Athens Meeting 19-20 June 2003, Contribution by CP of
http://www.maki.org.il , mailto:email@example.com
by Issam Makhoul
THEY CAN HAVE THE MAP - BUT WE HAVE THE ROAD !
Kyiv, 13 and 14 may 2003
It is true that Sharon and Bush can have the map, but we
the committed peace forces have the road.. and should
A road that necessarily pass through pointing occupation as
the very source of violence and atrocities in the
Israeli Palestinian equation.
A road that recognizes the legitimate national rights of
the Palestinian people as a main reason to stop
A road that was pointed by a joint Israeli Palestinian
petition signed and published by more than one thousand
prominent activists of peace from both sides, declaring the
establishment of the " Joint Action Group For Israeli-
Palestinian Peace ".
A road that Marten Luther King had foreseen when he said:
"There is no way to peace .. peace is the way"
That still the real question that makes the difference with
the spoken Road map also. Either it will be used as a road,
or just a bypassing road to avoid just peace.
The war started by Sharon's government at the end of March,
2002, to reoccupy the territories controlled by the
Palestinian Authority, was another phase in an ongoing war
during the last 33 months aimed at eliminating by military
force the national rights of the Palestinian people, and
primarily their right to a sovereign state at the side of
the State of Israel on the one hand, and to consolidate
Israeli rule and settlements in the territories occupied in
1967 on the other.
There can be no end to the cycle of bloodshed as long as
the main cause of the violence and destruction is not dealt
with, and that is the continued Israeli domination of the
Palestinian territories occupied in June 1967. In the
course of the continued Israeli occupation, these last 36
years, 140 Israeli settlements have been built in the
occupied territories, more than a third of the territories
in the West Bank and Gaza have been seized, numerous war
crimes have been committed. The 36 year ongoing occupation
continues to be illegal and immoral. and the source of
evil in the area.
Prime Minister Sharon, who in his previous military and
civilian functions had been responsible for setting up
dozens of settlements, for demolition of Arab houses, for
the war against Lebanon in 1982 - including the massacre
carried out in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila - is
conducting a strong-arm and particularly violent policy
towards the Palestinian people and its leadership.
Although we are already living in the 21st century, Sharon
continues to hold high the banner of colonialism. He is
convinced that Israel has the right to rule the 3.5 million
Palestinians living in the territories occupied by Israel
in 1967, and that it is possible to abolish national rights
by means of military supremacy. As far as Sharon is
concerned, all the territory occupied by Israel in June
1967, will forever remain under occupation, and as for the
Palestinians, he is prepared that they be granted limited
autonomy in a number of `Bantustans', with responsibility
for sewage and road repairs, and all that in no more than
40% of the occupied territories. This in fact what Sharon
means, when he speaks about "painful concessions" (
painful for the Palestinians ) for sure!
It is important to emphasize that Sharon's government
continue planning to achieve its political goals by waging
a ruthless war.
There is no place in Sharon's plans for an independent and
viable Palestinian state that will coexist in peace with
Israel. And in order to remove from the agenda the
establishment of a Palestinian state, Sharon has instructed
the Israeli army to destroy systematically all instruments
of government, and all the civilian institutions that have
been set up in the territories since the Oslo agreements.
This is also the reason for the `siege' he has imposed on
the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat, and for
the destruction of the building in Ramallah in which his
offices are located. From Sharon's point of view, the real
purpose of seeking the elimination of Arafat is to remove
from the order of the day the establishment of an
The Sharon government is aware of the Palestinian popular
resistance to the continuation of the occupation and of the
aspiration of the Palestinian people for national
independence and a state. And in order to repress the
natural aspiration to be free of foreign occupation, the
Israeli army was sent into the Palestinian towns and
refugee camps. The purpose of this war was to coerce the
Palestinians to accept the unacceptable "solution" that
Sharon proposes, namely, a continuation of the Israeli
occupation. The Israeli army has reconquered the towns and
refugee camps, commits war crimes, executions without
trial, imposes military and economic siege, starves the
Palestinian population and cuts off medical assistance,
preventing children and students from learning in schools
and universities, preventing pregnant women from giving
birth in hospitals.
Competing to Monopolize the Role of the Victim
Under the cover of the US administration, not only does
Israel occupy land, build settlements, confiscate land,
control Palestinian water resources, and humiliate, and
dehumanize Palestinians, but it also strives to acquire the
status of the victim, competing with the Palestinians over
it, thereby denying them even their right to be Israel's
victims! Israel, with unequivocal U.S. support, does not
want to focus on the occupation and the demands to end it,
since it is adamant that the issue on the table is not the
occupation, but violence. The legitimate rights of the
Palestinian people and the implementation of the pertinent
United Nations resolutions cannot be allowed to be part of
the main discourse in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; we
are not in Iraq - only Israel's security must be
considered for discussion!
The American-Israeli agenda cannot let such "small"
issues, as Israeli colonial oppression, aggression, war
crimes, liquidation of Palestinian activists, the daily
killing of Palestinian children by systematic "mistakes"
policy, and state sponsored terrorism -which the Bush
administration views as legitimate self-defense!!- to be
voiced or presented.
On the contrary, it is "Palestinian terrorism" and
eradicating the infrastructure of "terrorism," and internal
Palestinian strife that are high on this agenda.
Mr. Bush cannot understand that occupation,
humiliation and oppression are the infrastructure of
terrorism and violence.
Priority to Demography or to Geography?
This is all taking place in the shadow of a conflict
between two major Israeli political schools: the Labor
Party school, which espouses giving priority to the
demographic threat, since it views it in the short to
medium run as endangering the Jewish majority to the west
of the Jordan River. Confronting this threat, rather than
acknowledging Palestinian national rights, is what compels
Labor to propose dividing the land and seeking political
solution under the equation : peace for land..
The second school is the bloc that advocates the
"Greater Israel" slogan. This school claims the ability
to hold on to "the land of greater Israel" on the one hand,
while preserving the Jewish identity of the state, on the
other, through compromising Israeli democracy, keeping the
Palestinian people outside the circle of national rights
and political legitimacy, and pushing the Arab Palestinian
citizens of Israel outside the sphere of democracy and the
legitimacy of participation. Having the illusion that
Israel's superior power can be used to end the conflict
militarily, this school calls for a systematic process of
subjugation of the Palestinian people, where confrontation
is turned into a perpetual state of affairs, and where
racial segregation becomes an established system. This is
the school that is currently governing Israel, due to the
miserable failure of the Labor Party, and its despicable
servitude to Sharon's government and its fascist tendencies
last two years..
This government led by Sharon, since it got to power is
seeking ways to avoid the political process and to reduce
the conflict to its security dimension, through maintaining
the explosive situation, intensifying the bloodletting and
committing war crimes. This government not only lacks a
political alternative, but has also made itself an
alternative to any political solution; its main agenda is
guaranteeing the security of occupation and the security of
settlements, and not guaranteeing the security of Israelis
and Palestinians alike, through ending the occupation,
dismantling the settlements and recognizing the Palestinian
people's legitimate rights.
The Internationals : Defend The Face Of Humanity !
Having a breakthrough that can alter the dominant position
in Israel is a decisive factor in winning the battle for a
just peace, and for completely ending the occupation.
Influencing the international public opinion is just as
crucial in mobilizing support for international protection
of the Palestinian people (a Palestinian demand which both
Israel and the U.S. have no moral right to reject, or to
impede, because they are both responsible for the crime).
International peace and monitoring brigades and solidarity
delegations also constitute a real challenge to the
Israel,s apartheid policies.
However, the important question and the main challenge
remains: who isolates whom? Will Sharon succeed in
isolating the peace forces in Israel and the just struggle
of the Palestinians ? Or will the just struggle for peace
isolate Sharon in Israel and internationally ?
Will Sharon succeeds to silence the voice of the great
"Greek heroes" of our era: The activists of International
non violent Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Palestine who
started paying their blood and lives in front of the
Israeli occupation machine of killing ..
Our imperative not to let war and bloodshed silence the
voice of that American brave young lady Rachel Coeri who
was crushed under the chains of a D9 Israeli buildozer
which insisted to remove young Rachel from its path while
it headed to demolish a Palestinian house in Khan Younis.
The world should know, these International Peace Brigades
are not defending the Palestinian children, women and other
civilians per se, they are defending the Dignity of mankind
and the face of humanity.. Let us send them warm greetings,
love and solidarity.
Israelis Against The Occupation
Ladies and gentlemen:
In recent months wider circles in Israeli society have
freed themselves of the illusion of force. Increasing
numbers of Israelis oppose the war crimes and are
participating in protest actions of the left and of various
The phenomenon, unprecedented in scope, of officers and
soldiers refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian
territories, creates a dynamic that increasingly
legitimizes different forms of opposition to the policy of
force and occupation conducted by the Israeli governments.
Especially noteworthy is the increasing number of women and
mothers, including bereaved mothers, who are participating
in the protest actions. "The occupation is killing us all"
and "Stop the war!" - have become the slogans of the
opponents of occupation and war.
In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in Haifa and Nazareth, many
thousands demonstrate repeatedly with the demand to stop
the war immediately, to leave the occupied territories and
to conduct peace negotiations with the Palestinian
The Same Chains
The ruling establishment in Israel tries to divert Israeli
public opinion from the correlation between policies of
blood and tears, of Sharon`s government, and the heavy
social and human price it inflicts.
Life has once again proven our contention, that the Israeli
government has no option: it cannot starve Palestinian
workers and the Palestinian people, without starving
significant portions of the Israeli population. Nor does it
have the ability to create a situation of continuous
humiliation for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation
without humiliating the poor, the unemployed and the
workers of Israel at the same time. The chains on the
freedoms of the Palestinians under the yoke of the
occupation are the same chains binding the hands of the
Israeli working class and the weaker levels of Israeli
Clearly, only a political horizon, peace perspective,
security and hope for the Palestinians can bring economic
and social improvement, security and hope for Israelis...
Not exactly the map but the road itself.