san francisco bay area
santa cruz, ca
by Tanya Reinhart
10:47am Wed Dec 19 '01
Israel's moves to destroy the PA, thus, cannot be viewed as a spontaneous 'act of retaliation'. It is a calculated plan, long in the making. The execution requires, first, weakening the resistance of the Palestinians, which Israel has been doing systematically since October 2000, through killing, bombarding of infrastructure, imprisoning people in their hometowns, and bringing them close to starvation. All this, while waiting for the international conditions
to 'ripen' for the more 'advanced' steps of the plan.
In mainstream political discourse, Israel's recent atrocities are
described as 'retaliatory acts' - answering the last wave of terror
attacks on Israeli civilians. But in fact, this 'retaliation' had
been carefully prepared long before. Already in October 2000, at the
outset of the Palestinian uprising, military circles were ready with
detailed operative plans to topple Arafat and the Palestinian
Authority. This was before the Palestinian terror attacks started.
(The first attack on Israeli civilians was on November 3, 2000, in
a market in Jerusalem). A document prepared by the security services,
at the request of then PM Barak, stated on October 15, 2000
that "Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the
state [of Israel] and the damage which will result from his
disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence".
(Details of the document were published in Ma'ariv, July 6, 2001.)
The operative plan, known as 'Fields of Thorns' had been prepared back
in 1996, and was then updated during the Intifada. (Amir Oren, Ha'aretz,
23, 2001). The plan includes everything that Israel has been executing
lately, and more.(1)
The political echelon for its part (Barak's circles), worked on
preparing public opinion to the toppling of Arafat. On November 20,
2000, Nahman Shai, then public-affairs coordinator of the Barak
Government, released in a meeting with the press, a 60 page document
titled "Palestinian Authority non-compliance...A record of bad faith
and misconduct", The document, informally referred to as the "White
Book", was prepared by Barak's aid, Danny Yatom.(2) According to the
"White Book", Arafat's present crime - "orchestrating the
is just the last in a long chain of proofs that he has never deserted
the "option of violence and 'struggle'"."As early as Arafat's own
speech on the White House lawn, on September 13, 1993, there were
indications that for him, the D.O.P. [declaration of principles] did
not necessarily signify an end to the conflict. He did not, at any
point, relinquish his uniform, symbolic of his status as a
revolutionary commander" (Section 2). This uniform, incidentally,
is the only 'indication' that the report cites, of Arafat's hidden
intentions, on that occasion.
A large section of the document is devoted to establishing Arafat's
"ambivalence and compliance" regarding terror. "In March 1997
was once again more than a hint of a 'Green Light' from Arafat to
the Hamas, prior to the bombing in Tel Aviv... This is implicit in
the statement made by a Hamas-affiliated member of Arafat's Cabinet,
Imad Faluji, to an American paper (Miami Herald, April 5, 1997)."
No further hints are provided regarding how this links Arafat to that
bombing, but this is the "green light to terror" theme which the
Military Intelligence (Ama"n) has been promoting since 1997, when
its anti-Oslo line was consolidated. This theme was since repeated
again and again by military circles, and eventually became the mantra
of Israeli propaganda - Arafat is still a terrorist and is personally
responsible for the acts of all groups, from Hamas and the Islamic
Jihad to Hizbollah.
The 'Foreign Report' (Jane's information) of July 12, 2001 disclosed
that the Israeli army (under Sharon's government) has updated its
plans for an "all-out assault to smash the Palestinian authority,
force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain its army". The
blueprint, titled "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and
Disarmament of All Armed Forces", was presented to the Israeli
government by chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, on July 8. The assault would
be launched, at the government's discretion, after a big suicide bomb
attack in Israel, causing widespread deaths and injuries, citing
the bloodshed as justification.
Many in Israel suspect that the assassination of the Hamas terrorist
Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, just when the Hamas was respecting for two months
its agreement with Arafat not to attack inside Israel, was designed
to create the appropriate 'bloodshed justification', at the eve of
Sharon's visit to the US. (Alex Fishman - senior security correspondent
of 'Yediot' - noted that "whoever decided upon the liquidation of
Abu Hanoud knew in advance that would be the price. The subject was
extensively discussed both by Israel's military echelon and its
political one, before it was decided to carry out the liquidation"
Aharonot, Nov. 25, 2001)).
Israel's moves to destroy the PA, thus, cannot be viewed as a
spontaneous 'act of retaliation'. It is a calculated plan, long in
the making. The execution requires, first, weakening the resistance
of the Palestinians, which Israel has been doing systematically since
October 2000, through killing, bombarding of infrastructure,
imprisoning people in their hometowns, and bringing them close to
starvation. All this, while waiting for the international conditions
to 'ripen' for the more 'advanced' steps of the plan.
Now the conditions seem to have 'ripened'. In the power-drunk political
atmosphere in the US, anything goes. If at first it seemed that the
US will try to keep the Arab world on its side by some tokens of
persuasion, as it did during the Gulf war, it is now clear that they
couldn't care less. US policy is no longer based on building coalitions
or investing in persuasion, but on sheer force. The smashing 'victory'
in Afghanistan has sent a clear message to the Third-World that nothing
can stop the US from targeting any nation for annihilation. They seem
to believe that the most sophisticated weapons of the twenty-first
century, combined with total absence of any considerations of moral
principles, international law, or public opinion, can sustain them
as the sole rulers of the world forever. From now on, fear should
be the sufficient condition for obedience.
The US hawks, who push to expand the war to Iraq and further, view
Israel as an asset - There are few regimes in the world like Israel, so eager
risk the life of their citizens for some new regional war. As Prof.
Alain Joxe, head of the French CIRPES (peace and strategic studies)
has put it in Le Monde, "the American leadership is presently
by dangerous right wing Southern extremists, who seek to use Israel
as an offensive tool to destabilize the whole Middle East area" (December
17, 2001). The same hawks are also talking about expanding the future
war zone to targets on Israel's agenda, like Hizbollah and Syria.
Under these circumstances, Sharon got his green light in Washington.
As the Israeli media keeps raving, "Bush is fed up with this character
[Arafat]", "Powell said that Arafat must stop with his lies"
and Schiffer, 'Yediot', December 7, 2001). As Arafat hides in
his Bunker, Israeli F-16 bombers plough the sky, and Israel's brutality
is generating, every day, new desperate human bombs, the US,
accompanied for a while by the European union, keep urging Arafat
* * *
But what is the rationale behind Israel's systematic drive to eliminate
the Palestinian Authority and undo the Oslo arrangements? It certainly
cannot be based on 'disappointment' with Arafat's performance, as
is commonly claimed. The fact of the matter is that from the
perspective of Israel's interests in maintaining the occupation, Arafat
did fulfill Israel's expectations all these last years.
As far as Israeli security goes, there is nothing further from the
truth then the fake accusations in the "White Book", or subsequent
Israeli propaganda. To take just one example, in 1997 - the year
mentioned in the "White Book" as an instance of Arafat's
to terror" - a 'security agreement' was signed between Israel and
the Palestinian authority, under the auspices of the head of the Tel
Aviv station of the CIA, Stan Muskovitz. The agreement commits the
PA to take active care of the security of Israel - to fight "the
terrorists, the terrorist base, and the environmental conditions
leading to support of terror" in cooperation with Israel, including
"mutual exchange of information, ideas, and military cooperation"
(clause 1). [Translated from the Hebrew text, Ha'aretz December 12,
1997]. Arafat's security services carried out this job faithfully,
with assassinations of Hamas terrorists (disguised as 'accidents'),
and arrests of Hamas political leaders.(3)
Ample information was published in the Israeli media regarding these
activities, and 'security sources' were full of praises for Arafat's
achievements. E.g. Ami Ayalon, then head of the Israeli secret service
(Shab"ak), announced, in the government meeting on April 5, 1998 that
"Arafat is doing his job - he is fighting terror and puts all his
weight against the Hamas" (Ha'aretz, April 6, 1998). The
rate of success
of the Israeli security services in containing terror was never higher
than that of Arafat; in fact, much lower.
In left and critical circles, one can hardly find compassion for
Arafat's personal fate (as opposed to the tragedy of the Palestinian
people). As David Hirst writes in The Guardian, when Arafat returned
to the occupied territories, in 1994, "he came as collaborator as
much as liberator. For the Israelis, security - theirs, not the
Palestinians' - was the be-all and end-all of Oslo. His job was to
supply it on their behalf. But he could only sustain the collaborator's
role if he won the political quid pro quo which, through a series
of 'interim agreements' leading to 'final status', was supposedly
to come his way. He never could. . .[Along the road], he acquiesced in
accumulating concessions that only widened the gulf between what he
was actually achieving and what he assured his people he would achieve,
by this method, in the end. He was Mr. Palestine still, with a charisma
and historical legitimacy all his own. But he was proving to be
grievously wanting in that other great and complementary task, building
his state-in-the-making. Economic misery, corruption, abuse of human
rights, the creation of a vast apparatus of repression - all these
flowed, wholly or in part, from the Authority over which he presided."
(Hirst, "Arafat's last stand?" (The Guardian, December 14,
But from the perspective of the Israeli occupation, all this means
that the Oslo plan was, essentially, successful. Arafat did manage,
through harsh means of oppression, to contain the frustration of his
people, and guarantee the safety of the settlers, as Israel continued
undisturbed to build new settlements and appropriate more Palestinian
land. The oppressive machinery, - the various security forces of
Arafat, were formed and trained in collaboration with Israel. Much
energy and resources were put into building this complex Oslo
apparatus. It is often admitted that the Israeli security forces cannot
manage to prevent terror any better than Arafat can. Why, then, was
the military and political echelon so determined to destroy all this
already in October 2000, even before the terror waves started?
Answering this requires some look at the history.
* * *
Right from the start of the 'Oslo process', in September 1993, two
conceptions were competing in the Israeli political and military
system. The one, led by Yosi Beilin, was striving to implement some
version of the Alon plan, which the Labor party has been advocating
for years. The original plan consisted of annexation of about 35%
of the territories to Israel, and either Jordanian-rule, or some form
of self-rule for the rest - the land on which the Palestinians actually
live. In the eyes of its proponents, this plan represented a necessary
compromise, compared to the alternatives of either giving up the
territories altogether, or eternal blood-shed (as we witness
today). It appeared that Rabin was willing to follow this line, at
least at the start, and that in return for Arafat's commitment to
control the frustration of his people and guarantee the security of
Israel, he would allow the PA to run the enclaves in which the
Palestinians still reside, in some form of self-rule, which may even
be called a Palestinian 'state'.
But the other pole objected even to that much. This was mostly visible
in military circles, whose most vocal spokesman in the early years
of Oslo was then Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak. Another center of
opposition was, of course, Sharon and the extreme right-wing, who
were against the Oslo process from the start. This affinity between
the military circles and Sharon is hardly surprising. Sharon - the
last of the leaders of the '1948 generation', was a legendary figure
in the army, and many of the generals were his disciples, like Barak.
As Amir Oren wrote, "Barak's deep and abiding admiration for Ariel
Sharon's military insights is another indication of his views; Barak
and Sharon both belong to a line of political generals that started
with Moshe Dayan" (Ha'aretz, January 8, 1999).
This breed of generals was raised on the myth of redemption of the land.
A glimpse into this worldview is offered in Sharon's interview with
Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz, weekend supplement, April 13, 2001).
is entangled into one romantic framework: the fields, the blossom
of the orchards, the plough and the wars. The heart of this ideology
is the sanctity of the land. In a 1976 interview, Moshe Dayan, who
was the defense minister in 1967, explained what led, then, to the
decision to attack Syria. In the collective Israeli consciousness
of the period, Syria was conceived as a serious threat to the security
of Israel, and a constant initiator of aggression towards the residents
of northern Israel. But according to Dayan, this is "bull-shit" -
Syria was not a threat to Israel before 67: "Just drop it. . .I know
how at least 80% of all the incidents with Syria started. We were
sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the
Syrians would shoot." According to Dayan (who at a time of the interview
confessed some regrets), what led Israel to provoke Syria this way
was the greediness for the land - the idea that it is possible "to
grab a piece of land and keep it, until the enemy will get tired and
give it to us" (Yediot Aharonot, April 27 1997)
At the eve of Oslo, the majority of the Israeli society was tired
of wars. In their eyes, the fights over land and resources were over.
Most Israelis believe that the 1948 Independence War, with its horrible
consequences for the Palestinians, was necessary to establish a state
for the Jews, haunted by the memory of the Holocaust. But now that
they have a state, they long to just live normally with whatever they
have. However, the ideology of the redemption of land has never died
out in the army, or in the circles of the 'political generals', who
switched from the army to the government. In their eyes, Sharon's
alternative of fighting the Palestinians to the bitter end and
imposing new regional orders - as he tried in Lebanon in 1982 - may
have failed because of the weakness of the spoiled Israeli society.
But given the new war-philosophy established in Iraq, Kosovo and
Afghanistan, they believe that with the massive superiority of the
Israeli air force, it may still be possible to win this battle in
While Sharon's party was in the opposition at the time of Oslo, Barak,
as Chief of Staff, participated in the negotiations and played a
crucial role in shaping the agreements, and Israel's attitude to the
I quote from an article I wrote in February 1994, because it reflects
what anybody who read carefully the Israeli media could see at the
time: "From the start, it has been possible to identify two conceptions
that underlie the Oslo process. One is that this will enable to reduce
the cost of the occupation, using a Palestinian patronage regime,
with Arafat as the senior cop responsible for the security of Israel.
The other is that the process should lead to the collapse of Arafat
and the PLO. The humiliation of Arafat, and the amplification of his
surrender, will gradually lead to loss of popular support.
Consequently, the PLO will collapse, or enter power conflicts. Thus,
the Palestinian society will loose its secular leadership and
institutions. In the power driven mind of those eager to maintain
the Israeli occupation, the collapse of the secular leadership is
interpreted as an achievement, because it would take a long while
for the Palestinian people to get organized again, and, in any case,
it is easier to justify even the worst acts of oppression, when the
enemy is a fanatic Muslim organization. Most likely, the conflict
between the two competing conceptions is not settled yet, but at the
moment, the second seems more dominant: In order to carry out the
first, Arafat's status should have been strengthened, with at least
some achievements that could generate support of the Palestinians,
rather then Israel's policy of constant humiliation and breach of
Nevertheless, the scenario of the collapse of the PA did not
materialize. The Palestinian society resorted once more to their
marvelous strategy of 'zumud' - sticking to the land and sustaining
the pressure. Right from the start, the Hamas political leadership,
and others, were warning that Israel is trying to push the Palestinians
into a civil war, in which the nation slaughters itself. All fragments
of the society cooperated to prevent this danger, and calm conflicts
as soon as they were deteriorating to arms. They also managed, despite
the tyranny of Arafat's rule, to build an impressive amount of
institutions and infrastructure. The PA does not consist only of
the corrupt rulers and the various security forces. The elected
Palestinian council, which operates under endless restrictions, is
still a representative political framework, some basis for democratic
institutions in the future. For those whose goal is the destruction
of the Palestinian identity and the eventual redemption of their land,
Oslo was a failure.
In 1999, the army got back to power, through the 'political generals' -
first Barak, and then Sharon. (They collaborated in the last elections
to guarantee that no other, civil, candidate will be allowed to run.)
The road opened to correct what they view as the grave mistake of
Oslo. In order to get there, it was first necessary to convince the
spoiled Israeli society that the Palestinians are not willing to live
in peace and are threatening our mere existence. Sharon alone could
not have possibly achieved that, but Barak did succeed, with his
'generous offer' fraud. After a year of horrible terror attacks,
combined with massive propaganda and lies, Sharon and the army feel
that nothing can stop them from turning to full execution.
Why is it so urgent for them to topple Arafat? Shabtai Shavit, former
head of the Security Service ('Mossad'), who is not bound by restraints
posed on official sources, explains this openly: "In the thirty
something years that he [Arafat] leads, he managed to reach real
achievements in the political and international sphere... He got the
Nobel peace prize, and in a single phone call, he can obtain a meeting
with every leader in the world. There is nobody in the Palestinian
gallery that can enter his shoes in this context of international
status. If they [the Palestinians] will loose this gain, for us, this
is a huge achievement. The Palestinian issue will get off the
international agenda." (interview in Yediot's Weekend Supplement,
December 7, 2001).
Their immediate goal is to get the Palestinians off the international
agenda, so slaughter, starvation, forced evacuation and 'migration'
can continue undisturbed, leading, possibly, to the final realization
of Sharon's long standing vision, embodied in the military plans.
Indeed, one of the crimes that Arafat is accused of in the "White
Book" of October 2000, is a plot to "internationalize" the
"the call upon the international community to replace the current
structure of the process (the U.S., according to Arafat, having failed
to impose 'International Legitimacy' in its Arab interpretation) with
a mechanism of coercion. (Section 4).
The most immediate goal of anybody concerned with the future of the
world, is to halt this process of evil unleashed. As Alain Joxe
concluded his article in Le Monde, "It is time for the Western
opinion to take over and to compel the governments to take a moral
and political stand facing the foreseen disaster, namely a situation
of permanent war against the Arab and Muslim people and states - the
realization of the double phantasy of Bin Laden and Sharon" (December
(1) For the details of this operative plan, see Anthony Cordesman,
"Peace and War: Israel versus the Palestinians A second Intifada?"
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) December 2000,
and it summary in Shraga Eilam, "Peace With Violence or Transfer",
'Between The Lines', December 2000.
(2) The document can be found in:
(3) For a survey on some of the PA's assassinations of Hamas
terrorists, see my article "The A-Sherif affair", 'Yediot Aharonot',
April 14, 1998, http://www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart/political/A_sharif.html
(4) The article (in Hebrew only) can be found in:
PROF TANYA REINHART'S TIMELY EXPOSITION OF THE OBSCENE FOLLY OF ISRAEL FASCISTIC, ZIONIST, APARTHEID POLICIES DESERVE TO BE PUBLISHED FOR POWER ELITE AND PUBLIC VIEW.
Fools, knaves, ideologues, military, politicos, scholars, kibbutznik, historians, power elite, and TCMITS (the common man in the street) Israeli, Palestinian, American. and the USA elite - all complicit - can you kindly wake up to reality - put aside mythology, dissemblong rhetoric, 50 years of self hypnosis, guilt, anger, frustration, impulse for revenge, impossible dreams, and face the choice now before you.
Seek and move quickly to a pragmatic "End Game" (a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian State in the spirit of the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and Res. 242 with prompt removal of IDF and Jewish settlements from all occupied territories, also Israeli help and friendship surely reciprocated - collaborating in trade, labor, development and use of resources - water, off shore gas, education, health, etc.) or choose the most likely result if Sharon's military madness continues - Armageddon and the destruction of the State of Israel.
All parties noted above, the neighboring Arab States, the USA and international community shall gain or lose as you choose!
Arafat confided to a small group of Palestinians: I would sacrifice 70 martyrs to kill a single Israeli, adding: It was a conspiracy that brought the Jews to Palestine. It is our holy land and we will continue to fight for it.
Interesting Arafat quote. It would be more useful if you actually had a source. And it would be even more interesting if you compared this supposed QUOTE by Arafat to the DEEDS of Mr. Sharon. Actions speak louder than words.
How after this impressive, researched article on the Isreali state's campaign against the peace process and Arafat can you respond with such trite innuendo about supposed quotes form Arafat?
Perhaps it is because the rascist Zionists (is that redundant?) of Isreal still haven't realized that to get peace you have to compromise. And to "compromise" means giving something up. When you create no public space for Palestinian's to seek justice within Israeli society (public space for non-jews being an impossibility from the prospective of an ethnic nationalist state such as Zionist Isreal)than don't be surprised if some of them turn to "immoral" methods for acheiving their goals. If you seek peace, then realize that the other side first needs the channels in which to make peace- that is the ability to bargain for justice within society on an equal playing field. As long as Sharon and the rascists Zionists of Isreal continue to deny Palestine the legality and power due a people with as much historical and moral claim to the land as the Jews, they will continue to see peace as an illusive goal.
But, as the above article argues, it may be that while the masses of Isrealis are just afraid to compromise and give up their comfortable monopoly on resources, land and political and military power, their leaders have even more immoral intentions. That is that they would rather keep the PA form ever acheiving stability or having a reliable leader with which to negotiate. It is time for the Isrealis to challenge their leaders as Sharon and his cronnies lead the region into an endless cycle of violence. Instead of blaming Arafat we should be blaming the real warmongers:Ariel Sharon the war criminal and his rascist zionist right wingers.
Astonishing this story of selfhatred of reinhart for her own people, I guess still in the safe Dutch environment of the university in Utrecht. It is striking and a bit pathetic that the frustration of the extreme left for their own people (left, right, religious, secular) is so enormous that they rather take all the crap of the Arab neighbours and search for weak spots in the Israeli society to attack it. Simply stated Arafat in numerous speeches indicated that he as well as his Palestinian brothers and sisters do not accept the right of existance of Israel. Furthermore doesn't he and his people believe in the Oslo accords in which it is clearly stated that never should one use violence to solve the political problems, well recent polls show that they do believe in violence. What do he as Israeli's have to do in such a case? We crush the enemy and wear them out. Around a thousand people died, that is sad but how many actually died in African conflicts like in Nigeria for instance. 59 armed conflicts took place in 2001 is indeed the Arab-Israeli conflict that dominant is do the Muslims make it that important because they never accepted the right to exist of Israel. Rafsanjani stated recently that he would gladly nuke Israel. Then the old use of the tricks of remarks of one person at one time as if that would be the eternal truth (is sjeik Yassin the voice of all Palestinians I guess not). Mosje Dayan is known to be quite on-orthodox and believe me just looking at the actions of Syria we can easily say that they were the aggressors and not us. Furthermore, Israel, the USA and the EU have complemented Arafat numerous times on his efforts in the past, but now he has to do more. So what is the truth? Or would Tanya like to use the quotes from the past again to prove that we always were so happy with Arafat. Arafat remained a terrorist and will always be a terrorist, simple as that. He understands the power of force (arms) and obeys when put under pressure. If he and his people seek the confrontation they should also accept the consequences. Arafat encouraged the co-operation with all sectors in the territories (Hamas, Jihad, PLFP) which implies establishing a terrorist state. Nothing democratic in this,again Tanya does not want to give up her fairy tale that the Palestinian state will be pluralistic democratic and multi-religious. The intifada destroyed that option, wake up Tanya. It is (will be) a Muslim dictatorship with no respect for human life. So it is sad to sa but Arafat is indeed the man who put the Palestinians on the political map, but he is also the man who caused them to be further away of their beloved state more than ever before. Get rid of Arafat the preacher of hate and incitement, the terrorist and replace him with somebody who understands the Israeli public. Violence will get you a Sharon, peaceful negotiations will get you a state.
Dear friend you and your people have been at this game for over 50yrs now, yet you still come out with rhetoric like this instead of seing the truth.
The artcle by the prof is one of the most outstanding analysis of the israeli machine at its best, i commend the prof on the work.
When you refer to the rest of the Arab or Muslim World doing nothing, as for them, the clock is still ticking they are still watching israel closely and also israel's sponsor America, our time will come as did yours from Hitlers hands.
What goes around comes around to us all, remember Hitler always denied it, at the beginning of the catastrophic events of the holocaust, the world only began to know the truth after the event.
So will the world realise that the israelis have been and continue to systematically wipe an entire people from existence.
When the time does come we will show the world the awesome power of the Islamic World, not neccesarily military power, the arabs are lucky enough to hold the greatest commodity in the world.
Finally you came , you saw, you kicked our arse, you took over 75% of our land by force. Yet you still have the cheek to say we should guarantee your safety, wake up and see the light my friend. We will only take so much.
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