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LETTER OF URI AVNERY,
"A DRUG FOR AN ADDICT" 8/23/03
From Gush Shalom, pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033, Israel, www.gush-shalom.org
was a putsch. Like any classic putsch,
it was carried out by a group of officers: Sharon, Mofaz, Ya'alon and
is no secret that the military party
(the only really functioning party in Israel) objected to the hudna
(truce) from the first moment, much as it opposed the Road Map. Its
propaganda apparatus, which includes all the Israeli media, spread the
"The hudna is a disaster! Every day of the hudna is a bad day! The
reduction of violence to almost zero is
a great misfortune: under cover of the truce, the terrorist
recovering and rearming! Every terrorist strike avoided today will hit
army command was like an addict
deprived of his drug. It was forbidden to carry out the action it
was just about to crush the intifada, victory was just around the
that was needed was just one final decisive blow, and that would have
military was upset when it saw the new
hope that took hold of the Israeli public, the bullish mood of the
exchange, the rise in value of the shekel, the return of the masses to
centers, the signs of
optimism on both sides. In effect, It was a spontaneous popular vote
the military policy.
Sharon realized that if this went
on, reality would overturn his long-term plans. Therefore, right at the
beginning of the hudna, he adopted three immediate goals:
to topple Abu-Mazen as soon as
possible. Mahmud Abbas had become the darling of George Bush, a welcome
at the White House. The unique standing of Sharon in Washington was in danger. The pair
Bush-Sharon, which was mutating into a single Busharon unit, was in
becoming a triangle: Bush-Sharon-Abbas. There is no greater danger to Sharon's plans.
to wipe out the Road Map in its
infancy. The Map obliged Sharon to remove immediately
about 80 settlement outposts, freeze all settlements, stop the building
wall and withdraw the army from all West Bank towns. Sharon never dreamt of fulfilling
even one of these obligations.
to put an end to the hudna and give
the army back its freedom of action in all the Palestinian territories.
question was how this could be
achieved without a trace of suspicion attaching itself to Sharon. The great majority of
Israelis, who had greeted the hudna, could not possibly be allowed to
that their own leaders were responsible for extinguishing this glimmer
Even more important, it was imperative that no such pernicious idea
enter the innocent head of the good George W. All the blame must fall
Palestinians, so that the affection for Abu-Mazen would turn into
means for attaining this goal were
selected with great care, taking into account the simplistic world of
its Good Guys and Bad Guys. The Bad Guys are the terrorists. Therefore,
advisable to kill Hamas and Jihad militants. That would not upset Bush.
eyes of the President, to kill terrorists is a Good Thing.
And as a result, the Palestinians would be
compelled to break the hudna.
is how it happened:
On August 8, Israeli soldiers killed two
Hamas militants in Nablus. But the retaliation was
restrained: on August 12, a Hamas suicide bomber killed one Israeli in
Rosh-Ha'ayin and another bomber killed one person in the Ariel
suicide bombers came from Nablus. Hamas announced that the
hudna would continue. On August 14, the Israeli army killed Muhammad
head of the military wing of Hamas in Hebron. Five days later, on
August 19, a suicide bomber from Hebron blew himself up in a Jerusalem bus, killing 20 men, women
and children. Two days later, on August 21, the army assassinated
Abu-Shanab, the fourth ranking leader of Hamas.
time it was not even possible even to
pin on the victim the appellation "ticking bomb", as is usual in such
cases. The man was a well-known political leader. Why was he of all
chosen for assassination? A military correspondent on Israeli TV made a
the tongue: Abu-Shanab was killed, he said, because he was
"available". Meaning, he was an easy target because he did not go
underground after the bus bombing, as did the leaders of the military
time, at long last, the aim was achieved.
The Palestinian organizations announced that they were calling off the
Sharon and Co. rejoiced. Within hours the Israeli army had again
into the centers of the Palestinian towns, starting an orgy of arrests
house demolitions (more than 40 in a single day).
addict leapt for the drug. His crisis
was over, the officers could do all the things they had been prevented
doing for nine long weeks.
the situation will not revert to the
status quo ante intifada, so to speak. The attacks and killings will be
numerous and more cruel. The construction of the Wall deep in the
territories will be accelerated, along with the building activity in
army propaganda machine is already
preparing the public for the "expulsion of Arafat".
"Expulsion" is a euphemism produced by the "verbal laundry"
section of the army, one of its most creative departments. The
intention is not
to expel the leader from his Ramallah compound, nor from Palestine, but from this world. The
reaction of the Palestinians and the whole Arab world can be predicted.
would be a historic point of no return, perhaps eliminating the chances
peace for generations.
the Americans? Never has the Bush
administration looked so pathetic as here and now. The unfortunate
arouses compassion with his stuttering and his emissary, John Wolf, a
without teeth, will go the way of all his predecessors.
the implosion of the new order in Afghanistan and the classic guerilla
war now engulfing the universally hated occupation regime in Iraq, the collapse of the Road
Map will put an end to any presidential pretensions. It is much easier
one's picture taken in the uniform of a glorious victor with a
army extras than to steer the ship of state.
renewal of the cycle of violence will,
of course, exacerbate the economic depression in Israel. The crisis will deepen.
Together with the hudna and the Road Map, tourism, foreign investment
recovery will also die.
economy, too, is an addict who needs
his drug: nine billion dollars in US government loan guarantees
are waiting for Sharon in Washington. That should be enough for
the political and military elite.
Only the poor will become
poorer. But who cares?
this is being done without consulting
the Israeli public. There is no open discussion, no debate in the tame
the silent Knesset and the cabinet of marionettes. That's what makes it
sum up: The road Map is dead, because
Sharon was against it from the beginning, Bush saw it only as a photo
opportunity on a nice background and Abu-Mazen did not get from Israel
U.S. anything that he could present as a Palestinian achievement.
will happen now? After the shedding
of yet more blood and many tears, the two peoples will arrive once more
conviction that it is better to come to an agreement and make peace.
will be compelled to learn the lesson of the last chapter: It must all
from the end. Only after the picture of the final settlement clearly
can one deal with the immediate problems. Anything else would be a road
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LETTER FROM JOEL FEDERMAN
ASSESSING THE GOALS AND
STRATEGIES OF THE PEACE MOVEMENT
I am writing to enlist
your help at the
an ongoing initiative called the Peace Movement Goals and Strategies
Project. The purpose of the project is
to provide activists and scholars ongoing opportunities for reflection
assessment regarding the peace movement's overall goals and strategies.
specifically, the project's goal is to help the movement build on
successes and become more effective in achieving its objectives.
The initial phase of
the project involves
interviews with movement leaders and reviews of publicly available
organization literature that pertains to the project themes. As the project develops, additional elements
may include leadership retreats, public opinion surveys, issue reports,
strategy briefs. Early summary findings of the initial interviews will
reported at the PJSA conference next month. Ongoing findings of the
will be also published in a variety of formats, including independent
magazine articles (e.g. for The Nation, The
Progressive), and as scholarly
If you have time and
interest, please feel
contribute ideas in response to the following questions:
2. For the initial interviews, I have
draft list of questions. The
initial interview questions are below:
- I currently plan on
of International ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action,
Moveon.org, and Global Exchange. What
would be your best estimate short list of names of people and
interview for such a project?
Movement Goals and Strategies Project Initial Interview
How did the coalition for the February
15, 2003 global
demonstrations get built? What were and
are the strengths and
weaknesses of that coalition? What were
the strengths and weaknesses of that event? What
do you think it would take to recreate that
How would you describe the state of
networking and strategic coordination among peace groups nationally and
Is there a difference between strategic
tactical objectives for your organization/the movement as a whole? What are the principal strategies/tactics?
To what degree, in your opinion, are
movement and social justice (globalization) movements linked in terms
participants and goals? Do you think
those links need to be strengthened, or are there advantages to
there additional questions that you think would
be valuable to
ask? Are there better ways to frame the
questions as drafted?
Please email me directly with your
Thanks in advance for your help.
Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center
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STEVE SACHS ON
TERRORS OF THE BUSH
appalled and saddened to realize that a credible case can be made that
administration is the best friend al Qaeda has in the United States. The argument runs
something like this: Prior to Bush launching an invasion of Iraq, that
was stable, though tyrannical, contained in its aspirations for
military losses and international pressure, and prevented from using
weapons of mass destruction that it possessed by threat of massive
by the United States (as demonstrated by Iraq's failure to use these
during the first Gulf war, or subsequently). Moreover, the Iraqi regime
contemptuous in the eyes of al Qaeda, and while a few people related to
Qaeda were in the country, some of whom may have had some contact with
Iraqi government, available evidence is clear in showing that the Iraqi
government gave no support to al Qaeda, nor did it support other
terrorist organizations or actions.
invading Iraq essentially unilaterally
(without either a UN resolution or wide and strong international
without either adequate planning or a sufficient force for the
stage of operations (and continuing to refuse to bring in a major
military force and reconstruction presence), Bush acted directly in the
interests of al Qaeda. A once united Iraq has been considerably
destabilized, with the possibility of slipping into an uncontrollable
war, if there are a sufficient number of further acts of what may be
interpreted by the victims as inter-ethnic attacks, such as the bombing
Shiite Mosque, with a leading Shiite cleric among the victims. The now
collapse of Iraq, under any of a number of
scenarios, might destabilize the whole region, giving al Qaeda and
similar persuasion innumerable opportunities to gain strength, and
regimes friendly toward them.
unilateral intervention and the subsequent guerilla resistance cause
appear to be seen as an imperialistic
invader to many people in Iraq and the Middle East, making it easier
Qaeda and other extremist groups to gain supporters, funds and
recruits for terrorist and guerilla operations. Pro al Qaeda fighters
been able to enter Iraq, inflicting military and political casualties
U.S. force, and perhaps even gaining access to weapons of mass
materials for them, which al Queada sympathetic groups did not
as illustrated by the break in and taking of some radioactive waste at
nuclear facility (though, by good fortune, it seems probable that none
material got in to the hands of terrorists or their potential
reported above, Bush's unilateralism and lack of diplomacy and cultural
sensitivity on numerous occasions concerning a number of issues,
his insistence on having the U.S. rush into Iraq as he did, have made
as unpopular as it has ever been in the Middle East, and, to a lesser
throughout the Muslim world, including the rise of anti Americanism in
in Africa where the U.S previously enjoyed favorable public opinion (as
reported in the World Developments section of the last issue).
intervention in Iraq, takes U.S. attention and resources
away from Afghanistan and nations in the
Caucuses, where, even before hand, the U.S, had failed to meet aid
In Afghanistan, as reported above and in
previous issues, a failure, much like its lapses in Iraq, to provide appropriate
and sufficient security and economic development assistance has led to
resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda that threatens the stability of
Karzai regime. Meanwhile, the Bush administration's reliance upon
use of military aid to countries in the Caucuses is reminiscent of U.S.
War military assistance to most any nation or insurgent group claiming
anticommunist, that was a major contributing factor in the turmoil and
of Somaila, and to much of the chaos that has been plaguing many areas
tying up U.S. troops, intelligence and other resources in the wrong
very little gain at much coast and with great risk, makes those
unavailable where it might be appropriate to employ them, potentially
Qaeda and similar groups more freedom elsewhere. Moreover, to the
the Iraqi military adventure is unproductive on the one hand, and
lives and resources on the other, it may make proper deploying of U.S.
force (as deterrent or intervention) politically impossible, or at
difficult, in the future.
there is no question that the administration has taken some useful
steps since 9/11, and exercised some important leadership in opposing
prejudice against Muslims and Middle Easterners in the U.S., the
Middle Eastern people by U.S. police authorities, the long detentions,
times with out information to families and access to attorneys, plus
described in the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General's
report, particularly under the excessive provisions of the Patriot Act
necessary for enhancing security (as opposed to a few useful provisions
administration originated bill) combined to alienate members of the
communities whose cooperation is most needed in properly combating
the United States.
excesses also contributed to Time Europe's
finding on asking readers, “which country poses the greatest danger to
peace in 2003?” that 88% of the 687,000 who replied, said, "the United States". Thus one of the
over all impacts of the Bush Administration's words and acts has been
it more difficult to gain allies, particularly in combating
terrorism, that can only be effectively checked by concerted
cooperation. Certainly, the growing enmity toward the United States among Middle Eastern and
Muslim publics, combined with the avoidable difficulties experienced by
the U.S. forces in Iraq, along with the security
problems and slowness of restoration of services for the Iraqi people,
more difficult for the U.S. to gain the cooperation of
Middle Eastern governments in antiterrorist measures. Another impact of
decline in regard of the United States by residents of other
nations has been a reduction in foreigners coming to the U.S., which has a negative
effect on the U.S. economy at a time when it
is struggling to recover from a recession.
important in economic terms, is the cost of the unnecessary war in Iraq. As reported above, the
administration has already requested $160 billion (a small portion of
for additional Afghanistan and home security monies,
with more still required in both areas) and at least $20 billion more
required this year, if the U.S. continues to go it
virtually alone. Successful reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan will require several
years, and many billions of dollars, toward which Iraqi oil will only
to pay a portion, if and when it is back in production, when it might
$30-$50 billion a year. Meanwhile, Bush's policies have been
ending the recession. This is in part because his massive tax cuts,
mostly at the wealthy, have not lead to a high percentage of the money
to tax payers being spent or invested in the U.S., as would have
the tax reductions had been appropriately targeted. At the same time,
massive tax cuts have brought about a huge deficit combined with
federal domestic programs and additional unfunded mandates to the
the very moment when the recession is putting most states in a
squeeze. The result is massive cuts in governmental programs, so that
education, which Bush supposedly cares about, the reality is "an every
child left behind program," while lowered governmental spending reduces
jobs and takes money out of the economy, slowing recovery. If federal
continue to grow, for the first time, there will be a danger that the U.S. treasury will have
difficulty selling bonds abroad to finance the government. That would
credit crunch, raising interest rates, and slowing economic
long run effect could be a two pronged weakening of the U.S. capability to project
power. First, the ability of the federal government to spend money for
purpose, including security, would be reduced significantly. Second,
reduction in government services would damage the economy, and further
exacerbate the human problems of poverty, increasing more rapidly as
widening gap between rich and poor is accelerated, further decreasing
security capabilities of the nation.
claims to be a compassionate conservative. But there is, in actuality.
compassion in his actual programs, and he is hardly a conservative, in
practice. Indeed, it is the conservatives who should be the most
alarmed at the
actions of the Bush administration, which is in reality
"destructionist." Certainly, his foreign policy, in practice, has
been destructive of U.S. interests, with an over reliance on the
has not been properly applied; a unilateralism, lack of sensitivity to
views and cultures of leaders and people in other nations, and poor
use of diplomacy, that has alienated much of world opinion, especially
Middle East and in Muslim nations, making it more difficult to develop
international cooperation on terrorism and other issues. Bush's
policy has been more damaging than conserving, often promoting the
interest of major oil corporations, to which he and several other
members of his administration have connections, increasing U.S. reliance on Mid East oil,
by refusing to increase fuel efficiency. The combination of policies
essentially hold the line on domestic programs, with innovations mostly
funds from other projects, and radical fiscal policy which has slowed
from the recession, already caused reductions in public programs
by the states), and threatens to reduce the federal government's
fund all programs. Some persons in and close to the administration
to see the government get out of providing social security, Medicare
programs in general, and thus apparently approve of reducing federal
capacity. The problem is, even in these people's terms, that by working
domestic programs by reducing governmental economic power, they also
defense and internal security capacity. Furthermore, it can be argued
security is founded in the human condition of the citizenry, which
adequate health, education, etc. for all.
said that what has happened is not what the Bush administration
it is the result of the idealism of some of its members. The response
politics, by its nature, is pragmatic, and that while good intentions
laudable, in themselves, in the political realm they are not enough.
needed is a combination of ideals, or vision, that is appropriate to
and needs of the people, to guide competent action founded on explicit
knowledge of real world conditions. Since the United States is a major league power,
the world can not afford it to have a Bush league administation.
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