Peace in our Time?

May 5, 2007

Official Summary in English of Winograd

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 4:48 pm

Press Release

1. On September 17th 2006 The Government of Israel decided, under section 8A of The Government Act 2001, to appoint a governmental commission of examination “To look into the preparation and conduct of the political and the security levels concerning all the dimensions of the Northern Campaign which started on July 12th 2006”. Today we have submitted to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence the classified interim report, and we are now presenting the inclassified report to the public.

2. The Commission was appointed due to a strong sense of a crisis and deep disappointment with the consequences of the campaign and the way it was conducted. We regarded accepted this difficult task both as a duty and a privilege. It is our belief that the larger the event and the deeper the feeling of crisis – the greater the opportunity to change and improve matters which are essential for the security and the flourishing of state and society in Israel. We believe Israeli society has great strength and resilience, with a robust sense of the justice of its being and of its achievements. These, too, were expressed during the war in Lebanon and after it. At the same time, we must not underrated deep failures among us.

3. This conception of our role affected the way we operated. No-one underestimates the need to study what happened in the past, including the imposition of personal responsibility. The past is the key for learning lessons for the future. Nonetheless, learning these lessons and actually implementing them are the most implication of the conclusions of the Commission.

4. This emphasis on learning lessons does not only follow from our conception of the role of a public Commission. It also follows from our belief that one Israeli society greatest sources of strength is its being a free, open and creative. Together with great achievements, the challenges facing it are existential. To cope with them, Israel must be a learning society – a society which examines its achievements and, in particular, its failures, in order to improve its ability to face the future.

5. Initially we hoped that the appointment of the Commission will serve as an incentive to accelerate learning processes in the relevant systems, while we are working, so that we could devote our time to study all of the materials in depth, and present the public with a comprehensive picture. However, learning processes have been limited. In some ways an opposite, and worrying, process emerged – a process of ‘waiting’ for the Commission’s Report before energetic and determined action is taken to redress failures which have been revealed. (more…)

May 3, 2007

THE LIVNI-RICE PLAN: TOWARDS A JUST PEACE OR APARTHEID?

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 6:23 pm

By Jeff Halper

For years I have been one of the doomsayers, arguing that the two-state solution is dead and that apartheid has become the only realistic political outcome of the Israel-Palestine conflict– at least until a full-blown anti-apartheid struggle arises that fundamentally changes the equation. I based my assessment on several seemingly incontrovertible realities. Over the past 40 years, Israel has laid a thick and irreversible Matrix of Control over the Occupied Territories, including some 300 settlements, which effectively eliminates the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. No Israeli politician could conceivably be elected on the basis of withdrawing from the Occupied Territories to a point where a real Palestinian state could actually emerge, and even if s/he was, the prospect of cobbling together a coalition government with the requisite will and clout to carry out such a plan is highly unlikely, if at all. And given the unconditional bi-partisan support Israel enjoys in both houses of Congress and successive Adminstrations, reinforced by the Christian Right, the influential Jewish community and military lobbyists and a lack of will on the part of the international community to pressure Israel into making meaningful concessions, a genuine two-state solution seems virtually out of the question – even though it is the preferred option espoused by the international community in the moribund “Road Map” initiative.

Now if it is true that the two-state solution is gone, the next logical alternative would be the one-state solution, particularly since Israel conceives of the entire country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River as one country – the Land of Israel – and has de facto made it one country through its settlements and highways. Seeing that Israel has been the only effective government throughout the land these past 40 years, why not go all the way and declare it a democratic state of all its inhabitants? (After all, Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East.) The answer is clear: a democratic state in the Land of Israel is unacceptable (to Israel) because such a state, with a Palestinian majority, could not be “Jewish.”

Which leads us back, then, to apartheid, a system in which one population separates itself from another and then proceeds to dominate it permanently and structurally. (more…)

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