Israel-Palestine Quiz (Less Detail)

(Less detailed version)
By Jeffrey Rudolph (July 2017, last update December 2017)

The following Israel-Palestine Quiz addresses the many fundamental misconceptions I have encountered while working at information tables dealing with the Israel-Palestine conflict. Indeed, I will deem the Quiz a success if it merely reduces the number of times I have to respond to the common refrain of “Barak made a generous offer at Camp David.”


1. Who declared the following in 1930? “Land is the most necessary thing for our establishing roots in Palestine. Since there are hardly any more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of the purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated the land so far, both owners of the land and tenants.”

-Dr. Arthur Ruppin: Head of the Zionists’ Land Settlement Department and the foremost land expert of the Jewish Agency. (Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, Columbia University Press, New York: 1997, 102.)

-“[Removing Arabs in some manner] was at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its realization….With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer–or its morality….Beginning in the 1930s Zionist leaders made preparations for a population transfer, setting up a special committee for the task….They also addressed the question of whether the transfer would be forced or voluntary.” (Eerily portending future events, Dr. Ruppin would write in 1938: “‘I do not believe in the transfer of an individual. I believe in the transfer of entire villages’…”) (Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, Metropolitan Books, New York: 2000, 405-6.)

-For a more detailed version of this quiz, and other quizzes, go to:

2. In 1919, who wrote the following in a secret memorandum submitted to the British cabinet? “In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country [i.e., we do not accept the principle of self-determination for the Arabs of Palestine]…The four great powers…are committed to Zionism, and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-old tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit the land.”

-Lord Balfour. As British Foreign Secretary he was responsible for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which promised Zionists a national home in Palestine.

3. According to Mandatory Palestine’s first modern census, conducted in 1922, approximately what percentage of the total population were Jews?

-11 percent.

4. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s inhabitants were Jews in 1947?

-37 percent. (Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881 – 2001, Vintage, New York: 2001, 186. Hereinafter, “Morris 2001.”)

5. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s land was allocated for the Jewish state by the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan (which supported the division of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state)?

-56 percent.

6. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s land was owned by Jews at the time of the 1947 UN Partition Plan?

-7 percent. (Morris 2001, 186)

-As it was manifestly unjust that 37 percent of the population was given 56 percent of the land of which they owned only 7 percent, it is unsurprising that the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine rejected the 1947 Partition Plan.

-The Zionist leadership did formally accept the 1947 Partition Plan. “Many Zionist leaders objected, but were persuaded by Ben-Gurion to agree…However, in several secret meetings Ben-Gurion made it clear that the partition borders were unacceptable and must be rectified at the first opportunity. The minutes of these meetings are there for all to read.”

7. Which state, the Jewish State or the Arab State, was to include Jerusalem, according to the 1947 UN Partition Plan?

-Neither. An international trusteeship regime was to be established in Jerusalem, where the population was 100,000 Jews and 105,000 Arabs. However, after the 1948-49 War, Jordan controlled the eastern half of the city and the western half became part of Israel.

-“[After] Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967, it expanded East Jerusalem’s borders more than tenfold, to seventy square kilometers. In the process, Israel incorporated twenty-eight Palestinian towns and villages that had never been considered part of Jerusalem before, some of which are actually closer to Bethlehem or Ramallah than to the Old City.” (Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, Times Books, New York: 2012, 60-1. Hereinafter, “Beinart 2012.”)

-In December 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Trump directed the state department to start making arrangements to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – a process that officials say will take at least three years.” “Trump stressed that he was not stipulating how much of Jerusalem should be considered Israel’s capital. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future state, and Trump did not rule out a future division of the city.”

   It is understood that Trump’s decision was driven by his need to solidify his electoral support from the Christian Right and financial support from Jewish Likudniks.

   Besides the US and Russia (which recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital), the rest of the world recognizes Tel Aviv as the capital and maintains diplomatic missions there.

-“The US and most of Europe draw a sharp distinction between Israel and the occupied territories, refusing to recognise Israeli sovereignty beyond the pre-1967 lines.” In fact, “US regulations, not consistently enforced, stipulate that products from the settlements should not bear a made-in-Israel label.”

8. During the 1948-49 War, approximately how many Arabs fled or were ejected from the areas that became the Jewish state?

-700,000. Only 150,000 Arabs remained in Israel at the war’s end. (No Jews remained in the few areas conquered by the Arabs.) 

-In July 1948, Ben Gurion gave orders “for the operations in Lydda and Ramleh: ‘Expel them!’ he told Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin — a section censored out of Rabin’s memoirs, but published thirty years later in the New York Times.”

-“[There] is broad consensus among scholars that Palestinians suffered an ethnic cleansing in 1948, although debate continues on the secondary question of whether or not this ethnic cleansing was premeditated….Sifting the evidence, [former Israeli foreign minister and historian Shlomo Ben-Ami] concludes that in fact Israel premeditatedly expelled Palestinians in accordance with the Zionist ‘philosophy of transfer,’ which ‘had a long pedigree in Zionist thought,’ framed Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion’s ‘strategic-ideological’ vision, and ‘provided a legitimate environment for commanders in the field actively to encourage the eviction of the local population.'” (Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, UC Press, Berkeley: 2008, xii. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2008.”)

9. After the 1948-49 War, approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s land was part of the Jewish state?

-79 percent. (Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, W. W. Norton, New York: 2001, 47.)

10. After the 1967 War, what percentage of Mandatory Palestine’s land was part of, or occupied by, Israel?

-100 percent. (Martin Gilbert, The Routledge Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 9th Edition, Routledge, New York: 2008, 68.)

-If the US provided significantly more financial and military support to Israel after the 1967 War, “it was because of the shattering blow inflicted by the Israeli military on those ‘nationalist aspirations’ in the Arab world [– that the US National Security Council had warned about –] that had threatened the ‘ability of the West to maintain stability…by working through the ruling classes.’ The interests of Tel Aviv and Washington converged on toppling Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who galvanized the region’s hopes and dreams. A 6 June 1967 CIA assessment of Israel’s objectives concluded that its ‘immediate and primary…war aim is destruction of the center of power of the radical Arab Socialist movement, i.e., the Nasser regime.'” (Norman G. Finkelstein, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End, OR Books, New York: 2012, 47-8. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2012.”)

-Israel prepared for the 1967 War using vast amounts of intelligence obtained by secretly recording a 1965 Arab leaders’ meeting which was held to prepare for a possible conflict with Israel; as a result, Israeli army “commanders were confident they could win.” According to Major General Shlomo Gazit, who was at the time the head of Military Intelligence’s Research Department, “Thanks to the recordings, alongside other sources, ‘we knew just how unprepared [the Arab states] were for war…We reached the conclusion that the Egyptian Armored Corps was in pitiful shape and not prepared for battle.’…The information in those recordings…established ‘our feeling, amongst the IDF’s top command, that we were going to win a war against Egypt. Prophecies of doom and the feeling of imminent defeat were prevalent among the majority in Israel and the officials outside the defense establishment, but we were confident in our strength.’”

   Gazit’s comments help explain why, despite Nasser’s attempt to “stave off disaster [by sending] a high-ranking emissary to Washington to plead for pressure to stop Israel[,]…the Israeli army attacked and smashed the Egyptian, the Jordanian and the Syrian forces within six days.”

   “American intelligence accurately predicted that Israel would defeat any possible Arab coalition within a few days, perhaps a week…”

11. From Israel’s victory in the 1967 War to the Likud’s electoral victory in 1977, approximately how many Jewish settlers migrated to the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)?

-50,000. (Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (Autumn, 1977), 28.)

12. At the time of the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles in September 1993, approximately how many Jewish settlers lived in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)?


13. When the Camp David Summit began in July 2000, approximately how many Jewish settlers lived in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)?


-“[A] close look shows that the peace process had…worsened the conditions under which [Palestinians] lived. When the Oslo process was launched in 1993, the Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip numbered 3,000, and in the West Bank [excluding East Jerusalem] 117,000; while on the eve of Sharon’s visit to Jerusalem, in 2000, there were 6,700 settlers in Gaza and 200,000 in the West Bank [excluding East Jerusalem]. This was a substantial increase and deeply upsetting for the Palestinians; after all, if the Oslo process was all about Israel relinquishing land for peace, then one would expect it to stop settling even more Jews and erecting new settlements on this land. The construction of new settlements also led to more inconveniences in the daily lives of Palestinians, as security measures were put in place to protect the settlers, and they exploited more resources, notably water, to serve their needs. These frustrations among the Palestinians all added up to create a powder keg, waiting for just such a spark as Sharon’s [September 2000] visit to the Temple Mount to set it off…” (Ahron Bregman, Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories, Allen Lane, London: 2014, 248-9.)

-By 2017, the number of illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was approximately 750,000. “While official settlements have expanded in terms of the extent of their built-up area and number of residents, the number of official settlements has not changed much [over the past decades]. It is the rogue outposts that have grown in numbers and expanded as their settlers torch fields and homes, harass and shoot Palestinians to take over their agricultural lands. The official settlements simply expand while relying on the military and the courts to do the same.”

14. When Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, approximately what percentage of the population of Gaza were Jews and approximately what percentage of the land of Gaza was controlled by Israel and Jewish settlers?

-When Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005, Jews constituted 0.6 percent of the population (as approximately 8,000 Jewish settlers and 1.5 million Palestinians lived in Gaza) and Israel and Jewish settlers controlled 25 percent of the territory, 40 percent of the arable land and a disproportionate share of the scarce water resources. (According to Dov Weisglass, a senior adviser to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the withdrawal was intended to “freeze” the peace process, not advance it.)

   According to international law and the United States, Israel, despite its withdrawal, still occupies Gaza as it “maintains effective control over Gaza by regulating movement in and out of the Strip as well as the airspace, sea space, public utilities and population registry.” Israel also bars most Palestinians from roughly one-third of the arable land inside Gaza.

   Since Israel occupies Gaza, it’s simpleminded “to analogize Hamas’s rockets — repugnant as they are — to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada.”

-Just as pressure from the US and Egypt caused Israel to withdraw from Egyptian land and pressure from Hezbollah caused Israel to withdraw from Lebanese land, “Palestinian pressure, too–including mass demonstrations and violence–precipitated every Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory….[For example,] As the [first] intifada intensified in 1993 and Israel sealed off the occupied territories, its negotiators held secret meetings with Palestinians near Oslo. The Israelis asked for an end to the intifada and then agreed to evacuate the military government and establish Palestinian self-rule. In 1996, the clashes and riots known as the tunnel uprising led to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise to negotiate a withdrawal from most of Hebron. During the second intifada, rocket attacks from Gaza increased sevenfold in the year before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced Israel would evacuate.” (The New York Times, 4 June 2017, SR 4)

15. Approximately how many Palestinians and Jewish settlers live in Hebron?

-The city of Hebron is home to approximately 200,000 Palestinians and 600 Jewish settlers. “The Israeli military severely restrict the movement of tens of thousands of Palestinian residents. However, the settlers have total freedom of movement, despite their presence being illegal under international law.”

16. Approximately what percentage of West Bank land is consumed by Israeli settlements and related infrastructure such as a separate road network for Israeli settlers and the Wall?

-40 percent.

-Palestinians are one of the largest stateless national groups in the world, lacking basic rights of citizenship. This condition of statelessness greatly facilitates the taking of their private property by Jewish settlers.

17. Who said the following in 1998? “If I were a young Palestinian, it is possible I would join a terrorist organization.”

-Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

-A 1936 British royal commission “concluded that there was ‘no doubt’ the ‘underlying causes’ of Arab-Jewish hostilities were ‘first the desire of the Arabs for national independence; secondly their antagonism to the establishment of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, quickened by their fear of Jewish domination.’” (In other words, anti-Semitism was not an important cause of Arab-Jewish tensions.) (Finkelstein 2008, 7-8)

-In the documentary The Gatekeepers, six former heads of Israel’s domestic security service “speak publicly for the first time about their work combating violence from both Palestinians and Israelis….Interestingly enough, these six men…share a belief that a Palestinian state should have been a priority [and show] disdain for Israeli politicians for not doing more to make it happen.” “Not all terrorists, the gatekeepers take pains to point out, are Palestinian.”,0,7530779,full.story

-In 2016, “A group of more than 200 [former] military and intelligence officials criticized the government for a lack of action in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…and issued a detailed plan they say can end the impasse.” According to the group’s chairman, former IDF general Amnon Reshef, “‘In our experience we know that you cannot defeat terror only by military means, you have to improve the Palestinians quality of life,’…”,7340,L-4808802,00.html

-“A [2016] US State Department report says a myriad of Israeli policies — such as continued settlement building and aggressive military operations in the West Bank — are [partly responsible for] Palestinian terrorism [as they create a ‘lack of hope’], while the Palestinian Authority is making substantial efforts to halt such violence.”  (21 July 2017)

18. Who wrote the following September 18, 1967 top secret memo to the political secretary of the prime minister of Israel, concerning settlement in the occupied territories? “As per your request…I hereby provide you a copy of my memorandum of September 14, 1967, which I presented to the Foreign Minister. My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories [Israel’s term for the occupied territories] contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

-Theodor Meron: One of the world’s most eminent international jurists; and in 1967 he was a legal adviser at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. (Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Henry Holt: 2006, 99.)

-In July 2004, the World Court issued an advisory opinion that “found that, based on Article 2 of the United Nations Charter and numerous UN resolutions barring the acquisition of territory by force, Israel had no title to any of the territories it captured during the June 1967 war.” As well, “the Court cited UN Security Council resolutions that, based on Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli settlements ‘have no legal validity’ and constitute a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law…” (Finkelstein 2008, xxi-xxii)

19. Who wrote the following in 2002? “The Six-Day War was forced upon us; however, the war’s seventh day, which began on June 12, 1967 and has continued to this day, is the product of our choice. We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one – progressive, liberal – in Israel; and the other – cruel, injurious – in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.”

-Michael Ben-Yair: Israel’s Attorney-General, 1993-1996.

-The “Apartheid analogy” has also been made by “the editorial board of Haaretz,…former Israeli Knesset member Shulamit Aloni, former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti, former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Alon Liel, South African Archbishop and Nobel Laureate for Peace Desmond Tutu, and ‘father’ of human rights law in South Africa John Dugard.” And the title of former US president Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book is worth noting: Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. (Finkelstein 2008, xxviii)

-While Israeli settlers in the West Bank live under Israeli civilian rule, Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law. “Since 1967 about 750,000 Palestinians have been detained [in Israeli prisons], so that nearly all families have experienced the imprisonment of at least one male relative.” According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “Israeli military courts in the West Bank have a 99.74 percent conviction rate for Palestinians brought before them…” Furthermore, as reported by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, “[Palestinian] defendants are often held for months or even years before trial.”

20. True or False: Israel employs torture.

-True. “In 1999 Israel’s HCJ [High Court of Justice] prohibited the use of torture, abuse, or degradation by the ISA [Israel Security Agency]. In the sixteen years since that ruling, thousands of Palestinians have been interrogated, many by those very methods prohibited.”

-The following are the words of Israeli journalist Ari Shavit (who served at an Israeli prison during the first intifada): “At the end of the watch…, you sometimes hear horrible screams [from] the interrogation section…Literally hair-raising [screams]….In Gaza our General Security Services…therefore amount to a Secret Police, our internment facilities are cleanly run Gulags. Our soldiers are jailers, our interrogators torturers.” (Finkelstein 2012, 105)

-As Israel’s myriad human rights abuses and contraventions of international law have become impossible to deny, one argument that apologists for Israel routinely fall back on is: While Israel has engaged in human rights and other abuses, other countries commit far worse abuses. Therefore, it is wrong – and possibly indicative of anti-Semitism – to focus excessively on Israel’s wrongs. For a systematic response to this fallback argument, go to:

21. Who stated the following in 2006? “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.”

-Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel’s Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel’s top negotiator at the Camp David negotiations. What Shlomo Ben-Ami recognized was that Israel in fact offered the Palestinians an unviable Middle East Bantustan—several blocks of West Bank land with huge Jewish settlements in between. Furthermore, Arafat could not accept a deal which denied Muslims sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

-In 2016, “Israel’s prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] turned down a regional peace initiative…that was brokered by then-­US Secretary of State John F. Kerry…in apparent contradiction to his stated goal of involving regional Arab powers in resolving Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.”

   “[K]erry tried to sweeten the [2002] ‘Arab Peace Initiative,’ a Saudi-­led plan that offered Israel peace with dozens of Arab and Muslim nations in return for a pullout from territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war to make way for an independent Palestinian state. Among the proposed changes were Arab recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, recognition of Jerusalem as a shared capital for Israelis and Palestinians, and softened language on the ‘right of return’ of Palestinian refugees to lost properties in what is now Israel…”

-For more information on Israel’s long record of missing opportunities for peace, go to:

-The many iterations of Israel-Palestine peace talks have failed primarily because it has been rational for Israel to frustrate them. It’s a simple fact that as the costs of an agreement–loss of land and resources, domestic strife, reduced security–far outweigh the benefits, Israel chooses the status quo.

   “[With the status quo,] Israel continues to receive more US military aid per year than goes to all the world’s other nations combined, and presides over a growing economy, rising standards of living and a population that reports one of the world’s highest levels of subjective wellbeing.”

22. True or False: In his 408 page book, Doomed To Succeed, Dennis Ross, while bemoaning the bad faith of Palestinian negotiators, never once refers to the Palestine Papers, the biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict.

-True. As a result, Ross, a former leading Middle East peace envoy, ignores that the Palestine Papers “revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel’s annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions…”

23. In 2014, what event drew the largest gathering of American legislators? What event drew the second largest?

-“AIPAC is still easily the biggest and wealthiest group in the [Israel] lobby, with over 100,000 dues-paying members, hundreds of staff working in seventeen regional offices across the United States, and a large pool of wealthy donors, many of them also major contributors in US election campaigns….Its annual conference in Washington, DC, has become a dazzling showcase of its popularity and power. Fourteen thousand people from across the country attended its 2014 conference…, and more than two-thirds of Congress showed up for the gala dinner, making it the year’s second-largest gathering of legislators (surpassed only by the president’s State of the Union address)…” (Dov Waxman, Trouble In The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel, Princeton University Press, Princeton: 2016, 166-7.)

-“The United States and Israel…signed a new 10-year military-assistance deal [in September 2016], representing the single largest pledge of its kind in American history. The pact…will be worth $38 billion over the course of a decade, an increase of roughly 27 percent on the money pledged in the last agreement, which was signed in 2007.”

-In April 2017, a “strongly worded letter” signed by all 100 US senators was delivered to “United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres…demanding an end to the ‘unacceptable’ anti-Israel bias in the international body.”

24. True or False: Palestinians have not formally recognized Israel, but Israel has recognized Palestine.

-False. “[O]n three separate occasions [Palestinians have formally recognized Israel]: at the request of [then-President] Reagan and his secretary of state, George Shultz, in 1988; in 1993, in the context of the Oslo Accords; and again in Gaza in 1998, with [then-President] Bill Clinton in attendance. [However,] Netanyahu’s government has never recognised the Palestinian right to national self-determination and statehood in any part of Palestine, even though this right has been affirmed repeatedly by the UN Security Council (e.g. Resolution 242 in 1967 and Resolution 1515 in 2003) and by the International Court of Justice (in 2004).”  (30 March 2017)

25. Who said the following? “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

-The quote was stated by Rabbi Yaacov Perrin at his eulogy of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the American Jewish settler who, on 25 February 1994, entered the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron and killed 29 Muslim worshippers.

   The terrorist attack by Goldstein, which was carried out to sabotage the peace process, “helped trigger a wave of bus bombings by the extremist Palestinian group Hamas in [late 1994 and] 1995…”

   “[D]ov Lior, the head of the West Bank’s rabbinical council, has called Baruch Goldstein…, ‘holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.’ In the mid-1990s, Lior and other prominent…rabbis implied that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s willingness to cede land to the Palestinians made him a…moser (traitor), a transgression they claimed was punishable by death. Emboldened, one of their disciples, Yigal Amir, murdered Rabin [on 4 November 1995].”

   By 2010, “The Israeli settler movement, which had viewed Rabin’s Oslo Accord as an act of treachery, had more than doubled in size since his assassination and greatly expanded its political power. Its representatives in parliament would come to include Moshe Feiglin, who had been convicted of sedition for organizing rowdy protests during the Rabin era.” By 2013, it appeared that “the religious and right-wing parties opposed to ceding substantial portions of the West Bank [had] something akin to a permanent majority.”

26. True or False: (i) Iran has formally consented to the Arab League’s peace initiative with Israel. (ii) Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission believes that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran will prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear bomb.

-Both true.

-According to “Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister and the chief architect of the Oslo Accords, it is clear why Israel’s right-­wing governments were and are not interested in the Arab Peace Initiative: it refutes their dogma that the Palestinian­-Israeli conflict, rather than being a territorial dispute, stems from the Arab world’s refusal to accept a Jewish state in the region, regardless of its borders.”

-Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission “not only oversees Israel’s nuclear facilities, but has also acted in an advisory capacity to Israel’s government in recent years, analyzing technical information to try to determine the length of time it would take for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.”

27. True or False: (i) During the 2009 Gaza Invasion Israeli soldiers were issued a booklet that stated that the Torah forbade giving up any of the Land of Israel. (ii) In 2011, the Israeli general in charge of the West Bank described the violence by radical Jewish settlers as terrorism. (iii) Israel is the world’s only democracy where Jews do not enjoy religious freedom.

-All True.

28. What book did Osama bin Laden read to understand how a terrorist can transform himself into a statesman?

-“Terror was not the only reason that the State of Israel finally came into being, but the Irgun campaign [led by future prime minister Menachem Begin] was a critical factor in driving the British out of Palestine. Begin was the first terrorist to grasp the value of publicity in promoting his cause to an international audience. The transformation of terrorism from a primarily local phenomenon into a global one came about in large part because of the success of his tactics. He pioneered techniques that would become basic terrorist strategy, such as simultaneous bombings and the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). He proved that, under the right circumstances, terror works. Many years later, American forces would find a copy of Begin’s memoir The Revolt in the library of an al-Qaeda training camp. Osama bin Laden read Begin in an attempt to understand how a terrorist transformed himself into a statesman.” (“Begin’s brilliant improvisations created a terrorist playbook that would be followed by groups around the world—including Palestinian organizations—that hoped to emulate his success.”)

-State terrorism has likewise been successfully employed by Israel. For example, during the 2006 Lebanon war, Israel “imposed a total land, sea, and air blockade on Lebanon. To tighten its pinch, [the IDF] attacked fuel depots, radar stations, ports…[and] blew up roads and bridges, as well as a power plant that supplied the electricity to most of south Lebanon.” “The vaunted IDF destroyed towns but did not manage to actually capture one.”

   “In most countries, the performance of Israel’s military would have been a disgrace, but in Israel it became a doctrine, named after the Hezbollah stronghold [it] flattened in south Beirut….The object of [this] Dahiya Doctrine was to hit the enemy, and the civilians living nearby, so hard that the enemy dare not try to hit back…The idea is if you can’t beat your enemy in urban battles, inflict so much suffering on the civilian population [such] that the people turn on the enemy and demand that it not attack again”–which is practically a textbook definition of terrorism.

   “[W]hen Israelis are asked how they can justify destroying more than a quarter of Lebanon–125,000 houses and apartments, 91 bridges, highways, and roads the length and breadth of the country–they have a ready answer: after 2006, Israel enjoyed years of peace and quiet from its northern neighbor.” (In fact, having learned from 2006, Hezbollah did not engage Israel when Israel brutally invaded Gaza in 2008.) However, a “big question is what will happen to the Dahiya Doctrine when Israel meets a foe that can match its military technology at least in terms of inflicting an equal or greater number of civilian deaths and infrastructure damage on the Israeli side.” (Richard Engel, And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades In The Middle East, Simon & Schuster, New York: 2016, 118, 125, 126-7.)

Jeffrey Rudolph was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He was awarded the prestigious Cheryl Rosa Teresa Doran Prize upon graduation from McGill University’s faculty of law; has worked at one of the world’s largest public accounting firms; and, has taught at McGill University. He has prepared widely-distributed quizzes on Israel-Palestine, Iran, Hamas, Terrorism, Saudi Arabia, US Inequality, the US Christian Right, Hezbollah, the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox, Qatar, and China. These quizzes are available at:

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