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A few who knew that LionPAC had reserved the Sundial for the same time that Lucha and Filasteen were planning a human wall across Low Plaza anticipated a showdown – but would have been disappointed, as the event went down without incident. About 50 people (very roughly speaking), including many of the New York Magazine pantheon, members of BSO, SPeAK, MSA, ISO, Chicano Caucus, and other components of Columbia’s brimming alphabet soup of activism spanned the plaza in an event meant to draw a connection between the Israeli security fence and the Mexican border wall, which organizers view as racist and oppressive. James Brown, Arabic pop music, and short-lived chants of “Free Palestine!” filled the awkward hush between speeches by professor Noha Radwan, students, and a representative of ANSWER, and some of those who stopped by couldn’t help but dance to the largely upbeat music.

It wasn’t supposed to be a red-rover style line. Originally, Filasteen had planned an actual wall, festooned with information and student art. According to an e-mail obtained by Bwog, they ended up $400 short of the the $700 that would cost, and appealed to MEALAC professors for donations to fill the gap. No dice. UPDATE: Sources say that Filasteen actually did get the money together, but they’re saving it for another event.

Of the speeches we managed to catch, one took the philosophical/anthropological stance, linking the walls on the Mexican border and the West Bank to the tendency of dominant powers to seek to block out the “other,” in these cases with physical walls of separation. Filasteen speaker Veli Yasin pointed out that “this is not about undermining Zionism or the Holocaust, this is about… people who are oppressing other people,” and added “thanks…Shalom”. Johanna Ocana of Lucha led Spanish chants for amnesty while the wall disintegrated, and longtime Puero Rican activist Carlito Rovira proclaimed that “these walls will be tumbled down by the will of the
people! Walls have been created by racist police in our communities.”

Meanwhile, LionPAC manned the sundial, handing out cards that said “Israel =/= Apartheid”. President Ari Gardner commented:  “We’re here not to protest, but to present facts… The motivation is not so much an anti-apartheid event, but an anti-wall event… They don’t believe that states should delineate borders.”

– KER & LBD, Photos by Sara Vogel 


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  • va tech says:

    @va tech there’s a moment of silence tonight at 8 on low plaza. bwog, will you publicize this in addition to the vigil tomorrow?

  • Jimbo says:

    @Jimbo Wow,

    This Ari dude is a not the brightest of folks is he? Can anyone possibly think of something more dumb and counter-productive to say in defense of Israel’s wall?

    Doesn’t this genius know that Israel is NOT building this wall on it’s border, but instead, inside the West Bank, cutting villages up from one another and separating families.

    Check out the maps here:

  • Factual acuracy? says:

    @Factual acuracy? According to the information filasteen was distributing “The Wall is being built on Occupied Palestinian Territory.
    Upon completion it will usurp 50% of the OPT.” Where did that figure come from? Unless they consider all of Israel “occupied territories” they seem to have accidentally tacked on an extra “0.” which begs the question, did they even bother to read or check the accuracy of the information the were distributing?

    1. well says:

      @well “usurp” might not mean that the wall will necessary separate those given areas from the west bank proper completely, but that it will severely disrupt the flow of people and goods between them.

    2. seriously, says:

      @seriously, It doesn’t matter to them. Groups like Filasteen quite frankly want Israel to disappear. Israel has been willing to sit down and negotiate and discuss a two-state solution. Palestine won’t hear a word of it. They won’t be happy until Israel has vanished. Time and time again, Israel gives land to the Palestinians, Israel makes concessions, Israel does what it can in order to keep its people safe. And then it’s condemned yet again.

  • that's why says:

    @that's why there are check points. and Israel has made a concerted effort to facilitate Palestinian travel and ease restrictions of the wall, from creating programs for Palestinians to stay the night so they don’t have to traverse the checkpoints to get to work every day, to replanting over 90,000 trees that were in the path of the barrier.

    and in terms of comparison:
    slowing down a flow of people
    saving the lives of hundreds of people.

    hmmm, which would we rather our government chose if faced with the same situation?

    1. yup says:

      @yup I’m sure you would love going through check points every day and having the government help you “stay over” every time you wanted to visit, say, NYU from columbia, just because a few members of your community were violent extremists.

      “ho hum, someone here wants to blow up people across the border who make me miserable…therefore I should accept yet more control over my lives by said people”. seriously?

    2. hell says:

      @hell 33 people just died on a US college campus, and this isnt the first incident. maybe we should have checkpoints at all the gates, make sure nobody’s got guns. for metal detectors, we probably wouldn’t have to wait hours like palestinians do, just 5 minutes out of your day each time…

      1. except of course says:

        @except of course for accurate comparison, we’d have to build the checkpoints & connecting wall in manhattanville.

  • Ari says:

    @Ari What I actually said was that based upon their rhetoric, the event organizers seem to define “walls” as national boundaries of any sort… The event could more aptly have been called the “anti-sovereignty or anti-nationstate protest.”
    I also did not see the relevance of the term apartheid. They presented absolutely no information which would justify the use of that term. Furthermore, they seem to have completely ignored the fact that Israel literally began construction of the security fence in response to palestinian suicide bombings which specifically targeted civilians. It is legitimate to criticize the implementation of the fence but to argue that a state does not have the fundamental right–and responsibility–to protect its citizens is ludicrous. On a whole I was disappointed by the lack of substance in the event and feel that it did little to promote the Palestinian cause.

  • heard on low says:

    @heard on low “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – one of the chants heard today, sounds remarkably like a call for ethnic cleansing.

    1. WHOA says:

      @WHOA That makes zero sense. Try again.

      1. you wanna says:

        @you wanna explain how that isn’t a call for ethnic clensing?

  • defender says:

    @defender The liberals at this school make me sick. No one is accomplishing anything by protesting. Do you think any politicians care? Do you think anyone on campus cares? Keep talking, doing your anti-globalization talks. It means nothing to anyone, and your not changing anything.

    By the way, whichever speaker said that the true criminals and illegals are “those who work on Wall Street” should just shut up.

    1. hit a sore spot? says:

      @hit a sore spot? feeling guilty, maybe, about your coming parasitical wall street career?

      1. hmmm says:

        @hmmm Yeah, someone with $40,000 student debt who goes to work on Wall Street is really the “enemy.” Wow. People with trust funds and the latest rebellion of the day really say the darndest things!

        1. Miller says:

          @Miller Thats quite a generalization. I know a few of the people involved in both Filasteen and LionPAC and as far as I know none of the protestors today have trust funds or are particularly rebellious (other than politically of course). I don’t really see why its difficult to conceive of people on any side of a political debate as being sincere.

          Also, I wasn’t there for that speech but it obviously sounds like the speaker was arguing that many social injustices occur because of the policies of financial and economic elites, not that people who work on Wall Street are in violation of US penal codes.

  • secret admirer says:

    @secret admirer katie reedy, your roommate eva is beautiful.

    1. nice mood lightener says:

      @nice mood lightener hahaha

      1. secret admirer says:

        @secret admirer no joke though, i see her all the time and on the 7th floor of mcbain.

  • the group name is says:

    @the group name is SPEaK, not SPeAK

    (Students Promoting Empowerment and Knowledge…see only the a is lowercase :)

    1. dear speak says:

      @dear speak what the hell is the purpose of your organization? would it have been possible to make it less evident in its name AND awkward/complicated acronym?

  • Its important says:

    @Its important to remember that not all the Jews on this campus are like all the militant zionist asswipes from LionPAC.

    1. It is important says:

      @It is important to remember that not all the Jews on this campus are self-hating, like the above poster

  • Attn BWOG writer: says:

    @Attn BWOG writer: Stop hating. Go have another latte or something. Your tone is annoying.

    Cynical bitchiness =/= Sarcasm.

  • Sprinkles says:

    @Sprinkles I’m still waiting for ONE anti-Israel person to acknowledge that the fence was put up because hundreds of civilians were being killed by suicide bombers. How can you take their opinion seriously if they don’t acknowledge simple reality? Until then, all we hear is bitching about how evil Israel is. How about one of them mentioning how a nation has a duty to protect its citizens from being blown up on buses or in marketplaces?

    Events like this only further convince me that some people will not be satified until there are no Jews left in the Middle East. Some people may call me paranoid. Me, I’m just waiting for the pro-Palestine groups to condemn suicide bombers who blow up Israeli civilians.

    1. umm says:

      @umm the israeli rationale for the wall betrays the fact that other ideas (like a one-state solution) would never be considered by a state that maintains a racist commitment to majority judaism.

      building the wall is obviously an incitement to further violence, and the degree to which it can completely stop suicide bombing, especially when palestinians are further radicalized, is dubious. let the wall stop rocket attacks from gaza or sympathy attacks by hezbollah and other groups; it will just give them greater justification in their eyes.

      to build this wall is to bet on palestinian anger boiling over, and simply hoping it can be contained with a stronger lid. at some point that pot will explode.

      1. Sprinkles says:

        @Sprinkles So what do you suggest Israel do, other than dissolve itself completely?

        1. well says:

          @well israel could own up to its secularity and admit that having a few million palestinian citizens wouldn’t mean that the jews living there would have terrible lives. seriously, the holocaust is not going to be repeated again because arabs have a majority in the knesset – assuming it divided on ethnic lines.

          let israel be, but end its obsession with pure judaity. adjudicate the right of return – most palestinians just want it recognized, not carried through. work with the millions of thankful palestinians to catch those few deliquents who don’t want to see jews and arabs live side by side.

  • fuck Sprinkles says:

    @fuck Sprinkles she is clearly Beth Gabor

    1. Sprinkles says:

      @Sprinkles No I’m not, but would you like to tell me why anti-Israel activists don’t acknowledge a connection between suicide bombings that kill Israeli civilians and the existence of the wall?

  • fuck Sprinkles says:

    @fuck Sprinkles “to build this wall is to bet on palestinian anger boiling over, and simply hoping it can be contained with a stronger lid. at some point that pot will explode.”

    i concur

  • you says:

    @you dumb pieces of YOU KNOW WHAT:

    stop conflating issues. the mexican “wall” and the israeli palestinian border are not the same in any way shape or form, and by conflating issues you push away people that might agree with you on one issue or another but cannot and will not take the whole PACKAGE

    and also…. there is nothing criminal or illegal about simply working on wall street. if u do criminal things, sure, ur a criminal. but u are not a criminal by virtue of working on wall street.

    terrorist bombers are criminals and need to be stopped.

    end of story.

    1. excuse me says:

      @excuse me the mexican flag and the palestinian flag have the same colors…and i like colors!

    2. maybe says:

      @maybe people are trying to draw attention to the parallels, and since this is a demo, not some sort of election, they aren’t really interested in triangulating for the moderate vote? maybe they’re interested in “breaking the wall of silence”, like one of the speakers said, and not catering to your whims?

  • obviousman says:

    @obviousman “terrorist bombers are criminals and need to be stopped.”

    brilliant. this insight was the revelation of the day. someone give this person a nobel peace prize.

    1. just like says:

      @just like Yasser Arafat, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, who kept his millions offshore while his people suffered, and yet is apparently some sort of hero. Oh Yasser, you card!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous How about two options:

    a) One-state solution. Right of return for Palestinians, right of immigration for all persecuted Jews. One person, one vote. Parliamentary government. US Senate/House style compromise to ensure minority representation

    b) Two-state solution. Immediate withdrawal to pre-67 borders pursuant to everything the world court and UN have ever put out. Recognition of Israel by Palestinian government, recognition of Palestinian self-determination and sovereignty by Israel. Israel can build the wall INSIDE its pre-67 borders if it likes, but integrating the economies of the two countries would be best for both parties.

    Question: What would the Palestinians do if they were not subjected to occupation and oppression?

    There’s only one way to find out.

    1. in response says:

      @in response to sakib’s first post:

      1)A one state solution works really well when you’re arguing for that state to be Palestine. Because, as all proponants of that plan are well aware, Palestinian birth rates are incrementally higher than Israeli, and that coupled with the fact that all of the ‘refugees’ (who are really the grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who were sadly kept in that horrible refugee state and not allowed to become citizens of the countries in which they reside in order to serve as political tools) would come as well, overwhelming the Jewish population. Which leaves us without a Jewish state. And I very strongly believe in the right to national self-determination for Jews and Palestinians alike, not just one or the other.

      Saying there should be no countries or borders or delineations between peoples is well and good, and certainly sounds nice, except that it doesn’t exactly work that way. Need proof? How about Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda? How about the fact that for over 2000 years, the Jews were persecuted for being a foreign people in other peoples’ countries? And now you would deny them a country for some impracticable idea?

      2)two state solution. I love it, and know that this must be the solution. Palestinians absolutely should have their own state, as should Israelis. Thing is, though, Israel tried that. At Camp David, Arafat was offered control of all of Gaza, 96% of the West Bank along with territories within Israel proper to make up for the 4% left out, and control of East Jerusalem. He walked away without a counter-offer, and started the second intifada, unleashing a wave of terror which killed over 1,130 people. Now, I might not be an expert negotiator, but generally the way these things work is that there are concessions on both sides – not one side gives everything and the other sits back. And certainly not one side gives almost everything and the other walks away and begins a killing rampage.

      It was that violence, by the way, which resulted in the unfortunate necessity of the security fence – after negotiations had been tried and failed.

      Just my two cents.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Personally I think a one-state solution would be most equitable, but if there are two-states, so be it.

        Factually: the over 4,000 have died in the second Intifada. You forgot to count the Palestinians.

        I second peace, propaganda and the promised land.

  • hey says:

    @hey SPEaK is more understandable than LionPac. dang.

    1. right says:

      @right they’re both nondescript, though LionPAC deserves special condemnation for seeming to drag Columbia’s lovable mascot through the sludge of its partisan political agenda.

      why can’t these groups get names that reflect what they friggin are! filasteen, chicano caucus, iso – good examples. speak, lionpac, lucha – bad.

      1. blagh says:

        @blagh all these groups should form one group, USUCKIT: University Students Sustaining Unity Concerning Knowledge of Israeli Tribulations.

  • we've found out says:

    @we've found out It’s called Gaza. It’s a disaster.

    1. Gaza is a slum says:

      @Gaza is a slum and not a valid site for the experiment

      1. Troll says:

        @Troll *makes obligatory comparison to Columbia in Manhattanville*

  • That was says:

    @That was in response to Sakib, by the way.

  • StrawHat says:

    @StrawHat It makes sense that the US and Israel might want to revisit some of their border policies, but to deem all “walls” racist is merely rhetoric meant to get people riled up. I mean, does anybody actually believe it? If Mexico were in the exact same condition it is currently in, but full of white people, there would STILL be a need to secure the border. Yes, for some people, it’s about race, but they are a minority. For most people, it is about maintaining the integrity of our social services, the economy, and the fact that people our breaking out laws. It’s true that we ought to help people if we can as a nation, but saying that we should have open borders just to make some sort of philosophical point about people being equal simply doesn’t make sense in the real world. I won’t comment much on Israel and Palestine, since I am not as informed as I should be on that particular issue.

    1. its not about race? says:

      @its not about race? cause it isnt actually about our social services, which take in more in taxes from undocumented immigrants than they pay out to them. nor is it about jobs or wages, see eg . and i tend to doubt its about abstract commitment to the law, cause ive never seen any evidence border wall advocates are less likely to jaywalk or pirate music than the rest of us.

      1. Bullshit says:

        @Bullshit Left Business Review? I call bull shit on that stat

        1. please says:

          @please read the article. its cited in LBO, but the stat comes from a peer reviewed journal.

          or, you could mindlessly dismiss it because you don’t agree with the source. that works too, for some definition of works

  • just walking by says:

    @just walking by and I saw this event. The imagery of the human wall was really striking, and it was brave of Lucha and Filasteen to put this issue out there after the backlash from the Minutemen and the general Zionist intimidation we’ve seen on campus. Props to both for putting together a solid event that caught the attention of a lot of people in a good way. (unlike the shenanigans of Coolaid Kulawik and company)

    1. zionist intimidaton? says:

      @zionist intimidaton? really? with what have ‘zionists’ been ‘intimidating’ people? Words? Non-violent actions?

      Too bad David Duke couldn’t have been there with Lucha and Filasteen.

    2. yeah says:

      @yeah same point as number 51.

      Since when is Ari and three members of LionPAC standing at the sundial with literature equal “Zionist intimidation?”

      Also note that the oh so brave filasteen went to MELAC faculty for support. Clearly they have no one in the faculty who supports their point of view – damn that pro-israel MELAC, damn it to the sea!

      Good to see that some socialist nut job knows how to work his brand new Mac.

  • that's shit says:

    @that's shit Gaza is home to 1.5 million Palestinians, which represents over a 1/3rd of the total Palestinian population. So what you’re saying is that it “doesn’t count” to stop “oppressing and occupying” a third of the Palestinian people.

    It doesn’t matter if Gaza is a slum or not. The point is that it is no longer occupied, and it’s arguably a lot worse off now.

    1. a lot worse off says:

      @a lot worse off because its being shelled regularly by the IDF, humanitarian aid has been cut, and the borders are regularly closed. so, uh, how’s that evidence of the results of *not* “oppressing and occupying”?

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “It doesn’t matter if Gaza is a slum or not. The point is that it is no longer occupied, and it’s arguably a lot worse off now.”

      Like #55 said, Gaza has hardly been let be since Israeli ‘disengagement.’ To suggest that Gaza is representative of viable Palestinian self-determination is ridiculous.
      But, even if this was the case, the problem would be with what you’re implies: are you trying to say that Palestinians are better off occupied? So the fact that their unemployment rate in Gaza is above 30% and the poverty rate is through the roof is due to what?- their lack of ingenuity and ability? Is Gaza evidence that Palestinians are incapable of governing themselves? Did occupation by Israel serve as benevolent supervision to make sure those lazy peace-hating Palestinians remembered to get up in the morning?
      You should check your language, cuz sadly you saying people are “worse off” when free echoes every excuse ever made for slavery, colonialism, occupation, & oppression.

  • zionism says:

    @zionism zionists may not have the ability to dominate the campus landscape, but beyond these activist groups and the MEALAC faculty, they control much of the discourse on israel on campus, as well as much of it in the country at large.

    1. o shit says:

      @o shit I won my floor’s “countdown till someone invokes a zionist conspiracy” pool! my prize? lots of latkes! and control of a major news network!

    2. anti-semitism much? says:

      @anti-semitism much? Zionists control much of the country at large… man, they must have missed columbia, i guess one of their tentacles must must have missed us as they extended their web of domination across the entire world. whew, we got lucky. but they’ll be coming for us soon… i read in that book, elders of zion…

      you’ve gotta be kidding me man… but i give you props for being honest about your anti-semitism…

      1. anti-semitism? says:

        @anti-semitism? it’s anti-semitic to point out that zionists control most of the mainstream discourse on israel? so, uh, point me to an anti-zionist in Congress, the White House, or the major media. just one would do – a single person who thinks that the idea of a “Jewish state” is racist.

        obviously, most zionists are not jews.

      2. idiocy says:

        @idiocy yes, stating that zionism has great currency in the US media is clearly just a reprisal of the protocols of zion. it automatically means I aim at the imprisonment/execution of all jews.

        seriously, stop cheapening the discourse of anti-semitism. the lack of israel criticism in this country has created an echo chamber that has, in turn, led israel to do crazy things. the people who decry blind zionism want nothing more than to have the US media and government do its duty and question what’s right, both for israel and the US, rather than follow the most extreme pied pipers of zionism into the hell of jihad just because we were afraid of being facilely labelled “anti-semitic”.

  • yep says:

    @yep “By the way, whichever speaker said that the true criminals and illegals are “those who work on Wall Street” should just shut up.”

    Yep. I’m no fan of the attitude from the Patrick Bateman set but no Wallstreet = New York becomes the Detroit of the Eastern Seaboard.

    1. hah says:

      @hah like new york has no industries beyond finance.

      publishing? advertising? UN/diplomacy? old money culture vultures?

      by your logic boston would have become the detroit of the eastern seabord in 1890, when its stock market was eclipsed by the NYSE. but I digress…

      1. come on says:

        @come on Financiers, on Wall Street or otherwise, are crucial to the survival of all other industries and businesses. It’s a fact. It’s sad, but everybody needs them on some level of business. And most of them are not criminals. Just Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox.

  • china says:

    @china should really get rid of that wall on its border. I don’t care when it was put up or when – it enforces a racist policy of keeping out Mongolians and such from the pleasures of a democratic people’s republic and worker’s paradise simply due to the fact that they aren’t chinese. What, are they not proletariat enough for you?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s like what Chapelle says about Iceberg Slim and his booking on pimp, hos are so happy the pimped fixed them, they don’t even care that the pimp broke them in the first place.

    Breaking a society and then creating dependency is what colonialism aims to do. See British India. Same instance in both Gaza and the West Bank. 106+ years of occupation (21-48 by the Brits, 48-67 by Jordan/Egypt, 67-present by Israel) has broken that society. The Palestinian civil war (which is what Fatah vs. Hamas is) is evidence that the wounds haven’t healed, the retardation of enfranchisement hasn’t been reversed. The IDF bombing, cuts in humanitarian aide, and closing of borders exacerbate and deter stability, but the instability is deep rooted and can only be resolved through Palestinian struggle and self-determination.

  • Camp David says:

    @Camp David wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It was unacceptable, although it might look good at first site. Search ‘Peace, Propoganda & the Promise Land’ on Google vid or youtube. You don’t have to agree with the views in it, but it does clear up the Palestinian response to Camp David

  • Clayton Swisher says:

    @Clayton Swisher ‘s book “The Truth About Camp David” is also pretty good.

  • whenever says:

    @whenever you’re obsessed with whether the birth rates of another ethnic or religious group are higher than your own you know that you are a racist.

  • racism says:

    @racism Why have the Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians, Lebanese and Saudi not allowed the Palestinians to settle in their lands? They are afraid of the Palestinian birth-rate too.

    ‘Palestine’ was complicit in offering material support to the invading arab armies in 1967. Losers of wars usually don’t get to keep territories. Check your history books. Those who call for one-state solutions and/or a retreat to the 1967 borders should also be calling for the return of California to Mexico, or for that matter, the 13 colonies back to Great Britain. Not going to happen.

    1. um, actually... says:

      @um, actually... “Losers of wars usually don’t get to keep territories.”

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous More specifically on acquisition of territory in war:

      Article 2 of UN Charter:
      “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

      And hey, from UN Security Council Resolution 242:
      Emphasizing the INADMISSIBILITY OF THE ACQUISITION OF TERRITORY BY WAR and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

      Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

      1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:


      (ii)Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

      2. Affirms further the necessity

      (a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

      (b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

      (c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;


    3. Jonah says:

      @Jonah Just because the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, etc. mistreat Palestinians, that makes Israel racism OK? Whatever. Those countries are all close US allies, and in fact are quite tight with Israel.

      Check your facts on 1967, buddy. Israel invaded Egypt, not the other way around. After Israel invaded Egypt in 1956, in alliance with France and Britain, the UN placed an occupying “buffer” force in Egyptian territory (sort of like Lebanon after this summer’s war. it’s funny, every time the Israelis invade someone the UN puts troops on the territory of the invaded country). When, in 1967, Nasser asked the UN to withdraw its troops the Israelis launched an invasion.

      Also, the Camp David shit is pure BS. What Arafat was offered, in return for signing away the right of return, was a “state” that included about 67% of the West Bank, but in which Israel would have the right to send troops whenever it felt its “security” was “threatened.” Also, as in Gaza, Israel would keep full control over the borders of the new “state.”

      Zionists are so dumb. The idea that Arafat was responsible for the Second Intifada, which was as much directed at the PA as it was against the Israelis, is ridiculous. The Intifada was sparked by Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque with 1,000 armed guards on the anniversary of the massacres of Sabra and Shatila. Frankly, after life for Palestinians continued to deteriorate during the 1990s, after the PLO signed away Palestinian rights that had been recognized by the international community for decades in return for absolutely nothing, Arafat lost much of his popularity. He really only regained it just before his death, as a result of the IDF seige of the PA compound in Ramallah.

      But why engage with facts when you can talk completely out of your ass in absurd attempts to defend the indefensible.

      “Those who call for one-state solutions and/or a retreat to the 1967 borders should also be calling for the return of California to Mexico, or for that matter, the 13 colonies back to Great Britain. Not going to happen.”

      Yeah, that’s a good justification.

  • speaking of facts says:

    @speaking of facts Jonah, you’re first point is very true. Just because Arab countries have used Palestinians as their political pawns does not give Israel the right to abuse the Palestinians as well. But after that, my friend, your argument heads south. First, if you try looking at the historical context of the 67 war, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike because Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq had massed their armies on Israel’s borders. It was very clear that an imminent attack was about to take place, and the Arab countries would try to wipe out Israel–just check what Nasser had been saying. So that was, really, and pro-Arab supports will generally admit if they are taking an objective look at this, a defensive war fought by Israel. Also, to point out, Israel didn’t originally want the 56 war either–Egypt nationalizing the Suez, however, would have crippled Israel’s links to the outside world. Not only was the nationalization illegal, it was an attempt to starve an entire population. I think that’s a pretty good justification for Israel to protect its citizens from starvation.

    Next- where do you get your 67% of the West Bank number? Where do you get any of your ‘facts’ in this little paragraph? I suggest you read up a bit more on this.. though some here have argued that Oslo was not a great deal, I think most would agree that the numbers on the West Bank ranged from 90-97%. Certainly not 67%…

    In terms of Arafat’s culpability, this is irrefutable. If you look up some of the statements made by PA officials, they have candidly admitted that the infamous Sharon visit was simply the pretext they were waiting for to reignite the violence. Documents captured by the IDF when it captured Arafat’s compound clearly show that Arafat was funding and planning a new Intifada in order to garner more concessions from Israel. And 1,000 armed guards? I hope that was hyperbole. Also, seriously, even if the Sharon visit WAS the reason, can you honestly say that one visit to the Temple Mount deserves a suicide bombing? There’s something very wrong with that equation. What evidence do you have that Palestinian livelihood declined in the 1990’s? All the numbers point to unprecedented growth in the West Bank and Gaza during the Oslo years. Tourism, trade, and job growth were all soaring. As for the PLO signing away Palestinian rights, which rights do you speak of? The right of return?

    “But why engage with facts when you can talk completely out of your ass in absurd attempts to defend the indefensible.” Hmm, maybe you should take another look at that. Self-awareness is very important my friend.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous The view of ’67 as a defensive war stands, except for the whole captured territory occupied for over 40 ensuing years bit. Arguing ’56 was defensive is ridiculous. Israel does not touch the Suez Canal. Israel has plenty of coast on the Mediterranean. The Suez Canal is a colonial project that should be directed for the benefit of the people of Egypt.

      As for the percentage of the West Bank, it’s a number. A number less than 100%. The more important points that Jonah made were the waiving of Palestinian territorial soveriegnty required by Camp David. Allowing the IDF to move with impunity in Palestinian territory would be as unacceptable as allowing Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Matyr’s Brigade to move with impunity in Israel. Actually, since the IDF is three times the killer as the other two combined (see body counts), maybe it would be three times as unacceptable. Even leaving West Bank territorial percentage aside (even though it is quite important), Camp David was not necessarily a good deal.

      To think that Arafat had some kind of overwhelming authority is to overstate the power of the PA. The PA has been, since atleast Oslo/Madrid, rigorously challenged domesticlly. It’s weekness is often also cited as a reason Arafat walked away from the table. It is argued (I don’t know either way) that had Arafat agreed to conceed IDF’s ability to intervene and reneged any West Bank territory and right of return, the PA would lose all legitimacy as a bargaining agent. The election of Hamas to leadership the the Palestinian government, a move away from Fatah and Arafat’s people, is evidence of the tensions that have existed and do exist. That Hamas and Fatah have fought each other as much as they’ve fought Israel is also evidence.

      It is a pet peeve of mine when ignorant people ignore the fact that non-Western countries, peoples and cultures are dynamic, factioned, and engaged in internal dialogue. Al Qaeda, the House of Saud, the Taliban, Iran, the Baath Party, Kurdish liberation movement, Iraqi Sunnis, Iraqi Shia, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah are not all the same. Their differences are not “ethnic”. They’re different, inter-related, inter-engaging, intra-engaging, politically, ideologically, and religiously dynamic (not static), and in some sense socially soverign entities. Fail to see the details and complexities and you’ll just have a shitty colonial project of unprovoked invasions (Iraq), unfinished business (Al Qaeda), and lies (Iraq = Al Qaeda).

      BTW- of course this applies to the Israeli side too. When I’ve referred to Israel, I’ve been referring that erroneously, and I apologize. I should say Likud/Sharon/IDF instead of Israel.

      PS- I know IDF is a conscript army. I don’t mean the Privates and Lietenants. I mean the Generals.

    2. Jonah says:

      @Jonah You say:

      “First, if you try looking at the historical context of the 67 war, Israel launched a pre-emptive strike because Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq had massed their armies on Israel’s borders.”

      Rabin (chief of staff at the time of the war), on the other hand, said:

      “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”

      General (and future PM) Begin said:

      “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

      General Ezer Weitzman said that there was “no threat of destruction” but that the attack on Egypt, Jordan and Syria was nevertheless justified so that Israel could exist according the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.”

      But you probably know better. It’s true that Nasser’s nationalization of the Suze Canal was “illegal” by terms of an Anglo-Egyptian that was signed when Egypt was, you know, under colonial occupation. Of course, nationalizing the Suez Canal wasn’t quite as illegal as the IDF’s unprovoked bombings of the Gaza Strip before the war, or Operation Suzanna. But whatever.

      In any case, it shouldn’t be surprising that Israel would fight a war with Britain/France in defense of European’s rights’ to the Suez Canal.

      Herzl had always insisted that a Zionist state in the Middle would be a “rampart of Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization among the barbarians.” And Weizmann had lobbied that famous anti-semite Lord Balfour to issue the Balfour declaration by arguing that a Zionist state in Palestine “would be a safeguard to England, in particular in respect to the Suez Canal.”

      Re: the Camp David number, 67%. It’s actually more like 65%. After 1967, Israel rewrote the “borders” to the “West Bank” massively decreasing the official size of the territory. When you talk about the “offer” at Camp David, you’re talking about a percentage of land much of which had already, illegally, been annexed.

      Again, you don’t know what you’re talking about vis-a-vis the Intifada. The second, like the first (“the revolution of stones” which focused much of the world’s attention on the plight of the Palestinians in the late 1980s), was a popular uprising as much against the conservative leadership of the PLO/PA as against the Israelis. The Intifada was a reaction against the Oslo years, the failure of the “peace process” to alleviate the oppression of the Palestinians. The lack of political leadership in the Intifada created precisely the vacuum that Hamas has been able to fill, by playing the role that Fatah no longer will. For decades, the PLO, led by Fatah, advocated a single, binational state, with equal rights for everyone regardless of religion, language, or ethnic background (aka democracy). Pressured by Israel, they went down a path beginning in the 1970s towards acceptance of a Palestinian “mini-state” in any slice of land that could be “liberated.” That formula made them increasingly conservative, and their support among Palestinians continued to dwindle, especially as the Oslo years wore on and turned into the Intifada. That’s why today, the only people that like Abbas are the US/Israel/Saudi Arabia/Egypt, who are arming him in the hopes that he’ll start a civil war against Hamas.

      After Oslo, the Zionists doubled the number of settlements in the West Bank, escalated the pace of land seizures, the amount of water diverted from under the West Bank, the olive tree and home demolitions. The expanded the border closings (begun in 1991, two years by the way before the first suicide bombing).

      About 4 times as many Palestinians have been killed during the Intifada as Israelis. Israel currently holds about 9,000-10,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails, including about 400 women and 400 children. There are about 500 checkpoints in the West Bank preventing Palestinian movement.

      I understand why you don’t like suicide bombings. I’ve got a solution for them: why doesn’t Israel give the Palestinians its US supplied tanks, helicopters, airplanes, etc., or what about its French supplied nuclear technology (which it then provided to its buddy, Apartheid South Africa, btw). I guarantee there won’t be another suicide bombing.

      1. good point says:

        @good point there definitely won’t be any more suicide bombings then, because the Israelis could just be killed with a nuclear explosion.

        also, can you cite a legitimate news source that claims sharon had over 1,000 guards? Or are they all biased against palestinians like the british union of journalists?

  • Jonah says:

    @Jonah Oh, and Sharon did show up at al-Haram al-Sharif with 1,000 armed cops. More than that, acutally.

    In the context in which it happened it was an unbelievable political statement, it was an obvious provocation.

    It tapped into mass anger that already existed to touch off a mass uprising, the Second Intifada.

  • Jimbo says:

    @Jimbo Jonah,

    Thank you very much for all this stuff; it’s really informative.

  • Sakib2 says:

    @Sakib2 It’s all propaganda. Per Sakib’s point – there is no such thing as Palestinian ‘people’. The attempt to westernize Palestine into a discrete state is racist and western-normative. The people of ‘Palestine’ are no different from the arab peoples of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

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