CAN YOU PASS THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE QUIZ?
(More detailed version)
By Jeffrey Rudolph (June 2008; last update July 2017)
The Israel-Palestine conflict resonates deeply with many people. Opinions are sharply divided and generally unchangeable. However, as a member of a mainstream Israeli peace group, I often encounter opinionated people who are ignorant of many basic facts. And, while some issues concerning the conflict remain disputed, there are many important, undisputed facts which must underlie any coherent opinion.
Therefore, in the spirit of the late Senator Daniel Moynihan of New York who used to remind people that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” I have prepared the below quiz which may lead some readers to reexamine their misconceived opinions. Indeed, I will deem the quiz a success if it merely reduces the number of times I hear the common refrains of “The land was empty before the Jews came” and “Barak made a generous offer at Camp David.”
While it is undoubtedly true that carefully selected facts alone do not constitute an informed opinion, answers to the following questions should not be ignored if one is to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict. And, while a strong commitment to a cause can blind some people to contrary facts, I appeal to such people through the words of the famous British economist, John Maynard Keynes, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE QUIZ
1. Who wrote the following in 1891? “We abroad are used to believing Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel] is now almost totally desolate, a desert that is not sowed, and anyone who wishes to purchase land there may come and purchase as much as he desires. But in truth this is not the case. Throughout the country, it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains that are not fit to grow anything but fruit trees — and this only after hard labor and great expense of clearing and reclamation — only these are not cultivated.”
-Asher Ginsberg (known by the Hebrew pen name Ahad Ha’am): He was one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers, and is remembered as the father of cultural Zionism. (Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, Columbia University Press, New York: 1997, 101. Hereinafter, “Khalidi 1997.”)
-Many historians have documented that “before the arrival of the early Zionists, Palestine had a thriving society, mostly rural, but with a very vibrant urban center. It was a society like all the other Arab societies around it, held under Ottoman rule and part of the empire, but nonetheless one which witnessed the emergence of a nascent national movement. The movement would probably have turned Palestine into a nation-state, like Iraq or Syria, had Zionism not arrived on its shores.” (Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians, Haymarket Books: 2013, 6.)
-For a less detailed version of this quiz, and other quizzes, go to: https://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/
2. 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. (The Jewish Agency was responsible for promoting Jewish settlement within Palestine and administering the funds needed by the Jewish community. When the state of Israel was created in May 1948, members of the Jewish Agency became an embryonic government.) (Khalidi 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. Occasionally they recognized the suffering the Arabs would endure if they had to leave their homes. 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.)
“[It] should be no surprise that Zionist leaders thought about transfer. Population transfer–less politely, the forced uprooting of men, women, and children in order to create ethnically homogeneous states–was part of the zeitgeist. The original  British proposal for dividing Palestine…included the transfer of Arabs from the Jewish state, and cited the forced exchange of 1.3 million Greeks and 400,000 Turks in 1923 as a positive precedent. After World War II, that precedent became the brutal norm in Europe…: 160,000 Turks expelled from Bulgaria to Turkey; 120,000 Slovaks sent from Hungary to Slovakia in exchange for the same number of Hungarians going the opposite way…The full list is much longer.” (Gershom Gorenberg, The Unmaking Of Israel, Harper, New York: 2011, 46. Hereinafter, “Gorenberg 2011.”)
3. Who, in 1919, 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 (Western allies) 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.
-In 1922, “Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann queried a British official why the British supported Zionism despite Arab opposition. Didn’t it make more sense for the British to keep the Palestine mandate but drop support for Zionism? ‘Although such an attitude may afford a temporary relief and may quiet Arabs for a short time,’ the official replied, ‘it will certainly not settle the question as the Arabs don’t want the British in Palestine, and after having their way with the Jews, they would attack the British position, as the Moslems are doing in Mesopotamia, Egypt and India.'” (Norman G. Finkelstein, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End, OR Books, New York: 2012, 53. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2012.”)
-For “Winston Churchill, testifying before the  Peel Commission, the indigenous [Arab] population had no more right to Palestine than a ‘dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time,’ and no ‘wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race…has come in and taken their place.’ The point is not so much that the British were racists but rather that they had no recourse except to racist justifications for denying the indigenous population its basic rights.” (Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, UC Press, Berkeley: 2008, 9-10. Hereinafter, “Finkelstein 2008.”)
Churchill’s views were based in a long British tradition of racism. “In his book Exterminate All the Brutes, Sven Lindqvist shows how the ideology that led to Hitler’s war and the Holocaust was developed by the colonial powers. Imperialism required an exculpatory myth. It was supplied, primarily, by British theorists.” (As late as the 1950s, horrific British abuses—castrations with pliers, eyes gouged out, bodies set on fire—were committed against the “inferior” Kenyans.) http://www.monbiot.com/2012/10/08/the-empire-strikes-back/
-As painful as it is for “Jews to admit that race hatred can take root among a people that has suffered so profoundly from it, the ground truth is this: occupying another people requires racism, and breeds it. It is very difficult to work day after day at a checkpoint, making miserable people bake in the sun, or to blow up a family’s house as they watch, or to cut off water to a village in the Jordan Valley because Palestinians are barred from living in most of that section of the West Bank, and still see the people you are dominating as fully human.” Jews and others should not hesitate to denounce such racist behavior as people should “distinguish between supporting the State of Israel and supporting whoever happens to be in the current, transitory government of Israel.” (Peter Beinart, The Crisis of Zionism, Times Books, New York: 2012, 24, 86. Hereinafter, “Beinart 2012.”)
4. According to Mandatory Palestine’s first modern census, conducted in 1922, approximately what percentage of the total population were Jews?
5. 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.”)
6. 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)?
7. 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)
-Arab rejection of the Partition Plan is understandable when it is recognized that 37 percent of the population was given 56 percent of the land of which they owned only 7 percent. (The Palestinian Arab Higher Committee was supported in its rejection by the states of the Arab League.)
The Zionist leadership did formally accept “the partition plan. Many Zionist leaders objected, but were persuaded by Ben-Gurion to agree to the official acceptance. 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.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/06/28/sacred-mantras/
-In the area of Palestine designated for the Jewish state there was approximately 500,000 Jews and 400,000 Arabs. A “Palestinian historian was later to write [that the Arabs at the time] ‘failed to see why it was not fair for the Jews to be a minority in a unitary Palestinian state, while it was fair for almost half of the Palestinian population–the indigenous majority on its own ancestral soil–to be converted overnight into a minority under alien rule.'” Arab leaders asserted that “any effort to implement the resolution would lead to war. Ben-Gurion knew that there would be war.” (It should be noted that the partition map was based not only on the 1947 population of Palestine; it assumed that the Jewish state would absorb up to half a million European Jewish refugees.) (Morris 2001, 186)
8. 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. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/key_documents/1681322.stm
-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.” (Beinart 2012, 60-1)
-The US and the rest of the world except Russia have never recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital; “they continue to accord Tel Aviv that status and maintain their diplomatic missions there. But in deference to the powerful Israel Lobby…US politicians routinely tow the Israeli line about [Jerusalem being] the ‘united, eternal capital [of Israel].'” http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/26/a-brief-history-of-jerusalem/
“What the government of Israel calls its eternal, undivided capital is among the most precarious, divided cities in the world….[The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem] have separate buses, schools, health facilities, commercial centres, and speak a different language. In their neighbourhoods, Israeli settlers and border police are frequently pelted with stones…Balloons equipped with cameras hover above East Jerusalem, maintaining surveillance over the Palestinian population. Most Israelis have never visited and don’t even know the names of the Palestinian areas their government insists on calling its own. Municipal workers come to these neighbourhoods with police escorts.” http://normanfinkelstein.com/2014/11/29/the-reality-in-jerusalem/
-“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. When the limousine of the US president travels from West to East Jerusalem, the Israeli flag comes down from the driver-side front corner. US officials must obtain special permission to meet Israelis at the IDF’s central command headquarters in the Jerusalem settlement of Neve Yaakov or at the Justice Ministry in the heart of downtown East Jerusalem. And US regulations, not consistently enforced, stipulate that products from the settlements should not bear a made-in-Israel label.”
“Israel vehemently protests against this policy of so-called differentiation between Israel and the occupied territories, believing that it delegitimises the settlements and the state, and could lead to boycotts and sanctions of the country. But the policy does precisely the opposite: it acts not as a complement to punitive measures against Israel, but as an alternative to them.”
“Differentiation creates an illusion of US castigation, but in reality it insulates Israel from answering for its actions in the occupied territories, by assuring that only settlements and not the government that creates them will suffer consequences for repeated violations of international law.”
“Support for the policy of differentiation is widespread, from governments to numerous self-identified liberal Zionists, US advocacy groups such as J Street… Differentiation allows them to thread the needle of being both pro-Israel and anti-occupation…There are of course variations among these opponents of the settlements, but all agree that Israeli products that are created in the West Bank should be treated differently, whether through labelling or even some sort of boycott.”
“What supporters of differentiation commonly reject, however, is no less important. Not one of these groups or governments calls for penalising the Israeli financial institutions, real estate businesses, construction companies, communications firms, and, above all, government ministries that profit from operations in the occupied territories but are not headquartered in them. Sanctions on those institutions could change Israeli policy overnight. But the possibility of imposing them has been delayed if not thwarted by the fact that critics of occupation have instead advocated for a reasonable-sounding yet ineffective alternative.”
“Supporters of differentiation hold the view that while it may be justifiable to do more than label the products of West Bank settlements, it is inconceivable that sanctions might be imposed on the democratically elected government that established the settlements, legalised the outposts, confiscated Palestinian land, provided its citizens with financial incentives to move to the occupied territories, connected the illegally built houses to roads, water, electricity and sanitation, and provided settlers with heavy army protection.”
“US policymakers debate how to influence Israel, but without using almost any of the power at their disposal, including placing aid under conditions of changes in Israeli behaviour, a standard tool of diplomacy that officials deem unthinkable in this case.”
“Until the US and Europe formulate a strategy to make Israel’s circumstances less desirable than the concessions it would make in a peace agreement, they will shoulder responsibility for the oppressive military regime they continue to preserve and fund. When peaceful opposition to Israel’s policies is squelched and those with the capacity to dismantle the occupation don’t raise a finger against it, violence invariably becomes more attractive to those who have few other means of upsetting the status quo.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/16/the-real-reason-the-israel-palestine-peace-process-always-fails?CMP=share_btn_fb
9. 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. (Morris 2001, 252)
-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.” (Yitzhak Rabin was the prime minister of Israel from 1992-1995.) http://mondediplo.com/1997/12/palestine
During the war “Zionist forces committed abuses so terrible that David Ben-Gurion…declared himself ‘shocked by the deeds that have reached my ears.’ In the town of Jish, in the Galilee, Israeli soldiers pillaged Arab houses, and when the residents protested, took them to a remote location and shot them dead” (Beinart 2012, 13). According to the Israeli historian Benny Morris, “the Jews committed far more atrocities than the Arabs and killed far more civilians and PoWs in deliberate acts of brutality in the course of 1948” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/may/31/history1).
“[In 2015,] a key deception was punctured: that Israel urged many of the war’s 750,000 Palestinian refugees to return. In a letter to Haifa’s leaders shortly after the city’s Palestinians were expelled, David Ben Gurion…demanded that any return be barred.” Indeed, abuses and massacres during the war were most likely “part of ‘a system of expulsion and destruction’, with a clear goal: ‘The fewer Arabs who remain, the better.'” http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/24/a-history-of-silencing-israeli-army-whistleblowers-from-1948-until-today/
-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. Just how much narrower the controversy has become is vividly illustrated by the publication of former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami’s study Scars of War, Wounds of Peace. Ben-Ami, who is also a respected historian, provides this capsule summary of the ‘reality on the ground’ during the 1948 war: ‘an Arab community in a state of terror facing a ruthless Israeli army whose path to victory was paved not only by its exploits against the regular Arab armies, but also by the intimidation, and at times atrocities and massacres, it perpetrated against the civilian Arab community.’ Sifting the evidence, he 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.'” (Finkelstein 2008, xii)
-“Throughout, [the war] was a total ethnic struggle between two sides, each of which claimed the entire country as its exclusive homeland, denying the claims of the other side. Long before the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ was widely used, it was practiced throughout this war. Only [150,000] Arabs remained in the territory conquered by the Jews, no Jews at all remained in the few areas conquered by the Arabs (the Etzion Bloc, the Old City of Jerusalem).” (During the war, approximately 10,000 Jews were forced to leave their homes in Palestine or Israel.)
10. After the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli 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.)
11. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli 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 June 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.'”
Nasser had to be brought down because, despite some western incentives, he would not change his “agenda which included driving the British out of the Arabian peninsula, the reduction of U.S. influence in the area, [and] the elimination of the Jordanian and Saudi regimes.” “The mutual U.S.-Israeli interest in preempting the emergence of autonomous regional powers in the Middle East…existed independently of the threat posed by Soviet expansionism, and the end of the Cold War has not diminished this joint interest”; consider the current policies towards Iran.
Beyond the “military prowess that it displayed…in June 1967 Israel has offered other unique advantages to the United States. It is the only stable and secure base of U.S. power in the Middle East. The ‘moderate’ Arab regimes on which the U.S. also relies might…fall out of Washington’s control tomorrow. Such a nightmare scenario played itself out in 1979 after immense American investment in the Shah of Iran, and might play itself out again in Egypt and the Gulf…” (Finkelstein 2012, 47-9, 52)
-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.’” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4866702,00.html (15 Oct. 2016)
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.” http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/02/nasser-and-me/
“American intelligence accurately predicted that Israel would defeat any possible Arab coalition within a few days, perhaps a week…” (Morris 2001, 310)
-“Highlighting how a country can both cooperate on surveillance and be a target at the same time, an NSA document recounting the history of Israel’s cooperation noted ‘trust issues which revolve around previous ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance] operations,’ and identified Israel as one of the most aggressive surveillance services acting against the United States…” (Glenn Greenwald, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, and The U.S. Surveillance State, Signal, Canada: 2014, 125.)
12. Which future prime minister of Israel wrote the following in October 1937? “My assumption is that…a partial Jewish state is not an end but a beginning…and it will serve as a powerful lever in our historical efforts to redeem the whole of the country.”
-Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, wrote the above in a letter to his son, Amos. And, “In June 1938, Ben-Gurion explained to the Jewish Agency Executive that he had agreed to the partition plan [of the Peel Commission] ‘not because I will make do with part of the country, but on the basis of the assumption that after we constitute a strong force after the establishment of the state we will annul the partition and expand through the whole Land of Israel.’” (Benny Morris editor, Making Israel, University of Michigan Press: 2007, 16.)
-“The Zionist denial of Palestinians’ rights, culminating in their expulsion [during the 1948-49 War], hardly sprang from an unavoidable accident. It resulted from the systematic…implementation, over many decades and despite vehement, often violent, popular opposition, of a political ideology the goal of which was to create a demographically Jewish state in Palestine….The expulsion of Palestinians did not come about on account of some…objective force compelling Palestinians to leave and Jews to replace them. Were this the case, why did the Zionists conscript, often heavy-handedly, the Jewish refugees after World War II to come to Palestine and oppose their resettlement elsewhere? Why did they stimulate, perhaps even with violent methods, the exodus of Jews from the Arab world to Palestine? Why did they call, often in…disappointment, for the in-gathering of world Jewry after Israel’s establishment? If Zionist leaders didn’t make the obvious amends after the war of allowing Palestinians to return to their homes and sought instead to fill the emptied spaces with Jews, it’s not because they behaved irrationally, but rather, given their political aim, with complete rationality.” (Finkelstein 2008, 10-11)
13. 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.)
14. 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)?
15. When the Camp David Summit began in July 2000, approximately how many Jewish settlers lived in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)?
-It should be noted that the Oslo 2 accords specified that “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
-“[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 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 2010, the number of illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was approximately 512,000.
-By 2015, the number of illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) exceeded 600,000. “A recent report…showed that [Israeli] government-issued bids for building…have grown steadily since 2009 to reach 4,485 units last year. Two-thirds of new construction over the last two years…was on the Palestinian side of a line drawn by the Geneva Initiative, an international working group that produced a model agreement in 2003.” “Most of the growth has been in three settlement blocks near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv slated for land swaps with the Palestinians in a future peace deal. But while Palestinian leaders have accepted the concept of swaps, neither they nor the United States have ever agreed on a delineation of such blocks.” http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/12/world/middleeast/netanyahu-west-bank-settlements-israel-election.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
“In 2015, construction for 1,800 new housing units began in the settlements. Over 40% (746 houisng units) [are] east of the separation barrier. [And,] 79% of the construction starts took place in settlements east of the Geneva Initiative potential border, in settlements that Israel will probably need to evacuate under a permanent status agreement.” https://settlementwatcheastjerusalem.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/2015-in-settlements.pdf
-When pro-Israel commentators “blame the Palestinians for Israel’s occupation, they ignore one gaping fact: whatever the Palestinian’s sins, they are not the ones paying Jews to move to the West Bank. That must be laid at the feet of successive Israeli governments, who by designating many settlements Preferred Development Areas, eligible for a host of subsidies, have made it cheaper to live beyond the green line than within it. Even if you believe that the Palestinians have proved themselves unready to accept a two-state solution right now, that still doesn’t exonerate Israel from swallowing up more and more of the West Bank, thus eventually foreclosing a two-state solution ever.” (Beinart 2012, 65)
-Despite relentless settlement growth, it is important to realize that the two-state solution is still a realistic solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. According to Shaul Arieli, one of Israel’s leading experts on the demarcation of the future Israeli-Palestinian border, “It is true that over the years the settlements have driven a network of wedges between the clusters of Palestinian villages. But these wedges [have not created] a Jewish dominance that would make unilateral annexation [by Israel] possible….Some 85 percent of the settlers live in the settlement blocs that cover less than six percent of the area of the West Bank. In the rest of the area, there is a clear Palestinian dominance. The number of Israelis living outside the blocs is only 2.6 percent of the population, while inside the blocs, it soars to 95 percent. The built-up area of the Israeli settlements outside the blocs covers less than 0.4 percent of the area of the West Bank…With regard to the use by Israelis of transportation infrastructures in the West Bank, those who do not live there drive only on 293 kilometers (which are 10 percent) of the roads outside the settlement blocs…and the settlers drive on another 19 percent. The other 71 percent of the roads are used exclusively by Palestinians. On the other hand, inside the settlement blocs, 83 percent of the roads are used by the Israelis. This is a reality of de facto separation.”
Furthermore “most of the settlers who work are working inside Israel and therefore will not have to change jobs when a final status agreement is signed. Moreover, the number of households that will have to be absorbed in Israel, according to the Israeli or Palestinian proposals at the  Annapolis peace talks, will not be greater than 30,000, while the reservoir of housing units planned in Israel…stands at more than ten times that number.”
“[T]he devotees of the Greater Land of Israel are…making…efforts to hide” this reality of separation on the West Bank. They “aspire to banish to the eastern side of the Jordan” the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-lies-about-the-settlements.premium-1.467947 (The article’s main points continue to be endorsed by Arieli, as confirmed in a private communication with the Quiz preparer on 22 Feb. 2016)
“In , Israelis and Palestinians are now farther from a single state than they have been at any time since the occupation began in 1967. Walls and fences separate Israel from Gaza and more than 90% of the West Bank. Palestinians have a quasi-state in the occupied territories, with its own parliament, courts, intelligence services and foreign ministry. Israelis no longer shop in Nablus and Gaza the way they did before the Oslo accords. Palestinians no longer travel freely to Tel Aviv. And the supposed reason that partition is often claimed to be impossible – the difficulty of a probable relocation of more than 150,000 settlers – is grossly overstated: in the 1990s, Israel absorbed several times as many Russian immigrants, many of them far more difficult to integrate than settlers, who already have Israeli jobs, fully formed networks of family support and a command of Hebrew.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/16/the-real-reason-the-israel-palestine-peace-process-always-fails?CMP=share_btn_fb
-Israel’s occupation of the West Bank does not enhance Israel’s security. (“Between them, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have missiles that can hit every inch of Israel.”) This is why “five of the six living former chiefs of staff of the Israel Defense Forces support the creation of a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. So do all of the former heads of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) and the Mossad (Israel’s external security service) who have taken a public position.” (Beinart 2012, 62, 64)
Nevertheless, for some time now, Israel’s occupation has been “cost-free: Europe subsidizes the occupation, the Palestinian Authority polices the occupation, while the US protects Israel from any diplomatic fallout. [As a result, there is] no incentive for Israel to end the occupation. What needs to change is the balance of power, which is at the moment overwhelmingly favorable to Israel.”
16. Approximately how many Jewish settlers and how many Palestinians live in Hebron?
-600 and 200,000, respectively. “Shuhada Street is the main street connecting the southern and the northern parts of the City of Hebron. [Since Baruch Goldstein’s act of terrorism in 1994,] this street has been closed to Palestinian pedestrians and vehicles. Israel has also forced the closure of Palestinian shops and sealed shut the entrances to Palestinian homes along the street. The city of Hebron is home to approximately 200,000 Palestinians. 600 Israeli settlers, supported by a large number of Israeli Military, now inhabit and control the heart of the Old City. 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.”
17. 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?
–“Approximately 40 percent of the West Bank is consumed by Israeli settlements and related infrastructure, including inter alia a separate road network for Israeli settler use and the Wall. The effect of this infrastructure, along with the system of control over Palestinian movement within the West Bank, fragments and separates Palestinian communities from each other, dissects the West Bank into dozens of enclaves and denies the emergence of an economically and politically viable Palestinian state.” (Stephanie Koury, Settlements and the Wall, Palestine Center Information Brief No. 156, 19 November 2007.) http://www.jpost.com/International/Settlements-control-42-percent-of-West-Bank
-“Palestinians are [one of] the largest stateless group[s] in the world, lacking basic human rights and lacking rights of citizenship. Their private property is…brazenly stolen from them by Jewish squatters coming over into Palestine from Israel proper….The only resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to attain the rights of citizenship in a state and the right firmly to own property and to control their land, air and water.” http://www.juancole.com/2017/02/palestinians-stateless-forever.html
-By entrenching the occupation Israel “will gradually bring what American Jewish leaders most fear: the delegitimization of Israel as a Jewish state. The less democratic Zionism becomes in practice, the more people across the world will question the legitimacy of Zionism itself.” (Beinart 2012, 52)
18. Approximately how many Lebanese civilians were killed by Israel during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon?
-“[A]ccording to Lebanese sources, between 15,000–20,000 people were killed, mostly civilians. According to American military analyst Richard Gabriel, between 5,000–8,000 civilians were killed.”
-“In early September 1982, the independent Beirut newspaper An Nahar published an estimate of deaths from hospital and police records covering the period from 6 June to 31 August 1982. It claimed that 17,285 people were killed: 5,515 people, both military and civilian, in the Beirut area; and 2,513 civilians, as well as 9,797 military forces, including PLO and Syrians, outside of the Beirut area.” “Between 6 June 1982 and June 1985, the Israel Defense Forces suffered 657 dead…”
19. Approximately how many cluster bomblets were dropped by Israel on Lebanon during the 2006 Lebanon War?
-“Cluster bombs scatter hundreds of small ‘bomblets’, many of which fail to explode, over a wide area. Inquisitive children may later pick these up, or civilians could step on them. Israeli forces dropped an estimated 1m [one million] cluster bomblets in southern Lebanon [during the war], 90% of which were dropped the last three days of the conflict…In 1982, the Reagan administration imposed a six-year ban on cluster bombs sales to Israel after a congressional investigation found Israel had used the weapons in civilian areas during its invasion of Lebanon that year. The UN and human rights groups strongly criticised Israel’s use of cluster bombs at the end of the 2006 Lebanon conflict. ‘What is shocking and completely immoral is 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution,’ the UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, said soon after the war ended….According to the UN mine action coordination centre for South Lebanon, by December 19, 18 people had been killed and 145 injured since the August ceasefire.”
20. Who said the following in 1998? “If I were a young Palestinian, it is possible I would join a terrorist organization.”
-Ehud Barak: Prime minister of Israel, 1999 – 2001. This was Barak’s response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for Ha’aretz, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/yossi-sarid-if-you-or-i-were-palestinian-1.267316 http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0306/25/se.13.html
-Walter Laqueur, a leading academic stalwart of Israel, “acknowledges that Palestinians’ hostility to Israel and Jews has been an understandable response to the injustice inflicted on them and that, were a just settlement of the conflict reached, Palestinian, and more broadly Arab/Muslim, hostility would largely dissipate: ‘For the Palestinians, the existence of Israel is bound to remain a trauma for as far as one can think ahead, the loss of part of their homeland being the greatest injustice which can be put right only by violence. It is only natural that they will want this state to cease to exist. Once they have a state of their own, however, problems of daily life will loom large and much of their energy will have to be invested in making this state work. The great urge to reconquer what was lost will not disappear, but it will not be pursued as in the days when this was the only issue.'” (Finkelstein 2008, xxxvii) (Walter Laqueur, The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, Oxford University Press, New York: 2006, 19.)
-The source of Palestinian anger has never been a mystery, and is not rooted in unrelenting anti-Semitism. “In 1936 a British royal commission chaired by Lord Peel was charged with ascertaining the causes of the Palestinian conflict and the means for resolving it. Regarding the aspirations of Palestinian Arabs, its final report stated that ‘[t]he overriding desire of the Arab leaders…was…national independence’ and that ‘[i]t was only to be expected that Palestinian Arabs should…envy and seek to emulate their successful fellow-nationalists in those countries just across their northern and southern borders.’ The British attributed Arab anti-Jewish animus to the fact that the Jewish claim over Palestine would deny Arabs an independent Arab state, and to Arab fear of being subjugated in an eventual Jewish state. It 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.'”
The report also pointed out that “‘There was little or no friction…between Arab and Jew in the rest of the Arab world until the strife in Palestine engendered it. And there has been precisely the same political trouble in Iraq, Syria and Egypt–agitation, rebellion and bloodshed–where there are no [Jewish] ‘National Homes.’ Quite obviously, then, the problem of Palestine is political. It is, as elsewhere, the problem of insurgent nationalism. The only difference is that in Palestine Arab nationalism is inextricably interwoven with antagonism to the Jews.'” (Finkelstein 2008, 7-8)
-It is only reasonable to “conclude that if, as all studies agree, [rising] resentment against Jews has coincided with Israel’s brutal repression of the Palestinians, then the prudent, not to mention moral, thing to do is end the occupation.” (Finkelstein 2008, 16)
-In the 2012 documentary The Gatekeepers six former heads of Israel’s domestic security service (Shin Bet) – Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter and Yuval Diskin – “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.” According to Peri, “When you retire, you become a bit of a leftist.” “Not all terrorists, the gatekeepers take pains to point out, are Palestinian.” (They also call Israel’s occupation “brutal,” “colonial,” and “unbearable.”)
-In 2013, the late Yuval Diskin, chief of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency from 2005 to 2011, “said Netanyahu squandered the gains made by Israel’s security forces by not using a period of relative quiet over the past few years to move toward peace with the Palestinians….Diskin criticized Netanyahu’s lack of movement on peace talks…’The role of the security forces is to create conditions so the political echelon will know what to do with them, and the quiet which was achieved in the last few years is an opportunity that the political echelon should not have missed,’ Diskin said.” https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2013/01/04/report-israeli-ex-spy-chief-criticizes-pm-on-iran
-In fall 2014, “In what appears to be the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, a group of 106 retired generals, Mossad directors and national police commissioners has signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to ‘initiate a diplomatic process’ based on a regional framework for peace with the Palestinians. Several of the signers [stated] in interviews that Israel had the strength and the means to reach a two-state solution that ‘doesn’t entail a security risk,’ but hadn’t managed to reach an agreement because of ‘weak leadership.’ ‘We’re on a steep slope toward an increasingly polarized society and moral decline, due to the need to keep millions of people under occupation on claims that are presented as security-related,’ reserve Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven [said]. ‘I have no doubt that the prime minister seeks Israel’s welfare, but I think he suffers from some sort of political blindness that drives him to scare himself and us.’”
“The letter was initiated by a former Armored Corps commander, reserve Major General Amnon Reshef. He [stated] that he was ‘tired of a reality of rounds of fighting every few years instead of a genuine effort to adopt the Saudi initiative.’ He was referring to the Saudi-backed peace proposal that was adopted unanimously by the Arab League in 2002…and later endorsed 56-0 by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with Iran abstaining. It has since been repeatedly reaffirmed and its terms softened. As currently framed, it offers full peace, diplomatic recognition and ‘normal relations’ between the Arab states and Israel in return for Israeli withdrawal to borders based on the pre-1967 armistice lines, with negotiated land swaps, and a ‘just’ and mutually ‘agreed’ compromise solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.” blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/208359/-idf-ex-generals-spy-chiefs-urge-new-peace-bid/
-In October 2015, amidst Palestinian-Israeli violence, “voices have been raised in a most unlikely corner to insist that Palestinian hostility to Israel — including Palestinian terrorist violence — is at least partly a response to Israeli actions and policies, and not simply a deep-seated hatred of Jews [as Netanyahu, in particular, claims]. That corner is the Israel Defense Forces.”
“[T]wo active-duty IDF generals who are among the army’s top experts on Palestinian affairs spoke out publicly to state that Palestinian violence is driven to a considerable degree by anger at Israeli actions. One of the two went a step further, warning that only a serious Israeli diplomatic re-engagement with the Palestinians will help to quell such violence over the long term.”
Israeli security professionals “know that the Palestinian security services, from the leadership on down, cooperate with Israeli security in the hope and expectation that it will lead to Palestinian independence. And the removal of that hope — as Netanyahu seemed to do when he told a Knesset committee on October 26 that Israel needs to maintain full control of the territory ‘for the foreseeable future’ — will lead to a breakdown of cooperation and threaten Israeli security.” http://forward.com/opinion/323817/idf-does-not-agree-with-netanyahu-on-roots-of-palestinian-violence/ (3 Nov. 2015)
-On May 27, 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.”
“With peace talks in a deep freeze the plan…called to ‘preserve conditions’ for negotiations with the Palestinians. It urges a combination of political and security initiatives together with delivering economic benefits to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem simultaneously.”
“It calls for a freeze on settlement building, the acceptance in principle of the Arab Peace Initiative and the recognition that East Jerusalem should be part of a future Palestinian state…The plan also calls on authorities to complete construction of the security fence in such a way that does not undermine the two-state solution. In particular, it urges authorities to complete construction around Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, and the southern West Bank.”
“The group’s chairman, [former IDF general] Amnon Reshef,…warned ‘the current status quo is an illusion’ that endangers a two-state solution…‘In our experience we know that you cannot defeat terror only by military means, you have to improve the Palestinians quality of life,’ he said.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4808802,00.html (28 May 2016)
-“A  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.”
http://www.timesofisrael.com/state-department-says-settlements-lack-of-hope-drive-palestinian-violence/ (21 July 2017)
21. Who wrote the following 18 September 1967 Top Secret memo to Adi Yafeh, 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. Meron’s clear recommendation was that the prohibition was “categorical and aimed at preventing colonisation of conquered territory by citizens of the conquering state.” (Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Henry Holt: 2006, 99.)
To stay within the letter of the law, Meron “advised that ‘If it is decided to go ahead with Jewish settlement in the administered territories, it seems to me vital…that settlement is carried out by military and not civilian entities. It is also important…that such settlement is in the framework of camps and is, on the face of it, of a temporary rather than permanent nature.’ Meron’s advice was followed. Settlement has often been disguised by the subterfuge suggested, the ‘temporary military entities’ turning out later to be civilian settlements. The device of military settlement also has the advantage of providing a means to expel Palestinians from their lands on the pretext that a military zone is being established. Deceit was scrupulously planned, beginning as soon as Meron’s authoritative report was delivered to the government. [I]n September 1967, on the day a second civilian settlement came into being in the West Bank, the government decided that ‘as a cover for the purpose of [Israel’s] diplomatic campaign,’ the new settlements should be presented as army settlements and the settlers should be given the necessary instructions in case they were asked about the nature of their settlement. The Foreign Ministry directed Israel’s diplomatic missions to present the settlements in the occupied territories as military strongpoints and to emphasize their alleged security importance.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39004-trump-s-america-and-the-new-world-order-a-conversation-with-noam-chomsky (6 Jan. 2017)
-In July 2004, the World Court issued an advisory opinion that “found that, based on Article 2 of the United Nations Charter and numerous U.N. 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 U.N. 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…Indeed, even the one judge voting against the fourteen-person majority condemning the wall [Israel is building in the West Bank], Thomas Buergenthal from the United States, was at pains to stress that there was ‘much’ in the advisory opinion ‘with which I agree’; for example, on the crucial question of settlements he concurred with the majority that they violated the Fourth Geneva convention and accordingly were in breach of international humanitarian law.” (Finkelstein 2008, xxi-xxii)
In 2004, after the Court “condemned the barrier, 361 members of the US House [of Representatives] backed a resolution supporting [the barrier].” When President Bush saw a map of the Wall, he said to Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, “With a wall like this, with a map like this, we can never have a viable Palestinian state.” Nevertheless, Bush did nothing to alter the Wall’s route. (Beinart 2012, 90) (Bregman 2014, 284)
-“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. Hereinafter, “Waxman 2016.”)
On 27 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….The letter urged several concrete steps to improve Israel’s treatment by the organization, singling out for criticism UNRWA, which deals with Palestinian refugees; the UN Human Rights Council for its singular focus on the Jewish state; and UNESCO, for denying Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/all-100-us-senators-to-un-end-unacceptable-anti-israel-bias/ (28 April 2017)
-In May 2012, due to the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Denmark announced that it “will begin marking Israeli goods originating in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] with a special label…In an interview [the] Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal said, ‘This is a step that clearly shows consumers that the products are produced under conditions that not only the Danish government, but also European governments, do not approve of. It will then be up to consumers whether they choose to buy the products or not.’ Sovndal added that the measure was part of EU support for the Palestinians and the solution of two states for two peoples.” Likewise, “South Africa also announced that goods produced in Israeli settlements will carry special labels….[The] Minister of Trade and Industry…stated that the decision…was intended” to ensure that products originating from the OPT are not incorrectly labeled as “products of Israel….The Danish and South African moves come one month after The Co-operative Group, one of the UK’s major food retailers, announced a boycott against four Israeli companies – Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh Ltd. and Mehadrin Tnuport Export LP.” http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=270693
As the European Union does not consider the occupied territories as legally part of Israel, in November 2015, “The European Commission…issued new guidelines for the labelling of some products made in [the illegal] Israeli settlements…Agricultural produce and cosmetics sold in EU member states must now have clear labels showing their place of origin….Since 2004, produce from settlements have not benefited from trade preferences, and EU law already requires the places of origin of fruits, vegetables and honey to be labelled.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34786607
22. Who wrote the following passage, in an article in one of Israel’s leading newspapers, 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. http://www.haaretz.com/the-war-s-seventh-day-1.51513
-The “Apartheid analogy” has also been made by “the editorial board of Haaretz, which observed…[that] ‘millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation,’ as well as 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)
-“As long as the Palestinian government and the Oslo system are in place, the world’s nations will not demand that Israel grant citizenship to Palestinians. Indeed, Israel has had a non-Jewish majority in the territory it controls for several years. Yet even in their sternest warnings, western governments invariably refer to an undemocratic Israel as a mere hypothetical possibility. Most of the world’s nations will refuse to call Israel’s control of the West Bank a form of apartheid – defined by the International Criminal Court as a regime of systematic oppression and domination of a racial group with the intention of maintaining that regime – so long as there is a chance, however slim, that Oslo remains a transitional phase to an independent Palestinian state.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/16/the-real-reason-the-israel-palestine-peace-process-always-fails?CMP=share_btn_fb
-While Israeli settlers in the West Bank live under Israeli civilian rule, Palestinians are subject to Israeli military law. According to a 2011 expose by Haaretz, “Israeli military courts in the West Bank have a 99.74 percent conviction rate for Palestinians brought before them…Palestinians in the West Bank accused by Israel of criminal or security offenses are almost always tried before military tribunals, rarely appearing before Israeli civilian courts.” Furthermore, Palestinian “defendants are often held for months or even years before trial” according to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group. http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=440537 (Beinart 2012, 18-19)
“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.” (The 750,000 number includes 10,000 women.)
(Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, Nation Books, New York: 2013, 151.)
“According to a 2013 report by the UN children’s fund, Israel is the only country in the world where children were systematically tried in military courts, practicing ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.’ Over the past decade, UNICEF noted that Israel has detained ‘an average of two children each day.'” http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=744671
-It’s important to note that “Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy individual rights like freedom of speech, assembly, and worship. They sit in Israel’s parliament…and on its Supreme Court. Arab Israelis also enjoy the kind of group rights for which many ethnic and religious minorities yearn. They maintain their own religious courts and their own, state-funded, Arabic-language schools and media.” However, “The Or Commission, tasked by the Israeli government with investigating conditions for Arab Israelis in 2003, found that ‘government handling of the Arab sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory.’ This is especially true when it comes to social services. In part because of historic restrictions on Arab access to Israeli public land, Arab citizens today own less than 4 percent of Israel’s land even though they constitute almost 20 percent of its population. A 2010 study by the [OECD] found that Israel spends one-third more per Jewish Israeli student than per Arab Israeli student.” (Beinart 2012, 14-16)
-“‘Israel’s Arab community has been at 40,000 births a year for the past 20 years. Among Jews, the annual birthrate ranges from 100,000 to 120,000. Yet even today there are politicians who prefer to distort the picture, as if there were still a demographic threat from the Palestinians [to the ‘Jewish State’].’” (It should be noted that according to leading Israeli demographers, Israel’s population growth is unsustainable. In fact, Israel is one of the most densely populated countries in the Western world.) (Haaretz.com, Netta Ahituv, 15 Apr. 2017)
-A fragile democracy like Israel cannot maintain an apartheid-like regime in the occupied territories without harming its democracy. “A border, especially one not even shown on maps, cannot seal off the rot. Nor can politicians’ declarations of reverence for liberal values. In recent years the corrosive effects of the occupation on Israel have been glaring, especially the vocal, shameless efforts of the political right to treat Israeli Arabs as enemies of the state rather than as fellow citizens.” Religious settlers “settling” in mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel, with the goal of Judaization, “is just one symptom of this illness. Unchecked, the offensive against democracy has grown wider. The political right uses charges of treason to attack critics of policy in the occupied territories, and seeks legislation to curb dissent and the rights of Arab citizens and to bypass the Supreme Court.” “One reason for reaching a two-state solution is to bring peace. Another…is to begin the work of repairing Israel itself.” (Gorenberg 2011, 204, 220)
23. True or False: Israel has legalized 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.”
Israel’s system of interrogation “is cruel, inhuman and degrading, an effect that is compounded when used in combination or for lengthy stretches at a time. In some cases, the use of these measures amounts to torture – in contravention of international law and in violation of HCJ rulings and Israeli law.”
“In addition to directly employing cruel, inhuman and degrading means, Israeli interrogation authorities indirectly participate in torture by knowingly using information obtained through use of torture – usually severe – by Palestinian Authority interrogators against the self-same detainees.”
“Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees is inherent to the ISA’s interrogation policy, which is dictated from above, not set by interrogators in the field….The senior Israeli officials who enable the existence of this abusive interrogation regime bear responsibility for the severe violations of interrogatees’ human rights and for inflicting mental and physical harm on these individuals.” http://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201512_backed_by_the_system (Dec. 2015)
-According to a 2003 Amnesty International report, “From 1967 the Israeli security services have routinely tortured Palestinian political suspects in the Occupied Territories – and from 1987 the use of torture was effectively legal. The effective legalization was possible because the Israeli government and the judiciary, along with the majority of Israeli society, accepted that the methods of physical and psychological pressure used by the General Security Service (…also known as Shinbet or Shabak) were a legitimate means of combating ‘terrorism’.” (Combating torture – a manual for action, Amnesty International Publications 2003, ISBN: 0-86210-323-1, AI Index: ACT 40/001/2003)
-“Over the years, [Israeli] investigators routinely beat Palestinian detainees, occasionally to death. After two major Shabak scandals in the 1980s, a government commission banned some interrogation methods but allowed investigators to exert ‘modest physical pressure’ on suspects – including shaking them violently and keeping them tied up in stress positions for hours. To Israeli and international rights groups, these ‘special procedures’ still amounted to torture.” (Dan Ephron, Killing A King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel, W. W. Norton, New York: 2015, 122. Hereinafter, “Ephron 2015.”)
-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 other side of the…fence of the interrogation section,…hair-raising human screams. Literally hair-raising….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. In Gaza it’s all straightforward and clear.” (Finkelstein 2012, 105)
-In Iraq, US interrogators used a torture device known as the Palestinian chair. “[I]sraelis taught [the interrogators] how to build it during a joint training exercise….It takes only a few minutes [for the Palestinian chair to have its desired effect].” “[R]aad Hussein is bound to the Palestinian chair. His hands are tied to his ankles. The chair forces him to lean forward in a crouch, forcing all of his weight onto his thighs….His head has collapsed into his chest. He wheezes and gasps for air. There is a pool of urine at his feet. He moans: too tired to cry, but in too much pain to remain silent.” The Palestinian chair causes “a violent and frightening pain. It’s torture.” (Eric Fair, Consequence: A Memoir, Henry Holt and Company: 2016, 112, 122, 124.)
24. Who wrote the following passage in his 2005 book? “[I]srael’s absurdly proportional electoral system is no longer capable of producing workable majorities and efficient governments. It only mirrors the kaleidoscopic constitution of a fragmented society. The always arduous task of coalition building in such conditions almost invariably produces governments that are paralysed by internal political equilibriums.…Rather than serving as a vehicle for the resolution of the Palestinian conflict…the political system is so dysfunctional that it becomes the major obstacle to conflict resolution. The government is incapable of responding to the popular yearnings for peace. For, regardless of party loyalties and according to most studies, the overwhelming majority of Israelis would support a peace settlement that is based on the Clinton parameters–two states, withdrawal from territories, massive dismantling of settlements, two capitals in Jerusalem–but they trust neither their political system nor, of course, the Palestinian leadership to come to an accommodation on that basis. Which may explain the results of a poll conducted in 2002 by the Steinmetz Centre for Peace at Tel Aviv University indicating that, convinced of the incapacity of their political system to produce solutions, 67 per cent of Israeli Jews would support an American effort to recruit an international alliance that would coax the parties into endorsing such a settlement.”
-Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel’s Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel’s top negotiator at Camp David and Taba negotiations. (Shlomo Ben-Ami, Scars of War Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London: 2005, 290.)
-The possibility of an early agreement with the PLO was largely frustrated by Israel’s drive for a Greater Israel. As early as 1971, Arafat told Soviet officials that “‘We need a change of tactics…We cannot affect the outcome of the political settlement unless we participate in it.’ He then drew a map outlining a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.” American leaders were aware of “the growing pragmatism within the PLO. Declassified White House papers show that, as early as 1970, State Department officials told Nixon that the Palestinians ‘cannot be ignored’ and argued that they could become ‘constructive partners in a peace settlement.’ American officials at the United Nations stressed that the Palestinians were ‘an essential element’ and urged Washington to bring them into the peace process quickly.”
For “violent groups like Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, which have unshakable commitments to destroying Israel or re-establishing the Islamic Caliphate, a forceful approach may be appropriate. But Washington shouldn’t rule out alternatives when dealing with groups that may have more limited long-term goals, like Hezbollah and Hamas. As Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams and Menachem Begin have shown, yesterday’s ‘terrorists’ have a tendency to turn into tomorrow’s peacemakers. We should be careful not to let our fears of terrorists continue to blind us to opportunities when diplomatic openings present themselves.”
(Paul Thomas Chamberlin, The United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Making of the Post-Cold War Order, Oxford University Press, 2012, 137.)
-In early “2011, the World Bank had effectively ‘certified’ the [Palestinian Authority] as being ‘well positioned to establish a state at any time in the near future.’ Since then, the World Bank has continued to reaffirm that conclusion, while warning that ‘Israeli restrictions and controls…have a detrimental impact not only on economic growth but also constrain the PA’s ability to develop its institutions as well as limit politically its room for maneuver on tougher reforms.'” http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/22/the-end-of-fayyadism-in-palestine.html
25. 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. As Israel’s lead negotiator at Camp David, his opinion should carry considerable weight. 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.
-Ehud Barak’s “final offer at Camp David…proposed that Israel annex the 9 percent of the West Bank that included the largest settlement ‘blocs’ while offering in return an area one-ninth as large inside the green line. Nine percent may not seem like much, but as some Israel officials have since conceded, annexing settlements like Ariel, which stretches thirteen miles beyond the green line, would have severely hindered Palestinian travel between the northern and southern halves of the West Bank. It also would have left Israel in control of much of the West Bank’s water supply. Moreover, Barak insisted on maintaining sovereignty for up to twelve years over part of the Jordan Valley, which comprises another 25 percent of the West Bank.” (Beinart 2012, 66-7)
“[I]t is also important to note that Barak refrained from offering what for Arafat was the most important of all: sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif [Temple Mount].” Without this, Arafat could not accept a deal, as this issue profoundly affected the broader Muslim community, not only the Palestinians. (Bregman 2014, 237)
In the words of former Barak aide Tal Zilberstein, “[T]here are still people who say, ‘We gave them everything at Camp David and got nothing.’ This is a flagrant lie.” (Beinart 2012, 72)
-In discussing the two-state solution, people often focus on the seemingly high percentage of West Bank land Israel is willing to “give” the Palestinians. However, focusing on percentages obscures essential details. For example, if Israel retains “the settlement blocs of Ariel, Karnei Shomron and Ma’ale Adumim [this] would trisect the West Bank, appropriate some of its most valuable land and resources and cut off East Jerusalem….[Furthermore,] East Jerusalem comprises just 1% of the West Bank, but a Palestinian state in its absence is unthinkable. Greater East Jerusalem—the triangle going from East Jerusalem to Ramallah to Bethlehem—accounts for 40% of the Palestinian economy.” http://normanfinkelstein.com/2013/01/11/norman-finkelstein-a-historic-moment-in-the-middle-east/
-In negotiations with the Palestinians in 2010, Netanyahu “refused to discuss the borders of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, or the problem of refugees. Just about the only major issue he would discuss was the security arrangements that would accompany a peace deal.” By November 2010, “the negotiations were officially dead.” The US under Obama would not pressure Israel on the Occupation. The American political reality superseded the costs of Palestinian suffering. (Beinart 2012, 141-2, 145)
-In Feb. 2016, “Israel’s prime minister 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.”
“Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a secret summit that Kerry organized in the southern Jordanian port city of Aqaba in February 2016 and included Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.”
“[K]erry proposed regional recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — a key Netanyahu demand — alongside a renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries. Netanyahu rejected the offer, which would have required a significant pullout from occupied land…”
“The initiative also appeared to be the basis of short-lived talks with moderate opposition leader Isaac Herzog to join the government, a plan that quickly unraveled when Netanyahu chose to bring in nationalist leader Avigdor Lieberman instead… Herzog tweeted [on 19 Feb. 2017] that ‘history will definitely judge the magnitude of the opportunity as well as the magnitude of the missed opportunity.'”
“[K]erry tried to sweeten the  ‘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…”
“[E]gyptian and Jordanian leaders reacted positively to the proposal, while Netanyahu refused to commit to anything beyond meetings with the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/netanyahu-turned-down-kerry-brokered-regional-peace-deal-officials-say/2017/02/19/681cb7d0-f6e1-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?utm_term=.d1eab1fa86fe (19 Feb. 2017)
-Israel has a long record of missing opportunities for peace. In 2012, new information concerning the 1973 War was made public. It is now known that “eight months before the war, Anwar Sadat sent his trusted aide, Hafez Ismail, to the…US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. He offered the immediate start of peace negotiations with Israel. There was one condition and one date: all of Sinai, up to the international border, had to be returned to Egypt without any Israeli settlements, and the agreement had to be achieved by September, at the latest.”
Kissinger “liked the proposal and transmitted it at once to the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Rabin…Rabin, of course, immediately informed the Prime Minister, Golda Meir. She rejected the offer out of hand. There ensued a heated conversation between the ambassador and the Prime Minister. Rabin, who was very close to Kissinger, was in favor of accepting the offer. Golda treated the whole initiative as just another Arab trick to induce her to give up the Sinai Peninsula and remove the settlements built on Egyptian territory. After all, the real purpose of these settlements…was precisely to prevent the return of the entire peninsula to Egypt.”
Even “before the new  disclosures, the fact that Sadat had made several peace overtures was no secret. [For example,] Sadat had indicated his willingness to reach an agreement in his dealings with the UN mediator Dr. Gunnar Jarring…”
Due to Israel’s intransigence in 1973 “on October 6th Sadat’s troops struck across the canal and achieved a world-shaking surprise success (as did the Syrians on the Golan Heights). As a direct result… 2693 Israeli soldiers died, 7251 were wounded and 314 were taken prisoner (along with the tens of thousands of Egyptian and Syrian casualties)….Sadat had no illusions of victory [rather he] hoped that a war would compel the US and Israel to start negotiations for the return of Sinai.” And, in fact, postwar negotiations resulted in a peace treaty and Israel’s withdrawal from all of Sinai.
Today Israel continues to ignore Palestinian peace offers as well as the “ten-year old Arab Peace Initiative, supported by all the Arab and all the Muslim states.” And, again, “settlements are put up and expanded, in order to make the return of the occupied territories impossible. (Let’s remember all those who claimed, [prior to 1973,] that the occupation of Sinai was ‘irreversible’.)” http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1348845384/
-It is commonly debated whether “Arab hatred of Israel and the Jews is primarily responsible for the repeated failures to end the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948. In fact, there should be no [debate] because the historical record is irrefutable: the Arab states, individually and collectively, have repeatedly sought to make peace with Israel….[T]hroughout the entire history of the conflict, all the relevant Arab states have repeatedly offered to settle their conflict with Israel, essentially in exchange for the Israeli withdrawal from conquered and occupied Arab lands.” For example, “[A]t the 1949 Lausanne conference [convened by the UN to resolve disputes arising from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War] the main Arab states proposed a peace settlement to Israel, provided (1) that Israel agree to withdraw from the territories it conquered in the 1948 war and return to the borders established by the 1947 UN partition and (2) that it agree to the return of the Palestinian refugees who had fled the 1948 war or had been expelled by Israel. Israel turned down the Arab proposal.” Thus, in brief, “the evidence demonstrates that Israel could have reached a settlement with the main Arab states collectively in the summer of 1949, or bilaterally with Egypt in 1948 and again in the early 1970s (thus avoiding the 1973 Israeli-Egyptian War), with Syria in 1949 and again in the 1990s, with Saudi Arabia since 1981, and with Lebanon and Jordan since the onset of the conflict. Moreover, since 2002 the entire Arab League has formally, unanimously and on repeated occasions proposed an entirely fair overall peace agreement with Israel. And, above all, the evidence is overwhelming that since the 1980s at the latest, Yasser Arafat and the mainstream Palestinian leadership have wanted to reach a two-state settlement with Israel, based on the international consensus of what such a settlement would entail. Indeed, the weight of the evidence suggests that even Hamas would, however reluctantly, agree to accept or at least not disrupt a two-state settlement.” http://www.jeromeslater.com/2014/07/history-vs.html
-It may be arguable “that the Arab states only came around to acquiescing in Israel’s existence after they suffered a string of military defeats. However, Tel Aviv insists not only on its being accepted but also on regional supremacy.” (Finkelstein 2012, 70)
-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 far outweigh the benefits, Israel chooses the status quo.
The costs “Israel would risk incurring through [a peace] accord are massive. They include perhaps the greatest political upheaval in the country’s history; enormous demonstrations against–if not majority rejection of–Palestinian sovereignty in [East Jerusalem[,] [including] the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary; and violent rebellion by some Jewish settlers and their supporters. There could also be bloodshed during forcible evacuations of West Bank settlements and rifts within the body implementing the evictions, the Israeli army, whose share of religious infantry officers now surpasses one third. Israel would lose military control over the West Bank, resulting in less intelligence-gathering, less room for manoeuvre in future wars, and less time to react to a surprise attack….The country would cease extraction of the West Bank’s natural resources, including water, [and] lose profits from managing Palestinian customs and trade…”
“Only a fraction of these costs could be offset by a peace agreement’s benefits. But chief among [the benefits] would be the blow dealt to efforts to delegitimise Israel and the normalisation of relations with other nations of the region. Israeli businesses would be able to operate more openly in Arab states, and government cooperation with such countries as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would go from covert to overt.”
“[However, 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. Israel will go on absorbing the annoying but so-far tolerable costs of complaints about settlement policies. And it will likely witness several more countries bestowing the State of Palestine with symbolic recognition, a few more negative votes in impotent university student councils, limited calls for boycotts of settlement goods, and occasional bursts of violence that the greatly overpowered Palestinians are too weak to sustain.”
Furthermore, “history suggests that a strategy of waiting [to make a deal serves Israel] well: from the British government’s 1937 Peel Commission partition plan and the UN partition plan of 1947 to UN Security Council Resolution 242 [of November 1967] and the Oslo accords [of the early 1990s], every formative initiative endorsed by the great powers has given more to the Jewish community in Palestine than the previous one.” And, “If and when Israel is confronted with the [ultimate political] threat of a single [Palestinian-majority] state [encompassing Israel and the occupied territories], it can enact a unilateral withdrawal and count on the support of the great powers in doing so.”
“Only two things can [overcome Israel’s preference of the status quo over a fair agreement]: a more attractive agreement, or a less attractive [status quo]. The first of these options has been tried extensively, from offering Israel full normalisation with most Arab and Islamic states to promising upgraded relations with Europe, US security guarantees, and increased financial and military assistance. But for Israel these inducements pale in comparison to the perceived costs.”
“The second option is to make the [status quo] worse. This is what President Eisenhower did following the 1956 Suez crisis when he threatened economic sanctions to get Israel to withdraw from Sinai and Gaza. This is what President Ford did in 1975 when he reassessed US relations with Israel, refusing to provide it with new arms deals until it agreed to a second Sinai withdrawal. This is what President Carter did when he raised the spectre of terminating US military assistance if Israel did not immediately evacuate Lebanon in September 1977. And this is what Carter did when he made clear to both sides at Camp David [in 1978] that the United States would withhold aid and downgrade relations if they did not sign an agreement. This, likewise, is what the US secretary of state James Baker did in 1991, when he forced a reluctant Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to attend negotiations in Madrid by withholding a $10bn loan guarantee that Israel needed to absorb the immigration of Soviet Jews. That was the last time the United States applied pressure of this sort.”
In fact, since Oslo, the US has not only abstained from applying pressure, it has facilitated “the low cost of Israel’s [status quo] option. Successive US administrations [with assistance from allies] have [spent billions financing] the Palestinian government, trained its resistance-crushing security forces, [created conditions of prosperity for Palestinian decision-makers in Ramallah,] pressured the PLO not to confront Israel in international institutions, vetoed UN Security Council resolutions that were not to Israel’s liking, shielded Israel’s arsenal from calls for a nuclear-free Middle East, ensured Israel’s military superiority over all of its neighbours, provided the country with more than $3bn in military aid each year…”
“The Palestinians…have endeavoured to make Israel’s [status quo] less attractive through two uprisings and other periodic bouts of violence. But the extraordinary price they paid proved unsustainable, and on the whole they have been too weak to worsen Israel’s [status quo] for very long. As a result, Palestinians have been unable to induce more from Israel than tactical concessions, steps meant to reduce friction between the populations in order not to end occupation but to mitigate it and restore its low cost.”
26. Who said the following concerning peace with the Palestinians on 29 September 2008: “We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the [occupied] territories, if not all the territories. We will leave a percentage of these territories in our hands, but will have to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace.”
-Ehud Olmert: Israel’s Prime Minister, 2006-2009.
-On 16 September 2008, then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert presented the details of his offer for a peace deal to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. The peace deal included the following elements: (1) Israel would “withdraw from Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and place the Old City — home to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy sites — under international control [with representatives from Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, the United States and Israel].” (2) Israel would keep “the Ariel bloc, the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adumin bloc (including E1) and Gush Etzion, all together consisting of 6.3% of the West Bank. [I]srael offered in exchange for the settlement blocs the following [5.8% of Israeli territory]: [area] around Afula-Tirat Tzvi, the Lachish region, an area near Har Adar, and areas in the Judean desert and the Gaza envelope.” (3) There would be “a secure corridor between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank by way of a tunnel…” (4) Israel would, over time, leave the Jordan valley. (5) Israel would absorb “around 5,000 Palestinian refugees into Israel, 1000 every year for five years.”
At the 16 September meeting, “Olmert [showed Abbas] a large map upon which he outlined the borders of the future Palestinian state.…[However, Olmert] told [Abbas] that he would not give Abbas [a copy of] the map until the Palestinian leader was willing to ink his initials on it, or in other words, agree to the borders that Israel offered.” (“Olmert [later] confirmed that he pressed Abbas to initial the offer [on the same day he proposed it].”)
“The two leaders met thirty six times…and reached a draft agreement that would clearly constitute the basis for any future peace deal between the parties. But in the end no peace deal was signed between Israel and the Palestinians…”
“When asked why Abbas did not return to the negotiating table with him, Olmert says that the Palestinians took into account that former US president George W. Bush was at the end of his term and they were hoping for a more favorable leader in Washington and they also believed that Olmert himself was finished politically. But Olmert also lays the blame for the breakdown in negotiations at the feet of then foreign minister Tzipi Livni and then defense minister Ehud Barak. Olmert cites former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s book No Higher Honor in which she says that Livni came to her and Abbas separately asking them that they not ‘enshrine’ Olmert’s peace proposal. Olmert also said…that Barak sent representatives to Abbas to tell the Palestinian leader not to accept his proposal.” Rice and Barak have denied Olmert’s claims.
“[Abbas has] cited [Olmert’s] legal troubles at the time as his primary reason [to not pursue the offer]. Olmert had [in fact] announced that he planned to resign in order to fight corruption allegations, and Abbas doubted [Olmert] had the political clout to see the deal through. Olmert [did in fact go to jail] on various corruption charges.”
“A senior Palestinian official [said] that Abbas thought Olmert’s proposals for Jerusalem and the right of return were unacceptable….‘The natural thing for Abbas to do would be not to sign immediately and to act responsibly and return to consult with the Fatah leadership.’”
“[Saeb Erekat, head of the Fatah negotiating team,] confirmed the details of Olmert’s proposal but said that Olmert’s memory with regard to the meeting with Abbas was [incomplete]. ‘We also presented a map to Olmert that would transfer 1.9% of West Bank territory to Israeli sovereignty. On December 18, 2008 we deposited our map and Olmert’s map as we remembered it with President Bush at the White House…Bush asked that we and Israel send representatives on January 3, 2009 to Washington, but then the [Israeli military] operation [Cast Lead] began in Gaza. When Erekat was asked about the three months between the meeting with Olmert in September  and the Gaza operation in January , he said that there were many intervening meetings between the Palestinians and…the Israeli side.”
“Abbas [publicly stated in 2015] that he supported the idea of territorial swaps, but that Olmert pressed him into agreeing to the plan without allowing him to [take a copy and] study the proposed map.”
http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Details-of-Olmerts-peace-offer-to-Palestinians-exposed-314261 (24 May 2013)
http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-told-trump-to-base-peace-talks-on-2008-maps-report/ (9 May 2017)
27. How many Israelis emigrated between 1990 and 2014?
-“[Israeli leaders] should wake up to the gloomy reality that nearly one million Israelis emigrated from Israel [in the 25 years from 1990 to 2014]. Many of them have left not only because they have become weary of endless violent conflict [and difficult economic circumstances], but also because they feel betrayed by self-indulgent political leaders. With only a few exceptions, Israel has been plagued with leaders who are no longer true to the vision behind the creation of Israel. As a result, many Jews have little hope that the political environment will change any time soon, unless new leaders emerge who are committed to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not surprisingly, many Israelis who emigrated see no reason why they should return, only to see their children be inducted to a military that has become the oppressor rather than the proud guardian of a free, independent, and prosperous country at peace with itself and with the people that co-inhabit the land.”
Furthermore, while Israel tries to encourage Diaspora Jews to immigrate for, inter alia, greater safety, it is a sad reality that “Eighty times more Israelis were killed in Israel by violence with the Palestinians [from 1990 to 2014] than all the Jews killed in Europe by terrorists during the same period.” http://www.alonben-meir.com/article/message-netanyahu-enough-enough/ (25 Feb. 2015)
-Ironically, some Israeli Jews, seeking a more hospitable cultural and economic environment, have moved to Berlin. “While no one knows for sure how many Israeli expats now call Berlin home—in part because descendants of German citizens persecuted by the Nazis are frequently eligible for German citizenship—the Israeli Embassy in Berlin puts the number at ten thousand to fifteen thousand, and growing. The Israelis who choose Berlin tend to be young, creative, highly educated, politically minded, and left-leaning; they form an intelligentsia that includes novelists, tech entrepreneurs, Grinberg body-work practitioners, and a world-renowned mandolin player.” http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/so-long-israel-hello-berlin (15 May 2014)
28. True or False: Pressure by the Palestinians causes Israel to be more steadfast in holding occupied territory.
-False. 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. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who agreed to the first Israeli pullouts from parts of the West Bank and Gaza, made proposals for Palestinian self-government in 1989 when he was the defense minister trying to quash the first intifada. Even the hawkish prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, put forward his own autonomy plan for Palestinians later that year.”
“As the 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. Shortly after the  Gaza disengagement and the close of the intifada, a plurality of Israelis voted for the Kadima Party, led by the acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who ran on a platform of withdrawing from the roughly 91 percent of the West Bank that lies east of the separation barrier.”
“As bloodshed diminished, though, Israel’s sense of urgency about the Palestinian problem dissipated. No serious proposals for unilateral withdrawal were made again until the level of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem escalated in late 2015.” (The New York Times, 4 June 2017, SR 4)
29. In 2008 and 2012, what percentage of American Jews voted for Barack Obama?
-In the 2008 presidential election, Obama “won 78 percent of the Jewish vote, a remarkable testament to the gulf between American Jewry and many of its communal leaders.” In 2012, Obama won approximately 70 percent of the Jewish vote.
There is a clear split between the bulk of American Jews, who are largely liberal-democrats, and the main lobbying arms of the Jewish community which promote neoconservative foreign policies. “In 2005, three-quarters of American Jews said they supported US pressure on both Israel and the Palestinians if it would help bring a peace deal. Those numbers have held steady in the years since.” (Beinart 2012, 43, 125) http://www.ijn.com/presidential-elections/2012-presidential-elections/3542-how-the-jewish-vote-went
-In a 2015 survey of 1,000 American Jewish adults “84 percent of respondents said they supported ‘the United States playing an active role in helping the parties to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict,’ and 69 percent said they would also support this ‘if it meant the United States exerting pressure on both the Israelis and Arabs to make the compromises necessary to achieve peace.’” (Dov Waxman, Trouble In The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel, Princeton University Press, Princeton: 2016, 289. Hereinafter, “Waxman 2016.”)
-The American Jewish establishment “can no longer legitimately claim to express a communal consensus over Israel since that consensus is unraveling, and it can no longer speak plausibly on behalf of American Jews when so few of them are affiliated in any way with Jewish establishment organizations….The near-monopoly over organized Jewish life and politics that the American Jewish establishment once enjoyed has given way to a more ‘competitive and individualized marketplace.’…And in this increasingly competitive market, supporting Israel…is just not as popular as it was in the past.”
“The [September 1982] Sabra and Shatila massacre[,] [which Israel was indirectly responsible for,] was a watershed in American Jewish attitudes to Israel, as it undermined their idealized image of the country, and their long-standing belief that Israel’s wars were always just and its wartime conduct morally pure….[As well,] the first Palestinian Intifada, which began in December 1987 and lasted until 1991, generated an unprecedented amount of American Jewish criticism of Israel, as well as international condemnation.”
“In 1990, about three-quarters of American Jews disagreed with Israeli policy at the time and wanted Israel to negotiate with the PLO.” “For the last quarter of a century, most American Jews have consistently supported the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (since it began with the US-sponsored Madrid peace conference in 1991), while remaining suspicious of Palestinian intentions.” “[A] solid majority of American Jewish respondents in…surveys consistently supports the dismantling and evacuation of some or all Israeli settlements, a significant minority—ranging from between 35 to 45 percent—opposes the dismantling of any settlements…”
The 20 percent “of American Jews who are politically conservative are often highly vocal, especially when it comes to Israel. They are also disproportionately represented in the organized American Jewish community. Politically, conservative Jews tend to be more emotionally attached to Israel than liberal Jews, and much more hawkish in their views concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (Waxman 2016, 42, 125, 127, 132, 192)
30. 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).”
“The Palestinians never withdrew their recognition of Israel, but they have refused to endorse Israel’s decision to define its national identity in religious and ethnic terms, a demand that no country has the right to impose on other countries. Israel would never agree to such a demand by Palestinians or for that matter by any Christian country.”
“[It’s worth noting] that the Palestinians recognised Israel’s legitimacy not only within the borders assigned to it in 1947 by the UN Partition Plan but also including territory assigned to the Palestinians and confiscated by Israel following its War of Independence in 1948, in defiance of [UN] Resolution 242 prohibiting the acquisition of territory as a result of war. [Hence, in the context of the Oslo Accords, Arafat gave up] 22 per cent of Palestine, which is fully 50 per cent of the West Bank territory the UN Partition Plan recognised as the legitimate patrimony of the Palestinian people….[Nevertheless,] it is Palestinian leaders who are accused by Israel of refusing to make concessions for peace, a lie US administrations consistently repeat to imply a non-existent equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian resistance to a two-state agreement.”
In early 2017, “Netanyahu announced his intention of treating 60 per cent of the West Bank – territory that the Oslo agreement designated as Area C, from which Israel was supposed to have withdrawn by 1998 – as a permanent part of Israel. So Palestinians would be left just 10 per cent of pre-partition Palestine.” https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n07/henry-siegman/the-ultimate-deal (30 March 2017)
-“[At] the Palestinian National Conference in November 1988 the PLO accepted the two-state solution as their strategic choice, reconciling themselves to the fact that Palestine would be established on only 22 percent of [Mandatory Palestine]. [And on] September 13, 1993 Yasser Arafat exchanged letters of mutual recognition with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Arafat stated: ‘The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.’ In return Rabin wrote to Arafat that ‘the government of Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process’ (hardly a balanced act of mutuality – [Israel] received recognition of [its] state and [the Palestinians] received recognition of their leadership).”
http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/the-disposal-of-myths/ (13 April 2010)
-“[T]he history of the Palestinian national movement is one long series of military defeats and ideological concessions. Each of those slowly moved the Palestine Liberation Organization from rejection of any Israeli presence to acceptance and recognition of Israel on the pre-1967 lines, comprising 78 percent of historic Palestine. For years, the international community bullied and cajoled the PLO to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, the remaining 22 percent.”
“When the PLO finally did so, in 1988, the rug was pulled out from under it. Palestinians woke up to find that 22 percent of the homeland had been redefined as their new maximalist demand. Shimon Peres was among the few Israeli leaders to recognize the magnitude of the Palestinians’ concession. He called it Israel’s ‘greatest achievement.'”
“In the last quarter-century of intermittent American-led negotiations, the powerlessness of the Palestinians has led to still further concessions. The PLO has accepted that Israel would annex settlement blocs, consented to give up large parts of East Jerusalem, acknowledged that any agreement on the return of Palestinian refugees will satisfy Israel’s demographic concerns and agreed to various limitations on the military capabilities and sovereignty of a future state of Palestine.”
“During that time, Palestinians were never presented with what Israel offered every neighboring country: full withdrawal from occupied territory. Egypt obtained sovereignty over all of Sinai [as a result of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty]. Jordan established peace [in the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty] based on the former international boundary, recovering 147 square miles. Syria received a 1998 proposal from Prime Minister Netanyahu (though he later backtracked) for a total evacuation from the Golan Heights. And [in 2000] Lebanon achieved a withdrawal to the United Nations-defined border without granting Israel recognition, peace or even a cease-fire agreement.”
“The Palestinians, though, remain too weak, politically and militarily, to secure such an offer, and the United States and the international community won’t apply the pressure to force Israel to make one.” (The New York Times, 4 June 2017, SR 4)
31. 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 opened fire on Muslim worshippers. Twenty-nine Palestinians were killed and many more wounded. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E3DA173DF93AA35750C0A962958260
“In addition to the slaughter at the [Hebron] shrine, Israeli troops had opened fire on protesters across the West Bank and Gaza, killing fourteen people…It was the worst single-day carnage in years. The army imposed its usual closure on the territories to prevent revenge attacks and also added a curfew to the mix…The victims of the massacre were now being punished for the massacre. The curfew did not apply to settlers in the territories, including Hebron, where Jews walked around the city center freely, armed with Uzis…Palestinians could only watch from their windows and seethe.” (Ephron 2015, 66-7)
Rabin’s decision to not move the settlers out of Hebron was a victory for the settlers. “[While] the public had been outraged by Goldstein’s brutality…, [polls one month later] showed most Israelis opposed an evacuation.” Rabin reasoned that as “A full peace agreement with the Palestinians would require the evacuation of settlers in huge numbers…it would be better to wage one big battle than several small ones….[However,] it seemed clear that a lone gunman could bring the peace process to a crashing halt…There was a lesson here for opponents of the process on both sides.” (Ephron 2015, 78-9)
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…”
“On 19 October 1994, Israel suffered its first suicide bomb attack, when a…bus was blown up…in Tel Aviv. The attack, which killed 22 and injured more than a hundred, shocked Israelis. The tactic of suicide bombing was relatively new to the Middle East, and this was its first use in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fact that an Israeli bus had been struck in the heart of an Israeli city, which hitherto had been considered safe, meant that the attack was particularly traumatic for Israel.” (Neill Lochery, The Resistible Rise of Benjamin Netanyahu, Bloomsbury, New York: 2016, 66. Hereinafter, “Lochery 2016.”)
However, Hamas “had launched several suicide bombers at Israeli targets [during the months before Goldstein’s massacre]. But while the group had confined itself mostly to assaults against soldiers and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza – attacks that usually left two or three people dead – from now on it would strike at the heart of Israel, aiming for as many civilian casualties as possible….Goldstein hadn’t spawned the suicide phenomenon in Hamas, but his massacre motivated the group to take it to new heights.” (Ephron 2015, 81)
“In mid-September , Rabin…reviewed the data on Palestinian attacks over the preceding twelve months. The first year of peacemaking had been more violent than any of the intifada years. Sixty Israelis were killed, compared to forty-one in the preceding period….Rabin could hardly blame Arafat. Most of the casualties preceded his arrival in Gaza. And even Israel’s pervasive and proficient security agencies had never been able to shut down the violence altogether….The attacks were turning Israelis against the peace process and vindicating the hardliners.” (Ephron 2015, 113-4)
By 2010, “The fact that life in Israel was good despite the absence of peace meant there was little incentive to revive the process.” “[T]he terrible violence…of the second intifada had left even the moderates among Israelis and Palestinians feeling alienated from each other and simply fed up.” “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.” (Ephron 2015, 244-5)
-Dov 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…”
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the late Israeli chief rabbi, “likewise declared, ‘A thousand Arabs are not worth one yeshiva student.’ [He also had ruled] that since God gave Jews the entire land of Israel, settlers have the right to steal Palestinian crops.”
Rabbi Yetzhak Shapira, the leader of Yitzhar’s yeshiva, “in a 2009 book widely discussed in the Israeli press, declared it religiously permissible to kill gentile children because of ‘the future danger that will arise if they are allowed to grow into evil people like their parents.'”
In 2005, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, had this to say concerning Hurricane Katrina: “There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study…black people reside there (in New Orleans). Blacks will study the Torah? (God said) let’s bring a tsunami and drown them.” And, in 2010, Rabbi Yosef “provoked a firestorm of outrage and criticism, even from pillars of the American Zionist establishment…by comparing non-Jews to farm animals and saying they were only fit to serve Jews.” (Rabbi Yosef died in October 2013.)
It is important to note that some rabbis argue that in order to save a Jewish life it is permissible to give up some of the Land of Israel. In fact, a minority of religious Zionists argue that the way to messianic redemption involves territorial compromise and nonviolence. (Beinart 2012, 23, 165, 166, 167) http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/israels-secret-iran-meeting-between-security-officials-and-rabbi-who-wants-to-annihilate-arabs.html
-At least “two major camps can be generally identified among religious Jews in Israel–the orthodox (typically national-religious) and the ultraorthodox or Haredim, each with its own subdivisions.” During the early 2000s, religious Jews “constituted about 17 to 20 percent of the Jewish population” of Israel.
Jews who are not orthodox or ultraorthodox should ponder the implications of the words of “Rabbi Yeshaya Shteinberger, rabbi of the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem and head of Hakotel Yeshiva”: “[T]he principles of the Israelite Torah necessitate the annulment of secularism…many times the principles of democracy are incommensurable with those of the Jewish faith.” (Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Theocratic Democracy: The Social Construction of Religious and Secular Extremism, Oxford University Press, New York: 2010, 13, 21, 30.)
Jeffrey Rudolph, a Montreal college professor, 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, https://detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com/
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