As reported the day previous, the conference I attended was to be
held at the Jerusalem Cinematheque under the title, “Jerusalem: Two Capitals for Two States – From Breakdown to Breakthrough.” There will be both Israeli and Palestinian speakers, including Ron Pundak, Israeli co-chair of the Palestinian- Israeli Peace NGO Forum; Meir Margalit, who prior to last week’s elections held the East Jerusalem portfolio on the municipal council; Saman Khoury, secretary-general of the Palestinian Peace NGO Forum; and Rami Nasrallah, chairman of the International Peace and Cooperation Center.
Jerusalem, a city that was always geographically 'united' except fro the 19-year period of the Jordanian illegal occupation, is being touted as a place where Israel is destroying the right of the Arabs to be a community with the right to plan their spatial future.
The greetings came from the UN's Robert Serry, Mark Gallagher, a representative of J Call, David Chemla of French Peace Now and Yael Patir, Director of Israel Programs for J Street. Danny Seidemann, formerly of Peace Now (we debated together multiple times in the 1980s), formerly of Ir Amim and now of Terrestrial Jerusalem, briefed us on his talk with Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, Robert Malley and Hussein Agha in July 2000. He claimed they nothing of the details of Jerusalem and he had to use a table napkin in lieo of maps which no one had brought along.
In all the two hours I spent there were wonderful. There were presentations by Yehudit Oppenheimer and Meir Margalit all bemoaning the situation as did Seidemann. The views began to get more and more extreme, inviting intervention from abroad. Already the EU funding is 5 million Euros. They spoke in the name of democracy but their operations all intend to circumvent the democratic decisions made by Israel's voting public and their financing is from Israel's adversaries.
This aspect of an anti-democratic behavior is also apparent in other groups, notably "Breaking the Silence".
Here is an email l received concerning a tour taken the other day that illustrates the intolerable situation these foreign-sponsored groups engage in. It is a chilling and disappointing testimony:
Yesterday I went on a trip to the southern Hebron hills with Yachad [the British J Street]. We were a minibus full of Brits who knew relatively little of the Israel Palestine dispute.
In the bus ride from Tel Aviv to the southern West Bank, we were addressed by Avner, a member of "Breaking the Silence", who subjected us to a litany of accusations about how Israel governed the area. I have studied the conflict for some time and most of his accusations were new to me and did not ring true. Some of his statements I knew to be false (for example that the West Bank had been quiet for recently, suggesting that the security at the checkpoints was more there to harass the Palestinians than to enhance security) and saying that the most aggressive act that the PA had done was in a speech at the UN, while Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, under the direct authority of the PA had carried out recent acts of terrorism and been praised for it, and the PA have continued to incite acts of terrorism ever since it was created in the Oslo accords (see articles published by PMW from this Israel List). Avner at first denied to me that it was certain Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade was directly connected to the PA, It is anyway an extremely well attested fact that even the BBC now confirm. (The story of the start of the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade is well attested in "Son of Hamas", which aver says he has read.) Avner also talked of "continuing Israeli occupation and control of the Gaza Strip". It was absolutely untrue, as were several other accusations that he made with regard to international law.Hannah Weisfeld mentioned further talks that Yachad is doing on "the legality of the occupation". There is no question of the presence of Israeli forces on the West Bank being illegal but she just wanted to put the thought that it was into our minds.She calls Yachad a "pro Israel pro Peace" that is committed to a two state solution, but my impression is very much that her intention is to lessen the support of British Jews for Israel, and to get Israel out of the West Bank even as the PA and all Palestinian political movements call for Israel's destruction. If Israel did that the level of violence would increase dramatically. Many more people would be killed and life for Jew and Arabs alike would become far more dangerous. It would also kill any chance of a peaceful two state solution.In my opinion she is committed to undermining support for Israel and her commitment to a two state solution is a sham.Her slogan "Pro Israel Pro Peace" seems to be pure propaganda of the type seen in George Orwell's 1984. She is garnering opposition to Israel and seems to be trying to undermine the prospects for peace. She is succeeding in hardening attitudes against Israel, and praising the Palestine Authority even as it is inciting people to murder Jews. Somehow we need to get the message across about PA incitement of Palestinian children and adults to hate and commit violence against their Jewish neighbours. Until the incitement hate propaganda stops, (and the trip included a lot of hate propaganda) there is no prospect for peace.
Taken together, this email and my observations today at the conference indicate that the frustration the progressive, radical leftist camp finds itself in is leading them into illiberal, immoral and dangerous directions.