Pulse Media


News from Palestine

Amira Hass

The concept of "amnesty" that is being used to describe the agreement to stop chasing wanted men demonstrates to what extent Israel is entrenched in its position of domination. According to the law, the president is allowed to pardon "criminals." According to the law, a "criminal" is someone who was tried and convicted. It's true that the late president Chaim Herzog pardoned leading members of the Shin Bet security service before they were tried for the murder of the hijackers of bus no. 300, after the majority opinion in the High Court of Justice ruled that the president of Israel has the same power to pardon as the king of England and the president of the United States. But here it is a "pardon" of the Shin Bet and the army in the field. The ease with which the concept "pardon" was accepted in the media is additional proof of the sweeping approval that Israelis grant the Israel Defense Forces and its soldiers to act as prosecutor, judge and executioner. Is it any wonder that they are given the power of a king of England, to pardon before a trial?


And now the news in brief

This week, the BBC journalist Alan Johnston was rescued from his captors by Hamas. A palestinian bystander with no name was killed in the shoot-out between Hamas and Army of Islam 'gunmen'.


Critical mind

Alternative Online

With the above examples in mind, readers should take bloggers, especially the self-righteous ones like this Angry Arab Abou Khalil, with a grain of salt.

Even better, Abou Khalil is a frequent commentator on Al-Jazeera. He talks with authority, of course being a professor in the US who knows it all from inside the crooked empire.

Readers and viewers of TVs like Al-Jazeera, or even readers of the March 8 dandy writer New Yorker’s Seymour Hirsh should always examine the sources of these media outlets’ speakers and writers and the validity of their arguments. After all, not everyone who depicts himself as “I know it all” or “I am the most patriotic Arab” or for that matter “the most Angry Arab” are credible enough or can sustain their arguments, better known as their ongoing populist propaganda.

Of course, one should always take everything one reads or hears with a 'grain of salt', whether it's in the mainstream media or in the alternative media or on a blog. The BBC, Aljazeera, CNN, Fox etc. may have access to Reuters and information faster than the speed of sound, but that does not make their information necessarily surer than a blog. It all depends on the blog.Readers should use common sense, general knowledge and always double, maybe even triple check. On the other hand, mainstream media can also be the scapegoat for the upholders of officialdom, as has been the case for the BBC and Aljazeera. Again, we should remain wary of what comes out of the mouths of propaganda men and women, be they governmental or non-governmental. Is the BBC a leftwing liberal media? I doubt it! Is Aljazeera a fundamentalist recruitment center? I doubt it too!


Binational state

I remain convinced, that binationalism is the only long-term solution for peace and democracy in Israel-Palestine. Some may say, while supporting the idea, that right now, the only way forward is a two-state solution, but as we can see in the link below and in recent news, there is no true support even for a viable and just soverigh palestinian state coming from Israel or the West. On the palestinian side there is corruption and frustration at the ongoing occupation and this inevitably leads to anger and violence. Hamas, whatever we may think of their methods and/or religious beliefs, represent this anger. In any case, Hamas came to power in a democratic election which has never been fully recognised and now has been downright trodden on.
So, it is easy for us, far from the scene, to call for patience. Yet, I continue to believe violence will lead nowhere. There must therefore be a radical solution. As far as I can see, the only radical solution is a binational state.

Leila Farsakh

There have been a number of recent publications proposing a one-state solution as the only alternative to the current impasse. Three years ago Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor in the 1970s, wrote that the question is “no longer whether there is to be a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel, but which model to choose” (2). Respected intellectuals on all sides, including the late Edward Said; the Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara; the Israeli historian Illan Pape; scholars Tanya Reinhart and Virginia Tilley; and journalists Amira Haas and Ali Abunimeh, have all stressed the inevitability of such a solution.

The idea of a single, bi-national state is not new. Its appeal lies in its attempt to provide an equitable and inclusive solution to the struggle of two peoples for the same piece of land. It was first suggested in the 1920s by Zionist leftwing intellectuals led by philosopher Martin Buber, Judah Magnes (the first rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Haïm Kalvarisky (a member of Brit-Shalom and later of the National Union). The group followed in the footsteps of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Hirsch Ginsberg, one of the great pre-state Zionist thinkers).


The failure of the one-state option has often been attributed to the idealism of its cause and its failure to come to terms with local realities. Nevertheless, as Magnes pointed out, the option offered significant advantages in demographic and territorial terms in 1947 to the Jewish cause (4).

In fact, the idea failed because the political actors of the time rejected it: the Zionist organisations were not interested, the British were unsupportive and the Arabs too suspicious. Between 1948 and 1993 the only significant change in these positions came from the Arabs, who finally came to terms with the existence of Israel.

A year on

What has changed? Lebanon teetering on the edge of democracy, the Palestinians still under siege and now forced into a civil war.
As Amira Hass wrote back then, there is absolutely no symetry, so to talk of efforts to be made on both sides for peace is dishonest at best.


It comes as no surprise that this war has not yet been finished in one fell swoop. For six years, the Israeli army has accustomed its soldier to regard their assaults in the occupied territories as "fighting" and "battles." They fostered the myth that there was symmetry between the advanced regular Israeli army and groups of Palestinians armed with light weapons and homespun bombs, scurrying among the tanks and helicopters that are demolishing their houses and fields. Indeed, on a few occasions, the Palestinians succeeded in guerrilla operations that killed or wounded the troops. But these were the exception. The suicide attacks inside Israel attest to the "military" weakness of the Palestinian organizations.

Breaking the silence for peace

The only way to break this silence is to speak out for people whose voices are stifled by their own governments. If we choose not to keep silent about the way we feel about how others are treated in their own countries, we make their leaders accountable for this treatment.

In the occupied territories, the extremist movement is signified by the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes, killing of innocent children, illegal detainment of suspected criminals, the confiscation of land and the Apartheid Wall which still exists, even in spite of being deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.

Not keeping silent means seeking the truth through credible sources. There are a plethora of Israeli and non-Israeli Jewish authors that systematically demonstrate the political machinations at work that uproot the lives of the Palestinians. Norman Finkelstein, Illan Pappe, Jeff Halper, and Amira Hass are just a few.

Not keeping silent means creating an open dialogue between our community and those that represent us, forcing them to demonstrate their position. Letters should be written to our representatives, and their responses should be broadcasted out into our community.

Not keeping silent means creating an open discussion about and with those institutions that openly support the expanding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. There are many Christian Zionist churches that openly advocate Israel as the promise land of the Jews, and suggest that the Palestinians should be excluded.

Not keeping silent means joining your voice with voices already at work. It means lending your emotional support. It means investing time. It means demanding that American tax dollars finance justice. And it means instilling these attitudes in our youth.

It also means creating a dialogue between ourselves and the Israelis and the Palestinians to discuss issues that undermine peace and security for all parties. It means teaching Palestinian children the attitudes and actions they need to take to cultivate peace.

Only a thundering roar of collective voices can awaken the world to the harsh realities that exist.


The most depressing joke ever

Gilad Atzmon