals from formerly conquered territories, are also

explainable in terms of idelogical factors, in this instance in

terms of the loss of Jewish lives in unsuccessful or inconclusive

wars and of the wish to avoid further losses of Jewish lives.

For instance, as pointed out by Tanya Reinhart (Yediot Ahronot,

May 1, 1995) in all Rabin's interviews to the Hebrew press

published on the Passover Eve, April 14, he reiterated his

ideological commitment to the principle that only the Jews "have

the right over the entire Land of Israel". Rabin didn't bother to

specify the exact borders of the Land in question: he only

admitted that "it is also inhabited by 2 million Palestinians"

who constitute "a problem" which only Labor knows how to solve.

This is a standard formula of Labor and center Zionism which

hasn't changed for more than 75 years.

On the same day "a senior officer of the Central Command of the

Israeli army", which is in charge of the West Bank, was

interviewed by Nahum Barnea (Yediot Ahronot, April 14). The

officer defined "the official policy of the Israeli army as

providing every Jew in every settlement, whether of the West Bank

or the Gaza Strip, with exactly the same degree of security and

well-being as Jews of Haifa and Tel Aviv have during all stages

of the peace process and afterwards". Needless to say, nothing

was said about security of the Palestinians who, more than before

Oslo, are harassed by the settlers backed by the army and by

Arafat's secret polices backed by the Shabak. The officer also

singled out with pride the ever increasing number of Palestinian

administrative detainees in the West Bank (3,600 according to

him, more than 5,000 according to my sources), adding that "the

detention orders which in the past have been issued for only half

a year are now issued for an entire year". He promised that the

Israeli army will soon take many other steps such as "the

confiscation of property" of individuals considered to be "Hamas

supporters" and as "decisive measures against the mosques. Not

every mosque is affiliated with Hamas, but a mosque which we will

consider as so affiliated will be dealt with utmost firmness".

The plan which the Israeli army already implements in the

Territories (known as "Rainbow of Colors") was published in the

Hebrew press in November 1994, but its crucial feature, the

"bypassing roads" on which only the Jewish settlers, their

visitors and the Israeli army will be permitted to drive, was

discussed by the press already in September. Reinhart (ibid.)

notes that the plan had been "formulated already in the early

1980s" by the settlers, but under Likud and "national unity"

governments nothing much was done to implement it. "It is 'the

peace government' which opened new vistas for the plan's

implementation". The annual cost of the plan is one billion

shekel [$330 million], to be continued for 3 years. Most of the

cost, as noted by Meir Shteglitz (Yediot Ahronot, April 9) Israel

expects to covered by the U.S. Relying on an interview given by

the commander of the Central Command, general Biran, to Haaretz

(April 28), Reinhart described the plan as "envisaging maximal

defense of all existing Jewish settlements and the partition of

the West Bank into enclaves containing Arab localities. Each

enclave is to be surrounded by bypassing roads, settlements and

Israeli army fortresses. The situation will be then the same as

in the Gaza Strip". (I will deal with the Gaza Strip later.) "If

Israel ever decides to withdraw its troops from any downtown area

of an Arab city [of the West Bank], the plan is to guarantee that

the Israeli army will continue to rule that city from outside".

Indeed, "control from outside" is a favorite term of Rabin and

other Labor stalwarts, in use from before the June 1992


Actually the plan was formulated already in 1977 by Ariel Sharon

and it was then described in the Hebrew press in detail. At that

time Sharon was still "only" an Agriculture minister. Rabin and

Peres, fresh from their defeat in the 1977 elections didn't

object to the plan, but Begin and Weizman, (Defense minister

1977-1980) did, since they assigned higher priority to making

peace with Egypt. When Begin began to lose his sanity and Sharon

became Defense minister, the highest priority was assigned to the

invasion of Lebanon. To the best of my knowledge, the plan under

current implementation has since remained the Israeli Security

System's "preferable solution" to "the problem" of Palestinians

in the Territories. According to the information available in the

Hebrew press, the plan began to be implemented in the Gaza Strip

right after Oslo. Reinhart quotes press sources showing that in

the West Bank the beginnings of its implementation date from July

1994, when in an amicable meeting Rabin agreed with the Gush

Emunim leaders "who explained to him that construction of the

bypassing roads lay in a common interest of the government and

the Jewish settlers. And at the same time Rabin was told the same

by [the then Chief of Staff] Barak". The plan was welcomed by

Gush Emunim leaders in their internal writings, but attacked

whenever they addressed the general public. According to general

Biran (ibid.) the plan "was intended to give the settlers the

full opportunity to live a normal life. I take this occasion to

stress that no Jewish settlement whatsover will ever be removed

from its place. In order to achieve this goal the Israeli army is

now implementing a number of plans, such as the construction of

the bypassing roads and of a separate electricity and water

networks intended to guarantee that each Jewish settlement will

have maximum security and welfare".

Reinhart provides a sophisticated but in my view insufficient

explanation of why the apartheid-like "Rainbow of Colors" plan

was welcomed by the "Peace Now" and by most of both Jewish and

Palestinian "peace camp". All too clearly, the plan favored the

settlers and was intended to perpetuate the Israeli conquest of

the Territories more effectually than before by "control from

outside". Yet "Peace Now" extolled this racist plan as "a

positive sign of implementation of the peace process", and its

leaders rushed to convince Arafat in Gaza about its virtues.

Noting that the settlers and all the right-wing censured the

"Rainbow of Colors" plan as "selling out the Land to the

Gentiles", Reinhart observes that "the religious settlers and

Likud had long ago discovered a panaceum for neutralizing the

left. As soon as they attack the government, the doves of various

persuasions stand to attention ready to help the government

pursue the 'peace process'. The result is that the supporters of

a plan devised by the settlers can pass for 'peace lovers'. The

more one insists that the government speeds up carrying out this

plan in the whole of the West Bank, the more reputation for

'peace loving' he acquires. And whoever dares to oppose this plan

is instantly censured by the doves for 'sabotaging the peace' and

branded as one of those 'extremists from both sides' who by

virtue of opposing Rabin's policies is 'objectively against


This explanation is correct on a tactical level. It clearly

points out how the Oslo process in effect advanced the cause of

the Israeli apartheid, by virtue of making it possible to brand

every Jewish or Palestinian opponent of racism as "enemy of

peace". Yet in my view Reinhart, like many other Jewish leftists,

misses the main point. I wholeheartedly agree with her prognosis

of the effects of the "Rainbow of Colors" upon the Palestinians.

She writes: "The meaning of the plan is that we will solve the

problem of 2 million Palestinians in the Territories by

imprisoning them in ghettoes, starving them and turning them into

beggars. But instead of calling it 'an occupation', we will

present it as a step toward a Palestinian state. We will pry

Palestinian throats with our boots while smiling to them nicely".

[A clear allusion to Shimon Peres, I. Shahak.] But the point

which Reinhart misses is that Labor's version of Jewish racism

has always been much more hypocritical and hence more dangerous

than Likud's, but also more noxious in terms of actual oppressing

of its victims. I will return to this point below.

Meron Benvenisti's presentation (Haaretz, April 27) is similar to

Reinhart's. He also derides the Zionist doves who support Israeli

brutalities committed after Oslo in general and the "Rainbow of

Colors" in particular, while reassuring the Palestinians that

these are means conducive to the Palestinian state, "at first

only in the Gaza Strip". Benvenisti says that "far from promoting

justice, peace or progress, a world-view reduced to establishing

a state as its single goal cannot but be empty, deceitful and

conforming to Israeli interests. Now, when the Palestinian

Authority already has an autonomous authority in domestic

affairs, its corruption and arbitrariness in the Gaza Strip

cannot stand in greater contrast from the ideals of human freedom

and dignity, and from the struggle against deprivation. Hence,

even if Israel grants Arafat a semblance of a state, no relief

can be expected in the conditions of oppression, control and

exploitation. Such conditions were dictated by Israel to Arafat

in the Oslo and Cairo Accords. This is why no conceivable change

of labels may prompt the Palestinian population to ideologically

identify with Arafat's regime". Benvenisti says that Israel may

possibly agree to Arafat's statehood, but only in order to

present it as a "seeming concession enabling Israel to demand

from the Palestinians in return 'more flexibility', in

acquiescing to the perpetuation of the Israeli colonial rule over

the Territories". I don't think the Labor government will ever

agree to independent Palestinian state, even in the Gaza Strip

alone. The talk about such a prospect was no more than a typical

ploy by Shimon Peres, intended to extract from Arafat more

compliance with Israeli demands. Had Labor intended to establish

a Palestinian state, it would have exploited it in the fast

approaching Israeli election campaign. Moreover, Rabin would have

sought to justify it in his numerous Passover Eve interviews. Yet

the Israeli government has done nothing in order to explain and

justify such a policy change to the Israeli public.

To describe the aims of the "Rainbow of Colors" apartheid,

Benvenisti speaks, in my view all too cogently, of "conceptual

ethnic cleansing i.e. of erasing the others from one's

consciousness. It cannot be attributed to chance that the so-

called 'peace process with the Palestinians' is in Jewish society

accompanied by an unusually high incidence of ethnocentrism

approaching racism, of tribal forms of morality and of the

failure to distinguish between the moral right to exist and the

moral obligation to behave decently". Among Benvenisti's examples

of such "incidence", a particularly outrageous (at least in my

view) was the imposition of a round-the-clock curfew on

Palestinians of Hebron so as to let the visitors of Jewish

settlers "hold a picnic", and roam around the city in perfect

safety. For a single day during the Passover week the city was

for this purpose filled up with troops: a circumstance which let

the picnickers exult over Palestinians confined in their houses

and throw stones at them, especially if their dared to look out

from their windows. The whole thing was intended as a concession

of Rabin to Gush Emunim. It nevertheless failed to prevent the

latter to use the day for the grossest forms of abuse of what

they call "the government of wickedness", including public

prayers to God to "abolish it quickly".

Benvenisti concludes, rightly in my view, that "the Oslo process,

the resultant ideology of segregation and the resultant security

considerations are intended to vest [Israeli] ethnic cleansing

with an aura of respectability. Sure, my use of that term may be

viewed as a manifestation of extremism compared to its usual use

as an elegant term for expulsions and mass murders. But in my

view ethnic cleansing may also be more limited in time. A closure

of the Territories or a curfew intended to cleanse the public

space from the presence of "others" are perfect examples of such

conceptual ethnic cleansing limited in time".

Danny Rabinovitz (Haaretz, April 25), whom I am going to quote

extensively, tries to capture the difference between the Israeli

right- wing and Rabin and his supporters. "The right-wing would

have liked that Israeli troops would have reentered Gaza [Strip]

so as to let Israel itself deal with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.

In contrast, Rabin and his Jewish supporters are worshipping the

Moloch of segregation and dream about creating a tough and

sophisticated Palestinian Authority capable of eradicating terror

and thus letting the Jews live in perfect security. On the

surface, these may seem two very different approaches, not merely

to the problem of terror but also to the solution of the Jewish-

Palestinian conflict. On one side the nostalgic right-wing vision

of 'Greater Israel' and on the other 'Pax Israeliana' of the

humanistic and peace-loving left. On closer inspection, however,

what may be called 'Rabin's vision' may make one wonder whether

the difference between the left and the right on those fateful

issues is really that great. What will be the meaning of peace,

if Arafat accepts the current Israeli proposals and becomes a

guardian of security of the Jews by successfully trying to

eradicate the extremists in the Gaza [Strip]? This was precisely

the nightmare of the Palestinian opponents of Oslo, whether

religious or secular. They feared that what went under the name

of 'the peace process' was to be nothing more than a change in

forms of the Israeli military conquest from a cruel but a

temporary regime, into a durable form of political and economic

enslavement, not only more oppressive but also more perpetual".

Let me omit Rabinovitz's historical analysis of Arafat's role as

a linchpin in the long succession of the Ottoman, British,

Jordanian and Israeli "mukhtars" [village headmen], granted the

security of tenure together with opportunities for exploitation

of others, in exchange for being responsible to "the authorities"

for guaranteeing good behavior of people under their

jurisdiction. Currently, says Rabinovitz, "Rabin wants Arafat to

become Israel's 'rais' [headman or contractor in Arabic or

Hebrew] for security of Jewish lives, threatening that in the

event of his failure in this task, Israel will stop the

negotiations, impose a perpetual closure of the Territories and

stop the flow of money from the Western states. However, if

Arafat performs his job as required, Rabin will reward him by

granting him the security of tenure as a Mukhtar... It is true

that Rabin has decisively opted against militaristic form of

colonialism, but what the [Israeli] left proposes instead is

nothing less than a neo-colonialist form of perpetual


"It is still unclear whether Arafat wants to fight Hamas and

whether he believes that he can defeat it. But Arafat can defeat

Hamas only in a way which guarantees his stay in power as an

Israeli puppet heading the crowds of his secret police agents, a

sort of a Palestinian Antoine Lahad responsible for another

'security zone'. In such a case it may be possible to maintain

Arafat in power with the help of money from Western states and

other means Israel would take to maintain him in power. But in

such a case Arafat cannot be expected to deliver political

benefits which only a legitimate leadership with a popular

mandate could deliver. This is why the difference between the

respective solutions of [Israeli] left and right do not seem to

be so great. The right-wing solution is cruder, more violent and

more short-sighted of the two, whereas the leftist solution is

better adapted to current international fashions. But neither

succeeds in protecting us from the cold wind entering through the

tear and wear in the cloak, so hastily patched up in Oslo in

order to keep us cozily warm".

Those developments could have been predicted (and have in fact

been predicted in my reports) by those who took the trouble to

analyze the actual Zionist policies pursued since the 1920s, and

after 1967 in the Territories. Let me begin with Israel itself.

The laws of the State of Israel pertaining to the use of land are

based on the principle of discrimination against all non-Jews.

The State of Israel has turned most of the land in Israel (about

92%) into "state land". After those lands are defined as owned by

the State of Israel they can be leased for long periods only to

Jews. The right to a long-term lease of such land is denied to

all non- Jews without a single exception. This denial is enforced

by placing all state lands under the administration by the Jewish

National Fund, a branch of the World Zionist Organization, whose

racist statutes forbid their long-term lease, or any other use,

to non- Jews. Their lease to Jews, conditioned upon the

prohibition of sub-lease to non-Jews, is granted for the period

of 49 years with an automatic renewal for another 49 year period.

Consequently, they are treated as property and are bought, sold

and mortgaged, provided the party to the deal is Jewish. The

small and decreasing number of cases of leasing state land to

non-Jews for grazing is never for more than 11 months. A Jewish

leasee of state land is allowed, often subsidized or otherwise

encouraged, to develop the land and especially to build a house

for himself there, but non-Jewish leasee is strictly prohibited

to do so. Leasing state land to a non-Jew is always accompanied

by restrictive conditions, such as the prohibition of

construction or any other development or sub-leasing it to

somebody else. By the way, membership of all kibbutzim and

moshavim (whose supposed "socialist" or "utopian" character is so

stridently advertized outside Israel) is strictly limited to Jews

by virtue of their being all located on state land. Non- Jews who

desire to become members of a kibbutz, even a kibbutz whose

Jewish members are atheists, must convert to Judaism. The kibbutz

movements, in cooperation with the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, are

keeping special training facilities for preparing "easy", (i.e in

most cases fake) conversions to Judaism for such people.

As a consequence the Galilee can be described as the land of

apartheid. Palestinian localities are bursting with population

growth but are surrounded by state land which they cannot use it

in order to expand. The town of Sakhnin in the Galilee, inhabited

by about 25,000 Palestinians, is surrounded from three sides by

state land allotted to three kibbutzim founded in 1970s for the

express purpose to "guard state land" from "Arab encroachment".

Those kibbutzim are in every respect failures. The original

members had long ago left them and so did their successors, but

new Jewish volunteers (mostly from the "peace camp") are being

sent there all the time. Those kibbutzim receive huge subsidies,

both from the Israeli government and from the Jewish Agency i.e.

ultimately from tax-free contributions of Jews all around of

world. No one proposes, even for the sake of efficiency or

winning support of the Palestinians for the peace process, that

even the tiniest part of state land around Sakhnin be allotted to

non-Jews of that town. Obviously, an ideological consideration

overrides all political considerations, like in religion the

sacred always overrides the profane.

There are many states which in the past were systematically

engaged in land robbery. The USA, for example, robbed the Indians

of their land, transforming most of it into state land.

Nevertheless, this land is now available for use by any USA

citizen. If a Jew were in the USA prohibited to lease land

belonging to the state only because he were Jewish, this would be

rightly interpreted as anti-Semitism. But anti- Semitism is

already considered in the USA disreputable, whereas in Israel

"Zionism" is the official state-ideology and is indoctrinated as

a goal of public education. Of course, the land issue is no more

that a single (but crucial) example of official racism and

discrimination against the non-Jews. But racism pervades all

walks of life in Israel, victimizing mainly the Palestinians.

Some Zionists recently want to alleviate its effects, but no

Zionist party nor Zionist politician has ever proposed to abolish

it or had second thoughts about its underlying ideology. The

whole discriminatory system is obviously intended to be practiced

in the foreseeable future.

It is easy to see that by the rigorous enforcement of such laws,

also against most loyal supporters of the state, Israel is

undermining its own imperial and military power. Let me give two

instances of this. The first concerns the Druzes who, as

discussed in report 153, are serving in the Israeli army, police

and intelligence, often reaching high ranks in those services.

They are nevertheless legally barred from use of the state land

and as non-Jews they suffer from other discriminatory laws as

well. The same can be said about other Palestinians who either

serve in the above mentioned security services or reach high

ranks in various branches of civil service, for example as

judges. Israel had appointed Palestinians to be its consuls and

other diplomatic representatives. It is now contemplating an

appointment of the first Palestinian ambassador. But a

Palestinian general, ambassador or judge is still subject to the

discussed discriminatory laws. He still does not have the right

to lease even a small plot of state land, whereas any released

Jewish murderer has this right as matter of course.

Right now, Palestinians may or may not perceive themselves as

victims of Israeli discrimination. Many of them are too mystified

by their feudal mindset to perceive it clearly. If anything, that

mindset dictates to them an almost exclusive concern with the

loss of ancestral property. But their eventual modernization is

inevitable. It is anticipated even by the Israeli "Arabist

experts" who are no fools. As soon as it comes, the Palestinians

are bound to perceive themselves first and foremost as victims of

Israeli legal discrimination, applied against them by virtue of

their being non-Jews. When this occurs, Israel's domestic and

international position can be expected to become highly unstable.

Some Israeli decision-makers can be presumed to be aware of it.

It can even be presumed that a major reason of the Oslo process

was the hope (common for Israel and Arafat) to arrest the process

of Palestinian society's change by using force to refeudalize it.

But the Israeli experts must know that the probability of

arresting social change is very low, at least within Israel. In

other words, Israel as an imperial power is not even

contemplating to adapt itself to changing circumstances in a way

other imperial powers did with success. To return to the Druze

case: even if brigadier-general (reserves) Muhammad Kana'an who

performed to perfection the duties of military commander of the

Gaza Strip during the Intifada and who yet, as a non- Jew is as

discriminated against by Israel as any other non-Jew, is not

aware of this fact, his sons and sons of other Druze are sure to

be aware of it in a not so distant a future.

The second example concerns the two Arab villages in Galilee,

Bir'am and Ikrit. The inhabitants of both are Christians who

didn't resist Israeli forces in 1948, and who surrendered as soon

as the Israeli army was approaching. Their inhabitants were

evacuated "for two weeks only", as was solemnly promised in the

capitulation accord signed by the Israeli army. After two weeks,

however, the army reneged on its promise. In 1951 the Supreme

Court ruled in favor of the villagers' return, but its verdict

was soon overruled on the basis of the "Defense Regulations

1945". These regulations had originally been passed by the

British to be used against the Jews. Before the creation of the

State of Israel they were described by some most respected Jewish

legal authorities in Palestine as "Nazilike laws", or as "even

worse than the Nazi laws", because they provided the government

with an almost unlimited powers on the condition of exercising

them through the army. Begin's Deputy Prime Minister, Simha

Erlich, quipped that "these Regulations let a general commanding

the Jerusalem district or a Defense minister surround the Knesset

by tanks and arrest its members with perfect legality". The State

of Israel nevertheless kept them in force, applying them,

however, almost exclusively against non-Jews. In the case of

Bir'am and Ikrit Ben Gurion's was able to respond to the Supreme

Court's verdict by using the "Defense Regulations 1945" to

confiscate land belonging to the two villages and by ordering the

Airforce to bomb both villages on Christmas Eve of 1951, with the

adult male villagers rounded up and forced to watch from the

nearby hill how their houses were being demolished. Only the

churches were spared from destruction: they serve to this day as

destinations for pilgrimage for the former villagers who retain

their Israeli citizenship. The remainder of the land was

allocated to kibbutzim and moshavim, with a "left-wing" kibbutz

(which even adopted Bir'am's name) receiving a lion's share. The

Supreme Court ruled that those confiscations and demolition

orders had been perfectly legal.

Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the two villages, have been

campaigning till this very day: particularly those of Bir'am who

are all of Maronite religion and many quite right-wing

politically. Rationally speaking, their campaign could have good

chances to succeed, especially after they solemnly and repeatedly

declared that they didn't demand their farmlands, but only the

church, the neighboring cemetery and a tiny plot nearby to be

used as a museum. All pragmatic considerations would be in favor

of accepting their modest request. After all, many of them serve

in the Israeli police. They have close connections with Maronites

in Lebanon which Israel had exploited before and during its

invasion of Lebanon. Their case is supported by the Catholic

Church and other important international bodies. Yet there is no

chance that their request may be accepted, least so by the

current "peace government".

For the analysis of Israeli policies in the era of the "peace

process" it is even more important to recall that by the time

Oslo Accord was signed Israel had already turned about 70% of the

West Bank land into "state land" which, like in Israel, could be

leased only to Jews. (By further confiscations this percentage

has after Oslo risen to 72% or 73% but for the purpose of this

report I will use the round figure 70%.) All the West Bank

settlements, being built on this land, are intended only for the

Jews, who don't even need to be Israeli. The Jews from the entire

world are entitled to settle on this land. Hence the Western

media are wrong (possibly even deliberately) in their persistent

use of the term "Israeli settlements". The fact is that a non-

Jewish Israeli citizen, like brigadier-general (reserves)

Muhammad Kana'an, is denied the legal right to settle in these

settlements; and so are Christians who fervently support the

cause of "Greater Israel". If we suppose that one day the Spirit

will command reverend Falwell or reverend Robertson to leave

their holy work in the U.S. in order to settle in Kiryat Arba,

they won't be allowed to as non-Jews. But if we suppose that the

Spirit will command them to convert to Judaism, they will become

legally eligible to settle in any Jewish settlement right from

the moment their conversion is finalized. This is not just a

theoretical possibility, as groups of converts to Judaism from

some obscure tribes in Peru and India have actually been brought

and settled in the Territories.

On the other hand, there have been several attempts of Druze

veterans (some of whom profess very hawkish views) to apply for

an allotment of West Bank state land in order to establish a

Druze settlement there. All such requests were firmly denied,

against best Israeli interest. Moreover, especially since the

inception of the Intifada, Palestinian collaborators living in

fear of death have persistently requested the Israeli authoritues

to let them settle in Jewish settlements of the West Bank, even

temporarily. As some of them argued, this would be highly

advantageous to Israeli intelligence since they could live close

to their former homes and be able to maintain to some extent

their former contacts. Yet again, all such requests were firmly

denied. After Oslo Israel had to remove some collaborators from

the West Bank and settle them in Israel. But even then, instead

of allotting them any state land, it rented private land or

private housing for the purpose.

Let me return to the West Bank land issue. Of 70% of its land

which became state land, only 16% has actually been allocated to

Jewish settlements. The remaining 54% stand empty. It needs to be

acknowledged that removing Jewish settlements, or perhaps even a

single one of them, may well give rise to grave political

problems, including the risk of armed clashes which may even

escalate into a civil war. (Such dangers have been repeatedly

discussed in my reports.) But the prospect of returning some or

even the whole of the 54% of the not yet settled state land back

to the Palestinian peasants carries only minimal risks. It could

have been done easily during the first 6-8 months after Oslo.

Since the attachment of the Palestinians, (not only the peasants

but of the entire nation) to the land is profound, and the well-

justified fear of being driven away from it palpable, one can

easily imagine the effect of an even partial restitution of the

empty 54% of the West Bank land on the Palestinian masses. A

better way of binding Palestinian public opinion to Israeli

interests served by the Oslo and Cairo Accords could hardly be


The same is true for the Gaza Strip. If anything, its case is

more glaring because the number of Jewish settlers there, 5,000

when the Oslo Accord was signed, increased since to about 8,000,

is incommensurably smaller than the number of Jewish settlers in

the West Bank, 130,000 when the Oslo Accord was signed, increased

since to about 160,000, East Jerusalem excluded. Also, the

proportion of Jewish settlers to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip

(officially 800,000, in reality about million) is completely

different in scale than the proportion of the West Bank Jewish

settlers to West Bank Palestinians (officially about 1.200,000,

in reality about 1.300,000 excluding East Jerusalem.) Yet about

28% of the Strip's area duly converted to state land, was

allotted to Jewish settlers long before Oslo and after Oslo

withheld from the autonomy's jurisdiction. Also in the Strip no

empty state land was restored to Palestinian ownership. In the

case of the Gaza Strip I don't know the proportion of the empty

to the settled state lands, but I do know that the former exist.

In the single case of settlement of Netzarim (whose residents,

far from doing any farming, are for the most part engaged in

studying Talmud), detailed maps have been published in the Hebrew

press (for example, Haaretz, April 10). The maps show a large

land area attached to that settlement, necessarily empty but of

course denied to the Palestinians.

Nevertheless, Rabin hasn't even contemplated giving back to

Palestinian peasants, or even to the Palestinian Authority, a few

symbolic dunums of the state land around Netzarim. True, some

Zionist "peaceniks" are advocating the removal of the whole

settlement of Netzarim as causing loss of too many Jewish lives.

As mentioned above, this is regarded as a factor which may

temporarily override ideological considerations. But no Zionist

"peace lover" has as yet advocated the return of an empty state

land for the sake of a mere political advantage. This can be

generalized. The peace process was "sold" to Israeli Jews public

not only as an effectual means of guaranteeing their security,

but also as a potential for profits from trade with Arab states

expected in its wake to expand. Nevertheless, just as in the case

discussed above, no Zionist has ever dared to propose that the

ideology of discriminating against non-Jews be for once

sacrificed for the sake of advancing the Oslo process and thus

enhancing Israel's power and wealth. To the best of my

recollection, Israel (or Zionist Movement before Israel's

inception) has never sacrificed its ideology on the altar of

merely political considerations or economic interests.

In other words, empirical evidence (valid as anything in politics

can be valid) shows that Israeli policies are primarily

ideologically motivated and that the ideology by which they are

motivated is totalitarian in nature. This ideology can be easily

known since it is enshrined in the writings of the founders of

Labor Zionism, and it can be easily inferred from Israeli laws,

regulations and pursued policies. Those who, like Arafat, his

henchmen and most Palestinian intellectuals, have through all

these years failed to make an intellectual effort to seriously

study this ideology, have only themselves to blame for being

stunned by all the developments of the 20 months after Oslo.

Whoever after Oslo stopped denouncing Israeli "imperialism" for

the sake of a meaningless "peace of the brave" slogan, only

showed that he learned nothing and forgot nothing. Their blunder

is all the greater since Israel has by no means been unique in

pursuing ideologically determined policies. Strict ideological

considerations determine policies in plenty of other past and

present states. In other cases an ideology underlying a given

policy, however, is not only openly admitted by a state

concerned, but also well-known and discussed beyond its borders.

Israel is indeed unique in that the discriminatory Jewish

ideology dictating its policies is hardly ever discussed beyond

its borders, due to the fear of offending the Jews of the

diaspora and of being labelled by their powerful organizations as

an "anti-Semite" or "Jewish self-hater". At the same time in

Israel the ideology of discriminating against all non-Jews is not

only openly admitted but also advocated as guaranteeing the

character of Israel as a "Jewish state" mandated to preserve its

"Jewish character". The Jewish supporters of Israeli

discriminatory practices freely admit that they thus want to

preserve the "Jewish character" of Israel, conceived of by them

and by the majority of Israeli Jews, as legacy of historical

Judaism. Indeed, if we overlook the modern times, there is

sufficient truth in this claim. Until the advent of modern times

all Jews firmly believed that non-Jews should be discriminated

against whenever possible. It now turns out that the Jewish

Enlightenment failed to change the attitudes of all, or perhaps

even of most, Jews in this respect. Many completely irreligious

Jews still believe that for the sake of the Jewish religious law

and tradition which commanded to discriminate the non-Jews the

latter should be discriminated in the "Jewish state" forever.

This is professed in spite, or perhaps even because of the

undeniable fact that this discrimination has the same character

as that which the anti-Semites want to apply against the Jews.

In the light of the impact of the ideology upon the actual

Israeli policies the critiques of the latter by Reinhart,

Benvenisti and Rabinovitz discussed at the beginning of this

report are valid, yet in one crucial respect inadequate. For all

their superiority to the "experts in Israeli affairs" from the

Western press, the named authors seem always puzzled by the

policies Israel is pursuing. They never cease offering the

Israeli government "good advice" of how it can gain in its

relations with the Arabs by "being moderate". Analysis and

experience show that offering such an advice amounts to an

exercise in futility. Numerous historical analogies, including

the recent collapse of Communist regimes in Europe, show

conclusively that a real change is impossible as long as a party

representing no matter how flexibly a state ideology stays in

power. In Israel power is firmly in the hand of the Security

System and of the Zionist parties whose deep commitment to the

Zionist ideology has not been challenged. On the other hand, the

mentioned analogies show that once the power of a state ideology

is challenged in public, it means that a real change is on its

way. Eventually, such a change may materialize by a sudden

disintegration of the state ideology and the state apparatus

supporting it. This is what happened since the late 1970s in

Poland. KOR and Solidarity which challenged the ideological basis

of the state were the true harbingers of the fall of the entire

European communism; whereas the plethora of reforms imposed by

the Polish Communist party from above amounted to no more than

palliatives which changed nothing. The Israeli ideology which has

been only slightly undermined in the period of 1974-1993, has

been again revitalized in the aftermath of Oslo. Due to its

social cohesiveness, military and particularly nuclear power and

the increasing support of the U.S. Israel feels at present too

strong to offer even palliative concessions to Palestinians.

Under those conditions ideological considerations can remain to

be predominant, except when Jewish lives are lost.

From high abstraction let me again pass to concretes. Omitting

facts already presented in report 151, let me now show how the

actual Israeli policies in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank draw

from the ideology of continuous discrimination by means more

effectual than beforehand. Let me first deal with the Gaza Strip.

Detailed maps of the Strip often published by the Hebrew press

(but never by the Palestinian press!) show how it is criss-

crossed by "military roads" which according to Cairo Accords

remain under Israeli jurisdiction. Those roads are constantly

patrolled by the Israeli army, either separately or jointly with

the Palestinian police. The Israeli army has the right to close

any section of any such road to all Palestinian traffic, even if

it runs deep within the autonomy, and it actually uses this right

after any Palestinian assault. For example, Haaretz (April 11)

reported that the Israeli army closed "until further notice" two

road sections deep inside the autonomy "to all Palestinian

vehicles" after two assaults which occurred two days earlier.

Appended to the report was a map showing the Strip's roads. One

of them, called "Gaza city bypassing road", traverses the entire

length of the Strip, carefully bypassing the cities and refugee

camps. A military road and a narrow strip of land not included in

the autonomy cuts it off from Egypt. A number of parallel roads

traverse the Strip's autonomous area from the Israeli border on

its east side to the sea or a Jewish settlement block on the

west. All authorized entry points to the autonomy are located at

the beginning of military roads.

One such road is the Netzarim road. It begins at an authorized

entry point to the autonomy at Nahal Oz. From there it runs

westward, skirting all Palestinian localities. After crossing the

"Gaza city bypassing road" it reaches Netzarim. It does not end

there, however, but continues to a military fortress on the sea

shore. It thus cuts the Gaza Strip into two parts. A sector of

that road which approaches Netzarim is closed to all Palestinian

traffic. The obvious effect of that closure is to encourage

Hamas' assaults, as there is no risk that a Palestinian vehicle

may be hit there by mistake. This case is the best illustration

of the extent to which an ideological consideration can override

even elementary security precautions!

The overall effect is that the autonomous part of the Gaza Strip

is sliced into enclaves controlled by the bypassing roads. The

role of the Jewish settlements is not only to guard state land,

but also to serve as pivots of the road grid devised to ensure a

perpetual Israeli control of the Strip under a new and more

effectual form. This new form of control, referred to by Rabin

and other Labor politicians as "control from outside" allows the

army to dominate the Strip (and to reconquer it with a minimum

effort if need be) without having to commit large manpower for

constant patrolling and pacifying the Strip's towns and refugee

camps "from inside". The latter task is now being undertaken on

Israel's behalf by various uniformed and secret polices under

Arafat's command.

Let me proceed to discussing the West Bank. The task of the

"Rainbow of Colors" is to eventually produce results similar to

those already existing in the Gaza Strip. The conditions may

there even turn out worse, due to a much larger number of

settlers and to the extensive construction of the separate

networks of roads, electricity and water supplies for the

settlers which cannot but pass near or through the Palestinian

enclaves. (In the Gaza Strip, with few exceptions electricity and

water for the settlers are supplied either from Israel or from

the sites close to settlements.) Moreover, the West Bank includes

the "Greater Jerusalem" area in which the apartheid is practiced

more strictly than elsewhere. "Greater Jerusalem" officially

extends from Ramallah to the south of Bethlehem, but in the

future it can be assumed to grow. To make the matters worse, as

mentioned in report 151, the Palestinians from the Territories

are to be forever barred from crossing to Israel. Their labor

force is instead to be employed in "industrial parks" exporting

mostly to the U.S. Even at its worst South African apartheid was

not as all-inclusive as what is planned for the West Bank and

what already exists in the Gaza Strip.

How come the experts of the Israeli government expect

acquiescence to this situation on the part of the Palestinians

(including the Israeli citizens among them, whose influence in

Knesset can be considerable) and on the part of international

public opinion? The two questions seem to have a single answer.

Israeli experts and the government apparently anticipate to make

those realities palatable for both as long as Israel confines

itself only to "control from outside", while leaving "control

from inside", (i.e. the job of actually enforcing order) in the

hands of Israel's Palestinian proxies who will be granted a

semblance of an independent authority. (I am not going to discuss

international public opinion separately, because Latin American

and African precedents make me convinced that the response of the

world at large to the "control from inside" will be as tame and

as acquiescent as in Palestine.) Much as I abhor the Israeli

government's plans on moral grounds, this anticipation strikes me

as well-grounded. After all, a large majority of Palestinians

have tamely acquiesced to the numerous violations of human rights

committed directly by Arafat's regime in the Gaza Strip and by

his secret polices in the West Bank. (The potentially violent

dispute between Arafat and Hamas is about power rather than about

human or any other rights.)

The utmost the Palestinian opposition to Arafat is capable of

doing, is to send loyal petitions to "His Excellency, the

President", in which he is humbly requested to reconsider such

and such a decision of his. While a death of a Palestinian under

interrogation carried out by Israeli Shabak continues to be

fiercely resented, a death of a Palestinian under interrogation

carried out by Palestinian Shabak elicits only polite requests

for "an investigation". If "His Excellency" agrees to open an

investigation, he is complimented by everybody concerned: even if

the promised "investigation" does not materialize for months.

Quite numerous instances of killing the Palestinians by Arafat's

forces, let alone the routine beatings and humiliations pass with

hardly a notice. Even a sentence of death recently imposed by

Arafat's military court failed to provoke an outrage, and nothing

indicated a prospect of an outrageous response if it is actually

carried out.

Let me give a concrete example. When John Major visited Arafat in

Gaza, a Palestinian policeman killed a child aged 11. The killing

was, of course, officially described as an "accident"; an

"investigation" (which hasn't yet materialized) was promised,

exactly as had been customary when Israel had controlled the Gaza

Strip "from inside". But in terms of the impact of the child's

death on the Palestinian public in general and on the Gazan one

in particular the contrast couldn't be greater. Under Arafat's

rule, John Major's visit continued undisturbed. The official

explanation of "accidental death" was accepted by everyone,

except for the child's family. In the end even the family, when

firmly ordered "to shut its mouth" by Palestinian secret police,

did so, whereas since the inception of the Intifada similar

Israeli orders had been ignored. There were none of the usual

protests which had used to occur in the Strip when a child had

been killed by an Israeli soldier.

This is the place to recall that the standard of life in the

Strip has decreased by about 60% since Arafat arrived there. Of

course, the main responsibility for this state of affairs is

Israel's, although Arafat's contribution to it through his

corruption and inefficiency shouldn't be overlooked. But the

point I am trying to make is not at all economic. To keep the

Palestinians as poor as possible has always been an aim of

Israeli policy, in my view also in order to arrest social change

in their society. With Arafat's complicity Israel now can achieve

this aim without eliciting any strong protests, and without

spending much of its manpower on suppressing such protests. In

other words, it can impoverish the Palestinians cheaply and

effectually. Bureaucracies tend to believe that their successes

can be stretched indefinitely, and the Israeli Security System is

no exception. No wonder it believes that if a solution tested in

the Gaza Strip has worked well there, it would also work well

when "Rainbow of Colors" is implemented in the West Bank.

Likewise, the Security System probably believes that if the

Palestinian uniformed and secret polices obey Arafat's orders so

faithfully, they will continue to do so when commanded by

somebody else.

Those hypotheses about the Israeli Security System's modes of

thinking can be confirmed by facts. For example, while much land

is now being confiscated in the West Bank for the purpose of

constructing the bypassing roads, there have been few if any

popular protests against those confiscations. The protests of the

Palestinian Authority against the recent confiscations of land in

East Jerusalem stand in glaring contrast to its silence in cases

of the much more massive land confiscations currently going on

elsewhere in the West Bank. Danny Rubinstein (Haaretz, May 12)

explains that in case of Jerusalem Arafat is constrained to

protest by the leaders of Arab and Muslim states, for whose

publics Jerusalem is a particularly sensitive religious issue.

The same leaders, however, couldn't care less about the West

Bank. Rubinstein reports that "many delegations from West Bank

localities came recently to Arafat. Their grievances were many,

but they particularly emphasized that their lands were being

confiscated. Arafat did his best to mollify those delegations.

For example, a delegation of inhabitants of [the town of] Al-

Birah, located near Ramallah, who received land confiscation

orders from Israeli authorities intending to build a road

bypassing their town to serve the needs of the settlement of

Psagot, recently requested Arafat to intervene to make these

orders annulled. One delegate told me how stunned he was by

Arafat's response. Arafat told them: 'Forget this matter. This is

only a minor confiscation. It is preferable to have this land

confiscated than Psagot settlers driving through your town and

causing trouble. Owing to this confiscation, the settlers will at

least be able to bypass your town'". Rubinstein says that Arafat

is giving such "advice whenever he fears that his opposition to

an Israeli measure may result in cancellation of his negotiations

with Israel". I can confirm Rubinstein's view by information from

my own sources, both Israeli and Palestinian. Moreover, Arafat's

"advice" works, because it is backed by the people's fright of

his thugs. This is why most attempts to organize popular protests

against the confiscation of land have been stifled. Israel cannot

expect a support for its apartheid policies more effectual than


Yet in two factual points I differ from the Israeli Security

System's assessments of Arafat's role. First, they ignore the

impact of Arafat's behavior on Jewish public in Israel. In order

to let Arafat serve Israeli interests effectually Israel must

salvage his dwindling prestige among the Palestinians, and for

that purpose leaves him a considerable freedom of expression,

never granted Palestinian collaborators before. Arafat takes

advantage of this privilege to indulge in the most outrageous

lies and to make the most provocative attacks on Israel. As an

example of the former one can give his oft-repeated assertion

that Israel (or Israeli army officers, or Shabak's agents)

conspired with Hamas to carry out the Beit-Lid terror assault. As

an example of the latter one can give his frequent assertion that

the entire Jerusalem (not only its Eastern part) belongs to the

Arabs or to the Muslims. While neither Rabin nor Peres dare to

expose Arafat as a liar or to denounce his position on Jerusalem

as incompatible with that of all Zionist parties (even Meretz

supports the so-called "unification of Jerusalem"), the Hebrew

press often does so, and so do the opposition's politicians.

Rabin's dwindling credibility and popularity can be attributed to

Jewish public's outrage at his condonement of Arafat's lies and

antics. To a much greater degree the same is the case of Peres

and the entire Israeli "peace camp" which seem to be losing

whatever political clout they once had. In other words, the

advantages of the "control from outside" are being neutralized by

domestic drawbacks of using Arafat. As the 1996 elections are

approaching, the latter factor can be assumed to increasingly

outweigh the former in importance.

The second point where I differ from the Israeli Security

System's assessments concerns the "Rainbow of Colors". The

Israeli experts assume it can last forever, whereas I think it is

bound to be rather short-lived. Even if Arafat commits

indescribable atrocities in smashing all opposition to his rule,

I doubt if he can keep the Palestinian population inside their

enclaves under his effective control. After all, the facts on the

ground will be all too tangible for the Palestinians, and the

arguments of the opposition particularly of Hamas, (unless

destroyed by Arafat's victory in a civil war) will be bound to

undermine Arafat's standing in a relatively short period of time.

So far his attempts to suppress the opposition, half-hearted at

best, have alternated with attempts to make a compromise with it.

His oppression can be said to have intimidated individuals and

small groups like the PDFL, but it has made Hamas stronger, more

influential and more outraged than before. It is impossible to

say whether Arafat will decide to accede to Israel's demands to

smash the opposition, or continue to play the same game of

serving Israel covertly and to opposing it in words. In any

event, however, the Palestinian masses see with increasing

clarity that their situation is rapidly deteriorating. At present

it is only Arafat's vestigial prestige which prevents them from

beginning to organize a popular resistance movement. Once all his

credibility is gone, which may occur quite soon, the only Israeli

alternative for still exercising "control from outside" would be

through a naked Palestinian dictatorship, whether Arafat's or

somebody else's. Oppression then unleashed is bound to surpass

anything experienced in the period of "control from inside".

I am fully conscious of the immense human suffering which such an

oppression is bound to cause. Yet I do not attribute much

political importance to the question whether it can succeed and

for how long. In any event, it will mark the failure of the

"control from outside" scheme as an easy and cheap method of

domination, which can be "sold", Peres-style, to the

international public. In the last analysis the failure of the

"control from outside" cannot but mark the end of Israeli

policies based on the absolute priority of Zionist ideology.

May 1995