“Local thugs, rogue fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army and Albanian gangs slipping across an uncontrolled border have taken advantage of the law enforcement vacuum to terrorize the Serbian and Gypsy minorities and drive them from their homes. The same violent elements also prey on Kosovar Albanians….” International Herald Tribune Editorial, August 7-8 1999
I have some friends on the left who consider the KLA as the legitimate expression of the Kosovar cause. Despite many warnings from neutral sources that the KLA is an ultra-chauvinist and reactionary force, some insisted that we consider them on par with the Viet Cong and the PLO. Why don’t we hear any protests from those who celebrated the victory of the NATO offensive concerning the anti-Serb pogroms and the ethnic cleansing now going on in Kosovo under the rule of the NATO victors?
According to Akiva Eldar (Ha’aretz, 9.8.99), Barak has confused everyone including Albright who, instead of admitting that she was confused, asked Barak to stop confusing the Palestinians. Eldar explains that the IDF is also confused. I had two thoughts. The first thought: If only Barak could remember what he was thinking about when he said to Arafat and the whole world that Wye is horrible and dangerous but he will implement it if Arafat insists – then he would be less confused and this might be a good start in dispelling some of the confusion. Israeli generals are generally less confused when they have to conquer territory than when they have to relinquish it.
In the fifties, the late Professor Yakov Talmon used to tell the following joke to packed lecture halls. He told the students that everyone knows what a liar is, but asked how would you define a really big liar. Talmon would elicit a roar of laughter by revealing that the definition of a really big liar is a diplomat. Talmon went on to ask the students, all of whom could define a fool, to define a really big fool. When Talmon explained that the best definition of a really big fool is a general (he used the Hebrew aloof) there was no laughter, nor was the joke well received.
A New Strategy for Fighting Zionism
A rather interesting thread developed on Alef (the BB of the academic left) under this heading. Unsurprisingly, many of the participants were looking for another opportunity to push the one-state solution, which has a tendency to appear on the horizon every time Oslo is in trouble. And that is quite often.
I am always a bit surprised at the high regard that many “one staters” have for Zionism and the powerful Israeli military-security complex. For some reason, many radicals are convinced that this single state, when it comes into existence, will have to be a democratic, “one-vote - one citizen,” affair. They seem to be convinced that the powerful and dominant forces which rule the country are really democratic. Otherwise, why do they believe that this country’s real rulers would accept the logic that a single state should be democratic and reflect the wishes and the interest of the Arab half of the population. Institutionalized racism, expropriation, emigration pressure, discrimination in the allocation of resources and an army and police force subject to the will of the Jewish majority are all perfectly compatible with the structure of a unitarian state. It is likely that a unitarian state would be that disgusting since the only real possibility for the creation of a single unitarian state in the given historical circumstances is through Israeli annexation of all, or most of the occupied territories.
There might be indeed one advantage to the creation of a unitarian state. It will probably prove, once and for all, that a Zionist state cannot be a democratic one. This thesis, which really does not need additional substantiation, would be verified once and for all – and spell the end of liberal Zionist hypocrisy. Is it possible that this is the reason that people on the radical left hope for such a development.
The main barrier to a decent solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the tremendous disparity in the relation of forces between the two sides to the conflict. One cannot evade this barrier by advocating a change in the form of the solution, by advocating a “one-state” instead of a “two-state” solution. In any event, a two-state solution, which seems more probable at this stage, must not and should not be seen as a blanket approval for the Oslo project and anything that may emerge from it.
There is a very important line of thinking which defines the minimum requirements for a just solution and evaluates Oslo according to its progress in that direction. The key is to demand national equality and full rights for the Palestinians and the Palestinian state. The closest relevant formula that we have for this purpose was and is 1) return to the June 1967 borders; 2) the right of the Palestinians to establish their capital in Jerusalem; 3) the dismantling of the settlements; 4) recognition by Israel of its responsibilities for the solution of the Palestinian refugee problem. This program, which admittedly faces enormous obstacles has two virtues. It can be presented with some hope for mass support to both Israeli and Palestinians and it can provide a minimal solution to the needs and aspiration of both peoples.
Long Live MacDonalds A few years back I won a small victory. Clark University had opened a branch in Ma’aleh Adumim. I met with their representatives and explained that MA is plainly and simply, conquered territory. It took a bit of time, but Clark was very decent about the whole thing and evacuated its branch to Shaarei Tsedek in Jerusalem. Now, there is a public international protest going on against Burger King for opening a branch in Ma’aleh Adumim. So, if you have to have a fast-food hamburger, go right to MacDonalds. That firm, headed by Omri Padan, formerly of Peace Now, has been very clear regarding its refusal to open any branch in the occupied territories. So the going anti-imperialist advice is to give your patronage to the Yellow Arch.