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News ::
STEVE ARGUE debates SENATOR ADAM KLINE on ISRAEL
14 May 2002
Two different veiws debated.
Steve Argue responds to Senator Adam Kline regarding Israeli actions in Jenin.
The following reactions were sent by Senator Kline after he read information on the cities of Ramallah and Jenin being laid to waste by the Zionists just as the Nazis smashed the towns of Guarnica and Lidice in the name of collective punishment. While the Israeli government claims that they only killed combatants Human Rights Watch has documented the following crimes in Jenin alone: murders of civilians including children, the old, and the disabled; summary executions; the bulldozing of houses with people in them; and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Sen. Adam Kline:
"Would this have happened if Arafat had bargained in good faith with Barak and Clinton at Camp David in the summer of 2000? They offered him much more than he had reason to expect, and he turned it down, knowing that there would be war, and apparently expecting to win a better settlement militarily."

Steve Argue:
"Barak's offer was not generous. In 1948 Palestinians owned 90% of the land. Since that time the majority of Palestinians have been driven from their land through Zionist violence and all are denied their basic human rights by Israel.

"The "occupied territories" in the West Bank and Gaza constitute only a small amount of the lands that have been stolen from the Palestinians and occupied by the Israelis. Israel spoke of offering 95% of those "occupied lands" to the Palestinians. Yet, even if we accept Israel's definition of occupied territories a look at this plan shows that 95% is not accurate math. Under Barak's plan the Latroun area, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea would remain under Israeli control. This means that in reality the offer then amounts to only 65% of the total area of the West Bank.

"Barak also demanded that 80% of the present settlements in the "occupied territories" be annexed to Israel. This constitutes a drastic division of the West Bank into four isolated cantons. These cantons include the Ariel block between Nablus and Ramallah, the settlement block between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and the Gush Etzion block between Bethlehem and Hebron. These settlements are connected by bypass roads, which are not only under complete Israeli control but also swallow up thousands of acres of Palestinian lands. In addition, many of the settlements are built on Palestinian water aquifers, thus depriving Palestinians access to water resources.

"On the small amount of land that the poor, oppressed, and exploited Palestinian people were offered they would have little to base an economy and in fact would remain dependent on the Zionist bourgeoisie for jobs much as blacks in Apartheid South African Bantustans were dependent on the white bourgeoisie for employment. With anti-Arab hatred and discrimination prevalent among Israeli employers this is not at all an attractive proposal for most Palestinians.

"According to UN resolutions 242 and 338 Palestinians are now "allowed" to take back 22% of their land. Further more UN Resolution 194 calls for the right of Palestinian refugees to return. In addition, there are other UN resolutions, including Resolution 465, which declares that the Israeli settlements in the "occupied territories" are illegal and, as such, should be removed. Resolutions 478 and 252 have declared that the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem is illegitimate.

"Meanwhile Israel has refused to comply with international law or UN resolutions as the basis for a political settlement. Each one of these resolutions has been approved by the United Nations as well as the US. Even Israel accepted Resolution 194, as a prerequisite to being accepted as a member of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Yet Israel continues to violate this agreement by not allowing Palestinian refugees the right to return, while at the same time granting Jews from anywhere in the world the automatic right to immigrate.

"During the second round of meetings at Camp David, Barak would not even consider the basic right of Palestinian refugees to return. In addition, he refused to accept that Israel has any political, legal, or moral responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians. He dealt with the refugee issue within the framework of individual cases of family reunification, which violates the Palestinian right to a homeland and also is against international law. This clearly illustrates Barak's attempt to relinquish all responsibility for the destruction of Palestinian villages and the violent purging of Palestinians from their homeland turning them into refugees around the world.

"Through approving resolution 194 and subsequently ignoring it the Zionist government has shown its word to be meaningless and the US has shown its real policy towards Palestinians in the billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to the Zionist Israeli regime every year. Settlement building, oppression, and violence against the Palestinian people continued and in fact were stepped up, not decreased under Barak.

"Clinton's proposal in those negotiations made the assumption that the settlements of extremist Zionists in Jerusalem and the surrounding area are legal. It divided the geographic and demographic unity of the city within the framework of complete Israeli control over all Jerusalem, including the so-called Palestinian self-rule areas in the "Arab Districts."

"The Palestinians rejected these offers because for any solution to be acceptable or reasonable it must begin with Israel and the United States accepting and complying with international law. Barak and Clinton clearly rejected such a framework. Thus the negotiations came nowhere near restoring basic Palestinian rights and as such should not be characterized as, 'more than he (Arafat) had reason to expect.'

"So where is the "generous offer" of the Israeli government? Was its rejection really a lost opportunity? All Israeli proposals were simply attempts to coerce the Palestinians to accept occupation under slightly different terms. When understood properly, this "generous offer" illustrates that Israel is neither serious about a political settlement nor interested in peace. Since the beginning of Intifada 2 (September 2000), Israel has been systematically destroying the Palestinian infrastructure, not to mention carrying out its policies of assassinations and collective punishment.

"The current state of the situation has shown that Yasir Arafat's strategy of negotiations with the Israeli government has achieved nothing, that the Israeli government can not even keep their word on earlier agreements, and that there will not be peace for either the Palestinian or the Hebrew speaking population until the Israeli state is abolished and in its place a democratic secular Palestine is built with a separation of church and state where the civil rights of all nationalities are guaranteed. Only a socialist movement that represents the rights of the entire working class and speaks uncompromisingly against the discrimination and violence meted out to the Palestinians by the Israeli State will be capable of making such a revolutionary transformation. Likewise such a movement can not see the Hebrew speaking population as the enemy and must instead target the repressive apparatus of the Zionist state.

Much hope can be seen in the fact that neither the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) nor the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) target civilians. In addition a revolt has taken place within the Israeli army where nearly 400 Israeli soldiers are refusing to participate in Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people, despite going to prison for their heroic actions."

Sen. Adam Kline:
"Meanwhile (during negotiations), he (Arafat) was ordering 50 tons of explosives from Iran."

Steve Argue:
"I ask you at the time you say that Arafat was ordering what would be a comparatively small amount of weapons if the terrorist state of Israel was not ordering much much more from the United States? The U.S. sends Israel billions of dollars in military aid every year, including many explosives that are used against Palestinian civilians. In addition Israel worked with Apartheid South Africa in developing its own nuclear weapons.

"Do the Palestinian people not have the right to defend themselves from Israel's murderous troops? The Palestinian people have repeatedly faced extermination from the Israeli government. In the 1982 case of the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Lebanon, Palestinians were rounded up and systematically slaughtered in the thousands by Israeli troops and their Phalangist Militia allies.

"As survivor Mrs. Sersawi testified in a Belgium appeals court on the Israeli governments war crimes, 'The Lebanese forces militia [Phalangists] had taken us from our homes and marched us up to the entrance of the camp where a large hole had been dug in the earth. The men were told to get into it. Then the militiamen shot a Palestinian. The women and children climbed over bodies to get to this spot, but we were truly shocked by seeing this man killed in front of us and there was a roar of shouting and screams from the women. That's when we heard the Israelis on a loudspeaker shouting, 'give us your men.' We thought, 'thank God, they will save us.'

"'We were told to walk up the road to the Kuwaiti Embassy, the women and children in front, the men behind. We had been separated. There were Phalangist Militiamen and Israeli soldiers walking alongside us. I could still see Hassan (her husband with whom she was 3 months pregnant) and Faraj (her brother-in-law). It was like a parade. There were several hundred of us. When we got to Cite Sportif, the Israelis put us women in a big concrete room and the men were taken to another side of the stadium. There were a lot of men from the camp and I could no longer see my husband. The Israelis went around saying 'Sit, sit.' It was 11 AM. An hour later we were told to leave. But we stood outside amid the Israeli soldiers, waiting for our men.

"'Some men came out, none of them younger than 40, and they told us to be patient, that hundreds of men were still inside. Then about 4 PM an Israeli officer came out. He was wearing dark glasses and said in Arabic: 'What are you waiting for?' He said there was nobody left, that everyone had gone. There were Israeli trucks moving out with tarpaulin over them. We couldn't see inside. And there were jeeps and tanks and a bulldozer making a lot of noise. We stayed there as it got dark and the Israelis appeared to be leaving and we were very nervous. But when the Israelis had moved away, we went inside. And there was no one there. Nobody. I had been only three years married. I never saw my husband again.'

"Sabra and Shatila are only two of the massacres of people done by the Israeli government in the past 54 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Today all of the Palestinian towns of historic Palestine are either occupied by Israeli troops who are killing people or surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks who are poised to attack. While Israeli troops are claiming that they are only killing combatants Human Rights Watch has documented the following crimes in Jenin alone: murders of civilians including children, the old, and the disabled; summary executions; the bulldozing of houses with people in them; and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields."

Sen. Adam Kline:
"Would this (Jenin) have happened if the Palestinian militia had not purposefully taken up positions and conducted military operations from densely-populated civilian areas? They knew that the IDF would have a choice when hit by fire from a residential area: refuse to defend their people, or defend them and be blamed for firing at civilian neighborhoods.

"Does it offend you EQUALLY that civilian Palestinians and civilian Israelis were killed? Apparently, it does not occur to you that for years, especially after Arafat's refusal to deal, Palestinians had been targeting Jews in cafes, pizza joints, public squares, and in their own homes, killing babies and their others, not because they were near a military target but because they WERE the target. Your single mention of the Passover attack sure looks to me like lip service. Understand: that attack was merely the one that drew Israel over the edge, as it was intended to do.

"I used to support the peace activists in Israel. I opposed the tactics of Netanyahu and Sharon. That is, until Arafat made them necessary."

Steve Argue:
"You speak of the Palestinian people as if the actions of a few suicide bombers represent the actions of an entire people. This is the same argument presented by the Ku Klux Klan saying that blacks rape white women. Both arguments are racist and both are meant to justify racist attacks against an entire group of people.

"The Israeli offensive will not stop those willing to do suicide missions against civilians, attacks that are futile attempts to combat the genocide Palestinians face. The Israeli offensive does the opposite in deepening the conditions that created suicide bombers in the first place. The anger created by escalated Israeli murder is actually more likely to increase the number of tragic attacks on Hebrew civilians. At the same time Israel has not targeted the main base of the suicide bombers, Gaza, where Hamas is heavily organized. In fact, the murderous Israeli repression really isn't meant to stop attacks on Hebrew civilians because these bombings by Hamas actually play right into the Zionist government's aims and objectives in pushing for a final solution against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority who the Israeli government consistently blame for the attacks done by Hamas.

"Hamas is an anti-Semitic fundamentalist religious organization that killed 150 Israeli civilians through suicide bombings between 1994 and 1998 alone. From its beginnings as the Mujama in the 1970s to this day Hamas does not face the same kind of repression as any other Palestinian group. In addition Hamas reportedly receives $28 million dollars a year from another key U.S. ally in the region, Saudi Arabia.

"The U.S. and the Saudi Arabian monarchy work together closely to systematically loot Saudi Arabia's oil resources for the profits of U.S. oil monopolies while the vast majority of the Saudi people live in poverty. In addition the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Hamas worked together closely in the U.S. war drive to destroy the left progressive PDPA government that held power in Afghanistan from 1978 to 1992. This was a war where the U.S. government and Saudi Arabia gave billions of dollars of military aid to Osama Bin Laden and the Islamic fundamentalists of the Mujahedin who were waging a holy war against the advances in women's rights, including women's literacy, that were occurring under the PDPA government. Tactics of the Mujahedin included throwing acid in the faces of women liberated from the veil and murdering women for teaching little girls how to read and write. Fearing a Mujahedin government right on its border and defending the PDPA government from U.S. aggression the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan in 1979. Although these Soviet troops were invited by the Afghan PDPA U.S. propaganda called this a Soviet invasion.

"An estimated 100,000 of the Islamic fundamentalists who fought in Afghanistan were recruited by the CIA outside of Afghanistan. Hamas participated in this activity. As John Cooley from ABC news pointed out on March 13th, 1996 in the International Herald Tribune: 'A key Hamas organizer was Abdallah Azzam. He was a tough, brilliant and charismatic Palestinian from Jordan. He supervised training for the CIA's Afghan guerrillas in Peshawar, Pakistan, where a car bomb killed him in 1989. In the earlier 1980s he toured the United States, recruiting Arab-Americans for the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.'

"Just as the United States used Hamas against the Afghani people and the leftist PDPA government, Israel has used the religious fundamentalists of Hamas as a club against the socialist and secular nationalist movements in Palestine that Hamas has violently opposed. It is those secular and socialist movements that Israel has seen as more of a threat in terms of winning the masses of people, including Hebrew speakers, over to positions of sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinians. Hamas's suicide bombers against civilians instead serve Zionist interests in driving a larger wedge between Palestinians and Hebrew speakers, people who will need to unite against their common oppressor and killer, the Israeli Zionist government.

"Early Israeli support for Hamas included in 1978 the granting of Mujama charitable status in Gaza while other organizations, especially political organizations as Mujama was, could not get such status. In 1979 Israeli collusion with the Mujama movement set up the Islamic University of Gaza whose anti-PLO and anti-socialist slogan was: "How can uncovered women and men with Beatle haircuts liberate our holy places?" Students who did not tow the Islamic line were disciplined through brutal beatings and sometimes had acid thrown in their faces. In addition Mujama mobs were allowed to violently attack and burn down PLO controlled institutions at a time when other street demonstrations were not allowed or tightly controlled by the Israeli authorities.

"In 1979 the Mujama movement burned the Palestinian Red Crescent Society's (PRC) building to the ground. In response the PRC issued the following statement, "The tacit approval of the authorities, if not their actual connivance in what happened, was displayed in their attitude of non-interference. While they usually display great alertness to combating even peaceful demonstrations of young students within schools, here they stood indifferently watching a violently destructive demonstration march to its objectives."

"In 1988 Hamas was formed out of Mujama. While PLO supporters were organizing mass demonstrations in the streets Hamas was instead focusing on shooting Israeli soldiers. Despite this fact Hamas had top-level meetings with the Israeli government while that same government would not even meet with the PLO. Milton Edwards in "Islamic Politics In Palestine" noted the relationship: "The relationship between Hamas and the Israeli authorities was, however, at the strongest during the second year of the Intifada. The Israelis had been quick to extend legitimacy status to Hamas in an attempt to marginalize the PLO. Leaders of Hamas were regularly filmed at meetings with top-level Israeli officials and the message the Israelis were sending out was that they regarded Hamas as the type of people with whom they could work…

"In addition the Israelis continued turning a blind eye to large amounts of money coming into the country destined for Hamas coffers, while at the same time stopping the flow of PLO funds in support of the Intifada."

"In 1994 Hamas began its indiscriminate attacks on Hebrew speaking people through suicide bombings. Those suicide bombings had been stepped up by Hamas in the beginnings of the Intifada 2 uprising in September 2000, but then ended due to an agreement between Arafat's Palestinian Authority and Hamas. While this agreement was in effect world attention became focused on the gunning down of Palestinian children by Israeli sharp shooters on the West Bank. For the Zionist government this was becoming a public relations disaster.

"Israeli Prime Minister Sharon needed a new provocation he could use as propaganda to escalate the war against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). To create this provocation he took action to end the truce between the P.A. and Hamas on ending the suicide bombings of civilians. On November 23rd Israeli security forces assassinated Hamas leader Mahmud Abu Hunud. On November 25th, 2001 right-wing Israeli journalist Alex Fishman accurately observed in the "Yediot Achronot": "Whoever gave the green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman's agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line."

"Of course no one but Sharon could have given the green light for such an important operation. Sharon's provocation against the Hamas anti-Semites had its intended affect. Within days Hamas resumed attacks against Israeli civilians. In March a Hamas bomber killed 25 civilians in the Passover attack that was then used by Sharon as his excuse to attack the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority while leaving the Hamas stronghold of Gaza untouched.

"The U.S. government's massive military support to the Zionist State and, to a lesser extent to the repressive Saudi Arabian monarchy is responsible for the bloodshed in Palestine. The racist state of Israel currently receives 300,000 dollars per hour in U.S. military and economic aid. The F-16 bombers, Apache and Cobra helicopters used in the latest attacks are just some of the weapons used to kill Palestinians that are made in the United States.

"Socialists stand for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and all of the crowned princes, sheiks, emirs, and Islamic fanatics of the Middle East. We understand that these U.S. policies are the policies of both the Democrat and Republican Parties. Imperialist policy isn't the result of some misunderstanding by these parties of the wealthy. Instead the repressive and genocidal policies of U.S. imperialism flow from the drive for profits by the rapacious U.S. capitalists that rule America and much of the world. Democrat and Republican politicians like Sen. Kline know that they only represent the wealthy that get them elected. The Rosa Luxemburg Club stands for building the nearly 70,000 member California based Peace and Freedom Party in every state as part of building a socialist alternative to the policies of war, racism, union busting, and ecological degradation persued by both the Democrats and Republicans. Socialists know that the only way we will get a just foreign policy, fair treatment of workers and the poor, and sound ecological policies is through a socialist revolution in the United States that redistributes the wealth and the power to the majority."

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