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'As long as we choose violence Israel will always defeat us'

Mubarak Awad, one of the main organizers of nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada until Israel exiled him, talks about why only nonviolence can defeat the occupation, how Palestinians must convince Israelis that peace is their own interest, and his fears that without a new nonviolent movement more and more Palestinian youths will be drawn to armed resistance.

By Waleed Shahid (First published in ‘In These Times‘)

Mubarak Awad. (photo courtesy of Meir Amor)

Mubarak Awad. (photo courtesy of Meir Amor)

The largest Palestinian uprising in the history of the Israeli occupation is largely forgotten today. In the 1980s, thousands of Palestinians took part in large-scale civil disobedience actions, strikes, pickets, boycotts and sit-ins demanding freedom, later becoming known as the First Intifada, the Arabic word for “a shaking off.”

Images of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinian teenagers, women and the elderly circulated worldwide as the three major American nightly news broadcasts dedicated more time to the intifada than to any other story. While the “stone thrower” became the dominant image in the later stages of the intifada, vastly underreported were the daily decisions by Palestinians to refuse to cooperate with the Israeli occupation without using weapons.

The intifada polarized Israeli society between those who supported peace with the Palestinians and those who desired increased repression of the resistance.

“Frustration [inside Israel] also stems from the fact that many Israelis, of all political persuasions, have come to feel that where the conflict with the Palestinians is concerned, their country is living a lie,” described two Israeli writers in 1989. “They now believe that their leaders deceived them in pronouncing that the Palestinian people did not exist; that the Arabs in the territories did not want their leaders; that the PLO forced itself on the Palestinians by violence and intimidation; that the status quo of occupation could be maintained indefinitely.”

By 1988, more than 500 Israeli military reserves signed a petition refusing to serve in the Palestinian territories, claiming that the IDF’s presence in the Palestinian territories was immoral and undermined Israel’s own security. The Israeli organization Peace Now mobilized thousands of Israelis demanding a negotiated end to the conflict. In 1989, villagers in Beit Sahour engaged in six weeks of civil disobedience, publicly burning their Israeli identity cards and refusing to pay taxes to Israeli authorities.

The intifada did not end the Israeli occupation, but it did break end the decades-long stalemate between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. More importantly, it made the Palestinian cause a legitimate and urgent one and even convinced a majority of Israelis for the first time that a diplomatic rather than military solution to the conflict was necessary.

Mubarak Awad was one of the main organizers of the nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada. He spent many years in the United States as therapist and counselor of “at-risk” teenagers, before moving to the West Bank to work with Palestinian youth who had experienced violence. After studying the writings and practice of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Gene Sharp, Awad began translating their work into Arabic and left hundreds of pamphlets about tactics of non-cooperation and theories of power in bus stations and on village notice boards all across the West Bank.

Palestinian women at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip confront Israeli soldiers over the mistreatment and arrest of Palestinian youths. (photo: Robert Croma / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Palestinian women at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip confront Israeli soldiers over the mistreatment and arrest of Palestinian youths. (photo: Robert Croma / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Awad eventually went on to create the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence, which trained Palestinians in nonviolent civil resistance. Awad urged Palestinians to plant olive trees on proposed Israeli settlements, refuse to carry and present Israeli ID cards, block roads with their bodies, publicly defy curfews, defy the law by flying Palestinian flags and obstruct the movement of Israeli equipment. He also advanced the concept of “filling the jails” by promoting the civil rights movement’s concept of mass arrest. Over 29,000 Palestinians went to jail during the first year of the intifada.

Awad, along with many of the leaders of the resistance, was jailed, tortured and eventually deported by Israel in 1988 for circulating leaflets encouraging civil disobedience. Today, 72-year-old Awad’s experiences and strategies of resistance are fairly unknown to most people outside of the West Bank. Awad now lives in Washington, D.C. and teaches about nonviolence at American University. I recently spoke with Awad, about his visions and experience of civil resistance in Israel and Palestine.

In the 1980s, you boldly declared to Palestinians, “We are under occupation because we choose to be under occupation.” What does that statement mean?

Every human being is responsible for his or her action even in the most difficult of situations. We have choices to make—the choice to resist, to run away, or to do nothing. If we do nothing, then we are accepting the status quo: the occupation. We are accepting the occupation as our lives. We must take responsibility and leadership for what has been done to us and what we are doing to ourselves. Gandhi talked about the British being able to control hundreds of millions of Indians with only a few hundred British soldiers. He made the same claim: that millions of Indians were letting the British control them by simply cooperating with British rule every single day.

I wanted to challenge Palestinians to take responsibility for themselves and their situation. Resisting evil with the gun is one method, but we can also resist evil with nonviolent means. But that means discipline, strategy, training, and knowing your opponent. I wanted Palestinians to push ourselves to create space for elements within our opponent’s side to defect to our side. If we cannot convince large amounts of Israelis to agree with us, we will never win.

This is a civil rights struggle. This isn’t about expelling the Israeli and the Jewish people. In some way or another, both sides must become friends and see themselves in each other. The goal and objective is simple: end the occupation. We aren’t talking about the status of Jerusalem or refugees or administrative issues. We are just talking about our lives. Nothing else happens until the occupation disappears. And it is up to us to force it to disappear because no one else will.

And you began your involvement in anti-occupation efforts in Israel and Palestine because you felt the nonviolent resistance piece was missing. Can you describe the void you were trying to fill in the 1980s?

At that time, the leadership claiming to represent the Palestinian people was the Palestine Liberation Organization. But their headquarters was not even in Israel or Palestine. They were living in exile. That created difficulties and a lack of venues for ordinary people to get involved. The Israeli government opposed the PLO and would put its leaders and members in jail with frequency. The Israeli government wanted an alternative to the PLO. They wanted to negotiate with Jordanians and Egyptians. They were pushing hard and eventually helped create the spark for Hamas.

This created a general feeling that ordinary Palestinians had to rely on other people to resist the occupation. There was no venue for the people to take action for themselves.

At that time, I was trying to explain to people that there were all kinds ways to get rid of the occupation. The PLO at that time was open to all venues of struggle, but really saw itself as a vanguard similar to anti-colonial groups like the Algerian National Front. I wanted to bring attention to Palestinians to understand the strategies and tactics of what was done in India by Gandhi and his followers, and with Martin Luther King in the American South. I wanted to explain nonviolence for Palestinians and suggest that it could work in Palestine and to train new leaders in disciplined nonviolent resistance.

At that time, the PLO didn’t have a coherent strategy, but they basically were training a very limited number of people in armed struggle. But violent resistance doesn’t involve the whole of society. Violent resistance reduces the participation of children, women and the elderly. It reduces participation of most sectors of society that aren’t young men. Violent resistance would make people even more afraid to come out and act together. Armed struggle is unable to involve the majority of society to oppose occupation.

And it was incredibly naive and romantic. The handful of people who were trained in armed struggle were no match for the Israeli military. We had a few secondhand guns; the Israelis have tanks and airplanes. It’s not sensible and not strategic; it backfires on your own people. It’s not an equal field. They will always beat us if we choose violence—or choose to resign ourselves to the occupation. I wanted to say: “We can’t keep continuing to play the same game after decades of defeat. Let’s try something different.”

What is nonviolent civil resistance?

Nonviolent civil resistance is simply trying to help people find what was taken from them. Thousands of people doing coordinated civil disobedience, strikes, boycotts, sit-ins—through these kind of actions, we try to negotiate with the opponent in a different way. It means trying to get the whole of society to act together not to necessarily harm the opponent, but to make them actually deal with us and our humanity, deal with our willingness to stand up for ourselves with nothing but our bodies and hearts. That is the logic of nonviolence.

Palestinian protesters marching and chanting during a Nakba Day demonstration near the Israeli military checkpoint at Qalandiya, West Bank, May 15, 2011. Nakba, Arabic for "catastrophe," is the term given to the forced displacement of some 750,000 Palestinian refugees from 500 communities by Zionist forces before, during and after the 1948 War. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian protesters marching and chanting during a Nakba Day demonstration near the Israeli military checkpoint at Qalandiya, West Bank, May 15, 2011. Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe,” is the term given to the forced displacement of some 750,000 Palestinian refugees from 500 communities by Zionist forces before, during and after the 1948 War. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In Selma and Birmingham, Martin Luther King wanted to show all Americans not only what they were doing to African Americans, but more importantly what Americans were doing to themselves by allowing violence and racism to persist. The same thing happened in South Africa, as well. It’s powerful. It’s fighting on a different terrain. When you are willing to sacrifice everything for your freedom—without arms, even without stones—even if the government attacks you, the Israeli public will have to see you in a different way. We have to make them choose what kind of people they are.

A handful of young Palestinian men have gained widespread media coverage for committing deadly knife attacks against Israelis. You spent many years as a therapist and counselor working with Palestinian youth deeply affected by violence—both violence perpetrated by Israelis and Palestinians. How did that work affect your views on nonviolent resistance?

Young Palestinians are in a state of shock. People don’t really understand this point. Palestinians and Israelis have both gone mad. They don’t think like people who live in peaceful circumstances.

Too many Palestinians have reached the position that their lives are not worthwhile. Some young people might say that they are willing to kill someone with a knife because their future is very sad and dark. They might not get married. They might not have children. They might not have a job or an education. So what life is left for them? When people are desperate like that, things like this will happen. I am fearful of young Palestinians being recruited by armed groups, especially if there aren’t more strategic nonviolent groups willing to take them in. Violence simply breeds more violence. It’s irresponsible not to take strong stands and leadership on this issue.

The other important thing is that Palestinians are no longer listening to the older generation of elders. Their parents and grandparents couldn’t stop the occupation, so why should they have respect for them? This is also the situation I was dealing with in the 1980s. The occupation was breaking families apart. Young people want to do whatever they can in the moment to satisfy for their own thirst for freedom. Talking violently or acting violently for them is to assert some sort of control over their lives, even if it hurts their own families.

The Israeli public is so afraid of the Palestinians. It’s so amazing: The Israelis deprive Palestinians of everything, but they are still so afraid of us. Many want to create a Jewish state without any real rights whatsoever for Palestinians. We can’t give them more reasons to be afraid.

It’s becoming more common for activists to refrain from explicitly condemning violent acts of resistance by Palestinians, but instead contextualize those acts as the product of the structural violence as a result of Israel’s occupation. Where do you land on that?

We know what the Israeli government is doing: They wantonly arrest and hurt and even kill Palestinians. But we as Palestinians have to be better than them. Some people don’t like when I say that, but it is true and it is not going to change anytime soon. Throwing stones, wielding knives, launching rockets—this is not the right way. It scares our own people and it scares the Israelis even more. It shouldn’t be our intention or strategy to make them more afraid and feeling more insecure as individuals. Many Israelis are afraid to leave their homes, as well. What kind of strategy would make the Israelis come to us and say “we need your help to fix this disaster once and for all? As Israelis we are tired of living like this, doing this to you, doing this to ourselves.” That means we have to raise the bar for what real reconciliation, acceptance and coexistence meansWe can find that in our three religions if we look for it with honesty.

It sounds like you are saying the main people Palestinians have to convince are the Israeli public?

If you are able to convince many Israelis that it is in their self-interest to have peace with their Palestinian neighbors, then the Israelis would vote for a prime minister who wants real peace. Right now, the Israelis don’t think it is in their self-interest, in their values as human beings. That is up to us as Palestinians to decide whether we actually want to use that kind of strategy or not. Nonviolence takes up the question of the occupation and sends it back to the opponent, telling the Israelis that it is now their choice to decide. That is exactly what King did in Birmingham and Selma.

Look, I don’t have a reason to like Israelis. They killed my father. They destroyed my house. They’re destroying my culture. They destroyed my life. They’re continuing to destroy the lives of my family back home, coming in the middle of the night and arresting Palestinians from their homes. They block our roads. They take our land. They aren’t showing an interest in wanting peace with us.

But we still have to take the strategies of nonviolence and show the way forward. It is very tough and very hard. People on both sides want to take the easy way out and not grapple with fundamental issues. But we have examples of who were able to do the impossible: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, even Northern Ireland. The only conflict that is not resolved is ours. And we must all accept the responsibility for that. It can only truly be resolved when we decide to condemn bloodshed from all sides.

You distinguish between principled nonviolence and strategic nonviolence. Why is that distinction important?

Principled nonviolence is what we learn in religion as Jews, Christians, Muslims and all people of faith. We all worship a God and that God tells us to make good with each other. We are created by God. And inside every person there exists a piece of God that we should not harm. We don’t have the right to harm or kill any person. And if we don’t have the right to kill anyone, we have to learn a different kind of discipline.

Strategic nonviolence is about political considerations. You don’t have to believe in principled nonviolence to believe in strategic nonviolence. It’s not about personal morals and interactions. It’s about using nonviolence militantly, like a kind of unarmed warfare. You have to deeply understand power. We have to have thousands of people involved, and active participation—especially from women and older people—severely declines when the resistance is seen as violent.

March of Return to the demolished village el Kafrein, Israel, April 29, 2009. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

March of Return to the demolished village el Kafrein, Israel, April 29, 2009. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

And for that you really have to understand where the Israelis are coming from. They have the guns and the laws. We don’t have those thingsWe must pick a different method to create the kind of situation that would make them demand an end to the occupation from their own government.

But there is so much anger within both the Palestinian and the Israeli people. How can we understand the Israelis, so that we can trust them and they can trust us as human beings? That is a huge challenge. Some people are not interested in that question. But it is the only way to solve this thing for the long term.

What are the important lessons to draw from the First Intifada?

When thousands of people get together in the street for strategic action, they can achieve something. We were able to get the Israelis and Americans to talk to the PLO for the first time. The PLO didn’t make that happen—the people did that. We brought the occupation into television screens all across the globe, and most importantly, we brought our humanity into Israeli living rooms. The second thing we achieved was real negotiations for the first time with the Israelis. We put out the idea that life would be better for both peoples, if our representatives would simply talk to each other.

It didn’t turn out the way we thought it might. The Israeli government doesn’t want peace. It still doesn’t. We were just dreamers, dreaming of peace, trying to get both sides to understand that peace was achievable for everyone. But I don’t think the Israeli government wants a two-state solution. They want to keep the status quo going. They think time is on their side.

Can you tell me about the most inspiring nonviolent action you took part in?

I used to go to villages and talk to people about nonviolence and non-cooperation with the Israelis. I had gone to 300 or so of them before I was deported. Some people accepted my ideas, some rejected me. We would just go into homes and work with as many people as possible to talk about power and tactics and their lives. One day, someone from one of the villages came to my office and said he needed nonviolence. And I asked him what did he mean? So he explained that settlers had come and put a fence around his land and that he needed to take his land back. Now he needs nonviolence.

At first, it was tough for me because I was simply explaining concepts to people. I wasn’t a real strategist. But he kept saying he didn’t care about the concept—he wanted it in his life right then and there. So I told him if he could bring the whole village out—the women, the men, the children, the elderly—we should take the fence out of the ground ourselves. And we shouldn’t run away when the police or military or settlers come. We should just stay there and sit-down. We shouldn’t throw stones. We should just stay and refuse to leave.

It took us five hours to take the fence down and eventually the settlers called the military governor of Bethlehem. We talked to him and eventually he declared that the land belonged to us. 

Now imagine if we could do that on a scale of thousands of people? The action worked because of the Palestinians’ commitment to their cause and to their humanity. We were willing to show that we would sacrifice everything—being arrested, being attacked—but without ever hurting anybodyToday, we need more Palestinians to return and train people in in nonviolent tactics and strategies. That is also what happened during the First Intifada.

What is different about nonviolent resistance amongst Palestinians today and nonviolent resistance during the First Intifada?

I still think the Palestinians have to really commit themselves to nonviolence. They can’t accept both violence and nonviolence. We really have to come to terms with the idea that we cannot defeat the Israelis with violence. They will always win. I was beaten many times for my people. I am very sad and disappointed. But I still believe that nonviolence is the only way. But it requires real strategy, leadership, training, and discipline.

Waleed Shahid is Philadelphia-based writer and the political director of Pennsylvania Working Families Party. He is a movement-building trainer with Momentum and tweets at @waleed2go.

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    1. C Fleifel

      I do agree with most of Mr Awad’s ideas of non-violence resistance , I do believe that if a large chunk of the cities and villages would peacefully march to the cruel wall and its check points we may shake up the world and to a lesser extent the Israelis to the presence of a 21st Century Occupation that disgracefully the world allows . I do believe that we, the occupied , need to shake up and gain the ever smaller amount of humanitarian Israelis , but they need help as well from International and external factors. Also I would like to point out some Palestinian history that is very much ignored even by Mr Awad . The Palestinians have always been pioneers in non-violent resistance, the 1st Intifada was such a unique movement that I believe it has even motivated Eastern Europe to “shake off ” the shackles and go to the streets . For 3 days in July 1922 the Palestinians mustered one of the world’s first National Strikes that left Ghandi inspired. Also the first 6 months of the 1936-1939 Uprising was a National Strike of a peaceful nature that turned violent after yet another failed attempt to get justice from such a powerful and determined combo ( British Empire-Jewish diaspora ) . Lets hope that todays teenage righteous rage is channeled into a peaceful mass movement for another “shake up” that will lead to peace , liberation and equality .

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Thank you. One problem of course is that the Israelis know this full well and, fearing non-violence, work hard to provoke the violence that they always “will know how to deal with.” The Israelis place undercover agents among protesters and egg them on to throw stones and then shoot them. It’s a fact. See here:

        http://972mag.com/watch-israeli-undercover-agents-shoot-unarmed-boy-at-point-blank-range/112474/

        And look what they did to Mubarak Awad:
        “Awad, along with many of the leaders of the resistance, was jailed, tortured and eventually deported by Israel in 1988 for circulating leaflets encouraging civil disobedience.”

        The other problem is that the Israelis have, when they are not actively subverting non-violence, simply sneering at non-violent protest and gone about their occupation business all the same. The Israelis are not like the British. It’s been said that all of British culture is based on an acute sense of embarrassment. It’s also been said (by high placed American officials) that “it’s impossible to embarrass an Israeli.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          BEN:”It’s also been said (by high placed American officials) that “it’s impossible to embarrass an Israeli.”

          Benny claims to be an American. Yet this is what this racist little thug said under his previous pseudonym, BRIAN, about Americans.

          http://972mag.com/bibi-those-who-call-to-destroy-israel-should-have-citizenship-revoked/98537/

          “You MUST be an American. No one else could sound so credulous and so idiotic.”

          …and now Benny obviously endorses a similar racist generalisation which supposedly some American said about Israelis.

          If I talked like that about his daaaarlink Palestinian Arabs, Benny would begin to foam at his mouth and he would be outraged about “my racism”.

          What an effing hypocrite our little Benny is…

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            On top of that, Benny tells lies without even blinking an eyelid. He claims that Abbas gave up the so called right of return demand yet this is what Abbas said…

            http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2012/11/04/abbas-i-did-not-give-up-on-the-right-of-return/

            “Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has denied giving up on the refugees’ right of return, saying remarks about not returning to his home town, which is now in Israel, was a “personal position.”
            “I have never and will never give up the right of return,” he told Egypt’s Al-Hayatt Egyptian satellite channel late on Saturday, according to a transcript released on Sunday.”

            Yep, Benny is both a racist and a liar!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Hey Benny dear…

            You are not Israeli yet it is impossible to embarass you…

            You tell lies. You claim that Abbas gave up the right of return…

            You make racist comments. You generalize about “idiotic Americans” and “non embarassable Israelis”.

            You are in denial about serious efforts by Israel in the past to make peace and end the occupation. You also deny that Sharon, bodily evicted kicking and screaming Israelis from Gaza.

            And above all, you pretend that Abbas is a peace maker while you ignore Hamas even though over 50% of Palestinian Arabs support Hamas.

            None of that embarasses you Benny. The lies and the propaganda just keep on rolling off your tongue…

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yep, Abbas is like the weather he goes every which way depending who the audience is. Except, unlike the weather, Abbas is predictable. He talks out of both sides of his mouth…

            “I don’t want right of return for Palestine refugees, but a solution for them,’ Abbas says

            In an appearance before Dutch Jews”

            But to the Egyptians he said…

            http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2012/11/04/abbas-i-did-not-give-up-on-the-right-of-return/

            “Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has denied giving up on the refugees’ right of return, saying remarks about not returning to his home town, which is now in Israel, was a “personal position.”

            “I have never and will never give up the right of return,” he told Egypt’s Al-Hayatt Egyptian satellite channel late on Saturday, according to a transcript released on Sunday.”

            Only Benny can reconcile the two contradictory statements. Yet Abbas is consistent. His above denial to the Egyptians, that he gave up the right of return, too were made after he made soothing noises to an Israeli audience about the right of return. But immediately afterwards he denied the very same thing when he talked to an Egyptian audience.

            Only the Bennies of this world give credence to such a person. And they give credence to his duplicious statements despite all contradictory evidence including Abbas’s refusal to let Palestinians from Syria to sign away their right of return even to save their lives.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Gustav, just listen to yourself. You’re the one foaming. Calm down. Get a grip. You say stuff like that all the time about the Palestinians, the Arabs, etc., you do it so much you’re not even aware of it and you seem to assume a pass to do it. Right at this moment your sister in arms, Eis, is totally foaming at the mouth about “the Arabs this and the Arabs that.” Where’s your outrage? You guys generalize ferociously about “The Arabs” but let someone make a sardonic comment about Americans or Israelis and you’re on your high horse. It is a fact that a former top American intelligence official said “You can’t embarrass an Israeli.” You wanna make that “racism”? Here, read all about it:

            http://www.newsweek.com/israels-aggressive-spying-us-mostly-hushed-250278

            But no matter how stern the FBI’s lecture – usually delivered personally to the embassy’s senior intelligence representative – the Israelis were unmoved, another former top intelligence official said. “You can’t embarrass an Israeli,” he said. “It’s just impossible to embarrass them. You catch them red-handed, and they shrug and say, ‘Okay now, anything else?’”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            LOL.

            A shining example of how Benny tries to sidetrack the discussion to a side topic when he is confronted by inconvenient facts. In this case, Abbas’s duplicity.

            Benny will do anything to try to cover up the fact that Abbas is not the peace maker that he Benny tries to make him out to be.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Is that right? [*chuckle*] I would say it’s a classic case of Him With His Foot In His Mouth (you). You’ve called me a racist and a liar, based on things I said on this page. And then I backed up what I said with sources (in my last two posts). On both counts you’ve been proven flat wrong. Caught red-handed in fact. Is it possible to embarrass *you*? Or are we going to get from you “Okay now, anything else?” Because your last post is roughly the equivalent of that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            For you, Benny, there is ALWAYS something else. Here…

            Benny says Abbas gave up the right of return…

            I point out that you cannot trust Abbas because he contradicts himself. He says one thing to Jews but he says the exact opposite to his own people. And I gave a link to an Egyptian publication which backs up what I say…

            But it is just water off a duck’s back as far as Benny is concerned. He blocks his ears, he shuts his eyes and he yells at the top of his voice that Abbas gave up his “Right of return” demand.

            Is Benny delusional? Or is Benny delusional?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Blah blah blah. My quote is fresh from a few days ago. Your quote is both a moldering oldie of 3 years ago and ambiguous in content and significance and not the black and white statement hewed in granite you make it out to be. I win. LoL.

            Furthermore, Gustav, so you think AIPAC does not wield a strangely intrusive and inappropriate amount of power on American soil? Really? ==>

            (From the link above)
            “‘…It has only to do with why [Israel] gets kid-glove treatment when, if it was Japan doing it or India doing it at this level, it would be outrageous.’…

            Always lurking, former intelligence officials say, was the powerful “Israeli lobby,” the network of Israel’s friends in Congress, industry and successive administrations, Republican and Democratic, ready to protest any perceived slight on the part of U.S. security officials. A former counterintelligence specialist told Newsweek he risked Israel’s wrath merely by providing routine security briefings to American officials, businessmen and scientists heading to Israel for meetings and conferences.

            “We had to be very careful how we warned American officials,” he said. “We regularly got calls from members of Congress outraged by security warnings about going to Israel. And they had our budget. When … the director of the CIA gets a call from an outraged congressman–’What are these security briefings you’re giving? What are these high-level threat warnings about travel to Tel Aviv you’re giving? This is outrageous’ – he has to pay close attention. There was always this political delicacy that you had to be aware of….”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:” My quote is fresh from a few days ago. Your quote is both a moldering oldie of 3 years ago and ambiguous in content and significance”

            The following is ambiguous, according to our inimitable Benny…

            http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2012/11/04/abbas-i-did-not-give-up-on-the-right-of-return/

            “Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has denied giving up on the refugees’ right of return, saying remarks about not returning to his home town, which is now in Israel, was a “personal position.”

            “I have never and will never give up the right of return,” he told Egypt’s Al-Hayatt Egyptian satellite channel late on Saturday, according to a transcript released on Sunday.”

            It’s old says Benny. But then like now, Abbas said one thing to a Jewish audience (misinformation), then he quickly proceeded to explain himself to his home crowd and assured them that he never gave up the so called right of return.

            Benny hears only the things which he wants to hear. Anything which contradicts his mindset, he pretends to be deaf to. Lucky you are not us, Benny. We listen to everything that is being said…

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Interesting comments by Bradley Burston on this interview of Mubarak Awad:

      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.683951

      “Just before the attacks took place on Monday, I read an exceptional interview in +972 Magazine with Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian activist and tireless, pioneering campaigner for non-violence, who was jailed, tortured, and deported by Israel in 1988 for distributing leaflets supporting civil disobedience.

      Awad explains the roots of the current wave of violence, but significantly does not absolve the assailants of responsibility for their actions. “Look, I don’t have a reason to like Israelis. They killed my father. They destroyed my house. They’re destroying my culture. They destroyed my life. ….”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Psssst Benny…

        Tell Awad to get his stubborn leader (one of many) to sign a peace deal with us which would include recognition of the reality of the Jewish state. And puff, it will be magical, the occupation will end. They will have their own state and this 100 year war will end and we will live peacefully side by side.

        It isn’t rocket science Benny. It could have happened at least twice already just in the last 15 years. But Mr Awad’s people want to have their cake and eat it too. They want an end to the occupation without agreeing to what we want too.

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          By the way, did anyone notice how Benny is trying to distract from his ridiculous claim that the following statement of Abbas is ambiguous…?

          “I have never and will never give up the right of return,” he told Egypt’s Al-Hayatt Egyptian satellite channel late on Saturday, according to a transcript released on Sunday.”

          Did anyone tell you Benny, that you are unembarassable?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh and Benny, do tell us, what supposedly brought about this momentous change in Abbas and his attitude regarding the “right of return” as compared to three years ago?

            1. Divine inspiration?

            2. An attitude tranfusion?

            3. Bibi made him see the light?

            LOL.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I always have to spell things out for you.

            “I have never and will never give up the right of return.”

            “I am not asking for a right of return for six million Palestinians; I want a solution for them.”

            There is no inherent contradiction in these two statements. This Palestinian leader is saying he will not give up on [pressing] the right of return [issue], and he is saying that in pressing the right of return issue, he wants to find a workable solution, one that does not involve a literal return of six million inside the green line. It is a set of skillful statements by a political leader trying to find a common ground between two peoples. He literally uses the word “asking.” Not “demanding.” These statements should be admired, not picked apart in the most begrudging fashion. If you and your fellow Bibiists truly wanted peace (you don’t—you want land and you want surrender) you would rejoice at this September 30, 2015 statement by Abu Mazen. You know what, “begrudging” may just be the single word best in the English language to describe you, Gustav.

            Hey, you inexplicably failed to answer me on what you think about the Newsweek Israeli-in-the-Vice-President’s-bathroom-duct-report on American intelligence officials’ observations about AIPAC. How about that AIPAC? Is it not uncomfortably, weirdly true that AIPAC wields a strangely intrusive and inappropriate amount of power on American soil? Please reread the excerpt I kindly provided you. I’ll keep the light on for you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”There is no inherent contradiction in these two statements.”

            You are right Benny, he is saying he IS giving up on the right of so called right of return but he is NOT giving up at the same time. Those are not contradictory sentiments….

            … LOL, NOT MUCH. Only in Benny world which is a make believe world known as lah lah land.

            He only wants solutions, huh? Well who is stopping him? Why is he asking us to be involved? We solved OUR refugee problem which the Palestinian Arabs helped to create for us when they decided to make war on us in 1947. It is because of that war his Arab allies kicked out about a million Jews from Arab countries and also caused 700,000 Palestinian refugees who now live in the same Arab countries.

            So, Benny, we don’t want to hear about Palestinian Arab refugees. Let Abbas solve it. Let his Arab friends who helped to create the problem solve it.

            PS
            There were NOT 6 MILLION Palestinian Arab refugees. That is just your LIE! There were about 700,000 refugees.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            AIPAC Benny? Who are they? As far as I know they are some American group who lobby for Israel. A bit like the big oil companies together with the Arab oil states who lobby for Arabs.

            Now what do you want me to do about them Benny? I am Israeli, not American. You are the American, you don’t like all of that stuff? Go and fix up your own mess. Go and fight it out with your own people. I am sure most of them won’t accept your suggestion that only the Arabs should be able to lobby in your country but not Israel.

            What do you want me to do about it though Benny?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Thanks for acknowledging the problem. You could work on it from your end by starting a campaign for Noam Sheizaf for Prime Minister. I’ll be your first donor. We’ll work together. We can call it the Bicontinental Democracy And Straight Talk Political Affairs Committee (BDSPAC). We’ll fill a huge gap. Huge.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Problem, Benny? Yes, I acknowledge that the obsessive hatred that people like you exhibit against the Jewish state is a problem. But it isn’t an insurmountable problem. We faced much worse and we are still here to tell the tale…

            BEN:”You could work on it from your end by starting a campaign for Noam Sheizaf for Prime Minister”

            LOL. Why exactly? Coz ya want us to? LOL.

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