Israel-Arafat Agreement by Noam Chomsky
Middle East Diplomacy by Noam Chomsky
When Israel was created in 1948, there were only 2 places for the Palestinians to live in : the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. During the creation, 750 000 Palestinians became refugees: some of them were forced to leave Israel, others were simply scared. Many Arabs believed that all of the Zionists had to leave Palestine by force. This lead to many attacks against Israelis. At that time, world opinion was pro-Zionist: there was sympathy towards the Jews after their extermination by Hitler and many believed that the Arabs' attacks against Israel was terrorism. Many believed that Arabs were anti-Semitic. As a fact for those of you who don't know, Arabs themselves are Semitic, according to anthropologists!! So how can Arabs be anti-Semitic?
In 1967, Israel invaded the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Now there is no place for the Palestinians to live in. Although some of them were allowed to remain, many were forced to leave their homes to let space for the Israeli invaders. The number of homeless Palestinians increased. The refugee camps they lived in had appalling conditions: they were overcrowded, dirty, small and with hardly any facilities. The people were hungry and they were all poor. At that point, more Arabs decided to fight against Israel.
For them, the fight was the fight for freedom. For Israel, the fight was terrorism. Although Israel refused to obey the UN's rule to leave all occupied land and allow refugees to return, world opinion was still on Israel's side. Israel's excuse was that they needed land for security (that's what Hitler said when he invaded land: he said that their had to be land for the security of the Germans). Since they had invaded the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, many Israeli settlements were built. Homes of Palestinians were destroyed without hesitation. Those who dared to resist were simply killed; or just imprisoned if they were lucky. Many farms were taken over by the Israelis: the only source of money left for the Palestinians. Many olive trees, which survived for hundreds, or even thousands of years, were perished in a few seconds.
The Arabs had nothing to do but to fight. The French fought against the Nazis. The Polish against the Soviets. The Chinese fought against the Japanese. Yet, they were all viewed as heroes and freedom-fighters. On the other hand, the world media always calls the Arabs who fight for freedom terrorists. Why? Is it because many of their victims are civilians? OK. In 1945, tens of French civilians who were believed to have supported the Nazis were burnt in the streets without being trailed. The Russians killed many Nazi civilians in WW2. Who can now call the French and Russians terrorists, and call the Nazis innocent victims? The photograph on the left shows a plane hijacked by the Palestinians.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization had always been fighting against Israel and many of their attacks were described as "terrorist attacks". Yet, the crimes committed by the Israeli army, which many of them were denounced by Human Rights officials in the UN, are never described as terrorists.
Now, the leader of the PLO, Yasser Arafat is negotiating for peace with Israel. He used to be known as a terrorist by Israelis. Ariel Sharon, who is also claiming to search for peace, used to be and still is known, as a butcher. Arafat wants all the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and all of the Palestinian refugees (which are now more than 3 million) to return and to form a Palestinian nation. The Israelis want to give him 90% of the West Bank which is not occupied by the Israeli settlements (although western media claims that Israelis want to return 90% of all of the West Bank) and with only some of the refugees allowed to return. They will only agree to the existence of a disarmed Palestinian nation.
Many Israeli political analysts said that Barak's offers during Camp David were the best ever during the history of the negotiations between Israel and Palestine. First of all, Barak refused to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians, although there are many Christian and Islamic sacred sites in the holy city. Also, Barak said that Arafat could regain the Gaza Strip but without allowing the 3 million refugees to return. Why should Arafat be blamed for not agreeing to prevent 3 million deprived men, women and children from returning to their homes? Who could agree to that? And one more thing Barak decided to "compensate" was 90% of the West Bank. Political analysts tend to forget that 30% of the West Bank is actually Jerusalem and 25% of it is covered by Jewish settlements: both which he was not willing to give away. This leaves us with 45% of the West Bank which Barak was willing to get rid of 90% of it, i.e. 40.5% of all of the West Bank only!!!
During and after Camp David, the Palestinians were criticized for not willing to compensate. The UN gave the Palestinians the right to regain 100% of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and under no conditions. Should Palestinians give up some of this land? Should they give up something which should have belonged to them? The UN also said that all refugees should have the right to return. Who should have the right to prevent them from returning? Who should have the right to keep them poor, deprived and hungry forever?
Yasser Arafat, and many other Arabs, are no longer demanding the return of all Arab land unconditionally. They have failed to cope with international pressure and media. The Israelis were, and still are, murderers of hundreds of Arabs and Muslims. Why should we ask for peaceful co-existence with them? I know that the Israelis think of the Arabs in the same way because many Israelis were killed in "terrorist attacks". However, all Israelis came from different nations from around the world claiming that Palestine belonged to them and that their race was chosen by God as the best. That's their own belief. That's their own religion. We should respect it, but they should respect us too. No matter what you think of Arabs: Arabs are humans just like you!! They have their own homes. They have their own ambition. Their own dreams. Their own blood. Their own soul. Why do we give the right for Jews to take the land of others? The Jews can go back to where they came from. But where can Palestinians go? When the Nazis invaded France with the same excuse (they too believed that their had to be land given to them called Lebensraum or 'living space'), was their a controversial issue whether they had the right to do that or not, or did everyone just condemn the Nazis' racist beliefs?