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The Bell Tolls

By Eileen Fleming

14 February, 2009

With "the fierce urgency of now" Jimmy Carter writes of reasons why recent "public opinion polls in the Arab world revealed that the United States was seen as a greater threat than Iran, and a successful peace effort in Palestine could be the most important factor in improving its citizens' opinion of America."[Carter, Page 101]

Due to their lack of political and military power, the Palestinians have been dependent on the international community to survive; and they have commitments from the UN, the International Quartet and the Arab League who have all dreamt a dream of a sovereign peaceful Palestinian state beside a secure Israel.

The Carter Center Team in Ramallah reported that the failure of negotiations post Annapolis "may well mark an end to the two-state solution for Israel Palestine…The conclusion seems to be that even second class Israeli citizenship is preferable to unending occupation, or in other terms, the future may lie in one state."[Carter, Page 160-161]

Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qurei predicted, "If Israel continues to reject our propositions regarding the borders [of a future Palestinian state], we might demand Israeli citizenship."

A Fatah leader quipped, "Where will a Palestinian state rise up? The Israeli nation is inside us already."

After the Feb. 1009, Israeli elections, Mid East Analyst, Omar Barghouti wrote, "A paradigm shift from the defunct, immoral, and now impossible, two-state solution to the democratic, single state solution is NOW called for more than ever. Only by rejecting all forms of racism, apartheid, ethnocentrism, religious fundamentalism and colonialism, and by embracing FULL equality and democracy, including the right of return of the refugees, can we create a just and sustainable peace. The call for a two-state solution has truly become a smokescreen to cover up and legitimize continued occupation, colonization and Zionist apartheid."

In November 2007, Prime Minister Olmert admitted in Haaretz that the collapse of a two-state solution would force Israel to "face a South African style struggle for equal voting rights and as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."

In a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny stated, "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status...even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors."

"An apartheid society is much more than just a 'settler colony'. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges."[1]

On October 23, 2001, Ronnie Kasrils, a Jewish Minister in the South African government, co-authored a petition "Not in My Name," signed by some 200 members of South Africa's Jewish community, which read: "It becomes difficult, from a South African perspective, not to draw parallels with the oppression expressed by Palestinians under the hand of Israel and the oppression experienced in South Africa under apartheid rule." [2]

Three years later, Kasrils traveled to the Occupied Territories and concluded, "This is much worse than apartheid. Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armored vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale." [Ibid]

ON April 29, 2002, while in Boston, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared how "very deeply distressed" he was by what he observed in his recent visit to the Holy Land, "It reminded me so much of what happened in South Africa."

The Nobel peace laureate said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. Referring to Americans, he adds, "People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists." [Ibid]

Carter whole heartedly supports the state of Israel and as a true friend of the state he speaks brutal truth, for "opposition is true friendship."-William Blake

Carter's Plan for Peace in the Holy Land calls for President Obama to courageously address the complex conflict with details resolved by the two sides but which follows the following framework:

A demilitarized Palestinian state, with Israeli forces being replaced by an international security force that will allow freedom of peaceful movement and that will respond to any violence from either side.

Mutually acceptable modifications, with land swaps to the 1967 border which allows Israelis in and around Jerusalem to remain, but a withdrawal of all other settlers from the West Bank.

A shared Jerusalem that will be the capital of both states.

The right of Palestinian refugees to return to the West Bank and Gaza and compensation to those with proven claims to the land.

Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz that, "It is permissible to believe in the Jews' right to a state and yet come out against the Zionism that engages in occupation. It is permissible to believe that what happened in 1948 should be put on the agenda, to apologize for the injustice and act to rehabilitate the victims. It is permissible to oppose an unnecessary war from its very first day.

It is permissible to think that the Arabs of Israel deserve the same rights - culturally, socially and nationally - as Jews. It is permissible to raise disturbing questions about the image of the Israel Defense Forces as an army of occupation, and it is even permissible to want to talk to Hamas." [3]

"This is a time when there seems to be a particular need for men of philosophical persuasion—that is to say, friends of wisdom and truth—to join together…We Jews should be, and remain, the carriers and patrons of spiritual values. But we should also always be aware of the fact that these spiritual values are and always have been the common goal of mankind."-Einstein

Might this time, the fierce urgency of now compel all people of good will to demand that President Obama make good on his promises of hope and change.

"HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."-George Washington's Farewell Address – 1796

The bell is tolling for all of US!


1. Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.

2. The Link, "About That Word Apartheid", April-May 2007, Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Inc.


Eileen Fleming, Author, Founder, Senior Correspondent WAWA:
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"

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