What Should Be Done in Palestine
Israel Shamir’s Talk at the Ankara Conference
Dear Turkish friends and fellow guests from abroad,
I am glad to speak again to you, the people of our
great neighbour and former sovereign Turkey. Your latest developments
inspire optimism. You are doing fine! Turkey is growing stronger and
more independent; your leaders’ obsession with joining the European
Union has been exorcised. You have restored the power of the parliament,
bridled military excesses, streamlined your economy and improved
relations with Syria and Iran. Turkey is no longer an American colony.
You stopped joint air force exercises with Israel and the US. You
expressed your clear anger over the horrors of Gaza. Now you pay more
attention to the area where you live; you play an important role already
and are destined to play an even greater role. So much depends on you!
We feel it every day in Palestine.
I will not waste your time describing the horrors of
Zionist rule in Palestine. You already know them, you’ve seen them on TV
– dreadful pictures of burned schools and napalmed children, of the Gaza
blockade, of check points, of night arrests. It is now exactly one year
since the Jewish onslaught on Gaza, last year's Christmas war which
Israel began while the world was holidaying. Your president, Mr Gul,
said a few days ago to our president, Mr Peres, that he will not visit
Israel while the siege of Gaza continues, and that was a very good
decision. Indeed, it is urgent to lift the Gaza siege, because no
building materials are being allowed to enter Gaza for the repair of
homes. Instead, the Israeli siege is being tightened with active help of
Egypt. However beyond Gaza problem we must look for a bigger picture.
We are being told that the Gaza problem is that of
Hamas intransigence, that it is Gaza’s own fault. If only Gaza wouldn’t
embrace radical Islam, Israel would accommodate Gaza’s needs. Let us
have a look outside of Gaza, at the West Bank’s jewel, el Bireh, the
twin city of Ramallah, the seat of Israel-approved ruler Mahmud Abbas.
This is a most prosperous city of wonderful villas with a lot of
greenery and purring Mercedes cars, and a beautiful view. El Bireh
decided to build a football stadium; they asked for money and they
received funds from France, Germany and the World Football Association,
FIFA. The football stadium was built within the city of el Bireh's
limits. Immediately, the
Israeli court ruled: the stadium must be
destroyed, because it is within the eyesight of a Jew.
Do you understand this? Mahmud Abbas is the most
compliant Palestinian leader now or ever; he is doing everything that
Israel asks. His police kindly retreat when Israeli security jeeps drive
into his cities to arrest whomever they wish. He arrests every activist
who speaks against Israeli excesses. He even fired the most senior
Palestinian diplomat, Dr. Afif Safieh, the former ambassador to
Washington, London, Vatican and Moscow because he spoke out against the
Israeli war on Gaza. Every Islamist, every supporter of Islam in the
West Bank is (or was) in Abbas’ jail. Abbas is an implacable enemy of
radical Islam. You can’t be more conciliatory towards Israel than Mahmud
Abbas. And still, he can’t even build a stadium for kids to kick ball in
his own city, because the Jews will not allow it.
So, although Gaza is in a dreadful situation, the
problem is not only Gaza. Islam or not Islam is not even a question we
should be pondering. It makes no difference. Islamists are in Abbas’
jail, yet Abbas can’t even build a stadium. Stadium, not medreseh. Fatah
member Marwan Barghuti and leftist PFLP leader Ahmed Sadat are in
Israeli jails together with Hamas MPs.
The problem is the Jewish state. Not only does it
besiege Gaza and destroy a football stadium in el Bireh. These are local
problems, painful but local. The Jewish state focuses Jewish power all
over the world into action. Without a Jewish state, this power would
disperse; it would remain local, it would remain chaotic, probably it
would be subdued by the forces of assimilation. Israel focuses these
chaotic forces and concentrates them into action.
This action is against Islam. Not only against Islam,
but Dar ul Islam (the Islamic world) is a prime target. In the US, the
Jewish Neocons led their country into a crusade against Iraq and
Afghanistan; now they are spearheading the push against Iran. They have
formed a powerful front against President Obama and have turned him into
a laughing stock after he uttered a few words of wisdom about Palestine.
In Europe, if you inspect the coffers of anti-Muslim neo-Nazi groups,
you'll find that they thrive on Jewish support. In Russia, Jewish
nationalists and Zionists try to rally the Russians against their Muslim
brethren. Sometimes they do it under cover of the Russian Church, or of
Russian nationalism. I wrote about this recently, as I had discovered
that the most fervently anti-Muslim forces in Russia are organised by
Even if a Palestinian state were to be established
and recognised, it wouldn’t stop Israeli attempts to undermine its
neighbours, to bomb Iran, to sow the seeds of discord from Russia to
France, from Turkey to India. Israel's too powerful intelligence
services would keep meddling. Neither would it neutralise the armed
forces of Israel, and you know as well as anybody that the generals do
not give up their toys, their privileges or their influence easily. The
Israeli military machine is so powerful that it would seek to exercise
its might. Remember the Israel-Egypt peace treaty: when it was
concluded, the first thing Israel did was invade Lebanon.
The bad influence of Zionism on Jews all over the
world would not vanish in case of a “two states’ solution. In 1920,
Winston Churchill published an article (Illustrated Sunday Herald,
February 8, 1920, pg
5) titled: «Zionism or Bolshevism». (http://www.library.flawlesslogic.com/ish.htm
). There he noted that many Jews tend to embrace the cause of social
equality (for him it was “impossible equality”), and the best way to
stop by far too dynamic and powerful Jews from promoting equality is to
infect them with Zionism. His project was supported by the might of the
British Empire and by money of wealthy anti-equality Jews. Zionism won.
Equality was defeated. If we defeat Zionism, equality will have another
chance. And a two states’ solution will not defeat Zionism.
In short, even if Mahmud Abbas’s dream of limited
independence were to be realised, it wouldn’t be good enough for the
region, and it wouldn’t be good enough for the world: Israel in its form
of Jewish-supremacist state can’t become a peaceful neighbour.
Supremacism leads to wars. Only a democratic state,
the successor of Israel and the PNA, would be able to live in peace.
Compare it to South Africa: as long as it was a white-supremacist state,
it was the source of warfare and trouble all over Africa. After its
supremacism was exorcized, it became peaceful. In the same vein,
independent Palestine would be just another Bantustan of the type
rightly rejected by South Africans.
But I do not think that even this very limited cause
of limited independence for Palestine is likely to be achieved. We have
been told – for sixteen years! – that there is a peace process that will
lead to a “two states solution”. This is a fairy tale. If the Jews will
not allow even the most loyal and obedient of el Bireh’s kids to play
football, do you think they will allow them to have an independent
state? Why would they?
The Jews write frequently of how they envisage
Palestinian independence. (I refer here to the most enlightened
left-wing Jewish politicians!) They speak of a Palestine broken into a
few enclaves surrounded by a wall and barbed wire, its airspace and all
of its borders controlled by Israel; its water to remain under Jewish
control. And this is the best they can dream of.
If you want to have Two States, it can happen only if
the Jews plead for it like they did in 1947. They did so then, and they
will do so again only if they feel that the alternative, a single
democratic state for all inhabitants of Palestine, is on the table. This
is what they are afraid of: full democracy, full equality in the whole
of the land. So even for practical reasons, we should call, not for
independence of some partitioned bits and pieces, but for the whole lot:
Let Palestine be united, let all of its inhabitants have equal rights,
and afterwards they can discuss two states for ever and ever. The first
thing is equality, the rest can wait.
Speaking frankly, this mythic Two State Solution
can’t even be envisaged. Jews and Palestinians live all over Palestine,
and they can’t be physically separated without a huge turmoil that would
remind us of 1921 in Turkey and Greece, with Turks leaving Salonika and
Greeks leaving Smyrna. This is not something one would like to see
The West gave Nansen his Nobel Peace prize for the
transfer of Greeks and Turks. In my view, this was a terrible calamity,
never to be repeated. Partitions are awful; it is like sawing a living
man into two parts. Nor is it necessary. Greeks and Turks could live
together as they did for four hundred years; separation did nothing good
for them. Separation of Israelis and Palestinians would be equally evil.
Now, Zionists often remind Turks of your so-called
“Kurd problem”. This comparison is wrong, because every Kurd in Turkey
has Turkish citizenship and has all the rights every Turkish citizen
has; while Palestinians usually have no citizenship of the state of
Israel and enjoy no rights. But in one sense this comparison is right:
it is impossible to separate Kurds from Turkey, because people of
Kurdish descent live everywhere from Diyarbakir to Istanbul. Likewise,
it is impossible to separate Palestinians from the immigrant populations
which are called “Jews”.
Indeed, the whole story of Palestine is a story of
immigrants taking over a country. Such things happen: immigrants from
Britain took over North America and Australia. This is a sad thing, but
it happened. Now it is not realistic to hope that they will sail back to
England – they won’t. It is wrong to try and create an “independent
state” for the native Americans – such independent states are called
“reservations”. The right answer is equality for native and immigrant
alike. Some Jews would complain that they want a state of their own. We
shall answer them: you have built on sand, and a house built on sand
can’t stand forever. If you want a state of your own without anybody
else, find yourself a lonely uninhabited island. Palestine was, and
is, populated; the best you can wish is to be equal citizens in
Palestine with everybody else.
I spoke about this solution in the year 2001, when
our country was torn by intifada al Aksa. It was right then, and it is
right now. At that time I said: there is no other solution but a
one-state solution. People, and even good people, activists, friends of
Palestine said: no, we are very close to the two states’ solution. I did
not believe it then, I do not believe it now. There is only one good way
out, and that is the way of equality and democracy, of deconstructing
the Jewish state by forcing it to give full rights to all Palestinians
under its rule.
So this is the goal we should strive for: full
equality and integration of Palestine and Israel, South African style.
This does not mean that there is nothing to be done
until that moment. Turkey can do a lot even now, even today, beyond
expressions of solidarity. The Jewish state is a horrible example of
injustice gone unpunished. For instance, an Israeli officer Captain R
murdered a 13-year old girl, Iman al Hams.
He shot her within eyesight of his soldiers and said that even a
three-year-old Palestinian should be killed if she comes close to Jewish
positions. The Jewish court absolved Captain R of all guilt; the Israeli
Army promoted him to major and another court awarded him damages for the
mere discussion of his crime. Last week, yet another Jewish judge
gave another huge compensation to the same
Turkey, as the former ruler of Palestine, could fill
in the void of justice by bringing this Captain R to trial. Sooner or
later he will leave the sanctuary of the Jewish state and travel
somewhere for a holiday. A Turkish warrant for his arrest should await
him wherever he goes. And not only him, but the Jewish ‘judges’ who
covered up his crime and became accessories after the murder should be
tried too. This is not a job for amateurs, but for a state with all its
tools. If present Turkish law does not allow for this, let the law be
updated by taking a leaf from the Israeli book. According to Israeli
law, if a Turk does wrong to a Jew in Turkey, he may be snatched,
arrested, tried and punished in Israel. Turkey should introduce a
symmetrical law, covering offences against Palestinians who otherwise
are not protected by law.
Turkey could also take the initiative to stop the
still looming Israeli-American aggression against Iran. If they do take
Iran, Turkey will be encircled and cut off. The fate of Palestine also
depends on the fate of Tehran.
My New Year's wish to you: be yourself, be Turks, and
live in harmony and friendship with your neighbours, with Russia, Iran,
Syria, Greece and with all the successor states of the Ottoman Empire.
You are needed for the world and for Palestine.