The Palestinians, in Israeli officials’ own words

The Palestinians, in Israeli officials’ own wordsby Philip Weiss on January 18, 2009

Anees, our Jerusalem correspondent, offers this roadmap of the Israeli relationship to the Palestinian minority:

Early 1970’s: “We
have no solution… You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like
dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process

– Moshe Dayan (1915-1981) served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, defense minister, and leader of the Labor party in Israel. He said these words in a talk with members of his Labor cabinet. Noam Chomsky cites as source of this quote: Yossi Beilin, Mehiro shel Ihud (Revivim, 1985), 42; an important review of cabinet records under the Labor Party. Books that cite these words (excluding Chomsky’s)

May 3, 1983:
“When we have settled the land, all the
Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged
roaches in a bottle.”

– Rafael Eitan (1929-2004) served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, and later as Knesset member and government minister. Sources

October 8, 2004:
“The significance of the [Gaza Strip disengagement] plan is the freezing of the peace process,” Dov Weisglass told Haaretz newspaper, adding the US had given its backing. … “It
supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not
be a political process with the Palestinians … When you freeze [the
peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state,
and you prevent a discussion on the [Palestinian] refugees, the borders
and Jerusalem.
… Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with
all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. …
And all this with authority and permission. All with a [US]
presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
– Dov Weisglass, then adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Source

February 2006:
“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.”– Dov Weisglass, adviser to now-Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert, talking about Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip. Source 1, 2

February 29, 2008:
“The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range,
they will bring upon themselves a bigger ‘shoah’ [Holocaust] because we will use
all our might to defend ourselves.”

– Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense minister. Source

Jan 12, 2009:
“Gaza is a laboratory of catastrophization.”
– Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy and critical theory at Tel Aviv University. Link Finally a ‘longish’ quote by Yitzhak Laor, Israeli poet and novelist. From an op/ed page in the London Review of Books, Jan 2009:

We’ve been here before. It’s a ritual. Every two or three years, our
military mounts another bloody expedition. The enemy is always smaller,
weaker; our military is always larger, technologically more
sophisticated, prepared for full-scale war against a full-scale army.
But Iran is too scary, and even the relatively small Hizbullah gave us
a hard time. That leaves the Palestinians.

Israel is engaged in a
long war of annihilation against Palestinian society. The objective is
to destroy the Palestinian nation and drive it back into pre-modern
groupings based on the tribe, the clan and the enclave. This is the
last phase of the Zionist colonial mission, culminating in inaccessible
townships, camps, villages, districts, all of them to be walled or
fenced off, and patrolled by a powerful army which, in the absence of a
proper military objective, is really an over-equipped police force,
with F16s, Apaches, tanks, artillery, commando units and hi-tech
surveillance at its disposal.

The extent of the cruelty, the lack
of shame and the refusal of self-restraint are striking, both in
anthropological terms and historically. The worldwide Jewish support
for this vandal offensive makes one wonder if this isn’t the moment
Zionism is taking over the Jewish people.

But the real issue is
that since 1991, and even more since the Oslo agreements in 1993,
Israel has played on the idea that it really is trading land for peace,
while the truth is very different. Israel has not given up the
territories, but cantonised and blockaded them. The new strategy is to
confine the Palestinians: they do not belong in our space, they are to
remain out of sight, packed into their townships and camps, or swelling
our prisons. This project now has the support of most of the Israeli
press and academics.

We are the masters. We work and travel. They
can make their living by policing their own people. We drive on the
highways. They must live across the hills. The hills are ours. So are
the fences. We control the roads, and the checkpoints and the borders.
We control their electricity, their water, their milk, their oil, their
wheat and their gasoline. If they protest peacefully we fire tear gas
at them. If they throw stones, we fire bullets. If they launch a
rocket, we destroy a house and its inhabitants. If they launch a
missile, we destroy families, neighbourhoods, streets, towns.

doesn’t want a Palestinian state alongside it. It is willing to prove
this with hundreds of dead and thousands of disabled, in a single
‘operation’. The message is always the same: leave or remain in
subjugation, under our military dictatorship. We are a democracy. We
have decided democratically that you will live like dogs.

On 27
December just before the bombs started falling on Gaza, the Zionist
parties, from Meretz to Yisrael Betenu, were unanimously in favour of
the attack. As usual – it’s the ritual again – differences emerged only
over the dispatch of blankets and medication to Gaza. Our most fervent
pro-war columnist, Ari Shavit, has suggested that Israel should go on
with the assault and build a hospital for the victims. The enemy is
wounded, bleeding, dying, desperate for help. Nobody is coming unless
Obama moves – yes, we are all waiting for Godot. Maybe this time he
shows up.

– Yitzhak Laor lives in Tel Aviv. He is the editor of Mita’am.

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1 A blogger from Lebanon January 18, 2009 at 11:33 am

Yitzhak Laor says it best.
Well said.

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2 Kathy January 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm

No shame? The Zionists have no “face.”

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3 delia January 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

As long as we are quoting Dayan, here’s a passage from Henry Siegman:

“Just one year after the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan, a former IDF chief of staff who at the time was minister of defence, described his plan for the future as ‘the current reality in the [Palestinian] territories’. ‘The plan,’ he said, ‘is being implemented in actual fact. What exists today must remain as a permanent arrangement in the West Bank.’ Ten years later, at a conference in Tel Aviv, Dayan said: ‘The question is not “What is the solution?” but “How do we live without a solution?”’

“Geoffrey Aronson, who has monitored the settlement enterprise from its beginnings, summarises the situation as follows: ‘Living without a solution, then as now, was understood by Israel as the key to maximising the benefits of conquest while minimising the burdens and dangers of retreat or formal annexation. This commitment to the status quo, however, disguised a programme of expansion that generations of Israeli leaders supported as enabling, through Israeli settlement, the dynamic transformation of the territories and the expansion of effective Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan River.’” (Henry Siegman, “The Great Middle East Peace Process Scam,” 2007)

In other words, no solution is the best solution—for the Israelis, that is. All that remains is to get the Palestinians to resign themselves to the Apartheid-like system currently in place—a system that keeps them locked up in their tiny, walled-off ghettos and denies them the rights enjoyed by Israelis. Ironically, this echoes the lives which many Israelis’ European ancestors lived for centuries—so the Israelis know it works. Getting the Palestinians to acquiesce may require a few more “peace conference” charades—and a few more wars, but with the fourth largest military on the planet and laws that require all Israelis to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, this appears not to be a problem for Israel.

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4 Colin Murray January 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm

This about sums it up. American support for these crimes is arranged, implemented, concealed, and excused by the Israeli Lobby, both those inside and outside government, especially AIPAC and our so-called ‘mainstream media’. The Lobby is a threat to American national security.

Standard disclaimer: Do not assume that my, or anyone else’s, information or analysis is correct. If you care enough to spend a little time, check for yourself, form you own conclusions, and speak up and join the growing national dialogue.

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5 quds911 January 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm

To this list it is worth adding:

“When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day. … The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.”

– Arnon Sofer, university professor and adviser to Ariel Sharon

This was said in a Jerusalem Post interview, “It’s the demography, stupid,” May 21, 2004. That original item is not accessible on the website today. But a follow-up interview is here. In it Soffer complains his comments were mis-understood: “I didn’t recommend that we kill Palestinians. I said we’ll have to kill them.” Oh ok! That makes sense now, good man!

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6 Eva Smagacz January 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Is this the time to pray that ghettos are where Israeli imaginative ways of getting rid of “Palestinian cockroaches” will stop?

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7 william January 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm

asalam alaikom la3nat alah 3ala al yahod e7″wata al kerada wal 7’anazer alah ma3akom 7ata al naser w ala ma3 al sha3b al falasteny w la3nat alah 3ala kol al ro2asa2 al 3arab al 7’awana al andal kol al president of arabs

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8 Yipsy January 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I think that of all the fighting that is happening in Palestine; the ones suffering the most are those innocent lives of the children and the government of Israel or Palestine doesn’t do anything about it. I think that Israel has to be stopped one way or the other and the United States has to do something about it. All the Muslim community needs to unite and try to help the Palestinian people. Moreover, we all have to understand that we have to co-exist with one another, so a peace treaty between Palestine and Israel has to be done at some point.

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9 Om Nom June 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm

And so what? Crossing over into Israel is NOT A RIGHT. It never has been, neither under conventional morality nor under international law. If arabs in Gaza and West Bank want free passage into Israel, they better be VERY CONVINCING when they promise us they’re not going to kill anyone.

10 hasaflavor June 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm

That’s like locking a disabled man out of his apartment and telling him that he better have a pretty good god damn reason to want to go inside and get his wheelchair. Palestinians are in a state of deprivation, and often the Israeli checkpoints are between Palestinian lands. Here’s the first semi-good map I could find of Palestine… . Note the little pockets there in the West Bank, interrupted with Israel? Wherever there is “Israeli Control” there are checkpoints. Even beyond detaining Palestinians trying to go to their job in Israel, you have Israelis hassling Palestinians just trying to get around their country. It’s like if France set up check points between Chicago and Stickney, or Houston and its suburbs. It’d get aggravating to get up at 2 AM just to be able to wait through the lines to get to work on time, no?

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