Saturday, May 14, 2011

United Nations Recognition of Palestine

Letter to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General, United Nations, May 11, 2011

Dear Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,

In September this year, the United Nations General Assembly is likely to recognize the State of Palestine.

As an Israeli, I would like my country to be the first to welcome the Arab State of Palestine among the nations, living peacefully alongside the Jewish State of Israel.

While in his 2009 talk at Bar-Ilan University, PM Netanyahu recognized the principle of two states for two peoples, Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine, his speech was not supplemented by measures on the ground, that would give credibility to his words.

Reluctantly, the present Israeli government accepted a ten month settlement freeze as an incentive to renew stalled negotiations. Unfortunately, this did not bring the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and/or the Palestinian Authority to the negotiating table.

Also, the similar good will gesture asked of the Arab side, that Saudi Arabia allow civilian Israeli air traffic to make use of its air space, was quickly dismissed and dropped.

I would like my government to take further confidence-building steps. This is, in fact, the position held by most Israelis; according to a recent poll, in desire of peace and neighborly relations, a majority favors diplomatic initiative, far-reaching Israeli concessions and recognition of a Palestinian state.

I would like my government to implement a full withdrawal of all settlements beyond the security fence, which, besides reducing the many deadly terror attacks, serves as a temporary border, based on the 1949 cease-fire lines.

Israel’s Security Barrier, compared to the Green Line (Shaul Arieli;, by permission)

This would give credibility to Israel’s decision to withdraw from Arab territories.

But I would like to see some additional gestures as well. I would like incitement against Israel, in schools, media and mosques be restrained. Incitement, and repeated claims that there is no connection between Jews, Judaism and the Land of Israel, is not conducive to peace-making. The cartoons, for instance, appearing repeatedly in Palestinian and Arab media, are, to say the least, appalling.

Incitement contradicts, as well, the accords between Israel and the PLO, which is chaired by Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as President of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In fact, unilateral declaration of statehood also contradicts those agreements. My criticism of my government’s dangerous passivity, is paralleled by skepticism as regards the PA’s reluctance to negotiate.

President Sadat, who was the instrumental leader in achieving a breakthrough in Israeli-Arab relations, claimed that seventy percent of the conflict is psychological.

Israelis and Palestinians construct their identity according to history and its interpretation, based on fear, war and persecution, threats of exile and annihilation, with roots in the past – both a century of Holocaust and violence, and a distant past, rooted in the archetypal images of the Bible and the Koran. Mutual projections impair the reconciliation that can take place in face-to-face negotiations.

But just like we, respectively, are called upon to scrutinize our psychological shortcomings and distorted projections, I would call upon you, as the United Nations’ Secretary General, to lead your organization to do likewise. Goldstone’s retraction of his own copy-and-paste produced report, and the fact that Syria is (was?) expected to replace Libya on the UN Human Rights Council, make the farce that has been going on for years, during which the main pre-occupation of the Council has been the demonization of Israel, apparent.

Yet, my main request of you, at this moment in time, concerns the following: Before the United Nations recognize the Arab State of Palestine which, as I have said, I am in favor of, the declared aims of that state cannot be the destruction of another member-state of the United Nations (or any state, for that matter). At the UN website (, the page of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations ( informs us about the Palestine National Charter (, which states that their aim is “the elimination of Zionism in Palestine” (meaning the destruction of Israel), by means of “armed struggle” (i.e., war and terror). Furthermore, Article 19 says that, “The partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal,” and in article 20, “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history.”

I thus urge you, in the name of honesty and decency, history and Israel's right to exist, to review the Palestine Charter, demand it be revised to include recognition of Israel rather than the call for its destruction. Otherwise, you, the United Nations, and all nations voting in favor, sign the death-sentence of Israel, making you responsible of ethnic cleansing of the Jews in Israel.


Dr. Erel Shalit

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return is on sale now for $14.95, and Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is on sale now for $19.95 or $30.00 for the pair when ordered directly from the Fisher King Press. You can also order The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitcal Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel directly from Fisher King Press. Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted. 1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US & Canada, International +1-831-238-7799

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Friday, May 13, 2011

What will happen on Nakba-day?

As reported in the media, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the Central Command, inspecting the preparations being made for possible riots on “Nakba-day”, May 15, when the Palestinians commemorate the Nakba (“catastrophe”), of the partition of the land and the founding of Israel.

As reported for instance on Ynet, “The situation in the West Bank may escalate to uncontrolled violence as result of, for instance, marches towards that border that will be aired on TV and inflame emotions; mass demonstrations in Egypt under the banner of the “Third Intifada committee”; mass marches in Gaza; violence among Arab-Israelis; and a flare-up in the Middle East’s most problematic theater: Friday prayers at Temple Mount.”

Furthermore, “Israel’s political leadership instructed the IDF not to take risks and assume major precautions. Indeed, the army already reinforced its troops in the West Bank and prepared reserve forces as well.”

The Chief of Staff said he hopes the Nakba Day events will be held non-violently, but that the army must be prepared for every possible circumstance.

According to rumors, General Gantz had secretly summoned Professor Eliezer (Eli) Shimeoni, to receive a private summary of possible scenarios. So characteristic of Israeli sloppiness, the door had been left open, and one of the soldiers on guard recorded the parts of the conversation on his iPhone:

Elie Shimeoni (ES): “What do you want of me?”

Benny Gantz (BG): “Stop pretending, you know very well.”

ES: “Honestly, no idea…” (unclear, probably biting on an apple).

BG: “Do I really need to quote…”

He started to read, “…The Islamic movement called upon all adult Arab men to join the big march to Jerusalem and gather on the Temple Mount, at the compound in front of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The call spread across the country. Young and old, from the Galilee in the north, the Negev in the south, and from the Triangle of Arab towns in the center of the country, turned up in unprecedented numbers. The call spread across the West Bank as well, and people just started marching...” (p. 73)

“Palestinians from the West Bank managed to break through the security fence. Widespread laughter swept across the long chain of people holding arms as they, within a matter of minutes, tore down “the wall,” the security fence, making mockery of our typical Israeli patchwork…” (p. 74)

Do I need to quote more from Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return, or do you understand?" Gantz asked impatiently.

Shimeoni stopped in the middle of a bite on the apple, “I am surprised at you,” was all he could say before he started coughing.

“That is a novel, has nothing to do with reality, it’s pure fiction. I did give the author permission to quote me, but I only told stories.”

BG: “This is not fiction, this is reality. This is post-modern reality,” said the intellectual Chief of Staff. “This is not reality before you make a film of what has taken place, it is imagination creating reality.”

ES: “You blame me?”

BG: “You misunderstand me. I am not going to censor imagination. I want to learn from it. I want to know what the possibilities are. We must learn not only from past mistakes, we need to draw conclusions from the future before it happens. Is that not what you write about, when you write about those manuscripts of Kafka and the theft of the Queen’s Clock from the Museum of Islamic Art?”

ES: “I didn’t write the book.”

BG: “We know who the true author of the events is.”

ES: “I don’t.”

BG: “You’ll find out if you read the book till the end. It only takes an hour or two to read, and you know it doesn’t end the way you thought.”

“Close that door,” one could suddenly hear the General shout.

Thus, the recording of the conversation was interrupted, as friends and foes prepared for another act in the drama of Isaac and Ishmael.

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return and The Hero & His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel

Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return is on sale now for $14.95, and Enemy, Cripple, Beggar is on sale now for $19.95 or $30.00 for the pair when ordered directly from the Fisher King Press. You can also order The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitcal Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel directly from Fisher King Press. Phone orders welcomed, Credit Cards accepted. 1-800-228-9316 toll free in the US & Canada, International +1-831-238-7799

Download the