Saturday March 23, 2019
Jan-07-2014 12:31TweetFollow @OregonNews
UN Has Failed to Bring Israel to Justice for 65 YearsKourosh Ziabari Salem-News.com
It is today a bit of a stretch to point to what should be done with the reality that the seizure of virtually all of the Palestinian land has made so impossible.
(TEHRAN FNA) - We are used to hearing every day that a Palestinian citizen is killed by the Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, or that Israel has begun constructing new settlements on the lands it has stolen from the Palestinians. Although the illegal actions of Israel against the people of Palestine and its continued occupation of the Palestinian lands predates some 60 years back, the future of Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs precise and in-depth investigation and study.
Prominent American academician Prof. William Cook believes that since Israel was created in 1948, the United Nations and the international organizations have failed to bring it to justice and hold it accountable for its criminal actions and policies. According to Prof. William A. Cook, the Israeli regime’s treatment of the Palestinian people is unjustifiable, indefensible and discriminatory.
“America’s poor suffer the consequences in Philadelphia where schools have no money to care for the deprived Americans, and that is but an example of what happens when we dedicate the tax payers’ money to slaughter and mayhem in a land we claim must defend itself when we can’t even identify the boundaries of that state because it refuses to identify its borders as they are continually growing as they inflict further genocide on the people of Palestine,” said Prof. Cook in an extensive interview with the Fars News Agency. William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne. William A. Cook completed his Ph.D. at Lehigh University where he also got his Master’s degree. He has been the university’s Vice President for Academic Affairs for 13 years. Prof. Cook has extensively written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and defended the confiscated rights of the Palestinian people. His writings have appeared on such news websites and magazines as Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy Journal, Palestine Chronicle, Counterpunch and Al-Manar. He is the author of such books as “The Rape of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied,” “Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy” and “The Chronicles of Nefaria”. What follows is the full text of FNA’s interview with Prof. Cook about the roots and origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s non-compliance with the international law in respecting the basic rights of the Palestinian citizens and the genocidal policies of Israel in the Occupied Territories.
Q: There are still ambiguities and serious questions on the foundations of the establishment of the state of Israel. There was a plan in the early 1900s called the Uganda Scheme presented by the British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain to the Zionist Theodor Herzl. Based on this proposal, a Jewish state for the stateless Jews would be created in what is today the country of Kenya. The World Zionist Organization, despite the willingness of some of its neighbors, turned down the offer. It was decided a few days later that the Jewish state should be established on the Palestinian territories. So, it’s quite obvious that from the outset, the Zionists didn’t have a cohesive and firm plan for locating the place of establishing a new state. The Jewish Territorialist Organization also believed that the Jewish state could be found anywhere in the world, and not necessarily in Palestine. What happened that finally led to the creation of an Israeli state on the Palestinian lands? Do you consider this newly-created state legitimate and sustainable?
A: The establishment of the state of Israel is mired in a pit of intentional deception to create a false sense of legitimacy to justify before the world community its right to exist. From my research in the Rhodes House archives I have a description by the British Commissioner Harold MacMichael of the attempt in 1919 to establish a joint governing process in the larger Arab area that is now Palestine between Jews and Arabs directed toward the formulation of a scheme under which the Jews and the Arabs can live together in the Near East to their common good and mutual development…Within this group, no difference of opinion as to the basic importance to the development of a Jewish national home of co-operation with the Arabs is discernible. The aim of all is the establishment of a form of society in Palestine which will allow of the development on reasonable lines of a national home as a permanency.”
MacMichael goes into considerable detail as to the process by which this unification could be established. However, it is not necessary to go into such detail since the outcome of its intent, as we know, never materialized. But I will quote the preamble of the plan to demonstrate that there were Jews and Arabs that believed cooperation was possible and desirable.
His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizman, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations, is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following Articles… (Feisal-Weizman Agreement, Catling files, “Jewish Approaches to the Question of Jewish-Arab Co-operation during the period 1919-1941).
MacMichael makes the point in his report that this effort could afford “the fullest guarantee for the carrying into effect of the Balfour Declaration with assurance of Jewish immigration, “without prejudice to the rights of the Arab cultivators”, and complete freedom of worship.
In 1952, Dr. Weizman died and these words from his obituary in the New York Times confirms the above and points to the answer you seek in this first question.
At the age of 27 Dr. Weizmann had dared to criticize Herzl as “too visionary,” and in 1900, at the Fourth Zionist Convention, he emerged as the leader of the Democratic Zionist faction.
This group opposed both the political Zionists, who wanted political guarantees for the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine, and the practical Zionists, who wanted to settle Jewish colonies in the Holy Land without regard to political guarantees. Dr. Weizmann helped reconcile their differences. In 1906 he met Balfour, who was on an electoral campaign, and convinced him that Palestine rather than Uganda, British East Africa, which had been offered by the British, was the proper homeland for the Jews. His efforts led to his appointment as chairman of the first Zionist Commission, established in March, 1918, and recognized by the British as an official advisory body on all Jewish questions. He appeared before the Paris Peace Conference in support of his cause.
Dr. Weizmann visited the Arab Prince Feisal in his camp near Amman around this time and convinced him that the proposed Jewish national home held no existing threat to the Arabs and that Jewish-Arab cooperation was desirable. He won Arab support to help carry out the Balfour Declaration, and reached an agreement with Feisal for large-scale Jewish immigration into Palestine and the protection of Arab rights (NY Times Obituary, 1952).
You ask “What happened that finally led to the creation of the Israeli state on the Palestinian lands?” The answer can be found in the Red House described by Ilan Pappe in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and in the Introduction to The Plight of the Palestinians that describes in detail the Mandate Government’s perspective, with evidence collected of their perspective from documents seized by the Mandate police and gathered together in Sir Richard C. Catling’s files in the Rhodes House Archives. Let me quote some passages from my Introduction:
Perhaps the most insidious of the strategies employed by the Zionist Consultancy and its agents comes via encroachment on the civil rights of Palestinian and Jewish citizens.
That encroachment comes stealthily out of the dark recesses of a spider’s hole, the Red House, where the Zionist eleven of the Consultancy held its clandestine meetings, where the strategies that were to guide the affairs of the nascent Jewish “state” were hatched. Parallel this image then, between the years 1930 and 1948, with the situation in the United States since World War II, as Jewish forces asserted their control from lobbies in Washington D. C. that began to encase America’s governing organizations in a web of interlocking deceptions that effectively took control of America’s policies in the Mid-East.
The eggs hatched behind the closed doors of the Red House emerged as executives of the various organizations established to provide for the welfare of the ever-increasing Jewish community in Palestine. Initially, Chaim Weizman and David Ben-Gurion, worked with the Mandate forces by forming the Jewish Agency, the former serving as president and the latter as chairman, to serve the needs of this new community as it entered Palestine, legally providing personnel that could speak the languages of the various Jews arriving, arranging jobs for them, and orienting them to their new homeland. Clandestinely, the agency served the purposes of Zionist ideology through the Consultancy, where Ben-Gurion also served as chief executive…
The Zionists who took control of the Jewish immigrants entering Palestine had predetermined goals: the establishment of a Jewish State and the expulsion of the existing population in the land of Palestine by whatever means necessary. The reality of these goals is undeniable following the research disclosures of Benny Morris and IlanPappe, corroborated now by Catling’s file that adds the understanding of the British Mandate Forces to the conditions they faced during the decade that ended with the establishment of the Jewish State. To effectively force their goals on their constituents, the Zionist Consultancy enlisted the beliefs of the Jewish people by injecting into their political intentions the sacred biblical iterations of the “Promised Land,” the Zion of the Psalms, for example, “By the streams of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion” (137:1). Although the Zionists were, for the most part, secular in thinking, they used the Jewish yearning for the Promised Land as a goad for acceptance of their leadership (Cook’s Introduction, The Plight of the Palestinians).
The second part of your question, “Do you consider this newly-created state legitimate and sustainable?,” requires a more nuanced answer. Once the British determined that they could not control the Zionist forces aligned against them in what the Zionist leaders of the Jewish Agency called an all-out war against the British control of immigration, the matter was turned over to the UN in 1947. This resulted in the Partition Plan and Resolution 181.
While this was only a Resolution passed by the UN General Assembly and not the policy body of the UNSC, the creation of the division on one level never happened. On another more practical level, when Truman recognized the Israeli state followed by Russia, it did. The Israeli Agency used this “creation” to push Truman to recognize their state. To that extent, the 181 resolution created two states. It did not authorize the Jewish state to confiscate the land provided for in the resolution for the indigenous people, the Palestinians. Yet even before the Mandate forces left Palestine on May 15, 1948, and indeed before the Jewish Agency appealed to Truman with a letter silent on their illegal destruction of Arab towns and villages, most especially Deir Yassin in April, they had begun the Nakba and the on-going theft of Palestinian land that continues to this day.
The consequences of this on-going theft have altered the reality “on the ground” for both the Jews and the Palestinians. Both in number are approximate, especially if the “return” of the original Palestinians from their refugee status were to be included. Given the Bantustans that have been created to contain the Palestinians, the creation of a viable Palestinian State with its “secure” borders is not possible; add to that the impossibility of collectively removing all the “settlers” or in fact the “squatters” from their illegal settlements, and the reality the Zionists have created is a one state solution. But this is not tenable to the State of Israel, so what happens? Their answer is unending wars and the maintenance of overpowering force to contain the disgruntled Palestinians, to keep them divided and to deal with only a faction that can and willingly accepts its role as negotiator when it has no such authority and does not represent all the people.
Divide and conquer has been the method right along as the invasions into Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and the continuing threat of invasion of Iran demonstrate. The impunity they enjoy from the US comes from their control of the US Congress. The occupation and the wall that hides the reality on the ground from both the outside world and the Jews themselves is tolerable; they do not see nor want to see what they have done to others.
Is this sustainable? For the Zionist purpose, Yes; for the US Congress, Yes, at the moment but there are signs of dissent; for the American people, No, but only to avoid war with Iran not to further the cause of the Palestinians; yet, that may come in time; for the world communities, No, and I hope and trust that they will force this issue to the UN and the International Court of Justice as it must go there to force resolution. Can you imagine the Zionist government closing down the “settlements” in the West Bank and Jerusalem? Does legitimacy mean ultimately absolute control and justice submission to it? Is that 21st century civilized behavior? The answer to your question, is it legitimate? To respond to this Kourosh, I revert to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dr. Grim as he answered young Ned’s question ‘Where did I come from’:
“Only one thing I am well aware of, --it was not to be happy. To toil and moil and hope and fear; and to love in a shadowy, doubtful sort of way, and to hate in bitter earnest, -- that is what we came for. Whence did you come? Whence did any of us come? Out of darkness and mystery; out of nothingness; out of dust, clay, mud, I think, and to return to it again. Out of a former state of being, whence we have brought a good many shadowy revelations purporting that it was not a very pleasant one. Out of a former life, of which the present one is hell!”
Sorry, Kourosh, revisiting this period is difficult for me. Ultimately, the answer to your question rests with the UN and most especially the people of Israel and the people of Palestine. What happened to the 1919 agreement but the willful demands of a few Zionists that would tolerate only what they demanded. Until that mindset changes there will be nothing but occupation and oppression. The simple answer to your question is “yes,” the continued occupation is in defiance of the UN resolutions and of international law. This is not a question the Zionists have to ask; they have impunity because the US Congress controls the US vote on the UNSC. There is no way to address your question except by logic and morality. Let me begin with logic and revert to a non-word in the vocabulary of Zionism and “Neo-conism” as determined during the Bush administration, morality.
Hamas has been condemned by the Bush and Sharon administrations for using bombs strapped around the body as terrorism against innocent civilians. Yet these same men find the use of “flechette” bullets that scatter pellets of death into multiple civilians legitimate weapons to use against Palestinians. They find no problems using missiles fired into crowded city streets or the use of cluster bombs in Iraq as legitimate weapons of war. Both accept as legitimate weapons for use in civilian areas high altitude bombing whether from F-16s or Apache helicopters. Yet such use anticipates civilian deaths and is, therefore, deliberate slaughter and cannot even be placed in the category of “collateral damage.” The day Sharon left Washington, having conferred his blessings on Bush, Israeli tanks again fired into a crowded Gaza neighborhood in Rafah and killed six civilians including children. This is terrorism.
Why is it that these two men can act like terrorists and not be condemned for it? Because a definition has been designed that excludes them as heads of state and terrorism cannot be applied to states. Therein lays the power of words. But the world has not been fooled. Consider the UN resolutions condemning Israel for such acts: 252 (1968) calling on Israel to rescind measures that change the legal status of Jerusalem, including the expropriation of land and properties; 446 (1979) calling upon Israel to abide by the Geneva Convention regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers, especially “not to transport parts of its civilian population into occupied Arab territories”; 465 (1980) calling on Israel to cease construction of settlements in Arab territories; 471 (1981) calling on Israel to prosecute those involved in assassination attempts of West Bank leaders; 799 (1992) calling upon Israel “to reaffirm the Fourth Geneva Convention in all occupied territories since 1967, including Jerusalem, and affirms that deportation of civilians constitutes a contravention of its obligations under the convention”; 1405 (2002) calling on Israel to allow UN inspectors to “investigate civilian deaths during an Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp; 1435 (2002) calling on Israel to withdraw to positions of September 2000 and end its military activities in and around Ramallah, including the destruction of security and civilian infrastructure; and these are only a few. These words were written in 2003 before the condemnation by the UNGA of Israel when it considered the Goldstone Report or the condemnation of Israel when it invaded Lebanon.
These resolutions describe terrorist activities, activities supported by the Bush administration including vetoing such resolutions. Given the severity of the actions challenged by the UN, one would think Bush would rush to the UN demanding that Israel be brought before it for defying its resolutions, something he used as a “gimmick” to take his “war” to Iraq. But deception and hypocrisy are the modus operandi of this administration, not openness, honesty, and reason.
Without morality there is no justice, without justice there is no peace, without peace there is nothing to meld people together, nothing to give love and compasscompassion a chance, nothing to dissemble the absoluteness of words that give license to slaughter those who will not obey, nothing to make absurd beliefs in “chosenness” for some to be served by others (donkeys), historical rights to others lands, “democracy” for some, “security” for one by denying it to others, “friendship” while spying on friends, “right to defend our people” while destroying the innocent that have no defense—such is the amorality that rules when International Law is ignored, yea, mocked and ridiculed.
Q: Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions IV stipulates that “it is illegal to colonize occupied land or transfer non-indigenous population to that land.” This illegal conduct is exactly what Israel has been doing for some 6 decades. Israel’s settlement constructions on the Palestinian lands and the Occupied Territories starkly run counter to this internationally-recognized law. Who is responsible for holding Israel accountable while it continues to violate the law and build illegal homes on the lands it has seized from the Palestinians?
A: You ask, who is responsible for holding Israel accountable while it continues to violate the law? We know this: Israel will not hold itself accountable; it has the “right to defend itself.” That in their mind is unquestioned truth, absolute justice in the international community, and trumps every other right or assumed right. Since they abide by no other courts of law, UN or otherwise, they write and impose their law on everyone, everywhere. And we might note that they offer no such logic to their neighbors or they go to war to “defend their right’ as happened when they invaded Lebanon in 2006. A note of irony here: Israel argued it had a right to attack Lebanon because two of their soldiers were kidnapped by terrorists; how ironic that the Jewish terrorists in July 31, 1947, fighting the British Mandate authority kidnapped two British officers, hung them, and booby trapped their bodies. Needless to say Israel does not call this terrorism.
We also know this: the United States has become incrementally their “godfather,” protector of the Israeli State by agreements wrought by coercion on the American peoples’ representatives. Yet the US proclaims that any “arrangement” or agreement between the Israelis and the Jews must be done by these two peoples with US oversight as broker. That justice would suggest that these are not equal partners attempting to reach agreement but rather a thief that has commandeered the land of the other and offers to accept some accommodation of land swap that continues in existence what the Zionists have confiscated without reparation or return to internationally agreed upon borders realized in 1967, receives no negative comment in the American press or rebuttal in the international community.
If then we remove Israel and the United States as potential problem solvers to this dilemma, we must turn to the originators of the problem, the United Nations. Yet for 65 years that organization has not been able to bring Israel to justice in the international courts. Why? The US veto is not a satisfactory answer. If, as is the case, virtually two thirds of the member states have consistently found Israel in violation of their resolutions, then it is incumbent on the membership to act. Since they cannot change the role given to the US as a permanent member of the Security Council, they must go around that fact.
They could vote to remove Israel’s membership in the body that they have defied for 65 years. One would assume time has expired to allow Israel to act in accordance with the laws of the international organization. This would not prevent Israel from acting as it does, but it would notify the people of the world that this is a rogue state bent on destroying international order and agreement of rights to all peoples, including through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right of Palestinians to have a country, the most fundamental right of all. This isolation would make it increasingly difficult for Israel to ignore their neighbors, all 194 of them. Perhaps a world-wide vote on this might be executed by the UN. Let the people of the world determine if Israel is a true participant in the matters of world affairs; let the UN determine that it is a united body that treats all its members equally.
Consider the injustice that could be righted by this action. After Israel invaded Lebanon, it was the UN that had to foot the bill of reconstruction for that illegal invasion. Why? After the invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, it was the UN communities that had to come to the aid of the distraught Palestinian people. Why? After the attacks without provocation of member states development projects, Israel bombs what they determine are for them potential threats, not based on any proven matter, just Israel’s speculation. No reparation, no accountability, not before the law nor the resolutions of the UN. Why? Why does the world community sit idly by and let the US and Israel act with impunity? Who is responsible? We are, all of us in every nation on the planet.
Q: One of the problems the Palestinian people have been facing since the beginning of the occupation in 1948 is the restrictions imposed against their freedom of movement. There are hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks that forbid the Palestinians to freely travel across the Occupied Territories, West Bank and Gaza Strip. These restrictions are in contravention of the article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What do you think about Israel’s depriving the Palestinians of this fundamental right?
A: What do I think about Israel’s depriving the Palestinians of this fundamental right, freedom of movement? Perhaps the better question is “How can the world communities allow such a state of affairs to exist? Or How can the elected officials and the appointed officials of a state that oppresses the people in its occupied territories be allowed to travel among free nations that obey international law?” Consider the vocal comments of Israel’s leaders and the openness of its press that receives no condemnation from the free world: “Dov Weisglass, revealed to Haaretz that the “ulterior motive behind Sharon’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the Gaza strip” was not to further the peace process but to “freeze it” in order to prevent “the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Where did you read about this in America’s main stream media? In another news article last month, Haaretz editorialized that Israel is responsible for the terror that exists in Palestine! That confession also went unnoticed in the US. The sin of intentional omission more often than not creates the perceptions we hold on issues of great significance. The elite powers that control the message control what we think is true”.
This is the Haaretz commentary: “The underlying basis of (this) terrorism lies in the territories. Nowhere else. The main motivation for the war against us is the aspiration to shake off the cruel yoke of the occupation. The checkpoints, the humiliations, the suppression and the mass imprisonment are the true infrastructure of terrorism.”
Note the power of that admission: “the true infrastructure of terrorism” is the Israeli occupation and treatment of the Palestinians. Let’s remember that Yossi Beilin, an Israeli architect of the Oslo Accords, and former Palestinian minister Tasser Abed Rabbo, worked for two and a half years to create the Geneva Accords, to right the wrongs of the original proposals. These accords “… stipulates the immediate recognition of a Palestinian state by the state of Israel. It addresses forthrightly the issue of refugee right of return and compensation for their suffering and loss of homes in accordance with UN Resolutions 194 of 1948 and the principles of International Law. And it notes that the relations between Israel and Palestine shall be based upon the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. Furthermore, it makes the borders that compose the state of Palestine those of June 1967 in accordance with Resolutions 242 and 338”.
Kourosh, I’ve written many articles about the deprivation imposed on the Palestinians by the occupiers; when I visited Palestine some years back, I went to the home of a family whose house and shed were completely surrounded by the wall, on all four sides. Their children had to go through gates to get to school, at the pleasure of the IDF. What is not visible when one walks through the streets of the small towns is the inner corrosion of those imprisoned not by walls but by the reality of the humans who do this. I have reason to feel the way Dr. Grim sees the world.
Q: In some of your articles, you’ve described Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people “a slow-motion genocide” and a representation of ethnic cleansing. The United States and its European allies defend what they call “Israel’s right to self-defense”, arguing that Israel launches attacks on the Palestinian Territories in retaliation to the rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip on the Israeli cities. It doesn’t matter to them that they are the defenseless Palestinian citizens who are being killed by the Israel Defense Forces on a daily basis. What’s your viewpoint? Is there any way to justify Israel’s conduct?
A: I have no way to justify Israel’s conduct in its treatment of the Palestinian people. I do not know how to justify in my own mind such treatment. Indeed, it was that treatment by Sharon and his obsequious lap dog, George W. Bush that drove me to write against this combined terror inflicted in my name by my government. America’s poor suffer the consequences in Philadelphia where schools have no money to care for the deprived Americans, and that is but an example of what happens when we dedicate the tax payers’ money to slaughter and mayhem in a land we claim must defend itself when we can’t even identify the boundaries of that state because it refuses to identify its borders as they are continually growing as they inflict further genocide on the people of Palestine.
I edited The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction to bring to the world the truth about these lies. I focused on the first ten years of this century, this new 21st century to show the horror of what Israel and the US were doing to a defenseless people. I was armed, to use a military image as seems appropriate here, with 500 pages of seized evidence by the British Mandate forces in Palestine that gave in blatant terms the original intention of the Zionists when they entered Palestine to eradicate the Arab population; their words, their intent and their proposed methods of carrying it out. It was and continues to be “slow-motion genocide.” The Introduction to that book demonstrates this conclusively. The articles that fill the book, over 20 authors of world-wide renown, demonstrate that what was true of the original Zionists continues now.
The original title for that book was “As the World Watches: Genocide in Palestine.” The MacMillan board changed that as we came to publishing hour. One does not stir the calm unnecessarily. But they did not change its content or its cover. It does what I intended, expose the truth to all who will listen. It is not a best seller. But you can help, Kourosh, Have fifty more people buy the $89 text and I can get it out in soft cover for a modest price.
Needless to say many object to the term “genocide” because the courts have not said Israel commits genocide. But how can the courts determine such if they cannot bring Israel before the courts with the US vetoing that step. I publish in The Plight the UN definition of Genocide. Any child can tell that the actions taken by the Zionists against the occupied people breaks the laws defined as genocide.
Under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted in 1948, genocide was defined in Article 2 as:
…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. What more can be said? I believe that both the United States and Israel are guilty of Genocide under this definition. I do not believe any human with a conscience can remain silent and accept “complicity in genocide.”
Q: Some political analysts and academics consider Israel an apartheid regime that is treating the Arabs and Palestinians in a discriminatory manner through adopting measures and passing laws which deny them their basic and essential rights, such as the right of Arab-Israeli citizens in the Occupied Territories to join their families in Israel. Such policies represent apartheid, that is giving special favor to one group of people above all other groups based on certain criteria. What’s your viewpoint on that? Is Israel an apartheid regime?
A: Years ago I began my study of this issue by reading Dr. Uri Davis’ work Israel: An Apartheid State in 1987. Here is a man of conscience; here is a man that acts as he believes; here is a true humanitarian. There is this that a person can do: bring others to you, learn from them, share with them, include them—this is the way of the human; then there is the way alone, the isolated individual that must see self- repeated in all with whom they share their world, a community of exclusivity cemented by fear and loathing of others and an intrinsic acceptance of victimhood that pervades their thoughts and strengthens their will to self-defense even when there is no enemy.
I do not need to itemize the apartheid nature of the state of Israel; it’s well documented. I contributed to that in 2003 “Israeli Democracy: Fact or Fiction? And again in “The Real Axis of Evil,” 2006, and in many articles published before and since. The problem isn’t that it is not in existence, it is that we do nothing to condemn it.
Q: There’s a putative belief, which you’ve also alluded to in your articles, that the US Congress is dominated by the pro-Israel representatives or owned by the Zionist lobby. Even if this belief is not true, we have seen in different votes of the Congress that it conspicuously sides with Israel on various occasions and never allows Israel’s interests to be threatened. Why is it so? How has the Congress been dominated by such lawmakers?
A: There is a major American writer that has researched and investigated this issue for years and he has published a recent article that collapses much of his research into a direct breakdown of the facts: “Israel Buys the US Congress” by Dr. James Petras. It’s a fact; that it is not known in America is the fault of our media that is owned by Israeli sympathizers and a nation psychologically unable to criticize the state of Israel lest they be charged with anti-Semitism. The Congress of the United States is also locked into a similar mindset, but many get their political coffers filled by AIPAC and its sympathizers throughout the country. Books have been written about this subject, but they get little press and suffer from intended silence.
The answer to your second question, Why is it so?; it requires a dip into the political reality that controls the American system. Thomas Jefferson argued with John Adams about the good and the bad of the open democratic system that gave power to the people to consent to who would govern them. He noted that three things can destroy democracy: a pseudo-Aristoi, organized religion, and corporations. We have all three operating now. The rich elites of the corporatocracy that runs the country have vast amounts of wealth.
They use that wealth to buy candidates that remain in office as long as they can raise enough money to keep their seat. Hence those with the money can demand what they want of the representatives. Congressmen and women who follow their own conscience or will not play ball with the powers that run the country are challenged at the voting booth by candidates brought in by the corporations and overwhelm the electorate with severe, most often deceptive advertisements to defame the occupant. Representatives Paul Findley and Cynthia McKinny are examples of that reality. There are many. The American system is fraught with obstacles that allow for corruption, including a Supreme Court that will find ways to satisfy the powerful by allowing unlimited funding by corporations that in effect nullifies the rights of the average American. That is why it is so.
Q: Earlier in March this year, US President Barack Obama traveled to Israel and urged the Israeli leaders to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to have a state on their homeland. “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land,” he said. As you noted in your article, President Obama asked the Israelis to put themselves in the Palestinians’ shoes. Do these statements indicate a rift or disagreement between the US President and the Israeli leaders? It’s said that the US government is strongly opposed to the settlement constructions, but cannot convince Israel to abandon the constructions. What’s your take on that?
A: You raise a question that has plagued me since that speech. I supported Obama when he ran because it appeared that he was going to reverse the Bush’s disaster. He entered the American stage like a rock star; the people were weeping in expectation that the forces of good had somehow taken root in America in the form of this man who represented a horrific past that we want to deny but can’t. As a member of the African American lineage it seemed possible that through him we would find release from that mental pain. That talk in Cairo glowed with anticipation for a new path in the world, an America that did not speak as an empire, but as a friend and counselor.
But then it seemed to collapse as he failed to end the torture and imprisonment without charge at Guantanamo, then the failure to erase the Patriot Act, then the toughening against the whistle blowers as they brought forth undisclosed information to the American people, then the removal of the rights to trial and disclosure of evidence, then the virtual uncontrolled use of drones and the continued funding of the state of Israel. What we thought might happen did not. He lost the confidence of those who backed him even before he ran for a second term.
Perhaps his decision to attack Syria on a specified date whether or not the Congress were to support him left him vulnerable before the world. But a strange thing happened. When the Congress went home for the August break, they were deluged by voters stating flatly, no more wars, 75% or more of the American people let it be known they would not return to office if they voted to take America to war. Even Obama could read those returns. And so did AIPAC and the Israeli supportive lobbies.
Enter Russia. Here was a possible way out. But that solution brought in its wake the negotiations now going on to deal finally with Iran’s nuclear plans. Suddenly, Israel’s not-mentioned nuclear arsenal became less hidden in American discourse. Iran asked that the whole issue of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty be raised again and all of a sudden Israel stood exposed. What rights does Israel have to determine which member state of the UN should or should not have atomic weapons? It alone has not and will not sign this agreement yet it wants its neighbors to rest assured that it will not use their weapons of mass destruction when they are the country that has attacked without provocation its neighbors whether that be Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, or Iraq, that it alone of the mid-east states uses chemical weapons on the defenseless people in Gaza and Lebanon.
Is it possible that Obama sees a way to dislodge this albatross from America’s neck? Kerry’s brief but telling press conference suggested that the administration is marching to a different drummer. He told the Israelis they cannot fail to see the injustice taking place at the “peace” negotiations where “peace” for Israel is “Shalom,” peace for self, for Israel, as in “we have a right to defend ourselves,” not the peace that the rest of the world knows and desires, a peace based on equity for all through justice, compassion and love.
Now we know that AIPAC and Netanyahu can and will turn on the American President if he does not do as they command. Or at least it appears that they are willing to announce their anger over his “change of heart.” Should Israel find its new alliance with France and seek commercial alliances with China and abandon America, perhaps the American people will see just how true is the claim that this is America’s only friend in the Mideast. Perhaps the Israelis and the Zionists know that if it’s not their way, they may not be able to maintain their power over the US Congress. And that will change principles and relations.
It is too early to know how this will play out, but should it free America from the shackles that have bound it to this rogue state, I would find it a blessing for the American people. I have years ago declared my own personal declaration of independence from the Bush administration and I have found it difficult to recognize a distinct change in the Obama administration until their new effort to negotiate with the world and not go it alone dragging our chains behind us, chains tied to a state that does not in my opinion share what America brought to the world with its declarations of the rights of humanity and its recognition of equality for all humanity.
Q: Several rounds of peace talks have been held between the representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli regime.
However, at these talks, Israel never seemed to be willing to recognize the essential rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to statehood, the rights of refugees to return and water and energy sources allocation. Can such talks which are not held on equal footing yield significant results?
A: No. That’s the answer to your question, can such talks yield significant results? Much of what I have said in this interview replies to this question. I published an article in The Plight of the Palestinians by Dr. Jeffrey Halper, “The Problem with Israel,” which provides detailed evidence that Israel has refused to negotiate in good faith over an extended period of time dealing with approximately 19 “peace talks.” It’s a matter of window dressing; they talk and build and confiscate as the world watches. America cannot be a fair broker for peace; that’s a ruse. Let me explain my take on this supposed peace process. I delivered a paper in Cairo in 2006, just after Hamas became the elected authority for the Palestinians. Here is what I proposed and it still stands. “Hamas can force Israel and the United States to sue for peace by presenting to the United Nations a “Plan for Peace in Palestine”.
Call Israel’s bluff; force truth into the open; make the reality on the ground evident to the people of the world; present the United Nations with its own Resolutions, actions already determined to have validity -- Resolutions 181, 198, 242, 252, 338, 446, 465, 471, 799, 1405, 1435, 1544 – resolutions stretching as far back as 1947, resolutions requiring Israel to accept right of return, to respect international humanitarian rights, to return land stolen in the wars, to affirm the 4th Geneva Convention against deportation of civilians, to cease construction of the illegal settlements, to stop demolition of homes and all collective punishment, to cease their illegal change in the legal status of Jerusalem, to stop the illegal assassination of Palestinians, to accept the existence of a Palestinian state and the borders that have been determined by the UN.
It is today a bit of a stretch to point to what should be done with the reality that the seizure of virtually all of the Palestinian land has made so impossible. But if the world communities forced the UN to act, then the starting point has to be what that body has determined and not changed.
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari
William A. Cook is Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California where he served for 13 years as Vice President for Academic Affairs before assuming his faculty position in 2001. Prior to coming to California, he served as a Dean of Faculty, Chair of Department of English and faculty member at institutions large and small, public and private in four eastern states. He is an activist and a writer for numerous Internet publications including Counterpunch, Salem-News.com, Pacific Free Press in British Columbia, Dissident Voice and Information Clearing House, serving as senior editor for MWC News out of Canada, and contributing editor at the Palestine Chronicle, the Atlantic Free Press in the Netherlands, and the World Prout Assembly, his polemics against the Bush administration and the atrocities caused by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in Israel, now our 51st state, have been spread around the Internet world and translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Italian. Cook also serves on the Board of the People’s Media Project, interviews on radio and TV in South Africa, Canada, Iran and the United States and contributed for five years yearly predictions to the Hong Kong Economic News. This volume follows his Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied: The Rape of Palestine and continues his scourge against the hypocrisy, deceit, and destructive policies that have characterized American mid-east policy and its destructive alliance with the Zionist forces that have turned Israel into an apartheid state determined to destroy the Palestinian people.
In addition to his polemics, he writes plays (The Unreasoning Mask, co-authored with his wife, D’Arcy, and The Agony of Colin Powell), satires (see “Advancing the Civilized State: Inch by Bloody Inch” in The Rape), and poetry (Psalms for the 21st Century). His most recent fictional work creates a morality tale based upon real life figures that haunt our lives, The Chronicles of Nefaria He can be reached at email@example.com or www.drwilliamacook.com..
The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction is a collection of voices from around the world that establishes in both theoretical and graphic terms the slow, methodical genocide taking place in Palestine beginning in the 1940s, as revealed in the Introduction. From Dr. Francis A. Boyle’s detailed legal case against the state of Israel, to Uri Avnery’s “Slow Motion Ethnic Cleansing,” to Richard Falk’s “Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust,” to Ilan Pappe’s “Genocide in Gaza,” these voices decry in startling, vivid, and forceful language the calculated atrocities taking place, the inhumane conditions inflicted on the people, and the silence that exists despite the crimes, nothing short of state-sponsored genocide against the Palestinians.
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